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Dave Hunt and James White’s Debate on Calvinism

 

The book Debating Calvinism: Five Points, Two Views by Dave Hunt and James White (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 2004) is a fascinating volume for those who are interested in this important issue.

James White wanted to debate Hunt on this topic, and this new book is the result. With the volume before me, I must say that White has more than met his match. Hunt calmly but enthusiastically answers every point that White makes, while White, in his rebuttals to Hunt, does a lot of huffing and puffing and dodging the issue and pretending that Hunt does not know what he is talking about; but “at the end of the day,” he simply cannot refute Hunt’s doctrine with the Scripture.

White’s arguments are complicated, arcane, and “scholarly” and lack the ring of that “simplicity that is in Christ” that we find in sound Bible doctrine (2 Cor. 11:3). White’s statements are filled with things like “compatibalism,” “monergism versus synergism,” “electing grace” vs. “irresistible grace,” “effectual calling” vs. “general calling,” “effective atonement” vs. “hypothetical atonement,” “libertarian free will” vs. “the bondage of the will,” etc. His theology is so complicated that he repeatedly claims that Hunt does not understand him even though the man is of sound intelligence and has studied his topic diligently. If Calvinistic theology is that complicated, it is not the truth. Instead it is a form of arcane Gnosticism that only the rare individual can master.

Hunt’s arguments, on the other hand, are knowledgeable and wise but uncomplicated and faithful to the testimony of the Scripture taken as a whole (rather than taken in isolated segments); and his statements do bear the hallmark of “the simplicity that is in Christ.” The average Christian can easily understand and follow Hunt’s reasoning.

I am going to quote from Dave Hunt’s “Final Denial” (of Calvinism) at the end of the book, because I believe it is the truth, and that is what my readers need.

The following is an excerpt from Dave Hunt’s “Final Denial”:

“White relies on a few passages of arguable interpretation. His strongest case that God predestined only an elect to salvation comes from Acts 13:48 and 2 Thessalonians 2:13. Yet his interpretation does not fit God’s character as so clearly established throughout all of Scripture. Hundreds of Scriptures (I have cited scores of them) declare in the clearest terms that God loves and desires the salvation of all. Some of these White explains away by interpreting world as elect and all men as all classes of men. Whosoever suffers a similar fate, along with God’s love. But dozens of Scriptures to which I called his attention won’t allow such mishandling, so he neither responded to them in this debate, nor referred to them in [his book] The Potter’s Freedom.

“Calvinists say that they preach the gospel so that the elect (whom no one can identify) will hear and believe. They can’t tell anyone, ‘Christ died for YOU.’ But Paul tried to ‘persuade men’ (2 Corinthians 5:11) to believe in Christ. Paul, not being a Calvinist, didn’t know that the elect don’t need to be persuaded and that the nonelect can’t be persuaded. Nor can White rebut the fact that Paul desired to be eternally damned if that would save the Jews (Rom. 9:3). How dare Paul long for the salvation of those whom God ‘for His pleasure’ predestinated to eternal torment! Was Paul not inspired of God?

“In hundreds of verses the Old Testament offerings and feasts of Israel lay the foundation for the sacrifice of Christ, the Lamb of God, ‘who taketh away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29). None of these, from the Passover to the Levitical offerings to the Day of Atonement, was for an elect class within Israel but for all Israel. In his book, White deals with none of these foundational Old Testament examples. Nor would he respond to any references to them in this debate. …

“Of the brazen serpent, God said, ‘Every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live’ (Numbers 21:8). Christ uses this event to explain that He also will be lifted up for sin so that ‘whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life’ (John 3:15). But White avoids these verses in his book and wouldn’t respond to my references to them in this debate. In neither place does White deal with any of the key passages in the Old Testament that contradict Calvinism and provide the foundation for the Cross. When I called his attention to them, he dismissed them as ‘irrelevant.’

“White refers several times to John 6, Romans 8 and 9, and Ephesians 2 as ‘proof’ that man is dead and cannot choose to receive Christ. Yet he ignores the hundreds of verses in which ‘God … commandeth all men every where to repent’ (Acts 17:30). Does God command repentance from those who can’t hear Him, from whom He withholds the grace to repent, and whom He has already predestinated to the lake of fire?

“White selectively offers Paul’s use of Psalm 14 in Romans 3:11 (‘There is none that seeketh after God’) as proof of man’s inability to seek God. Yet he sidesteps scores of exhortations for men to seek God, assurances that if they sincerely seek they will find Him, and the many examples of those who have sought and found.

“White has no rebuttal for Christ’s exhortation to ‘strive to enter in at the strait gate’ (Luke 13:24), for the prodigal’s repentant ‘I will arise and go to my father’ (Luke 15:18), for good ground being an ‘honest and good heart’ (Luke 8:15), or for faith being attributed to individuals (Matthew 9:22; 15:28; Mark 10:52; Luke 7:50; 17:19).

“Non-Calvinists can assure all men, ‘God loves YOU; Christ died for YOUR sins.’ We know that all who believe His promise to ‘whosoever will’ are saved eternally” (Dave Hunt, “Final Denial,” Debating Calvinism: Five Points, Two Views by Dave Hunt and James White, Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 2004, pp. 423-427).

This book is a follow-up to Dave Hunt’s 2002 book What Love Is This? which, in our opinion, is a devastating blow to TULIP Calvinist theology. Subtitled “Calvinism’s Misrepresentation of God,” Hunt’s book is available from The Berean Call (http://www.thebereancall.org, 800-937-6638).

 

Photo from Flickr.com | El Bibliomata

 

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