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Adventures in Missing the Antithesis

Paul Baird recently addressed what he seems to think is the “philosophy that underpins the Christian Presuppositional Apologetics.”[1] He’s wrong, of course, but let us show him why, shall we? He cites Chris’ citation of an argument tucked away in the appendix of PA:S&D as that supposed “underpinning.” Interestingly, he goes on to ask why “do Presuppositional Apologists not start with this explanation that PA is about establishing the need for a unique self sufficient knower and identifying that self sufficient knower exclusively as the Christian god?”[2] Well, that is readily apparent – because we don’t believe that to be the case. It’s not only false, but ridiculously so. See, Paul is suffering from the same problems that many do. They take their own presuppositional commitments, map them onto our own, and claim equivalency. This is not only highly detrimental to a proper understanding of what it is we are saying, but highly detrimental to being taken seriously as an objector. If Paul wishes to be taken seriously in his objections to PA, he must actually understand what does underpin it. Namely, he has to understand that Reformed Theology is what determines what we are saying – and that this predates Bahnsen significantly. In fact, he needs to understand that Bahnsen himself is not the one to look to at all for this! If Paul is serious about understanding what PA is, he must understand what Reformed Theology is. It’s that simple. The proper application of Reformed Theology in an apologetic context is what gives us the Presuppositional Apologetic.

So, if this isn’t what underpins the Presuppositional Apologetic, what does? Let’s make sure we, at least, don’t miss the antithesis! What we are after, contra Paul’s assertions, is to “press the antithesis” – indeed, as Bahnsen himself puts it, “This theme of the principial, epistemological and ethical antithesis between the regenerate, Bible-directed mind of the Christian and the autonomous mind of the sinner (whether expressed by the avowed unbeliever or by the unorthodox modern theologian), remained part of Van Til’s distinctive teaching throughout his career.”[3] Van Til, who we regard as the founder (and revivalist of) Presuppositional Apologetics, said that “It is necessary to become clearly aware of the deep antithesis between the two main types of epistemology”[4]. In short, if it is to be said that there is a fundamental underpinning to PA, it would be the doctrine of antithesis. Says Van Til, “Rather than wedding Christianity to the philosophies of Aristotle or Kant, we must openly challenge the apostate philosophic constructions of men by which they seek to suppress the truth about God themselves, and the world…It is only if we demand of men complete submission to the living Christ of the Scriptures in every area of their lives that we have presented to men the claims of the Lord Christ without compromise. It is only then that we are truly Biblical first and speculative afterwards. Only then are we working toward a Reformed apologetic.”[5]

We, then, cannot be considered to be trying to “establish the requirement for there to be a self sufficient knower, a variation of the argument from necessity that is usually articulated as the prime mover argument, and the assertion that that self sufficient knower can only be the Christian god.” That, according to Van Til, would simply be “wedding Christianity to the philosophies of Aristotle or Kant”! Further, Bahnsen argues, it is not this one argument which is the foundation of our apologetic. “In terms of theoretical principle and eventual outworking, the unbeliever opposes the Christian faith with a whole antithetical system of thought, not simply with piecemeal criticisms. His attack is aimed, not at random points of Christian teaching, but at the very foundation of Christian thinking. The particular criticisms which are utilized by an unbeliever rest upon his basic, key assumptions which unify and inform all of his thinking. And it is this presuppositional root which the apologist must aim to eradicate, if his defense of the faith is to be truly effective.[6]

Our goal is to set the presuppositional commitments of believer and unbeliever in antithesis – not to make a pseudo-cosmological argument. What we are concerned with, however, is arguing by “presupposition” – not by “prime mover”. All too often, neophytes to the study of Reformed theology and its commensurate apologetic pack the baggage of non-Reformed theology and argumentation over into that sphere. This is not the “silver bullet” they think it is – it is, unfortunately, a simple error, and quite commonly made. What Paul seems to have done is to take an argument from an appendix, in a book written when Bahnsen was quite young, incidentally, and make it into an all-encompassing, foundational principle of methodology. It’s neither the case that this argument is foundational, nor that it is fundamental to our methodology. Paul would be far better served by paying attention to what Van Til laid out as those foundations, and what Bahnsen himself said were those foundations. To make such a spectacular leap of unwarranted proportions simply denudes Paul’s comments of their strength and accuracy.

Paul tells us “the argument” is “about establishing that there ought to be a god, not that there is a god.”[7] If Paul had done the requisite study on the topic, instead of making unwarranted leaps, he would know that this is simply not the case. The PA argument is an argument “by presupposition” – it is a transcendental argument, from the impossibility of the contrary. Further, Van Til expressly states that it’s not about “establishing that there is a god.” Paul is negligent in his treatment of the position he is critiquing, yet again. Van Til tells us: “Christianity offers the triune God, the absolute personality, containing all of the attributes enumerated, as the God in whom we believe. This conception of God is the foundation of everything we hold dear. Unless we can believe in this sort of God, it does us no good to be told that we may believe in some other sort of God, or in anything else. For us everything depends for its meaning upon this sort of God. Accordingly, we are not interested to have anyone prove to us the existence of any other sort of God but this God. Any other sort of God is no God at all, and to prove that some other sort of God exists is, in effect, to prove that no God exists.”[8] Further, he replies: “The apostle Paul lays great stress upon the fact that man is without excuse if he does not discover God in nature. Following Paul’s example Calvin argues that men ought to see God, not a god, not some supernatural power, but the only God, in nature. They have not done justice by the facts they see displayed before and within them if they say a god exists, or that God probably exists. The Calvinist holds to the essential perspecuity of natural as well as biblical revelation.”[9] So, as we can see, Van Til says the express opposite of Paul’s assertion. Paul seemed to have implied that our recent Journal was a “waste of 30 minutes” – but with his seemingly consistent misunderstanding of our position, it becomes fairly clear that his reading comprehension and attentiveness is to blame on this score. If he had read my first paper, for example, he would know that I said “our opponent must, in order to actually address us, object to something very particular” – not to mention that I cited Van Til, just as I did above. Further, if he had read my second paper, he would know that I said: “Unregenerate men have knowledge of God sufficient to leave them without excuse; They know the God who created them exists, and enough of what He is like to well know that they are responsible to Him in all respects, and must submit to Him accordingly. They know that they are sinners against that God, and that they will have to account for their sin before Him. Yet, they do not want to hold that knowledge in the light, where it confronts them. They constantly attempt to suppress that truth, and to replace it with an unlivable lie.” Properly, I used a definite article, and was specific.

We do not argue for or about “a god.” This is incontrovertible, despite Paul’s attempted controversies. Second, we are not making some sort of “prime mover” argument, nor is the central, foundational, basic argument of the PA anything other than a transcendental argument. It’s not as if we haven’t explained what the transcendental argument is. It is not as if we have not expressed what the heart of our apologetic is. It is, however, the case that objectors consistently and unaccountably ignore these explanations, in favor of their speculative theories, which are easily countered by reference to what we have actually said. Paul keeps asking what a transcendental argument is. Paul, however, is apparently unable to read our website, OR any of the primary literature which we constantly refer to, to find out what that is. If we did share it with him, again, I have no doubt that he would begin to tell us what we are “actually” arguing, as he did in the post I’ve cited. Instead of making himself look foolish in such a visible and puzzling way, I would once again exhort Paul to take the time to actually examine what it is that we are saying, instead of reinterpreting sidebar discussions as if they are central of fundamental, in the strange and un-compelling fashion he has chosen to do so thus far. When he discusses the quotation from Bahnsen he presents, he shows no evidence of familiarity with the context of the citation. If he’s willing to make such a controversial comment on it, to the tune of an assertion that this, in juxtaposition to our stated position, is the real basis of a PA, it would make sense for Paul to argue why this is the case, would it not? Unfortunately, it does not seem to be the case that Paul even owns this book, nor that he has read it. Contrary to Paul’s assertion, this argument regarding the self-sufficient knower is being made in the context of a transcendental argument. It is pointing out the preconditions for the intelligibility of knowledge, contra solipsism and skepticism. Paul, to be taken seriously with these sorts of comments, really would be better served by reading the books he is making arguments from, as he apparently has failed to do. Chris properly used Bahnsen’s citation in context; Paul failed to do so, in a rather spectacular fashion.

  1. [1]http://patientandpersistent.blogspot.com/2011/10/fundamentally-flawed-discussing-pa_08.html
  2. [2]Ibid.
  3. [3]Bahnsen, At War With the Word: The Necessity of Biblical Antithesis, Introduction – http://www.reformed.org/apologetics/index.html?mainframe=/apologetics/At_War_With_the_Word.html
  4. [4]Van Til, Cornelius, A Survey of Christian Epistemology [Originally “Metaphysics of Apologetics,”] (New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed Publ. Co., 1969), v
  5. [5]Geehan, E.R., Jerusalem and Athens, (New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed Publ. Co., 1955), pp 24-28
  6. [6]Bahnsen, At War With the Word: The Necessity of Biblical Antithesis, 1.B.3. – http://www.reformed.org/apologetics/index.html?mainframe=/apologetics/At_War_With_the_Word.html
  7. [7]http://patientandpersistent.blogspot.com/2011/10/fundamentally-flawed-discussing-pa_08.html
  8. [8]Van Til, Defense of the Faith (4th Ed.), pg 34
  9. [9]Ibid., 120, emphasis his

A Feminist Examines Presup

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

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

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

Evidentialism holds that belief should rest on evidence.

Presuppositionalism holds that belief rests on presuppositions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Problems with presuppositionalism include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please enlighten us 😉

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

Utterly false description of our position.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Immorality and Brute Facts

My last post examined the bare assertions made by our erstwhile evolving atheist, Jason Burgoyne. In this post, we will examine the comment that he feels sufficiently answers the issues I raised with his eisegetical treatment of 2 Samuel 12, and his previous (now-removed, with the excuse that he failed to “check his source” sufficiently) post wherein he posts a fabricated substitution for a verse in the book of Numbers, as Staks Rosch suggests in this blog.

Unfortunately, the comment amounts to a rambling, emotive, and invective laden screed, devoid of logical argumentation of any sort whatsoever. A friend of mine calls this approach “the three As – asserting assertions assertively.”

He was offered an internal critique of his own position. Instead of answering the critique, he simply repeats the same naked assertions so often leveled by unbelievers. The lack of introspection evidenced in his response, and the amount of personal investment shown is also a clear sign of emotive, irrational argumentation – so-called.

Here is the justification offered for his superficial treatment, and question-begging. My comments will be interspersed throughout.

It was only meant to be a short look into the atrocities in the book that is meant to inform our morality (In the eyes of Christians).

What sense does “atrocity” make when you have no moral foundation save subjective, arbitrary fiat? What sense does it make for a naturalist, evolutionist, atheist to be speaking about subjects such as “morality”? Morality is an immaterial – has no evidence for it’s existence, per the mantra so often chanted by the materialist hordes.

To be speaking of “morality” is to be spouting gibberish, per their worldview. However, not only are we speaking of “morality”, but “atrocity”. What physical scale may we measure the morality of acts by? What empirical measure do we follow to arrive at the dividing line between “immoral” and “atrocious”?

Further, what ever gave you the idea that the Bible is meant merely to “inform” our morality?

It is pretty clear who the rapists would be (the neighbors who would lie with the wives in public)

You know, the neighbors. The word is רֵעַ – a close relative, a friend, someone intimate with you. In just a few chapters, Absalom, David’s son, fulfills this prophecy. If our friend here had done as I had suggested, he would know this. Further, he would know that the phrase “in broad daylight” (in the better translations) is, literally, in sight of the sun. Openly. The immediate context – ie: the very next verse – tells us how we are to understand this. David sinned secretly, but the usurper will sin *openly*. I always find is fascinating when unbelievers approach these issues as if we have no idea about them. This is probably one of the best-known scenes in all of Scripture. There are volumes upon volumes in print concerning just this one passage, and everything surrounding it. God is not saying “there will be a public orgy”. Such a thing makes absolutely no sense in the context of Israel. He’s saying that as he has taken another man’s wife from him, so another man will take his wives from him. Except, while David did so in secret – the other will do so openly.

and the immorality of striking down a CHILD with sickness is evident and needs no further examination.

Why? How does your worldview provide the preconditions for 1) any sort of conception of morality at all 2) a conception of morality which is non-subjective 3) a conception of morality which carries the “ought” along with it?

Second, by whose standard of “evidence”? I haven’t seen you give any evidence to *be* evident. You’ve merely proclaimed, by fiat, that such is the case. Why should anyone care that your opinion happens to be such?

Thirdly, who on earth ever told you facts were “brute” or “uninterpreted”? The central question in any debate is the meaning of the facts. You are simply assuming your own pet meaning for anything you encounter – but unlike me, you’re not laying your cards on the table. Simply calling names like “immoral” without justification for doing so is less that useless – it’s senseless.

The verse following clearly states that GOD strick him with illness and that he dies 7 days later YOu attempt to defend this immoral and terrible verse with a mocking look at how short it is, but no amount of explanation can undo the evil of killing a child who i innocent for the crime of another

Typing in all caps denotes yelling, thus giving the impression that you are being emotive in your assertions here – I decline to grace them with the term “arguments”. By your standard, every person who dies makes God a murderer. Such a standard is not only ludicrous, but egregiously arbitrary. Second, you use terms like “terrible” – on what grounds do you apply this to the actions of God? Third, you use “immoral”, yet again. You have yet to offer anything non-arbitrary as a supposed foundation for these seemingly odd assertions.

“Morality is a subjective conversation that best decides on how to enact the “My rights begin where yours end” tenet.” – From this post. Okay, so if morality is subjective – where do you get off telling anyone else what is and is not moral, please? Subjective morality is solely self-referential, by definition. Second, on what possible basis can this immaterial concept make any sense whatsoever in a naturalistic worldview? The very notion is absurd, when you are sufficiently self-reflective concerning the inconsistency between the various parts of your worldview.

Finally – I will note this only in passing – I sure hope our erstwhile atheist is against the murder of unborn children in the womb, for consistency’s sake in the immediate sense. Ultimately, however, he still has no reason to be.

Second, I have thanked you for pointing out my error in not checking my source for the original post, but you continue to delight in your childish victory after I apologized and posted a retraction.

Not in the slightest, and your insistence on seeing it as such begins to look like simple projection. Your “source” is entitled “create your own Bible verse”. I’m still finding it amazingly difficult to believe you could be that clueless. That boggles my imagination.

The point remained the same, and your defense of the actions that I referenced was weak and immoral.

The point remained the *same*? Gang rape as “penance” for sin? Penance is a Roman Catholic invention. There is no such thing in the Old Testament. The sacrifices atone for sins – a symbol pointing forward to the atonement of Christ to come, in which they have faith in as Old Testament believers. Further, repeated gang rape? Really? How is that even *remotely* similar to your second objection? In that case, it’s one man and a bunch of women. If you actually knew the context, that is.

Further, saying my “defense” was “weak and immoral” is completely unsubstantiated. You don’t even TRY to prove your assertions. You just, dare I say it, dogmatically spit your preconceptions back when challenged – instead of making any sort of rational case. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say there was indoctrination involved. You yourself say your morals are subjective. Yet *constantly* you assign your subjective “oughts” to the objects you are writing to. That is the opposite of subjective, Jason.

The fact that you choose to defend the murder of a child as “not heavily examined enough” is terrible and an insight into your own morality. The fact that you can hear, “a child was murdered” and you need to hear the whys and how comes before you can determine if it was a moral act is very telling of you.

So, because I don’t bow to King Jason’s subjective feeeeelings, I’m being a nasty ‘ol rotten scoundrel. Gee, thanks. Here I was thinking I’d get an actual argument, finally. Okay, no, not really. I’m still expecting naked assertions and emotive, unsubstantiated nonsense. That’s all I get, as we can see. Does Jason even attempt to make an argument, or does he, throughout this response, resort solely to autobiography? Given that he simply assumes “murder” – simply assumes “rape” – with neither being present in the text itself, I think it’s safe to say that we have mere rhetoric (and rather heavy-handed and wooden, I might add) being substituted for reasoned argumentation. Yes, Jason, it’s customary to consider things for greater than 1.4 seconds before reaching one’s conclusion on a matter. It’s actually customary to study what is being presented, instead of inserting one’s own preconceptions willy-nilly. Yes, it’s customary to consider that words actually mean something, instead of assigning whatever meanings we prefer them to have, regardless of the author’s intent, the context of the text, and the easily-found references made to the surrounding story, of which it is part. Yes, Jason, when reaching a conclusion foreign to practically every reader of this text in history, it would, actually, be beneficial to offer an actual argument to substantiated your novel claim; reaching, as you seem to have, a conclusion missed by millennia of Biblical scholars, in a very well-known text, which you have proceeded to butcher with the ham-fisted rapacity of a Vandal intent on Roman spoils.

Your interest is not accuracy sir, it is in trolling. I attempted MANY times to engage you in conversation on this, and you choose instead not to reference my questions on twitter but to attempt further attacks on me here.

Yes, sir, it is in accuracy. Twitter is not a medium suited to conversation requiring any sort of precision or care. Given your lack of either quality in your handling of the Biblical text, I can see why you prefer to discourse there on topics requiring disciplined study and effort to speak to cogently. Since you seem to lack even the bare minimum of ability to examine the text at a depth greater than an eighth of an inch, I’ve undertaken to show you where, precisely, your ignorance of the subject leads you. First, the ignorance necessary to mistake your first attempt for something in Numbers, let alone Numbers 35, let alone an accurate English translation, is our first clue. The second clue is the lack of familiarity with this text in general. This is the biggest, most public fall of a Biblical character in the text of Scripture. It is the Old Testament pinnacle of the expression of God’s mercy as well as His justice, being exercised in tandem, as they should. Your twin accusations are neither present in the text, nor are they remotely sensical. Your reading of this passage is absolute, and utter brainrot – and that’s putting it mildly. It has taken this much time, and this many words to address, because you have screwed up your attempt *by the numbers* – pun intended.

Infantile at best.

Given what you consider a good objection, I’ll take that as a compliment.

I see now that your goal was NOT to attempt to keep the posts accurate and to ensure that sources are cited, but to attack anyone with any ammunition that you can get because your faith was insulted.

Actually, it was just to respond to one of the worst sequences of Biblical “criticisms” I’ve ever encountered. I do dislike it when people ignorantly make claims they both cannot and will not back up, however – which has been precisely what you have done.

Sad and infantile.

For pity’s sake, at least be original with your ad hominem. Be creative – make me work for my expected insult. It’s not as if I don’t hear this half a dozen times a week from every sort of garden variety atheist “intellectual.” Seriously – if you’re going to take the line that we’re irrational, reasonless drones, at least bother to use something a tween couldn’t equal in the cafeteria.

I gave the bible fairness for 30 years, now I simply can’t excuse its evils any longer.

Well, it’s quite apparent you aren’t fair to it now. Are you sure you were back in the day? I don’t see why you couldn’t excuse any evil, though, really. You’re a subjectivist. Just change the standard when it’s convenient to do so.

I am sad that you can see morality in the death of a child and the rape of women, and see only immorality in the mistaken posting of an erroneous verse.

I’m still wondering why you’re asserting either is even found in this text. Or why you think we should care, being little Mr. Subjectivist. Is truth supposed to be objective now?

The fact that you find your offense in that, and not in the terrible acts depicted in the bible that I revealed, is telling of the indoctrination and dogmatic view that keeps you from the ability to think critically about such things.

I find the fact that your reading comprehension is so abysmal, and your studies so superficial, compelling reasons to reject any claims you have to offer, and find your ignorance of the Biblical text indicative of your dearth of experience with critical thinking. Further, your own stated worldview gives you no reason to even forward your objections in the first place. I find it telling that you can parrot all your little catchphrases about “immorality”, “indoctrination”, and “dogmatism” with a straight face. The sheer effrontery of such accusations in the face of your utter lack of epistemological, moral, and logical justification for any of your claims is staggering.

This is my last post with you, as you have revealed yourself to be too dogmatic to converse, and too proud of yourself to accept thanks when given.

Peace

I hate to burst your bubble, man, but a steady string of assertions, made with no attempt at support or argumentation, simply on personal authority, is definitional dogmatism – and exactly what you’ve presented here. Perhaps where you hang out, they call that “arguing your point” – but around people who actually do debates, that’s called a “logical fallacy”. ie: “Proof by assertion” – “Repeated assertion fallacy”, ad nauseum, Ipse-dixit, etc.

If you thought this post was about you – you’re only partly right. It’s partly about the lack of serious contemplation evidenced in your objections, and responses to challenges to them – but primarily, it’s an object lesson for anyone reading this. If you’re going to make a claim – please, please, please, have something – *anything* to substantiate it. Please give any sort of argument – whatsoever. Please bother to study what you’re objecting to. Please invest at least a modicum of effort into the due diligence required to offer an intelligible response. Thank you.

There are no Silver Bullets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First, this has been addressed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He has responded to your critiques.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact Sports

Last evening a brother pointed me to a comment by Emir Caner posted on Twitter back on the 12th of May. I have included it in the graphic so as to document that it is clearly from Emir Caner, and also to note his re-tweeting of Hussein Wario’s article “Desperate Muslims and Ignoramus Christians” as well. This demonstrates Emir Caner is in touch with Hussein Wario.

James White

HusseinWario: @emircaner Have you seen this? Were you in touch with me? http://aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=3933 I am speechless. Lord have mercy!!!
HusseinWario: @RazorsKiss Have you seen this? http://bit.ly/9ji69T What do you think of it? The part about me is all speculation (also tweeted to several others, including @hereiblog) as is his habit)
RazorsKiss: @HusseinWario Yes. As you typically do, you tweeted your opinion to Dr. Caner, who seems to have mis-cited both you and the source.

Conversation with @hereiblog:
hereiblog: @HusseinWario ALL speculation? Sir, I’m afraid I don’t see it. I’m also afraid our communication on this will only be hindered by twitter.
HusseinWario: @hereiblog I was never in touch with @emircaner when I wrote my article and for James White to claim that just based on a retwt is absurd.
HusseinWario: @hereiblog @emircaner was not following me.
hereiblog: @HusseinWario So you’re not willing to give @droakley1689 the benefit of the doubt of what he means by “in touch with”?
HusseinWario: @hereiblog I don’t know if someone proofreads @droakley1689 articles. That sentence destroys his whole argument.
heriblog: @HusseinWario If one sentence destroys the whole article what do years of numerous “misstatements” by @erguncaner destroy?
Hussein: @hereiblog I give him the benefit of the doubt that he is not out to hurt people.
hereiblog: @HusseinWario If you don’t give him the benefit of doubt aren’t you doing what you accuse him of?
HusseinWario: @hereiblog That is a good question.
HusseinWario: @hereiblog There are no sacred cows @droakley1689 @erguncaner @emircaner Christians bickering in public needs to stop. Not a good witness.

Conversation picks up with me.
HusseinWario: @RazorsKiss And I tweeted my opinion to you because it is what it.
RazorsKiss: @HusseinWario Okay. I was just saying that you contacted Dr. Caner about that issue – so you two were “in contact” – as we are now.
HusseinWario: @RazorsKiss The question is, was I in contact with @emircaner as @droakley1689 alleges in his article? I hope you know the answer to that.

Apparently, the problem seems to be that he has a different definition for “in contact” than everyone else is using. Retweeting is not contact, it seems. Nor is reading his blog “contact”. Nor is Hussein contacting Emir actually “contact”. (Or being ‘in touch’, as the article states) Obviously, he knows what “in touch” means – “a coming into or being in contact”. As Hussein contacted Dr. Emir Caner, they were thus “in contact”. They were “in touch”. The content of Emir’s following tweet clearly shows that he read Hussein’s blog – as did the retweeting of that url. Once again – in contact. Once again, Hussein “contacts” Emir to let him know about Dr. White’s latest post.

Now, unless being “in touch” has a special modifier that I didn’t see in the article’s context, Hussein has been “in touch” with Emir. Emir was “in touch” with Hussein – by retweeting his blog entry url, reading it, and responding to the content of that blog entry.

Honestly? Words have meaning. Don’t try to play with them, and don’t try to artificially insert an acontextual reading of them. You contacted Emir. He read your blog, retweeted it, and responded to what you drew his attention to. You were “in touch”. Exactly how you and I were “in touch” today, and previously. While it sounds pious to state that we shouldn’t “bicker” in public – doing exactly that while saying we shouldn’t is, as I mentioned in my last posts on this topic, inconsistent. Inconsistency is the sign of a failed argument.

CADRE Comments Dustup

No, it isn’t what you think.

Outspoken and antagonistic skeptic John Loftus locked horns with the outspoken and antagonistic Christian apologist Frank Walton in CADRE’s comment section. The irony?

The post was concerning whether atheists are persecuted or not, with BK condemning the hint of any such practice.

Neither person involved in the fracas were especially gracious. It looks as if there’s plenty of history between the two – but here’s a tip: Don’t let it spill into the comment section of other people’s blogs.

It’s not especially polite.

The Godbloggers

Are you a Christian? Do you blog?

Visit this site, and submit your info.

I think it’s an excellent idea. A Christian blogger’s annotated bibliography!

I’m listed! 😀

Interesting Searches

Is it moral to lie? – No. Next?

Do I really love my boyfriend quiz – if you have to take a quiz to find out… no.

How to tell your boyfriend it’s over – Must have failed the quiz.

Not to mention the ten trillion searches containing the word “kiss” – for obvious reasons.

The Aggregator – v4

Well, I’ve revamped the Aggregator.

I’ve removed a few posters who combined their blogs, added quite a few who have been asking for a while, and a few of my own choices, who didn’t.

There are now 34 members, in total. All should be shown on v1 of the Aggregator display feed, to your right. I’m still working on versions 2 and 3, and on transferring them to Vox, as well, as more people visit here than Vox even though I’d rather it be the other way around… but, c’est la vie.

Welcome to CMV warrior, from Christianity is Jewish; Michael Craven’s “Cultural Apologetics“; The bloggers from the Apologetics Resource Center, who have combined their former blogs into one group blog – which is now on the Aggregator. Welcome to Mr. Dawn Treader, who I should have added months ago, and is ALWAYS worth a read. Welcome to the folks from Eternal Revolution, who have been doing some very interesting things with the “God or Not” series of late. Welcome to Scott Pruett of Pensées, who only recently asked to be added – but who impressed me thoroughly. Welcome to Tom Wanchick from The Good Fight. Definitely a different take – which I like. Last, but not least, welcome to The A-Team. They need no introduction. They’re… the A-Team!

As for the steadfast members of the aggregator, who have been posting, while I haven’t… thanks. Sorry I haven’t been around much. Life, a new marriage, work, and hurricane recovery stuff have been burying me solid. I figured it was way past time to at least straighten this out, if I did nothing else.

Check out John Zuhone’s thoughts of late. Check out Tim Challies’ latest – which is brilliant, as always. The CADRE is always good for thought-provoking material. Or Vincent Cheung? Wow.

Really, if you haven’t surfed the Aggregator lately… just do it. The amount of excellent, mind-blowingly brilliant material on these member blogs really will stagger you, if you just go through the last ten posts by each person. Well, except for me. I’m being lazy. But, hey… read some of these folks. You’ll be glad you did.

Anyway – welcome, new members – and thanks, those of you who’ve been with us for a while.

Open Post Saturday: Catholicism

Something’s been bothering me lately.

I’ve been chatting in James White’s IRC channel on apologetics – and the main topic there seems to be Catholicism.

I had someone ask to be in the aggregator recently, yet I find that a large, large number of his posts concern the “apostasy” of Catholicism, and refer to Roman Catholics as “Romanists” and “Papists”. Now, I won’t say that I disagree that RC theology is erroneous, or even flat-out unbiblical (because, actually, I think it is) – but I asked a question in #prosapologian, James’ chat channel, and the answer took me aback, considerably.

The question was: “Does Roman Catholicism deny salvation to it’s adherents?”

The answer was: “Yes.”

So, I have a question for you, my readers.

If the Roman Catholic believes that Jesus Christ died for their sins, adheres to the Apostles’ Creed, and has accepted Christ as Savior and Lord – what doctrines within Catholicism, then, “deny” salvation to such a person?

I’m genuinely confused by this attitude. Do Calvinists really think that Roman Catholics who adhere to that doctrine are really not Christians at all?

I know Rand does, but we’re not talking about him…

The second question:

If some Protestants think that – do Roman Catholics believe that Protestants, because they believe in so many things that are pronounced “anathema”, are not Christians either?

If we really think that – then there’s a WHOLE lot less Christians out there than we like to admit, should we take that to it’s logical conclusion. For Calvinists, who insist (correctly) that Arminianism is a faith + works salvation – are they Christians? Does that deny them salvation?

For Catholics – is anyone outside the RCC a non-Christian?

We haven’t even reached the Orthodox churches yet.

Troubling subject, and it’s been weighing on my mind quite a bit. What do you think?

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