James White vs Bob Enyart on Open Theism on BEL

2017 Update: A reformed theologian with 6,000 posts at TheologyOnline.com wrote, "I sincerely appreciate Rev. Enyart and his team for hosting the debates [on open theism against both James White and Matt Slick]. It was a professional effort and went off online without any real hitches. Wonderful job there, Denver Bible Church! At present, the gold standard for live debates with open theists remains White's debate with Bob Enyart."

2019 Update: Separately, we appreciate that same theologian's thanks regarding the Will Duffy/Matt Slick open theism debates: "I sincerely appreciate Rev. Enyart and his team for hosting the debates. It was a professional effort... Wonderful job there, Denver Bible Church!"

* Broadcasting James White's Open Theism Debate: By broadcasting last week's open theism debate between Dr. James White and Pastor Bob Enyart, that event before a live audience of 150 people at Denver's historic Brown Palace hotel will now be heard by many thousands of people via podcast, download, and on-air over America's most powerful Christian radio station, the 50,000-watt AM 670 KLTT. Adding to those efforts at dissemination, the entire debate is available right now over at opentheism.org and on YouTube where the audio and video versions have a combined [in 2017] 40,000 views. We are hoping that thousands more will be edified by this important event. Please pray!

* Shocking Debate Aftermath: This 2-minute video documents the shocking aftermath when R.C. Sproul Jr. and James White in the hours after The Battle at the Palace denied the Incarnation by repeatedly claiming that God the Son did not take upon Himself a human nature:

* Still Six Months Later: James White wrote yet another article on this and six months later, as previously, he again failed to quote himself or R.C. Sproul Jr. in his defense of what they wrote. On his Facebook posting of that criticism of Enyart, Alpha Omega Ministries blocked the question Bob Enyart posed: "James White, do you affirm that the Second Person of the Trinity has both a divine and a human nature?" [.mht archive]

* The Full Debate: Available on Blu-ray or DVD, you can also watch (or listen) to the full debate right here:

* God's Five Attributes: The text of Bob's Five Attributes argument appears in his opening statement transcript at opentheism.org. Here is the debate's colors methodology...

Click to see all four Gospels' yellow verses
Click to see all four Gospels' yellow verses

- The Yellow and Green Verses (Qualitative vs. Quatitative Attributes): At 8:06 into our Open Theism debate with James White, we show highlighted in yellow throughout the four Gospels all the the hundreds of verses that affirm the biblical, qualitative attributes of our everlasting God, that He is living, personal, relational, good, and loving. We compare them to the dearth of verses that might teach the quantitative philosophical attributes of the OMNIs (how much) and IMs (how little).

At opentheism.org see more about the highlighting methodology and about the five verses marked in green. And again, you can see this highlighting in the debate by clicking on the 8:06 link above or the Play button in the video just below. To hear more about the quantitative attributes, you can back up three minutes to 5:07 (or just click Play on the video below). You can see Bob's Quantitative vs. Qualitative Attributes presentation also in Post 1B of his written debate with D. James Kennedy's Knox professor of New Testmanet, Dr. Samuel Lamerson. The quantitative attributes, of how much or how little, include the OMNIs and the IMs impeccability, impassibility, and immutability (which all describe a stone idol unable to sin (or even be tempted), to emote, or to change), and omniscience and omnipotence.

- A Comment: On the Bob Enyart Facebook page, Joseph Matthew on Sept. 18, 2014 wrote to: "Jessica Forever-His, I listened to the debate in its entirety and while I agree with you that the open theist position of a 'God that risks' is wrong, James White did in fact say these things [those in the Aftermath video, above]. Generally speaking he avoided questions and the real issues and only muddied the waters. Bob Enyart pretty much 'won' based on his opening statement and could've remained silent for the rest of the debate and still would have 'won'. Just saying..."

- Valid Definitions for the Quantitative Attributes: While the Bible stresses God's qualitative (living, personal, relational, good, and loving) attributes, biblically consistent definitions for the philosophical quantitative attributes are as follows:
Omniscience: God knows everything knowable that He wants to know.
Omnipresence: God is everywhere that He wants to be.
Omnipotence: God has all power except for that which He has delegated.
Immutability: God cannot change morally (for the worse) and remain our Holy God.
Impeccability: God cannot sin and remain our Holy God.
Impassibility: God has control of His passions.
click for full imageAs for the more technical definition of omnipresence, that all places are present to God, the correct understanding from that perspective is that all places that God wants to be present to Him are present to Him. Regarding presence, the great difference between Creator and creature is that God can be in vastly vastly distant locations simultaneously. (See these definitions at kgov.com/sayings and kgov.com/definitions.)

- The Song and Objections: BEL and RSR theme song artist Tony Funderburk sings and wrote Our God is Living Personal Relational Good and Loving! Thanks Tony! And see below for some objections. (Er, um... not to Tony's singing, but to the five attributes. :)

* Attributes a Glance:

Attributes of God

Settled View

Open View












* Other BEL Radio Programs in this Series:
- James White vs Bob Enyart on Open Theism on BEL (this program)
- White vs Enyart: The Rebuttals
- Enyart Cross-Examines White
- White Cross-Examines Enyart
- Enyart and White Closing Statements
- kgov.com/calvinist (ouch!)
- kgov.com/will-duffy-matt-slick-open-theism-debate
- More of Bob's debates at kgov.com/debates!

* For the Shocking Debate Aftermath Fully Documented: At opentheism.org/james-white.html#aftermath you can read the comments of R.C. Sproul Jr. and James White who both, startlingly, denied that God the Son took upon Himself a human nature. Sproul repeatedly wrote that: "God the Son does not now nor has He ever had two natures." And rather than politely admonishing his friend, James White threw in with R.C. Sproul's shocking denial of Scripture, and even of orthodox and reformed doctrine, by making the new claim that, "God the Son does not have two natures. I did not 'admit' that He did/does/will etc."

* On White's Arguments from Church History: James White began and ended his debate against open theism with an appeal to the doctrinal traditions of church history. However, consider our radio program and brief article, First 300 Years: Christians Taught Free Will. In debating open theism, we make an effort to quote the Bible in support of this theology, and both the Bible and extra-biblical sources to rebut the claims of opponents. As for open theism itself, when did it first appear on the scene? In the 1900s some claim. In the 1800s others claim. As Bob Enyart claims, open theism has been taught since Peter said that we can "hasten the coming of the Lord" and since Jesus said that "those days can be shortened" and even since God asked Adam to name the animals "to see what he would call them" and said to Abraham, "Now I know".

Check out Bob's fascinating seminar on Open Theism!* Today's Resource: Check out the format and perspective that's most helpful to your desire to evaluate these issues. At our KGOV Store: we have presentations, downloadable or on disc, called Chosen: It's Not What You Think, Bob's 3-DVD or downloadable seminar on Open Theism, and another on Predestination & Free Will and a moderated P&FW Debate! Also, you can get the P&FW seminar in an audio format on a single MP3 CD). And you can also call 1-800-8Enyart (836-9278) to order or to talk with us about which of our DVDs, books, or CD audio teachings may interest you!

For more information, see:
- Bob's classic Open Theism Debate with D. James Kennedy's professor of New Testament Dr. Samuel Lamerson.
- Our heavily Bible-based article, Is God In Or Outside of Time.
- A brief and fast-moving written Q&A between Will, a former BEL producer, and "Jaltus" in an Open Theism Debate with Will & Jaltus.
- Bob Enyart's debates with Dr. Larry Bray: The president of The North American Reformed Seminary (TNARS), Dr. Bray, twice debates Bob Enyart, the pastor of Denver Bible Church. The topics are: Is Calvinism Biblical? and Is the Future Settled or Open? (The host for these events, reformed believer David New, removed both of these debates from his site. We've rescued the first and put it back online, and Lord-willing we'll recover the second one.

*  "Charles Hodge expressed it well": James White claimed as he quoted the following in his book, The Potter's Freedom...

If God cannot effectually control the acts of free agents there can be no prophecy, no prayer, no thanksgiving, no promises, no security of salvation, no certainty whether in the end God or Satan is to be triumphant, whether heaven or hell is to be the consummation.

Yes, that's what Calvinists believe, although they run from it often during debates when they tend to become Arminians. So, as James White said on The Bible Answer Man, by Calvinism, God even decrees a child to be raped. Disgusting and blasphemous.

* James White Refuses to Quote HIMSELF in Article & Video: To further the above, after The Battle at the Palace, White wrote a follow-up article defending his words, again, without quoting his words.

* Now in a Video James White Again Didn't Quote Himself: White's words were only two brief sentences, and he and his supporters have pulled out all the stops to defend what he said, only, without quoting him! This is bizarre behavior. Here's an entire video-length defense White gives of himself, and again, without quoting himself:

James White again refuses to quote his own two sentences while trying to defend himself against his heresy...
Refuses to quote his own two sentences, because they are overtly heretical.

So we're still hoping and praying that Dr. White and R.C. Sproul Jr. will simply retract their statements. And in the meantime, the question we asked Dr. White on his Facebook page which he choose to leave unanswered remains: "James White, do you affirm that the Second Person of the Trinity has both a divine and a human nature?"

* An Objection to the Five Attributes: It has been objected that the five named biblical attributes of God being living, personal, relational, good, and loving can apply to a mere man (and certainly pre-fall to Adam and Eve, and for that matter, to the holy angels and living creatures around the throne). Question: So how can these be the five primary attributes of deity if they apply also to His creatures?

Short Reply: This is a great question and an honest one. Yet we'd like to first quote Zachary Enyart who gets to the core of the issue as he's known to say that, "No Christians believe less that God made man in His image and likeness than Calvinists." If this were not a foundational doctrine of Christianity, then a similarity of attributes would require even greater biblical evidence than we already have for the five mentioned. For example, the Bible does not say that God made fish in His likeness, so a set of fish attributes such as being an aquatic vertebrate that lives its whole life in water possessing gills and fins, and we can throw in, "mostly cold-blooded", clearly wouldn't fly. (To fly, we'd probably have to have bird attributes. :)

Long Reply: The primary biblical attributes (that is, the essentials that are most frequently affirmed) of God in Scripture are that He is living, personal, relational, good, and loving.

Yes, He is the Creator of all that exists, but He became the creator and no essential attribute of God can be one that He obtained. Therefore, no essential attribute can be based upon the creation. Therefore Him being the creator is not a fundamental attribute, for He was not the Creator for eternity past before the foundations of the Earth. And He likewise became sovereign when He had a creation to be sovereign over. So these are not God's fundamental eternal attributes. Calvinists and others will deny this yet we can establish, by omission, that they implicitly recognize this obvious truth in that when their systematic theology texts list God's essential attributes, they DO NOT list, for example, the hypostatic union (that Christ is fully God and fully Man), nor do they list that His Messiahship, or that He is the Resurrected One, etc. See this example from Bob Enyart's debate with D. James Kennedy's professor of New Testament, Dr. Samuel Lamerson who taught at Knox Theological Seminary. There they use Reymond’s A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith. This scan of the table of contents (pp. viii-ix) gives an inordinate amount of attention, subsections, and pages to immutability (unchangeableness), and not just unchangeable in goodness, but even "in His Being", and this is all because of undue pagan Greek influence:

Scan of a list of God's attributes from the standard text used at Knox Theological Seminary

Note that the discussion is about the attributes of "God", not of a man, a plant, or a planet. Many particulars about God are not correctly thought of as essential divine attributes. For example, God the Son is a "son", but the Holy Spirit, though fully God, is not a son, so being a "son" is not an essential attribute of God.

Systematic theologies prioritize the quantity of God's knowledge and power, but it is the qualitative attributes, virtually by definition, that must be more essential. As the Bible says, Righteousness is the foundation of your throne O God (Ps. 89:14). God's throne is His power and authority (these are almost synonyms). So, what undergirds God's power? His goodness! Might doesn't make right, but right makes might! (See the box in The Bridge on the River Kwai.)

Also, when God delegates power, for example by creating spiritual creatures whom He refers to as powers, principalities, and authorities, and when He delegates power to man's governing authorities, and when He delegates power to the billions of sentience creatures, each having authority over his own will, these are domains, from Satan's will, to that of the angels, and of ours, that God Himself does not retain power over. As Will Duffy says, "God can limit our freedom but not our free will." So in a sense, like when God restricts His knowledge and therefore has less knowledge, when He delegates power He has, in a sense, diluted or even lessen, His power, relatively speaking, because now there are billions of creatures who have power over their own wills. Righteousness, on the other hand, doesn't work by any kind of restriction or dilution. When He redeems and makes a human being righteous, God's own goodness in no way diminishes but if anything it has increased. In a way, this makes Him even more alive (for He now lives in us), and more relational, and more loving.

[More to come. If you find this note, and are interested in reading the rest, please send a reminder to Bob@kgov.com. Thanks!]