Tag Archives: Norman Geisler

The Potter’s Freedom

I rarely post things like this because they can become needlessly divisive.  As someone who has been on both sides of the fence, I saw way more Reformed-bashing and just plain misunderstandings of the Reformed position than I saw in the reverse. I consider it an in-house debate among Christians — albeit an important one — and don’t see any reason for either side to be nasty.  Comments will be closely moderated.

I highly recommend The Potter’s Freedom by James White, which thoroughly addresses Chosen But Free by Norm Geisler (or read both — Geisler has an appendix addressing White and White added an appendix addressing Geisler’s response (or those of his students’ class project of responding)).

If I wasn’t Reformed before reading it I would have been afterwards. I always respected Geisler, other than the Ergun Caner debacle, and still appreciate most of what he has done, but White rips him to shreds in the most polite sort of way.

(For the record, I have been in Arminian churches my entire life and am saturated in the Christian culture of Arminianism. My recent switch doesn’t mean I’m right, but the fact is that I made the switch against significant odds and a desire to see Arminianism proved right. But the Bible verses just don’t support it.)

After noting that I’d love to hear a debate between James White and William Lane Craig, someone responded with this:

Craig doesn’t debate other Christians on secondary issues. He views it as a harmful witness. Plus, White isn’t really qualified to debate Craig. He’s got a suspect degree from a suspect university and always says suspect stuff. You just don’t debate every goof on the internet who wants to debate you.

My response:

Comments like that make me even more Reformed 🙂 . As an Arminian I’d listen to lots of Reformed / Arminian debates and always wonder why they lined up well versed Reformed professionals against Arminian light-weights who mainly trafficked in ad homs and bad exegesis. It just didn’t seem fair. Then I started to think that maybe it was the arguments that were at fault and that that was the best the Arminians could do.

Have you read The Potter’s Freedom? If not, please do, and see if you can do any better than Geisler’s students did in refuting it. (I was embarrassed for Geisler, and I’d been a fan of his for over 15 years). It should be easy, since you insist that he’s just an Internet goof that always says suspect stuff.

P.S. Dawkins will thank you for the excuses Craig gives — he can modify those to use against Craig.

Additional thoughts

“Reformed” and “Arminian” may be overly broad terms.  There are also Molinists, who think that through God’s middle knowledge he selected a world where the most possible people would choose him, and there are many who don’t hold to all 5 points of “Calvinism.”

Having said that, it seems that the logical law of excluded middle would hold that election is either conditional or not conditional, grace is irresistible or not, etc.

Perhaps it is the finance guy / CPA in me, but I don’t get bothered by limited atonement.  There are many arguments to use (really, read the book!), and of course we center on the Bible, but the concept of propitiation (satisfying God’s wrath) alone makes me willing to strongly consider it.  If Jesus’ death on the cross satisfied God’s wrath for everyone’s sins, then there is no wrath left.  Illustrations about them not picking up their gift wouldn’t apply.  The wrath would have already been pored out.

This DVD gives a good overview of the tenets and history of Reformed theology.

Finally, I’ll note that I don’t consider those with opposing views to be non-Christians.

Atheists run from William Lane Craig, but why won’t Craig debate James White?

As much fun as it would be to see William Lane Craig expose the horribly flawed atheistic philosophy of Richard Dawkins, I’d prefer to see Craig debate James White.  It would be a much more balanced debate between two very well prepared, extremely articulate and intelligent Christians.

I’d also like to see Norman Geisler debate White.  I’m part way through The Potter’s Freedom by White, where he defends Reformed theology and critiques Geisler’s Chosen But Free.  I’ve always found White to be exceptionally well researched, and so far his rebuttal of Geisler (whom I have a lot of respect for) is very convincing.

See Atheists on the Run from William Lane Craig.

There are many atheists who refuse to debate William Lane Craig. He is definitely skilled at self-control, remaining on-target, etc. But, I wonder if those who are so excited about Craig’s prowess realize that he has been challenged to debate a number of issues by men with just as much experience as he has in debate, but he has declined?

I have often commented on how useful a debate between myself and Dr. Craig would be on many issues. I have often played portions of Craig’s studies, talks, and debates, and have challenged his statements. I have challenged his evidentialism, and a debate on whether we are called to proclaim the “greater probability of the existence of a god” or to proclaim the certainty of the existence of the God that men know exists would be very useful to our generation. I have challenged his Molinism, even lecturing on the topic at a Reformed Baptist Church right next to the Talbot/Biola campus in Southern California. I do not believe Molinism is at all consistent with biblical truth, and would love to challenge him to demonstrate that the God of the Bible is the same God he describes as having “actuated” this world on the basis of middle knowledge, etc. And, of course, in light of his response to Christopher Hitchens, wherein the only “false” Christian faith he could come up with was not Romanism or any of the fundamentally sub- and anti-Christian movements of our day, but Calvinism, would not the students at Biola/Talbot find a full-orbed series of debates, right there on campus, on the doctrines of grace, to be an exceptionally useful addition to their education?

Dr. Craig is well aware of our desire to engage these subjects. Though we have never met, we know many of the same people, and I have been told, “through channels,” that “Dr. Craig does not debate Christians.” This is the same response you will get from Norman Geisler as well, when the topic comes up as to why he has declined a dozen such challenges over the past decade. I have never been given an explanation of why this is. We are both debaters. We have both debated many of the same people. We have just done so in very different ways, and it would be greatly edifying for the Christian community as a whole to understand the why’s and wherefore’s of those differences. We have both shown that we can debate fairly, fully, and respectfully. So I see absolutely no reason why Dr. Craig will not accept our challenge to engage these topics. We certainly stand ready, and given that the atheists are running for the hills with their hair on fire, it seems Dr. Craig would have plenty of extra time to join us in exploring, via debate, these important apologetic issues.