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A Critique of
What Love Is This?,
a book by Dave Hunt
(2002, Loyal Publ., Inc., Sisters, OR)

(c) 2005 - R. Totten

Dave Hunt's book has a subtitle which reads, "Calvinism's Misrepresentation of God," however, after reading up through the 7th chapter of Hunt's book, it seems evident that the subtitle should actually read: "Dave Hunt's Misrepresentation of Calvinism."

Mr. Hunt starts out his 7th chapter --entitled "Total Depravity"-- by correctly explaining that the Calvinist acronym "T.U.L.I.P." stands for the 5 phrases: "Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace and Perseverance of the Saints."

Mr. Hunt then goes on to make a good assessment of Calvinism's first point when he writes: "More than the spelling of the word TULIP gives the doctrine of Total Depravity its first place. Calvinism offers a special definition of human depravity: that depravity equals inability --and this special definition necessitates both Unconditional Election and Irresistible Grace. As the Canons of Dort declare, 'Therefore all men... without the regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit... are neither able nor willing to return to God... nor to dispose themselves to reformation' " (my emphasis).

So, thus far, Hunt is quite correct in describing this first point of Calvinism ---and correct to indicate that "Total Inability" is foundational and primary to the other points of Calvinism. Thus, Hunt's 7th chapter is the most crucial one to deal with in the whole book.

But then (in response to the Canons of Dort statement) Mr. Hunt adds: "That statement is an expression of human opinion without biblical support."

--In light of this sweeping and bold assertion, it is very ironic that Hunt completes his 7th chapter attacking the teaching of mankind's "Inability," while not even addressing one third of the scriptures often used by Calvinists to support it!

In contrast to Hunt's declaration, there is actually a good deal of clear and explicit biblical support for the Calvinist teaching of man's "Total Inability" to will, to desire or cooperate with his conversion, or even to prepare himself for it.

Biblical Support for Inability

Calvinism recognizes the scriptural teaching that unregenerate man is totally unable to cooperate or contribute anything to produce regeneration and the innauguration of saving faith in the individual. I will now list and comment on several of the key scriptures on man's "Total Inability":

So, in the end, Dave Hunt's book is full of alot of sound and fury against the Calvinist teaching of the "Total Inability" of unregenerate man to will and work toward salvation --but in his 7th chapter on the topic, Hunt doesn't even really land a scriptural glove on the Calvinist position in a significant way.

It has long been said that Jonathan Edwards --a Calvinist-- is the greatest and most intelligent Christian theologian to ever come from the Americas, and it is not hard to see why an Arminian has virtually no chance of approaching the level of Edwards (or several other great theologians) --because the Arminian system is not as scripturally based in a balanced and full-orbed fashion --mainly because a clear acceptance of many key scriptures is repugnant to the old human nature. In my opinion, this ignorance is motivated by a deep-seated desire to elevate "the will of the flesh" above the place where Scripture allows, and the Arminian's theology suffers greatly as a result ...and it is more a man-pleasing philosophy than a scriptural teaching.

It is highly interesting that Dave Hunt's 2005 newsletters, "The Berean Call," is advertising the sale of Spurgeon's book "Grace - God's Unmerited Favor," as well as Johnathan Edward's "The Surprising Work of God," --when these two men are famously staunch Calvinists to the core.
-- To gain a clearer understanding of "God's Unmerited Favor" as Spurgeon saw it, please read Spurgeon's article: "A Defense of Calvinism".

These few things are presented here, to emphasize clearly that the greatest expression of the love of God toward man, is that which was done toward us fully from grace and not from any favor which might be merited by man ...even our faith, which God knew about before the creation of anything (Romans 5:8).

All glory to God alone.

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