Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Rook Hawkins: Rewriting Recent History
10/22/2008 - James WhiteI just received an e-mail that quoted Rook Hawkins of the "Rational Response Squad" as saying the following:
"RationalResponders.com: White was supposed to contact me ages ago about a debate and he chickened out."I would like to make it clear that Mr. Hawkins has never contacted me about a debate, hence, I can not "chicken out" of a debate he has never contacted me about. In fact, I was the one who contacted them to let them know I was going to critique some of his comments on an edition of The Dividing Line. In essence I was told that if I wanted to contact him, I should post on their web board. I have no interest in web boards and their incessant silliness, so I did not. That was the end of that. So what Mr. Hawkins, the self-proclaimed historical expert of the "Rational Response Squad" is talking about, I have no idea. But if his grasp of ancient history is as slippery as his grasp of recent history, well, that says a lot.
Rook to Bishop 8, Checkmate
10/24/2008 - James WhiteBack in March of 2007 on The Dividing Line (here is the program) I addressed the dialogue that took place between Ergun Caner of Liberty University and the so-called "Rational Response Squad." I had listened to the encounter while riding, and I wanted to make some comments not so much on Caner's replies but on some of the claims made by the atheists. That morning I wrote to the Rational Response Squad through their website. Here is what I wrote:
Today on [i]The Dividing Line[/i] I will be reviewing some of the comments made in the interview with Ergun Caner, especially some of the statements made by Rook Hawkins, listed on this website as an "ancient texts expert."Now please note: not only was the question quite relevant, but I noted the time of the program and how Rook Hawkins might listen. He was also invited to call in, should he desire to do so.
I would like to ask: was Mr. Hawkins claiming that the Council of Nicea was at all involved in the formation of the NT canon in his comments in this interview? It sounded like he was. In any case, the program is live and call in, today at 4pm PST, so Mr. Hawkins is welcome to listen and call in, if he chooses. You can access it at www.aomin.org.
Very quickly the same morning I received an automated reply:
Thanks for writing the Rational Response Squad. Our email box now receives about 200-300 pieces of mail a day and we're unable to go through it all, so we've created this FAQ of some of the most recent questions. Please understand that if you have written us to debate us or respond to this email with your thoughts on our FAQ WE WILL NOT RESPOND VIA EMAIL. I'm sorry we just don't have the time to engage everyone who writes us on a one on one basis. However we have a thriving message board with a wide variety of people including many people who agree with what we have to say. Those people are just as much "The Rational Response Squad" as the readers of this email box are. So if you are interested in discussion about religion please post your thoughts in our atheist vs theist forum:This was followed by a series of FAQs. So please note, the only response I received from RRS directed me to their forums. So, I did the program, interacted with Rook Hawkins' assertions, and moved on from there.
We will handle requests to appear on the show and customer service related questions through this mailbox, all others, please go to our forum.
Six months later pastor Joe Wyrostek contacted me. He mentioned he had been in contact with the RRS. He asked if I would help him and come on his program to debate Rook Hawkins and a guy named Todangst. There was a discussion concerning the unwillingness of the RRS to respond to presuppositionalists included in the correspondence. I did not hear back on any of this from Pastor Wyrostek.
As far as I can recall, that was the last contact I had with anyone regarding the single program I did exposing some of the less than compelling argumentation offered by the young folks of the RRS. Until just recently when Rook Hawkins posted the following:
"RationalResponders.com: White was supposed to contact me ages ago about a debate and he chickened out."I replied to this here on my blog, to which Hawkins replied,
Thank you for posting this. It has shown me once more how completely dishonest theists really are. He was told to contact me personally (not come on this message board, that's silly). I had given The Dividing Line all of my information and have yet to receive any email from either party (of the Dividing Line or the elusive White). I do find it rather amusing that White would suggest that my grasp of ancient history is slippery, considering White believes in all sorts of fantastical things like resurrecting people who ascend to heaven on clouds, faith-healing, and the historical reliability of the Gospels as a whole. If anything, what this can tell us is just how out of touch Mr. White is with not only ancient history but reality.A little later another of the cadre of the RRS, Sapient, added,
As if this little pros here couldn't bring about more jocularities, White acts as if his theological credentials (in apologetics and fairy tale) mean something when compared to my autodidactism (in real subjects and actual history). If White wants to debate, he has my information and knows where to find me. I do not want to lend credence to his delusions; he is not a serious threat to me or my work in the field of ancient history. I just don't take him that seriously.
If I remember correctly, we didn't find out about James White talking about Rook until after he had already recorded his show. My recollection is that James White didn't offer Rook a chance to come on the show that he used to criticize Rook. My memory may be wrong though as I don't care much about James White, seeing as how he's a presuppositionalist.Now if you can see past the insufferable arrogance of these young folks, you can see that I have now provided clear documentation of not only my truthfulness, but of their lack thereof. To wit:
For those that aren't aware, we refuse to talk with presuppers as they don't meet the minimum honesty/intelligence requirement.
Hawkins said it was "silly" that I had been referred to his web board. Documentation provided.
Hawkins said he had "given the Dividing Line all of my information." I have no idea who "the Dividing Line" is. I assume he thinks pastor Wyrostek is associated with my ministry (he is not). Hawkins did not contact A&O. Maybe he has confused us with someone else, I do not know, but his statement is untrue, and basing accusations of someone "chickening out" upon such language is just another example of the New Atheism's unfamiliarity with serious manners.
Hawkins says I "have his information." I have quotes from a web board, nothing more. He is again, wrong.
Sapient said I did not offer Hawkins a chance to be on the program. Documentation provided refuting this falsehood as well.
Now, the young folks at the RRS can pretend to be rational while ignoring the role of presuppositions in their worldview. They can pretend mockery is the same as a rational argument. No one can, or should, stop them. But the fact is that such rhetoric may prop up their rebellion against God, but it has little meaningful value in the arena of truth. I demonstrated Hawkins' errors in his comments to Caner, and those refutations stand. Since I am, by their own assertion, lacking sufficient intelligence to even talk to me, I see no reason to pursue them. But I will gladly point out their errors even if they are too arrogant to interact with those refutations. And I will document it when they decide to try to change history, as I have done above.
Yesterday on the Dividing Line
03/16/2007 - James WhiteSpent the program yesterday looking at the first portion of the dialogue between Ergun Caner of Liberty University and the guys from the "Rational Response Squad." If you are expecting me to be going after Caner, you will be disappointed. Sure, it was a bit hard to listen to, and I would love to send him a t-shirt that says "Greg Bahnsen is my homeboy," but that's another issue. I was primarily focused upon a fellow named Rook Hawkins, the Rational Response Squad's "ancient texts expert." After covering that we move back to good ol' George Bryson answering audience questions. Here's the program (free/high quality).
Church Growth is Dead?
02/06/2011 - Mike PorterPastor Marty Fields of Westminster Presbyterian Church believes that it is:
The first crack in the church growth edifice came a couple of years ago when church growth advocate George Barna expressed frustration that - since the full-blown implementation of church growth principles 20 years ago - there has been no net growth in the Christian church to speak of; in fact it has declined in America. He found that mega-churches have both a big front door and an equally large back door.
All mega-churches seemed to have accomplished is to kill off smaller churches that resisted the temptation to compromise Biblical Christianity.
The final nail came when Willow Creek Community Church - the “Mecca” of the church growth ideology - recently released the results of a multi-year study on the effectiveness of their programs and philosophy of ministry. Cally Parkinson and Greg Hawkins, on staff at Willow Creek, conducted the study. The conclusion? Senior Pastor Bill Hybels said, to his credit, “We made a mistake.” They didn’t make disciples - they made dunces.
Read the whole thing here.
But, the real question is "What will those churches driven by the spirit of pragmatism learn from this?"