Archive for the ‘George Bryson’ Category

Why it is Important to Go Back to the Sources, Illustrated.

August 19, 2011

The following is a transcript of about four minutes from an informal radio debate from the Bible Answer Man program (source):

James White: I think it was God’s purpose to preserve the children of Israel alive in Egypt. So it was his purpose to send Joseph and he did so by having him sold into slavery in Egypt.

George Bryson: Well, let me answer that with a question. Let me ask you this question – and this will put in perspective to show the difference. When a child is raped, is God responsible and did He decree that rape?

White: If he didn’t, then that rape is an element of meaningless evil that has no purpose. What I’m trying to point out, by going to Scripture —

Hank Hanegraaff: So what is your answer there? Because I want to understand the answer to that question.

White: I’m trying to go to Scripture to answer it. The reason —

Hanegraaff: But what is the answer to the question he just asked, so that we can understand what the answer to the question is.

White: I mentioned to him, yes, because if not then it’s meaningless and purposeless and though God knew it was going to happen He created it without a purpose. That means God brought the evil into existence, knowing it was going to exist, but for no purpose, no redemption, nothing positive, nothing good. I say —

Hanegraaff: So, he did decree and if he decreed it, then there’s meaning to it.

White: that he – it has meaning, it has purpose, suffering (all suffering) has purpose, everything in this world has purpose. There is no basis for despair. But if we believe that God created knowing all this was going to happen, but with no decree. He just created and there is all this evil out there, and there’s no purpose, then every rape, every situation like that is nothing but purposeless evil and God is responsible for the creation of despair. And that is not what I believe.

Bryson: For years, I’ve been trying to figure out why it is that in order for rape to exist – or – unless God caused it to happen – there can’t be any purpose in it. God can use evil and he does. But to blame God, which is what a decree does, to blame God for the rape of a child is a horrible attack on the very character and love of God.

White: How about to blame God for the destruction of the heart of a father, thinking his son has been killed for many years – the weeping that he underwent. Genesis 50:20 has not been answered yet. And Acts chapter 4 tells us that the early church believed that Pontius Pilate and Herod and the Romans and the Jews in the crucifixion of the sinless son of God ( which I believe we would all agree is the greatest evil that man has ever committed) that that took place on the basis of the sovereign decree of God (Acts 4:27-28). If you could tell me both what you believe Acts 4:27-28 means and —

Bryson: Let me ask you if you think that rape is a sin.

White: I believe that — Can we use a biblical example, Acts 4:27-28?

Bryson: Rape is a biblical issue, is rape a sin?

White: Just as the crucifixion was a sin, yes.

Bryson: Ok. So, does God decree, and therefore is God the cause of, sin?

White: Again, as you well know, having read all of these things, let me just read this into everyone’s hearing, so they can see it. The early church said: “For truly in this city there were gathered against your holy servant Jesus, whom you annointed, both Herod, Pontius Pilate, along with the gentiles and the peoples of Israel to do whatever your hand and your purpose predestined to occur. And so here is an example where men committed evil and they did so at the predestining purpose of God. God is glorified. His intention is positive and good. The intention of Herod – the intention of the Jews – These were not innocent people and God’s standing behind them with a big gun, pushing them down the road, going “Be evil, be evil.” In fact, how many times did God restrain them!

Hanegraaff: So, they’re making a choice in the process, in your view.

White: They’re not only making a choice.

Hanegraaff: So, they have the ability to choose.

White: Within the realm of their nature, since they are fallen. Remember, God restrains men from committing evil. Let me ask you, do you believe that?

Bryson: Why are men fallen? That is the question.

White: Do you believe that?

Bryson: The question is, why are men fallen?

White: Could I ask – could I finish a point – Do you believe that God can keep someone from sinning?

Bryson: I would like to ask you the question, is God the cause of that sin? That’s the issue. God can do anything.

White: I’ve already pointed out, Genesis 50, that God’s decree is based upon his good intention. Can God keep a person from sinning? Will he violate libertarian free will, to keep a person from sinning, yes or no?

Bryson: That’s not a yes or no question.

The above (presumably – since it seems to be the closest section) got summarized this way by John Rabe (source):

And IMHO, White got his clock cleaned. Granted, the deck was stacked against him, as he had to debate both Bryson and Hanegraaff, who was certainly less than an impartial moderator.

White let Bryson frame the terms of the debate from the git-go, which doomed him. The general thrust of it came across like this:

BRYSON: Calvinists believe that God is an evil potentate who causes sin and tyranically damns people for no good reason and causes babies to be raped.

WHITE: Yes, and here’s why I believe that. Genesis 50 says…

ME, LISTENING ON INTERNET: Groan.

Then, that converted by a lady named Barb into this (source):

A loose paraphrase from the James White and George Bryson debate on Bible Answer Man:

begin paraphrase:

BRYSON: Calvinists believe that God is an evil potentate who causes sin and tyranically damns people for no good reason and causes babies to be raped.

WHITE: Yes, and here’s why I believe that. Genesis 50 says…

end paraphrase

Yikes! With friends like this who needs enemies?

Then, it got quoted in Bryson’s book (The Dark Side of Calvinism, p. 372) this way:

Even more pointed, in comments found on the Internet in a section called “Whilin’ Away the Hours,” the Calvinist John Rabe offers what he calls:

“A loose paraphrase from the James White and George Bryson debate on the Bible Answer Man:

“begin paraphrase:

“BRYSON: Calvinists believe that God is an evil potentate who causes sin and tyrannically damns people for no good reason and causes babies to be raped.

“WHITE: Yes, and here’s why I believe that. Genesis 50 says …

“end paraphrase[.]

“Yikes! With friends like this who needs enemies?”612

Remember what the apostle James says:

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (James 1:17)

If the Calvinist is right, then James could and perhaps should also have said:

Every good and bad gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights and darkness.

I can understand why the admission of White is so disturbing to Calvinists. In his defense, however, White is only admitting what should be obvious to all Calvinists.

Finally, Micah Coate turned this into (A Cultish Side of Calvinism, p. 283)

In debating George Bryson, leading Calvinist James White admitted to Calvinism’s view of God. The following is a loose paraphrase from this debate:

BRYSON: Calvinists believe that God is an evil potentate who causes sin and tyrannically damns people for no good reason causes babies to be raped.

WHITE: Yes, and here’s why I believe that. Genesis 50 says …

BRYSON: Yikes! With friends like this who needs enemies? 558

I ask you whether you could provide a better of example of why it is important to go back to the original sources to see what a person actually admitted and actually did not admit.

-TurretinFan

UPDATE: Dr. White has provided to the use of this material here:

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George Bryson Open to Debating Again?

September 27, 2008

Someone posting under the name “George Bryson,” today wrote: “What James White did not say is that I offered to debate him on the very interesting question: “Does Calvin or Calvinism teach that God is the cause (by virtue of His decree) the cause of sin?[”] … Why won’t James White debate George Bryson on such an important and relevant question. While I believe that the “cross-examination” issue is for theatrics I will happily allow James White the opportunity to cross-examine me if He will allow me to cross-examine him on this issue.” (full comment)

I don’t know whether it is really George Bryson … the inconsistent use of the third and first person is a bit odd. I’m not sure why Bryson would want to limit the topic in the way that he has proposed, perhaps a better resolution would be:

“Does the Bible teach that God is (by virtue of His decree) the cause of sin?”

Debating what Calvinism teaches or doesn’t teach is something that is better done intramurally among Calvinists. Debating what the Bible teaches is something that would actually edify Evangelicals of the Calvinist, Amyraldian, Lutheran, and Arminian persuasions.

But, in case, George Bryson happens to read this, I have a question back for him about his proposed resolution: “What do you mean by cause?” God is not the instrumental cause of sin, and therefore is not properly caused the “author” or to modernize the expression the “actor” of sin. The instrumental cause of sin, the author/actor of sin, is the sinner himself (whether that be a man or a fallen angel).

It is the instrumental cause of sin that bears moral responsibility for the sin. So, assuming that George Bryson is interested in the kind of “cause” that is relevant to the issue of moral responsibility, then the correct (both Biblical and Calvinist) answer to the question is “no.”

If George means “cause” in some other (or in no particular) sense, the question that springs to mind is, “Why is he even asking the question?” In other words, why would it matter if God, via his decree, were an ultimate cause or a “but-for” cause of sin?

Here is a video clip from the last time (to my knowledge) that Dr. White and George Bryson debated:

-TurretinFan


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