Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
A New Work on the Deity of Christ in our Webstore
11/30/2011 - James WhiteThis seems to be a good time to note the addition of a new resource in our webstore. This work on the deity of Christ is edited by Christopher W. Morgan, Robert A. Peterson, with contributions by Gerald Bray, Alan W. Gomes, J. Nelson Jennings, Andreas J. Kostenberger, Stephen J. Nichols, Raymond C. Ortlund Jr., Stephen J. Wellum.
Donating Just Got Easier with PayPal
11/30/2011 - Rich PierceI just finished a new donations page that simplifies the process. Check it out here.
Creation and Genesis 1
11/30/2011 - Jeff DownsThis past summer (August) Greenville Seminary hosted a conference on the topic of creation. The two speakers were Drs. Jonathan Sarfati and Joseph Pipa. GPTS recently received the video of the conference and I was given permission to post Dr. Pipa's first lecture titled "What Genesis 1 Teaches About Creation" During this lecture Dr. Pipa presents a exegetical case for a young earth.
To watch the lecture click here or here.
Dr. Pipa is the president of GPTS and the author of this recent commentary on Galatians, as well as this book on the Sabbath.
By the way, our next theology conference A Commemoration of Princeton 1812-2012, March 13-15 will include speakers such as Drs. Paul K. Helseth, Fred Zaspel, C.N. Willborn, and Tony Curto. On the creation issues, Fred Zaspel will address the topic "Princeton and Evolution/Creation." The schedule is located online here.
11/30/2011 - James WhiteAhmed Deedat normally chose his opponents carefully so as to avoid serious challenges to his story-telling form of apologetics. But he did not count on Josh McDowell's presentation in their debate in South Africa. One of the few times where Deedat's story telling fell apart, and at the end, he can do little more than blaspheme.
McDowell's response late in the debate quoting Jesus' words from Revelation, "I was dead, and am alive evermore" is classic. But Deedat's disciple, Zakir Naik, continues to repeat the same lie to this day. It is a shame that Deedat continues to deceive years after his death.
Don't forget that tomorrow afternoon we will launch into two new series on the DL, one, a review and response to the Bart Ehrman/Dan Wallace debate from 10/1/2011, and the second a review and refutation of comments made by Diaa Mohamed in a debate in Australia a few weeks ago. I hope these will be useful to folks.
If you enjoy the Dividing Line and the format of reviewing debates, engaging in front-line apologetics, going in-depth in response to critics near and far, and would like to help the work continue, three things: 1) pray for Rich and I, and our volunteers, as we seek to pursue the ministry with integrity and to His glory; 2) consider regular support, as this is the foundation upon which all our debates and trips and activities is based; and 3) remember that the Ministry Resource List represents items that are often right at the forefront of the studying and research I am doing. I just put a few items on the list, one of which is an electronic item I use at least four, sometimes six times a week, absolutely central to getting through all the podcasts, lectures, debates, and books I plow through on a regular basis. Folks who help with that resource list are a tremendous encouragement, especially at this time of year!
Today on the Dividing Line: Response to Dave Barron/Patrick Navas
11/29/2011 - James WhiteI had hoped to get through my response to this video in about an hour or so, but alas, it took the entire two hours of a Mega DL, dedicated to one of our channel rats and ministry supporters, Ralph P., to finish up. So, I will dive into the Ehrman/Wallace debate, and my review of the Samuel Green/Diaa Mohamed debate, on Thursday (sounds like that will need to be a jumbo...let's get started about 3:30 then!). Anyway, you will definitely need the material in the article posted below to follow the discussion today, but if you want to go "deep" on such topics as the I am sayings of Jesus, or the witness of 1 Cor. 8:5-6 to the deity of Christ, this is the program for you. 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.
The Crossan/Borg vs. White/Renihan 2005 Debate on the Resurrection
11/29/2011 - James White
Please note, we lost the audio to my opening statement, and it had to be re-recorded at a later point.
Reference Materials for the Dividing Line of November 29, 2011
11/29/2011 - James WhiteBelow I provide original language references and citations that I will be covering in the discussion on the Dividing Line for November 29, 2011. [Please note: I found copy/paste errors in the F.F. Bruce citation, and one section I forgot to bold, during the program itself. These have been fixed below post-program].
Is. 6:1 ¶ Καὶ ἐγένετο τοῦ ἐνιαυτοῦ, οὗ ἀπέθανεν Οζιας ὁ βασιλεύς, εἶδον τὸν κύριον καθήμενον ἐπὶ θρόνου ὑψηλοῦ καὶ ἐπηρμένου, καὶ πλήρης ὁ οἶκος τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ.
John 12:41 ταῦτα εἶπεν Ἠσαΐας ὅτι εἶδεν τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἐλάλησεν περὶ αὐτοῦ.
Is. 53:2 ἀνηγγείλαμεν ἐναντίον αὐτοῦ ὡς παιδίον, ὡς ῥίζα ἐν γῇ διψώσῃ, οὐκ ἔστιν εἶδος αὐτῷ οὐδὲ δόξα· καὶ εἴδομεν αὐτόν, καὶ οὐκ εἶχεν εἶδος οὐδὲ κάλλος·
Is. 66:18 κἀγὼ τὰ ἔργα αὐτῶν καὶ τὸν λογισμὸν αὐτῶν ἐπίσταμαι. ἔρχομαι συναγαγεῖν πάντα τὰ ἔθνη καὶ τὰς γλώσσας, καὶ ἥξουσιν καὶ ὄψονται τὴν δόξαν μου.
Is. 66:19 καὶ καταλείψω ἐπ᾿ αὐτῶν σημεῖα καὶ ἐξαποστελῶ ἐξ αὐτῶν σεσῳσμένους εἰς τὰ ἔθνη, εἰς Θαρσις καὶ Φουδ καὶ Λουδ καὶ Μοσοχ καὶ Θοβελ καὶ εἰς τὴν Ἑλλάδα καὶ εἰς τὰς νήσους τὰς πόρρω, οἳ οὐκ ἀκηκόασίν μου τὸ ὄνομα οὐδὲ ἑωράκασιν τὴν δόξαν μου, καὶ ἀναγγελοῦσίν μου τὴν δόξαν ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν.
Ακουε, Ισραηλ· κύριος ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν κύριος εἷς ἐστιν·
Deut. 6:5 καὶ ἀγαπήσεις κύριον τὸν θεόν σου ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ψυχῆς σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς δυνάμεώς σου.
ἀλλ᾿ ἡμῖν εἷς θεὸς ὁ πατὴρ
ἐξ οὗ τὰ πάντα καὶ ἡμεῖς εἰς αὐτόν,
καὶ εἷς κύριος Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς
δι᾿ οὗ τὰ πάντα καὶ ἡμεῖς δι᾿ αὐτοῦ.
Heb. 1:3 ¶ ὃς ὢν ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης καὶ χαρακτὴρ τῆς ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ,
φέρων τε τὰ πάντα τῷ ῥήματι τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ,
καθαρισμὸν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ποιησάμενος
ἐκάθισεν ἐν δεξιᾷ τῆς μεγαλωσύνης ἐν ὑψηλοῖς,
2. someth. produced as a representation, reproduction, representation, fig., of God ἄνθρωπον ἔπλασεν τῆς ἑαυτοῦ εἰκόνος χαρακτῆρα (God) formed a human being as reproduction of his own identity/reality (s. εἰκών 2) 1 Cl 33:4 (cp. OGI 383, 60 of a picture χ. μορφῆς ἐμῆς; 404, 25; Philo, Det. Pot. Ins. 83 calls the soul τύπον τινὰ καὶ χαρακτῆρα θείας δυνάμεως). Christ is χαρ. τῆς ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ an exact representation of (God’s) real being Hb 1:3 (ὑπόστασις 1a).
58.62 χαρακτήρ, ῆρος m: a representation as an exact reproduction of a particular form or structure — ‘exact representation.’ ὃς ὢν ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης καὶ χαρακτὴρ τῆς ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ ‘who is the reflection of his glory and the exact representation of his being’ He 1:3.
The words in which the psalmist addresses God, however, are here applied to the Son, as clearly as the words of Ps. 45:6f. were applied to him in vv. 8 and 9. What justification can be pleaded for our author's applying them thus? First, as he has already said in v. 2, it was through the Son that the universe was made. The angels were but worshiping spectators when the earth was founded, but the Son was the Father's agent in the work. He therefore can be understood as the one who is addressed in the words:
Of old thou didst lay the foundation of the earth;
And the heavens are the work of thy hands.
Moreover, in the Septuagint text the person to whom these words are spoken is addressed explicitly as "Lord" ("Thou, Lord, in the beginning didst lay the foundation of the earth"); and it is God who addresses him thus. Whereas in the Hebrew text the suppliant is the speaker from the beginning to the end of the psalm, in the Greek text his prayer comes to an end with v. 22; and the next words read as follows:
He answered him in the way of his strength:
"Declare to me the shortness of my days:
Bring me not up in the midst of my days.
Thy years are throughout all generations.
Thou, Lord, in the beginning didst lay the foundations of the earth..."
This is God's answer to the suppliant; he bids him acknowledge the shortness of God's set time (for the restoration of Jerusalem, as in v. 13) and not summon him to act when that set time has only half expired, while he assures him that he and his servants' children will be preserved forever.102 But to whom (a Christian reader of the Septuagint might well ask) could God speak in words _link_ like these? And whom would God himself address as "Lord," as the maker of earth and heaven? Our author knows of one person only to whom such terms could be appropriate, and that is the Son of God.
That our author understood this quotation from Ps. 102 as an utterance of God seems plain from the way in which it is linked by the simple conjunction "and" to the preceding quotation from Ps. 45. Both quotations fall under the same rubric: "But to the Son [God says]." If in the preceding quotation the Son is addressed by God as "God," in this one he is addressed by God as "Lord." And we need not doubt that to our author the title "Lord" conveys the highest sense of all, "the name which is above every name." No wonder that the Son has ascribed to him a dignity which surpasses all the names angels bear. Nor is our author the only New Testament writer to ascribe to Christ the highest of divine names, or to apply to him Old Testament scriptures which in their primary context refer to Yahweh.105
102. Cf. B. W. Bacon, "Heb. 1:10-12 and the Septuagint Rendering of Ps. 102:23," ZNW 3 (1902), pp. 280-85. Bacon suggested that the Hebrew, as well as the Greek, text of this psalm formed a basis for messianic eschatology, especially its reference to the "shortness" of God's days, i.e., of the period destined to elapse before the consummation of his purpose; he found here the OT background of Matt. 24:22, Mark 13:20, and Ep. Barn. 4:3 ("as Enoch says, 'For to this end the Master has cut short the times and the days, that his Beloved should make haste and come to his inheritance"').
105. Cf. the application to Christ of Isa. 45:23 in Phil. 2:1Of. (see p. 50, n. 37), and of Isa. 8:13 ("Yahweh of hosts, him you shall sanctify") in 1 Pet. 3:15 ("sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord").
Col. 1:15 ὅς ἐστιν εἰκὼν τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ἀοράτου,
πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως,
Col. 1:16 ὅτι ἐν αὐτῷ ἐκτίσθη τὰ πάντα
ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς,
τὰ ὁρατὰ καὶ τὰ ἀόρατα,
εἴτε θρόνοι εἴτε κυριότητες
εἴτε ἀρχαὶ εἴτε ἐξουσίαι·
τὰ πάντα δι᾿ αὐτοῦ καὶ εἰς αὐτὸν ἔκτισται·
Col. 1:17 καὶ αὐτός ἐστιν πρὸ πάντων
καὶ τὰ πάντα ἐν αὐτῷ συνέστηκεν
Rom. 11:36 ¶ ὅτι ἐξ αὐτοῦ καὶ δι᾿ αὐτοῦ καὶ εἰς αὐτὸν τὰ πάντα·
αὐτῷ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας, ἀμήν.
Although Jesus is identified by Paul as “the firstborn of all creation” (prototokos pases ktiseos), a few Trinitarian Bible translators have actually attempted to change the translation to “firstborn over all creation” (NIV and NKJV); but that is not a literally accurate or necessary translation. In a typical effort to defend Trinitarian concepts, John MacArthur advanced two interpretive ideas in his commentary on this verse.
πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως,
Though some regard this gen. to be partitive (thus, firstborn who is a part of creation), both due to the lexical field of “firstborn” including “preeminent over” (and not just a literal chronological birth order) and the following causal clause (“for [ὅτι] in him all things were created”)-which makes little sense if mere chronological order is in view, it is far more likely that this expresses subordination. Further, although most examples of subordination involve a verbal head noun, not all do (notice 2 Cor 4:4 above, as well as Acts 13:17). The resultant meaning seems to be an early confession of Christ’s lordship and hence, implicitly, his deity.
Wallace, D. B. (1999; 2002). Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics - Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (104). Zondervan Publishing House and Galaxie Software.
John 13:19 ἀπ᾿ ἄρτι λέγω ὑμῖν πρὸ τοῦ γενέσθαι, ἵνα πιστεύσητε ὅταν γένηται ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι.
Is. 43:10 γένεσθέ μοι μάρτυρες, κἀγὼ μάρτυς, λέγει κύριος ὁ θεός, καὶ ὁ παῖς, ὃν ἐξελεξάμην,
ἵνα γνῶτε καὶ πιστεύσητε καὶ συνῆτε ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι,
ἔμπροσθέν μου οὐκ ἐγένετο ἄλλος θεὸς καὶ μετ᾿ ἐμὲ οὐκ ἔσται·
אֲנִ֥י יְהוָ֖ה וְאֵ֥ין עֽוֹד׃
Göttingen Septuagint (current scholarly standard in LXX textual studies):
18 Οὕτως λέγει κύριος ὁ ποιήσας τὸν οὐρανόν, οὗτος ὁ θεὸς ὁ καταδείξας τὴν γῆν καὶ ποιήσας αὐτήν, αὐτὸς διώρισεν αὐτήν, οὐκ εἰς κενὸν ἐποίησεν αὐτὴν ἀλλὰ κατοικεῖσθαι Ἐγώ εἰμι, καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν ἔτι.
18 init.] pr. οτι oI’ C 403′ = M | κύριος] + ο θεος 26 239′ 407 410 449′ Bo; > 311′ | οὐρανόν] + και την γην 534 | om. ὁ θεός Sc 239′ 544 Cyr.(lem) | τὴν γῆν] αυτην 534 | αὐτήν1°◠2° oII 22*-93 239; 2°◠3° 88 | ἐποίησεν] εκοπιασεν 93 | om. αὐτήν3° B* ʘ | κατοικεῖσθαι] + (※ Qmg) επλασεν αυτην O′’-Qmg L′’` C 403′ 770 Syl Tht. Hi. = M | εἰμι] + εγω ειμι 407 538 Sap; + κυριος V-Qmg-oI’ L′’`-233 C 239′ 403′ 538 770 Syl Eus. Tht. Cyr.(lem) Hi. = M; + ο θεος Co(Sap) | ἔτι] οτι lII; πλην εμου 538; + πλην εμου 407 Co
Is. 43:25 ἐγώ εἰμι ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ἐξαλείφων τὰς ἀνομίας σου καὶ οὐ μὴ μνησθήσομαι.
Is. 51:12 ἐγώ εἰμι ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ παρακαλῶν σε· γνῶθι τίνα εὐλαβηθεῖσα ἐφοβήθης ἀπὸ ἀνθρώπου θνητοῦ καὶ ἀπὸ υἱοῦ ἀνθρώπου, οἳ ὡσεὶ χόρτος ἐξηράνθησαν.
Is. 47:8 νῦν δὲ ἄκουσον ταῦτα, ἡ τρυφερὰ ἡ καθημένη πεποιθυῖα ἡ λέγουσα ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτῆς Ἐγώ εἰμι, καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν ἑτέρα· οὐ καθιῶ χήρα οὐδὲ γνώσομαι ὀρφανείαν.
Is. 47:9 νῦν δὲ ἥξει ἐξαίφνης ἐπὶ σὲ τὰ δύο ταῦτα ἐν μιᾷ ἡμέρᾳ· χηρεία καὶ ἀτεκνία ἥξει ἐξαίφνης ἐπὶ σὲ ἐν τῇ φαρμακείᾳ σου ἐν τῇ ἰσχύι τῶν ἐπαοιδῶν σου σφόδρα
Is. 47:10 τῇ ἐλπίδι τῆς πονηρίας σου. σὺ γὰρ εἶπας Ἐγώ εἰμι, καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν ἑτέρα. γνῶθι ὅτι ἡ σύνεσις τούτων καὶ ἡ πορνεία σου ἔσται σοι αἰσχύνη. καὶ εἶπας τῇ καρδίᾳ σου Ἐγώ εἰμι, καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν ἑτέρα.
Zeph. 2:15 αὕτη ἡ πόλις ἡ φαυλίστρια ἡ κατοικοῦσα ἐπ᾿ ἐλπίδι ἡ λέγουσα ἐν καρδίᾳ αὐτῆς Ἐγώ εἰμι, καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν μετ᾿ ἐμὲ ἔτι. πῶς ἐγενήθη εἰς ἀφανισμόν, νομὴ θηρίων· πᾶς ὁ διαπορευόμενος δι᾿ αὐτῆς συριεῖ καὶ κινήσει τὰς χεῖρας αὐτοῦ.
“The Johannine Gospel offers lucid examples of precreational christology. The opening verses (1:1-2) of the hymn that serves as a Prologue makes clear that not only through the Word (who is the Son; see 1:18) were all things created but also the Word existed in God’s presence before creation. If in Gen 1:1 ‘In the beginning’ means in the beginning of creation, in John 1:1 ‘In the beginning’ means before anything was created. That in John’s mind the preexistence of Jesus as God’s Son is not merely hymnic figurative language or poetic license is clear from 17:5 where the Johannine Jesus speaks literally and consciously of having a glorified existence with the Father before the world began (see also 16:28; 3:13; 5:19; 8:26,58).
“A particular facet of Johannine precreational christology appears in the use of ‘I am’ by Jesus. The corresponding Greek ego eimi can be simply a phrase of common speech, equivalent to ‘It is I’ or ‘I am the one.’ However, it also has a solemn or sacral use in the OT, the NT, Gnosticism, and pagan Greek religious writings. Of most importance for our quest is John’s absolute use of ‘I am’ with no predicate, which I shall distinguish by capitalizing. Thus, 8:24: ‘Unless you come to believe that I AM, you will die in your sins’; 8:28: ‘When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I AM’; 8:58: ‘Before Abraham even came into existence, I AM’; 13:19: ‘When it does happen, you may believe that I AM.’
“There is a natural tendency to feel that these statements are incomplete; for instance, in John 8:25 ‘the Jews’ respond by asking, ‘Well then who are you?’ Since this usage goes far beyond ordinary parlance, all recognize that the absolute I AM has a special revelatory function in John. The most common explanation is to associate this Johannine use with ‘I AM’ employed as a divine name in the OT and rabbinic Judaism. The OT offers excellent examples of the use ‘I am,’ including impressive examples of the absolute use. Let us begin with the statement, ‘I am Yahweh/God,’ since the absolute use of ‘I AM’ in the OT is a variant of it. In Hebrew the statement contains simply the pronoun ‘I’ and the predicate ‘Yahweh’ or ‘God’ without a connecting verb. This formula is revelatory in a limited way, expressing divine authority and giving reassurance and a reason for trust (Gen 26:24; 28:13; Exod 6:6; 20:2, 5; Lev 18:5; Ezek 20:5). In particular, where God promises, ‘You shall know that I am Yahweh’ (Exod 6:7; cf. 7:5), we come close to John 8:24,28 cited above. The most important use of the OT formula ‘I am Yahweh’ stresses the unicity of God: I am Yahweh (or I am He) and there is no other, e.g. Deutero-Isaiah, as well as in Hosea 13:4 and Joel 2:27. The Hebrew for ‘I Yahweh’ or ‘I He’ is translated in the Greek OT simply as ‘I am’ (ego eimi); and since the predicate is not expressed, that translation puts added emphasis on existence.
“There is even evidence that the use of ego eimi in the Greek of Deutero-Isaiah came to be understood not only as a statement of divine unicity and existence, but also as a divine name. The Hebrew of Isa 43:25 reads, ‘I, I am He who blots out your transgressions.’ The Greek translates the first part of this statement by using ego eimi twice. This can mean, ‘I am He, I am He who blots out your transgressions’: but it can also be interpreted, ‘I am ‘I AM’ who blots out your transgressions,’ a translation that makes ego eimi a name. Isa 51:12 is similar. The Hebrew of Isa 52:6 states, ‘My people shall know my name; in that day (they shall know) that I am He who speaks’; but the Greek can be read, ‘that ego eimi is the one who speaks,’ so that ‘I AM’ becomes the divine name to be known in the day of the Lord.
“Against this background the absolute use of ‘I AM’ by the Johannine Jesus becomes quite intelligible; he was speaking in the same manner in which Yahweh speaks in Deutero-Isaiah. For instance, in John 8:28 Jesus promises that when the Son of Man is lifted up (in return to the Father), ‘then you will know ego eimi’; in Isaiah 43:10 Yahweh has chosen Israel, ‘that you may know and believe me and understand ego eimi.’ The absolute Johannine use of ‘I AM’ has the effect of portraying Jesus as divine with (pre)existence as his identity, even as the Greek OT understood the God of Israel. (Brown, An Introduction to New Testament Christology [Paulist Press; Mahwah, NJ 1994], pp. 136-139; bold emphasis added).
11/28/2011 - James WhiteTomorrow I will be doing a specially-dedicated MEGA (2 hour) DL starting at the regular time (11am MST). Join us and bring your Bible! More in-depth studies.
Here are Sunday's sermons from Hebrews 10 at the Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church:
Apologetics Class, January, 2012
11/27/2011 - James WhiteTo all the folks in the Phoenix area: Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary is offering an apologetics class in January (see the banner ad). They have had a number of inquiries about it, but I wanted to let you know that the time period to sign up will soon pass, and since the class is up against a number of required classes, it is not certain to be offered unless sufficient numbers sign up ahead of time. If you have been putting off returning your forms (credit or audit), you need to call Dottie at the Arizona Campus and let her know!
Steve Ray Thinks Spurgeon was "Dillusional"
11/26/2011 - Tur8infanYes, Steve Ray spelled it "Dillusional," though I suspect he meant "Delusional." But what is the basis for Ray's complaint? Ray quotes Spurgeon as saying:
It seems odd, that certain men who talk so much of what the Holy Spirit reveals to themselves, should think so little of what he has revealed to others.
Ray does not provide the context. Here is the statement in its original context:
In order to be able to expound the Scriptures, and as an aid to your pulpit studies, you will need to be familiar with the commentators: a glorious army, let me tell you, whose acquaintance will be your delight and profit. Of course, you are not such wiseacres as to think or say that you can expound Scripture without assistance from the works of divines and learned men who have labored before you in the field of exposition. If you are of that opinion, pray remain so, for you are not worth the trouble of conversion, and like a little coterie who think with you, would resent the attempt as an insult to your infallibility. It seems odd, that certain men who talk so much of what the Holy Spirit reveals to themselves, should think so little of what he has revealed to others. My chat this afternoon is not for these great originals, but for you who are content to learn of holy men, taught of God, and mighty in the Scriptures. It has been the fashion of late years to speak against the use of commentaries. If there were any fear that the expositions of Matthew Henry, Gill, Scott, and others, would be exalted into Christian Targums, we would join the chorus of objectors, but the existence or approach of such a danger we do not suspect. The temptations of our times lie rather in empty pretensions to novelty of sentiment, than in a slavish following of accepted guides. A respectable acquaintance with the opinions of the giants of the past, might have saved many an erratic thinker from wild interpretations and outrageous inferences. Usually, we have found the despisers of commentaries to be men who have no sort of acquaintance with them; in their case, it is the opposite of familiarity which has bred contempt.
(Commenting and Commentaries, Lecture I)
Ray tries to justify his claim with the following argument:
But isn’t it ironic that Spurgeon is guilty of what he accuses others of neglecting? The Holy Spirit spoke through the Apostles and early bishops and their writings and practices are easily accessible.
Even if that were true, it wouldn't justify calling the great evangelist "delusional." In point of fact, though, Spurgeon is accusing others of neglecting the use of commentaries. He himself did not neglect their use. So, no - Spurgeon is not guilty of what he accuses others of neglecting.
Moreover, the way in which the Holy Spirit spoke through the Apostles and other prophets (not "early bishops" in anything like the modern Roman sense of "bishops") is not what Spurgeon is talking about. Spurgeon is not, for example, suggesting that modern day Charismatics have an insufficient respect for Scripture. Instead, Spurgeon is talking about people who engage in "Solo Scriptura," and literally ignore what other exegetes have found in Scripture.
Ray has completely missed the mark with his usage of Spurgeon's quotation.
Ray then stated:
They practiced the primacy of Rome, the Real Presence in the Eucharist, new birth through water baptism, a church structure with bishops, priests and deacons.
They didn't "practice" papal infallibility, transubstantiation, or the papacy. The apostles themselves didn't provide a church structure of bishops, priests, and deacons. Steve Ray is being awfully selective in his description of what things some of the fathers taught or practiced.
Moreover, it is one thing to "ignore" what the early fathers taught, and another to disagree with them. What is interesting is that we can justify our departure from their teachings (where we depart from them), whereas Mr. Ray cannnot. Why? Because oral tradition is not one of our sources of authority. We don't assume that important things - things necessary for salvation - were omitted from Scripture.
If, however, what the early fathers taught they taught because of oral tradition, why doesn't Mr. Ray agree with them on everything? The answer, of course, is that in reality and in practice the "magisterium" trumps both Scripture and tradition for a member of the Roman communion. It doesn't matter that not one church father taught, held, believed, or practiced (for example) papal infallibility, transubstantiation, or the bodily assumption of Mary. It doesn't matter that Scripture doesn't teach those things. Rome says it, they believe it, and that settles it. Sola Ecclesia.
The 2nd century “church service” was a perfect blueprint of the Mass today and does not even remotely resemble the “Baptist church” of today.
Quite the opposite. While there would certainly be differences from what one might think of at a "Baptist church" (which one does Ray even have in mind), there would have been a complete absence of Roman missals from a second century church - and an absence of idols, as well.
Why does Spurgeon think so much of what he supposes the Holy Spirit showed him (a tradition unknown before the 16th century) while he ignores what the Holy Spirit universally revealed to the early Church and which has been taught and practiced in an unbroken line in the Catholic Church for 2,000 years?
In point of fact, of course, Spurgeon didn't ignore what Rome claims to teach. Moreover, Rome's historical claims to teach what was revealed 2000 years ago are lies. Ray knows very well that the early church didn't hold to papal infallibility, transubstantiation, prayers to Mary, the bodily assumption of Mary, and so forth. That's why he words his claims in squirrely ways, as we saw above.
For example, he claims that they "practiced the primacy of Rome." How exactly does he think they did that? They didn't take that to mean that the bishop of Rome was infallible. They were comfortable conducting large councils that were not called by - or even attended by - the bishop of Rome (councils like Nicaea). They settled theological disputes by appealing to Scripture, not to some papal ruling.
Rome didn't even have a singular bishop in the beginning of the church at Rome. Once Rome came to the point where it had only a single bishop, he may have received a lot of respect. But that's hardly all Rome requires people to believe - nor does Rome deserve the respect it once did. It no longer has the kind of track record it did when some of the early fathers praised it.
Homosexual Uber-Rights...I Told You So
11/26/2011 - James WhiteFor years now I have been commenting on the fact that homosexual advocates are not, and will never be, satisfied with mere "tolerance." No, they are demanding uber-rights, supremacy, in-your-face capitulation to the supremacy of their worldview and the denigration of anything that makes them feel "different." That means families, with a father and a mother, and children growing up as boys and girls in a wholesome, safe environment. The attacks are becoming more and more open, more and more utterly ridiculous. But, given the moral degradation of Western culture, these attacks are not only countenanced by the social elite, but encouraged thereby. Check out this situation in Canada.
His Eternal Power and Divine Nature...
11/26/2011 - James White...have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse (ἀναπολογήτους, without a rational defense, an answer, an apologetic)." Romans 1:20)
In light of the Mississippi disaster a few weeks ago, it is good to be reminded that the abortion holocaust is purely a matter of convenience, politics, and money combined with corrupt morals. It is not in any way, shape, or form, a matter of ignorance concerning the humanity of the pre-born child. That is a completely settled matter. As in all things, scientific knowledge can be used for good or for evil. But its testimony to God's existence, wisdom, and power, can only be denied at the cost of our own humanity, our own rationality. We must beat daily upon the image of God within us with the rebellious hammers of our willful stupidity so as to deface the testimony He has placed within us. Watch this video and see and hear again the vindication of God's truth in Romans 1.
The Deity of Christ/Trinity Debate with Patrick Navas on Chris Date's Theopologetics Podcast
11/25/2011 - James WhiteChris Date works fast, and he has already posted the audio from tonight's debate with Patrick Navas on the Deity of Christ. You can download directly, or, as most will probably want to do, you can subscribe to the podcast (like many do with the Dividing Line). Listeners can subscribe by going here and clicking one of the “Subscribe” buttons, or they can find the show by searching for “Theopologetics” in iTunes , the Zune Marketplace, or by direct RSS feed.
For tonight's debate (in two parts):
Part 1 is in episode 67, “Firstborn of Creation,” available here.
Part 2 is in episode 68, “The Great I Am,” available here.
I appreciate Chris Date's patience in setting this up. I was often traveling, often slow in responding to e-mails, and obviously focused elsewhere. I hope the encounter is useful to God's people, edifying to the saints, and glorifying to the Triune God who made us and sustains us.
Yesterday on the Dividing Line: The Real Reason to be Thankful
11/23/2011 - James WhiteYesterday we did a Jumbo edition of the DL, investing 90 minutes primarily focused upon the exegesis of Philippians 2:5-11, and the real reason we should be thankful at all times. Some might call it an overly long sermon, but I hope those who appreciate textually-based studies will be encouraged, blessed, and edified. 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.
11/23/2011 - James WhiteThe day before Thanksgiving, a truly unique and Christian holiday (want to guess how long it will be till some group files suit against its celebration---at least publicly?). For Christians who know the One to whom thanks is due, a wonderful time.
Just a few miscellaneous items today. Please pray for my encounter Friday evening with Patrick Navas, "Biblical unitarian," i.e., anti-Trinitarian, on the podcast of Chris Date. We will, of course, post a link when the program is made available. We will be limiting the discussion to five specific texts/subjects (no, the number has nothing to do with the Five Points), so we should safely avoid the ever present problem of "really surface level discussions that waste everyone's time."
I will continue my series in Hebrews Sunday, November 27th at the Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church.
Headed to St. Louis for the eleventh consecutive year the following weekend, this time to address the KJV Only movement, the canon, etc. Looking forward to seeing old friends! After ten years speaking at the same place on the same weekend, you become an official elder of that church, too, so I will have some things to say about certain members there! :-)
The fall-out from the Geisler/Licona controversy continues to echo across the blogosphere. Here is Geisler's response to Mike Licona's paper, which you can listen to here. I do find it humorous that Licona started out his paper by quoting Geisler chiding me (though, that quote has now been removed from the third edition of Geisler's CBF). Accusations of bullying and strong-arming have appeared, and believe me, given the behavior of the Geisler/Veritas group in response to Geisler's taking the lead in covering up for Caner, I know which side I believe on that topic (even though I would be much more on Geisler's side of this theological issue relating to Licona's view of Matt. 27).
As "that season" approaches, please remember that our store here at aomin.org really helps us to keep the ministry rolling, the Dividing Line webcasting, the debates being scheduled, etc. Some of the greatest things you can give to an apologetically minded believer, or for your elders, can be found in our webstore, and when you get it from us, you keep the ministry flourishing as well. For example, we have in stock the great new resource from Greg Nichols on the covenants, and this leather-bound diglot remains one of the best items you can provide to an elder or teacher.
A few years ago I began The Ministry Resource List, and it continues to be a huge source of encouragement to me. I really wish to thank those who regularly check the list and help out as they can. Few things pick up my spirits and exhort me to press on than when someone steps up to assist in that fashion. Along with those who regularly support the work (without whom we would not be here) those who "stand in the gap" and meet needs as they arise are a great blessing.
On Finishing Well: Part 2, A Year Later
11/21/2011 - James WhiteSome will remember this article I wrote a year ago regarding my failed attempt to finally break the six hour barrier in El Tour de Tucson and get my coveted gold medallion for so doing. I tried to make a spiritual application and bring something good out of what was otherwise a very disappointing outing. I made mention of taking another stab at it next year, and that is what I did this weekend.
Here is the map of the ride. From the start I had little confidence in being able to obtain my elusive goal of "riding gold." First, the day before the ride I learned that the distance had returned to what it had been back in the 1990s, 111 miles (up two miles from last year). Two miles may not sound like much, but that's six minutes at 20mph, and last year I had been on track to just barely get in under six hours. Add six minutes and now I need to go faster. Then, I got to the start line only an hour before the race. I was so far back it took five minutes just to get to the start line once the race started, and your time begins right at 7am, whether you get across the start line then or not.
Then, out on the ride, I got trapped by a train. A huge train, as this picture shows, at Tangerine Road. Stand, wait, clock ticking. [Just noticed this while editing the picture: the fellow who had just pulled up and is taking a drink, number 2259, was the one guy who worked with me in a group of about seven all the way down Silverbell in taking turns leading out and fighting the wind. Turns out he is James Wilson, 38, from Visalia, California. Thanks, James, for working with me!]
Now, I should mention that before the start it was announced that Barry Bonds of MLB fame was riding in the 111 mile event. I found that rather interesting. Well, it turns out, Barry Bonds was in the same group I was in at the train crossing. I passed him a few minutes later, and finished about three minutes ahead of him. He has taken a great interest in cycling since his baseball days, and has trimmed down a great deal as well.
Also, let me say as a long time veteran of El Tour, the folks who put this race on are simply fantastic. All the volunteers are so encouraging and helpful, the police along the way do a great job, and the folks at PBAA who put this on---kudos to you all, and especially to Linda Dugan, a wonderful lady I've met a few times now who works with PBAA. Congratulations to you all, and thanks for the great ride!
Anyway, I only took one stop, meeting one of the "channel rats," tucsonmom, who has met me now two years running, providing me fresh bottles at a rest stop about 67 miles into the race. I know I could never get through this race without such encouragement and help, and I am very thankful to tucsonmom and all the channel rats who were pulling for me in channel, following me on Latitudes. That was a great encouragement.
All through the ride I resisted the temptation to look at the clock, that is, check the actual race time. I was focused solely upon breaking six hours "on bike," and I decided to let the race clock take care of itself. We once again had a straight on, dead in your face headwind coming out of the south/southeast all the way down Silverbell, a horrific road that does not really qualify as being paved in many places. That is really where the race starts to hurt. All the friendly banter ends, and everyone just starts hurting along there. Relief came when we turned left on 22nd, and then one last left turn onto 6th Ave, northbound.
Of course, through all of the race I was worried about what happened last year, the dreaded experience of full cramping of the legs which had taken me out of the competition a year before. I had trained hard, done a good deal of altitude work (three days in Flagstaff, over 100 miles of riding at altitude, including two ascents up to the Snow Bowl ski area), and this time I made sure to take LOTS of calcium/magnesium pills (thanks to my chiropractor, Nicoleta Borcean, for putting me onto those!). But I was still concerned about it all the way.
I found it humorous, but not overly unusual, that as we turned north toward the finish line (you could see it a mile off) guys who three miles earlier had been dogging it along on my wheel were now capable of flying at speeds above 25 mph. Seeing the finish definitely fired up the adrenaline, and even I crossed the finish line at 27.2 miles per hour. As soon as I was into the shoot and had my number marked I began asking, "What time is it? What time is it?" One of the volunteers responded, "12:42." 12:42??? The race started at 7am! My official time ended up being 5:44, a full sixteen minutes inside the "gold" category. I could not believe it. My on-bike time was 5:34 (here is the Garmin Connect read out and map of the ride). My best time in the past, if I recall correctly, was around 6:20 on bike, and that includes back in the days when I was 30 something years old and weighed as little as 168 pounds. No cramps, no crashes, just that elusive gold medallion, something I had been chasing, with some breaks, since 1993. I am not certain about this, but I think this was my sixth attempt at the full El Tour distance (111 back in the 90s, 109 last year, 111 again this year). I guess I could wax eloquent about "stick-to-itiveness," but I will spare you that. I am thankful that just prior to my 49th birthday I was able to average 19.9 mph over the course of 111 miles…and live to tell about it! Now, Lord willing, my next big goal: The Triple By-Pass next July in Colorado. So with that…I better get back on my bike!
Our Children & God's Attributes
11/19/2011 - Jeff DownsA new book you parents, grandparents, those who desire to be parents or anyone else for that matter, will want to read is by Joel Beeke titled Parenting by God's Promises: How to Raise Children in the Covenant of Grace. Lest you think I'm simply trying to push my Presbyterian covenantal perspective here on AOMin check out the following endorsements:
“To our great shame, far too many Christians raise their children without much thought as to what makes parenting distinctively Christian. Secular patterns of thought and habit have deeply infected Christian homes, and an antidote is urgently needed. Thankfully, it arrives as Parenting by God’s Promises by Joel Beeke. This is a truly helpful and healthy book for Christian parents—deeply biblical, theological, and practical. Parents, prospective parents, and churches will want to keep Parenting by God’s Promises close at hand.”
- Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr., President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Louisville, Kentucky
“In an age of pragmatism, Joel Beeke is a drink of fresh, cool theological water. Raising children is about more than just surviving until they leave home; Beeke reminds us that Christian parents must view their roles in the broader context of God’s redemptive work. Our goal must be raising children who, by God’s grace, come to know and follow the Lord who has redeemed us and called us to Himself. This is a daunting task, and parents need all the help they can get. For those desperate to hear a clear, thoughtful, biblical, theological, Reformed treatise on the subject, Parenting by God’s Promises is a valuable read. ”
- Dr. Voddie Baucham, Pastor of preaching, Grace Family Baptist Church Spring, Texas
This new book on divine simplicity should interest some of you God without Parts: Divine Simplicity and the Metaphysics of God’s Absoluteness, by James Dolezal (a Baptist, by the way). Forward is written by Paul Helm.
And I know I've mentioned this one in a previous post, but it is now available and will be well worth the purchase.
One more, you may want to read this article by Andrew Moody titled "That All May Honour the Son: Holding Out For A Deeper Christocentrism" in the latest edition of Themelios (Nov. 2011).
Today on The Dividing Line - The Deity of Christ in John and an examination of Unitarian Presuppositions
11/17/2011 - Micah BurkeYes, there WAS a Dividing Line episode today... and you missed it, didn't you? Well, today Dr. White examined the writings of Patrick Navas a unitarian and countered with the clear teaching of the New Testament regarding the deity of Christ.
James starts out responding to anti-trinitarian book by Patrick Navas. He points out how dogmatic Patrick is when he criticizes Trinitarians for being "dogmatic".
He then discusses the prologue of John and John Ch. 5. (HT to Algo)
Here is the program!
Will Need to Skip Today's DL...Will Make It Up! The DL is ON for 3:30
11/17/2011 - James White
A Disputatio From the Past
11/16/2011 - James WhiteThis discussion keeps coming up, so, I am thankful I was given permission to post a brief written "disputatio" between myself and Douglas Wilson on the topic of the "Ecclesiastical Text." Though we were limited to very brief statements (115 words) I think even this little discussion illustrated the problems with the Ecclesiastical Text theory. It sounds great, but there is one big problem: it cannot answer specifics about texts (sort of necessary for knowing the text of the NT!) and it just doesn't ground itself in history. In any case, I think this took place somewhere around 1996 or so (just going off the top of my head). Here's the full text:
Volume 10, Issue 1: Disputatio
Discerning the Manuscript Traditions
Douglas Wilson and James White
"I am of NIV," some say. Others say, "I am of NASB." Still others say, "I am of KJV." Is it simply enough to respond to these various armies that they may water, but God gives the increase—so quit squabbling? If the translation one uses does matter, which should it be? And which of the ancient manuscripts should be used as a base for translation? In what follows, Douglas Wilson, editor of Credenda/Agenda, and James White discuss whether one manuscript is superior to another and how we might know that one is superior.
James White is the author of the book, The King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust the Modern Translations?, and the book, Letters to a Mormon Elder. He is the Director of Ministries for Alpha and Omega Ministries.
DW: The historic Protestant position on the manuscript tradition of Scripture is that God had divinely inspired the writing of the autographs and had providentially preserved the tradition of the apographs down to the present time. But with the advent of modernity, this simple faith was not scientific enough and independent textual critics began to work with the Scriptures as though they were just another collection of ancient books, subject to the same treatment. Conservatives like B.B. Warfield were concerned about these unbelieving encroachments, and so resolved simply to defend the autographs alone, a well-meaning but disastrous strategy. While rejecting the know-nothing approach of fundamentalism, historic Protestants need to return to the reformational doctrine of sola Scriptura.
JW: The central issue for any believing Christian when it comes to the text of the Bible is this: what did the original authors write? We must remember that the ultimate goal is to know what John or Paul wrote, not what a scribe, or group of scribes, or even a group of theologians, think they wrote. We must never forget that at times in the history of the Church certain texts have become enshrined by tradition rather than by force of historical verity. To be truly Reformed is to always test one's traditions, and this is no less true when we examine the issue of text types and manuscript traditions.
DW: Agreed. But if we are able to know what the original autographs contained, and we do not have the autographs themselves, then we must have a reliable tradition or bridge of some sort which connects us to the original autographs. Since we agree that such a traditional bridge is necessary, then the debate concerns which manuscript tradition, and not whether we will have a manuscript tradition. It concerns which scribes are reliable, not whether intervening scribes are necessary. This means the "force of historical verity" is simply another way of referring to accurate tradition. And it appears to me that when we use this "force" as the standard, the textus receptus measures up quite well.
JW: Some have counted as many as one hundred different editions of the TR, so which one is being referred to is a major question. The most popular TR differs from the Majority Text in over 1,800 places, and contains obvious errors (such as those at Luke 2:22 or 2 Timothy 2:19). The early editions of the TR (the editions of Erasmus) were created on the same basis as modern texts, as Erasmus' own comments make clear. The TR is an "artificial" text, just as all modern texts, in that there is not a single manuscript in the tradition that reads word-for-word as the TR.
DW: If a problem with the TR is variant readings, then how does it help to expand the field so that we have thousands more variant readings? The "errors" you cite are a wonderful example of the power of paradigms. How is "Christ" instead of "Lord" a mistake? Or Mary's purification? The issue is not whether careful scholarship goes into the formation of the text, but rather who is qualified to do that scholarship, and who is responsible for authoritatively receiving it. The Church has been entrusted with the oracles of God, not autonomous scientists. We have agreed that a traditional manuscript bridge is necessary. Who stands guard at the bridge—the Church or autonomous science?
JW: It is a myth that the TR is the "received text." The Church has never convened and compared one tradition against another and made that determination. Yet, there are many parallels between the arguments once used by Rome in favor of the Vulgate and the arguments used by some to support the TR. As to the errors cited, the issue is simple: just as I don't accept the Vulgate's renderings due to their "common use" for centuries, so I ask of the TR the same question: is that what Luke or Paul originally wrote? In both places, the TR gives a reading that stands against even the Majority Text. ...
[Click Here to Continue Reading]
Quick Video I Just Saw From My OnLine Debate with Michael Brown
11/15/2011 - James White
Help Send Mark Lamprecht to Seminary!
11/15/2011 - James WhiteI rarely post things like this to the blog, but hey, I've known Mark for years, and even performed his wedding ceremony! Evidently, if we vote for his blog here, he might get himself a scholarship for seminary. Now, given that we need good folks in seminary, and Mark is good folk...how about voting for Mark Lamprecht? I'd love to see him graduate from seminary and help stand in the gap!
Open Phones and Pravda Seminary Report on Today's Dividing Line
11/15/2011 - James WhiteAnswered an e-mail question regarding New Testament textual variants and the comparison to the Qur'an, then took phone calls on various subjects from infra/supralapsarianism to baptismal regeneration. Then David from New Mexico called and filled us in on the Pravda, err, Veritas Seminary apologetics conference in Albuquerque this past weekend, where Ergun Caner spoke with armed police standing by. Could there have been a credible threat? Sure, I guess...except that the police left as soon as he was done, and were not there beforehand, so, the "threat" would have to be directed against Caner alone. Furthermore, we have all gone through the stories of his allegedly being targeted in the past, and after a while, well, you can only cry "wolf" so many times. It is far more probable that this was a reaction to the events in Costa Mesa, and arise from an irrational fear of folks who want to ask questions like, "Dr. Caner, given your defenses of your falsehoods still being promoted by the main person associated with Veritas Seminary, Norman Geisler, could you please identify Hadith 2425 and tell us how it is relevant to the Qur'an?" We can't have THAT happening! Only "godless pagans" would ask such questions! Just believe what we tell you and all will be fine! David mentioned that the presentation was short, surface-level, and disappointing, from a serious apologetic standpoint. Anyway, an interesting report with which to end today's program. 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.
Roger Olson Responds to the Dividing Line Review of His Book
11/13/2011 - James WhiteRoger Olson just posted a blog that is clearly a response to my comments about his book (without, of course, naming me: nothing new about that, given, of course, that he "on principle" refuses to read anything I write---evidently he can listen to what I say, just not read what I write). Here is his response.
Now, let's remember what he actually wrote in his book:
One day, at the end of a class session on Calvinism’s doctrine of God’s sovereignty, a student asked me a question I had put off considering. He asked: “If it was revealed to you in a way you couldn’t question or deny that the true God actually is as Calvinism says and rules as Calvinism affirms, would you still worship him?” I knew the only possible answer without a moment’s thought, even though I knew it would shock many people. I said no, that I would not because I could not. Such a God would be a moral monster. Of course, I realize Calvinists do not think their view of God’s sovereignty makes him a moral monster, but I can only conclude they have not thought it through to its logical conclusion or even taken sufficiently seriously the things they say about God and evil and innocent suffering in the world. Olson, Roger E. (2011-10-11). Against Calvinism: Rescuing God's Reputation from Radical Reformed Theology (p. 85). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
Now, unless words do not have meaning, it seems Olson's view is clear, and the question was clear, too. The student asked Olson not "are Calvinists inconsistent in not thinking through their beliefs?" but "IF it was revealed to you in a way you couldn't question or deny that the true God actually is as Calvinism says and rules as Calvinism affirms, would you still worship him?" The question is clear. And Olson's response was "no."
In his new blog article, Olson seems to be back-pedaling. He writes,
I don’t know if this will help at all, but I will clarify my statement this way: IF it were revealed to me that God is as TULIP Calvinism says AND as he must logically be if all the good and necessary consequences of TULIP are true of him, I would not worship him.
Now, of course, we found Olson's reasoning on his "good and necessary consequences" to be significantly less than well thought out and compelling, but leaving that aside, what does this newly revised statement mean in light of the student's actual question? It is hard to say. Olson simply does not have an accurate view of the position he denies, nor does he allow for the proper definitions we self-consciously use to stand when he engages in his criticisms. He writes,
I have been saying for a long time now that IF I WERE A CALVINIST I would have to believe things most Calvinists do not believe. Most Calvinists insist that God is good and loving and merciful and kind and faithful and reliable and gracious, etc. I think some of the things they believe about God’s sovereignty flatly contradict those characteristics.
I.e., "I am much brighter than you folks. Though I ignore the vast majority of your exegesis and the deeper aspects of your discussions, I have actually thought this through far better than any of you ever have. I have gone deeper than Calvin, than Beza, than Zanchius, than Turretin, than the Westminster divines, than Owen, than Edwards, than Warfield, and so IF I WERE A CALVINIST I really wouldn't be a Calvinist at all, because I would believe 'things most Calvinists do not believe.'" Brilliant! I am glad we got that all clear.
The fact is the answer given to the question as it was asked flowed from the heart of a person unwilling to submit to the final authority of Scripture. Roger Olson has authorities outside of the divine revelation found in Scripture, and he has told God just how far he is willing to go for God to be worthy of his worship, and no farther. If he cannot see how God can decree that Joseph be sold into slavery in Egypt so as to save many people alive, establish the very heart and soul of the Jewish nation, its laws, and its prophetic witness to the coming Messiah, all because he cannot differentiate between a God who sovereignly acts in time with pure motives in the same actions wherein sinful men act upon impure motives, well then, so much for Roger Olson worshipping THAT God! Take that, Sovereign King! That'll teach You!
Olson let his true feelings show (at least I am open and up front about my true feelings: Olson's rejection of Calvinism is based upon shallow thinking and man-centered traditions, and the utter lack of even the beginning of serious interaction with historic Reformed writings, let alone the provision of any serious exegesis at all in his book, proves this) in concluding his blog article:
It seems to me that people who don’t understand what I mean when I say that if I believed what Calvinists believe I could not worship God are missing the point. They need to start over and hear me clearly and consider what I really mean and not what they jumped to the conclusion that I mean. Or maybe for some of them this is all just too deep.
Yes, it is just too deep! That is probably why he will never engage in serious defense of his claims in his book, especially his utterly indefensible statements about the Greek of 1 Timothy 2:4, against anyone who is his equal, or superior, in the field of Greek grammar and exegesis. If you are a Calvinist, you cannot get "that deep" by definition! I think we heard the original statements in the book quite clearly. If Dr. Olson would like to withdraw his statement and restate it, that is fine, but please, he should not accuse the rest of us of "missing the point" when his own words expressed themselves quite plainly.
Another Example of the Danger of KJV Onlyism, Radical Hyper Dispensationalism, and Closed-Minded Fundamentalism
11/12/2011 - James WhiteYesterday a brother sent me an e-mail in which he linked to this website and pointed out the quotation of Erasmus about 60% down the page, that, at least at the present, reads as follows:
These holy pages (KJB) will summon up the living image of His mind.
They will give you Christ himself, talking, healing, dying,
rising the whole Christ in a word.
They will give Him to you in an intimacy so close
that He would be less visible to you if He stood before your eyes. - Erasmus
Now, I immediately began chuckling, since, obviously, Erasmus died July 12, 1536, and the King James did not even begin the process of translation until 1604, appearing in 1611. So the patent absurdity of the inserted "(KJB)" is worth a good chuckle. I looked up the citation and found that it comes from his introduction to his Greek New Testament. I am uncertain which edition it was originally attached to, but since every one of his five editions differs in at least minor details from the textual choices of the King James translators, I likewise found the citation even more humorous. The citation is provided by a King James Only hyper-dispensationalist (just check out one other quotation on the front page, "2. Paul's writings ONLY, Romans to Philemon are written TO us - Gentiles and Church of God and should be read, studied and applied in our daily lives.") by the name of Mike Paulson. I took a moment to drop Mr. Paulson a note to ask him about the citation of Erasmus, just to see if maybe we might get an, "Ooops, sorry about that, will make the correction! Thanks!" type of reply, or, whether I would get the standard KJV Only style rebuff. So I sent an e-mail with the citation and then asked:
Now, this quote is from Erasmus' introduction to his Novum Instrumentum. I haven't taken the time to check each edition, but it could be as early as 1516, and as late as 1535, depending on whether it was in his first through fifth editions. But in any case, you do realize, don't you, that the KJV was not in existence during Erasmus' lifetime, and that hence to insert (KJB) into his words is a gross anachronism? He was speaking of reading the Greek New Testament, not the King James. Is there a reason why you have inserted such a glaring anachronism into his quote?
Now, I probably should have left off my name or something, because I am rather well known in KJV Only circles (though I doubt Mr. Paulson has actually read my book). But the response I received was classic KJV Onlyist rhetoric:
Yes there is, but it is more than obvious you have no clue – and your hatred towards the KJB tells me not to waste my time with you. I have read enough stuff to know that you don’t listen anyway. Surely you have been called to correct His words, so I will let you continue your ministry... too bad it is for another Jesus, though.
To which I replied,
All that bluster aside, can you answer the question? It is a fact that Erasmus wrote those words about the Greek New Testament (which, I might point out, contained variations from what would become the KJV a century later). He did not know about the KJV, since it did not exist. So, you have grossly misrepresented him. Do you have an answer for this misrepresentation outside of bluster and accusation? Just wondering.
To which he had a one line reply:
Keep wondering – you’d never understand it anyway.
Yes, I am sure it is far beyond my capacity to understand how Erasmus could have been talking about the King James Bible nearly a century before it appeared. Only those "inside the group" could possibly understand.
The Holy Spirit, New Testament Theology
11/11/2011 - Jeff DownsIn March of this year, Greenville Seminary held their annual Spring Theology Conference. The theme was on the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit. I was given permission today to post all the lectures and Q&A sessions. You can access the conference by clicking here. Lectures include "Cessation of the Gifts", by George Knight, III; "John Owen on the Spirit", by Ryan McGraw; "The Person of the Spirit", by Dr. Morton Smith; and 3 Q&A Sessions, among others.
Also, some of us have been waiting all year for G. K. Beal's recently released work A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New. Sample pages are located here.
Here is a new book from John Frame and Robert Peterson titled Salvation Accomplished by the Son: The Work of Christ. Sample pages are located here.
Sam Gipp, Bible Baptist KJV Only Fundamentalists, and Anti-Calvinism on Today's Dividing Line
11/10/2011 - James WhiteBack on June 11, 2011, a debate took place in Rochester, New York, on the topic of the Five Points. It was billed as "the Baptists" vs. "the Reformed." What it was, of course, was Independent Fundamentalist King James Only Dispensationalist Synergists vs. Reformed Theology. I am a Baptist, but there was nothing in these men's hermeneutics that I could even begin to recognize as my own. In any case, this train-wreck of theology and hermeneutics was a tremendous field from which to draw example after example of really, really bad hermeneutics and exegesis. My favorite was when one of the "Baptists" quoted Hebrews 10:10, "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (KJV). He then informed us that clearly this refuted limited atonement, because it clearly says Christ died "for all," that is, for every single person. The reality that this is a temporal adverb (ἐφάπαξ) and it cannot mean that (linguistically and contextually) but that fact did not seem to present itself during his study of the text. Likewise educational was Sam Gipp's amazing attempt to get around the meaning of Ephesians 2:8-9. In any case, hopefully this will be a useful study in how not to handle the Bible, and the dangers of the combination of King James Onlyism, dispensationalism, and anti-Calvinism. 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.
11/08/2011 - James WhiteI spoke on the concept of universalism last month here in Phoenix:
Today on a Radio Free Geneva: Finishing Olson's Against Calvinism
11/08/2011 - James WhiteWe finished looking at the eleven Calvinist objections answered in the appendix of Olson's new book. I noted that I will try to work his book on Arminian theology into my reading/listening/riding schedule over the next few weeks, mainly because I found his attempts to explain God's relationship to time and the events in time highly problematic. Stay tuned for that! We then took the time to play the audio of the audience interruption of Ergun Caner's talk on Islam and Mormonism at the Costa Mesa Calvary Chapel back on 10/29, and we gave a good bit of background information on what actually happened. Here's the program.
Note that I will be listening to a debate that was sent to me on Calvinism involving the well-known KJV Only advocate Sam Gipp while I ride over the next few days. That may result in a spontaneous, uncontrollable explosion of Radio Free Genevas, at, like, 2:45am or something. So...be warned!
I Am Definitely Looking Forward to Listening to This One
11/07/2011 - James White
(Though I confess...the comfy chair thing is not something I would ever want to be forced into!)
Reformed and Reforming: Who is "Truly Reformed"? Part III
11/05/2011 - James WhiteI continue and hopefully conclude my discussion on the meaning of Reformed by providing a response to comments made in the comments box of this website.
Adam Kaloostian says:
November 2, 2011 at 5:23 pm
1- “do you consider Baptists of any type to be your fellow believers and co-laborers in the gospel?”
Anyone who is made alive by the Holy Spirit and has true faith in Jesus Christ is a fellow believer, period.
The requisite extent, depth, and maturity of the knowledge which is a necessary component of true faith, is mysterious, and should not be oversimplified. For this reason, for example, Calvin can say about people in what he calls the decidedly false Roman Catholic churches of his day “In one word, I call [Roman Catholic parishes] churches, inasmuch as the Lord there wondrously preserves some remains of his people, though miserably torn and scattered. . .” (Institutes 4.2.12).
While Calvin might have had a point in his day, given that he was a second-generation reformer, and there were many who had yet to be blessed with the message of the gospel unchained from the traditions of Rome through the Reformation, and while I have often said that there are true believers in the Roman communion but that they are true believers in spite of role, not because of it, I do not know that it would be appropriate to make this conclusion today in light of the developments that have taken place since the time of the Reformation. Given that Rome has only become more hardened in its rejection of biblical truth and replacement of the gospel with that which can never save, I would not refer to Rome's congregations as true churches of Christ. Once again, I would argue that it is the gospel that defines the Christian faith and the Christian church. No Gospel, no church.
So in like manner, there are truly elect and saved people, including Baptists, in the world, people miserably torn, scattered, and deceived by false teaching and sectarianism and idolatry.
It is truly amazing to me that you would so purposefully presents a parallel between Romanism and Baptists. I do not know if you are specifically say that Baptists are “deceived by false teaching and sectarianism and idolatry,” but if you are, I would be very interested in knowing how you substantiate such an allegation. In any case, do you not see that your attempted parallel is thoroughly disrupted by the simple issue of the gospel itself? How can you dismiss the reality of churches of Christ that are organized according to biblical standards, observe the Lord's supper and baptism, practice church discipline, preach the whole counsel of God including his sovereign grace and the perfection of the work of Christ, and hold forth the Scriptures as the very Word of God all on the basis of a particular view of a proper subjects of baptism? Are you not majoring on the minors and minoring on the majors?
I am in Christ with any and every saved, elect Baptist, and I am thankful for the Lord’s miraculous grace to me and to them.
There is however a distinction between someone’s objective, saving union with Christ and someone’s outward expression of that faith in doctrine and life. This outward expression, or profession, is what forms the basis of my “consideration” of whether or not I count someone to be my fellow believer, or by extension co-laborer in the gospel. God knows the heart, but I can go only by external profession of doctrine and life.
In this regard, first, I may not make a private judgment, but am called to submit to the public judgment committed to the lawful officers of a local church, who exercise the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and reflect that work by their membership list. One requirement for someone’s profession of faith to be “considered” credible by me, therefore, would be their possession of official standing in a church of Jesus Christ. Church membership is basic to Christian discipleship. I affirm one of Christendom’s most popular slogans– “You cannot have God for your Father unless you take the church to be your mother.” A simple outline of the biblical argument for church membership can be found here:http://www.ontariourc.org/about/membership/.
I have often preached on and defended the importance of church membership as a clear New Testament concept, and as an elder in such a congregation, often comment upon its importance in my preaching and teaching.
Article 28 of the Belgic Confession speaks to this: “We believe that since this holy assembly and congregation is the gathering of those who are saved and there is no salvation apart from it, no one ought to withdraw from it, content to be by himself, regardless of his status or condition. But all people are obliged to join and unite with it, keeping the unity of the church by submitting to its instruction and discipline, by bending their necks under the yoke of Jesus Christ, and by serving to build up one another, according to the gifts God has given them as members of each other in the same body.. . . And so, all who withdraw from the church or do not join it act contrary to God’s ordinance.” (One note, when the confession says that there is no salvation apart from the church, I take for granted that this is a logical deduction from the supernatural work which Christ does by His Holy Spirit to save, preserve, and sanctify His people uniquely through the preaching and sacraments of the church, which I describe below. The framers, I think, would have allowed for the idea that in exceptional cases people could be truly elect and saved apart from the church; however, they would not have considered anyone’s profession to be credible until they became part of the church).
Or, one could assume, properly, that the Spirit joins each redeemed person to the church, and they are then commanded to likewise participate in the life of the church in the local assembly (Hebrews 13:17). In any case, there is no disagreement here regarding the necessity of obeying the commandment to be a part of the visible church as an obedient follower of Jesus Christ.
Second, I must discern whether the group to which someone belongs is indeed a church of the Lord Jesus Christ, in order to be confident that the officers of this group are legitimate representatives of Christ, discerning a man’s life and doctrine. Article 29 of the Belgic Confession speaks to this matter: “We believe that we ought to discern diligently and very carefully, by the Word of God, what is the true church– for all sects in the world today claim for themselves the name of “the church.”" In the time of the Reformation, in the West, the pastoral problem of every Jesus group calling itself a church was similar to today’s confusion. There were Roman Catholic parishes, there were Anabaptist parishes of various kinds, and there were Protestant parishes (evolving into Lutheran, continental Reformed, Anglican/Episcopalian, and Presbyterian communions), all claiming to be churches.
May I suggest that once again the issue here is that of what is, and what is not, definitional of the Christian faith as a whole? That is, we must have the same God who is the object of our worship and adoration (which makes Rome's odd statement in section 841 of the CCC so reprehensible, for it affirms common adoration of the one God with Muslims). The Trinity, deity of Christ, deity and personality of the Holy Spirit, all musts. We must have the same historical core to the faith, including the Virgin Birth of Christ, the reality of the Incarnation, His death, burial, and resurrection, all as historical realities. We must have the same revelation from God, the Holy Scriptures. And (and here many disagree with me today), we must have the same gospel, the same message of life. Those who promote the "Mere Christianity" model leave the gospel to the side and focus solely upon Trinitarianism and a bare historical affirmation of the events of Jesus' life as being sufficient. But I see no basis in the text of the New Testament to ever see Christ's church apart from His gospel. None.
This means that today I must reject a number of Lutheran, "Reformed," Presbyterian, and especially Episcopalian, churches as true churches of Christ. Why? When a church no longer proclaims the gospel as its core message, and no longer lives in its light, but instead rejoices in the violation of God's law and promotes sin as if it is good (as in the promotion of homosexuality, the profanation of the divine institution of marriage, etc.), how can this be called a true church of Christ? And what if it continues, out of tradition, to observe the "proper" ecclesiastical forms, now devoid of substance and gospel life? Do they remain "true" despite the promotion of a false gospel, which is not "another" at all? I say "no." The truth of the gospel is that which is promised to remain with us through the presence of the Spirit, and without that, there truly is no church. Hence, when the ELCA, PCUSA, UCC, and Episcopalian churches continue, by tradition, to "do" things that you would call "proper" in the sense of continuing to engage, for example, in infant baptism, do you see this as sufficient to overcome the utter lack of gospel fidelity in their midst? On the other hand, is our disagreement on the subjects of baptism on the same level as the union we have in standing against the profanation of the gospel found in the open teachings of these groups? ...
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Reformed, Reforming: Who is "Truly Reformed"? Part II
11/05/2011 - James WhiteAs we will see, the fundamental argument of our URC pastor brethren is that I am not a part of the true church. Though my church, the Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church, is an organized, confessional, Bible preaching, ordinance practicing, disciplining church, that evidently is not enough. The irony, as we shall see, is that churches are accepted as true churches primarily upon their confessional statements rather than upon the centrality of the gospel of grace to the church's life and ministry. That is, liberal churches that have abandoned the very heart and soul of the reformed gospel are considered “true” churches solely based upon their confessional practices, even when those practices no longer have a meaningful connection to the gospel itself. But a Reformed Baptist Church cannot, by definition, be a “true church” solely based upon the confessional understanding of the meaning and subjects of baptism. I do not get the idea from reading our brother's statements that they are overly familiar with modern Reformed Baptist writings in defense of covenant theology, let alone the modern Reformed Baptist presentations on the New Covenant and baptism. Sadly, it seems easier to throw out the old canard about Anabaptism than it is to deal with the reality as it exists in our day.
This is not the first time that I've encountered what I can only identify as a fairly narrow, non-catholic expression of Reformed theology. Each time I have communicated with those who have refused to join with me in the proclamation of and defense of the Reformed gospel I have been grieved by the shortsightedness of their position. It seems so obvious to me that we are joined at a deep and foundational level that their focus upon the mode and subjects of baptism causes them to ignore. Truly, is it not obvious that in today's world a staunch Reformed paedobaptist would have significantly more in common with me then with a liberal member of his own denomination? Our common commitment to the highest view of Scripture binds us together. Our common belief in the glorious sovereignty of God binds us together. Our common rejoicing in the gospel of grace binds us together. Our common confession of the centrality of Christ's Church, the proclamation of the gospel, the exhortation to holiness of life, value and role of God's law, the holiness and sanctity of His church, bind us together. I have often commented that in many ways I am much closer to my brothers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church than I am to the Arminian fundamentalist in the Free Will Baptist Church. Why? Because of what defines my life and my faith. We share a common emphasis upon the holiness and sovereignty of God. We together recognize the vital importance of the truth of the depravity of man, his enslavement to sin, and the perfection of the work of Christ upon the cross of Calvary. We will answer many of the difficult questions posed to our faith in the same way. We stand together in defense of justification by faith, substitutionary atonement, and the perseverance of the saints.
So are these things irrelevant to what it means to be reformed? It seems that many who refuse me entrance to their camp and who have no interest in standing with me in the defense the gospel do not see these issues as being definitional of what it means to be reformed. Instead, they stand upon a particular form of sacramentalism and insist that without their particular understanding of these issues there can be no common defense of the gospel. Without diminishing the importance of these topics, issues that I have engaged in public debate over in both oral and written forms, I simply assert that the redeemed heart should recognize what is centrally definitional and what is not. If you turn your back upon a Bible believing, Trinity worshiping, sovereignty preaching, covenant theology believing, high church practicing, justification by faith defending, five point Calvinist and refuse to even confess such a person's standing as your brother in Christ, all on the basis of a particular view of baptism that the honest person has to admit did not exist in the history of the church in that exact formulation until the middle of the sixteenth century, then I suggest you have lost your balance. And should you throw into the mix the old canards about Anabaptists, well, I can only feel sorry for you. ...
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Yesterday's Review of Roger Olson's Book
11/04/2011 - James White
Reformed, Reforming: Who is "Truly Reformed"? Part I
11/03/2011 - James WhiteA couple of days ago someone in Twitter dropped me a link to a Southern California Reformed radio program. I am not sure why I followed the link, but I did. I encountered a video that contained the audio portion of a radio program where in some reformed pastors were responding to comments made by Dr. John MacArthur. As I looked through the comments box on the video I found a number of very interesting statements. This prompted me to ask the basic question of the pastors as to whether they felt that Baptists are their brothers in Christ and co-laborers in the gospel. The responses I have received grieve my heart, but they likewise give an opportunity for me to address the issue of what “Reformed” really means. I know that my views on this are not shared by many. In fact, there seem to still be many in the “Reformed” camp who would support the actions of their forefathers who, for many generations, used the sword, the prison, and the practice of the “third baptism” (death by drowning) to persecute Baptists. Likewise, this is not the first time I have encountered men who refuse to move past the sixteenth century and recognize that the term “Anabaptist” had a specific historical meaning that is utterly irrelevant in addressing someone such as myself who holds strongly to covenantal theology.
I think I have a very strong case when I argue that first and foremost someone who is “Reformed” is someone who believes that God has spoken with clarity and certainty in the Christian Scriptures. This may not have been the primary focus of everything the Reformers originally said, but that is because they lived in a day when the full inspiration and authority of the Bible was pretty much a given. We do not live in such a day today. We live in a day of rampant unbelief in the clarity, perspicuity, and authority of divine revelation in Scripture. This is true even amongst many who call themselves Christians.
Just today on the Dividing Line I commented on Roger Olson's new book, Against Calvinism. In the book, Olson makes it very clear that even if he were to be convinced that God has revealed that He does exist, and act, as Calvinists say He does, he would not worship such a God. Such an attitude is the very essence of humanistic religion. And such an attitude is the antithesis of the heart and mind of a Reformed man. To someone who is Reformed, God's revelation is absolutely normative and authoritative. We do not rely upon ourselves to determine the nature and attributes of the God we worship. We look to God to reveal Himself in His word, and His Spirit drives us to our knees in the presence of His truth. I am convinced that part of the work of regeneration in the heart of God's elect involves the intimate, lifelong love for, and submission to, the holy Scriptures. I further believe that true Reformed theology becomes a mockery and a travesty when it is decoupled from the highest view of Scripture. There is no reason to believe in the divine truths of the Christian faith if the Bible is not truly God's word. Those denominations and churches that once made a Reformed confession that have abandoned a full belief in the inerrancy and inspiration of Scripture have as a result turned into the very negation of the faith they once proclaimed.
So what does it mean to be Reformed? Yes, there are certain non-negotiable aspects of any meaningful definition of “the Reformed faith.” But before we get to those, I think it is vitally important that we recognize the spiritual aspect of this question. There is an attitude of the heart, and attitude of the mind, that is central to being Reformed. A person who is Reformed has seen the glory of God in His holiness, His power, His transcendence, and the freedom of His grace. A Reformed person has not merely been taught these truths, he or she has experienced these truths. A Reformed person has been changed by recognizing God for who He is. The inevitable result of that is that we see ourselves as we truly are, creatures of the sovereign and omnipotent Creator. It is hard to express in words how humbling it is to recognize that we are clay in the Potter's hands. I can speak from experience that the contemplation of the holy and all-powerful Yahweh as my maker and creator and sustainer utterly and completely changed my life. I could not possibly continue to hold to a man centered theology once I had come to understand the transcendent holiness of my creator, His utter detestation of sin, and the depth of my nature as sinner. No matter what it has cost me to be an open and avowed Calvinist in a culture where man centeredness even in matters of religion leads to popularity, I could not do otherwise. You are changed, forever, when you see God as He truly is.
This heart centered, Spirit-born conviction must be present for a person to be truly Reformed. This cannot be passed down from one generation to another by external means. It is the sovereign and free work of the Spirit of God within His elect people. As such, it cannot be forced upon someone by external means. True Christianity is not genetic. It is spiritual, it is all of grace, it is grounded in God's freedom. When you combine reformed theology with a heart that has never truly been humbled by this kind of vision of the Almighty God, and a true and deep felt conviction of one's own unworthiness of the grace of God, and even more, how fully we deserve the wrath and detestation of that holy God, you end up with an ugly mutation, something that is as unnatural as the claim of faith that has no works to prove its existence.
continued in Part II
Radio Free Geneva: Beginning of a Review of Roger Olson's "Against Calvinism"
11/03/2011 - James WhiteWe had been hearing about the arrival of Roger Olson's book, Against Calvinism, for quite some time. It happened to arrive just before I left for Australia, so I did not have time to do much more than review his comments on 1 Timothy 2:4 (here). I have now returned home, so I got his book recorded to mp3 and tackled it while attacking South Mountain here in Phoenix (here's proof!). It was a painful listen at times, but, truly, nothing new, nothing insightful, and nothing in the way of challenging exegesis. In other words, another standard Arminian with one exception: Olson admits that even if he were convinced the Bible actually teaches what Calvinists believe, he would not accept it. At least he is open about his ultimate authorities. In any case, I decided it merited a Radio Free Geneva. We got through most of what I wanted to say, but I want to finish up on his responses to Calvinists on the next program on Tuesday, then we will take your calls, or, if there is interest, take calls on the Perkins debate and his post-debate antics. Here's the program.
BTW, put together a new set up for doing the DL. I have a good bit more "acreage" as far as my screens are concerned to keep all the stuff I have going on front and center. This is what I'm looking at while doing the DL and multi-tasking (esp. when Johnny calls with one of his hum-dinger questions!).
Get Ready for a Radio Free Geneva!
11/03/2011 - James WhiteWhat happens when you take the time to read through Roger Olson's new book? You need to do a Radio Free Geneva! Yes indeed, this afternoon at 4pm tune in for a review of Against Calvinism!
Islam A to Z from New Orleans
11/02/2011 - James WhiteMany thanks to Evan May and the folks in New Orleans for posting these videos on Vimeo. I would like to fairly ask those who listened to Ergun Caner's presentation at the Veritas conference this past weekend to compare and consider not only the information presented, but the manner in which it is presented as well. Which would you like to invite a Muslim to watch/listen to?
An Important New Item in the A&O Bookstore
11/01/2011 - James WhiteYears ago when I announced, for the first time, my eschatological position on the program (had a lot of fun teasing folks with that one), I mentioned that the key to my coming to my conclusions was a series of lectures by Greg Nichols, then of the Trinity Ministerial Academy. I listened to a series of old cassette tapes (for those under 24 years of age, Google it) wherein Nichols lectured on the eschatology of Jesus. He convinced me that Jesus' eschatology inevitably leads to a particular conclusion, one that I adopted as my own. I truly appreciated his insight and scholarship.
So when Solid Ground contacted me about Greg Nichols' new book, I was truly excited, for I knew this was a topic sorely crying out for treatment. Covenant Theology: A Reformed and Baptistic Perspective on God's Covenants has just been released in a fine, high quality hard back edition from Solid Ground. This new book will be a welcome addition to the field. It comes at an excellent time and will help to ground those newly introduced to the Reformed faith in solid doctrinal truth. We just received our first batch, so hurry to get yours today!
Hateful Godless Pagans and More on Today's Caller-Driven DL!
11/01/2011 - James WhiteThis past weekend I saw a tweet about a brother who had gone to the Veritas National Apologetics Conference at the Costa Mesa Calvary Chapel in California. He wore his own version of the Hadith 2425 t-shirt and went to Ergun Caner's table in the bookstore. The resultant encounter was narrated today on the Dividing Line as he called in and gave us a report on what happened. According to Ergun Caner, if you catch him lying for years on end, making up stories about growing up in Turkey, speaking Arabic, debating Muslims, etc., and you dare to continue to challenge his promotion by Norman Geisler and Veritas Seminary as an "expert" on Islam, you "hate" him and his ministry, and Norman Geisler and his ministry, and you are a "godless pagan." He won't answer your question, and he won't dialogue with you. He will, however, sick the security guys on you. They will then keep an eye on you if you stick around, and eventually ask you if you are "with Alpha and Omega Ministries." Hardly the actions of a repentant person, to be sure. We were also informed that someone else actually interrupted Caner's talk and called him a fraud---which, while true, is about the dumbest way you can express that truth. Not only does it damage your credibility, but one thing folks just don't understand: when you do something like that, you know the other guy will get the last word. And since the people in the audience have no idea what you are babbling about, and lack the background to understand, he will, if he's smart, spin it to his own advantage, which is what Caner did.
Then we took lots of other calls on lots of topics, letting open phones drive us till about 20 after, so almost a full "jumbo" edition. 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.
Live, Open Phones DL Today!
11/01/2011 - James WhiteJoin us at the regular time for the Dividing Line today (11am MST) where we will have open phones---so how long the program is depends on the callers! See you then!