Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Charles Darwin Killed Terri Schiavo
03/31/2005 - James WhiteI have not addressed the Schiavo situation over the past number of months, not because I have not been watching the situation with great interest, but because everyone else has been saying almost everything you could possibly say about it. Now that Mrs. Schiavo has been put to death in the most inhuman possible way (who can argue otherwise? We show more mercy to mass murders and rapists than to those whose brains do not function "up to par") through the actions of a godless judiciary and an adulterous husband who is living with another woman and has already fathered children with her, there will be no end to the commentaries and discussion. So I wish to look at the foundational issue that will not be discussed at all in the MSM (mainstream media): the culture of death that has blossomed in Western culture.
First, I truly believe the speed with which Western culture has embraced a view of mankind that is utterly opposed to God's truth is a mark of His judgment coming upon a culture that has shown its deep hatred of His law and His rulership over mankind. God's wrath is being revealed against all the ungodliness of man who suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18), and that wrath is becoming clearer and clearer in its impact to anyone who has eyes to see it (eyes that require a mind enlightened by God's Word). Those who hate God's law will be given a darkened mind, and that mind, devoid of God's light, will become more and more opposed to His truth and more intent upon self-destruction. Since the reprobate mind hates God's truth, the fact that man is created in God's image will be one of the primary things suppressed and attacked. And the past history of Western culture is replete with evidence of the accuracy of this observation.
Next, I have titled this short entry "Charles Darwin Killed Terri Schiavo" simply to make one point: when culture as a whole embraces the idea that man is merely an animal, the random result of the chance toss of the cosmic die, a purposeless biological accident without any meaningful superiority to an ape, a dog, or a microbe, no firm basis can be provided for a culture of compassion and life. The natural realm is a savage place, and there is no reason, within an evolutionary framework, to seek such things as compassion, tenderness, or mercy. We are seeing, especially in European culture, but more and more in the United States as well, the long-term impact of a belief in not the theory of evolution, but the religion of evolution. The impact of religious naturalistic materialism is tremendously clear as we see the judiciary abandoning the rule of law (especially as law reflects God's creatorship and sovereignty) and issuing edicts that treat man as a mere animal, or worse (in the case of Terri Schiavo). Given that the evolutionary worldview cannot provide any basis for morality, the moral fiber of the culture is collapsing into a mass of internal self-contradiction due to the fact that forces of evil cannot immediately wipe out all monuments of our past recognition of God's law. God's grace continues to produce people who will not shut their mouths about the fact that we are created in God's image, and the result is seen all around us.
Terri Schiavo is gone, but the forces that killed her are not only still with us, but they are now setting their sights upon doing more and more to continue to suppress the truth of God in culture.
Off to Toledo and Detroit
03/31/2005 - James WhiteJust a tad bit different than London or Inverness, but I'm off once again, this time to the Heart of the Gospel Conference in Toledo, and then on to Cornerstone Baptist in Roseville to speak Sunday morning. I'll be speaking on justification issues at the conference, weaving various threads of the new perspectives on Paul controversy through each of my three presentations. That also means that I was wrong on Tuesday to say the DL would be on today: I thought my flight was on Friday. My apologies. Lord willing, back on the regular schedule on Tuesday, but remember, Arizona does not seek to play with God's creation by altering time in an artificial manner. In other words, since you all play with your clocks this weekend, the DL time will "move" as far as you are concerned. From the false, articifial perspective of DST, AZ will "move" from MST to PDT. Figure it out from there. :-)
A Fascinating Commentary on Jesus and Sola Scriptura
03/30/2005 - James White...and that from a Jewish perspective. From World Magazine.
Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR): Jihad in the Media
03/30/2005 - James WhiteToday on the Little Green Footballs blog we read:
According to Robert Spencer, National Review decided to cave in to pressure from the Council on American Islamic Relations because they were “choosing their battles.”This is just another of the many odd examples of Western self-destruction that I have noted of late. When in England I was informed that they passed a law last year that prohibits the display of the British flag! It might "offend" someone! It is one thing to point out the forces that wish to make everyone living in Western society ashamed of the good that their nations have done in the past. That's bad enough. But when people willingly bow their heads and submit to such pressures, well, that's simply judgment, the removal of the spine, the fortitude, the simple heart, of a people. Since 9/11 doesn't it strike you as terribly odd that Islam has become the protected militant religion? You dare not question the Qur'an or Mohammed, or the Mainstream Media will be all over you! But, "Islam means peace" is an almost daily slogan, despite the mountain of evidence to the contrary. It is truly amazing. CAIR is intent not upon defending Islam through rigorous debate and truthful interaction: that isn't the Islamic way. Look at the Islamic world today. What happens if someone speaks out, no matter the truthfulness of their words, in an Islamic country. Prison. Beatings. Execution. That can't happen on a governmental basis in the West yet. But don't be naive: that is the goal. And till then, intimidation will be the rule. Here is more on the books they are seeking to suppress. Oh, and get ready for the incessant repetition of the new politically-correct phrase: "Islamophobia." Evidently, since the homosexual lobby has found "homophobia" so wonderfully useful, this will be the next usage of "place group you wish to promote to the position of having super-rights here + phobia" ploy. Think the proper description of "Christophobia" in describing the activities of the MSM and the Judicial Oligarchy would catch on? Nah, probably not.
While it’s definitely true that National Review has done a great deal to expose the agenda of radical Islam, and I’m not going to stop reading them, I disagree strongly with their decision to remove advertisements for books critical of Islam and I’m very disappointed at their lack of resolve. This is anything but an insignificant battle; it’s a pivotal part of CAIR’s anti-democratic jihad to have all criticism of Mohammed or of Islam declared “hate speech,” and National Review has now set a dangerous precedent that will certainly embolden CAIR to intensify their efforts.
Louw & Nida Available for Palm OS from OliveTree
03/30/2005 - James WhiteWith the availability of huge, 1-gig and above SD cards for Palm devices now, it is great to see resources like this coming on line. Louw & Nida's Greek lexicon based upon semantic domains is now available for Palm from OliveTree (they also make available the Gramcord Greek NT). As I traveled in England/Scotland, and as I look forward to a trip to Italy in a few weeks, I find my Palm T3 an invaluable resource. I used it as my preaching text more than once, and it is so much easier to study from it while on a train or a plane than it is to try to dig out the laptop. Now, of course, my laptop has a full Libronics library on it, etc., and the Palm devices are not quite ready for that huge amount of data, but believe me, as one who started with a painfully slow, green-screen Palm device with a whopping 2 megs of total memory, having the Greek text, Gramcord, Louw-Nida, and all the rest I have on my T3 is a tremendous blessing. Geeks unite and check it out.
The Godless Oligarchy
03/30/2005 - James WhiteI don't know how long this link will be valid, but you have probably read about the 3-2 vote of the Colorado Supreme Court throwing out the death penalty conviction of one Robert Harlan all due to the citation of the Bible during the deliberations. Harlan, a murdering rapist thug, deserves the death penalty, but now the citizens of Colorado will get to feed and clothe and care for him for the rest of his life, and for what reason? Because someone dared to read a Bible in the deliberations. Let's not worry about the fact that the same Scripture passages may be chiseled in marble on various court buildings (the ACLU hasn't managed to expunge every reference to our Christian heritage quite yet)---never mind that the Ten Commandments are on the wall behind the US Supreme Court. Never mind that some of us actually have the passages cited memorized. No, the single work that influenced the writing of our Constitution and our laws more than any other cannot be read in a jury room, and its worldview cannot be allowed to "influence" the Secular Utopia of the modern American Judiciary. The rule of law has ended: begin the rule of the Priest-King-Judge. We see it all around us. A small class of liberal activist judges have hi-jacked our government, and no one seems to have any idea what to do about it.
This most recent judiciary fiasco illustrates, to a fine point, the effect of the wrath of God upon a nation that has turned its back upon His law. Unrighteous judges are a plague, as Israel discovered (Psalm 82). How someone can call themselves a judge and decide that a murdering rapist will live because someone read the book that we used to have in every courtroom and upon which every witness used to swear is beyond all reason, and shows the effect of the darkening of the mind Paul described in Romans 1. Combine this with the attempt by some in the UK to pass a law criminalizing speech that might "offend" (i.e., in essence outlawing the preaching of the Gospel) and you can see what happens when nations that once basked in the light of the truth come under God's judgment.
03/30/2005 - James White
Here's a picture of the sign the KJV Only Street Abusers were carrying in Mesa last week. As the picture is, of necessity, rather small, let me fill in what is hard to read. On the green, good tree you have "KJV Holy Bible," followed by "Every Vital Doctrine Preserved." Below this is "Deity of Christ," "Virgin Birth of Christ," and "Redemption by the Blood of the Lamb." It is called the "Good Tree," and below ground level you have "Good Translators, Godly Men" and "Good Technique, Formal Equivalence." Finally, at the bottom, "Good Text, Textus Receptus."
On the brown, corrupt tree we have "Modern English Bibles, 100 Perversions" and below that, "Every Vital Doctrine Attacked." Some of the translations included are the NIV, NKJV (odd, since it uses the Textus Receptus) and the ever-popular NASV (why can't they ever get that one right?). Underground we have a whole plethora of small boxes that read Ecumenism, Evolutionism, Rationalism, Romanism, Higher Criticism, and Liberalism. The little red box to the right, believe it or not, is the Book of Mormon, and then added as an afterthought, obviously, is the Koran. Below this we have "Corrupt Translators, Heretics & Unbelievers," "Corrupt Technique, Dynamic Equivalence" (yes, the NKJV and NASB are on the tree above, go figure), and finally at the bottom, "Corrupt Text, Minority MSS, Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Vaticanus."
Now, the young man carrying the sign adamantly denied that Desiderius Erasmus was involved in the compilation of the Textus Receptus, and to point out that the KJV was translated by paedobaptists without a single Baptist amongst them would surely have taken the poor lad beyond his range of church history (which probably extends all the way back to about 1990). But the sign itself is such a muddle of inconsistency and self-contradiction that it is almost humorous...almost, but not quite, given the context of those carrying it about at a Mormon gathering (as if the Mormons are known for their love of the NIV). There are godly men, for example, involved in the translation of modern versions just as some of the KJV translators were a tad bit less than saintly. And Erasmus' role in making textual decisions that end up in the KJV is no more damning than any textual choices in modern texts: all have to be equally evaluated and, thanks be to God, we are in a better situation to examine such decisions today than ever before, if we would but avail ourselves of the resources available. Any serious application of some historical facts to the claims of the sign would, of course, remove it from public view (they did stop carrying it, but something tells me, it will reappear elsewhere), but sadly, the folks who scream at the Mormons (aka, "preach") are, in the main, impervious to such logical, truthful, or rational refutations and examinations.
My Pilgrimage to Scotland
03/29/2005 - James WhiteI come from a long line of ministers, going directly back to multiple great-grandparents in Scotland (yes, of course they were Presbyterians). So my visit to Scotland got me thinking, especially when we stopped in a shop near Loch Ness and I wanted to pick up a Scottish tartan tie. The helpful lady informed me that my family name appears in two clans: MacGregor and Lamont. That shop didn't have any Lamont ties, so I picked up a MacGregor "Hunting" tie and wore it that night while preaching (the first tartan displaying to the right is the MacGregor Hunting tartan). For those of you who have seen me in Rush Limbaugh ties for a decade, well, this could indeed be a shock to you. But you'll get over it.
The next day my host, Jack Seaton (you may recognize the name as most of you who are Calvinists have probably seen his Banner of Truth booklet, "The Five Points of Calvinism"), took my English host for the entire trip, Roger Brazier (who, being English, was the constant brunt of all of our Scottish references to William Wallace and the Battle of Sterling, etc., but, as the wonderful brother he proved himself to be the entire time I was there, he bore with our ribbing patiently) and myself to an excellent mill and shop right on the River Ness to look for more tartan stuff. There I picked up the rest of my clan ties, including a MacGregor (modern) and a Lamont (displayed in that order). I also picked up a few books.
While there in Inverness I called home and spoke to my parents about our forebears. While they are in the process of looking up some notes they took many, many years ago to help further verify what I had found, I did find it fascinating that my grandmother on my father's side had once noted that my two sets of great-grandparent's on my father's side were "high and low," we presume a reference, in Scottish parlance, to highlanders and lowlanders. It just so happens that the two clans in which the White family name appears split into those two groups: MacGregor being highlanders, the Lamont clan more on the coast. I also learned that one of those sets of great-grandparents was married in Glasgow (where I had ministered the day before).
All of this might explain a few things about yours truly. The Italian folks back on Long Island have always wondered why I'm not a big "hugger." Now you know why. We Scots interpret "the holy kiss" as "the holy nod from across the room." It's just our way. I need my space since it takes a little room to get that William Wallace sword out with great haste and speed. :-)
Radio Free Geneva Today on the DL
03/29/2005 - James WhiteToday on the Dividing Line I concluded my review of one of the "worst of the worst," the anti-Calvinism sermon of Dr. Danny O'Guinn of Tower Grove Baptist Church in St. Louis. Today we heard Dr. O'Guinn repeat the now infamous "Spurgeon denied limited atonement" section of Spurgeon's sermon defending limited atonement. It is a classic example of "borrow a citation from someone in a secondary source and don't bother to look it up despite Spurgeon's many statements in support of and in defense of limited atonement and hence completely embarrass yourself in the process" argumentation. And given the context in which it is presented, it is just as bad as Hunt's error. You can find the original citation and discussion of Hunt's error here, and if you follow along there as O'Guinn cites it, you will see he was copying from the same errant source as Hunt (probably from Fisk). I have sent this information to Dr. O'Guinn, but have not, to my knowledge, heard back from him. Here's the program.
Mercy in Romans 9 and One Last Response to "Mr. Holding"
03/29/2005 - James WhiteI confess I would rather not write this, solely because I know that it is somewhat like throwing a match into a gas can, but I said I would speak to the issue of the meaning of mercy in the Scripture in response to Mr. Holding's very odd, way-out-of-center, and simply errant assertions on the subject. And so I shall, as briefly as possible, however, for the traveling, debating, and writing schedule looms ever larger in front of me.
Determining lexical meanings of terms used in Scripture is about as foundational a skill as one can have in handling the Word of God, and yet there are no end to the errors one will find in print and, even more so, on the Internet, relating to the subject. The "look at the first use of the term in the Bible and follow that meaning throughout" error is quite common; we have documented men like Dave Hunt doing the "Strong's Exhaustive Concordance Waltz" where it is assumed a particular English word, such as "whosoever," can be read backwards into both Hebrew and Greek. The range of such errors is wide indeed.
The fact of the matter is there are often a number of issues that enter into making sure we are accurately defining the lexical meaning of a term. I would recommend to the reader Moises Silva's work, Biblical Words and Their Meaning (I provide a link to Amazon mainly for bibliographical information, not to push Amazon). I will only summarize a few of the relevant points found in such modern studies as they relate particularly to the claims of Holding regarding Romans 9. ...
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03/28/2005 - James WhiteJust updated the calendar page and added the information on the conference at Bethlehem Bible Church in Massachusetts in June. Check it out!
A Practical, Practical Work
03/28/2005 - James WhiteOne of the greatest tests for one's theology is how well it survives the simple application to the everyday Christian life, and how it works in the ministry of the elders in the congregation. Most books today that are "practical" are theologically abhorrent; and not many that are theologically accurate bridge the gap to the practical application in every day life. Since we Reformed folks are often accused of being imbalanced, preferring our books on theology to the real-life work of pastoral ministry, allow me to recommend a work from the past, put back into print by our friends at Solid Ground Christian Books.
Ichabod Spencer would have to use a pen name today, I do believe. I really doubt many publishers would want him using "Ichabod." But he likewise would find it hard to get published at all, since his theology is not "politically correct" today. But if you wish to read practical, pastoral application of passionate theology, Spencer's A Pastor's Sketches is what you want to get. If you have ever wondered, "How do I apply this wonderful theology in directing men and women to Christ?" this resource will aid you greatly. I highly recommend it.
Sola Scriptura and the False Accusation of "Nuda Scriptura"
03/28/2005 - James WhiteMr. Enloe has asserted on his blog that I do not hold to a Reformational understanding of sola scriptura. I believe him to be in error, of course, and have asked for examples to substantiate his position. I have spent some time studying the subject, and, in fact, defending the Reformational viewpoint, over the years, so it would be very helpful to get something concrete to back up such assertions. But it is just here that, since the "split" with Mr. Enloe, we encounter the problem: when I ask for specifics on exegetical issues, I don't get any because the issues are more "fundamental" than the exegesis of the text of Scripture. It seems fairly simple to me that if, in fact, I approach the text of Scripture improperly, and differently, it should be simple enough to demonstrate it on an exegetical level. Hence, I have asked for a demonstration of how this works. I have asked that a text be taken from my writings and the accusation of nuda scriptura be demonstrated in contrast to the "true" practice of sola scriptura.
In response Mr. Enloe has offered one example:
I believe that Dr. White has a very problematic understanding of "tradition" (as I outlined here). Accordingly, examples of what I am calling nuda Scriptura in Dr. White's Reformed Baptist views are not hard to find. His opposition to paedobaptism, for instance, relies upon the notion that paedobaptists do not exegete Scriptures about the New Covenant correctly because they allow their "traditions" to get between them and the inspired texts. Take the “traditional” clothing off the Scriptures, Dr. White seems to be saying, and presto, credobaptism shines forth in all its “objective”, exegetically “pure” glory. What is this if not an outright appeal to the “naked” text of Scripture?...
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Islamic Apologetics and New Testament Transmission (#20)
03/27/2005 - James WhiteIn their attack upon the Christian scriptures, Saifullah and Azmy began their lengthy citation of Bentley's work on Sinaiticus by mocking William Campbell's emotional response upon seeing a in person when it was, at that time (1983) located in the British Museum. I, too, had the opportunity of seeing a, which is now housed in the British Library, and unlike Campbell, I didn't avoid the reflection, but it doesn't matter. It was simply incredible to stand that close to both Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Alexandrinus ("A" in the critical Greek texts, a being 01, and Alexandrinus 02), which sits immediately next to Sinaiticus. I was surrounded by incredible treasures: behind me was a 1611 KJV (ironic, no?), a Wycliffe Bible, and a Tyndale NT. I would truly enjoy spending a good deal more time in that room, but given that a project is pending to digitize a, I probably won't have that chance anytime soon (which is not, please note, a complaint: better to have a available to all in digitized form, to be sure). To the right you see first Codex Sinaiticus, open to the end of the Gospel of John; and below it Codex Alexandrinus, open to the end of Luke and the beginning of John.
In any case, I was drawn back to the impudent sub-title offered by our Muslim antagonists, "William Campbell Has Good Reasons To Cry (Or A Sob Story That Will Break Your Heart!)". Given the responses we have already provided, documenting not only errors in the material they were citing, but providing reasoned discussion of each of the variants cited, the boisterous and arrogant sub-title stands very much without foundation, reflecting not upon the biblical text, but upon Saifullah and Azmy themselves.
See! There She Is!
03/26/2005 - James WhiteYou see her, don't you? Right there, in the water! It's Nessie! Yes, this is a shot of Loch Ness, Scotland, and I'm sure I see Nessie right there in the water, don't you?
A Quick Trip to Mesa
03/26/2005 - James WhiteI flew back from London last night...I think. Hard to know what time it is, what day it is, etc., at the moment. I took a quick run out to the Mesa Easter Pageant just to say hello. This is the first year since 1984 that I haven't been there every night (with the exception of those few years where the General Conference took place at the same time). And since I am not fully recovered, health wise, I was only there a little while. The KJV Only Street abusers were busy bringing disrepute upon the gospel and repulsing as many Mormons as they could. Here you see one of their brilliant signs from a picture I snapped this evening. In the circle identified as "Satan's Books" you have the N.A.S.V. (whatever that is: everyone knows about the NASB, but what is the NASV?), the N.I.V., the R.A.S.V. (RSV perhaps?), the S.R.V. (?) the D.O.C., (Doctrine & Covenants, perhaps, or maybe, Department of Confusion?) the N.K.J.V., the Book of Mormon, and the Koran. Oddly, the NKJV is in the fire, the Book of Mormon is the farthest away. Anyway, they had been earlier carrying a sign (Rich got a shot of it) of two trees, the KJV tree and the corrupt tree, but they stopped carrying it when Rich pointed out its inconsistencies. This one was being carried by one very confused fellow. I am thankful I spent this week seeking, even in my weakness, to encourage God's fine people in Scotland and England rather than having to listen to the outrageous babbling of the KJVO Street Abusers (for the origin of that phrase, see here).
The British Dividing Line Airs!
03/24/2005 - James WhiteWell, it's a first, and it is right here. The all-British Dividing Line. Give it a listen! Hopefully home on Saturday!
CNN Strikes Again
03/21/2005 - James WhiteThere is an important article on the gty.org website. CNN massacred an interview with John Macarthur, once again showing that the MSM (Main Stream Media) wouldn't know the truth if it walked up and socked them in the nose. Read here.
A Very, Very Brief Response to TGE
03/20/2005 - James WhiteDespite feeling like I have one foot in the grave and one foot on a banana peel, I wanted to very, very quickly respond to Mr. Enloe. I had asked him to provide me with what should be fairly easily provided if, in fact, his assertions carry water. Specifically, should he not be able to provide clear examples from my writings where the application of sola scriptura (as Mr. Enloe understands the phrase) produces a marked, noticable difference in interpretation than that produced by nuda scriptura? Now, I confess, I have read Mr. Enloe's comments only briefly, as my internet time is limited here in England, but I didn't see any examples offered by Mr. Enloe. I will keep asking to see that kind of example.
But very briefly, Mr. Enloe did write this:
The most glaring example I have found in White’s writings is the October 22, 2004 entry (go here, scroll down) which, via a metaphor, openly questions the IQ of people who try to sail boats (theological systems) without removing the trailer (tradition) first.Now, my point, of course, is that the folks in the boat didn't know the trailer was there. Not only was it not supposed to be there in the first place (that was the IQ part), but the whole point was that these folks were treating their boat as if there was nothing "attached" to it. Since I have spoken of the necessity of recognizing and examining our traditions, and the grave danger of allowing our traditions to over-rule Scripture itself, I once again have to ask just what it means to assert someone believes in "nuda scriptura." That will be the focus of my replies when I return to the US.
A Quick Report from the UK
03/20/2005 - James WhiteGreetings once again from the UK. I'm afraid in the providence of God I have once more been reminded of my mortality and the frailty of the flesh: despite all my best efforts, being crammed into a tiny space against the bulkhead in an ancient "Super-80" in the back of the plane for three hours with the fellow next to you whose elbow is embedded in your ribs coughing consistently for three hours from Phoenix to Chicago, joined with the loss of an entire night's sleep (i.e., jet-lag) was more than sufficient to give me one of the worst upper respiratory infections of my adult life. I was scheduled to speak yesterday (Saturday) on Jehovah's Witnesses (twice), Mormonism, Roman Catholicism, Islam, and atheism, going from 10am till 8pm at night. I woke up in great distress, and the coughing through the night resulted in my abdominal muscles producing simply excruciating pain with every cough. I made it through the morning sessions, covered Mormonism pretty well, and did a brief presentation on Rome. I stopped only when I was completely convinced that within two minutes my eyes would roll back in my head and I would pass out in front of everyone. I made it till about 3:45 in the afternoon, and as badly as I feel about all the work my fine brothers and sisters here in the UK put into arranging the day of special studies, I can honestly say I put out the maximum effort I possibly could: there was simply nothing left.
I was to preach at the Edmonton Baptist Chapel this morning, but simply could not. We are having to re-arrange the schedule for my trip to Scotland as well, sadly, as I can tell from how I feel that trying to travel there tomorrow early in the AM, followed by preaching that night, would push me backwards. I will be resting instead, and we will head to Scotland on Tuesday.
I feel simply horrible about becoming so ill and becoming such a burden upon my hosts here, but as they have reminded me many times, we are in the hands of God, and He has his purposes. One thing is for certain: I will have to come back to "make up" for what I've missed, that is for sure. My hosts have simply been angels, and though it is never "fun" to be sick at any time, let alone when away from home, and especially in a foreign country, they have made me as comfortable as anyone possibly could, and for that I am truly thankful.
03/18/2005 - James WhiteTim Enloe has written on his blog for March 16:
Especially as I read some of White's recent blog posts, I find it exceedingly difficult to imagine having to retract many things I have said about his views on this point. I believe that James White is defending what he honestly believes to be true on this point, but at the same time I honestly believe that White's view of sola Scriptura bears almost no relation to the principle and practice of the Protestant Reformers themselves but is instead better described as nuda Scriptura. This view of "naked texts" subsequently affects his view of hermeneutics and the nature and prospects of the exegetical task, and how he approaches and tries to reason with the members of other Christian denominations. Similarly, my view of sola Scriptura affects my thinking and practice on those points.
I honestly haven't a clue what "naked texts" are. What is the inspired Word "clothed" in for Mr. Enloe, or anyone else? Is tradition the "clothing" for the qeo,pneustoj (God-breathed) Word? If so, whose tradition? When did it become the clothing for the Word? When the Word was given, was it "naked" then, and has become more and more "clothed" as time has passed? As I read those who wish to somehow join the ultimate authority of Scripture to something else, for whatever reasons, I am always left wondering just how the resultant system is supposed to "work."
I note Mr. Enloe speaks to the fact that his views impact his hermeneutics as well. And indeed, such is a vital point. How does his view of "tradition" impact the exegesis of the text of Scripture? For example, how should Irenaeus' comments on the age of Jesus in John 8, in his battling against the Gnostics, impact my exegesis of that text today? Just a few weeks ago I preached through John 8 at PRBC: as I read the text, should my reading have been somehow influeced by Irenaeus' views? If so, how? How about anyone else in church history? Should I need to know how Augustine viewed the text? Jerome? Gregory? Wycliffe? Who? Does the text change in its meaning over those centuries and generations? Since I have often and repeatedly said there is everything good about learning from those of the past, surely the complaint is not that I ignore church history or the insights of those of the past. But I clearly do not believe everyone's interpretation is equally valid, nor do I believe the meaning of the text is in any sense altered by, or enslaved by, a "tradition" that develops over time. So, when I approach the text with my first desire to be to understand it as it was written by the original author is this what nuda scriptura is supposed to mean? When Calvin approached the text and rejected the interpretations offered in his day, was he engaging in nuda scriptura as well? I can't say, since I have not found a consistent usage of this terminology, and have never found anyone willing to offer the only kind of example that would be meaningful here: specifically, an exegesis of a text using Mr. Enloe's version of sola scriptura contrasted with the exegesis of a text I have offered, allegedly following nuda scriptura. I have published numerous works in which I offer an exegetical interpretation of a passage of Scripture. Surely there would be a suitable example from all of my published work whereby such a contrast could be offered. Possibly my recent sermons on John 8 would be useful? Perhaps it could be shown how, in my examination and application of these texts, I engaged in nuda scriptura? Given that I went into the Mishnah and provided the background to the texts, and then applied them to how we live our lives today, etc., this might be difficult, but I assume that if this is what I do on a regular basis, the contrast really should not be that difficult to draw. I would really like to see how these passages are interpreted via the "true" sola scriptura over against my own practice.
Words to Ponder from Jimmy Akin of Catholic Answers
03/18/2005 - James WhiteWant further evidence of the decline of every form of "Protestantism" that abandons sola scriptura? Jimmy Akin of Catholic Answers noted the Time magazine article(s) on the changing views of Mary in "Protestant" churches, something they are a bit behind the curve on, but hey, they are MSM (MainStream Media) so what do you expect? But note his own words:
Well, the times, they are a-changin.'I don't know about anyone else, but I sure would be interested in know what Protestant apologist uses "Mediatrix" of Mary. This kind of observation (and I am not disagreeing with the accuracy thereof other than the rather gratuitous use of "thoughtful") only shows how shallow and vacuous the common Roman Catholic arguments about sola scriptura resulting in "30,000 Protestant denominations" or it being "the blueprint for anarchy" really are, since there are so few Protestant denominations that actually honor and seek to apply any meaningful form of sola scriptura to begin with! If one considers that it is next to impossible to practice sola scriptura without the highest view of Scripture itself, the largest portion of modern Protestant denominations, including "conservative" ones that have their own "traditions" that overthrow the primacy of Scripture, do not actually practice the doctrine! Blaming the doctrine for the disunity of those groups that refuse to believe it and practice it is without merit.
Partly due to Mel Gibson's treatment of Mary in The Passion of the Christ, partly due to cooling passions from the Reformation, partly due to Catholic apologetics, and partly due to thoughtful Protestant leaders who have been speaking out on the subject: Mary is now getting more of the respect and devotion she deserves in Protestant circles.
I've been quite surprised at the changes taking place. One Protestant apologist I know speaks very openly about Mary and sounds very Catholic in doing so, even defending titles like Mediatrix on her behalf.
Greetings from London!
03/17/2005 - James WhiteNo, I'm not really sure what day or time it is, to be honest, but so far I have truly enjoyed my time here in the United Kingdom! Getting ready to head to dinner, and tomorrow to the British Library and Museum! Just wanted to say hello (and test my blogging ability here in England)! I hear I need to respond to a recent accusation that I hold to an improper view of sola scriptura, but I will get to it as I can.
Today on the DL
03/15/2005 - James WhiteWe lost our server for the first 14 minutes, but ol' [Pete] got us back up and running. Pierre, our LDS listener, called in, prompted once again to defend our Arminian friends by yesterday's program responding to Dr. O'Guin's attack on "Calvinism." Always interesting to listen to a discussion with Pierre on soteriological issues, always coming back to sola scriptura. Here's the program.
Islamic Apologetics and New Testament Transmission (#19)
03/15/2005 - James WhiteBy this point we truly have grounds for questioning the accuracy and purpose of Bentley's review, and we surely understand why it is found useful by Saifullah and Azmy! The bias goes on,
In Matthew's Gospel Codex Sinaiticus contains another suggestion about Jesus which conflicted with the theological views of later Christians and was therefore suppressed. Speaking (in Matthew chapter 24) of the day of judgment, Jesus, according to Codex Sinaiticus, observes that 'of that day and hour knoweth no-one, not even the angels of heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only.'Once again we have the very easy, very casual assertion of "suppression," which fits so well with the purposes of our Muslim writers (or in this case, quoters). Surely later scribes in some instances struggled with the passage, but, as normal, Bentley ignores a rather striking fact that undermines any apologetic benefit our Muslim writers may think this portion conveys to them: specifically, that the disputed phrase found in Matthew 24:36 in a but not in the later Majority text is found in Mark 13:32, not only in a, but in the Majority text as well. If this is simply a matter of "suppression," why not "suppress" Mark 13:32 in the same fashion? So given the presence of the phrase in Mark, the point is rather moot either direction.
Other ancient manuscripts also contain the words 'neither the Son'. But the suggestion here that Jesus might not be on the same level of knowledge as God was unacceptable to later generations of Christians, and the phrase was suppressed.
At this point even Hort was momentarily tempted to suspect a theologically motivated suppression, admitting that the omission of these words 'neither the Son' can indeed be explained 'by the doctrinal difficulty which they seem to contain'.
The MusicMatch Jukebox Saga
03/14/2005 - James WhiteA few weeks ago I noted that I had to re-install Windows after a motherboard upgrade (Mac cultists enjoyed that a lot). All of my programs are back and happy and everything...except for one.
I listen to a LOT of music on my computer, and back about 2002 I purchased the full-bore, life-time upgrade, super-duper version of MusicMatch Jukebox Plus. I have recommended it to many. I like its look, and until now, have only had a couple little glitches with it. It can be a little persnickety, to be sure. It crashes easier than almost anything else on my system, especially when someone grabs the audio driver unexpectedly. But, I've enjoyed it...until now.
You can download music using MusicMatch, and I have done so. Over a couple of years you can accumulate quit a number of tracks, and they are licensed to your own personal use. That's fine with me, of course...until you have to re-install the program after a Windows re-install. You are supposed to just be able to go into your account and "activate" your current PC. Well, that's real nice: except that when you enter your ID and password, it goes into a loop, taking you right back to the same screen. (Password is correct: my laptop still has full access to my account). So no go.
So, all I can do is write to customer service and beg them, please, please, forward my note to the technical guys. First response: change your password, and here's how (don't you love those programs that scan your e-mail, pick up on key words, and fire something back at you that is utterly irrelevant?). Even though I knew that wasn't it, I did it anyway. No go. So, I started asking them, please, please, forward to the technical folks. They have now stopped responding to me en toto. Zero. Nada. "Just go away, we have your money, we don't want your business." That is the message I am getting very loud and clear.
Now, I have enough computer savvy to guess what's up: de-installing does not remove everything that needs to be removed, either file wise or registry wise. There is either a file lurking somewhere that is still telling the system I'm on my old motherboard, or, more likely, registry entries that de-installation does not clean out. So, once I get back from England, I can either 1) give up on MusicMatch and all the music I have downloaded over the years, or, 2) make a backup of my registry and go hunting (after another de-installation) for every single reference to MusicMatch anywhere to be found. If it wasn't for the music sitting there, I'd dump this program in a nanosecond, simply because it is obvious these folks don't care a bit about their customers (twelve attempts and nearly three weeks is simply absurd). Now, should any of you folks out there have a fix, I'd love to hear from you. Otherwise, be warned: MusicMatch comes with lots of new computers. It does a good job: until you need customer support. Then, well, you are on your own.
For the Founders Conference Sermons on Scriptural Sufficiency
03/14/2005 - James WhiteI mentioned I would provide the link by which you can obtain the sermons from the Midwest Founders Conference, and here it is.
Radio Free Geneva Airs!
03/14/2005 - James WhiteToday's special "Radio Free Geneva," providing an extended response to Dr. Danny O'Guin on the subject of his blatantly misrepresentational attack upon "Calvinism," is available here. I hope Dr. O'Guin will likewise listen!
Radio Free Geneva: A Special DL Tomorrow!
03/13/2005 - James WhiteI am collecting "The Worst of the Worst." And I am going to start responding to them tomorrow in a special DL that will go an extra 15 minutes as well (we can cram that onto a single CD). Worst of what? The Worst of Anti-Calvinism. I was handed a stack of tapes this past week, and made the mistake of starting to listen to them.
So, since I head to England on Wednesday, I will try to get two DL's in this week, but tomorrow's will be special: no calls, all reply to Pastor Danny O'Guinn of the Tower Grove Baptist Church in St. Louis, Missouri. He preached a sermon titled, as far as I can tell, "The Five Points of Calvinism Exposed & Exploded." I would dearly like to know when this sermon was preached for a reason I will explain in my response (if anyone knows, please let me know). This one definitely ranks right up there with the "worst of the worst," for reasons I will note. So, listen in today, Monday, March 14th, 1pm EST, 10am PST, for "Radio Free Geneva: Replying to the Worst of the Worst in Anti-Calvinism."
To One on the Way to Antioch (II)
03/13/2005 - James WhiteI have often thought back, with a smile and the feeling of incredulity, at the scene which unfolded in Denver, Colorado in 1993. It was the second night of the debate on the Papacy with Gerry Matatics. Gerry was really scrambling. He had never been hit with so many patristic citations in his life, that was obvious. During the break he ran up into the choir loft and madly scribbled notes for the second part of the debate. Then at one point he actually stood before that crowd (oh how I wish it had been video taped!) with the first volume of William A. Jurgens' The Faith of the Early Fathers in his hand, opened to the "doctrinal index" in the back. And there he stood, reading names of early writers as if the appearance of their names in a Roman Catholic historical work means they in fact believed what he believed concerning the Papacy and Petrine primacy. I was dumbfounded. I had often found Jurgens a biased or, at best, incomplete source, and to cite such a secondary source as if it had relevance in debate surely would have resulted in his immediate disqualification under formal rules. And yet, for a large portion of Roman Catholics today, the simplistic citation of an early writer, without the first attempt to contextualize or prove that the language he used carries the same meaning as the modern era, is enough to satisfy, and substantiate the oft-repeated phrase, "to go deep into history is to cease to be Protestant." Ol Newman could write a line, but folks like Salmon sure did put him in his place.
In any case, both Roman and Orthodox churches "do battle" on the field of history for the simple reason that their respective claims of authority necessitate it. And yet, if there is anything you learn from reading, fairly, the first four centuries of currently extant "Christian" writing, it is this: there is no consistent, universal position on almost anything, outside of, possibly, the fact that there is only one true God (over against pagan polytheism) that can be derived from these writings. The idea that there is, in fact, this kind of unanimity, is almost always born from the most selective reading of the texts. ...
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FireFox Update Messing with the Page
03/12/2005 - James WhiteWe do not know why the newest update of FireFox (1.0.1) has decided to completely mess up the margins on this blog. Everything worked just fine in 1.0.0, and still works fine in IE. We've had our "geeks" look it over. We changed nothing, it is something in FireFox itself. I love FireFox, but it is a bit annoying when a "critical update" ends up changing the entire behavior of the browser. So yes, we know the margin is messed up, and if someone can tell us why it would be much appreciated.
UPDATE: OK, very funny! I post this and a few hours later the problem vanishes, once again without our touching anything. So who's the jokester at mozilla.org? :-)
To One on the Way to Antioch
03/12/2005 - James WhiteAt the Midwest Founders Conference this past week we were blessed by the "Ark Singers," a group from the Ukraine. Great guys. I got to sit down with them at one point just to chat. I was not surprised in the least when they told of how very hard it is for them to evanglize amongst the Russian Orthodox in their homeland. Just as in Roman Catholic countries (and, let's be honest, in some parts of Texas!), "cultural religion" is a wonderfully effective way to keep people in slavery to their sins while salving the conscience. Cultural religions, whether it be Roman Catholicism in Italy or Mexico, or Orthodoxy in Russia or the Ukraine, or Baptists in the Southern United States for that matter, always create nominalism, along with a power-structure that is self-generating and concerned only with maintaining its supremacy in that culture. The Ark Singers, however, also mentioned another aspect that I immediately recognized: so often, when they would get to speak to folks who had grown up in Orthodoxy, they found their hearts very open to the conviction of the Holy Spirit. This made sense, for Orthodoxy does not have a biblical view of man and his sin. The biblical call of repentance would definitely find a place in that context.
There is a thread unfolding on the Reformed Baptist Discussion List regarding Orthodoxy. I haven't had much time lately to be reading the list, but a number of folks in #prosapologian were discussing it today, so I took the time to read up on it. Turns out the person is a member of a Reformed Baptist Church, but is obviously moving to Orthodoxy. In fact, in my experience, once someone like this makes the kinds of statements I've been reading, the "move" has already taken place: now comes the explanation/defense/justification of a decision that is already, for all intents and purposes, in the past. Now, of course, there can be that rare occasion when there is still an openness to dialogue, even to correction, but my history with these kinds of situations indicates that for most, the decision, for at least the forseeable future, has already been made. ...
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A Brand New Offer
03/11/2005 - James WhiteWe've done a few things like this in the past, and probably need to do them more often. If you glance over to the right you'll see a link that says "The Defending Calvinism Value Pack" (sounds a bit like something you would buy at a hardware store to apply to your lawn to keep Calvinists off). It consists of the new "Amazing Grace" DVD, Debating Calvinism, and, for the first time, the 3-cd set of the BAM debate from December, 2003, famous especially for George Bryson's line, "Read my book" and the fact that one side kept going to Scripture, and one side kept going...elsewhere. I had a few people ask me about the BAM show at the Founders Conference, and lo and behold, we now have it in stock. So don't miss this opportunity!
On the DL Today
03/10/2005 - James WhiteMany thanks to the inventers of Ibuprofen I managed to make it through the DL today with the help of some good callers. Also gave a brief report on the trip to St. Louis. Here's the program.
Back from St. Louis
03/10/2005 - James WhiteJust a quick note: the Dividing Line will be live this afternoon, Lord willing. Whether I will be overly alive, or lively, is another issue. Half a night's sleep and a 3 hour plane ride doesn't help the ol' brain work well. Anyway, when we landed, the flight attendant (I was going to put "stewardess" but that would have really dated me) sang a little ditty for us to the tune of the Barney theme. It went like this:
We love you,
You love us,
It sure was faster than the bus.
We hope you enjoyed our hospitality,
Marry one of us and fly for free!
Founders Conference St. Louis
03/08/2005 - James WhiteJust back from a great evening with all the fine folks at the Founders Conference. Preached as best I know how, then did Q&A for, I think, two hours or so. Maybe less, maybe more, I've lost all track of time at the moment. Just a wonderful evening with great men and women of God.
Pots on the Potter
03/08/2005 - James WhiteI have often noted the fact that most Christian's theology, as reflected by their prayers, is a lot better than their theology reflected in their words. When one bows in humble worship and focuses upon the Triune Majesty of God, one's mouth will not, normally, be filled with the praises of the creature.
Calvin well said in the Institutes, III:1.4,
I admit that profane men lay hold of the subject of predestination to carp, or cavil, or snarl, or scoff. But if their petulance frightens us, it will be necessary to conceal all the principal articles of faith, because they and their fellows leave scarcely one of them unassailed with blasphemy. A rebellious spirit will display itself no less insolently when it hears that there are three persons in the divine essence, than when it hears that God when he created man foresaw every thing that was to happen to him. Nor will they abstain from their jeers when told that little more than five thousand years have elapsed since the creation of the world. Of course, this third assertion should not have been classed with the first and second, which respectively concern the Trinity and Gods Omniscience, since it involves a chronological computation assuming no gaps, based on the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11, together with several assumptions about the chronology of Genesis 1. (For further reference see notes on Book One, Chapter XIV, section 1.) For they will ask, Why did the power of God slumber so long in idleness? In short, nothing can be stated that they will not assail with derision. To quell their blasphemies, must we say nothing concerning the divinity of the Son and Spirit? Must the creation of the world be passed over in silence? No! The truth of God is too powerful, both here and everywhere, to dread the slanders of the ungodly, as Augustine powerfully maintains in his treatise, De Bono Perseverantiae (cap. 1420). For we see that the false apostles were unable, by defaming and accusing the true doctrine of Paul, to make him ashamed of it. There is nothing in the allegation that the whole subject is fraught with danger to pious minds, as tending to destroy exhortation, shake faith, disturb and dispirit the heart. Augustine disguises not that on these grounds he was often charged with preaching the doctrine of predestination too freely, but, as it was easy for him to do, he abundantly refutes the charge. As a great variety of absurd objections are here stated, we have thought it best to dispose of each of them in its proper place (see chap. 23). Only I wish it to be received as a general rule, that the secret things of God are not to be scrutinized, and that those which he has revealed are not to be overlooked, lest we may, on the one hand, be chargeable with curiosity, and, on the other, with ingratitude. For it has been shrewdly observed by Augustine (de Genesi ad Literam, Lib. 5), that we can safely follow Scripture, which walks softly, as with a mothers step, in accommodation to our weakness. Those, however, who are so cautious and timid, that they would bury all mention of predestination in order that it may not trouble weak minds, with what color, pray, will they cloak their arrogance, when they indirectly charge God with a want of due consideration, in not having foreseen a danger for which they imagine that they prudently provide? Whoever, therefore, throws obloquy on the doctrine of predestination, openly brings a charge against God, as having inconsiderately allowed something to escape from him which is injurious to the Church.There is something about God's freedom to give His grace to whom He sees fit, outside of creaturely merit or works, that so crushes the pride of man, that to know this is the biblical teaching cannot but help produce a result. Most live in ignorance of the subject, its power buried under a ton of tradition. But when the light of day shines upon the subject, one of two things happens. Either the heart is broken, and in Job-like acknowledgment of our creatureliness we place our hands upon our mouths and bow before our Maker, never to look at ourselves, or at Him, in the same way again, or, the creature, the pot, will rebel against this divine truth. "I will never worship a God like that!" one woman said to me once, and that hatred of God's truth has been expressed by many others as well. The more clearly one sees this truth, the more desperately one must suppress it. The results can be sad to observe.
Someone in channel who frequents theologyweb.com posted a statement from "Mr. Holding" that included these words: "When it is used as a rhetorical cover, as White often does, yes. He uses breathless 'praise' as a rhetorical device to cover a lack of logical or sufficient response. Piper did too a little bit; not much." I can honestly say that one thing that has not marked "Mr. Holding's" writings on Romans 9 has been a sense of awe or worship or reverence or humility. Obviously, pointing out the simple facts of the language is not sufficient for one who is so desperate to avoid the freedom of God in salvation, and even though Paul communicates with compelling clarity, nothing can stop the mind that is intent upon remaining a pot in control of the Potter.
There is, however, something not only very sad, but very dangerous, in knowing the truth about God's freedom, and remaining in rebellion against it. You cannot be neutral to your status as a pot: you either embrace the Potter, or you move farther and farther away from Him. The results can be devastating, and when we see such a one running hard away from the truth, we should only learn from this to say often each day, "But for the grace of God...."
How the KJV Tripped up Mormon Leaders
03/08/2005 - James WhiteGotta give the ol' KJV credit. It tripped up the leaders of the LDS Church, way back when. Of course, today, modern Mormons might not care too much about how their original leaders were so ignorant of the Bible that they could make truly amazing mistakes, but anyone who seriously thinks these men were prophets of God in any meaningfully true fashion might wish to consider the facts. I refer to how the KJV exposed Joseph Smith, Jr., and Joseph F. Smith regarding the identity of Elijah. Here's the "fast-start" version.
Modern translations follow a translational practice of rendering the names of Old Testament prophets and personalities by their Hebrew names even when they appear in the New Testament in their Greek versions. Hence, while you might see "Esias" twenty-one times in the New Testament of the KJV, that's actually Isaiah. "Esias" is the Greek version of "Isaiah." Modern translations simply render it "Isaiah" and do away with all the confusion.
One of the names that appears in two different forms in the KJV is that of Elijah, which appears in the New Testament as Elias. Now, as difficult as it may be to believe, early Mormon leaders, men who identified themselves as "prophets" and "apostles," confused this simple translational issue and came up with two different "prophets," one Elijah, and one Elias. Check out these references: ...
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A Note About the KJSL Program
03/07/2005 - James WhiteTim Berends called right toward the end of the DL today and from what Rich tells me, he wasn't a happy camper about the article I posted about the interview aka debate on KJSL last week. Evidently, he feels I need to retract the piece because 1) Jerry Thornburgh was not on the hour after I was on unopposed, and 2) there was a Calvinist on with Dave Hunt, specifically, Tim's co-host, Al. I have been trying to call Tim since the DL ended, but only get a busy signal. So I'll clear things up here.
A) I glady retract the two phrases (wasn't even an entire sentence) regarding the hour after I was on. As Tim himself noted, their time slot has changed since I was last on. They used to be on that hour, now it has changed. Mr. Thornburgh does have his own program along with his wife Kathy on KJSL on Monday evenings at 8pm (and, in fact, I may get the opportunity of debating the issues on that program in the future). But I gladly retract the statement that he was going to be on the hour after I was. He was only on the hour before me, asserting that John 3:16 is opposed to Calvinism, that Calvinism is opposed to the cross and the gospel, etc. So he only got one free, unopposed hour that morning, not two.
B) God bless Al Gross, but I have a really, really hard time viewing Al as a spokesperson for Reformed theology. But I tell you what: if in fact Dave was asked a question about Calvinism, and then Al was given equal time to respond, I'd like to hear it. I'd like to hear the tape of the previous days' interview, and if that is what happened, I'll be glad to announce it right here.
C) The point of the blog entry had almost nothing to do with Tim or Al. It had to do with Dave Hunt (as you can see from reading it) and those who are willing to speak out against Reformed theology, and against me in particular, but who will not face me directly. Multnomah contacted me about doing the Tim and Al show. Hence, it was another "Talk about a book where your co-author will not appear with you" situation. I did not know, however, that Dave Hunt had been on the previous day. I do not hold Tim Berends or KJSL responsible for Dave Hunt's fear of facing me, and to read what I said as if I was suggesting they knew about Dave's many errors is simply wrong. I doubt Tim reads my blog, and hence I doubt he was even aware of Hunt's escapades on this topic.
D) Tim called my personal cell phone the day before the program and left me a voicemail that Jerry Thornburgh would be filling in for Al and would "dialogue" with me about "the book." That did not communicate to me "Jerry will get equal time to debate you on Calvinism." Don't get me wrong: I don't care if it turns into a debate. That wasn't the point of my blog article to begin with, as anyone can see from reading it. The point was that Hunt would not face me. Further, I doubted very much that they brought anyone on to "oppose" Hunt, and I was right: Al Gross does not count as bringing someone on to "oppose" Hunt.
E) Now, the name "Jerry Thornburgh" rang no bells with me. A few days after the program, and after my posting the blog article noted above, someone came in channel and asked me why in the world I was willing to be on with him. And I told that person that I didn't really have any choice, and why shouldn't I anyway? That's when I was informed that Mr. Thornburgh and his wife hosted the program that featured Dan Corner back in 2000. Now, I won't go back over all the Dan Corner stuff. It is, in fact, a fascinating story, and you can read about it here, and listen to a 90 minute program I produced about the whole thing here. Now, I don't have time today (oddly, I'm flying to St. Louis tomorrow!) to go back through all of this, but if the person from St. Louis is correct, then the person who was chosen to fill in for Al Gross was the co-host of the program that not only brought Dan Corner on to make all sorts of false accusations against me, but whose other co-host called in when I was on with Tim and Al (you can listen to all of this in the file noted above). Now, believe me, if I had been informed that the man who was "filling in" for Al was in fact one of the folks who had been pushing the Dan Corner stuff back in 2000, well, I sure would have known what was headed my direction, at least. It wouldn't have changed much of what I had to say, but at least I would have known it was going to be a debate.
Listen to the linked real audio file for yourself. You'll find it most interesting if you haven't heard it before.
So to Tim Berends, I'm sorry if you thought the article was focused on you or your program: it wasn't. Tim knows I would be on his program to debate Norm Geisler or Dave Hunt or Jerry Thornburgh without condition. In fact, he knows I'd debate Dan Corner on his program too: I just refuse to sign a contract saying I will not mention certain portions of my own beliefs (something Corner demanded back in 2000)! My article was not about Tim. It was about those who attack Reformed theology without a willingness to either 1) represent it correctly, or, even worse, 2) attack it inaccurately and refuse to allow for direct one-on-one interaction over the exegesis of the inspired text itself. So, come on out to the Founder's Conference, Tim! Meet a whole group of Calvinists! You'd be welcome.
Today on the DL
03/07/2005 - James WhiteToday on the special Monday edition of the DL: First 40 minutes we reviewed some more of Camping's false teachings, and warned about his followers seeking to attack Christ's Church. Then took a great call on John 3:5. Don't forget, Lord willing, we will have the regular Thursday program. Here's today's DL.
From the Mail Bag
03/06/2005 - James WhiteSo we do get lots of e-mail. Can't even answer all of it. But I thought it would be wise to answer some of it here on the blog so as to benefit a larger audience, so, here's something from today's Mail Bag!
Dear James R. White, Regarding John 20:28 Mr. Al Kadhi brings up a case of discrepancy between Greek Bible manuscripts : "Secondly, the word translated in this verse as "God" is indeed the Greek "Ho theos" (The God), and not "theos" (divine). However, when studying the history of this verse in the ancient Biblical manuscripts from which our modern Bibles have been compiled we find an interesting fact, specifically, that the ancient Biblical manuscripts themselves are not in agreement as to the correct form of this word. For example, the codex Bezae (or codex D) is a fifth century manuscript containing Greek and Latin texts of the Gospels and Acts, which was discovered in the 16th century by Theodore Beza in a monastery in Lyon. The predecessor of the codex Bezae and other church manuscripts do not contain the article "Ho" ("THE") in their text (The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, Bart D. Ehrman, p. 266)." (Taken from http://answering-islam.org.uk/Responses/Al-Kadhi/r01.2.2.11.html) 1)According to the newest edition of the Nestle Aland Greek New Testament and/or the newest edition of the UBS Greek New Testament, what is the original reading in this verse, Ho theos or just theos (please state if you are talking about Nestle Aland or UBS or both)? 2)Hypothetically speaking, if we take the original reading to be just theos rather than Ho theos would that mean Thomas didnt address Jesus as God? 3)Which reading would you say is the original and why?Neither the NA27 nor UBS4 textual apparatus note any variation regarding the article at in the phrase o` qeo,j mou. The Tischendorf apparatus does not note a variant in Codex Bezae, nor does Von Soden. Tregelles does note the variant in D (Codex Bezae). A few background items. ...
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The Old and the New Meet in the Universal Catholic Catechism
03/05/2005 - James WhiteI was looking up a reference in the CCC today and happened upon the following two sections:
1114: "Adhering to the teaching of the Holy Scriptures, to the apostolic traditions, and to the consensus . . . of the Fathers," we profess that "the sacraments of the new law were . . . all instituted by Jesus Christ our Lord." (Quotation of the Council of Trent, DS 1600-1601)I had these sections marked, of course, but what caused me to comment about them here is the contrast of the old and the new they represent. The first is the voice of Medieval/Trentian/Papal Syllabus of Errors Catholicism. What those gathered at Trent meant by "apostolic traditions" and "consensus...of the Fathers" is easy to determine from their writings and sermons what they thought that meant. The Seven Sacraments were given by God to the Church through the Apostles, or so they believed. But history has a way of messing with that kind of theory, and modern Rome well knows that is not the case, and no serious minded person believes they can demonstrate the modern Roman theory from patristic sources. So, modern Rome, while continuing to cite Trent and speak of apostolic tradition and the like, speaks with a very different accent in section 1117. Oh yes, you still have the high-flying claim of the Spirit's guidance of Rome "into all truth," accompanying claims regarding the canon of Scripture and the doctrine of the faith, but note that instead of an identifiable apostolic tradition coming directly from the Apostles, now we have a much less definable concept of "tradition," one that involves a "gradual recognition" that leads to a slow "discernment" over "centuries" that out of all the liturgical celebrations, there are seven that are, strictly, sacraments.
1117: As she has done for the canon of Sacred Scripture and for the doctrine of the faith, the Church, by the power of the Spirit who guides her "into all truth," has gradually recognized this treasure received from Christ and, as the faithful steward of God's mysteries, has determined its "dispensation." Thus the Church has discerned over the centuries that among liturgical celebrations there are seven that are, in the strict sense of the term, sacraments instituted by the Lord.
The odd cohabitation of the old and the new is a constant element of modern Roman Catholicism, but one that raises all sorts of apologetic issues, more for the defender of Rome than for the one defending against her claims. But in either case, I have often pondered the odd situation of Rome. Her main structures were built upon a foundation that her modern practitioners no longer believe (not unlike modern liberal Protestant denominations), but she continues to claim the same kind of authority by redefining the words. Try nailing ten Roman Catholic theologians or apologists down on a specific definition, identification, and utilization, of "tradition." It simply isn't possible. So she continues claiming "apostolic tradition" and all the authority inherent in such a phrase, while at the same time admitting (at least in her modern theologians) that the Apostles really had nothing to do with these beliefs: they are the result of "Spirit guided reflection" upon the "deposit of faith." RC apologists will flip flop back and forth between the old and the new constantly, presenting a moving target. Keep this in mind the next time you listen to a debate, especially on authority issues, or historical topics.
Faith In Gods and Generals from Solid Ground Christian Books
03/04/2005 - James WhiteI just got an e-mail from our good friends at Solid Ground Christian Books advertising a half-price sale on the companion book to Gods and Generals, a great deal at only $12.50. I don't know how big Solid Ground's e-mail list is, but I thought I'd let our folks know about such a great offer. Here it is.
Islamic Apologetics and New Testament Transmission (#18)
03/04/2005 - James WhiteImmediately after misrepresenting Sinaiticus through misrepresenting the textual variant, Bentley then simply misrepresents it by gross and unexplainable error. He begins a section where he is alleging purposeful editing of the text of a by scribes for theological reasons. He rightly notes that Westcott and Hort and Tischendorf continued to hold a high view of Scripture, and quotes W&H as saying, "It will not be out of place to add here a distinct expression of our belief that even among the numerous unquestionably spurious readings of the New Testament there are no signs of deliberate falsifications of the text for dogmatic purposes." But when he turns to a to actually refute their own views, he blunders on his first attempt. We read,
For example, in the first chapter of Mark's Gospel we are told of a leper who says to Jesus, 'If you will, you can make me clean'. Codex Sinaiticus continues, Jesus, 'angry, stretched out his hand and touched him, and said, "I will; be clean"'. Later manuscripts, perceiving that to attribute anger to Jesus at this point made him appear, perhaps, too human, alter the word 'angry' to 'moved with compassion'.The text referred to is Mark 1:41, which reads in a, "Moved with compassion, he stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, 'I am willing; be cleansed.'" I have a photo-mechanical reprint of a in my library, prepared by Tischendorf himself, and I checked it as well: it reads splagcqeis, "moved with compassion." Bentley is simply in error. There is a textual variant here that reads "angered," but it is found in D and a very small number of other less important witnesses. I suppose it is possible Bentley simply misread a textual source somewhere, but to start out your demonstration of purposeful emendation with the scholarly equivalent of a face-plant in figure skating is ominous. And, of course, our Muslim writers, quoting extensively from Bentley, do not catch his error.
Harold Camping: Heretical Attacker of Christ's People
03/04/2005 - James WhiteI made a mistake tonight. I hit the FM button on my car radio and accidentally tuned in Harold Camping. I haven't listened to him for many months, and my blood pressure and over-all health has benefited greatly. But there he was, and the first call I heard enraged me.
The caller first asked about "fasting." I was unaware that Camping has some wild view of fasting as well (I should have guessed). Evidently he believes fasting is actually witnessing, not abstaining from food. So the guy asks him about Matthew 6:16-18, where Jesus says,
"Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites [do], for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees [what is done] in secret will reward you."So Camping reads it and says something along the lines of, "Well, see, Jesus says to anoint your head and wash your face, and you see, that proves fasting is witnessing, because you have to be anointed by the Holy Spirit, and have been cleansed, before you can fast, that is, witness. And Jesus proved that elsewhere where He said that His disciples cannot fast while the bridegroom is with them, but when he leaves, they will fast, and that means witness. After Jesus left, the apostles witnessed." So I'm driving down the road shaking my head at this man's ability to twist anything without the first care about what it meant in its original context, when the caller then shows he's a good faithful Campingite who has turned off every critical thinking capacity in his mind so as to follow his leader (Camping) in all things. He says he knows he is to leave the church, since God commands him to (steering wheel takes first blow), but his problem is...he works at a church! "What should I do?" (Second blow). ...
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Next Week's DL Schedule
03/03/2005 - James WhiteI just checked my flight schedule and I will indeed miss Tuesday's DL time, so, unless Rich has an objection I don't know about, I'd like to move Tuesday's DL to Monday, 1pm EST, 10am PST. I want to play some clips (see the next entry when it is posted) and don't want to put it off till Thursday.
Today on the DL: Great Phone Calls!
03/03/2005 - James WhiteWe went 8 minutes long today to get them all in. Calls covered a broad range from issues relating to Calvinism, Catholicism, Greek, exegesis, etc. Great callers! Here's the show.
Islamic Apologetics and New Testament Transmission (#17)
03/03/2005 - James WhiteMy apologies for the time since I last continued the examination of Saifullah & Azmy's article on the transmission of the text of the New Testament, and in particular, at this point, seventeen articles in, their lengthy citation of Bentley's Secrets of Mount Sinai regarding Codex Sinaiticus (a). Life, at times, is so very distracting!
Once again we encounter a section of the citation of Bentley that, while useful for the creation of a false impression, is hardly relevant to truth nor compelling to those who know it. Here is the next portion that is cited:
As if this were not enough to shock those schooled on older versions of the gospels, Codex Sinaiticus even minimizes some of the punishments in store for the wicked, according to the traditional texts. St Mark's Gospel, chapter 9, for instance, describes hell as a place 'where the worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched' (a description taken from the last verse of the Old Testament prophet, Isaiah). Codex Sinaiticus omits the words.Now, Bentley may be a better writer than most textual critics (who can't seem to come up with a title for their books more creative than New Testament Textual Criticism) but comments like this explain why it is textual critics who should write on the subject of textual criticism. Here is what a contains at Mark 9:48: "where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched." So, we see that Sinaiticus contains the very words that Bentley says it does not. So why did he write what he did? Because of the fact that the same phrase is repeated in the Majority Text at Mark 9:44 and 9:46, but is not found in those places by such sources as a, B, C, L, W, D Y f1 and other early translations of the text into Latin, Syriac, and Coptic. Ironically, the sentence in question comes from the very end of the book of Isaiah, 66:24, and since Sinaiticus contains the Greek Old Testament, yes, the sentence exists even there (meaning it actually appears in a twice). It seems that we have here a scribal expansion based upon attaching this fearful description to the term hell (another variant, found in verse 45, repeats the description "into the unquenchable fire" from v. 43). One can see, from the flow of the text, why a scribe would be tempted to repeat or expand the phrases that come at the end of 43, 45, and 47 due to their parallelism. In any case, Bentley's statement is simply untrue, and is an excellent example of the same kind of exaggerated assertion that fills the many volumes of King James Only writings even to this day.
And the Last Word...
03/02/2005 - James WhiteIt is fairly clear "Mr. Holding" (not his real name) has a lot of time on his hands. Long, rambling, insult-filled responses have already been posted on his site. Feel free, if you wish to abuse your sensibilities, to peruse them. I could only sit and read with a bemused awe as this man, a librarian (M.L.S.) seeks to impress his followers by stringing together source after source without showing the slightest understanding of what those sources are actually saying, or even more to the point, how they are in contradiction with each other. He pretends to seriously interact with scholarly material when he can't even read the texts under discussion therein. But, to be sure, we know who the "winner" is, at least for "Mr. Holding." He has offered the final word:
So also ends White's claim that there is no "meaningful connection to Romans 9 other than purely wishful thinking," for the connection is clear in the general nature of the language used by the Hebrews, and the specific examples of the idiom cited, not only in Jer. 7:22, but also in the other passages cited by Whitney. White stands convicted of scholastic incompetence, and his position stands not only refuted, but buried and dead.Well, there you go. If you feel just a little bit worried about the conclusions drawn about 'the general nature of the language used by the Hebrews' as determined by a librarian, again, just relax and go with the flow. And do not feel badly that you still have no idea how an alleged "negation idiom" in Jeremiah 7:22 is connected to Romans 9:16. But let's just leave "Mr. Holding" alone about it, since it seems it is very, very important to him to think otherwise. :-)
The Arminian Wake Up Call
03/02/2005 - James WhiteI sorta stumbled into my office this morning, doing my best to get the brain working before a 7:15am radio program. I've become a bit of a night-owl, as I can get a lot more done in the late hours than in the morning hours, seemingly (fewer distractions, and the phone goes silent!). Anyway, I was on with Tim and Al this morning once again on KJSL in St. Louis, but it was "sans Al" and "joined by Jerry Thornberg," an Arminian fellow who was my "opponent" this morning to "give the other side." Oddly, a fellow came in channel prior to the program and was telling us that they were already "priming the pump" on the program, saying that John 3:16 is "great against Calvinism" and that Calvinism is opposed to the cross and the gospel. Nothing like a fair little interview here! But then I found out this was another one of the "Dave Hunt will not come on the program with James White; he will come on first, but then you should probably have White on as well." I wonder, was there a Calvinist in studio to oppose Hunt when he was on?
Anyway, you wake up pretty quickly when you immediately discover the interview isn't an interview but is a debate, of sorts. Tim asked me why there was so much discussion about Calvinism these days, and I pointed out that in fact this isn't a new debate at all, and I went over some of the historical material, Augustine/Pelagius, the Reformation, Whitefield/Wesley, etc. Then Jerry was given a turn, and he started off by saying I had just given my foundation, but his is the Bible! I knew I was going to be spending the rest of the hour putting out one flaming strawman after another, and I was right. Every old, worn-out misrepresentation of Calvinism was trotted out once again. It wasn't difficult, however, to rebutt them, and eventually Jerry stopped replying (he was going to be on the hour after me without me around to contradict, so why not?). Obviously, I hope at least a few in the audience actually heard what I was saying, especially when a caller on "my side" got through and once again raised John 6 and John 8. Jerry side-stepped them and answered the questions raised in the exact opposite way the Lord Jesus did, and I had a good opportunity to point this out.
Doing these programs where I am discussing Debating Calvinism keeps reminding me of what it must be like to be Dave Hunt. I simply can't imagine it. "Hello, Dave? This is Multnomah. Yes, the folks at KJSL would like to interview you on Debating Calvinism. Yes, yes, I know you won't go on with James, so we told them that and they have found two days in a row where they can address this subject. Which day would you like?" He knows I would be on with him anytime, anywhere. He knows I would debate the subject before a live audience with him. What is it like to go around speaking on a subject when you have to look out at that audience and ask yourself every time, "I wonder...is White here? What will I do if he is?" I would be working in a gun store or a computer shop if I had to live like that. ...
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03/02/2005 - James WhiteI'm doing two radio programs today (March 2nd): 8:15am CST on KJSL with Tim and Al on Calvinism, and then 2:05pm EST on "Engaging Your World" on WVNE. You can listen here, at least I hope, to the second program, which will discuss either my Scriptural sufficiency work, or the KJV Only issue, or both. Sometimes I really don't know until I get started. Keeps you on your toes. :-)
The Negation Idiom: Part II
03/02/2005 - James WhiteIn the preceding installment we addressed J.P. Holding's claim that Paul is using a "negation idiom" in Romans 9:16, based upon his particular interpretation of Jeremiah 7:22. We demonstrated that there is no reason to accept this argumentation, and good reason to reject it, from the text of Romans 9 itself. But there is another good reason to reject it: one simply does not need to read Jeremiah 7:22 as containing such a "negation idiom." Below I provide the commentary of Keil and Delitzch on the text. Yes, it involves Hebrew, but despite that, it is worth the read. If I may summarize the point being made: the context determines what God is referring to, and He is referring to the making of the covenant. The context determines the meaning. One does not need to read "not" as meaning something other than "not" when we limit the scope of the creation of the covenant in the ten commandments. Here is the commentary: ...
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Today on the Dividing Line
03/01/2005 - James WhiteStarted off introducing folks to the concept of the calendar page over there on the left side of the website, talking about upcoming debates and trips. Even managed to try an Italian accent that came out sounding like Dr. Frankenstein. Then we took calls, and the calls focused on scriptural sufficiency and sola scriptura. Useful information. Here's the program.
The Negation Idiom: Part I
03/01/2005 - James White
So then it [does] not [depend] on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. (Romans 9:16, NASB)
So then it is not of the man willing nor of the man running but of the God mercying.
"For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. (Jeremiah 7:22, NASB)
In seeking to respond to Romans 9:16, J.P. Holding makes the following comments:
Jeremiah 7:22 For in the day that I brought your ancestors out of Egypt, I did not speak to them or command them concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices...
By [this Skeptic]'s line of thinking, Jeremiah 7:22 "stands in flagrant contradiction of what the last four books of the Pentateuch say" with their many commands of offerings and sacrifices. Presumably we are to think that Jeremiah represents some "anti-cultus" faction that denies the Mosaic heritage -- some would say, that he is speaking against a recent forgery of Deuteronomy "discovered" in the Temple.
The simple answer to this notes that this is rather the use of hyperbole to effect a point. The purpose of this phrase is to show the relative importance of sacrifices, etc. in terms of inward attitudes...
...Jeremiah (as well as other Biblical writers - cf. Amos 5:21-5, Micah 6:1-8, Is. 1:10-17) here employs a type of idiom designed to grab the attention of his hearers and cause his message to be noticed and remembered...in our verse (22), a rhetorical negation is used to bring attention to the fact that internal posture is more important than external ritual. By expressing the matter in terms of a negation, the hearer/reader is first shocked, then realizes from the admonitions following what the actual point is: As it is expressed in 1 Samuel 15:22 --
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