Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Prior to starting my studies at Southern Evangelical Seminary, I read a book by Norman Geisler titled "Chosen but Free". I was intrigued by the book as it purported to be a balanced view of the doctrine of election. At that time I was debating the topic quite regularly with my friends and this book was one of the few books available on the topic from a non-Calvinist perspective.
Not long after CBF came out, the reformed apologist James White wrote a book titled "The Potter's Freedom". This book echoed some of the more widely held criticisms of Geisler's position and capitalized on the "strangeness" of the views presented in CBF. In this series of blog posts, I will not be responding to Geisler. This is not because I necessarily agree with him on every point; it's simply that I want to focus on White's work.
In this blog post, I want to focus on what White calls "The Vital Issue." According to White, there is a criterion that serves to delineate between the "supernatural religion of Christianity" and the "man-centered religions that surround us." This delineation has to do with whether or not you think the work of salvation is "perfectly accomplished by God for His own glory" or it "is dependent upon man's cooperation and assistance."
In short, the delineation is between monergism and synergism along with "The truth of predestination (God's freedom) and man's depravity (his will in bondage)." White claims that you cannot truly be reformed apart from upholding sola fide AND the truth of God's absolute freedom AND man's bondage in sin. He spends a good deal of time juxtaposing Calvinism with what he calls man centered religions. The implication here is that Geisler's position (along with pretty much anyone who is not in line with his brand of Calvinism) is not truly Calvinistic and is therefore a man-centered religion.