Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Ventings, Rage, Bigotry, Myopia, Emotionalism, and Narrow-Mindedness of a Cheap-Disgracer


If eternal life is conditioned on surrender, obedience, commitment, repentance, then as much as these are required, so as much as the reception of eternal life depends on self.

If a person believes, as MacArthur and company, that commitment of life and obedience are required for salvation, so much that they are taking their eyes off of Jesus and putting them on self.

Can anyone understand logic?”

Indeed we can, which is why we understand Antonio’s illogicality as well.

To begin with, we are putting our faith in a Jesus who demands repentance as well as faith, and who tells us that you can’t be a true disciple unless you abide in his word and take up your cross.

So the difference is that we are keeping our eyes on the Jesus of the Gospels, while Antonio, like Marcion before him, is putting his eyes on half a Jesus—a truncated Jesus. Half a Jesus can’t save you.

Unlike Antonio, we also believe in a Risen Lord who sent the Holy Spirit to renew his people and keep them in the faith (Jn 14-17; Eph 1).

For Antonio, Christ is still nailed to the cross. The Christ whom he believes in never came down from the cross. That’s the effect of Antonio’s “gospel.”

But a Calvinist believes, not only in Christ crucified, but in a Risen Lord who ascended to heaven and sits at the right hand of God, from where he is able to send forth his Spirit to renew his people.

“I thought I was being rational and logical.”

Yes, and a lunatic also thinks that he alone is sane while everyone else is crazy.

“Faith only in Jesus is a different gospel


faith PLUS (you add here whatever, surrender, commitment, repentance, obedience, etc!)

Why do you think that Paul was so blisteringly emphatic about false gospels in gal 1?”

Notice how Antonio puts words in the mouth
of St. Paul. Notice his blatant Scripture twisting.

What Paul is so “blisteringly emphatic” about in the letter to the Galatians is not “salvation” by faith alone, but “justification” by faith alone.

Antonio persistently, willfully, and wickedly bends and stretches what Paul taught to make him teach something he didn’t teach.

“People are not saved by belief in false gospels.”

That’s true. And that’s bad new for Antonio.

“Calvinism gives lip service to "faith alone in Christ alone", to the solas.”

The soli are Reformation slogans with a very specific historical import. None of the Protestant Reformers understood their own slogans the way Antonio redefines them. None of the Protestant Reformers adhered to his Sandemanian, antinomian theology.

It is Antonio who pays lip service to historical formulations by quoting them contrary to original intent.

And notice how selective he is in quoting the Reformation soli. We are saved by faith alone in Christ alone—through grace alone.

Antonio’s problem, from start to finish, has been his mutilated concept of grace, as if saving grace is a coat of paint that covers the outside of sin, but leave the inside as maggot-ridden as ever.

Antonio’s gospel is the gospel of the Pharisees. Antonio’s gospel is the whitewashed sepulcher, pretty on the outside, wormy on the inside (Mt 23:27).

A Calvinist, by contrast, appreciates the fact that saving grace works on the inside as well as the outside. Grace is indivisible.

“But how do they preach the gospel? Faith alone in Christ alone is the farthest thing in their mind when they preach their "gospel":

“This is not faith alone! This is faith PLUS.

You all may think that this is fine and dandy, but Paul did not.”

Faith alone for what? Sufficient for what? Faith alone for justification. Yes. That’s what Paul taught.

Likewise, what kind of faith? Is saving faith regenerate faith, or unregenerate faith?

You might as well say that Calvinism subscribes to faith plus grace, or faith plus the Holy Spirit.

“What is a false gospel if it is not the "faith plus" messages of Roman Catholicism, Calvinism, and Arminianism.”

One wonders if Antonio is really that ignorant. I wouldn’t put it past him.

Roman Catholicism believes in meritorious works. Supererogatory works. Calvinism does not.

As to Arminianism, Antonio’s doctrine of saving faith is identical to Arminian theology.

Both believe that freewill makes it possible for the unregenerate to exercise saving faith in Christ.

By contrast, Calvinism has this quaint idea that, in order to be saved, you must be born again. If memory serves, there’s even a verse of Scripture that says something about that. Connects it with the work of the Holy Spirit. Sound familiar?

Antonio’s gospel is a faith-minus gospel: faith minus grace, faith minus the Holy Spirit, faith minus the new birth, faith minus God the Father in election.

For Antonio, these are just accessories—or worse. As I’ve said before, Antonio is a function Unitarian.

“The "faith plus" message of the Lordship Salvationist is not the only facet of their false gospel. Perseverance theology, when preached front-loading the gospel makes the gospel false as well.”

No, we’re not redefining faith. We’re not front-loading faith. We’re not cramming sanctification into faith.

It isn’t the object of faith that’s at issue here, but the source of faith. Is the Holy Spirit the author of saving faith?

If so, then the same Holy Spirit who ingenerates saving faith will also sanctify and preserve the regenerate.

In Antonio’s false gospel, a dead tree can bear living fruit.

In Reformed theology, the dead tree must be revived by the Holy Spirit before it can produce the first-fruits of saving faith, followed by good works.

“Perseverance theology destroys the gospel.

‘Only those who persevere until the end will be saved’

This is a false gospel.”

So when Jesus said that “whoever endures to the end will be saved” (Mt 10:22; cf. 24:13), he was preaching a false gospel.

In Antonio’s book, if you want to hear the true Gospel, take your eyes of Jesus and look at Antonio instead.

In Antonio’s book, Jesus was a false prophet.

Speaking for myself, I’d rather be in Jesus’ company than Antonio’s. But that’s just my damnable preference.






These things all NECESSARILY make salvation contingent upon man's actions and not FULLY on Christ alone through faith alone in Him.”

No, they make man’s salvation contingent upon the action of the Holy Spirit.

“I can't believe that no one can see this.”

That’s because, unlike Antonio, we haven’t gouged out our eyes.

“If I preach:

‘To be saved you must surrender your life to Jesus, follow Him, turn from your sins, and persevere until the end.’

I am making eternal life CONTINGENT ON SELF and not on Christ.

How is this so difficult to understand?”

Here’s a novel idea for Antonio: how about putting your faith alone in Christ alone…in the actual teaching of Christ?

You see, it’s because a Calvinist believes in faith alone in Christ alone that he puts his faith in the gospel of Christ as Christ himself taught it, and authorized his Apostles to teach it:

“Whoever endures to the end will be saved” (Mt 10:22; cf. 24:13).

“Whoever confesses me before men, I will confess before my Father…but whoever denies me before men, I will deny before my Father” (10:32-33).

“Whoever doesn’t take up his cross and follow me isn’t worthy of me” (10:38).

“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples” (Jn 8:31).

“Whoever abides in me and I in him bears much fruit, for without me you can do nothing. If anyone doesn’t abide in me, he is thrown away like branches that are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned” (15:5-6).

“And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized everyone one of you n the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins” (Acts 2:28).

“Repent therefore and turn again, so that your sins may be blotted out” (3:19).

“And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says ‘I know him’; but doesn’t keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him…whoever says he abides in him ought also to walk in the way he himself did.” (1 Jn 2:3-6).

But when passages like this are quoted to him, Antonio, parroting Zane Hodges, chooses to “import” all kinds of “provisos” and “caveats” into the “to the beautiful and simple expressions of the Gospel offer that are given in the Bible.”

For all his talk of faith alone, Antonio’s problem is his fundamental lack of faith in God’s grace over all spheres of the believer’s life, including the condition of his heart.

Antonio doesn’t believe in all the promises of God. He only believes in those promises which, taking in isolation, offer him a shortcut to the assurance of salvation.

Antonio is a Marcionite. So is Zane Hodges, and Charles Ryrie, and R. T. Kendall.


  1. “surrender





    These things all NECESSARILY make salvation contingent upon man's actions and not FULLY on Christ alone through faith alone in Him.”

    If and only if, Antonio, they arose from man in a state of nature and not from a state of grace in a chain that is underwritten by the effectual work of the Holy Spirit from beginning to end, you would be quite correct. However, Antonio, in your truncated, hollowed out, vaccuum sealed version of the gospel that denies not only effacious grace (Calvinism) and prevenient grace (Arminianism) you have a gospel that makes intellectual assent arise from a state of nature, and this you label "faith.' You turn your own definition of faith (quite literally your own theology when you judge others unregenerate by it) into a form of superagotory merit. You sir, are a functional Unitarian and a functional Pelagian to boot. Your theology fills Baptist churches with unregenerate members and bloats baptismal rolls on an ongoing basis.

  2. Well, when you claim to see something in the Scriptures that centuries of exegetes simply missed, you might as well make yourself the standard for the gospel and go ahead and also claim that those same scores of exegetes that disagree with you were all unregenerate. Interesting position indeed.

  3. Steve, thanks for stepping into this debate.

  4. Let someone else do your dirty work . . . come on Jonathan anyone can engage in a bit of name calling--that's not debate!

    Bobby Grow

  5. So Free Grace is Marcionism. Hmmmm.

    Free Grace is the belief that those things that are essential to successfully living the Christian life can be distinguished from the offer of eternal life.

    We think this is valid because the NT writers never blur the distinction between following Christ and receiving eternal life/being justified before God's legal bar of justice.

    We accept and proclaim everything good coming out of the incarnation but we correlate and distingush those things that are correlated and distinguished by the NT writers. The offer of eternal life is not a bulletin board for everything urgent in Christian theology.

    We proclaim the whole canon.

    The Free Grace enterprise insists that there is nothing free about discipleship and to mingle it with what is free inexorably dismisses the power given it by the NT wriers.

  6. Gene,

    For my views on your lordship salvation theology and why I call it Purism, see my post here.


  7. Steve, our beloved Antonio has created a new post that accuses Calvinists of being terrorists and communists! One of his admirers likens him to Rush Limbaugh for his efforts. I say Michael Moore is more appropriate. Regards.