Dr. James White released a broadcast today where he played a 44 second clip plucked out of its context from someone off twitter, in which I used the example of “choice meat” to illustrate that calling something or someone ‘choice’ or ‘chosen’ doesn’t mean they were chosen for no apparent reason.
In the original video, I was replying to a young RC Sproul who was using the word election as if it exclusively referred to the unconditional election of individuals for effectual salvation, when in reality, God makes many choices and He usually does so for well established reason, which is what I go on to demonstrate in the rest of my presentation that went unaddressed by Dr. White.
In response to my clip, ripped out of its context (something he regularly scolds others for doing), Dr. White erroneously concluded that I was saying God chose to save us because of our good qualities, in the same way you might choose meat from the choice section because of its higher quality. Here is what White egregiously reported,
“Do you understand what that analogy was meant to communicate? He is saying that people are chosen because they are choice. Because they are obedient, faithful. It is the exact opposite of unconditional election; it is conditional election. You are chosen because of who you are. There is no way around the obvious conclusion that comes from that statement and that is that you get to heaven because you a better than someone else. That just all there is to it…so much for ground of boasting…Someone says, ‘You’re picking on Leighton Flowers again!’ He represents a particularly uncorrectable form of traditional synergism that fundamentally compromises the grace of God. If you can’t see how dangerous it is to think you were the choice meats and that’s why God chose you, you’re in the choice meats section. You weren’t over in the 80/20 fat section, ha ha, you were in the choice meat section, that’s why you’re getting into heaven.”
White goes on to call my view “semi-Pelagian on my best days and full on Pelagianism on my worse days.” Bad form, Dr. White, very bad form!
While it is true that I reject the Calvinistic concept of individual unconditional election to effectual salvation (along a majority of Christendom, mind you), I was not attempting to argue that God chose to save us based on the condition of our merits or because we are inherently better than others (i.e. that we are the ‘choice meat’ and others are the fatty meat). If one where to actually listen to the full context of that broadcast, instead of a small sound bite purposefully plucked from its context by someone with an obvious bias on twitter, they would have heard me teach that we are not saved through our merit, but only through faith in the merit of Christ, the ‘CHOICE ONE’ (1 Pet. 2:6). And that ANYONE, not just uniquely selected individuals picked out for no apparent reason before the world began, can be saved if they trust in Christ because He has died for the sins of us all (1 John 2:2)!
If White sought to understand my actual view before slandering me in front of a large audience, he would have learned that I believe God chooses to save those who come home humiliated from the pig sties of their life (Lk 15:11-32), those so broken by their sin that they cannot even look up to heaven while making their confessions (Lk 18:12), the weak and heavy laden (Matt. 11:28), the fearful and contrite of heart (Is. 66:2), those who confess their bondage and addiction to sin and trust in the Chosen One (1 John 1:9; Rom. 10:9-10).
If I were to continue with the original analogy, God chooses the rancid meat that fell on the floor in the back of the store house, not the ‘choice meats.’ And in His grace God covers them with the perfect righteousness of the Chosen One, Jesus the Christ–not because He has to on the basis of their humble confession, but because he wants to on the basis of His goodness and love.
While some, like White, from more extreme side of the Calvinistic camp would like to treat faith, as understood from the non-Calvinistic perspective, like a meritorious work that earns salvation, other Calvinists are a bit fairer in their assessment. For instance, I encourage you to read this article by John Piper who makes a strong case for why faith would never be considered meritorious: https://soteriology101.com/2019/01/28/is-faith-meritorious/
- ADDED NOTE: In a Twitter exchange Dr. White was linked this article and has declared “it’s just a distraction.” I guess the scriptures which talk about why God finds favor with some and not others is a distraction unworthy of White’s attention? Those passages must not fit his narrative.
- It’s also disheartening that a fellow brother in Christ will not relent in spreading false information after being corrected regarding the intentions of another brother. Regardless of what YOU THINK is someone else’s intention in a video, you should take them at their word when they bring clarity.