He Needs No Defense: James White Is Not A Hyper-Calvinist

This is in response to a really irritating gnat that keeps showing up on varioius blogs denouncing James White as a hyper-Calvinist. To follow what is happening here you must go there.

God wills to save all men

God desires the salvation of all men

Two enitrely different concepts. James White is clear on both. He avoids the term desires for the express purpose that some people twist the meaning. Allen calls it prestidigitation, deception on the part of Calvinists. Unfortunately, neither he nor ynottony read well. Calvin is clear that the intent of God’s purpose in salvation was to send Christ as the propitiation for only the elect. See his commentary on Romans where he inextricably connects the propitiatory intent with the resurrection, just as Paul does.

It is sad, that some men, while not necessarily idiotes, are nonetheless, anoetos. And not merely annoyingly foolish as Jesus might say, but seemingly are fools in the sense of having been deceived as Paul might say. They go on, and the net effect is to wonder in fear if the Gospel has been wasted upon them.

“at the same time not desire it in any sense of the word”

Notice again the qualifiers desire and any sense. Dr White does not deny this. But White’s attackers will continue to say that he does. What they cannot do, as the fools of the conference continue not to do, is to assign the right meaning for the context. They continue to make menexhaustively inclusively universal in every sense just as they do all, or world. It does not matter that there is another possible explanation; victory for the cause is more cherished than the defense of the truth, so they import their presuppostional meaning into the words wherever they find them to prove their case. It has almost come to the point that it has garnered a new name, a ynottony.

It is tiring, but as Peter said, there are such men, who twist to their own destruction what others say.

“What about our concept of God? Are those who deny the true nature of the biblical offer on the same level as those who affirm it?”

Here is the case, those who are James White’s assailants do this very thing; they fall below the requirements of biblicism. He on the other hand proclaims the Gospel to all men the way it should be without Finneyesque enticements. He does not deny the free offer, what he does do is challenge the presupposed definition of it. Curiously, Finney is exalted among the J316C crowd as the answer to Edwards? What lunacy. A heretic was the corrective? Don’t these men actually read the materials they reports on?

The questions which remain are: how is it that they are right? If what God has done is to provide atonement for the sins of the entire world, why are they not saved? Those are the questions White wants answered. Those who challenge his sincerity in his belief in the love of God for all mankind simply reject his answers. It is not that White denies the free and earnest offer. What he does deny is the heresy that Christ’s blood is a common thing that man can apply to himself, as if it had not a designed purpose to redeem his bride and it was intended to be given to the nations all around. It is what I have called Tony’s bucket of blood theology. The reality is, that blood was applied to Christ as his sanctification on behalf of those who would believe. The One Son was given to the one bride and he was not intended to be given for all. Calvin knew this, and assigns the blood only to the elect as being in Christ in his death and as having entered into the Holy of Holies with him at that time (See his Commentary on Romans). Unreasoned men persist in quoting only portions of Calvin, only portions of Scripture, only portions of many others. And some honestly do come to wrong conclusion. However, Piper is quite clear on the extent of the propitiation over against the extent of God’s desire and clearly spells out the difference between desire and will in the primary decreedal sense of salvation. He does not deny that there are other effects of the work of Christ toward the non-elect. What happens to that when the hatefilled attackers confront White? The exclusive salvific intent of the atonement gets conveniently lost. Piper is both universalist and particularist, just like Calvin, just like White.

From the DG site on limited atonement with which Piper agrees:

The term “limited atonement” addresses the question, “For whom did Christ die?” But behind the question of the extent of the atonement lies the equally important question about the nature of the atonement. What did Christ actually achieve on the cross for those for whom he died?

If you say that he died for every human being in the same way, then you have to define the nature of the atonement very differently than you would if you believed that Christ only died for those who actually believe. In the first case you would believe that the death of Christ did not actually save anybody; it only made all men savable. It did not actually remove God’s punitive wrath from anyone, but instead created a place where people could come and find mercy—IF they could accomplish their own new birth and bring themselves to faith without the irresistible grace of God.

For if Christ died for all men in the same way then he did not purchase regenerating grace for those who are saved. They must regenerate themselves and bring themselves to faith. Then and only then do they become partakers of the benefits of the cross.

In other words if you believe that Christ died for all men in the same way, then the benefits of the cross cannot include the mercy by which we are brought to faith, because then all men would be brought to faith, but they aren’t. But if the mercy by which we are brought to faith (irresistible grace) is not part of what Christ purchased on the cross, then we are left to save ourselves from the bondage of sin, the hardness of heart, the blindness of corruption, and the wrath of God.

Therefore it becomes evident that it is not the Calvinist who limits the atonement. It is the Arminian, because he denies that the atoning death of Christ accomplishes what we most desperately need—namely, salvation from the condition of deadness and hardness and blindness under the wrath of God. The Arminian limits the nature and value and effectiveness of the atonement so that he can say that it was accomplished even for those who die in unbelief and are condemned. In order to say that Christ died for all men in the same way, the Arminian must limit the atonement to a powerless opportunity for men to save themselves from their terrible plight of depravity.

On the other hand we do not limit the power and effectiveness of the atonement. We simply say that in the cross God had in view the actual redemption of his children. And we affirm that when Christ died for these, he did not just create the opportunity for them to save themselves, but really purchased for them all that was necessary to get them saved, including the grace of regeneration and the gift of faith.

We do not deny that all men are the intended beneficiaries of the cross in some sense. 1 Timothy 4:10 says that Christ is “the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.” What we deny is that all men are intended as the beneficiaries of the death of Christ in the same way. All of God’s mercy toward unbelievers—from the rising sun (Matthew 5:45) to the worldwide preaching of the gospel (John 3:16)—is made possible because of the cross.

So Tony’s minions are not idiotes, they are anoetes. For they men know better. Why will they not give a proper accounting? How can the well meant/sincere/free offer be made in Piper’s economy if indeed it was not the intent of the atonement to provide for the salvation of men? It seems that if ynottony White, he also is attacking Piper. But then, he would also be attacking the majority of historic Calvinists, for this is what the non-hyper-Calvinists believe.

White makes the same case in this video post.

“What about our concept of God?”What of it? Is God’s love a matter of indifference? Or, is there specificity, particularity, discrimination, in God’s love or is he like the unfaithful husband hitting on the neighbors wife? Tony opines and in the cross-examination style of a prosecuter, attempts making three points. But what is meant by desire? What is biblical Calvinism? What is the bilbical offer? What is the nature of the offer? And who is Berkof, how now comes him? The assumption again comes out, what is meant by “desire it in any sense.” The avalanche of references given mean nothing, for what ynottony does is to not rightly handle what he says his opponents have said in the first place. That another writter should agree with ynottony is a superfluous appeal to authority and non sequiter. What is in question is what White believes, not what Quintillian might have believed.

As White says, terms mean one thing to the likes of ynottony and they are unwilling to allow for any other definintion, as White does, no matter how the subject is approached.

More White

White paper on Limited Atonement

In this article White says:

Christ gave Himself in behalf of His Church, His Body, and that for the purpose of cleansing her and making her holy. If this was His intention for the Church, why would He give Himself for those who are not of the Church? Would He not wish to make these “others” holy as well? Yet, if Christ died for all men, there are many, many who will remain impure for all eternity. Was Christ’s death insufficient to cleanse them? Certainly not. Did He have a different goal in mind in dying for them? [I am not here denying that the death of Christ had effects for all men, indeed, for all of creation. I believe that His death is indeed part of the "summing up of all things" in Christ. But, we are speaking here solely with the salvific effect of the substitutionary atonement of Christ. One might say that Christ's death has an effect upon those for whom it was not intended as an atoning sacrifice.] No, His sacrificial death in behalf of His Church results in her purification, and this is what He intended for all for whom He died.

Someone is lying, and it is not James White, nor Phil Johnson, nor Piper nor Calvin, for these men agree. So, someone is lying about what these men said. I say lie, because it would be one thing to not know and make the mistake, or honestly have evaluated the subject and rendered an informed opinion, it is quite another to claim what is obviously not the case as an expert on the subject.

Again, what is meant by free-offer? Curt Daniels said that true hyper-Calvinism denied any universal aspects to the atonement. In his definition he makes clear that those who denied the free-offer also denied duty faith. Neither of which White actually does (again mind the definitions). Daniels further examines the defined extent of the atonement by several camps. He found in Calvin universal atonement. But, it can be found also in Calvin, a dual purpose, universality of aspects as well as a particularity, with which White agrees. That is not what is in contention. Daniels says Davenant, Baxter, and Ussher all taught a qualified universalism, or in otherwords, one could not say that they were strictly universalists. Daniels also admits that none of the church fathers taught either a strictly universal nor strictly limited atonement. As I have mentioned, there is the language from which both could be drawn. However, it must beconditioned upon the whole of doctrine and the intent of the atonement cannot be subtracted from the effects of it. One must wonder what Daniels means about Calvin when is it obvious that Calvin did as White does, as Daniels admonished, qualify, qualify, qualify, but I digress.

What is always necessary before the labels are licked and sticked is that one seeks further and without the blinders of predjudice. That is really what is happening with the false accusations made against White by Allen and various Arminian toadies. He doesn’t do what ynottony says, and he is in agreement with the majority position and even people like Daniels can be wrong in assessing Calvin. Helms makes exacting the argument that Calvin did indeed teach limited atonement: To this pretended difficulty of Pighius, therefore, I would briefly reply that Christ was so ordained the Saviour of the whole world, as that He might save those that were given unto Him by the Father out of the whole world, that He might be the eternal life of them of whom He is the Head; that He might receive into a participation of all the ‘blessings in Him’ all those whom God adopted to Himself by His own unmerited good pleasure to be His heirs . . . Hence we read everywhere that Christ diffuses life into none but the members of his own body. And he that will not confess that it is a special gift and a special mercy to be engrafted into the body of Christ, has never read with spiritual attention Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians. Hereupon follows also a third important fact, that the virtue and benefits of Christ are extended unto, and belong to, none but the children of God. Calvin made the distinction in the universality of the atonement in what it accomplishes in its comprehensive aspects. The difficulty is in the word atonement, for it was in this single act that all the accomplishments of Christ culminate. However, when we speak of atonement as being propitiatory and subsitutionary, it becomes heretical to claim that it was efficacious in its todality toward those form whom it was not made. None but a few argue that Christ was the substitutionary atonement for the entirety of mankind in this sense. And they are wrong. It does not require equity in intent for the intention of God’s love for his creation to be fulfilled.

The only thing that remains is repentance and apology. We wait…

There is still more to this issue. Why did ynottony team up with this faction of Calvinist haters in the SBC? To establish a peaceful resolution? I think not.