Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Marc Carpenter Is NOT a Calvinist
02/28/2005 - James WhiteMarc Carpenter of outsidethecamp.org has written another article, "responding" to my comments on his e-mail in which he judges my heart and declares me an unregenerate unbeliever. It is odd indeed, when you realize that this man's tiny little group seems to encompass, in their thinking, the entirety of the Kingdom of God, that he would be writing and complaining about my response when I was responding to an e-mail he sent out denying I am a follower of Christ but instead insisting that I am still in my sins and he had not even bothered to send it to me! Truly amazing. In reading this response, we learn that though Carpenter believes in the "five points" he is not, in fact, a Calvinist, let alone a hyper-Calvinist. Well, it is quite true he is not a Calvinist. I'm glad we can all tell everyone that Marc Carpenter is not a Calvinist so that they will not view him as representing us. That's a good thing. I guess it is very useful to have the authority to keep redefining your position. In any case, it seems rather obvious that Carpenter's beliefs experience the same imbalance that hyper-Calvinists do, but he doesn't want to be called a hyper-Calvinist. Ah, the joy of definitions.
There are a lot of really cult-like characteristics to Carpenter's thinking and behavior. Here is a paragraph from his e-mail/response/article (he has posted it on the web). Try to follow this one, if you can:
I have never said that Christians must be willing to condemn these people to the fires of hell itself and if they don't they're not Christians. I myself don't condemn them to the fires of hell! So if what you said were true, I'd have to say that I'm not a Christian! I have never condemned anyone to the fires of hell itself. Give evidence for your accusation or tell everyone that you have falsely accused me. Among the unregenerate, we do not know who is and who is not elect. It is not for us to know or to judge whether an unregenerate person is going to go to heaven or to hell. And among those who used to be heretics who have died, I don't know if God saved them later on in their lives before they died. So I don't know if they are in heaven or hell. I do not know if anyone in the "Heterodoxy Hall of Shame" is in hell right now. God could have saved them after they made the quotes I mentioned. What I do know is that they were unregenerate. And what I do know is that those people who are alive right now who believe in universal atonement are unregenerate. Christians do not judge whether or not unregenerate people are going to hell. They do not condemn anyone to hell. What they do do is judge a person who confesses a false gospel to be currently unregenerate. That's a far cry from condemning them to hell. So will you tell everyone you have falsely accused me?
Let's see if we can unpack this. Carpenter says I am unregenerate. Why? Because I do not say that every person who holds to universal atonement is unregenerate. Was this not the whole point of his original e-mail? Where do unregenerate people go when they die? Hell. So how does Carpenter respond? First he says he does not condemn anyone to the fires of hell itself. Ah, but he does claim to know who is regenerate or not, yes? So, his point is, "Well, if you were to die right now, believing as you believe, you will go to hell, but hey, you might believe me before then, and get saved." Now, any rational person knows exactly what I meant by "consigning to the flames of hell." So does Carpenter. So why deny the obvious? He is here saying exactly what I said he said: that to disbelieve his views is to deny the gospel and to be unregenerate, and obviously, to remain in that disbelief of Carpenter to one's death results in what? One's going to hell. An entire paragraph dedicated to emptiness.
Another great quote from this response is, "Give evidence that I have changed my stance over the years. You won't find it. When we find out things about people (such as Calvin), then we expose them. That does not mean we have changed our stance." Prior to his "discovering" Calvin's "views" did Carpenter eschew being identified as a Calvinist? How could he not be aware of what Calvin, and his successors, believed? It truly makes one wonder! Here's another revealing portion: I had written, "It would be an honor to join Calvin, Berkhof, Boettner, Hodge, Spurgeon and others for refusing Carpenter's "Perfection of Knowledge Required for Salvation" heresy." Carpenter replies, "Interestingly, he doesn't name everyone in the Heterodoxy Hall of Shame. What about Billy Graham, Mr. White? What about Robert Schuller? Would it be an honor to join them?" No, I did not mention them, and no, it would not be a honor to join them, and the very fact that Carpenter can't see the differences between those people and their views is one of the best examples I can see of his errors! All is black and white: everyone outside the microscopic field of orthodoxy defined by Marc Carpenter is "the same." How very sad, and how utterly untrue.
At this point Carpenter melts down into an utterly irrational tirade, using caps and underlining and every other form available to make sure we all know he is quite upset and yelling loudly that he does not believe that perfection of knowledge is required for salvation. Of course, this is all screamed in reference to an e-mail in which he decides I am unregenerate for what reason again? Oh, for refusing to condemn every Arminian to hell...err, for refusing to say anyone who believes in universal atonement and has not seen the inconsistenty of such a belief with substitutionary atonement is, by virtue of that ignorance or confusion, deprived of spiritual life, the Holy Spirit, justification, etc., and, if they continue in said ignorance or confusion, they will go to hell. Hmm, well, that sounds like Mr. Carpenter is indeed arguing for the need of a perfection of knowledge, does it not? It is sad, indeed, to watch the contortions he goes through to promote his unique beliefs, it truly is.
But one thing is for sure. I'm glad Mr. Carpenter openly eschews any connection to Calvinism. That is very good. Spread the word far and wide.