Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Today on the Dividing Line: Isaiah 53 with Dr. Michael L. Brown
05/31/2012 - James WhiteAlways a pleasure to have my good friend and brother in the Lord Michael Brown on The Dividing Line (even when we were debating each other!). Today we did a 90 minute program on a topic I have wanted to do for a long time, Isaiah 53. I hope to have this program posted as a stand-alone mp3 for distribution far and wide, not only amongst our Jewish friends but our Muslim friends as well. Michael and I worked through Isaiah 52:13 through the end of chapter 53 based upon the Hebrew text, taking into consideration at a few points the Septuagint and Targums as well. I hope many will listen carefully and be encouraged by this tremendous portion of prophetic Scripture! Here's the program.
Theological Fire Safety: Let's Put Out a Few Flaming Straw Men!
05/31/2012 - James WhiteSmell that smoke? It's coming from the theological straw men lit up by the likes of Emir Caner, Jerry Vines, Paige Patterson, Malcolm Yarnell, and David Allen. The smoke is thick, but the fire is hardly hot. I refer to a newly released statement titled "A Statement of Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God's Plan of Salvation." I began seeing reference to it yesterday, and today I took a few moments to look it over. The sheer number of category errors, misrepresentations, and, at times, complete face-palming theological mistakes is mind-boggling. It seems the entire doctrine of original sin has been jettisoned as well, given language such as this: "We deny that Adam’s sin resulted in the incapacitation of any person’s free will or rendered any person guilty before he has personally sinned." Seems like Pelagius has returned from the dead! So why do infants die again? Well, anyway. Here is another example: "We deny that only a select few are capable of responding to the Gospel while the rest are predestined to an eternity in hell." These are theologians, yet, they are theologians of tradition, for they clearly continue to refuse to even hear what the other side has said for, well, all of church history. No one has ever argued, to my knowledge, that the elect have a capacity in and of themselves that the non-elect do not. We are all children of wrath outside of grace. The elect are no more "capable" of responding to the Gospel than anyone else. Dead men lack the capacity to respond to anything. Hence the necessity of saving grace. And on it goes.
So tomorrow afternoon, starting at 5pm EDT, we will do a Radio Free Geneva examining this new "statement" and exposing its contradictions, category errors, and simple false teachings. Join us, and invite any confused Southern Baptists to listen in as well!
Dr. Michael Brown and Isaiah 53 on Tomorrow's Dividing Line!
05/30/2012 - James WhitePlease join me and my special guest Dr. Michael Brown as we look in-depth, based upon the Hebrew text, at Isaiah 53 and the Suffering Servant. Dr. Brown has recently contributed to a new book on Isaiah 53 (available here), and has debated the meaning of this text against Jewish rabbis for decades. This monumental text is vitally important in Jewish evangelism, but is likewise central to dealing with Islam as well. Make sure to join us for this in-dept analysis of this vital biblical text tomorrow at 5pm EDT.
Likewise, please note that immediately prior to this program I will be live (so I've been told) with Janet Mefferd discussing my book, The Same Sex Controversy. If you have Janet live in your area, tune us in. If not, I imagine it will be recorded and aired at a later point.
Yesterday on a Jumbo Dividing Line
05/30/2012 - James WhiteCovered three topics yesterday in a jumbo, fast moving edition of the Dividing Line. First, discussed Joshua Lim's "conversion" story promoted by the Called to Confusion boys and identified many of the standard "conversionist blindspot" problems that we have seen over and over again with those who think that jumping into the arms of Romanism will give them the certainty they have come to conclude God's Word and Spirit are incapable of providing, esp. the obvious one: your fallible choice to follow Rome (which is NOT the "only game in town") means that your level of certainty can never rise above the level of your own fallible choice. Welcome to life in a fallen world. Anyway, made some fairly strong observations about Romanism in general, and the ishy-squishy evangelicalism that has decided it is better to partner with Rome and get a few more votes than it is to stand for the purity and power of the Gospel. Then we moved on to the 2008 debate between pro-homosexual activist Harry Knox and Dr. Michael Brown, examining Knox's presentation and presuppositions. Then we finished off with a further examination of Abdullah Kunde's comments in a recent debate in Sydney. Here's the program.
The Preacher's Passion
05/26/2012 - Mike PorterRichard Baxter encourages ministers to let their earnestness match the seriousness and worthiness of their message. Would we be dull if we were to speak to our Lord? Would our speech be frivolous if we were to see him this very moment? If not, then how could we make our substance trivial and our voice dull or mild when we speak about Him?
If we were heartily devoted to our work, it would be done more vigorously, and more seriously, than it is by the most of us. How few ministers do preach with all their might, or speak about everlasting joys and everlasting torments in such a manner as may make men believe that they are in good earnest! It would make a man’s heart ache, to see a company of dead, drowsy sinners sitting under a minister, and not hear a word that is likely to quicken or awaken them. Alas! we speak so drowsily and so softly, that sleepy sinners cannot hear. The blow falls so light that hard-hearted sinners cannot feel. The most of ministers will not so much as exert their voice, and stir up themselves to an earnest utterance. But if they do speak loud and earnestly, how few do answer it with weight and earnestness of matter! And yet without this, the voice doth little good; the people will esteem it but mere bawling, when the matter doth not correspond. It would grieve one to the heart to hear what excellent doctrine some ministers have in hand, while yet they let it die in their hands for want of close and lively application; what fit matter they have for convincing sinners, and how little they make of it; what good they might do if they would set it home, and yet they cannot or will not do it.
O sirs, how plainly, how closely, how earnestly, should we deliver a message of such moment as ours, when the everlasting life or everlasting death of our fellow-men is involved in it! Methinks we are in nothing so wanting as in this seriousness; yet is there nothing more unsuitable to such a business, than to be slight and dull. What! speak coldly for God, and for men’s salvation? Can we believe that our people must be converted or condemned, and yet speak in a drowsy tone? In the name of God, brethren, labor to awaken your own hearts, before you go to the pulpit, that you may be fit to awaken the hearts of sinners. Remember they must be awakened or damned, and that a sleepy preacher will hardly awaken drowsy sinners. Though you give the holy things of God the highest praises in words, yet, if you do it coldly, you will seem by your manner to unsay what you said in the matter. It is a kind of contempt of great things, especially of so great things, to speak of them without much affection and fervency. The manner, as well as the words, must set them forth. If we are commanded, ‘Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might,’ then certainly such a work as preaching for men’s salvation should be done with all our might. But, alas, how few in number are such men! It is only here and there, even among good ministers, that we find one who has an earnest, persuasive, powerful way of speaking, that the people can feel him preach when they hear him.
Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor
Today on a Jumbo Radio Free Damascus!
05/24/2012 - James WhiteGot into the debate that took place a few weeks ago "down under" between Abdullah Kunde and Jason Cebalo, a Roman Catholic. Here is the debate:
I am dealing almost exclusively with Abdullah's comments, though during the Q&A we will be looking at some of Jason's comments as well. Today was a bit involved, looking a lot at some of the same issues we raised with Abdullah in our debate on the incarnation. Next time we will be looking at the I Am sayings of Jesus, etc.
Next week I will be starting a review of the pro-homosexual arguments of Harry Knox in a debate he did with Michael Brown back in 2008. Also, please note that hopefully sometime over the next two weeks Michael Brown will be joining me, possibly more than once on different topics! Be watching for an announcement on that. Meanwhile, here's today's program.
Can You Trust What You Read in the Media?
05/24/2012 - James WhiteRecently I invested over five hours of airtime to rather fully discuss the claims made by Matthew Vines in a YouTube video presentation defending the concept of "gay Christianity." His emotionally-laden presentation was not only badly imbalanced from any scholarly perspective, utterly ignoring the counter-arguments and even conflicting pro-homosexual interpretations offered on the same passages, but it was very poorly designed logically speaking, for it imported massive presuppositions solely on the basis of emotional appeal. Now, let's consider the actual situation here. A 22 year old undergrad with a small amount of Greek training gave an emotionally based presentation in which he attempted to laden all of church history, and everyone who disagrees with his minority and idiosyncratic interpretation of texts written in two different ancient languages with mountains of guilt, demanding that his views be given precedence while everyone else must be quiet or be labeled unloving and unmerciful. I gave a response drawing from years of training, and teaching, in both Greek and Hebrew, as well as church history. I am a published author in the field, and have debated leading proponents of the position (here and here).
So what happens when someone from the mainstream media reports on Vines' video? Well, you can see here. The reporter, Fred Mann, spends a good deal of time promoting the brilliance of Mr. Vines. And I guess, in today's context, we should be glad he even takes the time to note some of the responses. But evidently yours truly is the subject of a single short paragraph:
One minister in Arizona has offered a three-hour rebuttal that begins cordially but evolves into a strident appeal for Vines to repent, accusing him of making arguments used to justify pedophilia.
Now, how many times did I point out that the arguments Matthew Vines used could be used by those promoting incest, "inter-generational love," bestiality, and the like? Many times. But wasn't the point of the comparison made very clear in the five hours of my presentation? If argument X made by person A can be used to promote position M, which person A would reject as immoral and improper, should person A use argument X? Consistency would say no. I would invite Mr. Mann, or Mr. Vines, for that matter, to explain the error in my statement. The point of the comparison, of course, is not to commit the genetic fallacy, but to show that the argument is ethically and morally bankrupt and has erred somewhere in its presuppositions. And, of course, I spent a great deal of time demonstrating where the presuppositional errors were made by Mr. Vines.
I would invite Mr. Mann to consider looking into the scholarly works produced by men like Robert Gagnon or Michael Brown on these topics, and come to understand that Mr. Vines has not added anything at all that is new or even insightful to this debate. He has simply re-tread the same, tired, worn out arguments that have been found in the works of Boswell, Scanzoni, Mollenkott, Countryman, etc., for a long time now. And it really does not take two years to read those books and repeat their arguments. I wonder, would anyone at all today dare to critique Vines' presentation in a meaningful fashion in the media? I don't think so. Journalism, as it once was defined, no longer exists in the "mainstream media."
"Gay Christianity" Refuted!
05/23/2012 - Rich PierceThe complete response to Matthew Vines is now available as a single program. Yes its five hours and nine minutes long, (72meg in size), but the world needs to hear this message. We believe this so much that we have decided to make this publicly available to be distributed for free. Share it with your friends and relatives. We've titled it "Gay Christianity" Refuted and only ask that you not change it or sell it. All fair use rules apply for criticism too.
You can play it here or right click and download it. All that we ask is that if you are edified by it please consider supporting this work on a regular basis. There is more where that came from Lord willing.
"Gay Christianity" Refuted by James White is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License Based on a work at aomin.org.
On being defined by what you are against...
05/23/2012 - Mike PorterFor Christians, this is nothing new:
And when finally he was brought up, there was a great tumult on hearing that Polycarp had been arrested. Therefore, when he was brought before him, the proconsul asked him if he were Polycarp. And when he confessed that he was, he tried to persuade him to deny, saying, "Have respect to your age"—and other things that customarily follow this, such as, "Swear by the fortune of Caesar; change your mind; say, 'Away with the atheists*!'"
The Martyrdom of Polycarp
*An atheist was one who rejected the state approved gods.
Finally! We Concluded the Matthew Vines Response on Today's Mega Dividing Line
05/22/2012 - James WhiteFive hours, fifteen minutes. That is how long it took me to review the one hour, five minutes of Matthew Vines' presentation in defense of "gay Christianity." We will be posting, Lord willing, tomorrow, a file containing the entirety of the 5.25 hours of discussion of these key biblical texts, for we truly have been amazed at how many people have written and said that this series especially (together with the Dan Savage response) has been helpful and edifying to them. Watch for that link. For now, today's program included not only the concluding rebuttals to Vines, but a brief review of some comments by gay activist Harry Knox, and a review of a recent appearance by Tony Campolo on a Canadian television broadcast. I also announced that we will be doing a Radio Free Damascus on Thursday, too! Here's the program.
And don't forget the WayBack Machine, streaming Dividing Lines from 1998 onward 24/7! You can listen on the Flash Player found here.
The Preacher's Pride
05/22/2012 - Mike PorterRichard Baxter advises preachers to guard their hearts, else they run the risk of doing the work of the enemy without his so much as lifting a finger (emphasis mine).
One of our most heinous and palpable sins is PRIDE. This is a sin that hath too much interest in the best of us, but which is more hateful and inexcusable in us than in other men. Yet is it so prevalent in some of us, that it inditeth our discourses, it chooseth our company, it formeth our countenances, it putteth the accent and emphasis upon our words. It fills some men’s minds with aspiring desires, and designs: it possesseth them with envious and bitter thoughts against those who stand in their light, or who by any means eclipse their glory, or hinder the progress of their reputation. Oh what a constant companion, what a tyrannical commander, what a sly and subtle insinuating enemy, is this sin of pride! It goes with men to the draper, the mercer, the tailor: ‘it chooseth them their cloth, their trimming, and their fashion. Fewer ministers would ruffle it out in the fashion in hair and habit, if it were not for the command of this tyrannous vice. And I would that this were all, or the worst. But, alas! how frequently doth it go with us to our study, and there sit with us and do our work! How oft doth it choose our subject, and, more frequently still, our words and ornaments! God commandeth us to be as plain as we can, that we may inform the ignorant; and as convincing and serious as we are able, that we may melt and change their hardened hearts. But pride stands by and contradicteth all, and produceth its toys and trifles. It polluteth rather than polisheth; and, under pretense of laudable ornaments, dishonoreth our sermons with childish gauds: as if a prince were to be decked in the habit of a stage-player, or a painted fool. It persuadeth us to paint the window, that it may dim the light: and to speak to our people that which they cannot understand; to let them know that we are able to speak unprofitably. If we have a plain and cutting passage, it taketh off the edge, and dulls the life of our preaching, under pretense of filing off’ the roughness, unevenness, and superfluity. When God chargeth us to deal with men as for their lives, and to beseech them with all the earnestness that we are able, this cursed sin controlleth all, and condemneth the most holy commands of God, and saith to us, ‘What! will you make people think you are mad? will you make them say you rage or rave? Cannot you speak soberly and moderately? ’ And thus doth pride make many a man’s sermons; and what pride makes, the devil makes; and what sermons the devil will make and to what end, we may easily conjecture. Though the matter be of God, yet if the dress, and manner, and end be from Satan, we have no great reason to expect success.
The Reformed Pastor
The Preacher's Power
05/21/2012 - Mike Porter
How often have we heard an excuse for heresy made out of the desire to impress "thoughtful young men"! Young men, whether thoughtful or otherwise, are best impressed by the gospel, and it is folly to dream that any preaching which leaves out the truth is suitable to men, either old or young. We shall not quit the Word to please the young men, nor even the young women. This truckling to young men is a mere pretence; young men are no more fond of false doctrine than are the middle-aged; and if they are, there is so much the more necessity to teach them better. Young men are more impressed by the old gospel than by ephemeral speculations. If any of you wish to preach a gospel that will be pleasing to the times, preach it in the power of the devil, and I have no doubt that he will willingly do his best for you. It is not to such servants of men that I desire to speak just now. I trust that, if ever any of you should err from the faith, and take up with the new theology, you will be too honest to pray for power from God with which to preach that mischievous delusion if you should do so, you will be guilty of constructive blasphemy. No, brethren, it is not our object to please men, but our design is far nobler.
Charles H. Spurgeon
Brief Monday Miscellaneous
05/21/2012 - James WhiteFirst, for those who do not listen regularly to Justin Brierley's Unbelievable radio program (programme in the UK!) I am on the currently featured program which aired this past weekend, debating Dr. David Instone-Brewer from Cambridge on whether Jesus was a Calvinist or not. Someone on Twitter got all bent out of shape by the title (which, of course, I did not choose), but obviously the discussion is on whether Jesus taught the sovereignty of God in salvation or not. This was the "debate" I did early in the morning of my marathon ride back on April 2nd. Yes, I was fully decked out in my biking outfit while discussing this topic. And yes, it was dark outside when we started. Still is a useful discussion. Here's the program.
Second, many thanks for all the kind congratulations regarding my wife and I entering into the next phase of life by looking forward to the birth of our first grandchild around Christmas time.
Third, we will be doing the Dividing Line tomorrow at 3pm MST, 6pm EDT, and going for another Mega sized program. I think I can get the Matthew Vines response done in an hour, but, since I want to add to some of what I said regarding Romans 1, I can't make any promises. I also want to comment on some things Tony Campolo said on a Canadian TV program this week as well.
That one nagging question...
05/21/2012 - Mike Porter(Read this. Then read this. And, to really get into this issue, please listen to Dr. White’s Dividing Line on this subject.)
I have decided that the powerful rhetoric of Rachel Held Evans is simply too overwhelming – too persuasive to maintain my position that homosexuality is wrong. I have decided to beat my sword into a plowshare. I have my bowl in hand and my washcloth at the ready. I have laid down my arms and am ready for peace.
I realize that this may come as a shock to all of you, but there is no arguing the airtight logic of the article in which we are told that if we do not surrender our deepest held beliefs in the teachings of Scripture that we will be shunned and laughed at – scorned and shamed for our lack of sophistication and eloquent words of wisdom. It was compelling to me that the wisdom of the younger generation, simply by virtue of it being younger, has a wiser and more discerning perspective over where the allegiance of Christians should be.
Of course, we need to know that this is not any ordinary generation. This is not the generation of young Christians who daily hear of their friends decapitated, burned, shot, bombed, tortured, raped, and assaulted for their faith in Christ, like those over in Nigeria, Mogadishu, Kenya, Iran, China, and places where there is actual war. Those young Christians who might die today because of their faith in Christ have no idea what it really means to have true faith in Christ and to be part of the real generation of “young Christians” in the civilized world. Pity them, for all they can do is trust Christ and hold dearly to Him.
In various times, God spoke to the fathers and the prophets, but in these last days He speaks to us through young American and European Christians.
Mrs. Evans advises us to listen to the stories of people because "stories change everything".
So, I have decided to open up dialogue with all the communities that might have had their feelings hurt when previously I considered them to be “dead in their trespasses and sins” and “vessels of wrath prepared for destruction”. And while the Scriptures are clear that “the wrath of God is revealed against all ungodliness and all unrighteousness” I could not help but be persuaded that simply by virtue of the fact that Mrs. Evans has offered the rhetorical equivalent of, “So what?” that I must instead call evil good and good evil. I must call black white and white black. After all, the fate of a generation hinges in the balance.
And, while Mrs. Evans has opened up her dialogue with the LGBT community and calls them Christians and loved of God (please – no one cite Scripture, such as Psalm 5:5 at this moment – it will totally kill my momentum here), I have decided to fully embrace *all* the communities of good and moral human beings that are out there.
I have decided to open up dialogue with the NAMBLA community and wash their feet and praise them for their courage in fighting against societal norms and those “old” Christians who still see truth as something that represents the character of God. After all, it is only important that one loves. Who one loves is irrelevant. Therefore, I think it is also time to welcome the bestiality community and then the robot love community that is just beginning in Japan (why wait when we can be progressive?).
I have also decided to welcome with open arms the RWB (rape and woman battery) community because of the great love they have shown their fellow man. I have included here the murderous community.
You see, I am a forward thinker, and I realize that it is only a matter of time that, since the Scriptures no longer govern this generation of “young Christians” then there is no limit to what they will accept. Abandoning all my convictions of the truth of the Gospel is the only way to save this generation from their sins. Forgiveness of sins is outdated. We need acceptance of sins in this enlightened age. Never mind that Christ will accept all who repent of their sins and believe in Him. Never mind that God commands all everywhere to repent. Our duty to this generation is to ignore those pleas and commands!
You know what? Since being retro is also in vogue, I think we need to make a token step toward accepting and loving the FPoB (False Prophets of Baal) community. Elijah certainly did not exemplify the washing of feet to them. Let’s also remember TPCTtFtStM (The Passing Children Through The Fire to Sacrifice to Molech) Community. Let us hear their stories. We can learn parenting tips from them.
It is also long passed time that we openly accept the MHHFW (Man Has His Father’s Wife) Community (1 Cor 5:1-2).
Our reason for this move is noble, of course. Mrs. Evans tells us that it is not worth it to take these stands and to teach the truths about God’s wrath, man’s sin, and man’s need to repent. It is not worth being salt and light to the world because it makes people feel bad.
After all, it seems that to Mrs. Evans Christ did not come to save us from our sins, but to save us from a poor self image. So, rather than make the church the “pillar and ground of truth”, it needs to become the Areopagus, where we “spend [our] time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.”
Of course, I am sure we can ignore those warnings of Paul who was direct and plain and sharp as a knife when he said,
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
No, we can ignore them because the I am sure that the church is not interested in the eternal state of the souls of men.
It is truly more noble and brave to embrace this and let Mrs. Evans lead the charge, for Mrs. Evans’ chief concern is that we could win a culture war but lose a generation. So, our goal should be to “exchange the truth for a lie” for the sake of winning an entire generation.
Only, before I fully embrace this new and wise way of thinking, Mrs. Evans, allow me to ask this one nagging question of my own:
What does it profit the church to gain a generation but lose their souls?
Have You Noticed?
05/20/2012 - James WhiteAs you near the beginning of your sixth decade of life on this planet, if you are awake, if you are thinking, if you are looking beyond the mundane facts of existence, you start thinking about not only what you are going to leave behind as a testimony to the grace of Christ given to you in this life, but what is going to face your children and your children's children. You may have noticed that I often speak of what kind of world my grandchildren will face, what kinds of challenges will be theirs if, in the grace of God, He draws them to Himself and they seek to be faithful witnesses to the gospel of grace. Of course, I will soon turn 50, and I don't have any grandchildren!
Well, actually, as of today, I can finally let the world know that, in fact, by the blessing of God, and in His timing, my daughter, my youngest child, is expecting her first child herself, sometime around Christmas! I've had the good news for a number of weeks now, and maybe, just maybe, the term "grandchildren" has snuck into my sermons and DL broadcasts a bit more often as a result, who knows? But in any case, if the Lord is gracious to this little one and grants a safe and healthy delivery, I will get to experience the thrill of holding a newborn, born to my youngest child! Talk about another way the Lord has of making sure you know "eternity is coming, redeem the time, nurture a heart of wisdom to present to the Lord, for you will see Him soon." Of course, if the Lord grants me long life, I cannot even imagine what it would be like to see that child's children! My dad, Lord willing, will be seeing that great-grandchild around Christmas time.
So I am thrilled for Thaddeus and Summer, and very proud to have been the one who got to perform their wedding ceremony just last July. Who knows? Maybe I will be showing a video clip 20 years from now showing a young grandchild in the front row watching a debate, just as I show a clip that has Summer sitting down front at one of my debates from 1999. That would be a great blessing indeed.
Today on a Mega Edition of the Dividing Line
05/17/2012 - James WhiteInvested the first hour in continuing my response to Matthew Vines' presentation on homosexuality. We only have about 15 minutes left in his presentation, but, the last 15 minutes contain the most emotionally-charged materials, so I figure we still have a solid 45 minutes to an hour to go. I hope to finish the response next week. Then we will take that material and put it into a single file for download and distribution. The second hour was split between a brief discussion of George Bryson's "The Biblical Doctrines of Grace" presentation and a continuation, and possibly finishing up, my review of Adnan Rashid's debate with Jay Smith in Dublin. Here's the program.
And don't forget the WayBack Machine, streaming Dividing Lines from 1998 onward 24/7! You can listen on the Flash Player found here.
On Today's Dividing Line
05/15/2012 - James WhiteToday we had a jumbo sized DL (90 minutes) once again focusing upon the exploding discussion of homosexuality in Western culture. Started with a lengthy reading of, and response to, this article by Rachel Held Evans. Then responded briefly to a comment by Hugh Hewitt, then noted a statement in Barack Obama's book, The Audacity of Hope, wherein he identifies Paul's statement on homosexuality in Romans 1:26-27 as an "obscure line" that needs to be interpreted in light of the Sermon on the Mount, and finally examined Chris Matthew's outrageous behavior in an ostensible "interview" of Tony Perkins. Here's the program.
And don't forget the WayBack Machine, streaming Dividing Lines from 1998 onward 24/7! You can listen on the Flash Player found here.
Open Phones and Gay Marriage on Today's Dividing Line
05/09/2012 - James WhiteThere was much to talk about with the North Carolina vote, President Obama becoming the first American President to openly endorse the destruction of a God-given institution, etc. Here's the program.
Yesterday on the Dividing Line: Mega DL Continuing Response to Matthew Vines
05/09/2012 - James WhiteI was only going to discuss Matthew Vine's "Gay Christian" presentation for the first hour, but since we were in the middle of the biblical discussion, I went ahead and continued, so we did a full two hours on the subject, covering Genesis 19, Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, and starting into Romans 1. I am hearing from a lot of folks that these programs are helping them in the discussions that are inevitably arising due to the discussion of homosexuality, the redefinition of marriage, etc., in Western culture. Here's the program.
Speaking of which, I am sure everyone is noticing that "he who frames the debate wins the debate" being fulfilled this very morning in the media in the US. The passing of Amendment 1 in North Carolina (don't worry, the Federal government will over-turn all these silly, backwards states over time), which affirms and defines marriage in the only logical, rational, historical, moral, ethical, biological, and, of course, Christian way, as the union of one man and one woman, is almost universally being identified as a "banning of gay marriage." Instead of the positive affirmation of serious and thoughtful morality and ethics that is rooted deeply in our history and culture, the main stream media in general has identified the amendment as anti-gay bigotry, etc., never, ever considering the deep bigotry and bias that is inherent in the homosexual movement. The issue is almost always framed in such a way as to paint the moral stance as negative and bigoted, and to put those who would resist the redefinition of marriage on the defensive. It is so obvious and yet the majority of our fellow citizens seem to ignore the reality.
Tomorrow on the Dividing Line!
05/07/2012 - Tur8infanTomorrow, Lord willing, there will be a "Mega" Dividing Line program beginning at 1 p.m. Arizona time (1 p.m. PDT/ 4 p.m. EDT). Matthew Vines, or rather his speech, will be discussed during the first hour of the program.
You can stream it live at this link, which is the same link that will let you stream the "way back" feed of old Dividing Line programs when the Dividing Line is not live.
Mr. Vines is welcomed and encouraged to call in at 1-877-753-3341 (Toll Free).
Yesterday on the Dividing Line..
05/04/2012 - Rich PierceJames reply's to Matthew Vines' "The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality" YouTube presentation and more.
Here's the program
Mega DL Today at 3PM MST/6PM EDT
05/03/2012 - James WhiteWhy a Mega? Simple. I listened to this entire presentation this morning out in the gorgeous Arizona early morning, and I think it is a MUST RESPOND presentation. This is a very different approach than you see in Dan Savage, and is far more difficult to respond to for most Christians. Want to do your homework beforehand so as to be ready? Here's the presentation I will be responding to:
Steve Rays' Reasons
05/02/2012 - Tur8infanSteve Ray, now a Roman Catholic, formerly a Protestant congregant attempted to answer some questions about why he decided to trust the Papal see:
I explained my reasons for converting to the Catholic Church in my book Crossing the Tiber and on my Conversion CD. Here I provide a few of the quotations that had an impact on my decision. It is far from a complete list.
In fairness to Steve, this particular post is not going to deal with the particular sample quotations - and even the quotations may not have been the complete reason. The point of this point is to address some of the generalities.
As an Evangelical Protestant, echoing the words of Baptist Preacher Charles H. Spurgeon, I cared about what the Holy Spirit revealed to me, but had little regard for what he had revealed to others, especially those in the first centuries--some who knew the apostles personally.
With all due respect, now that Steve is Roman Catholic he STILL cannot have much regard for what the Holy Spirit revealed to other men: Steve is bound by dogma to accept the declarations of his church without regard to whether they were taught by the fathers. Steve has turned over his judgment to the truth, he has not gained liberty to evaluate the fathers freely.
Most curious is his "some who knew the apostles personally." There are no extant writings of Christians that are positively attributable to people who knew the apostles personally. There are the "Epistle of Barnabus" (attributed sometimes to Paul's companion) and "The Shepherd of Hermas," (attributed to a very early Christian or heretical writer) but the only accounts outside of Scripture that are remotely reliable as to the words of first century Christians who knew the apostles would come from the second hand words of 2nd century Christians.
I was convinced that the earliest Christians were basically “Protestant“ in their theology and practice and only became corrupted with “Catholic stuff“ in later centuries. I thought Protestants had the claim to authentic continuity back to the apostles.
Well, that depends what you consider "Catholic stuff." Some "Catholic stuff" entered very early, while other "Catholic stuff" like indulgences, prayers to departed believers, use of icons and idols for worship, papal infallibility, and the bodily assumption of Mary arose later - in some cases much later (try finding documentation of papal infallability more than a century before Vatican I).
But I was very mistaken and the more I studied the early Fathers of the Church, starting with Ignatius of Antioch, Clement of Rome, (disciples of Peter and Paul), Papias, Irenaeus, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, and others, I became convinced the early Church was Catholic. Intellectual honestly and spiritual integrity forced me to become a Catholic. As the old maxim says: “The water is always cooler and cleaner as you draw closer to the source.” I had gone back to the early Church and the truth was clear and refreshing.
First, the maxim is untrustworthy: heresies sprang up immediately. The apostles, for example, had to deal with Judaizing within the first century, and possibly Gnosticism as well (John's gospel can be viewed as a direct response to the Gnostic heresies).
Second, the claim that Ignatius of Antioch and Clement of Rome were personally familiar with the apostles is open to reasonable doubt: the historical evidence of such personal familiarity is far from persuasive. There is, however, evidence of knowledge of the writings of the apostles - evidence of knowledge of the New Testament.
For example, when Ignatius writes to the Ephesians, he quotes from Paul's epistle to the Ephesians (see Ignatius' Letter to the Ephesians, Chapter 1, quoting from Ephesians 5:2) and Paul's epistle to the Corinthians (Id. Ch. 2, quoting from 1 Corinthians 1:10; and Ch. 18, quoting from 1 Corinthians 1:20). Likewise, Clement writing to the Corinthians heavily relies on Old Testament Scripture, and likewise appears to reference New Testament Scripture (See 1 Clement 23, apparently combining James 1:8 and 2 Peter 3:3-4).
What is even more key is the fact that even though Ignatius of Antioch may have been ordained by one of the apostles or by men who know the apostles, in his letter the authority to which he appeals is uniformly the authority of Scripture. He at one point quotes a saying of Jesus, but even this saying is found in the Gospels (See 1 Clement 13, providing the words found at Matthew 6:12–15 and 7:2 and Luke 6:36–38).
More certainly could be said about the page at the link above. There a number of quotations provided that doubtless are troubling to certain people, some of which I've addressed before, and most of which are addressed by (a) acknowledging that we are not carbon copies of the early church fathers, (b) recognizing that the church fathers were not all carbon copies of one another, (c) reading the fathers in context (perhaps I should have placed this first), and once we have adduced the true meaning of the fathers, if it disagrees with us, placing that matter before the bar of Scripture, which is the only infallible rule of faith and life.
Don't even get me started on the quotations from Luther. I suspect my friend James Swan has already addressed those, as he has so many other attempted reliances on Luther by Rome's apologists.
UPDATE: Yes, he has dealt with them. Check out his responses here:
Video Response to Dan Savage, Along with a Challenge
05/02/2012 - James WhiteThink Dan Savage would do a real debate, I mean, one where both sides are equally represented, where he would have to engage in cross-examination, provide serious scholarship, etc.? Think this video will remain on YouTube? Let's pray toward that end!
Yesterday on the Dividing Line: A Program I Could Never Upload to YouTube
05/02/2012 - James WhiteSad, isn't it? I would love to post the video from yesterday's point-by-point response to Dan Savage, but we all know in this upside down, morally inverted world, that homosexuals can say anything they want--they can use profanity in High School auditoriums in front of hundreds of students, they can mock students who walk out in offense, and well, the MSM and the culture may shake their head, but they will not suffer for their actions. But if a Christian responds and demonstrates that Dan Savage is significantly less than honest in his argumentation, we all know what will happen to that video. But, we do not post the Dividing Line on YouTube, we have our own server, so at least we can still do that. For now.
So I spent the first 45 minutes in response to Dan Savage and also discussing the Ron Brown situation, once again noting the inherent inconsistencies involved in pro-homosexual apologetics. Then we started taking calls. LOTS of calls. At one point every single line in our phone system was filled, and I didn't even think that was possible. But, it was. A couple had to do with the MItt Romney, "Can a Christian vote for a Mormon?" issue, along with lots of other topics. Here's the program.
And don't forget the WayBack Machine, streaming Dividing Lines from 1998 onward 24/7! You can listen on the Flash Player found here.
Moving the DL to This Afternoon...Jumbo Edition!
05/01/2012 - James WhiteGoing to start the DL today at 3pm MST, 6pm EDT and go for a jumbo edition...probably the same on Thursday, too, as I *might* be on ABN for a debate Thursday night at 8pm EDT (but so far that is not confirmed). Join us then!