Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
01/28/2005 - James WhiteMan, when you feel guilty for not having a full new blog article up one day, you have become blog addicted. So, I confess to blog addiction. But I do believe the next six months will break me of my blog addiction. I'm putting together the stack of books I need to master, and to say it is an impressive amount of material is to engage in gross understatement. But I do hope to get a continuation of either the Matthew 23 series or the Islam series posted later today, Lord willing, or early in the AM. Meanwhile, I have been listening to the mp3 of the interview on the White Horse Inn with Robert Schuller from...well, I don't recall, but it was long ago. You can get it for any donation above $1.00 over at WhiteHorse Inn. All I can say is I'm glad it was Mike Horton who did that interview, and not me. :-)
The Small World of Reformed Apologetics: aka, "I'm standing in the bookstore...."
01/27/2005 - James WhiteThis is probably one of the strangest stories we've heard in channel of late, but also a very encouraging one. One of our semi-regular participants in channel, thisbox71, had quite the experience today. He was at at Border's bookstore in a city that I will simply say is in a rather large state. Very large. Humungous. So, anyway, thisbox71 sees this fellow who is dressed in a rather unusual manner looking through some sort of gnostic Bible, so he thinks this would be a good time to try to speak with him. The store was closing, so he asked if he needed to make a purchase. The fellow said he didn't, so they went outside to find a place to talk. As they walked toward thisbox's car, two police cars converged on them! The officers patted thisbox down and put him in the back of a police wagon. Turns out the fellow was a shoplifter, and his bag was filled with stolen goods! So thisbox explained that he did not know the guy and was simply seeking to witness to him. The officer asked where he went to church, and he replied that he had just recently decided on a church, and noted that he is Reformed. When he said that, the officer replied, "Ah, I'm Reformed as well. Have you ever heard of James White with Alpha and Omega ministries?" What a small world! I guess the officer catches the DL once in a while, too! I sent the officer an e-mail just to encourage him and thank him for his service to us all.
That story reminded me of what happened to me a few weeks ago. I had taken a watch into a jeweler to have the band adjusted. I had made a little mistake when I went in, though: I was on my motorcycle, so I walked in without taking my helmet off. Picture me coming in wearing a black leather jacket and a black helmet. Just about scared the staff to death. So anyway, they say it will take about an hour, and I'm hungry. So I decide I'm going to run over to Burger King and grab a chicken sandwich while I'm waiting. So I put in my order, put my helmet and jacket in a booth, and wait for them to call my number. Meanwhile a young man with an infant girl has ordered as well. She's a real cutey, so I say to him, "Oh, enjoy them while they are young. My little girl turns 16 in a few weeks, and I'll tell you, they grow up so fast." And I smiled.
Well, the guy didn't smile back. He had this very odd look on his face. I wondered if I had done something wrong. Then he said, "You're James White!" Now, I will never, ever get used to that. I probably looked as shocked as he did, and replied, "Well, yes, yes I am." "You spoke at my church a few years ago! I have some of your books, and I listen to the Dividing Line!" We had a nice chat for a few minutes. Like I said, small world.
1st Annual Evangelical Blog Awards
01/26/2005 - James Whitecrewbear (one of our channel regulars) posted this link in channel just now. There is a category for "Best Evangelical Blog-Apologetics." So I think to myself, "Hey, we invest a lot of effort here, and to be honest, do some pretty unique stuff, so, why not throw our hat in the ring? So, if you think this blog worthy of nomination, drop these folks a line. Let's see what happens!
Firing Up the GPS
01/26/2005 - James WhiteAren't GPS devices fascinating? I've got a mondo cheapie version, nothing fancy, but it is still amazing how accurate it is. Just the idea of somehow being in "contact" with satellites circling the earth is enough to thrill my inner geek.
Why mention this? Well, this little post is sorta like firing up the GPS and getting a "fix" on where we are. I hope the wonderful folks who read my blog (I purposefully omit those who read it while seething and otherwise seeking to find a way to argue every point, and you know who you are!) know that I truly make this Internet recource a high priority. I invest a lot of time on it. And so pretty much as much for me as for everyone else, I thought I'd stop and get a "fix" on where we are going currently on the blog in relationship to the series of articles I've been writing, upcoming projects in the ministry, etc.
Dave Hunt---ongoing in that the next Berean Call newsletter will be trying to come up with a defense on the Hebrew original of Acts 1-15 stuff.
Islam series in response to Shaifullah and Azmy.
Matthew 23 response to Armstrong and The Catholic Verses (finishing up that series).
Other current topics: postmodernism/Emergent Church | Mouw and Modern Mormonism | Da Vinci Code Madness | David Cloud's Anti-Calvinism Campaign
Upcoming topics: Obviously, what I'm preparing to write on and speak on and debate on takes up my thinking and hence the direction of my blog. My upcoming debates this year include the anti-Lordship, non-repentance theology of Bob Wilkin (April), the inclusivism of modern Rome (June), and possibly even topics related to the claims of the Jesus Seminar, Da Vinci Code, etc., later in the year. Writing wise I want to be working in both the Christian worldview area as well as, Lord willing, an in-depth exegesis of John 6. Also, the justification topic is alive and well, and I will be reviewing/interacting with the article by Michael F. Bird, "Incorporated Righteousness" in JETS, June 2004, which not only confirms what I said about Mark Seifrid (the consistency of how scholarship reads him is amazing in light of the eruption that came from my review of his works) but it likewise takes note of The God Who Justifies and at one point disagrees with what the author thinks is my contention. More about this on the DL tomorrow, Lord willing.
Wow. That should keep me busy. :-)
A Great Time in LaLa Land
01/26/2005 - James WhiteJust a quick note on my trip over to Los Angeles and my time with the folks at Hope Chapel and Stand to Reason. I had a great time and we had a real nice group of folks show up for my presentation on the sufficiency of Scripture. I was a little surprised I was the first person to use PowerPoint, but especially since I had some lengthy quotes to provide at the end, I think it helped a lot. I really enjoyed getting to talk to folks before and after the presentation and during the break. A number mentioned being encouraged by the message, and I was encouraged as well, both by the turnout (I was competing against "24" for crying out loud!) and especially by the very serious young men with whom I spoke about the faith.
I managed to snag an earlier flight out of LAX Tuesday morning (I walked right into the security area without any line, which, given I stood in that line for 45 minutes back in November, was just amazing). I slept most of the way over, and was lightly snoozing as we prepared to land. We were lined up and about 500 feet up when the engines roared and we were all pushed back in our seats as we aborted the landing and headed back up. Talk about a rude awakening. As we began to circle around we were informed that the aircraft behind us in the landing pattern had declared an emergency with smoke in the cockpit, and hence we had to get out of their way so they could get down as fast as possible. And that we did. Always a reminder that as tremendously safe as travel is in the air, it still involves sealing yourself in a metal tube and hurtling through the frigid cold atmosphere at outrageous speeds. Things happen. Anyway, the other plane landed safely, and so did we.
A Sermon Illustration If I've Ever Read One
01/25/2005 - James WhiteHat tip to the Gobbler:
Boy 'hired youths to kill his mother' after computer ban
Southern California Friends
01/21/2005 - James WhiteAs noted on our calendar page (but, since most ignore it):
The Masters Series in Christian Thought 2005
Hope Chapel, Hermosa Beach
2420 Pacific Coast Hwy
Hermosa Beach, CA
This series began on January 10th with Dr. William Lane Craig addressing the uniqueness of Christian claims. Last week, January 17th, radio host and Presbyterian elder Hugh Hewitt spoke on being in the world and not of it. I will be addressing the sufficiency of Scripture Monday evening the 24th. The next week Dr. J.P. Moreland will be speaking on the incompatibility of postmodernism and Christianity (applause!), and the series will end with Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason addressing the Bible and "same-sex marriage." If you are in the area, come on out and say hello.
Calendar Updated for Spring/Summer 2005
01/16/2005 - James WhiteMany joke that the calendar page at aomin.org is normally more of a history page, and for years, that was quite true. But I've tried recently to keep it somewhat up-to-date, and tonight I got it caught up for the Spring and into early Summer. The result is simply daunting, as you can see. Starting in February it's back on the road, but this time, between now and June, I travel to such destinations as London, England, and Italy! No, no debates scheduled with the Pope. Add in all the writing I'm supposed to be doing, preparation for two debates, the Dividing Line, the blog....!!! We could use your prayers and support!
And On the Lighter Side....
01/14/2005 - James WhitePacking up to head to the last class of the January term, and had to post these two links before I left. First, Eric Svendsen appreciated Angel's talents once again, and likewise pointed out that even on the issue of resolutions, DA just can't seem to get up to speed. I'm sure the non-responsive response from DA will focus upon whether it is inconsistent for Eric to be offering Dave cigars.
Next, Chris Carmichael pointed me toward the following, so, blame him, not me (actually, it is his site anyway, so blame him for it all). He felt this was the best illustration he could think of in light of the Kelly Powers saga. And, if you dare take a tour through the gallery, do not do it if laughing loudly (normally resulting in coughing and other respiratory disruptions) might get you fired. Click with care! [Warning, I have been watching the folks in channel reviewing the gallery of photos, and must once again warn you not to view this site while at work or while eating. Numerous reports of guffaws, abdominal muscle spasms, and similar problems, have already appeared in channel. We did, however, have one unbeliever who questioned the caption on photo number 17 by saying, "I find that pretty much impossible to believe. Was no-one surprised when the musicians actually seemed to have some talent and didn't spend 5 minutes between songs on syrupy contentless dialog?"]
Let Me Simplify
01/13/2005 - James WhiteSometimes I worry about folks, in light of the responses we get to material that appears here on the blog. I say "worry" in that no matter how clearly you lay something out, there will always be a way to throw dust and sand in the air and try to confuse the situation. And the fact is that a sound thinker is one who, upon coming to understand a particular truth, can see through those attempts at obfuscation without needing further aid and assistance. Add to this basic skill the propensity, in modern situations for folks to default back to a postmodernist mindset of, "Well, we need to exercise some epistemological humility here; I mean, there might be a number of ways of understanding this," and the resultant confusion in theological and historical matters is hardly surprising. ...
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A Glorious Background Fractal
01/08/2005 - James WhiteI recently was blessed to go to a dual-monitor setup, effectively doubling my desktop space (and with Eudora, BibleWorks, Libronix, w.blogger, RSS-Reader, FireFox, mIRC, and MusicMatch as the normal set of programs running, let alone Word or anything else, you can see the advantage). I have installed a massively colorful WindowBlinds skin I stumbled onto late, late last night (this is not the kind most folks will like, but remember, I love fractals and Coogi sweaters), and so I needed a new, highly colorful background to go with it. And here it is. And on two 19 inch LCD's this baby glows. I've uploaded it to my Blog Fractals page. If you are a color freak like I am, enjoy! (B^D <--- if you are emoticon challenged, or just new to computers, turn your head to the left...there you go...see? Bald head, eyes, nose, wide smile...see?
01/08/2005 - James WhiteI got a wonderful mp3 player recently. Small, compact, 1 gig in space, it has an FM radio and doubles as a jump drive. I'm very pleased with it, but its instruction manual was a source of enjoyment as well. Online translators are great, aren't they? Here are some examples:
Devoutly hope to bring you great enjoyment in this digital age. [Devout and digital in the same sentence is probably a first]
Unique appearance designed as a gold brick and comfortable for handling. [I'd prefer the gold brick, thank you]
This machine packs into the battery the each openning the confidential waiting for for the first time 10 second, need the machine from measure to complete to grow to press to open the machine key the square can show, the inconvenient place begs your pardon. [Uh....]
Indicates that the battery is 1.5V and the power in battery will become less when using. [Yes, such is the life of the battery]
There has eight grade, Auto search starch station demand to signal intensity more high when the grade more high [Starch...station...eh?]
Let Earth Receive Her King!
01/06/2005 - James WhiteI know the Christmas holiday has passed, but I just now received my copy of Grace Community Church's presentation of "Let Earth Receive Her King!" This is one I'll be listening to a lot in December of 2005. I have been privileged to twice attend Grace's Christmas presentation, and it is simply spectacular. But one thing is for certain: Philip Webb will be leading worship in heaven, and when he needs a break, Christopher Parkening will take over. Just incredible music! So in the midst of all the firefights raging at the moment, I thought I'd recommend this title.
Ad Hominem Argumentation (With Outer Space Update Added)
01/04/2005 - James WhiteFirst, Patrick reminded me that I did not include the single worst sub-title from Hahn's book on Mary, "Fetal Attraction." Yes, that one takes the prize.
A quick refresher for all those who seem to be easily confused about forms of argumentation. At the moment a fairly small group of folks are filling up the blogosphere with the constant assertion that I have engaged in ad hominem argumentation in my reviews of Armstrong's book, mainly because I have concluded sections by noting Armstrong's inability to seriously engage the topic at hand (i.e., provide meaningful exegesis). Now, Mr. Armstrong may not like that I have pointed this out. Evidently, it is not allowable in our society to point out when someone provides shallow, errant, and generally worthless argumentation in a written form: seemingly this is particularly the case when that writing appears in a religious context, for whatever anyone writes about religion is equally good with whatever anyone else writes about religion, or so we are told. In any case, Mr. Armstrong may not like the fact that I have concluded that he is not able to handle the information he claims to present in his book, but let us be very clear on one thing: that is not ad hominem argumentation. It is not, in fact, argumentation at all. ...
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Another Nice Seractal Production
01/03/2005 - James WhiteI wish I could get a tie with the background of this fractal brightly printed on it. :-)
A Channel Topic Note
01/01/2005 - James WhiteJust set the following topic in #prosapologian:
2005: 365 Days of Opportunity to Present to God a Heart Marked by Godly Wisdom and Understanding! (www.aomin.org/proschat.html)
Also, I'm going to try to finish up the Hunt What Love is This? series. But let's not forget to keep the questions going to TBC about mythical Hebrew originals of Acts. Letting folks get away with that kind of thing without retracting it just is not right.
Also, please note: the "Blog Rate" will be declining in January, despite my best efforts. I start teaching a Jan term class next week, and hence a good five hours (not including prep time) a day will be going elsewhere. I will continue with the Islamic response, which is going to be entering into a fairly long stretch of textual variations regarding Sinaiticus (a), and of course, examining The Catholic Verses and keeping up as best I can with other apologetically related developments.
Further note: Remember, the DL is on at 11am Tuesday and Thursday for the next two weeks, then it will return to its normal schedule.
A New Year's Passage
01/01/2005 - James WhiteLord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
You turn men back to dust, saying,
"Return to dust, O sons of men."
For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by,
or like a watch in the night.
You sweep men away in the sleep of death;
they are like the new grass of the morning--
though in the morning it springs up new,
by evening it is dry and withered.
We are consumed by your anger and terrified by your indignation.
You have set our iniquities before you,
our secret sins in the light of your presence.
All our days pass away under your wrath;
we finish our years with a moan.
The length of our days is seventy years--
or eighty, if we have the strength;
yet their span is but trouble and sorrow,
for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
Who knows the power of your anger?
For your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you.
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
May we all learn the value of possessing a "heart of wisdom" as we look to another year of service to Jesus Christ.