James R. White on 2 John 9-11 (Part 1)

James R. White on 2 John 9-11:

“The context in the early church, and in John’s epistolary literature, is in reference to those who had ‘gone out’ from the Christian fellowship, as seen clearly in 1 John. John uses an interesting descriptive, ὁ προάγων, ‘the one going too far’ or ‘running ahead’ as one not ‘abiding in the doctrine of Christ.’ Clearly in light of 1 John this was about the docetic false teachers who denied the Incarnation and second coming of Christ. So it is specifically in reference to these false teachers that John warns in vs. 10-11. In the ancient world, hospitality was a given, and taking someone into your home, especially traveling ministers and teachers, an every day reality. But John is saying there is a standard to be had: the doctrine of Christ. So we are not to give false teachers a foothold in our communities by extending hospitality to them in our homes. The giving of the greeting would have indicated that the Christian fellowship extends beyond the doctrine of Christ itself, similar to my identifying a Mormon as my brother, for example” (James R. White).

A “standard to be had:  the doctrine of Christ.”  Yes, indeed. The Person and Work of Christ — WHO Jesus is and WHAT He accomplished.

It is true that this type of “greeting” would in fact indicate “that the Christian fellowship extends beyond the doctrine of Christ itself.”  For this greeting would indicate that the person being greeted while perhaps NOT “optimally orthodox,” IS “sufficiently orthodox” to be given this type of greeting — a greeting that indicates a spiritual oneness or kinship.  Dr. White then gives an example of this with his hypothetical identifying a Mormon as his brother.  This “greeting” is what God through Jeremiah refers to when talking about the false prophets who say “peace, peace, when there is no peace” (cf. Jeremiah 6:13-15, 8:8-13).

In the past Dr. White has curiously criticized us who would ‘illegitimately extend’ the doctrine of Christ to include a central part of “the doctrine of Christ “– the efficacious atonement of Jesus Christ.  White’s problem was that we applied 2 John 9-11 to those who believe Jesus died for everyone without exception (i.e., those who are ignorant of the only righteousness God accepts as the ground of salvation).  Here was White’s curious criticism:

“John is not talking about universal atonement as ‘the teaching.’ He is talking about the teaching concerning the Father and the Son, and especially, in the Johannine literature, concerning the doctrine of the antiChrists, who denied that the Son came in the flesh. John is exhorting his readers not to greet those who have gone out of the fellowship and who are denying the Father and the Son. To connect these words to [those who are simply ignorant of Christ as the end of law for righteousness], is once again, absurd. Only by extending a truth (particular redemption [cf. Romans 10:1-4]) to the status of the final and full definition of the gospel itself can [a person] make such an outrageous leap” (James R. White).

Elsewhere Dr. White said that 2 John 9-11 (and the other Johannine literature) speaks about

“a form of docetism that denied the reality of Jesus’ physical body” (James R. White).

Okay, so apparently it is NOT “an outrageous leap” to extend a truth — Jesus Christ as God-Man — “to the status of the final and full definition of the gospel itself.”  Mormons do not deny the reality of Jesus’ physical body.  The point is that James White WILL ALSO “outrageously leap” and “extend” 2 John 9-11 to OTHERS BESIDES (e.g., White’s Mormon example) those who held to a form of docetism that denied the reality of Jesus’ physical body.

To adapt a line from one jolly heretic.

Art, like the various and sundry judgments of tolerant Calvinist heretics, consists in drawing the line somewhere.

Tolerant Calvinists are professing Christians who believe they were saved under the false gospel of Galatians 1:8-9, who later “grew into” the true gospel of Romans 1:16-17.  These unregenerate Calvinists believe that these two gospels are essentially the SAME gospel, differing only in DEGREE.

Tolerant Calvinists believe that the light of the knowledge of “another Jesus” whom the apostles did not preach (2 Corinthians 4:3-6; 11:4) was shone into their hearts, presumably as an immediate and inevitable fruit or result of the regenerating/resurrecting power of God the Holy Spirit.

“But also if our gospel is being hidden, it has been hidden in those being lost, in whom the god of this age has blinded the thoughts of the unbelieving, [so that ] the brightness of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God, [should] not dawn on them. For we do not proclaim ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves your slaves for the sake of Jesus. Because [it is] God who said, Out of darkness Light shall shine, who shone in our hearts to [give the] brightness of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:3-6).

When true Christians give their hearty agreement to 2 Corinthians 4:3-6 they are slandered as holding to odd and peculiar heresies these Calvinists dreamt up — namely, “doctrinal perfectionism” and “doctrinal regeneration.”  So, if a true Christian says that the unbelieving are blind and lost and the believing have received sight and are saved, then the tolerant Calvinists of varying stripe will trot out the two aforementioned non sequiturs.