A Lesser-Known Heretic?

Initially I was not going to mention this, mostly since I do not want to get into a flame war with the Calvinsit bloggers.  Someone sent me a link to the Alpha and Omega Ministries website, “A Lesser-Known Heretic You Should Know About.” The article concerns Joel Finck, a hyper-dispensationalist and vocal anti-Calvinist, and the Berean Bible Society as a whole. This is a good example of why I think the word heretic is overused, especially in this case. Let me preface this by saying I have a great deal of respect for the Alpha and Omega ministry, some of James White’s debates have been very productive and he has produced a massive number of resources for defending the faith.  I object to the loose definition of heretic in this particular article by Jamin Hubner.

Hubner is a decent scholar who has written a book answering Finck’s anti-Calvinist book. I looked it over and found myself in agreement with the theology in Hubner’s book, but that is no surprise since I walk on the Calvinist side of the street most of the time and think that much of what Finck says is inaccurate theologically.  But to be an Arminian is not to be a heretic.  (For the moment I will set aside the more radical “Open Theist” style Arminians, along with the more radical Calvinists.  I realize there are far more problems there, but these two extremes do not help this discussion.)

Finck simply reads the Bible from a different set of presuppositions than I do, although we should both be considered “within the reformation” with respect to sola scriptura, sola fide, sola gratia, sola Christus, sola Deo gloria. Shocking as it is to my Calvinist theological world view, someone can be a raving Arminian and still hold to the five solas. We may disagree about the nature of faith, grace and the application of atonement, but we are in agreement that we are saved by the finished work of Christ on the cross.

For Hubner, Finck’s rejection of baptism is more disturbing. That Finck rejects all forms of ritual baptism is enough to call him a heretic and place him in the same category as Arius or Harold Camping.  This is despite the fact that Finck would agree with the whole Nicene Creed and the five solas which guide the Alpha and Omega ministry.  Finck believes the only baptism that “counts” is the baptism of the Holy Spirit which occurs at salvation and he is disturbed by any ritual at all that appears to be necessary in addition to that baptism.  To me, that emphasis on the Holy Spirit sounds fairly Pauline and his arguments are based on scripture, not his own visions or extra-biblical documents.  In no way is Finck a cult member who relies on secret knowledge or some authoritative personality.  As such, he is not a heretic, even if he is not going to be able to pastor the local Baptist or Reformed church.

I have met Joel Finck a couple of times and am fairly confident he would be in complete agreement with the Alpha and Omega doctrinal statement, which is not particularly Calvinistic nor does it include baptism as a requirement for salvation.

You can disagree with Finck’s conclusions on some doctrine.  You can show that he is fundamentally flawed in his approach to Scripture.  But you should not call him a heretic.

13 thoughts on “A Lesser-Known Heretic?

  1. Joel Finck is by no means an Arminian if that term includes belief in the ability to lose one’s salvation. He teaches eternal security “in Christ,” as do most, if
    not all, mid-Acts dispensationalists. We follow Paul as commanded in 1 Corinthians; and it’s Paul who was given the good news of eternal security as part of the mystery revelation he received directly from the risen, ascended Lord Jesus Christ. Israel, in her now-set-aside program, did not enjoy eternal security in that it was possible to be cut off from the covenant people by presumptuous sin. Today we are sealed into Christ’s body and are part of the “new creature” designed to occupy the heavens. (Eph. 1:13, 14; 2 Cor. 5:17-19). Joel Finck would probably rather be called a heretic than an Arminian, as would I! Those who reject Calvinism are not automatically Arminian!

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    • Thanks for the comment. A proper mid-acts dispensationalist will hold to eternal security, I am aware of no one within the greate Grace movement who would reject eternal security. You are of course correct that to reject Calvinism is not to automatically be an Arminian. I will point out, however, that my comments were directed at an article which declared Finck a Heretic for not being a Calvinist. I do not think Joel Finck of Mr. Stam really recognize the definitions of Arminian or Calvinist at all. That is not the battle they chose to fight, which is perfectly fine. The original article (to which I was responding) would not agree, since the only “real Christian” (for him) is a Calvinist. My point was the original article is too quick on the draw when calling someone a heretic. On the other hand, I do think that what Finck has said on the classical “five points” qualifies him as “more or less Arminian,” if we were forced to pigeon-hole him into a theological category. There are quite a few mid-Acts dispensationalists who are clearly Arminian and happy with the description, even while embracing Eternal Security.

      I had a student once call himself a One Point Calvinist, meaning he agreed with Eternal Security and nothing else! He was not happy being a four point Arminain, but a one point Calvinist was fine.

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  2. I wonder if people really understand what it is the “Mid-Acts Dispensationalist”, the “Acts 2 Dispensationalist” and the “Acts 28 Dispensationalist” really believes and teaches. I became friends with one of these people, because, at the time I thought he was a rare gem preaching the gospel. However, as I got to know this person better, I became more and more alarmed by what he was teaching as surrounding doctrine. I had never heard anything like it before. After a many month long search, coming up with little or nothing when typing in key words, such “kingdom economy”, “two gospels” and other such buzz phrases, I finally stumbled across Hyper-Dispensationalism. I cannot tell you the horror I experienced at the actual heresy these people hold to.

    Yes, they might appear to preach a decent gospel, but the jesus behind that Gospel is NOT the Scriptural Jesus in the slightest. Neither is the God of their theology, the God of the Bible. He is a figment of their imaginations.

    For starters they belittle “Jesus followers” and speak out vehemently against following “Jesus in the red letter”. As a friend once quipped to me – one YouTube user is named “YokedtoJesus”, these people are literally “YokedtoPaul”. I have them ON VIDEO denying that John 3:16 is gospel. I have them on VIDEO stating that if you hold to the Acts 2 gospel, you are lost. I have them ON VIDEO saying that God is twisted if man does not have a free will. I have one ON VIDEO saying that Paul is the “cornerstone”, the “foreman” of our faith and the chief apostle for the “dispensation of the grace of God.” This is in violation of Hebrews 3:1, which refers to Jesus Christ as being the APOSTLE and HIGH PRIEST of our profession. I have them ON VIDEO stating that God no longer imputes sins to any man, because He died for the sins of every single individual, so that was all taken care of at Calvary. THE ONLY SIN under this Dispensation that causes a person who does not receive the 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 gospel, is the sin of unbelief. Somehow, if Christ took care of the sins of every single individual at Calvary, for some, he didn’t pay for the sin of unbelief.

    I also have them on VIDEO stating that there is NO SALVATION outside of the Pauline Epistles. I, myself, made a video on this particular issue, which brought me many e-mails stating they could not believe their ears when hearing that little snippet.

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    • Sorry you have met some really silly (or obnoxious) mid-Acts dispensationalists, but then characterizing a theological stream via YouTube videos is never the best method. There are far better representatives of dispensational thinking out there which do not sound anything like this radical fringe you describe. In fact, these people you encountered are not the norm, despite what they might claim in a video. Many are proper Calvinists with respect to the “five points” and the Solas, they read the whole Bible, albeit through a certain theological lens (as everyone must), and are quite evangelistic.

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      • Yes, they are. I suggest you read a bit closer to the center. Your videos are pretty good at attacking straw-men. I am not going to defend the Fincks and Feldicks of the world, but it is really quite disingenuous to imply all mid-acts dispensationalists are “Bullengerites,” You do not really understand the history of Calvinism or Dispensationalism very well.

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  3. I think you have perhaps misread Jamin’s article on Joel Finck. Joel is not called a heretic because he is not a Calvinist, or even because he believes in a pre-trib rapture or something like that.

    Joel Finck is a heretic because of how he divides the Bible. Read his book The Mystery, (I have). In that book, Joel plainly states that the teachings of Jesus are not for Christians today. For example, when talking about the Lord’s Prayer, he says that we don’t need to pray “Give us this day our daily bread” because we have freezers full of food.

    If somebody teaches that the teachings of Jesus are not for Christians today, that Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and Jude are not for Christians today, what should they be called?

    Perhaps Joel is himself saved, but he has no business teaching the Bible. I think Jamin was accurate in what he said.

    Again, read The Mystery, freely available online, to see for yourself.

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  4. Amen, Mark Strong. You’ve hit the nail right on the head. I might add that Hebrews makes it clear those who are saved, ever have been saved and ever will be saved are saved by grace through faith in Jesus, the Messiah of Israel and all mankind. To say that the Gospels and Hebrews do not apply is then to see there is error in the Bible, these books are not the true word of God. Finck told me personally that since he doesn’t believe Paul wrote Hebrews that no, Hebrews 11 is wrong and the OT saints were not saved by grace through faith but were under the law.
    Paul himself says to be under the law (Romans) is to stand condemned before God. I will not judge if the man is saved or lost for only God knows that, but his teaching is flawed and unsound.

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    • Thank you for your marvellous comment, Lee.

      I spent years fighting these people — the Hyper-Dispensationalist. Myself and two of my friends opened up a channel on YouTube in order to deal with their particular brand of heresy. In my research, I found that their tripe goes back to its roots, which can be found within Bullingerism. I am sorry to say that I have never met such dastardly hypocrites in my life. They will run the Calvinist down for reading Calvin’s works, but you can bet they revere and worship their own murderous authors, such as EC Moore, Les Feldick, The Maranatha Bible Society and its founder, Richard E. Rhoads. Eventually, I tried to deal with their error with some modicum of decorum and some humour, but was accused of obsessing over the man I was exposing.

      Let me tell you something, Hyper-Dispensationalism and its more radical off-shoots, is the most dangerous theology ever cranked out of the Bible by UN-Godly men and women. The Book of Jude has quite a lot to say to them.

      May God bless you and may He continue to lead you into all truth.
      My love to you in Christ.
      Liz.

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  5. For the record, I do not think 1 Cor 14:34 applies to the Internet. Liz is mostly wrong, but she can speak here all she likes. I appreciate the fact she is not posting anonymously.

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  6. 2 Tim 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” KJ Bible

    If one does not rightly divide the Word of Truth, does not distinguish between prophesy and mystery, one cannot understand the Bible and will be faced with contradictions and confusion, and will have to apply mental gymnastics to explain their positions.

    Most people are resistant to change and spend their life defending their positions in spite of scripture. This is not new, many (most?) people defend their denomination and tradition over Scripture…they do not WANT to rightly divide as it may disrupt their preconceived beliefs based on error.

    Question, how do you define “rightly dividing the word of truth?” Hint, it is not OT vs NT. Do you rightly divide the Word?

    Today, if one believes in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus as payment of the sins of the world, he is saved; that is taking God at His word, that is faith. This is clearly stated in 1 Cor 15:1-4. The DBR is the essential doctrine and cannot be refuted. A lot of the remaining non-essentials are open for debate and do not affect salvation.

    Check out Don Samdahl’s scholarly website at http://www.Doctrine.Org.

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  7. I bless God through Christ for you PR. Joel Finck for opening my eyes onto that which I was confusing, that is without sense of the dispensations.

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