Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Earlier today, I finally got around to listening to the February 9th, 2012 Dividing Line program (link). My interest in doing so was due to the fact that the blog description of the program stated, "the last half hour of the program" was to get "back into the Ehrman/Wallace debate" (i.e. the 3rd); the debate which I recently commented on here at AF (link).
I have learned from past experience/s that it is best to take in James White's programs from the beginning, rather than attempting to locate the section that I am actually interested in. This meant that I would also be listening to, "a one hour segment of Radio Free Geneva, reading a few interesting statements found on line, then getting back to Emir Caner's anti-Calvinism sermon from 2011."
Well, folks, I don't know how many others who read this blog have listened to this particular program, but I must say, I was quite disappointed with the "Radio Free Geneva" portion (which starts at about the 36:50 mark). Around the 43:00 mark, James begins a diatribe against an online article published at the Times-Herald.com site, which was penned the Baptist pastor, Daniel Ausbun (LINK; first installment, HERE), by quoting the following selection from the 2nd installment of Daniel's two part series:
Pastor Daniel Ausbun: What is unconditional election? Election is unconditional in the sense that it is based not upon our decision for God, but rather upon God's decision for us. From eternity past it has been decreed that the elect must be saved and non-elect cannot be saved. I do not believe you can put yourself under the authority of Scripture and not believe in election. Hebrews 2:9 affirms, "by God's grace He might taste death for everyone." 1 Timothy 2:4 says Jesus desires "everyone to be saved." The Greek for this verse literally means, "who willeth all men." God desires all men to be saved and "come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4)...
...Was the atonement limited to only the elect? This belief is that Christ only bore the punishment due for the sins of the elect alone. Consequently, no one else can or will receive the saving benefits of His death. Four key texts in the New Testament affirm an unlimited atonement, referring to the "world" (John 1:29; 3:16-17; 17:6; 1 John 2:2).
James White: 44:20 ff - What I wanted to focus on was this, this phraseology:
From eternity past it has been decreed that the elect must be saved, and non-elect cannot be saved.
Now, I've never heard a Calvinist speak like that; and it is interesting to me that so often when we listen to anti-Calvinists, when, when we listen to those who—you know, and some of them might not want to be called anti-Calvinists, but I, I think if you misrepresent what the other side says, after having been corrected repeatedly, then I think that, you know, it might mean that at least, a slightly appropriate description of you—but folks who make it their business to attack Reformed theology in various contexts, uh, uh, whether it be, you know, firing all the Reformed folks in a college when you take over as president, uhhh, or making it difficult for Reformed students to make it through certain programs in certain schools, and the rest of that stuff; why is it that they can't represent the positions that they are attacking in an accurate way? Why it that?
I don't, I don't really understand—well, I do understand why—but, from a Christian perspective, I don't understand how a person who in other areas might bend over backwards to be fair and truthful, and everything else; you come to this one area and it's like forget that, let's not worry about the fair and truthful part anymore, at all; and it seems like they even put out an effort to make sure to utilize language that will carry the most emotional baggage.
Now I think there are probably—and, and if you don't like my books, there are a lot of people who have written books on this subject—you can look at R.C. Sproul...
47:00 ff - Something tells me that you could find a meaningfully accurate definition of unconditional election, that would be acceptable to Reformed people. But, that's not what you get here...
50:00 ff - The non-elect do not desire to have their heart of stone taken out!
If one reads ALL that Pastor Daniel Ausbun has written in BOTH installments, is it truly fair to say that he has been inaccurate? I have read over the material twice now, and cannot in good conscience make the claims that James' has done. IMO, James has been abusive in his treatment of Pastor Ausbun, if not deceptive. But there is more...
Later, in the same program, James shifts his focus from Pastor Ausbun, to yet another Baptist, Emir Caner, the brother of Ergun Caner (two of James' 'favorites' when it comes to verbal and written abuse). At approximately the 1:13 mark, James provides the following audio clip from Emir:
Emir Caner: As C.S. Lewis would say, love if it is ravishing, or if we would put it our terms, God is not a divine rapist.
James White: Yeah, God is not a divine rapist. But it, it God is in fact a divine resurrector. And it's just as foolish, and foolhardy, and wrong, to refer to the great miracle of regeneration as rape, as it would be to say that Jesus raped Lazarus in raising him from the dead, because he didn't ask him if he wanted to be raised from the dead.
Look, what these men object to is the very language of Scripture itself. I'm not the one who came up with the heart of stone, heart of flesh thing. You got to blame the guy who lived a long time ago for that, named Ezekiel. He's the one who wrote it down, not me. And, are you really saying that when the wind blows over the valley of the dry bones, that this is some kind, because it's powerful, and because it's monergistic that it's to be likened to rape?!!!
Synergists who use this example—Emir Caner, Ergun Caner, Norman Geisler—should be ashamed of themselves for behaving in this manner. It is dishonest to utilize this language; it's the only way to put it. How else could you put it? To try to force a connection between resurrection power and sinful, sexual violence—who even thought of it I wonder, who was the first one to come up with it; I know it wasn't Norman Geisler, he certainly uses it enough; I wonder who came up with it first—I would not want be that person when I stand before God...
Oh really??? This is where James' remarks get even more bizarre, for earlier in the same program he recommended the works of Dr. R.C. Sproul (see above), and Dr. Sproul utilizes the very language that James condemns as being "dishonest"!!!
I have provided in two previous posts here at AF (http://articulifidei.blogspot.com/2010/07/rc-sproul-if-we-grant-that-god-can-save.html; http://articulifidei.blogspot.com/2010/07/rc-sproul-and-holy-rape-of-soul.html) the following documented comments from the pen of Dr. Sproul:
“Does God have the power to insure the salvation of everyone?” Certainly it is within God’s power to change the heart of every impenitent sinner and bring that sinner to himself. (Page 35.)
The non-Reformed thinker usually responds by saying that for God to impose his power on unwilling people is to violate man’s freedom. To violate man’s freedom is sin. Since God cannot sin, he cannot unilaterally impose his saving grace on unwilling sinners. To force a sinner to be willing when the sinner is not willing is to violate the sinner. The idea is that by offering the grace of the gospel God does everything he can to help the sinner get saved. He has the raw power to coerce men but the use of such power would be foreign to God’s righteousness.
That does not bring much comfort to the sinner in hell. The sinner in hell must be asking, “God, if you really loved me, why didn’t you coerce me to believe? I would rather have had my free will violated than to be here in the eternal place of torment.” (Pages 35, 36.)
The question remains. Why does God only save some? If we grant that God can save men by violating their wills, then why does he not violate everybody’s will and bring them all to salvation? (I am using the word violate here not because I really think there is any wrongful violation but because the non-Calvinist insists on the term.) (Page 36.) [R.C. Sproul, Chosen By God - bold emphasis mine.]
On the fourteenth night the battle ceased. The hound prevailed and Scooter had no alternative. This was not a religious decision; it was unconditional surrender, a docile submission to the holy rape of the soul.(R.C. Sproul, Thy Brother's Keeper, p. 58 - bold emphasis mine.)
Dr. Sproul is not the only Reformed gent who utilizes the very language that James' condemns, but hey, let's ignore the facts, and support his continued abuse of non-Reformed Baptist brethren...
Grace and peace,