[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Response to Lou Martuneac by a Gentleman

by Bob Topartzer
Lou,
Your continued use of the term [theological expletive] and your misrepresenting them on several issues has not served your cause well. You have posted on SI that they state one can deny the resurrection and believe the Gospel when what they state is one can not believe (be aware of the truth) of the resurrection.

You are constantly providing links back to your own blog to see their statements in your own articles instead of seeing their statements in their own articles.

In what I have read concerning your evaluation of GES and some others, you are either not understanding the nuances and context of their arguments or you just wish to ignore them.

As you are aware they will not respond to you as they view you as a "trouble maker." I read one post you sent to Robert Wilkin seeking to take him to task regarding one of his posts. You missed the entire point and wanted him to give references concerning 12 steps to salvation by some pastors. You had missed the entire hypothetical illustration of his argument.

Lou, in my opinion you have lost all credibility on this issue. You have falsly accused, misunderstood arguments, and ignore Biblical exegesis and arguments offered.

There are three accusers of GES who have exaggerated the issues. They are Dennis Rokser, Tom Stegall, and Lou Martuneac. These use the term [theological pejorative]. Rokser and Stegall have little formal education. It shows in their approach and arguments. Perhaps you should not be too quick to embrace their viewpoint and approach.

There are others who disagree with some of GES positions. These include men who are members of the "Free Grace Alliance." These include men such as Earl Radmacher, President Emeritus of Western Cons. Baptist Sem. and a theologian. These have debated Robert Wilken on the issues. However, they have done so without using pejorative labels and misquotes. [editor's note, see Earl Radmacher's dependence upon Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin in his soteriological book, Salvation, where Earl agreeably and liberally quotes both men. Earl's soteriology, in most ways, parallels Zane Hodges, see pgs 120-128, esp. 126-127.]

Others are handing these differences properly and discerningly. They do not view GES and others as heretics but do disagree with Zane Hodges on some points. Since all hold openly and strongly to the main Orthodox tenets of the faith, there is no need to consider them as those to separate from on these issues.

Lou, as you know I have taught theology at an accredited institution and am possibly informed on the subject. I view some of what Zane Hodges and Robert Wilkin have said as wrong. However it is with regard to the sufficiency of Gospel information needed to be saved, not the definition of the gospel or what the full information is. This has been the subject of debate many times in history and on several issues today. EXAMPLE: the vast majority of church fathers for the first three centuries did not hold to the penal substitution theory of the Atonement. Most held to the governmental theory and some to the ransom theory. Yet we have some today who say one cannot be saved unless they believe the Penal substitution theory.

When you start filling the Gospel with theological content necessary to believe to be saved you do away with the simplicity of the Gospel and the concept of Grace through faith. [Editor's note: Amen, amen and amen!] I believe one can be saved by the information of John 3:16. Any who are saved will not expressly deny additional truth as informed. There is a rich context of the history of theology and the breadth of opinion of the substance of theology that makes one more gracious when dealing with differences within a non heretical context.

In short, I do understand the issues. You may have some on SI stirred up as fighting fundamentalists, but good men have and are debating these issues with knowledge and balance.
http://www.sharperiron.org/showthread.php?t=7667&page=5&pp=7

This man, Bob Topartzer, is a bastion of level-headedness and balance. This letter speaks volumes for itself. Bravo, Mr. Topartzer!

27 Comments:

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Jonathan Perreault, at Wednesday, May 14, 2008 9:15:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Jonathan Perreault, at Wednesday, May 14, 2008 9:20:00 PM  

  • Antonio,

    You are not commenting on the Sharper Iron blog, is this because you have been banned from doing so?

    I would like to respond to Bob Topartzer's posted comments. In concluding his statement to Lou Martuneac, Bob wrote:

    "When you start filling the Gospel with theological content necessary to believe to be saved you do away with the simplicity of the Gospel and the concept of Grace through faith."

    First, Bob implies that Lou is taking unbiblical, unorthodox, and non-Pauline liberties with the Gospel by saying: "When you start filling the Gospel".

    Second, Bob implies that the Gospel is not filled with theological content by saying: "When you start filling the Gospel with theological content". Bob seems oblivious to the fact that the Gospel is already filled with theological content (see 1 Cor. 15:1-5).

    Third, Bob admits that "the Gospel" is a technical phrase denoting the saving message by saying: "When you start filling the Gospel with theological content necessary to believe to be saved you do away with the simplicity of the Gospel and the concept of Grace through faith." If only certain parts of the Gospel need to be believed for eternal life (as I understand Bob to say), this presents an unscriptural incongruity between the Gospel message preached and the Gospel message believed (see 1 Cor. 1:21, 15:11; Eph. 1:13; 2 Thess. 1:8-9, etc.).

    Fourth, in his statement above Bob implies that filling the Gospel with theological content negates the gracious nature of salvation. In reality, the theological content of the Gospel proclaims the gracious nature of salvation! Notice that after filling the Gospel with theological content in 1 Corinthians 15:1-5, the apostle Paul declares: "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all [the other apostles, vv. 7,9], yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore, whether it was I [the apostle Paul] or they [the other apostles], so we preach and so you believed." (1 Cor. 15:10-11, NKJV)

    Fifth, Bob goes on to misunderstand the Gospel of John by saying: "I believe one can be saved [in the New Testament] by the information of John 3:16." John 3:16 narrates the story of Jesus witnessing to an individual in the Old Testament. In his Gospel narrative to post-resurrection readers in the New Testament, the apostle John builds on the truths of John 3:16 and shows that after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus from the dead, those living in the New Testament must now believe in these truths for eternal life (Jn. 2:18-22, 19:35, 20:19-21:14).

    Sixth, Bob goes on to claim: "Any who are saved will not expressly deny additional truth as informed." This is the logical fallacy of begging the question. Bob is assuming that the unsaved reader in the New Testament can be saved by believing Jesus' words to Nicodemus in John 3:16 yet Bob never proves this proposition or offers any explanation how John 3:16 corresponds to the closing climax of John's Gospel narrative in Jn. 20:26-31 or the theological content of "the Gospel" in 1 Cor. 15:1-5.

    Seventh, Bob says: "There is a rich context of the history of theology and the breadth of opinion of the substance of theology that makes one more gracious when dealing with differences within a non heretical context." Here again, Bob begs the question and makes an assumption by declaring that the issues involved in the discussion are non heretical without ever supporting this statement or explaining Paul's words in 2 Cor. 11:3-4 and Gal. 1:6-10, etc.

    These are my initial thoughts after reading Bob's comments and I believe I raise some valid concerns that Bob and/or yourself need to address.

    JP

    By Blogger Jonathan Perreault, at Wednesday, May 14, 2008 9:59:00 PM  

  • Lou Martuneac? Did he say something? I can't "hear" anything from Lou Martuneac.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, May 15, 2008 11:55:00 AM  

  • Jonathan said:
    "Antonio, You are not commenting on the Sharper Iron blog, is this because you have been banned from doing so?"

    I don't know with any certainty, but considering that I saw this on SharperIron I would guess that to be the case. This was directed to Antonio:
    " March 16th, 2008, 01:08 PM
    dan miller
    Administrator
    thanks for explaining your views.
    I'm going to drop your membership here.
    I'll explain why when I'm not typing on my iPhone."

    My initial reaction to this was incredulity. I read Antonio's few posts and saw nothing which called for such censure. However, I understand the administrators have the right to do such things in a free country. Still, it irks me greatly.

    I find it hard to swallow that someone could be quoted dozens of time by someone else on a public forum while at the same time banning the quoted individual from offering any type of commentary. If you are going to allow quotes from Antonio, then Antonio ought to be allowed to answer. That is not unreasonable in my view.

    By Blogger Looker4522, at Thursday, May 15, 2008 9:46:00 PM  

  • Jonathan, Basing my response on what you wrote, I would say you have completely missed or perhaps merely ignored the reason why Antonio posted Bob Topartzer's comments here.

    Mr. Topartzer's words were not quoted to support the substance of Antonio's position, they were quoted to demonstrate a preferred method for conducting dialog. It was the spirit of the post, not its argumentation that Antonio was focusing on. (IMO)

    If you knew this and yet still responded as you did, then your post was taking this off-topic.

    I have read a bit of what Mr. Toparzer has posted on SharperIron, and he has stated several times he sees problems with Antonio's/GES/Wilkin/Hodges/Crossless teachings, so he is not a great source for Antonio to appeal to regarding the substance of the doctrinal debate.

    By Blogger Looker4522, at Thursday, May 15, 2008 9:56:00 PM  

  • Looker:

    Regarding Antonio being banned from SI I think there is a relatively clear reason why they took this action. There was a second incident that may have contributed to his dismissal. The more clear issue has to do with the SI Doctrinal Statement.

    The primary doctrinal issue is seen in comment #25 of the thread where Antonio asked the SI admin: “Please indicate for me which one of SI’s points of doctrine that I would not agree to?”

    If you were to read the SI doctrinal statement that all members must agree to you will find this preface, “SI is a blog and forum whose mission is to edify Christian brothers and sisters by providing a place to publish and discuss news and ideas from a Christian, biblical, fundamentalist worldview. We are a site for fundamentalists. If you do not consider yourself a biblical, Christian, fundamentalist, then this site is not for you.”

    There are many examples from Antonio of his open disdain for Fundamentalism and Fundamentalist. He has spoken of Fundamentalism with open hostility. That alone is just cause to deny him access to SI.

    The secondary issue is seen in one of Antonio’s very first comments in the thread (comment #19). Antonio directed this comment to Lou: “I did notice that your last comment was your number 666 post. Quite tremendous I say.”

    He received a reprimand from an SI administrator, who wrote, “Before I discuss doctrine at Sharper Iron, I need to say something I meant to say last week. Your comparison of Lou’s post to the antichrist was inappropriate. We don't insult one another. I considered deleting it. But Lou will be fine and the written fruit of your spirit will help others read you properly. It is very objectionable and you should consider this a warning.”

    Shortly after that incident, and Antonio posting his views, the SI administration thanked him for explaining his views and dropped his membership (see comment #30).

    These facts can be verified in the still open SI thread:
    http://www.sharperiron.org/showthread.php?t=7363&page=3&pp=7

    JP

    By Blogger Jonathan Perreault, at Friday, May 16, 2008 9:54:00 AM  

  • Looker,

    Thanks for the clarification when you said:

    "Mr. Topartzer's words were not quoted to support the substance of Antonio's position, they were quoted to demonstrate a preferred method for conducting dialog. It was the spirit of the post, not its argumentation that Antonio was focusing on. (IMO)"

    If your opinion is accurate, then I hope Antonio grows in the area of "a preferred method of conducting dialog" because as I mentioned in my last comment, the SI administrator Dan Miller had this to say regarding one of the very first examples of Antonio's dialogue on SI: "Your comparison of Lou’s post to the antichrist was inappropriate. We don't insult one another. I considered deleting it. But Lou will be fine and the written fruit of your spirit will help others read you properly. It is very objectionable and you should consider this a warning.”

    JP

    By Blogger Jonathan Perreault, at Friday, May 16, 2008 10:14:00 AM  

  • Jonathan,

    I thank you for the spirit of your replies and hope we will have many edifying exchanges in the future. Since I consider myself to be a Crossless advocate, I suppose we will often be at odds, but I think we both want to do it peacefully. My blood pressure rises and I can feel my heart beat when posting hostility breaks out so I hope to avoid that! I am not naturally confrontational, but when I do I know I can have a poor attitude which means I must keep on guard and sometimes just not post at all.

    I will make a few comments to your points in my next post.

    By Blogger Looker4522, at Friday, May 16, 2008 4:57:00 PM  

  • from JP: Regarding Antonio being banned from SI I think there is a relatively clear reason why they took this action. There was a second incident that may have contributed to his dismissal. The more clear issue has to do with the SI Doctrinal Statement.

    The primary doctrinal issue is seen in comment #25 of the thread where Antonio asked the SI admin: “Please indicate for me which one of SI’s points of doctrine that I would not agree to?”

    If you were to read the SI doctrinal statement that all members must agree to you will find this preface, “SI is a blog and forum whose mission is to edify Christian brothers and sisters by providing a place to publish and discuss news and ideas from a Christian, biblical, fundamentalist worldview. We are a site for fundamentalists. If you do not consider yourself a biblical, Christian, fundamentalist, then this site is not for you.”

    Looker: I don't see the problem up to this point. I read the preface and what came after it myself before ever seeing this exchange of posts. I saw nothing in them which I disagreed with either. For whatever my opinion's worth, if Antonio joined then I would assume he saw no problems either. This was the reason for his question to the administrator.

    from JP: There are many examples from Antonio of his open disdain for Fundamentalism and Fundamentalist. He has spoken of Fundamentalism with open hostility.>>

    Looker: I have no reason to doubt you in this regard but I don't have any firsthand knowledge of it either. I myself have been uncomfortable with the way Antonio has interacted with others at times. Let me hasten to add I have seen others treat Antonio poorly as well.

    Nevertheless, the fact that Antonio has had problems with Fundamentalists and Fundamentalism does not mean he should be considered unFundamental. I have seen many Roman Catholics criticize their Church yet that doesn't mean they aren't Catholic or should be considered non-Catholic. I have seen some Church of Christ people criticize each other CoC people most rudely, yet that doesn't make them non-CoC.

    from JP: That alone is just cause to deny him access to SI.>>

    Looker: Obviously I don't think that is necessarily just cause. However, in that bloggers get to make their own rules, I understand that they may want to ban non-conformists.

    If they are going to ban folks though, then I would be more comfortable if they also banned any exchanges regarding those who are banned or their ideas since no counterarguments are allowed. It just isn't fair.

    Now, I would have the same complaint against Antonio if he has been banning folks from his site. Perhaps he has. If so, then consider this a protest aimed at him also.

    By Blogger Looker4522, at Friday, May 16, 2008 5:17:00 PM  

  • from JP: The secondary issue is seen in one of Antonio’s very first comments in the thread (comment #19). Antonio directed this comment to Lou: “I did notice that your last comment was your number 666 post. Quite tremendous I say.”

    He received a reprimand from an SI administrator, who wrote, “Before I discuss doctrine at Sharper Iron, I need to say something I meant to say last week. Your comparison of Lou’s post to the antichrist was inappropriate. We don't insult one another. I considered deleting it. But Lou will be fine and the written fruit of your spirit will help others read you properly. It is very objectionable and you should consider this a warning.”

    Looker: I read that exchange myself yesterday and didn't think it ought to have been raised to such a level by the administrator. It wasn't the smartest thing to do on Antonio's part given the circumstances. However, do you think if one of Lou's friends had jokingly pointed out the 666 to him that it would have received the same response from the administrator? Would a long-time SI poster have been banned for kidding his buddy in this way? I truly doubt it.

    By Blogger Looker4522, at Friday, May 16, 2008 5:27:00 PM  

  • Hey Looker,

    Thanks for joining in! I have to say that you were right in my assessment on why I posted this very balanced comment to a most unbalanced Lou Martuneac from Bob Topartzer.

    I appreciate your dialogue and I couldn't agree more with what you are saying. You are a welcome addition here.

    I have one request. You may regard yourself and label yourself in anyway. The thing is, though, "crossless" and any and all references to such a designation are not welcomed here. I hope that this doesn't offend you. You see, I will not be an accomplice to perpetuate a totally innaccurate, pejorative, and misrepresentative label for Free Grace theology. If you wish to distinguish the GES position with the traditionalistic tradition, you may wish to use the designations of Consistent Free Grace theology or Refined Free Grace theology, or feel free, of course to provide you own.

    I will not allow someone to define me and my theology by their misrepresentations, falsehoods, and Christ-dishonoring tactics.

    These detractors need all the ammunition they can use to impugn the theology of my conviction, so they will not retire any of their most useful brickbracks to bludgeon their theological opponents.

    I trust you will not find any problems with such a minor request. Again, I thank you for your patronage, comments, and compliance to my small request.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Friday, May 16, 2008 6:55:00 PM  

  • And furthermore, this guy, Dan Miller, stated that he was going to post why he withdrew my membership, which he never did. This in and of itself is questionable in light of the fact he said he would do so, and in light of the fact that I sent him a personal email two times with this information that he never responded to, either to me, or on SI:

    Hi Dan,

    I have waited a couple of weeks now for you to discuss the reasons why you have taken away my membership at Sharper Iron. You made mention that you were going to post the reasons why you did so on the thread talking about the Grace Evangelical Society. You stated that you would do so after getting to a computer for you were on an iPhone.

    I tried to send this message that same day but you had already taken my membership.

    I am sure you are an honorable man and will make good on your written intention of telling us the reasons why you removed my membership. The following is what I desired for you and that thread to read:

    Dan, I heartily agree to the doctrinal statement set up at SI. I believe in
    all the fundamental doctrine it expresses. It would be innapropriate to set
    a precedent by "dropping" my membership in light of the fact I proclaim,
    teach, defend, and hold each one of the precious doctrinal statements
    enumerated for us in the SI doctrinal statement.

    There is no written requirement that I do evangelism the same way you do so
    that I may post on this board. Is there indeed now a double-standard being
    applied to my situation? It is not sufficient that I defend, proclaim, and
    hold the dear doctrines written in the SI Doctrinal Statement? Sure I do
    things a different way. But I am apprised of and defend fundamental,
    orthodox doctrine.

    I have been reading all that I can about membership on this board. I can not
    find that I am required to do evangelism the same way you would in order to
    be a member.

    In evangelism:
    I preach Christ's substitutionary death on the cross for the sins of the
    world
    I preach Christ's bodily resurrection
    I preach eternal life as a free gift apart from works
    I preach faith alone in Christ alone
    and I present Jesus Christ as the authoratative Guarantor of everlasting
    life to all who simply place their faith in Him, who trust in Him as their
    Savior.

    It would be inappropriate to delete my membership when I wholeheartedly
    agree to every doctrine that has been required to be assented to in order to
    be a member here.

    Antonio da Rosa

    By Blogger Antonio, at Friday, May 16, 2008 6:58:00 PM  

  • Looker,

    Thanks for your gracious reply and encouragement in this area. I think you bring up some good points for consideration:

    1. Does Antonio consider himself a fundamentalist? I'd would appreciate Antonio's response to this question and an explanation in this regard. When I registered at SI, I had to ask myself the same question: Am I a fundamentalist? It depends on what you mean by "fundamentalist". I know to some people the label "fundamentalist" carries negative connotations and stereotypes. In this regard, I do not consider myself a fundamentalist. Aside from this however, I am comfortable with the label fundamentalist in the sense that I do adhere to the fundamentals of the faith (e.g. the SI doctrinal statement). I also think it is important to note that I have not used the label "fundamentalist" pejoritively as has Antonio. In this regard, Antonio has written various statements in which he clearly speaks of "fundamentalists" as as a group excluding himself. For example, consider this comment from his recent post "Dennis Rokser, Duluth Bible Church, and Incongruity". There Antonio writes: "The fundamentalists already have a hefty size checklist of creedal statements (along with their implicit sub-points that must be assented to in their minutia) that they require to be believed before the lost can have eternal life."
    So I think you bring up a valid point when you say that someone could consider himself a fundamentalist and still criticize certain aspects of the movement, but in Antonio's case such an explanation seems to me tenuous at best.

    2. I understood your second point to be this: How can Antonio be banned from SI yet still be quoted in the threads? This is a good question and another valid point. However, I think there is a simple explanation. If you read Dan Miller's comments in the thread I referenced above, you will see that SI doctrinally disagrees with Antonio, especially concerning the Gospel. SI does not want to "fellowship" with Antonio by allowing him to be a member of SI and by giving him a platform to spread his teachings further. SI members quote Antonio to warn fellow fundamentalists of his teaching. Additionally, SI members quote Antonio to refute his teaching. For those in the threads who may quote Antonio favorably, I assume they may agree with some of his views (as does Bob Topartzer), but not embrace all his "crossless gospel" teachings and anti-fundamentalist beliefs. As a member of SI, this is how I would respond to your second point.

    3. Your third point, according to my numbering, also seems valid. Apparently you thought the SI administrators made too much of Antonio's 666 remark to Lou? IMO, Antonio's 666 comment could be likened to "the straw that broke the camels back". The remark may seem lighthearted or insignificant to some, but I'm sure you know the power of making a good first impression. When seen in it's broader context, Antonio's antichrist insinuation was not so petty. Antonio's 666 jab was virtually the first comment he made after joining SI! It was an afterthought to his first comment. That is definately not the way to make an entrance at SI, especially when your views are already under heavy scrutiny.

    Again, I thought you brought up some good points, and these are my responses.

    JP

    By Blogger Jonathan Perreault, at Friday, May 16, 2008 8:08:00 PM  

  • Antonio,

    You posted your two comments above while I was also writing mine above. I will abide by your request on this blog; please do not take my comment above as indicating otherwise.

    On another note, the SI blog is down at the moment, but Dan Miller did make a statement clarifying the SI doctrinal statement, especially at it relates to the Gospel. I'd like to verify when Dan's comment was made - before or after he removed your membership. I think it may have been after, and if so, this comment might be the explanation you are seeking. From what Dan said in that comment clarifying the SI doctrinal statement, you do not agree with what some would call the "obvious meaning" and intent of the SI doctrinal statement, especially as it relates to the Gospel. In that comment, Dan made it clear that those who could not agree to his clarification of the SI doctrinal statement, especially as it relates to the Gospel, could not have "fellowship" with SI by being a registered member of the blog.

    JP

    By Blogger Jonathan Perreault, at Friday, May 16, 2008 8:22:00 PM  

  • from Antonio to Looker: "I appreciate your dialogue and I couldn't agree more with what you are saying. You are a welcome addition here.

    I have one request. You may regard yourself and label yourself in anyway. The thing is, though, "crossless" and any and all references to such a designation are not welcomed here. I hope that this doesn't offend you...."

    Looker: I will certainly abide by this. I also view the term in a similar fashion as you. I was merely trying to be transparent to Jonathan and figured saying it in that fashion would make my basic viewpoint abundantly clear. The term is perjorative and poisons the well in discussing this topic. I am not of afraid of it though and I will gladly suffer the title of "cXXXless", easy believist, menatal assentist, etc. just to get into the discussion and proclaim the wonderful truth of faith alone.

    Thank you for letting me know about the etiquette here and I will work at abiding by it.

    By Blogger Looker4522, at Saturday, May 17, 2008 7:36:00 AM  

  • Antonio/Looker/All:

    I was just reading through the thread under discussion at Sharper Iron. While I agree that it is curious that Dan Miller has not further elaborated on why he dropped Antonio's membership as he seemed to indicate he would, any further explanation by Dan would probably be redundant to what he has already said in the thread regarding the reasons for dropping Antonio's memebership.

    This is what I mean. In comment 25 of the thread, Antonio asked:

    "All, thank you for your warm welcome!
    Please indicate for me which one of SI's points of doctrine that I would not agree to. Thanks in advance."

    In comment 27 of the same thread, Dan Miller responded to Antonio by saying:

    "Before I discuss doctrine at SharperIron, I need to say something I meant to say last week.

    Your comparison of Lou's post to the antichrist was inappropriate. We don't insult one another. I considered deleting it. But Lou will be fine and the written fruit of your spirit will help others read you properly.

    It is very objectionable and you should consider this a warning.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Some parts of what we believe are the Gospel - the good news.

    "His substitutionary, expiatory death, in that He gave His life 'a ransom for many.'

    His resurrection from among the dead in the body in which He was crucified, and the second coming of this same Jesus in power and great glory.

    The total depravity of man through the fall.

    Salvation, the effect of regeneration by the Spirit and the Word, not by works, but by grace through faith.

    The everlasting bliss of the saved, and the everlasting suffering of the lost.

    The real spiritual unity in Christ of all redeemed by His precious blood."

    Those who believe these things believe the Gospel. Those who do not believe them do not believe the Gospel.

    So if you believe in "The essential, absolute, eternal Deity and the real and proper, but sinless, humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ," that "He gave His life 'a ransom for many'," and that all who have "unity in Christ" are "redeemed by His precious blood," then you are my Christian brother.

    In addition, at SharperIron we believe in separation.

    This is very important for you to understand.
    Galatians 1:3-9

    "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

    I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed."

    Not that there is another gospel.

    At SharperIron, we believe in the exclusivity of the Gospel.

    If you are someone who teaches the Gospel we believe, then we'll fellowship with you.

    But:

    If you are willing to bring any other "good news" other than what is above;

    If you are willing to say that those things are not necessary to believe for salvation;

    If you are willing to say that belief in some of those things isn't necessary for salvation.

    If you are willing to say that belief in the eternal Deity of Christ, or that belief in the substitutionary death of Jesus isn't necessary for salvation;

    then we will not fellowship with you.
    " (bold added)

    Apparently Antonio was not understanding the "obvious meaning" of Dan's statement, for Antonio tried to explain his views further. In comment 30 Dan Miller responded to Antonio with these words:

    "thanks for explaining your views.
    I'm going to drop your membership here.

    I'll explain why when I'm not typing on my iPhone."

    As I stated earlier, any further explanation from Dan will simply be redundant to what has already clearly stated in the thread as the reasons why SI "will not fellowship with" Antonio.

    For a further discussion and explanation of these issues please go to:
    http://www.sharperiron.org/showthread.php?p=120522#post120522

    and read comments 71 & 72 as they further explain why Antonio has to be banned from SI.

    JP

    By Blogger Jonathan Perreault, at Saturday, May 17, 2008 9:34:00 AM  

  • from JP: "There Antonio writes: "The fundamentalists already have a hefty size checklist of creedal statements (along with their implicit sub-points that must be assented to in their minutia) that they require to be believed before the lost can have eternal life."

    Looker: Without an infallible definition of fundamentalist, we may have trouble nailing this down. However, I would say the term Antonio used "The fundamentalists..." ought to be considered as pertaining only to the folks he was specifically referring to who are on the other side in this issue and not to all fundamentalists everywhere. I would not in any way have taken that as derogatory to fundamentalism in general. I have considered myself a fundamentalist but apparently I am not viewed that way by others. Who knew?!

    from JP: "So I think you bring up a valid point when you say that someone could consider himself a fundamentalist and still criticize certain aspects of the movement..."

    Looker: Thanks. Groups would be pretty small if people who have issues with them are automatically thereby not part of the group.

    from JP: "...but in Antonio's case such an explanation seems to me tenuous at best."

    Looker: I can't say. But considering the doctrinal statement at SI which they have up there right now, then I would consider myself a fundamentalist and Antonio as well. (based on my reading of a lot of his internet posts)

    By Blogger Looker4522, at Saturday, May 17, 2008 3:48:00 PM  

  • from JP: "2. I understood your second point to be this: How can Antonio be banned from SI yet still be quoted in the threads? This is a good question and another valid point."

    Looker: Thanks again.

    from JP: "However, I think there is a simple explanation. If you read Dan Miller's comments in the thread I referenced above, you will see that SI doctrinally disagrees with Antonio, especially concerning the Gospel."

    Looker: That seems to be something we agree on.

    from JP: "SI does not want to "fellowship" with Antonio by allowing him to be a member of SI and by giving him a platform to spread his teachings further."

    Looker: A strange interpretation of fellowship, if you don't mind my saying. Having debate, discussion and exploration of whatever the topic may be hardly seems to be fellowship. I would think Paul did that very thing often with the unsaved in his work. (i.e. in Athens, before and at the Areopagus, also in the school of Tyrannus, and at times with dispersed Jews all over)

    Also, if I wanted Antonio's teachings to not be spread on my website, then I certainly would NOT allow dozens of quotes from him to be posted there, no matter from whom they came. That is spreading his message. (though it is somewhat skewed I would think)

    from JP: "SI members quote Antonio to warn fellow fundamentalists of his teaching."

    Looker: That is certainly one way of looking at it, but all they may be doing by quoting him is sending people to Antonio's site to see what is going on. This only helps spread the message. (In which case Antonio has something to thank SI for.)I still maintain is simply unfair to disallow a direct defense and refutation of oneself in such a public forum as SI certainly is.


    from JP: "Additionally, SI members quote Antonio to refute his teaching. For those in the threads who may quote Antonio favorably,"

    Looker: I am curious as to how any favorable quoters of Antonio are allowed to keep their membership in SI if such a thing occurs.

    By Blogger Looker4522, at Saturday, May 17, 2008 4:10:00 PM  

  • from JP: "Your third point, according to my numbering, also seems valid."

    Looker: Well we must have some common thought processes between us.

    from JP: "Apparently you thought the SI administrators made too much of Antonio's 666 remark to Lou? IMO, Antonio's 666 comment could be likened to "the straw that broke the camels back"."

    Looker: That certainly seems reasonable to me. I agree with you there. However, that seems to imply a double-standard or perhaps an uneven application of a single standard.

    from JP:"The remark may seem lighthearted or insignificant to some, but I'm sure you know the power of making a good first impression."

    Looker: Indeed. Which is why I mentioned it wasn't the smartest thing to do on Antonio's part given the circumstances. (I am not trying to bash you personally here Antonio. It's just an observers humble opinion.) We have some agreement again.


    From JP: "When seen in it's broader context, Antonio's antichrist insinuation was not so petty. Antonio's 666 jab was virtually the first comment he made after joining SI! It was an afterthought to his first comment. That is definately not the way to make an entrance at SI, especially when your views are already under heavy scrutiny."

    Looker: No argument there. Still I think many others would have gotten away with it so I think some leeway ought to have been allowed though the simple reprimand was reasonable.

    By Blogger Looker4522, at Saturday, May 17, 2008 4:19:00 PM  

  • from JP: "...but Dan Miller did make a statement clarifying the SI doctrinal statement, especially at it relates to the Gospel. I'd like to verify when Dan's comment was made - before or after he removed your membership. I think it may have been after, and if so, this comment might be the explanation you are seeking. From what Dan said in that comment clarifying the SI doctrinal statement, you do not agree with what some would call the "obvious meaning" and intent of the SI doctrinal statement, especially as it relates to the Gospel."

    Looker: I must confess some denseness on my part as well. When I read their doctrinal statement, I had absolutely no reticence about agreeing with it. (Which, incidentally, is why I registered there. I will have to unregister now apparently.)

    I have seen some of the blogging about the doctrinal statement of the Free Grace Alliance (?) so I was sensitive to the issue of agreeing with something like this. I honestly saw no problems.


    from JP: "In that comment, Dan made it clear that those who could not agree to his clarification of the SI doctrinal statement, especially as it relates to the Gospel, could not have "fellowship" with SI by being a registered member of the blog."

    Looker: Dan needs to have all that "clarification" added immediately into the doctrinal statement rather that leaving it as it is written currently.

    By Blogger Looker4522, at Saturday, May 17, 2008 4:28:00 PM  

  • Since I seem to not be of the type allowed to post on SI, I'll post this here. I hope that is OK with the administrators here.

    From SI's Doctrinal Statement:
    "The plenary Divine inspiration of the Scriptures in the original languages, their consequent inerrancy and infallibility, and as the Word of God, the supreme and final authority in faith and life.

    The Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

    The essential, absolute, eternal Deity and the real and proper, but sinless, humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    His birth of the Virgin Mary.
    His substitutionary, expiatory death, in that He gave His life "a ransom for many."

    His resurrection from among the dead in the body in which He was crucified, and the second coming of this same Jesus in power and great glory.

    The total depravity of man through the fall.
    Salvation, the effect of regeneration by the Spirit and the Word, not by works, but by grace through faith.

    The everlasting bliss of the saved, and the everlasting suffering of the lost.

    The real spiritual unity in Christ of all redeemed by His precious blood.

    The necessity of maintaining according to the Word of God, the purity of the Church in doctrine and life."

    Is it necessary. in regards to all of these statements, to have agreement in letter, spirit and substance in order to be considered saved by SI and the broader fundamentalist community? Or is this merely a fellowship issue among the "mature and faithful" and "wayward" brothers in Christ?

    If it is necessary for salvation, it would seem to rule out a great many young children, in my opinion. Not that such a thing makes it incorrect, of course, but it was just a thought I had.

    If it is just a fellowship issue, then the importance is not nearly so great.

    By Blogger Looker4522, at Saturday, May 17, 2008 4:46:00 PM  

  • Looker,

    I enjoyed reading through your comments. Thanks for taking the time to write them. You seem to me a very reasonable person, which I admire, even though we disagree on many of these issues. I agree with you when you said:

    "Dan needs to have all that 'clarification' added immediately into the doctrinal statement rather that leaving it as it is written currently."

    After reading the doctrinal statement again, and in light of the incident with Antonio, I think there needs to be further clarification of the SI doctrinal statement, especially as it concerns the Gospel. I believe what you said is very perceptive and would make a good suggestion.

    JP

    By Blogger Jonathan Perreault, at Saturday, May 17, 2008 8:13:00 PM  

  • It seems to me a much more simple solution in this and similar circumstances would be to simply and clearly state that the [fill in the blank - Pope, Pastor, Administrator, Elders, Board, Association, etc...] is infallible and inerrant and excommunication is certain for all who would question [his/her/their] understanding or interpretation.
    ;-)

    By Blogger Kc, at Sunday, May 18, 2008 3:55:00 AM  

  • from JP: "I enjoyed reading through your comments. Thanks for taking the time to write them. You seem to me a very reasonable person, which I admire, even though we disagree on many of these issues."

    Looker: Thank you. I think this exchange has gone well from my vantage point as well. I think I have exhausted my comments on SI's dismissal of Antonio and general thoughts on freedom of posting on forums, so I'll try to refrain from bringing those things up again right now.

    I am still curious as to how folks view those 11 statements on SI's doctrinal statement - requirements for salvation and fellowship or just requirements for fellowship.

    By Blogger Looker4522, at Sunday, May 18, 2008 5:28:00 AM  

  • Truth be told, Lou Martuneac sent 50 emails to Dan (the admin of SI) and used the phrse "crossless gospel" or "sock puppet: fgme" about 25 times in each one, thus predjudicing Dan to Antonio before he even got a chance.

    I would bet on it if I thought betting was OK.

    Casey: Great to see you!!!!! We have mised you, brother. I see you are still full of wit! I hope all is well in your world.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, May 19, 2008 7:36:00 AM  

  • Looker said: "Dan needs to have all that 'clarification' added immediately into the doctrinal statement rather that leaving it as it is written currently."

    JP echoed: "After reading the doctrinal statement again, and in light of the incident with Antonio, I think there needs to be further clarification of the SI doctrinal statement, especially as it concerns the Gospel."

    I agree as well. Ambiguity is precisely what allowed Bob Wilkin to claim similar assent to our church's own statement when he visited. Our advisory group encouraged our church to tighten up our doctrinal statement by doing pretty much that -- adding some definition directly to the statement -- bearing in mind that it's virtually impossible to word something so precisely that it can't be twisted; God's own inspired word, for example, is not immune to attempts to avoid the "obvious meaning" of even it's more plain passages... let alone the ones that are actually a bit tricky.

    Anyway, I agree that SI would certainly do well to tighten up their statement a bit.

    Stephen

    By Blogger knetknight, at Monday, May 19, 2008 11:38:00 AM  

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