It’s All Or Nothing? – A Rebuttal to James White’s Assessment of ‘Immediatism’

**Disclaimer: This article should not be construed as an attempt to discredit Dr. White or his work, nor should it be construed as a defense for AHA or their actions. Neither Matt or Jeff are affiliated with AHA at this time.

Dr. James White, of Alpha and Omega Ministries, has written two books: The Potters Freedom and The God Who Justifies, which are highly recommended to all Christians seeking a deeper understanding of God’s sovereignty and Grace in salvation. His show, The Dividing Line is among the best apologetics resources out there, bar none. While Dr. White is a theological juggernaut in the ring of apologetics, his position on incrementalism vs immediatism in the realm of abortion abolition cries for constructive criticism.

In a response to Abolish Human Abortion (AHA) co-founder, T. Russell Hunter’s ravenous rant against Dr. White, JD Hall, and others, Dr. White made some excellent points regarding the ecclesiological problems that are rampant within the movement. While we would agree with much of the underlying tenets of Church Repent, we would agree with Dr. White on his assessment of the project–that it is in need of much reform. However, we believe that Dr. White did not give a fair representation of the abolitionist’s position regarding immediatism.

Below are some quotations of Dr. White’s regarding immediatism taken from his Dividing Line broadcast on August 25, 2016.

“Do it Right NOW! Right NOW! or we won’t save any more lives”

“So the babies saved that day are irrelevant?

“It’s all or nothing folks, that’s the mentality here”

You would be hard-pressed to find an immediatist with the above mentality. This is simply a bizarre misrepresentation of immediatism–a strawman fallacy of what it truly represents.

In reference to incrementalism, Dr. White poses the following strawman:

But can’t you see the difference between the victory of taking a particular tool away from the murderers and maybe saving some children alive because we live amongst a people that love death? Don’t you see the fundamental assumption you’re making is as long as we proclaim the gospel they will stop loving death? What if God doesn’t grant that grace? What do you do then? Just let them all die! Just let them go. That’s ridiculous.

Many of us abolitionists stand in front of abortion mills on a daily basis. We are immediatists in practice. Will they all repent? Will we save every baby that day? Do we “just let them all die” without saying a word? Do we “just let them go” and throw up our arms in defeat? Of course not. If Dr. James White’s view of immediatism were true, then we would’ve abandoned this ministry a long time ago since it’s an “all or nothing” mentality. But that’s not what immediatism is.

Dr. White’s assumption here is that the immediatist position is all about legislation. While most immediatists will reject the notion of incremental legislation based on the fundamental ideology that the Gospel requires immediate repentance, the strawman posed is that all immediatists believe that the nation will repent immediately, and seeks to discredit immediatism based on this assumption.

The fact is that whether or not an immediatist actually believes this is irrelevant. The hyper-Calvinist would say “if God has already chosen who he is going to save, why evangelize?” We are sure that Dr. White would reject hyper-Calvinism. In the same fashion, we believe that the Gospel is immediate, in that it requires immediate repentance. Therefore, as abolitionists, we believe a call to immediate repentance of abortion is the only acceptable action we as Christians should take, according to the Gospel. Whether or not we believe God will grant that repentance to the nation should have no effect on our duty to proclaim the Gospel, and put it into action.

When it comes to legislation, we are simply opposed to the compromise that the regulation of abortion brings. The vast majority of pro-life regulatory legislative “victories” are corrupt and do absolutely nothing to save more children. This is a proven fact. Our focus is the complete abolition–the immediate end of child sacrifice in this country. Abortion is murder, therefore it is sin and Jesus said, “Go, and sin no more.” (John 8:11). Babies are being saved in our ministry. We can’t save them all, but we do rejoice in the bit-by-bit fruit of our labors. Yet we still unabashedly call for immediate repentance, nonetheless.

We’d like to point out the fact that pro-life incremental “victories” aren’t really victories at all. Nothing has changed in the past 40 years with our “pro-life” regulatory laws. We would like to pose these questions to Dr. White:

Is God okay with legislation that says you can murder your child as long as it is within a prescribed regulation, such as age, medical evaluation, or method of conception (rape)? If not, why do we view these laws passed as victories?

It’s just a sad fact that pre-born children are still dying at the rate of 3500 per day. Passing “pro-life” legislation such as those requiring “doctors” to perform ultrasounds before abortions (which can easily be botched by these murderers) or demanding “cleaner and safer facilities” does nothing stop abortion at all. In fact, they simply serve to bring more money into the industry overall. Yes, some abortion clinics may close as a result of these restrictions, but the mass-murder doesn’t stop. Pro-life incremental legislation ultimately transitions abortion clinics into state-of-the-art hospital-like facilities where these restrictions are met and allow the regulated mass bloodshed of God’s image-bearers to continue. The mass murder of children becomes even more silent in the guise of a cleaner and safer “health care.” Abortive mothers just go somewhere else. New mills just open up–further away from the street, shielded so protesters can no longer plead with them. Cleaner and nicer facilities that remove the guilt and horror of what the mothers are doing to their children. The false security of supposed “victories” ease the minds of the world and create an atmosphere of apathy towards the atrocities that continue to plague and bring judgment on our nation.

Dr. White continues with…

But to say the laws that pro-lifers have passed that say its okay to kill a baby…they don’t want any babies to be killed…but they also recognized that they might be able to save some up to a certain point in light of the situation in a culture, in light of the judgment of God….the withdrawal of God’s blessing to where so many of our fellow Americans, despite the clarity of the evidence… think that their erotic freedom is more important than human life. That’s judgment, what do you do in the midst of the that? Do you just go, it’s all or nothing? Immediatism…hey let those babies die. It’s okay. It’s Alright.” Because you know, we can’t adapt to the situation God puts us in. We have a black and white, that’s all this is…

Again, whether or not we believe that God’s judgment is on us is irrelevant. Immediatism is about taking the solution to sin–the Gospel–to the sin itself. The vast majority of pro-life legislation is a corrupt compromise that, in the long run, does more damage than good, and ultimately compromises the Gospel itself.

Let’s take the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act as an example of compromised incremental legislation. This bill bans abortion after 22 weeks. Here are the facts: 89-92% of all abortions happen during the first trimester (before 13 weeks) and only 1.3% occurred after 21 weeks (source). So this bill will only protect at most 1.3% of children from abortions! (That’s if the abortionist doesn’t lie about the gestational age which means no babies saved)

Do incrementalists really claim “victory” here? Where’s the “adaptation,” Dr. White?

Biblically speaking, we can find no precedent for allowing the majority of pre-born children to perish under bills like this. It gives the false impression that somehow God is less angry with us because, in a pragmatic way, we have led ourselves to believe that a few babies have been saved. In reality, the murders are just shuffled around. The simple truth is that nothing has changed under these compromised laws. Babies are still dying in massive numbers as we speak. Show us where the victories are? Because abortions are increasing through abortifacient pharmaceutical drugs available at your nearest drug store. Where’s the victory?

Dr. White, the immediatist sees the war on abortion as something far greater than the sheer number of abortions itself. Our war isn’t on abortion, it’s on the worldview that makes abortion acceptable, to begin with. Until we, as a Church, come to terms with this fact, we will always be fighting a pragmatist’s numbers game.

Abortion isn’t wrong because innocent children’s body parts are trafficked for cold, hard cash. Abortion isn’t wrong because our tax dollars fund it. Abortion isn’t wrong because babies under 22 weeks can feel pain. The commandment is, “thou shalt not murder.” Abortion is wrong because the murder of an innocent human being is a direct attack on the Imago Dei. We must approach it as such, and call for immediate repentance of this evil wickedness that plagues our nation.

We want to encourage all incrementalists to put away all of the biased arguments against Immediatism and consider taking a much closer look at our position from a biblical standpoint. Many immediatists today were former incrementalists. We would postulate that if thousands of two-year-old children were being taken to mills in our country to be slaughtered on a daily basis, most incrementalists would immediately adopt the immediatist position.

Nothing has changed in the past forty or more years since Roe V. Wade. Sadly, incrementalism doesn’t work. We need more immediatist bills like SB1118 passed. We must stop regulating abortion and end it now.

[Co-contributed by Jeff Maples and Matt Brown]

*Editor’s Note: Matt Brown is the founder and co-director of P82 Ministries

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