Dr. Brown Debates Dr. James White on Calvinism

Filed under News, Philosophy & Science on March 25th, 2010 by M. French

Editor’s Note: The podcast of this debate is now available here.

According to Dr. Brown:

On Thursday (March 25), I will be joining Dr. James White on his Dividing Line broadcast from 1:00-2:30 PM, EST (internet only), as we continue our debate on Calvinism. (We plan to do one more show on the Dividing Line on April 1.) On Thursday’s show, I have been asked by Dr. White to discuss some of the key texts used by Calvinists to support their views, so this should be a fascinating learning experience for everyone involved. You can listen online HERE.

The format of the debate is described below, from Dr. White’s website:

For those interested, we will be covering three texts of Scripture on Thursday: John 6, Romans 8/9, and Ephesians 1. Each will have 8 minutes to provide their exegesis of the text; then we will have four minutes of cross-ex each, then three minute conclusions before moving on to the next text. I know, not a lot of time, but that still covers 90 full minutes (we will not be taking any breaks at all).
The following Thursday we will repeat the process, but this time covering Michael’s chosen texts, Luke 13:34-35 (Deut 5:28-29) Ezek 18:21-32 (Jer 3:19-20; Ezek 22:30-31) I John 2:1-2 (2 Pet 2:1).
Remember, to make room for Michael’s program (which cannot, like the DL, be moved around at will), we will be starting at 10am our time (1pm EDT).



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  1. [...] Dr. Brown Debates Dr. James White on Calvinism | Voice of Revolution voiceofrevolution.askdrbrown.org/2010/03/25/ – view page – cached According to Dr. Brown: On Thursday (March 25), I will be joining Dr. James White on his Dividing Line broadcast from 1:00-2:30 PM, EST (internet only), as we Filter tweets [...]

  2. Hmm. James White still misunderstands Romans 9.

    1. It has nothing to do with predestination to salvation.

    It begins in 9:1-5 with Paul bringing Israel in view, and he is passionate about their coming to salvation. Romans 10:1 begins (or ends ch. 9) with him saying the preceding material was “for their salvation”…not to explain how salvation works.

    Thus, everything James White says about 9:6-33 is just plain wrong and misses the point.

    2. Rather than salvation of us, it is about Israel’s elective purpose to bring about the Messiah, not about the mechanics of salvation by predestined election.

    Romans 9 is all about Jesus and God’s sovereign purpose in using Israel to bring Him about and make salvation possible to Jews and Gentiles, it is not about us and our salvation, and not about the Jews desire to be accepted as covenant people on their own terms.

    3. I am not aware of any historical or Biblical evidence that confirmed his death in the Red Sea. I am open to it, but it is not explicitly stated, and there is evidence to the contrary. Also, Pharaoh in the Ex. 9 quote was an object of both wrath and mercy…Just like the Jews had become whom Paul is speaking to in this chapter. That is the point of bringing Pharaoh into this, as a rebuke.

    4. I think it is about both nations and individuals, but God’s sovereign, historical purpose of Israel bringing about the Messiah to bring salvation for Jews and Gentiles is the purpose of election here, not anything close to individual salvation by predestination.

    5. Israel is always the lump of clay in the OT with the exception of Cyrus in Is. 45, so there is to think this is a treatise on salvation and determinism in any case whatsoever, that is foreign to the text and Paul’s thinking in any case. Since “not all Israel is Israel”, God has the right to make some from the same lump (Israel) objects of wrath and objects of mercy (whether they are Law followers or Grace by faith followers, as it were), and it has nothing to do with Israel wishing to be covenant members with God on the basis of willing and running after Law like many of them thought.

    6. The discussion of John 6, neither mentioned the subjunctive mood of 6:39 concerning those that “should” but nor guaranteed (like Judas) be raised, and neither drove home that the ones that believe/come are raised, not the drawn, though Dr. Brown mentioned it briefly.

    7. No one mentioned in John 6 the Ex 16 reference about the manna and its relevance to John 6:45. Just like Jesus gave bread to everyone, so did God in Ex. But note Ex 16:4, it is about following instruction, and note John 6:45 is about listening and learning. Hmm…a theme being developed here. Thus 6:44 is a rebuke, and 6:65 is that God doesn’t grant people coming to Jesus for anything other than what Jesus is offering. This has nothing to do with predestination to salvation.

    8. John 6 is about Jews and pre-Calvary transfer of sheep to Jesus as Dr. Brown noted, in John 12:32, it is a different context, because it is a post Calvary context, in 12:31 Jesus judges the kosmos (without exception), and draws all (without exception) to Himself…and note from John 6, we learn that being drawn in and of itself guarantees nothing. 

    Romans 9 and John 6 both say the opposite of what James White thinks they say. The exact opposite in fact.

    9. As for Ephesians, once James White made it about “us” instead of Jesus (“in Him”), it was over, he completely missed it, along with him misunderstanding who are the “we”s (Jewish believers) the “you”s (Gentile believers) and the “us”s (both Jewish and Gentile believers) in Ephesians 1 (i.e. God’s purpose was always to include Gentiles as God’s covenant people…conditioned on faith of course…and not to predestine specific individuals, which is a totally foreign concept to Paul’s thinking), it was simply sad. That was absolutely horrible eisegesis on the part of White. In Eph. 1:11, Calvinism simply begs the question of what the will of God was, and thus presume God’s will is something like a hard determinism. Dr. Brown nailed this one.

    Good discussion, though both participants miss some points (probably due to time constraints). In the end though, Dr. Brown is definitely on the right side of the Bible on this one.

  3. Yeah, what Johnathan said!!!

  4. I hate to say it , but dr white rarely loses a debate. He is so good at twisting words. Can anyone send me a link to the debate that I can download on a blackberry?

  5. winamp doesn’t like the link —- goes straight to “end of playback”
    Why not lets us simply download the file …. Blah.mp3 or blah.ogg

  6. After listening to the debate again, I find error in both Dr. Brown and “Dr.” White’s interpretation of 2 Thessalonians 2:13 because the verse has nothing to do with soteriology at all. The context is trial, tribulation, lawlessness, apostasy, etc and the Greek word σωτηρία is only used here this one time throughout the entire letter, and should be read in the sense of “deliverance” as assuring that God has chosen them to be delivered through that by sanctification of the Spirit and belief in the truth. Paul uses the word here in similar fashion as he does of himself in Philippians 1:19 if you want to see a comparison for contextual and lexicon reasons…

  7. @Pritchett:

    1.)  Actually vs 13 seems to contrast those who believe the truth (called through the gospel [vs14]) with those who do not believe the truth and are perishing (vss 10-12).  That is, “Saved through…belief in the truth” vs “perishing…refused to love the truth…believe what is false”.  The context concerns the parousia – but this doesn’t preclude Paul’s aside of thanks for the true believers.  I read the passage several times using the NASB, NIV, ESV and NET and am not having the problem you are.   Maybe you could point me to a mainstream commentary that makes your argument, though.  I’d like to look into it further in my own time when I have more of it.

    2.)  ‘”Dr.”‘ :) White is very open (as in, “on his website” open) with the accreditation issue that his detractors quite often bring up.  I think those kind of snide remarks, etc. smack of elitism.  White is not an uneducated, inexperienced fool so I don’t understand what the point of all that is unless it’s as a mere insult which isn’t very virtuous of you, is it?

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