I had the opportunity to meet Dave Hunt on a couple of occasions. I sat attentively in one of his talks where he opposed Calvinism. If my memory serves me right, he said something like this:
I was amazed at what I discovered when I deeply researched Roman Catholicism. I came to the conclusion that it is not a Christian Church. I could not believe how much falsehood they affirmed. But I was even more deeply amazed when I began researching Calvinism. It is a web a lies. It causes people to trust in the philosophies of men rather than in the Word of God.
In those days I had been reading through Norman Geisler’s Chosen, but Free. I thought it was a good response to the Calvinist claims. I even taught a Sunday School class in a Baptist Church following that paradigm. I now see Geisler’s treatise as the blending of a schizophrenic philosophy with a high dose of mis-characterized Calvinism.
A few years later Dave Hunt came to town (Tampa Bay) to lecture on this supposed highly problematic doctrine. This was before the publishing of What Love is This? Even then, I had already imbibed of a good dose of Tulip Theology thanks to Michael Horton’s Putting Amazing Back Into Grace. Hunt’s lecture was filled with silly analogies, and my zealous Calvinism saw it for what it was.
Years earlier I had read some of Hunt’s prophetic literature and found it compelling, especially when he combined the false teachings of cults with the coming anti-Christ. He portrayed the world and its future in such dark categories that it was easy to adopt a pessimistic eschatology. In his latter years, Hunt continued his eschatology talks, but focused his attention on his crusade against Calvinism, or as one endorsement referred to it as the “abuses of Calvinism.”His talks and radio show, and the endorsement of almost the entirety of the well-known Calvary Chapel movement made him an anti-Calvinist rock star.
The reason for this short piece is that Dave Hunt died yesterday. It is common courtesy to extend sympathy to memory of those who have died in Christ. I especially wish peace on his wife Ruth and other family members. Hunt offered some very helpful apologetic material early on. He lived a fruitful professional life. Unfortunately to those of us in the Reformed community, Hunt offered some very unwise counsel. His dispensational prophetic interests created–in my estimation–a distorted expectation in the Christian Church. Many have bought into a misguided eschatology and have as a result offered a poor apologetic for the role of the Church in the culture, and the clear biblical vision of bringing all things in submission to King Jesus.
So as one more important piece of dispensational history departs to the presence of our blessed Lord–and Dave Hunt, in my limited knowledge of him loved His Lord Jesus Christ–let us move history into better theological pastures. Let’s raise a generation of optimistic thinkers who battle cults, but then offer a strong apologetic–a Trinitarian one–to fight it. And as we do so, let us not use our cult apologetic to justify or validate our doomsday theology.
And on the Calvinism front, may God raise gentle Calvinists who will argue for grace from the foundation of grace. When we do so, let us also represent our Arminian brothers with utmost respect.
Rest in Peace, David Hunt.
Well done Uri, I appreciate your generous and charitable eulogy – unafraid to point out error and places where you disagreed, but granting him the charity of believing his profession of faith in Christ, which by the blood of his cross, overcomes all of the sins & errors of those who are by faith, united to Him.
I remember reading a couple of his books in the late 80’s on psychology and the church, where he referenced the statues on the “Reformer’s Wall: in Geneva, and how they wouldn’t have recognized most of what was being offered in Xian therapy. Then, a few years later, he claimed that he was “quite ignorant of the reformers” in a debate with James White. I wonder which one of those statements were true?
I know we need to be charitable, but Dave Hunt was a man who simply refused to listen to the ‘other side’ in this matter, and I agree- he did some damage through his work. I’ve challenged friends of mine who listen to or read “The Berean Call”, especially regarding his gross straw-man portrayals of Calvinism, and sometimes it’s a real deer-in-the-headlights moment- they hear truth from Scripture that they NEVER heard represented from Mr. Hunt. Lesson for all of us: always accurately represent your opponent…
Dave is quite possibly in hell for blapheming Christ’s Church, i.e. calling it a whore, calling the pope the anti-christ and just general anit-catholic bigotry/propoganda. He was confronted with the truth when he died. Maybe he repented. I certainly don’t wish he is in hell but it has to be tuff to repent of such things before Chirst and know that you lead many people away from Christ’s Church through your work.