Sent: Saturday, April 17, 2004 8:17 PM
Subject: HUNT-WHITE DEBATE: A SUMMARY [04/17/04]

In my first article on this debate, which was what I actually thought would be a one-time item, I said that this debate was MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING OF ANY GREAT CONSEQUENCE. I am still of the same opinion, as I do not think either debater was very effective on behalf of his particular cause.

Actually, both debaters seem to be in general "bottom line" agreement on the whole, despite their antagonisms. I cited some of these points of major agreement in my first article.

I think White's quotation of Spurgeon at the conclusion of his last article (page 420) is certainly the case as to this debate. Among other things Spurgeon is quoted saying, "There is nothing upon which men need to be more instructed than upon the question of what Calvinism really is," and I think that applies to both White and Hunt, as neither properly represented the views of orthodox, confessional Calvinism.

I think Hunt's final words also appropriately describe the case with both Hunt and White, words with which both sides can agree, "We know that all who believe His promise to 'whosoever will' are saved eternally" (page 427).

Hunt has at least highlighted one important fact, although already well-known -- by giving several quotations from C. H. Spurgeon -- that Calvinists of Spurgeon's stripe do not hold to "pre-faith regeneration."

That view may be held by R. C. Sproul, James White, and some others, but Hunt has admirably -- and inadvertently, it seems -- corrected himself on the view of Spurgeon, whom he had previously falsely charged as being an advocate of the "pre-faith regeneration" theory (The Berean Call, page 2). Hunt has obviously seen the error of his way as to Spurgeon's position, and he quotes frequently from Spurgeon in the debate against that view. While he does not admit, confess or apologize for his past misrepresentation of Spurgeon, we are nonetheless happy for Hunt's about-face on Spurgeon.

White, in failing to advocate the confessional view of Calvinism on the New Birth -- as held by Spurgeon -- has, in a somewhat puzzling manner, demonstrated the significance of our standard confessions of faith in the delineation of orthodox Calvinism. The metaphysical conclusions he has presented in the effort to sustain the idea of "pre-faith regeneration" reveal how vulnerable one can become when he ventures outside the perameter of tried- and-tested confessional summaries. White performs in this debate like an airplane pilot who strays from the information on the plane's instrument panel.

If you want to read a substantial treatment of Calvinism, either pro or con, you can forget this debate as a reliable source of information. Neither Hunt's nor White's representation will be of any significant enlightenment. -- Bob L. Ross

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