Thank you for the review in the December 15, 2002 issue of the SB of Dave Hunt’s book, What Love Is This? I think this is a particularly significant book in a number of ways.
First, the author, in other books, has done acceptable work exposing various cults. He therefore has established a positive reputation in the broader church world. His name on the cover (along with many other current luminaries), and seeing 400+ pages of seemingly scholarly work, will suffice for many to seal the deal against Calvinism. It will have great influence.
Secondly, Hunt has at least struck at the heart of the matter. The subtitle of the book—Calvinism’s Misrepresentation of God says it all. For how we understand and confess the nature of salvation affects how we understand and confess who God is! Soteriology is Theology! Calvinism or Arminianism is not just a matter of opinion among Christian brethren, but if one is true the other is indeed idol worship. May the Lord use this book to awaken His people to the gravity of these issues.
In light of the previous points, I wonder if it isn’t a sign of the times that those who maintain the sovereignty of God in salvation are being marginalized to the fringe and even considered outside Christendom.
Lastly, speaking as one who is also meditating his way through the newly published commentary on Romans by Herman Hoeksema, Righteous by Faith Alone (RFPA, 2002), the contrast between Scripture in context and what Hunt puts forth is startling. (How dare he write that the apostle Paul could and did say to everyone he met “Christ died for you”?! p. 30) It is overwhelming at times to contemplate the power and the rightful authority sin has over us (Rom. 3:9) and the necessity therefore for the true gospel to be a power of God unto salvation, a power that must shatter our hearts and wills of stone. In Hunt’s version of things, we are not really so badly off, sin isn’t so serious, and, therefore, his gospel and god aren’t so serious either.
Grand Rapids, MI
Learning from the Godly Wife
This regards Rev. Wilbur Bruinsma’s article, “God’s Command to Fathers,” in the Standard Bearer, January 1, 2003.
Let me express my appreciation for the general tone of the article, especially in a 21st century infected with radical feminism. The Scriptures are clear on the role of a godly covenant father. That being said, I must question many of the practical applications of Rev. Bruinsma regarding a husband’s authority.
Too often in today’s world, we see divided homes. In other words, one spouse is a believer, unequally yoked with an unbeliever. In the vast majority of such homes, the believer is the wife, while the unbeliever is the husband. In such instances, the mother must not always submit to her husband. Perhaps he does not “like” prayers with dinner, or would rather take the children fishing on the Lord’s Day instead of to church. Must the wife agree? Of course not, because her authority is God.
Additionally, the article fails to address another frequent situation where both may be believers, but are at different maturity levels in their Christian walk. She is the Christian backbone of the family, while he is tagging along. His goals, although well-intentioned, may lead the children astray, while her goals are formed by the Rock of the Scriptures. Must such a father learn from Rev. Bruinsma’s article? Yes; however, I would argue that he also may learn from his godly wife, gradually moving into the role of covenant father.
To conclude, I do realize that this article is an exhortation to men, to husbands, to fathers. It is my opinion that this article fails to address the majority of homes in the Reformed Christian community in the United States, while at the same time minimizing the role of a godly mother and wife.
First, the article was written to address the rule rather than the exception. Within a covenant home the believing father has a high and lofty calling to rule his home, leading and instructing his wife and children in the fear of the Lord. That is the rule (see the biblical references in the article). There are homes, however, even within the sphere of the church and covenant, where unbelief enters in and one spouse or the other refuses to live properly and biblically within his or her place in the family. These are the exception. If it is indeed true, as Brother Cross states, that my article “fails to address the majority of homes in the Reformed Christian community in the United States,” then there is certainly something wrong in Zion! If it is true, as he implies, that most families in the Reformed Christian community have fathers in them who do not live as the proper head of the family, then the Reformed community is doomed. Maybe what he says is true—we do live in the last days, after all. But this does not lessen the demand that God places on fathers in the home.
Second, if the father does lag behind spiritually, and the wife is the one who is forced to lead her family from a spiritual point of view, then all the more reason there is for that man to read the article. Let these spiritually weak fathers beware! Someday they will stand before God in judgment (as the article states) and will have to give answer to the question: Did you govern your family according to God’s Word and precepts? Well-intentioned goals not based on the Scriptures are not the sign of a believing husband. Let such a husband be the more diligent in the study of God’s Word!
Third, sometimes it is true that the wife is more spiritual than her husband. Sometimes she is brought to faith while her husband remains in unbelief. Sometimes the maturity level of a husband is not on a par with that of the wife. She then must labor the more diligently to be an example to her husband of godliness (I Pet. 3:1-7). She also must be the spiritual leader of her children. But it becomes very plain in Scripture that she must do this always within her role as a wife and mother. The Scripture plainly points out in I Peter 3 that unbelieving husbands (spiritually weak ones too, for that matter) are won by the conduct of the wife who is adorned with the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. In other words, the godly wife does not properly teach either her husband or her children to base their goals on the Rock of the Scriptures by usurping the rule of her husband over her and her children. The wife is always in subjection to her husband, even to that husband who “obeys not the word.” In the case of an unbelieving husband, she perhaps cannot always obey his sinful demands on her and the children, but she must always recognize and submit to his rule as the God-ordained head of the home. In this way she is a witness to him and her children. That certainly does not minimize her role as a godly mother and wife.
Finally, this article speaks of the role of a covenant father in his home and family. God has given to him his proper place. God uses the means of the father to preserve His covenant in the line of generations. When he abuses that place, it threatens the future of his family: God will cut his children out of the line of the covenant. Now, as to the role of the godly mother in Zion, we will address this in future articles.
—(Rev.) Wilbur Bruinsma