Ascol Out, Debate On, Omnibenevolence Huh?
James White recently provided an update on the debate which is supposed to take place between he and Tom Ascol, and Ergun and Emir Caner. White expressed his desire to take a “fresh look” at the situation and make a reappraisal to the debate by returning to the thesis, format, and persons involved. The hopes of this sincere request was that there would be a calm, mature, and considerate change of tone from Ergun Caner. Unfortunately, those hopes were dashed when Ergun Caner responded. A couple of weeks ago, Tom Ascol shared his update on the Caner debate in which a lengthy discussion ensued in the comments section as to whether or not Tom should bow out or stick it out. Good arguments were made from both sides, but James White revealed yesterday that Tom indeed will NOT be debating the brothers Caner. I totally understand Tom’s decision for doing so as I have read and reread all that the Caners’ have written and have found no decency or Christ-like behavior. More than a debate or even the topic of Calvinism is the issue of being Christian. This is what disappoints me the most. To review the latest update on White’s continuance of his PDF file, click here. White has agreed to debate both Caners alone. I know he does not need my help or the help of anyone else in the Reformed camp, but I am going to continue my research on the matter of omnibenevolence. This week I have spent about 15 hours in the library researching journal articles concerning religious pluralism and came across some amazing stuff on universalism and pluralism’s argument with omnibenevolence. If I can get around to reading and posting, I have about 35 books and 15 journal articles compiled thus far that speak to some degree on this issue. As I research and post, your interaction is appreciated. The Caners believe this to be a big deal—enough to say the following:
“Trust me, WE DEEPLY WANT TO DEBATE THE OMNIBENEVOLENCE OF GOD. We believe in it passionately.”
Brothers Caner, you are not alone in believing it passionately. So does John Hick, Thomas Talbott, Clark Pinnock, and a host of others outside the bounds of orthodox Christianity. Oh, and for what it’s worth, I am working on developing the “Arminian playbook” for this debate in which I am exploring all the possible ways the Caner’s could spin this philosophical concept against Calvinists (e.g. “You Calvinists really don’t believe in John 3:16—that God loves everybody”). Eventually, I think some of the possible paths they will take could be predicted . . . that is, if they play according to the rules. And that is a big IF.