Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Moving the DL to Friday Morning, 11am MST
08/31/2006 - James WhiteThe alarm company folks need to find out why our alarm failed. Someone else will be working on another aspect of our security problems. Both will need Rich's assistance, and everyone has decided to show up...during the normal time for the DL. So, wisdom would seem to indicate that rather than trying to do a very distracted program with alarms being tested, no one to answer phones, and with me in somewhat less than the optimum frame of mind anyway, we'll give it a shot in the morning.
What Is Missing From This Picture? (Updated Twice)
08/31/2006 - James WhiteCan you tell what is missing from this picture? Probably not. What is missing is my tablet PC. Yeah, the one I used in the Shabir Ally debate. Same one I used in preaching at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London. Same one I used when speaking to the Grace Life men's meeting a few weeks ago in LA. It's gone. Stolen last night. Thieves are smart enough to get in, but the IQ seems to slip a bit once they accomplish that. You will note that the power cable is sitting there. Yeah, they tried to get it, but my wacky wiring system defied them. And see the two batteries there? Yeah, they have the tablet, but they have one battery and no power supply. They didn't even take the 100gig external drive sitting next to it. We theorize that the infrared sensors, which should have had uber-loud alarms going off (yeah, yeah, they are fixed now) scared them off, but they managed to grab the tablet in the process. Yes, we are now fixing all the problems that allowed them to get in, but isn't that the way of things? The police officer who came by said he thinks they will be back since they had such an easy time getting in. Please pray once again for our safety. As to the tablet, well, we can only hope that before that battery dies they look at a few PowerPoint presentations on the gospel or something. I honestly do not know what I will do now with three major debates heading my way. It was great to have, but if I have to go back to the old ways, well, that's how it will be.
Oh, ouch. I had plugged my Palm T5 in to charge last night. It's gone, too. Tablet and my T5, history. Double-whammy.
Oh good grief. My iPod is gone, too. I didn't even think to look. They even disconnected the cable just to be able to use it. Entire music library went with it. Ah, a banner day!
Proof I Am At Least Trying To Be Disciplined
08/31/2006 - James WhiteBut the strongest argument I know regarding the biblical nature of church membership is probably the most obvious. What are the duties of elders? We can find their qualifications listed by Paul in writing to Timothy and Titus (1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-11)and from these glean much about their duties. And we have the plain statement of Peter,
Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, 2 shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; 3 nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock (1 Peter 5:1-3).The argument is simple: shepherds must know their sheep to be able to fulfill their duties as shepherds. Its just that simple. You cannot shepherd the flock of God when you havent a clue who the flock of God is. Every good shepherd knows his sheep. Only the hireling does not know the identity of the members of the flock. And, of course, the relationship is mutual. The sheep know their shepherd. They will not listen to anothers voice because they have been with the one shepherd so long they know his voice over against any pretenders or strangers. Such involves a relationship over time, just as the Christian elder is not to be a hireling, some young gunbrought in from outside, but should be one who ideally fulfills the commandment of Paul, The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2). The gospel is something that is precious, and you entrust it to the next generation. But it is the elders who make this decision, as they have to decide just who is truly faithfuland who has the ability to teach others. All of this requires community, exposure, contact, once again demonstrating that the shepherd must have direct knowledge of the identity, personally, of the sheep who have been entrusted to his care.
Further, Peter speaks of exercising oversight. While we may discuss the exact nature of what this means (and allow for differences given culture and geography and the like) one thing is for certain: it cannot be done without a relationship of some kind that involves real life. Obviously, this involved teaching and exhortation and discipline on the part of the elder. He is to be an example. You cannot be an example from a distance. You cannot be an example through a television screen or through the pages of a book. Modeling Christian maturity takes contact, exposure, and a reciprocal relationship that involves at least some kind of personal, communal, corporate context. All of this proves that despite the lack of the specific term membership rolls(something that would have been pretty dangerous at that point in time anyway), the activities of the elders and the form of the church itself requiresone to see the necessity of commitment to a particular fellowship identifiable by a particular group of elders. And if these texts were not enough, surely this command to all obedient Christians should be:
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you (Hebrews 13:17).Here the Christian duty of obedience and submission, coupled with a need to make this work on the part of the elders of the congregation one of joy rather than grief, is enjoined upon all. This is not a command to servility, nor does it grant to Christian leaders despotic powers. But it does require believers to know who their leaders are. It is empty to say, "Jesus is my leader!" for the writer to the Hebrews did not say your "Leader" but your "leaders," plural, and he would distinguish between them and the Great Shepherd only a few lines later (13:20). Nor does it do to claim to be in obedience and submission to men who do not see your face but once or twice a year. How can they give an account when they have no meaningful knowledge of your life, your Christian experience, your growth in godliness? How can they do so when you never attend upon their teaching or encounter them in the congregation?
Today on the Dividing Line
08/29/2006 - James WhiteHad a great time today with Dr. Sam Waldron and Richard Barcellos discussing New Perspectivism, Federal Vision issues, etc., and taking calls. Great time with great brothers. Here's the program.
Fighting Hard for Discipline
08/28/2006 - James WhiteI really, really, really want to write an article about the commentary offered by Sayyid Qutb on Surah 4:157, but I must be disciplined and exercise restraint since I am under severe deadline pressure on Pulpit Crimes. I should set up a system whereby I am flogged each time I blog on something other than that subject until the project is completed. So for now I will simply refer you to the beginning of my Sunday School lesson from this past Lord's day, found here. While I continued the review and rebuttal of Frank Page's comments on the nature of election from Ephesians 1, I started with a few minutes of commentary on Qutb and how this once again proves my maxim, "theology matters."
CAIR's Dream for America
08/28/2006 - James WhiteThe laughter you hear is coming from all the Islamic totalitarian governments busily persecuting Christians while Australia does this. I am well aware of the fact that merely stating the factual teachings of the Qur'an, as I did, for example, in California last weekend, would be illegal now in a number of Western cultures. Does the phrase "self-destructive" suggest itself here? To be sure. Amazing, truly amazing.
Join Me on Iron Sharpens Iron
08/27/2006 - James WhiteChris Arnzen, long known as the (in)famous introducer (and arranger) of The Great Debate series on Long Island, will be starting his own radio program live drive-time in the afternoons on Long Island this week, and I will be joining him to discuss Pulpit Crimes. The program airs 3-4pm on WNYG, 1440 am. You can listen to the program on the net here. That means I will be going directly from the DL to Chris' program this Tuesday, so it should be an interesting two hours, going from interviewing Sam Waldron and Richard Barcellos to being interviewed by Chris along with his guest hosts! Both programs use Real Audio, so fire up your computer and join us this coming week.
Special Guests on the DL on Tuesday!
08/26/2006 - James WhiteI am very pleased to have as my guests on The Dividing Line this coming Tuesday morning, 11am MST, Dr. Sam Waldron and Pastor Richard Barcellos. If you do almost any reading in things Reformed Baptist you know both names immediately. Both brothers are a part of the expanding work of The Midwest Center for Theological Studies. Both are authors with a wide range of pastoral and theological experience, so we will be able to discuss numerous issues, from New Perspectivism to the Reformed Baptist view of the covenants, baptism, etc. Richard Barcellos is the editor of the Reformed Baptist Theological Review as well. So I don't think we will have any problems coming up with interesting topics of discussion, but you are invited to participate as well, as we will be taking calls. So join us Tuesday morning for The Dividing Line!
Ancient Baptists and Other Myths
08/25/2006 - James WhiteA number of years ago Patrick Madrid and the folks at Envoy decided to take a shot at me regarding an article I wrote for the CRI Journal. Here is the original article. You will see it is about the Council of Nicea and is focused upon explaining the issues surrounding the issue of the deity of Christ. But Madrid and Hugh Barbour decided to use an article that was about the deity of Christ as a pretext for attacking me and my scholarship, and that based upon...a footnote. Yes, a footnote. What was worse, the reply itself was quite sub-standard, especially for a self-professed patristic scholar. And though the Envoy article was quite lengthy, I had to be quite brief in my rebuttal in the CRI Journal. Since Madrid has recently been promoting the article again (as has Prejean), and since it is not found on the CRI website, I provide it here. I think the fair-minded person will once again recognize that all is not well in Rome's apologetics realm when they have to stoop to this kind of activity.
The cover of the July/August 1998 issue of Envoy magazine sports a man, dressed to look like a Baptist (replete with a very Baptist looking watch, a gold cross pin on his jacket, and a tie too ugly to ever be worn) holding a mask in front of his face. The mask is the face of an ancient Christian, possibly an early Church father. The title reads, "Who is that Masked Man?" The subtitle continues: "A Baptist tries to hijack the early Church. You know how he'd be punished in Singapore, don't you?" The article itself, by Fr. Hugh Barbour, is titled, "Ancient Baptists and Other Myths." The article pulls no punches. Its opinions are clearly stated: "A Catholic expert on early Christianity debunks the fanciful claims of a Protestant apologist." The article being reviewed is said to be "error-laden," "amateurishly 'researched,'" and "filled with historical and theological fallacies." One subtitle reads, "The Absurd, and the Outrageously Absurd." And Barbour ends with allegations of "cut-and-paste patristic work," "feats of "scholarly" gymnastics," and "grotesque historical contortions."
What horrible, unscholarly article by some backwoods Baptist would attract the attention of Hugh Barbour and Envoy? The article was my own What Really Happened at Nicea? from the July/August 1997 edition of the Christian Research Journal. And while the thrust of that article was providing a response to common and false claims by cultists concerning Nicea and its definition of the deity of Christ, that was never mentioned in the Envoy response. The fact that Fr. Barbour would agree with the vast majority of what I presented also somehow didn't make it into his article. Instead, the discussion I provided concerning the relationship of Nicea to Scriptural authority, and one particular sentence regarding Athanasius' stand for the truth during the resurgence of Arianism after the Council of Nicea, became the target of this lengthy example of how to skewer your opponents without once touching on the issues that really matter.
Hugh Barbour uses some pretty strong language in his review. Of course, there is nothing wrong with such language, if, in fact, it is true. I have used the very same language in describing Gail Riplinger's New Age Bible Versions, and have then gone on to demonstrate the truth of the conclusions I have reached. That is how Christian apologetics is supposed to be done: an honest representation of the position being examined, followed by a fair and full refutation. If my article was, in fact, grossly in error, nothing more than a cut-and-paste mockery of patristic sources, then there is nothing at all wrong in pointing this out. However, a little closer examination reveals some very troubling facts.
The first thing that struck me as I read Hugh Barbour's article was this: not once, in approximately 4700 words of text, does the article name the "Reformed Baptist author of the Christian Research Journal article." You will never find "James White" in the text of this article. All the way through, I am anonymous, a nameless and faceless person. Can you imagine encountering an article in the CRI Journal that would accuse someone of such shoddy scholarship, but would never tell you who did this poor job of research and writing? What kind of tactic is this?
The second thing that struck me was that while the CRI Journal is specifically mentioned, not once was the article's bibliographical information provided. That is, Fr. Barbour would actually quote the article, but never give the date, issue, or page number. If a reader of Envoy wanted to check out the original source, they would not have an author's name, date or issue. Their task would be daunting.
Immediately we should be struck by the contrast in methodology used by Envoy and that of the CRI Journal. There is a fundamental issue of fairness involved in providing at least the most minimal information necessary to allow your readers to check your sources and your conclusions. None of us are above the need to give our references and allow the reader to judge our fairness and accuracy. Surely it is easier to take anonymous shots at those with whom we disagree, but such shows disrespect to our readers. They must simply trust that we are being fair and accurate since we don't provide any means by which they can examine our sources. And when we are making personal comments, impugning a person's scholarship, research, and conclusions, we cannot hide behind the mask of anonymity and not allow "full disclosure" of the facts. One cannot help but wonder how many regular readers of Envoy likewise noted the glaring deficiency of this "scholarly" rebuttal.
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Today on the DL
08/24/2006 - James WhiteI went for the "eclectic DL" today and pretty well managed to pull it off. Started off with a quick review of a comment by Frank Page from Trouble with the Tulip, his anti-Calvinism booklet. I then moved right into a similar error made by Pastor Modene, and then played two clips from his most recent sermon, including his explanation that sin came into the world like a guided missile...or something like that. Then we just about ruined the show's clutch by jumping into Ahmed Deedat talking about Bible versions and translations. Having expanded everyone's horizons, we took our calls, first discussing the 1993 Patrick Madrid debate on sola scriptura and the issue of formal and material sufficiency, and then finishing the hour with a call on the early church and baptismal regeneration. That pretty well covered the spectrum! Here's the program (well, when the file finishes uploading...I'm getting this linked pretty quickly).
A New Apologetics Resource
08/24/2006 - James WhiteSteve Hays has invested much time and effort in putting out a full response to Price/Lowder 2005 publication, The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave (Prometheus) titled This Joyful Eastertide. He has put it out in e-book format, available here. It is a long and at times taxing process to work through the kind of obfuscation and circular reasoning inherent in this kind of attack upon the Christian faith, so Steve is to be commended for this labor of love.
"I Liked Half Your Book"
08/23/2006 - James WhiteI can't tell you how many times someone has commented that they could only make heads or tails out of half of Debating Calvinism. This note sent through our website by AWS from North Carolina says it well:
I am finishing up the book Debating Calvinism by Mr. Hunt and Dr. White. I have to say that I was very disappointed with the aurguments offered by Mr. Hunt. I really enjoyed the points made by Dr. White and I thought that his line of reasoning was very easy to follow. I struggled with even finishing the second half of the book with Hunt's "refutation" of Calvinism. To say that I was frustrated with Hunt's inability (or disregard for the subject) became annoying after awhile. I began my Christian life very onesided against Calvinism, and now find myself defending the position against Hunt's airy opinions. I would like to read more of Dr. White's books...I said to many during the writing of the book that I fully expected its primary impact to be limited to the how of the presentation; that is, I knew Dave would never stick to one topic; I knew as a result the book would be very "choppy" and difficult to follow; therefore, I knew my best hope would be to try to contrast as strongly as possible the presentation of the truth over against Hunt's diatribes. For those with ears to hear, that has succeeded.
John Modene: Still Unplugged
08/23/2006 - James White
Thanks for the plug on your blog, however mendacious it is.
Please note, not for accuracy’s sake, but for your own future judgment, that although SermonAudio.com takes credit cards, my church does not sell anything on SermonAudio. And we do not sell anything in or at our church.
Such merchandising of the Gospel is offensive and sinful. And it is what you practice. So while SermonAudio.com charges for things, as a business should, the Maumee Valley Bible Baptist Church does not. Any sermon requested is sent at no charge to any person anywhere in the world.
By the way, on your Spiritual Cruise do you meet in the bars or the casino? Do you take in the shows together and worship with naked women present? Just wondering!
Here is another language study for you to try, since it looks like your current Catholic targets are rather esoteric in nature:
In the Bible ALL means ____________
World means ____________
Whole means ______________
Sinners mean _______________
By the way, the answers are not some, some, some, and elect. At least in the Bible.
Just trying to help! Remember to go over my last sermon where I cover this amazing truth in detail. I will be in Phoenix next year, Lord willing, so perhaps I can visit your church and see if God will grant me liberty to preach about it.
I'm not sure why I am so concerned about folks like Pastor Modene. It is not like he is unusual. There are plenty of tradition-enslaved folks like him about who, as a result, struggle mightily with that little thing called truth. Possibly part of it is that consistency thing. I hate to see folks allegedly "in the family" acting in such a fashion, showing such disrespect for truthfulness. He seems to suffer from the same antipathy to truth that Art Sippo has: I can understand its source with Sippo, but Modene should know better.
In any case, I received the above note from Mr. Modene earlier today. I had pointed out the inconsistency of attacking us for accepting credit cards (he indicated this proved I am not a Christian but a false teacher) when SermonAudio, which hosts his materials, does so as well. I had also pointed out that a KJV Only preacher he has recommended, David Cloud, does so too. He has ignored the Cloud comment, and now evidently wishes me to believe that it is OK for SermonAudio to provide him with disk space and bandwidth to promote his sermons, and help to pay for that through the use of credit cards, as long as he does not do so. I just love consistency, don't you?
Next we have Modene's sour grapes combined with a large dose of ignorance in evidently not having the slightest idea of the nature of our meetings onboard ship. Hard to take that kind of rhetoric seriously, though, obviously, Modene does.
Then we have a real example of the depth of Pastor Modene's study of the truth. Evidently he's not overly interested in those Roman Catholics, so, he's got some good ol' Arminianism to promote! Once again, it is a bit scarey to realize that he probably thinks you can define words in the simplistic way he does in his little quiz. Context, language---who needs all of that? What happens when you force an anachronistic, a-contextual meaning on every appearance of a word in the Scriptures? Well, here are a few examples regarding Modene's first question about "all":
Acts 5:34 nobody disrespected Gamaliel...not even one?Those are just a few examples that could be given. All is defined in its context. It can mean all extensively (Colossians 1), it can mean all of a particular group, at a particular time, etc. And yes, all can mean all the elect, if the context indicates it to be so. The same is obviously true of world, where you can find more than a dozen different uses of the term in John alone, let alone elsewhere. And so we are truly left to do nothing more than chuckle at Modene's smug little note, remembering, of course, that he's the fellow who thinks if your pulpit is off-center, you are a false teacher. Along with all the blessings of the Internet comes the sad reality that it likewise gives a platform to those who surely do not deserve it, and who will only misuse it.
Acts 7:22 Moses knew everything the Egyptians knew, completely?
Acts 9:21 Every single person said the exact same words?
Acts 9:35 Every single person in Lydda and Sharon both saw Peter and converted? Not a single exception? Entire villages converted without a single unconverted person?
Luke 14:29 Every single person who observes, without exception, will mock?
Matt 2:3 Every single person in Jerusalem was troubled? Including Anna and Simeon, for example?
Matt 3:5 Every single person in all of Judea, young and old, went out to John?
Sophistry, Sola Scriptura, and Shane
08/22/2006 - James WhiteThree calls on the DL today. First was our sophist, Jonathan Prejean, who actually managed to get me to hang up on him. That's pretty hard to do, but if you want to know how, here's how you do it: when asked simple, basic questions like, "Was the Incarnation a unique event," respond with a lengthy pause, "uuuuhhhh," and then rattle off a non-responsive answer; avoid answering all biblical questions with any biblical material, but always refer to your own (infallible) interpretation of later patristic writings; accuse me of heresy (Nestorianism) simply for not following you down the primrose path of "since the unity of divine and human in Christ does not mean we worship two Christs, but one Christ, that means everything the Bible says about worship can be thrown out, because the created has been joined to the divine," even to the point of claiming that we as the redeemed in some sense "participate" in the hypostatic union; and then, when it is pointed out that you are going backwards (defining the text by your theology rather than your theology by the text), start laughing---that will earn you the instant dialtone every time. A tremendous example of the sophistry of Prejean's form of Romanism.
Sola Scriptura and the canon was our second call with Benjamin from Oklahoma. Benjamin helped me calm down. Thank you, Benjamin.
Shane called. Well, Shane Coombs. For some reason, when Shane Coombs contacted me by e-mail, he did not to my recollection inform me he was the same Shane who had called into the Dividing Line and who had accused me in the past of "cheap debating tricks." But in any case, we chatted for a while concerning the current interaction. I'm not sure his fellow Roman Catholics will appreciate some of the things he said, to be honest, but he concluded by claiming he would surely make my arguments look silly in a formal debate. I guess that means he can do what his predecessors have not, for some reason.
We went 28 minutes long. Yes, this DL is nearly 90 minutes in length. Here it is. Get some popcorn. Take some notes. Gotta admit, you don't hear this kind of thing on most radio talk shows or webcasts.
Jonathan Prejean At It Again
08/21/2006 - James WhiteThe "Crimson Catholic" seems to be jumping from forum to forum hoping to be noticed or at least to be seen as a great defender of the Catholic faith. I noted tonight that he has decided I am a Nestorian now--if you don't bow down before statues or think there is a difference between latria and dulia and hyper-dulia, you evidently "implicitly deny the single personhood of Christ." Yeah, I know, that's absurd on its face, and it is absurd the deeper you dig. But it is the best Prejean has, because he can't engage the text. For all his constant insults and ad-hominem, he, like most of his compatriots, can only argue for a particular interpretation of what one church father said against another. He has trotted out Nicea II, to which I say, "Wonderful---how about dealing with the biblical evidence I have presented?" Don't hold your breath, it won't be happening. That's not Prejean's thing. He's in Art Sippo's camp, and anyone who has experienced the blast-furnace "charity" of Sippo knows what that means.
You see, these folks just do not realize that for all their attacks upon me, my scholarship (not a one of them has even tried to touch my published journal articles, for example---if I'm so dumb, shouldn't it be easy to pick apart, fairly and accurately, what I've published?), my character, and any number of other things, people who are really thinking realize that they have completely ignored the actual substance of my objections posted recently on this blog. And that fact speaks volumes to them. The few who are concerned about this might well take the time to read, or to listen to the debates we have done. And they will find that for all the wild-eyed rhetoric of an Art Sippo or the sophistry of a Crimson Catholic, all of that is a mere distraction from the real issues.
I'd love to have Prejean call back into the Dividing Line and prove me wrong that the central semantic core of dulia and latria intersect smack dab in the middle of db;[' so that any person seeking to give pure hd'Ab to God cannot in any way, shape, or form, pretend to be "serving" an image while only "worshipping" God. Possibly he would like to discuss the relationship of the Hebrew concept of worship and service to the commonly used New Testament description of true Christians as dia,konoi / dou/loi? Lord willing and we can get the server operational tomorrow, he'll have his chance. We will see how many of the brave souls who have launched their Katyusha rockets my direction will actually stand forth and be counted when the phone lines are open, or whether they will be counted amongst the Internet Hezbollah who are brave for a moment and then hide amongst the women and children when it matters.
Update: the same Shane I referred to below posted a strong rebuke, alleging that I have somehow "demonized" my opponents here. Once again, something tells me that if the roles were reversed, all of a sudden the blinders would come off and Shane would not be confused. Katyusha rockets are against the rules of war since they cannot be aimed at a particular target. They are meant to do general damage. So too are the inane, empty, vacuous ad-hominems that make up the substance of the Roman Catholic commentary to which I have been replying. They are random attacks that are not aimed at specific targets such as the biblical evidence or reasoning behind denying the propriety of Rome's dogmatic affirmation of prayers to saints, angels, and Mary. Further, those firing them are cowards. They hide amongst civilian populations so that if they are attacked it will always be possible to cry foul. Aside from Shane himself, and Mr. Prejean, both of whom called once, the rest of the rabble-rousing crowd that is so quick with the slander and so slow with the study does the same thing. Need I post examples? It would be quite easy to do so, as Shane well knows. I've watched it over and over again. They will bravely proclaim my error---until I face them directly. And then all of a sudden the bravado is gone, and often times, so are they, scurrying off only to come back again when they feel the "coast is clear." The parallels should be obvious, but again, prejudice blinds the mind to even the obvious.
Couple of Quick Items
08/21/2006 - James WhiteHey, here's a pic of the Pyromaniac and yours truly after I spoke for a couple of hours on Islam. And I wanted to mention a really interesting conversation I had during the break.
During the first half of my presentation I presented what the Qur'an says about Christ and Christian belief. I got to use my new wireless video import device which allows me to project whatever is on my tablet's screen, wirelessly. I was able to walk freely and still project the presentation. It was great.
Then, during the break, a young man, born in Iran, a former Shiite Muslim, approached me. I asked him, "What did you know of Jesus as a Muslim?" He said, "I did not even know the Qur'an said what you just went over." See, many in those lands only hear the Qur'an in Arabic, even if that is not their language. So when you hear the Bible being preached in your language, thank the Lord for the privilege! Anyway, a little later he became very serious and said, "Dr. White, you really should have a security guard with you at all times when speaking on a subject like this." Believe me, I understand how some would react to even a fair, honest, accurate discussion of the text of the Qur'an. I simply have to trust the Lord for protection.
Oh, and I'm sure someone will point it out, but I forgot to insert a link to the article over on Akin's blog. Here it is. I just scanned the comments and was simply amazed at the childishness prevailing there. The last time I saw this kind of behavior was on the playground in sixth grade. If I am so dull and such a fake, why don't you folks back up your brave brilliance by actually engaging my work? Just unreal. See, for these folks, it doesn't matter how long you have taught, how many books you have written, how wide your scholarship has been proven in books, published articles, or in the breadth of your debating experience. Those things are irrelevant for the prejudiced. Convenient excuse for ignoring the facts of the argument, too.
Putting Out the Call to Shane...
08/21/2006 - James WhiteLooking at the comments on the previous mentioned blog article at jimmyakin.org reminded me that Shane, a Roman Catholic who accused me of using cheap debating tricks and the like, and who had (unlike most of his compatriots) the temerity to call the Dividing Line, has never called back to provide the documentation he said he would. A number of folks have asked where Shane went, and I honestly don't know. But, he seems to have time to post on Akin's blog, so, I'm wondering when we will hear from him. His next opportunity to provide that documentation is tomorrow at 11am MST, 877-753-3341.
Oh, by the way, I will be noting a few developments in the "Can Jon Modene say 'the sky is blue' without choking on those words?" saga on the DL tomorrow. He is very proud of the introduction to his newest "sermon" on sermonaudio.com (which, I point out, accepts credit cards), which includes this line, "In it I fully expose the folly of Calvinists, who limit the Atonement, make salvation unobtainable, and then blast God the Father as a mean monster who elects unborn men and women into eternal damnation." What color is the sky in Jon's world?
08/21/2006 - James WhiteMore insight coming from the responses being offered by Roman Catholics to some brief observations posted here regarding problems within Roman Catholic theology and practice. First thing is, the vast majority of folks who are willing to comment about what I say are also unwilling to actually listen to anything I have said in the past. While Reformed apologists review Roman Catholic apologists' talks and articles and books with regularity, the "they aren't there, we don't care" attitude reigns supreme on the far side of the Tiber. No matter how accurately you may represent Rome's teachings, how often you may cite their dogmatic teachings, they simply refuse to reciprocate on the level of accuracy and fairness. This is the reality of the situation.
I noted the absurd identification of a pile of chocolate drippings as an appearance of Mary, and we got a number of replies that were nothing more than pure emotionalism clothed with a thin veneer of "We are the true church, you heretic! We've been around for 2,000 years! You'll roast in hell with all the rest of the Arians!" etc. and etc. Nothing containing the slightest bit of substance or rational refutation---then again, trying to defend chocolate drippings as a divine sign from heaven is something most of Rome's apologists aren't interested in anyway. Here is an example that came into our website as I was writing this blog entry:
Mr. James White, As a proud Roman Catholic and believer in the savior of man our Lord Jesus Christ is saddens me that Protestants have the desire to covert us to the many divsions and false teachings of many Protestant faiths. Let me ask you for those who argue for KJV for biblical study only. Why is it that the King James book is based after the the Latin Vulgate translated by St. Jerome. Why do Protestants use a Catholic book to ridicule the institution that gave you the Bible. King James was a sodomite with no religous authority much like King Henry the VIII false political church. His wife made the right choice she was Catholic.Our regular readers cannot help but chuckle at the irony of such e-mails, especially since my stand on the KJV issue is so well known and would, of course, be easily discovered by anyone with the slightest desire to know. But in any case, these kinds of replies which show not the first bit of familiarity with our own position are standard fare.
The constant phenomena of "Marian sightings" is a relevant issue for Rome's apologists, and that is why we've been trying to get Tim Staples, now of Catholic Answers, to debate the Marian dogmas for a couple of years now. He's cranking out multiple CD sets (like the one pictured here), books and talks and the like, on the topic, but for some reason, when he's been asked, repeatedly, to debate the topic in the Great Debate Series, he's been "unavailable." Of course, if you listen to Catholic Answers Live you'll hear humorous commercials advertising his availability to come speak in your parish, so you do have to wonder just a bit. Anyway, the issue is quite relevant to Rome's refusal to be submitted to biblical authority, and to the fact that her tradition "makes void" the Word of God in vital issues such as the nature of worship and that fact that there is no biblical basis for differentiating between latria and dulia as Rome does. ...
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Sam Shamoun Responds to Shabir Ally's Closing Comments
08/20/2006 - James WhiteYou cannot always respond to everything that is said in a debate, especially in closing comments. Shabir Ally made some comments regarding the New Testament's testimony to inspiration in his closing statements, and Sam Shamoun has taken the time to thoroughly respond to his comments here. I appreciate Sam's diligence in providing such thorough replies in written form.
More Love Letters from Rome
08/19/2006 - James White
Dear Mr. White. Your attacks on the Roman Catholic Church is appalling. You will have to answer to God for your false claims against Jesus' one true Church. You seem to ignorant of the Holy Scriptures and its correct interpretation that has been lived for 2000 years. You are ignorant of the ancient liturgies which celebrate Christ and His family. You are a modern day John Calvin who was undoubtably one the greatest heretics that has ever lived. You do not know nor do you have any business interpreting the Holy Scriptures for yourself, as it is obvious that you just don't get it. Christians have been living the faith for 2000 years and have always interpreted the Scriptures the same and lived them. You have not. You are a Poser Mr. White. There are also many families in the middle east in the Syrian Rite Catholic Church who have not changed their style of worship since the time of Christ. They use almost the same liturgy now as they did then. Guess what Doctor "Poser" White? They honor and praise The Blessed Virgin Mary because she was part of God's, yes God's plan of salvation. Through her womb your are able to recieve Christ. Of course you don't believe that iether as you spit in the face of Christ everytime you mock the "Real Presnce" of Him in Holy Communion. You had better wake up or your gonna find yourself in hell where you and the rest of the heretics can flasely interpret Scripture with Satan and his minions for eternity. God bless you Mr. White.
Blessings to Sammy and J!
08/19/2006 - James WhiteOne of our channel ops, sammy, found himself a wonderful bride in J, and today was their wedding day. I wish I could have been there, but I was on the other side of the continent. So we have pictures! Well, one, at least. Sammy cleaned up pretty well, and of course, J is just beautiful! Sammy had been one of our top chatters...until he met J. And well, since then, we've hardly seen him. Something tells me we won't be seeing him any more in the future! But congratulations, and may the Lord bless you both as you serve Him!
A Tasty Mary Sighting
08/18/2006 - James WhiteSince starting this blog I've noted a few times (here's an example) the amazing desire on the part of folks to see Mary in...anything at all. I imagine you could gather a weekly example of someone finding Mary in this, that, or the other thing, if you looked diligently enough. Yes, the Lord Jesus gets spotted a good bit as well, and while that is pretty silly (I saw an item on the news last week where the shadow from an otherhead spot going past a fake tree had become a vision of Jesus in a Protestant church), it is at least understandable because, after all, He is confessed to be divine. But Mary---well, let's face it, Mary is divine for many faithful Roman Catholics, too. Put all the fine disctinctions aside, forget about hyperdulia and the like, many worship her. So it is not surprising when they manage to spot her hiding on stucco walls and on freeway underpasses or in the reconstituted water stains made by Palm trees on bank building windows or in yucca branches down on 16th Street.
But someone may be onto something now. Here's an AP story about a new twist: a chocolate Mary! Now, I'm sorry, but that's...chocolate droppings. Nothing more. But hey, have these folks figured out the gold mine they have here? Start cranking those babies out! They'll be rich before they know it. I remember all the creepy stuff they had at that Marian shrine down in Clearwater at the former Ugly Duckling Car building where Mary showed up in the window for a while, so I'm sure there would be a market for a chocolate Mary thing--especially since you don't have to worry about actually making it look like anything in particular. Just get that basic drooping shape thing going and poofo, instant popularity.
I feel badly for simple folks who fall into this idolatry, I really do. But I put the blame where it belongs: Rome. All of Rome's intricate distinctions mean nothing when the simple fact is that she encourages idolatry. And as I have said many times before, I am so thankful that I am completely convinced that the real Mary has no idea whatsoever what is done in her name down here. Her heart would be broken.
Press Release from WordMasters
08/17/2006 - James WhiteFor Immediate Release
Allendale, New Jersey
A student representing Cortez High School recently won high honors in this year's WordMasters Challenge, a national competition for high school students requiring close reading and analysis of many different kinds of prose and poetry.
In the year's fourth meet, held in April, Summer White made only one mistake and placed among the 304 highest-scoring eleventh graders nationwide. More than 55,000 students from 46 states entered the meet. The school's participation was overseen by Diane Bykowski.
The premise behind the WordMasters Challenge is that attentive reading and sensitivity to language are among the most important skills students acquire in school. The texts students must analyze for the Challenge can range from short fiction by Eudore Welty or John Updike to poetry as old as Shakespeare's or as recent as Margaret Atwood's, and to essays as classic as E.B. White's or as current as a Newsweek Magazine essay by George Will. Though the texts vary widely in voice, subject, tone, and length, they have one thing in common: style. All use language skillfully to convey layers and shades of meaning not always apparent to students on a first or casual reading.
Sorry, Today's DL Canceled: No Real Audio Server
08/17/2006 - James WhiteOur Real Audio server is MIA and we can't get hold of the powers-that-be to track it down, so we were unable to have the program today. Our apologies. As I travel tomorrow, we can't just move it back a day, either, so, it will be next Tuesday before we try to make another excursion into broadcast excell...err, do the webcast. Of course, if our intrepid webmaster dude is on vacation or something, we might not have anything Tuesday either! We shall see.
Rome's Priests in Africa
08/16/2006 - James WhiteSillyBrit (aka Colin Smith, the same fellow implicated in the Great Mr. X scandal a few years ago--boy was that a story!) pointed me to this article regarding a problem Rome is having with its priests in Africa "moonlight as witch doctors" (to use CNN's language), or, more specifically, engaging in prayers to ancestors and in general developing a syncretism between Roman Catholicism and native tribal and regional religions. While one's first thought was, "Goodness, if a minister in our church were found to be engaging in such idolatry, they would not be 'exhorted' to cease, they would be removed forthwith," another thought followed quickly. Given Rome's violation of biblical teaching regarding prayers to saints and angels, and in particular, given Rome's exaltation of the humble handmaid of the Lord to the Queen of Heaven, isn't this rather understandable? I mean, put yourself in the sandals of the person attending the Roman Church in the bush of Africa somewhere. All you've known has been tribal religion, but you also hear about this religion called Catholicism. And so you go to the services and they are sacrificing their god upon an altar and praying to this exalted woman named Mary (could you differentiate between her and one of your tribal deities? Could you? You really think pleading the meaning of 'hyperdulia' is going to work here?) and to spirits like Michael and they are lighting candles and bowing and praying toward a box with something the priest consecrated and put in their and toward images and statues---just what should we expect folks are going to think? And put yourself in the position of the priest in that rural location. Is he going to really be in a position to attempt to engage in the kind of double-speak Rome's apologists have to use to get around the Bible's prohibition against the very kind of spiritism that is part and parcel of the surrounding culture? Can you imagine Patrick Madrid doing in that context what he did a few years ago on Long Island, where he seriously looked at the audience and explained that what the Bible said about images was just due to those particular people in that particular context having a "problem with idolatry" that doesn't exist today? Sorry, that kind of thing may work in urban New York but it goes over like a lead balloon out there in the real world. And really---it didn't go over in New York, either.
So outside of Rome saying, "Don't use those ancestral idols! Use ours instead!" what grounds does she really have to fight off this kind of syncretism? Look at Mexico. Look at Brazil. Rome's theology has always created this kind of "mixed" religious experience. There is a reason. When you abandon God's standards, something will rush into the vacuum of truth that inevitably results.
I've Been Norrisized
08/16/2006 - James WhiteIf you've seen the Chuck Norris and Jack Bauer lists that are floating around the Internet (evidently there is some level of...conflict between fans of both) you have the background to understand this humorous parody. As for me, well, Charles scares me. Someone has listened to way too many debates and Dividing Lines. Hope you enjoy it. If you don't...complain to Charles.
An Insight into the Mind of a Roman Catholic Lay Apologist
08/15/2006 - James WhiteWhen in the service of Mother Church, any response, as long as it uses words, is a refutation of those who are not part of Mother Church. This is proven out by the appearance of "Crimson Catholic" (Jonathan Prejean) on the Envoy boards. Those who are familiar with the Catholic Answers forums, and a long, long long interaction between Eric Svendsen and Crimson Catholic, know of whom I speak. It is my understanding this gentleman is a patent attorney, so at the very least he is able to express himself with some level of accuracy; however, he is just as capable of some incredible leaps in logic, as I have documented in the past.
Well, this evening Mr. Prejean decided to fire a blast my direction on the Envoy boards. I would summarize it this way: "Hey, people have argued with White in the past, and, since some replied, he's obviously wrong!" In a post providing a whole slew of URLs to where I've been "refuted," we have some tremendous examples of the "throw enough stuff out there, something will stick" mentality that is so very common. I am not going to invest much time here, as I simply don't have it (despite Charles the Liver Hearted's rantings, I am headed to CA this weekend to speak for Phil Johnson's Grace Life group, and since I'm trying out some new technology and a new presentation, my time is fairly nil this week), but a few items cried out.
Prejean called the DL a while back to apologize for his ad hominems, but evidently that period has passed, as this post is filled with all sorts of insinuations and slights.
Prejean is writing for his own audience, since he does not bother to even attempt to back up his claims. He seems to think that not accepting Rome's apologists' claims regarding formal and material equivalency is the same thing as not understanding them (i.e., if you just understood, you would agree, the unstated argument). He quotes two paragraphs from the end of my discussion, does not interact with them, and simply blusters from there, playing to the crowd, throwing in Bill Webster, David King, and Eric Svendsen for good measure. We all just don't get it, but, of course, Prejean expects us to accept his ipse dixit that this is the case. This kind of apologetics only works for those who are already inclined to believe everything you have to say. It is remarkably ineffective for anyone else. ...
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Today on the DL
08/15/2006 - James WhiteFinished off the Modene sermon and then took two calls, one from Jerry Johnson of the Apologetics Group. I started off the program reading from R.C.'s own writings on the nature of the new birth, and then played Modene saying R.C. does not preach on the new birth. A telling contrast. Here's the program.
Also, most of my readers will want to read Mark Dever's comments on the inaction of the SBC regarding non-attending members and church discipline. Here is his article.
Burning Issues / Pulpit Crimes Pre-Publication
08/14/2006 - James WhiteAnother "sneak peak" from my upcoming book, Pulpit Crimes:
If the purpose of the pulpit is to provide a place for God's voice to be heard amongst His people, then surely one of the greatest, and sadly, most common crimes against the pulpit is when God's voice is muddled, mixed, and muffled, by human tradition. It is indeed a great crime when God's people come to the table to be fed on the manna from heaven and instead are given the empty calories of human wisdom masquerading as if they are God's Word. When the Word is covered over by the crust of man's traditions, both in practice as well as in preaching, the people of God suffer as a result. They go away hungry, even if stuffed to the gills with programs and schemes and words without end. Only the truth will satisfy the soul of the new creature in Christ, and men's traditions, when they take the place of the life-giving words of God, can never nourish that soul.I wasn't aware of it, but you can pre-order Pulpit Crimes already, and, if you do so by August 31, you get a special price. You can also take a look at the other books already in this series or planned for this series, here. The book itself will be released at the Pulpit Crimes Conference in Orlando in early November.
And now...back to work on it!
Continuing My Review of Trouble with the Tulip
08/13/2006 - James WhiteI may have mentioned this before, but I have been doing a series in Bible Study at PRBC on Frank Page's book, Trouble with the Tulip. I started right after his election as president of the SBC, then I went off to the UK, and didn't get back to it for a few weeks upon my return. I've taken a few detours as we've worked through the text. For example, he mentioned Augustine so I took the time to refresh the memory of the class on the Donatist and Pelagian controversies. I'm noting a rather sad decline in the quality of the work as we go through it. It started out at least trying to present a semi-accurate picture of Reformed theology, but as it moves on that attempt falters and the regular straw-men that mark the vast majority of anti-Reformed rhetoric out there start cropping up. I truly do wonder what the men who founded the SBC would think of this kind of writing today. In any case, you can find the series listed here.
An Unwitting Admission
08/12/2006 - James WhiteI was looking over the August, 2006 "Soulforce Alert" which was reporting on the "1000 Watt March, Vigil and Concert" up in Colorado protesting Focus on the Family. One interesting paragraph I read said:
In interviews with the two activists, one difference stood out. Chad Allen [who was chosen to play a lead role in End of the Spear even though he is a pro-homosexual activist] believes GLBT [Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender] people and anti-gay Christians can find common ground if they focus on their humanness. Judy Shepard does not believe that it's possible to find common ground with folks like Dobson. "Their view is askew, so I don't believe it's possible. A lot of this is about power and money. It will take many brave ministers to say it's okay to be Gay and Christian---and these ministers have jobs, pensions, and families to think about...they have a lot to lose. So we must talk to the people in congregations and humanize what's happening."
Did you catch that? While the two pro-homosexual activists disagree in one aspect, in reality, in a way the writer surely could not comprehend, they actually agree. What is the way for "unity" for Chad Allen? Focusing on our "humanness." And for Shepard? To "humanize" what is happening. See, they really agree! What has to be lost is the supernatural element of Christianity. God cannot be Creator. We cannot be created. That means God gets to define human sexuality and define its proper bounds. He even gets to define certain behaviors as sinful. And, of course, that is the very statement these folks want to preclude anyone from even thinking, let alone stating out loud. So the only way around that is to turn Christianity into a human social club and nothing more. Shepard wants to by-pass the God-ordained structure and seek to create rebellion in the ranks. Neither of them want to obey God's Word.
Over the past two Lord's days I've spoken on the subject of the Bible's teaching on homosexuality. You can find those sermons listed here under the topic "Pulpit Crimes."
John 6 and the "Pristine Faith Restoration Society" (#5)
08/11/2006 - James WhiteIn our last installment in reviewing Tim Warner's response to me on John 6 we entered into his assertion that the use of the word "see" in the present tense meant physical sight, so that Jesus was only referring to the Jews of that day believing in Him. Though Warner recognizes that "believing" is likewise a present tense participle (would it not follow that believing, then, was only relevant to those Jews in that day?), he does not seem to recognize that the contrast in John is not between "Jews believing in one particular way in the days of Jesus, and now, due to our progressive dispensationalism, we see that things are different now than they were then," but between the kind of faith referred to by the use of the present tense (on-going faith) vs. the temporary faith that does not save seen a number of times in John (John 2:23-25, John 8:30), normally using the aorist. Given that John is writing all of this long after the cross, the arbitrary insistence that John's words are to be limited in their application and meaning to a period no longer relevant to anyone to whom he was writing is truly one of the worst logical outcomes of certain forms of dispensationalism. The fact that his words would be invariably misunderstood and would lead to all sorts of errors down through the centuries until dispensationalism came along to sort things out is truly enough to prove the error of this movement. Remember, the book itself places the issue of faith in the days of John, after the cross:
John 20:30-31 30 Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.Notice that the text uses i[na with the subjunctive yet once again to express simple purpose: these things have been written with the purpose that the reader may believe that Jesus is the Christ, and, then, a second use of i[na, by believing you may have life in His name. As we noted earlier, it would be gross misreading to read into the text issues of "Well, it was God's purpose that everyone believe, and since not everyone believes, then God's will can be thwarted!" just as it would be an error to think that any person who truly does believe might not have life in the name of Christ. Instead, John has written his gospel so that it may be used to bring men and women to faith in Christ, and all who truly believe do, in fact, receive eternal life through that faith. But notice that John's gospel, no matter when you date it, was written after the cross. Hence, John is saying that what he has written he has written so that by reading these gracious words a person may believe and have eternal life. Now, how would a person, living at the end of the first century, know that the gracious promise of Christ to save perfectly those coming to Him and believing in Him recorded in chapter six was no longer relevant to him or her? This is surely a misreading of the text, and the fact that John would present to his audience his gospel, with almost all of it narrating events and teachings prior to the cross, shows that he, unlike Warner, did not embrace this particular "progressive dispensational" hermeneutic so that Jesus' words in the synagogue at Capernaum have only a historical and passing interest to his readers.
It is almost sad to see how far removed from the plain meaning of the text in front of him Warner is forced by his a-contextual dispensationalism. Note this statement:
Both "seeing" and "believing" in verse 40 are present participles. They referred to people doing these things at that time. Since the immediate audience actually did see Jesus with their eyes, there is no doubt that they understood Jesus literally in this verse. To allegorize the term in order to stretch the scope of Jesus' teaching beyond the immediate audience is "wresting the Scriptures" in my opinion. The idea of seeing Jesus and then believing that He was the Messiah is repeated many times in the Gospels. It has reference to their seeing the miracles that Jesus did as proof that He was the Messiah. His miracles were all the proof required.The number of obvious errors in thought and reasoning in this single paragraph, given the context, are hard to catalog. Once again Warner ignores the fact that John wrote this long after these events took place for a purpose. Next, isn't the whole point of John 6 that these men were unbelievers, who, though they had seen the miracles, did not in fact believe? Isn't Jesus explaining why? And if we take his literalism, will we not fall into the very same trap Rome has fallen in to as well? Does it not follow that eating flesh and drinking blood is "literal"? Warner even "sees" the disjunction the Lord presents between seeing (physically) and believing in v. 36, but misses that in v. 40 the two are joined together, for those the Son raises up to eternal life see and believe. That is the whole point: while they had seen the miracles, they had not really seen; and while they were seeing Jesus, they were not really seeing Jesus. It is common all through John for this kind of play on words to be used: hearing, but not hearing, for example; seeing, but not seeing. When seeing is joined with believing, it is clearly spiritual in nature, not physical; when hearing is joined with faith, it is not physical hearing, it is spiritual hearing, hearing of the Word of God (with understanding), seeing the Lord Jesus Christ for who He is. The whole point of this text is that these men are looking on the outward, looking for signs, but they are not truly looking. The words Jesus gives them are "spirit and are life," as He Himself indicated. Will Warner accuse the Lord of using improper metaphors for His teaching, we wonder? So we must reject as utterly groundless and once again utterly against the flow of the context Warner's assertion, "Clearly, 'seeing' Christ in this passage refers to actually observing Jesus in the flesh with the eyes."
Despite having God's truth right before him, Tim Warner cannot "see" it plainly due to his outside sources and beliefs. The irony is that he even makes reference to the concluding words John provides in reference to Jesus' ministry from John 12, which specifically states God's sovereign activity in hardening hearts and blinding eyes, and yet this clearly has nothing to do with physical sight! Such glaring inconsistency is the hallmark of the eisegesis flowing from Warner's odd form of progressive dispensationalism, one that is joined, for some odd reason, with an uncritical utilization of patristic sources.
[continued in next installment]
Today on the DL
08/10/2006 - James WhiteI spent the first fifty minutes of the program today reviewing Jon Modene's amazing "sermon" against R.C. Sproul, and then took a call on KJV Onlyism teacher Sam Gipp and the KJV's translation of "Easter" in Acts 12. Here's the program.
Jon Modene Gone Wild
08/10/2006 - James WhiteI was sent a link by someone a few days ago of one Jon Modene preaching about his visit to R.C. Sproul's church. Today I took the time to load it up while working on other things. I could not believe what I was hearing. So I sent an e-mail to the link provided on Sermon Audio and said that this "sermon" was "simply embarrassing." I described it as "incredible" and "beyond all bounds of reason, logic and truthfulness." I exhorted him to apologize for "this incredible example of gross misrepresentation and falsehood."
The response I got back would have curled my hair, if I had any. So I will add Jon Modene's incredible attack on Dr. Sproul to the rotation of clips we are examining on the DL, starting today. It seems fitting to throw it in along with the Barry Lynn/John Shelby Spong material, to be honest, given that Modene consigns both myself and Dr. Sproul to the realms of the lost. Be listening!
Hey, This is Neat
08/10/2006 - James WhiteI was just informed of this, and it's pretty neat. The Potter's Freedom in electronic format. I'm sure Norman Geisler is thrilled. Now folks can check the page citations in Dr. Geisler's "response" to my book for themselves and stare in amazement even faster! And at high resolution, too! Calvinism for Computers.
Shane Coombs' Debate Challenge
08/09/2006 - James WhiteThe response to my simply replying to a Roman Catholic who started out attacking me perosnally, calling me an agent of Satan, etc., over at Envoy, has been, as normal, most sad. Though Jerry-Jet continues to melt down, filling his posts WITH CAPS AND LOTS OF EXCLAMATIOIN POINTS!!!!! and throwing around accusations of "lying" and "serving Satan" and the like, and though I did not respond to him in anything that could be considered a parallel fashion, it matters not. Somehow, I am still the mean one! Shane Coombs wrote:
Perhaps he is an idiot. Perhaps he is a genius. Perhaps he is mean, perhaps not; I do not know. However, regardless of whether he is a mean idiot or not, Mr. White's treatment of him is completely inappropriate. We do not defend our Lord by mocking others, and much less by devoting multiple posts on a blog to do so. The spirit with which Mr. White has posted concerning Jerry is utterly astonishing coming from a Christian, with post after post put up seemingly for the primary purpose of depicting all Catholic forum members as imbeciles at the expense of Jerry.
Let me see if I follow: if I reply to Jerry-Jet's accusations that I am a servant of Satan and, by contrasting reasoning and logic and self-control with his rambling accusatons of being a servant of Satan, demonstrate that his arguments are empty and self-contradictory, I am "mocking" him? Is hoping for his salvation, praying for him to open his eyes and think about something other than his current views, an act of mockery? What kind of standard are these folks using? Does this not demonstrate the kind of standard they are applying when reading their own apologists, and when reading anything opposed to their viewpoint? No wonder they can say with a straight face, "You've been refuted over and over again!" If I read their material with this kind of bias controlling my thinking I would never give them a second thought. Thankfully, I realize you cannot do serious apologetics in that way. ...
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About the Shabir Ally Debate DVD Disk...
08/09/2006 - James WhiteI have been informed that we had a major "woops" take place in the first shipments we made of the Shabir Ally debate DVDs. Seems a stack of the second DVD of the John Dominic Crossan debate got switched with the Ally debate, so what was sent out was the second disk of the Crossan debate. I am also informed that we know exactly who these were shipped to, and are sending out replacements immediately, so you don't have to call. Our apologies. Of course, you might find the second half of the Crossan debate enjoyable, too!
Paul at Envoy Wonders....
08/09/2006 - James WhiteOver the course of the past seventeen years I have engaged the subject of sola scriptura in a tremendously wide variety of venues. My first public debate was with Gerry Matatics on sola scriptura in August, 1990. I had already written a book, Answers to Catholic Claims that interacted with Karl Keating's works and included discussion of Newman's development hypothesis. Since that time I have written hundreds of pages in various venues on this topic, some making up chapters in books with various contributors (such as the Soli Deo Gloria publication, Sola Scriptura wherein I wrote a chapter on the nature of tradition in patristic sources as it relates to a meaningful biblical doctrine of sufficiency) and in my own books, including lengthy discussions in The Roman Catholic Controversy and of course, Scripture Alone. Some of the exchanges I've engaged in have included lengthy discussions of individual patristic writers, sometimes involving extensive examinations of such sources as the Thesaurus Linguae Graece. A quick review of the files listed on our website under Roman Catholicism will yield a number of extensive, documented discussions of the subject demonstrating a knowledge of the full range of objections offered in published Roman Catholic works. Aside from all of this, I have debated this topic nearly half a dozen times against Madrid, Matatics, and Father Mitch Pacwa.
In light of this, I could not help but note the musings of one user on the Envoy message boards by the name of Paul. He noted that I had taken the time to respond to Jerry-Jet (I wrote all three installments at once, but spread them out over a number of days due to the length of the resultant material). He then wondered why I had not interacted with "better" objections to sola scriptura posted by other users. Now, there is no question, Jerry-Jet has completely melted down since I began my response (see the preceding entry), but I chose to respond to his original post because he is, sadly, representative of the kind of "James White is the servant of Satan--but no, I won't listen to a word he has to say and yes, I will just repeat the same ol' same ol' that White has refuted a thousand times before" rhetoric that not only passes for apologetics on Envoy but on numerous websites around the net as well. Now, if I had never addressed Trent or Newman or all the modern writers traveling about speaking in parishes and conferences, and had not engaged leading Roman Catholic apologists, and had standing challenges to others who will not debate the topic, then I could understand Paul's comments. But given the reality of my work in this field, I am truly left wondering how Paul could ask such a question.
Instead, what keeps coming out in my examination of forums like that at Envoy or Catholic Answers is a "mirror image" effect. As I have noted of late, Rome's apologists generally ignore even published refutations of their statements and works. They try to present the idea that "those Protestants are irrelevant, we represent the ancient Church, just listen to us repeat the same ol' same ol' arguments again." Or as I've put it in the past, "Don't worry, be Catholic!" So is it really hard to understand how their audience ends up mirroring those they follow? If those you seek to emulate show little interest in vigorous examination of truth, but instead settle for repetition of the "party line" without interaction with its refutation, should we be surprised at the attitude at Envoy and elsewhere that says, "Hey, we are the ancient church and to be honest, we could care less what anyone else says about it, even when they provide documented responses to what we say." And it is useful to examine this attitude in this context since the readers of this blog are most likely the very ones who would be encountering this kind of "apologetics" in the Internet and in "real life."
08/09/2006 - James WhiteIn case some of my readers were wondering what kind of response my reply to Jerry-Jet received, I must sadly report that the level of response was...not encouraging. Just a few representative samples:
Notice folks--all you have to do is quote from the Bible and Jesus' own words and it strikes Satan so hard that he tries to trot out all the big time LIARS with MORE lies and even tries to dress them up as being THEOLOGIANS or EXEGETES or use big words and say that the plain words of Jesus and the Bible mean things OPPOOSITE of what they say.
Jesus said to EAT his Body and DRINK His Blood or you do not have life in you.
Jesus doesn't LIE.
The people who do not obey his command and CHOOSE to not EAT His Body and DRINK his Bood are the real liars.
I'll tell you this: if you want to eat crackers and drink grape juice with them you can do it in Hell--the Eucharist is never served there!
Tell me Oh protestant agents of Satan--why does your beloved King James Version of the Bible say in 2 john 7 that Jesus IS COME in the flesh and refer to the Eucharist and NOT change the words and LIE by changing the tense to AS COMING in the flesh to refer to Jesus' incarnation?
King James agreed with the Douay Rheims--what's the matter--is King James not a BIG enough liar for today's Protestant? I guess not--the NIV crowd changes TRADITION in the Bible where it is referred to as something we should hold fast to to TEACHING. Tradition is only used in that version of Protestant LIES in conjunction to the traditions of the pharisees where it is used in a negative light.
The Greek word for both is the same--but what do the Protestant LIARS care? They're bound and deternmined to LIE even more than King James.
They LIE about Mary--she isn't highly favored she is even more than FULL of grace--it's just that that's about as close as you can get to the Greek in English.
The Protestants who do not know these things are indeed our separated brothers--the people who do know better are agents of Satan and are no better than all the heretics for the last 2,000 years that just fail to OBEY the authority of God!
Message to all the Protestant LIARS forums out there: be prepared to deal with the Fullness of Truth that resides in the Catholic Church! Many of your Protestant posters will ask you questions in angst once they hear the truth--LIE all you want to--the REAL Bible doesn't LIE but the people who CLAIM to believe in Sola Scriptura are selectivists, rewriters of the bible and most definitely LIARS!
Jesus never debated the Devil--why should Art debate White?
There is no debate with liars. White will not listen to the Church--why would he listen to anybody else? He should be treated as a publican and a sinner!
Ironically, I do not see anyone, even Roman Catholics, replying to Jerry-Jet, and surely no one scolding him for his behavior. Maybe he's a "known entity" there? Maybe they just sort of ignore him? Hard to say. But in any case, that's about as deep as the response got. I guess we should not be overly surprised. As others in that thread have noted, while they are sure I am wrong, and probably a mean, nasty fellow--neither have they taken the time to actually read any of my works completely, or listen to the debates we have done with leading Roman Catholic representatives. The bias would be embarrassing in any other context, but given the closed nature of the system, the folks there just don't seem to see it.
By the way, in reference to Sippo's melt-down last year, here is the documentation. And for those who only read the blog but who haven't sort of dug into what else we have on the website, you might find this listing useful if you are looking into Roman Catholicism. I looked over my report on my debate with Tim Staples in 2000 on Papal Infallibility and actually enjoyed remembering various of the details. Lots of stuff like that is available for your enjoyment and edification.
Even before posting this, Jerry-Jet has provided more "response." Just a sampling:
All Sola Scriptura is is LIES on to of LIES!Yes, well, doesn't look like Jerry-Jet is quite yet to the point of being able to consider other viewpoints fairly. Well, we hope and pray!
I haven't yet gone into an ENCYCLOPEDIC discussion LINE by LINE and WORD by Word about how such people are liars and how the truth is not in them!
I will say this: I find it curious that someone like myself is assuredly isn't a great theologian can just speak a few words about the FULLNESS of Catholic truth and receive the response that has been received here.
Since I've been here we've had the BIGAMIST Lutherans who believe in NAZI biographers--we've had GEOCENTRISTS who deny the whole world's common sense--we've had the Creationists clothed as Catholics when they're REALLY Protestants--and now we get part of James White's cadre of Satanists.
Today on the Dividing Line / Scott Hahn Book Reviews
08/08/2006 - James WhiteToday on the Dividing Line I started out responding to an article by Malcolm Lavender on Acts 13:48. Then we took two excellent phone calls, the second of which was particulary useful as it focused upon Biblical authority in response to Roman Catholic claims. Should be useful to a wide variety of folks. Here is the program.
Also, when talking to someone in channel concerning an acquaintance who was moving toward Rome and reading Scott Hahn's book on Mary, I started looking for the two Dividing Lines I did on Hahn's book when it first came out. I looked and looked and looked, but could not find them. Eventually I realized that they had been on straitgate.com, and had never been archived in our mp3 archives (which only go back to 2002). We have fixed that, so that they are now found in the 2001 archive listing, though I haven't been able to add the description yet. They are found here, and the dates are 4/21/01 and 5/05/01. If you have not listened to these programs (and that would be a majority of folks), you will find them helpful if you are dealing with Roman Catholicism.
Roman Catholic Apologetics: Street Level (#3)
08/08/2006 - James WhiteI continue with my response to "Jerry-Jet" on the Envoy Magazine web boards and his comments regarding me.
The TRUTH is that Mr. White is leading people to Hell and people SHOULD be told that if they follow HIS interpretation of the Bible and not the Catholic Church who Jesus gave that authority to and if done with full knowledge and choice then HELL will be the result!As I noted earlier, we might have a budding Feeneyite here, it is hard to say. But the contrast between a reasoned, contextual look at John 6, and this kind of rhetoric, should be obvious to all. But just for the fun of it:
In other words, in respect of His divine presence in the flesh it was rightly said to the disciples, 'Me you will not have always.' In this respect the Church enjoyed His presence only for a few days: now it possesses Him by faith, without seeing Him with the eyes....He left the world by a bodily withdrawal, He proceeded to the Father by His ascension man, but He forsook not the world in the ruling activity of His presence.I realize many Roman Catholics get very upset when we Protestants quote from patristic sources, but that's OK. Augustine's doctrine of the physical body of Christ post-resurrection is deeply problematic for fire-brand type Roman Catholics like Jerry-Jet. But there is a very large probability no one has ever mentioned the reality of Augustine's views to him to begin with. Let's hope someday he will take the time to look into such things.
The Lord Jesus, in the discourse which He addressed to His disciples after the supper, when Himself in immediate proximity to His passion, and, as it were, on the even of depriving them of His bodily presence while continuing His spiritual presence to all His disciples till the very end of the world...." (Augustine, John: Tractates 50, 92, 102, and 118).
Who is the bread of of the Kingdom of God, but He who says, "I am the living Bread which came down from heaven?" Do not get your mouth ready, but your heart. On this occasion it was that the parable of this supper was set forth. Lo, we believe in Christ, we receive Him with faith. In receiving Him we know what to think of. We receive but little, and are nourished in the heart. It is not then what is seen, but what is believed, that feeds us. Therefore we too have not sought for that outward sense.
This is then to eat the meat, not that which perishes, but that which endures unto eternal life. To what purpose do you make ready teeth and stomach? Believe, and you have eaten already. (Augustine John: Tractate 25:12).
In other words, in respect of His divine presence we always have Christ; in respect of His presence in the flesh it was rightly said to the disciples, 'Me ye will not have always.' In this respect the Church enjoyed His presence only for a few days: now it possesses Him by faith, without seeing Him with the eyes." (Lectures on the Gospel of John, 50:13)
That's the truth! It isn't pretty--it isn't nice--there's not a NICE way to say it--but it's Jesus' words and they are true!I will gladly let the reader decide who has accurately handled Jesus' words.
ANYONE who is lurking consider those things and ask yourself if you'd rather bet your soul on 2,000 years of Jesus' Catholic Church which still stands today or whether you'd rather bet it on Mr. White whose very bitterness and lack of charity should convince you if nothing else does that he is of Satan!Sort of hard to determine just who is lacking in "charity" by Jerry-Jet's language, but then again, these are the Envoy boards, and the tone is set there by Art Sippo, so we shouldn't be overly surprised at this kind of rhetoric. We all heard the "2,000 years of Jesus' Catholic Church" mantra last year when John Paul II died, and it was almost never challenged. I would ask our writer to name, please, a single bishop at the Council of Nicea who believed as he believes on each of these topics: Marian dogmas (Perpetual Virginity, Immaculate Conception, Bodily Assumption), Papal Authority (infallibility), Purgatory, transubstantiation. Any semi-serious reader of history knows he would not be able to find such a person, so the claim of "2,000 years" may sound impressive, but it has the truth value any advertising slogan carries: none. It may sound great to those ignorant of history, and to those who wear the glasses Rome provides that filters out all the extraneous problems and issues, but for anyone with an even semi-decent grasp of the past, it is a hollow, shallow claim.
The choice is yours--come on home to the Catholic Church!Why do I think of a used car salesman when I hear this kind of rhetoric? "Ah, you don't need to look under the hood, just trust us!"
P.S. For all of you Catholics out there who TREMBLE at the thought of "Debating" one of Satan's agents like Mr. White why not just try using Jesus' words about the Eucharist? i'd tell him these very words to his face in front of the whole world and would have no problem using the words of Our Lord! Isn't that the BEST way to deal wth an agent of Satan intent on leading people to Hell?Of course, Jerry-Jet hasn't bothered to listen to the debates I have already done on the Mass (vs. Matatics, Sungenis, and Father Mitch Pawa), or, if he has, he somehow missed the biblical and logical responses to his misreading of the sacred text. But in either case, you get a feeling for the kind of rhetoric that is often found on these web boards. Oddly, when I invite folks like Jerry-Jet to call the Dividing Line to discuss their less-than-kind personal attacks, well, as we've seen, rare is the person willing to do so. Remember the young fellow a few weeks ago who promised to call back with examples of my cheap debating tricks? Yeah, it's been pretty quiet. And Mr. Atwood just last week? Isn't it odd how I make myself available at a toll free number twice a week, and folks like Jerry-Jet won't call? Yes, I think it says something, too.
P.P.S. for Protestants who didn't KNOW any better and were ignorant I wouldn't use this approach but for all those people who would chime in and say that such words against Mr. White would not convert any Protestants at all I'll say is this: Jesus taught words in John chapter 6 that at the time didn't win him many followers either but later on millions came to know Jesus and the Catholic Church!The irony is that these would be disciples who stopped following Jesus (Jesus identified them as unbelievers, remember?), did so because he said something that the vast majority of Roman Catholics simply refuse to believe: "And He was saying, "For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father" (John 6:65). The sovereignty of God in salvation, man's utter dependence upon Him and His grace, is what finally drove these men away, not some "eucharistic doctrine" developed way down the road somewhere.
Is it wrong to use the very words of Jesus against the agents of Satan? Have faith! Many may hate you for using such words but the words of Jesus will always bear fruit!Of course, it is my hope and desire that the words of Jesus will in fact bear fruit in Jerry-Jet's life by breaking through the wall of tradition and false teaching and showing him the true way of grace and the perfection of the work of Christ on Calvary. He may call me an "agent of Satan" all he wants. I know his hatred is directed toward the truth I speak, not me personally. It's obvious he does not know me, or almost anything about me. All he knows is I stand opposed to the religious system in which he has placed his trust and faith. I do hope someone will have the opportunity of ministering life to Him through the Word through the mercy of God.
The Stench of a Rotten Corpse
08/07/2006 - James WhiteDutch society died in the realm of morality quite some time ago. The bloated corpse, however, hangs around. Hat tip Shamgar and crewbear. Oh, by the way, do their arguments sound hauntingly familiar? Like the arguments used by the homosexuals only a few years ago? Hmmmm.
Don Hartley's New Work Published
08/07/2006 - James WhiteI have mentioned on the Dividing Line the work of a great Christian scholar here in the States, Don Hartley. I mentioned an article he did recently in an apologetics journal on 2 Cor. 4:4 and the "God of this age" in that text (a view I'm leaning more toward myself these days, but haven't had as much time as I would like to complete any in-depth study). Dr. Hartley was so very kind to send me a copy of his new book, The Wisdom Background and Parabolic Implications of Isaiah 6:9-10 in the Synoptics from Peter Lang Publishers. This is a tremendously in-depth work which, unless I've misread the text, was his doctoral dissertation. In any case, it is the kind of thing I would spend all my time reading if I were not preparing for debates on a wide variety of topics and doing research in such widely divergent areas as Islam, Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, Oneness teachings, and the general defense of the Reformed faith. Like Calvin, I would like to live in a library and learn from such sources. But alas, I will have to grab snippets of it while waiting for my order at a restaurant or, as I was today, sitting at Discount Tire (that very flat, deflated sound you hear is my wallet, actually, thank you). But if you would like a tremendously in-depth study of this aspect of the use of Isaiah 6:9-10 (given space limitations, it doesn't go into John's use, which would have tremendous implications), Dr. Hartley's work will fill that space. Of course, it is an academic work. Prepare for sticker shock. Maybe a paper-back version will come out later!
Yeah, Been a While
08/07/2006 - James WhiteIt has been a while since I uploaded a fractal. My Webshots page now allows me to link directly to thumbnails there, which simplifies my doing this, so that is nice. This isn't a normal fractal like those I've uploaded before. Instead, this one I made in Gimp rather than UltraFractal or Sterling. But it makes for a nice background one way or another. I like the mosaic texture. Almost sorta leathery. Anyway, here is the entire album of blog fractals I've uploaded, including this one. Enjoy!
John 6 and the "Pristine Faith Restoration Society" (#4)
08/07/2006 - James WhiteI continue my review of Tim Warner's attempt to subvert the testimony of John 6 to the sovereignty of God. I note in passing that I have come to understand that aside from misrepresenting and evidently misunderstanding basic elements of the Greek language, such as the subjunctive, Warner's group likewise seems to promote a form of TR Onlyism, including the accusation that John 1:18 is "corrupted" in the "Westcott and Hort Text." In reviewing Warner's comments on John 1:18, his utterly uncritical use of English translations of patristic sources (he doesn't even seem to give consideration to the need for a critical text of those sources), and his ability to stand logic on its head in the examination of that topic, I can now see why he has problems with basic exegesis in this text as well.
I will be a bit briefer in this portion. There were a few red herrings and errors in the subjunctive discussion provided by Warner I needed to "clean up" before moving on. First, it is hard to take seriously the argument that John 1:6-7 is relevant when it is painfully obvious that the meaning of "all" assigned by Warner is absurd on its face. Yes, I'm sure it was God's intention that every person living in China in A.D. 30 believe through John's testimony. And yet that is what Warner is forced to assert to try to get around the text. He ignores the completely different context of John 1 and John 6; tries to make parallel a statement of the purpose of God's testimony to the Christ with the will of the Father for the Son, puts two completely different contexts together (the clarity of John's testimony and its resultant rejection by Israel over against the express purpose of the Father for the Son in the eternal covenant of redemption) and as a result of all of this ignoring of context provides a basis for again misreading the text so as to do what we documented last time: taking an over-arching modal concept and forcing it on a text rather than recognizing immediate context determines modal function. The use of a subjunctive in one form or for one purpose in one context is not grounds for demanding it in another, especially when the result is absurdity, as we saw last time. I may be repeating myself, but I need to make sure those attempting to follow this discussion get this much: the meaning of the subjunctive is contextually derived. Just as it is always wrong to go to a lexicon, grab a meaning for a word, and force it into every usage, so too it is wrong to go to a syntactical grammar, grab a basic meaning for a mode, and force it into every usage. While that kind of thing is maddeningly common on the Internet, it is a sure sign to anyone who has actually worked with the language for years that the person speaking really doesn't know which end is up--they are "tools translators" rather than "language readers" because they are following an errant mechanical process rather than "hearing" the flow in the language itself. That's one of the reasons I miss teaching Greek and Hebrew (haven't had the opportunity in a few years now), since when you do so, you get to spend more time actually immersed in the text, and it helps you to avoid slipping into these kind of rather "lazy" errors. But Warner's presentation of the subjunctive isn't a lazy error: he simply has no idea what he's talking about. I don't wish to be uncharitable, and I suppose it is possible that he was just having a bad day here, but the fact of his misrepresentation of Wallace and of the language is truly beyond question. ...
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Roman Catholic Apologetics: Street Level (#2)
08/06/2006 - James White
Read john chapter 6 if you are Protestant and then TRY to tell anyone that you don't believe the words of Jesus! Tell me that Protestants aren't like all those disciples of Jesus that fell away from him because He has given them "a hard teaching". Will you also go away to grape juice and crackers like they did in John 6:66 and reject the very FLESH and BLOOD that Jesus redeemed you with and also COMMANDED you to Eat?
Nearly every Roman apologist bases his defense of the concept of transubstantiation and the Eucharist upon Jesus’ words in John chapter 6, specifically verses 53 through 57. Indeed, it is commonly said that here the Roman Catholic Church “takes the Bible for what it says” while Protestants are somehow seeking to avoid the “clear” teaching of the Lord Jesus. Is this so?
The specific utterance of the Lord Jesus under discussion is to be found in John 6:53-57:
So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.  “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.  “For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.  “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.  “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me.The Roman Catholic Church claims that any understanding that does not take these words literally (which would mean that this could only refer to the Eucharist as taught by Roman Catholicism), is engaging in “spiritualizing the text” so as to avoid an unwanted conclusion. Is the literal meaning of the text supportive of Roman Catholic doctrine of the Eucharist? Does a person literally have to eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood to have life in himself?
First, we must point out that the literal meaning of the text is obviously not always the clear meaning. The term “literal” is capable of quite a range of definition. If it is pushed to mean absurd literalism, and we are forced to use this understanding of the text, then obviously the whole Bible is full of complete nonsense. Jesus claimed to be the door of the sheep in John 10; literally this means Jesus is a door, replete with hinges, knob, and maybe even a lock! And, of course, this would also have to mean that only sheep will be saved, not human beings, for He is the door of the sheep. No one misunderstands the most basic elements of language so completely as this. Everyone understands that Jesus is speaking figuratively, and in fact the obvious and hence the literal meaning of the passage is the one which recognizes the symbolism of the language used. Hence, if the passage itself shows us that the terms used by the speaker are meant to be taken in a figurative or symbolic way, the truly literal interpretation will take this into consideration.
John loved to pick up on the different ways the Lord Jesus used to communicate a point. He differs in this from the other gospel writers, for in John the same teaching will be presented in numerous different ways. Jesus is “the light of the world,” (8:12), the “good Shepherd” (10:11), and the “true vine” (15:1). Jesus is not literally the sun in the sky, a shepherd of sheep, or a living vine. Yet, each of these descriptions tell us something about Jesus, when they are taken according to the plain intention of the text: as symbols. So, too, John likes to use different phrases to say the same thing. One which is important in John 6 is his use of the phrases “have eternal life” and “shall be raised up on the last day.” It would be an obvious mistake to differentiate between these two phrases. They mean the same thing, and are used in parallel to one another.
With these things in mind, we come to the longest chapter in the Gospel of John, chapter 6. John begins by narrating the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 with the five barley loaves and two fishes. The people respond to this by saying, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” (6:14). Jesus perceives that they are about to attempt to make Him king by force, so He goes away into the mountain by Himself. This is followed by the miracle of Christ’s walking upon the water and calming the storm, which brings Him and His disciples to shore near Capernaum. The crowd, which has stayed the night near the place of their miraculous feeding, comes to Capernaum also, seeking Jesus. When they find Him, they ask Him how He got there, but the Lord brushes their question aside and gets to the heart of the matter. Jesus goes directly to their motivation for seeking Him. Remember that the night before they were going to make Him king by force. They are obviously mistaken about who Jesus is. The dialogue that follows will center on the person of Christ and His role in salvation. He turns their thoughts away from a secular kingdom onto His person, and the importance of their relationship to Him. Pressing the claims of Christ will result in many turning away from Him, but this is necessary to dispel false followers who are seeking nothing but their own benefit.
Drawing from the miracle performed the day before, Jesus in verse 27 says, “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” The crowd was looking for a meal, but Jesus was directing them to Himself, the bread “which endures to eternal life.” The crowd does not fully follow His meaning, and asks what they should do to “work the works of God.” Jesus’ reply is that the work of God is to believe in the One whom God has sent, namely, Himself. This is quite a claim, of course, and the crowd demands a sign as evidence of His authority. They, too, grasp the aforementioned miracle, and assert that Moses had given them bread from heaven to eat. Can Jesus do the same? Moses had managed it for a long period of time, while Jesus did so only once. Can He do it again? ...
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Roman Catholic Apologetics: Street Level (#1)
08/05/2006 - James WhiteThe following post appears in the Envoy Magazine forums, posted by a veteran of those forums, Jerry-Jet, who has posted over 1,000 times there. Since his words represent the kind of argument you will get from the Catholic Answers/Envoy style Catholic apologetics realm, I felt it would be useful to respond to it here.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 is the LAMEST overused text that proves ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about sola scriptura.It would be useful to know if this person has read, say, Warfield on the text? Turretin? Whitaker? Any modern writers, even leaving my own comments aside? I have been shocked over the years to see how often those who dismiss this text and what we say about it, when pressed, have nothing to offer in response to it that is at all meaningful. Since "Roman Catholic apologist X says you are wrong, you must be!" Could Protestants fall into the same trap of intellectual laziness? Of course. But do we encourage that? Surely not. But given that so few of Rome's most popular apologists actually take the time to step up to the plate and go to the "next level" in replying to the refutations of their own statements, it is easy to see why their followers are willing to accept a less than strident pursuit of the highest level of dialogue and debate.
What happened until all the scriptures were written--was there NO authority? What kind of sense does that make? At EXACTLY what point did God say to the world--this right here is the exact scripture and it is all you need--have a nice day?!It is hard to see how this is a response. It surely demonstrates the writer has not read outside his own narrow spectrum of belief, that is for certain. Roman Catholics and Protestants agree that we do not live in the time period he describes. Roman Catholics and Protestants agree that the Pope in Rome was not the authority during those time periods, either. So while it is interesting to discuss enscripturation, the relationship between already given Scripture and continuing revelation, etc., the fact is that both sides agree that we no longer live in that context. Both sides agree that the canon is closed, and there is precious little in the deuterocanonicals that is even slightly relevant to the issues that separate us. The question we face today is, "What is the ultimate authority for Christ's Church today?" Is there a single, infallible rule of faith that does not change, that is God-breathed, or do we have a multi-faceted source of authority? How do we know what is qeo,pneustoj (theopneustos, "God-breathed") today? These are the issues we must face, and all the arguments about a time period we do not live in are little more than red herrings until the current questions are answered. The fact is that Rome's claims need to be subjected to the very same standard used in reviewing my claims, and rarely to Roman Catholics follow through on this level of consistency. Instead, they are content to repeat this kind of objection, not realizing that their own ultimate form of authority was just as absent at that time period by their own standards! Does this not refute the argument? It should, if consistency were the highest goal of these would-be apologists.
I don't think that Protestants who have been confronted with the issue and thought about it really believe it either. Ignorance is an excuse--once you're not ignorant Protestantism is a CHOICE against God!The irony is that while we regularly cite from Roman Catholic sources, I truly, truly wonder what Jerry-Jet's reading list looks like. Immediately prior to his post another Roman Catholic, donnatoo, had indicated that at least she (I assume the person is female, I could be in error) has no reason to consider what Protestants have to say, and that she had read only the first five chapters of my book, Scripture Alone, before putting it down for good. I guess five chapters is better than nothing, but in any case, I find it ironic that this kind of accusation can be made, when it is so obviously self-refuting and untrue.
2 John 1:7 'For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.'Yes, this refers to the docetists, a gnostic sect that denied the coming of Christ in the flesh.
Mr. White and all the other Protestants in the world who reject that Jesus IS come in the FLESH in the Eucharist are simply ANTICHRIST--not because I say so but because God's INERRANT word says so!...
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A Chuckle for Your Saturday
08/05/2006 - James WhiteIf you don't get this...you haven't been listening to the DL of late.
A Few More Thoughts on Madrid's Off-Hand Comments
08/04/2006 - James WhiteI was talking with David King in our channel and we were both expressing our amazement at the simple hubris of many who quite literally prey upon their audience while pawning off tired, oft-refuted, shallow arguments while ignoring the refutation of their errors, even when those refutations have appeared in print. I was considering the time and money invested by Pastor King in doing his research for his part in the three-volume work he wrote with Bill Webster (#1327 found here), and how often he would post items in channel that he was transcribing from Roman Catholic theologians like Yves Congar, for example. And though my attention, and my study, has been directed in a very different direction of late, I still attempt to stay current, and only recently obtained Peter Lampe's fairly new work, From Paul to Valentinus: Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries (Fortress Press, 2003). Evidently, the effort taken by Reformed apologists in particular finds little or no counter-part in the popular Roman Catholic speakers. Evidently, we just aren't important enough to be concerned about. Or, it is a lot easier to refute Jack Chick. Take your pick. In either case, I personally believe there is much to be learned from the vast difference in approach to be observed in this matter.
A few days ago I was looking at Madrid's site and stumbled upon an evidently somewhat old article on purgatory. At least it appeared old, since most of the graphics on it did not even load. In any case, it looked like it was from 2004 or so. As I scanned through it I ran across this paragraph:
Second, purgatory is not a place where the soul works or earns or in any way does something to cleanse himself — all purification that takes place in purgatory is done by God to the soul. Or, to put it a different way, in purgatory, the soul remains passive as the saving blood of Jesus Christ washes away the impurities and temporal effects due to sin from the soul. This is because those who go to purgatory are assured of their salvation; there is nothing for them to do – Christ does it all in his merciful act of preparing his beloved to enter into the wedding feast.
Now, I had never heard a Roman Catholic describe purgatory as a passive reception of the "saving blood of Jesus" which is said to wash away "the impurities and temporal effects due to sin from the soul." I would dearly like to see a magisterial statement in support of this statement. Where has the concept of punishment gone? Suffering? Where has Rome officially taught that the purgation of the soul is passive, involving the application of the merits of Christ? Ludwig Ott, a far more recognized scholar and expert on Roman Catholic theology, defines purgatory thusly:
The souls of the just which, in the moment of death, are burdened with venial sins are temporal punishment due to sins, enter Purgatory....Therefore, an intermediate sate is to be assumed, whose purpose is final purification and which for this reason is of limited duration....The remission of the venial sins which are not yet remitted, occurs, according to the teaching of St. Thomas (De male, 7, 11), as it does on this life, by an act of contrition deriving from charity and performed with the help of grace. This act of contrition, which is presumably awakened immediately after entry into the purifying fire, does not, however, effect the abrogation or the diminution of the punishment for sins, since in the other world there is no longer any possibility of merit.
The temporal punishments for sins are atoned for in the purifying fire by the so-called suffering of atonement (satispassio), that is, by the willing bearing of the expiatory punishments imposed by God....For the individual souls the purifying fire endures until they are free from all guilt and punishment. Immediately on the conclusion of the purification they will be assumed into the bliss of Heaven. (pp. 482, 484-485).
Likewise, Broderick's The Catholic Encyclopedia (OSV), p. 502, says,
The purpose of purgatory is to cleanse one of imperfections, venial sins, and faults, and to remit or do away with the temporal punishment due to mortal sins that have been forgiven in the Sacrament of Penance. It is an intermediate state in which the departed souls can atone for unforgiven sins before receiving their final reward.The same article refers the reader to Denzinger 464, from the Council of Lyons II. A quick reading of the relevant text supports Ott, not Madrid. Likewise, though the CCC is not as clear as previous dogmatic statements, there is nothing in reading sections 1030-1032, and 1472, that presents a passive, non-penal, non-punishing, non-suffering application of the blood of Christ as the cleansing mechanism of purgatory. In fact, in light of all the CCC says about indulgences, there would be no correlation to such a viewpoint of after-death purgation as presented by Madrid.
Is it possible we see here the same kind of "Westernization" of an offensive religious concept that we see in other religions? The Westernized version of reincarnation, for example, that leads silly women to claim they were once queens of some far-away ancient dynasty, is quite different than the more authentic form which may well have you coming back as a slug or a dog. And evidently, there is more than just a little bit of embarrassment in the Roman Catholic community about the doctrine of purgatory, especially when you take the time to read how that topic was addressed and handled by pious Roman Catholic writers up through the 19th century. The number of visions of those in purgatory is legion (lots of Popes seemed to be there---though, evidently, some did not even make it there!).
We have addressed the subject of purgatory in numerous venues. My debate with Peter Stravinskas on the subject is extremely useful. Also see this article on the misuse of 1 Corinthians 3 by Rome's apologists.
Rome's Apologists At It Again
08/04/2006 - James WhiteYou may recall back in June a series of blog articles that dealt with the fact that Rome's apologists really don't seem to spend much time reading "the other side," and how, when caught being way, way behind on things, they use that as an opportunity to simply "diss" myself or anyone else who would point out their less than stellar research by saying, "Well, you don't matter anyway."
Today I was directed to the following post in a thread at Envoy Magazine's website written by Patrick Madrid:
Exactly right, Art. And several Protestant apologists I've debated on the issue of sola scriptura, such as James White and Rowland Ward, seemed to be caught completely unaware by the formal/material distinction and had no meaningful response to it. In fact, only recently have Protestants begun to attempt an interaction with this issue. Eric Svendsen gives a superficial nod to the subject in his book "Evangelical Answers" (page 75-76). But even that brief mention shows that he doesn't seem to understand the devastatingly negative implications of the Protestant claims for the formal sufficiency or Sacred Scripture(relative to perspicuity, etc.). He certainly did not even attempt any kind of serious discussion of the problem. Based on their writings and debate attempts on sola scriptura, I'm not convinced that he and his Protestant apologist cohorts even fully understand the dilemma, much less know how to resolve it.
In my forthcoming book on sola scriptura for Servant Books, due out in spring of 2007, I expand on this issue in my refutations of White, Svendsen, Mathison, etc.
First, I find it odd that Madrid would be refuting me if, in fact, Akin was right that I'm pretty irrelevant anyway. But that issue aside, as I read this I could not help but shake my head in utter amazement. I think we are over halfway through 2006, yes? Madrid actually tells his constituency that "only recently" Protestants "have begun" interacting with Rome's material/formal statements? Just recently? Evidently, Madrid has not read the three-volume set by Webster and King (came out in 2001). There is a tremendous amount of discussion of the issue therein. Evidently he did not read my article in Soli Deo Gloria's Sola Scriptura! (1995) that likewise makes reference to Strimple's article in the Westminster Theological Journal (Fall, 1977, 40:22-38) that addresses this very issue? But most amazingly, evidently he has skipped reading The Roman Catholic Controversy (Bethany House, 1996---a mere decade ago), wherein I included an entire chapter on the views (plural) of tradition and sufficiency in Roman Catholic theologians and apologists. Let's see how "ignorant" of this position I have been documented to be for the past decade. The following is taken from my electronic files of The Roman Catholic Controversy (and hence this material differs in some wording from the edited and published version):
Despite the fact that the preceding citations seem rather clear, as with any written communication, there are differences of understanding expressed within the broad spectrum that is Roman Catholicism. In fact, the two primary positions taken with reference to the nature, extent, and authority of tradition are, logically speaking, mutually exclusive, yet they exist side-by-side in Roman Catholic theology. It is one of the great ironies of this entire conflict that while Rome claims ultimate authority in teaching and interpretation of divine truths, and while her defenders are constantly pointing to the doctrinal chaos that exists in denominations that hold to sola scriptura, she allows her followers to hold to perspectives with reference to something as basic as the extent and authority of tradition itself that are completely at odds with one another. Not only do Roman Catholic theologians take differing views, but the defenders of Rome on an apologetic level, too, take different views, sometimes at the same time! ...
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A Little Humor (Humour in the UK) for Friday Morning
08/04/2006 - James WhiteSnicker. Gotta love this one. What's scarey is, I can identify the gun (Glock 9mm). As a PC user, I can't help but empathize with the PC dude by this point.
If I can get myself out from under my desk (how DO all those wires get wrapped around each other so quickly and so...thoroughly?) I would really like to make some comments later today on an issue that I will eventually write much more fully on in other contexts.
(Some folks can't get that link to work, though I have no idea why. When they copy the link and paste it manually, it works. Go figure).
Today on the Dividing Line
08/03/2006 - James WhiteContinued the Lynn/Spong discussion, then went back to looking at Ahmed Deedat's attacks on the Bible, and then tried to take a call that didn't work out too well due to a less than spectacular phone on the other end of the line. Then briefly mentioned the statement on the upcoming Liberty debate. Here's the program.
Baptists and Calvinism: An Open Debate
08/03/2006 - James WhiteA Public Statement
Since February 27th of this year, plans have been underway to schedule a debate on Baptists and Calvinism. Drs. James White, Ergun Caner, Emir Caner and Tom Ascol initially agreed to participate in this event which was scheduled to be held at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia on October 16, 2006. Over the last five months, efforts to negotiate the terms of the debate at times degenerated into heated, antagonistic exchanges between the four participants. In both speech and tone too much of the communication has been perceived and/or characterized by sinful attitudes that have not honored the Lord Jesus Christ. We acknowledge our responsibility in this and deeply regret that we allowed it to happen. Each of us longs to represent Christ honorably and our intent is to conduct further negotiations in ways that will do so.
Through ongoing communication out of the public eye we have come to terms regarding the debate. It remains scheduled on October 16th and will involve all four of us. The topic will be, "Baptists and Calvinism: An Open Debate." The length will be three hours. The format will be modified Parliamentary. The place will be Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia.
We are committed to engaging in a debate that will highlight the significant differences that exist between our respective views of how the Gospel of God works in bringing salvation to sinners. We believe that such debate can be conducted in a lively, vigorous exchange that need not violate the standard for Christian conduct that God has given us in His Word. Our goal is to do exactly this. The issues on which we disagree are important. It is because of our love for Christ and His truth that we believe these issues are worth debating. However, we regard this as a fraternal debate and intend to approach it not as antagonists, but as brothers with strong disagreements.
To that end we are asking those who have followed the issues surrounding this debate to join us in prayer that the Lord will guide us as final preparations are being made and that He will help us to conduct ourselves in a manner "worthy of the calling with which [we] have been called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:1-3).
Sincerely in Christ,
My thoughts: Tom Ascol has commented briefly on his blog, so I thought I'd add a few thoughts myself. Those who know me (and I speak of a small number of folks, really) know that I am passionate about the truth and that I debate not out of a love of controversy (I fully understand the desire Calvin had when heading for Strassbourg prior to his providential encounter with Farel) but because I believe it is necessary and God has called me to the task. I have never, ever wanted this debate challenge to be anything other than intra-mural in nature. Just as I am looking forward to my exchange with Pastor Bill Shishko within the bonds of Christian charity and brotherhood, so I have always hoped that no matter how strongly the two sides feel on the topic that this, too, could be handled in the same context, with a common confession of faith in the resurrected Lord and in the inspiration and inerrancy of the Scriptures. I have repeatedly expressed my heart-felt desire that our focus be on the people of God and their benefit, their edification, and I truly hope that we have now come to a position where this common goal will take us through any other difficult issues that need to be faced over the next few weeks before we stand before the folks at the Thomas Road Baptist Church and discuss this vital issue.
I would still like to encourage folks to avoid traveling to attend this debate. Why? Because it is primarily designed for students from Liberty University. We cannot guarantee entrance to the debate should there be a healthy turn out from the student body. This debate will be recorded and made available in DVD, CD, and mp3 formats. Tom and I will be discussing the debate at the conference in Orlando less than two weeks later. Instead, if you wish to support the on-going ministry of engaging in God-honoring, truth-displaying debates, click here! And then pray for Ergun, Emir, Tom and myself, that on the 16th we will be able to have a God-honoring, edifying, brotherly exchange on the truly vital issues that center around the issues of monergism and synergism, how to understand the expression of God's love, the atonement, etc.
John 6 and the "Pristine Faith Restoration Society" (#3)
08/02/2006 - James WhiteIn our last installment we examined Tim Warner's assertion that rather than the great promise of God to His people that He has provided a full and complete salvation in Jesus Christ, Warner's man-centered "progressive dispensationalism" leads him to make this amazing statement:
Jesus did not tell the Jewish crowds what God had absolutely decreed, but God's desire and purpose. "This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:39-40).
We considered what this meant. First, we noted it has no connection to what came before: it disrupts the flow and isolates the text. Jesus is explaining the unbelief of these men, and contrasting them with those who are given to Him by the Father, who are coming to Him in faith. Warner's interpretation does not take this into account and is thereby proven eisegetical. Next, we saw that this means that the best God can do is wish Jesus would be able to save all those given to Him. But what is worse, it seems that it also follows that while the Father would like for all those who look upon the Son and believe in Him to have everlasting life, this may or may not take place! Talk about eternal insecurity! What a horrific misreading of this precious text.
But now we move from here to the perversion of the Greek language presented by Warner in his response to me on John 6. He falls into the "let's read some basic grammars of the Greek language but not really do much in the way of serious translation" trap. In a section called "Grammatical Uncertainty" he makes the very same error Dave Hunt made in reference to the subjunctive in the Greek language. In the process, he likewise misuses the single source he cites on the topic, and that in an incredibly obvious fashion. He writes:
The Greek verb, in the phrase translated "should lose nothing," is "apolesw" - first aorist active subjunctive. The purpose of the subjunctive mood is usually to imply some level of uncertainty, and "generally represents the verbal action (or state) as uncertain but probable." This probability depends on certain objective factors or circumstances. Likewise, in the clause, "I should raise him up at the last day," the verb translated "should raise up" is "anasthsw" - aorist active subjunctive. This is a statement, not of result, but of intent or purpose alone. Jesus communicated the Father's desire that Jesus would eventually raise up all who saw Him and believed on Him. These verses do not state what absolutely WILL occur. Rather, Jesus relayed the wishes of the Father. The importance of this will become obvious when we compare Jesus' final report to His Father regarding His completing this mission at the end of His earthly ministry....
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This Says It All
08/01/2006 - James WhiteThe following was just linked in channel from here (thanks crewbear). I think it says all that needs to be said about what happens when a denomination is cut loose from the Scriptures:
"We take no position on Scripture or theology or morals," said Donna Bott, a leader of a group called Episcopal Voices of Central Florida, which sponsored the meeting. "We are just Episcopalians."
Today on the Dividing Line
08/01/2006 - James WhiteRemember that poem, Alexander's No Good Very Bad Day? I memorized it when I was a kid. Well, today was Rich's No Good, Very Bad Day behind the control board. We had fun. Oh well, we aren't pretentious enough to worry about not getting the break started, or having the end of the program go late because the computer's clock was off by five minutes for some reason. Hardly matters. Instead, today we continued listening for the first half of the program to the Barry Lynn interview of John Shelby Spong, commenting as we went along. Then after the break-that-didn't-want-to-break, I continued with Mr. Martignoni, Roman Catholic apologist. But intead of jumping right back into his comments on "once saved, always saved," I started with a clip from a recent Catholic Answers program where he argues for the Bodily Assumption of Mary. Then we went back to the CD that had been sent to us by Mr. J. Lee with the promise that the contents would "eat your lunch." So far, I have not missed a single lunch. But maybe later. Anyway, here's the program.
The Shabir Ally Debate DVDs Are Here
08/01/2006 - James WhiteOK, so we have more than a staff of two can handle at one time. Yeah, we bit off way more than we could chew on the move, and are paying the price months later. Well, we do our best. In any case, while we wanted to do our own editing, graphics, and the like, for the Shabir Ally debate, we basically just went with what was sent to us instead, since Rich hasn't learned to bi-locate as yet, and just can't seem to give up that sleep thing. So despite all of that, we are very happy to now offer the Shabir Ally debate on the inspiration of the New Testament on DVD, which was recorded at Biola University in early May. It is available here. If you enjoyed the Hamza Abdul Malik debate from 1999, you will surely enjoy this one even more so. The production values on this debate are far, far beyond those obtainable with the Malik debate. Those who have listened to the mp3 of the Ally debate will want to watch the video as well, for many in our culture today have been trained to be visually oriented, and hence can pick up a number of things from the DVD that would not be noticed in the mp3 recording. Also, for those who have wanted a means to introduce the work of A&O to your elders, or have been looking for a video to show in your Bible Study, this would be an excellent choice.