White’s World

On December 9, 2017 Dr. James R. White posted this to his Facebook page.

James White writes (comments interspersed):

I have a friend, who will see this, who sincerely believes Michael Brown needs to get saved. Now, obviously, I believe Michael Brown IS saved. Unlike most other folks, here’s my line of reasoning:

Before observing White’s line of reasoning I pause to note HOW SERIOUS this is from a Biblical perspective (the only perspective that ultimately matters). Please notice that I said a BIBLICAL perspective, NOT a TOLERANT CALVINIST perspective (see “tolerant Calvinist snippets” for brief examples of what a “tolerant Calvinist” is).

Presumably White’s friend thinks Dr. Michael Brown believes in a “gospel” that falls under Paul’s anathema (Galatians 1:8-9).

Furthermore — and this is VERY important — presumably White’s friend and White are BOTH familiar with what Dr. Brown believes about God, Jesus Christ, salvation, etc.  If this is correct, then White’s friend MUST duly consider WHAT GOSPEL James White believes to be the power of God to salvation, or at least what “gospel” can be said to be “close enough, man” or to “approximate the true gospel” (whatever that might mean).

If White’s friend CONTINUES TO think White is a true Christian DESPITE embracing Brown as a true Christian, then White’s friend needs to self-reflect and consider what gospel he believes to be the power of God to salvation DESPITE embracing White as a true Christian.  The simple point here is this:

Whoever a professing Christian KNOWINGLY EMBRACES as a true Christian tells you what gospel he believes in; or at least about what gospel this professing Christian deems as “sufficiently orthodox” to fall within Romans 1:16-17, rather than under Galatians 1:8-9.

Since White’s friend judges Brown to be unsaved and White does not, then White’s friend has to consider what exactly is an essential gospel doctrine? Or whether there EVEN IS such a thing? An “essential gospel doctrine” is a Biblical doctrine that every single believer without any exception believes, including infants and handicap persons.

So here’s White’s line of reasoning for judging Dr. Michael L. Brown to be a true Christian:

Trinity? Check: more so than 99% of all believers I know (see his Answers to Jewish Objections to Jesus 5 volume set).
All aspects of Christology? Check
Virgin Birth? Check
Death, Burial, Resurrection of Jesus? Check

Well, not only does Dr. Brown believe that Jesus Christ died for everyone without exception, but he also believes that a truly regenerate believer is able to unregenerate himself (see the Youtube video I linked below for documentation of this [1]).  Now Brown’s damnable heresy here is quite consistent —  for if a sinner possesses the ultimate and decisive power in his regeneration, then it follows that he must have ultimate and decisive power in his UNregeneration as well. If what the sinner does can supposedly render void this resurrection power, then what he does can reenact this same supposed power.

White continues:

Biblical inspiration? Check
Scriptural sufficiency? Check
Biblical inerrancy? Bonus check!
Second coming? Check
Final judgment? Check
Absolute necessity of God’s grace in salvation? Check
Substitutionary atonement? Check (even defended it against Brian Zahn [sic; Zahnd –CD] at IHOP [International House Of Prayer –CD]
Justification by faith alone? Check

Except for the stubborn fact that this so-called “justification” is based on the sinner’s efforts; and this “faith” is in a “christ” who cannot save (Isaiah 45:20); and this “faith” makes the ultimate difference between justification and condemnation, thus usurping Jesus Christ’s role as exclusive Savior.

More from White:

At this point I have to say, “That covers it — or at least it covered it for the Apostles.” Ah, but wait, someone says, that’s not nearly enough! We need to see if there are any contradictions in there! He’s a charismatic, so he can’t believe in Scriptural sufficiency, for example! I definitely see an issue there — and MB is not ignorant of it, and would reply that he does not believe in continuing *canonical* revelation and would make a distinction in regards to any modern “revelation” and the term “theopneustos.” Do I agree with these distinctions? Nope. Does that give me the right to overthrow the above affirmations? NO.

But, he’s not Reformed! In fact, he claims to be a former Calvinist! That’s surely enough to banish him! If you think only Calvinists are going to heaven, I guess you could conclude that. I don’t, and as much as I believe we honor God by believing all of His truth *consistently,* I find nothing more repulsive than those who wrap themselves in their TRRs (Truly Reformed Robes) and look down on the unwashed masses of non-Reformed, sniff haughtily, and point a bony finger toward perdition and growl, “Off with you to the flames, you non-elect!” MB and I have set a standard, we hope, in honestly addressing these issues in the confines of brotherly commitment to the glory of Christ, the integrity of the gospel, and the inspiration of Scripture.

White mentions the customary “consistency” issue (again). Well, okay. To suppress the truth in unrighteousness is also inconsistent (see Romans 1); so is professing to know God while in works denying Him (Titus 1:16). You know, it’s too easy to assert by force that “they’re inconsistent” and then run off to fellowship with heretics.

Everyone is inconsistent in certain areas, are they not? The question or issue is what type of “inconsistency” is indicative of lostness and what type is not?  What does it mean to abide or to not abide in the doctrine of Christ (see 2 John 9-11). For instance, is it “inconsistent” to follow a false christ? Is it possible for a saved person to “inconsistently follow” a false christ (see John 10:4-5)?

Knowing what genuine historical Calvinists believe, I would certainly NOT say that “only Calvinists are going to heaven” (White). Perhaps the term “Reformed” is historically and theologically more precise, but anyhow, here is CALVINIST, Hugh Latimer (1485-1555):

“For Christ shed as much blood for Judas, as he did for Peter: Peter believed it, and therefore he was saved; Judas would not believe, and therefore he was condemned” (Hugh Latimer, Sermons).

This quote demonstrates that Latimer was ignorant of Jesus Christ being the end of law for righteousness (Romans 10:1-4). This is one clear instance of me denying that “only Calvinists are going to heaven.” Only those who believe God’s promise to save His people conditioned SOLELY on the penal and preceptive work of Jesus Christ are going to heaven.

Back to Dr. White’s comments:

But…he went on Benny Hinn’s show! Surely that is enough to cast anyone into hell! I wonder if folks think through such statements. I wish MB had not done that — I think maybe sometimes he wishes he had not done that either — but when you stand back and look at the list above and go, “Yep, all that — irrelevant — Hinn is enough,” doesn’t it follow that you just made Hinn more important than everything else in that list? Ever thought of that? Most haven’t.

A few years ago I visited Dr. Michael Brown’s website and he had been on a video program with Benny Hinn. I watched for a few minutes and Brown addressed Benny Hinn as a “brother” on that program. Brown’s speaking peace when there is no peace to Hinn, and then White’s speaking peace when there is no peace to Brown is the pernicious pine sap of spiritual porneia. This is a somber, sobering, fearful, and disgusting daubing-and-being-daubed fest (see Ezekiel 13:9-16; Jeremiah 8:8-13, 14:11-16, 23:17;cf. 2 John 9-11, Revelation 18:4).

Interesting reasoning by Dr. White — Hinn is “more important” than White’s entire check-for-orthodoxy list. White’s reasoning is not cogent. Let’s set forth Hinn, Brown, and the Galatian Judaizers and ask whether or not Hinn and Brown have gone SO FAR BEYOND what any Judaizer ever contemplated? How great was the checklist-for-orthodoxy among the Galatian Judaizers? And yet how did Paul judge them (see Galatians 5)?

Paul judged them LOST for MUCH LESS than anything one would judge Hinn and Brown lost over. Given that Paul judged these “mostly orthodox” men to be unregenerate AND DID NOT judge them to be “inconsistent” brethren, does it follow that these Judaizers are somehow “more important” than the truth of the gospel? No. In fact, it is rather BECAUSE Paul deemed the truth of the gospel to be ESSENTIAL for every believer, and therefore “MORE IMPORTANT” than a sincerely ignorant zeal for God, that he judged them to be unsaved (Galatians 1:1-8, 5:1-4; cf. Romans 10:2-3). Romans 10:1-4 was written precisely against the type of reasoning employed by teachers like James White.

Take this extra-Biblical example:

Charles Hodge would receive no raised eyebrows and obtain greater “orthodox consistency checks” than Michael Brown. AND YET Charles Hodge considered the pantheistic Schleiermacher to be a true Christian! If one judges Charles Hodge lost based on his spiritual fornication with Schleiermacher, then does it necessarily follow that Schleiermacher is “more important than” all that seeming orthodoxy that Hodge professed adherence to? Or, rather, does it reveal that Hodge does NOT consider ANY FUNDAMENTAL DOCTRINE to be essential to the gospel for EVERYONE BELIEVING? By considering Schleiermacher to be saved Hodge revealed that the Galatians 1:8-9 “gospel” is a legitimate (albeit inconsistent and impure) expression of the true gospel!

I suppose one could call this Hodge-Schleiermacher illustration an a fortiori argument — I mean, given how UTTERLY BLATANT Hodge’s spiritual fornication with Schleiermacher is, I wonder if ANY of these tolerant Calvinists similarly-minded with White can hear Genesis 3:4, 2 John 9-11, Ezekiel 13:10-16, Jeremiah 6:14, 8:11-15, 23:16, Deuteronomy 29:17-20, Isaiah 28:14-18, 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, and Revelation 18:1-5 crying out to them from the dustbin of irrelevance? One truly wonders…

Dr. White:

Unity is, in fact, based upon truth. But it is not based upon walking in lockstep with the narrow vision of one particular group or viewpoint. MB and I are going to be engaging some Black Hebrew Israelites in debate next year, Lord willing. I look forward to it. We might have some disagreements (we don’t view Israel in the same way). But since we will be debating the Trinity, the deity of Christ, etc., we will be on the very same page, just as we were when we were defending the deity of Christ against two unitarians a few years ago. Unlike certain folks, I’ve prayed with Michael L Brown, and I know his heart for the gospel and missions and our common Lord. So I will continue to debate with him in defense of the truth, and continue to debate him in the pursuit of unity based upon the inspired Scriptures we both love as well.

To believe the truth of the gospel of Christ is not to walk in lockstep with “the narrow vision of one particular group or viewpoint.” Unity IS, in fact, based upon TRUTH. Not lies, but TRUTH. Lockstep in abiding in the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9-11); submission to the righteousness God revealed in the gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 10:1-4).

That was the end of White’s Facebook article (post). Then down in the comments White added the following:

And by the way (I was going to include this in the article): I continue to support the ministry of the brother who thinks Michael needs to get saved. I guess that makes me namby-pamby or something. Fact is, I’ve prayed with both men, believe both men are saved, believe both are servants of God, know that neither has ever met the other, and hence since we live in a fallen world, have to deal with this division as best I can. And I choose not to do it with anger, malice, and the like.

Men such as White like tossing out complete yet customary canards about “perfection of understanding” — except that in Galatians Paul wrote about the gospel being clear enough to tell the difference between the true gospel and a false gospel; a true God and a false god; a true Christ and a false christ.  False gospels fall under God’s anathema (Galatians 1:8-9; cf. Romans 10:1-4).

To adapt a couple of old paragraphs from White. There is a true gospel and there are false gospels. There is one true and living God and many false gods. There is one true Christ and multitudes of false christs. There is only one Holy Spirit and many false antichristian spirits.  The false gospel is under the anathema of God. And those who proclaim a false gospel are under the anathema of God. We can know the difference between the two. The gospel has been declared with sufficient clarity to know that. How does this have anything to do with “doctrinal perfectionism”? It doesn’t (Galatians 5:2; cf. Romans 10:1-4).

In White’s world, is there anything that’s “inconsistent” that is also anathema? What would be anathema in the gospel to White, and would it be an actual person under this anathema rather than a mere abstract ISM? What were the Judaizers doing, Dr. White, that Michael L. Brown hasn’t blatantly magnified?

 

And then Dr. Brown commented on Dr. White’s Facebook page in reply:

Bless you, brother! And I truly feel for those who are small-minded enough to damn lots of fellow-believers to hell. Grace to them all! (Michael L. Brown)

And, finally,  here is that Youtube video I mentioned where Dr. Brown says a true Christian can nullify his own regeneration or unregenerate himself:

[1] This video is from Dr. Michael Brown’s official Youtube channel (published to Youtube on January 17, 2014). At around 34:36 the moderator asks Michael Brown about a believer becoming “unborn.” Michael responds: “Yes.” [The reader may wish to go back some minutes — perhaps to 33:00 or a bit before for additional context.]