Archive for the ‘ A Slice of Life ’ Category

Please, Hussein. Stop.

This is a response to this comment. I don’t like cluttering my comments with massive post-length tomes, so here is my response – I quoted his comment in the post.

Thank you for selectively quoting me.
My pleasure. if I had exhaustively quoted your twitter account, it would have flooded the buffer out with promotional tweets. This isn’t a “weigh the good against the bad” contest. That’s Islam, not Christianity. The scales, right? Christianity teaches that a teacher must be “above reproach”, Hussein (1 Tim 3:2). I pointed out what I saw that was wrong, and what was hindering you in that regard. If you don’t like it, then I suggest you stop engaging in that behavior. In any case, please tell me how your discussion was “above reproach”?

By the way, I rebuked Diana for her criticism of Dr. James White.

Well, I don’t think that makes things any better, especially since you left the comments in place. But as we’ll see, you didn’t say a word about the venom in her comments concerning Dr. White’s family and character.

That’s a copout of colossal magnitude. In fact, Hussein, it’s reprehensible.

For some reason you selectively picked the tweets and left out the most important one.

As for selectively picking – of course I do. I’m not going to post hundreds of tweets. The ones pertinent, I posted. I actually didn’t see that one – but let’s see how much good that three-word tweet did. Shall we? (By the by – that’s it? That’s all you could say for the mountains of abuse she’s dished out thus far?)

As for “she repented” – let’s take a little look.

drpenn: Integrity: Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code. @droakley1689 has none. 11:31 AM May 17th via web
HusseinWario: @drpenn Tone it down. 11:36 AM May 17th via web in reply to drpenn
drpenn: @HusseinWario NO. You know – James White blogs, blogs, blogs – throwing his fits – and he can get away with it??!!! bull. 11:37 AM May 17th via web in reply to HusseinWario
drpenn: @HusseinWario If he can cry foul – and @emircaner and @erguncaner remain silent!? I’m sick of James White & his arrogance. 11:38 AM May 17th via web in reply to HusseinWario
@HusseinWario james white ‘demands’, ‘demands’ – give me a break. Who does he think he is for crying out loud?! 11:39 AM May 17th via web in reply to HusseinWario
(Note: 3 tweets in response to that. A much different picture than what you represented above, is it not?)
ugh. what.ever. 11:39 AM May 17th via web
(Probably also in response, but it isn’t tagged as a reply)
HusseinWario: @drpenn I just want Dr. James White to focus on the Dividing Line, not criticizing any Christians, just teach from the Word. That is all. 11:42 AM May 17th via web in reply to drpenn
drpenn: @HusseinWario wouldn’t we all like that – look @ his blog – he double-talks. he wants it to end – but keeps perpetuating it. #fail 11:46 AM May 17th via web in reply to HusseinWario
HusseinWario: @drpenn There is a comment you need to respond to at 5:31 PM May 17th via web in reply to drpenn
drpenn: @HusseinWario no really I don’t. :). I’m tired of their same old arguments. 5:42 PM May 17th via Echofon in reply to HusseinWario

Where’s the repentance? I did a search for “repent” on her full history from the 17th. These are the returns.

drpenn: @DSpratlin It’s in words like *demand* an apology. and *must* repent – his words reek of piety and self righteous smugness. 3:43 PM May 17th via web in reply to DSpratlin

drpenn: @DSpratlin ROTFLOL!! Are you SERIOUS?!! LOL!!! That is soooo pathetic. It’s Jimmie’s same old song…”REPENT!!”…..LOL. dude – really. 3:16 PM May 20th via web in reply to DSpratlin

RT DSpratlin @drpenn Oh no! Not repentance! We don’t need no stinkin’ repentance! God forbid people repent! That’s so unbiblical! 4:09 PM May 20th via Twitter for iPhone in reply to drpenn Retweeted by drpenn

RT DSpratlin @drpenn The unrepentant won’t be laughing. Neither will Caner when he gets his pink slip. Oh well. LBTS needs a real man as president. 4:18 PM May 20th via Twitter for iPhone in reply to drpenn Retweeted by drpenn

What about her site, you say?


How about in the next few days? (and I note that your comment was about “integrity”, not the comments about Dr. White’s family.)

In this post, dated May 20th, she says this:

“I think Peter, Tim, and I have spoken the truth about James White. I also think Hussein Wario has spoken the truth about James White.”


“That being said – I still *absolutely* stand behind my theory about *why* James White attacks Dr. Ergun Caner with such ferocity. James White’s accusations ring loudly of truth – and I do not believe they should be ignored. James White’s severe co-dependent behavior only adds fuel to the fire of the truth . It’s blatant and extremely obvious to me that James White has baggage.”

Does that look like repentance to you, Mr. Wario? It looks like repetition of the same sin to me. Oh, then there’s this:

drpenn: @DSpratlin 4:30 PM May 20th via web in reply to DSpratlin

Go ahead. Click.

drpenn: @DSpratlin you are just as big a liar as @droakley1689 I stand by my link – “chief”. about 24 hours ago via web in reply to DSpratlin (about 6:30pm CST)

drpenn: Well – I guess the followers of a tantrum thrower *would* be cry babies. That makes sense. about 24 hours ago via web

drpenn: Sorry about all that folks. I got sucked in. about 23 hours ago via web

drpenn: @cwray319 – those are his tweets to me yesterday. – so – I lost my “cool” – and sent the GI Jane link. about 2 hours ago via web

She did apologize in her post, which I grant – but is that where we go – at all – in Christian conversation?

Is that the “repentance” you meant? An apology is not repentance. It also wasn’t for posting the filth about Dr. White’s family.

Speaking of which…

And your second comment was devoid of any civility.

I’m sorry you feel that differentiating between arguments and the people themselves is devoid of civility. As I was taught, that was called “refraining from engaging in ad hominem.” I would respectfully ask you to consider the “civility” of her comments thus far – which is my principal problem with you thus far – allowing such behavior on your blog.

I’ll let whoever Googles your comments decide for themselves. By the way, there is no way I am going to allow a link that does not contribute to the discussion.

Yes, ad hominem SO greatly contributes, Hussein. Give me a break.

I’m telling you, what said must be true. Just look at James’ behavior!! His own behavior points to the truth of it. Until James White finds healing for all of that hurt – he will continue to hurt others. Fact.

Diana (drpenn on twitter)

Keep it up and people will really take you serious

If that is all the response you are able to muster, may I respectfully suggest, yet again, that you repent. I’m serious now, and I’ve been serious all along. You’re making an utter spectacle out of yourself by your behavior, and associating yourself with behavior like Diana’s is appallingly inconsistent, as well as just flat-out wrong.

Perhaps you’re not used to being challenged, sir, but you should be. Accountability is a serious, serious matter – and I hope you are subjecting yourself to someone for that purpose. I’m making an issue of this because your approach, frankly, is imbalanced to a large degree. If you’re going to make these sorts of claims around any other Christian, prepare to defend them. Further, if you are not yourself “above reproach”, your ministry will suffer, and the Gospel will be mocked. Which is what I have pointed out to you from the first. Please, stop this.

If you’d prefer to discuss privately from here on in, all of my contact info is up top. I’ll be DMing you a link to this post.

May God grant you wisdom,

A Good Question.

For all of the Ergun Caner supporters out there:

When you engage in apologetics, do you go to the evidence for the resurrection? That’s a fairly safe bet for most of you.

If you won’t accept evidence that demonstrates Dr. Caner’s falsehoods – how on earth do you expect unbelievers to accept your evidence for the resurrection?

Interesting example of why Theology matters – in apologetics as well as in any other sphere.

For more information:

HT: Dale

Consistency and Emotional Arguments

Hussein Wario recently added a second post to his appeal for the cessation of what he calls “attacks” on the Caners, as well as “aiding and abetting” Muslim tactics. He adds this recommendation: “We should give our brothers the benefit of the doubt before going global with what Muslims bring to our attention.”

I engaged him in the comment section shortly – those comments, and his replies are here.

However, my third comment, he refused to publish. Additionally, he has removed the links in my previous two comments, as well as the link that should show up when you mouseover my name. I’m sorry folks, but my “handle” is fairly unique. Not to mention that this post is about to jump up in the google search results when his name is googled, unfortunately. Fortunately, I have a habit of saving the comments that people refuse to publish – and since I have my own blog, it can be reproduced here for all to see.

Why are you masking your identity?

I’m not. Click the link to my site. It’s very easily available. Even if I was – what does it matter? I’m very easily contactable.

By the way, the way Dr. White deals with people who disagree with him, how arrogant he gets, that is what turns off Muslims. Muslim ministry is not about debating them, calling them “irrational” and their arguments “emotive” in order to score points.

How about saying that their arguments are emotive, irrational, or inconsistent? That is what I said. Please read more carefully next time.

I have read through your posts and it seems like you have no idea what I have been writing about.

While that is a bold assertion, it would be nice if you’d give an example for your readers, instead of merely asserting.

You could be Dr. White masquerading as some guy.

Or, you could go to the website that links from my name. It’s very simple, sir.

Mark my words. Unless Dr. White quits discussing the Caner Brothers, debasing them while exalting himself, I will continue with this endeavor.

Once again – you are presenting us with an emotive argument, devoid of factual, logical information. Please provide this.

Wait for Monday and you will see for yourself how he would need to revise his “open letter” to Liberty University and jettison some of his talking points.

I’m sure you’ll have it all over twitter yet again 😉

If you really care about the truth and Muslim ministry, you need to tell him to quit attacking these Christians of Muslim background.

Why do I need to? Again, please provide an argument for why I should so so.

Dr. White is the only apologist I know who openly criticizes people he disagrees with by name.

Can you explain why it is better to do so without naming people? Above, you were criticizing me for using a pseudonym. Is this consistent? Further, yet another assertion sans argumentation.

I am convinced that he cares less about the Caner Brothers’ repentance but score some popularity from this saga. His story keeps on changing.

Can you provide an argument to demonstrate either claim?

You also need to come out openly and reveal you identity. Why do my fellow Calvinists who are Dr. White’s sympathizers and followers commonly use pseudo names? Where is your integrity?

Sir, go to my site. Seriously. It’s all right there. Furthermore, I find it oddly inconsistent that you are criticizing others for integrity issues – in public – when your prior argument is that you must follow a “biblical pattern” in the matter of public claims. I don’t have anything in my inbox from you. Inconsistency, as Dr. White often says, is the sign of a failed argument. As Dr. White told you when you called in, a public statement can be publicly responded to – the pattern laid out that you referred to is for use in the local church.

As for you trying to tell me to quit, saying that you are concerned about my credibility because I stand with my fellow ex-Muslims who have sinned and who Dr. White and his Reformed-minded Christians have concocted ways to drive them off the face of the earth is laughable.

Can you give an argument for why this is so? This is yet another assertion, without even an attempt to demonstrate it.

You dismiss them as scholars of Islam with your shallow arguments and I stand by them because you have no clue what you have been talking about.

Can you demonstrate this?

You also dismiss them as devout ex-Muslims. Who are you to draw these conclusions when the court documents are inconclusive?

Can you demonstrate this?

You, Dr. White and the rest of his followers just pontificate, thus giving the Reformed faith a bad reputation.

Can you demonstrate this?

Dr. White cried foul saying that Liberty University had not been investigating Dr. Caner. And when Liberty decided to, he changed his tune.

Can you give any sort of factual reference for this?

All Christian leaders I have talked with who also work directly with Muslims agree with me that Dr. White has some major issues.

Argumentum ad populum. Fallacious argumentation, sir. Also given without any sort of citation. You’ve heard Dr. White in debate with people who assert “all scholars say”, or the like. What would the answer be to that assertion, Hussein?

Some of them know him personally and have intimated to me their frustration with him.

Someone’s emotional state concerning a person is hardly an argument of any sort.

If there will be any fallout, it will affect Dr. White and his ministry. So, tell him to go back to the basics and quit ruining the Dividing Line’s reputation. We might as well call it the Dissing Line because that label fits so well these days.

Ad hominem, naked assertion.

Sir, I wish you the best, but with the mass of assumptions, emotive arguments, assertions, and fallacies you’ve presented, is there any wonder that we’re not overly convinced? Please give something substantive in response. As it stands, I’m afraid that you are simply just not going to make any impression unless the standards of your discourse improve.

Joshua. (It’s all on my site, Hussein. Not everyone has to be like you and use their real name as their url, okay?)

Now, while that may have hurt his feelings, did I address him or his arguments? Yet, my comment was not posted as of 8:02 pm. I posted it yesterday afternoon.

A few comments that also demonstrate inconsistency:

Dr. White is all about himself.

That was when I realized that Dr. White has an underlying problem, perhaps beyond these accusations of Dr. Caner being a liar.

I am a Reformed Christian 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.

@kai5263499 Oh my! I am glad to know I am not the only one. He is nuts. One of his accomplices just insulted me. Is it an Arizona thing? WOW

Notice – all of these are ad hominem, not ad argumentum. Against the man, not the argument. Unreal.

2 more comments have gone up since then. One from a particularly venomous character named Dianedrpenn on twitter.

A sampling of her choice invective:

I see one man, and his group of white-heads jumping up and down like a bunch of raving lunatics crying “foul!!” “unfair!!”.

James White thrives on all of this – he feeds on it like a parasite on a dead fish.

Even if Ergun Caner bowed down and did everything the pompous James White has asked him – no DEMANDED him – to do, it would not be enough to satisfy James White. James White is out to destroy Ergun and Emir Caner.

Wow – big red bull-sheizah flag on that one there Jimmie.

How delusional are you? This would be about as likely as Hitler asking Ben Stein to dinner for a “little friendly chat”.

“in your power”…..that, friends is “worship” in a statement if I ever saw it. It’s sad, It’s grotesque. It’s creepy. It’s telling of James White’s obsession, and how deep it goes.

@droakley1689 thrives on attacking @emircaner & @erguncaner like a parasite feeding on decay.

Then the finale:


She then tweets twice – once to a friend, providing a link – then to Dr. White – to make sure he sees it, I suppose.

@droakley1689 @bobbycapps He (james white) promotes the demon presiding over sexual abuse by perpetuating his own baggage!

I will still stand by my comment that linking to James Whites’ sister’s blog was not an attack on James White – but an observation about why he attacks Dr. Caner with such strange ferocity.

Apparently for Diane, it’s perfectly fine to spread gossip all over the internet. To assault the character of someone she has never met. To tell others to “drop it, for the sake of Christ” about Caner – in the same post she brings up shameful, untrue allegations from someone else she likewise has never met.

Folks, this is not only inconsistent – it’s unconscionable. Dr. White has addressed the subject, as distasteful as it is. A simple search on his youtube channel will show it to you. Further – this has nothing to do with the subject, whatsoever.

As for Mr. Wario – I find it utterly, appallingly inconsistent for him to allow that comment to be posted (and all of his comments are moderated) but not mine. It’s all right to allow someone to post libelous commentary about the person you are asking to stop “attacking” a brother (when in reality he is calling that brother to repentance) – but not okay for someone to point out your own inconsistencies in your comment. Additionally, 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 😉

Just a final note to Mr. Wario – your own words.

I believe in restoration of a fallen Christian and not gossip them in public.

Note that restoration comes AFTER a man admits that he sinned, and repents. You let Diane skip right over the second part. You skip right over the Biblical pattern in your assumption that he HAS repented. You skip over the fact that Dr. Caner denies everything that we have demonstrated, through thorough research. Legal documents, that show he was there prior to the age that he claims he got here – repeatedly.

It is hardly “gossip” when the facts are demonstrable, plain, and incontrovertible. Ergun Caner has lied to a great, great many people – about where he is from, what he knows, how old he was when he converted, and a host of other things. As I told you in the comment previous:

I’d like to point something out to you. By defending Dr. Caner, you are undermining your own testimony. When you defend a man who is patently, obviously, lying to a great extent about himself, his background, and his expertise, you are damaging your OWN credibility. You are a convert from Islam. No one questioning Dr. Caner’s honesty from our side remotely questions that he is, as well. However, by defending him – from no logical basis, as far as I can tell – you are damaging your OWN credibility as a witness to Muslims. His damaged credibility will thereby attach to you.

Please, sir – for the sake of your own ministry to Muslims, and that of others of us, please stop.

The ball is in Dr. Caner’s court to repent. The ball, my friend, is also in your court to repent. Delete that shameful comment, please. I couldn’t care less if you publish mine now – it’s a bit late for that. The inconsistency you just displayed to us by allowing that one through is absolutely amazing. Go look up a bit of Wes Widner’s history with Dr. White, as well – and what he has called Dr. White, and others, in the past. Examine yourself, repent, and sin no more. You know I accurately identified your lack of logical argumentation for what it is. I have no interest in attacking you. If I wanted to attack you, I’d be @ing to everyone I know on twitter, as you seem to do with your posts. I have no interest in this being anything other than a public call to repentance – as Dr. White has issued with Dr. Caner, when he was blocked from further conversation. You do know that Dr. white attempted to resolve these matters in private, first, correct? That others of us asked Dr. Caner the same questions as well? That Dr. Caner has now blocked practically everyone who has criticized him at all, now? In a biblical model of repentance, what is the next step there? Bring it before the whole church. This has been brought to Liberty – to Dr. Caner – and now to everyone, as he has refused to repent. As I said – I have every interest in attempting to call you to repentance and restoration. Please, for the sake of the Gospel – stop what you are doing and take a good hard look at yourself, and the effect on your ministry if you continue.


(P.S. – click on “About” to the top left – my full bio is there. Most users in Dr. White’s chat channel have a “username” that they use to chat under. This is mine. It also has been my online username for almost two decades. Note that Dr. White also uses one – DrOakley1689. Is he “hiding himself”? Instead of jumping to conclusions, why don’t you ask – or look?)

Of Exposition and Pastoral Ministry

Pastor Camp,
Well sir, I do appreciate you answering my questions, even though I don’t believe they fully answered the questions I brought up.

I would like to address a few things, if I may:

1) When you are making an objection, I would offer that the burden of proof lies on you to state your case, and then argue it. As it appears to me, you have stated a general principle, told us that certain men violated that principle, and then assumed it from that point forward. When asked concerning specifics, the response has been restatements of that principle. I understand that this is what you believe – but only in a very general way, and not with precision in your definition.

2) When you are responding, you seem to be reading past a good many things that give context to the statements I, at least, am making.

For instance: if what we’re getting from your position is what you’re really saying seems to taken as “this is what you said”. If you notice, I carefully worded it so as to give you a chance to explain where you are coming from. Most of my questions were designed in order to give you that opportunity. Instead, I am being informed of what the Word says re: preaching. I’m well aware of what it says. My questions had to do with what else a pastor does. You seem to be begging the question in this regard.

Secondly, I’d like to point out that I have some small familiarity with presuppositional apologetics. However, practicing apologetics, first, learning apologetics, second, teaching apologetics, third, cannot be done solely in an expositional manner. I am able to exposit passages to teach the general principles of the method – but teaching the method itself _cannot_ be expositional – neither can practicing it. I know for a fact that Bahnsen exposited Acts 17 to demonstrate this – but exposition of a specific text was not what he did to teach it.

Additionally, I find it rather strange that you would resort to comments like “nice try”. Sir, I quite understand that you are quite a bit older than I am. I would appreciate it if you would at least respect the fact that I cared enough to ask you these questions, however. Recall, sir, that we are to respond with gentleness and reverence. Humility as well as boldness. I haven’t said anything similar to you, and I’ve attempted to be irenic in my interaction.

I’ve asked some specific questions, with context provided for them just in case I was being unclear. The context I gave seems to have been passed over, in many respects. When I give specific situations that are the concern of myself and other brothers, only small excerpts are addressed, and the most general comments, rather than the most specific. What we’re asking for is specificity in your objection. I’m aware of what the general objection is. I would like to know what, precisely, you objected to, and from what standard you do so.

For instance – do you object to Dr. Duncan teaching the assembled pastors about the history of the church? That is not exposition, and seems to fall under your objection. What, precisely, do you object to? Whose talks do you object to? What about what they said is objectionable? Why is this objectionable? How do you get this objection from Scripture? As the objector, it would be eminently helpful to detail what you objected to – so as to know what we have to either answer, or agree with – as I’ve said previously. I understand the general gist of your objection – just not:
1) The extent to which you object (how far does the objection that exposition is required go? In every situation whatsoever?)
2) The object of your objection (Who, and what – and please be specific)
3) The grounds of your objection – specifically. We’re all aware of the Biblical injunction to preach the Word in and out of season, of course. However, on what Biblical warrant do you ground your objection that you provide the extent of, above? Please be specific.

I know that you’re making these comments on your own blog – I fully understand that. However, when you make a serious objection – calling what was done, sin – it would be eminently helpful to let us know *what* was sin. Which is why I’m now addressing this on mine. I gather that you don’t consider me to be lucid – I can accept that. I’m often not. However, I’m afraid that I would also consider your objections thus far to be lacking in clarity. I’m still wondering what, precisely, was considered sinful? Is a lecture sinful, if not expositional? Is teaching on historical subjects sinful, if not expositional? Is teaching on other, antithetical worldviews sinful, if not expositional – such as what Dr. White, or I do in our apologetics conferences or classes? How are you defining “expositional” in this context, if any of the above are rightly your assertions? I’m really, really not trying to be difficult. I’m not. I just really do not know what you are objecting to, and what, precisely, your objection is meant to consist of.

When I’ve asked you about these specific things, I haven’t received specific answers. While this can be frustrating, and it has been, I really want to know – because I think the answers will reveal what the presuppositions you are operating from are, and can thereby be addressed – perhaps I’ll even discover I shouldn’t have been disagreeing with you after all!

However, when what you are saying seems to be (and there are no few that have come to this conclusion thus far – perhaps we’re all poor readers) that whenever a pastor opens his mouth, under any circumstances, it must be expositional preaching, I’m left with a dilemma. Who in the history of the church has ever done this? Where in Scripture is this commanded? Please, disabuse me of this impression, because that is what I have gathered from your answers thus far – and why I am seeking to gain clarity that I may be lacking.

Before we answer your objections – or your questions – we need to know what ground you’re standing on to make those objections, or ask those questions. I’m sure you know that particular element of presuppositionalism, and I’m sure you see how that applies here. We need to know what *exactly* you’re objecting to, from what standard you are objecting from (how do you define the extent of the command to Timothy you brought up earlier, for example?), and the like.

Understand, however – I am asking these questions for the sake of clarity, and because I am concerned about the unintended consequences of what I believe your position to be from what you have said thus far – and whether it is based in Scripture or not. As with another recent discussion we had, my concern is also whether there is a lack of balance in your position – of adequately addressing the whole counsel of Scripture concerning this subject. Understand, I’m not attacking – I’m asking. I genuinely want to know, as I may not have read you correctly.

Grace and Peace,


When I was listening to Phil Johnson’s sermon “Marching Orders” earlier, I found myself convicted of something.

I have to confess – the recent controversy swirling around Dr. White and Dr. Caner has caught me up in something I must repent of. It’s something very simple, but not often thought of by those who engage in contention for the faith.

For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus [and] with [it] eternal glory. It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him; If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself. Remind [them] of these things, and solemnly charge [them] in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless [and leads] to the ruin of the hearers. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. But avoid worldly [and] empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, [men] who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some. Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.” Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these [things], he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love [and] peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels. The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses [and escape] from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. (2 Tim 2:10-26, NASB)

So, to explain my repentance, I figure this is a good time to explain why I should, as it will perhaps be helpful to others. First, let’s address the overview of the chapter. Paul is encouraging and instructing his son in the faith, Timothy, in the office of elder/overseer. In this chapter, he gives practical instruction concerning what an elder must do. Now, for full disclosure purposes, I am not an elder. However, I am a teacher, and as such, am held to a higher standard.

In verse 10, Paul gives his own philosophy of ministry – also explicated in Philippians 2 – of service and suffering for the sake of the elect. He endures, because he will reign with Christ – to deny Him is to have Christ deny us. Even if we are faithless – He still remains faithful – for He cannot deny Himself! He charges Timothy to remind his flock of these things, and to remind them not to quarrel over trifling matters. This is useless, and leads to the ruin of the hearers. On the contrary – be diligent – be a workman who is not ashamed. Rightly handle the Word of Truth. Avoid worldly, empty chatter – it spreads like gangrene! However, note that Paul is not afraid to name names, as he does elsewhere, of people who stray from the truth. The firm foundation, however, is of God – and stands still. God is who prepares the appropriate vessels for the appropriate work.

Flee from youthful lusts – but pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace – with those who call on the Lord with a pure heart. Notice here – peace is always with those of God. If you have peace with the world, you’re doing something wrong. But on we go!

Refuse foolish and ignorant speculations – they produce quarrels. The Lord’s bondservant, however, is NOT quarrelsome – not given to quarreling, for the sake of quarreling. But, and this is where we get to where my problem lies:

He must be: kind to all – am I kind to all? No, I’m not – and I repent of that, and ask forgiveness.

able to teach – I pray that I at least fulfill this duty faithfully.

patient when wronged – the ESV renders this as “patiently enduring evil”. Now, what is interesting about this is that I definitely am a violator of this. I am not only impatient with evil, but I rebel at enduring it – for the sake of God, the elect, or anyone else. It means “patient of ills and wrongs, forbearing” – I have been failing miserably at forbearance in this regard. It doesn’t matter what the wrong is – or whether it is directed at another. This ties in with the next consideration.

…with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses [and escape] from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

I am fond of quoting Bahnsen, and Schaeffer – their “humble boldness” and “truth in love” are dear to my heart. I must confess, however, that I am often ungentle in my correction. I nuke when I should use a scalpel, and I use a club when I should be using a careful razor’s edge to shave away the layers of falsity.

I have kept this name to remind myself to do just that – but I’ve failed in my task, and I ask your forgiveness for this fault. Especially, I ask the forgiveness of Mr. Lumpkins. While I do not minimize the depth of his error in the libel in which he has lately engaged, I’m very sorry for not patiently enduring it, and correcting gently. It doesn’t matter how deep the wound that is made is – or how loyal I strive to be to a friend and a dear brother. I am still called to – and held to – the standard of Scripture in dealing with error – and I haven’t met it. I also ask the forgiveness of anyone else whom I’ve lately been ungentle with – or have talked about impatiently out of their hearing. It is not the standard to which I’ve been called.

It’s something I need to work on, and once again, I repent of it.

Dear Dr. Caner

I appreciate you taking the time to write your statement earlier today, as well as the irenic spirit you assayed in it. I want you to know that I appreciate that you did so, as a Southern Baptist – and that I do appreciate the work you do, despite our disagreement in many matters.

While I am appreciative, I think it may be useful – for you, and for the brethren, to clarify a few matters.

Item 1): The “motive”, to borrow your own phrase, was not to question your conversion. In fact, your conversion, as far as I know, was never referenced or questioned in the vast majority of the *Christian* articles/blogs that negatively referenced your comments on The Pastor’s Perspective, the discrepancies in your testimonials, or your recollections of life as a Muslim. I, for instance, do not question at all that you were raised Muslim, or that you converted to Christianity. What was rendered suspect was whether you were a *devout* Muslim – especially the discrepancy noted with the Shahada.

Item 2): To most of us, the pronunciation issues were a minor head-scratcher, but nothing more. In fact, one of the team bloggers at – TurretinFan – publicly defended you on those allegations on the most public Christian post leveled at that topic. As you may know, Muslims, Roman Catholics, atheists, and others often tout their conversions from “Protestantism,” and often inflate their level of devotion and knowledge – we call it “conversion story syndrome”. Yusuf Estes, Tim Staples, and Dan Barker are good examples of this tendency. While this may not be the case for you – there were many of the hallmarks of similar cases implied by the discrepancies noted – and it caused concern.

Item 3): You state: “Being called a “liar,” however, is a serious charge, especially when it is made by Christians. That would indicate that (1) the accusers can know the motives of the accused person’s heart, and (2) the accused person intentionally misled people.”

With all due respect, by those standards, no man can ever be called a liar, save by God. Also with due respect, by any objective standard, I would hold forth the following statements: “Calvinists are worse than Muslims” and “Formal debates have been taken over a lot by myopic Reformed guys, uh, they try to turn it into these little, uh, show ponies, it’s like the Jerry Springer Show, basically, and there’s really not any real discussion going on, there’s rolling of eyes, its huffing and passive/aggressive garbage.” Dr. Caner, both of these statements may be your opinion – but they are hardly the truth. Since they are not the truth, what else may we call them? Couple that with your statements on hyper-calvinism, and we can take nothing out of that series of comments but that we are being systematically misrepresented.

I do not offer these criticisms lightly, nor do I offer them glibly. I’m honestly commenting with the intent that it may be evident that I offer them to further your understanding of why you are being criticized by those who hold to Reformed doctrines and a Reformed apologetic method. Above all, we seek to be consistent – theologically, and apologetically. If we do not question the facts presented by those on our side as we do those opposing us, we cannot help but be inconsistent, and rightly criticized by our opponents on that basis. While I understand that you appear to fully belief what you state about Calvinists – understand that what you criticize as “hyper-calvinism” is simple, historic Reformed belief. What is recently called “moderate” Calvinism by folks like Dr. Geisler is nothing like the historic Calvinism of ANY of the Reformed branches.

I am “Reformed” – one of the group you criticized – and I’ve had one moderated debate – whether it was “formal” is debatable, as it was online. Nonetheless, Dr. White, and other Reformed debaters are being classified as engaging in nothing but “passive-aggressive garbage”, “no real discussion”, and “the Jerry Springer Show”. I’m sorry, but I’ve watched a great many debates – and debates like Dr. White’s with Bart Ehrman, John Dominic Crossan, or Shabir Ally were anything but “no real discussion”, or “huffing”! I don’t think I was engaging in “eye rolling” or “no real discussion” when I engaged a young atheist man on the topic of “The Triune God of Scripture is the grounds for all knowledge” – as is clearly stated in Col 2:3!

Enough criticism, however. So that you can know that there are areas of agreement – I completely agree with your position concerning the CAMEL method. For nearly identical reasons. I support you 100% in your statement of opposition to it, and thank you for your public statement concerning it’s dangers. I appreciate many things about your ministry, and service, despite our theological differences.

In closing – let me again thank you for your statement, and the attempt to mend a breach. It IS appreciated, despite the criticisms offered above, and I don’t want to detract from that. My earnest desire is that this is taken constructively, and that there might be an honest attempt to mend fences with your Reformed brethren in the SBC and without. You aren’t going to change our mind about the glorious doctrines of God’s sovereign grace – but please be aware – we aren’t questioning your salvation, or your conversion by questioning your consistency. We’re as likely to question one of our own on those grounds as we are anyone else. We do not do so to cast aspersions on their character – but to safeguard the reputation of the God we serve and love – as, I believe, do you, however mistaken we believe you to be concerning what you defend at times.

For your edification, I’d encourage you to look at the following: “Open Letter to Ergun Caner.”

A Snapshot of SBC Graciousness

The personal attacks range from the truth of their lives before Christ to the academic degrees they hold.

Really? In the original context it’s not clear who he’s referring to. Later on he includes Dr. White.

They drink the kool-aide pouring from the poisoned vine

Yeah, that’s gracious.

You may think that no person who calls themselves a Follower of Christ would side with a Muslim to degrade and berate a Brother in Christ. I did also until I viewed the following video.

Irony? It’s calling.

Please note that any believer that calls into question the truth of the Drs. Caner background and degrees use the research of Muslims (those who have a reason for perverting the truth) for their documentation.

Any believer. Yeah, no problems there.

Then you have those that are jealous and envious of the Drs. Caner. Those envious and jealous will use the lies for a “gotcha” moment in order to accomplish the same ends–silence the truth.

Yeah, that jealousy. Of what?

Keep taking a Muslim’s perspective that Dr. Caner is lying and push this thing as hard as you can. Or, accept that Dr. Caner has written over 20 books on Islam and had them published by reputable publishers who would have certainly done the background checks needed to verify everything that James White says is false. Or, you can accept two reputable Christian Universities that are both accredited by SACS that Dr. Caner has his degrees in order and that James White is pushing falsehood by calling all this into question.

No blatant ad hominem there. Yeah, because Dr. White said all sorts of things about his degrees. Not.

James White doesn’t even hold an accredited PhD. How, can he be a Prof at GCBTS?

Call Golden Gate. Or Grand Canyon.

I then went back to his website to view his credentials and do you know my surprise to find that his PhD is from an non-credited seminary. I went to the seminary website and found this explanation for their lack of accreditation. I am not questioning Columbia Evangelical Seminary’s,I am merely asking how one can be a prof at an accredited seminary when his PhD does not hold an accreditation.

Call Golden Gate. Or Grand Canyon.

It is overtly evident everyone is responding in this thread for one reason. They are upset that James White and Dr. Caner did not debate. Now James White has gotten what he wanted–a public call out to the Brothers Caner to debate him and he will shut up about these Muslim claims.

Yeah, that was what he was after. Okay, not really. But keep repeating it.

I appeal to you, under the title of your blog, and as a follower of Christ. Remove this post as you have placed the lives of people in jeopardy.

Please remove it.

Yeah, that makes sense. A blog post is going to put people’s lives in jeopardy.

The problem with this posting has nothing to do with someone not being truthful, neither does it have to do with disagreements of people and their various positions. The problem with this post has to do with using something that has nothing to do with sound research. This post is based on research that James White has produced and he got his research from right-wing Muslims that believe if they can do away with a Muslim that converted to Christianity they will go to heaven when they die. She has given James White a wider audience then he ever would have had.

He did? She did? I think someone needs to fact check.

Seeing you have no problem placing the lives of people in jeopardy, I now see the reason you were censored by the IMB.

~Tim Rogers

Yeah, that wasn’t a cheap shot.

Hyper-Calvinist James White has whined the very same line for the last 4 years: Ergun Caner is a coward because Ergun Caner won’t debate me. For him, apparently little matters in doctrinal engagement outside public, formal debate, debate concerning which the reader is tortuously reminded about every 28 words–give or take a breathe or two–just how good he (White) is at it.

It’s drudgery to listen to such unmitigated gloating. Sorry.

Gracious as always, Peter.

Though you did not ask me, if I may, one clear reason I think Tim brings this up is White’s relentless, non-stop infatuation with the Caners (esp. Ergun).

For White, it is not enough to disagree with Dr. Caner. Instead, he must attempt to torture his name with perpetual castigation of “lying”, “dishonesty,” “cowardly,” “fraudulent,” etc.

So, in turn, we make the same allegations, except with an extra helping of snark. Sure.

Dr. David Allen demonstrates sufficiently White’s theological leanings toward hyper-Calvinism.

Uh. Here, here, here. From AOMin here.

Particularly, two influential blogging Calvinists appear to have made it a life-mission to smear Ergun Caner’s life and ministry in the mud-hole of deception: Tom Ascol, Southern Baptist pastor and Executive Director of Founders Ministries, and James White, Primitive Baptist preacher and Reformed Baptist apologist from Phoenix, Az.

Life mission? Primitive Baptist? Ridiculous.

At least that’s the sense I get when I read White boast of his many rhetorical victories and the cowards who will not face him in open exchange (more on White later).


This may be one of the lowest, most outrageous incidents yet illustrating the viciousness of some strict Calvinists toward non-Calvinist brothers.

You know – viciousness. By what standard?

For example, let’s say someone wanted to question the authenticity of James White’s so-called “academic” doctoral” degree (And, understand:  it perhaps needs to be questioned if White is going to insist on gloating about all his academic accomplishments). So, if one wanted to question his doctoral degree’s worth, perhaps we could link to this , this , this, and this.

See the top tab – “Common Objections.”

James White may be the whiniest kid on the block

Not as whiny as Peter Lumpkins – that’s for sure.

Interesting Elder White should bring that up. Surf over to White’s church’s eldership and one finds just what “under the authority of the eldership” means to James White. The eldership appears to be a board of two: James White and the pastor.

Note: PRBC used to have three elders, including Dr. White. Donald Cross passed away several years previously.

Since James White insists on calling Ergun Caner coward for not debating him, what does that make White when he refuses to debate somebody? Apparently, after agreeing to debate a Muslim critic, James White backed out. We know this is so because the Muslim says so himself on his website!

You see, according to White’s “code of behavior,” there’s no reason to suspect Muslim attack sites’ objectivity, and therefore “evidence” cannot be disregarded on that basis. At least, that was his reasoning when he “exposed” Dr. Caner as a “fake Muslim” using a source which carries demonstrable hate for Dr. Caner.

Yes, that was the source, and that was the topic. Not.

Heck, you may even be kicked out of the JWFC (i.e. James White Fan Club for the uninitiated).

No, I’m not only the president – I’m also a client.

“No thanks, “Dr” White. You and your community are much too cantankerous for me”

Yes, and you’re the model of humility and grace. Gag me with a Buick, please.

And, perhaps even more indefensible is stooping to defend their godless tearing down of another brother being logged by some here. Where is shame?

Well, the last I saw, it was being trampled over there in your corner of the SBC. I may be mistaken, though. The correct term may be “violently pummeled”. In a hypothetical situation, of course.

Dr. Ergun Caner has been unrighteously butchered by two men in the post.

Yeah, if he was being righteously butchered, they’d get the choicest portion.

Was or was not Ascol & White loving their neighbor as themselves when they cited a Muslim hate-site?

Was or was not Peter Lumpkins loving his neighbor as himself when he went off on an invective-filled screed?

I think it’s very telling that absolutely no one wants to tackle whether or not the sources are valid pertaining to “Dr” White’s “academic” degree.

Probably because it’s not only asinine, but infantile. Hypothetically.

White’s choir boys have already sung that tune to death, were one to ask me

~Peter Lumpkins

They tell me I have a fine voice, but I wasn’t notified that I made the choir! Sweet!

Or if one is obsessed with issues they can’t get beyond for some reason–Maybe because of a problematic pathological nature– Maybe they wanted or “needed” something to give their lives meaning–And maybe they are just angry because another person denied them that which gives them their source of self-worth–Maybe it could be just anything for such a person–Maybe something simple or actually meaningless–Maybe like a debate that did not occur back as far as 2006–Who Knows?–Maybe.

Maybe, just maybe we should wonder why someone can’t let something from 2006 go–Unless, maybe, of course he who cannot let something go from 2006 is either antagonistic or obsessed–or maybe even both. Yeah–maybe so.

Yeah, Dr. White just doesn’t have enough time for ministry, with all this Caner stalking. I mean, he hasn’t done any debates, books, or anything! Hint: do a search on the blog, and see how many times Dr. Caner has been mentioned on aomin since the debate debacle wound down. It might be illuminating.

And then there is the fellow who has made a name and gathered a following for himself by chasing Caner around since 2006 because he did not debate him.

Yes, because Caner made him famous AND wealthy! That’s why he has the presidency of a seminary, and drives an Expedition. Oh, wait…

I think this post is one that could bring more hardship on those guys families. I would not go so far as to say this post depicts depraved indifference, but I would say there it depicts a great degree of thoughtless. Yeah, that’s it, not heartlessness, but most certainly thoughtlessness.

Uh, yeah. Red Herring, anyone? I hear it’s delightful.

Some people talk about the primacy of the gospel and some people share the gospel with a lost and dying world. I will cast my lot with those who do.

Because, you know, Dr. White never talks about the Gospel. Ever. Do a quick blog search – you know – actually *try* to look into what you accuse of, sight-unseen.

Ergun Caner may never be able to give a meaningful, effective gospel witness to this young man due to the strong differences between them at this time. But, I assure you, if this young man were on his death bed looking into the flames of hell, he would not ask Debbie to share the gospel with him, not after this. That opportunity is gone and it is now probably gone for any of us.

So let me ask all those warriors who have launched their Christian version of jihad in defense of their Evangelical Superstar: do you have any idea how many obstacles you have placed in the way of this young Muslim ever hearing the gospel in honesty? Did that thought ever once cross your mind before you in your abject ignorance blithely accused him of falsehood? Where is all your vaunted concern for evangelism now, I wonder? ~James White

This situation has gotten to the place that Debbie had such tunnel vision as to call in a twenty-two year old Muslim young man to make her case before the world about something that is really old news and was fueled by one Christian’s beef with another about the canceling of a silly debate that really amounts to less than a hill of beans anyway.

Next, I would like to refute the oft-repeated falsehood floating about amongst the “touch not the Lord’s anointed” crowd today: I had hardly given Ergun Caner a thought over the past few years. I have no interest in this fight right now. I have work to do, chapters and books to write, debates to prepare for. Outside of noting an odd statement by Caner on Twitter last summer sometime, I have had little interest in his activities. Rogers and Lumpkins have both falsely attributed to me intentions and desires I do not have. They seem to think I absolutely MUST debate Ergun Caner. I would surely like to do so—but only for the benefit of those who have been misled by Caner in the area of the freedom of God in salvation. But I already know of so many who have seen through his bluster on the topic and come to embrace God’s kingly freedom in the gospel that if such an encounter never happened, I would continue to rejoice in the Lord’s kind providence. Ironically, right as this current situation began to evolve, I was contacted by folks in Lynchburg asking me to come there in the fall sometime to speak on the atonement and, as a part of the trip, invite Ergun Caner to debate. I would still love to see that happen, as would many, many others (the cancellation of that debate, which was documented to be the result of the dishonest behavior of the Caner brothers, disappointed many), but even here, I have been contacted by others and asked to participate. I was not the one even looking for such an opportunity. ~James White

Let me ask you a question. Do you not think it somewhat obsessive for a pastor to chase after a guy since 2006 about a debate that did not happen? There comes a point wherein, if you are going to remain emotionally healthy, you have to get over any specific disappointment and go on with your life.

Disappointment is part of life and so is getting over it. To become fixated on such for this period of time is not healthy.

What, then, has brought about this current interest? Simple: Ergun Caner claims to do what I do in reality. He claims to be a leading figure in Islamic apologetics. He claims to have debated “leaders” in a wide spectrum of religious beliefs in more than a dozen countries and more than half of the United States. But the fact is, I haven’t been able to find a single Muslim apologist or leader who has ever debated the man. He has redefined the term “debate” so that he can include every conversation he has ever had with anyone who is not a Christian. Why redefine the language? Because he needs to bring students to his school, evidently, and so his self-promotional language has caught him in a number of falsehoods. But my involvement here, as repulsive as I find it to be (I detest politics and would much rather be working on my next article on the Qur’an’s view of “three” and the Trinity) is forced upon me by the fact that simple integrity demands it. Unlike Ergun Caner, I actually have interaction with Shabir Ally and the wide range of Islamic apologists active in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, and elsewhere. I have to look them in the eye when I shake hands with them after a debate. And I therefore have to answer to a higher standard of truth than the “Circle the Wagons” mentality of Pastor Tim Rogers and Peter Lumpkins. I have to be consistent. I have sharply, and rightly, criticized “former Christians” who have become Muslims for their obvious ignorance of the Christian faith (Yusuf Estes, for example). So if a self-proclaimed former Muslim makes false claims about his activities (claiming to debate people he has never met, for example), am I to keep my mouth shut out of “team loyalty”? How can I do this? It is hypocrisy, plain and simple. ~James White
~CB Scott

a third source that actually has a strange derangement with trying to trap a brother in Christ into a debate. The loss of such an event is obviously wearing thin on this brother and the applied pressure grows weekly. Of the most sad and unthinkable in this process is the fact that a brother in Christ would use Muslim attack sites to go after another brother. No excuse on this earth or in heaven can justify this – NEVER.

This is beyond reasonable thought. A guy who claims to be a Christian goes and uses material produced by Muslims to attack another Christian?????? For Mr. White to do that is beyond comprehension. Not to mention the fact that the Muslims have sent (and this verified)death threats to his entire family detailing the acts they will commit.

Why not ask Mr. White how many Muslims he has led to Lord? Why not ask him why as a Christian he would use material of Muslims to attack his brother in Christ? All of this over a debate and a desire to get a debate?

This is horrible and proves the point that blogging has become the real Jerry Springer show in America.

I am shocked that no one is questioning a Christian using Muslim media and propaganda against another Christian???

And all to have a silly debate.

have you thought about his family? They are threatened routinely by the garbage you are getting off of White’s web site.

Christiams should act better than this. Stop feeding the true evil people this fuel to their fire. Have more class than Mr White has!

Checking out Mr White is reading propaganda. Please hear what CB is saying. This no SBC stuff. This is real life and death stuff and one man who cares more his PR than he does a fellow Chriatian and his family.

You are giving credibility to a Muslim… Will you question anything because some nut puts something up on the internet? I would hope you would not because I think you are smarter than that.

I have been in brief correspondence with the young Muslim here in London who posted the clips from Ergun Caner. He contacted me when he saw me asking, back in October/November, for help in finding any of these dozens of debates (61 with Muslims alone according to one 2006 newspaper interview). Up to that time I had not even considered the possibility that there was a wider problem with Ergun Caner’s claims. This young Muslim has been the object of unmitigated hatred by many self-proclaimed “Christians” of late, and for what? He didn’t make up Ergun Caner’s self-contradictory claims. He did not force Ergun to tell one group of people he was born in Istanbul, a “sand monkey” (a grossly offensive term unworthy of anyone standing in a pulpit) and another group he was born in Sweden. He did not force Ergun to confuse Shabir Ally with Ahmed Deedat nor did he make Ergun confuse the shahada with the opening words of Surah Al Fatiha. Nor did he make Ergun claim the Muslims believe in a prophet they’ve never heard of, and then have the tapes edited to remove the mistake. To blame this young man for Ergun Caner’s errors is absolutely, positively reprehensible for anyone who names the name of Jesus Christ, who identified Himself as the very embodiment of truth itself. ~James White

Also, I note that Peter Lumpkins deleted the Muslim’s respectful comment off his comment section.

While you are researching I have a thought – check out the validity of Mr. Whites PhD. You will not believe the campus of the school he graduated from.

Why don’t you check out Mr. White? There are major issues there! That is extremely relevant!

White has gone after Ergun with a passion I wish people would possess in leading people to Jesus. The debate issue is really absurd. Do you know how many different ways “debate” is used?

See the above tab – “Common Objections”.

Ask Mr. White how many he has led to the Lord from his debates?

~Tim Guthrie
A “for instance” post about the reason for debate.

Saddest about this episode you “expose” here is not White — I have long expected this uncharitable, unChristian nonsense from he and his kind… I suppose the bottom line remains that, if a “theological movement” or a “historical/religious system” has to resort to such unreliable sources, dishonest means and unbiblical tactics to achieve their goals and “win” their debates, just how “Christian” can they be?

~J. Dale Weaver

Notice the subjectivism and ad hominem.

With both you and Tim, it appears that the hyper-calvinists among us practice the fine art of shooting the messengers. How dare you offer critical analysis of such boorish behavior of their Sainted Dortian Warriors.

This is nothing more than an attempt to make the argument about the person rather than substance. This also seems to me that “Dr.” White is equally, if not more guilty of the same tactics.

~Ron Phillips Sr.

No irony here at all.

Look, folks. Look at the issues *actually brought up* by Dr. White. Read his post, here.

This sort of behavior and jumping to conclusions is absolutely amazing. Reprehensible, really. Boorish, to be kind.

Debate Transcript

Debate: Is the Triune God of the Scriptures the basis for knowledge?

Affirmative: RazorsKiss

Negative: MitchLeBlanc


1. Introduction

* 1. I’d like to thank Mitch, and all the folks at Urban Philosophy, for hosting the debate this evening, and I’d like to compliment Mitch for his willingness to debate such vital issues. I am no sort of scholar – which I admit – but I would also be the first to tell anyone present that the pursuit of knowledge is something which every human being should be engaged. Where my opponent and I differ, I do believe, is how to properly go about doing just that! I hope and pray that those who watch this discussion will at least take in what they see, and examine it, as the Bereans did in Acts. My earnest desire is that those who watch this exchange will be edified, educated at some point, and perhaps able to more correctly understand where I, at least, am coming from.
* 2. First, the resolution. As I am the affirmative, I get the pleasure of the definition! “The Triune God of Scripture is the proper ground for all knowledge.” I firmly hold to the validity of this proposition, and further, to its ability to explain all of reality as an epistemological basis. For, you see, I’m a Christian. Christians, per their own Scripture, must be humble. They must not be proud, or haughty – or look down at others from their pedestal of superiority. As a Christian, I fully realize that of myself – I’m no different from any other man alive. I share the same Image, which I am created to reflect – and I share the same nature. A human nature. I am a creature – the product of the pinnacle of workmanship of the Creator of all things.
* 3. Since I am a creature, I do not need to be concerned about being my own basis. I need no such concern as a chair needs no such concern about its basis. It has a Creator, as do I! As a Christian, there is a fundamental difference in my thinking – and if I am correct, there is a fundamental problem with the way the entire world thinks about the basis for their own knowledge. I have heard the claim to “arrogance” before. If I ever state something on my own behalf, I will grant that such an accusation is justified. Should I comport myself rudely, as if I am superior, or as if I think myself to be who I am because I am somehow higher – I request that you point this out. However, as a creature – I claim to have a basis for my knowledge which is utterly higher, and transcendently greater than I, or any other human being can ever hope to be.
* 4. Since my claim is not based on myself, but upon a self-revelation from the Triune God described in Scripture – the claim in this case is on the behalf of another. It is conceivable I suppose, to call a perfect Being arrogant for claiming to be your Creator; to own you and the dust of the earth man was formed from It is another thing to assert that His claim to ownership is unwarranted. If what I say is true – God owns you. He owns me. He owns every particle of matter, every joule of energy; established every law we think in accordance with, and ordained every law which governs the world we exist in, at His good pleasure. In short, ladies and gentlemen; if I am correct – and God did do what His Word reveals Him to have accomplished – then every possible foundation for every way of thinking not in accordance with His perfect ordinance is utter, absolute folly.
* 5. My intent is to demonstrate that there is no other epistemological basis that can possibly compare to that possessed by a Christian holding the self-revelation of the Triune God. My goal is to show that any worldview attempting to argue from other than the Christian foundation is, in fact, borrowing from that foundation to do so. That any worldview asserting some sort of “objective” basis for the laws of logic specifically, but for nature and morality as well – is pure subjectivism wrapped up in an objective shell consisting of concepts stolen from their Creator. Concepts like universals. Universals which are abstract, binding, have inherent meaning, and apply to every person – whether they like them to, or WANT them to or not. They apply nonetheless.
* 6. Without the assumption of these universals, there is no coherent communication possible We assume that when we speak, there is a being we are speaking to, with corresponding cognitive processes, having the ability to reason, and possessing the capacity to make conclusions, based upon our communication with them. I have yet to see an epistemological basis which accounts for universals in any satisfying manner. I have a Guarantor which is self-existent, self-sufficient, able to communicate, omnipotent, omniscient, immutable, and sovereign. This grounds for our epistemology, I argue, is the only proper one.
* 2) Epistemology
* 1. When we encounter words like “epistemology”, there is a tendency to make them mysterious – to make it something only the initiated can truly understand. I disagree. Epistemology is the subject at hand every time a child asks you “why”. This endless chain of questions will eventually have a terminator. Where those questions end is where I think you’ll find your epistemological foundation. Why do we know what we know? How do we know? How is this knowledge acquired? What is this knowledge? On what basis do we know it? By what standard? On what (or whose) authority? Those questions are the realm of our discussion.
* 2. “The method of reasoning by presupposition may be said to be indirect, rather than direct. The issue between believers and nonbelievers in Christian theism cannot be settled by a direct appeal to “facts” or “laws” whose nature and significance is already agreed upon by both parties to the debate. The question is rather as to what the final reference point required to make the “facts” and “laws” intelligible. The question is as to what the “facts” and “laws” really are.’ (Van Til, The Defense of the Faith, 122) As is said elsewhere, by the same author; “We cannot ask how we know without at the same time asking what we know.” (Van Til, Van Til’s Apologetic, 105) In other words – the question of epistemology is central to any consideration of rational discourse. What, how, and why do you know? To go elsewhere before this is addressed, is to beg the question in the favour of your own epistemology.
* 3. So, to answer that question, we are discussing the deep things of knowledge – in fact, we are discussing whether what we think we know, is truly knowledge at all. Still further, we are questioning everything we think is a justification for the knowledge we claim to hold. Since, as Scripture says, I have “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 can say, with perfect certainty, that the Triune God of Scripture is not only the proper grounds for all knowledge – but the only possible grounds for all knowledge! I will develop that further in my statement tonight, but my goal is to demonstrate that any epistemology not grounded in that self-existent, self-sufficient perfection of Being is utterly insufficient grounds for knowledge.
* 3) Proper Epistemology
* 1. First, let me remind my opponent, and my audience, that there are no brute facts. Facts are not neutral entities, and they cannot be interpreted in a neutral fashion. This is because facts can only exist in relation to other facts; further, without exception these are interpreted with reference to still other facts. This shows knowledge is interrelated and further shows that facts cannot be interpreted outside of your epistemology, which is a network of assumptions that the one holding that worldview considers to be true.
* 2. Therefore, as philosophers, we have to consider the meaning of the facts – or the concepts – we examine. Those meanings are inseparable from our epistemological foundation. When we think about anything, we are forced to place it into our interpretive grid. We judge all facts through the “prism of our epistemology”, in fact. Here is where I get to the heart of my position.
* 3. As a Christian, I have two axiomatic, interrelated foundations for my epistemology, and for everything else I encounter through the grid of that epistemology. The Triune God of Scripture – who created the universe and all it contains; who established and even now maintains the laws which govern that creation. That is foundation one.
* 4. The self-revelation of that self-existent, self-conscious, self-sufficient, omniscient, omnipotent, all-wise, immutable, eternal, and sovereign God; The Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, are the self-communication of the extent, nature, and specifics of His eternal properties – which are the guarantor of the laws and assumptions which we, as creatures in the image of that God, require to operate rationally and coherently. That is foundation 2.
* 5. From those two foundations, I am able to make a rational examination of the facts I encounter, while having warrant for the knowledge I possess. Christians have the privilege of certainty. A certainty based on the most fundamental guarantor of truth. Further, as a Christian, my claim is necessarily exclusive. By the same logical laws we all recognize to be applicable, for whatever reason, a proposition cannot be true when the contrary of that proposition is true. Given Christianity’s exclusive claim – its claim to a self-existent, self-sufficient, universal, and absolute standard – any claimant contrary to Christian epistemology is therefore denied by definition.
* 6. From the position of Christian epistemology, there is more than ample justification to hold the true beliefs we hold. There is self-existence, which then guarantees all contingent existence. There is omnipotence, which can guarantee the absolute authority of God over all His creation, including willing and thinking creatures. There is the omniscience and self-knowledge of God, which guarantees that what His creatures can know is intelligible – that creatures can, in fact, derivatively know the facts about His creation, and those facts that He reveals about Himself. There is the internal “sense”, that Calvin calls the “sensus divinitatus,” which all men possess, as image-bearers of their Creator – and which allow them to recognize the God that they even sometimes deny.
* 7. However, this leads us to a question. Can someone without the axioms that Christians hold “know” anything? As defined, no. They can’t. They do not have a justification for their beliefs. However, they themselves do have true beliefs – which do, in many cases, result in success. In a sense, they do have knowledge. Not because of their epistemology – but despite it. In these cases, they are simply creatures forced to admit that despite the incoherence of their epistemology, they do, in fact, know things anyway.
* 4) The Impossibility of the Contrary
* 1. So, now we get to where the rubber meets the road. If I claim that non-Christians can have knowledge at all, even if it is faulty knowledge – doesn’t my argument fall apart? I don’t think this is necessitated. What the Christian position alone can guarantee is any contribution to knowledge whatsoever. “However, the presuppositionalist maintains that the unbeliever can come to know certain things (despite his espoused rejection of God’s truth) for the simple reason that he does have revealed presuppositions – and cannot but have them as a creature made in God’s image and living in God’s created world. Although he outwardly and vehemently denies the truth of God, no unbeliever is inwardly and sincerely devoid of the knowledge of God. It is not a saving knowledge of God to be sure, but even as condemning knowledge natural revelation still provides a knowledge of God. Thus, according to Biblical epistemology, while men deny their Creator they nevertheless possess an inescapable knowledge of Him; and because they know God (even though they know Him in curse and reprobation) they are able to attain a limited understanding of the world.” (Bahnsen, Always Ready, pg38)
* 2. What my claim really entails is that an unbeliever, trying to start from a position of epistemic autonomy, is like a child who sits on his father’s lap – and uses that position for the purpose of slapping his father in the face. The fundamental disconnect I see in secular epistemology (and Christians who use that same epistemology) is the universal lack of a solution from unbelieving philosophy for problems like that of induction, the one and the many, whether the will is free, and the like. Christianity has an answer for these – provided the Christian answers them from Scriptural revelation, and does not adopt the same principles that unbelieving philosophy does. It is even more so a problem for the unbeliever – because he doesn’t even have (not always asserted, but always present to some degree) the epistemological foundation of the Christian. An unbelieving man has no justification for his predication. He has no basis for his use of logical laws. After all, wherefore and whence do these laws get their justification? There is no area in which his thoughts, ideas or concepts can be said to be properly grounded. With feet planted firmly in midair, he asserts his autonomy over his own thinking, and his self-sufficiency for the use of that thinking!
* 3. This thinking is dangerous – to the unbeliever, and to everyone else. It is little more than, as many assert, self-worship. If the unbeliever thinks he is the ultimate, not simply the immediate basis for epistemology – I see no possible way for that assertion to be justified. (The unbeliever) “thinks that his thinking process is normal. He thinks that his mind is the final court of appeal in all matters of knowledge. He takes himself to be the reference point for all interpretation of the facts. That is, he has epistemologically become a law unto himself: autonomous.” (Always Ready, 46) It is like the famous (and farcical) story of the scientists who discover how to create life from common dirt! Excited, they suddenly stop – A voice challenges them – “I doubt you can.” “All right, then” (say the scientists) – “we will!” As they pick up shovels, they stop again, as the voice says “No, no. Get your own dirt.” This is what reasoning is like without the foundation of God’s self-existence, known through His self-revelation. It is a man trying to justify his “own” knowledge – when everything he encounters – including himself, belongs to God. The very idea is utterly absurd. Since it is impossible to have knowledge on any other basis, save that of God’s intrinsic nature and self-communication of the properties of that nature – it is impossible for any human system of reasoning to have justification at all. In short, Christianity’s epistemology is the only epistemology possible – because it’s impossible to have any other coherent, true, and justified basis for thought, perception, knowledge, or understanding of ourselves, or the creation in which we dwell.


Before I begin, I must tell you that I will be making use of philosophical arguments, in the form of syllogisms. This may be new for a few of you, in which case I invite you to follow along as best you can.

In our discussion this evening, RK will attempt to show that the very foundations of knowledge depend upon the Christian God and that any reasoning which does not presuppose the Christian God is arbitrary and descents into absurdity. RK’s position states that I enter into to reasoned discourse with my own set of presuppositions that exclude the Christian God. In doing so, the internal consistency of my logical system fails and as such does my ability to accept God’s existence, since my presuppositions limit what I will accept as evidence. Does this mean I cannot reason? No, presuppositionalists do not assert this, however, they do assert that my use of reason is contingent on their God and I am just wilfully ignorant to his existence.

First, as with any discussion of this type we need a solid definition of God. RK asserts that the Christian God is the basis for all knowledge, but what IS the Christian God? How can we define it?

There is a clear ontological error in the proposition of God. It is proposed that the Christian God is supernatural. I am unsure as to how one is supposed to interpret this description of God. This is not a positive definition, but a negative definition. “supernatural” or “immaterial” tells us what God is not (natural/material). Something that can only be explained in negative terms, is meaningless. The very definition of “being” is to have attributes, this requires more than simply non-attributes. Furthermore, the proposed positive attributes of God fail in execution. The positive attributes we apply to God are simply attributes which apply to human beings, we just extrapolate them. Human beings can be loving, but god is all-loving. Human beings can know, but god is all-knowing. How can we know that God (whatever it may be) is even capable of love, or knowledge.

As the Philosopher George Smith explains:

“All of the supposedly positive qualities of God arise in a distinctively human context of finite existence, and when wrenched from this context to apply to a supernatural being, they cease to have meaning.”

But the problem is direr than that, consider when I ask “What is a banana?”… giving me answers of the characteristics of the banana don’t do much to help me. Hearing that it is long, yellow, soft doesn’t do provide any cognitive meaning whatsoever. Smith again says (with unie representing a variable needing definition):

“To say that an ‘unie’ possesses wisdom in proportion to its nature-while stipulating that such wisdom is different in kind from man’s wisdom and that the nature of an ‘unie’ is unknowable-contributes nothing to our understanding of ‘unie’ or to the meaning of the attributes when applied to an ‘unie.’

To say that God is ‘good’ or ‘wise’ is to say nothing more than some unknowable being possesses some unknown qualities in an unknowable way.”

It simply does not seem that there is any cognitive meaning associated with purporting the term “God”. To purport that god is infinite, limitless and immaterial tells us what God is not, and never verges on explaining what he is.

With this issue established and set aside for the sake of furthering the discussion, let me move on to the crux of issue. What will be henceforth be referred to as the “Transcendental Argument for God” or TAG.

While I do not consider the transcendental argument an actual argument in the form presented (it appears more as a bare assertion), we must understand precisely what is being said.

When it is said that logic presupposes God it is meant that A presupposes B in the sense that we could not reason A without assuming B. However, it is important to note that even if to make sense of A one must assume B, it does not follow that B is true.

The Philosopher Michael Martin gives the following example:

“if I am trying to communicate to an audience by speaking to them in English, my action makes no sense unless they understand English. But it does not follow that they do. They might only understand Chinese. Scientists listening to radio signals from outer space in order to make contact with extraterrestrial life presuppose that such life is possible. But it does not follow that it is. Similarly… if the Christian worldview is presupposed by the deductive validity, it does not follow that the Christian worldview is true. It might be the case that deductive validity is a myth. TAG would not establish the truth of the Christian worldview but only the inconsistency of atheists who presuppose deductive validity.”

I think the example is clear enough, but it should be noted once more. TAG cannot establish the truth of God’s existence, only the inconsistency of atheists who hold a presupposition regarding deductive logic.

There is another manner in which the TAG asserts presuppositionalism. We have seen the first, that A presupposes B in that one cannot make sense of A without B.. but consider:

A presupposes B meaning that A logically implies B. This means that if A presupposes B, one cannot assert the truth of A and deny B.

An example is: giving birth to a human child presupposes being a woman, meaning it is inconsistent to claim that someone is giving birth to a human child but not a woman.

So we currently have two possibilities regarding the manner of how logic presupposes the Christian God.

* 1. A presupposes B in that one cannot make sense of A without assuming B.
* 2. A presupposes B in that A logically implies B and thus it is inconsistent to assert A and deny B.

With regard to (1) I shall show that we can make sense of deductive validity without belief in the Christian God.

As for (2) I do not see any contradiction in denying that Christianity is true and affirming the validity of the law of non-contradiction.

The Law of non-contradiction states that something cannot be both P and not P at the same time. (your pants cannot be both on and off simultaneously. To apply this to the TAG would be as follows:

A presupposes B in that A logically implies B and thus it is inconsistent to assert A and deny B

=The law of non-contradiction(A) presupposes the Christian God(B) in that (A) logically implies(B) and thus it is inconsistent to assert (A) and deny (B).

I do not see any absurdity in denying God and affirming the law of non-contradiction. Cleary doing so is not the same as denying that one who bears a child is a woman. Perhaps RK can show how this is absurd.

To that point RK may argue that the logical principles are dependent on God. If this is true, logical principles are contingent and not necessary. To this effect, I am almost certain that a presuppositionalist would argue that the logic is an intrinsic part of God’s nature and as such, logic is necessary. From this, it would be stated that since the principles of Logic are necessarily part of God’s nature, if God did not exist there would be no logic and subsequently no Law of Non-Contradiction. Following this line of reasoning, it would be absurd for me to deny God’s existence and affirm the law of non-contradiction.

First, one should be aware of the claim that logic is part of God’s nature. What does it mean to say this? We must first remember that:

God is defined as being supernatural. That is to say “Supernatural” is defined as being beyond nature (not natural). This is a negative definition and a broken concept. There is a fallacy committed when it is stated that God is supernatural but has a nature. Something that is beyond nature, may not possess a nature. (Fallacy of the Stolen Concept)

I am sure RK will argue that Nature and having a nature are two different concepts. This raises more issues. To argue this, you would be begging the question that we can speak of nature devoid of nature. Furthermore, basic ontology tells us that to exist is to have positive attributes. To define something as beyond nature is to define something as beyond ability, something beyond ability or something beyond limits cannot exist by definition. Yet this is not the only time in which the fallacy of the stolen concept is committed:

If God does not presuppose logic, and rather the contrary is true, how can we identify God as being God? For should God not presuppose logic, he must deny the very law of identity (that says a thing is what it is). Hence, the very statement “God exists and logic is his very nature” commits the fallacy of the stolen concept.

Further, when it is stated that logic is a part of God’s nature, there is a category error of the first order being made. Logic is a referrer to entities, not the entities in themselves. What does it mean to say that the nature of God is logical when logic refers only to arguments? Perhaps RK means that God has an ontological character, but I have shown that God cannot by definition.

Thus, the claim is made that it is incoherent to deny the existence of God because of his very nature. But what is this saying? It is merely a reformed version of the Ontological argument and concluding that God must exist necessarily because he is God.

If I am to accept this, RK must show the validity and soundness of one of the Ontological arguments. Otherwise, there is nothing incoherent about denying the existence of God.

However, there IS something incoherent about denying the law of non-contradiction. To further reiterate this point, consider the following:

* (1) It is not the case that it is not that P and not P (law of non-contradiction denied, meaning it would be possible for your pants to be both on and off simultaneously)

* (2) It is not the case that God exists.

From (1) we easily see a contradiction, but there is no such contradiction from (2) unless we apply a third premise stating that:

* (3) It is logically necessary that God exists.

Should RK want to make this claim, as I’ve said before, he will have to provide an Ontological argument showing that God’s existence is logically necessary.

It should also be further noted that (3) is often confused for another premise. There is a difference between God necessarily existing and God (if existing) necessarily having no beginning or end.


* (4) It is logically necessary that if at any time God existed, then at every time He existed.

While (4) is required in presumably every branch of Christianity, and with good philosophical warrant, (3) isn’t. In fact very few theologians assert (3).

Even Dr. Frame, an advocate of the TAG has stated there is nothing inconsistent about denying the existence of God and affirming the law of non-contradiction in an exchange between him and Michael Martin.

As stated before, if the Law of Non-Contradiction logically implies the existence of God, then denying the existence of God should fault the law of Non-Contradiction. But we have not been show that this is the case:

Christian Philosopher Cornelius Van Til attempted to do so in his book “The Defense of the Faith” (pg 256-257) when he says:

“All predication presupposes the existence of God … while antitheism holds that predication is possible without any reference of God. This at once gives the terms ‘is’ and ‘is not’ quite different connotations. For the antitheist these terms play against the background of bare possibilities. Hence ‘is’ and ‘is not’ may very well be reversed. The antitheist has, if effect, denied the very Law of Non-contradiction, inasmuch as the Law of Non-contradiction, to operate at all, must have its foundation in God.””

To make sense of this statement, it is helpful to reformulate into an argument (as per Michael Martin):

(1) If the Christian God did not exist, then predication would operate against a background of bare possibility.

(2) If predication operates against a background of bare possibility, the predication of P to x ( x is P) may be reversed and ~ P might be predicated of x ( x is ~ P)

(3) But if the predication of P to x ( x is P) is reversed and ~ P is be predicated of x ( x is ~ P), then the Law of Non-contradiction must be denied.
(4) Therefore, If the Christian God did not exist, then the Law of Non-contradiction must be denied

There are several problems, however. In (1) Van Til uses the term “background of bare possibility”, referring to the realm of logical possibility. We can then grant that the Law of Non-contradiction MUST hold because without that holding, by definition, there is no logically possibility. That is to say, logical possibility is determined by the Law of Non-Contradiction.

(1) States that if predication operates via logical possibility, then we may reverse the predications completely. The suggestion is to say that we can have a blanket be orange at one time and not orange at another time. Granted, but this is no way necessitates that the blanket can be orange and not orange simultaneously. Henceforth, (3) is false. Reversing the predicate does not change the Law of Non-Contradiction. As such, the argument is unsound and we can reject (4).

In closing, I have shown that there are issues with the very presentation of the term “God”, the inability of the TAG to establish its conclusion, and lastly the failure of the claim that logic is dependent on God. As I’ve said, should this be so, one could not deny God and affirm logic, but one can. It would only be inconsistent to deny God, if his existence was logically necessary, and this is not the case (note that even if God existed, he need not necessarily be logically necessary). RK has, in effect, has purported (and assumed) the conclusion of the Ontological argument without defending it.

RazorsKiss (Rebuttal):

Having success in using the laws of logic is not the same as saying that you have a warrant to be using it.

The question is about whether we have warrant for considering logic as axiomatic.

It seems apparent to me that Mitch is not providing a justification for using the law that he is using – nor did I see a case that did anything to disprove mine.

He is simply saying that it is usable – the same problem Martin falls into, in his TANG

That is not the question. On what grounds can it be considered warranted to be using abstract universals which apply to all (created) thinking beings? I have a proper ground to be doing so.

Obviously, an atheist is able to /operate/ with success using the logical laws which his brain operates according to. In fact, they MUST do so.

The question at hand is not whether – but /why/ he is using them.

Another subject I’d like to address are what clearly seem to be equivocations on his part. First, his insistence that “supernatural” is a negative definition.

“Super” is not a negative, but a maximal descriptor, as he should well know.

Mitch, with his studies in religion, should also know that “immaterial” is not the only descriptor of that characteristic of God.

The typical term is “Spirit”. The reason “immaterial” is often used is to point out that it is antithetical to matter.

Antithesis does not require derivation from his preferred term.

God is Spirit, as Scripture plainly teaches. God is NOT “not material”. That is the distinction.

I am also amazed at his choice of terminology – as if his making this (seemingly arbitrary) distinction therefore means that there is no longer any conception of God being defined by His attributes in a positive fashion – as I clearly did in my opening statement.

Further, I found his discussion concerning “extrapolating” unconvincing.

God has given us positive statements of His own attributes in His Scriptures.

In fact, He specifically speaks about the Transcendence of His attributes!

“For [as] the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isa 55:9)

Smith’s assertion to follow simply points more clearly toward the inherent assumption – that God’s self-descriptions are insufficient to be considered. They are passed over, walked by, as if they do not even exist.

While Mitch may agree with Smith – it remains a naked assertion.

When he says that: “To say that God is ‘good’ or ‘wise’ is to say nothing more than some unknowable being possesses some unknown qualities in an unknowable way;” this remains an assertion.

While Mitch may assert that there is no “cognitive meaning associated” – all this says is what we knew already. Unbelievers don’t believe, and think there is something inherently wrong with the concept.

While this may seem to follow from Mitch’s presupposed conception that there is something wrong with using the term “immaterial” – please note that I did not use the term, and that the term is being used in a very… “interesting” way.

I find it interesting that Mitch dismisses, due to an equivocation, the fact that God has many self-descriptions in Scripture – and there are many, many positive ones.

Since he was, I can’t help but think, insufficiently rigorous in that analysis, I will also turn toward his next point.

First, I have to point out that his analysis of TAG misses.. a lot of the “meat” to the argument.

I had to smile when I read this portion: “I think the example is clear enough, but it should be noted once more. TAG cannot establish the truth of God’s existence, only the inconsistency of atheists who hold a presupposition regarding deductive logic.”

The problem with saying this – is that this is precisely what I intend.

I’m not arguing for the existence of God.

That is not the point of the debate.

My intent, precisely, is what Mitch listed above.

If any worldview is inconsistent – incoherent – *especially* in epistemological terms – it cannot be proper grounds for all knowledge.

What also strikes me as interesting is that Mitch has apparently missed the central portion of the argument – it is epistemological. If your epistemology fails, it all fails. I tried to point out, in my opening statement, that the discussion was epistemological. The argument, throughout, save one small part, is completely to do with the existence of God.

What Mitch seems to be attempting is a defeater of the TAG argument. I’m not making the TAG argument for the existence of God. I’m making a case for the epistemological primacy, ultimacy, and sole sufficiency of the Triune God of Scripture. Instead, the reply is to TAG – and using primarily Martin’s work. That is not the context. It reminds me of Dr. Gordon Stein arguing against every possible theistic argument for the existence of God – except the one that Dr. Bahnsen argued for. Which happens to be the one he’s arguing against tonight!

In a similar way, Mitch’s argument was directed at God’s *existence*. The argument is not concerning God existence. The argument is concerning God’s self-asserted epistemological primacy – and the inability of any other epistemological claimant to provide knowledge in a warranted way.

He also mentions that I might argue that logical principles are dependent upon God. That is true, to an extent – but not to the extent he claims. I am going to argue that God is not only the ordainer, but creator of the logical laws we use – and that He transcends them, as we mentioned earlier, in Isaiah. The logical laws are the correlative, yet lesser reflection of God’s inherent order. So, while they are necessary in an immediate sense to created beings – they are NOT necessary, in an ultimate sense, to God. God is, as the Scriptures remind us, self-sufficient.

On that note, the rest of his argument concerning God and that claim is irrelevant – and I can move on.

In a similar vein, I certainly raised an eyebrow at this statement: “God is defined as being supernatural. That is to say “Supernatural” is defined as being beyond nature (not natural). This is a negative definition and a broken concept. There is a fallacy committed when it is stated that God is supernatural but has a nature. Something that is beyond nature, may not possess a nature. (Fallacy of the Stolen Concept) I am sure RK will argue that Nature and having a nature are two different concepts. This raises more issues. To argue this, you would be begging the question that we can speak of nature devoid of nature.”

My opponent, I’m afraid, has seriously equivocated here. Badly. To take one sense of a word, and insist that it means the same thing in every context is.. absurd.

There is a sense of the word “nature” which applies to the entirety of the created order, as “natural” entities. Physical. However, I’m sure he also knows that the “nature of” an object, person, or concept can be the “essence” of something. For instance. In the typical Trinitarian formula, God is one being – with three persons. I’m sure he has encountered this definition before, but just to help him, I’ll restate it – God is of one /nature/, with three distinct persons.

I think that this sufficiently points out the equivocation in question. Second, “(t)his raises more issues. To argue this, you would be begging the question that we can speak of nature devoid of nature” – seems an odd assertion. Are you suggesting that there are only material objects, and only they have properties? I was under the impression that you are not a materialist.

As I wrap this up, I sincerely hope that Mitch can rebut with something more suitable to the actual argument I made. When most of your argument is predicated upon equivocation (nature, immaterial), a point that is inapplicable (that I believe that the logic we are constrained by is also somehow binding upon God, and God must therefore be within the same limits, despite His transcendent nature) – it cannot succeed very far. The resolution is that the Triune God of Scripture is the proper grounds for all knowledge. Not that the Triune God of Scripture exists. Additionally, the argument is that any logical system without a warrant to justify its use is incoherent, and therefore unable to make consistent objections. Hopefully, we get back on the rails, and we can address the topics we came to discuss. Thank You.

MitchLeBlanc (Rebuttal):

RK criticizes me for arguing against the existence of God rather than his epistemology. Am I mistaken in understanding that RK’s epistemology IS the existence of God?

RK states that he is not arguing for the existence of God, and as such the point I made about the TAG being insufficient in regard to showing the existence of said deity is assumed. Surely, his utterance of “impossibility of the contrary” is an attempt to establish from his descriptor of my logical inability, to the truth of his claim. That would simply be a non-sequitur.

RK has argued that while I may have been successful in my use of the laws of logic, I am still without warrant. He also stated that he did not see a case showing that his is incorrect. Perhaps he did not see my explanation as to how the laws of logic can operate without God. According to RK, if God does not exist logic fails. If this is true, how can I affirm the use of logic with the negation of God?

Perhaps RK is thinking that I can’t, since it’s simply a self-evident fact that God exists and denying it is foolishness. Well, to him I say, show me the ontological argument you used to affirm this statement. Otherwise, it is bare unsubstantiated assertion.

If RK were perhaps to argue (as he says he is not) that since his worldview “makes sense” therefore God, that would be a form of petitio principii (begging the question):

Yahweh is the source of all knowledge

Knowledge exists.

Therefore Yahweh.

How can RK possibly argue that I did not address the claims of epistemology, when his claim that logic cannot operate independent of God was the largest focus of my statements? I have shown this very claim to be false.

I would point out that RK did not address my argument showing the laws of logic operating with a premise of denial of God’s existence, something that should be impossible for his worldview.

In regards to God as a spirit, the problem RK falls into is simply the inability to define what a spirit is, in positive terms. I have no doubt he can tell me what a spirit is not, but this gets us nowhere.

Rk also stated, with regard to logic as God’s nature that: “while they are necessary in an immediate sense to created beings – they are NOT necessary, in an ultimate sense, to God”. What does this mean? Logical principles are either necessary or contingent. He says God is self-sufficient, well precisely what is the “self” to which he suffices himself? Notice the clear personification of God, yet we seem to have had nothing with substance said to us. The laws are reflections of his order? So God’s nature is logical? We have not even established what that means! As I said, logic is a referrer to entities. So is God’s nature an argument?

RK criticized me, with regard to “speaking of nature devoid of nature”. I’m afraid he misunderstands. I am not taking one sense of the word and stating that it means the same. In fact, I predicted he would say this. The real issue at hand is an ontological one, “what does it mean to be?”, “what does it mean to possess characteristics”, “what does it mean to have a nature?”.

As for the basis of my own knowledge, it should again be noted that since RK’s claim may make sense of logic, it doesn’t follow that logic needs to be made sense of. I will use the remainder of my rebuttal to supplement my position. With that said, my epistemological declaration is perhaps best defined as that of Objectivism. First, I should define axioms:

An axiomatic concept is “is the identification of a primary fact of reality, which cannot be analyzed, i.e., reduced to other facts or broken into component parts. It is implicit in all facts and in all knowledge. It is the fundamentally given and directly perceived or experienced, which requires no proof or explanation, but on which all proofs and explanations rest” – Ayn Rand


“The first and primary axiomatic concepts are “existence,” “identity” (which is a corollary of “existence”) and “consciousness.” One can study what exists and how consciousness functions; but one cannot analyze (or “prove”) existence as such, or consciousness as such. These are irreducible primaries.”

From these axioms, I establish that of existence, identity and consciousness. In the case of the existence axiom, I can state “existence exists”. In the case of the identity axiom, which is corollary of “existence”, I can say that “to exist is to be something specific, to have identity”. This leads me to my third axiom of “consciousness”, from which I can state that “consciousness is consciousness of something”.

We can, at all times, know with certainty that something must exist to be known, this something must have identity and our knowing reflects the fact that we are conscious.

The issue posed then, is how these axioms apply to metaphysics. We can move in either one of two direction. The primacy of existence or the primacy of consciousness.

The primacy of existence, that is, taking the existence axiom prior to that of consciousness recognizes that existence exists independent of consciousness. That is to say, reality does not conform to the contents of consciousness, things are simply existent regardless of people’s subjective wishes, desires, emotions, etc. And granted that existence exists, that which exists is that which exists (identity axiom). With this primacy, consciousness does not DETERMINE reality, but identifies it.

The primacy of consciousness states that existence is subordinate to consciousness and that things are not the way they are by virtue of the fact of their existence, but rather because of the desires of consciousness. By this primacy, one would be justified in the belief that willing flying cows to rise out of the water will result in flying cows rising out of the water.

We can reject the primacy of consciousness on the basis that it rejects the self-evident truth of the existence principle. But perhaps more importantly, it commits the fallacy of the stolen concept (we are seeing that a lot tonight). It attempts to assert consciousness PRIOR to existence. Insofar as consciousness is the being conscious of something, the notion of consciousness arising prior to existence asserts the concept why denying the precondition of existence. The primacy of consciousness violates the very hierarchy of objective knowledge, we can conclude that any philosophy that is build upon this primacy cannot be consistent with rational knowledge.

Unfortunately, Christianity is one such philosophy. Christianity asserts that some form of consciousness created everything. This simply cannot be true from the outright, as the very consciousness which is purported to have created existence must exist prior to doing any creating. Stating that the Universe was “created” attempts to explain the axiom “existence exists” by asserting something prior, specifically Yahweh, a form of consciousness that created through an act of will. We simply cannot assert anything prior to existence.

As such, any question with attempts to ask “Where did existence come from?” or “How did existence come to be?” will result in answers which commit the fallacy of the stolen concept. We can see that from the very beginning, the Christian worldview has denied the metaphysical primacy of existence.

But how does this relate to the TAG? We must analyze the effect that the assertion has on the law of identity. Christianity states that identity of objects is dependent upon the will or desires of God… identity is dependent on consciousness.

Christianity, then, by definition is a form of metaphysical subjectivism.

Bahnsen (an advocate of the TAG) does not hide this fact, he states:

“the very essence of created reality is its revelational character”

The Christian worldview in regards to reality asserts that reality is a creation of consciousness. Thus, reality cannot be absolute, by definition. What is said to have created reality in the first place is simultaneously the final authority. The ultimate standard for the Christian is then merely the whim of God.

RK might reply that “God is a rational God”, but notes how this begs the question and reduces to a fallacy of pure self-reference.

The standard of reason and logic is the law of identity, but if identity is merely a derivative of consciousness than on which basis can consciousness have identity itself? If reality is a creation, and its creator is consciousness, is consciousness real? If one is to claim that it is, why do we need to point to this God to explain reality in the first place? Merely uttering the instance of a “God created reality” is a stolen concept arising from the belief that God exists.

So when the TAG tells us that the Christian worldview is the only one that can make sense of reality, is this true? A being that is perfect and omniscient surely has no need for reason in the first place. If said being is consciousness, the purpose of said consciousness is to identify the facts of reality… but what need would this God have to “reason”, since it already knows all the facts. It should be evident at this point that the Christian worldview, and the “Primacy of consciousness” has certain epistemological ramifications. When an advocate is asked, “How does God know”, surely we’d hear that “he just does”.

By this token, and insofar as the TAG asserts that the Christian worldview is the very basis for reason it is obviously wrong. The primacy of consciousness destroys reason and knowledge, it does not enable it.

How can the TAG possibly accuse all non-Christian thought as being relative, when the assertion it makes itself is that of metaphysical relativism? The entire worldview is full of ’stolen concepts’ and seeks to defend against what it commits itself.

RazorsKiss questions MitchLeBlanc:

RK: My first question: In Exodus 3:14, we read this: “God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” – Is this a positive statement concerning the essence, properties, or nature of God?

ML: It doesn’t tell us anything whatsoever, it’s neither positive nor negative.

RK: So, the sentence above: “God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” – has no content, whatsoever?

ML: Well, “I AM WHO I AM” seems to be cognitively meaningless. PIG IS PIG, DONKEY IS DONKEY, etc… it has not furthered understanding.

RK: Are you aware that this is considered to be the essential name of God in Scripture?

ML: Yes, but a name is not a description.

RK: What does the phrase “I am” mean, when in the following proposition: “I think, therefore I am”?

ML: It denotes existence.

RK: So, when God is saying “I AM” – and repeats it, this is implying self-existence, per Hebrew grammar. Are you aware that names in the Hebrew Old Testament are all intended to have meanings?

ML: I am aware now, thank you.

RK: Were you cognizant, prior to this debate, that the word “nature” has a distinct and historical meaning, when it pertains to theology?

ML: I am cognizant to the colloquial, scientific and philosophical meaning of the word. Perhaps these preclude the theological.

RK: That didn’t answer my question. Were you aware, as a student of the philosophy of religion, or any other capacity, that “nature” was used historically in a theological sense – such as in the definition of the council of Nicea, concerning the Trinity?

ML: I do recall there being an issue of difference between prior and post uses of the term. But I am unsure as to the specifics. (prior being the Arian usage)

RK: What is logic?

ML: As I said in my opening, logic is a referrer to entities.

RK: Do abstract objects exist?

ML: Yes, objects such as numbers exist.

RK: Does the abstract object “logic” exist?

ML: Logic isn’t a thing, it’s a referrer to things.

RK: Why did you just refer to it?

ML: I made a linguistical reference to logic, justified perhaps pragmatically.

RK: Do you agree that referring to “logic”, whether mentally or linguistically – as it is an abstract object – would be a reference to that object?

ML: No, I have not agreed that logic is an object.

RK: “Logic is logically necessary” – Why isn’t that definition circular?

ML: Well, to be logically necessary means that X can be applied in every possible world. You asked if Logic has any properties, so I have offered “necessity” as a property.

RK: What is the definition of an object?

ML: To be as an entity… though I think there is much debate over this very question in the community.

RK: Isn’t the most common definition for “object” – “Something that has properties”?

ML: I am not sure, I do know that Frege struggled in differentiating object from concept, as it seems that “something that has properties” would apply to concepts as well.

RK: Last question: Why are your axioms justified, as they seem to be predicated on the laws of logic; doesn’t this nullify their standing as axiomatic?

ML: Well, an axiom is “a primary fact of reality which cannot be analyzed (reduced into other facts or broken down). Are you asking why my axiom “existence exists” is justified?

RK: If they are not identical to the laws of logic, why are they thus considered justified, as axioms?

ML: Because they are undeniable.

MitchLeBlanc questions RazorsKiss:

ML: What makes the Christian God the sole basis for reason over all of the other Gods?

RK: First, all the other gods do not exist, as they do not possess the requisite properties, as I outlined in my opener. Second, the reason The Triune God of Scripture is that sole basis is because He is the self-existent, self-sufficient, eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, Creator of all things, who is both able to communicate the content of those properties, and has done so throughout history, as recorded in His self-revelatory Scriptures.

ML: All propositions of God assert him as self-existent, self-sufficient, etc… these are not unique to Christianity, what makes Christianity different?

RK: There is no other claimant for the title “God” who asserts the sum total of the properties in question, has demonstrated them throughout history, as well as communicating them to humanity with the sufficiency and perspicuity evident in the Christian Scriptures.

ML: It seems to me that your logical system is hierarchical in nature, with God forming the basis and the chain continuing on thuswards. Does the statement “God exists” logically necessitate that “God has a son”?

RK: No, as the Son is one of the eternally existent persons in the ontological Trinity. As it was famously stated at Nicea – there was never a time when the Son was not, in contraposition to Arius’ novel claim to the contrary.

ML: Since “every time I reason, I borrow from the Christian worldview”, am I to assume that I am accepting God’s existence, Jesus’ virgin birth, the 12 disciples, the betrayal of Jesus, etc as philosophical principles?

RK: Yes, as they are facts in the history of the earth that God created, and you inhabit. They are not dependent on your interpretation of them. When it comes to how you interpret /all/ facts you encounter, the noetic effects of sin will be in operation, and your denial of knowledge (as in justified knowledge) of those facts will follow of necessity.

ML: Why is it that the necessary preconditions for the intelligibly of human experience are contingent upon God being three persons and not four, the virgin birth rather than popping into existence, then 12 disciples rather than 13, etc?

RK: For the first question, because God is the one who created all things we are able to experience, and He has 3 persons. Second, the virgin birth was the means the Father ordained to accomplish Christ’s incarnation, due to the requirements of justice for payment of the penalty for sin, and 12 disciples were analogous to the 12 tribes of national Israel. To answer why they are necessary – because God is the one who determines possibilities, given that all possibilities are occurring in the realm of His exhaustive providence.

ML: That is not precisely the question. If I accept all of these factors are philosophical principles when reasoning, what effect would the 12 disciples being 13 disciples have on my reasoning? Surely, with a change in principle comes a change in reasoning altogether.

RK: Impossibilities have no effect on your reasoning. They do not exist. Dr. Craig would give you a different answer, perhaps – but I’m not Dr. Craig.

ML: So the existence of one more disciple would have no effect on my reasoning. It seems then that the manner in which the events occurred are arbitrary. I will not press this point. Does your knowledge of God arise from the scriptures that you believe he authored?

RK: No, there was no additional disciple in the 12 chosen by Christ, and following him throughout Galilee. Advancing impossibilities as arguments is not coherent. My knowledge of God is two-fold – first, through His Scriptures, which is His informational self-revelation, (despite your assertion that it lacked no coherent content earlier) and the natural revelation of His glory in the created order – which is only sufficient to convict a man, and render him without excuse for his sins of thought and action.

ML: And from your aforementioned sources, you derive the goodness, power, coherency, knowingness, etc of God?

RK: Yes, Scripture states that God is good, that He is Almighty, that He is a God of order, not confusion, and that He knows even the thoughts of men (as well as the entirety of His creation) when He “knows all things”. The Created order attests to these things as well, in a lesser, and more inferential way – but as I said, that is sufficient merely to condemn.

ML: What if God is deceiving you?

RK: “…in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, but at the proper time manifested, [even] His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior…” (Titus 1:2-3) . God cannot lie.

ML: But God was the author (or inspiration) of those very words. If his intent was to deceive, he has just succeeded. I ask again, what if God is deceiving you?

RK: For if [the] dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith [is] futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. ~ 1 Cor 15:9

ML: Again, all scripture and proposed action of God are immediately discounted if the motivation in fact was to deceive. Can you show that God is not deceiving you in all your knowledge of him?

RK: If God intended to deceive, He would not be God. He would be Satan. Therefore, you would likely have to use the TANS argument. A God of that character is not God at all, and therefore, yet again, another impossible (redefinition) advanced as an argument. If we could win by redefining things, debates would be fairly short affairs 🙂

ML: “If God intended to deceive, He would not be God. He would be Satan.” – Is this statement not based off of information expedited to you from the same deity in question?

RK: A God who is evil instead of good, who is a liar rather than the truth, is mutable rather than immutable, and imperfect rather than perfect, unjust rather than just… we could go on. Your questions all seem to entail redefinitions. “if God had an impossible definition for any being claiming to be the God you believe in, or any god at all, could he do _X_”. To claim that the antithesis of the self-existent and omnipotent God that I believe in is possible – seems to be.. a stretch.

ML: I cannot help but feel you are being evasive at this point. Every bit of the knowledge of God you have, comes from his proposed self-revelation. If God’s intent was surely to deceive you, are you saying he could not? Would you know? Your argument is as follows: God does not deceive. Proposed being X deceives. Therefore X is not God. You are begging the question RK.

RK: Sir, I’m not going to change my answer because you continue to ask it. “God” entails the properties already outlined. If a being does not conform to those properties, as I answered in response to your very first question – that is no god at all. I’m not going to contradict myself so that you can continue your argument. Further, I’ve stated, multiple times, that God is axiomatic to all human reasoning. You’re asking me, on the basis of your presupposition, to overthrow everything I’ve said thus far, to answer a question the way you prefer.

ML: I forego the remainder of my questions to accelerate our brief conclusions and allow for the patient audience to submit questions of their own.

MitchLeBlanc (Conclusion):

In conclusion, I must say that I am disappointed that my arguments given in my introduction were not addressed. Insofar as it was proposed that if God did not exist, logic would fail. I have clearly shown that this is not the case. I am also disappointed that it was constantly asserted that I have no basis for a logical system, but never shown that I have no basis.

If logic truly is so dependent on God, why was my argument which showed the contrary not addressed? Furthermore, I must ask which reasons we have heard tonight that RK’s epistemological system should be preferred over my own. In that respect, on which basis has RK shown that the principles of logic even require justification! Creating questions for the sole purpose of answering them, isn’t an award winning tactic.

Lastly, with regards to the QandA. I proposed the question, “What if God is deceiving you?” Rk’s response that if this was the case, said being would not be God. This strikes me as very similar to the No True Scotsman fallacy. A man sits down and reads the newspaper, where it is said that a man murdered several people and he is believed to be Scottish. The man then replies, “No Scotsman would do that!” The next day, when he reads that it was indeed a Scotsman, he states… “well, no TRUE Scotsman would do that”.

I simply do not understand how it is possible to state, with certainty, that God does not (or cannot) deceive you, when such a statement is based off of only what God himself has revealed to you. RK repeatedly stated that a God who lies simply would not be God… the proper explanation perhaps is that “The God who lies would not meet my criteria for God, and my criteria is correct.” The very last point is curious, as should God indeed be deceptive, said criteria would falter immediately.

As I have said, I am saddened that several points of good discussion were dismissed haphazardly, but I am grateful to have had the chance to discuss this issue with RK.

Thank you for listening patiently.

RazorsKiss (Conclusion):

Along with Mitch, I’m disappointed that the arguments presented were not addressed. Also along with Mitch, I’m disappointed that it was mine that were unaddressed! When I rebutted Mitch, I pointed out that his conception of the necessity of created logic applying to God was at fault for the failure of his argument.

I said: “while they are necessary in an immediate sense to created beings – they are NOT necessary, in an ultimate sense, to God. God is, as the Scriptures remind us, self-sufficient.”

This seems to have been missed in the subsequent discussion, and as stated, was why I did not address his arguments along that line further. They were not against my position, but against the position he claimed I held.

I’d also like to point out that a large bulk of Mitch’s arguments rested on redefinition. I am the Christian, taking the affirmative. While he’s quite capable of considering God as other than He is – and of contemplating logical impossibilities – they are just that. Impossibilities.

When I take the affirmative, I bear the burden of definition. When Mitch rested the majority of his case on redefinition – of the terms for God, of the words I use to describe Him, and takes them out of both the historical and linguistic context which I can’t help but think he is aware of, given his field of study, it seems to indicate that he is indenting to conduct the debate on the grounds of redefinition. Nature DOES, and HAS applied to the essence and properties of the being of God. Immaterial, a word I did not use, was constructed as a straw man against my position.

Further, he also tried to build his case on another word I did not use – supernatural. I understand that he didn’t know what my opening statement was going to be – but using the terms in that way – then ignoring their context on the basis of his own (and I consider to be strange) definitions leaves me scratching my head.

We’ve heard from Mitch that I never made a case against his position. That is only partially true. As the affirmative, my primary places to “counter-attack” are in the rebuttals, and in the cross-ex. Since he did not give a positive statement of his position until the rebuttal, my only chance to reply, save right here, was in the cross-ex. A look at the cross-examination period, and the brevity of his answers leaves it clear to me that he intended to answer as little as possible. While that is his prerogative, stating that I didn’t argue sufficiently – when he knows that presuppositionalism is an indirect system, is a bit misleading.

So, I’m going to take this opportunity to expand my thoughts from the cross-ex. As I was trying to get Mitch to admit, his system is built on a presupposed absolutist logic. This absoluteness of logic itself is not stated in the axioms – it is effectively hidden beneath the 3 axioms he professes. “Existence exists”, for instance, while correlative to the law of identity, is not identical to it. To be identical, it would have to be… more similar to God’s statement in Exodus – I am that I am.

As he expresses it, in accordance with Rand, the reality is that two *distinct* concepts are presented. “Existence”, which is an abstract, and what it does – “exists”. Existence, therefore, has the property of existing. Yet another abstract – which *exists*. Further, saying that “to exist is to be something specific, to have identity” – you are once again not restating a law of logic. You are stating that to exist, you must have identity. This is, again, correlative, but not identical.

So, we have a system with axioms which use laws that require their existence. We still haven’t had a satisfying answer as to, as I asked him, why logic isn’t an abstract logic – but these other concepts are – like existence – and why they are justified. Further, they are based in nothing, whatsoever, which grants them justification. He can claim they are axioms – but objectivism has been widely criticized, as Mitch attempted to do concerning my position, for being utterly arbitrary. What objectivism assumes is that man’s existence, identity, and consciousness are autonomous, and “objective”. What is being objected to, as I stated in my opener, is a man standing with his feet firmly planted in midair, and claiming to be the standard for his own thinking.

While I applaud him for having the debate, I would have wished that he had redirected his argument to my own, that it would not have been so dependent on redefinitions, and that we could have had a more fruitful exchange in cross-examination. I was more than willing to be forthcoming. I wish he would have done me the courtesy as well. I thank you all for watching, I thank Mitch for his patience, and I thank our moderators for this evening’s debate.

Question and Answer:

EoZ: (the replacement moderator) Dear RK, “In your opening dialouge, you spoke of a limited ability to have knowledge, for those who do not have an epistimological foundation such as yourself. However, you later conceded “I see no possible way for that assertion to be justified.” in reference to an unbeliever viewing him or herself as an ultimate basis for epistimology. Could your own, conceded, limited perception, be a contributing factor, leading you to a falsely constructed conclusion, convoluted and serving as confirmation bias insofar as as a self-reassuring mechanism by which you preclude against your view being simply your belief or understanding of the facts, but as some fact, regardless of belief?” – VTS

RK: If i understand the question correctly, it’s asking if I could be biasing myself, having no independent source at all, just my own opinion.
EoZ: VTS, is his understanding correct?
VTS: in part, yes.
RK: As far as that goes… the Christian has as his basis Scripture. This is not simply standing alone – but has the “sensus divinitatus”, as Calvin terms it, also in operation due to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer.
EoZ: Would you like to clarify so he understands the whole complete question, or is that sufficient?
VTS: Basically, is the “failure to see” real? Is it possible your perspective is self-serving, thus bringing you to a conclusion that is (by extension) clouded by personal bias…
VTS: does that clarify?
RK: As the Spirit is also, per Scripture, the author of the revelation, it’s the equivalent of having the author of the book standing over your shoulder, and correcting your faulty understandings, and continually adjusting your noetic “issues” as He also works to sanctify you in obedience to that revealed Word.
EoZ: Okay, to move things along. VTS, does that sufficiently answer your question or do you have more?
RK: Well, if we’re all deluded, as Paul says, we’re “men most to be pitied”. As I said, we have the Author of that revelation as our guide to the understanding of it. That is one of the reasons that I find in my experience, there tends to be a significant problem with the understanding of Scriptural principles by non-Christians. It’s not that I’m saying we’re “smarter” – by any stretch of the imagination – if you understand my theology, that’s well-nigh impossible.
vtsquire: no, I dont think that sufficiently answered my question.
RK: For a conceivable non-truth of the Christian worldview – Paul says we are “most to be pitied”. So, if you’re right, it stinks to be us. How’s that?
EoZ: VTS, so would you like to ask additional questions to further the topic, or
VTS: to put my point most bluntly, are you making a claim to knowledge, or making a claim to belief that you have knowledge?
RK: I am making a claim that I have mediate knowledge from the only possible source that is justifiable. ie: It’s not me, it’s God in me, as Scripture says.
RK: In my opener I went out of my way to point out that Christians, if they are to act like Christians, have as much claim to epistemological autonomy as a chair. God is who works in me, and through me. It’s never due to man. (Which is probably as opposite to objectivism as possible, but there ya go.)
VTS: okay, that’s a sufficient answer to me

EoZ: Okay, very good. Now, just to be fair to poor Mitch, I’m asking my question to him, then RK.

EoZ: Mitch, how could RK prove his position to you as the affirmative? How do you believe he did not do so here?
RK: Yeah! 🙂
ML: Well the problem with the position it is that it is not an argument. It’s simply a bare assertion. He could begin to prove his position to me by addressing the argument I presented which showed that logic presupposing the Christian worldview is false. I also wouldn’t mind hearing that Ontological argument which must be the basis for RK’s position (though not stated, I am sure it is there) that God’s existence is logically necessary…
EoZ: Alright, that works.

EoZ: And we got another question to Mitch from our very own VTS.
EoZ: “I have the same essential question to Mitch. They both conceded “I fail to see ________” Mitch, is it possible that this concession contains within it an admission that your position may be based on an inability on your part to be flexible in your thinking, thus leading you your conclusion, that may thereby be possibly false?” – VTS
RK: I’d like to respond to Mitch’s points afterwards, but I’ll let him get on to bed 🙂
EoZ: RK, I would let you normally, but time is VERY short.
RK: That’s fine – I have a blog 🙂
ML: My epistemology doesn’t exclude God outright, in many ways it remains completely agnostic until establishing axioms. The axioms which are undenaible are established, and then we work from there. It is possible that there is something that I’m missing from RK’s statements, but it would not be to my denial of God from the outright. In that respect, I am not similar to a materialist.

EmpireOfZombies: Okay, asking mine, and that’s it.

EoZ: Part 1. is God the ultimate standard for morality?
RK: Yes.
EoZ: Yay! Simple answer.
RK: Simple question 🙂
EoZ: Now, I’m going to post two quotes by you.
EoZ:: RazorsKiss If God intended to deceive, He would not be God. He would be Satan. Therefore, you would likely have to use the TANS argument. A God of that character is no God of all, and therefore, yet again, another impossible (redefinition) advanced as an argument. If we could win by redefining things, debates would be fairly short affairs 2:23 .. *not God at all
RazorsKiss A God who is evil instead of good, who is a liar rather than the truth, is mutable rather than immutable, and imperfect rather than perfect, unjust rather than just… we could go on. Your questions all seem to entail redefinitions. “if God had an impossible definition for any being claiming to be the God you believe in, or any god at all, could he do _X_”. To claim that the antithesis of the self-existent and omnipotent God that I believe in is possible – seems to be.. a stretch. 2:28 .. If there was a so-called “god” who intended to deceive – that being would not be any god at all.
RK: Okay.
EoZ: My questions are, if God intended to deceive, from what standard would you contrive that he is not God if your standard IS God? IF God deceives, from what standard do you derive lying as wrong for God? If it is God, and he lies, why is it wrong? What makes lying immoral if God were to do it? To me, this seems as if you are asserting a personal standard.
RK: That was precisely why I said that such questions are impossibilities, as they attempt to redefine a being that is self-existent, self-sufficient, immutable, unchanging, and etc. Such a thing is an impossibility. The point that is missed is that my relationship with God is not merely intellectual. It is personal. I know God, in my creaturely way, as Persons. I communicate, I am acted upon, and act on behalf of. In short, the question seeks to divorce God’s attributes, and to redefine God as a different sort of being – one which I do not know, do not communicate with, and do not have relation to.
RK: That should wrap it up, correct?
EoZ: Almost. I’m responding.
RK: Mitch, I appreciate the debate. Hopefully we can arrange logistics better for the next one 🙂
ML: Yes, a much shorter format is needed

EoZ: if God has freewill, why are hypotheticals not possible? Free will would denote all things are possible for God.

RK: Because there is a lack of distinction made between creation/creator, their disparate natures, and the relationship between them. God is free in that He does whatever He wills. Whatever God wills, on the transcendent level, is the determiner for what is possible – on the created level. It’s like trying to ask why a child can’t make his parent do whatever they think is possible. What the child is capable of doing do is whatever is possible for the child – but in this case, the parent can, and has, determined all possible events, whatsoever, that will come to pass. So there isn’t any frame of reference, aside from God’s self-description, to tell us this. If His word is accurate, there are no free atoms, there is no free energy – there is only God’s determination of all causal events.

EoZ: Alright, to the debaters, good job.
EoZ: Thanks for debating.
EoZ: To the audience, thank you.
.RK: Yes, thanks!
ML: Thanks….
RK: Even though you’re all asleep..
ML: (I am about to collapse)
RK: Me too. Thanks for the debate, bro. Now get to bed 🙂
ML: thanks
ML: goodnight
RK: Seeya, and thanks again.
EoZ: Night guys.

(I will likely add in some commentary soonish, so check back)

Read this book!

I contributed to a book, by Jamin Hubner, called “The Portable Presuppositionalist”, along with two friends from Choosing Hats – Brian Knapp and Chris Bolt. I really enjoyed writing that essay for it, and look forward to reading it. In a few days!

The book is now available on, and I encourage you to buy it. I’m excited at having something of mine published, and I am very appreciative to my friend Jamin for the opportunity! The book is intended as a one-stop resource for apologetics – and from the portions I’ve read, it lives up to that intent.

There ya go 🙂

A Unique Opportunity: Part II

I returned to speak to the Jehovah’s Witness elder, as I mentioned in a previous post. It did not go as expected, for either of us – but God was, I think, glorified.

I believe that I was not, perhaps, honestly represented to this man by the people I talked to previously – so he got something unexpected, as well. He seemed to be under the impression that I was there to confront him about my children being part of his religion. There is an element of that, to be sure – but my primary goal was to take advantage of the opportunity to speak to their teacher. I was asked to speak to the young man previously – as I was asked to speak to this elder. My goal was, first and foremost, to faithfully present the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Hopefully, I was able to impress that point upon him during our conversation, which only lasted about 45 minutes. I hope and pray that God was glorified through it.

I started out with a summary of JW doctrines I requested from Dr. White some time back, which reads as follows:

There is one true God, Jehovah; He is eternal and unchanging. His name is very important to know, and to use. He has revealed Himself in Scripture as Jehovah. His first and greatest created thing is Michael the Archangel – in fact, Michael is the one through whom all other things are made. He is the master worker. He is the only direct creation of Jehovah God. It is only through Michael that all other things have been created. Michael then becomes the man Jesus Christ.

The man Jesus Christ does not have a spirit, in the sense of some other spiritual component. We possess a soul, that is the life force within us. It does not survive death as a disembodied spiritual essence. This one, Michael, becomes Jesus of Nazareth, who gave his life on a torture stake as a corresponding ransom for the sins of Adam, and he is one of the 144,000. The 144,000 are those who will be with Jehovah in heaven, and Jesus is one of that anointed class. The rest of God’s faithful servants are known as “the great crowd” – they have not what is called a “heavenly hope”, as the 144,000 have, but what is known as a “earthly hope” – they hope to live on a paradise earth. The Bible teaches that God created the earth to be inhabited, and after it is cleansed, this will be the place where the great crowd will live.

Those who are in heaven, are in the new covenant, and those who live on earth receive the benefits of the new covenant only in and through their obedience to and fellowship with the anointed class. Once a year, the witnesses gather together for the memorial supper, and during that memorial supper, the elements are passed throughout the room in remembrance of Jesus – yet in the vast majority of congregations, no one will partake. Only those who partake are those who claim to be of the heavenly, or anointed class, and those who partake are demonstrating that they are part of the new covenant. All others in the great crowd let it pass by, because they are not a part of the new covenant.

A day is coming when Armageddon will take place, the faithful will be removed from the earth, God’s wrath will fall upon the earth, and those who have not followed Jehovah’s ways will be destroyed. Then a millennium is ushered in where those who have died before this time period will be resurrected, and they are taught the ways of God. This is not a sudden resurrection, but a resurrection over time. The servants of God will teach them the ways of Jehovah, and at the end of that time, there is a test. Even the faithful Jehovah’s Witnesses who are on earth at that time will be tested. Those who do not pass the test of faithfulness will be destroyed.

There is no conscious punishment for sin, there is simply destruction, or annihilation. Those who pass the test will live forever in paradise on earth – even though, the option is held open that if ever evil is found among those on earth, they will be very quickly destroyed, that this evil does not spread. Jehovah’s witnesses are very focused upon evangelism, very focused on going door to door, in obedience to the commands of Scripture. There is one organization that speaks for Jehovah today. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, centered in Brooklyn, New York, directed by the governing body of the Jehovah’s Witnesses – the “faithful and discreet slave”, that gives meat in due season to the members of the household, and one only finds true spiritual nourishment by listening to what is given them by the governing body of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

There were 6 things objected to in that summary, which I hope to rectify soon. Those were:
1) “The man Jesus Christ does not have a spirit, in the sense of some other spiritual component. We possess a soul, that is the life force within us.”
2) “and he is one of the 144,000…and Jesus is one of that anointed class.”
3) “The rest of God’s faithful servants are known as ‘the great crowd'”
4) “the faithful will be removed from the earth”
5) “even though, the option is held open that if ever evil is found among those on earth, they will be very quickly destroyed, that this evil does not spread.”
6) “There is one organization that speaks for Jehovah today. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, centered in Brooklyn, New York”

I’ll address what I’ve discovered as to the possible inaccuracies in that statement, perhaps in a following post, but I wanted to share the fruit of that discussion.

As we continued to speak, I asked him to tell me what the Gospel is. I was given the predictable response “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” – which, while true, is not the entirety of the Gospel. I then responded by asking if I could give him what I had just taught the children in my 1-6th grade class concerning the Gospel.

A) Man is sinful, God is Holy! (Lev 11:44-45; Gal 3:11)
B) Man is cursed with sin, due to the Fall of Man in Eden. (Gen 2:16-17) Man’s nature is such that he cannot do good.(Eph 2:3)
C) God, however, has a Perfect Way to satisfy His wrath (Rom 1:18) toward sin, and to proclaim His glory (rom 5:2, Rom 15:7).
D) God promised a Redeemer, from the very beginning. (Gen 3:15) The law, and the prophets all point to Him (Rom 3:21)
E) That Redeemer was born to a virgin (isa 7:14), and lived a perfect life in obedience to the law(Heb 7;28)
F) That Redeemer was crucified by the Jews on a Roman cross,(Acts 2:36) in propitiation for – in substitution for (2 Co 5:21)- our sins (1Jo 4:10)
G) That death was the satisfaction – the payment for – the wrath of God. (Rom 3:25) All who believe on Christ will be saved from the Judgement to come. (Rom 5-9)
H) That Redeemer defeated sin, overcame death (Rom 8:3) and proved the reality of His sacrifice’s power by raising Himself from the dead (Acts 17:31; John 2:19)- and now lives always to be the intercessor for His sheep (Heb 7:25)
I) Men come to Christ by the power of God (John 6:44) – by being born again of the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Pe 1:3), by the Repentance (Acts 5:31) and Faith (Rom 12:3, Phil 1:29)that both come as gifts from God – and are foreknown, predestined, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified by the power and for the glory of God. (Rom 8:28-37)

I think I was able to present most of it – and as we talked, he tended to try to direct the conversation to the Trinity argument – which I answered, and then returned to my presentation.

When we got to propitiation, we had a discussion of the atonement, justification, and the nature of man’s sinful state before God that I truly hope was extremely valuable to him. We discussed why the sacrifice had to be God, that there were two essential doctrines that the JWs truly do not properly recognize – sin, and the need for atonement from it. Personal atonement, for personal sin. He brought up the Trinity once, in relation to the early church’s witness – and I shared with him a bit of background concerning their supposed citation of Tertullian, in their book “Should you believe the Trinity?”. I’ve been working on a selection of quotations from those various Fathers, demonstrating that Trinitarian belief was something every major writer affirmed – albeit with lesser or greater degrees of accuracy. I’m also going to send him a rewritten summary, to see if he would consider that unobjectionable.

Hopefully, we can stay in contact – and he looked to be very interested in doing so. May God bless these opportunities in the future 😉

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