Posted by: Damon Whitsell | December 19, 2009

Word of Faith: Chad Marinelli; God in a Box, A Review Part 2

Here is PART ONE

Dr. Marinelli’s Thesis:

I quote from the Westminster Confession Faith (Dr. Marinelli also used the W.C.F. as a source):

God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass (Rom_9:15, Rom_9:18; Rom_11:33; Eph_1:11; Heb_6:17): yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin (Jam_1:13, Jam_1:17; 1Jo_1:5), nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established (Pro_16:33; Mat_17:12; Joh_19:11; Act_2:23; Act_4:27, Act_4:28). WCF 3:1

Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass upon all supposed conditions (Mat_11:21, Mat_11:23; Act_15:18; 1Sa_23:11, 1Sa_23:12), yet hath He not decreed any thing because He foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions (Rom_9:11, Rom_9:13, Rom_9:16, Rom_9:18). WCF 3:2

The WCF clearly demonstrates the Reformed position that Dr. Marinelli chose to ignore in his research.

He also makes the logical jump that Calvinism teaches that God is the author of sin. Dr. Marinelli says, “God does not ordain every sin we commit as Christians, as Calvinism teaches. This would make God the author of sin.” The following is Footnote 15 on page 20:

“God not only foresaw that Adam would fall, but also ordained that he should … I confess it is a horrible decree; yet no one can deny but God foreknew Adam’s fall, and therefore foreknew he had ordained it so by his own decree” (Calvin’s Institutes, book 3, chapter 23, section 7).

You will note that the author only took a small piece of the quote. Here is the whole quote:

7. They deny that it is ever said in distinct terms, God decreed that Adam should perish by his revolt.50[5] As if the same God, who is declared in Scripture to do whatsoever he pleases, could have made the noblest of his creatures without any special purpose. They say that, in accordance with free-will, he was to be the architect of his own fortune, that God had decreed nothing but to treat him according to his desert. If this frigid fiction is received, where will be the omnipotence of God, by which, according to his secret counsel on which every thing depends, he rules over all? But whether they will allow it or not, predestination is manifest in Adam’s posterity. It was not owing to nature that they all lost salvation by the fault of one parent. Why should they refuse to admit with regard to one man that which against their will they admit with regard to the whole human race? Why should they in caviling lose their labour? Scripture proclaims that all were, in the person of one, made liable to eternal death. As this cannot be ascribed to nature, it is plain that it is owing to the wonderful counsel of God. It is very absurd in these worthy defenders of the justice of God to strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. I again ask how it is that the fall of Adam involves so many nations with their infant children in eternal death without remedy unless that it so seemed meet to God? Here the most loquacious tongues must be dumb. The decree, I admit, is, dreadful; and yet it is impossible to deny that God foreknow what the end of man was to be before he made him, and foreknew, because he had so ordained by his decree. Should any one here inveigh against the prescience of God, he does it rashly and unadvisedly. For why, pray, should it be made a charge against the heavenly Judge, that he was not ignorant of what was to happen? Thus, if there is any just or plausible complaint, it must be directed against predestination. Nor ought it to seem absurd when I say, that God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, and in him the ruin of his posterity; but also at his own pleasure arranged it. For as it belongs to his wisdom to foreknow all future events, so it belongs to his power to rule and govern them by his hand. This question, like others, is skillfully explained by Augustine: “Let us confess with the greatest benefit, what we believe with the greatest truth, that the God and Lord of all things who made all things very good, both foreknow that evil was to arise out of good, and knew that it belonged to his most omnipotent goodness to bring good out of evil, rather than not permit evil to be, and so ordained the life of angels and men as to show in it, first, what free-will could do; and, secondly, what the benefit of his grace and his righteous judgment could do,” (August. Enchir. ad Laurent).

John Calvin’s point was summed up in the quote of Augustine.
Whether the good Doctor agrees or disagrees with Calvinism, he needs to do better research and give an accurate view of Calvinism. Calvinism teaches that man has no interest in God (Romans 1 and 2). And, if God does not make alive a man’s spirit (Ephesians 2:1, 8-9), he will continue in his unbelief and continue lacking any desire to serve God.

At this point, I will let the reader know that this is a ploy by the Word Faith apologist to place blame on Calvinists for the criticism of their doctrines. Orthodox Apologists like to call this playing the “C” card. It is so much easier to blame Reformed believers than to take a serious look at their doctrine. As a side note, the other “C” card that is often played is the Cessation-ist card. This is where defenders of Word Faith will claim that a critic doesn’t understand because they have not had the Pentecostal/Charismatic experience. Therefore, they can’t experience or understand this revelation knowledge.

Having said this “C”-card stuff, the first critics of Word Faith has been Charismatics themselves – Gordon Fee, D.R. McConnell, and Hobart Freeman. In fact, when I was in the Word Faith Movement, I got my warnings from other Word Faith Charismatics. Most non-Charismatics were ignorant of the movement.

The rest of chapter two is setting up the straw man and beating it down. Dr. Marinelli does it numerous times..

Chapter six, Sovereignty, Suffering, and Sickness, can be a difficult subject. Most Christians believe that God answers prayers including healing. The Word Faith position is that a believer should live a life free of illness. It really comes down to your being sick is somehow your fault. Either you lack faith, committed some sin, are ignorant, or are being attacked by Satan.

Now, I agree that all four can be a reason for illness. Yet, even when we are doing well in the Word Faith checklist, illness does occur. We are subject to headaches caused by changes in the weather, to colds and flues that spread during the winter months. Our digestive system can get out of whack even when eating healthy foods. You will not find an honest Word Faith person who denies experiencing these things over the last year or two. The only thing to keep them quiet would be their fear of a negative confession. You may have heard from Word Faith circles, “Your confession is your possession.”

Job became the whipping boy of the Word Faith Movement early on. Despite Dr. Marinelli’s more respectable approach, he still comes down on Job. He admits on Page 145 that “He (Satan) viciously enters the presence of God looking for permission to destroy.” Interestingly enough, Dr. Marinelli’s Footnote 108 adds, “Of course, we have already established that Satan has permission to destroy, being the prince and powers of the air, the god of this age, who legally took, Adam’s dominion.” Dr. Marinelli also is quick to point out that Job had fear (Job 3:25) and this is what opened the door for Satan.



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