A few folks who would be classified as "Amyraldians" or "Four-Point Calvinists" because they deny the doctrine of the Limited Atonement have been pestering Dr. White, and insisting (in essence) that the Shibboleth by which one discerns hyper-Calvinism from Calvinism is whether someone is willing to say that "God loves everyone without exception" and that "God desires that everyone be saved."
First of all, those are inaccurate Shibboleths. A more accurate characterization of Hyper-Calvinism (in my opinion) is fatalism, the idea that since God has elected some to everlasting life, there is no duty for evangelists to preach and no duty of the reprobate to believe. The fact that Dr. White is active in evangelism (probably more than most of these Amyraldian critics) is conclusive proof that he is not a hyper-Calvinist.
But let's take a different tack.
One of Dr. White's critics has decided to argue that Phil Johnson (evidently well-respected in Reformed Baptist circles) has called Dr. White a Calvinist, just because the two of them are friends. Let's see whether this is so.
Before this controvery erupted, Phil Johnson provided a "Primer on Hyper-Calvinism." Here's a link to one copy of that document (link). As Mr. Johnson wrote in his primer:
"Hyper-Calvinism, simply stated, is a doctrine that emphasizes divine sovereignty to the exclusion of human responsibility."
Dr. White teaches human responsibility. Therefore, Dr. White is not a hyper-Calvinist.
Identifying three critical characteristics of hyper-calvinism, Johnson writes:
First, it correctly points out that hyper-Calvinists tend to stress the secret (or decretive) will of God over His revealed (or preceptive) will. Indeed, in all their discussion of "the will of God," hyper-Calvinists routinely obscure any distinction between God's will as reflected in His commands and His will as reflected in his eternal decrees. Yet that distinction is an essential part of historic Reformed theology. (See John Piper, "Are There Two Wills in God? Divine Election and God's Desire for All To Be Saved" in Thomas R. Schreiner, ed., The Grace of God and the Bondage of the Will, 2 vols. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1995, 1:107-131.)
But Dr. White acknowledges that there is a real distinction between the decretive will and the preceptive will of God. Therefore, Dr. White is not a hyper-Calvinist.
Again, Johnson writes:
Second, take note of the stress the above definition places on hyper-Calvinists' "denial of the use of the word 'offer' in relation to the preaching of the gospel." This is virtually the epitome of the hyper-Calvinist spirit: it is a denial that the gospel message includes any sincere proposal of divine mercy to sinners in general.
But Dr. White affirms the free offer of the Gospel and does not hold that such an offer is insincere. Therefore, Dr. White is not a hyper-calvinist.
Further, Johnson writes:
Third, mark the fact that hyper-Calvinism "encourages introspection in the search to know whether or not one is elect." Assurance tends to be elusive for people under the influence of hyper-Calvinist teaching. Therefore, hyper-Calvinism soon degenerates into a cold, lifeless dogma. Hyper-Calvinist churches and denominations tend to become either barren and inert, or militant and elitist (or all of the above).
But Dr. White does not suggest that people ask whether or not they are themselves elect. At any rate, if he does, I've never heard him do so, and none of these critics of Dr. White's can point to him doing so. Therefore, Dr. White is not a hyper-calvinist.
Additionally, Johnson writes:
Hyper-Calvinism is sometimes defined as the view that God will save the elect apart from any means. Some, but very few, modern hyper-Calvinists hold such an extreme view. Those who do hold this view oppose all forms of evangelism and preaching to the unsaved, because they believe God will save whomever He chooses, apart from human means.
Of course, as noted above, Dr. White does not fall into this category.
Johnson further writes:
Another common but incorrect definition equates hyper-Calvinism with fatalism. Fatalism is a mechanistic determinism, antithetical to the notion of a personal God. While it is true that the most extreme varieties of hyper-Calvinism tend to depersonalize God, it is not accurate to portray all hyper-Calvinists as fatalists.
Likewise, for the reasons identified above, Dr. White doesn't fall into this category either.
Finally, after examining these and other tests for hyper-calvinism, Johnson settles on a five-part test:
A hyper-Calvinist is someone who either:
1. Denies that the gospel call applies to all who hear, OR
2. Denies that faith is the duty of every sinner, OR
3. Denies that the gospel makes any "offer" of Christ, salvation, or mercy to the non-elect (or denies that the offer of divine mercy is free and universal), OR
4. Denies that there is such a thing as "common grace," OR
5. Denies that God has any sort of love for the non-elect.
As to (1), Dr. White does not deny the universality of the gospel call;
As to (2), Dr. White does not deny that faith is the duty of every sinner;
As to (3), Dr. White does not deny the free and universal offer of salvation;
As to (4), Dr. White affirms that there is such a thing as "common grace;" and
As to (5), I think it would be fair to say that Dr. White would agree that there is a kind of love (corresponding to common grace) that God has even for the reprobate, thought it is distinguishable from the special love God has for the elect.
In short, Dr. White is not a hyper-calvinist according to Phil Johnson's primer on the subject. That, not the friendship between the men, is the reason that Phil Johnson attests to the same truth that I attest to (even if I disagree with the broad tests that Mr. Johnson uses), namely that Dr. White is a Calvinist, not a hyper-calvinist.