My impressions of the debate in progress
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darin-houston



Joined: 05 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Was the format agreed to by both parties in advance? Did they then upon agreement adjust the time period to 12 minute intervals in advance? Was there ever any ground rules for the exchange of yes/no type questions?


My understanding was that they agreed to let each other use their time allotments to do what they wanted with them -- put their positive case forward, answer questions, or have a q/a exchange -- I didn't hear anything specifically permitting yes/no questions, but that's pretty standard debate fare in my opinion -- if you think you got a raw deal or need time to explain, you take notes and use your own time to respond or elaborate. I can't imagine a debate question where one would have the time to clarify and respond perfectly to avoid the loaded questions unless you own the floor. My initial opinion was that Dr. White was merely doing what he does well -- using debate tactics and rhetoric to burn time and to try as hard as he could to avoid that difficult situation during Steve's round. However, when he responded with the shock and amazement and criticism afterwards, I would have to think now that he truly was taken aback and maybe wasn't using a tactic.

I do think his criticism that Steve was using inappropriate "tag lines" after his questions was ridiculous. After q/a, it's not uncommon to characterize and comment on what you think are the consequences attributable to the answer. That's what your rebuttal time is usually for (or own free time).

I think the biggest problem here was not having official rules and specific topics for each day. After the live debate was cancelled and communication wasn't all that great, it just sort of "happened," and even Dr. White before the debate mentioned he had done no preparation and was going to "wing it."

I noticed Dr. White commented on this forum's "behavior" in his post-debate closing comments (and if I remember correctly, during the debate).

I find it amazing that such a truly brilliant man can see our forum exchanges in such a way. I just don't understand how some people can see black as white. It makes me wonder if I am susceptible to the same error at times.
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Steve



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Troy wrote:

"In light of your explanations given in this thread on Romans 9, can you tell if you see any relevant passages to Romans 9 in Galatians 4?"

Absolutely! Especially the discussion of Isaac and Ishmael at the end of Galatians 4. These two chapters (Romans 9 and Galatians 4) are the two places where Paul distinguishes between different categories of Abraham's offspring as "children of promise" and "children of the flesh."

Of course, the the imagery is different, and Paul takes separate routes in the two passages, but arrives at the same conclusion in both, viz, that the Jews (and Gentiles) who are in Christ are the branch of Abraham's family that is to inherit the promises, while others, who have only physical descent to tie them to Abraham, are left out in the cold.

The interesting difference in Paul's two approaches is that, in Galatians 4, the two branches of Abraham's family are typified in Isaac and Ishmael (with their respective mothers representing the old and new covenants), whereas, in Romans 9 (written later, and possibly representing a further development in his thinking), Paul saw Jacob and Esau (a generation later than Isaac and Ishmael) as the desirable men to use as prototypes. This substitution allowed him to utilize the statements in Genesis 25:23 and Malachi 1:2-3 to underscore the stark distinction between the destinies of the two respective branches of the family.
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darin-houston



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
2. "If Mr. Gregg wishes to seek to overthrow the testimony of Scripture to the universal sinfulness of man, let him make his case. I will respond."

This is a mischaracterization of the issue in question. The question was, "who is Paul talking about in Romans chapter one, all men or "those who suppress the truth in unrighteousness"? I am uaware of any Arminian who does not believe in the universal sinfulness of mankind. (Rom 3:23, Rom 5:12)


And I think he made this pretty clear.
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darin-houston



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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when it finally got off the ground Gregg stopped and asked White mid-way through this opening segment a question and then cut the man off in mid-sentence when he didn’t like what he was hearing, at least it appeared that way to me.


It was his time -- if you don't control your own time, you lose it -- Dr. White was merely repeating what he had said yesterday -- it seemed like a time grab to do that to me.
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Sean



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 1:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PaulT wrote:
The way I recall it that each participant had agreed to an allotted time to make his case, with the other following up for the same specified time. Initially White presented his positive Case for a couple of day’s Gregg really never got around to his. Their appeared to be confusion over who ended yesterday and therefore who was to start today, when it finally got off the ground Gregg stopped and asked White mid-way through this opening segment a question and then cut the man off in mid-sentence when he didn’t like what he was hearing, at least it appeared that way to me. This seemed flat out rude to me. I’m amazed your amazed one would object to “editorializing” his position when ground rules for set exchange had not been agreed to in advance. What assurance would the respondent have of clarifying his position, correct the record or pointing out the logical fallacies incorporated in said editorial? As it was Gregg was talking over White. I find it interesting that Greg at this late hour has changed his tactic. He has yet to present a positive case for why one should buy his view, (surely his 6 verse expose covered in one 12 minute segment is not his positive case) and now instead of addressing Whites questions goes on the attack in the manner he chose to use today? No doubt we all allow our bias at times to shade our views, and evaluations of what transpires, but cutting another off is really not a matter of debate, no pun intended.

PaulT


Interesting observation. It was stated several times that each person could use their time how they wished, this included two-way communication.

I thought the exchange was very informative. James White refused to answer Steve's question about what the text states in Romans 1. Why? He would then have to admit he's carrying the meaning from a later part of Romans to decide the true meaning of Romans 1. He did admit to this somewhat (Romans 1-3 stand together) but what I think James White is not seeing is that this is exactly what the Arminian does with Romans 8 and Romans 9. We don't read these in a vacuum, do we? The Calvinist reads Romans 8-9 and says they have made their "positive case". But what Steve have shown on this latest broadcast (using Romans 1 as an example) is that you can't make a postive case that sticks by proof texting. There are limiting factors in Romans 8-9 found in the same context, Romans chapters 10-11. Just as there may very well be limiting factors to Romans 1 found in chapters 2-3. James reads part of Romans 8 (the golden chain) and Romans 9 and thinks this is convincing. When Steve tries to do the same thing with Romans 1 (that is, make a case by pure exegesis), James suddenly says we can't exegete this text without bringing in information from the greater context. I agree! We need to do this with all the Calvinist proof texts. If your a Calvinist, after you read chapter 9, keep reading! Chapters 10-11 have Paul stating that the non-elect, cast-off, vessels of dishonor can be gafted back on! Paul is still attempting to reach them, hoping they will be envious of the Gentiles savlation! Why would Paul do this if it will do no good prior to regeneration? They would not have ears to hear Paul, so we are told. The truth is they can be grafted in again, by the limiting factor of faith. They can also be cut-off again.

Peace,
Sean
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darin-houston



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why is it that people are surprised that in a debate one would want to control the interaction with the opponent and retain his time for his own purposes?

I am no expert on debate, but one of the most fundamental aspects of cross-examination is to use your opponent's expert (or the opponent himself) to prove your case. The goal is for the other view to better understand your own position, and cross-examination is one of those tools to do just that. It is also fundamental to carefully control the conversation. In a court of law, you are even expected to ask - yes - leading questions (which are by definition, yes/no questions). The rules of procedure otherwise consider such questions inappropriate. The very purpose of cross-examination is to allow such questions. It is up to the opponent to make his own case or to rebut the assumptions that come from those yes/no questions in his own time.

This is so fundamental that I hardly see the need to explain it, but it has been repeated a number of times.

You may find this essay interesting (from University of Vermont's Debate Center).

Quote:
excerpt from http://debate.uvm.edu/NFL/rostrumlib/LDMcCradynew.pdf...
Cross Examination: Where the Battle’s Lost and Won
By Rusty McCrady
***
As one judge put it, the examinee has the right to ignore the request for yes/no answers; another judge said that it is the examinee’s duty to “sneak in more information to support their case, just as the other side should try to stop them.” Most of the respondents went on to state that the key here is for the examinee to elaborate briefly beyond the “mandated” yes/no limit, and to do so courteously and with relevant information (i.e., NOT with the intent to filibuster and take
up the opponent’s valuable time for questioning). Thus the other extreme—students giving long-winded, vacuous responses just to rob the opponent of time—was seen, especially by the judges, as equally obnoxious as the dictatorial demand for yes/no responses.
***
Interestingly, both judges and debaters responded that they enjoy the tension created by the examiner’s push to get answers to all questions, versus the examinee’s desire to elaborate at length, and even to use up the examiner’s precious minutes by expounding at much greater length than is necessary. Virtually all experienced debaters and judges seemed to acknowledge that the pressure thus created is both inevitable and acceptable as simply one aspect of competition. In other words, skillful debaters know that the opponent will try to take over the cross ex. period through making his/her own points or even filibustering, and they also acknowledge that part of the job of the examiner is to prevent this from happening! All’s fair in love and debate.
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Homer



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PaulT wrote:

Quote:
from what I gather his view is that “there are none righteous no not one and that there is none that understands there is none that seeks after” is hyperbole,


There is no need to see it as hyperbole. It simply says that the natural man does not persistently seek God, not that he cannot, at a point in time, seek God.

My impression was that Dr. White's answer to Steve regarding Romans 1 and total depravity was not pertinent. I think we can all agree that all are sinners and need a Savior. This does not show, or even imply, the Calvinist doctrine of total depravity.
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PAULESPINO



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PaulT, do you read the bible in greek or in english?
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darin-houston



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Surely you jest, at point 15.09 of this run of the debate, http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/ Gregg comments that White's Greek doesn't make a difference to the text and then asks him if he wants to comment on his observation. Gregg's question opened up the discussion from the prior day because of his rendition coupled with the claim the Greek didn't matter, and then asked White to specifically comment on his view. Gregg opened the door and then when it was going to get difficult rudely shut it, If you don't want to hear the reply why ask the question?


I don't remember the exact details all that well, but I recall the question he was being asked was a pretty simple one that didn't require reference to anything beyond the question at hand, but then I'm a simple man.

I got to hear a bit of today's (and will listening later this evening I hope), and if it was all in the vein of the part I heard, I could have used 5 days of it (at least following an affirmative position statement). It is very clarifying when people can stay on discrete topics and respond to the inquiries without fillibuster or elaborate exposition.
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darin-houston



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I'm not sure it matters at this point, but what you raise is exactly my point.


I will agree with you on this much -- after listening to the rest of the day's audio today, it would have been good to have had more concrete rules and a format for the whole debate. Again, 5 days of this would have been very interesting.

It's unfortunate, since it was sort of a middle ground between the formal contemplated in-person debate and the guest-host type of conversation that also would have been interesting. That middle ground where it is flexible within your own time allotment just didn't work out well, as it led to too much "ambiguity" (sorry, couldn't resist) as to the expectations.
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Sean



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PaulT wrote:
White refused to answer or did he withdraw when he was spoken over and not given the opportunity to answer? Are you suggesting that in Gregg’s 1st segment yesterday when after inviting White to comment, and then cut him off in mid-sentence is a reasonable standard to expect? 2 way conversation entails cutting one off? Limiting factors? Perhaps you are referring to the method Gregg sprung on White to derive the hoped for answer?

Did not Gregg admit chapters 1,2 & 3 are structured to provide a single argument? I’ve listened to Gregg’s commentary on Romans 3 and haven’t had the chance to ask the question, but from what I gather his view is that “there are none righteous no not one and that there is none that understands there is none that seeks after” is hyperbole, which may or may not come from his view of Ro 1 in isolation but the mere fact that he admits the 3 chapters are to be viewed as one argument building in climax would seem now to suggest perhaps I misunderstood when I listened to the tape. I’m not sure of your conclusion that Gregg’s commentary in later chapters is similar to how White draws the conclusion that Ro 1 is an indictment of all man, do you have a for instance. Frankly, unlike you I’m not sure I understand that White necessarily relies on chapter 3 to determine chapter 1 regards all mankind. White indicated chapter 3 played a part but was cut-off and not allowed to provide a complete answer therefore I wouldn’t want to jump to conclusions that Whites entire basis for Rom 1:18 is hinged on Rom 3. How can you be so sure of Whites reason for not answering, do you have a predisposed agenda? Nevertheless the 1st 3 chapters provide a singular argument which would seem to mitigate against your charge that White is using eisegesis in Ro 1 even if he were basing his entire position on that which is found in Ro 3, at least based on my understand of what eisegesis means. I don’t follow your concept of limiting factor, granted the 1st 3 chapters of Ro are focused on setting forth the basis that all men are under commendation, is this an example of the concept of limiting factor? How does this then apply to Ro 8 & 9 or for that matter 10 & 11? Are you suggesting White reads Ro 8, 9 10 & 11 in a vacuum? From what I gather White sees these chapters building upon one another with an explanation for why his fellow brethren don’t believe? The criticism I heard thus far by White of Gregg in bringing in outside material to buttress his view of a passage is fundamentally different than the 1st 3 chapters of Romans entails, because as I said even if the single basis for Whites position of Ro 1:18 were based on Ro 3, the fact the 3 chapters together build a single argument means he is not importing his view on the text but rather recognizing the Apostles argument for what it entails, how is this eisegesis? For example, I believe it was on day 2 regarding John 6 in answer to White Gregg used both John 17 and I think John 5. The problem as I see it and what if I recall correctly White pointed out is that the 2 chapters Gregg used to comment on John 6 are referring to different subjects than what John 6 is referring. John 17 is a prayer for all believers, John 5 is a condemnation for non believers, however John 6 is about how do men believe. Gregg provided the 2 texts which indicates believers believe and non believers don’t believe, I believe that all parties involved would agree for the most part what visibly separates believers from nonbelievers is belief however the point of John 6 is what if anything enables unbelievers to believe. Gregg begged this question and attempted to limit John 6 by this begged question, which would seem to me is an example of eisegesis.

Thank you for your thoughts,

PaulT


I think you missed my point. Oh, well. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Confused
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darin-houston



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 5:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've now listened to all of the last debate. It was excellent, though I have an observation that I want to mention (and I mean nothing ad hominem - it's just a general observation about Dr. White's approach and most others I've heard).

Apart from the erudite usage of greek and the focus on the grammar above all else, it strikes me that at the very core of the Calvinist argument is an appeal to philosophical presuppositions. This is very odd since that is the key criticism they make against the non-Calvinist position. I believe this was wrong at the core from Augustine onward. In many of Dr. White's arguments, he ended up saying something like "we know we can't believe X because that would mean we have to believe Y about God." Often these relate to our understanding of one of the "omni-s about God." While I don't deny most of them in any measure, our understanding of them must take second position to the text (again, ironic considering their profession of sola scriptura). At their core, our understanding of them are derivative positions based on philosophical understandings or logical derivation from a number of (yes - sometimes ambiguous or paradoxical) teachings.

I'm no Open Theist, and that is the common charge against non-Calvinists, but I place my philosophy also in subjection to Scripture, and I'm not sure they do.
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Sean



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 6:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

darin-houston wrote:

I'm no Open Theist, and that is the common charge against non-Calvinists, but I place my philosophy also in subjection to Scripture, and I'm not sure they do.


I was hoping for something more from James on this issue, but is seems that all the Calvinist who bring up the Arminian view of God's foreknowledge cannot seem to comprehend it, so they simply equate it with open theism.

Is it so hard to grasp the idea that Paul had the choice to not be an apostle, but God called him to be an apostle because He knew the choice Paul would make from the foundation of the world? Paul had a choice, God foreknew the result of Paul's choice and knew the appearance of Christ to him would be enough to convince him. So God didn't need a "plan B" if Paul would have said so, because God knew he wouldn't say no.
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Rick_C



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not a Calvinist nor an Arminian.
(And please don't mistake me for a "Cal-Minian"), Wink

Re: the Arminian belief that "election is based on foreknowledge"
This is a weak point in Arminianism, imo. When I used to believe you "had" to be either Arminian or Calvinist, I considered this view and found it lacking.
(Not that I think the Calvinist (TULIP and the U in it) view is right, btw)....

But since both Calvinism and Arminianism don't actually portray the biblical authors' worldview...though Arminianism is much, much closer, imo...this particular weak point in Arminianism doesn't matter for me.

However, I can see how someone might get attracted to Calvinism on this point. Thanks.
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darin-houston



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
bshow1 wrote:
a) If God foresaw Paul's response, and based His choice on that, then the future is just "out there" and God reacts to it. I don't see how God is thus glorified for how things turn out.


This is one of those appeal to philosophy -- just because we don't see or understand how (since it's not revealed) God is glorified doesn't mean it negates the position. It may well be that our choices based on our free will would glorify Him more than His decrees, isn't that possible?

I'm glad to have a few Calvinists joining us -- I have a position I've been reflecting on which I haven't been able to get a Calvinist to consider. This is not a rhetorical question and I have nothing I'm trying to prove by asking it. It's a serious question I'd like to know the answer to since I truly believe there must be some unifying principle here we're all missing -- too many well-intended thoughtful Christians have debated this for there not to be some fundamentally flawed presupposition both positions are operating under (unless one is correct, of course, and the other wrong Wink ).

Is there anything in your worldview or exegesis that would permit a class of people to whom God did elect individually to salvation (perhaps someone like Paul or others in God's master plan) with an irrestible measure of grace, and then a second class of people (everyone else) to whom God provided a prevenient sufficient yet resistable measure of grace, with some of those flagrantly disregarding that grace in sufficient measure that God ultimatelly hardened their hearts against belief?

The whole "God can't not know anything" omniscience argument has never been compelling to me -- first, we assume a lot philosophically about God's essential nature when the concept of infinity is even something we can't grapple with -- second, God was certainly able in His good pleasure to veil His glory and omniscience in the person of Christ; who's to say it doesn't please and glorify Him to do so in the person of the Father in some measure. Isn't it a Calvinist position that suggests God can't be in the presence of Sin or look upon a sinner or the like? Surely, that is in some measure a limitation on God's omni-presence, isn't it?
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