Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Continuation of Response on Ordo Salutis
04/30/2006 - James WhiteAs I promised last week, I continued my response to Dr. Wright on issues relating to the ordo salutis from our debate in Sedalia in the Bible Study hour at PRBC. I only had about 35 minutes or so, so I had to rush a bit, but hopefully this will be useful. Here's the link to the discussion (streaming/download).
John 6:45 and Free Will
04/29/2006 - James WhiteFrom the mail-bag:
FOLLOW-UP on Revisiting the Norman Geisler/Chosen But Free/Potter's Freedom Issue: Even you said JAmes "Unregenerate man is FULLY CAPABLE of UNDERSTANDING the facts of the Gospel". If a man is FULLY CAPABLE of UNDERSTANDING then unregenerate man (all men)are FULLY CAPABLE of "listening and learning" from the Father as Jn. 6:45b says. Revisiting the Norman Geisler/Chosen But Free/Potter's Freedom Issue: You say in your initial responce to Hunt "Giving is a divine act and since it PRECEDES the very existence of those so given..." No way does the context of Jn. 6:35-45 allow the eisegetical insert of the theme of eternity past when the whole context is Jesus explaining why some come to him and why some don't in the present situation confront Jesus and his audience. Why? Those who "listen and learn" (jn 6:45b; what you and other Calvinists ignore) based on God's "sole" initiative in "teaching" (teaching demands that the student make a value judgment) come to Jesus and thus through deduction, those who don't "listen and learn" don't come to Jesus. I agree with all of your exegesis up to v.45a but then you stop. I think my explanation makes the most sense based on the natural reading of the text.
Let's take this apart point by point.
First, there is no question that an unregenerate man can read the words of the Bible and even come to a correct understanding of its contextual reading. But there is an 18 inch separation between the heart and the head, and mere knowledge has never saved anyone. But our writer once again joins the long line of "I want to try to deal with John 6 but I simply refuse to start at the beginning and follow Jesus through His teaching" would-be exegetes. John 6:45 is a follow-up to John 6:44, which, likewise, must be defined in light of what prompted the Lord to speak these words, etc. The "hop-skip-jump" method of interpretation may work for those who are not overly serious about the issue, but for those who realize you cannot hack the text up in that fashion, following a thought through from its introduction to its application is sort of important. Let's look at 6:45 again:
It is written in the Prophets, 'And they will all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me--
First, who is "they"? The "all" is all of "them," whoever they are. Context tells us: the preceding verse speaks of the one who is drawn by the Father and who, as a result of being drawn, comes to the Son (and is raised up by Him). The being "taught by God" is not some general revelation, some peanut-butter activity that is devoid of connection with the preceding context. No, this is a restatement, an expansion, explanation, of what it means for the Father to "draw." The drawing of the Father leads those drawn to the Son. Why? Well, part of it has to do with imparting knowledge, teaching. God does the teaching. And just as the drawing of the Father brings all who are drawn to the Son (and hence to eternal life), so too He never fails in imparting the knowledge that leads to life. All who are taught "hear" (aorist) and "learn" (aorist), and as a result of this action, come to Christ (just as v. 37 and 44). Here all truly does mean all, because it has a specific delimiter in the context: all drawn, all given, all taught, all hearing, etc. In v. 45 the emphasis remains upon the Father, not upon those taught, those who, as a result, hear and learn. I may comment just in passing that in reality, man looks rather desperate when he tries to find in passages such as this the much vaunted free will of man.
Now, this is more than sufficient to answer our correspondent, however, there is more. He writes,
No way does the context of Jn. 6:35-45 allow the eisegetical insert of the theme of eternity past when the whole context is Jesus explaining why some come to him and why some don't in the present situation confront Jesus and his audience. Why? Those who "listen and learn" (jn 6:45b; what you and other Calvinists ignore) based on God's "sole" initiative in "teaching" (teaching demands that the student make a value judgment) come to Jesus and thus through deduction, those who don't "listen and learn" don't come to Jesus.We have seen that 1) Calvinists do not "ignore" 45b; it is our writer who is eisegetically disconnecting it from 44 and 45a. 2) Just like Ergun Caner forgot Romans 9:11-12, evidently our writer forgot that all who hear and learn come to Christ. This activity of God in teaching is not a general action that some accept and some reject: nowhere does the consistent focus of Jesus' teaching break down. The same group is in view all the way through. Only by breaking the text up into portions and ignoring its consistent themes, terms, and actions, can such eisegesis be maintained. But beyond this, our writer seems to have missed the use of the perfect in the giving of the Father to the Son in vs. 39, "of all that He has given Me (de,dwke,n, perfect tense) I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day." While this would only allow us to specifically assert the past tense and completed action of the giving, it is obvious, to anyone reading the entirety of the New Testament, that this is the same eternal, timeless action seen in Ephesians 1 and 2 Timothy 1.
And so once again we find the Gospel in Capernaum gloriously consistent, gloriously God-honoring, and gloriously impervious to the attempts of man at undercutting its perfect testimony to God's freedom in the salvation of men.
Today on the Dividing Line
04/28/2006 - James WhiteI can't see that our new location would have anything to do with phone calls, but it seems we have really been getting more calls since we moved here. We did today, to be sure. I played a small portion of a debate wherein Shabir Ally commented on the New Testament, but mainly took calls, commented on the Caner situation, etc. A quick moving program! And, after a bit of a delay, here it is! :-)
Dividing Line Schedule Change
04/27/2006 - James WhiteI mentioned on Tuesday that we will have to change the schedule for the DL today. I know, some folks get a little upset with that, but you know, I'm really glad we are not locked into some kind of "network" timeframe in doing the program. The "elder Elder" at PRBC, Don Cross, passed away last Friday at age 85. We are having the memorial today at 11, and though I am uncertain of the exact time for the graveside, there is no way to do the afternoon DL. So, we will go for the morning time slot on Friday, 11am PDT (2pm EDT).
Revisiting the Norman Geisler/Chosen But Free/Potter's Freedom Issue
04/27/2006 - James WhiteAnyone notice a pattern here? Dr. Geisler writes Chosen But Free. I respond with The Potter's Freedom. More than a dozen different churches, conferences, individuals, attempt to arrange a debate. Dr. Geisler says he will not debate fellow Christians (I guess Randall Terry isn't a Christian then?). A thirteen page appendix appears in the second edition of Chosen But Free that makes Gail Riplinger look like a Rhodes Scholar (need documentation? Here it is). Its refutation has never even been acknowledged, let alone addressed. Silence.
Dave Hunt writes What Love is This? Standing at his table in St. Louis at the PFO conference Hunt agrees to debate me, one on one. I write an open letter documenting all sorts of problems with it. Loyal Publishing calls the next day after posting this inviting me to write Debating Calvinism. A number of folks tell me Hunt will use this as an excuse to avoid public debate. I write the book anyway, figuring it will get into places nothing else I will write could ever go. Hunt uses it as an excuse to avoid public debate, as he has "said all he needs to say." Of course, he goes on to write another book on Calvinism anyway, so I guess he didn't really say all he needed to say. Repeated documentation of his errors is met with...silence.
The Calvinist Gadfly has had a clock going for a while on his website marking the amount of time since Geisler was challenged to engage in a public debate on the topic of Calvinism. Well, this morning, right before his site went down (providence!!), someone commented on the Geisler/White situation. Here I provide his comments, and my response: ...
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Of Debates and the Silent Treatment
04/26/2006 - James WhiteI must admit. My job is fascinating. Never dull. Well, almost never dull. This morning while getting a 30 mile ride in at an average speed of 15 mph (yeah, I know---but, I also climbed 2520 feet, which explains the average speed) I was listening to Shabir Ally throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the New Testament, writing mental sticky notes (most of which flew off my brain on the descent back down the mountain) about his misuse of Metzger, misunderstanding of all sorts of technical information, etc., and how I need to use this material in the debate coming up soon. That kind of thing is very enjoyable, and I really, really wish it was all I had to worry about: getting ready to defend the Christian faith against those who would deny and attack it.
But that is not all I have to deal with. For over a week now Dr. Ergun Caner of Liberty University and Dr. Emir Caner of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary have been giving Dr. Ascol and me "the silent treatment." Beginning on Monday the 17th a flurry of e-mails passed between the four of us. I had, in fact, eleven e-mails from Ergun Caner waiting for me when I arose Monday morning. I had written a lengthy e-mail over the weekend, and he cut his response up into various portions. Even Emir wrote two e-mails that day, as did Dr. Ascol. In any case, this led to some lengthy replies on my part, the last of which was sent on the afternoon of the 18th, 5:20pm my time.
Since that time, we have not received so much as a return receipt acknowledgement of anything we have written. Nothing. Zero. Nada. I have resent the last message multiple times. I have sent other, shorter notes. Last evening I sent a note that basically said, "Excuse me, but how are we supposed to set up this debate and discuss moderation, time frames, etc., if you will not correspond with us?" No response. No replies. Silence.
I recognize that things can come up which impinge upon one's "e-mail time." I have even mentioned this in the notes I have sent. But even someone in the midst of a tragedy can find the time to say, "Sorry, problems, will get to you later." Nothing. Just silence.
More than one person has told me they never expect to see a debate take place October 16th, and they never have. There are many people in the SBC who would never want to see the debate take place, some of whom wield a tremendous amount of clout. Is that why the Caners have stopped talking? I do not know. Are they embarrassed by what they have already said in the correspondence? Possibly. We simply do not know. All I know is over the past week I have sent numerous e-mails to which I have not received a single word in response.
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Finally! Disputations on Holy Scripture Back in Print
04/25/2006 - James WhiteThis book came back into print in December. We ordered it. Took months to get it. But once we got it, it took months to get it listed. Finally, it's here! One of the best defenses of sola scriptura ever written, William Whitaker's Disputations on Holy Scripture is not easy reading, but it is important reading. A must for the apologist's library. Get yours today!
A Potpourri on the DL Today
04/25/2006 - James WhiteLet's see...John Shelby Spong, Dr. Wilks, and the first ever playing of a minute of the dialogue that took place on board the ship between myself and John Dominic Crossan regarding John 8:24 last September...along with phone calls. A true potpourri indeed! Here's the program. Please note: we will need to move the Thursday DL to Friday. Right now I'm leaning toward doing it at the regular 4pm time, maybe an hour earlier. I'll let you know.
Discussion of Romans 5:18
04/24/2006 - James WhiteI decided to delve into one of the main arguments Dr. Wright repeated a number of times in Sedalia during the Sunday morning Bible Study at PRBC. For all my many critics I confess to a mistake, well, a couple, in this study, so you won't want to miss it! I failed to see that Dr. Wright was focusing his entire argument on the passage on an italicized insertion on the part of the KJV translators, mainly because I failed to have the KJV displaying in my BibleWorks program. I could have much more effectively refuted his use of the text had I looked at the KJV rendering he was dependent upon. Oh well, I went over Romans 5:12-18 in Bible Study this morning, and here [stream/download] is where you will find it.
More on the Sedalia Debate
04/23/2006 - James WhiteIf a person had done a flow-chart on the debate, and had looked for Jonathan Wright's refutation of my opening presentation, that portion of the paper would be pretty much blank, as he really did not even try. As with all inconsistent Arminians, Dr. Wright was forced to do the Dave Hunt "it can't mean that, because there are all these other verses that say whosever over here" routine repeatedly rather than engage the text at any meaningful or scholarly level. I went through John 6:35-45, and though I did so quickly, I covered the main points of the exegesis. No response was offered outside of, "Who does the Father give the Son? Whosoever believeth!" During cross-examination I tried to get him to provide a foundation for this kind of interpretation, but he was unable to do so without leaving the context and exposing his own eisegesis. I likewise had gone through Hebrews 7, 9, and 10 in reference to the perfection of the atonement, and the only offered rebuttal was the bald citation of Hebrews 2:9 with the emphasis upon "every man."
I am thankful the KJV Only issue did not come to center stage in the debate. I believe Dr. Davis' church is KJV Only, so I feared that possibly there might be some problem when I tried to get into dealing with the Greek text. It did come up, however, when I asked Dr. Wright about Romans 8:7-8 and the phrase "for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so" in the NASB. He insisted that "in his translation" it says "for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." We wasted precious time just trying to get to the point of being able to ask why man "is not able" or "can't" subject himself to the law of God. That was a bit frustrating.
Likewise, one of the audience questions asked Dr. Wright why he seemed to glory in his "ignorance" of the Word of God. While the question was not phrased very well, I fully understood what was being asked: Wright had started the debate by asserting that Calvinism "complicates" the gospel; he had later talked about the "plain" meaning of the English text and how we do not need to go into "Greek participles" and the like. So the questioner was asking how it is a virtue to remain ignorant of these things as if that is somehow more "spiritual." Mr. Wright took extreme offense at the question, but he never answered it, either. He did affirm that Calvinism appeals to the "intellect" and the "arrogance" of man, so in reality, the question was quite valid, though it did not get a meaningful response.
I was amazed that some folks drove many, many hours to attend. Some came down from St. Louis, and one group of three young brothers drove all the way from Memphis! I was honored and humbled that folks have that kind of interest and, in fact, that they would desire to support me as well. I am most thankful.
Now, as I looked at my notes, and as I wrote myself a computer sticky note after the debate was over and I was trying to get to bed, there were two issues I found interesting in their emphasis in the debate, i.e., in Dr. Wright's emphasis on these issues. One had to do with the ordo salutis and the issue of the relationship of regeneration and faith (that keeps coming up, doesn't it?), specifically what happened when I sought to get him to comment on 1 John 5:1, 2:29 (and 4:7). He asserted that there is a clear ordo in John 20:31 and John 1:12 that contradicts the reading of 1 John 5:1 that I have proposed. I think a little more in-depth examination is in order to help everyone provide a fully orbed refutation of Dr. Wright's assertions (no, I did not go into it in depth due both to time constraints and the fact that I could not go into Greek issues with him as he had made it plain he was not going there anyway). Secondly, Hebrews 2:9 was quoted, without any concern for context, a number of times. I would like to spend some time looking more closely at these, perhaps here on the blog, perhaps on the DL on Tuesday, we will see.
Once again, I truly appreciate the hard work that went into this debate, and the fact that there had to be some perseverance on the part of those who wanted to see it happen (there was a good bit of opposition in fact). Many thanks to the staff, the students, and those who volunteered to help make it all happen. I hope to receive the recording of the debate soon and make it available in mp3 format.
Report on the Debate in Sedalia
04/22/2006 - James WhiteI am very thankful to report that the debate in Sedalia provided a wonderful time of biblical discussion and presentation. In fact, you can read a surprisingly fair account of the debate here in a local newspaper.
Those who have listened to my response to Dr. Davis' sermon could have predicted the direction it would go, and it did. There were no surprises as far as I was concerned. Dr. Wright, who I understand is running for the US Senate, was well spoken, as you would expect a former Assistant Attorney General for the state of Illinois.
For the first time I used a tablet PC in this debate. I had my opening presentation notes on it; then it has a tremendous program (Microsoft Journal) that allows me to write my notes using the tablet's pen. I can write just as fast as with pen and paper, but I can mark, outline, flag, and even move the text if I wish to. This worked perfectly. I could even tap over to BibleWorks, select text, including Greek, and insert it directly into my written notes, which then becomes the basis of my rebuttal comments and the Q&A section. But what I did not know till earlier today is that the program can then interpret my writing and convert it to e-text. And though I was writing very quickly, I am simply amazed at how well the program performed in interpreting my scribbling! So I asked some folks in channel if they would be interested in seeing the notes I wrote during the debate, and since they said they would, I thought I would provide them, both as an outline of the debate, as well as an insight into what I "heard" and was thinking as Dr. Wright was speaking. I will follow up with some thoughts on particular aspects of the debate a little later. So here are the notes I wrote while listening to my opponent's presentation. If I bold the font here, I used color to outline it in my notes so I would make sure to get to it in my rebuttal or in questioning (i.e., I felt it was vital to get to that particular claim/statement): ...
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Today's DL and Support from Whitefield
04/20/2006 - James WhiteWent a little long on the DL today because we filled up the phone lines by about twenty after the hour! I started with a little John Shelby Spong, and then responded to Dr. Davis on Romans 9, and when you mention Romans 9, well, look out! First caller, Joe, is a Pentecostal minister who had asked months ago that I debate him, and didn't take too kindly to the fact that Rich basically pointed out that we have a certain standard as to who we will debate as far as publications, teaching positions, etc. Well, anyway, he was the first caller, and it was quite interesting. So we went about six minutes long to get all the rest of the callers in. Here's the program.
Just as I was going on the air, J.S. sent me this quote from George Whitefield that goes well with the topic of the DL today:
Come, ye dead, Christless, unconverted sinner, come and see the place where they laid the body of the deceased Lazarus; behold him laid out, bound hand and foot with graveclothes, locked up and stinking in a dark cave, with a great stone placed on top of it. View him again and again; go nearer to him; be not afraid; smell him, Ah! how he stinketh. Stop there now, pause a while; and whilst thou art gazing upon the corpse of Lazarus, give me leave to tell thee with great plainness, but greater love, that this dead, bound, entombed, stinking carcase, is but a faint representation of thy poor soul in it natural state;...thy spirit which thou bearest about with thee, sepulchered in flesh and blood, is literally dead to God, and as truly dead in trespasses and sins, as the body of Lazarus was in the cave. Was he bound hand and foot with graveclothes? So art thou bound hand and foot with thy corruptions; and as a stone was laid on the sepulchre, so there is a stone of unbelief upon thy stupid heart. Perhaps thou has lain in this estate, not only four days, but many years, stinking in God’s nostrils. And, what is still more effecting, thou art as unable to raise thyself out of this loathsome, dead state, to a life of righteousness and true holiness, as ever Lazarus was to raise himself from the cave in which he lay so long. Thou mayest try the power of thy boasted free will, and the force and energy of moral persuasion and rational arguments (which, without doubt, have their proper place in religion); but all thy efforts, exerted with never so much vigor, will prove quite fruitless and abortive, till that same Jesus, who said ‘take away the stone” and cried “Lazarus, come forth,” also quicken you. This is grace, graciously offered, and grace graciously applied. Or as the Confession originally puts it, “grace offered and conveyed."
Another Awesome Quote
04/20/2006 - James WhiteI leave early in the morning for Sedalia and the debate tomorrow evening, and I have a lot to get done before trying to get at least a few hours of sleep before heading to the airport. Don't forget the DL this afternoon! Anyway, I was sent this excellent citation that I intend to use tomorrow evening, and I thought I'd share it with you all:
But when Jesus Christ comes and puts his own sufferings into the place of our sufferings, the law is fully vindicated, while mercy is fitly displayed. A man dies; a soul is given; a life is offered the Just for the unjust. What if I say that, instead of justice being less satisfied with the death of Christ than with the deaths of the ten thousand thousands of sinners for whom he died, it is more satisfied and it is most highly honored! Had all the sinners that ever lived in the world been consigned to hell, they could not have discharged the claims of justice. They must still continue to endure the scourge of crime they could never expiate. But the Son of God, blending the infinite majesty of his Deity with the perfect capacity to suffer as a man, offered an atonement of such inestimable value that he has absolutely paid the entire debt for his people. Well may justice be content since it has received more from the Surety than it could have ever exacted from the assured. Thus the debt was paid to the Eternal Father. Once more. What is the result of this? The result is that the man is redeemed. He is no longer a slave. Some preachers and professors affect to believe in a redemption which I must candidly confess I do not understand; it is so indistinct and indefinite a redemption which does not redeem anybody in particular, though it is alleged to redeem everybody in general; a redemption insufficient to exempt thousands of unhappy souls from hell after they have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus; a redemption, indeed, which does not actually save anybody, because it is dependent for its efficacy upon the will of the creature; a redemption that lacks intrinsic virtue and inherent power to redeem anybody, but is entirely dependent upon an extraneous contingency to render it effectual. With such fickle theories I have no fellowship. That every soul for whom Christ shed his blood as a Substitute, he will claim as his own, and have as his right, I firmly hold. I love to hold and I delight to proclaim this precious truth. Not all the powers of earth or hell; not the obstinacy of the human will, nor the deep depravity of the human mind, can ever prevent Christ seeing of the travail of his soul and being satisfied. To the last jot and tittle of his reward shall he receive it at the Fathers hand. A redemption that does redeem, a redemption that redeems many, seems to me infinitely better than a redemption that does not actually redeem anybody, but is supposed to have some imaginary influence upon all the sons of men. (Charles Haddon Spurgeon, "Christ's Great Mission," Published 10/5/1916, delivered at the Metropolitan Tabernacle)
A Spurgeon Quote
04/18/2006 - James WhiteYou have to be a tremendous communicator for folks to be quoting you a hundred years after you die. Spurgeon was a wordsmith, to be sure. I saw the prayer portion of the following quote on a web board today, so I looked it up. And I really thought merely quoting the prayer portion (esp. in the context of basically writing off all "Arminians" as lost, or so it seemed) was not representative of what Spurgeon was saying at all. So here is the broader context, with enough of the surrounding material included to allow the preacher of Old London to speak for himself:
Your fallen nature was put out of order, your will, amongst other things, has clean gone astray from God; but I tell you what will be the best proof of that; it is the great fact that you never did meet a Christian in your life who ever said he came to Christ without Christ coming to him. You have heard a great many Arminian sermons, I dare say, but you never heard an Arminian prayer-for the saints in prayer appear as one in word, and deed and mind. An Arminian on his knees would pray desperately like a Calvinist. He cannot pray about free will: there is no room for it. Fancy him praying, “Lord, I thank thee I am not like those poor presumptuous Calvinists. Lord, I was born with a glorious free-will; I was born with power by which I can turn to thee of myself; I have improved my grace. If everybody had done the same with their grace that I have, they might all have been saved. Lord, I know thou dost not make us willing if we are not willing ourselves. Thou givest grace to everybody; some do not improve it, but I do. There are many that will go to hell as much bought with the blood of Christ as I was; they had as much of the Holy Ghost given to them; they had as good a chance, and were as much blessed as I am. It was not thy grace that made us to differ; I know it did a great deal, still I turned the point; I made use of what was given me, and others did not-that is the difference between me and them.” That is a prayer for the devil, for nobody else would offer such a prayer as that. Ah, when they are preaching and talking very slowly, there may be wrong doctrine; but when they come to pray, the true thing slips out, they cannot help it. (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit 1:706, "Free-Will -- A Slave," 12/2/1855)
Today on the Dividing Line
04/18/2006 - James WhiteInteresting show today. I spent about the first 25 minutes going over developments in the "Shall we do a serious debate in Lynchburg that has a format and rules and attempts to actually address a question or shall we just allow discussion of every possible issue so that nothing is ever discussed to enough depth to find out the truth" saga. I mentioned that I think it would be great to have the debate coaches and judges at Liberty provide the format. I also went over the odd insistence of the Caners to identify me as a "hyper-Calvinist." Then we took two great calls, one from a graduate of Liberty back in May of last year. Both callers expressed amazement at Caner's ability to so completely turn Romans 9 on its head as to say that God "hated Esau because of what Esau did." Very fast moving hour! Here's the program.
Registration Needed for Biola Event
04/16/2006 - James WhiteI just checked and there is a nominal registration fee (barely a gallon of gas anymore in California!) for attendance. Here is the link. I hope to see at least some of my friends from Southern California at this debate against Shabir Ally, though I know that the fact that it is a Sunday evening will preclude most of those who would come out from doing so. It will, of course, be audio and video recorded, and if you all send in "please, Rich, before 2010" donations, it might be out...in time for Christmas, maybe? :-)
Debate Details for Calvinism Debate 4/21
04/15/2006 - James WhiteI could not locate the details for the upcoming debate against Mr. Wright on the subject of Calvinism in Sedalia on the Dividing Line Tuesday, but I have now obtained them. The debate will take place Friday night, the 21st of April, at the Smith-Cotton High School, 312 E. Broadway, Sedalia, MO. Here's a map. Doors open at 6pm, debate begins at 7pm. The number I brought up through the net for the school is 660-829-6300.
Sorry to be so late in getting this posted, but the move continues. Seven brave gentlemen are here at the office right now. Why brave? Because we just moved a 1500 pound printing press using a U-Haul trailer, and managed to do so without any strained muscles, broken fingers, or even a single dinged door. Not bad for a bunch of non-professional movers. Anyway, now we need shelves and the last bit of the moving part will be over, since more than 50% of my library is still back at the old location.
Oh, also, I checked my flight schedule and I do not leave till very, very early Friday morning, so we will be able to do the Thursday afternoon DL as scheduled.
Shabir Ally's "Contradictions"
04/14/2006 - James WhiteShabir Ally, the Muslim apologist I will be debating at Biola on Sunday evening, May 7th, on the inspiration of the New Testament, has published a little pamphlet containing 101 alleged contradictions in the Bible. He may even give me a copy during the debate (he has done so in previous debates). In any case, he has listed the same material on his website, and as time allows I would like to use this list as an excellent example of the kind of material that we all run into being presented by atheists, Muslims, Mormons, and others who have a vested interest in destroying the internal credibility and coherence of God's Word. Over and over again we will see the same themes in our replies: the need to examine context, the need to allow ancient writers to speak as ancient writers, etc. and etc. There is not a lot of order to the examples Shabir Ally gives, so I hardly feel any need to go in order. So, let's look at #36:
Jesus rode into Jerusalem on how many animals?
(a) One - a colt (Mark 11:7; cf. Luke 19:35).
And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments on it; and he sat upon it.”
(b) Two - a colt and an ass (Matthew 21:7).
They brought the ass and the colt and put their garments on them and he sat thereon.”
Now, immediately, most folks cock their head to one side and go, "Uh, wait...you think Jesus was riding on two animals?" Believe it or not, I've heard, as I recall, Ahmed Deedat, say exactly that (in a mocking tone no less). But yes, it seems rather obvious to the clear thinking person that Jesus rode on the colt in fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9, which reads, "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout [in triumph], O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey." The prophetic fulfillment involved riding the colt, the foal of a donkey. Matthew simply informs us of the presence of the colt's mother, which again, makes perfect sense, since this was the first time the animal had been ridden. Anyone knows the younger animal would be more comfortable (especially in the context of a large and noisy crowd) with its mother going ahead. And so we see a very, very common element of the alleged "contradictions" presented to us by atheists, Muslims, Mormons, and others: assuming the giving of additional information is tantamount to a contradiction. We will see this coming up again and again. "Well, why didn't writer X tell us what writer Y does?" To which one must respond, "Why does writer X have to do so? Your reasoning would require that every account of any historical event must be 1) exhaustive in all detail, and 2) all accounts would then have to be word-for-word identical to avoid being held to be a contradiction!"
Be Listening Today: Dr. Caner's Sermon Examined
04/13/2006 - James WhiteThis picture appears on Dr. Caner's personal website. I just hope he wasn't preaching against the freedom of God in salvation when this shot was taken. Check out that background! OK, I would like to officially concede all issues regarding leather jackets, cool beanies, cool microphones, and PowerPoint slides promoting faces and names, to Dr. Caner. I am truly out of my league here. Best I can do is a kilt and a Claymore. No contest.
But on a serious note, today's Dividing Line will be one you will want to catch live, or in the archive as soon as it is up if the 7pm EDT time slot doesn't work for you. I will be going fifteen minutes longer so as to provide a little more time to cover the entire sermon (if needed), and skipping any breaks. My assumption is I will start preaching myself, so I do not know if we will have time for calls or not (I sort of doubt it), but obviously, if we need to, we can fit in all callers on Tuesday.
Update: Well, went 25 minutes longer than normal! What I didn't mention on the program (well, briefly over the music at the end) was that the air conditioning guys showed up right as I was starting. So you've got guys tromping around on the roof, the air kicks on, kicks off...once it kicks on without cooling, but whoever is working on the thing is smoking a cigarette right next to the fan, so I'm trying to focus on what I'm doing and I'm getting Marlboroed to death (I detest cigarette smoke). Eventually it kicks on full bore. Now, of course, I'm dressed to survive heat, not a freshly fired up AC unit, so I'm becoming a snow man in there by the time Rich decided to turn it up a bit! Ah, the joys of new/old offices. Anyway, here is the program.
Dividing Line Scheduling Update!
04/12/2006 - James WhiteI just got word that the fan motor has arrived! It is scheduled to be installed at 9am tomorrow morning, which, Lord willing, and everything else actually works with the unit, means we will do the DL at its normal time tomorrow afternoon, 4pm PDT, 7pm EDT. I intend to go 15 minutes long so that I can provide as full a response to Dr. Caner's sermon in that one program as possible.
Tom Wright: You Can Love Jesus Even if You Reject His Resurrection
04/12/2006 - James WhiteWhen I was in the UK recently I was struck by the vast difference between the view taken of Tom Wright there, and that found in the States. In general everyone I spoke to there chuckled at the idea Wright is in any way "conservative." And the more he speaks, the more it is clear his countrymen know him better than the colonials do.
The Australian today carried an article on comments Wright made while speaking there recently. His words speak for themselves, at least for any person with a biblically-based faith:
Attesting to this is one of the Church of England's heaviest hitters, the Bishop of Durham, Tom Wright, who was in Australia recently on a lecture tour. An eminent theologian, an expert on the historical and biblical Jesus and a staunch believer in the resurrection, he baulks at denouncing those who are not.
"I have friends who I am quite sure are Christians who do not believe in the bodily resurrection," he says carefully, citing another eminent scholar, American theologian Marcus Borg, co-author with Wright of The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions.
"But the view I take of them - and they know this - is that they are very, very muddled. They would probably return the compliment.
"Marcus Borg really does not believe Jesus Christ was bodily raised from the dead. But I know Marcus well: he loves Jesus and believes in him passionately. The philosophical and cultural world he has lived in has made it very, very difficult for him to believe in the bodily resurrection.
"I actually think that's a major problem and it affects most of whatever else he does, and I think that it means he has all sorts of flaws as a teacher, but I don't want to say he isn't a Christian.
As is always the case with Wright, his wild statements are normally juxtaposed with sound, sober statements (later in the article he very accurately rips The Da Vinci Code apart, for example), once again illustrating the Magic of Anglicanism, the result of the Via Media. For some reason, Americans only "hear" the conservative statements, and seem to gloss over the rest. In any case, I think an ancient writer saw it much more clearly than Wright does: "and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain" (1 Cor. 15:14).
Dr. Caner Preached on "Hyper Calvinism" at Thomas Road Baptist Church
04/12/2006 - James WhiteDr. Ergun Caner preached on why he was predestined not to be a "hyper Calvinist" at the Thomas Road Baptist Church this past weekend. A number of folks were kind enough to send me the link to the video, found here. In this sermon you will not hear a meaningful, let alone accurate, definition of "hyper Calvinist," but you will find Dr. Caner switching back and forth between "Calvinist" and "hyper Calvinist." He spoke from 1 Timothy 2, so you will hear a lot about "all" and its meaning, however, you will not hear about the key term in that passage, mesi,thj ("mediator"), nor will you find any evidence that Dr. Caner has seriously considered any responses to this text from outside his own camp. You will hear about how Calvinism is an "infection," and you will hear him steal a horrific line recently used by Danny Akin about those who think "J.C." stands for John Calvin instead of Jesus Christ (a truly reprehensible line). And you will likewise hear that God hated Esau because of what Esau did, but you will not hear him read, "or though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God's purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls" (Romans 9:11). You get the idea.
Today on the DL
04/11/2006 - James WhiteWell today we had a massive studio audience for the DL (well, massive for us). Now that we have that cool window I sort of feel like a fish in a bowl. Anyway, had a call on the Gospel of Judas, got back to the Davis sermon, this time addressing individual texts cited by him in his sermon, and took a few more calls as well. Here's the program. Please note I mentioned that we have yet to hear from the air conditioning folks about the fan motor for our AC unit, and they are predicting 92 tomorrow, 97 on Thursday. They were supposed to have it yesterday, but you know how that works. If we don't have air for Thursday, we will have to forego the DL until we do. I simply do not like running the equipment and risking over-heating. Does not seem a good stewardship. So, we will see what happens!
Charles Haddon Spurgeon on Regeneration, Faith, and Man's Inability
04/10/2006 - James WhiteYou can read the entire sermon here. But here's the heart of the discussion:
“COMING to Christ” is a very common phrase in Holy Scripture. It is used to express those acts of the soul wherein leaving at once our self righteousness, and our sins, we fly unto the Lord Jesus Christ, and receive his righteousness to be our covering, and his blood to be our atonement. Coming to Christ, then, embraces in it repentance, self-negation, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and it sums within itself all those things which are the necessary attendants of these great states of heart, such as the belief of the truth, earnestness of prayer to God, the submission of the soul to the precepts of God’s gospel, and all those things which accompany the dawn of salvation in the soul. Coming to Christ is just the one essential thing for a sinner’s salvation. He that cometh not to Christ, do what he may, or think what he may is yet in “the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity.” Coming to Christ is the very first effect of regeneration. No sooner is the soul quickened than it at once discovers its lost estate, is horrified thereat, looks out for a refuge, and believing Christ to be a suitable one, flies to him and reposes in him (emphasis mine). Where there is not this coming to Christ, it is certain that there is as yet no quickening; where there is no quickening, the soul is dead in trespasses and sins, and being dead it cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Sometimes It is Just Too Obvious...
04/09/2006 - James WhiteI was listening to a future debate opponent (I'll let you guess which one) while riding yesterday. I was on a steep descent with lots of curves, the kind where you out run cars behind you no matter what--the kind of descent you really have to concentrate on--when I heard this gentleman assert that scribes had deliberately altered the text of John 1:28 to "Bethabara" because it is obvious that "Bethany is not beyond the Jordan." Now, maybe it was due to the fact that I was shifting my weight to the left side to take the next sharp turn (you know, outer leg down, weight the inside hand) that I didn't laugh at the assertion, but once I got back from the ride and revisited the text I had to chuckle just a little bit. Here it is:
These things took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
"Bethany" is replaced by "Bethabara" or "Betharaba" in an odd assortment of witnesses. Why? Well, in this case, we pretty much know why. When Origen visited the area almost two centuries later he could not locate this spot, so, he speculated on an alternative, "Bethabara." But in any case, my future opponent made a simplistic mistake: he assumed there is only one Bethany mentioned in Scripture, missing the, well, rather obvious fact that the very reason the phrase "Bethany beyond the Jordan" is used is not to tell folks where the one Bethany was located (the "other" Bethany is near Jerusalem) but to differentiate this Bethany from the more famous one. This Bethany was "beyond the Jordan," which would have adequately identified it for anyone familiar with the area at the time when John wrote. But I likewise noticed that this particular speaker often throws out such alleged contradictions and "corruptions" with such rapidity and ease that even a seasoned, grounded listener can be taken aback by the allegations. Another good example that teaches us to be slow to jump to conclusions but quick to think through the arguments being presented to us!
Don't Faint, But...
04/08/2006 - James WhiteI know it has been awhile, but I was re-installing my fractal software on my new desk unit, and...well...this thing has a lot more power, so I wanted to see how fast it could render fractals, and...look what popped out! If you like color, you'll like this one as a background image.
Read it For Yourself
04/08/2006 - James WhiteOne of the best ways to see how utterly without grounds the media frenzy over The Gospel of Judas really is involves reading the silly thing. Most folks with a modicum of common sense will go, "Oh, well, that sure is odd...and disjointed...and poorly written...and irrelevant" upon doing so. Here's where you can read the whole thing.
The Gospel of Judas: Nothing New Under the Sun (Updated)
04/07/2006 - James WhiteIt is all over the news today, as predicted (and, obviously, planned, given the date). "The Gospel of Judas Contradicts Christian Belief!" "Judas was Doing Jesus' Will!" "Christianity Shaken!" Blah, blah, blah. When you get your historical and theological information from Katie Couric on the Today Show, well, you'll buy anything.
When I was responding to Bart Ehrman's media blitz on his book, Misquoting Jesus, I repeatedly emphasized the need for every-day Christians to start studying these sources so as to be able to provide a meaningful response in an ever more anti-Christian context in Western Society. Well, here's another example. For those who have already realized Bart Ehrman's "if they said Jesus once, they were Christians" mythology makes no sense, this is another second century gnostic writing, like Thomas or Mary. Judas was one of the favorites of the gnostics; this gospel is gnostic to its core; gnosticism is utterly incompatible with anything that can seriously be called "Christian." End of story. Explain to the guy on the bus who just saw the Today interview (which had zero meaningful content). Go on with your daily service to Christ.
But, of course, not only are most Christians completely and utterly unaware of gnosticism, Nag Hammadi, aeons, dualism, etc., but they are likewise easily troubled by the culture's invocation of the holy and authoritative phrase, "scholars." Bart Ehrman is having to guzzle Starbucks to survive all the interviews he is doing today, all the while promoting his key argument: early Christianity was a mass of self-contradiction, and what we have today was just one small sliver that somehow managed to survive to predominance. And hence, due to lack of discipline and foundation, many are left wondering about the very foundations of their "faith."
Let's set the record straight right off the bat.
First, this isn't news. Not really, anyway. Word has been out on this for quite a while. For example, see here.
Second, this work of fiction has nothing to do with the historical Judas. Even folks like Bart Ehrman admit that.
Third, this is a gnostic work. It is soaked in the terminology and worldview of gnosticism. That is, it is dualistic in its views. Note the citations in the above cited source and the appearance of the term "aeon." Note as well this source holds to the gnostic distinction between the Creator and the Ultimate God. Since gnosticism was dualistic, believing matter to be evil, spirit to be good, the Creator was a demi-urge, an evil divine power, not the Ultimate and Good God. Hence, according to this work of gnostic fiction from the middle of the second century, Jesus was the son not of the Creator, Yahweh, but of the Ultimate and Good God. Further (and this even came out, however briefly, in the Today interview I saw), the gnostic body/spirit dualism, the very concept that caused the Greeks to begin mocking Paul when he mentioned the resurrection in Athens (Acts 17:32), is found in this fictional work, where Jesus is aided by Judas in ridding himself of his "earthly frame." You might as well say a work written by a Buddhist or a Muslim is relevant to the definition of the Christian faith, for nothing is more definitional of Christian belief than the consistent monotheism taken without interruption from the Hebrew Scriptures, and nothing more central to the gospel than true resurrection.
Fourth, if the same kind of strident skepticism was applied to this work that is regularly aimed at the Gospel of John, it wouldn't have made the "books received" notices in a minor theological journal somewhere. The double-standard of modern liberal "theology" is glaring, and, of course, the MSM (main stream media) is more than happy to put anything that could possibly cause disbelief in Christianity at the top of its front page or the first hour of its morning show. Of course, find a pre-Uthmanian manuscript of the Qur'an that truly does utterly shake the foundations of Islam and you wouldn't hear a word out of these same brave journalists.
So should someone come up to you at work going, "Hey, Bob, I know you are a Christian, but how about that Gospel of Judas! Sure throws your Bible into a tailspin, doesn't it?" just smile and respond, "Hey, I heard about that. I've been wondering all morning how a work of fiction written more than a century after the fact by a writer seeking to promote a completely different religion than that of Christ and the Apostles that doesn't have a shred of historical foundation to stand on could possibly get so much major air time. You think they'd give the same amount of attention to something that reflected badly on Mohammed? Nah, probably not. So, did you hear anyone actually talking about the vast differences between the real gospels and this work of fiction this morning?" ...
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Today on the DL
04/06/2006 - James WhiteContinued my review of Dr. Davis' anti-Calvinism sermon today, but first I reviewed an article on the BaptistFire website (found here) that sets new records in the "double standards" department. Discussed compatibilism, the eternal decree of God, etc., and then Pierre called in for the last fifteen minutes of the program. Here it is.
Hey, It's National Tartan Day!
04/06/2006 - James WhiteI had no idea! I'm so ashamed! A chance to wear one of my tartan ties and I missed it! Ach, the shame of it! I guess President Bush was informed of it (or some underling buried in the White House basement was), for he (or that underling) wrote, "Through hard work, firm values, and strong faith, Scottish Americans have made our country a better place. We are grateful for the role they have played in defending and renewing the ideals we cherish." Why thank you, Mr. President! Nice to get some recognition for us Scottish-Americans (does that make me a minority, too? Do I get special rights now by using that hyphen?).
So here's a tartan...in fact, I just got my tartan tie in this particular tartan after I saw a minister friend of mine in the UK wearing it when he attended my Da Vinci Code presentation in London. Wore it for the first time Sunday at PRBC in fact. Makes me want to quote Burns,
O Scotia! my dear, my native soil!
For whom my warmest wish to Heaven is sent,
Long may thy hardy sons of rustic toil
Be blest with health, and peace, and sweet content!
And O! may Heaven their simple lives prevent
From luxury's contagion, weak and vile!
Then howe'er crowns and coronets be rent,
A virtuous populace may rise the while,
And stand a wall of fire around their much-lov'd isle.
O Thou! who pour'd the patriotic tide,
That stream'd thro' Wallace's undaunted heart,
Who dar'd to nobly stem tyrannic pride,
Or nobly die, the second glorious part:
(The patriot's God peculiarly thou art,
His friend, inspirer, guardian, and reward!)
O never, never Scotia's realm desert;
But still the patriot, and the patriot-bard
In bright succession raise, her ornament and guard!
John Shelby Spong on Scholarship
04/05/2006 - James WhiteOne of the issues that will take center stage in Orlando will be the nature of modern scholarship. As those of you know who have read The Same Sex Controversy, an entire body of "scholarship" has arisen over the past few decades in support of any number of competing (and often self-contradictory) theories regarding what the Bible "really teaches" about homosexuality. You can always cite "Dr. So-and-so" who says "this word doesn't have anything to do with homosexuality." And unless one can engage those assertions in the text itself (as Jeff Niell and I did, and as many others have done in other fine works on the subject) all you can do is trade barbs about your favorite scholars. And so today in a commentary Spong wrote,
Neither evangelicals nor fundamentalists have yet discovered the critical biblical scholarship that has graced the western world for at least the last 200 years. When I last was on a television program with Albert Mohler, it was painfully obvious that he was not in touch with any of the contemporary biblical scholarship of the past century....Evangelicals and fundamentalists like to call themselves conservative Christians, as if there is something called conservative or liberal scholarship. There isn't. There is just competent and incompetent scholarship.
Now, I can assure Bishop Spong that Al Mohler is quite familiar with "contemporary biblical scholarship." In fact, I would be willing to bet Mohler knows a hundred fold more about Spong's favorite contemporary writers than Spong does about Mohler's. In fact, unless I'm just completely misreading his own statements, I can't imagine Spong investing much time reading anyone he would consider a "conservative" at all. His disdain for anything that remotely smacks of his "fundamentalist" upbringing is just too strong. But in any case, the only way we will be able to determine what is competent and non-competent scholarship in the debate will be simple: who can engage the texts consistently without overthrowing the entirety of the worldview of the authors themselves?
At the end of his article Spong writes, "I do not believe that any prepositional statement about God can be literally true." Something tells me we have spell-check theology here: I think he probably meant "propositional." If so, could a propositional statement about the impossibility of propositionally true statements about God be itself true? You truly wonder at times.
Quick and Final Addendum
04/05/2006 - James WhiteDespite the clarity of the documentation refuting him, Bob L. Ross continues to engage in the most desperate form of dishonesty even today:
The fact remains, if John MacArthur held an erroneous view in the past, and if James White defended that view as "SOLID TEACHING," then James White was defending an erroneous view -- whether he in fact held that view himself or not. Has he ever repented of the eroor [sic] of his way?
Think about the irrationality of such thinking. Let me give you another example. I actually disagree with John MacArthur on more than one issue, and no, I'm not talking about eschatology. I disagree with his understanding of Titus 1:6 and the issue of "believing children." When his view was presented to one of our elders back in the mid to late 90s, I was asked to respond for the church, which I did. When I wrote my paper responding to his view of Titus 1:6, did I attack John as a person? Did I raise issues about his character? Did I assume that if I believe him wrong on his exegesis of Titus 1:6, that must mean he is a false teacher? No, of course not. In fact, it was my respect for him as a teacher of God's Word that even prompted me to respond. And along with that, as soon as I wrote the paper, and before sending it to the person who had inquired, I sent it to Phil Johnson to pass on to Pastor MacArthur just as a courtesy and as a means of letting them both know that I had written the paper and did so with admiration and respect for MacArthur's ministry. Did this somehow prove that I actually held to MacArthur's view? Of course not. You can look at a man's ministry and say, "God has used him mightily" without agreeing with every single word he ever utters. ...
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Bob Ross: Painter of Happy Little...Falsehoods
04/04/2006 - James WhiteFor years, if you wanted to read Spurgeon without worrying about who edited his sermons to "fit" their theology, you were dependent upon Bob Ross of Pilgrim Publications. No, this Bob Ross (it's Bob L. Ross) knows nothing about happy little trees, and I have no idea if he can paint a pretty picture in less than thirty minutes or not. But he did everyone a great service by publishing Spurgeon's materials. Unfortunately, he could learn a lot today from the other Bob Ross, because he has taken to being simply dishonest, and that is not a good thing for a man who claims to follow Christ.
I was surprised, years ago, to discover just how irascible a fellow he could be. In some context, I don't even remember what it was now, I found him going after John MacArthur over MacArthur's views on the "eternal sonship" issue. Now, I have always held to Christ's eternal sonship and have defended this viewpoint. That means for quite some time I disagreed with MacArthur and others on the topic. A brief glance, for example, at the paper I posted years and years ago on the Trinity (found here) would make that plain. But it was clear that Ross was attacking MacArthur 1) without grace, 2) without a concern for the truth, and 3) without a concern for accuracy. And so, though I disagreed with MacArthur, I likewise disagreed with Ross' attacks upon him, and pointed out the excesses in his vitriolic and belittling verbiage.
Well, I have now learned, you never cross Bob Ross, for if you are on "the other side" on any issue, he follows the Dave Hunt methodology of reading and writing: he sees only what he wants to see in what you write, hears only what he wants to hear in what you say. Over the past few years I attempted to ignore the barbs he would hurl my direction, but of late he has become so incessant that I can't write a word on this blog without him firing off some kind of inane missive about it. I have tried to correct him in private, but he is unwilling to accept anyone's correction, even when it is about his own misrepresentation of what I believe (evidently he is a greater authority on my faith than I am).
A number of folks have contacted me, having seen his rants, and asked what has gone wrong with Bob Ross. I confess I have no idea. I just know he's become addled with reference to the issues of truth. And today I find that, through his mouth-piece "Charles the Brave," the anonymous anti-Calvinist who lacks the integrity to back up his own claims in public, Ross has now decided to get down to the nitty gritty of slandering me: here is a portion of what he is now saying: ...
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On the DL Today
04/04/2006 - James WhiteDocumented two major misrepresentations on Dave Hunt's part, reproduced in Dr. Davis' sermon, today on the DL, one from Calvin, one from Spurgeon. And, in reading the full context of both statements, important truths regarding assurance, the ground of faith, the ordo salutis, etc., were covered. Dave Hunt fans will not enjoy this one, nor will those who think you should just sweep such errors under the rug and give him a "pass." Here's the program.
"For the Sake of the...Uh...Err...Well..."
04/03/2006 - James WhiteYou won't hear Dave Hunt preaching on this text anytime soon. Then again, even if he did, it would only involve its citation followed by, "But, of course, the Calvinists are wrong to cite this, because over here in Exodus we know..." and that would be the last you would hear of this text. In any case, its lack of popularity should not cause us to miss its tremendous importance. I break with our tradition and provide you with my own translation:
For this reason I endure all things for the sake of the elect, so that they also might experience the salvation which is in Christ Jesus, and with it, eternal glory. (2 Timothy 2:10)
The context is important. 2 Timothy is Paul's farewell letter to Timothy. You don't waste words when writing your farewell to a dearly beloved son in the faith. He is encouraging Timothy to be strong. He calls Timothy to "share in suffering" with him (2:3), to compete, work hard, and remember Jesus Christ. Then, in verse 9, he mentions his own suffering as a criminal for the gospel. This is the context lying behind Paul's statement that he "endures." Endures what? Everything. All the opposition and attacks and beatings and imprisonment and long days of toil and labor--he endured it all for what reason? Oh, surely, we could say "the glory of God," but that isn't Paul's answer here. Instead, he says he endures all of this "for the sake of the elect." Many may wish this term did not appear in Scripture, but it is right there. tou.j evklektou,j, "the elect," "the chosen ones." Paul uses the same term in Romans 8:33 "Who will bring a charge against God's elect?", and significantly in Colossians 3:12: "So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." Notice that Paul refers to the professing believers in Colossae as "those who have been chosen of God." Not those who chose God (they did that, but they did so as a result of being chosen by Him: the Christian gospel is God-centered, not man-centered!). It is important to see the source of the "choosing" in election here: "chosen of God." God chooses. God disposes. God is sovereign in this matter. ...
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