Contend Earnestly: Question for James White on God's Desire

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Question for James White on God's Desire

It looks like yesterday's post created quite a stir with James White and Turretinfan. James White decided to bring up the post and talk on it for about 10 minutes yesterday on his radio program called The Dividing Line. James White wasn't happy so he attacked some, which I would have done as well, so I don't hold that against him in any way. It is cool, part of the process since we don't know each other at all. It must also be very difficult for him being in the public eye and getting complaints from all sorts of whack jobs and weirdos. Although Dr. White doesn't know this, I have read many of this books and have listened to many of his debates. Again, I greatly appreciate much of what White does on the "front lines" of evangelism and I went to his Shabir Ally debate here in Seattle and wrote a review of it here. I want to also express that I need to be more specific. On the desire or wish of God for all to be saved, if one denies this, it has historically been a tenant of hyperism. So, although James White might not be a hyper Calvinist as a whole, on this doctrine, based on this exchange, it would seem that in this specific area of his theology, he would be affirming a hyper Calvinist conviction. But, I feel as though I need to "make sure" of this so that is the reason of this post.

So, the one thing that has had me concerned with White is his thoughts on God's desire or wish for all men to be saved, which would then flow out of this the "well meant offer" of the Gospel to all men. One of the challenges that White posed to me was simply, "show me where I differ in regards to the 1689 Baptist Confession." (loose quotation). Now, lets be honest. White can run circles around me theologically. I am no fool to think otherwise, but I bet I could beat him in an arm wrestling contest :). What I am going to do is simply ask him if he agrees with the following statements and men, and if he doesn't I simply ask if he can define what he believes as far as God's desire or non-desire for all men to be saved and show historically any men that would agree with his definition. I will first quote Dr. Samuel Waldron from A Modern Exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith.


"The doctrine of this text that God earnestly desires the salvation of every man who hears the gospel and thus freely offers Christ to them is confirmed throughout the rest of Scripture. The Bible teaches that the good gifts which God bestows upon men in general, including the non-elect, are manifestations of God's general love and common grace towards them (Matt. 5:43-48; Luke 6:35; Acts 14:17). While they do serve to increase the guilt of those who misuse them, this is not the sole intention of God towards the non-elect in giving them. The Scriptures teach that God desires the good even of those who never come to experience the good wished for them by God (Deut. 5:29; 32:29; Ps. 81:13-16; Isa. 48:18). The Scriptures also teach that God so loved sinners that in the person of his Son he weeps because of the destruction they bring upon themselves (Matt. 23:37; Luke 13:34; 19:41-44). God emphatically expressses his desire that some should repent who do not repent (Ezek. 18:23, 32; 33:11; Rom. 10:11). The Scriptures teach a general gospel call which comes to the hearers of the gospel indiscriminately and which may be, and often is resisted (Prov. 1:24; 8:4; Isa. 50:2; 65:12; 66:4; Jer. 7:13-14; 35:17; Matt. 22:14).

This biblical witness does not overthrow the scriptural teaching of an unconditional election and an irresistable grace. When our finite minds contemplate the glory of the incomprehensible God revealed in the Scriptures we often will be unable to penetrate completely how two seemingly contradictory truths may be reconciled. It ought, however, to rid us of every hesitation in calling men indiscriminately, passionately, freely and authoritatively to embrace Jesus Christ as he is freely offered in the gospel."
Samuel E. Waldron, Modern Exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith (Evangelical Press, 1989), p.122

I would also ask if James White would agree with John Piper and John Murray on this topic as well.

Also, if not, which historic men of the Christian faith would agree with his conclusions on God's desire and/or wish of the unregenerate?

That is all for now. These are mere questions and I hope to get a clear understanding of what James White believes on this desire. And next time he is in Seattle I will buy him lunch and let him tear me apart theologically.

28 comments:

Turretinfan said...

The terms "desire" and/or "wish" are the trouble-makers here. Dr. White does freely offer the gospel to all men, as far as I know.

Furthermore, Dr. White agrees with the principle explained by Prof. Murray that it is in God's revealed will (i.e. his precepts) for men to repent of their sins and believe on the Savior.

If that answers your question, there you go. If, however, you mean "desire" or "wish" in some other sense, such that God goes around for all eternity frustrated because he didn't get what he wanted, I think you know the answer to that as well.

In point of fact, Dr. White is not a hyper-Calvinist. He is far from being a hyper-Calvinist, and it is not a surprise to me to see from where the accusations to the contrary have come.

They haven't been coming from five-point TULIP Calvinists, which is what Dr. White is.

-TurretinFan

Seth McBee said...

Let's make it very simple...would White affirm the strong language used by Waldron in the above quote? If not, in which parts?

Turretinfan said...

I'm not sure how that is "very simple." There are lots of different assertions in Waldron's paragraph, some explicit, some implied. Waldron uses the word "desire," apparently without explaining what he means by that (I don't have a copy of his book here to check).

Perhaps you could provide some clarification. Are you suggesting Waldron's apparent view that one should hold "two seemingly contradictory" positions is the LBCF 1689 view?

On the other hand, if by "strongly worded" you mean Waldron's remark that we should be rid of "every hesitation in calling men indiscriminately, passionately, freely and authoritatively to embrace Jesus Christ as he is freely offered in the gospel," then I cannot imagine Dr. White disagreeing.

-TurretinFan

YnottonY said...

T-Fan said:

"Dr. White agrees with the principle explained by Prof. Murray that it is in God's revealed will (i.e. his precepts) for men to repent of their sins and believe on the Savior."

This is not agreeing with John Murray on the true nature of the free offer of the gospel (see below). The above only says that God's requires men by his precepts to repent and believe. Murray says that it is God's revealed will that men comply with those precepts and be saved. God doesn't merely will the precepts. He wills for men to comply with those precepts. Waldron is actually saying the same thing as J. Murray, and not J. White.

James White still does not have the courage to come out and forthrightly say in writing, "No. I do not believe there is any sense whatsoever in which God wills/wishes/wants or desires the salvation of any of the non-elect.

Dr. Waldron is very explicit about what he believes (and wrote it), as is Erroll Hulse. They say without any hesitation that God wills or desires the salvation of all men.

Iain Murray said, "If God has chosen an elect people, then, Hyper-Calvinism argued, he can have no desire for the salvation of any others and to speak as though he had, is to deny the particularity of grace...Hyper-Calvinists accepted that the gospel be preached to all..."

Iain Murray also cites John Murray on the free offer to the effect that "the real point in dispute in connection with the free offer of the gospel is whether it can properly be said that God desires the salvation of all men."

So, we put the question again to Dr. White to explicitly answer: Can it properly be said that God desires the salvation of all men? Yes or no?"

Seth McBee said...

TF.

No...that is not what I mean as far asying that we should be rid of every hesitation....

Waldron, unless I am reading him completely wrong, is pointing to God's earnest desire for the non-elect to be saved.

I am confused why this is difficult.

Waldron states this in pretty plain English, again, unless I am missing something here. Waldron continually points to God's desire/wish of the non-elects salvation.

He states:

God emphatically expressses his desire that some should repent who do not repent

&

While they do serve to increase the guilt of those who misuse them, this is not the sole intention of God towards the non-elect in giving them. The Scriptures teach that God desires the good even of those who never come to experience the good wished for them by God

This is the same as I have read elsewhere from other Reformed brothers.

What is interesting is that you and White both bring up God being disappointed and such, which is not apart of this topic. I am just trying to nail down James White on God's desire of the non-elect and their salvation and I can't get an answer.

So, again...Does James White believe that God desires/wishes the salvation of all men? Yes or no? This is exactly what Waldron is stating, unless I am completely misunderstanding him and all the other reformers that I have read with this position.

PuritanReformed said...

It is amazing how the Neo-Amyraldians aka Ponterites like Tony Byrne continue denouncing Calvinists as "hyper-Calvinists", all the while practicing the fallacy of anachronism on the writings and teachings of the Reformers and Puritans. I distinctly remember sending an email to Tony showing the distortion of some of the primary sources on this very topic, but I don't think any effort on the part of the Ponterites has been made to defend their anachronist reading of the primary sources.

Turretinfan said...

Seth,

Please explain what you mean by "desires/wishes" so that the question can be answered in a way that is clear.

I don't have Waldron to see if he explains what he means.

I don't know why Tony misunderstands Prof. Murray, but I'm not going to get into a side-bar debate with him here on that topic, as I expect he'll just run away when challenged.

In any event, Tony's misunderstanding of Murray highlights the need for clarity and explanation of what it is you want Dr. White to affirm or deny.

In the interest of mutual clarity, especially since I am asking you for clarification, let me try to explain the "disappointment" connection to you, since you don't seem to get it.

Most people would say that if someone wishes/desires something, and they don't get it, they are disappointed. Conversely, most people would say that if someone isn't disappointed when they don't get what they wished/desired, then they didn't really wish/desire that thing.

When folks like Murray speak of wish/desire, they don't mean it in this conventional sense. They don't mean that God is going to be disappointed if people don't obey his law. In fact, it's part of God's decretive will that God's revealed will be violated. No matter what Tony may tell you, that's Murray's position.

That's why I am asking for clarification. If you are simply asking whether obedience to the gospel call is part of the revealed (i.e. preceptive) will of God, then I believe you will find Dr. White in complete agreement.

Hopefully that clarifies things from this side. Now, perhaps you can clarify things from your side. Can you explain what you mean by desire/wish and specifically can you explain how disappointment is not related to non-fulfilment of the kind of "desire/wish" you have in mind?

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

"James White still does not have the courage ..."

Grow up, Byrne.

natamllc said...

y~notton~y

In your "slight" above, you wrote:

"....that it is God's revealed will....",

I would observe that God is in charge of "revealing" His Will.

And, what does the Scripture teach about the Will of God?

Joh 6:35 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
Joh 6:36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.
Joh 6:37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
Joh 6:38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.
Joh 6:39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.
Joh 6:40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."


Here is the "Will" of Him Who sent Jesus, that every one which looks on the Son and "believes in him" should have eternal life! Jesus makes a promise after revealing the "Will" of God: "....and I will raise him up on the last day."

Now what's interesting, at least to me, in this debate, is the Greek words for "raise him up":

ἀνίστημι
anistēmi
an-is'-tay-mee
From G303 and G2476; to stand up (literally or figuratively, transitively or intransitively): - arise, lift up, raise up (again), rise (again), stand up (-right).


If my "Greek" understanding is any good, that word comes from these two words:

ἀνά
ana
an-ah'
A primary preposition and adverb; properly up; but (by extension) used (distributively) severally, or (locally) at (etc.): - and, apiece, by, each, every (man), in, through. In compounds (as a prefix) it often means (by implication) repetition, intensity, reversal, etc.

and

ἵστημι
histēmi
his'-tay-mee
A prolonged form of a primary word στάω staō (of the same meaning, and used for it in certain tenses); to stand (transitively or intransitively), used in various applications (literally or figuratively): - abide, appoint, bring, continue, covenant, establish, hold up, lay, present, set (up), stanch, stand (by, forth, still, up). Compare G5087.


So, what's the big deal here?

Well, consider this Scripture about the "Lamb" of God:::>

Rev 5:5 And one of the elders said to me, "Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals."
Rev 5:6 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.


See the word "standing"?

That is the same Greek Word: ἵστημι histēmi.

The rhetorical question is this: Who causes you to "believe" Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God?

And, Who causes you to "know" Him, that is His Father, the Living God?

When you use that phrase above: "....that it is God's revealed will....", don't you realize it is by Their calling and election any one of us who "believes", "knows" and because of this truth, Jesus Christ solely raises us up according to His own Promise! To each His own, then?

That's why there is indeed some significance to the question Seth asks Dr. White in light of one's "will" and "desire" and "thirst" according to Scripture:::>

Rev 22:16 "I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star."
Rev 22:17 The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.


I will be so bold and assert "No" to the question, Seth.

What I laid out above is, in my opinion, a foundational reason why.

The devils "believe" and tremble.

Why any human of Adam's race would "not" thirst or desire to take a drink of the water of life is a mystery? It is probably because they do not "believe" as in, they are not called or elected seeing God alone does that according to Scripture. I believe the proclamation is to all forensically in that, some believe, others are not sent the proclamation to believe. Cf., John 16:7-11.

It is my belief the reason is because they do not want to repent as we see the appeal to them all through the book of the Revelation of John in chapters 2, 3, 9 and 16.

When you weigh why they do not "repent"/"repented not" in chapters 9 and 16 in light of Jesus' explanation of the parable of the wheat and tares, one should come away with the idea that it is certainly true that the devil indeed is guilty of sowing weeds/tares among the wheat in the farmer's field/world.

What I find most instructive in Jesus' explanation is that fact that the weeds/tares have little or no affect on the fruit of the wheat. The problem is not with weeds growing in and among wheat, but rather, the "servants" of the farmer wanting to do something about what the devil did in this world/field! Hmmmmm?

Anyway, that's what I gots to say about all that above!

Seth, my guess is you can take TF's explanation to Dr. White's answer or believe and desired outcome to your query of him?

Seth McBee said...

Michael...
as usual...your comment is very odd and hard to follow...

But, no, I still don't have an answer to my question posed to Dr. White.

This is the reason for the post I did today...to answer the question posed to me by TF in this thread.

Hopefully I can get a clear answer.

natamllc said...

I don't know Seth, well, I spend my time studying Scripture mostly looking at the original words and also the history of events when those words were penned to understand God and where my position is with Him as a part of His "kingdom", of God's Grace, Mercy and Peace, so as to function in the "Royal Priesthood" as one of His servant/priests. I do read books but I rarely read them to understand the Scriptures. No, rather I read them to understand if the understanding of Scripture was present in them.

In the case I cited above, I might have been just a bit naughty towards Tony? For already obvious reasons, I was building on his intent so I quoted the quote and took to refuting him by it.

I know you read books. I know Dr. White reads books and writes books. I know TF reads books too. I have assisted in the writing of several books, a ghost writer, editor and commentator, but I haven't had any desire to write a book or start a blog.

You could help sharpen my senses as Tony too, by putting forth what was odd to you that I wrote about above?

thanks.

Whatever happened to David Ponter? I haven't seen him in here commenting in that name at least, sense the last debate between you and TF?

YnottonY said...

Turretinfan said...

"The terms "desire" and/or "wish" are the trouble-makers here. Dr. White does freely offer the gospel to all men, as far as I know."

Me now:

This is an evasion. We're not dealing with whether or not James White is proclaiming the gospel to all men. The issue whether or not he thinks God in any sense wills all men to be saved through that proclamation or gospel offer.

Turretinfan said...

"Furthermore, Dr. White agrees with the principle explained by Prof. Murray that it is in God's revealed will (i.e. his precepts) for men to repent of their sins and believe on the Savior."

Me now:

This is another evasion. We're not asking if James White agrees with the principle that it is in God's revealed will or precepts for men to repent of their sins and believe on the Savior. The issue is whether or not God wants all men to actually comply with those commandments. We know that he wills to command, but does he also will that all men comply with those commands?

Turretinfan said...

"If that answers your question, there you go."

Me now:

It answers nothing, and you know it. That's why you responded so evasively.

Turretinfan said...

"If, however, you mean "desire" or "wish" in some other sense, such that God goes around for all eternity frustrated because he didn't get what he wanted, I think you know the answer to that as well."

Me now:

This is a typical straw man. It is our view that we violate God's will ultimately by his willful permission. Even as he doesn't go around for all eternity frustrated because we are not thankful in all things [what he wishes for us to do], so he does not go around eternally frustrated that the non-elect do not comply with his desire that they repent unto salvation. The violation of God's revealed will is only done because God decretally wills for it to be so. Thus, he is not eternally frustrated, but his will is in fact crossed. He does strive for us to obey him, and yet we resist his strivings. Scripturally, he expresses a yearning for our obedience, and grieves when we do not.

Turretinfan said...

"In point of fact, Dr. White is not a hyper-Calvinist."

Me now:

You only say that because you, like him, have a faulty conception of the essence of hyper-Calvinism. You're using Engelsma's false criteria. As Iain Murray ("Hyper-Calvinists accepted that the gospel be preached to all") and Curt Daniel ("they nearly always believed that the Gospel is to be preached indescriminately to all men") point out, hyper-Calvinists were not against preaching to all. They were against sincere offers. As Iain Murray says, "Hyper-Calvinism argued, he can have no desire for the salvation of any others and to speak as though he had, is to deny the particularity of grace." To the same effect, he cites John Murray as saying, "'It would appear that the real point in dispute in connection with the free offer of the gospel is whether it can properly be said that God desires the salvation of all men.'" On this very point, James White fits the criteria.

Turretinfan said...

"They haven't been coming from five-point TULIP Calvinists, which is what Dr. White is."

Me now:

Incidentally, I saw that a certain Lane in White's chat channel falsely accusing some "four-pointers" as calling all "five-pointers" as hyper-Calvinists. If he's referring to any of us, he's guilty of slander. What we say is that all hyper-Calvinists are five-pointers, but not all five-pointers are hyper-Calvinists. John Murray, Phil Johnson and Iain Murray are all five-pointers, but they are certainly NOT hyper-Calvinists. We say that anyone who denies that God loves all mankind, wills to save all mankind, is gracious to all mankind, is sincerely or well-meaningly offering His Gospel to all that externally hear it are hyper-Calvinists. We would also see those as hyper-Calvinists if they reject "duty-faith." If you are reading these words and see Lane slander us again, then it is your obligation to correct him, as the Lord demands.

Turretinfan said...

"Waldron uses the word "desire," apparently without explaining what he means by that (I don't have a copy of his book here to check)."

Me now:

He's clearly using it in the sense of a propension in God whereby he actively seeks the obedience of those who finally perish. Stevie Wonder can even see it. Ray Charles can see it. Why can't you?

Turretinfan said...

"Perhaps you could provide some clarification. Are you suggesting Waldron's apparent view that one should hold "two seemingly contradictory" positions is the LBCF 1689 view?"

Me now:

Seth is suggesting that Waldron interprets the 1689 free offer langauge in such a way that God's universal saving will is presupposed. A gracious offer suggests a well-meant offer, which in turn presupposes a willingness in God to grant what is offered, i.e. salvation. Disagree with Waldron if you like, but please stop pretending that you are James White in ANY WAY agree with him on the issue of God's universal saving will.

Turretinfan said...

"On the other hand, if by "strongly worded" you mean Waldron's remark that we should be rid of "every hesitation in calling men indiscriminately, passionately, freely and authoritatively to embrace Jesus Christ as he is freely offered in the gospel," then I cannot imagine Dr. White disagreeing."

Me now:

Again, you're evading the subject, both of Seth's point and of Waldron's point. Stevie Wonder can see it. Ray Charles can see it. Why can't you? The topic is God, not us. Can you see that YET? Again, the topic is God, not us. We're discussing whether or not God is serious, sincere, well-meaning in HIS offer of the gospel to all men indiscriminately. Waldron's view of a sincere gospel offer is such that God sincerely wishes, wants, wills and desires the salvation of all those that come within the hearing of the external gospel call. This is something that James White not only does NOT say, but has never spoken of in ANY of his writings. In fact, he positively fights against anyone who would suggest that ANY passage in scripture teaches that God willed to save any who are non-elect. Matthew 23:37 doesn't cut it for him. John 5:34 won't cut it for him. 1 Timothy 2:4 won't cut it for him. 2 Peter 3:9 won't cut it for him. Ezek. 18:23 and 33:11 won't cut it for him. THERE IS NO PASSAGE THAT ANY CALVINIST HAS SUGGESTED THAT HAS CONVINCED HIM THAT GOD WILLS, WISHES, DESIRES OR SAVE ANY OF THOSE THAT ULTIMATELY PERISH!

What a far cry that is from Jonathan Edwards. After describing the anger of God working in the misery of the damned in Miscellany #232, Jonathan Edwards said:

"And all this will be aggravated by the remembrance, that God once loved us so as to give his Son to bring us to the happiness of his love, and tried all manner of means to persuade us to accept of his favor, which was obstinately refused."

What a far distance there is between James White and Jonathan Edwards, for Edwards said, without any hesitation that:

"There is all in God that is good, and perfect, and excellent in our desires and wishes for the conversion and salvation of wicked men"

"There is all in God that belongs to our desire of the holiness and happiness of unconverted men and reprobates, excepting what implies imperfection."

"...when God, in the manner of existence, came down from his infinite perfection, and accommodated himself to our nature and manner, by being made man, as he was, in the person of Jesus Christ, he really desired the conversion and salvation of reprobates, and lamented their obstinacy and misery; as when he beheld the city Jerusalem, and wept over it, saying, "O Jerusalem," &c"

A wayfaring man, though he be a fool, can't miss the meaning of that!

YnottonY said...

T-Fan said:

"The terms "desire" and/or "wish" are the trouble-makers here."

Me now:

They weren't any problem for the real Turretin. Speaking of God's will of approbation (eurestias), he says it is "that which God wishes to be done by us..."

And again:

"It is one thing to will reprobates to come (i.e., to command them to come and to desire it); another to will they should not come (i.e., to nill the giving them the power to come). God can in calling them will the former and yet not the latter without any contrariety because the former respects only the will of precept, while the latter respects the will of decree."

Samuel Rutherford has no problem at all with the language. When expounding Isaiah 55:1, he said:

“It’s much worthy of observation, how that sweet evangelick invitation is conceived, Isaiah 55:1, Ho, every one that thirsts; the Heb. word ‘hui‘ is alas, or ah, every one that thirsts, come to the waters, and he that hath no silver, come, buy, and eat: as if the Lord were grieved, and said, woe is me, alas that thirsty souls should die in their thirst, and will not come to the waters of life, Christ, and drink gratis, freely, and live. For the interjection, (Heb. Hui) Ho, is a mark of sorrowing… it expresseth two things, 1. A vehemencie, and a serious and unfeigned ardencie of desire, that we doe what is our duty, and the concatenation of these two, extremely desired of God, our coming to Christ, and our salvation: This moral connection between faith and salvation, is desired of God with his will of approbation, complacency, and moral liking, without all dissimulation, most unfeignedly;..."

We could go on and on and on and on with the Puritans and early Reformers using this language. In fact, Andrew Gray, George Whitefield, Ralph Venning, Thomas Manton, George Swinnock, William Gurnall, John Shower, Stephen Charnock, John Flavel, Charles Spurgeon and Samuel Rutherford even go so far as to depict God and Christ BEGGING sinners to come to him for salvation.

So, not only are you more spiritual than the bible for rejecting expressions of God wishing and desiring all sinners to obey him unto salvation, you're far more spiritual than the Puritans!

YnottonY said...

Turretinfan said...

Seth,

Please explain what you mean by "desires/wishes" so that the question can be answered in a way that is clear.


Me now:

We mean that God's benevolent disposition moves him to act with lost humanity in such a way that he truly seeks their salvation. By desire and wish, we mean that God, in his revealed will, expresses a propension and yearning that men comply with his evangelical commandments. He's striving with men to move and lead them to repentance, as the bible puts it.

Turretinfan said...

I don't know why Tony misunderstands Prof. Murray, but I'm not going to get into a side-bar debate with him here on that topic, as I expect he'll just run away when challenged. In any event, Tony's misunderstanding of Murray highlights the need for clarity and explanation of what it is you want Dr. White to affirm or deny.

Me now:

I understand John Murray quite well. I understand his interpretation of 2 Peter 3:9, that differs from White's interpretation. I understand his interpretation of Ezek. 33:11, that differs from James White's interpretation. I understand his interpretation of Matt. 23:37, that differs from James White's interpretation. I understand John Murray quite well when he wrote the following:

"It would appear that the real point in dispute in connection with the free offer of the gospel is whether it can properly be said that God desires the salvation of all men."

"This implication is that in the free offer there is expressed not simply the bare preceptive will of God but the disposition of lovingkindness on the part of God pointing to the salvation to be gained through compliance with the overtures of gospel grace. In other words, the gospel is not simply an offer or invitation but also implies that God delights that those to whom the offer comes would enjoy what is offered in all its fullness. And the word "desire" has been used in order to express the thought epitomized in Ezekiel 33:11, which is to the effect that God has pleasure that the wicked turn from his evil way and live."

"This is indeed mysterious, and why he has not brought to pass, in the exercise of his omnipotent power and grace, what is his ardent pleasure lies hid in the sovereign counsel of his will. We should not entertain, however, any prejudice against the notion that God desires or has pleasure in the accomplishment of what he does not decretively will."

I have nothing to run away from or to hide. Your the totally anonymous and unaccountable coward slandering David Ponter and other Christians on the internet in all your ungodliness. Run away when challenged? Please! Do you really think you're doing God a service by your carnal behavior?

Speaking of not answering challenges, we've all noticed your peculiar silence with respect to this post:

Turretinfan and Richard Muller: Two Views in Opposition

YnottonY said...

Turretinfan said...

"Most people would say that if someone wishes/desires something, and they don't get it, they are disappointed. Conversely, most people would say that if someone isn't disappointed when they don't get what they wished/desired, then they didn't really wish/desire that thing.

When folks like Murray speak of wish/desire, they don't mean it in this conventional sense. They don't mean that God is going to be disappointed if people don't obey his law. In fact, it's part of God's decretive will that God's revealed will be violated. No matter what Tony may tell you, that's Murray's position."


Me now:

You've erected a straw man. We do not deny that it is part of God's decretal will that God's revealed will be violated. We're just expressing the same thing John Murray said as well. That in God's revealed will he is also expressing an ardent desire that men obey him. He's really seeking their compliance. He's striving with men to that end. So, while in one sense he is disappointed, in another sense he is not. He is disappointed in the sense that He's grieved when we disobey his will, but he is not disappointed in the sense that our disobedience is outside of the control of his sovereign decree.

You want one part of J. Murray's statements to the negation of what he says about God's active principles, propensities, His will, wishes and desires that are inseparably tied to his revealed will. James White is CERTAINLY not in agreement with John Murray. Look at how John Murray interprets certain key texts. They are TOTALLY incompatible with White's. In fact, Murray's interpretations are not even a plausible option for White. Why? Because his fundamental and driving presupposition is that God in no sense whatsoever wants any who are non-elect to be saved. That's a fact, and none of your evasive moves has proved otherwise.

Turretinfan said...

"That's why I am asking for clarification. If you are simply asking whether obedience to the gospel call is part of the revealed (i.e. preceptive) will of God, then I believe you will find Dr. White in complete agreement."

Me now:

We're not asking if God commands all men to obey in the gospel call. We're asking if God wishes, wants, wills, or desires for them to obey that command or gospel call, and you know it. You're just evading again, and going back to the idea that God wills to put all under an obligation to repent, but not that he seeks for all to comply with that obligation. Sneaky, but it's not working here, T-fan.

YnottonY said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
YnottonY said...

I initially said:

"James White still does not have the courage to come out and forthrightly say in writing, "No. I do not believe there is any sense whatsoever in which God wills/wishes/wants or desires the salvation of any of the non-elect."

Then Turretinfan said...

"James White still does not have the courage ..."

Grow up, Byrne.


Me now:

Your deceptive ellipses are also sneaky. You would have people think that I said this:

1) James White has no courage in any area.

Rather than what I actually asserted above, which is:

2) James White does not yet have the courage to come out in writing and forthrightly admit that he presently doesn't think God wills to save any of the non-elect in any sense.

The second proposition is just as true or equally as true as this third proposition:

3) Turretinfan does not yet have the courage to reveal his identity to those of us he's interacting with.

Given the nature of your behavior that we've seen online, Turretinfan, you have no grounds at all for telling people to "grow up."

Turretinfan said...

Tony,

I was pretty clear that I am not going to be getting into a sidebar debate with you.

I renew my exhortation to you to show some maturity. Learn how to bridle your tongue.

-TurretinFan

PuritanReformed said...

TF and Seth:

C. Matthew McMahon has a very good book pertaining to this subject (which was his ThD thesis if I'm not wrong) entitled The Two Wills of God. Don't know whether you have the book but that is most definitely much better than Byrne's misquotation of Reformed sources in support of the Amyraldian view of the well-meant offer (as oppposed to the Free Offer which is biblical).

Anonymous said...

"James White still does not have the courage ..."

Grow up, Byrne."


T Fam,

I fail to see how your reply in anyway addresses Tony's comment in a fair, irenic, and intelligent manner. You didn't address the issue that he raised.

If you sincerly belive that Tony is wrong, how does your comment demostrate that you have a real concern for him to come to know the truth? How is it edifying to him or anyone else reading this?


Carrie Hunter

Turretinfan said...

Carrie Hunter,

"I fail to see how your reply in anyway addresses Tony's comment in a fair, irenic, and intelligent manner. You didn't address the issue that he raised."

I'm not trying to do those things. I'm trying to exhort Tony to act like a man.

"If you sincerly belive that Tony is wrong, how does your comment demostrate that you have a real concern for him to come to know the truth? How is it edifying to him or anyone else reading this?"

Tony's behavior is out of line, and that's what I am addressing. Perhaps someone with more time than I have will go through each of his mistakes and correct him on them.

-TurretinFan

Anonymous said...

"Tony's behavior is out of line, and that's what I am addressing. Perhaps someone with more time than I have will go through each of his mistakes and correct him on them."

OK I see. Well I have now read over the entire dialogue and I personally don't see where he is out of line (but even if he were out of line that isn't how we are supposed to exhort fellow believers if we are truly concerned for them. But I too have reacted out of frustration, well we all have... but we should be mindful of that when engaging in public debate.)

Now that I have read over the exchange between you and Tony this is what I am seeing.

Tony is quoting histroical soruces, providing context, and challenging you (and others - James White in this case) to at least acknowledge what has been said histrocally about God's will/desire/precepts.

What I see from you is 1. you aren't acknowleding what is being said and 2. when you do you simply state "that isn't true. that isn't what person A. B. or C. meant. this is what they meant" Yet you don't provide anything to back it up.

Furtherstill, it appears that all this started with Seth asking a straight question. "Does James White believe that God desire in any sense the salvation of the non-elect?" Qualifications were made as to what desire means (desire not simply meaning God willing the command but also willing [desiring]compliance with said command.)

I think it a fair thing to ask. It is a straight question asked in such a way where qualifications and distinctions are clearly made so there is no uncertainty as to what is being asked.

Why not just give a straight answer?

If you, or James White, or anyone does not believe that this is the case then just say it.

Just say it. Whatever it is, just say it!

Carrie Hunter

Turretinfan said...

Carrie Hunter,

Thanks for stating your opinion.

Duly noted.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

And, as I just said in one of the other comment boxes:

"The word "desires" is problematic." Those are Phil Johnson's words, but they could be a paraphrase of what Dr. White has repeatedly said.

Why not be content with that answer? Why press for something more? I would love to see a good reason for that, but I don't see one.

-TurretinFan

PuritanReformed said...

Carrie Hunter:

you may wish to ask Byrne himself when he and Ponter are going to stop distorting historical sources in service of their Amyraldism as how I have demontrated on my blog that they do. Look under the label Amyraldism/Neo-Amyraldism on my blog to see some examples.

Sorry, but I am not impressed with Byrne' so-called scholarship. Selective quotation out of the textual and historical context is what such people specialize in.

Seth McBee said...

Seems like Daniel and others (not TF) are trying to answer these questions by throwing up claims against Ponter and Byrne.

I believe if a Mormon or False Prophet asked these questions, they should be answered, because they are good questions.

TF:

If I could just get a straight forward answer like, "we are not sure how this desire works, but we believe that in some way God desires the salvation of the reprobate"

That would be fine. That would be a great answer. I am not asking for us to understand God's "emotions" but just trying to seek if you believe that He does have these "emotions" that we don't understand but that God states He has.

I have seen someone, which is not part of James White's team, but like White has gone ahead and denied the desire of God in any way for the reprobate. You can see that here unless I am misreading him.

He states in this post:

But here is where we do not all agree.

Does God, wish, desire, want the Non Elect to be saved?
Does God "well meaningly" offer Christ to all and hence desire for all that hear the gospel to be saved?

This is the issue.


He is right...this is the question. And historically, the answer has been that even though we don't understand it, it is a mystery, that God does indeed desire the salvation of the reprobate.

YnottonY said...

"It is blasphemous to think that God would be guilty of equivocation and deception, that He would say one thing and mean another, that He would earnestly plead with the sinner to repent and believe unto salvation, and at the same time not desire it in any sense of the word."

Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1969), p. 462.

natamllc said...

Tony,

what about this in light of that quote?

Luk 24:19 And he said to them, "What things?" And they said to him, "Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,
Luk 24:20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him.

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