Archive for December, 2021


December 24, 21

20:08 I spent much of my time communicating the Gospel to my friend Alex – this is a true story – who aggressively resisted my attempts to evangelize him. He would not listen to me or read any book written by a Christian. I tried to give him William Lane Craig and Mike Licona to read their stuff, and he would not accept them because they were writing from a Christian position. He would just reject them.

So I eventually gave up and wiped the dust off my feet. A year later I ran into him and he told me with a smile on his face, “Tim I’m a Christian now!” I was shocked and overjoyed, and I asked Alex “How did this happen?”

And he responded by saying “Well I read Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules For Life!”

And I responded by saying “But Jordan Peterson is not a Christian! That’s not a Christian book!” And Alex replied “I know, but he got me so close to the cross that everything you said in the past now made perfect sense.”

So it seems that Jordan Peterson is the gateway drug to Christianity.


December 22, 21

Although I disagree on some or many points – small and large – with Arminians, Calvinists, Molinists, Provisionists, Open Theists, Catholics, Orthodox, etc… I still do consider them fellow believers in Christ.

Now you may have the same stance, sure… But I even won’t conclusively state that Unitarians, Oneness Pentecostals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons etc. are not saved by their faith in Jesus (different though their idea of Jesus might be)! This is probably further than most of you would include under the biggest tent you have in your shed.

My stance is because of two things:

1) I cannot decisively say what the repentant thief on the cross or Naaman believed or confessed. If I can’t wring, say, Trinitarianism out of them… Then I won’t try to do it with anyone else. This sermon by Dr Heiser on Naaman is informative on this point: more pertinent to our group in particular:

2) Sure, many of the people I mentioned say things about God and Jesus and other stuff I disagree with (sometimes vehemently): God was once a man, Jesus was a created angel, Mary is co-redemptrix and queen of heaven, God doesn’t/can’t know the future (or chooses not to, more acceptable to me), the list goes on.

But nothing compares, nothing is worse to me than saying, out loud and proud, that God is PERFECTLY PLEASED & PREFERS sin and evil and damnation. God authors evil, wants your suffering, decrees rape. God created billions for the specific purpose of unconditionally damning them to eternal hell – for His own glory & pleasure. God hates them. Jesus didn’t die for YOU as far as anyone can say with certainty. SOLI DEO GLORIA, don’t you dare object, WHOAREYOUOMANTOTALKBACKTOGOD, you worship your own pagan-goddess free will, you preach ‘a different Gospel’, you Pelagian Synergists think you can save yourselves, you reject God’s sovereignty for the same reason Satan does.

I strive for consistency. As a wise teacher once told me (but somehow fails to take his own advice a lot of the time), “Inconsistency is the sign of a failed argument” – James White.

And to be consistent, if I won’t cast out or anathemize Calvinists for all the above… Then I cannot in good faith and sound logic cast out anyone else I mentioned.


December 16, 21

So in the Unbelievable discussion between James White and William Lane Craig, White objected that there isn’t some ‘essence of James White’ that existed before creation for God to know what ‘James White’ would do in any given circumstances. He also suggested that if he had been born in a different time, place and physical body then he would have different desires – he would not be the same ‘James White’, contra any theoretical ‘essence’ that would be the same basis for the person of ‘James White’ in any given world.

I’d like to run off that with respect to the betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot. Calvinists make much of the fact that Jesus’ betrayal is prophesied in Scripture (Psalm 41:9), portraying it as Judas having been chosen and even made into the ‘son of perdition’ by God’s sovereign decision. To which I usually ask, why is it that Judas is never specifically named in prophecy when someone like Cyrus is (Isaiah 45:1)? Seems to me that ANYONE with the suitable personality (disloyal, loves money, etc) could have been the one who betrays Jesus!

But could ANYONE have been put into Judas’ place instead, and the same end result obtained? Woud you or I have acted differently? In order to run this thought experiment at the extremes, let’s use one of the most revered and respected people in the Bible – Mary, blessed mother of Jesus.

IF the person whom we know in this actualized world as Mary had been placed as the twelfth disciple of Jesus, instead of becoming the mother of Jesus – tweak the parameters however you want to make it happen, say Mary was born a generation later and male and into a family of a hardcore Sicarii! – WOULD Mary have similarly betrayed Jesus?

Of course we could never know for sure, but I think this is a potentially fruitful pondering to go deeper with. If we do NOT think that Mary would have done the same betrayal as Judas despite being put in the exact same situation, then we are claiming that purely genetics and environment do NOT fully determine a person’s thoughts, decisions and actions (which is what physicalist atheists affirm btw).

Or as a formula:

Judas + Specific genetics X & environment Y & circumstances Z = Does betray Jesus

Mary + Specific genetics X & environment Y & circumstances Z = Does NOT betrays Jesus

In other words, we would hold that each person DOES have a different set of counterfactuals of creaturely freedom – something that makes them ‘them’, call it a soul, essence, personhood, whatever.

Although God performs the soveriegn act of determining people’s circumstances (Acts 17:26), this does NOT entail or equal God deterministically controlling what each person would FREELY choose in any given circumstances. To reject this conclusion is to say that yes, Mary WOULD have betrayed Jesus if she had replaced Judas in some other world!

And inversely, I have suggested that under Calvinism and its unilateral, unconditional reprobation, Mary who is the mother of Jesus in our actualized world COULD have been chosen by God to be made into the ‘son of perdition’ who betrays Jesus! After all, since Psalm 41:9 does not name the person, ANYONE could have been sovereignly picked by God to be the ‘son of perdition’. [To which thus far, nobody has clearly either affirmed or denied the notion (you can see the conundrums raised either way they choose!) but instead diverted from the question – similar to how James White costantly dodges the issue of whether God is the author of evil, yes or no, which has similar conundrums for him whichever way he answers!]

And if it is conceivable that someone (such as Mary) would not have betrayed Jesus in any feasible world she was placed in… Then is it conceivable that someone like Judas would deny Christ in any feasible world – the basics of transworld damnation. (Arguing from Mary, the mother of Jesus to transworld damnation… Who woulda thought?!)

NB: I am not sold on the idea of transworld damnation yet. Partly because of passages like Matthew 11:21-23 if taken at face value seem to imply that those cities WOULD have repented, IF Jesus had come to them.


December 10, 21

In some of the groups I’m in, there are some King James Version Only proponents. One of the challenges they often throw out is along the lines of: “Can you point to one of your modern versions that contains the perfectly preserved original words of the Apostles?” (Because some of them DO think that the KJV has that pedigree, don’t dare y’all listen to that pesky textual transmission stuff!)

To which I respond: It is NOT actually better to make a lofty claim that is UNTRUE, compared to a modest claim that is defensible. Just because a KJVO claims that his version is perfect, does not mean it actually is – and it doesn’t mean they are automatically better just because a modern-version user DOESN’T make such a claim of perfection. (As a comparison, Islam has long claimed a perfectly preserved Quran – down to the letters and dots – and now see where Yasir Qadhi’s admission ‘the standard narrative has holes in it’ has gotten them!)

‘Make more modest claims’ – that is also the vibe I got from the Unbelievable discussion between James White and William Lane Craig. (And yes, it is ironic that James White is well known for his work pushing back against the KJVO movement!)

The former asserts that his Deterministic Calvinism comes straight out of the pages of Scripture. The latter honestly admits that Molinism is a philosophical construct that is used to try and comprehend what the Bible teaches (and also says that Deterministic Calvinism is similarly just a model – 72:30 Reformed Dogmatics moment!).

The fact that White makes a lofty claim and Craig makes a modest claim does not automatically mean that White has the higher-ground, more Biblical view – although that is the IMPRESSION that is portrayed and (often purposely) disseminated.

Anyone can make a claim, a bald assertion – but what should count is whether their claim is, in fact, proveably TRUE. Otherwise, he who speaks boldest and brags loudest will win the crowd (just as in much of politics).

Make more modest claims.


December 6, 21

The actual discussion:


Related memes at bottom of post.


Rather than do yet another review, since I move around so many groups and channels with a different mix of views, I thought I’d summarize some of the key observations many of them noticed.

1) The topic was supposed to be on the problem of evil and which view best can address it – some wish that it had stayed more on that point, instead of delving into WHETHER either view is true.

2) The general perception is that White relied on Scripture while Craig didn’t. While Craig did respond on several prooftexts and bring up some of his own, many feel that he should have cited more passages. (It doesn’t help when various parties are right now actively pushing the line that Craig and Molinism do not in any way link to Scripture.)

3) White did cite Bible passages often, but people find it puzzling why those are considered slamdunk proof of determinism – as Craig pushed back on. White also seems to flatly assert/assume that the prophets & apostles clearly teach Calvinism/determinism. Further discussions about those prooftexts by reviewers generally finds other viable ways to understand the text.

4) The part around 19:00 struck many as a very odd thing for White to say – White is too complicated for himself to know what he will do, so that means God won’t know either? Huh??? This was compared to the Open Theist view that God cannot know thing which don’t exist (yet), such as the future free decisions of people.

5) White comes across as combative, angry and on the attack – he focuses mainly on the negative case against Molinism than the positive case for Calvinism. Many who aren’t aligned with either side noted this prominently.

6) Many noted that Craig readily admits both the philosophical nature of Molinism as a way to comprehend what the Bible teaches, and its relative lateness on the scene – while both the same are also true for Calvinism but White is reluctant to admit it.

7) White also seemed reluctant to directly answer Craig’s repeated charge that determinism makes God the author of evil. (White has stated his views more bluntly on other occasions, perhaps he realizes how distasteful it would sound on a general-audience show.)

8.) On the topic of philosophy, many point out that White seemed unprepared for the issues related to Molinism that he himself brought up – for example, Truthmaker Maximalism in relation to the Grounding Objection.

9) MANY people noticed and did not take well to White’s repeated mention of Molina being a Jesuit ‘counter-reformer’. It comes across as (and likely is) Genetic Fallacy and an attempt at Poisoning the Well. (White is no stranger to this outside this discussion – he is rather infamous for bogeymanning those he disagrees with as synergist, Pelagian, Open Theist, or ‘Rome’.)

10) Craig bringing out that Reformed Dogmatics book at 72:30 was a mic drop moment.


The following not in chronological order of release, I try and put responses to responses together with the earlier ones first……..

James White follow up to the discussion 1:

James White follow up to the Unbelievable discussion 2:

James White follow up to the Unbelievable discussion 3:
Tim Stratton’s response to the above:

Tim Stratton & Tyson James review:

James White response to the above first follow up by White: &

Tim Stratton & Tyson James response to the response:

James White response to the above, with some shade thrown at Leighton Flowers:

Leighton Flowers response to the above:

William Lane Craig reviews the discussion and responded to a snippet of the above Flowers video:

Flowers addresses it:

White responds to the Craig review:

Flowers responds to White’s remarks on the Craig response to a snippet of Flowers:

More James White response to Stratton:

Third round of Stratton & James response:

Adam Lloyd Johnson review of the Unbelievable discussion, which Stratton mentions in the above:

James White on the Truthmaker Maximalism issue from the discussion:

James White responses on Tyson James’ presentation of Psalm 33: and

Fourth round of Stratton and James response to the above White videos:

Fifth round of Stratton and James response:

Mike Winger’s thoughts:

Sam Shamoun review:

James White on Eli Ayala’s show:

Sentinel Apologetics review which includes some response to the above:

Leighton Flowers & Eric Hernandez review, had to be cut short and will be continued at another time due to bad Internet:

Leighton Flowers & Eric Hernandez review, continued:

The above cross-posted on Eric Hernandez’s channel:

James White article responding to a Facebook post about White’s truthmaker maximalism:

Summary and review by Wintery Knight:

Eli Ayala and Guillaume Bignon review:

Owen Anderson review:

Tim Stratton & Ryan Mullins review, with focus on White’s claim that Calvinism is direct from Scripture:

James Owen review:


(Above from… William Lane Craig responded to a snippet of the above, Flowers addresses it:

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