Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
1 John 5:1, Exegesis, Regeneration and Saving Faith, and Brian Brodersen
02/26/2010 - James White
John Piper on 1 John 5:1 (My Comments to Come Later)
02/26/2010 - James WhiteI am rendering a video right now on 1 John 5:1 in response to Brian Brodersen of Calvary Chapel. But it is taking a while, I have ministry this evening, packing, etc., so while I really hope to get it posted before I head home tomorrow, I can't make any promises. Till then, some commentary on the text Pastor Brodersen dismissed so easily recently by John Piper:
A Response to Dr. Ergun Caner, President, Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary
02/26/2010 - James WhitePrevious to my leaving for ministry in London, England, I was contacted by a Muslim who has invested a good deal of time documenting problems with the claims of Dr. Ergun Mehmet Caner, President of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. I had initially heard from this young man when I had put out a general call for information on how I might obtain Ergun Caner's many debates, which he has been claiming to have done for many years now. One newspaper source claimed sixty-one debates with Muslims alone, so I really wanted to get hold of some of these encounters. This was when I first learned of questions regarding a much wider range of Ergun Caner's claims. Surely, our encounters in 2005 and 2006 had made me realize that Dr. Caner was not only radically opposed to historic Reformed theology, but was willing to engage in a level of behavior in public that still causes me no end of amazement. But after the 2006 debacle, I had given him little thought. However, his claims to be engaged in the very activity I am, in fact, engaged in, brought us into contact once again.
The Muslim with whom I had corresponded briefly informed me that he had clips of Ergun Caner claiming to have debated Shabir Ally. This I found amazing, so I asked him to provide them. When I landed in Philadelphia on my way to London I received an e-mail giving me the YouTube link providing the information. As I was using my phone as a tethered modem and time was short at the gate, I could not listen then, but did so once I arrived at my hotel in London. Here is the clip:
Unless these audios have been materially altered, it is very plain that at least twice (and I truly doubt anyone has the time to listen to every interview, every program Ergun Caner has done over the past six, seven years or so), Dr. Caner claimed to have debated Shabir Ally. Once, he gave a specific location, Nebraska, of all places. He gave specific arguments made by Shabir Ally, again, twice. In the first clip, he gave two other names. The first is Nadir Ahmed, a wild-eyed Islamic apologist who has been rejected by even the large majority of Muslims. I know Nadir Ahmed (here's proof). Dr. Caner had a single e-mail exchange with him on Islam and peace, which he has posted on his website. Nadir never raised the issue Caner attributes to him in their "debate" in what is posted on his website. But far more troubling was the presence of the name Abdul Saleeb. Dr. Caner claimed to have debated Abdul Saleeb, just as he claimed to debate Shabir Ally. Who is Abdul Saleeb? Well, first, what does the name mean? Abdul Saleeb means "servant of the cross" or "servant of the crucified one." That's not exactly a common Islamic name. It is a pseudonym, of course, adopted by the former Muslim co-author of a book with Norman Geisler on Islam. In other words, Abdul Saleeb is a Christian. Yet, Dr. Caner claimed not only to have debated him, but, at the "end" of their debate, Abdul Saleeb, the servant of the cross, argued, "So what if Jesus died?"
So, the first thing I did was contact Shabir Ally directly. I have debated Shabir four times, and contacted him about other debate opportunities many other times. Normally, Shabir is not quick to respond to e-mails, but this time he got back to me within about twenty minutes. He indicated that he had never debated Ergun Caner, and, as far as he could recall, had never met the man. Once I had this confirmation from Shabir, I wrote to Ergun Caner directly. I summarized the information, provided him with the link to the above posted video, and asked him to explain himself. He replied fairly quickly, immediately admitting that he had "misspoken" in regards to Shabir Ally. ...
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The Pastor's Perspective Continues to Duck the Text
02/25/2010 - James White
Just a quick note as it is moving toward 1am here in London. I just listened to the 2/25 edition of the Pastor's Perspective program. A caller asked the question that I had suggested on Wednesday's DL, specifically, how do these synergists explain the picture of regeneration found in Ezekiel 36 where God takes out the heart of stone and gives a heart of flesh? Would this not, on their system, require the heart of stone to do the right thing, repent, believe, and then, as a result of that, be replaced with a heart of flesh? So a caller asked them that question. And they (Brian Brodersen and Joe Holden) spent quite a while talking about what all Calvary Chapel leaders talk about in such situations...however, after spending quite some time, they never once touched Ezekiel 36. They did not touch the passage. They left it completely unanswered. So, maybe someone can try calling again and asking them for a specific answer to the text? I am sure the caller has already realized he did not get an answer.
I likewise heard another caller ask about 1 John 5:1 (on an earlier program). It became very clear very quickly that Brian Brodersen does not understand the point of 1 John 5:1. Sadly, the discussion left the text untouched once again. Brodersen does not seem to read Greek, or understand the syntax of the language, but he didn't allow that to slow him down in rejecting the meaning of the text. As time allows I will provide an exegetical response to brother Brodersen, despite his informing his caller today that he tries to listen to me as little as possible.
Richard Dawkins Discovers His Adoring Followers Are NASTY
02/25/2010 - James White
I had to chuckle at this one this morning. Dawkins has attracted to himself adoring followers, but they are nasty adoring followers. I have noted that a single video I did criticizing Dawkins' childish response to a questioner years ago has garnered not only one of the largest totals of views of all of my videos, but the nastiest, vilest responses as well. Atheists in general see no reason to control their tongue (truly, purity in language is for those who believe God created us communicating beings and hence has a concern over what our language says about our hearts), and when they get together, the result is always vulgar and profane. Seems Dawkins wanted to clean up the forums on his website, so he announced a new policy cutting back on the free reign of his Creator-free followers. Well, they may think him infallible, an atheistic messiah of sorts, but they are still atheists, after all. Who is he to exercise control over them? Poor ol' Richard seems shocked at the nature of his followers. Dr. Dawkins, none of the rest of us are surprised at all. Why are you?
Cardinal George: Mormons and Roman Catholics Acknowledge "Common Reference Point in the Person and the Gospel of Jesus Christ"
02/25/2010 - James White
Snow fell on central Hades and icicles formed on the fringes of the Lake of Fire as "His Eminence Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I." visited BYU and spoke of the relationship between Rome and Salt Lake City. Here is a portion of the story:
He also lauded the growing relationship between the Catholic Church and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and their joint efforts, such as providing aid to the poor and needy and combating pornography.
“I’m personally grateful that after 180 years of living mostly apart from one another, Catholics and Latter-day Saints have begun to see one another as trustworthy partners in the defense of shared moral principles and in the promotion of the common good of our beloved country,” he said.
“Our churches have different histories and systems of belief and practice, although we acknowledge a common reference point in the person and the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Cardinal George is president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the first Chicago native to become archbishop of Chicago. He presides over 2.3 million Catholics in the Chicago Archdiocese.
Well, we should not be surprised, I guess. Vatican II said Roman Catholics and Muslims adore the same God, so why not find a "common reference point" in the "person and the gospel of Jesus Christ"? Just because the Jesus of Mormonism is the begotten offspring of an exalted man and one of his many wives who lives on a planet circling a star named Kolob, and his "gospel" is the message of how you, too, can be exalted to godhood, that should not be taken as a real problem, should it?
Today on a Wednesday DL from London
02/24/2010 - James WhiteDid a Wednesday morning edition of the DL from London today, starting off with a few brief comments about the "Circle the Wagons, Shoot Anyone Who Moves" attitude of folks like Peter Lumpkins in reference to the Ergun Caner situation (did he really debate Abdul Saleeb---which means "Servant of the Cross"?), reported on the debate Monday evening, and the two Unbelievable radio programs with Justin Brierley, and then filled the rest of the hour, without break, responding to Brian Brodersen of Calvary Chapel. Brodersen wrote a response to me (oddly, without feeling it appropriate to use my name) that can be read here. It is a classic example of tradition-driven eisegesis, with a few rather surprising statements (did you know there is every reason to question the eternal state of the Amorites who were destroyed by the Israelites?). It also contains a good example of how the leadership of the largest non-denominational denomination (which has a very unbiblical ecclesiology which they cannot examine because, as everyone knows, they don't have an ecclesiology, yet, if you violate their ecclesiology, you get kicked out of the movement) handles texts that they are twisting but can't defend their twisting: just believe what we say, period. That's basically how he handled Matthew 23:37, while skipping right past the words themselves. In any case, this was the first program we've done on the new streaming PC, so we were really pushing it to do it via Skype. Here's the program.
A Wednesday DL Tomorrow: and Brian Brodersen Responds
02/23/2010 - James White
We will be doing one DL this week, tomorrow, Wednesday, at 11am MST (6pm for me here in London!). We will be really pushing the envelope this time: Rich has installed the new webcasting unit, and I will be doing the program via Skype. Hence, we have maximized the possibilities of utter failure! But, we will press forward anyway!
I may well look at a very lengthy, confused article that was just posted by Brian Brodersen, one of the leading figures in the Calvary Chapel movement. I had written to pastor Brodersen a while back, letting him know of my posted response to his comments. I never heard back from him, though, I guess that is what this article amounts to. Sadly, it shows the same kind of confusion on the part of the very leaders of Calvary Chapel that we have discussed before. You can find the article here. Note just one of the rather glaring problems: Brodersen confuses "synergist" (which is the term I used: Brodersen and his fellows are synergists, as opposed to monergists) with "syncretist," and then takes me to task on the basis of his unfamiliarity with these basic theological terms. There would be much value in examining this attempted response.
But, of course, I would like to report on the past five days of ministry here in London as well, so, join us at Wednesday at 11am MST for the Dividing Line!
The Cost of Following Christ---Indeed
02/23/2010 - James White
I would like to thank Doug McMasters and the folks at TRC for getting me through morning rush hour traffic in London this morning to the studios of Premier Christian Radio for my two programs with Justin Brierley. These were my fourth and fifth appearances on the Unbelievable program, and I really enjoyed my time with Justin. The first program was with Adnan Rashid, and we discussed the Bible and the Qur'an, Surah 4:157, and as I knew what Adnan really wanted to argue about, the Gospel of Thomas. Adnan interrupted me regularly, so it was not quite your normal episode of Unbelievable, but Adnan has never realized that engaging in that kind of behavior (including the swipes and comments that he used in our debate in 2008, and again this morning) only detracts from his presentation. Then we had a few minutes break and went directly into an encounter with Sir Anthony Buzzard on the pre-existence of Christ. This was a very different discussion, since Sir Anthony is very genteel, and would normally respond with "thank you" even after I had said something akin to "Sir Anthony's position is rank heresy." So it was a very different exchange.
I do not know when the programs will air, but I would assume probably March 13th and 20th on Premier Radio. I subscribe to Justin's podcast, so when I have a better idea of the specific dates, I will try to post something.
My next engagement is Thursday evening on Revelation TV, doing an hour long discussion on the reliability of the New Testament. Those in London and the surrounding areas should be able to watch live, and, if I have my times right, you should be able to watch on the Internet at 4pm EST here. I hope, anyway.
As most of my readers know, my daring to expose the false statements of Ergun Caner wherein he accused me of engaging in "Jerry Springer" like behavior in my debates has brought out the worst in many Southern Baptist types. It seems that Dr. Caner can say anything, no matter how outrageously false, and he has full freedom to do so. He can impugn my character about the matter publicly, but if I dare point out the falsehood, I am supposed to repent of the heresy of questioning "the Lord's anointed." This kind of mentality is rampant in many circles. It is a sad thing to observe.
Tim Rogers provided us with a post that illustrated the "Caner can do no wrong, let's not talk about what he has really said" attitude just recently, as I noted in a previous blog entry. In the comments that followed we could discern quickly how this activity takes place in these very insulated circles. The process goes like this:
1) Do not even acknowledge the problem (specifically, the documentation that Dr. Caner uttered a clear and plain falsehood on national radio, one that is easily documentable). Ignore it completely.
2) Attack anyone personally with untruths and ad-hominem who would point out the problem with the anointed leader you wish to defend (seen by Peter Lumpkins' first comment).
3) Sound the call to circle the wagons and do everything in your power to make sure the real issue---the matter of truthfulness and integrity---is drowned out by the shrieks and cries of the defenders of the anointed one.
Rational and reasonable people observe this for a while, maybe even attempting to point out the obvious disrespect for truth being displayed by these people, but eventually they give up, recognizing that no rational thought is taking place in the midst of the venting of the emotions of blind loyalty. And once again the real issue is ignored and covered over, the anointed one being allowed to get away, once again, with irresponsible behavior....
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A Wonderful Evening of Debate at Trinity Road Chapel
02/22/2010 - James White
I have just returned to my hotel after a wonderful evening of debate at Trinity Road Chapel in London. We had a wonderful turn out for the debate between myself and Abdullah al Andalusi on the subject of the Christian and Islamic positions on the nature of God. Abdullah and I had engaged that topic on the Unbelievable Radio Program back in November of 2008. You can find that video of our encounter from the studio on YouTube. This time we engaged the entire topic in a fuller fashion.
The turn out was very good, with a good mixture of Christians and Muslims in attendance. The weather was not too bad, thankfully, so we got started at a good time. When you listen to the debate you will hear something you almost never hear from me. I asked the moderator how much time I had left. Why? It wasn't because I forgot my timer (it was on my desk). It was because I had mis-set the timer in KeyNote, which I use during my opening. I set it for 22 hours, not 22 minutes. As a result, I didn't get to the most important part of my presentation, because I did not properly pace myself.
But, that slip up aside, the evening went as you would expect. Abdullah raised the standard Islamic objections to the text of the New Testament and to the Trinity. "How can the infinite become finite? This is contradictory." I did my best to clarify the issues and provide a biblical answer. I also pressed Abdullah to explain why it is the Qur'an does not accurately define the doctrine of the Trinity, and in fact, misrepresents it. I think we could profitably address that topic more in depth in the future, and that is something I would enjoy doing.
In fact, I truly look forward to more encounters with Abdullal al Andalusi in the future. He was a gentleman in all ways. He kept to the time frames, kept to the subject, and though I think a few times during cross examination he sort of wandered from the question, all in all I thought he set a high standard for Muslim apologists to shoot for, very similar to my encounters with Shabir Ally, Zulfiqar Ali Shah, Farhan Qureshi, and Abdullah Kunde (my "top Islamic debaters" list thus far).
I met a number of encouraging believers after the debate who had found it edifying. God's people here in London are truly wonderful. I would especially like to thank those who made this debate possible. All who donated to get me over here and support me while I'm here, thank you. To Doug McMasters, his wife and family, the elders and people of Trinity Road Chapel, once again thank you. Your partnership in the gospel is precious to me. To Rich Pierce, who makes it possible for me to travel without having to worry for a moment about the on-going work of the ministry back home, I truly hope you see these pictures and realize none of this happens without you! And special thanks to a Londoner I only met a few days ago, but whom I have known for a few years in our chat channel, Nick. Nick took all the pictures you see here, and, he ran my video camera as well. In fact, when he saw that my video camera's battery had died right at the end of the debate, he brilliantly grabbed the SD card out of my digital SLR, stuck it in his own camera, and recorded the Q&A session in HD, putting the card back in my camera when it was all done! Bravo, Nick, well done. Thanks for all your help!
So, I need to get a short night's sleep and then it is off on the Tube (the London Underground) to do two intense programs with Justin Brierley. I will be taking on Adnan Rashid in the first program, and then Sir Anthony Buzzard in the second. Pray for these programs!
Christianity and Islam: the Nature of God
02/21/2010 - James White
Working on my presentation for tomorrow evening:
The Oddest Things Happen When I'm in London
02/21/2010 - James WhiteRemember back in November of 2008 when I was last here in the UK? What happened while I was gone? The John 3:16 Conference and the wild-eyed (and oft refuted) allegations against me of being a "hyper Calvinist," etc. So what happens this time while I am here teaching and preaching (picture at right from yesterday afternoon's lecture at Trinity Road Chapel)? Well, I refuted, factually, fairly, and thoroughly, false statements made by Ergun Mehmet Caner, President of Liberty Theological Seminary, on the Pastor's Perspective radio program (which is broadcast nationally), wherein he says I engage in "formal" debates that are little more than versions of the Jerry Springer Show, and in response you get the "circling of the wagons" syndrome that is so often the hallmark of the Southern Baptist Convention. I first saw this six years ago when I dared to interact with the published views of Dr. Mark Seifrid of Southern Seminary, wherein I sought to provide an answer to his claims that we should not use imputational language in reference to justification, and his rejection of the active/passive distinctions that are so helpful in understanding the righteousness that is ours in Christ. The response of many Southern Baptists was to ignore what I said, and to rather upbraid me for having said anything at all. The truthfulness of what I said was irrelevant to the majority: the fact that I would even speak in criticism of a professor at a Southern Baptist institution was all that mattered.
So now I have another glowing example of the "circle the wagons" mentality of the SBC. I was directed to this amazing blog entry on the SBCToday website. Take the time to review my video (it is embedded in the blog article) before reading Pastor Tim Rogers' commentary. I don't know that I have personally encountered a clearer example of "ignore the facts, shoot the messenger, protect anything/anyone Southern Baptist at all costs" in my life. You will note that Pastor Rogers does not even attempt to engage the fact that Caner's comments were indefensible. That can be easily dealt with by dismissing me as a false teacher somehow in league with the Muslims! Isn't that ironic? I'm in London, just over 24 hours away from debating Abdullah al Andalusi in public, and 48 hours from engaging Adnan Rashid on the Unbelievable Radio program, yet I am the one in league with the Muslims. And why? Evidently, Dr. Caner is infallible. He can do no wrong. If he says it, it must be true, and if there is video evidence that he's wrong, well---it must have been faked! This mindset would be humorous if it was not coming from a pastor, an elder, who should surely know better.
I wrote to Pastor Rogers, asking him to interact with the reality of the situation. He sent back two Bible references and a statement that he was praying for me. Here are the two references: 1 Corinthians 3:3 and Romans 16:17. I will let you look them up and get his message for yourself. Evidently, he doesn't mind making accusations against elders without foundation. No response to my questions, no critical thought evidenced. A sad, sad commentary.
It is not that I am surprised here. Men who promote themselves through the power of their personality (rather than the substance of their teaching) produce zealous followers. The SBC is filled with examples of the Personality Cult. But it thankfully still bothers me to see people claiming to follow He who is the Truth and yet showing so little discernment and so little recognition of truth itself.
Quick Note from London
02/20/2010 - James WhiteGreetings from the other side of the pond! Have had a wonderful time with the fine folks at Trinity Road Chapel the past two days, and look forward to ministering the Word tomorrow in both services. Monday and Tuesday will be "crunch time" with the debate with Abdullal al Andalusi Monday night, and the two Unbelievable radio programs Tuesday morning, one with Muslim Adnan Rashid, the other with Socinian Anthony Buzzard. Pray for God's truth to be heard, believed, and obeyed, to His Triune Glory!
I was re-installing UltraFractal today to show the McMasters (my hosts here in London), and happened to create a gorgeous fractal on my first run (rather unusual). I thought I would share it with you all, since I haven't posted a piece of my fractal art in ages. You can click the image to download it (original size: 1440x990).
As If Made to Order as an Illustration
02/18/2010 - James WhiteThis morning I saw that James Swan had blogged a portion of a Karl Keating e-mail. It caught my attention, partly because I think someone removed me from the CA fund-raising e-mail list (I can't say I'm upset about that), and partly because it contrasted so strongly with the attempted presentations of Rome's beliefs common in ecumenical and apologetic websites. Here is the portion James posted:
Here's a recent letter from Karl Keating:
Where the Virgin Mary's house stopped for a rest
Angelic house movers sometimes need a rest too
You probably have heard of the Holy House of Loreto. It’s said to be the house in Nazareth where the Virgin Mary grew up and where the Annunciation occurred. The story is that, to protect it from invading Turks, angels lifted the house in 1291 and flew it toward Italy.
You may know that part. What you probably don’t know is that the angels tired on the way. (Houses are heavy, after all!) They rested—for three years—on a hilltop in Croatia, before carrying the house the rest of the way to Loreto.
Where they rested you now will find the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Trsat. It’s just one of three key pilgrimage sites we’ll visit on this autumn’s “Catholic Croatia” tour.
Since I’m partly of Croatian extraction, on my mother’s side, I’m looking forward to visiting Trsat and the two other pilgrimage sites: the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Snows at Marija Bistrica (Croatia’s top Marian shrine) and the Sanctuary of the Trinity in Ludbreg, where a Eucharistic miracle occurred in 1414, with the wine turning into visible blood.
Personally, I find the legend of the House of Loreto a wonderful example of the medieval mysticism and gullibility that gave rise to the entire relics trade and to the materialistic, sensationalistic stories associated with the newly minted term "transubstantiation." That the leading Roman Catholic apologetics organization in the United States would even visit such a site on a "pilgrimage," let alone give credence to the concept ("where a Eucharistic miracle occurred in 1414") is telling. Of course, when I think of 1414, I think of the Council of Constance, which healed the Papal Schism, and burned Jan Hus the next year for preaching the gospel of salvation, but that's just me.
On Today's Dividing Line from London: William Lane Craig and "Mere Christianity"
02/18/2010 - James WhiteWe didn't let a little thing like 5,281 miles get in the way of doing the DL today. With the help of Skype (which seems to keep improving in quality), my MacBook Pro, a really decent Internet connection here in London, Rich's work back at the office, and our faithful King of All Things Internet in Texas (we had server problems before the program began), we managed to put together an hour long examination of a "Reasonable Faith" podcast where William Lane Craig answered the question, "What About Catholicism?" He even enunciated the "Mere Christianity" viewpoint clearly, so I hope the discussion will be useful to folks. I think this is a major issue today, one ignored by most, despite its importance. Here is the program.
I hope to do another DL next week, though it may have to be on Wednesday rather than one of our regular DL days, depending on my schedule. We might be able to do Tuesday at the regular Thursday time as well, we will see.
Once again, thanks for all who have donated to help cover the costs of this trip. We still need your help in that area. I noted above the good Internet connection I used to do the DL today: $85 for seven days worth (costs are high in London). Your help is greatly appreciated.
Glory Road: The Journeys of Ten African-Americans into Reformed Christianity
02/18/2010 - James SwanChris Arnzen hosts the daily radio show, Iron Sharpens Iron. Each day, Chris presents an hour long interview on topics that are important to Christians. For the past number of days, Chris has been interviewing the contributors to the book, Glory Road: The Journeys of Ten African-Americans into Reformed Christianity.
The interviews have been fascinating. All the interviews are available on mp3:
Leon Brown: "God's Wrath or Redemption"
Michael Leach:"The Journey of An African-American into Reformed Christianity"
Lance Lewis: "The Old Bait & Switch: Did Calvary Offer an Opportunity for Redemption or Did it Redeem? (An African American's Journey into Reformed Christianity"
Roger Skepple: "Looking For Love in All the Wrong Places: Is Reformed Theology Antithetical to the Love of God? (An African-American's Journey)"
Redditt Andrews III: "A Plea For Real Answers: An African-American's Journey into Reformed Christianity"
Anthony J. Carter: "Black, Reformed, but Foremost Christian"
Dr. White in London
02/17/2010 - Tur8infanDr. James White will be in London for the next several days. Lord willing, Trinity Road Chapel will be hosting him for free talks on the reliability of the New Testament:
- Friday 19th February at 8pm
- Saturday 20th February, 3pm
- Sunday, 21st February at 11am and 6:30 pm
- Monday, 22 February at 7:30pm
It is also my understanding that Dr. White will either be appearing on live TV (Revelation TV) or on the Unbelievable radio program (which airs later).
Also, please note: the Dividing Line program for Thursday is planned to air at the usual Tuesday time (11:00am MST - 1:00pm EST - 10:00am PST).
A More Sure Word
02/12/2010 - Jeff DownsA few months ago someone sent me a link to a pastor criticizing, in a blog, the ministry of Cornelius Van Til. One of the criticisms leveled against Van Til was that he was the inventor of the doctrine of the self-authenticating nature of scripture. An amazing assertion that is absolutely false. Even if you do not agree with Van Til on this point (this pastor obviously did not), you must concede that Van Til did not invent this doctrine.
Below is a video of Dr. Tony Curto, professor of Missions and Apologetics, introducing the topic he will address at the 2010 Spring Theology Conference. A More Sure Word:
Ergun Caner and the Jerry Springer Show
02/11/2010 - James WhiteErgun Caner appeared on Calvary Chapel's "The Pastor's Perspective" show on January 22nd. During the course of the program he made the following comments:
"I like very informal ones. Formal debates have been taken over a lot by myopic Reformed guys, uh, they try to turn it into these little, uh, show ponies, it's like the Jerry Springer Show, basically, and there's really not any real discussion going on, there's rolling of eyes, its huffing and passive/aggressive garbage." -Ergun Caner, 20:40 of The Pastor's Perspective program, January 22, 2010.
(Then at a later point) "Any doctrine that diminishes the omnibenevolence of God, the fact that He loves the Muslim, and died for the Muslim to be saved, and has a desire for…any doctrine that diminishes that is not from God, it's from the devil."
Here is my response:
London, Here I Come!
02/10/2010 - James WhiteMy thanks to all who prayed that the Lord would open the way for me to get to London by granting my visa in time. It was granted today, so it will arrive in time for me to depart next week! I am so thankful, and look forward to meeting all the saints there! Yes, we could still use your support (see the banner ad) to cover costs. See all my English friends at Trinity Road Chapel!
The Foolishness of God, the Wisdom of the World
02/10/2010 - James WhiteThe kind folks at Rockdale Community Church have posted the audio of my Sunday morning message from 1 Corinthians 1, a favorite text of mine when speaking while traveling. Timeless passage reminding us that God is God, and we are liable to a great deal of creaturely arrogance.
Responding to Brian Brodersen and Chuck Smith
02/09/2010 - James WhiteStarted off the program today talking about the upcoming debate with Robert Price, and requesting continued prayers that I would be given my visa to visit London in time for my flight a week from Thursday. I was going to fairly briefly respond to the comments by Brian Brodersen, Chuck Smith, and Don Stewart, but once I played all the comments and went back through, I did not have time to get back to the Anthony Buzzard comments. I will get back to that on Thursday, Lord willing. Here is the program in mp3 format, and here is the portion where I specifically addressed Brodersen's "Calvinism lacks the heart of Jesus" accusation:
Today on the Dividing Line: Calvary Chapel Leadership Refers to Calvinism Again
02/09/2010 - James WhiteWhile I was flying to Atlanta on Thursday the hosts of the Pastor's Perspective radio program, featuring Chuck Smith, received a phone call about election. One of the hosts mentioned yours truly by name, making reference to the following video posted in response to his claim that Calvinism is Christianity without Jesus. He attempts to elucidate his thoughts. Today on the DL I will play their comments and respond, then we will move back to the Sir Anthony Buzzard debate on the Trinity. I want to make sure we can get to his comments on Psalm 110:1 soon, especially as they relate to his attempt to avoid the identification of Jesus as Yahweh in Hebrews 1:10-12. As the Lord gives time I will be posting a fairly in-depth review of the inconsistency forced upon Socinians by these two texts.
Major Debate Announcement: Is the New Testament Historically Reliable? vs. Robert M. Price
02/09/2010 - James White
I will be debating Dr. Robert M. Price, a Jesus Seminar scholar and prolific author (see here for some of his books), at the CRI National Conference May 7th in Innisbrook, Florida. Hank Hanegraaff will moderate the debate. Those who have listened to my debate with John Dominic Crossan know how important this topic is. Dr. Price has expended great effort in elucidating every possible theory that would militate against Christian orthodoxy. He has done many debates as well, so we should expect a spirited exchange. There is a deep stream of "deconstruction" in Dr. Price's theories, so we should be able to see again how very important presuppositions are to the modern attacks upon Christian orthodoxy.
I have put some items on the Ministry Resource list that would be very useful in preparation for this debate (as well as the London trip that, Lord willing, will begin next week). As always, your partnership in these ministry opportunities is greatly appreciated.
Make plans to join us in Florida at the CRI National Conference (I will be addressing textual and inspirational issues in my presentations apart from the debate) in May.
Catholic Apologist Dr. Art Sippo Says: Calvinists Are Psychotics
02/07/2010 - James SwanWhen it comes to Martin Luther, there are a number of Roman Catholic apologists that become expert pop-psychologists. I don't recall Dr. Sippo being either a psychologist or a psychiatrist, yet he recently was able to make a clinical evaluation on a man who died hundreds of years ago, living in a different culture and country:
My charge that Luther was flagrantly psychotic when he wrote [The Bondage of the Will] is a clinical one. Luther makes a number of seriosuly[sic] disturbed remarks in this book. Among them, he actually says that the human mind is like a horse with an empty saddle and that either God or the Devil rides in it. This is clearly not the perception of a normal human mind. When I studied psychiatry in med school the professor told us "There are only 2 kinds of people who deny free will: psychotics and Calvinists." In my experience, there is only ONE kind of person. [source]
The tactic here employed is called psychohistory. This pseudo-science holds history can be understood by applying psychoanalysis to a historical figure. Those who have attempted to evaluate Luther via this method have come to a wide range of differing conclusions. For instance, Heinrich Denifle's approach was the "the pansexual interpretation of the Reformation." According to Denifle, Luther's psychosis was inherent lust, secret vices, an overpowering sex drive, and an opposition to celibacy. Immediately following Denifle were the works of Hartmann Grisar. Where Denifle wants you to despise Luther as a depraved sex maniac, Grisar wants you to pity him for being a psychopath.
Protestant historian Preserved Smith used Freudian analysis and theory, particularly the role of sex in personal development. For Smith, Luther was a product of an alcoholic parent, a sufferer of the Oedipus complex, an abused child, struggled with depression, had an infatuation with demonism, and had sexual repression. Smith then interprets these factors as the causes of some of Luther's central doctrines. The most famous of all the psychohistorians writing on Luther is Erik Erikson's book, Young Man Luther (1958). Erikson used a modified Freudian approach. He approached religious phenomena with prejudice: Freud argued that religious phenomena are to be understood on the model of the neurotic symptoms of the individual: hence, a materialistic outlook on religion. Freud saw religious concerns within an individual as reflecting something "wrong" in a human. Erickson does the same with his treatment of Luther. ...
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Englishing the Bible
02/05/2010 - Jeff DownsDr. Benjamin Shaw is professor of Hebrew and Old Testament at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He answers the question "Why a conference on scripture in the 21st Century" and also gives a brief word on his particular session "Englishing the Bible"
For further information and to register for the conference, go to the conference Website.
Back on December 30, 2009 Chris Arnzen interviewed Dr. Shaw. You can listen by clicking here.
John & Hebrews
02/05/2010 - Jeff DownsTwo books that may be of interest to the readership of this blog are:
A Theology of John's Gospel and Letters: The Word, the Christ, the Son of God, by Andreas J. Kostenberger. View sample pages here. Keven Boling recently interviewed Dr. Kostenberg on his new book.
Since James is working his way through Hebrews, this is worth mentioning: The Letter to the Hebrews, by Peter T. O'Brien (Due out April 2010). If I remember correctly, I heard D.A. Carson saying this will be one of the best.
Facts? Truth? Nah, We Want People!
02/04/2010 - James White
I feel badly today for those Islamic apologists I know who truly believe that Islam is true. I am not talking about the men like Nadir Ahmed, but the serious minded men I have met who really believe Islam is the religion of Allah. I would name some right now, but I do not want to get them in trouble. I feel badly for them today because I can see so clearly that the Super Star of Islamic apologists, the "Doctor of Dawah," Zakir Naik, is not one of them. Instead, Naik, whose simplistic arguments, borrowed almost verbatim from the late Ahmed Deedat, are fired off at high speed, has been shown to be fundamentally ignorant of many of the subjects upon which he opines with regularity. Please note the refutation of his recent appearance on The Deen Show here. The man is nowhere near the best Islam has to offer if you measure such things in reference to the truth and consistency. However, he is one of the most popular speakers in Islam, mainly because the average Muslim simply wants to hear reasons not to believe in Christianity, whether those reasons are truthful or not. This is a sad commentary.
We have contacted Dr. Naik's representatives, seeking to arrange a scholarly debate with him. He has debated a number of Christians with far less experience in debating Islam than I. They responded by asking for evidence that I could gather 10,000 people. I replied by providing evidence of my publications, debates, and again pointed to the issue that should be front and center to any truth-loving individual: the fact that I have demonstrated fundamental errors on Naik's part. I received my reply today, and for all those Muslims that would love to see Zakir Naik defend himself against the documentation of errors we have provided, I'm afraid you will be disappointed. I provide the entirety of the e-mail:...
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Rome's Arguments, Rome's Blasphemy
02/03/2010 - James White
Conference on Scripture
02/03/2010 - Jeff DownsYesterday, I had a chance to sit down with Dr. Joseph Pipa, president of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He took about 8 minutes to discuss the GPTS Annual Conference. I'm new at using our camera for such things, and the color is simply awful:
Click here to register for ths conference.
Today on the DL: Post-Mortem on Last Week's Debates
02/02/2010 - James White
Started off with some of the very interesting comments made on the Catholic Answers Forums, and then moved to the specifics on the Staples debate, including reading the full context of both of the "Protestant" citations Staples offered. Looked at the broader issues of purgatory, and then moved on to some comments made by Dr. Brown on the issue of Calvinism. Went about nine minutes long, but got to everything I wanted to get to. Here's the program.
Don't forget, there will not be a DL on Thursday, as I will be flying to Georgia at that time.