Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
A Book Wish List
06/30/2005 - James WhiteI just looked over the list of pre-pubs at Solid Ground and four of them leapt off the page at me and said, "Buy me!" No, I'm not taking a collection. These are the ones that hit me:
PAUL THE PREACHER:
A Popular and Practical Exposition of His Discourses and Speeches as Recorded in the Acts of the Apostles This work by Eadie looks like gold. I am so sick and tired of every book on Paul today being contaminated with endless discussions of New Perspectivism (even when that view is rejected). If you are likewise looking for solid stuff written from the perspective of accepting and believing faithfulness (rather than skeptical disbelief and a rejection of the inerrancy of Scripture), you know what I mean.
THE KING'S HIGHWAY: The Ten Commandments Explained to the Young
Spurgeon described Newton as "the prince of preachers to children," and that's good enough for me. If you can't explain your theology to a room full of ten year olds, you don't know it well enough, and given the cultural climate today, this looks like a book you might want to have around to give to new parents.
HEROES OF THE REFORMATION: Life-Changing Lessons for the Young The description says it all: "This volume includes brief but very informative sketches on the likes of Wycliffe, Huss, Savonarola, Luther, Melancthon, Tyndale, Edward the Sixth, John Fox, Latimer and Ridley, Cranmer, Knox, Zwingli, Calvin, Farel, Alasco, Gustaus Adolphus and several others." For the young? I can think of plenty of adults who could use that kind of example today!
JESUS OF NAZARETH: His Character, Teachings and Supernatural Works Aside from the vital topic, I must admit my eye was caught by this one for a sort of silly reason at first: as I walk to the class I teach in the summers in Mill Valley at GGBTS I always pass a sign pointing to "Broadus Chapel," which is at the end of the hallway of classrooms where I teach.
So, there's my wish list. Here's the link to the page. Some expire tonight, some over the next week or so.
The DL was LIVE Tonight, Normal Time, 7PM EDT
06/30/2005 - James WhiteOn the DL this evening I played a clip from Johnny Hunt, one from Jerry Falwell, and then continued the review of the Adrian Roger's Bible study on "Hyper Calvinism" (i.e., just plain ol' Calvinism). Here's the program. Enjoy!
A Day Late, Dollar Short
06/30/2005 - James WhiteI am perfectly serious...I was going to write an e-mail to Steve Camp yesterday and say, "Hey, Steve, since you are cranking out all these articles, why not just get with the program, get yourself a blog, get an RSS feed, etc., so the rest of us can keep up with you?" But, I got sidetracked. So what happens today? Steve lets me know he has joined the blogosphere, well, at least officially (he had already been there, just not with an RSS feed). This blog is called CampOnThis. Add him to your RSS feeds!
06/30/2005 - James White"I think the belief in eternal security is the single most dangerous teaching being spread in the name of Christianity." EnvoyEncore
Now, it is very possible--in fact, highly likely--that the author of this statement on Patrick Madrid's blog, Patty Bonds, is reacting to "once saved, always saved" as found in the likes of a Bob Wilkin. I would be shocked if she had read anything in the Lordship Controversy area or regarding the nature of saving faith (the list of verses at the end of the post indicate no familiarity with the issues involved). But in any case, since she not only fails to differentiate what I have so clearly differentiated in my writings, and instead begins this article with a reference, if I am not mistaken, to an article by none other than Dan Corner (!), then she is, at the very least, very confused. And I cannot help but contrast such a statement with Jesus' own words, which again so strongly illustrate the contrast between the anthropocentric mind-set of Roman Catholicism (God wants to save, tries to save, but fails to save so often because He is dependent upon the cooperation of man's will--and yes, I know, that's Arminianism as well) and the theocentric mindset of inspired Scripture taken as a whole.
"For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day." (John 6:38-39)Simple question: can Jesus do the will of the Father? Can He save perfectly those entrusted to Him?
"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand." (John 10:27-28)What a tremendous promise to the one who takes all of Scripture, not just parts, into account.
Word of the Cross
06/29/2005 - James White
This is directly connected to what came before: why is it that preaching the gospel with the words of wordly wisdom, with "wise speech," speech marked by earthly wisdom, can empty the cross, make it null, and void? It has to do with the context in which God has placed the gospel: the sinful, fallen world. The gospel, in all places, at all times, calls rebel sinners, no matter what their culture, their language, their education, to repentance and obedience to His Lordship. Man will always respond to that message---and outside of grace, that response will always be negative. To those who are perishing, the preaching of the cross is foolishness. The contrast is striking, "but to us who which are being saved, it is the power of God." Same message, heard very differently, having very different results.
What is the preaching of the cross? Is Paul saying that every sermon he preached had only one theme? I don't believe so. But the cross is indeed the focus, the center, of the gospel, and hence anything that can be called "preaching" must be related thereto, and even when preaching on other aspects of the gospel's impact upon our lives, we do so standing in its shadow.
One thing is for certain: there is no such thing as Christian proclamation without the cross. There is no preaching without the full message of the cross, and that includes God's wrath against sin, His holiness, and His provision of full and complete salvation in only one way, through the cross. Abandon the cross, atonement, forgiveness, and all you have is...worldly wisdom.
Oops, Missed This (Hide the Credit Card)
06/29/2005 - James WhiteI'm sure some of the regular readers here love old books...especially new, old books, the kind Soli Deo Gloria sells. But you also know that since the market for Puritans is not exactly Jabez-sized, they can be a bit on the pricey side. So, I'm not sure how they did it, but the folks at Solid Ground have managed to come up with a huge sale on SDG titles until July 9th, including Owen's Biblical Theology. If you've been holding off on an SDG title this might be the time to pull the trigger.
Nullifying the Cross
06/28/2005 - James WhiteLast Sunday morning I began a series of sermons drawn from 1 Corinthians 1 and 2. Toward the end of my time I commented briefly on Paul's words in verse 17:
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void. (NASB)
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. (ESV)
The final two phrases really struck me. In Greek, we have, "ouvk evn sofi,a| lo,gou( i[na mh. kenwqh/| o` stauro.j tou/ Cristou/." The NASB's "cleverness of speech" carries a thought not necessarily found in the ESV's "eloquent wisdom." The NIV has "words of human wisdom" and the NET "clever speech." We should be very concerned to identify what Paul is referring to in light of the dire result of preaching the gospel in this manner: the nullification, emptying, of the cross of Christ! Whatever we do, we want to avoid such a heinous act of treachery against our Lord. What follows gives us a good idea of what he is referring to, for v. 18 begins an explication of the concept raised here. As I work through this text I will be posting snippets of my research, reading, and thinking on this tremendous passage. It has deep relevance to the church today and for all serious believers who desire to conform their thinking and their lives to the biblical norm.
Greetings from GGBTS
06/27/2005 - James WhiteJust a quick note from Mill Valley and the campus of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. Taught all day today, will do so again tomorrow. Will probably keep me from doing much here on the blog.
It is like 62 degrees here right now. It will be 112/113/112 the first three days I get home. What is wrong with this picture?
Great class, good discussions today.
Pure insanity out there in the blog and web-board world. Almost nothing worth even noting, however.
John6jmj's Weekend MeltDown
06/25/2005 - James WhiteI don't know...maybe you all can figure this kind of rant out:
That's why white doesn't post the answers to my questions on his blog. Answer the questions in the threads: Is Jesus Christ God, is the Holy Spirit God etc. He can't answer those questions because he thinks he is a god. He is a pretex evangelist. Any obedient Catholic in this forum can defeat James White in a debate using the Catechism. James White IS a straw man with no moral courage.
Wow. I've written a book titled The Forgotten Trinity which defines and defends the Trinity, including the Deity of Christ and the personality and deity of the Holy Spirit; I've defended those truths in debate against Muslims and Oneness Pentecostals and Jehovah's Witnesses, and yet, this fellow says I can't answer these questions because I think I'm a god? If there is a semi-rational person left on Envoy, someone would have to say, "Excuse me, but are you not feeling well, john6jmj? You are acting rather...odd." But no, that kind of inane accusation will be allowed to stand. All in service of mother church, you know.
Apolonio Latar then chimed in. Apolonio is a young man. I guess he's studying philosophy in college. He has entered into the "Put the name of a famous philosopher, and then an obscure one, in at least one out of three sentences" phase of being omniscient (remember being omniscient when you were in college?). There is a reason why "sophomore" means what it means. Anyway, I dared mention the topic of my sermon series last evening on the blog, and he managed a screen full of irrelevancy just speculating on what "practical Christian philosophy" might mean, and how that might mean I'm a postmodernist. Wow, and that before I even preach the sermons! I truly wish I was that brilliant, but instead, I have to wait until after someone actually speaks to form an opinion! I am but mortal, I guess. In case the name doesn't ring a bell, he's the one who took 15 seconds from a cross examination with Gerry Matatics on sola scriptura where Matatics asked if the Apostles practiced sola scriptura and I answered they did not (sola scriptura to the normative condition of the church, not to times of enscripturation, of course), and touts this as my "admission" that sola scriptura is not true, etc. I suppose I could ask a Roman Catholic opponent someday if Peter functioned as the Pope during Christ's ministry, and when he said, "Well, no, of course not" I could cut him off, make a clip, and tout it as an admission that Peter wasn't the Pope, but that kind of argumentation is only effective upon those who are not interested in the truth to begin with. I'll leave that kind of trite stuff for the political realm, where truth is irrelevant, and all that matters is what works.
Just a Quick Thought
06/25/2005 - James WhiteI had written about two pages in response to "Crimson Catholic" but decided I just didn't have the time this weekend to continue it. I have to fly up to Mill Valley Sunday afternoon after preaching the morning service at PRBC, tomorrow is my wedding anniversary (talk about a patient woman!), and next week I talk with Bethany House about a really exciting project (tease, tease), so I just don't have the time to pursue the amazing stuff you find being expressed in the context of the Envoy of CA boards for now. Onward and upward as someone is known to say.
I will be doing a series on "Practical Christian Epistemology" over the next number of weeks at PRBC in the Sunday morning and evening services. I don't know that I will use that title, but I will be working through 1 Corinthians 1-2 exegetically. Now, Crimson Catholic may choke when I say this, but the only sound Christian philosophy is that which is grounded in the inspired text. And, though he will utterly blow a circuit here, I believe exegesis is, in fact, the "queen of the theological arts," the most important of the fields of study, and that it is foundational to all else, including systematic theology, Christian philosophy, apologetics and the like. And there are few passages as rich with insight into what it means to think as a Christian than these first sections of Paul's epistle to the Corinthians.
Just two quick notes about the passage (I'm sure there will be more coming): first, note the metaphorical use of kenwqh/| at 1:17, "so that the cross of Christ would not be made empty, void, of no effect." Obviously, the literal meaning cannot fit here, and those of you who have read through my treatment of Phil. 2:5-11 know this is one of the other places where Paul uses keno,w in this sense of "of no effect" (in Phil. 2:7 it is best translated "of no reputation"). And consider what Paul says in light of certain theologies in this passage. Not only is the "preach/baptize" contrast important (how many today have a highly imbalanced view there?), but goodness, how long could we go on reflecting on how preaching the gospel in "cleverness of speech" (sofi,a| lo,gou) could possibly result in making the cross "void"? Talk about a concept with massive ramifications for the church in America today! ...
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Introduction to the Views of John Crossan
06/24/2005 - James WhiteI am a little surprised how few know who John Dominic Crossan is, given the wide exposure he has received in the media and the large (almost 20) number of books he has written. In any case, I commented on some of his views regarding the Synoptic gospels, and the reliability of the gospel accounts in general, during our Sunday morning Bible Study this past weekend at PRBC. Here's the study. This is just a brief introduction made in passing as part of an explanation as to why we are studying the Synoptics at all, but it will help start getting folks up to speed.
The Rosary Prayers / Rutland Chimes In on the CA Forums
06/24/2005 - James WhiteAccording to one thread on the CA Forums, a small group of folks are praying the rosary for my conversion today. I mentioned this on the DL last night. And I noted then the fact that I find this extremely odd. I'm a Calvinist. I believe God can change the heart, and I'm consistent in believing that and accepting the ramifications of that belief as well. But Roman Catholics in general deplore Reformed theology, and more than one, upon hearing my beliefs expressed in the words of Romans 9 (many of whom had never actually read the chapter themselves, and were shocked at what it said) have literally cried out, "I would never worship a God like that!" To which I have replied, "I know." Anyway, I wonder what this repetitive prayer for my conversion is supposed to accomplish, given Rome's theology? Is Mary supposed to somehow make all the internal contradictions and errors of Roman theology disappear from my memory? Will these rosaries remove from me the deep-seated joy at knowing I am clothed in the righteousness of Christ, at peace with God, secure in Him, so that I will really want to jump on the treadmill of "do, do!" and desire to seek my own righteousness and doing of good works in a state of grace so as to merit eternal life?
To all those joining in this rosary gathering: may I suggest that my conversion would require that vital element of truth, and that since I am convinced the Bible is the Word of God, you will have to prove first and foremost that what you wish me to convert to is what the Apostles of my Lord Jesus Christ taught and believed? All the repetitive prayers while fingering beads on a string cannot change the facts that have been so plainly established in a decade and a half of public debates---debates the vast majority of those engaging in these prayers have never even bothered to view.
Next, I really appreciate Bill Rutland's post on the Catholic Answers forums this morning. I've felt badly for him in that it seems his co-religionists, to a large extent, have been willing to sacrifice him on the altar so as to have a means of deflecting the results of our recent debate. I've seen this many times. "Oh, Roman Catholic apologist X is a holy man, and he's right, of course...but he's just not a good debater" is always a good explanation when the Roman Catholic side utterly fails to substantiate its position. In essence, for many of these folks, no debate can ever prove Rome wrong. Rome is right, by definition. If the Roman position loses in debate, even consistently, there must be some other reason than that one. In any case, I think Rutland has more than sufficient grounds to complain of his treatment at the hands of his own. ...
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Dr. Sippo Proves Angelz Aim is Perfect
06/24/2005 - James WhiteAs if on cue Art Sippo demonstrates that not only is Angelz' insight spot-on, but that Art is blind to his own constant use of ad-hominem. Doesn't look like any of his friends are up to helping him see, either. He writes today: ...
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Quick Note to Ryan L.
06/23/2005 - James WhiteI just got an e-mail through the website from Ryan L. in response to the blog entry below. Evidently, since Ryan didn't call, and gave as his e-mail address email@example.com, Ryan doesn't want to hear back from me. So I won't reproduce the e-mail. In essence, I was told that it is OK to refer to me as a rabid dog because "I liken you to a rabid dog because from what I have heard you speak, you throw courtesy to the wind when discussing with those who don't believe what you believe. In reading your letters to Tim Staples my opinion is more solidified." Such can only make me sigh ever more deeply. Is there really any way of reaching someone so focused upon a double-standard based upon feelings and emotions? I don't think so. Lord willing, someone else will be able to communicate with Ryan. Right now it seems he believes one must compromise the gospel before he or she can be "nice." A very sad experience indeed.
Today on the Dividing Line
06/23/2005 - James WhiteThe DL today was quite eclectic since it was almost totally caller-driven. Calls on the nature of imputation, eis at Acts 2:38, a little something about Mary, and I likewise discussed some threads on the Catholic Answers forums, including one that had just begun about praying the Rosary for me instead of calling in. Ryan L did not call, but chose to again refer to me as a rabid dog, which was disappointing. So once again we have the fact that one side can be open in providing documentation, argumentation---the other cannot substantiate its assertions. Let the reader judge. :-) Here's the program.
Also, I mistakenly said we would be doing the DL on Tuesday morning. I forgot I will be teaching in Mill Valley Tuesday morning. So, since I am likewise informed that my co-hort on the technical side of things may not be available on Thursday, I confess I am uncertain of the DL schedule for next week. I fly back Wednesday, so, maybe we can work something out there, I just don't know. We'll do our best, since I want to address some materials relating to the current Southern Baptist Convention and topics that have been raised there.
Muddling the Message, Ashamed of the Gospel
06/23/2005 - James WhiteMost everyone has already seen this, but I thought I'd join the wave....Joel Osteen, pastor of one of the largest "evangelical" churches in all of America, was on Larry King a few nights ago. Can you just imagine Paul or John responding to these direct questions the way Osteen did? What a wonderful opportunity to present the awesome holiness of God, the sinfulness of man, and the unique truth of salvation through the cross of Christ, squandered out of fear of the faces of men! Just amazing.
KING: Because we've had ministers on who said, your record don't count. You either believe in Christ or you don't. If you believe in Christ, you are, you are going to heaven. And if you don't no matter what you've done in your life, you ain't. OSTEEN: Yeah, I don't know. There's probably a balance between. I believe you have to know Christ. But I think that if you know Christ, if you're a believer in God, you're going to have some good works. I think it's a cop-out to say I'm a Christian but I don't ever do anything ... KING: What if you're Jewish or Muslim, you don't accept Christ at all? OSTEEN: You know, I'm very careful about saying who would and wouldn't go to heaven. I don't know ... KING: If you believe you have to believe in Christ? They're wrong, aren't they? OSTEEN: Well, I don't know if I believe they're wrong. I believe here's what the Bible teaches and from the Christian faith this is what I believe. But I just think that only God will judge a person's heart. I spent a lot of time in India with my father. I don't know all about their religion. But I know they love God. And I don't know. I've seen their sincerity. So I don't know. I know for me, and what the Bible teaches, I want to have a relationship with Jesus. .... CALLER: Hello, Larry. You're the best, and thank you, Joe -- Joel -- for your positive messages and your book. I'm wondering, though, why you side-stepped Larry's earlier question about how we get to heaven? The bible clearly tells us that Jesus is the way, the truth and the light and the only way to the father is through him. That's not really a message of condemnation but of truth. OSTEEN: Yes, I would agree with her. I believe that... KING: So then a Jew is not going to heaven? OSTEEN: No. Here's my thing, Larry, is I can't judge somebody's heart. You know? Only god can look at somebody's heart, and so -- I don't know. To me, it's not my business to say, you know, this one is or this one isn't. I just say, here's what the bible teaches and I'm going to put my faith in Christ. And I just I think it's wrong when you go around saying, you're saying you're not going, you're not going, you're not going, because it's not exactly my way. I'm just... KING: But you believe your way. OSTEEN: I believe my way. I believe my way with all my heart. KING: But for someone who doesn't share it is wrong, isn't he? OSTEEN: Well, yes. Well, I don't know if I look at it like that. I would present my way, but I'm just going to let god be the judge of that. I don't know. I don't know. KING: So you make no judgment on anyone? OSTEEN: No. But I... KING: What about atheists? OSTEEN: You know what, I'm going to let someone -- I'm going to let god be the judge of who goes to heaven and hell. I just -- again, I present the truth, and I say it every week. You know, I believe it's a relationship with Jesus. But you know what? I'm not going to go around telling everybody else if they don't want to believe that that's going to be their choice. God's got to look at your own heart. God's got to look at your heart, and only god knows that. KING: You believe there's a place called heaven? OSTEEN: I believe there is. Yes. You know, you've had a lot of the near-death experiences and things like that. Some of that is very, to me, not that you need that as proof, but it shows you these little kids seeing the angels and things like that.
Sungenis Blows the Proverbial Gasket
06/23/2005 - James WhiteThis speaks for itself. Sadly, Robert doesn't understand that. Thanks for making my point, Bob.
Ryan L on Calling the DL
06/23/2005 - James WhiteRyan L has posted on another thread in the CA forums regarding my invitation to him to call in and back up his allegations against me:
Yeah...I read it. It kinda' feels like being called out by Jack Chick. If I'm not with my wife in the delivery room (which is a distinct possibility), I may indeed give him a call. I'll probably listen (at least for a bit), but if he's too freaky-zealous I'm not going to "poke a rabid dog with a stick". That's just plain silly, and I'm not going to present an occasion of sin for either of us. If he doesn't act like a humble servant of God, I see no reason why I should encite him into acting even more haughty or beligerant. If his debates are any indication of how he conducts himself on the radio, my expectations are pretty low. If he has learned how to respect people, however, and treats others with Christian charity and humility, I see no reason why I shouldn't call in.
1) If there is the slightest possible chance your wife might go into labor, don't be stupid: stay away from the phone. Believe me, wives have very long memories. I can see it now. "Well, Ryan missed the birth of Alissa because he was on the phone arguing theology." Nope, you don't want that, and besides, if that happened, two years from now we'd have blog entries titled, "James White Kidnapped An Innocent and Holy Roman Catholic Husband So That He Would Miss Child's Birth." And it would be believed.
2) Your words indicate that you have not read any of my books, correct?
3) Your words indicate that you have never listened to the Dividing Line before, correct?
4) Have you ever heard of Art Sippo?
5) Why do you get to liken me to a rabid dog and then turn around and demand I be a "humble servant of God"? Are you a humble servant of God?
6) Your words indicate you have already come to conclusions about me, yet, they also indicate you have done so solely upon second-hand, biased, inaccurate information. Would you have a problem with me if I came to similar conclusions about you based upon the same kind of second-hand information, or would you demand better of me?
If baby allows, I'll be looking forward to your call. And if we do not hear from you, may your child be blessed with health and your wife with a safe and easy delivery.
Blogspotting: A Burning Passion
06/23/2005 - James WhiteI would not want to extinguish anyone's new found passion, for in this day of post-modernism it is nice to find someone who can get fired up about anything at all! But just what is "blogspotting" anyway? I had never heard of it till Phil Johnson made it a national pastime. Now, I would not have learned about www.technorati.com if Phil hadn't linked it, (a real hot site!), but I am forced to ponder what would happen if we all started blogspotting. Is there not a danger of an exponential explosion that would cripple, indeed, fry, the entire Net? With so much combustible material around already, if we all started linking to each other, would the smoke ever clear? And would anyone ever again say anything important? And who would know? Better sound the alarm on this blogspotting thing, and some may need to repent in sackcloth and ashes. Time to quench the flame before the blogosphere is left charred and blackened by this insidious plot.
A Spiritual Beheading?
06/23/2005 - James WhiteOK, I've read some really, really odd stuff lately on Catholic web boards, but I just set a new record. Or, I guess, I should say john6jmj over at Planet Envoy did. See, Angelz had enough of the Sippo stuff...Sippo's bombastic, ad hominem filled invectives, his double-standards, his "I'm all brave and you are a chicken" thing, and when you get Angel mad, well, he gets out his pencil and a sheet of drawing paper! Bad move, Art, bad move. And now (drumroll please): For those who did not do well in Art Appreciation Class, there's always a message in Angelz' cartoons. This one isn't overly subtle. Hopefully it is clear. Congratulations, Art, you've joined an elite group.
So, back to the point: I was thinking about putting together a few choice snippets of classic Sippoisms when I opened my browser and it automatically put in the last thread at Planet Envoy I had been looking at, so I just followed that. And it didn't take me long to encounter john6jmj's note from a few days ago. I provide it here not for shock value (though it is shocking) but because it is so incredibly illustrative of something we have seen operational in all of the interaction we see with the Rutland debate and with the other issues that have arisen since that time. Post-modernism has deeply infected Roman Catholicism, even amongst those adherents who practice their religion. One thing is for sure: the idea of a Christian worldview, the centrality of the gospel, the Lordship of Christ, and all the assorted issues that are related thereto, simply do not impact the thinking and reasoning illustrated by the vast majority of those who post on these web-boards. Emotionalism, double-standards, and a complete lack of understanding of why anyone would, for example, act in such a fashion as to avoid associations that would force him to compromise the gospel, are illustrated in full color on a daily basis by good, practicing Catholics, and I simply see no one correcting them from their own side. As long as they are promoting Mother Church in some fashion, any form of argumentation is acceptable. ...
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Quick Update on the Catholic Answers Forums Thread
06/22/2005 - James WhiteIn reference to the preceding article on the Catholic Answers Forum thread, I note the thread has now been closed by the moderators. But before it was closed a few more comments worth noting appeared.
First, for some reason, a number of folks on the forums have been willing to throw Bill Rutland under the bus, so to speak. One writes,
Funny. I read in the past that White doesn’t believe that K. Keating won’t debate him because he (Keating) says that he is too busy with other aspects of his apostolate. However, he expects everyone to take his word for the reason that he won’t debate Sungenis. He says something like Sungenis is not mainstream enough. Then he (White) debates someone like Rutland. I have asked in this forum who Rutland is and no one can (or hasn’t) told me. He is apparently unknown to most if not all folks here. I never heard of him before But I’m thinking that there aren’t many here who do not know who Sungenis is. Did you see the clips of the White/Rutland debate? Rutland may be a very good Catholic but he is not up to taking on the likes of White. Sungenis is. White is obviously afraid of losing. And he would.Let me say something right up front: I would love to debate Bob Sungenis on Calvinism. I really would. I haven't the first qualm about it, since it has been made painfully obvious, in our past interactions, that such would be a wonderfully clear contrast between a very man-centered religion and the glorious grace of God. In fact, I am almost certain that no one on the CA forums board has ever read this exchange from a while back (note some segments of this exceeded 200k in size!). But once again, the issue is whether by so doing you are assisting the people of God, indulging your own ego, or inadvertently helping to keep another false teacher and his "ministry" afloat. I do not trust Bob Sungenis. His credibility is shot with me, and with anyone else who has followed his tortured path to his present position, and truly, what is accomplished by vindicating Reformed theology against someone who was once with Harold Camping, and once a Presbyterian, and once a member of the International Churches of Christ, and now off on his own in the rad/trad camp somewhere, who may well be who knows where next year? Far better to find a meaningful Roman Catholic apologist who remains in the mainstream to debate the issue, not as a part of the Great Debate Series (there is not a wide enough interest for those on Long Island to invest so heavily upon it), but at a local church (still to be video taped and made available, of course). And in fact, discussions are on-going on that very subject right now. I do find it odd that none of these folks give the first evidence of even being aware of the debates I have done on this subject, nor the books written. Just another example of how these folks come to their conclusions. ...
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Back to the Catholic Answers Forums
06/22/2005 - James WhiteSomeone came into channel asking about Ignatius this morning and in the process dropped the URL to another thread on the Catholic Answers Forums about yours truly, and once again I sit here in utter disbelief at the double standards that people will use without blinking an eye as long as it is in the service of Mother Church (and hardly anyone on those forums raises a voice in objection). The thread starts out with Michael Gazin pondering why nowhere on aomin.org do we simply promote what we believe, but only bash Catholics. I truly wonder what aomin.org he's looking at? I guess his eyes don't see the material on the Reformed faith, in defense of the Trinity, in defense of monotheism or Scriptural inspiration and inerrancy, etc. and etc.? Talk about selective reading. So, right at the start, we have "catholic.com just explains our beliefs---like there's nothing there attacking sola scriptura or sola fide or anything like that---RC's can do that and it is "positive" but if non-RC's reply, they are attacking Rome! OK, major double-standard #1 logged.
But, of course, Michael can't stop with just one really bad, hypocritical observation: he has to add,
After all...if James White converted to Catholicism....who would he debate? How would he earn a living?Ah, there ya go...gotta get the ad hominem in as quickly as possible! Keep poisoning the well, keep up the brave effort to malign anyone who would disagree with you. And what works better than the "money" line! Does Michael have a clue about what he's talking about? Of course not. Most debates provide no remuneration at all; those that do, it is split equally between the debaters. Where has Michael gone after all the Roman Catholic apologists who have received such huge amounts of money for doing debates? In reality, every Catholic Answers speaker asks far more than I have ever received for speaking anywhere. So, that makes this statement...yes, hypocritical, once again. ...
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A Lavender Attempt Around John 6 (Concluded)
06/22/2005 - James WhiteThe reason all major English translations do not produce the tortured, first-year Greek rendering Lavender offers is simple: they recognize the common use of the subjunctive in these sorts of conditional sentences. John uses this kind of construction frequently, and consider the utter mess it would make of the language to use Lavenders artificial translation:
John 3:2 this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You have come from God [as] a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God MAY BE with him."
Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one MAY BE born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one MAY BE born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
John 3:27 John answered and said, "A man can receive nothing unless it MAY HAVE been given him from heaven.
John 5:19 Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless [it is] something He MAY SEEthe Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.
John 6:53 So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you MAY EAT the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.
John 7:51 "Our Law does not judge a man unless it first MIGHT HEAR from him and MIGHT KNOW what he is doing, does it?"
John 12:24 "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat MAY FALL into the earth and MAY DIE, it remains alone; but if it MAY DIE, it bears much fruit.
John 13:8 Peter said to Him, "Never shall You wash my feet!" Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you MIGHT NOT HAVE any part with Me."
John 15:4 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it MIGHT ABIDE in the vine, so neither [can] you unless you MIGHT ABIDE in Me.
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06/21/2005 - James WhiteLet's say you were in an extended debate/conversation with a believing member of the LDS faith (then again, why would a non-believing member bother debating with you anyway, but I digress). You are debating the LDS belief that God the Father is a physical--being, separate and distinct ontologically from the Son (i.e., they are two separate beings, not just two separate persons, and hence two separate gods). He is referring to the passages in John where the Father and the Son are clearly distinguished fromone another, and in particular to the passage where Jesus is referring to the Fathers witness to him, John 8:16-17:
"But even if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone [in it], but I and the Father who sent Me. Even in your law it has been written that the testimony of two men is true.
He argues that Jesus would not use the term man of God in this context if God were not, in fact, an exalted man, and at the very least this shows that our aversion to referring to God as a man is unbiblical. ...
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Today on the Dividing Line
06/21/2005 - James WhiteI managed to get through eleven minutes of Adrian Rogers' college Bible study on "Hyper Calvinism" (i.e., just plain ol' Calvinism) and then took a good call on John 6:44, 3:16, Dr. Lavender's arguments, etc., that took us to the end of the hour. Listen here.
A Lavender Attempt Around John 6
06/21/2005 - James WhiteEvery few months someone will ask, "Have you seen this site?" and will drop www.crisispub.com on me in e-mail or in our chat channel. And I always sigh and say, "Yes, years ago. Nothing new." But, since the author of the material, "Malcolm Lavender, Litt.D." fills his writings with repetitive, obscure references to Greek, few are able to critically analyze what he is saying, or why. Of course, the fact that he accuses just about everyone under the sun of misrepresenting the original language (including recognized, published Greek grammarians and widely recognized theologians and scholars) might tell you something is a bit amiss here. And most assuredly, there is.
Quite simply put, the claims made by Dr. Lavender are so often completely outside the recognized realm of Greek scholarship as to render his materials utterly without merit or value. Of course, such a broad statement requires documentation, and so I will gladly provide it while, at the same time, defending myself against false accusations from him regarding that key text, John 6. I refer to the section containing the allegation that the mood of John 6:44, 65 is ignored in my exegesis of the text. Lets find out who is ignoring what. Lets look at the entirety of his presentation and then take it apart piece by piece:
John 6:44, 65...except the Father...draw him; mood ignored
No Man Is Able to Come to Me
We note verse 44 as follows:
“No man is able to come to Me, except the Father--the One Who sent me--MAY draw him (helkuse auton): and I will raise him up at the last day.”
[28 = I counted about 16 translations that hid the subjunctive aspect, may.]
It should be noted that this passage is translated incorrectly by disregarding or hiding its conditional nature, which we have shown in our translation. The passage does not say, except the Father drawhim," implying absolute certainty that the Father will so draw. The inspired text reads:
except the Father...may draw him, a third class condition construction.
[29 = This is a probable future condition, expressed by eva.n (ean) with the subjunctive mood, e`lku,sh| (helkusç, may draw). See §12, Third Class Condition, page 159 of this book. (Reference not given here).] ...
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OK, I Just HAVE to Link to This
06/20/2005 - James WhiteOK, I will refrain from any comments. The comic strip says it all. You'll see. Hat-tip, bird-dog, etc., to centuri0n via the Fluffy One. Don't ask, it wouldn't make sense if I explained it anyway.
Another Fractal for the Desktop
06/19/2005 - James WhiteAdded a layer, tweaked things, and poof something completely different pops out. Once again, here's the full size version.
More Freebie Clips for Cheap Calvinists (and Others)
06/18/2005 - James WhiteWell, posting the cross-ex portion on John 6:37 has been such a smash hit that Rich thought it would be fair to provide an equal length portion of the cross-ex where Bill Rutland is asking the questions, so here is a three-minute segment of some of the material from that section of the debate. Enjoy!
UCC Can't Figure Out if Jesus is Lord
06/18/2005 - James WhiteThe United Church of Christ, the denomination in which Barry Lynn is a minister (the same Barry Lynn I debated on the issue of homosexuality a few years ago), is currently debating, and will probably reject, a resolution simply stating that Jesus is the Lord. Here's a quick summary. There should be some means of burying the corpses of former Christian denominations, but there doesn't seem to be any truly effective means of doing so. Write "Ichabod" over the door and lock it up.
A Few Glimpses from the Debate Plus a Video Clip
06/17/2005 - James WhiteI thought I'd post a few shots from the video of the debate. Here is a side-by-side shot of the cross-examination period. And here is a humorous point in Rutland's closing where he began by talking about how I am the premiere Catholic apologist today...and I was like, "Uh, wha?" And people started to snicker, and he stopped and looked at me, and I explained what he had said, so he recovered very well and said, "Well, must have been wishful thinking."
Then, one of the most telling points of the debate had to do with my questioning Mr. Rutland about John 6 and Jesus' words there. Watch and listen for yourself to see if Mr. Rutland provided a coherent response to the biblical text itself.
A Fractal for Hobster
06/17/2005 - James WhiteHobster, one of our channel regulars and one of our ops, complained that his desktop wallpaper, consisting of some of my fractals, was getting old. So, I thought I'd help him out. And you thought it was just a phase...! Here is the full size version.
Portions of the Rutland Debate on Today's DL
06/17/2005 - James WhiteWe are making the mp3's of the debate available today, and hope to have the DVD's ready to go early next week (taking pre-orders now), so I played some sections from the debate in the first half hour of the DL today to give you a "taste," and then commented thereon. Second half hour was more on debating with Roman Catholics, some background stuff, how Scott Butler has video tapes of the first debates I did with Mitch Pacwa back in 1991 (which would be worthwhile just for the hair we both had then) and how we'd love to make them available, etc. Here's the program. And, if you want the entire debate, here are the links:
06/16/2005 - James WhiteAs per a note on his website dated today, Dr. Sippo has declined to debate any of the topics offered to him, insisting we only debate his "grudge match," and, of course, accusing me of "backing down" for seeking to engage him on all sorts of other Roman Catholic teachings. I'm sure his followers will continue to adore him for his bravery, while the rest of those interested can judge for themselves who is willing to debate and who is not.
For Those Looking for the DL...
06/16/2005 - James WhiteFor personal reasons I had to move the Thursday evening edition of the DL to Friday morning, 11am. See you then!
Haven't Mentioned These Folks in a While
06/16/2005 - James WhiteWhen I travel I try to remember to bring some extra "Precious Feet" with me to give to the pastors of the churches where I'm ministering. The Precious Feet are the international pro-life symbol, and you will note that unless I forgot to put one back on after having my suit coat pressed, I have one on my lapel when I'm dressed to speak. Well, the folks at Heritage House 76 (www.heritagehouse76.com) have come up with a whole line of pro-life stuff. I get the feeling at times that this issue has disappeared off of the cultural radar screen, and we are reaping the results today: the secular world-view that allows us to treat life so lightly, and human life in particular as nothing but the random result of purposeless chance, is behind much of what we see in the evil in our society. We cannot stop speaking out against the murder of the unborn, especially in light of the fact that science continues to prove us right with each and every exploration of our life prior to birth. Give that site a visit and don't forget to wear your own Precious Feet. They are real conversation starters (or conversation killers if the other person is hyper-emotional, which has happened a few times!).
06/15/2005 - James White
Dr. Sippo:In a state of fear and panic James White has begged me not to debate him on justification! He grovels asking that I pick any other topic but not THAT!
Well, maybe that is overstating it. James wants to do another topic. He suggests Purgatory. Unfortunately, that is poor debate topic and it does not get to the heart of the matter.
My areas of special interest is St. Paul and Justification. I know that area inside out. It is also the only thing that matters in a cath/prot debate. As Martin Luther stated the heresy of "justification by faith alone" (JBFA)is the doctrine upon which the Deformation stands or falls. If it can be shown that the prot doctrine of JBFA is false, then the whole prot system collapses and Catholicism remains standing triumphant. Purgatory is trivial by comparison and is indeed a derivative topic from Justifcation.
This is a grudge match, James. We debated this topic before and you lost. You have written several books dealing with Justification. Why are you afraid to revisit the topic now? You should be able to do this one in your sleep.
Puragatory is out. Our respective fans what to hear us do justification. We should give them what they want.
I firmly believe, deep down inside, you know you cannot handle any other topic, such as the Papacy, Papal Infallibility, etc., and that your sole area of self-claimed expertise is your New Perspective-tinged personal view of justification from the Roman Catholic viewpoint. Surely you would have to admit that the next debate on that topic shouldn't be with a Roman Catholic (I speak as one seeking to fill out the library of materials my ministry offers), but with a representative of the New Perspective, correct? Debating another Roman Catholic who happens (unlike my previous opponents) to think the work of Sanders or Dunn is highly compelling in reference to Trent might be interesting to a very small group of people, but that isn't a group of people we are going to be hearing from anyway. ...
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Can Art Sippo Debate on Anything But Justification?
06/14/2005 - James WhiteTwo items about Dr. Sippo's debate challenge: 1) I do not believe he will allow for meaningful cross-examination, which has worked so well with the likes of Mitch Pacwa and Patrick Madrid and Gary Michuta and...well, you get the idea. I believe he knows he could not survive in such a context and hence will bluster about having only a couple of questions with long periods to respond, etc. 2) Why can't Sippo debate on anything other than one topic? I've only done one debate on purgatory, and it went very well. If Sippo is right on justification, then purgatory should follow easily, as should indulgences. I personally think the issue of Sippo's grandiose claims and constant deprecation of "prots" (myself at the head of his list) would best be determined by a closely moderated debate that would include trial-like cross-examination of Rome's infallible teaching on the existence and necessity of purgatory, with emphasis upon the close examination of such passages as 1 Corinthians 3:10-15. We've already debated justification---he's already declined a challenge to debate one of the Marian dogmas. I have almost half a dozen sola scriptura debates on my resume, multiple justification debates, numerous Papacy/Papal Infallibility debates, but only one full length purgatory debate (and one mini-version from long ago in Austin, Texas). So if I am going to invest the time and effort to arrange this so as to provide something useful to a wider audience, let's make it worthwhile. So, closely moderated formal debate with intensive cross-ex on purgatory. How about it, Dr. Sippo? I know some churches in the midwest who would be willing to host such a debate.
Cyprian and the Chair of Peter
06/14/2005 - James WhiteI flew by Steve Ray's site and noted something odd. There is a sorta random quote generator, "Quote of the Moment," and the one I saw was this:
If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?”So I look at this quote and think to myself that anyone who has gone past the quote-book stage of reading Cyprian knows what he said about Stephen; they also know that Cyprian believed himself to sit on Peter's seat as the bishop of Carthage, and that the unity of Peter was expressed not in the person of the bishop of Rome, but in all the bishops of the Church. So, why have such a quote, unless the assumption is that the majority of readers are simply not going to have the context to realize that Cyprian is a prime witness against Roman supremacy? It is a bit like the alleged Augustinian line, "Rome has spoken, the case is closed." Myths die hard.
St. Cyprian, Unity of the Catholic Church
My "Hysterics" Ignored
06/14/2005 - James WhiteThis just appeared on the Envoy forums:
Hi Gang,If I may offer a brief translation: "I'm digging myself so deep here I can't see the sky anymore, so I'm going to head for the hills." There is no defense of the indefensible, and since I have documented any number of simple untruths on the part of both Sippo and Rutland, this is a wise move on his part, to be sure. I do find it humorous, however, that Rutland would actually think a debate in November is relevant to his failing to acknowledge his own false statements. I'm debating John Dominic Crossan solo, and then he and Marcus Borg (joined by my partner Jim Renihan), in less than three months, but that hasn't kept me from thinking telling the truth is important and worth investing a few moments. And so, with another simply false assertion (when did documentation of facts amount to hysterics--Bill has been taking lessons from CNN it seems) Bill heads out to prepare for his next debate in November. I hope whoever he debates video tapes every moment of it, from start to the time they walk out the door, and keeps every single e-mail, too. Seems to be a wise stance to take.
I am getting a bit tired of James’ hysterics. If he wants to keep going postal about our debate, well let him. I have another debate in November that I must prepare for. When my kids were young and we put them to sleep they would cry in protest. We found the best way to handle it was just to let them cry. Goodnight James!
tiredofNJ Replies to Dave Armstrong
06/14/2005 - James WhiteI guess Dave Armstrong has gone off about the Rutland debate as well, but since I removed his blog from my RSS feed (he posted a reverse-color picture of me from years ago and I finally decided that life would be so much more enjoyable without having to encounter such material on a daily basis) I haven't seen it. But I liked what tired had to say in response to DA, and the way he said it, so here it is:
Dave's post makes two claims. One, James White did a, b, c, d, e, f-z14, and when these are linked to passing statements he made about Rutland ("Notice once again the 'poison the well' technique."), James is a hypocrite. I've never cared for this sort of argumentation, the hallmark of embittered spouses and certain political activists, storing up grievances and unloading them when opportune. These matters should be dealt with at the time or left alone; if you did try to resolve them and they were not met to your satisfaction, that doesn't make them relevant. For even if James really is the Pharisee of all Pharisees it doesn't negate his claims against Rutland. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees. He did not condone lying about them.
The second claim is that James is boasting about the debate (with occasional, subsequent mention of Rutland perhaps doing the same). Dave links us to this as James's "post-debate" analysis. This is James's post-debate analysis. I attended the debate and James's speaking engagements in the days following. He was happy with the debate. The post Dave linked to re: Rutland was in response to Rutland's false claims about the debate, not to the debate's content. James's position has always been "that both sides should simply leave these judgments to the listeners (let their arguments speak for themselves)."
If it was really "his ongoing goal, apparently, to make all Catholic dialogue opponents look as ridiculous as possible," why did James say he was happy with the debate? Why did he hold out hope as late as June 12th that Rutland would correct Sippo's errors?
The "hand-shaking controversies" section is inane. I've attended 14 of James's debates. He is always courteous to his opponent and expects the same from his audience. This is one of the reasons he has a good relationship with Mitch Pacwa (last I checked, a Roman Catholic). He did not shake hands with anyone for the rest of the weekend. He even apologized for it last Sunday from the pulpit of a Baptist church. Baptists aren't RCs.
Dave hopscotched through the interaction, picking out enough to justify another White-is-a-hypocrite conclusion ("if Rutland is guilty of these things, that it is nothing that White has not been doing himself for many years"). But those things that Dave calls "these things" were not the crux of the discussion. The issues prompting James's posts were Sippo's falsehoods and Rutland's eventual endorsement of them, nothing else.
Today on the DL
06/14/2005 - James WhiteWell, we kept the lines open for all the brave souls on the Envoy forums to call today, but they didn't call! I'm shocked and disappointed. Well, OK, not really. So, the first half hour was all about the Sippo/Rutland melt-down, then we took some calls. Here's the program.
Could It Get Any Loonier? The Rutland/Sippo Meltdown Continues
06/13/2005 - James WhiteThere are times when you start to get worried that someone is going to become suspicious that you are actually paying these folks to act the way they do. I just arrived home from Newark to find the Rutland/Sippo topic not only continuing, but getting even farther off into flights of fancy. Yes, I know, at some point it will get just too silly to even bother with any longer, but for now, it gives you an insight into how folks can manhandle the truths of the Bible and history, since they play so fast and loose with the truths of everyday life (even when others have documentation and video!).
Where to begin? Well, let's start with the claim by Art Sippo that Bill Rutland was kept in the dark about the format of the debate until the week before, and that we were going to have very short opening statements of ten minutes, with a 90 minute cross-examination marathon. I asked that Bill Rutland repudiate this falsehood. While correcting some minor elements, he has instead given Sippo the "pass" in the following post. Rutland writes:
What James fails to mention these e-mails took place over a period of about thee years. White has used this same statement to claim that I “perused” Mr. Arnzin. We entered into a discussion about debating well before the 2004 Great Debate. The truth is that Mr. Arnzin approached me about the 2005 debate. ...
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Bill Rutland Tries to Provide Cover for Rome
06/13/2005 - James WhiteWell, you have to give him some credit. Mr. Rutland did not wait a few months to make his views known, as some in the past have done, but chose to comment on the debate and to go ad-hominem within a few days, joining, it seems, the rest of the cyber-RC apologetics community in throwing sufficient dust in the air to keep the attention off of the real issues for a little while. Given that I am accused of any number of things by Mr. Rutland's post on the Catholic Answers Forums, allow me to once again set the record straight.
Having just completed a debate (Great Debate X, 6/9/05) with Mr. White I feel that I have a unique prospective on the man as a debater. He is a very good debater and knows Catholicism as well as about any Catholic. The problem is that he has a hatred of the Church that borders on obsession.Notice once again the "poison the well" technique. I do not have to start off, "Mr. Rutland, who apostatized from his profession of faith only a few years ago, obviously hates his former faith." I would be more than happy to let anyone simply view the debate for themselves and see if someone is filled with "hate" or whatever. And isn't it odd that if a Roman Catholic is passionate, they "love the Church," but if a Protestant is passionate, they "hate the Church." The double standard, which we have documented for many years now, goes on. ...
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Art Sippo Lies About Thursday's Debate
06/12/2005 - James WhiteI just read the following coming from Art Sippo's keyboard. I honestly hope Bill Rutland will write to him and rebuke him for posting such outrageous lies, I truly do. Sippo writes:
Sadly, Mr. Swan you are coming into the middle of a discussion about which you know nothing. I was privy to the pre-debate antics of Mr. White. He had kept the format of the debate secret until last week when Bill Rutland finally DEMANDED to know it. It was then that Mr. White dropped the bomb-shell on him that there would be short opening statements (I think it was like 10 or 15 minutes) followed by 90 minutes of interogation with 5 minute final statements.This is an outrageous lie. There is not a shred of truth in it, and I can document it. Sippo, of course, cannot, but documenting his outrageous claims has never been one of his strong points anyway.
We have used the same format for debate for a number of years now. Bill Rutland wrote no less than six e-mails to Chris Arnzen, who arranges the Great Debate series, asking to participate. One would think that a person who wants to participate in the series would actually have taken the time to observe the most recent debates in the series itself. In any case, the entire outline of the debate, including the order of speaking, time frames, etc., sent to Mr. Rutland did not differ one iota from the time frames used by Gary Michuta and Mitchell Pacwa in the preceding two debates, and were almost identical to those used by Patrick Madrid (I recall some slight alteration of the time frames agreed to by both sides immediately before the debate in conference with Bill Shishko in the Madrid debate, though I do not recall the details). This alone exposes Sippo's lie (great secret when it has been used for years and video taped, isn't it?), but there is more. ...
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Quick Note for Tonight!
06/11/2005 - James WhiteThis is just for folks coming out tonight in Tom's River: we will be at Faith Baptist Church, 1528 Route 9, Tom's River, starting at 6pm! Sorry to be posting stuff like this two hours before we start, but I did not have the info till now! My apologies. Even if you can't make it at 6, keep on coming, as we will be there a while. :-)
The Brave RC Apologists at Envoy
06/10/2005 - James WhiteI was finishing up a few items on this "down day" after the debate (I am finally getting the hang of this: never schedule anything for the day after a debate---why did it take me 15 years to figure that out?) and getting ready to pack up and head down to New Jersey (Please, Lord, if you could, and I know this is a tall order, but, could I make it through the Belt Parkway and over the Verrazano Bridge without...You know...hitting an accident?) when all of a sudden this strange thought hit me: I wonder if anyone has commented on the debate over at the Envoy web board? I had not looked at the board since before leaving for Massachusetts, so I figured there would probably be something there, especially since Art Sippo struggles to go a day without posting something about how I fear him, etc. So I popped by. And guess what? Yeah, you guessed it.
It is definitely ironic, less than twenty four hours after engaging in the tenth annual "Great Debate" on Long Island, (my 56th moderated, public debate, and my 34th against a Roman Catholic apologist) to read the words of folks who, though they have never met me (and, in my experience, have never attended a debate, or even taken the time to listen to one) know all about my very soul. For example, one kind lady, Betsy, writes, " James White is a liar, a coward AND a wimp." No, documentation did not follow. Does it ever? But one particular fellow, john6jmj (ironic for any Roman Catholic to make reference to John 6, when you think about it---and in last night's debate, Mr. Rutland refused to even touch the text of John 6:37, claiming we really can't know what the grammar means because, he said, God transcends time!), really got on a tear because Sippo has said he has had a standing challenge for me to debate him since 1991 (the date of our encounter in Toledo, the one where he demonstrated that in public he then had the behavioral standards of a ten year old). So he's jumping up and down and is all excited, and writes, "Patrick, all I hear about is how great James White is. Now the truth comes out. Sounds to me like Dr. Sippo is ready to go." I wonder where he hears that? Then he starts losing control: ...
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Headed to New Jersey
06/10/2005 - James WhiteJust a quick note for those in the NJ area: I guess I didn't have anything on the calendar page about my trip down to Trinity Fellowship Church in Tom's River (I need a secretary!). Well, here's the info. I speak tomorrow night and Sunday morning.
6:00 - 7:15: Introductions and 1st lecture-------------The Da Vinci Code
7:15 - 7:45: Break
7:45 - 8:45: 2nd lecture----- Postmodernism and the Emergent Church Movement
8:45 - 8:55: Break
8:55 - 9:30: Q&A
Sunday Morning, 9:30am, Ministry Report and in the Sunday AM service an exposition of 1 Peter 3:15-16. The church currently meets at North Dover Elementary School at the corner of Church and New Hampshire Roads in Tom's River (their new building is not quite done yet). You can call 732-914-8885 for more information. If you are in the area, feel free to stop by!
A Quick Note on Last Night's Debate
06/10/2005 - James WhiteLord willing, as you read this, I am sleeping away. But before I hit the hay at 3am eastern time, I just wanted to report briefly on the Great Debate X. I was tremendously happy with the results of the debate, both in terms of turnout and as far as the debate itself was concerned. I had hoped the gospel would be clearly proclaimed, and it was. I had hoped that the foundational incoherence of the Roman system would be seen, and it was. All in all, a very enjoyable and useful evening. Kudos to Rich Pierce, who spent 14 hours in the room setting up, recording, and breaking down equipment, and to the wonderful volunteers who helped man the book table and pack things up. Chris, Brian, and everyone else were super. A very profitable evening. The Lord truly blessed. And now...to sleep! :-)
From the Front Porch
06/09/2005 - James WhiteWhile sitting on the front porch of a bed and breakfast in Mantova, Italy, I wrote (yes, with a pen...on a piece of paper...old school, I admit!) the following regarding tonight's debate. Please pray the gospel will be clearly heard tonight.
It is an incontestable fact of Biblical revelation that the only normative means of forgiveness set forth in Scripture is through union with Christ in His substitutionary death upon Calvary's cross. And yet is it not the ultimate irony, the ultimate self-contradiction, that those who cry the loudest against God's sovereignty in the matter of personal salvation, who decry the great biblical truth of divine election, and who defend with every fiber the myth of human autonomy, are the very ones who would say that God would redeem men and women while leaving them unchanged, unregenerated, fully absorbed in their idolatrous worship, so that they awake in the after life to meet a God they have never known but will now ostensibly worship for eternity? And should it be said that they had in their ignorance been worshipping the true God all along, what a torturous manner of abusing language this is! God loves them enough to redeem them but not to send to them a Phillip? Surely God should have left the Ethiopian eunuch alone, for he was already one with a desire sufficient for salvation in Rome's modern view, but by sending Philip did God not risk the exercise of the eunuch's free will and the loss of his "saving ignorance"?
Those Terrible "Calvinist Baptists"
06/08/2005 - James WhiteWhile my focus is primarily upon the issue of Roman Catholic inclusivism for the debate tomorrow night, I couldn't help but run into an e-mail written to the Internet Monk regarding his former view that "Calvinism is Cool," asserting just the opposite. It was referred to under the incredible title, "Finally Some Honesty about Calvinist Baptists" from a former "Calvinist Baptist" himself, a man busily doing everything in his power to justify his continued love affair with the Tiber River. In any case, the IM posted the e-mail even though he surely doesn't continue to even identify himself as a Calvinist. As I read the e-mail, written by someone only identified as "Charles," I tried my best to "hear" it, despite where it was posted, by whom, and how it was lauded by the former Calvinist Baptist. But I could not get past the constant accusations of dishonesty and conspiracy on the part of all "Calvinists." And, since my name somehow managed to appear in it (without any documentation of the associated accusations, of course), I thought I'd comment on a few items raised by "Charles."
First, the e-mail is a study in self-contradiction and double-standards. Any Reformed emphasis is an emphasis upon men (Calvin, Luther) and not upon Christ; but, rebuttals of Reformed views are simply "biblical" (not focused upon Wesley or Arminius). I cannot even recognize the activities of these alleged Calvinists who claim to be "better" than everyone else. I just preached in Massachusetts about how Reformed theology cuts out any ground for saying we are "better" than anyone else---that in fact, it is non-Reformed theology that is forced to that conclusion as a basis for answering why we have believed and others have not, in fact. That it is non-Reformed theology that makes God a respecter of persons. But anyway, to the section where I am referenced. ...
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Want Evidence of Total Depravity?
06/07/2005 - James WhiteFirst, read Matthew 19:3-6. Then read this. Then read Romans 3:10-18. God's judgment, illustrated, and another reminder: judges need a divine standard upon which to judge. God has given it. Woe to those who ignore it.
The Best Blog Audience in the Blogosphere
06/07/2005 - James WhiteLet me just say on behalf of Rich and I that we definitely have the best blog audience in the blogosphere, bar none. I made known a need, and for all intents and purposes, that need has now been met through the prayers and support of God's people, and I am very thankful. Yes, many would say I'm demonstrating my utter inability to "market" by in essence saying "Thanks, we've met that particular need," but that's how it should be done. Just leaving it hanging there is not proper. You folks know the needs keep coming and are regular, and we trust that those who first honor the Lord in supporting their local church and who then feel led to support other works will continue to help us do what we do. We will never mislead you by saying there is a need when there isn't; and given the nature of our message and ministry, we will never have air-conditioned dog-houses, palatial mansions, or private jets. We will never even be as large as most of the other ministries that have existed for the two-plus decades we have been around. But we will always be thankful for those precious folks who pray for us, support us, go to bat for us when we are evil-spoken of. You all are the best!
An Unusual Request
06/06/2005 - James WhiteGreetings from Long Island. Despite NY's best efforts at hiding road signs, I made it back onto the Island for the tenth "Great Debate" this coming Thursday evening. I hope to see all of our friends here in the New York/New Jersey/Pennsylvania area in just a few nights.
I need to bring something to the attention of those who pray for Alpha and Omega and the work we seek to undertake through this blog, the Dividing Line, etc. Very few understand that the debates that have blessed so many over the years are the result of the hard labor of a small number of people. Wonderful folks here on Long Island invest great sums of time, and money in arranging for the room in which the debate takes place, arranging the myriad of details involved in such a gathering, and advertising it so that a new audience is reached each year. But there is another investment as well, one that is very large.
Let me give you a little history. Did you know that video tape exists of my first debate against Gerry Matatics (Long Beach, 1990), and the first two debates against Fr. Pacwa (El Cajon, Jan. 1991)? Don't bother going to our DVD page to find them: we don't have them. Roman Catholic realtor and sometime apologist Scott Butler owns them. And he doesn't distribute them. Why? Well, the first one isn't out because he and Catholic Answers got into a spat over details of the distribution, so it was simply shelved. The two Pacwa debates (attended by a large audience and by such notables as Bart Brewer and Scott Hahn) did not, in Butler's opinion, go real well, so, they are shelved, too. Now, it does seem odd, does it not, that though these debates featured me, I have no control over them? That is because back then we were, simply, clueless about such things. Butler told us, long ago now, that if we wanted to pay half of his production charges, we could have a copy of the debates. We did not then, and probably do not now, have that kind of money, so those debates, as valuable as they would be, remain locked away, undistributed. ...
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Greetings from Bethlehem Bible Church
06/04/2005 - James WhiteJust a quick note from the Bible Conference of Bethlehem Bible Church in West Boylston, MA. Arrived last evening, a bit late, and given traffic, got to the church less than fifteen minutes before we were to begin. Got all set up and managed a presentation on the New Perspectives on Paul. This morning we covered a wide variety of topics, including the Trinity, evangelizing Roman Catholics, and sola scriptura. I will be speaking in both services tomorrow and in Sunday School as well. On Monday I head for Long Island, and the debate Thursday night.
It was very encouraging to talk to folks here who had been blessed by various of my books and debates, including former Roman Catholics, individuals who had come to the doctrines of grace, etc. Always good to see how the Lord uses our small efforts to bless people far and wide.
No DL This Afternoon
06/02/2005 - James WhiteMy apologies, but I've pushed too hard today and the voice isn't going to make it for a DL. I did an hour long program this morning back in MA, and it started falling apart then, and joined with an hour long conference call this morning, well, if I am going to be able to speak Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I better be wise and save it. Please pray for me as I head back to MA, NY, and NJ, and for the debate Thursday night. May God's glorious grace be clearly seen and glorified in it all. I hope to be able to blog some while away, as I believe I will have Internet access while back there.
Phil Johnson Joins the Blogosphere
06/01/2005 - James WhitePhil Johnson of Grace to You, Grace Community Church, a speaker at our Conference last year, and a generally all around good guy, has finally succumbed and joined the blogosphere. If you've only seen Phil in suit and tie, you have to check out the Hawaiian version on the blog. I've already added the RSS feed to my Sage list.
Today on the DL
06/01/2005 - James WhiteOur one-day-late version of the DL went well, with a wide variety of questions from all over the spectrum. Here's the program.