Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
The Insulting Richard Dawkins
03/30/2008 - James White
An Introduction to Textual Criticism: Part 4--The Role of Church History in Textual Criticism
03/29/2008 - Colin SmithOnce we understand the process by which the New Testament books were written and disseminated throughout the world, we are in a better position to understand the problem that faces anyone who wants to reconstruct the original New Testament text. The fact remains that the original manuscripts of the New Testament have long since perished, hence the modern textual scholar is left with thousands of manuscripts, some fragmentary, some nearly complete, in a variety of languages, from different ages of church history, and from different regions of the world from which to determine the original words of the New Testament writers. The process by which the textual scholar assesses variant readings and manuscripts to produce an approximation to the original text is known as Textual Criticism.
One of the most important aspects of textual criticism, too often overlooked in past years, is the way that history as a whole, and church history in particular, influenced the transmission of the New Testament. Scholars who study the various manuscripts identify trends and notice periods of time when certain types of manuscript dominated, and times they did not. Historical study can help the textual scholar figure out the reasons behind these trends, and these reasons may lead him to favor particular manuscripts or manuscript families over others, at least within particular time frames.
The first 250 years of church history were marked by fighting against early heresy (Gnosticism, Judaisers, Sabellianism, and Arianism), and fighting for existence under severe persecution. The extent to which heresy influenced the early copies of the New Testament is an oft-debated issue. Many of the earliest manuscripts extant today bear the textual hallmarks of originating in Alexandria (or being copies of manuscripts that originated in that region). During the first few centuries of the church, Alexandria had the reputation of being an intellectual center. The library at Alexandria was legendary, and it was certainly a melting pot of ideas and philosophies. It is easy to see how scribes in Alexandria might be tempted to re-write passages of the New Testament to fit their particular theological persuasion, and it is possible that this happened. It should be noticed, however, that the church at this time was not completely without discernment. There were many Gnostic-tinged (and Gnostic-immersed) Gospels written around the first few centuries that were rejected outright by the church. It is hard to imagine that a church would reject on the one hand The Gospel of Thomas, for example, and yet on the other hand receive versions of the canonical Gospels that had been altered to reflect the same essential message of the Gnostic Gospels.
The fact that the church underwent severe persecution during this time is very significant to the history of the text of the New Testament. First, as mentioned earlier, the threat of persecution meant that the demand for copies of the Scriptures was met hurriedly and under adverse conditions. Many texts produced in this way would be prone to spelling errors and the kinds of human error precipitated by speed. Secondly, during waves of intense persecution it was a common practice for copies of the Scriptures to be confiscated and burned. This left a paucity of copies of New Testament books in certain regions of the Roman Empire.
After Constantine became Emperor in A.D. 313, Christianity was no longer a persecuted religion but enjoyed the protection of the Roman Empire. As a result of this, scribes could more easily gather together and take more care over the reproduction and transmission of the New Testament text. It is impossible to say whether any kind of official text was produced under Constantine like the official text of the Old Testament created by the Massoretic scribes, but without the pressure of persecution it became much easier to copy and transmit the Scriptures with accuracy. In 330, Constantine moved the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to the ancient Greek city of Byzantium (renamed Constantinople after his death) and the vast majority of the manuscripts around today bear the hallmarks of originating from this region.
As Latin surpassed Greek as the everyday language of the Roman Empire, demand increased for a Latin version of the Bible that would supercede the various Latin versions floating around at the time. Jerome was commissioned with the work of translating the Greek text into Latin, which he completed in A.D. 406. His Latin version of the Bible, known as the Vulgate, became the official version of the Roman Empire, and remained the official version of the Western church until the Reformation (and continued to be the official version of the Roman Catholic Church until relatively recently). The Eastern Church, however, did not succumb to Latin and continued to read the Scriptures and perform their liturgy in Greek. From the middle of the seventh century, Islam started to make incursions into the Eastern Empire (the West was largely saved thanks to the efforts of Charles Martel), eventually overwhelming most of the region except for the area around Byzantium. In 1453, Byzantium finally fell to the Ottoman Turks, and Christian scholars fled with their books to the relative safety of Europe. By the time of Byzantium's fall, the West was devoid of anyone with facility in the Greek language. The Byzantine scholars who fled to the West from Byzantium took with them their knowledge of Greek and their copies of classic works in Greek, including the New Testament. The exodus of Byzantine scholars to the West was an integral part of the rise of humanism and the Renaissance in Europe. Now people didn't have to rely upon Latin translations of classic Greek works--they could learn Greek from these eastern refugees and have access to their books. This included the Greek New Testament, which now became available to scholars who, until now, had largely only known the Scriptures in Latin.
Around 1439, Johannes Gutenberg introduced printing by means of movable type to the world, revolutionizing both the way people communicated, and enabling the mass production of books for a fraction of the cost of hand-copying. (In Jerome's time, a copy of a book could take up to a year to produce, depending on the size, and cost a year's wages.) Naturally, the Latin Vulgate was the first book from Guttenberg's press, and many more were to follow. It was not until 1514, however, that the Greek New Testament was first published. Bruce Metzger, an expert in the study of textual criticism, suggested two reasons for this delay: first, the fact that a new font had to be created, and type blocks had to be made to represent each individual letter and letter variation. Also, the Latin Vulgate enjoyed unchallenged authority as the official version of the Bible. While Greek was an unknown language to most people, and Greek New Testaments scarce in the West, the Vulgate's position was secure. However, once people could learn Greek grammar and obtain a Greek New Testament, they may be emboldened to challenge the official translation of the church, striking a blow at the church's authority.
Part 5: The Received Text--coming soon...
James White's Opening Statement: Boston College, 1995, Part II
03/28/2008 - James White
Debate Announcement: Southern California, Here We Come Again!
03/27/2008 - James White
A Two-Debate Event, between Jalal Abualrub, David Wood and Dr. James White on:
Is Muhammad a Prophet?
Does the Bible Teach Jesus is God?
Place: 2505 Yorba Linda Blvd., Fullerton, CA 92831
Is Muhammad a Prophet? 1:30pm with Jalal Abualrub and David Wood
Does the Bible Teach Jesus is God? 5:30pm Dr. James White with Jalal Abualrub
$8 for one debate, $12 for two. Students are free with ID.
Doors will open at 1pm and 5pm. All attendees must present I.D. Security will be present. Please leave all phones, large bags (purses OK) and cameras in your car. Thank you!
Sheikh Jalal Abualrub is a translator of Islamic works such as: Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Pillars of Islam by Abdullah Ibn Jabrin, and The Hadith is Proof Itself in Belief and Laws by Nasirudden al Albani. He has authored several books, his most important being an eight book series titled The Prophet of Mercy. He is highly recommended by The American Muslim Association of North America. You may view his works at: www.islamlife.com.
David Wood is a currently a Ph.D. student and has recently co-authored the book, Who Was Muhammad? The Christian and Muslim Perspectives, with Bassam Zawadi. He has an in depth knowledge of the Muslim faith. You may view more of his works at: www.answeringmuslims.com or www.answeringinfidels.com.
And if you don't know who I am, well, you are on the wrong blog!
This came about pretty suddenly, but I am thankful for the opportunity to present and defend the truth about the Lord of Glory, Jesus Christ.
Not The Dividing Line... But a Great Substitute!
03/27/2008 - James SwanI'm sure many of you are wondering where the links to the Dividing Line webcast are this week. Dr. White is away, but still managed to do three hours of live broadcasting as a guest on Iron Sharpens Iron .
Day one can be heard here.
Day two can be heard here.
Day three will be available later today. Iron Sharpens Iron airs live today at 3 PM until 4 PM Eastern Standard Time. You can listen to Dr. White's interview live-streamed here. Iron Sharpens Iron greatly appreciates calls from the listening audience. If you have a question for Dr. White, call 1-631-321-WNYG (9694) today between 3 PM and 4 PM. You will be able to speak with Dr. White live on the air.
Comparison/Contrast: Seeking to Speak the Truth with God-Honoring Accuracy
03/27/2008 - James WhiteAn old friend here on Long Island brought a really nice video camera to my lecture on Islam's Self-Identification as a Denial of Christian Truth in Baldwin Tuesday evening. It is truly amazing the quality that is now available in the tiniest little cameras! Anyway, he brought a DVD of the video to my talk last night in Merrick (where I addressed Jesus in the Qur'an), and I pulled the video late last night of a ten minute segment where I began to introduce the audience to Surah 112. While this is basic information (only two people in the audience had ever even read parts of the Qur'an), I provide it today to contrast with the kind of representation of Christian belief that you find in Islamic apologetics. Here I am speaking to a Christian audience yet, as you can see, I truly seek to be accurate in the information I am presenting, and fair in my comments, even while critiquing and disagreeing with the material under consideration. I leave it to the fair minded viewer whether this is the common practice on "the other side."
Shadid Lewis and Michael Baigent: Commentary
03/26/2008 - James WhiteShadid Lewis and Sami Zaatari have been commenting on my last video, and they have stated that we should watch the video to see what they really said. In fact, it has been suggested that I am being dishonest in my comments. So, I happen to have video from sections of both debates on my little digital camera (seems like a wise thing to do in light of what has been happening since the debates---I mean, video is hard to argue with). Since Shadid has been the main voice in commenting, here I provide not only my response, but I provide the video of Shadid Lewis presenting his "sign of Jonah" argument, as well as his citation of historical fiction writer, Michael Baigent (the man who wrote Holy Blood, Holy Grail) as if Baigent is a Greek scholar. If Mr. Lewis would like to repudiate Baigent and abandon this argument, that is great. I would welcome his so doing. In any case, since the allegation of misrepresentation has been made, here is the video itself. Let the viewer decide!
Cross Examination of Dr. Dennis Potter, University of Utah, Part 2
03/26/2008 - James White
An Introduction to Textual Criticism: Part 3--Textual Errors
03/25/2008 - Colin SmithDue to the hasty nature by which the early New Testament manuscripts were transmitted, it is only to be expected that errors were introduced from the earliest time. Especially in the first two centuries A. D., when there was great pressure to make copies of the various New Testament books in a short period of time, it was easy for hurried scribes to introduce many typographical errors into the text that would perpetuate with subsequent copying. Even after the establishment of Christianity under Constantine, when reproduction of the Scriptures could be conducted under more peaceful and stable circumstances, scribes were prone to err. Most works on the subject of textual criticism explore the various ways in which New Testament manuscripts were corrupted. These are just a few of the more important types of scribal error.
Faulty Vision or Hearing
Often errors crept into copies of the New Testament manuscripts simply as a result of human frailty. The person copying would see or hear (if copying by dictation) the next word, but mistake a crucial letter form or sound, replacing the original word with what he thinks it is. This would present a problem for future copyists who, without having access to the original document, would be left wondering whether the word in the manuscript in front of him was the original word. For example, in Acts 15:40, did Paul choose Silas or receive Silas before leaving? Some uncial manuscripts have the Greek word EPILEXAMENOS while others have the Greek word EPIDEXAMENOS. The former word means having chosen and the latter having received. It is evident from a careful examination of these two words how a short-sighted scribe, who would not have had the modern aid of precise glasses or contacts, could confuse one word for the other, especially when either could fit the context of the sentence. The scribe's poor eyesight would not have been helped by the fact that the natural horizontal lines on the papyrus could affect the writing, possibly suggesting a line at the bottom of the lambda (L) making it into a delta (D), where the original scribe may not have actually written such a line.
Students learning classical or koine(New Testament) Greek today are at a disadvantage with regard to pronunciation, since the native speakers of the language did not leave a written account of the letter or word sounds. Most of the time, modern New Testament Greek instructors will present a pronunciation system that approximates the original and can help the student with learning vocabulary. For many, this is adequate since neither classical nor koine Greek function as a spoken language today. Interestingly, manuscripts from the first few centuries of the church give some indication of how koine Greek might have sounded by reasoning from some of the spelling variations. For example, the Greek words h`min (hêmin) and u`min (humin) often appear in different manuscripts in place of one another. This indicates that, at least in some regions if not generally, the Greek letters eta (h) and upsilon (u) were pronounced the same way. Since it was a common practice, especially post-Constantine, for copies of the New Testament to be made by a group of scribes writing to dictation, a scribe lacking precise enough hearing to distinguish h and u would be left making an educated guess.
Parablepsis and Homoeoteleuton
These two Greek terms refer to two similar scribal errors that are certainly not peculiar to ancient writers. Parablepsis, or looking to the side, occurs when a scribe's eye falls on a group of words further down the page that resemble (or are identical) to the words he has just written, and continues copying from that point, skipping over the intervening line or lines. Homoeoteleuton (similar ending) is a related phenomenon where the scribe's eye alights on a word or a line whose ending is similar to, or the same as, the ending of the word or line he has just written and he continues writing from that point. Again, the result is the omission of any text in the middle of the two similar-ending lines. Many of the differences between manuscripts due to omission of words or phrases have been ascribed to parablepsis or homoeoteleuton.
Harmonization and Conflation
From a study of the ancient manuscripts, it is clear that scribes often felt at liberty to alter the text of the New Testament from which they were copying, not out of malicious intent, but because the scribe sincerely felt that the scribe whose work he was copying had erred in his work. Perhaps he spotted what he considered to be a scribal error in the text and he sought to correct it; or perhaps he was familiar with the passage and wanted to "correct" the version in front of him according to the more familiar version. From this it can be deduced that most of these copyists were not reading these works for the first time. The fact of their familiarity with the New Testament text, along with the sense of freedom the scribe felt to correct the work of his predecessor, sheds light on the common practice of harmonization. Especially in the case of the Gospels, scribes would often feel free (maybe even obliged) to bring accounts recorded in more than one of the Gospels into line with one other. Naturally, not all scribes would feel this compulsion, and even those who did would not necessarily harmonize in the same place and in the same way. This would, therefore, generate more variations between manuscripts.
If a scribe is working from more than one manuscript, he may come across a detail in one that appears to be missing in the other, or may be different in the other. Since the scribe would probably not know the original reading, he would face the dilemma of either including or changing the original word for something else, or leaving out the original wording. Often the resolution to the dilemma was to include both readings; this way he could be sure that he was preserving the original, even if he had no way of determining which one it is. This practice is known as "conflation," or "a conflation of readings."
There are many more examples of scribal errors, and the reader is referred to standard works on textual criticism for more details.
Part 4: The Role of Church History in Textual Criticism--coming soon!
Gail Riplinger on KRDS Radio from 1993, Part V
03/24/2008 - James WhiteThe final portion of the 1993 radio encounter between myself and Gail Riplinger, author of New Age Bible Versions.
Final Report from Norfolk: BAD Islamic Arguments
03/23/2008 - James White
Review of Day Two of the Easter Debates
03/23/2008 - James White
Islam Debate Review
03/23/2008 - James SwanI went to Norfolk Virginia to attend the debate between Dr. White and Nadir Ahmed on the topic, "Can We Trust What the New Testament Says about Jesus and the Gospel?" Mr. Ahmed was thoroughly unprofessional, acted completely unprepared, and had absolutely no ability to either present or defend any of his assertions in any coherent or persuasive fashion. In many instances throughout the interaction, Mr. Ahmed acted with belligerence and rudeness to Dr. White, the moderators, and the audience.
I would probably not be wrong in stating that even the Muslims present were embarrassed by his presentation. In fact, during the questions and answers segment, the Muslims that had the opportunity to comment expressed disapproval in Mr. Ahmed's presentation and behavior. I was very pleased that the Q & A actually allowed Muslims from the audience to comment in person. Their comments said more about Ahmed's presentation then any non-Muslim could. It would've been interesting to have a camera pan the audience during this debate. In one particualr instance, a Muslim asked Ahmed a basic question about Islam. The answer given by Ahmed totally frustrated the Muslim. I watched him go back to his seat, shaking his head in frustration. He then moved a few rows back to speak with a few other Muslims. I could tell, none of them were pleased by Mr. Ahmed.
At many points, I was embarrassed for the Muslims. The presentation was that bad that Islam was disgraced by the one defending it. Out of respect, I tried as much as possible not to simply laugh out loud at the presentation being put forth. Many in the audience were not as respectful. One could hear the audience at times had lost patience with the foolishness being put forth from Ahmed as academic discourse on such an important topic. Even Dr. White lost patience at times with Nadir, asking him to "at least have respect for the audience." Nadir though kept on talking, despite pleas from the moderators, the opponent, and the audience. The video will probably not capture this in total, but the expressions on Dr. White's face during Ahmed's comments and presentation were worthy of an entire video. At a few points, the moderators actually had to turn Nadir's microphone off. This was not because he had gone past his time allotments, but because he launched into personal vendettas against one of the moderators and his family. At at least one point, I thought for sure Mr. Ahmed was going to be asked to leave.
Nadir Ahmed first gave his opening presentation, which only lasted for seven minutes out of the given twenty (Nadir would later comment he was being generous, giving the unused time to Dr. White, but of course, Dr. White did not receive any of this unused time). This immediately struck me as the methodology of man who was not prepared. The opening statement did not even appear to me to be an Islamic apologetic.
Ahmed argued from the position of skepticism. Though beginning by stating the Bible was an exact duplicate of the original documents, and it had not been changed or corrupted by early scribes, it was still an untrustworthy document. Ahmed argued one could not trust what the New Testament says about Jesus and the Gospel because the entire New Testament was constructed by the Pauline church "over a couple of centuries." The Pauline church held the New Testament was written by the disciples of Jesus, that Paul was a prophet (and hence a trustworthy source of divine revelation), and that the Apostles approved of and worked with Paul. For Ahmed, each of these claims are without evidence and believed on "blind faith." Hence, without any evidence, the New Testament cannot be trusted with what it says about Jesus and the Gospel. Further, since the Pauline church was only one of many different early Christian churches with their own distinguishing theology, this plurality calls into question whether any one church was the "true" Christian church.
Dr. White responded by pointing out there was no such thing as the "Pauline church," and that the early Apostles worked together. The alleged "other" churches with different theologies were typically heretical or Gnostic. Their writings come much later than the New Testament writings. Not only do the later Gnostic groups contradict the earlier Christian writings, they likewise contradict Islam on essential points.The Koran likewise mentions the Apostles, and does not indicate they were at odds with Paul, or "Pauline" Christianity. Paul is often not presented in glowing whitewashed terms in the New Testament. One would think, if his followers created the New Testament and looked to him as a prophet, his image would've been cleaned up, so to speak. Dr White also pointed out that Muslims are required to believe there were authoritative books sent down before [The New Testament]. If this is so, Mr. Ahmed's argumentation refutes his own religion. If the books sent down before are completely unreliable as to give any information on Jesus, why are Muslims required to believe they existed? The Muslim should only argue that authentic New Testament books exist, but have been corrupted over the centuries. Ahmed though began by stating they had not been corrupted, but were completely bogus. Hence, Ahmed denies what his own Koran says about the New Testament.
What followed after this was the chaos described above. Ahmed offered nothing more than his basic assertions. He could not answer any of Dr. White's questions, nor could he himself construct even a basic question to ask Dr. White. Often (if not in every instance), Nadir simply answered by launching into other topics (many not even relevant to the debate), or repeating his basic assertions from his opening statement. He took many opportunities to spend his time making debate challenges or reviewing his past debates. At one point, he stated something to the effect that Christians wouldn't debate him, this stated ironically, while he sat on a stage next to the leading Christian debater!
None of us were fooled. It became obvious very quickly that Mr. Ahmed had no credentials or ability to call himself an apologist, nor should he have been given the opportunity to a moderated public debate. I'm not sure what impact this debate will have in the future as an apologetic tool. One thing it did prove, was that one simply does not declare oneself an apologist. If anything, the debate showed me that simply because one has a passion does not mean they have the ability or wisdom to defend and explain that passion, particularly if that passion happens to be based on a religion that is not true. I'm not a person who enjoys a one-punch knock-out, or a baseball game in which the score is 17 to 2. I expected to see a Muslim apologist at least present a rational, well constructed apologetic in which I was challenged to think more deeply about my faith. This did not happen.
Despite all this, I don't regret going to the debate. It is always an honor to watch the truth proclaimed when it is challenged by an opposing view. It was valuable to watch the Muslims in the audience, consider their questions, and watch Dr. White take what time he could to speak to them with graciousness and respect. This alone challenged me to consider what I could do to be ready to present the Gospel to Muslims.
More from the Old Dominion "Debate" with Nadir Ahmed
03/22/2008 - James White
On Protestant (and Catholic) Disunity
03/22/2008 - James SwanFor years, Protestant apologists have been pointing out that disunity among Christians is not the result of sola scriptura. That is, Scripture, being the ultimate authority for the life of the Christian, is not to be blamed for 25,000 denominations (or whatever figure Roman Catholics are currently using). The argument usually framed is that without an infallible Magisterium, Protestants will never have unity. In response, Protestants are quick to point out that those with their feet firmly planted in Rome likewise have a fair amount of disunity. This response though usually falls on deaf ears. Sola Scriptura is still seen as the "blueprint for anarchy," even though logically, the misuse or abuse of an ultimate authority is not grounds for a denial of that ultimate authority.
While reading through the Robert Sungenis edited, Not By Scripture Alone, I came across the following section from Sungenis himself:
Objection #56: "The institution of an infallible pope has not created theological unity in the Roman Church."
Answer: First, Jesus himself, the infallible, incarnate word of God, did not create unanimous theological "unity" among his hearers. In fact, Jesus was disheartened that so many people argued with him and rejected his message of truth. At many points, his message divided more than it unified. Paul encountered the same opposition, among both Jews and gentile converts. Hence, it is very short-sighted to suggest that infallibility is the criterion of unity. Unity, at least demographic unity, occurs when the people obey what they hear. If one voice is teaching them, the possibility for practical unity is much greater than if there are thousands of voices all teaching something different.
Second, the unity that the Catholic Church claims to promote in her charism of infallibility is not that every bishop, every priest, and every lay person will automatically believe what she teaches. She claims that truth resides in the decrees and doctrines the Magisterium promulgates, regardless of how the remaining clerics and laity interpret the Magisterium's teachings. One has no more right to deny the charism of infallibility to the Magisterium because of disagreements among its hearers than to deny it to Jesus or the apostles because if disagreements among their hearers. To make one dependant on the other is not only illogical, it has no Scriptural precedent.
Source: Robert Sungenis (ed.), Not By Scripture Alone [Santa Barbara: Queenship Publishing company, 1997] pp. 285-286].
One need not fall into the "blueprint for anarchy" trap. Simply point out that it is inconsistent for Roman Catholics to demand the Bible produce perfect unanimity, while their own apologists make a very similar argument. I would keep this Sungenis quote handy, and keep in mind, the debate is over ultimate authorites: the Bible (sola scriptura) and the Magisterium (sola ecclesia). Disunity is not the issue. Rather, the issue is whether God's Word or an alleged "human" infallible interpreter is the ultimate authority, because Holy Scripture is the only infallible interpreter of Scripture that we have extant today.
Early AM Debate Report: Nadir Ahmed, Old Dominion University
03/21/2008 - James WhiteWhat an amazing experience! I truly had never seen anyone misbehave as badly in a debate as Nadir Ahmed did this evening. Combine this with his utter incapacity to grasp the most basic elements of scholarly discourse and argumentation, and well---the results were predictable. But, the Muslims in the audience were so put off by his childish behavior and hubris that I do believe I had some opportunity of truly speaking to them about the key issues, especially when it came to audience questions. In any case, I threw together this video so you would have a report as quickly as possible. Now...I am going to bed! Thanks for all your prayers and support!
James White's Opening Statement on the Papacy: Boston College, 1995 (Part 1)
03/21/2008 - James White
An Introduction to Textual Criticism: Part 2--The Writing and Transmission of Ancient Documents
03/20/2008 - Colin SmithThis is a large and fascinating area of study that can only be dealt briefly within the scope of a blog article. My purpose is to give an idea of how ancient manuscripts were written and distributed to help aid your understanding of the way the New Testament, under the Holy Spirit's providential guidance, came together.
The majority of ancient biblical manuscripts were written on either papyrus or parchment. Papyrus was an early form of paper (as you can guess, the English word "paper" is derived from the word "papyrus") made from the leaves of the papyrus plant that grows predominantly in Egypt and the Nile delta region. The leaves of this plant were arranged horizontally, and then a vertical arrangement of leaves placed on top. These were then moistened and pressed together to form the paper. When papyrus was first made, it was almost as strong as good-quality paper, so it was a very popular medium. Also, compared to parchment, it was relatively inexpensive. Parchment, or vellum as the higher-grade version is called, was made out of animal skins, usually either from goats, cattle, sheep, or antelope. The skins were first scraped to remove hair, and then washed and prepared for writing. Sometimes special dyes were applied to color the parchment to create deluxe versions of books. Due to the nature of the material, parchment manuscripts have lasted much better than papyrus, although the dry sands of Egypt have proven a good atmosphere for the preservation of papyrus manuscripts. ...
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Cross Examination of Dr. Dennis Potter, University of Utah, Part 1
03/19/2008 - James White
Issues Etc. Cancelled: Express Your Support for Wilkins and Schwarz
03/18/2008 - James WhiteThere are few programs that have had me on as often as "Issues, Etc." with Todd Wilkins, produced by Jeff Schwarz. Today, the program was rather unceremoniously axed, and basically all evidence of its existence deleted. Given that I have greatly benefitted from the program, I would like to encourage others who have likewise been blessed by it to express their concern over this cancellation, and encourage those responsible to reverse their decision. Below is a YouTube video about the situation that provides information on the topic, and how to make your voice heard.
On The Dividing Line Today
03/18/2008 - James WhiteToday was the last DL for two weeks. We will be back on April 1st (no puns intended). Had lots of calls on a wide variety of topics today, and likewise played two clips, one from Zakir Naik, demonstrating that the normative Islamic apologists either do not understand the Christian faith they criticize or, sadly, do not care to accurately represent it, and another documenting how I, James White, misquoted Augustine! Travesty of travesties! Listen for yourself! Here's the program (free/high quality).
An Introduction to Textual Criticism: Part 1--Introduction
03/18/2008 - Colin SmithThe study of the various manuscript witnesses to the New Testament, commonly referred to as New Testament Textual Criticism, is, without doubt, of the most critical importance for the Christian church. For the non-Christian academic, the precise wording of the original Greek language texts is of scholarly interest, but nothing more. For the Christian, however, the text under examination is God's Word communicated through men to men. If these words are inspired by God, then it is of paramount importance that the Christian know exactly which words God intended the inspired authors to write. Indeed, the question of what the pastor is going to preach to his congregation in terms of the Biblical text should drive the Christian textual critic to pursue excellence in this field of study.
There is almost unanimous certainty that, given the quantity of New Testament manuscripts that have been preserved throughout the world--whether entire Bibles, or small fragments, within all of these manuscripts the exact wording of the original New Testament text has been preserved. The work of the textual critic is to sift through the manuscripts and determine to the best of his ability, given the evidence available, which ones contain the original words. Are they all contained in one manuscript, a family of related manuscripts, or perhaps a lot of extremely diverse manuscripts?
There are many different theories and approaches to the discipline, art, and science of textual criticism, and it is easy for the layperson to hear two or three and think either that they are all the same, or that they are all at odds. Moreover, these views are not often articulated clearly enough for most laypeople to understand and apply them when choosing Bible translations or evaluating the opinions of commentators. The purpose of this series is to guide the layperson through the most common text critical positions, and provide some analysis of their weak and strong points. This is not an exhaustive study, and the reader is directed to books in the field by authors such as Bruce Metzger and Kurt Aland for further reading. Dr. White's book The King James Only Controversy is also a very helpful introduction to the art and science of textual criticism.
Now This is Interesting...
03/17/2008 - James WhiteI wrote a review of Daniel C. Peterson's book on Muhammad for the CRI Journal recently, so I found this little announcement quite interesting. This is one debate I am looking forward to listening to! Details here.
Gail Riplinger on KRDS Radio from 1993, Part IV
03/17/2008 - James WhiteMore from the 1993 encounter between myself and Gail Riplinger.
Congratulations, Joshua and Tiffany
03/16/2008 - James WhiteAnd now, something personal.
"The one who finds a wife finds what is enjoyable, and receives a pleasurable gift from the LORD." (Proverbs 18:22, NET).
May the Lord bless you both, Joshua and Tiffany, and may your marriage be blessed from on high.
Joshua and Tiffany White, March 15, 2008
Cross Examination in the Great Debate X
03/14/2008 - James WhiteA while back I started to replace the files that I had posted on GodTube (my account was deleted without notice or explanation). So some of these were posted a while back (a year ago or so).
Today on The Dividing Line
03/13/2008 - James WhiteStarted with a discussion of Job and the problem of evil in reference to Bart Ehrman's new book. Then Manuel was given a shot at discussing Oneness theology, but...we had to move on to talk about a synoptic parallel issue, and then a little discussion of the Pope & Luther issue. Here's the program (free/high quality).
Cross Examination: Mormonism Debate, Salt Lake City
03/12/2008 - James White
Today on The Dividing Line
03/11/2008 - James WhiteStarted off with a few minutes on the topic of the deity of Christ and Victor Paul Wierwille, then moved on to F. LaGard Smith's closing statement in the ISI debate (wear asbestos gloves while listening to that part if you are Reformed), and finished up with a call on indulgences. Here's the program (free/high quality).
Steve Ray and Musical Apologetics...and Modalism, Just for the Fun of It!
03/11/2008 - James WhiteSteve Ray blogged today about those nasty, "tedious" anti-Catholics and in doing so directed his readers to a music video "response." Great guitar work, catchy tune, the lyrics work...musically, anyway. Too bad the history, Bible, and Trinitarian theology are all messed up! Thanks again, Steve, for proving that there is no limit to how far you will go to avoid facing up to the truth! Then again, who has the time to back up their wild claims when they are running about Israel on a bus filled with pilgrims! Tough job, but someone has to wear the safari hat!
The Deity of Christ in the New Testament: the Evidence Reviewed
03/10/2008 - James White
Yesterday on The Dividing Line
03/07/2008 - James WhiteAfter a brief call from a Oneness Pentecostal who seems to have some self-control/anger issues, I played the audio from a YouTube video of Muslim speaker Khalid Yasin as he leads a group of people through the shahada, the confession that makes one a Muslim. A very informative program! Here's the program (free/high quality).
William Albrecht and Augustine
03/07/2008 - James White
Martin Luther: Ex-Heretic?
03/06/2008 - James WhiteFor just one example of the articles on this particular topic today, see here.
The Five Worst Christian Books (Phoenix Preacher)
03/06/2008 - James WhiteI broke out in hives as soon as I scanned the list. I became dizzy, and lost my appetite.
OK, I'm making that up. But the list is very, very...familiar to me. For some odd reason. Maybe because I have debated most of the authors, or, tried? Been threatened with lawsuits by at least one of them (take a wild guess who!), and have in general provided a pretty full response to the whole lot of 'em. Thanks for the blog entry, PP!
Well Look at That....
03/06/2008 - James WhiteJames Swan has noted a few times the speed with which Dave Armstrong can edit things on his blog when they are shown to be embarrassing. Evidently, Steve Ray is a quick study. When he first posted his blog article dishonestly accusing me of saying Ignatius was a Reformed Baptist (the very thing I had strenuously denied), the title contained the phrase, "Was St. Ignatius a Reformed Baptist?" Well, once I pointed out that one has to be very, very truth challenged to behave like Ray does with regularity, the title changed to "Was St. Ignatius a Protestant?" I suppose "Reformed Baptist" was too obvious in its referent? I mean, Ray tried to even keep my name out of his attack, though, he forgot the "well known theologian" he quoted mentioned it. I reminds folks that I have offered 20 free minutes on the DL for this "theologian" to make his case without interruption as long as he will then engage in 40 minutes of dialogue and cross-examination. So far, our offer has been met with silence, as one would expect. Given Ray's dishonesty, the possibility that he made the entire e-mail up cannot be dismissed. In any case, someone just pointed that out to me, so I thought I would make mention of it.
Just a quick note again for our regular readers, or those new to the blog. I have moved to primarily posting video blogs (vlogs?). People enjoy especially the interaction with the proponents of other views that this allows that a text-oriented blog just can't provide on the same level. If you are like a lot of folks and only have a small amount of time each day for blog reading, then you will want to continue hitting the blog daily, as I am seeking to provide three videos per week (and, since YouTube limits the length to just under 11 minutes, that is about half an hour's worth of apologetic dialogue and discussion per week). As of today, every slot for a full month is already filled, and some series extend into the middle of May already. But for those who want "instant access," and want to see each of the videos as they are posted, you will want to subscribe to my YouTube page here. As of today just over 500 folks are doing that, and the number increases daily. In fact, just today the total video views topped one quarter of a million, and I only began to seriously use and promote the video aspect in mid-January. In fact, more than half the videos I have posted since then have yet to appear on the blog, and once they do, their views increase dramatically. So I am thankful that this venue is open to us, and I pray we will use it properly to God's glory and the honor of the name of Jesus Christ while we still have this freedom.
Gail Riplinger on KRDS Radio from 1993, Part III
03/06/2008 - James WhiteThis was the most interesting of the two programs in my opinion. Riplinger shows her utter disregard for context, logic, rationality---anything.
The Carmen Christi and Harpagmos
03/05/2008 - James White
Today on the Dividing Line: Calciumboy and KJVOnlyism; Islam and the Deity of Christ; Rome and Total Depravity
03/04/2008 - James WhiteAnother eclectic discussion today, starting with "calciumboy's" response to me on the Ankerberg stuff, then moving on to some comments by Jamal Badawi in his debate with Rittenhouse in Southern California last week, then going back to the Tim Staples/total depravity clip from last week. Here's the program (free/high quality).
Islamic Debates in Virginia
03/03/2008 - James WhiteFor more information click here.
Conclusion of the Opening Statement from the Seattle Debate on the Crucifixion
03/03/2008 - James White
Fast Apologetics #1
03/02/2008 - James WhiteFor folks on the run!