(Originally written approximately 2005)
Lately there has been a lot of discourse regarding a position I have on Universalism. Two bloggers have taken it upon themselves to write about me and ask "notable" Christians on the Internet about my position. They have published information on the internet against me in their blogs. The problem is that their information is not accurate.
For those of you who happen upon this article and have been influenced negatively towards me based on what one or both of their blogs have said, I have questions for you?
- Did you read actually read my articles on the subjects? If not, why not?
- Did you try and contact me to get the facts straight? If not, why not?
- Did you just listen to what they said that I said and form your opinions on that, instead of coming to me?
- If you have not tried to contact me to find out the "other side", why not? Shouldn't you have?
I strongly suggest you do not listen to their misrepresentations. Instead contact me; that is, after you have read this article to get the facts. I am amazed that anyone is listening to them and writing negative things about me and those peopel don't even come to me directly to get the facts. Amazing. By the way, I spoke to both Surphing and Christ Alone in a chat room about this once. It was a very unpleasant experience and they continued to misrepresent me during that talk and afterwards. Therefore, I do not trust them.
Last but not least, I want to find out which churches they go to and I want to contact their pastors and elders in an effort to have them disciplined for their misrepresentation and false statements about what I teach. They refused to stop misrepresenting me and now I must go to their elders. If anyone knows what churches they go to, please contact me and let me know.
Finally, I apologize for the length of this article, but it is necessary. Its outline is as follows
Is it "possible" for a person to be a universalist and be a Christian?
I believe that Universalism is a false teaching. Universalism is the doctrine that all people will eventually go to heaven. There are different schools within the Universalist camp, those who claim to affirm Christian theology (the trinity, deity of Christ, etc.), those who don't, some who believe in annihilation with a resurrection to redemption, others who believe in a period of judgment and then reconciliation to God, etc. All these positions are in error and are not consistent with biblical revelation. In other words, the Bible does not teach universal redemption.
The question is whether or not it is possible for someone to be a Universalist and a Christian at the same time. I say it is possible. Let me illustrate. Let's say that there is an individual who has no theological understanding, no biblical truth, and for his whole adult life has believed that everybody is going to go to heaven. Let's further say that this man is on his deathbed and the hospital chaplain approaches him and gives him the gospel and tells him that Jesus is God in flesh, bore our sins in his body on the cross, died, and physically rose from the dead so that we might escape the judgment of God. The man believes this and receives Christ as savior and trusts Christ alone to forgive him. Then he passes away having never repented of his belief that everyone will be saved because he was not taught properly in this regard. Is this person going to heaven or hell? My belief is that the person is not disqualified from heaven because he erringly believed that all people will be saved. Furthermore, I assert that this hypothetical individual was ignorant of proper biblical theology and was saved and that eventually, if he were to have lived, would have repented of his error demonstrating his regeneration.
Surphing is Reformed (Calvinist). Therefore, I thought I would appeal to notable Calvinist authorities on this topic. I had the privilege of attending Westminster theological seminary in Southern California and graduated with a Masters of Divinity in 1991. One of my professors was John Frame. John frame is a well-known author and has several degrees: Princeton University A.B.; Westminster Theological Seminary B.D.; Yale University, M.Phil.; Belhaven College, D.D. he is the author of numerous books (Van Til, the Theologian, 1976; The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God, 1987; Medical Ethics, 1988; Perspectives on the Word of God, 1990; Evangelical Reunion, 1991; Apologetics to the Glory of God, 1994; Cornelius Van Til: An Analysis of his Thought, 1995; Worship in Spirit and Truth, 1996; Contemporary Music: a Biblical Defense, 1997). Dr. Frame "was a founding faculty member of WTS California. He is best known for his prolific writings including ten volumes, a contributor to many books and reference volumes, as well as scholarly articles and magazines."1 Presently he teaches at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida.
I wrote Dr. frame concerning this issue because I have a huge respect for him and trust his judgment. I asked him whether or not a Christian can ignorantly be a Universalist and whether or not it is absolutely necessary for a person to acknowledge the physical resurrection of Christ in order to become a Christian. Following are excerpts from his email to me.
"I think it’s possible for a regenerate person to have no conscious beliefs at all. WCF X, 3 says that infants can be saved, presumably without any profession at all. And it extends this provision also to “all other elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.”
"Is it possible to be saved without knowing about the Resurrection of Christ? Sure. There were lots of Jewish believers in the first century who needed to be informed of the Resurrection by the apostolic proclamation. (Think of the people who “knew only the baptism of John.”) I’ve no reason to believe that they were all unregenerate before they knew that Jesus was risen. So today, there may be people in whose hearts God is working, who haven’t been taught the full truth about Christ. They may even profess that Christ is Lord, without knowing that the Resurrection is specifically physical. But when told in a godly way, they will eventually accept the truth."
John frame was not the only one I asked. I polled several reformed pastors who each stated that my position was valid. Of course, we do not to make Christian doctrine based upon the opinion of pastors and scholars. The Word of God is what is true and all teaching must be compared to it. But, if I am condemned and maligned for my position, then I join company with Dr. John Frame and many other Christian pastors.
In Dr. frames e-mail he quoted the Westminster confession of Faith, Section 10, paragraph 3. See the WCF 10 for context
- Westminster Confession of Faith, 10:3, "Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated, and saved by Christ, through the Spirit, who works when, and where, and how He pleases: so also are all other elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word."
- The 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith which is derived from the 1647 Westminster Confession of Faith, 10:3, "Infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit who works when and where and how he pleases. So also are all elect persons regenerated who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the word."
Since Surphing is Reformed, perhaps the WCF and BCF, should carry significant weight, depending on which Confession she affirms. According to both the WCF and the BCF it is quite possible be regenerated without knowledge of Christ, i.e., saved infants and presumably the mentally challenged. Whether or not a person agrees with the WCF and BCF here isn't the point. Rather, it is to establish that according to a very well respected Reformed Confessions, my position is certainly possible.
If, however, neither of my critics affirms the WCF or the BCF, then would they both state that all infants who die go to hell since they have not confessed a profession of faith nor have their publically affirmed the physical resurrection of Christ? If they affirm that it is possible for infants to be saved, then doesn't it appear logical to assume that since they were saved in their ignorance, it is possible for others to be saved in theirs as well?
My encounter with and "Surphing" and "Christ Alone"
There is a discussion area called paltalk where people can engage in voice conversation. Usually it's very interesting. I had been hearing comments from people that a person name Surphing, a woman, had been saying negative things about my theological position concerning universalism. So, I thought I would clear this up and see if what people had been telling me was accurate. I entered a room on paltalk where Surphing was. We both were in a neutral room, which means that neither she nor I had administrator rights. This means that neither one of us could interrupt the other person, mute that person, and prevent him/her from speaking. This is a usually a good and fair situation to work in since it lends itself to balance and fairness among speakers. Thus we began to talk. She began by speaking for about seven minutes while I took notes. Shortly after I began to respond to her, she left the room. I think it was because I stated that she had misrepresented my position. As I was clarifying what I actually do believe, she chose to leave. I don't know why.
I pursued her to another room where Carla (Christ Alone) was an administrator. Remember, this means that the admin has the ability to mute anyone in the room and prevent him or her from speaking whenever the admin so chooses. At first Surphing was not an admin, but later she assumed admin privileges during our conversation.
The discussion in the room was very difficult. I tried very hard to continue our conversation, defend my position, and correct the misinformation. It didn't go well. Basically, this is what happened.
- I repeatedly stated my position that I think universalism is a false teaching.
- I repeatedly stated that anyone who gets saved and happens to believe in universalism, will soon thereafter reject universalism since the Holy Spirit in him will correct him.
- I repeatedly stated that we are not saved by correct doctrine. Instead, we believe correct doctrine because we are saved. I stood against doctrinal regeneration.
- Both Surphing and Christ Alone continued to misrepresent my position even after I repeatedly tried to correct them. Basically, they were saying that I was affirming that universalism was okay and that universalists as a whole, can be Christian. This was not my position.
- When I told them they were misrepresenting me, I was told that I was a liar.
- Several times when I told them that I was being misrepresented, I was muted.
- This situation was extremely frustrating but I stayed and told them that I was seeking reconciliation with them so we could present a united front and fight the real enemy.
- They continued to condemn my position and when I tried to respond to them, I was frequently muted, though occasionally I could speak for a little while.
- I tried to continue and I repeatedly asked if I could speak freely but was told I could not because I was a liar. They said I was falsely accusing them of misrepresenting me, upon which I was repeatedly muted when saying I was being misrepresented.
- I can't say for sure which one said I was a liar or if both did. But it was said by at least one of them and never was denied by the other.
- I was also told that I had to answer in certain ways, i.e, politely, in a calm voice, that I couldn't use illustrations to make my case since they "weren't on topic", etc. This restriction only served to make things even more difficult to communicate with them.
- I told them several times times that their repeated muting of me and the restriction of my privilege of self defense as I saw fit was extremely aggravating and that I was trying very hard to maintain my composure in spite of their ill treatment. I was told to stop whining and answer their questions.
- They said that I was not allowed to speak freely because that freedom meant I would slander them and they wouldn't permit it. All I was saying was that they were misrepresenting me for which I was called a liar, muted, and told I couldn't speak freely.
In short, I was treated very badly. After about an hour-and-a-half of this, I couldn't take it any longer. I left their room and opened my own room where I could have freedom of discussion.
Many people who were in the original room with Surphing, Christ Alone, and myself left their room and joined me in my new room. Realizing that I would need to write a response, I wrote down some of the comments that were said about how I was treated. Here are just a few: "Those two don't like you"; "Surphing has been trying to hang you as a heretic for a while now"; "They wouldn't let you talk freely"; "They were wrong for the way the treated you"; "You were very polite, but they acted in an unchristian way"; etc. In short, I honestly tried to work with them, but the situation was extremely aggravating and frustrating. Reconciliation could not be attained, though I tried quite hard to achieve it.
On Aug. 16, 2005 Surphing published a blog about me, which I kept. I have quoted her and responded. My goal is not to malign her, but to try and set the record straight and respond freely.
- Surphing: "How many times have I heard people critique the likes of Benny Hinn or Joel Osteen or Billy Graham in the reformed circles? Dozens. Why? Because public teachers are subject to public testing in order to call such persons back to truth and to warn the flock of God. Matt Slick is no different."
Matt Slick's Response:
- Surphing certainly has the right to speak freely and warn the Christian Church against what she considers dangerous teaching. But, the issue is whether or not she is correct and if she has represented me properly.
- Surphing: "It should be made aware to readers that this man is not really Reformed and he seems inconsistent with things he has said."
Matt Slick's Response:
- I am indeed Reformed. I hold to the five points of Calvinism, am amillennial, covenantal, and affirm covenantal peudo-baptism (not for salvation). If that isn't being Reformed, then what is? See my Calvinist Website
- As far as being inconsistent, well, you can find inconsistencies with anyone if you talk to them long enough. It depends on what you're looking for. We all say things that we modify later for clarification purposes. This is what I have done. But it is my opinion that Surphing was looking for inconsistencies far more than she was interested in clarification.
- Surphing: She quotes me from my testimony page in her blog where I said: "In fact, I did not know that Jesus had physically risen from the dead until two years after I became a Christian." This is from his testimony page. He also said the same thing in a chat room on Paltalk last night. Is it possible for a person to be saved for TWO YEARS and not know Jesus was resurrected from the dead? No. Scripture says: Rom 10:9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
Matt Slick's Response:
- Please read my testimony for yourself if you are so inclined.
- Also note that Romans 10:9 does not say it is it is impossible for someone to be saved and not know of Jesus' resurrection. What it does say is that if you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Salvation is not the result of confession. Confession is the result of salvation. Romans 10:9 is not a formula for getting saved and it is not a declaration that you must confess Jesus' physical resurrection in order to be saved. Surphing has committed the exegetical fallacy of eisegesis (reading into the text what it does not say). This is a mistake on her part.
- Why did it take two years for me to learn of Christ's physical resurrection? It was because I was not attending a church before or after my salvation. I wasn't discipled. I had no idea what to do or what church to go to. My friends had invited me to a church, where I got saved (read my testimony) but there was no follow-up, no anchoring in the faith. So, after a while, began to wander I went about my normal teenage activities. Was their a change in my life? Absolutely! Everyone saw it and I certainly was speaking about how Jesus had saved me. But again, I was basically abandoned and not discipled. Then, after about two years (I don't remember exactly), I met some Christian friends, started attending church and finally learned that Christ had physically risen. Was I not saved during that period? Of course I was.
If you read my testimony it is evident that I had a profound spiritual encounter. I still claim that the Lord saved me and I was aware of his presence. Logically, this means I believed he was with me, alive. It wasn't until later that I learned of his physical resurrection and, of course, quickly accepted it as truth.
Nevertheless, back to the universalism issue.
- Surphing: "Recently on PalTalk, where I chat online, a Christian "apologist" has determined at his website that yes, one can be a universalist AND a Christian at the same time (although he recently made subtle changes, his view is still wrong--go here for his old page that was up until two days ago)."
Matt Slick's Response:
- Because of our conversation I had modified my page on whether or not a Christian can be Universalist. I wanted to make it more clear to avoid confusion. You can find that article here. The problem I have with her quote is that she knowingly links to the old page (through an archive service) instead of the updated page where I clarify my position. I do not know why she did that.
- Anyway, for clarification purposes, when I say I believe it is possible for a universalist to be a Christian, I do not say that a universalist who holds to a full knowledge of his universalism in contradiction to revealed scripture can be a Christian. I repeatedly stated this in the discussion room that night. My position is that it is possible for someone who is uneducated, and ignorant, who happens to believe that a person can hold to the universalist position can also be a Christian but that he or she will eventually repent of that position as he or she is taught. Surphing has not represented me properly in her blog.
- Surphing: "The claim is that universalism does not deny the 'essentials' of Christianity. Oh really? One major problem with this idea is that the notion of every person going to heaven whether or not they acknowledge Jesus as God, trust in Him for salvation alone, repent of their sin, etc. denies Scripture itself. Also, it denies the very thing we are saved FROM (God's wrath and hell), and it denies the NEED for regeneration and sanctification. Can a Hindu die as a Hindu or a homosexual die as a homosexual and still go to heaven? What does the Bible say?"
Matt Slick's Response:
- She has not declared what are the essential doctrines of Christianity in order to substantiate her claim.
- Also, she is not representing my position properly. I have never stated that universalism is valid, nor do I state that anyone who denies Jesus as God, does not trust Jesus for salvation, does not repent, etc., is going to heaven. She has constructed false accusation here. Furthermore, she doesn't understand that those who claim to be Christian universalists also claim to be delivered from God's wrath and hell. Now, I am not defending universalism. But, you'd think that if Surphing is going to make such sure pronouncements of condemnation that she'd at least know what she was talking about when she criticizes something.
- The question is whether or not simply saying that all will be saved is a denial of any of the essential doctrines of Christianity. I see the essentials of the faith as those doctrines that the Bible declares are essential and those doctrines which are necessarily derived from those self-declared essentials. See my Doctrine Grid for this analysis. Sure, universalism is a denial of many biblical doctrines and I firmly believe that anyone who openly and knowingly continues to abide in the denial of those doctrines (i.e., Trinity, justification, by faith, God's judgment, the reality of hell, etc.) is obviously demonstrating a lack of regenerative fruit. I wouldn't say they were saved.
Furthermore, I clarified to Surphing that I was not referring to full-blown, very knowledgeable universalists who reject orthodoxy. I was referring to the ignorant and undiscipled who just don't know any better. The difference is important and it is a distinction she fails to address or take into account in her criticism.
If Surphing is right then it means that anyone who affirms that all will be saved cannot be a Christian, even if they do so in ignorance of the truth and even if they acknowledge Jesus as Lord, affirm his resurrection, atonement, deity, justification by faith, etc., and trust in Christ to forgive them of their sins. In short, Surphing is denying God the ability to save someone in his theological error and seems to require doctrinal purity in order to be saved. This is, of course, a faulty position and is in contradiction to Reformed theology, a system of biblical interpretation to which she holds. Apparently Surphing is a bit confused about the Reformed teaching of regeneration preceding faith and instead seems to support the Arminian position of faith preceding regeneration (The Arminian position is contrary to Surphing's confessed Reformed position). This is a huge inconsistency on her part.
- I certainly do not agree with the notion that "every person [is] going to heaven whether or not they acknowledge Jesus as God, trust in Him for salvation alone, repent of their sin, etc." I deny that assertion by her. It is not my position and I attempted to clarify it several times in that discussion room. Yet, she implied this is my position when it is not. Instead, I'm stating that it is possible for someone to affirm the essentials of the Christian faith and also erringly believe that all will be saved, but that such a person will come to realize his/her error and adopt correct theology once discipled. My deathbed scenario at the beginning of this paper is an example of that "possibility" of someone being able to erringly hold to universalsim and also receive Christ.
But, I should mention that when I proposed that scenario in that chat room the other night, I was told it can't happen. Interesting.
- In my many years of reading the word of God, I have never encountered any scripture that damns anyone to hell for believing that everyone is saved. Though I think such a belief is an error, since the Scriptures do not declare it damnable, I don't either. Of course, Surphing says that universalism denies the true judgment of God and what we are saved from. With some Universalists that is true and with others it is not.
Please understand that I am not defending Universalism. I am merely trying to accurately represent one of its facets that some Universalists hold to. Accuracy is important. Nevertheless, this demonstrates that she does not know very much about what she's criticizing. I tried to explain this in the discussion room, but since I was being muted so frequently, I was not allowed to explain very much.
- Surphing: "1Cor 6:11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. This passage clearly shows what kinds of people will not get saved---those who continue in disobedience and disbelief in God and His word. In other words, the reprobate. Contrary to universalism, God saves while we are alive (Heb 9:27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment....), and except in cases of deathbed conversions, such people will have a life that displays God's work in their lives. ."
Matt Slick's Response:
- Again, please understand that I am not defending or approving of Universalism. But, Surphing continues to demonstrate that she does not understand Universalism sufficiently. This is interesting because she kept misrepresenting me saying that what I believed was wrong, yet she demonstrates she doesn't' understand much about universalism. Was she projecting her erroneous conceptions upon me in our discussion? I don't know, but I can't help wonder if that was what was happening.
- There are many Universalists who believe that God saves us while we are alive and that he does not save people who continue in disobedience and disbelief. They are wrong, but they state that everyone will eventually believe. In their convoluted thinking, these Universalists erring teach that such people will have a chance at redemption in the afterlife. I wholeheartedly and absolutely condemn such a teaching. But the point is that Surphing again demonstrates a profound lack of understanding of the issue. It is apparent that she has a narrow view of what Universalism is and lumps all aspects and subdivisions of it into one broad group heading and then she condemns everyone in that. This is a big mistake on her part.
Christ Alone's Blog
Christ Alone was the other woman in the room that was antagonistic towards me. Remember, I had repeatedly stated that they were misrepresenting my position.
On her blog she says:
Before I even posted my first entry on this, I emailed Phil Johnson to ask his perspective on it. I don't always agree with everything Phil says (I know, big shocker, eh?) but I appreciate his insight, and do value his opinion - as do many others. Before I even emailed Phil, I tossed a few of these statements from CARM out to the good folks in #prosapologian (James White - Alpha & Omega Ministries) and supplied the url to the CARM page on Christian Universalists. I asked them the same things I asked Phil "does this line up with Scripture?". Hands down, after they all read the page at CARM, they said NO. Here was what Phil had to say on this:
"Carla Rolfe ponders how to respond to an influential "Christian apologist" who claims universalism is perfectly compatible with the fundamental truths of Christianity. The guy acknowledges that universalism is unbiblical. But he insists it's an error that doesn't impinge on any essential doctrine of Christianity. Therefore, he says, it's a "difference of opinion" that ought to be tolerated within the circle of our Christian fellowship." (Underline added for emphasis)
First, notice the initial underlined statement above where what I am accused of teaching is not what I teach. Let me say it again. I do not believe that Universalism is "perfectly compatible with the fundamental truths of Christianity." That is not my position at all. It never has been.
Second, how did Phil Johnson get this opinion of my position? If, as Carla says, he read my material then he would have realized that I never say that "universalism is perfectly compatible with the fundamental truths of Christianity." I deny that it is. In fact, here is what I have said regarding Universalism in the paper Concluding thoughts on Universalism.
"It [universalism] means that we will escape the judgment of damnation. It means we are safe even in our imperfections, our sins, our rebellion, and our blasphemies. It means we can offend God outright, reject Him boldly, and not worry about our salvation -- because we'll all be saved no matter what they do in this life.
"The teaching of Universalism minimizes the Infinite Holiness and Infinite Justice of God which also resides within His very essence alongside Infinite Love. It does this by daring to assert that anyone, in the afterlife, through any form of suffering, are somehow "made ready" to be with God. That is false! Hell is not a pleasant topic. It is an awful place. But it is real and it is powerful and it is eternal. No one will escape the judgment of God if they forsake Christ in this world....
"Universalism makes the latter quality of God [love] override the other [justice] having the sinner escape eternal judgment by going through a period of suffering in the afterlife. This is wrong. When such an imbalance occurs, error is the result. And that is what universalism is: error. Its danger is that it may cause the heart to be comfortable, to not worry, and to put off seeking a savior. Such a doctrine is dangerous since it can easily encourage a casual approach to redemption."
Does that sound like I am saying that universalism is perfectly compatible with the fundamental truths of Christianity? Of course not! I have to ask where Phil Johnson got this idea since it is contradicted on my website. I am not making an accusation, but Carla is the one who contacted Phil. As far as I know, I have never received any communication from Phil Johnson regarding this issue for clarification. So, I can conclude that he is responding to what Carla has told him. Since I have been saying that both Carla and Surphing have been misrepresenting me, and since Phil's opinion of what I teach is not what I teach, I conclude that Carla did not represent me correctly to him. If there is another explanation for this incongruity, I am not aware of it and am open to being corrected.
Third, regarding the second underlined section above, I do not teach or believe that Universalism is a "'difference of opinion' that ought to be tolerated within the circle of our Christian fellowship." This is another misrepresentation of my position. Let me say it again. I do not believe that Universalism should be tolerated in any way within Christian fellowship. I believe that it is a false teaching that needs to be rejected and corrected and that all who hold to it need to repent. Again, where did Phil Johnson get this erring idea of what I believe? Remember, that evening in the chat room I told Carla in person that she was not representing me properly. I was muted several times when I made that claim and told not to say that I was being misrepresented. And, to make it worse I was called a liar for saying that I was misrepresented. I am not a liar.
I certainly do not conclude that universalism is simply another theological position that needs to be tolerated within the Christian church. Universalism denies some plain teachings of Scripture regarding eternal damnation. I've always stated this and informed both Surphing and Carla (Christ Alone) about this many times in our discussion. Nevertheless, what I have been represented as teaching from both Surphing and Christ Alone's blogs is not what I have taught. Yet, they published it and tried to get others to see me as being in error as well.
My concern is that this misrepresentation will be spread throughout the Internet and my reputation will be damaged because of it. This is the reason I have written this paper in hopes of clarifying the issue so that I will not be falsely accused.
One good thing has come out of this debacle. I have reviewed a couple of my pages on universalism and tightened them up so as to make it even more clear that I do not consider universalism to be "perfectly compatible with the fundamental teachings of Christianity" -- which I never said to begin with. But remember, my position is that a person who confesses the true Lord Jesus as God in flesh, affirms his bodily resurrection, and justification by grace through faith, etc., and in his or her ignorance also holds to a Universalist position certainly has the possibility of being saved. Note, I said in ignorance, not in full knowledge of universalism's error. Furthermore, I firmly believe that anyone who claims to be a Christian and also holds to universalism needs to be corrected and that such a person under the direction of the Holy Spirit, will move further and further into orthodoxy and away from universalism until it is rejected. And, we are not saved by believing correct doctrine. We are regenerated first and believe the truth because of God's work in us, not the other way around.
On Friday, Dec. 2, 2005 Surphing emailed me telling me that her pastor had read this page and my stuff on universalism and that he is "fully aware of the situation" and that he was in agreement with Surphing. She then said, "Its time to remove that call for personal information on me and I would appreciate that to be done in the next few days." I responded that I did not trust her and that her response was not good enough. I again requested to talk with her pastor and wrote, "Please give me his phone number." She responded with "Are you serious?" to which I replied, "Dead serious. You falsely attacked me and misrepresented me." On Dec. 4th she responded that she had not misrepresented me that she had simply referred to my web pages and things I had said online.
In that same e-mail she asked me what church I went to. I responded by giving the web page of the church and again said that she had misrepresented me. I again asked for the phone number to her pastor, for the web address, for the church name, and/or location. She responded again without giving that information but saying that she didn't see any names on the web site that I provided for her and she asked who my pastor and elders were. I told her it was a small church, to e-mail them and ask for someone named pastor Matt (not me). I gave the name of the elder and stated that I had not hesitated to give her the information she requested and ended the email with "Well?". She then stopped responding to me. On Dec., 15, I e-mailed her again stating that I was still waiting for the contact information for her pastor and her church. She has not e-mailed me a response at the time of writing this update on Dec., 18.
Please note that even though I had requested the contact information from her several times, she has never provided it. Also note that when she asked for my information I quickly gave it. What is she afraid of and why does she still refuse to provide the information? If her pastor agrees with her, then give me the information so that he could "rebuke me". It shouldn't be a problem. But she refuses to give the information. Why?
Frankly, I do not trust her and after having been so badly mistreated and misrepresented by her, I doubt that she will ever give me the information I have requested in order to contact her pastor and elders.
Update Dec, 26, 2005
The e-mail page on CARM says "Emails become the property of CARM and may be used by CARM in citations whether in totality, or in part, for quotes, or in demonstration of issues to answer." Therefore, in keeping with his public notification I've reproduced the apparently final e-mail from Surphing. I have numbered paragraphs so that I can respond to each afterwards.
- I have made it very clear that my issue with you as been a theological one. I do not believe I have misrepresented him in any way. If that would have been the case, why did I link both to the original "Can Christians be Universalists" page and the updated one (which you updated several times since)? I give the links to your site so people can read your own material. The fact of the matter is, I originally had addressed what was at the time, your current page on Christians as Universalists.
- I have dealt with your view more than once on Paltalk. The first time resulted in you changing the "Can Christians Be Universalists" page. However, it did not resolve the the theological problem. Additionally, the theological problem of you not believing in a resurrected Jesus has also been addressed.
- It appears that rather than me misrepresenting you, your quarrel is the way in which the Paltalk discussion went. That's a different issue.
- My pastor has read my blog on these two issues as well as several pages from CARM, and he has told me I'm fine and to have no worries. My husband also believes the same thing.
- In the end, the question remains, what does Scripture teach, not what was one's experience. I can rely fully upon God's clear Word when it talks about how one is saved and what one is to believe in. See Romans 10, 1Cor. 15 for instance.
- You have publicly put the call out for my PERSONAL information, which you have no business doing. Biblically speaking, you cannot "start" church discipline on me for a number of reasons, the least of which is you have no jurisdiction over my personal life OR church life whatsoever. You are not my pastor or elder. You are trying to usurp authority and control which the Bible doesn't give to you. You're position in this case then, is illegitimate.
- I have been online for several years and know that as a woman, it is not smart to give away personal information. I will not do that in this case either. There is absolutely no need to. Instead Matt, you need to deal with the theological issues and stop getting so personal.
- I ask you once again to remove your public call for my personal information. This is my second request. [Emphasis original] Any further attempts to dig up or encourage others to dig up personal information on me (such as my church name, pastor, and church phone number, etc.) will be considered by me that you have ignored my request for you to leave me alone. I also ask you to stop emailing me and demanding my personal information. Do not contact me again regarding this matter.
Notice that she has requested that I not contact her again, even though she is the one who initiated the contact with me. She has responded by trying to get in the last word and then refused further dialogue. Nevertheless, I will respond to her e-mail here, one paragraph at a time:
- I know that Surphing does not believe she has misrepresented me. But she has as I have documented above. Others have also seen the misrepresentation.
- There is nothing wrong with clarifying issues, and that is what I did. It was necessary for me to do that because of the misrepresentation upon my position. Furthermore, I have already addressed the issue she mentions regarding the resurrection of Christ in the paper above. I am convinced that she is in error, given sound reasons for it, and she still refuses to admit it. In fact, I am more than willing to continue the discussion in public, in a debate and/or in a discussion on paltalk to clarify. But, I am doubtful that such an event will ever occur because I do not believe either of them (Surphing and Christ Alone) will ever be willing to face me again on this issue. I believe they are afraid to do so and don't want to face the difficult situation of being confronted.
- The paltalk discussion was extremely difficult for me to endure given the horrendously bad behavior that I was subjected to. I have experienced such ill treatment with atheists and Satanists and never expected it from someone who claimed to be a Christian. Also, I wasn't the only one who thought that I was treated very poorly, as I documented above. Nevertheless, the issue is with the misrepresentation, the publishing of inaccurate information about me in a blog where others were brought into the discussion and my reputation and position were attacked.
- If the pastor has read her writings and sides with her, then there should be no problem with her giving me his phone number so that I can contact him. I suspect that what would happen is he would rebuke me, hopefully try and correct me, and it will be done. I would have done my part and he would have done his and Surphing would feel vindicated. Nevertheless, she has refused several times to provide that information, the very information she requested of me and I gave.
There is nothing wrong with me requesting to talk to her pastor regarding this matter since such issues of disputation are supposed to be settled within the church by qualified elders. This is not unreasonable. I am still waiting for the name and phone number of the pastor, but have yet to receive it at the time of this post. Therefore, she has refusted to comply with scripture in this regard.
- I agree that the Scripture is the final word. But it is her interpretation of the Scripture that have a problem with. I have cited in the above paper a very respected reformed theologian (John Frame) as well as citations from Reformed catechisms in support of my position, so it isn't just my opinion I'm relying on. I've appealed to those who have far more knowledge than myself in this matter and they have agreed with me.
- I have, to the best of my knowledge, never publicly called for any personal information on her. I'm not interested in knowing where she lives, her home phone number, how many children she has, or her age. The information I've requested deals with contacting her pastor who is, essentially, a public figure. Therefore, I see Surphings avoidance as yet another misrepresentation of the facts. Second, I have never wanted to start church discipline on her because she is not in a local body in my area where elders can properly deal with her and I certainly am not implying that I have any jurisdiction over -- which is why I requested to speak to her pastor. I believe she is in error and I'm trying to take the proper biblical path in dealing with it. She has refused to allow me that proper avenue.
- Again, I'm not asking for personal information. I'm asking for the phone number and name of her pastor. This is not getting personal.
- I have not publicly called for any personal information about her therefore there is no necessity to remove the request. In this paragraph she defines personal information as "church name, pastor, and church phone number." What is interesting is that she refuses to give the very thing she asked of me, which I gave: the name in phone number of the pastor of my church. If she is against providing personal information as defined by her, and why would she request the very same thing of me? I see this as a blatant inconsistency built upon further misrepresentation of what the facts really are.
In conclusion, I still contend that she has misrepresented me. In addition, she refuses to provide the very thing she has requested of me (which I supplied), and has, in my opinion, unreasonably defined personal information to include what church she goes to and her pastor's phone number. Again, I'm only trying to contact her pastor to deal with a problem in a biblical manner, but she has blocked that option.
- I posted this several times in the room:
- "3/15/08, www.Paltalk.com room, "Reformed Theology is Biblical Theology. I asked Surphing and DaMountainMan for contact info to their church so I can talk to their leadership regarding the issue of them speaking about me in a dergatory manner. Surphing, DamountainMan, I now request the contact information to your leadership at your respective churches." I also posted "surphing and Damountainman, in order to settle this biblically, I am requesting the contact info to your church. May I please have it?"
- In the room with me was Luther007, IAMJUSTIFIED, JUDE1-4,WILLY_162.
- I repeatedly asked them and posted the above stuff in the room. They did not give me the contact info.