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Nov 24, 2008

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Luke

Peter,
Thanks for posting Dr. Allen's response. It sure would be nice if a lot of the sleeping giants would be able to clarify themselves as Dr. Allen has been able. Kinda gets the middle man out of the way.

Luke

peter lumpkins

Luke,

You're welcome. And I think you are correct. It's best when the one who made the statements under question has the time to respond to misunderstanding and/or to clarify.

It would have been good in this case, however, had bloggers mentioned some of the rationale book-ending Dr. Allen's assertions, instead of just brashly saying "Dr. Allen says 'James White is a hyper-Calvinist.'"

Grace. With that, I am...

Peter

Tony Byrne

Dr. Allen said:

Notice here how White denies 2 Peter 3:9 teaches God has a universal saving will!

Dr. Allen's point is not that an orthodox Calvinist cannot interpret 2 Pet. 3:9 in different ways. For instance, W. G. T. Shedd interprets the passage as referencing the elect, but he strongly affirms God's universal saving desire elsewhere. So, we see that there is theoretical agreement but practical differences on some given texts. Dr. Allen's point is that James White sees no biblical text (including 2 Pet. 3:9) as affirming that God wills, wishes or desires the salvation of all men. None of the texts that John Murray uses in The Free Offer of the Gospel (Ezek. 18:23, 32, 33:11; Matt. 23:37; 2 Pet. 3:9, etc.) to prove God's well-meant or "sincere" gospel offer to all will suffice for Mr. White. Dr. Sam Waldon's appeal to John 5:34 in his Modern Exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith has not yet persuaded him either.

Byron

Dr. Allen raises a legitimate question concerning five-point Calvinists (such as James White), but his concern (and assertion) is false. As I pointed out in my previous comment, this is already answered elsewhere, on other blogs. Too, Phil Johnson does not agree with Dr. Allen's interpretation of the text authored by Johnson (A Primer on Hyper-Calvinism). That does not negate Dr. Allen's assertion, but I think it shows his assertion is not nearly as strong as he presents it to be. James White is simply consistent in his five-point theology, as explained elsewhere at Thoughts of Franics Turretin, at Controversial Calvinism, and at A Rose By Any Other Name. It makes me wonder if Dr. Allen has ever had the misfortune to actually meet and interact with true Hyper-Calvinists such as Marc Carpenter and Darwin Fish. I admit I am nowhere near the scholar that Dr. Allen is, nor am I remotely objective on this issue, but I believe his concern is unfounded and his assertion is flawed.

Tony Byrne

Byron:

I have some questions for you:

1) Do you think that God desires to save all men in his revealed will?

2) Do you think that the denial of God's universal saving desire is hyper-Calvinistic?

3) Where specifically has any blog shown does think that God desires to save all men?

Also, Marc Carpenter represents the absolute kook fringe of hyper-Calvinism. No hyper-Calvinist in the past has ever gone to the extremes that he has. Carpenter condemns Calvin (even Gordon Clark!) himself as unregenerate. If no one is hyper unless they are as extreme as Marc Carpenter, then there were no hypers prior to the late 1900's, which is absurd.

Tony Byrne

Correction:

3) Where specifically has any blog (or any other source) shown that Mr. White does think that God desires to save all men?

Tony Byrne

Byron said:

"James White is simply consistent in his five-point theology,..."

Are you saying that "consistent five-point Calvinism" necessitates a denial that God desires to save all men? I think Dr. Sam Waldron would be surprised to hear that.

peter lumpkins

All,

Just a note on the new commenting platform. I just switched it over a couple of days ago. It is really tricky to get used to on this side.

    A Couple of Pointers:
1) You can reply to any commenter here by using the link--"Reply"--under his/her individual comment. This is called 'comment threading' and it is designed to continue a conversation going between 2 (or more) on a particular point as other commenters continue to post. It's really a cool feature.

2) Once you post your comment, you have five minutes to a) edit b) delete, or c) leave as is. I have often been asked to delete redundant comments or add links, change a word, etc. I cannot change a comment on this platform. All I can do is delete it, unpublish it, or spam it.

With that, I am...

Peter

Debbie Kaufman

Peter: I do not in any way see where James White gave a hyper-Calvinistic answer. Again, Total Depravity must be understood before limited atonement can be tackled. Yet, Total Depravity is washed over and limited atonement is focused on.

John Piper has written on this subject extensively and I agree. Here is what he says about the order in which we experience the five points:

#1 We experience first our depravity and need of salvation.
#2 Then we experience the irresistible grace of God leading us toward faith.
#3 Then we trust the sufficiency of the atoning death of Christ for our sins.
#4 Then we discover that behind the work of God to atone for our sins and bring us to faith was the unconditional election of God.
#5 And finally we rest in his electing grace to give us the strength and will to persevere to the end in faith.

Tony Byrne

These are some of the issues relavent to Dr. Allen's response:

1) Does Phil's Primer make a point about God's universal saving will? What about the Ezek. 33 passage at the top? What about "sincere proposals" language? What about his appeal to Piper and Murray on God's will?

2) Does Phil's Primer suggest or imply that one is a hyper-Calvinist if one denies God's universal saving will?

3) Does James White deny God's universal saving will? Dr. Allen believes so. Has anyone shown otherwise?

4) Are Dr. Allen's concerns about the SBC and hyper-Calvinism valid?

All other topics, it seems to me, represent red herrings. They distract from the main issues involved in Dr. Allen's response.

peter lumpkins

Stephen,

Thanks, my brother for the comment. However, even as good as it is, it is not only irrelevant to Dr. Allen's particular response, it is just too long for this comment thread. It would be better to link to your view and keep comments focused on Dr. Allen's particular frame of reference.

Hence, I going to unpublish your comment. You are most welcome to link to your view in another comment.

Grace, Stephen. With that, I am...

Peter

P.S. I have a cope of your comment in case it was uniquely composed here. Just email me for it...

peter lumpkins

Debbie,

I am unsure how you get that "Total Depravity must be understood before limited atonement can be tackled." The former concerns our state as sinners the latter Christ's surety for sin. Your point, thus, hardly makes sense to me.

As for what Piper said, he appears to be speaking experientially--that is, how redemption is teased out in us.--not propositionally. But even if he was, you are entirely skirting the issue of hyper-Calvinism by speaking of Total Depravity, where there is no stated disagreement here.

With that, I am...

Peter

peter lumpkins

Byron,

Thanks. Note Tony's specific engagement, Byron. He has some measured points you'll need to consider.

I would add one thing: While you are correct to assert that "Phil Johnson does not agree with Dr. Allen's interpretation of the text authored by Johnson" I would have to qualify that by adding "thus far."

The fact remains, Johnson apparently has only responded to what was "live-blogged" which is virtually limited to "James White is a hyper-Calvinist according to Phil Johnson's definition." I have not seen anything from Phil Johnson--or James White, for that matter--that comes close to dealing with what Dr. Allen actually presented at the J316C.

When Johnson deals with the entire thrust of Allen's words and how Allen concluded as he did, then we can speak again of Phil Johnson "not agree[ing] with Dr. Allen's interpretation of the text authored by Johnson."

Grace, Byron. With that, I am...

Peter

peter lumpkins

Tony,

Thanks for your input. And, I have to believe the questions you raise are weighty and surely add a reciprocal dimension to Dr. Allen's paper.

Southern Baptists are fortunate that Dr. Allen has scooped the yuk from this open sore and exposed, perhaps more than any one else has to date, what is unhealthy Calvinism in contrast to what is healthy Calvinism.

Grace, Tony. With that, I am...

Peter

Ron Phillips, Sr.

Peter,

Thank you for posting Dr. Allen's response.

Just a few points that I would like to make:

1. Dr. Allen has demonstrated how and why he came to the conclusion that Dr. White is a hyper-Calvinist. He has provided the context and quotes that assures one that he has employed sound academic principles in his research.

2. Based on the provided verbatim text of his comments, I would agree that it does appear that several have embellished Dr. Allen's position as personal attacks on Dr. White. This is where you were correct about the need for accuracy in "live blogging". For example, I seem to remember seeing several who commented about Dr. Allen "attacking" Dr. White for being a hyper-calvinist while he was out evangelizing.

3. I think the uproar is partially to blame on ignorance. Most attribute a "hyper-calvinist" as one who does not believe in evangelism. That is paltry definition. Though hyper-calvinism logically and eventually leads to a flawed view of evangelism, it does not necessarily eradicate evangelism in and of itself. I think many might have been accusing Dr. Allen of saying Dr. White does not believe in evangelism, rather than actually letting Dr. Allen use the definitions of Phil Johnson's primer.

4. I would be interested in Phil Johnson's response to Dr. White's statements that Dr. Allen used to reach his conclusion. Would he not agree that Dr. Allen correctly understands his primer to teach that "denial of God's universal saving will is a component of hyper-Calvinism"?

5. One of the most important points is missed, because of the mis-characterization of Dr. Allen's arguments. It is that it is time for our calvinist brethren in the SBC to stand up and speak out against hyper-calvinism.

Blessings,

Ron P.

Debbie Kaufman

Peter: I believe that until Total Depravity is totally understood, one cannot possibly understand the Reformed view of Limited Atonement as I see the Bible teaching. It puts into perspective God's work through Christ in our salvation.

Debbie Kaufman

Tony: Has anyone shown otherwise? Yes, yes and yes.

peter lumpkins

Debbie,

As non-nonsensical as it sounds to me, you may believe that if you wish. But it has nothing whatsoever to do with Dr. Allen's position stated here or any claims he's made contra hyper-Calvinism and/or James White's views.

With that, I am...

Peter

Tony Byrne

Debbie,

Where, where and where? :-)

Tony Byrne

This is what Debbie is responding to:

3) Does James White deny God's universal saving will? Dr. Allen believes so. Has anyone shown otherwise?

Where is the contrary evidence?

Debbie Kaufman

In other comment threads dealing with this subject, other blogs, Timmy Brister has dealt extensively with it. Phil Johnson himself wrote a piece on James White not being Hyper-Calvinist. James White himself has said it. It's been done. Hyper-Calvinist is a label thrown around without the meaning of it being known by those who throw it around. John Gill, Arthur Pink, have been accused of being Hyper-Calvinist and that also is not true. For me, I'm learning to ignore the label by those who would wish to discredit not based on a full understanding or facts.

grosey

Many thanks Peter and Dr. Allen.
I believe you have demonstrated the necessity of Andrew Fuller's biblical Calvinism ("Fullerism", which "began" the modern missions movement with William Carey) as opposed to the High Calvinism that restricted the free off of the Gospel.
Fuller wrote:
'A Few Persuasives to a General Union n Prayer for the Revival of Religion,' though not bearing expressly on foreign missions, helped to stimulate the spirit out of which the enterprise sprang. The Baptist Missionary Society was formed at Kettering in 1792. William Carey (1761-1834) [q. v.] had been greatly impressed by Fuller's work, 'The Gospel Worthy of all Acceptation.' He became the first overseas missionary of the Baptists in England.
Thank you again folks for your balanced presentation.
Steve

John

Why your claim that White is a hypercalvinist is nonsense:

Because the view that regeneration precedes faith is not hypercalvinism. Because redefining terms which have a historical meaning is decepetive and dishonest.
Admit you were wrong and stop misrepresenting Calvinism. I find it more than a little troubling that so many of the SBC opponents of the doctrines of grace will stoop to misrepresentation, character assasination, and flat out dishonesty.
It's time for the semi-pelagians to come out and correct those who are willfully distoring Calvinism and using double standards. Example? "Doomed from the womb." Unless one is an open theist using this argument is dishonest, as your position is just a vulnerable to this attack. Another? "that WHOSOEVBER believes." Whosoever is not in the text, nor would it imply ability even if it were. John 3:16 neither proves nor disproves Calvinism, so quit misusing it.
Do I expect you to repent and apologize to Dr. White. Nope. You've said it yourself, "even if White could be shown not to be a hyper-Calvinist it would not negate..". Apparently your point justifies character assasination. Even the fact that Phil Johnson corrected you, stating plainly that James White is not a hyper-Calvinist and the quote you used did not apply in the way you used it, you refuse to relent. Perhaps you ascribe to the POMO view that the reader has no obligation to respect the authors intent.
No matter how you rationalize it you have wronged Dr. White and should apologize. May God grant you repntance.

peter lumpkins

John,

You write that Dr. Allen's claim is "nonsense" because the view "regeneration precedes faith is not hypercalvinism" and therefore "redefining terms which have a historical meaning is decepetive and dishonest."

You further insist that Dr. White "stop misrepresenting Calvinism" as apparently so many others "stoop to misrepresentation, character assasination, and flat out dishonesty" [sic]. You give examples of "Doomed from the womb" as distortions evidently folk like Dr. Allen make.

Furthermore, since "John 3:16 neither proves nor disproves Calvinism" Dr. White should "quit misusing it." Supposedly, Dr. White's assertions "justifies character assasination and even the fact that even Phil Johnson corrected [him], stating plainly that James White is not a hyper-Calvinist and the quote you used did not apply in the way you used it" does not push him to relent.

Tell, me John, is it spiritually edifying to make these assertions without a single, tiny, thin reference to what Dr. Allen actually stated in this response? You go on and on about nothing Dr. Allen mentioned.

The only quote you offered from this post to substantiate your complaint is a quote you either a) flatly misunderstood, b) unintentionally skewed, or c) intentionally skewed. To offer you the benefit of doubt, it is surely a) or b).

Grace, John.

With that, I am... Peter

peter lumpkins

Grosey,

You are welcome, my grosey! Andrew Fuller was surely instrumental in God's missionary enterprise to get the gospel to the world.

Grace. With that, I am...

Peter

peter lumpkins

Ron,

Thanks. I am unsure if Johnson will answer this response. But I anticipate it very much!

Also, kudos to a great point: "it is time for our calvinist brethren in the SBC to stand up and speak out against hyper-calvinism."

Grace. With that, I am...

Peter

Byron

1) No, because God never promised or expressed desire to save people apart from repentance and faith that I know of.

2) No, and why would it be? I agree with James White: if God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and present everywhere, then if He desires something, how can He possibly be frustrated in that desire? What could frustration in the context of omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence possibly mean?

3) I do not know, and to be honest, I do not consider it important. Limited Atonement itself requires a precision of scope concerning redemption. For God to sincerely desire the salvation of all men, five-point Calvinism it seems to me would have to be false. But besides that, Hyper-Calvinism is not a difference of degree, but of kind: its error is the same as Arminianism, which holds that ability and responsibility of mankind are coextensive.

Byron

Well, I believe it is relevant. If you accept that five-point Calvinism can be valid (i.e., including Limited Atonement), then you accept that atonement can be limited to a select few, and that election happened before any of these individuals were born, and that all of it is born out of God's will. The part I do not get is why the necessity of frustration in the Divine Plan for those whom God never elected in the first place (what matters is not how God "feels" about this anyway, but what He has determined to do in His sovereign purpose and plan). Seems to me that this is simply a grievance with orthodox, consistent Calvinism.

Byron

Ron P, whenever hyper-Calvinism becomes a problem in the SBC (it hasn't yet, to my knowledge), then at that time, yes, I will agree with you.

Byron

Ezek 33 in context was never meant to include every single person on Earth. Its context is limited to its audience, as seen in Ezek 33:2, "Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman:".

Also, seldom do I see the entire 11th verse quoted, "Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?"

The sad fact of the matter is, untold scores of people lived and died under the Old Covenant for whom the saving knowledge of Israel's God was never given. Is God unjust? No, all have sinned. God is not obligated to save a single person on Earth, in that Covenant, or this one.

peter lumpkins

Byron,

You believe what is relevant?

With that, I am...

Peter

Richie

Peter, I would call to your attention a statement you made to Debbie earlier.

"Debbie,

As non-nonsensical as it sounds to me, you may believe that if you wish."

You later responded to John:

"Tell, me John, is it spiritually edifying to make these assertions without a single, tiny, thin reference to what Dr. Allen actually stated in this response?"

Although your reply to Debbie certainly did not come across with the same force as the comments made by John, I would also ask you to consider whether or not your response to Debbie was spiritually edifying.

Although possibly not germane to the discussion at hand (which is arguable), I agree with Debbie that apprehension of limited atonement is better served by a fuller grasp of our total depravity. (Couple Romans 3:10-18 with Romans 9:6-29)

Atonement was made by Christ to God on our behalf (Christ was our surety in payment of sin). Limited Atonement speaks to the scope and application of this judicial transaction.

In Christ,

Richie

Doug

Looks like Dr. White has issued a debate challenge to Dr. Allen at his blog.

Perhaps Dr. Allen could use this debate as an opportunity to publicly expose Dr. White as the hyper-Calvinist he is.

C'mon Dr. Allen! Go for it.

Byron

Oops. I meant to say that I believe that Debbie's point concerning Total Depravity being necessary to fully understand Limited Atonement is relevant. Limited Atonement is the most dependent on the other four pillars of five-point Calvinism. It only makes full sense when the others are properly understood.

Byron

A debate would be a good thing, if done with the proper respect and honor, to which I believe both would hold themselves. The false charge of Hyper-Calvinism has been raised before by others (so it's hardly news), and will apparently continue to be an issue in the SBC for some time to come (and this accusation does not bolster the truth itself or the denomination in general). If Dr. Allen feels strongly enough that his accusation is accurate and he can prove it to be so, perhaps he should engage Dr. White on the issue.

John

Just so you know, Hyper-Calvinist have traditionally been identified as holding that God is in fact the author of evil, and that it is wrong to evangelize as God will save those he chooses without mans help. It is not defined by an argument over what God desires, ie he desires universal salvation. In fact the historic Calvinist view is that he does not "desire this", else he would save all.
Where hyper-Calvinist fall off the cliff is believing this somehow exempts them from proclaiming the gospel. We don't know who Gods elect are, so we freely proclaim the gospel to all and leave it in Gods hands.
The points made about "doomed from the womb" and "whosoever" are valid complaints and have been made repeatedly against Calvinist by various members who attended this conference. As to what Prof. Allen said specifically what is there to respond to? He writes "Why I said James White is a hyper-Calvinist", but then in the body gives no reason, apart from ranting about who Tom ascol links to, and how they are "hyper-Calvinist", but never demonstrating they are, and some generic accusations against Steve Camp, who wasn't even the subject of the heading. That and babbling about "Gods universal saving desire", which has never been held by historic Calvinism.
In fact the assertion is meaningless. If Gods desire was to universally save He would. But Dr Allen then takes disputed passages, such as 2 Peter 3:9, to attempt to establish this supposed desire. Dr. White is a hyper-calvinist because he disagrees. But not agreeing with Dr Allen eisegesis of these passages to establish this "universal desire" is not, nor ever has been, part of the historical definition of hyper-Calvinism.
It seems Dr. White can be slandered because he disagrees with Prof. Allen. But Prof. Allen doesn't see claiming that Dr White is a hyper-Calvinist is "insulting him". Nonsense, it is insulting when you mischaracterize someones position. The fact that someone who holds the doctrines of grace does or does not believe that "in some way" God wants all men to be saved has nothing to do with hyper-calvinism. In fact, given that the historic position of Calvinism that God saves those He desires with certainty claiming He desires "all men to be saved" would be illogical and unscriptural.
My concern for the SBC is that they have abandoned their reformed roots to buy into this pathetic Arminian soteriology which was not held by the SBC founders. If you really want to worry about something try worrying about the fact that SBC churches are filled with unbelievers and maybe 1/3 of those carried as members actually are involved with the church. Maybe this is a result of the unbiblical cattle calls, lack of church discipline, and failure to properly disciple new members. Maybe it's because most SBC churches teach people that they can walk an aisle, say a prayer, and that settles the deal. "Well gosh, your supposed to obey God and attend church, but if you don't your still saved because expecting a Christian to live like a Christian would be "works righteousness"" seems to be the message of many SBC churches. Maybe it's because they are told that their high and mighty will is the deciding factor in God's plan of redemption. God does not beg us to believe, He commands us to repent and believe.
Contrary to Prof. Allens claims the threat to the SBC is not hyper-Calvinism, it is the easy-believism and man-centered worldview prevelant among SBC congregations. This is nothing but the scaremongering which has been so common in the last few years, all in the name of defending the anthropocentric tradition which has dominated the SBC in the last century.
Prof. Allen of all people should know what hyper-Calvinism is, and it's not a means to win arguments that he and his Arminian brethren would otherwise lose on the merits. I pray that the SBC returns to its roots and once again puts God at the center of all of our theology,including acknowledging his sovereign rule over salvation.

peter lumpkins

All,

James White has linked to Dr. Allen's response.

Here's a an initial response I composed to White's complaint.  I may post it on the main page later.

With that, I am...

Peter

peter lumpkins

Byron

It is not surprising White issued a call for debate. For him, it's his life. However, debates are not necessarily the answer to disagreement--at least formal debates.

Nor have you, Byron, shown Dr. Allen to have made a false charge pertaining to White's hyperism. If you did, I missed it.

With that, I am...

Peter

peter lumpkins

John,

This post is about Dr. Allen's view, not others. Stick with the paper in your comments or just follow along and read.

Thanks. With that, I am...

Peter

peter lumpkins

Richie,

I mentioned in the first comment, the position made no sense to me. I reiterated such in the second. I do not know how that disqualifies for spiritual edification.

Secondly, I reject the hermeneutical construct that presupposes one must first understand "total depravity" before one can understand "limited atonement." Unless you are prepared to argue for the position--which is not really a part of this thread--that's enough said for now.

With that, I am...

Peter

Debbie Kaufman

Good answers Byron.

Do you guys really think that God is inactive or that he is sitting around hoping that people will choose him? Do you really think that the Fall was a surprise to God? That Christ coming to earth was an after thought?

Byroniac

Peter, there are much better responses to Dr. Allen than I can give which are freely available on the web for him (or anyone else) to engage (I posted a link to one by Phil Johnson himself). Dr. Allen can start with answering Dr. White's debate challenge (I believe even the call to the Dividing Line show is free), and then move on to the blogs, or vice-versa. In the end, this false assertion will be shown to be what all its previous brethren have been, unfounded. Whether that result is ever accepted by all, however, remains to be seen.

Byroniac

I do not understand your last comment concerning formal debates. Do you believe informal debates are better (as opposed to formal)? Depending upon the seriousness of the issue and the intensity of the discussion, the formal debate structure would be preferred over any informal setting. Formal debates can be overseen by an impartial (or at least a dutifully objective) moderator, and fairness in time and topic constraints can be enforced for the benefit of both parties. Sounds like a win-win to me.

Ron Phillips, Sr.

Peter,

It seems that Dr. White, in his post, nor anyone here, has answered Dr. Allen's reasoning that Phil Johnson's Primer would clearly lead one to believe that White, according to Johnson's definition, is a hyper-calvinist. Allen was clearly seeking to draw upon a calvinist's (Johnson) view of hyper-calvinism to address that a "denial of God's universal saving will is a component of hyper-Calvinism".

In my view, Johnson will either need to affirm his definition in his Primer, and agree with Allen or be forced to change it. I would argue that Allen has correctly interpreted Johnson's work and applied it to White.

Does White deny God's universal saving will? If so, does he not then fit Johnson's definition?

That question, according to what I am reading, is the basis for Allen's assertion. No where do I see a personal attack by Dr. Allen, but rather a reasoned argument against denying "God's universal saving will". Clearly, Dr. White was used to illustrate the point Allen was making, not the focus of the point. But Allen is correct, that the main point in all this has been missed because of the use of the term hyper-calvinist.

Blessings,

Ron P.

John

True, it's much better to make charges against someone in the fair and accurate way Dr. Allen did. To expect a person to defend such charges in public is a less desirable manner in which to resolve the issue.

John

You'll notice that I addressed Dr Allens "point" in the post. I guess false accusation takes the place of those unprofitable public discussions were the accused can answer his critic. Safer for those with the indefensable position too. But given that Dr Allen admited that even if his slander was disproven, it's not what's really important. Even if it could be shown that White is not a hyper, which still remains to be proven I might add, it would not negate the overall point I am making. I'll say it again, not holding to a "universal salvific will" is not what defines hyper-Calvinism. And calling someone a hyper-Calvinist is an insult.

With that I'm,
Saddened

John

Debbie,
they understand the facts, they just can't answer them, which is why they resort to name calling and then claim it's not an insult. It's also why they try to duck defending them and make a challenge to do so a fault.

John

Even were that so, which Phil Johnson denies, it would be incumbent upon Dr. Allen to show that such a denial was in fact hyper-Calvinism before accusing a brother of it.

peter lumpkins

Byron,

We're not speaking of the "pillars of Calvinism." If you want to talk philosophy, I'd be glad to oblige. Either the Bible teaches Limited Atonement (in the sense Five Point Calvinists accept it) or it doesn't. If it is doctrinal truth, it needs no crutch elsewhere.

With that, I am...

Peter

peter lumpkins

John,

Deal with Dr. Allen's assertions based on Johnson's primer. We do not need your own view of what hyper-Calvinism is.

What do you mean by 2 Peter 3:9 as a "disputed passage?"

With that, I am...

Peter

peter lumpkins

Byron,

To simply suggest "there are much better responses to Dr. Allen than I can give" is not acceptable in dialog. Either show why those sources respond adequately to Dr. Allen's assertion based on Johnson's primer, or else stop insinuating Dr. Allen has been answered.

Consequently, "false assertion" does not follow. With that, I am...

Peter

peter lumpkins

Byron,

I do not believe debates--formal or informal--necessarily arrive at the truth. Debating is only one way of gathering evidence. And, sometimes it gathers more about the debaters than what's being debated.

With that, I am...

Peter

peter lumpkins

John,

Dr. Allen used Johnson's primer, which is not being addressed. Someone needs to show precisely how Allen misinterpreted Phil Johnson.

With that, I am...

Peter

peter lumpkins

All

I apologize for the comment thread being confusing. I switched to a beta platform and it's obviously got some bugs in it. I'll keep working on it as time permits.

Please be patient.

With that, I am...

Peter

Richie

Peter,

My apologies--maybe it was just how the comment came across to me.

As for the second point, I will not argue for a position that I did not put forth. I never stated that total depravity must be understood before limited atonement can be understood. I stated that:

"apprehension of limited atonement is better served by a fuller grasp of our total depravity. (Couple Romans 3:10-18 with Romans 9:6-29)", which I am fully prepared to argue, but not here.

I will not belabor this any further, as it is not my intent to cause deviation from the topic at hand. I appreciate your blog and thank you for your indulgence.

In Christ,

Richie

peter lumpkins

Hey Richie,

Thanks. While you are correct you stated "apprehension of limited atonement is better served by a fuller grasp of our total depravity" you failed to note the first--not to mention significant--part; namely," I agree with Debbie that..."

Well, Debbie said this:
"I believe that until Total Depravity is totally understood, one cannot possibly understand the Reformed view of Limited Atonement."

That was the part to which I referenced and with which you then agreed. To now state "[you] will not argue for a position that [you] did not put forth" is fine. But is is also confusing, given your first comment to me.

With that, I am...

Peter

JoeyHenry

I think there is a confusion on what Dr. Allen meant by using the term "'God wills' the salvation of all men".

Some in this posts have used the term "universal will" or "sincere desire".

That term is very ambigous. When we say "God wills" -- does this mean that God effectively wills the salvation of all men? Maybe not because that will lead to universalism.

Does the term mean that God desires that the Gospel be preached to all men? Dr. White believes that everyone should rightly hear the command to repent and believe. The command goes to everyone but only those whom God has chosen will obey by grace through faith.

Does this term mean that God wills to save all men but then is frustrated to save them because He willingly gives the free will of these men the supremacy to determine their fate? I think, there is no biblical foundation on this.

Before Dr. Allen accuse Dr. White of hyper-calvinism, I hope he discussed first what he actually meant by "God wills (desires) all men to be saved." What does he actually mean by that?

This clarification is crucial because if he is going to accuse Dr. White of hyper-calvinism based on an undefined usage of a term, then he might be engaging in a strawman.

Byron

Yes, of course. Limited Atonement does not use the other four pillars as crutches with which to prop itself up. Rather, some can argue that it is simply the last step in a series of conclusions that becomes fully realized only where the others have been sufficiently understood. But the problem comes when people want to artificially separate this point (or any point) from the other four and use this limited context for a debating scope. Much more fundamental ideas must be addressed first, such as the Sovereignty of God, Holiness, Wrath, mercy, and all that. Before Limited Atonement can even be addressed, dependent truths must be considered.

Byron

Simple communication, whether it becomes formal debate or not, involves exactly the same exchange of information ideally that a formal, structured debate provides (only, minus the formal, structured part). Opposing positions will still be expressed and defended, and cross-examination will take place. The point is not to "arrive at truth" but simply express the truth and allow the "chips to fall where they may."

Joe White

Peter,

Thanks for posting Dr. Allen's response. I knew when I left the chapel in Woodstock, that Dr. Allen's lecture would be the one that generated the buzz. He spoke on point, used numerous sources (all Calvinist), and named names. As someone once said... "Generalities do not pierce the heart". Dr. Allen's lecture was anything but general. In my opinion, Dr. Allen is spot on. White is not a Southern Baptist and he is hyper. These 2 facts ought to cause one to pause as they consider the extent of cooperation that can be had. Thanks for allowing Dr. Allen to reassert "exactly" what he said, and for putting it in its proper context.

On a side note, I enjoyed meeting and speaking with you. May God bless.

JoeyHenry

The anthropomorphic sense of passages dealing with God's emotions must be carefully understood. There are similarities on how God and humans "desires". But there are also differences much as there are similarities when the Bible says that God repents but counter balances that God is not like humans who repents.

Dr. Allen may have simplistically assumed that these anthropomorphisms are not discussed within ligitimate Calvinism (not hyper-Calvinism) when dealing with the question whether God "desires" all to be saved.

So, it's not that those who disagree with the two-will perspective is a hyper Calvinist. I haven't seen Dr. White dismissed the fact that anthropomorphic language do convey emotions that may be similar to human experience. But there are streams of opinions within legitimate Calvinism on how similar and how dissimilar these expressions are to human experience especially when taken into the context of soteriology and reprobation.

For Dr. Allen to assert that Dr. White is a hyper-calvinist, he must demonstrate that Dr. White dismisses any similarities of anthropomorphic languages such as "desire or sorrow or repent" to the human experience such that there is "no true expression of God's heart whatsoever in His Optative exclamation".

That is why, Dr. White correctly asks the question: What do you mean when you say God "desires"? He does not deny that there is a true expression of this anthropomorphic language. He only wants to define it. From there, he offers his perspective.

I think this accusation is wanting on this point.

Byron

Peter, with all due respect, I've been down this road with you before (and others have too). I cannot simply post links, and if I try to adequately address the topic(s) the comment becomes too lengthy. That leaves me with two options, to agree, or remain mute. I cannot help my opinion. It is what it is. If you or Dr. Allen believe you can convince us otherwise, then by all means go for it. That's the whole point of dialog, and true, I don't always measure up to that.

Byron

Peter, a quick comment. Unless I misunderstood, James White was addressing the hyper-Calvinists when he wrote "In case Dr. Allen is unaware of this, hyper-Calvinists do not call all men to faith in Christ. That is why they don't like me and attack me at every opportunity." I did not read this as an attack by J136C against White.

Stephen M. Garrett

Dear Peter:

Is Dr. White a Hyper? I believe he is. See my post here

Does God "will" and "desire" that salvation of all? See my post here

Hyper Calvinism denies that the gospel is a means in the new birth, that it must be accomplished first before one can repent or come to Christ in faith.

Yes, Dr. White and other neo "Reformed" Calvinists will say that they believe in the gospel as a means in regeneration and new birth, yet they really do not believe this, for if they did they would not be saying one must be born again before the gospel can be of use to him.

This is why White does not want to debate this issue with other five point Calvinists. Bob Ross and I have issued challenges to him to debate this point.

White challenges anyone to debate that can help him promote himself. He picks and chooses who to debate, and his criterion is as I have mentioned. Will it help promote White?

These neo "Reformed" Calvinists, if they really wanted to "bridge the gap" then they would become evangelistic like Spurgeon, quit having so many Calvinism conferences, and put their money and efforts into "crusades for Christ," like Billy Graham, and win lost souls to Christ. If they were great soul winners, like Spurgeon, no one who is opposed to Calvinism would have anything to criticize.

I get tired of hearing the same old argument that these Hypers use, which says "we preach to all because we do not know who are the elect."

What they are saying is - "did I know that such and such a person were of the non elect, then I would not preach the gospel to him"!

Did Jesus not know who were the elect? Did he not preach the gospel to those whom he knew were not chosen? How would White answer this question - "would you preach the gospel to a person whom you knew was non elect?"

God bless and take care.

Stephen

Debbie Kaufman

I believe this was all addressed at the Building bridges conference. These messages can be accessed online. At least I think they still can. www.Monergism.com or John Piper's site. Put Unlimited atonement in the search, then show me where what James White said in Dr. Allen's quote is any different than Calvinists believe. That is the question. James White's quote is standard Calvinism.

Debbie Kaufman

I'm sorry that should be limited atonement. Unlimited would be Universalism.:)

volfan007

Hyper Calvinism is an ugly monster that eventually kills Churches...like it did to Primitive Baptist Churches in the South.

Peter, dont you think that there are varying degrees of Calvinists in the SBC today? There are Calvinists, and then there are extreme, aggressive Calvinists, and then there are Hyper-Calvinists. So, do you agree with Dr. Allen that Dr. White is a hyper-calvinist? Or, could he just be an extreme, aggressive Calvinist?

Something else, I've always been amazed at how hyper-Calvinist seemed to be a dirty word to five pointers. I mean, if you want to wave a red sheet at the bull, just say that a five pointer is a hyper-Calvinist. Woooo hoooo....you'd have thought that you just called thier momma ugly and stupid.

David

volfan007

Stephen,

I do find it interesting that Dr. White will not debate with Bob Ross....correct? I mean, if he wants to truly take on someone who will expose his erroneous thinking of "regeneration before faith and repentance," or "that a person gets saved before they get saved" thinking, then Bob Ross would be the man to debate with. But, you're saying that Dr. White will not debate Bob Ross? Why not?

Also, does Bob Ross say that Dr. White is a hyper-Calvinist?

David

Dave Miller

I find "hyper-calvinism" a difficult concept to grasp. Phil Johnson's definition is interesting, but not necessarily authoritative.

However, after reading this essay by Dr. Allen, I think one conclusion is undeniable:

He had a good-faith, reasonable basis on which to identify Dr. White as a hyper-calvinist.

He used a prominent calvinist's definition of hyper-calvinism. He demonstrated that Dr. White met the test of hyper-calvinism set forth by Phil Johnson.

I don't know if Phil Johnson's definition is right and his definition is authoritative.
I don't know a lot about Dr. White.

But I think any reasonable person would say that Dr. Allen argued theology, not personality. He made a cogent case. Someone could argue on the other side, but at least his case is well-made.

peter lumpkins

Byron,

First to suggest about the Atonement that "Much more fundamental ideas must be addressed first" to me seems absurd. What is more fundamental to the Gospel than "Christ dying for our sins according to the Scriptures"?

Thus to avoid such, in the face of the nature of the Gospel redemption itself, arguing for more "fundamental" truths cannot be seriously considered.

Incidentally, for one who has a track record here, Byron, of defending Scripture alone, your insistence on a rigid, scholastic approach to the DoG hardly squares with your record. At least, that's how I view it.

Secondly, to bind the 5 points into a nice, neat package bundle is precisely what is at issue in the debate proper. That Baptist Calvinists insist that 5 point Calvinism is the gospel, with which you appear to agree, remains the concern non-Calvinists possess.

Thus, to assume such appears to beg the question, not to mention misses any point of Dr. Allen's words here.

With that, I am...

Peter

Debbie Kaufman

Peter: You are debating right now, right here. Debates are not a bad thing as Byron has pointed out. Even Paul was able to address his accusers.

Debbie Kaufman

Dave: I would ask you to show where James White's statement is hyper-Calvinistic. Tom Ascol has again denied that James White is a hyper-Calvinist in his post today.

Debbie Kaufman

Not even according to Phil Johnson's definition which I find to be spot on.

volfan007

Peter,

Your new format is too confusing. I dont like it.

Also, I posted a comment, and I cant find it????

David

peter lumpkins

Byron,

You write "Simple communication, whether it becomes formal debate or not, involves exactly the same exchange of information...To the contray, Byron, debates once again are not designed for "simple communication." Debate itself, in many respects, works as an art form. Sometimes the most skilled debater does not necessarily possess the truth. Any view of the debate medium which leaves out the competetion factor seems to me do not understand the nature of debate itself.

Now, you are welcome to disagre all you wish. I must move on.

Grace. With that, I am...

Peter

Richie

Sorry for the confusion, brother. Peace to you.

In Christ,

Richie

Byron

Peter, I am sorry but I must nitpick here. In your statement "Christ dying for our sins according to the Scriptures" from 1 Corinthians 15:3, itself references fundamentals by the phrase "according to the Scriptures" because fundamental concepts must be explained of who Christ is, what it meant for Him to die, what sins are, the self-referential integrity of the Scriptures, et cetera. This is part of my reason why I say that Limited Atonement itself (alone) is not a fundamental. Whether or not someone agrees with it, there are other foundational concepts involved, as demonstrated by the verse you give concerning salvation itself.

(BTW, sorry if I have confused anyone. I have posted as Byron when not logged in to TypePad, and Byroniac when logged in. Byroniac is my username, but Byron is my true name). I'll post as Byron this time.

peter lumpkins

Byron,

Here's the deal: If you cannot state why a point is not well taken in a reasonable amount of space, then maybe it's best you not comment.

As for providing links, you are correct: links offer nothing unless the links point to a credible document that overturns an assertion. Yet, even then, one need not make a link if the link does not specifically deal with the specific point in question.

And, if you cannot state how the link addresses the issue particularly, for my part, don't bother giving it to me. I do not have time to read long posts which are offered as evidence with me, at best, merely guessing how you think the author addresses and overturns a particular point. Frankly, to expect such is a similar approach to a frequent commenter here who merely says ""read Calvin, "read Gill", "read Asco" ad infinitum.

Finally, as for you statement if I or Dr. Allen "believe [we] can convince [Calvinists] otherwise, then by all means go for it" you need to know my purpose is not necessarily to convince any Calvinist of anything I might say or believe (I think Dr. Allen would agree).

Most are not persuaded to leave what has been irrevocably forged into their belief system. Only a miracle of God's spirit can tear down strongholds--including doctrinal strongholds--in our minds/ hearts.

My purpose is more toward assisting Non-Calvinists both to understand Calvinism and to offer support to those who seem to be squashed by overly-aggressive Calvinists who appear to accept that 5 Point Calvinism is the gospel.

Interestingly, no one yet addresses Dr. Allen's major point.

With that, I am...

Peter

peter lumpkins

Joey,

Dr. Allen carefully defined every nuance of positions--including hyper-Calvinism--in his paper. Moreover, he did not have to call James White since White has been clear that he holds that God has no universal salvific will/desire for all to be saved.

Indeed not even White disputes that Allen understood him. White's contention is, Allen mistook his belief for hyper-Calvinism.

With that, I am...

peter lumpkins

Joe,

Thanks, my brother. And I very much enjoyed our short time together.

I am anticipating White's response to Dr. Allen's entire lecture. He plans to address it on his radio program.

As for cooperating with Calvinists like White, I do not think Southern Baptists in general will be tempted to do such. Dr. Allen's challenge has largely been overlooked here which calls on SBC Calvinists to distance themselves from the Calvinism like White embraces. Tom Ascol has apparently just answered with a resounding "no way."

Grace, brother Joe. With that, I am...

Peter

Byron

With all due respect, this is probably why exchanges like this wind up (perhaps devolve in the perspective of some) into the format of formal debates. I understand your points, but this is where some agreement on terms and definitions must come into play, including on concepts such as "reasonable amount of space" and "fairness" and so on. Part of what makes communication so difficult outside of a formal setting on controversial issues is disagreement over how it should take place and what it should involve in the first place. I believe you see glimpses of necessity for more formal and prepared interaction even by informal exchanges such as blog commentary.

peter lumpkins

Joey,

I addressed this above. White denies God has any salvific desire to save the non-elect. That is not in dispute.

Nor is it fair to assert that "Dr. Allen may have simplistically assumed..." Why should we suppose Dr. Allen "simplistically assumed" anything? Is he not given the benefit of doubt White receives for "anthropomorphic" possibilities?

With that, I am...

Peter

Byron

Oh, furthermore, in Dr. Allen's case, the burden of proof rests on the one making the accusation, not on the one defending himself from it (or in my case, disagreeing with it). Dr. Allen knows this and though I disagree with his viewpoint, I respect him for taking the time to explain his viewpoint more thoroughly. Lastly, James White on his blog says: "But who I am is irrelevant: I challenge David Allen to stand before the students and faculty of the School of Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and engage me on one battleground only: the inspired, inerrant, living text of the sacred Scriptures, the Bible." I see this as a very reasonable challenge: go to the "home base" of the opposing side and engage in dialogue using only the text which both sides agree on completely (the Bible) to argue from, and not from philosophical or theological works.

Byron

Is Spurgeon a hyper then? This sounds like to me the same thing James White is saying. How is it different?

If God would have painted a yellow stripe on the backs of the elect I would go around lifting shirts. But since He didn't I must preach `whosoever will' and when `whosoever' believes I know he is one of the elect.
- C.H. Spurgeon

http://www.credenda.org/issues/2-1.php

Byron

Also, I'm not sure how you would define "great soul winners." If Calvinism is true (I'm not arguing that specifically here, but seeking to illustrate a point from a logical conclusion), then since it is God who determines the elect and sees to their salvation, a "great soul winner" may have far fewer numerical successes than whatever evangelical threshold is required of his ministry. The quality of his ministry is not determined by the quantity of converts, if God is Sovereign in salvation as Calvinism proposes. So, that leaves a determination of how "evangelistic" someone is as opposed to how "successful" they are, which from simple, unbiased observation is not a problem in James White's ministry.

Timotheos

All this name calling would be kinda funny - if we were children.

Dear brother Volfan, do you know why James White will not debate Bob Ross? I will hazard a guess from my own experience - because, among other things, Mr. Ross is simply infantile in the tone of his exchanges with those who don't subscribe to his (and his alter-ego, the seemingly mythical "Charles") hermeneutical views. In my own hapless exchanges with Mr. Ross, it did not take long for the conversation to deteriorate to name-calling and mockery (in which I at first shamefully participated). For Mr. Ross, the practice is something of a modus operandi which he is unable, or unwilling, to resist. This is not to mention some of Mr. Ross' inamenable (in my view) handling of parts of Scripture, all of which would undoubtedly make debate with Bob Ross at best, Pyrrhic.

Dr. Allen had to know the unavoidable effect of raising the bogeyman "Hyper-Calvinist" in this setting. He is a learned man and in the employ of a Convention currently in a tizzy over the very issues raised by this conference. One could easily conclude the word choice was calculated to further the "tizziness." I would say the effort is proving "fruitful."

Dr. Allen, at least, made clear his objective in speaking, which is non-participation (i.e. "fellowship") with the likes of such men as James White, and God knows who else. Such dismissive treatment of members in Christ's body is beneath men of Dr. Allen's station, and, I think, finds not the littlest sanction from heaven's court, as Paul, one would suppose, makes plain in passages like I Corinthians 3.

More mercy, please,

Timotheos

peter lumpkins

David,

Thanks. I do believe there are "Calvinisms" in the SBC. There always have been. History demonstrates such. History also demonstrates that the brand of Calvinism White embraces is a spliter. Baptists last saw such in the Anti-Missions movement of the 19th century.

As for hyper-Calvinism and James White, no one on the this thread has overturned Allen's point about White; namely, a) Johnson's primer clearly states that one of the criteria is the denial of universal salvific love (mercy) b) based upon such, he argues White is hyper. Unless such is addressed adequately, I do not see how White cannot legitimately be viewed as hyper-Calvinistic--according to Phil Johnson's criteria.

Grace. With that, I am...

Peter

Byron

OK. I think you got me on that point.

Byron

I think this new format is really interesting. It's a little hard to tell exactly what is new except by looking at the right-hand sidebar. Which brings up a point: I wish that the links for each comment worked in the sidebar, as that would make finding new comments easier (though I am not sure that is possible). Always a nice looking blog, though.

Stephen M. Garrett

Dear Byron:

No, Spurgeon was no Hyper.

See my post here

God bless

Stephen

Stephen M. Garrett

Dear Byron:

All the apostles were great soul winners. So was Spurgeon. I think that is defintion enough.

It seems that the ones who decry judging a ministry by the number of its converts are the ones who dislike the criterion!

Where are the Calvinist soul winners today?

God bless

Stephen

Stephen M. Garrett

Dear Volfan007:

White uses as an "excuse" for not debating Bob Ross is supposedly the journalistic tactics of Ross. Yet, I find it is just a "smokescreen"! White knows he cannot defend his born again before faith view by either scripture or by the Baptist confessions and so he would rather debate the Arminians and the Muslims, and such like.

What I find interesting is that White uses the same verbal tactics as does Ross! (which I do not see any violence in from either one - if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen)

White wants to debate the "big boys," men in the SBC and elsewhere who are well known. Only by debating these types can White further his promoting of himself.

White enjoys being the leading apologtist for the "Reformed" group. Others have been content to let White hold this position and he enjoys it. So many promote him and consider him their "champion."

To debate Bob Ross would not further White's "career," and so it is no wonder he does not want to debate Ross.

God bless,

Stephen

Byron

Well, we are getting off-topic. Yes, I dislike that criterion because God is in control of those numbers, and we are not. To criticize a ministry as less successful because its numerical converts fall below an acceptable threshold is not necessary from a Calvinist perspective which places sovereign election in God's hands and not man's. It is unreasonable to assume if you agree with Calvinism that a person is unsuccessful simply on this basis. So the Calvinist soul winners are where they have always been throughout history: wherever the Lord has placed them, with the ministry He has given them, accomplishing His pre-determined purpose to His own glory, often unseen and unappreciated by the world and unknown to his or her Christian brethren.

volfan007

Peter,

I hate this new format. I cant follow all the conversations. It's confusing.

David

J. Matthew Cleary

Why doesn't Dr. Allen (or perhaps the author of this blog) contact both Tom Ascol and Phil Johnson to confirm whether on not James White is a hyper-calvinist in their view? Would this not be the simplest way to see if Dr. Allen's comments are accurate?

Bill

James White has put it out there:

"I challenge David Allen to stand before the students and faculty of the School of Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and engage me on one battleground only: the inspired, inerrant, living text of the sacred Scriptures, the Bible"

Should I start making travel plans to Southwestern soon?

peter lumpkins

Byron,

You cannot seem to acknowledge the competitive dimension to debate but then you make this statement: "I see this as a very reasonable challenge: go to the "home base" of the "opposing side" and engage in dialogue..."

In debate, there is a "winner" and a "loser." When these type of stakes are thrown in, the medium changes from sharing of views to attempting to trap the other in a dilemma. If that is not clear, I do not know how to make it clearer, Byron.

Nor is a blog even remotely similar to a formal debate. Interaction and feedback are not necessarily debate.

With that, I am...

Peter

Doug

Dr. Allen said, "My point was to show the unwisdom on the part of Tom Ascol in his willingness to team up with James White to debate within the Southern Baptist Convention."

I wish that he would have commented on the WISDOM of the Caner brothers decision to back out of that planned debate.

Doug

peter lumpkins

J. Matthew

You query: "Why doesn't Dr. Allen (or perhaps the author of this blog) contact both Tom Ascol and Phil Johnson to confirm whether on not James White is a hyper-calvinist in their view?"

My question is, Why? First this post is not about whether Tom Ascol thinks J. White is a hyper-Calvinist. Therefore a call to him is moot.

Secondly, Dr. Allen employed Johnson's primer that seems very clear in what it affirms. If Johnson desires to clarify and say, "Well, that's what my primer says but that's not what my primer means" fine. Then we can deal with that.

However, do not think Allen's case stands or falls on just Johnson's definition. Allen used Johnson, I am confident, because Johnson is a well-known Calvinist, whose primer is quoted frequently. According to Iain Murray & Curt Daniels, White fits the mold for hyper-Calvinism as well.

You can read for yourself what P. Johnson wrote. If you think Dr. Allen has misread him, great. Please show how he has. That challenge, by the way, has not once been taken up here--Not once!

With that,

I am...

Peter

peter lumpkins

Doug,

If you'd like to make a point about the paper, by all means you are welcome. But there's no reason whatsoever to bring up the Caner brothers here, and that in a very demeaning manner.

With that, I am...

Peter

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