There are a significant number of newly “converted” (to presup, at least) folks that are quite zealous for the defense of the faith. This, I consider good. On the other hand, Scripture warns us against “zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge”, in Rom 10:2. This is especially important for us to consider. All too often, we have a tendency to “jump right in,” whether we are prepared to do so, or not. Zealousness leads us, with inadequate preparation, all too often to imbalance, and from or along with imbalance, to a sub-Biblical defense. Additionally, there is the problem of not knowing what it is you are to be defending! As putative apologists, we must not overestimate our own abilities, knowledge, or proficiency. This isn’t to say that I consider myself to be “perfect” – or that anyone else should, this side of glory; What I am saying is, we must be very watchful that our desire doesn’t outrun our wisdom.

When we have something we desire to do, we often run ahead, to the detriment of our preparation for doing so. Similarly, we often dismiss preparation for either pragmatic or pietistic aims, at the expense of doctrinal orthodoxy. Part of an adequate apologetic is the ability to teach. If you aren’t convinced of that, I would point you to the instances of apologetic encounters in Scripture. If you are defending the faith, there are certain preconditions for doing so. Principally, there is the precondition of knowing what you are defending. Secondarily, there is the precondition of an ability to teach what Christian doctrine is, so that it may be clear to your audience what in fact it is to be defended. Thirdly, it must be clearly said that there is the precondition of grace; and that graciousness is the product of sanctification, not of formal study. None of these aspects can be overlooked or dismissed; and they must not be dismissed, because Scripture clearly commands them of us. In fact, dismissal of these requirements is tantamount to rebellion. To overlook these requirements is a function of ignorance – but the intent of this post is to render you, the apologist, without excuse – and hence, repentant. We cannot afford ignorance in the cause of Christ.

So, let us look at what we are called to do. Those who are called to apologetic ministry must be within, and under the authority of, the local church. They cannot be “lone rangers,” and they cannot be “loose cannons”, or “independents”. If we are of those who believe, we must be within the fellowship, and be in fellowship (Acts 4:32). If we are of those who believe, we must be under the authority of elders (Acts 14:23). Apollos, we know, was a powerful advocate for the cause of Christ. Yet, he was amenable to being instructed by those who were older and wiser than himself. In addition, he was willing to be sent, and not to send himself. It was the brethren that sent him, and encouraged him – and in that fellowshipped sending, he in turn encouraged the elect, and refuted their opponents. (Acts 18)

Next, we must see that only those with adequate preparation should be engaging unbelievers. Apollos had been instructed in the way of the Lord. Paul, of course, had intensive training as a Pharisaical student – but even that did not suffice, did it? He spent 3 years being “taught of God” before he began his ministry – interestingly, roughly the same amount of time the other Apostles spent with Christ. I’m not trying to say we should all go be desert dwellers of some sort – or that we are all called to be seminarians, either. What I am saying, however, is that we cannot neglect an intensive, intentional course of study in the foundations of our faith, if we are to be apologists. This is not negotiable. In order to defend the faith, we must know what we believe, and be unshakably convinced of the truth of what we know before we are involved in ministry of this sort. Apologetics is no ministry for neophytes. The Christian life is likened to warfare, in Ephesians and elsewhere. Front-line troops are experienced, well-trained soldiers. They know precisely where they fit into the ranks, what their duties are, and have undergone systematic training in the art of war. No soldier learns his trade by osmosis. His trade is soldiery. Soldiers are trained; so must we be. This training is primarily not in the assemblage of arguments, philosophical justifications, or evidenciary studies. Those of you who are in the military; where did your training start? It started with the discipline a soldier required. Next, it moved to the care and operation of your equipment. Then, training moves to the proper movements of troops, of which you are a part.

The disciplines required of the apologist are both mental and spiritual. The primary discipline is the systematic study of the Word of God, and the doctrines therein. We must also be as fervent and constant in prayer and the confession of sin as we are fervent and constant in study. We must systematically practice the spiritual disciplines along with the mental disciplines we work to cultivate.

We must also be able to teach. In a Biblical apologetic, we are responding to the anti-Christian from, and with, Christian doctrine. As I have said for some time, it seems to be the case that the vast majority of objections stem from a fundamental ignorance of Christian doctrine. As Christians, we must admit that this is often the fault of those whom we have championed; and those champions themselves are either unable, or unwilling, to defend the Christian faith as a system of doctrine, rather than a philosophical abstraction. The defense of “a god” flies directly in the face of the Scriptural testimony. Keeping the doctrines of Christianity at “arms length” in their putative defense is nothing more than folly, if that is what we are truly defending. We cannot make an arbitrary distinction between what we believe and what we defend. We can do only damage to the doctrines we love by defending an abstraction rather than the reality. If you do not know, love, and cherish the doctrines of Scripture, you are simply fighting for yourself, not the fellowship of Christ. If what you defend is unrecognizable in comparison to the God you claim to know – it is readily apparent, and worse than useless. The knowledge of the Holy is understanding, and the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Do not forget it for an instant.

When we as apologists engage in the defense of the faith we must be able to both recognize and correct the misconceptions that are foundational to, and undergird the objections raised to that faith. When we hear an objection, we must compare it to what it is we know. We waste an enormous amount of time responding to things that we know are inapplicable, or false. We waste so much energy that could be better used in teaching these objectors what it is they need to know about the God they reject. Objections should be filtered through the matrix of sound doctrine – and responded to as they warrant, not as the unbeliever assumes. We all too often consider the unbeliever’s conception of God to be “plausible”, or “possible” – while in reality, they are objecting to a man of straw. Instead of letting this pass unchallenged, take the opportunity to correct their misapprehensions. This is helpful to your fellow believers, as well! It is quite a redemption of the time (that unbelievers waste for themselves in their ignorance) to grasp that opportunity to teach what it is they should be addressing, and to outline for your fellows (and for other unbelievers) where it is they went wrong in their approach. Granted, we know that unbelievers both applaud and prefer their ignorance – but in responding in such a way, we leave them without an excuse, don’t we?

Lastly, we are to answer with gentleness and reverence. This does not mean that we do not step up boldly to answer; it does, however, mean that we are not to savage our opponent on a personal level, or to respond in kind when we are personally attacked. This does not proscribe a righteous zealousness for the doctrines of God; it does, however, proscribe an unrighteousness zealousness for personal vengeance and returning offense when it is given. It is often the case that unbelievers act like fools. We are to answer a fool according to *their* folly – as it deserves – but NOT to become like them. This is a trap many fall into – myself included. We are to be reverent of God, and mild in our responses.

We must also see that the Lord’s slave must NOT be quarrelsome; must be able to teach; must be patient when wronged; and must gently correct those in opposition. They must not engage in foolish or ignorant speculations – they produce the quarrels warned against.(2 Tim 2) Be mindful of your limits. Be watchful of your temper. Be wise concerning where and when you engage with unbelievers. Be discerning in your responses, and teach whenever and wherever it is appropriate. Be patient when you are attacked, or offended, or wronged. Do not engage in endless quarrels; know when and where to enter, and when and where to leave a discussion.

All of this I have given above is the product of the work of God, friends, not of your own efforts. It is the work of God; sanctifying and preparing you for His own work, not your own. We are bought and paid for – we are not our own possession, but His. Whatever you think you might be, you are either His, or you are your own – and God surely knows His own. You think you’re a presuppositionalist? Let me tell you what a presuppositionalist is.

We are to be those who have a deep, abiding love for the Scriptures, and the God whose revelation they are. We are to have a healthy, humble assessment of where we are in our relationship to God, and a deep understanding of whose we are. We are to immerse ourselves in the doctrines of Scripture; We are to flee speculation, and embrace the certainty Scripture provides us. We are to teach patiently, correct patiently, and learn patiently. We are not to be self-serving, not arrogant, and always mindful of the grace which we ourselves have received. We are to understand that what we have, is ours by the grace of God, and by no other means. We are not to coddle doubt, but to destroy it by the means God has provided. We are to know, to the depths of our soul, that what we defend is that which God has given – and how we are to defend it is also given by that same grace. Does all of this humble you? Does all of this make you feel inadequate? Does it remind you that we are, indeed, bought with a price, and not our won, and must thus work to the benefit of His church? If so, you might be a presuppositionalist – but be wary, lest you fall. We are all warned, and we must heed those warnings.

I’ve mentioned before that Presup is Sola Scriptura in an apologetic context. If you study Ephesians 6, the only weapon we have is Scripture. Hence, that is the only weapon we use. All of defenses are also God-wrought, so we have nothing to fear. Fear not – and stand.

I’m not going to link all of Paul’s posts in this – they’ve been linked ad nauseum from here, already. His blog is Patient and Persistent – I trust our readers are more than capable of finding these comments of his 🙂

There are times when I’m engaged in an exchange with someone and I’m not sure if I’ve understood them correctly. That’s how I felt reading Chris Bolt’s stuff. It turns out that I did understand him correctly.

Note: Paul does not here explain 1) What he understood correctly, or 2) How it is the case that he understood Chris correctly. I don’t think he understood Chris correctly. If he did, he wouldn’t say what he does. I cheat. I ask Chris 😉

Missing Clarity

So, let’s be clear then. The solution to the problem lies in a transcendental proof?

It’s quite unclear which problem Paul is referring to, here. From the quote from Chris that he has cited, there are several we can choose from.

(a) “the alleged problems he (Paul) cites with either APR or my (Chris) dismissal of PR2.”
(b) “the disagreement between Person A and Person B above”
(c) “how their respective revelations ground their abilities to engage in rational discourse.”
(d) “a discussion of how the respective revelations differ from one another.”
(e) “the disagreement between Paul and I, since we both claim to have worldviews which ground our abilities to engage in rational discourse.”

If I were giving Paul the benefit of the doubt, (and providing a healthy dose of speculative translation for our audience) I’d vote for (e), as that obviously makes the most sense in context. However, since Paul is an exceedingly “muddy” writer, with what seems to be a tendency to avoid specific referents for terms such as “that”, “what,” when the context is either extensive, or his referent is vague, this is guesswork, at best. Further, he fails to provide specificity when referring to something using the definite article – such as “the problem,” when there are many problems present. For a writer who (I would imagine) wants to communicate clearly, this tendency toward a lack of clarity is exceedingly unfortunate.

Just for clarity, is that a transcendental proof or a transcendent proof? I wouldn’t want to be pedantic or anything.

We’re speaking of transcendentals. It’s not pedantic to ask for clarification. I sincerely wish that objectors would do so more often. It saves trouble for everyone in the long run. However, nobody was talking about “transcendental proofs” that I saw.

Also, given that, on Paul Jenkins analysis, Chris posts his comments at a ratio of seven to one I think you can understand a request for the edited highlights of this transcendent/transcendental argument.

First, while this might be fascinating societal conversation, is there some sort of relevance to be had by mentioning this?

Second, where was this request made, and what does it have to do with the conversation thus far? Or, perhaps, are you confusing “transcendental proof” with “evaluating the exchange transcendentally”? There is a difference. Feel free to ask. We do teach this, after all 🙂

Is ‘yogic flying’ involved for example? Is it available on the NHS? Does it come it pill form, or, more importantly, is it falsifiable and repeatable?

I have no idea what this is even supposed to be. What does “yogic flying” have to do with the transcendental argument, and since you have, and I quote:

heard the PA argument and a host of other Theistic arguments and none of them interest me enough to divert my attention

Can you tell me how this supposed connection between the two makes any sense whatsoever? Or did you try listening for comprehension? If you don’t, it’s a waste of time.

Missing the Plea

Then, here it comes

This is not the Christian position. Perhaps Paul does not mean to represent the Christian revelation here. I do not know. He is, again, exceedingly unclear.

and that, is the expected special pleading. Hook, line, sinker, fishing rod, keepnet and the meat paste sandwiches to boot.

Can you cite a Reformed Systematic theology, confession, or author that gives this:

by it’s very nature is an internal mental experience

as the definition for “revelation” please? I’m extremely confused as to why you think this is special pleading, to use the terminology of theology in describing… theological terms. If you’re unaware of what the term’s definition is, that’s one thing – but reacting as if we’re “special pleading” when we’re using terms with a long-defined meaning is truly remarkable.

For instance, from the 1689 London Baptist Confession:

I.6. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in the Holy Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelation of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word, and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.

For the Christian, “revelation” is the Word of God – the Scriptures. This is nothing new, nor should it be a new phenomena to Paul. Unfortunately, what should be the case, and what is the case in the realm of internet atheism is something else altogether. You see, Paul is equivocating. He is equivocating the *experience* of a direct communication with God with what Christians are committed to – the finished revelation of the Christian Scriptures. For what I can only see as rhetorical points, at the expense of accuracy, he is insisting that what we actually believe, and have confessed, at this point, for over three centuries, is special pleading. Yet, without an argument. This is also sadly typical of internet atheism. It is no wonder that Chris has had to attempt to painstakingly walk Paul through a simple modus ponens – which Paul himself requested.

Missing the Argument

You see, it has been exceedingly difficult to watch the exchange. Paul asks a question, Chris answers, perhaps asks a question in return – Paul responds with mockery, yet does not address Chris’ answers, or questions with any seeming understanding of what is being discussed. At this point, one is left to wonder; is Paul really this obtuse, or is he simply engaging in sophistry in order to make himself look good? Perhaps both? I really cannot see another option. In fact, given Paul’s utter lack of argumentation in favor of whatever position he is attempting, I don’t think it’s even arguable that one or the other is in fact the case. This same pattern has recurred throughout this exchange. From what we have been presented with, Paul is apparently incapable of following even the simplest of arguments, even if they include premises that he specifically agrees with. If, and let’s illustrate, Paul asserts the following:

“I have had a revelation from a non-Christian supernatural transcendental entity that I use to ground my worldview.”

If, in further illustration, he demands the following:

Disprove that revelational epistemology, preferably in less than 1,000,000 words.

Then, naturally, we should expect Paul to be able to follow the response given to him, should we not? Unfortunately, Paul has proven especially unable to comprehend that which was presented to him, which was as follows:

If atheism is true, then PR is false.

Atheism is true.

Therefore, PR is false.

So, for those who are able to grasp a simple modus ponens, let’s break this down.

PR, I gather, stands for “Paul’s Revelation”. If, and this is apparently a big if, Paul actually is an atheist, then he would agree – If atheism is true, then PR is false. He seems to have completely failed to understand the point in question. Here is how it breaks down.

1) Paul is not attempting to say that this “supernatural entity” is a god, and the mere assertion is enough to “counter” our Revelational Epistemology in some way (he doesn’t say, as far as I can tell)
2) Paul is positing this “supernatural entity” as a god, and that mere assertion is enough to “counter” our Revelational Epistemology in some way (he doesn’t say, as far as I can tell)

In the case of 1), I really don’t see how he could mean anything else apart from “a god”, given the use of the negation of “Christian”, as well as “supernatural”. If he wants to make this an argument with any sort of force in regards to RE, it must a) Be parallel to RE, and therefore be a potential defeater. b) If there is some parallel to be had, despite not being revelation from a “deity”, *yet* supernatural, that’s Paul’s case to argue. Simply asserting that there is some vague “defeater” is frightfully poor argumentation. c) I would, simply, ask Paul to provide us with this revelation for examination, since his assertion is that it supplies, in contradistinction to RE, the preconditions of intelligibility. As I commented to him previously, it would be eminently useful for such dialogues if he would do a bit of research on these types of objections prior to offering what is, frankly, an objection we’ve dealt with many times previously, and which he has shown no awareness of in the course of this discussion – from either side. The assumption of novelty due to ignorance is a rather poor starting point for a meaningful discussion. It seems that Paul thinks this objection is either new, or unanswered. Neither is the case.

In the case of 2), Paul is forced into the argument Chris posits. Paul is an atheist. He is not a “non-Christian supernatural entity-ist”. So, Paul is not actually arguing his own position. He is offering a hypothetical he doesn’t even believe to be the case. As such, there is no argumentative force here. Paul agrees with all the premises of Chris’ response to his posited hypothetical, obviously. Paul believes that if atheism is true, then PR is false. Paul believes atheism is true. Paul therefore believes that atheism is true. This argument defeats Paul’s assertion, from within his own worldview. This is an internal critique. Now, Paul cannot do the same thing when addressing our worldview, because we actually believe it to be the case. There cannot be an *internal critique of our position* on the same basis that he is positing here. It is not a parallel, it does not affect our worldview, it is not a defeater, and it is, in all honesty, irrelevant. This is self-defeating. Paul cannot be an atheist and not-atheist at the same time, and in the same way. He cannot be an atheist to this supernatural entity, and believe in the revelation of this supernatural entity. Therefore, 2) fails internally.

I purposely gave Paul two challenges at this point – both in the case of 1), and none in the case of 2), because 2) is self-defeating. In the case of 1), Paul has to provide an argument for one or the other of these positions:

1a) Paul is not attempting to say that this “supernatural entity” is a god, and he must make an argument that this is sufficient to “counter” our Revelational Epistemology in some way, as well as prove that it originates within his OWN worldview.
1b) Paul is not attempting to say that this “supernatural entity” is a god, and must provide the content of PR2 to “counter” our Revelational Epistemology in some way, as well as prove that it originates within his OWN worldview.

Note that these options include Paul making an actual argument, not an assertion. This, I hope, will be instructive both to him, and to our readers. Shotgun assertions are simply that, assertions. The wider the pattern of the shot, the more ground you cover, and the less lead penetration you get. Shotguns are terribly ineffective weapons in the field of logical argumentation. Arguments are what we deal with, not assertions. In order to “make this stick”, Paul will have to come up with a real live argument, all on his own (hopefully after studying the requisite literature on his not-as-novel-as-he-thought attempt).

Further thoughts on 2)

There is a problem with Paul attempting to use 1) at this point, however. The problem is, of course, that he has already committed to 2) as his argument. So, any usage of 1) will be ultimately, inconsistent.

“As a non-Christian Theist I have had a revelation from my ‘God’. It reveals to me some things that I know for certain. This enables me to ‘ground’ my worldview such that I can critique the Christian worldview.”

Paul, at this point, has to resort to 2a) and/or 2b) – so let’s examine those.

2a) Paul is attempting to say that this “supernatural entity” is a god, and he must make an argument that this is sufficient to “counter” our Revelational Epistemology in some way, as well as prove that it originates within his OWN worldview.
2b) Paul is attempting to say that this “supernatural entity” is a god, and must provide the content of PR2 to “counter” our Revelational Epistemology in some way, as well as prove that it originates within his OWN worldview.

So, let’s break it down some more.

Why does Paul have to prove that it originates within his own worldview? Obviously, because he’s trying to say that you could make arguments, if it were true. If this is truly a parallel to CT, it must prove that without it, “one could not prove anything.” Given that he’s asserting that you can make an argument, it’s hardly the case that he can make the argument from his own worldview, atheism, deny the one he is proposing, yet say that that worldview he just denied provides the preconditions for intelligibility. So, let’s examine Paul’s statement in his previous comment:

“I don’t have to actually hold that worldview in order to put it forward as a successful counter to the exclusively Christian PA.”

If he’s going to actually object to our worldview, if he’s going to prove that this “other revelation” is a real defeater, it has to have a defeat for our argument from the impossibility of the contrary, which he claims to have studied, or at least to know. To do that, it must *actually be the case* that this worldview provides the preconditions of intelligibility.

Missing Theology

But let’s step out of his claims for a minute, and deal with what he doesn’t seem to be taking into account at all. In the first place, he is dealing with a revelation that actually exists, has a multi-millenial history, and has more written about it than any other body of writing in the world’s history. It has it’s own, tremendously massive body of literature to accompany it – the accumulated scholarship of the ages, to deal with, and to address. The *basic* tool of the churchman in dealing with this tremendous body of work is the creed, which summarizes very compactly, what it is we believe. At the next level of detail is the confessions and catechisms, whereby we teach and instruct the church in what it is they are to believe. Then, there is the systematic theology, which is probably the most accessible format for someone who wants to learn what it is, precisely, we believe. Instead of availing themselves of these resources, it is all too often the case that the unbeliever will simply do some cursory research, and ignore these invaluable tools. A systematic theology puts all of the theology and doctrine of Christianity into a system – organized, referenced, and cohesively designed. As I wrote in my recent paper for our Journal, “we are defending something very particular, and our opponent must, in order to actually address us, object to something very particular. … In essence, in order to be actually objecting meaningfully, they must object to God, as He reveals Himself in Scripture.” Paul dismissed the Journal, apparently, as a “waste of 30 minutes” recently. If he wants to understand what we are saying, and to interact meaningfully with us, those articles are far more than a thirty minute read, and what they urge on the unbeliever is what they truly must understand in order to be taken seriously on any level.

At the level Paul is operating at the moment, he has, as Bahnsen put it, “made himself ignorable”. This is unfortunate, as his ignorance seems to merely feed his pride, and fuel his mockery. Even more unfortunately, his mockery is of something he doesn’t even understand. The modern atheist’s unwillingness to engage in any serious study of his opponent’s position reduces his objections to shadow-boxing. He is not “landing punches” if he cannot even see what he is swinging at. Paul is merely tossing a “Flying Spaghetti Monster Style Counter” out into the room, and acting as if this is some philosophically meaningful action. The FSMSC is a chimera. It has no substance. He isn’t dealing with a “parallel” of Christianity – he’s just making stuff up, and saying “nuh uh!” Not only that, but he just asserts that he doesn’t have to believe it, but it’s still a valid counter! Is this really what we’re supposed to be impressed by?

Paul would also be well-served in the study of Christian theology, and especially theology proper, should he decide to actually engage us in a serious fashion. His fundamental issues with such concepts as “revelation” serve him poorly. He may consider himself “well-read” in the field, but we have seen where he has stated that he “heard” the “PA argument” – and yet he is already asking what it is. All he has to do is do a search for “transcendental argument” on our site, and he’ll get a dozens of results. Shall we google it for you, Paul? Our site teaches the method. If he wants to know what it is – read the site. This is not difficult. We have seen where he has asserted that PA only “gets to a generic supernatural entity,” despite the amazing lack of comprehension that entails, and the appalling lack of argumentation he has provided to support this amazing claim. In fact, despite the specific argumentation we have on the site to the contrary, that isn’t addressed. I’m starting to wonder if Paul is on the outs with google, or with search engines in general.

Missing Hats

We have seen him say:

“The rebuttal is a counter-assertion of a non-Christian revelation that provides the same grounding and certainty for a worldview that can then be used to critique the Christian worlview without falling into the trap of having to accept the Christian god in order to deny the Christian god.

It’s like wearing a different hat.”

We have, therefore, seen his inability to comprehend what is actually meant by the name of our website, and what he has to provide in order to escape the argument it offers.

We have seen him assert:

“I don’t have to actually hold that worldview in order to put it forward as a successful counter to the exclusively Christian PA.”

Yet, we have not seen him prove this.

Missing the Target

Paul is very big on making grandiose assertions. He is very big on telling us what he knows. He is very big on mocking what he shows no evidence of understanding. He is, however, not especially big on making arguments. Arguments, you see, should result in proofs. Assertions apart from arguments do not provide proofs. Paul is very big on asserting what he thinks, and mocking anyone who disagrees – but I have yet to see him demonstrate a single assertion he has offered. I’m not feeling very mocked by someone who doesn’t know what it is he is mocking.

Chris also pleads for a debate – why, when it must be oh so simple to lay out, with brevity, what his transcendent/transcendental proof is ? He said I should ask. Again, I bet it will contain special pleading.

He has. You have to let your mouse do the clicking, Paul. (I googled it for you above. You’re welcome.)

If he feels insulted by my comment about his pomposity then he should reread the relevant paragraph in the style of the Rev Ian Paisley to see my point. I’ll be reading out in the Skepticule podcast recording using my impersonation of the esteemed cleric. 😀

I’m pretty sure it would have to be true, to be insulting. As I’ve read the exchange, the pomposity seems to be coming from your direction, Paul. Please hear me when I say this. You don’t know what you’re talking about. Please learn, before you embarrass yourself further. I would be more than happy to answer your questions, in whatever format you wish – but as it stands, your comments are simply embarrassing, arrogant, ignorant, and pompous. To be taken seriously requires taking the subject seriously. I’ve spent a good few years studying atheism and unbelief, despite the haphazard and inconsistent melange of ideas and contradictory positions most atheists tend to hold. If I can put the work in for y’all, please do yourself a favor and study something that’s actually meant to be studied. Your ignorance does you no favors. Oh, and just to short-circuit a repetitive little silliness from Paul – if you’d bother to write clearly, or study what you’re discussing, we wouldn’t have to spend so much time and electrons 1) Figuring out what in the world you’re saying in comparison to where everyone else is, and 2) correct the multitude of errors you keep pumping out in your (blessedly short) posts. It’s a good thing you have no interest in Presuppositionalism. I shudder to imagine what it would be like if you did. Instead of a “mere” 81 posts on the topic, you’d perhaps be approaching the insatiable obsession of Dawson Bethrick.

A Feminist Examines Presup

The post I’m about to respond to came in on my google alerts today. It was so packed with common objections and misconceptions that I decided to answer.

Evidentialism v. Presuppositionalism
I have noticed a worrying trend among some Christians. It is the turn away from evidentialist apologetics toward presuppositionalist apologetics.

Let’s start our presuppositional examination right here. From the get-go, presup is a “worrying” trend. Second, the author is apparently unaware of the link between Sola Scriptura and Covenantal apologetics. As I have said quite often on this blog, and in our chat channel, Covenantal apologetics is Sola Scriptura in an apologetic context.

Evidentialism holds that belief should rest on evidence.

Presuppositionalism holds that belief rests on presuppositions.

What would have been both accurate and useful would be to explain what we do believe about evidence, and to cite something, anything, from the primary sources concerning what the actual discussion hinges on. Namely, that your presuppositional commitments determine both what is considered to be evidence, and how this evidence is interpreted. This is a common problem with evidentialist and unbelieving critiques. For instance: “Nor can we disagree with [Warfield] when he says that the Christian faith is not a blind faith but is faith based on evidence.” [1] “I see induction and analytical reasoning as part of one process of interpretation. I would therefore engage in historical apologetics. (I do not personally do a great deal of this because my colleagues in the other departments of the Seminary in which I teach are doing it better than I could do it.) Every bit of historical investigation, whether it be in the directly biblical field, archaeology, or in general history, is bound to confirm the truth of the claims of the Christian position. But I would not talk endlessly about facts and more facts without challenging the unbeliever’s philosophy of fact. A really fruitful historical apologetic argues that every fact is and must be such as proves the truth of the Christian position. [2]

Evidentialist apologetics attempts to bring converts by revealing the evidence behind Christianity. Evidentialists say that scientific evidence actually supports Young Earth Creationism, that archeology has proven the truth of the Bible, both new testament and old, and that the evidence for Christ’s historic existence is overwhelming.

I would simply point out that vanishingly few evidentialists argue for YEC at this point in time. Further, they would not argue that it was “proven”, but that there is a greater probability for the truth of the Bible and/or Christ’s historic existence, as a rule. I would humbly submit to you that their “philosophy of fact”, as Van Til would say, has brought them to this point.

Presuppositionalist apologetics attempts to bring coverts by arguing that the only rational, coherent worldview is that which begins by presupposing the divinity of the Bible, the existence of God, and the reality of Christ’s sacrifice. In other words, presuppositionalists say that one must presuppose Christianity, and that trying to convince someone based on evidence is flawed.

We don’t argue for the “divinity” of the Bible. We don’t believe in a quadrinity, a la Fristianity. We don’t argue that the Bible is equal to Christ, as the Word, either. One must presuppose Christianity to be making an intelligible argument, obviously; but it might behoove the author to do a bit more research into what exactly is being said on this point. If the author means “convincing someone based on evidence” as if “evidence” was something everyone agreed upon, as if it was some sort of neutral ground, sure. Obviously, Scripture says that we and world consider each other to be foolish. It’s hardly the case that we should be expected to see eye to eye on what is, or is not, “the facts”. Hence, Van Til’s discussion of “brute fact”, which the author would be well-served to study, in my humble opinion. We don’t “attempt to bring converts” by this method. We, after all, are Reformed. As such, we are divine monergists, not synergists or human monergists, so conversion is quite obviously the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration, according to election. Neither “the facts” nor a transcendental argument will save – God saves, not man. Sure, they won’t hear without a preacher – but as the name “Yeshua” points out, salvation is of the Lord.

Evidentialist apologetics is traditionally associated with evangelicalism and fundamentalism while presuppositionalist apologetics is associated with more reformed traditions. This actually makes a lot of sense given that arminianism emphasizes free will while calvinism emphasizes predestination. It also makes sense given that Cornelius Van Til and Francis Schaeffer, both reformed, are the major luminaries who developed presuppositionalist apologetics. More and more these days this approach is spreading beyond reformed circles and into evangelicalism and fundamentalism in general.

Actually, evidentialism initially comes from Romanism, as has been carried along with the rest of the Romanist doctrine still held to by Arminianism and general Evangelicalism (to include the modern fundamentalist movement). I’d invite the author and her readers to take a gander at classical Thomism, and see what exactly the difference is supposed to be. The Reformation, of course, was a movement to “restore” Christianity. To restore it back to its historical orthodoxy. A walk back through history, and through the development of the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, will show the intrinsic link between a practical use of Sola Scriptura and a presuppositional methodology. Van Til’s contribution to “Semper Reformanda” was the Reformation of apologetic methodology to the principle of Sola Scriptura. This understanding is positively vital to understand what is actually being said, and what it comes from. Most objections along these lines are not truly to presuppositional methodology; but to the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. To answer these objections, and to accurately make objections in the first place, requires an understanding of this, and the proper relationship to be found there. General evangelicalism is attracted to covenantal apologetics in spite of itself, to be frank. The methodology does not lend itself to an Arminian, Romanist, or Dispensational hermeneutic. There are too many preconditions that are simply missing for it to be consistently and coherently used. As such, there will be a host of problems in execution, principle, understanding, and doctrinal compatibility that kill the method aborning, if you try to adapt it in some way. This is not to say that every group listed above is equally inconsistent, or that every individual is equally inconsistent; however, there is a specific doctrinal basis that it springs from, and without which, it simply does not have the framework in which to operate. Those varying inconsistencies crop up at various and sundry points – but keep in mind, please, that a truly Covenantal apologetic argues on the level of worldviews – and that it argues all of Christianity versus its antithesis; and that part of that expression of Christianity plainly states that there are but two worldviews.

I was raised on evidentialist apologetics (not surprising given that my parents were strong arminians). My parents were fond of telling the story of Josh McDowell, who started out as an atheist attempting to disprove the truth of Christianity and ended up concluding, based on evidence, that Christianity was actually true. I was taught to follow the evidence, and assured that evidence led directly to Christ.

This is actually fairly typical. Note, however, that there is usually a decided de-emphasis on the work of the Spirit in the use and presentation of evidence (not to mention the philosophy of evidence) in this apologetic methodology. Let’s be frank. If the Spirit is mentioned at all, it’s usually in a touchy-feely “invitation” at the end, after God is “proven” by means of “higher probability”. What the Spirit’s work is, as stated in Scripture, is practically never mentioned, and if it is, it bears practically no resemblance to the Scriptural testimony. The emphasis is more likely on the target’s will, and intellect – and practically never on that same person’s moral guilt before the holy God, which both affects and taints everything about that will and intellect. On the contrary, Reformed doctrine requires that the unbeliever be confronted with their sinfulness before God and their inability to reason, will, or act in any righteousness before God whatsoever. This is a confrontation that is just as much evangelical as it is apologetical. They are, after all, two sides of the same coin. The emphasis in evidentialism and evangelical doctrine, rather than on the Triune God’s monergistic work of salvation – in election, atonement, and regeneration – is on the synergistic work of man in reasoning, willing, and acting rightly of themselves, to “meet God” in the middle.

Having been raised on evidentialist apologetics, when I arrived at college and found new evidence I had never heard of as a child, I didn’t simply reject that evidence. Instead, I researched and read and studied and reevaluated my beliefs based on new evidence. I found, for example, that the evidence does not actually indicate that Young Earth Creationism took place (quite the opposite), that archeology has actually contradicted the Bible in many places, and that the Bible actually does contain historical errors and contradictions. This process of reevaluation started a long spiritual journey, and even today I continue to strive to follow evidence, and I work to make sure I take into account any new evidence I encounter.

In other words, having been raised in evidentialism, and the freewheeling doctrinal imprecision of arminian/evangelical churches, the author was never taught to 1) Think Biblically or 2) Think about what “evidence” means, or is predicated on. Since “evidence” is considered to be a neutral ground between believer and unbeliever upon which we have a point of contact, and since she was never taught how to deal with evidences on the level of their presuppositional commitments, she was caught between a rock and a hard place. If you are stuck between fundamentalist evangelicals and fundamentalist secularists, you will be either be grist for the mill, or “bail” in one direction or the other on any given “fact” that is presented. The “fact”, or how it is presented and interpreted, is never really examined. It “just is”, as if it is on the level of the self-existent God. Instead of interpreting “the facts” through Biblical presuppositions, “the facts” are, in reality, being interpreted through secular presuppositions that state that it is flatly impossible that the world could have come into being as the Bible said it did. If we are never taught to “dig beneath” the level of “brute fact”, we are simply fodder for the antithetical worldview, raised against the knowledge of God. “Striving to follow evidence”, then, is mere slavish adherence to secularist presuppositions concerning the nature and meaning of evidence.

The goal of evidentialist apologetics is to convince others of the truth of Christianity by using evidence. It assumes that anyone who honestly looks at the facts will arrive at the truth of Christianity, and that the facts support the truth of Christianity. In the last few years, my parents have been moving toward presuppositionalism. This makes sense, given that the evidentialist approach actually led me away from their beliefs and that Vision Forum is actually openly and proudly presuppositionalist.

The first two sentences are a more or less accurate restatement of evidentialism. The second two are more or less well-poisoning concerning presuppositionalism. Let’s notice two things about the former. First, she is talking about persuasion, not proof. As we’ve already mentioned, there’s a doctrinal divide there. Persuasion, in Reformed doctrine, comes only when the regenerate encounter the truths of Scripture, and believe them as it is given them to do so. This is separate from proof, which also has a fundamental divide in view. For the Christian, apart from the Triune God of Scripture, you can’t prove anything. For the non-Christian, proof is determined by their own presuppositional commitments as to what a valid “proof” consists of. Secondly, it is “assumed” that a) anyone who b) honestly looks at c) the facts will arrive at the truth of Christianity, and that those facts support the truth of Christianity. Let’s look at a) for a moment.
First, there is a lack of any sort of Biblical notion of election, or division between sheep or goats, or the effects of sin, or of the necessity for regeneration. This is a doctrinal issue, at base. Let’s look at b). Arminianism, following Romanism, considers men to be able to choose good, to be intellectually honest, or to act in such a way as to properly respond to the truths of God – of themselves. This is vastly different from the historical orthodoxy the Reformation sought to return to, following Scripture, which teaches that men, in and of themselves, are evil, and they do the work of their master, Satan. They are slaves to sin, and unable to break those chains. Only the regeneration of the Spirit can break those chains, given men a new heart and mind, and give them the faith which which they believe the Gospel. This is a fundamental disconnect, and cannot be overemphasized. As for c), we simply point out that God is truly and exhaustively Sovereign. This is also a fundamental disconnect from the insistence on libertarian free will that stems from Romanist/Arminian/Evangelical doctrine. I’d also point out that it differs not a whit from the insistence of the world on their own self-determination in the realm of the intellect, the will, and their own actions. This is also a doctrinal issue. As Reformed believers, we stress, with much insistence, the Biblical testimony to the exhaustive sovereignty of God over all things whatsoever that come to pass. Given this doctrine, all facts are God’s facts. I’ll repeat this; All facts are God’s facts. If all facts are truly God’s facts; if God ordains both ends and means, and every single relationship thereof, in a truly exhaustive fashion, then there is no room for “the facts” as they are presented to us by the Evangelical/Secularist position. All facts are, given what God has revealed to us in His Word, guaranteed to us by His Spirit, and shown to us in ourselves, and in the creation surrounding us, actually evidence for the truth of Christianity. It is not neutral evidence. It is a hostile witness against a rebellious subject.

Presuppositionalism argues that the evidence we experience in the world is simply facts and pieces of data that must be interpreted through an interpretive framework, or worldview, and that the only way to consistently interpret these facts is through the Christian worldview.

The first part is wrong; the second part is right. Here’s why, and it will be expanded below. It ignores that “all facts are God’s facts”, as we just explained. As she will say below, she assumes exactly the opposite of what we believe, and inserts that in our position. It is not the case that “facts and pieces of data” are “simply” that, and merely need to be “interpreted” – it is actually the case that the only framework through which facts are even intelligible is that which is revealed to us by the ordainer and the creator of all that is to be filtered through that framework, and of the framework itself. Facts are not neutral.

In other words, a person looking at facts and evidence will not necessarily be led to Christ; rather, one must start by assuming the truth of the Bible in order to find Christ. You can see the influence of calvinism here. Presuppositionalist apologetics, then, focuses on pointing out inconsistencies of other worldviews and arguing that Christianity is the only coherent worldview, the only way to explain the existence of reason and logic. In fact, presuppositionalism literally goes so far as to argue that evidence-based apologetics – as opposed to apologetics based on contrasting worldviews – is contra-Biblical.

Actually, we go quite a bit farther. The Shepherd finds His sheep – we don’t “find” Him, because we aren’t the One looking. Yes, Calvinism is in view here, but I’m not sure how much the author really has studied Calvinism as a complete system. The point isn’t that we “assume the truth of the Bible to find Christ” – it’s that the Spirit’s regenerative work, and the gift of faith and repentance are the preconditions for our salvation; that the work of Christ in His atoning work for His people propitiates the just wrath of the Father, and that the electing grace of the Father, who draws men to Christ is the precondition for it all. In short, it’s not anywhere near this simplistic presentation. The Spirit grants us faith – and the new heart and mind to accompany it, so we believe and/or trust the Author of Scripture as we ought. The focus of Covenantal apologetics is two-fold, actually, not singular. It “pushes the antithesis” between Christianity and it’s opposite, to show that a) Christianity, as revealed by the Creator of all things, is the sole possible precondition for the intelligibility of all things; and b) that it’s opposite is impossible. It’s a two-step method, not a one-step method. “The first step is to lay out the Christian worldview in terms of which human experience is intelligible and the objection of the unbeliever can be contextually defeated. The second step is to show that within the unbeliever’s worldview, nothing is intelligible – not even objections to the Christian’s viewpoint.”[3]

Presuppositionalists don’t deal with evidence, because they argue that evidence and facts are neutral and can be used to support any worldview, because they are interpreted through that worldview’s lens. In other words, if someone presupposes a world without God, that’s what they’ll see; if someone presupposes a Christian world, that’s what they’ll see; if someone presupposes a Muslim world, that’s what they’ll see; etc. That is why presuppositionalists spend their time not on the evidence but rather on trying to show that their worldview is only rational, coherent worldview in existence, and that every other worldview is internally contradictory. Evidence doesn’t matter; what one chooses to believe is what matters.

This is catastrophically wrong. It is absolutely opposite to what we believe, in fact. First, I categorically deny that evidence and facts are neutral. In fact, I have specifically stated that they are not. On every single point the Christian and non-Christian are fundamentally at odds. There is no point in our respective worldviews where we have any neutral ground whatsoever. If that isn’t clear enough, I’ll spend as much time as it takes to make it clear. This statement is absolutely, unequivocally false. There are two worldviews, and they take antithetical positions on every fact whatsoever. It is the case that facts are not neutral, and can only be intelligible when the Christian worldview is presupposed. It is not the case that facts are neutral and can be interpreted differently, depending on which worldview you happen to hold. Additionally, please take note of the usage of “worldview” here. I have said, several times, that we believe there are two worldviews. We are not saying that there are three, or any higher number. There are two, and only two. There are many practically inconsistent variations of the non-Christian worldview; just as there are inconsistencies in the Christian worldview of many actual (or putative) Christians. Yet, there are only two worldviews. I’ll leave you to research the principle/practice dichotomy Van Til presents.

We don’t spend our time on “trying to show that their worldview is only rational, coherent worldview in existence, and that every other worldview is internally contradictory” because “evidence doesn’t matter”; we spend time proving that the Christian worldview is the only possible worldview by demonstrating that the contrary worldview is impossible – it does not provide the preconditions for intelligibility. We do this because it is actually the case that the non-Christian worldview does not provide those preconditions. Not because “evidence doesn’t matter” – but because evidence is unintelligible unless our worldview is presupposed. The last sentence is the real problem with the author’s view of presuppositionalism. “What one chooses to believe” is predicated on what you presuppose. What you presuppose is directly consonant with whether you are regenerate, or unregenerate. It is that clear cut. Are you a “slave to sin” or are you “Christ’s slave”?

The problem with these people is that you can’t argue with them. They’re going to believe it because they believe it, and nothing else matters. As an example, Answers in Genesis, a Young Earth Creationist group that runs the Creationist Museum in Kentucky and has recently embraced presuppositional apologetics wholeheartedly, is actually completely open about the fact that it simply rejects evidence that contradicts their interpretation of the Biblical account of creation. It’s not about the evidence. It’s about the presupposition. And no matter what you say, you’re not going to change their minds.

“These people” seems to indicate what the author thinks of those who adhere to this method. Instructive, indeed. Far from not being argued with, I can personally attest to the fact that I am argued with constantly by objections from unbelievers as well as putative believers. Once again, the distinction between persuasion and proof is not being addressed. An argument is a proof. Acceptance of it as true is persuasion. It is not that they “can’t argue with these people” – it is that they a) aren’t persuading us and b) are not being persuaded. As we have already stated, this is both accounted for by the Scriptures, and expected. God changes hearts and minds, not us. As to the attempted well-poisoning concerning AiG – I’d like to present this as evidence. If the author would like to share some substantiation of their statement, I’d love to see it. My suspicion is that it is yet another example of a confusion between a) proof and persuasion or b) the author’s misunderstanding of our position concerning evidence. What the author is doing with the continual drumbeat about “evidence” is simply confusing what we actually have to say concerning evidence. It’s not simply about evidence. We have no intention of being that superficial and unreflective concerning the nature of the discussion. What we are doing, however, is addressing the philosophy of evidence along with the evidence itself. If the author would like to show how she has done anything remotely similar in addressing this subject, I’d love to see it. What the author has done is to demonstrate the importance of what we are actually saying; a sort of demonstration concerning the law of unintended consequences. Unless she addresses the philosophy of evidence along with the evidence, she is simply assuming her own position vis a vis her philosophy of evidence, and demanding that others accept it. If others do not kowtow to her wishes, she dismisses them, and says “you can’t argue with these people”. “These people” would beg to differ, and would invite the author to address the philosophy of fact, or evidence, along with the facts and evidence.

Problems with presuppositionalism include:

The logic is circular: you prove something is true by assuming it is true.

Have you read any counters to this incredibly common objection before? I don’t see any discussion about those rebuttals in this post. There are… many… rebuttals. Example.

Presuppositionalism could be used to “prove” any religion, or even atheism.

Please provide an example. This is another common objection, incidentally.

Just because a worldview is coherent doesn’t mean it’s true.

Who ever told you that was our argument? Again, this is a two-step method, not a one-step.

There are many things about the Christian worldview that are arguably not coherent.

This is a great example of uncritical thinking. Do we consider them to be arguable? If not, why are you begging the question in your own favor?

There are other worldviews that also explain the existence of reason and logic.

Please enlighten us 😉

You can’t actually know something is true if you simply discount evidence entirely.

Utterly false description of our position.

Finding truth involves not making presuppositions, but trying to rid yourself of them.

Start with this one, please. We don’t make presuppositions; they are revealed to us. Second, this is really, really bad.

Presuppositionalism holds that everyone starts out with assumptions, and that starting by assuming the Bible is therefore no different than what anyone else is doing. Actually, most people start out with fairly simply assumptions.

No, it doesn’t. Seriously, if you don’t even know what you’re talking about, why are you writing on the subject? That is not even remotely our position. Do you really think the Bible is no different than what anyone else is doing? Do you think any Christian does? If so, why are they Christian, then? If even a fairly liberal type doesn’t even do that, why on earth are you saying Calvinists do, of all people? I can’t believe that you thought this through especially well.

I, as an example, start out by assuming that I can trust my senses and that the world around me is something I can seek to understand. Lest a presuppositionalist argue that these are atheist or materialist assumptions, I would point out that essentially everyone starts out with these assumptions. In fact, I have never met a Christian who didn’t start out with these same assumptions. Assuming that we can trust our senses and learn about the world around us is completely different from assuming the truth and divinity of the Bible or the existence of God.

“Lest” I do or not – those aren’t materialistic assumptions. Materialistic assumptions don’t exist, as assumptions are definitionally immaterial. However, even from another perspective, they don’t belong in materialism (per se) either, because she has no reason whatsoever to trust her senses, or to assume that she should. See, she’s saying next that “we all do it” – but the real question is “what justifies it?” Starting where she starts is purely arbitrary. Second, who says that this is “completely different”? Asserting assertions assertively is not an argument, or even close to one. Plus, she is an atheist. Hence, atheistic assumptions. Is this really that hard?

I have a friend who is a presuppositionalist. I recently asked her what she would do if archaeology directly contradicted a literal reading the Old Testament (it does). She told me that it would not change anything, because she would simply assume that future archaeological finds would clear up the contradiction and line up with the Old Testament. In other words, actual evidence in the here and now does not matter, not one whit. All that matters is her assumption that the Bible is true.

Notice: Facts are once again “brute”. Her philosophy of fact isn’t even examined. Whatever it “is”, is unquestionably. (Don’t look behind that curtain, Dorothy!) I can say to her, in return, “all that matters is your assumption that the facts are true”.

But I have to ask: If you simply assume your beliefs are true and throw out any use of evidence at all, if there is no possible evidence or experience that could disprove your beliefs, how in the world can you actually know they’re true? It would be like me saying that there is an invisible pink unicorn that lives in my room. You can’t touch it or hear it or detect it with any sort of test. You’re not ever going to come to the unicorn’s existence through evidence, and you shouldn’t try to. Rather, you simply have to assume it’s there. But then, if there is no evidence for it and it can’t be disproven, how in the world do I know it’s there in the first place? I don’t: I just assume it. Wha?

This incessant drumbeat on “throwing out evidence” is key to her ideas concerning our methodology. It’s demonstrably false. If she had read any primary source materials concerning our methodology, this would be painfully obvious. Instead, we are treated to one of the most asinine comparisons we’ve ever heard from atheism. As an aside? Using secularist arguments right after you imply your distance from secularism isn’t that great a strategy.

Interestingly, this emphasis on maintaining a persuppositional worldview is is why Vision Forum and others like it see secular colleges and secular sources of knowledge as dangerous. For them, facts and evidence are not neutral, but are interpreted through an assumed worldview. Therefore, a Christian should never study under a non-Christian, because what he will be learning falsehoods, not truth. One can only learn truth by studying under other likeminded Christians. The insularity this produces is overwhelming.

Interestingly, this emphasis on maintaining an objective view is is why Atheists United, American Atheists, Atheists Alliance International and others like it see religious colleges and religious sources of knowledge as dangerous. For them, facts and evidence are not neutral, but are interpreted through an assumed worldview. Therefore, a secularist should never study under a Christian, because what he will be learning falsehoods, not truth. One can only learn truth by studying under other likeminded secularists. The insularity this produces is overwhelming.

  1. [1] Van Til, A Christian Theory of Knowledge, p. 250
  2. [2] Ibid., p. 293, emphasis original
  3. [3] Bahnsen, Van Til’s Apologetic – Readings & Analysis, pg. 268, Note 22.

We're Working On It

A response was offered on facebook to my post, and I’ll respond to those comments to follow

That’s… not a very good defense, is it?

You reject me asking for proof because I don’t know how I exist?

There was quite a bit more to it than that, obviously. That is a valid argument, however.

You are right. I do not know for certain that my senses do not deceive me. I do not know if everything I have ever experienced is merely an illusion, or truly life. However, my senses are all I have to go on, and I will not reject them because of uncertainty. I often find that the most foolish of people are also the most certain, and will never make the mistake of claiming infallibility.

Some interesting comments here.

1) The options are presented as “illusion” or “truly life”, which seems to be a false dichotomy.

I’m not sure what relationship this has to my post, as I did not say anything about illusion at all, nor did I intend any relationship to be drawn from this.

2) There is discussion of sensory data deceiving – that was not part of my discussion at all.

The discussion was related to the justification we have, or do not have, for our knowledge, existence, predication, thinking, or what have you. Sensory data, of course, is interpreted, but I am talking about topics *below* and *foundational to* all discussions of sensory data interpretation. Thus, I’m not sure what this has to do with the subject.

3) There was no discussion of senses being rejected, and nothing concerning “uncertainty” as being the reason for this.

There is no discussion of uncertainty or rejection of the senses in view, so once again, I’m not sure why he is discussing it.

4) The claim is made that “certain” people are the most “foolish”.

By what standard of “foolish” is this asserted? The standard of the world’s wisdom, or of God’s wisdom? If it is from the viewpoint of the world, isn’t that the subject under dispute?

5) The author claims that he never claims infallibility.

I’m glad, as I do not do so either.

However, I have made no philosophical claims of existence. I have merely rejected your spiritual claim of existence, being no reasonably acceptable evidence has been brought forth.

By using the word “I”, one is, in fact, making a philosophical statement of existence. What I am questioning is the justification for doing so. By “merely” rejecting something, you are providing your own replacement for the thing rejected – which is what I am challenging. As the initial assertor, the burden of proof lies with him. My challenge is to his basis for even making the claim “Only a fool believes something without proof. To simplify that for you: only a fool relies on faith.”

“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” — Carl Sagan

By what standards, respectively for:
a) Extraordinary
b) Require
c) Evidence

What epistemic obligation exists to obey this assertions? What duty do I have to accept the above as true? What standard of “extraordinary” is being used, and is it being assumed that I am somehow obliged to accept Sagan’s worldview, and thereby agree? By what standard of “require” am I obliged to accede to his demands? Is he asserting that there is a universal epistemic duty I am beholden to, exemplified by this statement? Which standard of “evidence” applies to what am I being told to provide, and by what standard is it considered such? Shouldn’t we deal with 1) Our disparate claims to epistemic justification 2) Our contradictory worldviews, in which evidence is likely to have different connotation, and 3) Whether or not the worldview asking for evidence has any claim over another person to begin with?

“What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence” — Christopher Hitchens

Once again – by whose standard? I don’t consider Hitchens’ statement to be accurate, let alone binding. Whose standard of evidence are we using? How do we know there is none?

And no, the Bible is not acceptable evidence, just as the Koran is not, nor the Vedas.

So, you insist, a priori, that I agree with you, in order to disagree with you? You do understand that I have directly asserted that the Scripture is my epistemological justification, do you not? Is this clear to you? I said, quite clearly, that the only possible precondition for knowledge, or anything else, for that matter, is the Triune God of Scripture. Yet, you have a priori rejected my claim, while ignoring the argument made on it’s behalf. Further, you have insisted that I abandon my own epistemological basis to even discuss something with you. On the contrary, I have addressed your epistemological basis, and offered an argument to show that self is an insufficient basis for your epistemology. I offered an argument, which demands an answer, not a dismissal. Yet, apparently, you can assert, without evidence – but I can’t dismiss it without evidence? It seems to me that you are the one arguing contrary to Hitchens’ maxim. Further, *by what standard* is the Bible unacceptable evidence? Says you? Well, by your standard (and this is an internal critique here) I can just as easily say “says me, the Bible is sufficient”, and that is an equally valid claim – by your own standard. Now, back to my worldview, I gave several reasons why the Scripture is sufficient. Please deal with those.

My response in the comment thread:

But you are? Your self is? Any particular person is sufficient personal awesomesauce to impose his subjective opinion of anything whatsoever on anyone whatsoever, and his personal opinion is such as is sufficient for being believed? You don’t have a claim to induction, either, as per Hume, so your sense experience is not reliable – which is why I included it. I “merely” reject all of your subjective non-claims, because they are made by a non-being, by your own non-standards. There is no such thing as evidence, there is no such thing as acceptable, as we are disparate beings, with no objective standard to conform our opinions to. There is no ordinary, and there is no extraordinary. There is no grounds by which to reject, or to affirm. You cannot claim infallibility, or fallibility, because everything is subjective.

There are no brute facts. Facts are interpreted a priori, and your interpretative ability, by your own (subjective) standard, is what is being called into question.

In fact, by your own standard – there is no such thing as a fool, because there is no such thing as truth.

His reply:

And we may very well be constructs in the Matrix. However, I generally do not find this to be a reliably found solution. Not having a “claim to induction” does not make my senses unreliable.

Perhaps I should clarify here – I said “sense experience” above – and what I was referring to was the concept that sense experience is contributory to knowledge. The problem of induction is that we have no justification for our expectation that the future will be like the past. Since this is so, we have no justification for assuming that what we experience via the senses is actually a means to acquire knowledge.

There are facts. Facts are what happened. If a blue fish is blue, it is blue. It *probably* reflects electromagnetic wavelengths with around a 450 nm wavelength, if you want to get technical.

Now, how people interpret these facts is where things can go wrong. We could just assume we ARE in fact in the Matrix, and go about our lives. We could just assume we are in the blue fishes mind in the last example, and we are imagining ourselves look at the blue fish.

We could also realize that this isn’t anything we have brought up at all. For some reason, he seems to want to go back to “the Matrix”, or some similarly absurd counter example, when in fact the objection is related to epistemology, not sense-reliability. We are not talking about the relationship of sense to illusion, or sense to deception. We are talking about the relationship of sense to knowledge. Since induction is unjustified in the unbelieving worldview, there is no justification for *using* it – and it is irrational to do that which is unjustified. Not only that, but there is no relationship that *can* be made between past and future!

These aren’t useful speculations, though. These have no evidence (Such as being able to see the blue fish, to weigh it, to make various measurements of it. These are useful abilities, which often make very good evidence for things).

But, no. Don’t twist what I say into something you want it to be. I’m sure you can take whatever you want and make it sound foolish, but doing that doesn’t actually make the original idea foolish.

The problem is, all of the things listed above *have no justification from your own worldview*. That is why I brought it up. You cannot assume a constant system of measurement. You cannot assume that things remain uniform. You cannot assume “use” is something that has tenacity for day to day. All of these things – and basically all of human thinking whatsoever – are utterly destroyed by the lack of a justified induction.

My response in the comments:

Or, the fact that your worldview can’t account for induction, deduction, or even the slightest portion of your everyday experience means that your worldview is what is at issue. Note: I’m not saying induction has no explanation – I’m saying *you* don’t have one. I’m not saying existence has no explanation – I’m saying *you* don’t have one. An argument from silence does not give the preconditions of intelligibility. What you have offered is not an explanation, but seems very much to be wishful thinking, while I, on the other hand, gave a thumbnail sketch of my epistemological basis for all of the above. If your worldview can’t account for that which you say gives you knowledge, what good is it?

I found his next set of comments very illustrative. They are posted to follow.

And now you’ve shown that you don’t actually understand my position. Great job.

No, I do not have an answer. To quote Dawkins, “We’re working on it.”

So, here we are given the quintessential unbelieving answer for this problem: “I don’t know, but we will!” I’m sorry, but isn’t this a bit more of a problem than that, as we’ve already illustrated? I’ve coined this as “the argument from optimism” previously, and it seems so very apropos. The unbelieving worldview has no answer for what knowledge is, how induction is justified, how immaterials such as concepts exist, the source and nature of logical laws, the relation between facts, how the one and the many problem is solved, the mind-body relationship, not to mention the dilemma posed by a subjectivist observer claiming to know objective truths. “We’re working on it”? Well, it’s been 3 or 4 centuries. Let us know how it’s working for you, skeptics.

You are taking an argument from ignorance.
…”Because we don’t know something, it had to be *this thing I want to believe*.”

You have no real evidence. You just seem to have taken a liking to one of the many, many religious texts there have been in history that claims to know.

I’d like to know what, in this long string of assertions, is factual. I’d also like to know what in this string would accord with even his definition of evidence. They are naked assertions, inconvenienced by any real relationship to my position.

I will gladly take my “I don’t know yet.” I will gladly try and figure out how it happened. I will come up with theories on what has happened, and I will test them. I will improve, them, change them when new evidence comes along. I will make them the best I can.

I will gladly let you, when you justify the things that allow you to make conclusions, or prove anything, about anything. Since that is what is being questioned, and we are being told “I don’t know” concerning, on what basis are we to do anything save ask, yet again, whether we are to be given any basis for what you claim to have no answer to justify, but irrationally claim to be utilizing?

You will take your book. You will claim it to be infallible. You will never change your ideas, even in the face of contradicting evidence. You will sink like a stone.

I’ve yet to see the standard by which (whatever it is) is claimed to be evidence, let alone why we should accept it.

*Note: The “I” and “You” are merely representative of our different arguments, not each other*

Noted.

To reiterate, I’m fine with “We’re working on it.” Your thumbnail sketch hold no bearing without evidence.

Your “evidence” is both meaningless and irrational, holding the worldview you do, until demonstrated otherwise. I’d be fine with an answer, instead of “pie in the sky, by and by”. As Greg Bahnsen used to say – “that is the problem with you atheists, you live too much by faith.” I think it applies here. Ironic.

My answer in the comment section:

Evidence by what standard of evidence? Saying “we don’t know, but we know you’re wrong” is… more than bit contradictory? If you have no basis for sense experience’s reliability or intelligibility, how can you then use that to critique… anything?

If you don’t have a basis for induction, why should I give the results of it any validity to critique my worldview? Further, if you don’t have a basis on which to assert that your interpretation of data results in incontrovertible “facts” – why should I accept your assertions? Even further, if you can’t explain the existence of concepts such as the laws of logic, by your own standard, why should I grant you the valid use of them, and not assert that you are borrowing from my worldview to use them, and as such, are using them wrongly?

His reply:

Look, I’ll believe you when you prove it. I didn’t say, “I don’t know, but I know you’re wrong.” I said, “I don’t know, figure it out and show me how.”

That is the sense of our entire conversation. “I don’t need to know that I’m rational to say you’re a fool”. On the contrary, I say you do.

Look at it this way. We’re driving in a truck. We’re both thinking, “I wonder how this truck works?” You provide a “thumbnail sketch” of how you think it works, and I decide that I want to look inside of it before I decide. I have no reason to believe you until I know you are right. I don’t currently know; this doesn’t make you right, and it doesn’t make my curiosity wrong.

See, being right is not a conditional on whether or not you check. If I give the right answer, I’m right whether or not you check. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong whether or not you check. However, once again, only within my worldview, not yours, because your worldview doesn’t provide the preconditions for that conversation to be intelligible, despite the fact that you’re having it. Therefore, having said precondition, whose worldview are you borrowing from, to object to it? As Van Til says, “Antitheism presupposes theism” – and this is the reason he said that.

And yes, I can still think you’re foolish for being pleased with your own answer, even though you don’t rightly know.

By what standard? That’s what inquiring minds needs to know.

My reply in the comments:

I’m making a specific argument here. The proof I am offering is that without the Triune God of Scripture you can’t prove anything. Proof via the impossibility of the contrary. Thus far, your argument has given precisely that. “We’re working on it” singularly fails to impress me as factual, especially coming from Dawkins, who is otherwise so impressed with factuality. His problem, and yours, is that most folks fail to study the epistemology of science, and have failed to do so for an inordinate amount of time. If scientists were still natural philosophers, as they used to be called, perhaps they would pay more attention to the foundations of their claims.

When the emperor has no clothes, I’m going to point it out. Induction – trusting the future to be like the past, has *no basis in your worldview*. Deduction – causal relationships of one to another – has no basis in your worldview. Therefore, sense experience is intrinsically unreliable, and unaccounted for. Until it is, you can’t begin to critique another worldview, let alone advance your own.

His reply:

You see, the only thing I’m assuming is that my senses are accurate. You are assuming that your book is accurate as well. I can very easily write a novel that claims proof of existence. It’s not very hard to do.

So, you are claiming the accuracy of your senses are your epistemological justification? How would that work, as an argument, using the senses, interpreted by the mind, as the justification for being able to think? “My senses are accurate, so I can think”? If you’re talking about empiricism, I think you’re confused as to the level I’m arguing on. This is prior to, and precedes any talk of *what* we consider knowledge.

As to the “write a book to prove existence” – I’m making a serious argument. Please be good enough to offer something substantive, rather than sophmoric. Thanks.

Can you prove it? What undeniable proof– outside of the bible– do you have? Wouldn’t, if it were true, it have so much more evidence? Just the fact that it is a religion’s holy book doesn’t make it valid. Islam has a holy book. Muslims claim that Allah is their reason for existence in the same way you claim your God is.

1) Prove it – by what standard? I don’t assume we have the same standard of proof, and you shouldn’t either. We espouse antithetical worldviews – and as such, will necessarily have different standards. How is your standard of proof – which I’ve already argued you don’t have, in any intelligible sense – applicable to me? This is what I mean when I tell people they are making unargued assertions. Is it clear, by now, that you are asking me to provide that which I’ve already demonstrated you can’t even process, by your own worldview? When I make the case that you *cannot prove anything at all apart from the Triune God of Scripture* – that doesn’t mean you say “so prove it by my standards!” That means *give me a standard at all, and then we’ll talk*. If even induction is unjustified, you have no schema by which proof *can* be considered, let alone considered valid.

2) Undeniable? By what standard? Mine or yours?

3) Outside the Bible? Didn’t I already say that outside of the Biblical worldview, you can’t prove anything? Weren’t you paying attention when I said that? I wasn’t saying it rhetorically – that’s why it came accompanied by an argument. Since the unbelieving worldview cannot justify knowledge, or proof, and the Christian worldview can, the only proofs offered are those *from* the Christian worldview. So I’m not very well going to argue as an unbeliever.

4) Sure, there’s evidence. In fact, every fact whatsoever is evidence for the God of Scripture. But by whose standard? This is an argument that attacks *whether* you can know anything – so asking me to give you stuff you can know *by that impossible standard* isn’t very helpful. I don’t think you’ve grasped the nature of the argument. I’m saying that only BY my standard CAN you know anything – and your claims to the contrary are self-deceptive assertions with no basis in reality.

5) Muslims do not argue as I do. How do I know? Because I debate Muslims, as well. They have no counterpart to this argument whatsoever.

Which one am I to believe? Ooh, I know!

The one that is predominant in the region I was born in!

Well, that may be true for you. I’m from Arizona, not from the Bible Belt. I didn’t grow up Reformed, I didn’t grow up with the same faith I’m in now. I didn’t grow up with this conception, although I did grow up in a Christian home, although not a Christian myself. I had an extended bout with unbelief when I was near your age, and I was saved out of it. The consistent Christian doctrinal standard I espouse was “predominant” in the 17th and 18th centuries – in England. That’s about it. What I believe is the sole provenance of my adherence to Scripture, and the consistent application of it. So, it’s hardly an unthinking and unreasoned position I am holding. It’s not something I just “adopted” one day – but something it took me years of study to come to. Forgive me, but it seems rather brash to assume so many things about someone you don’t know very well. There is a sense in which nominative Christianity is “prevalent” in the United States – the problem is, those who actually believe what the Bible says, as I do, are a significant minority of those claiming the name of Christian. You can count out Roman Catholics (I’m a Protestant in the historic sense – Calvinistic and Reformed) you can count out Unitarians, you can count out Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Eastern Orthodoxy, and the greater part of the mainline denominations, as they do not hold to anything resembling historic Christianity. I’ve taught Church History, and it rather obvious that such is the case.

So, don’t assume. I’m not from around here, so you really don’t have that information accessible.

So, to sum up – my objection to your objection – is that without epistemic justification, you can’t *make* your objection. Since this is the case, by the impossibility of the contrary (ie: since it’s therefore impossible for the contrary to be true) your initial objection fails. To put it technically – for any x – any claim whatseover – y (The Christian Worldview, explicated within the Scripture) is the precondition for it’s intelligibility. Since ~y is demonstrated to be impossible, y is true, via the impossibility of the contrary, for any x.

Plus, on a side note, you’ve shown yourself to be far more reliant on faith, and with a less worthy object, than you could possibly assert I am. I at least have faith in an absolute. You have faith in a maybe someday – but we’re working on it. May I venture to say that atheism teaches us to be satisfied – not with an answer, but with a blind faith that there will be one someday?

My faith rests in the absolute, triune, revelatory, unchanging, eternal, sovereign, omnipotent, good, just, infinite, transcendent, and perfect God – in whom we all live, move, and have our being. Contrasted with “we’re working on it”? I know where I place my trust.

Ephesians 3:14-21 – For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; [and] that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him [be] the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

Facebook Atheism

“Only a fool believes something without proof. To simplify that for you: only a fool relies on faith.”

Interesting assertion.

1 Cor 2:1-5 – And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.

1 Cor 2:10-14 – For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

Note: The assertion of the atheist I quoted seems to be that they have something else to rest their knowledge on. They are merely making a negative epistemological claim, with no positive claim to be found, however. In fact, their claim is in accordance with the Scripture above – that our epistemological claim is foolishness to them. The reason this is so, is because it is *spiritually* discerned. On the contrary, we claim that their epistemological claims are foolishness, from the standard of our worldview. This is the antithesis that exists between the wisdom of the world, and the wisdom of God.

Here is where transcendental argument comes in. Their claim to knowledge is unintelligible from their worldview. There is no basis to assume that 1) They exist to know what they claim to know 2) That what they claim to know has any sort of intelligible relationship to anything else they claim to know 3) That their epistemological basis (self) is capable of providing the preconditions of intelligibility.

The claim “I know” (x) has a precondition – (y) the Triune God of Scripture. That is the only means by which “I know” has the preconditions of intelligibility. Only in the revelation of the Triune God in His Scripture is there is an absolute, self-sufficient, self-existent, eternal and immutable (not excluding attributes, but eliding for the sake of space – see here for more on this topic) source who can communicate with us, and gives us those preconditions. Since x is only preconditioned by y, y is true, and ~y is impossible.

Since we have this absolute, objective epistemological foundation, and the unbeliever has no foundation whatsoever to stand on, epistemologically, on what basis does “a fool rely on faith”? Self has no epistemological foundation. Self has no absolute reference. Self can’t justify self, induction, deduction, or intelligibility, for that matter. Yet, we’re told that Descartes “I think, therefore I am” is a starting point? What does “I think” assume? The consequent, “I am”. It’s circular. My existence is only made intelligible by the Triune God of Scripture. The unbeliever’s existence is made intelligible by what, by His standard? Until the unbeliever can offer me a justification for his own claims, and demonstrate that he knows what he’s denying, we can safely say that this assertion is empty rhetoric, countered by an argument with content.

A Predictable Muslim Response

Yahya Snow, with his typical monotony, already has his spin ready. Ready to hear it?

They had it coming.

Yup! Asking questions, and engaging in dialogue, according to Mr. Snow, is grounds for arrest. As he says in the lead-in to his article:

The controversial evangelical group has had its co-founders arrested. You may remember the controversy they caused at last years Arab Festival in Dearborn; they were ejected from the event by security. This year they top that by getting arrested.David Wood and Acts17 Apologetics Were Looking For Trouble Under the Guise of Evangelism

Yes, since they were so peaceably ejected (you saw the video in my previous post – does that make any sense, folks?) from the festival last year, it’s only reasonable that they get arrested this time, right? Give me a break. As Nabeel pointed out in the video last year, this is America. You don’t get free reign to assault people, or to infringe on their right to free speech, freedom to assemble, freedom of religious expression. Maybe that’s “acceptable” elsewhere, but not under this governmental system. I also find it laughable that Mr. Snow is attempting to “guilt trip” Dr. White into not associating with Nabeel and David. Does Mr. Snow have any conception of the work Dr. White has engaged in for over two decades with Mormons? Witnessing at their yearly convocation in Salt Lake City (which they gave up recently, due to the obnoxious behavior of KJVO protestors, not evangelists), or at the annual Easter Pageant in Mesa? This is nothing new to any Christian. This is nothing new to Dr. White, nor will it be “shocking” to him, or to Christians who know their Scripture. It’s quite familiar, and Biblically expected.

A note to Muslims: When people act as is shown on the video from last year, the face of Islam is unmasked. You can try to spin it all you want, but it’s plain as day to the people of this nation, and to Christians all over the world. I hope you understand that these men and women went to this festival, despite there being death threats made if they returned. To a Christian, that is pure joy, to be persecuted or killed for the sake of their Lord. As Nabeel and David noted in their followup video, we are quite able to assert our rights as citizens – but that doesn’t mean that we don’t expect persecution anyway.

Stop playing innocent. We know better, and so do you. They had as much right to be there as anyone else – and had those rights infringed.

They have a post up about their experience here.

This is video from last year’s Arabic Festival. It’s rather stunning.

I’m posting this because this year, David Wood and Nabeel Qureshi have been arrested at the Arabic Festival. I don’t have any more details at this time, but please pray for these brothers. David is scheduled to debate twice tomorrow at the same venue as Dr. White is debating Sunday and Monday. Please pray for them, and for the debates this weekend. More info can be found here.

There are no Silver Bullets

This is a response to the much-hyped “silver bullet” post which Mr. Wario has, as of the end of this post, sent out via twitter to 51 people, thus far. I’m sure the number will grow daily, if past tendencies bear out. The problem with the post is that 1) It is chock-full of libel, while putatively rebuking libel/slander. 2) He has been corrected concerning the “facts” contained therein multiple times before. 3) While he does have two good points, they are a) buried beneath the mud he is slinging, and b) unrelated to any of the subjects he has been challenged on repeatedly. 4) Mr. Wario continues to offer fallacious arguments that have had thorough responses offered to them, and has not substantively addressed any of the challenges made to those arguments.

“Insha’Allah “name withheld” will continue to learn about Islam & become Muslim Insha’Allah,” wrote a Muslim in reaction to a link Mr. Mohammed Khan of “fake ex-Muslims dot com” posted on Dr. Ergun Caner’s Facebook fan page on Sunday, June 6, 2010. [Inset and emphasis mine.] You probably are curious to know who Muslims wish would become a Muslim. They are not involved in this saga in vain. He is none other than Dr. James White. The link was to a post on Alpha and Omega Ministries’ website. I have discussed how desperate Muslims are at spreading Islam in the United States. Apparently some Reformed Christians don’t get the point. One of them even said, “Regardless of what Ergun Caner has done, it does not change eternal truth in what God has done. Muslims laugh as do Christians.” I partly agree—we cannot change God’s will—but the lack of restraint is nauseating.

What is interesting here is that there is a complete lack of balanced address of the discussion. Notice that this entire entry says nothing concerning the demonstrable sins Ergun Caner has engaged in. It never makes any positive comment about commitment to seeking the truth displayed by those who have uncovered his falsehoods. Instead, we are told that an unnamed “lack of restraint” on the side of the Reformed folks, of course, is “nauseating”. Well, while that is an interesting personal opinion he has offered us, is there any explanation or proofs offered to back this claim up? The only discussion that follows is about Alpha and Omega. Therefore, we are left only to guess that this is whom he is referring to.

Some of these Reformed Christians have asked me on Facebook, twitter and comments on my blog, begging me to quit standing beside my fellow Christian of Muslim background, Dr. Ergun Caner. Some of them even argued I would lose credibility. I have defied their calls solely because there is not a vestige of truth in their claim. Their insults are proof that fidelity to the gospel is not what drives them, but advancing Dr. White’s cause at whatever cost, even to the truth.

Well, would you care to argue about more than piecemeal issues? When we argue sans context, and artificially limit the terms of the discussion, it’s possible to argue anything. However, when the context is allowed to be present, and the entire issue with all of it’s facets is discussed, the picture drawn is often much different. For instance: arguing “devout” in a limited context of what a Muslim considers to be devout, devoid of the context of audience, devotion as a lasting attribute, and disregarding “convert syndrome”. Any of those things will necessarily add depth to the discussion in question, and requires more argument to overcome. Stating things differently from the critic’s position, *not* addressing the critic’s position at all, and claiming victory is not sound argumentation.

Before I get started, I would like to thank Muslims who have helped us Christians to realize that we have a gargantuan problem within the Body of Christ. I apologize to Yahya and Jonathan on behalf of my Reformed Christian brethren who have insulted you. Please, forgive us.

I’d just like to remind Mr. Wario of his recent comments.

While a lot of Muslims were seeking information about Jesus Christ online and looking for Christians to talk to, some of us have been busy on our blogs and webcasts entertaining Muslims who have an agenda.

They have an ulterior motive, they tell you what you want to hear, or make the agenda – so because of that, maybe you need to make some apologies to these brothers for some of the things you have said which are not true.

Muslims started it with ex-Muslims, now they are taking it a step further in attacking Dr. White. He is already under a Muslim’s attack, being accused of denying “the doctrine of eternal security.” I bet there will be more of these attacks after the dust “settles” on the current discourse. His debates, podcasts, and speeches will be dissected. Muslims are on a mission and we are oblivious.

Muslims are on a mission, please let us not aid and abet to their tactics that attempt to discredit the Caner Brothers, other Christians of Muslim background, Dr. James White, et al. We should give our brothers the benefit of the doubt before going global with what Muslims bring to our attention. We need to become aware of the desperate tactics Muslims employ even attempting to discredit the Bible, Jesus Christ, and etcetera.

Now, keep in mind that this is not my position. This is Mr. Wario’s position. By his own standard, he is now guilty of precisely what he has been attempting to argue against. I’m perfectly fine with arguments from Muslims being given. If there are people insulting Muslims, or anyone else, they should stop, of course. What I’m pointing out is the glaring inconsistency shown by Mr. Wario. We’re more than capable of answering objections for ourselves. Mr. Wario cannot seem to answer the ones made against his position. This may be due to the fact that his position has moved 180 degrees recently, but I’ll let him defend that. This may also be due to the fact that Dr. White is not an ex-Muslim, and is thus fair game, despite what he said above. As his positions have been demonstrated to be inconsistent, it’s logical to assume that this one has also changed, due to his behavior in recent weeks toward Dr. White and any who disagree with Mr. Wario.

Dr. James White asked me to appear on his radio program, the Dividing Line, to answer some of the “accusations” I had made about him and his ministry. He insisted that I call into his radio program to discuss him publicly. Even a friend of his wrote to me. He had a problem that it only took me six weeks to find inconsistencies in his statements. I was going to write and post about his double speaking last week but decided against it. The call to the radio was supposed to discuss him and his ministry. Please listen and judge for yourself if the rules were followed.

Note the discrepancy here. First, you say that you were asked to answer some of the accusations you had made. Simple grammar denotes that this means you were to be the one answering, not asking more questions and slandering him further – as it has been demonstrated. Next, you say that the call was “supposed to discuss him and his ministry”. Which is it? Was it for you to answer for your allegations, as I provided documentation of in my previous post, or was it for *you* to discuss him and his ministry? I have listened for myself, provided a transcript, and commentary. Note also that Dr. White is a presuppositional apologist. The presupper demonstrates that the only proof that can be provided is one given from a Scriptural foundation. Instead of providing anything of the sort, you used your opportunity to slander Dr. White on his own radio show. As Dr. White has been known to say – and has said multiple times even since you began listening – “Inconsistency is the sign of a failed argument”. Your inconsistency showed up quite clearly, and he nailed you on it in the call.

He has gone on record to claim that the Christianity Today article on Dr. Ergun Caner did not go “far enough” because Liberty University is its main advertiser. I called him on his speculation. For example, when Mr. John Kennedy of CT called on April 22 to interview him about the saga, he praised him on the Dividing Line as an experienced reporter who had written “over 1000 articles.”

I’m once again fascinated that you are using the exact same term you did in the call, when Dr. White corrected you. Giving factual background concerning the reporter is hardly “praise”, yet again. The comment in question merely said that he is an experienced reporter, who has written over 1000 articles for CT. Nothing else was said. For further context, this is a transcription of the portion of the 5/04 DL you are objecting to. (6:15ff 5/04) “I do not know Mr. Kennedy, we only spoke briefly on the phone, he just asked a few questions, there was no basis for me to have any knowledge of who he is, or what he’s about, or anything like that. It is very hard for me to avoid the consideration that Liberty University is a very large source of advertising budget for certain Christian media outlets, because the whole form of the article was clearly not done in an unbiased fashion. The idea that this is just some “bloggers” trying to create problems. I mean, documentation, documentation is not even discussed, linked to, anything like that, and the fact that statements were made, especially by Elmer Towns that are just completely disconnected from reality.”

Did Dr. White go “on record” to claim that Liberty was Christianity Today’s “main advertiser”? Hardly. What were you saying about speculation, Hussein? If you’re going to make accusations, make accurate ones, please.

And when the article did not meet his expectation, he was quick to speculate on the advertisement and he ran away with it. He claims CT is a for-profit organization and it risked losing ad money had the reporter covered everything he had said in the interview. He defended his speculation on the radio. He insisted that he was not defaming Liberty University, John Kennedy or Christianity Today. I was bothered by his claim and decided to contact Christianity Today.

When Dr. White’s treatment of the article did not meet Hussein’s expectations, he speculated on his comments, and ran away with them. He claims that Dr. White said that CT is a for-profit organization, and risked losing ad money had the reporter covered everything in the interview. Listen to that show again, Hussein. You will find that this is not what he said. I also insist he was not defaming any of the above. Listen to the show or read the transcript. It’s quite obvious that Dr. White did not say what you are claiming he said. I’m beginning to wonder if you, like Dr. Caner, believe that no one can access this readily available information.

What I discovered is shocking. Liberty University is not even in the top “100 CT advertisers.” Contrary to Dr. White, it is a non-profit and you can find its IRS information here and its Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability records here. I am in shock that the Diving Line has officially become the Dissing Line not only of Christians but also of reputable Christian organizations.

Frankly, it doesn’t shock me. Contrary to Mr. Wario’s claims, Dr. White did not say it was “for profit”. I’m sadly not amazed that Mr. Wario is continuing on in a line of discussion that is distinctly unprofitable, untrue, and frankly, libelous.

Is Dr. White going to apologize for ruining these reputations? When I asked him where his speculation fit in Ephesians 4:29, he retorted in a tweet, “Before I block you, I must say thank you as well: your unwillingness to answer direct and honest questions was very telling.”

Is Mr. Wario going to apologize for the weeks of his libel of Dr. White? For speculating about Dr. White’s motives?

Dr. White’s Christian fans believe everything he says about Islam. They would rather take his word on Islam than a Muslims’. For those who are unaware, he made what I call a “parody” video of Dr. Caner’s pronunciation of Arabic words. I urged Dr. White to refrain from discussing the Caner Brothers. He never listened. Now Muslims have a better reason, which would be a clue to stop but I do not know if he would listen. I wonder if he is accountable to anyone.

No, we actually do independent study of our own, and ask questions as well. I find it interesting that you continually denigrate whole swatches others to “demonstrate” your position. As for me, who has spent a significant amount of time offering substantive response, which has not been addressed in any meaningful fashion, I find your statement distasteful, at best. It is akin to the commentary given by Romanist apologists and others who dismissively title friends of the ministry as “minions”. If you’d like a list, I keep track.

There is a problem with the video. Some Muslims kindly asked Dr. White to edit the video or put a disclaimer that there is a verse missing. The error is due to a mishandling of Suratul Al-Fatihah, the “first” chapter of the Qur’an. An entire verse was left out when the tutor recited. (The tutor is an Arab Christian and was never a Muslim.) Dr. White joined in the recitation and did not catch the error. The video is now on YouTube. Muslims want it edited because it misrepresents the Qur’an.

First, this has been addressed.

Apparently, that is too much to ask of Dr. White. He wrote a blog entry about the error, dismissing Muslims’ request as “irrational.” Is this sort of arrogance befitting of a minister of the Gospel?

Apparently, it’s too much to ask Hussein to mention that the blog post contained much more than a single word. Was that all he said, Hussein?

I asked him about it and he tweeted, “Why do you care so much about what irrational people think? I do not understand it.” He and his tutor made a mistake and he does not acknowledge it. Do Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church and Alpha and Omega Ministries have a consistory and board of directors respectively? If they do, something needs to be done about his behavior.

Feel free to contact Pastor Fry or A&O’s board of directors. I will mention to you that if this behavior continues, I will be contacting your consistory, on the charge of libelous troubling of the brethren. I’m not kidding, and I don’t make empty promises, sir. This is getting ridiculous to an absurd degree. You seem to consider everything in a personal fashion, and your statements in reply to consideration of your argumentation is *personal attacks*. This, sir, is quite ridiculous. Repent.

He maintains that the Caner Brothers are fake ex-devout Muslims. Court documents destroy his argument. He has not apologized and it does not look like he will any time soon. He argues that a Christian leader should be “above reproach.” Now he balks at what he has been calling Dr. Ergun Caner to do. Even a legal document, one that was issued more than three decades ago by a county government in Ohio cannot convince him. Are we going to believe this document, which a private investigator in a concerted effort with Dr. White unearthed, or Dr. White, who merely pontificates? You be the judge.

I’ll address this allegation next, but it’s rather simply handled. First, the post in question has a significant problem in context. “…the trial court erred in failing to make specific conclusions of law as to the constitutionality of an order requiring defendant-appellant’s children to continue their instruction and practice of the Islamic faith.” I haven’t answered this until now, because it’s blindingly obvious, on a cursory reading, and to anyone who reads it straight through. Who is the defendant in the *appeal* to follow, where he takes that last quote from? “‘The trial court’s denial of the plaintiff’s motion to require the children to be raised in the Islamic faith by their mother.’ [Emphasis mine.] This proves that Dr. Caner’s mother was a Muslim even when she was going through the divorce proceedings, because Mr. Caner asked the court if she could raise the children as Muslims.” Whose order was *denied*? Acar Caner’s. Who *appealed that ruling*? Monica Caner. Thus, Hussein’s argument is entirely backwards. Acar Caner’s request stood – Monica appealed it. Appealed raising her children as Muslims.

Muslims’ attack on Dr. Caner has fizzled but Reformed Christians are striving to keep it in the spotlight. I am fully convinced that nothing would satisfy them to drop some issues.

Nothing but truth, no. But it doesn’t seem as if Mr. Wario is concerned with truth. Oddly, this is directly contrary to what Dr. White tells every Muslim critic. Seek truth. Mr. Wario is not concerned with truth, by everything we have demonstrated thus far. He is dedicated to personal attack rather than addressing the argumentation provided, and he simply will not admit to wrongdoing thus far.

Here is a prime example. There are Muslims who scrutinize everything Dr. White says about Islam. They are keen, especially when he spews his knowledge of Islam to debunk Dr. Caner.

Note the usage of terms. “Spew” Not poisoning the well there at all, is he? 🙂

Not all his outings have been successful. He made mistakes—with no corrections or apologies—on Islamic teachings, most noticeably prayer in the bathroom.

He has responded to your critiques.

A Sunni Muslim who adheres to Malik Madhaba (school of thought) had urged him to stop his charade in March when he first started talking about the issue on the DL. This Muslim man in fact wrote to Dr. White six weeks before I called into DL. He asked him to stop discussing the prayer in the bathroom issue, because it was a non-issue, citing different Islamic fatwa (edicts), which according to Hanafi School (which Dr. Caner’s father adhered to) supported prayer in the bathroom. This Muslim even brought up a scenario with Dr. White about an incarcerated Muslim in a cell with no walls separating the bathroom from his living area. Dr. White never listened and continued discussing the issue. He got airtime out of it even after I called into his program six weeks later. He even brought it up last Thursday on DL.

This is an exercise in missing the point. I invite any reader to examine whether any of these extreme cases have anything to do with Ergun Caner’s case, which, as a differentiation, has been discussed, at great length.

I know Reformed Christians who have written to Dr. White about their concerns in regards to his involvement in this saga, and how he has not acted according to scriptures. Whenever they tried to have him focus, at least examine his own involvement; he always ended up turning the conversation toward the Caner Brothers.

Well, using the anonymous correspondent card is well-played. I would venture a guess that they brought up the same objections that have been personally addressed multiple times since this saga began. I’d invite these correspondents to post their letters – I bet I can finagle getting the response they received posted, as well. As far as I know (and I asked on this point), there has been no such private outcry from “Reformed Christians”. I’m willing to be corrected, of course – but I do not speak from no knowledge on this point.

His fans, supporters and colleagues have been asking me about “Hadith 29:82” that he challenged me to identify on DL. Once again, I repeat. I addressed the Hadith issue—which even Muslims do not make an issue—in a previous post on May 15, 2010. I said “there is no “official” way to cite Hadith. The most authentic Hadith collection is Sahih Bukhari. Many times when it is quoted, it comes without the name because it is the most authentic and widely referenced. I have checked some of the aHadith in question and they come from Sahih Bukhari.

Once again, you not only failed to listen to the call you made, Dr. White’s comments afterwards (the one he asked you in the phone call was NOT Bukhari, although there is a 2982 in Bukhari), and failed to read my post – where I answered your point quite thoroughly. If you had done more listening, and less speaking (Anyway, anyway…) you might have learned something. Honestly, I fail to see how on earth you could tell which Hadith 2982 Dr. White was referring to. In fact, you just gave the wrong one, assuming Bukhari.

If there were any errors on the Caner Brothers’ part, it was very minor. I never said that there was no problem in Unveiling Islam pertaining to how aHadith were cited. I avoided answering the questions “on-air” because Muslims are some of Dr. White’s biggest fans. His lampooning of any Christian who disagrees with him on any matter draws them. Since I did not have the Hadith books at hand, I did not answer it lest Muslims use the incorrect answer against me.

Note the prejudicial language. “Lampooning”. You didn’t mind answering the questions you had prepared answers for. The ones you didn’t – you didn’t answer. However, if you are going to make a claim, at least try to back it up. There was no way you could have known which Hadith he wanted cited. You know that, and everyone else does. Only you don’t know that, apparently.

Dr. White is frantically trying to keep the Hadith discrepancies in the spotlight. I should recommend that Dr. White venture out of his self-schooling environment. Only then will he open his eyes to Islamic views that differ from his or meet people who would call him to account. There is more a student gains outside of his or her self-study. A complete library can only take you so far.

I would suggest that you venture outside the Islamic apologetics environment for a while. You will acquire needed breadth, depth, and perspective. You have now backed yourself into the opposite corner from which you started, doing exactly what you claimed your opponent was doing. Is this consistency, or anywhere near what our calling is to be? I find it amazing that you think Dr. White’s only encounters with Muslim thought or argument is in books. Did you forget his debates? The discussions prior and following? The youtube engagements he has been involved in for years now? Sir, you have no idea what you are talking about. You have made it readily apparent to all that you have not taken the time to get the background of the man you are critiquing. You are apparently unaware of the most basic things concerning his ministry, and as a result, your criticisms falter quite often on that basis alone. Sir, as I warned you as you started this; your credibility will suffer. If you haven’t felt it yet, you will. The resultant catastrophe will be solely yours, as well. Several of us have tried to turn you back, but you refused to listen.

A few Reformed radio programs have given some airtime to Dr. White. He continues the same stories. I am convinced beyond the shadow of any doubt that Dr. James White is not participating in this saga to get to the truth but to drag this issue on for personal gain.

Fascinating that speculation is okay in your case, but not in others. I’m convinced that you got in over your head, and now you’re resolved to go down swinging. You don’t have to.

So far, people who have publicly disagreed with him have been labeled. His fans have targeted them as well. He and his fans blame my “irrationality” on my cultural background. Rich Price, the President of Alpha and Omega Ministries, tweeted about me, “@HusseinWario I am seriously beginning to wonder if you are nothing short of a crackpot.”

No, we are quite familiar with Muslim argumentation, and yours is very similar. Keep in mind – we are a listening audience who has listened to hundreds of hours of Islamic lecturers and debaters now. We’re quite familiar with the patterns of Islamic thought. If you don’t recognize it, I’ll tell you this – we have a man in channel whose parents are from Ghana, and now lives in the United Kingdom. Just today he was affirming that this pattern exists in his extended family. It’s not personal. It’s an observation. once again – learn to separate the position from the person, or you will be continually offended.

As for Rich’s tweet – I agree, it was uncalled for. I even discussed it with him, and he agreed it was borne of frustration. As I’ve said – I’ve been consistent.

I was familiar with the Reformed faith even prior to coming to the United States in 1996. I never heard of Dr. White or his ministry until April 2010. Now that tells you where he ranks as a Reformed theologian.

I’m sorry, I wasn’t aware Reformed theology or apologetics was a popularity contest, or that there were “ranks”. If you treat it that way, I’m afraid to say that you will be doing the work of man your entire “ministry” – not of God. Take that to the bank.

For you Baptist folks, I know we have some theological disagreements but do not look at Reformed Christians through what Dr. White or his friends espouse.

I’m once again struck by the obvious holes in your theological background. Once before I’ve mentioned to you that “Baptist” also applies to Reformed Baptists. Like me, like Dr. White, like Tom Chantry. In fact, historically, confessional Baptists have been the theological core of Baptist life. I refer you to Tom Nettles’ excellent book on the subject – “By His Grace and For His Glory”. Differentiating “Baptists”, as if they are either monolithic, or not including Reformed Baptists, is a non sequitur.

Even Reformed people have written to him to ask to stop his campaign.

Not according to my information, as stated above. A simple jaunt around the blogosphere or Reformed sites is quite sufficient to note that practically everyone in the Reformed world who is paying attention to the Caner fiasco does not agree with you.

It seems like only his fans (who include Muslims) agree with him that it is biblical to continue this public debate about a brother in Christ. The time has come to ignore Dr. James White as long he continues to promote himself and not the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

It seems like only Caner’s fans (and you) agree that it’s acceptable to launch personal attacks consistently and systematically against anyone who says something negative about the veracity of Dr. Caner’s statements. The time has come to repent, and leave that raging fire of a tongue you’ve been utilizing behind when you do.

I have said in the past that he has some underlying problems, which his supporters and fans are oblivious to. I have consulted a few brothers about his situation. Some of what has been said is not fit to share.

Then why share that? 🙂 Once again, to you, it’s primarily about the man, not his arguments. I challenge any reader to go visit Mr. Wario’s blog to verify my statement. Read over my posts which document his continuing refusal to be corrected. Who is being unteachable, and who is responding factually, and cogently to what is presented to them?

I have been asked to leave him alone because he does not even get along with his colleagues. The man is never wrong. He, as a smart and prolific Christian theologian should concede some grounds that he is not well versed in, right?

I would posit, sir, that apologetics in general is not something you are versed in. I have significantly more material produced on the subject than you do, in fact. I don’t dispute you know more about me in one specific topic. However, you have shown by your behavior that you are lacking the key element of an apologetics ministry. The ability to give an answer with gentleness AND reverence. This is something lost on many polemicists in today’s high-speed, fast-paced, instant-answer society. I’m able to answer quickly at need – but only because I’ve studied to show myself approved – a workman that need not be ashamed. I’m sure I will make mistakes, and shame myself as well as my Lord at times. However, the behavior that you have displayed for us all, Mr. Wario, is distinctly not that of a Christian apologist. Once again, repent. I have no animus against you, but I will not correct forever. As I said, if this behavior continues, I will contact those to whom you are accountable. I have nothing to fear in that regard, and will gladly give you the contact information of my elders. However, know this – it’s been both plain and well-documented that you are behaving in a manner unfitting to a Christian. Repent, sir.

Sadly, even his narrow knowledge of Islam through self-study cannot be challenged. I hope he reconsiders his way. He asked for this post and his wish has been granted.

How on earth does Mr. Wario know what the breadth of Dr. White’s study in Islam is, having only listened to the Dividing Line for 2 months? It’s readily apparent that he hasn’t read the long list of articles on the website under “Islam”, or viewed the many, many videos related to Islam that he has produced. On what basis – other than speculation – does he say this?

I really wish I didn’t have to write these sorts of posts. I really do. However, I made it my point early on to take up Dr. White’s request that someone attempt to explain what it is that we are about. I have made the best effort, God willing, that I can manage, and I pray that God be glorified by it.

~Joshua (The guy who hides his name, like most Reformed guys) Whipps

Consistency and Truth

Recently, Hussein Wario was challenged to call into the Dividing Line to answer for his recent accusations, some of which were in conversation with me. The transcript of that call on June 10th (which I did myself) is included here.

James: We received a call a number of weeks ago from Hussein Wario, who himself is a former Muslim, who from my understanding converted when he was in 8th grade, or something like that and is living in the United States now, and we had a discussion about some things; as I recall it had to do with using a restroom as a place for Muslim prayers.

Well, since then Mr. Wario has had a lot to say in regards to some of my statements, so he’s been kind enough to call in today. Let’s make sure that we’ve got a good connection here and let’s talk with Hussein. Can you hear me?

Hussein: Yes, I can hear you.

James: Good, excellent, thank you for calling in. I know you don’t have a lot of time. (…) I’ll get right to some of the things you’ve said here. After the June 6th Dividing Line, actually there was no June 6th Dividing Line, but on June 6th you made the statement on the web that you can prove that (I) “made at least 20% contradictions…

Hussein: (laughs)

James: …in (my) recent DL webcast – does that make him less Christian?” Now, even my worst opponents grant me a little better than 80% accuracy could you explain what you were referring to there?

Hussein: Well first of all, like I said before, I’m not going to be here to talk about either of the Caner brothers, that is irrelevant. As a Reformed Christian, I’m very concerned about how you run your ministry, and how far you go with it. I was going to first write a blog entry on that 20% I am talking about, but I
haven’t come to that.

——–
(For the reader’s context, this is what he tweeted just prior to the comment to DSpratlin about 20% contradictions, and the mention of a blog entry to @hereiblog)
@erguncaner saga almost over. Muslims critics have taken to their heels. Can his Christian critics handle their misstatements? Stay tuned… Sunday, June 06, 2010 10:48:22 PM via web
@hereiblog @erguncaner saga almost over. Time to analyze his critics and see if they can explain their “misstatements.” Can you handle it? Sunday, June 06, 2010 10:45:00 PM via web in reply to hereiblog
@JeremiahBailey @erguncaner saga almost over. Time to analyze critics and see if they can explain their misstatements. Can they handle it? Sunday, June 06, 2010 10:44:22 PM via web in reply to JeremiahBailey
@Shinar_Squirrel @erguncaner saga almost over. Time to analyze critics and see if they can explain their misstatements. Can they handle it? Sunday, June 06, 2010 10:43:53 PM via web in reply to Shinar_Squirrel
@pregador27 @erguncaner saga almost over. Time to analyze his critics and see if they can explain their misstatements. Can they handle it? Sunday, June 06, 2010 10:42:22 PM via web in reply to pregador27

Now, note this – he tends to “hype” his posts repeatedly. What is this called, when the statements are in fact untrue? Libel.

Back to the transcript.
————

Hussein: The reason I am calling is just because there are a few concerns that I have. It’s only (probably that?) 1, 2, 3, 4 of them, and I’ve only been listening to the Dividing Line for probably.. for less than 2 months. And I’ve already found like 4 things in here that raise questions about, you know, your integrity, or it could be just about how you do things, especially with people that you don’t agree with, so maybe we could just go to that, because I just want…

—-
Note: Hussein has said previously: “Christians bickering in public needs to stop.” He has also said: “Dr. White is the only apologist I know who openly criticizes people he disagrees with by name.” Now you can add yourself to that list, Mr. Wario. Further, remember this? “I believe in restoration of a fallen Christian and not gossip them in public.” yet, you took the majority of this show – his show – to slanderously revile this man personally. As I said in a previous post – “I find it amazing that he attacks Dr. White himself throughout this piece, the comments, and via twitter – while trying to say that we can never publicly respond to public comments. Further, he is making public rebukes to me – while saying that we shouldn’t publicly rebuke people”
——–

James: So you’re not going to answer any of the accusations you’ve made, then?

Hussein: Hey! This is 4 out of how many dividing lines you have done, or how many interviews you have given. This will be enough to… equal to 20% of what you have done. And it’s like, less than two months.

——–
Let’s examine this one. Let’s remember that there are two Dividing Lines a week. 4 weeks in a month. 2 months. 2x4x2. There’s 16. That’s about 25%, give or take – if he made only one statement per show, of course. However, add an interview. Only one. It’s now 23.5%. Add another interview. 22.22%. Further, this doesn’t count videos, blog entries, or any of the other things that Dr. White engages in. Now, add in, say, 2 videos in the same time. Then you’re at 20%. At my count, he has done 15 videos in the last 2 months. So, we’re at what percentage now? Counting 2 interviews, 16 Dividing Lines, 15 videos – and 4 errors – we’re at 12%. How many blog entries did he author in that time? Let’s say, a dozen, even though I highly doubt it’s that few. Now we’re down to 8.8% – and that is just counting by a simple formula. Even granting that Dr. White made 4 factual errors – how does this even approach 20% of what he has said? How is it even remotely close? There’s a deeper problem with this, however. How many statements are made on each Dividing Line? A few dozen? A hundred? A couple hundred? That’s the real issue here. Let’s say that he makes 2 dozen statements on a Dividing Line. That’s 384 statements in 2 months, by that conservative estimate. Let’s use the same average for a blog entry, and a video. So, 45 (for the sake of argument) pieces of media produced. 2 dozen statements apiece. That gives us a .0037% error rate.

However, when we’re talking about Ergun Caner, he *makes up almost his entire history*. Do you see the problem? How many statements is that to get wrong in one lecture/sermon/speech, in every speech he gives which includes his history? An even bigger problem is, as you will see, that he fails to substantiate a *single error* – while dodging all of his *own* claims! I’m not going to give a particular percentage, because it really doesn’t matter. The arbitrary usage of statistics is demonstrated to be useless, in any case. The problem is not statistical, it is ethical. Ethical by the terms of Scripture, not opinion. The systemic falsehoods are the issue. Hussein is comparing systemic, widespread falsehoods to what are apparently isolated statements – and I have a suspicion that he gave his examples of those in this particular call. If this is so, he is left with nothing whatsoever to demonstrate this. It is apples and oranges – and Dr. White was very right to insist that he answer for his accusations by directly making them and defending them.
————

James: Okay, so the entire list of things that I had here, you don’t want to talk about them, you want to talk about your points, is that the case?

————–
Here is what Dr. White is referring to: In response to the 20% claim, Dr. White sent this: @HusseinWario Why don’t you call the DL and attempt to back up your accusations? Your attempt to parallel me to EC’s overt lies offensive.

His reply was as follows: @DrOakley1689 If you let me talk, I will call the Diving Line. Would you please go back to doing what you do best? In the end, you lose.

Back to Dr. White: @HusseinWario Of course I will let you talk, if you will provide a logical, rational defense of your new accusations. (Note this – it’s important)
Again: @HusseinWario “In the end, you lose.” If being consistent at personal cost means losing, then may we all start losing together.

This was on the morning of the 7th. On the evening of the 9th, he posted these:
@RazorsKiss I have never sensed Reformed Christians this passionate and enthusiastic, lampooning @erguncaner must be their new priority. Wednesday, June 09, 2010 9:22:46 PM via web in reply to RazorsKiss
@LaneChaplin I have never sensed Reformed Christians this passionate and enthusiastic, lampooning @erguncaner must be their new priority. Wednesday, June 09, 2010 9:22:31 PM via web in reply to LaneChaplin
@internetbible I have never sensed Reformed Christians this passionate and enthusiastic, lampooning @erguncaner must be their new priority. Wednesday, June 09, 2010 9:21:58 PM via web in reply to internetbible
@Tomjunlee I have never sensed Reformed Christians these passionate and enthusiastic, lampooning @erguncaner must be their new priority. Wednesday, June 09, 2010 9:21:00 PM via web in reply to Tomjunlee
@Jerry_Kirby I have never sensed Reformed Christians these passionate and enthusiastic, lampooning @erguncaner must be their top priority. Wednesday, June 09, 2010 9:20:41 PM via web in reply to Jerry_Kirby
@reformata I have never sensed Reformed Christians these passionate and enthusiastic, lampooning @erguncaner must be their new priority. Wednesday, June 09, 2010 9:20:22 PM via web in reply to reformata
@stepcraig I have never sensed Reformed Christians these passionate and enthusiastic, lampooning @erguncaner must be their new priority. Wednesday, June 09, 2010 9:19:52 PM via web in reply to stepcraig
@CapitalistObsvr I have never sensed Reformed Christians these passionate and enthusiastic lampooning @erguncaner must be their new priority Wednesday, June 09, 2010 9:19:36 PM via web in reply to CapitalistObsvr
@ThApologeticHub I have never sensed Reformed Christians these passionate and enthusiastic lampooning @erguncaner must be their new priority Wednesday, June 09, 2010 9:19:10 PM via web in reply to ThApologeticHub
@sjcamp I have never sensed Reformed Christians these passionate and enthusiastic, lampooning @erguncaner must be their top priority. Wednesday, June 09, 2010 9:18:25 PM via web in reply to sjcamp
@thecrosschurch I have never sensed Reformed Christians these passionate and enthusiastic lampooning @erguncaner must be their top priority Wednesday, June 09, 2010 9:18:15 PM via web in reply to thecrosschurch
@faithfulnews I have never sensed Reformed Christians these passionate and enthusiastic, lampooning @erguncaner must be their top priority. Wednesday, June 09, 2010 9:17:55 PM via web in reply to faithfulnews
@jfontes0217 I have never sensed Reformed Christians these passionate and enthusiastic, lampooning @erguncaner must be their top priority.

As for me, I replied with the following: @HusseinWario You’ve never seen me deal with the proper place of all of God’s attributes in apologetics before then 😉 Caner’s a side issue

I received this reply: @RazorsKiss You need to start putting your energy into reaching Muslims. They are never satisfied. Enough has been said about @erguncaner

Now, honestly; since when does Hussein dictate what ministry I engage in? What does his opinion of what I should be doing have to do with what I should be doing? Muslims are not the only group in the world to which we minister, nor are they the only ones that we should minister to. Just because they are the ones he ministers to does not mean that everyone should be like him, or have the same ministry. I told him as much. @HusseinWario I address Muslims occasionally. I address a wide variety of groups. Therein lies balance. I think it would do you good too.

Later, when he tweeted Dr. White again, with more accusations, he was once again challenged to call the Dividing Line (he didn’t call in on the 8th). @HusseinWario I challenge you to call the DL today. Your fallacious reasoning evaporates when you are forced to answer direct questions.

—–

Hussein: No, no no, when I made that statement, I was going to do a blog entry on you. I talked to other Christians, and they told me there is no place for it. Other Reformed Christians have told me. This is not about… I’m not going after you, okay? I just don’t like it the way you just go about talking about other
Christians. You have been (unintelligible) some of them…

James: Who?

Hussein: You wrote something about me.

James: Who?

Hussein: You did write about me.

James: You’ve been raising a lot of questions, and I have had to point out that some of your arguing is… not rational.

Hussein: But well, you put me in the same line as Ahmed Deedat, you know?

James: No I didn’t.

Hussein: C’mon, you did say that I remind you of Ahmed Deedat. That’s really bad

James: No, I never said that. Where did I say I remind you of Ahmed Deedat.

Hussein: Oh my. Your blog entry didn’t do that?

——
Note: He did not even try to argue his point. Not even an argument advanced for why this was so. he just stated it. When challenged, he simply repeated it. I can understand why someone might say it looked that way, but he didn’t even make an argument to demonstrate that such was the case. What are we supposed to think, since he won’t even argue his point?

On the other hand, Dr. White has documented, just about every time that we go through a Muslim speaker’s presentation, that the shallow argumentation they provide is in many respects a cultural thing. You are encouraged to examine the archives of that program where he more fully explains that phenomenon.
——

James: No, it didn’t. In fact sir, this morning you said that I shouldn’t have made parody videos about Ergun Caner. I’ve never made a parody video, so sometimes I’m not certain if you’re completely aware of what you’re looking at.

—–
Dr. White, as did I, believed that he was referring to the viral “Dr. Ergun Caner” videos that have been making their rounds lately. There have been comments in multiple places throughout the blogs that confusedly think that Dr. White is making those. This is apparently not what Hussein is referring to, however.
—–

Hussein: Oh, you know what? Some of the Arabic stuff you have done now muslims are after it.

James: Uh, yeah. (laughs) If you can be after a Christian, who’s not a former Muslim, missing one phrase in quoting from memory…

Hussein: Uh-huh

James: …Surah Al-Fatihah, and think that that’s relevant to everything (Hussein interjects something I can’t make out) else we’ve said… that’s a good example of what I’m talking about here. But wait a minute, where have I ever made a parody video of Ergun Caner, can you tell me that.

Hussein: Okay, you know what? You are… all I can just say is this. The way you are making fun of the Arabic, they way you have this Arabic tutor, that is like totally out of line. Like how much have you pointed out about these brothers. It’s almost like you’re not giving grace.

—–
I believe he is saying that the video with the tutor is a parody video. This gives us a clue, I think: Muslims are laughing at Christians on Facebook because of @DROAKLEY1689 videos. Visit @erguncaner fan page on #fb Comedy central dissing!
It’s a parody because people laugh at it? William Shatner is therefore a first rate satirist – of himself 😉
——-

James: Okay, okay, Hussein… we responded to his claims, we played them…

Hussein: But who are you to… But who are you.

——-
Once again, he assumes this is personal. “Who are you to…” Does everything have to be an appeal to authority? Even so, he is a minister of the Gospel, responding to one who puts the Gospel to open shame. He is an apologist to Muslims as well as to other groups, responding to one whose falsehoods *were already mocked* by unbelievers. We are not only to exhort and teach, but to reprove and rebuke. You will see further where Hussein affirms this is personal. In the past he has said “This issue would not have gained any traction had Dr. James White and Dr. Ergun Caner been in good terms.”
———

James: …and many people commented on the fact that we were very fair and in fact inserted all sorts of other discussions about other things. In fact, I bent over backwards to say maybe you could possibly look at it this way – it still isn’t Arabic, but I bent over backwards. I just… I cannot even begin to comprehend why it is we have all this data that demonstrates that Ergun Caner has lied about his past and lied about what he is, and if anyone points that out, somehow they’re wrong, rather than the person who has stood behind a pulpit and connected this stuff with the presentation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I don’t understand that. I don’t understand your way of thinking Hussein. I really don’t.

Hussein: I don’t understand you either. Here you are, a Christian, and a caller calls you. On April 22nd. He called you up, and you discussed this on the Dividing Line.

James: Uh-huh!

Hussein: and you praised Kennedy, okay. John Kennedy.

James: Praised John Kennedy?

Hussein: You did praise him, you said the guy is the expert on…

James: Oh, you mean he’d done his.. he’d demonstrated that he’d actually read some stuff, yeah, I did say that he’d clearly read some stuff.

Hussein: You said he has written over a thousand articles.

James: That’s not praising, that’s just giving factual background! (laughs)

Hussein: Okay, okay, that’s fine, that’s fine! But, once the article came out, and didn’t meet your satisfaction. As a minister of the Gospel, you kinda went ahead and started (couldn’t make it out) some kind of (couldn’t make it out) you know what I mean?

James: You mean when I pointed out that it did not exactly deal with all the issues, somehow there’s a contradiction there?

Hussein: Well! I can say that there can be a problem, because like, here you are, you speculated, saying that Liberty University must be like the main advertiser of Christianity Today.

James: That’s true.

Hussein: Maybe they didn’t get to the bottom of the matter.

James: That’s a possibility.

Hussein: Yeah, but I cannot accept that from a Christian Minister to say that is a possibility!

James: Why? Why would a minister be so naive not to recognize that Christianity Today is a profit-driven organization?

Hussein: Ay, yi yi yi yi. You are a minister of the Gospel.

James: Yeah, I am. That doesn’t mean I’m naive.

Hussein: But why would you even make that kind of a statement?

James: Because it’s a factual statement. Follow the money, Hussein. Follow the money. It’s just a factual statement.

Hussein: Oh my word.

James: Ministers do not become naive, sir.

Hussein: No, no, but here you are talking publicly about something you don’t even know, such as how much Liberty university advertises on Christianity Today, and you are talking as if…

—–
What I find amazing here is the willingness to consider Dr. White to be “out to make a name for himself” – but he is defending a corporate entity from the possibility of defending their bottom line. What?
—–

James: So I raise the possibility that the reason that it didn’t go into the depth the way it did was because… something a lot of other people had noticed, and you somehow think that’s wrong. Okay, fine. I will leave that to the audience to determine whether that is simply being naive, or if it’s something wrong, as you said. But your reasoning, in your argumentation. For example, you have argued that you have debunked TurretinFan’s Hadith listing. I’d like to ask you, since you’re a former Muslim, could you tell me, please, could you explain to me, Hadith 2982?

Hussein: You know what, if it is mentioned in the body of the writing, whatever it is about, Hadith 28, or whatever it is you said

James: 2982, can you tell me what it says.

Hussein: I cannot tell you offhand, I have to look for it, okay?

James: How would you find it?

Hussein: Hold on just a second. I just have to look through my Hadith books. Your Hadith 957, it didn’t take me that long to find it.

James: Hussein, Hussein – you and I both know that there’s no way you can find Hadith 2982. Because there’s a piece of information missing. You and I both know that.

———
Note: Search “Hadith 2982“. You get al Bukhari here. You also get this. (Muslim, I believe) You also get this from AOMin. (Jami At-Tirmidhi) You also have two here, both 2982, Muslim and Ahmad. Yusuf Ali can be found here.

Now, which one am I supposed to be referencing? This is what Dr. White is talking about.
——–

Hussein: Yeah, but Dr. White you’re not justified here, for you can just say that’s just one way to quote the Hadith. In fact, even a Muslim did not make that an issue. (I couldn’t make this out)

James: Hussein, Hussein – you could not find Hadith 2982, could you?

Hussein: Anyway.

James: Could you?

Hussein: No, I have to look in the books!

James: You still couldn’t find it because it’s not giving you enough information to know what it is I’m referring to. You know that.

Hussein: James White cannot find it if he doesn’t have the Hadith books, okay?

James: I have the Hadith books sir, but you know, and I know, that there are different collections…

Hussein: So what are you saying here, I’m lying?

James: …of Hadith books; and therefore, you need to know what the collection is, don’t you?

Hussein: Hey, if it’s mentioned in the body I can find… you just, the whole time you were talking about it

James: No sir, you could not!

(talked over each other for a second)

Hussein: Anyway

James: Sir, there is more than one Hadith 2982…

Hussein: Anyway

James: …because there are different collections

Hussein: Anyway, anyway, anyway

James: See what you’re doing here, see what you’re doing here. See, you have not debunked the problem there.

Hussein: Hey, I have debunked the problem!

James: Okay, then answer the question – quote to me, quote to me Hadith 2982. If you can’t do it, then you are not answering my question honestly.

Hussein: I am a former Muslim, I’m supposed to be memorizing Bible verses, okay? You can’t be asking me on air…

James: I’m not asking you to quote it, I’m simply pointing out to you, Hussein…

—–
Just two notes here. When Dr. White asks him to quote it the first time, he is expecting him to look it up and quote it. That is the sense of “quote” meant there. In case anyone is wondering, I asked him. In the second case, he’s saying it in the sense of “quote from memory” – it was unclear, it’s live, and mistakes happen. Obviously he didn’t expect Hussein to “quote from memory”, which was what he intended in the “not asking you to quote it”. He was making the point above – *which* Hadith 2982?

Secondly, note the “anyway” whenever he doesn’t want to answer the question. I was not the only one to notice this. The entire chat channel was commenting on it only a few seconds after the third time he said it.
—–

Hussein: Anyway

James: …You could not find a reference…

Hussein: Anyway, Dr. White, you know what…

James: See, there ya go folks, there ya go, there is the illustration…

Hussein: Yeah, it is! It’s is always James White. He’s never wrong!

—–
Where does this come from? Did he respond to the argument? No. What has he been doing for a solid few minutes? “Anyway”. But James is never wrong?
—–

James: …one side has the facts…

Hussein: You are never wrong.

James: …in the argument, and the other side is just not going to answer the question

Hussein: Yeah, but you are never wrong! The Muslims are telling you, you have messed up a chapter from the Qur’an.

—–
Red herring.
—–

James: No sir, no sir I did not!

Hussein: No, but you are, hey! Your.. tutor..

James: Issam…

Hussein: Hold on…

James: …in quoting from memory as a Christian…

Hussein: …will you let me finish please?…

James: as an illustration of how this flows through the Syrian culture, missed one phrase…

Hussein: No, no!

James: and this is relevant?

Hussein: I’m not making that an issue! What I’m making an issue is, and the Muslims have a problem with you is, the way that chapter appears, you should have corrected your tutor, and you did not correct him, and you’re not willing to take into…

James: You know what, I will gladly let the listening audience compare…

Hussein: (loud interjection, can’t make it out)

James: what you just brought up with the fact that I have demonstrated that you.. that quoting Hadith 2982, or 957, is the same as saying Bible 3:16, it’s gibberish, you know it, and I know it..

—–
Personally, I would compare it to saying “commentary 5,18”. Which commentary? Is that a chapter? Page? It doesn’t matter, because you have no idea which commentary to use!
—–

Hussein: You know what, James White… hey

James: and the people listening know that, Hussein

Hussein: Dr. White, I know this is all about you. That’s why you have a problem.

—–
This is not the first time he’s made this sort of statement, nor is it the first time he’s been corrected. For instance: “I am convinced that he cares less about the Caner Brothers’ repentance but score some popularity from this saga.” Is that not criticizing a Christian in public? As well as: “All Christian leaders I have talked with who also work directly with Muslims agree with me that Dr. White has some major issues.” and “Dr. White is all about himself.” and “That was when I realized that Dr. White has an underlying problem, perhaps beyond these accusations of Dr. Caner being a liar.” and “I am utterly ashamed of Dr. White. In my opinion, he is a disgrace to the Reformed faith—sola scriptura—because of his meddling in this matter and his disregard of the scripture. He is tacitly helping Muslims with their war against Muslim converts to Christianity.” and “Oh my! I am glad to know I am not the only one. He is nuts.” Now, by this point, I hope you see the pattern of ad hominem argumentation. His responses are “to the man”, not to the argument.

Just a quick additional note to possibly help Hussein recognize what the problem here is.

Argument ad hominem is “to the person”. It is directed at who a person is, or to a person’s character, not to the statements or arguments of the person. For instance: Here is Dr. White addressing Ahmed Deedat: “Ahmed Deedat is a great example of this. So often his arguments were so shallow, so poor, so disjointed, and yet you will find men shouting Allahu akhbar! in response.” Is that ad hominem, or ad argumentum? Ad argumentum, of course. Compare that to “He is nuts.”

When I bring up fallacious argumentation, I am doing so in order to point out inconsistency. When one argues from one standard and applies it to someone else, yet do not apply those same standards to yourself, you are demonstrating that this is not what you yourself ascribe to functionally. It is inconsistency, and the sign of a failed argument. If Hussein wishes his arguments to be considered irrational, he should argue rationally.
——-

James: It’s all about me.

Hussein: Dr. White is never wrong. Yeah! Just like you are after these brothers, and it is all about making a name for yourself.

James: Oh, oh yeah, that’s, that’s what it’s all about. That’s why I somehow forced Ergun Caner to falsely claim to have debated Shabir Ally?

Hussein: oh my word, look at this, I mean you say they brag about this, that’s why no one is taking you seriously. You just say to them, they are the ones that are bragging about this, but you are the one who actually does it…

James: Yeah, that’s true.

Hussein: I mean, what does that say?

James: What does that say? It says that the next time I debate Shabir Ally, I’ll be able to look him in the eye and say I have sought to be consistent as a Christian in answering Islam, and in exposing those who are dishonest in what they say about Islam, and how they go about the ministry. That’s something that’s absolutely necessary to do.

Hussein: Yeah, but is debate really the only way to reach out to these people?

James: Where… again, how does that flow from what I just said?

—–
I’d like the reader to note that Dr. White has engaged in evangelism to Mormons for over 25 years. He has had very few debates with LDS representatives. His passion for evangelism to all kinds of men is very well-attested, and numerous examples of that passion for the Gospel can be found in his videos, articles, and yes, even his debates.
—–

Hussein: No, no!

James: Where did I just say that the only way to reach out to these people is by a debate? Where did I say that?

Hussein: You are talking about integrity in the way to debating muslims, but for me I just don’t get it I see a lot of you into all this, and sometimes you even…

James: Well sir, I’m sorry, but you’re wrong about that.

Hussein: (Loud interjection, can’t make it out)

James: You don’t know my heart… you don’t know my heart…

Hussein: I don’t know your heart, but you don’t…

James: But you’re simply…

Hussein: …know Caner’s heart either!

James: …wrong, that’s not the case. I would love to have avoided this entire mess, but there’s something called integrity, sir, there’s something called standing up for what’s right…

Hussein: Which only James White has.

James: and when someone stands before an audience and makes up his entire…

Hussein: Which only James White has. That’s what bothers me.

James: No, thankfully there are others who likewise have recognized that there is a real problem here.

—–
This is amazing. Dr. White has linked to very many people throughout the course of this – and some have also worked along similar lines and have not been linked to. TurretinFan, Gene Clyatt, Jason Smathers, Walt Chantry, and many, many others have also weighed in on this affair. To simply assert that Dr. White thinks he is the only one to possess integrity is absurd. Now, if you were to ask “which well-known apologists have shown integrity in this affair”, the list would be significantly smaller.
—–

Hussein: But who are others out there, Muslim scholars, who are Christians, I mean Islamic scholars, who are speaking out against it, against James White, and his followers

—–
Hussein faults Christians: “Dr. White is tacitly helping Muslims with their war against Muslim converts to Christianity.” Also, he has said: “Muslims look for opportunities to discredit ex-Muslims and even some Christians. He has given them a foothold and that should not widen the rift between Christians.”

Now, he is using Muslim argumentation? How is that consistent with his own position? How is this not “widening the rift between Christians”, by his own standard? How is he not “tacitly helping Muslims” here? How is he not taking advantage of “opportunities to discredit … *even some Christians*?”

This is inconsistent. Let me demonstrate. After this show, he sends this message to the originator of the accusations concerning Dr. White’s tutor. @YahyaSnow Who argues with @droakley1689, self-home-schooled student of Islam? You know very well, Yahya. What does he do, after all that talk about accepting things from Muslims? Note this: @HusseinWario…thanks for pointing my blog post out to white… It is in response to this: @DrOakley1689 You are in big trouble with Muslims over your debunking of @erguncaner Arabic http://tinyurl.com/22um3gp

Let me remind him of his own statement, and see if he is consistent with it. “Muslims are on a mission, please let us not aid and abet to their tactics that attempt to discredit the Caner Brothers, other Christians of Muslim background, Dr. James White, et al. We should give our brothers the benefit of the doubt before going global with what Muslims bring to our attention.”
—–

James: Islamic scholars who are what? I don’t have followers, first of all, sir, so I really don’t appreciate that kind of language.

Hussein: Okay, fine, fine, I take it back.

—–
I prefer friend, myself. If you’re going to be pejorative, however, at least use “loyal minion!”
—–

James: But the fact of the matter is, most people don’t even know about what’s going on with Ergun Caner. The news is gonna get out, if the right things are not done, and repentance and confession does not take place, but, I think even that’s too late now as far as the information getting out. The fact of the matter is, for you to accuse me of wanting to use this to get my name out there, is so amazingly absurd, and I can just simply tell you, it’s ridiculous.

Hussein: It looks like that to you, but it looks that way to me, okay?

—–
That’s a very postmodern comment. Not only that, but he just insinuated that Dr. White is lying about his intentions. Note earlier that he was offended by his (mistaken) impression that Dr. White was calling him a liar – but now he has no compunctions about doing the same.
—–

James: Well, I think for some reason you seem to be incredibly biased about this issue. Why is it? Do you have any evidence that Ergun Caner lived in Turkey, and was trained as a jihadist?

Hussein: Hey, you have no idea what happens in a madrassa, okay?

James: Do you…

Hussein: Hey, I cannot…

James: …have any evidence…

Hussein: I cannot say that he lived in Turkey, okay?

James: You can’t say that.

Hussein: Court papers say that he went to madrassa.

James: Okay, let me ask you a simple question. How do you explain, Hussein, that the same time that Ergun Caner is standing in front of audiences and television cameras, and telling them he lived in Turkey until 1978 or 1979, he’s telling AP reporters, and Turkish reporters, that he moved to the United States in 1969? How do you explain that?

Hussein: Hey, that Turkish reporter guy? I’m having it translated for me by a Turkish lawyer, okay? I don’t think that was a direct interview.

James: How about AP then?

Hussein: What I can say is this, Ergun Caner can answer his questions

James: So you’re not going to answer the question.

Hussein: Why am I going to answer for him? The problem I have is, you dismiss him, that he’s a fake, ex-devout muslim. And you don’t have any evidence to prove that.

—–
Note the diversion here. He has an answer for the first – or a potential answer, at least, but has no answer for the second. He was willing to answer the first, but now not willing to answer his questions? Inconsistency.
—–

James: I have tons of…

Hussein: You don’t have any!

James: …evidence, you just ignore it.

Hussein: You do not know this guy, you did not know this guy, okay?

James: So if the only evidence you can have is that I had to know him back then.

Hussein: no, no, no, Dr. White

James: Then you can’t know anything about history.

—–
For those who weren’t there, this was a principal argument in the Robert Price debate. Robert Price argued that we simply cannot know anything for certain from the Biblical accounts – or from anything in history. In fact, we couldn’t know anything unless we had multiple video attestations of an event!

If we have systematic doubt about historical events, even though we have documentation of them provided – we cannot know anything about history. Here Hussein is making a similar case to Robert Price. Despite the fact that we have documentation of where he was, when, we cannot know. This is what we speak of when we address “balance” in apologetics. If you are zeroed in on a certain topic, to the exclusion of all others, you tend to develop tunnel vision, and lose your balance as an overall apologist. Dr. White very, very often cautions his listeners not to only address one group of people. His consistency as an apologist, by the grace of God, lies in the fact that he not only engages with Muslims, but with Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Atheists, and a large variety of other groups. I attempt to vary my personal engagements as well.
—–

Hussein: This is where we have a problem. He went to madrassa. I gave an example of a 3-year-old, I have a link, on my blog, who was asked questions on tv, about some aspects of Islam, okay? Prophet Muhammad say, when a kid is 7 year old they have to be instructed, when they are ten (I can’t follow it, I know some is Arabic) and all that, they have to be, you know, (can’t make it out). He talk about that, Prophet Muhammad. The court documents clearly say they went to madrassa, I don’t know how long they went, do I go about and say they were never devout, I don’t even know, because you don’t know what transpires in madrassa. Other than what your muslim friends tell you. They have an ulterior motive, they tell you what you want to hear, or make the agenda – so because of that, maybe you need to make some apologies to these brothers for some of the things you have said which are not true.

—–
What does his having gone to madrassa for some unknown period of time have to do with whether or not he lived in Turkey, or was trained as a Jihadist? In fact, “to do that which was done on 9/11”, to use his own words? Nothing whatsoever. Just because one fact is verifiable, we ignore all of the other falsehoods? What sense does that make? Is that a sound argument? No, it is not. It’s called a “red herring.” An irrelevant fact thrown into the conversation to distract from the real issue under discussion. Further, is he seriously trying to tell us that it is typical for American Muslims in the 1970s to have been trained in terrorism? Even more pertinently, He’s only 4 years older than I am. This means that by his standard *he cannot know either*, as he was not in the US at that time. His own argument fails by his own standards!
—–

James: Okay, well, Hussein, thank you very much. I think that, even though we didn’t get into all of the questions and things I wanted to ask you, I think we’ve made the point pretty clearly.

Hussein: Thank you so much.

James: By the way, one other thing. I’m sorry. You did take a few shots at my church in your tweets.

————-
(Again, some context. Hussein asked me, of all people, about Dr. White’s church. Starting here, where he makes generalizations about Reformed churches: @LaneChaplin I am Reformed and know very well how our churches stink at evangelism. Time to put our passion and enthusiasm to godly use 🙂
I respond here: @HusseinWario Then you need to 1) Find a better church 2) Reevaluate where you get your evangelism definition. You can’t fault DrWhite there He replies here: @RazorsKiss What better church? Reformed churches are dying. How many people have become members of PRBC who had no church background? Also: @RazorsKiss Talk is cheap. Time for Dr. White to focus on his pastoral duties. Enough said about @erguncaner

Dying? Really? I’m left at this point wondering what churches he interacts with. Further, how am I supposed to know PRBC membership histories? I don’t even go there! Even if I did, what does that matter? So I replied: @HusseinWario That’s a very broad brush. I’m a reformed baptist – we’re always small. Talk is also cheap when you want unity w/o holiness.

He then asks a few more questions: @RazorsKiss Do you have a consistory at your Reformed Baptist church? Thursday, June 10, 2010 12:41:49 PM via web in reply to RazorsKiss My reply: @HusseinWario Nope. @HusseinWario We have a body of elders, however. Hussein replies: @RazorsKiss Do they call elders, pastors? My reply: @HusseinWario The teaching elder is most often called “pastor,” but they are all pastors. He then says: @RazorsKiss I was in Sedona last Sept-Oct. Almost came to Phoenix. Will look your church up next time. My reply: @HusseinWario I don’t go to PRBC, but both my church and PRBC have multiple elders. PRBC currently has two, we have 3.

For some reason, he also believes that all Reformed churches have consistories, engage in public announcements of repentance in a church service, and apparently that they all stink at evangelism. Perhaps his church does this, but not all do. If he ascribes to a R. Scott Clark viewpoint concerning what is or is not Reformed, in which case his comments would be accurate, he’s left explaining why he has labeled other churches as “Reformed” in the past.

Back to the transcript.

——-

(James:)…Can you explain on what basis, given that you say that I can’t say anything about the Caner situation since I wasn’t there. Have you ever been to my church?

Hussein: No, I’ve never been to your church.

James: Oh, okay. Alright.

Hussein: I asked Josh about your church – he told me a little bit about it….

James: Josh?

—–
Josh 2982 😉
—–

Hussein: …One of the guys on twitter, he doesn’t even… I don’t know his last name, but he goes by RazorsKiss – it seems like all of the Reformed people out there, they go by pseudonyms, and some of them don’t even reveal who they are…

——
Now, interestingly, I gave him a link to my bio quite a while ago – which gives more info than most people are comfortable with ME sharing. So that hardly applies to me. I’m surprised that he doesn’t know my last name, as well, since I provided him a link to that information. He just didn’t take me up on reading the link I offered. I just use an online “handle”. If he’s talking about TurretinFan (which would hardly be “most” Reformed people), I would direct him to this post: Pseudonymity and the Calvinists.
——-

Hussein: …Anyway, the problem I have with you, in my church, our pastor, he has a consistory, the consistory of the church, they kinda like keep an eye on what the pastor does and stuff, and the pastor has a lot of work to do? And it seems like you’re a minister, a pastor, an elder?

James: I’m one of the elders, that’s right.

Hussein: You have a lot of time on your hands to blog about other people. Had you been a member of my church, which is a Reformed church, they probably would have told you to stop doing that.

—–
While the reader may note, of course, that Hussein apparently has plenty of time to blog and tweet about other people himself. This irony escapes him, it seems.
—–

James: So, Hussein, you know I’m doing two debates next week with Muslims? You think I’m going to be prepared for those?

Hussein: Ahhh, I dunno, you’re probably going to be debating about the same issues you debate about all the time.

—–
Well, there you have it. Since debates are about the same issues he debates all the time, he probably doesn’t need much preparation time. As I’m sure my readers know, debates take a significant amount of preparation. Chiefly, because every opponent’s argumentation is different; secondly, because every opponent has said different things which must be responded to; thirdly, because every topic is slightly different, even if it is the same “debate topic”. I’ve listened to or watched a large portion of Dr. White’s debates by this point – and at least a hundred other debates that others have engaged in. I can assure Hussein – his assertion is not even remotely the case.
—–

James: So, when I debated Robert Price, which required hundreds of hours of preparation, did I show up unprepared?

Hussein: I don’t know, I’ll find out.

—–
I was at that debate. Robert Price is a man with a truly encyclopedic knowledge. There were literally dozens of directions he could have gone. To prepare myself to listen to this debate properly, I listened to 2 of Price’s prior debates, and several of his lectures. When Hussein makes these sorts of claims, he demonstrates that he isn’t very cognizant of what it is Dr. White does, or who the people are that he has debated. His assertions that Dr. White is “wasting time” in addressing a professed Christian debater who *does not debate* are resting upon a significantly shaky foundation, as you can see. He doesn’t know the subject he is addressing well enough to be making these sorts of claims. Dr. White has explained why he is addressing this subject, in great detail, on his blog.
——

James: You don’t know.

Hussein: But hey, you’re a smart guy. Maybe you should put your energy where you need to put it, okay?

—–
Such an amazing assertion. Hussein is telling Dr. White, a 25 year ministry veteran, where he should or should not spend his time – and it isn’t here. Not only that, but saying so on his show, to his audience. The hubris in this statement is incalculable. Not only that, but he was just saying recently that Ergun Caner wasn’t accountable to James White (not that Dr. White has ever insisted he was) – but now James White is accountable to Hussein Wario? Interesting.
—–

There were pleasantries exchanged, the phone call ended, and then Dr. White addressed a few of the issues directly after, and with the next caller. I transcribed this in order to do one thing. Demonstrate to Mr. Wario that contrary to his assertion that “My arguments can be weak (formulation) but the facts are straight.” – he has not only presented weak (and in fact fallacious) argumentation, but his “straight facts” are red herrings. There is not merely a minor problem, but a major problem! This sort of argumentation is not something to be overlooked, as long as “your facts are straight”.

Facts are not neutral, and they are not brute objects with no context, and no interpretation needed. All things must be seen in the light of Scripture, it’s call to holiness, and it’s call to wisdom that is from above. When we argue with either unbelievers, or believers, our argumentation and statements need to be transformed by the renewing of our mind – not in accordance with the world. We are not to assume ill of our brethren for no cause – and when we are confronted with sin, we must repent. When we confront our brothers, it must be in righteous judgment, not an unrighteous judgment.

I know this can be an emotional issue. I’m completely aware of this. However, what shall rule us? Shall our emotional state, or shall our renewed mind reign us in, through self-control over our members? The tongue is a raging fire, ladies and gentlemen. That small organ can drive us to shipwreck i nthe blink of an eye.

Do you want to know how we should think? Scripture tells us. “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” (Rom 12:3) Note a few things there. From faith comes understanding and sound judgment. This means that there is not only a command to judge soundly, but that it is possible to judge unsoundly. This also means that only by faith can we understand; as Augustine says, “I believe, in order that I may understand.” This is a key component in thinking God’s thoughts after Him, instead of following our vain imaginations. We are also not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought. The key to our thinking is not self, but Christ. As Col 2 tells us, we are to attain “to all the wealth [fn] that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument.” Wisdom and knowledge is hidden in Christ. All wisdom and knowledge. We cannot think autonomously, from the foundation of self, and call our thinking Christian. If you are speaking, you must speak the truth in love. If you are defending the faith, it must be with both gentleness, and reverence. If you are seeking the truth, seek it through God’s word. Our brother James, and many of his friends are seeking to remove a reproach made upon the Gospel through dishonesty. Instead of joining with him, attending to the evidence which he and many others have amassed, in loving rebuke and reproof, with a public call to repentance, as Scripture demands, men are attacking the ones who have brought it to light. Listen to John 3. “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” Luke 11:35 reminds us: “Then watch out that the light in you is not darkness.” Romans 13:12 challenges us: “The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.”

Eph 4 tells us: “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.” Do not be deceived! Instead, “if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus,
that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another.” Notice that? The truth is holy. We are to speak truth, as we are all members of one another. The old self is corrupted by the lusts of deceit. Be renewed! Lay aside falsehood! Deceit is what brings disunity, brethren.

We are to put on the full armor of God, which protects us from the evil one. Stand firm! Gird your loins with TRUTH. You must do this before any of the armor will fit. I’m sure you can see the obvious application. Until we do so, none or armor will work, fit, or sit properly. We may as well be unarmored! The breastplate is of righteousness – we must be in the truth before we are acting righteously. Our feet are protected by the gospel of peace – and peace is never brought on the wings of a lie. The shield of faith will not cover us if we believe in a lie, not the truth! Faith has an object, and that object is THE Truth! Please, think about what you say, how you say it, and whether you are saying it in accord with Scripture. Be mindful of your words, knowing that you will be accountable for every idle word. Be mindful of your calling, of the high and precious Truth which we long to share – and always be mindful of opportunities to defend and confirm the faith. With truth and love, in gentleness and reverence.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. I humbly submit to my brothers who defend Dr. Caner’s history despite the lies he has been shown to have told – are you really speaking in truth? Are you really giving an answer in reverent fear of the Holy Lord? Remember whom you serve. Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty.

Faith, Hope, and Love

My son Landon just related to me his joy in reading the first chapter of John. How he saw all sorts of wonderful things in the Word; that is made him think about the things in the past – the prophets, Jesus, that it made him think about what was coming in the future, that it made him want to pray (and that he did), that it makes him want to read the Word every day.

Folks, if you want a clue whether someone is saved – THOSE are the sort of things you look for. NOT whether they’ve “made a decision”, or whether they “want to be baptised”. The will is enslaved to sin. No emotional appeal, no matter how sincerely made or responded to, will overcome that spiritual slavery. God’s power breaks those chains, and they come to love Him and His Word. Of His choice, His power, His drawing, His regeneration, and His faith – wholly His work. A decision, dear friends, unaccompanied by His means of grace, is a work – of the fallen human will. We’re going to nurture this precious tendency, and watch over his growth carefully – as faithful parents – but it makes me so inexpressibly sad that this is not what we’re looking for in our families as evidence of the power of God. God’s work is ever so much more powerful and glorious than our own.

It is the amazing work of God’s gloriously sovereign grace to give new life to a dead sinner – and to proffer His gifts of faith, hope, and love, as well as every other good and gracious gift. I pray that Landon will continue in these things. I also pray that we give God alone the glory for His works.

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