Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Roger Olson's Against Calvinism: Reviewed
10/28/2011 - Alan KurschnerPaul Manata provides an excellent review of Olson's book Against Calvinism:
Perhaps Herod Dressed Up as the Easter Bunny, Too
10/27/2011 - Alan Kurschner“When he had seized him, he put him in prison, handing him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him. Herod planned to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.” (Acts 12:4 NET)
“And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.” (Acts 12:4 KJV)
I recently read an "explanation" from Samuel C. Gipp defending the King James Version's rendering of pascha as "Easter" instead of "Passover," clearly committing the anachronistic and historical fallacy.
The fact is the KJV translators mistranslated this term. Luke's reference to the days of unleavened bread in the previous verse makes it unmistakeably connected to the Jewish passover, not to the pagan festival of Ishtar (Easter), for Herod was familiar with Jewish customs and possessed a political desire to "please the Jews" (v.3). White has some other remarks on this in The King James Only Controversy (pp. 233-4).
It is a lamentable sight to see such men defend an early 17th century English Anglican version of the Bible as inerrant. It is not a perfect translation, nor will there ever be one. God has indeed preserved his Word in the multiplicity of manuscripts, not in a single English translation. (Butler gives us his anecdote with G.A. Riplinger..)
Using PayPal with a Credit Card
10/25/2011 - Rich PierceLook for the area marked with the red circle and select it.
Now just confirm your information and your done. Its that easy and you don't have to open any new accounts to do it.
Today on the Dividing Line
10/25/2011 - James WhiteSnuck a quick DL in during my one day home between ministry trips, giving a report on my trip to Australia and playing sections of both debates which took place last week. While playing a section of the Perkins debate I took the time to look up the reference Perkins provided on the web earlier today where he alleged I misrepresented Moulton-Milligan, and took the opportunity of demonstrating yet once again that Roger Perkins has no earthly idea how to read scholarly sources, as he had, once again, made a basic blunder of reading. After a while, when does one leave "this man makes many blunders in reading basic materials" and move over to "this man is simply dishonest"? I think we've gotten to that point, sadly. But, on the positive side, we noted the great interaction we had with Abdullah Kunde, and the positive results from that. Here's the program.
The next DL may be next week, but, a small possibility exists of doing one later this week via Skype, unless I am out nutria hunting with Fibby (channel inside comment there).
Remember: Secularists Do Not Believe in Freedom of Thought, Faith, or Belief
10/25/2011 - James WhiteThink about it. It is coming for us all.
Doulos in a Possible ESV Revision
10/23/2011 - Alan KurschnerRod Decker expresses his thoughts on the ESV possibly rendering doulos to "bondservant" instead of the current rendered "slave."
A Tale of Two Debates
10/22/2011 - James WhiteYou could not have a stronger contrast between the mindset and behavior of my two debate opponents this week, and, in particular, in their response to how I bent over backwards to try to make these debates as fair, even-handed, and useful as possible. I refer to my taking a tremendous amount of time on the Dividing Line going over their own presentations in recent debates so as to make sure that they would know exactly where I was coming from and exactly what I would be saying. Abdullah Kunde clearly listened, learned, incorporated my comments, accepted correction where necessary, and the result was a very excellent debate that while direct and forthright was likewise respectful and cordial, the very best kind. The issues were clearly presented and debated as a result of Abdullah Kunde's willingness to listen and learn without feigning offense at my refutation of some of his previous statements.
Alas, Roger Perkins chose the exact opposite path. Rather than listening, pondering, considering, learning, and growing, he chose to be deeply offended at what I did in responding to his own statements on the Dividing Line. All through the debate he kept referring to what I had said in the most negative fashion. He was clearly personally offended and chose to interpret my review in the most negative light. The result was to be expected: just as in the debates we reviewed, Mr. Perkins showed himself unwilling, or unable, to "hear" what was being said to him. You could tell he was sitting there, waiting for me to finish my question, just so he could launch into a prepared response, even if that response was not even relevant to the question I was asking. He came with sound clips, for example, from the Dividing Line, as I had predicted. However, he put them together so as to try to forge a contradiction or inconsistency on my part. But to do so he had to obviously violate the context of my statements. He took one statement where, in commenting on 1 John 2:23, I said that you cannot "separate" the Father and the Son. Obviously, to any semi-honest or reasonable person, my meaning was clear. I was saying you cannot have the Son without the Father, and you cannot have the Father without the Son. John's point is that confession of the Father demands confession of the Son, and vice versa, in light of the Father's testimony to the Son (a concept found in John 5, 8, etc. as well). Then he took that specific comment that had a specific context about what was being said in 1 John 2:23, and tried to create a contradiction with other statement I made regarding the distinction that is provided by the actions and attributes of the Father, Son, and Spirit. Hence, I had said that we can distinguish the Father from the Son, and he took this to be a contradiction to what I had said about 1 John 2:23. Does Mr. Perkins really lack the ability to grasp that basic level of human communication and language, or is he just being obtuse in defense of his tradition? I do not know.
One mistake I made in hindsight was to not press him to answer a question I had raised in my opening statement. I even ended my second portion of cross-examination almost three minutes early, mainly out of disgust at trying to reason with someone who clearly had no intention of engaging in rational thought. I should have taken that time to press him on the mediatorial role of Jesus today, since he did not make a single comment on the question, and I do not think he has ever considered the question at all. I likewise misspoke once and referred to Mr. Perkins "mistranslating" Rev. 21:22, when I should have said "misinterpreting" or "misreading." My point remained valid, however, as he had attempted to draw a parallel between this text and John 10:30 when there is no valid syntactical relationship whatsoever.
One of the limitations of doing debate like this at the speed we were going was illustrated last evening, but it is also a learning opportunity as well. I found Mr. Perkins is not interested in learning, but others will be, so here we go.
[Click Here to Continue Reading]
On 1 Timothy 4:10
10/20/2011 - Alan Kurschner
“For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.” (1 Tim 4:10).In 1 Timothy 4, Paul is exhorting Timothy that sound doctrine and persistent godliness should be the thrust of our life because of the hope of the living God — in this age and the one to come. We should be confident in our creeds and ethics because of the certainty of salvation. Paul introduces verse 10 with the inferential indicator eis touto gar (For to this end), followed by the grounding conjunction hoti (because), which highlights his main point: "we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe." His main point is corroborated by his use of the perfect tense ēlpikamen (we have our hope set), which marks out this action. Interestingly, the only other instance of a perfect tense in this immediate section is found in verse 6:
“If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed (parēkolouthēkas)” (1 Tim 4:5–6).
This is an uncommon term in the New Testament, only used four times (Mark 16:17; Luke 1:3; 1 Tim 4:6; 2 Tim 3:10). In the context of following a belief or practice, this term means "paying special attention, follow faithfully." In other words, for Paul, following sound doctrine is not about a static affirmation of creedal statements on paper — it is an active, conscious, engaged conforming. (Paul would not have anything to do with an ambiguous Church "Statement of Faith"!)
Back to verse 10. In the next statement, and our focus of this article, what is meant by, "who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe"?
Many modern believers read this with the assumption that Christ came to earth with the intention to die for every single individual who has ever lived; hence, "who is the Savior of all people." But only those who believe will have his atonement applied to their sin; hence, "especially of those who believe." Therefore, many modern readers, particularly Arminians, believe this verse undercuts any notion of particular redemption and election, which is affirmed in Reformed theology.
However, we should probe more than a prima facie reading of this verse and ask ourselves certain questions. Is there a theological connection between "the living God" and its qualifier "who is the Savior of all people"? What does "all people" mean here for Paul? Does it mean all people without exception or distinction? And most importantly, how can God be the Savior of those who do not believe? Or is there some other element that has escaped our notice?
A universalist reading should be ruled out since that would contradict Paul's unambiguous teaching in his corpus that many will indeed perish eternally.
Next, the Arminian interpretation reads too much into the statement, "Savior of all people," with two assumptions: (1) that the term "Savior" here must mean "possible Savior" and (2) it denotes "every single person."
But if Christ died for all sins, then there is no legal basis for him to punish or condemn any sinner to perdition; thereby making the Arminian an inconsistent universalist. What basis is there to punish the same sin twice: on the cross and on the sinner. There is none.
In addition, the context here does not state what Paul means by "all people." He could refer to every single person, or he could refer to all kinds of people. Earlier in this same epistle, in the similar context of salvation and all people, Paul makes it clear that he is referring to "all sorts of people," not every single person who has ever lived on planet earth. (See my exegesis on 1 Timothy 2:4 here).
Some interpreters have suggested that God is "Savior of all people" in a physical-preserving sense — if you will, a "common grace Savior." And then he is a spiritual Savior, especially of those who believe.
This is an unlikely interpretation since there is nothing in this context where Paul defines "Savior" in these two different ways. Further, v. 8b provides a soteriological context, "the present life and also for the life to come." And in v. 10, the natural reading is that Paul uses the same meaning for "Savior" for humanity in general, and believers in particular.
The most plausible interpretation of this verse is what I call the Monotheistic-Exclusivism Interpretation. What Paul is saying is that God (and by extension Christ as Redeemer) is the only true Savior in the world, therefore humanity cannot find any other competing Savior outside of the living God. They have no other Savior to turn to.
It is not by mistake that the phrase "living God," a term that suggests monotheism, is connected with this verse. This phrase is often found in the context of polytheism (e.g. Acts 14:15; 1 Thess 1:9; Josh 3:10; 1 Sam 17:26, 36; 2 Kgs 19:4). Since there is only one God who is alive, there is only one Savior for humanity to embrace.
Also, earlier in this same epistle Paul makes a similar exclusive statement that there is one medium of salvation for humanity: “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,” (1 Tim 2:5). Here Paul connects this with the truth of "one God" with only one mediator, anticipating what he says two chapters later.
In addition, this is similar to Jesus' exclusive statement:
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6).
And in the same vein, Peter proclaims:
“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12).
For all humanity, there is only one way, truth, life, Father, name, mediator, and Savior — especially of those who believe.
Finally, I want to conclude with another interpretation that is compelling. The term for "especially" is malista. George W. Knight III argues that this term here should be rendered, "that is," thereby functioning as an explanation or further clarification of the preceding statement. The translation would be as follows: "who is the Savior of all people, that is, of those who believe." So this interpretation does not view "those who believe" as a subset of "all people"; instead, "those who believe" identifies the "all people" (NIGTC, The Pastoral Epistles, 203–4).
Prayer for a Brother with ALS
10/20/2011 - Jeff DownsThis post is more personal than what you usually see on the site, and if you are disappointed, I do apologize; but I am asking for your prayers for a man named Donald. Donald (who is a believer) is the father of my wife and was recently diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease.
At this point, many of his muscles are simply not working. We are grateful he continues to breath and swallow as normal (at least from what we can tell) and his mind is working fine. There are many issues needing to be addressed and difficult decisions to be made in the next couple of weeks.
Donald is 76 years old, married and has three grown children (one being my wife). Please pray that the Lord will minister to him in a special way and that good decisions will be made, sooner rather than later. We are also asking the Lord to open up a door so that our family can move back to Pennsylvania to help.
Here is some information about this disease.
10/20/2011 - Jeff DownsBelow are some forthcoming resources from Kregel that will be of interest to our readers:
Invitation to Biblical Interpretation: Expoloring the Hermeneutical Triad of History, Literature, and Theology, by Andreas Köstenberger, and Richard Patterson.
The Handy Guide to New Testament Greek: Grammar, Syntax, and Diagramming, by Douglas S. Hoffman.
Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament: Manuscript, Patristic, and Apocryphal Evidence, Edited by Daniel Wallace.
The Gospel According to Isaiah 53: Encountering the Suffering Servant in Jewish and Christian Theology, Eds. Darrell L. Bock and Mitch Glaser.
Advice from Family Radio on the End of the World
10/20/2011 - James SwanEven though Harold Camping isn't actively speaking on Family Radio since his illness, his followers are still busy. On Family Radio's website the most recent recording appears to be from Tom Evans (Evans is on the board of Family Radio, and claims to have known Mr. Camping for thirty years). They are promoting his "Latest Study (Oct 16,2011)" (mp3). It's a fascinating listen. At around eleven minutes in he says,
"2011 has become a very real year. It has become a very important year. So now, here we are now. The ten thousand pound elephant sitting right in the room. In less than five days from today, we'll know whether we were right or wrong, whether we understood the scriptures correctly, whether the Spirit of God directed us, or whether we were deceived. That's a big question."
At around sixteen minutes in Tom says,
"Has the Spirit of God guided us to this point? I say yes. I'm not ashamed of the Gospel. I'm not ashamed of all the verses."
This link also covers this audio presentation from Family Radio: Harold Camping Oct. 21 Rapture: Family Radio Seeks to Comfort Believers Ahead of 'Rapture'.
And by the way, free materials from Family Radio are no longer available till October 24. They are now available to October 27.
Greetings from Down Under!
10/18/2011 - James WhiteJust a quick report, as I will not be able to do a DL while down here. Was going to try to do so tomorrow morning my time, but the hotel wireless and my MacBook Pro simply refuse to communicate no matter what I do, so that won't be possible. Technology is not yet fully perfected, to be sure.
In any case, I wanted to comment on a few items of interest to our readers. First, I was forwarded this clip by Canadian apologist Tony Costa (OK, let me explain that: Tony is Canadian, he is not an apologist for Canada!).
Anyway, it is about Bart Ehrman and it is quite relevant to the debate we did in 2009. You will recall I attempted to get Ehrman to be consistent and apply his destructive methodologies and presuppositions to the text of the Qur'an just as he does the New Testament. He not only refused to do so, he claimed he knew nothing about the Qur'an (I didn't believe it then, either), and he even went so far as to say I was accusing him of being a Muslim (a truly odd misapprehension of what I actually said). In any case, here is Ehrman's real reason, albeit is humorous stated: he's afraid. He's afraid of the possible political consequences of applying his methodology to the Qur'an (it is politically correct to attack Christian beliefs in the West, it is not politically correct to attack Islamic beliefs), and he is afraid of the possible fall out personally as well. We all knew that was the case, but now we have Ehrman confirming it with a smile and a wink. We all know he could write a book, "Misquoting Muhammad," but he won't, because he knows Christians will not harm him for writing against them, and he can make loads of money in so doing---but he would not make loads of money for writing "Misquoting Muhammad," but he would incur the wrath of all sorts of folks, liberals and Muslims alike. So much for the unbiased eye of the great scholar!
Speaking of taking on Islam directly, that is what I did Monday night at UNSW here in Sydney. I posted a few pictures the night of the debate, and we hope to have the mp3s soon. The debate with Abdullah Kunde was very enjoyable, and we had a great turn out as well. I asked Abdullah toward the end of my opening statement, "Does God as Creator have the power/ability/capacity to join a human nature to Himself if He pleases to do so? Upon what basis could anyone say this is beyond God’s power?" In his opening statement he likened my question (which was really the very essence of the debate topic) to asking "Can God make another God?" So in my first portion of cross-examination I really pressed on this question, seeking to understand how he could see my question as equivalent to the other. This allowed us to get into the equivocation and category errors that, I believe, clearly came to light in Abdullah's position. Specifically, anything that is not God is not "perfect" in his thinking, and hence, to take on a human nature would require God to become imperfect. But clearly this is in error, for that would mean God could not create anything perfect! Can God create a circle that is perfectly circular? Of course, but, from his viewpoint, if it was truly perfectly circular, it would have to be God! This clear confusion of categories leads to the assertion that a human nature, even if a perfect human nature is still…imperfect, because it is not divine. No matter how many different ways I attempted to go at this error, Abdullah kept falling back upon it in his responses. It did, however, help those who were following to really see where the problem lies. Christians believe the Son of God joined to Himself a perfect human nature, and that He had the power, ability, and (in light of Monday night's interaction), freedom to do so without altering or making "imperfect" His divine nature. This Islam denies, but, I believe, we saw that the reasons for this denial (even as expressed with intelligence and force by Abdullah Kunde) are insufficient and in fact erroneous at their source.
I believe that Mr. Kunde and I did, however, once again set a great standard for these kinds of interactions, for no one left that room that evening without a firm conviction that both sides had engaged the topic forthrightly, openly, and yet with great respect for the other. I truly hope to have the opportunity to engage Abdullah Kunde again in the future, perhaps on a specifically historical and theological issue, such as the crucifixion of Jesus.
I was just made aware of this semi-transcript or outline of the debate that you might find useful.
Harold Camping ... Ready to Miss the Latest Deadline?
10/18/2011 - Tur8infanHarold Camping has a new greeting posted. Here are some excerpts:
- "I do believe that we are getting very near the very end ..."
- "We've learned that there are a lot of things that we didn't have quite right ..."
- "... we would not have been able to be used of him to bring about the tremendous event that occurred on May 21 of this year, and which probably will be finished upon October 21 this coming -- very shortly. That looks like it will be - at this point - it looks like it will be the final end of everything."
- "When we study the historical record of his application of vengeance ... we must believe that probably there will be no pain suffered by anyone because of their rebellion against God."
- "... whereas the true believers will quietly receive the new heaven and the new earth. I really am beginning to think as I read/study these matters that there's going to be no big display of any kind. The end is going to come very, very quietly, probably within the next month. It will happen, that is, by October 21."
- "It's been so good to hear about those who are continuing to be faithful. They undoubtedly are the elect of God. And we know absolutely that the elect will be saved. There is no question at all about that. And we know that there are in Family Radio many who have been so faithful and are remaining faithful right to the end.
So, he is still insisting that October 21, 2011, is the end. However, now he is adding "probably" and suggesting that the end will be "quiet" without any big display. He is also now suggesting that people can know that they are of the elect, something that I cannot recall him previously teaching. He is also comforting himself and his followers by suggesting that his and their loved ones won't suffer any pain.
Is Harold Camping ready to miss this latest and last deadline, does he plan to claim that the end actually came, or is he so self-deluded that he actually believes that October 21, 2011, will be the end? It is hard to say. Given the gargantuan scale of his failures with respect to 1994 and May 21, 2011, there is no reason to suppose that October 21, 2011, will have any significance for anyone outside Mr. Camping's group (except for one of my friends who will be turning 40 that day).
In fact, there's no particular reason we ought to heed any of Mr. Camping's teachings. It is sad that so many still do.
Let us be clear, however. These failures are failures of Mr. Camping and his method of arbitrary exegesis. They are the result of failing to rightly divide the Word of Truth. May God have mercy on Mr. Camping and use October 22, 2011, to bring him to repentance together with his followers who have all abandoned the churches of our Lord and the communion of the saints.
Reminder: It's the End of the World... Again (10/21/11)
10/17/2011 - James Swan
This is just a quick reminder that the world is ending again on October 21, 2011. Oddly, Family Radio has free materials they're giving away until October 24, 2011.
I listened to Family Radio a bit today. Chris McCann was doing their Bible study (not Mr. Camping), and yes, he was explaining October 21. You can hear some of his Q and A on his own web page about October 21. Make sure to visit the aomin Harold Camping / Family Radio Resource List. And lest we forget May 21, 2011, here's a little reminder of what Family Radio was playing just days before May 21.
Some Quick Pictures From a Busy Day
10/17/2011 - James WhiteI need to hit the hay as tomorrow will be a very, very busy and challenging day, and I have to get back up in a few short hours, but I wanted to post a couple of pictures from today's events, first, from the two hours I got to spend with some of the fine students at Moore College in Sydney. Pray for this bastion of truth as it stands firm against the waves of decline and simple apostasy of our day. Great folks there.
Next, we had a wonderful time at UNSW and the debate with Abdullah Kunde on the Incarnation. I learned a lot, and the discussion was respectfully and fully pursued. A clear witness to the gospel was given, and the saints were edified. I even got my second International Stalker. See, a few years ago I saw this fellow in Australia and talked to him, and a few months later I am in London and...there he is again! So I decided to call him my International stalker. Well Rob, who sort of leads up the street witnessing at Leicester Square in London for the group I have gone out with twice now, showed up tonight at the debate, making him International Stalker #2! It was great to see him, and all the saints who came out tonight. Most of all, my sincerest thanks for David and Jacqui Ould and all their hard work not only in arranging, but in working out the details of this trip so far.
On the Death of Mary: Why the Infallible Interpreter Still Needs to be Interpreted
10/16/2011 - James SwanAs I've understood Roman Catholicism, it isn't determined one way or the other that Mary died. A Roman Catholic is free to believe either. Catholic Answers founder Karl Keating states,
The Church has never formally defined whether she died or not, and the integrity of the doctrine of the Assumption would not be impaired if she did not die, but the almost universal consensus is that she did in fact die [Karl Keating, Catholicism and Fundamentalism (San Fransisco: Ignatius Press, 1988), p. 273].
Against this "almost universal consensus" is none other than Patrick Madrid. Of Revelation 12:1-8 he states,
This passage also shows us a vision of Mary, queen of heaven, and hints at her Assumption. The gift of suffering no corruption in the grave and of being 'caught up' into heaven while still alive is perfectly in accordance with Scripture [Patrick Madrid, Where is That in the Bible? (Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor, 2001), pp. 71-72].
Against this "almost universal consensus" is also the New Catholic Answer Bible:
If indeed she was free from sin, then it follows that she would not have to undergo the decay of death, which was the penalty for sin [The New Catholic Answer Bible (Kansas: Fireside Catholic Publishing, 2005) Insert F2].
On the other hand, there are Roman Catholic web pages like this stating the following:
In any case, it is at least a sententia certa (a certain teaching) that our Lady died before being raised and assumed into heaven. This is the clear and explicit tradition of the West and is maintained in a slightly less-clear (and more metaphorical) manner also in the East.
The confusion stems from the magisterial teaching of Pope Pius XII in Munificentissimus Deus. Some say he did not explicitly state that Mary died. Some Roman Catholics read this "infallible" pronouncement and state:
This certitude that Mary in fact died and was believed by the Roman Catholic Church to have died before her bodily assumption is nicely addressed by Pope Pius XII when he states in section 17 of Munificantissimu Deus... in quoting an historical source that "Adrian I, our predecessor of immortal memory, sent to the Emperor Charlemagne. These words are found in this volume: 'Venerable to us, O Lord, is the festivity of this day on which the holy Mother of God suffered temporal death, but still could not be kept down by the bonds of death, who has begotten your Son our Lord incarnate from herself."
Other Roman Catholics reading the same document declare:
However, the definition infallibly declared by Pius XII does not explicitly state that the Blessed Virgin suffered death: "We pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory."
These interpretive snippets demonstrate an ironic flaw in Romanism: even their alleged infallible dogmatic pronouncements are open to interpretation. We need to continually remind Roman Catholics about this when they argue that they have some sort of superior certainty that non-Romanists do not. Roman Catholics sometimes say that if one lacks an infallible interpreter, one is left with private interpretation (as Patrick Madrid call it, "a blueprint for anarchy"). But what this often assumes is that the actual infallible pronouncements don't need to be interpreted... but they do! One never escapes private interpretation, so when Roman Catholics raise the issue, the double standard needs to be exposed. One may respond that it really isn't that important whether Mary died or not. That individual Roman Catholics quibble over it is no big deal. Actually though it's simply one more example of a much bigger problem. For instance, on the fundamental issue of what are, or are not, the very Words of God, Catholics are not unified.
Quick Note from Sydney
10/16/2011 - James WhiteGreetings from Sydney. Today is "debate day," where I will be speaking at Moore College in just over an hour, and then heading to my debate with Abdullah Kunde at 7pm. Please pray for our time tonight! Last evening I preached at St. Augustine's Anglican Church in Neutral Bay...love being able to see the folks clearly from that elevated pulpit! Preached from 1 Peter 3:15.
Lord willing, we will try to find a way to do a brief DL sometime this week so I can give you a report on things here "down under."
Apologetics: Past and Present
10/14/2011 - Jeff DownsThe second edition of Christian Apologetics: Past and Present, edited by Bill Edgar and Scott Oliphint is now available Click here.
Here is a description of the contents:
"Volume 2 in this one-of-a-kind resource takes a sweeping look at apologetics from the Reformation to the present. Readings from twenty-six apologists, including Martin Luther, John Calvin, Blaise Pascal, Jonathan Edwards, Soren Kierkegaard, Francis Schaeffer, Alvin Plantinga, and William Lane Craig are included. With editorial commentary and questions for reflection, Christian Apologetics Past and Present will prove a valuable text for students as well as a unique resource for those interested in defending the faith."
Sample pages are located here; The first edition is located here
Reminder About Paul Edwards Show on Thursday
10/13/2011 - James WhiteI will be joining Paul Edwards tomorrow evening (from your perspective back there---for me, it will be 8am on Friday morning) on his talk show in Detroit (5:05pm) to discuss the brouhaha currently raging over Mormonism. Listen in!
Testing Roger Olson's Depth of Exegesis: 1 Timothy 2:4
10/13/2011 - James WhiteRoger Olson's new book, Against Calvinism, became available in Kindle format the day before I left for Australia. Thankfully, I slept well on the trans-Pacific flight and hence did not get an opportunity to look at it until just now as I am settled in in Sydney. I have much to do in preparation for next week's ministry, including two debates, but I wanted to comment briefly on a quick examination I made of the text. I decided to see how Olson handled one of the key texts in the debate, that being 1 Timothy 2:4. The reason I chose this particular text is that it is one of the “big three,” and is one of the texts that I addressed rather fully in The Potter's Freedom. Of course, as we know, Dr. Olson has not read The Potter's Freedom out of “principle.” We still do not know what that principle is, and he does not seem willing to explain himself. In any case, is a good text to examine to see if the writer interacts meaningfully with the context, especially in light of the fact that first Timothy plainly addresses groups of individuals within the immediate context. Likewise, it is a good test to see if the author recognizes the importance of following the narrative of the text. That is, 1 Timothy 2:4 is followed by 1 Timothy 2:5-6, along with all the relevant issues of intercession and mediation. If the author cites this text without offering any evidence that he has actually thought deeply about how the entire text “hangs together,” then you have good reason to dismiss his comments and question the depth of his thinking on the topic (or, more likely, the depth of his commitment to a pre-existing tradition).
Needless to say, Olson's book does not fare well in light of such an examination. If one was looking for in-depth exegesis drawn from a knowledgeable Arminian who engages Calvinism on its home ground, you will be sorely disappointed. Let's look at everything Olson has to say about this text in the entirety of his work (at least as found in the electronic [Kindle] edition):
Above all Arminians insist that God is a good and loving God, who truly desires the salvation of all people. Note 1 Timothy 2:3–4: “This is good, and pleases God our savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth”; and 2 Peter 3:9: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” Arminians regard these and similar passages of Scripture as clearly and unequivocally pointing to God’s universal desire for salvation of every person. The Greek of 1 Timothy 2:4 cannot be interpreted any other way than as referring to every person without limit. Some Calvinists interpret 2 Peter 2:4 (sic: 3:9) as referring only to the elect, but in light of 1 Timothy 2:4, that hardly works. (p. 68)
This is the first reference to our text in Olson's book. It is also about as deep as the exegesis of this particular text is going to go. As you will notice, there isn't any exegesis at all. Nothing about the context is discussed, nothing about the flow of thought or argument. Instead, we are given an argument from authority, and nothing more. I am unaware of what Roger Olson's overwhelming expertise in the subject of Greek grammar is that would allow him to make such statements. I have never seen him cited as an expert in the field. And yet, he simply asserts that the Greek text “cannot be interpreted any other way than as referring to every person without limit.” Evidently, we must simply take his word for it!
Of course, it may just be his “principle" to not read any Reformed exegetes who contradict his position. If he had, he would know that his assertion is without basis. There is nothing in “the Greek” that in any way demands the conclusions that Olson presents. The preceding context had specifically referred to kinds or groups of men. Olson ignores this. It is actually absurd to think that Paul was exhorting Timothy to pray for “every person without limit” when he said that prayer should be made for “all men.” The Greek found here in verse 1 is directly parallel to that of verse 4. In verse 1 it is ὑπὲρ πάντων ἀνθρώπων, the genitive being used due to the preposition; in verse 4 it is πάντας ἀνθρώπους with the accusative plural being used as the direct object of "wills." If Paul expected Timothy to take “all men” in verse one as meaning “every person without limit,” then why did he immediately place a categorical limitation on his words? That is, he defines “all men” as classes or kinds of men by speaking of kings and those in authority. But if “all men” already had the meaning Olson demands that it has, why would Paul do this since Timothy would already understand that Paul is saying that prayers should be made for every single human being on the face of the earth? Indeed, are we to assume that not only where the prayer meetings in Ephesus to include, by name, every single individual in the city, but every single individual living on the planet at that time? No wonder folks fell asleep during those meetings! Of course, this only shows the absurdity of the position Olson tells us we must adopt. And, it follows naturally, that if the “all men” of verse one is to be taken categorically and not individually, then this is the immediate context of the use of “all men” in verse four as well.
But there is much more to the context that refutes Olson's false assertion. While I do not intend to repeat the entire exegesis that I provided in TPF, I will simply note that the vitally important aspect of the relationship of the atoning sacrifice of Christ and his high priestly mediation does not seem to figure in Olson's discussions on these topics. In fact, a scan of the text shows no use of the terms "mediator," "intercessor," "mediation," or "intercession," all terms that would appear in any meaningful interaction with the biblical data on this most important topic. As with most anti-reformed books, it seems Olson is doing little more than reviewing a particular list of reformed authors, cherry picking their quotes, and contrasting their terrible conclusions with his preconceived and shallow views of what the love of God must mean. To be honest, we already had plenty of these books in print. We didn't need any more. In this instance, Olson ignores the results of his demanded “Greek” interpretation in that it forces the apostle Paul to teach that the Lord Jesus is interceding for every single human being who has ever lived or ever will live. The necessary result of this view, that being the inability of Christ's intercession to save in and of itself, is not brought out with clarity by Olson, but it is there nonetheless.
The next citation is found on page 112:
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10/12/2011 - Micah BurkeHere is the itinerary for James White in Australia
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10/11/2011 - Micah Burke
James White vs Roger Perkins
Friday, October 21st, 7PM
Hope Christian Church
121 Barbaralla Dr.
Springwood, QLD 4127
Today on the Final Mega DL for...a While
10/10/2011 - James WhiteTook half an hour to talk about the "Mormonism as a cult" controversy in the news, then dove back into the Roger Perkins debate given that this was the last time we will be reviewing that material prior to my leaving for Australia. Managed to get about 2/3 of the way through the second day's opening statement, so, all in all, covered a lot of Perkins' presentation, to be sure. Remember to pray for that debate, which takes place on the 21st, as well as the one with Abdullah Kunde. Here's the program.
And don't forget the WayBack Machine, streaming Dividing Lines from 1998 onward 24/7! You can listen on the Flash Player found here.
10/10/2011 - James WhiteWell, here I go…headed to Australia tomorrow night. My debate with Abdullah Kunde is Monday evening, and my debate with Roger Perkins is Friday night in Brisbane. Please be praying for both of these encounters, that the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, would be glorified, His people edified, the gospel proclaimed, His elect drawn. Of course, please pray for my health on this trip (being in a sealed metal container with a couple hundred other folks is a really, really good way to catch some kind of illness), the 19 television programs I will be recording, the conferences, lectures, sermons, etc. And please continue to support the ministry even while the DL is not broadcasting live. Nothing is more encouraging than to hear from Rich that folks are continuing to support the work while I am away.
Apostate Presbyterians Revel in Their Apostasy
I am sure I could recount for you how Scott Anderson, 56, would respond to almost every text on the sinfulness of homosexuality, the proper, God-ordained form of marriage, etc. and etc. While the pro-homosexual movement that, for some reason, wishes to be religious at the same time, is very inventive in its ways around clear biblical standards, the patterns remain the same, and the sound, exegetical refutations stand the test of time. His "ordination" in a PCUSA church (Covenant Presbyterian Church in Madison, Wisconsin) recently is the first since the PCUSA threw in the towel in even pretending to honor the Bible and its moral and sexual norms. Like its liberal cousins in other denominations (ELCA, United Methodists, United Church of Christ, American Episcopalians, etc.), the PCUSA has entered into full blown apostasy in its capitulation to the spirit of the age and in direct violation of Christ's commands. Yes, I know there are still individual faithful believers in most of these groups (I honestly do not know how anyone could survive in the UCC), and even small, faithful congregations struggling on, but I am speaking of the denominations as a whole. There comes a time when a line is crossed, and when the sacred office of elder in the church is purposefully filled with those who cannot possibly qualify on the basis of divinely ordained standards, and in fact, are filled with those who are specifically disqualified by their own dogged insistence to openly flout God's standards and engage in perverse activities, formal and official apostasy has come to such a denomination. It is often a long process, stretching over many decades, but its inevitable end is discernible to all.
Anderson is quoted as having said, "To the thousands of Presbyterians who have worked and prayed for almost 40 years for this day, I give thanks. And I give thanks for those who disagree with what we're doing today yet who know that we are one in Jesus Christ." May I respond by pointing out that Mr. Anderson, and its compatriots, are the ones who have introduced not only heresy and sinfulness into the church, but have made schism as well? We do not get to define what is pleasing to God. We do not get to change divine standards for ministry and worship. That is what Mr. Anderson and others like him have worked "forty years" to accomplish, but that is only done at the cost to fidelity to God's truth. And I assure you, the Spirit of God does not bless the efforts of those who seek to muzzle His own revelation in Scripture. I am not "one" with Mr. Anderson in Jesus Christ, for Jesus said that if we love Him, we will do…what? Change His commandments? Alter them? Update them according to the spirit of our age? No, we will keep them, observe them, live in them. Anderson and the others who will falsely follow him into a faux-"Christian" ministry are not doing that, and hence, they are not one with those who obediently follow Jesus Christ.
Richard Mouw Continues to Shill for Salt Lake City
The headline says it all, "My Take: This evangelical says Mormonism isn’t a cult." Richard Mouw, President of Fuller Theological Seminary, continues his campaign to help Mormonism "mainstream" and, in the process, to throw every one of those who have worked so diligently to bring the gospel to the Mormon people under the bus. Mouw's confusion on Mormonism, rooted not only in his personal theological liberalism, but in his friendships with leading LDS personalities (on the more liberal or left side of the spectrum of Mormonism, to be sure), was put on display years ago when he "apologized" to the Mormons for all those nasty Christians out there who had been seeking to evangelize them all these years. Let's not worry about the fact that Mormonism teaches that there exists a plurality of gods; that the god of this planet was once a man himself who attained the status of godhood through the eternal law of progression; that Jesus is the first born spirit offspring of this exalted man (who lives on a planet that circles a star named Kolob) and one of his many wives (who, like him, have bodies of flesh and bone and with whom God, named Elohim, sires billions of spirit offspring); that men can become gods just as Elohim did. No, let's leave all that aside as stuff we can "discuss" around the wonderful table of ecumenical dialogue! I am not sure what the basis of that discussion would be, since Mormonism has patently a-historical and simply false books of "revelation" that are held in higher esteem than the Bible (which is only the word of God so far as it is "translated correctly"), but given how far Mouw leans to the left anyway, that kind of "Bible thing" is not going to be a major hindrance anyway. In any case, Mouw continues to sow confusion and error regarding the status of Mormonism which, on any semi-fair examination, is fundamentally farther removed from Christianity in the spectrum of religious teaching than Islam is! Though I know there are still some good folks teaching at Fuller, it is another example (like the one above) of what happens when the anchor dislodges and the ultimate and normative authority of the Word is lost.
Today on a Two Hour Dividing Line
10/06/2011 - James WhiteI really wanted to finish up reviewing the debate between Abdullah Kunde and Samuel Green on Trinity and Tawheed, so we managed to do that in the first 1:15 of the program today; then I moved back to the Oneness debate featuring Roger Perkins, which we will continue to work on tomorrow at 11am as well. We will finish up as much of that debate as possible on a special Monday Dividing Line, the last in quite a while (unless we manage to work out a way of doing one from Australia, or from Louisiana, all before the end of the month). Here's the program.
And don't forget the WayBack Machine, streaming Dividing Lines from 1998 onward 24/7! You can listen on the Flash Player found here.
Ehteshaam Gulam: Islamic Cyber Stalker
10/05/2011 - James White
Message: Mr. White
If you want me to stop spamming and telling everyone you have a Bogus and Fake PhD and ThD then take down that discussion video. If not, the spamming continues. You have till Friday to do so.
You meet some interesting folks on Twitter these days. I received this e-mail from Ehteshaam Gulam, a less-than-pleasant young man I had the misfortune of encountering last June in the Detroit area. I reported on our encounter here.
A little while ago Mr. Gulam started showing up in my Twitter feed, rehashing decades old (and long refuted) foolishness. I would simply block him and move on, but over the past few days he has seemingly had nothing better to do with his life than open Twitter accounts and spam everyone who follows me with the same lies. So this morning I get this e-mail, sent through the ministry contact page, in essence demanding that I remove the video from my YouTube page showing our "discussion." Now, let me be very clear: I do not include our "discussion" as one of my debates (though some people I could mention would count it as half a dozen debates, in Arabic, in Nebraska). It was not helpful outside of exposing the confusion, double standards, and darkness of the mind of a young Muslim who shows not the slightest bit of interest in self-reflection. It was never, ever my intention to post the video, and I never would have, except, I was challenged to do so by none other than Ehteshaam Gulam! Yes, on our FaceBook page back in August of 2010 Gulam accused me of "hiding" the video of our encounter! So, what do you do when someone accuses you of hiding something? You produce it, of course, and that is what I did, posting it on YouTube. Now, when I wrote to Mr. Gulam expressing my amazement at his having made such an accusation, his response was just as confused and muddled as his responses had been in Detroit. Here is what he wrote when I asked him directly if he had been the one to make the accusation on our FaceBook page:
No, it was unintentional. I apologize. In any case you own the rights to the footage thus you have every right to do what you please with it. I would however in the future like to do a debate on that topic or the preservation of the N.T.--- if your interested.
This was August 20, 2010. His tone hardened, and harshened, in follow up e-mails. But note the first statement: how can you "unintentionally" post such an accusation on FaceBook? Did his fingers just start typing it out and he could not stop them? Did a jinn take over his computer because he did not utter the proper pleas for protection from them? It is hard to say, but what does seem obvious is that in August of last year Mr. Gulam himself challenged us to provide the video of our discussion, and we did so.
Now, all of a sudden, Mr. Gulam has become an Internet stalker making blackmail demands that we remove the video that he himself demanded we post in the first place! At one point Ehteshaam said I had "ruined his life" by posting it--and in the next tweet said he was kidding. In any case, he has taken to creating new Twitter accounts each time I, and others, block him, all to spam everyone with links to his lame attempts to attack me personally, all because he won't do his own homework and deal with what I have said openly and consistently about my educational background. The cost for him to start acting his age and not like a twelve year old with a fast internet connection? I must remove that video.
Now, some might be tempted to connect Ehteshaam's behavior to Islam, and say he is seeking to put me in a position of dhimmitude. Well, he may well be thinking that, but I do not see it that way. There are lots of immature, mean-spirited people out there who harass us regularly. Many of them claim to be Christians and wouldn't know how to spell dhimmitude, let alone know what it means. So I see Mr. Gulam as simply an angry cyber-stalker who, for some reason, has decided to lash out at some perceived injury, all the while knowing inside he is the one who brought the injury on himself, both by foolishly engaging in the "discussion" we had, and then foolishly demanding I post it publicly!
Now this has become a matter of principle. The video is entertaining, but it really has no major theological worth. It shows Ehteshaam Gulam throwing out a wild variety of inconsistent and self-contradictory arguments, and as such is a good warning against this kind of unthinking, non-reflective anti-Christian rhetoric. But there are far better sources for that on our video page already. Nothing would be lost by pulling it down, to be sure.
So why not do so? Simple. You don't negotiate with terrorists is the old adage, and there is a reason for that. Let's say I remove the video. What surety do I have that Ehteshaam will stop his spamming runs if I do so? None. He's the one who demanded it be posted in the first place. And what if he decides he doesn't want to see something else on my YouTube page, and starts again? I've already started down the road of compromise, and there is no logical stopping point. You can only negotiate with someone who has honor and is rational in his behavior and thinking, and neither of those elements are present here.
Instead, I will gather up all his tweets where he has made it very clear he is violating Twitter's TOS, along with this e-mail, and submit it to Twitter, hoping there is a way to identify his IP address and block his further childish behavior. Will that work? I don't know. Might I eventually just have to leave the Twitter world because of his cyber-stalking? It's a possibility. I guess that's what Google+ is for! You can pick and choose who gets in your "circles," and it would be easy to exclude Gulam, no matter how many different screen names and accounts he wasted his life creating on different computers. We will just have to see.
One thing is for sure: once people watch this, they realize why Ehteshaam Gulam is behaving like a cyber-stalker, because when it came to a face-to-face encounter, his position collapsed into a heap of self-contradiction. See for yourself:
10/04/2011 - James WhiteWe launched into our on-line Christology lecture today, covering such things as the Athanasian Creed, the Symbol of Chalcedon, Apollinarianism, Eutychianism, Nestorianism, etc., over the course of about two hours and twenty five minutes. I truly hope the program will be educational and edifying for those who take the time to listen. Not your normal Christian podcasting, but then again, when do we stick to "normal" around here? Here's the program.
And don't forget the WayBack Machine, streaming Dividing Lines from 1998 onward 24/7! You can listen on the Flash Player found here.
Questions Steve Ray Thinks "Bible Chrisians" Can't Answer - Answered
10/04/2011 - Tur8infanSteve Ray seems to think that there are questions that we Bible Christians cannot answer. (Link to his post)
Not only can we answer them, we have answered them. For the most part, they are a bunch of loaded questions that are actually not that hard to unload and answer. The answers I provided below may not even be the only or best answers. Nevertheless, so as to bring to Mr. Ray's attention the answers that were provided over a year ago, the following provides Just click on the question for the answer.
1) "Where did Jesus give instructions that the Christian faith should be based exclusively on a book?"
2) "Other than the specific command to John to pen the Revelation, where did Jesus tell His apostles to write anything down and compile it into an authoritative book?"
3) "Where in the New Testament do the apostles tell future generations that the Christian faith will be based solely on a book?"
4) "some Protestants claim that Jesus condemned all oral tradition (e.g., Matt 15:3, 6; Mark 7:813). If so, why does He bind His listeners to oral tradition by telling them to obey the scribes and Pharisees when they “sit on Moses’ seat” (Matt 23:2)?"
5) "Some Protestants claim that St. Paul condemned all oral tradition (Col 2:8). If so, why does he tell the Thessalonians to “stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter” (2 Thes 2:15) and praises the Corinthians because they “hold firmly to the traditions” (1 Cor 11:2)? (And why does the Protestant NIV change the word “tradition” to “teaching”?)"
6) "If the authors of the New Testament believed in sola Scriptura, why did they sometimes draw on oral Tradition as authoritative and as God’s Word (Matt 2:23; 23:2; 1 Cor 10:4; 1 Pet 3:19; Jude 9, 14 15)?"
7) "Where in the Bible is God’s Word restricted only to what is written down?"
8) "How do we know who wrote the books that we call Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Hebrews, and 1, 2, and 3 John?"
9) "On what authority, or on what principle, would we accept as Scripture books that we know were not written by one of the twelve apostles?"
10) "Where in the Bible do we find an inspired and infallible list of books that should belong in the Bible? (e.g., Is the Bible’s Table of Contents inspired?)"
11) "How do we know, from the Bible alone, that the individual books of the New Testament are inspired, even when they make no claim to be inspired?"
12) "How do we know, from the Bible alone, that the letters of St. Paul, who wrote to first-century congregations and individuals, are meant to be read by us as Scripture 2000 years later?"
13) "Where does the Bible claim to be the sole authority for Christians in matters of faith and morals?"
14) "Most of the books of the New Testament were written to address very specific problems in the early Church, and none of them are a systematic presentation of Christian faith and theology. On what biblical basis do Protestants think that everything that the apostles taught is captured in the New Testament writings?"
15) "If the books of the New Testament are “self-authenticating” through the ministry of the Holy Spirit to each individual, then why was there confusion in the early Church over which books were inspired, with some books being rejected by the majority?"
16) "If the meaning of the Bible is so clear—so easily interpreted—and if the Holy Spirit leads every Christian to interpret it for themselves, then why are there over 33,000 Protestant denominations, and millions of individual Protestants, all interpreting the Bible differently?"
17) "Who may authoritatively arbitrate between Christians who claim to be led by the Holy Spirit into mutually contradictory interpretations of the Bible?"
18) "Since each Protestant must admit that his or her interpretation is fallible, how can any Protestant in good conscience call anything heresy or bind another Christian to a particular belief?"
19) "Protestants usually claim that they all agree “on the important things.” Who is able to decide authoritatively what is important in the Christian faith and what is not?"
20) "How did the early Church evangelize and overthrow the Roman Empire, survive and prosper almost 350 years, without knowing for sure which books belong in the canon of Scripture?"
21) "Who in the Church had the authority to determine which books belonged in the New Testament canon and to make this decision binding on all Christians? If nobody has this authority, then can I remove or add books to the canon on my own authority?"
22) "Why do Protestant scholars recognize the early Church councils at Hippo and Carthage as the first instances in which the New Testament canon was officially ratified, but ignore the fact that those same councils ratified the Old Testament canon used by the Catholic Church today but abandoned by Protestants at the Reformation?"
23) "Why do Protestants follow postapostolic Jewish decisions on the boundaries of the Old Testament canon, rather than the decision of the Church founded by Jesus Christ?"
24) "How were the bishops at Hippo and Carthage able to determine the correct canon of Scripture, in spite of the fact that they believed all the distinctively Catholic doctrines such as the apostolic succession of bishops, the sacrifice of the Mass, Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist, baptismal regeneration, etc?"
25) "If Christianity is a “book religion,” how did it flourish during the first 1500 years of Church history when the vast majority of people were illiterate?"
26) "How could the Apostle Thomas establish the church in India that survives to this day (and is now in communion with the Catholic Church) without leaving them with one word of New Testament Scripture?"
27) "If sola Scriptura is so solid and biblically based, why has there never been a full treatise written in its defense since the phrase was coined in the Reformation?"
28) "If Jesus intended for Christianity to be exclusively a “religion of the book,” why did He wait 1400 years before showing somebody how to build a printing press?"
29) "If the early Church believed in sola Scriptura, why do the creeds of the early Church always say “we believe in the Holy Catholic Church,” and not “we believe in Holy Scripture”?"
30) "If the Bible is as clear as Martin Luther claimed, why was he the first one to interpret it the way he did and why was he frustrated at the end of his life that “there are now as many doctrines as there are heads”?"
31) "The time interval between the Resurrection and the establishment of the New Testament canon in AD 382 is roughly the same as the interval between the arrival of the Mayflower in America and the present day. Therefore, since the early Christians had no defined New Testament for almost four hundred years, how did they practice sola Scriptura?"
32) "If the Bible is the only foundation and basis of Christian truth, why does the Bible itself say that the Church is the pillar and foundation of truth (1 Tim. 3:15)?"
33) "Jesus said that the unity of Christians would be objective evidence to the world that He had been sent by God (John 17:20-23). How can the world see an invisible "unity" that exists only in the hearts of believers?"
34) "If the unity of Christians was meant to convince the world that Jesus was sent by God, what does the ever-increasing fragmentation of Protestantism say to the world?"
35) "Hebrews 13:17 says, "Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you." What is the expiration date of this verse? When did it become okay not only to disobey the Church's leaders, but to rebel against them and set up rival churches?"
36) "The Koran explicitly claims divine inspiration, but the New Testament books do not. How do you know that the New Testament books are nevertheless inspired, but the Koran is not?"
37) "How does a Protestant know for sure what God thinks about moral issues such as abortion, masturbation, contraceptives, eugenics, euthanasia, etc.?"
38) "What is one to believe when one Protestant says infants should be baptized (e.g., Luther and Calvin) and another says it is wrong and unbiblical (e.g., Baptists and Evangelicals)?"
39) "Where does the Bible say God created the world/universe out of nothing?"
40) "Where does the Bible say salvation is attainable through faith alone?"
41) "Where does the Bible tell us how we know that the revelation of Jesus Christ ended with the death of the last Apostle?"
42) "Where does the Bible provide a list of the canonical books of the Old Testament?"
43) "Where does the Bible provide a list of the canonical books of the New Testament?"
44) "Where does the Bible explain the doctrine of the Trinity, or even use the word “Trinity”?"
45) "Where does the Bible tell us the name of the “beloved disciple”?"
46) "Where does the Bible inform us of the names of the authors of the Gospel of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John?"
47) "Where does the Bible [tell us] who wrote the Book of Acts?"
48) "Where does the Bible tell us the Holy Spirit is one of the three Persons of the Trinity?"
49) "Where does the Bible tell us Jesus Christ was both fully God and fully man from the moment of conception (e.g. how do we know His Divinity wasn't infused later in His life?) and/or tells us Jesus Christ is One Person with two complete natures, human and Divine and not some other combination of the two natures (i.e., one or both being less than complete)?"
50) "Where does the Bible that the church should, or someday would be divided into competing and disagreeing denominations?"
51) "Where does the Bible that Protestants can have an invisible unity when Jesus expected a visible unity to be seen by the world (see John 17)?"
52) "Where does the Bible tell us Jesus Christ is of the same substance of Divinity as God the Father?"
Reminder: Today's Christology Program Begins at 1pm MST
10/04/2011 - James WhiteSince we have folks wandering into channel asking where the Dividing Line is, let me remind everyone: our special ultra-mega long DL on Christology is scheduled for 1pm today, MST (4pm EDT). Hope you can join us then!
In Defense of Satire: Dr. Geisler, Dr. Caner, Can You Please Tell us What Hadith 2425 Is, and How it is Relevant to the Qur'an?
10/03/2011 - James WhiteFebruary, 2010. The Ergun Caner scandal exploded into the consciousness of the Christian blogosphere when a Muslim blogger and YouTube video producer sent me direct evidence that Ergun Caner had lied about debating Shabir Ally, Abdul Saleeb, and Nadir Ahmed. This led a group of us to start digging deeper, and over the next few months much more information came out, especially due to the work of Jason Smathers, all indicating that Dr. Ergun Caner, then President of Liberty Baptist Seminary, had made up the vast majority of his past story as a Muslim convert trained in jihad. A quick scan of this blog from March through October of 2010 will provide lengthy discussions, with documentation, that when combined with the relevant Dividing Line episodes (which included playing entire sermons of Ergun Caner, the audio of various video clips, etc., some of which have now been removed from the net as part of the Great Evangelical Cover-Up), will provide full and compelling documentation of Caner's false claims. Others, such as the indefatigable TurretinFan, likewise provided lengthy and in-depth articles exposing Caner's falsehoods.
A year and a half has now elapsed since this scandal became public knowledge. More than a year has now passed since Dr. Norman Geisler came to the aid of his adjunct professor at Veritas Seminary. Geisler posted a series of vacuous and easily refuted excuses (we believe produced by Caner himself and originally distributed to faculty at Liberty when the scandal first broke) that remain on his website to this day (found here). After exposing Geisler's attempted excuses made in behalf of Caner, we posted a video asking three questions of Norman Geisler, found here:
Dr. Geisler has consistently refused to answer these questions, even though these three questions do not even begin to exhaust the breadth of the falsehoods Caner has propounded about his past. Both Ergun and Emir Caner, likewise, have remained silent, evidently hoping that all of this will simply "go away" quietly, and Caner will be allowed to continue on presenting himself as an expert on Islam at various Veritas Seminary apologetics conferences at major churches around the United States (such as the one being held at the main Calvary Chapel congregation in Costa Mesa October 28-29, 2011). At the same time, though Liberty has severed its ties with Caner, it did so in the most politically expedient way, claiming it found no evidence that Caner had, in fact, lied.
All of this continues to represent a royal black eye on the face of Christian apologetics. The idea that the very leaders of the so-called "discernment" movement would be willing to cover over this kind of behavior in their midst provides massive evidence of simple hypocrisy, and that despite the efforts of a a small number of voices calling for confession and repentance.
For over a year now we have called for the end of the Great Evangelical Cover-Up. We have provided more than sufficient time for men like Ergun and Emir Caner and Norman Geisler to admit that they have engaged in this cover-up. They have had more than sufficient time to seek to make amends and repair the damage their actions have done to Islamic apologetics and evangelism. It has become painfully obvious that they have no intentions of doing the right thing. They are insisting upon continuing this charade and ignoring the mountain of evidence that has been presented by Christians and Muslims alike. In so doing, they are putting political alignments and loyalties before the honor and impeccability of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We continue to pray that these men will repent of their actions and do the right thing.
But in light of their continuing on as if nothing has happened in blissful ignorance of the facts, we have decided to put one of the most obvious errors of Ergun and Emir Caner, defended, amazingly, by Norman Geisler, right out front. Since repeated serious, meaningful appeals have had no impact upon these men, it is time for a little humorous satire. With the help of our old artist friend Angel Contreras, together with Carla Rolfe, we have produced the "What is Hadith 2425?" t-shirt. Here is the graphic found on the shirt:
Here Norm Geisler is seen asking Ergun Caner to answer the question we have been asking: what is Hadith 2425? Now, anyone who buys this shirt, or is brave enough to wear it while sitting in the front row of a Veritas apologetics conference, needs to be prepared to explain its meaning and the background so as to get to the important issue: why are these men continuing to put personal loyalties and preferences ahead of the gospel and Islamic apologetics? So let's make sure we know what is being alleged, and how it exposes the excuses Caner and Geisler have offered.
First, let's address the main topic, Hadith 2425. There is a hadith numbered 2425 in one of the main collections of ahadith. I can tell you right now that it is found either in Sahih Al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Sunan Abu Dawud, Jami At-Tirmidhi, Sunan Ibn Majah, or Sunan An-Nasai. The entire point of asking this question is to expose the absurdity of the following excuse, offered by Norman Geisler in his defense of Ergun Caner: ...
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One Day Remaining to do Your Homework on Christology!
10/03/2011 - Alan KurschnerChristology for Christians: A Study of the History and Theology of the Person of Christ
Tuesday, October 4th, 2011
The Dividing Line, 1 to 3:30pm MST (appx)
"On Tuesday beginning at 1pm MST we will have the equivalent of a seminary level class on Christology on The Dividing Line. Christology should be a fundamental area of study of any serious believer, yet it is often an area of profound ignorance amongst many who name the name of Christ. We would like to help our listeners to have a much better grasp of this vital area. So, we will do at least two full hours of lecture on this topic, with a brief break halfway through the lecture."
You can find the homework assignment here:
10/03/2011 - James WhiteMy Shortest Sermon Text Ever
So, I somehow managed to do an entire Sunday morning sermon at PRBC on…one word. "Therefore." Yep, I managed to pull it off. Had not at all intended to do so, but I did. Here's the sermon:
Managed to get a bit farther through Hebrews 10 Sunday evening:
May I Join Pastor Nadarkhani in Being Condemned by the Iranian Supreme Court?
According to this report, the Iranian Supreme Court has condemned him because:
He has frequently denied the prophethood of the great prophet of Islam and the rule of the sacred religion of Islam. And he has proven his apostasy by organizing evangelistic meetings and inviting others to Christianity, establishing a house church, baptizing people, expressing his faith to others and, denying Islamic values.
I would like to join this brother in his condemnation. I deny the "prophethood of the great prophet of Islam." I have all sorts of reasons for doing so, but the Qur'an provides me with all the evidence I need that Mohammad was not, in fact, a prophet sent by God. He contradicted those who were true messengers of God, and the Scriptures that had been given by God and that are even identified as such in the Qur'an. But I doubt Pastor Nardarkhani got to defend his denial of Mohammad's self-proclaimed prophethood.
I likewise reject the "rule of the sacred religion of Islam" because I proclaim the rule of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus the Messiah, who rules the nations and will judge all of mankind. Since Islam reduces my Lord to a "mere rasul," I reject Islam and all of its spiritual and political pretensions.
I have often organized, and participated in, evangelistic meetings, and I am regularly inviting, calling, and directing others to Christianity. I do so in obedience to Christ's command, a command that was uttered hundreds of years before Mohammad preached his first sermon in Mecca. It is a command about which Mohammad was, evidently, ignorant, and against which he has no authority to inveigh.
I have not established house churches, but I have surely helped and encouraged in the establishment of organized churches. I have likewise baptized people upon their profession of faith in Jesus Christ. When any sect or form of Islam specifically seeks to murder the followers of Christ for obeying His own commands, that sect shows its true nature as "anti-Christ," as it opposes His direct commands.
I express my faith to others, including Muslims, all the time. And while this specific citation does not define "Islamic values," there are surely many "Islamic values" that conflict with biblical values that I would reject wholeheartedly. One glowing example would be that of Surah 33 and its horrific destruction of the proper and godly practice of adoption (all for the sake of Mohammad's physical desires for the wife of his adopted son).
May God grant Pastor Nardarkhani life, and freedom; but if the Lord chooses to allow His servant to join the glorious roll of those who have given their lives in witness to the name of Jesus Christ, may his life draw many more to bow the knee before the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the resurrection and the life.
Roger Olson Finds A Typo and Provides an Insight
Olson writes about his new book, Against Calvinism (which a few folks have tried to buy for me on Kindle but, alas, so far, it hasn't allowed it):
I know without any doubt that some critic of Against Calvinism is going to gleefully point out that I cannot even get my New Testament references right. I’m reading my own book for the first time in published form. I come to page 68 and read: “Some Calvinists interpret 2 Peter 2:4 as referring only to the elect, but in light of 1 Timothy 2:4, that hardly works. (Fourth line from the top through sixth line from the top.)…Obviously, it should read “2 Peter 3:9.” So I went back and looked at my manuscript. Sure enough, it says 2 Peter 3:9….And in this case, anyway, I’m sure this one error (hopefully it’s the only one!) will be touted as proof of my incompetence in handling scripture by some of my less generous critics.
Of course, I would find such a criticism silly, and anyone who would make such criticism should not be taken seriously. However, I would like to comment on the very brief statement that is made here. Specifically, I do believe that 2 Peter 3:9 is specifically referring to the elect. Of course, Olson cannot respond to my exegesis, because he refuses to read it. But that odd issue aside, simply following the pronouns will lead you to the proper antecedent. The text is more than sufficiently clear to provide its own context and interpretation. But note that in the quoted portion Olson leaps from the context of second Peter to an ostensibly already interpreted text from Paul in his epistle to Timothy. Now, of course, our readers will recognize that he is dealing with two of the “Big Three,” and we will have to see if there is any serious interaction with the issue of intercession in the text from I Timothy. But you do not interpret second Peter by such a shallow reference to a completely different context. This brief quotation, provided by Olson himself, does not bode well for the kind of exegesis we should expect from Olson's new book.