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2nd Reply to James White from Mr. McKinsey – Vintage

Mr. McKinsey’s response to the above letter as contained in the October and November issues of “Biblical Errancy.”

Section A:

Dear JW. So many of your comments warrant analysis that one hardly knows where to begin. (1) You state that there is no reason to suppose that Jesus’ original command to his disciples was meant to be eternal. But what else could have been intended when he said “I am not sent but unto?” If you’re going to employ this line of defense you’re going to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Literally thousands of biblical statements will be brought into question. One could ignore any biblical maxim by simply saying it only applied to the individuals directly involved and the period in which it was uttered. If the absolutist nature of many biblical teachings is jettisoned, the structure will begin to disintegrate. One could argue, for example, that the “Thou’s” in the Ten Commandments only apply to the persons being directly addressed. Secondly, what evidence do you have that it was not eternal? I see no such qualifier in the text. You talk about a “supposition”; yet, you are supposing something less than eternity when nothing in the text justifies your belief. Thirdly, even if the statement were meant to be valid only for a short period, you have only shown that Jesus changed his mind and strategy. The perfect, omniscient being altered his course! This could he seen as more damaging than a contradiction. Fourth, you said “Jesus could direct His ministry in the best way possible.” Yet, one can’t help but ask, “What’s best about it?” The supposedly prescient, perfect being changed tactics and abandoned a crucial teaching. (2) Your comment that Mal. 3:6 was misapplied and taken out of context has no merit not only because biblicists constantly quote the verse in any context deemed suitable but because it is appropriate. Jesus is God and God does not change his basic nature, which includes consistency. For Jesus to change a basic teaching, especially because it was rejected by those to whom it was directed, would not only be inconsistent but expedient. (3) You accuse me of contending that Jesus changed his mind because of his death and resurrection when that was your position. Remember saying, “Your final statement read, ‘Jesus told his followers to go only to the Jews’…” This ignores the fact that Jesus’ statements were made before his death, burial and resurrection. After that event Jesus said…teach all nations (Issue #44, p. 3). (4) You accuse me of applying unrealistic standards to Jesus when all I’m requesting is consistency. Is that too much to ask of a perfect being? (5) What do you mean by saying, “the gospel was opened up…?” You mean Jesus only came to save the Jews and only turned to the gentiles because the Jews rejected him? You mean we can all be saved only because the Jews eschewed him. (sic) How does it feel to be a consolation prize, separate from God’s first choice, especially when this flies in the face of Acts 10:34 and Rom. 2:11 which say God is impartial? (6) Finally, it isn’t a question of whether I think this is a contradiction; I know it is. Jesus originally said I am notsenthutunto and later sent his followers to all nations. The “most” whom you contend would not feel this is a contradiction are biblicists and that’s to be expected.
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2nd Letter to Mr. McKinsey from James White – Vintage

Letter #2 from James White, responding to Mr. McKinsey’s comments as contained in the August 1986 edition of BiblicalErrancy. 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.

Section B:

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).

Section C:

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.

Section D:

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.

Section E:

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.

Section F:

(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.

1st Reply to James White from Dennis McKinsey – Vintage

Reply by Mr. McKinsey, as contained in the August 1986 edition of “Biblical Errancy.” Sections correspond to the sections placed in the above letter.

Section A:
Dear JW. Like you, I have encountered the same arguments on numerous occasions and your “out-of-context” pleading is one of the most common. You alluded to point #18 in the May 1986 commentary and held that there was no contradiction between Jesus and Paul because the former adopted a new position after his death and resurrection. Oddly enough, we agree on one point. His posture did change. Before his death Jesus said, ”l am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt.l5:24) and “Go not into the way of the Gentiles” (Matt. 10:5), while afterwards he said, “Go ye therefore and teach all nations” (Matt.28:19). So which view represents the real Jesus? I’m not sure. Are we to assume God, i.e. Jesus, changed his mind and completely reversed a very important teaching. (sic) I assumed he did not, which accounts for the disagreement with Paul who said, “For there is no difference between Jew and Greek.” If you insist he altered his stance, then you have eliminated a contradiction between Jesus and Paul by creating one between Jesus and Jesus (which was discussed in Issue 28’s commentary- -#78). Jesus initially said one thing; afterwards he said another. One of his comments is false unless he originally came to save only a small group instead of all mankind. Is that what you are contending? If so, then you had better rewrite some Christian theology. Or, are you saying Jesus, i.e. God, the perfect being who changes not (Mal. 3:6), changed his mind and reversed his teaching merely because he died and was resurrected? Why would his death, burial and resurrection warrant such a major change or be of significance and weren’t those to whom he spoke before his death on the cross given false information? After all he knew he was sent to save more than just the Jews.

Section B:

I realize that apologists, such as yourself, place great reliance on the “back to Greek and Hebrew” defense, JW. Some even like to think of it as their ace-in-the-hole. If there were unanimity among scholars and only one version available, their dreams would be plausible. But, unfortunately for them, anything but agreement reigns supreme and widely varying versions abound. Your own example shows this quite well. You said there was no difference between Matt. 19:18 (Thou shalt do no murder”) and Rom. 13:9 (Thou shalt not kill”) because both came from “ou phoneuseis” in Greek. That is in direct opposition to some of the most widely accepted versions on the market today. Since you questioned my knowledge of Greek and Hebrew, I’d like to pose some questions to you. How many years have you studied Greek and Hebrew? Have you ever taught it on a professional, full-time basis? Are you an expert, a recognized authority on these languages? With all due respect, I doubt it. Those who translated Greek and Hebrew into such versions as the King James, the Revised Standard, the New American Standard, the New American Bible etc. are such experts. indeed, many have devoted their lives to linguistics. And the consensus of several of these committees is opposed to your analysis of our example. The translators of the KJV say “murder” is the proper word in Matt. 19:18, while ”kill” is the best term to use in Rom.13:9. Are you saying they don’t know the difference, that they don’t know how to translate? Are you saying you know Greek and Hebrew better than those who assembled the KJV? They say there is a difference, while you say there isn’t. Before leaping to the common response that later research has corrected some errors in the KJV, you had better take note of the fact that several of the newest versions agree with the King James. The Modern Language says “murder” (Matt. 19:18) and “kill” (Rom. 13:9). the New American Bible says “kill” (Matt. 19:18) and “murder” (Rom. 13:9), and the New English Bible says “murder” (Matt. 19:18) and “kill” (Rom. 13:9). So clearly the experts on several committees say there is a difference where you deny one exists. This is typical of the problem that arises when you return to the “original” Greek and Hebrew to see what the text says. Even the experts clash. They often don’t agree on which text to use among the multitude available and they often don’t agree on what the text says even when agreement is reached on the text to use. The dispute as to whether “almah” in Isaiah 7:14 means “virgin” or a “young woman” has never been resolved. I could become one of the world’s greatest Hebrew/Greek scholars and still find many knowledgeable people who disagree with my interpretation. The example you gave demonstrates the problem clearly. Does “ou phoneuseis” mean “kill” or “murder.”(sic) Certainly there is a difference between killing and murdering. The KJ, and NAS, the Modern Language, and the NE versions contend one “ou phoneuseis” does not equal the other. So we have disagreement within these versions. We also have the problem of versions that are internally consistent but in opposition to one another. For example, the RSV says “kill” (Matt. 19:18) and “kill” (Rorn. 13:9) as does the Living Bible, the New American Standard and the New Jerusalem. The NIV, the NASB, the NWT, and the TEV, on the other hand, say “murder” (Matt. 19:18) and “murder” (Rom. 13:9). So who is right? Who knows Greek best? Which group of Greek scholars should we accept? And these men have devoted decades to these languages. That’s why BE does not become involved in linguistics and translations. It’s a never-ending struggle often decided more by political expediency than objective scholarship It’s the same kind of expediency that decided which books would enter the canon to begin with. BE only requires apologists to stay with one version or the other and relates problems primarily from the KJV because it’s accepted by the largest number of people. Relating every disagreement within and between all versions is out of the question.

Your reconciliation of the disagreement between 1 Tim. 6:16 (“Jesus only hath immortality”) and John 3:16 (“whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”) doesn’t fare much better, JW. You say the word in 1 Tim. 6:16 is athanasian which Webster defines as “immortal (Greek: a-without + thanatos-death) and view that as different from the “eternal life” in John 3:16. How “immortality” differs from “eternal life” is a distinction only theologians can visualize. I’d say we are comparing apples to apples. Like many apologetic theologians you are trying to create a distinction where none exists.

Your attempt to solve the “only Jesus has immortality” problem is muddled at best. You said, “the word translating ‘hath’ in the KJV is a participle in the original, echon. The continuous action without relationship to time expressed by this participle is significant to the meaning of the passage.” How it is significant and what “continuous action” has to do with the issue, one can only surmise. Either Jesus is or is not the only immortal being.

You implied that only those fluent in Greek and Hebrew are qualified to critique the Bible. But, that goes two ways. Are you sufficiently fluent in these languages to defend the Book? And, even more importantly, are you more fluent than recognized experts on translation committees such that you can tell them their understanding of a passage is in error? You need to realize that some of your points exhibit disagreement more with them than with me, JW. You say there is no difference between the “ou phoneuseis” of Matt. 19:18 and the “ou phoneuseis” of Roman 13:9; whereas, the translators of the KJ the NAB, the ML, and the NE versions say there is. With all due respect, I’m more inclined to believe them than you. And since BE can only focus on one version at a time we have stressed problems within the KJ.

Section C:

In all honesty, JW, I fail to see the humor in #31. Seems like a clear-cut inconsistency to me! Your comment with respect to #33 does, however, have some merit. As long as you are willing to admit that the statement attributed to Jesus by Paul does not exist in Scripture, I am willing to admit there could be an extra-biblical comment to that effect. But don’t give people the impressions, as is often done, that such a statement by Jesus can be found in the Bible. As far as #34 is concerned, some of that “in-depth theology” on the Trinity was covered in Issues 15, 18, 36. and 38 which you don’t appear to have read. Instead of answering the trinitarian dilemma posed, you merely belittled my understanding and asked an innocuous rhetorical question about gender which has little relevance and less impact. I’ve debated the Trinity on numerous occasions and seriously doubt you could add anything new. But I’m willing to listen.

Section D:

Do you honestly expect me to believe that you “do not blindly accept anything”, JW. (sic) You condemned BE before hearing my responses, without reading prior issues, without addressing many other points that were made; without giving clear, unmuddled responses to the problems you chose to discuss, and without acknowledging your own limitations with respect to Greek and Hebrew. You have not examined my “facts” hut only examined some facts, very few, in fact. Moreover, confounding the “Word of God” is not the purpose of this publication, JW. We only ask that you examine all the evidence before accepting the Bible as the “Word of God.” But you have acted in precisely the opposite manner. You accepted it as the Word of God long ago and have been judging all evidence accordingly. That which corroborates your belief has been retained; that which doesn’t has been discarded.

And finally, since you are rather generous with gratuitous advice let me respond with some of my own. Never talk as if you have the final word on what the text says when even the experts don’t agree and, remember, Greek and Hebrew are no different from other languages. They are constantly changing and often open to varying interpretations.

1st Letter to Mr. McKinsey from James White – Vintage

(I first give the specific sections of the May 1986 edition of “Biblical Errancy” that I cite in my first letter).

Jesus Vs. Paul …(18) Jesus — “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matt. 15:24) and “…Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 10:5-6) and “Give not that which is holy unto dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine…” (Matt. 7:6) and (Matt. 15:26, Mark 8:27, John 4:22) versus Paul — “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him” (Rom. 10:12) and For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (Rom. 1:16) and “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and [upon] all them that believe: for there is no difference” (Rom. 3:22) and (1 Tim. 2:6, Rom. 4:16, 2:26-29, 4:9-13, 23-24, 11:19-25). Jesus told his followers to go only to the Jews, while Paul said there was no difference between Jews and Greeks. (21) Paul — “Who (Jesus — Ed.) only hath immortality…” (1 Tim. 6:16) versus Jesus  — “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Paul had said only Jesus had immortality, while Jesus said others have everlasting life, too. If Paul had said only Jesus can provide immortality to others, there would have been no problem. But he said only Jesus has immortality. Incidentally, how can Paul say only Jesus is immortal when everyone is immortal according to Christian beliefs whether desired or not. It’s not a question of whether we are immortal but one of where we will spend eternity. (29) Jesus — “Thou shall do no murder (Matt. 19:18) versus Paul — “Thou shalt not kill” (Rom. 13:9). Jesus and Paul can’t seem to agree on the wording of the 6th Commandment regarding killing. Every moral and legal system recognizes a difference between murder and killing. Paul outlaws killing while Jesus prefers a less comprehensive restriction. If Paul’s rule prevails, soldiers, police, and those killing in self-defense are in trouble. (31) Paul — “..for he — one’s ruler — beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God (Rom. 13:4) versus Jesus — “Put up again thy sword into its place for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword’ (Matt. 26:52). (33) Paul — “…remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive'” (Acts 20:35). Nowhere in Scripture does Jesus make such a statement. Matt. 10:8 (“…freely ye have received, freely give”) does not apply. (34) Jesus — “I and my Father are one (John 10:30) versus Paul — “It is Christ…who is even at the right hand of God…” (Rom. 8:34) and “…the head of Christ is God” (1 Cor. 11:3) and (Col. 3:1, Heb 9:24, 10:12, 1 Thess. 2:5). If Jesus is one with God as he claims, then how could he be sitting beside, or subservient to, God? Letter #1, Section A: May 29, 1986 Dear Mr. McKinsey: I was recently sent a copy of your periodical entitled “Biblical Errancy.” (May 1986). I found it quite interesting, and representative of a view-point I have encountered on numerous occasions. Though a full refutation of the information in the newsletter would be impractical, a few points should be brought up. First, your commentary entitled “Jesus vs. Paul” amazed me. Do you, sir, understand the implications of the word “context? Does background, chronology and language enter into this discussion? For example, your first mentioned ‘contradiction’ (number 18) completely ignores the chronological progression of events. It tears the texts from their context and creates nothing but confusion. Your final statement read, ‘Jesus told his followers to go only to the Jews, while Paul said there was no difference between Jews and Greeks.’ This ignores the fact that Jesus’ statements were made before his death, burial, and resurrection. After that event Jesus himself said, ‘Go ye therefore and teach all nations…’ (Matthew 28:19). To postulate a contradiction between Paul and Jesus on the basis of the passages you cited is simply illogical. Only preconceived prejudice against the Bible could allow such a contention. Is it possible, sir, that you are just as guilty of such a preconception as many Christians are in their remarks? Section B: Section 21, contrasting 1 Timothy 6:16 with John 3:16 provides another example. Later in the periodical you mention people jumping from version to version in an attempt to defend the Bible. I am surprised that this would even be a problem. You, as the person initiating the discussion, should realize that you are attacking (if you don’t mind that term) the veracity of an ancient document that was written in two languages – Hebrew and Greek (with some Aramaic). Hence, I would assume that you would be fluent in both languages, or, at the very least, in Greek, as Hebrew is fairly basic, especially in comparison with koine Greek. At any rate, a basic knowledge of Greek would have cleared up your confusion concerning this example. The word found at 1 Timothy 6:16 is athanasian, whereas at John 3:16 it is a phrase that is translated “eternal life,” that phrase being zoen aionion. As you can see, you are comparing apples to oranges. Also, you mention that only Jesus “has” immortality, supposing this to be a contradiction of Christian teaching concerning immortality of all people. Again, a simple examination of the text is in order. The word translating “hath” in the KJV is a participle in the original, echon. The continuous action, without relationship to time expressed by this participle is significant to the meaning of the passage. I submit that it is your misunderstanding of the passage in its original tongue that causes your “contradiction.” Your assault on the Bible without reference to its original tongue is comparable to my attacking Goethe’s Faust without a knowledge of German – few would seriously consider my remarks valid. Nowhere is this more clearly seen than in the comment found under number 29. You imagine a difference between Jesus’ words in Matthew 19:18 (Greek: on phoneuseis) and Paul’s in Romans 13:9 (Greek: on phoneuseis). As you can see, there is absolutely no difference whatsoever in the two occurrences – both are quoting directly from the Septuagint (LXX) version at Exodus 20:13 (20:15 in the LXX). Your comments demonstrate an extremely shallow depth of research on your part. I would hope that you could remove this example in a coming edition of “Biblical Errancy.” Section C: The examples such as the above abound. Number 31 would be humorous if it were not found in context of your periodical, as is #33 (see John 21:25). Number 34 deals with in-depth theology, a subject that I really don’t believe you are prepared to handle, given the above examples of your work. What gender is the word “one” in, and what significance does that have? Section D: At any rate, I do look forward to receiving your work. I do not believe that you demonstrated so much as one contradiction in your paper, and looking over the vain attempts of atheists and others to confound the Word of God only strengthens my faith in that book. I do not blindly accept anything. I have examined your “facts” and found them wanting. Please reply to the information I have provided you.

Letters to an Anti-Theist – Vintage

12/11/1987

The following letters were written during 1986/87. They comprise the correspondence between Mr. James White, Director of Alpha and Omega Ministries, and Mr. Dennis McKinsey, the editor of a periodical entitled “Biblical Errancy.” As Mr. McKinsey feels free to publish letters written to him in his periodical, and as there is no copyright on “Biblical Errancy,” we have felt free to include Mr. McKinsey’s responses. Only that material relevant to the matters addressed in the debate between Mr. White and Mr. McKinsey will be reproduced here.

In the spring of 1986 a copy of the March edition of “Biblical Errancy” was sent to James White. The full title of the paper is: “Biblical Errancy: The only national periodical focusing on Biblical errors, contradictions, and fallacies, while providing a hearing for apologists.” The periodical is six pages long. After reviewing some of the supposed “contradictions” found in the May issue of this paper, Mr. White wrote the first letter of three to Mr. McKinsey. This letter was printed in the August, 1986 edition of BE. This precipitated a rather lengthy exchange, both in the size of the letters as well as the number of issues of BE in which the debate appeared. The following gives the letters written by Mr. White, and the replies of Mr. McKinsey, just as they appeared in “Biblical Errancy.” The final section comprises Mr. Whites reply to Mr. McKinsey’s final words.

“Biblical Errancy” is obviously designed to promote the distrust and rejection of the Bible as God’s Word. Anyone who has read the periodical for any time at all is very aware of this. The uniqueness of the work is not what it has to say; indeed, much of this material can he found in Thomas Paine or in the material published by the American Atheists. “Biblical Errancy” comes out on a monthly basis with the same old tired arguments and materials that atheists have been passing around for years. But, Mr. McKinsey allows for some dialogue on the issues he brings up, and this, of course, generates interest and controversy.

Someone might well ask the question, why bother debating this kind of issue? Aside from the fact that I as a Christian believe the Bible when it claims to he the Word of God, I also wished to see for myself what kind of response would he elicited from an anti-theist like Mr. McKinsey when faced with actual facts. I knew that he had made a rather simple error in regards to his claim of a contradiction between Jesus and Paul (see letters below for all the details) – that was clear. I wished to know if his drive to attack the Bible would keep him from admitting a simple mistake. If so, then I could write off ‘Biblical Errancy” and tell anyone else that it was not worth their time to read. However, if Mr. McKinsey would admit such an error and retract the false statement, then I would go on and research more of his material, given the idea that he was indeed honestly intent on the truth as he saw it. Unfortunately, the following debate makes it clear just how that issue ended up being resolved.

Another question might he asked. This debate does not deal with all the great issues of theism versus atheism. It deals with some pretty specific issues. Why not deal with a broader range of topics? First, we have done so in the past and plan on continuing to do so in the future (contact Alpha and Omega for a materials list). But one of the best ways people learn is by example. And this debate provides repetitive examples of logical errors, misinformation, and ad hominem argumentation – all the hallmarks of the anti-theist’s trade By seeing the progress of the debate, and the subtle ways in which points were avoided and other issues brought up in attempts to cloud the issue, the reader will be better prepared to meet similar tactics at work or school.

One final observation concerning the debate. The reader will notice that Mr. McKinsey exercises his position as the editor of BE by writing responses that average at least twice as long as the original letter. Hence, you will read a great deal more by Mr. McKinsey than by I in the first section of the debate. To help “balance things out” a little, I will footnote certain parts of his responses, especially in his near epic-length response to part of my last letter.

One note must be added concerning the format of BE. The letters printed in the newsletter are divided into sections with Mr. McKinsey responding to each section with a section of his own. In this reproduction of the debate, we have indicated the divisions used by Mr. McKinsey while keeping the letters and responses in one section. By cross-referencing the sections of the letters the reader will he able to follow- the argument more closely. With this in mind, here we present “Letters to an Anti-Theist.”