Monday, March 22, 2010

Brandan Kraft and the abomination stewing over at P-Net

Over the last three posts (here, here and here), I have attempted a rebuttal of the error of Eternal Justification as well as its corollary doctrines (a denial that the elect were ever actually under wrath and the idea of timeless eternity). While it is probably the case that not all participants in the Predestinarian Network (hereafter P-Net) and the forums have the same beliefs in these matters, the founder of this website, Brandan Kraft, does indeed embrace such errant doctrines.

Matt Powell (who it seems had prior interactions with P-Net two years back) has came up with three excellent posts (The Heresy of Eternal Justification, More on Eternal Justification, Eternal Justification and Antinomianism) in which he analyzes the issues concerned in its interaction with the Gospel message (as opposed to mine which come from a more epistemic perspective). As I read it, I began to see how deep the doctrinal rot in P-Net and especially in its founder Brandan Kraft had been. In my initial post on this topic, I have worked out the logical implications of embracing the Eternal Justifcation error. In looking at Powell's posts and the links that he provided, I see with my own eyes that they are not on their way there but are already there. Now, generally, I focus on addressing the issues and as such do not check out much on the people involved. Powell's links however show me how deep the rot is.

Kraft's profile page on P-Net shows the following description:

Soteriological Position: Hyper-Calvinism (Hardshellism)

Creeds and Confessions: London Baptist Confession of 1644, Canons of Dort [sic], Goat Yard Confession of Faith (1729), Gospel Standard Articles of Faith

When Adam and Eve sinned, what really happened?: It was revealed to Adam that he was a sinner and needed the righteousness of Christ which demonstrated the eventual regeneration of every elect individual.

[Bold added]

Kraft flaunts his hyper-Calvinism (don't need to call him out on this one), and this can be seen even in the creeds and confessions he holds to - The Gospel Standard Articles of Faith (GSAF). This is what the document states:

XXIV We believe that the invitations of the Gospel, being spirit and life, are intended only for those who have been made by the blessed Spirit to feel their lost state as sinners and their need of Christ as their Saviour, and to repent of and forsake their sins. (Isa. 55:1, John 7:37, Prov. 28:13, Matt. 11:28-30, John 6:37.)

XXVI We deny duty faith and duty repentance - these terms signifying that it is every man's duty spiritually and savingly to repent and believe (Gen. 6:5, Gen 8:21, Matt. 15:19, Jer. 17:9, John 6:44, John 6:65.) We deny also that there is any capability in man by nature to any spiritual good whatever. So that we reject the doctrine that men in a state of nature should be exhorted to believe in or turn to God of themselves. (John 12:39-40, Eph. 2:8, Rom. 8:7-8, 1 Cor. 4:7.)

[Bold added]

The GSAF denies the offer of the Gospel and duty faith and duty repentance, which is a mark of Hyper-Calvinism.

In my initial post, I have made plain that one of the logical consequences of believing in eternal justification is that it leads to a theory that believers are to be considered as "saints who happen not to realize that they are already justified". All of this was initially meant by me to shock the adherents of Eternal Justification to their senses by showing the hopefully undesirable consequences of embracing such an error. However, it seems I have misjudged Kraft and company. They are already there as it were.

Notice Kraft's answer to the question as to what really happened when Adam and Eve fell — he came to know that he was a sinner and shown that he needed Christ's righteousness as a demonstration of the eventual regeneration of the elect. So, firstly, Adam and Eve did not became sinners, but rather they become conscious of the fact that they were sinners all along. We must note that the question does not ask regarding the episode when God confronted Adam and Eve after their sin, but rather what happened WHEN they sin.

Likewise, the doctrine regarding Christ's righteousness has been altered. Since it is more of a demonstration, substitutionary atonement takes a back seat (if it has a seat at all). Rather, Christ's righteousness becomes primarily to do with showing that all the elect will be regenerated in due time - as we "pardoxically" experience it in time of course). As Powell succinctly states:

[In Kraft's scheme] Conversion is simply becoming aware of our status as saints. Adam didn't change when he fell, believers don't change when they are saved... (Eternal Justification and Antinomianism)

This is a full-blow assault on the Gospel in the name of "grace", which it seems is similar to the "grace" teachings promoted from the other side of the spectrum in the teachings of Joseph Prince.

Moving on, we see a post on something very foundational to the faith, which left me initially stunned and at a loss of words.

...

In this article, I will present evidence, that should be sufficient to indict James the brother of our Lord Jesus Christ, for the crime of Judaizing the Pauline doctrine of Justification by faith alone, without the works of law. James the brother of Jesus, is the antithesis of Paul and never fully comprehended the Pauline doctrine of Justification. I do not believe he was even an apostle as some suggest. A false apostle perhaps, but no true apostle of the Gospel of Christ. However that is another subject worth discussion.

...

[Nicholas Laurienzo, James Exposed]

And here is what Kraft wrote on his profile:

Is the book of James authoritative?: I don't believe it is authoritative.

Such is a denial of the authority of Scripture by attacking the canonicity of James' epistle. Who is Kraft that he thinks he has the right to decide what constitutes or does not constitutes the Word of God? So much for any claim to be Evangelical through this attack on Sola Scriptura, nevermind Reformed.

Branda Kraft is a heretic who is in danger of the fires of hell for his wicked deeds and false doctrines. He and those like him are called to repent of their wickedness, and produce fruits in keeping with genuine repentance.

18 comments:

Matt Powell said...

Thanks for the links, Daniel.

PuritanReformed said...

@Matt:

you are welcome

Mark said...

Í do not know Brandon Kraft personally but his position towards the book of James is that of Martin Luther.

I stumbled on to this page because an old friend of mine is a P-Net participant.

I myself am no believer in any of this but if I was, and if anyone cares, my own position would be that of Karl Barth as laid out in his wonderful, simple, mature and revolutionary interpretation of Romans 5:12-21 in his book Christ and Adam.

PuritanReformed said...

@Mark:

I see. I disagree with your comparison between Brandan Kraft and Martin Luther. While Luther did at one time called James an "epistle of straw", he ultimately included it as Canon, and the later editions of his Bible translations dropped that controversial introduction.
(http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=1892)

You will see none of that humility to Scripture in Kraft.

Darth Gill said...

Hey Daniel, I think you're being pretty stupid with your lies and mischaracterizations of me. It would be nice to sit down and have a conversation with you about this, but I don't have time to pound out my thoughts and respond to all that you've written to me. :-)

But anyway, here is an article from the protestant reformed church that defends justification from eternity. It is very good.

http://www.prca.org/prtj/apr2005.htm#The%20Doctrine%20of%20Eternal%20Justification%20in%20Light%20of%20the%20Westminster%20Tradition%20(2)

I'm not fond of name dropping as I don't believe I need luther, calvin, gill, or anyone on my SIDE to prove my position. But you condemn your own reformed heritage you seem to be so proud of as Kuyper, Hoeksema, and others believed and taught Justification from Eternity.

Call me a heretic if you like about Luther, but you are judging me not with the Gospel, but with a church council (James was not included in the homologoumena even in the RCC until after the protestant reformation began).

PuritanReformed said...

@Brandan:

>I think you're being pretty stupid with your lies and mischaracterizations of me

Let's see whether they are lies. Are you now claiming for example that you are not a hyper-Calvinist (Hardshellism) contrary to what you have stated on your profile page?


>But you condemn your own reformed heritage you seem to be so proud of...

You are assuming that the doctrine of Eternal Justification was ever even a serious contender for being the mainstream of Reformed thought. I deny that assertion. Even now, the PRCA are a minority in the P&R circles.


>Kuyper, Hoeksema, and others ...

And since when Kuyper and Hoeksema represented the historical Dutch Reformed tradition? Sure, Kuyper is infuential in modern conservative Dutch Reformed circles (and so was Dooyeweerd and Klass Schilder), but most definitely his influence does not extend before the 20th century. Hoeksema likewise is not influential except in PRC circles.

>here is an article from the protestant reformed church that defends justification from eternity. It is very good.

"Good" is subjective. According to the article, it is written:

===
All of our salvation truly springs from God’s decree of election; but this does not mean that all the elect are currently saved. The same can be said of justification; all our justification has its source in God’s loving election of us in Christ. But this does not mean that every elect person is justified from the moment of their conception

That is a logical non sequitur. Just because justification has its source in God's loving election does not mean that every elect person is justified "from the moment of their conception".


>Neither is it argued that God’s decree to sanctify and glorify is also a decree that sanctifies and glorifies. But then, why should the case be different with justification?

So are God's elect sanctified and glorified from eternity? If not, why should the case be different with justification?

realize that justification in time and justification in eternity are distinct

That is the problem I have with Gill's article when I have read it. Where in Scripture is two aspects of justfication taught? More philosophical sophistry to save a biblically untenable position.

justification by faith and justification before faith

So where in Scripture can we find the two phrases distinguished? Come to think of it, does Scripture even use the phrase "justification before faith"?
======

>Call me a heretic if you like about Luther

You err on the issue of Luther. While Luther did at one time call James an epistle of straw, he continued to include it in the Canon and remove his controversial introduction to the books he formerly called Antilegomena. (http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=1892).


>but you are judging me not with the Gospel, but with a church council

No, I am judging you based upon your rejection of God's Word. Church councils never did dictate what books the Canon contained. Rather, the contents of the Canon was decided by God (as an artefact of revelation) and revealed to men through the Church. See James R. White excellent primer on the subject in his book Scripture Alone. Your position on the Canon does not stem from faith but from rationalism.


>(James was not included in the homologoumena even in the RCC until after the protestant reformation began).

The Canon wasn't even explicitly stated by the RCC until Trent (and to a certain extent at Florence). At Trent, the Apocryphal were re-christened as the Deutero-canonical books. So I don't see how this helps your case much.

Darth Gill said...

bkraft: I think you're being pretty stupid with your lies and mischaracterizations of me

dchew: Let's see whether they are lies. Are you now claiming for example that you are not a hyper-Calvinist (Hardshellism) contrary to what you have stated on your profile page?

BrandanI use the word "hyper-calvinism" as sort of tongue in cheek. I don't believe there is such a thing. It is a pejorative term used as a straw-man argument in my opinion.

-
bkraft: But you condemn your own reformed heritage you seem to be so proud of...

dchew: You are assuming that the doctrine of Eternal Justification was ever even a serious contender for being the mainstream of Reformed thought. I deny that assertion. Even now, the PRCA are a minority in the P&R circles.

bkraft: But they still are in P&R circles. Do you condemn them too?

-
bkraft: Kuyper, Hoeksema, and others ...

dchew: And since when Kuyper and Hoeksema represented the historical Dutch Reformed tradition? Sure, Kuyper is infuential in modern conservative Dutch Reformed circles (and so was Dooyeweerd and Klass Schilder), but most definitely his influence does not extend before the 20th century. Hoeksema likewise is not influential except in PRC circles.

bkraft: Do you condemn Hoeksema and Kuyper for their eternal justification?

-
bkraft: here is an article from the protestant reformed church that defends justification from eternity. It is very good.

dchew: "Good" is subjective.

bkraft: Yes, it is. I thought it was a good article.

-

dchew: So are God's elect sanctified and glorified from eternity? If not, why should the case be different with justification?

bkraft: Yes, all of God's elect are sanctified and glorified from eternity. But that is ONLY from God's perspective. Sanctification, Justification, and Glorification are all aspects of salvation that the elect WILL experience at God's appointed time. For some reason though, I've been accused of teaching just the opposite of this. I suppose it's due to some misunderstanding.

Darth Gill said...

dchew: That is the problem I have with Gill's article when I have read it. Where in Scripture is two aspects of justfication taught? More philosophical sophistry to save a biblically untenable position.

bkraft: There is God's constitutive justification (His VIEW of the elect in Christ) and God's declarative justification to the individual (justification by faith alone).

-

dchew: So where in Scripture can we find the two phrases distinguished? Come to think of it, does Scripture even use the phrase "justification before faith"?

bkraft: I don't like that phraseology either. But technically, Christ's work for His people is an aspect of justification that was performed for the elect in time prior to faith. It is this event that God's constitutive justification from eternity is based upon.

-

bkraft: Call me a heretic if you like about Luther

dchew: You err on the issue of Luther. While Luther did at one time call James an epistle of straw, he continued to include it in the Canon and remove his controversial introduction to the books he formerly called Antilegomena.

bkraft: There is no record of him ever recanting. Also, Luther's commitment to "canon" was not like his protestant successors. Including the book of the bible is not necessarily an endorsement of that book. It does not bother me today that James is included in our bibles.

bkraft: but you are judging me not with the Gospel, but with a church council

dchew: No, I am judging you based upon your rejection of God's Word.

bkraft: Precisely my point. You contend that God's word is CANON as decided by previous councils (who were heretical). I contend that God's Word is inspired literature as authenticated by the Gospel.

-

dchew: Church councils never did dictate what books the Canon contained. Rather, the contents of the Canon was decided by God (as an artefact of revelation) and revealed to men through the Church.

bkraft: I do not deny this. I believe God wanted James in the Bible. The purpose for including it has been made very clear to me. Partly, I believe God included it so that he would confuse many men into believing and promoting the lie of self-righteousness so that He would be glorified in their condemnation and the wrath that would be poured out on them.

-

dchew: See James R. White excellent primer on the subject in his book Scripture Alone. Your position on the Canon does not stem from faith but from rationalism.

bkraft: And that is a completely subjective statement.

-

dchew: The Canon wasn't even explicitly stated by the RCC until Trent (and to a certain extent at Florence).

bkraft: My point exactly. James was specifically added to the canon by the RCC in my opinion primarily because they couldn't stand Luther's Gospel position of Justification by Faith alone. The formation of the canon was not that long ago by a bunch of reprobate and non-gospel believing men. It's amazing that you lean on the understanding of these heretical councils as opposed to a clear understanding of the Gospel.

Mark Farnon (Tartanarmy) said...

I believe God included it so that he would confuse many men into believing and promoting the lie of self-righteousness so that He would be glorified in their condemnation and the wrath that would be poured out on them.
----------------------------------

Brandon, the above comment bothers me. It smacks of the very narrow philosophy found in that Fred Phelps cult, namely this over arching willingness to problem that God does certain things in order to condemn.

And that is so often the only thing people listening to you shall hear.

Now, do not get me wrong here as I very well know that God controls everything, sin included and yes events can and do happen to confuse and confound the hardness of mens hearts.

And it is right there where you and others will go too far and become unbalanced.

We must remember that Man is already born in a state of rebellion, self-righteousness, condemnation etc, therefore reading certain scriptures and saying what you said above is a misuse of Scripture, and it is obvious that the doctrines coming from you and others is built more upon a philosophical rationalism and certainly not by weighing the scriptures in the right way and keeping the balance.

Mark

PuritanReformed said...

@Bradan:

>Brandan I use the word "hyper-calvinism" as sort of tongue in cheek

So theology is something to be made fun of?

>bkraft: But they still are in P&R circles. Do you condemn them too?

IMHO the PRCA are in error at this point. I am worried about those especialy Hanko who are indeed very dogmatic and polemical. My experience is that not all PRCA ministers are the same, and some tend to treat the issue (of eternal justification) not as something of great importance. For these, I have hope.

>bkraft: Do you condemn Hoeksema and Kuyper for their eternal justification?

I have no idea how strongly they hold on to this particular doctrine and the nuances they may have about it, so I will refrain from judging.

You are however condemned not for your view of eternal justification but for throwing James out of the Canon - let's be clear about that. Your view of eternal justification is however a serious error IMO.

>bkraft: Yes, all of God's elect are sanctified and glorified from eternity. But that is ONLY from God's perspective.

I didn't know some form of multi-perspectivalism and Postmodern relativism existed back then [/sarcasm]. More seriously, are you telling me that God actually is not truthful in that He sees things as true even though they are not yet true?

PuritanReformed said...

@Brandan:

>bkraft: There is God's constitutive justification (His VIEW of the elect in Christ) and God's declarative justification to the individual (justification by faith alone).

So where in Scripture is God's view of us stated as being part of justification?


>bkraft: I don't like that phraseology either. But technically, Christ's work for His people is an aspect of justification that was performed for the elect in time prior to faith.

Justification and the atonement are not the same category. Even if we use your division of time, does that therefore mean that "Christ's work for His people is an aspect of justification that was performed" for the OT elect in time after faith?


>bkraft: There is no record of him ever recanting. Also, Luther's commitment to "canon" was not like his protestant successors.
Removing that statement does not constitute a change of mind on the subject? Does Luther have to write a Lutheran bull proclaimaing his change of mind in order for the change to be considered a recantation?


>Including the book of the bible is not necessarily an endorsement of that book

So according to your reasoning, we can add stories and fairy tales to the Bible? Maybe the story of the three pigs and the big, bad wolf could be added inside as well.


>I contend that God's Word is inspired literature as authenticated by the Gospel

Since the Gospel can be only be known by the Scriptures, you are engaging in a perfect circular reasoning. Rather, God's Word is the content that is breathed-out (theopneustos) by the Spirit of God (cf 2 Tim. 3:16). It decides what is and is not the Gospel, not the other way around.

>bkraft: My point exactly. James was specifically added to the canon by the RCC in my opinion primarily because they couldn't stand Luther's Gospel position of Justification by Faith alone. The formation of the canon was not that long ago by a bunch of reprobate and non-gospel believing men. It's amazing that you lean on the understanding of these heretical councils as opposed to a clear understanding of the Gospel

I'm sorry, but you evidently do not realize that all the major Reformed Confession have included James in the Canon of Scripture (ie Belgic CoF, Westminster CoF, 2LBCF, Savoy). Are these "heretical councils"?

PuritanReformed said...

@Brandan:

>bkraft: I do not deny this. I believe God wanted James in the Bible. The purpose for including it has been made very clear to me. Partly, I believe God included it so that he would confuse many men into believing and promoting the lie of self-righteousness so that He would be glorified in their condemnation and the wrath that would be poured out on them.

Are you serious? So God lies in his own revelation? This is different from stating that God hardens people's hearts, but stating that God is actively involved in the act of deceiving.

PuritanReformed said...

@Mark:

agree with you bro.

Darth Gill said...

Chew: So theology is something to be made fun of?

Kraft: Do you have corn cob jammed up your posterior?

Chew: I have no idea how strongly they hold on to this particular doctrine and the nuances they may have about it, so I will refrain from judging.

Kraft: Well you better find out! You wouldn't want anybody to be led astray! :)

Chew: You are however condemned not for your view of eternal justification but for throwing James out of the Canon - let's be clear about that.

Kraft: Whew! Well it's good to know where I stand and what you consider to be more important. It appears you place more importance on the "canon" than the doctrine of justification. BTW, the topic of "canon" isn't even in the "canon." At least my position is canonical. Yours, ironically, is not! I challenge you to form a doctrine of CANON from the text of the CANON. You cannot. Yet you will condemn me being the hypocrite you are.

Kraft: Yes, all of God's elect are sanctified and glorified from eternity. But that is ONLY from God's perspective.

Chew: I didn't know some form of multi-perspectivalism and Postmodern relativism existed back then [/sarcasm]. More seriously, are you telling me that God actually is not truthful in that He sees things as true even though they are not yet true?

Kraft: No, all things are true to God as He is transcendent of time and space. However, as we are limited by time, we have YET to experience these future events. I look forward to doing so! My glorification is already accomplished and a certainty in the mind of God (whose inhabitance is eternity), but I for example have to be glorified. It's a done deal, but the events of time have not been fully played out.

The problem you face Daniel in your theology is not the doctrine of justification. Your problem is WHO IS GOD to you? You don't know WHO HE IS. You seem to worship a god - a figment of your imaginination - one that is not all powerful and is subject to the creation rather than being the GREAT CREATOR. You subject your god to eternal law philosophy instead of looking to the SOVEREIGN GOD who IS THE LAW. Your god waits as an observer and is dependent upon what happens in the creation making him mutable. Your poor god views the events of time like a sporting event that he can intervene in at times rather than DETERMINING it all from beginning to end for HIS GLORY.

That is how I view the difference between my SOVEREIGN KING and your pathetic idol. You make wicked claims that God HATES the elect before they are converted. Natural logical conclusion to that is you would have Jesus hanging in agony for people God hated. That's just sick man. I hope for your sake that God would remove that corn cob and show you the truth about who He is! :-)

Mark Farnon (Tartanarmy) said...

Wow, simply amazing!

PuritanReformed said...

@Brandan:

I echo my brother Mark's comment: Simply amazing!

The ad-hominem and blatant mischaracterization of my position, as well as ignoring all the biblical proofs against your position, shows you are not interested in following the teachings of Scripture.

>Kraft: Do you have corn cob jammed up your posterior?

Why is it that you just have to go around proving to others the pratical godlessness and lawlessness(antinomianism) that Eternal Justification leads to? You might as well just throw some expletives if you insist on insulting me.

>Kraft: Well you better find out! You wouldn't want anybody to be led astray! :)

In case you haven't noticed, both Hoeksema and Kuyper are no more in this life.

>I challenge you to form a doctrine of CANON from the text of the CANON.

You, sir, have obviously not read much into the doctrine of bibliology. Reformed Protestantism in her defence against the Romanists have faced up to this issue well enough, which is why I asked you to just read the excellent primer provided by Dr. James R. White.

>Kraft: No, all things are true to God as He is transcendent of time and space ...

In other words, just repeat the same tired old defence again and not interact with the objection raised by your opponent (me).

With regards to the rest of your rant, save it. If doctrine was not a serious thing, I would be highly amused to see someone misrepresent me so blatantly.

Mark Farnon (Tartanarmy) said...

u can almost predict these outcomes....Embrace "certain" false teachings and Antinomian-ism shall rear it's ugly head sooner or later.

You can bank on it. I have seen this many times with Calvinist's who become imbalanced.

Brandon may have his differences with Marc Carpenter, but he is not that far behind him, and that is sad.

Mark

PuritanReformed said...

@Mark:

Amen, bro. Maybe the two of them can get together and form the P-Net outside the camp.