An Open Letter to Bob Coy

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. —Genesis 2:17

Apparently, death is a pretty neutral thing to Bob Coy, pastor of Calvary Chapel of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  Thanks to Lee Shelton, our good friend and brother blogger at The Contemporary Calvinist, he provides a YouTube clip of Bob Coy speaking of death, not in neutral terms, but in positive terms.

It’s only 53 seconds long so you can have The Contemporary Calvinist popup HERE.

Now, I’m not against Arminians at all. Sometimes I think I receive more heartburn from the words of many Calvinists of every ilk than I do from the most overzealous of Arminians.  But Bob, Bob, Bob… please! Did you even give a thought to what you’ve uttered, albeit rhetorically? Here is what you said:

“Do you mean to tell me that a dead man can respond to the command of Christ; and even in an act of obedience!”

Bob, are you saying that death, the punishment for disobedience, that penalty promised to Adam by God, is not a bad thing at all?

Do you mean to tell me that death, exemplified in this event of Lazarus’ death, that brought heartache to many, and that which even caused Jesus to weep, is no big deal?

Are you saying, Bob, that the disobedience of Adam, which plunged the whole human race into death, and brought sin to every man, woman, and child through natural generation, is odious to God, or offensive to His Person?

Are you suggesting that, Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and THE LIFE, who paid the penalty of death, by His own death and shed blood, so that men could have life through faith, is actually a positive thing?

Are you saying that death, Christ’s last enemy to be put under His feet, is not really any big deal at all?

If it is, Bob, you have treated the death of Jesus Christ, as something so light, so flippant, and so… well meaningless, if the death of Lazarus was just a neat little episode to display some miraculous parlor trick.

Bob, I love you. The best preaching of the Cross of Christ, will always fall short of God’s glory because the best of all we do is so full of flesh, that it cannot please God unless it is all of grace, and that, by faith (1 Corinthians 1:29; Romans 14:23; Hebrews 11:6). Yet, when you diminish the penalty, you’ve diminished the sin; when you’ve diminished the sin; you’ve diminished the atonement; when you’ve diminished the atonement, you’ve dishonored Christ.

Here, it’s less than 20 minutes long overall. The last 15 minutes of this recording is from a funeral I preached on Tuesday, of a friend. My text was John 11:30-38. Here is the popup player through

I’m not asking you to adopt the Five Points of Calvinism; God’s truth is revelation truth and it must come by the Word and Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14; Romans 10:17), so that’s between you and He. I am praying that you get to the Cross, consider that Christ died, and at least plead to the Lord for an understanding of His redemption through His substitutionary death and His precious blood shed.

About Jon J. Cardwell

"The Spirited Speaker" - Pastor of Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Anniston, Alabama. Nationally recognized speaker and publisher. Author of several books, including the bestseller, Christ and Him Crucified.


  1. To say that a dead man can exhibit obedience is both absurd and unbiblical. However, at what point does the constant drone of exposing the unbiblical teachings of individuals actually take the place of discipleship and the building up of truth in born again believers? If a believer is well versed and grounded in Biblical truth, should he or she not recognize such profound Biblicfal error?

    If I can immediately recognize such grevious error, and the average believer has to be told, what does that say about our teaching ministries?

    • you know, in the past i have rather respected your position on certain comments you have made on other sites. a few times i saw it from a contrary perspective than you brought up, rick, but i did not reply or retort, because i know, quite often you have offered a very good and balanced appraisal of the situation, and quite often, a needed temper, such as what you have given…

      yet, on this one, not only would i reply, but also rebuke. you insinuate that this blog is a constant drone of exposing unbiblical teaching. i’ll just forget about anything that has to do with me or my blog… let’s look at the issue of this particular doctrine.

      i wrote this open letter, the first, and i hope, the only one that i will ever have to write. i did it specifically for two reasons:

      1. i was an ordained calvary chapel pastor years ago and ministered in and with calvary chapels for years. like paul rebuked peter in his dissimulation, i did so with bob coy, and that, with a grieving heart and through prayerful tears. i prayed that perhaps, even my typed words might have an impact if they did make it back to him.

      2. since what he said has a direct implication to the gospel of christ crucified, that grieved my heart more than anything. paul wrote an entire letter to the galatians to address such implied madness, which assaulted the gospel the crucified son of god. that issues back of what is said seem to be so obvious to you, and apparently not a grief, but an inconvenience because of some insignificant voice like mine, i would suppose that you would have come to peter’s defense when paul rebuked him. yes, i realize i’m no paul, but what really happened here?

      bob coys’ words are not an offense to me because they would somehow topple my frail faith; they are an offense in the grief they give me and heartache they present when one who would claim to profess the name of christ, would exalt human will and so lightly treat the wages of sin in such a manner as it insults christ’s atoning death. is christ’s death, which saved you and i, such a light and casual thing that words like those which he had preached didn’t grieve you to the core? has the cross of christ been so reduced to a doctrine in your thinking that to stand for such a truth is an embarrassment because others may seem to nit pick, becoming “a constant drone” to you?

      maybe christ’s salvation saved you from just a mediocre or mundane existence, but christ’s sacrifice to save such a wretch as me, and others like me, the truth of his death means more to me than life itself.

      perhaps you ought to reflect upon that, pastor.

    • okay, i reread some of what i wrote and i seemed to be writing to another rather than bob, e.g., the first paragraph. but as i said, it is my first open letter, and still the content of the subject matter was there. the cross isn’t a light thing to me, no matter who brushes it off casually

  2. My comment about the “constant drone” was not directed specifically at you or your blog. I regret that hyperbole obscured my core point, which was, that we obviously need to deepen the stakes and lengthen the cords of our teaching ministry. How can a moderately Biblically literate believer believe some of the gross error perpetrated on the body of Christ?

    I guess one of the reasons is that many pastor/teachers do not confront such heresy, but I contend that the average pew dweller has not been discipled, and if our people never develope a hunger to learn and obey God’s Word, then just us pointing out error (as I do as well) becomes dramatically insufficient as it pertains to the command to “feed my sheep”.

    My comment was not to either offend you or attack your ministry. It was to add more perspective to the problem of false teachers. I do occasionaly read your posts and have benefited by them!

    • my apologies, rick. when i began typing my response to you, i was dealing with an issue somewhat related but directly assaulting the cross, the sacrifice of christ, and imputation, and so i must confess and ask forgiveness, as i read your comment with that broiling in me. i pray, by god’s grace, i might learn from that.

      i believe that you are absolutely right about lack of, absence of solid discipleship. i believe it is further aggravated by a low view of the redemption among ministers. the crucified savior isn’t those precious thing to most of these men

      thanks again for your input, and again, please forgive me.

  3. You said, “I’m not asking you to adopt the Five Points of Calvinism; God’s truth is revelation truth and it must come by the Word and Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14; Romans 10:17), so that’s between you and He.” So all non-Calvinists have yet to receive (or believe) God’s truth?

    • the scripture references i provided are those pertaining to saving grace, so i should have actually cited ephesians 3.14-19 as that truth pertaining to sanctifying grace. my statement is not to suggest that non-calvinists are not saved. if knowledge and understanding of the five points of calvinism as defined by the synod of dordt were a requirement for salvation, that would make me rather a monster in saying that i’m not asking him not to adopt the tulip. that kind of thinking would defy scripture in every passage and portion that god calls for and commands repentance, etc.

      everyone that is saved is born-again, literally born from above [john 3.3], and like an infant must grow in grace and in the knowledge of faith. we know foundational truths for salvation as born-again believers, the incarnation of god as man, the crucifixion of christ for in the penal substitutionary atonement, the burial and resurrection of christ, the ascension of christ, and the return of christ.

      here is an example of how some revelation truth is given to some and not to others, yet both are saved. jacob asked god’s name when he did wrestle with the lord and it wasn’t given him [gen 32.29]; moses asked god’s name in midian when he was told to return to egypt to speak to israel and pharaoh [gen 3.14]. jacob did not receive god’s name, neither would it be known to him, nor was it known to his fathers [ex 6.3], yet he was saved by god’s grace through faith, believing the promises of god and trusting upon the savior to come. moses received the name [gen 3.14]. both had encounters with christ face to face [gen 32.30; ex 33:11], and one receives the name of god and the other does not. is jacob less saved than moses. certainly not.

      in something like that, we are given many and great opportunities to bestow grace unto others, increasing in faith, exercising virtue, growing in knowledge, developing in temperance and patience through tribulation, exhibiting godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.

      hope that has helped. below is eph 3.14-19,

      Ephesians 3:14-19
      14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
      15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
      16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
      17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
      18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
      19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

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