Last week I was contacted by a student from Israel College of the Bible who wanted to ask me some questions on Skype. We had that meeting at 11AM today, which was 7PM in Israel.
During the course of our conversation, my new friend mentioned a 2015 video podcast by Dr. James White, entitled “Bob Wilkins, False Faith, Lordship, and Assurance.” Yes, they misspelled my last name, adding an “s.” You can see the 59-minute podcast here.
So far, I’ve only made it through the first 20 minutes, but there is plenty there for a blog. (From 15:30 to 21:00 he plays a video of me answering a question by Shawn Lazar about assurance and Reformed thought. I will be interested to see how he responds to that short video. Maybe that will be another blog.)
I debated Dr. White back in 2005 in Oklahoma City. At the start of the podcast he refers to the debate. He made some summary comments about the debate (comments favorable to him and unfavorable to me) and then invited his viewers to check it out. Those two debates are still on his website (see here). He did a fine job of defending a classic Reformed view of faith and “assurance.” I too urge people to check out the debate so that they can decide for themselves which position better fits the Scriptures. Beware, however, my hair was a bit shaggy back then.
Back to the 2015 podcast. From 7:43 to 9:40 is well worth watching. Here is a transcript of that section:
The position they [Free Grace people, which he calls anti-Lordship Salvation and cheap grace] hold is that salvation is by a dead, spoken-only, faith [emphasis added]. There is no repentance. There is not even a need for continuation of faith as long as you make a statement of faith that Jesus died and rose again. Your ticket is punched. You are going to heaven. You can go become a Buddhist, an axe murderer, whatever.
Now they do not suggest that you do this. And they will say that it is a good thing to repent and to live a holy life, but that is not what saves you. It is an act of intellectual assent alone.
They attack anything in regard to the fact that saving faith has more than one aspect to it.
If you want to see the most amazing example of the twisting of Scripture, listen to Bob Wilkin or Zane Hodges deal with James Chapter 2 (7:43-9:21).
I will briefly reply to Dr. White’s comments:
- We believe salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone. We do not believe that salvation is by some special kind of faith, as Dr. White does.
- We do not believe that salvation is by profession. It is by believing in Christ alone.
- We do not believe that all who are convinced that Jesus died and rose again are eternally secure. Dr. White has obviously not followed the crossless gospel controversy. See points 1, 5, 8, and 10.
- Faith in Christ is not repentance. Hence if salvation is by faith alone, it is not by faith plus turning from sins.
- One does not need to persist in faith in order to be born again. One is born again at the moment he believes in Christ for everlasting life.
- Yes, once a person is saved, he is always saved.
- The idea that repentance and a holy life save you is something which even Dr. White does not agree with, though he said he believes that in this podcast.
- Yes, faith is simply being persuaded that the saving proposition (that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, who guarantees the eternal destiny of all who believe in Him) is true. Faith is not a promise to obey, maintain obedience, persevere, turn from sins, or anything other than to believe in Jesus for the salvation He promises.
- The Bible does not indicate that “saving faith has more than one aspect to it.”
- Unlike Dr. White, we believe that assurance of everlasting life is of the essence of saving faith. One is not born again until he believes the Lord Jesus’ promise of everlasting life.
- I would love to debate Dr. White on James 2:1-26 or James 2:14-26.