Monday, July 30, 2012

The Debater's Potter - Part 9 - The Rest of Chapter 4

Welcome back to The Debater's Potter, a series of articles of my reaction to and interaction with the text of Dr. James White's The Potter's Freedom(TPF). I'm looking at this book in great detail, but that is no reason not to purchase and read the book for yourself. It is widely regarded as the definitive work rebutting the charges against Calvinism by non-Calvinists.  Dr. White intends the book to be a direct rebuttal of Dr. Norman Geisler's Chosen But Free(CBF).

Last time I attempted to get through Chapter 4, but didn't even come close to hitting the mark. This time I'll get to the end though. As I was reading this chapter I found it to be the first in the book of any substance. We are finally getting close to the more challenging arguments made by Dr. White. Will they convince me?

Before I get started: I was asked about the process I'm following while writing these articles. I am reading several chapters ahead of where I am writing, which ensures I maintain context as best as possible. Why not wait until I finish the book? Well then this wouldn't be a "real-time" reaction, which I think is actually more revealing than something written at the end. This way readers can read my biases, and if I should happen to have something completely wrong it will be revealed. Also, if I were to wait until I finished reading the book I would probably not bother writing anything about it.  So I'm reading several chapters ahead, and as I read I'm underlining things I want to consider and or respond to. Just before I write a particular article I re-read the chapter very quickly, and then I go page by page writing as I read it a third time.

So let's jump into Chapter 4 where we left off in Part 8.

A Tremendous Inconsistency

"Responding to Arminians who say that if you choose to get "into" salvation you can surely choose to get "out" of it, CBF makes the following amazing statements:
Now here is what he quotes Geisler as writing:
"First of all, this rational is not biblically based; it is speculative and should be treated as such." 

This was my first reaction to what Arminians are claimed to say as well. While the Scriptures are clear that one must believe inorder to be saved they are exactly silent on how one might beable to become "unsaved" and in fact they teach Eternal Security and thus the claimed Arminian argument fails two basic biblical tests. The Bible doesn't say it, and the Bible contradicts it. Therefore as Geisler said, it is not biblical.

White claims that the same can be said about Geisler's assertions about the will of man. Surely the same can accurately be said about much of White's theology. The Decrees of God, Determinism in general, pre-faith regeneration, the inability of unregenerate man to believe the Gospel... and on and on.

He then quotes Geisler:
"Second, it is not logically necessary to accept this reasoning, even on a purely rational basis. Some decisions in life are one-way with no possibility of reversing them: suicide for example...."
White responds this way:
"Quite true, but such seems to prove far more than Dr. Geisler would like: committing a single act of sin makes one a sinner and places one under the power of death and condemnation."
I can't see Geisler having much of an argument against that... while White agrees that Geisler is correct "Quite true..." he can't help but continue to argue.
"While Geisler insists that one chooses to remain a slave of sin, and can, at any time, simply choose by the exercise of free choice to become a believer and cease being a slave, here he argues that once you accept Christ the decision is inalterable and there is no escaping the consequences. Logically his position is inconsistent at best."
I guess Dr. White missed the part where he himself described the logical reasoning he called "quite true." Further, Geisler does not "insist" what White claims he does. Geisler says that sinners respond to the convincing and convicting of the Holy Spirit John 16:5-11 and that God is complete control. In fact Geisler states in CBF (the book which White claims to be rebutting):
"Can anyone believe unaided by God's grace?
While all truly free acts are self-determined and could have been otherwise, nonetheless, it is also true that no free human act can move toward God or do any spiritual good without the aid of His grace. this is evident fromt he following Scriptures:
1Chro 29:14, John 6:44, John 15:5, John 17:11, John 17:12, 1Cor 15:10, 2Cor 3:5, 2Cor 12:9, Phil 2:12-13, Phil 4:13"

It is interesting to me that when Geisler makes a positive statement he backs it up with a multitude of passages of Scripture. I'm struggling with how to describe Dr. White's behavior without being needlessly offensive.

Next up White quotes Geisler saying that the third reason the Arminian position is incorrect is because then we would have to be able to fall or be lost, even when we are in Heaven. White claims that Geisler doesn't offer a reason for how we could be "free" in Heaven and yet not be able to fall. He believes this to be an inconsistency in Geisler's theology.  The answer is the same that Geisler has already given. Some decisions are permanent. If you jump off a cliff you can't change your mind half way down, nor after you've hit the ground. That's the logical reason which is consisten internally and externally. The Biblical reason is that once you have been baptized into Christ's death, burial and resurrection we will live because Christ lives. The only way for us to "die" (be separated) is for Christ Himself to stop living. Rom 6:1-11 further in Heaven will not just be free, we will be perfected. We will not have a sin nature any more 1Jn 3:2.  White agrees with Geisler's logic, and then dismisses it as though he didn't even read it.

So where's the "tremendous inconsistency"? The only inconsistencies I see here are how White handles CBF and how White calls Geisler an Arminian over and over when White actually vehemently disagrees with Arminianism.
"Numerous passages of Scripture are cited in the text of CBF. We now turn to an examination of the exegesis offered in support of the "moderate Calvinist" position (i.e. Arminianism)."
John 12:39-40

"In 12:39-40 John explains why the Jews, despite seeing the very Incarnate Son, did not believe...... Surely if one's entire position is based upon the assertion that all are able to believe, a clear Scriptural passage that speaks of anyone's inability to believe should receive a large amount of in-depth, contextual response." 
What I find interesting is this: Surely if one's entire position is based upon the assertion that all people are blind, spiritually dead and completely unable to see, that God would then blind an already blind and dead man. Is it possible to blind a blind man?

White notes that Geisler says that belief was obviously their responsibility, and that two verses earlier we read "Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in Him" John 12:37. To which White responds:

"One could argue that perfect behavior is the responsibility of all men, but it does not follow that sinful man has the capacity to do so."
It is interesting to me how White so casually makes such bold statements, and uses them as his idea of a refutation of a position which is driven from the Scriptures. Why does it interest me? Find the verse in the Bible that says it is the responsibility of all men to behave perfectly. Go ahead look. It is our natural assumption that this is the responsibility of men. However, where does Scripture tell us this is so. We know that all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God, and that God cannot fellowship with those who fall short. However, where is the positive command to all of mankind (not some subgroup) to behave in any fashion, let alone perfectly?

I have to admit, this is the first argument in TPF which made me think at all. However, in mere moments I found the source of the confusion - a man's ideas centered theology instead of a Scripture centered theology.

White tries to shore up his theology with some Scripture. He notes that John quotes Isaiah saying "Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" White says:
"John's own interpretation of their unbelief was that it was a fulfillment of prophecy. So the first response does not substantiate Dr. Geisler's free-will theory."
How does prophecy prove that Geisler is wrong? Does Geisler's theology say that God cannot know the future and give that knowledge to a Prophet? Does Geisler's theology even say that God cannot orchestrate events in History? Not at all on either count. White is playing to his audience, and again doesn't seem to think his argument will be tested. On testing it again fails.

White quotes Geisler's second point:
"(2)Jesus was speaking to hardhearted Jews who had seen many indisputable miracles (including the resurrection of Lazarus) and who had been called upon many times to believe before this point, which reveals that they were able to do so."
White responds:
"Actually, these are words of John's not Jesus', and these are comments about the unbelief of the Jews in general." 
I guess White thinks Jesus wasn't recorded as speaking in John 12. Let's look at John 12:35-36

"35 Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them."
Why White has to twist Geisler's words all the time escapes me. Does anyone reading Geisler's second point think he was saying that Jesus said the things in John 12:37?

How does White justify that John 12:37 is "about the unbelief of the Jews in general"? Oh he doesn't. I guess he thinks that if he makes Geisler look foolish enough that we won't notice yet another assertion which is completely unsupported by the passage he is commenting on.  Let's look at his argument however:
"It does not follow, however, that "they were able to do so" when Verse 39 says they were not able to do so. Here we have the plain assertion of Scripture being overturned because it can't mean what it says."
I like that he sticks his neck out there and says what he thinks. The problem is that he uses a passage about a few people who were blinded because of their rejection (at the rejection of Messiah the King, on the very day He was prophecized to come as announced by the Prophet Daniel in Daniel 9:24-27 which is the very key to God's historic plan for Israel, and the world) and applies it to all people. Yet his theology demands that all people are already blind.  John 12:36 ends with "These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them." They were blinded, turned over to their reprobate minds.

If you want to consider passages like this in the light of the whole of Scripture I invite you to read The Drawing of God.

White goes on to state:
"The assumption is that if God commands all men everywhere to repent, then that must mean that all men everywhere are morally neutral creatures with free wills who are not enslaved by sin." 
I would very much like Dr. White to find a quote in CBF to support this assertion. If you read Part 7 of this series, then you know that Dr. White is grossly distorting Dr. Geisler in the worst way.

White goes on to make another bold statement:
"God commands all men everywhere to love Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, but sin does not allow any of the fallen sons of Adam to do so."
First, where does God command all men everywhere to love them with all their heart soul mind and strength? Seriously, where in Scripture do we find this command?

Second, does God desire what He commands? Logically it would seem so. So does the Potter not have freedom over Sin? Is Sin more powerful than God? Is Sin more sovereign than God? If one uses White's arguments against White's assertions they fall apart just as soundly as any heresy White imagines Geisler to promote. 

"So we turn to the last attempt to answer the passage:"
"(3)It was their own stubborn unbelief that brought on their blindness. Jesus said to them "I told you that you would die in your sins, if you do not believe that I am, you will indeed die in your sins. (John 8:24). Thus it was chosen and avoidable blindness."
White responds:
"It is an assumption that the audience in John 12 is identical with that of John 8."
Perhaps White forgot that he claims that John is explaining the unbelief of the Jews in general... thereby it would be the same audience.... 
"...fails to deal with the simple statement of the passage concerning the inability of these men to believe. ....Are we to believe that this practice eventually robs a man of his free will? The passage explains their unbelief as a fulfillment of prophecy, not the result of anything these men did themselves."
Yes, can you imagine the idea of God being able to prophecize that someone won't believe??? The idea is unthinkable isn't it? Surely a possibility so remote it is not worth even considering.  Further the passage tells us that this is in accordance with prophecy previously revealed, and that it is the result of the active blinding of these men by God. It doesn't tell us WHY they were blinded. It doesn't say they already were blind. It doesn't say that they were naturally unable to believe. It says that God blinded them so that this prophecy would be fulfilled. Reading anything more into to the passage is not exegesis, it is eisegesis. 
"[nor] provides any kind of substantiation for the conclusion that it was "chosen and avoidable blindness." If it was avoidable, does that mean the prophecy itself was avoidable?"
Straw-man argument #5263.... perhaps White forgets the chapter he wrote making fun of Geisler's terminology "Determinatively Knowing" where God knows exactly what is going to happen in History. I don't think we need to go back over that whole thing.... 
"The conclusion provided by CBF is not derived from the text but is forced onto the text: a classic example of eisegesis."
Well Dr. White, if what you mean is that Geisler didn't isolate a passage from it's context, history, and subject and then use it to define the rest of Scripture... well I guess you got him! He doesn't use your version of exegesis which most other students of hermeneutics would probably actually call eisegesis. Again, Pot meet Kettle. Not that I think Geisler has used eisegesis even a little bit thus far. 

Now we get to a passage where I think you'll see that both Geisler and White fall on their face trying to force their theology on the Text.

1Corinthians 2:14

"Paul spoke of the spiritual inabilities of the natural (unregenerate) man when he wrote to the Corinthians:"
He quotes the passage and then adds:
"Let's briefly note some exegetical points about the passage: it is clearly two parallel statements, which could be put this way: 
"But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised." 
The first identifies the subject. The next two clauses are parallel assertions containing first an inability of the natural man followed by an explanation of why this is so." Therefore the meaning of "does not accept" and "cannot understand" are parallel to one another and must be interpreted in light of the other. Likewise, the foolishness of the things of the Spirit of God is due to the fact that they are spiritually appraised, and the natural man is not a spiritual man."

White continues:
"The term "understand" should be taken as it is used in this passage: the natural man cannot accept and embrace spiritual things because he himself is not spiritually alive."
I am going to comment on White's chosen understanding of the passage, but first let's see what he quotes Geisler as saying:
"Interpretation, however, fails to take note that the word "receiveth" (Greek dekomai) means "to welcome." It simply affirms that while he does perceive the truth (Rom 1:20), he does not receive it. There is no welcome in his heart for what he knows in his head. He has the truth, but he is holding it down or suppressing it (Rom 1:18). It makes no sense to say that an unsaved person cannot understand the Gospel before he is saved. On the contrary, the entire New Testament implies that he cannot be saved unless he understands and believes the Gospel."
White responds with comment about the word "understand" or "receiveth" and then adds something that I actually completely agree with (though for vastly different reasons than White states it):
"There is no exegetical or contextual reason to bring in Romans 1:20, for the two contexts are addressing different things."
He then notes something else that I agree with (yikes two things in one chapter!?!)
"Next, we note that CBF's attempted exegesis focuses upon one phrase while ignoring how that line relates to the rest of the sentence."
He goes on to say:
"If the natural man has the ability to embrace these things and believe them, as Geisler asserts, would it not be incumbent upon him to explain how what was once foolishness becomes wisdom without regeneration taking place first?"
Geisler's failed argument allows White to distract his readers from Paul's letter, strike a blow against Geisler and even produce a plug for his pet theology. However, this reader is much more concerned with Paul's text, than either White's or Geisler's.

The problem we have here is both of these men are so stuck in arguing about inability or ability of man to believe something that neither of them bothered to read Paul to find out what Paul was writing about! This is unbelievably frustrating for me. I'm dreadfully disappointed in both of these men at this point. 

1Cor 2:1-5
And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
We find Paul talking to BRETHREN, not Jews but Believers in Christ who were already saved when they believed the Gospel 1Cor 15:1, Acts 18:8. Yet these Believers are carnal, or soulish. They are fleshy believers - as the letters to the Believers at Corinth clearly reveal.

1Cor 2:6

However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.
Who does Paul speak "wisdom" among? Those who are mature. Not these carnal, babes in Christ. 

1Cor 2:7-8
But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
Isn't this an interesting passage about the Sovereignty of God? Paul doesn't say that they were unable to know, but that if they had known they would not have crucified Christ. If they had known they would have made a different choice.

1Cor 2:9-11

But as it is written: 
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,Nor have entered into the heart of manThe things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 
10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

Paul is talking about the "deep things of God" that must be spiritually discerned. Not the Gospel, for to these soulish, fleshy, carnal Christians Paul was determined to know nothing but Christ and Him Crucified. He would not talk to them about the deeper things of God, for those things are only spoken to those who are mature.
1Cor 2:13-16
13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For“who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
Is Paul speaking of unbelievers as both Geisler and White would seem to claim? Not at all. Paul is explaining why he must get back to basics with these believers. They are so carnal they cannot learn of the deeper things of God. 

Paul continues his rebuke and explanation to the Corinthians in his letter. Paul didn't write in chapters, and his thoughts continue without a change in topic:

1Cor 3:1-4
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?

Clearly, the issue is the carnality of the Believers at Corinth not that "unregenerate man" cannot believe the Gospel. Paul isn't even talking about the abilities of unbelievers. He's talking about the stunted growth of the Believers at Corinth. Both men are wrong, but specifically Paul's letter destroys White's theology. For clearly the carnal mind CAN receive the Gospel - Christ and Him Crucified for that is what Paul determined to speak to those who are carnal minded, because they are carnal minded.

John 8:34-48

"These words of the Lord introduce a discussion that includes clear teaching on the sovereignty of God in salvation." 
"Again the Reformed and biblical view of man is presented with force: Jesus teaches that the Jews cannot (there's that word of inability again) hear His word and do not understand what He is saying. He is not saying they are confused: He is saying they lack the spiritual ability to appraise spiritual truths...... Jesus explains why these men do not "hear" His words..... BF completely ignores John 8:48, mentioning it, or its witness to the Reformed proclamation.
Perhaps Dr. White actually intended John 8:47. I can't actually speak for him but John 8:48 doesn't seem to be of particular importance to his "proclamation".  So is the Lord saying that they can't believe who He is because they are not already saved?
John 8:39 - if you were Abraham's children you would do the works of Abraham.
John 8:42 - if you were of God you would love Me
Neither of these passages speak of an ability to believe who Christ is. They were refusing to believe Him about who He is. That's the issue at hand for the Jews at that point. They were in the process of rejecting their long awaited Messiah.
John 8:43 is a verse which if taken all by itself seems to say what Dr. White says the Lord intends to say. That man is "unable" to believe. There is one problem however, John 8:43 is not all by itself in the Bible. Nor did it come with a Calvinist's Decoder Ring which tells you how to understand each word in a sentence to ensure you become & remain a Calvinist.

I've already talked about the overwhelming witness of Scripture about how God draws people. Let's see if we can figure out what John 8:43 specifically is saying. White claims that passage speaks of natural inability to receive what Christ says.

This is built from the greek phrase: ou dunamai or what White says means "not able." Ou is a negative participle. It means "not." Dunamai speaks of the power to do something. The freedom, or the ability may work depending on usage, morphology and context. I can mean you may, or you may not, as well as it can mean you are able or you are not able. It occurs 27 times in the New Testament. The word dunamai is a VERB (!) in the present tense, middle or passive deponent form, indicative mood. The middle or passive DEPONENT form has an ACTIVE FUNCTION but a passive form. This form occurs 618 times in the New Testament.

Because of the Greek form of the word we are left with this not being a simple INABILITY, but that it it is an ACTIVE verb. We must then find what the Lord is talking about from the remainder of His Words.

John 8:44-45 It is not a natural inability but it is, as the Lord Himself says a DESIRE. Why do they NOT (not cannot, but simply not believe ou pisteuo) believe Him? Because He tells them the truth and they desire lies. They "cannot" believe Him when He tells the truth because they desire lies. This is not "inability" it is preference.

John 8:46-47 Now we see what the Lord is saying. These Jews were claiming to be of God, of Abraham and the Lord shows them that they are not by showing them that they are not receiving His words. The Calvinist holds verse 47 and 43 up by themselves and uses them to interpret the rest of Scripture. The Lord is not explaining that men cannot believe in Him unless they are of God - which is the Calvinist claim. The Lord is explaining that these men are not of God like they claim to be because if they were of God they would believe the Truth that He has been saying.

He is not explaining in ability, the Lord is showing these men their depravity. One of the keys is verse 46. If they could convict Jesus of Sin, then they could show He does not preach the Truth and therefore justify their lack of believing Him. Yet they cannot, because He sinned not. Therefore, their choice - their following of their desires which are like that of their father satan - is exposes to be what it is.

This is exactly how I witness to people on the street. That's what the Lord was doing. He was explaining their unbelief by showing them it was a choice they made based on their desires, and that if they were from God they would desire the truth.
"But surely the text teaches exactly what Dr. Geisler is denying." 
Not if you let the whole of the Text speak and interpret itself.

Romans 3:10-11

"These words have to be explained by the Arminian who seeks to promote the theory of free-will..... the assertion that men seek after God and choose to believe and repent outside of the work of God's sovereign grace is refuted."
It would be just wonderful if White's book which has a title claiming to rebut Norman Geisler's book would argue against arguments made by Geisler's book.  Way way up, and far far away near the half way point of this article I quoted Geisler's actual position which is explained in detail in CBF. I'm not sure why White continuously ignores the actual arguments made by Geisler.

Are men saved by seeking after God? Are men saved by understanding? Are men saved by doing any of the things Romans 3:10-11 speaks of? No. Scripture gives us the testimony that men are saved by believing the Gospel. These verses don't say anything about how one gets saved, they speak of the sinfulness of man.

Romans 8:7-8

We looked at what White has to say about this passage back in Part 6 of this series.
"The finale passage we will examine is the strident claim by Paul that the person who is still in the flesh is unable to submit himself to the law of God and cannot please God. It is my position that this text is completely opposed to the central assertion that is made in CBF regarding the "freedom" of the fallen man."

White quotes Geisler and claims that Geisler is not being exegetical with his argument... I'll quote some of what he quotes Geisler as saying:
"Furthermore, Paul makes it clear in this section of Romans that our enslavement to sin is our free choice. He wrote, "Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaveds, you are slaves to the one whom you obey--whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?(Rom 6:16)"
White responds:
"This is the kind of response provided to the vast majority of biblical argumentation in CBF: there is no exegesis of the text here. There are philosophical assertions, linguistic distinctions, and citations of foreign contexts, but the text is not touched. The point of the passage is that men cannot do what is pleasing to God."
Is that the point of the passage? Read the whole chapter. Read Romans 8:1-16 to start. This will show you that Paul is writing to Believers and telling them not to submit themselves to Law, but instead to have life in the Spirit for it is impossible for the flesh - through obedience to law - to please God.

Rom 8:1-4
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Rom 8:5-8
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
Rom 8:12-15
12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”
Rom 8:16-17
16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
And so it goes throughout the rest of the chapter, showing how Christians are conformed to the image of Christ through suffering....

Don't just read a single verse as though it lives in a vacuum! Read the entire passage. White's theology is based on single verses and half-verses taken completely out of context! This passage isn't speaking of the inability of unsaved people to believe. It is speaking of how saved Christians cannot please God by obeying rules like their carnal minds would desire them to do. Letting them have a righteousness of behavior when what is required is the actual pure righteousness of Christ Himself, which comes by faith - not obedience to law. Phil 3:1-11

In this article we've seen how Geisler has handled some passages poorly, but two more things are much more clearly presented. White grossly abuses CBF, and pulls single items out of the context of the Text they are found in, interprets them through the lens of his Calvinism and then uses that interpretation to determine what the rest of the Bible says. None of this is particularly pleasing to this reader.

Next time we'll look at the case White builds for the "necessity" of Unconditional Election. Until then I trust you go with God's grace.

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