The Hunt/White Debate
Denied Chapter 14: BIBLICAL ASSURANCE OF SALVATION
Hunt begins this final chapter by explaining the difference between the assurance of the Calvinist and that of the non-Calvinist (my note: of course, not all non-Calvinists accept assurance, but that is outside the scope of this debate). For the non-Calvinist, assurance of salvation comes solely by faith in the work of Jesus, not us; for the Calvinist, it comes by presuming oneself to be one of the elect. But few if any Calvinists are absolutely sure they are elect, since they teach that many reprobates think they are saved. This effectively removes all assurance for the Calvinist, who can only hope (and strive for good works just in case).
He also notes that in spite of quotes from Calvin and others showing basic theological errors regarding works and baptism, White considers them great theologians. Yet it was Calvin who expressly stated his belief that God deliberately fools many of the lost into thinking they are saved.
After a diversion back to the question of free will, Hunt refutes the argument that if we are free to accept salvation, then we must be free even in heaven to reject it. The flaw in that is the scriptural assurance that the saved become like Jesus, having the same "mind" and "likeness", such that we can only rebel if Jesus can. If it is His righteousness that saves us, then it is His righteousness that keeps us. This takes all the focus off man and onto Jesus.
Response, by James White
White begins by denying Hunt the right to believe in eternal security since he doesn’t accept the Calvinistic definition of sovereignty. But this means White is actually demanding that Hunt adapt the Calvinistic definition! How is the non-Calvinist view of sovereignty in conflict with security? And why does White persist in claiming Hunt denies God’s freedom? Why is he, even to the end of this debate, still trying to get Hunt to change the subject?
As for White’s question about the difference between the "false faith" of Calvinism and that of non-Calvinism, surely he can grasp that in the former it is by God’s decree, while in the latter it is by man failing to accept the gospel. This is what Hunt was talking about. And he continues to equate faith with works.
Defense, by Dave Hunt
Again Hunt has to correct White’s mischaracterization of the non-Calvinist view of sovereignty; again he points out that Calvinism severely limits God’s freedom; again he explains that if Christ’s death "actually saved", then the elect were saved at that time, before any of them could first be regenerated. He wonders how White can disagree with Calvin on such serious issues as infant baptism yet call him a great theologian, and why faith is such a big issue when people are elect and regenerated without it. And finally, he wonders how White can accuse him of showing no concern with false professions of faith, in spite of Hunt’s many books and articles on exactly that topic. Shall we say with White, "No answers will be forthcoming"?
Final Remarks, by James White
Nothing of substance to report.
Final Remarks, by Dave Hunt
Hunt finds a way to respond to White’s non-statement, but only to express more dismay at his words.
FINAL AFFIRMATION, by James White
One last time, White asserts his view of sovereignty and freedom, declaring the Calvinist interpretation of scripture to be the consistent one. One last time he uses the "t" word. One last time he insults Hunt as incompetent, putting himself above him as a "guardian" of truth. Was Calvinism affirmed? Let the reader decide.
FINAL DENIAL, by Dave Hunt
After having to correct once again White’s baseless charge of "tradition", Hunt focuses on the topic of debate and its central teachings. He notes that the promised refutation of the "calumnies launched at... Calvin" has yet to be offered, as well as any attempt to address the problem of how Calvinism limits God’s freedom, love, grace, and mercy. Regarding the issue of uncertainty of salvation, one could also ask why Calvinists are sure they are preaching the correct gospel.