Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The SBC, Dr David Allen, Hyper-calvinism and Limited atonement thrown in for free!

I am responding to one of my readers from here, by attempting a response to what has been recently transpiring regarding Dr Dave Allen, who as part of a speech at the "John 3:16" conference.

See here for more background and also here and here, for info regarding this whole matter....

He had made the comment that James White is a Hyper Calvinist, and it then stirred up the blogosphere, resulting in counter comments by James White himself, and even Phil Johnson has made comments defending Dr White and even clarified that his Primer on Hyper-Calvinism was not used rightly by Dr Allan.

There are a few issues regarding all of this, and as I am no stranger to the history of all of this I will make a few relevant remarks.

1/ It is no secret that the SBC and some of its leading lights, have incorrect views about what Hyper-Calvinism actually is, and the proof of this can be found on the record at their conferences, individual statements etc. Think Caner bros, and you might remember some of those statements, but there are many more.

2/ This recent comment by Dr Allen is no innocent comment, and I believe it serves to illustrate that their is an agenda with all of this, as can be easily proved by listening to Dr Allen and his particular comments about the failed Caner debate, Tom Ascol and his supposed views and the link to demonize James White with the charge of Hyper Calvinism. It most certainly is personal and Dr Allan knows it.

3/ Dr Allan wants the focus to be on Phil Johnson's primer on what Hyper-Calvinism is, and he creates the impression that is the issue.
This has some truth to it, for he does use that Primer in order to substantiate his claim that Dr White is a Hyper Calvinist based upon what the primer says regarding God's universal saving will. The problem however, is that the SBC has been making these kinds of claims and even linking Dr White to Hyperism for quite some time. What is happening now, is that they are attempting to use other Calvinists to expose Dr White and his supposed Hyperism.

4/ People like Tony Byrne have been forever pushing forward their atonement views, and he himself has come up against Dr White a few times in the past, and Tony has been instrumental, when given the opportunity to do so, to arm others, including the SBC with information that can then be used against the likes of Dr White and other Calvinists who affirm a more robust Calvinism, including the likes of Sproul, Reymond and others.

5/ Tony Byrne has been somewhat of a student of David Ponter, and it is Ponter who has been inspiring some of these men with his universal views regarding the atonement, and it is at that level I personally have been opposing those views, for I saw from the very beginning, way back when Ponter did an interview on Gene Cook's "The Narrow Mind" a few years ago, that the view being put forward by Ponter was not reformed. I also note here that Ponter was drawing a lot of information from an Australian Theologian who was actually my New Testament teacher when I was at Bible College many years ago, which I found interesting to say the least, for I remember having a conversation with my teacher way back then about his views on limited atonement, but I digress.

6/ The Ponterites as they have been called, have one issue and one issue only, and that is to put forward their quasi Ameraldian views regarding the extent of the atonement, which then addresses such things as well meant and sincere offers of the gospel, the Love of God to the Non Elect and various and sundry other matters, but, they follow their views all around the internet and have becoming more aggressive about their views, and even attacking other Calvinists with the slur of Hyper Calvinism, and now, are so dedicated to their task, that they will align with anyone who shares their presuppositions, in order to attack reformed men. Even if these men are Arminians, Semi Pelagians etc, it matters little to these supposed vanguards of the Christian faith.

7/ These guys do not appear to be interacting with those who oppose the Gospel, instead being focused upon their narrow "universal expiation" doctrine, they are only concerned about going after modern Calvinists, who ironically are defending the faith to a faultless degree and passion against those who really do oppose the gospel of God's grace.

This is the saddest irony in all of this. These Ponterites will argue in rooms on the internet and get involved with discussion on many boards, and yet their message is this narrow doctrine of universal expiation, and woe to anyone who refuses to accept their views.

8/ I have addressed many times the issue regarding Phil's primer on the subject of Hyper Calvinism, and it being used against genuine Calvinists by these guys, and in that sense, I am not surprised that Dr Allen, no doubt edged on by the likes of Tony Byrne, are using these tactics to try and even turn brother and friend against each other. It is pitiful as far as I am concerned.
And even though I am no fan of Phil's primer for this very reason, I can NOW say that even Phil has responded against Dr Allen and his understanding of that primer being misused against Dr White.

I am happy that Phil Johnson clarified that matter, but I am also hoping he may re-write the primer and stop it from being used against other Calvinists who simply do not share the exact view regarding the extent of the atonement, God's love and well meant offers with other respected Calvinists. It may even be true that Dr White and others hold to a minority view upon this issue, but that is ok, and certainly should not attract the false slur of being Hyper.

9/ There are so many interelated issues going on here, and some people not knowing the history of what has been going on in recent times may find the whole matter confusing, irrelevant or much ado about nothing important, but such thinking has not understood what is at stake.

Dr White, I respect greatly because he understands what is at stake in all of this.
He is defending an atonement that atones. He is defending a "Propitiation" that actually propitiates. He defends a Savior that saves, and a Gospel that is powerful, effectual and a plan and purpose from Almighty God that is perfect.

We are defending with clarity, an accomplished salvation, a salvation that is so much more than a halfhearted potential opportunity for everyone to be saved, or a peanut butter grace that is spread all over the place and yet saves no one in particular. We are speaking and defending against a theology that is not clear, is man centered, emotional, illogical and unfortunately popular.

All of the arguments that Tony Byrne and now the SBC and others can muster is killed completely by the revealed will of God which simply, clearly states,

Rom 9:15 For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."

End of debate.


As at the time of writing this, I see Dr White has done a Dividing Line about some of this matter and it can be heard here.
I was faintly amused when James mentions how Tony Byrne was kicked out of the Chat Channel
and yet this same man is given whole on air interviews by others such as Gene Cook, who himself is a man I greatly respect, but who seems to becoming a potential Ponterite in the making.

(Actually, Gene is a friend of Tony's but I know they both disagree on the extent of the atonement issue, but Gene does hold to the views made popular by John Murray, Stonehouse and Van Til before them. It is those views concerning well meant offers, God's love for the Non Elect etc that Gene shares with Tony and the Ponterites)


Jeff Peterson said...

Late to the fray, I know, but....

Boettner is relevant here, from The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination (italics mine):

"Although the Gospel is offered to many who will not, and who for subjective reasons cannot, accept, it is, nevertheless, sincerely offered to all. The objection so strenuously urged on some occasions by Arminians, to the effect that if the doctrine of Predestination is true the Gospel cannot be sincerely offered to the non-elect, should be sufficiently answered by the fact that it bears with equal force against the doctrine of God’s Foreknowledge. We might ask, How can the offer of salvation be sincerely made to those who God foreknows will despise and reject it, especially when their guilt and condemnation will only be increased by their refusal? Arminians admit that God knows beforehand who will accept and who will reject the message; yet they know themselves to be under a divine command to preach to all men, and they do not feel that they act insincerely in doing so.

The difficulty, however, in both cases is purely subjective, and is due to our limited knowledge and to our inability to comprehend the ways of God, which are past finding out. We do know that the Judge of all the earth will do right, and we trust Him even though our feeble reason cannot always follow His ways. We know definitely that abundant provision has been made for all who will come, and that every one who sincerely accepts will be saved. From Christ’s own lips we have a parable which illustrates the love of God for His children. The father saw the returning prodigal when he was still a great way off, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the welcome given to this prodigal God is willing to give to any prodigal."

Tartanarmy said...

Yes, as I have said many times, for the Arminian, command does not imply ability, and now for the Quasi-Ameraldians, sufficiency does not imply insincerity...

The problem with these guys in categorically promoting what God desires, is that they are not willing to qualify that God has these unfulfilled desires etc?

Do they believe God is disappointed because even though He desires the salvation of all men, yet all men are not saved, so in the same sense that they imply to God, it follows that God would have to be disappointed, unfulfilled, sad, dejected or what have you.

I believe that the issue regarding whom God desires to save is best answered in Rom 9:15,18, as these texts speak precisely to this matter from God's own perspective.

The problem is that people, including many Christians do not like these verses and will not bow the knee to them, and in fact hate these passages if not that whole chapter...

I have seen reformed Churches even skip Romans 9 in their studies and or expositional preaching.