From the Keyboard of James White….
Who could have imagined a year ago how different the world would be with the dawning of 2002! But while the world has changed, God’s truth has not, and so the work of apologetics continues on in the face of ever-expanding challenges.
In most of our minds, 2001 was two years: pre-9/11 and post-9/11. We flew to Salt Lake in April for the General Conference, but drove in October (the first time we had made that journey by automobile in a very long time!). A trip to minister in Raleigh, North Carolina on the weekend after 9/11 was moved to December as the airlines were not flying. And a small note I had written to myself in August, “Pray about engaging the Muslim issue” became downright prophetic as well.
2001 brought the completion of a very long, arduous project that resulted in The God Who Justifies, a 400 page work on justification by grace through faith alone. This work provides both a heart-felt proclamation of this vital truth as well as an in-depth biblical/exegetical defense of the doctrine of justification. It also includes a twenty-four page chapter on James 2:14-26. The work has been well received, and we truly pray it will continue to bless for many years to come.
Coming early in 2002 will be a cooperative effort between myself and Jeff Niell, The Same Sex Controversy. This is a biblical response to the growing body of literature that is designed to silence the average believer’s testimony to the continuing validity of God’s voice in speaking to the moral issues of our day. And speaking of homosexuality, one of the highlights of the year took place during my semi-annual pilgrimage to Long Island. On May 24th I debated well-known liberal activist, and United Church of Christ minister Barry Lynn on the subject of homosexuality. The audio and video tapes of this debate have only recently been made available because Mr. Lynn, who is on the board of the ACLU and is the head of “Americans United for the Separation of Church and State” threatened to sue us if we made the tapes available. Upon review an entire legal organization said, “He has no case,” so now the tapes are available for viewing.
A week later I debated Fr. Peter Stravinskas on the topic of purgatory. Few debates have shown more clearly the wide divide that separates the gospel of grace from Rome’s works-oriented message. The early part of 2001 also brought radio debates in New York on homosexuality and abortion as well (the United Methodist minister who was trying to defend abortion eventually gave up and hung up on us all).
Following the events of 9/11 we found more interest than ever in the ministry, especially in regards to how we know the Bible is true (possibly in response to Islamic claims to the contrary). We addressed many of those issues on our webcast, The Dividing Line, which is widely listened to (and greatly appreciated).
2002 is already shaping up as a challenging year. Debates in July against Patrick Madrid on the veneration of saints and angels on Long Island, and a possible debate in Florida the week before against one of the leading scholars promoting open theism, are just two of the major projects we are pursuing.
Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we labor to serve our Risen King!