Part 4 (and final) of, “Why the Heterodoxy Hall of Shame?”:
I was reading through old posts today in the yahoo group and found some posts regarding the “Heterodoxy hall of shame”. May I ask you why you first decided to have such a page on the website?
First of all, there was no website when Outside the Camp started. There was only a newsletter. The website was just an extension of the newsletter. Right from the outset, even before the website, we wanted to expose heresy in the form of a “Hall of Shame.” Your first guess that “[we] first decided to have the page to show why [we] no longer support people/’churches’ [we] previously supported” is incorrect. The first entry in the Hall of Shame was John Murray and Ned Stonehouse’s “The Free Offer of the Gospel (http://www.outsidethecamp.or /heterodoxy11.htm), which we never supported. The second was Thomas Chalmers’s “Fury Not In God” (http://www.outsidethecamp.org/heterodoxy12.htm), which we never supported. Then there were Thomas Boston (http://www.outsidethecamp.org/heterodoxy13.htm), J.I. Packer (http://www.outsidethecamp.org/heterodoxy14.htm), Charles Spurgeon (http://www.outsidethecamp.org/heterodoxy21.htm), Horatius Bonar (http://www.outsidethecamp.org/heterodoxy22.htm), Louis Berkhof (http://www.outsidethecamp.org/heterodoxy23.htm), Loraine Boettner (http://www.outsidethecamp.org/heterodoxy24.htm), and A.A. Hodge (http://www.outsidethecamp.org/heterodoxy31.htm), none of whom we had originally supported. The first time we disendorsed someone we previously supported in the Hall of Shame was in the second issue of the third year of publication (the tenth issue of the newsletter), when we disendorsed Gordon Clark and the Trinity Foundation.
The reasons why we first decided to have a Hall of Shame are the same reasons we continue to have a Hall of Shame. I will answer that one after your second question:
I am sure this wasnt your intention but one can easily get the impression that OTC just put up such a page to “get attention” and make controversy. You have surely thought much about the “good” and “bad” about such a page, can you tell me more about it?
This “one” who can “easily” get this impression is not “one” whom we would have dictate what is and is not part of the newsletter or website. Unregenerate people are not going to like the Hall of Shame, and they can say that we put it up just to “get attention” and “make controversy” or anything else, but I don’t really care. When I asked you what you thought was bad about it, you replied:
I suspect that that page and the people on it can get too much attention. Controversy can be both good and bad. Instead of real issues, Jean Calvin and his works are discussed etc. I hope you understand what I mean.
No, I don’t understand. The Hall of Shame can get “too much” attention? How much is too much? It seems that to you, “too much” would be that the works of the heretics are discussed “instead of real issues.” I do not believe that there is such a distinction between discussing “real issues” and discussing the works of heretics. There is a time for the works of heretics to be discussed, and in discussing them, REAL ISSUES are discussed. If we did not think that the Hall of Shame involved REAL ISSUES, then the Hall of Shame would not be there.
So, why do we have the Heterodoxy Hall of Shame?
I appreciate everyone’s answers to this question. It is a good thing to think about WHY we do what we do.
In answering why we have the Hall of Shame, it’s also an answer to why we expose heresy so much in the newsletter. One of the prime reasons for starting the newsletter was to expose heresy. Why? Why not just leave the heretics and the heresy alone?
The Christian Confession of Faith states the following in the section on Judging:
1. God requires of His people that they love and fellowship with each other. Love of the brothers in Jesus Christ is an inevitable fruit of salvation. [Psa 101:6; 133:1; Joh 13:34-35; 17:20-21; Gal 6:10; Phi 1:27; 2:2-4; 3:16; 1Jo 1:7; 2:9-11; 3:11,14-16,23; 4:7,11,20-21; 5:1]
2. One of the main proofs that believers love their brothers in Jesus Christ is that they do not speak peace to their brothers’ enemies. They obey God’s command to separate themselves from the world and false Christians. [Exo 34:15-16; Deu 13:1-3; Psa 1:1; 26:4-5; 101:3-8; Pro 4:14-15; 9:6; Joh 15:19; Rom 16:17-18; 1Co 5:11; 10:21; 2Co 6:14-18; Eph 5:7-12; 1Ti 6:3-5; 2Ti 3:5; 1Jo 2:15-16; 2Jo 10-11; Rev 18:4]
3. For these reasons, as well as to witness the gospel to the lost, it is necessary for believers to make judgments concerning who is unregenerate (including who are false Christians) and who is regenerate. The standard by which believers are to make these judgments is whether or not the person being considered believes the gospel. [Isa 8:20; 45:20; Mat 7:15-20; Mar 16:16; Luk 6:43-45; Joh 7:24; Rom 10:1-3; 1Co 5:11-12; Ga1 1:8-9; 1Jo 4:1,6; 2Jo 9]
4. Some people may show by their lawless way of life that they do not believe the gospel, but not one can demonstrate by his law-keeping that he believes the gospel; for there are many whose lives appear to conform to the law of God who are yet unregenerate. Therefore, let no man be judged by his reputation, good works, sufferings, appearance, or any other standard but the gospel. [1Sa 16:7; Mat 7:21-23; 23:25-28; Mar 16:16; Luk 18:11-12; Rom 1:21-2:2; 10:1-3; 1Co 6:9-10; 2Co 11:13-15; Gal 1:8-9; 6:14-16; 2Th 2:12]
5. Those who refuse to judge by this standard alone, preferring instead to judge by reputation, appearance, religious zeal and dedication, or a false gospel, show that they place no value on the gospel and thus show themselves to be unregenerate. All who consider at least some believers in a false gospel (e.g., believers in universal atonement) to be their brothers in Jesus Christ are unregenerate. [Deu 29:19; Pro 17:15; Isa 5:20; Jer 8:10-12; 1Co 13:6; 1Th 5:3; 2Jo 11]
This really encapsulates why we expose heresy. Each quote in the Heterodoxy Hall of Shame is a case study in heresy. Instead of the heresy being just some theoretical “thing” that we are against, we attach the heresies to the heretics, and then we judge the heretics. How many times have we seen people who say that certain doctrines are “damnable heresies,” yet they do not judge anyone who holds to such damnable heresies to be lost? And how about those who say that those who hold to “damnable heresies” are lost but can’t even name one person who believes such “damnable heresies”? A prime example of this is Don Fortner. Oh, he’ll rail against the damnable heresy of Arminianism. And he’ll even say that all Arminians are haters of God, unsaved, dead in their sins. He’ll say that Calvinists who call Arminians their brothers in Christ are unsaved. But he will not even name ONE PERSON who fits into any of these categories. You can give him all the Spurgeon quotes you want, but he REFUSES to say that Spurgeon was lost. He even refuses to say that John Wesley was lost! We expose heresies along with the heretics because that’s where we show that our convictions are TRUE and not just bluster. The review of The Trinity Review (http://www.outsidethecamp.org/review101.htm) and the follow-up (http://www.outsidethecamp.org/heterodoxy102.htm) exposes this bluster so clearly. Exposing heretics is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. People can spout off all day about the heresies and the ISMs, but if they don’t attach them to PEOPLE, then they are meaningless. Far from distracting people from the “real issues,” the exposing of heretics with their heresies is actually an OUTWORKING of what we believe — it is theory put into practice.
Why specific people in the Hall of Shame (and in other parts of the newsletter and in some of my sermons)? These people are chosen because they are good representatives of a certain heresy. So in exposing the heresy of a certain heretic, we are exposing everyone who agrees with that certain heretic. It’s an efficient way of exposing a whole lot of people. Related to this is that it is a quick litmus test regarding a professing Christian’s spiritual state. If I meet someone who professes to believe what I believe, I’ll ask him what he thinks of the Heterodoxy Hall of Shame. I’ve never met a single believer who has a problem with the Heterodoxy Hall of Shame. Some have been surprised by what certain people whom they thought were believers said, but if they are believers, they will have no problem saying, “Well, I thought he was a believer, but now I see that he wasn’t.” The unbelievers have all sorts of comebacks, including, “Look at all the other good things he wrote,” etc., etc. Just by saying that, they show that they do not believe that one confession of damnable heresy overrides thousands of orthodox professions. Related to this is that I do not want believers to continue on in ignorance about what these so-called “fathers of the faith” or “Reformed fathers” believed and taught. I don’t want them to continue recommending them to others. It is also a good lesson to them that there have been so many people, especially the revered “fathers,” who were not the bastions of orthodoxy that they were reputed to be. And in judging these revered people to be lost, It brings home the truth that believers are not to be respecters of persons. And when we see people who are respecters of persons, who refuse to judge a certain famous person lost because of their reputation, then we can judge that person to be lost. The Heterodoxy Hall of Shame is a lesson in how to judge professing Christians.
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove [them]. (Ephesians 5:11)
What we do in the newsletter (and in the various websites/blogs) is to reprove the unfruitful works of darkness.
I don’t see anything bad about such a page. If I did, I would take it off. If unbelievers have a problem with it, then does that make it bad? Of course not. If unbelievers say it’s too controversial, then does that make it bad? Of course not. The Heterodoxy Hall of Shame has been a VERY GOOD thing for the reasons mentioned above and for the reasons that the other brothers mentioned. I praise God that it has gotten a lot of attention. May it get even more.