Sent: Saturday, April 17, 2004
Subject: WHITE FAILS TO
EMPHASIZE MEANS [04/017/04]
WHY DID WHITE FAIL TO RENDER
EXEGESIS OF PASSAGES
ON THE NECESSITY OF MEANS IN REGENERATION?
In the Hunt-White Debate, there is a very
noticeable and significant lack of emphasis by James R. White on the
means used of the Holy Spirit whereby one is born again.
I examine White's efforts in this debate the more I am disappointed in both his
misrepresentation of confessional Calvinism and his lack of attention to the
great passages which emphasize the necessity and instrumentality of the Gospel,
the Word, and Truth in the New Birth.
I note that he does at least
occasionally pay lip service to the fact that "the preached Word is God's
chosen means of bringing His elect unto Himself" (page 136; also page 321),
and "faith in the gospel is indeed part and parcel of God's work of
salvation" (page 217), nevertheless he clearly places means as being
subsequent to the New Birth. In other words, while he refers to "means,"
he does not seem to relate them as being involved as means used by the Holy
Spirit in regeneration itself.
For example, he speaks of the "commands
[to] sinners to repent and calls for faith" as constituting subsequent
"direction," whereas "God must first free the slave from the
dungeon of sin" and "once set free," then the person freed "is still in
need of direction as to what to do and where to go" (page 125).
He later says "God must free us from the slavery of sin and
spiritual death before we can believe" (page 217). He goes on to insist
that "men believe the gospel to be saved" but "no man will do it unless and
until the miracle of regeneration takes place first" (page
This view certainly implies that means -- or Gospel
truth, the Word -- are merely of subsequent benefit to the person who has
previously been delivered -- "regenerated" -- obviously before and apart
from the instrumentality of Holy Spirit-empowered means.
classic "Hardshell" doctrine -- to the effect that means in the scheme of
salvation are for the benefit [i. e. "direction"] of those who have supposedly
been previously "regenerated." Hardshells refer to this as "time salvation."
After the supposed regeneration, then the Word or Gospel has its
practical usefulness in directing the life of the one already regenerated by the
Spirit (via a "direct operation") apart from means.
In answer to the
question, "Why Preach the Gospel?" White simply says, "we
do not know who the elect are."
But this ignores or evades
entirely any explanation of the place of the Gospel as the "means" in the
new birth. Why didn't White expound the great passages which show the relation
of the necessary Gospel in the Holy Spirit's work of creating
faith in the New Birth?
If James White held to the Confessional
view of the place of means as an essential instrumentality in
God's calling unto salvation, why would he fail to quote and exegete great
passages of Scripture on the matter, such as the following? --
19:7 -- "The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the
testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple."
John 6:63 -- "It
is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I
speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."
Romans 1:16 --
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God
unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to
1 Corinthians 2:4 -- "And my speech and my preaching
was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the
Spirit and of power."
1 Corinthians 4:15 -- "For though ye have ten
thousand instructers in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ
Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel."
Ephesians 5:25 --
"That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the
1 Thessalonians 1:5 -- "For our gospel came not unto
you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much
assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your
2 Thessalonians 2:13, 14 -- "But we are bound to give thanks alway
to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the
beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and
belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to
the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."
2 Timothy 1:10 --
"But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath
abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the
1 Peter 1:23 -- "Being born again, not of
corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth
and abideth for ever."
James 1:18 -- "Of his own will begat he us with
the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his
Why did White choose to bypass exegesis of these great
passages which reveal the place of the Word, the Gospel, and the Truth in the
Holy Spirit's work of the New Birth, and which would have effectively refuted
Dave Hunt's argumentation about "post-faith regeneration"?
talks a great deal about doing "exegesis" of passages, he does not attempt
exegesis on these and other great passages which teach the necessity and
instrumentality of means in the New Birth. While he cites the fact that Dave
Hunt's index to one of his books has "no reference" to 2 Thessalonians 2:13
(page 110), we find no exegesis on James' part on 2 Thessalonians 2:13, 14
wherein the Gospel is presented as the means of calling:
he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our
Lord Jesus Christ."
There is a dearth of exegesis in James' material on
passages such as this which emphasize the means by which the Spirit calls us
to Christ. Rather, he tries to prove a pre-faith regeneration, and
then afterwards the Gospel commands of repentance and faith are
utilitarian for the regenerate as "direction as to what to do and where
to go" (page 125).
This is nothing more than the pure old Hardshell
doctrine with which I became acquainted in my teens, as it was taught at the
Robbins Street Primitive Baptist (Hardshell) Church, Jackson, Tennessee, just
two blocks from my house. Shortly after I was saved, the Hardshells came calling
on me, wanting me to come with them, whereas before my salvation they never
once tried to reach me with the Gospel. -- Bob L.