Saturday, April 12, 2008

Gregg vs White to..... Amyraldism?

Well, it seems that a certain comment Dr. White made in the last part of the Steve Gregg vs James White debate seemed to anger a certain Trey Austin. Gregg asked Dr. White the question at 29:28:

Gregg: According to your self-described Calvinistic belief system, do you believe that is in any sense in which God wills the eternal salvation of the non-elect who hear the Gospel call? Does he in any way wills for them to be saved?

White: I have never heard of a distinction between the non-elect who hears and the non-elect who do not. ... From a Reformed perspective, there wouldn't be any real differentiation between the two that I could see as far as having any relevance as ... to that particular question. But if you are asking whether I believe that there is a salvific intention on the part of God in His will, to save those whom He then does not exercise sufficient power to save, that He does not give the Son in their behalf, that He does not send the Spirit to bring them to spiritual life and grant to them the gifts of faith and repentance, then certainly not. The idea of the salvific work of the Spirit of God and the decree of their salvation is specific and is for the elect and the number of the elect are known unto God not passively, but actively as He is the creator of all things. .... The idea of a universal salvific will is different however from [the universal offer of the Gospel]... we proclaim the Gospel universally to all men ... ...

It seems that Trey Austin fumes at this in his blog article here attacking Dr. White and claims, as the title o his post, that "This is not the Reformed View". Oh really?

As it can be seen, Austins' view is that of the Neo-Amyraldians/Quasi Amyraldians. Turretinfan responded well to this charge against Dr. White by exposing Austins' QuasiAmyraldian view and linked it with his 'mentor' David Ponter. And Gene Bridges responded also at Triablogue:

3. Do you, sir, reserve this condemnation only for those of us who hold to the Penal or Pecuniary views of the atonement, or do you also feel the same way about those who post on nothing but God's will, love, or grace - eg. "common grace" and the free offer. In case you haven't looked about, but some of the major internet proponents of your view of the atonement have not lifted a finger on their blogs in quite some time - if ever - to help the rest of us as we interact with the Romanist, the Orthodox, the Atheist, the Mormon, the Arian, the Muslim, and so on. Isn't it well past time for them to "put up or shut up?" If they really believed what they say they believed, then they should demonstrate it.

Indeed one cannot help but notice that one side of this particular debate is generally the one doing that work - and it's not yours. Fortunately, there are exceptions. Indeed, there are exceptions on both sides, but you know, from what I've seen, the exceptions are not your "ring leaders."

4. In fact, the real irony here is that I've seen your cadre work hard, very hard, to systematically rewrite systematic theology to suit your own ends. I'm particularly disturbed by the misuse of Charles Hodge, beginning @ the Puritanboard some time ago and spilling over into the blogosphere later. Take a gander at his commentary on the pertinent texts of Romans and 1 Corinthians, and he by no means holds to your view. While you all play historical theology, the rest of us are interacting with the very people to whom you say we should maintain the "free offer."

No more than you should have some Protestant Reformed theologian, who denies the free offer of the Gospel, and who denies common grace, to be the poster-child for being a Calvinist should you have James White out in the public eye representing himself and his lop-sided Calvinism as true and proper Calvinism.

This criticism cuts both ways, for the undercurrent that runs through many of the posts I've seen from your crowd is that your view is "the" true and proper view and no other, and you'll quote many a theologian in your support, even if it's out of context. Indeed, I've been specifically told by one of you, who shall remain nameless, just to make you wonder, that there has been a good old fashioned conspiratorial coverup of what the true and proper view is. This same person even told me privately that to say "the command impels the gospel" or "we should evangelize indiscriminately because we don't know who the elect are" is simply not enough! Rather, we have to protect God's very honor, and the way to do this was by a QuasiAmyraldian view of the atonement.

a. That's a marvelous demonstration of an ethical, not an exegetical argument.

b. It's also borderline heresy. God's command alone is not enough?!

I'm sorry, but until you all take care of some glaring problems emanating from your side of the aisle, you lose the credibility to lob "you're all a bunch of big meanies" at us, and you undermine what you say you believe about the atonement by allowing your ring leaders on the internet to post on nothing but those issues while getting their knickers in a twist when we confront the obvious hypocrisy in doing so to the exclusion of all else while those of us on the receiving end of their posts are the ones actually interacting with the unregenerate - while they fail to do so themselves.

So, how about it? Will the QuasiAmyraldians about whom I am writing take some time to actually interact with Atheists, pagans, etc., or will they get red in the face and whine about it? Here's an idea: Given your obvious talents for researching historical theology, why don't you spend some time interacting with the perpetual misuse and abuse of the Ancient Church Fathers by our Roman Catholic friends? Given your obvious belief in the "free offer" craft some responses to the endless bile spewed from the depths of the Debunking Christianity blog. If you decide to whine about a public post about your behavior, then don't expect it to be taken seriously, for, if you really believed in the "free offer" you'd roll up your sleeves and do some internet apologetics and evangelism with the rest of us. Until then, don't expect me and a bunch of others to take you seriously and to continue to roll our eyes. (Source)

I especially like the last paragraph, and of course the one in bold italics. My in-the-end non-interaction with Tony Byrne (who hasn't responded after I finished my latest series on the issue — check the Amyraldism/Neo-Amyraldim category) and the near total focus on his blog and the 'Calvin and Calvinim' blog on this one particular topic to the exclusion of all other topics is very troubling. I agree with Gene Bridge: Let those who cry out the most about the 'free offer' actually start practising what they preach. While the rest of us are busy proclaiming the Gospel, evangelizing and teaching and ministering in the Body of Christ, why are those people who talk so much about how God died for (literally) everyone busy hiding behind their keyboard and pet topic and not reaching out to those who are lost? As Gene has also said:

Given your obvious talents for researching historical theology, why don't you spend some time interacting with the perpetual misuse and abuse of the Ancient Church Fathers by our Roman Catholic friends? Given your obvious belief in the "free offer" craft some responses to the endless bile spewed from the depths of the Debunking Christianity blog.

Unfortunately, I am not holding my breath in anticipation for that to happen. From past experiences, I am starting to think that they are certain people like the Neo-Amyraldians/QuasiAmyraldians who would attack Christians who are doing the work that the Church and Christians ought to be doing, while all the while not doing that particular ministry. Question: When will such folks start defending and proclaiming the truth of God's Word so that people may turn to Christ and His truth, instead of attacking those of us because we reject their unbiblical hetero-orthodox doctrines?

Anyway, here is a link to Dr. White's Dividing Line wrapping up the debate. This is an interesting article by Mark (TartanArmy) on the ongoing development also.

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