Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Potter's Freedom

I started reading James White's The Potter's Freedom last night on my Kindle. I'm working on a "First Impressions" article, but here are a few quick thoughts. I've never read anything by Mr. White before. I've never listened to him preach. I've never listened to him debate. I've only known him by reputation.

I've heard he is a fierce debater, and that some people find him to be very rude in his interaction with those who disagree with him on whatever topic. The Potter's Freedom was recommended to me by a very dear friend, who seems to hold Mr. White in high regard.

So far I find the book needlessly combative, insulting and manipulative. I'm not the least bit surprised to find such from a hard 5 Point Calvinist. I've discussed this behaviour at Lou's In Defense of the Gospel blog in an article entitled Calvinism, Religion and Worldliness and I've seen this behaviour demonstrated here ad nauseum. The one exception to this behaviour is the conversation I was blessed to have with a husband & wife couple with respect to the TULIP doctrine of Total Inability.

After doing that article on Total Inability my dear friend Fred suggested that I read White's book. Having previously disregarded the book I decided to read it. In the months since then I've been trying to purchase The Potter's Freedom on Kindle and have been unable to find it. Yesterday, I searched again and found it easily. Perhaps my inability to find it was the Potter showing me the folly of believing I had decided to read a book?

Depending on how exhausting this book is to read I intend on blogging my impressions as I go. For the record I believe that Mr. White's target, Norm Geisler and his work Chosen But Free puts forth a reasonable, plausible, reasonably Biblically defensible position which is very close that which I would hold. I have a higher view of God's sovereignty than what I think Mr. White allows for in his thinking. I guess I will find out as I read. However, based on what I've read so far I don't expect the book to be convincing, I expect it to be infuriating. So far as I've read, the author commits everything he complains about Geisler doing and claims near infallibility of the authors of the Reformed movement. Mr. White is a skilled debater. Being able to facilitate a "win" in a debate is a far cry from holding, and being able to explain and defend a true position.


Tom Shelton said...

After reading the book I would suggest you call into Dr. White's webcast (which he does twice a week) to discuss your observations with him. My guess is that he would be more than willing to take your call. You can find his webcast here:

Kevl said...

Hi Tom,

I normally do not post comments with links in them. Please don't be offended if I decide to delete this and replace it with a copy minus the link.

Somehow I doubt that calling into his show would be helpful. I will of course consider it, yet having nearly 4 years experience in broadcast radio I know how hosts can control a conversation. This awareness, coupled with Mr. White's reputation and my impression of the man (based on just the first 3 hours of reading this book) do not lead me to believe it would be worthwhile for me to do so.

Thanks for the comment!

Tom Shelton said...


I won't be offended. I added the link for your information should you be interested in calling Dr. White's webcast.

Also, I have read several of Dr. White's book and have listened to him regularly for some time now and I can say the only times I have heard him to be "rude" was when others were so to him first. I don't think it is his standard operating procedure. When people have serious questions I have heard him often be direct but very respectful in answering them even when they disagree with his answer.

I have read The Potter's Freedom and did not have the same impression you have of it being "needlessly combative, insulting and manipulative". Before I read it I read Chosen By God by Sproul, then Chosen But Free by Geisler, and then The Potter's Freedom. Maybe having that progression tempered my impressions of it.
I will be interested to read your further thoughts as you continue into the book.

Fred Keating said...

Hi Kevl, I too would encourage you to call in to The Dividing Line webcast. Having listened to all of Dr. White's podcasts and most of his videos in the last 8 months I have heard how he responds to people who disagree with him. I am sure you will find him very hospitable and fair if you give an argument from scripture. Dr. White does tend to eventually lose patience after going in circles with a caller. I have heard him cut people off after their refusal or inability to stay within the text of scripture.Dr. White does have guests on his program that do not believe in the Doctrines of Grace. One recent guest was Dr. Michael Brown who contributed to a book on Isaiah 53. I enjoy your blog. Have a great day my friend.