Thursday, 20 October 2016

A Question of James White's Consistency Re Prof. JR Daniel Kirk and Bart Ehrman

Is Prof. Bart Ehrman really having such a debilitating effect on Christian apologist James White's to the extent it's waning his desire for serious discernment and consistency? It appears so. Well, more plausibly, it's more like the assistance Prof. Bart Ehrman has given Muslims is really grinding on James' gears (cycling pun intended assuming White has a proper bicycle and not some babyish pushbike or tricycle!).
In his response to Ijaz Ahmad, James abandoned common sense, consistency and basic decency in trying to slander Bart Ehrman AGAIN. Oh yeah, White has a history of attacking Bart Ehrman - he did it out of resentment to paying Bart a load of cash just to be able to debate him and he did it before Bart publicly denounced him as an unpleasant fella  with a string of mean spirited comments towards Bart
So what was his motive this time round? Perhaps it was just an attempt to distance Muslims from Bart Ehrman. James claims Bart disrespects Islam based on him joking his life would be at risk if he wrote a critical book about the Quran. As highlighted in the video - James really should know better as Bart effectively told James the real reason why Bart doesn't write books about the Quran - he has no knowledge about the Quran.
A possible demonstration that Bart is living in James' mind rent-free; James condemns himself in that slander of Bart. James, only a matter of hours after his attack on Bart does exactly the SAME thing as Bart but not in a jocular manner. White was serious when he wrote this in response to Muslims using New Testament Professor JR Daniel Kirk's material:
Notice that Paul Williams identifies Kirk’s liberal meanderings as being “honest.” I wonder if he does the same for liberal interpreters of the Qur’an? I’d love to see him publicly post in defense of unorthodox, liberal interpretations of Islamic theology. Even he knows he would probably not be safe at Speaker’s Corner if he did so—not from danger from Christians, of course, but from his co-religionists!
And, I wonder if James will be consistent and call out all his wild-eyed buddies who do exactly the same thing - Shamoun and Wood come into mind. In fact, a non-Calvinist Christian missionary James recommends, Jay Smith did the same thing when Justin Brierley pushed him on why we don't get to see all his alleged converts to Islam. 
For James White, it appears consistency matters but only when it's not close to your neck of the woods.
Can we have a cheesy Dividing Line type of line? Sure, one of the reasons why I do what I do is because I'm looking for that consistent Christian, to this day I'm yet to find one, I will continue looking for that Christian.
Here's the video highlighting some of the problems with James' attack on Bart Ehrman 

If the video doesn't play please see here
So I've been asked to turn a response comment to James' blog post on the Muslim use of Prof. J.R. Daniel Kirk into a separate post. I will do it here - let's kill two birds with one stone.
James White recently blogged in response to this blog post on his website. I’m not too sure why he didn’t link to this blog page – perhaps he sees a lot of difficult arguments for the Trinitarian Christian coming from this side of the internet.
Anyways, for those interested White wasn’t that cantankerous or vituperative (same with his latest response to Ijaz – I think he’s learning that his tone and constant gnarling is off putting and does him no favours with serious minded folk) so no need for any of us to hide behind our duvets.
Here’s what he wrote:
I’ll be honest, it would be humorous, if it wasn’t so sad. Muslim apologists in general are fascinated by apostates. You see it on the Deen Show all the time, where some kid who was once a summer intern at a church is touted as a “former Christian minister” and “expert on Christian theology.” Bart Ehrman, apostate par-excellence, is their favorite, of course, since he has embraced his role as critic-in-chief of the New Testament. And I told everyone that Daniel J. Kirk, who became known primarily for his coming out in support of the profanation of marriage (I would think even the Muslims would cringe at his arguments there, but, of course, that would require them to actually be concerned about consistency, and only a small handful of them are) and the embracing of LGBTQRSTUV etc. movements as “the move of the Spirit in our day.” Part and parcel of Kirk’s apostasy is his abandonment of the faith in regards to the person of Jesus, and, of course, since Islam likewise denies the Bible’s teaching on the subject, well, Kirk, despite the glaring conflict in worldviews he brings to the NT text, is now one of their favorites. I predicted this, of course, and obligingly, Yahya Snow has provided the evidence. Notice that Paul Williams identifies Kirk’s liberal meanderings as being “honest.” I wonder if he does the same for liberal interpreters of the Qur’an? I’d love to see him publicly post in defense of unorthodox, liberal interpretations of Islamic theology. Even he knows he would probably not be safe at Speaker’s Corner if he did so—not from danger from Christians, of course, but from his co-religionists! But note their praise: “He should be commended for being bold enough to make the admission the NT is not reliable and is contradictory. He joins Bart Ehrman and Mike Licona in teaching it is contradictory.” Well, there is a confluence of names you never expected to see! Kirk, Ehrman, and Licona. But I have said for a very long time, your bibliology is a key dividing line, and Licona only has himself to blame for being listed in the group.
Of course, I really doubt almost any of our Muslims friends have ever even heard of, let alone read, Machen’s Christianity and Liberalism. If they would, they would realize they are all excited about the news from…long, long ago.
A few thoughts on this,there’s a fascination with ex-Christians WHO have become MUSLIMS on the Deen Show. James misses that out – the Deen Show really couldn’t care to feature Christian apostates who have become Mormons or Atheists. James misses that crucial dividing line and moves across that line into territory that is unfair and misrepresenting. In fact White’s colleagues and friends regularly feature and use material from wild-eyed ex-Muslims who aren’t even Christians! Not to mention the use of Nabeel Qureshi – styling him as a former Muslim. It seems as though the fascination with apostates is closer to White’s home than the home of the Deen Show or anybody on this side of the internet (the cool side)
As for James’ mentioning of Kirk’s views on gay marriage – it’s irrelevant. Muslims are leaning on Kirk's NT scholarship and research here - not about his views on gay marriage. Note my comment directed to our Christian friend Ken. White, if consistent with this line of thinking, would have to shout from the roof top to all the Christian apologists around him who reject the idea of Limited Atonement (some whom James promotes or is friendly with like Jay Smith) “STOP CITING ME” and “STOP USING MY BOOKS” because you don’t agree with my views in other areas. James has not done that to the Pfander Films crowd.
Consistency matters. But when it will alienate all your buddies and a bulk of your consumer base it doesn't matter as much on the James White bike.
James also uses the old "oh you're using that guy (Prof. Kirk) but you won't use liberals talking about the Quran" argument. Erm, is Kirk coming out with wild theories that are being used by Muslims concerning the Bible?  All he said was the NT is contradictory and unreliable. Is that really such a liberal statement? I don't think so. Origen believed the NT contained errors too! Prof. Richard Baukham believes the sermon on the mount is not historical - is he a liberal too? Prof. William Lane Craig has issues with the biggest resurrection story in the Gospels? Is he a liberal? What about Prof. Larry Hurtado who as for doesn't seem to believe the New Testament sayings can be reliably attributed to Jesus?
So James is guilty of a fallacy - he's comparing apples and oranges. But again, James has another problem as James does promote missionaries like Jay Smith and David Wood who do promote Dan Gibson's wild-eyed revisionist material.
What's that you're mumbling dear reader? You've never heard James rebuke such antics and you're wondering why he promotes such men? Well, it's because consistency gets swept under the rug when it may affect one of James' buddies and his consumer base.
Consistency matters when James wants it to matter. He's consistent on that front.
White suggests Kirk is an apostate – what is an apostate in Christianity? I’ve seen Nick Peters (whose co-authored book on inerrancy I’ve read) state Christians can still be Christians even if they reject whole books in the NT. Is that guy more Christian than Kirk? Folk like Dr Gagnon (IIRC) believe Christians have compromised on the teaching that it is a sin to re-marry after divorce – what of the Christians who reject this because of modern day society, are they Christians? What of the other gay marriage supporting churches - the Anglican church I observe at is such – are they all apostates too? What about the 70% of Christians who believe Jesus was created by God, are they Christian? What about folk like David Wood who openly say parts of the OT troubles them and get into their wife’s undies, are they Christian?  What about folk who say one doesn’t have to believe in a Trinity doctrine to be a Christian (no early Christian had an earthly clue what it was but hey this is the tradition the evangelicals in America try to usher folk towards)
Consistency and Theology matter but, James, PLEASE don't insult the intelligence of your audience by setting up impractical standards of consistency: one can use Kirk in some regard and disagree with him on other issues as long as it is done with intellectual honesty.
But again, to stress who cares if Dr Kirk has such views as a Christian whilst using his scholarship in other areas. I use Wayne Grudem, Bruce Ware, FF Bruce, Tuggy, Edgar G Foster, Hurtado, Calvin, Michael Holmes and Bart Ehrman AND James White (yep, I love using a bit of White to show how some of the Islamophobes around White are inconsistent or just plainly making stuff up) but I don’t think hold on, these guys don’t agree with all my views so I can't use them. It would be a strange way to do scholarship to only use folk who agree with you – White doesn’t even do this!
Consistency matters but let’s not take it to an absurd, impractical and extreme level, James. That's just insulting the intelligence of your audience (mind you, given some of the James White Onlyists I've come across - you've got a few blunt tools in that tool box bro!)
James is right in that it is an odd bunching – Licona (who Cross Examined,org’s Jonathan McLatchie and AM’s David Wood use), Kirk, and Ehrman. And a public statement from Licona will be of use in understanding his views but hasn’t he made enough public statements for us to understand where he is at? He’s at inconsistency and confused central right now. How can Licona even deign to look at anybody with a straight face while propagating his minimal facts theory expecting folk to become believers in the Trinity doctrine and the Bible. If he was serious about consistency in methodology he would know the serious historical methodology he claims to be using sincerely would leave him to reject the Bible as a group of books chosen without any authority (unless you call Church tradition authority, I don’t!) by Christians who took it upon themselves to decide (and disagree with each other on) on what constituted a canon. He would also have to reject the Trinity idea as historically that doctrine is clearly a development where even after the Council of Nicea Christians did not know what to believe about the Holy Spirit as late as 380 CE as per Gregory of Nazianzus’ statement. Not to mention the extremely useful comments coming from Prof. William Lane Craig on the development of the Trinity doctrine – I hope to showcase those. In private discussion with a colleague I’ve noticed I’m not the only one who is aware of such.
Let’s wait for his new book to come out. I think Licona will really open the door for Christians to start seeing a new perspective which God willing will point them to the conclusion Islam is right; the Bilbe is unreliable and the Trinity doctrine never came from Jesus p. I’ve written some thoughts on Mike’s new book – pre-release:
I’ve only really got into discussions about Christianity because I saw White’s buddies literally lying or being wildly ignorant and reckless when talking about my faith: Shamoun, Wood, Smith, Beth Grove, Nabeel Qureshi (even White himself has made reckless comments which he has had to be corrected on by myself and others). For years I just refuted polemics against my faith – after I thought the critics were just getting repetitive and more folk were at the helm of dealing with polemics against Islam I thought I’d dabble with looking into their faith. I know a colleague has recently made similar remarks and I’d imagine it is the same for many Muslims. All this because Christians did not have a huddle to say hey guys we need to be more careful in talking about Muslims and Islam – let’s stop the lies, inconsistencies and distortions.
Theology and consistency matter.
May God guide us all.

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