Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
John Modene: Still Unplugged
08/23/2006 - James White
Thanks for the plug on your blog, however mendacious it is.
Please note, not for accuracy’s sake, but for your own future judgment, that although SermonAudio.com takes credit cards, my church does not sell anything on SermonAudio. And we do not sell anything in or at our church.
Such merchandising of the Gospel is offensive and sinful. And it is what you practice. So while SermonAudio.com charges for things, as a business should, the Maumee Valley Bible Baptist Church does not. Any sermon requested is sent at no charge to any person anywhere in the world.
By the way, on your Spiritual Cruise do you meet in the bars or the casino? Do you take in the shows together and worship with naked women present? Just wondering!
Here is another language study for you to try, since it looks like your current Catholic targets are rather esoteric in nature:
In the Bible ALL means ____________
World means ____________
Whole means ______________
Sinners mean _______________
By the way, the answers are not some, some, some, and elect. At least in the Bible.
Just trying to help! Remember to go over my last sermon where I cover this amazing truth in detail. I will be in Phoenix next year, Lord willing, so perhaps I can visit your church and see if God will grant me liberty to preach about it.
I'm not sure why I am so concerned about folks like Pastor Modene. It is not like he is unusual. There are plenty of tradition-enslaved folks like him about who, as a result, struggle mightily with that little thing called truth. Possibly part of it is that consistency thing. I hate to see folks allegedly "in the family" acting in such a fashion, showing such disrespect for truthfulness. He seems to suffer from the same antipathy to truth that Art Sippo has: I can understand its source with Sippo, but Modene should know better.
In any case, I received the above note from Mr. Modene earlier today. I had pointed out the inconsistency of attacking us for accepting credit cards (he indicated this proved I am not a Christian but a false teacher) when SermonAudio, which hosts his materials, does so as well. I had also pointed out that a KJV Only preacher he has recommended, David Cloud, does so too. He has ignored the Cloud comment, and now evidently wishes me to believe that it is OK for SermonAudio to provide him with disk space and bandwidth to promote his sermons, and help to pay for that through the use of credit cards, as long as he does not do so. I just love consistency, don't you?
Next we have Modene's sour grapes combined with a large dose of ignorance in evidently not having the slightest idea of the nature of our meetings onboard ship. Hard to take that kind of rhetoric seriously, though, obviously, Modene does.
Then we have a real example of the depth of Pastor Modene's study of the truth. Evidently he's not overly interested in those Roman Catholics, so, he's got some good ol' Arminianism to promote! Once again, it is a bit scarey to realize that he probably thinks you can define words in the simplistic way he does in his little quiz. Context, language---who needs all of that? What happens when you force an anachronistic, a-contextual meaning on every appearance of a word in the Scriptures? Well, here are a few examples regarding Modene's first question about "all":
Acts 5:34 nobody disrespected Gamaliel...not even one?Those are just a few examples that could be given. All is defined in its context. It can mean all extensively (Colossians 1), it can mean all of a particular group, at a particular time, etc. And yes, all can mean all the elect, if the context indicates it to be so. The same is obviously true of world, where you can find more than a dozen different uses of the term in John alone, let alone elsewhere. And so we are truly left to do nothing more than chuckle at Modene's smug little note, remembering, of course, that he's the fellow who thinks if your pulpit is off-center, you are a false teacher. Along with all the blessings of the Internet comes the sad reality that it likewise gives a platform to those who surely do not deserve it, and who will only misuse it.
Acts 7:22 Moses knew everything the Egyptians knew, completely?
Acts 9:21 Every single person said the exact same words?
Acts 9:35 Every single person in Lydda and Sharon both saw Peter and converted? Not a single exception? Entire villages converted without a single unconverted person?
Luke 14:29 Every single person who observes, without exception, will mock?
Matt 2:3 Every single person in Jerusalem was troubled? Including Anna and Simeon, for example?
Matt 3:5 Every single person in all of Judea, young and old, went out to John?
Continuing My Review of Trouble with the Tulip
08/13/2006 - James WhiteI may have mentioned this before, but I have been doing a series in Bible Study at PRBC on Frank Page's book, Trouble with the Tulip. I started right after his election as president of the SBC, then I went off to the UK, and didn't get back to it for a few weeks upon my return. I've taken a few detours as we've worked through the text. For example, he mentioned Augustine so I took the time to refresh the memory of the class on the Donatist and Pelagian controversies. I'm noting a rather sad decline in the quality of the work as we go through it. It started out at least trying to present a semi-accurate picture of Reformed theology, but as it moves on that attempt falters and the regular straw-men that mark the vast majority of anti-Reformed rhetoric out there start cropping up. I truly do wonder what the men who founded the SBC would think of this kind of writing today. In any case, you can find the series listed here.
John 6 and the "Pristine Faith Restoration Society" (#5)
08/11/2006 - James WhiteIn our last installment in reviewing Tim Warner's response to me on John 6 we entered into his assertion that the use of the word "see" in the present tense meant physical sight, so that Jesus was only referring to the Jews of that day believing in Him. Though Warner recognizes that "believing" is likewise a present tense participle (would it not follow that believing, then, was only relevant to those Jews in that day?), he does not seem to recognize that the contrast in John is not between "Jews believing in one particular way in the days of Jesus, and now, due to our progressive dispensationalism, we see that things are different now than they were then," but between the kind of faith referred to by the use of the present tense (on-going faith) vs. the temporary faith that does not save seen a number of times in John (John 2:23-25, John 8:30), normally using the aorist. Given that John is writing all of this long after the cross, the arbitrary insistence that John's words are to be limited in their application and meaning to a period no longer relevant to anyone to whom he was writing is truly one of the worst logical outcomes of certain forms of dispensationalism. The fact that his words would be invariably misunderstood and would lead to all sorts of errors down through the centuries until dispensationalism came along to sort things out is truly enough to prove the error of this movement. Remember, the book itself places the issue of faith in the days of John, after the cross:
John 20:30-31 30 Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.Notice that the text uses i[na with the subjunctive yet once again to express simple purpose: these things have been written with the purpose that the reader may believe that Jesus is the Christ, and, then, a second use of i[na, by believing you may have life in His name. As we noted earlier, it would be gross misreading to read into the text issues of "Well, it was God's purpose that everyone believe, and since not everyone believes, then God's will can be thwarted!" just as it would be an error to think that any person who truly does believe might not have life in the name of Christ. Instead, John has written his gospel so that it may be used to bring men and women to faith in Christ, and all who truly believe do, in fact, receive eternal life through that faith. But notice that John's gospel, no matter when you date it, was written after the cross. Hence, John is saying that what he has written he has written so that by reading these gracious words a person may believe and have eternal life. Now, how would a person, living at the end of the first century, know that the gracious promise of Christ to save perfectly those coming to Him and believing in Him recorded in chapter six was no longer relevant to him or her? This is surely a misreading of the text, and the fact that John would present to his audience his gospel, with almost all of it narrating events and teachings prior to the cross, shows that he, unlike Warner, did not embrace this particular "progressive dispensational" hermeneutic so that Jesus' words in the synagogue at Capernaum have only a historical and passing interest to his readers.
It is almost sad to see how far removed from the plain meaning of the text in front of him Warner is forced by his a-contextual dispensationalism. Note this statement:
Both "seeing" and "believing" in verse 40 are present participles. They referred to people doing these things at that time. Since the immediate audience actually did see Jesus with their eyes, there is no doubt that they understood Jesus literally in this verse. To allegorize the term in order to stretch the scope of Jesus' teaching beyond the immediate audience is "wresting the Scriptures" in my opinion. The idea of seeing Jesus and then believing that He was the Messiah is repeated many times in the Gospels. It has reference to their seeing the miracles that Jesus did as proof that He was the Messiah. His miracles were all the proof required.The number of obvious errors in thought and reasoning in this single paragraph, given the context, are hard to catalog. Once again Warner ignores the fact that John wrote this long after these events took place for a purpose. Next, isn't the whole point of John 6 that these men were unbelievers, who, though they had seen the miracles, did not in fact believe? Isn't Jesus explaining why? And if we take his literalism, will we not fall into the very same trap Rome has fallen in to as well? Does it not follow that eating flesh and drinking blood is "literal"? Warner even "sees" the disjunction the Lord presents between seeing (physically) and believing in v. 36, but misses that in v. 40 the two are joined together, for those the Son raises up to eternal life see and believe. That is the whole point: while they had seen the miracles, they had not really seen; and while they were seeing Jesus, they were not really seeing Jesus. It is common all through John for this kind of play on words to be used: hearing, but not hearing, for example; seeing, but not seeing. When seeing is joined with believing, it is clearly spiritual in nature, not physical; when hearing is joined with faith, it is not physical hearing, it is spiritual hearing, hearing of the Word of God (with understanding), seeing the Lord Jesus Christ for who He is. The whole point of this text is that these men are looking on the outward, looking for signs, but they are not truly looking. The words Jesus gives them are "spirit and are life," as He Himself indicated. Will Warner accuse the Lord of using improper metaphors for His teaching, we wonder? So we must reject as utterly groundless and once again utterly against the flow of the context Warner's assertion, "Clearly, 'seeing' Christ in this passage refers to actually observing Jesus in the flesh with the eyes."
Despite having God's truth right before him, Tim Warner cannot "see" it plainly due to his outside sources and beliefs. The irony is that he even makes reference to the concluding words John provides in reference to Jesus' ministry from John 12, which specifically states God's sovereign activity in hardening hearts and blinding eyes, and yet this clearly has nothing to do with physical sight! Such glaring inconsistency is the hallmark of the eisegesis flowing from Warner's odd form of progressive dispensationalism, one that is joined, for some odd reason, with an uncritical utilization of patristic sources.
[continued in next installment]
Jon Modene Gone Wild
08/10/2006 - James WhiteI was sent a link by someone a few days ago of one Jon Modene preaching about his visit to R.C. Sproul's church. Today I took the time to load it up while working on other things. I could not believe what I was hearing. So I sent an e-mail to the link provided on Sermon Audio and said that this "sermon" was "simply embarrassing." I described it as "incredible" and "beyond all bounds of reason, logic and truthfulness." I exhorted him to apologize for "this incredible example of gross misrepresentation and falsehood."
The response I got back would have curled my hair, if I had any. So I will add Jon Modene's incredible attack on Dr. Sproul to the rotation of clips we are examining on the DL, starting today. It seems fitting to throw it in along with the Barry Lynn/John Shelby Spong material, to be honest, given that Modene consigns both myself and Dr. Sproul to the realms of the lost. Be listening!
Hey, This is Neat
08/10/2006 - James WhiteI was just informed of this, and it's pretty neat. The Potter's Freedom in electronic format. I'm sure Norman Geisler is thrilled. Now folks can check the page citations in Dr. Geisler's "response" to my book for themselves and stare in amazement even faster! And at high resolution, too! Calvinism for Computers.
John 6 and the "Pristine Faith Restoration Society" (#4)
08/07/2006 - James WhiteI continue my review of Tim Warner's attempt to subvert the testimony of John 6 to the sovereignty of God. I note in passing that I have come to understand that aside from misrepresenting and evidently misunderstanding basic elements of the Greek language, such as the subjunctive, Warner's group likewise seems to promote a form of TR Onlyism, including the accusation that John 1:18 is "corrupted" in the "Westcott and Hort Text." In reviewing Warner's comments on John 1:18, his utterly uncritical use of English translations of patristic sources (he doesn't even seem to give consideration to the need for a critical text of those sources), and his ability to stand logic on its head in the examination of that topic, I can now see why he has problems with basic exegesis in this text as well.
I will be a bit briefer in this portion. There were a few red herrings and errors in the subjunctive discussion provided by Warner I needed to "clean up" before moving on. First, it is hard to take seriously the argument that John 1:6-7 is relevant when it is painfully obvious that the meaning of "all" assigned by Warner is absurd on its face. Yes, I'm sure it was God's intention that every person living in China in A.D. 30 believe through John's testimony. And yet that is what Warner is forced to assert to try to get around the text. He ignores the completely different context of John 1 and John 6; tries to make parallel a statement of the purpose of God's testimony to the Christ with the will of the Father for the Son, puts two completely different contexts together (the clarity of John's testimony and its resultant rejection by Israel over against the express purpose of the Father for the Son in the eternal covenant of redemption) and as a result of all of this ignoring of context provides a basis for again misreading the text so as to do what we documented last time: taking an over-arching modal concept and forcing it on a text rather than recognizing immediate context determines modal function. The use of a subjunctive in one form or for one purpose in one context is not grounds for demanding it in another, especially when the result is absurdity, as we saw last time. I may be repeating myself, but I need to make sure those attempting to follow this discussion get this much: the meaning of the subjunctive is contextually derived. Just as it is always wrong to go to a lexicon, grab a meaning for a word, and force it into every usage, so too it is wrong to go to a syntactical grammar, grab a basic meaning for a mode, and force it into every usage. While that kind of thing is maddeningly common on the Internet, it is a sure sign to anyone who has actually worked with the language for years that the person speaking really doesn't know which end is up--they are "tools translators" rather than "language readers" because they are following an errant mechanical process rather than "hearing" the flow in the language itself. That's one of the reasons I miss teaching Greek and Hebrew (haven't had the opportunity in a few years now), since when you do so, you get to spend more time actually immersed in the text, and it helps you to avoid slipping into these kind of rather "lazy" errors. But Warner's presentation of the subjunctive isn't a lazy error: he simply has no idea what he's talking about. I don't wish to be uncharitable, and I suppose it is possible that he was just having a bad day here, but the fact of his misrepresentation of Wallace and of the language is truly beyond question. ...
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Baptists and Calvinism: An Open Debate
08/03/2006 - James WhiteA Public Statement
Since February 27th of this year, plans have been underway to schedule a debate on Baptists and Calvinism. Drs. James White, Ergun Caner, Emir Caner and Tom Ascol initially agreed to participate in this event which was scheduled to be held at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia on October 16, 2006. Over the last five months, efforts to negotiate the terms of the debate at times degenerated into heated, antagonistic exchanges between the four participants. In both speech and tone too much of the communication has been perceived and/or characterized by sinful attitudes that have not honored the Lord Jesus Christ. We acknowledge our responsibility in this and deeply regret that we allowed it to happen. Each of us longs to represent Christ honorably and our intent is to conduct further negotiations in ways that will do so.
Through ongoing communication out of the public eye we have come to terms regarding the debate. It remains scheduled on October 16th and will involve all four of us. The topic will be, "Baptists and Calvinism: An Open Debate." The length will be three hours. The format will be modified Parliamentary. The place will be Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia.
We are committed to engaging in a debate that will highlight the significant differences that exist between our respective views of how the Gospel of God works in bringing salvation to sinners. We believe that such debate can be conducted in a lively, vigorous exchange that need not violate the standard for Christian conduct that God has given us in His Word. Our goal is to do exactly this. The issues on which we disagree are important. It is because of our love for Christ and His truth that we believe these issues are worth debating. However, we regard this as a fraternal debate and intend to approach it not as antagonists, but as brothers with strong disagreements.
To that end we are asking those who have followed the issues surrounding this debate to join us in prayer that the Lord will guide us as final preparations are being made and that He will help us to conduct ourselves in a manner "worthy of the calling with which [we] have been called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:1-3).
Sincerely in Christ,
My thoughts: Tom Ascol has commented briefly on his blog, so I thought I'd add a few thoughts myself. Those who know me (and I speak of a small number of folks, really) know that I am passionate about the truth and that I debate not out of a love of controversy (I fully understand the desire Calvin had when heading for Strassbourg prior to his providential encounter with Farel) but because I believe it is necessary and God has called me to the task. I have never, ever wanted this debate challenge to be anything other than intra-mural in nature. Just as I am looking forward to my exchange with Pastor Bill Shishko within the bonds of Christian charity and brotherhood, so I have always hoped that no matter how strongly the two sides feel on the topic that this, too, could be handled in the same context, with a common confession of faith in the resurrected Lord and in the inspiration and inerrancy of the Scriptures. I have repeatedly expressed my heart-felt desire that our focus be on the people of God and their benefit, their edification, and I truly hope that we have now come to a position where this common goal will take us through any other difficult issues that need to be faced over the next few weeks before we stand before the folks at the Thomas Road Baptist Church and discuss this vital issue.
I would still like to encourage folks to avoid traveling to attend this debate. Why? Because it is primarily designed for students from Liberty University. We cannot guarantee entrance to the debate should there be a healthy turn out from the student body. This debate will be recorded and made available in DVD, CD, and mp3 formats. Tom and I will be discussing the debate at the conference in Orlando less than two weeks later. Instead, if you wish to support the on-going ministry of engaging in God-honoring, truth-displaying debates, click here! And then pray for Ergun, Emir, Tom and myself, that on the 16th we will be able to have a God-honoring, edifying, brotherly exchange on the truly vital issues that center around the issues of monergism and synergism, how to understand the expression of God's love, the atonement, etc.
John 6 and the "Pristine Faith Restoration Society" (#3)
08/02/2006 - James WhiteIn our last installment we examined Tim Warner's assertion that rather than the great promise of God to His people that He has provided a full and complete salvation in Jesus Christ, Warner's man-centered "progressive dispensationalism" leads him to make this amazing statement:
Jesus did not tell the Jewish crowds what God had absolutely decreed, but God's desire and purpose. "This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:39-40).
We considered what this meant. First, we noted it has no connection to what came before: it disrupts the flow and isolates the text. Jesus is explaining the unbelief of these men, and contrasting them with those who are given to Him by the Father, who are coming to Him in faith. Warner's interpretation does not take this into account and is thereby proven eisegetical. Next, we saw that this means that the best God can do is wish Jesus would be able to save all those given to Him. But what is worse, it seems that it also follows that while the Father would like for all those who look upon the Son and believe in Him to have everlasting life, this may or may not take place! Talk about eternal insecurity! What a horrific misreading of this precious text.
But now we move from here to the perversion of the Greek language presented by Warner in his response to me on John 6. He falls into the "let's read some basic grammars of the Greek language but not really do much in the way of serious translation" trap. In a section called "Grammatical Uncertainty" he makes the very same error Dave Hunt made in reference to the subjunctive in the Greek language. In the process, he likewise misuses the single source he cites on the topic, and that in an incredibly obvious fashion. He writes:
The Greek verb, in the phrase translated "should lose nothing," is "apolesw" - first aorist active subjunctive. The purpose of the subjunctive mood is usually to imply some level of uncertainty, and "generally represents the verbal action (or state) as uncertain but probable." This probability depends on certain objective factors or circumstances. Likewise, in the clause, "I should raise him up at the last day," the verb translated "should raise up" is "anasthsw" - aorist active subjunctive. This is a statement, not of result, but of intent or purpose alone. Jesus communicated the Father's desire that Jesus would eventually raise up all who saw Him and believed on Him. These verses do not state what absolutely WILL occur. Rather, Jesus relayed the wishes of the Father. The importance of this will become obvious when we compare Jesus' final report to His Father regarding His completing this mission at the end of His earthly ministry....
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