Sent: Saturday, April 03, 2004 11:16 AM
Subject: BRO. JAMES IN SALT LIKE CITY [04/03/04]

I notice on Brother James White's website that he is now in Mormon country, where he often goes to take on the disciples of Smith and Young.

Friday night the debate on the issue of temples with a Mormon representative at the University of Utah, Saturday night a debate on homosexual marriage, same venue. 

This is the type of thing for which James is best suited and qualified, and for which we have come to admire and encourage his work. His work in refuting Russellism, Mormonism, Romanism, and King James Onlyism is worthwhile and admirable, and we sell his books on these matters in our bookstore.

Unfortunately, when James thought he should engage in a polemical refutation of issues relating to Arminianism and Calvinism, he came up short. His efforts to refute Geisler and Hunt, though valid to some degree, are on the whole an embarrassment to Calvinists. The very fact that he lets Dave Hunt get away with successfully appropriating Spurgeon, a Calvinist, in opposition to the view of Brother James on regeneration-before-faith is just one example of the weakness of James' position.

And although James constantly calls for the proper exegesis of Scripture, some of the very passages he uses in the vain attempt to sustain his view are in reality a deathknell to his theory of a "pre-faith regeneration." 

For instance, take First John 5:1:

Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him." -- King James Version.

"Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well." -- New International Version.

According to James, this verse sustains his theory that regeneration precedes faith, that one is born again before he believes in Christ.

How in the name of common sense (or any other sense) could James ever arrive at the exegetical conclusion?

The fact is, this verse would be sufficient by itself alone to debunk the views of BOTH Dave Hunt and James White in a three-man debate on Regeneration.

(1) HUNT is refuted by the fact that this verse eliminates the idea that one can have faith and still not yet be regenerated. It plainly says that the one who believes in Christ IS born of God. Unless Hunt could show elsewhere in Scripture that one who believes in Christ IS NOT born of God, this verse crushes Dave's view to powder.

(2) JAMES is refuted by the fact that this verse eliminates the idea that one can be regenerated and still not yet be a believer in Christ. It plainly says that the one who believes in Christ IS born of God. Unless James could show elsewhere in Scripture that one who is regenerated IS NOT a believer, this verse crushes James' view to powder.

For years I have used this passage in debates with Campbellites to uphold the fact that one is born again before baptism. It coincides perfectly with many other passages, such as John 3:18:

"He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

I just don't think Dave can find a passage where a man has faith in Christ and is not yet born again.  I don't think James can find a passage where a man is born of God and does not yet have faith in Christ. I think First John 5:1 grinds both men's views to fine powder.

This verse also parallels 1 John 4:7 and 1 John 2:29.

1 John 4:7:
"Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God." [NIV: "has been born"].

1 John 2:29:
"If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him." [NIV: "has been born"].

We simply can'f find a passage where one "loves" God and "does righteousness" and yet he is not born again; nor can we find a passage where one is born again and yet does not "love" God and does not do righteousness.

The teaching of Scripture in John is clear: the one who is born of God is the one who believes, loves, and does righteousness. The one who believes, loves, and does righteousness (such as obeying the command to believe on Christ) is born of God.

That leaves Dave Hunt in a ditch on one side of the road, with faith but not born again. That leaves James White in a ditch on the other side of the road, born again but not yet a believer. There is just no way around it:

THE ONE WHO IS BORN OF GOD, HAS FAITH; THE ONE WHO HAS FAITH, IS BORN OF GOD. We don't have the one without the other.

Faith in Christ may be said to be "of the essence" of the new birth -- the new birth does not exist without it. When the Holy Spirit blesses the Gospel to the creation of faith, this is what constitutes the NEW BIRTH.

As Brother James suggested on his website that I "
go back to doing what I do well" (publish Spurgeon's works), I suggest to James that he go back to -- and stick with -- what he does best, refuting JWS, Mormons, Romanists, King James Onlyites, etc.

Calvinists do not need any further embarrassing efforts to defend their views.
-- Bob L. Ross


"If I am to preach faith in Christ to a man who is regenerated, then the man, being regenerated, is saved already, and it is an unnecessary and ridiculous thing for me to preach Christ to him, and bid him to believe in order to be saved when he is saved already, being regenerate" (C. H. Spurgeon, The Warrant of Faith, #531, page 532).

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