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BTRC Correspondence with a Reforming Ex-Pentecostal Filipino Pastor Involving the Protestant Reformed Churches in America

 

 

There are people who take notice of our little website and engage in discussion with us concerning the Gospel and the Reformed faith. It is not our propensity and habit to indiscriminately publish all those inquiries and discussions except those we deem significant to our stance such as the discussion below. It is not our purpose to attack people in their persons but to confront false views, hence, we have concealed their personal identity in this post. Anyone interested to inquire of their identity may send us e-mail [A.M.A.].

 

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Hello Pastor,

 

I have read your website as reformed church and that I understand you are coming from a full-gospel church and now adopting the reformed doctrines and practices. I am just curios because I was introduce about the reform and was really convinced that I need to shift if not abandon my present church. However, before doing that I am still hoping I can turn it around by the grace of God.

 

As I scanned your site I notice that you are now a denomination as reformed church. How did you do that? I mean did you just adopt right away the reformed? I have so many questions because I want to do the same... hope you can give me light on this.

 

Sincerely Yours,

 

“Pastor C”

  

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Dear “Pastor C”,

 

This is in response to the letter you sent to my fellow minister Ptr. Romel Espera inquiring of how we have organized together as Reformed Churches mostly coming out of the Pentecostal movement.

 

It is interesting to hear from you. We would be interested also to know where you are currently pastoring.

 

It is not easy to relate a detailed account of how our denomination came into being. I could give you some significant highlights though. First, while being still affiliated with the Foursquare (Pentecostal) denomination we were introduced and exposed to some Reformed literature. These influenced our theology, our preaching and our worship. It was a time then that certain new practices were introduced into the denomination such as the G-12, Power-Encounter deliverance and the "holy laughter". We refused to subscribe to and practice these. We were marked and reprimanded for doing so until tension built up ultimately leading to our resignation.

 

We had members in our churches who symphatized with us and who were willing to learn from our teachings influenced by then by Reformed theology. Prior to organizing ourselves as a Reformed denomination we first established our convictions concerning the foundational and life-and-death issue of the Gospel of salvation. We have observed that there are many versions of what is called the "Gospel" in spite of the solemn warning of the apostle Paul that there are false gospels and those who preach such are eternally damned--preachers who are themselves lost and unsaved leading unsaved souls to hell. So we first established what the true Biblical Gospel is and affirmed our united agreement with it. By this we have found a standard by which we may judge between true and false Christian churches. Pentecostal churches and Arminian churches are evidently false churches.

 

By that time we were convinced that the historic Reformed faith upholds the true and Biblical Gospel. However we have also found out that not all so-called "Reformed" or Calvinistic churches are true churches! There are those who call themselves Reformed but deny the Gospel of Grace and have become Arminian churches like the CRC and many Presbyterians. There are those who zealously profess to be historic Reformed churches and "Calvinists" but are actually "tolerant Calvinists" who teach that one can be saved in spite of believing the false gospel of Arminianism. They maintain that Arminianism is merely an inferior Christianity while Calvinism is a superior Christianity. One can be saved in believing either. To us this is absurd and alarming. No one is saved by believing a false gospel.

 

So we searched for Reformed churches who we think are the most faithful to the historic Reformed faith. We found one denomination in the States who eventually assisted us with sound Reformed literature but we never desired to affiliate with them and ask for financial assistance. We resolved to be an indigenous denomination. With such literature we were able to understand the heart doctrine of the Reformed faith--the Covenant which by the way distinguishes a Reformed church from a Baptist church which adheres to the TULIP but not to infant baptism. By our understanding of the Covenant we accepted the propriety of "infant baptism."

 

Then in 2004 we signed an Act of Agreement federating our four small local churches to become a little Reformed denomination.

 

I guess I have related much of these in our website. You may further explore the site for more detailed info.

 

Through the recent years we were laboring together to come up with a Church Order, conferences, translating the English Psalter into Tagalog and the Reformed Confessions (Belgic, Heidelberg, Canons of Dordt) and whatever will lead to the edification of our dear fellow saints in the Gospel.

 

That's what I can tell you for now. Please feel free to ask questions. We'll be glad and willing to be of help.

 

 

Cordially,

Alex Aquino

BTRC Antipolo

 

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Dear Pastor Alex,

 

Greetings...

 

Thank you for your response. I was as I should say reforming in a sense. I am into research about reform. So far there are few churches here in the Philippines that subscribe to reform docs and practices. I don't know if you are familiar with Pasig Covenant Reform Church under Pastor M------- in Pasig City. Also Pas V---------- in Davao City. Pas M------- is MDiv from Westminster while Pas V---------- from Mid America Theological Seminary.

 

We were trying to locate same minded Pastors of reform churches here in the Philippines, so far your denomination is unique. I thought you were given authority from the US or any affiliations. So far I see your actions quite commendable.

 

Actually I am affiliated with Kagay-an Reform church by Pastor M---. He did not like to start with our own ordination of workers but we follow the form of ordination of workers from the continental reform. Thats why I ask about yours of how did you do it.

 

This April 14-May 14 we are having a month training and our speaker through skype coming from CANRC (canada), USCRCA (US) and FRCA (australia). and they will examine us if we truly follow the reform docs and practices. Hoping we can pass we will be installed as elders. As they say, we cannot ba a pastor not until we have finished MDiv or DDiv ( there are reasons behind these).

 

In my understanding you are also researching and continue studying about reform. I hope to really see all of you and discuss more about this and learn from you.

 

Again thank you for your time.

 

“Pastor C”

  

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Dear “Pastor C”,

 

I am aware of the existence of Pasig and Davao Covenant Churches. As far as I know they are affiliated/connected to the United Reformed Churches in America. I was a bit surprised in our earlier stages together as Bastion of Truth Reformed Churches that there are other prominent and influential Reformed churches here in our country besides the Christian Reformed Church. I was once able to correspond via e-mail with Rev. M-------. I disagreed with his and his denomination's stance on the false doctrine of "common grace." It is my estimate that most if not all of the Reformed denominations you mentioned subscribe to this error which negates the Gospel of sovereign particular grace. The Canadian Reformed Churches, besides subscribing to common grace, also adhere to the doctrine of a "conditional covenant." Our churches are quite averse to all forms of "conditionalism" as they negate the only and true Gospel of God's grace in salvation. We must remember that the Gospel is essential and foundational to everything. We at BTRC always begin from the Gospel and its principle. In fact, we were able to readily and wholeheartedly subscribe to the historic Reformed system because we believed it is truly consistent with and faithfully represents the only and true Biblical Gospel. We are also always on guard in view of the apostle Paul's solemn warning in Galatians 1:6-9 against teaching and falling into "another" gospel" that if anyone, he be an angel from heaven or even an apostle of Christ or someone with MDiv, PhD. or DDiv. attached to his name, teaches a false gospel, "Let him be eternally condemned." We do not disdain institutionalization or theological training but we are always disappointed when every time we ask ministers (those supposedly educated and possessing credentials) what the Gospel IS, we receive a vague and indirect answer, that is, if they do not evade the question. Perhaps, I should pose the same question to you: "What is the Gospel?" before we proceed into the intricacies of the Reformed establishment.

 

We would be delighted to meet you if circumstances allow us. Are you based in Northern Luzon?

 

Please be assured that we are willing to continue correspondence with you and be of assistance in any way we can.

 

Cordially,

Alex

 

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Dear Pas Alex,

 

Thank you so much for the response and the pose questions.

I am not so familiar with the doctrine of common grace. Is it the same doctrine being sponsored by CRC which is the 3 point thing? Which lead to the formation of Protestant reform?

 

The Gospel: TULIP

 

… Dear Alex,

 

Sorry for quick response last night I was quite busy.

You ask me about the the gospel:

 

What is the gospel?

 

“Gospel” means the good news that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. However, without the right understanding of what it means to be a “sinner,” you cannot understand the gospel. God relates to mankind through the covenant of works, in which our first father Adam forsook his obligations and rebelled against God. As a result, the human race is totally depraved, deserves only

condemnation, and may come to realize its sorry condition by listening to God’s law, which is anything that He commands.

 

In John 3:3 - no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born-again. I thought before that being born-again is accepting Jesus or having faith is the answer but its not. I was regenerated because of the grace of God. God acted and through His Spirit I was alive as what Ephesians 2:8,9 said for by grace I was saved through faith not because of works lest any man should boast. He gaved me faith and repentance because I was born again not the other way around.

 

The "gospel" means God declares me righteous in Christ through faith. The book of Romans called it Justification. “Justification” is God’s declaration that a sinner is righteous according to the law. Jesus Christ, by His active and passive obedience, fulfills the undone and forsaken obligations of the covenant of works. Sinners are justified on the ground of Christ’s work alone as they place true faith in Him.

 

I hope I have presented my short answer to you about the Gospel. You are right there are many gospels presented today. But the bible is clear Jesus Christ is the Gospel. Solo Christos, Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Soli Deo gloria.

 

By the way are you subscribing the Protestant Reformed church doctrine of Common Grace?

 

If you are not subscribing from any denominations abroad you are still subscribing an Arminian view. Most independent churches in the Philippines are saying that they do not depend from other churches. But being reformed we need or one way or another must be connected with as true reform.

 

“Pastor C”

 

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Dear “Pastor C”,

 

Thank you for patiently responding to my inquiries and keeping up with this correspondence in spite of your busy schedule. Thank you for presenting the essence of the Gospel the best way you can. I would have been satisfied with your first presentation (though it was hastily presented), "The Gospel: TULIP." I could have entirely agreed with you that the only and true Gospel is God's fulfillment of His promise to save out of His own free and gracious will for His purpose to glorify His own Name Totally Depraved, dead, guilty and hell-deserving sinners whom He chose by His eternal and Unconditional Election, fulfilled that promise by sending His Son to provide for a Limited Atonement and establish a righteousness for them and them alone as the only condition for their salvation and nothing of theirs, apply it to them by Irresisitible Grace working the new birth, faith, repentance, good works through the Holy Spirit and Perseverance in those works.

 

Would you therefore agree that anyone to whom this Gospel is presented and denies any or all of these truths manifests the evidence that he is still unregenerate and lost. In other words would you agree that an "Arminian" who believes that salvation is conditioned on the sinner is yet not saved and still in darkness? In other words, would you agree that Arminianism is a false gospel that cannot save? Would you be ready to accept that the staunch Arminian John Wesley believes a false gospel that cannot save?

 

Admittedly, I was troubled by your including the subject of a Covenant of Works in your understanding of the Gospel. I have questions about that. Do you mean by "Covenant of Works" that the maintaining of God's Covenant depends on the obedience of man? Do you mean that if Adam hypothetically did not sin and fulfilled the Covenant of Works he could have entered eternal life and that there was actually no need for Christ to come and work salvation? Do you mean that Adam in the state of righteousness could merit God's favor? Do you mean that Christ is a mere "Plan B" in God's counsel--salvation being a mere "patchwork" for the damage sin had caused? Do you mean that there are two covenants? of Works and of Grace?

 

The Three Points of Common Grace is an official doctrine of the CRC. Sadly and alarmingly, it is the reason for the denomination's and other so-called "Reformed" denominations' worsening apostasy. "Common Grace" is "Arminianism" sown and now deeply imbedded in the Reformed churches. The diametrical opposite of Common Grace is "Particular Grace." This is the stance (Particular Grace) of the Protestant Reformed Churches of America which led to their separation from the CRCNA and their establishment as a separate Reformed denomination in 1924. Incidentally, it is from the Protestant Reformed Churches that we were able to learn much about historic Reformed doctrines and practices. We have sat in Reformed lectures under one of their missionaries and attended their conferences. They extended help by distributing good Reformed literature to our pastors. But as I have told you before, we haven't reached the point that we really had to establish official ties with the American Church. We are a denomination and it is sufficient for the time being that we have a system of guarding ourselves within the bounds of Scriptural and Reformed truth.

 

Let me clarify in view of your inaccurate representation of the Protestant Reformed Churches that they subscribe to Common Grace. They DO NOT, rather, they "condemn" Common Grace and we do also as Bastion of Truth Reformed Churches.

 

Let me comment also on your conclusion that being independent of American (or foreign) denominations makes one an Arminian. This is a fallacy. By way of syllogism you are saying:

 

Premise 1: Those who have no affiliation with foreign denominations are Arminians.

Premise 2: The BTRCs do not have affiliations with foreign denominations.

Conclusion: The BTRCs are Arminians

 

This is fallacy just as its opposite is:

 

Premise 1: Those who are affiliated with foreign denominations are Reformed.

Premise 2: The Arminian-Methodist denomination is affiliated with a foreign denomination.

Conclusion: Methodists are Reformed.

 

This sort of thinking has resemblance to the Roman Catholic Church's false doctrine of "Apostolic Succession" meaning they could claim they are the true church because they have an unbroken line of Peter's successors, the Popes. Much the same with the arrogant Landmark Baptists who claim that they are the pure and original church based on the idea of a "Baptist Successionism" meaning they have an unbroken line of baptisms. I'm afraid there are at least some within the Reformed movement who are falling into such mentality of "successionism", that is they have an unbroken line of formally ordained ministers which qualifies them to be the true church. Luther would be disqualified if that is the case. The first Reformers would be disqualified too unless they would recognize their former ordination as Roman Catholic priests. An ordination under a false church.

 

The Unity of the church does not depend on organization but on Apostolic doctrine, particularly the truth of the Gospel of Sovereign Particular Grace.

 

I encourage you to further explore our website as many of your questions have answers found in the articles posted there.

 

I would appreciate it very much if you will enlighten me regarding the matters I touched above. Thank you.

 

 

In His Sevice,

 

Alex

 

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The following are our responses to “Pastor C’s” arguments and counter arguments

 

[ AA ] My regards “Ptr. C”. My responses are in blue text:

 

[AA] Dear “Pastor C”,

 

Thank you for patiently responding to my inquiries and keeping up with this correspondence in spite of your busy schedule. Thank you for presenting the essence of the Gospel the best way you can. I would have been satisfied with your first presentation (though it was hastily presented), "The Gospel: TULIP." I could have entirely agreed with you that the only and true Gospel is God's fulfillment of His promise to save out of His own free and gracious will for His purpose to glorify His own Name Totally Depraved, dead, guilty and hell-deserving sinners whom He chose by His eternal and Unconditional Election, fulfilled that promise by sending His Son to provide for a Limited Atonement and establish a righteousness for them and them alone as the only condition for their salvation and nothing of theirs, apply it to them by Irresisitible Grace working the new birth, faith, repentance, good works through the Holy Spirit and Perseverance in those works.

 

Would you therefore agree that anyone to whom this Gospel is presented and denies any or all of these truths manifests the evidence that he is still unregenerate and lost. In other words would you agree that an "Arminian" who believes that salvation is conditioned on the sinner is yet not saved and still in darkness?

 

[“Pastor C”] I DON’T AGREE WITH THE ARMINIANS VIEW THUS WHY THE TULIP WAS PRESENTED TO CORRECT THEIR VIEW. BUT ARE THEY SAVED? THE ARMINIANS BELIEVED THEY ARE ONLY CONDITIONALLY. YES IT’S A VERY UNCOMFORMTABLE SITUATION.

 

[AA] You have not answered my question. Are Arminians who remain believing the FALSE GOSPEL of a conditional salvation saved? The Lord Jesus plainly said. “Go ye into all the world and preach the GOSPEL to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15, 16). Can you not “comfortably” agree with Him?

 

[AA] In other words, would you agree that Arminianism is a false gospel that cannot save?

 

[“Pastor C”] ALTHOUGH THEY REVERSE THE ORDOS SALUTIS WE MUST BE PATIENT IN PRESENTING THEM THE REAL GOSPEL RATHER THAN PASS JUDGMENT.

 

[AA] The problem with Arminians is not merely their reversal of the Ordo Salutis but their fundamental belief in a false gospel that conditions salvation NOT on Christ alone but on the sinner. Paul clearly taught “He who preaches another gospel, let him be eternally condemned” (Gal. 1:6-9). It is not a question of being patient in presenting the Gospel to lost Arminians but the Biblical “judging” which every true believer is duty-bound to pass on anyone who professes Christ but believes a false gospel (Matthew 7:15-20) so that in determining that a person’s gospel is false we warn him of the utter danger of his believing a false gospel.

 

[AA] Would you be ready to accept that the staunch Arminian John Wesley believes a false gospel that cannot save?

 

[“Pastor C”] WE CANT READ THE HEARTS OF MEN WE KNOW THEM BY THEIR FRUITS. ONLY GOD CAN FINALY JUDGE. ALTHOUGH AS CALVINIST WE ARE SO SURE OF OUR SALVATION THEN WE MUST HELP THERS WHO CANT UNDERSTANT IT RIGHT DUE TO THE DELIVERY OF THE EARLY CHRISTIANS.

 

[AA] True, we cannot read men’s hearts; but God commands us to know them by their fruits. Now, if we see fruits of confessing a false gospel, cannot we discern what sort of tree they are (whether good or bad)? It is not an issue of whether Arminians receive an obscured knowledge of the doctrine by early Christians (as you’ve said) but whether they believe that their salvation is conditioned upon Christ’s atonement alone or that it is conditioned upon themselves being dead sinners. Arminians definitely believe that it is on their free-will that their salvation is ultimately conditioned and not on Christ.

 

[AA] Admittedly, I was troubled by your including the subject of a Covenant of Works in your understanding of the Gospel. I have questions about that. Do you mean by "Covenant of Works" that the maintaining of God's Covenant depends on the obedience of man? Do you mean that if Adam hypothetically did not sin and fulfilled the Covenant of Works he could have entered eternal life and that there was actually no need for Christ to come and work salvation? Do you mean that Adam in the state of righteousness could merit God's favor? Do you mean that Christ is a mere "Plan B" in God's counsel--salvation being a mere "patchwork" for the damage sin had caused? Do you mean that there are two covenants? of Works and of Grace?

 

[“Pastor C”] I WAS PRESENTING TO YOU ADAM BEFORE THE FALL HE COULD HAVE BEEN SAVED IF HE OBEYED THE COVENANT HE MADE WITH GOD. AFTER THE FALL GRACE WAS THE ONLY WAY THROUGH CHRIST.

 

[AA] Your response here reveals that you still subscribe to the Arminian idea of ‘merit’ in spite of your claim to be Reformed. By believing in your own idea of a Covenant of Works, you believe (1) that there is at least another means by which man could enter eternal life other than God’s grace revealed in the sacrifice of Christ. (2) You believe that Adam in the state of righteousness could attain eternal life by obeying God. You also believe (3) that there are at least two covenants of God (of Works and of Grace). (4) You are bound to accept also that Christ’s sacrifice was only a “Plan B”, an inferior afterthought in God and only a means to “repair” the damage done by sin, but the damage was done after all. I think you have been too hasty (without giving it much thought and study) in adopting the idea of a “covenant of works” as much as you have been too hurried to affiliate with foreign churches. Your covenant view is unbiblical. First, there is NO such thing as a Covenant of Works. Adam was a creature with whom God established His Covenant of Grace from the very beginning. Adam could never merit with God for He was only a creature. All that he had, intelligence and strength, are all from God by grace. He was able to obey God because even the willingness and strength to obey was from God by grace. It is not true that Adam could have entered eternal life if He continued to obey. God is not obliged to reward Adam’s obedience with eternal life for obeying God is Adam’s “reward” itself. Adam should obey, not because it has rewards, but because it is right. Hypothetically, if he continued in obedience in Eden he would have remained there—on earth (only) continually, but NOT in eternal life in heaven. Eternal life in heaven can only be attained through Christ in the way of sin and grace—of death and redemption. That is why God also decreed the Fall because Adam could attain eternal life through Christ alone (never by his own obedience!). God’s eternal Covenant is unconditional (not conditioned on Adam’s obedience), unbreakable and eternal. Therefore there is only one covenant of God, the Covenant of Grace all throughout.

 

If you seriously and intentionally inject this idea of merit in the Covenant it will negate your conception of the Gospel being the TULIP (of absolute, pure grace). In other words if you are serious with your false idea of a covenant of works, you are in danger of believing and teaching a false gospel which cannot save. To accept this false idea of a covenant of works is to deny the “Five Solas.” Instead of “Scripture Alone” you say human opinion “also”. Instead of “by Grace alone” you say by human merit “also”. Instead of “by Faith Alone”, you say by works “also”. Instead of “Christ Alone”, you say by Adam’s supposed obedience “also”. Instead of “God’s Glory Alone”, you say by man’s participation “also”. The Five Solas are applicable to Adam even in his state of righteousness. Otherwise you end up not with the Reformation’s Five Solas but with the false gospel’s “Five ALSO’s.”

 

[AA] The Three Points of Common Grace is an official doctrine of the CRC. Sadly and alarmingly, it is the reason for the denomination's and other so-called "Reformed" denominations' worsening apostasy. "Common Grace" is "Arminianism" sown and now deeply imbedded in the Reformed churches.

 

[“Pastor C”] COMMON GRACE WAS GIVEN BY GOD BOTH THE ELECT AND THE SINNER. EVEN THE THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL.

 

[AA] I would understand if you speak this way. Again, as much as you were quick to welcome denominations professing themselves “Reformed” you are also quick to thoughtlessly conclude that grace is common. We believe that the Gospel is to be proclaimed to all, but that does not follow that God bestows His grace to all. His grace is only for all His elect because He only intends to save them and them alone. Grace that is common is not grace at all. Common Grace is “Arminianism” which is the false gospel that cannot save. By subscribing to Common Grace you are willing to subscribe to the FALSE gospel.

 

[AA] The diametrical opposite of Common Grace is "Particular Grace."

 

[“Pastor C”] I BELIEVE THIS IS THE DOCTRINE WHERE THE PRC WAS OUTCAST.

 

[AA] They (PRC) were outcast because the majority of the Reformed church world especially CRC have taken the road down to apostasy.

 

[AA] This is the stance (Particular Grace) of the Protestant Reformed Churches of America which led to their separation from the CRCNA and their establishment as a separate Reformed denomination in 1924. Incidentally, it is from the Protestant Reformed Churches that we were able to learn much about historic Reformed doctrines and practices. We have sat in Reformed lectures under one of their missionaries and attended their conferences. They extended help by distributing good Reformed literature to our pastors.

 

[“Pastor C”] THIS IS A GOOD GESTURE AND WHY YOU DON’T CONNECT?

 

[AA] It was a good gesture because it was an expression that we do not entirely isolate ourselves from the historic Reformed church community. If by “connect” you mean “affiliate” it was not on the top of our priorities and it is not the only gesture of unity. Many essential things must be very carefully considered first as grounds for unity and this is not at all easy. That is why I am wondering how you could hurriedly speak peace with Reformed churches without carefully examining their Gospel stands. You have been quick to receive churches who believe in the false doctrines of Common Grace and an unbiblical understanding of the Covenant.

 

[AA] But as I have told you before, we haven't reached the point that we really had to establish official ties with the American Church. We are a denomination and it is sufficient for the time being that we have a system of guarding ourselves within the bounds of Scriptural and Reformed truth.

 

[“Pastor C”] GUARDING FOR WHAT? THIS IS WHAT I MEAN YOU SOUND STILL AN ARMINIAN. BECAUSE MOST CHURCHES UNDER ARMINIAN ARE INDEPENDENT. AM SORRY IF A SOUND TOO HARSH. BUT I RESPECT YOUR STAND TO REMAIN INDEPENDENT.

 

[AA] Guarding (by the Reformed standards) against false gospels, false doctrine, false brethren and ungodliness. It is not an essential mark of being Reformed to be formally affiliated with the churches of the white and the wealthy. As I have said, many Arminian denominations here in our country are affiliated with foreign churches, but does that mean they are Reformed?

 

[AA] Let me clarify in view of your inaccurate representation of the Protestant Reformed Churches that they subscribe to Common Grace. They DO NOT, rather, they "condemn" Common Grace and we do also as Bastion of Truth Reformed Churches.

 

Let me comment also on your conclusion that being independent of American (or foreign) denominations makes one an Arminian. This is a fallacy. By way of syllogism you are saying:

 

[“Pastor C”] YOU ARE NOT ARMINIAN BUT SOUND AS AMINIAN IN PRACTICE. IF YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN THEN YOU ARE ARMINIAN.  THE BIBLE IS CLEAR WE ARE NOT A SEPARATE BODY.

 

[AA] Historically, “Pastor C”, James Arminius was a minister in the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands as well as his disciples (the Remonstrants) after he died. They were all Arminians but were abiding in the Reformed church “practice”. They “connected” with consistories, classes and synods and correspondences with foreign Reformed churches but were Arminians. They did not intend to separate from the denomination but they all remained Arminians. Arminians don’t separate, they seek unity to fortify and propagate their damnable errors.

 

That is clear to us, the Church is only one body but it doesn’t always mean organizational unity. Christ prayed that His elect everywhere should be sanctified (consecrated) in the Truth (John 17:19-21 cf. 1 Corinthians 1:2). The churches you intend to “connect” with are breaking that Unity of the Body in the Truth by adopting the false doctrines of Common Grace and a conditional covenant while seeking superficial organizational unity.

 

[AA] Premise 1: Those who have no affiliation with foreign denominations are Arminians.

Premise 2: The BTRCs do not have affiliations with foreign denominations.

Conclusion: The BTRCs are Arminians

 

[“Pastor C”] BUT MY ARGUMENT CAN BE FOUND IN THE BIBLE. AND WE CAN OBSERVE THAT IN THE MOST PHILIPPINE ARMINIAN OR FOREIGN CHURCHES.

YOU HAVE TO CONVINCE ME WHY YOU DIDN’T CONNECT TO REFORMED CHURCHES ABROAD? YOU ARE ONLY FOUNDED 2004?

THEN WHY USE REFORM NAME IN YOUR CHURCHES IF YOU ARE NOT CONNECTED? WHATS THE POINT?

 

[AA] Your argument is not Biblical at all; far less logical. You are basing your false and sweeping dogmatic conclusion by falsely associating Arminianism with the idea and practice of church independence from foreign institutions. And you have judged the BTRC to be Arminian based on this mere observation. Let me clarify again the fallacy of your reasoning:

 

Premise 1: It is “observed” that the Roman Catholic Church practices infant baptism.

Premise 2: Reformed Churches practice infant baptism.

Conclusion: Reformed churches are not Roman Catholics but SOUND Roman Catholic in “practice.”

 

Would you honestly accept this?

 

Indeed, our four local churches have federated together in 2004, but would that sever us from the historic Reformation in spite of our whole-hearted subscription to the Canons of Dordt, the Belgic Confession and the Heidelberg Catechism? Why did we not “connect” with Reformed Churches abroad? Again, it is not that we do not want to, but we are cautious not to be hasty and rash in uniting with other churches notwithstanding their claim to be Reformed.

 

I will pose similar questions to you. Why do you call your self “Reformed” while subscribing to the Arminian concept of “Common Grace” and “Covenant of Works”? What’s the point?

 

[AA] This is fallacy just as its opposite is:

 

Premise 1: Those who are affiliated with foreign denominations are Reformed.

Premise 2: The Arminian-Methodist denomination is affiliated with a foreign denomination.

Conclusion: Methodists are Reformed.

 

This sort of thinking has resemblance to the Roman Catholic Church's false doctrine of "Apostolic Succession" meaning they could claim they are the true church because they have an unbroken line of Peter's successors, the Popes. Much the same with the arrogant Landmark Baptists who claim that they are the pure and original church based on the idea of a "Baptist Successionism" meaning they have an unbroken line of baptisms. I'm afraid there are at least some within the Reformed movement who are falling into such mentality of "successionism", that is they have an unbroken line of formally ordained ministers which qualifies them to be the true church. Luther would be disqualified if that is the case. The first Reformers would be disqualified too unless they would recognize their former ordination as Roman Catholic priests. An ordination under a false church.

 

[“Pastor C”] YOU ALREADY KNOW THAT REFORM CHURCHES ARE LOCALLY INDEPENDENT GOVERN  BY PASTOR, ELDERS AND DEACONS. NOT BY POPE OR CARDINALS AND SO ON… EVEN THE SYNOD HAS NO PAWER OVER THE LOCAL CHURCH. THAT’S WHY I AM ASKING YOU WHY YOU DON’T CONNECT.

 

[AA] You did not understand me. You mentioned that “Reformed churches are locally independent govern (sic) by pastor, elders and deacons” YET they CANNOT be “Reformed” unless they are “DEPENDENT” on churches abroad. My point in relation to what I said above is that in your insistence that a church can truly be a Reformed church if it has “connections” to churches abroad I understand it to mean that there must be an “unbroken” succession of ordinations in order for it to claim that it is a true church. I was saying that this is the wicked mentality of superstitious Popery and arrogant Landmarkism—there must be an unbroken “connection.”

 

[AA] The Unity of the church does not depend on organization but on Apostolic doctrine, particularly the truth of the Gospel of Sovereign Particular Grace.

 

[“Pastor C”] SO YOU MEAN YOU STILL BELIEVE THE APOSTLE IN YOUR CHURCH EXIST? WHAT APOSTOLIC DOCTINE? IS IT NOT ARMINIAN? BUT IF YOU MEAN THE BIBLE…

 

[AA] If you continue speaking in this manner even after you have earned an M.Div. or PhD., I would really begin to question the reliability of such titles and attainments. Of course we DON’T! You have misunderstood me again. We insist that we are “one” with the true historic church, not by way of formal organization, but in being one with it in the Biblical TRUTH which the APOSTLES taught. This does not mean we believe apostles still exist today.

 

[“Pastor C”] I HOPE I AM NOT HARSH IN MY OPINION REALLY I WANT TO LEARN FROM YOU.

 

[AA] I hope too that you have been learning from these discussions “Pastor C”. I suggest you further explore our website and find there the article “What It Means To Be Reformed?”

 

“Pastor C”

 

In His Service,

Alex

 

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Dear “Pastor C”: My latest responses in dark blue indicated by [ AA ]. Hoping you can bear with them for discussion’s sake.

 

[“Pastor C”] MY RESPONSE IN RED. HOPE NOT A BLOODY ONE.

 

[AA] Would you therefore agree that anyone to whom this Gospel is presented and denies any or all of these truths manifests the evidence that he is still unregenerate and lost. In other words would you agree that an "Arminian" who believes that salvation is conditioned on the sinner is yet not saved and still in darkness?

 

[“Pastor C”] I DON’T AGREE WITH THE ARMINIANS VIEW THUS WHY THE TULIP WAS PRESENTED TO CORRECT THEIR VIEW. BUT ARE THEY SAVED? THE ARMINIANS BELIEVED THEY ARE ONLY CONDITIONALLY. YES IT’S A VERY UNCOMFORMTABLE SITUATION.

 

[AA] You have not answered my question. Are Arminians who remain believing the FALSE GOSPEL of a conditional salvation saved? The Lord Jesus plainly said. “Go ye into all the world and preach the GOSPEL to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15, 16). Can you not “comfortably” agree with Him?

 

[“Pastor C”] YES, NO ONE CAN BE SAVED APART FROM CHRIST. WHAT I MEAN HERE IS THAT THE ARMINIANS ARE IN A VERY UNCOMFORTABLE SITUATIONS. I HAVE READ THEIR 5 STANDS AGAINST THE REFORMED FATHERS. IT IS UNSOUND ARGUMENT.

 

[ AA ] So would you agree that being an Arminian is the same as being “apart from Christ”? Still, you have no unequivocal answer to this question. The 5 points of their Remonstrance are not merely unsound arguments but attacks against the very Gospel of Sovereign Particular Grace. Attack against the Gospel is attack against the truth that salvation depends upon Christ alone.

 

[ AA ] Admittedly, I was troubled by your including the subject of a Covenant of Works in your understanding of the Gospel. I have questions about that. Do you mean by "Covenant of Works" that the maintaining of God's Covenant depends on the obedience of man? Do you mean that if Adam hypothetically did not sin and fulfilled the Covenant of Works he could have entered eternal life and that there was actually no need for Christ to come and work salvation? Do you mean that Adam in the state of righteousness could merit God's favor? Do you mean that Christ is a mere "Plan B" in God's counsel--salvation being a mere "patchwork" for the damage sin had caused? Do you mean that there are two covenants? of Works and of Grace?

 

[“Pastor C”] I WAS PRESENTING TO YOU ADAM BEFORE THE FALL HE COULD HAVE BEEN SAVED IF HE OBEYED THE COVENANT HE MADE WITH GOD. AFTER THE FALL GRACE WAS THE ONLY WAY THROUGH CHRIST.

 

[“Pastor C”] COVENANT IN ESSENCE IS A RELATIONSHIP MADE BETWEEN GOD AND ADAM. AND IT WAS MADE BY GOD HIMSELF FOR THE ADVANTAGE OF MAN AS HE CREATED HIM ACCORDING TO HIS IMAGE. THE PURPOSE OF THE COVENANT WAS FOR MAN TO ENJOY THE RELATIONSHIP THEY HAVE WITH GOD. REMAIN TRUE TO THE COVENANT MEANS BLESSINGS AND ETC. AS WHAT WE OBSERVE IN THE GEN 1-2. SINCE ADAM WAS MADE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD AND NOT IN THE INFLUENCE OF SIN. HE WAS GIVEN THE MANDATE TO MULTIPLY, RULE THE CREATION AND NOT TO EAT THE FRUIT OF THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE AND EVIL. AND THIS IS THE TERM USE FOR THIS A COVENANT OF WORKS OTHERS USE COVENANT OF CREATION.

 

IF PERFECTLY OBEYED ADAM COULD HAVE BEEN SAVED. BECAUSE HE WILL EAT THE TREE OF LIFE WHICH IS CHRIST.

 

GOD HAS DRIVEN THEM OUT OF THE GARDEN BECAUSE THEY FAIL. SIN ENTERED.

 

OUT OF MERCY HE MADE A COVENANT OF GRACE. THE NEW COVENANT.

 

[ AA ] Here is revealed your impoverished understanding of the covenant, even your idea of the Covenant of Works. I thought this should be clear in “Reformed” seminaries. Your understanding of the “essence” of the covenant is quite ambiguous. First, you have not clarified if it is “conditional” or “unconditional”; whether God who is Sovereign (able to do all He pleases) can maintain that Covenant in spite of Adam’s violation and failure. Secondly, your idea of the “purpose” of the Covenant is not God-centered but “man-centered.” The purpose of the Covenant is for the Triune God to reveal for His own glory’s sake that blessed life enjoyed within Himself towards the creature, that is outside of Himself. Thirdly, in saying that “if perfectly obeyed Adam could have been saved” you are in error. Adam did not need salvation while perfectly obeying. Salvation presupposes sin. Salvation is not reward for obedience for why should you save the “obedient”? This is absurdity. Fourthly, you are in error when you said that Adam will be “saved” by eating of the Tree of Life. Is not he already eating of the Tree of Life before he fell (Gen. 2:16)? There never is a single verse in the Bible that says this. The Bible simply says that Adam would continue to live on earth, not to be transported to Heaven, if he eats of the Tree of Life (Gen. 3:22). Fifthly, you are in error by stating that “out of mercy He made a covenant of Grace. The New Covenant.” This is error because (1) It was not out of “mercy” that God made a covenant. God established His covenant with Adam the very moment he created Him, a covenant of grace and, that is, even “prior” to the Fall. It doesn’t take “mercy” (which presupposes sin and the Fall) for God to establish His covenant. (2) If the Covenant of Grace you are referring to is the New Covenant, we have a big big problem! Seth, Enoch, Noah, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Solomon, etc. are still under the Covenant of Works! Do you mean that while being in the Old Covenant or Old Testament they were saved “by works”? This is not the teaching of the Bible. Is this really the kind of learning which I will receive when I get my Master of Divinity or Doctor of Theology degree in your so called “Reformed” seminaries? The truth is God established only one eternal Covenant of Grace. In that only ONE covenant God decreed that man should fall so that he may enter the perfect revelation of the wonder of grace through sin and grace; death and redemption. There is only one way to attain eternal life beginning Adam up to the last elect to be born—that is, in Christ by GRACE through faith alone. That one Covenant of Grace has two administrations: the Old (in Christ by the dispensation of promise, types and shadows; NEVER by “works”) and the same Covenant in the New (dispensation of fulfilment in Christ). There is only one covenant; no Covenant of Works.

 

[AA] Your response here reveals that you still subscribe to the Arminian idea of ‘merit’ in spite of your claim to be Reformed. By believing in your own idea of a Covenant of Works, you believe:

(1) that there is at least another means by which man could enter eternal life other than God’s grace revealed in the sacrifice of Christ.

[“Pastor C”] Nope, I believe Jesus is the only way.

[ AA ] But by this you contradict your own belief that Adam could have been possibly saved in two ways: (1) by “obedience” (works), or (2) by grace in Christ.

[AA] (2) You believe that Adam in the state of righteousness could attain eternal life by obeying God.

[“Pastor C”] Nope, Jesus is the tree of life. His obedience reflect his relationship with God.

[ AA ] If Jesus was the Tree of Life then why was Adam able to sin and so fall from his original state of righteousness? If eating of the Tree of Life means to receive eternal life from Jesus then why did Adam fall at all? Is life and salvation in Christ fallible and losable? You deny the Perseverance of the Saints in believing this. You, therefore, deny the Gospel.

[AA] You also believe (3) that there are at least two covenants of God (of Works and of Grace).

[“Pastor C”] The bible is written as covenant. With adam, Abraham, moses, noah, david, …the church.

[ AA ] Does this mean that there is actually MORE THAN TWO covenants! This is not Reformed at all! You did not answer my question. How many Covenants are there if there is a covenant of works besides the covenant of grace?

[AA] (4) You are bound to accept also that Christ’s sacrifice was only a “Plan B”, an inferior afterthought in God and only a means to “repair” the damage done by sin, but the damage was done after all.

[“Pastor C”] The book of Romans said that the first Adam brings judgement the second adam brings righteousness – I don’t think its plan B.

[ AA ] But by believing in a Covenant of Works, you maintain that the original plan of God for Adam to attain eternal life is by his perfect obedience. Now, that original plan apparently failed. Therefore, God thought of “another” means for Adam to attain eternal life, that is by Christ. Therefore Christ’s redemption is only a “Plan B”; an afterthought; a mere “repair” work for the damage caused by Adam’s failure to fulfill “Plan A” (the Covenant of Works”).

[AA] I think you have been too hasty (without giving it much thought and study) in adopting the idea of a “covenant of works” as much as you have been too hurried to affiliate with foreign churches.

[“Pastor C”] I was studying this theology from L---- D----- of CANRC. And the WCF. Studying doesn’t mean I subscribe. May be you are subscribing the PRCAs declaration of faith?

[ AA ] Then you are in a very dangerous position. Your study is too “one-sided.” Like the PRCs we subscribe to the Three Forms of Unity.

[AA] Your covenant view is unbiblical.

[“Pastor C”] Well, unbiblical because we cannot see the words about covenant of works? As D----- said theologians have different labels but the point is God made a covenant with Adam prior to the fall. Gen. ! and Gen 2…

[ AA ] Don’t you notice that you were able to conclude that there exists a “Covenant of Works” even without obvious terms from the Scriptures? Yet why cannot you accept that God established one Covenant of Grace (no Covenant of Works) even without express Biblical terms?

[AA] First, there is NO such thing as a Covenant of Works. Adam was a creature with whom God established His Covenant of Grace from the very beginning.

[“Pastor C”] Well I agree, there is a covenant. The theology of D----- said that it is not grace because sin has not entered yet.

[ AA ] Then D----- does not seem to understand what grace is. Grace does not “presuppose” sin. God manifests His grace even without sin and the need for salvation. God showed grace (that is, God’s beauty, goodness, pleasantness, unmerited favor) to Adam from the time he was created. Because he is only a creature he cannot merit God’s favor. His obedience was his duty and his sweet reward itself. He does right because it is simply “right”, not because it has rewards. Here lies the distinction between“grace” and “mercy”. Mercy presupposes sin while grace does not.

[AA] Adam could never merit with God for He was only a creature. All that he had, intelligence and strength, are all from God by grace. He was able to obey God because even the willingness and strength to obey was from God by grace. It is not true that Adam could have entered eternal life if He continued to obey. God is not obliged to reward Adam’s obedience with eternal life for obeying God is Adam’s “reward” itself. Adam should obey, not because it has rewards, but because it is right. Hypothetically, if he continued in obedience in Eden he would have remained there—on earth (only) continually, but NOT in eternal life in heaven. Eternal life in heaven can only be attained through Christ in the way of sin and grace—of death and redemption. That is why God also decreed the Fall because Adam could attain eternal life through Christ alone (never by his own obedience!). God’s eternal Covenant is unconditional (not conditioned on Adam’s obedience), unbreakable and eternal. Therefore there is only one covenant of God, the Covenant of Grace all throughout.

[“Pastor C”] No argument with this for me.

[ AA ] If you seriously and intentionally inject this idea of merit in the Covenant it will negate your conception of the Gospel being the TULIP (of absolute, pure grace). In other words if you are serious with your false idea of a covenant of works, you are in danger of believing and teaching a false gospel which cannot save. To accept this false idea of a covenant of works is to deny the “Five Solas.” Instead of “Scripture Alone” you say human opinion “also”. Instead of “by Grace alone” you say by human merit “also”. Instead of “by Faith Alone”, you say by works “also”. Instead of “Christ Alone”, you say by Adam’s supposed obedience “also”. Instead of “God’s Glory Alone”, you say by man’s participation “also”. The Five Solas are applicable to Adam even in his state of righteousness. Otherwise you end up not with the Reformation’s Five Solas but with the false gospel’s “Five ALSO’s.”

The Three Points of Common Grace is an official doctrine of the CRC. Sadly and alarmingly, it is the reason for the denomination's and other so-called "Reformed" denominations' worsening apostasy. "Common Grace" is "Arminianism" sown and now deeply imbedded in the Reformed churches.

[“Pastor C”] COMMON GRACE WAS GIVEN BY GOD BOTH THE ELECT AND THE SINNER. EVEN THE THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL.

[AA] I would understand if you speak this way. Again, as much as you were quick to welcome denominations professing themselves “Reformed” you are also quick to thoughtlessly conclude that grace is common. We believe that the Gospel is to be proclaimed to all, but that does not follow that God bestows His grace to all. His grace is only for all His elect because He only intends to save them and them alone. Grace that is common is not grace at all. Common Grace is “Arminianism” which is the false gospel that cannot save. By subscribing to Common Grace you are willing to subscribe to the FALSE gospel.

[“Pastor C”] I have a reference for this allow me to paste it;

The denial of common grace. The Protestant Reformed Churches grew out of a controversy between Herman Hoeksema and the Christian Reformed Churches over the issue of common grace. Hoeksema denied that there is any such thing as common grace, and in the midst of the controversy, the PRC was founded.
       The idea of common grace is implicit throughout Scripture. "The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works" (Ps. 145:9). "He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt" (Deut. 10:18-19). "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 5:44-45).
       The distinction between common grace and special grace closely parallels the distinction between the general call and the effectual call. Common grace is extended to everyone. It is God's goodness to humanity in general whereby God graciously restrains the full expression of sin and mitigates sin's destructive effects in human society. Common grace imposes moral constraints on people's behavior, maintains a semblance of order in human affairs, enforces a sense of right and wrong through conscience and civil government, enables men and women to appreciate beauty and goodness, and imparts blessings of all kinds to elect and non-elect alike. God "causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous" (Matt. 5:45). That is common grace.
       The doctrine of common grace has a long history that goes all the way back to Calvin and even Augustine. But type-4 hyper-Calvinism denies the concept, insisting that God has no true goodwill toward the non-elect and therefore shows them no favor or "grace" of any kind.

[ AA ] Here again, you are not being fair to yourself. I thought you said below that you wanted to, “GET THE BALANCE OF WHAT I AM READING SEARCHING” (sic) but you presented before me a refutation without first even clearly defining what is being refuted.

For your awareness let me state what Common Grace is according to the so-called Reformed Churches you know:

The Three Points of Common Grace:
1. God has a favorable attitude towards all men in general and not only to the elect.
2. God restrains the unhindered breaking out of sin by the general operation of the Holy Spirit.
3. Unbelievers who are not born-again can do good works, not saving good, but civil good.

These points are obviously Arminian. Our simple objection against the first point is that Psalm 73 refutes Common Grace. If God shows His love to the non-elect in bestowing good things, it follows that God hates his elect when He sends suffering and other bad things. This fundamentally denies Predestination. Against the second and third point, we believe that these deny Total Depravity which teaches that unregenerate man is utterly dead, rotten to the core who in his best and most civil of deeds is wholly and always sinning. Therefore Common Grace is ANTI-Reformed. It is Arminianism under the cloak of Calvinism. If you choose not only to be “one-sided” in your study and research you will discover that Calvin and Augustine did not believe nor teach Common Grace. I suggest that you search the article “Grace Uncommon” in the PRC’s website (http://prca.org). Common Grace is not Reformed. It is a false gospel.

[AA] They (PRC) were outcast because the majority of the Reformed church world especially CRC have taken the road down to apostasy.

[AA] Guarding (by the Reformed standards) against false gospels, false doctrine, false brethren and ungodliness. It is not an essential mark of being Reformed to be formally affiliated with the churches of the white and the wealthy. As I have said, many Arminian denominations here in our country are affiliated with foreign churches, but does that mean they are Reformed?

[“Pastor C”] Most reformed churches branded the PRCA as hyper-calvinist. Can you accept that you are hyper?

Let me post this:

A hyper-Calvinist is someone who either:
1. Denies that the gospel call applies to all who hear, OR

[ AA ] The BTRCs believe that the Gospel call (to believe and repent) is to all who hear, therefore we are not “hypers” but Calvinists.

2. Denies that faith is the duty of every sinner, OR

[ AA ] The BTRCs believe also that faith is the duty of every sinner, therefore we are not “hypers” but Calvinists.

3. Denies that the gospel makes any "offer" of Christ, salvation, or mercy to the non-elect (or denies that the offer of divine mercy is free and universal), OR

[ AA ] The BTRCs, however, vehemently deny (as true Calvinism does) that the gospel makes any “offer” of Christ, etc. to all because the Gospel is an unconditional PROMISE by God to the elect alone. The idea of an “offer” is not Calvinistic teaching. An “offer” makes salvation depend on the sinner (may be accepted or rejected). This is Arminianism. If you believe this, you are an Arminian. Therefore BTRCs are not “hypers” but simply Calvinists.

4. Denies that there is such a thing as "common grace," OR

[ AA ] Grace that is “for all” (i.e. “common”) means that it is NOT unmerited. The bestower is “obliged” to give it to all. But the essence of grace is that it is “particular” (not common) because it is wholly “unmerited” and depends on the sovereign free choice of God alone (Romans 9:14-18). Common Grace is not Calvinistic. We condemn it, therefore we are not “hypers” but Calvinists.

5. Denies that God has any sort of love for the non-elect

[AA ] Calvinism teaches what the Bible says: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated” (Rom. 9:13) and “…thou hatest all workers of iniquity” (Psalm 5:5). Therefore to teach that there is a sort of love by God to the non-elect is clear injustice to the Scriptures and to Reformed theology. God absolutely and eternally loves the Elect” and absolutely and eternally “hates” the Reprobate (Romans 9:10-13). That is to be truly Reformed/Calvinist. Therefore we are not “hypers” but simply Calvinists.

Therefore the PRCs are NOT Hyper-Calvinists but true Calvinists.

[“Pastor C”] If you are hyper then you are ARMINIAN.

[ AA ] Ask your professors if it is true that being a hyper-Calvinist means being an Arminian. Arminianism teaches that God loves all; so does Common Grace. Arminianism teaches that God sincerely desires (“OFFERS”) to save all; so does Common Grace. Now, who is Arminian? The Hyper-Calvinist? or the “Common-Gracer?

[“Pastor C”] YOU ARE IN FACT MORE DANGEROUS THAN ARMINIANS BECAUSE YOU SUBSCRIBE TO 3 FORMS OF UNITY. YOU CAN CREATE MORE FALSE GOSPEL. SO WHAT TYPE ARE YOU THEN? IF I AM JUDGEMENTAL I AM SO SORRY BUT THAT IS NOT MY POINT.

DON’T YOU KNOW THAT THE OTHER REASON THE PRC WERE OUTCASTING PEOPLE WHO DON’T SUBSCRIBE TO THEIR DECLARATION?
IF THIS IS NOT TRUE AND IF YOU ARE NOT HYPER JUST DON’T MIND THIS.

[ AA ] The PRCs are not “outcasting” people who don’t subscribe to their declarations. They wanted to gather God’s elect from everywhere in the sphere of the TRUTH (John 17:17-21). You haven’t had a thorough knowledge of their history and the circumstances that surrounded their churches. They are defending the truth of the Gospel of Sovereign Particular Grace, not “Common Grace”. It is the heretics and apostates who “outcast” them for being adamant for the truth. Review your Church History: was it Luther who outcast the Roman Catholic Church because of his doctrine of justification by faith alone? Or is it the Roman Church who cast him out because they would remain in their unbelief and impenitence?

[AA] Your argument is not Biblical at all; far less logical. You are basing your false and sweeping dogmatic conclusion by falsely associating Arminianism with the idea and practice of church independence from foreign institutions. And you have judged the BTRC to be Arminian based on this mere observation. Let me clarify again the fallacy of your reasoning:

Premise 1: It is “observed” that the Roman Catholic Church practices infant baptism.
Premise 2: Reformed Churches practice infant baptism.
Conclusion: Reformed churches are not Roman Catholics but SOUND Roman Catholic in “practice.”

Would you honestly accept this?

[“Pastor C”] NO COMMENT

Indeed, our four local churches have federated together in 2004, but would that sever us from the historic Reformation in spite of our whole-hearted subscription to the Canons of Dordt, the Belgic Confession and the Heidelberg Catechism?

[“Pastor C”] YOU MISS SOMETHING HERE. WHOLE-HEARTED SUBSCRIPTION? STUDY IT AGAIN MAY BE YOU MISS SOMETHING. YOU HAVE THE ORIGINAL DOCS OF THE 3 FORMS? DID YOU TRANSLATE IT FROM DUTCH LANGUAGE? THEN YOU SAY WHOLEHEARTED?

[ AA ] Was the original Heidelberg Catechism in Dutch, or in “German”? Were the original Canons of Dordt in Dutch, or in “Latin?” We have no knowledge of Dutch, so it would be too arrogant of us to claim to be able to translate our cherished Confessions from that language. I assume that you understand and speak Dutch, for such is required, according to you, before anyone can wholly subscribe to the Three-Forms. We rely on quite dependable and credible commentaries on these glorious Confessions. I suggest that you include in your library “The Triple Knowledge, An Exposition of the Heidelberg Catechism” by Rev. Herman Hoeksema and “The Voice of Our Fathers, An Exposition of the Canons of Dordt” by Professor Homer Hoeksema. You may find the books at http://rfpa.org.

[AA] Why did we not “connect” with Reformed Churches abroad? Again, it is not that we do not want to, but we are cautious not to be hasty and rash in uniting with other churches notwithstanding their claim to be Reformed.

[“Pastor C”] YOU ARE CAUTIOUS AND NOT TO BE HASTY AND RASH – THIS IS A GOOD STAND. I WILL HONOR THAT.

[AA] I will pose similar questions to you. Why do you call your self “Reformed” while subscribing to the Arminian concept of “Common Grace” and “Covenant of Works”? What’s the point?

[“Pastor C”] AS I SAID I AM A REFROMING PASTOR I HAVE CONNECTED TO THIS REFORM PEOPLE LIKE YOU SO AS TO GET THE BALANCE OF WHAT I AM READING SEARCHING. BASICALLY I AM STILL IN LIMBO ABOUT THE TERMS USED. THE POINT OF CONNECTING IS THAT WE ARE NOT AN ISLAND. BECAUSE YOU ARE A PENTECOSTAL AND AM ALSO A PENTECOSTAL THAT’S WHY I KEEP ASKING WHY DID YOU NOT CONNECT TO SOME REFORM CHURCHES HERE OR ABROAD. BUT I GET YOUR POINT BECAUSE OF THE DEFINITION OF THE GOSPEL.

[ AA ] We are not an island. We are four small Reformed Churches who work together and guard each other in the standard of the Gospel. This is where you are mistaken: you first “connected” with foreign denominations without clarifying terms. As I’ve mentioned from the beginning we BTRCs always begin from the Gospel, not with affiliations or “connections.” This is how Luther and Calvin began.

[“Pastor C”] YOU ALREADY KNOW THAT REFORM CHURCHES ARE LOCALLY INDEPENDENT GOVERN BY PASTOR, ELDERS AND DEACONS. NOT BY POPE OR CARDINALS AND SO ON… EVEN THE SYNOD HAS NO PAWER OVER THE LOCAL CHURCH. THAT’S WHY I AM ASKING YOU WHY YOU DON’T CONNECT.

[AA] You did not understand me. You mentioned that “Reformed churches are locally independent govern (sic) by pastor, elders and deacons” YET they CANNOT be “Reformed” unless they are “DEPENDENT” on churches abroad. My point in relation to what I said above is that in your insistence that a church can truly be a Reformed church if it has “connections” to churches abroad I understand it to mean that there must be an “unbroken” succession of ordinations in order for it to claim that it is a true church. I was saying that this is the wicked mentality of superstitious Popery and arrogant Landmarkism—there must be an unbroken “connection.”

The Unity of the church does not depend on organization but on Apostolic doctrine, particularly the truth of the Gospel of Sovereign Particular Grace.

[“Pastor C”] SO YOU MEAN YOU STILL BELIEVE THE APOSTLE IN YOUR CHURCH EXIST? WHAT APOSTOLIC DOCTINE? IS IT NOT ARMINIAN? BUT IF YOU MEAN THE BIBLE…

[AA] If you continue speaking in this manner even after you have earned an M.Div. or PhD., I would really begin to question the reliability of such titles and attainments. Of course we DON’T! You have misunderstood me again.

We insist that we are “one” with the true historic church, not by way of formal organization, but in being one with it in the Biblical TRUTH which the APOSTLES taught. This does not mean we believe apostles still exist today.( I AGREE WITH THIS)

[“Pastor C”] I HOPE I AM NOT HARSH IN MY OPINION REALLY I WANT TO LEARN FROM YOU.

[AA] I hope too that you have been learning from these discussions “Pastor C”. I suggest you further explore our website and find there the article “What It Means To Be Reformed?”

[“Pastor C”] FINAL NOTE: ARE YOU HYPER CALVINIST?

“Pastor C”

[ AA ] Hyper-Calvinism is error. Do you think we would be willing to be identified with “error”? The problem lies in your understanding of Calvinism. The “Hyper-Calvinism” you actually accuse us of is true historic Calvinism. And the Calvinism that you believe to be true Calvinism is actually “moderate, tolerant, and hypo-Calvinism” which borders on Arminianism.” What is true “Hyper-Calvinism then? It is the belief that the Gospel is to be preached to the elect alone. If you see Hyper-Calvinists evangelize “non-elect” persons it is because they don’t have the ability to discern who the elect are among the multitude. Given the chance to see signs that a person is elect they would preach the gospel only to that person and not to the rest. We don’t believe this. We believe that the Gospel ought to be declared to all persons to whom God sovereignly sends us whether they be elect or reprobate. I suggest you search for the article “Hyper-Calvinism and the Well-Meant Offer of the Gospel” in the PRC’s website (http://prca.org) and examine it.

In His Service,
Alex

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[ AA ] Dear “Pastor C”: My latest responses [again] in dark blue indicated by [ AA ]. Hoping you can bear with them for discussion’s sake.

[“Pastor C”] YES, NO ONE CAN BE SAVED APART FROM CHRIST. WHAT I MEAN HERE IS THAT THE ARMINIANS ARE IN A VERY UNCOMFORTABLE SITUATIONS. I HAVE READ THEIR 5 STANDS AGAINST THE REFORMED FATHERS. IT IS UNSOUND ARGUMENT.

[ AA ] So would you agree that being an Arminian is the same as being “apart from Christ”? Still, you have no unequivocal answer to this question. The 5 points of their Remonstrance are not merely unsound arguments but attacks against the very Gospel of Sovereign Particular Grace. Attack against the Gospel is attack against the truth that salvation depends upon Christ alone.

[“Pastor C”] It will an arrogance and very judgemental if we say they are not saved unless they deny Christ then we can say they are not saved. We continue to argue with them in the theological aspect but in practice some of them are really biblical. In that sense I can say we cant judge if they are apart from Christ.

[ AA ] The professing Christians of Matthew 7:21-23 do not deny Christ yet they are not saved. It was written in the context of “judging” a tree by its fruits. So you are inventing a dichotomy between a Christian “in practice” and a Christian “in doctrine”. You are implying that one can be saved in spite of damnable heresy because he is a Christian “in practice.”

Here is revealed your impoverished understanding of the covenant, even your idea of the Covenant of Works.

[“Pastor C”] Yes I agree I may have few understanding with this.

[ AA ] Yet you are ready, willing and excited to ”connect” with the church of the white and the wealthy.

I thought this should be clear in “Reformed” seminaries. Your understanding of the “essence” of the covenant is quite ambiguous.

[“Pastor C”] So yours is clear well that’s good.

[ AA ] I believe so because the Bible teaches thus.

[AA] First, you have not clarified if it is “conditional” or “unconditional”; whether God who is Sovereign (able to do all He pleases) can maintain that Covenant in spite of Adam’s violation and failure.

[“Pastor C”] God maintains the covenant and administer it soveriegnly.

[ AA ] But your “covenant of works” teaches that God failed in it, that’s why he employed “Plan B".

[ AA ] But you are teaching that it is conditioned on WORKS in Adam’s case

Secondly, your idea of the “purpose” of the Covenant is not God-centered but “man-centered.” The purpose of the Covenant is for the Triune God to reveal for His own glory’s sake that blessed life enjoyed within Himself towards the creature, that is outside of Himself.

[“Pastor C”] I think its synergestic.

[ AA ] What is “synergistic”? The Covenant? Salvation? “Synergism” is outright Arminianism. You are really an Arminian.

[ AA ] Thirdly, in saying that “if perfectly obeyed Adam could have been saved” you are in error. Adam did not need salvation while perfectly obeying. Salvation presupposes sin. Salvation is not reward for obedience for why should you save the “obedient”? This is absurdity.

[“Pastor C”] Yeah, that’s not the right term. I think.

[ AA ] But notwithstanding the correct terminology you still mean the same thing. God’s favour upon Adam was “conditional” upon himself.

[ AA ] Fourthly, you are in error when you said that Adam will be “saved” by eating of the Tree of Life. Is not he already eating of the Tree of Life before he fell (Gen. 2:16)? There never is a single verse in the Bible that says this. The Bible simply says that Adam would continue to live on earth, not to be transported to Heaven, if he eats of the Tree of Life (Gen. 3:22).

[“Pastor C”] Well, if he is in the presence of God its heaven.

[ AA ] My question is if Adam was already eating the Tree of Life which grants him eternal life why did he sin and die? Will those eating of the the Tree of Life in heaven susceptible to fall and die again?

[ AA ] Fifthly, you are in error by stating that “out of mercy He made a covenant of Grace. The New Covenant.” This is error because

[“Pastor C”] Ok out of grace.

[ AA ] (1) It was not out of “mercy” that God made a covenant. God established His covenant with Adam the very moment he created Him, a covenant of grace and, that is, even “prior” to the Fall. It doesn’t take “mercy” (which presupposes sin and the Fall) for God to establish His covenant. [“Pastor C”] So does it takes? Love? Justice? Grace?

[ AA ] My point is you are confusing God’s “mercy” with His “grace.”

[ AA ] (2) If the Covenant of Grace you are referring to is the New Covenant, we have a big big problem! [“Pastor C”] Hahaha what problem?

[ AA ] The problem is, as I have mentioned in my question just below that Old Testament saints are being saved by works because you are confusing the New Covenant with the Covenant of Grace.

[ AA ] Seth, Enoch, Noah, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Solomon, etc. are still under the Covenant of Works!

[“Pastor C”] Who said that? May be your implying?

[ AA ] You said earlier “OUT OF MERCY HE MADE A COVENANT OF GRACE. THE NEW COVENANT.” Therefore the Old Covenant (Testament) is the Covenant of Works.

[ AA ] Do you mean that while being in the Old Covenant or Old Testament they were saved “by works”?

[“Pastor C”] We are only saved by grace after the fall.

[ AA ] But you said God made a Covenant of Grace—The New Covenant (I’m just repeating my self here). Therefore prior to the New Covenant it was a Covenant of Works—that is salvation by works. That is Arminianism.

[ AA ] This is not the teaching of the Bible. Is this really the kind of learning which I will receive when I get my Master of Divinity or Doctor of Theology degree in your so called “Reformed” seminaries? [“Pastor C”] I am not yet getting a Mdiv or Ddiv what are you talking about? How about you are you already a Mdiv or Ddiv?

[ AA ] I don’t have MDiv, etc. Your teachers do, and they are confused as you are. That’s why I am not lured by such title.

[ AA ] The truth is God established only one eternal Covenant of Grace. [“Pastor C”] Where did you get this from your hmmm.

[ AA ] From the Bible. Where did you get your Covenant of Works?

[ AA ] In that only ONE covenant God decreed that man should fall so that he may enter the perfect revelation of the wonder of grace through sin and grace; death and redemption. There is only one way to attain eternal life beginning Adam up to the last elect to be born—that is, in Christ by GRACE through faith alone. That one Covenant of Grace has two administrations: the Old (in Christ by the dispensation of promise, types and shadows; NEVER by “works”) and the same Covenant in the New (dispensation of fulfilment in Christ). There is only one covenant; no Covenant of Works. [“Pastor C”] You don’t examine the scripture clearly my friend. Try reading the Westminster confession.

[ AA ] You fault me in not examining the Scripture clearly, but you are recommending the Westmenster Confession. I think you should re-evaluate your Confession in the light of the sound teaching of Scripture.

[ AA ] If Jesus was the Tree of Life then why was Adam able to sin and so fall from his original state of righteousness. If eating of the Tree of Life means to receive eternal life from Jesus then why did Adam fall at all? Did you read the bible that he eat the tree of life?

[“Pastor C”] You have poor reading or may be bad translation…

[ AA ] This is ridicuous. I thought you understand the Westminster Confession, but it seems you are not at all acquainted with its principle of “necessary consequence” (Ch. 1, par. 6) in interpreting Scripture. Genesis 2:16, 17 says, “You are FREE TO EAT from ANY TREE in the garden… but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Did not Adam eat what he was given freedom to eat?

Is life and salvation in Christ fallible and losable? You deny the Perseverance of the Saints in believing this. You, therefore, deny the Gospel. [“Pastor C”] See you are judging you are really a hyper…

[ AA ] I seem to be a “hyper” because you are in truth an “Arminian.” Don’t you realize that? A person may tell I’m tall because he is just short.

[ AA ] Does this mean that there is actually MORE THAN TWO covenants! This is not Reformed at all! You did not answer my question. How many Covenants are there if there is a covenant of works besides the covenant of grace? [“Pastor C”] Yes there are MANY COVENANTS…

[ AA ] This is horrendous theology! There is ONLY ONE Covenant with two administrations—the Old and the New. One Covenant of Grace unfolding through Biblical history in God’s friendship with Adam, in the Noahic Covenant (and with creation), the Abrahamic Covenant, the Mosaic Covenant and finally the New Covenant. You are confused!

[AA] (4) You are bound to accept also that Christ’s sacrifice was only a “Plan B”, an inferior afterthought in God and only a means to “repair” the damage done by sin, but the damage was done after all.

[“Pastor C”] The book of Romans said that the first Adam brings judgement the second adam brings righteousness – I don’t think its plan B.

[ AA ] But by believing in a Covenant of Works, you maintain that the original plan of God for Adam to attain eternal life is by his perfect obedience. Now, that original plan apparently failed. Therefore, God thought of “another” means for Adam to attain eternal life, that is by Christ. Therefore Christ’s redemption is only a “Plan B”; an afterthought; a mere “repair” work for the damage caused by Adam’s failure to fulfill “Plan A” (the Covenant of Works”).

[“Pastor C”] You are the one saying there’s plan B. I said Christ is the only way.

[ AA ] It was you who said “IF PERFECTLY OBEYED ADAM COULD HAVE BEEN SAVED”. You are saying therefore that Adam could have been saved by obedience. And if not, he will be saved by Christ. Plan A is “Salvation by obedience” (sic), Plan B is Christ. Does that make sense?

[ AA ] Then you are in a very dangerous position. Your study is too “one-sided.” Like the PRCs we subscribe to the Three Forms of Unity.

[“Pastor C”] You are one sided too. I am not, because I read prc.

[ AA ] You read PRC but you don’t understand them. I read CRC, URC and CANRC. Not a lot but I know their position: Conditional Salvation.

[ AA ] Don’t you notice that you were able to conclude that there exists a “Covenant of Works” even without obvious terms from the Scriptures? Yet why cannot you accept that God established one Covenant of Grace (no Covenant of Works) even without express Biblical terms?

[“Pastor C”] I am not concluding something. You are not in a sharing mode as if you want to put your learning on my throat, I will admit if I am not correct but it seems that you are too bias of your belief. As I always said I want to learn. Apostle Paul if presenting an argument he is gracious. Can you do that? Don’t be arrogant we are not perfect.

[ AA ] I’m not perfect but the Gospel is; the Covenant is. Read Galatians 1:6-9 and discover how Paul pronounces condemnation and curse against those who preach a false gospel of a salvation conditioned on the sinner like Arminianism and the theology of a conditional covenant. He thundered “You foolish Galatians” (Gal. 3:1) while arguing with grace.

[ AA ] Then D----- does not seem to understand what grace is.

[“Pastor C”] Bakit ka ganyan [translation: "Howcome you're like that?"]… very judgemental. A typical of hyper.

[ AA ] Baka naman po namimisrepresent niyo si D-----. Unfair po ‘yan. Confused po talaga kayo sa distinction ng grace at mercy. [translation: "Maybe you're just misrepresenting D-----. That's not fair. You're indeed confused on the distinction between grace and mercy."]

Grace does not “presuppose” sin. God manifests His grace even without sin and the need for salvation. God showed grace (that is, God’s beauty, goodness, pleasantness, unmerited favor) to Adam from the time he was created. Because he is only a creature he cannot merit God’s favor. His obedience was his duty and his sweet reward itself. He does right because it is simply “right”, not because it has rewards. Here lies the distinction between “grace” and “mercy”. Mercy presupposes sin while grace does not.

[ AA ] Here again, you are not being fair to yourself. I thought you said below that you wanted to, “GET THE BALANCE OF WHAT I AM READING SEARCHING” (sic) but you presented before me a refutation without first even clearly defining what is being refuted.

For your awareness let me state what Common Grace is according to the so-called Reformed Churches you know:

The Three Points of Common Grace:
1. God has a favorable attitude towards all men in general and not only to the elect.
2. God restrains the unhindered breaking out of sin by the general operation of the Holy Spirit.
3. Unbelievers who are not born-again can do good works, not saving good, but civil good.

These points are obviously Arminian. Our simple objection against the first point is that Psalm 73 refutes Common Grace. If God shows His love to the non-elect in bestowing good things, it follows that God hates his elect when He sends suffering and other bad things.

[“Pastor C”] Sufferings and troubles will really come to us elect or non-elect. The response will differ.

[ AA ] That’s not the point. Do you admit that God manifests His hatred when He sends trouble to the elect (notwithstanding his response to it)? This should follow if God manifests His love when He sends good things to the non-elect or the Reprobate?

This fundamentally denies Predestination.

[“Pastor C”] You misunderstood the judgement of God. We are at his mercy.

[ AA ] I don’t get you in this.

[AA] Against the second and third point, we believe that these deny Total Depravity which teaches that unregenerate man is utterly dead, rotten to the core who in his best and most civil of deeds is wholly and always sinning.

[“Pastor C”] A hyper-Calvinist is someone who either:
1. Denies that the gospel call applies to all who hear, OR

[ AA ] The BTRCs believe that the Gospel call (to believe and repent) is to all who hear, therefore we are not “hypers” but Calvinists.

[“Pastor C”] That’s ok.

2. Denies that faith is the duty of every sinner, OR

[ AA ] The BTRCs believe also that faith is the duty of every sinner, therefore we are not “hypers” but Calvinists.

[“Pastor C”] Ok.

3. Denies that the gospel makes any "offer" of Christ, salvation, or mercy to the non-elect (or denies that the offer of divine mercy is free and universal), OR

[ AA ] The BTRCs, however, vehemently deny (as true Calvinism does) that the gospel makes any “offer” of Christ, etc. to all because the Gospel is an unconditional PROMISE by God to the elect alone. The idea of an “offer” is not Calvinistic teaching. An “offer” makes salvation depend on the sinner (may be accepted or rejected). This is Arminianism. If you believe this, you are an Arminian. Therefore BTRCs are not “hypers” but simply Calvinists.

[“Pastor C”] You may say you are not hyper but you are type 3 hyper. Just don’t deny this.

[ AA ] You just hurl this scare tactic that we are type 3 “Hyper-Calvinists” but you have not refuted my argument above. I don’t deny what I said above.

4. Denies that there is such a thing as "common grace," OR

[ AA ] Grace that is “for all” (i.e. “common”) means that it is NOT unmerited. The bestower is “obliged” to give it to all. But the essence of grace is that it is “particular” (not common) because it is wholly “unmerited” and depends on the sovereign free choice of God alone (Romans 9:14-18). Common Grace is not Calvinistic. We condemn it, therefore we are not “hypers” but Calvinists.

[“Pastor C”] You are type 4 hyper. Don’t deny.

[ AA ] You just hurl this scare tactic that we are type 4 “Hyper-Calvinists” but you have not refuted my argument above. I don’t deny what I said above.

5. Denies that God has any sort of love for the non-elect

[ AA ] Calvinism teaches what the Bible says: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated” (Rom. 9:13) and “…thou hatest all workers of iniquity” (Psalm 5:5). Therefore to teach that there is a sort of love by God to the non-elect is clear injustice to the Scriptures and to Reformed theology. God absolutely and eternally loves the Elect” and absolutely and eternally “hates” the Reprobate (Romans 9:10-13). That is to be truly Reformed/Calvinist. Therefore we are not “hypers” but simply Calvinists.

[“Pastor C”] Type 5 hyper.

[ AA ] NO SCRIPTURAL VERSES to prove your accusations at all? You just hurl this scare tactic that we are type 5 “Hyper-Calvinists” but you have not refuted my argument above. I don’t deny what I said above. These are all Biblical TRUTHS. If “Hyper-Calvinism” teaches these, then I AM a “Hyper-Calvinist.”

[ AA ] The PRCs are not “outcasting” people who don’t subscribe to their declarations. They wanted to gather God’s elect from everywhere in the sphere of the TRUTH (John 17:17-21). You haven’t had a thorough knowledge of their history and the circumstances that surrounded their churches. They are defending the truth of the Gospel of Sovereign Particular Grace, not “Common Grace”. It is the heretics and apostates who “outcast” them for being adamant for the truth. Review your Church History: was it Luther who outcast the Roman Catholic Church because of his doctrine of justification by faith alone? Or is it the Roman Church who cast him out because they would remain in their unbelief and impenitence?

[“Pastor C”] Don’t be one sided on this. This one cause the prc was cast out because they cast out people who don’t subscribed.

[ AA ] Of course, you don’t fellowship with those in error. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 clearly warns us against this.

[ AA ] We are not an island. We are four small Reformed Churches who work together and guard each other in the standard of the Gospel. This is where you are mistaken: you first “connected” with foreign denominations without clarifying terms. As I’ve mentioned from the beginning we BTRCs always begin from the Gospel, not with affiliations or “connections.” This is how Luther and Calvin began.

[“Pastor C”] You said you have not sided but it seems you are prc.

[ AA ] We are always bias to the truth. Shouldn’t you?

[“Pastor C”] Thank you so much. I learned many things from you. I hope you remain humble and if you are not siding any reformed churches be consistent. Sayang you start wih your own federated pinoy reformed be true to that.

“Pastor C”

[ AA ] This is sheer hypocricy. Your theology is fundamentally “sided” to Arminianism under the cloak of Reformed terminologies. Aren’t you yourself “siding” with the CANRC? Oh we are true to that. As I’ve said earlier in this correspondence our unity is in the truth. If the PRCs teach the truth why shouldn’t we side we them without necessarily being “connected” with them. Would that be inconsistency?

Seriously, you are in grave danger in playing around with these doctrinal errors especially “conditionalism”. You are in truth an Arminian. Not only you but the souls of those who will listen to your teachings will be put to serious danger. I urge you to re-evaluate your theology by carefully examining the Scriptures.

It was not an accident that you came across our website and we began to exchange emails. The truth has been testified to you. Now the question is “What will you do with that truth”? “What will you do with God’s Christ”?

In His Service,
Alex Aquino
Bastion of Truth Reformed Churches in the Philippines

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["Pastor C"] My response in [ - - - ]

[ AA ] The professing Christians of Matthew 7:21-23 do not deny Christ yet they are not saved. It was written in the context of “judging” a tree by its fruits. So you are inventing a dichotomy between a Christian “in practice” and a Christian “in doctrine”. You are implying that one can be saved in spite of damnable heresy because he is a Christian “in practice.”

[“Pastor C”] I still believe that the arminian can be saved.

[ AA ] If you mean by this that it is not impossible for God to save the Arminian from his sins and from his Arminian belief I don’t object to it. But if you mean that the Arminian who opposes the TULIP (which according to you is the Gospel of salvation) yet IS SAVED this is an insult to God and His Gospel. In your believing that they are ‘saved’ because of their being so-called “Christians in practice” in spite of their failure to be “Christians in doctrine” you reveal your true conviction that a man can be saved by his good works and not by the Truth (2 Thess. 2:13). That is not even Arminianism but the hell-born heresy of Pelagianism.

Consider what the Heidelberg Catechism teaches in Lord’s Day 11:

Q30: Do those also believe in the only Savior Jesus, who seek their salvation and welfare from "saints," themselves, or anywhere else?
A30: No; although they make their boast of Him, yet in their deeds they deny the only Savior Jesus; for either Jesus is not a complete Savior, or they who by true faith receive this Savior, must have in Him ALL that is necessary to their salvation.

Arminians, remember, do not trust Christ alone but also their free-will, efforts and merits. According to the judgment of the Catechism they do not truly believe Jesus as Savior.

Here is revealed your impoverished understanding of the covenant, even your idea of the Covenant of Works.

[“Pastor C”] Yes I agree I may have few understanding with this.

[ AA ] Yet you are ready, willing and excited to ”connect” with the church of the white and the wealthy.

[“Pastor C”] Is it wrong to connect? I appreciate your stand not to connect.

[ AA ] If I were to “connect” to the churches you and your mentors are connected who spread the false doctrine of a “conditional covenant” and the heresy of “common grace.”, it is obviously WRONG.

[ AA ] But your “covenant of works” teaches that God failed in it, that’s why he employed “Plan B".

[“Pastor C”] The covenant of works I am saying is about the creation of God. Which adam was made to rule over this is a covenant God made Adam. Concerning salvation still the same its Christ. It represented the tree of life as a sacrament.

[ AA ] Granted, but it still FAILED being “conditional” upon Adam’s obedience and needed the remedial patchwork of a “Plan B” that is Christ.

[ AA ] What is “synergistic”? The Covenant? Salvation? “Synergism” is outright Arminianism. You are really an Arminian.

[“Pastor C”] salvation is monergestic. Covenant is conditional. Don’t mix your concept with covenant because it will confuse you.

[ AA ] You yourself are confused here. I am aware of the “clear” relationship between salvation and the covenant. If you know the relationship between the two, you would not speak of salvation being monergistic and the covenant being “conditional.” Perhaps your idea is that the sinner should “conditionally” enter the covenant before he “monergistically” enters salvation. This is absurd. What I believe the Bible teaches is that the monergistic salvation of the elect is the way to enter God’s unconditional covenant. Therefore, the idea of a “conditional” covenant is a mere figment of human imagination.

[ AA ] My question is if Adam was already eating the Tree of Life which grants him eternal life why did he sin and die? Will those eating of the the Tree of Life in heaven susceptible to fall and die again?

[“Pastor C”] he was freely to eat but it was not mentioned that he has eaten.

[ AA ] If I would accept this sort of reasoning, will you admit that there is no such thing as a “Covenant of Works” because as you’ve just argued, “it was not mentioned”? Would you admit that Christ is not God because there was no literal “mention” in the Scriptures where He claims, “I am God”? I might as well ask you: Where was it “mentioned” that Adam DID NOT eat of the Tree of Life besides the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? Your mentors feed you with garbage, I’m sorry to say.

Perhaps something for you to ponder further: If the fruit of the Tree of Life was the way for Adam’s salvation, then why should God so cruelly forbid him to eat of it and put cherubim to guard it from him and his wife with flaming swords in the garden after they fell into sin? Shouldn’t have God immediately told them, “Oh Adam you sinned! You must eat of the Tree of Life immediately for you to be saved.” What was the role of the Tree of Life in the garden in Eden? Some sort of fixture? A display? Some curious but worthless and irrelevant tree?

[ AA ] I don’t have MDiv, etc. Your teachers do, and they are confused as you are. That’s why I am not lured by such title.

[“Pastor C”] that’s ok

[ AA ] You read PRC but you don’t understand them. I read CRC, URC and CANRC. Not a lot but I know their position:
Conditional Salvation.

[“Pastor C”] salvation is a free gift from God. Condition is use faith .

[ AA ] Here you are guilty of the same confusion you warn me against, that is “mixing salvation with the concept of covenant” (please review your statement above). This is ARMINIANISM. I thought you said salvation is “monergistic” and a free gift. If salvation is “free” why should it be “conditional” upon faith? Faith is a free gift included in the whole package of salvation. It is not a condition but an “evidence” of salvation.

[AA] …Scriptures and to Reformed theology. God absolutely and eternally loves the Elect” and absolutely and eternally “hates” the Reprobate (Romans 9:10-13). That is to be truly Reformed/Calvinist. Therefore we are not “hypers” but simply Calvinists.

[“Pastor C”] Type 5 hyper.

[ AA ] NO SCRIPTURAL VERSES to prove your accusations at all? You just hurl this scare tactic that we are type 5 “Hyper-Calvinists” but you have not refuted my argument above. I don’t deny what I said above. These are all Biblical TRUTHS.

If “Hyper-Calvinism” teaches these, then I AM a “Hyper-Calvinist.”

[“Pastor C”] indeed.

[ AA ] You still blindly accept the theology of your confused mentors and capitalize at this confession of mine for your false and baseless accusations without intelligently proving from Scripture that our convictions are wrong? And you accuse us that we’re biased, one-sided? Aren’t you who’s one-sided?

[AA] Seriously, you are in grave danger in playing around with these doctrinal errors especially “conditionalism”. You are in truth an Arminian. Not only you but the souls of those who will listen to your teachings will be put to serious danger. I urge you to re-evaluate your theology by carefully examining the Scriptures.

[“Pastor C”] I am in studying mode.

[ AA ] You are still in darkness “Pastor C”. No amount of study and searching of the Scriptures can lead you to the truth unless you are touched in your inmost being by God’s sovereign grace; unless He gives you the free gift of faith that believes that salvation and fellowship with God is ALL of Him and NONE of yourself; unless He gives you the free gift of repentance to repent of your false doctrine. Salvation is not a matter of learning but life from death; light from darkness; freedom from bondage; truth from the Lie. Being truly Reformed deplores that elitist spirit that hails Arminians to be true Christians, only that we Calvinists are superior to them in learning and doctrine. Being truly Reformed is to walk in the faithful spirit of Dordt which boldly condemns Arminianism as that Pelagian error raised again out of Hell (Canons of Dordt: 2nd Head of Doctrine; Rejection of Errors 3).

[AA] It was not an accident that you came across our website and we began to exchanged emails. The truth has been testified to you. Now the question is “What will you do with that truth”? “What will you do with God’s Christ”?

[“Pastor C”] Jesus is the truth

[ AA ] Quite frankly, it is one thing to profess that “Jesus is the truth”, but it is entirely a different thing to have a genuine participation in Jesus Himself and His Truth. With the way you respond to my statements in the light of God’s Word, I am afraid you still do not have a participation in Jesus, much less in His saving Truth. Do not deceive yourself that you are still a “babe” in the truth for in reality you are still “unborn” of it.

Thank you.

“Pastor C”

[ AA ] But I do hope that God may be merciful to you as He was to me. I hope you would realize your errors and repent of them. When that happens we will be of glad assistance to you and so save yourself and your hearers. This is the way I can show my heartfelt concern for your soul: to testify to you of the Truth.

In His Service,

Alex Aquino
Bastion of Truth Reformed Churches in the Philippines

“Standing fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel which was once delivered unto the saints”
(Phil. 1:27; Jude 3)

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[“Pastor C”] – thank you yes I am a babe of the truth. I repent of my sins. I know I need His mercy so that by His grace I will be saved. I am looking forward that I can grow and knowledge and truth so that I can present to you again my position. I did not answer some of your questions because truthfully I was not used to it. But thank you I was open up. God Bless You.

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