Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Ijaz Ahmad, Dan Wallace and James White's Phone Bills

Ijaz Ahmad and Dr James White agreed to debate in principle on the Dividing Line recently. It looks like the debate could be a really intense affair as Ijaz is a smart chap who will go toe to toe with his opponent and happens to be somebody who is capable of pressing his opponent with the tough questions. I'd enjoy listening to Ijaz debate why James believes the New Testament to be reliable - that is something I'd pay shillings to watch. OK, that's far too much salivating over a potential debate, here's Ijaz's response to some comments James White recently made on the DL about Ijaz Ahmad:

I’ve mentioned this before, and I’ll mention it again – James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries lacks decorum at all levels of intellectual integrity and responsibility. It is quite depressing to see an adult man, a leader of a religious community behave in a manner which is so disturbing, that I must ask if he is being serious. See, James is fond of attacking people viciously on his program, but refuses to let others speak and address his claims. For example, he openly criticizes Shaykh Deedat, a man who responded to the evangelical setting of the 80′s and 90′s. Yet demeans him based on the apologetics of the 21st century. It’s easy to attack a dead man, it takes real bravery and intelligence to attack a living man who uses today’s apologetics.

He criticized and attacked both Farhan and myself on his program, yet refused to allow either Farhan or me to address his claims, as both of us called in. What does that say about his integrity? Not very much. What is worse is that he thinks that this behaviour makes him, invincible. I’d like to quote James’ statement on the program, he said:
“But when you’re talking about scholarship that is on a level that you that you yourself cannot even begin to analyze it, you don’t have the language background, you don’t have the historical background, and you can with such ease dismiss such things and fashion….. doesn’t speak very well for you…..at all.”
James is fond of using the word consistency. I therefore ask James, are you being consistent in applying this statement to me? He is undoubtedly a hypocrite of the highest order for he himself who criticizes Muslim scholarship, when he himself cannot speak the Arabic language, nor does he understand the historical background of Islam nor is he proficient in any Islam science, let alone he is unable to even pronounce the word Qur’aan correctly – then his statement clearly applies to himself. A man who cannot pronounce the name of the very book he is arguing about, surely has no grounds to stand on when criticizing others. James was upset at me finding a lot of Dan Wallace’s excuses in the book Reinventing Jesus to be laughable, he claims it is one of the greatest apologetic works he has written. In that case, let me show you how lowly James’ standards are for historical proofs for Christianity, these are quotes from my edition of the text:


The scenario here is that Dan Wallace spends an entire chapter giving numerous excuses for why the early Christians refused to write any of the oral traditions down. So after an entire chapter, I’m still reading and thinking that no one can be this daft, it is obvious to any scholar of the early Church that they believed Christ would return in their generation, and herald the end of the world – thus there was no need to record any of Christ’s words. Finally, at the end of the chapter, in three conspicuous lines, Dan mentions the proper reason and it is quite a hilarious one at that. They were too zealous in preaching orally, that not a single man thought to write any of this down. Not one. That is absolutely an ingenious claim. That to me is  laughable, is James willing to declare that this is an academic and historically responsible claim? We’ll see….

The second quote which is highlighted continues:

So the two real reasons are finally declared, and what are they? The disciples began to die off and for some reason the early Christians 100% missed Christ’s message about his second coming, it went so badly over their heads, that within the first few decades of them recording nothing – because they were too busy as he claimed previously and then realising their saviour’s promise did not materialize, then began to record the oral traditions. If James finds these claims to be credible, that (a) the disciples were zealous missionary robots preaching orally to the extent they thought of writing down what God spoke to them was nonsensical, and (b) they – the entire early Church misinterpreted what he had told them, then I invite James to applaud and promote such “scholastic wisdom”.

At one point James mentions that the Christians who surround him, mocked and ill spoke me after our discussion on his program and boasted of this sinful behaviour. It is obvious that Christians will champion him and Muslims will champion me, but is James so daft and fond of trumping his own horn, that he was unable to see that he is guilty of what he claims of me? It is of no use for me to excuse him for being unable to quote a Greek passage, when he cannot excuse the mistakes of others. That is beyond arrogance and self conceitedness, that is absurdity beyond absurdity. You’ll find that James often claims that he won X debate or Y debate decisively, when Muslims make the same claim he demands that they let the audience decide. How is that consistent? So when he says that his crowd endorsed his arguments and did not endorse mines, is he not mature enough to realise that the Muslim crowd will do the same for me – discredit him and endorse my arguments? Perhaps he should take issue with the British Muslim speakers he has debated, all of whom endorse my appearance on his program.

To me, what however is most ignoble of James, are the two following acts which I cannot believe he subjected himself to. He made it a point to mention that he paid for the phone call that led to me appearing on his program. If James wants, I have no problem forwarding a check for that cost. Since he’s made such an issue out of it, I ask him to name the cost of the call and I’ll gladly pay it. What he fails to mention to his viewers however, is that I called multiple times during that night. The first of which I spent a few minutes with Richard, then I spent a significant amount of time on hold, which I myself paid for. Eventually on waiting for James to finish his soliloquy for roughly 10 – 15 minutes, my credit cut. It was agreed before hand that if such an issue should occur, Richard would call me back. If I had known that James was counting his pennies, I would have declined Richard’s offer and made other arrangements. So James, let me know the cost of the call, and I will gladly repay you for your kindness, that is no issue for me.

James then, also took offense to me decrying his use of a tabloid website. He is supposed to be a Church leader, a good Christian man, but instead he links to a tabloid website posting personal photos, stolen photos which then were used to speculate about sexual promiscuity. Is a respectable man, one who reads such perverse material and encourages defaming a man’s privacy? Out of dignity and respect, honour and civil duty, godliness, I refused to engage in discussing gossip, wild speculations and tabloid materials. Due to this, James claims that I made ridiculous, offensive and childish claims after last week’s program. I invite James to read from my only article after the program and quote for us what offensive, childish and ridiculous claims I made. With this, we have come full circle.

The only reason James would make such public statements, is in the event that the person in which he is attacking through ad hominem, deceit and verbal abuses, cannot respond to him on the same stage. For that, I ask, is that the behaviour of a man with dignity, honour and integrity?
Certainly not.

Article taken from Calling Christians:

Question for James White:

Jesus taught people to do the Will of God (according to Mark 3:35) in order to become his brothers, mothers or sisters. A Muslim means one who submits to the Will of God. Do you want to become a brother of Jesus? If yes, become a Muslim.Learn about Islam:


Yahya Snow said...

Note, to view the quotes in the two images, please click on each image.

Or alternatively go to




Anonymous said...

From Minoria:

I respect Wallace as a scholar but with respect to his dating of the gospels at a late date(70-95 AD),I am not convinced.I still have to find out why,really.

1.Luke-Acts ends before 62 AD,before the death of James,half-brother of Jesus.And with Paul still alive(he died in 64 AD)

2.The answer given is that Jesus says(in Mark,Matthew and Luke)that the Temple of Jerusalem would be destroyed(it happened in 70 AD).

3.Yet Jesus in Q (50 AD) mentions the destruction of the Temple:Luke 13:33-35/Matthew 23:37-39.

4.One can also argue that John was written before 70 AD(and not 90-95) since in John 5:2 he uses the PRESENT tense and says the 5-portico pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem is still standing.It was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.


Then,with the possible exception of Mark(written in 70 AD),the historical Luke,Matthew and John could never be the real authors.The attribution of those books to them by the church would be a hoax,a forgery.80-95 AD are dates when they would have already been dead,so a scam would have been created.I am certain Wallace is aware of the situation.

Anonymous said...

From Minoria:

And not just a forgery (if one accepts 70-95 AD for the 4 gospels)regarding those books,but also regarding 1 and 2 Peter,and 1 Timothy(where Paul cites the gospel of Luke and calls it Scripture).

Anonymous said...

an interesting discussion on acts

One might just as well ask why Acts would use the past tense to describe the specific period of time that Paul spent in his rented house in Rome if it was written at a time when Paul was still there. Why doesn't Acts 28:30 read "And Paul remained there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him" if it was written in 62 A.D.? The author must have been writing at a later time when he knew that Paul was no longer at that house even if he doesn't tell us where Paul went from there.

The reason I point that out—if the fall of Jerusalem and the Jewish Wars did not fit within that purpose, why would we expect it to be included?

jewish war no reason to mention it in acts , reasons:

5) Because the work is written TO Gentile Christians, FOR Gentile Christians, ABOUT Gentile Christians. The Jewish War was not their concern. (Except, at best, as an apocalyptic event, but as pointed out, Luke is already provided apologia for the delayed parousia.)

3) Why would Luke’s intended audience (Gentile Christians) care about the Jewish War, where Jews (not Christians) revolted for Jewish religious (not Christian religious) reasons as well as Jewish (not Christian) political reasons?

Anonymous said...

Additionally, at the time Acts was written (around 100 CE), Nero was long dead. The focus of Christianity would be on what the present Emperor’s position would be, if at all. Reminding Domitian or Trajan that Nero once persecuted Christians would neither help nor harm the Christian cause.

Since Mark “predicts” the fall of Jerusalem, and is undated—we consider it to be dated at or after 70 CE.

I was responding to your claim that “even if Paul really believed, when he wrote the letter to the Romans, that Christians would be safe from harm by the Roman government if they did the right thing, there is absolutely no reason to think that the author of Acts believed that, especially if he was writing after 70 AD.” (emphasis added) I was showing you that there is a perfectly logical reason to think that the author of Acts might have constructed his narrative with that idea in mind even if he wasn’t as certain about it as he might have liked to have been, and even if circumstances had change since Paul wrote his letter to the Romans. That reason is that powerless groups have often treated their oppressors as if they were benefactors for a variety of pragmatic reasons, e.g., the desire to avoid harsher treatment, the hope of winning acceptance, and the futility of resistance.

Standing alone, the fact that a book doesn’t mention an important event doesn’t prove that it was written before the event occurred. World War I was a very important event, but it isn’t mentioned in Gone with the Wind. That doesn’t give us any reason to doubt that Gone with the Wind was written after World War I, however, because Gone with the Wind is a story about the Civil War and we wouldn’t expect it to mention World War I.

luke makes the romans look good and the jews evil

To clarify, I think there would be multiple reasons why Luke would not mention the Neronian persecution. (Curious 1 Clement doesn’t mention it, despite listing “recent” martyrs. Also curious we know more about it from non-Christian sources than Christian sources. If Nero was so “infamous” for it, Christians other than Luke were quite quiet about it.)

Certainly one reason would be Luke’s penchant to paint Romans more positive toward Christianity than Jews. I recommend anyone actually READ Acts and see how many times the author blames “the Jews, the Jews, the Jews” whereas the Roman-established authorities are demonstrated as receptive to what the Christians were saying.

Anonymous said...

Anette Acker mentioned Paul and Silas put in jail by Roman-established authorities (they were.) She failed to mention who released them—the same authorities! Also that she had to pick out a singular story from the numerous ones regarding Jews harassing Paul.

Whether Luke’s motivation was to specifically avoid persecution…I don’t know. (For various reasons, I doubt it.) Much like Josephus painted his Flavian patrons in a positive light, it would certainly conform to the evidence Luke was painting Romans in a positive light in deference to his Patron—Theophilus. (The explanation for why Theophilus is called “Most excellent” in Luke, but the honorific is dropped as unnecessary in Acts.)

Luke avoided claiming the Romans persecuted Christians because he wanted Romans to look good—not to avoid possible future persecution.
I think my point was mostly that there would be nothing odd about a Christian writing positive things about the Romans even if persecution was an imminent threat or had recently occurred. That's the kind of thing that powerless and oppressed peoples have been forced to do to survive throughout history.

However, the persecution of Christians was on the whole fairly sporadic and scattered. I don't see anything to suggest that Luke was writing for a community where official persecution was prevalent so I wouldn't guess that it played a big part in his thinking either.

I think the distinction you may be missing is the one between a theme of a story and the theme of a story. A theme of Gone with the Wind is the cruel effect of war on civilians but that does not provide any reason for mentioning World War I because the theme of the story is the response of a particular southern civilian woman to hardship during the Civil War.

Anonymous said...

In Luke-Acts, the overall purpose of the story is to show how a Jewish Messiah became the savior of the gentiles. A theme within that story (I believe Dagoods used the phrase “underlying theme” and you used the phrase "a recurring theme") is “Jews Bad; Romans Good. Christianity on Roman’s side.” However just as Gone with the Wind doesn’t use wars later than the Civil War (even though the author knows about them) to demonstrate the effect of war on civilians, Luke-Acts doesn’t demonstrate the badness of the Jews with the later Roman-Jewish war (even though he knows about it). The author had already completed his overall purpose of showing how a Jewish Messiah became the gospel of salvation to the gentiles.

“Jews Bad; Romans Good. Christianity on Roman’s side” is a theme of Acts, but it is not the only theme of Acts or the predominant theme of Acts. It is a subsidiary theme. Even if the Roman-Jewish war might have supported this theme, it would be inconsistent with many elements of the story: (1) the event occurred eight years after the logical ending point of the story; (2) the event occurred more than 1300 miles away from the geographical point at which the story ended; (3) the event did not involve any of the characters that the story had been following. The fact that the event might support one particular subsidiary theme in the story wouldn’t warrant its inclusion.

Anonymous said...


We don’t know how Paul died. We don’t know when. How can we say the author of Acts would certainly include Paul’s death, if we don’t even know how and when he died? Would the author have included it if Paul died by shipwreck? By disease? By a knife fight in an alley? By being martyred? By other Christians?

The outcome of Paul’s trial is equally problematic. Did he win? Did he lose? Did it even happen? Again, if Paul died from disease prior to the trial, this makes perfect sense why it wasn’t listed. Or if he lost. We simply don’t know, and to speculate what happened adds silence upon silence, removing all but a feather’s weight of credibility.

(Sometimes people claim Luke wrote so much about the trial leading up to the ending and he wouldn’t have mentioned it at all if Paul lost. Not true—if Paul lost, that is all the MORE reason to give the long-winded substantiation. In my practice, at times, I ask the question, “Have you been convicted of a felony?” I receive two answers:

1) “No.”

2) “Let me tell you what happened….”

No one says outright, “Yes, I was convicted”—first they want to give an explanation. Like Luke does for Paul.)
The Jewish Revolt has no bearing on the missionary work, or the doctrinal continuity, and therefore would have no need to be included. The typical reason listed would be to paint the Jews in a bad light under the first purpose listed.

However, we have to look at Acts itself. It discusses Jews vs Christians as compared to Romans vs. Christians, painting the Romans in a positive, receptive light, and the Jews as the belligerent, confrontational type. The entire book deals with Christians interacting with others.

Anonymous said...

The Jewish revolt had to do with internal Jewish problems (conservative v more modernistic) and Jews vs. Romans. The Revolt had NOTHING to do with Christianity.

I have always been curious, to the people who claim Acts would have mentioned the Jewish Wars if it was written in 90 CE.


Where would Acts include the Revolt, and how would it work its way into the passage? The book ends in approximately 62 CE—is the apologist claiming the author would have extended the book on to include the events of 70 CE? Why?—there were no Christians involved! The recipients would state, “That is nice and all, but what does it have to do with us?” Absolutely nothing.

Anonymous said...

Is the apologist stating the authors would have included it a prophetic statement? Luke already did in his first book, copying Mark 13.

when was acts written

7. Luke stresses twice Barabbas was an insurrection; Mark only states it once.

This is (surprising at 7) probably the strongest argument. Luke appears to emphasize the Jews were willing to support insurrection rather than let the (innocent) Jesus go free. Yet again, Luke consistently paints the Jews unfavorably. Why isn’t this just another example of such?

8. Luke is explicit about the charge against Jesus.

Luke, in copying Mark and Matthew, deliberately “cleans up” any particular point he finds problematic. For example, realizing the Sanhedrin would never meet at night (specifically on Passover!), he “moves” the Sanhedrin hearing to the morning. (Luke 22:66) Not surprising, if Luke thought the accusation of “He calls himself the King of the Jews” was insufficient to add the accusation of insurrection and not paying taxes. Luke then lapses back to Markan language.

9: Pilate’s language.

Same answer as above.

10. Luke lists a trial before Herod as well.

Yeah. Again, Luke wants not only the Judean Religious leaders held accountable—he wants to make sure the Galilean political government is as well, so he makes up this story about Herod. No reason to find this historical.

1a. Why would Gentile Christians be concerned about when Jesus was establishing his kingdom?

This one is a bit frustrating. I have answered this so many times; I am baffled how it could possibly still be a question.

Because the parousia (return of Christ) was not happening as fast as Christians thought it would. They were starting to question it. So Luke creates (this account in Acts 1 is completely made up, of course) a solution by indicating Jesus was not precise to his coming. That they may have to wait another 100 years. (or 2000 as it turns out. And 10,000 more until somebody cottons on.)

2a. Luke says “The kingdom of God is within you” so the Romans realized they had nothing to fear from Christians.

Rome didn’t give a rat’s patooey about what a particular sect, religion, group or society claimed--it cared about results. Claiming some internal gnosis was part and parcel of Gnosticism--yet that didn’t mean Rome would say, “Oh, we won’t bother the Gnostics, because they are ‘internal.’’ Give me a break.

3a. The Roman Centurion says “This man was innocent.”

First, Luke completely misses Mark’s irony and biffs the statement. Second, as pointed out above, Luke is highlighting the guilt of the Jews, contrasting the innocence of the Roman officials involved. The poor executioner was only doing his job.

4a. The Romans would appreciate how the criminal on the cross said he would meet Jesus in his Kingdom, and since they were dying, the Romans would have seen the kingdom was not of this world.

This is what I mean by applying a 21st Century mindset to 1st Century culture. Do you really think the Romans were this precise in their theological/legal machinations to make such fine distinctions? Rome cared about RESULTS. Not doctrinal niceties. If you were causing trouble, they charged you, tortured you and executed you. They didn’t sit around with cigars, glasses of brandy, stroking their beards with, “I say, old chap. I think this criminal here must indicate the kingdom is in the after-life, so these insurrections at the heart of every riot should be let free with a ‘hip, hip’ and a ‘cherrie-o.’”

Farhan Qureshi said...

>> It is quite depressing to see an adult man, a leader of a religious community behave in a manner which is so disturbing, that I must ask if he is being serious. See, James is fond of attacking people viciously on his program, but refuses to let others speak and address his claims. <<

This right here, spot on. I didn't realize that White was like this until I actually tried watching some of his dividing line stuff ...