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Nov 22, 2010

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peter lumpkins

To all the cusses who think their drivel about the Caner controversy will get out of moderation I have only one reply--you're wasting your time.

Have a great afternoon.

With that, I am...
Peter

James Jarrett

You proved my point thank you for your time.

peter lumpkins

James,

I'm not sure about that. I am sure your and others condemnational nonsense will not be posted here. Count on it.

With that, I am...
Peter

Riddick

In his advertisement for The Potter's Freedom, notice what Rich Pierce says on the Dividing Line:

"In his book, The Potter's Freedom, James White replies to Dr. Geisler. But The Potter's Freedom is much more than just a reply. It is a defense of the very principles upon which the Protestant Reformation was founded. Indeed, it is a defense of the very Gospel itself."

They are saying his Calvinism book "is a defense of the very Gospel itself." But "no, no, no," says White and his self-described "Minions." "We're not associating the TULIP with the Gospel! What ever gave you that idea?!" If not, then stop saying "The Potter's Freedom is a defense of the very Gospel itself," in answer to Geisler's alleged anti-Gospel book. TPF is about the TULIP. Either the TULIP is the Gospel--or involves essential components to the Gospel--or it is not. By saying TPF "is a defense of the gospel," Pierce is, in effect, saying the TULIP is essential to the Gospel. Apparently Geisler is attacking the Gospel in their opinion, and not just differing over non-essential matters touching the nature of God's sovereignty, particularly as it touches how a man comes to believe the Gospel. When one has the "TULIP is essential to the Gospel" mentality, it is no wonder that such alarm appears on the AOMin blog as if the Gospel itself has been attacked. Consequently, men like Geisler are viewed as enemies of "the Gospel itself," not as genuine brothers in need of gentle and patient correction in non-essential areas.

Geisler and those like him are not dealt with any differently than the cultists and others in the false religions. One cannot tell a difference between these people in terms of the responses that come on the AOMin blog. The alarm sounds just as loudly. Then, as is customary, scorn and abuse are equally heaped upon them. All of this is then justified under the banner of doing biblical apologetics, as if such behavior should be commended and defended, not criticized where it deserves to be.

sãoray

Good eye Peter. I think you nailed the source of James's frustration:

"Geisler expunged all references to White found in earlier editions."

It seems like Geisler has taken the most elementary (and most effectual) action; Ignore the bully.

http://kidshealth.org/kid/feeling/emotion/bullies.html#

A.M. Mallett

The relevant point has been made. Little Jimmy White (He has gone from 240 plus lbs to 170 plus over five years .. bravo for him in any event)is just not weighty enough to make the A list any more. That media atheist, whatshisname, went and came down with cancer and can't debate him. Geisler has removed any mention of him. I suppose in another five years when the next edition comes out, little Jimmy White will be whisper of the man he used to be.

A.M. Mallett

On a more serious note, I think that cap is an official cardinal's mitre at White's home church.

Tim G

Peter,
I am still amazed at the arrogance of the minions who call and present their debating skills on a phone call. I am not impressed - just amazed!

And yes, they DO believe that their brand is the Gospel. That is pathetic to me! Such arrogance. Geisler did the whole of Christianity a huge favor.

Jim Upchurch

Nice ad hominems guys... way to keep things above board.

Peter,

I just wanted to point out that White's ministry focus IS on addressing objections to the Christian faith, and not on arguing with other Christians on disagreements. He does challenge those he disagrees with, but it doesn't seem to be the focus of his ministry.

The focus of his ministry appears to be engaging Muslims, atheists, Mormons, and Roman Catholics.

peter

Jim,

I'm afraid I'd have to disagree, Jim. If you have a reader, scan the titles on his site beginning Jan 1 thru now and see if you can demonstrate he has focused mostly on apologetics. I don't think you can make the case. But I'm willing to be corrected.

With that, I am...
Peter

Job

What did I do?

Jim Upchurch

Peter,

I have a reader, but I don't subscribe to aomin's blog, so it would take a lot of work to go back through Jan. I was basing my statement on 1) the past couple of months blog posts, 2) the topics of his formal debates, and 3) listening to the Dividing Line podcast.

Tim Rogers

Brother Jim,

Hm. You come here and make claims then you are challenged on your claims. What do you do? You respond that you don't have time to research your claim. You even admit that you don't follow the source you came here to defend. And you charge the commenters hear with ad hominems?

Sorry Brother, but in all due respect, your appeal for people to give JW a break on this doesn't find resonance with me.

Blessings,
Tim

Jim Upchurch

Sorry Tim,

Just offering my opinion and perspective. The issue isn't impotant enough for me to "research." Just wanted to add my measly .02 without calling names or questioning motives. Blessings.

David Benjamin Hewitt

Dr. Lumpkins, et al:

The only way to address any of the disagreements with Dr. White or Dr. Geisler or whoever would have to be in the area of biblical exegesis according to sound hermeneutics. Exegesis of Scripture, bringing out the meaning of a text in its context(s), is the only way to demonstrate whether a doctrine (whatever it is) is biblical or not. James White's issues with Geisler that he presented in The Potter's Freedom were almost all exegetical. Passage after passage was examined, and every time White would examine a passage Geisler referenced, White is the one who did the exegesis.

I have read both books, Chosen But Free and The Potter's Freedom. I was quite disappointed with the former, and quite pleased with the latter for the reasons I have already stated. The reason I even bring up the books is because the Farmer's pond illustration that Geisler used in the video's White posted in addition to the passages he referenced (such as Matthew 23:37, 2 Peter 3:9, etc) were exegeted quite thoroughly in TPF but not in CBF.

Do I expect serious disagreement with what I said? Sure. At the same time, I must confess, I do not expect an exegetical response -- but that would be the only way to persuade me and it should also be the only way to persuade any Christian. That is, we are people of the book, and The Spirit of God convinces us of the truths of Scripture upon its examination; failure to examine the Scripture betrays our God and Savior Who has given it to us for our instruction. It is the absolute authority.

So, the best way (and really the only way) to move forward in such a discussion about White/Geisler "Calvinism" "Arminianism" or whatever would be to examine the Scriptures.

Might I recommend you, Dr. Lumpkins, take a passage of Scripture that White discussed in TPF, provide it, provide White's exegesis, and then offer your own and show why White is in error?

I for one would absolutely love to see it.

SDG,
dbh

Eric Opsahl

Elder White posted a audio response to Pastor Geisler on his web. Is White wrong in what he says?
To all, a Worshipful Thanksgiving to the one true source of our joy and peace....all glory to Christ.

Eric

Tony Byrne

David Hewitt,

White is not "exegeting" Matthew 23:37. He's exploding it, not explaining it. As with every other proof-text that Calvinists themselves have used to support the notion that God desires to save some who are not saved, White just dismisses it, even scornfully, and you can't see any of that, David. White's take on Matthew 23:37 is just junk.

First of all, White wants to make a huge deal about the distinction in Matthew 23:37 between "your children" and the "you" who were not willing, when God through Christ obviously wanted to gather the children through the obedience of the leaders, not apart from the leaders. To these same disobedient leaders, Jesus said (in John 5:34) that "these things I say, that you may be saved." As Matthew Henry commented on that text, "Christ desires and designs the salvation even of his enemies and persecutors." D. A. Carson, in his real exegetical treatment of Matt. 23:37, notes that:

"There is also a change of number from Jerusalem to people of Jerusalem: "you [sing.] who kill . . . sent to you [sing.] . . . your [sing.] children . . . your [pl.] house . . . you [pl.] will not see." The effect is to move from the abstraction of the city to the concrete reality of people. Jesus' woes in Matthew 23 therefore go far beyond personal frustrations: they are divine judgments that, though wrathful, never call in question the reality of divine love (see discussion on 5:44–45)."

Again, Carson says,
"How often" may look back over Israel's history—viz., Jesus' identifying himself with God's transcendent, historical perspective (John 8:58); but more probably "how often" refers to the duration of Jesus' ministry. During it he "often" longed to gather and shelter Jerusalem (by metonymy including all Jews) as a hen her chicks (cf. Deut 32:11; Pss 17:8; 36:7; 91:4; Jer 48:40); for despite the woes, Jesus, like the "Sovereign Lord" in Ezekiel 18:32, took "no pleasure in the death of anyone." D. A. Carson, "Matthew" in The Expositor's Bible Commentary, ed. Frank E. Gæbelein (Grand Rapids: Zondervan [Regency Reference Library], 1984), 8:486–487.

Carson is doing real exegesis of the text, not White, David. Consequently, Carson is not driven by such a decretal view so as to exclude the obvious element of Jesus' love (and desire to save) coming through in this lament; and he doesn't reduce the text to merely involve a reductionistic judgment perspective as White does. The objective observer can see what White is doing, David. He's just doing the same thing he always does with every single passage that suggests a desire in God for the salvation of any who are non-elect. This fact is staring you in the face, but you're determined to defend White's theologically distorted, reactionary and exaggerated responses here and elsewhere.

If the leaders are being judged, it is because they did not do what God wanted them to do! Hello?! But White says, "it's a judgment passages! a judgment passage!," as if anyone denies that. Of course the text involves judgment, but not only judgment. Jesus expresses a desire for something that did not come to pass, a desire to "gather the children," which is soteriological in nature.

Some people are appealing to Matthew 23:37 as a proof-text for the idea that Jesus desired to evangelically gather some who were not gathered. Fine so far. However, many of them (such as Geisler) also want the text to say that God equally desires all the people in the context to be saved. The text can't support that idea, even if it is hypothetically true. White, however, has the exact opposite opinion. He doesn't think any biblical passage teaches that God really desires any of the non-elect to be saved, so he is notorious for exploding any and all passages that are used to suggest the notion, including Matthew 23:37. Consequently, he tries to dodge the fact that this passage has soteriological implications and speaks to an inefficacious desire in the Godman. He does this by using the "judgment not salvation" false either/or dilemma and then uses the "children not the leaders" false either/or dilemma. The truth is that God through Christ wanted to salvificly gather both the leaders and the children (or all of Jerusalem as Carson says) by using the undershepherds to gather the flock of Israel according to His revealed will. Both the children and the leaders were judged by the destruction of the city, not just the leaders alone, which argues against White's continual false either/or dilemmas.

Rather than arguing against Geisler with the presupposition that God only desires to save the elect, White should argue as you (and other orthodox Calvinists) would, David; that is, that even though there is a sense in which God desires the salvation of all people, there is a special sense in which he only purposes to save some. Geisler presupposes that God *equally* desires to save all people, and that this *must* be the case if God loves them. None of the texts Geisler cites can sustain that notion, but there's no need to run to White's extremes so as to explain away God's revealed desire for the salvation of all men in these various disputes passages. White grants NONE of the texts, rather than responding in a balanced way that safeguards God's revealed will for the salvation of all men, even as God's electing purpose is also kept in tact from the standpoint of Calvinism.

By the way, David, White suggested in his radio response many times that Geisler is just full of lying and deceit, even as he equated Arminianism with Romanism, yet you're not alarmed by any of that at all.

peter lumpkins

David,

I am not here to convince you of anything, frankly. And you are entitled to be unconvinced by Geisler and happy with every subtle nuance James White places upon any passage of Scripture whatsoever. Be my guest.

Now, so far as I know, this post is not about exegetical issues but about the hole James White has dug for himself, a hole he can't get fellow, mainstream Calvinists to climb in with him. White is being marginalized because he is far too extreme, kissing and flirting with hyper-Calvinism as both Allen and Byrne have shown, not to mention his attack dog, scorched-earth tactics toward other apologetics ministries which do not embrace the radical views he employs.

Unlike Paul who rejoiced in Christ being preached, even if He was preached imperfectly (Phil 1), White attempts to show how other mainstream Christian apologists have unworthy ministries at best and heretical ministries at worst. Now, if you want to be a part of such, again I say, be my guest.

Thanks.

With that, I am...
Peter

David Benjamin Hewitt

Tony:

Thank you for posting some comments about Matthew 23. In fact, there is enough there I am considering a full length blog post to address it. I do hope to get to it in the near future; please be patient as I tend to be a lot slower about these things lately. :)

Peter:
My point with referencing exegetical issues was simply this: without engaging texts that are disputed between Calvinists and non-Calvinists, nothing will get accomplished. Instead, it just feeds people's irritations on both sides of the issues, whoever it is that originates it. The Sacred Scripture is our battleground, and really the only one upon which it is worth fighting at all.

Further and quickly with regard to "subtle nuances." Since the whole passage of Matthew 23:13--37 is a judgment passage, and Jesus's comments indicating some level of compassion appear very briefly in but one of the verses in that passage, I'd hardly say the judgment motif was a "subtle nuance." Wouldn't you agree?

SDG,
dbh

Don Johnson

David,

You wrote "I must confess, I do not expect an exegetical response--but that would be the only way to persuade me."

Tony did give an exegetical response a few days ago, for the very verse you mentioned (Matt. 23:37).

I must admit I'm bit perplexed that it is something you "hope to get to in the near future." After all it was the verse you gave. One would think, if you presented the verse you would also have exegesis for the verse.

Could it be that Tony showed the error of Mr. White's faulty reasoning (notice I did not say exegesis)?

David Benjamin Hewitt

Don:
No, it doesn't mean that Tony showed Dr. White's faulty reasoning. :) I didn't say I had no exegesis of the passage either. Rather, I wanted to take the time to give a full response and place it in a full-length blog post rather than fill Peter's comments section. Further, if I am correct, the comments are about to close on this thread anyway. There will be more room and time for a response on my blog. So, be on the look out for it. I'll be citing Tony's exegesis and likely [some of] the fine commentaries he did as well.

sdg,
dbh

Tony Byrne

David said:

"The Sacred Scripture is our battleground, and really the only one upon which it is worth fighting at all."

That is only part of it. History is also the battleground (in terms of the history of Calvinism) and one in which White and his associates appear incompetent, to say the least. In fact, it is even relevant to the interpretation of Matthew 23:37. White's view represents a significant departure from the mainstream consensus view on that passage going back to the Reformation period and Puritan era. If you plan on responding, read my posts on that text along with Ponter's material on the same. If you do not, your response will be inadequate from the start.

I repeat: the battleground involves history as well as biblical interpretation. In short, the battlegound is the truth in every field of study, and a failure to be honest with primary sources is indicative of Turretinfan and other White associates who are making a concerted effort to downplay God's revealed desire for the salvation of all men. This is why their responses to Geisler are theologically imbalanced and/or merely decretal in focus.

David Benjamin Hewitt

Tony:

Your statement is only partly correct:

"History is also the battleground (in terms of the history of Calvinism) and one in which White and his associates appear incompetent, to say the least."

To say that James White or TurretinFan are incompetent with regard to history is almost humorous, but is not really the point; this is merely mentioned as an aside.

History is not the battleground; it cannot be. It can and should inform our interpretation, and is often helpful in how we search out the Scriptures, but it cannot rule it. Simply quoting a bunch of people from history, however prominent is irrelevant. As Bible-believing Christians, man's opinions, however helpful they may seem, are never the final rule. Now, when brothers and sisters of the past are reflecting upon Holy Scripture and are offering exegesis, then we should indeed take what is said into account. So, the battlefield is and remains the Scripture; history's testimony is but one front in the conflict.

FWIW, I did browse through your links your provided. The thing that troubles me with your citations and references is that not a one of the people you quoted and none of the exegesis you provided (unless I overlooked it) sees Matthew 23:13--39 as one unit. There are parallels between verse 13 and verse 37 which I plan on detailing later.

Furthermore, you are incorrect in saying that James White and TurretinFan or myself for that matter are seeking to downplay God's revealed desire for the salvation of all men. They affirm it, I affirm it. The compassion of Jesus for the lost in Matt 23:37 and elsewhere has never been the question, though I do wish Dr. White would mention that with more regularity so as to avoid criticisms from people such as yourself on this matter.

I suspect the reason why he doesn't talk about it much is because of the fact that it is generally understood. Contrary to what you said above, I do not believe as you do that people do not deny that this is a judgment passage, better said, that it is part of a larger passage which has as its main thrust judgment. I had heard Matthew 23:37 many times cited out of its context, and never before hearing Dr. White discuss it did I begin to understand it within the context that Jesus provides beginning back at verse 13.

Exegesis without reference to context is nearly always wrongly done.

Anyway, I need to go tend to a baby. :) Peace, brethren.

SDG,
dbh

Don Johnson

David,

It is impossible for one to believe in "particular redemption" and at the same time, believe God desires the salvation of all people.

Mr. White does not believe that God desires to save all. Not only doesn't he believe it, he mocks those who do.

sãoray

David,

it's not surprising that you push back against the historical necessity for interpreting scripture, you and other hyper-calvinists derive presuppositions from puritanical traditions that are only a few centuries old.

Ive come to realise hyper-calvinists are the new gnostics

Tony Byrne

David said:

To say that James White or TurretinFan are incompetent with regard to history is almost humorous, but is not really the point; this is merely mentioned as an aside.

Me now:
I didn't say they were incompetent with regard to history in general. I specified "in terms of the history of Calvinism." This testimony is true, though you find it laughable. Don't misrepresent my claim that "they are incompetent in the history of Calvinism" to "they are incompetent in history." Anyway, their incompetence in that specific area is not as important as my claim that "history is also the battleground." Once the historical lights are turned on, people can see where others are located on the conceptual landscape. For instance, it is very, very common for hyper-Calvinists to want to ignore history since they will be seen as the fringe kooks they are when compared to mainstream Calvinists in the past. They resist the historical lights coming on so that people can't see the map of their location in Kookville. So, they just want to talk about the bible, but not with pure motives. They're hiding and operating by stealth.

David said:

History is not the battleground; it cannot be. It can and should inform our interpretation, and is often helpful in how we search out the Scriptures, but it cannot rule it.

Me now:
You're misrepresenting my point again. I am not saying history should rule our interpretation of scripture. That's "simply silly," as White commonly says of his opponents. My point is that White is out of the mainstream when it comes to his Reformed soteriology and even out of the mainstream when it comes to his views on Matthew 23:37. In fact, you won't find his novelties in any authors prior to John Gill. It's from Gill that he is getting the superficial division between "Jerusalem" and "the children" in his effort to rub out the idea that Jesus is longing to salvificly gather some who were not gathered. A few Reformed men have sought to escape what is being said in the text by ascribing the will to gather merely to Jesus' humanity. Even they didn't take White's novel, Gill-like strategy. John Murray's position is the mainstream interpretation, which is one of the reasons Tom Ascol views it as Murray does, and yet you tried to challenge Ascol on the text as well, since you are apparently also out of the mainstream when it comes to that text. Nota Bene: While it does not follow that you all are wrong *because you're out of the mainstream,* it is in fact significant and should cause you to pause and reflect why you're departing from the mainstream, yet you show no sign of being in the least bit disturbed that you're dismissing the testimony of the greatest amount of Calvinistic scholars in the past. Ignoring history is foolish and we should at least pause when it comes to departing from what the bulk of Calvinists, and the vast majority of Christians have said about the text in history.


David said:

Simply quoting a bunch of people from history, however prominent is irrelevant.

Me now:
No it is not, if the point is to show what the mainstream interpretation of the text has been. If so many Calvinists have seen the plain fact that Jesus' love and desire to save are surfacing in this lament and judgment, then that ought to cause wise interpreters to pause to see if they are missing something, or if perhaps they are myopic and singularly decretal when it comes to passages concerning God's revealed will, which I think accurately describes White's theological imbalance illness. He is systematically rubbing out any and all biblical testimony to the fact that God desires to save some who are not saved, and that in spite of what the vast majority of Calvinistic men in the past have said about it, not to mention the overwhelming majority of Christians in general.


David said:

As Bible-believing Christians, man's opinions, however helpful they may seem, are never the final rule.

Me now:
It's as though you're not even epistemically self-aware of what you're doing. This is an obvious straw man, and you did the same thing above. There's a difference between saying 1) history is important because it can inform us of what mainstream Calvinism teaches and we ought to pause when departing from it and 2) men of the past should be the final rule and rule our interpretation of the scriptures. Who do you think you're talking to? A Roman Catholic? You're certainly not dealing with my actual points, so I dread to see what kind of silly distortions are going to be put on my points regarding Matthew 23:37 in your future post. If you're unwilling to see the difference between proposition #1 and proposition #2 above, then it's no wonder you think White's straw men (to use Dr. Robert Gonzales' claim about White) of "squeamish Calvinists" in the position of John Murray and Charles Spurgeon makes sense. You might also think White's use of the expression "Hyper-Arminians" makes good historical sense, when it is actually "simply silly."


David said:

Now, when brothers and sisters of the past are reflecting upon Holy Scripture and are offering exegesis, then we should indeed take what is said into account.

Me now:
There you have it. You're just making my point with the above statement, if you also add the idea that we should pause and be self-suspicious when we're departing from mainstream Christianity and even mainstream Calvinism, but you and White are not doing that when it comes to Matthew 23:37. Not only does White think otherwise than the mainstream, he dismisses it with scorn and ridicule. That bespeaks pride and follow, not careful and humble hermeneutical reflection on the past as we set forth the options. White goes so far as to imply that the John Murray position on that passage amounts to "Squeamish Calvinism." That is, again, "simply silly," and smacks of a prideful disdain of history.

Nota Bene: History matters. And when we depart from the mainstream thought, even within our own Reformed tradition, we ought to have very good reasons for doing so, and do so with humility and respect for the alternative viewpoint. You're deceiving yourself if you think White has even respect for the alternative "Squeamish Calvinist" viewpoint on Matthew 23:37. He dismisses it and proceeds with several false either/or dilemmas.

Tony Byrne

David said:

The compassion of Jesus for the lost in Matt 23:37 and elsewhere has never been the question, though I do wish Dr. White would mention that with more regularity so as to avoid criticisms from people such as yourself on this matter. I suspect the reason why he doesn't talk about it much is because of the fact that it is generally understood.

Me now:
That's too vague. The "compassion" of Jesus for what "lost people"? Some who are non-elect in the city who finally perished? If so, then that is most certainly in question when it comes to James White's position. What kind of "compassion" are you talking about? A loving compassion that seeks to save (or what Carson calls a "yearning love") and grieves the Godman when resisted? If so, then that is most cetainly in question when it comes to James White's position. "More regularity"? He hasn't been "regular" in any sense of addressing it, which is why it is going to be exceedingly difficult for you to answer my question about what specific verse White thinks teaches God's desire to save any non-elect person. He knows he is being watched like a hawk in that area so he is engaging in deliberate ambiguity at this point. He's has to come up with some weird and impossible position between the Herman Hoeksema/Gordon Clark/Robert Reymond position on the one hand and that of the John Murray position on the other. In other words, he's vainly dodging about in the excluded middle. If he sides with Murray, he will contradict what he said before about being "on the side of Reymond than on the side of Murray." However, if he sides with the Hoeksema/Clark/Reymond position (and these men are all in agreement), he has to flat out deny that God desires the salvation of any non-elect person. So what is he doing? He's laying low and keeping quiet on specifics, for ministry reasons, lest he offend Phil Johnson and Tom Ascol (who are in the Murray position), along with all the Banner of Truth type Calvinists in Reformed Baptist circles (such as Walter Chantry, Al Martin, Sam Waldron and Robert Gonzales). That's what is going on.

David Benjamin Hewitt

Don said:

"David,

It is impossible for one to believe in "particular redemption" and at the same time, believe God desires the salvation of all people.

Mr. White does not believe that God desires to save all. Not only doesn't he believe it, he mocks those who do."

Such is simply false, my friend. :) I am a firm believer in the biblical doctrine of particular redemption and can back that up with consistent exegesis of relevant passages (such as John 10 and Hebrews 7, etc).

Saoroy said:

"it's not surprising that you push back against the historical necessity for interpreting scripture, you and other hyper-calvinists derive presuppositions from puritanical traditions that are only a few centuries old.

Ive come to realise hyper-calvinists are the new gnostics"

The new gnostics... wow. Such may really be true to some extent of real hyper-calvinists... but gee, calling me one... wow, that's new. :) Rest assured, I'm not. I do affirm the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith though, and good portion of the Westminster Confession of Faith.

Tony:

Since your comments are a great deal longer, I'll avoid quoting and just sum up. My point in saying what I did wasn't to erect a straw-man and say that you are to be ignored because you are providing a bunch of quotes from people. I will affirm that it is wise to consult history's interpreters of Scripture, and as RC Sproul has said, be careful when departing from them. At the same time, all interpretations need to be evaluated carefully. If I take a minority position (and let's face it, any "Calvinistic" position nowadays is in the minority) then I need to be prepared to do so, not just because I like my interpretation better, but because I am using careful, consistent hermeneutics to understand and apply the biblical text. Such is the same when consulting history, recent or ancient.

That was my point, and to serve as a caution on relying too heavily on historical sources and/or using a majority rules hermeneutic. Your response on that matter, especially your note bene comments above.

Also, you didn't say anything about the context. :) Context is the #1 rule for interpretation of any passage, as I am sure you are well aware. ;)

Need to get going to FPU at church tonight. Peace.

sdg,
dbh

Don Johnson

David,

Are you trying to say John 10 and Heb. 7 teach God desires all to be saved? Or are you saying those chapters teach the unbiblical doctrine of "particular redemption"?

Tony Byrne

David said:

FWIW, I did browse through your links your provided. The thing that troubles me with your citations and references is that not a one of the people you quoted and none of the exegesis you provided (unless I overlooked it) sees Matthew 23:13--39 as one unit. There are parallels between verse 13 and verse 37 which I plan on detailing later.

Me now:
You're missing the point. Many of the men cited are not cited because they're offering detailed exegesis in any way, but as testimony to the fact that they are basically in the mainstream John Murray position on the text, which White and those like him have departed from. Then there are other places where I seek to offer some critical analysis. None of this is new. Way back in 2008, Marie Peterson, a Reformed Baptist, interacted with White on the text (see the comments section), as she is taking the mainstream view. Check that out as well.

David said:

Furthermore, you are incorrect in saying that James White and TurretinFan or myself for that matter are seeking to downplay God's revealed desire for the salvation of all men. They affirm it, I affirm it.

Me now:

Questions:
1) If James White is not downplaying it, then what specific biblical passage(s) does he think teaches that God desires any non-elect person to be saved?
2) Where in James White's books on Calvinism has he ever affirmed that God desires the salvation of anyone who finally perishes?
3) What specific biblical passage(s) does Turretinfan think teaches that God desires any non-elect person to be saved?
4) What specific biblical passage(s) does David Hewitt think teaches that God desires any non-elect person to be saved?

Answer all three of these questions, please. They should be very, very easy to answer without evasion if you're claim is true.

David Benjamin Hewitt

Don:

I am saying that Hebrews 7--10 and also John 10 teach the very biblical doctrine of Particular Redemption, that Jesus in his perfect, propitiatory death secured with certainly the salvation of particular people, satisfying God's wrath against them and paying for all of their sins. The benefits of this grand transaction are applied to the elect in time through faith (including the forgiveness that was mentioned before), but the elect have been purchased for God by the death of Christ, and everything that accompanies salvation has been secured for them by what Christ has done. See the 1689 LBCF on the matter here and here.

Tony:
I'll be back later. :) Some of what you said I would like to address, but I don't have the time right now. Three sick kids means early bedtimes. :)

sdg,
dbh

David Benjamin Hewitt

Tony,

You said:
"You're missing the point. Many of the men cited are not cited because they're offering detailed exegesis in any way, but as testimony to the fact that they are basically in the mainstream John Murray position on the text, which White and those like him have departed from. Then there are other places where I seek to offer some critical analysis."

You said I was missing the point of what you were trying to say, that you weren't trying to offer detailed exegesis but rather demonstrating a consensus, being in line with John Murray's position. However, I cannot help but think you have missed my point for raising my objection in the first place. I care very little for historical consensus; majority does not rule in biblical interpretation. Agreed of course that if we disagree with the majority on a matter (in this case about a context I think) then we must do so carefully, but since context is the first rule of interpretation, anything that doesn't take it into account is a questionable interpretation at best, no matter how many people say it is true (unless we are working in Proverbs).

So, with all of your citations, James White's understand of the passage (whatever it may be) aside -- I have to ask --- where's the beef? ;)

You also said:
"Questions:
1) If James White is not downplaying it, then what specific biblical passage(s) does he think teaches that God desires any non-elect person to be saved?
2) Where in James White's books on Calvinism has he ever affirmed that God desires the salvation of anyone who finally perishes?
3) What specific biblical passage(s) does Turretinfan think teaches that God desires any non-elect person to be saved?
4) What specific biblical passage(s) does David Hewitt think teaches that God desires any non-elect person to be saved?"

1.) Don't know per se, as I haven't asked him that question directly. He typically addresses the issue of God's primary intention and ultimate goal (that of decree) as the primary issue. I suspect that is the case because of the fact that most people in evangelicalism today overlook that.
2.) I think he has only written two books addressing the subject, TPF and The Sovereign Grace of God. I don't think any particular chapter in either book addresses the topic specifically.
3.) Don't know. I have never asked him.
4.) Well, my particular favorite passage that addresses the issue would have to be John 5:34. I very much like the exegesis of it you provide by Sam Waldron (whose books on eschatology I strongly recommend), for example. There are others (including Matthew 23:37 in a secondary or tertiary sense), but John 5:34 is my favorite. Though I think it can be rightly said that Jesus said what he did in John 5 for the purpose of the salvation of the elect who were hearing Him, that is clearly not the whole point of the passage. Jesus was expressing that He wanted all those to whom he was speaking to receive salvation, whether they were elect or not. The reasons for this I think are two-fold:

First, our God delights in obedience to His commands. Jesus's first recorded words in Mark's Gospel are unmistakably clear.

Second, our God delights in showing mercy.

Both of the above are theological conclusions derived from a number of texts which I won't go in to now. :)

Hope this has been helpful, brethren.
sdg,
dbh

Don Johnson

David,

It's good to see you believe God desires the salvation of all. However, James White or R C Sproul don't believe it, nor could they believe it.

I stated earlier and will state it again it is impossible to hold to "particular redemption" and at the same time believe God desires the salvation of all.

If Christ intentionally only died for "the elect" how could He desire others to be saved, since He chose not to die for them? Did Jesus know of some other way to obtain eternal life?

Help me understand how Christ chose not to save some and at the same time desired to save them?

Both JW and RCS realize both statements cannot be true. Which is why you cannot find anything by them to the contrary.

Tony Byrne

Don,

Actually, R. C. Sproul does believe that God desires the salvation of all men in the revealed will. I spoke with R. C. Sproul on Chris Arnzen's radio show (click to hear the audio) and got him on record in agreeing with John Murray's position, and affirming that this position is on continuity with Zacharias Ursinus.

It was James White who argued that based on a view of a limited provision in the atonement that God could not consistently be said to desire the salvation of all men. He said at the end of his phone call with Jason, "what does it mean to say that God desires to do something he then does not provide the means to do? What does that mean? And no one's ever been able to tell me."

Now that Hewitt thinks White consistently believes that God desires the salvation of all men, White should be asked "what does it mean to say that God desires to do something he then does not provide the means to do? What does that mean?" I made sure that Dr. David Allen cited this quote from Edward Polhill in his article on the atonement. As Polhill says, "God's will of salvation doth not extend beyond Christ's death, for then he should intend to save some extra Christum ...there cannot be a truer measure of the extent of Christ's death, than God's will of salvation, out of which the same did issue; so far forth as that will of salvation extends to all men, so far forth the death of Christ doth extend to all men."

Tony Byrne

David said:

"I care very little for historical consensus;..."

Me now:
I've noticed. You're probably the first self-described "Reformed" person I have heard say that. All your other associates are all too eager to tell me that I am outside of Reformed orthodoxy in my soteriology, which presupposes an interest in historical consensus. They all make hasty claims about what is or is not "hyper-Calvinism," and that I am a "quasi-Amyraldian," a "Neo-Amyraldian," etc. They're all zealous to tell me that I don't know what constitutes hyper-Calvinism, which, again, presupposes that historical consensus matters. Turretinfan won't even allow the position of John Preston (Puritan), James Ussher (Puritan), John Davenant (Synod of Dort), Edmund Calamy (Westminster), John Arrowsmith (Westminster), Lazarus Seaman (Westminster), Richard Vines (Westminster), Robert Harris (Westminster), Thomas Ford (Westminster), George Walker (Westminster) and the later position of Andrew Fuller to be within the boundaries of Reformed orthodoxy and distinct from the Amyraldian trajectory, even though Reformed experts in the field of historical theology (Richard Muller, Robert Godfrey, Carl Trueman) say many of these men are. All of your associates seem to care for historical consensus, at least enough to reckon me outside of it.

Thomas Lamb, a Calvinistic Baptist said, "So also affirmatively, say I, Christ gave himself a ransom and propitiation for the sins of all, and every man." Though Benjamin Brook in The Lives of the Puritans (3:466) says, "it is extremely obvious, that, upon the disputed points, he was a strict Calvinist." Even Brook is wrong, apparently. Paul Hobson, a signer of the 1644 London Baptist Confession, said, "Christ tasted death for every man, and to deny it is heresie..."

Your associates on the Internet care enough about historical consensus to view these Calvinistic Baptists as being outside of Reformed orthodoxy as well. You alone, apparently, "care very little" about it, though your associates are behaving in quite a sectarian manner based on their distorted and revisionist notions of history. This is why I am saying history is also part of the battle ground as well.

Another reason why I am saying history matters is that James White is not merely saying men like Geisler are wrong for thinking Matthew 23:37 is making a point about God desiring the salvation of all men and thus the well-meant offer, he is saying that the following Calvinists are "simply silly" for their take on the passage as well (though all of these men obviously disagree with Geisler's equal willingness view): J. C. Ryle, Walter Chantry, D. A. Carson, Maurice Roberts, Paul Calvin Zylstra, Chrysostom, John Howe, Bob Sheehan, Erroll Hulse, William Perkins, John Cotton, Anthony Hoekema, Stephen Lobb, John Humfrey, Theophilus Gale, Gerald Hamstra, Iain Murray, Jonathan Edwards, John MacArthur, Tom Ascol, John Murray, Sam Waldron, Charles Spurgeon, Ezekiel Culverwell, Oliver Heywood, Charles Hodge, John Flavel, John Preston, John Frame, R. L. Dabney, John Calvin, David Silversides, Thomas Ford, William Hendriksen, Edward Leigh, Juan de Valdés, John Trapp, Edward Polhill, William Burkitt, Hugh Binning, Augustine Marlorate, Thomas Boston, Matthew Henry, Martin Luther and Peter Martyr Vermigli.

Even though David Silversides is a high Calvinist, he is seeking to argue against Hoeskemian (and Gillite) hyper-Calvinist distortions of the text when he says:

"In this verse [Matt. 23:37], Jerusalem evidently refers to the people of that city. It may have the leaders (denounced in the previous verses) especially in mind, but they were not solely responsible for the death of the prophets, or even of Christ himself; nor did the judgment fall only on them, as many ordinary people perished in the fall of Jerusalem." David Silversides, The Free Offer: Biblical & Reformed (Marpet Press, 2005), p. 50.

Silversides' take is in agreement with the exegesis of Carson and Hendriksen concerning "Jerusalem," in contrast to White's hard and fast Gillite division between "Jerusalem" and "your children."

White's take on the text is a departure from all of these men, including all of the interpreters associated with the Banner of Truth, all of the modern founders of the Reformed Baptist movement (Walter Chantry, Erroll Hulse, Al Martin, etc.) and contemporary Reformed Baptist men like Sam Waldron, Robert Gonzales and Tom Ascol, yet none of this causes you to pause at all, even in the slightest. Why? Because you "care very little for historical consensus."

Not only that, but you move on to caricature my position by implying that I think majority opinion should be the rule in biblical interpretation (not context), as you did before, even though I cautioned you against saying that before.

Yet you go on to say:

"...majority does not rule in biblical interpretation. Agreed of course that if we disagree with the majority on a matter (in this case about a context I think) then we must do so carefully, but since context is the first rule of interpretation, anything that doesn't take it into account is a questionable interpretation at best, no matter how many people say it is true (unless we are working in Proverbs)."

Me now:
Of course the bible is the ultimate authority and of course the context of a given biblical passage is of highest priority for understanding the true sense of it. All I am saying is that if you're going to depart from such an overwhelming Reformed and Calvinistic consensus on the text and side with John Gill's hard dichotomy between "Jerusalem" and the "children" and view the text in totally and singularly in a judgment sense, seeing in it nothing of Jesus' yearning love that accords with God's revealed desire for the salvation of all in the city (even those that perish), then you should pause and wonder if you're actually engaging in novel, pseudo-exegesis or the kind of obvious system-driven interpretation that is so common in John Gill, who utterly denied God's revealed desire for the eternal salvation of any of the non-elect.

Don Johnson

Tony,

Please take another look at the transcript of your conversation with R C Sproul. Notice Sproul's last three words at the end of the blue sentence "with certain qualifications."

He then takes the remaining time to explain what he means by "with certain qualifications."

He sums it up with these words: "And so, yes, I believe the Gospel is offered "to all who believe."

Note his last sentence: "Yes, that would be true, but nevertheless its offered to "anyone" who does "in fact believe and trust in it."

I think the only conclusion one could get from Mr. Sproul's own words would be, he does not believe the Gospel is offered to those who don't believe, but as he said only to the "the elect."

Tony Byrne

Don,

There's no need for me to take another look at the transcript. You're just repeating the very criticism I made in my reply to the way Sproul expressed himself just below the transcript :-) Clearly Sproul was sloppy in the way he expressed himself on the free offer, but he is not alone. The authors of the Baptist Faith and Message wrote, "Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer." It is common among people who actually believe that God is offering all salvation through the gospel to collapse and confuse the offer made with the giving of what is offered, so they say "offered to all who believe," etc. It's even a very common way of expressing it in the Puritan literature. Neither Sproul, the authors of the BFM or the Puritans were/are denying that God is offering salvation to all that hear the gospel, but they're just safeguarding against the idea that salvation is given to all because all are offered. Salvation is only given to all those that believe, so they underline the conditionality when they speak of the offer, albeit in a sloppy way. Sproul articulates his concern by saying: "the reason I put that little quibble in there, Tony, is that we're hearing more and more from preachers in the media who announcing that God loves everybody unconditionally, and that sort of leaves the impression that people don't have to do anything in order to be redeemed, including repent and believe."

Sproul's actual position cannot be missed by this line, "I would hold the traditional view that was expressed by Ursinus and later by John Murray (and others) that there is a genuine offer of the gospel that is related to God's generally gracious disposition to all who are fallen, with certain qualifications." Sproul does agree with the John Murray position and that cannot be denied.

Hints of his Murrayite position come through in his book Chosen by God as well. He says "It is God's will that we do the things he mandates." (p.195) And, even though he prefers a different interpretation of 2 Peter 3:9, he allows for a reasonable third option on that text, saying: "The third alternative is that God takes no delight in the perishing of people. This squares with what the Bible says elsewhere about God's disposition toward the lost. This definition could fit this passage. Peter may simply be saying here that God takes no delight in the perishing of anyone." Thus, "In two different ways the text may be easily harmonized with predestination." Chosen by God (Wheaton, Ill: Tyndale House Publishers, 1986), 196-197. So, according to Sproul, the alternative revealed will sense that some Calvinists take on 2 Peter 3:9 is at least theologically correct, though not the sense of the text that he prefers, unfortunately.

Yes, Sproul's response was sloppy, but no more sloppy than the Baptist Faith and Message. You may not care for Sproul's theology, but you're going to have to show him some leniency, even though he should be well-studied in the area by now :-) Frankly, I don't think he is well-studied in the area, though he is orthodox on the matter and therefore within the broad historical consensus.
--------------------

Another word for David Hewitt:

It seems to me that confessions of faith are words of historical consensus. Therefore, he who says he "cares very little for historical consensus" (as David Hewitt does) is virtually saying he cares very little for historic confessions, which is antithetical to professing to be Reformed, I would say, since Reformed people care a lot about what is within their confessional, orthodox boundaries.

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