In three of my recent postings I have 1) refuted an anti-means article from a leading Primitive Baptist elder (Here), 2) shown how this order advocates Pelagianism (Here), and 3) shown how they tolerate contradictory views of faith, as long as it’s an anti-gospel view (Here). Each of these were responses to articles in The Banner of Love periodical, one of the leading publications spreading heresy via snail mail.
Today I demonstrate a non-sequitur.
Don Richards, publisher and editor of this same paper, wrote in the latest issue:
"Man cannot take credit for his, or others, eternal salvation. Neither can we take credit for our timely salvation of comfort, security and peace which comes from believers hearing the foolishness of preaching" ("Foolish things...", April 2015)
While all the glory and praise certainly redound unto God for a sinner’s eternal salvation, it simply does not follow what the editor states next. If my deceived brethren are consistent within their own system (and many times they are not) they cannot claim that God receives all the credit for what they call gospel time salvation. To affirm that He does engages the Conditionalist in the worst of contradictions, denying the very premises he uses to uphold his heretical notions. To say that God gets all the credit for this “second unnecessary salvation” which they affirm does involve the means of the gospel, my Hardshell brethren end up affirming the following, whether aware or not.
The Lord receives the credit for that which involves gospel instrumentality.
The Lord receives the credit for that which involves human instrumentality.
The Lord receives the credit for that which involves human action.
The Lord receives the credit for that which depends on man.
The Lord receives the credit for that which depends on man.
The Lord receives the credit for that which is affected by free-will.
The Lord receives the credit for that which He did not ordain.
The Lord receives the credit for that which He does not do.
NOTE: Hardshells argue from Acts 2:40 that gospel conversion is where the regenerate child of God “SAVES HIMSELF”. Yet somehow the Lord receives credit for that which He does not do??? Laughable!
The Lord receives credit for that in which he requires "help".
NOTE: Hardshells claim that preaching is helping God.
These are the conclusions, a couple of them absurd, which result from an affirmation that God gets all the credit for a transaction involving means, in light of the premises that the Conditionalists take in advance to the scriptures (eisegesis). Yet when these premises are individually considered, my deceived brethren cry out in bitter opposition. They affirm that instruments and human action do rob God of the credit! Why, this is one of the main premises that they use to erect their own anti-means system and distance themselves from Calvinism and Arminianism!!
So let me try and understand. The editor may affirm that God gets all the credit despite human action…despite gospel instrumentality…despite human instrumentality. But when a Calvinist does the same thing in his system, all of a sudden, he’s a heretic out trying to rob God of His glory!!! I need only refer to a statement made by another elder just a few issues back in the exact same periodical who asserts that gospel/human instrumentality DO rob God of the credit:
“It is not the WORD MEANS that I or my people object to but the unscriptural use which is made of it in dividing the honor of our salvation and giving credit for something outside the purpose of God in the salvation of sinners” (Elder Ricky Harcrow, The Banner of Love, January 2015)
Now these words, in reality an erroneous conclusion about the gospel means position, do in fact follow from the Hardshell premises. If it were correct to say that God gets all the credit only when He operates in what we might call a direct manner, then it would be true to say that administration through instrumentality divides it. But if God receives the credit as well when instrumentality IS involved, as the editor’s words imply, then what's the problem with the gospel means pattern of salvation?
Harcrow's words, though an error, are consistent with his own paradigm. Not so with Richards. One of two things must be true. He is either unaware that his words contradict the Hardshells’ belief that means rob God of the credit, or he simply does not want to admit the conclusion which results from gospel time salvation. After all, who would want to openly announce to their readers that since time salvation involves gospel means, human action/free-will,and works, this means we are robbing God of His glory and taking credit for our conversion experience. Better to just tell the deceived audience that though time salvation requires these things, we nevertheless affirm in contradiction that all the credit goes to God. But when Calvinists assert that regeneration is all of grace through the instrumentality of the gospel, let’s just make sure that we call them all heretics, and that they’re trying to “help” God save his people and take some credit for it!!!
If God receives the credit for that which flows through the gospel, then means cannot be cited as the reason why He would not. To what then must the Hardshells defer as to why they blast Calvinism if it can no longer be claimed that the involvement of men and gospel preaching rob God of the credit? What scheme of salvation must it require for them to continue identifying Calvinists as being basically the same thing as Arminians, it if isn't their view that the preaching of the gospel is instrumental in salvation? It would have to be something else which causes them to see the two as one in the same. There's only one thing which my deceived friends could possibly say at this point. They could only say that the Calvinist is referring to eternal salvation, whereas they are referring to time salvation. In other words, Hardshells reserve the right to say God gets all the credit given their position on means, but Calvinists may not do so in their system. It boils down to the following proposition which they would have to set forth and prove.
God gets all the credit for MEANS transactions when the matter is of a temporal nature, but He doesn't when the matter is of an eternal nature.
Is this what my confused friends are wanting to affirm?
Ridiculous and laughable! It is not the duration of the consequence which determines whether something is all of God, but the act itself. Administration through means either robs God of the credit, or it doesn't. If it does then you can't say this out of one side of your mouth, only to turn around and utter an obvious non-sequitur in order to hide the shame of admitting that your beloved time salvation doctrine is an Arminian system. If administration through means does not rob God of the credit then quit claiming Calvinists are "helping God" and desirous of the credit themselves.