This new work, a 340-page response to Norman Geisler’s Chosen But Free, has been published by Calvary Press.
We have been overwhelmed at the response of the reviewers.The many endorsements listed below come from scholars, pastors, and those involved in ministry all across our nation and beyond. We have arranged the endorsements so that they appear in alphabetical order. At the end of the initial list we have begun to add comments as they have come in after the release of the book.
The breadth represented by the following statements demonstrates that The Potter’s Freedom transcends narrow denominational barriers and represents a wide spectrum of Reformed belief. We are very thankful for all the support the work is receiving.
The Potter’s Freedom is a more than adequate response to the misleading and erroneous book, Chosen but Free by Norman Geisler. Indeed, it is a fresh and helpful statement of true Calvinism over against a system purporting to be “Calvinistic” which is really nothing more than a brand of Arminianism. This book should be widely disseminated and read as it will clarify much that is often misunderstood about Calvinism.
Jay Adams, Ph.D., Westminster Seminary, Escondido, California
When Martin Luther wrote his Bondage of the Will in response to Erasmus’ Diatribe on Free-will, he pointedly addressed Erasmus in the Introduction, declaring that the book “…struck me as so worthless and poor that my heart went out to you for having defiled your lovely, brilliant flow of language with such vile stuff. I thought it outrageous to convey material of so low a quality in the trappings of such rare eloquence; it is like using gold or silver dishes to carry garden rubbish or dung.”
Sadly, as exhibited by Norman Geisler’s Chosen But Free, Erasmus was not the last learned man to use his tremendous literary capacities for such ignoble purposes. But God often uses assaults upon gospel truth as the occasion for mighty reaffirmations of the very truths under assault. I thank God that He has done just that in the publication of James White’s excellent book, The Potter’s Freedom. It is a comprehensive refutation of Geisler’s Frankenstein-like creation, which he names, “moderate Calvinism.” White makes a clear, compassionate and compelling case for the historic Christian faith (nicknamed evangelical Calvinism) that is Biblically saturated, exegetically sound, and theologically as straight as an arrow. I believe it will prove to be historically significant and am confident that it will not be met with a competent response. I heartily commend this fine work to all lovers of the cause of the Triune God and of His Truth.
Bill Ascol, Chairman of the Board, Southern Baptist Founders Ministries, Shreveport, LA
James White combines sound biblical exegesis, theological erudition, and a deep passion for truth in his able rebuttal to Norman Geisler’s Chosen but Free. I am grateful that The Potter’s Freedom powerfully exposes Geisler’s inconsistencies and shows that his self-labeled “moderate Calvinism” is no Calvinism at all. The Potter’s Freedom has far-reaching consequences for any serious student of Reformed theology, for Geisler is not a lone ranger in promoting historic Reformed theology as “extreme Calvinism” and Semi-pelagianism as “moderate Calvinism.” I pray that God may use this book abundantly to remove many caricatures about the Reformed faith and to move many to embrace unabashedly solid, Reformed convictions.
Dr. Joel R. Beeke, Author, President of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan
In his defense of Reformed theology, James White provides a refreshingly accurate and objective representation. White delivers a blow-by-blow refutation focusing solely on the exegesis of key passages, avoiding philosophical assertions, while Dr. Norman Geisler leaps out of his area and swims in unfamiliar waters in his treatment of Reformed theology.
Edward L. Dalcour, President, Department of Christian Defense
C. H. Spurgeon once said that “there seems to be an inveterate prejudice in the human mind against” the doctrine of predestination. A brief review of Norman Geisler’s disappointing book Chosen But Free confirms the rightness of Spurgeon’s judgment. But however uncomfortable is the doctrine of God’s sovereign freedom to our rebellious, finite minds, this much must be said: it is indisputably biblical. For this reason and more, James White’s The Potter’s Freedom is to be welcomed. Truth, to be fully understood andappreciated, needs to be set forth positively and negatively. It needs to be expounded and then contrasted with error. That is precisely what White does in this response to Dr. Geisler’s recent attack on the doctrines of grace.
Now we live in a day and age uniquely uncomfortable with the idea of absolute truth and even more uncomfortable with polemics (that is, theological criticism, argument and debate). Yet precisely because of the spirit of our age, we need Christians who are willing to delineate truth and error, and explain why they matter. Hence, we are indebted to White for his painstaking analysis and rebuttal of this latest form of semi-Arminianism. Make no mistake – White has the best of this argument and when he’s done, the anti-Calvinist position is not left with so much as a shred of biblical justification. May the Lord of the Church use this work to confirm his precious, gracious, saving truth in the hearts of his people.
J. Ligon Duncan III, PhD, Minister, First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Mississippi, USA, Adjunct Professor, Reformed Theological Seminary, Editorial Director, Reformed Academic Press
If you want to know what Calvinists don’t believe, read Geisler’s Chosen But Free. But to understand Calvinism as a lucid and coherent whole, and as a truly biblical construct in the face of its antagonists, read White’s The Potter’s Freedom. Piece by piece, James White dissects the flawed arguments of Geisler’s misnamed “moderate Calvinism,” which is in fact a very common breed of Arminianism. I am under no illusion that Geisler will wave the white flag on this one, but every honest reader of this book will know that he should.
Jim Elliff, President, Christian Communicators Worldwide, Resident Consultant, Midwestern Center for Biblical Revival, Kansas City, Missouri
James White’s The Potter’s Freedom is a modern Antidote to Arminianism. His devastating rebuttal to Geisler’s Chosen But Free is a clearly expressed, logically coherent, biblically faithful alternative to a theology which halts between two opinions. White not only effectively presents the case for the absolute sovereignty of God but demonstrates Geisler’s tendency to faulty research, partial citations, and fallacious argumentation. If you desire to better understand the ways of God with man, this is the book for you.
Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Th.D., Bahnsen Theological Seminary, Placentia, CA
Lest any reader be misled, this book is not really about Norman Geisler. Nor is it even about the good doctor’s miscomprehension of the nature of providence. Rather, it is primarily about the person, character, and prerogative of the Sovereign God. In that regard, James White has rendered us all good service.
George Grant, Author, President, Bannockburn College, Franklin, TN
A blurb on the back cover of Norman Geisler’s Chosen But Free boasts that it is “the definitive work on the relationship between divine election and human choice.” One would not have expected anything less from a seminary professor of Dr. Geisler’s stature and reputation.
Unfortunately, Chosen But Free is a disappointment. More than a mere letdown, actually. It is a stunningly inept treatment of the subject it undertakes. Dr. Geisler manages to misrepresent his friends and foes alike. He utterly mangles the doctrines of divine sovereignty, election, and free will–and in the process he obscures and redefines the historical positions of both Calvinism and Arminianism. The reader who has the regrettable persistence to follow Dr. Geisler to the last page of his work is certain to be hopelessly befuddled at the end of the effort.
The fact is, if Dr. Geisler were not a teacher of such stature, there would be no reason at all to pay any attention to his book. It is a bad book by any measure.
Nevertheless, it is obvious that the book is having a widespread impact among evangelicals–especially lay readers. Hardly a week goes by that someone doesn’t ask me about Geisler’s book, and especially Geisler’s fatuous claim that the position set forth in his book deserves the label “moderate Calvinism.”
That’s why I am very grateful for James White’s careful, patient, and thorough response to Geisler in The Potter’s Freedom. Dr. White meticulously unravels the near-hopeless tangle Geisler has made of these doctrines, skillfully employing both Scripture and his solid grasp of historical theology to make the truth unmistakably clear.
In answering Geisler, Dr. White has produced one of the finest explanations of the doctrines of grace and the sovereignty of God that has seen publication in recent years. I hope this important book will reach a wide audience.
Phillip R. Johnson, Executive Director, Grace To You, Elder, Grace Community Church, Sun Valley, California
James White’s work, The Potter’s Freedom, evidences unusually good exegetical and theological insight into some of the greatest themes of the Bible touching our Lord’s work of salvation, themes that Geisler has abused, maltreated and generally
misunderstood (for example, Geisler attempts to make a case for a conditional unconditional election!), such as the biblical doctrines of man under sin, divine election and the sovereignty of God in salvation. With a keener grasp of systematic theology and exegesis of the text of Scripture White has taken Geisler to the theological woodshed!
S. Lewis Johnson, Jr. ThD, Former Prof. of New Testament & Systematic Theololgy at Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, Texas & Former Prof. of Bible & Systematic Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois
There are few authors today who are able to write with a burning passion for truth, tempered by a charitable spirit towards those with whom one disagrees. Having achieved that balance, Dr. White’s contribution to the defense of Reformed soteriology is both sound and timely. His biblical exegesis of all the relevant passages, together with the misrepresentations he corrects, is secured by detailed analysis and demonstrates convincingly to the fair-minded reader that every true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ has nothing of which to boast but in the freedom of the Potter.
David King, Pastor, Dayspring Presbyterian Church, Forsyth, Georgia
The Potter’s Freedom has the character of God-glorifying argument, because with the Bible it dismantles careless theological error by patiently explaining the text of Scripture. This vigorous defense of theReformation exposes the widening gap, and the growing hostility, between “evangelicalism” and classic confessional Protestant Christianity. Synergism may wear a happy face, but it proclaims a hollow “gospel.” Written in the context of high-profile rapprochement between evangelicals and Catholics, and between Lutherans and Romanists, Dr. White turns up the lights to show us the real struggle, namely, the fundamentally religious contest between divine sovereignty and human ability. Our salvation comes either from God or from man. And in terms of both Bible teaching and human experience, this is where everything starts–and ends.
Nelson D. Kloosterman, Th.D., Professor of Ethics and New Testament, Mid-America Reformed Seminary, Dyer, Indiana
Many of us, who have otherwise profited from the writings of Dr. Norman Geisler, have been grieved by his hapless attempt to harmonize Calvinism and Arminianism. With the skill of a surgeon, Dr. James R. White dissects Geisler’s arguments and reveals them to be based on convoluted thinking, inconsistencies, and misinterpretations of Scripture. I pray that this book shall have a wide audience, not just as a definitive rebuttal to Geisler, but also as a helpful exposition of the Calvinisim/Arminianism debate.
Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer, Senior Pastor, Moody Church, Chicago
Dr. Norman Geisler’s Chosen But Free is a straw man argument against Reformation theology. He mislabels true Calvinism as “extreme Calvinism” and misnames his own blatant Arminianism as “moderate Calvinism.” The theological world is confusing enough without Dr. Geisler’s inept contribution. It is obvious that he does not understand what he attempts to refute. In The Potter’s Freedom, Reformed Baptist scholar Dr. James R. White has done the church a great service by exposing Dr. Geisler’s faulty work and by positively providing an exegetcally sound, historically accurate, and theologically precise apology for Reformed theology. White’s work is readable to the layman, worthy for the seminary, and will become a classic refutation of supposed “moderate Calvinist” views today which are usually a misinformed Arminianism. What is at stake? A God who is working hard to save all He can, dependant upon man’s will (Geisler’s view), versus a God who will save all He wills to save by freeing man from the bondage of his own will (White’s view). Dr. White actually exegetes Scripture to establish his view as the correct one.
Pastor Fred Malone, Author, A String of Pearls Unstrung
A comparison of Norman Geisler’s book, Chosen But Free, with James White’s book, The Potter’s Freedom, reveals two observations. First, Geisler’s book is one of demagoguery, propaganda, and an embarrassing lack of accurate scholarship, while White’s book is one of careful and scholarly exegesis of the Bible, coupled with a convincing exposition and defense of the Reformed Faith (i.e., the Biblical Faith) from misrepresentation and caricature. Second, James White effectively distinguishes Norman Geisler’s theology from Calvinism by pointing out this difference: Geisler believes in a God who tries to save all the sinners He can, and Calvinism believes in a God who saves all the sinners He will.”
Dr. Joseph C. Morecraft, III, Author, Pastor of Chalcedon Presbyterian Church (publisher of “The Counsel of Chalcedon Magazine”), Cumming, GA
We are in debt to Norman Geisler for displaying once again just how unpalatable the truth of the Scripture can be, even for those who know its contents well. His screed against Calvinism has provided the occasion for James R. White to give us The Potter’s Freedom, a book that not only reveals the poverty of Geisler’s argument but also provides us with a refreshing presentation of the glorious truths of salvation by grace alone as set forth by authentic Calvinism. The so-called “moderate Calvinism” which Geisler embraces and presents in Chosen But Free is no more useful than a moderate fire department.
Joel Nederhood, Director of Ministries Emeritus, The Back to God Hour, Pastor of Preaching, Cottage Grove Christian Reformed Church, South, Holland, Illinois.
In The Potter’s Freedom James White has given us a fresh and heavily exegetical defense of the biblical doctrine of salvation. White wrote his excellent review of the biblical underpinings of the Reformed Faith in response to Norman Geisler’s Chosen But Free. White’s evaluation of Geisler’s arguments is thorough and his ability to dismantle those arguments will be greatly appreciated by those who love their Calvinistic heritage. Nevertheless, White, in his refutation of Geisler’s position, maintains a spirit of Christian graciousness throughout.
Though this book was written for the purpose of debate, its thorough treatment of the principal texts, on which the doctrine stands or falls, may serve as a textbook for those who are just coming to understand the doctrines of grace. Here in one volume is a thoughtful and well written presentation of those truths. The English of The Potter’s Freedom is clear and non-technical which should make it of value to those who are unfamiliar with the language of theologians.
Dr. Joe B. Nesom, Southern Baptist Founders Ministries, Jackson, LA
James White’s response to Dr. Geisler’s Chosen but Free arises from a personal knowledge of Dr. Geisler and an appreciation for his stance for truth and his positive impact on the broader evangelical community. This sincere appreciation, however, does not cause him to downplay the seriously-flawed presentation Geisler gives of the perennially and universally important issue of divine determination and human responsibility. He interacts carefully with Geisler’s philosophy, his hermeneutics, his specific interpretations, his polemical methodology, his understanding of Reformed thought, and his personal stance on the issues endemic to this question. White’s work not only is an incisive, and in my opinion decisive, response to the specific fallacies of Geisler, but provides a positive exposition of the issue that would be valuable even apart from its polemical context. Its theological and philosophical sophistication does not detract from the profundity of pastoral theology that informs every chapter.
Dr. Tom J. Nettles, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY, Author of By His Grace & For His Glory
There can hardly be a topic more important or relevant than the one James White tackles in this superb book. Who is free? Man or God? Which is sovereign? These are the issues at stake in this timely rebuttal of error and demonstration of biblical truth. Our response to this debate exercises a controlling influence on the whole of our faith and life, and ultimately the character of our worship. If man is sovereign then he must save, and to him be the glory. But if, as the Scripture so thoroughly insists, “salvation is of the Lord” then it must also be that to Him alone is all the glory.
In The Potter’s Freedom, James White renders a great service by his clear presentation and defense of historic Calvinism, particularly in light of the confusion that so often clouds debates over the doctrine of election. This book deserves a careful reading by all who truly seek clarity and genuine biblical light. The doctrine of predestination may be difficult to grasp and hard to accept but it is also a doctrine the Bible insists upon. Our first duty is to receive what Scripture teaches, only thus finding the door open to understanding and then to joy. In this task, James White has given commendable help. There are few needs more urgent in the shallow evangelical culture today than a return to the robust theology and faith so ably explained from the Scripture in this superb book.
Rev. Richard D. Phillips, Associate Minister, Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, PA, Vice President, Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals
We decry the subterfuge of politicians as they redefine time-honored words in order to convince the public that they really did not raise taxes or commit adultery. Their form of double speak has so permeated our culture that even the church has been infected. The theologian, whose task is to learn and communicate the truth, betrays his trust when he resorts to redefinition. Yet Norman Geisler in Chosen But Free redefines some of the church’s time-honored definitions and is guilty of double speak, when he calls the Reformation doctrines of grace “extreme Calvinism” and offers a form of Arminianism as “moderate Calvinism.” Under the title of moderate Calvinism, he explains away the chief tenets of Calvinism. As Luther served the church well when he wrote his classic Bondage of the Will in response to Erasmus’ denial of the sovereignty of God in salvation, James White has served the church today in writing The Potter’s Freedom. White exposes Geisler’s philosophical methodology and his attempt to redefine many important biblical concepts while giving a thorough Biblical defense of true Calvinism. If you have read Dr. Geisler’s book you must read this response. If you want to learn more about the great Reformation doctrines (total depravity, election, particular redemption, effectual calling, and perseverance of the saints), you need to read this book.
Joseph A. Pipa, Jr., Ph.D., President, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Taylors, SC
One ought not be surprised by the recurrence of error–it has always been the plague of the church. It is expected that false men will arise to trouble those who proclaim the truth. When, however, the opponents of sound doctrine come forth from within the professing church, we shake our heads and wonder, and we pray that the Lord will raise up a defender of the faith once delivered to the saints.
That prayer has been answered with the publication of James White’s The Potter’s Freedom. In the face of attacks upon the sovereignty of God and His grace, Dr. White has provided the church with a careful and painstaking rebuttal of the most recent popular attempt to dethrone God and exalt man. It is replete with excellent exegesis and sound theology. The Potter’s Freedom demonstrates clearly that Scripture unambiguously teaches that God is sovereign in the salvation of sinners. White’s book should be recognized as a major contribution to this discussion.
Let us pray that the Lord will use this work to exalt His own glory and restore to many professing Christians a sense of wonder at the power of the grace of God.
James M. Renihan, Ph.D., Dean, Associate Professor of Historical Theology, Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies at Westminster Theological Seminary in California
The Reformed community has given Norman Geisler a “free” pass for too long with respect to his pronouncements on God’s sovereignty and free will. James White’s book, The Potter’s Freedom, is the much-needed antidote to his flawed (and failed) attempt, in typical Thomistic fashion, to synthesize what cannot be synthesized. As soon as he insists that “God’s grace works synergistically on free will,” and that the “one condition” for receiving grace, namely, faith, “is logically prior to regeneration” (pp. 233-34), he falls away from the thought of the sixteenth-century Reformation and stands in concert with the synergism of Rome. It is high time that he who has warned the members of the Evangelical Theological Society to “beware human philosophy” should heed his own warning and listen less to Thomas Aquinas and more carefully to Holy Scripture.
Robert Reymond, Ph.D., Knox Theological Seminary, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Author of A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith
With great penetration of argument, and in a manner reminiscent of Luther demolishing Erasmus, James White grinds the Semi-Pelagianism of Dr. Geisler to fine powder – not in the spirit of triumphalism, but knowing that all Arminianism is as hostile to the true gospel as it is friendly to a reviving Roman Catholicism.
Maurice Roberts, Editor, “Banner of Truth” Magazine, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
James White’s book, The Potter’s Freedom, is as clear a presentation of the Reformed doctrine of salvation as I’ve ever read. He writes with an engaging style and ably defends his views from scripture. More importantly, he takes on one of evangelicalism’s major Arminian apologists, Norm Geisler.
In the least, Dr. White demonstrates repeatedly and thoroughly that Geisler’s supposed “moderate Calvinism” is nothing of the sort. I am reminded here of the story of Alexander the Great confronting one of his soldiers who had not lived up to his duties. The soldier’s name happened to be the same as the great general’s. Alexander simply told him, “Either change your name or change your character.” White essentially gives the same advice to Geisler: you have a right to believe what you want, but you have no right to call your views “moderate Calvinism.” White has also demonstrated that Geisler has little basis to argue that his view—whatever it is called—is grounded in scripture. What Geisler is is a moderate Arminian or a “secure” Arminian. What he is not is a Calvinist—in any sense of the term.
The issues raised in this book are enormous, touching the very heart of the Protestant faith—a faith that finds its roots in Reformed thinking. That so many evangelical Protestants today are ignorant of such roots is a sign of the times: we are moving closer and closer to a thoroughly anthropocentric worldview—a worldview that is devoid of both answers and comfort and, in fact, is beginning to look more like humanism than Christianity. But spiritual maturity—both individually and communally—begins with the progressively Copernican discovery that we are not the center of the universe! At bottom, White’s book makes a magnificent contribution in this regard, for it exalts Jesus Christ at every turn, and affirms the Potter’s absolute freedom to perform his will.
Daniel B. Wallace, Ph.D., Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary
Some time ago, I had the opportunity to hear a tape of Dr. Geisler presenting his understanding of “moderate Calvinism.” The errors in the tape were simply breathtaking, and so I was very glad to hear that James White had undertaken a book length response to Dr. Geisler’s Chosen But Free. This response is outstanding. The Potter’s Freedom is firmly, pointedly, and charitably written. For someone of Dr. Geisler’s stature to go into print with his misunderstandings was simply inexplicable. The easy thing would have been to simply let the whole thing go in an embarrassed silence, but in this book James White has assumed the role of a biblical friend to Dr. Geisler. It deserves a wide reading.
Douglas Wilson, Author, Pastor of Christ Church, Moscow, Idaho, Editor of “Credenda Agenda” Magazine
The popular view of divine sovereignty which Geisler advocates is a serious departure from the self-revelation of God in the Scriptures. Indeed, White’s strongest suit is his demonstration that Geisler’s argument is entirely indefensible at the exegetical level. Some may read White and continue to hold Geisler’s opinions, but they will no longer be comfortable with those opinions. White has read Geisler carefully and insightfully and has answered him thoroughly and Biblically.
Fred G. Zaspel, Pastor, Word of Life Baptist Church, Pottsville, PA, Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies, The Pennsylvania State University, Author of The Theology of Fulfillment
Post Publication Comments:
The following came from the Reformed Baptist Discussion List:
To everyone on the list:
Months ago I had brought to the attention of this list that James White was working on a book to answer Norman Geisler’s book “Chosen but Free.” I had also suggested that we pray for James White as he works on this book. Boy were our prayers answered! I just received my copy of “The Potter’s Freedom” in the mail and the book is awesome. For a long time I have searched for a book that I could just hand to people if I wanted them to understand and appreciate reformed theology (especially TULIP). THIS IS THE BOOK! Whenever I have discipled people or encouraged them in their understanding of Reformed Theology I have needed to use a variety of books, tracts, pamphlets, sermons, a bunch of stuff. Now I have a book that does most of what the other material does, and does it all in a highly readable, easily understandable style.
I suggest that everyone on this list get this book (call (602) 973-0318). I don’t usually recommend that everyone on this list read a book but this is one of those exceptions. Geisler’s misguided attack on Reformed Theology had to be answered, and this is what White’s book does admirably.
To James White, thanks for this marvelous work! We can use your book to help all sorts of people understand Reformed Theology. You have done us all a great service with this book. The potential for positively impacting many people with your book is very encouraging. Thank-you.
Bob Zerhusen, M.Div, Th.M., Pastor, Chatsworth Lake Community Church, CA