Friday, December 5, 2008

In Defense of James White

I am no expert on who is and who is not a hypercalvinist. Sorry, I cannot be an expert on everything. I do not have to the time to parse out all the fine distinctions, but one thing I am an expert on (tongue-in-cheek) is the theology of James White. I have read everything he has written on the subject of Calvinism, even the hard to find out of print books like Drawn By the Father. Plus, I have been a faithful listener to his radio program for over 12 years. In fact, I listened to his show, The Dividing Line, before I was Reformed.

I give this background so I can say with much confidence that James White has not, in any way, changed his views on the subject of Calvinism (God's love for the non-elect and the free offer of the gospel). The reason I say all this is due to this article. The author claims that Dr. White has recently, because of "pressure," changed his views, "kicking and screaming," on Calvinism and by implication has moved from a hypercalvinst to a "high" Calvinist. Once again, I am not an expert on hypercalvinism, so James White may in fact be one (which I highly doubt) but one thing that I am certain on is that Dr. White has not changed his views on these subjects in the last 12 years. It is not Dr. White's fault if you just now understand his views. The right thing to do in this situation is so say "sorry" for the misunderstanding, move on and not to dig your heels in and place the blame at the feet of Dr. White. Many bad things could be said about Dr. White, but that he is unclear is not one of them. His theological views are clear and open to anyone who want to take the time and read his published works on the subject. So, "Steve," author of the article, I am suggesting that you read Dr. White's works on this subject before you blog about him again.


  1. Josh, I am also a long time supporter of Dr James White and have been the target of these charges too by Byrne and Ponter and their followers.
    I have been on the public record about these matters for more than three years, discussing one on one with Tony Byrne and David Ponter with no end in sight.

    But I just came across this blog and noticed Jonathon Goundry is a contributor to this blog.

    Recently on Unchained radio, he read and email from someone in Australia who was asking if they would be willing to have "me" on to counter Tony Byrne.

    Tony actually came on moments later and referred to me by name and then continued on his merry way to misrepresent my views again.

    Now, the reason for this post.

    A poster on Byrne's site had made a not so subtle reference, that I was the person in Australia who wrote the email, therefore it was me wanting me to come on the show!

    Jonathon mentioned he knew the person, so I was wondering if you could get him to say the person is not me (tartanarmy) and then maybe Byrne will not continue to allow these kinds of untoward rumors from getting out, from his very site.

    Also, as a person who had over 1000 posts on the Unchained boards defending the doctrines of grace, as well as being the Moderator for a while (until the controversy with Byrne and Ponter and then Gene led to my resignation)

    could or would Jonathon be willing to lend support to this nonsense concerning Dr White, as he has played a small part in allowing with Gene Cook to give Byrne a platform to air his views?


    Anyway, thanks for allowing me to post all of this.

    Visit my blog and see how much I have vested in these Hyper Calvinism, Universal expiation, Free offer types of discussions.


  2. Josh,
    I also am a reader/listener of Dr. White, though not nearly 12 years worth!

    But I did recognize immedeately that something was amiss in the accusation by "Steve."

    And not just because he put it rudely and included a bucket of bluster along with it!

    this was a good article, and when I get home I'm going to read the second part...

    thanks Brother,

  3. Hi Tartanarmy

    No I don't believe James White is Hyper-calvinist. Like I said on the show I really like James White, I mean that for theological reasons as well. And Yes I can confirm that you were not the person who wrote to me from Australia. But he mentioned you in the email as good refutation of Byrne's position.

    However I do believe one should use very precise language when speaking of the relationship between God's precept will and God's decretive will in order to avoid missunderstanding. I might blog on the issue if I have the time.

    But I'll give you a hint, I think compound and divided sense of understanding God's will is very useful.


  4. Thank you Jonathon, you are indeed a gentleman.

    Do you personally feel comfortable giving Tony Byrne a platform for his views?

    The man is clearly unbalanced, especially with his quasi-Ameraldian views regarding the extent of the atonement, and his calling Dr White and Robert Reymond Hyper, is just laughable.

    You and Gene ought to think about your own credibility my friend.

    For what it's worth, even though I really do appreciate Gene, I do think you are clearer than him when it comes to theology in general, and I do not say that to unnecessarily offend Gene, cause I get that sense from Gene himself.

    I think the narrow mind may actually become more interesting if you and Gene have some friction between you, it would certainly make for a better platform, rather than this comical idea that you and Gene never disagree!

    Gene has certainly shifted some of his views pertaining to this thing called "common grace" and the “well meant offer”.

    He seems to have bought into the whole matter as presented by John Murray and certainly Tony Byrne and David Ponter. (I do not believe Byrne is on the same thought level as Murray!)

    For example, as much as I love Murray, and who can find fault in his work on redemption, accomplished and applied?, but I disagree with his way of defending the free offer, particularly his exegesis of the passages he cites.

    But, where do you stand exactly on this matter Jonathon?

    Do you agree with me when I say that the sense of God willing the salvation of all by will revealed, has meaning in the sense that God commands all men everywhere to repent, and in that command we see God as rightfully expecting men to comply, but to say that God is therefore desiring that all men be saved is problematic and confusing in light of His decree, and we are not talking about His decree here, as if it is a secret?

    We can obviously say we do not know who the elect are, but can we say we do not know that God has an intention or desire if you like to save His elect?

    That is my position.

    Now, on the love of God, I do take a position that would rather emphasize that God certainly shows, by His own loving nature, that He bestows kindness and amazing benevolence upon the non elect, but I prefer to avoid the word love, as in the highest and purest use of that term, scripture marks out such a high relation of love between Himself and the Church, hence why I avoid using the word "love".

    That does not make me hyper, for most of the reformed writers of the past said similar things.

    The whole idea of common grace has shifted in recent decades, and the modern emphasis of linking common grace with the atonement, which came in from the Dutch theologians and particularly Abraham Kuyper, was embraced by Murray and others, and that view is strong today.

    (Kuyper himself feared that certain men may run to such an extreme regarding his views, and I believe men like Byrne and Ponter and someone like Dr Richard Mouw)

    Anyway Jonathon, nice to interact with you. By the way, I am a keen soccer fan, and when you speak about Beckham and his early career, I know what you are talking about!!

    I was a Manchester United apprentice myself, but due to a nasty injury at age 17, my career came to a sudden end. I was selected here in Australia by Tommy Docherty back in 1981 to play for United!

    Tony Byrne is unbalanced, and I think you and Gene should get your act together on that score.

    If you both want to represent Ameraldian presupositions, then fine, give the man the widest audience possible, but if you and Gene are "reformed" then maybe think again...


  5. Jonathan,

    You said, "I might blog on the issue if I have the time."

    I would love to read your comments on the issue.

  6. Hi Jonathan,

    You mentioned.

    No I don't believe James White is Hyper-calvinist. Like I said on the show I really like James White..

    Ever since hearing the show with Byrne as a guest I've wondered. Why did no one call Byrne out on the hyper-Calvinism issue with James White.

    You said you like James White, but I don't recall you defending him, even in passing, from the charges of hyper-Calvinism. Any reason why?


    Mark @


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