Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
A Writer Misses the Point
05/30/2005 - James WhiteI mentioned the following on 5/28:
Note as well, of course, that Rome's claim regarding God's universal salvific will is based upon the utter negation of Reformed theology. Once again the Reformed individual stands upon solid biblical ground to respond to Rome's teachings, while the Arminian finds himself once again in agreement with Rome at a fundamental level. This was the whole point of the very first question I asked of Dave Hunt years ago regarding his agreement with Rome on the nature of grace and the nature of man's will, and here it is again.
I was referring to the fact that Rome's inclusivistic stance is based upon a universal salvific will expressing itself in a universal, non-perfecting atonement that is dependent upon the free-will of man and his cooperation with "grace" for its fulfillment. I was making reference as well to the question I posed to Dave Hunt at the beginning of the radio discussion on KPXQ years ago when I pointed out that while he and I have done more debates on the topic of Roman Catholicism than any two others I know, his view of the will of man and the grace of God is in harmony with Rome's perspective, not with that of the Reformers. This remains true today. Join this with the denial of the specificity of the intention of the Trinity in the death of Christ (i.e., the substitutionary atonement of the elect of God through union with Him) and you once again see why Reformed theology presents the strongest, most consistent apologetic against Rome's teachings. Without the foundational assertion "God desires the salvation of every single human being, is extending grace to accomplish this, through the sacrifice of Christ, but has hung the accomplishment thereof upon the decision of man's cooperating will," the inclusivist concept expressed in the final words of section 1260 of the Catechism is left hanging.
B.A. wrote to complain about my statement:
How is the world does he make this incredible leap of logic? No Arminian scholar that I know would take the approach he presented from the Catholic Catechism. There are clear fundamental things that we all agree with the Roman Catholic church on - the Trinity, the nature of Christ, etc. But this subtle attack on Arminian approaches to redemption is simply false and should be publicly retracted. White needs to stop using Dave Hunt as his measure of non-Reformed belief.Actually, it is hardly a leap in logic. Arminians agree with Rome on such topics as the will of man, synergism, grace as an aid that may or may not succeed in bringing about salvation, universal atonement, and more. Reformed theologians saw the Remonstrance was, in fact, nothing more than popeless Catholicism without the pomp and circumstance of the sacramental system, and identified it as such. As for B.A. not knowing of any Arminian scholars who would take that perspective, I assume he has not read John Sanders? Any of the inclusivists who identify themselves as Arminians?
But of course, I was talking about the basic issues represented by the common ground Arminians share with Rome, not the follow-through on inclusivism to begin with. Hunt isn't an inclusivist: the issue is whether he is consistent not to be one, given his theological foundations. I was referring to the fact that if you agree with Rome in denying total depravity, and you agree with Rome on grace that tries but fails to save, and you agree with Rome on a universal but non-saving atonement, you are obviously going to have a very hard time arguing this particular point since you have inclusivists in your own camp and it becomes a matter of preference rather than a matter of divine truth.
Now, B.A. observes that we "agree" with Rome on the Trinity and the deity of Christ, which is quite true; however, how many times have we heard Rome's apologists assert that we agree for different reasons? That is, they attack, regularly, the idea that these truths are sufficiently revealed in Scripture without the added traditional authority of Rome, and therefore, if we believe in sola scriptura that we have no basis to believe in the Trinity and the deity of Christ without inconsistently adopting their own traditional authority, a concept I not only reject, I abhor. But what any of this has to do with the reality that the non-Reformed person cannot approach the subject of the upcoming debate upon the same basis that I will is hard to see.
Hence, B.A. has not shown me anything that is "false" and hence there is no reason for the retraction of a perfectly accurate and true observation. And as for using Dave Hunt as a "measure," I didn't: I used him as an example, and, on the issues I raised, he is very much in line with Arminian soteriology en toto. Sorry, B.A., but your objections are without merit.