The James White Fallacy

DrWhite

James White insists that most of the Arminians who he knows are inconsistent.   He has never bothered to explain just precisely what they are inconsistent about, but he does insist they are inconsistent.  In fact, he insists that most Christians are inconsistent about some things they believe.  By inconsistent, I suppose he means unbiblical, as in, most Christians believe some things that are unbiblical.  Perhaps he is right, or perhaps he is wrong.  Regardless, he uses his argument about inconsistency to make a most fantastical leap in logic.  He surmises that if you disagree with his assessment that an “inconsistent Arminian” is a brother, then you must be advocating for faith in perfect knowledge.  This is absurd.   Who said anything about perfect knowledge?

Must our knowledge of the truths about Christ be complete and/or perfect in order to have assurance?  No, because not all propositions concerning the truths about Christ relate specifically to the atonement’s effectual nature.

However, must the truths about Christ that we do know about and do believe be consistent with Scripture’s propositions concerning the atonement’s effectual nature?  YES!  MOST ABSOLUTELY, YES!

Arminians are inconsistent about the effectual nature of the atonement What’s more, Dr. White admits this!  He admits it!  Consider his radio broadcast from January 21, 2014.

On the January 21, 2014 broadcast of his radio show, The Dividing Line, Dr. White stated the following, beginning at the 47:52 mark:

“From a human perspective, if atonement is simply something that makes salvation possible, and it’s something that we have to then work, it becomes a condition that has been fulfilled for us and that we couldn’t fulfill for ourselves, but now there’s other things to do.  That’s not how the Bible presents the atoning work of Christ.  To address the issue of the extent is to address the issue of intention.  If it is a Divine act, if it truly is first and foremost the act of Father, Son and Spirit – a Triune act, then what the Trinity is attempting to accomplish in that act will be definitional as to its extent and it’s application.  Extent and application become subsidiary issues to the primary issue of the intention of the Triune God.  And if you see the atonement for what it is, it is the extension of Divine power.  It is a powerful act.  And so we have to ask the question, what did God intend to accomplish?  And one side is, He intended to accomplish a hypothetical redemption that is up to us as to whether it’s going to have fulfillment or not.  And of course we say that the intention of the Son and the Father and the Spirit is all perfectly unified, and as the Father has given a specific people to the Son, the Son dies for that specific people, the Spirit comes and applies that work to them at that point in time that the Father has ordained from eternity past.  It is a Triune work.  The gospel is Triune, and the atonement is Triune . . .”

Following this statement, Dr. White then makes his profession concerning inconsistency, and insists that “almost every single Arminian” he knows is an inconsistent Arminian.

What does Dr. White mean by inconsistent?  Does he mean that most Arminians believe on one hand that Jesus died for everyone, and yet on the other hand believe that Jesus’ death really saves?   If so, then Dr. White is a liar.

The problem is that this is not what any Arminian believes, consistent or otherwise.  No Arminian on this planet does now or ever has believed that Jesus’ death really saves.  What they believe is that Jesus’ death really saves IF YOU ADD YOUR FAITH TO THE DEATH!  This is what Dr. White is ignoring.

Dr. White is begging the question.  His fallacy lies in the fact that he is assuming the answer to his question.  He thinks that because an Arminian claims people are saved by grace through faith, therefore, even though they claim Jesus died for everyone, what they also mean is that Jesus’ death really saves, because they claim salvation is by grace through faith. The assumption lies in the notion that when an Arminian says salvation by grace through faith, he means the same thing Dr. White means. He doesn’t.  He means Jesus death alone really does save AFTER THEY HAVE ADDED THEIR FAITH TO IT!

In assuming this nonsense, Dr. White also assumes that when God converts a person, He sometimes leaves them bewildered and confused, their profession dumb and full of ignorance, because . . . well, Dr. White never gets around to explaining this either.  I suppose he thinks that leaving a person confused and dumb concerning Christ’s death somehow glorifies God.

Regardless, it is absolutely idiotic to assert that to disagree with Dr. White’s question begging automatically infers a Hyper-Calvinist attitude or a belief that salvation is by perfect knowledge.  Salvation is by grace through faith.  To assert that faith has a real object, a real object that must be believed, is not the same as saying the object must be perfectly known.   Dr. White is misdirecting Arminians away from the truth about God, while also attempting to wed God’s people to an idol. He must called to repentance.

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About David Bishop

Gospel of Grace Church http://www.gospeldefense.com/about.html
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27 Responses to The James White Fallacy

  1. syetenb says:

    This is brutal. The inconsistency is claiming on one hand that that which differentiates the saved from the lost is what Jesus did, then on the other hand claiming that Jesus did the same for everyone.

  2. C. Soler says:

    What is amazing about this is the fact that Mr. White ‘knows’ that Arminians contend for a ‘potential’ redemption and, in the final analysis, a potential substitution is no REAL justification, no real salvation, no real and actual satisfaction. This is where discernment is really needed; discernment is not needed to distinguish between right and wrong (that is obvious), discernment is needed to differentiate between right and ‘almost’ right. That is what Arminianism is, the best counterfeit out there; to many it sounds right and are deceived, to others it sounds almost right and that is good enough for them. Well, almost the gospel is NOT the gospel. The Holy Spirit will not half regenerate a man, in such a way as to leave him trusting some in Christ and some in self, with self being the final and most important part in the matter of redemption.

  3. Hyper-Cal says:

    1. Arminians believe a false gospel
    2, Those who believe a false gospel are unregenerate
    3 Arminians are unregenerate

    • Omerta says:

      1. No one believes the gospel.
      2. One is regenerated monergistically by God.
      3. The Spirit will guide them into all truth.

      • David Bishop says:

        No one receives reconciliation apart from the news of the forgiveness of sins in the death of Christ

  4. David says:

    [QUOTE]In assuming this nonsense, Dr. White also assumes that when God converts a person, He sometimes leaves them bewildered and confused, their profession dumb and full of ignorance, because . . . well, Dr. White never gets around to explaining this either. I suppose he thinks that leaving a person confused and dumb concerning Christ’s death somehow glorifies God.[ENDQUOTE]
    so, how much knowledge does a person have to have? Why doesn’t God give every believer perfect kknowledge?

    • David Bishop says:

      Perfect knowledge is irrelevant. If I tell you I am going to the store, I do not need perfect knowledge of the store to know there is a difference between a store and a parking garage. But if I go to what you call a store with the intent to park my car in what you call a store, then it would be pretty doggone stupid of you to assume that my definition of a parking garage and a store is the same as your definition of a parking garage and a store.

    • David Bishop says:

      The gospel announces that forgiveness of sins is conditioned upon the efficacy of the atonement, and that the redemption which the atonement purchased is contingent upon election (all those whom the Lord God will call). If, after hearing this, you continue to insist that the efficacy of the atonement is conditioned upon a choice you make, then you obviously do not agree with the gospel.

      • David says:

        I’m basically in agreement with you on this, except for the fact that I don’t think everyone who disagrees is unsaved.

      • libertyblogger101 says:

        OK, but what if you don’t.

        Consider Person A. Person A is an unbelieving atheist. By God’s divine providence, he happens to visit the local Arminian church. The pastor there proclaims that Christ died to save him and that if he just trusts in Christ’s sacrifice to save him, he will be save.d This person believes this message.

        A year later, Person A meets Person B, who is a Calvinist. Person B explains to Person A that he cannot consistently trust in Christ alone without believing in election and particular redemption. Person A thanks Person B for explaining his logical contradiction. He says that although he knew that nothing within himself merited salvation and that Christ alone ensured his salvation from the moment he had vistied that church,he didn’t understand election and he had never heard of it before. In the past, he had inconsistently assumed he made a choice simply because he had heard no alternative. He now happily believes that God chose him before the foundation of the world and that Christ died only for those who he will ultimately cause to believe, and that faith is the result, not the cause of salvation.

        you would have to say A was lost at the very least until he met B, and very likely even after since he does not say he was lost before he met B. I would say that A was genuinely inconsistent, but nonetheless saved. Not because of perfect knowledge (which, with all due respect to James White, is indeed a red herring.) But because Person A had ENOUGH knowledge to trust in Christ alone and be saved. If Mr. C was in a similar situation, but he was told that he had to have faith in Christ and do good things in order to be saved, Mr. C would NOT have enough knowledge to be saved, he would have a completely different gospel, and B should consider him an unbeliever who needs evangelizing.

    • David Bishop says:

      Well then, you’re not in agreement with me on this.

      • Well, I do agree with you that salvation is conditional on what Christ did and not on anything we do. I agree that the atonement, and by extent, belief, are conditional on election. I do not believe that everyone who rejects this idea is not saved.

    • David Bishop says:

      You are deceiving yourself. You don’t believe for one minute that salvation is conditioned on what Christ did and not on anything you do. Nor do you agree that the atonement, and by extent, belief, are conditioned on election. You believe instead that IN YOUR CASE, BUT NOT NECESSARILY IN OTHERS’ CASES, salvation is conditioned on what Christ did. Which means you think Christ did not have to die in order for God to save a person, but rather His death is but one of many available options.

      THERE IS SALVATION IN NO OTHER NAME UNDER HEAVEN! CHRIST IS THE ONLY WAY.

      • No, I absolutely believe that Christ had to die in order to save a person, and that all for whom Christ died are saved. I don’t know where you get otherwise in my post. Nobody is saved who Christ did not die for.

  5. Teddy says:

    Wow talk about dishonest representation from the very first sentence, If your going to write about a person why not have the integrity to represent them accurately, James White has explained what he meant by inconsistent and even calls arminians brothers in Christ.

    • David Bishop says:

      I never said anything about him not explaining what he means by inconsistent. Listen to him explain how the Open Theist is inconsistent. He knows what inconsistent means. No, I said he has never explained WHAT Arminians are inconsistent about. Please pay attention.

  6. Hugh McCann says:

    Is Mr (Dr?) White omniscient?!

    Maybe the inconsistency ain’t so blessed! One writes:

    Are Arminians Christians? Sproul answers, “Yes, barely. They are Christians by what we call a felicitous inconsistency” (Willing to Believe p. 25). Another theologian thinks that Arminians are saved by “blessed inconsistency.” But what is to prevent the equally possible, and perhaps more Biblical, conclusion, that Arminians are lost by cursed inconsistency? Did not the Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, curse everyone, even an angel, who teaches a false gospel? (See Galatians 1:8, 9.) Arminianism has a false gospel; it is not Christianity; and if a member of an Arminian church makes it to Heaven, he does so despite his church’s teaching, not because of it. There may be some Christians in Arminian churches, just as there may be some Christians in Roman Catholic churches, but they are Christians despite their churches’ teachings. – See more at: http://trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=124#sthash.dHA84lp4.dpuf

    • libertyblogger101 says:

      I’m not sure how Galatians 1:8-9 proves that Arminians have a false gospel. I could see how one could make that argument, especially since Jesus preached election to unbelievers, but Galatians doesn’t quite come out and say it. Adding the work of circumcision to salvation is what the passage has in view. This seems to more parallel with the baptismal regenerationists than it does with Arminians, at least IMO. But, I’m open to being shown more scripture.

      That said, I have to admit that I think Dr. White and Dr. Sproul are a touch too tolerant on this issue, as are most other people I know. If someone remains an Arminian after being presented with the arguments, I don’t see how they could be a Christian. I mean, is a Christian going to KNOWINGLY condition salvation partly on their free will? Logically, that’s what Arminianism is. “logically” is the key word. Some “Arminians” don’t even realize this. Since they don’t realize it, they may or may not actually claim it. What it really comes down to for me is… does a person really trust in Christ alone to save them, or Christ + something else? I don’t want to know how logically consistent they are… consistency is important but it is not proof of someone’s salvation. I don’t want to know if they understand particular redemption, again, the gospel makes no logical sense without it, but a person could trust in Christ’s finished sacrifice without understanding what that means for someone who dies in unbelief. Maybe they haven’t thought about it. I think they are sinning by not thinking about it, but this does not necessarily mean they are lost. My question is, do they actually trust in what Christ did on their behalf, are they trusting in Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice for them ALONE to save them. I don’t think most Arminians do. But its not my job to figure out whether an individual does or not. Sometimes its painfully obvious, but if its not, I’ll leave it to God.

      I have a family member who has said she would not worship a God who sovereignly chooses some and not others. I do not consider her a Christian. I do not see how someone like Michael Brown, who clearly understands the issues, could possibly continue to defend Arminianism if he is a Christian. While I leave it to God, I question whether he really understands the gospel. But I don’t think that someone who is told “Christ died to save you from your sins* trust in him alone and he’ll save you” and fully believes in and trusts that message without knowing the details of how the atonement relates to unbelievers and without really being aware of election is necessarily unsaved.

      *I don’t believe in telling unbelievers that Christ died for them. We don’t know whether that’s true or not. But, I still believe someone could believe and trust in that message and be saved.

      • Hugh McCann says:

        Amen, LB101. Knowledgeable Armies are without excuse,* while many believers are confused, thanks to the prevalence of free will hooey infesting Christendom.

        Chan’s point in using Galatians is as a general denouncement of ANY bogus “gospel,” free-will-ism included.

        Gal. 1:8f doesn’t “prove that Arminians have a false gospel,” of course.

        But Chan’s syllogism runs thus:
        Paul warns that any false gospel is damning.
        Arminianism is a false gospel.
        Therefore, Arminianism is damning.

        * http://evangelicalarminians.org

      • DavidC says:

        “I have a family member who has said she would not worship a God who sovereignly chooses some and not others. I do not consider her a Christian.” I think that gets to the heart of the issue with most Arminians. It is not, per se, they cherish freewill but rather they think God is so loving He has to give everybody a ‘chance’ to be saved. “If He is not doing that, then see you later!” says the Arminian.

  7. Hugh McCann says:

    “Perfect knowledge”….. Is that like having the mind of Christ?

  8. Hugh McCann says:

    I wonder if White isn’t hedging on the term “Arminian.”

    They state very plainly what they believe: http://evangelicalarminians.org/an-outline-of-the-facts-of-arminianism-vs-the-tulip-of-calvinism/

    As Chan said:
    Paul warns that any false gospel is damning.
    Arminianism is a false gospel.
    Therefore, Arminianism is damning.

    And, Hyper-Cal (January 27, 2014):
    1. Arminians believe a false gospel
    2, Those who believe a false gospel are unregenerate
    3 Arminians are unregenerate

  9. DavidC says:

    “What it really comes down to for me is… does a person really trust in Christ alone to save them, or Christ + something else? I don’t want to know how logically consistent they are… consistency is important but it is not proof of someone’s salvation. I don’t want to know if they understand particular redemption, again, the gospel makes no logical sense without it, but a person could trust in Christ’s finished sacrifice without understanding what that means for someone who dies in unbelief”- libertyblogger

    You know, I keep coming back to this question. I kind of agree with libertyblogger in that I think most Arminians are trusting in Jesus death alone for their salvation, even if they illogically insist that he died for everybody. But, kind of going along with Dave Bishop, I’m not sure trusting in Christ alone necessarily proves someone is regenerate.

    It’s like inclusivists, annihilationist, and those who teach easy-believism. I’m pretty sure many of these people would claim they trust in Christ’s death alone for salvation and yet plenty would regard these types as lost simply because they reject certain truths surrounding the gospel in preference for notions that are more comfortable. Is that not idolatry, exchanging hard truth for pleasant lies? Maybe James White would argue rejecting unconditional election, while sinful, is not in the same category as rejecting an explicit profession of faith, hell, or repentance. Seems like a double standard if he does so.

    Further, is it realistic to think a person can spend his entire life rejecting the truth about sovereign grace and yet be considered regenerate? God enlightens some Christians but not others even though they all have spiritual sight?

    I guess all this is a moot point though since people like James White think if your evangelism talks about election or definite atonement then you are Hypercalvinist. If grace is so important, why not just spell it out clearly from the get go?

    • David Bishop says:

      Do you trust in Christ alone to save you?

      This question is a cop out, because it assumes things about the person being asked the question. Mormons really trust in Christ alone to save them. So do Catholics Pentecostals, seeker-sensitives, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh-Day Adventists, Primitive Baptists, Southern Baptists, Federal Visionists, Open Theists, New Perspectivers, etc. They all trust in Christ alone to save them. Heck, even the Amish and the Quakers trust in Christ alone to save them. But who is the Christ they trust in alone to save them, and how did He do this?

      In addition to this, the question also assumes the person being asked doesn’t attach any conditions to the salvation they say they trust Christ to accomplish. Do they trust in their Christ alone to save them, because they got baptized? Or because they said a sinner’s prayer? Strolled up to an altar? Joined a church? Ate a cracker? Confessed to a priest?

      Do you see now how much you are assuming for them? The question is a cop out. You don’t want to ask the real question.

      The question is not do you trust in Christ alone to save you. The question instead is, what did God say the cross of Christ accomplished, and do you agree this is true?

      You see, the gospel is not about what the cross could do, might do, or even will do. No, the good news is about what the cross has done. (Rom 3:21-27) God put forward the cross of Christ as a propitiation to be received by faith. A propitiation. A satisfaction. Notice the tense. A finished act.

      By offering His body to God at the cross, Jesus Christ did once and for all time 2,000 years ago satisfy God’s wrath on behalf of His elect. This is the good news. This is why God is righteous to impute them righteous and grant them new birth. This is why He shall raise them from the dead at the last day.

      By offering His body to God at the cross as a sacrifice for His people’s sins, Christ has once and for all time, with a sacrifice never to be repeated, fully redeemed His people from the penalty for their sins. This is the gospel, and His people are made to receive this good news by faith.

      This is not the gospel you hear from Rome. This is not the gospel you hear from the Southern Baptist Convention. Sadly, it is not even the gospel you hear anymore from London and Westminster. No, the gospel you hear from most pulpits and seminaries today is a gospel that tells us the cross can redeem, will redeem, might redeem, if only you will do something to make it count for you. That’s not the gospel! That is an evil Satanic message.

      The fact is, where it concerns Calvinism, most Calvinists have never repented of their Arminianism. They have never taken sides against themselves. They have never flushed their old religion. Instead, they have simply added their Calvinism to their Arminianism as if doctrines like election and definite atonement were things you can take or leave. And some actually do say that! They call it “shelf doctrine”.

      These people have never flushed their old religion, because they don’t want to turn their backs on all those special felt experiences and hard work they put into earning their righteousness while under the teaching of a false gospel. These people are unrepentant. They do not believe the gospel. They are false teachers and they are to be marked as such.

      Hebrews 10:1-14

      • DavidC says:

        That’s a good point. “Trusting in Christ alone” can mean just about anything. I had actually of this previously too, I just did not bring it up in my comment. I wouldn’t be surprised if this explains why Arminians who claim they trust in Jesus are offended when told what it actually means, from a Calvinist viewpoint; the two camps use the same language but attach different meanings to the words. It certainly pokes a hole in Dr. White’s assertion that the offense is a product only of ignorance and confusion.

  10. Park Nelson says:

    Fantastic comment, David!

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