Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pope Says Condoms Allowable in Some Situations

As somebody who has been hearing denunciations of contraceptive use coming from priests and bishops for many years, this comes as major news to me. I wonder how this will play out in the years to come.

Pope Benedict XVI said in comments released Saturday that the use of condoms may be morally acceptable in some cases to prevent the spread of AIDS, possibly foreshadowing a shift in the Roman Catholic Church's stance on the issue.

The pope's remarks outline an exception to the church's long-held policy against the use of artificial contraception, including condoms.

The pontiff, speaking to the author of a book that will be published next week, cited the example of a prostitute.

"There could be single cases that can be justified, for instance when a prostitute uses a condom, and this can be a first step towards a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, to develop again the awareness of the fact that not all is allowed and that one cannot do everything one wants," Benedict said.

Read the rest of the news article here:

Friday, November 19, 2010

More Bad Anti-Calvinist Arguments

I don't know about you guys, but I think videos like this just refute themselves.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Islam and Dogs

Because a close friend of mine who is an Afghani Muslim brought up the topic of why she's not allowed to own a puppy (despite really wanting one), I thought I'd do some research on what the hadiths have to say on the matter (since the Qur'an appears to be silent on this issue.) This is what I have been able to dig up:

1) Killing Dogs

Narated By 'Abdullah bin 'Umar : Allah's Apostle ordered that the dogs should be killed.
(Sahih Bukhari Volume 004, Book 054, Hadith Number 540)

Narated By Abdullah ibn Mughaffal : The Prophet (pbuh) said: Were dogs not a species of creature I should command that they all be killed; but kill every pure black one.
(Abu Dawud Book 010, Hadith Number 2839)

A hadith like this has been narrated from Shu'ba with the same chain of transmitters except for the fact that in the hadith transmitted by Yahya those words are: "He (the Holy Prophet) gave concession in the case of the dog for looking after the herd, for hunting and for watching the cultivated land," and there is no mention of this addition (i.e. concession in case of watching the cultivated lands) except in the hadith transmitted by Yahya.
(Sahih Muslim Book 002, Hadith Number 0552)

Abu Zubair heard Jabir b. 'Abdullah (Allah be pleased with him) saying: Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) ordered us to kill dogs, and we carried out this order so much so that we also kill the dog coming with a woman from the desert. Then Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) forbade their killing. He (the Holy Prophet further) said: It is your duty the jet-black (dog) having two spots (on the eyes), for it is a devil.
(Sahih Muslim Book 010, Hadith Number 3813)

Ibn Mughaffal reported: Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) ordered the killing of dogs and then said: what is the trouble with them (the people of Medina)? How dogs are nuisance to them (the citizens of Medina)? He then permitted keeping of dogs for hunting and (the protection of) herds. In the hadith transmitted on the authority of Yahya, he (the Holy Prophet) permitted the keeping of dogs for (the protection of) herds, for hunting and (the protection of) cultivated land.
(Sahih Muslim Book 010, Hadith Number 3814)

Maimuna reported that one morning Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) was silent with grief. Maimuna said: Allah's Messenger, I find a change in your mood today. Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Gabriel had promised me that he would meet me tonight, but he did not meet me. By Allah, he never broke his promises, and Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) spent the day in this sad (mood). Then it occurred to him that there had been a puppy under their cot. He commanded and it was turned out. He then took some water in his hand and sprinkled it at that place. When it was evening Gabriel met him and he said to him: you promised me that you would meet me the previous night. He said: Yes, but we do not enter a house in which there is a dog or a picture. Then on that very morning he commanded the killing of the dogs until he announced that the dog kept for the orchards should also be killed, but he spared the dog meant for the protection of extensive fields (or big gardens).
(Sahih Muslim Book 024, Hadith Number 5248.)

2) Dogs annulling prayer

Narated By 'Aisha : The things which annul the prayers were mentioned before me. They said, "Prayer is annulled by a dog, a donkey and a woman (if they pass in front of the praying people)." I said, "You have made us (i.e. women) dogs. I saw the Prophet praying while I used to lie in my bed between him and the Qibla. Whenever I was in need of something, I would slip away. for I disliked to face him."
(Sahih Bukhari Volume 001, Book 009, Hadith Number 490)

Abu Dharr reported: The Messenger of 'Allah (may peace be upon him) said: When any one of you stands for prayer and there is a thing before him equal to the back of the saddle that covers him and in case there is not before him (a thing) equal to the back of the saddle, his prayer would be cut off by (passing of an) ass, woman, and black Dog. I said: O Abu Dharr, what feature is there in a black dog which distinguish it from the red dog and the yellow dog? He said: O, son of my brother, I asked the Messenger of Allah(may peace be upon him) as you are asking me, and he said: The black dog is a devil.
(Sahih Muslim Book 004, Hadith Number 1032)

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: A woman, an ass and a dog disrupt the prayer, but something like the back of a saddle guards against that.
(Sahih Muslim Book 004, Hadith Number 1034)

3) Loss of reward for keeping dogs

Ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: He who keeps a dog other than that meant for watching the herd or for hunting loses every day out of his deeds equal to two qirat.
(Sahih Muslim Book 010, Hadith Number 3815)

Narated By Abdullah ibn Abbas : Ikrimah reported on the authority of Ibn Abbas, saying: I think the Apostle of Allah (pbuh) said: When one of you prays without a sutrah, a dog, an ass, a pig, a Jew, a Magian, and a woman cut off his prayer, but it will suffice if they pass in front of him at a distance of over a stone's throw.
(Abu Dawud Book 002, Hadith Number 0704)

Narated By Abu Huraira : Allah's Apostle said, "Whoever keeps a dog, one Qirat of the reward of his good deeds is deducted daily, unless the dog is used for guarding a farm or cattle." Abu Huraira (in another narration) said from the Prophet, "unless it is used for guarding sheep or farms, or for hunting." Narrated Abu Hazim from Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "A dog for guarding cattle or for hunting."
(Sahih Bukhari Volume 003, Book 039, Hadith Number 515)

Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: He who attends the funeral till the prayer is offered for (the dead), for him is the reward of one qirat, and he who attends (and stays) till he is buried, for him is the reward of two qirats. It was said: What are the qirats? He said: They are equivalent to two huge mountains. Two other narrators added: Ibn 'Umar used to pray and then depart (without waiting for the burial of the dead). When the tradition of Abu Huraira reached him, he said: "We have lost many qirats."
(Sahih Muslim Book 004, Hadith Number 2062)

4) Angels stopping the visitation of angels

Narated By Abu Talha : I heard Allah's Apostle saying; "Angels (of Mercy) do not enter a house wherein there is a dog or a picture of a living creature (a human being or an animal)."
(Sahih Bukhari Volume 004, Book 054, Hadith Number 448)

Narated By Salim's father : Once Gabriel promised the Prophet (that he would visit him, but Gabriel did not come) and later on he said, "We, angels, do not enter a house which contains a picture or a dog."
(Sahih Bukhari Volume 004, Book 054, Hadith Number 450)

Narrated By Salim's father : Once Gabriel promised to visit the Prophet but he delayed and the Prophet got worried about that. At last he came out and found Gabriel and complained to him of his grief (for his delay). Gabriel said to him, "We do not enter a place in which there is a picture or a dog."
(Sahih Bukhari Volume 007, Book 072, Hadith Number 843)

Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Angels do not enter the house in which there are portrayals or pictures.
(Sahih Muslim Book 024, Hadith Number 5276)

5) Sale of dogs

Narated By 'Aun bin Abu Juhaifa : My father bought a slave who practiced the profession of cupping. (My father broke the slave's instruments of cupping). I asked my father why he had done so. He replied, "The Prophet forbade the acceptance of the price of a dog or blood, and also forbade the profession of tattooing, getting tattooed and receiving or giving Riba, (usury), and cursed the picture-makers."
(Sahih Bukhari Volume 003, Book 034, Hadith Number 299)

Narated By Abu Masud Al-Ansari : Allah's Apostle regarded illegal the price of a dog, the earnings of a prostitute, and the charges taken by a soothsayer.
(Sahih Bukhari Volume 003, Book 036, Hadith Number 482)

Aba Mas'ud al-Ansari (Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) forbade the charging of price of the dog, and earnings of a prostitute and sweets offered to a kahin.
(Sahih Muslim Book 010, Hadith Number 3803)

More information, see Silas' analysis of these passages in his article on Answering Islam:

Note: See also Sahih Muslim 2:557-559

Monday, October 25, 2010

Predestination Versus Fatalism

By Lorraine Boettner

Much misunderstanding arises through confusing the Christian Doctrine of Predestination with the heathen doctrine of Fatalism. There is, in reality, only one point of agreement between the two, which is, that both assume the absolute certainty of all future events. The essential difference between them is that Fatalism has no place for a personal God. Predestination holds that events come to pass because an infinitely wise, powerful, and holy God has so appointed them. Fatalism holds that all events come to pass through the working of a blind, unintelligent, impersonal, non-moral force which cannot be distinguished from physical necessity, and which carries us helplessly within its grasp as mighty river carries a piece of wood.

Predestination teaches that from eternity God has had one unified plan or purpose which He is bringing to perfection through this world order of events. It holds that all of His decrees are rational determinations founded on sufficient reason, and that He has fixed one great goal "toward which the whole creation moves." Predestination holds that the ends designed in this plan are first, the glory of God; and second, the good of His people. On the other hand Fatalism excludes the idea of final causes. It snatches the reins of universal empire from the hands of infinite wisdom and love, and gives them into the hands of a blind necessity. It attributes the course of nature and the experiences of mankind to an unknown, irresistible force, against which it is vain to struggle and childish to repine.

According to the doctrine of Predestination the freedom and responsibility of man are fully preserved. In the midst of certainty God has ordained human liberty. But Fatalism allows no power of choice, no self-determination. It makes the acts of man to be as utterly beyond his control as are the laws of nature. Fatalism, with its idea of irresistable, impersonal, abstract power, has no room for moral ideas, while Predestination makes these the rule of action for God and man. Fatalism has no place for and offers no incentives to religion, love, mercy, holiness, justice, or wisdom, while Predestination gives these the strongest conceivable basis. And lastly, Fatalism leads to skepticism and despair, while Predestination sets forth the glories of God and of His kingdom in all their splendor and gives an assurance which nothing can shake.

Predestination therefore differs from Fatalism as much as the acts of a man differ from those of a machine, or as much as the unfailing love of the heavenly Father differs from the force of gravitation. "It reveals to us," says Smith, "the glorious truth that our lives and our sensitive hearts are held, not in the iron cog-wheels of a vast and pitiless Fate, nor in the whirling loom of a crazy Chance, but in the almighty hands of an infinitely good and wise God."

Calvin emphatically repudiated the charge that his doctrine was Fatalism. "Fate," says he, "is a term given by the Stoics to their doctrine of necessity, which they had formed out of a labyrinth of contradictory reasonings; a doctrine calculated to call God Himself to order, and to set Him laws whereby to work. Predestination I define to be, according to the Holy Scriptures, that free and unfettered counsel of God by which He rules all mankind, and all men and things, and also all parts and particles of the world by His infinite wisdom and incomprehensible justice." And again, ". . . had you but been willing to look into my books, you would have been convinced at once how offensive to me is the profane term fate: nay, you would have learned that this same abhorrent term was cast in the teeth of Augustine by his opponents."

Luther says that the doctrine of Fatalism among the heathen is a proof that "the knowledge of Predestination and of the prescience of God, was no less left in the world than the notion of divinity itself." In the history of philosophy Materialism has proven itself essentially fatalistic. Pantheism also has been strongly tinged with it.

No man can be a consistent fatalist. For to be consistent he would have to reason something like this: "If I am to die today, it will do me no good to eat, for I shall die anyway. Nor do I need to eat if I am to live many years yet, for I shall live anyway. Therefore I will not eat." Needless to say, if God has foreordained that a man shall live, He has also foreordained that he shall be kept from the suicidal folly of refusing to eat.

"This doctrine," says Hamilton, "is only superficially like the pagan 'fate.' The Christian is in the hands not of a cold, immutable determinism, but of a warm, loving heavenly Father, who loved us and gave His Son to die for us on Calvary! The Christian knows that 'all things work together for good to them that love God, even to them that are called according to His purpose.' The Christian can trust God because he knows He is all-wise, loving, just and holy. He sees the end from the beginning, so that there is no reason to become panicky when things seem to be going against us."

Hence, only a person who has not examined this doctrine of Predestination, or one who is maliciously inclined, will rashly charge that it is Fatalism. There is no excuse for anyone making this mistake who knows what Predestination is and what Fatalism is.

Since the universe is one systematized unit we must choose between Fatalism, which ultimately does away with mind and purpose, and this biblical doctrine of Predestination, which holds that God created all things, that His providence extends to all His works, and that while free Himself He has also provided that we shall be free within the limits of our natures. Instead of our doctrine of Predestination being the same with the heathen doctrine of Fatalism, it is its absolute opposite and only alternative.

Source
  • Boettner, Lorraine. The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination. Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 2004. pp. 130-131.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Reflection on Grace

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
(Job 1:12-13)

God is great. God is good. He is faithful to provide for His children. Sometimes it’s so easy to forget that every good thing that we have is “from above, coming down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17). Even when it we don’t seem to be getting what we want, it’s worth remembering that we still have some blessings from God. If you feel tempted to think that He has forgotten you in your affliction, just remember that the very breath with which you pour out your complaints to Him is granted by Him. He hasn’t forgotten you, but you may well have forgotten His goodness to you.

That is one of the things that I’ve learned to wrestle with. Even though God has given me innumerable blessings that I could never in a million years deserve, sometimes He chooses to withhold something that I fervently desire, and He is perfectly just in doing so. God isn’t obligated to give me anything, for His thoughts are higher than my thoughts and His ways than my ways (Isaiah 55:8-9), and those who think they can just name and claim whatever they want from Him have completely missed the point of God’s grace. Why should He give any of us health or wealth or even the most basic of our needs? The fact that He chooses to do so despite our unworthiness is a testimony to His grace and mercy, [f]or he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). I think Saint Augustine said it best when he wrote in his Confessions, “Grant what you command, and command what you will” (Book 10, ch. 28).

The past few months have been quite taxing, but I’m not complaining. He is passing me through the fire, so that I would be purified and refined like silver and gold (Malachi 3:3). And I know that even if all these things pass away from my grasp, I still have Him, and that is sufficient:

When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
I was brutish and ignorant;
I was like a beast toward you.
Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
(Psalm 73:25-26)

For those of us who trust in Christ, this is the promise that is given to us: That even though there will be times when He appears to be far from us, He is actually there in the fire along with us, just as He was in the fire with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And whatever be the case, these are only temporary trials, which shall soon be done away with when we are received up into glory. “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17).

Closing prayer (from the Valley of Vision):

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly,
Thou has brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory.

Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from
deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter
Thy stars shine;

Let me find Thy light in my darkness,
Thy life in my death,
Thy joy in my sorrow,
Thy grace in my sin,
Thy riches in my poverty
Thy glory in my valley.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

A.W. Pink and the Gap Theory

As I was reading Arthur W. Pink's The Sovereignty of God (which I am borrowing from a library), I came upon an interesting section where Pink discusses the work of the Holy Spirit in regenerating an individual. He likens it to the Holy Spirit's work in renewing the desolate world in Genesis 1. The interesting part about it is that Pink here argues for a Gap[1] interpretation of Genesis, which he then uses as a springboard for his discussion on the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit. In the fourth chapter of his book, he writes,

A beautiful type of the operations of the Holy Spirit antecedent to the sinner's "belief of the truth", is found in the first chapter of Genesis. We read in verse 2, "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep." The original Hebrew here might be literally rendered thus: "And the earth had become a desolate ruin, and darkness was upon the face of the deep." In "the beginning" the earth was not created in the condition described in verse 2. Between the first two verses of Genesis 1 some awful catastrophe had occurredpossibly the fall of Satanand, as the consequence, the earth had been blasted and blighted, and had become a "desolate ruin", lying beneath a pall of "darkness." Such also is the history of man. Today, man is not in the condition in which he left the hands of his Creator: an awful catastrophe has happened, and now man is a "desolate ruin" and in total "darkness" concerning spiritual things. Next we read in Genesis 1 how God refashioned the ruined earth and created new things to inhabit it. First we read, "And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." Next we are told, "And God said, Let there be light; and there was light." The order is the same in the new creation: there is first the action of the Spirit, and then the Word of God giving light. Before the Word found entrance into the scene of desolation and darkness, bringing with it the light, the Spirit of God "moved." So it is in the new creation. "The entrance of Thy words giveth light" (Ps. 119:130), but before it can enter the darkened human heart the Spirit of God must operate upon it.[2]

As a friend of mine pointed out, it is noteworthy that the prophet Jeremiah speaks of the restoration of Israel using the language of creation: "I looked on the earth, and behold, it was formless and void; And to the heavens, and they had no light" (Jeremiah 4:23). How well this interpretation holds up, however, I will leave for the reader to decide.[3]

End Notes
  1. The gap theory postulates that an indefinite span of time exists between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. This time span is usually considered to be quite large (millions of years) and is also reputed to encompass the so-called “geologic ages.” Proponents of the gap theory also postulate that a cataclysmic judgment was pronounced upon the earth during this period as the result of the fall of Lucifer (Satan) and that the ensuing verses of Genesis chapter 1 describe a re-creation or reforming of the earth from a chaotic state and not an initial creative effort on the part of God. (Sofield, Jack C. The Gap Theory of Genesis Chapter One. Bible.org. <http://bible.org/article/gap-theory-genesis-chapter-one>.)
  2. Pink, Arthur Walkington. The Sovereignty of God (Sixth Edition). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1959 (repr. 1975) pp. 90-91.
  3. For a good book critiquing the Gap theory, I would recommend Weston W. Fields' Unformed and Unfilled: A Critique of the Gap Theory. New Leaf Publishing Group, 2005.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The Spirituality of Tertullian

This is a short summary of the spirituality of Tertullian that I had to write based on a lecture on early Christian spirituality delivered by David Robinson from Westminster Chapel (the one in Toronto, not the one in London). I submitted this to Dr. Michael Haykin yesterday.

Tertullian is widely considered to be one of the earliest of the Latin church fathers. He comes from Carthage, North Africa. This region was originally settled by the Phoenicians (who came to be known as the Punics), and has been under Roman occupation since the second century B. C., towards the end of the Punic Wars, and was resettled during the reign of Caesar Augustus. Christian missionaries arrived in Carthage sometime around the second century from either Rome or Asia Minor (though more likely the latter, since Tertullian appears more Antiochene in his thinking), and it was witnessing the martyrdom of these early Christians that drove Tertullian to convert to Christianity.

This early church father has received a bad reputation from many scholars who are critical of his writings and the way he expresses himself. He is regarded as being sarcastic, anti-philosophical and misogynistic. The fact that he converted from orthodox Christianity to Montanism is also used as grounds to criticize him. However, once one is able to get past these criticisms, one can see a lot of merit in his character. He is very gospel-centered, is passionate about upholding the truth, is a deep thinker and a humble man (who considers himself to be “someone of no rank”). He is also a good rhetorician and can write in both Greek and Latin (although it is only his Latin writings that have survived). He is also highly influenced by Irenaeus of Lyons.

Tertullian’s writings can be classified into three main categories: Apologetics, refutation of heresy, and doctrinal/moral instruction. All of these writings were produced as a response to a specific movement or event that took place during his lifetime. For example, his most famous work was a five-volume refutation of the heretic Marcion. This work is considered to be a classic example of Tertullian’s writing, and demonstrates his wittiness and sharp rhetorical skills when addressing important issues. Tertullian refutes Marcion by taking the latter’s own canon and demonstrating that its contents support orthodox Christianity rather than Marcionite dualism.

In his writings, Tertullian displays the profundity of his thought. For example, he saw scripture as the Vox Domini (voice of God), was a very avid proponent of Old Testament typology (for example, if it had anything to do with wood, he connected it to the cross), and considered the Old Testament to be full of sacramenta (mysteries). His theology was quite word-centered; he believed that the Bible was at the centre of the life of the Church. He also argued that the Bible was the unique property of the Church, and only “holy persons” (whom he most likely would have equated to prophetic figures, not the bishops and presbyters). He is an important witness when it comes to the canon of scripture, since he quotes virtually all of the New Testament books except for the second and third epistles of John. He argued against Roman persecution, stating that it only caused more people (such as himself) to convert to Christianity. He demonstrated the superiority of Christianity over the pagan religious systems, demonstrating for example, the unique simplicity of baptism over and against the pomp of the pagan rituals. His treatises on moral instruction set the pace for many Christian writers to come after him. A prominent example is his writing on Patience, which was the first treatise of its kind in Christian literature, and was picked up in the writings of later church fathers such as Augustine of Hippo. Perhaps most significantly, he was also the first to use the term Trinitas to refer to the nature of the Godhead, describing God as being one substantia but three personae.

It is generally believed that Tertullian had converted from orthodox Christianity to “The New Prophecy”(today known as Montanism) around 206 or 207 A. D., although some have suggested that he merely had sympathies for the sect, and did not actually become a member of them. This sect, having been founded during the early 170s in Asia Minor by Montanus and the two “prophetesses” Prisca and Maxmilla, was very charismatic (putting much emphasis on prophecy and ecstatic utterances), disregarded ecclesiastical authorities, and put high value on martyrdom and asceticism (hence the description of Montanism as the “Church of the Martyrs”). Tertullian’s adherence to Montanist distinctives is seen most clearly in his ecclesiology; for him, the Church was God’s pure bride, and it did not have room in it for sinners. This is seen in his arguments against the admission of adulterers and fornicators back into the fellowship of the Church after they have committed grievous sin. This rigorist stance was common among many North African Christians, as seen not only in Tertullian, but also in later North African Christians such as Cyprian of Carthage and the Donatist movement. Also, for Tertullian, the Church wasdefined by the presence of the Holy Spirit, and criticized the mainstream Church for neglecting the gifts of the Spirit. He demonstrates this in his treatise against a Modalist from Rome by the name of Praxeas. In it, he accused the latter of “crucifying the father and putting to flight the paraclete.” Finally, he regarded the Church as “the people who anticipate the Kingdom,” which points to his inaugurated eschatology.

In summary, Tertullian can be said to be one of the most interesting characters of the Christian period. He is very witty in his writings, is very forceful in making his points and argues quite well, even when it turns out upon closer examination that his views are wrong. Through the influence of his writings, he set the pace for future Latin church fathers (especially North African ones) to come.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Anti-Missionaries Say the Darndest Things

So recently, I wrote a series of articles rebutting the contents of a website called Crusade Watch. The articles themselves are in The Aristophrenium (see here for part 1, part 2 and part 3), though I wanted to point out how hilariously crazy and/or funny the claims being made in this site are. In particular, they have a page called "Why Oppose Evangelism" which contains many of the wackiest anti-missionary claims I have ever seen. Here are some examples (emphases mine):

Evangelical fudamentalism breeds intolerance. This intolerance effects even the families as fundamentalist Christians develop the mentality of 'I am right; you are wrong'. This mentality seems to be reason for higher divorce rates among Christians.

Some great thinkers [who?] consider the practice of evangelism equivalent to Satanism.

Many prominent Christians [who?] feel that Western Evangelism is a commercial empire just like any other business. The evangelicals exploit people's soft corner for religion and buy into their over-priced and often useless products. Examples are Pat Robertson's and Benny Hinn's businesses. [Because everybody knows that Robertson and Hinn are representatives of Evangelicalism as a whole.]

Most of the missionaries and Christian groups claim that Christianity and white race [When all else fails, play the race card.] have the highest moral values whereas all other religions and cultures are corrupt.

USA, which produced the world's top inventions and scientists is under siege due to Christian fundamentalism. These fundamentalists are opposed to scientific development because most of the scientific findings contradict Bible. Example: Bible states that Sun rotates around Earth and Earth is flat. Galileo who questioned this theory was put under house arrest and denied medical services he request. American Christian fundamentalists are against research and science on evolution as they believe that Adam & Eve created the world. [LOL what?]

Many evangelical churches are known to promote irrational and uncivillized acts such as witchcraft and exorcism which often involve child abuse. [And the evidence for this claim?]

A non-Christian who viewed the society as one entity after conversion to Christianity begins to see the society as two categories 'us' vs. 'them'. 'us' being the 'saved' and 'them' not worth living. He develops hate and illwill towards everything 'them' reveres. [Yeah, that's what Matthew 5:43-48 preaches, right?]

Increasingly world is accepting evangelical missions as an expression of hate crime. [It is???]

Most of the true Christian denomonations [way to know which denominations are the "true" ones. *coughliberalscough*] are not involved in missions and evangelism. They strongly argue that missions is the corrupted and evil expression of true Christianity. [Sure, because Jesus would never teach His apostles to "go out and make disciples of all nations," riiight?]

"Either convert and fight against India or DIE" is the message echoing across the 7 states (called 7 sisters) of North-east India. [Yeah, because Jesus taught them to evangelize that way...]

Church is against abortion, birth-control pills etc which brings misery to women's lives. Millions of women find their life devastated because of church. [Roman Catholicism =/= Christianity as a whole]

In Christianity a women is inferior to man. [I guess this guy never read Galatians 3:28, or studied early Christian attitudes towards women in comparison to the rest of the prevailing culture at the time.] Many women who enjoyed complete freedom and respect in their native religion become second class members in their own homes and family. [I'm sure the Hindu practice of immolating the wives of recently deceased men helped foster gender equality.]

Many evangelical leaders initiated and promoted war against heathen so that the field is open to harvest the souls. Many of the evangelical leaders and missionaries are War Criminals. [Who are these unnamed "evangelical leaders and missionaries?" Inquiring minds would like to know.]

Time and again world's renowned scholars [Who are they???] have clearly proved [How?] evangelism as an imperialistic activity. But because they operate in the spiritual realm, they continue to enjoy a fuzzy kind of permission to conduct a kind of business that is largely impossible in other less ethereal spheres of life.

It is amazing what those who oppose the Gospel of Jesus Christ will come up with to try and suppress the truth in unrighteousness.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Aristophrenium Articles

For those who may or may not already know, I've been writing for quite a while for The Aristophrenium now, and it has been a real pleasure working with Ryft and the rest of the team in that website. At this point, I have already written quite a few articles for them, and it's getting a bit hard to find them all so I've decided to produce a compendium of most of the articles I've produced for that website so far.

On Textual Criticism

On Hindu Pluralism

On Christology

On Roman Catholicism

Friday, August 13, 2010

Tony Costa vs. Bassam Zawadi

Topic debate: Was Muhammad assured of his salvation?

Video taken by yours truly (via Bartimaeus' camcorder).

See the ABNsat website for more live debates featuring Rev. Tony Costa versus various Islamic apologists.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

On Wife-Beating and Islam

For those who may be interested to know, Negeen Mayel just recently published her first article on the Answering Muslims blog. It's on the recent abuse of an Afghan woman and the parallel between that and the treatment of Muhammad's wife, Aisha. Check it out:

A Dialogue on Epistemology and Christ's Lordship

This is a recent dialogue that I had with a person who professes to be a Christian yet whose reasoning is grounded upon humanistic principles. This is an example of what happens when a person's thinking is based upon worldly ideology rather than the self-consistent word of God.

Much of the dialogue has been left unedited. I only removed some superfluous comments and took out our names. The other person shall be known only by the initials "C.D.H." His comments will be shaded cyan.

C.D.H:

If we are to forfeit reason at the foot of the cross then all is lost and I'm out.

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect, has intended us to forgo their use.
- Galileo Galilei

Wise words from a man of God who was ironically imprisoned by the Catholic Church for challenging the geocentric model of astronomy in favor of a heliocentric one. Should we learn a lesson from him or are we doomed to repeat the Catholic Churches mistake? If we find that Faith, and I mean the concept of " accepting things blindly," type faith, takes off where reason leaves off... then we find ourselves in a dead end. Only confirming what the "new atheists" think of Christians. How sad.

Fisher:

There's a difference between abandoning reason and having a self-consistent foundation on which we are able to reason from.

By all means, come let us reason, but let's not come with this ridiculous notion that our ability to reason is somehow autonomous.

So what do we base our reasoning upon? In other words, what should be our final authority?

‎C.D.H:

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.
-Siddhārtha Gautama

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.
- Buddha

I'm unsure what the final authority ought to be, but how can something be true if I can poke holes in it with my own common sense? I have had no reason to doubt the authority of the bible thus far, but establishing it as the objective frame of reference is an entirely different story. If the laws of logic are contingent upon God's personal revelation, then I will have no problem establishing it as my objective frame of reference. But if this position is bankrupt, then using the Bible as an objective reference is... utter foolery.

Fisher:

So, fallible human reasoning is the measure of all things? How very... humanistic...

The buddha quotes tell all. Your own reason, and your own common sense. With all due respect, good sir, men are not gods; our reasoning is fallible and thus cannot be the basis on which we can establish what is ultimately true and what is not.

Please note, I am not picking at you for the sake of theological nitpicking. It is just that if you are to confess Jesus as Lord, you ought to confess that He is Lord over our epistemology as well. After all, it is in only Christ "in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." (Colossians 2:3, NIV)

So regarding what you said: How do you know if the divine revelation is bankrupt or not as an objective frame of reference? Easy: Verify its consistency. If the Bible is what is says it is, then it will not only be consistent with itself, but will also give us a consistent way of interpreting all facts (as opposed to interpreting the facts using our own fallible reasoning as the final frame of reference).

I am telling you this so no one will deceive you with well-crafted arguments... Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.
(Colossians 2:4,8, NLT)

C.D.H:

Okay then... then what is to happen should scripture say something incoherent?

Fisher:

Then it is not a self-consistent objective frame of reference, and would thus prove not to be of God.

Here's my question: When you ask whether scripture can say something "incoherent," on what grounds can we say whether something is coherentor not?

C.D.H:

I really am unsure as to how it logically follow that finding one flaw in Scripture = the entire thing is not of God. And to answer your question, simple common sense really...

‎Fisher:

"Your own reason and your own common sense" again?

Since you quoted Buddha, allow me to quote some *Christian* writers:

Do not, I beg you, bring in human reason. I shall yield to scripture alone.

In regard to the divine and holy mysteries of the faith, not the least part may be handed on without the Holy Scriptures. Do not be led astray by winning words and clever arguments. Even to me, who tell you these things, do not give ready belief, unless you receive from the Holy Scriptures the proof of the things which I announce. The salvation in which we believe is not proved from clever reasoning, but from the Holy Scriptures.

C.D.H:

*sigh* Warning: hypothetical situation... if the Bible clearly said 2 + 2 = 5, would you believe it? I wouldn't, and yes, my own reason, and my own common sense. What I know for a fact is that axioms exist and I am capable of comprehending them to some degree. Do I understand or know how they are here? No, they may be metaphysically necessary for all I know. But if they themselves disagree with what you hold to be their source, then what source is left?

Fisher:

That's precisely the point: Since truth is one, and is entirely self-consistent the Bible would never make a false claim such as "2 + 2 = 5." Once again, I would like to ask that you not turn the doctrine of divine Revelation into a caricature of itself.

Simple question: If Christ Jesus is Lord over all things, is He Lord over your epistemology and rational thought as well?

C.D.H:

I'm ending this for the night... This is all going to go into pointless circles until I make up my mind on presuppositionalism. To be honest with you, right now.. it looks really, really dumb. If logic is metaphysically necessary, then no -- but if they are contingent upon the Lord himself, then yes.

Fisher:

I'm done for the night as well. We shall continue this some other time. But as for your last comment: Christ's Lordship admits of no exceptions. That includes logic and reasoning. We submit mind, body and soul to Him, and we ought not to allow any part of our life and thought to remain autonomous.

Here is my final exhortation to you: Think biblically, since "the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:4-5, NASB)

That is all. God bless.

Friday, August 06, 2010

The Potter and the Clay

By George Whitefield

If it be inquired, who is to be the potter? And by whose agency this marred clay is to be formed into another vessel? Or in other words, if it be asked, how this great and mighty change is to be effected? I answer, not by the mere dint and force of moral suasion [persuasion]. This is good in its place. And I am so far from thinking, that Christian preachers should not make use of rational arguments and motives in their sermons, that I cannot think they are fit to preach at all, who either cannot, or will not use them. We have the example of the great God himself for such a practice; “Come (says he) and let us reason together.” And St. Paul, that prince of preachers, “reasoned of temperance, and righteousness, and a judgment to come.” And it is remarkable, “that whilst he was reasoning of these things, Felix trembled.” Nor are the most persuasive strains of holy rhetoric less needful for a scribe ready instructed to the kingdom of God. The scriptures both of the Old and New Testament, every where abound with them. And when can they be more properly employed, and brought forth, than when we are acting as ambassadors or heaven, and beseeching poor sinners, as in Christ's stead, to be reconciled unto God. All this we readily grant. But at the same time, I would as soon go to yonder church-yard, and attempt to raise the dead carcasses, with a “come forth,” as to preach to dead souls, did I not hope for some superior power to make the word effectual to the designed end. I should only be like a sounding brass for any saving purpose, or as a tinkling cymbal. Neither is this change to be wrought by the power of our own free-will. This is an idol every where set up, but we dare not fall down and worship it. “No man (says Christ) can come to me, unless the Father draw him.” Our own free-will, if improved, may restrain us from the commission of many evils, and put us in the way of conversion; but, after exerting our utmost efforts (and we are bound in duty to exert them) we shall find the words of our own church article to be true, that “man since the fall hath no power to turn to God.” No, we might as soon attempt to stop the ebbing and flowing of the tide, and calm the most tempestuous sea, as to imagine that we can subdue, or bring under proper regulations, our own unruly wills and affections by any strength inherent in ourselves.

And therefore, that I may keep you no longer in suspense, I inform you, that this heavenly potter, this blessed agent, is the Almighty Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost, the third person in the most adorable Trinity, coessential with the Father and the Son. This is that Spirit, which at the beginning of time moved on the face of the waters, when nature lay in one universal chaos. This was the Spirit that overshadowed the Holy Virgin, before that holy thing was born of her: and this same Spirit must come, and move upon the chaos of our souls, before we can properly be called the sons of God. This is what John the Baptist calls “being baptized with the Holy Ghost,” without which, his and all other baptisms, whether infant or adult, avail nothing. This is that fire, which our Lord came to send into our earthly hearts, and which I pray the Lord of all lords to kindle in every unrenewed one this day.

As for the extraordinary operations of the Holy Ghost, such as working of miracles, or speaking with divers kinds of tongues, they are long since ceased. But as for this miracle of miracles, turning the soul to God by the more ordinary operations of the Holy Ghost, this abides yet, and will abide till time itself shall be nor more. For it is he that sanctifieth us, and all the elect people of God. On this account, true believers are said to be “born from above, to be born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Their second, as well as their first creation, is truly and purely divine. It is, therefore, called “a creation;” but put ye on (says the apostle) the new man which is created” — And how? Even as the first man was, “after God in righteousness and true holiness.”

Source

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Hussein Wario Is At It Again

So Hussein starts off by attacking Dr. White for his criticisms of Ergun Caner. Then, he proceeds to attack Acts 17 Apologetics and Dr. White (again) for defending them. Now, he wants to go more specific and direct his vitriol against Negeen Mayel. He has done exactly this in his latest blog post, My Free Speech Trumps the Gospel.

The offending comments are not in the actual blog itself. However, if you look at the comment box where David Wood and Nabeel Qureshi (among others) take Wario to task for his blatant misrepresentation of the facts, he links to this video and endorses it as proving that Acts 17's comments regarding Negeen's behaviour has been deceptive. Of course, the entire video is just a mass of spin-doctoring (the video seems to have been made by a Christian, but who knows if it is just a Muslim practicing taqiyyah?) that twists the facts to make it seem like the Acts 17 members have been lying about their testimony.

Whatever the case, David Wood has published his response to Wario on the Acts 17 blog. I don't need to repeat any of the refutations of Wario's vitriol. Let everybody look at what David has said in response to Wario, and see who is really speaking the truth on this matter.

PS - There is somebody posting as "Dr. Oakley" in the comments box, siding with Wario against Acts 17 and Wario's critics. I have no idea who this person is (Maybe it's Peter Lumpkins? I don't know.), but given that Dr. Oakley is James White's nickname, it is quite deceptive for someone to use that title like that.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Jamin Hubner - On Hyper-Dispensationalism

Jamin Hubner over at Real Apologetics has been posting some really good articles on Hyper-Dispensationalism. I thought it might be worth reposting those articles here for anybody who may want to study up on this issue:

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Contending Earnestly For the Faith (Sermon)

This is a little farewell message I gave to the Christian Fellowship that I was running at my old high school before I graduated. I gave it to a group of about 10 members (including myself) as an exhortation to continue working for God's glory in the coming years. I just thought it might be a good idea to post it here for posterity's sake.

Sermon Title:
Contending Earnestly For the Faith

Sermon Text:
Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.
(Jude 1:3, NASB)

Sermon Proposition:
We need the Holy Spirit to come... to bring about a revival.

Bible translations used:
ESV – English Standard Version
NASB – New American Standard Bible

I want you all to know that it has been a great pleasure being with you and having fellowship together. I thank the Lord God for every moment that we have had together, especially with those of you whom we have done prayers and evangelism outreach with. Since I am leaving [name of high school deleted], and will no longer be with you next year, I decided to leave you all with this short message to encourage all of you for the following school year and the rest of the years to come.

Now, you just heard the bible passage from Jude which I am basing my message on. I want this to be the theme of this Fellowship for those of you who will continue to take part next year. Never forget, brothers and sisters, that we are living in a world that is perishing in sin and depravity. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “the god of this world [that is, Satan] has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4, ESV). Many around us appear lively and energetic, but God’s word makes it plain that spiritually, they are “dead in trespasses and sins... [being] by nature children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:1,3). And what shall we do about this? The answer is given to us by Jude: We must contend! We must “contend earnestly for the faith” by doing everything that God has granted us to do so that light may come to this world. Let us proclaim to the world “our common salvation,” which we have received from God by His free grace. My contention then, brothers and sisters, is that we need the Holy Spirit to come upon this school—this neighbourhood even—to bring about a revival.

Yes, you heard me right. I said revival. I long to see the days of the great awakening come to life in this age, and I long to see God bring up preachers like Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield of old; men who were empowered by the Spirit to proclaim the Gospel fearlessly, show sinners their lost state and need for Christ and win thousands of souls into eternal life. May the Spirit quicken us today just as He did back in those days. For this to happen though, there are three important things that I want you all to bear in mind:

First off, I want you to remember that a true revival is one that is initiated by the Spirit of God. When the masses linger in their deadness, the only thing that can make any difference is the reviving, regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. Do not think that we can accomplish anything by our own effort and willpower. We have no strength of our own to rely upon. As the Psalmist once put it, “Unless the LORD builds the house, they labour in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain” (Psalm 127:1, NASB). Always remember that those who are born again are born “not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13, NASB), and that “no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except in the Holy Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:3, ESV). “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9, ESV). When we evangelize, are but tools in the hands of the Sovereign Architect. One proverbs states, I am not one to entertain the idea that we have any spark of goodness that we should choose God on our own. My friend, those of us who have made the good confession have done so because we are in the Spirit. And we must pray that God may send forth His Spirit to make others born again and as a result believe. It’s like what it says in that old hymn,

Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing.

Let God go forth ahead of us, that the Lord Christ may be the general to lead this army into victory. Pray for the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, for He who was able to change our hearts and cause us to be born again is able to do likewise towards others as well.

That being said, let us also remember that we must constantly check ourselves against the measuring rod of God’s word. It is the only sure standard that we have; Do not go “beyond what is written” (1 Corinthians 4:6)! Remember that “Scripture is breathed out [or inspired] by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (1 Timothy 3:16-17, ESV). I am afraid that we often replace scripture with gimmicks and programs to entice people into believing. My friends, neither Jesus nor the apostles nor anybody in the early church ever did that. Whatever you are doing, make sure it is in accordance with scripture. Read it regularly. Get a daily reading plan. Memorize some verses. Make sure you’re not neglecting your bible study. Most important of all, make sure that you’re applying the Word to all that you do in life. Do not be led astray by fleshly emotions or traditions of men. If you think you are being led by the Spirit, check the scriptures to see if you are being lead according to God’s word. This is the surest way to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God” (1 John 4:1, ESV).

Finally, learn to communicate effectively to those around us. Paul said in his epistle to the Colossians that you must “conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, by salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person” (Colossians 4:5-6, NASB). We run into different people every day, and we must know how to answer each of them according to where they are. This is where your bible knowledge comes in. Use the Word to answer. Don’t be afraid to make use of all the resources that God has made available. Remember that you must, in the words of the apostle Peter, “sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to every one who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:15, NASB). If you can learn how to redeem the time, you will be able win countless souls over into the Kingdom of Heaven.

There are many more words that I wish to say to you, but because time is short, I leave you with these words. For all of you who are coming back next year, may you keep the light shining for all to see. May you be like that great preacher Jonathan Edwards, who resolved to live for God even if nobody else would do so. And let us never cease praying that God may bring about spiritual revival in our school, in our families and in our neighbourhood. Finally, since we began with a passage from Jude, we shall end with one from Jude as well. Verses 20 onward state:

But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever.

Amen.
(Jude 1:20-25, ESV)

And may Lord God be with you on your journey through this present life, and may you always be working for the glory of His name.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Anne Rice Quits Christianity

This just goes to show you that the cross has always been and always will be foolishness to the natural mind:

For those who care, and I understand if you don’t: Today I quit being a Christian. “I’m out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being “Christian” or to being part of Christianity. It’s simply impossible for me to “belong” to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten …years, I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’m an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else...

...As I said below, I quit being a Christian. I’m out. In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of …Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Clark Pinnock Retires from McMaster

Wesleyanism is winning the day, which is why the Calvinists are so defensive.
-Clark Pinnock

*Rolls eyes* Whatever. I guess he hasn't noticed the recent resurgence of Calvinists in Evangelicalism, plus the advances being made by theologians in the Reformed camp (Three words: The Gospel Coalition). I wonder what he means by "winning," because I don't see Wesleyan-Arminians winning anything anytime soon.

Personally, I am quite glad that he is resigning from his post. I hope McMaster Divinity School will get somebody more doctrinally sound to take his place.


News Article

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Oh Really, Hussein Wario?

Hussein Wario is a person whom I cannot quite make heads or tails out of. It escapes me how somebody could be so intent on defending Ergun Caner (who has done nothing but lie about his past, slander Calvinists and misrepresent Islamic beliefs) whilst simultaneously posting criticisms of Acts 17 Apologetics (who have been boldly proclaiming the Gospel even in the midst of hostile crowds of Muslims). I have been following the events that have been taking place in Dearborn ever since the arrests, and I must say that all of the evidence points overwhelmingly to the innocence of the Dearborn four. Mr. Wario does not seem to get this, though. In one of his recent blog posts, The Glorified Deceit, he continues his criticisms of Acts 17 Apologetics and Alpha and Omega Ministries for defending Acts 17. He begins with this little point:

On July 2, I wrote for the first time on the arrests of Acts 17 Apologetics missionaries in Dearborn, Michigan. Christians, including Dr. James White, urged their fellow Christians—even witnesses to the arrests—for restraint in passing their judgment because these missionaries had “everything” they did on video. While Dr. White asked Christians to wait for the video evidence, he did not stop from denigrating the City of Dearborn and its police department. I wondered how he would react this strongly when he was not in Dearborn, let alone be a witness. An Arab Christian even notified Dr. White of his concerns of Acts 17 missionaries and he was called to wait for the video evidence.

I think somebody should inform Mr. Wario that Dr. James White was right up there in Michigan when the events took place. The places where the debates and ABN programs took place were a stone's throw away from Dearborn. He even had a discussion with some of the missionaries the afternoon before the arrests took place. In his own words:

I had spent about an hour with Nabeel, David, and Nageen [sic](I am uncertain if Paul was with us at lunch) the afternoon they were arrested at the ABN studios. I was talking with the head of ABN when they came in (we had gotten some burritos for them at a local restaurant). As soon as Nabeel came in he told me he had just finished a class on systematic theology, said he thought he had a good grip on the issues relating to Reformed theology, and launched a series of good questions for me. This led to a discussion on the key elements of my beliefs as a Calvinist. It was not an argument, it was a good period of questions on Nabeel's part, answers on mine. And Nabeel was listening carefully to my replies. This is how I know Nabeel...as an honest hearted young man, brilliant (a medical doctor!), teachable, intense. I have tried to be a good example of a more mature believer for him, as little contact as we have had. And I hope I have done the same for David (this was the first time I met Nageen [sic]).

In any case, when I had people telling me about bad behavior of Nabeel and David, I was immediately suspicious. But why would Christian groups bear false witness about them? Well, why has Hussein Wario become a wild-eyed defender of Ergun Caner? I do not know, but it happens. But I have said to a number of folks, "How about we just wait for the video footage?" And now we have it. (link)

And you can argue, "Well yeah, but he wasn't there when the actual arrests took place." That does not invalidate his statements at all. I have friends who saw the arrests firsthand, and they corroborate Dr. White's statements.

Dearborn Police Department returned the cameras “intact” or “without erasing all the footage” [Acts 17 Apologetics statements] a fortnight ago. As promised, footages [sic] of the arrests were posted. Most Christians, mostly Dr. White’s fans, quickly asked their fellow Christians to repent publicly for questioning the arrests. I have wondered how witnesses could recant what they witnessed prior to the arrests that footages [sic] don’t debunk.


I'm wondering which "witnesses" Wario is referring to here. I already posted the video of my friend who is a witness to the events and can testify that everything Dr. White and the Acts 17 team have said are true. He's not the only one either. Perhaps if we knew better who these people are who allegedly witnessed Acts 17 doing their disorderly conduct, we can take a better look at their claims and see how reliable they are.

Since posted footages weren’t answering questions, I wrote a post on July 19 of how 15-20 minutes of footage before the first arrest could provide clues. I was specific. Nageen’s [sic] arrest. A concerned Christian was upset with me. He sent me a message and we went back and forth for a while. He ended up asking Acts 17 on Facebook for the video footage prior to Nageen’s [sic] arrest. The message was clear. The footage should be what transpired before the first arrest. How hard can it be? Guess what video was posted? Dubbed, “The Missing Footage,” it has nothing to do with the first arrest. Nageen had already been arrested at that point. The public needs to know what happened that necessitated the criminal complaint. They want people to believe that they were victims of injustice. How evasive and misleading can they get? Can they just admit that not all of their activities—legal or “illegal”—were on camera?

First of all, I wonder how hard it is to remember a person's name. Her name is spelt Negeen. With an e. Come on people, get it right.

That aside, most of the people who were accusing the Acts 17 team of disorderly conduct allege that it took place in the 15 minutes that transpired between Negeen's arrest and the arrest of the other three. The purpose of the missing footage being released was to put that myth to rest once and for all. And as for why there would be a criminal complaint against Negeen, the answer is obvious: The police don't want another person taking video footage of the arrests when they happen, so they decided to get her out of the way (harassing her in a very rude and uncivilized manner in the process). To quote her own words, "I wasn't aware that videotaping in America had become illegal." (link)

Even with these questions still lingering, Dr. White still gives this group a platform to spread their myth about being arrested in Dearborn for being a Christian, etcetera. They were on “Iron Sharpens Iron” last Wednesday, courtesy of Dr. White, discussing the arrests. He “very highly recommended” the appearance.

Just for your information, Acts 17 Apologetics isn't the only group that has suffered from the unlawful practices of the powers that be in Dearborn. Dozens of Christians have been treated similarly. For example, we have this interview of a Christian who talks about how they and other Christians (such as George Saieg's ministry) are prevented from distributing literature while Muslims who do the exact same thing get a free pass.

Dr. White—a man known for his straight answers—keeps on changing his story as well. From his initial post about “the rule of law (not Sharia) in Dearborn” to the most recent one belittling Josh McDowell witnessing to Muslims. Apparently, he learned the hard way that Christians still preach or distribute Bibles and tracts in Dearborn.

I don't quite understand either why Josh McDowell's ministry went unhindered while many other Christian ministries (not just Acts 17 Apologeticss) were. I would guess that McDowell had taken special care to be as inoffensive as possible in distributing books there. And if some Muslims come to Christ as a result of his ministry there, then that's great! However, that does not change the fact that titling his video "Sharia Love" is simply in poor taste, and is an insult to our brothers and sisters in Christ who have to endure the devastating effects of Sharia law in majority Muslim countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc.

I wonder if he has ever been to Dearborn to write such a scathing initial post on the arrests. Does anyone know? Sad, how his objectivity is lacking and integrity somewhat wanting. It seems they matter only when investigating Dr. Ergun Caner. On that note, Liberty University rendered its verdict four weeks ago and that has not stopped Dr. White from continuing his discussion.

I don't want to get into the Ergun Caner issue for the main reason that it leaves a really bad taste in my mouth. However, as I pointed out earlier, Dr. White was in fact in Michigan during the time of the arrests. I have watched his appearances on the Jesus or Muhammad programs that were being shown at around that same general time period. It is simply naive to think that he does not know what he is talking about when he posts his criticisms

A mere red herring because Dr. White refuses to acknowledge that he has been wrong in criticizing the Dearborn police, Josh McDowell ministries, other Christians and organizations. Evidence of his deceit is even on his Alpha & Omega Ministries website. His fans never question it. Instead, they glorify it.

I have been quite observant of what has been going on lately, having gone through ever available bit of information that has become available ever since the events first occurred. I would say that Dr. White is right on the money in everything he has said regarding the Dearborn police and Josh McDowell ministries. Now, I don't know what other Christian organizations Mr. Wario is alluding to here. Are there Christians who saw the events and will testify that Acts 17 and Dr. White are wrong? I don't know. But I have heard the testimonies of people who were there and they point overwhelmingly to only one conclusion: Acts 17 Apologetics is innocent of all charges that have been laid against them.

Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the field exult, and everything in it!
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
before the Lord, for he comes,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness,
and the peoples in his faithfulness.
(Psalm 96:11-13, ESV)

NOTE: In the initial version of this post, I mistakenly said that Dr. White was in Dearborn. What I should have said was that he was within a stone's throw away from Dearborn. Thanks to Hussein Wario for correcting me on that one minor point wherein I misspoke, but that does not negate anything else that I've said.