At the beginning of August, I decided to take advantage of a free Windows Ten update. All went well though it understandably took a long time for the update to be completed. I was surprised, however, to find that I suddenly received a backlog of e-mails in my ‘in’ box which had not hitherto turned up, probably because my old software was incompatible. Amongst these were two letters from Randy Seiver, written on the same day in May entitled ‘Medication’ and ‘Imbecil’ (sic). As I have had nothing to do with Seiver for several years for very good reasons and as Seiver had promised to stop his mobbing and cease sending me his aggressive, vulgar outbursts of unprovoked wrath several times daily and as I had met his arguments full on as witnessed in my Bibliographia Evangelica website and New Focus articles, I was most surprised. Especially so as no new items had cropped up since my comments motivated by a letter Seiver had sent to New Focus, was it nine years ago? Nor had I published anything new concerning Seiver’s works, though I had heard that he was ramping and raging against me.
Now Seiver has a whole list of strictures given on his web-site concerning those with whom he corresponds. He is most particular, starting with the unctuous:
‘Be respectful. If you don’t tell me I have an unregenerate heart and that I am a wicked false teacher, I won’t tell you you’re ugly and your mother wears combat boots.’
Well, in view of the tone of Seiver’s letters quoted in full below, as I am none too beautiful and my dear mother who died some forty-three years ago used my father’s pit-face-boots when gardening, I presume that though ‘sticks and stones might break my bones, words will never harm me.’
However, though Seiver is always advising those who disagree with him to go on medication (see below) perhaps he ought to take some of his own medicine when dealing with views he cannot fathom. He is surely a case of ‘Physician, heal thyself’. Typical of his comments on another person who find his views unbearable, is one he has made recently saying:
‘Unfortunately, he and I have almost nothing in common theologically, and he is convinced I am a psychopathic liar who uses doublespeak to deliberately deceive people. He clearly thinks he knows better what I believe than I do and is convinced I am lying when I state my views as honestly as I can.’
This is, to a real student of psychoanalysis what Freud called a Fehlleistung or parapraxis and it is thought to be clinically curable. It perhaps explains why Seiver is so eager to prescribe psychopharmacological therapy to his correspondents.
Seiver has now challenged me to go public on my reaction to his recent letters, so here goes:
In his first letter dated 10th May entitled ‘Medication’, Seiver wrote
Apparently you are off your meds again. I just read another of your articles in which you evidenced a complete misunderstanding of the position I have set forth in many articles and books. I do not believe, nor have I ever believed, there was anything wrong either with the Old Testament Scriptures or with the law covenant of Sinai. To suggest that I do is completely irresponsible. Again, let me assure you that you did not “raise my ire” because you disagreed with my views. I don’t give a rat’s behind what you think about me or about what I believe and teach. What I do care about is your misrepresentation of what I have taught. I have given up on thinking you might be a reasonable human being who might invest a modicum of effort in trying to understand what I have written. The best I can hope for is that you will get back on your meds.
On the same day, he wrote, without an expected immediate reaction from me, under the heading ‘Imbecil’ (?):
I see you continue to be the same imbecilic jerk I have always found you to be. If you were disagreeing with my views, I would pay no attention to you at all. I don’t give a rodent’s behind what you think about me or what I believe. What I do care about and all I care about is your lies concerning what I believe. If you wish to argue with actual statements I have made, knock yourself out. I don’t expect you to agree with me. It is clear that we see the Scriptures differently. Please note a few of the areas in which you have lied about my views:
- I believe both Testaments are equally inspired of God and continue to be profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness.
- I do not believe the old covenant was in any sense “wrong.”
- I do not think true believers during the OT period were any less justified in God’s sight than are NT believers.
- I do not think the faith of OT believers was any different in character from the faith of NT believers.
- I do not think the Jews must wait for the Gentiles to be saved to be saved themselves.
- I believe all true believers are redeemed by the same death of Christ.
There are no doubt many other lies you have told about me and my views that I could comment on here, but this should give you some idea of how badly you have misrepresented me. If you are in any sense a man of honor, you will post this on your site and humbly repent for your prevarications.’
Seiver’s insistence that I should go on drugs is symptomatic of Seiver’s attacks on brethren with whom he disagrees, obviously thinking that only those under drugs would agree with him. That he has found ‘another article’ from my pen arguing against him personally strikes me as being most odd as the little I had published against him had been referred to, but not refuted, repeatedly, by Seiver years ago. I have thus not mentioned him in my writings for a number of years.
The letters above show Seiver’s breadth of character. In his practical divinity he is one thing and in his theological analysis another. Some of his statements concerning his faith as can be read on his web-site are, indeed, most soberly formulated but he will not recognize that I would agree with him, bar his bad manners, on many issues. Sadly Siever prefers to provoke strife where it is most unnecessary and unfitting.
Let us now examine the points of alleged disagreement Seiver believes I have with him, though he provides no evidence, and never has done, for his accusations.
- RS: I believe both Testaments are equally inspired of God and continue to be profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness.
GME: There has been no contention on this issue which, worded in this way, avoids any disagreement. Here we could perhaps find a ‘basic essential’ on which we could base discussion, providing it is carried out in a gentlemanly way.
- RS: I do not believe the old covenant was in any sense “wrong.”
GME: Here is the number one problem in dealing with Seiver, in his polemics he has no memory but acts and thinks emotionally upon the spur of the moment. Rather like John Wesley’s attacks on the Hills, Hervey and especially Toplady where he obviously steers full steam ahead against his own principles. Seiver told me that I had no knowledge of NCT writers, when I proved this to be incorrect, he denied that when I quoted them correctly they had written what they had written, showing he was unfamiliar with their works. When I quoted from a work of his where he argued from a novel translation that the Covenant as defined in the OT was ‘wrong’, that was his word, not mine, he denied having written that though I give him chapter and verse. Otherwise, I am indeed convinced that Seiver’s view of the Covenant as revealed in the OT is absolutely ‘wrong’ as he sees the Old Testament Covenant, of which David so often spoke of with love and thankfulness because of the grace found in it, entirely as a legal system void of grace and outside that everlasting Covenant of which the entire Bible speaks. I may add here, I am not a New Covenant Theologian; I am a pan-Biblical believer.
3. RS: I do not think true believers during the OT period were any less justified in God’s sight than are NT believers.’
GME: Put like this, nor do I. However, this statement is open to wide and conflicting interpretations regard justification, true belief and the timing of salvation. As a basis for discussion, I would be pleased to discuss the pros and cons of the statement with Seiver, adding that as stated here, it was not a moot point in the few discussions we have had in the past, now growing distant.
4. RS: I do not think the faith of OT believers was any different in character from the faith of NT believers.’
GME: Nor do I. However, our debate was on their standing in Christ within the Church or Bride of Christ and whether the covenant in which they stood was eternal or not.
5. RS: I do not think the Jews must wait for the Gentiles to be saved to be saved themselves.
GME: Nor do I, but this is not the point of our difference but about NCT dispensationalism regarding when their plurality of covenants begin and end.
6. RS: ‘I believe all true believers are redeemed by the same death of Christ.’
GME: So do I but again, this was never a debating point.
What then were the points over which Seiver and I disagreed other than about our various approaches to the ethics of debate? These are summed up in Seiver’s statement of faith on his web site entitled ‘Truth Unchanging’. I quote verbatim:
‘That promise (the spiritual promise of blessing God made to Abraham’s seed) was made, not to any of Abraham’s physical seed as such. Instead, the promise was made to Christ and all who are united to him by faith.’
GME: I believe that the covenant promises were made to Abraham and his family and to all his subsequent generations. Circumcision was a sign and a seal that these promises were yea and amen to all who came under them but they did not come to them as fulfillers of the promises but that fulfillment was in Christ given to those to whom He gave the grace to repent and believe. Many are called, few are chosen. In other words all the promises of God are ‘if’ and ‘then’ promises, bringing either the savour of life unto life or death unto death to those given the promises. These promises are not made to Christ, as Seiver strangely words his belief, but were given to the offspring of Abraham as they are given to the offspring of all believers (Acts 2:39) now signed and sealed through baptism within the preaching of the gospel. Seiver has thus overlooked Genesis 17:10 where God addresses Abraham and expressively states:
‘This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.’
Happily Isaac believed, but he was given the promises through circumcision before that belief in the covenant was evident to him. Again, I must emphasise, I am talking about the promises given to these offspring and not their fulfillment. I do not believe that the gospel should merely go out to believers only, dodging the responsibilities and condemnation of sinners, and, as I have shown in my published writings on NCT, the seed theories of the NCT have no Biblical and linguistic basis but are a mere reading of NCT rationalism into the language of Scripture.1
Then Seiver continues in his statement of faith, saying:
‘The Law of Moses was intended to be a temporary covenant constituting Israel a nation before God. Though it was not contrary to the promise of God, it was not part of an overarching ‘covenant of grace’. God never intended this covenant, the ten commandments (Exo 34:28) to be universal in its scope, nor did he intend it to be perpetual. It began at Mt. Sinai and ended at the cross.’
Now though Seiver ridicules any theological qualifications I might have on his web-site and spreads the rumour that I have probably studied only animal husbandry, which would not have been a bad thing and I would thus have understood Seiver’s repeated allusions to the rear end of rodents better, I have challenged Seiver on this pseudo-theological interpretation. If the Mosaic law were not part of the Covenant of which David spoke and merely temporary and was not around before Moses and ended at the cross, why were sinners condemned before this law came and why are they still condemned two thousand years after Christ’s death? Also, we must ask, under which law did Christ die? His new law which some NCT-ites claim was the Sermon on the Mount, or the law God gave to Moses? Should we thus drop the Mosaic Law in our preaching and appeal to already-believers only? Shall we stop trying to convict sinners of sin? This is modern pseudo-Christian preaching which says ‘Love Christ because He loves you’ but does not deal with the Scriptural truth that all have fallen short of the law. Furthermore, why does Seiver separated the ten commandments from the rest of the OT gospel? One cannot cut up the OT like this and then say that the ten commandments are now invalid because they have been wrenched from their Covenant teaching.
Furthermore, I certainly do not teach that the Eternal Covenant of Grace ‘over-arched’ the law but that the Mosaic Law was such an integral part of the Covenant of Grace that it had to be obeyed to fulfill the Covenant of Grace and that Christ, not Moses, was its Author, Keeper and Fulfiller. As sinners nowadays come to faith, it is through Christ’s keeping this Covenant for them. The law still condemns and Christ still saves.
Seiver goes on to say, in contradiction to the above:
The primary purpose of the law was to demonstrate the true nature of sin as rebellion against God and the impossibility that sinners could ever justify themselves before God. It was a killing and condemning covenant.’
GME: This is so true but if the law, extracted from the Covenant, was temporary and is now abolished, are all sinners now free to sin under the sense of this abolished law and there is now no condemning, killing finger of the Divine Judge to point at them? The saved were always secure in Christ’s arms but the condemned, never.
‘The new covenant that fulfills and thus replaces the law is better in every way than is the old covenant. It promises believers forgiveness of sins and an enabling to please God. This the old covenant could never do.’
GME: Here again, the theological confusion of Seiver and his peculiar handling of the Scriptures stands out a mile. Does he find no forgiving God in the OT? Here the Marcionite mind of New Covenant Theology breaks through its Christian camouflage. There is no teaching in the Scriptures that the covenant fulfills the law but that Christ fulfills the covenant of His own eternal making by keeping it. There is no NT teaching that the OT law was replaced by a new Neonomian gospel. Christ is ever the Covenant Keeper and Fulfiller. If the law is not there nowadays, how can Christ fulfil it for us sinners before God? Does not the law reflect God’s eternal character and thus must be eternally respected? Seiver’s apparent pardon for all sinners since Christ’s vicarious death is a most bent theology and, though Seiver hints continually, as all NCT-ites, that there is now a new law, they never spell out this Neonomianism, or rather, each has a different idea of it, so none of them are able to preach to sinners correctly. That the Biblical teaching on the Covenant is complimentarily and progressively outlined throughout all the Scriptures seems not to have reached the hearts and minds and consciences of New Covenant teaching. I shall stick to Covenant teaching as revealed in context in both Testaments. I would, however, love to do a Bible Study with Seiver on the Biblical Hebrew and Greek understanding of ‘old’ and ‘new’ which the NCT-ites have restricted and dumbed down as much as their teaching on the true Biblical Covenant. Does Seiver always discard old friends when making new ones? I find my old friends also ‘ever fresh’ which is the Biblical understanding of the OT relationship between ‘old’ and ‘new’. Most of us need to freshen up our Old Evangelical, Reformed Theology and ‘get with it’ ourselves but drop it, no, never; it is the Word of Life. The New Testament is a commentary on the old, as our Reformers taught us, especially Tyndale, it is not a separate book.
How about it Randy? A theological debate about the Bible and not Pharmacopoeia, Euarchontoglires and Rodentia?
- See especially my examination of the various ‘seed‘ theories in my book The Covenant of Grace and Christian Baptism which are mentioned passim throughout the book (see index). ↩