I received the following e-mail announcement:
The Great Debate 2005
(Our Tenth Annual Debate):
"IS IT POSSIBLE FOR A
TO ENTER HEAVEN?":
A Roman Catholic vs. Protestant Debate
on the Catholic Catechism, Paragraphs 841 & 1260
BILL RUTLAND: "A Non-Christian CAN Enter Heaven!"
Bill Rutland believes that the Catholic Catechism Paragraphs 841 & 1260 are compatible with the teachings of Scripture on salvation. Before converting to Catholicism Mr. Rutland received his seminary training at the Salvation Army College for Officer's Training in Atlanta, GA, and is a former ordained minister with both the Salvation Army and the Southern Baptist Church. After several years of intense prayer and study, Mr. Rutland and his wife Linda converted to the Catholic Church in 1999. Mr. Rutland is a lecturer and teacher, a contributor to This Rock Magazine, and has appeared on The Journey Home broadcast on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN). He is also the former Director of Religious Education at St.Vincent de Paul Catholic Parish in Rogers, AR. As a public debater, Mr. Rutland's formal live debates include such opponents as Church of Christ preacher and radio talk host Wayne Greeson, Dr. Bill Jackson of Christians Evangelizing Catholics and Dr. Richard Howe, philosophy professor at the University of Arkansas and former faculty member of Southern Evangelical Seminary. Mr. Rutland has been recognized by his peers in the Catholic apologetics field for his excellence. Well-known Catholic apologist Tim Staples of Catholic Answers writes of Bill Rutland: "For any who would enquire, I would say that having read some of your work as an apologist defending the Catholic Faith, I am very much impressed with your knowledge of the Catholic Faith from both an historical and biblical perspective. I would be confident that the Catholic Faith would be defended well in a debate if Bill Rutland were to represent the Catholic position."
JAMES R. WHITE: "A Non-Christian CANNOT Enter Heaven!"
James R. White is Director of ALPHA & OMEGA MINISTRIES, a non-profit, theologically Reformed, Evangelical Protestant Christian apologetics organization in Phoenix, AZ, where he also serves as one of the elders at the Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church. Dr. White was appointed Scholar in Residence in the College of Christian Studies at Grand Canyon University, and was chosen as an Adjunct Professor with the Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary's Arizona Campus. Dr. White has lectured in Greek, Hebrew, Systematic Theology and Christology for Golden Gate, and Theology and Church History at Grand Canyon. He is also Professor of Apologetics for Columbia Evangelical Seminary in Longview, WA. He is the author of over 20 books, including THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CONTROVERSY, MARY: ANOTHER REDEEMER?, SCRIPTURE ALONE, THE GOD WHO JUSTIFIES, THE POTTER'S FREEDOM and DANGEROUS AIRWAVES: HAROLD CAMPING REFUTED & CHRIST'S CHURCH DEFENDED. He has also contributed to such publications as TableTalk and The CRI Journal. He has engaged in more than forty five moderated public debates on a very wide range of topics. Dr. White has also served as Critical Consultant for the New American Standard Bible (Update) 1995. He is heard frequently as a guest on such national Christian radio broadcasts as THE BIBLE ANSWER MAN with Hank Hanegraaff and JANET PARSHALL'S AMERICA, and hosts a weekly internet broadcast called THE DIVIDING LINE. You can visit Dr. White's web site for ALPHA & OMEGA MINISTRIES at www.aomin.org.
DATE & TIME: THURSDAY, JUNE 9, 2005, 7:30PM
TICKETS: $ 13 each at the door / In Advance: $ 12 each (1-5) / $ 11 each (6-9) / $ 10 each (10 or more)
So James White says that a non-Christian cannot enter heaven. Yet who does he consider a Christian? Does he consider some who deny the efficacious atonement of Jesus Christ to be Christians? He most certainly does. (See the attachment; also see the article on James White at www.outsidethecamp.org/jameswhite.htm) To deny the efficacious atonement of Jesus Christ is to deny the very heart of the gospel. Yet James White considers some who hold to this damnable heresy as his brothers in Christ. What does this say about James White's belief in the gospel? Consider: (1) James White believes that some who believe universal atonement are saved. (2) James White believes that all saved people believe the gospel. Thus, (3) James White believes that some who believe universal atonement believe the gospel. What does this show about James White's belief about the gospel? Since James White believes a person can believe the gospel and believe universal atonement at the same time, then he must believe that the gospel does not include the efficacious atonement of Jesus Christ. James White has just denied the very heart of the gospel.
Also consider: (1) All who believe a false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner are unregenerate. (2) Universal atonement is a false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner. Thus, (3) all who believe universal atonement are unregenerate. James White and every person who would consider at least some universal atonement advocates to be regenerate MUST disagree with #3. And the only way people can disagree with #3 is if they disagree with at least one of the first two statements. Consider those who disagree with #1. These are people who believe that at least some who believe a false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner are regenerate. Can a true Christian disagree with #1? Of course not. Consider those who disagree with #2. These are people who believe that universal atonement is not a false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner. Can a true Christian disagree with #2? Of course not. Thus, all who disagree with #3 (all who consider at least some universal atonement advocates to be saved) are unregenerate.
It is no wonder that God says that anyone who speaks peace to a person who brings a false gospel is unregenerate (2 John 11). Those who say that Jesus Christ died for everyone without exception deny that the death of Christ actually pardoned, redeemed, propitiated, and reconciled. They deny that Christ's blood actually atoned. They deny that it is the work of Christ alone that makes the difference between salvation and damnation. They deny the very heart of the gospel. They boast and glory in themselves. They are God-haters. And those who speak peace to these God-haters, who call them brothers and sisters in Christ, who say that the universal atonement advocates believe the same gospel they do, show that they, too, deny the true gospel. They deny that the atoning, pardoning, redeeming, propitiating, reconciling blood of Christ is an essential part of the gospel. They, too, do not believe the gospel. They, too, are boasters who glory in the sinner. They, too, are God-haters.
James White is just as unregenerate as Bill Rutland. In "The Great Debate 2005," there will be two unregenerate people debating each other. James White will be saying that it is not possible for a non-Christian to enter heaven. Yet he does not consider all universal atonement advocates to be non-Christians. Thus, he believes that it is possible for universal atonement advocates to enter heaven. This is just as heretical as anything Bill Rutland says.
Does God save universal atonement advocates? He certainly does. But when He saves them, they will NO LONGER be universal atonement advocates. They will believe the true gospel of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ alone. Belief of the gospel is not a condition or prerequisite to salvation; it is an immediate, inevitable, and essential fruit of salvation. Thus, when God saves someone, He causes that person to believe that it is the work of Christ alone that makes the difference between salvation and damnation and that ensures the salvation of everyone whom He represented.
To God alone be the glory,
Marc D. Carpenter