Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Talpiot Tomb to Regular Listener
10/31/2008 - James White
Congrats on 25 years! That is amazing to see any single ministry last that long, and still hold to the truth with the same conviction. Over time many "sell-out" and it is truly a blessing that you haven't.
At any rate, I have not been around long, but your ministry has had a large impact in my life and ministry. It was interesting, I have been learning apologetics and looking around the internet for about four years and never ran across your ministry (besides reading the discussion you had with Tektonics, and at the time I did not know who this "James White" guy was). But during the Jacobovici empty tomb mess a friend of mine pointed me your way.
After listening to a couple episodes of the Dividing line concerning the tomb business, I found the ministry to be interesting and kept around. When I was first saved, I was pretty Wesleyan. As I worked through more of my theology I started drifting more reformed, but after a few weeks of listening and reading what is at AOMin, I found myself being more of a Calvinist. And that has had a huge influence on my life. The way I read the Scriptures, interact with believers and non-believers alike, how I worshipped, and how I lived life with a newfound, stronger, trust in God. Also, though AOMin I have been introduced to like-minded people and ministries. Which have been a great asset to my walk with the Lord.
My apologetic has been sharpened seeing the form of debate that Dr. White uses. I have not only been edified by the truth spoken, but I have seen it done in a respectful way. Listening to the debates, the Dividing Line, reading the articles, etc. have shown me better how to think about, confront, and deal with many of these issues.
I have also had the pleasure of meeting both you guys (Dr. White and Mr. Pierce) on the last cruise (out of Seattle).
God has used AOMin to strengthen my relationship with Himself and many of the things I have learned will be taken with me into my ministry and life. Thanks for keeping your head down and doing the work of God. Thanks again for 25 years and be encouraged that the Lord is using your work to bring Glory to His name.
Today on The Dividing Line
10/30/2008 - James WhiteToday I played a video from William Albrecht in which he attempted to respond to a brief article by TurretinFan, and promised to call the DL today to set us all straight. We...didn't hear from him. So, we took a call on polygamy after responding to William's materials. Here's the program (free/high quality).
Super Ancient Hebrew Inscription Found?
10/30/2008 - James WhiteSillyBrit1 sent me a link to this article on the possible finding of the most ancient example of Hebrew thus far known. It will be interesting to see if this find pans out and is established by further research.
Woops! Forgot Last Week's DL!
10/30/2008 - James WhiteSince I was out of town (well, I was in Mexico!), I forgot to blog the DL I did via Skype a week ago today! And since that included my closing statement in the Madrid debate, I better get that linked up! Sorry about that. Easy to forget to blog it when you are out of your routine. Here's the program (free/high quality).
Yesterday on The Dividing Line
10/29/2008 - James WhiteSorry about the delay in getting the files up and getting this blogged. London looms! We finally finished up the Madrid debate from 1993! Just barely though! I also reported on my time away last weekend. So, for a wrap-up on sola scriptura, take a listen! Here's the program (free/high quality).
Bishop/Overseer and Steve Ray
10/29/2008 - James White
Head of Church-State Promotes Protestant Concept of Separation of Church and State
10/28/2008 - Tur8infanZenit news reports (and Global Catholic News repeats) that Benedict XVI has asserted, “the distinction between religion and politics is a specific achievement of Christianity and one of its fundamental historical and cultural contributions.”
In context, Benedict stated:
The [Roman] Catholic Church is eager to share the richness of the Gospel’s social message, for it enlivens hearts with a hope for the fulfillment of justice and a love that makes all men and women truly brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. She carries out this mission fully aware of the respective autonomy and competence of Church and State. Indeed, we may say that the distinction between religion and politics is a specific achievement of Christianity and one of its fundamental historical and cultural contributions.(insertion of "Roman" and emphasis are my own) This is an interesting claim coming from a man who is both the head of a church and the head of state of small nation. In fact, as the Vatican's own web site announces:
Even though Vatican City has no direct access to the sea, by virtue of the Barcelona Declaration of 1921, it is allowed to sail its own vessels flying the papal flag. However, the Vatican does not avail itself of this right at this time.(source - cache of source)
That was not always the case, as many ships - even warships - have flown under the papal flag. As described by the Rosary Magazine:
The Flag of the Vatican(source)
The papal flag is comparatively unfamiliar outside of the Eternal City. The war flag of the defunct temporal power of the Pope was white and in its center stood figures of St. Peter and St. Paul, with the cross keys and tiara above them. The flag of the merchant ships owned by the subjects of the States of the Church is a curious combination, half yellow and half white. In the banner used by the Crusader King of Jerusalem, Godfrey, the only tinctures introduced were the two metals, gold and silver, five golden crosses being placed upon a silver field. This was done with the intention of making the device unique, as in all other cases it is deemed false heraldry to place metal on metal.
For more information on how the Church of Rome began to accept as an inescapable fact the general separation of Church and State, see this interesting book on the "The Last Days of Papal Rome" (link).
Benedict's comments are generally in accord with the spirit of Vatican II, but they are as out of touch with history as can be. The movement for separation of church and state is not properly attributed to Catholicism but to "Protestantism" (broadly used) and more especially to the Separatists and Baptists. To be deep in history is to cease to be a Post-Vatican-II adherent to Catholicism.
SOMALIA: CHRISTIAN AID WORKER BEHEADED FOR CONVERTING FROM ISLAM
10/28/2008 - James WhiteAnti-Christian violence spills into Kenya as Somali Muslims attack in Nairobi.
NAIROBI, Kenya, October 27 (Compass Direct News) – Among at least 24 aid workers killed in Somalia this year was one who was beheaded last month specifically for converting from Islam to Christianity, among other charges, according to an eyewitness.
Muslim extremists from the al Shabab group fighting the transitional government on Sept. 23 sliced the head off of Mansuur Mohammed, 25, a World Food Program (WFP) worker, before horrified onlookers of Manyafulka village, 10 kilometers (six miles) from Baidoa.
The militants had intercepted Mohammed and a WFP driver, who managed to escape, earlier in the morning. Sources close to Mohammed’s family said he converted from Islam to Christianity in 2005.
The eyewitness, who requested anonymity for security reasons, said the militants that afternoon gathered the villagers of Manyafulka, telling them that they would prepare a feast for them. The people gathered anticipating the slaughter of a sheep, goat or camel according to local custom.
Five masked men emerged carrying guns, wielding Somali swords and dragging the handcuffed Mohammed. One pulled back Mohammed’s head, exposing his face as he scraped his sword against his short hair as if to sharpen it. Another recited the Quran as he proclaimed that Mohammed was a “murtid,” an Arabic term for one who converts from Islam to Christianity.
The Muslim militant announced that Mohammed was an infidel and a spy for occupying Ethiopian soldiers.
Mohammed remained calm with an expressionless face, never uttering a word, said the eyewitness. As the chanting of “Allah Akubar [God is greater]” rose to a crescendo, one of the militiamen twisted his head, allowing the other to slit his neck. When the head was finally severed from the torso, the killers cheered as they displayed it to the petrified crowd.
The militants allowed one of their accomplices to take a video of the slaughter using a mobile phone. The video was later circulated secretly and sold in Somalia and in neighboring countries in what many see as a strategy to instill fear among those contemplating conversion from Islam to Christianity.
Unconfirmed reports indicated that a similar incident took place in Lower Juba province of Somalia in July, when Christians found with Bibles were publicly executed. Their families fled to Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, and such killings are forcing other Christians to flee to neighboring Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti.
Reasoning from the Scriptures
10/28/2008 - James White
Over the years, as I have personally navigated the evangelical spectrum of beliefs, I have come to find, by the Lord's gracious hand, a stalwart and excellent ministry in Alpha & Omega.
James White's works have been a huge help in finding that elusive balance of proper understanding and application of solid biblical doctrine. Due to the lack of sound teaching, and in depth teaching in my local area churches, I have had to rely on such ministries, whilst not neglecting those who feed my soul here at home.
It has been a pleasure & learning experience to read the books, blog posts,watch the DVDs, and occasionally participate in the webcasts of AOmin.
Perhaps the most significant lessons have been in how to approach apologetics and how to reason from the Scriptures. I have applied these things to evangelism with Muslims, Jehovah's Witnesses, and others, on all kinds of topics with good success. As well, I have fully embraced a God-centered, Reformed view of grace.
Thank you all, and especially James White for his hard work and generous ministry. Only at the Throne will you realize the rewards and the impact of your daily labors in the Word and doctrine.
More Marian Idolatry: the Marian Smudge (Tried Windex?)
10/27/2008 - James White
Out of Africa
10/26/2008 - James White
You can count me as another follower of Christ deeply impacted by your ministry. While I was raised as a Mormon, I came to a crisis of faith in college. I was trying to convince my girlfriend (now my wife) of the "fullness of the gospel" when I began to see overwhelming evidence against Mormonism which simply could not be refuted. By God's grace, I found real freedom in the true Jesus Christ.
At the same time, He used you to help me navigate through the many challenges that I was struggling with. Many of your books made Christ's revealed truth understandable. Is the Mormon My Brother?, The Forgotten Trinity, and The Potter's Freedom are just a few of your books that were foundational in my budding faith. As a tech-geek, I read through much of your web site (even though you struggled to keep it up-to-date!) and started listening to the Dividing Line online (back when it was still a Phoenix radio show). Once I began seminary, my fellow schoolmates and friends would get tired of me mentioning you so they poked fun in return by always asking "what does James White say?"
Even to this day, God continues to use you in my spiritual growth. Your blog is in my feed reader. I continue listening to the Dividing Line and reading your books. My wife and I were even able to finally meet you in person through being a part of last fall's AOMin cruise. I have included a picture of us together from the cruise.
You have been a gift from God in my life as well as a gift of God to His church. Without you, I can honestly say that I would not be preparing to defend our Lord against cults and error in East Africa. I pray that Christ will continue to bless your ministry as you "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints"!
Because of His grace,
Director, Africa Center for Apologetics Research
Web Site: www.acfar.org
You Never Know Who is Listening and Watching...
10/25/2008 - James White
Not really a testimony - I've been an atheist all my life. But I do respect that you are at least honest in your beliefs. You might be dogged in pursuing a point in debate, but that's not really 'mean'. Just to let you know - there are consistent atheists who are able to look nihilism honestly in the face. I read the God Who Isn't There - I agree there are a lot of faux atheists, people like your daughter's poly sci professor are our Fred Phelps's. Of course an atheist who gets worked up over moral issues believes in *something* *transcendent* and is therefore a phony if he just says he's an atheist.
After listening to you I realize that the Pauline epistles use terminology consistently, and are not just strings of pious phrases as I had previously thought. Thanks for clearing up a lot of his frequently (to me) tangled phrases. But of course a *consistent* system doesn't necessarily indicate a *true* system.
Good luck in your arguing against Islam, Mormonism and JWs. They are indeed fake religions. They are recent enough so that we can document conclusively that they are fake as you do so ably.
Initial London Information
10/24/2008 - James WhiteThanks be to the Lord, we have completed arrangements for the debates in London (still a few other items to arrange, but the major stuff is done). I am providing it as quickly as possible:
“Does Belief in the Trinity Necessitate Shirk?”
Adnan Rashid vs. James White
Location: Westbourne Park Baptist Church, Porchester Rd, London, W2 5DP
Thursday, 13 November 2008
James White vs. Sami Zaatari: "Jesus: Divine Son of God or Prophet of Allah?"
8pm at Trinity Road Chapel, 205-207 Trinity Road, Upper Tooting, London SW17. Contact email@example.com or visit www.trinityroadchapel.org for more details.
Monday, 17 November 2008
James White vs. Shabir Ally: "Is Jesus Prophesied in the OT?" and "Is Muhammad Prophesied in the Bible?"
7:30pm at Twynholm Baptist Church, Fulham Cross, 324-326 Lillie Road, Fulham, London, SW6 7PP. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.twynholm.org for more details.
I will be preaching on both Sundays. On November 9th I will be at the Edmonton Baptist Chapel, Ingleton Road, Edmonton, N18 2RS. 10:30 Sunday Service, 17:00 Teaching Ministry. This is my dear brother Roger Brazier's church, so I look forward to seeing all of my friends there once again.
On November 16th I will be with my friend Doug McMasters at the Trinity Road Chapel (same location as the Thursday debate above). See the website for service times. I will also be speaking to the mens group there on Saturday morning.
Now, once I get one more item nailed down, we should have everything set! My thanks especially to David Wood and Doug McMasters for pushing through the final arrangements.
I would also like to make sure folks know that David Wood is debating in London the same week I am. Here are some of his debates:
“The Satanic Verses: Fabricated or Historical?”
David Wood vs. Adnan Rashid
“The Biblical Jesus: Why We Chose to Accept and Reject”
Yahya Hayder Seymour vs. David Wood
Location: Westbourne Park Baptist Church, Porchester Rd, London, W2 5DX
Sunday, November 16th
“Peace and Violence in Christianity and Islam”
David Wood vs. Adnan Rashid
Location: Westbourne Park Baptist Church, Porchester Rd, London, W2 5DP
Pray for us both as we seek to set forth the gospel of our Lord and King, Jesus Christ, with clarity, passion, and love. May God be pleased to reveal Jesus Christ in all His glory to many in attendance!
Rook to Bishop 8, Checkmate
10/24/2008 - James WhiteBack in March of 2007 on The Dividing Line (here is the program) I addressed the dialogue that took place between Ergun Caner of Liberty University and the so-called "Rational Response Squad." I had listened to the encounter while riding, and I wanted to make some comments not so much on Caner's replies but on some of the claims made by the atheists. That morning I wrote to the Rational Response Squad through their website. Here is what I wrote:
Today on [i]The Dividing Line[/i] I will be reviewing some of the comments made in the interview with Ergun Caner, especially some of the statements made by Rook Hawkins, listed on this website as an "ancient texts expert."Now please note: not only was the question quite relevant, but I noted the time of the program and how Rook Hawkins might listen. He was also invited to call in, should he desire to do so.
I would like to ask: was Mr. Hawkins claiming that the Council of Nicea was at all involved in the formation of the NT canon in his comments in this interview? It sounded like he was. In any case, the program is live and call in, today at 4pm PST, so Mr. Hawkins is welcome to listen and call in, if he chooses. You can access it at www.aomin.org.
Very quickly the same morning I received an automated reply:
Thanks for writing the Rational Response Squad. Our email box now receives about 200-300 pieces of mail a day and we're unable to go through it all, so we've created this FAQ of some of the most recent questions. Please understand that if you have written us to debate us or respond to this email with your thoughts on our FAQ WE WILL NOT RESPOND VIA EMAIL. I'm sorry we just don't have the time to engage everyone who writes us on a one on one basis. However we have a thriving message board with a wide variety of people including many people who agree with what we have to say. Those people are just as much "The Rational Response Squad" as the readers of this email box are. So if you are interested in discussion about religion please post your thoughts in our atheist vs theist forum:This was followed by a series of FAQs. So please note, the only response I received from RRS directed me to their forums. So, I did the program, interacted with Rook Hawkins' assertions, and moved on from there.
We will handle requests to appear on the show and customer service related questions through this mailbox, all others, please go to our forum.
Six months later pastor Joe Wyrostek contacted me. He mentioned he had been in contact with the RRS. He asked if I would help him and come on his program to debate Rook Hawkins and a guy named Todangst. There was a discussion concerning the unwillingness of the RRS to respond to presuppositionalists included in the correspondence. I did not hear back on any of this from Pastor Wyrostek.
As far as I can recall, that was the last contact I had with anyone regarding the single program I did exposing some of the less than compelling argumentation offered by the young folks of the RRS. Until just recently when Rook Hawkins posted the following:
"RationalResponders.com: White was supposed to contact me ages ago about a debate and he chickened out."I replied to this here on my blog, to which Hawkins replied,
Thank you for posting this. It has shown me once more how completely dishonest theists really are. He was told to contact me personally (not come on this message board, that's silly). I had given The Dividing Line all of my information and have yet to receive any email from either party (of the Dividing Line or the elusive White). I do find it rather amusing that White would suggest that my grasp of ancient history is slippery, considering White believes in all sorts of fantastical things like resurrecting people who ascend to heaven on clouds, faith-healing, and the historical reliability of the Gospels as a whole. If anything, what this can tell us is just how out of touch Mr. White is with not only ancient history but reality.A little later another of the cadre of the RRS, Sapient, added,
As if this little pros here couldn't bring about more jocularities, White acts as if his theological credentials (in apologetics and fairy tale) mean something when compared to my autodidactism (in real subjects and actual history). If White wants to debate, he has my information and knows where to find me. I do not want to lend credence to his delusions; he is not a serious threat to me or my work in the field of ancient history. I just don't take him that seriously.
If I remember correctly, we didn't find out about James White talking about Rook until after he had already recorded his show. My recollection is that James White didn't offer Rook a chance to come on the show that he used to criticize Rook. My memory may be wrong though as I don't care much about James White, seeing as how he's a presuppositionalist.Now if you can see past the insufferable arrogance of these young folks, you can see that I have now provided clear documentation of not only my truthfulness, but of their lack thereof. To wit:
For those that aren't aware, we refuse to talk with presuppers as they don't meet the minimum honesty/intelligence requirement.
Hawkins said it was "silly" that I had been referred to his web board. Documentation provided.
Hawkins said he had "given the Dividing Line all of my information." I have no idea who "the Dividing Line" is. I assume he thinks pastor Wyrostek is associated with my ministry (he is not). Hawkins did not contact A&O. Maybe he has confused us with someone else, I do not know, but his statement is untrue, and basing accusations of someone "chickening out" upon such language is just another example of the New Atheism's unfamiliarity with serious manners.
Hawkins says I "have his information." I have quotes from a web board, nothing more. He is again, wrong.
Sapient said I did not offer Hawkins a chance to be on the program. Documentation provided refuting this falsehood as well.
Now, the young folks at the RRS can pretend to be rational while ignoring the role of presuppositions in their worldview. They can pretend mockery is the same as a rational argument. No one can, or should, stop them. But the fact is that such rhetoric may prop up their rebellion against God, but it has little meaningful value in the arena of truth. I demonstrated Hawkins' errors in his comments to Caner, and those refutations stand. Since I am, by their own assertion, lacking sufficient intelligence to even talk to me, I see no reason to pursue them. But I will gladly point out their errors even if they are too arrogant to interact with those refutations. And I will document it when they decide to try to change history, as I have done above.
PRBC Evening Sermon, Hebrews 1:3-4, 9/28/08
10/24/2008 - James White
On the Sharing of Chips and Salsa....
10/23/2008 - James White
I came across Alpha and Omega ministries in 1999 while in college. At the time I would have considered myself a conservative Christian (Baptist tradition). I was about 26 years old, enjoyed studying the bible and defending the faith however… I was not reformed, had no clue about the doctrines of grace, had a surface level knowledge of theology (very basic), knew nothing of church history, knew nothing of textual criticism, knew nothing of Greek….. the list goes on. (My idea of deep biblical study was listening to Chuck Missler and his views on aliens and the Nephilim…. Yeah it was that bad).
One day while defending my faith against some Mormons at school, the issue of the atonement of Christ came up. At the time, my older sister had been a Mormon for about 15 years so I thought I knew all their arguments. While I was discussing what Christ did on the cross for sinners, I took the "Christ died for everybody" approach. At which time the Mormons asked a great question… if it's true that Christ was our substitute in the biblical sense, and He died in the place of everyone for their sins, why was not everyone saved from hell? I had never thought of that before. So I began to search for answers which included an internet search… and I found Alpha and Omega ministries.
Alpha and Omega Ministries literally changed my life forever. The Lord used this ministry to open my eyes to many things I had never considered before. Every Christian I know would say they love God and I did too… but now I know how to express my love for God by loving His Word, His Truths, His Gospel. A heart that truly loves God will submit to what the scriptures teach. My goal was no longer to convince people of God's gospel but rather to honor God in the proclamation of it… to present the purity of the Gospel of Christ with clarity.
Thanks to the ministry now some nine years later I can say that I have an un-quenching thirst and love for the Scriptures and the doctrines of Grace, I'm a student of theology, I'm a student of New Testament Greek (with Hebrew to come in the future), I'm a student of Church History, I'm a student of Textual Criticism. I have a brotherly love for James and Rich who have devoted their lives to the defense of the Christian Faith. They are my friends and brothers in the faith and I am blessed to know them both. My newborn son's middle name "James" was named after Dr. White. Not because Dr. White is intelligent, funny, a dear friend, a scholar, a gifted debater…. Though he is all of these things… but rather because it is my desire that my son will one day have a love and passion for the truth of the Gospel of Christ that Dr. James White has and continues to have. May God continue to bless this ministry and James and Rich for all of their hard work as well as their families.
Alpha and Omega Ministries thank you for all that you do.
[Personal note: the title comes from the fact that I first met "Figgy" in person over chips and salsa up in Sacramento. I can't wait till we can have chips and salsa with Mrs. Figgy, Figglet, and Lil' DrO!]
Rook Hawkins: Rewriting Recent History
10/22/2008 - James WhiteI just received an e-mail that quoted Rook Hawkins of the "Rational Response Squad" as saying the following:
"RationalResponders.com: White was supposed to contact me ages ago about a debate and he chickened out."I would like to make it clear that Mr. Hawkins has never contacted me about a debate, hence, I can not "chicken out" of a debate he has never contacted me about. In fact, I was the one who contacted them to let them know I was going to critique some of his comments on an edition of The Dividing Line. In essence I was told that if I wanted to contact him, I should post on their web board. I have no interest in web boards and their incessant silliness, so I did not. That was the end of that. So what Mr. Hawkins, the self-proclaimed historical expert of the "Rational Response Squad" is talking about, I have no idea. But if his grasp of ancient history is as slippery as his grasp of recent history, well, that says a lot.
PRBC AM Service, 9/28/08, Hebrews 1
10/22/2008 - James WhiteI am providing the entirety of the morning service from PRBC on 9/28/08. Normally I only provide the sermon, but since some have never been to a Reformed Baptist service, I thought I would provide it all. Of course, the sound is marginal in light of the fact that this is just a small (very small) digital camera doing the recording, but hopefully it will be useful anyway.
Imam Shabir Ally on The Dividing Line
10/21/2008 - James WhiteAfter talking about the upcoming London trip I played Shabir Ally's opening statement from a debate in 2005 on Muhammad in the Bible, challenging the audience to answer the question, "How would I respond to that?" After Monday, November 17th, you'll know how I respond to it! Here's the program (free/high quality).
Mary Worship Still Alive in Catholicism
10/21/2008 - Tur8infanBenedict XVI is reported (link to report) as recently praying to Mary: "We implore you to have pity today on the nations that have gone astray, on all Europe, on the whole world, that they might repent and return to your heart."
This is a prayer that is openly idolatrous. Mankind needs to turn, not to the heart of Mary, but to the Son of Mary, Jesus Christ the Righteous. The true and proper object of worship is God alone.
Matthew 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Benedict XVI is also reported as praying to her, "If you will not help us because we are ungrateful and unworthy children of your protection, we will not know to whom to turn."
This prayer demonstrates the underlying blindness of Catholicism. There is a place to which not only all of Europe in general, but Mr. Ratzinger in particular ought to turn for help, and whose protection should be sought: the throne of the Most High God, by the intercession of the Son of God, Jesus Christ with the aid of the Holy Spirit.
But though Jesus is the Son of Mary, and though Mary is greatly blessed to be the Mother of our Saviour, yet Jesus himself said:
48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? 49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! 50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
33 And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? 34 And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! 35 For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.
It is almost as though Jesus was concerned lest some might foolishly fall into the trap of worshiping his blood relatives! Indeed, here is Jesus' own condemnation of the error of adoration and veneration of Jesus' mother. They do not hold a special place in the kingdom of God, but are like all those who do the will of God. Yet Catholicism, as can be seen from this event, continues to elevate Mary improperly to the status of, in effect, a goddess to whom prayers are offered.
Benedict XVI did not even omit to provide a sacrifice to this de facto goddess. It is reported that, "In a gesture of filial love, the Pope then offered the Madonna a golden rose." One is reminded immediately of the similar offerings presented by the Philistines to the Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament, particularly given Catholicism's claim (or at least the claim of her apologists) that Mary is the "ark of the New Covenant."
Finally, we should note that Benedict XVI is reported not to have left Jesus entirely out: "...The secret of Pompeii is the rosary: "This prayer leads us through Mary to Jesus." But, in fact, the Rosary leads men away from Jesus, as can be seen in the idolatry illustrated in the prayers above. Benedict XVI is reported to have claimed, "The rosary is a spiritual weapon in the struggle against evil, against all violence, for peace in hearts, in families, in society and in the world."
But, in fact, sadly it is an extra-Scriptural innovation: unknown to the apostles and unpracticed for centuries and centuries following Christ's ascension. The Early Church Fathers didn't say the Rosary, and neither should you: it is a tradition of men, not of God.
Reformed Baptist Academic Press
10/20/2008 - James WhiteReformed publishing companies have produced quality literature for many years. In recent years, confessionally Reformed Baptist churches have multiplied by the blessing of God throughout the world. These churches adhere to a common confession of faith – The Second London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1677/1689. Along with these churches come pastors and future pastors in need of literature which upholds the theology of this confession. RBAP exists to meet the needs of such pastors, students and all theologically minded Christians through publishing books and materials that adhere to the theology of the 2nd London Confession and directly assist in its understanding and practice.
I have mentioned the fine work of the folks at the Reformed Baptist Academic Press before. This week they are having a special sale, so I wanted to invite my readers to visit them and possibly pick up some of their resources. You can visit them here.
Joshua Evans, Former "Youth Minister," on the Deen Show, #2
10/20/2008 - James White
10/18/2008 - James White
I hardly even know where to begin telling what AOmin has meant to me, my family, and many friends. The reason it is so difficult to express is because there was once an attempted excommunication of me for heresy in June 2006. I was accused of being a Calvinist. It is difficult to express what happened and would sound so ironic, in fact outright wierd if I told the whole story. Nevertheless, when I was among the Plymouth Brethren, I was kind of in the middle between Calvinism and Arminianism. I still affirmed free will, and questioned limited atonement. I was confused about what I believed concerning the doctrines of Grace.
About 4 or 5 months after the attempted excommunication for heresy, AOmin came into the picture. It was after this trouble that I began reading the debate book by Hunt and White. It was then that my journey to Calvinism began. It was in the months after my attempted excommunication that I began reading Calvinists for the first time. The debate book on Calvinism lead to reading Geisler's "Chosen but Free." Then White's "Potters Freedom." I read internet articles on monergism.org. I read RC Sproul, John MacArther, and other papers and books by Arminians. About one year after the attempted excommunication, I began to see the unity in the Doctrines of Grace. There is a theory of atonement that is really not 5 separate doctrines, but one idea of the atonement. James White's books and debates, and the DL shows helped me to see that. After about one year of reading and thinking about the questions raised by my attempted excommunication, I had become exactly what I was being accused of..... a "Calvinist." Others not directly involved in this excommunication have watched from afar. I used to lead or assist in leading a college bible study in a secular college.
Some of these students joined me in my journey to Calvinism. Most of them have either resettled in more Reformed Churches, or remain in more gracious Arminian Churches. Many are young families. I am surprised how quickly many of them are becoming leaders in their Churches and taking the doctrines of Grace into their churches. I have met one of the pastors and he seems eager and happy to have them. All seem to be doing very well. My point is that what I have learned from Dr. White has not just affected me, but many others. Some of these college students still have a bible study and are reading books by Dr. White. They also now read MacArther, Piper, Sproul, and other reformed authors. I am glad for them. --DM
Pray for the Persecuted Church in Iran
10/18/2008 - James WhiteThe hatred of God's people continues unabated in Iran where the zealous persecuters of Christ's followers are getting close to final governmental approval of the death penalty for any male who converts from Islam (mere life imprisonment for women). Read about it here. Once again, it needs to be repeated that this kind of action is perfectly in line with the earliest Islamic traditions and law regarding "apostasy." Christians pray for those who convert to Islam. Here we see what happens when Islam becomes the majority.
Recently on Iron Sharpens Iron....
10/17/2008 - James SwanChris Arnzen hosts the daily radio show, Iron Sharpens Iron. Each day, Chris presents an hour long interview on topics that are important to Christians:
"How do you know your private interpretation of the Bible is correct over against the private interpretation of every other denomination?" "How can you be certain that you are in the truth since all you have to go on is your own fallible private judgment that your church is right?" "How do you know you've picked the right denomination?" "How can you believe in sola Scriptura, a principle that has resulted in over 25,000 Protestant denominations?" Sound familiar? If you've ever spent time dialoguing with a Roman Catholic apologist, chances are you've been confronted with these very questions. Eric Svendsen, director of New Testament Research Ministries, recently addressed these questions on Iron Sharpens Iron. The MP3 can be found here: UPON THIS SLIPPERY ROCK: Countering Roman Catholic Claims to Authority.
Do Catholics think Mother Teresa of Calcutta should be a Saint? Chris recently interviewed Mark Michael Zima, a Traditionalist Catholic in good standing, on his controversial views regarding Mother Teresa of Calcutta. The show can be found here: An Open Letter to Pope Benedict XVI Regarding the Cause for Canonization of Mother Teresa.
Oneness Pentecostalism: Daniel West, pastor of The Potter's House, gave his personal testimony of discovering and embracing the true God and Gospel of the Holy Scriptures- "Oneness By Deception, Won By the Trinity: The Testimony of a Former 'Oneness' ('Jesus Only') Pentecostal."
Reformed Theology: Dr. Joel Beeke, President and Professor of Systematic Theology & Homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, addressed the theme of his latest book: Living For God's Glory: An Introduction to Calvinism.
Islam: David Wood gave an excellent over of violence and Islam, the MP3 can be found here:Is Islam a religion of peace?
For those of you new to Iron Sharpens Iron, make sure to check out Chris Arnzen introducing Dr. White's Baptism debate:
Ibn Masud's End and the Text of the Qur'an
10/17/2008 - James White
Recently some Muslims attempted to deflect my criticisms through alleging inconsistency on my part. Here is my response, in which I seek to turn their attack for their own good. I address the issue of Ibn Masud, his version of the Qur'an, and whether he stood firm in his convictions or not.
It's Great to be Loved (Updated)
10/16/2008 - James WhiteJames White the Pinhead
I was pointed to this great article by Frank Luciani about me. I'm a pinhead, and a used car salesman, all rolled into one. Of course, anyone who actually listens to what I say, or accurately reads me, will have a hard time taking Mr. Luciani seriously, but...it is illustrative of how deeply tradition can impact what one "sees."
Update: I apologize for having linked to the above, but it is a bit late now. I did not realize the gentleman would explode with vile language and vitriol upon my noting his behavior. I do not suggest anyone even bother going to look---the man demonstrated what spirit he is of with clarity and force. One thing is for sure: while I have met many church-going Roman Catholics who had no problem using vile language in public (and in their correspondence!) I have yet to meet a Reformed person who did not blush upon failing to control his tongue. Says something to me in a day and age when James' exhortation concerning the tongue seems to have been forgotten by just about everyone.
James White: Hiding from Islam's Best?
Meanwhile, another fellow has decided that David Wood and I are picking on bad Muslim apologists because we can't handle the big guys. Yes, I know, that's hard to understand in light of our constant challenges to the very folks this fellow thinks are the best, but, just like the note above, it is amazing how people can see, and hear, only what they want. I took the time to respond to this allegation, and to a 55 second clip from Shabir Ally he played, in the following video.
There is One Mediator and Only One Mediator
10/15/2008 - Tur8infanIn a recent blog post (link), Dave Armstrong (a lay advocate of Catholicism) has made the remarkable argument that "there is one mediator" in 1 Timothy 2:5 does not rule out what Dave calls "mini-mediators." Dave doesn't comment on whether "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD," rules out mini-Jehovahs or whether "One Lord, one faith, one baptism, " rules out mini-Lords, mini-faiths, and mini-baptisms.
Naturally, he also doesn't comment on whether "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble," rules out mini-Gods. I suppose that he might be excused from these oversights with respect to other uses of "one" in Scripture except that the verse in question does not say only "there is one mediator" but also "there is one God" - in fact the quotation, "There is one mediator," requires one to omit "One God, and" in the usual translation of the text:
1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
Dave also doesn't comment on the fact that the term "mediator" is only ever used of Jesus in the New Testament (See postscript below for more discussion). That's true whether we speak of the English word for mediator in KJV, the Latin word for mediator in the Vulgate, or the Greek word for mediator in the original. Instead of dealing with these troubling details, Dave waves his hand and claims that Scriptures teach the concept of mini-mediators. Of course, it doesn't take a genius to guess that Dave cannot find the term "mini-mediator" in Scripture either. Instead, he declares that:
1) When Paul speaks in 1 Corinthians 9:22 of "by all means sav[ing] some" - that means Paul is a "mini-mediator";
2) When Paul speaks in 1 Timothy 4:16 of "sav[ing] both yourself and your hearers" - that means Timothy is going to be a "mini-mediator";
3) When Paul speaks in Philippians 2:12-13 of "work[ing] out your own salvation" - that means the Philippians are going to be "mini-mediators";
4) When Paul speaks in 2 Corinthians 4:15 of "all things [being] for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God" - that means that Paul is a "mini-mediator";
5) When Paul speaks in Ephesians 3:2 of "the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward" - that means Paul is a "mini-mediator";
6) When Paul speaks in Ephesians 4:29 of the words from the Ephesians mouths "minister[ing] grace unto the hearers" - that means the Ephesians will be "mini-mediators";
7) When Peter speaks in 1 Peter 4:8-10 of "good stewards of the manifold grace of God" - that means that the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia are going to be "mini-mediators";
8) When John speaks in Revelation 1:4-5 of "the seven spirits who are before his throne" - that means that angels are going to be "mini-mediators";
9) Whenever Paul or anyone else uses the phrase "grace to you" or the like - that means that the person using the phrase is acting as a "mini-mediator."
There a number of significant problems with Dave's methodology. For one thing, Dave more or less simply assumes in each case that the activity involved is somehow a "mini" form of what Christ does as mediator. Another problem is that in order for Dave's overall argument to work, Dave essentially has to reduce Jesus' mediatorial role to that of being a grace conduit, with God (the Father) being the source and believers (or all men - one is not really sure whether Dave applies a "prevenient grace" concept here) being the recipients. There are other problems to be sure. For example, the idea that the "seven spirits who are before [God's] throne" are consequently to be implicated in mediation is particularly far-fetched. But the two I've identified above may be viewed as the primary problems. ...
[Click Here to Continue Reading]
Lindsay Brooks from Apologetics.Com
10/15/2008 - James White
Dear Dr. White,
If not for your ministry, I would surely not be an apologist today...
I remember attending a Bible study taught by our mutual friend Tim Staples on the subject of the book of Ephesians. He was saying things about what "your Protestant neighbors" believe. As one of those "Protestant neighbors" I didn't hold to a bunch of stuff he said, so I challenged him afterward. That discussion blossomed into Tim quoting the Bible in Greek, quoting the Early Church Fathers and pretty much leaving me beaten and bloodied on the floor (figuratively, of course).
"Never again," I said, and steeled myself for the hard road of getting up to speed in language, history and exegesis. Not long afterward I had listened to a bunch of your debates and lectures streaming on the old straitgate website. This incited my Aomin store buying spree where I bought almost everything I could and listened on my long Los Angeles commutes.
Within a year I was posting on online forums learning to apply apologetics to people and not just to arguments. I had a regular diet of the Dividing Line and that encouraged me to learn Greek and read what of the ECF I could. Getting a grip on philosophy and method was next.
I ended up a staff member on Apologetics.com and regular radio panelist on their weekly show. Now that I'm a regular co-host of the show I still use the lessons I learned from you. Whether it's how to do exegesis (The God Who Justifies), how to understand Mormonism (Letters to a Mormon Elder, your lectures on the subject and the articles section of Aomin), how to engage in clear discussion with Catholics (too many resources to name!) or simply how to get up when people knock you down and keep proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, there's a bunch of James R. White pulsing through my apologetic veins.
So when you agreed to come on my show, I felt like I had an opportunity to let other people know of your work for the Kingdom, and give others a chance to benefit from your tuition.
Attached is a cell phone pic of you and I at the Shabir Ally debate at Biola. For all you and Rich have done to keep me on a steady diet of solid apologetics, thank you.
Eirene kai agape,
Today on The Dividing Line
10/14/2008 - James White
A bit of an unusual day on the DL. I played one Tim Staples clip, then we started taking calls on all sorts of subjects, including the one I include in the video below, ending with a good question about the NT's use of the Septuagint and inerrancy. Once again proving the utterly unique nature of The Dividing Line! Enjoy! Here's the program (free/high quality).
I Really Didn't Like You...
10/14/2008 - James White
I didn't like you when I was first introduced to you and Alpha and Omega ministry.
I was a staunch and vocal KJV-Only apologist and I thought you were a pompous academic windbag who used clever argumentation to deny the truth about God's one and only Bible.
Of course, that personal evaluation came from a 23-year old punk who had deluded himself into believing G.A. Riplinger was a man and a reputable Bible scholar and competent researcher.
A friend gave me a booklet you wrote exposing her so-called "errors," and even though I first learned from you that "Gail" was really a woman, I was still convinced you were mistaken about the modern translations, so I was even more determined to refute your "attacks" against her tragedy of a book, New Age Bible Versions. When the "King James Only Controversy" was released at our church's bookstore, I think I was the first person to purchase a copy. I probably read it twice, each time underscoring vast sections and writing my rudely mocking comments in the margins. Sometimes in all CAPS.
But God is a gracious God, smiling patiently from heaven as we slowly mature.
Though I was a strident KJV-Onlyist, God was opening my heart to the glorious truth of the doctrines of Grace. I read everything I could get my hands upon concerning Calvinism. So, you can imagine my surprise when I discovered James White was also an unapologetic Calvinist. For many years I was thinking you were a moron regarding Bible versions, but you were swiftly becoming one of my favorite spokesman defending the biblical teachings on salvation. I responded to the "Potter's Freedom" much differently than I did the "King James Only Controversy" and I can say that book was probably one of the sources God used to open my eyes to the bankruptcy of KJV-Only apologetics.
Those men from whom I learned my KJV-onlyism were also the men who venomously attacked Calvinism, the doctrines which were so precious to me. Their argumentation against Calvinism I knew was ridiculous and sad. Then I began to think, "If they are mistaken with much of their arguments against Calvinism, perhaps they could be wrong about their arguments defending KJV-Onlyism?"
Thus began my re-evaluation of my KJV-Only convictions. This time, I picked up "The King James Only Controversy" and read it with different eyes. What you argued defending the transmission of God's infallible and inerrant Word, supplemented well a lot of the other good material I was reading which refuted KJV-onlyism. I am grateful to say now, some 15 years after I read that little booklet about New Age Bible Versions, Alpha and Omega Ministries was truly used of the Lord to free me from such crippling beliefs regarding our God's revelation.
Thanks Brother (And thanks for not laughing too hard when I showed you my marked up copy of the "King James Only Controversy").
Theology Matters in the Philippines!
10/14/2008 - James White
Dear A&O,You might not be aware of this, but your ministry is also being used by God to change lives here on the other side of the globe. I am from the Philippines (Southeast Asia). I myself, like most of my countrymen, am a cradle Catholic. My parents became Christians when I was young child. As a result, I did not grow up to be a good and practicing Catholic. They pulled me out of the Catholic school I was attending. I stopped praying to Mary, to various saints, and angels, a practice which my mother in her previous ignorance taught me to faithfully do. Having been raised then in an evangelical church that hardly proclaims the solas of the Protestant Reformation, I was not prepared for what I would encounter when I entered college.
God was pleased to send me to a "non-sectarian" Roman Catholic university. During my third year, I accidentally found books in one of the shelves of one of our libraries written by men like Scott Hahn, Robert Sungenis, Dave Armstrong, Steve Ray, Jimmy Akin, et. al. I was dumbfounded to read the contents of their books (esp. Ray's Crossing the Tiber and Sungenis' Not By Faith Alone). To my dismay, I did not know how to answer their claims. I considered the possibility that my evangelical church's beliefs and practices were wrong, and that I had abandoned the faith of my infancy. I almost approached one of the priests in our school to "confess" my sins. (I recoil in horror as I remember this.) These Roman Catholics apologists' argument from the fallibility of private judgment and history, and the fact that most of them were formerly Protestants, seemed convincing at first until I learned of this ministry called A&O Ministries.
It was this ministry that exposed me to the errors of the claims of Rome, and how Biblical the solas of the Protestant Reformation are. As a Christian in a predominantly Roman Catholic country with mostly Roman Catholic relatives and friends, I realized that Rome does not preach the gospel. Much of what is called Roman Catholicism in our country is identified with syncretistic, superstitious and idolatrous beliefs and practices which even the Roman Catholic bishops of the Philippines cannot stop. They are against many of it, but seems to tolerate them. This alone demonstrates the missing mark, church discipline. I also realized how problematic modern evangelicalism has become. Repentance is hardly preached in many of the evangelical churches here. At first, I did not like Dr. White's emphasis on the doctrines of grace. But gradually, I finally accepted them as Biblical and therefore true. I no longer see the Reformed emphasis on the inability of man, election and atonement, for instance, as minor and divisive since they involve the very gospel itself. It was A&O Ministries and the centrality of the gospel in its endeavors which God used as one of the instruments in bringing me to genuine repentance and faith, having been enslaved by the heresy of antinomianism, and a life of licentiousness. Despite my Christian background, this made me realize all the more that salvation is all of grace. I could be a child of Christian parents, but still on my way to hell. I would never have truly searched for God if he had not caused me to search for Him. Soli Deo Gloria!
Finally, A&O Ministries compelled me to do more study on Reformed Theology, and other topics relating to cults. In this year alone, I was able to meet and fellowship with various brethren coming from Reformed Baptist and conservative Presbyterian backgrounds. (Yes, there are Reformed Baptists and conservative Presbyterians even in this part of the world!) Though I am closer to the Presbyterian view of the sacraments, and church polity, I appreciate the greater fellowship these two groups have achieved in recent years. We truly are united by our commitment to Christ and His gospel. In a country that has become a melting pot of cults (both foreign and local) that deny the Trinity, I find Dr. White's articles a good starting point in equipping the saints in the defense of historic Christianity. Thank you for all the work you have had and will have. May God bless A&O Ministries all the more in its defense of the gospel. :-)
A Personal Word of Thanks
10/13/2008 - James WhiteI had pretty much despaired of using this image. When I had purchased the photocopied version of Erasmus' 3rd edition of his Novum Testamentum (1522) I had been very disappointed when it arrived. The image backgrounds are dark, dark grey, making the writing next to illegible. But when I decided I wanted to include a scan from the text in the next edition of The King James Only Controversy (which I just finished editing!) I decided to try to clean up a high resolution scan I took on our copier/scanner. I made it look better, but...it wasn't close to being really usable in the book.
So I decided to ask Hacim, Son of Ramalah, King of Graphics. At least, that's how I refer to him. Hacim isn't really his name...well, it is, only...well, you'd have to be in channel to figure it out (or have a mirror handy, I guess). Hacim is one of our volunteers. Like the graphics on this website? He did them. Like the banner ads? He did them. Don't like the theology on the blog? Don't blame him! When I need graphics, he's the man. Well, he took what I had done, and produced this:
[For those interested, the reason for the attention to this text is that the King James has a clearly, documentable, unquestionable error at Revelation 16:5, where it follows Beza's conjectural emendation and lacks the Greek phrase you can see at the beginning of the second to last line in this graphic, ὁ ὅσιος, ho osios, "Oh Holy One." I am documenting, very fully, this error in the KJV in the next edition of the book.]
From next to unreadable to clear as can be. So I wanted to thank Hacim for all the great work he does for A&O as a volunteer (some of which you have never seen, some of which you see only in my debate presentations, etc.). And that reminded me to thank all the folks who help Rich and I. DeoVolente, Shamgar, ENielsen, Dale, TurretinFan, Carla, Algo, bluewoad, justrozie, Ordo, Keith, RazorsKiss, TQuid, Lane, Floggy, etc. (all folks in our chat channel who are so often called upon to help out, research, track down URLs, and so much more). Thanks to all who assist us in doing the work of the ministry! We couldn't do it without you!
Go See Fireproof!
10/13/2008 - James WhiteOK, I'm obviously behind the times. Too buried to see straight, all that stuff. But after a couple who frequent our chat channel went and saw Fireproof a few evenings ago, and came back just bubbling about how good it was, I decided I would take my wife and we would catch a matinee showing today. I don't see many movies, to be honest. I saw Rocky Balboa (what was that, December of 2006?), and the next movie I saw in a theater was Expelled. So today the wife and I went and saw Fireproof.
All I can say is "wow." Simply tremendous. Yes, yes, I'm biased. How? Well, if you have seen any of the new season of Way of the Master you know I have spent time with Kirk and Ray. In fact, as soon as the film was over and we were walking out of the theater I called Kirk and congratulated him on a tremendous performance. But I will tell you, at the climax of the film all you could hear in the theater was quiet weeping from both men and women, it was that moving. I could not help but rejoice that a film of this quality was screening at the same time as Bill Maher's celebration of depravity.
So while I am way behind on this topic, let me at least encourage you to catch Fireproof while it is still in theaters. Husbands, take your wives! Wives, take your husbands! Single people, go anyway! And to Kirk: thank you, brother, for a tremendous performance. May the Lord bless this film to the betterment of many a marriage, and may the gospel message be used to bring His elect unto Himself.
Shadid Lewis on John 14:28
10/13/2008 - James White
A Needed Work
10/12/2008 - James White
To all at A&O MIN., Your hard work at providing a wide gamut of subjects over the years remains unparalleled. You guys remain on the cutting edge with solid reporting and interaction, let alone your ministry products. I've said to myself as the years have passed, what would we do without A&O MIN.. The Lord has raised up an incredible ministry and you have exhibited a tremendous amount of integrity, responsibility and character. Enough words cannot be expressed to ever make known the gratitude that is in my heart for A&O MIN.. Always and all the best in Christ to you guys.
A Canadian Testimon-eh
10/12/2008 - James White
Happy for to wish you a 25th Ann.
This swish come from up north in Ontario, Can.
Way smarter you made me in Reformed doctrine
Convict me way more of my Totally Sin
On Election- was hanging my chads for to see
Then resigned with an Eh? Elohim, why me?
Had a Limited knowledge of the Atownement,
Till unlimited logs to the AOMin Mint.
You guys not you seem are so Resistable
My Bookmark de Windows has you top of the roll
May you Perservere for eh, ... 25 more,
Or till the role is called up-eh-yon-door.
Sorry, a bit of silliness there. Thanks again to Rich who told us where to go Aug 10th. Thanks to Pastor Fry for a wonderful sermon. Dr. White's Sunday School was good too. What a terrific church!
May you remain faithful to Him,
A Long Road Out of Rome
10/10/2008 - James White
Though brought up a "cradle Catholic," I cannot say I was well catechized, despite being confirmed. I had a very clear understanding that Jesus was Savior and Lord from a young age, but couldn't explain the details. As I learned more about Catholic theology, I realized I had never learned most of it growing up. My understanding was simple: Christ died to save sinners who believed on him, and I was a sinner. Strangely, though growing up in a Hispanic family, I was never comfortable with what I now view as some of the major Catholic errors--I couldn't bring myself to pray the Rosary, and felt offended at the entire concept of praying to Saints in general. It seemed to me very obvious that what I observed with regards to adoration of Saints and images was plainly idolatry, and I knew the commandments enough to name it as such. I couldn't understand why Catholics did these things.
I married a Catholic woman who seemed to have this exact same level of Christianity--the most base level of understanding Jesus as Savior--who also did not know her Bible well at all, who also did not partake of some of the major Catholic errors. I didn't believe in transubstantiation, though when a friend pointed me to John 6, I accepted his interpretation with very little effort put forth and made myself believe it for a time. But I still had doubts the more I thought about it.
In my mid-20s, I came to the place where I decided I could no longer be double-minded. I knew a little about what some "Protestants" believed--basically, they seemed like stripped-down Catholics. They focused on Jesus in ways that made complete sense to me. I seemed to have more in common with what little I knew of them, and liked that they read their Bibles (I was starting to read, and it was confusing me as to, again, why Catholics were following certain practices/beliefs). I decided that I either needed to commit to my Catholic faith or leave and go elsewhere. I would be a rosary-praying, frequent mass-attending, scapular wearing, literal meat-of-Christ eating Catholic, or I'd leave.
The same friend from above gave me a Scott Hahn book as an encouragement. I was completely unimpressed, and I found a subsequent Hahn book to be nearly insulting to my intelligence. I bought "Not By Scripture Alone," and there my work began on a more serious level. On the Protestant side, AOMin was a major resource. It was an exhilarating time--I had no idea people were still debating these issues, had no idea about the depth of church history that was known and available, and did a ton of reading. I listened to every debate James White did, multiple times. I asked questions, including on Julie Staples' now-defunct message board.
It did not take very long before I started seeing the shell games Catholic apologists played with many of their arguments. But I didn't make my move quickly--I think I was waiting for some Catholic magic-bullet to undo the bad argumentation I'd been hearing on their part. I stayed in my Catholic church through the next 12 months or so (longer than Beckwith, and it sounds like I did more reading). I dug deep--reading church fathers in their original contexts when quotes were suspect on either side. I didn't read any of White's books (but did read the blog) for not wanting to be a "minion." But the entire Holy Scripture series by King/Webster, works by Svendsen, and other heavies like George Salmon (which I tracked down in hardcover) finally obliterated any doubts I had, among other works. But those debates were the root for finding areas to further research. The blog articles as well contained tons of helpful and truly meaty information.
Finally, I made my decision, with a clear understanding of the Gospel. I had been explaining the issues to my wife, who--with far less hand-wringing--accepted the teachings as if they were the most natural thing ever. After leaving, I began talking to my younger brother--within a short time he was transformed in a way I never imagined he could be as he finally delved into the Bible. He didn't need debates and long arguments--the truth was clear from Scripture alone, and he also left. Soon, a friend of ours followed, as he asked questions of me. He was seeing me as knowledgeable and knew I was patient. He, as well, has left the Catholic church. 4 people (so far) affected, 3 of whom haven't really ever been exposed to AOMin. Your strong opposition to Rome when so many others want to pad their disagreements with them, is necessary in a confused age when people are not willing to stand for truth. Though you are moving in other directions, and I pray God's blessings on them, please don't forget the Catholics. There are so, so many Catholics who are stuck in an ignorant but simple faith, who are waiting for someone to reach them with the truth and aren't defensive of the church. Keep reaching out to them patiently, though you've covered the issues a million times before, perhaps. Souls are at stake.
It has been an honor to support your ministry over the years, and I hope to continue so doing.
Richard Dawkins' Zealous Followers
10/10/2008 - James White
Seven months ago I posted a brief video on Richard Dawkins. I continue to get 1-3 hate mails per day regarding that single video. Here are some comments on this kind of atheio-religious zealotry.
Want to Get Your Mind off of Financial Chaos? Listen to the Dividing Line!
10/09/2008 - James WhiteTired of all the doom and gloom, about which you can do absolutely nothing (except possibly sin by getting angry, self-centered, and worried?). Well then take a break and listen to the DL! Talked about a lot of exciting things today, from debates in London to the next edition of The King James Only Controversy to more on the sola scriptura front. Just what you need to get your mind out of the mess of the world and onto issues that have eternal value! Here's the program (free/high quality).
Debates Clarify Key Beliefs
10/09/2008 - James White
I cannot express enough my gratitude to God for establishing this ministry and leading me to it. This ministry has done so much to help me understand my own faith better. I deeply appreciate the debates, the books, and the teaching of this ministry.
By watching the debates, I have been able to better understand what it is that I believe as a Christian. In the process of combating the many false religions/doctrines James White has presented the clear and historic Christian faith. I have a much clearer and better understanding of the Trinity, TULIP, how my Bible came to me as I have it, and the many other topics that Dr. White has debated. Because of this, I have been able to much better engage the Mormon missionaries that come to my door and want to share their "faith" with me. It isn't so much that I know what they believe but I can present an easy to understand presentation of orthodox Christianity to them. They have also given me questions to ask the missionaries to help move the conversation along and to engage the missionaries.
Speaking of Mormonism, the books that James White has written have deepened my faith tremendously. I am thinking most specifically Letters to a Mormon Elder. This book presents an in-depth look at Mormonism and presents a clear Biblical response. Again, I learned more about the prophet Isaiah by reading that book then I had in my seminary course on Isaiah. That is nothing against the prof. but White's exegesis of the Isaiah texts really helped me to see Yahweh as Isaiah, and the Bible as a whole, presents him in all of his majestic splendor.
I can remember a pair of sermons that James White preached last year in Canada and he mentioned that he was preaching from the original languages, both Hebrew and Greek. That really inspired me to learn my GNT and Hebrew Old Testament well enough to preach from the originals. I cannot explain why, but seeing Dr. White's command of the oringinal languages and how it aids in his preaching was something that I feel every preacher should have--whether it is practical or not is another issue. My own desire to learn the languages have only increased because of his preaching and webcast. I want to be able to present the Scriptures to the people with the most authoritative and correct way possible. I deeply thank Dr. White for showing me what it looks like when a person will master the languages (even his learning Arabic to better engage Islam).
Dr. White, your ministry has deepened by own relationship with Jesus Christ because of the things you all do. Do keep up the good work and I wish you would have done the resurrection debate with Ehrman at Midwestern Seminary in KC this past February. I actually shook the man's hand and that was fun. I would have enjoyed what you would have brought to the debate (the Dividing Lines were good interactions though).
10/09/2008 - James White
Greetings from sunny Miami, Florida!
I remember when I was first introduced to Alpha and Omega ministries. It was 2001, and I was a sophomore attending Clearwater Christian College taking Greek for the first time, and I had a dear friend of mine that was KJV only (actually there were four of them, but I'm only going to mention one of them). One morning a chapel speaker came and used the NASB as his text, and not the KJV. Before I go on, let me just say that the CCC did not take a "KJV Only" stance, but used the KJV for the sake of tradition (whatever that meant), and so required the speakers to use the KJV when they spoke in chapel. So I mentioned it to my friend in a kind of joking manner about the use of NASB, and he was not happy about it. So I asked him plainly, why he took the stance on the KJV. He basically told me that it came down to the Greek Text. He explained to me about the TR being the superior Greek text, and that the CT was just a "man made compilation." Needless to say, I was distraught and felt ignorant because I had never heard that before. At the time, I thought it was just Hebrew and Greek and I didn't know there was any such thing as a Textus Receptus or a Critical Text. It also bothered me because I wanted a NASB because of it was a literal translation. I called my brother on the phone, who was attending seminary at the time, and told him this argument that was presented to me. He was also caught off guard with that argument!
For weeks I prayed and thought, and then...it happened. My roommate, who also took Greek with me, said that he just found out that Erasmus had "back-translated" a part of the TR from Jerome's Vulgate. I was suprised, and I asked my roommate where he found such a jewel of information, and he said to me that it came from "James White's website." So I thought to myself, "Ok someone who has answers." So the next day I talked to my KJV friend about my discovery, and he really didn't have an answer for it. Soon after I was getting ready to drive to Miami for Easter break, and my brother calls me and says, "Juan, get over here before you go home, I have something for you to listen to." So I went to my brother's apartment and he said, "I have a debate between a KJV guy, and this guy James White, have you ever heard of him?" I said, "Actually, I just heard about him." So I stayed at my brother's apartment for a while, and listened carefully to your debate with Dr. D.A. Waite of the Dean Burgon society. I was fascinated with your responses, and your clear presentation of the transmission of the New Testament. After that day, I have been a regular visitor to your website to not only read and hear about "KJV-Onlyism", but also Roman Catholocism, Islam, and your defense of Calvinism. AOMIN.org has been a starting point to much of my research on said issues. I also direct people all the time to check your website when they want information about certain Christian issues.
In 2002, I was further blessed when I was able to see you debate live against John Sanders on the issue of Inclusivism and Open Theism in Clearwater and Orlando (yes I was part of group of college kids who followed you around Central Florida). Now that I'm back in Miami, I pray that I get to see you debate again in January against Bart Ehrman.
I listen to the Dividing Line every week, as well as watch your videos on YouTube. I pray that the Lord continues to bless your ministry, as you continue to give a ready defense of the hope that is within you.
A Quick Look Across the Tiber (With Updates)
10/08/2008 - James White
I was contacted by someone at a university out east asking if I would be willing to debate Roman Catholicism there if they could find someone to join in the debate. I indicated that would be fine, but that they might have some trouble finding a suitable opponent. Evidently, in calling around, one of those asked to engage in the debate contacted Art Sippo, who, of course, declined. Now, realize, I did not go looking for this, someone contacted me and wanted to set something up. But, the facts of the matter are never overly important to Art Sippo.
Yesterday I noticed a new blog entry on Sippo's website. Here it is. Now, you may recall that at one time Sippo declined a challenge to debate live and in public in his current city of residence on the subject of his own choosing. Why? Because...I'm not nice enough, that's why. Now, that would be like Shaq complaining that Spud Webb is too tall. In any case, please note the title of Sippo's entry. Sippo likes to refer to me as "Pseudopodeo." Many years ago my e-mail address included the biblical term ὀρθοποδέω, orthopodeo. It means "to walk straight in accordance with a rule." It was what Peter was not doing in reference to the Gospel in Galatians 2:14. Sippo has used his playground version of this biblical term for quite some time now. Notice how he begins. "It has come to my attention that the Protestant controversialist know (sic: known) affectionately as "Pseudopodeo" is jonesing for a debate." No, a campus group is looking to arrange a debate is the reality.
He continues, "He is trying to sucker some unwitting Catholic into another of his own sided lynchings in a Protestant venue with an Anti-Catholic moderator." Aside from Sippo's continued existence in a fantasy world, the reality is that when I debated Sippo in 1991, the moderator was...that infamous Anti-Catholic Patrick Madrid, then Vice President of Catholic Answers. In fact, when I debated Gerry Matatics for the first time in Long Beach the moderator was another infamous Anti-Catholic...Patrick Madrid. And the location of that debate? A terrible Protestant venue known as...a Roman Catholic church. And when I debated Matatics on the Papacy at the City of the Lord in Tempe, AZ? The Protestant venue was...a Roman Catholic organization, and the Anti-Catholic moderator was...Scott Hahn.
The irony is that the vast majority of my debates with Roman Catholics have been in Roman Catholic venues, or in secular venues, such as catering halls. The moderators have been either Roman Catholics, Jews, or on Long Island, Pastor Bill Shishko, the Moderator of Moderators! Sippo once again blusters out of his deep well of ignorance, playing to his audience but once again showing his deep disregard for truthfulness in the process.
Obviously, Sippo is still in hiding, smarting from his running from my challenge back in 2005. He lost a few disciples over that one, and is still unwilling to engage in meaningful debate. Note the absurd condescension of this man who knows no bounds in his ability to insult. Let's remember these words of the inimitable Sippo:
Mr. White is an ignorant bigot who has no academic credentials. He was raised by bigots to be a bigot and would parade around in a white sheet burning crosses on people's lawns if there was any money in it. In a strange bizarro parody of Christian discipleship, he hates his enemies and does bad things to people whom he doesn't like. He also is a big whopping LIAR and likes to slander anyone who has the temerity not to kowtow to him. He is known affectionately as Pseudopodeo by those who know him best.
The original URL for those comments was http://www.envoymagazine.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1025, but don't bother looking. The poor folks charged with the clean up of the Envoy forums came along with their electronic scoopers and picked up that mess fairly quickly.
Update: Sippo replies with his normative maturity. Note that in the strange, strange world of Art Sippo, my pointing out his own behavior is "slandering" him. Keep that in mind: quoting Sippo to Sippo is slanderous.
Meanwhile, Sippo is not the only one making quite the spectacle out of himself over on the far side of the Tiber. TurretinFan pointed me to the outrageous comments of "The Catholic Champion," Matthew Bellisario, this morning as well. As most of you know, this month is the 25th anniversary of the founding of Alpha and Omega Ministries. We set up an e-mail address (email@example.com) so that those who have been blessed by this ministry could share how the Lord has used our little ministry in their lives. I have been posting some of them, and have a lot more to go, to be sure. They are very encouraging, and folks have enjoyed reading about others who have had similar experiences to their own. Of course, I have never presented these as apologetic arguments. They are simply testimonials related to celebrating a quarter century of God's goodness to us in this ministry.
Well, I shouldn't be surprised that a guy who would write about my hats (here) would write this. Let's ignore the context, let's ignore the reality that these testimonials are not only wide-ranging but are not presented as apologetic arguments, and let's create a simply inane basis for an accusation of hypocrisy. Evidently, wild-eyed fanaticism is not limited to Islamic responses that ignore context, either. Here are Matthew's words:
I recall reading many times on Mr White's blog how he just could not stand all of these Catholic conversion stories. Now, on his blog his latest entry is a Catholic who converted to the "Reformed" church because of Dr. White. You see, this "Dr White" is two-faced when it comes to these types of things. It's not OK for a Catholic to post a conversion story, but it is quite OK for him to do so, blowing his own horn so he can show just how great he is. The latest entries on his blog have been littered with people hailing him and his ministry as if he were some sort of prophet. And of course he just cannot resist posting these letters or emails. He also thought it was so great to have professional photos of himself posted on his blog as well. Talk about pride and arrogance. No one Catholic is permitted to post a conversion, but for White it's OK. Well, I will call this for what it is. Two-faced arrogant pride.
Ah, well, it is always good to once in a while take a gander across that smelly green river called the Tiber and be reminded of why I haven't the slightest desire to cross it.
Update: The "Catholic Champion" demonstrated that Art Sippo's penchant for not getting the point of a rebuttal is endemic. This speaks for itself.
A Testimonial from Pennsylvania
10/08/2008 - James White
I am very grateful that God brought my attention to the ministry of James White and A & O Ministries. About nine years ago I came into contact w/ a fellow Christian at work who was TR Only and thus against the modern Bible translations. He had a lot of information from most of the KJV Only advocates. I didn't have an answer at the time for his objections. However, they seemed so outlandish that I wasn't going to throw away my NIV yet. God spoke to me through the NIV, I just had a hard time believing all the strange conspiracy theories about it. Back in 2001 I attended an apologetics seminar that had Dan Wallace speaking. This greatly increased my confidence in the Bible I was using. Also, on the books for sale was a copy of the KJV ONlY Controversy. It was highly recommended by the sponsor of the lecture; Jeff Downs. I read it and very quickly. I not only gained greater confidence in the modern translations, but, was also taught how to think my logically and critically about how we got our Bible and how to respond to many of outlandish conspiracy theories that some KJV ONLY advocates espouse. Also at the same time my friend and chiropractor lent me a copy of the show that Dr. White did on the Bible Answer Man show. This also helped me gain more confidence in the Bible I was using and gave me a greater appreciation for how we got our Bible. I then checked out A & O ministries web site. I had some Mormon missionaries come to visit me. I purchased several radio debates Dr. White had done with Mormon apologists. I also purchased LETTERS TO A MORMON ELDER. I used many of the arguments in that book while dialoging with the Mormon missionaries.
I am grateful for the great resources that Dr. White has put out. I have learned so much and continue to learn. I consider Dr. White my professor from afar. I live in Lancaster PA.
Another thing I'm grateful for is learning the truth about Reformed Theology and the doctrines of grace. I guess you would have called me 4 pointer. I went to a Bible college that affirmed the doctrine of eternal security, but rejected reformed theology. Through Dr. White's ministry I got a much better understanding of Calvinism. When I saw that scriptures do teach man's inability to accept Christ, unless God grants that sinner the ability, I had no choice to accept the truths of the doctrines of grace. However, I accepted them joyfully. Although, I am commanded to evangelize, it is not up to me to get results. Only God can change a sinner's heart to accept him. This was very liberating for me.
Through Dr. White's ministry, I have not only been equpped and taught. I have also learned how to think more critically. Listening to Dr. White's debates with various groups of people has taught me more how reason better and argue and dialogue more effectively. The tools I've gained listening to the debates has helped me in my experiences with folks who are trapped in a cult or with people that misunderstand the doctrines of grace. I continue to listen to past debates often as I gain something new out of them.
I've been blessed to have the opportunity to volunteer at the A & O book table at the last two great debates in Long Island, NY. It was a joy to help out with something that I totally believed in. It was also a joy to work with Rich Pierce. Much of what was being sold, I had a copy of , so I able to inform the folks of the value of the books and debates. I look forward to a time, I can do it again.
Over the last couple of years, I've developed a large collection of the debates Dr. White has done on dvd. I've had Apologetics and Theology nights at my home, and had people over to watch them and eat pizza. These debates have been a blessing to those people as well.
I continue to be blessed by the ministry of A & O Ministries, as I listen to the pod casts of the Dividing Line, listen to old and new debates, listen to lectures and research the site.
May God continue to bless Dr. White, Rich Pierce of Alpha and Omega Ministries and use them to defend the truth, bless the saints and share the gospel with the lost for His glory.
Yesterday on The Dividing Line
10/08/2008 - James WhiteSorry about being late in blogging this. I am so buried in this 2nd edition of the KJVOC I can't see straight. I had completely forgotten how much Greek there is in that work (check out the endnotes some time!), and having to re-enter every bit of that, very slowly, is going to be the death of me yet. Anyway, we kept swinging away at the Patrick Madrid debate from San Diego. Actually managed to get a full ten minutes of it played this time! Should be done by...Christmas at this rate! Not going to post any video on this one, just don't have time. Enjoy! Here's the program (free/high quality).
From Prison to Seminary
10/08/2008 - James White
I first found aomin about 10 months after being out of jail (approx. 2003). I was at a point in my life where I wanted to learn as much as I could about the faith I had embraced after a life of drugs and violence and I wanted to learn how to defend that faith. I came across Dr. White's debates with catholics and Mormons and bought them all (I still have many VHS tapes). I don't remember how many times I watched, studied, and memorized those debates or how many people I watched them with (including my brother and his wife who were catholics but became Christians after watching them with me over the course of a few months.
I was openly a Geisler-ite (I read a lot of Norman Geisler's works) and thus I utterly opposed calvinism as the very doctrine of Satan that I understood it to be. But after listening to some aomin CDs on the issue (the atonement, the biblical doctrine of salvation), I got a little nervous and Geisler, Hunt, and Bryson just weren't giving any real answers to many of the questions I had. Eventually I broke down and bought the White vs. Bryson debate and painfully watched for three + hours as the so confident-in-his-books George Bryson did everything he could to avoid answering Dr. White's questions. And after Dr. White's closing statement I uttered a few uncontrollable and deeply emotive profanities before beginning a real Bible search and picking up a few books from the other side (crazy idea, huh?). AOMin then became a source of encourgement for me as I struggled to uphold and contend for the sovereignty of God in a world of Molinism and rationalism in my undergrad studies as a philosophy major. I was on AOMin after just about every philosophy class for a couple of years. And finally, to top it all off, I was able to meet Dr. White when he came to Biola to debate Shabir Ally. He came out with me and some of my friends and we had dinner at El Torito, where he put on my hard hat and took pictures with us. That settled it for me, and now I am a constant supporter of AOMin. If I had money, I would give more of it to the ministry, but Westminster is a cruel mistress, and thus I can barely buy two tacos and a small water on taco Tuesdays . . . .
BB is proof of the divine nature of the Christian faith. If I can hang out with BB, who has about as different a past and background from mine as any human being could have, then clearly, there's something to this "body of Christ" stuff. BB and his brother WFP are great guys I am proud to call my friends. In fact, I'm even willing to be seen in public with them both, despite their...uh...reputations. :-) In fact, at the last debate I did, I had BB and WFP video tape it using my little Casio camera. And as they always do, they left me...little presents along with the videos themselves. Here's one such present. You gotta love these guys. Oh, and I learned all my cool Kung Fu/Ninja moves from WFP. It's in his genes, you know.
From the Marian Debate on Long Island
10/07/2008 - James White
Greetings in the Lord,
In 1996 I was saved and shortly after that glorious day, I noticed a poster hanging in the church that I had started attending (the first and only non-Catholic church I'd ever stepped foot in up to that point--AA meetings not-withstanding). The poster advertised "The Great Debate--Mary Queen of Heaven or Sinner Saved by Grace?" I was intrigued because I had no idea that there was even a debate about things like that. When given grace to believe the Gospel, I trusted that Jesus paid for my sin fully and totally, and then I went to the first church I knew of--the non denominational one that the saint who shared with me had been a member of. I had no bridges to burn because my Roman Catholic upbringing was cultural and not theological. I recall in ignorance telling my unsaved Father to "go back to church...any church." And then came the Great Debate--I sat in complete disbelief--did Rome actually believe and teach these things?! Poor Gerry...forgot his notes and everything.
It was there that I got the bug in my ear to be an apologetic Christian--and I never looked back. During the next few years I had been turned on to the Doctrines of Grace (partly due to the Mass debate in which I was told by your opponent that if I weren't a Calvinist, you were against me too, or something to that effect.) So, I read Drawn by the Father among other works and I was convinced that these doctrines were true and necessary.
Since that time, I've listened regularly to the Dividing Line and I've even called in a few times. Dr. White's other published works have also helped me immensely in my personal study as well .... So I send my thanks and praise to you for Aomin's defense of the faith once delivered to the saints.
May the Lord richly bless you,
~Mike from NY
Of Air Guitars and the Way International
10/07/2008 - James WhiteI will briefly summarize how Alpha & Omega ministries helped change the direction of my life to the glory of God.
As the end of my college career approached, I was unsure about my future and even more doubtful of my Christian beliefs. I was recovering from a serious drug habit, and also still grieving the loss of a best friend who took his own life due to his own drug addiction. My despair only deepened as I tried to enroll in church again in some attempt to fix myself. Growing up in a traditional Christian home in the religious climate of the South, I was implanted with the deep roots of fideism - the lackadaisical kind that doesn't encourage deep study of the Scriptures but instead "just taking it by faith and living a good life."
Well obviously I hadn't lived a very good life; even though I professed faith at a young age I had steered dangerously off course during college. During that time of reckless living I was introduced to a lot of arguments against the Bible and the existence of God. As I tried to go through the motions of church for a second time, it was obvious that there were many complex intellectual questions about Christianity. There must be more to this than just having faith; indeed, who is the object of this thing called faith? I remember praying one night for God to grant me wisdom and discernment because I just wanted to know the truth about Him so that I could truly love and serve Him. Conviction from the Holy Spirit didn't come right away, but at the advice of C.H. Spurgeon I continued to pray for the Holy Spirit's presence. I knew Christ had died for me, but had I really thought the implications of it through or was my decision of youth misdirected? Oh the joy of an answer from the Lord!
A few weeks later during a conversation with my pastor about Bible translations, I was loaned a copy of The King James Only Controversy. I had mentioned Gail Riplinger to him (after seeing a video about modern Bible translations), and apparently he had already read this book. I read through it carefully, and literally had the roof of my worldview blown away. Dr. White's concern for bringing clarity and truth to the Scriptures was something I had honestly never encountered in all my years of sitting in church. Had God really communicated propositional content to man so that we can know things about mankind, the world, and most importantly God Himself? Looking back, I know God was preparing me for what was to come.
Needless to say, after finishing the book I purchased an NASB study Bible?ok so that part is really a coincidence but it's a funny one!
Later that year it was time to find a job, and I decided to roll the dice and accept an offer that would relocate me from Virginia all the way out to Boise. The Lord's providence is truly amazing. I found a church there, and befriended a slightly older guy named Drew. He had been raised in a group called The Way International, which denies the deity of Christ. During a conversation, Drew mentioned that he really came to know Jesus as Lord for the first time while reading a book called The Forgotten Trinity. When he told me the author's name, a little light bulb went off; was this the same James White? Eventually, Drew and I became roommates so that he could save money for his upcoming wedding. Just picture a philosophy major and a computer geek sitting in the living room playing air guitar and singing to the Dividing Line intro music! Yup, pretty scary huh?
It's been a year since all those wonderful things came to pass, and the Lord continually motivates me to learn and apply His truth. I am passionate about theology and apologetics, and in addition to learning basic Greek in my spare time I am planning on going back to school to study the Bible in greater depth. I owe so much to Alpha & Omega ministries; the edification provided by your debates, books, and podcasts is simply beyond measure! Praise God from whom all blessings flow, and thank you guys for all your tireless effort in proclaiming and defending the Gospel.
BBC = Bumbling By the Carload
10/06/2008 - James White
The SillyBrit pointed me to another wonderful example of the "yeah, we are biased, we don't care, its the new journalism" mentality of the modern Left. Here is a BBC article making the rounds, written by Roger Bolton. I would like to think Mr. Bolton was not purposefully trying to be a complete snob toward believing Christians, but his writing makes it hard to conclude otherwise. Let's look at some of the more notable comments found in this BBC production.
Under the picture provided above a caption is provided, "What is probably the oldest known bible (bible? How about qur'an?) is being digitised (yes, that proves it is a British production), reuniting its scattered parts for the first time since its discovery 160 years ago. It is markedly different from its modern equivalent. What's left out?"
I am truly left wondering if Mr. Bolton himself has ever studied Codex Sinaiticus? I have more resources on the subject than the time to read them, but when I get a few moments I do enjoy reading works like the one pictured here. If I only worked in NT subjects I'd spend a lot more time on the issue, since I have such a passion for textual critical issues. But I was recently reading through portions of this work on a flight to...somewhere (I lose track), and my, I got odd looks from my fellow passengers. Almost as odd as the looks I get when reading books filled with Arabic quotations. In any case, one of the frustrating things about this article is the obvious assumption on Bolton's part that believing Christians are a bunch of bumbling fools without the first interest in the history of their own faith. And given Bolton's main source is...Bart Ehrman (just how important is that debate in January?), I have to note that Ehrman likewise hints broadly that Christians have in essence "hidden" the history of the Bible and, in general, are ignorant thereof. That is partly true, but it is not because those of us who are not ignorant of the truth do not make every attempt to spread that knowledge far and wide. Ehrman even claims to be the first one to write a layman's level book explaining textual critical matters. I guess he skipped The King James Only Controversy, which did just that long before his own book came out (he was referring to MisQuoting Jesus---I would say there is a lot more discussion of textual variation in my work than in his).
Getting back to the article, is א (Aleph, the designation in textual critical works for Codex Sinaiticus) "markedly different" than modern Bibles? Well, aside from its age, its language, its form, to what is Bolton referring? Two things: a warped, "textual scholar spins stuff for the ignorant media" view of how "different" its text is from the modern Greek textual platform (NA/UBS) together with the "if it was bound together as one volume, that must mean the original creator viewed all the books as canonical" claim. That's the extent of it. The well-read Christian already knows this, so evidently we are not the folks Bolton is trying to impress.
The article gives a little background and mentions the fact that א is going "on line" (see it here). Then we get this amazingly condescending paragraph:
For those who believe the Bible is the inerrant, unaltered word of God, there will be some very uncomfortable questions to answer. It shows there have been thousands of alterations to today's bible.
Oh no! Surely, no one who believes the Bible is the inerrant, unaltered Word of God has ever run into a history of the Bible! None of us have ever poured over Sinaiticus, marveled at such a treasure...oh, wait, even Tischendorf was a Christian who believed the Bible was the Word of God. Well, so sorry, chap (please read that with a British accent). I guess I can't blame Bolton---Ehrman likewise gives the impression that "born agains" are these ignorant, back-woods folks who don't know anything about the Bible. He promotes the viewpoint regularly, whether he knows it or not, so possibly Bolton is just following his sources? In any case, the idea that the publication of א is going to present "questions" that we Bible believers have not fully worked through long, long ago only shows how little Mr. Bolton knows his subject.
The Codex, probably the oldest Bible we have, also has books which are missing from the Authorised Version that most Christians are familiar with today - and it does not have crucial verses relating to the Resurrection.
Notice the assumption that "inclusion between leather covers = inclusion in the canon." He clearly has no idea that this is a disputed claim, and is simply following Ehrman, who, sadly, often forgets to provide "the other side" to the ever-hungry media. Yes, א contains non-canonical books, specifically, the Shepherd of Hermes and the Epistle of Barnabas. Both were, at some point in time, viewed as canonical by small groups of believers, often by those from the area where the books were actually produced. But it is a long leap from this historical observation (one known to any first year church history student in Bible college) to the uncritically promoted conclusion that this means the original copyists/producers of א believed these books to be Scripture. It is just as likely, and in fact, more likely, that they did not. Why? Because א was produced around the time of the Council of Nicea, and the fortunes of both of those books had fallen off considerably by that time. They were considered by many to be good books to be read for edification, but not part of canonical Scripture (to borrow the conclusion of Athanasius writing just a few decades later). Having them copied and included no more made them canonical than including John MacArthur's study notes makes them canonical. It was easier to have such a major project as that represented by א done in one fell swoop rather than having lots of smaller projects, and the result was a very, very large book. But one book is easier to transport/carry than multiples, and evidently, that is what happened in this case. But the specifics aside, I can only shake my head at the condescending attitude of the media today that would assume that if you believe in inerrancy you must be an IQ-challenged dolt without the first clue as to the history of your own faith. And I hope the reader finds Bolton's quotation of the words of Barnabas at least somewhat revealing: how dare Barnabas contain such words...except...that they come from the New Testament (Matthew 27:25).
At this point Ehrman comes into view, and of course, what I found interesting was Ehrman's repetition of his "the Bible can't be inspired because it was not copied perfectly in every single instance" argument: the very essence of our debate in January. Listen to this paragraph:
And although many of the other alterations and differences are minor, these may take some explaining for those who believe every word comes from God.
Sadly, the answers given...for centuries...often by leading Christian scholars in the United Kingdom seem to be utter news to this writer. This level of ignorance is truly amazing. Later he opines,
Fundamentalists, who believe every word in the Bible is true, may find these differences unsettling.
Yeah, us fundies have never heard of Sinaiticus alright. Amazing, just amazing. Can Bolton really believe Sinaiticus is news? We move on,
Mr Ehrman was a born again Bible-believing Evangelical until he read the original Greek texts and noticed some discrepancies.
The Bible we now use can't be the inerrant word of God, he says, since what we have are the sometimes mistaken words copied by fallible scribes.
Someone needs to get this story straight, and I think Dr. Ehrman should be on the front lines correcting all these misapprehensions...unless it is his own story that has caused them. Ehrman has directly, clearly said that it was not the textual issue that caused him to lose his faith, it was theodicy, the problem of evil. Yet, he does not seem overly intent upon correcting this kind of false assertion. Sadly, MisQuoting Jesus sold a lot better than God's Problem did, so, when you are depending upon your role as the "reverse Paul," maybe it is acceptable to allow the readers to think you converted for reasons you say you did not, as long as it "helps the cause."
This may not sound like a heavy-weight argument, but I intend, early on in our debate, to ask a basic question of Dr. Ehrman: "Why?" Yes, "why?" Why do you believe God could not have inspired His Word in writing (outside of chiseling it in a mountain side) until Gutenberg, at the earliest, and probably, not until computerized technology came about? Can you give us something more than "Well, I just don't think He would use imperfect human beings to transmit His Word over time...or, he'd remove their humanity from them long enough to over-ride any possible copyist errors anyway"? I hope my question will be answered in the opening statements, honestly, but if it isn't, I will be asking that one pretty early on.
Four variants are noted in the article. Note that Bolton never gives the references. He leaves it nebulous so that it looks a lot more nefarious than the reality. Regular readers of this blog will have to chuckle just a little bit at this one:
Nor are there words of forgiveness from the cross. Jesus does not say "Father forgive them for they know not what they do".
Who was it who did an entire hour on the textual variant at Luke 23:34 just recently on their webcast? Oh, that was me and Alan K.! Yes indeed. And did we not discuss the two readings of Sinaiticus? In fact, I posted graphics from the manuscript to aid those listening to the webcast (found here). And yet somehow, I still believe in the inerrancy of Scripture! How can this be?
Isn't it odd that we conservative, Bible-believing Christians produce hour long webcasts going in-depth into the text of א but all the BBC can do is give vague references without even providing the citations of the relevant texts? And why even raise well-known textual issues like John 7:53-8:11, unless you are either writing this solely for shock value, or, you really have no idea what you are talking about?
Once again, this is all we can expect out of the leftist media today, almost anywhere. There is no counter-balancing in sources, no checking of facts. Just throw it out there, assume anyone who is not a good secular humanist is an ignorant and gullible person fresh off the farm, and think you have practiced true journalism. My, how far the BBC has fallen!
Eight Years Benefitting from A&O
10/06/2008 - James White
Greetings Dr White
I would like to express my gratitude for the blessing that your ministry has brought me. My interest in the serious study of God's Word and theology started when I first listened to the Dividing Line 8 yrs ago. Your ministry exposed me to serious scholarship in theological studies. After studying and embracing the doctrines of grace, I can honestly say that theology has impacted my Christian life greatly. Yes, theology does matter! May God continue to give you opportunities to proclaim the gospel with boldlness and clarity.
Soli Deo Gloria
Nabeel Qureshi vs. Shadid Lewis and 1 Corinthians 8:6
10/06/2008 - James White
Another Former Oneness
10/05/2008 - James White
Greetings from Florida,
Many years ago I read an article by James White in the Christian Research Journal on the doctrine of the Trinity. This article caused me to understand the subject better and enabled me to witness to folks in the UPCI. Our church has hosted two debates on the subject in the past five years and we have seen some folks strengthened from these discussions and we have seen some leave the UPCI. I personally pass out "The forgotten Trinity" at these discussions as well. All of this is a result of reading that one article.
I was formally anti-Calvinist as well, though still not a Calvinist, I am now open to seriously studying the subject because of James' attitude with others that are non-Calvinist. I now have many friends that are Calvinist and have realized that you can't judge all Calvinist alike.
Finally, this ministry continues to bless me with the wonderful articles, books, and especially the debates. I pray for James and alpha and omega ministry on a regular basis. This is a very unique ministry indeed and it must continue.
How Long Will We Be Able to Openly Speak the Truth About Islam?
10/04/2008 - James White
KUWAIT CITY : Kuwait Human Rights Society (KHRS) Chairman Dr Adel Al-Damkhi has asked the government to put pressure on the officials of ‘YouTube’ — a video sharing website — to delete all derogatory statements about Islam and Muslims from the site, reports Al-Seyassah.
Urging the authorities to take the necessary legal action in case the website fails to erase the statements, Al-Damkhi stressed “uttering profanities against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the worst form of human rights violation in the world. Attacks on the values and tenets of Islam are extremely dangerous and unacceptable.”
Al-Damkhi pointed out the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) strongly condemns attacks on the holy prophets and religions. He confirmed KHRS recognizes the importance of freedom of conducting scientific research, exchange of information, and significance of the latest technologies and media on human lives, but it is against how ‘YouTube’ depicts Islam. He said this is an outright violation of the human rights of millions of Muslims all over the world.
From a Fellow Chess Player
10/04/2008 - James White
Dear Dr. White,
I first discovered Alpha & Omega Ministries about eight years ago. I was looking at the NIV website, and at the bottom was a link to ?New Age Bible Versions Refuted.? I had never even heard of the King James Only issue, but I read your article and eagerly looked for more. That was only the beginning!
Aomin.org is the first website I pull up on my computer in the morning. I have read all your articles, listened to every Dividing Line webcast, read three of your books (and am looking forward to ordering the new edition of ?The King James Only Controversy? when it comes out), and have mentioned your site many times to others as a great source of information. Call me a junkie if you like, but that?s okay.
Eight years ago I had no idea what Christian apologetics was. Though I had been a Christian for ten years by then, I knew next to nothing of most of the topics with which you deal, and had never even heard of many of the theological terms. Nowadays my pastor refers to me as a ?good apologist,? and I was frequently asked for my views during his recent class on bibliology. Furthermore, I am going to lead our weekly men?s Bible study soon, and I plan to teach the proper biblical interpretation of Matthew 16. Without the information I?ve picked up from your apologetics work, I would have had no interest, much less the tools, to do such a thing.
But well beyond theology, your work has taught me critical thinking skills that I have used in other arenas. I can spot poor argumentation and the proper methods of combating it. I have gained an appreciation of the importance of preparation. I have come to see the importance of scholarship, but have also seen the importance of not attaching infallibility to it. Even if I were to never see or listen to your output again, I have gained that much.
I?d love to get together with you sometime and enjoy a theological discussion over a game of chess (my peak USCF rating was 2035) [VB: mine was just over 1800, but that was when I was 14!] Failing that, I would love, beyond seeing a continuation of your present work, to have you bring out an ?Apologetics Study Bible,? such that it would contain your concise notes next to the myriad of verses that get debated so often.
May God continue to bless your ministry for many years. Please also pass along my kindest regards to Mr. Pierce, whose hard behind-the-scenes work we all appreciate so much.
VB: Stop tempting me to go back to chess! I love the game, but lack the time any longer to stay sharp. But I'll take you up on that game. The best way to improve I found was to get beaten like a bongo drum. Thanks for your note.
Valuable Insight into Islamic Attitudes Toward Christianity and Christians
10/04/2008 - James White
Very early this morning I happened to get up. I wandered into the kitchen to get a drink, and ran my finger over the touchpad of my Mac to check my mail. One of the e-mails was from Sami Zaatari, a Palestinian Muslim living in London. Mr. Zaatari was in the LA area a few weeks ago, and presented Islamic objections to the Christian proclamation of the Gospel during the Friday evening activities. You may recall that he was one of the Muslim debaters in Norfolk, Virginia earlier this year as well. He is a very young gentleman. When I first heard him speak I could tell he was an intelligent fellow, though not at all well read in the Christian faith, to be sure. During his second debate I was a bit less impressed, simply because I sensed a certain sharpness as in a willingness to say things that are simply untrue for the sake of "effect." He likewise demonstrated the standard "Muslim street" tactic of citing anything, no matter how inconsistent it might be with his own self-professed worldview, as long as it could be used as a shallow, thoughtless weapon against Christianity.
Mr. Zaatari and I will be debating in London in November, and again at some point (date not yet determined as I write this) in Connecticut in February (along with Jalal Abualrub). I am sometimes asked why I would debate a young, inexperienced man like Sami Zaatari. The answer is simple: while I seek to defend the Christian gospel against the leading proponents of Islam, I have come to realize that especially in the West, there is a vast difference between the arguments and approach of those leading intellectuals and those in leadership in Muslim countries. You can see this for yourself. Go listen to a Hamza Yusuf lecture on YouTube, then listen to MemriTV and listen to the most recent appearance of a leading Imam from Saudi Arabia or Egypt or the like, and compare them. If you did not know better you would think they were presenting different religions, the only similarity being the language they use. Of course, in passing, you might note the freedom Muslims have in non-Islamic countries to speak their case, and the lack of such freedom for Christians in the Islamic countries. We will return to that later. In any case, Mr. Zaatari represents the "Muslim street," the kind of Islam that represents the views and feelings of the mass of Muslims, the ones living in Islamic societies, and, the ones attacking our brothers and sisters in other lands. They may do so only verbally, arguing against Christians in the marketplace, but as we all know, they do so regularly in a much more open fashion, persecuting, beating, imprisoning, and even killing, believers who refuse to renounce their allegiance to Jesus Christ. So for the sake of those precious believers who suffer in Muslim lands, I debate the Sami Zaataris and Osama Abdullahs and Jalal Abualrubs so that I may provide to those precious brothers and sisters the biblical and apologetic resources they need to give an answer in their own contexts. As long as I have the freedom to do so, I will. Of course, Islamic leaders are doing their best to use the ignorance and gullibility of the secularized West to silence all such efforts, as I noted just yesterday here on the blog.
Now, the last contact I had with Mr. Zaatari were some e-mails a few days about out the details of our upcoming debate. They had been "bland" discussions, nothing of any note. So as I scanned the beginning of Mr. Zaatari's e-mail early this morning, I was left wondering what had happened. The first paragraph read:
Here is a new article I just wrote against you http://muslim-responses.com/Soldier_of_Christ/Soldier_of_Christ_ which fully exposes you to the core. It exposes what is becoming an apparent rising bigotry in yourself against the Muslim nation. I am seriously loosing more respect for you by the MINUTE, not the days or weeks or months, but by the MINUTE, not that you really care though but I care and I just though you should know how I feel about you before we debate because I’m not a coward and speak my mind and let people truly know what I truly believe and feel, whether it be about their beliefs or the person them self.
Now, at first I really had no idea what had gotten into Mr. Zaatari. My mind turned to the recent videos I had posted, and I wondered if maybe my noting that 1oftheMuslims (a YouTube poster) had stolen a bad argument directly from Gary Miller without attribution had something to do with it. But, I wasn't interested in delving into it in the wee small hours of the morning, so I went to bed, pondering the odd explosion of nastiness from Mr. Zaatari.
I rose this morning and went back to the e-mail, this time following the link to the article. And finally I had my answer. As you can see by reading his article, we have here a very valuable insight into the religio-political nature of Islam. Islam is not merely a religion. It is an entire political ideology. They are inextricably linked. To the Muslim who cannot think outside of that "box," the matters that separate us are not primarily religious in nature. It would be like my trying to hear Barak Obama lecture on monergism vs. synergism: no matter how hard I try, I will "hear" what he would say with political overtones of partial birth abortion, gay "marriage," and sub-prime mortgages, and the truly religious nature of the dialogue would be deeply, deeply colored by those things. This is how the Muslim hears the Christian speaking today (outside of the intervention of the Spirit, anyway). I posted a letter from....A SOLDIER! Gasp! The fact that it never once crossed my mind in doing so that someone like Sami Zaatari, a Palestinian Muslim, would come unglued as a result, illustrates the vast chasm that separates us. For him, I am a hypocrite, since, for him, this illustrates that "Christianity" is invading Islam.
A similar thing happened recently in talking to Osama Abdullah on the way to San Diego. Mr. Abdullah blamed Christianity for the rise in homosexuality. He made reference to "Christian cultures." I demanded he name a single "Christian culture" in the world today. After repeatedly demanding he do so, he finally said, "Well...America!" He found himself on the end of a fairly fervent mini-sermon, I assure you. But this is how they think. For them, it is Christianity vs. Islam, the Crusaders vs. the faithful. And no matter how painfully obvious it is that the West HATES the Gospel, DESPISES God's law, and only rarely FEIGNS honor toward Christ, their political ideology trumps these facts and twists their thinking. The result has so far cost countless lives.
This mindset explains lots of things. For example, Muslims will call almost anyone in the West a "Christian" when citing sources in debates, even if there is a clear, obvious inconsistency in so doing. The political boundaries trump those of theology. Hence, they can assert a level of disagreement amongst "Christians" that doesn't actually exist, simply because they insist that basically, if you aren't a Muslim in the West, you are a Christian. Hence, secular liberalism becomes a form of Christianity in their thinking. So, the secularists who promote homosexuality are "Christians," hence, Christianity becomes responsible for homosexuality, abortion, you name it. Logical? Truthful? Of course not. But it is the Muslim mind, and we better understand it. Of course, as soon as we understand it, we are faced with a major problem: if the Muslim mind is, by definition, irrational and impervious to truth, what hope is there? And that is why theology matters! If you are an Arminian reading this, I don't have any suggestions for you. If you, like me, believe God raises the spiritually dead to life, changes hearts and minds by sovereign grace, then you already know why the situation is not hopeless.
So you can see the great "hypocrisy" I am guilty of in the mind of Sami Zaatari. For him, any soldier is equivalent to a Crusader, in essence (though, anyone at all familiar with the Crusades and the Islamic response knows how deeply, deeply ignorant modern Muslims are about that time period). So, while I can express amazement at Jalal Abualrub's assertion that "Christianity invaded Iraq," here I am saying just the opposite. Or so, that is what he "hears," not because it is true, but because Islam by its very nature distorts and twists the truth.
I know only the Spirit of God can make Sami "hear" what I am saying, and I truly pray God will open the young man's mind to the glory of Christ. But I will keep saying it, in the hopes that eventually, God will have mercy upon his soul....
[Click Here to Continue Reading]
From a Cradle Catholic
10/04/2008 - James White
James -- As a cradle Catholic and pretty much a life-long Catholic (who seriously considered studying for the priesthood at one point), and even a veteran of several years' worth of Opus Dei "evenings of recollection," I cannot thank you enough for your ministry. I was one of those who was a happy Catholic, and overjoyed with the publication of ECT. That is, until I started looking at the issues. And just about that time, the Internet started coming on line, and I was able to look at both sides of that issue with clarity, thanks to your efforts. I mentioned your name specifically as an influence, when I sent "Father Dan" my resignation letter from our parish. (That was no small decision on my part -- I was the guy with five kids who frequently sat up front, holding two little ones in my arms, who frequently had to exit, red-faced, carrying a crying baby).
I am a long time web fan of yours and I have read a number of your books. Particularly helpful to me were "The God Who Justifies," "The Potter's Freedom," and of course, "The Roman Catholic Controversy."
As well, I can second the letter that you posted earlier, in that "I have actually learned how to think logically and biblically by reading your correspondence with others. I find the manner in which you communicate with those whom you disagree as graceful yet bluntly honest. I notice the great dishonesty and flat out bad argumentation of those who try to debunk you (really debunk actual Scripture or historical accuracy). Your direct refutations with fact and documentation are wonderful. Stick to the honest facts, and truth will prevail. I have learned what honest argumentation is in contrast to the flawed and egregious."
Plus I have come into contact with some great people (in real life!) through your ministry.
Many thanks for all that you do. I hope you continue to do what you do for a long, long time.
Sunday PM Sermon, Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church, August 3, 2008
10/04/2008 - James White
Open Invitation to Zakir Naik, Jamal Badawi, Shabir Ally, and...
10/03/2008 - James WhiteArabic Christian Perspective has posted an open challenge to Zakir Naik, Jamal Badawi, and Shabir Ally, to debate myself, David Wood, and Sam Shamoun. You can read about the open challenge here. I know I would very much like to engage Shabir Ally in debate on an Islamic topic, as I have twice defended the Christian faith against him. I would love to ask him if he can consistently explain the Qur'anic parallel passages where differences of language, sequence, etc, exist, in light of his comments about the Synoptic Gospels in our debate at Biola in 2006. I have sought to have Jamal Badawi debate repeatedly as well. And I realize that Zakir Naik is seen by many Muslims in India and elsewhere as their leading intellectual spokesman. I would dearly love to correct him on his many, many misapprehensions of the Christian faith.
It certainly must be admitted that it is the Christian side who is seeking open and scholarly debate with the leading proponents of Islam. I note that in light of the constant effort on the part of Muslim nations to stifle any and all criticism or rebuttal of Islam, we need to take advantage of our freedoms to engage in honest and scholarly debate while we can. There are many in Muslim nations who wish to use the UN to silence all "blasphemy of the prophet," which, of course, means all disagreement with Muhammad's teachings and claims, and given the fact that many in the West drop to their knees in the attitude of dhimmitude at the first sign that a Muslim might be offended, we are truly in great peril. Of course, the fact that Islam by its very teachings denigrates and denies the Christian faith seems to get lost in the discussion, somehow, so that in essence, what is being promoted by Islamic nations is a silencing of Christians and a granting to Islam of uber-rights to preach without opposition or challenge.
Well, whether the UN tries to silence us or not, we will continue preaching and teaching the truth. And I would like to add my willingness to debate two other gentlemen as well, who I believe, from what I have watched and read, are significantly more familiar with the Christian faith than the three gentlemen noted previously: I would very much enjoy the opportunity to engage in respectful, open, honest debate and dialogue with Islamic scholars Hamza Yusuf and Gary Miller. I have watched or listened to many of Hamza Yusuf's lectures, and have found him a very articulate spokesperson. And Gary Miller's lectures are widely available on YouTube and the web in mp3 format. I have read that Miller is no longer active in such fields, though I have not heard why this is. But since his materials are still being distributed, I am surely open to debate with him.
We have proven, repeatedly, our ability to engage in fair, honest, scholarly debates. I hope these gentlemen will respond positively to our invitation and challenge.
Way to Go Vatican!
10/03/2008 - James WhiteRoger Ebert mentioned the following in his review of Bill Maher's Religulous (ht: SH):
His two most delightful guests, oddly enough, are priests stationed in the Vatican. Between them, they cheerfully dismiss wide swaths of what are widely thought to be Catholic teachings, including the existence of Hell. One of these priests almost dissolves in laughter as he mentions various beliefs that I, as a child, solemnly absorbed in Catholic schools. The other observes that when Italians were polled to discover who was the first person they would pray to in a crisis, Jesus placed sixth.···Yeah, there you go. Rome in all her glory.
From A Special Ops Soldier Overseas
10/03/2008 - James White
Dear Dr. White and Mr. Pierce
I am currently serving in the Army in the Middle East on my third tour (fifth, if you count pre-9/11 deployments). I am in a special ops unit and in my job, I travel extensively around the country and interact closely with the local population. As a result, I am not able to attend church very often while I am deployed. I rely heavily on books and my iPod to provide me with Christian teaching, encouragement and a steady diet of biblical exegesis during these times. It can be very difficult to resist discouragement and bitterness when you are cut off from the public means of grace and Christian fellowship for a long time while simultaneously dealing with friends and acquaintances who are killed or severely wounded in the line of duty. I've seen up close and personal the horrors of what the Islamic religious/political dream of a society really looks like in a real world situation. I'm not talking about the war, I'm talking about the day to day life of rank and file Muslims and the brutality which I believe to inherent in the Islamic worldview. It is truly disheartening to see western, secular liberals falling all over themselves to accomodate and frantically bow and scrape before Muslims in an attempt to appease them. They can never be appeased except through Islamic dominance and dhimmitude of all other peoples. They are engaged in a strenuous effort of delusion and self-destruction of Western civilization.
But that is not why I wrote this email. I wrote to let you know that your work has had an incredible influence on me ever since I became a Christian while in drill sergeant school in the mid-90's. The articles, books, tapes and now, iPod broadcasts have provided me with the tools I need to be confident and encouraged in my Christian walk and have called me back to a life of holiness when tempted to stray over and over again. As a direct result of your ministry, I've had the opportunity to debate Roman Catholic students while in college and grad school, engage in countless street evangelism ministry opportunities, teach Sunday School classes (using videos of your debates as examples of how to engage various viewpoints), and engage in evangelism to Mormonism and Catholics (the communion in which I was raised). I once helped lead a team to Nauvoo, Illinois during the dedication of the temple on the site of the original to hand out tracts and talk to Mormons. Your book "Letters to a Mormon Elder" and "The Potter's Freedom" were required reading for those who wanted to attend during the train-up classes (as well as the Westminster Confession of Faith and, of course, copious Scripture). I don't take pride in any of this because I was merely following what I felt was your example in trying to be consistent with my professed faith in Jesus Christ, which is the example of the Reformers, the early Church Fathers and of course, the apostles. I'm only an unprofitable servant, doing what little I can do. I only tell you this because I want you to know what an impact Alpha and Omega ministries has had on my life.
Your book, "The Potter's Freedom" was instrumental in leading me out of the church I was converted into (Plymouth Brethren) into the PCA. I was licensed to preach in the PCA and am currently serving as an elder in my home church....My wife is Reformed, my Christian friends and family always get your books as gifts, and my children are being catechised daily using the WSC during family worship. I've been strongly convicted by your ministry of the need to present a consistently CHRISTIAN apologetic for the faith when I interact with unbelievers, and I have labored to study men like Bahnsen, Van Til, Reymond and other presuppositional apologists. When dealing with cultists and false religionists, I've been strongly convicted by the demand to be honest and fair in knowing and accurately presenting my opponent's position, which has led me to read and study Mormon Scripure and publications, the Quran, and Catholic Magesterial publications As a lay preacher, I fear the day I will stand before God to give an account for what I have taught others and I know I can always count on my worn out James White books when I cover texts you have exegeted.
Now I don't want you to think that I only rely on you. I read the Puritans, Dabney, Calvin, Luther, Knox and Edwards as well as well as many others. But if I had to point to one ministry that has most affected my very small and feeble efforts to minister to the people of God and labor in the Word, I would without hesitation point to Alpha and Omega ministries. You have been a strong encouragement to me and a strong rebuke when I am tempted to be lazy or lax in my Christian walk. I pray for you and your ministry, your family and your health. I am so glad that you have started engaging Islam and have done so by learning Arabic and studying the original sources. Your recent work has been very helpful in witnessing to Muslims I come into contact with while over here. If you ever wonder who you are reaching or if you have made any real impact, then please rest assured that for me and those around me, your work has been tremendously used by God in changing people's lives and equipping us for the work of the ministry, for the edification of the Body of Christ.
I hope to be back home in North Carolina by the time the "Truth War" conference kicks off in Durham, and I pray that I will be able to attend. I'm sure you will receive tons of emails like mine and will not remember this one. But that's OK. I would like to simply shake your hand and thank you for your labors. God bless you and your elaborate staff (that's a joke, by the way).
Forget this one? Hardly, this one is in my "top ten." I pray God will preserve your life and allow us to meet next month.
Through a Lecture on Textual Issues...
10/03/2008 - James White
Hi Dr. White and Rich,
Hopefully this e-mail won't be too long winded and you will be able to persevere to the end and gain some encouragement from my little testimonial. I don't expect a personal response as I know you are probably getting tons of these (though I would not turn one down.) :-) I wanted to briefly tell you my story of how I became aquatinted with Alpha & Omega Ministries and then touch on what your ministry continues to mean to me today.
I remember clearly how I was introduced to A & O. I had ordered a tape series from Greg Koukl and Stand to Reason. It was their yearly "Masters Series." This particular set contained a lecture by Dr. White on KJV Onlyism and the reliability of the NT manuscripts. I had never heard of Dr. White before this, but was very familiar with STR and trusted them very much. I had recently run into some KJV Only stuff through some DVD's by Kent Hovind that were being promoted with some people I knew. I checked out the DVD's and was troubled by his many attacks upon modern translations. So I started doing some reading and research and Dr. White's lecture was one of the tools that I used to help counter this new teaching that I hadn't run into before. Through this lecture, I became very interested in textual criticism and the NT manuscripts and used this lecture as a source for a speech I gave in college and for some apologetics Sunday School classes at my church.
At this particular time I was also coming into contact with Calvinism and Reformed theology. I was raised in a non-denominational church that was pretty strongly Arminian, but I was basically unaware of any of the issues involved. I just thought what our church taught was what
everyone taught. I was ignorant. Well, because of how much I learned from the NT lecture, I visited aomin.org and got ahold of many more of Dr. White's books (Potter's Freedom, The Forgotten Trinity, KJV Controversy, RC Controversy etc.) I really had no idea that Dr. White was "Reformed" (not that I even knew what that meant to begin with), but as I began listening to the Dividing Line regularly and reading your online articles and listening to debates, I was brought around to becoming a full blown Calvinist myself! :-) Looking back now, it is so clear how the Lord strategically used many things, especially A & O, to bring me to a fuller understanding of salvation and the Doctrines of Grace and the beauty and consistency and livability of a full orbed Reformed worldview.
I continue to be an avid Dividing Line listener. My girlfriend jokes with me because Tuesday's and Thursday's are "Dividing Line days." :-) I also recently began a resource ministry at my church and we are currently carrying the Forgotten Trinity which I recommend all the time. :-) As the ministry grows, Lord willing, we will carry more books and hopefully DVD's of debates.
While I write this, I am in the middle of today's Dividing Line (8-2-08) and it is a perfect example of why your ministry means so much to me and the group of Christians that I am involved with the most. You are not afraid to put yourself out there and speak the truth about our culture and the wrath of God. Especially when so many around us are unwilling to "go there," your conscience is captive to the Word of God and not to "what is popular" or "politically correct." Even as I write this I am getting a little emotional just because of how much I appreciate and value your willingness to stand for Christ in a culture that is increasingly hostile to the Gospel (and that is saying something because I don't usually get misty eyed.)
I better end this to have any hope of you reading the whole thing. :-) However, I just want to reiterate my extreme gratitude and thanks for your tireless and faithful work for the Gospel and for the glory of God. It is hard for me to "rank" a ministries effect upon me because many of them "overlap" quite a bit in touching on the same subjects. However, it is quite easy for me to say that your ministry has served me in ways that no other ministry has, and the resulting effect cannot
really be quantified. Your ministry is utterly unique in the range of subjects that you address as well as your almost constant availability for communication and contact on the Dividing Line or through e-mail or in #prosapologian. Please be encouraged to continue your ministry and work for the Gospel for as long as the Lord grants you life and breath. And please know that when you have finished your race, you will know that you have not run in vain or labored in vain. What I have learned from you and your ministry is beyond measure.
Active Obedience Required
10/03/2008 - Tur8infanI recently came across the following proverb. The proverb is superficially witty:
"Drink wine, and you will sleep well. Sleep, and you will not sin. Avoid sin, and you will be saved. Ergo, drink wine and be saved."
This proverb is partly correct. While one is sleeping, for example, one is generally not out stealing, murdering, fornicating, and telling lies. Sins, however, are not limited to positive acts (sins of commission), but also to the absence of positive acts.
The greatest commandment is
Deuteronmy 6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
This commandment is a positive one. It is not simply prohibitory, it requires one to act positively toward God, not just refrain from certain sinful acts. Through sleep one can avoid becoming a murderer, but one is also failing to engage in the positive acts commanded in Scripture.
Furthermore, it is the positive acts that are commanded by God that prevent us from ever being able to merit from God. The sixth commandment ("Thou shalt not kill") not only forbids murder, but also implicitly commands us to take actions to preserve life. Thus, when we rally against laws permitting infanticide, we are not performing a meritorious act, we are simply obeying God's commandment.
For recall what Scripture commands:
Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.
The proverbial "Good Samaritan" may feel warm and fuzzy after helping out his neighbour, but even the Good Samaritan is simply doing that which God commands. Thus, even the best mere man who most perfectly loves God and his neighbor can only hope to have a very small number of sins on his account: he can never hope to have anything more than debt to God.
Because of this principle, there is only one source of merit. To use a timely analogy, there is only one $700 Billion bailout plan. That one source of merit is Jesus Christ, the righteous. Jesus perfectly obeyed the law of God, thereby earning (under the covenant of works) life. Nevertheless, Jesus sacrificed that life to suffer punishment in place of sinners: punishment he did not personally deserve.
This bailout plan is not a redistribution of wealth from workers to bankers, but is instead redemption for slaves. Even the best mere man is a sinner in God's sight, deserving wrath and hell forever. Christ, by dying redeemed for himself a people out of all parts of the world.
If you are trusting in anything except that one acceptable sacrifice, you will appear before the judge of all the earth in debt, and will be justly sentenced to hell. So now, while there is time, turn from your sins, and embrace the Lamb of God, by whose blood you may be cleansed from your guilt.
You cannot measure up to the law of God on your own. You cannot do so through drinking, through sleeping, or through any amount of effort on your own part. You cannot do so through the assistance of other mere men, for they all (like yourself) are debtors to the law (as it is written "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God"). There is only one hope of salvation:
Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Jeremiah 23:6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
1 Corinthians 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
Trying to live a good life by avoiding sin is not enough. The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent and believe the gospel.
Today on the Dividing Line
10/02/2008 - James White
I haven't had a chance to work on the video yet, but I didn't want to wait till tomorrow to get this blogged. I really enjoyed today's DL. I started out with thanks to all who have sent in e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org. Then I felt compelled to make some comments about the current situation in Western culture, the economic melt-down, etc., in light of the rampant degradation and sinfulness of that culture. We then went to calls, covering salvation in the OT, a young man wanting to know how to get into the realm of apologetics, and a call from my old friend Don Lord about...lots of stuff. A really enjoyable hour, that hope will be encouraging to you all. Here's the program (free/high quality).
Deliverance from UPCI...
10/02/2008 - James White
About five years ago, the Sovereign Lord was gracious to me and my family in rescuing us from the grip of the United Pentecostal Church. We were serving as pastors a of new church plant for the UPCI in Providence, RI, when the Lord began to open my eyes and heart to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We were able to take along with us out of that cult about 15 others. One of the ministries that helped us out and continues play a role in my own personal spiritual development is AOMIN and Dr. White's books. I searched everywhere for biblical PROOF of the doctrine of the Trinity and could not find anyone with answers to my questions until I picked up a copy of "The Forgotten Trinity." That book helped solidify in my heart and mind the soundness and biblicalness (is that a word?) of the Trinity.
Now, the group of 15 souls that the Lord was gracious to lead out of error into truth has grown to a reformed congregation of 250 people in the heart of the inner city of Providence, RI.
God bless you and AOMIN.
From New York...
10/02/2008 - James White
Dear James, Rich and all of you faithful brethren at Alpha & Omega Ministries,
Happy 25th Anniversary!!! Congratulations on reaching such a milestone in your ministry, by God's grace!!! It is extremely difficult for me to adequately put into words how much your labors for the furtherance of Christ's Kingdom have meant to me personally. The decade of "The Great Debates" that we orchestrated on Long Island further convinced me year after year that leaving Rome for the Gospel of the Reformation was the only move one could possibly make with a good conscience before God if he or she was exposed to the true evidence from both Scripture and history and enlightened by the Holy Ghost. And let's face it, perhaps this next point is not the most profound element of my experience with those debates, but I cannot remember ever having more fun in my life. Those years produced memories I will treasure forever.
Our Sovereign Lord has also used Alpha & Omega Ministries to further fan the flames of the enthusiasm and excitement I have gained for theology. I truly believe that if I had never been exposed to your ministry I would not have pursued a position as a Christian talk radio host. It is always a joy to hear from listeners in the "Iron Sharpens Iron" audience whose lives have been dramatically blessed through Alpha & Omega Ministries, and even from Roman Catholics and others who do not yet know the Gospel of Free Grace who report great appreciation for much of what you have done and continue to do.
I also must add here how I love to hear from pastors, and members of their congregations, out here on Long Island whose churches have been tremendously touched and theologically strengthened through your speaking engagements often connected with "The Great Debates". It is particularly wonderful to hear how some of the formerly non-Reformed saints have come to embrace the Doctrines of Sovereign Grace as a result of our God working through your New York visits.
Thank you so much for your continued, faithful friendship, and for everything you do to help all of us who value your ministry understand the deeper things of God more clearly. I pray that our friendship strengthens over the years to come, and that the Lord provides us with many more opportunities for ministry together in His Vineyard.
In His grip,
Iron Sharpens Iron
Cornelius Van Til, Herman Bavinck, and Francis Schaeffer
10/02/2008 - Jeff DownsSome might wonder how the above names fit together. Simple enough. These men and some of their views are addressed in the new editions of the Ordained Servant and New Horizons magazines (productions of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church). Click here to check out either one.
Two articles in particular that I would point out are:
The Witness of Scripture to Itself, by Lane G. Tipton and Van Til the Evangelist by K. Scott Oliphint.
Art Sippo and the Early Church
10/02/2008 - James White
I just saw the following comment by Roman Catholic Art Sippo, posted on Patrick Madrid's web board:
The Bible per se was not fully defined until 350 years after the time of Jesus. It could NEVER have functioned as the sole rule of faith. In fact, until the Bible was readily available via the printing press in an affordable form in the 16th Century, no one in their right mind would have proposed what the Protestants did. It was just plain not feasible.
What makes me chuckle here is not only Sippo's ignorance of the polemical writings of the early church (can you just see those who fought the Arian resurgence after Nicea bemoaning their inability to do so because the Roman Church hadn't defined the canon yet?) but his blindness to his own double standards. Just how is having ten times the amount of written material in the alleged "traditions" of Rome helpful here? Of course, Sippo would direct us to the wonderfully nebulous, unidentifiable, always changing, never to be defined until it is time for a new dogma no one believed in the early church concept of "tradition." It is this kind of bluster that makes the Envoy board look so wildly odd to everyone out in the real world. Of course, the above citation may disappear once Patti Scissor Hands sees it, as is so often the case, but, thankfully, she has no editing privileges on my blog.
A Great Encouragement
10/02/2008 - James White
I will try to get the first of the wonderful testimonial e-mails posted today. I have so many to choose from! It has been a great encouragement to us to read through these e-mails. I can tell many of you put a lot of thought into your submissions, and that came through. Well, except for John Samson, who just wrote, "I was a newt...but...I got better." Those Brits.
Seriously, thank you so much! I look forward to hearing from more of you over the course of the next few weeks. Here is one that actually was sent in a few months ago, but it sort of gave me the idea for the e-mail address anyway:
Dear Dr. White:
There are many of us who immensely appreciate your ministry. Since the days of Mitch Paqua and the debates on Long Island until now ... I have been reading your blog and reading much of what you have written. I have actually learned how to think logically and biblically by reading your correspondence with others. I find the manner in which you communicate with those whom you disagree as graceful yet bluntly honest. I notice the great dishonesty and flat out bad argumentation of those who try to debunk you (really debunk actual Scripture or historical accuracy). Your direct refutations with fact and documentation are wonderful. Stick to the honest facts, and truth will prevail. I have learned what honest argumentation is in contrast to the flawed and egregious. I owe this to you Mr. White. I can honestly say that I am reformed because God led me to read the Scriptures with honesty and openness-even when it spoke against the grain of my own flesh. Theology matters extensively. Eventually all Christians will be tested by their theology, and we need to be fortified when it happens, otherwise be a casualty, or worse, the cause of casualty. I wanted to let you know that I am extremely thankful to have stumbled upon your ministry. It has taught me volumes. As it becomes even more difficult to proclaim and defend the Gospel and dialogue with others in the arena of ideas, only the honest exegesis of Scripture will stand against the most cunning attacks of the world and our enemy. Those whom their tradition and philosophy guide will ultimately be stumped somewhere by someone simply because their theology is not consistent with Scripture; i.e Dave Hunt and (Norman Geisler-Whom I respect). I believe sometimes our brothers need to be encouraged. This is my intent for writing. Thank you Dr. White, for obeying God even when it hurts. I am blessed and a better Christian for it. -PM
This morning I was thinking to myself, "I wonder who the first person will be to abuse the address and send me a nastigram?" Well, that prize goes to Nicholas (James S) Winchurch, a Roman Catholic. Here's his kind submission, which, to any honest person, speaks for itself:
Just a note to thank you so much for your ministry. I have read I think six of James' books, and they have certainly helped me to see the way that I should go. That way is certainly not James' way. I found his books condescending, narrow and suggestively quoted. He picks from the Fathers of the church only what supports his bigoted views. He hates Catholics, Mormons and anyone else who does not go to the "Reformed" Baptist church. Thank you, james, for showing me what a Christian isn't.
Thanks Stu! Is that why you have called the DL regularly to document your claims? :-) Lord have mercy on you, sir. Your e-mail is, in fact, a testimonial, for those who refuse to love the truth are caused to love a lie, and if you have been so fully exposed to the truth that you can mock and deride it, well, you should look very seriously to the state of your soul. Cry out for mercy, sir, I exhort you.
Keep Them Coming!
10/01/2008 - James White···Goodness! Thank you so much to all of those who have already taken time to drop us a note at email@example.com. I can't tell you how humbling it has been to read your e-mails. Some have been short and to the point, others have been heart-felt tomes narrating how one of my books, The Dividing Line, or one of my debates, has played a vital role in changing someone's life. I am so tremendously encouraged to hear from you all, and I look forward to more e-mails over the course of the week and the weekend. Many of our readers sort of "catch up" with the blog over the weekend. Again, a heart-felt "thank you" to you all!