Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
More Examples of the "Truth Divide"
02/13/2009 - James White
There is a truth divide in the realm of apologetics. I refer to the attitude one has toward truth, and how consistently one seeks to live in light of one's own confession of fidelity to truth itself.
The first is found in the continued ramblings of William Albrecht, a Roman Catholic layman "apologist." It is hard to take William seriously, given his evident lack of serious study of any of the requisite topics one would need to know to provide meaningful commentary on the apologetic landscape. But since men like Steve Ray, another "lay apologist" who is given frequent exposure on Catholic Answers Live, have directed people to Albrecht, he has been given a small stage from which to hurl his invectives toward Geneva. And it is just that: incoherent invective laced with unfounded ipse dixits. I truly wonder if de Sales had this kind of meandering rhetoric in mind? I doubt it.
In any case, James Swan has posted an audio response to Albrecht's video. Here is the video, here is James' response. Albrecht talks about "the gospel according to James White," etc., and dishonestly attacks James Swan as a "cronie" who simply follows my every whim. Of course, James is not a Reformed Baptist, but hey, those little details aren't important, right? I point this out for one reason: I would like someone to send me links to the Roman Catholic apologists who decry the kind of slash/burn/misrepresent tactics of Albrecht, Ray, etc., and who do so by name. I haven't looked at Benjamin Douglass' materials recently---I could hope he would have something, but is there anyone else? If not...why not? Where is the truth loving Roman Catholic apologist--or is that problematic, since to love truth is to love Mother Rome?
But the kind of nastiness you will find flowing from William Albrecht or Steve Ray is, for most of us, to be expected, given their theological paradigms. I have said many times, however, that the most hardened Romanist is no match for a good ol' King James Onlyist when it comes to venom (and irrationality). I don't go around looking for this stuff, but folks send me links or mention things in our channel. Today I glanced through Kent Brandenburg's wild-eyed "response" to my comments on the DL, but then I ran into the comments section, and I will tell you, these folks are scary. Once again, I'm sure there are KJV Only folks who try to take the Bible's commands seriously, but where are they in rebuking this kind of fanatical behavior? I suppose they are out there...somewhere. I just don't know where!
The temptation, of course, is to stoop to the level of the William Albrechts and Kent Brandenburgs of the world. But there is no reason to do so. One need only look back through history to see that while there have always been men like this, sniping at the work of God, history often forgets their names. For those who pretend to honor truth on the one hand, and then deny it by their behavior, their words, their actions, on the other, can make no lasting impact.
02/04/2009 - James WhiteTired of the Ehrman topic? So are Christian college students as they sit in their classrooms, believe me. I mentioned on the DL yesterday one of the young students who comes into our channel complaining that her textbook was written by...Bart Ehrman. And this evening I was appraised of the release in less than a month of a new book by Ehrman, Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them). Please note the description provided by the publisher:
Picking up where Bible expert Bart Ehrman's New York Times bestseller Misquoting Jesus left off, Jesus, Interrupted addresses the larger issue of what the New Testament actually teaches—and it's not what most people think. Here Ehrman reveals what scholars have unearthed:
* The authors of the New Testament have diverging views about who Jesus was and how salvation works
* The New Testament contains books that were forged in the names of the apostles by Christian writers who lived decades later
* Jesus, Paul, Matthew, and John all represented fundamentally different religions
* Established Christian doctrines—such as the suffering messiah, the divinity of Jesus, and the trinity—were the inventions of still later theologians
These are not idiosyncratic perspectives of just one modern scholar. As Ehrman skillfully demonstrates, they have been the standard and widespread views of critical scholars across a full spectrum of denominations and traditions. Why is it most people have never heard such things? This is the book that pastors, educators, and anyone interested in the Bible have been waiting for—a clear and compelling account of the central challenges we face when attempting to reconstruct the life and message of Jesus.
For anyone who has listened to Ehrman's NT Intro lectures, this is nothing new, and though I am ordering the book, of course (and have added the few remaining Ehrman titles I did not already own to my ministry resource wish list just so I can check them all for citations while working on this book), I can tell you the line of argumentation Ehrman is going to follow. But does anyone else find the trajectory of his works over the past few years to be rather...interesting? For someone who was absolutely dead set against debating a theological topic, since theology and history are separate things, and Ehrman's conclusions about theology are just "his opinion," why are his last two titles so very...theological?
I see a very clear progression here, and if Misquoting Jesus was a big seller amongst atheists and other enemies of the faith, Jesus Interrupted will look to build upon the same foundation to attack the historic Christian faith---all under the guise of unbiased "history" of course.
I am not the only one, however, who has noticed that when Ehrman moves away from his strict area of expertise (textual criticism) into anything requiring exegesis, the results can be painful to observe. Lord willing, others will see the need to respond to this movement on Ehrman's part (aside from yours truly!) and as a result more sound, believing works will be provided to the people of God demonstrating why we must handle the Word aright. TBN Christianity is defenseless against the Ehrmans of the world, as is the anti-intellectual strain of conservative Christianity that refuses to seriously challenge believers to go deep into the Word and learn to handle it properly.
Evangelism and Apologetics
02/02/2009 - Jeff DownsThose interested in this subject (and what Christian isn't), may want to take a look at two of the leading articles in the recent edition of the New Horizons magazine:
Are You Ready to Give a Reason?, by Gary W. Davenport.
The Church's Evangelistic Mission, by L. Anthony Curto.
The article by Dr. Curto is a (very) condensed version of his Reformed Evangelism and the Local Church class taught at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary (which I had last semester).