Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Dan Corner: Purveyor of a Savior-less Gospel
12/27/2006 - James White
Gene Cook did the first part of an interview with Dan Corner on his program yesterday. Here's a link. I listened to it while riding today. It was a tremendous example of the massive contrast between viewing the gospel as a divine act, focused upon God, done to His glory, and being man-centered in your outlook. Dan Corner may be a former Roman Catholic, but his view of that issue is dead on with Rome. He is just as man-centered as he ever was before his "conversion." But to get a taste of just how man-centered he is, check out this one minute clip (I assume Gene won't mind my posting this to illustrate the point) of Corner dismissing the relevance of the intercessory work of Christ to the topic of "eternal security." You see, for Corner, Christ only makes salvation a possibility. Christ's work is irrelevant, in the final analysis, to whether someone will be saved or not, because Christ's work just makes salvation a possibility. The rest is up to us. So whether Christ is interceding for those who will end up in hell or not just doesn't matter to him, because he has a "gospel" that is focused upon what man does, what man accomplishes, and it lacks a true and perfect Savior. This is why Corner will not debate me on the gospel: as anyone can tell from listening to this interview, he has a very narrow spectrum of expertise, and as soon as you start to point out the connections that exist between his one topic and so many other topics (God's nature, man's sinfulness, God's purposes, atonement, justification, imputation, etc.), Corner starts sweating. That is why he tried to get me to sign a contract prior to doing a radio program with him back in 2001, where I would have had to have avoided discussing any of the other four points of Calvinism! He well knows he is incapable of dealing with the biblical witness to God's sovereignty, man's depravity, unconditional election, particular atonement, irresistible grace, etc., and so he does all he can, including engaging in simple dishonesty (as documented here), to avoid having to do so. Gene was completely correct to conclude this program by saying Dan Corner is a false teacher (Corner had started by identifying anyone who believes Jesus Christ saves perfectly as a false teacher anyway)---he is not a brother in Christ, he is promoting a form of legalism and a false gospel. No question about it.
Now, in case anyone has forgotten, Dan Corner has had a standing challenge to debate the real issues against me for many years now, and, of course, he continues to avoid that challenge, all the while claiming everyone is afraid to debate him on "eternal security." Maybe someone will mention that to him on Friday when he does Part II of the program with Gene, 9am PST here. I know I'll be listening!
A Quick Trip Down Apostasy Lane
12/09/2006 - James WhiteRight before I left for St. Charles a friend of mine sent me a URL to the Envoy Magazine web-board where medical doctor Art Sippo, one of the more famous folks on this blog (do a search if you really must), had begun a series on Calvinism. Now, remember, Art Sippo is the same non-exegete about whom I wrote in a multi-part series (starting here), documenting his many errors on the subject of Romans 9. His response? He's above even looking at the documentation, of course. So when I saw a thread beginning with Sippo setting his over-the-top, "ad-hominem is my middle name" style of rhetorical apologetics on Calvinism, I knew the result would be...typical Sippoism. But what made the thread more interesting was the soon arrival of one TGE, Timothy Enloe. Now, on September 18th of 2006 I had a brief "private message" conversation with Mr. Enloe in IRC. I challenged him to join me in not mentioning the other in public writings and conversations for an entire year. He agreed. That lasted less than three months, as I pretty much expected it would. The conversation very quickly deteriorated from any semi-serious criticism of Calvinism to a back and forth between Sippo and TGE, with Sippo doing his normal abrasive, in-your-face style of posting while, of course, complaining that everyone else is mean and nasty. Along the way our ol' friend Jerry-Jet would throw in a few bombs which most everyone else just sort of ignores (I include a few below just to add color to the citations).
Instead of you having to plow through the six current pages of posts, I did that work for you. Here are some of the real gems---mainly those with reference to the thought process of a formerly conservative apologist who has charted his own course...right over a theological cliff, and who cannot even engage in dialogue with someone as nasty as Art Sippo without lobbing grenades at Reformed folks who actually engage in biblical exegesis (gasp!).
For clarity's sake for others reading this thread, let me say that I don't really give two figs for defending Calvinism, and haven't for over 3 years now. I am a "de facto" Calvinist because my whole life situation right now is wrapped up in Calvinist circles. But, not only is the Calvinism in which I'm wrapped up nothing like the Calvinism you Catholics encounter all over the Internet (particularly in the apologetics "ministries"), but it's also not something I sit around obsessing over. I couldn't care less about the mechanics of predestination; I affirm it because Scripture talks about it, but how it works is of exactly zero interest to me. Ditto for fighting Arminians and using "the doctrines of grace" to separate myself from all who think differently about grace.
Why believe in Calvin when you can believe in Jesus?
All Calvinism is REALLY is just a worship of self. People who believe it are really just patting themselves on the back and are saying "I AM the predestined elect". why? Because they judge such to be true! why can they judge it? Because they said so!
Art Sippo 11/25:
Any one who denies the Mass is a sacrifice and sets himself up as more Catholic as the Doctors, Church Fathers, and the Popes has nothing to say to me that is worth hearing. As a Catholic I find nothing good in the "magisterial reformation."
Jerry Jet 11/26:
Mere talk about the truth is CHEAP! Jesus said "I came not to bring peace but a sword". The sword of truth necessitates a fight.
Mere talk is disingenuous. Satan only talked to Eve--Eve didn't fight!
When someone disagrees with the Catholic Church either they are liars or the Catholic Church are liars
There is no CARICATURE in that!
For the record, I am the sort of Protestant who believes that Protestantism can't survive without significantly reshaping its view of and relations with Catholicism. We need Catholicism, because in many ways we've lost our way. I am likewise the kind of Calvinist who, if I ever come to believe that Prejean is right that Calvinism is a kind of Monothelitism, I will chuck Calvinism so fast it will make everyone's heads spin. I am the kind of Reformed person who doesn't think there's much virtue in imagining that there is a stark dividing line in Church history called "pre-Reformation" and "Reformation" times. I think it's deeply spiritually unhealthy to live always looking back at some mythically perfect time of "purity" and trying to recapitulate it world without end. It's wrong to take one's whole approach to the Christian life from what once was not but has now become a pretty much entirely negative stance towards others, with the corresponding absurd assumption that we ourselves are so right and good that we don't need anyone else and are, as it were, God's Appointed Messengers to call everyone else to repentance....
Further for the record, I don't subscribe to the "Faith by scholarship" view that you impute to me. No doubt I don't have to lecture a Catholic in the fact that the best of the Christian tradition from earliest times has sought to harmonize Faith and Reason, not set them in opposition to each other. Just because much of Protestantism has surrendered to Enlightenment standards of rationality and vainly imagines such absurdities as that learning to parse all your Greek participles correctly leads to a Platonic Paradise of "pure biblical truth," and tries to collapse faith into "evidence" doesn't mean Protestants without exception are and must be this way.
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Getting to Know Jonathan Edwards
12/08/2006 - James WhiteWhen I was in seminary I had the wonderful opportunity of writing a paper on the theology of Jonathan Edwards on the sovereignty of God. It was one of the most exciting studies I did at that time. The "Edwards" field is huge, with many modern writers and speakers addressing the topic. But if you'd like to get an engaging, accurate, encouraging overview of Edwards which will give you a basis for doing further reading and study, you want to get hold of Don Kistler's 6-message series, Jonathan Edwards. And while you are there, take a look at the other things Don has to offer, and drop him a note of encouragement while you are at it!