Dr. Curt Daniel (1)

Calvinist Tony Byrne wrote the following about us “outsidethecampers”:

“In my phone conversations with Dr. Curt Daniel, he certainly thinks they are Hyper-Calvinists of the most extreme kind.”

We are not hyper-calvinists. And actually, true hyper-calvinists have quite a bit in common with those whom Byrne and Daniel would count as their spiritual brethren — the Arminians and the Puritans (https://agrammatos.org/2011/11/01/damnable-hyper-calvinist-heresy/).

Tony Byrne’s mention of Dr. Curt Daniel prompted me to look through Daniel’s book, The History and Theology of Calvinism:

“[T]he dual aspects of the atonement match the dual aspects of the grace of God.”

How these alleged “dual aspects” of atonement and grace are expressed among Reformed writers varies. For instance, John Owen and John Gill [1] (as far as I know) do NOT posit so-called “dual aspects” of the atonement, despite holding to a form of common grace. Owen and Gill — again, as far as I am aware or can recall — deny that this alleged common grace “flows from” the cross (or anything like that). The question then for Owen and Gill is: “From whence cometh this ‘grace?'” And I think Owen would deny that this “grace” comes from the atonement, and just say it comes from a “simple, or mere act of will on God’s part” (or something like that).

And then there’s the issue of how this supposed “common grace” works itself out in the life of the non-elect. For example, how does a particular preacher or theologian’s view of common grace work itself out in God’s attitude towards the non-elect in the preaching of the gospel, and in the bestowing of things like the various necessities of life, etc.

[1] I am not saying that Owen’s and Gill’s particular views of common grace are necessarily identical in every respect.

Other “common-gracers” are more blatant (relatively speaking of course) in that they DO assert that this common grace “comes from” the cross. Those who say this express themselves in different ways. For example, while saying essentially the same thing, some say that the sin of the non-elect IS imputed to Christ, while others say the non-elect’s sin is NOT imputed to Christ. Of course, this seeming difference (distinction) regarding imputation/non-imputation completely vanishes in their preaching and expounding on how said preaching is “sincerely offered” to the non-elect. I think it was the God-hater Vincent Cheung who accurately said they are preaching as if God’s decree of election and reprobation were not true.

“In later studies we will discuss these further, but suffice it here to make the following statement: ‘God loves all men as creatures, but He has a special love for the elect.’ Reformed theology has always, with few exceptions, taught both Common Grace and Special Grace. God loves all men, especially the elect whom He has chosen. The difference is exactly that of the loves a man has for his neighbor and for his wife. A Christian man will love all other men, as he is commanded in the Law; but he will have a special love for his wife. The difference is not quantitative, as if he merely loved her more than the others; rather, it is qualitative — he loves her differently” (Curt Daniel, The History and Theology of Calvinism, p. 363).

Daniel is being disingenuous. He states that the difference is “exactly that of the loves a man has for his neighbor and for his wife.” Uhh, no. Not “exactly,” at all. An honest and forthright analogy would have the Christian man demonstrating his love for his wife and his neighbor, by dying for BOTH of them. Daniel can call it a “qualitative” difference in the “love” if he wants, but the Christian man’s “wooing” and “well-meant offers” to those who are NOT his wife, blur that “qualitative distinction,” to put it mildly. Marc had written the following regarding this:

In Daniel’s scheme, God not only loves the reprobate, but he sincerely and ardently desires that the reprobate be saved and expresses that wish to them. Daniel says that this difference in love “is exactly that of the loves a man has for his neighbor and for his wife.” He said “exactly.” Thus, a man not only loves his neighbor, but he sincerely and ardently desires that his neighbors be married to him and expresses that wish to them.

Absolutely disgusting.

For Daniel, Christ’s alleged “loving differently,” is not seen at the cross, but in the application. Moderate (i.e., genuine) Calvinist Curt Daniel denies that Jesus Christ’s cross-work is necessarily applied to all for whom He died. This is because Daniel does NOT believe in the biblical doctrine of efficacious atonement — at this point he is just like his Arminian brothers in Satan.

The Arminian would say that Christ died equally for all, and that God desires the salvation of all men equally. Moderate (not “higher Calvinists” such as John Owen and James White) Calvinists like Curt Daniel say that Christ died for all (though not equally for all), and that God desires the salvation of all men (though not all, equally).

The Arminian “equal love” is shown at the cross and in God’s desire. The Calvinist “unequal-differentiating-common love” is shown at the cross, and the “special (or especial) love” is shown in the application of salvation. The Calvinist has God “desiring” that all who hear the preaching of the gospel be saved by believing in the One who died for them. The moderate Calvinist preacher/theologian’s alleged distinction between God’s love/desire toward the elect and reprobate, and the alleged distinction between Christ’s “common death” for the reprobate, and “especial death” for the elect, completely vanishes in practice.

There are some (e.g., Murray & Stonehouse), who while denying that Jesus Christ bore the non-elect’s sins, will still say that God “ardently desires” (by His preceptive or revealed will) their salvation. These irrational Calvinists say that God “ardently desires” (preceptive will) the salvation of those whom it was not His “good pleasure” (decretive will) to save. There is a legitimate distinction between God’s preceptive and decretive will, but the “sincere-offer” Calvinist’s view of “ardent desire” (supposed preceptive will) and “good pleasure” (decretive will) become indistinguishable in their preaching and evangelistic writing.

The difference between Arminianism and this particular kind of Calvinism, really is a matter of degree. In both views the work of Jesus Christ is NOT what makes the sole difference between salvation and damnation; rather, it is the sinner’s works and efforts that make the difference. Both are manifest liars when they say salvation is due to the work of Jesus Christ alone. However, the Arminians are more honest than these kinds of Calvinists in their view of equality in the grace of God and equality in the death of Christ. The genuine Calvinists are a lot more deceptive and deceitful in their dualistic distinctions of God’s grace/desire and Christ’s death.

Here’s Daniel commenting on Ephesians 5:25-27:

“The point is simply this: Christ died for a special intent for His betrothed that He did not have for the rest of mankind. He may have died to provide salvation for all in a general sense (that is, to remove all legal impediments to them in case the Father chose to apply it to them), but He died with a special intent for the elect” (Curt Daniel, The History and Theology of Calvinism, p. 368).

Daniel’s statement, “to remove all legal impediments” is like W.G.T. Shedd, and I vaguely recall that it was William Twisse (or perhaps William Perkins) that said something like, “in case the Father chose to apply it to them.” Romans 10:1-4 presents Christ’s work and the laws demands as inextricably linked together: For Christ is the end (some say culmination or purpose) of the law for righteousness.

Jesus Christ fulfilled the demands (penal & preceptive) of God’s law and justice. He put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, and established an everlasting righteousness on behalf of those for whom He died. In asserting that Christ removed “all legal impediments” for those who perish, Daniel necessarily removes Christ as being the end of law for righteousness.

In Daniel’s view, Christ removed the legal impediments to the non-elect. “Legal impediments” obviously refers to God’s law, and so to remove legal impediments is to fulfill the laws demands. Since a person cannot be “spiritually-enabled” to meet the law’s demands — and since only Christ could meet those demands and fulfill that perfect standard of righteousness — one must move this stumbling block out of the way. Clearly, Daniel reveals his ignorance of the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel:

Since Daniel believes that Christ established a righteousness for those who perish, then he must establish his own righteousness.

Throughout Scripture (e.g., Romans, Galatians) Christ’s work is connected with the purpose of God’s law. Though multitudes have doomed several Galatians passages to irrelevance, I believe Galatians 5:2-4 describes Curt Daniel (and all conditionalists) quite well. Daniel denies that it’s Christ’s law-fulfilling that makes the difference between salvation and damnation. For Daniel, it is the established righteousness of the sinner that makes the difference, rather than the established righteousness of Jesus Christ.

Daniel (and those like him) would vehemently deny that they attempt to be justified by law (Galatians 5:4). But it’s real easy to deny being justified by the law, when you remove the inexorably strict penal & preceptive demands of the law clean out of the way as the sole condition for salvation. The fact that Jesus Christ is the only One who could meet these inexorable demands, is the reason why salvation is conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ alone.

Curt Daniel insists that Jesus Christ established His righteousness by fulfilling the law (i.e., remove all legal impediments) on behalf of those who perish. Thus, Daniel has stumbled at that stone of stumbling and rock of offense (Romans 9:31-33). For he does NOT seek righteousness by faith in the law-fulfilling-cross-work-of-Jesus-Christ alone, but by a law of righteousness, which he deceitfully calls “the spiritually-enabled condition of non-meritorious faith,” that has been ADDED TO the work of Christ. Call it what you will; either Christ is the end of law for righteousness, or the sinner is.

Since Daniel asserts that the law was fulfilled by Christ on behalf of those who perish, he has become a debtor to keep the whole law (Galatians 5:3). He believes the efforts of the sinner make the ultimate difference between justification and condemnation.

Clearly, in Daniel’s scheme, sinner’s efforts become the ground of justification — Justification cannot be by Christ alone if Christ removed legal impediments from those who perish. Either one is justified by Christ alone, or one is justified by law (Galatians 5:4). Daniel is justified by law.

Of course, one way to evade the charge of justification by works (or the sinner’s efforts), is to redefine “works.” In this way, the supposed “condition of non-meritorious-spiritually-enabled faith” would not be a work (in their minds), despite the fact that this “conditional faith” has REPLACED Christ’s law-fulfilling work on the cross as the sole condition of salvation.