Is the Point that Difficult to Understand?

I do not know if this comment was left by George Bryson or not. The nature of Internet comboxes is such that pseudepigraphy is encouraged and would be difficult to detect. But someone identifying themselves directly as George Bryson left the following comment on Turretinfan’s blog, attached to an article documenting Bryson’s dishonesty in what I am calling “The Absurdity” (see the immediately preceding blog entry for all the sordid details). Here is the comment:

I am a amazed that years after I quoted John Rabe, using what he said in my book has created such a stir. It seems to me that Rabe had a right to be honest about how he felt (at the time) about the exchange he heard on BAM. I am told (by Mr. White) that Mr. Rabe now regrets what he said and has apologized to Mr. White. I feel he has a right to regret and apologize for what he wrote but I honestly fail to see what he has to regret and apologize for. It is not like he agreed with me or anything I said. For a man that has earned the reputation of being an MMA apologetic cage fighter and a Reformed pit bull, Mr. White seems to have very thin skin. Your non-Reformed brother in Christ, George

Now, I surely hope that this is not a comment, in fact, by George Bryson, for the person making it doesn’t get the point. And if it is George, well, that would speak volumes. [I have written to George asking if he made the comment, and should he choose to respond, I will update this entry in light of his reply. So far, however, to this point, neither Mr. Bryson nor Mr. Coate have responded to any of my emails.] Just in case this is actually George Bryson, let’s restate the point for the sake of clarity.

George Bryson never said the words attributed to him in the “paraphrase.” I never said the words attributed to me in the “paraphrase.” The whole reason it was called a paraphrase is because it was a summary statement of what the person heard listening on the Internet. We have posted the audio of the exchange, and any honest person who listens to it can tell what was going on. I was attempting to bring forth a biblically-based discussion of the relationship of God, evil, man’s will, and time. Mr. Bryson was doing everything in his power to stay away from the biblical text. Nowhere in the actual comments do I in any way, shape, or form confess to believe in an evil God who tyrannically condemns people to hell, forces them to commit sins, and causes little babies to be raped. In fact, the original statement attributed in the paraphrase to George Bryson was clearly sarcastic.

So here’s the real problem. To take a sarcastic summary statement like this found somewhere on the Internet, and to use it as a basis for saying that I worship a God like this, is the height of dishonesty and absurdity. No person who honors truth could ever say such a thing. No person with integrity could utter such a statement. It is simply a bald-faced lie. So this isn’t about the accuracy of the rather sarcastic summary statement at all. It is about the absurdity of taking that and making it representative of what Calvinists allegedly believe about God.

One of the real tragedies about this particular situation is this: this is a vitally important issue with wide reaching pastoral implications. We live in an evil world. We see it all around us. Having worked as a hospital chaplain myself I am well aware of how difficult it can be to attempt to give answers to the questions that come up about evil and suffering in our world. I had one good friend contact me just over the past few days about the fact that working in the medical field he encounters pediatric rape cases. To turn this vitally important issue into a football whereby one side seeks to misrepresent and attack the other is despicable. Let’s put the situation out on the table. Mr. Bryson pretends to believe in a God who has exhaustive knowledge of the future. He will not explain how God has exhaustive knowledge of the future. When I asked him this during our discussion on the Bible Answer Man broadcast he could not give me anything more than, “Well, God just does.” Bryson is more than willing to attack Calvinists for seeking to give a biblical answer to questions he refuses to directly address. But since he denied being an open theist, he has to confess that when God created he knew what was going to happen in that creation. He had perfect knowledge of every act of evil that would take place as a result of his choice to create. That means that either God had good and sufficient reasons, grounded in his own good will, expressed in his sovereign decree, for the existence of every single act of evil, or, he simply did not. That would render every act of evil foreknown to God meaningless in the final analysis. No one could ever look in the eyes of a believing Christian parent who has lost a child and confess that the judge of all the earth does right. No one could quote Romans 8:28 with a straight face and expect to be taken seriously.

Mr. Bryson wants to use the worst forms of human evil as a means of expressing his deep distrust of a truly sovereign God. He cannot trust that God actually has a purpose in all that takes place. He has to remove that power of ultimate choice from the hand of God and place it in the shaking, uncertain hand of the creature. Of course, he simply refuses to allow his own positive position on these matters to be brought into the light of biblical examination. That came out clearly in all of our encounters. But I, for one, refuse to allow him to hide the results of his sub-biblical theology from public view.

Our writer then brings up the issue of my allegedly having a “thin skin.” What an amazingly facile means of attempting to deflect attention from the dishonesty of the statements made by George Bryson and Micah Coate. Of course I am offended by being lied about. But everyone should be offended by the actions of Bryson and Coate in that they have injected into what should be a serious and Bible-based debate a level of absurdity, caricaturization, and simple dishonesty that should never be found in the writings of a Christian person. Both men are guilty of showing tremendous disrespect toward the audiences of their own books. Whether they are willing to understand this, and make changes, is another matter.