- Dave Hunt was born in 1926. His church background is Plymouth Brethren. He has a degree in mathematics and a career as a CPA/management consultant, during which time he became involved in numerous campus ministries, with a special outreach to foreign students. Beginning in 1973, Hunt went into ministry full-time. He has authored or co-authored more than 30 books dealing with the incursion into Western culture, religion, and the church itself, of Eastern as well as psychological and selfist philosophies, New Age thinking, ecumenism between Catholics and Protestants, and other heretical teachings. More than three million copies of Hunt's books have been sold, and have been translated into many languages. Hunt fills numerous speaking engagements in many countries, is a frequent radio and TV talk-show guest (as well as co-hosting his own radio show), and has engaged in many debates with Catholic apologists. Hunt's organization publishes a free monthly newsletter, The Berean Call, which has a mailing list of more than 25,000.
- Dave Hunt is not a "five-point" Arminian (he says he believes in the Perseverance of the Saints), but he is clearly Arminian with respect to man's role in salvation. In Whatever Happened to Heaven? (Harvest House:1988), Hunt goes so far as to say that anyone who denies man's free will in salvation blasphemes God's character. Bottom line for Hunt, if you're not an Arminian, you are a blasphemer! (In late 2002, Hunt published another pro-Arminian book, What Love Is This?: Calvinism's Misrepresentation of God, and is labeled by Hunt as a "defense of God's character.") -- Hunt has kinder words for false teachers such as Billy Graham and Bill Bright than for those whom affirm the sovereignty of God in salvation! [Hunt reiterates his "blasphemes" and/or "maligns" God's character claim in the Q&A sections of both the 5/02 and 9/05 issues of TBC, and again in What Love Is This?. Moreover, in the Q&A section of the 9/05 TBC, Hunt declares that those disagreeing with his Arminian theology are reprobate!]
In an article in the 2/01 The Berean Call titled "What a Sovereign God Cannot Do," Hunt puts on full display his Arminian theology -- i.e., that God sovereignly vacates His sovereignty in order to allow man to choose salvation; that man is not totally depraved, but capable, without any intervention by God whatsoever, of making a completely free-will choice to "accept" Christ (i.e., decisional regeneration); that God cannot violate man's free will to choose or reject Christ; and that God is totally incapable of bestowing the gift of salvation on any man, lest that man is agreeable to it and accepts the gift. Dave Hunt has completely deneutered the miracle of salvation, changing it from the miraculous act of a sovereign God, to the mundane choice of supposedly reasonable and rational men. (See BDM's report on God's sovereign election. See also James White's "Open Letter to Dave Hunt," an excellent refutation of Hunt's anti-sovereignty rant in What Love is This?, as well as Mitch Cirvinka's review -- another excellent refutation of Dave Hunt's Arminian gospel in What Love is This?).
Hunt's commitment to man's sovereignty in salvation (which is a clear denial of God's sovereignty) is best summed up by a statement he made in the 3/01 TBC:
"Once it is admitted that man has a will, it is impossible to maintain either that it is in bondage or to explain how it was delivered except by its own choice. No one is made willing against his will but must have been willing to be made willing."
- Dave Hunt does not believe in a literal hell. Below are excerpts from correspondence with a friend on this matter [page references from Whatever Happened to Heaven? (Harvest House:1988)]:
Q: My wife is looking for the places in Whatever Happened to Heaven concerning Hunt's denial of a literal hell, but the only thing she found so far is on pages 28 & 29 where Hunt is saying, "Hell is not a metaphor or a state of mind. It is a real place. But more than that, hell -- like heaven -- is also a state of being." The "state of being" part strikes me strange, but the first part sounds okay.
BDM: The first part does sound okay, until you read the entire section (pp. 27-31). In the passage you quoted above, Dave is saying hell is a "real place" all right, but "more than that," he says, it is also "a state of being." This is where he begins to slip -- the "state of being" concept to Dave is the "burning thirst" concept he develops, which is the "more than that" concept of hell that the Bible teaches. Hell is certainly a real place to Dave, but "hell" to Dave is not the burning FIRE of hell, but a burning THIRST for Christ. That concept is not Biblical.
Q: On page 29, re: Dante, "but not because it involves 'material fire (that) will torment the bodies of the damned' as Augustine imagined. 'Everlasting fire' that was specifically designed for Satan and his minions, who are spirit beings without bodies, could hardly be physical. The eternal fire which torments the damned will be much worse and far more painful and real than physical flames."
BDM: See what he is saying! ? -- To Hunt, Augustine's concept of a "material fire" is part of Augustine's IMAGINATION!! And that the fire that was designed for Satan "could hardly be physical"!! That's about as clear a denial of the real hell-fire that the Bible teaches as one can make. AND, according to Hunt, the fire that torments the damned is "much worse" than physical flames (i.e., the "burning thirst" as later developed by Hunt). Hunt believes the fire is not a physical fire (which is a denial of a literal fire in hell), because physical bodies are not in hell. (I also can't figure out how a burning thirst can be "much worse and far more painful" than physical flames. When I was an unbeliever, if I were told that hell was a burning thirst for the Christ I didn't give a hoot about, rather than real literal flames, my response would have been, "Not a bad price to pay for a life filled with the pleasures of sin. I'll take the sin now and be thirsty later.")
Q: What about this statement?: "The excruciating torment of people in the lake of fire will surely involve remorse [Hunt refers to Lk. 16:25], but it will be painfully unrepentant remorse as they live over and over in vivid memory the sins they have committed and in whose web they are inextricably caught for eternity" (p. 29).
BDM: He does it again. Notice, Hunt does NOT mention physical flames (because he has already told us that the flames in the lake of fire are not real physical flames), but is referring once again to a burning thirst (which he develops on pp. 29-30). This "remorse" he speaks of is not from the pain of the flames, but from the thirst for the Christ they have rejected. This is a namby-pamby view of hell, and thoroughly unbiblical.
Q: Please comment on this statement: "That anguish will be all the more unbearable under the horrifying realization that willful folly and stubborn selfishness has sent them there -- a place to which they need not have come and from which fate God Himself did all He could to rescue them" (p. 29).
BDM: Here is another flaw in Hunt's theology -- he totally rejects God's sovereign role in salvation!! God "did all He could to rescue them"??!! What kind of a God is this who "did all He could," and FAILED? And on p. 28 -- "... refusing to allow Him [God] to forgive them and to make them the sanctified and happy persons that He desires." Again, what kind of a God do we have if He did all He could and failed? What kind of a God do we have if we can refuse to ALLOW Him to forgive us? Not the God of the Bible, for sure, but a God of our own imaginations that replaces His will with our will. The Bible does NOT teach this Arminian philosophy!
Q: I see some speculation on Hunt's part to what hell might be like, but I do not see a non-literal hell. I would agree with Hunt that the flames of hell are certainly going to be far worse than physical flames (on earth), because they torment without consuming.
BDM: That's not what Hunt is saying. To Hunt, there are no flames in hell to be worse than the physical flames on earth. He is saying the REAL burning thirst will be far worse than the physical flames (NON-REAL flames to Hunt) that theologians of past and present have IMAGINED to be in hell. The lake of fire to Hunt does not have real flames. If you don't have literal flames, then you don't have a literal hell.
Read the section of Whatever Happened to Heaven? starting at the bottom of page 29 through page 30 -- "Burning Thirst ..."; Dave is very clear here that the flames of hell cannot be physical because the bodies are not physical. He is not describing a worse flame than earthly flames, but a DIFFERENT kind of "flame"; i.e., a non-physical flame that he describes as a burning thirst for God that "burns LIKE a flame." This concept is no different than that taught by C.S. Lewis, John Stott, Clark Pinnock, and Billy Graham. Even the highly regarded (unjustifiably so) J.I. Packer teaches this non-literal hell (with a little more selfism thrown in). (Packer says he does not believe that "the essence of hell is grotesque bodily discomfort ... [that idea, he conceives] misses the deeper point of the lurid word-pictures drawn by Dante and Jesus, and the New Testament writers ... The essence of hell is [rather] self-hatred and God-hatred ...")
Hunt goes on to describe this thirst as "torture" -- "The flaming THIRST [i.e., not flaming fire] that tortures those in the lake of fire is caused by the lack of the very love that fills heaven and makes it a state of bliss" (p. 30). Is this not a denial of the literal hell-fire so clearly depicted in the Bible?!
That Hunt is unclear in Whatever Happened to Heaven?, I do not deny. But read the entire sections again, looking for any admission that there are real flames of fire in hell -- you won't find it. See also Hunt's book In Defense of the Faith, wherein Dave is much more transparent in teaching that hell is merely a state of terrific spiritual thirst for God by its inhabitants.
Hunt must have missed these verses:
Matthew 13:42 -- "And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
Revelation 20:13-15 -- "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
Revelation 21:8 -- "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."
In short, Hunt's position on hell is closer to that of the pope's than to evangelical Christianity (i.e., Pope JPII -- "[hell is] a mental state you put yourself in by cutting yourself off from God.")
#1: In a letter dated 2/4/00
(and reproduced by Hunt in the 3/00 The
Berean Call), Hunt attempts to again explain his position on hell: ―
"As for a literal hell with literal flames, that is exactly what I believe.
Are those flames physical, or something even more horrible? Must something be
physical to be real? Is that what you mean by 'literal'? Are the soul and spirit
real? The rich man said he was 'tormented in this flame' and asked that Lazarus
might 'dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue' (Lk 16:24). There
was literal flame and burning thirst. Was it physical, or worse? His physical
body was decaying in the grave and only his soul and spirit were in hell." ―
This is precisely our problem with Dave Hunt -- he has redefined
"literal" to mean non-physical! (I suppose for Hunt that to have a
"literal dollar bill" could mean the "thought of a dollar bill in
his mind"!) If you read what Hunt says in Whatever Happened to Heaven?,
and then in this letter, he clearly continues to define a "spiritual"
thirst WORSE and MORE HORRIBLE than the physical flames of hell. This is
incredible, that a man who assails those who allegorize and/or spiritualize the
Scriptures, is doing the exact same thing!]
[Postscript #2: Hunt wrote an article in the 4/01 The Berean Call titled "Is Punishment Eternal." Again, a gleaning of the article would lead one to believe that Hunt has changed his position to that of a true literal hell. Yet nowhere in this article does Hunt say that the fire is literal. He acknowledges the presence of a Lake of Fire, but shies away from declaring its literality. That in this article Hunt acknowledges a Lake of Fire as a place of eternal punishment, is no different from his previous position -- only this time he makes no mention of the "burning thirst." Bottom line, until Hunt recants what he wrote in Whatever Happened to Heaven, and/or writes an article where he specifically states that the Lake of Fire is a literal fire, and not just a burning thirst, then he is still on record as denying the Biblical doctrine of a literal hell-fire.]
#3: From a November, 2000 reader's email to BDM concerning
Hunt's denial of a literal hell: "Right you are that it is not Biblical
[Hunt's position that hell is a state of mind rather than a physical place], but
neither is it 'mamby pamby.' It is serious major-league heresy. It smacks of
Rosicrucian mysticism, developed by the Teutonic Philosopher, Jacob Boehme.
Boehme's cosmology was that the universe is merely an emanation of the mind of
God. As God proceeds to discover Himself and all of the logical implications
therein, the worlds are 'created' and we find ourselves, evolving through the
layers of evolving universal divinity, exploring its endless potential. Those
who through the force of their wills thirst for the emanation of eternal life
and light, which we call 'Christ,' will steadily unfold like a rose to
ultimately discover that 'Christ' is already burning at the center of their
being. Like Boehme, Hunt's hell and heaven are ultimately mere states of mind,
rather than physical states of being. This is classic Theosophy. Forsaking the
world to find this 'christ' within is a prominent theme of historic Rosicrucian
mysticism. But it sure sounds orthodox to unschooled neo-evangelicals, doesn't
it? I'm afraid that Hunt's heretical views on hellfire thus point to a far more
heretical cosmology lurking just below the surface, thanks to his lifelong
obsession with the romantic Christian mystic William Law, who served as the main
channel of Boehme's writings to Europe and the New World. Were it not for Law,
Boehme may have remained an obscure mystic locked away in the archives of occult
literature and western history may have emerged with a completely different
tone. Deism may have never seen its day. Freemasonry may have remained an
obscure drinking club for English gentlemen, never to take hold among the grass
roots of colonial society. Christian mystical movements, such as the burning of
the bosom or higher life, may have never seen the light of day. Apparently the
legacy of Boehme has left it's mark on the church, not only through Law, but
specifically in the students of Law, as evidenced by the unusual doctrines of
- Hunt will speak anywhere, totally oblivious to the doctrine of Biblical separation. Hunt says, "First of all, I would speak at the Vatican if invited to do so and allowed to state the Gospel clearly in contrast to the false Gospel of Roman Catholicism." Sounds good, right? Billy Graham says this. It played well then, so Hunt repeats it now. But this analogy is no good unless you actually correct the errors of those before whom you preach! When Hunt spoke at John MacArthur's church, did he correct MacArthur on the Blood of Christ, or on MacArthur's ecumenical associations, or on MacArthur's teaching of psychological concepts? No, he did not. So, Hunt's argument that he would go anywhere to correct false doctrine was not followed when he himself went to John MacArthur's church. Hunt totally failed to heed his own advice.
One time when speaking personally with Dave Hunt, I asked him why he continued to speak at Word of Life (WOL) when the likes of a Chuck Swindoll were invited into the same pulpit. He gave me the same song and dance -- "As long as they don't restrict what I say, I will speak anywhere." I tried to show him that WOL didn't need to restrict him; he was restricting himself (just as he did when in MacArthur's pulpit). I asked him if he thought he'd be invited back if he publicly chided Word of Life for having a rank psychologizer (Swindoll) speaking for the three days immediately preceding his (Hunt's) engagement? His response was, "You're a hard man Rick" (meaning, I suppose, that I had a critical spirit).
The bottom line is this -- Dave Hunt is totally incapable of articulating the Biblical doctrine of separation. His application of 2 John 9-11 is only for separation from a teacher who specifically says, "I affirm that Christ did NOT come in the flesh," which restricts us from fellowship, I suppose, only from the likes of a Bishop Spong and other rank liberals of his ilk. One must also ask, what does it mean to "abide in the doctrine of Christ?" What is the doctrine of Christ? Since the Bible teaches that Christ is the living Word, ALL the doctrines of the Bible make up the "doctrine of Christ." Which doctrines would Hunt be willing to exclude in order to will into the Kingdom disobedient professing brethren under 2 John 7-11?
- Here is another good example of Dave Hunt failing to practice Biblical separation: Dave Hunt is on the Board of ExCatholics for Christ (ECFC), and has spoken at its annual meetings (including the above referenced meeting at John MacArthur's church). The ECFC has allowed Pentecostals and Charismatics the freedom to participate on their platform. One speaker stated in a letter in 1989, "I had what I considered to be a genuine experience of being baptized in the Spirit and later had the experience of speaking in tongues." Giving a charismatic a forum, even though he did not use the occasion to teach error, is a dangerous practice. Those who believe in works to be saved or to maintain salvation are as lost as the Roman Catholic people the ECFC is seeking to bring to Christ. A denomination that believes that speaking in tongues is a necessary part of or the evidence of salvation has fallen into the same trap as Romanism. (Source: 2/1/99, Calvary Contender.) [The July-August 2001 Foundation magazine further reveals: "It is disheartening to report that Henry Morris, founder of the Institute for Creation Research, and Dave Hunt, editor of the Berean Call, joined with Calvary Chapel founder Chuck Smith recently for a 'Wisdom of the Ages' Bible conference. ... this sad compromise lends credence to the Charismatic theology and ecumenical endeavors of the Calvary Chapel movement." Foundation said compromise occurred when these men joined in ministerial effort with Smith, "who espouses speaking in tongues and other revelatory gifts and feels comfortable in the Charismatic and New Evangelical camp." (Source: 9/15/01, Calvary Contender.)]
- It seems to be a little known fact that Dave Hunt is NOT a cessationist (one who believes not only that the canon of Scripture is closed, but also that new revelation from God is no longer being given). Hunt's roots are in Pentecostalism, from which he has never totally broken. His closest ties are with Chuck Smith and the Calvary Chapels, a "moderately" charismatic denomination (as opposed to a "hyper"-charismatic one). Hunt believes tongues and all gifts of the Spirit are for today, but warns that tongues are dangerously easy to fake and be deceived by (10/87, Eternity). In his testimony, he describes his experience of being baptized in the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues (7/14/86, Christian News). The 10/87 Heritage Herald had Hunt on the PTL Club guest list. [Hunt was once excommunicated from the Plymouth Brethren (1966) for being too Pentecostal -- specifically, for advocating speaking in tongues and other gifts of the Spirit for today. Yet Hunt claimed that he was shunned for adamantly speaking Biblical truth that the Brethren did not want to hear. For a full account of Hunt's story, see his 1972 book, Confessions of a Heretic (Logos International, 216 ppgs.), specifically chapter 18, "The Heresy Hunt Begins." In Confessions, Hunt lays claim to a number of charismatic experiences including "tongues" and hearing God's "audible voice," and says he "sat on the stage at many a Kathryn Kuhlman meeting in the Shrine Auditorium and watched miracles take place around me until I almost could not believe my own eyes" (Confessions, pp. 185,186). Hunt claims that it was during this period of his life that he fashioned "a system of theology" (Confessions, p. 214) and that "system" seems to still be infecting his thinking and writing.]
Hunt not only believes in tongues, he apparently retains the Pentecostal/charismatic view of revelation. Hunt is supportive of Henry Blackaby (Experiencing God co-author), probably because Blackaby's view of revelation is much the same as Hunt's. Hunt is a moderate charismatic, Blackaby a mystical Baptist (some call it Bapticostal). (Dave Hunt would vehemently object to being called a non-cessationist as that term is defined in relation to the canon of Scripture being closed. But as a practical matter, that is precisely what he is endorsing with his support of Experiencing God.) The point is that both Hunt and Blackaby hold an open view of revelation -- God is still speaking today -- not contrary to, but definitely apart from, the Scriptures. Such a position will lead to errors of doctrine and practice, but most importantly, it is unbiblical.
- In the March 1997 issue of The Berean Call, a reader asked Dave Hunt the following question:
"As a conservative evangelical Christian and Southern Baptist pastor I was troubled that you wrote [Jan. '97] 'And only 55 percent of the delegates at the Southern Baptist Convention of Louisiana in November voted that the Bible is inerrant! Why don't the Christian activists show concern for this unbelief which eternally damns souls?' Mr. Hunt, are you trying to say that 45 percent of those Louisiana SBC delegates are on their way to hell, and is belief in the doctrine of inerrancy a precondition for salvation ...? Please clarify your position in the next issue of TBC. ... I question the fairness and integrity of accusing a group of people of being in unbelief, heresy, and even apostasy by rejecting the doctrine of inerrancy."
Dave Hunt answered the reader as follows:
"I'm sorry that what I wrote was misunderstood. I did not intend to convey that the Southern Baptists who deny the inerrancy of Scripture are necessarily lost. If they believe the gospel they are saved eternally. What I did intend to convey was that a denial of inerrancy puts the gospel itself in question. If the Bible is not entirely true, then who is to decide which parts are valid and which parts are not? A denial of inerrancy could provide unbelievers with the excuse they seek for rejecting the gospel and thus damn their souls. No, I did not intend to convey that the 45 percent who rejected biblical inerrancy are 'in unbelief, heresy, and even apostasy,' but I do believe that denial of inerrancy is a big step in the direction of all of these." (Emphasis added.)
If someone asked me that question, I would have said that those who deny inerrancy are indeed on their way to hell. Without belief in the inerrancy of the Scriptures, belief in the Lord Jesus Christ is rendered meaningless. In Revelation 19, one of the titles for the Lord Jesus Christ is the Word of God. He is also referred to as the Word in John 1. I would have said that at LEAST 45 percent of those Louisiana SBC delegates, and perhaps many more than that, are indeed on their way to hell. One has to wonder: What in the world is Dave Hunt thinking? (Source: The Proclaimer; Issue #2, 1997.) (But this is typical of Hunt -- he regularly exposes the false teachings and ecumenical activities of well-known "Christian" leaders, and then tells us that these same false teachers are our brothers-in-the-Lord. Yet nowhere in the Bible is there even a hint that a man can simultaneously be both a false teacher and a believer in Christ.)
- A pastor wrote concerning Dave Hunt's children's book, The Money Tree (illustrated by Hunt's Daughter):
"I thought it a matter of integrity to send you back The Money Tree. The main reason I am sending it back is because the only thing we read to our children is Scripture. Therefore, we simply would not use this book. ... I might also point out in the 3rd scene of the book, the dream the boy has is about a "mystical, magical, wonderful tree." Magic and mysticism are matters in which I am working at teaching my children to hate and NOT consider "wonderful." Also, in the 2nd and l3th pictures, there is what looks like a Saturday morning cartoon scene with "Future Heroes" above it. There is no reference to the picture in the text of the book. I wonder why it is there. [See BDM report on so-called "Christian" fantasy.]
- In the Q&A section of the January, 2000, TBC, a question referenced Hunt's booklet "The Nonnegotiable Gospel," with the concern that the word "repentance" could not be found anywhere. Hunt's response was that the words "repent," "repentance," or "repented" are not found in the entire Gospel of John, nor is there anything specific about repentance in the gospel as Paul defines it in 1 Corinthians 15, and that repentance is not a major theme of the New Testament. Therefore, reasoned Hunt, repentance does not require articulation because it is implicit in believing the gospel, and, thereby:
"... since the Bible doesn't specify repentance as part of the gospel whereby sinners are saved, I dare not do so either. I'm not saying it might not be good to preach repentance in 'The Nonnegotiable Gospel,' but it would require considerable explanation. Might not requiring repentance cause some confusion? What exactly is meant by repentance? How thorough must repentance be? Must the person repent of every sin ever committed? Is he then under obligation to live a life above sin? Might this put a burden upon the sinner which he cannot bear, not yet realizing that Christ will give him the strength to live a new life? I had not consciously left out repentance, but I think it is best left that way."
[Comment from the Editor of Voice in the Wilderness: The Bible doesn't teach it (?), therefore I "dare not" either (?); it's "too confusing" to people (?). When Dave Hunt refuses to proclaim this fundamental, non-negotiable, salvation doctrine, when Jesus commanded that "repentance and remission of sins" should be "proclaimed in His name" (Lk. 24:47), Hunt is proclaiming a "different gospel." He is essentially suggesting that Jesus was wrong when He commanded that repentance be proclaimed. Is not "remission of sins" the gist of how one is saved? Did not Jesus place "repentance" within the same context? Did He not command that it be proclaimed? Yes, Hunt admits that such a thing as "repentance" exists. And he is quite correct when he says that there are many times where the actual word "repent" might not appear -- that it is "inherent" (implied or understood) in the "rest" of the salvation process -- but to suggest that the Bible doesn't say that repentance is part of salvation, or that we "dare not" proclaim it, that it is "best left [out]," when anyone who has read even a scant amount of Scripture sees the concept PROLIFERATING the Scriptures, and God's pleas to "Turn! Turn [repent] from your evil ways, for why will you die ...?" (Ezek. 33:11), it is a "different gospel." Furthermore, Hunt's tangle of words indicates that he, himself, is confused about what repentance truly is. He seems to view it as a "work," rather than a "place" at the foot of the cross of Christ.]
[Postscript: In a 2/4/00 letter from Dave Hunt, he says, "Nor did John the Apostle and the Holy Spirit properly present the gospel in his entire Gospel. In fact, if I understand you correctly, Jesus did not properly present the gospel to Nicodemus, or to the woman at the well, or to the blind men, or to Zacchaeus, et al. Zacchaeus, by the way, repented without Jesus telling him to do so. As I tried to say, I believe repentance is inherent in the gospel for those who believe it." In other words, according to Dave Hunt, you can repent by not actually repenting, because it's inherent in the gospel you have already believed (even though you may not have had it expressed to you as such)?? This is Clinton-speak, is it not? (See the 3/00 TBC for the printing of parts of this letter.)]
One can only suppose that Hunt is not familiar with the following Scriptures:
Mark 2:17 -- "When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance"; or
Luke 15:7 -- "I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance"; or
Luke 24:47 -- "And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem"); or Acts 26:20 ("But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance"; or
2 Corinthians 7:8-10 -- "For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death"; or
Hebrews 6:1 -- "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God"; or
2 Peter 3:9 -- "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
- Dave Hunt also demonstrates a favorable inclination towards "The Gospel of Jesus Christ: An Evangelical Celebration" (EC). The editor of the Voice in the Wilderness wrote a letter to TBC regarding this: In the 7/99 The Berean Call newsletter, TBC expresses being "... thrilled at reading [EC's] affirmations of the true gospel ..." Dave Hunt, nor anyone else at TBC, has ever responded to that letter of concern. TBC's only concern over that document seemed to be the "bed-fellows" of those who had signed it. Otherwise, Hunt apparently agreed with those who endorsed the contents of the EC document.
Dr. Bill Jackson, president of the Association of Fundamentalists Evangelizing Catholics (AFEC), prepared a 6/18/99 statement on the EC document (see the 6/14/99, Christianity Today for the full text of the EC). This document has been endorsed by Charles Colson, Bill Bright, and J.I. Packer, all of whom also signed the controversial ECT documents of 1994 and 1997; as well as endorsed by R.C. Sproul, John MacArthur, and D. James Kennedy, all of whom publicly [albeit weakly] challenged and criticized them for signing the ECT documents. There are a number of helpful statements in this latest document which deal with areas which were not fully dealt with in the ECT documents (e.g., imputation is now dealt with favorably, but has been consistently opposed by Roman Catholic Councils and Catechisms). EC says, "We cannot embrace any form of doctrinal indifferentism by which God's truth is sacrificed for a false peace." But there is certainly no better example of "doctrinal indifferentism" than the ECT documents themselves (James 1:8)! Because ECT I stated that "Evangelicals and Catholics are brothers and sisters in Christ," in order to be relevant, the new EC document should be submitted to the Roman Catholics who signed ECT I and II. It is difficult to see how a person could subscribe to both ECT and EC. The only logical conclusion is for all who signed EC to remove their names from ECT.
It also appears that the so-called "evangelical" ECT endorsers have been "let off the hook" by former critics such as Dave Hunt. We believe EC will be used to rehabilitate those who erred in 1994 and 1997, without their having to admit or ask forgiveness for their error. (Source: 7/15/99, Calvary Contender.) [Other "evangelical" endorsers of EC among the 15 members of the Drafting Committee and 114 members of the Endorsing Committee include John Ankerberg, Kay Arthur, Tony Evans, Jerry Falwell, Bill Hybels, David Jeremiah, Max Lucado, Woodrow Kroll, Tim & Beverly LaHaye, Erwin Lutzer, Bill McCartney, Luis Palau, Pat Robertson, Ronald Sider, Charles Stanley, John Stott, Joseph Stowell, Chuck Swindoll, Bruce Wilkinson, and Ravi Zacharias; also endorsing EC were hyper-charismatics Jack Hayford and Steven Strang.]
However ignorant Dave Hunt and fellow EC sympathizers may be of all this, Hunt's being "thrilled" with the EC document makes him a party to its consequences. It is also important to note that the EC document (which is supposed to be a definitive and comprehensive statement of the true saving Gospel of Christ), never mentions repentance for salvation (sound familiar, Dave? -- see item on "repentance" above), and never mentions the total depravity of man (thereby leaning towards a gospel of decisional regeneration). No wonder Dave Hunt is "thrilled" with the EC document.
Moreover, EC promotes an ecumenical unity (via "trans-denominational cooperative enterprises") with all professing believers who attest to the EC's "essentials" of the faith). But this is not the unity of the faith taught in Ephesians. While we are instructed by Scripture to be of one mind, the evangelical today scoffs at the idea of true Biblical unity based on complete agreement with, and submission to, God's holy Word. The only use of the word "unity" in the New Testament is found in Ephesians chapter four. It is a "unity of the Spirit" (v. 3), not of men. It is a "unity of faith" (v. 13) based on sound doctrine for which believers are to contend, not water down nor reclassify into essentials and non-essentials (Jude 3). No real spiritual unity can exist apart from doctrinal unity, and we are to "mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them" (Rom. 16:17).
- In seeing Hunt's printed speaking itinerary each month in his TBC newsletters, noting the "labels" of some of the places where he speaks, one wonders "how" he gains entrance into places which seem to be some of the very ones he "targets" in his writings as being part of the apostasy and false teachings in the church. The churches of the Calvary Chapel movement fall into this same category. Even though Dave Hunt has been a frequent speaker for churches in the Calvary Chapel movement (almost from the inception of his public ministry), to glance at his speaking itineraries in the 12/99 and 1/00 TBC newsletters, one would think that Hunt has now become an official Calvary Chapel circuit rider. (The 3/01 TBC had Hunt's itinerary for March 9 through May 20 of 2001 -- more than half of Hunt's speaking engagements were scheduled for Calvary Chapel churches. The 11/02 TBC had Hunt's itinerary for November 13-17 of 2002 -- seven of the ten Hunt' speaking engagements were scheduled for Calvary Chapel churches or radio programs. The 12/02 TBC had Hunt's itinerary for January 15 - February 23 of 2003 -- four of the seven Hunt' speaking engagements were scheduled for Calvary Chapel churches. We could go on and on here -- as of 12/06, Hunt's speaking engagements continue to be predominately at Calvary Chapel sponsored events.) The Calvary Chapels are very ecumenical and allow for unscriptural charismatic experiences. Also, John Wimber, founder of the Vineyard movement, came out of the Calvary Chapel movement. By speaking in these Calvary Chapel forums, Hunt is putting his imprimatur upon their errors, because those who observe his actions assume he stands where they stand (and apparently he does).
The following account is a summary of the experience of the editor of the Voice in the Wilderness when he went to a Calvary Chapel church to hear Dave Hunt speak:
One walks into this large (1500 seating capacity) "dark" auditorium, with very much the feel of, as a friend put it, a "movie theater." (And later I was to find out from this same friend that this "church" even has an espresso concession stand.) Prominently in the back is a full studio-sized audio/video control center. Sound/video system is all "state-of-the-art." And the "dark" (although lighted with spotlights) platform is obviously designed for their resident rock band -- drum set with several microphones on it, guitars, and black monitor boxes. There is nothing on any walls to indicate to a person walking in that this might be a "church."
After being subjected to "piped-in" rock music during pre-service time, and the theater-like, big-screen "promos" of coming attractions, the "worship" time begins with the wail of a rock guitar as the band begins playing. The singers lead out in the occultish mantra-like repetitious phrases, supposedly "praising" God, as many people are swaying and raising their hands. When the leader (the same one who has been wailing "Satan's voice" on the rock guitar) then leads in "prayer," he is so emotionally wrought that he spends a few seconds "sighing" into the microphone.
As an aside, this is the same place where, a few years ago when I was working at this one job, there was this gal I talked with occasionally during coffee breaks or lunch; not a Christian, no interest in spiritual matters, but she went to "Calvary Chapel" because ... ready for this? -- "They have a GREAT band!"
After such an opening, and then introduction by the pastor, up to the platform goes Dave, who, up to this moment, has been in prayer most of the time (for recent surgery). Dave's message was a good one, but in many respects, troubling. On one hand, he cites quotes from Billy Graham, expressing Graham's "fellowship" with the pope and other such figures, and [Graham's] statements that Mormons are okay, and in the next breath, he says that Billy Graham "preaches the gospel" and "people have been saved" under his ministry. Or, Dave berates Bill Bright for receiving the Templeton Prize and being a co-signer of ECT, and in another breath refers to him as "my old friend ..." sounding as though this "friendship" was still a "current" relationship? [Hunt authored the original story upon which a Billy Graham film was based, and played a major role in developing Campus Crusade's "Athletes In Action."] Where does Eph. 5:11(a) fit into this, since he is faithful to verse 11(b)? -- "[a] Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but [b] rather expose them."
And here we get to what I asked him about. -- Considering "what" he exposes and teaches, how does he gain entrance to places which, by their character, are the very ones whom he speaks against and exposes? His response was on the order that, while these places have certain denominational ties and "labels," they do, in fact, "agree with" what he writes and speaks. ... that he doesn't receive invitations from places that don't agree ...
Well, while Dave Hunt "thinks" that the places that invite him "agree" ... and the pastor at this (local) place got up pretending to be agreeing ... the official printed ("Position Paper") literature of the "church" tells another story. And this local pastor, after Dave was finished and had sat down, continued on for a bit, adding his own "two-cents" worth; and in reality, "watered down" the very clear message as Dave had just presented it.
As detailed earlier in this report, if Dave Hunt were to specifically speak out against the false teachings and practices of the Calvary Chapel churches at which he speaks, he would never be invited back. His clear compromise in this area makes a hypocritical joke of his message to "earnestly contend for the faith."
- A look at Dave Hunt's itinerary in the November 2002 TBC revealed an even more shocking speaking engagement than the standard Calvary Chapel appearances. -- On 11/13/02, Hunt was scheduled to speak at Greg Laurie's Harvest Christian Fellowship church! Greg Laurie is an author, crusade evangelist, and charismatic pastor of the 12,000-plus member Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California. Laurie is an ecumenical psychologizer and speaker for and endorser of the unbiblical Promise Keepers movement. Laurie conducts 5-6 evangelistic crusades every year (Harvest Crusades) that draw about 50,000 people each. Laurie's gospel is a man-centered (Arminian) psychological gospel; his message is one of finding a "deeper meaning in life," with Jesus as the One who came to "fill the void."
doesn't matter to Hunt that at Laurie's Harvest Crusades between 500 and 800
churches are involved in providing various forms of support. The Harvest web
site states that: "The type of support would range from financial support
to providing volunteer workers to promoting attendance at the crusades. Many
denominations and associations are involved, including Baptist, Methodist,
Free, Church of Christ, Assembly of God, Calvary Chapels, and independent
churches." Typically, Vineyard
and Roman Catholic churches also participate.
Quotes from the Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa, Statement of Faith, and from web sites linked from the Calvary Chapel main web page (Source: FBIS, 7/3/01):
ECUMENISM: "We are not a denominational church, nor are we opposed to denominations as such, only their over-emphasis of doctrinal differences that have led to the division of the body of Christ. We believe that the only true basis of Christian fellowship is His (Agape) love, which is greater than any differences we possess and without which we have no right to claim ourselves Christians" (Statement of Faith, Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa).
Chuck Smith, founder of the Calvary Chapels, is very ecumenical. In a 1993 book he says: "We should realize that we're all part of the Body of Christ and that there aren't any real divisions in the Body. We're all one. What a glorious day when we discover that God loves the Baptists! -- And the Presbyterians, and the Methodists, and the Catholics. We're all His and we all belong to Him. We see the whole Body of Christ, and we begin to strive together rather than striving against one another" (Smith, Answers for Today, p. 157).
Chuck Smith's ecumenism is also evident from a statement quoted in the December 1995 issue of Sojourner magazine: "Paul points out that some say, 'I'm of Paul,' while others say, 'I'm of Apollos.' He asked, 'Isn't that carnal?' But what's the difference between saying that or saying, 'I'm a Baptist,' 'I'm a Presbyterian,' 'I'm a Methodist,' 'I'm a Catholic'? I have found that the more spiritual a person becomes, the less denominational he is. We should realize that we're all part of the Body of Christ and that there aren't any real divisions in the Body. We're all one."
CHARISMATIC GIFTS IN GENERAL: "We believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit mentioned in the Scriptures are valid for today if they are exercised within the scriptural guidelines" (Statement of Faith, Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa).
TONGUES: "When you're alone in your closet, when you are among believers in an after-glow prayer service, you can speak in tongues -- and you can pray to God. Why? Because nobody is going to benefit from tongues. You know who's going to benefit? Paul says only the Lord. Because nobody understands what you're saying. Only the Holy Spirit knows what you're saying" (A Raul Ries Bible study; tape #IN44-5, Acts 1:8; Calvary Chapel, West Covina, CA).
BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT: "The Baptism with the Holy Spirit is a definite occurrence, subsequent to salvation, whereby the Third Person of the Godhead comes upon the believer to anoint and energize him for Spiritual service" (Greg Laurie's web site, as linked from the Calvary Chapel main web page).
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* I take no pleasure in preparing this expos� on Dave Hunt. I first met Dave in the Summer of 1988, have read all his books, went on an Israel tour with Dave in 1990, have gone to a number of his speaking events and debates, and considered him a good friend. Until a few years ago, I had chosen to ignore what I have considered to be some flaws in Dave's theology and practice, even in cases where I was convinced that he was seriously wrong. In this complicity, I was wrong. Readers deserve to have the facts on Dave Hunt, and then discern for themselves the seriousness of his error. I contend that error, in many cases, is very serious.