Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Update on our monsoon disaster
07/20/2005 - Rich PierceWe have lost the use of our main workshop and are setting up a makeshift work area in my spare bedroom. Please pray that we can recover the use of the room soon. I spent all day yesterday recovering the roof so the room should be watertight again. The ceiling needs to be re-insulated and and the drop ceiling replaced. The tile floor is shot and some drywall work has to be done as well. It is my prayer that we can get the labor in here soon so that we can move back in quickly.
On a positive note, we were able to cover all of our equipment so there was no loss there.
Nailed by the Monsoon
07/18/2005 - James WhiteWell, we will be mopping up in the morning. A monsoon storm came through and ripped the roof off of the room where we fill our orders last night. Thankfully, it didn't rain, but we were only able to get plywood laid down without anything else before nightfall tonight. And the image to the right shows the radar of a monsoon thunderstorm that hit us about 10:45pm tonight (we are pretty much in the middle of the yellow stuff). While we managed to get most of our important stuff under plastic, we have buckets everywhere, and portions of the room have standing water in them. Pray for Rich and Dave as they try to keep up with requests and orders and get the room cleaned up and the roof repaired! If there is a slight delay in getting some things out, please extend us some understanding. Thanks.
More on a Roman Catholic Argument
07/17/2005 - James WhiteNext, our Catholic correspondent referred to the "Queen Mother" in the Davidic kingdom. Of course, there was no "Queen Mother" in David's kingdom. Instead, early on in Solomon's reign, his mother came to him to make a request of him. The story is found here:
1 Kings 2:19-20 So Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah. And the king arose to meet her, bowed before her, and sat on his throne; then he had a throne set for the king's mother, and she sat on his right. Then she said, "I am making one small request of you; do not refuse me." And the king said to her, "Ask, my mother, for I will not refuse you."Now, notice immediately that Solomon had to have a throne set for his mother: one was not already there, showing that this is not some established Davidic position. What is more, if you read the rest of the story, not only did Solomon refuse Bathsheba's request, but he had the man who made the request through her executed! Hardly an auspicious start to this alleged defining characteristic of the Davidic king.
Next, our correspondent makes reference to the "giberah," the queen mother. A quick study of this term likewise does not lead one to thinking that the Church of Jesus Christ needs a giberah. For example, this term appears in 1 Kings 15:13: "He also removed Maacah his mother from [being] queen mother, because she had made a horrid image as an Asherah; and Asa cut down her horrid image and burned [it] at the brook Kidron." Seems the giberah was a force for evil here. Shall we attempt to parallel this to something in the church? Surely not.
Indeed, there is no reason, whatsoever, to think the "queen mother" is definitional of a Davidic king at all; there is likewise no reason to think that the New Testament writers viewed any relationship at all between the ancient queen mothers and the church of Jesus Christ.
Next we will look at the idea of a "court of judges" as a characteristic of a Davidic king.
Some More Odds and Ends
07/17/2005 - James WhitePBS actually had a short segment on the Emergent Church movement with both McLaren and Carson being interviewed. Anyone who has read almost anything on the movement won't find anything new here, but it was actually handled rather fairly, which surprised me a good bit. Here's the link to the web version of the story, which includes streaming video of the segment they aired. McLaren's obvious discomfort at the term "certainty" is both educational, and sad. Luke 1:4, ESV: "that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught." I guess Luke, and the other NT writers, and the Holy Spirit Himself, failed? Possibly if we would read more medieval philosophy we'd be able to figure it out.
Lakewood Church moved into the old home of the Houston Rockets today. I can't imagine the size. But the one thing that caught my attention was that they played greetings and congratulations from various high-profile folks. Like T.D. Jakes.
John Calvin won an online survey about the greatest theologian ever. Online surveys are so meaningful, aren't they? But this one is in fact interesting, since they asked William Lane Craig about Calvin's win, and his response was quite consistent for the leading promoter of Molinism today:
Dr. William Lane Craig, research professor at Talbot School of Theology at La Miranda, Calif., doesn’t agree.I would love to get a list of his "missteps" from Craig's perspective.
“I think he just made too many missteps to say that he is the greatest theologian,” said Craig. “Presumably, the greatest would be someone whose system of thought is largely true and I don’t think that’s the case with Calvin.”
A Great Commentary Set from SGCB
07/13/2005 - James WhiteRichard Barcellos is a Reformed Baptist pastor in Southern California, a fairly regular visitor to our chat channel, an all-around good guy, and the main driving force behind The Reformed Baptist Theological Review (www.rbtr.org). We were chatting in channel recently and the subject of a new offering from Solid Ground Christian Books came up, that being the commentaries of John Eadie on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and 1 and II Thessalonians. Richard was ecstatic in recommending the volumes. In fact, I tracked down his written commendation:
I am very excited to see Eadie's commentaries back in print through SGCB! Over the years, in preparation for preaching, I have worked my way through Eadie's Colossians and Ephesians, and am now almost finished with chapter one of Philippians. I also read several contemporary commentaries at the same time. I am astounded at the fact that almost without fail, Eadie discusses all the relevant syntactical and theological issues of the text with a freshness that penetrates into today's theological and ecclesiastical scene. When someone asks me about commentaries on Paul's epistles, without hesitation, I recommend Eadie first. His commentaries are both academically and spiritually stimulating and enriching. They have a heavenly scent about them while yet dealing with the technical issues of the Greek text. Get Eadie now if you don't have him. Richard Barcellos, PastorThat's enough for me! Pre-pub price is only $65 for the set ($135 regular price), through July 31st. If you are tired of wading through endless and mind-numbing commentary about all the modern theories of this person or that, and wish to have a sound commentary that gives you access to the original languages and then makes godly application, time to head on over to SGCB and grab Eadie before the publication date.
Check Out the Current CRI Journal
07/11/2005 - James WhiteJust got my copies of the current CRI Journal, and the cover article is my own two-part series on Bible translations: "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly." I'm sure I'll take some heat on this series, but mainly for not being as mean and nasty as my alleged reputation. When it comes to Bible translation, I have found that 90% of the heat is generated by tradition, and 10% by really important linguistic and translational issues. So if you are expecting a series where I recommend only one or two translations and bash all the others, you will be disappointed (and possibly shocked). Instead, I seek to explain the translational issues and recommend two really radical concepts: 1) English speaking Christians should know about how they got their Bible and should be able to understand and recognize the difference between a formal and a functional translation, and 2) (this gets really, really radical) Bible translation and interpretation should be done within in the context of the church, that is, I recommend the use of more formal translations for the preaching ministry with the more functional interpretations taking place in the pulpit, handled by trained elders whose focus it is to do that very kind of thing (I told you it was radical). That should get some interesting response.
And We Struggle to Get Folks to Memorize Scripture...
07/09/2005 - James WhiteTOKYO - A Japanese psychiatric counselor has recited pi to 83,431 decimal places from memory, breaking his own personal best of 54,000 digits and setting an unofficial world record, a media report said Saturday. Here's the story.
Our Prayers for our Brothers and Sisters in London
07/07/2005 - James WhiteI've been trying to get hold of some friends in London, but so far, no success. I'll try again soon. Hopefully the furor will die down and the phone lines will open up. [Update: patience is a virtue, got through, all is well with them]. But our prayers are with our brothers and sisters in London, some of whom I have come to count as dear, dear friends. Once again we see the depths to which men will go out of devotion to false religion in this series of despicable, cowardly terrorist acts.
Apolonio Latar and Sola Scriptura I of II
07/05/2005 - James WhiteApolonio Latar's article on sola scriptura was cited on the Catholic Answers web board recently, so I thought I would, once again, go over ground that has been covered many, many times. However, in light of the fact that most Roman Catholics are unwilling to read, at least in print, the responses to their own position, it is incumbant upon us to repeat the truth as often as necessary. Therefore, we read from Mr. Latar's keyboard these words:
Mr. White has admitted in his debate with Gerry Matatics on Sola Scriptura that Jesus, the apostles, and the Christians before John's (the last apostle) death did not practice Sola Scriptura. Mr. White says that "its normative function only after the canon is completed." To be fair, when Mr. White speaks of the canon being completed, he does not mean when the Church compiled the Scriptures. By the canon being completed, as I understand it, he means when the last scripture was written and the last apostle died, since it would mean that revelation ceased. This is what it seems like he was saying in his debate with Gerry Matatics and that is what he has tried to defend.
This is the section of the debate that Mr. Latar has posted on the web...a tiny little clip that is touted by many as some great "admission" on my part. To the serious minded reader, it is obvious that there is no "admission" when you are simply operating on a standard definition of the issue under debate, in this case, sola scriptura. I refer to the fact that sola scriptura has both epistemological concerns as well as ecclesiological: not only does it refer to the nature of Scripture and its God intended function, but it likewise is a church doctrine. It refers to the sole infallible rule of faith for the church, hence, it speaks to the normative state of the church today and in the past. Since the doctrine says that it is that which is inspired, the Word, that is the sole infallible rule of faith, the issue of inspiration itself obviously touches upon the topic.
Roman Catholics and Protestants historically have agreed on the reality that special revelation itself has ceased. We agree that new Scripture is not being written. Since this is so, logically, that means we agree there was a time, a miraculous and special time, often referred to as that period of "enscripturation," when that process was taking place, so that the Scriptures themselves were coming into existence under the providential direction of God Himself, for His purposes. Roman Catholic apologists often make reference to these periods when the Word of God was orally preached, such as in the ministry of Isaiah, as evidence of the falsehood of sola scriptura. And yet, given that they agree we no longer live in that context, is it not obvious and clear that the question of what is in fact an infallible authority today differs from asking the same question during periods of enscripturation? What true use is there to say "Isaiah said more than what we have in the book of Isaiah" when 1) no one today is speaking on that level of inspiration and 2) Rome, which claims access to, and authority over, "tradition" has never given us a single word Isaiah said that is not itself found in Scripture? ...
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Odds and Ends
07/04/2005 - James WhiteOn the positive side: preached on 1 Cor. 1:17/1 Cor. 2:1-5 last evening at PRBC (listen/download).
On the positive side: rode 27.6 miles this morning, first time on the major roads (because it's a holiday!). Felt great to climb Thunderbird hill again (top end of 59th Ave. for those who know the area). Hadn't seen that heart rate in a while.
On the negative side, the United Church of Christ, that bastion of liberal unbelief and heresy that should abandon the use of the name of Christ as soon as possible, voted today to approve a resolution endorsing same-sex marriage. Wow, that's a shock.