Why Dr. James White is Incorrect

I do not personally know Dr. White from Adam’s housecat, but because of the Ergun Caner issue, he seems to be getting some press these days on other blogs that I have read. 

That being said, I became aware of Dr. White a few years ago, when someone sent me an email pointing me to one of his critiques of a sermon of my favorite preacher, Dr. Adrian Rogers.  Brother White is a 5 star, full blooded Calvinist, and Adrian Rogers was not.

With the recent press, I revisited Bro. White’s critique of one of Adrian Rogers messages on Romans 8 and 9, and found myself wishing that I had a transcript of his broadcast.  I don’t do “links” (out of lazy ignorance) but I listened to it again on some “reformers” blog.  Lane someone.

I will readily admit and give full credit to Dr. White as an obviously intelligent man, of who my own intellect could not match.  He is very well studied, and seems to be as well mannered when it comes to presenting is opposing view points.  One thing that I do appreciate about him is that, at least when it came to Dr. Rogers, he was very cautious about not attacking, or critiquing the man, but merely the message. 

Which is a good thing.  Attacking Adrian Rogers is to me like trying to remove the Hog from the Helmet of the Arkansas Razorbacks.  As the old timers used to say, “them there’s fighten words.”  There are some things that you just don’t do in life.  You never spit into the wind, you never unmask the Lone Ranger, you never tug on Superman’s cape, you never mess with the hog on the helmet, and you never, no never attack Adrian Rogers.  I don’t know if Dr. White has ever spit in the wind, but I do know that he was careful not to attack the good Doctor during his program.

Now that being the case, he did critique his sermon, and that is the purpose of my article.  If I had the transcript, then I could be much more articulate concerning my points.  Since I don’t, and since I didn’t take notes, I will go by memory.

In Romans 8:29 the Bible says plainly “For whom he did foreknow he did predestinate . . .” 

In Dr. Rogers message he points out the fact, and underscores it with other scripture that God’s predetermining is based completely upon his foreknowledge.  Peter explains that we are “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God.”  In other words, as I explain to the people I preach to, “God chose those He knew would chose Him.” 

God looked down the corridors of time, and saw every person that would freely choose His Son, and so God then chose them before the foundation of the world.  According to our understanding of this scripture, His choice in eternity past was based upon His knowledge of our choice in eternity present.   That is a simple thing to understand, and it does in fact bear up under exegetical scrutiny.

Now Dr. White takes great issue and goes to great lengths to explain that “proginosko”, (the Greek word for foreknowledge) is a verb and not a noun as it was used in the language of Dr. Roger’s sermon.  In fact after making his point, if I understood him correctly, then the rest of Dr. Roger’s teachings in the passage would fall like a house of cards, because his apparent misuse of this word, served as the flaw in the foundation of everything.

Dr. White goes quickly to the point that as a verb this word is used to mean that God “foreknows us” but not our actions.

Which is where I will draw the dividing line.

I do not dispute the language use of the verb “proginosko”, but I do dispute the logic behind his reasoning.  To say that God “foreknew me” but did not “foreknow my actions” is 1.) scripturally baseless, and 2.) practically impossible.  I cannot say that Dr. White believes that God does not know our future actions, but he came awfully close in his dissection of the comments. 

The reality is that noun or verb, God’s ability at foreknowing me, logically encompasses God’s ability to know my future actions.  Whether he means to or not, Dr. White is cutting the logical application short of it’s full meaning.

The second issue that I want to take up, but will have to do some more studying on, is his continued phrase “the decree.”  Primarily as I understand it, Dr. White believes that nothing exists outside of “the decree” and therefore God “decreed” all of man’s actions and ultimate results.  “The Decree” is obviously an imperative doctrine for anyone who believes that God chooses who will be saved, and who will not be. 

I will say this here and close.  Jesus Christ died for the sins of all mankind, and whosoever will may come.  His invitation is to “the world.”  Not every man appropriates by faith Christ’s saving work; but those who do fully discover that it is a change worth making.

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4 comments on “Why Dr. James White is Incorrect

  1. RazorsKiss says:

    Check out Isaiah 46:9ff for a good explanation of the decree of God. I do want to point out, having read your article, that you’re missing a key element of Dr. White’s teaching here (and that of Reformed theology in general). The reason that any facts are what they are, at any point in time, is because God has declared how and what they shall be. On this basis is Dr. White saying that God’s knowledge operates. As Creator, there is no aspect of His creation not under His control, exhaustively. God knows, therefore, all things that He has declared – the end, from the beginning. He is the Alpha and the Omega – from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. Do you see what we’re talking about?

  2. Thanks for your reply.

    In Isaiah 46:9-10, the word that is used for “Declaring” in the Hebrew language is the word that means “to expose” or “reveal”. Revealing and Decreeing are not by nature the same thing at all. God has revealed to mankind what the general, (and sometimes specific) happenings of the end of creation will be.

    Woven within God’s creative work is the element of moral, conscience freedom, hence the evidence of sin. To say there are no facts that God does not exhaustively create, (decree) lays the issue of sin and rebellion at the feet of God, and the scripture makes it very clear that “no man is tempted of God.” – yet temptation clearly exists.

    Moral, Conscious, Freedom is within itself a creation of God. The commands to “choose blessing” or to “choose cursing” lays out the framework for freedom very well.

    Again, God “foreknows” (verb) all of the uses, and results of the freedom that He gave to man, but that does not stretch into the realm of decreeing them.

  3. RazorsKiss says:

    I don’t know where you are getting that definition – the primary semantic domain of “nagad” is to tell, or to declare. Wouldn’t the word you are thinking of be “galah”?

    It seems that you are confused.

  4. Razorskiss,

    That is the definition as explained by Dr. Strong, and his reference number is 5046 in the Hebrew lexicon.

    NAGAD – a primitive root; properly to front, i.e. stand boldly out opposite; by implication (causative), to manifest; figurative to announce (always by word of mouth to one present); specifically to expose, predict, explain, praise :- bewray, × certainly, certify, declare (-ing), denounce, expound, × fully, messenger, plainly, profess, rehearse, report, shew (forth), speak, × surely, tell, utter.
    —Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary

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