Monday, December 24, 2012

Born in the Shadow of the Cross

Tonight the World pauses to celebrate. Some will celebrate family, some will celebrate personal lusts, some will celebrate very little. By God's grace, it seems, that no matter what people are meaning to celebrate they will be doing so while bathed in songs that speak of the birth of our Lord. From instrumentals, to songs praising God with "hallelujah."

Tonight believers pause to celebrate the coming of the Lord the World rejected. While the world ignores the truth of the future it faces we who have read and believed the Bible know that the Lord Jesus did not ignore the future He faced when He came here. He willingly came to do the will of the Father.

He was born into this world in the shadow of the Cross. Born to die, so that we might live. Tonight give praise to God who loved the world in this way: that He gave His only begotten Son so that whosoever shall believe might have eternal life.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Debater's Potter - Part 21 - Conclusion

Welcome to the conclusion of the longest series of articles I've ever posted at OMW. The Debater's Potter series started out as something I could hardly imagine finishing, but here it is: THE FINISH LINE!

The Introduction to the series was posted on 11 June 2012, and as I'm typing these words it is currently 13 December 2012. I just about broke every rule of blogging in this series, but I've had encouraging feedback nonetheless. All who have sent, commented, or spoken, words of encouragement can know your words have been dear to me!

Before I get to funner stuff I want to summarize my thoughts about The Potter's Freedom: A Defense of the Reformation and The Rebuttal of Norman Geisler's Chosen But Free by Dr. James R. White hereon to be referred to as TPF.

TPF is not a good book.

I want to first acknowledge that I'm a nobody. Not only do I not make videos of myself sitting in front of a library of books as Dr. White does, I don't have a library of books and have not read a library of books. I hold no degrees. I have limited formal Theological training, and none directly relating to the subjects at hand in this series. Other than the years of work I have put into the study of Salvation I am wholly unqualified to be able to answer Dr. White, let alone rebut this flagship work of his. It simply ought not be possible for me to do so. I didn't set out to rebut it, but in the end I think that is exactly what has been accomplished.

TPF is not a good book for at least these three reasons:

It offers a poor, incomplete and inaccurate defense of The Great Reformation. Instead of discussing the Reformation as a whole Dr. White focuses on one doctrine and makes it his very definition of the Reformation; that being Determinism. Not only that but Dr. White was incapable of finding a single passage in the Bible that spoke of God ordering His universe by Determinism. Instead we were treated to nearly endless discussions of how Arminians think that God bows to the will of man.

It offers a poor, inaccurate and wholly incomplete rebuttal of Dr. Norman Geisler's Chosen But Free(CBF). Instead of answering any arguments made in CBF, Dr. White knocks down straw man after straw man. He accuses CBF of being shallow and failing to interact with the multitude of Reformed material while at the same time failing to interact with any core argument, in the book he is attempting to rebut, at all. Here's a challenge for anyone who thinks this claim of mine is untrue. Purchase both books, study CBF, and then using quotes from ONLY TPF explain Dr. Geisler's view of Election accurately and completely. Then using quotes from ONLY TPF explain Dr. Geisler's views and challenges that he explains in his first two chapters, as I detailed in Part 7, and Dr. White's "rebuttal" of them.

Finally, TPF is not a good book because it only half-heartedly even attempts to accomplish either objective it had, fails miserably, and all the while comes off as the most haughty "christian" material I have ever observed.

So with that out of the way...

Highlights of the series for me.

The first, and I think only, time Dr. White actually "got" Dr. Geisler filled me with joy. Geisler had written that John Calvin didn't hold to Limited Atonement, and after agreeing that many scholars hold this view Dr. White provided a quote from Calvin that showed at least at some point Calvin did hold to a limited atonement view. I enjoyed that more than would seem reasonable.

Getting through John 6 verse by verse was definitely a highlight for me. Being able to accurately explain the opposing view and then explaining the chapter verse by verse in such a way that is both accurate to the Text, and in complete contrast to what the Calvinist says is the only other option - universalism.

Seeing Dr. White quote John Piper saying that if someone's theology cannot explain all of Hebrews 9 consistently that their theology must be discarded, and then noting that both men stop short of the end of that chapter where their theology is impeached by the Text, and being able to consistently hold to the same theology through the passage myself.

How much work was all of this?

Besides the background of study I have been spending 10-20 hours a week writing this series.

What's next? 

A growing number of people are interested in this series being adapted as a book.  There are several challenges that need to be overcome in order for that to happen. For sure the writing would have to have a huge change of tone. The series has been a near real time interaction with the book. I was reading ahead but not very far. There was a huge amount of pressure to get every point right as I went. I found myself not having time to recover from offense generated by the book. All of this lead to a lot of drama in the articles. That might work for blog posts but it would not work for a book.

One of the biggest challenges to adapt this to a book would be to strip out a lot of the more petty interactions. I wanted to show the personality of the writing so I included many of the silly side arguments that really were nothing more than personal attacks on Geisler. In book form I would acknowledge them and move on. Frankly, the first half of TPF could largely be discussed on a couple of pages of a book, and I doubt I would add more.

While this series has been a journey for me, that you all got to come along with, a book would have to bring the reader through their own journey. So it would have to be less about my reaction to the TPF, and more about letting the reader of my book react to it.

That's it folks! That's The Debater's Potter.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Life In 6 Words

Here is a very cool Gospel presentation that packs a punch and overs many important topics without geting weighed down by any of them. The message is clear and well presented. I like it!

The thumbnail for the video is unfortunate, but the video is VERY well made.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

The Debater's Potter - Part 20 - Chapter 14 & Appendices

In this article we, all of you reading and myself, will finally make it to the end of Dr. James R. White's book The Potter's Freedom(TPF) which is his attempt at "a defense of the Reformation and the rebuttal of Norman Geisler's Chosen But Free." Now Chosen But Free(CBF) by Dr. Norman Geisler is a book which establishes a view of God's sovereignty based on a great deal of Scripture and then builds a largely philosophical case for how the saved Believer in Christ could both be chosen, and free.

In this series of articles I am responding to and interacting with TPF in near real time as I am reading it. The articles have been exceedingly long because I have not wanted to skip over even a single argument made by Dr. White. He often complains in TPF, and in his videos, that people don't interact with the things he says when they question the veracity of his theology as he presents it. So I chose to get into every single argument he brings to the table. That being true, it had been my intention to only read and interact with the actual book and not his Appendices. This changed when I started reading Chapter 14 and found myself in shock at what I was reading. It was late at night and I knew if I didn't get all the way to the end of the book I would never open it again. So, since I read the entire thing, I will interact with the entire thing here.

Again I would like to ask my readers to purchase both Dr. White's book, and Dr. Geisler's. My interaction with either is no substitute for reading them. I would also remind readers to begin a the Introduction to this series.

So let's get to the last chapter of the book!

The Potter's Freedom Defended
"There are few truths more precious to the Reformed believer than the doctrines of grace. These are not issues of mere debate. They are the very essences of the meaning of grace. God's freedom, His proper right of kingship, His unchanging nature, and eternal decree, are precious. In a world where men fancy themselves demigods the Calvinist says, 'God reigns, and I gladly serve Him."
When a simple Believer in Christ wants to know what Grace means they might study the Scriptures to find that it means unmerited favour, or undeserved favour. But, apparently, when a "Reformed believer" wants to know what Grace means they turn to TULIP, or the so-called Doctrines of Grace.

As we have seen Dr. White's definition of "God's Freedom" is in error, as it does not match the God of the Scriptures. God doesn't just have the "right of kingship" He is King of the Universe. His nature is unchanging, this secures our reliance on His grace but doesn't define it. There are no instances of the Calvinist "eternal decree" in the Scripture; not stated, implied or required. The Eternal Decrees of God that the Calvinist uses to explain Determinism simply do not exist, they never happened, and further God does not govern the Universe by Determinism.

The last sentence is most telling however. Perhaps knowing the weakness of his assertion Dr. White resorts to a straw-man to knock down. Perhaps there are people in the world who fancy themselves demigods, but this is not at all the position that Dr. Geisler presents. 

It is interesting that Dr. White's theology cannot remain consistent when it comes to practice.
"I know the depth of sin and depravity that yet remains in my heart, and knowing it, realize my utter impotence to break its chains outside of grace." 
While I can honestly say these very same words myself, when I say them they do not violate the theology that I espouse like they do when Dr. White writes them. See he has been arguing that God gives the sinner a new heart with God's Law's written on them. That He removes that heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh. See Dr. White quotes Ezk 36:26 as though it is what God does to sinners to make them able to believe. See they were apparently dead in sin and unable to believe, so God gave them a new divine gift of a heart with a righteous nature that can believe. Let's read some of the passage and see if Dr. White, by his very own confession, has indeed actually experienced this blessing of God or not.

Ezk 36:22-32
22 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went.23 And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord,” says the Lord God, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes. 24 For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. 25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. 28 Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. 29 I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. I will call for the grain and multiply it, and bring no famine upon you. 30 And I will multiply the fruit of your trees and the increase of your fields, so that you need never again bear the reproach of famine among the nations. 31 Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good; and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight, for your iniquities and your abominations. 32 Not for your sake do I do this,” says the Lord God, “let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel!”
Interesting. First we find that this is a promise to the House of Israel... let's say that Christians are the new Israel and God has replaced His Elect Nation with Elect Believers in Christ (I don't believe that for a second, but it is what is required for Dr. White's use of the passage to be even remotely true). Next, let's see that the old heart will be removed, and that He will cleanse them from ALL UNCLEANNESS. Frankly, by Dr. White's confession he has NOT had this happen to him. I'm sorry to report that if you still have depravity in your heart you have not had your heart replaced by God.

Of course this passage has nothing to do with saving sinners in this age. It has nothing to do with Christians. It is a promise to the House of Israel which they will enjoy after they say "Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the LORD!"

He outright abandons his theology again when he states:
"If we realize that all things are meant to result in His glory, and that we are but vessels of mercy, made of honor and glory, we will live our lives so as to reflect the glory of the divine and majestic Creator who made us and sustains us."
What do you mean "if"? Does God "try and try" to use a "vessel of mercy" for His glory "and fail and fail" if they don't "realize" this? If all things are meant to result in His Glory does God fail with those that don't? Is the Potter's freedom to use His pots as He chooses in subjection to the will of the pots, so that He can only use them "IF" they realize...?

Discussing a chapter in CBF called "What Difference Does It Make?" were Dr. Geisler writes "Belief affects behaviour, and so ideas have consequences." Dr. White offers:
"In this he is quite correct. And since, the vast majority of the argumentation in CBF is directed at Calvinism and is written in support of Arminianism, it is obvious that he believes the practical implications of Calvinism are important indeed, in a strongly negative sense."
Dr. Geisler does not support Arminianism in CBF. As for the practical implications of Calvinism being important indeed, in a strongly negative sense... Well it is Dr. White who noting how HORRIBLE new Calvinists often act,  had to write a book about the famous "Cage Stage."

Dr. White chooses his last chapter to address some of what Geisler calles "practical consequences of extreme Calvinism."
"In concluding our refutation of CBF we would like to note these alleged concerns."
I think we'll see by the end of this article that the author of TPF is in no way even sincere in his attempt at rebutting CBF, let alone successful in it. Here are some of the "concerns" that Dr. White chooses to respond to however.

Concern: "Failing to take personal responsibility for our actions"
"This is false. Calvinism has historically been in the forefront of every meaningful revival, such as the Great Awakening, that included as part of its fabric personal behavior and a concern for holiness."
Yay for Calvinism. However, the fact is that Calvinism states that God decrees every action. The sinner nor the saved Believer actually decides what to do. That is the context of Geisler's "concern." White's Lordship Salvation comes out here:
"The greatest impetus that exists for personal holiness and godly behavior is a recognition of one's creatureliness, the sovereignty of God, His glory, and our debt to grace." 
The saved believer is in debt, according to Dr. White and he doesn't address Dr. Geisler's actual concern at all.

Concern: "Calvinism blames God for evil."
"This is false. Calvinism's God is so great, so powerful, and so free, that He can answer the 'big questions" without being stripped of His freedom and His ability to positively decree whatsoever comes to pass."
So if God decrees whatsoever comes to pass then that includes sin. Thus God is blamed for evil. But Dr. White doesn't stop there. He offers a discussion that I suggest everyone investigating Calvinism ought to read. If this philosophical argument doesn't show you the depravity of Calvinism I don't know what will.
"Dr. Geisler, in this section, speaks of a speaker at a conference that recognized that God had been involved in the death of his son, and CBF, sadly, provides a surface level response that shows no interest in entering into the depths of this topic."
I am about to quote what Dr. Geisler shared in CBF, and I want you to consider Dr. White's words "...that God had been involved in the death of his son..." I think we'll see that Dr. White attempts to soften the discussion by exchanging the idea of being "involved" in the death of the son for what the Calvinist actually said. Dr. White doesn't offer the whole quotation but I will. 

I'll start with the part Dr. White did NOT quote from CBF:
"The second example is also tragic. A well-known conference speaker was explaining how he was unable to come to grips with the tragic death of his son. Leaning on his strong Calvinistic background, he gradually came to the conclusion: "God killed my son!" He triumphantly informed us that "then, and only then, did I get peace about the matter." A sovereign God killed his son, and therein he found ground for a great spiritual victory, he assured us."
Here is where Dr. White chose to start his quotation.
"I thought to myself, "I wonder what he would say if his daughter had been raped?" Would he not be able to come to grips with the matter until he concluded victoriously that "God raped my daughter!" God forbid! Perish the thought! Some views do not need to be refuted; they simply need to be stated."
Dr. White responds:
"...I can only say that such responses betray a tremendous lack of familiarity with the great Reformed writers of the past who have spoken to the matter of suffering with such power and depth that we all can benefit greatly from listening to their words."
As always his first concern is his historic theology.
"You simply cannot honestly look at someone and say, 'God has a purpose in your life' when you have to say on the other hand 'God had nothing to do with the death of your loved one.' The greatest joy in death, the greatest comfort in sorrow, is knowing that there is nothing that is purposeless, nothing that is mere chance. 
Arminianism simply cannot provide this kind of comfort."
I'm telling you right now, I wanted to vomit when I read this. So, it is supposed to be comforting when someone says "God killed your son!" or "God raped your daughter!" and then "Don't worry, He had a purpose in doing it!"

He writes:
"Calvinists affirm the biblical truth:" 
And then quotes Psa 135:6 as though it says that God kills sons, and rapes daughters. Then he goes on about the verse:
"Sadly, the Arminian reads this as 'Man does whatever he pleases, and God handles the rest, as long as it does not impinge upon the ultimate freedom of the creature." 
Really? Is that what's at issue here? Can Dr. White provide a quote of ANYONE (let alone Dr. Geisler) translating or interpreting this verse this way or is this simply a completely false accusation made to inflame the reader of TPF into missing the fact that he is failing to answer the "concern" Dr. Geisler raised? Then he writes:
"God works all things after the counsel of His will, including those things that involve the creature, man. As the Bible testifies:"
Then he quotes Ps 33:10-11 as though it supports the idea that God kills sons and rapes daughters. Neither Psalm supports Determinism where "God decrees whatsoever comes to pass" they say that God does what He wills, and man cannot stop Him. There is a HUGE difference, that only the reader blinded by Calvinistic indoctrination could ignore.

Does the reader feel I'm being too agressive with Dr. White here?
"God's purpose is always just, holy, and good. All things resound to His glory, even when we cannot see how this will be. Even the greatest atrocities in history the Calvinist knows were not purposeless not senseless. Even if we cannot see the purpose, we have the promise of God that a purpose did, and does, exist. God is still on His throne."
START SARCASM: So when God kills a son, or rapes a daughter His purpose is always just, holy and good. In fact when He kills a son or rapes a daughter is resounds to His glory, even if we can't see how. Even the greatest atrocities of history were done by God with purpose. He is still on His throne. END SARCASM

I could hardly contain myself when I read this passage while laying in bed Tuesday night last week. Even now I want to vomit. This is vile, evil, blasphemous, dreadful, and wholly unacceptable! God uses all things, He works all things to the glory of Himself. That is when a sinner means it for evil God means it for good. He uses all things, He does not decree all things.


God does kill people who have violated His will in specific instances. Moses is an example. He does not personally kill everyone who dies. He kills those who would interfere with His plans if He does not. God is not the author of sin. I challenge any Calvinist to prove otherwise. Be forewarned I will treat you as the blasphemous false teacher that you are if you should attempt to do so.

The keen reader will note that while Dr. White began his interaction with "this is false" he never once even attempts to show that God does NOT cause evil, which is what the concern Dr. Geisler brought up was. He simply tries to justify God causing evil with the idea that He would have some unknown holy purpose...

Dr. White fails to give the next concern any context at all, but I'll give it as it is stated:

Concern: "When the same logic (as the God killed my son, rapped my daughter speech) is applied to why people go to hell, the tragedy is even more evident."

Dr. White says it is sad to read the following:
"Actually, there is no real difference on this point between extreme Calvinists and fatalistic Islam in which Allah says, in the holy book (the Qur'an), "If We [majestic plural] had so willed, We could certainly have brought every soul its true guidance; but the Word from Me Will come true. 'I will fill Hell with jinn and men all together'" (Sura 32:13).
Dr. Geisler continues, but Dr. White only quotes the final sentence:
"Lest the reader think this is an unfair caricature of extreme Calvinism in Muslim terms, listen to the ords of the famous Puritan Calvinist William Ames: "[Predestination] depends upon no cause, reason, or outward condition, but proceeds purely from the will of him [God] who predestines." Further, "there are two kinds of predestination, election and rejection or reprobation... the first act of election is to will the glory of his grace in the salvation of some men..." Likewise, "Reprobation is the predestination of certain men so that the glory of God's justices may be shown them."
All he responds with is:
"It is clearly Dr. Geisler's purpose to say that these two statements are parallel. Yet, to make such a statement shows tremendous disregard for simple accuracy, let alone respect for Ames or any who believe as he. Allah does not redeem rebel sinners out of grace and mercy. Allah does not give His Son for utterly undeserving men and women. Allah does not do these things to bring glory to his grace! To ignore this fundamental, definitional difference is to engate in the rankest sort of adhominem argumentation that is far below the kind of material we would expect to come from Dr. Geisler's pen"
So what is to be said of someone who does not answer the concerns or the "big questions" that are obviously right to raise? Is it not parallel to say that both theological systems have their deity deciding to fill Hell with men and there's nothing men can do about it? That one of them saves a few out of the Calvinist's view of grace hardly changes Dr. Geisler's point, which is that Calvinism has God behaving like Allah by intentionally sending people to hell simply because He wants to.

Concern: "Next, Dr. Geisler alleges that Calvinism lays the ground for universalism." Dr. White does not provide a quote at all. Here is what Dr. Geisler actually says:
"The one million dollar question for the extreme Calvinists is this: If God can save anyone to whom He gives the desire to be saved, then why does He not give the desire to all people? The answer can only be that God does not really will that all be saved. It does not suffice to claim that God's justice rightly condemns those who do not believe, since even faith is a gift from God that He could give to all if He wanted to do so.... For if God can save all without violating their free choice, and if God is all-loving, then there is no reason why all will not be saved. After all, according to extreme Calvinists, God's love is irresistible. Hence, such love focused on all men would inevitably bring all to salvation."
Now obviously Dr. Geisler is bringing up a concern that Dr. White would take issue with because Dr. White says that while God is "all-loving" that is omnibenevolent that He is also somehow (inexplicably) selectively-loving. We saw last time how that just doesn't work, but Dr. White wants it to work. Instead of answering the concern he writes:
"This is false. Just the opposite is true. Arminianism has opened that door, not Calvinism. Universalists detest the concept of justice, holiness and glory that is part and parcel of Reformed theology. Universalists are the great proponents of free willism, not the freedom of God nor the glory of God."
Now his answer sounds great until you read what it is an attempted answer to. I think that Dr. Geisler's concern is ill-conceived, perhaps even contrived. It is not a concern that I would raise. However, Dr. White fails to answer the actual concern... again.

The next concern...

Concern: "It is then said that Calvinism undermines trust in the love of God." Again he fails to provide a quote from Dr. Geisler.

Predictably he responds with:
"This is false, and just the opposite is true. Calvinism presents a love that is powerful and effective, not a love that tries and tries and tries but fails because it is dependent upon the synergistic cooperation of the objects of that love."
This tries and tires and fails straw-man is exhausting. He never once is able to quote Dr. Geisler saying that, or teaching the concept... yet he ascribes it to him a MULTITUDE of times in TPF. He goes on:
"The love proclaimed by Scriptural Calvinism is a love that saves, a love that lasts, the love about which we sing, 'Oh love that will not let me go....'"
Unless you're God's Elect Nation called Israel... if you're the Elect Nation of Israel you can be replaced by a body of Elect Believers in Christ who will get all the blessings you were promised.... but not really only in so-called 'spiritual' ways. Further I don't know what "Scriptural Calvinism" is... so far I have yet to find Calvinism in any passage of Scripture.

START SARCASM: I wonder why God casting Israel aside and giving the blessings promised to it to another group of people would make people have trouble trusting God? END SARCASM.

But here is the concern as raised by Dr. Geisler, do you think that Dr. White answered it?
"The blunt and honest answer of extreme Calvinism to this dilemma, in the face of the unavoidable logic leading to universalism, is to deny that God is all loving. In short--redemptively at least--God loves only the elect. This fits with the extreme Calvinist's belief in limited atonement (see Chapter 5). For if God loves only the elect, then why should Christ have died for more than the elect?
But any diminution of God's love will sooner or later eat away at one's confidence in God's benevolence. And when it does it can have a devastating effect on one's life."
Dr. White doesn't bother to answer the actual concern, and even skips all of it to land on the next statement.
"Indeed, at this point a most strange and incomprehensible statement is made by Dr. Geisler. He says that extreme Calvinism has been the occasion for disbelief and even atheism for many." 
He picks up on a very odd footnote in CBF that really makes no sense...The footnote talks about how Hell was the reason for Darwin and Bertrand Russell used to not believe in God as though Hell is exclusive to extreme Calvinism. Instead of answering the actual concern Dr. White focuses on the footnote, quoting it instead of the actual concern.... answering it instead of answering the concern. Then after engaging the footnote he offers:
"We believe that a strong proclamation of the God of Scripture is the only basis upon which to answer atheists and their cavils against the Christian faith. Giving in to them and affirming the humanists doctrine of free will is not the way to win the battle. We believe there is nothing gained by hiding the Bible's plain teaching of the sovereignty of God simply to pacify the humanist who is in active rebellion against God's sovereign power in the first place. A God who would create and yet not maintain control over His creation is hardly a God worthy of defending against atheism."
Well that's an action packed response... one reading it without reading Geisler might think that Dr. White had schooled him. Here's what this rant was responding to though...
"A partially loving God is less than ultimately good. And what is less than ultimately good is not worthy of worship, since worship is attributing worth-ship to the object of worship. But if the extreme Calvinists' view of 'God' is not the Ultimate Good, then it does not represent God at all. The God of the Bible is infinitely loving, that is omnibenevolent. He wills the good of all creation (Acts 14:17; 17:25), and He desires the salvation of all souls (Ezek 18:23, 30-32; Hos 11:1-5, 8-9; John 3:16, 1Tim 2:4; 2Pet 3:9)"
One wonders if the Calvinist is concerned with presenting the God of the Scriptures he is not concerned with the passages or even the concern that Dr. Geisler brings up. Yet Geisler is not finished:
"At first, one is impressed with a God that supposedly loves him more than others and has elected him to eternal salvation. But upon further reflection, he cannot help but wonder why, if this God is so loving, He does not so love the world. When this though sets in, the "amazing love" at first experienced by the elect turns to "partial love," and finally to a recognition that God actually hates the non-elect. In the words of extreme Calvinist William Ames, God "is said to hate them [the non-elect] (Rom 9:13). This hatred is negative or privative, because it denies election. But it has a positive content, for God has willed that some should not have eternal life.'
This doubt is implicit in the confession of some of the most pious persons. Indeed, were it no for their deep piety, it is doubtful they could long maintain such a belief. Strong Calvinist Charles Spurgeon admitted, "We do not know why God has purposed to save some and not others... We cannot say why his love to all men is not the same as his love to the Elect." If one allows this to gnaw at his mind long enough, it can turn him from being a particularist into being a universalist--from one unfortunate belief to another."
So what are Dr. White's answers to these concerns? You've already read them... he has none.

Concern: Calvinism undermines the motive for evangelism.
"Despite the popularity of this accusation, it is false. Those who evangelize out of concern for man's free will rather than out of obedience to Christ and His command, do so for the wrong reasons, and will soon be disillusioned as men reject their message and bring persecution against them."
I've been engaged in personal evangelism actively since the spring of 2006. It may not be a long illustrious career but I have personally witnessed to thousands of people I've met on the streets of cities in Canada, to many thousands using tracts, and many thousands more through radio ministry. I have yet to be disillusioned... of course I don't do it "out of concern for man's free will" and I don't know anyone who does. I do it because I've been saved, and I know any who hear and believe the Gospel I preach will also be saved.

Dr. White goes on to say that this concern is most troubling to him personally because he and his group of people are often the only Christians witnessing at the semi-annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah.
"We are the only group who is attendance at every single Conference."
"We have talked to Arminians who wonder why we bother, since "those are the hard cases anyway." Yes, they are the hard cases. And if I believed for a second that it was up to their "free will" and a grace that cannot change a heart, cannot renew a mind, I would never set foot outside that place again. But I do not believe in free will, nor do I believe in a grace that is a mere helping force and not a renewing power of God."
I don't know anyone who would ask "why bother?" No quote is offered, no connection to Dr. Geisler, it is nothing more than another straw-man that Dr. White apparently thinks he can knock down easily.

Yet Dr. Geisler does offer specific examples.
"Many years ago a young man went to his spiritual mentor and informed him that he would like to be a missionary to the heathen. His hyper-Calvinistic advisor told him that if God wanted to save the world, He could do it without him. Fortunately, the young man did not heed his mentor's advice. His name was William Carey, famous missionary to India.
God only knows for sure how many other extreme Calvinists feel the same. As a matter of fact, if their view is correct, then we need not get excited about missions for several reasons. First of all, God does not love the whole world in a redemptive sense, but only the elect. Second Christ only died for the elect, not the world. Third no one has the faith to believe unless God gives it to him. Fourth, God has willed to give faith only to a select few, "the frozen chosen." Fith, when God's power works on the hearts of the unbelievers He wants to save, there is absolutely nothing they can do to refuse it. God's power is irresistible (see Chapter 5). If all these were true--thank God they are not-- it would be understandably heart to muster up much enthusiasm for missions or evangelism."
Dr. White doesn't even bother to interact with the concern... but Dr. Geisler is not finished.
"Charles Spurgeon pointedly remarked of hyper-Calvinists in his day: "But there are some people so selfish that, provided they go to heaven, it is enough that they are in the covenant. They are dear enough people of God..." But "They say it is equal whether God ordains a man's life or death. They would sit still to hear men damned... They seem to have no feeling for anyone but themselves. They have dried the heart of of them by some cunning slight of hand." 
Dr. White's beloved Spurgeon, himself the most famous Calvinist, seemed to believe that Calvinism can in fact undermine the motives for Evangelism. Does Dr. White even mention this concern? Of course not... and Dr. Geisler isn't finished.
"John Gill, who according to some was the originator of hyper-Calvinism, is a practical example of the destructive influence on missions and evangelism. Spurgeon noted that "During the pastorate of my venerated predecessor, Dr. Gill, this Church, instead of increasing, gradually decreased... But mark this, from the day when Fuller, Carey, Sutcliffe, and others, met together to send out missionaries to India, the sun began to dawn of a gracious revival which is not over yet." Of Gill, Spurgeon added bluntly: "The system of theology with which many identify his [Gill's] name has chilled many churches to their very soul, for it has led them to omit the free invitations of the gospel, and to deny that it is the duty of sinners to believe in Jesus."
Would Dr. White dare interact with this from Spurgeon? It is the duty of sinners to believe in Jesus? 'But this one thing they cannot do!' must be Dr. White's response to his beloved famous Calvinist! 

Dr. Geisler has still not finished this point even yet.
"Lain Murray adds, "In this connection it is noteworthy that just as renewed understanding of the free offer of the Gospel led to the age of overseas missions in England, so it did also--by different means--in Scotland." Robert Moffat, a result of that revival, wrote, "Much depends on us who have received the ministry of reconciliation, assured that God our Saviour willeth the salvation of all." The truth is, if it were to come down to one incorrect belief over another, the belief that God desires all to be saved is more consistent with universal atonement than with limited atonement.
Yet Dr. White interacts with NONE of the above. He simply says that the concern is personally troubling and that his group of people are faithful to witness at a semi-annual conference. Then he offers this lecture:
"Indeed, the decline in American evangelicalism that manifests itself in the substitution of programs, drama, coffee bars, and anemic preaching that avoids a call to repentance can be laid directly at the feet of Arminianism, not Calvinism."
Do you go to a Reformed church and... Do you have a cool youth pastor? 'nuff said. Do you have a cool rock band that plays Sunday morning? 'nuff said. Yet Dr. White continues:
"When you have to worry about "offending" the almighty creature you have to start using non-biblical methods of "evangelism," and inevitably it is the evangel that suffers. But it is the gospel that speaks to man's true need, and it is the gospel that saves and results in changed (not slightly modified) lives. And the gospel of Scripture is the gospel of the Reformation."
While this all sounds very impressive, it completely ignores what Dr. Geisler brought up. Is this his idea of a rebuttal? It is also a shame that the "gospel" that Dr. White preaches is Lordship Salvation instead of the Gospel of the Christ that the Apostle Paul declared. 1Cor 15:1-11

Concern: "Calvinism undermines the motivate for intercessory prayer" Once again Dr. White fails to quote Dr. Geisler but offers:
"This, too, is false. Indeed, we turn the accusation around on Arminianism: if the Holy Spirit is already convicting every man of sin as best He can, and if God is already "giving His all" to save a particular person, why in the world pray for that person? What good would it do?"
It is truly a shame on Dr. White that his "rebuttal" is so full of straw-man arguments to rebut. It is a shame on all those who have praised this book as well. Giving His all? Really? Find me a quote of Dr. Geisler anywhere anytime let alone in CBF of him saying ANYTHING of the kind. Dr. White continues with his ridiculous punching match with the straw-man for a while and then offers:
"Intercessory prayer is, by nature, Reformed. That is, it recognizes the sovereignty of God and His ability to change the hearts of men! Every such prayer is tacit recognition that the biblical doctrine is the reformed one."
Once again we find Dr. White abandoning his theology in order to defend it. If God has in His "Eternal Decrees of God" already decreed everything that will ever happen... everyone who will be saved... everyone who will go to Hell... every rape... scraped knee... breast cancer test result... in Eternity Past THEN GOD HIMSELF IS NOT FREE TO INTERCEDE SO ASKING HIM TO IS ABSURD. Not surprisingly Dr. White fails, yet again, to interact with the actual concern raised by Dr. Geisler.
"While prayer cannot change the nature of God (see Chapter 1), it can be used by God to implement His will to change people and things. Joshua prayed, and the sun stood still (Josh 10). Elijah prayed, and the heavens were shut up for three and a half years (1Kings 17-18; James 5:17). Moses prayed, and God's judgment on Israel was stayed (Num 14). While prayer is not a means to get our will done in heaven, it is a means by which God gets His will done on Earth. Things do change because we pray, for a sovereign God has ordained to use prayer as a means to the end of accomplishing these things."
I'll ask the same question I asked in Part 7. Does this sound like the person or theology that Dr. White has been "rebutting"? Dr. Geisler gets to the concern:
"But if we believe God will do these things even if we do not pray, then there is no need for prayer. What we believe about how God's sovereignty relates to our free will does make a difference in how--and how much--we pray." 
But Dr. White doesn't see fit to interact with the actual concern. Instead he just repeats his Calvinist mantra about God changing people so they can believe... Dr. Geisler doesn't limit intercessory prayer to just asking for people to be saved, but instead speaks of prayer for all things.

What Now?
"Chosen But Free presents what it calls a "balanced view" of divine election. We have seen that it does nothing of the sort. It presents Arminianism under the guise of "moderate Calvinism.""
Dr. White asks "What now?" and makes the above statement. I have a sincere question for anyone who has read TPF or even just this series of articles, and who has NOT read CBF. What is Dr. Geisler's view of Election? Can you even begin to explain what he says about it? I can't possibly see how you could. Why? Because Dr. White has failed in every way possible to interact with what CBF actually presents. While I vehemently disagree with Dr. White, anyone who has read this series of articles will not be surprised by the arguments and positions they find espoused in TPF when they read it. I have been honest with the man, his theology, and his arguments. I cannot say he has done likewise with Geisler, not by a long shot.
"But the single most important issue that we wish to communicate to the reader is this: CBF's attempts to defend Arminianism through the use of Scripture fail, consistently. On an exegetical basis CBF does not pass the most cursory examination, let alone an in-depth critique. The reader has seen examples of eisegesis in every single chapter of CBF. Surely the strength of Reformed theology is its biblical bais, and the weakness of Arminian theology is its philosophical basis. The reformed position begins with Scriptural truths. The Arminian position begins with philosophical necessities, and we have seen, over and over again, the result of forcing philosophical presuppositions into the text of Scripture."
Perhaps Dr. White is thinking of different books other than The Potter's Freedom and Chosen But Free. He does seem to reference CBF... but I cannot remember a single instance where Dr. White showed Dr. Geisler using eisegesis. I may simply not remember.. that is possible. However, since I read CBF and have a fairly good idea of the chapters it contains I know for a fact that Dr. White did not even mention most of the book let alone give examples from every chapter, whether showing esisgesis or not.. he simply ignored most of CBF.

Go ahead and look at my brief view of the first two chapters of Chosen But Free in Part 7 of this series. Did Dr. White interact with any of what he brought up in even just these two chapters? It it were not so dangerous for Believers who take TPF seriously, it would be laughable that it has "The Rebuttal of Norman Geisler's Chosen But Free" in its title. Frankly, TPF interacts with very little of CBF and none of it's main points as they are made. Instead TPF takes the reader on wild goose chases against various theological systems...
"A person who believes in sola scriptura (Scripture alone is the final and only infallible rule of faith for the Church) and in tota Scriptura (one must believe all of Scripture, not just parts) must wrestle with the issues raised in this book. A person who cannot provide a contextually-based, fair and honest interpretation of such passages as John 6:37-45 Romans 8:28-9:23, or Eph 1:3-11, must face this fact and be willing to abandon long-held and maybe even cherished traditions."
As I have gone through all of these passages, and every single argument raised in TPF, I wonder if Dr. White would follow this "must"...

That concludes my interaction with the main text of TPF. I quoted from CBF a great deal this time because this final chapter was actually more about that book than the entire rest of TPF was. As is clearly demonstrated, and which must be without controversy, Dr. White simply ignores what CBF really says and offers answers to arguments he would apparently rather answer. I'll now move on to a brief look at the appendices and the final pages of the book.

Appendix 1 "Dr. Geisler's Class Project Reviewed and Refuted"

Dr. White found out that Dr. Geisler added an appendix to CBF that discussed TPF. He has decided it must be a class project and not something that Dr. Geisler himself has written. I'm not going to bother with much of it because it truly is nothing more than foolishness... an argument about who said this or that... he takes issue with:
"The next thing I noted was the glaring presence of ad hominem argumentation, even in teh midst of accusing me of using it in The Potter's Freedom (hearafter TPF)...."Pf offers virtually unlimited opportunities for beginning theology students to identify logical fallacies" Later we are told, "the author takes great pride in his exegetical stills" even though we are not given any references or basis upon which this assertion is made. Further examples follow in the review. The appendix says TPF engages in name-calling, ad hominem argumentation, and poisoning the well, which, if true, would be serious charges."
I guess all I can respond to this with has already been provided in The Debatter's Potter series itself. If anyone thinks that Dr. Geisler's "class project" (poisoning the well... ad hominem.. name calling...) misses the mark then you have not read this series of articles, you have not read TPF or you are blinded by your admiration of Dr. White. I see no other possible explanation, but if you do please comment.

Dr. White takes issue with Dr. Geisler (or his class...) asking "Where's the Exegesis?" and he writes:
"TPF contains literally hundreds of pages of positive exegetical presentation"?
Again, all I need to respond with has already been provided here. Perhaps I missed these hundreds of pages while I was examining the book so closely?

He closes the Appendix with:
"Unless Dr. Geisler can explain how this kind of material has some relevance to the actual topic at hand, it should be pulled from circulation with apologies to all concerned, but especially to his own readers. There is no other course to follow."
One could suggest the exact same to Dr. White with regard to TPF, seeing as it largely ignores the book it is titled as a rebuttal of.

Appendix 2: Two Controversial Texts
"This work has been blessed of God over the past eight years. It has challenged, and enlightened, many who struggle to work through the issues surrounding God's kingly freedom and man's responsibility in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The initial range of discussion was fixed by the claims and arguments of Norman Geisler's Chosen But Free, but that work opened the door to a full presentation of the doctrines of God's sovereign grace. It was the biblical nature of those doctrines that has been used to bring many to an understanding, appreciation, and love of those truths.
Two texts that were not discussed in the first edition of this book will be examined, albeit briefly, in this addition to the original text of The Potter's Freedom." 

I wonder if Joel Osteen believes his work has been "blessed of God" because "many" people have joined him in his stadium sized church (with some 38,000 people attending weekly)?

The first of the two "controversial texts" is 2Peter 2:1-3 which is mentioned in CBF but never addressed in TPF.
"The second text is never mentioned in CBF, so why include it here? Mainly because this work has come to have a role that I did not originally foresee: as an introduction to reformed theology, it would be useful to address the most common test I have heard cited to me that was not itself raised by Dr. Geisler, that being 1Tim 4:10"
If TPF has become an introduction to Reformed Theology, and is as has been demonstrated a vacuum of evidence and argumentation for the theology, one wonders why anyone is still becoming Reformed these days... I'm tempted to assume it is due to the biblical illiteracy of his audience, but I suspect there is much more going on than just that.

Of 1Tim 4:10 Dr. White offers:
"This particular section of Paul's epistle to Timothy contains a number of exhortations, and there is not a single, over-arching contextual argument being pursued. As such, each segment of the text has to be carefully examined and we must take care not to force the text into foreign context simply because it is possible to do so."
Look at this point, with all the experience I've now had with Dr. White, this is just plain laughable.
"The first observation to be offered is that unlike the texts we have examined before, where we have a specific discourse on a particular subject, this passage mentions the role of God as Savior "in passing". No explanation is provided, and the reader is to understand these words in light of a pre-existing, shared belief."
"In passing"? "the reader is to understanding these words in light of a pre-existing, shared belief"? Is this really exegesis?
"This statement is a brief comment, made in passing. As such, sound exegetical practice would require caution in pressing this text into service as a foundational prooftext for either side."
Do the readers remember what Dr. White called "the most obvious passages which show saving faith is a gift of God"? If any reader missed it, and therefore thinks we should take Dr. White's words of caution seriously please go back and read Part 18.

Before I become entirely too dismissive of Dr. White I must quote something where he comes close to making a sound argument. There is much truth in the basis for his argument, but as I'll show, it simply does not work with this passage.
"The Reformed interpreter recognizes that here, as in so many other places, reading "all people" extensively is far more indicative of modern Western thinking than it is New Testament thinking. Instead, recognizing the theme in Paul's epistles to Timothy that militates against the Jewish exclusivists (those who would limit God's blessings to those in the covenant, those bearing the covenant signs), they would argue that "all people" points us to Jews and Gentiles, or, to use more specific biblical language, "men from every tribe, tongue, people and nation" (Revelation 5:9). Hences the comment is an assertion of God's Saviorhood of Jews and Gentiles, over against the Jewish exclusivists, and is not a commentary on the extent of the atonement, intention of the atonement, etc. and etc."
Yes Paul does deal with this the theme of God saving both Jews and Gentiles in many places. However, there is no grammatical reason to believe that is what he is doing here. There is merely the requirement to find some way to save Reformed Theology from an obvious assault on it from God's own Word.

BUT, let's just say (for the sake of giggles) that Dr. White is correct. Let's read this passage using something I taught Believers to do in my book Fail-Safe For Fallacy. Let's exchange Dr. White's explanation for the words of the Text he is explaining and see if the sentence still makes sense.

Here is the verse as it is translated in the NKJV.

1Tim 4:10
For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.
Now here it is with Dr. White's explanation.
For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of both Jews and Gentiles, especially of those who believe.
Does it work? Here's the problem... "especially those who believe" tells us that Paul is saying that God is the Saviour of those that don't believe, and especially those who do. You can redefine "all men" using whatever Calvinistic justification you want but Paul's point still stands. He is the savior of all, and especially those who believe.

Dr. White literally goes on for pages and pages about the Greek of "all men"... but misses Paul's point. He is the Saviour of all, especially those who believe. White's theology simply cannot withstand this test.

Then he gets to what he calls:

2 Peter 2:1 and the False Teachers

UPDATE: I have revised this section because it was written poorly by myself late in the evening while I was rushing to finish. I should have just left it unfinished until I could do it correctly. My argument with Dr. White is unchanged, but hopefully it will make sense to everyone now. :)

He quotes simply the first verse, but I want to quote the first three to keep the passage intact.

2Peter 2:1-3
But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.
Dr. White introduces his argument with:
"Here the Apostle Peter harkens back to the story of Israel to draw a parallel between the people of God in those days and the primitive Christian church in his own.... Though they claim to be servants of God, bearing His authority, they betray the very position they claim to possess by teaching and preaching falsehoods."
Then he explains:
"Peter himself establishes the parallel to the people of Israel with the words, "but false prophets among the people."
This is the seed of one of the ways how Dr. White will explain the verse. He explains these false teachers Peter is warning about as some Jewish objectors to the Christian faith.
"It is appropriate then to seek Old Testament backgrounds to the concepts found in Peter's words, as he would expect his audience to be drawing upon their knowledge of the Old Testament people of God."
When I first read this I found it completely unreasonable, but there is some reason to expect that if he spoke of "the people" that it would bring to mind the issues that the "the people" had faced and gone through. I do think that stating what he think's Peter would have "expected" is over the top given that he cannot establish this assertion from the Text.
"To this point I have not raised any of the most problematic issues relating to the interpretation of this passage. I have done so on purpose. I wish to demonstrate that the text can be fairly and contextually read without even taking notice of all the areas of dispute and battle."
I've removed (from my first version of this article) his explanation of the verse with out the "problematic issues." It was in short, that this is some sort of transitional discussion talking about disobedience moving into judgment.  But anyway, so if you take out the troubling parts it makes perfect sense? If we decide that Peter is teaching about something else, and find a way to make that something else fit with the remaining words (after we remove those which are most troubling) we can show that the passage can possibly make sense without the troubling bits... He did this "on purpose" and admitted it? I think this is just some sort of distraction and it is a strange misstep for the debater to make, especially in the midst of such a debate worthy presentation.
"I believe the primary objection to be raised to the misuse of this text is a proof of universal atonement is to be found in the non-contextual nature of the assertion. That is, this text is not about the atonement. It is about false teachers and their coming judgment. To read the atonement into the text is to abuse its rightful meaning."
There are two ways he's going to explain the verse. One of them is going to be about what the word "bought" means.
"We have see how clear and compelling the argument is for the perfection of the atoning work of Christ from those texts that specifically address the topic (Hebrews, Romans). We dare not overthrow the plain and clear on the basis of what we think a text might be implying elsewhere."
Apparently before we get to what "bought" means we have to be reminded that to question Dr. White's theology is to question the "perfection" of Christ's Cross-work. Yes we did see just how "clear" his arguments are which he claims, using emotional blackmail, shows the "perfection" of Christ's work. Unfortunately for his argument, the clear passages on the Atonement agree with the fact that Christ did in fact die for these false teachers, along with everyone else. You can see that discussed in Part 15 and Part 16.
"The primary use of this text is by those who deny the perfection of the work of Christ in salvation."
See... emotional blackmail. How is this type of argumentation seen as valid at all? If you disagree with White apparently you're calling Christ's cross-work "imperfect." The man ought to be ashamed of such a practice yet he repeats it over and over.
"And they say "Look, it says Jesus died for them, so clearly, these are true believers who go astray and are then lost..." 
Yet another distraction is brought up. Dr. White begins to argue against the possibility of a Believer loosing their Salvation. In a debate it is very helpful to the one presenting an argument to get their audience to agree with them several times leading up to the big point. It's also a proven sales technique.  This is nothing more than a debate tool here.
"And does the text actually say that Jesus died for these men?...The assumption is made that "Master" is automatically Jesus as Savior, and that "bought" is to be read as synonymous with "died so as to save.""
So after agreeing with the man several times the audience is expected to follow this assertion. That reading "the Master who bought them" as redemption is just an assumption. Oh wait, Dr. White makes sure not to call it "redemption" but instead uses the awkward phrase "died so as to save." How do I know this is an intentional act? Because his argument will require to meanings for "bought" to be used here and one of them will be redemptive.      

To redeem someone or something is to buy them. If they have been redeemed they are "bought." These false teachers whose destruction does not slumber have been bought. But White's argument has hardly even started so let's not "assume" we have the answer just yet.

Dr. White talks about how there is a different term for Lord or Master here than is usually used for Jesus as Lord and Savior. It is the Greek word Despotes. He also notes that the term bought, or the Greek Agorazoare is mentioned without a price... a simple search of the NT shows that "bought" when it means purchase doesn't always require a price to be mentioned.

Dr. White says this terminology "...points us to an ownership issue, not a redemptive issue." He says "The Bible uses the same kind of language elsewhere." Then he quotes Deut 32:5-6 and offers:
"Here, Yahweh, the God of Israel, refers to having "bought" the people of Israel. But clearly this is an action of Sovereignty, not of redemption, for the perallel is "He has made you and established you." Here the Hebrew is translated in teh Greek Septuagint as ktaomai. Gary Long has rightly observed "The two words ktaomai and agorazoare are used interchangeably in the two Old Testament parallel accounts.... ktaomai is translated, respectively bought and buy in the NIV and acquired and obtain in the NASB. "
OK does anyone reading think that Exodus didn't happen? That God did not redeem, or purchase out of, Egypt the nation of Israel? Dr. White makes a long convoluted argument about how "bought" can really mean "own" in an intrinsic way... and finds what he thinks is an example of it in Deut 32:5-6. As complicated, long winded and full of smoke and mirrors as this argument is.. it is really is built on one simple assertion.

He asserts that in Deut 32:6 the phrases Is He not your Father, who bought you?
Has He not made you and established you? are parallel and thus mean the same thing.

Is that what Moses was indicating however? You'll have to read Exodus to find out. In short no, that's not what Moses meant. The Lord bought them out of Egypt and established them in the land. These two statements are two different things.

Dr. White continues.
"We must insist that the text does not say that the Master tries to purchase, makes purchase possible, etec..."
Again, his argument is so convoluted and weak that he must stack it against a Straw-Man instead of the actual challenges brought against his theology. He "must insist" that the Text doesn't say what no one says it says? Well that's good, me too! *smile*
"...but that as an accomplished fact, these false teachers had been "purchased" [that is Dr. White is saying owned intrinsically because God created them] by the despotes, the Despot, the sovereign Master. Their rebellion against him brings their destruction, a destruction that has been from "long ago"(2:3)."  
Does this even make sense in Peter's teaching? Is that what Peter would have "expected" his audience to understand? Dr. White then quotes Wayne Grudem, who notes the redemption of Israel that Dr. White forgot about when looking at Deut 32:5-6, and talks about how God bought them out of Egypt.

Grudem connects these false teachers to false teachers in Israel after the Exodus who by their false teaching denied the Father who had bought them out of Egypt. The last sentence of the quote has Grudem writing of 2Pet 2:1 and saying "Christ's specific redemptive work on the cross is not in view in this verse."

While White's argument stands on a parallel equivalence that does not exist, Grudem's argument depends on these new false teachers actually being Jewish objectors to the Christian faith. Just like the Text doesn't show the parallel, the Text doesn't say these false teachers who will be among us are Jewish. It does however at least seem to show that the false teachers that will be (and today surely are) among us are denying the Lord, the Despotes who has the right to punish, in similar ways and they will seem to have a similar fate. It is a comparison of the two to show what will happen, not an equivalence of the two.

Having momentarily abandoned his intrinsic ownership argument Dr. White quotes Grudem explaining how these being Jewish false teachers who were, by being Jewish, bought out of Egypt. He needs the intrinsic argument to be understood because of the lack of evidence for these false teachers being Jewish objectors, but Grudem's quote is more helpful to him than his own argument. He writes:
"This view maintains the context and flows naturally into the judgment material that follows. There is no reason to read into the text all sorts of considerations that have no place in Peter's writings about false teachers."
OK here's the passage again. Give it a read and see if you see what Dr. White is talking bout.

2Peter 2:1-3
But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.
This is talking about what these new false teachers will do, and how God will treat them. Not identifying them as Jewish. No matter that it is the only way to save Dr. White's theology here, Peter simply doesn't say it or imply it. But just as the old false teachers had been bought, these new ones also were bought. Just as they had been bought out of Egypt as a picture of what Christ would do, these new false teachers have been bought at the Cross of Calvary. The false teachers today are denying the doctrine of God's faithfulness that is at hand today, just as the false teachers after the Exodus were denying the doctrine of God's faithfulness that had been at hand then. Go read Exodus, all of it, and see how the people wanted to return to Egypt because they didn't trust God in the wilderness. Go see what happened to those false teachers. Their destruction didn't slumber either.

If we were to take the equivalence that Peter uses and apply it strictly, we could understand that these false teachers could be of the same sort that Paul deals with in Galatians and that the Letter to the Hebrews deals with. False teachers who are trying to return Jewish believers in Christ back into Judaism. If I were forced to come down on this issue that's where I would land, but I don't think Peter uses the equivalence that strictly. It seems to me Peter does not provide the details that we can force on the Text if we try because he's actually dealing with all false teachers, not just those who would see all become Jews or teach that the Church is the new "Spiritual Israel" or the "Israel of God" and the like...

There we have made it through the last argument in The Potter's Freedom. True to form, it required first the removal of some troubling concepts (that they were bought) and then the introduction of one of two concepts not found in the text, that they are actually Jewish false teachers, or that being "bought" actually means being intrinsically "owned."

Dr. White closes his book with the sentence:
"The fact that this is such a key text to many only demonstrates once again how non-Reformed exegetes are forced to major on minor texts while ignoring the plain, full discussions of key issues at stake."
What can I say? After seeing how Dr. White treats the Scriptures, and after having spent months exhaustively discussing the "key issues at stake" I simply can do nothing more than smirk at his final quip.

What follows after that final quip is 9 more pages (on my Kindle) of what is called "More Praise For The Potter's Freedom..." I'll save you the quotes...

It is my intention to have the conclusion to this series posted by this coming Friday. In it I will share my highlights from the series, high and low moments. Some thoughts on my emotional roller coaster throughout the last months of this intensive study.  How creepy it has been to read Dr. White refer  to himself as "we" from about halfway through the book on. Some changes I'm making as a result of having read TPF. Why I won't recommend Chosen But Free to believers seeking to investigate Calvinism any more. And a few other things that have been on my heart all these months.

Thank you all for reading these massive articles! Thank you for the encouragement I've received both publicly and privately. I'm not sure I ever had confidence that I would get this far in the series, it seemed like an impossible feat when I started. 

Friday, December 07, 2012

The Debater's Potter - Part 19 - Chapter 13

Welcome again to the series of articles I'm calling The Debater's Potter where I respond to and interact with Dr. James R. White's book The Potter's Freedom: A Defense of the Reformation and The Rebuttal of Norman Geisler's Chosen But Free which I will refer to using the acronym TPF. I have previously read Dr. Norman Geisler's Chosen But Free(CBF) and agree with the overall position he presents but not with all of the details he supplies or his interpretations of some passages of Scripture.

For the first time in this series I am writing with the full knowledge of the book. Early Wednesday morning I finished reading it. Throughout the series I have been concerned with Prov 18:13. So I have been working very hard to ensure I fully understand each of his points. I have been reading ahead of where I am writing as an additional safeguard. Even with my concerns I wanted to have a near real-time interaction with the book. In my opinion this type of interaction demands honesty and thoroughness. Since I've been making statements all along, if my views were incorrect they would be exposed as such. As deeply as I've been investigating what Dr. White has been teaching I have also been revealing my own views and allowing them to be tested. By doing it as I go I cannot (at least not very easily) protect any potential weakness in my own doctrine, and that's a good thing.

If you're new to this series of articles please start waaaaay back at the Introduction where you'll find an index with links to all these articles. In attempt to keep these articles at short as possible I'm not repeating much information that has already been established. 

Last time we finished up Chapter 12 by looking at what Dr. White calls the "most obvious" verses which teach that "saving faith is a gift of God" in his defense of the doctrine of Irresistible Grace. This time we'll be looking at the 13th chapter which is simply titled Irresistible Grace. Let's get into it:

Irresistible Grace 

"The idea that God would sovereignly change a sinner from a God-hater to a God-lover by the exercise of divine power seems especially reprehensible to Dr. Geisler."
Perhaps it is not that God "would" do this, but that your doctrine is simply not found in the Scriptures that Dr. Geisler has issue with.

White offers some discussion of the "Earlier Augustine" vs the "Later Augustine" with regard to his changing views on Calvnistic doctrines and some discussion about how Dr. Geisler characterizes pre-faith regeneration as a violation. Neither discussion is of any particular interest to me... it's all just arguing about semantics that have nothing to do with the Scriptures. 

Getting to some scripture, he tries to defend his pre-faith regeneration doctrine. He brings up Psa 105:25 and Jos 11:20. One must ask if these verses match the doctrine he is trying to use them to defend. Do they match by either stating it directly - that God raises dead sinners to life so they will believe in Him - or by demonstrating that God does this. In both cases I can say no these verses have no bearing on the subject. For in neither case do we find God changing the bent of a person. Were these people Israel-lovers whom God changed into Israel-haters? Of course not. God hardened their will, the same thing He did with Pharaoh. God is not the author of their hate, He simply used it for His purposes.

Next up he quotes Isa 63:17 and this verse is a special case. The Calvinist who has primarily only studied works by teachers such as Dr. White may well be tempted to say 'Got Ya!' Last time I talked about how God is not the author of sin. He does not decree sin. He did not make you and I do the sins we do. He did not make Satan do the sin he does. Let's read the verse and see how that fits with Scripture however.

Isa 63:17

Lord, why have You made us stray from Your ways,And hardened our heart from Your fear?Return for Your servants’ sake,The tribes of Your inheritance.
We're going to have a bit of a discussion about this verse but, doesn't this say that God made them sin? Isn't that what it says? No, it says this is what Israel was saying to God. Yes it is inspired Scripture. This is really what Israel was saying to God, and that doesn't mean it presents good doctrine. My first thought was of how Adam tried the same thing when he said to God that the woman He gave her made him do it. Gen 3:12

My next thought was that this sounds much like praying to God to "lead us not into temptation" which is to say to lead us away from temptation, not a prayer that He wouldn't lead us into it. Matt 6:13

Then I went to look at the Hebrew, but the truth is I'm simply not very good with Hebrew. It's an entirely different kind of language than Greek and English. It is a language of experience, imagery and observation. Frankly, that leaves a lot of room for poor interpretation by someone with limited skill. I looked and found that the word "made" is not even in the sentence... then I found out that the word for "to stray" has causality in it's form. I'm out of my depth here in Hebrew.

While I am reasonably satisfied that the verse doesn't teach doctrine, but teaches the excuses and fears of people, I was not comfortable with my lack of specific knowledge about the verse. I have access to Hebrew helps, but I don't have time to become skilled in using them. So I visited Google; something that can be helpful and/or very dangerous.

I must note that the following extra-biblical resources are not offered as authority on the subject. In the Scripture we find the Prophet Isaiah relaying Israel's complaint and we find God spending the next few chapters explaining His wrath toward the nation. Their excuse is therefore hardly to be taken as something to build doctrine on. There is more however, the Israelites were afraid of the condition they found themselves in. It is a weighty passage deserving of much more than simply quoting one verse out of a parade of chapters in the entire passage.

No I offer the following to show that Dr. White, in his extreme attempt to prove his doctrine, violates even his much beloved historic Reformed Theology.

Through Google I found John Calvin's commentary on the verse here. (scroll down to commentary on Vs 17) It seems that John Calvin did not agree with using the verse the way that Dr. White does. The passage is too long to quote here and maintain context so I will ask you to visit the page and read the commentary on Vs 17 yourself. In short, Calvin states that the sin of Israel is not by design of God that they are in fact themselves guilty of their own sin. God didn't make them do it, but that because He withdraws His Spirit from those who harden their hearts He leaves them too it.

I also found a quote from Dr. White's beloved Westminster Confession (scroll to Section 17.3 and click on ref numbers to see scripture references below).

Section 17.3.—Nevertheless they may, through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevalency of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins; [Matt 26:70,72,74] and for a time continue therein: [Ps 51:14] whereby they incur God's displeasure, [Isa 64:5,7,9; 2 Sam 11:27] and grieve his Holy Spirit; [Eph 4:30] come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts; [Ps 51:8,10,12; Rev 2:4; Song 5:2-4,6] have their hearts hardened, [Isa 63:17; Mark 6:52; Mark 16:14] and their consciences wounded; [Ps 32:3-4; Ps 51:8] hurt and scandalize others, [2 Sam 12:14] and bring temporal judgments upon themselves. [Ps 89:31-32; 1 Cor 11:32]
It is apparent that John Calvin himself, and even the Westminster Confession agree that the hardening of hearts comes after the free act of one's own decision. Not that God is the author of sin, or even the initiator of hard hearts. I've said the same things myself in articles like Pharaoh's Hard Heart Did't Start With God and The Drawing of God.

So, even if the words of Israel objecting to God could be used to establish doctrine on if God is the author of sin or not even the Calvinists agree that this passage does not say that God "made" them sin.

Could this be an example of Dr. White being "more Calvinistic than John Calvin" and thereby make him recognizable as an "Extreme Calvinist"? *smile* I simply could not resist... the temptation to make this joke was irresistible... oh someone make me stop!! It's your fault I'm making these jokes because you're not stopping me!!! ;)

Next up Dr. White quotes Jer 32:40. Of course he does so with the purpose of defending his idea that God regenerates people who don't believe in Him. That He turns "God-haters into God-lovers" so they can believe in Christ... Yet what the Prophet Jeremiah is offering here is a promise to a people who love God, Israel. A people who knew and believed in God, Israel. A people who desperately wanted to be obedient in their love but endlessly found that capacity to be simply not in them, Israel. This is not a promise to the Elect. Further, it doesn't fit with Dr. White's premise because this New Covenant will be ratified when Israel says of the Lord Jesus Christ "Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the LORD!" They will get these blessings in their hearts AFTER they believe in and confess Christ is Lord.

The Issue of Omnibenevolence

The word Omni means "all, universally." Benevolence means to be charitable, kind. The term Omnibenevolence means to be universally kind or charitable to all. Thats' just what the word means. There is no secrete theological back story here; no hidden agenda. It's just a word, and that's just what it means. 

Dr. White quotes Dr. Geisler on the subject of the Calvinistic doctrine of partiality in God with regard to love: 
"...But if the real reason they go to hell is that God does not love them, irresistibly regenerate them, and give them faith to believe, then their failure to believe truly would result from God's lack of love for them." 
Seems pretty straight forward doesn't it? If God, in the past, blinded all men and left them Totally Unable to believe, and if God must regenerate people to change them from God-haters into God-lovers, then ultimately anyone's failure to believe, or even love God, is actually the result of God's lack of love for them. On a side note; I am then drawn to ask - what offense is this to God then? I mean do you think there's someone in say Chicago who doesn't know you, who doesn't believe in you, who doesn't love you....someone who would believe in you if you revealed yourself to them, who may even love you if you loved them.... but you haven't and they don't. Further you've gone out of your way to ensure they can't ever find out about you. Does their lack of belief in you, and love for you offend you? Do you think they should be punished? Have they wronged you by not seeking you out? Calvinism makes God into an irrational being.... but that's just a side note. 

Dr. White responds to Geisler with:
"Here is CBF's summary of the Reformed position. Men go to hell because God did not love them and save them. God didn't love them enough..." 
And your argument against this is?
"What can be said in response to this? The single most fundamental rebuttal of this erroneous argument is simply this: Arminians should well consider why they demand that God have less freedom in His actions and His love than they grant to the creature man?... the key problem with Geisler's attack is that it demands that God's love be indiscriminate. While man has the freedom to love those closest to him with a particular love that is not given to anyone else, God is not granted this freedom. If He is to be 'all loving' then His love is to have no distinctions, no freedom, not particularity." 
OK I'm confused was Geisler's statement erroneous as Dr. White said, or true because God has the freedom to love with "particularity"? This isn't a rebuttal, it does not prove Dr. Geisler's summary of the Reformed Position as being false. No, it is a supposed defense of that same position. Dr. White is simply saying that it is OK for God to love one and not another..."in the same way"... because God should have at least have the same freedom that man has... to love those who are closest to Him more or differently than those who are farther away. 

Here's the problem, Dr. White claims that God is "omnibenevolent" which means God is charitable, or kind to all, universally. It does not mean that God is charitable, or kind to just some people... say the ones He has "chosen" to be kind to. 

Now I can defend God's omnibenevolence from the Scripture easily. John 3:16. For God loved the whole creation in this way, that He gave His only begotten Son that any who believe shall not perish but have ever lasting life. In my book Fail-Safe for Fallacy, I use this verse as a demonstration of how good hermeneutics can help you understand small but important details in the Bible. The word "so" in the verse means "in this way" not "so very much." God's omnibenevolence is that He gave His only begotten Son for everyone, universally. Here we see that God has loved everyone, and in exactly the same way: omnibenevolence. 

But what of Dr. White's claim that God ought to have the "same freedom" as the creature, man? Does man claim to be all loving? Does anyone ascribe omnibenevolence to man? Is man capable of selfless agape love? Is not our "freedom" to show partiality simply a manifestation of how we fall short of the glory of the God Who as the Apostle Peter preached "Shows no partiality"? Acts 10:34 Are we not warned against judgment for showing partiality ourselves by the Brother of the Lord, James? James 2:1-13 We'll see shortly how Dr. White complains about illustrations that portray a person in the roll of God for the purposes of making a point because it reduces God to the level of man and supposedly impacts the reception of the teaching. Yet here Dr. White has no issue with reducing God's love to that of sinful man in order to make his point. 

He goes so far at one point as to write:

"We exercise choice in our love relationships, knowing how costly true love is, and how precious it is."
Would it be too costly for God to love everyone?

No matter if you agree with Dr. White that God ought to have the freedom to choose who He loves and who He doesn't, or you don't - if God does not love all then He is not omnibenevolent. 

In the end the issue isn't about freedom at all. It is about God's Word, and our belief of it or our demand that God be who we want Him to be instead of Who He is. Could God love only this or that person? I assume He could... I assume He has that "freedom." However, my assumptions bow to the Scriptures where we find that God has loved the whole creation, the Kosmos, by giving His Son. 

To be fair White goes on to say that it is a "pure misrepresentation" to say that the only reason men go to Hell is because God didn't love them because God sends people there out of justice. That He is under no obligation to save anyone from the just judgment of their sins.  Yet, were not the Elect also just as guilty, just as deserving of Hell? In a previous chapter Dr. White assured us that the Calvinists believes this to be so. So then what is the difference between those who are saved and those who never can be in the Calvinist system? That God loved the one and not the other... After writing that Dr. Geisler's summary is "pure misrepresentation" he finishes with:

"There is a single five-letter word that will separate the vilest sinner screaming epithets at God from the parapet of hell and the most adoring saint in heaven showering Him with praises: G R A C E. Nothing else." 
So um... based on how Dr. White defines this grace as being "resurrection power"... how exactly is Dr. Geisler offering "pure misrepresentation" as a summary of the Reformed position? He's not of course, but some doctrines of Calvinism are not very pretty when they are just stated out right. They need fancy names and long sermons to make them seem to come from God, but when stated plainly the transformed mind rejects it outright. Rom 12:2

Before we move on I would like to comment on a somewhat side issue that Dr. White brings up here.

"And, hell exists, and men will be punished therein, to demonstrate both His perfect justice as well as the glory of His grace upon those that He freely chose to bring to Himself."
We are told that hell exists because God prepared it for Satan and Satan's angels. Mat 25:41 Nowhere do we read in Scripture that it exists to demonstrate His justice or His grace. In fact God's perfect justice was demonstrated at the Cross. Rom 3:23-26 

Dr. White spends a few pages talking about how apparently Dr. Geisler's view is that God "tries and tries, but fails" to save sinners. It actually becomes irritating he repeats this Straw-Man Argument so many times in this chapter. He argues against the idea that God is obligated to show mercy to sinners, or owes sinners mercy.... again Dr. Geisler offers no such doctrine. Should one like to know what Dr. Geisler actually says they can start with Part 7: A Brief View of Chosen But Free, but reading the book would be a better option. Simply reading TPF alone is not be a viable option for forming an accurate opinion on the subject.

After more discussion about how man can choose who he will and will not love, so God must be allowed the same "freedom" Dr. White quotes a 'parable' that Dr. Geisler uses to show that the Calvinists present God as NOT being omnibenevolent. 

"Suppose a farmer discovers three boys drowning in his pond where he had placed signs clearly forbidding swimming. Further, noting their blatant disobedience he says to himself, 'They have violated the warning and have broken the law, and they have brought these deserved consequences on themselves.' Thus far he is manifesting his sense of justice. But if the farmer proceeds to say 'I will make no attempt to rescue them,' we would immediately perceive that something is lacking in his love. And suppose by some inexplicable whim he should declare: 'Even though the boys are drowning as a consequence of their own disobedience, nonetheless, out of the goodness of my heart I will save one of them and let the other two drown.' In such a case we would surely consider his love to be partial and imperfect."
Now before I quote some of Dr. White's concerns, do I really need to point out that parables created by man, to help man illustrate a point so that it can be understood will ALWAYS FALL SHORT OF ALL THE INTRICACIES OF THE SCRIPTURES? Does anyone reading this expect that every possible detail about the nature of God will be accurately portrayed in this parable? Will the point fail if some aspect of God is left out of the parable?

After noting that he'll be borrowing from C. Samuel Storms' response, ever the master debater Dr. White begins his response with:

"The major problem with the parable is not what it does say but what it doesn't say. It is the entire blocks of truth that are ignored that allows one to conclude that the loving God who redeems an unworthy people is in fact less than all loving."
Look, if you love one but not the other you are not "all loving." I know Calvinists have a hard time with the word all... but math still works. 
"Consider the fact that the parable uses a mere creature (the farmer) to represent the holy God.... the farmer would have limited knowledge would be sinful himself and in need of mercy, and may himself have jumped into some other farmer's pond when he was a kid. We expect certain things of human beings that we have no right to expect of the infinite, holy, almighty God." 
Like partiality in love? Dr. White has no issue lowering God to the level of a man when He is to be given "freedom" to love only those He chooses to, but when a limited concept is being explained it is unreasonable to have a story using the choice of a Farmer to explain the choice of God? Really?

He says that the reason we react to the story the way we do is "based on how we feel about a fellow human being (the farmer)." and quotes Storms' response to the parable:

"Related to this is the tendency to think that if he really wanted to, it would not affect the farmer in the least to simply to take down the sign, suspend the punishment, and turn his pond into a swimming hole for everyone to enjoy. But again God's retributive justice is not like an old had that he can discard if he so chooses. Retributive justice is as much a part of God's nature as love is."
Is this REALLY at issue in Geisler's parable? Is Geisler either directly or indirectly making this point? Dr. White goes on for pages and pages about the changes he would have to make to the parable in order to make it even "semi-workable"...I'm just going to skip most of it because it really has nothing to do with the point Geisler is making. Should anyone think that something White brings up actually does impact the discussion then please comment below and I'll interact with it. I've taken extensive notes on the section so I should be able to interact with any point he gives. Some of the things White brings up are:
  • That the farmer would have to be the greatest and most noble king and ruler of all time. 
  • That the seriousness of the sin be made realistic. 
  • They would have to have intentionally set fire to the king's castle. 
  • They would have been subjects of the king who have benefited greatly at his hand. 
  • They would have have to have a long track record of rebellion.
  • They would have to be portrayed as enjoying their rebellion, even while perishing in their own flames.
  • They would have have to have often found mercy at the hand of the king.
  • They would not be crying out for help.
  • They would make excuses for their sin and get mad at anyone who call it sin. 
  • They would mock the king's attempts to save them even through the flames of the fire they had set.
  • They would not cooperate with the rescue effort.  They lack the capacity (due to spiritual death) to take advantage of any kind of help. 
Some thoughts I had while reading these pages were that while Dr. White accuses Dr. Geisler of leaving out important details in his parable showing ONE single point, Dr. White's attempt to provide a holistic parable maintaining all aspects of the situation does so even more! Dr. White forgets the ministry of the Holy Spirit to convince and convict these sinners of their sin, judgment and of righteousness. Jn 16:5-11 It is His ministry to bring people to cry out for salvation.. but Dr. White leaves it out. He spends pages expounding on how awful the sin of these men would have to be. He explains at length that they would enjoy their sin. Is this to make it seem just for the king to let them burn? In Dr. Geisler's parable he makes it clear that it is just for the boys to suffer the consequences for their sin. But not only is this a straw-man, it is much worse. Dr. White fails to portray the fact that the king would have decreed everything these sinners did, and even decreed their enjoyment of it. 

After all of that showmanship how does Dr. White answer the actual point of Geisler's parable, which is to show that if God only loves some then He doesn't love all?
"So what are we to make of Dr. Geisler's assertion that a God who saves some rebel sinners (but not all) through the miracle of divine grace, freeing them from the shackles of sin, giving them a new heart and a new nature, despite their hatred of Him and His ways, sia denial of omnibenevolence? Once all the false assumptions are stripped away we an all see the error of the presentation. It is based upon the false view of God's holiness, a false view of His freedom, a false view of the sinfulness and capacities of man, and a complete misunderstanding of the freedom of God to show mercy as He wills not as we demand." 
In short he doesn't.  
"It is love beyond degree if the king sends his only son into the burning structure to save any of the rebels. There is no logical or rational argument that can be mustered to say that the king must send his son to save every single one of the rebels or else be 'imperfect' in his love.... 'Omnibenevolence' does not mean God's grace becomes something that can be demanded by all."
I'm not sure who says that God's grace can be demanded... but after an exhausting trip through pages of distraction we are left with the same issue we started with. Omni means all, universally. You can not be both omnibenevolent and selectively-benevolent. They are mutually exclusive terms. All means all, omni means omni...

There are next a few pages of banter about terminology. Dr. White accuses Dr. Geisler of redefining things, and I can't bring myself to engage with them in this article. There is nothing of consequence to be found, but as always I have taken extensive notes so should someone have a concern from this area they can comment and I'll interact.

Finally we return to the topic of:

Is Faith a Gift?

We're back to this again. What's worse is that we are treated to all the same verses from the previous chapter again. This time with commentary. I'm not going to repeat what was already covered in Part 18.  He does add a couple of new verses so we'll discuss them.

Of 1Cor 12:8-9 Dr. White offers:

"This passage plainly says that faith is a gift given by the Spirit.... We have only one question to ask in response: if the unregenerate, spiritually dead, slave-to-sin, natural man outside of Christ is capable of saving faith, why would a regenerate, born again, freed-from-sin spiritual man in Christ need a gift of faith?"
First, we find that the passage is telling that the Spirit only gives the gift of faith to some, not all Believers. This is of course Paul's point, that the same Spirit gives a diversity of gifts to a diversity of Believers. There is an aspect to this that Dr. White apparently misses, here we find Paul telling us that there are Believers whom God DOES NOT give faith.

Second this is a spiritual gift. It has to do with the prayer of faith. James 5:15. It is a miraculous gift. It actually has nothing to do with saving faith. Dr. White's usage is out of context and bizarre.

Of Acts 5:31 Dr. White offers:

"This passage is cited as evidence that God 'grants' repentance on the basis of the work of Christ."
Is that what it says? Is Peter's point that God gives sinners repentance based on the work of Christ? The Greek word Didomi here translated "grant" or "give", has a fairly wide range of potential meanings. Yet the passage is not unclear. Peter is making the point that we ought to obey God, not men. He also tells us why the Father raised Christ, whom they had murdered, from the dead.

Acts 5:30-31
30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. 31 Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
God raised up Jesus to give repentance to Israel. Not that God grants repentance based on work of Christ. Isn't it amazing how easy it is to see in the Text what people tell you to see?

Yet it still says "to give" repentance doesn't it? Well within the range of meanings of Didomi is the fact of furnishing, bringing about, supplying what is needed to make something happen. The Father raised Christ from the dead to supply what was needed for Israel to repent. They needed to see in order to believe.

The Jew needs a sign right? 1Cor 1:22 What "sign" did Jesus say they would get? ONLY the sign of the Prophet Jonah. That the Lord would be in the grave for three days and then be raised up. Mat 12:38-42

Dr. White ends the chapter complaining about the title of a section of CBF which is "Saving Faith is Something All Can Exercise." He writes:

"This truly does summarize the main problem with CBF: we have now seen that the attempted response to the biblical teaching that saving faith is a gift of God given to his (Dr. White's capitalization not mine) involves 1) skipping over certain passages such as 1Jn 5:1, Heb 12:2, and 2) providing non-substantive responses to passages such as 2Pet 1:1 and Phil 1:29. So we are left with the unfounded "implications" rather than direct biblical teaching. And these implications all come from the same source: the over-riding belief in creaturely freedom, a freedom that, sadly, is more important than the confession of the Potter's freedom to do with His creation as He sees fit, all to His glory and honor."
It is truly astounding to me that Dr. White could write that paragraph given the feats of misdirection, and manipulation of the Text he has had to engage in an attempt to prove his doctrine.

So far in this series of articles I have examined every single argument that Dr. White has thus far presented in defense of his doctrine and have not found a single one to be valid. I wont speculate as to the "implications" of this fact, but I will admit to being shocked by it. I had thought there would be more, by a long shot, to his theology than what has been demonstrated.