David Allen is a Dean of the School of Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He spoke at the John 3:16 Conference recently–the “lets circle the wagons and warn everyone about the Calvinists” get-together that was lacking the one thing that truth demands: serious interaction with the other side. Well, serious exegesis likewise was nowhere to be found, too. But in any case, I was quickly notified after his talk that he accused me of hyper-Calvinism, and after reading some reports from those in attendance, briefly commented on the absurdity of the charge. [He has written in defense of his accusation here]. I noted with some humor that the likes of Hunt and Patterson and Vines and Allen were safely ensconced in the friendly environs of a super-church in Georgia while I was standing before audiences of Muslims and Christians in London proclaiming the glory of the person of Christ and calling all those who could hear me to faith in Jesus Christ. In case Dr. Allen is unaware of this, hyper-Calvinists do not call all men to faith in Christ. That is why they don’t like me and attack me at every opportunity. Obviously, my unwillingness to ascribe incoherence and inconsistency to the will of God does not mean I do not freely and openly call all men to faith in Christ. I put together some examples from my trip to London (and the debate at Duke). I think they speak for themselves. What hyper-Calvinist speaks as I do here?
I will play David Allen’s comments on the DL tomorrow and interact with them. Till then, I simply point out that he seems to wish to establish a definition that forces one to somehow confess what God desires without providing any biblical basis for how we as creatures are to know this. Does God command repentance? Of course. Of all? Yes, of all. Do you proclaim the gospel to all? Yes, to all. Do you say it is the duty of all to believe? Surely, of course. Do you believe the proclamation of the gospel is the means by which God’s Spirit draws the elect unto Christ? Most assuredly. So what is the single basis of Allen’s accustion of “hyper-Calvinism”? My refusal to believe God decreed His eternal disappointment. I find nothing in Scripture or in the LBCF1689 that forces me to believe that God chose to create in such a fashion as to create His own unhappiness, His own lack of fulfillment. I see no reason to believe that God desires to do something He does not will to accomplish. It is only man’s limited nature that even raises the issue, for we know that the proclamation of God’s law reveals God’s prescriptive will, i.e., do not kill, do not commit adultery, do not lie, etc. Hence we ascribe to God the concept of “desire” and say God does not “desire” that man do these things. Yet, we likewise know that texts like Genesis 50:20 tell us that God has willed that such events take place, and that, in fact, He uses them to accomplish His own purposes, His own glory. The problem is in trying to read into God’s will our own self-limitations. I can freely offer the gospel to all, not because I reject election, nor because I ascribe to God a human-oriented desire that runs directly counter to His own self-revelation and consistency, but because I do not know the identity of the elect, and I have the full promise of Scripture that no man, no woman, no child, will ever, ever turn in faith to Jesus Christ and yet be rejected by Him. ALL who believe will be saved. Will any man believe outside of God’s grace, God’s granting of repentance and faith? Surely not, but again, I do not possess knowledge of the identity of the elect. Hence, I can freely and properly proclaim the duty to repent and believe to all, knowing that those who do so will be those God has drawn to Himself. I find myself completely consistent with the Apostle who likewise said he endured all the trials and tribulations of the ministry “for the sake of the elect” (2 Timothy 2:10).
“Ladies and Gentlemen, James White is a hyper-Calvinist.” So accuses David Allen. Ladies and gentlemen, David Allen is making false accusations. I repudiate the false accusation, and assert that my confession of faith, and twenty five years of ministry and evangelism, expose the accusation for what it is. But who I am is irrelevant: I challenge David Allen to stand before the students and faculty of the School of Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and engage me on one battleground only: the inspired, inerrant, living text of the sacred Scriptures, the Bible. Do what was not done in Georgia: go to the text consistently and in depth and deal with John 6, John 10, Ephesians 1, Romans 8 and 9, and do so without hiding from the challenge of those on the other side. I have proven my ability to engage in such debate fairly and with honor and respect. I do not have to accuse David Allen of anything. I don’t have to try to scare people away from listening to him. Go ahead! Listen! Examine! Study! But unlike those at the John 3:16 Conference, I have proven my ability to engage the best they have to offer, directly, without hiding. There would be no greater opportunity for the students of SWBTS to see the exposure of one their own leaders have identified as a “hyper-Calvinist” than in such an encounter! Will that happen? I doubt it, since the facts are clear. I’m not a hyper-Calvinist, and the last thing the leadership wants is both sides to be presented with fairness and clarity. And that, my friends, speaks volumes, does it not?