Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Upcoming Needs: Important Announcement
11/29/2005 - James WhiteI am one of those folks who really likes predictability. I like a routine. Same ol' same ol. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Make do and be thankful. That kind of thing.
But sometimes, things have to change. We have been operating this entire ministry out of very, very, very small quarters for quite some time. And we've made it work. Of course, with a huge staff like ours (= two people, myself and Rich) you can work in smaller quarters. Of course, there isn't a square inch left in my office...books stacked on top of books, every bit of space being used. In any case, we've made the decision that we need to move to a more suitable, and functional, location, for a number of good reasons. And the Lord has opened up a wonderful opportunity and location as well, perfectly suited for our needs. No, I'm not going to divulge the location (I've been discussing the Qur'an a lot lately!), but it isn't overly far from where we currently are.
In any case, we hope to be moving toward the end of January/early February. Oh yes, we will need some strong backs. My library will be a bit of a...workout. But, of course, as anyone knows, when you move an entire ministry operation, there are associated "extra-budgetal" costs. Especially since we do the Dividing Line from the office, there will be costs associated with getting proper Internet connections put together, let alone getting all the computers set up, printers, being able to continue to burn CD's and DVD's and fill orders, etc. And, of course, with the debate and travel schedule I have starting in February through May, we have to make this move as smooth as possible, meaning we can't rely upon Rich "ToolMan" Pierce to be building things on the fly (as he has often done in the past). We might actually have to buy shelves, for example (gasp!).
Now as I explain on about a semi-annual basis, this ministry is actually just like all those you hear about who have "matching grants" and do cold calling and all that stuff---well, we don't get matching grants or do cold-calling or have telethons and stuff, but like everyone else, we pay our bills and keep the lights on through the support of a very small number of churches (three regular supporting churches, and a couple that have me speak so often I sort of consider that the same thing) and everything else comes from the support of God's people. We don't do the "guilt trip fund raising routine" ("If you don't give, we will have to go off the air!") or all that---if I ever had to get to that point I'd go into another line of work. But that's how we make ends meet.
Now, I've noticed over the two decades of A&O's existence that we just don't seem to appeal much to rich folks. The vast majority of our supporters are not looking to make large contributions before the end of the year, that's for sure. Yeah, a couple of times over the years someone has given a larger than normal donation in December, but it's pretty rare. If anything, end of the year is harder because our folks are trying to stuff a stocking or two. But anyway, here's our little appeal. If you like the Dividing Line, the blog, the debates, the conferences and the like, and feel the work is worthy of your support, and maybe a little added support in light of the upcoming move, well, we will do our best to utilize anything given to God's glory. No matching grants, no cold-calling, and my wife promises not to appear on your TV talking a million miles per hour. We promise.
11/26/2005 - James WhiteI've been working on a few other projects over the course of the holiday and haven't had the slightest desire to open up The Da Vinci Code and document more of Dan Brown's errors. But it has been hard to avoid noting the explosion over the past week of a "blog war" as it is being called (a bit melodramatic for my tastes) once again focused upon he-who-starts-blog-wars, Michael Spencer, aka, "iMonk."
This one got started because, as is his pattern, iMonk posted an article that was, well, quite self-revealing. In fact, if you ask me, it was not proper to post it in public. In fact, posting that kind of stuff in public is an open invitation for exactly what happened. If you are Dr. Introspective, then you might wish to write such things for a...limited audience? But when you have a long history of being hyper-sensitive to any and all comments by others (though you seem quite willing to dish it out yourself), you might consider the wisdom of such a course of action.
Well, ol' centuri0n, who used to be a regular in my chat channel, but is too busy for us little people anymore (especially since Pyromaniac has eaten with him and put graphics of him on his blog, rocketing him into the very upper echelon of the blogosphere), commented on one of iMonk's introspective (and provocative) posts, and KABOOM! went iMonk once again. But more than this, iMonk has followers, very properly identified by Steve Hays as the "Tavernistas." They are a truly fascinating conglomeration of folks who take the "this is a tavern" mantra way, way too seriously. A few have a rather salty tongue too, if you know what I mean (taverns are not known for their concern to glorify God through control of the tongue). In any case, they came forth from their tavern, beer mugs in hand and pitchforks at the ready, in defense of their leader, and well, the rest is history.
Most of you know all of this anyway, so why comment on it? Well, today I see this "suggestion" that this blog ignore that blog, and this blog not allow comments mentioning that blog, and this person get to have editing rights on that blog, and so on and so forth, and I have to just roll my eyes and go, "What??" You've got to be kidding! Spencer has even pulled the original post, though he continues to dangle it out there by musing he might make it a password-protected file or something.
I blog mainly to provide apologetic information to folks that I hope will help them be more confident, proclaiming, grounded Christians in an ever more hostile world. Sometimes I blog out of personal enjoyment (the personal articles) and to demonstrate that you can be an apologist and plain ol' human being, too. But I do not blog to play mind-games with folks or to get the adoration of others, and to be perfectly honest, I'm starting to wonder if the BHT (Boar's Head Tavern) isn't starting to take on the characteristics of a proto-personality-cult. Whatever it is, I sure don't suggest wandering in there. It is clearly a place of great confusion, and not a little bit of anger. Pass by quietly, dear traveler.
Tuesday Morning Notes
11/15/2005 - James WhiteOn a very sad note, Adrian Rogers has died. Chemotherapy is a rather barbaric way of dealing with cancer, and while it can work, it likewise has lots of complications, in this case, double pneumonia. His website asks for prayers for the Rogers family. All theological disagreements aside, as I noted a few years ago when reviewing his sermons on Romans 8 and 9, when it came to justification, he was spot-on, and we can be thankful for his life and ministry.
Also in the "arrived over night" material is a rather full article by Steve Hays in response to Paul Owen's continued attack upon the substitutionary, penal work of atonement by our Lord Jesus Christ, here. I am thankful Steve Hays and others have the stomach to continue to deal with Owen's ever widening body of writing giving evidence of his apostasy. As sad as it is to see false teaching proclaimed, it is also good to know that Paul was right: time does, in essence, demonstrate who is approved and who is not (1 Cor. 11:19), and I can only hope that those who have been duped by this man in the past will see him for what he really is and will no longer cooperate in assisting him to spread his teachings in those bodies of believers where he has no place being given a platform.
Two Quick Monday Morning Notes
11/14/2005 - James WhiteFirst, Pastor Brazier has sent me the link to my February UK trip itinerary. Here it is. I can't express how much I'm looking forward to returning to the UK, and Lord willing, this time with a measure of health!
Second, I got up last night and noted the screen was on, so I checked on the computer and found a note from Sam Shamoun. Sadly, that woke me up fully at 2am. Thanks Sam! :-) But the note was interesting. It was about the entry below on Hebrews 1:6 and Shabir Ally. Evidently, Sam knows Ally's argument on this passage, and filled me in on what Shabir messed up trying to say in the debate, and since it is quite interesting (and, despite his having missed references and the like, we want to respond to the best someone has to offer), here's the scoop:
Shabir Ally said Deuteronomy 32:6, but what he meant to say was Deuteronomy 32:43. I might have been able to figure that out if I had looked at a paper copy of the Greek text instead of the electronic copy I used. Why? Because the Nestle-Aland 27th ed. includes along the side of the text citations/sources. At Hebrews 1:6 it includes Psalm 97:7 and a reference to Deuteronomy 32:43, where the LXX has a phrase that is a variant from the Hebrew. First, look at the comparison of the LXX of Psalm 97:7 and Hebrews 1:6:
|Psalm 97:7 LXX||proskunh,sate auvtw/| pa,ntej oi` a;ggeloi auvtou/|
|Hebrews 1:6||proskunhsa,twsan auvtw/| pa,ntej a;ggeloi qeou/Å|
Then Deuteronomy 32:43's variant phrase:
|Deu. 32:43||proskunhsa,twsan auvtw/| pa,ntej ui`oi. qeou/|
|Heb 1:6||proskunhsa,twsan auvtw/| pa,ntej a;ggeloi qeou/Å|
The LXX reading is actually a parallel:
|proskunhsa,twsan auvtw/| pa,ntej ui`oi. qeou/|
|evniscusa,twsan auvtw/| pa,ntej a;ggeloi qeou/|
I include the parallel to show that "sons of God" = "angels of God" in this context. Now, the LXX variant is verbally identical to Hebrews 1:6, and given the parallel that follows, provides a perfect match; however, the rest of the sources in Hebrews 1 (Ally assumes Pauline authorship, which I do not) are from the Psalter, and the Psalm 97:7 reference is probably the source of the Deuteronomy 32 variant anyway, given how close it is verbally as well. In any case, this wasn't even the focus of Shabir Ally's statement: outside of giving no original reference, and giving the wrong LXX reference, his assertion was that Paul's error was not only the citation of the LXX, but that the LXX had "Jehovah" and Paul misquoted it. But this isn't the case in any of the LXX sources: the LXX does not contain the Tetragrammaton (despite the wildest efforts of JW apologists to find a way to say it did). The term "Yahweh" does not appear in Deuteronomy 32:43, nor in Psalm 97:7. I think, if I can engage in just a bit more "he said this, but maybe he meant that" speculation, that what he might be referring to is the "elohim/angeloi" issue, that is, in Psalm 97:7 (96:7 LXX) the Hebrew is "worship him all you elohim," "gods," but in the LXX it is "angels," the LXX interpreting elohim to be a reference to angels. That's about the closest I can come, and in all of this Shabir Ally shows himself unwilling to apply the same standards to the Qur'an he does to the Bible. At least we can look at the sources used by the Apostles! You can hardly subject the text of the Qur'an to the same kind of examination (you rarely have sufficient context to do so, and it so rarely actually cites, directly, preceding documentary sources), so to try to prove the superiority of the Qur'an on this basis is once again fallacious.
Some Stuff on the Net....
11/14/2005 - James WhiteI was just sent this link. I am honored to be in such grand company.
Chris Jenkins and some other brainiacs--and Frank Turk--have started a blog (gasp! someone has started a blog??). I don't think they have Pyromaniac's graphics skills, but they are definitely younger than Phil. Wait...that doesn't sound right--and I'm not sure Frank Turk is younger than Phil Johnson. Anyway, it has to be good, since it's title is in Latin (hey, mine is in Greek). Here's the Reformata blog.
Eric Svendsen on the Internet and A Lighter Note...
11/02/2005 - James WhiteEric Svendsen has hung up his blogging...shoes, or gloves, or whatever you use to blog. Here's his announcement. I can fully understand how he feels. To be honest, I can't figure out how he, and so many others, can put out so much material. You have probably noted that my volume of blogging is lower than many others. The main reason for that is simply time: if you want to produce something meaningful, it takes time, and if you are writing numerous articles for various journals and publications, working on books, etc., and then traveling as much as I have been of late, it just simply isn't possible to blog prolifically. But secondly, I can't judge my efforts by others: I have to be responsible with my time and be prepared to complete the tasks for which I am responsible, both with A&O and in reference to my church. So I applaud Eric for focusing upon his local church. I've been mentioning lately that I expect the blog fad to start dying down, to be honest, which will be a good thing. You simply can't keep up with forty or fifty blogs on a regular basis. Now, I have no intentions of curtailing my blogging: which for some is bad news, for others good news. However, I am truly considering making it a Monday/Wednesday/Friday thing, with the DL's on Tuesday/Thursday, and if something pops up I can always throw it up there, too. But it is quite a burden to try to do something daily (if you blog, you know what I mean).
But on the lighter side, Steve Hays has once again written a classic piece. Lately the folks at confusiosanitorium or whatever it is have not only charted new courses in unorthodoxy (as we all said they would, eventually), but they have taken to posting some of the most hilarious podcasts (replete with music)...and the combined effect was to tickle Hays' funny bone. True humor always has a strong element of truth in it, and this one illustrates that to no end.
Solid Ground Sale Extended Till Midnight Tonight...
11/01/2005 - James WhiteJust got an e-mail advertising some really super sale prices on some neat stuff (like the biography of Sarah Edwards) at Solid Ground Christian Books, but it only goes till midnight tonight! Here's the site but gentlemen, please don't tell your wives I told you about this. I know, how sexist of me...but it is almost always the guys telling me I am causing them biblio-covetousness--it isn't normally the ladies, though I know you are out there, too. I guess your husbands let you buy whatever books you want.