Letter #2 from James White, responding to Mr. McKinsey’s comments as contained in the August 1986 edition of Biblical Errancy. As above, sections correspond to Mr. McKinsey’s response as printed in the October and November issue of his publication.
I will attempt to he brief, as your space is limited. DM, your point that Jesus contradicted Jesus by, after His death and resurrection, commanding the disciples to go unto all the world is built upon the supposition that Jesus’ command to the disciples originally was meant to be eternal. There is no indication that it was. You don’t seem to feel Jesus could direct His ministry in the best way possible. Quoting Malachi 3:6 begs the issue as it removes the phrase from its context and misapplies it to a completely different issue. Jesus did not “change his teaching” merely because He died and was resurrected – the death and resurrection of Christ (as the Bible makes clear) was the focal point of the entire NT revelation. The standards you apply to Jesus are at best extremely unrealistic. During His ministry He sent the twelve to the Jew’s only as He came as their Messiah; upon their rejection of Him and His death and resurrection, the Gospel was opened up to all who would believe. If you think this is a contradiction, fine. Most would disagree.
Part (b) truly amazed me. The main point you attempted to argue had to do with the fact that you had claimed a contradiction between Paul and Jesus at Matthew 19:18 and Romans 13:9. You wrote, “Jesus and Paul can’t seem to agree on the wording of the 6th commandment regarding killing.” I simply pointed out to you that you were wrong. Both Jesus and Paul said the exact same thing – ou phoneuseis – hence, they did agree on the wording of the 6th Commandment. Your claim was wrong. How an English translator or German translator or French translator or anyone else renders ou phoneuseis into their own tongue is completely irrelevant to the issue you brought up. If you have problems with Matthew 19:18/Romans 13:9 bring it up with the translators, not with the Bible. There is no contradiction as the exact same word is used. You spent nearly a full page begging an issue that had not even been raised. I would challenge you to look up the passages in a modern critical text and see for yourself. And then to say that my comment is in direct opposition to some of the most widely accepted versions on the market today. Really, DM, this is ridiculous – phoneuo is defined as “murder, kill” (Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich, Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature , p. 864). You contend that since various versions use synonyms (murder, kill) they are trying to point out a difference in the two passages – please, DM, since you failed to answer my question of your own ability to translate Greek I can only assume that you are unqualified to make the assertion that you do. These versions are not trying to differentiate these passages at all. Again, all of this is irrelevant as your charge was that Jesus and Paul used different wording which they obviously did not. Let the reader decide for himself. (By the way, the very fact that you list the NWT (New World Translation of Jehovah’s Witness) along with truly scholarly editions is amazing – I would like to suggest you look into the NWT and find out what it really is – I enclose a tract pointing out some interesting facts about that subject).
Again, DM, you beg the question by dodging the clear fact that the Bible differentiates between athanasia which is Christ’s by right, and zeon aionion which is given to the believer at the time of the new birth. Just because you don’t understand the difference does not mean it doesn’t exist. In the same way, you said that my explanation of the use of echon in relation to immortality was “muddled” and that what the relationship of the continuous action of the participle to the passage was “one can only surmise.” Again, simply because you do not understand the passage as it was written is no excuse for continuing to suppose contradiction. Anyone familiar with the language would be able to follow what I said and would see that you are arguing from ignorance. You simply will not allow for the possibility that the Bible might indeed be consistent on this point., DM. You are making the exact same kind of error you decry in others.
You mentioned a list of issues that dealt with the Trinity – I now have access only to #15 and #18, hence I can only comment on them. Our ministry deals with the cults, and what you wrote in those articles shows much less research than does the material printed by such groups as Jehovah’s Witnesses (from whom you obviously borrowed freely). The very fact that you could list as the Trinitarian’s main support such passages as I Peter 1:2, I John 5:7 (are you kidding?), 2 Corinthians 13:14 and Matthew 28:19 demonstrates one of two things: 1) you have not read much on the subject, which obviously is not true as you make reference to a number of works in your article, or 2) you are deliberately deleting a number of important factors. I would hope the reason for #2 is that you don’t have a lot of room with which to work. At any rate, the view you gave of the Biblical view of the Trinity is, at the very best, contorted and twisted. It is not my desire to enter into a long discussion of the Trinity with you, as you would not allow a for a logical, contextual and linguistic interpretation of the Scriptures. I enclose more information on the subject for your personal reading. By the way, I asked you a simple question that anyone familiar with the subject of the Trinity would know the significance of and would be able to answer. It was not meant to insult you – it was meant to make you deal with the issues. You did not.
I did not condemn BE in my letter – I mentioned only the single issue I had at that time. I simply stated that you had not demonstrated a single contradiction in that paper, and I hold to that claim. I would like to kindly submit to you, DM, that it is you who will not admit your own limitations with respect to Greek and Hebrew.” I have given my qualifications* – what are yours? And finally, I would like to point out that Greek and Hebrew as modern languages are indeed always changing – but that misses the whole point. We are dealing with classical Hebrew and koine Greek – they are not changing and evolving. Such a dodge does not work. I do hope that in your reply you will answer the issues rather than attacking me personally – much more good could he accomplished in that way.
(Under Peter versus Peter on page 3 of Issue #44 is the following “contradiction”: “God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment” (2 Peter 2:4) versus “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). The question then became one of determining how the devil could be walking around if he was chained in hell until judgment–Ed.). [The above section preceded the next section of this letter when published in BE to give the proper background and context.]
One other point I cannot resist bringing up – in the August issue of BE, page 3 under “Peter vs. Peter” #3 – please give me the reason you equate “the angels who sinned” with Satan. Jude gives more information about those angels mentioned in 2 Peter, and even Peter says that they were the ones who sinned in the days of Noah. That narrows it down a good bit. This again demonstrates that it is your misunderstanding of the passage that creates the difficulty – the Bible nowhere says that Satan is chained, awaiting judgment. That is only your erroneous conclusion based on preconceived prejudices and mistakes.
*I had given Mr. McKinsey my educational background in a separate part of the letter, which, at that time included three years of koine Greek and basic training in Hebrew through Fuller Theological Seminary. Aside from this, I also graduated summa cum laude from Grand Canyon College with a B. A. in Bible.