Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
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10/25/2011 - Rich PierceLook for the area marked with the red circle and select it.
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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.
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.
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."
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.
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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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.