Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dispensationalism: resources from Fred Butler

As I've said before, if Fred Butler isn't a daily stop for you, he should be. His posts are substantive, varied, muscular, and he's a good guy.

Today he once again engages Jamin Hubner, whose unhinged rants — lamentably given prominence by his association with a deservedly famous apologist — make him a sort of "Reformed" book-end to Ergun Caner Dave Hunt.

In the course of so doing, Fred links to a previous post of his, titled What dispensationalists believe, but more memorably (and delightfully) subtitled "Helping My Reformed Covenant Bros. Move Beyond the 1950s."

I put these up partly for my own later reading, but also because some of you have from time to time questioned me about dispensationalism, and I know my answers haven't been as fulsome as either of us would like. If the Lord opens up a way for fulltime ministry of the Word, that's an area where I really need to catch up in my reading. Plus — though this is far less likely given my advanced age and dull-wittedness, and the immensity of the topic — some have encouraged me to write a Calvinistic dispensationalism text. I'd love to; I just don't know that I'm the man to do it. As I've said, I'd like to see Mike Vlach write an aggressive yet irenic, scholarly and thorough tome, doing just that.

Plus, if my current books bomb (I say this because I've no clue how they're doing today), there won't be any others.

Until then, the links above give some good resources.


Ma said...

Jamin's stuff on the AOMIN blog has kept me away from there unfortunately.I used to be an avid reader to the blog.

As a person with dispy tendencies, I don't mind disagreement, but I felt very belittled there.

I'll check out the site you suggested:)

DJP said...

A number of things keep me basically from ever going there; that factor is, let's say, not an encouragement to reconsider.

Turretinfan said...

Out of curiosity, I wonder whether I'm one of the things that keeps you away, DJP. If so, I wonder whether I can somehow rectify that.

DJP said...

Um < blushes > ... you write there?

I probably stopped before you became prominent there. Or not. But that probably amounts to a "No," to your question.

Fred Butler said...

I have always enjoyed learning from Dr. White. I subscribe to the podcast and benefit from it a lot.

Regrettably, he has allowed Jamin to post there as a team member, and because Jamin is currently suffering through his "cage-stage" Reformed Theology, he makes unfair statements against his theological opponents that draws unnecessary fire from friends. Moreover, because he is "unhinged" as you note, he often exaggerates the "error" of his opponents to the point he gets sloppy with his stuff.

Now in fairness to James, a lot of these "unhinged" posts are not at AOMIN's blog, but Jamin's personal website. Still, the association is close enough in my opinion, that I am left wondering why he has been allowed to remain.

DJP said...

Thanks for the clarification about Jamin vis-a-vis AOMIN, Fred. I'll look to adjust the post to be clearer, if nec. Yes, James White has a very important ministry.

Fred Butler said...

BTW, (seeing that he left a comment here), I have my disagreements with TF, and even have had some blog article battles with him. But he has earned my respect because he isn't "unhinged" in his pronouncements against me and I benefit tremendously from a lot of the material he puts out.

Always Reforming said...

I'd at least love a blogpost about the interaction between CT and DT. Much of what you say sounds like covenantalism to me.

Always Reforming said...

I feel like very both are not well defined because back when people tried they overdid it.

Sir Brass said...

Fred, you have been waging this crusade to get Jamin removed from the AOMin blog team for a while, and honestly, the ministry is getting a little tired of it. James is refusing to budge on this, and has stated his position quite clearly, so your statement that "I don't know why he has been allowed to remain," is... somewhat... disingenuous.

A&O Min does not necessarilly agree with everything Jamin posts on his personal blog (in fact, some of us have criticized him for some of it), but trying to bring us into your own personal feud with him is getting very tiring and we wish you would cease trying to drag us into it, and quit trying (as part of this dispute) to get him removed from Team Apologian.

Dan, I would suggest you take up Turretinfan's offer.

Keep the criticism where it belongs, and NOT upon the associates. James White has laid out explicitly why Jamin is a part of Team Apologian. As director of the ministry, his word is final in that regard. End of story. No need to wonder why. He's explained himself.

DJP said...

I don't want this to develop into a melodrama, and I won't play host to one.

If your point is that a public figure has the right to associate himself with whomever he chooses, I don't know anyone to be arguing with that.

If that public figure expresses his opinion, rationale, dictums, whatever — terrific, free country, go ahead on.

But if you are implying that such expression mandates that no one else hold or express contrary opinions, or requires that they snap into conformity with that expression... well, there I'd have to lodge a disagreement, on principle.

As to Turretinfan, didn't I already respond? (Looks) Yeah, I did.

Fred Butler said...

A&O Min does not necessarilly agree with everything Jamin posts on his personal blog (in fact, some of us have criticized him for some of it), but trying to bring us into your own personal feud with him is getting very tiring and we wish you would cease trying to drag us into it, and quit trying (as part of this dispute) to get him removed from Team Apologian.

I never knew I had a "feud" with Jamin, so I am not sure what you know that I don't know. All of my interaction with his ideas have been in response to his public posts at his blog (for the most part) that I publish on my blog, and I have never considered my interaction with him as a "feud." I am no more "fueding" with him than say Steve Hays, or Paul Manata, or Alan Kurschner.

Do I think Jamin should be taken off the team blog round-up? Yes. Not because I happen to disagree with him and his theological views (heck, I disagree with James on a lot of stuff, for crying out loud), but he disqualifies himself by his over the top pronouncements against his theological detractors, his sloppy argumentation he pawns off as "apologetics," and his utter lack of teachability and willingness to be corrected when he is flat out wrong. It is an embarrassment to AOMIN's fine ministry.

Honestly, it doesn't count for anything that there are a good many reputable individuals who have also noticed the same things I have and have attempted to point those problems out about Jamin? I mean, it's not like it's a bunch of crazy Mormons or atheists saying these things.

I have not heard or read Dr. White say anything public about Jamin's position. I know he has tried to distance himself from Jamin's views by claiming he writes that stuff at his own personal blog (which is true for the most part) but I think James is mistaken if he thinks Jamin's antics won't tarnish him.

Imagine if one of the teampyro guys wrote a bunch of goofy stuff at his own blog and when a handful of right-minded believers point out his problems, rather than retracting and retooling and learning, he merely doubled-down in his ignorance, turned off comments to his blog, and proclaimed himself as too important to have to deal with such petty criticisms. What would your thinking be about the other guys at pyro who never really said a word?

lee n. field said...

Bookmarked. Maybe someday, in my ever dwindling "abundant free time" I'll read through its linked resources.

Mark Patton said...

Fred and DJP (or DJP and Fred),

Thanks for all your hard work in keeping me posted on great Dispy resources. When I first embraced the doctrines of grace, the pull to throw my herm. out the window was strong, but the more I tried, the more it lead me away from the doctrines of grace. As Dan has said many times, the same herm. that led me to embrace the doctrines of grace also makes me Dispy.

Rhology said...

Agree with Fred Butler about Jamin.

With respect, DJP, I think calling him a "'Reformed' book-end to Ergun Caner" is going too far.

(Almost done reading both your books, BTW, and I loved TWTG and loved the middle 150 pages of GWiP. The other GWiP pages were a little harder to dig through.)

DJP said...

Fair enough, Rhology, it is an odious comparison. I meant it in the sense of the post to which I link. Hubner is as bad on people who take all of Scripture seriously as to God's purpose of the ages is as bad as Caner on people who take all of Scripture seriously as to God's sovereignty in salvation. And both enjoy unmerited prominence.

Do you disagree with those points of comparison?

Rhology said...

I suppose that's certainly an arguable comparison along those points, DJP.

If that is your angle for comparison, I'd probably suggest a different person, like Adrian Rogers or Frank Page...by which I mean someone who is not best known for extended, consistent, and obvious lying and fabrication of his past.

Does that make sense?

DJP said...

Or Dave Hunt?

I'm sort of inwardly chuckling, though... would it bother me more to be likened to Caner, or Hunt? Argh, what a dilemma. NEITHER.

Rhology said...


Yeah, Dave Hunt is a good call.

Maybe a strikethrough is called for on your post?

[strike]Ergun Caner[/strike] Dave Hunt

Fred Butler said...

Jamin isn't a habitual liar and he hasn't earned his status as a habitual liar. He is certainly unteachable, defensive, and an apologetic hemophiliac when he gets rightly knocked about, but I wouldn't call him a liar like Caner definitely is.

Dave Hunt is probably a more apt comparison, or maybe George Bryson.

DJP said...

Fine. Let no one say I'm not teachable, or whatever the right adj is.

So now are you going to edit the Butlersource to which I link?

Rhology said...

Indeed. Let no one never neglect refusing to negate that DJP is not unteachable, in no sense.

Did I get that right?

DJP said...

LOL, I have no idea, but it's the best pile-on of negatives I never don't remember seeing.

My family often complains about the negative cast of my questions: "So, is that not working?"

Fred Butler said...

So now are you going to edit the Butlersource to which I link?


In that article, I had referenced Caner for his Calvinism statements in the past, but realizing how he has gone the way of Mike Warnke, I'll concede my inaccuracy there.

BTW, hopefully this shows my previous critic that I ain't intending to be harshly unfair to Jamin as if I am waging a crusade against him personally.

Jugulum said...


See, this is the problem with you watchblogger Reformed types. You're too negative.

Don't I remember something about how we're supposed to be sugar and light?

DJP said...

Well, Jug, perhaps I'd agree that you don't not neglect to forget it.

Rhology said...

Sugar and lite, Jugulum.

Jugulum said...

May we all know the Splenda of the Lord.

Pour out drink offerings! Splenda and my jas tea are before him!


Robert said...

How about cooked sugar, aka caramel?

Pierre Saikaley said...


"I felt very belittled there"

It's very telling that the likes of Hubner, such as the self-proclaimed "Nicene Council" etc., can scarcely avoid inveighing against Dispensationalism/ists when they try to explain their own theology.

But if the caricature they try to prop up didn't exist in their minds, they'd be forced to concede the truth, and there would be nothing left to ridicule but their own utter lack of consistency.

Katy~The Country Blossom said...

I just wanted to let you know that I dont know how your books are doing on the market...but *I* am reading The World-Tilting Gospel and am thoroughly enjoying it!

DJP said...

Thanks, Katy; God be praised. I hope it's a blessing and a help to you.

Pastor Jim said...

Thanks Dan for the link to Fred's article and for the conversation here. I'm not an avid blogger or commenter -- despite having a blog associated with our website and visiting various blogs occasionally. One of the blogs I used to visit frequently was at AOMIN. But I, like others, was so turned off by Jamin's material that it made me question White's purpose in allowing it. But, I thought I was alone in my opinion. This article made me feel like I was among friends -- not only because we agree eschatologically, but because we agree that Hubner's comments are often excessive, harsh, and inaccurate.

On a side note of no real significance:

Because I was a professional drummer for many years, I was recently sent a link to some of Jamin's drum videos. I found his playing to be much like his theological approach. It was frenetic and aggressive. All speed, no feel.

I don't know if that proves anything beyond the demonstration of a consistent personality profile. :-)

Thanks again for your blog. And thanks to Fred Butler, whom I always enjoy reading.

Grace and peace,

Jim McClarty

DJP said...

Interesting thesis: drumming-style as a predictor of theological approach. But which the chicken, which the egg?

If you like good drumming, you're going to love a set of Monday music videos, set probably for after the Christmas season.

Pastor Jim said...

Well, I'm not exactly saying that one is the predictor of the other. Rather, they are both the result of youthful exuberance, not yet tempered by real world experience and the appropriate amount of mileage.

I will look forward to the percussively-expressive videos.


lee n. field said...

Just a quick comment on the contrary side, before this gets too old.

Jamin Hubner, I basically haven't paid any attention to, one way or the other. I'm aware not every dispensationalist is a "hyper", cutting the Christian Church off from all but a couple paragraphs in II Timothy, or something.

I've listened to some of Vlach. I appreciate that he seems to have actually read some of the people he opposes.

As far as dealing with dispensationaists as though nothing had changed since C. I. Scofield came down from mountain, I respond to what I hear people say. I hear tell that the "progressive dispensationalists" out of DTS are all the rage now. I have yet to encounter one.

The folks I interact with could be the same folks O. T. Allis was writing about 60 years ago (Prophecy and the Church).

Maybe I just run into the nuts. I listen to the things they say, and see disturbing gospel implications that they just don't seem to. See this Freerepublic thread, as an example. There are folks in there flat out saying that if one does not hold to the dispensationalist version of the pretrib rapture, you're not saved. (Really? I guess there weren't any Christians in the US until Darby hit the conference circuit.)

It's late, I'm tired, the comment box is tiny, and I've got to be here another hour watching a server restore.

DJP said...

Um, really? That's your example? A truly wretched post where the clueless writer accuses dispensationalists of holding a system that "forces its adherents to actually REVERSE the Person of Jesus Christ to the Devil," and later calls readers to "repent" of their "dispensational sin"? This illustrates what nutcases dispensationalists can be? I read the first 50 comments, and must have missed it. But the anti-dispies do have the Roman Catholic vote sewn up, for sure, and for many of the same reasons.

And perhaps the un-Allisized dispies read the many, many take-downs of Allis that came out after his attempt.