Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
On Next Tuesday's DL
01/30/2010 - James WhiteWow, what a week. I spoke 14 times over eight days, finishing up with a long period of teaching with Sam Shamoun on Islam at the First Arabic Baptist Church here in Phoenix today. A very enjoyable time!
Next Tuesday on the DL I want to comment on last week's debates. Michael Brown did a program on Calvinism the next day, and I may respond to some specific statements regarding such passages as Genesis 50 and Philippians 1:29. Then I will respond to some of the comments that have been made regarding the Tim Staples debate. I will also look at the claims being made on the CA forums, including the confusion of one "Marco Polo," a Catholic who has attempted to interact with my statements (I would encourage "Marco Polo" to call in, but then again, we've seen over the years what happens when CA forum users call the DL).
We won't have a Thursday DL as I will be flying to Georgia that day.
Anthony Buzzard Listens In
01/26/2010 - James White
Evidently Anthony Buzzard was listening to my exchange with Michael Brown today, and, not surprisingly, being a Socinian, is far more in line with Arminian soteriology than Reformed. Here is a comment he left on Dr. Brown's website:
I think you should continue to press your point about the constant plea of God that we choose to do right. If in fact we’re not making any choice, and all the choices are made by Him, then language has ceased to have any intelligible meaning. Calvin’s God simply plays games with the human race if He commands everyone everywhere to repent, knowing full well that He has already decided that it is impossible for the non-elect to be saved.
You will note that Buzzard does not understand the position he is denying: who said "we're not making any choice"? Surely not I. We make choices all the time. What I did assert was what the Scriptures teach:
“because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so,and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Rom. 8:7-8)
We make decisions all the time: outside of grace, rebellious decisions, sinful decisions. Notice as well the Socinian man-centeredness, as if condemned men deserve some kind of "chance." The Gospel isn't a game of chance, a system to be "worked" to gain something from God. It is the Triune God's central act of self-glorification. But, again, we are dealing with a non-Christian view of the Bible here (Socinianism), so that should hardly be surprising.
Of course, the question in my mind is, "Was Sir Anthony listening to the DL as well?" Let's hope so!
My thanks to Michael Brown once again for a very engaging conversation. I really look forward to tomorrow, and even more so, when we can have Dr. Brown on the DL. We should try to arrange that as soon as possible, though, my trip to London will put a major hole in the upcoming schedule, obviously. I didn't mention it, but I wanted to chuckle on the air, since each time Dr. Brown said he was going to join me on the DL, he said, "God willing."
Anthony Buzzard Debate on Unbelievable!
01/22/2010 - James White
Well, the Lord answered prayer and opened the way for an Unbelievable Radio Program debate with Sir Anthony Buzzard, formerly of Atlanta Bible College, one of the leading Socinians of our day. Justin Brierley just confirmed his willingness to do the debate on the 23rd of February while I am in London (in fact, Justin is attempting to arrange a second debate for the same day on another topic). That will be the morning after my debate with Abdullah al-Ansari at Trinity Chapel in London. We are also working on another visit to Revelation TV later in that week. What is really nice about the Buzzard encounter is that he is actually reading my book! I will find it refreshing to engage someone who has actually taken the time to hear what I have to say. I know next week when Michael Brown and I square off on Calvinism on his radio program that he will have read The Potter's Freedom as well, which always makes for a better and more useful debate.
We are still looking for folks to help us with the costs of the trip, including airfare, hotel, food, etc. If you would like to help edify the saints in London and bring these debates about, please prayerfully consider assisting us.
Two Follow Ups on Thursday's DL Discussion on the Authority of Scripture
01/07/2010 - James White
First, TurretinFan posted a fascinating quote from Erasmus that I had not seen before:
What weight the authority of the church may have with others, I know not; but with me it weighs so much, that I could be of the opinion of the Arians and Pelagians, if the church had approved their doctrines.
TurretinFan asks if Cross, Beckwith, and Liccione could endorse Erasmus' statement. That is a question that would definitely interest me as well. It surely illustrates sola ecclesia in its most dangerous form. I know one church father who would have rolled his eyes at that statement, one Athanasius of Alexandria.
Then, I encountered Steve Hay's downright Erasmian lampoon of the Roman position expressed by Cross, Beckwith, and Liccione. It is well worth reading in its entirety, but I only include the final portion here. It borrows from the Manhattan Declaration but this time brings together Trinitarians and Arians (specifically, Jehovah's Witnesses, the best known representatives of the Arians today).
II. We Affirm Together
Jesus Christ is Lord.
Unless he's the Archangel Michael.
Either affirmation is rationally defensible.
That is the first and final affirmation and counter-affirmation that Christians make about all of reality.
It's plausible to believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
It's plausible to believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
It's also plausible to believe in Jesus Christ, the first creature.
A fully informed person of good will, with knowledge of the languages, could affirm either reading of Scripture.
III. SignatoriesBryan Cross
What makes this so bitingly humorous is its truth content. It rips the mask of scholarly respectability off of the Roman position and shows it for what it is. I hope people will remember what Frank Beckwith said in defense of Bryan Cross' errant views on Nicea and the sufficiency of Scripture to demonstrate the deity of Christ. Keep this in mind, all of you ecumenically minded Protestants who are thinking of having Dr. Beckwith speak at your next conference or retreat:
What Bryan is saying is really uncontroversial: the Arian reading of Scripture is not obviously irrational. It is, of course, heretical. But that does not mean that a fully informed person of good will, with knowledge of the languages, could not have come up with the Arian reading of Scripture.