Wednesday, May 27, 2009
James White on Romans 9
I recently listened to James White's explanation of Romans 9. I was surprised by his technique. He did very little explaining of the scripture, or showing the connection between the text and Calvinism. Rather, he went verse-by-verse attacking non-Calvinist interpretations of the passage. White made very few positive assertions about what the text means; and none of them supported Calvinism. It was as if he assumed the passage teaches Calvinism and made no efforts to justify that claim. That's not exegesis and in debate it's a shift of the burden of proof.
So my biggest problem is with what he didn't do - justify Calvinism based on the text. However, I also had a problem with what he did do - attack the non-Calvinist position. Sometimes White confused with non-Calvinist interpretations of the passage and non-Calvinists reconciliation of the interpretation of the passage with the rest of their theology. He asks why the reconciliation isn't in the text itself, then charges his opponents with eisegesis. Also, I personally couldn't identify with his attacks of non-Calvinist explanations of the text. Sometimes made comments about the non-Calvinist position that I could agree with, but he always applied them in ways I wouldn't such that his presentation of the non-Calvinist position was unrecognizable to me. In short, I didn't find this explanation all that helpful.