In case you missed it, Dr. James White debated Arminian Steve Tassi and it was humorous and sad and WHY IN THE WORLD AM I WRITING ABOUT IT I DON’T KNOW. Here’s the link to it. I found myself weirdly drawn to it, almost like a tractor beam. It sucked me right in.
1. I don’t know who he is…perhaps he’s a popular theologian in some circles, but Mr. Tassi was clearly not prepared for this debate. I use the word debate here very loosely. As hard as James efforted to keep the conversation on Romans 9, which this debate-like-thing was suppose to be centered around, Steve wanted nothing to do with actually exegeting the text. I get it. I was an Arminian at one time too, so part of me wanted Steve to share his view cogently so this thing could actually do some good for people. I don’t know Steve at all, but it looked like he was being taken hostage by the Arminian gustapo, and the moment got too big. James was right, this guy is an elder in the church yet he was unable an unwilling to deal with the text: exactly what an elder must be capable of doing.
2. Dr. White was visibly distraught and his frustration bubbled up a few times in the form of hemming and hawing, giggles, and sarcastic remarks. Tassi did break a bunch of debate rules and regulations, AND HE WASN’T PREPARED. Just imagine that for a moment: Let’s, just for a moment, pretend you’ve been selected to debate Calvinism with a world-class debater who’s traveled the world-over arguing the tenants of Reformed Theology. Not only that, the video will be posted online, and the room you’ll be debating in will be packed with hundreds of people. You’d probably 1) study really, really hard, 2) cry, 3) study really hard again, and 4) come humbly and graciously to the debate that your opponent showed up to on his own dime.
Not so with the Tassinator.
However, sarcasm did not wear well with Dr. White, especially in light of his final 10 or so minutes in which he exhorted Calvinists to act graciously and kindly toward their Arminian brothers and sisters.
3. By saying Abraham was saved through works, Tassi was speaking heresy, and that Young, Restless, and Reformed dude was right in calling him out on it. I’ve heard that same teaching in several other churches in my life, all from lay-people teaching Bible studies. I wouldn’t call them to repent publicly in front of everyone as the YRR dude did to Tassi — but again, Tassi’s an elder.