James White’s Gospel Has No Election

The video is here.  I encourage you to watch and listen to it for yourself before you read anything else I have to say.

Have you watched it?   Assuming you have here are my two cents.

White calls for balance between what he says are the two opposite extremes – – on the one side people who no longer know what the gospel is, and on the other side people who “draw that theological line so tightly that they are the only ones in it.”  Keep this in mind.

After White calls for balance he then immediately asks, what did the apostles define as the church?  Notice this.  Not what did the apostles define as the gospel; but rather, what did the apostles define as the church.   Keep this too in mind.

White answers his question for us by explaining that some people today believe the apostles defined the church on the level of a “Mere Christianity” which White defines as belief in the Trinity, the virgin birth, and the historical death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Christ Jesus.

White explains for us that he believes the apostles defined the church by more than the least common denominator.   He then tells us that Hyper Calvinists define the gospel by more than the least common denominator.

What we are to understand from White then is it is okay for him to define the church by a standard more strict than the least common denominator, because this is what he sees the apostles doing; but it is not okay for anyone else to define the gospel by a standard more strict than the least common denominator, because this too is what they see the apostles doing?

Is this what Dr. White is really telling us?   That the apostles were more strict than the least common denominator when it came to the church, but not not more strict than the least common denominator when it came to the gospel?

After befuddling us with this argument White then abruptly shifts the argument to a discussion about sanctification, as though sanctification were one of the restrictions his “hyper Calvinists” place on their gospel.  Now why is this?  Could it be he is trying to convince his audience that a basic understanding of accomplished redemption is far too complicated a message to explain to the common man on the street?  Could it be he is trying to convince his audience it is so complicated that it should be likened to trying to explain the difference between progressive and positional sanctification?  Methinks he is indeed.

So after all this, after telling us the apostles cared more about their definition of the church than they did about their definition of the gospel, White finally explains for us what he believes the gospel is.  His explanation is the least common denominator + grace alone through faith alone.  And if you disagree with him, if you insist the gospel is grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone for His elect alone, then you are automatically in his opinion a hyper Calvinist.

Let me be the first to respond to Dr. White with a royal Bronx cheer. Pfffffft, shyyyut up your shuttin up. If Dr. White wants to call me a Hyper Calvinist, then so be it. He can call me this while I continue to call him a Tolerant Calvinist.

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21 Responses to James White’s Gospel Has No Election

  1. David Bishop says:

    The prescriptive/decretive (hypothetical/revealed) will of God nonsense that White talks about beginning at the 1:00 mark is pure Edward Fisher/Marrow Controversy nonsense. White even mentions Scotland and England early on in his lecture as places where Hyper-Calvinism had taken root in this past. This is an absolute lie. White is spouting the same ridiculous lies about the faithful men in the Church of Scotland that Thomas Boston and his eleven cronies spouted. White needs to be officially censured and then called to repent of his egotistical, historically ignorant, self righteous Amyraldian gospel. And if he refuses, then he needs to be put out of his local congregation.

    And for anyone interested in learning what the actual, historical, easily verifiable history of the Marrow Controversy was about, then I encourage them to go here:

    https://cornbreadandbourbon.wordpress.com/2015/05/26/the-marrow-controversy-and-tolerant-calvinism-discussion-notes-part-1/

    • markmcculley says:

      The distinction between God’s will as decree (what is predestined) and God’s will as precept (what is commanded by God’s law) is not nonsense. But we simply have to explain that the word “will” is being using to describe two distinct matters. But most people who use the word “offer” are turning God’s command into God’s wish. They say that God not only commands us all not to sin but also that God wishes that there was no sin. They say that God not only commands us all to believe the gospel but also that God wishes that the non-elect were all saved. In this way, they not only confuse God’s commands with God’s gospel but they also de facto eliminate any significance of election ( or non-election) in the gospel. And then they either say or imply that Jesus died in some sense for the non-elect, even if it was ultimately only to condemn the non-elect. But no gospel is needed to condemn anybody, because we are all born condemned.

  2. David C says:

    Absolutely! I simply cannot fathom why the popular Calvi’s love having these detailed church confessions and write all these books explaining the person and work of Christ at length but when it comes to evangelism, they suddenly, magically, insist on a bare-bones-basic-Jesus. No dropping the ‘E’ word and no getting specific about the extent of the atonement.

    But I guess coalitions with 4-pointers, Arminians, and others who think the ‘Billy Graham gospel’ is the default version necessitates this sleight-of-hand gimmickry…

    • David Bishop says:

      Because they have never repented, David. They have never flushed their self righteous, false, works for righteousness gospel. They continue to cling to it instead and they count themselves as having been converted by it. This is why they treat election and definite atonement as something for “smarter Christians” to be tacked onto their false gospel.

    • Logan says:

      We understand we aren’t suppose to cast our pearls with the swine.

  3. Rick says:

    Sorry, I didn’t find much of anything I disagreed with in either his statements or his theological understanding.

  4. Hugh McCann says:

    Do I *HAVE* to watch this? 😛

  5. Brad says:

    Dr. White was pretty much 100% right in this.

  6. Jeremiah says:

    I don’t know what lens you’re watching this video through, but it has to be a biased one at best and a dishonest one at worst. This post is so unfair to the context of the speaker it’s just silly.

  7. Charlie says:

    Not sure y’all have spent time listening Dr. Whites lectures or podcasts. Saying he is historically ignorant pretty much dismisses you from any convo. That guy will forget more on historical Christianity than any of us will learn.

  8. Hugh McCann says:

    James White is not infallible; he just never makes a mistake. Ever.

  9. James White presented the issue on a wide spectrum if oposing positions between “mere cristianity” and “teological perfection” and you managed to turn that into a binary contradiction. Great job at completely misrepresenting the guy.
    His entire point during his lecture was to defend that the gospel must be preached to everyone calling people to repent and that we do not know who the elect are.

    • David Bishop says:

      Your comment indicative of either gross dishonesty or gross incompentence. Did you actually watch the video? White himself defines the church as being MORE than Mere Christianity and yet less than election. That is not me talking, that is him. His spectrum, as you call it, of hyper Calvinism is election! If you include election in your gospel he calls that hyper Calvinism! If you reject common grace, as the Protestant Reformed Church does, he calls that hyper Calvinism. If you reject the Free Will Offer and the Marrow’s two wills in God theory, as again the Protestant Reformed Church does, he calls this hyper Calvinism. Ever read Hoeksema? Robbins? Engelsma? Are you ready to throw these men under the bus without even having read them?

      What about Gill? Toplady? Owen? Booth? Crisp? Pink, for goodness sake?! You ready to throw these men under the bus too? Have you ever read Owen’s “A Display of Arminianism”? Do you even know what the Marrow asserted? Do you even know why it was condemned?

      The ignorant assertions I find in White’s argument are appalling. There is simply no excuse for them.

      The Marrow asserted that God has a revealed desire to save all men, but a secret desire to save only the elect. You heard White assert in the video that anyone who denies this is true is a hyper Calvinist. What part of that escaped your notice? You heard him insist that anyone who claims God has no non-redeeming love for the non elect is a hyper Calvinist. Man, Romans 9 does not say God loved Esau a little less! It says He hated him!

      To White’s view of thinking, definite atonement and election are just the extra mustard on his hot dog. He thinks you don’t need the extra mustard to enjoy a hot dog.

      It’s not about preaching the gospel to everyone. Hoeksema and the Church of Scotland and the PRC have asserted again and again that we are to preach the gospel to everyone. Rather, it’s about what gospel do you preach to everyone.

      White has said before that he believes he was converted before he knew about definite atonement and election. He refuses to confess this prior conversion as false. Why? What do you think he is trying to protect? Could it be all that time and effort he put into trying to be righteous and holy? Is that his gospel? Is he trying to preserve the righteousness he sought to obtain by the law?

  10. candle evan says:

    Did I watch the same presentation that you watched? I think whoever wrote this article is reading a lot of things into what James is saying.

  11. Hugh McCann says:

    God loves everyone and wants them all in heaven, OK?!
    Jesus is dead for everyone, OK?!
    Or else you’re a Hyper-Calvinist!

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  13. Hugh McCann says:

    1) That you post an hour of this is cruel & unusual
    2) 32 minutes into it, and NOTHING of substance has been said – merely anecdote and innuendo.
    3) We press on, David, in implicit faith that you’re onto something….

  14. Hugh McCann says:

    David,

    I haven’t heard what hyper-Calvinism actually is.

    But an efficacious atonement is only exposing the beauty of the gospel, it’s not necessary to believe, not inherent *to* the gospel?!

    Around 38:30, he says that Reformed soteriology (the 5 pts) is “an accurate, biblical understanding of what the gospel is.” OK.

    Then, he equivocates into anti-perfectionism.

    “I don’t have it all right. I’m not a perfect theologian.”

    What “marks of hyper-Calvinism” did he delineate?!

    And then, that he hasn’t even started his journey?!

    @ 48:26, we FINALLY get his take on “HYPER-CALVINISM.” (Cue scary music.)

    1. “Theological perfectionism.” [ ? ]
    2. “Claimed knowledge of the secret decree of God, rather than his prescriptive will.” [ ? ]
    3. “Search for signs of regeneration.” [ ? ]
    4. “Refusal to promiscuously proclaim the gospel to every creature, including in that proclamation, the call to repentance and faith on the part of every hearer.”

    White doesn’t know what an Evangelical *is.* Perhaps he should read Lloyd-Jones on that.

    What is the gospel, Mr White? Watching for an hour, and still no hint…

    But glad someone is out there battling Hyper-Calvinism.

    Do we also need to hunt down Nessie, Sasquatch, and unicorns?

    It did get better near the end. But still sorry that I sat through it all.

    Sharing in the raspberry for Mr White.

  15. markmcculley says:

    D.M. Lloyd-Jones from “The Puritans: Their Origins and Successors”:

    “At this point I would make a comment, and put it in the form of a question. Is there not a real danger of our becoming guilty of a very subtle form of Arminianism if we maintain that correct doctrine and understanding are essential to our being used by the Spirit of God? It is sheer Arminianism to insist upon a true and correct understanding as being essential.

    The case of the young Harris disproves this. For eighteen months he was used in this mighty manner while still not merely confused, but actually wrong in his doctrine. The same, of course, is true in the case of John Wesley. I remember speaking once in the Anniversary at the Central Hall, Westminster.

    I said that John Wesley was to me the greatest proof of Calvinism. Why? Because in spite of his faulty thinking he was greatly used of God to preach the gospel and to convert souls! That is the ultimate proof of Calvinism – predestination and election. It certainly comes out quite clearly in the case of the young Howell Harris.”

    “I would sum up this section like this. One of the greatest proofs of the truth of the doctrines emphasized by Calvin, what is known as ‘Calvinism’ – though I have already said I do not like these terms – is John Wesley. He was a man who was saved in spite of his muddled and erroneous thinking. The grace of God saved him in spite of himself. That is Calvinist! If you say, as a Calvinist, that a man is saved by his understanding of doctrine you are denying Calvinism. He is not. We are all saved in spite of what we are in every respect. Thus it comes to pass that men who can be so muddled, because they bring in their own human reason, as John Wesley and others did, are saved men and Christians, as all of us are, because it is ‘all of the grace of God’ and in spite of us.” https://markmcculley.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/my-letter-to-mouw-about-wesley

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