The following was posted to the Puritan Board today. I would like to respond to it:
I have been listening to the Dividing Line by James White lately and I have found him to be overly harsh with many who don’t line up with him theologically. I really like him and his stand for the truth and in the past have always enjoyed his apologetic approach but he really seems to blast some of the top apologists in Christianity when they don’t line up with him exactly. He blasted William L. Craig last week for a comment made in jest about a debate opponent becoming a Christian. He roughed up Michael Licona this week on his new book on the Resurrection about using non cannonical literature. He has really bashed Giesler lately and I agree with him on standing up to him, but he is really taking it to an extreme by using harsh rhetoric. Poking fun at Giesler an Caner won’t win too many to the faith or the cause of apologetics.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m an apologist and I do like James White but I think he is the one being unbiblical lately in his attack of other Christians. We don’t need to bash each other but come in love and edification. I know White has tried to get Giesler to reply and I’m not sure where he is at with that, but when is it right or allowable to get ugly with anyone, especially a believer?
Anyone have an opinion either way on this. Am I wrong or has James gone a little too far?
Dear Mr. SolaSaint:
I am amazed that you can give consideration to the issues I have addressed regarding men such as William Lane Craig, Mike Licona, Ergun Caner and Norman Geisler, and put them all under the rubric of simply “not lining up with” me “theologically.” Please allow me to set the record straight. These are not matters of minutiae, irrelevancies of interpretation. As most know, I do not in any way, shape, or form, focus upon such things. Let me demonstrate from the examples you yourself provided.
First, William Lane Craig was not jesting with his atheist opponent. He was being perfectly serious in suggesting that his opponent become a Christian “who simply doesn’t believe in inerrancy.” Can you make heads or tails out of such a suggestion, sir? What was Craig asking him to do? Believe Jesus died and rose from the dead solely on the basis of the “greater probability” of the event from a historical perspective? What if his opponent then asked, “But, even if I believe that, what does it have to do with me…and don’t answer by reference to the Bible, since, of course, I don’t believe it is a divine revelation to begin with.” What then? Given the context of the debate, was it not obvious that having this as the final statement made by Craig that night communicated very clearly that the authority, accuracy, and consistency of the Bible is very low on his list of apologetic priorities? Do you think this was a wise way to end the debate? Do you think it is wrong to point this out and discuss it and point to a better way? Why is it “harsh” of me to do so?
Second, if you believe I was criticizing Mike Licona for making reference to non-canonical sources, you completely and utterly missed the entire point of my examination of his book. But first, did you notice I was actually reviewing what Licona wrote? Is that permissible? Or is it “harsh” to review books that are in the public domain? How many others actually took the time (as I have done) to both exegete the relevant text (Matthew 27:51ff) and to read Licona’s entire section from his book? I did not criticize him for using non-canonical sources, of course. I said I did not think the Greco-Roman parallels he provided match up to the text in Matthew 27. There is a major difference, obviously. I further indicated that the Old Testament citations he raised were not contextually linked either. So you have simply misunderstood my entire discussion of that subject, and I would direct you to the blog article I posted on the topic, and to a re-listening of the program for a corrective of your misapprehension.
Next, I began responding to Norman Geisler’s viewpoints, primarily on Reformed theology, eleven years ago. My replies have been fair, and thorough. Geisler’s response has been neither. Have you read the incredible appendix he wrote for his second edition (which, thankfully, was removed from the third edition)? In any case, that is not the issue any longer. The issue now is Geisler’s taking the lead in perpetrating a cover up in the evangelical community, a cover-up of monumental proportions, a cover-up that has no substance. Do you agree that Ergun Caner lied in making up the story of his alleged expertise in Islam and his being trained in jihad, born in Istanbul, etc. and etc.? If so, have you seen repentance from Caner? Or do you see him speaking at apologetics conferences around the nation with Norman Geisler, still speaking on the subject of Islam? Are you involved in witnessing to Muslims, sir? If so, how can you not see the continuing damage Geisler and Caner are doing, with the willing if silent assistance of so many “apologists” in the “discernment community” who sit quietly for fear of the power Geisler wields? Are you amongst those who say “Well, it is just time to move on,” as if sweeping such things under the rug is a viable option?
Norman Geisler knows what he is doing here. His engagement in the Licona dispute shows that he is more than capable of quickly responding to challenges to his position. And yet he has remained obstinately unwilling to admit his own errors and his role in covering for Ergun Caner for over a year. Do you think we should just be silent? Let it all blow over? I mean, who really cares if the Christian community refuses to deal with such dishonesty with openness and integrity? It’s just the Muslims we are talking about anyway, right? Well, sorry, but that is not an option for me. And yes, it has been very, very costly to my ministry and to me personally. But I do not see compromise on matters of ministerial and biblical integrity to be an option just because it might make a few more people “like” me. The names we remember from church history are not of the compromisers, but of those who stood for the glory of God and the truth of the gospel, whatever it cost.
You may not like the idea of a “What About Hadith 2425?” t-shirt. That’s fine, you don’t have to buy one. But what have you done about this situation? Have you called for Caner’s repentance? For Geisler to come clean and answer the questions he knows he cannot answer? What would you be willing to do? Anything at all?
Many think using any humor at all in light of the silence of the perpetrators of the Great Evangelical Cover-Up is wrong. So, if I use humor I’m harsh, if I don’t use humor I’m even harsher. Seems like I’m in a no win situation! So let’s just forget about it and…do what? I am still in the arena dealing with Islam. I do not have the luxury of closing my eyes and ears and pretending all is well at Veritas Seminary. That is only for those who do not have to worry about standing before Islamic apologists while seeking to bear witness to the truth.