07 November 2008

James White

by Phil Johnson



ome of our Arminian brethren in the Southern Baptist Convention, led by the ever-colorful Jerry Vines of Jacksonville, have been holding a conference in Woodstock, Georgia, to discuss why they don't approve of Calvinism. Andrew Lindsey (who has far more patience than I) is live-blogging it and posting those notes as a guest-blogger over at Challies.

(How does one get a gig like that? Not going to a conference on Arminianism, but guest-blogging for Tim? Does Challies pay well? What kind of effect does that have on traffic at the guest-blogger's blog? One wonders about these things.)

Anyway, the following item showed up this morning in Andrew's notes from a session led by David Allen. Dr. Allen is Professor of Preaching, Director of the Southwestern Center for Expository Preaching, George W. Truett Chair of Ministry, and Dean of the School of Theology. He evidently has tried to pit me against one of my friends. According to Andrew Lindsey's notes:

Dr. Allen asserted that Dr. James White is a hyper-Calvinist according to Phil Johnson’s primer on hyper-Calvinism, as Dr. White says that God does not have any desire to save the non-elect.


Ack.

Here's a spelling-corrected and otherwise embellished version of a comment I left at Challies when I read that. (Sorry about my typos on your blog, Tim; I hit "publish" when I meant to hit "preview." I hate when that happens):

Let me go on record here: I know James White well, and he is not a hyper-Calvinist.

The webpage Dr. Allen cited from me says nothing whatsoever about what God "desires." What I have consistently said elsewhere [check out footnote 20 in that link] is this: Optative expressions like desire and wish are always problematic when it comes to describing God's demeanor toward the reprobate. God does all His pleasure, and to suggest that He helplessly wrings His hands over unfulfilled "desires" is quite inaccurate—indeed, it is one of the central fallacies of the Arminian concept of God. So I try to avoid such terminology most of the time.

I do, however, occasionally employ such terms in order to make a point—but only when I have an opportunity to explain the point: I do think there's crucial meaning in God's own pleas and expressions of willingness to be reconciled to any and all sinners (e.g., Ezekiel 33:11; 2 Corinthians 5:20). And I likewise think it is vital to see that all unbelief and sin is a rejection of God's will and purpose with regard to what we are responsible to do (Luke 7:30; 1 Thessalonians 4:3).

At the same time, I recognize and affirm the equally-valid point being made by those who steadfastly reject the language of "desire" or "will" when we are dealing with God's overtures of mercy to the reprobate. We should not load those expressions with Arminian freight. Some choose never to use optative expressions with regard to God, and they might argue that the use of such language in any context is illegitimate. Dr. White may be of that persuasion. I don't know. In all our many private conversations, I have never had an occasion to discuss it with him. However, I would not call someone a "hyper-Calvinist" merely for holding that opinion.

Moreover, although my notes on hyper-Calvinism are just notes and not an academic treatise, in the section of those notes where I dealt with the issue of God's will toward the reprobate, this was all carefully qualified. I expressly acknowledged that there is a strain of classic high-Calvinists who deny that God's expressions of goodwill toward the reprobate may properly be called "love," but who are not really hyper. I said, "They are a distinct minority, but they nonetheless have held this view. It's a hyper-Calvinistic tendency, but not all who hold the view are hyper-Calvinists in any other respect." I cited Arthur Pink as the best-known example of that view.

Let me add this: if the average Baptist preacher were one-tenth as committed to evangelism as James White, Arminians in the SBC might actually be in a position to carp about hyper-Calvinism's detrimental effect on soul-winning. As it is, those who say these kinds of things ought to sit with their hands over their mouths and learn some things from Mr. White.


As an addendum here, let me note that Mr. White is currently ministering in London, and for any Pyro-readers who would like to hear him speak there, I happen to have his bio and full itinerary. We highly recommend these events, if it is at all reasonable for you to get to any of them:

James White is the director of Alpha and Omega Ministries, a Christian apologetics organization based in Phoenix, Arizona. He is the author of more than twenty books, a professor, and an elder of the Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church. James has been married to Kelli for more than twenty-five years, and has two children, Joshua and Summer. He is an accomplished debater, having engaged in more than sixty moderated, public debates with leading proponents of Roman Catholicism, Islam, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Mormonism.

Trinity Road Chapel, Upper Tooting, London (Doug McMasters, Pastor) is hosting the following events:

Debate
James White vs. Sami Zaatari: "Jesus: Divine Son of God or Prophet of Allah?"
8 PM Thursday, 13 November 2008

Men's Breakfast
8 AM Saturday, 15 November 2008

Ministry Morning
An open session for all. James White will speak on the topic "Defending the Faith without Apology."
10 AM Saturday, 15 November 2008

Sunday Worship
James White preaching
11AM and 6:30PM Sunday, 16 November 2008

Trinity Road Chapel
205-207 Trinity Road
Upper Tooting, London SW17 7HW.

Contact admin@trinityroadchapel.org or visit http://www.trinityroadchapel.org/ for more details.

Other debates by James in London:

James White vs. Adnan Rashid: "Does Belief in the Trinity Necessitate Shirk?"
Tuesday, 11 November 2008
Westbourne Park Church
Porchester Rd, London, W2 5DX

James White vs. Shabir Ally: "Is Jesus prophesied in the OT?" and "Is Muhammad prophesied in the Bible?"
7:30pm Monday, 17 November 2008
Twynholm Baptist Church
Fulham Cross, 324-326 Lillie Road
Fulham, London, SW6 7PP.
Contact leigh@twynholm.org or visit www.twynholm.org for more details.


Phil's signature

PS: We're not going to use the meta of this post to debate the pros and cons of supra- and infralapsarian, the question of God's demeanor toward the reprobate, or the question of whose flavor of Calvinism is better. So save it. We'll do that another time, perhaps, but not today. I'm already busy.


54 comments:

Phil Johnson said...

To Dan:

A thousand pardons for bumping your post, but I was eager to get this up before the weekend.

to Everyone else:

If you haven't read Dan's post beneath this one, do. It's important. For must of us, it's a lot more important than the issues THIS post deals with.

John said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
johnMark said...

Phil,

Thanks for the response. I was sitting next to Andrew blogging this conference. When I heard what he said about James White I just had to send him a text message and jump into #pros to tell him.

Knowing that you two were friends I knew that Dr. Allen's statement was certainly out of bounds.

Blessings,

Mark

donsands said...

To some people all Calvinist, genuine 5 pointers, are hyper. It's only the Arminians, who say they are 3-point Calvinist who are not hyper.

I've bee thought of as a hyper, because I mentioned limited atonement is biblical.

James White is one of the best leaders in the church today. i wish i was in London.

Lord bless him as he speaks the truth in love. Amen.

grigs93 said...

Not to sound all catty however it sounds like certain people need to read more scholarly books and less David Hunt and Norman Geisler.

DJP said...

Word.

mdrewrankin said...

Phil,

the conference link at the top didn't work for me, but this one did:

http://www.jerryvines.com/Page.bok?template=conference

Thanks.

Frank Turk said...

On the record, in spite of my incessant eye-poking of him, James White is a friend, a brother in Christ, a hero to the faith, and frankly anyone associated with the SBC who tries to take a shot at James -- however couched in academic vocabulary their shot might be -- needs to think a little more clearly about the rampant faults of SBC denominationalism and its attachment to seeker-sensitive revivalism before he tries to paint James White as a cultic instigator.

However, I do not vouch for James' choices of hats.

Strong Tower said...

I like his hats... cuts the glare.

As for being in Upper Tooting, well my wife thinks that where I live. I have no clue what she means.

And for more confusion this secret video of the confererence was smuggled out.

Phil Johnson said...

My good friend Doug McMasters is a Regular Pyro-reader and sometime pastor. He pastors Trinity Road Chapel in Upper Tooting, and there's a trowel in the foyer of that church which was used by Spurgeon to lay the building's cornerstone.

Spurgeon also lived within close walking distance for many years before health issues forced him to move to a house with a higher altitude and fresher air. I love that part of London. It's not a tourist-ridden area.

If I weren't currently trying desperately to finish a big editing project, I would have cajoled a way to be in London for James's debates.

atruefaith.com said...

I can't say that I'm a big fan of the ministry of Mr. White, but the man is by no means a hyper-calvinist. Good defense, Phil.

herewestand said...

What a low blow by Allen, pitting friends against friends.

I wonder what would happen if Vines and Allen allowed a certain Dr Mohler to speak at this conference?

Doug McMasters said...

Phil,

Couldn't agree more with your comments. A richter-scale-measuring "WHAT!" flowed from me when I read the comment about you and James. (I'm still shaking my head.)

Thank you for mentioning James' speaking engagements at Trinity Road Chapel. Do please pray for the debates; we hope to see much fruit from them.

Also, I was amused to read in your post a sidebar comment to Tim apologizing for your typos. If it weren't for the fact I've seen first hand your green-marked corrections, I would carry the assumption that you never make the kind of slips that are common to us mortals. Well, it seemed that way to me until I noticed you described me as a sometime pastor, rather than a sometime poster. I just hope that one wasn't freudian, as I do try hard to be a full-time pastor. Honest.

In the vein of the Chuck Norris jokes:

Does Phil Johnson use a spell checker? No. Each word he types gets programmed into the spell checker.

Love you!

Doug

Doug McMasters said...

And Phil, you would never need to cajole us to bring you here. We would make the rough places plain for you.

Does Phil really need green felt-tips to make spelling corrections? No, Papermate hires him to test their product line.

Tartanarmy said...

I like his hats... cuts the glare.
---------------------------------

That nearly had me rolling on the floor!!!
---------------------------------

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Romans 5:3-6)

Mark

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Phil:

I thought that the belief that men are born again before faith, White's view, was part of Hyper Calvinism? Calvin certainly did not hold that view, nor Spurgeon.

How can we test if one is Hyper on this point? Just ask people this question - "Do you believe we are begotten by faith in the gospel?"

Blessings,

Stephen

RazorsKiss said...

Oh boy - Garrettisms.

But seriously - thansk for making the public clarification! As a Reformed SBCer, I'm really cringing this weekend, especially with my pastor out of town in Brazil. Gotta love Dr. Vines :/

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Razorskiss:

You can be demeaning and throw out such sarcasms, but can you simply answer the question? It is this type of "discussion" that gives your brand of Calvinism an ugly face.

Blessings,

Stephen

Strong Tower said...

"Here another question arises; for it is certain that in this degenerate and corrupted nature some remnant of the gifts of God still lingers; and hence it follows that we are not in every respect corrupted. The reply is easy. The gifts which God hath left to us since the fall, if they are judged by themselves, are indeed worthy of praise; but as the contagion of wickedness is spread through every part, there will be found in us nothing that is pure and free from every defilement. That we naturally possess some knowledge of God, that some distinction between good and evil is engraven on our conscience, that our faculties are sufficient for the maintenance of the present life, that — in short — we are in so many ways superior to the brute beasts, that is excellent in itself, so far as it proceeds from God; but in us all these things are completely polluted, in the same manner as the wine which has been wholly infected and corrupted by the offensive taste of the vessel loses the pleasantness of its good flavor, and acquires a bitter and pernicious taste. For such knowledge of God as now remains in men is nothing else than a frightful source of idolatry and of all superstitions; the judgment exercised in choosing and distinguishing things is partly blind and foolish, partly imperfect and confused; all the industry that we possess flows into vanity and trifles; and the will itself, with furious impetuosity, rushes headlong to what is evil. Thus in the whole of our nature there remains not a drop of uprightness. Hence it is evident that we must be formed by the second birth, that we may be fitted for the kingdom of God; and the meaning of Christ’s words is, that as a man is born only carnal from the womb of his mother; he must be formed anew by the Spirit, that he may begin to be spiritual.

The word Spirit is used here in two senses, namely, for grace, and the effect of grace. For in the first place, Christ informs us that the Spirit of God is the only Author of a pure and upright nature, and afterwards he states, that we are spiritual, because we have been renewed by his power." JC, Commentary on John 3

JC earlier says: "We must always keep in remembrance the design of Christ, which we have already explained; namely, that he intended to exhort Nicodemus to newness of life, because he was not capable of receiving the Gospel, until he began to be a new man."

Now, one must wonder why the exhortation to newness of life if he was incapable of receiveing the Gospel unless he was a new man? This follows Paul's formula in Corinthians and Romans. That being, before one can even begin to comprehend, eido, the kingdom, which is the same JC says as entering it, he must be born again. First, JC says, comes regeneration then comprehension. The follow not in mere logical order but also their is a temporality that cannot be ignored in Jesus dialogue with Nicky. There is no understanding of faith without comprehension, and therefore no faithing into Christ and unless one is born again there is no comprehension. That we are given the gift of faith in regeneration is without doubt, but the manifestation of that gift proceeds as Jesus points out in a logical/temporal way; first one is born again, then one hears, understands and places faith in Christ. That is what JC taught. This is what Jesus said, "To you it has been given to know..." We can then presume that if Nicodemus was to at all receive Jesus' words, he would need to be born again.

What many Calvinists have understood, is that faith is far more comprehensive than the stunted view of mere trust. JC dedicates an entire book in the Institutes, and many other references throughout it and in his commentaries, to the comphrensive definition of faith. Often what happens, as it did at the John 3:16 Conference, is that men confuse regeneration with conversion. The two are not the same, but they are both of the faith. We also find that often these men rip apart what men like Calvin have written pitting them against their brothers.

Of exercising "faith" before one is born again, JC says: For such knowledge of God as now remains in men is nothing else than a frightful source of idolatry and of all superstitions...is evil...he must be formed anew by the Spirit, that he may begin to be spiritual

Jonathan Hunt said...

London readers might also like to note that Dr White is preaching tomorrow 091108 at Edmonton Baptist Chapel, North London www.ebcuk.org at 10.30am and 5.00pm

If James White is a hyper-calvinist then Peter Masters is an arminian ;-))

RazorsKiss said...

"You can be demeaning and throw out such sarcasms, but can you simply answer the question? It is this type of "discussion" that gives your brand of Calvinism an ugly face."

Mr. Garrett - you apparently did not read Phil's injuction. So save it :D

Check out my blog, or Dr. White's IRC channel, if you want a debate about it. That's what they're around for.

JM said...

Are any of James White's debates in
London going to be available to listen to over the net?

John said...

I think a willingness to mischaracterize and bash White tells me all I need to know about this conference. Word to grigs93 and Frank Turk.

Chad V. said...

Stpehen Garrett

Your right, Calvin didn't hold that view but did believe that faith was only given by God to the elect. He saw faith as given first, then regeneration. Sort of a reverse order of things that were finally drawn up in the Canons of Dort, which was not a Hyper Calvinistic document. Just Calvinism.

I think you are wrong about Spurgeon on the other hand. From this sermon it looks like Spurgeon did believe that Regeneration preceded faith. Maybe I'm wrong. Phil's the real Spurgeon expert here.

Remember that Spurgeon was a subscriber to the 1689 London Baptist Confession and in Chapter 10 Paragraph 2 the doctrine that regeneration precedes faith is clearly taught. Spurgeon called this confession an "excellent list of doctrines" and had it republished for his church at New Park Street Chapel.

Most importantly the scripture says For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Rom 8:7.

If the mind cannot be subject to the law of God it cannot be convicted of sin and the need for Christ nor enabled to believe the truth. That's not Hyper-Calvinism. It's just plain old Calvinism.

The main point of distinction between Hyper Calvinism and Calvinism is that Hypers deny the free offer of the gospel to all. They deny that fallen men should be exhorted to turn to or believe in God.

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Chad:

There are plenty of writings around (as in my blog and Bob Ross's blog at calvinistflyswatter) that show that Spurgeon did not believe as you say. Also, the London Confession does not teach that men can be said to be born again before they come to faith. So, I will not post all the evidence here.

I believe faith is given to the elect. I am a five pointer. I am also a former Hardshell and I know Hyperism when I see it. Why do you think the Hardshells invited White to preach for them? Is it because they too believe that faith is not part of being born again?

Also, why don't you answer the question? Are men begotten by the gospel, by believing it, or not?

In your remarks you affirm that the gospel is to be preached to the dead, to those who have carnal minds, and salvation offered to them. I agree. We preach to the dead and call upon them to believe. And, when they believe, they are begotten.

The London Confession says that faith and the gospel are "means" in the new birth, and that sinners "believe TO the saving of their souls."

Spurgeon often preached to dead sinners and told them to "repent and live." Do you?

Blessings,

Stephen

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Chad:

P.S.

Bob Ross is also an expert on Spurgeon.

Blessings,

Stephen

Matt Gumm said...

Just wondering out loud here.

Are we sure that David Allen is trying to pit friends against each other, and not just using Phil's material because it is the single most useful summary of its kind on the internet?

Chad V. said...

Stpehen

Chapter 10 Paragraph 2 of the London Baptist Confession.

This effectual call is of God's free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in man, nor from any power or agency in the creature, being wholly passive therein, being dead in sins and trespasses, until being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit; he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it, and that by no less power than that which raised up Christ from the dead.

Sorry it does teach that. That's what it means to be quickened by the Spirit. It means to be made alive, regenerated, in order to be able to answer God's effectual call, in order to believe.

As for Spurgeon, I already said maybe I'm wrong but that sermon I linked you to sure does sound to me like he believed that men must be made alive before they can believe. It doesn't matter, Spurgeon does not define Calvinism anyway.

Your question is problematic. Men are begotten by the Holy Spirit. The gospel doesn't beget anyone. The gospel is the means, not the one performing the action. The means by which men are brought to faith is by the believing the gospel. But the ability to believe the gospel savingly requires regeneration which is wrought in the hearts of men by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit applies this truth to the hearts of men effectually. It is the Holy Spirit that convicts men of sin righteousness and judgement through the preaching of the gospel.

Chad V. said...

Stephen
P.S. I have no idea who Bob Ross is.

Libbie said...

England is a small country, and never has London seemed further away *glum face*

Chad V. said...

Stpehen
Yes, of course, men are saved by believing the gospel and that is the only way men are saved. But the difference between who believes upon hearing it and who does not is that the Holy Spirit regenerates the elect and passes by the reprobate. Mere mental assent to the facts of the gospel does not cause men to be saved. There are many hypocrites in the church who believe the gospel facts but do not have faith. They have not been born again.

Chad V. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doug McMasters said...

Libbie,

If you want to come hear James and need accomodation or somewhere for dinner, etc., just write to me at drmcmasters@gmail.com and we can sort something out for you.

Stephen Garrett said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
GeneMBridges said...

Of course, what Stephen and Mr. Ross both consistently don't tell their audiences is:

1. The language with respect to the concept of "regeneration" has been refined since 1646. It isn't as if we stopped doing theology in the 17th century.

2. The concept is spoken of in the modern period in a narrow sense - a person is regenerated in order to believe, and this is a logical, not temporal order, and in a wider sense, the person believes and is considered "regenerate."

What's the problem? The problem only exists in the minds of those who deny this is the case.

As to Spurgeon, how many times does one have to quote him saying that faith is the effect of regeneration in order for you guys to get it? He said, plainly, "Coming to Christ the very first effect of regeneration.”

How does Bob answer this? He tries to blunt that with other quotes - but he doesn't deal with that one. Instead he goes running off to accuse Baptists of consorting with baby baptizers, denying means, etc - all of which are false charges - ironically where this thread began, with a false charge laid at the feet of Dr. White. How ironic that Bob Ross' name is mentioned in the combox.

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Gene:

Archibald Alexander answers your question. Regeneration includes the "effect"! It is not defined by the "cause" alone!

I am glad you admit that the dividing of regeneration from conversion is a post reformation addition!

Blessings,

Stephen

Stephen Garrett said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mike Riccardi said...

...a person is regenerated in order to believe, and this is a logical, not temporal order...

This is the deal-breaker. Mr. Garrett refuses to acknowledge this distinction, though it's been offered to him many times, and so he'll go on grinding his ax as long as someone will listen to him.

If you fellas are going to continue, you have to recognize that he defines things a bit differently than the rest of us. This'll make the conversation go much more smoothly.

- Arminian: What the rest of the world knows as a Semi-Pelagian.
- Calvinist: A classical Arminian.
- Hyper-Calvinist/Hardshell (note: these used interchangeably): A Calvinist with an orthodox ordo salutis.

Anyway, James White deals with this wonderfully and simply in this video on YouTube. Start it at 12:36 and run it till about 17:26, though the whole thing is good, especially if you'd like to know where Bob Ross is coming from.

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Mike:

You said:

"...a person is regenerated in order to believe, and this is a logical, not temporal order..."

And, I have responded previously how you ADMIT THAT, LOGICALLY SPEAKING, you have a REGENERATED UNBELIVER! Yes, yes, I know you say you do not believe that there is, TEMPORALLY SPEAKING, any such thing, but you do admit that you do have, logically speaking, such a character!

Can we at least get you to admit that you have, logically speaking, a regenerated unbeliever?

Your words here are silly, and is evident to all but Hypers as yourself. If there is no temporal separation between faith and regeneration, then why all the insistence on the logical order?

You then said:

"This is the deal-breaker. Mr. Garrett refuses to acknowledge this distinction, though it's been offered to him many times, and so he'll go on grinding his ax as long as someone will listen to him."

Yes, and so did the first "Reformers" too! They also refused "this distinction"!

You then said:

"If you fellas are going to continue, you have to recognize that he defines things a bit differently than the rest of us. This'll make the conversation go much more smoothly."

I define things just as the bible defines them. I define them as did Calvin and the pre-17th century "neo reformed." I define "regeneration" as did A. A. Alexander and include the effect as part of the defintion!

You then say:

"Anyway, James White deals with this wonderfully and simply in this video on YouTube. Start it at 12:36 and run it till about 17:26, though the whole thing is good, especially if you'd like to know where Bob Ross is coming from."

All James White can do is slander Bob Ross! All he does is make "ad hominem" attacks! Great debater there! Why does he not just debate Bob on the topic? Oh yes, he can "debate" the Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Muslims, but not Bob Ross! And why? Because of Bob Ross's character (which White unmercifully assassinates)? What about the character of the Muslims he "debates"?

I have challenged White to debate it and I guess he thinks my character too is worse than the Muslims he debates?

I think he just wants to run for he knows he cannot uphold his "born again before faith" view by going to the scriptures, the confessions, or to our great Baptist forefathers.

Blessings,

Stephen

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Gene:

One other thing. "Life" is an "effect" of regeneration, is it not? Yet, you would NOT say a man is "regenerated" who had no "life," correct? Well, the same thing goes for faith and repentance! So, why do you say a man is "regenerated" before he has faith and repentance?

Blessings,

Stephen

P.S. This little discussion brought you out of your blog "sabbatical," hey?

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Chad:

I forgot to respomd to one thing you said.

You wrote:

"If the mind cannot be subject to the law of God it cannot be convicted of sin and the need for Christ nor enabled to believe the truth. That's not Hyper-Calvinism. It's just plain old Calvinism."

So, "conviction" of sin is now an evidence of "regeneration"? How many Calvinistic writers of the past can you cite to prove that?

In conviction, does the Holy Spirit not convict a man of his lost condition? If you say yes, then you are charging the Holy Spirit with convicting a man of a lie! The Spirit convicts a man, telling him he is lost and unregenerated, and yet this is not the case! You make the Holy Spirit convict a man of a falsehood!

Blessings,

Stephen

Phil Johnson said...

To all: please see the final paragraph of my post. Your debates about the ordo salutis are off topic.

Cut it out.

And to Stephen Garrett:

It is never acceptable to cut and paste someone else's blogpost in the combox here. Bear that in mind in the future, please.

Stephen Garrett said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Phil Johnson said...

Stephen Garrett:

This is your final warning. Don't test me. The subject is off topic because I said IN THE POST ITSELF I don't want to discuss it here.

Incidentally, I'll open this subject up again in a future post sometime soon. I've been planning to post about it for some time, because most of the disagreement between people posting here on the regeneration-before-faith question is rooted in a naive and fairly easy-to-correct misunderstanding of how certain terms are used, especially by older writers.

Specifically, regeneration was used differently prior to the twentieth century. It described an extended process that began with effectual calling. Modern Calvinists tend to use the word as a synonym for effectual calling.

Sort that out, and all Spurgeon's supposed contradictions make perfect sense. In short, he absolutely DID teach that faith is the result of God's quickening work in the believer, not the cause of it.

More on the issue when I blog about it. But I get to have the last word here, because it's my blog and it really annoys me that someone came and spammed my comment-thread with confusing and misconstrued teaching AFTER I had asked to keep the subject out of the combox--and then challenged me on the question of whether it's off topic.

Yeesh.

Next person to comment in this thread about Calvinism, hyper-calvinism, the ordo salutis, or any related topics gets banned.

Let's get back to the real topic: James White's hats.

DJP said...

I've seen cooler.

Frank Turk said...

I thanks God that I am not the only one who think the greatest controversy involving James is the question of his choice of hats.

However, I think Phil is personally disqualified for his hat-discernment because I have seen the hats he wears, and frankly he emulates K-Fed a lot more closely than, say, Frank Sinatra or Indiana Jones.

David Milton said...

First, I've become forever irked with anyone signing off with a "Blessings" in their close.

David Allen is a good man. Before his role as Dean of Theology at Southwestern, he was a faithful conservative pastor of a local DFW church. He (and Dr Mohler) almost single-handedly defended the better-written Baptist Faith and Message against Moderate/Liberal obfuscation and attack.

He is, however, like many other good men in the SBC, simply misinformed on this issue. The question becomes whether it's an honest mistake in researching, or a deliberately willful choice to ignore the multiple white elephants in the room (John 6:44, Romans 8 and 9, et al.)

Regardless, in pain I left the SBC in 2007 after 43 years.

Tartanarmy said...

Oops, didn't quite work out the link thing properly...help!

Mark

Chad V. said...

Personally I think James' hats rock. But he could use some with a big white fuzzy tassel on the top.

YnottonY said...

Hi Phil,

Since there was a significant delay in the posting of comments at Challies' blog, I wanted to call your attention to my comment there (see #20) for future reference. You probably did not see it just after your comment because of the 24+ hour delay.

I hope this single comment is not out of place for this meta, as it does not seem to conflict with your post-script concerns. If it does, feel free to remove it.

Thanks,
Tony

p.s. Also, check JohnMark's blog for a chart I made, if you have not already. You may find it interesting, even if only to hear the delete sound your recycle bin makes after you trash it lol.

Doug McMasters said...

Phil,

If time allows, I'll take James White over to Lock & Co. that should help his hat collection.

http://www.lockhatters.co.uk/home.aspx

BTW, been out with that bowler lately?

Strong Tower said...

White in a bowler, what a picture. Phil in one...solamente sombreros para tres hombres de fuego

chadv- a fez, cool

Phil Johnson said...

Doug: "BTW, been out with that bowler lately?"

I haven't been going "out." Next week, after I finish my project, I'll come out of hybernation.

tallskinnykiwi said...

"How does one get a gig like that?"

One would make a free-will decision to attend this gig, rather than submitting to a predetermined selection process.

he he he ;-]