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What a find.. 3 great debates!

Posted: July 20, 2010 by Matthew Masiewicz in Baptism, Debates, Theology
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I stumbled across this site that has  three GREAT debates on it.
1. The classic Dr. Greg Bahnsen vs Dr. Gorden Stein debate on the existence of God. Where Dr. Bahnsen masterfully employs the Transcendental argument.
2. The John Macarthur vs R.C Sproul debate (more competing presentations) on infant baptism.
3. James White vs Bart Ehrman “Misquoting Jesus” the reliability of the New Testament.

Download them asap, these things tend to disappear on the net. Drag this link address to your address bar.
http://www.tonybartolucci.com/briefcase.htm

Response to George Bryson

Posted: January 16, 2010 by Matthew Masiewicz in Calvinism
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Greetings in the Lord George,
I’m honored that a man with so many responsibilities took the time to read and respond to my blog. Let me say that I have read with joy the many articles in Calvary Chapel’s Missions magazine about your work abroad. Like I said in the article, I love Calvary Chapel. In fact I was saved listening to Greg Laurie on the radio. I do have your book “Weighed and found wanting”, and I have read it and remain a convinced Calvinist. I have not had the privilege to read your more current book as of yet. As to what I agree with, I agree with what I find in the scriptures as i’m sure you strive for as well. While I find what Piper, or Sproul might say useful, my theology is not resting on their opinions. When I exegetically go through a passage such as John 6, Rom 9, etc, I am driven to certain conclusions about the Nature of God and of salvation. The thrust of my post however isn’t to contrast our respective positions but to contrast what I have been hearing on the radio form “Pastors Perspective” and from your lectures at various conference (I was a Calvary pastor and have just about every conference up to 2005). I know that some people that become reformed can be a pain in the rear at first. They can cause all sorts of trouble as they evangelize the saved. But that is not only Calvinists. I have met people in bible collage (Calvary Chapel) that came from other back grounds that came to Calvary’s perspective and caused trouble in their former circles as well. Like wanting to see their cessesionist friends speak in tongues and receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We are all striving to get it right on this side of heaven. What my heart yearns for is a mutual respect and camaraderie around the banner of Christ. I think that both you and Spurgeon are “soul winners”, and I praise God for my Calvinist and non Calvinist brothers.

Matthew

Today I was pondering evangelism because I’m going to be teaching on the subject soon. I was thinking of my upbringing  which was basically Arminian,  I grew up at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. I am happy to say that saw much fruit from that place. I was introduced to Jesus, taught the importance of scripture and encouraged to follow Jesus. I was saved in THAT context.  I do have some problems with some of their methodology, but not to their commitment and veal. Unfortunately this denomination has been vocal lately against the Doctrines of Grace through their radio and print media. George Bryson and Chuck Smith in particular are actively warning people about Calvinism. Yet, what they describe is inevitably Hyper-Calvinism. But as a Calvinist I feel I must correct their misunderstanding while at the same time stand against the caricture that they are presenting. I infact like Arminianism better than Hyper-Calvinism, here is why.

Reason 1. Hyper-Calvinism mostly denies the well mean offer of the Gospel. Many Hyper-Calvinists only see the Gospel call as simply heaping hotter into their future in Hell.While I disagree with the Arminian on the nature and extent of the Atonement I will happily embrace the notion that God’s gospel call is a sincere plea and command for sinners to repent and believe. This is a tenant of historical Calvinism. We call all men to repent and believe in Jesus and declare that God will save all who turn to His Son in faith.

Reason 2. Many Hyper-Calvinists deny God’s common grace. They say that any good shown to the non elect merely is a by-product of His love for His chosen and will ultimately add to their condemnation. This is pure nonsense. God over and over points to His care for all people as proof of his goodness and love. The very fact that God doesn’t eternally condemn us the moment we sin is proof enough. While I would disagree with the Arminian that God MUST love every person in the same way without distinction such as is a common theme with both Dave Hunt and George Bryson, I would agree that God loves all people.

Reason 3. Hyper-Calvinists lack evangelistic  fervor. True Calvinism drives missions with passion, knowing that God will advance His Kingdom and call out His elect from all nations for His glory.  Arminians likewise seek the salvation of the lost to which I say amen. I much rather hear an Arminian leaning gospel than none at all.

Reason 4. Hyper-Calvinism is the caricature that true Calvinism is portrayed as. When someone asks me if I am a Calvinist I am almost afraid to answer. Usually I ask “What do you mean by the term Calvinist”? The answer I get more often than not is some form of Hyper-Calvinism. They say that Calvinists don’t love the lost, evangelize, are mean-spirited, etc. Unfortunately most Arminians don’t care to differentiate.

It is my sincere hope that Calvary Chapel would at least learn enough about Reformed people to see that we are not the monster in the closet that they think.

Well, today I listened to the Hunt vs Pipa debate on the atonement. Let me say that I grew up in Calvary Chapel circles, so Dave Hunt is very familiar to me obviously. I have great respect toword him for exposing many dangers facing the Church. Unfortnately he lables Calvinism as a dangerous doctrine and is actively attacking it through radio, print and lectures. His opponent for this debate is Dr. Joseph Pipa. This was my first time listening to Dr Pipa and I was very impressed with the clarity which  he presented Particular Redemption. He presented a strong positive position from scripture and defanged common objections with a spirit of charity. Dave Hunt seemed more interested is attacking the whole system of Calvinism rather than sticking to the topic. He did not present a positive case for Unlimited Atonement other than quoting a few verses such as John 3:16 without any exegesis. He constantly confused definitions such as “Salvation” and “Regeneration” making them completely synonymous. I was left wondering if it was a willing bait and switch or if he really doesn’t know that regeneration is a  part of salvation, but not the sum total of it. He did not interact with Dr Pipa’s arguments at all other than to dismiss them. Over all I thought that Mr. Hunt lost that debate badly. Now, I know you may be thinking that I am only saying that because I agree theologically with Dr. Pipa. Well, I am Calvinist to be sure and I was rooting for my team without doubt. But I do have a history of honestly critiquing debates even if my guy doesn’t do well. For example, I thought that the Jehovah’s Witness apologist Greg Stafford soundly handled himself against an unprepared Robert Bowman, and I took heat for publicly saying so. But Judge the Hunt vs Pipa debate for yourself. Here are the links, part 1&2. Highlight and drag links to you address bar.