Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Amazing Things You Read on the Internet: Issue Bazillion and One
03/31/2010 - James White
I was directed to this article relating to my debates with Michael Brown on monergism and synergism. Now, I am glad this fellow is listening, but goodness, what is he hearing? We have a tremendous example here of tradition filtering out the majority of what the person just doesn't want to hear. Take this description for example:
My own reservation about Calvinism is that it requires that God create people who go to Hell. They go to Hell only because God chooses not to draw them to him. So there are people pre-destined to Hell for eternity who are not responsible since its God's choice where they are saved or not.
How many times have Reformed folks debunked just this kind of strawman understanding? It is not only inaccurate, it is downright dishonest, sadly. No one goes to hell "only because God chooses not to draw them to him." Men endure eternal punishment because of the holiness of God and their own sin. The very idea that God is under the slightest duty to provide mercy and grace to sinful men is part and parcel of humanistic religion, not biblical truth. And this kind of "sentimentality as theology" viewpoint has led, many times in recent history, directly into the quagmire of universalism. Next, if you want to see the wilderness into which Molinism leads you when it comes to exegesis, check this out:
I totally agree with Romans 9, where it says that God creates some people for destruction, and that those people cannot resist Gods will that they be created for destruction. But on my view, those people are people who would resist him in any time, in any place, even if he tried to save them. They cannot demand to be saved even though they resist God. They cannot say to their maker that they should not be created only to be damned, either, because being damned is their own fault. They dont have a right to demand that they be saved because they would freely choose not to respond to God in any set of circumstances that God might try to place them in in order to save them. So God is permitted to create vessels of wrath for his own glory but its their fault, not God's.
Remember when William Lane Craig told us how there are certain people God could never save, in any "possible universe"? There is one major difference between the biblical God and the God of man's imagination: the biblical God can save anyone He so chooses to save, freely, perfectly, and powerfully. When you have to come up with the idea that God cannot save who He chooses just to protect the creature's "free choice," you have truly exhibited your real motivations, and your real focus of devotion.
On a less theological, but just as tradition-bound note, I was directed to this kind, even-handed, truly brotherly blast from, from what I discern, is the Senior Pastor (!) of Arlington Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, Tim Guthrie. You hardly even know where to begin when reading something like this--the number of factual errors, emotionally-driven logical crashes, and ad-hominems, is quite impressive for a relatively short article! It takes some work to cram all of that in there! Most of Pastor Guthrie's errors are plainly seen upon a first reading (yeah, I've never once talked about Columbia Evangelical Seminary, my work there, or anything else---despite having articles on the web since 1998 and doing entire programs on the topic! Nothing like doing your homework there Pastor Guthrie!), but what is completely lacking from this rant is the first bit of honesty in regards to the real issues behind the Caner saga. Check out this example of whistling a happy tune while walking through the graveyard: "There is absolutely nothing new being brought to light concerning Dr. Ergun Caner." Really? How can anyone say that (or, I guess, type it) with a straight face? Did Pastor Guthrie point out to Ergun Caner that he had not, in fact, debated Shabir Ally, when he had claimed to on multiple occasions? Did Pastor Guthrie recognize that Abdul Saleeb is a Christian name that no Muslim would ever bear? Did Pastor Guthrie recognize that Ergun Caner confused Surah Al-Fatiha with the Shahada? Did Pastor Guthrie point out that Ergun has claimed that Arabic was his first language, only to contradict himself later and admit otherwise? Did Pastor Guthrie detect the nearly decade-long "problem" in Ergun Caner's time-line, including his claim to have always lived in "majority Muslim countires" prior to coming to the US (Sweden is not a majority Muslim country, and Ergun has been living in the US since he was four years old, shivering through the Ohio winters just like all the rest of you!) and that he came here via Beirut and Cairo? I rather doubt it....
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Unbelievable Programs Posted/Sungenis Comments on DL Today
03/16/2010 - James WhiteFirst, both programs I did with Justin Brierley on the Unbelievable Radio Program in London have now aired and are available for download. The first program was with Adnan Rashid, the second with Sir Anthony Buzzard. I think most of our readers will find both to be quite interesting. I really wish to pursue a full public debate with Anthony Buzzard in the future. Justin's programs can be found here. If you wish to subscribe to the podcast (as I do!), you can do so here. The specific programs are found here: Adnan Rashid and Sir Anthony Buzzard.
Next, on a live Dividing Line today (via Skype from my current location in sunless, grey Leavenworth Kansas) I will be reading and responding to this fascinating example of straw-man argumentation provided by Robert Sungenis et al, then taking your calls. The DL will air today at its normal time, 11am MST (11am PDT, 2pm EDT).
To all concerned about sola scriptura, patristics, Roman Catholicism, and related subjects. TurretinFan has posted a must-read article here.
Please remember to pray for this ministry and our upcoming opportunities of ministry, especially the May debate with Robert Price. Your support is vital.
03/15/2010 - James WhiteI am speaking in Kansas, but I believe I will be able to do the DL at its regular time on Tuesday via Skype. So ignore what I said on the last program!
I had to set my clock back last night. That is just so wrong. But, I get two hours back when I go home anyway...but it's all fiction! Why doesn't everyone see that?
I saw an article about Ergun Caner's opposition to the Camel Method (and, of course, I would agree 100% with him). Sadly, his opposition was noted along with the questions that will continue to swirl around him until he stands up and answers the real questions that so far he has refused to even acknowledge.
I have often commented on how joyous many Muslims are to read apostate Christians attacking the Christian faith. It is so sad to see them grabbing anything at all as a weapon without realizing that they are promoting a worldview that is just as acidic to their own beliefs as they are to Christianity. I saw another example just yesterday on the muslimmatters.org blog, in an article written by Youssef Chouhoud. Note his words:
Finally, this past Friday’s NPR broadcast of “Fresh Air” featured an interview with Bart Ehrman, a professor at UNC and author of the bestselling book, Misquoting Jesus. Though his research is in depth, the most striking points are the ones readily accessible to all readers of the Bible. For instance, the four gospels contain contradictions not only on “small” matters, but on the grandest as well. There is no consensus, for example, on the crucifixion nor is there, outside of the gospel of John, any mention of Jesus’ divinity (you’d think that’d be pretty important, huh?). The interview is a great listen and for those interested in furthering their knowledge, I recommend Dr. Ehrman’s course at The Teaching Company, History of the Bible: The Making of the New Testament Canon.
No consensus on the crucifixion? No evidence of the deity of Christ outside of John? Amazing, for anyone who has read the New Testament for themselves, anyway. But it seems that many Muslims are just as willing to listen to an apostate Christian as Christians, sadly, are willing to believe almost anything they are told about Muslims as well. As servants of Christ, we should be very concerned about the truthfulness of what we believe, even when it is about others not "familiar" to our beliefs or experiences.
A Brief Response to Tony Byrne
03/13/2010 - James WhiteTony Byrne has commented on my preceding post in the comments on a particular post at Peter Lumpkins' website. When I attempted a brief rejoinder, I found I cannot post there anymore (which is fine with me, I assure you). But since I took the time to write it prior to rushing off to the airport, I wanted to post it somewhere, and this seems to be the best place to do so.
I have no interest in theological dialogue with you. You've proven yourself incapable of "hearing" anything outside your Amyraldian strictures. It doesn't matter what I say, you have it all figured out.
Secondly, it is hard for me to believe you were in channel as often as you once were (and, if I was so inclined, I could determine exactly how many days you were in channel over the past decade) and yet not understand how the channel works. What's more, you 1) remembered clearly that AOMin had sent you packing the last time you had been in channel, and that was 30 weeks prior; and 2) you gave clear indication of hiding your original nick. When you were asked if you had been in channel before, you did not offer ynottony when asked: you had to be asked specifically. You refused to offer your actual normal nick until someone else asked directly. I've run an IRC chat channel since 1996. I've seen that maneuver hundreds of times before, and always by ban evaders. It's classic. Also, we cleared the CStar banlist a few months ago due to a bad ban that was creating problems, hence your ability to get back in channel.
Next, I'm glad you admit the accuracy of the log despite your not remembering the comment (anyone in channel who was logging at the time could confirm the log---don't you keep logs?). However, shouldn't you have avoided the accusation inherent in your statement that it was certainly FALSE that you had mentioned Reymond? Why not say, "I have no recollection of making that statement about Reymond"? My memory isn't perfect, and I already sense the degradation of age, but even my enemies have to admit that when I debate, my memory is quite functional. It was your certainty that was latched onto by men who will believe anything, no matter how outlandish, as long as it could be used to cast negative light upon me.
With that, I am....thankful you admit the encounter, and hope others will finally do the right thing as well.
Ergun Caner Removes "Repentance" Statement
03/12/2010 - James WhiteIf you read my response to Ergun Caner's 2/25/2010 statement you will find a link to his website. If you click on that link you will now get a 404 screen, just like when you click on the Bio link at the top of the page. Simple site maintenance? Or retrenching in hope to ride out the storm? Let's hope someone in leadership realizes questions of truth always remain forefront for followers of Christ.
Tomorrow on Iron Sharpens Iron
03/08/2010 - James WhiteI really wish I could listen live to Iron Sharpens Iron Tuesday, but I will be traveling. My dear friend Pastor Jim Handyside will be Chris Arnzen's guest tomorrow. Of course, I call him my dear friend despite the fact that no one has pierced me through more thoroughly than dear Jim. After preaching at his church in Anniesland (just outside of Glasgow) a few years ago, we went back to his home for some fellowship. While his dear wife made us our tradition cheese toast, we discussed the sermon, during which I had used, briefly anyway, my exemplary and polished Scottish accent. Brother Jim, with a twinkle in his eye, looked at me and said, in his own deep Scottish brogue (which you will get to hear on ISI tomorrow), "Brother, if I may say, your Scottish accents sounds to me like a mixture of Italian and Pakistani." Ah yes, the love of the brethren! So be sure to be listening Tuesday on Iron Sharpens Iron for Pastor Jim Handyside. I bet you won't even be able to tell the difference between his speech and my own Scottish accent! Well, ok, maybe you will, but it will be difficult!
For My Friends in the Kansas Area
03/02/2010 - James White
A Busy Few Weeks Headed My Way!
03/01/2010 - James WhiteI really need to fire my secretary. Well, that's me, actually. I am home for barely a week before heading to Greenville, then home for only two days before heading to Leavenworth, Kansas! Talk about a busy start to March. In any case, I am looking ahead to the debate with Robert Price at the CRI National Conference in May in Florida. I have placed some needed resources on the Ministry Resource List, and trust some of our faithful supporters will assist me in my preparation for this debate.
Tomorrow on the DL we will be trying to incorporate a whole bunch of new technology...which probably means disaster. However, we are scheduled to be able to start taking Skype calls tomorrow! I think the Skype address is Dividing_Line. I think. I'll verify that at the beginning of the program, which we hope to start at its normal time, 11am MST.
It is a rather sad thing to observe all the wild-eyed chest-pounding going on on the blogosphere in a vain attempt to deflect attention from the unanswered questions facing Ergun Caner. All my dear brothers in the Lord have joined together to throw dust and dirt in the air rather than acknowledge that there are some serious issues to be faced by Liberty University in Lynchburg. The questions I posted last week, that have yet to be answered, will not be going away anytime soon, and they may only be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the "on the fly" creations Ergun Caner has been using to puff his resume for quite some time. I am thankful for those who have contacted me who understand the simple necessity of addressing Dr. Caner's claims---a necessity that flows from basic Christian standards of honesty and integrity, and a necessity that flows from the reality of apologetic ministry, not just among Muslims, but all who need to hear a reasoned defense of the faith. But it is very troubling to see especially the young people who have become so enamored with the image Dr. Caner projects that they will lash out at anyone who would question it. Hero worship is a shameful thing in the Christian church. Here is an e-mail that was forwarded to me this morning:
As a Southern Baptist I am very angry with what you are doing right
now. Dr. Ergun Caner is an incredible scholar and man of God. Why do
you incessantly attack him all the time?
I have personally benefited from Dr. Caner's ministry and believe he
is an intellectual giant who is doing a great service to the SBC.
Please stop attacking fellow christians and stick to debating Mormons
It is very sad to see this kind of thinking. Not only is the gentleman deceived ("incessantly attacking him all the time"), but he does not seemingly understand that to debate the Mormons and Muslims you need to be consistently truthful. Otherwise, you are not actually ministering to them in a Christian fashion. And this is all about truthfulness and honesty. No, none of those star-struck with Ergun Caner's persona have even attempted to address the actual substantive issues that are right out in the open. They do not seem to be concerned at all about such things. It's all about popularity and numbers, and if we haven't learned by now how dangerous that is in the church, we need to re-learn that lesson quickly.