Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
The Dark Side of Anti-Calvinism
08/21/2011 - James WhiteOne of the primary lessons I have been attempting to bring forward over the past week in my exposure of the inane nature of so much of the popular anti-Calvinism found in the writings of Geisler, Hunt, Vance, and Bryson (repeated without the slightest bit of concern by Coate) is the contrast between the biblically-based presentations of Reformed writers and our concern for accuracy in even representing those who disagree with us (and who attack us personally) and the methodology of "anything goes as long as it is opposed to Calvinism" of the other side. Bryson and Coate provided the best example ever with The Absurdity, the "let's grab something from the Internet which was actually never said in reality and skewer White with it since we really have nothing more substantive to say" example we have documented over the past few days.
Yesterday I noted comments by "george" on TurretinFan's blog, and though Mr. Bryson is playing cat and mouse in e-mail, it does seem that the follow up comments do indeed confirm that this is George Bryson doing the Bryson thing---commenting in comboxes and doing his best to obfuscate the issues. Let's lay out the facts briefly:
1) Bryson was in the studio for the Bible Answer Man broadcast, therefore, he has no excuses for misrepresenting what was said.
2) Bryson has access to the recordings of the Bible Answer Man broadcast, therefore, he has no excuses for misrepresenting what was said.
3) Bryson quoted a sarcastic summary statement from an Internet combox.
4) Bryson never said the words attributed to him in that summary, specifically, "Calvinists believe that God is an evil potentate who causes sin and tyranically (sic) damns people for no good reason and causes babies to be raped." [Note: since Bryson never said these words, it follows inevitably that I could not "confess" or "agree" with words that were never spoken!]
5) Bryson repeated words I never said, for I never replied to a non-existent statement with "Yes, and here is why I believe THATů." with the "that" referring to a mythical statement.
6) Bryson then said I had given an "admission" that bothers even other Calvinists. What "admission" can be found in a mythical, sarcastic paraphrase? When we actually listen to the exchange I am careful to define my terms (something Bryson simply will not allow, as caricaturization and equivocation is the heart and soul of his anti-Calvinist campaign) and to "admit" to nothing more than what we find in the London Baptist Confession of Faith:
God hath decreed in himself, from all eternity, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably, all things, whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby is God neither the author of sin nor hath fellowship with any therein; nor is violence offered to the will of the creature, nor yet is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established; in which appears his wisdom in disposing all things, and power and faithfulness in accomplishing his decree.
How shocking that an elder at a Reformed Baptist Church would confess one of the main statements of the confession of faith of that church! Amazing. Of course, Bryson rejects most of what is said there, and only wants people to "hear" the first portion, and ignore the part about second causes and the like. But the full statement makes it very clear that I affirmed the use of secondary causes, placed my answer in the context of biblical categories (Genesis 50, Acts 4), affirmed the active will of man and denied the absurd caricature that George Bryson is constantly guilty of promoting.
7) This amazing mythical "paraphrase" replete with utterly false "admission" charge attached was picked up uncritically by Micah Coate and repeated in his new book, proving, without question, what Bryson's intention was in publishing this material in his own book. Bryson endorsed Coate's book with the even more absurd "admission" statements attached to it.
These are the facts. They are not disputable. The only possible response of an honest man to being faced with these facts would be apology and retraction. What has George Bryson done? Spin, of course, and do anything he can to avoid having to answer for his statements. Over the course of the past 24 hours Bryson has given us a lesson in the dark side of anti-Calvinism. Though this is a simple matter of truthfulness, for Bryson, admitting his error here seems to him to amount to an admission that Calvinism is true, and that he will not do. So, he buries himself in equivocation in the hopes of distracting from the real issue, just as he does theologically in his writings against the Reformed faith. I provide his statements as they have appeared on TurretinFan's blog:
Ok-time for everyone to take a deep breath. The only time I mentioned anything about James admitting something I said: I CAN UNDERSTAND WHY THE ADMISSION OF WHITE IS SO DISTURBING TO CALVINISTS. IN HIS DEFENSE, HOWEVER, WHITE IS ONLY ADMITTING WHAT SHOULD BE OBVIOUS TO ALL CALVINISTS. If you look in my book or on this thread you will see that James answered "yes" to the question I asked him. He answered "yes" several times but I kept pressing him on it because I wanted to make sure there was no "wiggle room" in his "yes" answer. James obliged me with by repeating "yes". In different ways James. My legitimate use of the "loose paraphrase" material only supported my contention that not all Calvinist agreed that he should have provided a "yes" answer. In fact, some of the critical comments made about His answer of "yes" to my question served to further support the point the I made. A number of Calvinist clearly interpreted his "yes" answer as a mistake on his part as well as a departure. I thought that the loose paraphrase supported my view that the "yes" answer was an admission and I think a lot of Calvinists would agree with me on that much. Let us all just get a grip and move on. There is nothing libelous in what I said about James or in what I say he admitted (which is "yes" to my question). I know that I am not going to get a lot of sympathy among the Reformed and I am not looking for any. But I refuse to believe that the Calvinists on this site think that the "yes" that he provided to my question and repeated under some prodding, makes me libelous or even dishonest. Perhaps I have misjudged some of you. In Christ, your non-Reformed brother in Christ.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 21, 2011 9:11:00 AM,
Sorry and one word correction is needed asked not answered
The author of the "loose paraphrase" (who loosely paraphrased me as well as James) was I believe upset with what he or she believed James said or implied by what he said on BAM at least as much as he or she was upset about the question I asked. Some folks are upset that I asked the question. I can live with that. Some folks are upset with how they understood him to be answering the question. Can James live with that. Or is everyone who understands him differently than he wants to be understood guilty of libel and in need of repentance, sorrow etc. I read comments by Calvinist all the time who do not understand what I am saying the way I think they should. I might attempt to correct their understanding and that is part of a back and forth. I disagree with how Calvinist understand the words of Jesus and Paul. They disagree with how I understand Jesus and Paul. This provides and opportunity for discussion and clarification. It should not be used as an excuse for personally attacks and accusations. The very first comments I found on this thread concerning James and his comments in the debate seemed to be the some loyal Calvinists did not like how he answered my question. So what? In Christ, your non-Reformed brother. George
By the way, if you are really tired of hearing about this and having me post (as you probably are) just close it off to comments-I will not be offended. But if you make accusations or allow others to make accusation, it seems only right that I respond
SUNDAY, AUGUST 21, 2011 5:19:00 PM
Dear Chafer DTS
I appreciate that you did not feel a need to call me a liar this time. You said:
"I personally feel that you went beyond what Dr. James White stated.
Actually I quoted someone who said they were presenting a "loose paraphrase" of what he said. I think it was an honest and fair "loose paraphrase". Everything I said White said White actually said. Everything I think he implied by what he said many Calvinists agreed that his words implied this. Few people like the way White or their theological opponents characterize their position. That does not mean that
White needs to repent, apologize, recant or is guilty of libel.
I accept that you have a right to your view of what I actually did, but I do not believe your understanding of what I said or even quoted others saying is an accurate or even reasonable interpretation of the facts. If I were trying to make you happy, I would have to tip toe around statements or views I disagree with. It seems to me you are asking of me what you are not asking of yourself or of Calvinists. It is difficult to believe you read my last post or that you understand the point I was making. I can live with that. Can you? In Christ, your non-Calvinist brother-George
SUNDAY, AUGUST 21, 2011 8:43:00 PM
I am sure this is how you see it but what you are asking of me you would not ask of a Calvinist or anyone who disagreed with someone else. In effect, you are saying I must quote people saying things James White likes. Are you seriously saying that this quote does not reflect the honest opinion of the person I quoted? I would love to hear that person say so. If that quote is not a fair "loose paraphrase" of what they understood James to be admitting in his "yes" answer to my question, then they might owe James White an apology. Have you read how James White characterizes the views of those he disagrees with? And is it really right for a caller to call me a liar when I believe everything I affirm. You could say George is wrong? How hard would that be? If I came on this site and called everyone I disagreed with a liar, it would not be very polite or civil or
Christ like. What if I just started calling everyone who disagrees with me a liar? Would that make everyone feel better? Or is this a double standard. You can call George anything you want and that is OK because we do not like what he says or the way he says it. Would it would be unChristian for George to say the the Calvinists who disagree with me on this site are liars? If I did that I am sure I would be banned from the site and understandably so? Does anyone else see a double standard here? In Christ, George
SUNDAY, AUGUST 21, 2011 10:20:00 PM
What is missing is that this was all about White's answer which was "yes" to me question. That is all I am saying he admitted to. The question as whether or not John Rabe was right in his understanding of what what was implying is between Rabe and White and I keep hearing that Rabe apologized for what he said and White accepted his apology. Now do I think that Rabe was fair in his loose paraphrase? Yes. I have that right even if he does not think (in hindsight it was fair. In Christ, George
SUNDAY, AUGUST 21, 2011 11:13:00 PM
There you go, folks. A man caught red-handed engaging in the most virulent form of misrepresentation defending himself repeatedly. Think about the last entry. He is so invested in his falsehood that he can actually say my answer to his question was "yes," when what he has in his book is not his question, nor my answer! What he has in his book is a sarcastic comment in a combox written by someone who listened on the Internet! And even though that person (John Rabe) has apologized, and even though the recording of the event shows what was really said, George Bryson is actually willing to not only defend the accuracy of the "paraphrase" but to defend his use of this material when it has been shown to be in direct contradiction to my published statements, and to the statements I made during the program in question! This is dishonesty and an utter lack of personal, let alone theological integrity, on a grand scale. It truly is representative of the dark side of anti-Calvinism.
This explains the wild-eyed chapters found in Hunt and Coate, for example, pillorying Calvin for being a monstrous man. These chapters do not even pretend balance. They are completely one-sided, a caricature of reality, a mockery of historical accuracy. How can you never say a single positive word about the man, about his ministry to the saints in Strasbourg, for example, in the face of the plague, at the risk of his own life? Because, when you are a hyper anti-Calvinist, like Hunt, Coate, Bryson, etc., you are not bound by conventional categories of fairness, honesty, or balance. You must frighten everyone away from Calvinism! You cannot trust them to think through the issues for themselves! In fact, you do not want them thinking about it at all! You must stop the thought process right now and replace it with pure emotional recoil at some horrid representation of Calvin or Calvinism. So away with honesty, away with balance, away with anything even remotely fair or accurate.
The danger, of course, is that once you are so grossly caricatured and slandered, as Bryson and Coate have done in this instance of the BAM program, you feel justified in doing the same in return. Not so. I am indeed saying George Bryson has lied in this matter. His dishonesty, however, has been documented beyond all possible dispute. It does not follow, however, that I will then begin to treat his written materials or spoken statements as play-dough to be formed into whatever I wish. I do not need to do that. I have played entire sermons by George Bryson on my program, word for word, and refuted them. I do not need to make things up. I leave that to those on the dark side of anti-Calvinism.
For the sake of complete documentation, I repost the audio of the program: