Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
An Illustration from the Recent Debate at Biola
05/20/2006 - James WhitePheme Perkins is a Harvard trained Roman Catholic scholar from Boston College. Her special interests, like so many today, include all things gnostic. Under current research projects is included, "Gnostic revealers and their discourses as evidence for emergence of Johannine traditions." To say Dr. Perkins represents the left side of the theological and scholarly spectrum is to engage in a small bit of understatement.
So why do I mention this? Those who have listened to the Shabir Ally debate know that my primary emphasis in the encounter was to assert that if Muslims are going to deny the inspiration of the New Testament as it exists today (notice I purposefully allowed for the opening up of the textual critical issue) they need to do so on consistent grounds. Using one form of argumentation to attack the New Testament while rejecting that same kind of argumentation when it is applied to the Qur'an is inconsistent, and inconsistency is the sign of a failed argument. Allowing liberal theologians and historians to run amok in New Testament studies while demanding the most conservative viewpoints possible in defending the Qur'an would involve fallacious argumentation, and I asserted that this is what I have heard, consistently, from Islamic apologists in my studies of their arguments.
Most in attendance (I heard audience reaction) found Shabir Ally's claim that the Gospel of Thomas is earlier than the Gospel of Mark incredible. I found the claim incredible as well, as this screen capture of my handwritten notes on my tablet pc prove:
So, when we got into cross-examination, I asked Shabir about this. I got what I would call a classic answer, at least as far as my study has revealed to me the argumenation of Islam's defenders. Islamic apologists will cite a single source as if this is sufficient to establish a point. While in a debate that might be acceptable for time's sake, when the vast majority of published material contradicts your position, you need to give more than a single work. In this case, Shabir first said, ...
[Click Here to Continue Reading]
A Great Evening at Biola (Updated)
05/08/2006 - James White
Once again I wish to thank all the faithful believers who prayed for last night's event at Biola University in Los Angeles. It was truly a wonderful time. The staff did a great job setting up the event, and I am very thankful to Beau Boyd and the "El Torrito Gang" for all they did to make this happen. I love seeing young men and women with a zeal for God's truth taking the "bull by the horns" so to speak and getting things done.
Fred Butler from John MacArthur's church has done me the favor of reporting on the debate here and providing some nice pictures as well, which will save me a lot of time! He even took a picture of my tablet PC! My tablet is famous! Now I just have to remember to reset the battery time settings before each debate (doh!). (Quick update: here is another report from Patrick Chan).
The incoming e-mails from students who were there have been wonderfully encouraging as well. I am sure, given that we did a three-camera shoot, that the DVD's will look spectacular. Please do not ask me when the mp3's will be available! Obviously, we will get them out as soon as we can, and I'm sure Rich will make this a high priority in the video-editing schedule.
I mentioned in my closing statement that I have already been talking to Shabir about scheduling a debate on the deity of Christ for May of 2007. I would like to arrange it for the University of Glasgow in Scotland, since he has debated there before, and I have friends in that area as well, and a church up near Stirling has contacted me about doing an apologetics conference for them in May of 2007. And I made the offer nearly irresistible: I promised that if Shabir will accept my challenge to debate in Glasgow, I'll wear a formal kilt for the occasion!
The main reason I'm not going to wax too long in reporting on the debate, aside from Fred's fine blog entry, is that I will be doing The Dividing Line tomorrow morning and will give you a full report then. In fact, if folks who were there would like to call in, that would be great as well. Till then, once again, many thanks to all who worked so hard to arrange the debate, to those who prayed, and please continue to pray not only for our upcoming debates but also that the Lord will open the door for a 2007 debate on the deity of Christ in Scotland.
Finally, a special shout out to Beau Boyd, mentioned above. This is the only picture I have right now of Beau, making sure he's covering my back after the debate. He was the first one to contact me about doing the debate, and he stuck it out even when it got tough. He and Jer (below) also dragged themselves out of bed this morning to take me to the airport, which turned out to be a long ride thanks to a massive traffic jam a few minutes from LAX. And then another special shout out to Jer and Marissa, who not only gave me a cactus and tulips upon arriving at LAX, but they later admitted that my debates were involved in their starting to date! I honestly have no idea how that could happen, or what it means, but I thought it was great anyway.
So, be listening tomorrow to the DL for a full report! See you then!
Quick Addition: Just got some more pics. This one shows Beau in the foreground, Marissa next to him; behind Marissa is The Gripper, Eddie Dalcour, who along with Beau made for an impressive set of body-guards! The fellow right next to me is from Columbia, and he really enjoyed the debate, and behind him is a Master's Seminary grad as well. I am waxing eloquent on something here. I do recall talking to a lovely young lady at one point about a text of Scripture and just watching her brighten as she came to understand the point (she is a new believer). I will admit, being around these young folks is rejuvenating, especially when I realize they are the same age as my son! Excuse me while I go chug some Geritol....