Saturday, April 26, 2008

James White vs Steve Gregg on Calvinism: UPDATED

Listen to all the debates right here, on Jordan's Podcast Player!

Updates: Day 4 and Day 5 of the Steve Gregg vs. James White Debates on Calvinism are now available, plus a Debate Wrap-Up segment. Carla Rolfe has been following the debates and offers interesting observations.

James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries has been engaging in a 5 day series of debates with Steve Gregg of The Narrow Path, on the subject of Calvinism (HT: Carla Rolfe). I've never heard of Steve Gregg before, but noticed that he has many MP3 teachings on various subjects at his site.

I've have sometimes heard it said that we're all born Arminians (that is, by nature, everyone is more inclined to believe Arminianism than Calvinism). But apparently-- I've not yet had the chance to listen-- Mr. Gregg opens the debates by claiming that only someone trained in Calvinism will be able to find it in the Scriptures and that otherwise, one coming to Scripture would find it neither Arminian nor Calvinistic.

In response to this claim I have read several testimonials from around the web of Calvinists who say that this wasn't their experience: rather it was through the reading of Scripture alone that they came to embrace the doctrines of grace.

Personally, I came to believe in the tenets of reformed teaching by re-examining Scripture passages that reformed teachers were pointing to. As I meditated on these Scriptures I became convinced that the Calvinist reading of them was both correct and true.

In any case, I think that one's personal experience in these matters is not the critical issue. Do the Scriptures lend their support to the Calvinist argument or to that of the Arminian? I think one can determine these things from one's own reading of Scripture. Also it seems to me that Arminian objections tend to have a strong emotional base-- that is, they think Calvinist doctrines like unconditional election and God's absolute sovereignty over all things necessarily makes God both arbitrary and despotic. How can God, who is supposed to be Love, create beings He knows ahead of time will spend eternity in hell? I admit that I don't have a full answer for this, but I plan to examine this issue in a soon-to-come post.

Coming back to the debate between White and Gregg, here are links to MP3s for the first 3 sessions of the debate:

Day 1 of the Steve Gregg vs. James White Debate
Day 2 of the Steve Gregg vs. James White Debate
Day 3 of the Steve Gregg vs. James White Debate

At his site, James White has also examined Steve Gregg's teachings on Calvinism in a number of earlier programs:

Archive to all the Critiques on Steve Gregg

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