Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Another Contrast Between Christianity and Islam
12/31/2009 - James WhiteYou may have seen this new item today:
As many as 50 Muslim villagers armed with clubs and axes recently attacked a showing of the 'Jesus' film near Sargodha, Pakistan, injuring three part-time evangelists and four Christians in attendance.
Two of the evangelists were said to be seriously injured. The Muslim hardliners also damaged a movie projector, burned reels of the film and absconded with the public address system and donations from Christian viewers in Chak village, about 10 kilometers northeast of Sargodha.
Officers at the Saddr police station refused to register a case against the Muslim assailants, sources said....
The evangelists said a Muslim cleric instigated the Muslim villagers, who were armed with clubs, spades and axes.
This happens so often anymore that for many it has become "ho hum." This is how Muslims act in Muslim lands. This is what happens when a religion rooted in 7th century Arabian ethics is forced upon the modern world. But think for just a moment. What if there was a "Muhammad" film? Would you expect to hear of Christians with clubs and axes attacking villagers and burning copies of the film? And if such a thing did happen, what would be the response? Riots in the streets, if the Danish cartoons were any indication. Burning buildings and the like. But will the state-run media point these things out? No, they sit in silence, focused upon Tiger Woods. The double standard is striking.
A Personal Word of Thanks
12/31/2009 - James WhiteFor years I have been responsible for deciding on a film to show at our New Years Eve celebration at PRBC. We've shown all sorts of films, like Martin Luther: Heretic, the Radicals, etc. Last year we saw Facing the Giants. This year I wanted to show FireProof. So I e-mailed Kirk Cameron and asked if sometime this week we might hook up for me to record a few minutes with him via Skype regarding the film to play before we saw the movie. But we kept missing each other. Finally this evening I texted Kirk and said I was sorry we had missed each other. He texted back and asked what my deadline was, so I called. Since he was near his computer and we were just starting, I set up my MacBook Pro, attached my modem, fired it up, got Skype going, plugged in the speakers we have in the fellowship room to the computer, and voila...got a ten minute live interview with Kirk about the film while the congregation quietly munched away on pizza. Since a number of folks had not seen the film, having Kirk's introduction made it all the more special for them (as they commented afterwards). So I would like to thank Kirk for taking time away from his evening to talk with me and the folks at PRBC about the film on New Year's Eve. I truly appreciate it, and appreciate Kirk as a friend and co-laborer in the Lord.
Moving the DL Up to 2pm MST
12/30/2009 - James WhiteWe need to move the Thursday DL to 2pm to allow us to do what we need to do for our New Years Eve get together at PRBC. Join us then!
Shouldn't You Be Eating Chocolate?
12/30/2009 - Tur8infanThe always-creative adherent to the papacy, Mark Shea, seems to think that I (TurretinFan) am not much fun at parties because I spent part of Christmas 2009 in service to my Lord, demonstrating that the rule of faith of Aquinas is different from the rule of faith of Rome today (Aquinas and Formal Sufficiency & Aquinas and the Rule of Faith) while others were out, in Shea's words, "opening presents, eating too much chocolate, singing and generally making merry" (link to Shea's article). ...
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Heading to Georgia
12/30/2009 - James White
WHO: Dr. James White, writer and founder of Alpha & Omega Ministries
WHAT: Winter Bible Conference - A Faith Worth Defending
WHERE: Rockdale Community Church, Conyers, GA (DIRECTIONS)
WHEN: Feb. 5th-7th, 2010 (Friday 7pm - 9:30pm & Saturday 9am - 5pm)
WHY: Because we are all commanded to be prepared to give a defense
REGISTRATION: Registration for this conference is free and open to anyone. As the Lord leads, donations in any amount will be accepted at the conference in lieu of a set fee. Please check out the Conference Schedule and be sure to fill out the Registration Form if you plan to attend. Make sure you complete a separate registration for each person who will be coming.
NOTE: Sunday, Feb. 7th is not actually a part of the Conference schedule, but Dr. White will be teaching a joint Sunday School class that morning before delivering the sermon during morning worship. You are more than welcomed to return Sunday and join us for Sunday School and worship if you would like. FYI, we observe the Lord's Supper every week at RCC, and wanted to let you know so that you can be preparing your heart and mind for that portion of the service if you decide to join us on Sunday.
We hope you will make time for this great opportunity to focus on the subject of defending the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. May we all contend earnestly for that faith.
Contact Brian Thornton for more information.
Islam, Mormonism, and the Trinity, on Today's DL
12/29/2009 - James WhiteAs I promised, I began with a discussion of the issues relating to the recent attempted murder of civilians by a Muslim soldier of Allah. Then we had a fairly lengthy call on witnessing to Mormons, and a call on the procession of the Holy Spirit in the Trinity. Here's the program.
Of Mary, there is never enough.
12/29/2009 - Tur8infanThe title of this post is the concluding line of this article from Arturo Vasquez (link to article). In the following post, we explain that in fact there can be enough and more than enough of Mary. ...
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Approaching the Throne of Grace
12/29/2009 - James White
Bill Maher: Never Take Him Seriously
12/28/2009 - James WhiteBill Maher is a comedian. He is not a historian, theologian, or philosopher. All one need do is take a quick look at the inane tweets he posted for Christmas, drawing from all the worst foolishness of atheism, to see why. Clearly, he has never undertaken to verify his sources, because, of course, comedians do not verify sources. The goal is the laugh, never the truth.
Dar Al-Harb: Why You Need to Know This Arabic Phrase
12/28/2009 - James Whiteدار الحرب
It is an Arabic phrase. It is pronounced "dar al harb." Memorize it, because it explains why the Nigerian in the window seat is trying to blow you, and the nearly 300 other people with you on your international flight, to pieces as you descend into a major American city.
Dar al-Harb means "the world of war." It is in contrast to دار الإسلام , dar al-Islam, the world of Islam. Dar al-Islam exists when Islam is in control of an area, and the kafirs (unbelievers---you and me) are under the control of the Muslims, subjugated into the position of being dhimmis, paying the jizya, feeling themselves "subdued," as Yusuf Ali kindly put it in this important verse, one of the last "revealed" to Muhammad:
9:29 Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.
The more accurate rendering of the term would be "disgraced" or "humiliated," the same term Allah uses of Satan himself when he is cast down. In any case, the Nigerian with the underwear bomb on his leg views the world in this way. He is a soldier of dar al-Islam. You belong to dar al-Harb. The world of war, the West, the great Satan. Your life is forfeit because he believes a state of jihad exists, and in a state of jihad, the property, and life, of the kafir is forfeit to the soldier of Islam.
On Christmas day we came within a single malfunctioning detonator from adding 12/25 to 9/11. My next flight, and yours, will now be even more uncomfortable, more difficult. I will have to carry less and less with me when I travel, relying more upon the churches I speak at to make up for the new security restrictions. And every single person who gets up and heads to the bathroom for any length of time at all will find himself or herself the object of suspicion and scrutiny. Thank you, Al-Qaeda. Every one of us will be wondering, as we descend, if the Lord will grant us mercy in a safe landing, not just in the normal way, but in restraining the madness of evil men.
Now, you will hear from the "moderate" Muslims that these men just misunderstand Islam. I know moderate Muslims who today are cringing in disgust at what took place on Flight 253. I wish them well in their attempts to debate with their fellow religionists. I hope they can make progress in promoting the idea that there is also dar al-Dawa, the world of invitation or, as we would put it, evangelism, where first one invites to Islam before a state of war exists. I hope they can argue effectively that there is no Muslim Caliph today who can legally declare a state of jihad to exist. But I truly fear that the sources upon which they rely---the Qur'an and the Hadith---are far too unclear, far too muddled, to allow for a clear victory for their views. One thing is for certain, the world tells us that they are losing that battle in the trenches, and someday, soon, that detonator is going to work, reminding us once again that Islam, as it is being promoted openly in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, and numerous North African nations, is a militant religio-political system, with the emphasis upon the political.
Lord willing I will comment on the contrast between Islam's use of politics and militarism as a means of expansion with the biblical view of how Christ is building His kingdom in the hearts and minds of His people on the Dividing Line tomorrow at 11am MST.
Hold Fast Your Profession!
12/28/2009 - James White
Read the Gospels Horizontally in 2010
12/27/2009 - Alan KurschnerIn the past, I have cited five good reasons to own a gospel synopsis. The fifth reason was,
Read a synopsis in one year by reading one pericope [a gospel unit] every day! By coincidence, the synopsis has 367 pericopes (That is, all four gospels combined contain 367 units.) If you read one pericope a day next year, plus two additional days, you will have read all 367 units of all four gospels in a full year. The edition that I recommend for English is the Synopsis of the Four Gospels Edited by Kurt Aland.In 2010, immerse yourself daily in Jesus' words and deeds.
A Reader Misses My Point on the Manhattan Declaration
12/26/2009 - James White
I take it you are distancing yourself from the Nicene creed since you know the "One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church" of the creed has a different meaning to Catholic and Orthodox, than to Protestant denominations?
Will you distance yourself from the bible also, since Catholic and Orthodox sign off on it? If I can get a Catholic to sign off on the 1689 confession, can I get you to withdraw from it too?
Hello John, thanks for writing.
There is a fundamental flaw in your thinking on this topic, both in your basic logic as well as your understanding of my own stated position. Hopefully by correcting your logical errors others will be able to see more clearly, along with yourself, the real issue in the Manhattan Declaration.
There are real and historic differences in understanding the nature of the "one holy Catholic church," and there is no question whatsoever that the church of Nicea did not hold to the distinctives of most of the modern groups. But trying to parallel the Nicene statement with a modern statement is obviously fallacious: the Manhattan Declaration is written in the context of full knowledge of the issues that divide us. The Nicene Creed does not come from the same context, and hence is not relevant. Further, the issue at hand, that being the gospel itself, is not defined by the Nicene Creed (hence the emptiness of attempting to base any kind of meaningful unity merely upon the Nicene symbol: it is insufficient for the task from a biblical perspective).
But much more glaring is the obvious error of referring to the Bible. What does it mean that Rome and Eastern Orthodoxy "sign off" on it? Both vociferously deny the doctrine of sola scriptura, do they not? So the reality is that neither submit to it as the final authority from God, but both, in differing ways, detract from its authority through subjecting it to external authorities.
You seem to have confused my concern over the gutting of the gospel with some kind of "I don't want anything to do with those folks" simplistic attitude of a back-woods fundamentalist. This is seen in your comment about getting a Catholic to "sign off" on the London Baptist Confession of 1689, another highly illogical offering. A Catholic who "signs off" on the 1689 is, obviously, no longer a Roman Catholic. It is impossible for a Roman Catholic to agree to the teachings of the LBCF and remain in communion with Rome. Its teachings are directly and inalterably contradictory to Roman Catholicism.
So none of your examples were, in fact, relevant to the situation we face today, where men, fully knowing the fundamental differences in the proclamation of the gospel message between Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and at least the Reformed churches (many "Protestants" are merely popeless Catholics theologically speaking), are seeking to present a "Mere Christianity" that seeks to create a unity based upon a gospel-less Trinitarianism. Christianity is fully and richly Trinitarian. But so is the gospel, and the Christian faith ceases to exist without the gospel at its core. The "Mere Christianity" of Frank Beckwith and Dinesh D'Souza and Timothy George and Chuck Colson is sub-Christian, for it lacks the very animating element of the faith, that being the gospel, the very thing the Trinity does in self-glorification, that which ties together the whole reason for creation! By pushing the gospel outside the definition of the faith (which clearly men like Timothy George do, for he embraces non-compromising Roman Catholics as fellow believers in Christ) these "Mere Christianity" proponents give to the world a new religion that has only the most external connections to the biblical faith found in the Scriptures. As Jesus told us long ago, the one who loses his life for Christ's sake and the gospel's is His true disciple. Today men want to separate out that troubling, controversial "gospel" for the sake of a philosophically driven unity. No believer who takes the Scriptures as his or her final authority can join in such a movement.
So, John, my concern is about those who are trying to replace the centrality of the gospel with a salvationless Trinitarianism that is not just sub-biblical, it is blatantly anti-biblical. I cannot get past the fact that a plain reading of the text of the Manhattan Declaration (a reading drawn from the worldview of the three main authors) indicates that it promotes the idea that all three groups possess the gospel, which they are to preach in its fulness (despite the fact that this means they are to preach contradictory messages). I know some fine men signed the document, and they insist it has nothing to do with the gospel, but words have meanings, and the authors of the document have made it painfully clear that it is, in fact, a theological statement, a veritable catechism of the Christian faith, according to Chuck Colson. I hope this helps to clarify things for you.
My Response to Pastor Walsh on the Manhattan Declaration
12/25/2009 - James White
An Enjoyable DL
12/24/2009 - James WhiteGreat calls on the program today, followed by an examination of some comments in the Hitchens/D'Souza/Prager debate from 2008. Here's the program
Don't Forget: Early DL Today!
12/24/2009 - James WhiteWe will be doing the DL live today at 2pm MST, 4pm EST, and 3:13am PST (just kidding for you confused folks in California). Join us then!
Pray for Our Brothers and Sisters in Pakistan
12/24/2009 - James WhiteThis article from the AP reminds us that as we enjoy God's blessings, we have brothers and sisters living under the threat of violence from Muslims in many lands. Let us all take time to pray for them, that God would protect them from the hatred of the world.
18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. (John 15:18-23)
Immanuel, God With Us
12/24/2009 - James White
Upgraded Version of Sermon on Manhattan Declaration Posted
12/24/2009 - James WhiteRich took the time to take the video of my sermon on the MD and to sync up the higher quality audio. The result is much easier to listen to, to be sure. Since the topic is not going away anytime soon, I am posting the better version here.
Cross-Fire Section on the Deity of Christ
12/23/2009 - James WhiteAnother clip from the London debates of 2008 (the video of which just arrived). Again, we are hoping to get the masters so we can fix the image sizing, annoying graphic, etc. But, the information is still there. Here is the "cross-fire" round (that's what you do when you can't really trust that cross-examination will be done properly).
The Kindle, and Many Calls, on the DL
12/22/2009 - James WhiteI started off with a brief discussion of how I've found the Amazon Kindle to be a great asset in my studies (and how you might as well), and then went to the phones, which filled up pretty quickly. Then, once I cleared them all, I responded to this article from WorldNet Daily on the Manhattan Declaration. Here's the program.
Does Belief in the Trinity Necessitate Shirk?
12/22/2009 - James WhiteSome of the London debates arrived yesterday. Well, sorta, anyway. We requested DV, unedited video, we got plain DVDs with a highly annoying graphic plastered on the screen. So, we have made inquiry as to how to get what we requested. But, till then, at least we have something! I have no idea why the shape of the shot is odd, or why there is enough head room above the speaker to catch pictures of passing birds and aircraft, either. Be that as it may, this was my rebuttal period in the debate with Adnan Rashid on whether belief in the Trinity necessitates committing shirk.
Robert George and Natural Theology
12/21/2009 - James WhitePhil Johnson wrote a great blog article that goes hand-in-hand with my preceding discussion of the consistency and (as a result) supremacy of biblical revelation and truth. It focuses upon the primary writer of the Manhattan Declaration, Robert George, a Roman Catholic philosopher and leading conservative political thinker. Read Phil's article, and follow his links. I wanted to provide one particular quotation here, as it is quite relevant to the very criticisms I and others have leveled against the document.
I asked George several times if he was really hoping to ground a mass movement in abstract principles of reason so at odds with the prevailing culture. It was a bet, he said, on his conviction about the innate human gift for reason. Still, he said, if there was one critique of his work that worried him, it was the charge that he puts too much faith in the power of reason, overlooking what Christians describe as original sin and what secular pessimists call history.
It is a debate at least as old as the Reformation, when Martin Luther broke with the Catholic Church and insisted that reason was so corrupted that faith in the divine was humanity’s only hope of salvation. (Until relatively recently, contemporary evangelicals routinely leveled the same charge at modern Catholics.) “This is a serious issue, and if I am wrong, this is where I am wrong,” George acknowledges.
Over lunch last month at the Princeton faculty club, George noted that many evangelicals had signed the Manhattan Declaration despite the traditional Protestant skepticism about the corruption of human reason. “I sold my view about reason!” he declared. He was especially pleased that, by signing onto the text, so many Catholic bishops had endorsed his new natural-law argument about marriage. “It really is the top leadership of the American church,” he said.
“Obviously, I am gratified that view appears to have attracted a very strong following among the bishops,” he went on. “I just hope I am right. If they are going to buy my arguments, I don’t want to mislead the whole church.”
I wonder what my brothers who signed the document think of George's claim that they bought into his views about reason, especially since this is a direct refutation of the biblical view of the supremacy of divine revelation and the corruption of human reason through sin? This surely explains the absence of biblical teaching, the wrath of God, etc. I'm sure "Robby" George (as those who know him refer to him) is a really bright guy, and probably as nice as the day is long. I hear Arius had a killer smile and could carry a great tune, too. None of that changes the fact that Robert George promotes a gospel that does not give peace, and a philosophy that, unlike the biblical gospel, cannot ever change a God-hater into a God-lover.
Chicken Coop Theology
12/21/2009 - James White
I have had a growing awareness over the past number of years of the beauty and harmony of Christian truth as it is revealed in divine Scripture. God's truth is not expressed to us in modern, Western, text-book fashion, with an index in the back so you can skip past the stuff you don't care about, read a few paragraphs, and be good to go. Divine truth is a tapestry, woven in the mind of God, expressed over time through His dealings with His people, the Incarnation, the Cross, the building of Christ's Body. The echoes and reverberations of the great themes of Scripture are to be heard in even the most obscure corners of the Scriptural revelation, at least, for those with ears to hear.
Sometimes my own work in apologetics gets in the way of my hearing those divine echoes. Constant is the temptation to find "the" answer to every objection, "the" reply that will shut the mouth of the skeptic. But the fact is, there are elements of divine truth that are shut off from the haughty rebel. God does not grant entrance into the inner sanctum of His truth and fellowship to those who hate Him. And it is truly an example of casting pearls before swine to attempt to express the Spirit-borne confidence one has of divine truth to the railing atheist or the self-righteous religionist. While the task of giving a reason for the inward hope does lead one to see this beauty, it is more often in the quietness of contemplation of the truths you have learned in that defense that you are taken aback by the generation-spanning harmony and consistency of the Word.
Nowhere is it more important to see the harmony of the woven fabric of God's revelation than when speaking of the gospel. Modern Western minds, prone to analysis and separation of facts into disconnected categories, far too often misses the forest due to over-attention to the individual trees, or limbs, or even leaves. Seeing one's belief in God, the Trinity, the Church, the gospel, all in one panoramic view, is a rare experience for many in the West. Some find it very uncomfortable to have the various elements of their belief system brought into close proximity with one another, for the obvious reason that issues of inconsistency and contradiction are often seen as a result.
The gospel, while identifiable and definable, is likewise complex, in the sense that there are a number of divine acts that together comprise the gospel. The gospel, for example, is Triune, in that it finds its origin and source in the divine decree, love, and mercy of the Father, is accomplished in the perfect work of the Incarnate Son, and brought to fruition in the life of the elect believer by the Spirit. Likewise, the gospel brings into focus the moral law of God, His wrath against sin, the necessity of punishment. This leads to the categories of atonement, substitution, and forgiveness. Add to this regeneration, adoption, sanctification, glorification, and you can see how the gospel, while simple in its call for repentance and faith, is complex as well.
I am reflecting on this topic due to the recent Manhattan Declaration discussions. I am very concerned about the "Mere Christianity"/Least Common Denominator style of "Christianity" that has become so very prevalent amongst Evangelicals in our nation. The abandonment of the gospel as a definitional aspect of the faith is not just troubling, it is disastrous. But part of the reason for this move seems to be the chicken coop theology that plagues so many today. Let me explain....
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Birthday Ride, 2009
12/18/2009 - James WhiteFive years ago now I decided to celebrate my birthday by riding up South Mountain three times. The goal was simple enough: climb 100 ft in ascent for every year of my age. So, today I did that for the fifth time. Obviously, as the years have passed, each effort gets a little harder, partly due to the simple rules of mathematics, partly due to the aging of my legs. But I am thankful for the health that has allowed me to pursue this goal each year. Today I climbed 4739 ft. over the course of 42.1 miles. And yes, my legs are tired.
Over the course of the over 3.5 hours I listened primarily to two series of talks I had downloaded from iTunesU. If you have not discovered all the valuable information available from iTunesU, I encourage you to take a look at what is offered there. I listened first to three presentations made by Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo, speaking at Covenant College in Georgia. (You can find these by going to the chapel services for Covenant College in the iTunesU area of the iTunes store). His second presentation was particularly compelling, and made me again desire to produce long-lasting, helpful resources for the persecuted church.
The second series of lectures came from Dr. Albert Mohler in the chapel services of the Dallas Theological Seminary. I had listened to a very much shortened version of this presentation, which, eventually, became Dr. Mohler's book, Atheism Remix, an excellent introduction to the New Atheism. The background information Dr. Mohler provides relating to the key authors (Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens, Harris) as well as the information on the cultural shift that has catapulted them into prominence is very useful and necessary as we face a hardening form of secularism in our own nation.
So after I got back and got cleaned up I was working through my RSS feeds and came across a blog entry by Patrick Madrid. Yesterday Rich Pierce had mentioned to me that a Catholic radio station was coming on line in the Phoenix area. I found that only moderately interesting. If I wanted to listen to most of the interesting programs on such stations, I could have been doing so all along on line. James Swan kindly sends me clips from CA Live and other such programs fairly regularly, and, of course, we review them on the Dividing Line (something I note the pop apologists for Rome do not do---that would require them to update their arguments and research!). In any case, I have listened briefly to such stations when traveling (there was one up in the Mill Valley area when I was teaching a class at GGBTS) and found them horrifically boring in general. You can only listen to so many repetitive prayers and discussions about Mary. In any case, Madrid provided the following commentary:
24/7 Catholic radio is now beaming across metro Phoenix and beyond thanks to the newest station to come on line in the ever-expanding Immaculate Heart Radio network. This follows the recent launch of another powerhouse Catholic radio station in Salt Lake City, which is now broadcasting 24/7 Catholic programming across the great State of Utah.Evidently "bumptious" was Word of the Day recently. It fits Patrick's on-going effort to continue living on the reputation of being an apologist who seems reluctant to engage in a lot of apologetics. Remember, Patrick likes to claim he wiped the floor with me in our two previous debates, and he is the author of the infamous "White Man's Burden" article (and editor of the magazine that did the anonymous hit-piece based upon a footnote that never gave the reader the means of actually reading the original article they were criticizing, a true low in yellow theological journalism). Over the past couple of years we have gone through both debates bit by bit, demonstrating that once again the Roman position cannot be successfully defended without engaging in circular and fallacious reasoning. In any case, Patrick has been regularly referring to me (though rarely by name, that would violate his standards) as a "pop apologist," and now he's added "bumptious" to the list, a term which means "self-assertive or proud to an irritating degree."
If I remember correctly, a couple of the more bumptious Protestant pop-apologists live in Phoenix. So it warms my heart to know that they will now be able to enjoy listening to Catholic preachers, apologists, and commentators such as Scott Hahn, Marcus Grodi, Tim, Staples, Father Corapi and, of course, the ever-popular "Catholic Answers Live" show, practically any time they want, in the air-conditioned comfort of their cars, homes, and offices. Or even when riding a bike! I've heard that well-equipped bike shops carry portable AM radios to help thoroughly furnish cycling enthusiasts
First, aside from Tim Staples coming on my program next month to do a discussion on 1 Corinthians 3, it has become next to impossible to get any of those Patrick listed above, including himself, to debate any longer. Remember, I was challenged to debate first by Catholic Answers, an organization which, at the time, had as its Vice President, one Patrick Madrid. Their hesitance to accept debate challenges over the past number of years seems very odd in light of their repeatedly claiming to have cleaned my clock. If that is the case, I wonder why they wouldn't like to continue that process of cleaning, publicly? I think those who have seriously examined those debates know the reason for their hesitance. And in particular, I wonder why Patrick has not been looking for an opportunity to clarify my confusions on so many issues relating to the Marian dogmas, Papal Infallibility, purgatory, the priesthood, the Mass, etc. I stand ready to debate these issues. In fact, maybe Patrick would like to arrange a debate on, say, the priesthood and the Mass at his Envoy Institute? In front of his own students, perhaps? It would seem to me that to claim to have been victorious in his two preceding debates with me, while refusing to engage in the refutation of his points that has been provided in the years since then, is, well, downright bumptious, don't you think?
Secondly, I wonder at Patrick's use of "pop apologist." What is Patrick? I don't want to seem unkind, but let's be honest: Patrick's books have been acknowledged by other Roman Catholic apologists as surface level treatises that barely get past the "compile a bunch of articles from Envoy and call them a book" stage. I have not personally seen any serious scholarship coming from his pen. What is more, I wonder if the range of topics I address in lecture, debate, and teaching, is not significantly wider than anything Patrick has ever attempted, wouldn't this make him even more of a "pop" apologist than I would be? Has Patrick taken on Crossan, Borg, Ehrman, Barker, Ally? Upon any serious consideration, it would seem that there is a real possibility of sour grapes here as the motivating factor in Patrick's language.
Finally, for those who have not listened to the 1993 debate with Patrick (yes, coming up on seventeen years ago), you can not only obtain the mp3 from us, but the transcript has been on line for years, and I went through the errors in Patrick's attempted rebuttal on the DL in a series of programs, starting in the summer of 2008 and concluding in October of 2008. In fact, here's a video clip from one of those programs:
The Manhattan Declaration: Review of an Interview with J. Ligon Duncan
12/18/2009 - James WhiteWe started half an hour early yesterday on the DL so that I could play the majority of the comments made by J. Ligon Duncan in defense of his signing of the MD. We also read through some material by Dr. Nielsen who likewise signed. Hopefully we found a solid ground upon which to speak to the issue without losing our balance and throwing such brothers as Dr. Duncan or Dr. Mohler under the bus. Took a few calls toward the end of the program as well. Here's the program.
A 90 Minute DL Today!
12/17/2009 - James WhiteWe will be starting the DL half an hour early today (pre-feed at 3pm MST, 5pm EST, program at 3:30) so I can cover the entirety of the interview just recently posted with Dr. J. Ligon Duncan on why he signed the Manhattan Declaration. I want to play as much of the interview as I can, and interact with it, hopefully to the edification of a wide variety of fellow believers. I seek to plead for a proper balance in the examination of this vital topic. While I do not believe the document, as written, should be signed by anyone who holds firmly to the centrality of the Gospel as the sole means by which we can change the hearts and minds of men and women, I likewise do not believe it is at all proper to accuse men like J. Ligon Duncan or Albert Mohler of being "ashamed of the Gospel" or otherwise seeking to subvert the gospel message. I think Dr. Duncan gave a clear explanation of why he signed it, and I will continue to disagree, but hopefully by allowing him full expression of his position (which also came about because the interviewer, Pastor Kevin Boling, did such a good job) we will be able to further delineate the issues, suppress some of the less useful criticisms coming from both sides, and really identify the central issues that should be of concern. I hope you will listen in!
12/17/2009 - Tur8infanSteve Hays (and our own Alan Kurschner) have already pointed out a Roman Catholic Psalter to Mary (link to Steve Hays' post)(link to Alan Kurschner's post)(link to "psalter"). I'm not sure the depth of the blasphemy involved is fully appreciated by most readers. In the following post, I will give both some high level information as well as a specific example, so that it can be seen just how idolatrous this "Psalter" is. ...
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The Awesome Power of Unbiblical Philosophy
12/16/2009 - James WhiteThe more I have pondered William Lane Craig's presentation of and promotion of Molinism the more deeply grieved I have become at its grossly unbiblical nature. The presentation of God as a cosmic super-computer, running the numbers, examining the "possible worlds" presented to Him by His "middle knowledge" of what free creatures would do in any given circumstance, is so totally opposed to the free kingly authority of Yahweh to create as He sees fit for His Triune majesty that it cannot help but grieve any one who sees the damage this sub-biblical philosophy masquerading as theology does. But if I am grieved at the damage it does, I am truly amazed at the praise its opponents can heap upon it as a system. PB directed me to a comment recently posted by WLC that is relevant:
Once you grasp the concept of middle knowledge, Lucy, I think you’ll find it astonishing in its subtlety and power. Indeed, I’d venture to say that it is one of the most fruitful theological concepts ever conceived. I’ve applied it to the issues of Christian particularism, perseverance of the saints, and biblical inspiration; Tom Flint has used it to analyze papal infallibility and Christology, and Del Ratzsch has employed it profitably in evolutionary theory.
Isn't it great? You can apply it to anything! It is the best device ever devised by the mind of man to twist anything and everything in Scripture! Just run it through the Molinism filter and look at what comes out---philosophy created in the image of man! It's great!
Oh may God by His Spirit continue to drive men to their knees before His awesome sovereign power, and in so doing expose all the vain attempts men propose to draw a veil across His glory.
Greenville Seminary Conference
12/16/2009 - Jeff Downs
On December 12 I annouced the annual conference of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
At that time, the brochure was at the printer. Now, you can access the brochure, schedule, registration (not live yet), and anything else you want to know about the conference, by clicking this site http://www.gpts.edu/conference.
I look forward to seeing some of you there. I will be the man in the back running the sound system (this should be good) for the first time at this conference.
The Doctrines of Grace, St. Charles, Part III
12/16/2009 - James White
The Swiss Minaret Ban, Religious Freedom, and Calls on Today's DL
12/15/2009 - James WhiteStarted off with a discussion of religious freedom and Islam in light of the Swiss minaret ban, then started taking calls on Darwinism, Mormonism, and Reformed theology. The calls made for a quick hour to be sure! Here's the program.
Mark Shea on Making the Gospel Irrelevant
12/15/2009 - James White
In the midst of the needed and meaningful discussions prompted by the Manhattan Declaration, and especially due to the light it has cast upon the degradation of a commitment to the gospel as the means of changing hearts and minds in our world today, it is educational to listen to Roman Catholic apologist and writer Mark Shea demonstrate true ecumenism in response to RC Sproul's concern over the gospel:
Of course, not everybody signs off on this. RC Sproul, for instance, goes on living in the 16th Century's passion for diagrammatic Calvinism by declaring that he will not engage in practical acts of love if this do not comport with his favorite theological schematic:
The Roman Catholic Church has a long history of using studied ambiguity in order to win over opponents. Let me be unambiguous: Without a clear understanding of sola fide and the doctrine of the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, you do not have the gospel or gospel unity (1 Cor. 1:17; 2 Cor. 5:21).
Cuz, as Jesus clearly says, "Enter into the kingdom which my Father has prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was threatened with abortion and you held firm to a clear understanding of sola fide and the doctrine of the imputation of Christ’s righteousness and did nothing to stop it."
Yes, you read that correctly. Unless you rely upon numbers and politics and Rome, you are "doing nothing" to stop abortion. What utter hubris, but then again, this is Mark Shea, so that is to be expected.
CATHOLICS DON'T WORSHIP MARY!
12/15/2009 - Alan KurschnerKeep in mind, in reading this, that Catholics DON'T WORSHIP MARY! I repeat, Catholics DON'T WORSHIP MARY! Catholics are not idolatrous!
(ht: Steve Hays)
Doctrines of Grace Part Two
12/14/2009 - James White
An Encouraging Year
12/13/2009 - James White
It was a year ago this week that I first mentioned the Ministry Resource List. Since then, this little idea has been a tremendous encouragement to us. Those of you who have assisted with resources through this means don't know how edifying it is to know that there are folks out there who want us to continue pressing forward doing what we are doing. My sincerest personal thanks to all who have participated!
Getting Our Priorities Straight!
12/11/2009 - James White
We received this e-mail this morning:
Quit talking about the manhatten declaration. who cared...revelation says the millenium is 1000 years. amillenialism is false.
Well there you go, folks! Bret Zagar has his priorities straight! Let's not worry about that gospel stuff, let's get that eschatology stuff right! I confess, I am thankful Bret noted that it is "Revelation" not "Revelations." That's a major plus. And yes, it specifically says a thousand years. What that means is, of course, the issue of debate, but something tells me Bret has already decided that controversy. So my apologies for wasting your time with discussions of the gospel and life and marriage and freedom and all that irrelevant side stuff. Let me drop this textual study I'm doing, forget about Beckwith and justification, and see if I can't find a copy of Left Behind somewhere around here...wait, didn't I leave my copy right next to The Prayer of Jabez?
"Mere" Imputed Righteousness and Other Stuff
12/11/2009 - James White
I have been away this week attempting to do some studying on various topics, and writing on projects that I have simply not been able to get to while at home. I am working on a chapter in response to Frank Beckwith's arguments in denial of sola fide, and I am also working on the expansion of the book refuting Harold Camping. Here is a brief snippet from what I've been able to get written on both of these topics.
There are two regular statements by Roman Catholic apologists and polemicists that truly gall me. The first is when they attempt to defend notoriously unbiblical beliefs (such as the Marian dogmas) through the grossly deceptive parallel to the divine doctrine of the Trinity. Such a blasphemous form of argumentation is worthy of the judgment it will bring upon its practitioners, to be sure. But the second common argument involves the straw-man caricaturization of the doctrine of justification as a “mere legal fiction” or, as Beckwith repeats it, “mere imputed righteousness.” Any man who claims to have once been a true evangelical who can then turn around and thusly describe his former beliefs plainly never believed the gospel I believe. Every fiber of honesty would have to be removed from my being for me to be able to describe the hope of my soul, the anchor of my salvation, as “mere imputed righteousness.” The very term “mere” is blasphemously shallow, for we are talking about the imputed righteousness of the incarnate God-man Jesus, the Messiah, whose free and purposeful self-giving is intimately tied not only to His perfect life and sinlessness, but to His role as High Priest, Intercessor, Mediator, and therefore the one who is able “to save completely all of those who draw near to God by means of Him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). The use of “mere” in such a context is clearly meant to be deceptive and demeaning, and as such is unworthy of any truth-loving person.
Yes, yes, I know. I left my politically correct, post-modern filter at home. And on to Camping:
Mr. Camping has adopted a whole new array of false teachings, all of which demonstrate the central error that has driven him for decades now: a trenchant, stubborn unwillingness to submit to the Word of God by interpreting it in a meaningful, consistent fashion. All the while claiming careful allegiance to the biblical text, Harold Camping’s refusal to utilize any meaningful method of interpretation has led him, and his followers, farther and farther into error. No aspect of the Christian faith is safe once the firm foundation of an unchanging and meaningfully interpreted text is abandoned. It is not overly surprising that Camping has abandoned a belief in eternal, conscious punishment of the wicked. This is a very distasteful belief, and apart from a close connection to divine revelation and an understanding of the holiness of God, many find ways of jettisoning that particular doctrine. But his idiosyncratic teaching that Jesus actually died twice, once in eternity past, and once as a memorial upon the cross in time, is truly an eisegetical novum, proving that his connection to the text of the Bible, and to the teachings of the Christian faith of the past, is completely severed. All he has left is his own system, his own authority as a teacher, and that is surely not a sound foundation.
As to my reading, yesterday I spent some time on the "fig tree" synoptic parallels issue between Matthew and Mark, working through a lengthy and excellent paper submitted by one of my students, and I am taking a very serious look at the arguments in favor of the Byzantine text platform as enunciated by Maurice Robinson. His recently published article on the NA27 as a "test-tube text" without any historical manuscript witness is very challenging, and given that unbelieving textual critical scholarship has in essence completely abandoned the field (Ehrman being a good example) one is left wondering. It is good to think through such challenges fairly and honestly.
Don't forget that, Lord willing, we will be back to our regular DL schedule next week!
Oh, really enjoyed John MacArthur's no-holds-barred blast of the travesty that is TBN.
Sproul, Colson, and You, on the Manhattan Declaration
12/10/2009 - James White
Many had been wondering when RC Sproul would comment on the MD, and as most of you know, he has finally broken his silence. He strongly asserts a direct connection between the MD and the ECT, citing from comments made by Colson which I had not read. Colson, one of the leading voices bringing confusion to the nature of the gospel in America today (along with Timothy George, both crafters of the MD and signers of ECT), wrote regarding the MD:
Just imagine what could happen if we could say to the world that a million Christians have made this pledge—that we will not compromise the faith, no matter what. I think that would have an extraordinary impact on American culture.
And just as important, I believe the Manhattan Declaration can help revitalize the church in America. One great weakness of the Church today is its biblical and doctrinal ignorance. This document is, in fact, a form of catechism for the foundational truths of the faith.
Once again we see that for Charles Colson, the gospel is no longer a part of "the faith" that he refuses to compromise. That is, "the faith" has been boiled down to a skeleton of basic beliefs (Trinity, resurrection) that can unite varied and disparate religious traditions into one big (and politically powerful) group. This Least Common Denominator (LCD) form of "Christianity" is what is needed, evidently, to "revitalize the church in America." I cannot help but shake my head in disbelief as someone promotes a gospel-less Christianity and says this is what the church needs to be "revitalized" today. But it is truly a matter for deep concern that Mr. Colson believes this document is a "form of catechism for the foundational truths of the faith." How can this gospel-less document be a catechism for anything other than cultural Christianity? Without the gospel, you cannot change hearts and minds. So while the document mentions the gospel and says we must preach it in its fulness, evidently, that fulness does not include the very doctrinal precision demanded by the inspired Scriptures themselves. Paul, and all who would follow his example today, have gone overboard, evidently, and missed the great unifying impact of allowing anything and everything to fit under the banner of "the gospel." Somehow, we are asked to believe that this document, with its noble words regarding life and marriage and freedom, but which lacks any warning of the wrath of God, the holiness of God, punishment of sin and sinners, the cross, redemption, repentance, and the once-for-allness of the substitutionary atonement of Christ, is an antidote to "biblical and doctrinal ignorance." If abandoning these vital revelations of God is what is needed for me to get in line with the new enlightened and unified "Church of today," may I ever remain in dismal ignorance.
I, too, refuse to compromise on life, marriage, and freedom. I hereby let the world know that my allegiance is first and foremost to God and the Lordship of Jesus Christ, King of kings and Lord of lords, and with all those who this day suffer around the world under the hatred and persecution of those who hate the gospel (whether they be atheistic communists, Muslims, or Hindus), I will refuse to bend the knee to any government's demands in these areas. But apart from, in clear distinction from, those who crafted this document, I add that I even more clearly and firmly refuse to compromise the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I refuse to boil it down to an inoffensive minimalism that allows all the falsehoods of Rome to pass for the pristine, soul-saving gospel once for all delivered to the saints. I refuse to blaspheme that gospel by identifying such things as the Mass as a propitiatory sacrifice, purgatory, indulgences, the Marian dogmas, and the identification of the Roman priest as an alter Christus, as mere "differences of opinion" that do not fundamentally deny the gracious nature of the gospel. I hereby promise to remain steadfast in seeking to clarify, not confuse, the gospel message, and to hold forth even those elements of the gospel that the world finds most repelling and distasteful, including the wrath and holiness of God, and the coming judgment upon all who refuse God's gracious offer of salvation solely in and through Jesus Christ. I call upon all who likewise love and honor the gospel to refuse to join in any man-made movement that would remove the gospel from the definition of the Christian faith, but instead to demonstrate their steadfastness in their profession of the faith, in their lives, and in their cultivation of a vital, active Christian worldview.
Finally, I call upon those who have been caught up in the euphoria of "joining together" at the cost of the gospel to withdraw their signatures from the Manhattan Declaration, but to do so only in conjunction with a clear affirmation not only of the noble elements of defense of life, marriage, and freedom, but to do so in the context of an open and public profession of the centrality of the gospel as the sole means by which the hearts of men and women can be changed to God's glory. I call upon pastors and elders to give serious consideration to this matter, and to address it openly, in light of the concerted effort of Colson, George, and others, to promote this document and its ever clearer compromise of the gospel itself.
Too Busy for the Best
12/09/2009 - Tur8infanDr. White has already provided some thoughts on Dawkin's comments on not debating William Lane Craig (link to Dr. White's comments). This is not to contradict anything he said, but just to provide another perspective on it.
Recall that Dawkins' original comment was: "... and I don't take on people whose only claim to fame is that they are professional debaters. They gotta have something more than that, I'm busy." (Whether his busy schedule was due to grammar or finishing school was not specified.) I myself have similar standards, thus:
1. I do not race people whose only claim to fame is that they are professional runners;
2. I do not play chess against people whose only claim to fame is that they are chess masters;
3. I do not play one-on-one with people whose only claim to fame is that they are basketball stars;
4. I do not set my car against people whose only claim to fame is that they have a fast car; and
5. I do not attempt to match the accomplishments of folks whose only claim to fame is that they are in the Guinness Book of World Records ®.
After all, they have to have something more than that, I'm busy.
In fact, I vastly prefer to race people who are famous for eating, to play chess against people who are famous for boxing, to play one-on-one basketball with people who are famous for chess, and to try to match the accomplishments of people who generally aren't outstanding in the particular field of endeavor in which I'm engaged.
So I can understand why Dawkins would prefer to debate men who have ecclesiastical rank that is unrelated to debating skill (bishops, archbishops, and especially cardinals) rather than someone who is actually famous for debate. After all, who has time for sure defeat? We're busy!
P.S. I'd rather see Dawkins debate Dr. White than debate William Lane Craig, though I'm confident that either of them (and any number of others, such as Doug Wilson) could handily defeat him. After all, debate is something that those men do well.
The Amazing Arrogance of Richard Dawkins
12/08/2009 - James White
Now, I have criticized, strongly, the apologetic methodology of William Lane Craig. I would debate Dawkins quite differently than Craig would. But that aside, it is fascinating to observe the level of hubris, simple personal self-deception and arrogance, that defines Richard Dawkins as a human being who has dedicated his every moment of existence to his leadership of, and membership in, τῶν τὴν ἀλήθειαν ἐν ἀδικίᾳ κατεχόντων, those who suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18). Dawkins' published works have been juvenile in their philosophical, historical, and biblical errors, yet, being a "scientist" overshadows all of that, of course. Hence, he will not debate the very people who would be able to expose his numerous errors. Behold the creature in denial of his Creator:
An Excellent Review of Truth in Translation
12/07/2009 - Mike Porter···Dr. Thomas Howe is Professor of Biblical Languages and Director of the Apologetics Program for Southern Evangelical Seminary. He is in the process of writing a scholarly response to Dr. Jason BeDuhn's work Truth in Translation. This is a link to an early draft of his review. It is very good but it is not the complete response. The complete response will be available early 2010.
···Some quick words about the linked version:
- As mentioned earlier, it is partially done. Fuller work is being done to it, so consider this a (very in-depth and worthwhile) preview.
- The contrast is stark from the two works. In fairness to Dr. BeDuhn, his work is intended to be for general consumption and Dr. Howe's is intended to be more technical. Of course, that does not shield BeDuhn from critique, but the reader should simply note the difference in writing and detail.
···I'll post another link of where one can get hold of the response when it becomes available. In the meantime, enjoy Dr. Howe's work.
12/07/2009 - Jeff DownsOne of the privileges of attending seminary is the occasion special lectures. This past Friday was one of those special times. Dr. John Carrick gave his inaugural lecture titled The Extemporaneous Mode of Preaching. He defends extemporaneous preaching, against the reading of a manuscript or memorizing the sermon.
This past semester, Dr. Carrick forced me to step out of my comfort zone of (pretty much) reading a manuscript in the pulpit. While I am not where I would like to be in in my own preaching, I have grown, and this is party due to Dr. John Carrick.
Dr. Carrick is professor of Homiletic at Greenville Seminary also also the author of The Preaching of Jonathan Edwards and his earlier work Imperative of Preaching.
The guys at Christ the Center interviewed Dr. Carrick on his Edwards book. You can listen by clicking here
On Remaining Sound in Islamic Apologetics
12/04/2009 - James White
Dan Wallace posted a very interesting article responding to this video wherein Walid Shoebat alleges that Codex Vaticanus (B) identifies the mark of the beast not as "666" (or 616 as some earlier manuscripts have) but instead an Arabic insertion "in the name of Allah" along with a symbol of crossed swords. I will not repeat Dan's refutation here, but I wanted to add a few graphics to strengthen his case. First, Dan pointed out that Vaticanus ends at Hebrews 9:13. What is included in the manuscript after that is really a different manuscript itself (Codex 1957) from long after the writing of B itself. [For those interested in theological/apologetic trivia, for years and years Walter Martin's The Kingdom of the Cults has erroneously made reference to Vaticanus in the book of Revelation in its discussion of Jehovah's Witnesses. I fixed the problem in the edition that Bethany House put out a number of years ago, as an un-named editor, however, once the Martin family took the book back from BHP, they put out the current edition, which went back to Martin's original material, re-inserting the error where it remains today]. Hence, what Shoebat would be looking at would be from long, long after the original writing. Next, though I am traveling, and hence do not have access to my library, I did have with me the printed facsimile of B, and here is what it has at Revelation 13:18:
Now, to try to turn these letters into Arabic, as Shoebat does, is just way, way beyond the pale. If I was at my office I think I could track down a Hijazi example of "bism..." "in the name of," but for now, I can surely provide what Allah looked like in the oldest Qur'anic manuscripts:
Compare this with what Shoebat writes on the board and you can see that this is a real stretch.
I am concerned about this "feed the eschatology crazed evangelicals with wacky connections to Islam" movement. For those of us attempting to provide solid, sound, consistent answers to Muslims, this kind of presentation is significantly less than helpful.
Doctrines of Grace Seminar, Introduction, St. Charles
12/04/2009 - James White
The Economics of Roman Catholic Apologetics
12/04/2009 - James SwanRoman Catholic apologetics has come a long way. In the written disputes and published propaganda between sixteenth-century Protestants and Roman Catholics, the mass-marketing victory clearly lay in the hands of Rome's detractors. Protestants out-published Rome's apologists winning the popular opinion. Roman Catholic works were unlikely to sell, and therefore not sought out by printers. Rome exasperated the loss by not supporting her apologists in their written endeavors. But times have changed. Now, there's an entire landscape of Roman Catholic apologetics to choose from. Unfortunately, with so many Roman Catholic apologetics organizations, these economic tough times have put a strain on donations.
Maybe you've heard Dr. White mention if you get on the Catholic Answers mailing list, you'll be bombarded with spam support requests. I learned first hand this is entirely true. I bought a product from Catholic Answers a few months back, and they've been spamming me for support ever since. Sometimes I get the same support request e-mail a few days in a row.
Here's an excerpt from the desk of Karl Keating sent last month:
"As you know, Catholic Answers is the largest apologetics organization in North America."
"If you could make a monthly pledge right now, we would be even more secure as we meet the needs of millions of Americans who, as I mentioned earlier, are starving for the Catholic faith more than ever before. Click here to make your pledge or send your donation."
I didn't realize that in the age of the Internet, satellite TV, and mass media publications via the big chain bookstore in town, people were starving for information about the Roman Catholic Church. Why not just go to the official Vatican website? Here you can get Rome's official answers, and not the interpretations of those answers by the largest apologetics organization in North America. And besides, for free I've got the Internet insights of a host of Roman Catholic apologists bookmarked in my favorites.
America isn't starving for information about anything. We're a culture over-stuffed with enough information that's only a mouse click away. It's like saying the obese family that regularly goes to the all-you-can-eat restaurant can't find any food. Perhaps one could argue the all-you-can-eat stuff isn't good food, so we need Catholic Answers to serve the gourmet feast of information. If that's so, then all those Catholic websites I've bookmarked are.... not healthy food.
Yesterday I received another e-mail from the desk of Karl Keating. This time, Karl let me know again about how important Catholic Answers is. Roman Catholics like Keating don't claim "I'm okay, and you're okay." If you're a Protestant, you're not okay. Keating explains:
"As you and I know, only the Catholic Church possesses the fullness of truth as revealed by God. Other faith communities have some of the truth. And some have more than others. But when it comes to having everything that God has revealed to man and how he wants man to worship him only the Catholic Church can make that claim."
"The fact is that, for anyone who wants to follow Christ fully and keep his commandments exactly as he instructed us, the Catholic Church is the answer. The only answer. That's why Catholic Answers has become much more than just an apologetics organization."
For those of you who think ecumenically that there isn't much difference between Protestants and Roman Catholics and we should just get along to fight bigger battles, read again what Keating is saying. Rome isn't giving away anything. They think you need Rome. This isn't going to change any time soon. If you give an inch, they are not going to give you anything back in return.
Here's some other economic pleas from Rome's defenders.
Catholic apologist John Martignoni only wants 10 cents a day:
"If just 1 in 10 of you will respond to this email, I could cut out one or two of my part-time jobs (I currently work 5), hire some full-time help, and invest in some equipment which would drastically increase our evangelization efforts by drastically increasing the amount of apologetics materials we can develop."
"I don't know of any other organization that reaches so many people with the truths of the Catholic Faith on such a small budget, nor one that raises money the way we do- asking for such a small amount, only through email, and only twice a year. I hope those facts, along with the results of the work we do, will be enough to persuade you to support our mission- to spread the truths of the Catholic Faith and to save souls for Christ and His Bride, the Church."
Of course, the oddest plea for support comes from Mr. Armstrong. To send Dave a 100% tax-deductible donation, you have to send the donation to John Martignoni. Martignoni then forwards the money to Armstrong. Well, this might be worth it, because contrary to the work of Catholic Answers, Armstrong states:
"I think it is accurate to say that I offer the most wide-ranging, comprehensive selection of Catholic apologetics available online (for free: no one pays a cent to read my blog), in addition to my books. It's been literally a constant labor of love for over twelve years now, since I began my website in early 1997."
If you're itching to send DA some $$, you can send it directly to him via Paypal. But keep in mind his website states in all caps, "DONATIONS THROUGH PAYPAL (NOT TAX-DEDUCTIBLE)". So to send him the 100% tax deductable donation, make sure it gets filtered first through Mr. Martignoni.
Gerry Matatics also needs some support, because unlike Catholic Answers, Gerry defends real Catholicism:
"I don't believe anyone else in the entire country does quite what I do full-time, traveling and speaking about real Catholicism and exposing counterfeit catholicism, and does it as much, and yet as inexpensively, as I do. I'm hoping I can interest one hundred recipients of this letter in each sending a sacrificial $100 donation, thus enabling me to raise the $10,000 (100 donors x $100 each) that I need to continue and complete my megatour this fall."
I think there's an easy solution to which Roman Catholic apologists Roman Catholics should support. If the Vatican would issue an official list of which apologists were worthy of donations, this would clear things up. Now, you may think I'm kidding, but keep in mind, Rome has time to come up with an official list of movies Roman Catholics should watch. Consider Keating's words above, and you tell me what should be important: an official list of recommended movies, or an official list of apologists?
Helping a Fellow Worker Out
12/03/2009 - James White
I will probably be looking for help in this area in the not too distant future myself, but for the moment, my MacBook is fully functional (as you can see on the video I will be posting, Lord willing, by the morning, from here in St. Louis). But Sam Shamoun, a tireless producer of in-depth material on Islam, needs a computer, and David Wood and Nabeel Qureshi of Acts 17 are attempting to put together some funds to get him one. So I thought I'd try to help by posting the widget David put together, that allows you to donate to the fund. This isn't a part of A&O, but I know some of my readers have been blessed by Sam's research and writing, so here it is:
Nature and Sufficiency of Scripture (March 9-11, 2010)
12/03/2009 - Jeff DownsWhile there is nothing on the GPTS website yet, the brochure is at the printers and being sent out. So, I guess it is safe to post the following information:
Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary will hold their annual conference March 9-11, 2010 at Woodruff Road Presbyterian Church, Simpsonville, SC.
Below is a list of topics (in order) and speaker:
"Englishing the Bible: English Bible Translation and its Purposes", Dr. Benjamin Shaw.
"The Westminster Assembly and Scripture", Dr. Chad Van Dixhoorn.
"Holy Spirit + Holy Men = Holy Bible", Dr. David Murray
"A More Sure Word: The Self-Authenticating Nature of the Bible", Dr. Tony Curto.
"The Modern Roman Catholic View of Scripture", Dr. Mark Herzer.
"Critique of Bart Ehrman", Dr. James White.
"Salvation, Sanctification, and Spectacles", Dr. David Murray.
"Why Creeds if the Bible is the Sufficient and Final Rule of Authority", Dr. Joseph Pipa.
"Critique of Peter Enns", Dr. James White.
There will also be four 20 minutes Q&A sessions. There is usually times for book signing, but I do not see it on the brochure.
Last year (we had a conference on Calvin), close to 500 people attended.
Early Bird Registration is $65; Spouse $30; Students $20. Keep watching this site for the brochure and to register online.
I (and GPTS) would appreciate it very much if you would pass on the information about this conference.
Truth in Translation: Evaluating Dr. BeDuhn's Treatment of Granville Sharp's Rule
12/03/2009 - Mike PorterSome time ago I began what was intended to be a series of articles addressing translation issues raised by Dr. Jason BeDuhn of Northern Arizona University. It certainly was not my intention to take so long to return to the articles, and some of our readers have gently, but consistently reminded me (not to mention a certain elder at my church) that such a work beckons a response if for no other reason than to dispose of some of the erroneous arguments and conclusions put forth by BeDuhn. Considering the rather high standard he set for himself in his work and considering the amount of play his name is getting by Jehovah's Witnesses as a neutral Greek scholar, it seems important to address.
But, first, I would like to make a correction from my first post. There I mentioned that Dr. BeDuhn's doctoral studies were in Manichean studies. That is incorrect. His doctoral degree is in Comparative Religion. His doctoral dissertation was on Manicheaism. Indeed, that is where his specialty lies. It is important to point this out because Dr. BeDuhn denigrates the qualifications of many Old and New Testament scholars of various translations by stating that they were theologically trained and possess some adequate training in the biblical languages. When one considers the considerable weight of scholarship that was on the original translation committee of the NASB, for example, one must acknowledge that there is a significant imbalance to the words Dr. BeDuhn gave in regards to the scholarship of such projects. Dr. Moises Silva, for example, is a well-known scholar with many significant works relating to biblical linguistics and translation, hermeneutics and exegesis (some which have been standard textbooks for colleges and seminaries such as Biblical Words and their Meanings: And Introduction to Lexical Semantics). Men such as Dr. Bruce Waltke were on the original translation committee as well. Dr. Waltke still has the standard 2nd year textbook for Hebrew Syntax. Many other recognizable names are here: (and let's not forget that certain highly recognizable name for the textual consultants of the NASB Update - something of a household name for readers of this blog).
Such dismissals did not serve Dr. BeDuhn well since it positioned him to a higher level of scholarship than men such as these who have written significantly on and contributed greatly to the biblical scholarship Dr. BeDuhn claims to uphold. As I have mentioned earlier, I am willing to assign Dr. BeDuhn the status of scholar, but there is nothing in his writings that have persuaded me that he is a biblical scholar, and that distinction is significant to this conversation.
To that end, I wish to discuss some of the chapters of his work Truth In Translation. It is not my intention to address every issue he raises, but merely to demonstrate that Dr. BeDuhn seems to lack either the information or the neutrality he claims to have in order to approach this subject.
For this article I have chosen Chapter 8: Words Together and Apart. Here, Dr. BeDuhn addresses Granville Sharp's Rule looking at certain passages of Christological significance. Dr. BeDuhn cites Titus 2:13 as evidence of theological bias inserted into the translation. He cites numerous translations to make his point, but two will suffice for this discussion.
KJV Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the
great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
NASB Titus 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of
our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,
Immediately you may notice that there is a distinct manner in which the two nouns 'God' and 'Savior have been translated. The KJV translates the two nouns as referring to two distinct persons, presumably of the Father and of Jesus Christ. The NASB, however, translates the two nouns as both referring to Christ. Why the difference' Dr. BeDuhn explores this question by citing what he believes are parallel passages within Titus (Tit 1:4) and 2 Thessolonians (2 Thess 1:12). ...
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Yesterday on the Dividing Line
12/03/2009 - James White
Remember, there's no DL today, as I am sitting at Gate A25 in Phoenix waiting for my flight to St. Louis. Yesterday I had to use the dreaded "John Denver Christmas Music" threat to get the calls going, but they came in, and we covered a wide variety of good topics. Here's the program.
Today on the DL: An Unscheduled Discussion with Sadiq Abdul Malik
12/01/2009 - James White
Took a total of three phone calls today, however, the first and last sort of got squished to the ends of the program to make room for a very lengthy discussion with a Muslim caller, Sadiq Abdul Malik from New York. A very interesting hour, to be sure. Here's the program.
12/01/2009 - Jeff DownsIf you are in the Greenville, SC area on Monday, Dec. 7 at 6pm, Greenville Seminary will be showing the (debate/discussions) film Collision. If you are interested in coming, please contact me.
Soon, very soon (I hope) I will make an announcement concerning an event to be held in Greenville SC on March 9-11, 2010. Those who enjoy Alpha and Omega Ministries will not want to miss it.
12/01/2009 - James White
Reformed Baptist Preaching (Hebrews 4:1-11):
Non-Reformed Baptist preaching (Ergun Caner at Thomas Road Baptist Church this past summer).