Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Friday, February 17, 2006

A Walk in the Clouds

David Cloud's "rain" of error

(I'm sorry. With a last name that is such an easy target, I couldn't resist)

I will say this up front so as to get it out of the way: I believe fundamentalist Baptist preacher, David Cloud, is an embarrassment for Christ and His church. Scott McClare rightly calls him a psycho-fundamentalist because it is a name that aptly describes Mr. Cloud's deranged views as a fundamentalist Christian. Anyone who believes I am employing throw away hyperbole needs to merely read his Daily Article listings on a regular basis. In these articles (sort of the equivalent of his blog), Mr. Cloud, in the name of Christian truth and defending the faith, accuses any person, organization, congregation, school, or seminary, of end-times apostasy if he or she or they do not fall into line under his particular views of how the faith should be believed and practiced.

His screeds are bad enough, but it is the factual errors and out of context citations which riddle his articles that earn him the title from me as an embarrassment. For example, Contemporary Christian Music is one recurring target of Mr. Cloud's wrath. Now, I not a big fan of CCM myself, however, I am not going to appeal to a suspicious sounding venue where White Heart allegedly gave a concert in 1988 as proof of CCM's theological bankruptcy. Moreover, Mr. Cloud is utterly unteachable and spurns any correction from anyone of what he may write. See my comments about an email exchange I had with him about Steve Camp's church membership.

Well, once again, Mr. Cloud demonstrates his ignorance of Calvinism. I reckon he is doing a series of articles on the subject because he has posted four new articles detailing his dislike of Calvinism. One of them is basically a republish, but 3 others are new:

Calvin's Camels
Calvin's Proof Texts Examined
The Calvinism Debate
The Book of Hebrews Refutes Calvinism

I will address some of his refutation of Calvinistic proof texts maybe next week. Today, I want to demonstrate my claim of his factual mis-statements by citing two examples:

First, in the article, The Calvinism Debate, Cloud provides 11 problems he sees with Calvinism. All of them are the typical straw men erected against what Calvinism actually teaches, but in point 11, Cloud writes that Calvinism cannot explain prayer. In Cloud's mind, God cannot have decreed fixed events if we can pray and change His mind so as to change the circumstances and thus the events cannot be fixed, or decreed. In order to support his open theistic tendencies (unwitting, I might add), he takes a quote from A.W. Pink's The Sovereignty of God:

Arthur Pink says, "God'’s will is immutable, and cannot be altered by our cryings" (The Sovereignty of God, p. 173).

Mr. Cloud likes to quote from Pink a lot, as if Pink represents all Calvinist without question. At any rate, with this quote, if we were to take it by itself, implies that Pink is suggesting that our prayers are worthless because God's will is immutable and will never change regardless of how hard we may pray. Mr. Cloud suggests Pink is telling us not to even bother praying. The problem is that this citation is taken out of context of what Pink was arguing. This is one of Mr. Cloud's prime examples of his shoddy research he uses in his articles.

In context, Pink was arguing against those people who think they can force God to change His immutable will. Here is the citation with some surrounding context:

Finally; it should be said that God's will is immutable, and cannot be altered by our crying. When the mind of God is not toward a people to do them good, it cannot be turned to them by the most fervent and importunate prayers of those who have the greatest interest in Him—"Then said the Lord unto me, Though Moses and Samuel stood before Me, yet My mind could not be toward this people: cast them out of My sight, and let them go forth" (Jer. 15:1). The prayers of Moses to enter the promised land is a parallel case.

Our views respecting prayer need to be revised and brought into harmony with the teaching of Scripture on the subject. The prevailing idea seems to be, that I come to God and ask Him for something that I want, and that I expect Him to give me that which I have asked. But this is a most dishonoring and degrading conception. The popular belief reduces God to a servant, our servant: doing our bidding, performing our pleasure, granting our desires. No; prayer is a coming to God, telling Him my need, committing my way unto the Lord, and leaving Him to deal with it as seemeth Him best. This makes my will subject to His, instead of, as in the former case, seeking to bring His will into subjection to mine.

Mr. Cloud says nothing about what Pink was arguing. He doesn't interact with the passage he cites from Jeremiah 15:1. He just throws out a small comment from Pink to make him say something he is not even saying. This is sloppy, hack research.

Then, in the same article, under point two, Baptists Must Face the Issue of Calvinism, Mr. Cloud lists 6 issues I guess he thinks Baptists (read the pyscho-fundamentalist version here) will need to confront when it comes to Calvinism. Number 5 is a hoot. It must be understood, writes Mr. Cloud, that John Calvin himself was an unsound theologian. In other words, he wasn't a pyscho-fundamentalist hand in hand with Mr. Cloud's preferences.

He writes of how Calvin taught infant baptism instead of the immersion, fundamentalist kind, and of course he murdered in cold blood all kinds of people who crossed him as the ruler of Geneva. The problem with Mr. Cloud is his historical ignorance. He doesn't quote one source as to the "Calvin was a monster" charge. I am guessing he us pulling that from Dave Hunt's wormy book?

Mr. Cloud also tends to forget, he of course being a KJV Only supporter, of the King James translators holding to the same views of infant baptism as Calvin (no Baptists were involved in giving us "God's Word Kept Intact In English" as D.A. Waite would say), and Lancelot Andrewes and George Abbott, two of the key KJV translators, were involved with the burning of Anglican dissenters. Why doesn't that alone cause us to reject the KJV translation as heretical?

Anyhow, these are just two small examples of how terrible Mr. Cloud's research is. It is not isolated to just these handful of articles, either. These sorts of errors abound in all of his printed materials.

I won't over tax folks with a point by point rebuttal, but next week, I will try to revisit his articles and highlight some of the more outlandish comments made against Calvinism, particularly Mr. Cloud's "refutation" of the Calvinist proof-texts.

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