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2008.11.24

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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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