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The Brown-White Debate on Predestination and Election

The Line of Fire / Dr. Michael Brown
The Truth Network Radio
October 13, 2021 4:40 pm

The Brown-White Debate on Predestination and Election

The Line of Fire / Dr. Michael Brown

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October 13, 2021 4:40 pm

The Line of Fire Radio Broadcast for 10/13/21.

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The following program is recorded content created by the Truth Network. Find the line of fire now by calling 866-34-TRUTH.

That's 866-34-TRUTH. Here again is Dr. Michael Brown. Hey friends, welcome to this special debate week on the line of fire. What we've done Monday, Tuesday, today, Wednesday, and then tomorrow, Thursday, is rather than a regular broadcasting, we are taking you into different debates that I've done over a period of years with different scholars and leaders, professors, rabbis, different ones, talking about issues of great importance and some are fellow believers, others we're differing in terms of fundamentals of the faith.

This debate goes back to February 14, 2013, with my dear friend and colleague, Dr. James White, debating predestination and election. So here's the format. This next segment is going to be a presentation. The first presentation will come, the opening comments, all right?

Then next, and we'll get all about 10-11 minutes of those in uninterrupted. Next segment will be the next set of opening comments, and then the segment after that will take you into the Q&A between Dr. White and me, and then the last segment will take you into our closing statements. So without further ado, the opening comments in the debate. Although James and I will really do our best to lay out why we differ on some of these subjects of Calvinism, predestination, election, what the Bible says about how God saves us, we'll do our best to lay out our differences, our mutual prayers that God will be glorified and that you will leave here more devoted to him and in love with him and hungry for his word than when you came in. And although we definitely have differences here that we'll do our best to highlight and challenge each other on why we hold to what we hold to, James is a frontline apologist going into mosques in London and debating Muslims, taking on cults and false religion and doing it fearlessly for the gospel. So I honor my brother in the midst of these differences.

I noticed earlier today that someone posted on my Facebook page a comment that was a derogatory comment towards Dr. White, and I said we don't have that here on my Facebook page. Thankfully it balanced out with someone just instant messaging me that I'm not saved, so it's all working out, falling into place. I was a Calvinist for five years, 1977 to 1982, so I'm not going to caricature Calvinism tonight. I'm not a basher, and we could give a list of many great Calvinist scholars, teachers, preachers, evangelists, missionaries. My desire is that we understand the God of Scripture. I am very jealous for the glory of God.

I am very jealous that we understand the grace of God. And my only question is are we willing to bow down to the God of the Scriptures? That's my challenge.

That's my question. I'll be quoting a lot of Scripture to you tonight. I assure you, though, that I can back up every point I make with detailed exegesis of the text in the original languages. So I'm not just throwing things out.

Even if everyone gets challenged, I assure you I can back them up carefully. Number one, it's absolutely clear from the Word that there are many things that people do that grieve God and are contrary to His will and desire. He certainly did not in any sense ordain them. Throughout the Word, He distances Himself from human sin and evil and makes clear that this was not what He intended for His creation.

For example, Genesis 6, 5 and 6, the generation of the Flood. The Lord saw how great was man's wickedness on earth and how every plan devised by His man was nothing but evil all the time. And the Lord regretted that He had made man on earth and His heart was saddened. He did not say, I ordained for you to do these things or in any sense predestined them for you.

Rather, He was grieved and pained over these actions. In fact, Jeremiah 7, verse 31, this was the generation that was about to go into exile. When they were burning their sons and daughters in the fire to Molech in the high places of Tophet, God said this, the things that they did, burning their sons and daughters in the fire, I did not command nor did it come in my mind.

In other words, I absolutely never intended for you to do these things. It's summed up in Ecclesiastes 7, 29, where the author says this, see this alone I found that God made man upright, but they sought out many schemes. Second point, throughout the Word, God calls us to make choices, commending those who trust and obey Him like Abraham, whom He calls His friend in Isaiah 41, 8, and condemning those who refuse His grace. If you just start reading the Bible from the beginning without theological presuppositions as much as is humanly possible, you will see that the Bible presupposes that there is an ability to choose life or death, or to receive an offer of grace or to reject it. Even if you say God is the one who enables us to make that choice, He calls us to make a choice, and He commends those who choose to put their trust in Him and condemns those who refuse. That's why it's written in Deuteronomy 30, verse 19, I call heaven and earth to witness against you today. Moses speaking, that I've set before you life and death, blessing and curse.

Let the whole universe see I'm giving you a choice to make, therefore choose life that you and your offspring may live. Luke 13, 24, Jesus urged the people of His day, strive to enter the narrow door, for many I tell you will seek to enter and will not be able. And when Paul is explaining in Romans 2 how there's no partiality in God, this is what he writes, God will render to each one according to His works, to those who by patience and well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, He will give eternal life, but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury, for God shows no partiality. And there are many scriptures that indicate to us that God does not predetermine all the responses of humanity. Can God work out His plan in the midst of sinning people? He does it every day. Can God accomplish His ultimate will in the midst of a rebellious planet? He does it every day. Do people sin against His will and reject His will by the choices they've been given?

Yes, absolutely. And God does not predetermine that people reject Him. Look at what's written in Jeremiah 36. God tells the prophet to write down on a scroll all the words of judgment against Israel and Judah.

And then He says this in verses 2 and 3, perhaps, Hebrew ulay simply means perhaps, when the house of Judah hear of all the disasters I intend to bring upon them, they will turn back from their wicked ways and I will pardon their iniquity and their sin. Now there's some who come to a wrong theological conclusion, open theists as they're called, that God actually doesn't know what people are going to do. But for this text to have any meaning at all when this prophecy is given, God's saying there's actually the possibility in terms of their own experience that they may choose to obey or not obey. That's why God says perhaps to Jeremiah because they had not yet made their decision. Did God foreknow it?

Yes. He foreknows things we do, but foreknowledge and free will are not opposites. Look what God says in Ezekiel 22 verses 30 and 31. And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land that I should not destroy, but I found none, so instead I poured out my indignation rat.

I was looking to give them an opportunity. If I found one person that would stand in the gap and intercede, I'd hold back my fury. I couldn't, therefore, I'd destroy.

There was no one there. Even if we think of the image of God the potter, in Jeremiah, the 18th chapter, is the most detailed account where God sends Jeremiah, look at the potter, look at what he does. He makes one piece of potter. He doesn't like it. He smashes it. He starts afresh with something new. And he has the freedom to do it because he's the potter.

In fact, you should write a book on that theme one of these days, James. What does the potter lay out? What does the divine potter say in Jeremiah chapter 18? That when he decrees disaster for a nation, if they repent, then he'll relent to the disaster and won't bring it on them. If he declares blessing and they turn to evil, he'll relent of the blessing and instead bring judgment. So the potter has set it up by his free sovereign choice as God and king and ruler. This is the way he set it up. And this is explicitly what's in scripture.

A principle then that emerges from this is simple. If he calls us to repent, he enables us to repent. That's why Paul writes in Romans 1 16, the gospel is the power of God to salvation, to everyone who believes. And that's why to the dead helpless sinner, the word says in Ephesians 5 14, awake, oh sleeper, and arise from the dead and Christ will shine on you. God awakens us. God gives us opportunity. Will we receive his grace? Will we refuse his grace? Number three, throughout the word, God makes clear that he takes no delight in the death of the wicked, but desires rather that they would repent and live. Many scriptures point to this.

I'll just give you a few. Ezekiel 18 23, is it my desire that a wicked person shall die, says the Lord God, is rather that he shall turn back from his ways and live. Or the ESV renders it, have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live. Then it continues in verses 30 to 32.

God says, therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, everyone according to his ways, declares the Lord God. Repent. He's urging them.

He's calling them. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions, your transgressions, excuse me, that you've committed and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. How? By the call to repent.

That's where the empowering comes from. Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord.

So turn and live. Ezekiel 33 11, as I live, declares the Lord, it's not my desire that the wicked shall die, but that the wicked shall turn from his evil ways and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways that you may not die, O house of Israel. When some determinately refuse him, then God will righteously judge that person and even give them over to unbelief and delusion. And even in that sense, harden them in their sin by giving them over to it. That's when they refuse his gracious invitation to repent. But his desire, his preference for human beings is that we repent and live. This is why the invitation is so universal. Because God's love is universal.

Because Jesus, dying on the cross, sets forth that universal love and opens the door to every human being so that everyone is without excuse before him. That's why the invitation says this in Revelation 22 17. The spirit and the bride say, come. And let the one who hears say, come, a genuine invitation from the throne of God. And let the one who is thirsty come.

Let the one who desires take the water of life without price. And even to those who've been cut off in judgment, like my Jewish people, so much of my nation cut off in judgment, no longer attached to the olive tree. What does Paul say in Romans 11? That if they do not continue in unbelief, in other words, if they turn back in faith, they can be grafted into.

God has the power to graft them in. And when you get to the end of the marvelous discussion in Romans 9, 10, 11, a text I'd love to dig into more, along with John 6 and other key texts, if they come up, which I assume they will. How does Paul sum up God's dealing? Why has God brought hardness here, judgment here? What's his purpose?

Romans 11 32, for God has consigned all to disobedience that he may have mercy on all. With that, I rest my case. Thank you. All right, I've got to interrupt me. We're going to come right back with an extended segment of the opening comments from Dr. James White on predestination and election. Here again is Dr. Michael Brown. Welcome, friends, to this special debate week. We take you into debate with Dr. James White, February 2013. This is an extended segment of his opening comments on our debate about predestination election, by the way, held at Southern Evangelical Seminary. Now we turn it over to Dr. White. All right, well, it is indeed a privilege to be with you all this evening. It is certainly a privilege to be with Dr. Brown this evening, and I want to simply reiterate what he was saying.

This is an in-house debate. This is a debate where we are going to the Word of God as our final authority. We stand together in defense of the faith, and in doing so, we have to seek unity. And the only way for us to seek unity is not by some ecclesiastical decree, but instead to go to the Word of God.

And that is what we are doing this evening. We come as fellow believers. We come as firm confessors of the Trinity, the deity of our Lord and Master, his substitutionary work, his resurrection, and his return. Dr. Brown and I have defended the deity of Christ against Unitarians, for example, and that is something that's joyous to do.

But it's because we have that joy in defending these things that we have to take the time this evening to be on the opposite end of this most important debate. We believe in salvation by grace through faith alone, and the absolute necessity of repentance and holiness. That is something that separates us from some who would call themselves evangelicals.

And we also believe in the sufficiency of scripture as our final and only infallible rule of faith. I, too, want to go to the scriptures this evening. I'd like you to think if you'd like to turn your Bibles to Isaiah chapter 10, I'm going to be there for a few moments, actually, so you might actually have time to turn there.

More than really debate, you don't even bother, you just write it down. But if you want to turn to Isaiah chapter 10, let me remind you of the contents of that chapter. God has said that he will bring the Assyrians against his people to punish them in Isaiah chapter 10, while at the same time saying that he will punish the Assyrians because of the intentions of their hearts. So he has one action in mind, he's bringing the Assyrians against the people to punish them in line with the blessings and cursings that came in the law in Deuteronomy. And then, because of the attitudes of the heart, the mind of the Assyrian king, he will then punish the Assyrians for what they did. Some people say that's unfair. God has one thing in mind, he has one holy intention in mind, and yet he then punishes the instrument that he used by which to bring about his own purpose.

That's very interesting. This theme of God's sovereignty, coinciding perfectly with his justice and judging mankind based upon the intentions of the heart, is found throughout scripture culminating in the greatest act of God's redemptive love and the greatest act of human evil. That was the crucifixion of the sinless son of God. There we are told in Acts 4 27 to 28 that the gathered group of men, remember Herod, Pilate, the Jews, the Romans, all sorts of different intentions and different purposes, and yet they were all sinfully guilty before God for their actions.

Yet, what did the early church confess in its prayer? They did exactly what God's hand and God's purpose predestined to occur. Now, back in Isaiah 10, after announcing the punishment of the king of Assyria's arrogant heart, a new promise is given. A remnant, a shahar, a lima in the Greek language, chosen by grace, Romans 11 5, will return. Not may return, not God's looking down the corridors of time says, oh but look a remnant returns. No, God is saying a remnant will return and it's a remnant chosen by grace. It's God who reserves for himself the seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.

It's not because they were better than somebody else. God has reserved a people for himself. This is not a prophecy. It's a promise.

Very, very important to see that. Paul uses the term katalipo there in Romans 11 5, which in its substantial form is the term for remnant used even here in Isaiah 10 in the Greek Septuagint. Now, here is God's active sovereign grace saving the shahar, the remnant.

God will do this just as he will raise up all those he gives to his son Jesus. Here is powerful sovereignty, divine promise, it's unquestionable, but note that in the midst of the promise is the corollary truth. Look at the verse toward the end there. A destruction is determined overflowing with righteousness.

Did you see that? A destruction is determined overflowing with righteousness. Punishment is fixed. It will happen, happen, but it's with all of God's actions. He has a purpose to fulfill. He's not merely responding to us. He has a purpose to fulfill. His punishment is overflowing with righteousness. What a concept that is.

It troubles a lot of folks. God's punishment overflowing with righteousness. Well, the question I have to ask us is do we have the same priorities that God says we should have? In Romans 9 22, there's a phrase, what if God was willing to demonstrate his wrath and to make his power known?

I just have to ask each one of us this evening, is that a priority for us? When we think of God, is the demonstration of God's wrath and the demonstration of God's power one of our priorities? If God did that in my life, would I glorify him for that or will I only glorify him when he gives me good things and comfort and ease? Do we pray for all of God's attributes to be expressed?

Is that something we desire? Do we allow God and our thoughts and desires to demonstrate all of his glorious attributes from his great mercy, love, and grace all the way through to his holiness, power, and wrath? You see, in Isaiah 10, we see the balance that we must hold firmly to tonight. God's sovereign purposes and the demonstration of his holiness, his power, his justice, and wrath against sin, together with his sovereign gracious purpose to redeem a remnant chosen according to grace.

Here then, in one text, we have together the two truths that we must hold together in which I assert over against Dr. Brown's position this evening. The two truths are these. Number one, the eternal decree of the king whereby the triune God has ordained the self-glorification of the Godhead in creation and final redemption.

They're providing a glorious demonstration of all the divine attributes in their fullness. That's number one, the divine decree. And number two, the prescriptive will of God enshrined in his law which reveals his holy purposes for those who seek to follow after him. It was this prescriptive will the people of Israel had flaunted, bringing the curses of Deuteronomy 29 upon them. And it is that prescriptive will, even found in the hearts of the Gentiles due to the imago Dei, the image of God within them, that the Assyrians likewise violated, bringing God's just judgment upon them, even as he used them to punish Israel. Our debate this evening must be focused right here, for this is the foundation of all of our differences.

Do not miss the real issue here. If we deny the decree of God, we must confess that while God promises to bring good out of some evil, the fact is God created a world in which there is a tremendous amount of purposeless evil, out of which good is never brought. What is more, God cannot bring specific good to pass out of evil because he's dependent upon the actions of evil creatures to provide the basis of his own responses. This leads to insuperable difficulties in how Michael or anyone else can actually ground true interaction of an eternal being with time bound creatures without falling into either open theism or some form of molanism. The open theist solves this by saying God does not know the actions of time bound creatures, of free moral creatures. He knows what's going to happen in the natural world, but he doesn't know what free moral creatures are going to do, and that's why the future is open. The molanist says, well, God has this special middle knowledge, what any creature will do in any given situation, even before he decrees to create them, which led William Lane Craig to say, well, God's got to deal with the cards he's been dealt, to which I go, I want to know the God who dealt him the cards. So we got two gods out there somehow, and yet he then examines all these possible worlds and comes up with a possibility based upon upon that and actuates that universe.

Now, Michael, as far as I know, is not embracing either one of those. He's saying, yes, God knows all things certainly in the future, but there is no divine decree that fixed the shape of that future, and so God will accomplish his ultimate goal, but the path to getting there was not fixed by his decree. It was not fixed by his intention when he created this world.

That fundamentally is the difference between us. Yes, we differ on issues relating to atonement and things like that that we've debated in the past, but to me, the issue this evening for every one of us, but for Michael and I especially, and hopefully bring you along for the conversation, what about these texts that say God accomplishes all his desire? Is God trying to save every single person equally? Many people would say, well, of course, and if you believe that, I simply have to ask the question, then why are you praying about somebody?

You expect a hundred and five percent effort? You see, I pray because I'm changed by the prayer. I want to be used by God as the instrument, the means to bring the gospel to that person, but I'm not trying to convince God to be better than he is. Is there such a thing as purposeless evil? When Joseph came to understand that it was God's intention that he be sold into slavery in Egypt, I wonder when he figured that out.

How many years in prison did it take? But he came to understand it. He came to recognize that in that one act, evil intentions in the part of his brothers, even though God had to restrain him from killing him anyways, but evil intentions on their heart, good intention on God's part, and what was the outcome to save many people alive today? Now, could God have gotten Joseph into Egypt some other way? Well, if he'd chosen to do so, but God chose to get Joseph into Egypt that particular way to save many people alive. Can God do that and still hold men accountable? Genesis 50, Isaiah 10, Acts 4, all say yes.

Not only can he, but that is exactly how he does it. That is the question that is before us this evening, and I thank you for being here to consider it with us. Thank you very much. All right, got to jump back in. That's it for our extended opening comments, selection. We come back with Q&A between white and brown right here. It's The Line of Fire with your host, Dr. Michael Brown. Your voice of moral, cultural, and spiritual revolution.

Here again is Dr. Michael Brown. Thanks for joining us, friends, on today's special line of fire broadcast in this unique debate week. In what follows, you're going to go into a debate with Dr. James White and me on predestination and election. This is an excerpt from our Q&A back and forth, the cross-examination period. I think you'll find it interesting, enlightening. You can watch the entire debate on our YouTube channel or website. Go to AskDrBrown.org, type in predestination, and you'll see the 2013 debate with Dr. James White and me.

You can watch it for free there. But now we're going to take you into the Q&A representative sampling and extend it back and forth with question, answer, and try to give you a little feel of each way what we asked the other, how we answered the other. The exchange between Brown and Wright begins now.

So let's just start at a practical level in terms of election predestination. I'm 100% sure that I'm a child of God. My sins are forgiven. If I was to die right now, I'd be in His presence.

I assume you feel the same. Therefore, since you know that in an elect and predestined, can you say that you know that it is absolutely impossible for you to ever fall away? Well, you're confusing, I think, creaturely categories of knowledge and divine categories of knowledge.

I would take infallibility and infallible knowledge as a divine category. So in the sense that this Holy Spirit testifies to me of my sonship, as certain as a person can be at that point given our human limitation, yes, but I differentiate between any kind of making my certainty the same kind of level of certainty that we have in Scripture. So then I have, as a non-Calvinist, a greater assurance than you do.

I don't believe so. Well, it says we could know, and John says I write these things that you can know, so you know you have eternal life. Well, again, but you could be deceived, possibly. Remember what 1 John 5 says. Well, the fact is, Mike, you and I are both old enough now to know many people who used to stand with us in the church and who made those statements to us, and we believed them, and they fell away. Yes, and so my theology allows for that.

But so does mine. They went out from us so they might be shown they were not truly of us. Right, some, that's the case. Those are the ones that are being described, and that's why there's warning after warning.

Don't harden your heart. Exactly. And we are made partakers if we continue to the end, so we agree on perseverance.

Exactly. So you're saying you're sure, but not God 100% sure. I'm not divine, so I have to recognize that as far as the Holy Spirit testifies to my heart, yes, and that's, and in 1 John 5, by the way, it says that you may know what I wrote these things to you.

What were those things? That you love the brethren, that you walk in light. Right, so we have the fruit of it. So therefore the warnings, the warnings are real to you. Yes, they are. Okay, fine, fine. That's important.

All right. Do you agree with the statement of Calvin that I read? God arranges all things by his sovereign counsel in such a way that individuals are born who were doomed from the womb to certain death and are to glorify him by their destruction?

I do. Okay, so if there's a mom here, say with her kids, she's seeking to raise them in the faith, it's possible that God could have preordained before he created the world that she will give birth to a child that will be apostate no matter prayer, raising him no matter what she does, that child will be apostate and will glorify God by going to hell. The fact of the matter is that child that was born, I just had my first grandchild, that child was born as a fallen son or daughter of Adam, and the very fact that death could possibly stalk that young child is evidence that they are already under the wrath of God and fallen in that state.

So to say, well, it's possible that person could be quote-unquote one of the reprobate, that's not the term you use, but I'll utilize the more specific term, David discovered that, people have discovered that all down through history. So God ordained that and that mother should rejoice then that God has given potentially, given her, if that child dies in sin and rebellion, that she therefore says, God, you preordained that the child you gave me was going to burn forever in hell to your glory, and that was my role to give birth to him. What she rejoices in is the goodness of God that has saved her and has given her mercy and rejoiced in the fact that if she has any child that has in fact turned, that God by his grace had changed their heart. But shouldn't she rejoice in everything God predetermined?

I mean, certainly we can't be selective. If that's what God predetermined, then she should rejoice in it and thank God that the child that she bore was predestined for hell. But certainly, Michael, you see that the recognition of the question, the foundation of the question you're asking, destroys the distinction of not only God's word, but our experience of God's word. That is, by saying that you're to rejoice in all things, obviously my rejoicing in, say, persecution that comes to me is different than my rejoicing in other aspects of my life. But she should still rejoice. In the proper sense that, for example, Sarah Edwards... Not just that mercy came to others, but that damnation came to her child, she should rejoice in that. No, she should rejoice in the justice of God in all aspects, which includes the fact that she has been given life and forgiveness.

And God predetermined that she would give birth to a reprobate child. She should rejoice in that also because everything God does is good. There's nothing God does that's bad.

Everything God does is good. So if that's what he does, I should also rejoice in the rape of that child because God ordained it and whatever God ordained is good. Again, you're changing the categories of what rejoicing means. I don't think when Paul says rejoice in all things that he's saying that I should, when I stub my toe, I just grab and go, oh praise God, oh praise God. That's a ridiculous kind of understanding of rejoicing. But ultimately, in the death room, in the room where death has taken place, our final solace is only that God's will will be done. When you and I can't know what the outcome is, God's will will be done.

That is our solace and that is our ground of rejoicing, yes. All right, so I'll continue on the other side of our five minutes here. Okay, let's see if we could get some clarification on a couple of those points that were brought up before. From your perspective, is Romans chapter 2 giving us a way that a person could be made right with God or do you not see 13 to 14 as theoretical? It's possible to see this theoretical.

It's certainly a matter of major debate. The issue is, though, that if those first ones are recipients of grace, God has helped them to do the right thing and that's why they're doing it, they'll be rewarded for it. In other words, throughout Scripture, we are to demonstrate our faith by our works, by our deeds, by a changed life.

So it doesn't talk about the origin of that. It's not saying someone is righteous because they worked hard enough. This is the the reflection of their obedience to God and they're living it out.

So it could be theoretical. It could also be the demonstration of one who's living in obedience, the other who's not. And it's not that God predetermined one or the other, it's that this is the expression of their faith or lack thereof. Does God give grace to every single person equally to follow after him?

That can be circumstantial. In other words, does God desire equally that everyone follows after him? Yes, I believe the answer is does he give the same opportunity?

There are conditions of heart. There are responses. There are a thousand and one things God doesn't tell us. In other words, I think one of the bigger differences between us is if I see a text that says X, Y, Z, God does this, I'm not trying to figure out how it works or how God could know this. I'm just embracing what the text says. So it doesn't, I'm not saying you're denying the text, I'm simply saying the philosophical questions.

When you asked me if I was a momentist, I had to look it up because I'd never used the term before, right? Because it's not an insult, but it's just an area to say I see God expressing his mercy. He mercies all through the cross and then he works with different hearts and lives.

He knows where to draw one and why one and not another. Well, let me expand a little bit upon that because I think it's an important difference between us. When you say you're just trying to work with the text and seemingly implying that somebody else in the room isn't, I'm not sure who it might be, but isn't it true that this is not the first time this conversation has been had? This conversation has been going on for thousands of years, right? So isn't it probable, in fact, isn't it absolutely certain that you have governing presuppositions theologically, whether you identify them with a particular camp or not?

Aren't they there? Yeah, of course. Okay, so can't we examine them more clearly when we can identify them and see how people have discussed these things, than just simply saying I'm not going to get involved? So let me explain. My presupposition is if God does not give me access to certain information, I shouldn't try to pry and figure it out. I don't have to ever figure out how he knows certain things in advance. I don't have to. It doesn't tell me to. It simply tells me in Scripture to bow down and worship him as God and to rest in that assurance and then to take at face value the other statements. So I don't find the contradiction. I don't find the struggle with how God can foreknow without foreordaining. I know you say the only logical Arminianism is an open theism.

That's your logical conclusion. As I look at the text, God inhabiting eternity, he's not time bound to me. He's not just trying to figure out what's going to happen here and then write and fix this, because he transcends all of that. So it's mixing categories of eternity and time to me that I don't see Scripture mixing. It sounded like you were just saying, though, we can't actually answer the question as to how God knows the future, outside of simply stating, well, he's somehow eternal. He transcends time. He transcends time, which is not a biblical phrase. Isaiah 57, 15, He inhabits eternity.

Since time is something created, and we know scientists tell us it's created, it started at a certain point. Even science knows that, right? So he inhabits eternity. Therefore, he transcends time. I think it's a biblical proposition. Okay, so the Bible is clear enough to tell us about God's relationship to time, but we can't answer the question of when he created and he knew what was going to happen in time, how he knew that. No, we can't because the Bible doesn't tell us. It does tell us, though, that he did not ordain everything that happens. That it does tell us.

How about the text in Isaiah 41? How can God challenge the false gods to not only tell us what's going to happen in the future, but also tell us what happened in the past that we may consider them and know their outcome? How can he challenge the false gods to do that if, from his own perspective, he didn't know the outcome of those things because there was no purpose in them? He did know the outcome. Who said he didn't?

I'm not trying to be obtuse. I honestly don't follow the question or conclusion. Of course, he knew the conclusion. He knew the purpose.

He knew all of it. And he decided to create a world where there would be certain freedoms because for God to accomplish his will, there had to be certain freedoms given so it would not be a world of automatons. For example, when you were just jokingly talking about Joseph and his brothers, right, that they weren't, God wasn't forcing them to do something, but they were doing what they were predestined to do.

They were doing what God made them to do. All right, my turn. I'm going to write that down.

All right, here we go. Okay, if salvation has nothing whatsoever to do with us, it's not based on our response or anything in us. In other words, God didn't foreknow, God did not foreknow that I would believe or that you would humble yourself.

So, salvation is purely based on God's sovereign choice and nothing that he saw in, he saw this in James, he saw this in Michael, so he saved us, but he didn't see the same thing in someone else. You're talking about unconditional election. Right, unconditional election is not based upon foreseeing. Isn't that somewhat of a divine flip of the coin? If it's based on nothing in any human being, it could have just as well been someone else and in that sense is the equivalent to a flip of the coin. Well, I don't believe that an eternal being can flip a coin, first of all. He can't? Can he build a coin too big to flip? Well, there's a good question.

What does flip... Ah, ah, ah. I've proven my point, but the question is, what does flipping mean in eternity? We can go a long ways here with this, but my point is an ultimate being cannot do anything that is arbitrary.

That's my first point. Secondly, we are told what the basis of God's choice is in Ephesians chapter one, according to the kind intention of his will, not our will. But it wasn't told to everyone. It was God's will freely to create. Could God have not created? I don't know, but it was his will to freely create and what he tells us in scripture is that he's chosen to do so in such a way that it's all according to the good pleasure of his will. So that's not a flip of the coin, but it certainly shows that God is free when it comes... Mercy and grace has to be free. He did not have to mercy me because I was somehow better than somebody else. But there's no injustice then because he created everyone without them asking to be created, created them all damnable, right?

In other words, he created us in such a way that the only possible destiny for all of us was damnation, unless he chose to have mercy on someone. Yeah, I know. I know you'd like to hear more, but we got to jump in. We're going to come back with the closing statements that we made. Then after that, my closing comments. It's the Line of Fire with your host, Dr. Michael Brown, your voice of moral, cultural, and spiritual revolution.

Here again is Dr. Michael Brown. Here we go. Closing comments from yours truly and from Dr. White as we finish up our debate from 2013 on predestination, election, the will of God's salvation. Very important subjects that we discussed as brothers in the Lord.

When we're done, I'll come back with my closing comments. I think as best as I can, I have tried to focus upon what I see as the foundational issue, and that is the relationship of God as creator to his universe and whether God has a purpose in everything that flowed from his creative hand or whether God has created in such a way that the form and fabric of what he created was determined by some other force, but he still has sort of an end goal in mind that he accomplishes. And it seems to me that we've somewhat been told that, well, you really can't know all that. You're going beyond what the Bible actually says. And that's why I press the text from Isaiah where God says, I can tell you what happened in the past and why it happened.

And Michael says, yes, he can do that, but my point is he can only do that after the creation itself because it's the actions in time that determine those outcomes. And that may to some people in the audience be, man, you people got me in here to listen to you two picking at nits. No, it's not really picking at nits because I hope all of you have seen here this evening that I have the greatest respect for this man. He's written the best book on homosexuality in print right now.

He and I are going to have to stand side by side in this culture unless God grants repentance because my goodness, neither one of us could have ever seen the way things have changed and the speed they've gone. I'm stopping the timer for a moment here. Try to say something nice about a guy and what does he do? Demonstrates he has a radio program. Demonstrates he has a radio program.

That's the problem there. I hope you have seen that I do view this as an in-house debate. There are some of my reform brethren who think I'm a wimp for doing that and there's a lot of my reform brothers who think I'm crazy for actually liking this man and vice versa, I would imagine.

But I hope you heard this evening and I hope you will see on Saturday evening. We can join together. We can defend the Trinity and the deity of Christ but I truly want to have unity with my brothers and sisters and especially this man on these issues and I think we understand each other a whole lot better than when we first started on his program, that's for sure. But I want to challenge him and I want to challenge all of you. I'm an apologist.

I'm an apologist. I take this message into a lot of different contexts. I had the opportunity of debating in the East London mosque in September, four days after Benghazi. It's the largest mosque in Europe.

I never thought I'd have that type of opportunity. When I go into a place like that, Michael might be suggesting that I try a little bit too hard to systematize God. I would suggest to you that when we look at all of what scripture says, there are certain aspects of God's character. It's funny, we go to the same verse, the secret things belong to Lord our God, the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever.

We have to allow God to be God. Each one of us is saying, I'm saying to Michael, Michael I don't think you're dealing with my texts in their context and he's saying to me, I don't think that you can exegete the ones I gave that you can exegete the ones I gave and yet I hope that I've laid out for you exactly how it is God can stretch out his hand and in his prescriptive will engage with his people seen so beautifully and in its fullness in the incarnation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That is an amazing thing that God has chosen to do that, but even in the midst of all that, as we saw in Isaiah chapter 10, what does he say? A destruction is determined, one overflowing with righteousness, but a remnant will return and I don't believe God knew that because he looked down the corridors of time. I believe he knew that because he decreed from eternity for his own purposes. Does that mean that remnant did not feel the work of the Spirit within them causing them to love God and to follow after him just as we feel the Spirit of God causing us to do that tonight?

No. You see, they go together and the question is are we going to allow all of scripture to speak or are we going to have a system we push on top of it? Now Mike has said, you've got your system James, while I've said, Mike so do you. Mine has a name. We can examine it. All of us do and all of us have to pray, Lord show me in light of your word what your truth is. Thank you so much for being here this evening. God bless you. Yes, the the esteem from the heart is mutual. It's just my joy to write an endorsement for Dr. White's book about Islam.

When I was debating some Catholic friends on the air a year or so ago about the worship of Mary, Mariolatry, I shot a note to James and he recommended a book and I pulled all kinds of quotes out of that for it. So we really are co-workers and even though I was joking about having to pray and to get focused for a serious debate, I'm quite serious that up until late last night as I just kept thinking over the weeks what I want to say or write out, we're both busy running at a hundred miles an hour, I thought, wait, wait, wait, I've got to really make this sharp and clear because the goal of the night is not just to show our camaraderie. That's got to underlie things but we need to highlight differences and I would say ultimately it comes down to this. On a practical level you don't need to worry about the questions Dr. White's asking.

They are ultimately theoretical and don't affect your witness to your next-door neighbor or your witness to someone else. Rather than saying perhaps they are elect and Jesus died for them, I don't know but I'll share the Gospel with everyone. I have the confidence that Jesus shed his blood for every single person and in the most honest way, nothing disingenuous at all, I can tell that person that if they'll turn to God, God will have mercy.

Why? Because Jesus died for them. I know it. When I can say God commands all men everywhere to repent, I know it's not just a few in the midst of it that he will enable to repent. And think of it, if someone says so if I repent and put my trust in Jesus I'll be saved, ultimately the answer is well if you do it then we'll know but if not perhaps not because Jesus didn't really die for you so even though I'm telling you to put your faith in him he may not have even died for you. Now I know you say well that's the way you're looking at it. I'm simply saying if you're going to start to think through all these issues you can get hung up if you simply say God so loved the world and preached the gospel to all and seek to go to the ends of the earth. As James is an evangelist and so am I and we're involved in missions but for me it gets a whole lot more simple when we lay it out like that. And you know even when we look at a text like Abimelech in Genesis the 20th chapter where it says that God kept him from sinning.

Why? It says because I saw you did that of a blameless heart. In other words there are things that God's looking at. Second chronicle 69 his eyes are going throughout the whole earth that he might show himself in strong support of those whose hearts are wholly his.

He didn't just program it in advance. He's looking. He's looking. And there are choices that we can make. That's part of what he endowed us with by his grace. And I think of his longing. I wish I could just reread all the verses I started with just to bathe you in the reality of God's longing, God's desire, God's heart. But just listen to this on Luke 13 34. I'm quoting Calvinist scholars or friends of Calvinists. Luke 13 34 in terms of God's heart appearing in author William Perkins said this, the thing which he will is namely the gathering of the Jews by the ministry of the prophets was begun in practice long before his incarnation.

Whereas that I take it here is divine will is meant to the will of his Godhead which is also the will of the Father and the Holy Ghost. Calvinist author Walter Chantry said Jesus is speaking to a people who are finally going to perish and he knows that he's pronouncing a curse on them. Yet in the midst of sentencing them, Jesus expresses his love of them and a desire that they would repent and believe. He reminded these very people who would soon perish that they had been repeatedly invited to come to him.

And he says I would have gathered you but you were not willing. I think that's what we need to come away with here. Not speculating on how God knew what he knew and in all seriousness Dr. White has read more philosophy and theology than I have. We're both exegetes but I just don't come at those things to the degree philosophically and theologically that my colleague might and it's just a matter of training and background because we both agree it's the word that determines things. For me what we need to come away is with a heart recognizing the beating heart of God right now for a dying world. The beating heart of God that all would come to know him. His grief and pain because people right now reject him and the fact that he has called us to be ambassadors and to make him known and to cry out of this throne to save and to deliver and get a people for himself. And Dr. White and I will absolutely stand side by side preaching the Gospel and rejoicing in God's mercy forever and ever as trophies of his grace. I simply say there's a better way to approach it. Let's start with the heart and love of God and then pour ourselves out for a dying world. All right, that's it. We're out of time.

If you're watching on YouTube or Facebook, look in the description of today's show and you will see a link to watch the entire broadcast for free. The entire debate I should say for free between Dr. James White and yours truly on the subject of predestination and election. And this is a debate we had as brothers who love the Lord and honor the Lord together. When I debated Dr. Zacharias, we played excerpts on Monday, found out afterwards that his colleagues that invited me don't even think I'm saved because I'm not a strict Calvinist.

What a shame. Well, Dr. White and I differ on these things deeply, but both love the Lord, both love one another, and both recognize these are disagreements we have within the faith. So let's learn from each other. Let's be edified. Let's grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus.

If you go to the website AskDrBrown.org, type in predestination, you'll be able to find the debate there to watch and then grow. The key thing is be faithful to the word, be faithful to God, and bear much lasting fruit for the kingdom. That's what my friend James wants. That's what I want. We want to see Jesus glorified. We want to see you bear much fruit. We want to see the name of God exalted and this world touched with the power of the gospel. Tomorrow's broadcast is with a Jewish rabbi. Yes. Another program powered by the Truth Network.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-11 12:02:34 / 2023-08-11 12:23:00 / 20

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