A while back I did a post highlighting James White’s perpetual moving of the goalposts when discussing the formulation and identification of the New Testament canon. There is now an even more current example of White, once again, devolving into cunningly devised rhetorical demagoguery so that he might avoid the relevant issues regarding the question – Can a Christian Lose Their Salvation?
White recently debated Catholic apologist Trent Horn on this important question. In my view, Horn does a very nice job of elucidating the perspicuity of the biblical teaching that yes indeed, a Christian can lose their salvation. One area that Horn may not have performed his best was during the first portion of the cross examination. White was able to trip him up a little bit by introducing theological categories that made Horn look as if he agreed with the Calvinist position. I would be willing to bet that Horn himself would like to have another crack at that section of the questioning. However, despite this slight imperfection of articulating the view he was seeking to defend, Horn does an exemplary job.
For those familiar with the tactics of James White, well, they have been exposed nicely in this video:
In addition to the evidence in the video demonstrating the objective fact that Horn successfully won the debate, which applies the very standards of evaluating a debate suggested by White himself, I must add these remarks.
The level of sophistry James White will lower himself to so that he might avoid the importance of a direct question of his views concerning the exegesis of a biblical text is astonishing.
If you take the time to watch the cross examination, especially from the 35 minute mark onwards, the entire demeanor of White changes. He becomes more aggressive in his responses, as if he is looking to intimidate the questions away so that his heretical Calvinism will win the day. Horn handles this nicely by quoting Protestant scholars that disagree with the views of White. It gets even worse when White, at about the 42 minute marker throws a giant, stinking, red herring into the mix by attacking in ad hominem fashion the Papacy of the Middle Ages, all to avoid a direct question relevant to the topic at hand.
This is truly a remarkable interaction and exemplifies that error will always work itself to the surface. When such an instance occurs, the virtuous person will adjust their view accordingly, or become a person of the lie so that they might remain comfortable in their sinful error.
Here is Part 1:
Here is Part II:
Here is the debate posted at the Catholic Answers channel:
One final comment. The best part of the debate, in my view, is during Horn’s response to White’s opening statement. Toward the end of his rebuttal Horn points out that in order to interpret the multitudinous scriptural examples of conditional statements, one must first begin with monergism and eisegetically force the Sacred Page to say back to the Calvinist what they have already presumed to be theologically irrefutable. The problem with this, however, is that monergism is not a theological category discovered through the exegesis of scripture. It is a novel, and heretical, development of the Protestant revolt that to this day guides the anti-Catholic theology of individuals such as James White. To flippantly state that every conditional statement – if you do X then Y well take place – is an issue of theocentric interpretation or anthropocentric interpretation of scripture is to promulgate a false piety masquerading as biblical scholarship. This is, of course, what White does every time he is confronted with these conditionals because on his view, they cannot mean what the text shows them to mean; which is also why he devolves into egregious sophistry when he is trapped in his error. And to show that this isn’t a singular instance of White using this tactic, here is a cross examination with Catholic apologist Robert Sungenis, where he does the exact same thing.
– Lucas G. Westman
Update: Part II of a video evaluating this debate further explains how James White not only loses the debate, but clearly shows that his presupposed theological categories do not allow him to even fully comprehend the important question “Can a Christian Lose Their Salvation?”