Saturday, September 27, 2008

George Bryson Open to Debating Again?

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:



GeneMBridges said...

This is good time to observe that it never seems to occur to Arminians that denying God is the "cause" of sin does them no favors. Did God have infallible foreknowledge that man would sin? Bryson is no Open Theist, so the answer must be "Yes." Could God have created a world in which man did not sin? I don't think Bryson would say otherwise. Yet God chose to create this particular world. True. So how does this not implicate God as a "cause" of sin.

I've never understood why the Arminians even raise this objection. It doesn't get them where they want to go.

Anonymous said...


....that was meaningless and exhausting!

Only the Sheep "hear".

I would say, based on that exchange in the video these Words of God by the writing of King David apply:::>

Psa 64:7 But God shoots his arrow at them; they are wounded suddenly.
Psa 64:8 They are brought to ruin, with their own tongues turned against them; all who see them will wag their heads.
Psa 64:9 Then all mankind fears; they tell what God has brought about and ponder what he has done.
Psa 64:10 Let the righteous one rejoice in the LORD and take refuge in him! Let all the upright in heart exult!

Do you see what happens to those God does not draw to "Him" according to this Psalm of David? They are brought to ruin instead of being brought to Christ!

God draws "His" sheep to Him:::>

Joh 6:43 Jesus answered them, "Do not grumble among yourselves.
Joh 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

I am now convinced unequivocally that I cannot draw anyone to Christ. I am given His Words to proclaim and proclaim I do!

I am reminded of these words in Acts 8 where we read Christ was silent so that we now can open our mouths and others can "hear" God's Words:::>

Act 8:29 And the Spirit said to Philip, "Go over and join this chariot."
Act 8:30 So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, "Do you understand what you are reading?"
Act 8:31 And he said, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
Act 8:32 Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this: "Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opens not his mouth.
Act 8:33 In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth."
Act 8:34 And the eunuch said to Philip, "About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?"
Act 8:35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.

Let the hearer understand! Let us not shy away from opening our mouth when, as Philip, we are led by the Spirit to speak!!