Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Today on the DL
02/28/2006 - James WhiteThanks to the frequent use of the cough button I managed to make it through the DL today, that, along with a good group of callers. Was going to play some portions of Dr. Davis' sermon, Why I'm Not a Five-Point Calvinist, but callers kept me busy the whole hour. Here's the program.
A Follow Up: Is Your Preaching Wimpy?
02/26/2006 - James WhiteA couple of days ago I commented on an e-mail sent by someone who claimed they were becoming Roman Catholic because of me. I mentioned that I have seen this kind of e-mail from various groups, and in the few times I have been able to press the person for meaningful interaction, I have always found the claim less than compelling. I mentioned some of the reasons then.
I did not, however, wish to leave the impression that such things should be unusual. In fact, I would like to upset a few apple carts with the following comments. Please read them all, and if you are going to misquote me, I can't stop you--but I will be clear as to what I am saying.
When Paul spoke to the Ephesian elders in his final meeting with them, he said these words:
"Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. " (Acts 20:26-27)The true preacher of the Word seeks to have this as his ambition as well. God is not honored when men think so little of Him and so highly of themselves that they edit the content of the proclamation for the fear of the face of men and so that they may be considered "successful" in some worldly sense. It is a fearful thing to be unfaithful to the task of preaching "the whole counsel of God."
Keeping this in mind, I would like to point out the fact that there are religious hypocrites in the church. There were even in the days of Paul, as he names some by name. But today one looks for the true believer as the oddity in evangelical churches filled with unregenerate men and women who have been fooled into thinking you can shake a man's hand, say some magical words that are not joined with any kind of repentance or understanding of the gospel itself, and you have your "ticket punched" and you are on your way to heaven. The result is that any time you would dare to preach the soul-searching passages of Scripture that expose sin and hypocrisy and false faith you will hear the howl of the religious hypocrite from front row to back. Which is why you can observe major "ministries" today that are completely focused upon avoiding any form of offense of the natural man, just so long as they are there on Sunday morning and drop a little something in the plate to help you pay for your massive sports arena.
But even the best church will have false professors in its midst, men and women who, for various reasons, may well play the religion game quite well for an amazingly long time. Some do it for family reasons, some just because they were raised that way, some for acceptance--but in any case, they attend services, may even be involved in ministry, but their hearts are unchanged, their faith in word only.
Now, given these two things, there follows inevitably a set of conclusions that I have found are troubling to many. Here is where I ask you to listen carefully. Sound, complete, consistently biblical preaching will offend the natural man. Not an overly controversial statement, right? However, what do offended hypocrites do? What do unregenerate men who have been playing at religion do when the full-orbed preaching of the Word finally breaks through their hardened shell and hits them where it counts? What happens when their false attachment to the proclamation of the truth is broken for any number of reasons? Do they simply walk away and become pagans, non-religious people, living the ways of the world and the full expression of their unregenerate nature? Some do, surely. But not all. Instead, let me be bold:
So the question I have to ask of many who stand behind pulpits today is this: is your preaching so wimpy it would never trouble a religious hypocrite, and never result in such a person fleeing its proclamation so as to run to man's religions for refuge? Do you pull back on those elements of God's truth that are the most offensive to the natural man because you do not wish to see that disdainful look, that annoyed shaking of the head? Do you really distrust the ministry of the Spirit to make the Word of Christ to come alive in the hearts and minds of Christ's sheep, so that you do not need to worry about those who find offense at His truth? Or have you embraced the spirit of the age which places man's fragile emotions upon the seat of prominence, and have bought into the idea that to be "loving" means to never give offense to anyone (well, except for God--it is fine to offend Him by thinking yourself so wise you can edit out what shouldn't be in the gospel in our day)? Would your teaching and proclamation allow a religious hypocrite to remain safely and comfortably ensconced in the congregation for years on end, never offended, never convicted? Finally, if such a hypocrite does leave and make a show of embracing heresy just to spite you, do you sting with embarrassment, or rejoice that God's Word continues to work in the hearts of men and women, some to His glory in their salvation, and some to His glory in their damnation? Think about it.
Just a Quick Note: ISP Failure
02/26/2006 - James WhiteSome may have noted the death of our website for a while yesterday, including this blog. ISP folks did something they weren't supposed to and it took about twelve hours for them to figure out what it was. Anyway, our e-mail was interrupted during that time. I do not know if we lost any incoming mail or not. Both of the test messages I sent to myself from outside our ISP eventually got to me, but there may have been some failures. Hence, if you sent e-mail Saturday morning and are expecting a reply and don't get one, that may be the reason. Or, it might just be that once again I have proven the fact that sitting for hours and hours and hours in an air-tight metal canister with folks who like to travel while sick will result in...your getting sick as well. And while the coughing is still painful, it is better to cough and be sick at home than abroad, that is for certain.
From the Local High School Newspaper
02/26/2006 - James WhiteThe tagline for the new movie Brokeback Mountain, starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, is “love is a force of nature.” Unfortunately it is never explained what kind of love they are referring to. I am robbed of space to explain the entire story here. However, because of all the buzz around the Venice film festival movie, most of us know the main idea. Two cowboys working for the summer in the mountains fall madly “in love.” The rest of the movie is spent spanning a twenty year time period in which the two marry women, build families and rendezvous with each other under the guise of ‘fishing trips.’
All the talk surrounding the film is mainly in regards to the fact that is the most publicized homosexual movie to date. In light of political conflict dealing with the issue of homosexual marriage, a movie of this subject matter would hardly go unnoticed. Gay rights groups are absolutely ecstatic about the attention the film is getting. However, my biggest beef with this movie is not the homosexuality that it sells. No, I don’t agree with it, but what I find especially disturbing about the film is that it does not deal with the pain that the two men’s adultery causes to the families they chose to build.
The film is labeled “real love is a painful burden, ” but it is made quite clear that neither know the true meaning of the word love. Love is an action, a commitment. Love takes work, effort, patience and self-sacrifice. Nowhere in the movie, other than on the behalf of the wives, are any of those characteristics practiced. The two men engage in adultery, lie to their wives and are often violent and cruel to their families. How is it that men of such dishonest and uncaring characters are lauded and adored and can be made the heroes of a socially significant film? What is so socially significant? Is it not deathly clear that the lesson being taught is that being homosexual gives you super rights? As long as you are committing adultery with someone of the same sex it’s ok? It seems that the tagline of this movie should be edited. “Lust is a force of nature” would seem to be more fitting.
Love does not compromise, love does not fail; the version of love sold in this movie does both. It compromises their health, their jobs, the well being of the ones they are supposed to be most interested in. The devastation of their own lives becomes apparent when their unhealthy attachment hold them both in a deep depression for the rest of their lives. Sorry to ruin the movie for you, but they aren’t together in the end.
Gay rights groups rallying for equal rights would unjustly be able to rally behind Brokeback Mountain. The move does not sell equal rights: it sells super rights. Most groups an any sexual orientation would not encourage cruelty or adultery but this movie promotes both while hiding under a pro-homosexual banner and no one seems to be speaking out against it. The zeal to promote the gay society is blinding society to what else this movie is selling. The idea of equal rights stops dead at t his point. The boundary is crossed and the heterosexual group is put in its place. While most adulterous husbands in the majority of films are portrayed as the antagonist and not put upon a pedestal, the characters that Ledger and Gyllenhaal play are being given applause and marked as “important cultural and social advocates.” The hypocrisy is astounding.
---Summer M. White, Junior, Cortez High School
If You Dare Speak Up...
02/24/2006 - James WhiteThe e-mail generated by posting the correspondence with Dr. Caner has been most enlightening. The majority have been very supportive and encouraging. Thankfully, my purpose in providing the article was not missed by the ones I am most concerned about. The contrast between the approach and methodology of the two sides has been clearly seen, just as it was in Debating Calvinism. A heart felt "thank you" to those of you who took the time to drop a note saying just that.
But, on the other side, not all replies have been positive. It seems many of those who have contacted Dr. Caner have been taken aback by his replies. Aside from such incredible lines as "Calvinists are much more heinous than Muslims" from his keyboard, today I learned that by patiently seeking to get Dr. Caner to provide even the first bit of evidence to back up his claims means that I have been, in his own words, behaving as a "petulant child." He continues to use the false dichotomy "I am Southern Baptist, not Arminian. Not Calvinist." Again, that has the logical coherence of saying "I am not Democrat or Republican. I am blue." Just another of those many issues Caner completely ignored in my replies. There are Arminian Southern Baptists and there are Calvinistic Southern Baptists and there are many Southern Baptists without a clue what either term would mean. But to continue to use exploded errors only shows the utter lack of respect for simple truth that so often accompanies dedication to human tradition. And, despite being repeatedly challenged to back up his claims (and the correction, repeatedly of the fact that Dave Hunt does not claim academic training at all), he continues to claim that "Drs. Geisler and Hunt" have answered me "correctly and completely." Evidently, Dr. Caner has no intentions to fall into my trap: he will not be confused by the facts.
Nadir Ahmed, self-proclaimed Islamic "apologist" living up to his name, wrote to say "You look dumb." Seriously. I couldn't make stuff like that up.
And I guess there is some fellow named "Charles" running about every single blog he can find posting something about Bob Ross (go figure--have to feel sorry for someone who invests their lives in such pursuits). I just checked Steve Camp's blog and read some of "Charles'" comments. Evidently whoever he is he's upset that at some time, years and years ago, I defended John MacArthur against Bob Ross' less-than-fair attacks. That would explain why Ross has since then attacked me on the ordo salutis. Despite Ross' behavior, and his unwillingness to even accept my own profession based upon the LBCF, I have refused to argue with the man. He did a great work many decades ago in printing Spurgeon's materials, and for that past work I have simply said, "Lord bless you, Bob," and left him to rail if he chooses to do so. There is no arguing with someone who says, "Well, you say you believe that, but you really don't."
[Click Here to Continue Reading]
Today on the DL
02/23/2006 - James WhitePretty much did what I expected on the DL today, though I also read my daughter Summer's editorial from her school newspaper on Brokeback Mountain and took a phone call on the Caner situation. Here's the program.
Back on American Soil
02/23/2006 - James WhiteI arrived home after midnight this morning (someone needs to help United Airlines deliver luggage at a small terminal in less than forty five minutes after a flight has landed), and haven't been able to convince my body to sleep much, so here goes a day or two of jet-lag induced life. But a small cost for the wonderful time of fellowship with the saints in the UK!
Today on the DL I will review that trip, as well as the current Ergun Caner dialogue. See you then!
The Intellectual Pit Bull of the Evangelical Church?
02/23/2006 - James WhiteThat's the description given of Ergun Caner of Liberty University, one which he seems to proudly wear on his own website. Today I read where Dr. Caner said, "Calvinists are much more heinous than Muslims...I assume it is because they are predestined to be...." It just seems to me that if someone is going to promote themselves as fearless and unflinching, they might want to be able to back up their statements with serious, thoughtful, careful scholarship? Maybe?
As I noted yesterday, I stand ready to engage in moderated, fair, respectful, biblically-based debate in Lynchburg, on the campus of Liberty University itself, if invited, in defense of the particulars of Reformed theology, and do so as a believing, committed Baptist. Ponder for a moment the reality that the chances of something like that happening at Liberty are miniscule. Which is why I would be willing to debate Dr. Caner elsewhere, too, if he would feel more comfortable. We will video tape the debate and provide him with an unedited master at no cost to him.
Between the 20th and 22nd of February I exchanged a fairly lengthy series of e-mails with Dr. Caner. I believe when they are read in order, completely, they make an incredibly strong argument regarding what we have seen over and over again in our review of anti-Calvinistic rhetoric: these men wish only for a loud and inaccurate monologue; they show no desire for a respectful, deeply exegetical, faith-based dialogue. One side takes pains to be accurate in its argumentation, one side thinks theological terminology can be redefined upon a whim. It is simply amazing to mark off all of the questions I asked Dr. Caner that have, to this point, gone completely unanswered. So I offer this information so that those who are commenting in ignorance on my challenge to Dr. Caner will be silenced, at least, silenced before anyone who honors rational thought and truthful argumentation. Here's the file.
02/22/2006 - James WhiteI have just a few minutes before we have to leave for Heathrow and the beginning of the journey home (if all the flights are on time, I will get home eighteen hours from now). What a wonderful time of preaching and ministry I've enjoyed over the past two weeks here. I do hope and pray the work here has encouraged the fine believers I have met in the UK. I am grateful to all the pastors who have helped to make this time possible, especially to Jim Handyside in Glasgow and Jack Seaton and Nick Needham in Inverness. Of course, this entire trip, and indeed, all the ministry I've done in the UK (including last year), has been made possible by Pastor Roger Brazier of the Edmonton Baptist Chapel, along with his lovely wife Priscilla and his son Justyn. Roger is my guide while here, but much more, my dear brother and close friend. We get along like Rich and I do, and that is saying a lot. I have said we are brothers separated at birth, and I think there is much truth to that statement. I do hope my time here has especially been an encouragement to Pastor Brazier and the fine folks of the Edmonton Baptist Chapel.
Today would be a sad day parting from my friends were it not for a phone call yesterday. I will be headed back here to London in only four months! I've been kindly invited to speak at the School of Theology at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in July, and I am very excited about it. So while I'm leaving, Roger says I am a bit like a boomerang...he can't get rid of me, as I keep coming back!
Two quick items. Yes, I hope to do the DL Thursday evening at the normal time. Lots to mention and report on.
Secondly, yesterday I had a marathon e-mail encounter with Dr. Ergun Caner of Liberty University. I have challenged Dr. Caner to debate a number of times in the past, as he is very vocally opposed to the doctrines of grace. I was very disappointed with the tone of the exchange, which in essence involved Dr. Caner saying "Geisler and Hunt refuted you" and my repeated attempts to get him to actually read my replies and cite even once from any of my own works. To make a long story short he has yet to accept my debate challenge (I have said I would gladly come to Liberty University and debate before an audience of his own students) but he said we could have a discussion of certain issues on our respective websites. I wrote the following yesterday:
So, I would propose the following:He replied this morning:
Resolved: John 6:35-45 Teaches God Saves an Elect People Perfectly in Christ
Opening Exegesis should begin the debate, where both of us, concurrently, offer a full-on, fresh, exegesis of the text of John 6:35-45. What do you say, Dr. Caner? Shall we engage the text of inspired Scripture and listen to Jesus' words in the Synagogue at Capernaum? I stand ready.
I am more than happy to excerpt every argument Geisler and Hunt used. We can talk in circles all day. More than happy to do it.In my response I pointed out the irony of choosing a text on the second coming rather than the text from John 6 which is manifestly on the topic of salvation. I think that speaks volumes, but I'm happy to point out the context of 2 Peter 3:9 and its meaning exegetically if that means Dr. Caner will then engage the larger text in John 6 as fully. We shall see what develops.
I have a number of topics I am more than happy to discuss, and shall say so. You will NOT pick the subject and "run the show." YOUR exegesis of John 6 may not hold up to 2 Peter 3:9.
We shall see
I do find it a bit odd that Dr. Caner, who presents himself as a strong defender of the faith (see his website here, and notice his bio here), would hesitate to back up his strong statements against Calvinism in front of his own students. I would travel to his location; I would allow the audience to be biased to his side; we would record the debate and provide him with an unedited master at no cost to him. There is really only one reason why someone who includes in his bio a description of himself as the "intellectual pit bull of the evangelical world" would not accept that challenge.
Greetings from Inverness
02/19/2006 - James WhiteInverness, Scotland, is one of the fastest growing cities in all of Europe. Located at the mouth of Loch Ness, world famous for its elusive and shy inhabitant, "Nessie," Inverness is a beautiful city on the banks of the River Ness. It is also my current location as I wind up my week ministering in Scotland. Today I ministered at the Reformed Baptist Church here in Inverness with Pastor Nick Needham. Pastor Brazier and I have been staying with W.J. Seaton, ("Jack") and his lovely wife. If the name rings a bell it is because he wrote the Banner of Truth booklet on the Five Points of Calvinism. This evening Pastor Brazier and I will be driving back to Glasgow for the Minister's Fraternal Monday morning, then, Lord willing, weather permitting, and Easy Jet allowing, we will be flying back to London, arriving in the evening. Tuesday I have my final assignment, trying to pack both my Da Vinci Code presentation and a review of the main historical section of the film The God Who Wasn't There into a single evening. And finally, on Wednesday, I begin the 14+ hour trek home. Lord willing I will report on all of this on Thursday on the DL.
02/17/2006 - James WhiteWhen in Scotland...! Had a great time at a fine gentleman's store in downtown Glasgow doing what everyone had challenged me to do ever since I visited the first time. Yes, they are quite comfortable, before everyone asks the obvious. No, I didn't buy it. Yet. :-) It sure would look great on formal nights on a cruise!
···On a serious note, the preaching at Anniesland in Glasgow went wonderfully over the past three nights. I am now off to a more Eastern direction in Scotland, including ministry in Inverness. However, I may lose most of my Internet connectivity for the next few days as well.
English James...Scottish James?
02/16/2006 - James WhiteWell, we saw my English version a few days ago, but now I've been in Glasgow a few days. Last night I memorized a section of Robert Burns. So, today we went into downtown Glasgow and...well...did I, or didn't I? You'll have to check back tomorrow morning to find out!
Greetings from Glasgow
02/15/2006 - James WhiteGreetings from Glasgow, Scotland! Pastor Roger Brazier and I flew in yesterday, and we immediately got to work with a meeting last evening at the Reformed Baptist Church here on the subject of New Perspectivism. The meeting was very well attended, and the folks were most attentive and appreciative for the ministry of the Word. Tonight the series of meetings will continue with a study of sola scriptura and on Thursday evening I will speak on "Reaching Muslims." Then we head west and north with a stop for a minister's fraternal and then on to Inverness and further ministry there before returning to London (the schedule is on the calendar page).
Took a quick trip, dodging rainshowers, to Stirling this morning and early afternoon, to visit the Wallace Monument. I wanted to see the Wallace Sword and see the location of the battle of Stirling where William Wallace defeated the English. Here are a few shots I took there. The first is the monument itself, which is quite striking from a distance. Next is a statue of Wallace that is on the monument right over the entrance. They also put up a statue down at the visitors' center at the bottom of the hill in 1997 or so...but that is a statue of...Mel Gibson as Wallace! Not a few Scots were a bit put off by that move, of course.
Finally, we have the Wallace Sword itself. The thing is huge, indicating that Wallace was at least 6' 3" or more to be able to wield it. It's pretty impressive to see, as was the entire monument.
We have not been able to work out a time to do the Dividing Line that works on both sides of the Atlantic. Rich has been very busy with construction work on the offices (great progress has been reported to me) and when you are traveling and speaking 16 times in twelve days (not including travel days) it isn't easy to mesh schedules, to be sure. Something might still work out for Thursday, but I can't make any promises.
Greetings from London
02/12/2006 - James WhiteJust a quick "hello" from London. I spoke five times yesterday, three at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in the morning for the seminarians (two sessions on the canon, one on John 6) and then twice at Day's Lane Baptist Church on the authority of the Word and the primacy of preaching. This morning I did the Gospel service at the Edmonton Baptist Chapel, speaking from Luke 18 and the parable of the Pharisee and the publican. I speak two more times here in London before heading for Scotland on Tuesday.
Had a very encouraging conversation with a man from Ethiopia yesterday morning. He said he had read some of my books, including reading, as I recall, The Forgotten Trinity while in Ethiopia. It is wonderful to hear of that kind of thing! The Lord is good.
Also, it is raining here today. First rain I've seen in four months (Phoenix is in its longest draught ever at the moment). It's quite nice.
Finally, my hosts decided that while I'm here in London, I needed to lose the Scottish tartan ties and look...British. So, here's the British version!
Tatbir with a Vengeance
02/10/2006 - James WhiteThe British Daily Mail today featured an entire page of photos from around the Muslim world documenting the Shia holy day of Ashura. Devotees self-flagellate with whips, chains, and knives, seeking to cover themselves in their own blood, an act called tatbir. This year's observance has been greatly increased in fervor by the "Muhammad Cartoon" farce (note that there are now utterly fake cartoons circulating, and very, very few of those protesting have actually seen the original cartoons in their own context). Here we see 1) a baby crying after its father has sliced its scalp to cause blood to flow in the Lebanese town of Nabatiyeh; 2) a father slicing his son's head with a knife in Karbala, Iraq; 3) Shiites marching with blood soaked knives and swords after gashing themselves.
Flagellation is a part of all the world's religions. It appeared in the Middle Ages in Roman Catholicism as flagellants went about in various cities during the Black Plague whipping themselves in hopes of averting the wrath of God. Christianity has no place for such behavior for a simple reason: our blood cannot bring about the forgiveness of sins, since we ourselves are sinners! Only the sinless Son of God could give Himself, which He did, voluntarily, once. A sound doctrine of the atonement precludes any and all such concepts, as does a sound doctrine of grace. See, theology matters. Did not Paul likewise say, long ago,
Col. 2:20-23: If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, "Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!" (which all [refer] [to] things destined to perish with use)-- in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, [but are] of no value against fleshly indulgence. (NASB)May God be pleased to make His gospel to run freely and powerfully amongst the Muslim people, freeing them from such tyranny and falsehood!
Dawkins: Fundamentalist Materialist
02/09/2006 - James WhiteWhile visiting here in London I got a chance to watch the second of the two Richard Dawkins anti-religion pieces. Richard Dawkins is the classic fundamentalist Darwinist: he can't see how he is a caricature of the very things he pillories. You can even hear the awe and worship in his voice when he speaks of Darwin and genetics. Just an amazing example of the idolatry that fills man's heart and the ability it has to warp the mind.
02/08/2006 - James WhiteI didn't actually forget to link to the DL yesterday: Rich is working at the new office today and forgot to upload the .ram file for the DL. When he gets back to a computer, this will be the link. I discussed compatibilism vs. libertarianism, and likewise played a clip from Dave Hunt denying original sin, then took calls. Keep an eye out here for info on any DL's we can arrange from London or Scotland!
A Quick Comparison
02/08/2006 - James WhiteAs I head out this morning for my flight to Heathrow I caught a segment on the Today show on NBC regarding The Da Vinci Code. I couldn't help but compare and contrast the response Christians have had to this deeply blasphemous attack upon the very heart of their faith and a dozen small cartoons featuring Mohammed and the response of Islam worldwide. We all know that The Da Vinci Code blasphemes the character of Christ, denies His deity, His resurrection, the inspiration and accuracy of the Bible, etc. So how have we responded? With violence? No. As we have demonstrated on this blog, we have responded with interaction, refutation, scholarship, and reason. We have taken Dan Brown's assertions and demonstrated them to be lies without a shred of historical foundation. So, if we take just two of the cartoons drawn of Mohammed, the most famous with his turban in the shape of a lit bomb, and the second of him standing in front of a line of men, still smoking from some kind of suicide activity I assume, waiting to get into heaven, informing them that they have run out of virgins, what would Islam's response be if it was based upon the truth? Would we not find documentation that Islam is a religion of peace, and does not in fact produce bombings and the like? But we all know that would be impossible. And what of the Muslim idea of the afterlife, one man with multiple women in a sensual, physical environment? Once again the cartoon speaks to truth, does it not? How is it possible to defend such a carnal view of the afterlife as that seen in Islam? I know some do defend this, as I have heard them try, but my point is, if that defense is so compelling and valid, why isn't that what we are seeing in Islamic nations, rather than the violence, the rage, the guns, the fire, and the murders?
The response of Christianity to a blasphemous and far more popular attack upon its heart (The Da Vinci Code) in contrast to the response of Islam to a small set of cartoons that often speak directly to the truth, is telling indeed!
Major Debate Announcement
02/07/2006 - James WhiteI have mentioned the on-going process over the past few months, but I can now confirm the following:
James White Affirms
Shabir Ally Denies
Saturday, May 6th, Biola University Gymnasium
Los Angeles, California
Of course, it is my hope that this will be the first of a number of debates with Mr. Ally on the key issues of the Scriptures, the nature of God, salvation, etc. Of course, I have engaged large portions of Mr. Ally's arguments on this topic on the Dividing Line and on this blog, and will continue doing so between now and then. I am thankful this topic will come first, for it lays the foundation for a debate on the person of Christ, the Trinity, the atonement, etc. I am very excited that the Lord has opened up this opportunity. I am always amazed when the Lord allows Alpha and Omega Ministries such wonderful opportunities of ministry in the defense of the faith once for all delivered to the saints. Please pray for us as we continue our regular ministry duties, deal with the pressures (time wise and financially) of the move, as well as the upcoming schedule of speaking and debating, including Shabir Ally and John Shelby Spong.
The Contrast Speaks Volumes
02/07/2006 - James WhiteThe horror of Reformed Baptists on the rampage!
Preparing for Travel
02/06/2006 - James WhiteAs I have noted previously, I will be ministering in the UK beginning this week, first in London, then moving north to Glasgow and Inverness. I will be doing my best to blog while traveling, but I honestly am not putting any pressure on myself to keep to any particular schedule since I cannot guarantee any particular level of Internet access.
Each morning brings new and amazing stories of violence on the part of Muslims worldwide though I find the paucity of coverage by American media symptomatic of its inherent fear of the entire topic. Truth would demand a discussion of what the cartoons were about and whether they speak accurately to issues within Islam and specifically in the teachings of Mohammed. But, it is sort of hard to have those kinds of conversations when you are standing on the wrong end of an AK-47 or before a crowd chanting "death to those who offend the Prophet." If you live where you can still speak about these things without too much fear of death, be thankful. Many of our brothers and sisters in the world live under oppression from the Muslim religion and do not have these freedoms.
And the Insanity Goes On
02/04/2006 - James WhiteAre these Muslims burning an embassy merely "radicals" or is there something about the very core and heart of Islam that gives rise to this kind of behavior? What kind of spirit leads people to wish to behead someone for drawing a caricature that, let's be honest, is significantly less insightful than say, the picture of the father carrying his tiny daughter with a fake bomb vest strapped to her chest that we saw in Palestine? Where is the outcry when Christ is regularly mocked in all the media of the world? One cannot help but think of Ahmed Deedat's statement that Muslims above all believe in Christ: but, they don't burn down buildings when Christ is depicted in cartoons, do they? But if Mohammed is shown saying "We have run out of virgins!" to a line of waiting Muslim men (a completely appropriate commentary on Islam's horrific view of the afterlife) Muslims go wild and start loading the clips of their AK-47s. Why not take the opportunity to demonstrate the error inherent in the pictures, if there is error? What a wasted opportunity if you represent the "one true faith."
And Iran wants a nuclear bomb. Yes indeed.
Followers of the Religion of Peace
02/03/2006 - James WhiteThe pictures do speak for themselves. Where is the counter demonstration from the "majority of peaceful Muslims"?
And I see the State Department of the United States has also condemned the cartoons...could someone link me to where they condemn the blasting of Christianity, the Bible, Jesus Christ, etc., that takes place daily in almost all of our newspapers? I can't find that link. I must just be missing it. It has to be there, right?
Yesterday on the DL...
02/03/2006 - James WhiteSorry, forgot the link (it's always easy to figure it out...just add one number to the last one, until you get to 23, then start over again): spent the first 25 minutes on 2 Cor. 4:4 and Dr. Hartley's view of the meaning of "god of this world," and then we took calls the rest of the program.
Oh Good Grief!
02/03/2006 - James WhitePhil Johnson has been keeping a closer eye on the End of the Spear stuff than I've had time to, and obviously reads more widely in the blogosphere than I do, so this article is a must read. Good grief, what a royal mess! Can't the liberal media read more than a few paragraphs and track with a context? Or is it just that they have such a low view of a "fundamentalist" that they don't even think they have to bother?
For me, finally getting a chance to watch the Larry King program that had Al Mohler and Janet Parshall (Janet used to like me---I was on her program over a dozen times and we always had a great time, but after The Potter's Freedom came out, the lights went out--I still think she does a great job anyway), and despite the horrific job King did (he couldn't hide his prejudice, nor did he attempt to), a clear message was indeed communicated. But the position presented by the actor/gay advocate was so clear that it ended all confusion on my part as to the role he played in EOTS. In any case, once more pondering the utter confusion to be seen in reference to such issues in America, in constrast with the wild-eyed fanaticism being displayed again with reference to comic caricatures in Islamic nations, together with the displaying of a Christ picture with Osama Bin Laden's face (here hat tip Silly Brit) in New York...I'm half tempted to go back to bed and hope it is all a bad dream. Oh, forgot...check out the Christian Union at Birmingham University having its bank account frozen because...it refuses to open its membership to...non Christians here. I wonder if they insist the Muslim groups must do the same thing? Yes, the World Craziness Index is high this morning, very high indeed.
02/02/2006 - James WhiteJeff Downs is the Internet's Apologetics Info Guy. If he doesn't know it, it can't be known. He has put together the Countercult Apologetics Journal. I would dearly like to have contributed to it, but this little thing about traveling around and doing debates throughout the year really cuts into your article writing time. I have so many articles running through my head that I want to write it isn't even funny. Only some of them end up on my blog. Anyway, I digress. Check out some of the tremendously interesting and useful articles in the first edition:
"'Theos is a Count Noun:' Is the Word 'God' or 'a god in John 1:1c? A Response to Jehovah's Witness Apologists", by Robert Hommel (for those who heard the Stafford debate, this is what he wanted to drag the cross-ex into, thus effectively losing the audience and deflecting the many questions he had yet to give response to, which is why I refused to go there and tried my best to keep the audience with me).
"Zen: A Trinitarian Critique", by Ralph Smith
"The Theism of Jehovah's Witnesses: Possible or Impossible?", by James Stewart
"Colossians 1:15-17 and Oneness Pentecostals", by Edward L. Dalcour
"2 Corinthians 4:4 A Case for Yahweh as the 'God of this Age'", (PDF) by Donald Hartley (This is an interesting take on 2 Cor. 4:4 that was discussed with Dr. Hartley as part of the preparation for the Stafford debate a few years ago).
"The Quran’s Teaching about the Word of God", by Rodger Young
And much more! These are going on my Palm asap for reading and reference. Stop by and drop Jeff a note of encouragement.
Thursday Morning Odds and Ends
02/02/2006 - James WhiteMy quick blog run and e-mail review netted some pretty odd stuff this morning.
First, it is amazing to watch the rioting, armed thuggery, etc., associated with the publishing of caricatures of Mohammed in Danish newspapers, and now newspapers across Europe. Michelle Malkin has the entire story. Muslims attacking EU offices with guns, demonstrations in the streets, and all over caricatures that are mild and timid in comparison to what you normally see in US newspapers on a daily basis. Can you imagine if instead of the Book of Daniel they had produced a similar program on the Qur'an? TV stations would have been going up in flames. It is not that blaspheming Christ is any less offensive to me, I just respond by praying for the repentance of those doing it, and using it as a basis for challenging, if possible, those doing it on grounds of truth. Islam claims to have grounds of truth, but as we have seen repeatedly of late, examination of those grounds exposes the religion for what it is. So, the more natural response is to follow Mohammed's example and engage in jihad.
Slice of Laodicea had two disturbing notes, one an episode of that always depraved "comedy" "Will and Grace" scheduled for the week before Easter featuring that model of morality, Britney Spears, playing a conservative Christian hosting a cooking show called "Cruci-fixins." Of course it is a shot at TBN, and of course TBN provides all sorts of fodder for that kind of thing. Doesn't change how ridiculous such a move on NBC's part is. What are they trying to do, take over ABC's role as chief offender of believing Christians? Are they ever going to do an episode making fun of how many people die in Mecca trying to get around to throwing rocks at the devil? Yeah, doubtful. It's a lot easier to attack Christians. We write letters and articles in protest: we don't blow up your facilities. You'd think they'd give us credit for that. Don't hold your breath.
And then there is a citation of a letter written in reference to the End of the Spear controversy, found here. Very worth reading.
The Bankruptcy of Islamic Apologetics Final
02/02/2006 - James WhiteWe close out this brief series--one I have found particularly interesting personally, especially in light of the uncritical use of scholarship by the wide spectrum of Islamic apologists--with a discussion of the final element of the "argument" borrowed from Bart Ehrman by Abdullah, cited last week, that regarding Theodore of Mopsuestia. Citations of early Christian writers are notoriously popular on the Internet these days. Yet, only a very small handful of folks ever take the time to check out what was originally said, and fewer still have the resources to do so to any depth at all. My library of patristic materials, while not exhaustive, is quite adequate, and still there are plenty of odd citations I can't track down or check out. And given Rome's history of making up patristic citations, the discerning reader will be careful to put a lot of weight in almost any use of patristic sources without full documentation.
But it is just that which is lacking in everything we have cited so far. Yes, there is a footnote on Theodore in Ehrman, #25 (p. 266, the note appears on p. 271). But it is not to Theodore's writings. It is to a secondary source. It reads, "See Brown, Gospel According to John, 1026." This refers to Raymond Brown's work, which itself reads,
Against the theory of Theodore of Mopsuestia, the Second Council of Constantinople (fifth ecumenical council, A.D. 553) insisted that these words were a reference to Jesus and not merely an exclamation in honor of the Father. There is no tendency among modern scholars to follow Theodore. The expression, as used in John, is a cross between a vocative and a proclamation of faith ("You are my Lord and my God"). Dodd, Interpretation, p. 403, suggests that "my Lord" refers to the Jesus of history and "my God" is a theological evaluation of his person; he cites with favor F.C. Burkitt's paraphrase: "Yes, it is Jesus---and he is divine." But Bultmann, p. 538, is correct in insisting that in combination with "God," "Lord must also be a cultic title....The article is used before "God"; it was not used, we recall,in the Greek of i 1....However, the difference of meaning should not be pressed too sharply, as if i 1 where a markedly less exalted statement (Moule, IBNTG, p. 116)....
[Click Here to Continue Reading]