Neither Unbelief Nor Fanaticism

Interesting and “bold” comments made by Cheung (my comments interspersed):

Neither Unbelief Nor Fanaticism [by Vincent Cheung –CD]

~ Adapted from email correspondence ~

The Reformed probably represents the best overall theological tradition, but much of it is still human tradition. As human tradition goes, it invents things that complicate and undermine the system of truth, and it often rebels against God’s commands and teachings. Compatibilism is one example. As for cessationism, it is perhaps one of the most harmful false doctrines in human history. It is not only a result of a difference in opinion, but I regard it as a doctrine of demons.

Regarding the various theological traditions that come in the name of “Christianity,” I have no problem gleaning or benefiting from any of them. For even unregenerate men have said or written some insightful things (Cheung himself being one such example).

Cheung mentions the incoherent Calvinist teaching called “compatibilism” which teaches — or at least tries to teach — that God’s sovereignty (or freedom) and man’s freedom (or sovereignty) are compatible. This of course, is just their idolatrous and convoluted attempt to attribute to creature man some of the incommunicable attributes of his Creator. Cheung has even “bolder” language to describe cessationism and would seem to heap greater condemnation upon it than he does compatibilism.

More from Cheung:

Although I refer to cessationism once in a while and counteract it, it has not been given a prominent role in my writings. This is because there are so many things wrong with Reformed and Evangelical doctrines and practices in general that we must take things step by step, and there are indeed issues that are more central than cessationism. God’s sovereignty is one of these central issues, because it pertains to what it means to be God. If we claim to believe in God, but our idea of God really does not match what the Bible says it means to be God, then when we refer to God we only speak the word, but the meaning does not match the God of the Bible. Then we are not talking about the same thing.

I concede that God’s sovereignty (e.g., God’s active causation of sin and absolute efficient control of His creatures vs His supposed “passive” and “compatiblilistic control” where God is said to be IN CONTROL without ACTUALLY CONTROLLING) has been given greater prominence in Cheung’s writings than cessationism vs continuationism. BUT as far as I can recall, his language against cessationism has been more “harsh” and “bold” than his statements against compatibilism — for example I don’t recall Cheung saying that compatibilism is a “doctrine of demons” (I suppose he would label it as such, though one wonders if Cheung would judge, not the abstract “ISMS,” but the actual living, breathing, flesh-and-blood “ISTS” as unregenerate. If Cheung will not engage in actual judging of persons rather than positions, then perhaps he ought to consider a cessationist position as it pertains to his pretentious pen.

So God’s sovereignty, or the very idea of what it means to be God, is central. Other central issues include a proper understanding of biblical inerrancy, the atonement, and so on. But the truth that God continues to act in unusual ways, even through men in the form of the gifts of the Spirit according to his will, is also extremely important. To deny this is to doom the church to weakness, deadness, and defeat. There is no need to look to either the extreme of Reformed and Evangelical unbelief or to the extreme forms of Pentecostal fanaticism. Rather, we ought to derive all truth from God’s revelation in the Bible.

Realize that unless you bow down and submit to a school of human tradition, you will face opposition, even persecution from modern-day Pharisees. I am attacked with unjust and unintelligent criticisms and slander from all sides. But if you will cling to the Lord Jesus and consider yourself his servant, then you will be bold to speak in his name and you will not be controlled by the fear of men.

And I, neither unjustly or unintelligently, attacked Cheung as an unregenerate heretic for saying things like this:

“More than a few Christians have succumbed to the teaching that God the Father and God the Holy Spirit have bodies. These believers do not realize that the doctrine is a heresy, and that it is closer to a Mormon doctrine than a Christian one” (Vincent Cheung, Systematic Theology, p. 53).

And also for things Cheung said that have been documented here: