Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
No DL Today
07/31/2007 - James WhiteI will not be returning to Phoenix until this evening, so there will be no DL today. We will be back at our regularly scheduled time on Thursday. See you then!
Today on the Dividing Line
07/26/2007 - James WhiteWe concluded our Radio Free Geneva series in response to Steve Gregg's comments on Romans 9 (taken, basically, from the Forster/Marsten work from 1974) by playing another almost 30 minutes worth of his presentation, and taking a couple of calls. This program goes long (almost 80 minutes). This should wrap up this particular subject, to be sure. Here's the program (free/high quality).
Romans 9 and Radio Free Geneva Continued
07/24/2007 - James WhiteWe listened to Steve Gregg's entire presentation on Romans 9 from his mp3 series on Calvinism today, and I then provided my response. No one can say we aren't fair in letting the other side have their time, to be sure! So we will open the phone lines on Thursday for callers. Anyone who wishes to defend Mr. Gregg's comments (including Steve Gregg!), or attempt to refute the exegesis I offered last Thursday of the text, is welcome to call. Here's the program (free/high quality).
Quick Programming Note!
07/23/2007 - James WhiteTomorrow's Dividing Line, which will continue last Thursday's Radio Free Geneva episode responding to Steve Gregg's view on Romans 9, will air at the Thursday time slot of 7pm EDT, 4pm PDT, rather than the morning time slot. Please make a note! Thanks!
God's 2 x 4: Romans 9 on The Dividing Line
07/19/2007 - James WhiteWe did a special edition of the DL today, a Radio Free Geneva. Started by listening to a caller to Steve Gregg's show, Rick, who I mentioned in the previous DL. Then I moved on to respond to Steve Gregg's comments on Romans 9, but, before playing what he has to say, I wanted to work through the text myself. So, we did, and ended up going about ten minutes long just to do so. Since we have been getting some very positive comments as a result (thanks to those who have already written), we may well cut out the first part and make the actual discussion of Romans 8/9 available as a separate download. We even had an offer from someone to transcribe the program as well. I'll let you know. Till then, here's the program (free/high quality).
Today on The Dividing Line
07/17/2007 - James WhiteWell, I wish to thank Guardian from the Catholic Answers Forums for calling in today. He indicated that he hopes to have a documented list in defense of his claims regarding me compiled in...about three months. Of course, as we spoke, it became clear that his assertions were in reference to what he called "macro-cosm" scholarship, which, evidently, means that only Roman Catholics are truly "scholarly," and everyone else can only be scholarly on the "micro-cosm" level. I'm not sure how that will flesh out, but as I predicted at the time, I think it will be "White is wrong about his conclusions regarding Rome's view of X" rather than "White misrepresented Rome regarding this doctrine here." I even asked if any of the examples he had related to misreading, mis-citing, or making up dogmatic statements of the Roman Church, and he said they did not; neither did they have anything to do with errors regarding the original languages either.
Anyway, that started the calls going, so we ended up talking about OT textual variants, using Surah 5 in witnessing to Muslims, and I did manage to play at least portions of a call to Steve Gregg's radio show regarding Calvinism and the debate we hope to arrange with him. Gregg mentioned the possibility of having the debate at a church in his area. Of course, the problem is, given I've spent many hours already on the DL demonstrating basic errors of exegesis and argumentation, how do you cram that into a minimum of three hours? We'd have to be focused, to be sure.
I think I will try to finally get to Gregg's comments on Romans 9 on the Thursday DL. In fact, we might well have a Radio Free Geneva! So make sure to tune in! Here's today's program (free/high quality).
Will We Hear the Truth on the DL Tomorrow?
07/16/2007 - James WhiteWell, that sorta depends on your view of truth, it seems. The Catholic Answers thread, started by Colliric, containing the accusations of one "Guardian," has been closed down. No interaction with my replies was posted, as far as I could see. Nothing new there, of course. I have invited Guardian to call and substantiate his many accusations. Most in the thread tried to discourage him from actually backing up his accusations, a rather odd thing, when you think about it. It once again illustrates the mentality prevalent in those forums.
Meanwhile, the same kind of "he's a Protestant, it doesn't matter what you say about him anyway" mentality prevails at DA's website as well. That should hardly surprise anyone, given DA's own behavior of late. But Mr. Hoffer, the attorney, was challenged here on this blog to back up his accusations. He apologized for the statement about the Holy Spirit, but he has insisted he is right concerning the "trick questions" and the other accusations of misbehavior on my part, including rank hypocrisy.
Now, over and over again of late, when I invite folks to back up their personal attacks, slanderous statements, etc., in front of a live audience, the call from a while back from Jonathan Prejean, "Crimson Catholic," is brought up. Here is the actual call. You will see Prejean was on the program for almost fifteen minutes. I wonder, would I get 15 minutes on Catholic Answers Live? If I behaved in the smug, arrogant fashion Prejean did, would I get five minutes on almost any program at all? So putting up with the man for nearly a quarter of the program, together with a history on the DL that goes back into the 1980s of patiently dealing with many callers from many different perspectives, demonstrates the real reason these folks won't call in: they know they are not speaking the truth, and they know facing the person they have been slandering will expose that. It's just that simple.
Now Mr. Hoffer is definitely an attorney. If you read his comments here, you will see that he has managed to avoid backing up his own accusations, ignored the fact that he is the one who has brought public charges of dishonesty against me, and instead recognized that, at least in that forum, he has a friendly audience. So, what do you do in that situation? You turn the tables and accuse the person you have wronged of attacking you. It is a very common tactic. So, he writes,
On a personal level, I find it humorous that apparently Mr. White feels it ok for him to engage in the same form of mischaracterization of my person that he took umbrage with when I said that the Holy Spirit doesn't move him. He doesn't know me from Adam. While Dr. Blosser once chided me for sounding like a Lutheran in a comment I made long ago, it is certainly is a new experience to be compared to a Moslem extremist or have the old Charles Kingsley slur" he cares nothing for the truth" used on me. Well, Nr. White will find that I care far more about "aletheia" than he gives me credit for. I am a firm believer in something a famous ancestor of mine once said, " Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."Now, here is where I addressed Mr. Hoffer's claims. Compare his rendition with the original. You will see that he has made things up out of half truths. I did not compare him to a "Moslem extremist." I made reference to taqiyya, a concept in mainstream Islam that allows the use of falsehoods in the service of the faith. Now, if Mr. Hoffer is, in fact, admitting that he has spoken falsehoods, then the application would be valid to him. But as anyone can see, I was speaking in general terms about the willingness of Roman Catholics in general to throw out these unsubstantiated, undocumented, and simply false accusations, all in the service of Mother Church. Next he says that I have used the "old Charles Kingsley slur" and then, in quotes, "he cares nothing for the truth." Remember, it was Hoffer who wrote, "he is not interested in being factual or accurate; it is all about winning and beating the other guy. He is truly a hypocrite in the original Greek sense of the word...." So where did I say he cares nothing for the truth? Look down the post and you will find that I discussed someone who came into our channel repeating lies about me. I then pointed out that "Yet, folks who do not care about truth will repeat the false rumor over and over again. And it is OK, as long as it promotes their cause." Hoffer actually takes this general statement about a different person in a different context, transports it out of its original context, applies it to himself, and on this basis accuses me of attacking him! What an incredible example of why written debates are only worthwhile if both sides are committed to the ultimate and highest level of clarity and perspecuity. Hoffer has provided a wonderful example of why cross-examination is necessary (and why he won't call, obviously), for if he were to try such an obvious trick live, on the air, or in a debate, he would be challenged, and stopped, right then and there. In a sense, he has provided a better example from his own keyboard than I could have hoped for. Here is a man who has presented falsehoods in a public forum, and, when challenged, has engaged in clear and obvious misrepresentation of the words of his victim, all in glowing text we can each read on our computer screens. Thank you, Mr. Hoffer.
So will we hear from Guardian or Mr. Hoffer tomorrow? I doubt it. I'd be happy to be proven wrong, but you know, after multiple decades of dealing with folks like this, you learn the patterns.
A Special and Very Important Dividing Line
07/12/2007 - James WhiteToday's DL is an 80-minute version. For the first 45 minutes I replied to this article by C. Michael Patton, focusing upon the key issues of the perspecuity of Scripture, true and false gospels, theology and apologetic methodologies. The last thirty five minutes Mr. Patton and I discussed the issues together. A very important discussion that I hope will be useful to our listeners. Here's the program (free/high quality).
Today on the Dividing Line
07/10/2007 - James WhiteI took the time to respond to a number of comments made on the Parchment and Pen theology blog relating to Roman Catholicism, the gospel, etc. I was going to write some lengthy articles, but I chose to use the spoken word so that I could communicate my passion and concern about these issues. Some of these blog articles were written by my good friend Dan Wallace, and I hope I will be granted as much freedom to express my heartfelt views as those expressing the other side. Here's the program (free/high quality).
During the course of the program a number of folks e-mailed me links to a papal document that is, clearly, relevant to the discussion we had going on the program, but I did not see the document until right after the DL finished. Since it is a pretty short document, I'll provide it in its entirety here. Please note especially the repetition of the assertion that the churches of the Reformation are not, in fact, true churches.
CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH
RESPONSES TO SOME QUESTIONS REGARDING CERTAIN ASPECTS
OF THE DOCTRINE ON THE CHURCH
The Second Vatican Council, with its Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, and its Decrees on Ecumenism (Unitatis redintegratio) and the Oriental Churches (Orientalium Ecclesiarum), has contributed in a decisive way to the renewal of Catholic ecclesiolgy. The Supreme Pontiffs have also contributed to this renewal by offering their own insights and orientations for praxis: Paul VI in his Encyclical Letter Ecclesiam suam (1964) and John Paul II in his Encyclical Letter Ut unum sint (1995).
The consequent duty of theologians to expound with greater clarity the diverse aspects of ecclesiology has resulted in a flowering of writing in this field. In fact it has become evident that this theme is a most fruitful one which, however, has also at times required clarification by way of precise definition and correction, for instance in the declaration Mysterium Ecclesiae (1973), the Letter addressed to the Bishops of the Catholic Church Communionis notio (1992), and the declaration Dominus Iesus (2000), all published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The vastness of the subject matter and the novelty of many of the themes involved continue to provoke theological reflection. Among the many new contributions to the field, some are not immune from erroneous interpretation which in turn give rise to confusion and doubt. A number of these interpretations have been referred to the attention of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Given the universality of Catholic doctrine on the Church, the Congregation wishes to respond to these questions by clarifying the authentic meaning of some ecclesiological expressions used by the magisterium which are open to misunderstanding in the theological debate.
RESPONSES TO THE QUESTIONS
First Question: Did the Second Vatican Council change the Catholic doctrine on the Church?
Response: The Second Vatican Council neither changed nor intended to change this doctrine, rather it developed, deepened and more fully explained it.
This was exactly what John XXIII said at the beginning of the Council. Paul VI affirmed it and commented in the act of promulgating the Constitution Lumen gentium: "There is no better comment to make than to say that this promulgation really changes nothing of the traditional doctrine. What Christ willed, we also will. What was, still is. What the Church has taught down through the centuries, we also teach. In simple terms that which was assumed, is now explicit; that which was uncertain, is now clarified; that which was meditated upon, discussed and sometimes argued over, is now put together in one clear formulation". The Bishops repeatedly expressed and fulfilled this intention.
Second Question: What is the meaning of the affirmation that the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church?
Response: Christ "established here on earth" only one Church and instituted it as a "visible and spiritual community", that from its beginning and throughout the centuries has always existed and will always exist, and in which alone are found all the elements that Christ himself instituted. "This one Church of Christ, which we confess in the Creed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic […]. This Church, constituted and organised in this world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him".
In number 8 of the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium ‘subsistence’ means this perduring, historical continuity and the permanence of all the elements instituted by Christ in the Catholic Church, in which the Church of Christ is concretely found on this earth.
It is possible, according to Catholic doctrine, to affirm correctly that the Church of Christ is present and operative in the churches and ecclesial Communities not yet fully in communion with the Catholic Church, on account of the elements of sanctification and truth that are present in them. Nevertheless, the word "subsists" can only be attributed to the Catholic Church alone precisely because it refers to the mark of unity that we profess in the symbols of the faith (I believe... in the "one" Church); and this "one" Church subsists in the Catholic Church.
Third Question: Why was the expression "subsists in" adopted instead of the simple word "is"?
Response: The use of this expression, which indicates the full identity of the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church, does not change the doctrine on the Church. Rather, it comes from and brings out more clearly the fact that there are "numerous elements of sanctification and of truth" which are found outside her structure, but which "as gifts properly belonging to the Church of Christ, impel towards Catholic Unity".
"It follows that these separated churches and Communities, though we believe they suffer from defects, are deprived neither of significance nor importance in the mystery of salvation. In fact the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as instruments of salvation, whose value derives from that fullness of grace and of truth which has been entrusted to the Catholic Church". ...
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Today on the Dividing Line
07/05/2007 - James WhiteNo calls today, managed to get through a major portion of the cross-examination in the Ally/Licona debate. Spent a good deal of time taking apart Shabir Ally's attempt to get around a very well developed point by Licona on the issue of nails in Roman crucifixion. Here's the program (free/high quality).
Today on the Dividing Line
07/03/2007 - James WhiteFirst DL in a while, so callers took precedence. Discussed a wide variety of topics, with one half-hour call on King James Onlyism, one call on the distinction between latria and dulia in Roman Catholic theology. Here's the program (free/high quality).