Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
BaptistFire Is All Wet
07/30/2005 - James WhiteIn November of 2002 I wrote the following e-mail to the editor of the BaptistFire website:
My name is James White. I am an elder at the Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church, the director of Alpha and Omega Ministries, and an author. I wrote a full rebuttal of Norman Geisler's Chosen But Free titled The Potter's Freedom, am currently writing a point/counter-point debate book with Dave Hunt (www.aomin.org/DHOpenLetter.html for my initial rebuttal of Hunt's horrific work), and I debated George Bryson on this topic at the Anaheim Vineyard last April (#494, bottom of the list at: http://aomin.org/mp3/list.html). I have also exposed fully the horrific errors of exegesis committed by Adrian Rogers in his attempts to deal with Calvinism (http://www.straitgate.com/jw082902.ram and http://www.straitgate.com/jw091402.ram). Hence, I have either engaged those you recommend in writing, or in debate. Indeed, Dr. Geisler has turned down every opportunity to defend his position in public dialogue, and we are having quite the time getting Mr. Hunt to schedule anything, either.
Your website says that the Reformed position has no exegetical basis. I know that is untrue. Your website repeats John 3:16 and 1 Timothy 2:4 like a mantra. Yet I have found nothing on your website responding to the discussions of these passages offered in Reformed works (see my open letter to Hunt for a discussion of the relevant issues surrounding John 3:16, and The Potter's Freedom for an exegetical disussion of Matthew 23:37, 1 Timothy 2:4, and 2 Peter 3:9).
I would like to invite anyone from your organization, or anyone you would like to contact, to debate these issues. My first choice would be a full public debate, audio and video recorded, of sufficient length to at least cover the central issues. I would be happy to face one or more individuals, if that was desired. The debate would involve presentation of exegetical information as well as cross-examination (the key to all meaningful debate). ...
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Tom Ascol Responds to Steve Lemke
07/29/2005 - James WhiteI was directed to yet another blast at "hyper Calvinism" by a Southern Baptist just a few days ago, and now Tom Ascol has started posting a thorough reply at the Founder's blog. Why is it that the opponents of Reformed theology 99.99% of the time have to rely upon straw men? If these folks really believe what they say, why won't they come out and debate the topic with the single authoritative resource being the inspired text of Scripture? I thank God I do not have to hide my faith behind straw men. What a blessing and a freedom!
Hunt Does It Again
07/20/2005 - James WhiteIncorrigible. That's the only term I can come up with. It does not matter how many times Dave Hunt does the theological and scholarly equivalent of a face-plant as he is refuted and shown to be in simple error over and over and over again. He just refuses to learn.
Hunt has now released a new book on Calvinism, A Calvinist's Honest Doubts Resolved by Reason and God's Amazing Grace. The e-book is already ready for download, which is how I have seen it. I am happy to say I am once again one of the main targets, as I am cited a number of times. Indeed, I have to wonder how the Calvinist pastor in this "fictional" conversation came to be named "Pastor Jim." In any case, the book, barely 100 pages in length, is meant to be a "user friendly" work on Calvinism in the form of a dialogue. Of course, I find that format quite useful. I used it in my recent work on sola scriptura in fact.
Just a couple of quick notes, then a challenge for Mr. Hunt.
First, don't worry about any new "Hebrew original of Acts 13:48" stuff. A quick search of the entire book reveals Acts 13:48 is not once cited or discussed. Not much of a shock there.
Hunt once again cites the same passage from Spurgeon that has been explained to him dozens of times before where Spurgeon, in defining and defending particular redemption (limited atonement) refers to the fact that Calvinists do not believe in any limitation on the merit of Christ's sacrifice, only that He makes it with the intention of saving the elect alone. Hunt simply refuses to accept correction or learn from his previous widely publicized mistakes. He refuses to admit a mistake. In What Love is This? Hunt said that in this passage Spurgeon was "unequivocally" denying limited atonement. Now note how he introduces the passage: ...
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On Dancing with Rome
07/20/2005 - James WhiteOnce again we have been given further evidence of the damage done by embracing inherent contradiction (aka "reformed Catholicism," which is neither) in one of the most amazing articles I've cast eyes upon in...days. Kevin Johnson, who has lately been keeping himself at the top of Phil Johnson's blog spotting escapades by arguing about coffee and alcohol, attempted a broad-minded, "I really like this Marian stuff but I'm not a Roman Catholic, really" response to Jason Engwer of NTRMin. And in the process we have been given example after example of what happens when you embrace a system that is inherently self-contradictory. Just a few quotations:
But these early documents do not invalidate the Roman Catholic opinion on the matter-whether Mary was a perpetual virgin, sinless, or whether she was assumed.The Roman Catholic opinion? OPINION? Anyone with the slightest knowledge of the field knows these are not opinions they are dogmas. De fide definitions of the faith itself, unquestionable, undeniable. That would be like referring to the "Reformed Baptist opinion on election" as if it was something we could chat about over a cup of coffee but it really did not define the faith of Reformed Baptists. I would think a Roman Catholic would find such fuzzy ecumenical redefinition of the de fide elements of his faith as mere "opinion" less than useful as well. It is the hallmark of the ecumenist to reduce such issues to "opinions."
And, anyone who studies the fathers knows well that the Marian doctrines in question did develop naturally and almost without resistance over the next thousand years after the Apostles passed from the scene-so much so that Mary made her way into the creeds and the early councils of the Church."Developed naturally"? What is that supposed to mean? Developed, to be sure. But development is a term capable of numerous meanings. You can have godly, biblical development, where Scripture is the guide that keeps that development from wandering into error. And then you have that kind of development that denies Scriptural correction, which becomes evolution, perversion, and the result, a mutation, not a "natural development" from biblical truth. But since Mr. Johnson seems to be claiming to be one who "studies the fathers" then he well knows that the modern face of Marian theology would have been utterly unknown to the earliest centuries, and that they would have found the teaching of such things as dogmatic, de fide beliefs simply incredible. ...
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A Southern Baptist Take on Johnny Hunt's Sermon
07/15/2005 - James WhiteA few weeks ago I commented on Johnny Hunt's sermon prior to the Southern Baptist Convention regarding election. Here's an SBC take on the same sermon, replete with links and pictures.
In the Current Modern Reformation Issue
07/14/2005 - James WhiteMy copy of the July/August 2005 Modern Reformation magazine came today. It is on the Emergent Church movement. I was thumbing through it and ran across a "bullet" quote that struck me:
The Emergent movement has discovered something I think that the prior generation has forgotten. There needs to be a connection between doctrine and practice.
One can well wonder how the Emergent movement can speak of "doctrine" in a meaningful fashion, but, leaving that aside, it seems that possibly some in the Emergent movement are responding against "dead orthodoxy." But if that is the case, why paint with this kind of broad brush? I preached last evening on the close, intimate, necessary connection between the highest forms of doctrine and the practical, every-day application in Colossians 3:1-3. Anyone who has read the Puritans knows this was their emphasis as well.
Ironically, I just got my copy of John Broadus' Jesus of Nazareth: His Character, His Teachings and His Supernatural Works from Solid Ground. I just happend to flip it open and my eyes fell on this paragraph:
We all condemn the fanatics who would make religion sufficient without ethics. Some teachings of this sort are absurd, and some disgusting. But on the other hand, shall we think it wise to regard ethics as sufficient without religion? Is it not true that he who would divorce religion and morality is an enemy to religion, and at best only a mistaken friend to morality? (p. 40)
The Emergent movement is just another example of the pendulum principle: over-reacting to the fact that because we live in a fallen world we will see imbalances and failures in the church. "I feel like my church was obsessed with sound doctrine but I didn't feel loved, therefore, sound doctrine is irrelevant and is up for grabs." No, the failure is in not seeing that sound doctrine leads to sound attitudes and sound behavior!
Three Days of Enloe
07/12/2005 - James WhiteThere is much I could say about what I am about to post, but to be honest, I think just letting the words speak for themselves is more than enough. Any honest person who knows my work will "hear," and everyone else I just can't worry about. The following all appeared in the space of three days on the Envoy forums, written by a single man, an undergraduate student at New St. Andrews in Moscow, Idaho, a member of the church pastored by Peter Leithart, a man I once would have identified as a friend. You will search this site in vain for anything 1/1000th like what you are about to read from Timothy Enloe. I hope someday someone can get through to him. It surely won't be me.
- I think he is a person who has very serious difficulty comprehending anything outside of the "clear" contents of the insides of his own brain
- his serious lack of critical thinking ability
- doesn't have very much understanding of what he's reading
- their entirely anti-historical and extremely unsophisticated understanding of sola Scriptura relative to other sources of authority
- prominent self-defined apologists
- because I am tired of men like White getting away with these historically and theologically farcical misrepresentations of the Reformation and Catholicism. I'll wager that every Catholic here well understands White's radical distortions of Catholic beliefs, but as I myself am engaged these days in significant theological and historical reevaluation of many typical Protestant conceptions about Catholicism which I now consider to be false
- when you encounter a man like James White who is clearly simply out of his league in historical analysis of Catholicism, begin to reflect on the possibility that he is also out of his league in terms of historical analysis of the Reformation--the very thing he claims to be defending-- since he himself is a member of a tradition which openly dissents from some of the most significant utterances of the Reformers themselves about the authority of the Church and her tradition
- the rather unbiblically-expansive category he calls "works" is just a lot of late-breaking Americanized baptistic hyper-spirituality and not at all "the plain meaning" of the Apostle Paul.
- he doesn't even comprehend the questions that are being asked of his position
- ridiculous baptistic arguments similar to White's but written by Eric Svendsen. If you want to see the poverty of these men's worldview and the absolute ridiculousness of their assertions to be defending the Reformation
- men such as James White are not to be trusted. By his own words he is condemned
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