Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Neat New Stuff at Solid Ground
01/25/2006 - James WhiteAs soon as I saw Shamgar in channel saying the new e-mail from SGCB was giving him fits with book-envy, I knew I had to pop by and see what was up. I can see why! Two items that caught my eye immediately: Notes on Galatians by J. Gresham Machen should be most useful. It is coming soon. And From the Pulpit to the Palm Branch: A Memorial of C.H. Spurgeon would probably be a good thing for me to read before I speak at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in a few weeks! I also see that Mike Gaydosh and the folks at SGCB are really burning the midnight oil, since they are offering the complete works of Thomas Manton on pre-publication sale. Goodness, hide the Visa card! If you dare, take a look.
01/23/2006 - James WhiteMemorization verses, John 20:28...it all gets to wait till I finish an article due today. Maybe tomorrow. Only so many hours in the day. Sorry!
Monday Morning Odds and Ends
01/16/2006 - James WhiteFor those in the great state of Georgia (and surrounding areas), you might be very interested in attending the Greer-Heard Forum February 3-4, 2006, featuring William Dembski and Michael Ruse on the topic of Intelligent Design. Here's the link.
I'm reviewing a manuscript for an upcoming book so that I can write an endorsement for it (more when it comes out of course), and ran across a tremendous section demonstrating the kind of work the Jesus Seminar fellows put out. To make a long story short, the Seminar fellow who is starting to become the new "face" of the group, Dr. Price, is documented in this new book to have utterly melted down on an alleged textual variant at Luke 1:34. He calls the text into question (and hence the virgin birth) based upon a single, yes I said single, Latin manuscript; further, he gets the manuscript wrong, and forgets to mention that the reason the manuscript doesn't have the verse is because it is a fragmentary manuscript that begins at Luke 1:64!!! So, based on a single manuscript in Latin (that is one of 10,000) that doesn't even start until thirty verses later, he brings into question the entirety of the Greek manuscript tradition and hence the virgin birth of Christ! The sad thing is, of course, that in our day, he is a "credentialed scholar," and hence his word is beyond question in the minds of most. Time to start making "credentialed scholar" mean "has demonstrated a consistent ability to handle the material in his specialty" rather than "went to the right school." The Jesus Seminar is a very good argument for the de-mythologizing of scholarship. Anyway, I'll let you know about this new book when it comes off the presses. Well worth the read.
Got a call from London this morning. Spoke with Dr. Peter Masters of the Metropolitan Tabernacle and arranged the topics of my talks there in February. I will be doing two sessions on assurance, two on the canon of Scripture, and one on John 6. I am truly looking forward to this opportunity!
Let There Be...A Doorway!
01/14/2006 - James WhiteI am so glad Rich Pierce knows how to do... every- thing. He's Tim Taylor without quite the same frequency of 1) disaster, and 2) trips to the emergency room (though I did have to take him once). Here Rich (crouching down), Larry, and Casey frame in a new door they just created in a wall in the new offices. If you look past them through the far door (which was cut in a few weeks ago), that's my office. I'm standing in what will be the print shop/order area; the door they are making will lead into a hallway; to the left will be a storage room (I intend to put Warren Smith's name on the door, no matter what we put in the room, just to make him feel loved) and to the right will be the "studio" for doing The Dividing Line. Behind me is another room the same size as the one in the picture. Didn't have nearly as many folks on hand today as we had hoped, but much was accomplished anyway. The process begins...and a long process it will be!
Quick Odds and Ends on a Saturday Morning
01/14/2006 - James WhiteWell, I need to keep this short, as I want to run past the new office and see how things are going. Before moving we have walls to build, ceilings to install, network stuff to run...all that fun stuff. But the process has begun. It will be a long one.
I'm behind the curve, obviously, but you do have to wonder what Rick Warren was thinking when he said recently, ""Muslim fundamentalism, Christian fundamentalism, Jewish fundamentalism, secular fundamentalism -- they're all motivated by fear. Fear of each other." Hey that's brilliant, Rick. Nothing like doing your history studies at CNN and playing right into the hands of those who refuse to properly define beliefs and movements and actions based upon worldviews.
Pyromaniac has opened a real can of worms with just the opening portion of his discussion of spiritual gifts. And as is to be expected, the vast majority of commentators missed his point. Hence the danger of comments sections. Pooled ignorance is a glorious thing.
Steve Camp has great taste in fractal art, and that reminds me I have not made any new fractals in about six months. Hard to make fractals when you are on the road cranking along around 19 mph and listening to a Muslim apologist or John Shelby Spong or someone like that.
For all of you who rushed to Eric Nielsen's blog to see what all the excitement was about, you have probably discovered what we all feared: given that it took him from March 24, 2004, till December 26, 2005, to recover from his initial blogging explosion, it was to be expected that, like a brilliant heavenly display, he would burn out quickly. It has been ten days since the last example of what it means to be blog-o-rific, and if history is any guide, you can't expect anything to appear on Eric's blog until...September 24, 2007. Patience is a virtue.
If I can scratch out the time I would like to post a few of the "tough questions" Catholic Answers pretends to address in their new book, and point out, for the few of their followers who actually venture out here to test out their "answers," what really tough questions look like. I have had "reply to Jimmy Akin's series on the priesthood" on my "future blog series" list for months. I need to grab that debate and listen to it, having debated Fr. Mitch Pacwa on the same topic.
May you all have a blessed Lord's Day!
Wednesday Morning Odds and Ends
01/11/2006 - James WhiteThe mp3s of yesterday's Issues Etc. program are now up here. Ehrman's responses will start us off tomorrow evening on the DL.
Chris Jenkins sent me the Wall Street Journal article on Wheaton's firing of assistant professor Joshua Hochschild. Hochschild converted to Roman Catholicism. Wheaton stuck to its own rules and dismissed him because they have a statement of faith. While at first that may make us go, "Well done," I'm afraid it isn't as positive as all that. Two problems immediately struck me as I read the article. First, it is one thing to dismiss the gentleman: and quite properly. But there was a reason why Wheaton established that rule long ago. Evidently, the President of Wheaton sorta forgot that reason:
Wheaton, like many evangelical colleges, requires full-time faculty members to be Protestants and sign a statement of belief in "biblical doctrine that is consonant with evangelical Christianity." In a letter notifying Mr. Hochschild of the college's decision, Wheaton's president said his "personal desire" to retain "a gifted brother in Christ" was outweighed by his duty to employ "faculty who embody the institution's evangelical Protestant convictions."Well, there you go---why not just completely evicerate the heart of why the rule was made? The point once was that one would desire to evangelize a Roman Catholic: now that Roman Catholic is a "gifted brother in Christ." There was once a fundamental issue in having someone you believe to be deceived and in need of coming to know the truth teaching your students. Now--what's the reason for the rule, if, in fact, this newly minted Roman Catholic is a "brother in Christ"? Answer: there is none. Of course, this was a mistake on Wheaton's part from the start, for later in the article we read, ...
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Issues Etc. Has Ehrman as Guest Today
01/10/2006 - James WhiteHeads up! Bart Ehrman will be on Issues Etc. today at 3:05pm. Here is the link. Watch for differences between the light, breezy confidence found in his statements on the NPR interviews and today's program. He surely knows he is in a different context than the ultra-liberal context of NPR. Update: OK, sorry, the website said 3:05, but now it appears that it will only be a pre-recorded interview, no interaction, and that in the second hour. How disappointing. Oh well. I'll be listening anyway, but it doesn't sound like there will be a lot of give and take.
Various Odds and Ends
01/05/2006 - James WhiteI thought I'd provide the uber-cool graphic centuri0n created for his Wooden Nickel Awards for 2005, but it is in various parts, and my 1993 vintage blog format can't handle high class stuff like that, so this is all I can mange. I got the one for being the meanest Calvinist on the net. I'm honored. While folks like Pyromaniac earned their blogosphere royalty, I'm still wondering what centuri0n did to get his exalted position. He used to be a regular in our channel, and I don't recall him doing anything then worthy of this level of...royalty. Oh well, I must have missed it. Maybe I should ask iMonk...no, no, scratch that.
We had a few interesting replies to my noting the shooting of the young LDS missionary. One Mormon took great exception to the post, which did not surprise me a lot. How dare I pray God would glorify Himself by drawing near and revealing Himself in truth to someone! See, Mormonism, given its inherent subjectivism, is next to defenseless against post-modernism. Old-time Mormons who actually believed something objective would have had a basis upon which to understand my statements. They could have understood, "Since he believes us to be in error and deceived, he is wishing the best thing he could conceive," but modern Mormons, deeply infected, as most of our society, with postmodern thought, have a hard time stretching that far.
Now another LDS response we got was quite humorous. Maybe it is because we have articles on Mormonism on our site. Maybe it was the mere mention of "LDS" in yesterday's blog article. I don't know, but we got what could only be an automated e-mail this morning from a LDS dating website asking us to post their banner ad on our website, which likewise said we have a "great site." And we could get $20 for every LDS single who signs up! Hey, we had never considered such a means of funding our work! What a thought.
In other news that would be as humorous if it wasn't so sad, the current edition of The Berean Call contains a basically incoherent, rambling commentary on John Piper's Desiring God that is just simply ridiculous. I do not know who wrote it, but whoever it was has not read more than a paragraph or two of Piper's work, and at that, without a scintilla of understanding. Just reprehensible. Is it TBC's intention to utterly and completely destroy every single last shred of integtrity it has ever possessed? One truly has to wonder.
Then, in the "hell froze over today" category, Eric Nielsen, after holding the resources of his blogging ISP hostage for about twenty months, has begun blogging again. Here's the link. He even got a wooden nickel like I did--just for something...else. This is one of the most monumentous events in blogging history, which, admittedly, isn't that big a deal anyway, but I thought I would mention it. It's big to some of us anyway.
Finally, I have a question for our few Muslim readers (and I know we have some since I have been commentining on Shabir Ally, Ahmed Deedat, etc., of late): Is there any Islamic apologist or scholar out there who has had the integrity to openly and publicly reject the absurd forms of gross misrepresentation and simple untruths used regularly by Ahmed Deedat in his popular talks and debates? I would really like to know. There has to be someone with a sufficiently high view of truth who had, during the 1980s and 90s, the guts to stand up and say, "Excuse me, but this man is using fallacious arguments in defense of my faith, and I object." Is there anyone? Could someone drop me a note with links to those Muslim scholars and apologists who did that back then? And how about today? Are there any of the currently active Islamic apologists who will admit Deedat's central arguments were grossly inaccurate? Let me know.
LDS Missionary Shot in Chesapeake, Virginia
01/03/2006 - James WhiteA twenty one year old LDS missionary from Bountiful, Utah, was shot and killed, and his companion wounded, by an as yet unidentified assailant Monday evening. Here's the Salt Lake Tribune story. The article seems to suggest that the missionaries had witnessed a shooting and were themselves shot as a result. In any case, it's such a shame to hear about something like this. I hope many of our readers take the time to share with the LDS missionaries when they have the opportunity. I will never forget meeting with a young RM (returned missionary) years ago at someone's home. After over two hours of discussion of the gospel, he made a terribly sad statement: "This is the first time anyone has explained to me the differences between what you believe (i.e., non-Mormon evangelicals) and what we believe." Sadly, he had served his two year mission right here in the United States. I had no reason to doubt his sincerity. I had defined grace for him in a way he had never heard--which just shouldn't be, but often is. Never assume these young men have heard the truth: in fact, coming from Bountiful Utah, the chances are very, very high the young man shot in Virginia had never heard a compelling, biblical presentation of the truth of the gospel of Christ. May the Lord give us all a heart of compassion for those who have been led astray from the simplicity of the gospel, and may the Lord use even this tragedy to glorify Himself, honor His gospel, and draw His elect unto Himself. May He draw near to this family and graciously bring them to a knowledge of Himself.