This informal debate took place on December 16th 2003 on the Bible Answerman Broadcast. James White faces off against Hank Hanegraaff (The Bible Answerman) and George Bryson (Calvary Chapel).
Confronted with numerous bible passages against his philosophical position George Bryson avoids interacting with the passages and simply repeats conundrums while making a number of his own dogmatic assertions. At one point Hank even states the charge of avoidance directly to him while stating that James had repeatedly exegeted them with no response. This debate is filled with the very things that Hank decries: dogmatic assertions, philosophical constructs and broad sweeping generalities. James White is the only one who repeatedly works toward appealing to and rightly dividing the scripture. It is a perfect example of how modern defenders of Libertarian Free Will run away from scripture to the arms of philosophical conundrum in order to defend their positions.
We have taken the time to remove the commercials and tag each track into the following sections:
Track 1 - Are We Doomed From the Womb?
Hank introduces the first topic up for discussion to James about Unconditional Election and asks "are millions of people doomed before the womb?" When the questioning turns to George Bryson, James finds himself the target of an attempt to pit him against R.C. Sproul in order to label him a hypercalvinist. Bryson clearly surprises Hank when he states that he cannot tell the difference between Sproul’s position and the one that was just stated by James White. Bryson then, quite fairly, corrects the record that neither Sproul nor White are hypercalvinists.Track 2 - Is God the Author of Evil?
Bryson responds with a charge of contradiction between Calvin himself and the creeds that are named after him. The creeds say no, but Calvin says yes. Bryson then calls it a "linguistic jungle." In this section no scriptures are discussed but there is a lot of complaining about Calvinism.Track 3 - Compatiblism vs Libertarian Freedom
James points out that only God is free and that God restrains men from acting on the full intentions of their heart toward evil. Hank interrupts with the "did Jesus die for you?" question and James answers that the apostles never preached that way. James then breaks John 3:16 down in its proper context.Track 4 - Substitutionary Atonement: A removal of Wrath
This doctrine is historically a Reformed one. Early Arminians rejected it and it is inconsistent with the modern version to attempt to embrace it. James asks the fundamental question: Is Jesus in heaven interceding for people in hell? Did Christ die in behalf of all men or was it a specific group which he saves perfectly?Track 5 - Libertarian Free Will, We Just Can't Let It Go!
Is the creature man free to choose God or is an intervention needed to save him? Is God subject to waiting on man to exercise his will to make a choice that his enslaved nature shackles him from breaking free of? Doesn’t God need to take out man’s stony heart and give that man a heart of flesh before that man can make that choice?Track 6 - Is Everyone Created for a Purpose?
Caller asks James: “does everyone who has ever been created have a purpose?”Track 7 - Where Did Evil Come From?
James asks the big question regarding the origins of evil and if God isn't involved, where did it come from and what is its purpose. The conversation jumps over to Romans 9 and James states that "the amazing thing about God’s sovereignty in salvation isn’t "Esau I hated" its "Jacob I loved.""Track 8 - Where Does It Say That?
On to the callers:
The first caller asks James: "does everyone who has ever been created have a purpose?" Second caller asks George: "if God has exhaustive knowledge, why does He still create people that he’s going to send to hell?"
Caller asks: “who decides the salvation of an individual?” James answers with John 6:37-45, George answers by questioning the question and then parsing it. Again, with broad sweeping statements. At the end he quickly mentions eph 2:8-10, John 3:16-18, 1Tim 2:4, 2 Peter 3:8-9 yet provides no exegesis of any of these passages. During the exchange James twice challenges George's accuracy in his recounting of scripture and is met with the now infamous response "read my book."Track 9 - Why Should We Pray?
Caller asks George: "if man ultimately has the ability to exercise free will in everyday matters or even in his own salvation, why would we pray for a particular outcome of a situation or why would we intercede on a loved ones behalf if its up to man to act and not ultimately up to God to cause one to act?"