December 24, 2008

Henry Scudder (c.1585–1652) on God's Love

4. Be persuaded of God's love to you in these good things, which he giveth to you: First, He loveth you as his creature, and if only in that respect he doth preserve you, and do you good, you are bound to thank him. Secondly, You know not but God may love you with a special love to salvation; God's revealed will professeth as much, for you must not meddle with that which is secret. I am sure he giveth all-sufficient proof of his love, making offers of it to you, and which you are daily receiving the tokens of, both in the means of this life, and that which is to come. Did not he love you, when, out of his free and everlasting goodwill towards you, he gave his Son to die for you, that you, believing in him, should not die, but have everlasting life? What though you are yet in your sins, doth he not command you to return to him? and hath he not said, he will love you freely? What though you cannot turn to him, nor love him as you would, yet apply by humble faith to the Lord Jesus Christ, as your only saviour and great physician, and endeavour, in the use of all good means, to be, and do, as God will have you; then doubt not but that God doth love you; and patiently wait, till you see it in the performance of all his gracious promises unto you.
Henry Scudder, The Christian's Daily Walk in Holy Security and Peace (Glasgow: Printed for William Collins, 1826), 182. This edition has an introductory essay by Thomas Chalmers.

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December 21, 2008

More from William Gurnall (1617-1679) on Christ Begging

"Take heed thou dost not make thy private particular enemies the object of thy imprecation: we have no warrant, when any wrong us, to go and call fire from heaven upon them. We are bid indeed to, heap coals upon the enemy's head,' but they are of love, not of wrath and revenge. Job set a black brand upon this, and clears himself from the imputation of so great a sin'—'If I rejoiced at the destruction of him that hated me, or lifted up myself when evil found him: neither have I suffered my mouth to sin, by wishing a curse to his soul,' chap. xxxi. 29, 30. He durst not wish his enemy ill, much less deliberately form a wish into a prayer, and desire God to curse him. Our Saviour hath taught us a more excellent way, Matt. v. 44.: 'Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you.' I know this is counted a poor, sheepish spirit by шаnу. What! go and pray for them? No, send them the glove rather, and be revenged on them in a duel, by shedding their blood. This is the drink-offering which these sons of pride delight to pour out to their revenge, or else curse them to the pit of hell with their oaths. O tremble at such a spirit as this!

The ready way to fetch a curse from heaven on thyself is to imprecate one sinfully upon another, Psalm cix. 17, 18: 'As he loved cursing, so let it come unto him; as he clothed himself with cursing like as with his garments, so let it come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones.' Moses, I suppose, had as noble a spirit as any of these that style themselves men of honour, yet did he draw his sword upon Aaron, or curse Miriam, when they had used him so ill? I trow not, but bore all patiently; nay, when God declared his displeasure against Miriam for this affront put upon him, see how this holy man interceded for her with God, Numb. xii. 13. This is valour of the right make, to overcome evil with good, and instead of seeking revenge on him that wrongs us, to have the mastery of our own corruption so far as to desire his good the more. Thus our Lord, when he was numbered amongst transgressors, even then interceded for the transgressors, Isa. liii. 12; that is, these very men who used him so barbarously, while they were digging his heart out of his body with their instruments of cruelty, then was he begging the life of their souls with his fervent prayers."

December 16, 2008

A. A. Hodge (1823–1886) on God's Kind, Honest, Free and Loving Offer

"Since the salvation of guilty sinners is absolutely of free and sovereign grace, and must be received as such, the salvation of every man must depend upon a personal election of God. God offers salvation to all on the condition of faith. But he gives the faith to those whom he chooses (Eph. 2:8; Matt. 20:16; 22:14). Nevertheless, those who refuse to believe and be saved have only themselves to blame for it, because the only reason they do not believe is the wicked disposition of their own hearts, and because God kindly and honestly invites them and promises salvation by his Word, and draws them by the common influences of his Spirit."
"This works no injustice to those not elected. They will be only treated as they deserve. They have willfully sinned. Many of them have willfully rejected a freely and lovingly offered Christ (Rom. 9:19-23)." Ibid., 39.

Observe:
1) It is God himself who offers and invites all, even "those who refuse to believe and be saved", i.e. "those not elected."
2) God freely, kindly, honestly and lovingly offers/invites these people through his word.
3) God even "draws them by the common influences of his Spirit," which, in A. A. Hodge's theology, is common grace.

A. A. Hodge has all the components of a well-meant gospel offer in his theology, even though he did believe in a strictly limited view of Christ's death (with some modifications in terms of the removal of all legal barriers, etc.). His view of God's love, God's grace, God's offers and God's will ("drawing") are all interrelated. To use material in a previous post of mine, he is a "Type B" Calvinist (high) in the chart.


His father, Charles Hodge, was a "Type A," or a classic Augustinian/Calvinist.

December 13, 2008

More from Ezekiel Culverwell (1554–1631) on Ezek. 33:11 and 2 Pet. 3:9

Here if ever, is a fit place for all such Scriptures, as set out God's mercy to poor sinners the more to persuade them to believe, as that of Ezek. 33:11. where the Lord swears by himself; saying, As I live, saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways, for why will ye die oh house of Israel. And to like effect is that of S. Peter, That God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Which Scriptures and many the like, are not to be understood of God's determining will and decree, but of his revealed and approving will, which he would have us to know and believe, that thereby we might be drawn to rest ourselves upon him for salvation, which whosoever (though never so great sinner)shall do, he shall not perish, but have everlasting life.
Ezekiel Culverwell, A Treatise of Faith (London: Printed by J.D. for H. Overton, and are to be sold by William Sheares, 1648), 35–36. I have updated some of the language.

December 10, 2008

Oliver Heywood (1630–1702) on God's Cordial Wish

"1. Some absolutely and resolutely refuse to enter into any covenant engagement with God, and have no heart to take the terms thereof into consideration: of this sort were those that being invited to the marriage feast made light of it, they would not take it into their thoughts, but went away; they did not think it worth consideration, but turned their backs on it, and put it quite out of their minds, just as Esau did with his birth-right, when he had got his belly full of bread and pottage of lentiles; the text saith, "he did eat and drink, and rose up and went his way," thus Esau despised his birth-right: just so do many now-a-days, let them but have the husks of worldly delights, they dismiss thoughts of God; most men have neither time nor inclination to consider whether heaven or hell be better, whether it be safer to have the eternal God to be their friend or enemy, whether the enjoyment of God or separation from him be more eligible, or titter to be chosen: no, this is the farthest from their thoughts. Poor sinner, canst thou find time for worldly business, and insignificant trifles? Thou art never weary of collecting toys, but canst thou got no time day or night to ruminate on God, Christ, pardon, or heaven? What hast thou thy rational soul for? Is eternity nothing in thy account? Shall gospel commodities be always accounted refuse-wares, so that thou wilt not so much as turn aside to ask of what use they are? what are they good for? or what rate are they at ? Base ingratitude! when God in the ministry of the word presents gospel commodities with greatest advantage, and tells you, you shall have them freely without money or price, will you still turn a deaf ear? will you still scorn the offer, and imagine that the thoughts of heaven will make you melancholy? must God complain of you as of his ancient people, "my people would not hearken to my voice, and Israel would none of me ?" May not such a complaint from the eternal God break a heart of adamant? it is as if God should say, I have made them the fairest offers that ever were presented to a rational creature, I treated them as friends, gave them glorious deliverances, and precious ordinances, I answered their prayers, and bade them still farther open their mouths wide and I would fill them, yet nothing would prevail, they would none of me; I urged my suit with fresh arguments, and sighed out my cordial wish, Oh that my people would have hearkened unto me! I would have done so and so for them; did ever suitor woo more pathetically; yet all this will not do, Israel would none of me; well, let them go and seek a better husband. I have spoken and done fair in the judgment of impartial arbitrators; nay, I dare appeal to themselves, what could have been done more to them: well, it seems I must not be heard, I have given them up to their heart's lust, and they walk in their own counsels, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end will be, there is no remedy, since they refuse the remedy which I have prescribed, "they have chosen their own ways—I also will choose their delusions;" let them now go their own length, and be snared in the work of their own hands."

December 7, 2008

Historic Calvinistic Language for God's Revealed Will

[Note: The names listed below with all the source quotes can be found on my blog or on the Calvin and Calvinism blog.]
How meltingly doth he bewail man's wilful refusal of his goodness! It is a mighty goodness to offer grace to a rebel; a mighty goodness to give it him after he hath a while stood off from the terms; and astonishing goodness to regret and lament his wilful perdition. He seems to utter those words in a sigh, "O that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my way" (Ps. lxxxi. 13)! It is true, God hath not human passions, but his affections cannot be expressed otherwise in a way intelligible to us; the excellency of his nature is above the passions of men; but such expressions of himself manifest to us the sincerity of his goodness: and that, were he capable of our passions, he would express himself in such a manner as we do: and we find incarnate Goodness bewailing with tears and sighs the ruin of Jerusalem (Luke xix. 42).
Stephen Charnock, "Discourse XIII: On the Goodness of God" in The Existence and Attributes of God (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996), 2:286.
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.
Jonathan Edwards, "Concerning the Divine Decrees in General and Election in Particular," in The Works of Jonathan Edwards (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1974), 2:528–529.

Since there has been some talk lately about "optative expressions" and God's will, I have listed the various expressions that Calvinists have used in history for God's revealed will. All of the following Calvinistic men affirm that God wills the salvation of all men, including those who finally perish. The sources can be found in my blog and in the Calvin and Calvinism blog. This will be updated when new names and information is available.

The various symbols before the names indicates that the person was involved in writing one of the Reformed confessions, or contributed to one of them (*Dort, §Heidelberg, Second Helvetic, Westminster, Second London Baptist).

A

Adams, Thomas (willing, desires)
Ambrose, Isaac (willing, entreats, beseeches, desires, begs, invites, woos)
Arrowsmith, John (wills, longs for)
Ascol, Tom (wills, desires)
Ashwood, Bartholomew (wills, affectionately seeks, desires, invites, beseeches, strives, woos)
Amyraut, Moyse (wills, wishes, desires)

B

Bates, William (very willing, urges, entreats, beseeches, desires, designs)
Bavinck, Herman (wants, seeks) 
Berkhof, Louis (wills, pleads, earnestly desires)
Barlee, William (will, desire)
Boyce, J. P. (wishes, yearns)
Bullinger, Heinrich (wills, desires, wants)
Bunyan, John (heartily willing)
Burgess, Anthony (wills, affectionately desires, intends, entreats, delights, invites)
Burgess, Daniel (wills, designs, strives, desires)
Burroughs, Jeremiah (great willingness, wills, woos, desires, intends, begs)

C

Calamy, Edmund (wills)
Calvin, John (wills, wishes, intent, desires, ardent desire, beseeches, allures)
Candlish, Robert (willing, wishes, yearning desire, intense longing desire)
Carey, William (wills)
Carson, D. A. (wills, desires, wishes, yearns, pursues, seeks, entreats, invites)
Cartwright, Thomas (wills, woos, earnestly desires)
Caryl, Joseph (willing, begging)
Chalmers, Thomas (wills, desires, begs)
Chantry, Walter (willing, sincerely desires, pleads, lovingly desires, wishes, seriously invites, wants, begs, entreats)
Charnock, Stephen (wills, strives, begs, beseeches, entreats, courts, solicits, designs, sues, woos, aims)
Collinges, John (begging, willing, earnestness of desire, wishes)
Corbet, John (wills)
Cotton, John (seriously wills, seriously desires)
Crawford, Thomas J. (wills, delights in, earnest and intense desire)
*Crocius, Ludwig (wishes)
Culverwell, Ezekiel (very willing, desires, allures)
Cunningham, William (wills, wishes, desires)

D

Dabney, R. L. (will, active principle, desire, propension)
Dagg, John L. (will, desire)
Daniel, Curt (will, wish)
*Davenant, John (will, intent)
Denison, Stephen (wills, entreats)
Doolittle, Thomas (desires, strives)
Durham, James (woos, seeks, very desirous, beseeches, heartily willing, aims, heartily invites, willingly desirous, passionately desirous, presses, craves, entreats)

E

Edwards, Jonathan (will, desire, wish, seeks, tries, woos, entreats, beseeches, begs, intends)

F

Fairbairn, Patrick (yearns, earnestly desires, seeks, wills, allures)
Flavel, John (will, earnest and vehement desire, importunate desire, alluringly invites, begs, zealous and fervent concern, intent, design, yearns, strives, solicits, allures, woos, sues, entreats)
Frame, John (will, wish, wants, intense desire)
Fuller, Andrew (wills, good-will, desires)

G

Gale, Theophilus (wills, extreme willing, really intends, really and cheerfully willing, desire, begs, seeks, invites)
Gearing, William (woos, begs, entreats, invites)
Gouge, Thomas (great willingness, entreats)
Greenhill, William (will, earnestly desires, seeks)
Grey, Andrew (will, exceedingly serious and earnest, begs)
Grosvenor, Benjamin (wills, desires, designs, wishes)
Gualther, Rudolph (wills, desires)
Gurnall, William (will, beseeches, begs, affectionately desires)

H

Halyburton, Thomas (desires, entreats)
Harris, Robert (willing, begs)
Henry, Carl F. H. (sincere and strong wish)
Henry, Matthew (wills, wishes, desires, designs)
Heppe, Heinrich (lists many Reformed sources using "wish")
Heywood, Oliver (will, cordial wish, earnest desire, urges, woos pathetically)
Hildersham, Arthur (earnestly desires, wills, wishes, seeks, beseeches, labors)
Hodge, A. A.  (kindly and honestly invites, draws)
Hodge, Charles (will, desire)
Hoekema, Anthony (wants, seriously desires)
Hopkins, Ezekiel (wills, urges)
Howe, John (will, wish, desires, favourable propensions, design, intent, travails)
Hulse, Erroll (will, desire, wants, purpose, seeks, intends, wish)
Hyperius, Andreas (wills, desires)

J

Jenison, Robert (seriously wills, seriously invites)
Johnson, S. Lewis (wills, desires)

K

Kingsmill, Andrew (seeks)
Knollys, Hanserd (willing, earnestly desires)
Kuiper, R. B. (wills, urgently invites, ardently desires)

L

Latimer, Hugh (will)
Leigh, Edward (seriously wills)
Levitt, William (wills)
Lloyd-Jones, D. M. (wills, seeks, strives, tries, pleads)

M

MacArthur, John (will, wish, desire, yearns, pleads, begs, tenderly calls)
Manton, Thomas (will, begs, labours, desire, pleads, woos, works to gain, allures)
Marlorate, Augustine (wills, gently invites, allures)
Mather, Cotton (wills, earnestly desires, aims at, delights, endeavors, urges, seeks)
Mather, Increase (desires, seeks)
McCheyne, R. M. (will, wishes, pleads, earnestly seeks, tries, draws)
*Martinius, Matthias (seriously wills, intends)
Murray, Iain (will, desire, wish)
Murray, John (will, wish, ardent desire, yearns)
Musculus, Wolfgang (wills, good-will)

P

Packer, J. I. (will, wish)
Pearse, Edward (lovingly invites, woos, entreats, allures)
Perkins, William (wills, desires, heartily seeks, looks for, pursues, earnestly knocks)
Piper, John (will, desire)
Polanus, Amandus (wills, wishes)
Powel, Vavasor (willing)
Polhill, Edward (will, intent)
Preston, John (wills, earnestly desires)
Prynne, William (wills, seriously invites, seriously wishes, seriously desires, earnest wish)

R

Reynolds, Edward (will, allures, beseeches, woos)
Richardson, John (suing, wooing, begging)
Robertson, O. Palmer (will, desire)
Rutherford, Samuel (vehement desire, serious desire, ardent desire, unfeigned desire, extreme desire, begs)
Ryle, J. C. (willing, invites)

S

Saurin, James (wills, presses, ardent entreaties)
Scudder, Henry (will, intent)
Shedd, W. G. T. (will, sincerely desires, encourages, assists, aids)
Shepard, Thomas (desire)
Sibbes, Richard (desires, begs)
Simpson, Sydrach (begs)
Slater, Samuel (desires)
Spring, Gardiner (willing)
Spurgeon, Charles (pleads, desire, wish, begs)
Strong, A. H. (will, desire)
Swinnock, George (willing, desire, intent, begs, seeks, woos)

T

Trapp, John (begging, kneels)
Turretin, Francis (will, wish, desire)

U

§Ursinus, Zacharias (will, desires)

V

Venema, Herman (seriously wills, wishes, purpose)
Vermigli, Peter Martyr (wills, wishes)
Vincent, Nathaniel (woos, earnestly entreats, passionately pleads, seriously and pathetically calls, design, aims, presses, purposes, draws, invites, strives, wishes) 
Vos, Geerhardus (desires)

W

Waldron, Samuel (will, wish, earnestly desires, saving intention, purpose, goal)
Warne, Jonathan (wills, wishes, invites, desires)
Watson, Thomas (will, tries, woos, desires, kneels)
Westblade, Donald J. (willing)
Whately, William (desire)
Whitefield, George (will, wants, desires, labouring, intent, begs)
Wollebius, Johannes (will, wants)

December 5, 2008

A. H. Strong (1823–1886) on the Sincerity of God's General Call

A. Is God's general call sincere?

This is denied, upon the ground that such sincerity is incompatible, first, with the inability of the sinner to obey; and secondly, with the design of God to bestow only upon the elect the special grace without which they will not obey.

(a) To the first objection we reply that, since this inability is not a physical but a moral inability, consisting simply in the settled perversity of an evil will, there can be no insincerity in offering salvation to all, especially when the offer is in itself a proper motive to obedience.

God's call to all men to repent and to believe the gospel is no more insincere than his command to all men to love him with all the heart. There is no obstacle in the way of men's obedience to the gospel, that does not exist to prevent their obedience to the law. If it is proper to publish the commands of the law, it is proper to publish the invitations of the gospel. A human being may be perfectly sincere in giving an invitation which he knows will be refused. He may desire to have the invitation accepted, while yet he may, for certain reasons of justice or personal dignity, be unwilling to put forth special efforts, aside from the invitation itself, to secure the acceptance of it on the part of those to whom it is offered. So God's desires that certain men should be saved may not be accompanied by his will to exert special influences to save them.

hese desires were meant by the phrase "revealed will" in the old theologians; his purpose to bestow special grace, by the phrase "secret will." It is of the former that Paul speaks, in 1 Tim. 2:4 — "who would have all men to be saved." Here we have, not the active σωσαι, but the passive σωθηναι. The meaning is, not that God purposes to save all men, but that he desires all men to be saved through repenting and believing the gospel. Hence God's revealed will, or desire, that all men should be saved, is perfectly consistent with his secret will, or purpose, to bestow special grace only upon a certain number (see, on 1 Tim. 2:4, Fairbairn's Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles

The sincerity of God's call is shown, not only in the fact that the only obstacle to compliance, on the sinner's part, is the sinner's own evil will, but also in the fact that God has, at infinite cost, made a complete external provision, upon the ground of which "he that will" may "come" and "take of the water of life freely" (Rev. 22:17); so that God can truly say: "What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it?" (Is. 5:4). Broadus, Com. on Mat. 6:10 — "Thy will be done" — distinguishes between God's will of purpose, of desire, and of command. H. B. Smith, Syst. Theol., 521 — "Common grace passes over into effectual grace in proportion as the sinner yields to the divine influence. Effectual grace is that which effects what common grace tends to effect." See also Studien und Kritiken, 1887:7 sq.

(b) To the second, we reply that the objection, if true, would equally hold against God's foreknowledge. The sincerity of God's general call is no more inconsistent with his determination that some shall be permitted to reject it, than it is with foreknowledge that some will reject it.

Hodge, Syst. Theol., 2:643—"Predestination concerns only the purpose of God to render effectual, in particular cases, a call addressed to all. A general amnesty, on the certain conditions, may be offered by a sovereign to rebellious subjects, although he knows that through pride or malice many will refuse to accept it; and even though, for wise reasons, he should determine not to constrain their assent, supposing that such influence over their minds were within his power. It is evident, from the nature of the call, that is has nothing to do with the secret purpose of God to grant his effectual grace to some, and not to others. . . . According to the Augustinian scheme, the non-elect have all the advantages and opportunities of securing their salvation, which, according to any other scheme, are granted to mankind indiscriminately. . . . . God designed, in its adoption, to save his own people, but he consistently offers its benefits to all who are willing to receive them." See also H. B. Smith, System of Christian Theology, 515–521.
A. H. Strong, Systematic Theology (Old Tapppan, NJ.: Revell, 1979), 791–792.

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December 4, 2008

Double-Payment and Double-Jeopardy

Flynn has responded to some of the recent talk about the Double-Payment and Double-Jeopardy arguments at Theology Online:

Questions for Ascol and White

Tom Ascol recently replied to Dr. Allen on his blog, and partially touched on the issue of hyper-Calvinism. Ascol claims to have agreement with White because both of them distinguish between God's decree and precept. He doesn't address the point of God wanting men to comply with his precepts so as to be saved. He makes no mention of God's desire for the salvation of all people (as in his own quote that Allen used). Even Gill acknowledged the difference between decree and precept. So does the Protestant Reformed Church. So what? The mere distinction between decree and precept is not the issue. Rather, the point involves God's desire that all men actually comply with what He has commanded them to do in the Gospel call. To be very specific, does God desire the salvation of any of those who will finally perish, i.e. the reprobates? This is "the crux" of the dispute on the free offer. John Murray (and those who really agree with him) do not hesitate to clearly and explicitly affirm that He does, according to the scriptures. They never thought that such an affirmation makes God "schizophrenic," or "purposing His own eternal unhappiness," or any such nonsense. That's an obvious straw man fallacy.

Questions for Ascol and White:

1) If Ascol and White actually agree, then does Ascol disagree with John Murray on the point? White apparently does, and thus sides with Reymond. He wrote:
"I am thankful Phil can put up with my slightly "stiffer" form of Calvinism. I would be more on the Reymond side than the Murray side, for example, and I am for a pretty obvious reason, I hope."

2) If Ascol really agrees with White, then does Ascol somewhat disagree with Phil Johnson, to the point of having a "stiffer" form of Calvinism than Phil Johnson does? Phil seems to see something in White that is different from his own view of God's revealed will. What is it? It's not merely something semantic. Phil also distinguishes between decree and precept, so it can't be that.

*3) If White really agrees with Ascol, then what text of Scripture would White use to say that God desires the salvation of all people in his revealed will? There is no record of White ever using even a single passage to affirm the concept. On the contrary, he fights against the idea in all of his "exegesis." It doesn't matter if you bring up Ezek. 18 & 33. It doesn't matter if you bring up 1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9; John 5:34; Matt. 23:37, or any other text used by Murray in his treatment of the Free Offer. White doesn't think a single one of them teaches that God desires to save any of the reprobates. One of White's avid (and bizarre) listeners understands his position quite clearly when he writes:
The idea that God desires, wills the salvation of everyone makes God Schizophrenic, and I have said this many times.

This is the reason Dr White responds as he does, about God having these unfulfilled desires and disappointments etc.

Dr White is spot on, and just because Byrne and others wish to embrace irrationality, does not change the argument at all. Call it paradox if you wish and celebrate that kind of thinking, but I do not wish to go down that slippery slope, and for good reasons.

December 1, 2008

Dr. David Allen's Points on God's Will and Hyper-Calvinism at the John 3:16 Conference

Here are David Allen's points on the subject of God's will and hyper-Calvinism at the John 3:16 Conference:

1) Tom Ascol affirms that God desires the salvation of all men in his revealed will.


2) James White scornfully denies that God desires the salvation of all men in his revealed will.

This is a fact and no one has proven otherwise. In fact, White has said on his blog now that he sides with Robert Reymond as over against John Murray on this very point. His denial is categorical, and does not merely involve problems with optative expressions.

3) This denial by White is based on his atonement views.

Almost everyone has missed this vital point. This is why Dr. Allen brought it up during the conference. White said, "And I just go, what does it mean to say that God desires to do something he then does not provide the means to do? What does that mean? And no one's ever been able to tell me." Dr. Allen's lecture was on the atonement, and he made some practical observations at the end. He argued that a strictly limited atonement (in the sense of Owen's limited imputation of sin to Christ view) diminishes God's universal saving will. This point is not new. Edward Polhill and John Bunyan addressed the same subject.

4) James White disagrees with Tom Ascol.

Given the factuality of #2, this obviously follows. No one has challenged this, not even Dr. Ascol himself.

5) Allen said James White is a hyper-Calvinist because of that specific denial.

Few, if any, have actually addressed this point. All talk about how White engages in “evangelism” and “preaching to all” is a red herring. It doesn't address this subject, which is: Does the denial of God's universal saving will constitute a form of hyper-Calvinism? Phil Johnson has come the closest to addressing it, but he plans on clarifying his position further. Perhaps he thinks that the denial would have to be coupled or mixed with other hyper-Calvinistic ingredients in order to properly call someone a hyper-Calvinist by this criteria. He has created the subjective label "über-high Calvinist" for some instead of labeling them "hyper." I have now quoted Iain Murray and Curt Daniel to support my claim that such a denial constitutes a form of hyper-Calvinism, even if it's not "full-blown" hyper-Calvinism. They both refer to the denial of God's universal saving desire as a "main argument against free offers" (Daniel) or one of "the most serious differences of all between evangelical Calvinism and Hyper-Calvinism" (Murray). Murray, in his book on Spurgeon vs. Hyper-Calvinism, said that "Spurgeon regarded the denial of God's desire for the salvation of all men as no mere theoretical mistake. For it converged with one of the greatest obstacles to faith on the part of the unconverted, that is to say, a wrong view of the character of God."

6) Allen said James White is a hyper-Calvinist based on the criteria in Phil Johnson's Primer.

This is really what Phil Johnson has sought to specifically address in his replies, rather than the first five propositions above. It is clear that he does not think his Primer suggests that someone is a hyper-Calvinist if they merely deny God's universal saving will. Now, note this carefully: He has not explicitly said that his Primer does not make any point about God's universal saving will. Rather, he has been talking about the fact that his Primer doesn't make a point about God's "desires," since such optative expressions are, in his view, "always problematic." The bottom line is this: Phil does not think that his Primer entails what Dr. Allen thought it said about this subject. That's fine. He's knows what he meant to say by it. Nevertheless, he hasn't shown that it is unreasonable to conclude what Dr. Allen concluded, since there are obvious references in the Primer that make the point that one needs to rightly understand the orthodox Reformed teaching on God's will, in contrast to hyper-Calvinistic distortions of it. Perhaps he thinks Allen could have been warranted in saying that White has a very serious hyper-Calvinistic tendency, based on Phil Johnson's Primer. We shall see.

The above summarizes where things stand right now, as I read the posts. I find it very disappointing to see my fellow Calvinists not even admitting that Dr. Allen made any valid points whatsoever. Genetic fallacies abound. It's as if the entirety of what he said is false, and "unthinking." They should at least acknowledge that the first four propositions above are true and serious matters. Honesty demands that.

Calvinistic bloggers have not refuted Allen's first four facts above, but they're just taking exception to the characterization of those facts (#5 and #6). Fine. If you don't like to label White's scornful denial of God's universal saving desire as a form of "hyper-Calvinism," then just call it "Dead-Wrongism," based on what the Scriptures and orthodox Calvinists affirm.