Media

Thank you to all who made the debate possible. For updated information on the video of this debate and post debate commentary from Leighton Flowers: CLICK HERE

For more information on the non-Calvinistic interpretation of Romans 9 and related material consider this resource:

3d copy potter's promise copy

Below is a lecture by Professor Leighton Flowers clearly explaining the differences between Southern Baptist Traditionalism and 5-Point Calvinism (TULIP):

 

 

44 thoughts on “Media

  1. Tell the audience it’s a BYOB event and they should drink every time White says “traditions of men”, “synergism”, and “sovereignty”. Seriously, keep White on topic. He has a debating habit of throwing up smoke screen proof-texts to avoid exegeting the verse or passage at hand.

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      1. That was a quick response! Thanks, look forward to it. I am on the Reformed side so I know you and I disagree, however, I love reading some of your writing because you practice our disagreement with honor and care and that is hard to find sometimes. Thank you for your ministry.

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  2. I would like Mr. Flowers to consider to ask this question to James White. James White believes that all things that come to pass, do so by the decree of God. So, if I am to believe this, that means, that I, as a believer, if I yield to temptation, and sin, THAT I HAD TO DO IT. According to James White’s view of how God knows the future, James can only conclude that God must micromanage every action of everyone everywhere. So, returning to my question…after I yield to temptation, as a believer (I am free from sin…I am not bound to sin anymore)….now I look back at my grievous sin….but, according to James White, I must believe, “well, I HAD to do it…it was God’s decree”.
    So, how can I feel true remorse? How can I be sorry for my sin? See? I think this question NEEDS to be asked to those who think God decrees everything that comes to pass. I asked this question of James’ sidekick Rich and he hung up on me and blocked my phone number from calling into the Dividing Line.
    PS-I DO BELIEVE THAT GOD CHOOSES IN SALVATION, THAT HE MADE HIS CHOICES BEFORE THE WORLD WAS MADE, THAT HE GAVE THE GRACE OF CHRIST TO ALL HIS ELECT BEFORE THE WORLD WAS MADE, THAT CHRIST DIED FOR HIS ELECT ALONE, THAT ALL MANKIND, APART FROM THE EFFECTUAL CALL WOULD NEVER COME TO CHRIST AND BELIEVE ON HIM, NO NOT ONE, THAT BELIEVING IS ACCORDING TO THE RESURRECTION POWER OF CHRIST, THAT GOD’S CALLING UNTO SALVATION IS ABSOLUTELY EFFECTUAL UPON ALL TO WHOM IT IS GIVEN, THE DOCTRINE OF REPROBATION, AND THAT THOSE WHO GENUINELY HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE WILL NEVER PERISH (BUT CAN LOSE REWARD, AND MAYBE HAVE THEIR LIVES TAKEN EARLY IN ORDER TO SAVE THEIR SOUL.

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  3. I watched James white’s video wherein he calls Prof Flowers a one stringed Banjo, and then goes on to say that he is not worthy of response, due to his one note, anti-Calvinism.
    Well, does Dr White become above it all because HE debates Muslims and Mormons and Roman Catholics and so on and so forth?
    Seemed pretty much the braggart in that one is not worthy of him unless he has reached the level of activity HE has.
    Sounded a lot like the Pharisee saying how humble he was an how much better than the publican.
    So what if one person ONLY goes after Calvinism?
    No rule exists that states one MUST grant attention to other things!

    In the end, I have spent hundreds of hours watching James white debates and his most sloppy work, awful, if I HAD to quantify it,

    I have spent a lot of time in topical study and have found that not one, exclusively calvinistic doctrine is actually Biblical!
    Not one!
    I would Debate DOCTOR White, but I am not even a Banjo!

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  4. Can I ask why in the world you wouldn’t stream this? With all of our modern technology and the level of interest among those in the body of Christ who are paying attention to the issues of the day, it seems almost inconceivable that a debate between scholarly men of this caliber take place and it not be made available live. Add to that the fact that it’s taking place at one of the foremost seminaries in the country and it just staggers the imagination. I don’t mean to criticize harshly, but I just can’t figure out why a debate with Dr. White that took place in Britain was able to be broadcast live and this one isn’t.

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  5. My mistake, I just realized that it isn’t being held a DTBS. I still wish it were being streamed, though. It is really a pleasure to see highly qualified men handle the Word.

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  6. Hi. I am a latecomer to this. I just finished watching the debate. I have also read the book – the debate between Dr. White and Dave Hunt. I too have Calvinist friends and they are good friends. Frankly, Calvinism has become a sort of catalyst to push me deeper into God’s Word and for that I am thankful and grateful for the growth I have experienced. But I have several observations that I will offer here, both from inside the debate and overall in my studies: 1. My first impression of Dr. White, when I read the book (Hunt and White) – and I read it twice or more, and I read reviews of others prior to reading it just out of curiosity – was that it was an interesting phenomenon to me that if you looked at all of the footnotes in the entire book, you will come away being very impressed of the many, many times Hunt appealed to the Word, the text (but White over and over again would accuse him of eisegesis of course), whereas White, in his footnotes, would quote historical contexts, himself, and other favorite writers, and occasionally the Scriptures, (but of course, he believes he is properly exegeting the text). Seemed a little backwards to me. 2. If you only had the text, which is all we need, plus our main teacher, the Holy Spirit… one would NEVER even come up with the concepts involved in Calvinism, let alone the ‘5 points.’ 3. Calvinism didn’t even exist as a ‘system’ until the 5th century – hello! (Thanks Leighton) Hmmm… 4. Any man’s ‘system’ should ALWAYS be inferior to the text, ALWAYS a step below the text in authority. If God wanted us to preach, believe, and teach Calvinism (or any ‘system’ for that matter), then He would have made sure it was codified and inspired. It isn’t. Period. 5. Specifically, in this debate, White continually criticized Flowers for ‘not staying in Romans 9,’ but here’s the thing that I wished would have come out. Romans 9 is a top dog proof text for the Calvinist – you know why? Because you MUST put that chapter in the ‘context’ of the entire Bible, or you are very susceptible to interpretation errors, since it is such a troublesome text. So if you succumb to White’s argument (stay only in Romans 9), you have already lost the debate. Leighton was correct in his approach, as he took a very difficult, confusing text and used the rest of Scripture to properly approach it and then interpret it. The Calvinists get in trouble because they elevate relatively few verses over other equally authoritative texts and over the whole context (the whole Bible) and claim to be doing proper exegesis, when they really are not, because they MUST take those relatively few verses out of the context of the entire body of Scripture. The text of Scripture MUST trump all else, or the text is not authoritative – your opinion is, or Augustine is, or whomever. 6. I notice that Calvinists consistently revert to one of what seems to be their favorite trump cards – ‘well, Mr. Flowers just doesn’t understand this or that.’ Leighton was saying that he didn’t understand it, because it wasn’t logically understandable, not that Leighton was incapable of doing so. Btw, if LF can’t understand it, then that one point would logically condemn such a system wouldn’t it, as Leighton is doctorate material, and I think to accuse such a man of ‘you just don’t understand’ – is silly and an intellectual cop-out. I get the impression that White is trying very hard to defend a ‘system’ rather than the truth. A truth-seeker follows many uncertain paths in his/her quest to find the truth, sometimes has to backtrack, and apologize, but always presses forward, and compares everything to the TEXT, not to the ‘SYSTEM’ to verify truthfulness and accuracy (Bereans). God Bless…

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  7. i came across your website today and want to thank you for it. Calvinists’ minds have been taken over by their systematic theology and now read the Bible through that lens. I have found it very difficult to get through that mind set. The simple gospel is no longer accepted because it doesn’t fit. Very sad really. Part of being a calvinist is the acceptance of straw man caricatures of non-calvinists, ie. semi-pelagian, humanist, synergyst, free-willies, or just plain stupid! In other words, in unflattering terms. I was in a church in which the pastor wanted us all to become calvinists. He regularly used non-calvinists as his punching bag on a Sunday morning. After several months of this he managed to have most people gladly flee their previous views and run into the calvinist camp as if they were fleeing from a bad virus. I’ll never forget the morning that he mocked Jesus himself! He actually mimicked his voice with a high sounding feminine sound to make fun of him standing outside the door of someone’s heart asking to come in. Jesus would never do that…He is sovereign, he said. He doesn’t knock! Who are we to think that! This man could not see that he was guilty of criticizing the Lord, Himself, and His Word. Blatant blindness. Needless to say our family left, but most were won over and are ardent calvinists and anti-free willies now!

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  8. Hi Prof Flowers. I’m an ex-semi-pelegian turned calvinist (legit original sin denying semi-pelegian like Charles Finney). I have been giving serious thought into Arminianism lately. Trying to convince myself of it but am failing. I have worked through most objections i have of calvinism (some which even you object to). So i dont view God as the cause of sin or see the problem with God passing over some…damning them (grace is not owed to all by virtue of being grace). God could justly save no-one. I don’t see mankind as the victim of predestination because i see humanity’s slavery to sin as a result of the fall. I believe adam before he sinned had perfect free will as any Arminian would define it. But after the fall it is enslaved to sin. Not just him but his posterity. This to me eliminates any liability on Gods part. From fallen mankind he elects a people to graciously save and damn the rest who actually deserve damning for the demonstration of his justice for his ultimate glory. I still see no issue with that and that is what Romans 9 seems to be plainly teaching.

    If a pedophile enslaved to his sin molests 100 kids in his life – despite his slavery to his depravity – both you and i would not object to his just damnation. He may argue like Paul said “God why have you made me thus” but the answer is he permitted rather than caused both his sin nature (via Adam) and the outworkings of sin to eventually destroy him in righteous judgment.

    Now from the pedophiles point of view, was he coerced into commiting depraved acts? No. He was doing what he wanted to do. Slavery to sin from Adam is primarily desire. A persons desires are enslaved and they will act according to their desires until God changes their heart. I can’t see how a pedophile would one day just choose to overcome his depravity and seek God in and of himself. Thats semi-pelegian thinking. The very thing i once endorsed. Only God could change such a sick beast. I say pedophile because i think thats the vilest possible sin.

    Now i want to see romans 9 from your perspective. I thought like White said, that you didn’t stick to that passage enough in the debate. I also wish White addressed more of your arguments about the nature of man rather than attacking your methodology. Sure methodology could be addressed but the topics could have been addressed more thoroughly. I listened to the debate really wanting to be convinced of your side but your objections to calvinism i just dont see. That doesnt mean calvinism isn’t wrong. Im open to that. Im just not closed to calvinism being correct either.

    The two systems from my perspective seem to be close enough to result in the same thing. Omniscience necessitates absolute foreknowledge. And absolute foreknowledge may as well be determinism. Especially from a molonistic arminian perspective. One slight change of a variable resulting in an entirely different universe. God could make this adjustments in his mind before creation and create the world and its history exactly how he wants it. Which to me is basic determinism via seconary measures. Soft determinism.

    This is close to how my mind processes calvinism. Except in calvinism total inability/depravity means man will always act selfishly enslaved to his sinful propensities. Even in neutral matters a person is violating the first and greatest command to love God with everything if they do not know or acknowledge Him. This will continue until God regenerates him. And even then we still fight the flesh and temptation daily until death.

    I cant comprehend any person comming to God of their own accord due to being enslaved to their nature. To me…coming from my previously held semi-pelegian thought i could. But once you admit original sin it makes no sense. Even with what arminians call previent grace i still see no difference. Why? Because if all men receive this grace and only a handful come to saving faith – the difference between men is not the grace (this becomes immaterial) rather their individual constitution. Eg. Personality, upbringing, birth location, family, time period they were born into. All of these things the bible paints God as the author of. It seems to me 1 cor 1 makes the argument that it is by grace and election as ” not many of you are wise or noble etc” because it pleased God to save the weak and bting to nothing those that thought they were something. To me i cant read that without a calvinistic perspective. Man doesn’t choose God…God chooses the man.

    I would like to believe in Arminianism because i recall how nice it was to believe that God really wanted to save everyone and that was His top priority from love. The calvinist views God as acting primarily for his Glory and his love is a mere subset of that glory. Justice and wrath being just as important. That said…i just cant get Romans 9 or 1 Cor 1 from an Arminian perspective. I want to. But it seems intellectually dishonest to the text to me. Can u help me?

    Also when u were a calvinist did u always have doubts about it? Or were u convinced of it at some point with no queries. Because i really dont have quams or queries. Its just tough.

    Please poke holes in my thought process. I cant find good arminian rebuttals or explainations.

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    1. Hi Aaron,
      We do nothing in salvation except choose to believe in Christ as our Savior. When God created the human race, He gave each of us the freedom to make our own decisions. God never forces anyone to do His will. We can choose for Him, which is positive volition, or we can choose against Him, which is negative volition. We must choose to believe in Christ as our Savior (acts 16:1).

      Salvation only takes a second, and in that second we are given eternal life – the moment each of us decides that we need a Savior, that Christ is the true Savior, and that He died for us personally, in that moment of faith we receive Christ as our personal Savior. Salvation takes place in just a second, in an instant, in a moment of faith. it’s that quick because Jesus Christ on the Cross already did all of the work! Nothing remains to be done except for us to believe. The instant that we do believe, God brings us into an eternal relationship with Him. In that single, simple moment of believe, we pass from spiritual death to eternal life (John5:4).

      And no matter how often we as Christians fail, we can never lose our salvation. When we as Christians fail God and fail spiritually, it’s because we have unconfessed sin in our life but we are still saved (John10:8)!

      God is always fair and He gives EVERYONE (sic!) every opportunity to be saved. Every person who has ever lived has been given equal opportunity to accept Christ as his Savior.The exceptions are those who are mentally handicapped or those who die too young to understand the concept of salvation. Because God is fair and always treats us in grace, these people automatically go to heaven when they die. For all of the rest of us who have the mental ability to understand salvation, God always makes us aware that He exists so that WE can choose to be saved if we wished. At one point in our lives we will recognize that God exists. If WE reject God at that point, God knows that getting the Gospel to us would do no good. However, if we are positive toward God, if we want to learn more about Him, God will make sure that the Gospel is presented to us – and in our own language so that we can understand it perfectly! Even people of the remotest jungles have equal opportunity to learn about God and to be saved. God wants EVERYONE to spend eternity with Him in heaven (2Peter3:9).
      God will never force anyone to believe, but He did the work of salvation foe EVERYONE, but the gift of salvation is ours IF we accept it.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Franseen said everything I wish I had known how to say. Very well put!

    I get the sense that White hides behind the word “exegesis”. Flowers is getting at the heart of the issue, into the personal, tender heart of God–as seen in the whole of scripture–and not just talking about it, but demonstrating it! Passion is good. White seems to want to avoid that–“just exegete Romans 9”. But I only watched the first hour and 10 minutes. I’ll watch the rest tomorrow🙂

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  10. Hello. I have just recently came out of the theology of Calvinism. I was wondering if you could recommend to me some commentaries on romans that agrees with your view points. Thanks for your recent book from amazon, The Potters Promise.”
    Wade Hurst

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  11. For all who would like to see Professor Flowers refuted soundly on his method of interpretation should be used used in explaining Romans 9, see Rich Pierce’s 3 part series over at Dr. James White’s Alpha and Omega site. Link below.

    http://www.aomin.org/

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      1. I know I have listened to at least one of them and was not convinced. You seem to really be reaching Professor Flowers. Rich makes really strong arguments against you. Stay within the context of Romans 9 and see what it is saying first before you start going all over the bible and importing other scriptures. You also have to see if those others scriptures have any illumination towards Romans 9 whatsoever, something you did not do in the debate. God bless my brother in Christ.

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      2. Why will you not post the “Messianic Secret Motif Theory of 1901, which also contains an article that in my opinion clear and soundly refutes this man-made-centered-doctrine?

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      3. I know I have listened to something where you have refuted Rich, it just did not hold water Professor Flowers. Rich’s argument and case is not perfect (nobody’s is) but strong and convincing to anyone willing to listen to all three Parts over at Dr. James White’s Ministry.

        http://www.aomin.org/

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      4. Dr. Flowers, cannot find your second podcast on refuting Rich’s arguments. Can you help. Blessings

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  12. I had to comment on this one:

    “I know I have listened to at least one of them and was not convinced. You seem to really be reaching Professor Flowers. Rich makes really strong arguments against you. Stay within the context of Romans 9 and see what it is saying first before you start going all over the bible and importing other scriptures. You also have to see if those others scriptures have any illumination towards Romans 9 whatsoever, something you did not do in the debate. God bless my brother in Christ.”

    No, you DON’T stay in the context of Romans 9 – if you do, you will end up in doctrinal error. That is because you CAN’T stay in that text only. For instance, there are very clear and obvious references to other texts in the Bible – how can anyone argue that point? To Jacob and Esau for one. Rom 9 doesn’t by any stretch give you the full context for these 2 men. There are many more. Another example is that there are 400 verses in Revelation and over 800 references to the rest of the Bible. How can any novice possibly properly interpret Rev without considering the ‘whole’ text? They can, but they are very susceptible to doctrinal error in so doing. If you believe that the ‘entire’ text is ‘God-breathed,’ which I do, then you MUST incorporate the entire text in your hermeneutical approach. Sure, you have to consider the immediate text – it obviously carries weight, but since Romans 9 is so problematic on both sides, especially when you consider the rest of the authoritative text/context (entire Bible), you can only clarify what that chapter is saying by doing so. No other way. There HAS to be illumination by definition in the rest of of the body of Scripture or Rom 9 means very little and therefore carries little weight.

    Thus, I would say that Dr. White and others like you only succeed in your interpretation by staying ‘only’ in Romans 9. Dr. Flowers is exactly right in his approach and therefore he makes a stronger case by virtue of that fact alone. If you stay only within the Rom 9 text, you MUST rely on your own skills as an interpreter, which then place your reason and logic above the authoritative text of the entire Bible. I say that, because Rom 9 doesn’t interpret itself as some other passages do – therefore interpretation must take place. “No Scripture is of any private interpretation.” You have no Biblical authority to privately interpret this passage the way you do. A person is not being doctrinally sound if they stay in Rom 9. Either you rely on the rest of Scripture or you rely on your own reason and logic, a major error that my Calvinist brethren make when it comes to their favorite proof texts. I trust that my Calvinist friends will seriously consider this important point.

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  13. I would also add that the issue here should not be ‘who won the debate,’ That is such a secular approach and God certainly doesn’t condone it in His Word in my humble opinion. That’s why i appreciate the fact that Dr. Flowers has said over and over, ‘I am not concerned nor am I trying to win this or that debate – I only want the truth.’ He is so correct in this regard. To believe otherwise I would suggest, would be man-centered, wouldn’t it? (who is the most skillful) it should rather be, ‘whose hermeneutic is correct and more likely to be arriving at the truth.’ It doesn’t mean that Dr. Flowers is necessarily right – though I believe he is, but it does mean that Dr. White is clearly wrong in his approach. You can’t take such a pragmatic approach to interpreting Rom 9 and not be ‘handling the Word of God with [possible] deceit’. We all must ‘rightly divide the Word of Truth’ – there is no other option. When someone stays in a text that MUST be interpreted by other texts and imposes his or her private interpretation on it, that person may get it right or may get it wrong, but they are not being checked by the rest of the body of Scripture and they are also ‘privately’ interpreting it – a potentially risky thing to do. If the person privately interprets it and gets it right, it puffs up. If they get it wrong, it becomes easy to defend ONLY if they can force others into their mold of staying in the immediate context and following their own logic. Otherwise, it totally falls apart, which is the case here…

    Lastly, I would make one more point. Dr. Michael Heiser in his book, The Unseen Realm, correctly observes when he says under ‘Obstacles and Protocols’ early on, ‘The proper context for interpreting the Bible is not Augustine or any other church father. It is not the Catholic Church. It is not the rabbinic movements of late antiquity and the Middle Ages. It is not the Reformation or the Puritans. It is not the modern world at all, or any period of its history. The proper context for interpreting the Bible is the context of the biblical writers – the context that produced the Bible. Every other context is alien to the biblical writers, and therefore, to the Bible. Yet there is a pervasive tendency in the believing Church to filter the Bible through creeds, confessions, and denominational preferences,’

    I think Dr. Heiser is right on🙂. Calvin/Augustine doctrinal teachings (and other teachings as well) have only obtained a foothold in the modern US church today because the Church asked the wrong questions in this regard at the outset and then accepted the wrong premises. It went downhill from there in my opinion. Thus, now we argue with one another on the basis of who is more skillful rather than whose hermeneutic is correct.

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  14. No one is asserting who one the debate, don’t know where you got that from, we all want to be glorified and the truth known brother….right? You cannot see the heart of James White or me so to assert we are just wanting “win a debate” is not true. God bless and good posts from above. Pray for me if I am in error.

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    1. My apologies on the comment on ‘winning the debate’ – it was not an observation I had from this particular page/blog. It was a general comment on the tendency of many on either side to focus on technique vs truth, kind of a disclaimer. However, it was also a personal comment on the debate I watched earlier this year – White vs Flowers – where Dr. White seemed to focus on technique instead of a sincere attempt to arrive at the truth. You may disagree and I could be wrong and that is only my opinion. Otherwise I wholeheartedly agree with you – I seek the truth, yes. I insist that the stamp of the Holy Spirit be present, but beyond that I don’t care what other name may be attached. I am glad to hear that response from you sir… God bless.

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  15. That’s ok brother, no problems, I know I have made comments i wish i have not. Leighton carries himself in a very Christlike character and it has affected and changed me to tone it down and be more gracious.. I may seem a little firm sometime but in know way am I attacking anyone personally. God forbid. You are my brothers in Christ.

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  16. Brother, I think you did a really good job. There were a couple of moments where Dr. White just didn’t seem to have an answer other than to be seemingly miffed that you were winning because you weren’t playing by his rules.
    Thank exalting the LORD and HIS sovereign plan.

    Liked by 1 person

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