Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
David Wood on Iron Sharpens Iron Right Now!
06/28/2010 - James WhiteListen here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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!
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: