Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
More from Pulpit Crimes
09/29/2006 - James WhiteAs you can tell from the relative silence here on the blog, I'm in lock-down mode. Must write, must write all day, must write all night. Must just write constantly. But it is always good to let folks know you are not just off goofing around, so, another quick peek at Pulpit Crimes. Possibly to the shock of some, one of the chapters has to do with the abuse of the ordinances of the church, baptism and the Lord's Supper. From that chapter:
The second truth to see in Paul's words is one that has truly been lost for many today. Paul taught, "For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes." Believers are activein the Supper. For so many we just sit like a lump on a log, introspective, eat a cracker, drink a little cup, sing a hymn, go home. We do not see that we are doingsomething, something of eternal value. We are proclaiming something. These words are addressed to allwho in faith participate, not just to the elders, not just to the preacher. Everyone is proclaiming the Lord's death until He comes. We are doing so by faith. By partaking we are saying, "Yes, this is the source of my life, this is how I've been redeemed, by the giving of the body and blood of Jesus Christ in my stead." We are saying this to ourselves. We are saying this to all those around us. We are joining a group of believers who are all likewise solemnly confessing this faith. We are standing in an unending line of believers who have been drawn out of the world and united with Christ and granted the same faith all across the spectrum of time, geography, and culture. We are making sure by our actions that what happened on a windswept hill outside of Jerusalem so long ago will never, as long as the sun rises and sets, be forgotten. This is our privilege, this is our calling, this is our gift of grace in the Lord's Supper.
Ironically, our VPN firewall died a thousand deaths, total brain scramble, less than sixty seconds before I tried to post this hours ago. But please note, I am not blaming anti-Baptists for it. And so we press on....
Every Reference to Jesus in the Qur'an on Today's DL
09/28/2006 - James WhiteI decided to read over every text in the Qur'an that mentions the name of Jesus on the Dividing Line today. I thought that would only take a portion of the program, but I ended up barely sneaking it into the normal time frame! Many folks in our chat channel found the program tremendously educational. I hope you do, too! Here's the program.
Today's Dividing Line
09/26/2006 - James WhiteStarted off with some discussion of the Catholic Answers forums again, specifically, the use of the phrase "anti-Catholic" by that organization. Then took a few calls and moved on to Ahmed Deedat and his claim that Mohammed is the "spirit of truth" in John 14 and 16. Here is the program. Thursday's program, as far as we can tell, will be at the normal time, though, you never know!
Quick Note on Tomorrow's DL
09/25/2006 - James WhiteFar too many people are adjusting to the current schedule of the DL, so we must change things around to keep you confused! Of course, the upcoming time change will do that on its own, I suppose (well, we don't play with our clocks here, as you know...but most of the rest of you do). Seriously, we need to change tomorrow's DL time to the normal Thursday time, that is, move it to the afternoon slot at 4pm MST (for the time challenged, that's 4pm PDT, 7pm EDT, and those in between can figure it out for themselves).
Also, just a quick note to say I enjoyed my brief trip to Toronto, hope the saints were blessed, enjoyed briefly meeting Derek Thomas and Bruce Waltke, had a great time with all the folks from channel who showed up for the conference, and I'm now trying desperately to make progress on absolutely drop-dead, "must be done NOW" projects. For that reason I have not even fired up the Catholic Answers forums, Envoy, and am not even looking carefully at my blog feeds, since I just don't have time to be distracted. Besides, I've noticed a trend over the years: if you keep responding in a context like last week the quality of what comes back at you drops precipitously. Unless you just shut it down and let the wild-eyed folks find some new target for their venom, it will only get worse. I've had a few Roman Catholics contact me and apologize for their compatriots, and I do appreciate that. In my experience for every one Mitch Pacwa there are a dozen Vinney Lewis/Art Sippo types. You have to respond to both, and it can be a challenging task.
Greetings < cough > from Toronto
09/22/2006 - James WhiteSince I will be addressing current issues in hermeneutics by 6am my time in the morning (I feel for these folks, I really do), I will be brief. Uneventful flight, but this cold/sinus thing is holding on longer than I at first expected it to. I'm sure many of you are in the same boat (kids go back to school, share every disease known to man, bring it home, and being the loving children they are, share with their parents). I only have a few more of these seasons to survive (youngest is a senior in high school), but who knows when I'll start the series all over again with...the next generation?
When I got here I was informed of yet another example of the utter bankruptcy of the RC "on line apologetics" people. Some fellow with the last name of Lilac (or so his e-mail seems to indicate) was running about attacking my character once again. Why? Was it because he was able to refute one of the many points I've made in the past week on this blog? Was it because he was the first to actually step outside the incredibly shallow anachronistic reading of ancient sources by modern Roman Catholics and actually provide a meaningful contextual case for Rome's claims on the disputed points? No, of course not. Instead, when I had added some quick quotes from my IRC popup files at the end of a single blog article the reference to one of the quotes from Augustine got deleted--the quote was perfectly accurate, it just didn't have the proper citation on it (similar to RyanL putting the wrong source for one of his allegations of ad-hominem on my part). The citation was correct, the meaning the same, just a single citation was missing. Well, that's enough to refute everything I've ever said according to this fellow! Yes indeed! Perfection in citation, typing, cutting and pasting is necessary or everything you've ever said is in error! There you go! A system that has used grossly fraudulent sources like the Donation of Constantine and the Pseudo-Isidoran Decretals to build the central elements of its very own authority structure, that has falsely claimed the "unanimous consent" of the fathers when there was no such unanimous consent, that has been led at times (during the Pornocracy) by murderers and adulterers, or by the most ungodly of men (the corrupt popes of the 14th and 15th centuries), or even by condemned heretics (Honorius)---all of this can be dismissed with the wave of the hand and the glib claim that infallibility does not mean impeccability, BUT, if I lose a line in copying from a popup text file while rushing to post a blog article so I can try to get things wrapped up before doing the DL and packing and heading out of town, well, THAT is enough to disprove everything I've ever said!
I honestly do not know what has caused this recent upsurge in activity in the Roman Catholic area, but one thing is for certain: the quality of those participating in that area has fallen tremendously over the years. In years past on line folks would actually try to be civil and would try to make a serious attempt at doing something other than just repeating mantras, but today those folks seem to have vanished only to be replaced by triumphalists who read a few paragraphs in secondary sources, fill them with their modern dogmas, and proclaim the case closed. I, for one, am unimpressed, and as events have shown time and again in the past, if these brave souls were to attempt to prove their point face to face, well, we know what happens.
A Tremendously Informative Program
09/21/2006 - James WhiteMy sincerest thanks to Dr. Jim Renihan for joining me on the program today. We discussed the London Baptist Confession of Faith, John Owen, and all sorts of related topics, including the active and passive obedience of Christ (did you know Baxter opposed that language out of fear of offending Roman Catholics?). A true pleasure to have Dr. Renihan with us. Here's the program.
Just a quick note, I doubt I will be able to do much blogging or even responding to e-mails until next week. I am not feeling well but despite that am traveling to speak in Toronto, so I will be doing what I can to get as much rest as possible so as to not fall ever farther behind over the next two months.
Another Example of "Head in the Sand" Apologetics
09/21/2006 - James White
I have submitted several emails on the doctrine of Mary in the early Church to you, and yet you do not respond. You claimed on your radio show that nowhere in the early Church around the the time of the First Council of Nicea, was there any evidennce to substantiate the Catholic teachings on Mary. I gave you two or three concrete examples and yet you don't respond. I can defeat many of your arguments against Catholic teaching by simpily bringing the ancient liturgies of the Church as my primary source of evidence. The fact is you cannot argue with faith in the action and practice of the Divine Liturgy over the last 2000 years. I would glady debate you on the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist any day of the week armed primarily with the Church's ancient Liturgies which proclaim this belief to the high heavens. The fact is that any Catholic that brings you concrete arguments you have no time for. You like to waste time bringing insulting statements on your website to give a false impression of Catholics as uncharitable. I will give you a nice written debate on the Real Presence for you to post on your website if you only had the courage to put it on and let people decide for themselves who has provided the real Truth.
This is the first e-mail I have seen from you. Where you sent the others, I have no idea, but as it is, if I had not seen your post on the Catholic Answers Forums I wouldn't have even gone looking for this one.
(click here for full size image)
Disrespect. That is the modus operandi of your compatriots these days, and you are walking in their steps. You will search in vain over nearly two decades of my writings that have dealt with Roman Catholicism where I have knowingly, purposefully criticized a writer for being ignorant of the facts on a matter while refusing to do the requisite reading in what they themselves have made available in writing and in debate! I have said strong things about some of Rome's apologists, but I have always shown them the respect necessary to honor my commitment to truth by taking the time to hear them out! My library would be much smaller if I did not invest in obtaining the many volumes being published in defense of Rome's claims. I grabbed my camera and, though my library is currently in a complete state of utter disarray, much of it still in boxes, I have crammed as many books as I can onto the few shelves I have. Here is just one quick shot of two shelves worth of books, the majority of which are Roman Catholic. You may recognize many of the titles ranging from Congar's Tradition & Traditions to the Surprised by Truth series, Newman's An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine and Apologia Pro Vita Sua, works by Hahn, Stravinskas, Sungenis, Shea, Madrid and the like. As I said, the order is currently (and sadly) random, but this was just one quick shot. And if you were to take many of these books down from the shelf you would find book marks, outlining, notes and the like. My point? It's a matter of whether you seek to honor the truth or whether you are just a devotee of a system. If you are just interested in defending your own viewpoint, you do not have to worry much about doing your homework. You don't have to strive for accuracy of citation. You don't have to worry about learning the language of the group to which you are speaking so that you can communicate with them properly. You just rail at the other side and call it good. I refuse to follow that path.
You, on the other hand, seem intent upon doing so. Why do I say this? Simple: I've written a book on the subject of the Marian dogmas. It was written back in the late 1990s. It briefly, but I believe accurately, addresses the push to have the "fifth Marian dogma" established in Roman Catholic theology, and to explain that concept to Protestants, I began with an overview of all of the already established Marian dogmas. Now, even if I had not debated Gerry Matatics twice on Marian issues, the fact that I have written a book on the subject should be sufficient to warrant, on your part, checking to see if I have addressed these issues therein (I have, of course). But beyond that, a Google search of aomin.org would have informed you that I made the same challenge in writing in a debate years ago, found here. In that opening statement I wrote the following:
The Nicene Church and the Marian Doctrines. If the Papacy is not evident at Nicea, surely the Marian dogmas that define Roman Catholic worship are even more conspicuous by their absence from the same time period. One need only consult the work of Roman Catholic theologian Ludwig Ott (hardly a liberal!) to realize this. For example, with reference to the Immaculate Conception Ott admits on page 201:Now, all of this information is generally available to anyone with the interest in obtaining it. You, obviously, have no interest in knowing what I am actually saying. You are only intent upon defending your position. That is why you have obviously missed my point.
Neither the Greek nor the Latin Fathers explicitly teach the Immaculate Conception of Mary.
Instead, he asserts an "implicit" teaching based upon Mary’s holiness and the contrast between her and Eve. Yet, I note that J.N.D. Kelly asserts that Ireneaus, Tertullian, and Origen all felt Mary had sinned and doubted Christ (Early Christian Doctrines, 493). In any case, Ott asserts on the same page that the first explicit assertion of the doctrine as believed today is found in the British monk Eadmer at the beginning of the 12th century! Even then, he notes it ran into much opposition, including the rejection of Bernard of Clairvaux. Certainly, it’s a doctrine absent from the early 4th century and the Church of Nicea.
Likewise, the Bodily Assumption of Mary is a doctrine unknown to the Fathers of the Council of Nicea. Ott says of it, "The idea of the bodily assumption of Mary is first expressed in certain transitus-narratives of the fifth and sixth centuries. Even though these are apocryphal they bear witness to the faith of the generation in which they were written despite their legendary clothing" (pp. 209-210). What Ott does not note is that these "transitus-narratives" were deemed heretical by the Church of the day and anathematized by Gelasius, bishop of Rome! Hence, the first documentable reference to the doctrine is from a heretical source, and that at least two and a half centuries after the Council of Nicea! The doctrine, plainly, had no part in the Church in A.D. 325, and hence, again, the point is proven: the Church of Nicea was not the Church of Rome.
Please, Matthew, do you really think I am unaware of the state of development of the Marian theology at the time of Nicea? Do you really think I would be so foolish as to say that you do not share any of the beliefs of the Nicene period about Mary? I mean, obviously, the bishops at Nicea believed in the Virgin Birth, right? So do I! That would hardly be a challenge. What I said on the program, and what I have said in writing, is this: the bishops at Nicea did not believe what you as a Roman Catholic today believe de fide about the Virgin Mary. They did not believe in the Bodily Assumption of Mary. That is not even disputable and you should know that. They did not believe in the Immaculate Conception of Mary as you define it today--for as anyone familiar with church history knows, as many as seven Popes taught against the concept, and it was opposed by well known writers in its current dogmatic form well into the medieval period. The fact that Jerome would take on Helvidius many decades later shows that even the Perpetual Virginity of Mary was an issue lacking unanimous consent at the time of Nicea.
So the challenge I made on the DL, and I repeat to you, Matthew, is simple: if you are going to claim modern Rome is the "same" church as that of Nicea, show me which bishops at that council believed not some of what you believe about Mary, but all of what you believe, not just freely, but de fide about Mary. When you can do that, rather than providing scattered citations about one idea here, another there, you will have fulfilled the challenge.
Finally, I would like to see what you have already written on the following citation and resultant concept in Augustine's writings:
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)You see, Matthew, to have seriously engaged the idea of transubstantiation in differentiation from real presence you would have to have considered and given place to Augustine's own consistent teaching that the physical body of Jesus will remain in heaven until He returns so that the Church is deprived of the physical presence of Christ. How could he say this if, in fact, he believed what you believe regarding transubstantiation? To consistently read Augustine one must take those passages where he presents the reailty of Christ's spiritual presence with His people (especially in reference to the Eucharistic celebration) and instead of suppressing the rest of his views in light of the anachronistic reading of later traditions allow him to speak for himself in his own context. And when you do so, you see the consistency in what he said above about the bodily presence of Christ and what he says here about John 6:
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. UPDATE>>(Augustine, Sermon 62:5).
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).
Tomorrow on the Dividing Line!
09/20/2006 - James WhiteI will be joined tomorrow by Dr. Jim Renihan of the Institute for Reformed Baptist Studies at Westminster Seminary in Escondido, California. Dr. Renihan joined me in defending the resurrection in debate against John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg last year (as seen above). Dr. Renihan is a well known scholar of Baptist history and he will be discussing with us the great John Owen, as well as other things, as we will take calls the last portion of the program. So be listening at 4pm MST, 7pm EDT, for Jim Renihan on the DL.
Another Educational Example
09/20/2006 - James WhiteI happened upon a new thread at the Catholic Answers Forums about Irenaeus. Since this had come up a few days ago, I clicked on it. Once again it had to do with Irenaeus' mistakenly trying to argue against the gnostics that Jesus had in essence recapitulated all the ages of man's life in Himself so that he died an older man, far older than the commonly accepted 33 years of age. The relevance of the issue is that Irenaeus is the first to lay claim to "apostolic tradition" as substantiation of his viewpoints. Since Rome would agree Irenaeus is in error, this raises a vital question: how could the very first claim of "apostolic tradition" give us a corrupt tradition? And if such "tradition" cannot survive to the end of the second century, how can anyone take seriously the claim that such dogmas as the Bodily Assumption of Mary, unknown for centuries longer, are actually "apostolic" in origin?
Well, as I noted a few days ago, Mark Bonocore, a Roman Catholic apologist, put forth a brave, but wholly erroneous, attempt to respond to my citation of this fact. I reviewed, and I believe, fully refuted, Bonocore's article here and here (and refuted another of his articles on the early church here). So what do I find in this new thread? Not only is the real argument completely missed by the various Roman Catholic writers, but as it stands right now, it currently ends with a reference to the very article by Bonocore that I refuted above, describing it as a "good article." I wonder how many there will bother to put "Bonocore + Irenaeus" into Google? Thankfully, the first two hits are to my blog. But see how a single response, even if refuted, just goes on and on and on?
Quick Update on the Catholic Forums
09/20/2006 - James WhiteThankfully, a few folks, even a few Roman Catholic folks, have spoken up and stated the obvious. Miki doesn't see how she has given herself and her compatriots a glowing black eye by her behavior, but others do. I have been saying for months that Rome's apologists seem to think a singular "reply" to a point is all that is needed. They seem to wish to borrow their own mis-understanding of "Rome has spoken, the case is closed," so as to apply it to themselves. "You've been refuted!" "Oh, have you read...?" "No, and I don't need to!" That's the prevalent behavior of those on these forums.
Ironically, I then get e-mails from folks complaining that "You always have to be right!" Does anyone else see the irony in a Roman Catholic, a follower of the allegedly infallible Papacy, making such a complaint? What would these folks have me to do? Person X, who has never taken the time to do original research or reading, accepts secondary and tertiary sources that say I have misrepresented Rome, lied about this, been refuted about that. I point out that I have, in fact, exercised great care to honor the truth in how I seek to represent others, that I have not lied about these issues, and that I have provided refutations of many who have sought to refute key points in our apologetic defense of our faith. Somehow, I am wrong to do this? I should allow false accusations to stand and this will somehow prove I'm a loving person?
One of the things that came out in Miki's comments on the program yesterday and that is representational of many others in the Catholic apologetics community is this: she mentioned purgatory as an example of where I have misrepresented Rome. Yet, when I pressed, what she really meant was that I say Rome is wrong about purgatory. The fact that in her thinking to disagree with Rome must mean that I am lying and dishonest needs to be understood. This explains the twisting of language itself and why she, and many others, do not even bother to show non-Catholics enough respect to read their primary works or check their facts. This also explains their willingness to use every form of ad-hominem argument, spread rumors without doing fact-checking, etc. It's ugly, but it is the way of Rome.
Do I Respect Islam?
09/20/2006 - James WhiteThe Pope is making sure everyone knows he deeply respects Islam. Of course, his theology sort of demands such statements, since Rome teaches in her official documents that we "adore" the same God. Of course, I reject that statement outright. I do not adore the same God with those who reject the Incarnation, reject the cross, reject the resurrection, reject the Trinity. This is one of the great errors of modern Roman Catholicism. I no more adore and worship the same God that Muslims adore than I do any religion that defines itself first and foremost as a denial of the heart of my faith. This was a point I made when I spoke in California last month. When Surah 112, key to the self-definition of the pure definition of God in Islamic theology, includes as a full third of its words, "He begetteth not nor was begotten," in direct denial of Christian theology, how can I "respect" the denial of my faith? I believe we should be clearly explaining to anyone who will listen to us today: the demand on the part of Western culture that we give to every religious viewpoint equal respect is by nature a demand that we deny the Christian faith in the process. We say God has testified to the Son in the resurrection, and that the only way of approach to the Father is by the Son. To demand that I "respect" equally the denial of the uniqueness of Christ is an implicit demand that I abandon my faith.
The irony is that most Muslims already know this. Many have far more respect for a Christian who refuses to compromise than they do for those who try to appease them. They know there is no peaceful co-existence between two directly contradictory truth claims. And God does not function on the thesis/antithesis/synthesis model, either.
Now, please keep this in mind: we must respect the truth by accurately representing, to the best of our abilities, the views of those with whom we disagree. I seek to portray truthfully the views of Muslims, Mormons, Roman Catholics, etc., because of my commitment to truth as it is embodied in Christ, not because of some post-modern, feel-good "respect" for false religions. I see little evidence that the Old Testament prophets "respected" Baal or Molech, let alone the religions that prompted their worship.
So I would not join the Pope in saying "I respect Islam." That is a far cry from saying I do not respect certain Muslims, and, equally far from saying I cannot or will not treat a Muslim with respect. Sadly, people muddle these categories. Modern shallow thinkers assume that if you wish to show respect for a Muslim you must respect Islam. That is untrue. A Muslim is made in the image of God, and though he follows a false religion, he is still due respect due to the fact that he bears the image of God. Of course, some men are worthy of more respect than others. The wild-eyed terrorist who knows nothing but the hope of seventy virgins in heaven but who cannot give evidence of the slightest knowledge of the views of others does not deserve respect. The reasoned Muslim who seeks to portray accurately my beliefs and engage them in dialogue and debate is another case altogether. And of course, there is an entire spectrum between these two extremes.
A Listing of My Insults!
09/19/2006 - James WhiteAs I'm working I'm monitoring the Catholic Answers Forums, and I just saw RyanL accuse me of hypocrisy. Now, there is no end to all the things people will accuse me of, but as we are finding out, these folks are very long on accusations, very short on documentation. But at least someone tried. Here is the post. Now, let's keep in mind the kind of stuff that is fired my direction by folks who do not even bother to read my materials or listen to my debates, and compare this list from RyanL. I'm downright proud of it. If this is the best they can come up with, well, for folks who are even slightly fair in their thinking, there is no comparison. Let's look quickly at the list.
First, I said Art Sippo misbehaved at our Toledo debate and that Art Sippo will insult you. RyanL, those are called completely documented facts. Do a search on "Sippo" on this blog for all the documentation of that you want. Ask anyone who has visited the Envoy forums about Art Sippo. Case closed. First example fails.
Second, in an article responding to a series of nastigrams from Roman Catholic apologists, I spoke of their intense hatred and emotionalism. Once again, facts are facts. Read what I'm responding to. Second example fails.
Third, responding to the same series of nastigrams, I spoke of their utter desperation. Again, read what I was responding to and see if the words are not true. And given that in each of these instances I am responding to ad-hominem, how can I even mount an argument about issues and facts when these men refuse to engage such things? Third example fails.
Next, I said no serious scholar of the Greek language would make the claims Tim Staples made. RyanL has the wrong source listed, but I was able to find the source document. As I expected, this was about Staples' misuse of the subjunctive, a common error of those who are not, in fact, scholars of the language. Colin Smith documented this fully in another article. Fourth example fails.
The next example was about Phil Porvaznik, and even Phil agreed it wasn't ad-hominem. I still have the video tapes of Gail Riplinger edited together with Monty Python Phil sent me years ago. I have the goods on him. I can insult him all I want, right Phil? Fifth example fails.
Last example given I said that I find the use of ad-hominem indicative of a lost cause. Yes, that's supposed to be ad-hominem itself. Needless to say, sixth example fails.
And that is all RyanL could come up with. Not a single one was even slightly relevant. The melt down continues....
Oh, by the way! Phil Porvaznik has extracted the Miki call today and posted it on his site in mp3 format. Here's the link. You know what is odd about Phil? He knows he can never engage the biblical issues. He doesn't even try. Might want to pray for that young man.
I Missed This One
09/19/2006 - James WhiteNot that it would have made any difference, but I might have been a little less willing to give her so much time. This was posted last evening:
Back in 1992, the likes of James White and Mark Martin did alot to confuse my faith and make my reversion back to the Church all the more difficult and painful because I had to go through one-by-one and undo all their lies before I could see the light. I know what that's like and even for the fact that Mr White is a pariah in the heady world of Prot apologia, there are still those innocents who unwittingly hang on his every word like gospel. I know what that's like--I remember. According to his blog (thanks to Jimmy Akin for giving me the head's up), I've evidentally never heard his program before--that's where he's wrong. And so, I'm agreeing to this farce of a "discussion" for the sakes of those who listen, not him. If Patty Bonds does even have a snowball's chance in chipping through her brother's overdone, self-aggrandising ego, then I'm not even going to bother. But I will bother for them.
Then I started reading down the list...more of the same kind of stuff, with one exception that I should point out. A fellow named David N. Silvey posted this:
Do you really believe that kind of language is charitable? Why can't people be respectful when talking about Mr. White? No, James is not perfect; he's made mistakes --- just like Catholic apologists. However, the kind of attacks people make on him on these forums are ridiculous. (Please note that I do not claim there is never some truth in the attacks.)Thank you Mr. Silvey! Sadly, his counsel was not heeded, as he himself would have to admit. So I get down to what was posted this morning, and discover this also coming from the pen of Miki:
By the way, have you seen White's blog recently? In three separate posts he has defended what Pope Benedict said about Islam during his speech.
Folks need to calm down when they talk about White --- or not talk about him at all.
For the record, I tried to post a bit about this last night, but my post was 300 characters too long and then my 'puter froze up. Suffice it to say that James White is seriously mistaken when he says I've never listened to one of his programs. Not the Dividing Line, but this is only a rehashing of all his past slanderous tripe from years gone by. I have not only listened to his tapes, but James himself put them in my hot little hands. I have not only met the guy face to face, but I've had him spittle all over my cute, pink dress as he was barring my entrance to Temple Square and telling me in no uncertain terms that "GOD will not be mocked, lady. YOU ARE GOING TO HELL!!!" Even while I was in a cult, he and his arguments did little to sway me.Now immediately, anyone at all familiar with me and our work in Salt Lake City knows that someone has passed the line of simple nastiness to downright dishonesty. This is just slanderous, and it is false. First, we didn't pass out tapes in Salt Lake City, we passed out tracts and, on a few rare occasions, a book (Letters to a Mormon Elder). Second, we never, ever blocked anyone's access to the Temple grounds--never. If anyone did something like that, it wasn't me, or any of our folks. Given Miki's admission that she has never even seen one of my debates, we could very well be looking at someone who doesn't even know who I am. But in any case, this story is starting to take on the aura of apocryphal fiction, to be sure. More outrageous silliness followed. One thing is for certain, truth lies fallen in the corridors of the Catholic Answers forums, and few there be who seem to mourn its passing. Here's the silliness.
And, yes, it was those same tapes, and those of Mark Martin at Phoenix Calvary Chapel and the rantings of Tommy Barnett at Cave Creek Assemblies of God, which were the impetus for me to study the ECF's and find out what they really said--not what (especially) Martin and White redacted them to say to fit their own agendas. I played them over and over and over again--and I am sincerely amused to learn, in reading James' site last week, that nothing at all has changed.
09/19/2006 - James WhiteI could not have scripted a more accurate portrayal of the mindset of so many who populate Roman Catholic web boards and forums than what was displayed on the program today. Miki called. In fact, she called an hour early, just to make sure of the time. And as you will hear on the program, I let her have all the time in the world. I let her say all sorts of things that I could easily have challenged her on, but finally, we had to get down to business. Remember the character of her e-mail:
Incidentally, when I was young and stupid and didn't have a proper religious education, I used to listen to you and read your books and articles--and *then* I read the Early Fathers and Eusebius and discovered the *real* truth...that you don't (and never have) have a clue what the "truth" is. The Truth, Love, is Catholic(since that *is* the New testament Church)--and the sooner you quit with the arrogant, misological pride and shenanigans, the better off you will be. So,my actual purpose for writing, I just wanted you to know that I just finished reading your site section on Catholicism and, minus the *egregious* errors and misrepresentations which you present as "facts", I found it to be uproariously entertaining! Not very informative, but *blissfully* funny for all of its ascerbic ranting blowhard-ness and Scriptural cluelessness. The reason your audience is "getting smaller", James, is because they *are* listening to GOD--and He doesn't like His lambs being poisoned with lies like yours. If your audience is as small and smaller, as you say it is, it's because that is *His* Will. Praise GOD for small favours!!! Anyway, thanks so much for the laughs--it's been very entertaining--this site is as funny to read as a Watchtower magazine! (I'm in tears and my jaw aches! ;O) ).... In His Grace, and praying for your conversion, MikiI was going to edit that down to just the lines with insults and put-downs, but that did not end up shortening the note at all. Every line contained them. So anyway, I had half expected something along the lines of, "Oh, by the way, let me apologize for the character of my e-mail. I'm very sorry. I went way over the line." Well, we did not get that. Nothing close. In fact, she would later glibly accuse me of lying that I had received e-mails from Roman Catholics who complained about my having posted her rude e-mail (obviously, she hasn't bothered read my blog, or, maybe, she thinks I make these things up). When I finally broke in I began asking for the only thing that would warrant her e-mail: examples. Documentation. Where have I egregiously misrepresented Rome? And that's when the wheels came off. No matter how long I waited, how many different ways I asked, one thing became painfully clear: the woman who claims to have talked to Jimmy Akin and other leading apologists before calling the program, the woman so willing to write nastigrams filled with mockery and insult, did not have a clue about what she was talking about. She could not give the first example, on anything. She mentioned purgatory, so I asked her if she had listened to my debate with Stravinskas. She admitted she has not listened to any of my debates. She kept saying she would not debate, which means, of course, that debate is a rather malleable word in her mind that can also mean "reason" or "answer necessary questions to back up my nastigram." And finally she had the temerity to offer to debate me in a month! I could barely suppress the laughter at the hubris of this woman who has not listened to any of my debates, evidently never read a single book, has no care or concern to even realize that I am doing three major debates a month from now, and yet she would dare to ask for a month to back up her nastigram's claims in a "debate"? Oh my goodness, please, folks, whatever you do, no matter what Rome's apologists say, never write to them and treat them the way their folks treat us. Learn from Miki's meltdown and take the high road. Anyway, then she started the "I'm going to keep talking over you and monopolize this though it is your program thing" which, I point out, is really silly, since I have control of the phone lines. We moved on to the next call from an Eastern Orthodox priest, followed by calls on Calvinism and the upcoming Caner debate in Lynchburg. A full program to be sure! Here it is.
One other thing. One of the "laughable" things Miki mentioned was that I'm saying the same things today I was saying in the early 90s. Now, I can only imagine that what that is supposed to mean is that from her perspective I've been refuted on all that, and therefore, I'm beyond reason. But, of course, she then admitted that she hasn't bothered to listen to the debates to know if I've been refuted or not! She is only going on what she reads from Roman Catholics. I take it as a badge of honor that I'm saying the same things today I was saying back then. I was focused upon the key issues then, and I've stayed focused on them till now, and I intend to remain focused upon them. It is not a mark of solid apologetics to be wandering about the landscape changing your tune ever few years just to attract some new market! Anyone who compares the debates I did back then to the more recent ones will, I hope and pray, see growth, but the topics cannot change, since the truth does not change. God help us to remain consistent in defense of the Gospel!
Less Than a Month to Go
09/19/2006 - James WhiteLess than a month till "crunch time" for me. Two major debates in three days, the first, October 16th at the Thomas Road Baptist Church on the doctrines of grace, and then, only a few days later, October 19th, on Long Island, my debate with Bill Shishko on baptism! Then I only have a few days home before I head to Orlando and the Conference/Debate/Cruise!
Here is the very nicely done flyer TRBC has produced for the debate:
I remain hopeful regarding the debate itself, and of course supremely confident that God will honor His Word in the hearts and minds of His people. The message of a powerful Savior who never fails to save His own is a great message to be called to proclaim and defend! Also, I should announce that at our conference in Orlando a special love offering will be taken to buy Tom Ascol a tie. Of course, knowing Tom, after he sees me in my kilt, he will take up a special offering at a Founder's meeting to buy me...pants.
A Quick Hello From the Front
09/18/2006 - James WhiteNot much time for anything but writing, but...
Miki says she will call the DL as long as I do not dominate the conversation with sophistry and anger. Yet, she has never listened to the DL, so, how would she know...oh, never mind. If you want an example of more of this kind of thing, check out the melt down at the Catholic Answers forums here. "Catholichead" asserts I lied about Irenaeus in that thread, but, as with all of these folks, sorta forgot to actually back up what he said. Here is a sample (first entry/second entry) of what I've said about Irenaeus, here refuting Mark Bonocore, who is elsewhere promoted in that thread by Phil Porvaznik.
Speaking of Bonocore, looking at that thread I clicked on one of the links and couldn't help but chuckling at the kind of argumentation that some folks find compelling and convincing. Look at one portion of this interaction with Bonocore:
JW> 7) You wrote: Now, while it is true that, in Matt 18:18, Jesus bestows a similar authority to "bind and loosen" upon all of the Apostles collectively, it is to Peter alone that Christ entrusts "the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven." So, what are these Keys? What are they suppose to signify?" When, specifically, did Christ bestow the keys ALONE to Peter? The Greek verb in Matthew 16 is future in tense. Hence, if this does not take place in Matthew 18:18, when does it? And, can you cite patristic foundation for saying the keys differ in authority and meaning from the power of binding and loosing? >>
:-) First of all, the way you pose the question is shamefully deceptive, and based on an incorrect understanding of the Greek. In comparing Matt 16:19 and 18:18, the "bind/loose" statements are each arranged in two couplets. The first verb in the couplet is an active aorist and the second is a perfect passive participle which is best translated into English as a passive future perfect. Thus, the verses literally say "Whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in Heaven." The obvious meaning of the Matt 16:19 &18:18 statements is that whatever the Apostles (and their successors) bind upon the faithful (i.e., faith or morals) will not be their own teaching but what has already been bound upon the Church by God in eternity. So, I am overwhelmed by your misuse of the Greek.
Now, keep in mind, Bonocore has never taught Greek in any context to my knowledge. But the "Catholic Legate" style has even led them to attempt to refute Eric Svendsen's work on a particular Greek phrase though they had to start their effort by admitting their lack of training in the subject! As far as I know they never got very far on that project. In any case, when faced with such argumentation, you can either dig down and provide a substantive response, or, you can attempt to blow smoke and obscure the fact that you really have no idea what you are talking about. And that is what Bonocore does here. Note the question I asked: "When, specifically, did Christ bestow the keys ALONE to Peter? The Greek verb in Matthew 16 is future in tense. Hence, if this does not take place in Matthew 18:18, when does it? And, can you cite patristic foundation for saying the keys differ in authority and meaning from the power of binding and loosing?" Now, a serious response would involve examining dw,sw and providing some kind of exegetically sound foundation for the absolutist position of the Roman See regarding the concept of papal authority. Remember, absolute claims of authority cannot be substantiated by "maybe's" and "possibly's." Is this what Bonocore provides? Of course not. Instead, what you do when you don't really have an answer is you accuse the person who has asked you a question you cannot answer of some kind of wrong-doing--it is always best to accuse them of what you are about to do yourself--and then make some assertions about something utterly irrelevant to the original question, hoping your readers will find the resultant reply compelling. The clear thinking reader runs into this kind of stuff constantly in politics, and it is just as prevalent in theology and apologetics.
Providing us with an incredible example of this kind of non-response, Bonocore starts out with an accusation. I have, he claims, been "shamefully deceptive" and I do not understand a topic I have taught for years and Bonocore has not. Now, keep in mind what I said. I said dw,sw is in the future tense ("I will give" not "I am right now giving to you, Peter, in contrast to the others, alone, the keys"). How is this shamefully deceptive? Well, you can read the rest of Bonocore's paragraph till the sun grows dark in the sky and you'll never find out. Though he ends with another assertion of the "misuse of the Greek," he never even touches on the only assertion made, that being that the verb in 16:19 is future in tense! Now, it is possible he simply doesn't get the point. It is possible he hasn't read my books on the subject, or just doesn't follow the point. Instead, he victoriously overlooks dw,sw (I said "verb" not "verbs") and looks at a completely different aspect of the text which has nothing to do with what I said, and on the basis of that, accuses me of misusing the Greek! This kind of errant apologetics is what Rome's defenders tout as providing a "refutation" of my work.
And finally, the Islamic apologetics community seems as liable to dispute and disruption as the Roman Catholic one (witness Keating vs. Matatics, Sungenis vs. Everybody). I have mentioned a few times in the past the Peter Ruckman of Islamic apologists on the net, Nadir Ahmed. He and his followers use the basest forms of bullying tactics. I have demonstrated Ahmed's utter incapacity to deal with scholarly subjects on the DL in the past. Well, we got the following e-mail just today:
Mr. James White, Can you tell us why you are running from Nadir Ahmed. He has called you out in a debate and you are afraid of him. It seems like you only like to go after weaker opponents of the Islamic community like Shabir Ally! Shabir Ally is to much into liberal Biblical scholarship rather than Islam. So he is a very confused man. You are fooling no one.That's been the mantra, "You are afraid!" Pretty hard to deal with irrational folks like that, isn't it? They truly have no idea that their actions prove so clearly the bankruptcy of their own position.
Odds and Ends
09/18/2006 - James WhiteI think it would be useful for thoughtful folks--you know, folks who think before they open fire, burn, or go to war--to read what Benedict XVI actually said in his talk that has resulted in such outrageously inane and violent reactions from so many. Here is the talk. Here is the relevant portion:
I was reminded of all this recently, when I read the edition by Professor Theodore Khoury (Münster) of part of the dialogue carried on-- perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara-- by the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both. It was probably the emperor himself who set down this dialogue, during the siege of Constantinople between 1394 and 1402; and this would explain why his arguments are given in greater detail than the responses of the learned Persian.
The dialogue ranges widely over the structures of faith contained in the Bible and in the Qur'an, and deals especially with the image of God and of man, while necessarily returning repeatedly to the relationship of the three Laws: the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Qur'an. In this lecture I would like to discuss only one point-- itself rather marginal to the dialogue itself-- which, in the context of the issue of faith and reason, I found interesting and which can serve as the starting-point for my reflections on this issue.
In the seventh conversation edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the jihad (holy war). The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: There is no compulsion in religion. It is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat.
But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur’an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the “Book” and the “infidels,” he turns to his interlocutor somewhat brusquely with the central question on the relationship between religion and violence in general, in these words:
Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.
The emperor goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul.
God is not pleased by blood, and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death.......
[Click Here to Continue Reading]
Signs of Judgment
09/16/2006 - James WhiteGay police in the UK demonstrate hatred for the Holy Scriptures. (Can you imagine how many people would die in riots and murders across the world if such a picture appeared with the Qur'an instead of the Bible?)
Firemen Punished for Refusing to Distribute Leaflets at Gay Pride March. Anyone who has seen video of these debauched events knows why these men did not wish to participate. This is nothing less than persecution of Christians and state-sponsored persecution of people who are moral enough to find prancing homosexuals repulsive. This is what the homosexual lobby wants, folks. They not only desire the end of free speech, they want their views forced upon everyone else. They will accept nothing less. (Hat tip to legolas from the UK).
Pope Stops Short of Apology. As well he should. When we cannot speak the truth, when we cannot even admit history itself, the battle is over.
Meanwhile, Muslims burned the Pope in effigy, and firebombed churches, all in glorious testimony to how peaceful they are! We need to realize that for Islam, the Pope is the head of Christianity. Very few understand the Reformation, and hence they see anything the Pope says as representing all of Christianity. So, if they can silence the Pope, in their minds, they have silenced Christianity. Their demands in this case, of course, are utterly irrational. They are demanding the same level of control of speech as the homosexuals in the links above: total suppression of any and all criticism of their position is all they will accept. You cannot discuss Mohammad outside of abject acceptance of his claimed prophethood. And if you say jihad is evil, well, that's evil, too! There is nothing logical or rational about this worldview, and "moderate" Muslims who actually attempt to defend Islam rationally well know they must be silent when Islam takes the majority and shariah is established.
Let me be very clear here. The Pope said nothing wrong, and if he dares apologize for claiming the right to address history and the issues that relate to Islam's past, every single Muslim toting an AK-47 in Iraq or throwing firebombs at churches elsewhere will see that as an utter capitulation on the part of all of Christianity, whether they have a clue what the Pope was originally talking about or not.
The Amazing and Utterly Irrational Islamic Response to Benedict XVI
09/15/2006 - James WhiteIn an amazing display of utter hypocrisy leaders in the Islamic world are demanding an apology from Pope Benedict XVI. What did the Pontiff do? He dared read a quotation from a conversation that took place in the fourteenth century. And what was the horridly offensive statement? He quoted, not as his own words, but accurately, the words of Emperor Manuel Paleologos II speaking to a Persian scholar on the conflict between Christianity and Islam. The words were, "Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." That's it! He dared quote such a statement! It was in the context of eschewing violence in matters of religion, I might add.
Now, consider the response to this simple citation of a historical source:
Pakistan's legislature unanimously condemned the Pope. (I wonder if a single one of them had a clue what he said, or the context in which it was said? Probably not).
According to this story, the deputy leader of the ruling Islamic party, "said Benedict's remarks were either 'the result of pitiful ignorance' about Islam and its prophet or, worse, a deliberate distortion." He said, "He has a dark mentality that comes from the darkness of the Middle Ages. He is a poor thing that has not benefited from the spirit of reform in the Christian world. It looks like an effort to revive the mentality of the Crusades. Benedict, the author of such unfortunate and insolent remarks, is going down in history for his words. He is going down in history in the same category as leaders such as Hitler and Mussolini."
Protests broke out in Gaza City, and a Hamas spokesman said the Pope had offended Muslims everywhere.
Now, of course, every single one of these people know that in Islamic countries Imams regularly preach death to the West and death to Christianity. They well know the hatred expressed toward Jews on a daily basis. So it simply is not possible for them to not realize the gross hypocrisy in pretending outrage over the Pope quoting a conversation that took place hundreds of years ago. The few who have even read the comments and noted the context are guilty of knowing hypocrisy. But they are the minority. You can bet without question that the vast majority of these folks have only heard either a completely a-contextual version, like, "The Pope said Mohammad (pbuh!) was evil and inhuman! Take up arms!" or worse, as in the "cartoon" saga a few months ago, they have been given a full-blown lie and some other outrageous "quotation."
Now, I do not want anyone to faint upon reading what I am about to say, but for the sake of all that is good and right and just, I hope Benedict XVI refuses to apologize. Clarify the statement? Fine. Provide the context? Great. But do not apologize for claiming the freedom to quote a historical source! I could quote dozens and dozens of Islamic writers whose words I find deeply offensive. Would I be given the right to demand apologies from the entire Islamic world? Surely not!
Finally, one of the most amazing statements in the above linked news article was this one: "Many Muslims accused Benedict of seeking to promote Judeo-Christian dominance over Islam." Anyone with the slightest idea of what militant Islam is all about knows it seeks the establishment of Islamic law throughout the world. That is what the current world situation is all about: the consistent application of Islamic beliefs to the political systems of all nations. See the writings of Sayyid Qutb, who greatly influenced Bin Laden, for examples of this on almost every page. So when I read this kind of complaint, my hypocrisy meter pegs and starts smoking. But will almost anyone in the West point out this hypocrisy? No, because our ability to think, and speak, clearly has been seriously compromised by political correctness. Yes, Islam seeks world domination, by force and death and destruction. And therein lies another major difference between us: Christianity boldly proclaims that it, in fact, will someday see Jesus Christ enthroned as the King of kings, and He will rule over all the earth. But how does He rule and reign today? He does so by changing hearts and minds, not through the barrel of an AK-47. Those who bow the knee to Christ today to do because their natures have been changed. It is a supernatural conversion, not a violent one.
09/15/2006 - James White
James, As a long-time Catholic reader of yours, I am appalled by your recent postings of nastigrams from rude Catholics. How does it help your cause to pillory bad examples? Do you want us to conclude that these straw men characterize Catholics? Now, I know you like consistent standards. That is something I love about you. So I ask, if Catholic Answers began posting similar emails from Protestants, and responded in the same manner as you have, would you not be appalled at the baseness of it? After all, you have criticized them for the prominence of their Chick Tract responses. How are your actions here better? To me they seem worse, since Chick Tracts are common enough to merit a public response. To be clear, I do not say you should not respond to nasty emails or that those who send them do not deserve rebuke. I do say that the public chastisement you have chosen is inappropriate, when a discreet reply is possible. Have you considered your actions in light of Proverbs 26:4-5? These verses teach that we must be careful in how we answer fools, and I think your recent postings are a poor example of obedience to that teaching. You know that genuine apologetics demands interaction with the best possible construction of contrary beliefs. I suggest that posting the unreflective attacks of some does not advance this objective because it amounts to an implicit ad hominem attack on your part. Why ad hominem? Not because you do not make responses to the contents of their remarks, but because the selection of these shameful postings as targets implies in itself an imputation of foolhardiness to all Catholics. If this is what you intend, you should know better, as I am sure most of your readers do. If this is not what you intend, I would like to know what your objective is and why you think a public posting of these messages is proper to that end. By the way, my work schedule does not permit me to call the Dividing Line, but I will respond in writing to any reply.
First, you would have to have some idea of what kind of e-mail is sent through our website to make much of a case that I have "selectively" chosen just the bad examples. In reality, what we post is sadly reflective of the normal "chatter" sent to our website.
Secondly, I do reject, openly, the kinds of materials that are thoughtless and mindless in their attacks upon Roman Catholicism. And I take the heat for it. But this is just where you have missed the importance of exposing this kind of rhetoric and its prevalence on "your" side of the aisle. These people are normative in your apologetics forums. They are not rebuked. They are not refuted. They are the majority. Look at the Envoy Forums, the Catholic Answers forums, the comments sections on Akin's blog. Are you seriously going to argue that the vast majority of those who post there are not reflected quite accurately in the e-mails I have posted? I simply cannot tell you how often I get the, "Oh, you have no idea what you are talking about! You've been refuted over and over again!" And when I ask, "May I have examples?" I get the Miki response (silence) or, if someone actually tries to come up with a response, it is rarely anything more than some old URL listing disagreements, never anything near what would be required to back up the kind of rhetoric these folks throw out all the time.
If I might note in passing, if someone came into my chat channel spewing the kind of venom toward Rome, the same kind of illogical, arrogant, ignorant rhetoric that appears with regularity in e-mail or in apologetics forums in defense of Rome, they would be rebuked immediately and, if they refused correction, would be kicked right out with an admonition not to return until they had cleaned up their attitude! Meanwhile, Art Sippo is free to breed followers who behave in the most atrocious manner right under Patrick Madrid's nose and with precious few rebukes from others.
So really, since I have often made it clear that there is a vast spectrum represented out there in Catholic apologetics, and I have often pointed to men like Mitch Pacwa as individuals I can respect for their unwillingness to engage in the kind of behavior seen in those forums and in these e-mails, I can hardly be called inconsistent. However, the very fact I can point out the fair minded apologists proves my point. They are in the small minority. The vast majority of the folks my audience is going to be encountering are like these folks who are writing to our website. They have absorbed into the very fabric of their being the kind of behaviors modeled for them by their favorite apologists. And since the use of ad-hominem is seen so regularly by many of the "big names" on EWTN, they go down that road. And since they are often being assured that their simplistic reading of church history is correct, despite the obvious fact they cannot even begin to interact with the realities of those records, they are quick to claim the entire early church for their own, confident that anyone who would disagree is just ignorant.
So while I appreciate your concern, I would like to suggest that your real problem is not with me pointing out the empty nature of so much of the common Roman Catholic boasting at these major websites and in Catholic media (it is incessant); the problem is on your side of the border, shall we say. I'm simply reflecting it and making it known and, in the process, getting some facts and arguments out there to those who are involved in evangelizing Roman Catholics.
My Sincerest Thanks
09/15/2006 - James WhiteIt is not the first time. I will never forget the feeling of walking out of a Latin class in 1989 to find that my Nissan truck had been stolen from the school parking lot. With it one of the most gorgeous, newly leather bound Greek texts I had ever owned, mouldering, to be sure, in a landfill somewhere. Then there was the break in at home where they took the gold ring my wife had given me when we had been dating for six months. But this is the first time I can remember thinking, whenever I leave home, or the office, about how I might better hide this or that, is everything locked, etc. An odd feeling.
In any case, I wish to express my sincerest thanks to the wonderful folks who have responded to the evil acts of others and blessed us so greatly. As you can see, my tablet is back. Well, no, of course, not the one that was stolen. But its replacement, and most importantly, its fully functional replacement. Though it required overnighting the unit to a wonderful brother in Texas who, I have been informed, created a monstrosity of cables to provide a way to boot the thing into Norton's recovery environment (lesson learned: switching to a backup program that will allow for a bootable thumb drive, since tablets do not have built in CD drives) so as to install my backup data files. But, the extra-ordinary effort was successful (though I now owe its life to Unix, and I'm sure I'll never hear the end of that), and that means all the programs, settings, and data, are as they were the evening I returned from California and speaking for the men of Grace Life on the subject of Islam. That also means that barring any disasters, this little unit will be with me in Canada next weekend (I enjoy speaking from it), and will be my resource in the Caner debate, the debate on baptism, and the Spong debate.
Though not pictured, the kind brothers who had originally provided me with my iPod replaced it as well, and another brother even sent me a slightly smaller one that I use when riding (for example, when I played the Jeff Miner sermon promoting a homosexual interpretation of Romans 1 I had listened to the mp3 earlier while riding using that new iPod). And so to everyone who gave, including those who gave financially so that we have been able to embark upon a very serious "lock down" of our new offices (i.e., making this place secure in numerous ways), I extend my heartfelt thanks. So many expressed their desire that I be able to continue to do what I do---the DL, the blog, the debates---and a recognition that these items are very important to that work. And so to all my brothers and sisters in Christ who have given and prayed, I thank you. Keep us in prayer as we press forward with the final installations of redundant security systems on the high tech side, and on the low tech side---bars on the windows, new doors with meaningful locks, and the like.
A Miki-Less DL
09/14/2006 - James WhiteWell, we tried, but no Miki today! So, no uproarious entertainment, but still three great calls, all on the same topic, Roman Catholicism. We talked a lot about church history, doctrine, dogma, debates--you name it. Even addressed the "why you don't invest time with Robert Sungenis anymore" question. It would be a great program for all my critics over at Envoy and the Catholic Answers forums to listen to--but then again, my experience is that those folks don't listen in the first place, so that is probably not going to happen. In any case, those who did found it very useful. Here's the program.
More from our Roman Catholic Fans
09/14/2006 - James White
My Dearest James: I met your sister not long ago and was intrigued to find out who her brother is. Incidentally, when I was young and stupid and didn't have a proper religious education, I used to listen to you and read your books and articles--and *then* I read the Early Fathers and Eusebius and discovered the *real* truth...that you don't (and never have) have a clue what the "truth" is. The Truth, Love, is Catholic(since that *is* the New testament Church)--and the sooner you quit with the arrogant, misological pride and shenanigans, the better off you will be. So,my actual purpose for writing, I just wanted you to know that I just finished reading your site section on Catholicism and, minus the *egregious* errors and misrepresentations which you present as "facts", I found it to be uproariously entertaining! Not very informative, but *blissfully* funny for all of its ascerbic ranting blowhard-ness and Scriptural cluelessness. The reason your audience is "getting smaller", James, is because they *are* listening to GOD--and He doesn't like His lambs being poisoned with lies like yours. If your audience is as small and smaller, as you say it is, it's because that is *His* Will. Praise GOD for small favours!!! Anyway, thanks so much for the laughs--it's been very entertaining--this site is as funny to read as a Watchtower magazine! (I'm in tears and my jaw aches! ;O) ).... In His Grace, and praying for your conversion, Miki
I am so glad you are no longer young and stupid and now have proper religious education! For, since you are now mature and smart and educated, you should be able to provide the answers that would demonstrate that your e-mail to me is something more than a passing taunt. Surely, if you can use such strong language, you can actually back up your statements, correct?
Please be aware that over the years I have gotten many e-mails like yours, but, for some odd reason, when I actually seek to engage the folks who write them, all of a sudden they find something else to be doing! It seems many in your camp are very long on allegations, but very short on substance. But, you are educated and older and smart, so I'm sure this will not be the case with you, dearest Miki.
Could you tell me about the portion of your education that gave you the ability to see into the hearts of others? I missed that part in mine. In fact, mine taught me just the opposite, which is why I tend to focus upon mundane things like facts and try to avoid that mind-reading business. I know, that makes my writing so much less interesting to most these days, who prefer mind-reading over factuality.
Let me give you an example from the material you said gave you such a wonderful chuckle. It would seem most appropriate to look at this article, wherein I interacted with an article by Karl Keating a number of years ago. You will notice that I did not base my arguments upon trying to mind-read Karl Keating. I cited his own published words, and provided argumentation and documentation that refutes his assertions. Since you have grown up and read the early Church writers, now, you should be able to go through this article and demonstrate its many silly errors, right? Surely! So, could I ask you to do so? You could do so in writing, or, if you would like, you could give me a call on The Dividing Line so that my audience can be "uproariously entertained" as well! Think of the service you'd be doing for folks!
Now if that article does not make you laugh hysterically enough, maybe this one will, for it sure seemed to tickle Peter Stravinskas when I pointed out its conclusions to him in our debate on purgatory a few years ago. I'm sure someone as smart and educated as you should be able to blow holes through that one!
So, if you can stop laughing long enough to demonstrate how mature and educated and smart you are, I'd love to hear from you. The number for the program is 877-753-3341. We even have a live program today, if your jaw has recovered enough to talk on the phone. But I sure hope you will not turn out to be another drive-by poster who sends in a mocking e-mail that upon examination hasn't an ounce of substance to it. That would only encourage me in my belief that you folks really don't know how to engage in serious apologetic interaction, and you wouldn't want to be doing that! So I look forward to hearing from you, dearest Miki!
Rosie O'Donnell Outrage
09/13/2006 - James WhiteYou may have already heard it, but Rosie O'Donnell today said on "The View" that "radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam." Thankfully, the other women on the program were easily able to point out that her views are simply looney, which is the advantage of having a program where interaction can take place (ask Barry Lynn about the disadvantages of actually having to answer questions from someone other than a soft-ball leftist reporter). Here is the video of O'Donnell's idiotic comments. Might I just point out that O'Donnell could never get away with her behavior in Saudi Arabia or Iran, which in and of itself proves she is a hypocrite?
More From Pulpit Crimes
09/13/2006 - James WhiteRecall that in Acts 10:42 Peter spoke of Jesus as the judge of the living and the dead, and that this was a definitional portion of the proclamation the Lord Himself commands from His servants. Clearly, this aspect of the biblical message was vital to the first generations of the faithful, but it has fallen out of the consciousness of a wide portion of the church today. The meek and mild Jesus standing at the hearts door looks very little like the powerful judge of the living and the dead announced in Scripture. The Jesus of the Bible is indeed a gracious, loving Savior. But there is an order to divine truths, and before Jesus can be experienced as Redeeming Friend He must be seen as Creator, Maker,Judge, Lord. Inverting the order may save us from the frowns of men but it likewise creates the kind of malaise we see in so many would-be-Christians today. The wonder of Jesus as Savior is that as just judge He could so properly leave us to wrath, but, in mercy, He does not.
The charge Paul delivers to his beloved son Timothy is lodged with solemnity in the presence of God and of the divine judge, Jesus. This is not a human charge. It is not witnessed solely by a human tribunal. This kind of high adjuration is hard for modern Westerners to fully grasp. We have lost, in the main, any sense of honoring those in authority. Even our highest public officials are regularly mocked in the media, or asked what kind of underwear they prefer! The weight of representing a high standing person is difficult for many to understand today, so the picture of receiving a charge in the presence of the Father and the Son does not strike us with the solemnity it should. Western individualism has deeply seated the concept of egalitarianism in our thought. Rarely do we experience true solemnity, especially in the context of the commissioning of one to go and represent another who is high and exalted and full of authority. And yet this is surely what Timothy would think of here. He would have seen with his eyes, or depicted in art, the commissioning of representatives of high officials, even kings and emperors, and so he would have a context in which to hear Pauls words. His mentor is giving him a solemn charge in the presence of the very judge of all mankind.
Today on the DL
09/12/2006 - James WhiteToday on the DL I discussed a response written by Robert Sungenis (found here, #13) to a single line found in my August 21 blog entry. It has been posted on the Envoy forums and was forwarded to me by another Roman Catholic who began the e-mail with these words, "Great job Mr. White! Simply dismiss any philosophical, logical distinction between latria and dulia. I guess that your contra dulia/latria argument would work if you could first prove the novel, anti-orthodox, anti-scriptural, heretical position of sola scriptura." I began the program discussing this e-mail, and then moved on to examining the pro-homosexual argument that is used to get around Romans 1, the main "Clobber Passage" as they like to put it. Here's the program.
For Those Inquiring About Toronto
09/11/2006 - James WhiteFor those needing information on next week's conference in Toronto, here is the conference website. I will only be there a brief time, I'm afraid, as I speak only on Saturday, and will be back home by Sunday evening (in time for the evening services at PRBC). I know some bloggers are planning a get-together, I just don't know how much time I will have outside of the Conference. In any case, there's the information.
Preaching on the Lord's Day
09/11/2006 - James WhiteI had the opportunity of ministering the Word this weekend at the Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church. I spoke on 1 Timothy 1:3-5 and "The Goal of Our Instruction" in the morning service. Then, since we will be rejoicing in observing the ordinance of baptism next Sunday morning, I addressed the issue of baptism, answering various questions and objections to the Reformed Baptist understanding of baptism, in the evening service. Here is the morning service (download/streaming) and the evening service (download/streaming).
From the Mailbag
09/09/2006 - James White
Anyway, I have read in many of your posts about the impossibility of justifying the Catholic latria v. dulia distinction. Maybe I'm confused about something, but this distinction seems rather obvious to me. Thomas Aquinas, for example says this about "dulia": Wherefore dulia, which pays due service to a human lord, is a distinct virtue from latria, which pays due service to the lordship of God. It is, moreover, a species of observance, because by observance we honor all those who excel in dignity, while dulia properly speaking is the reverence of servants for their master, dulia being the Greek for servitude. So "dulia" (though given to the saints in the Catholic Church) is given to those "who excel in dignity." It would be appropriate to render dulia (as far as I know) to our parents, political leaders...anyone worthy of honor. You certainly wouldn't call *that* idolatry. Indeed, in the old Anglican wedding service, the bride and groom used these words: "With my body I thee worship." Now this is certainly not something we would say today (as worship has become almost exclusively a theological concept), but it shows the way in which even a term like "worship" may be used to express the honor due to a non-saint human being. So...it is this sort of honor or "worship" which Catholic believe is due to saints (as I see it). In fact, I heard a Catholic leader on the radio recently say that we ought to see the saints as friends, brethren, not superhuman benefactors who may take the place of God for us. Anyway, my question is how you justify the rejection of any distinction between latria (adoration due to God) and dulia (the honor due to those worthy of honor as creatures). If you have engaged this topic directly at some point, it would be wonderful to be referred to that essay.
Actually, I have addressed the issue in The Roman Catholic Controversy and in my debate with Patrick Madrid on Long Island relative to the veneration of saints and angels. The topic illustrates, very clearly, the difference between deriving your theology from God's divine revelation in Scripture and deriving it from other sources. There simply is no biblical basis for saying it is acceptable to give service to created beings but only worship to God, for both concepts are part and parcel of the single meaning of "worship" in Scripture. "You shall worship and serve God alone" cannot be changed into "you shall worship God alone; but as long as you call your religious devotion 'service' you can 'serve' Mary and angels and saints, too." The Bible not only does not recognize such a distinction, it denies it, both lexicographically (both latria and dulia trace back to biblical usages and both terms refer to divine worship) as well as by direct assertion. Paul refers to the idolatry that marked the pagan past of the Galatians as "service" in Galatians 4:8 ("However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves ["served," evdouleu,sate, root term being douleuo, leading to dulia in Latin] to those which by nature are no gods"). So if one begins with the Word as your ultimate authority, no amount of quibbling from later sources will change the reality of the definition of worship. And believe me, ask Uzzah if God is serious about the topic of worship (2 Samuel 6:3-7).
Aquinas does not define biblical terms, and his comments are not reflective of biblical usage. Later uses of "worship" in any language are, likewise, utterly irrelevant, of course, as that would lead to the common error of anachronism, reading later uses back into the biblical context. Of course, that is exactly what Rome does. I have heard many an apologist use old or middle English uses of "worship" as if this is somehow relevant to the matter at hand, and, of course, it is not. Can you picture it? A man is caught bowing down before a Baal in Moses' day in his tent. He is brought before Moses, and when asked for a reason for his idolatry, the man replies, "Oh, that wasn't idolatry. Don't you know that someday, in a language that will come into broad use in about 3,000 years, you will be able to argue for a less strict use of the term?" I'm sure that would go over about as well as the, "Oh, I wasn't worshipping the idol by bowing down and lighting candles before it, I was giving it dulia instead" excuse. Both excuses would go with the idolater under a pile of rocks.
So the better question to ask would be, upon what basis does any Roman Catholic believe the distinction he or she embraces that allows him or her to bow down before a statue and light candles and repeat prayers will stand before the holy God who gave us His Word and who has revealed that He seeks pure worship?
This Isn't Overly Surprising, Actually
09/08/2006 - James WhiteA number of years ago I remember reading about the Anglican priest who professed to be an atheist---and was allowed to continue to be an Anglican priest. So, reading a current story about an Anglican priest who converts to Hinduism and takes the name Ananda and who sacrifices to an elephant idol and yet who, it seems, will be allowed to continue on as an Anglican priest, isn't as shocking as it would seem. Hat tip to crewbear, who seems to enjoy finding daily examples of the apostasy of Canterbury.
Today on the Dividing Line
09/07/2006 - James WhiteFinally got the Lynn/Spong interview finished today, and then spent the rest of the program discussing the Jehovah's Witnesses with a caller from Florida. Here's the program.
Odds and Ends
09/06/2006 - James WhiteFirst, an "I told you so" that is not much of one. I have said many times that homosexual activists cannot allow freedom of speech or expression. Their ultimate goal is to silence anyone who would even whisper God's standards. They do not want equal rights, they want super-rights, all based upon sexual behavior. And as long as they have deep pockets and politicians can "use" them and be used by them, they will continue racking up success in their campaign. So I have repeatedly said the days are coming, and indeed, are here, where open and honest discussion of what the Bible itself says about homosexuality will be limited and in fact will put one in danger of the authorities. Here is a story illustrating this very thing from the UK. Note that this special "police unit" exists not to protect British citizens from criminals, but instead is there to support homosexuals! And note especially the admission that the arrest was based simply upon the leaflets containing relevant biblical citations! You have to wonder where all the proponents of "free speech" are hiding these days. Hat tip to PC.
Next, I have been informed by eyewitnesses that Jerry Falwell, in announcing the upcoming debate at the Thomas Road Baptist Church, referred to myself and Tom Ascol as "hyper Calvinists." This is most disappointing. For one thing, I'm sure the real hypers are truly upset that we are taking over their turf and illegitimately at that! They sure know we are anything but hyper-Calvinists. But I had hoped for better from Dr. Falwell, who should know that there are historical definitions of these terms and that it is inaccurate to use the phrase of myself or Dr. Ascol. I will have to write and correct his misapprehension. We wouldn't want too many flaming straw men in that fine new sanctuary! The fire marshal would not like it!
Continuation of the Frank Page Series
09/05/2006 - James WhiteI am continuing my response to Frank Page during my Sunday School lessons at www.prbc.org, working right now very slowly and carefully through Ephesians 1, testing Page's assertion that God predestines the how but not the who. This week we entered into the heart of the text, specifically addressing the "why" of predestination and election. So far we have found Dr. Page's presentation seriously lacking in exegetical substance. Click here to listen, here to download.
Regarding that Citation of Calvin
09/05/2006 - James WhiteOn the DL today a claim, made by an odd, off-beat Internet cult, came up. I promised to look into it. The cult leader enlists Calvin in his campaign to de-canonize 2 Peter (because 2 Peter refers to Paul's writings as Scripture, and his main goal is to attack Paul and the Pauline corpus), and I was asked about this by a caller. I managed to track down the claim on the group's website, but it only gave a reference to Metzger, not to Calvin. So I looked up Calvin, and here is what he actually said:
The doubts respecting this Epistle mentioned by Eusebius, ought not to keep us from reading it. For if the doubts rested on the authority of men, whose names he does not give, we ought to pay no more regard to it than to that of unknown men. And he afterwards adds, that it was everywhere received without any dispute. What Jerome writes influences me somewhat more, that some, induced by a difference in the style, did not think that Peter was the author. For though some affinity may be traced, yet I confess that there is that manifest difference which distinguishes different writers. There are also other probable conjectures by which we may conclude that it was written by another rather than by Peter. At the same time, according to the consent of all, it has nothing unworthy of Peter, as it shews everywhere the power and the grace of an apostolic spirit. If it be received as canonical, we must allow Peter to be the author, since it has his name inscribed, and he also testifies that he had lived with Christ: and it would have been a fiction unworthy of a minister of Christ, to have personated another individual. So then I conclude, that if the Epistle be deemed worthy of credit, it must have proceeded from Peter; not that he himself wrote it, but that some one of his disciples set forth in writing, by his command, those things which the necessity of the times required. For it is probable that he was now in extreme old age, for he says, that he was near his end. And it may have been that at the request of the godly, he allowed this testimony of his mind to be recorded shortly before his death, because it might have somewhat availed, when he was dead, to support the good, and to repress the wicked. Doubtless, as in every part of the Epistle the majesty of the Spirit of Christ appears, to repudiate it is what I dread, though I do not here recognize the language of Peter. But since it is not quite evident as to the author, I shall allow myself the liberty of using the word Peter or Apostle indiscriminately. (Commentary on 2 Peter)
Calvin recognizes the historical debate and the fact that there is a lot of difference between the style of 1 Peter and 2 Peter. Anyone who has translated both books knows this to be true. The fact that we have a named scribe in 1 Peter (Silvanus) is important, of course. In any case, Calvin does not throw 2 Peter out of the canon, as was suggested, and really adds nothing to the discussion that had not been said before him.
Notes on Acts 10:42
09/05/2006 - James WhiteHere are some notes I wrote up on Acts 10:42 for the book. Now the trick is converting notes to final text.
And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead.Let's consider what we can learn from this description of preaching in the early church. First, we see that it is a divine command. He ordered us to preach to the people.Christ, to whom all authority in heaven and earth has been given (Matthew 28:18), commands us to preach. It is not an optional activity. It is not, Well, if it is convenient, we will invest a little effort.It is a command of Christ to His church, a divine imperative. There are not many activities defined for the church where it can be said with certainty, Christ ordered us to engage in this activity, but preaching is just such an activity.
In this context preaching to the peoplehad a particular meaning; those doing the preaching knew there would be resistance and a cost (John 9:22). This was due to the content of the message. To proclaim the One crucified by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem as the One appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead was to take a stand that admitted no compromise. Anyone who would knowingly confess Christ in this manner was taking a definitive step with lasting results. But given that this is a command, obviously, those fulfilling the command could not choose to edit, alter, or soften, the message itself. It was an all-or-nothing message. They were not testifying that Jesus might bethe Judge of the living and the dead. They were not testifying that Jesus was the Judge of some of the living and some of the dead, either. This was a message that was directed at each and every person inwhatever audience they addressed (since, we would assume, everyone fits into the two rather all-encompassing categories of the living and the dead).
Note as well that proclaiming Jesus as the Judge of the living and the dead is not quite the same thing as saying Jesus will be your best buddy. It is not the same as saying believing in Jesus will fix your financial woes and straighten your teeth and improve your marriage. In fact, accurately identifying Jesus as each persons judge is anything but attractive. In fact, outside of the work of the Spirit of God in a persons heart, this message will repel. Think of it: Hello Mr. Criminal. You know you are guilty. And here comes the judge.
This message was delivered in the form of a testimony. We testify to these things. I swear that this is true. Ive experienced it myself. I have acknowledge Jesus to be the judge of the living and the dead, and I have put my faith in Him so as to receive forgiveness of sins. By testifying we are putting ourselves on the line as a matter of integrity, but we are also joining our audience as fellow sinners in need of grace and forgiveness. It is only as the redeemed that we point others to the Redeemer, as those forgiven testifying of the source of forgiveness.
And finally, there is a key term used here that has truly been lost in the large portion of preaching and proclamation today. Solemnly. This is actually part of the term to testify. Our testimony is to be solemn, serious, fitting of the subjectof proclamation. There is something unnatural about speaking of eternal judgment, redemption, forgiveness, lordship, and life, in the context of light-hearted entertainment and Hawaiian shirt informality. I'm sorry, but it is hard for me to take a man seriously who rides a Harley into the service, for example, or who is going out of his way to be viewed not as a herald of a majestic person with a weighty message but as my buddy, my pal, my next door neighbor. This kind of seriousness, fervency, gravity, is not inconsistent with the joy that marks ones own testimony of redemption and forgiveness. Nor does it mean ones proclamation has to be boring, stiff, or lacking in interest or even appropriate humor. Sadly, we live in a day when many who come intothe fellowship lack basic listening skills or the discipline to listen for almost any length of time at all. An appropriate, topic-sensitive use of humor can refocus an audience so that you can press home an important statement. But humor can never become the vehicle of real Christian preaching. When we testify that Jesus is the judge of the living and the dead, that is not a joking matter. One cannot but speak of such weighty matters with a solemnity fitting the subject.
A Caller-Driven DL
09/05/2006 - James WhiteNever even started a sound clip today as our callers drove the program. First call was on the Church of Christ and the use of instruments in worship; the second was about an off-the-wall little group that denies the inspiration of the Pauline writings (involving a great deal of multi-tasking on my part--hope my replies made some sense), and the third was on the nature of "wine" in the Bible. As I said before I started my reply there, do not even think I'm going to waste my time on that argument. Do not bother writing, complaining, or anything else. I answered as best I can but I have zero interest in getting mired in that mess. Anyway, here's the program.
Is Rome Really Changing? Or Have Post-Evangelicals Lost Their Foundation?
09/02/2006 - James WhiteHere is an article about Pope Benedict (evidently I really dislike that name, maybe because of its association with 'Benedict Arnold,' as I often inadvertently replace it with "Boniface" from church history) visiting "Veronica's Veil," the 13th century "relic" claimed to have been used by "St. Veronica" to wipe Jesus' face as He walked to the cross (a scene you may well remember graphically portrayed in Mel Gibson's The Passion). "We are all looking for the face of the Lord as this is the meaning of my visit to Manoppello" the Pope said. The article has a picture of the Pope before this relic.
This kind of "spirituality" is quite popular across the spectrum today, and what truly showed through plainly last year when the Pope died was how post-evangelicals have completely lost all contact with historical doctrine and a meaningful understanding of things like "idolatry" or "the glory of God." I was not at all shocked at how Roman Catholics responded to the Pope's death last year; I was, however, deeply disturbed by how non-Catholics who proclaim themselves to be faithful to biblical truth were willing to close their eyes to the reality of the Pope's teachings in light of Scripture itself. We are so "PC" today we fear speaking in accordance with God's Word! While a picture like that in the article would have been seen as clear evidence of the Pope's deception a hundred years ago, today you will hardly find any serious "Protestant" leader criticizing such activities, and those who generally do speak to the issue will be those who will not provide the kind of biblical basis that is consistent and thorough.
Woops, Forgot to Link the DL!
09/01/2006 - James WhiteBeen a bit distracted! On our "let's move it to Friday" DL I started with reviewing another Dave Hunt example of "Tradition Gone Wild!" Then we continued with Barry Lynn interviewing John Shelby Spong. Here's the program.
Ups and Downs
09/01/2006 - James WhiteFirst the ups. We've got the stolen property covered (bless you all); Conan could not get through my door (then again, neither can I--but that is temporary); the monsoon knocked out our alarm system and scrambled its brains, hence the failure---that is fixed, and even improved; bars for the windows are coming next week (thanks, BD!). So, for those asking about what to pray for, a renewed focus on finishing this writing project, and protection from evil men.
And for the downs, here's another loving e-mail from a kind, considerate, thoughtful member of the Roman Catholic Church:
Dear Mr. White, I'm glad to see your sister saw the light and crossed over to the fullness of the Faith: The Catholic Church! No wonder she crossed over, she got tired of hearing a bigoted, uneducated and very false gospel: T.U.L.I.P = Totally Useless Lies In Printing. On another note, I ordered the debate between you and Patrick Madrid on "Does the Bible teach Sola Scriptura?" You demonstrated perfectly how one can use many words, while saying absolutely nothing! In fact, you must have realised you were being badly defeated during the debate because you got down in the desperate dirt of Anti-Catholic arguments, which are all so poorly formed and terribly embarrassing in light of the facts. Anyways, you clearly lost the debate and Patrick Madrid proved that you are out of his league. + Cameron
At times you truly wonder if these folks have any idea how this kind of behavior only proves the bankruptcy of their own position? Truly amazing stuff. Some might wonder if these kinds of hit-and-run writers ever provide any kind of substantive argument, the answer is, "No, almost never." But we continue to take the high road by refusing to treat them as they treat us. In any case, we can hope and pray that Cameron, and those like him, will someday listen more fully to what we have been saying in defense of God's voice in His Word. (Quick update: I tried to write back to Cameron but guess what? Yeah, not a valid e-mail address. Shocking!).
A Quick Word of Appreciation
09/01/2006 - James WhiteI would like to thank all of you who have contacted us about the break in at our offices Wednesday night/Thursday morning. Just some quick updates.
No, we did not have insurance on the items stolen. I estimate minimum replacement costs at $2300.00.
Yes, some folks are stepping up to assist in replacing the items. I have a very recent data back up (I hope no one faints there---I actually do regular data back ups!) of the tablet pc that, Lord willing, should allow me to do a complete restoration to a new tablet of the same make and put me right back where I was just over a week ago. I do not believe I lost any major blocks of data there, as I have been doing most of my work the past ten days or so on a different unit. Of course, the tech savvy folks know that having a backup and getting a backup to actually install correctly and work correctly are two different things. But I use Norton Ghost, and it would not be the first time Ghost has saved me from a major data catastrophe. I likewise have backups of the Palm, but those are significantly more problematic. I really have not even had the time to look at whether the backups I have make restoration worthwhile. Rich had just recently started to use the same unit, and has given it to me to see if I can restore especially the biblical materials that I use when traveling. I likewise use the Palm to read documents when traveling (for example, you sit at gates at airports for hours these days, so I've been reading stuff like The Gospel of Barnabas with an eye to providing a response to its use by Muslim apologists, and I
Of course, my heart is warmed by the many words of encouragement and tangible gifts given to help us not only replace what was stolen (I think I have figured out everything that was taken, but have this odd, gnawing feeling that I've missed something) but more importantly to do what needs to be done to keep it from happening again. As I write this we are still trying to get a representative of the alarm company out here. We need to find out why the programming on the system failed. Likewise, the doors need to be replaced, and we will need to have bars put on the windows. Phoenix has become LA East, sadly, and now that someone has found out we are an easy mark, well, we have to change that. So we are facing some costs outside of just the materials.
Finally, I do not want folks to worry needlessly, but yes, as some have learned from our chat channel, the thief/thieves came back last night. And yes, I was here. He went straight for my office despite having the place lit up like a Christmas tree. I stayed the night on my couch in my office since the Phoenix police officer who took the report said, "I have a strong feeling this guy will be back. And soon." At 4:20am he popped my door again. It took only one shot. Half a second. Amazing. But, I had taken some precautions of my own. Specifically, my first Logitech Trackman Marble trackball, an old PS2 connection unit that does not even work with USB ports, came to my rescue. I had tied the chord of the mouse around the knob of the door and tied it tight. I then attached the other end, replete with the trackball itself, to a very heavy rolling shelf unit that is temporary housing to boxes of my books, mainly commentaries. In other words, it doesn't move easily. So, while he popped the door almost instantly, it would not open since it was wired shut. We likewise installed motion sensing devices (Radio Shack specials!) outside of each door. The units have a slight delay before they go off. If I hadn't wired the door the thief would have been through the door before the sensor alarm went off. But as it was, it began making this horribly annoying sound (evidently that was a surprise for him) and he gave up and took off. But I know he will be back. He thinks he's found a great way to make his drug money and besides, he still needs that power supply he couldn't get at because it was wrapped around a shelving unit.
So this saga is not over. Eventually we will have some real security here. A wonderful brother back east has donated a closed circuit system that will allow me to monitor all around the building and in the parking lot (my wife's car was vandalized out there just last month) while sitting at my desk writing and working, but as with everything else, it has to be installed (and will be, one way or the other, soon). I wish we had had it last night as I would have our little visitor on video. But we press forward. Many thanks for your prayers and expressions of concern and support. And many thanks to all the bloggers who have mentioned this situation, including even the Pyromaniac. I am greatly humbled by the show of love and concern.