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.


A.M. Mallett said...

James White's forte is not exegesis but oral rhetoric.. That might win him friends and admirers among his own like-minded souls but does nothing to further his arguments.

Odeliya said...

That is right, A.M.

Dan, in his usual admirably gentle manner, is very kind to White in his post, White surely doesnt deserve it. I dont even take White seriously, his manner is too arrogant and prideful. And I never even heard/read him on Calvinist subjects, I am talking about Apologetics and his discussions with atheists , topics I do agree with him on :)

He is unbearable even in those debates.

Godismyjudge said...

Good point Trav. I suppose his focus on appologetics accounts for the lack of exegesis.

I used to play soccer in school. I was on the defense and we had a joke. How do defenders go down the field with the ball? We kick it to our opponents down the field and then run after them and take it from them.

Maybe White has the same approach. But I was looking for someone to explain the connection between Romans 9 and Calvinism - and I looked in the wrong place.

God be with you,

Godismyjudge said...

Hi Odeliya,

Some folks teach, others rant. White has made an art form of doing both at the same time.

God be with you,

Marvin Merriweather said...

James White should be applauded for knowing that Jesus Christ was a Calvinist.