Thursday, January 10, 2008

Refuting the Hyper-Classical view of Salvation by Grace Through Faith

I was listening to the radio, Los Angeles KKLA, on a Sunday evening, September 9, 2007 (probably between 7:30pm to 8:00pm and was troubled with the concept of how faith works in salvation.

I was listening to 2 Hyper-Calvinists and one Wesleyan attempting to explain how faith works in salvation. Although I expected both parties not to come up with logically Biblical views, It is an understatement to say that I was terribly disappointed at the views.

The H-C's of course, in attempting to explain Ephesians 2:8,9 were attempting to point out that man has ENTIRELY no participation in the salvation process, and that even saving faith is the gift of God (and what they mean, of course, is that even faith is a God-effort!).

The Wesleyan view, in trying to point out man's participation in the salvation process, came up with illustrations like "Be perfect as the Father is perfect", explaining that God does not require of man what man cannot do. Plausible perhaps, but it does not directly address the Hyper-C's propositions.

Well, it takes someone who has gone through both camps to say, both arguments are hog-wash, narrow-minded and concluded based on bad hermeneutics (well, at least, hermeneutics I do not agree with because these conclusions are based MORE on the very words than the CONTEXT in which they were delivered by the authors - - very basic violations, in fact).

The H-C's countered by criticizing evangelicals for proclaiming that salvation is a gift WITH a condition, to them a laughable inconsistency. They even pointed to John 1:12, the fact that it is often quoted without continuing to verse 13.

Although their hermeneutics was laughable, I was more disappointed than humored. I cannot believe that learned folks would be so content with their confused version of knowledge!

Salvation is a gift of God, no contest. But unless man is a robot, he has the option to accept or reject the gift. Man is saved when he accepts God's provision only if he comes to a point of trusting (exercising faith in) the Giver. True, salvation remains a gift, but a saving relationship with the Giver is not realized unless the gift is accepted. Why they don't see this, which is replicated in real life is simply beyond me.

These two otherwise well-intentioned folks criticized the way evangelicals quote John 1:12 without proceeding to verse 13. Where are these guys from? I have yet to see an evangelical not include verse 13 in his gospel proclamations.

Their problem, however, is not clear to the untrained because they do have a plausible angle to the way the words of verse 13 were formed. Let us get into it and point out their fallacy:

"12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." John 1:12,13 NKJV

How they tie this verse up with Ephesians 2:8,9 to say that faith is a gift or a Divine effort is just the wrong way to split hairs. Nevertheless, it is obvious from BOTH the WORDS and CONTEXT that what comes out of the effort or will of God is spiritual birth ("who were born"). This simply means that the process of spiritual birth is a work of God and not man. What it DOES NOT SAY is that saving faith is a gift of God!!!! What it does mean is that once man applies faith (a purely human exercise made possible by his being created in the image of God) to be saved, the rest is a work of God.

Now going back to the springboard verse of Ephesians 2:8,9 and I quote, "8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. " It is now our turn to accuse these two of not quoting the whole verse. They proclaim, "by grace you are saved." but forget the all-important clause, "through faith".

Quite unfortunately, it takes one who is able to conclusively and logically reject the Calvinist's T.U.L.I.P to be able to interpret this passage correctly.

Calvinists maintain that man is totally depraved and utterly unable even to exercise faith on their own. They claim that there is nothing good in man which disqualifies any of man's participation in the salvation process. This is grossly unbiblical and almost heretic if one applies correct hermeneutics to the passages of Scripture. Credit it to Calvinists to create a whole doctrine out of a few verses just to protect their treasured philosophical propositions.

Most Calvinists are not even aware that for each of the 5 points of Calvinism, the number of verses contradicting these propositions highly outnumber those supporting it. The perseverance of the saints for example is as much as 5 times against to 1 in-favor and yet they would rather re-interpret these verses to protect their propositions. Unconditional election has an even worse record because this proposition is based on a deduction while there are numerous verses DECLARING otherwise. This is what I would consider heretical if it happened to be related to how one gains salvation. However, Calvinists escape being called heretics only because this is really a peripheral issue to orthodox Christianity (nevertheless, Hyper Calvinists consider salvation assurance as part of their Cardinal doctrine. It is at this point that one begins to see that their reasonings are entirely warped and anti-Biblical)

Going back to our discussion, Total Depravity the way it is now being explained by Calvinists is in direct contradiction to the clear Bible declaration that MAN WAS CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD!!! How can a creation of God be utterly debased when God Himself declared it was GOOD!

When man fell in the garden of Eden, it DID NOT negate the principle that man is created in the image of God Himself!!! That principle is irrevocable. Hence, man has a seed in him that enables him to do good on his own. Although this goodness may not be enough to earn his salvation, it is nonetheless indicative that man can exercise something like saving faith on his own, albeit being a response to the declared Word of God. Man is endowed with a mind to think discern right from wrong, between good and evil (a repercussion of eating the forbidden fruit which Calvinists perhaps have forgotten) and on his own make volitional choices.

Man is endowed with a heart to feel the right things ON HIS OWN simply because God in His creative work designed it that way!!! Hence, the exercise of faith is part of God's design and the willingness to exercise it toward salvation is part of man being created in the very IMAGE OF GOD!!!

It confounds me that these same well-meaning Calvinists would attribute everything to God including faith (since he is the ultimate source of everything) but without batting an eyelash would claim that applying the same thing about evil ("Evil comes from God since He created everything") is NOT a reasonable argument. How these people live with contentment in what they allege to know (or don't really know) is beyond astounding. Instead they would lead you into a complex maze of mental calisthenics to show a different roundabout argument....and they can sleep at night with that mambo-jumbo seemingly resolved in their minds!

So, why is that not any clear to the Hyper-C? Only God knows, but may He continue to bless them, at least, for their good intentions (and only if their intentions are good and not one of pride in their philosophy or something close to that). Otherwise, I believe they are creating a generation of miserable Christians.


  1. I came accross your site in my desperate attempt to understand Relational Theology. I am conversing with some Weslyan Theologians who are into Relational Theology but cannot seem to explain it. They are also into Theistic Evolution, Open Theology, Process Theology, Brian McClaren, Tony Jones, Clark Pinnock and what I would view as very liberal philosophers. Would you mind addressing some of these issues? I consider myself a kind of Calminianist. I have a real hard time with God not knowing the future. I like some of the things you are saying. Anyway, please do what you can with this. Jess in Idaho.

  2. Hi Jess. There are not too many sites or folks that claim that they represent Relational Theology. I attempted to summarize my version in the article in this site, "Relational Theology in a Nutshell" dated 3/18/08. You presented many items with no real specific question but I would be glad to address each specific question you would come up with.

    Nevertheless, here are some quick responses to what you mentioned. Wesleyans are quite close to Relational Theology because of their concept of a "pure heart", and sanctification. However, that is as far as they go. They still are close to Arminianism when it comes to most of their other doctrinal bias and their hermeneutics are still classical (Greek philosophy view point vs. Jewish perspective viewpoint on Scripture).

    Theistic Evolution is not biblical simply because Evolution is NOT biblical. If God says He created in ONE day, who are we to doubt someone who can rise from the dead after daring to do so? Open Theology is not exactly biblical the way it is presented by Clark Pinnock because he presents God as UNABLE to know what cannot be known and makes God less sovereign than He actually is. Relational Theology presents God from his infinite wisdom and sovereignty as deciding NOT to know ALL of the future. That is the reason He can be surprised, gets angry, changes His mind as Scripture explicitly points out. God knows ONLY what He has predestined but the Bible does not show God as predestinating everything, but only what He has explicitly predestined in Scripture. Process Theology is definitely NOT biblical as it is not better than the gods of the pagans who have to learn things as history progresses. I am not familiar with Brian McClaren and Tony Jones but I will research and get back to you on these.

    To reiterate, from a Relational Theology perspective, God does not know everything about the future by His own design and decision. If God chose to know ALL of the future, He CAN do so but the bible seems to imply in many cases that He has chosen not to, except for those events that He has explicitly predestined.

    Shoot me more specific questions and I would be glad to address them. Meanwhile, explore my discussions in this blogsite as the answers to your questions could already have been addressed.

    God bless you in your search for truth and theology that you can REALLY live by!