Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Today on the Dividing Line: Lots of Calls, A Response to a Bible/Qur'an Article
03/31/2011 - James WhiteAlmost canceled the program today (our Internet access went down thirty minutes before the program again), but we got it back and made it through. Talked with Justin about witnessing to LDS missionaries, covered a common argument about the Bible and the Qur'an, took calls on baptism in the early church and a wide variety of other issues, going about 8 minutes long (again). Here's the program.
Rob Bell Chapter 4 Review/Hebrews 9:16-23
03/31/2011 - James White
Today on the Dividing Line
03/30/2011 - James WhiteStarted off briefly noting Peter Lumpkins' absence (fully expected of course), then took some quick calls on a wide variety of topics, including a discussion of the high priestly work of Christ and an upcoming debate with atheists. I then moved into reading a large portion of chapter 4 of Love Wins, illustrating the man-centeredness of the Arminian fundamentalism that Rob Bell has rejected, and the frightening results. Here's the program.
The Door Was Shut, Rob Bell
03/30/2011 - Tur8infanInspired by today's Dividing Line webcast, I offer the following compare and contrast on Rob Bell's theology.
Rob Bell (Love Wins, p. 66):
Could God say to someone truly humbled, broken, and desperate for reconciliation, "Sorry, too late"? Many have refused to accept the scenario in which somebody is pounding on the door, apologizing, repenting, and asking God to be let in, only to hear God say through the keyhole: "Door's locked. Sorry. If you had been here earlier, I could have done something. But now, it's too late."Jesus Christ (Matthew 25:1-13):
Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.Am I saying that those in Hell will come "truly humbled, broken, and desperate for reconciliation" - no, I'm not saying that. I'm saying that when the door shuts, it's too late. So, since you don't know when Christ will return, or when you yourself will die, take hold of the kingdom of heaven now. Be prepared.
And at midnight there was a cry made, "Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him."
Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, "Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out."
But the wise answered, saying, "Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves."
And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, "Lord, Lord, open to us."
But he answered and said, "Verily I say unto you, I know you not."
Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
Bell's dream of an always-open heaven is nothing more than a delusion.
Sorry! Technical Failure: DL Rescheduled to High Noon Tomorrow (Wednesday)
03/29/2011 - James WhiteWell, the Cox guy comes out, says we should be fixed up, and...boom, five minutes before the DL, once again, we are dead in the water. Thankfully, the Cox guy was just leaving. He can't find anything wrong here, so this is all in the "main office," but he isn't getting anywhere with them, either. Somebody is playing games anyway. Be that as it may, we can't get a regular connection to stay alive for more than ten or fifteen minutes, so there's no reason to attempt to do the program like that. So, we will be moving the program till tomorrow at 3pm EDT, high noon here in Phoenix. Sorry about that! Not much we can do about it.
Two Books Enough?
03/29/2011 - Jeff DownsAt one point I convinced myself that as a pastor, if I had one good exegetical commentary and one good pastoral/practical commentary on every book of the Bible, I would at least have a sufficient supply of commentaries to last me and my time in the pulpit. Looking over my shelves and some of the recent books I have purchased, my arguments were obviously not that convincing. Being at a seminary with a bookstore does not help either.
Something like the above is very hard to choose since there are simply so many good books (old and new) available. No too long ago I purchased a scholarly commentary on The Acts of the Apostles, by David Peterson. A few months ago I heard that Derek Thomas was writing a (pastoral commentary) on the book of Acts in the Reformed Expository series. This commentary is now available. Thomas, by the way, was recently called as Associate Pastor at First Presbyterian Church, Columbia SC (where Sinclair Ferguson is pastor).
Stephen J. Nichols writes of this commentary "Somewhere along the way the idea developed that commentaries are supposed to be a resource, but are not supposed to be all that readable. Derek Thomas and his treatment of Acts defies convention. Here you have a tremendous resource for pastors and students. And here you have a most readable, insightful, and enjoyable book for all. Dr. Thomas writes with a theologian's acuity, a pastor's heart, and a fellow disciple's humility and dependence upon the Holy Spirit - all resulting in a great gift for the church."
Hopefully Moving the DL to 6pm EDT
03/29/2011 - James WhiteOur ISP is having...issues providing us with consistent internet access. We lost all connectivity about 30 minutes before the DL, but got it back. Then it dropped out five minutes before, so we have called them and they are "sending someone out" (you know how specific that is), so, for now, we are going to try for 3pm our time, 6pm EDT for an afternoon DL. Please check back then. I know I am anticipating a call from a brother who is meeting with LDS missionaries (I hope this doesn't conflict with his meeting!), and of course, we are all waiting with baited breath and fingers crossed for the great unveiling of Lumpy's "official" sources (yeah, don't worry, we won't spend too much time waiting for that one). Then I hope to get to some very important material that I hope will be edifying for many.
03/29/2011 - Jeff DownsLove him or hate him (which many who read this blog do), the legacy of John Calvin isn't going anywhere (isn't that what a legacy is designed to do?). For those who wanted to attend some of the conferences (the GPTS conference in particular) but was unable, the audio is now available on SA. Click here to hear from James McGoldrick, Paul Helm, Carl Trueman, George Knight, III among others; and always fun to listen to, the Q&A.
I would also encourage you to pick up this book or this book and finally this book and Tributes to John Calvin: A Celebration of His Quincentenary, both volumes includes papers from the GPTS Conference.
Hebrews 9:15: Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church AM Sermon
03/28/2011 - James White
And the evening sermon:
Rob Bell Validates the Maxim "A Little Greek is a Dangerous Thing"
03/27/2011 - Alan Kurschner[To be sure, I don't believe that Bell's fundamental problem is a lack of understanding on how to do competent word studies. It's a heart issue. Bell is in rebellion against his Creator. He has a man-centered conclusion and he will see too it that his selective biblical data will support what he wants to believe, and what he wants others to believe.]
Greg Gilbert wrote an effective piece showing how Bell is incompetent in his use of Greek word studies, here.
Darrell Bock, as well, has chimed in on Bell's sophomoric use of Greek and Jesus' teachings here.
I am convinced that every seminary student should not be allowed to graduate from seminary until they have read the following two books:
Biblical Words and Their Meaning: An Introduction to Lexical Semantics, by Moises Silva, rev. ed.
Exegetical Fallacies, by D.A. Carson 2nd ed [As an aside, here is a corrective on a fallacy within the book].
This one cannot hurt: Linguistics for Students of New Testament Greek by David Alan Black
How False Piety Subverts, and Often Completely Reverses, the Truth
03/25/2011 - James WhiteI think I have developed "follow the link clickitis," as have most other modern info-maniacs. You scan through topics in your RSS feeds, click on interesting topics, then click a link in the interesting article, and eventually you find yourself off in the wilderness somewhere twenty minutes later wondering how you got there in the first place. It was on one of these little journeys that I ran into this webpage. I think I got there because I saw Jimmy Akin mentioning something about a breaking scandal about this man. In any case, I have no interest in that (I honestly hope it is untrue, and I am tired of post-modernist secularists adopting the "if they are religious--any kind of religious--they are guilty until proven innocent" mantra). Instead, I have kept this page open in Chrome for a few days, looking for a few moments to comment on it. Then, yesterday, I happened to flip over to the local Immaculate Heart radio station and I heard a familiar voice--familiar in the sense that I have heard it before. And lo and behold, who was it? I had never heard the man identified before, but I happened to tune in at the end of a program so his name was given: John Corapi. Same fellow. Evidently he's quite big on that radio network.
In any case, when I read the summary of his teaching, I was struck by the reversal of biblical and simply Christian truth it represented. Note first the name of his order, "the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity." The Trinity is, in fact, most holy (because God is, by nature, holy); but the Trinity has no "Lady," capitalized L or otherwise. The Trinity is a divine and eternal truth about the nature of God, and the Trinity has not adopted, nor needed, a Lady, consort, mediatrix or anything else. But then note the first "pillar" of Corapi's teaching: "Love for and a relationship with the Blessed Virgin Mary which leads us into a vibrant and loving relationship with Jesus Christ." There is everything good about seeking to establish a "vibrant and loving relationship with Jesus Christ." But there is only one means of so doing: the Spirit of the living God applying the truth of the gospel, resulting in the renewing, growth, grounding, and sanctification of God's elect people. We are led into such a relationship by the work of the Spirit conforming the believer to the image of Christ. Mary has nothing to do with it. Mary, like any other godly example, can be used by God to encourage believers, but it is a reversal of the biblical and spiritual order to place love for her, let alone the utterly unbiblical concept of a relationship with a fellow believer who has gone on to be with her Savior, as the means that leads us to the fulfillment of God's purpose, that being a vibrant and loving relationship with Christ.
Having missed the reality of Christian teaching on the centrality of Christ through the exaltation of Mary to a position that is not only dishonoring to Christ, but dishonoring to the true, historical, believing, redeemed woman named Mary, Corapi's next "pillar" misses the centrality of Christ's finished and completed work through his promotion of Rome's gospel-destroying "the Mass as a propitiatory sacrifice" heresy. While there is great benefit in meditating upon the gospel, upon the entire revelation of God found in Scripture, and especially upon the cross of Jesus Christ, there is no benefit at all from sitting in front of a piece of bread that has been, allegedly, transformed into the body, soul, blood and divinity of Jesus Christ, so that you think you are literally in the presence of Christ. Such magical "theology," the result of many centuries of devolution from the truth, has nothing at all to do with the glorious truth that 1) Christ has died once for all, never to die again, His work completed; 2) He has entered into the Holy Place in heaven, there to appear in the presence of the Father in the place of all those who are called and united with Him, His High Priestly work not being a secondary addition to His sacrifice, but the fulfillment thereof; and 3) Christ is always present with His people by His Spirit. We do not need tabernacles and monstrances or celibate sacramental priests or any of this Christ-dishonoring, gospel-destroying tradition--the revelation given through Christ and His Apostles is sufficient, and down through the centuries His people have rejoiced in His presence with them by Word and by Spirit.
Of course, the final pillar makes perfect sense, given what has come before. Why does Corapi teach these things in direct opposition to divinely revealed truth in Scripture? Because Scripture is not his final authority. In fact, it is not his authority at all, for he has subjected himself to another authority, a separate one, that being the Pope and the Magisterium of the Roman Church.
Such summaries of Roman teaching are a constant reminder of the need to proclaim clearly and forcefully the gospel of God's free grace to those who have been bound by such error.
A Double Book Review on Today's Dividing Line
03/24/2011 - James WhiteStarted off challenging Peter Lumpkins to provide documentation of claims he has been making, and then moved on to important stuff: a quick review of key issues relating to both Love Wins as well as Forged by Bart Ehrman. I hope to provide some foundational and important observations that will be helpful to my fellow believers. Here's the program.
Wednesday Night Devotional from PRBC: Paul's Words on Eternal Condemnation
03/24/2011 - James White
Recorded on my iPad while using it as my biblical text using OliveTree.
Market "Day" of the Soul
03/24/2011 - Jeff DownsI have been struck lately with the disregard for Sabbath keeping, and I know brothers in Christ differ on this issue, but in this post I want to offer a few resources (pro) on this issue.
First, while not entirely for Sabbath keeping, is a forthcoming title by Broadman & Holman Perspectives on the Sabbath: 4 Views, edited by Christopher Donato (available April 2011). The contributors are: Skip MacCarty (Seventh-day Adventist view), Jospeh A Pipa (Reformed view), Craig L. Blomberg (evangelical view), and Charles P. Arand (Lutheran view). if you click the link you can read a portion of the book.
An additional (new) title, while not dealing with the Sabbath in particular, is important regarding the law is From the Finger of God: The Biblical and Theological Basis for the Threefold Division of the Law.
Other resources include: Call the Sabbath A Delight, by Walter Chantry, Celebrating the Sabbath: Finding Rest in a Restless World, by Bruce Ray and The Lord's Day, by Joseph Pipa. Dr. Pipa was also on The ReformedCast at the beginning of this year, dealing with many objections. Click here to listen.
13"If because of the sabbath, you turn your foot From doing your own pleasure on My holy day,And call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of the LORD honorable, And honor it, desisting from your own ways, From seeking your own pleasure And speaking your own word, 14Then you will take delight in the LORD, And I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; And I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, For the mouth of the LORD has spoken."
Rob Bell Illustrates the Word-Concept Fallacy
03/23/2011 - Alan KurschnerRob Bell commits the common “word-concept” fallacy in respect to singling out the word "hell."
The word-concept fallacy is the assumption that studying a word (or phrase) means having studied the entire biblical concept.
This is also called the "concordance" method of interpretation. One should not simply open up a concordance and finger down the page looking for usages of a single word and stop there. It can be a beginning point for study, but word (or concept) studies should not end there. There is an important difference between studying a biblical concept and studying the range of meanings of a single word.
For example, if we want to learn what the Bible teaches about the concept of love, it would be a mistake to restrict our study to only the single word agape because there are many terms that describe different aspects of love. We need to take Scripture in a normal, natural, contextual sense and recognize synonyms and other similar phrases that describe a concept rather than collapsing an entire concept into one word.
Moisés Silva gives this additional example: “A very important passage on the subject of hypocrisy is Isaiah 1:10–15, but the student suckled at the concordance would never find [the word “hypocrisy”]; instead, he would come to an unrefined understanding of the topic.” Biblical Words and Their Meaning: An Introduction to Lexical Semantics, rev. ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 27. See also D.A. Carson, “Word-Study Fallacies,” in Exegetical Fallacies, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1996), 27–64.
My Bible Ain't No Thinline!
03/23/2011 - Alan KurschnerThe Kurschner edition.
Listen in to the ReformedCast Today
03/21/2011 - James WhiteJust a quick note: I will be on the ReformedCast discussing apologetics tonight at 7pm EDT here. The program will then be posted here. Listen in!
Love Wins...and Makes Strange Bedfellows, and Calls, on Today's DL
03/21/2011 - James WhiteStarted off noting that Love does Win...at least, it gets Peter Lumpkins to post reviews of Rob Bell's book by Anglicans (well, Anglican last time I checked anyway). But we had a very full board of calls, and after a few technical glitches, got to them, including questions about KJV Onlyism, Rome's abuse of Luke 1:28, Fred Phelps, and the use of Ergun Caner's materials in apologetics. Here's the program.
What's the Biggest Problem with Theistic Evolution?
03/21/2011 - Tur8infan
There are a variety of problems with theistic evolution. For example, there are exegetical problems with it, in that you're simply not going to get theistic evolution in any fair way from the text of Scripture.
The exegetical problems are huge. The plain meaning of the text of Genesis 1 tells a story of creation within one week. Later, in Exodus, this one week creation account serves as the explanation for the weekly sabbath. Moreover, as if anticipating a possible misunderstanding about the meaning of the word "day," Genesis 1 even provides a definition for us (evening and morning).
Yet some will still try to argue that the series of days can somehow be matched up with a big-bang cosmology and a theistic or deistic version of Darwinian evolution. It can be tough to persuade folks who have bought into that line of reasoning that they are not properly interpreting Genesis 1.
From my own perspective, the biggest problem for theistic evolution is the special creation of man. The Bible tells us:
Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
This special creation of man denies common descent. It affirms that man was created from the dust and then ensouled: life breathed into him by God. And yet this is only half of the problem. The other half is the creation of Eve:
And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Like Adam, Eve was not descended from pre-human ancestors -- not born to non-human parents. Instead, like Adam, Eve was specially created. That's what the Bible says, and that's what we ought to believe.
In my discussions with people, it seems easier to help them see that the special creation of man is inconsistent with theistic evolution, than it is to help them see that Genesis 1 is inconsistent with theistic evolution. Perhaps as you discuss this fundamental of the faith with people, you may be able to help them see that theistic evolution is wrong from Genesis 2, even if they have a firmly established misunderstanding of Genesis 1.
Perhaps you can help them to see that the theory of evolution is not based on the revelation of God, but on the foolishness of men who have turned from the Creator to the creation -- with theistic evolution simply being an attempt to provide a synthesis of that worldly thought and the truth.
Special Monday Dividing Line
03/20/2011 - James WhiteWe are bumping the DL back a day, so, regular Tuesday time (11am MST) on Monday. Yeah, Amazon released Love Wins early, so I'm about half way through that, but...that has nothing at all to do with why we are moving the program. I just needed to clear Tuesday out for something else! So, hope to hear from you as we take calls and discuss God's truth Monday morning!
Conducting Debate to the Glory of God
03/19/2011 - James WhiteMy thanks to Trinity Law School and esp. Lane Chaplin for arranging this evening recently in Southern California.
Richard Mouw, Rob Bell, Fuller Seminary, Mustafa Arja, and More on the DL
03/17/2011 - James WhiteAnother eclectic program today, covering Richard Mouw's proclamation of Rob Bell as orthodox, a call from Ben the agnostic, a quick review of some comments by Mustafa Arja in a recent debate (looking at his use of Shabir Ally and especially Bart Ehrman), and then a call that took us almost 15 minutes beyond our normal time, a conversation with Lars on Reformed theology and in particular, 2 Peter 3:9. Here's the program.
While I Have Net Access...
03/17/2011 - James WhiteOur ISP is having a hard day today. We lose our connectivity every few minutes, and maintain it only erratically. So, that may impact the DL this afternoon. Right now, we, just like the God of Open Theism, do not know what the future holds. So if you try connecting up at 4pm MST and there's nothing there, you'll know why! Whether we will "deadcast" (and post it later) or not, I do not know. We will "play it by ear"!
Today on the DL: Presuppositionalism, Chorazin and Bethsaida, and Rob Bell (In That Order)
03/15/2011 - James WhiteAnother eclectic program today, starting off with two calls, one on RC Sproul and his opposition to presuppositional apologetics (the call moved quickly to a discussion of the method more than Sproul's views) and the next from Silly Brit II (aka John Samson) on Jesus' words about Chorazin and Bethsaida. Then we launched into Rob Bell's press-release video presentation from yesterday and the oddity of his allegedly orthodox and yet obviously not theology. Here's the program.
I mentioned that I had just done a podcast with Chris Date's podcast right before the DL, covering more than an hour on Roman Catholicism and its claims of authority. Chris has posted that material and you can find it here.
I am currently uploading the video of the first call from today's DL, and once it is available, I will update this entry with it.
Paul's Review of Bell's Hell
03/15/2011 - Alan KurschnerI am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are following a different gospel–not that there really is another gospel, but there are some who are disturbing you and wanting to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we (or a hip Wheaton and Fuller grad with artsy optical frames) should preach a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be condemned to hell! As we have said before, and now I say again, if any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let him be condemned to hell! Am I now trying to gain the approval of people, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ! (Gal 1:5–10 NET)
The Biggest Problem with Apologists in the US....
03/14/2011 - James White
Quick Items at the Start of a New Week
03/14/2011 - James WhiteFor all those waiting for a review of Love Wins: I'm not privileged to be on the "inside" of the publishing industry, so I will have to wait for the book to be released. I have ordered the Kindle edition, which is supposed to be out on the 25th. I will take the time to listen to it then. Others will have reviews out long before I do, to be sure. But, you may wish to review the debate I did 18 months ago now with someone holding a similar view as (it seems) Bell now holds, on the Unbelievable radio broadcast of August 8, 2009. Something tells me I will be repeating many of my main points from that program over the next few weeks.
Secondly, many thanks to the Trinity Law School, and Lane Chaplin in particular, for a great weekend in Southern California. Lane should have some clips from the proceedings up soon, and I plan to post them here as well. I will report on the event tomorrow on the Dividing Line.
Pray that this will be a good "book week," i.e., a week when I get to spend a lot of quality time working on my current book projects!
Finishing Up the MCTS Podcasts...With Some Fun
03/10/2011 - James White
Geek 101 from the Dividing Line
03/10/2011 - James WhiteHere is the segment from Tuesday's DL about critical biblical texts as well as how to use your Kindle, iPod, etc., to listen to books while traveling, exercising, etc. We get lots of questions about this, so, here's the response!
A Wide-Ranging Dividing Line
03/10/2011 - James WhiteLet's see, we covered a question on common grace and those who deny there is such a thing; Mark 6 and Jesus "could not" do mighty works in Nazareth due to unbelief; Acts 17:27 and what "groping" for God might mean; refuting the community college atheists and their Osiris/Horus/Dionysus/Attis/Mithra madness; responding to an atheist's "Questions for Bible Thumpers," and finally, the "grammar/gender" question concerning the Comma Johanneum. A little something for everyone! Here's the program.
Thinking Critically About Biblical Criticism
03/10/2011 - Tur8infanThese days books alleging Biblical contradictions are seemingly seeing a resurgence in popularity. Many of these books, it seems, are recycling old alleged Biblical contradictions - contradictions that Christians answered hundreds of years ago. Yet these books are not presenting the answers, only the alleged contradictions. One is reminded of the words of Arnobius, who died in the 4th century, just after the council of Nicaea.
Arnobius (d. 330):
All these charges, or to label them for what they actually are, these diatribes, have long ago been answered with all the detail and accuracy required, by men who are masters in this field and who are entitled to know the truth in the matter; and no single point of any question has been passed over without being subjected to rebuttal in a thousand ways and on the strongest grounds. Therefore, there is no need to linger longer on this part of the case. For neither is truth unable to stand without supporters, nor will the fact that the Christian religion has found many to agree with it and has gained weight from human approval prove it true. It is satisfied to rest its case upon its own strength and upon the basis of its own truth. It is not despoiled of its force though it have no defender, no, not even if every tongue oppose it and struggle against it and, united in hatred, conspire to destroy faith in it.Ancient Christian Writers, Arnobius of Sicca, The Case Against the Pagans, Vol. 7, Book 3, Chapter 1 (Westminster, MD: The Newman Press, 1949), p. 192.
Part of our response can be like that of Arnobius. Yet Christian apologists need to try to think critically about these criticisms and to be prepared to give an answer, even if it has been given before.
With respect to alleged biblical contradictions, one approach is simply to address seriatim the string of alleged Biblical contradictions that are thrown out by the Bart Ehrmans of the world.
There's another approach that may prove handy. That approach is to point out the flawed methodology of skepticism that is being employed. In the following series of posts I've identified four issues that, if presented in separate gospels, would likely lead to the charge of contradictions amongst the gospels. However, in each case, the text in question comes from the same book: 1 Samuel. In various ways, the seeming contradictions are resolved, either by showing that the different accounts simply bring out different aspects, or showing that the different accounts are actually of different events.
1. A King for Israel: Blessing or Judgment?
2. The Crowning of King Saul - Private or Public - Initiated by Samuel or the People?
3. How did "Is Saul Also Among the Prophets?" Become a Parable?
4. When and At Whom did Saul Hurl His Javelin?
The point of those posts is, I hope, to provide some examples that my fellow apologists can bring up to help to show people how easy it can be to allege contradiction simply based on differences in accounts.
Regeneration and Conversion/Sanctification (Updated)
03/08/2011 - Jeff DownsThis is the week for the annual GPTS Spring Theology Conference, taking place right now. Actually, Ian Hamilton is scheduled to speak in about 2 minutes. Pastor Hamilton's lectures are being aired live on SermonAudio.com. Tonight he is addressing Regeneration and Conversion and tomorrow Sanctification, both scheduled for 7-8:30pm EDT.
To listen/watch live click here.
Mr. Hamilton is the minister of Cambridge Presbyterian Church, England (EPCEW). He has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Greenville Seminary since 2006. He is also the author of Let's Study the Letters of John and The Erosion of Calvinist Orthodoxy: Drifting from the Truth in Confessional Scottish Churches.
The first sermon is now online here. The second sermon is now online here
Today on the DL: Caner, Siljander, and E-Mail Questions
03/08/2011 - James WhiteStarted off with my frustration at the "discernment ministries" of our land that seem to either lack discernment, or a backbone, to stand up and blow the lid off the Great Evangelical Cover-Up (can you say not-so-Veritas Seminary?), and then moved on to e-mail questions. We got into Geek 101 for a while, covering Kindle and iPad stuff, as we get a LOT of e-mails on the topic. Talked about Bart Ehrman as well. Here's the program.
Tongues Debate: James White vs. David Bernard
03/07/2011 - James SwanHere's another mp3 that I found recently, currently not available on aomin.org. Around ten years ago, Dr. White appeared on WMCA radio in New York to debate Oneness theologian Dr. David Bernard.
The Gift of Tongues: Is it a Necessary Initial Evidence of Salvation?
DL Time Adjustment in the Morning!
03/07/2011 - James WhiteI have duties to attend to at home, so rather than just canceling the DL for Tuesday, we will do it early: 9:30am MST, 11:30am EST, and 3:30am in Sydney, Australia (David Ould was just whining in channel about this). I need to make sure our friends at Liberty know about this, lest they miss anything at all. :-)
Memory Lane: White vs. Hunt, the "Almost" Debate
03/06/2011 - James SwanI was searching through some old files and came across a set of interesting mp3's from 2004-2005. Back on 12/01/04, Dr. White was invited to be on the radio show Viewpoint with attorney Chuck Crismier along with Dave Hunt on the topic of Calvinism. When I searched around the Internet, I noticed that the links to the shows don't work anymore, so direct from my massive archives, here they are.
For the first show with Dr. White and Dave Hunt, Click here to listen. Dr. White posted a follow up blog entry here and also mentioned it here. He also did a follow up Dividing Line discussing the encounter.
Dr. White was invited back on the show on 01/31/05 on the topic of the perseverance of the saints. Click here to listen. Subsequent blog articles from Dr. White can be found here and here.
The Awesome Power of Media and Memory
03/06/2011 - James WhiteAnd now for something completely different...
Those were the days. Somewhere in the early 1970s I watched an episode of All in the Family. It was somewhere between ages 9 and 12, I'd think, so just under forty years ago. I saw this scene once. One time. Just once. And somehow it was burned into my memory. Ever since that single exposure to this scene I have thought about it whenever I was tempted, for one reason or another, to put on one sock, and then the corresponding shoe, before putting on the second sock and shoe. I cannot tell you how many hundreds of times in my life I have thought about Archie and Mike (Meathead) sitting on Mike's bed arguing about how to put on shoes and socks, and Mike's "I could hop around on one foot and stay dry" rebuttal. Now, I had forgotten some details. I did not recall that they were supposed to be in a hurry, nor that Archie left yelling that Mike should do it the right way the rest of his life. But still, given that I often find myself staring at the screen wondering why I opened a browser just now, knowing I had intended to do something, it is simply amazing the power of a memory from three and a half decades ago.
I had this brought home even more forcefully just a few days ago when I noticed a song by a favorite artist of mine from my youth that I did not have in my iTunes library. As I started looking around I realized that somehow I had failed to get a bunch of his music into my library. As I searched through albums on iTunes, and clicked on song titles that looked familiar, a song would begin and I would find myself not just singing the words, but remembering everything about the song, the tune, the cadence, even remembering trips I had taken as a young man while listening to that very music. It was all still there, locked away, waiting for the proper prompt to bring it back to mind. I'm sure most of my older readers have similar experiences. Just thought I'd share mine!
Mithra? Attis? Really, Rob Bell?
03/05/2011 - James White
Southern California, Here We Come...
03/05/2011 - James White
Hmm...What if? An Update on the Disappearance of Caner's Endorsement of Siljander's Book
03/04/2011 - James WhiteI was thinking after posting the information about Caner's endorsement disappearing from the Siljander website...what if this had nothing to do with Caner? What if someone contacted Mark Siljander, provided him with the mountain of documentation proving that everything Cal Thomas said about Caner, as recorded in the book, is bogus (born and raised in Turkey, came here to convert us, blah blah blah), and he realized he did not need that kind of publicity? I jumped to the conclusion that the "endorsement pull" came from Caner's side (given that it would be downright simplistic to post videos of Caner blasting everything Siljander says about Islam, jihad, etc. In fact, let's do that right now:
Notice the string of falsehoods: madrassas in Istanbul and Cairo (he didn't mention Beirut in this one), coming here when he was 14 (he was 2.5 and he knew it when he said it), and the lie that he knew nothing about America (tough to back that one up when you grow up in Ohio)---of course, we could give him a pass on saying he knew nothing about America when he actually did come here. Most 2.5 year olds are not overly culturally literate. But note that his view of jihad is the exact view of jihad Siljander attacks and decries and identifies as the main part of the problem in his book!). But what if the pull came from Siljander's side? An interesting possibility.
In any case, I would like to ask either Mark Siljander or Ergun Caner to explain the disappearance of the endorsement. If Ambassador Siljander pulled it, why? And if Ergun Caner pulled it, again, why? Were the words that appeared in the endorsement true when written? If they were, why remove them? Has something changed? Was the Insider Movement a good thing in 2008, but is not now? Was the Trinity, the Son of God, the cross---all of that, just linguistic semantics in 2008, but all of a sudden Ergun has come to think they are more than that? Why did Ergun Caner present the very view of jihad decried by Siljander in his book in all his videos and talks even after 2008? Just why did he endorse that book, even to the point of being in the acknowledgments as one who did "dynamic editing" of the book? I think all those who still labor under the misconception that Ergun Caner has some kind of innate expertise on Islam, and is a trustworthy source of information thereon, need answers to these (and so many more) questions.
Seems the Folks at Liberty Listen to the Dividing Line....
03/04/2011 - James WhiteLast night Ergun Caner's endorsement was listed at http://www.adeadlymisunderstanding.com/endorsements.php. This afternoon we were just informed that it has been removed, and, it has. Of course, that hardly can impact the print editions that are still out there, but since I have heard of a second edition coming out, maybe it will disappear from there? I will be interested to see if Caner makes any kind of statement and, even more so, if he bothers to explain how he could be in the acknowledgements as having done editing work on the book. If he has removed his endorsement, why? We would all like to know.
Your Hell is Too Small, Mr. John H. Armstrong
03/04/2011 - Tur8infanTo John H. Armstrong, author of the book, "Your Church is Too Small," and to those who buy into his way of thinking, my response is "Your hell is too small."
What do I mean by that? I mean that you are too quick to assume that people don't need to hear the gospel. You figure, "if they call themselves Christians, who am I to judge?" But in the process you lose the chance to convict them of sin and exhort them to repentance and faith in Christ.
By accepting their Christian professions despite their idolatry or other serious and unrepented-of sin, you are not doing them any favors. You may make a lot of friends for yourself (and that will be your reward) but you are not showing them love.
We love our fellow humans and we don't long for hell to be as large as it is. But on the other hand, we need to be realistic and to keep in mind that there will be many who are now saying "Lord, Lord," who will be there. It's not loving to tell someone with a treatable disease that they are fine, even if they don't want to hear about their disease.
Mr. Armstrong, you may think that my definition of the church is too small, but I'm afraid I must tell you that your definition of hell is too small. If I'm wrong, I've shared the gospel in vain. If you're wrong, you've failed to share the gospel with those who need it. If there's any uncertainty about who is right, I suggest you come over to my side.
Mark Siljander's Insider Movement Promoting Book, and Ergun Caner's Endorsement of It, Today on the DL
03/03/2011 - James WhiteOn January 31st I was contacted by a professor in a reformed seminary relating to Mark Siljander's book, A Deadly Misunderstanding. That happened to be the day I left for London, so I do not recall when, exactly, I purchased the book via Kindle. I know I began listening to it on a 75 mile climbing ride on February 23rd. I finished listening to it yesterday on another marathon ride. The subject of the book, its argumentation, its relationship to Ergun Caner and his alleged expertise in Islam (or lack thereof), and the continued blight upon Christian apologetics represented by the Great Evangelical Coverup led by Norman Geisler and others, is the substance of the entirety of today's program. Get a comfy seat and listen carefully, this is important stuff. Here's the program.
By the way, here is Ergun Caner's endorsement of the Siljander work:
I believe passionately that Mark has discovered a real pathway here—a means to open dialogue that we have not seen in centuries.
Dr. Ergun Caner
President of Liberty University Theological Seminary
Why Speech-Act Theory Matters For Truth-Lovers
03/03/2011 - Alan KurschnerPeter Pike's questions illustrate the illocutionary and perlocutionary acts of Rob Bell.
Challenging Your Rome-Colored Glasses - Set Aside Your Anachronism
03/02/2011 - Tur8infanSuppose you are reading through the writings of Gregory of Nazianzus and you hear him say that either the apostle Peter or the bishop of Rome is "entrusted with the chief rule over the people, in other words, the charge of the whole world." Would you think that he was affirming the universal jurisdiction and primacy of the Roman see? I think a lot of folks who have joined the Roman communion would think that way.
Likewise, if you are reading through Athanasius and see him talking about the bishop of Rome in these terms, "he is the pride of the Church, fighting for the truth, and instructing those who have need, they should not resist such an one, but rather accept his good conscience," many of my readers of the Roman communion would draw a similar inference that Athanasius is affirming Roman primacy.
Moreover, imagine you are reading through Basil's works and you come across him describing Rome this way, "No one knows better than you do, that, like all wise physicians, you ought to begin your treatment in the most vital parts, and what part is more vital to the Churches throughout the world than [her]? Only let [her] be restored to harmony, and nothing will stand in the way of her supplying, as a healthy head, soundness to all the body." I am sure that my friends and relatives in the Roman communion will tell me that this means that Basil viewed Rome as the head of the whole church.
The more suspicious of you will be asking, Why did he use "[her]" there? What did it actually say?
Well, that's the rub: none of these quotations is about Rome or the bishop of Rome. The last is about Antioch (that's the "her"). The middle is about Basil. The first is about Athanasius.
We all know that Gregory of Nazianzus didn't think that Athansius was the pope (in a Roman sense) of the church. We all know that Athanasius didn't think that about Basil. And we all know (well most of us do) that Basil didn't think that the bishop of Antioch had universal jurisdiction and primacy.
We know that because the same Gregory wrote this about another bishop: "After that he is a pastor; indeed, the greatest and most respected of pastors. He does not preside merely over the church [of his city or of the city and surrounding area] which, thanks to him and his efforts, is famous to this day, but also over the entire western region and in effect even over the east itself, and the south, and the north, everywhere that he came to be admired." And no that's not about the Roman bishop, but about the bishop of Carthage, Cyprian (the full quotation is below).
Yet if those statements had been made about the Roman bishop, you can bet they would be plastered as seemingly irrefutable proof of their belief in the papacy. And if we suggested that they were just hyperbolic, we'd be told we were twisting the words of the fathers and so forth.
The real culprit here, however, is the informal fallacy of anachronism. The fallacy is simply assuming the papacy back into the early church. Positive comments in passing that support the person's preconceived ideas are taken as confirming it, despite the fact that a reasonably alternative interpretation is present.
My dear Roman-communion readers: challenge your Rome colored glasses. Set aside your anachronistic reading of the fathers, and discover that while they were not Reformed Baptists or Presbyterians in their ecclesiology, they were also not papal in their ecclesiology. Rome's historical claims, therefore, are false. The papacy was unknown to the early church fathers.
We're not suggesting that the fathers were right, nor that they should be made the standard. Like they did, we are saying that the Scriptures are the rule. Yet we are saying that Rome's historical claims - her claims that the fathers confirm her authority - are false.
More importantly, when you have seen that Rome's historical claims are false, turn to the Scriptures and read them without imposing your church's theology upon them. When you do so, you'll see that there is no papal ecclesiology, the distinctive doctrines of Rome are not taught, and there is almost no emphasis on Mary. You'll see the Word of God in a whole new light.
- TurretinFan ...
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Did God Actually Say Eternal Punishment Exists?
03/02/2011 - Alan KurschnerSteve Hays illustrates naive piety.
Men Only Gain Judgment By Opposing God's Will
03/02/2011 - Tur8infanOne of my fellow pseudonymous bloggers, "diglot," has posted a response to one of my co-blogger's articles. The response is titled: "Matt. 23:37 and the Calvinism/Arminian Debate," and addresses Jamin Hubner's article here on the Team Apologian blog, "Matthew 23:37: Misquoted by Arminians (and Calvinists?)"
Diglot's response to the article is to say, in effect, that the observation that it is the leaders (not the people who were being gathered) who "would not," does not fundamentally address the Arminian objection.
Granted that White’s point is correct that Jerusalem represents the leaders of Israel and the children are the general populace, I can’t  see what exactly this changes. I mean, how does pointing that out resolve the issue of human freewill interfering with the will of God? Because either way, whether it is the Jewish leaders or the Jewish people, someone is impeding God’s desire by not being “willing”.Actually, however, the verse is part of a long criticism of the leaders of Israel and it is pronouncing judgment on them for their sins.
God's revealed will is opposed by the Jewish leaders and consequently they have incurred God's wrath. The point of the passage is not about how poor God has suffered at the hands of the leaders, but rather about how the leaders have come under the judgment and condemnation of God.
That is the drumbeat of the passage, which we might call a diatribe against the Jewish leaders, if not for the negative connotations of the term "diatribe":
But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.Notice how the "Jerusalem, Jerusalem" verse is not the first mention of this bad behavior by the Jewish leaders. They are accused in this way: "ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in." They refuse to serve God and they attempt to stop others from doing so.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.
Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!
Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty.
Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon. And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein. And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, and say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.
Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.
Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
The point is not that the leaders of Israel succeeded in stopping God from getting what God wanted. The point is that they opposed God's expressed will. They killed the messengers of God and they are about to "fill up the measure" of their fathers by killing the Lord of Glory.
But while they may have wished to stop God's will, they were actually doing God's will. For it is by the death of Christ that Christ obtains victory over sin and death on behalf of his people.
Moreover, God is the Almighty - no one is able to stop God from accomplishing what He desires. As King Nebuchadnezzar recognized, "all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?" (Daniel 4:35)
And God tells us:
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.(Isaiah 55:11)
Praise His name!
Equality Now Means "Believe As We Believe, Or Else"
03/01/2011 - James WhiteWe knew it was coming. They called us "reactionaries" when we warned about it, but sure as clockwork, we were right. Homosexuals do not want equal rights. They do not simply want to silence those who believe their chosen behavior is evil and will bring God's judgment upon them. No, that's not enough. Now you cannot even think such thoughts! If you dare confess to holding beliefs counter to the "cultural norms," you will be punished, ostracized, and, we all know, eventually punished directly. Oh, surely, the proponents of these laws, these judges who hand them down, play lip service to "freedom," but you need to understand: freedom is a one way street in the secular West. You are free to abandon morality, ethics, virtue, and truth, but you are not free to move the other direction. The hero is the apostate, the hate monger is the faithful believer. This is the new world of the secular West.
I am referring to this article in The Telegraph. Assuming its accuracy, it is yet another example of how there is nothing benign nor neutral about secularism. It hates God's law with a passion, and given time, will abandon any and all pretense to fairness. When it comes to our being the creation of God, under His sovereign law, there is no neutrality. So now, according to these judges, while it still might be acceptable to be a heterosexual couple (it will be hard for them to get rid of that: homosexuality only manifests itself in about 3% of the population), you can no longer be considered a fit foster parent if you think differently about homosexuality than the government-mandated "correct way of thinking." Tell me, how long until you are not considered a fit parent at all if you dare hold such radically horrific views as "marriage is the life-long union of a man and a woman, ordained by God"? We already know the radical atheists would love to preclude parents from instructing their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord---when will they attempt to enforce this by law?
You know what a good, and actually accurate, term would be for this attitude amongst secularists? Sure, we have already heard about Christophobia, the irrational fear and hatred of Christians and Christianity. But what is the source of this? In instances like this, is is theonomophobia, a fear of (due to guilt) and therefore hatred of, God's law (theos, God, nomos, law, hence the much debated term, "theonomy," is actually a perfectly valid concept that is present throughout the text of Scripture). Why is the secular West so intent upon self-destruction that it on the one hand persecutes those who remind it of its own past, while at the same time planting the seeds of its own destruction through political correctness and cultural suicide? I can see no other answer than the judgment of God. Justice is the foundation of God's throne (Psa. 89:14, 97:2), and a nation is dishonored by sin (Prov 14:34). So too God tells us that the "wicked strut about when that which is vile is honored amongst men (Psa. 12:8). Homosexuality is a vile passion, classed along with numerous other acts of rebellion against God's law, and it is a direct and unquestionable attack upon the Bible and the Christian faith to demand we reject this plain teaching and adopt the mindset of secularism.
We hope and pray God will mercifully overturn this obvious anti-Christian bigotry and injustice. But if He does not, we must not be silent. We must shine the light of truth upon the darkness of secularism and call all men and women, created in the image of God, to see it for what it is.
Innocent IV as Reported by Von Dollinger
03/01/2011 - Tur8infanJohann Joseph Ignaz von Döllinger wrote the important work, "The Pope and the Council." One of his interesting observations regarding the mutation of the papacy is this:
Innocent Iv. supplemented the hierarchical organization by adding a link hitherto wanting to the papal chain, when he established the principle that every cleric must obey the Pope, even if he commands what is wrong, for no one can judge him. The only exception was if the command involved heresy or tended to the destruction of the whole Church.[fn1](The Pope and the Council, pp. 161-62)
1. Comment, in Decretal. Francof. 1570, 555. Innocent wrote this commentary as Pope. He has openly told us what amount of Christian culture and knowledge, both for clergy and laity, suits the Papal system. It is enough, he says, for the laity to know that there is a God who rewards the good, and, for the rest, to believe implicitly what the Church believes. Bishops and pastors must distinctly know the articles of the Apostles' Creed; the other clergy need not know more than the laity, and also that the body of Christ is made in the sacrament of the altar.—Comment. in Decr. 2. Naturally, therefore, the laity were forbidden to read the Bible in their own tongue, and, if they conversed publicly or privately on matters of faith, incurred excommunication by a Bull of Alexander iv., and after a year became amenable to the Inquisition.—Sext. Dec. 5, 2.
I should note that apparently the summary above provided by von Dollinger has been picked up by others due to some sort of typo as being a quotation from Innocent III. Unfortunately, this has lead to a variety of spurious "Innocent III" citations both on the Internet and in print.
This "hand your mind over to the church" attitude is not a defined dogma, per se. However, when you think about it, it is the logical conclusion of a sola ecclesia mindset: just place implicit faith in the church and go about your business. Know that God exists and trust in the church that if you do what they say, you will be saved.
That's not the line we hear from Rome today, and Rome is no longer excommunicating laymen who speak not just privately but publicly about theological issues (not to mention reading the Bible in their own tongue). Is that for better or for worse?
I think it's for the better, since thinking critically about theology and reading the Bible in one's own tongue is the way that a person can become free from the tyranny of Rome.
May God give abundant grace so that this freedom of mind will bear fruit in repentance and faith in Christ alone (rather than in Christ as supposedly mediated by the Roman church) for salvation.
Today on a Technically Challenged DL: USA Today Tells Christians to Shut Up, and More
03/01/2011 - James WhiteTackled the USA Today article basically telling us all to stop talking about God's law and what is right and wrong, answered an e-mail about how to handle emotional responses to God's sovereignty in salvation, and finished off listening to a series of statements by John Hick, philosopher of religion (and opponent to revelational Christianity). Here's the program.