A Review of “The Rod” by Dr. Vic Reasoner in “The Arminian”
The Rod: Will God Spare It?. J. D. Faust,
Hayesville, NC: Schoettle Publishing Co, 2002.
Faust writes that living in a future millennium is a prize which can be forfeited. However, Faust also teaches eternal security and in an attempt to reconcile this doctrine with rest of Scripture, he concludes that many Christians will miss the millennium because they lived carnally or in rebellion. Thus, entrance into the millennium is conditional and those believers who were not overcomers are excluded from the millennial kingdom, although not from final salvation.
Faust separates the ‘bema’ judgment of Rom 14:10 from the Great White Throne judgment of Revelation 20:12. When Christ comes for his church, these carnal Christians will be resurrected, but not share in the first resurrection. Faust does not want to call this purgatory because that word is associated with Roman Catholicism. Nor is this the soul sleep of seventh day adventism nor the heresy of universalism. Above all he has avoided the dreaded label of Arminianism.
Thus Charles Stanley teaches that disobedient Christians will experience a type of outer darkness that is within the millennial kingdom. Faust taught that they would die again and go to hell, but only temporarily hurt by the lake of fire. They will be banished to the underworld throughout the millennium. They are in danger of temporarily losing their souls and temporarily being hurt by the second death (2:11). Their names may also be temporarily blotted out of the book of life (3:5). Yet this is a warning to Christians who can never perish eternally (John 6:39-40). ‘Losing ‘life’ is not necessarily losing absolute, eternal life. To be blotted out of the ‘book of life’ at the judgment seat means to be condemned to die throughout the millennium. This is a danger for Christians’ [p. 212]. However, there is more than one book mentioned in Revelation 20:12. ‘It is possible that there is more than one ‘book of life’ [p. 213]. However, since their names will be found in the final book of life (20:12), they will be raised to immortality a thousand years later at the Great White Throne judgment. Or they may be temporarily blotted out of the book for unfaithfulness and after having been scourged, they will again be found in the book of life [p. 215]. In either case they will be incarcerated and chastised during the millennium, but saved in the end. Christians certainly can have assurance that they are saved, but they are to strive until the end and hope in the Lord’s mercy, ‘yet we should never have certainty’ concerning the judgment seat [pp. 242; 285].
No, I am not making this up. I have labored to state the views of Faust in his own words. Incredibly, this book is endorsed by many fundamental Baptists and they are holding conferences on this topic. This implies they are having trouble with some of their carnal Church members and need some leverage to restrain them. It is obvious that their cardinal doctrine is unconditional eternal security and that everything else must be cut to fit. It also assumes the category of carnal Christians, a false view of assurance, and a dispensational premillennial division of the general judgment. However, if the millennium is that period of time from Christ’s first advent to his second coming in final judgment, as much of the Church has always believed, then these carnal Christians may be stuck in hell forever with no hope of ever getting out. I would not want to base my chances of getting out on this theological house of cards.Â (By Dr. Vic Reasoner)
Response to the Review by Vic Reasoner of The Arminian Magazine
Dr. Reasoner also appears to have done his homework thoroughly – at least for the first half of my book. He rightly understands the importance of the premillennial/amillennial debate. However, he fails to call his readers attention to the documentation in my book that reveals the fact that the first three centuries of Christian history were dominated by premillennialism; and they viewed departure from it as “unorthodox.” Many are also unaware of its vast popularity during and after the Reformation (documented in my book). In many ways, my book is a history of premillennialism. Even the Wesley’s embraced it as the truth! Yet, it appears that this, “Publication of the Fundamental WESLEYAN Society” has lost it. Dr. Reasoner settles for a statement concerning his amillennialism, “as MUCH of the Church has always believed.” Notice, he did not say “MOST”! He writes:
“…if the millennium is that period of time from Christ’s first advent to his second coming in final judgment, as much of the Church has always believed, then these carnal Christians may be stuck in hell forever with no hope of ever getting out.”
He is speaking ENGLISH, and he has used the English word “hell.” However, he misses the Biblical fact that EVEN UNBELIEVERS GET OUT OF “HELL”:
Revelation 20:13 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.
Unbelievers spend eternity in the “Lake of Fire.” The word “hell” comes from a root meaning “under,” as in “heel” (below the foot). Scripture places it in the heart of the earth:
Amos 9:2 Though they dig into HELL, thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down:
Therefore, even the Devil comes up out of “Hell” (the bottomless pit) after the Millennium (Revelation 20:3, Isaiah 14:15)! Dr. Reasoner does not defend his Arminianism in this brief review. He also does not deal with the various arguments offered against Arminianism in my book. I am pleased that he has exposed his readers with this THIRD OPTION (between Calvinism and Arminianism – as they have been presented in modern times). Most have never heard of any other view of the warning passages.
It is good to hear something from the Arminians. For the most part, they have been quiet concerning my book. (Although Arminian Dan Corner of Evangelical Outreach was willing to debate. But he later canceled our debate when I would not agree to be totally silent about translation issues – as if I was going to give him a free pass to quote anything he wanted as “Bible” without me even questioning its validity! He also would not agree, for the purposes of debate, to stick with the KJV).