Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Glory-Based Apologetics vs. Rebel-Based Apologetics
09/19/2010 - James WhiteI was pondering a statement I saw this morning from William Lane Craig. It represents the form of apologetics that is based upon non-Reformed theology and soteriology in particular. It is, without a doubt, far more "popular" than the methodology I am committed to. The statement contains truth, but it is placed within a matrix of sub-biblical thinking. Here it is:
"Successful evangelism involves not only harvesting, but sowing and watering, too. We must never think that because a nonbeliever remained unconvinced by our case that our apologetic has failed. For one encounter is not the end of the story." (Five Views on Apologetics (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000), p. 288.How many times have I said something that sounds so very similar, but is yet so very different? Maybe if I rephrased it:
God-glorifying evangelism involves not only harvesting, but sowing and watering, too. We must never think that because a rebel sinner continues in his rebellion despite the declaration of God's truth that our proclamation has been in vain. For God is always glorified when His truth is proclaimed, and He may well draw His elect in another way at another time."See, the reason even rejected proclamation is never a waste of time is because such a proclamation is honoring to God, because it is the declaration of His Lordship and truth. The impact of a sub-biblical theology, a sub-biblical view of the gospel, and a sub-biblical view of man, is seen in Craig's phraseology. Rebel sinners who reject God's truth are merely unbelievers. Their rejection of the Gospel is not a sinful act of rebellion; no, they merely remain "unconvinced." What is presented is "our case," rather than God's Kingly rights. And what has not "failed" is "our apologetic," when in fact, the real issue is whether the Holy Spirit of God will cause God's truth to come alive in the heart of that rebel sinner, bring the miracle of regeneration, and glorify the triune God through the salvation of another undeserving sinner!
Doing apologetics to the glory of God, knowing the truth about those who will hear us, is a very different thing than trusting in our "case," our "approach." A friend told me recently that he was talking to a student of WLC who said he would rather lose a debate than use my "approach." Well, I can understand that. The difference in these approaches is not a matter of taste or style, but of substance. The differences lie in our foundations, in the very Gospel we seek to proclaim to the honor and glory of our Lord.
If You Want to Hear Some of the Trinity vs. Unitarianism Debate
09/17/2010 - James WhiteI am listening to yesterday's Line of Fire radio program with Michael Brown, and he provided some clips from the audio of the debate (we were having an uber-geek contest: he bested me with his cool pen that records audio and other cool stuff, and I had him with my uber-cool iPad connected to the net via my Droid's 3g hot spot out in the audience). He includes our opening statements and some other portions. Neat to hear! Now I need to find out what kind of pen/recording device that was before he gets an iPad! You can catch his webcast here (I subscribe in iTunes).
Trinitarianism vs. Unitarianism on the Jewish Voice Broadcast
09/15/2010 - James WhiteWhen I get word from the folks at the Jewish Voice Broadcast I will let you know when they plan to air the debate that took place last evening. I teamed up with Dr. Michael Brown in defending the biblical doctrine of the Trinity against Sir Anthony Buzzard, who taught at the Atlanta Bible College for 24 years, and Joseph Good. The debate took place in three stages, all very fast-moving. Michael and I worked together very well. Given the very short time periods (normally two minutes for one side to answer a question, 90 seconds for the other side to respond), we had to be focused in the extreme. If there had been differences between us on the issue that would have been an impossible time-format. But we both have extensive radio and television experience, so working with tight time constraints was not new. We were focused upon the biblical evidence, and often raised key texts that received no response from our unitarian opponents. I will ask Sam Shamoun, who was in the studio audience, for his review of the debate when he joins me tomorrow afternoon on The Dividing Line, live. So make sure to join us then!
09/08/2010 - James WhiteWell...here it comes. From Friday the 10th through Friday the 24th I will be engaged in four debates---one in defense of the doctrines of grace, one on the Bodily Assumption of Mary (which I assure you will be a debate on Rome's claims to ultimate doctrinal authority more than anything else), one on Unitarianism (in partnership with Michael Brown on the Jewish Voice Broadcast, being video recorded right here in Phoenix--at least I don't have to travel to get there, the studios are within 2.5 miles of my house), and one on Islam on ABN (on the 24th). Very little overlap in topics, hence, maximum amount of study and preparation time required. I would blame whoever makes up my schedule, but that would be me.
These are all great opportunities, and I truly hope the Lord blesses. I would like to ask for your assistance in this effort. Please pray for clarity of mind and discipline of thought for me as I engage these wide variety of topics. Pray for Rich Pierce who gets the unenviable task of producing DVDs, mp4s, and mp3s of all of this. He already has a massive backlog, and has had to invest many hours in rebuilding our video PC which developed some kind of fatal system error. I believe I heard him say last evening as he was leaving that he was almost finished getting Adobe back up and operational. But at the moment, I'm debating faster than he can produce a finished product (six debates in less than a month may be some kind of record, when you include the two debates we just did in New York). Keep in mind as well that we are a small ministry, with only two employees, hence, we do not have the time to be doing "marketing" and the kind of resource development that many others focus so much time and energy on. Hence, one of the most encouraging things for me is to know that we are financially stable and able to continue to pursue these opportunities of bold witness and ministry as they arise. Along those lines, the Ministry Resource List remains for me, personally, one of the most encouraging resources we have. Every time I receive a book in the mail I know that means someone is standing with us and is basically saying, "Press forward!" I have placed a few more resources on that list, and once again express my sincerest thanks to those who have in the past aided my research and preparation thereby.
Don't forget that I will be doing my best to live stream both debates on Friday, 3pm MDT and 7pm MDT (those should be firm times). I was going to say, "Tune in," and realized just how wonderfully anachronistic that phrase has become!