Monday, May 05, 2008

What's eating James White?


For several years, back in the 1990s, James White seemed to be on good terms with us. [No, not the James White who was co-founder with Ellen G. White of the Seventh-Day Adventists; and no, not the James White who creates some spectacular photos; not even the James White, the basketball player; but the other James White, the one who represents himself to be an "apologist," "exegetist," and "debater"].

For example, at that time we were publishing a small magazine entitled The Baptist Biblical Heritage, and we promoted James in that publication.

In 1995, when he published his book, The King James Only Controversy, even before we had carefully examined his book, we published pictures of both the book and of James on page 4 of the Volume VI, Number 1 of the Baptist Biblical Heritage, and we encouraged readers to order copies of James' book from us. We also carried the book in our book store in Pasadena, Texas.

James' book itself even revealed that he was evidently on good terms with us, for James refers to the "fine efforts" of "men such as Bob Ross, Doug Kutilek, and Gary Hudson" in regard to our work in refuting "King James Onlyism" (pages 91, 121).

Later, after a careful examination of the book, we regretably had to withdraw our endorsement of the book. We found that James misrepresented Peter Ruckman's view about the KJV, and since James had favorably used our name in the book, I felt it necessary to disassociate our name from James' misinformation about Ruckman's position.

The issue was INTEGRITY. Since we have long been one of Ruckman's primary critics as to "King James Onlyism," we certainly did not want to allow Ruckman the privilege of accusing us of endorsing James' misrepresentation.

So the "issue" involved was one of integrity: one cannot substantiate his position on an issue by misrepresenting the view of the opposing party. Therefore, we had to disclose the fact that James had not properly represented Ruckman whose position we had so opposed.

MacArthur and Eternal Sonship

On another issue, James alleged that he found fault with us, and this was in regard to John MacArthur's view on the "Sonship" of Christ.

For quite some time, I had objected to two of John MacArthur's then-held views (both which he later recanted) on --

(1) Justification on the grounds of "infused righteousness," which was defended in his book, The Gospel According to Jesus, and in his commentary on Romans; and --

(2) MacArhtur's view on the Son of God, on which he took the "incarnational sonship" view as opposed to the Eternal Sonship view which is the creedal view.

All of a sudden, "out of the clear blue" via email, James dropped a bomb on us, objecting to our criticism of John MacArthur's views, alleging that what we had written was "not up to snuff," was "baloney," "silly thinking," and that MacArthur was characterized by "solid teaching over a long period of ministry."

In an email on November 14, 1997, James seemed to categorize the Sonship issue as a "non-essential," despite the fact it is prominent in the Creeds of Christianity, dating back to the likes of Athanasius' defense against Arians.

He wrote, "I'm going to spend a few moments thanking the Lord that I'm not right about everything, and feel no need to skewer those who disagree with me on non-essentials."

He also said "I fully support TGATJ" (The Gospel According to Jesus), and that was said despite the fact that MacArthur held the view that "infused righteousness" is the ground of justification when he wrote the book and defended that view in the book.

I don't know whether or not there was any relationship between James' lambasting us and James' speaking at John MacArthur's school, but it did occur to me that perhaps James was trying to "feather his nest" with MacArthur.

At any rate, we tried as best we could by email to reason with James about these issues, but he steadfastly refused any of our attempts. In fact, he asked me to stop sending him emails.

Later on, John MacArthur, who had earlier recanted his "infused righteousness" view, announced that he had "re-examined" the Sonship of Christ and was also recanting the "incarnational sonship" view.

I wondered if James would write to me and perhaps at least acknowledge that my critique of John MacArthur's view was "up to snuff." But instead of acknowledging his presumptuous mistake, James eventually came out with the "defense mechanism" that he had NEVER agreed with MacArthur, but he had simply objected to the manner in which we had criticized MacArthur!

Even though he had put us down for taking issue with MacArthur's view on "incarnational sonship," and even though he indicated that the Sonship issue involved a "non-essential," and even though he had proclaimed MacArthur's teaching to be "solid teaching," in later years he said on his web site --

"I have always held to Christ's eternal sonship and have defended this viewpoint. That means for quite some time I disagreed with MacArthur and others on the topic."

I am inclined to think that this is basically the thing which has been and still is "eating James White." His Christian conscience tells him that he wrongly criticized his Christian brother, but his pride prevents him from facing the mistake with Christian integrity.

Thus, from time to time, when this old sore somehow festers, James has to attempt to "drain the puss" by such items as he recently placed on his blog.

And I suspect that will go on so long as James resorts to denial in regard to his criticisms he made against us in the 1990s.

Note: You can read more here about What Does James White Believe About the Eternal Sonship of Jesus Christ?



At Monday, May 05, 2008 5:30:00 PM, Blogger Bob L. Ross said...


In James White's comments about Bob Ross on his web site, he refers to "Hybrid Calvinist" as "the term he [Bob Ross] uses for those he has decided to skewer, despite how often he has been corrected on their actual beliefs" . . .
The fact is, their "actual beliefs" are in the actual writings of those whom we have quoted, and we have not been "corrected" in regard to those quotations and what they plainly mean.

James' own Hybrid Calvinistic "actual beliefs" are presented in his debate with Dave Hunt (pages 148, 198, 217, 305, 306, etc.), not to mention his other writings, and he clearly holds to the R. C. Sproul/Pedobaptist
"Reformed" view of "pre-faith regeneration," or "born again before faith." In fact, I recall reading somewhere where James attributed his belief to R. C. Sproul, who is very clear about his "actual belief" of regeneration preceding faith.

At Monday, May 05, 2008 8:14:00 PM, Blogger Aaron said...

I am going to have to disagree with you. Bob it just seems like your being petty and vendictive. you got called out on the floor for some outragous coments. Instead of takeing it under advisemnt you lash out at a brother in Christ. By dragging up a bunch of old posts and stuff John MacArthur no longer believesin conclsoun what happend to you Bob I have friends that knew you once and are convinced your mentlly unstable. What a sad day when you hope a brother in Christ is suffering from the affects of a stroke and doesnt really believe any of the things he is writeing about and is just sick in the head. In conclusion just stop none of the men you have rattled off as "hybred calvinists" are not heretics they are brothers in Christ.

Aaron Holland MI

At Tuesday, May 06, 2008 1:00:00 AM, Blogger Bob L. Ross said...


In James White's comments in his recent article about me, he refers to Ross' rambling rants against anything Calvinistic."

Noticeably absent is any quotation from Ross where I have written anything
"against anything Calvinistic."

From the beginning of my posting on the Flyswatter, now over two years ago, I have never once written against any Article in any Calvinist creed or confession pertaining to Soteriology.

Neither have I critiqued any professed Calvinist for any Calvinist view which is consistent with any Calvinist creed or confession on Soteriology.

I challenge James White to name any item which demonstrates otherwise than I have stated above.

The Flyswatter's Archives are open to all, and if any professing Calvinist can cite any item which demonstrates my being "against anything Calvinistic," you are invited to point it out.

The fact is, the "Calvinism" of James White is NOT creedal or confessional Calvinism. His "Calvinism" is the "Reformed" variety which arose among the Pedobaptist Presbyterians after Calvin was dead, and it conflicts with both Calvin and the Puritans of the 17th century.

It is no marvel that in the theological arena of this age, the "Calvinism" of those such as James White is repudiated by many. White's debate with Dave Hunt was practically a total disservice to creedal Calvinism. Hunt was even able to use a Calvinist, C. H. Spurgeon, to refute White's hybrid form of "Calvinism."

When James White refers to a minister's ministry as "solid teaching" when for many years that minister (1) did not teach that the imputed righteousness of Christ is the ground of justification, and (2) did not teach the creedal view of the Eternal Sonship of Christ, and later recanted his erroneous views on these doctrines -- then what can anyone expect James White to know about Calvinism?

At Tuesday, May 06, 2008 11:05:00 AM, Blogger Bob L. Ross said...


James White is "dead" so far as being a credible critic of "King James Onlyism" is concerned.

James shot himself in the foot. He committed "hari cari." He overdosed on his own "White Lightnin'."

When James attempted to become the "final authority" on "King James Onlyism," he put his foot into his mouth so deeply that he choked on it.

Send for the hearse. Bring out the embalming fluid. Prepare the casket. Display the flowers. Read the Eulogy. Dig the grave. Erect the marker:

"Here lies James White, Who died due to a severe case of Ruckmanitis for which he did not know the remedy."

Peter Ruckman has laughed James under the table. "Ruckman Knights" poke fun at James' lack of comprehension of Ruckman's view.

James might as well pull his KJVO book from the marketplace. It will never serve as a "source" or "reference" to be cited by anyone in any type of polemical arena involving KJVOism.

As a self-advertised
"apologist," it is all too obvious that James is dominated more by his own imagination than objective sources of information.

We had revealed Ruckman's erroneous theory on the KJV years before James tried to take it on, and we had met Ruckman on his own turf confronting him with his own words which revealed that he did not believe the writings of the apostles and prophets were "inspired."

James could have learned; James should have known; James would have been informed -- but no, James has much more confidence in his own imagination.

And look where it has landed him -- on the apologetics junk heap so far as "King James Onlyism" is concerned.

At Tuesday, May 06, 2008 8:15:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...

Brother Bob, Hello!

I can attest to the fact that you have said nothing negative toward creedal Calvinism on The Flyswatter. James White doesn't know what he's talking about. No surprise there!

Your posts here have largely been directed toward the Johnny-come-lately hybrid/Reformed Calvinism which promotes the "born again before faith" heresy.

As for knowledge of Ruckman, between you and James White it would only make sense that the man who actually debated Ruckman (on his home turf nonetheless) would know more than the one who hides behind his keyboard. I may be wrong but it seemed at one time James had a chance to debate Ruckman but it ended up like his debate with Caner, i.e. nonexistent.

James seems to have a habit of building up to these "big" debates and then for some strange reason they fall through.

I also seem to recall you invited James to your church in Texas at one time to discuss your differences but that fell through also.


At Tuesday, May 06, 2008 9:08:00 PM, Blogger Bob L. Ross said...


Sorry, Aaron, I don't have the slightest idea what you are wrting about. You must have me confused with somebody else.

At Tuesday, May 06, 2008 9:40:00 PM, Blogger Bob L. Ross said...


Charles said:

I also seem to recall you invited James to your church in Texas at one time to discuss your differences but that fell through also.

Yes, that can be found in our Archives in the "comments" section, April 5, 2006:

Posted on The Calvinist Flyswatter, April 5, 2006.

Sent to the Elders of Reformed Baptist Church, Phoenix, Arizona:

The Elders of the Reformed Baptist Church of Phoenix, Arizona are hereby formally invited to come to Pasadena, Texas for the presentation of charges against Bob L. Ross by James White before Park Temple Baptist Church. . . etc.

We offered to furnish James and his Elders acommodations, but they must have had second thoughts. I also proposed we have a debate while he was here, but had no response.

As a debater, James makes a good used car salesman. He can act like any ol' piece of junk is a jewel.

At Tuesday, May 06, 2008 10:22:00 PM, Blogger Bob L. Ross said...


Bob to Aaron:

I took a look at your website, Aaron, and you give your age as 22, and you use a photo of C. I. Scofield as your picture.

And you say on your blog that I have "gone off the deep end"?

I'm sure James White is really proud of you, seeing you say you are a "Baptist Dispensationalist" and James is an Amiller.

At Monday, May 12, 2008 3:46:00 PM, Blogger beller said...

Where might I find more information on the idea that MacArthur teaches (or taught) justification on the grounds of "infused righteousness" in his books? Thanks.

At Tuesday, May 13, 2008 3:45:00 PM, Blogger Bob L. Ross said...


interested spectator said...

Where might I find more information on the idea that MacArthur teaches (or taught) justification on the grounds of "infused righteousness" in his books? Thanks.

MacArthur has since changed on this, but his former view is expressed in the following instances:

"Justification by Faith," Romans 3:20-4:25, in the John MacArhtur's Bible Studies series, Moody Press, 1985, pages 50,98-101, 120-122, 132, 148.

The Gospel to Jesus, Zondervan,
1988 edition, pages 187, 188.

In a later book, Faith Works, Word Publishing, 1993, MacArthur taught differently, affirming justification by imputed righteousness (chapter 6).

At Tuesday, May 13, 2008 3:49:00 PM, Blogger Bob L. Ross said...


The title of John MacArthur's book in my previous comment should have been:

The Gospel According to Jesus, Zondervan,
1988 edition, pages 187, 188.

At Thursday, May 15, 2008 12:22:00 PM, Blogger beller said...

Thank you for the reply. I'm curious. To your knowledge, did John MacArthur ever publicly acknowledge that he changed his view on this "infused righteousness" matter, or did he just revise his publications? Thanks again.

At Thursday, May 15, 2008 6:38:00 PM, Blogger Bob L. Ross said...


interested spectator said...

Thank you for the reply. I'm curious. To your knowledge, did John MacArthur ever publicly acknowledge that he changed his view on this "infused righteousness" matter, or did he just revise his publications? Thanks again.

I do not recall seeing a "public" comment from MacArthur on this, but I personally received a letter dated January 5, 1993 in which I was informed of the change.

At the same time, I was sent an advanced copy of Chapter 6 of his unpublished book, Faith Works, in which he affirms imputed righteousness. Additionally, I was also sent an advance copy of a chapter to be added to a revised edition of The Gospel According to Jesus (Chapter 18) in which JMac affirmed imputed righteousness.

If there is any mention of JMac's change in any of the books, I have am not aware of it, although it is not impossible that I overlooked it.

In regard JMac's changes, what has been disappointing is the "revision" of the John MacArthur Study Bible. The revised edition is as weak on the Eternal Sonship of Christ as the first edition. The revised MSB itself needs revision on the Sonship of Christ.


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