Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Washington Post Article on Caner Scandal
06/30/2010 - James WhiteI have talked to a lot of journalists since last Friday, but so far the best article I've read came from William Wan and is found in the Washington Post here. Mr. Wan had even written back to me to double check some facts, and I found that encouraging. I do find it indicative of this entire scandal that one side is open and transparent, one side is secretive and mainly silent. One side sounds like they take Jesus' exhortation to openness and honesty seriously, the other seems far more politically oriented, seeking to do damage control. If Ergun Caner has been "exonerated," as some radical supporters are claiming, why has he refused to come out and provide the "truth" to the journalists looking into the situation? Instead, he hides behind the stone wall of silence. I believe that says volumes. Reminds me just a little bit of the "spin" he and others put on their scuttling of the 2006 debate at Liberty. One side made all the information available, was open and transparent, the other---not so much.
I remain utterly amazed and quite offended by Norman Geisler's statement on his Facebook page. Without engaging a single fact of the case, explaining a single contradiction or examining any of the evidence that proves beyond all dispute that Ergun Caner was telling multiple stories about his past at the same time to different audiences (when speaking to folks he knew could detect problems in his story, he told the truth; to those he evidently judged to be gullible, such as large congregations of Baptists, he would produce, and then embellish, his jihadi Muslim persona), Geisler has pronounced him "exonerated" and relegated the mountain of false statements, embellishments, and downright lies, more often than not uttered from behind a pulpit and tied directly to the gospel of Jesus Christ, to the scrap heap of simple "misstatements." As I pointed out on the DL yesterday, one can hardly see how atheists and other enemies of the faith would not be fully warranted to see the cavalier way Geisler has handled a scandal that is sitting right in his lap (the attention over Caner has been focused on Liberty, but Caner teaches for Geisler's Veritas Seminary as well, and they are closely connected) and the level of documentation related to it (video clips, audio clips, court documents) and say, "Well, if Norman Geisler can't see the obvious truth of a matter that has this level of documentation, why should anyone think he has handled the ancient and considerably less full documentation regarding the resurrection accurately?" I call upon Dr. Geisler to set aside his partisanship and do a serious inquiry into the facts of this matter. If Dr. Geisler claims to have the answers, then maybe he can answer the questions Caner and Liberty refuse to address. In fact, in light of his statement, it would seem he is obliged to do so.
Christopher Hitchens Undergoing Chemotherapy for Esophogeal Cancer
06/30/2010 - James WhiteI just learned that Christopher Hitchens has announced he is undergoing chemotherapy for esophogeal cancer. Here is his announcement. I fully expect this to lead to the cancellation of our August 30th debate, though I do not yet have that official word.
I have listened to many, many hours of Christopher Hitchens speaking. I've read his attacks upon my faith, listened to him blaspheme in public, etc. And yet I cannot help but like the man personally, who has such a quick sense of humor and a streak of honesty that I know comes straight from common grace. He has surprised me many times, showing an insight into the errors of his evidentialist Christian opponents that many others lack. Let's pray for Mr. Hitchens that God will use this providence to bring to his mind the many, many times he has heard the truth. His detestation of the Christian faith runs very deep, but as we all know, God is glorified when God-haters are turned into God-lovers. Should God mercifully extend his life, I hope we will get a chance to meet. May God be pleased to reveal to him the Lord of Glory, and turn his heart from rebellion to realize that the one thing he rails against most, that of submission to one's Creator, is the greatest freedom the creature can know.
Hebrews 7:11-20, PRBC Evening Service
06/30/2010 - James White
Digital Resources: Books By Dr. White
06/29/2010 - James SwanI have quite a number of digital books on my computer. Most of you are probably familiar with Bibleworks, Logos, and Libronix. I recently found a software package that includes book add-ons of Dr. White's books, as well as some other texts I use frequently.
Digital books by Dr. White
The Forgotten Trinity
The God Who Justifies
Mary- Another Redeemer?
The Roman Catholic Controversy
The Same Sex Controversy
Debating Calvinism: Five Points, Two Views
Other Helpful Resources
Holy Scripture: The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith, Vol. I
Holy Scripture: The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith, Vol. III
Holy Scripture: The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith, Vol. II
The Matthew 16 Controversy: Peter and the Rock
The Old Testament Canon and the Apocrypha
Roman Catholic Tradition: Claims and Contradictions
Irony of Ironies
06/29/2010 - James WhiteDuring the Dividing Line today the UPS man came by our offices. Upon completing the program, which was focused upon the Caner Scandal, I opened the box to discover my brand new copy of The God of Calvinism by our ol' buddy, Louis Ruggiero. I had not ordered it for the content of the book, as we saw Lou's exegetical modus operandi years ago (and have noted his boasts about his abilities a few times since then). No, the only interest I had in yet another anti-Calvinistic screed was noted right on the front cover: Foreword by Dr. Ergun Caner.
Ergun Caner's detestation of Reformed theology is well known. His utter lack of balance in his anti-Calvinism, at the time I first experienced it in 2005/2006, was difficult to understand (oh, how clear the issues have become since then!). So it is hardly surprising that Caner would put his name on a work by a non-scholar whose grasp of basic exegetical principles, systematic theology, and historiography is significantly less than minimal. But note the first words from Caner's pen, now permanently inscribed in Lou Rugg's book: "For the first half of my life, I was raised a Muslim. My father, an ulema (that is, a scholar in Islam) drove home the key concepts of Islam that guided every single step of our lives" (vii). We have seen that this is an improper use of the language. Ulema (علماء) is a plural form; alim (عالِم) is the singular form, "a scholar." So Caner is basically saying, "My father was a scholars." What is more, being a muezzin is not the same as being a scholar or a cleric: anyone can be a muezzin, one who calls to prayer. Once again, the Caner penchant for myth-making comes to the fore. No evidence has been produced that Caner's father was part of the ulema or was anything more than a regular Islamic layman.
Caner's foreword is brief, and predictable. It contains the standard straw-man misrepresentations that Caner is well known for. It is signed "Dr. Ergun Mehmet Caner" and he is listed as the President of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.
Today on the Dividing Line: Liberty's Tragic Political Solution
06/29/2010 - James WhiteAs I noted in the previous entry, even well known names are not above engaging in the crassest form of cronyism when it comes to the political machines that predominate in evangelicalism today. Sadly, that same kind of blind political ideology lay behind the seven-sentence Liberty statement released late Friday afternoon. Given that this current chapter in the Caner Scandal began on the Dividing Line back in February, it seemed fitting to comment on it today, which I did for about the first forty or forty-five minutes. Here's the program.
Those Who Live in Another Reality
06/29/2010 - James WhiteI will be addressing Liberty's seven-sentence political statement on the DL in less than an hour, but I was just directed (HT: JD) to one of the most amazing statements I have read so far in response to the demotion of Ergun Caner by Liberty University. There are some folks that we all knew were completely disconnected from the space-time universe in how they handled (or refused to even acknowledge) the overwhelming factual information demonstrating Ergun Caner's purposeful, and to this point, unrepented of, dishonesty. Some folks are beyond reasonable interaction and thought. But when I read this on Norman Geisler's Facebook page, I was left without words (briefly, anyway):
Norman Geisler An extensive independent investigation has exonerated Dr. Ergun Caner of all the false charges made against him by extreme Muslims and others and has been retained as a Professor at Liberty University. In spite of a few misstatements (which we all make and he has corrected), nothing has diminished his testimony and orthodoxy as one of the great Christian voices of our time. I totally support him.
If Liberty exonerated Caner, why is he no longer Dean/President of the Seminary? What was he "apologizing" for? We are left to wonder. But the utter disconnect between a man who claims the facts support Christianity and his utter unwillingness to deal with the facts in this case can only be explained by abject cronyism. The "good ol' boys network" run amuck. What a blight upon evangelicalism that without even a half-hearted attempt to interact with the mountain of documentation, Dr. Geisler would make such an outrageous statement. His willingness to engage in politics (Caner teaches for the seminary he is now promoting) at the expense of integrity and honesty in Christian apologetics is a sad commentary that will only encourage Caner to continue in his refusal to repent and seek restoration. Further, it should be noted that Dr. Geisler had accused those who had spoken the truth about Caner of libel and slander, and yet, when Liberty acknowledges at the very least "self-contradictory" statements, does he offer an apology? No, just as he somehow managed to find "free will" in John 6:44, he can find exoneration in the announcement of Caner's demotion.
In contrast to this "facts? What facts?" attitude, Tom Chantry has provided another insightful commentary here.
A Geek Video (iPad/Kindle/Touch/HTC Incredible Discussion)
06/28/2010 - James White
David Wood on Iron Sharpens Iron Right Now!
06/28/2010 - James WhiteListen here.
Hebrews 7:1-10, PRBC, June 27, 2010 AM Service (Sound Working Now!)
06/28/2010 - James White
Bart Ehrman's Bias on the Author of Mark
06/27/2010 - Alan KurschnerDarrell Bock calls out Bart Ehrman on his bias here. Bock comments on Ehrman's The New Testament: An Historical Introduction. I have read this book cover to cover so I can attest to Bock's lament. Ehrman's MO is to prejudice his conclusions with, not so much to what is said, but on what is not said (Ehrman does this as well in his popular textual critical books). In that blog article, Bock takes the example of the author of Mark and demonstrates Ehrman's lack of scholarly fairness with the evidence.
Christianity Today Picks Up Quotes: Jerry Falwell Jr. and Glenn Beck
06/26/2010 - James WhiteTwo interesting items from the news today. First, Christianity Today picked up a set of quotes from yours truly that appeared in the local Lynchburg paper. Under the title "Liberty University cuts Caner as seminary dean" the CT article summarizes the actions Liberty took (and only announced at the end of business late Friday afternoon--a classic political move designed to minimize press coverage and hence damage to the institution) and provides quotes from only one person:
A news article in the Lynchburg News and Advance, quotes apologist and vocal Caner critic James White: "Simply removing him as dean and allowing him to continue teaching the same subjects he was teaching before really isn’t going to lead to a conclusion of the controversy." The university's statement “raises all sorts of questions about what did [Caner] apologize for," White said. "The students ... deserve an open response."
Exactly. I think the brief snippets summarize well what I said to the News and Advance reporter yesterday. I said before Liberty announced its investigation that nothing less than a full, open, honest and complete response to the most fundamental issues and questions must be provided, and as it stands right now it seems that neither Ergun Caner nor Liberty University has any intention of providing that kind of closure. Damage control, not biblical repentance or restoration---preservation of political capital, is the watchword in the inner sanctum of the leadership of Liberty University. And the students? How could anyone argue that they are not owed a full and complete accounting of the lies they have been told by Ergun Caner? Will they get such an accounting? We can only hope.
The political orientation of Liberty's leadership was expressed as well by a comment made by Jerry Falwell, Jr., being interviewed by Glenn Beck. Glenn Beck, a confused convert to Mormonism, and hence a follower of a religion that, to my knowledge, is the most polytheistic religion ever devised by man, was invited to address Liberty's most recent graduation ceremony, leading to a number of public exchanges between Beck and Falwell, Jr. In the above linked article, however, we encounter this statement from Falwell: "And there are bigger issues now, we can argue about theology later after we save the country."
I worry about folks who think they have been called to "save the country" first of all. What if God intends to punish a nation that is filled with hatred of His ways and His truth? I thought Christians were called to be salt and light and to proclaim the gospel to all people. If God chooses to use the gospel to save any nation, that is His business. But it seems Falwell has bought into the same "America = Christianity" mindset that has infected so many others, leading to rank confusion. But the set of priorities revealed by the above statement, uttered to a Mormon in the context of the conflict between Mormonism and Christianity, sheds a good bit of light on how Liberty has handled the Ergun Caner situation as well. Theology? Eh, we can debate that some other time. It's secondary. Gotta save the country first! Only logical conclusion: theology has nothing to do with how you save a country, hence, saving a country is a political endeavor, not a theological one.
One of the main differences in the two "sides" of the Caner controversy has been the obvious disconnect in the standards each side uses. One side demands biblical standards of Christian leadership, integrity, and truthfulness. We think the pulpit is a sacred place, and that speaking in the name of Christ carries with it certain responsibilities. But the other side is quite pragmatic in their approach. Their standards are downright political in nature. So what if someone exaggerates behind the pulpit? Did it "get results"? Is "our side" bigger than it was before? If it works, well, then it's good! We see this as well in the handling of the investigation into Caner's claims: politically motivated and oriented, and the statement released at the end of business on a Friday (talk about politically motivated!) is classic political rhetoric, including incoherent lines like "factual statements that are self-contradictory" (a politically correct attempt to talk about lies uttered by a Christian leader, repeatedly, knowingly, most often in the context of the pulpit and alleged "preaching"). There seems to be quite a consistent theme here that helps us to understand why Liberty is acting like the world, protecting its own interests, at the cost of full disclosure, rather than acting like a Christian institution with Christian standards and morals. Evidently, having to admit that its former dean would be drummed out of Liberty for violating its own honesty standards IF they were consistent and held their leadership to the same standard they hold their students to was just a bit much to be expressed in clear language. But I have a feeling a large group of Liberty students are plenty insightful enough to get the double standard.
John 5:26 and the Nature of Christian Truth
06/26/2010 - James White
Facts for the Honest (To Be Ignored by the Dishonest)
06/25/2010 - James WhiteFor the few who are interested in the brief statement I made (styled a "lie" by the PPO&D, the "promoters of perpetual outrage and dishonesty"---a new term I have quoted for a certain very small, very irrelevant, but very vocal group of Muslim trouble-makers) at one point in the debate with Sheikh Awal, pointing out the contradiction between his asserting the Bible cannot be the Word of God because God "repents" (the Hebrew is nacham) and the fact that Allah is described as "oft-repenting." I made reference to Surah 2:37 simply because it was the first in a long list of substantiating texts. It says: "Then Adam received commandments from his Lord, and his Lord repented (fataba) towards him; for He is Oft-Repenting (huwa al-tawwabu), Most Merciful." He is oft-repenting. What's so difficult to understand? Well, it's simple: Muslims, as I demonstrated over and over again a few days ago, have one standard for the Bible, another standard for the Qur'an. "Oh, well, in the Qur'an, that means..." and off they go. But, if you attempt to explain that nacham likewise has a contextual meaning in the Bible, they ignore your explanation. So, the Qur'an can be explained, the Bible cannot. Double standards. Inconsistency. Sign of a failed argument, and in this case, a failed religion.
Want to read more? The Assyrian Encyclopedia (I evidently am in the name-creating mood this evening), Sam Shamoun, has laid it out clearly here. Read. Learn.
I Am Not Going to Let the Liberty Non-Statement Stop This...
06/25/2010 - James WhiteFlashback to 1994. I had started riding in 1993, and got my wife into it as well. So on our 12th wedding anniversary (June 25th, 1994), what did we do to celebrate? We got up early, drove to Black Canyon City, Arizona, and rode our bikes up Five Mile Hill to the Sunset Point Rest Area, and then rode back down (yes, that's on an Interstate, and the ride down is...amazing).
Flash forward to 2007. Twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. This time we are at sea on the Coral Ridge cruise in the Hawaiian islands, speaking on board with men like Gary DeMar and RC Sproul. So what do we do for our anniversary? Well, we did have a nice special dinner on board the ship, but the next morning we got up at...2:15am, off the ship by 2:45am, so as to be driven to the top of Haleakala Crater, from there to ride bikes all the way back down. What an experience.
So guess what my wife and I did this morning? Alarm goes off at 3:25am. High temperature in Phoenix yesterday was, as I heard, 112 degrees. Oddly, it was windy this morning, and that was actually pretty nice. We drove to South Mountain park in the dark so as to get a very early start. I would have to double check, but I think I set a new ascent record speed to the top, doing a total of 31 miles in the park this morning (and half a mile of ascent). My lovely wife did 26.2 (she more often runs the mountain than rides it, but today she was on her bike).
So what shall we do for our 30th? I'm thinking going to Colorado and doing the Morgul-Bismark run. Now THAT would be great!
Biblical Apologetics Defined and Defended
06/25/2010 - James White
The Full Liberty Statement
06/25/2010 - James White
After a thorough and exhaustive review of Dr. Ergun Caner’s public statements, a committee consisting of four members of Liberty University’s Board of Trustees has concluded that Dr. Caner has made factual statements that are self-contradictory. However, the committee found no evidence to suggest that Dr. Caner was not a Muslim who converted to Christianity as a teenager, but, instead, found discrepancies related to matters such as dates, names and places of residence. Dr. Caner has cooperated with the board committee and has apologized for the discrepancies and misstatements that led to this review. Dr. Caner’s current contractual term as Dean of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary expires on June, 30, 2010. Dr. Caner will no longer serve as Dean of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. The university has offered, and Dr. Caner has accepted, an employment contract for the 2010-2011 academic year. Dr. Caner will remain on the faculty of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary as a professor.
1) When was the issue ever whether Caner had been a Muslim? How many times does this canard have to be put down?
2) Factual statements that are self-contradictory. Is that the same as a "lie"? If I said to my kids (when they were young), "Did you lie to me?" and they responded, "No, we gave factual statements that are self-contradictory," would that save them from discipline? It seems the folks at SBC Today think so, since they say Caner has now been exonerated. Seriously, I can't make that kind of thing up. In other breaking news, Nixon was not a crook, and "is" actually has 48 meanings, just as Bill Clinton said.
3) "Discrepancies about dates, names and places of residence" is the PC way of saying, "Ergun Caner lied to everyone and their second cousin about being a jihadi from Turkey, and we all bought it, hook, line, and sinker, until...THOSE people pointed out the obvious."
4) If Dr. Caner has cooperated, then I call upon the Board of Liberty University to release the entirety of its findings, not a short statement, including providing answers to the questions I sent to them in my open letter of May, 2010.
5) Dr. Caner has apologized for exactly what? For lying about his past, making up an entire persona that catapulted him to national prominence and gave him the position he enjoys, claiming to have done debates in at least eleven countries and 35 states against Muslim clerics and others? Is that what he apologized for? These questions must be answered, and Liberty cannot afford to be silent.
6) All Liberty teaching contracts end on June 30th. This is merely a non-renewal of the contract, replacing it with a lesser contract to teach. But to teach what? Apologetics? Upon what basis? Will he honestly tell his students that he has lied about his experiential expertise in that field for nearly a decade? Or is Liberty hoping their students do not surf the net very often?
Aside from the "we really have no touch with reality" responses of Ergun Caner's supporters, we are still left with a non-statement here. I have said for months: Liberty must answer the real questions, the questions about integrity (not just Caner's, but now, their own) openly, fully, and honestly. A seven sentence statement is not enough. Answers must be given. Honesty and Christian integrity demands it, and the ministry of the gospel to Muslims demands it as well.
06/25/2010 - James WhiteThe local Lynchburg paper called to get a comment on the action of Liberty in not renewing Ergun Caner's contract as Dean of the seminary, but in extending a one-year teaching contract to him. The reporter indicated that he is not expecting further details from Liberty. He asked questions, such as who was on the committee, etc., but they declined to give answers.
He did read me the 12-or-so line statement, which included weasel words like "misstatements" rather than "lies." Sadly, we have become so accustomed to our politically-correct age where such language is used that it hardly phases us anymore, but, this is an ostensibly Christian institution we are discussing, therefore, direct language should be used about what one says as the head of an important part of that institution, especially when those words are uttered in the name of Christ and behind the sacred desk.
In any case, one line that caught my attention that I managed to type out, I think, verbatim: "Dr. Caner has apologized for the discrepancies and misstatements that led to this review." How do you apologize for a "discrepancy" unless you created the discrepancy? A real apology for a discrepancy would involve an explanation of why you were untruthful and what motivated you to be dishonest. And saying you lived in Turkey to one audience while at the very same time telling another audience (reporters, those who can check you out) that you lived in Ohio is not a misstatement. It is a lie, plain and simple.
While I am thankful that Liberty has at least confessed that there is, in fact, an elephant in the room, when are they going to get around to explaining how he got there?
And what's more---upon what basis do they think it a good idea to invite him to stick around and teach the next group of students? I could understand that IF Caner produces a full and open confession that is riddled with abject HONESTY for once. Let's hope and pray that statement will soon appear on Ergun Caner's website.
Liberty Announces Removal of Ergun Caner as Dean of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary
06/25/2010 - James WhiteThis was just reported by the News and Advance out of Lynchburg:
Liberty University announced today that Ergun Caner will no longer be dean of the university’s Baptist Theological Seminary.
After an investigation conducted by four members of Liberty’s Board of Trustees, the university said it found that Caner has made “factual statements that are self-contradictory” concerning “dates, names and places of residence.“ The statements included his description of being raised as a Muslim in Turkey, when documents indicate he moved to the United States at the age of 4.
His contract as dean of the seminary expires on June 30 and will not be renewed, according to a statement from LU.
Caner will continue to serve on the seminary’s faculty, as a professor.
I have not found any official statements on the Liberty website (as that is a local Lynchburg paper, they may have received the announcement early) but the same statement is found here where it has the headline:
ERGUN CANER GUILTY: REMOVED AS DEAN FROM SEMINARY
Guilty of self-contradiction? Yes. But I am truly hoping, in light of the fact that Liberty is allowing him to continue on as a professor and teacher, that the reality of his actual life story will soon be forthcoming. We likewise await a statement of confession and repentance from Dr. Caner in light of his continued protestations of innocence. Stay tuned!
Biblical Apologetics Defined on Yesterday's Dividing Line
06/25/2010 - James WhiteI felt a need to dive into the text of Scripture right from the start to provide biblical parameters for the practice of God-honoring apologetics, and that's what we did for the first 40 minutes of the program (I hope to post video later). Then we took some excellent calls on important subjects. First call asked about the phraseology of Psalm 110:1 in reference to Anthony Buzzard (I was correct on the references I gave in my response, Psalm 16:2 and 35:23), UK Bible Colleges and Seminaries, and the abuse of John 5:26 by unitarians. Here's the program.
Tony Costa vs. Bassam Zawadi
06/24/2010 - James WhiteThis is a debate I'd like to attend, and will surely be listening to the recording as soon as it is available.
Yes, I Saw the Presidential Proclamation Against the Christian Concept of Fatherhood
06/23/2010 - James WhiteI was a little busy this past weekend, but yes, I saw the newest installment of "Destroy the Foundations, Blaspheme the Institutions God Has Established" from the White House. I refer to the Father's Day proclamation from President O'Bama, and in particular, to this passage: "Nurturing families come in many forms, and children may be raised by a father and mother, a single father, two fathers, a step father, a grandfather, or caring guardian." The dissonance created by the insertion of a non-family unit (two fathers, i.e., a homosexual "couple") is easily seen. The preceding words had spoken of the "bond forged between a father and a child" as "sacred." Sacred? What made that bond sacred likewise says "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination" (Lev. 18:22). Do not use words that come from our Christian heritage to describe the direct denial of Christian truth. The proclamation likewise speaks of father's activities in the lives of their children, but, of course, two men cannot have children, they can only take children from others and deprive them of the God-ordained family structure of father and mother, and the role-models they need for true maturity. And finally, the text speaks of the "selfless" dedication of fathers---yet, the single most selfish thing one can do is force a child into a situation where they are deprived of a mother and given the example of two men pretending to be "married." This is the very opposite of being "selfless."
So once again we see how the foundational commitments of Western culture are under relentless attack by those who seek with all their might to "free" us from their power. May God have mercy.
Just a Quick Note Before a Long Ride
06/23/2010 - James WhiteI really dislike dishonest men, so when I was directed to the accusation, posted by a critic who has a long track record of incredible prejudice and bigotry, accusing us of "withholding" videos from debates, I was properly incensed. Why do these people insist upon personal attack before doing the first bit of research? Of course, this isn't a "Muslim" thing: the supporters of Ergun Caner have behaved in the exact same way and most of them attend Southern Baptist Churches.
1) We had no control over the recording of the debates in London in 2008.
2) We asked and asked and asked to get the videos. We did so for over a year.
3) We eventually had to raise $2000 to "ransom" the video tapes from the videographer.
4) Once we got them they came in the reverse order we wanted them; that is, we wanted the Shabir Ally debates first, but the other debates came first.
5) The tapes are a MESS. Very poorly recorded, in a different format than our equipment uses requiring difficult conversion, etc.
6) One of the two camera angles for the Ally debates is almost utterly unusable. Part of the delay once we got the tapes has been the huge amount of time it takes to try to salvage anything from the other camera angle and then to splice that into the "good" footage while matching the less-than-sterling audio track.
7) A volunteer was working on the Ally debates but has not completed the project as yet.
8) We are a small organization with limited funding, and I've been really active in doing debates, creating a large back log of projects. For example, everyone who *had* been working on those videos was in Florida to record the debate with Robert Price. When you have a two-man organization and a hand-full of volunteers, lengthy projects can take time.
I have been asking about these videos for a long time. I want them out, I want them available (portions have been available on YouTube for quite some time). They were excellent debates and we are fully confident that once we finally have them in the best form we can provide (which isn't easy to do given how they were recorded), the content will speak for itself. And once everyone can watch, or listen to, these debates, they will see how utterly silly certain critics are in their imbalance and prejudice.
From Gate D26...
06/22/2010 - James WhiteWaiting for my flight home here at the airport in Detroit. I was referred to this blog article by a student at Liberty. I noted the following:
Within the first 20 minutes of class Ergun is chatting about the accusations against him, but made it clear that he isn't worrying about the issue or looking in to it...yet...well never mind. If you're interested I have 7 minutes of his innocence recorded on my cell.
Now those are seven minutes of audio I'd like to hear, personally. Is it not strange that Caner will chat about these issues at the start of a class, but he has purposefully, knowingly prolonged this situation by his refusal to respond to all the documentation that has been provided publicly? He won't talk to CT or the other media outlets, but he will proclaim his "innocence" to his students. Innocence regarding what? What allegations is he responding to? We don't know since, for some reason, he won't openly and honestly respond to the questions that have been asked of him.
I'm sorry, but on the one hand we have men in the SBC saying Ergun Caner has "repented," but on the other we have things like this which hardly indicate a serious, let alone repentant, attitude on Caner's part.
So we are eight days out from the June 30th date set by Liberty for its "report." What will happen then? I have no idea. All I know is this: if the questions we have asked are not answered openly, fully, and without spin, this situation will only grow, it will not diminish.
On another note from that Liberty student's entry, we have another example of just how poor Caner's knowledge of apologetics is, at least as it is reflected by this student (if we had not heard the embarrassing face-plant he offered to the Oneness Pentecostal pastor, we might pass over this in silence). But note this paragraph:
We also discussed the various approaches to apologetics. I do not agree with the presuppositional view. This approach is often known as the Limited Atonement approach. Believes that Christ only died for the elect, and that only the elect can understand the evidence. They must first agree on certain presuppositions before the Gospel can be effectively presented.
I sure would love an opportunity to help this student learn what presuppositionalism really is, but given Caner's history of gross misrepresentation of anything even remotely related to Reformed theology, we are hardly surprised to read such a false caricature in the mind of this student. What a real shame. I would invite this student to call the DL. I'd love to provide a meaningful explanation from a Reformed and presuppositional viewpoint.
Distribute the Gospel of John? No!
06/22/2010 - James White
I note that it would be just fine if a Muslim stood on the same corners and passed out the Qur'an. I have stood on street corners passing out Christian literature in Mesa, Arizona, Salt Lake City, Utah, and elsewhere, for decades. But not in Dearborn, Michigan. Think about it.
Who Moved My Cheese?
06/21/2010 - James WhiteI'm a "Who Moved My Cheese?" type of guy. Don't let me plan and plan and prepare and then, at the very last second, change everything around. As it was this evening I was having to adjust to the movement of my cheese in adjusting to Sheikh Awal's sudden and dishonorable withdrawal from our debate. But I at least had a few hours to adjust, plan on what to do, etc. So I drive to the location, set up to do my presentation, play some clips, take some questions, try to make something positive happen. I am ready to start---it is just before 7pm---when I walk back to the TV cameraman to explain what I want to do at the beginning. My plan was to explain the empty desk and chair, explain why I found Sheikh Awal's explanations wanting, etc. Then I would give my presentation, play the clips of Awal, respond to them, and take questions.
Right as I get to the cameraman I am informed that "We have a Muslim." Eh? Well, evidently, someone, who is a dear brother in the Lord, but someone who does things without even bothering to ask me about it first, had called a Muslim to see if they would "fill in" at the last minute. Now, that is not how I do things. I spent quite some time, weeks, in fact, preparing to debate Sheikh Awal. That way my opening can be directly relevant and the resultant exchange meaningful. So I am told that he will just do some "cross-fire" with me. I see. Then I am told he will do a five minute presentation on Jesus in Islam. Then there will be audience questions. In other words, a debate, without him having to do an opening presentation (i.e., give me enough material to even get a bead on where he's coming from).
At this point I should have said, "No way, it is too late, we go with the plan agreed to after Awal bailed out." But I didn't. My mistake. I began my presentation, and a few minutes after I started I see a young man come in and come down to the other debate table. He is not really listening to me, but he is surely distracting the audience. The gentleman's name is Ehteshaam Gulam. When he got up to speak it was, "Throw all the atheistic, materialistic stuff you can into a blender, sprinkle in Bart Ehrman and a few others, and throw it on the wall to see what sticks." No critical thought, no concern about consistency, just a royal mess, all the way through half an hour of cross-examination. The audience eventually started chuckling at the constant self-contradiction and failure to engage the subject. It was very disappointing, and I believe a solo presentation with questions from the audience, especially with Sam Shamoun in attendance to join me, would have been significantly more useful. But, in the providence of God, this is what happened.
So tomorrow I travel home, Lord willing, and get back into my routine. I am preaching a good bit in July at PRBC, have Hitchens coming up, the conference in Manhattan at the beginning of August, and a busy fall ahead as well.
James White Speaking Instead of Debating Tonight in Romulus, MI
06/21/2010 - Rich PierceMonday June 21st
Doors Open at 6:30pm
"Jesus: A Prophet of Allah or Divine Son of God?"
ALERT: Sheik Awal has unilaterally backed out of this debate therefore James will be giving his presentation ANYWAY!
Come and support Dr. White as he stands in the gap at:
11338 Ozga Road, Romulus MI 48174
NO DEBATE IN ROMULUS TONIGHT!!!!
06/21/2010 - James WhiteI am truly disgusted. I just got off the phone with Sheikh Awal. Here is the situation: the members of the mosque that is hosting him have demanded that he not debate me tonight. Why? Because David Wood was arrested at the Arabic Festival a few days ago. Miss the connection? So do I, and so does any honest, rational human being. But you see, we are all "the same" to the leaders of that mosque. Me, David Wood, Sam Shamoun---whoever, it doesn't matter, we are all the same in the eyes of these men. So, if David Wood is arrested (and I guarantee you, not only will that arrest and charge be overturned upon the first examination by any semi-literate, honest judge, but the resulting law-suit will have a 99% chance of success as long as anything even slightly resembling the Constitution still prevails in Michigan), then it is perfectly correct, in the minds of bigoted men, to hold others responsible for their actions. I pointed out to Sheikh Awal that Sheikh Zakir Naik has been banned from the UK for saying that all Muslims need to be terrorists. So, should I hold him accountable for everything Zakir Naik says or does. If not, why not? American Muslims are constantly crying that they are being lumped together with others unfairly. I have tried NOT to do that myself, but what is the response from these Muslims living in America? They do the exact same thing, holding me accountable for what they judge to be the bad actions of someone else, even when I was not present. I wonder why they did not raise this objection before the other debates with Sheikh Awal? If last night's debate had gone well for the Islamic side, would this objection even be offered? I will let you judge that.
So I am going to head to Romulus tonight and I will give the presentation I was going to give on the deity of Jesus Christ. Then I will play some portions of Sheik Awal's comments video taped in a debate in 2009 and refute them. Then I will take questions. This is the best we can do, for the Muslim side has utterly capitulated to the pressure of religious bigotry and the forces of irrationality that oppose free speech and open debate. If Sheikh Awal would like to show up, I will still give him the books I was going to give him during the debate! But even more so, I still hope and pray that despite his informing me just now that there will be no debate, that he will realize how wrong this is, and he will convince the men at the mosque who are acting in such a childish and prejudiced way to think with clarity and allow him to give a Muslim response to the Christian claims regarding the deity of Christ.
Why Yesterday Was Such a Great Day
06/21/2010 - James White1) It was Father's Day, and my daughter Summer called me as I was driving to ABN after my debate and informed me that I am her favorite person in all the world.
2) It was Father's Day, and my dad was able to attend the debate with Sheikh Awal, sitting in the second row.
3) After the debate a brother informed me that I had been instrumental in his decision to go into the ministry and attend seminary, and he will be graduating in two weeks. Talk about encouraging.
4) I got to preach at Berean Baptist Church and watch a new believer give testimony of faith in Jesus Christ through baptism. The elders and folks were kind and encouraging to me.
5) I got to sit and learn from Sam Shamoun until 1 am in the morning on ABN (OK, I probably stopped learning about 12:30 am when my brain started to shut down). Sam Shamoun is a walking, talking, Assyrian encyclopedia.
6) I got to spend my last time on this trip with the fine folks at the Aramaic Broadcasting Network. I look forward to returning to finish recording a series we began working on, "Answering Islam." I hope to participate in future shows via Skype as well.
And that was just part of the day. I look forward to tonight and my next encounter with Sheikh Awal.
What a Day in Detroit!
06/20/2010 - James WhiteIt will be past 2am EDT when I finish this, but I wanted to get a quick report up on the blog before I vegetate for, I hope, at least 7.5 hours.
I started the day at the Berean Baptist Church, doing the early and late services, and the Bible Study in between. I spoke on the reliability of the NT documents in the services, and on the deity of Christ during the Bible Study. Everyone was very kind and encouraging. Thanks to Dan Knapp for arranging this, and to pastor McIntosh and the rest of the elders for having me. I enjoyed watching a baptism of a young man from Germany as well, and his testimony was very encouraging. Great to see the Lord at work in that wonderful fellowship.
Managed to catch a little rest and then head to the debate site where I caught the very end of the debate between Sheikh Awal and Tony Costa. I really enjoyed getting to spend time with Tony again, this time with both of us engaging in the apologetic work at the same time. He and I were on ABN last night and it was a pleasure to watch him finishing up his debate with Sheikh Awal. I appreciate his participation in this weekend's events here in Detroit.
Then we got into the debate with Sheikh Awal. The topic was, "Is the Bible We Possess Today the Word of God?" I laid out the necessary parameters for a fair, truthful, honest, and scholarly discussion, insisting that we must differentiate between questions of textual corruption, translational issue, historical issues, and theological issues. I went through the testimony to the text of the NT, its breadth and antiquity, and pointed out that the Qur'an likewise has a textual history, and contains textual variants (a fact Sheikh Awal never even tried to refute).
As soon as Sheikh Awal stood up---he began the process of confusing all of those categories. His basic presentation was that the Bible says things about prophets that should not be said (David and Bathsheba, for example), and therefore, this just can't be the Word of God. He repeated many of his standard errors, claiming that the canon was determined by the Council of Nicea, for example (a common myth that has no historical foundation).
I was able to refute each and every one of his opening arguments in my twelve minute rebuttal, and even had time to give him a gift (an NET/NA27 diglot). I almost got through all the points he raised in his own rebuttal in the five minute rebuttal that followed that.
The cross-examination was very difficult. My opponent refused to engage the topic meaningfully, often answering a question other than the one I asked, for completely failing to provide any meaningful response at all. It was a clear illustration of the maxim, "Inconsistency is the sign of a failed argument." If anything was proven clearly, it was that Sheikh Awal uses one standard for Christianity, and a completely different standard for Islam. By the end of the evening, everyone in the audience could see that very, very clearly.
While I do not believe Sheikh Awal managed to provide a single compelling argument against the veracity of the Bible, I still look forward to tomorrow night and the debate on the topic of the deity of Christ. It will be a second opportunity to contrast meaningful, fair exegesis against the a-contextual, cut/paste/eisegete tactics that are often used to attack Christian truth.
I wasn't able to stick around long after the debate, as I had to drive quite a distance to the ABN studios and appear on the 11pm to 1am edition of "Jesus or Muhammad" with Pastor Joseph and Sam Shamoun. I was pretty tuckered out by the time we finished, but it was still a most enjoyable time.
I hope to post the video from Saturday evening on ABN, and from tonight, tomorrow. Be watching, and please pray for the debate tomorrow evening!
Friday Night's "Jesus or Muhammad" Episode from the Aramaic Broadcasting Network
06/19/2010 - James WhiteIf you have trouble with the player, you can go to the ABN website directly. Enjoy, and join us tonight as well for another live episode!
Aramaic Broadcasting Network Live Show Tonight
06/19/2010 - James WhiteJust a reminder I will be back on "Jesus or Muhammad" live tonight at 8:30pm EDT. Last night's program has been posted here. Once I get the embedding commands straightened out, I will post it here as well. Tomorrow night I will start the audio live feed from the debate as early as I can, hopefully no later than 6pm EDT.
Christians Taken Away in Handcuffs, Cameras Confiscated, While Muslims Chant "Allahu Akhbar!" on US Soil
06/19/2010 - James WhiteI tweeted from my phone late last night that David Wood, Nabeel Qureshi (Acts 17 Apologetics Ministry) and two other Christians were arrested and taken away in handcuffs by the Dearborn, MI police. I had been informed of this as soon as we finished the early edition of "Jesus or Muhammad?" on ABN (as soon as the video is posted I will try to get it linked). David and Nabeel have reported on their experience here, having been released after spending the night in the Dearborn jail (they will never deal with the stories of the persecution of the early church in the same way again, I assure you). I do hope proper legal representation will lead to a meaningful civil action that will re-establish the rule of law (not Sharia) in Dearborn. As long as their cameras are not tampered with or destroyed, that should be the result, if justice prevails.
But I ask my readers to consider well what would have happened had the situation been reversed. What if Muslims were dragged away in handcuffs to the jeering chants of "Hallelujah!"? What kind of response would have come from such an event? Would not CNN and all the rest be on the spot? How much violence would you expect to see? One wonders.
Long Day! One More Program to Do!
06/18/2010 - James WhiteIn half an hour the next episode of "Jesus or Muhammad" will begin, live, here. It is live and call-in. Please pray for my voice. I've been at it all day and you will notice I am rather hoarse. I will be back on the program same time tomorrow night, then on Sunday I have two sermons, a Sunday School, three-hour debate, and the late night ABN program (till 1am Monday morning). I appreciate your prayers and support! Also, if you dial up the weather radar for the Detroit area, you will see that a huge wall of angry orange and red thunderstorms are making a straight line for us, so...!
Harold Camping - Family Radio Resource List
06/18/2010 - Micah Burke
Time Left Until Harold Camping Backpedals
UPDATE - The End is Near (like, this Saturday)? The False Teaching of Harold Camping - Al Mohler
UPDATE - One Biblical Reason Why Judgment Day is Not on May 21, Alan Kurschner
UPDATE - Some More Thoughts on Harold Camping and May 21 - James White
Update - Some Thoughts on the End of the World - James White
UPDATE - Here is a a great article documenting Camping's timeline of the end-times by Dr. David R. Reagan.
UPDATE - President of Westminster Seminary, California, W. Robert Godfrey has written a new multi-part piece on Harold Camping and his origins.
This post is intended to be a reference point for those seeking information regarding Harold Camping, Family Radio, and the predictions of the end of the world on May 21, 2011 and the destruction of the Earth on October 21, 2011. While not intended to be an unbiased resource list, we recommend readers/listeners do so with discernment, Alpha and Omega Ministries is not responsible for the material on outside links. I'll try to keep this resource list updated as we draw closer to May, 2011.
In 1958, a Christian Reformed Church member and construction company owner, Harold Camping, invested in a series of radio stations, eventually becoming the president of what was to become Family Radio. For many years Family Radio provided a distinctively Reformed Christian message to the world. Even as late as 2002, Family Radio was still broadcasting sermons from the likes of R.C. Sproul and James M. Boice.
In 1988, Camping and his family left the Christian Reformed Church, joining a local fellowship in Alameda. By 1992 Camping was teaching that Christ would probably return in 1994. He then set to work writing his book 1994(?) in which he predicted the return of Christ in 1994 and declaring that true Christians must leave their churches. Like many cults before, when Camping's date passed without Christ's visible return, Camping, now 88, decided that 1994 was the when the "latter rain" pouring of the Spirit took place. Camping claims that the "great tribulation" began in 1988.
Several years ago we had learned that the silence in Heaven for about half an hour referred to the 2,300 days that were the first part of the 23-year (exactly 8,400 days) Great Tribulation period. This period began on May 21, 1988. - "No Man Knows the Day or Hour?", Family Radio
What does Harold Camping Teach?
Within the recent past, Camping has declared May 21, 2011 to be the date of the rapture, with Oct 21, 2011 the date of Christ's return and the destruction of the Earth. Camping claims that all churches are evil and that anyone attending a church when the rapture comes is damned and without hope.
The time line of Camping's eschatology as explained by Dr. David R. Reagan:
- The Church Age ended on May 21, 1988 and the Tribulation began that day.
- Between May 21, 1988 and September 6, 1994, the first six years of the Tribulation, almost no one was saved.
- On September 6, 1994, God began to pour out His Spirit. This will result in a great end time harvest of souls during the last years of the Tribulation.
- Since the Tribulation will last 8,400 days or 23 years, dating from May 21, 1988, the Rapture will occur on May 21, 2011.
- Those left behind will be judged by Jesus for a period of five months, until October 21, 2011, at which time the world will come to an end.
Harold Camping: The Madness of Date-Setting, Dr. David R. Reagan, http://www.lamblion.com/articles/articles_cults16.php
Since his original declaration of 1994, Camping's views have drifted further and further from orthodox Christianity. Camping's latest heretical teachings include: ...
[Click Here to Continue Reading]
Schedule For Great Debates in MI Needs Major Fix, Here it is:
06/18/2010 - Rich PierceThe Center for Religious Debate is hosting several debates this week in Romulus Michigan. Somehow, someway, I have no idea why, the schedule that we were given and posted on AOMin.org was errant. We owe many folks an apology as they showed up on Wednesday night expecting to go to a debate that turned out to be in a TV studio with no room for an audience. Ugh. Please accept our sincerest apologies for this.
I offer the following in order to correct the record for the events that remain. After taking the following information from the website for the Center for Religious Debate I personally verified the information with George Saieg just prior to posting this.
The Great Debate Series
Location:11338 Ozga Road, Romulus MI 48174
Friday June 18thDoors Open at 6:30pm
“Was Muhammad Predicted in the Bible?”
Rev. Tony Costa vs. Sheikh Ahmed Mohammed Awal
Saturday June 19thDoors Open at 2:00pm
"Crucifixion or Cruci-Fiction?"
Apologist Osama Abdallah vs. Professor David Wood
Saturday June 19thDoors Open at 5:30pm
"Does Science Show That Islam is True?"
Professor David Wood vs. Apologist Osama Abdallah
Sunday June 20thDoors Open at 2:30pm
"Is the Qur'an the Word of God"
Rev. Tony Costa vs. Sheikh Ahmed Mohammed Awal
Sunday June 20thDoors Open at 6:00pm
"Is the Bible We Have Today the Word of God?"
Sheikh Ahmed Mohammed Awal vs. Dr. James White
Monday June 21stDoors Open at 6:30pm
"Jesus: A Prophet of Allah or Divine Son of God?"
Sheikh Ahmed Mohammed Awal vs. Dr. James White
Debates Suggested fees:
$8 Each $5 Student for each debate
$15 Each $10 Student for all debates
Apologist Osama Abdallah (I was not able to find a bio on the website in the short time that I had to do this. :-/ -RP)
Sheikh Ahmed Mohammed Awal is a scholar on Islamic science, comparative religion, and logic and a student of Sheikh Ahmed Dedat. He is the founder and director of Zaitun Dawah Institute-a think tank research center with headquarters in Seattle, WA and branches in NY, Atlanta and Africa. The center specializes in propagation of Islam to people of different faiths through the medium of science and comparative analysis. Sheikh Ahmed Mohammed Awal is a product of Kaduna polytechnic college of environmental studies. He has a degree in Engineering Surveying. He is also a graduate of Kano state college of irrigation and surveying. Sheikh Awal has debated many Christian theologians both in the United States and Africa. He has lectured in colleges, universities, and symposiums. He travels all over the United States and does programs in prisons and radio stations about Islam. Sheikh Awal has written two books: Islam and Science Vol. 1 and Islam and Christianity Vol. 1. He resides in Kent, WA.
Dr. James White is the director of Alpha and Omega Ministries, a Christian apologetics organization. He is the author of more than twenty books, a professor, an accomplished debater (having engaged in more than seventy-five moderated, public debates), and an elder of the Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church. http://www.aomin.org/
Professor David Wood is a teaching professor of philosophy at Fordham University, co-founder of Acts 17 Apologetics Ministry and a member of the Evangelical Philosophical Society. David, a former atheist, became a Christian after examining the historical evidence for Jesus’ resurrection. He has debated over 25 times with Muslim Apologists throughout the United States and England on behalf of “The Center for Religious Debate.” http://www.answeringmuslims.com/
Rev. Tony Costa has earned a B.A. and an M.A. in the Study of Religion from the University of Toronto. He is currently a Ph.D candidate with Radboud University in the Netherlands in New Testament studies. Tony is also a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, the Evangelical Theological Society and the Evangelical Philosophical Society. His area of expertise is biblical and systematic theology, cults, the New Age Movement, and comparative world religions. Tony is also adjunct professor of Christian apologetics with the Toronto Baptist Seminary. In addition, Tony is also an ordained minister. As a Christian apologist, Rev. Costa gives reasons for the valid belief in Christianity, and also advocates the unique claims of Jesus Christ. www.freewebs.com/tonycosta
Rev. Tony Costa
Apologist Mary Jo Sharp became a Christian at the age of 20 after having read the Bible. Several years into Christian ministry, Mary Jo began to question the basis for her belief in God. She decided that if God was real, there should be solid answers to support His existence; and solid answers are what she found. Mary Jo has become familiar with the arguments for and against the existence of God in a number of areas. She has debated two Muslim apologists in the United States and Canada on the topic of the Crucifixion of Christ and issues surrounding women in Islam and Christianty. http://www.confidentchristianity.com/
Pastor George Saieg lived and studied in an Islamic environment in Sudan. At the age 11, he accepted Christ. Immediately, Pastor Saieg started sharing the Gospel with Muslims. Since God brought him to the U.S. He renewed his passion, vision, and dedication to mobilize the American church to effectively reach their Muslim neighbors. He is ordained as a Pastor with Calvary Chapel. http://www.ministrytomuslims.com/
Alpha and Omega Ministries
The Reformed Worldview
06/18/2010 - Jeff DownsIs there such thing as a Reformed worldview? Listen to Dr. Scott Oliphint from the 2007 GPTS Spring Theology Conference speak on this very issues. Click here to listen.
More audio from this conference (theme: A Christian Worldview) will be posted soon.
For further resources on Worldviews see:
Revolutions in Worldview: Understanding the Flow of Western Thought
Worldview: The History of a Concept.
What is a Christian Worldview.
Live Feeds, Debate Times, Etc.
06/17/2010 - James WhiteI realize there has been a lot of shuffling of the dates/times this weekend, but I'm sure trying to arrange numerous debates, programs, etc., is difficult. Even today I found out I was supposed to speak at a Conference this evening---but no one bothered to inform me of that. [Note: always best to ask the speaker first!] In any case, I know that tomorrow evening and Saturday evening I will be on the live broadcast from ABN, taking calls and talking to Muslims. You can watch via satellite, or watch on line here. The programs begin at 8:30pm EDT (5:30pm PDT). Should be interesting!
I will be live streaming the audio only of both debates, Lord willing, at the regular Dividing Line link. I normally start the feed as early as I can get the unit set up, which is almost always at least half an hour before things get started. The last times I saw published were 6:30pm EDT for the Sunday night debate, and 7:00pm EDT for the Monday night debate. So look for the stream to go live before then. The Sunday night debate is on the alleged corruption of the Bible, the Monday night debate on the deity of Christ. I expect a very lively exchange, to be sure, with the possibility of repeated (and unwanted) audience participation as well. Be listening!
Harold Camping Describes the End of the World
06/17/2010 - James SwanHere's a video clip of Mr. Camping explaining what the end of the world will be like. Mr. Camping explains exactly what will happen on the last day. This video clip is from an interview in Camping's Oakland office a few weeks ago. From the article which accompanies this video:
"He's also unafraid to talk about the toll his evangelical beliefs have taken on his personal life. Camping has seven children and grandchildren into the double digits, yet only his daughter Susan, who works as his executive secretary, shares his take on the Bible. 'She's the only one who's with me on this,' he told me."
Update: TurretinFan comments:
Back in 1994, Harold Camping's predictions regarding the end of the world did not come true. The world continued on. He has new predictions that the rapture will occur on May 21, 2011, with world continuing for another 153 days from then. One of his predictions, as you will see in the clip, is that there will be a massive earthquake that is large enough to open all of the graves of, in essence, everyone who has ever been buried. I hope that those who have been following Camping's teaching will realize on May 22, 2011, that this was a serious mistake.Mr. Camping's method of Biblical interpretation is flawed. Rather than using the grammatical-historical method of exegesis, Mr. Camping applies a highly arbitrary method of trying "decode" a "hidden meaning" in the text of Scripture. The arbitrary method permitted him to predict late 1994, and now permits him to predict May 21, 2011. If that date fails, it will permit him to pick a new date, and again and again.What's more, folks should be aware that Camping is running his organization this way: "we make decisions as if the end could be quite far away ... contracts are negotiated as if the future was altogether indefinite ... " (source - Time Has an End). May I strongly urge those who have gone along with Mr. Camping's teachings to please at least imitate this aspect of Camping's organizations. Continue to make plans for the future beyond May 21, 2011. When the earthquake does not arrive, find a Bible-believing church near you and join yourself to that fellowship.
Tim Rogers Asks A Question
06/16/2010 - James WhiteBefore my first word about Ergun Caner's deceptive statements, my teaching history was documented and well known. There was no question about it, no mystery, no controversy. In fact, I learned recently I have a former student teaching at Liberty (don't worry, I still like this person, so I won't name him). I began teaching Greek for Golden Gate's brand new regional campus in Phoenix in the Fall of 1995. I taught a wide range of classes while the regional campus was still very small, staff-wise. Greek, Greek Exegesis, Hebrew, Hebrew Exegesis, Systematic Theology, Christology, Christian Philosophy of Religion, Development of Patristic Theology (one of my favorites), Apologetics. I was invited to teach in the Denver Campus, and in Mill Valley during summer intensives. As the staff in the Arizona Campus expanded, regular teachers came on board to teach Greek and Hebrew, and I moved to more apologetically oriented classes, including more and more focus upon Islam and atheism. The last class I taught was in January in Mill Valley.
Now, all of this information is on my web page. It was publicly available, and non-controversial. This isn't like claiming to have lived in Turkey or claiming to have debated in eleven countries and thirty five states against leading Islamic apologists (when you haven't debated a single one). Yet, certain men think raising questions about anyone who would put the light on Ergun Caner's claims will somehow accomplish---what? I can't begin to understand their thinking or their motivations. Just another amazing chapter in "What Happens When You Seek Honesty in Ministry."
Asking the Wrong Marian Questions ...
06/16/2010 - Tur8infanIt seems as though whenever we bring up the subject of Roman Catholics worshiping Mary, someone who is a Roman Catholic will say: "Go to your local parish, and as people are leaving Mass, ask them if they worship Mary!" Their expectation, of course, is that the folks at the local parish will say that they do not worship Mary.
The problem with this question (beyond the fact that folks leaving Mass don't really want to be nagged with questions, they have places to be!) is that if we changed the question to: "Do you say the Hail Mary," we'd get exactly the opposite result - and praying the Hail Mary to Mary is one way by which people worship Mary. If we changed the question to: "Did you place any candles at Mary's side altar," we would still get a lot of affirmations. That too is an act of worship - an act of religious devotion.
The importance of asking the right Marian question is highlighted in this paragraph:
I asked the women I talked to as part of my research, "Do you think that she's more important than God?" and they say, "Oh, no." But if you say to them, "When you pray, whom do you pray to?" they say, "Guadalupe, Mary." I say, "Why would you go to her with things that you would not go to God with?" "Because she's a woman, she understands."(source)
It is great that the women recognize that Mary is less important than God - it is sad that they think that Mary is more understanding than God - it is sad that when they pray, they pray to Mary. This particular researcher does not seem to have asked the direct question, "Do you worship Mary," but the question is answered indirectly by identifying the object of the women's prayers.
I realize you may still have doubts. Consider the story told at the conclusion of the same article:
I'll tell you this story. I was with a Spanish priest, and he was showing me around the basilica and there was this old man on the side. The priest said, "Hombre, what are you doing here?" And the old man said, I want to pray to the Lady." The priest replied, "Well, I don't see you praying." And the old man admitted, "Oh, Father, I don't know how to pray." So Father said, "OK, here's a prayer book." The old man said, "I don't know how to read," and then the priest starts yelling at him, "Well, what are you doing here?" And the old man said, "You know, it's just enough for me to look in her face."Shouldn't those words, "it's just enough for me to look in her face," help people to see that what is going on here is not the Christian religion but idolatry?
The author of the article, a Roman Catholic, explains in the article how people ask him to pray for them to Mary - so many that he keeps a notebook with their requests. He even suggests that, though he did not pray for it, a serious illness he had may have been cured by making the pilgrimage to the shrine where this particular idol is displayed.
At that point he said:
I was able to surrender, to say to Guadalupe, "You more than anyone know what it is that I need or want. Just give me the strength to be open to that."Is not the blasphemy of that claim transparent?
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen
And following that up with a similar manifestation of the Christian religion, I shall conclude this article.
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:17)
Today on the Last DL till June 24th
06/15/2010 - James WhiteTook a good call on John 6:37 to start (after going over some of the details for this coming weekend of ministry in the Detroit area) and then spent the rest of the hour reviewing more of the presentation of Sheikh Muhammad Ahmed Awal, my opponent in the two upcoming debates this weekend. Here's the program. Also, I just received word that the late night possibility I mentioned at the beginning of this program did not materialize. Should that change, I will let you know.
Thanks to Sermon Audio!
06/14/2010 - James WhiteI was just informed that the staff at Sermon Audio chose one of my sermons for their "Staff Picks" page, which is very kind of them! Here is the sermon they chose:
So PRBC is Finally on Sermon Audio
06/14/2010 - James WhiteAfter all the "Ack, Real Audio?!" complaints and a long down-time as far as posting sermons and Bible studies from the Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church, I have gotten us set up on Sermon Audio. Here is a lesson from John 10 from last week, and my fellow elder's sermon from Romans 1 as well.
Caner Scandal Hits Tehran Times
06/14/2010 - James WhiteGene Clyatt, who for some odd reason has a fascination with small furry rodents with large fluffy tails, just tweeted an important development in the Caner Scandal: the story has been picked up and published in the Tehran Times. Here is the story. The English is rough, as one might expect, but it is a fairly wide-ranging summary of the state of affairs. Providing me with a major "I told you so" moment, the article notes,
Many critics regard Caner to be just an opportunist who has sowed tension between the world's two largest faiths.
""He's done enormous harm … To listen to someone like Caner, you'd think house meetings to decide what to blow up next are daily fare for all Muslims,"" said Charles Kimball, director of religious studies at the University of Oklahoma.
Analysts say that Caner's climb to fame, however, illustrates how important Muslim conversion stories are among American Christian communities today.
It also brings back to mind the longstanding fascination of the American society -- dating back to the colonial period -- with tales of Muslims converting to Christianity.
When you combine myth-making, exaggeration, and simple falsehood, with truth, this is the result. Not only are true converts maligned inappropriately, but when Caner says true things about Islam, for example, the truth of those statements is automatically tainted and diminished by its consistent conjunction with falsehoods. There is a strong element of truth in the observation that conservative evangelicalism/fundamentalism is rife with a desire to hear the "worst" about Islam. And surely there is much to report about the evil perpetrated by the Taliban, for example. But it has long been my theme that the Christian's first concern should be an accurate knowledge of the fundamentals of Islam so that a clear, compelling gospel witness can be made. Islam is not a monolith, and just as we are offended when people tar and feather us for the sins of, say, Rome, we have to be consistent and allow Muslims to define their own faith without broad-brushing them in a way that would offend us (and obscure the truth).
So while Ergun Caner's refusal to come clean and address the mountain of self-contradiction in his own pronouncements has led to further mockery of the gospel in Tehran, I provide a contrast from just a few years ago, when I had the opportunity to record programs for satellite broadcast in Iran itself.
Riding Year 2009/2010
06/14/2010 - James WhiteFor the half dozen folks who would find this at all interesting....
Riding year 2009/2010 completed (as of Saturday). Distance: 5,420 miles. Total Ascent: 148,580 ft (45,287m, 28.14 miles). So I covered 140 miles more, but it was the ascent that was wild. Last year was only 21.71 miles of ascent.
Since early April my rather radical change (for the better) of diet has netted me a weight loss of more than 21 pounds; that in turn has upped my average speeds, which gives me more miles over the same time period, etc. Nice feedback loop that I fully realize will not keep going forever. But for now, very thankful for health, and continuing to work toward my goal of being the fittest 50 year old I can be...in 2.5 years from now, that is. :-)
Alistair Begg Will Be On Iron Sharpens Iron 6/14
06/13/2010 - James SwanAlistair Begg, senior pastor at Parkside Church near Cleveland, Ohio, author and renowned radio Bible teacher on the Truth for Life broadcast, will address the theme: "Promoting the Gospel in an Alien World".
Listen to this live, call-in, radio / Internet interview Monday June 14, 6-7 PM EST on WNYG-1440AM in New York & Connecticut or listen Worldwide via live streaming at sharpens.org (you will hear Spanish programming before "Iron Sharpens Iron" if you tune in or log in early). Call in with your own questions for Dr. Begg: (631)482-8300.
Alistair has been in pastoral ministry since 1975. He was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, and following graduation from The London School of Theology, he served eight years in Scotland at both Charlotte Chapel in Edinburgh and Hamilton Baptist Church. In 1983, he became the senior pastor at Parkside Church.
He has written several books and is heard daily and weekly on Truth For Life. The teaching on Truth For Life stems from the week by week Bible teaching at Parkside Church. He and his wife, Susan, were married in 1975 and they have three grown children.
Alistair will be a featured speaker this week at the 2010 National Conference for Ligonier Ministries addressing the theme "Is the Exclusivity of Christ Unjust?": http://www.ligonier.org/events/2010-national/.
Click here to view Alistair's complete speaking itinerary.
The Sin-Forgiving God
06/13/2010 - Tur8infanOne of the attributes of God is the ability to forgive sins. This is stated explicitly in Exodus:
Exodus 34:7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.Furthermore, it is found implicitly in the passages of the Old Testament where God promises to forgive sin:
- 2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
- Jeremiah 31:34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
- Psalm 25:15-18
Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net. Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses. Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins.
- Psalm 85:1-4 (To the chief Musician, A Psalm for the sons of Korah.)
LORD, thou hast been favourable unto thy land: thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob. Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. Selah. Thou hast taken away all thy wrath: thou hast turned thyself from the fierceness of thine anger. Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease.
Luke 11:4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil....
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Athanasius contra Michuta #3
06/12/2010 - Tur8infanAthanasius' canon of Scripture, presented in his 39th Festal letter is famous. It's not nearly as famous as his "Athanasius Contra Mundum" rejection of the Arian heresy, but it is probably the second most famous aspect of Athanasius' life today (his excellent letter to Marcellinus on the Psalms was famous in ancient times and perhaps we can revitalize interest in that excellent work as well). ...
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Upcoming ABN Programs from Detroit
06/11/2010 - James WhiteOK, I know I have made sure this 2001 picture is no longer on our website, so how does it keep cropping up? Ack! Oh well, here's an interesting advertisement for the upcoming ABN programs:
Today on the DL: Hussein Wario, Great Calls, and an Englishman Stuck in Oz
06/10/2010 - James WhiteWe began the program with a discussion with Hussein Wario. Mr. Wario had called once before, defending Ergun Caner's claim to have done his Islamic prayers in the boys restroom in high school. I will let the listener draw their own conclusions from our exchange, but it was sad to listen to him refuse to answer direct questions, dodge the documentation of his error regarding the proper means of hadith citation, and then join his compatriots in showing a willingness to "shoot the messenger" and attack me personally. Then we had some great calls, and finished up with a Skype call from Down Under, where an Englishman who is stranded in the Queen's Penal Colony announced that England will defeat the United States this weekend in the World Cup. In the process, I got called "seagull bait." You will have to listen to get that part. Here's the program.
So as to not multiply posts...
The following is still on the Liberty website, part of a PDF specifically advertising the seminary and seeking to attract students. It takes time to hide evidence of long-standing exaggeration and falsehoods, as the claims regarding his alleged debates remains, and that right in the middle of a self-promotional piece. But what caught my attention were these lines:
Knowing that they were training for such missions, these soldiers trained every day for the most intense warfare. Committed & hungry---they understand a simple yet profound principle: to be truly prepared, you cannot take shortcuts. They study under instructors who have learned from conflict and battle. For them, it is not enough to know theory and conjecture. They train for the real struggle....Why? Because in real life ministry, there are no shortcuts.
I cannot think of a greater example of "short cutting" than making up a mythical past and claiming to do what you have never done, all to promote yourself. The only battle Ergun Caner has been in of late is the one brought on by his attempts to slam believers who have sought to challenge him to honesty and truthfulness.
Speaking of "Front Lines," pray for myself and the other men who will be engaging in the debate series in Detroit next weekend. I will be recording videos for airing on the Aramaic Broadcasting Network on the reliability of the NT, and then doing two debates with Sheikh Awal. [Note: my debate on Sunday has been switched with Tony Costa's, so mine will be in the evening now]. We will actually be on the very "Front Lines" Ergun Caner claims as his field of battle. He will, as always, be conspicuous by his absence.
Ergun Caner Saga
06/10/2010 - Tur8infan"I would fight and die for a Muslim's right to build a mosque in every city in America." That's a line taken from what Caner's website in 2005 described this way:
He debated Michael Moore in a nationally syndicated column entitled “Hatriotism.”I found what appears to be the colorful column (part 1)(part 2). The article is critical of Michael Moore, but it seems questionable to say that "He debated Michael Moore" based on the article, any more than I debated William Lane Craig by posting criticism of one of his articles (link).
The article itself raises a lot of good points. Nevertheless, mixed in there are some odd comments. Caner states, for example: "I am a Persian Turkish immigrant raised as a Sunni Muslim, and in the interest of full disclosure, I must state that I left Islam in 1982, the same year I became an American citizen." But elsewhere I recall him specifically saying he was Anatolian, not Persian. (see more examples here) Similarly his old bio page at Liberty (now gone) and his current bio page at TrueLife.org (link to bio including rather distinctive beard photo) say that he obtained citizenship in 1984, which would make more sense, since that is when he turned 18. One also might ask whether "full disclosure" might have been better served by providing a caveat such as "I was raised in suburban central Ohio." And Caner's book, Unveiling Islam suggests that Caner's conversion was the year before 1982: "Ergun then invited Emir to a revival service the following year. ... On November 4, 1982, Emir was born again." (Unveiling Islam, page 19) ...
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Official Alpha & Omega Ministries Facebook Page
06/10/2010 - Micah BurkeHey folks, just wanted to let you know that we're now live on Facebook. Mostly a aggregator for blog posts and other relevant info relating to A&O, there are also special discounts available in our store for those who friend A&O on Facebook. You can click the link above or the nice big icon to the right there to access the page.
This is the official Facebook page of Alpha & Omega Ministries, accept no substitutes!
How to Demonstrate You Would Not Recognize the Truth if it Slapped You in the Face
06/10/2010 - James WhiteI just saw the most absurd (not offensive, just absurd) argument in the Caner situation I've ever seen. Someone (I haven't even bothered keeping up with this guy) was arguing that my Arabic tutor, Issam, missed a portion of Surah Al Fatiha in our video, and hence we should be exposed! He begins with the absurd accusation that he's downloaded the video in case we pull it because of this brilliant observation! Then he writes,
Apparently James White Arabic teacher (whom we do not know the name of or qualifications of) was teaching us Surah Al Fatiha.
The man made a huge blunder on this surah. He says bismillah ir rahman ir raheem, ar rahman ar raheem, ....
ummm where is the Al hamdulillahi rabil 'alameen?
Please see here: http://transliteration.org/quran/WebSite_CD/MixYuwsuf/Fram2E.htm
If a teacher of Arabic can make such mistakes this is all the amunition that Caner and his supporters need.
Now I know you may not care for me or my theology as a Muslim, but I do believe that you are stand up man.
I don't really care for White but I believe I can count on you since you have taken White to task for his inconsistent views on baby baptism. Good on you!
I'm sending the same information to Debbie Kaufman, Peter Lumpkins, Tim Guthrie, Hussein Wario etc.
I hope that when we do whistle blowing that it whistle works just as well on Calvinist as it does on Arminians.
Well! Talk about making mountains out of mole hills! Let's see. We have a Christian (not a former Muslim) quoting the text BY MEMORY, not having ever been taught it, but only having heard it in Syrian culture so often that it "stuck," and he misses a single phrase, and this is somehow relevant? Something to be "exposed"? How is it relevant that a Christian who learned the text not by studying it or memorizing it but simply hearing it repeated so often in Syria relevant to the actual argumentation relating to Caner's statements? What about all the other Arabic that was spoken? What about the rest of the information given? This is supposed to be argumentation? The level of abject incoherence in the thinking of such people is shocking. I am not at all surprised this man does not "really care" for me, as I only appeal to people who are consistent in their thinking, and one thing is for sure, this man and consistent thinking are on opposite sides of the planet. But once again, what an incredible example of "focus on irrelevancies, ignore the central point." The only thing more sad is this: such fallacious argumentation could very well be picked up by the likes of Guthrie and Lumpkins, since they, along with this Muslim, show no capacity for logical reasoning and fairness.
The New (and Hopefully Improved) Calvinist Gadfly
06/09/2010 - Alan KurschnerFrank, make me proud.
Six Years of Teaching: Creation, Worship, Scripture, etc.
06/09/2010 - Jeff DownsI recently uploaded six years of the GPTS Annual Spring Theology Conferences (1998-2003) to Sermon Audio. There is quite a bit to feast upon including (most include Q&A and some include debates):
1998 THEME: Southern Presbyterianism (NOTE: this was the first conference and the topic was fitting for the occasion; Dr. Pipa became the first president of GPTS)
*Introduction to Old School Theology, Dr. Morton Smith
*Old School Theology & Southern Seminaries. Dr. David Calhoun
*Old School Presbyterians and Social Issues. Dr. T. David Gordon
*Southern Presbyterian Preaching. Dr. Douglas Kelly
*Impact of New School Thought. Dr. Greg Singer
*An Uncommon School for Uncommon Times. Dr. Joseph Pipa
Click here to listen.
Did God Create in Six Days?
Written for Our Instruction: The Sufficiency of Scripture for All of Life
Sanctification: Growing in Grace
Reformed Spirituality: Communing with Our Glorious God
The Worship of God
White Chocolate Peanut Butter Tubs and Ergun Caner's Tweets (w/update)
06/09/2010 - James WhiteA number of times I have been asked to narrate what "started" my involvement in the exposure of Ergun Caner's plethora of mythical promotional claims. Which is why there is a picture of a huge, yummy, massively unhealthy white chocolate peanut butter tub (that's too big to be a "cup") over there to the right. Here's the story (and note, when I tell a story, I can actually document its historical basis!).
I started using Twitter last summer. On October 14th, 2009, I posted a comment about a Tweet written by Ergun Caner. He had written, "Conservative churches do not need Reformation of doctrine. We believe...We need a Revolution of soul winning." Here is the blog article I posted. Well, as I recall, the next day I flew out to Montana, via Denver. As I look at the time stamps, sometime in the morning I posted a comment on how some people had questioned the honesty of my citation of Caner's tweet. Evidently, Micah (our graphics guru) added a screen shot of Caner's Twitter page after I posted my comments, and that is when I noted the claim in the side column about all of his debates. That is when I put out the call for help in finding Caner's debates, a call that would, eventually, lead to my hearing from Mohammad Khan.
Then I headed off to Denver, and that is when I took the picture above. What happened was I had a bit of a layover before my flight into Great Falls. As I was walking to the next gate I saw a store that had chocolate and...well, I hadn't really started my current diet then, you know? So I grabbed that delicious treat and got to my gate, pulled out my MacBook and checked my mail. I took the picture with my cell phone and sent it to my daughter. But in the upper corner you can see that I was looking at the interviews Caner had posted on iTunes. As I recall, someone had sent me a link to those. So I mentioned this in a quick blog post I wrote right at the gate. And note the last comment I made:
So I'm just going to have to ask Ergun Caner directly via Twitter: where are all these debates from forty states and eleven countries? What are the names of these leaders in Islam you have debated? How can the rest of us learn from your debates if we can't find them? Inquiring minds want to know.
Now, I had mis-remembered this part, as I thought I was looking at his site because he had already blocked me. Instead, it was that tweet that resulted in my being blocked, as I noted the next day (here). So the picture up above is historical indeed: I was just about to send the Tweet that would get me blocked, which would lead to the further inquiries that got me in touch with Mohammad Khan, which led to...everything else.
Now, at the time, I had no earthly idea how nasty this situation would become. I had no idea how much I would learn in the process. But note that I stated my intentions and purposes right at the start:
So why should anyone care about this? Well, let me tell you why I care. I labor in this field. I invest my life in apologetics, and I am working very hard to be a good student of Islam, and a good representative of the Christian faith to Muslims. So I have to be consistent. If there is someone running about the apologetic landscape making claims about his activities that simply do not stand scrutiny, then someone needs to speak up about it. The things that Ergun Caner says in his interviews and videos are often intended to create outrage. Speaking of "towel heads" and using the other kind of mocking language he does is hardly helpful. But here's the simple conclusion of it all: I have no reason to believe Ergun Caner has ever engaged in a formal, meaningful debate with any leading Islamic apologists, and I'll be perfectly honest with you: I hope he doesn't. I do not believe it would be beneficial. But at least I can look a Muslim in the eye and honestly say, "I have called for Dr. Caner to be open and above board about his actual history in debating your representatives, and he has flatly turned my requests for information on that topic down. I do not believe anyone should claim to have done such things when they cannot back up their claims, or when they have to so alter the meanings of words that every conversation they have ever had on a plane somewhere becomes a debate."And nothing has changed since then. I am just having to grind out the process that began back then in October, no matter how unpleasant that is.
So, for all those who think that I'm a terrible, horrible, mean, nasty man for daring to challenge Ergun Caner to back up his own PR, you go right ahead and think that way. I happen to believe that it is far more important to be transparently honest in seeking to give a sound, consistent reason for the hope that is within us to the Muslim people than it is to cover over a professing Christian's as yet unsubstantiated claims.
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Where is the Church in the Ergun Caner Scandal? And Ten Minutes on the Atonement
06/08/2010 - James WhiteOn the DL today I raised a simple question: where is the church in the Ergun Caner Scandal? Why is it that Liberty University is being seen as the final authority in determining "the truth"? We then took a few calls on the same topic. At the end of the program I got a call from a graduate from the Calvary Chapel Bible College asking about how Hebrews testifies to the particular redeeming work of Christ (see the previous blog entry). Here's the program.
Ten Minutes to Cover the Testimony to the Atonement in Hebrews
06/08/2010 - James White
Important Update on the Michigan Debates
06/08/2010 - Micah BurkeThere are some changes to the debate schedule for the Dearborn (Romulus), Michigan debates. Please note changes in times, debate topics and debaters.
Note: Debates are subject to changes and cancellations
Debates Suggested fees:
$8 Each, $5 Student for each debate
or $15 Each, $10 Student for all debates
The Great Debate Series
June 16 - 21, 2010
Wednesday June 16th, 7pm
"Crucifixion or Cruci-fiction?"
Sheikh Ahmed Mohammed Awal vs Rev. Tony Costa
Thursday June 17th, 7pm
"Who is Jesus?"
Apologist Farhan Qureshi vs Rev. Tony Costa
Friday June 18th, 7pm
“Was Muhammad Predicted in the Bible?”
Apologist Sam Shamoun vs. Muslim Debater (TBA)
(Debate or a lecture with an open mic for Q&A)
Saturday June 19th, 2:30pm
"Crucifixion or Cruci-Fiction?"
Apologist Osama Abdallah vs. Professor David Wood
Saturday June 19th, 6pm
"Does Science Show That Islam Is True?"
Professor David Wood vs. Apologist Osama Abdallah
Sunday June 20th, 3pm
"Has The Bible Been Corrupted?"
Sheikh Mohammad Jowad Al-Ansari vs. Dr. James White
Sunday June 20th, 6:30pm
"Has The Qur'an Been Corrupted?"
Apologist Sam Shamoun vs. Sheikh Mohammad Jowad Al-Ansari
Monday June 21st, 7pm
"Jesus: A Prophet of Allah or Divine Son of God?"
Dr. James White vs. Sheikh Ahmed Mohammed Awal
Call for info. 714.391.0463
Dr. James White on Iron Sharpens Iron Today Discussing the Ergun Caner Timeline
06/08/2010 - Micah Burke
Dr. James White will be interviewed on the Iron Sharpens Iron( www.sharpens.org ) broadcast live, 6-7pm EST today reviewing the timeline of his dealings with Ergun Caner and the reasons for the recent controversy. (Please note, before the broadcast starts there is Spanish language broadcasting on the channel.)
For those who have found out about the investigation only recently, this broadcast will hopefully bring you up to speed regarding Dr. White's interactions with Ergun Caner and Liberty University.
Live streaming available at sharpens.org or at rcnam.com.
Francis Beckwith: ETS Shows Sympathies for the Catholic Canon
06/07/2010 - James SwanI've been fascinated by the selective use of history by those who convert to the Roman Catholic Church. Sometimes it can be attributed to ignorance. I don't expect each person making a worldview shift to have the academic abilities to weigh certain levels of complex information. On the other hand, when a PhD from Fordham University, a man who's authored numerous theological books, and taught philosophy and church-state studies appears ill-informed on basic issues of church history, I'm left with far more questions than answers about the legitimacy of that conversion story.
Francis Beckwith: ETS Shows Sympathies for the Catholic Canon
Consider the following from mega-revert Francis Beckwith's book, Return to Rome (Michigan: Brazos Press, 2009). While he served as president of the Evangelical Theological Society in 2006 the membership passed a resolution stating: "For the purpose of advising members regarding the intent and meaning of the reference to biblical inerrancy in the ETS Doctrinal Basis, the Society refers members to the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (1978)." Beckwith says, "But the Chicago Statement not only does not provide a list of canonical books, it states that 'it appears that the Old Testament canon had been fixed by the time of Jesus. The New Testament canon is likewise now closed, inasmuch as no new apostolic witness to the historical Christ can now be borne.' " The Chicago Statement is indeed accurate. The Old Testament canon was fixed during the ministry of Christ and the apostles.
This statement though from ETS provoked Beckwith to conclude, "This, ironically, means that the ETS is implicitly showing sympathies for the Catholic canon" (p.123). Rather, the irony is Beckwith's statement. Most Roman Catholics I've squabbled with over the Old Testament canon want to argue that it was still in flux during the apostolic era. The argument is presented that the Hebrew canon wasn't actually closed until very late, perhaps as late as A.D. 90-100. They argue this in order to legitimize the apocrypha. Previous to A.D. 90-100, the Greek Septuagint (the very Bible used by Christ and the Apostles) appears to have included the apocrypha.
For Beckwith, if ETS wants to affirm a closed Old Testament canon during apostolic times, they are admitting to the legitimacy of the apocrypha. Beckwith doesn't apear to be concerned with typical Roman Catholic polemic concerning an open Old Testament canon.
J.N.D Kelly: The Bulkier Old Testament Canon Included The Apocrypha
To seal the deal of this argument, Dr. Beckwith offers the following quote from Protestant scholar J.N.D. Kelly:
It should be observed that the Old Testament thus admitted as authoritative in the Church was somewhat bulkier and more comprehensive than... the Hebrew Bible of Palestinian Judaism... It always included, though varying degrees of recognition, the so-called Apocryphal or deutero-canonical books. The reason for this is that the Old Testament which passed in the first instance into the hands of Christians was not the original Hebrew version, but the Greek translation known as the Septuagint... In the first centuries at any rate the Church seems to have accepted all, or most of, these additional books as inspired and treated them without question as Scripture.
If you Google search this quote, it proves itself to be a Roman Catholic favorite. I recall the first time I heard it being used was by Gerry Matatics against Dr. White (here's a short mp3 clip from Matatics from this debate). In response, Dr. White pointed out that current research into the Old Testament canon had reached much different conclusions than that put forth by J.N.D. Kelly.
If you actually read this section from Kelly from which Beckwith took the quote, he readily admits the Palestinian canon was "rigidly fixed". This of course, was left out by Dr. Beckwith. Kelly does indicate (though with seeming hesitation) that the Hebrew canon was finally universally closed for Judaism in A.D. 90-100 at Jamnia. During this time period he says the Jews were actually uniting against the apocryphal books. They were in the process of finally being repudiated. Kelly goes on to say this was the reason certain Christians like Melito of Sardis eventually went to Palestine to get to the bottom of the confusion of the Jewish canon. By the fourth century, the more scholarly within the Alexandrian church likewise were against the apocrypha, in varying degrees. The Western church though was much more favorable toward the apocrypha. By common use it gained acceptance.
This extra information and context from Kelly shows at least Beckwith didn't read him carefully. Kelly argues for a fixed Palestinian canon during apostolic times, with the apocryphal books in the larger Greek canon being eventually repudiated by the Jews later in the first century. Kelly's quote does though still serve Romanist argumentation. If in fact no specific Hebrew canon was fixed for Judaism as a whole, how does one know that Jesus and the Apostles did not use and revere the apocrypha? If the Bible they used included it, and Christ deemed his church the only organization capable of infallible dogmatic proclamation, the fallible Jews late in the first century finalized a fallible collection of infallible books. They left out the apocrypha. Protestants therefore follow the fallible tradition of the Jews rather than the infallible Tradition of the Roman Catholic Church.
This Romanist methodology though is flawed in a number of ways.
What Books Were in the Septuagint?
Sometimes the error isn't what's said, it's what isn't said. Indeed, if one surveys the oldest extant copies and fragments of the Septuagint, one will find apocryphal books. That should settle it for the Roman Catholic side, shouldn't it? Hardly. William Webster explains:
One of the reasons Roman Catholics argue for a broader canon is that the oldest extant manuscripts of the Septuagint do contain a number of Apocryphal books. These manuscripts are: Vaticanus (early 4th century), Sinaiticus (early 4th century), and Alexandrinus (early 5th century). The Apocryphal books of Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Judith and Tobit are included in all three, but there are also differences. Vaticanus does not include any of the Maccabean books, while Sinaiticus includes 1 and 4 Maccabees and Alexandrinus includes 1, 2, 3, and 4 Maccabees and a work known as the Psalms of Solomon. If inclusion of a book in the manuscript proves its canonicity, as Roman Catholics assert, then 3 and 4 Maccabees were canonical. However, we know with certainty that this was not the case. It is also true that the Septuagint included a number of appendices to the canonical Old Testament books such as Esther, 1 Esdras, the additions to Daniel (Song of the Three Children, Bel and the Dragon and Susanna), and the additions to Jeremiah (Baruch and the Epistle of Jeremy). But as Henry Swete points out, none of these books, or the rest of the Apocrypha, were part of the Hebrew canon:
The MSS. and many of the lists of the Greek Old Testament include certain books which find no place in the Hebrew Canon. The number of these books varies, but the fullest collections contain the following: I Esdras, Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of Sirach, Judith, Tobit, Baruch and the Epistle of Jeremiah, i.-iv. Maccabees. We may add the Psalms of Solomon, a book which was sometimes included in MSS. of Salomonic books, or, in complete Bibles, at the end of the Canon.
The only Septuagint manuscript evidence we have now was created by the Christian church. Webster notes: "We do not know for certain that the Septuagint itself included the books of the Apocrypha as canonical Scripture. Secondly... there were books in these manuscripts that were never considered canonical by the Jews or the Church, in particular, 3 and 4 Maccabees. Therefore, just because a book was listed in the manuscripts did not mean it was canonical. It simply means that these books were read in the Church." Webster cites Lee McDonald who notes,
The biggest problem with the theory of the Alexandrian canon is that there are no lists or collections one can look to in order to see what books comprised it. Pfeiffer himself acknowledged that no one knows what the canon of the Alexandrian and other Diaspora Jews was before the LXX was condemned in Palestine, ca. 130 CE. Long ago E. Reuss concluded that we know nothing about the LXX before the time when the church made extensive use of it. That includes the condition of the text and its form as well as its extent. Another problem with the Alexandrian canon theory is that it has not been shown conclusively that the Alexandrian Jews or the other Jews of the Dispersion were any more likely to adopt other writings as sacred scriptures than were the Jews Palestine in the two centuries BCE and the first century CE. Further, there is no evidence as yet that shows the existence of a different canon of scriptures in Alexandria than in Palestine from the second century BCE to the second century CE. Since the communications between Jerusalem and Alexandria were considered quite good during the first century BCE and CE, it is not certain that either the notion or extent of divine scripture would be strikingly different between the two locations during the period before 70 CE. Although the Jews of the Dispersion were more affected by Hellenism than were the Jews of Palestine, there is little evidence to show that this influence also affected their notion of scripture or the boundaries of their scriptures.
When Dr. Beckwith assumes the Septuagint used during the Apostolic era included the apocrypha, that's indeed what it is, an assumption. There isn't historical evidence to verify the claim. ...
[Click Here to Continue Reading]
Important Article by TurretinFan
06/06/2010 - James WhiteI had known about this for a while, but was waiting for the posting of this information. When you are telling the gullible, excitable Christians one thing on Sunday morning from behind the pulpit, and yet you tell the Turkish reporter (who can tell whether you speak Turkish or Arabic and check out your claims to have been raised in his own country) something completely different, this means you know you are making up stories. Whenever we catch a man living two lives, with two families, in two locations, you will find the same kind of "say X to this person, Y to that person" pattern of deception. The AP story from 2002 and this story from mid-2003 are contemporaneous with the post-9/11 push to turn Ergun into a converted jihadi from Turkey. (Note: saying "I lived in Ankara and on the border with Iraq and came here in 1979 and learned English from the Dukes of Hazzard on Turkish television" is not the same as "my father's family is mainly located in Ankara but I've never lived there but instead moved here in 1969 as a little kid and learned English in Ohio elementary schools.")
Can Unbelievers Speak Truth?
06/05/2010 - James WhiteCan an atheist speak truth? If he says "2+2=4" is the statement less true than if a Christian said the same thing? Many Christians have been saying a Muslim could not possibly be saying something that is factually, really true. But this kind of epistemological bigotry is neither biblical nor rational. Christians should be people of truth in all spheres of life. In the following video I discuss the prejudice that has been expressed by every person who has refused to consider the facts and instead has defaulted to the "A Muslim said it, therefore, it must not be true" defense. I provide two further examples of errors on the part of Ergun Caner, both of which were pointed out by...GASP!...a Muslim! I should have caught them myself, they are pretty basic, but I missed them. If they had been pointed out by a Christian, would they be more, or less, mistakes on Caner's part? Think about it.
On the DL a Few Days Ago...
06/05/2010 - James WhiteAs I mentioned to the all-knowing Algo, I thought about blogging last Thursday's DL, and evidently, that was enough, since I then did not do so. So, we continued our response to Sheikh Awal, and took one call on the Caner scandal. Here's the program.
Peter Lumpkins: Alexander the Coppersmith Strikes Again
06/05/2010 - James WhiteWhat happens when you seek integrity in ministry and particularly in apologetic outreach to Muslims? You would think many would stand with you, encourage you, appreciate the effort. And, that is the case. By far the vast majority of the contact we have had over the past few months after I challenged Ergun Caner to be honest about his false statements in public (first about debating Shabir Ally, then about debates in general, then about his entire story, as it unraveled under examination) has been positive, thankful, and supportive. Students and faculty alike at Liberty have urged me to stay the course, no matter what the opposition. Of course, they normally have to do so anonymously, for fear of reprisals.
But there have been the few, the proud, the…utterly irrational, who, for various reasons (often because of their anti-Reformed stance, sometimes just because they like being irascible) have taken the "attack anyone who would question a leader in our denomination" approach. The "circle the wagons" mentality has been seen in the fact that these folks never deal with the facts or documentation fairly. If they address it at all they do so one item at a time, looking for any possible way around the problem. For example, one argument that is floating around is that Ergun Caner became a naturalized citizen in 1979, though he came here in 1969, as if this is somehow relevant to his published bio and repeated claims in public. Or another, that Ergun "slurs his speech" when speaking quickly, hence explaining the non-Arabic Arabic (though, of course, Caner speaks fast in English all the time without slurring his words). This kind of "find an excuse for everything while ignoring the combined weight of all of the problems" thinking does not mark a person of honesty and integrity, but instead marks a person with an agenda, a goal that is less than honorable or proper.
But this group of folks rarely spend much time actually discussing the facts of the Caner case. They are far more intent upon the "politics of personal destruction." I have discovered there is no road too low for some of these people to travel. Personal attack is their modus operandi, all the while complaining that the target of their attack is engaging in…personal attacks. Evidently they realize that those who are actually busy in the work of ministry will eventually tire of all of the mud and absurdity that they are producing, and hence move as far away from them, and their pet topics, as possible, out of simple disgust.
Let's look at the situation as it stands today. Ergun Caner stands accused of rank deception in the pulpit, making claims about himself and his past that are not only contradicted by documented facts, but are contradicted by his own testimony! We can demonstrate that he was telling one group of people X, while telling another group of people Y, at the same time and in the same context. That is the very definition of untruthfulness, of deceptiveness. We have a man who has claimed to have engaged leaders of a wide variety of religious groups in debate all over the world, but who cannot provide the first bit of evidence of the truthfulness of this claim---a claim he has used to encourage others to not only believe what he has to say on various topics, but to gain his positions of leadership and authority as well (resulting in personal enrichment in the form of book sales and promotion, etc.). He has likewise been asked to lecture to even our military personnel (see picture) based upon his supposed experience as a Turkish born and raised jihadist. The ramifications of Caner's deceptive and self-promoting behavior are deeply troubling, at least to anyone with the honesty to consider them fully. And yet, we find many seeking to protect this man's position and authority using any means necessary in the process. ...
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Defending the Faith
06/04/2010 - Jeff DownsOnce in a while I am asked what kind of (general) apologetic material would I recommend. This can be a difficult question since there is not a lot of material that is simple enough to understand, without having some background knowledge.
But the interesting thing about apologetics is that it really is simply thinking God's thoughts after him and putting that into practice in an unbelieving world. It is that simple, but given the fact that we are sinners being sanctified, it is also difficult.
Well, a good friend from North Carolina, Dustin Segers has been sitting down with members of his church, helping them, among other things, see the simplicity of apologetics. Sit down and join Dustin in these videos.
I first met Dustin (face-to-face) a few years ago when he spoke at a conference I put together in 2006. Given the fact that Dustin is a pastor, a shepherd of God's people, I asked him to speak on Protecting and Contending: A Pastoral Perspective.
A few (beginner) books I would recommend for those looking into the subject of apologetics are:
The Battle Belongs to the Lord: The Power of Scripture for Defending the Faith, Scott Oliphint.
Always Ready: Directions for Defending the Faith, Greg Bahnsen.
Presuppositional Apologetics: Stated and Defended, Greg Bahnsen.
Others could be mentioned but those three are sufficient for the purpose.
The Unchanging God
06/04/2010 - Tur8infanOne of God's attributes is immutability. All Creation changes, but God does not change. This is expressed in two ways. The first way is directly:
- Malachi 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
- James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
- Psalm 9:7 But the LORD shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment.
- Psalm 72:17 His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed.
- Psalm 102:12 But thou, O LORD, shalt endure for ever; and thy remembrance unto all generations.
- Psalm 145:13 Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.
- Psalm 89:4 Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah.
- Psalm 89:29 His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven.
- Psalm 89:36 His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me.
- Galatians 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
- 2 Samuel 7:12-13
And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.
- 1 Chronicles 17:11-12
And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever.
- Isaiah 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
- Lamentations 5:19 Thou, O LORD, remainest for ever; thy throne from generation to generation.
- Psalm 45:6 Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.
- Hebrews 1:12 And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.
- Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
Ergun Caner and Arabic Reviewed
06/03/2010 - James White
Response to Sheikh Awal (Part 5)
06/03/2010 - James WhiteSince I had been given some reason to think Sheikh Awal has been following my reviews, I dove back into my response to his presentations. Here's the program.
The Caners Debate in Arabic...and French!
06/03/2010 - James WhiteIt has been pretty difficult for anyone to find any evidence of either of the Caner brothers engaging in debates with leading proponents of Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc., as Ergun's pre-2010 bio used to claim. But maybe we have discovered why! We were looking for debates in English! This May, 2002 article in SBC Life may help us find those dozens and dozens of elusive debates (more than sixty with Islamic leaders alone, according to one newspaper account). They actually took place in Arabic and French! No wonder we haven't been able to find them! Here's the relevant quotation:
The heightened interest in Islam has drawn each of the Caner brothers into additional debate settings at mosques and universities, speaking in English, French, and Arabic with Muslim scholars. And they have been interviewed by the BBC, CNN, Moody Broadcasting Network, Salem Radio Network, and USA Radio. Talk show invitations have come from Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Marlon Maddux, and Zola Levitt.
Why Pulpits Need to be Well Constructed
06/02/2010 - James White(and why Steven Anderson should be avoided by any semi-rational, logical thinking individual).
This would make for a great Radio Free Geneva...if there was anything of substance to it.
Yearly Presidential Proclamation of National Shame
06/02/2010 - James WhiteI noted last year that the White House under President Barack Hussein Obama had designated June as "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month." This resulted in TurretinFan doing an entire month's worth of blog articles on the subject on his blog. Once again President Obama has added to our national shame by using the powers of his office to promote godlessness in the nation by designating June as a month of pride in sexual deviancy and sinfulness, just as he did last year. And yes, once again, Christians are offended and Christianity mocked in that the proclamation is dated replete with "the year of our Lord." Jesus is not your Lord when you spitefully reject His own law.
But I noticed one significant change in the wording of the proclamation. In 2009 it read, "I call upon the people of the United States to turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists." But the 2010 proclamation reads, "I call upon all Americans to observe this month by fighting prejudice and discrimination in their own lives and everywhere it exists."
Mr. President, I will not observe a month of pride in that which is fundamentally, unalterably, and unquestionably anti-Christian, ungodly, and life-destroying. And I am deeply offended that you would promote a worldview that identifies as "prejudice and discrimination" the settled Christian conviction that God not only has the right to determine the proper bounds of human sexual expression (being our Creator), but that He has likewise made known, with clarity, His will on the matter.
How this can be construed as anything less than anti-Christian rhetoric being written under the seal of the President of the United States, I do not know. But one thing is for certain: any culture that knowingly promotes and revels in the ungodliness of homosexuality will, inevitably and without question, outside of national repentance and confession, experience the wrath of God. There is no way to hold the Scriptures in one's hand, profess loyalty to them, and belief in their inspiration, and yet come to any other conclusion than this.
06/02/2010 - Jeff Downs
Normally our seminary receives the latest editions of New Horizons magazine before the articles are posted online, but this month is different. And to my surprise the theme for the June 2010 issue is Mormonism.
Here are two articles that appear online:
"Mormonism and the Gospel", by Jody O. Morris
"The Book of Mormon: Fact or Fiction", by Norman De Jong
Click here to read.
06/01/2010 - James WhiteWhen I find folks that do a great job, I like to let folks know. In the past I have noted my regular use of book covers made by Renaissance Art over in Santa Fe. I have a number of their excellent two-color covers now, and really enjoy them. They are well made and well priced as well.
So recently a kind believer purchased for me the Reader's Hebrew/Greek Bible, published by Zondervan. I had hoped they would come out with a diglott edition, and they did. When it arrived I was immediately struck by the fact that the cover and binding was nothing to write home about. I mean, it is a big, thick book (as you would expect), so the binding is rather important. I was mentioning this in channel when the ever-present Algo suggested I look at having it rebound. He directed me to ACE Bookbinding Company down in Oklahoma City. The same kind believer told me to send it in, and it arrived back just today. The turn around time was very impressive, the service great, and now I have a uniquely bound Greek/Hebrew text. I know lots of folks are looking for full rebinding services, and I must say, ACE did a great job for me!
The Passage of Time
06/01/2010 - James WhiteThis morning I had my remote video monitoring program running, which allows me to keep an eye on our security cameras at our offices. I had it moving from camera to camera every three seconds, which meant that each image would be viewed, and refreshed, about every 40 seconds or so. I noticed something very interesting. The first image that would come up would be 40 seconds old, and then it would be replaced by the current image. As it was just after sunrise, there were lots of shadows, and what I would notice would be the very noticeable and observable "jump" in the shadows over 40 seconds. You could literally watch time passing.
This made me consider the fact that while we normally cannot "see" time passing in quite this way, it is, and quickly. I may have, on average, 30 more trips around the sun, or, if by good health and grace, 40 at the outside. Each year is going by faster and faster, so I cannot help but ponder the wisdom contained in these words:
It is better to go to a house of mourning
Than to go to a house of feasting,
Because that is the end of every man,
And the living takes it to heart.
Oh the joy of service to Christ! When you do everything you do to His honor and glory, no matter what it is, you are walking in the early morning light of eternity itself, and the light will only grow brighter as you stay on the path toward the eternal city.
A Truly International Dividing Line
06/01/2010 - James WhiteI started off the program playing a clip from Glenn Beck. Yes, the LDS Glenn Beck from Fox News Channel. Last week he attempted to make a point by drawing an illustration from how the Dead Sea Scrolls came about after the Council of Nicea. Yeah, not exactly your best source of historical information. Then the calls, all but one on Skype, started coming in. First from France (on the "P" in TULIP), then from Sweden (on Marcus Borg and NT Wright), then from Canada (our only old-fashioned phone line call!). From there on in all the calls were, interestingly enough, on Mormonism, including calls from Virginia and Florida on dealing with LDS missionaries. Quite the program! Went by real fast! Here's the program.