Vol.XIV No.VII Pg.4
September 1977

Present Truth Confusion

Robert F. Turner

The tract, "Way of Salvation," by Robert U. Brinsmead, is typical of material published in PRESENT TRUTH-a Calvinistic paper that has done a snow job on some of our brethren. It is also typical of faulty exegesis of scripture that accompanies Calvinism. We give examples from the tract.

From p.6, the preaching of the gospel "is always accompanied by the Holy Spirit." That is a universal premise. But the proof offered is, "Peter says that those who 'preached the gospel' did so 'with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven' 1 Pet. 1:12." That refers to inspired men, to the initial presentation of the gospel, and NOT to preaching in general.

He then says the purpose of the Holy Spirit is to "show us the meaning" of the cross. "He comes to direct the minds of sinners to our Lord" — and cites Jno. 16:13-14; but that has to do with the inspiration of the apostles and NOT with present day preaching. The writer is working toward a key Calvinistic error, i.e., that gospel preaching can produce fruit only in those affected by the accompanying Spirit. He thinks the gospel, apart from the distinct and continuing influence of the Spirit, is a dead letter. He can not conceive of a gospel whose message motivates, for that would recognize man's role in hearing and believing; and Calvinism wants no "human implementation" involved.

So, the writer discusses ROOT and FRUIT: the root being that which Jesus has done for us, and the fruit is that which the Holy Spirit does in us (p.9). Here, he cites do. 14:166-17, which has to do with the inspiration of the apostles; and v.23, which has nothing to do with converting an alien, but with in-dwelling deity for the saints. Rom. 8:9-11 is also cited, and the writer digresses from alien conversion to "fruits of the Spirit" in a Christian, emphasizing: "Since these fruits are attributes of the divine nature, they cannot be produced by human effort." He is greatly confused about "deity" indwelling, and the persons of the Godhead, but we will not discuss that here.

Now, on p.14, "Who shall receive the Holy Spirit? Believers. " Then, p.17, "How do we receive faith?" Saying the Bible speaks of faith as a gift, He cites Phil. 1:29 where "it is given" refers to the privilege of believing AND suffering for Christ — NOT to the means of receiving faith. Then he cites Eph. 2:8 where "it is the gift of God" refers to salvation, NOT to faith. He concludes, "faith, then, is brought to us by the Holy Spirit."

Recognizing his "reason in a circle" (i.e., faith brings the H.S., but the H.S. brings faith) he simply cites Martin Luther who said, "I cannot of mine own reason or strength come to God or believe on Jesus Christ." The premise for all Calvinism is that God's sovereignty would not permit "free will" on man's part; hence, "no human implementation." Instead, certain ones are elected to be saved, and on these elect ones God must operate directly. This is the heart of the matter; and the basic error which calls forth such specious "reasoning" and misuse of scriptures as we have seen.