James White is the Director of Alpha and Omega Ministries. He co-founded Alpha and Omega in 1983 along with Michael Beliveau. At the time James was a student at Grand Canyon College in Phoenix, Arizona. The previous year, shortly after his marriage to Kelli, he had encountered two LDS missionaries, Elders Reed and Reese. In the ensuing conversations, James had realized that there was much he didn’t know about what Mormons believed, and much he needed to know about his own beliefs as well. This began an in-depth study of the teachings of Mormonism, but more importantly, a more in-depth study of his own beliefs.
James added a Bible major and a Greek minor to his Biology major at Grand Canyon, and began teaching a class at the church he was attending on the subject of Mormonism. Alpha and Omega Ministries grew out of those classes. Starting in 1984, James began leading groups of volunteers to the semi-annual General Conference of the LDS Church in Salt Lake City. This missions work continued until 2002 when it was halted by the activities of rabid KJV Only “street preachers.
Things began moving quickly for James and Alpha and Omega Ministries. Richard Pierce took over as the President of the organization. The work expanded into other areas, providing in-depth responses to Jehovah’s Witnesses and other who denied the deity of Christ. In 1989 James began writing for Crowne Publications, headed up by George Bonneau. He wrote six books between 1989 and 1991, and began teaching at Grand Canyon as well.
During this time, James’ attention was turned to the issues surrounding Roman Catholicism. He engaged in his first debate in August of 1990 against Gerry Matatics, then staff apologist for Catholic Answers. Other debates followed quickly, including debates on the Papacy and the perseverance of the saints in December of 1990 (both against Matatics) and then on justification by faith and the Mass against Dr. Mitchell Pacwa (San Diego, 1991—click here to listen).
In 1993, Bethany House Publishers picked up James’ book, Letters to a Mormon Elder. This relationship with Bethany House resulted in another project, starting in 1994. James had debated a King James Only advocate, Gail Riplinger, on a local radio station. The requests for his notes were so overwhelming that it was decided that a book on the subject was sorely needed. His book, The King James Only Controversy,came out in early 1995, resulting in a torrent of insults and attacks from KJV Only advocates.
Meanwhile, James was continuing his work in the area of Roman Catholicism, studying the early Fathers, and working hard to explain, and defend, the doctrine of sola scriptura. In the same year he completed his second Master’s degree, a Th.M. in Apologetics from Faraston Theological Seminary. Opportunities to write and speak increased in frequency, and James became a regular in the pages of CRI’s Journal, writing on the KJV issue and Mormonism.
Also in 1995 James was appointed Scholar in Residence in the College of Christian Studies at Grand Canyon University, and was chosen as an adjunct professor with the Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary’s Arizona Campus. James has lectured in Greek, Hebrew, Systematic Theology, and Christology for Golden Gate, and Theology and Church History at Grand Canyon. He is also Professor of Apologetics for Columbia Evangelical Seminary in Longview, Washington.
1996 brought another book, The Roman Catholic Controversy, as well as a chapter in the Soli Deo Gloria publication, Sola Scriptura: The Protestant Position on the Bible. James was also hired as a Critical Consultant on the New American Standard Bible Update. It also brought more attacks from Catholic Answers and other groups who oppose the work of Alpha and Omega Ministries. James debated former Protestant Tim Staples on the subject of sola scriptura in Fullerton, California.
1997 brought a flood of new opportunities. James began going out to Long Island for debates against Roman Catholics in 1996. The first year he debated Gerry Matatics on the Marian doctrines. In 1997 he debated Gerry on sola scriptura. James also had two new books come out, Grieving: Our Path Back to Peace and Is the Mormon My Brother?
1998 proved to be a banner year. Ministry in Indianapolis and San Diego went well, and the regular spring-time trip to Long Island included a debate against Jesuit scholar and priest Mitchell Pacwa on the Papacy as well as ministry in a number of other churches. Two new books came out in 1998: What’s With the Dudes at the Door? (a youth book on cults co-written with best-selling youth author Kevin Johnson) and Mary—Another Redeemer? In late November the long awaited book The Forgotten Trinity was released by Bethany House Publishers. This work has received the endorsements of a wide variety of scholars from the entire spectrum of Trinitarianism. James had the opportunity of teaching an intensive course on apologetics in San Francisco over the summer, a privilege repeated during the summers of 1999, 2000, and 2001.
Things did not slow down in 1999. April brought James’ 30th consecutive missions trip to Salt Lake City, as well as “The Great Debate IV” on Long Island against Roman Catholic apologist Robert Sungenis. The Long Island trip was even more interesting in that three debates took place, including one against Muslim apologist Hamza Abdul Malik, and one against Robert Sabin, a Oneness Pentecostal advocate. Bethany House released What’s With the Mutant in the Microscope?, a youth book on creation and evolution.
Y2K (2000) was greatly blessed. “The Great Debate V” against Robert Sungenis was a wonderful opportunity for demonstrating the difference between the God-centered Gospel of God’s Grace, and the man-centered gospel of Roman Catholicism. The next week brought a debate with Church of Christ minister Paul Barber on election. And during this time James’ newest book, The Potter’s Freedom, was released. This 350 page work is a full rebuttal of Norman Geisler’s Chosen But Free. July 6th brought a three hour appearance on The Bible Answer Man debating Tim Staples, and the next evening one of the most interesting of all of James’ debates on Papal Infallibility. James continued teaching for GGBTS (teaching Hebrew in the Fall), and two more debates finished off the year: in October in Clearwater, Florida against Robert Sungenis on Papal Infallibility (quite a contrast to the July encounter with Tim Staples!), and in December in San Diego against Fr. Mitchell Pacwa on sola scriptura.
2001 brought another large published work, The God Who Justifies, a 400 page work on the biblical doctrine of justification. It also brought a full debate with Fr. Peter Stravinskas on the subject of purgatory on Long Island (the video is very useful for showing in churches to highlight the vast differences between the two sides on the gospel), and a major debate against notorious liberal activist Barry Lynn on the subject of homosexuality.
2002 passed in a blur! Another half dozen debates, including one against George Bryson on Calvinism, one against Patrick Madrid on the veneration of saints and images, one against LDS scholar Gilbert Scharffs and another against LDS apologist Martin Tanner, and two against one of the leading advocates of Open Theism and Inclusivism, John Sanders. Also two new books were released, Dangerous Airwaves, a rebuttal of the false teaching of Harold Camping regarding the supposed “end” of the Church, and The Same Sex Controversy co-authored with Jeff Niell on the subject of homosexuality.
2003 set new records for intensity of ministry. While continuing teaching for Golden Gate at both its Phoenix and Mill Valley campuses, James traveled extensively all across the United States, and for the first time, to Brazil as well (to speak at the annual FIEL Conference). Debates included the annual Great Debate against Mitchell Pacwa on the Priesthood, an LDS debate against Dr. Dennis Potter, and two Roman Catholic debates against (now) Traditionalist Catholics Robert Sungenis and Gerry Matatics. The year finished with the most intense flurry of activity yet. James took on Gregory Stafford, author of Jehovah’s Witnesses Defended: An Answer to Scholars and Critics in Tampa in a vitally important debate on the deity of Christ. This was followed by an apologetics cruise, and immediately by an appearance on CRI’s The Bible Answer Man broadcast where James defended the Reformed position against those who promote “libertarian freedom.”
2004 brought the release of James’s debate book against Dave Hunt, Debating Calvinism: Five Points, Two Views from Multnomah. We are looking forward to the publication of a book on ecclesiology wherein James defends the plurality of elders model against four other views (Broadman/Holman publishers). The Great Debate IX will be on Long Island May 20th against Catholic apologist Gary Michuta on the subject of the Apocrypha, and other debates on the King James Only issue, homosexuality, and Mormonism are in the works.