Johnny Hunt on Election

Johnny Hunt

Johnny Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Woodstock, Georgia delivered a rousing sermon at this years Pastor’s Conference, preceding the annual Southern Baptist Convention. Hunt has become a staple of the conference. His contagious enthusiasm, pastor’s heart, and compelling testimony makes him a favorite among many. I’ve only heard a handful of sermons, but I enjoy him every time I hear him preach. This year a few of his comments raised some concern. I’ll address one of them here.

You can listen to a short 54 second clip: johnny_hunt_on_election.mp3. He said,

By the way, arn’t you grateful, that there’s hope? Listen to me carefully, its important we understand this convention. There’s hope for everyone in Jesus. Everyone. Everyone. Not a select group. Everyone.

Someone says, ‘Pastor you believe that you’re the elect?’ I sure am. Everybody that gets in is the elect; and he’s elected all of us. I believe everyone can be saved. Anyone can come to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Someone said, “I don’t think you ought to preach like that.” Well, I just hope no one gets saved that’s not supposed to.

I’m serious. We better get away from that and get back to the book and invite everyone to come to Christ! Just preach it! Invite everybody! Tell everyone!

I wholeheartedly agree with his concluding insistence that we must share the gospel with everyone. We ought to proclaim the good news of God’s saving grace to all people, without exception. Nowhere in scripture, that I know of, does the Bible give us a mandate to limit the scope of our evangelistic efforts. If hunt wanted to make that point, he could have done so without clouding the issue with theological misdirection.

Hunt begins this segment by saying, “listen to me carefully.” At the risk of being labeled nit-picky, I will heed his request and take his statements line by line. In a solemn tone he tells us that he has something for the convention that he believes “important we understand.” With that build up, I thought he would give some clear solid statement that would emphasize some important biblical truth. Instead he launches into a emotional rant that perpetuates a distortion of the doctrines of grace and breeds prejudicial theological misunderstanding.

His rally cry, “there’s hope for everyone” sounds orthodox enough, but in fact runs counter to biblical doctrine. The Apostle Paul spoke of those who have “no hope”
(Ephesians 2:12, 1 Thessalonians 4:13). Even the best known scripture passage of God’s word affirms this truth. ““For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Who has eternal life? Everyone? Everyone; or only those who believe? The Bible clearly teaches that only those who believe will inherit eternal life.

To Hunt’s credit, he does qualify his assertion that “there is hope for everyone” by adding “in Jesus.” I agree. there is hope for everyone in Jesus. Taken alone that statement rings with biblical truth, however his next statement undercuts his affirmation. With rhetorical flair he adds, “Everyone. Everyone. Not a select group. Everyone.” He muddies the water with this self contradiction. Does Hunt believe that there is hope for everyone or hope only for a select group, i.e. those in Christ? Hunt says “Everyone. Not a select group.” The resounding “amens” from the congregation drowned out the sound of his statements deconstructing themselves.

Although this first lack of theological precision could have gone unnoticed if taken by itself, in the context of his direct reference to election, no one could miss his real motivation and target. He took aim at those within the Southern Baptist Convention who hold to the doctrines of grace.

His next line pictures someone coming to him as their pastor asking about the doctrine of election. They ask, “Pastor you believe that you’re the elect?” He answers, “I sure am.” So far, so good. By accepting the label of “elect” he places himself in good company. Jesus called his followers, “the elect” (Matthew 24:22-24, Matthew 24:31, Mark 13:20, Mark 13:22, Mark 13:27, Luke 18:7 ). The apostle Paul refers to those justified by Christ as “the elect” (Romans 8:33), he speaks of “the elect” in contrast to those who have been hardened (Romans 11:7), and those who “obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus” are “the elect” 2 Timothy 2:10. Peter likewise writes to believers and calls them “the elect” (1 Peter 1:1).

After accepting the “title of “elect,” Hunt adds another two part sentence that should have sent any thoughtful Christian’s head spinning. He said, “Everybody that gets in is the elect; and he’s elected all of us.” I had to wait until the SBC webmaster posted the sermon archive to make sure I heard him correctly. “Everybody that gets in is the elect; and he’s elected all of us.” If all the elect “get in” (a truth we would affirm) then what can we make of his qualification that God has “elected all of us?” Hunt does not define who “all of us” means. Does he mean all believers or does he mean all human beings without exception? If he means all believers, then he contradicts his own diatribe against election of a “select group.” If he means all human beings without exception, then he places himself within the universalist camp. Either way his words present gross theological problems. Unphased the pastors in the audience commend him with applause and shouts of AMEN!”

Hunt continues, “Anyone can come to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.” This statement stands in direct conflict with Jesus’ words, “no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” (John 6:65) I’m not sure if Hunt intended to promote a Pelagian man centered gospel that denies the doctrine of human inability with this statement, but that’s the way it comes across in context. People do not come to Christ on their own power and initiative. They only come as a result of being effectually drawn by the Holy Spirit. As we share the gospel with everyone, God must work in the hearers heart. Human beings do not possess the power or the desire to open their own blind eyes, only God can breathe new life into a dead sinner. (John 6:44, John 6:65, Ephesians 2:4-5, Romans 8:3)

Hunt goes on to ridicule the Biblical doctrine of election by saying, “Someone said, ‘I don’t think you ought to preach like that.’ Well, I just hope no one gets saved that’s not supposed to.” Judging from the audiences’ eruption of laughter his attempt to be cute succeeded. Although he qualifies the remark with, “I’m serious,” I do not know how to take his comment other than sophomoric mockery.

He concludes, “We better get away from that and get back to the book and invite everyone to come to Christ! Just preach it! Invite everybody! Tell everyone!” I have to say “amen and amen” the the last part there where he exhorts us to “invite everyone to come to Christ! Just preach it! Invite everybody! Tell everyone!” I have no problem with repeating that call loud and strong. In fact, I feel that we as Southern Baptists need to start modeling evangelism from the pulpit instead of just trying to motivate people to sign up for programs. Perhaps if we actually did get back to the book, instead of just using it as a rally cry, we would open its pages and rediscover the doctrines of grace.

When Hunt instructs his hearers to get away from the doctrine of God’s sovereign electing grace, and get back to the book he fails to realize that the book itself proclaims the doctrine. Its like telling a chef to get away from food and start preparing meals. With Southern Baptist’s renewed commitment to the inerrancy, infallibility, and authority of scripture, some of us can not get away from believing the truths the Bible itself proclaims.

Hunt must feel that the doctrine of election somehow conflicts with our gospel mandate to proclaim the gospel to everyone. It doesn’t. God has not branded every elect person with some sort of visible mark. We do not limit our evangelistic efforts to only those who we feel may be elect. We have no way of knowing who God has elected before the foundation of the world. The only sure way to know is to preach the gospel indiscriminantly to all people. Those who turn to Christ in faith, embrace Christ as their all satisfying treasure and persevere to the end are the elect.

Take for example Paul and Barnabas’s mission trip to Antioch of Pisidia in Acts 13:13-52. The team modeled for us an evangelistic strategy of sharing the gospel to all people. They didn’t limit their message only to Jews, but spread the word to the Gentiles as well. Some rejoiced in the message they heard, glorified God, and believed.. Others tried to kill them and ran them out of town. Luke does not leave us guessing the purpose of the two different reactions. “And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.” (Acts 13:48) The doctrine of election doesn’t negate evangelism, it ensures its success. God has elected “a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages,” (Revelation 7:9) Jesus said, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” (John 6:37) God not only ordains the ends, but also ordains the means. God has ordained the means of evangelism to call the elect to himself. (Romans 10:13-15)

The last time I posted a critique of someone’s sermon (Joel Osteen), I got blasted for being unkind, unloving, and ungracious. I want to make it clear – I love Johnny Hunt. I think he is an excellent man, an engaging preacher, a wonderful pastor, a motivating leader, a dedicated Christian, and a righteous zealot for souls. I post this rebuttal, only because I feel his careless words at the pastor’s conference serve to undermine the very Biblical doctrines our convention once held dear. I see no reason to mischaracterize and distort the doctrines of grace on which our solid hope of evangelism rests. I would love nothing more than to see Southern Baptists “witness, win, and baptize one million” this coming year, but let’s do it with theological integrity and Biblical accuracy for the glory of God. Lets build our evangelism on a clear articulation of Bible truth. Let’s point to Christ as the only hope for sinners. Lets burn with a passion for the supremacy of Christ over all things for the joy of all people. Let’s anchor our evangelism in the assurance that our Lord and King will accomplish great things for his glory through our uncompromised unequivocal unrelenting proclamation of the good news of God’s overcoming sovereign grace.

76 comments on “Johnny Hunt on Election

  1. How dare you actually publish someones words!! How dare you make people accountable for what their words mean???

    You big MEANIE!!!

    (sorry, I couldn’t resist. I think the world of Johnny Hunt, but I have to agree with you here.)

  2. Stephen Brittain on said:

    Go to the FBC, Woodstock, GA website and click on Sermon Notes. Then check out JH’s testimony about how he got saved.

    His testimony is contrary to his words here. In his testimony he tells how he had no interest in church or Jesus. He would make up excuses to not go to church with the wife. Then he went to church and got under conviction. He resisted. But still there was conviction. Finally, he gets saved.

    By his own admission Johnny Hunt didn’t just up and come to Jesus any time. He only came after conviction. He didn’t want to come to Jesus until he was drawn by the Holy Spirit.

    Amazing how he and Adrian Rogers can’t see this. They just don’t want to see it.

    Stephen

  3. Good post! I was at the same conference and heard the message by Hunt. He is one of my favorite preachers and I always look forward to his sermons. However, this sermon left a sour taste in my mouth. I still appreciate his ministry, but he seemed to have an agenda besides preaching the Word on that night. After Johnny said, “Everyone can be saved, anyone can come to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.” and after the shouting died down. I said aloud, “Jesus didn’t believe that. He said “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” John 6:44. I love Johnny, but I’m going to go with Jesus on this one.

  4. I love your blog! And this post is something all of us ‘predestinarians’ need to hear, that is for sure. The frozen-chozen mentality needs to leave!

    Thank you for that edifying entry.

    ~ The Common Anglican

  5. Great stuff, Don. I think there is often a certain mentality in Baptist preachers 40-45 and older that they already know it all and they know that Calvinism is anti-evangelistic and they know that articulating the gospel in a Pelagian way is the only compassionate way.

    Truth is, most of them don’t know what Pelagianism even is, don’t know how liberal and PC their gospel-presentation is, don’t have a clue about TULIP soteriology or Baptist history, and don’t care enough or are not humble enough to actually take the time to LEARN something.

    Am I being too harsh? I think this mind-set belongs to a whole generation of Baptist preachers in the South and not just SBCers.

    Ignorance is not a virtue.

  6. stuart on said:

    Falwell also made some statement during his sermon/motivational talk/Liberty commercian during the Pastor’s Conference that indicated that a Reformed soteriology isn’t “Southenr Baptist.” Perhaps since he’s so new to the convention he hasn’t bothered to read the early primary sources. But I digress.

    Two things: 1) That theme recurred a couple of times at the Pastor’s Conference. I don’t find that to be coincidental. A couple of years ago at “Mega Metro” it was predicted that the next “split” will be over “Calivnism.” (Why its always blamed on only one “ism” is beyond me.)
    2)Johnny seemed to confuse the universality of the Great Commission with the universality of election. Happens alot, leads to a strawman against doctrines of grace, and is most unfortunate.

  7. You know what I think the real problem is? Too many people “listen” without thinking, and concentrate more on when they are “supposed to” say Amen and not their heads and clap, than on what message is being presented. It sounds good, and it’s from a reputable person, so it must be right… so who cares if it isn’t? I’m glad to see there are still thinking people out there.

  8. I don’t think Hunt is pushing Pelagianism. I think he’s just beating a straw man. The proper course to take here is not to circle the wagons and become belligerent, but to remain calm and collected and show the people in the pew that the stereotypes against Calvinists are wrong.

  9. Don A. Elbourne Jr. on said:

    stuart , Yes. I heard the Falwell statement too. I already snagged the sound clip and plan to post my comments soon.

  10. Don A. Elbourne Jr. on said:

    Ryan, I did not mean to come across as circling the wagons and belligerent. I wanted to articulate clearly the problem with promoting statements like this, while completely agreeing with him that we must preach the gospel to everyone. As you said, Hunt attacks a straw-man. I want to dispel the misconception by informing people of what the doctrine of election really teaches, how it ensures the success of our evangelistic efforts instead of compromising them, and gives God alone the glory for salvation.

  11. Harold Best on said:

    I’m a big Johnny Hunt fan but I must agree with these comments were apart of a bigger agenda and it really is unfortunate. Johnny and FB Woodstock are doing some awesome things but this is not one of them. I agree with most of the responses and I, too, must side with Jesus. Let us all avoid “pumping the crowd” and be faithful to the Word.
    Actually, I had to leave during Falwell’s sermon/motivational talk/Liberty commercial was in progress because the $4 million a week propaganda was all I could bear. Overall, the Pastor’s Conference and convention was great.

  12. dcofchrist on said:

    “Well, I just hope no one gets saved that’s not supposed to.

    I’m serious. We better get away from that and get back to the book and invite everyone to come to Christ! Just preach it! Invite everybody! Tell everyone! ”

    Don’t worry they won’t. They will reject the Gospel and God like every other unregenerated natural fallen human being.

    Ummm… Calvinists believe in the free offer of the Gospel. It is not us that isn’t following the scripture. How do people as ignorant as this become the norm the super majority if you will? Ugggh… Same old lies different day. Lord save us from ourselves.

  13. I have been to Hunt’s church before though I don’t attend. The last time MacArthur was in town and preached from Hunt’s pulpit some of the first things he talked about was Calvinism.

    I wonder if Hunt has ever learned about the greatest evangelists? So many were Calvinists, if not most. So even on a pragmatic level Hunt’s position is defeated.

    I like Hunt, but sometimes I wonder if he just likes to hear himself talk. It may be of his way of relating to the crowd, but he seems to reference himself quite a bit. He gets all excited and goes on and on about what? With his kind of energy anyone could work the audience into a frenzy, but where is the exposition of Scripture? Maybe I am wrong as I have only heard a handful of sermons by him.

    Mark

  14. I was also at the conference to hear Hunt’s interesting take on the Doctrine of Election. “Agenda” – is a word that popped into my mind as well. This convention is big enough for various understandings of soterology – based on Christ alone. It is not big enough, however, for those who consistently want to label and attack men who are attempting to be faithful to the Scriptures.

    Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for soul stirring Gospel preaching. But at that same conference, Junior Hill offered some great advice about our “methods” – if they don’t honor God and His Word, they aren’t worthy of our use.

    Is bashing a Biblical doctrine held by so many something that is “worthy” of God? The “straw man smackdown” does nothing to glorify the God of our salvation.

    Preach the Word – let God do the rest – isn’t that how it’s supposed to be?

    MB

  15. Excellent post–this ranting against the doctrines of grace is troubling at best. It isn’t shocking to me, having come from Southeastern Baptist Seminary, but it is disturbing. Our congregation is 1689 Reformed Bapist and part of the SBC, but this sort of assault against the things of God makes it hard to justify continued fellowship with the SBC… I just hope that this year’s convention is not a sign of things to come.

  16. Robert on said:

    It is intereting to see how we can judge a pastor on one sermon of his. I know for a fat that he believes it is Jesus Christ that does the calling through the Holy Spirit. Johnny Hunt is very theologically sound. One message does not define a amn’s believe’s. And I will state here that I am a member of FBC Woodstock under Johnny Hunt. He is more biblically sound in his preaching then most preachers I have heard in the last decade.
    His heart is to see as many that God has called come to Christ and that we are not the ones to judge whom has been called by God. So the message of the gospel is for everyone. Then it becomes between them and God

  17. Don A. Elbourne Jr. on said:

    Robert, I am not judging Johnny Hunt on one sermon of his. I am responding to one thing that he said in that sermon. As I said, I love Johnny Hunt. I’ve never been to Woodstock, but I hear its a wonderful church and I have nothing personal against the church nor your pastor. I just feel that denigrating and mischaracterizing the biblical doctrine of God’s sovereign electing grace doesn’t advance the cause of Christ. If I may borrow a phrase and turn it around, “We need to get away from that and get back to the book and just preach it.”

  18. Ever notice that when you question something that a preacheer says, you are instantly attacking him? I wish we could get beyond that. I know a lot of people who I am close to, and appreciate, but I don’t agree with them on everything. When I disagree, we argue. We never stop being friends.

  19. Critiquing a sermon scarcely qualifies as “judging”, for pity’s sake. And egregious error (i.e. “Everybody that gets in is the elect; and he’s elected all of us”) cries out for correction.

    At least that’s what Paul seemed to think, seeing as how he wasn’t backward about scolding Peter when the occasion warranted.

  20. There seems to be a all out attack from the SBC on predestination this year! Johnny Hunt, Falwell, and others contradict God’s Word. Maybe they need to read thier “London Baptist confession of faith” or maybe “Southern Baptist and the Doctrine of Election” by Robert B. Selph. It is interesting that Baptist have historical believed this doctrine up until 100 years ago. What Happened!

  21. Gene on said:

    Thanks for your article. Regarding Hunt’s soundness…well, honestly, the problem isn’t his stand on other issues, its this one issue. He made a comment FROM THE PULPIT that was not only self-contradictory, but it contradicts the very clear teaching of Scripture. It’s not that he’s not sound on other issues, it’s that on this one he’s contradicting Scripture, not to mention the very historic Baptist theology that the conservative movement stated it intended to bring back. That said, my firm belief is that this conflict was inevitable. Remember, when the Book of the Law was recovered in Josiah’s day…revival broke out. When the Bible was “rediscovered” in Luther’s day…Reformation broke out. Now, the SBC has done the same…so it is inevitable that this issue would arise. It’s not arising because we’ve lost the Bible, but because we’ve been led back to it! Praise the Lord for that! And let’s not forget, “If Voltaire didn’t exist, we’d have to invent him.” God uses these sorts of statements to bring the theology and practices of which He approves to the surface:

    1 Cor. 11:18-19, “For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part, I believe it. 19 For there must also be factions among you, in order that those who are approved may have become evident among you.”

    1 Cor. 1:10, “Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree, and there be no divisions among you, but you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.”

    As I know many of you know, 1 Cor. 11:19 uses the Greek word “haireses” for “factions”. We get the English word heresy from this Greek word. A heresy is a false teaching, something that deviates from orthodoxy. If we see that the Scriptures declare something clearly (orthodoxy), and if someone teaches contrary to that clear teaching, then he or she is teaching heresy. (Now, I’m not calling Hunt a heretic…I am NOT a hyper-Calvinist…I’m just trying to set a minor point using the biblical defintion, not the extended one that comes loaded with a sorts of baggage).

    I’m saying that Paul indicates that God deliberately allows for a competition of viewpoints so that the position he himself approves of will emerge by process of comparison and contrast (1 Cor 11:19). One of the unintended services rendered by sermons like Hunt’s and the agenda of certain folks in the SBC is in forcing believers to become more thoughtful about their faith. If Voltaire didn’t exist, we’d have to invent him! So the Church refines its theological understanding by having to fend off error from within and without.

    The Scriptures teach that there is a place for division and that is when opposing teachings that are contrary to sound doctrine. But division can only occur when the truth is known and those who abide with the truth should correct those who do not. Thank you for providiing that correction, Don.

  22. Stephen on said:

    The Sbc desperatly needs Calvinist to stay within their ranks. We need to turn the Sbc back to it original doctrinal convictions. If calvinism leaves so will other sound orthodox positions. The world despretly need to hear of the COMPLETE grace of God in salvation. If your a baptist and a Calvinist dont get discuraged.
    Stephen

  23. I am glad that someone has spoken up concerning these statements. Mr Hunt is being inconsistant with what the Bible teaches concering the Gospel and is arguing on emotions rather than being sincere with what the Word teaches. Thanks for the great response!

  24. ALAG on said:

    I am a Southern Baptist (6 years now, I consider this was when I really became a Christian). Thank you Lord for the SBC and my pastor!
    I never heard solid Biblical truth until God led me to my current church. Pastor Johnny Hunt has spoken at a Men’s Retreat at my church and it was excellent, very Biblically sound.
    However, the more I study God’s word, the more I am drawn to Reformed Theology. I am troubled by knowing my beliefs on predestination/election differ from my pastor’s (he has made statement during sermons in perfect alignment with Pastor Johnny Hunt comments listed here).
    I also perceive most of the SBC absolutely despises Reformed Theology and I don’t understand their arguments against it. I suppose maybe I haven’t found the right references but Reformed writers hold to scripture much closer than non-Reformed writers I have read. I say this because my pastor stated he rejected reformed theology after a deeper study of the word in seminary.
    I hope I will always be always-learning-always-growing (ALAG).
    However, the issue bothers me and I don’t know what I should do or how to react to it.
    Sorry for the ramblings, I needed to get this off my chest. :-(

  25. Just guessing here…

    The powers that be in the SBC anticipate some opposition to the “Baptise a Million” crusade. Calvinists tend to be leery of any crusade that emphasizes numbers and are more inclined to push discipleship.

    So in anticipation of this resistance, the Arminian side starts beating the straw man.

    I see the problem, but I think the best thing to do at this point is just ignore the statements. We don’t have to be automatons and walk into the trap set for us.

  26. Gene on said:

    ALAG,

    What you have said is a feeling shared by many of us in SBC churches. In the old days (as in the 19th century) we were the majority. Now, we’re not. You’re right about one group holding Scripture closer than others with respect to our soteriology. Non-Reformed writers simply have a philosophical commitment to libertarian free will that they even acknowledge comes from outside of Scripture (Wall and Dongell, Why I Am Not a Calvinist).

    The truth is that everybody has traditions, no matter what they say. When I hear SBc pastors preach that they hold to Scripture but then interpret certain passages the way they do, this becomes VERY apparent. I can respect a consistent Arminian that articulates his theology and my own much more than I can pastors that do neither, especially with my own. From the pulpit, this is inexcusable. (A) It disrespects God and His Word, (B) it disrepects God’s people, and (C) if what I believe is misrepresented, then, well, bluntly, that’s bearing a false witness FROM THE PULPIT NO LESS! so then (D) the teacher has set himself in opposition to God’s qualifications for the pastor-teacher: that he be above reproach on several different levels.

    You have several options: Stay in your church. If God has called you there, stay. If God calls you elsewhere, go. The other option, in that event, is to find a Reformed congregation in your area. Unfortunately, for many of us Baptists, at least where I live, that leaves the PCA (Pres. Church in America). If you can get past infant baptism, that’s an option. They have their own set of difficulties like the Auburn Ave. Controversy. This is goes to show we all have our problems. Ironically, it’s a bit of an inside joke in some PCA congregations that half the PCA is made up of former members of the SBC!

    On the plus side, the fact that so many SBC pastors are talking about it is evidence that they see it as a “problem.” Well, that means itis big enough an issue that they have noticed it on a wide scale. Of course, with schools like SBTS which are often Calvinist havens these days, that’s not surprising. Additionally, there is a much more concerted effort among teachers of Reformed theology to actually popularize it and dispel the straw men that are out there. “It’s not just your academics theology anymore.” This is all to say that a new day seems to be dawning in the SBC, at least in some quarters. It took awhile for liberalism to take hold, so it should be no surprise it will take awhile for us to return back to our doctrinal roots.

    As you continue studying, on the chance you haven’t found it yet…there is a mountain of material here: http://www.monergism.com to help you. John Hendryx, the site owner has also proven to be very open to answering questions via email for myself and other friends of mine. He’s a super guy and his site has been a major blessing.

    God Bless,

    Gene

  27. ALAG on said:

    Gene

    Thank you very much for the great answer and encouragement.

    As long as I don’t move, I have no intention to leave my Church. I will certainly check out the resource you gave. I have fallen into the habit of following a couple of reformed writers blogs as well as some of their books (White, and Svendsen). I have learned much from them.

    In regards to “so many SBC pastor’s talking about it”, I have heard many excerpts and some whole sermons and they has just “down-right” railed against Reformed Theology (Paige, Reavis, and a few others). It is disconcerting to say the least.

    But again, thank you for the encouragement and wise advice.

  28. We really do need to get down to where the rubber meets the road. This is only one teaching. This teaching has been corrected, at least in this forum. Now there must be a call to repentance to Johnny Hunt himself. If we love him, we must also appeal to him, not just blog readers.

    I have been greatly encouraged with some of the young men coming out of the SBC seminaries who can see that these things are not biblical.

    Let me just pose one more thing. I think that this one heresy rests with many others. You cannot have this type of view and it not effect the differences between regeneration and justification and sanctification. You can’t have this view and it not cloud your view of God’s sovereignty. You can’t have this view and it not distort the biblical view of the atonement or the clear authority of the Scriptures concerning how we are to respond in life and different situations. You also have a clear problem with the inerrancy of Scripture, especially if man has a “free will” (defined as not being ‘dead’ in his sin). This is not one heresy brothers, but it is closely tied to so many. Therefore, we must publicly rebuke them and lovingly pray that God might grant them repentance. May He see fit to do so.

    Finally, God does allow sermons like this to see who truly loves Him. Remember, that Deuteronomy expressed the reason for the false prophets. It was to discover who loved the true God and would follow Him. Let not our hearts be troubled, but let us stand fast for the truth.

  29. Johnny Hunt has been preaching semi-pelagianism for quite some time. In fact, he preached specifically on election, predestination, and free will in two sermons on November 3rd, 2002. Anyone who wonders exactly where Hunt stands in regards to Calvinism should get their hands on the morning and evening sermons for this date. It will certainly open your eyes to the inconsistency, incoherency, and ignorance of Hunt’s view on Reformed theology. The titles are “The security and Sureness of Our Salvation” Part 1 and Part 2, 2 Peter 1:10-12.

    As a former member of Hunt’s church, his beliefs regarding this doctrine permeate FBCW’s philosophy of ministry to the core. I desire to lend some charity to Hunt and his enormous institution he has built in Woodstock GA, but unfortunately I cannot. The trendy, man-centered gospel that is preached week after week has done irreparable damage to many in this community –something I see first hand. In summation, Hunt has never preached the gospel clear enough for the non-elect to reject it. This coupled with a refusal to practice church discipline, an unbiblical form of church government, and huge over-emphasis on tithing has helped form my convictions on this ministry. (I grew up at FBCW and was a member for 10 years…but I left the church one month after I was truly saved.)

    On the contrary, I can testify of the kindness and generosity of Dr Hunt. In fact, even with the major disagreements I have with his doctrine (if he even has any that isn’t post-modern) and his ministry, I respected him enough as a person to have him wed my wife and me last October. He truly has a heart for people, but unfortunately his heart seems separated from true biblical doctrine in regards to the teaching and leadership of Christ’s church.

    I sincerely desire for this man to repent of his ways and seek the Lord with his whole heart. Please do not see my harsh words as being unloving, but rather know that I seek reconciliation. I have many friends and family involved in Hunt’s ministry, and I truly desire for God to move in that congregation. But it must start with the pastor, and it will only come by the “kindness of God that leads you to repentance”. Please join me in prayer for this ministry.

    SDG

  30. Tom Buck on said:

    The problem that the SBC pastors have that are rallying against Calvinism is that they are enslaved to tradition. It is interesting that we all fought together to restore the doctinre of inerrancy in order to hold up the Word of God as our final authority and now there is an attack upon those who would actually try to preach the whole counsel of God. I am personally coming under attack in my own life for my belief from SBC pastors. I have faithfully preached God’s Word as a SBC pastor and have believed in the doctrines of Grace for 21 years but there is a new hatred like never before for the TRUTH of these doctrines. I say, let them play their games and count their numbers. We place too much stock in men and although I love and respect Johnny Hunt, his actions are deplorable and his words are careless. It is not judging someone by ONE sermon but unless he retracts what he said how can we not continue to hold him to his own words? Johnny Hunt, Jerrfy Falwell and every other big name preacher are men and should not be so highly esteemed. We are not even to highly esteem ourselves. Yet, often the only reason these men get the platforms they do is because of the numbers they produce and not necessarily the quality of their biblical understanding and ability to teach sound doctrinal truth.

    I have found that with most of these guys it is like hearing the same line of a song over and over and over again until you want to scream. And nothing could be more ungodly than setting a goal for a number to baptize. How about a goal to preach God’s Word with integrity and present the whole counsel of God as a goal and leave the results up to the Lord? That would be a new one.

    If you don’t think this whole thing is a numbers game with many of these guys, check out Bailey Smith’s website and his Soul-A-Month Club. If that doesn’t cause you to want to vomit, nothing will. But Johnny Hunt is right in the middle of that. All of these guys travel in the same pack and I often wonder if they understand that to embrace the doctrines of Sovereign grace would be the end of their world as they know it. 90% of what they do and their conferences would be gone. Let us all be careful that we don’t let our traditions become our idols.

  31. Glad to find yet another spot with like-minded brothers. Keep up the good blog. Althought sometimes it is hard to stomach (comments like Hunt’s) I agree with the fellow who said (in a nutshell) that at least it gets some folks thinking. It was comments like his that made me start looking into the issues myself. God eventually graciously led me to the truth of the Reformed position.
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  32. I re-read my post and wanted to make one more quick comment. Although I was trying to look at the bright side let me quickly say that I do not in any way agree with or condone what Hunt said. It is a shame that someone in such a high esteemed position isn’t more careful in his theology. I think one of the saddest things is the huge wave of applause you hear after his comment. Frightening.

  33. Someone said: [One of the unintended services rendered by sermons like Hunt’s and the agenda of certain folks in the SBC is in forcing believers to become more thoughtful about their faith. If Voltaire didn’t exist, we’d have to invent him! So the Church refines its theological understanding by having to fend off error from within and without.]

    Yes, this is the irony of it. We had the same sort of thing happen in our little corner of Baptists called the BMAA. Several years back, a newly elected president of the association tried to make a big deal about Calvinism and stirred up a big controversy. His rhetoric and thinking was much like Hunt’s. Eventually he had to back down. The interesting part is that I have been told by one individual who is a big name in our association that it was through this controversy that he came to an understanding of the doctrines of grace – the doctrines which this former president so despised and sought to attack. He knew of others with the same testimony.

    If there is a concerted effort within the SBC to rail against the doctrines of God’s grace, it will backfire on them.

    BTW – I did not say that Hunt was Pelagian. But his rhetoric certainly was. It is this rhetoric which these guys always fire off against the straw men they erect.

  34. Tom Pain on said:

    I was in Hunt’s church (now a veritable monument to his ego) for 11 years. It moved from traditional SBC hell, fire and brimstone and a simple (althouogh traditionally free-will) message supported by some attempted exegesis to its present version of entertainment–lots of loud, fast Scripturally deficient music and drama. Their new facility has signs out front stating ‘we built it just for you’. With all due respect to Robert, #16, post, Hunt regularly puts down small-churchdom as not being blessed (quantity begets blessing), exclaims that if those who are leaving his mega church for lack of feeding/teaching, then they should go feed themselves. I could go on. Hunt attended Southeastern BTS when the professorship was dominated by ‘liberals’ yet he fails to see that shortcoming in his own training in order to purge the dross and taint and bolster with truth. He also loos to adrian Rogers as his model.

    I, too, was at the ‘Bailey Smith Real Evangelism Conference’ to hear Macarthur. It was wild to to see the look on Hunt’s face when he introduced Mac into his pulpit as ‘America’s Bible teacher’, then to have Mac start his sermon with the line ‘Jesus was a Calvinist’.

    Time has only seen Hunt become more ‘off the cuff’ and more emotional in his comment and delivery, and less exegetical. Sadly , people in his church actually say things like ‘my pastor said it, I believe it’.

    In light of about 20 years of this at Hunt’s church, its hard to believe that his heart and doctrine are as Robert describes. He has become an empire builder whose only heart evidence is the time and effort expended to talk about ‘growth’ and numbers and needlessly erecting large buildings. Scuttlebut has it that if ‘giving’ gets any worse, the county will have a ready made civic center…

  35. Elton on said:

    Tom,
    One word for you, Wrong!

    Perhaps if one investigated facts, rather than scuttlebut, one would know better.

    As to your last, “cheap shot” regarding giving. The fact is we are ahead of budgeted giving, despite paying for our “needless” building. My Pastor is an empire builder, But God’s, not his own.

  36. Don A. Elbourne Jr. on said:

    It looks like I need to call a time-out here.

    I do not want to allow the comments on my blog to turn into a Johnny Hunt flame fest. I admire Johnny Hunt. In no way did I want to start something that would call his integrity, character, or motives into question. I focused very specifically on one issue – Hunts mischaracterization of the doctrines of grace and the damage to the cause of Christ brought on by such propaganda. The ministry at Woodstock, their fund raising techniques, the issues surrounding mega-churches, and the like, represent different issues all together. I have nothing personal against Johnny hunt and I hope I made that clear in my original blog entry. Let’s keep comments fraternal and focused on bringing glory to Christ.

  37. Tom Pain on said:

    Compared to what some of do for a living, I didn’t read my own post as provocative or vitriol;ic. However, I am most agreable to retracting my so-called cheap shot to be in accordance with Mr. Moderator’s desire to be fraternal. Hence, I retract it.
    I am not a regular, so I wi;; constructively accept Mr. Moderator’s urgings and make future comments narrower in scope and/or more concise. Apologies to all posters. I’ll respond to Elton in a separate post, in line with my comments herein. Thanks to all for the indulgence (and not Tetzel’s, either…).

  38. Barbara Creech on said:

    I have been under the preaching and leading of Pastor Johnny for almost 4 years now. It is doctrinally sound and taken directly in context with the Bible. Growing up in a church that did not do so leads me to continually test what I hear with the Scripture. From what I have heard pastor preach week in and week out and live out, it is God’s desire that no one would perish. Does God harden peoples hearts in order to accomplish his will (Pharoah for example) yes. Does he love everyone? Yes. The elect are those who accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Who are we to do the judging or deciding? We must tell EVERYONE!!! EVERYONE!!! Leave the rest up to God. God will convict us with the Holy Spirit when it is in accordance with His will. Now did pstor define everything, no. With more time to elaborate on that, this discussion would be unnecessary. When you take the comment in the context of the other thousands of Pastor’s teachings then you know what he meant. But for those who are not familiar with his teachings on God’s words which are straight from the Bible and correct if studied then I can see how these comments taken in the context that they were would be confusing. I don’t believe it because my pastor says it. I believe it because my Bible says it. God says it. Praise be to God. Let’s focus on that.

    Barbara

  39. Tom Pain on said:

    Well, this has become more interesting as the days progress. May I make several brief points?

    + Can anyone ‘elect’ themselves to anything?! Please, if you say this or think it, stop and consider how definitionally deficient such a comment is. So is ‘but you have to receive’ (in the salvation context). Take mail (e and snail) and gifts–there is NOTHING required of the recipient to receive either of these.
    + another ‘chink’ in the armor of the detractors of election is the unfounded straw-man ‘election means you don’t have to witness’. This assumes that there is a ’cause-and-effect’ to witnessing, as opposed to the obedience of it as detailed in Scripture. ‘Cause-and-effect’ would mean ‘without another man witnessing to you, it’s impossible to be saved’. Obedience maintains the ‘all of God’ quality of salvation. So ‘tell everyone’ does not belong just to the current SBC leadership; its a matter of obedience, not mechanics.
    + none of the statements previously attributed to this particular pastor in earlier posts and made by him over many more than 4 years (“when you take the comment in the context of the other thousands of Pastor’s teachings then you know what he meant…”–he doesn’t have that luxury, sister) have been disputed (they can’t be; they’re on tape…). If readers to this BLOG have to take Hunt’s “comment in the context of the other thousands of Pastor’s teachings” to understand their Biblical correctness, what chance does a LOST man have who has not heaard allof Hunt’s prior ‘teachings’?!! Hence, simply saying that one’s Doctrine is sound, or that one’s preaching is Biblical, does not make it so. An analysis of actual statements leads to the real truth regarding a preacher’s Doctrine.
    + ‘to whom much is given much is required’ compels a pastor to make unerringly accurate exegesis and exposition of Scripture his number 1 priority above likeability and the endearment of ‘his people’. Tradition must be molted in order for the Truth of Scripture to have its way. In fact, tradition may be the single greatest stumbling block to one’s willingness to hear and assimilate Truth instead of an undiscerning acceptance of unsound indoctrination/inculcation.
    + in considering whether a teaching is Biblical or doctrinally sound, a hearer must first go to the Book, figure out what the txt is saying, THEN compare the statements made to what the Book says. Simply saying, “yep, here it is in the Book’ is not the discernment for which Paul hailed the Bereans. Considering the statements attributed herein and their being clearly at odds with Scripture, it is hard to say that they are believable because they’re in the Bible when they are most certainly not in the Bible.
    + Whether one’s pastor is nice, genuine, right-living, dynamic, entertaining, engaging and (seemingly) compassionate has NO bearing on the soundness of his Doctrine, let alone one’s affection for their pastor (which is what usually leads to the kind of unconditional defensive comments made on Hunt’s behalf herein). I do not believe that he is a mean or uncaring fellow. However, human emotion is not the measure of another’s goodness. To defend a preacher on the basis of his being ‘my pastor’, ‘I’ve been under his teaching’ or any string of kind platitudes is to put one’s feelings above the soul’s thirst/need for Truth. Frankly, one’s concern should not be on how a pastor makes you feel but rather on whether the preaching is vibrant with Truth (from which real vibrance, engagement and dynanicism spring).

    Bottom line: When a preacher’s comments are inconsistent as well as at odds with Scripture, not only are those comments errant but are indicative of Doctrinal problems and a misunderstanding of Scripture. Don’t listen to such a man; rather, assume his desire for the lost to hear the real Truth of Scripture and pray for him.

  40. If your intent is to know what I meant, I would be delighted to respond to your Biblical understanding of Matt 18. I was courious as to why you played only 54 seconds of your 40 minute message and never once ask the deliverer one question but passed such judgement as ” damage to the cause of Christ” to name only one. I deeply love Christ and His word and attempt to preach and live it under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. I made no statement that I am ashamed of and would have welcomed any personal call or confrontation,however this site has allowed Nathan White that ought to be ashamed for what he said in light of the way I have loved him even when he was in his sin and others to “post” their statements when the Bible that you wish to honor calls for Matt.18 approach.Their is hope for everyone. It is my desire to love Jesus and to lift Him up as the Lord of salvation till I die and to encourage the Brethren. With that said I love you Brothers!

  41. Ray on said:

    Good post! I have spoken with several people about this but it is good to see something up for discussion.
    We need for people to be exposed to better models for preaching- and they are out there.

  42. Stephen Morse on said:

    This year’s convention was my first. I have been involved in the SBC for more than 20 years, growing up and ministering. I loved the preaching (including Dr. Caner’s stand-up comedy routine) on Sunday evening and on Monday morning. What a blessing to be challenged by Biblical exposition and experience. Then things just seemed to go down hill for me. Why is it that Falwell and then Hunt (I left before Rogers got up there) felt they needed to push those buttons? I have nothing to add to the solid defense already presented, just my regrets that the doctrines of grace are still being run through the mud.
    In Christ, my Rock
    Stephen MOrse

  43. Ryan DeBarr on said:

    Pastor Elbourne, can you verify that the above poster is indeed Pastor Johnny Hunt?

  44. Don A. Elbourne Jr. on said:

    Ryan,

    Yes it is. I was very skeptical at first. that’s why It took me so long to approve the message for public viewing. I emailed FBC Woodstock and received a personal email from Bro. Johnny confirming that he did make the post himself. I plan to address his questions and concerns soon. This week has me very busy with Vacation Bible School, but I’d like to give a thoughtful response – perhaps some time next week.

  45. Don,

    I lean toward a Reformed view of soteriology, but I am very turned off by people who seem to think Calvinism is the only or most important thing in the Bible. I think Arminianism and Molinism alike are nonsensical, but I don’t think they’re heretical. It is an area where good men can disagree.

    I think it’s a real shame that some people are taking cheap shots at the Calvinists in the Convention. As a former Independent Baptist, the last thing I want to see is the SBC become a bunch of fightin’ fundies who divide over every little thing.

    But I think that even if the Free Willies can’t contain themselves, we on the Reformed side can do our part to keep the peace.

    As it is now, I think we’re simply being reactionary. I think the best way to prove someone wrong is just to do it better while displaying the spirit of Christ.

  46. Tom Pain on said:

    Mr. Elbourne,

    Thank you for verifying Johnny Hunt’s post. I am encouraged by his response and that it gives insight into his thinking. Let’s invite him (and Jerry and Adrian) into a ‘fraternal’ discussion of the merits/Biblical soundness of the doctrinal issues herein. Hunt’s post is an opportunity for him to get feedback from those who understand that those preaching the Word of God must be held accountable for preaching/teaching truth, not tradition or convenience.

    One can fully appreciate that Hunt may not like the comment made by Mr. White, above. Does Hunt understand, though, that his own comments have the distinct tenor of ‘I loved you in your sin, so you should be blindly loyal to me’? Does Hunt understand that Mathew 18 is not applicable to this situation? IF Hunt’s comments and doctrinal positions could be considered ‘sinful’, which I do not believe, then because of the venues in which they were made and subsequently broadcast the ‘error’ already has been made known to the masses. There is no need to try to limit the exposure as the damage is already done! That’s why forums like this exist! If the issue is Mr. White’s urging to repent, then perhaps the response should be focussed on that word and not on taking the discussion of Hunt’s comments into a less public forum.

    Of all the things Hunt could chose to comment upon, it was the sting of a comment made by one he sees as a turncoat. The real meat of this thread, including that comment by Mr. White, is the Biblical soundness of Hunt’s comments at the Pastors’ Conference AND the soundness of the doctrine reflected in those comments. Come on, Johnny, here’s a chance to show that you understand the doctrinal issues about which you made flippant comments. Show us that the ‘leadership’ of the SBC really understands the issue, will avoid the use of straw men, scare tactics and the ‘bully pulpit’ and get down to scriptural exegesis for this discussion. The truth for centuries has been that the Doctrines of Grace (Calvinism in shorthand) have never called for a cessation of evangelism. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, out of a rational discourse and a mutual search of the Scriptures for truth, the Sunday morning masses finally received a meal worthy to be called ‘so saith the Lord’ and not the ‘lean cuisine’ that was served at the Pastors’ Conference?

  47. David Krueger on said:

    Don,
    Thank you for you keen insights. I sat in stunned silence as I listened to Brother Hunt’s harangue against those of us who accept the Doctrines of Grace. At first, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I bought the CD just so I could listen and see if he had actually said what I thought I heard him say. I think he and Adrain Rogers would just as soon see us all leave the convention. They certainly don’t believe we have a legitimate view of the Scriptures. It makes me wonder if they have ANY clue whatsoever about our own history and heritage.

  48. Stephen Morse on said:

    Where exactly is our convention going in this direction? I am somewhat new to this area of discussion in light of the conservative resurgence. I have read dozens of books by baptists who teach the Doctrines of Grace (most of them happen to be by SBC authors from the 1700 and 1800′s). The church I grew up in nourished me on the ‘lean cuisine’ and so I didn’t really even care. Now I do, but am not certain of how to get involved in the convention at a higher level to make a difference for the Truth. Can anyone help me out? Where would I look for more info on who believes what or what I can do about it?
    Thanks for letting me participate in this discussion.
    Stephen Morse

  49. Star Lee on said:

    Actually, Dr. Hunt’s reference to Matt. 18 is entirely applicable to this “discussion.” For whatever reason, many of the diatribes that are included here demonstrate very little love and/or respect being shown to men that many of us consider to be heroes of the faith. It saddens me when young men cast aside the wisdom of those who have been fighting the good fight of faith for years and who have paved the way for a younger generation to follow. Johnny Hunt has lived a life that honors our Savior and he has chosen to invest his time, talents and treasures in the lives and ministries of other pastors. As a grandmother, I can only say that you, Nathan and Tom, should be ashamed. The bible tells us that if we have aught against our brother we are to go to them – yet you have chosen to attack a man who has invested in you and in the lives of your family. Your hateful words reveal your heart and I pray that God will grant you mercy. David dared not touch the head of King Saul – God’s anointed – and we all would be wise to learn from his example. Know that I am praying for all of you that you would truly seek to have the mind of Christ and that God will give you a true love for the brethren.

  50. Don A. Elbourne Jr. on said:

    Star Lee,

    I have re-read my original post and I honestly do not see how my words can be construed to be a “diatribe” lacking “love and/or respect. ” I certainly did not intend for them to come across as full of “hate.” I tried to express my appreciation for Bro. Johnny. I noted several points of agreement with him and heaped him with words of praise. I have no doubt that “Johnny Hunt has lived a life that honors our Savior and he has chosen to invest his time, talents and treasures in the lives and ministries of other pastors” as you said. I do not believe, however, that all those things set anyone above accountability. Bro. Johnny said some things in a very public forum that begged for a reasoned scriptural response. I sought to provide that response in a humble and clear fashion.

    You said, “Know that I am praying for all of you that you would truly seek to have the mind of Christ and that God will give you a true love for the brethren.” I appreciate that. I do love the brethren and that love prompted me to offer a corrective to Bro. johnny’s words at the pastor’s conference. Please know that I love you and I love Johnny Hunt.

  51. Mark Bainter on said:

    Star Lee said:
    Actually, Dr. Hunt’s reference to Matt. 18 is entirely applicable to this “discussion.”

    No, actually, it isn’t. Matt 18(NASB) says:
    15″If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.
    16″But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED.

    17″If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

    In this case, this was a very public act, done in front of thousands, and distributed to thousands more. Most of us have witnessed the comments in question, and they were provided here for reference. There is no doubt that he said what he did. Going to a brother privately is something we do when the issue is mostly private, as it is not profitable or edifying to broadcast it to all. In this case, that’s not really an issue.

    It saddens me when young men cast aside the wisdom of those who have been fighting the good fight of faith for years and who have paved the way for a younger generation to follow.

    Agreed. Likewise, it saddens me when men of any age or experience cast aside whole generations of Godly men who paved the way for them to follow, which is the issue under discussion here.


    The bible tells us that if we have aught against our brother we are to go to them – yet you have chosen to attack a man who has invested in you and in the lives of your family.

    While I haven’t read all of this discussion, the original post in no way attacked Johnny Hunt. You need to seperate the man from the message. We can disagree with, and even refute, his message without attacking him personally.

    Your hateful words reveal your heart and I pray that God will grant you mercy. David dared not touch the head of King Saul – God’s anointed – and we all would be wise to learn from his example.

    Interesting, which hateful words are those? Particularly in Brother Elbourne’s case. I’m looking, but I’m not seeing it. Or is it simply that he dared to disagree with a man you esteem? Do you believe that he is beyond correction? That he himself is not subject to the word of God?

    Do you realize that such defenses as you put forward here have been used to defend all sorts of Heresey by the TBN crowd? They can stand up there and say that they are equal with God, and that they themselves could do what Christ did for us on the cross, and when criticized they say “Touch not the lord’s annointed”. Do you see that this runs directly contrary to 2timothy 3:16?

    All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

    Know that I am praying for all of you that you would truly seek to have the mind of Christ and that God will give you a true love for the brethren.

    I will add my thanks to Brother Elbourne. None of us are above the need for God’s grace, and your prayers that we continue to seek to have the mind of Christ, and that we grow in love for the brethren is much appreciated. In like manner, I pray that God will give you discernment, to see that our intent is truly to discuss the message he presented, and that we speak out of love for God and for His Truth, and in no way carry any animosity for the man himself.

  52. Steve Ross on said:

    GOSSIP! I Love Pastor Johnny for what he preaches. My wife and I and our three children have been attending First Baptist Woodstock for four years and to see what the church has been able to do can only be written as Godly. By the grace of God only are we saved and it is through the belief of his one and only son Jesus Christ that we are saved. The two greatest commandements are to Love God and Love Others. So if you think there is something wrong with the message that Dr. Hunt preaches then pray for him, as I am sure that after he read this website he prayed for you. The Internet is a wonderful place to find information and it is a shame that we use it to try to damage a man’s integrity of which I wish I could only have a tenth of Dr. Hunt’s integrity. I assure you that this man will leave a legacy.

  53. Don A. Elbourne Jr. on said:

    Steve Ross,

    How can you accuse me of gossip? I interacted with a publicly preached sermon. I even posted the sound clip so there would be no doubt of what he said. I have no idea how this could be construed as gossip. I have no desire “to damage a man’s integrity.” His integrity isn’t the issue. I critiqued his theological statements not his ethics, morals, or character.

    Several people have come to Hunts defense, but not one of them seems to want to address the theological issue on the table. I will post more on this in a separate post later.

  54. One of the things which concern me is the idea that those who endear the doctrines of grace are charged with not endearing the brethren. It appears to me the idea that all who are Dortian are Hyper-Calvinists as Dr. Lemke put it in his paper is a false equivocation, and those who believe in Reformed soteriology are not loving.
    I think that there are various ways to display a loving attitude or disposition, such as the way you treat people in time of need (show compassion) or give of yourselves when you don’t have to (sacrifice). However, love manifests itself in different ways. Is it unloving to want to correct a one who is in error?

    Mr. Hunt says that he was with Mr. White when he “was in his sin”, and he shares how he has loved and taken interest in him. Along those same lines, if we believe Mr. Hunt is in error in his theology and using platforms and pulpits to purport errant theology, is it not loving to follow his example and take an interest in Mr. Hunt?

    By taking an interest I am not saying that we should attack him, but we should address what he said and what he believes. I can attest firsthand the powerful influence he has over many people and how quickly they subscribe to whatever Mr. Hunt says.
    There is this stigma I think that those who believe in election don’t believe in John 3:16 and don’t believe that God is love. I don’t know where many Arminians get their justification, but many of whom I have met and talked to simply put up straw men.

    As those who hold truth dear, we must hold our brethren dear. We should be loving – loving in the most sincere degree.
    Open theists want to hijack the idea of God being love and say that only those who believe this must subscribe to their ideology. Arminians attack Calvinists because the belief in election is unloving. Pluralists and inclusivists attack exclusivists by saying that only one way is unloving by God, for that means many will not go to heaven. From any angle, it appears if you take a conservative, sola Scriptura approach, there will be these serious charges and others against you.

    We must love lost people and demonstrate it by “not being ashamed of the gospel”. We must love our brethren as well. I admit, it does cause anger, frustration, and disappointment when Falwell, Hunt, Rogers, and others simply use their star power in the SBC to rally adherents to their theological framework without biblical warrant.

    We cannot simply be reactionary as one has stated. We must start by being like Paul and express our love for lost people that we would rather be cursed that they may be saved. I find it fitting that this passionate plea be found in the same chapter as the most profound verses on unconditional election. Secondly, we must reshape the argument. What I mean is not letting open theists or Arminiians get away with say that we are not loving (i.e. Dave Hunt’s book What Love is This?). We have let them set the parameters and have been squeezed into their mold. This should not be the case.

    Finally, I love Mr. Hunt, but that does not exempt me from “searching the Scriptures daily to see whether the things are so”. I make no claim that I have the right answers or know everything, but what I do know that our God sovereingly chooses individuals for salvation based on his affections towards them. God elects and God loves, and these are not in opposition. God elects because God loves. Do we know who the elect are? No. Therefore, we must love everyone and give our lives to them that they may know the love of our Savior. I hope that in the days ahead the accusations made by people who say that Calvinists (or anyone who believes in election for that matter) are not loving will be silenced by God’s love manifested in our lives. If they speak without having known us or our hearts and make charges, let them. But if they do know us and find us unloving, then shame on us.

  55. Angela Evans on said:

    Mr. Elbourne,

    The reason no one is addressing this theological issue is because your mind will not be changed by what we say and vice versa. To be sure, many of our people here could give you quite a debate, but more than likely do not see the use in it. You see, we do read and study the scriptures for ourselves and we know what is right.

    While I do not see the purpose in your website, I do not believe you initially meant to sow discord. Unfortunately that is what has happened by allowing some of the hateful postings. You have allowed it to sow hate, bitterness, anger, malice and ill will. This posting has caused people to stumble because of the anger it invokes. You don’t have to read very far to see the hateful words posted by many.

    I think this is a dangerous website and several of the comments posted here by your readers do not represent the Christ I serve.

  56. Angela Evans wrote: [The reason no one is addressing this theological issue is because your mind will not be changed by what we say and vice versa. To be sure, many of our people here could give you quite a debate, but more than likely do not see the use in it. You see, we do read and study the scriptures for ourselves and we know what is right.]

    What a terrible thing to say! Quite the opposite of Martin Luther’s famous edict at Worms where he stated (forgive me if I misquote, this is from memory) “Unless I am convinced by Scripture and sound reason, I cannot and will not go back. My consicence is captive to the word of God.”

    By contrast, what you have said is that you cannot be convinced by Scripture and sound reason – you already know it all. How sad!

    When we cease to be teachable, we are in sin.

    To be sure, taking strong stands is commendable, but refusing to even look at a contrary opinion in the light of Scripture and sound reasoning is not commendable, it is sinful.

    God spare us from such attitudes. Is the Bible final authority or not?

  57. This response is posted under the more recent article on Mr. Hunt as well.

    In light of the feedback from my post regarding Johnny Hunt, I felt it necessary to seek counsel from the elders of my church before I responded publicly. This reply comes after much prayer and council. I have seriously pondered both the words I originally directed at Mr. Hunt, and the feedback received as well. I seek only God’s glory as I address this very volatile issue.

    I want to first apologize to Mr. Hunt and to the readers of Elbourne.org. In my recent post I went ‘off topic’ and brought in personal convictions such as church discipline, church government, and tithing that have no bearing on Mr. Hunt’s original words. I also misrepresented Mr. Hunt by hinting that he was “post-modern”. This was uncalled for and wrong. I made this comment only after being frustrated in dealing with some who lean towards this ideology, and it was wrong to apply this view to Mr. Hunt personally. I publicly repent of this comment and I am asking Mr. Hunt’s forgiveness. A copy of this letter will be sent to Mr. Hunt personally to clarify my words and to seek reconciliation.

    Accordingly, if the convictions stated in my post were wrong, I must be corrected by the Scriptures. Unfortunately, in their replies, Mr. Hunt and others holding his views have avoided specific biblical content related to the doctrines of grace. Instead, Mr. Hunt and others also go ‘off topic’ and appeal to personal issues and proclamations of motives and character, which fail to answer the concerns raised in the original blog posting. It appears as if Mr. Hunt wishes for us to trust in his love and not question the words that were publicly stated. Assertions about loving Jesus, loving people and longing to serve Jesus do not serve to rebut the serious doctrinal concerns raised here. Even the Apostle Paul could not accurately judge his own motives, and he instructs those attempting judge motives to stop doing so (1Cor 4:4-5). The blind allegiance Mr. Hunt seems to be calling for is encouraged nowhere in the scriptures. Instead, the scriptures command us to show partiality to no man, no matter what his spiritual status may be. Even the Apostle Paul exclaimed: “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed”. This text emphatically teaches that everyone is accountable for his representations of the truth. One might expect a more detailed, specific, and scriptural response to the primary issue from a man of his notoriety and influence in his church, community, and denominational leadership. If Mr. Hunt is indeed “adequate, equipped for every good work,” he will be able to give an answer from the Scripture as to why he rejects the doctrine that was at the foundation of the Reformation.

    In his reply Mr. Hunt said I should be ashamed of myself. I have now apologized for what I know to have been wrong and poorly presented in my post, yet those issues are distinct from the original questions raised here. The issue at hand remains unaddressed and concerns the real nature of the gospel itself. To that I must say:

    “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Rom 1:16

    Johnny Hunt’s comments at the SBC convention, coupled with the comments made in the before referenced sermon of November 2002, clearly show that Mr. Hunt and I have mutually exclusive views concerning the fundamental nature of the gospel. One of us is wrong. Only Scripture can determine who that is. I welcome the opportunity to dialogue with Mr. Hunt, whether in person or over the internet, about these controversial but critical foundational issues. It has been said by another that the desire isn’t to have a long drawn out debate on this subject such as been going on for centuries. I agree that such an argument is not in the best interest of fellow believers. But clear hermeneutical and exegesis of biblical texts should be presented instead of the ad hominen, assertive manner of dogmatism that tends to come from those opposed to Reformed theology. I am confident that an honest look at the scriptures will indeed show which side is holding on to tradition, and which side is holding on to the correct interpretation of the scriptures which is known through proper and honest exegesis of the text. Please take my words into prayerful consideration, and honestly test them against the scriptures, no matter which position you hold.

  58. Jackel on said:

    I notice your’re pretty selective about whose remarks you publish.

  59. Jake on said:

    While I find it admirable that some of Pastor Hunt’s church members defend him, I find it sad that they have missed the point entirely.

    This whole issue was clearly not to tear down Pastor Hunt. (How many times has the moderator stated that? Is that not clear?)

    The issue is the words which he spoke from the pulpit at the SBC. That and that alone.

    Is he wrong? Yes he is.

    Did Pastor Hunt address his words in his response? Not really.

    Did his church members? No.

    The discussion is only about what Pastor Hunt said and if he is accurate. If you believe he is accurate, then say that, and prove that Biblically.

    This is nothing personal. As an outside observer, it is just sad that people have acted as if this was about his character. it’s not.
    It’s about expecting the sermons at the SBC Pastors conference, and those who preach them, to be true to the Word of God.
    Are we to accept things without discernment? Certainly not. Then why rant against this discussion.

    I would love to see a response from Pastor Hunt (or anyone else) that addresses what he said in that sermon and that alone, and defend those views as Biblical.

  60. Tom Pain on said:

    Jake,

    You raise an excellent point by observation.
    The original issue was ‘What did he mean? Where is the Scripture in which Hunt finds the ‘position’ he espouses?
    Then came the defenders of Hunt and/or his ‘position’ against any who took exception with it. The issue was still ‘the Scripture’and hadn’t changed.
    The interesting by-product of the ‘no Scripture’ responses of both Hunt and the responding members is that there is ‘no Scripture’ recalled about ‘not taking up the offense of another’. Is there a connection or common thread? I think that there IS a common thread…hearsay (not heresy) and tradition v. Scripture. This is the very thing that gives rise to doctrinal error. If the focus is on Scripture, personality and opinion are not a factor.
    I stand with you in encouraging Hunt and his followers to let us see the Scriptures and engage in a Scripturally based dialogue.

  61. Patrick Price on said:

    I find it interesting that this centuries-old debate has been summarily solved in this little blog! True: God sovreignly controls and ordains everything. Also True: humans have the free will to do with their eternal souls what they please. Can a finite human mind fully understand what seems like a biblical contradiction? No, just like we cannot fully comprehend the trinity or the concept of eternity. It takes a humble man like Johnny Hunt to place his faith in John 3:16 and realize that he is a “whosoever,” I am a “whosoever,” and everyone else is a “whosoever” that will have eternal life if only we believe in the God who sent his only Son to die for us.

  62. Don A. Elbourne Jr. on said:

    Patrick,

    Just because a debate has been ongoing for centuries doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t state our firm beliefs. I can’t think of one point of theology that people have not debated. does that mean that we should throw up our hands and not hold to doctrines like the authority of scripture, the deity of Christ, the substitutionary atonement, Christ’s bodily resurrection, and the historical veracity of the biblical narratives?

    I agree that we must hold to both the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man. I disagree with your statement that “humans have the free will to do with their eternal souls what they please.” I believe God will do with our eternal souls as He pleases. Men may reject Christ, but on the day of judgement God, not man, will exercise His freedom to uphold his justice.

    You mentioned the word “whosoever.” I addressed Johnny Hunt’s use of “whosoever.” The “whosoever” of John 3:16 does not contradict the biblical doctrine of election or of particular redemption. The verse does not read “whosoever period.” It reads “whoever believes.” In other words, only those who believe will have eternal life. Those who do not believe will not. That means a “select group,” not everyone, will have eternal life.

    We should call all people everywhere to repent and believe the gospel, placing their faith in the Christ who saves. They can not believe in someone they have never heard of and they will never hear unless we tell them. (Romans 10:14) We must tell everyone. At the same time we must realize that as we tell everyone, the only ones who will respond will be those that God effectually calls to Himself, to the glory of His grace.

  63. As Don pointed out before, the disagreement isn’t with the use of the word ‘whosoever’, but rather the interpretation by many that the word somehow entails autonomous free will. Actually, the Greek word is best translated (in John 3:16) as: “all the ones believing”. And belief of course, is a gift from God (Phil 1:29; Eph 2:8-9), it’s not something we conjure up out of the ‘goodness’ within.

    Also consider that affirming that humans “have the free will to do with their eternal souls what they please” opens the door to many dangerous errors. This is not a moot point, for this ideology is not only scripturally unsupported, but it leads to theological errors such as:

    1)Works-based salvation. Which in order to stay consistent, proponents basically say we can lose our salvation since we all chose it to begin with.

    2)Open theism, which is the logical outcome of the free will ideology.

    3)The seeker-sensitive church growth movement, which structures church and worship around man having the ability to ‘choose’, and appealing to the ‘good within’. This denies the Biblical view of the depravity of man (Rom 3, Eph 2 etc), and the Biblical teaching surrounding the function and role of the church.

    4)Roman Catholicism, which of course takes the free-will ideology to the extreme. Setting up grace as a system of merit, and therefore undermining the Biblical teaching of salvation through faith alone. Essentially, this issue of free-will vs sovereignty of God was the foundation of the Reformation.

    John Piper has underlined the importance of this issue among Protestants by saying:

    “The doctrine of election tends to give firmness and fiber to flabby minds. It tends to produce robust, thoughtful Christians who are not swept away by trendy, man-centered ideas. It has an amazing preservative power that works to keep other doctrines from being diluted and lost. In general it tends to press onto our minds a God-centered worldview built out of real objective truth.”

    We should not shove TULIP down everybody’s throat or take the responsibility off of the sinner to repent, but we certainly should not shy away from any truth of scripture. Rather, we should proclaim the whole counsel of God and trust Him to save through the “foolishness of the message preached”.

  64. Jake on said:

    Patrick , you are still missing the point. Pastor Hunt is incorrect in his understanding of that passage and what he said was not sound theology, even for non-calvinists.

    Can you explain how his words are accurate?

    I mean, not only was he wrong in his theological understanding…he delivered a self-contradictory statement.

    To me this isn’t a debate about Calvinism (though his statements clearly showed a poorly articulated agenda against calvinism)…it is a discussion about a key doctrine that pops up all over the Bible (election).

    We all agree that the gospel needs to go to all people. That isn’t even a debate, we all agree. But that does not mean that election is contradictory or wrong.
    Denial of a key doctrine of the faith is not only poor theology it is mishandling the Word.

    I would hope we would hold any speaker at the SBC accountable for his words…and not refrain because of our personal affinity for the man or launch into emotional diatribes.
    This has been approached thoughtfully and carefully on this blog, and it needs to be responded to in like manner.

  65. Chris on said:

    You’ve all seemed to make a mountain out of a mole hill. At least my take on,”Not a select group. Everyone.” Bro. Hunt is saying not just white people, or poor people, or just the rich people, not just Americans, not just smart folks or Jew or Gentile or circumsized or uncircumsized or whatever. EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!! Remember, he was using himself as an example when he was talking about being a halfbreed that hung out in a poolhall and had been in jail.

    John 3:16 For God so Loved the W O R L D.
    Thats not the planet, thats everyone!

  66. Don A. Elbourne Jr. on said:

    Chris,

    I agree with you that “the world” as used in John 3:16 refers to all peoples without distinction; not only Jews, but gentiles as well. I tried to make that clear in my original post. Bro Johnny, on the other hand, spoke very pointedly to the issue of the “the elect.” He purposely blasted the doctrine of election because he wrongly sees it as a threat to evangelism. I too would denounce any doctrine that limited our evangelistic efforts to a select group. The doctrine of election doesn’t do that.

  67. Jake on said:

    I guess there will not be any defense of Hunt’s statements.
    Funny how it is ok for him to criticize something he obviously doesn’t understand, but yet his attack can’t be criticized.

    I keep checking back here looking for a defense of his statements, but I never see it.

    Side note: it is intereting that all the “big dogs” are going after this topic. But yet all of them (Hunt, Jack Graham, Rogers, Welch) misrepresent the other side. Now, do they really not understand the issues or are the purposefully misrepresenting the otherside? I certainly hope it is the former.
    Their charges, besides beign off-base and unfair, are simply intellectually dishonest. You can’t redefine terms and beliefs, and then charge others for not believing them(or believing them, whatever the case may be).

    It just bothers me that the leadership in the SBC is not only hostile toward a large segment of the constituency, but ignorantly hostile.

  68. Burdened on said:

    I have resisted writing as I really don’t want to accomplish anything other than keeping the Lord’s church from being divided.

    The reason for my hesitancy is I am not sure we as brothers and sisters are able to do that for some reason and my posting – as passionately as I want it to bring us together – will most likely only serve to motivate the heart of one person or another to more anger and criticism. That’s my fear and I pray God prevent it.

    And before you rightly reply that your heart is not angry and that your spirit is not critical Don… I believe you. But unfortunately many who have written here do have a critical spirit and – from my limited ability to inspect fruit – it’s not of the Lord. It bears NO witness in my heart.

    As both Pastor Johnny and Don Elbourne have said at either end of this discussion that they “love the brethren”, we who come in the middle to share our hearts should do the same. I love theological discussions. I am not as smart as many (most) of you but I do have a conviction and enjoy hearing others’.

    Let me also say that I have much more understanding and experience of who Pastor Johnny is than I do you Don… but I pray God not allow that to cloud my statements.

    Up front…
    I think we need to remove from the discussion any comments such as “members of FBCW are blindly following a man”. Certainly there must be some in the fellowship who in their immaturity are… but I know two things about that… 1.) Pastor Johnny’s heart is for that not to ever be the case and 2.) I have spoken to many reformed brothers and sisters who likewise have blindly followed the teaching of a man (whoever that might have been) without enough prayerful study and meditation. So let’s set that aside.

    To know Pastor Johnny IS to know a man of the highest integrity, the most giving heart and hands and one of the most obedient followers of our Lord you can find. And I am sure Don, the people you minister to would say similar things. (By the way I prayed for your VBS week and trust the Lord blessed.) So as you have stated many times Don, character is not to be debated… and I simply must say that those of us in the middle of this discussion (Johnny and Don excluded) MUST re-read our heart within the words we’ve written and make character and integrity a subject dealt with before the mirror of the Word and our private lives before God. It would be folly for me to discuss the character of either of these men knowing what I know about me. I suspect that might be true of all of us.

    Finally… to the point of this discussion. Calvinism… Reformed Theology. Comments made… a people at odds…

    Personally, I struggle with the difficulty in all of this. I am sure more intellectual folks than I will attempt to point out my oversimplicity, but doesn’t the Bible speak to the simplicity of the Gospel? (2 Cor 11:3)

    How could a Christian who has ever read their Bible dispute the sovereignty of God?? I don’t. I know Don doesn’t and I know Pastor Johnny doesn’t! God saves! God convicts by the power of His Spirit! (John 16:8)

    Here is how I have taught my children and how I position my convictions with others. 99% of the salvation experience is God’s part. The only part we have is to say YES!

    Why did God create us? He wanted a people to love and for that people to LOVE HIM in return. (Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 22:37)

    But let’s talk a little more about the Matthew passage. Jesus speaks this “great commandment” in response to a posed question by a lawyer. What is the greatest commandment Rabbi? (What is God’s desire for man?) That man LOVE HIM in return.

    What I find fascinating are the last words in this passionate response of Jesus. As He is groaning in His Spirit over the lost state of His people, he sights their “unwillingness” and then in Matthew 23:39 says, “for I say to you, you shall see Me no more TILL YOU SAY, ‘Blessed…”

    LOVE by definition is a choice. I must choose to love. I must choose to love God. I DIDN’T SAY I CHOOSE GOD (John 15:16)! I simply choose to love Him in return of His choosing me.

    EVERY SINGLE ASPECT of the salvation experience is God’s. The Bible states that it is “His salvation”. (Psalm 35:9, 78:22, 85:9, 96:2, 98:2, Isaiah 25:9, Luke 2:30, Acts 28:28 and so on). I believe it! Salvation is of the Lord! It’s His deal! EVERY SINGLE ASPECT of the salvation experience is God’s… EXCEPT where I must respond and say YES in love and gratitude. I know in September of 1976 as conviction fell… GOD CHOOSING ME (John 15:16) that I responded in love to the glorious news of His mind-boggling sacrifice for me. And to take it further, my YES was a loaded one! It included repentance of my sin. The very idea of repentance suggests the turning from sin and the turning to God. I know God initiated and empowered but I had to obey! He CALLS sinners to their responsibility… REPENTANCE.

    If salvation has 1,000 facets in its diamond, 999 are God’s but I must choose LOVE! Without choice there is no love (we’d be robots) and that’s what God desires… our love – to His glory!

    I have never understood why we can’t meet at that point and move on! We all desire to magnify the greatness of our Father in Heaven, but there is no resolution to this theological debate that man will ever ultimately reach on this side.

    Far greater men than any of us debated the issue with great zeal. While, again, the discussion can be exhilarating and worthwhile in its proper context, sadly, many people (not all represented in this website, but some… have moved into the frightening area of God’s hatred in Proverbs 6… SOWING DISCORD. Let’s face it… it happens over this issue. It has happened in some of the paragraphs above mine… and it’s not right… it’s unnecessary. I have never heard it initiated by what has been defined here as “the other side.” It always has been initiated in my significant experience by those who hold to the reformist viewpoint.

    We HAVE to agree to disagree at some point and continue to plead with lost people to be saved.

    Pastor Johnny is jealous for the holiness and sovereignty of God. Pastor simply believes as I do that to love in return and to repent of our sins is by definition our choice to be made.

    Not all Calvinists are like this… but you wouldn’t be surprised to hear that some who passionately believe in reformed theology have led churches to eventually be less evangelistic would you? You also wouldn’t be surprised to know that some who take the stance, act in a slightly haughty way. Of course there are some who do these things and it is discussions with them, reports about them and experiences in them that cause men of God like Dr. Rogers, Dr. Falwell and Pastor Johnny to warn against what FOR SOME becomes a logical end.

    In the same fashion, I am also not surprised at some evangelical movements that focus too heavily on “getting decisions” and “gaining numbers”. It’s got to be balance! I find it even more amazing to think of God as one who works within the context of both ideas! He could do it all Himself… but He lets us respond! That’s why angels marvel!

    Don, I have to admit… when I heard John MacArthur say, “I believe with every fiber of my being that Jesus was a Calvinist,” I was as shocked as you relate being at the Pastor’s Conference. How on earth can a man that I so deeply respect say that the Creator of the Universe is a follower of one of His creation? Yet, I continue to listen to him for the body of his teaching and influence outweigh what I hope was a tongue in cheek (yet seemingly irresponsible) statement. Likewise, the benefit of the doubt is deserved with Johnny Hunt I believe.

    So after many more words than I ever expected to write, I thank you for the opportunity to share and just want to say JESUS IS LORD! May we ever sharpen our iron against each other’s… but PLEASE… let’s not cut each other afterward!

    Don thanks for the discussion… keep the reins tight on it… and Pastor Johnny… I am a changed man because of what you allow Christ to be through you. I could never say a big enough thanks to God for you. I am glad Heaven will give me enough time to try!

  69. Jake on said:

    Here is the thing…..how can you say “Salvation is completely of God” and then say, “well, 99% is of God, the other 1% is human work”? That make zero sense.

    This is one of the fundamental differences in our theology….is salvation ALL of God? or is it mostly God and some of man? You seem to have chosen option 2. I am convinced that Scripture teaches option 1. That is the divide here.

    BTW, with regard to sowing discord. First, it is not sowing discord to admit that a difference exists and to discuss that difference. Second, the only discord sowing I have seen has been that of men like Falwell and Hunt who have “sown discord” publicly in sermon after sermon, with misrepresentation after misrepresentation. This discussion wouldn’t even be taking place if Pastor Hunt did not “sow discord” by his needless (and off-base) comments.

    IMO, you need to direct that criticism toward your pastor.
    I am okay disagreeing with you and other brothers in Christ without taking potshots at strawmen….but evidently Hunt, Rogers, and Falwell prefer to go about it in that manner.
    THAT is “sowing discord”.

  70. Jake on said:

    Oh, and Jack Graham and Bobby Welch too.

    Is this an organized attack on their part? It would appear so.

  71. Burdened on said:

    see?
    fear… realized.

    God Bless…

  72. Jake on said:

    Burdened, I am not angry….and I don’t think all criticism is wrong. Discernment is criticism. Decisions making is criticism.

    I simply wanted to point out 2 things. One, your position is illogical. How can salvation be “completely of God” but also be 99% of God, 1% of man? That makes no sense.
    Two, the only reason this is being discussed is because of the decision of several men to make comments when there was no need to do so. You brought up the phrase “sowing discord”, and I simply pointed out that the blame you place here for “sowing discord” should rightly be placed elsewhere.

    How am I wrong?

    (Brother, I honestly am not mad. I simply seek discussion on this issue. I hope you will respond to both of my above statements.)

  73. Burdened,

    Please remember that there can be no true unity without agreement on doctrine, especially a doctrine of this magnitude. For where one stands on this issue will determine so many other crucial things.

    Also, please do not misinterpret disagreement with anger. Nobody is without sin, and sin will always taint words in some way or another. We are all responsible for heeding the truth we hear, no matter how it is conveyed to us. However, I am in agreement that communicating in love is commanded by the scriptures, and we should all strive to be obedient.

    As far as removing the comments about “blindly following a man”, I must note the previous posts of those agreeing with Mr. Hunt. In those responses scripture has been absent, and blind loyalty has been clearly shown. In addition, Mr. Hunt himself seemed to be calling for this kind of blind loyalty by the comments that he made above.

    As for love being by definition a choice, I do not see in scripture where man is given the freedom to make that choice. How do we reconcile Romans 8:7-8 with libertarian free will to love? Is man capable of loving without the Spirit of God being present? Error in this regard should be of utmost concern. For as soon as we say that Christ has done 99% of the work necessary for salvation and has left us with that 1%- to chose to love Christ, then doctrine of Depravity is undermined, Christ’s work as our Savior is cheapened, and we are left with programs and methods to educate seekers about what words they need to say in order to appeal to the good within and ‘activate’ that autonomous ability to love.

    Furthermore: If Christ died for all and left the specifics to His creation, salvation then depends on something outside of Christ. The issue then becomes whether man deems his Creator worthy enough for love and repentance. That is not sovereignty that is called works. “Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt” –Rom 4:4. This passage points out that salvation that is determined by man becomes something God OWES us for making the right call, instead of it being 100% of grace.

    Keeping with your belief in the 1% of man’s responsibility, 1 Thess 1:2-4 is Paul giving thanks to God for among other things, “His choice of you” (NASB). Please explain why Paul did this. For if man chooses to believe, why didn’t Paul thank the Thessalonians for making the right choice? After all, why thank God if God didn’t do anything different than He did with the rest of mankind? Would it make sense to thank God for choosing those whom He foreknew would choose Him? (Thus eliminating the popular foreknowledge argument)… In this 1% philosophy, the issue now becomes the ability to recognize the ‘right way’, and to join the ‘winning team’. Do you and I have a better sense of ‘goodness’ because we chose Christ unlike the other God-haters in our society? Are we better than they because we recognized the correct way to eternal life? If so, who then gets the glory for our repentance? If we chose, then we are 1% good and deserve the GLORY for making the crucial decision. If it’s by grace alone (Eph 2:8-9), then we cannot even take credit for saying yes, therefore 1% responsibility cannot be boasted of.

    Finally, I cannot speak for Pastor MacArthur, but the “Jesus was a Calvinist” comment was not meant to convey that God is a follower of John Calvin, but rather that Jesus Himself clearly taught the doctrines that Calvin later made famous. For if MacArthur had said ‘Jesus taught the sovereignty of God’, then the point would have been lost, and the entire crowd would’ve nodded in agreement (included Mr. Hunt). Instead, by making that bold statement in that building, it shocked Mr. Hunt and others that hopefully some were led to readjust their thinking on how important this issue really is. MacArthur’s words leaned toward error in no way, see John Chapter 6 for details. On the contrary, the point Mr. Hunt made was a crystal clear disagreement with Reformed theology. Therefore, giving Mr. Hunt the “benefit of the doubt” does not apply because he affirmed that he meant what he said: “I made no statement that I am ashamed of”.

    Burdened, you mention that your life has been drastically changed by Mr. Hunt and his ministry. I praise God for that, and realize that your are one of many that Mr. Hunt has impacted. For I also hold Mr. Hunt in high regards as a fellow servant of Christ. However, I have had quite a different experience at FBCW; an experience that I believe coincides with scripture in that free will theology can have devastating results. If you or anyone else would like to hear more specifics on my experience with FBCW, please feel free to contact me personally. I would be humbled to sit down and dive into the scriptures regarding these volatile issues.

  74. Jake on said:

    I guess it is easier for some to make comments than it is to respond to comments. It’s easier to make snide comments, than thoughtful responses to issues raised.

    This interaction illustrates the larger problem that we are trying to discuss.

    Group A feels it is ok to take shots at Group B. Then when the Group B decides to respond and wants to discuss the issues, Group A says that Group B is making it personal and they are unwilling to address the issues. Group A hides behind a “well, we’re all for unity and togetherness” facade but they are the ones that attacked Group B to start the problem.
    It’s a lose-lose situation for Group B. Not only do they get attacked, but then they can’t get Group A to respond to the issues at hand.

    I assume that “Burdened” will not come back and respond. But I would hope that one day the actual issues will be discussed and not be relegated to one sentence sound bytes from Group A lobbing attacks at Group B and then unwilling to listen to Group B due to their “sowing discord”.

    Yet I hold out hope….

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