Back Issues


Volume 14, Issue 3: Sharpening Iron


From Us:

Once again, we arrive in your mailbox. We slide onto the coffee table, out of sight into the basket, or into the warm, dark embrace of coffee grounds in the trash.

Every once in a while we get a regular truck load of letters and picking from amongst them is dicey at best. Hopefully the bouquet of this selection will please your palate without requiring too much cleansing. We have a snydish letter from a bosom chum in the PCA, a letter scattering obscenities about our ears, a letter from the president of a Christian vegan society objecting to whole milk, and a lengthy theological rebuke—no, not from Georgia, that one didn't come to this address—from Vermont. Good with chicken.


 

From You:

VEGAN
Dear Editor,
I take exception to Douglas Wilson's recent meandering that "Christians ought to. . . bring back widespread consumption of whole milk." While it may indeed appear from evangelical bellies that "[t]he fat is the Lord's," health and longevity are also His.

So contrary to Wilson, Christians should in fact be among those leading the way to veganism, God's preferred diet for humans in His original Creation, Eden (see Gen. 1:29-30, cf. Gen. 9:2-4; Is. 11:6-9, 65:25, etc).

Nathan Braun
Langley, B.C.

SELECTIVE MEMORY
Dear Editor,
. . . . Well good friend, I just wanted to take the time to let you know how much I admire all you have been accomplishing. This is very impressive. All this is done in spite of your natural modesty.

Somehow, in spite of your natural modesty, you have been able to straighten out the PCA on their discipline errors. (You were able to do that without even talking to them.) Only a gifted humble man such as yourself could do that.
I am all the more impressed you have now been able to straighten out the OPC in their discipleship. There is no limit in what you can do!
Now I hear you are selflessly plunging into the task of straightening out the Covenant Presbytery of the RPCUS. Where do you get the energy? What kind of wisdom you must have!
I am so appreciative of you passing my name to the Eastside Evangelical Fellowship. I know you did not ask permission of me to do it. But only you know what is best for me. So thanks.
You knew I would want to be invited to your exciting conference in October. You promised to enlighten about the "pleasures of the flesh." Your monthly sex columns in your magazine must give you great satisfaction. Do they? Only a modest man like you could dare to lecture and enlighten all the average fellows like me concerning how we "marginalize all incidents of our flesh." Only such a brilliant man as you is truly qualified on "the pleasures God has ordained in the flesh. . . ."
Please keep sending me your stuff, I do enjoy it. Nowhere else could I ever find someone like you. . . . Keep these most entertaining articles coming.

Joe Kesler
Carbondale, IL

Editor's reply: Joe Kesler? We knew a Joe Kesler once. But that guy wasn't friendly at all and even helped depose a PCA pastor at a hearing that kept no minutes. If you know that Joe, feel free to put him in touch. We'd be happy to interact if he is ready to come out of the corner and stop spitting at the other children. Just say no to evil twins. By the way, where is that "monthly sex column" in C/A? We can't find that page, but it sounds interesting.

MMM. . . SHINY
Dear Editor,
This is an outrage. I paid perfectly worthless American money for my regular newspaper-quality C/A issue, only to receive this month an insensitively postmillenial, high-quality gloss that overtly affirms cultural attainment in Christian literature. Several of my dispensational friends were personally hurt by this belittling display, and insist that you produce an alternative version for youth pastors immediately by way of apology. The first, to be made strictly from pressed lint, should bear the title, "Just as I am: Lauding the New Stranger's and Pilgrim's Pocket Bible." If not, you can expect further pelting with silly paper—backed only by democratic promises—until you give way to common decency. You think about that.

Chris Brown
Lodi, CA

TACKY CHAP
Dear Editor,
You're an asshole! I cannot believe the crap you write. God and I (and also the Mattel Corp.) were offended by what you wrote about women being home-oriented, not deserving a career or any self-satisfying pleasure outside the home. You are a first-rate bigot. Claiming that your view, the oppression of women, is the biblical view is not only outrageous, but blamphemous [sic]. I would have no problem with my future wife being the pastor of my church. Yes, she would be wearing the pants in our household, but she would also be bringing in the big bucks. . . if you know what I mean. Pretty soon, men are going to be able to rear children, and you can bet that I will be first in line. Didn't you ever see that movie with Arnold S. entitled Junior—oh that's right. You're so fucking against "mainstream" culture that you don't watch movies. Well, you're missing out, buddy! Newsflash asshole, much of that mainstream culture you so despise is already saved and in love with Jesus!

Open your eyes and get the hell out of Dodge (or Idaho, in this case). Welcome to the 21st century my friend. When I get married, if my wife doesn't want kids, I'll be okay with that and it's not a sin. Jesus loves you but everyone else thinks you're a prick. You better ask forgiveness. Love you brother.

Andrew Adams
Portland, OR

Editor's reply: If you get married, we too will be just fine if she doesn't want kids.

YUP
Dear Editor,
I love the last two issues, and the new format of the magazine. It is a terrific look and feel. But. . . I just. . . That is a little stick figure guy with a trash can on his head, right?

Fred Avolio
Woodbine, MD

POGO VS. THOMAS
Dear Editor,
To Pogo the self-satisfied: Pogo, me lad, sour grapes do not become you. Apparently because he doesn't fit your idea of Art (release the doves) and especially because he is wildly popular, you have thrown down on Thomas Kinkade [Cave of Adullam, C/A 14.2]. His workis pleasing—which is why it sells. If you want to be wealthy, find a way to match your talents with a common need. Then, though you build your house in the woods, the world will beat a path to your door.

Seamus O'Sullivan
Kingsport, TN

Editor's reply: His work is puffy and overfed, a veritable world of radioactive puddles.

YOUNG LIFE TOILET BOB
Dear Editor,
I have just received inconvertible proof that Young Life is a Gnostic ministry.

My son reported to me and it was verified by two of his friends, that a new wild and crazy skit is being performed at youth group meetings. The leaders purchase a plastic toilet bowl, plug it up, fill it with Mountain Dew and Snickers bars and the kids are instructed to bob.
I wonder if they then preach from Ephesians 5 after this display.

Jim Hagan
Fairfax, VA

RELIEF
Dear Editor,
Today was a hard day at work. I got home, flopped down in the chair, and my wife notified me of a surprise that came in the mail for me. It was sitting on the coffee table. New, reformatted, fantasy C/A. Thank God.

Micah Humphries
Stillwater, OK

OUTSIDE THE CAMPERS
Dear Editor,
To Doug Wilson and Pablo MacArthur: I am the editor of the publication Outside the Camp and noticed that we were one of your objects of ridicule in the "Cave of Adullam" feature in Volume13.1 of C/A. Being objects of ridicule is nothing new to us, but . . .

In light of your slanderous accusation that we believe in salvation conditioned on the sinner, I am asking you to print a retraction . . . . Having requested this, I'm not holding my breath. If you choose not to abide by my request, it will be just another means God uses to harden you in your sin. I also request that this letter be printed in its entirety in C/A. . .

Editor's reply: Okay, if you insist. But we don't really have a lot of space left here and your letter was longer than one of our articles, so we've had to squeeze it a bit.

To Doug Wilson and Pablo MacArthur:
I am the editor of the publication Outside the Camp and noticed that we were one of your objects of ridicule in the "Cave of Adullam" feature in Volume 13, Issue 1 of Credenda/Agenda. Being objects of ridicule is nothing new to us, but shouldn't a publication such as yours at least ridicule us based on what we actually believe? Far from putting forth what we really believe, your segment on us actually slanders us by saying that we believe something that is the very antithesis of what we believe. Mr. MacArthur wrote: "In their soteriology, theological perfection in sanctification is necessary for salvation." Not only do we not believe this, we have come out clearly against this, if you really care to know what we believe (whichI seriously doubt). Check out the article "Doctrinal Regeneration" at www.outsidethecamp.org/doctregen.htm . Salvation is conditioned on nothing the sinnerdoes/believes or is enabled to do/believe. Salvation is not conditioned on theological perfection or belief of any doctrine. There are no prerequisites the sinner must meet before he is saved. If we believed this, we would be unregenerate, since this is the damnable false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner. Mr. MacArthur raises this straw man and calls it "Hyper-Arminianism." Certainly, if we believed what Mr. MacArthur slanderously says we believe, we would be in the same camp with the Arminians (although the term "Hyper-Arminianism" isn't necessary, since belief in 1% works or 50% works or 100% works as the ground of salvation is all salvation conditioned on the sinner). Briefly, what we do believe is that all Christians believe the gospel and that this belief is an inevitable and immediate result or fruit of regeneration. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16). The gospel reveals the righteousness of God (Romans 1:16). The righteousness of God is God's being just and justifier based on the work of Christ alone (Romans 3:21-26). All who do not believe the gospel are nregenerate (Mark 16:16). All who are ignorant of the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel are unregenerate (Romans 10:3). Clear enough? All who are regenerate believe the gospel of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ alone. This means that all regenerate people believe that it is the work of Christ alone that makes the difference between salvation and damnation. All who believe that it is not the work of Christ alone that makes the difference between salvation and damnation are unregenerate. This includes all who believe that Jesus Christ died for everyone without exception. In believing that Jesus Christ died for those in hell, they show that they do not believe that it is the work of Christ alone that makes the difference between salvation and damnation; instead, they believe that the efforts of the sinner are what make the difference. They blaspheme the name of Christ, they spit in Christ's face, and they trample underfoot His precious blood, which they believe did nothing in and of itself to secure the salvation of anyone. Clear enough? To conclude from this that we believe that "theological perfection in sanctification is necessary for salvation" is to be dishonest, stupid, or both. You people claim to excel in logic, yet this slanderous conclusion is a great example of a blatant non sequitur. Because belief in certain doctrine is the inevitable and immediate fruit of salvation, this means that belief in this doctrine is a condition of salvation? Even those schooled in elementary logic would notice the foolishness of this conclusion. If you don't get it, let me give you an example in an attempt (possibly futile) to show you your seriously flawed logic. Suppose I say that all who do not believe in the deity of Christ are unregenerate. (You might possibly even agree with this! Oh my!) Is a necessary implication of this that I believe that belief in the deity of Christ is a condition or prerequisite for salvation? Or, to go as far as Mr. MacArthur went, is a necessary implication of this that I believe that "theological perfection in sanctification is necessary for salvation"? That would be foolish, would it not? If you would make such a conclusion, then you would also have to ridicule people who say that all Muslims or Hindus or Buddhists are unregenerate based on their belief that "theological perfection is necessary for salvation." Arminians are just as far away from the true gospel as the Muslims or Hindus or Buddhists are. They do not believe that Christ's work actually accomplished redemption, actually accomplished propitiation, actually accomplished atonement for anyone. Those who claim to believe the doctrines of grace but who consider some universal atonement advocates to be saved do not believe that that redemption, propitiation, and atonement are essential gospel doctrines. They believe that a person can be ignorant of and even hostile to doctrines of redemption, propitiation, and atonement and still be a regenerate person. Is this any less heinous than believing a person can be ignorant of or even hostile to the doctrine of the deity of Christ and still be a regenerate person? Is this any less heinous than believing that the doctrine of the deity of Christ is not an essential gospel doctrine? Of course it isn't. It is just as heinous, just as blasphemous, just as vile and perverted. The Bible clearly states that those who speak peace to those who bring a false gospel are unregenerate (2 John 11; see www.outsidethecamp.org/2John11.htm ). Does that mean that we believe that not speaking peace to those who bring a false gospel is a condition for salvation? Of course not. It means that we believe that a Christian will not consider one who brings a false gospel to be his brother in Christ. Pretty simple, isn't it? And quite Biblical, no matter how you wish to portray us. In light of your slanderous accusation that we believe in salvation conditioned on the sinner, I am asking you to print a retraction and to rewrite what you have said about our publication to reflect what we truly believe. Go ahead and ridicule us after that if you want, but base your ridicule on what we actually believe (and hey, why not use some Scripture in your refutation? What a concept!). You can even reference our web site at www.outsidethecamp.org so people can actually see what we believe and compare it to what you say we believe. There is a series of transcripts of sermons on the gospel on this site at www.outsidethecamp.org/gospelseries.htm , including a sub-series on "Essential Gospel Doctrine," if you or anyone else really wants to look into things before making a statement about what we believe regarding the gospel (which I seriously doubt). Having requested this, I'm not holding my breath. If you choose not to abide by my request, it will be just another means God uses to harden you in your sin. I also request that this letter be printed in its entirety in Credenda/Agenda. Feel free to include my snail-mail and e-mail address when you print it, so people can actually communicate with the one who puts out Outside the Camp rather than someone who thinks he knows what Outside the Camp says. (Obviously, Mr. MacArthur has not read the publication, since he says that "[t]he title of their publication is apparently taken from Deuteronomy 23:13-14," whereas Hebrews 13:13 is right under our masthead.) Repent and believe the gospel.

Marc D. Carpenter
West Rutland, VT

Editor's reply continues: Poor Pablo has passed on, but he never said that you all teach that theological perfection is the condition of salvation in your system. He simply said you teach it is necessary, a sine qua non of being saved. Which is exactly what your letter demonstrates. Your position is that a man does not have to believe the Calvinist gospel to be saved, but then you so lucidly add that if he don't, then he ain't.

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