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As Many As Wanted Salvation Were Saved

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The other day I mentioned that Dave Hunt has released a second edition of his anti-Calvinist diatribe What Love is This. Hunt came under fire from many believers for embarking on this ill-advised crusade, one which alienated much of his audience. After the publication of the book subscriptions to his newsletter, the Berean Call, fell as many Calvinists decided to end their affiliation with Hunt and what had once been a ministry that focused mostly on Catholicism and cults. Having been challenged on so many of the points he made in the first edition of his book, most notably by aplogist James White, Hunt felt he needed to go return to the manuscript and make some changes. Most of these, unfortunately, were for the worse. It seems that in his irrational desire to debunk Calvinism he is willing to go to nearly any extremes. Read the following quote that appeared only in the second edition:

The Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as comments from early church writers, indicate that the first 15 chapters of Acts were probably written first in Hebrew. The Greek would be a translation. Some scholars claim that going back to a “redacted Hebrew “version, based upon word-for-word Greek-Hebrew equivalents, would render Acts 13:48 more like “as many as submitted to, needed, or wanted salvation, were saved.” Furthermore, even if “ordained “were the correct meaning, these Greeks still would have had to believe the gospel and accept Christ by an act of their own faith and will, as all of Scripture testifies.

What Love Is This by Dave Hunt (p. 264).

That rather startling information appears with no footnote or citation. Are we to believe that all those who wanted salvation were saved and that we have a corrupted translation of that passage? Are we to believe that the Dead Sea Scrolls were written after the book of Acts and discuss the authorship of the book? James White did some legwork and found out that this translation is actually from the Nazarene Commentary 2000, not a translation at all. The footnote in the Nazarene Commentary clarifies the word they translated as “were disposed” as meaning “ordained, predestined, marked out, appointed, destined.” So what Hunt has done is he has taken the most obscure translation of the Bible he could find, simply because it said what he wanted it to say. He clearly gave no thought to its accuracy.

It is tragic to see a man whose ministry I once respected so biased in his hatred of the doctrines of grace that he would be willing to forsake biblical principles in order to support his errant claims. It casts a shadow of doubt over his entire ministry, even in those areas where I agree with him. If he relies on such shoddy scholarship in his attacks on Calvinism, who says his representation of cults or Catholicism or the church growth movement are any more accurate? When What Love Is This was first published I remember my father bemoaning the fact that Hunt had “lived for one book too many.” If Hunt had just left this topic alone, he could have carried his private convictions with him to the grave and taken them up with God. Instead he wrote a book that cast doubt upon a belief held dear by so many believers and he continues to exploit and expand the rift he has created. His book is viewed by many as being a devastating critque of Calvinism and it has no doubt furthered many people’s disgust towards the Reformed faith. Yet the book does not accurately portray the Reformed faith at all.

James White says it well: “Consider well how far Dave Hunt and The Berean Call has been willing to go here. The very perspecuity and clarity of the Word of God itself is sacrificed upon the altar of his wild-eyed fanatical attack upon the sovereignty of God’s grace in salvation. He stands firmly with Rome in his view of grace and man’s will, and firmly against the Reformation on the topic, and evidently, there is no price too high to pay to pursue the “cause” of “anti-Calvinism,” even that of turning the Dead Sea Scrolls into prophetic devices that address the authorship of Acts.”

I have learned from seeing what Hunt has done. I have no reason to doubt that Dave Hunt is a believer, which perhaps makes it even more tragic, that a believer can go on such a crusade, forsaking the Word in order to further his own beliefs. He is clearly blinded by his hatred of the doctrines of grace. Thomas Jefferson once said “The moment a person forms a theory his imagination sees in every object only the traits which favor that theory.” Christians are prone to this, whether their theory is purpose, open theism, or, as in Hunt’s case, Arminianism.

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