Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Judgment fell–or did it?

1. This will be a follow-up to my previous post on James White:

You gotta love Steve Hays over at Triablogue. Only he can do long-distance mind-reading. He can take an announcement about an upcoming program that really contains NOTHING about what I'm going to actually say, and write an entire article refuting me...before I even say anything! Says VOLUMES about his prejudice, to be sure.  

i) His reaction is so bizarre. I quoted him verbatim, then commented on what he said. He responds by claiming I did "long-distance mind-reading" by refuting him "before [he] ever said anything".

I replied to the content of public statements he made. That's a matter of public record. His response is utterly at variance with reality. I was explicitly responding, not to the DL before it aired, but to something he posted in the public domain. 

Moreover, what I replied to wasn't simply an announcement of an upcoming program. Rather, his statement contains substantive content. It's as if he doesn't remember what he himself said, and didn't bother to go back and reread what he said before dashing off his off-the-cuff remark to me. Once again, here's what he originally said:

Watching all the standard emoting going on this evening (expression of emotions without the exercise of rational thought), as expected. But seeing a lot of the standard "lump all the Muslims together, this guy was mainstream, he was just doing what Islamic law says to do," blah blah blah. Then the Steven Anderson video comes out and the same folks are, "Well, he sure doesn't represent me! He's a radical and..." blah blah blah, without anyone stopping to say, "Whoa...I just really engaged in a double standard there, didn't I? I mean, if I want the freedom to demand I be differentiated from Steven Anderson, then, by all logical standards (as if anyone concerns themselves about such things anymore), I need to extend that right to others, including Muslims who are horrified by a guy mowing folks down in a night club as if he were the hand of Allah or something." But hey, I'm a dinosaur and don't really feel very at home in today's Western society so please feel free to ignore me.  

ii) Moreover, this is not an isolated statement. This has become part of his shtick. He's taken to accusing Christian critics of Islam of hypocrisy. So his statement has a larger context, as part of an ongoing allegation. It's a continuation of allegations he's made in the recent past. 

Evidently, White has developed such a hair-trigger reaction to any breath of criticism that he instantly reacts to substantive criticism without bothering to pay attention to what the critic actually said. And it's not the first time he's done this. On another occasion, on the same topic, he got what I said exactly backwards. He's too negligent to carefully read what I actually say. Fine. That's his problem, not mine. But it would behoove him to be more careful so that he doesn't publicly embarrass himself with demonstrably false allegations.

iii) Furthermore, he's become impervious to logical or factual correction. I've explained both here and in previous posts how his purported analogies are fallacious. He doesn't even attempt to engage the argument. 

iv) White's problem is that he's become a Muslim partisan. In the wake of yet another jihadist attack on American soil–and these have been piling up during Obama's tenure–his first impulse is to defend Muslims and attack their critics. 

That's exactly what the liberal establishment does. When Muslims attack, the liberal establishment responds by defending Muslims to forestall a feared backlash against Muslims. It's a win/win for jihadis. No matter how often Muslims do wrong, Muslims are always in the right and their critics who are always wrong. We saw this in the aftermath of 9/11, when the education establishment responded by indoctrinating American students on how Islam is a religion of peace. 

If Muslims firebomb a synagogue, expect the authorities to respond by protecting mosques. Must be ever vigilant against that impending backlash against Muslims. Never protect non-Muslims from Muslim aggressors; rather, always protect Muslims from the imminent chimerical backlash against Muslims. 

We see this bias in White. He's become so personally identified with his Muslim pals that his first impulse is to defend Muslims and attack their critics, when Muslims commit murder and mayhem. 

Perhaps he thinks this gives him street cred with Muslims. They will view him as an honest broker. An evenhanded referee. Something like that. Unfortunately, it makes him a tool for Muslims. 

v) Apropos (iv), It's no longer enough for White to be a Christian apologist who debates Muslims. Rather, he's become a self-promoted liaison between Muslims and non-Muslims.  He's now the go-between who defends Muslims against the alleged hypocrisy of Christian critics. 

One problem with that posture is that shifts the burden of proof. The onus is not on Christians to defend how peace-loving most Muslims supposedly are. Rather, the onus is on Muslims, if they are, in fact, peace-loving, to disassociate themselves from the militants. There are various ways to do that, such as expelling militants from mosques. Shunning militants in their community. 

2. Since he brought it up, I'll make some comments on the DL show:

i) First part of the show was a rehash of fallacious accusations he's made before about Christian double standards. 

ii) Later on, he corrected the misuse of Rom 12. Some Christians quote that out of context as a command that we should mourn incidents like the Orlando massacre. He pointed out that the Pauline injunction is to, for, and about members of the Christian community. That's a salutary corrective. 

iii) He made a valid point about how the so-called LGBT "community" is a misnomer. 

iv) He used a good illustration about how, if workers were killed in a math lab explosion, there wouldn't be the same public reaction to their demise. 

v) He made the valid point that the gay nightclub was a "den of iniquity". 

All those points are a good counterbalance to political correctness, both in the media and among "progressive" Christians.

vi) However, he used that as a setup to suggest that we should view the shooting rampage as God's wrath against sin. Judgment fell. 

He said traditionally, Christians would interpret humanitarian disasters like raging fires in cities as providential judgment against sin. He said God determines when he's going to cut people off. 

vii) Problem with his position is that it consists of half-truths. Yes, God determines when he's going to cut people off. But that hardly validates the inference that a humanitarian disaster ipso facto represents divine judgment. On the one hand, Scripture says some humanitarian disasters are acts of divine judgment. On the other hand, Scripture warns us not to turn that into a general principle (e.g. Job 1-2, Jn 9:1-3; 11:1-4).

viii) Why would the Christian God use a Muslim terrorist as a messenger? Isn't that sending mixed signals? 

ix) Another obvious problem with inferring that any particular humanitarian disaster is an act of divine judgment concerns the apparently random distribution of humanitarian disasters. Consider how many gay nightclubs there are worldwide. How can we validly infer that someone shooting up a single gay nightclub represents divine judgment? If gay nightclubs were routinely struck by lightning, if sinkholes opened up beneath gay nightclubs and swallowed them whole, if freak accidents beset gay nightclubs at a statistically improbable rate, then we'd have good reason to conclude that God was sending a message. 

On the face of it, humanitarian disasters that strike unbelievers don't seem to be any more discriminating than humanitarian disasters that strike Christians, viz. Christians who die in house fires or church fires or traffic accidents. From a human standpoint, there is no discernible pattern. There's no basis to automatically correlate a humanitarian disaster with divine judgment. It's too haphazard.

From a theological perspective, everything fits into a larger design, but we aren't privy to the larger design, so we can't use that as a frame of reference to evaluate any particular humanitarian disaster. 


  1. I agree with your points, but:

    "Why would the Christian God use a Muslim terrorist as a messenger? Isn't that sending mixed signals?"

    DIdn't God do something like this with Israel and Assyria, Judah and Babylon?

    "iv) He used a good illustration about how, if workers were killed in a math lab explosion, there wouldn't be the same public reaction. "

    Is this what happens when you try to divide by zero :)

    1. But it's only because of divine revelation in that instance (Isa 10) that we know God's intentions.

      Moreover, God threatened to punish apostate Israel. He did that in the Deuteronomic curse sanctions, as well as pre-exilic prophets. So there's ample evidence to conclude that the Assyrian deportation and Babylonian exile represented divine judgment.

  2. But isn't your point that using a Muslim would send a mixed message? So why wouldn't using the Assyrians or Babylonians? I mean wasn't that what Habbukuk was talking about when God said He was going to send the Chaldeans?

    1. Perhaps it would have without the benefit of a prophetic exegesis of the events. But unless God has prophetically revealed through James White that this was an act of judgment, it seems quite a bold statement on his part. And, I might add, one that will play well with his Muslim confrères.

  3. I've been a long time listener to James and I have noticed the bias as well. You are correct to call him on this. He does have a tendency to bit sensitive to any type of refutations. Thanks for fighting the good fight Steve.

  4. His most recent dividing line included you as part of the topic. He even accuses you of having a meltdown! http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php/2016/06/15/simple-truthfulness-consistency-steve-hays-melts-quick-review-oneness-advocate-steve-ritchie/


  5. Thank you for these posts. I feel better equipped with responding to people that may have the same mindset as Dr. White. I like Dr. White, but I had to take a break from listening to some of his shows. Maybe it's because his shows are formatted as monologues now and when I disagree with his approach, it gets tiring to listen to. It would be nice if he started to take more calls again.

  6. I'm going to post a few comments made on the Alpha & Omega Ministries Facebook page about White's clash with you, Steve. One is from Rich Pierce himself. This first comment will have a few short comments, and then I'll post a second comment with my most recent follow-up reply to Rich Pierce.

    James Ramelli "I should pull a Steve Hayes and comment on this before listening to it"
    Like · Reply · 1 · 15 hrs

    Matt Paul "HE DIDN'T DO THAT. That has been a consistent lie ever since it was talked about on James White's last Dividing Line. Steve Hays did NOT comment on what Dr. White said before he said it. I read it myself. Go ahead and read it. I'll post the link in a separate comment."
    Like · Reply · 7 hrs
    Matt Paul
    Triablogue: Judgment fell–or did it?
    Like · Reply · Remove Preview · 7 hrs
    Rich Pierce
    "Matt Paul that was in reference to an incident that occurred some time back. Not this one."
    Like · Reply · 7 hrs

  7. Okay, I'll need to break my most recent follow-up to Rich Pierce into two comments. Here's part 1:

    "Rich Pierce No, it's not, Mr. Pierce. What James Ramelli just referenced is what James White literally just said three days ago on the Dividing Line episode "Responding to Orlando" and what James later REPEATED on Facebook after that same program had finished airing (see here: tinyurl.com/hyf8fjo). White literally just said that Steve commented on what he was about to say on that episode of the DL before it even aired. That's a false charge, but it literally just happened. in the past three days. What, you think Mr. Ramelli just happened to make a reference just now to something else that happened some time back and NOT to what Dr. White just said live on the Alpha and Omega Ministries YouTube channel and on his own Facebook? It had nothing to do with those things? Seriously??

    (Also, in case what you were referring to is the Triablogue article I linked to, that also wasn’t responding to something Dr. White said sometime back, nor is the article old. It’s also three days old because it’s commenting on this very issue. Either way, what you just said isn’t true.)

    For the record, here's what James White said from the June 13th, 2016 Dividing Line Episode -Responding to Orlando- [1:05:58-1:07:44]:

    “Have I seen this response to my post? I-I haven't, wh-what post? Oh! No, that's funny, wow, wh-wh-why should I be shocked? Steve Hays, decides to take a shot at me, before I actually do the program! Claps* Ha ha ha! I just need to check that guy off the box of why-even-bother. Um, I announce that I'm gonna be doing this program, and he calls that an Obama-esque response. Wow. Uh, "Apparently, White's logic faculty is on the fritz. Hope it will be repaired soon." Steve, dude, I don't know what your problem is. But, may I suggest, before you start writing stuff like that, wait till I actually make my comments. Might be a good idea. Then it- then, you know, I, of course, you've grossly misrepresented my comments in the past too, but at least then you can refer to something. This is just unbelievable. Sorry, but, um, credibility destruction right there by good old Steve. Claps* Used to do a lot of good stuff, now I-I don't know what the problem is. Oh, now I'm, "parroting the liberal establishment." Laughs* Amazing. Well, anyway, uh, no. Uh, thank you for pointing that out to me. Um. It's-it's pretty amazing to me that-that you could actually write a response to what I said before I said it, but it gives you an idea of where Steve Hays has gone, he's *whistle* off the edge.”"

  8. Here's the 2nd part of my most recent follow-up to Rich Pierce.

    "Obviously I'm not going to wholesale reject Dr. James White and his vast library of good work because of this one inconsistency in dealing with Steve Hays. But this literally just happened, and it's just so obvious that it's bugging the heck out of me that you just denied that what Ramelli said is disconnected from all this. The evidence is literally right before our eyes. James even read from Steve's article wherein Steve commented on White’s Facebook post (see Dr. White’s article here: tinyurl.com/gw6jguc, & see Hay’s initial response article here: tinyurl.com/hv9vk5z). Even in that post Dr. White said nothing about the Dividing Line, let alone what he planned on talking about. And yet Dr. White proceeded to condemn Steve Hays for pre-emptively criticizing what he was about to say, made the charge multiple times on the air, and he said it AGAIN on his Facebook page. How can he read what Steve Hays wrote and yet continue to maintain his charge against him when I’m looking at the exact same article and I know for a fact he didn’t do what White charged him with doing?? It’s exasperating.

    You can dismiss Steve Hays’s criticism of Dr. White and his "parroting the liberal establishment," but Steve did NOT comment on the DL before it aired. That's just not true. And to say James Ramelli’s comments are in reference to something else is naïve. This just happened in the past three days. There’s no way he’s talking about something else."

    Hopefully Rich Pierce's next response (and hopefully White's) will be a clear recognition of White's repeated error here and include repentance for what was said. It's just so weird that this happened- I know Dr. White has a beef with you, Steve, but to make such an obviously false charge is just so- it's stupefying.

  9. Strange. Seems like Dr. White is taking the time to write a post in response to Facebook comments, but isn't touching your articles.

    1. I see Rich Pierce has commented as well in the past hour or so, but he has written no responses to my comments. At least they're letting my comments stand for now. At least the truth is getting out there.

    2. Yup. His reply didn't add up. They should just admit the wrong.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Yeah, they deleted my comments as well as James Ramelli's and Rich Pierce's single (and wrong) response to me. Not at all surprised. Good thing I posted them here. I've posted one more reply to Carla Rolfe just now. May as well include it here.

    Carla Rolfe Wow. Some of these comments are just... well, strange.
    Like · Reply · 3 hrs
    Matt Paul You know what's stranger? My and James Ramelli's comments were deleted even though they were left up for a long time and contained 100% conclusive evidence that James White made a false accusation against Steve Hays. I also find that, well, strange. And ironic, considering this blog from Aomin is talking about simple truthfulness.

    1. You're quite welcome. Oh, and for the record, someone, Carla Rolfe, White, or Pierece deleted my comment reply to her that I posted here just 54 minutes ago. Censorship all around. None of James White's closest peers are holding him accountable- in fact, they're all covering for him like so many feminists. Looks like Dr. White's false accusations are going to continue to be made from now on- nothing stopping him since people who present the evidence are censored by his friends. What a shame for a man of such otherwise great credibility.

    2. This appears to be a theme. Delete/censor - or just misrepresent - opposing views. I've just had two posts deleted and been banned from the A&O Facebook page. I merely pointed out their shocking treatment of one poster and their misrepresentations of another.

      A sad, sad state of affairs.