| ACTS Homepage |
ACTS Email List |
James White Wrong? |
Add Your Own Response |
Response/Notes from Debate Between Scott Windsor and James White
Debate Date: January 13, 2001
Debate can be heard at:
www.straitgate.com/jw011301.ram using Real Audio.
"James White Has Been Proven Wrong So Many Times, It Isn't Funny"
A little preface. In my chat channel,
#CathApol which now resides on StarLink-IRC, (we're still on Undernet too),
I made a comment to someone that
"James White has been proven wrong so many times, it isn't funny." Well, this got
back to James, and he came into #CathApol to ask me about it. One thing led to
another and he challenged me to a debate. Below are some notes from the debate,
it is not a complete transcript, though most of our comments are contained herein.
The live format is James' "home" (that and books) email and the web are mine.
I have taken the liberty of responding to the debate offline and then posting it to
this webpage. Points I have made in the non-live setting will be indicated by
being enclosed in [brackets].
Since the issue that brought James into this was based on how many times I felt he
has been proven wrong, I will be adding a "Wrong Count" after each "wrong" comment
from this discussion. I will put the "Wrong Count" as a number in brackets, like
this: [WC=01], using this font and color.
I will add, many of the places that I have labelled him as "wrong" are rooted in our
differences in theology and authority - but a few of them he's outright wrong, no
matter what the authority is. (In the list below, items in bold are outright wrong).
For ease of referencing this response, I am numbering the paragraphs.
- "All of those alleged disciples, except for the twelve,
walking away from Jesus."
- [A couple points I didn't catch in the live hearing:
The Scripture doesn't tell us that ALL the disciples left Him - in fact
it doesn't say "all" at all! Verse 67 says: "From this time MANY
of His disciples turned back and no longer went with Him."
They were not "alleged disciples," the WERE disciples - or
else, as James seems to imply, this verse is possibly in error
- Coming to Him is not a physical action.
[36. You have seen Me, and you do not believe.
- Seen = physical.] [WC=03]
- 37. All that the Father gives to Me will come to Me.
- The giving of the Father preceeds the coming to the Son.
- Only those that the Father gives will come to the Son and
ALL those whom the Father gives WILL come to the Son.
- In the Greek, the act of giving happens prior to the coming.
- He places the drawing/the giving prior to the coming.
- Yes, the drawing preceeds, but the drawing was on Calvary. That was
when God drew All men to Himself.
- WHO are the ones the Father gives? The "context" of John 6 does NOT
identify this group!
- Men still have Free Will and can reject the Gift of God, which was when the
Son being lifted up on Calvary redeemed All Mankind.
[James equates the giving and the drawing as the same event, when they
are not, nor does this scripture reference indicate they are one and
the same thing.] [WC=05]
- The context makes no mention of those who may reject the Father's drawing.
Those who reject the Gift will not be given by the Father to the Son.
- 39. Now this is the will of the Father, that I should lose nothing of what He has
given Me, but that I should raise it up on the last day.
- The key is not the drawing, but the coming.
- [What I should have said was: "The James' key is not the drawing, but the GIVING
and the COMING."]
[James claims to focus on the drawing part of this verse, but to take James'
interpretation, we would have to negate the verse in John 12:32, wherein Jesus
Himself declares that ALL men are drawn to Him.]
- [Hence, James is not really focused on the drawing, but the GIVING and the COMING,
as we see later - this truly is the case.]
- [In Acts 17:30-31:
Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now
declaring to men that all people everywhere
should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge
the world in righteousness through a Man
whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men
by raising Him from the dead." (NAS)
- The drawing happens before the coming.
- [We concur! However, James claims this happened prior to the existence
of the world - but if we look at the context of the same book just
a few chapters later (12:32) the drawing happens when He is lifted
up (on the Cross) - this is a point I make next, see below.]
- Would you agree or disagree that the "giving" of the Father, occurs prior
to the coming.
- The drawing precedes, and occurs on Calvary. We don't have an exact timeframe
of when the GIVING of the Father occurs - [we only know that it happens].
- The drawing you (Scott) said we don't know when it happens. (Then he quotes
verse 37 again and relates the giving and the coming - SKIPPING the drawing).
[This is NOT what I said, I said we don't know when the GIVING happens,
not the DRAWING).] [WC=07]
- "All that the Father has given me, I will not lose." So obviously, this
giving must have taken place prior to Christ coming into the world. James
addes, "Even before time itself, this must have taken place."
[Whoa, hold on a second! Why must this be prior to the Incarnation?
Or even prior "time itself?"
- The context is general in John 12:32, it is not specific to a given time.
The drawing happens when the Son is lifted up.
- James is attempting to insert Calvin's view of predestination into this
verse, where it is not indicated that this must have taken
place prior to "Christ coming into the world!"
- The problem James is having here is he is attempting to put God on a linear
plane of time, because that is what WE are familiar with. How can anything
that God is completely "fit" into anything we, as mortal, finite beings,
You said that those who persevere are the ones who will be given. Can you
show us from John 6 where it says those who persevere will be given?
- It doesn't say this in John 6, and that furthers my point, that it doesn't
pinpoint exactly who will be given. And we have to look to other points in
Scripture to find (implications) of this, like "we are in the race, run to
win." We are given Free Will and it will be those who persevere that are
given. We have a choice in this matter, and if we choose to turn our back
on Christ [as many of his disciples did] then we are lost again,
back in the same condition, or worse, as we were prior to us coming to Him.
- [I would also add the parable of the 10 Virgins and their oil lamps (Matt 25);
5 were wise and prepared with oil and the 5 foolish virgins, who brought their
lamps - but had no extra oil. They were still able to go back and get
more oil, but by the time they returned, the "door was shut." And the
Bridegroom said to them, "Amen I say to you, I know you not. Watch therefore,
for you know not the day or the hour." This parable is CLEAR reference that
having the gift, or being drawn (symbolized by the lamp) is not enough - but
we must fill that lamp with something, our good deeds done in the state of
grace and reception of the Sacraments are symbolized by the oil. We cannot
be caught with an "empty lamp" when the Bridegroom comes for us!
- Please note, the foolish virgins lamps did have oil at the beginning
of the evening, but ran out, and thus they needed to get more.
Having ALL that was necessary at the beginning of the evening was not enough.
The 5 foolish virgins did indeed have all that was necessary, had the
Bridegroom come sooner - but since He came later, and they were "out of oil,"
they were locked out of the wedding feast!
- What's more, even though all 10 of the virgins had everything necessary at
the beginning of the evening, the word from the Bridegroom to the returning
foolish virgins was, "I know you not!"
- This parable alone squashes James' attempt to insert Calvin's concept of
predestination into John 6! I wish I had thought of it prior to or during
the debate! I guess in terms of this debate or at least this portion of the
debate, the Bridegroom came, and I was not prepared, since this was not the
main wedding feast - I may "get another shot at this" but if I don't I hope
that those reading this who may confront James or another like him, will have
learned from my mistake and be prepared.]
- [Let us take a moment to reflect on verse 37:
- All that the Father gives to Me shall come to Me, and him who
comes to me I will not cast out.
- So, we have a few points to make here:
- Those whom the Father gives - shall (or will) come to Him. Again I assert
that we don't know, from this context, exactly who those are that
will come and the verse doesn't pinpoint when that giving
will take place.
- Those who DO come to Him, He will not cast out. This does
not say that those who come cannot, of their own Free Will, leave
Him, or as the context of this verse does imply, "turn from Him and walk
with Him no more."
- The context also only indicates that the drawing must take place
first. Then, those who are given from the Father will take place at some
undisclosed, but definitely later date. Then, those who are given
will definitely come.
- So there are three items that must follow this order: 1) Drawing; 2) Giving
and 3) Coming. What is not spoken of here is one who may be drawn, but fails
to persevere and/or ends up rejecting the Gift of God.
- Back to verse 39: "Is the Son able to do the will of the Father?"
[Time into debate: 28:30]
- [James again focuses on the giving and the coming, avoiding the drawing.]
- Next James raises the point of dedkwen, a perfect tense verb a completed
action of the past binding an event of the future.
23. [Quoting Robert Sungenis from his book,
Not By Faith Alone, pgs 428-429
- You cannot take this one verse out of the context of the rest of Scripture, and
to dissect this one word, I believe you're looking at it with too fine a
microscope [and therein losing the macro - or big picture - in the scope of
the salvation story].
- [I also add that this very well could be [and is] refering to a future event
such as I can promise to give you something in the future and refer to that
as a past "giving" when compared to another future event that is even further
into the future.]
- What's the purpose in "persevering to the end" if it's already a "done event?"
The tension between the plan of God and the free will of man is evident in
John 1:12-13. John writes, "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed
in his name, he gave the right to become the children of God - children not
born of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born
of God." As used in the Greek, both "received" and "believed" denote one who
is acting on his own volition to accept God. (footnote: Both are in the Greek
active voice denoting the personal decision of the individual, as opposed to
the passive voice which would mean that they were made to receive and believe).
Yet John is also indicating that those who do receive and believe in his name
do so because they are born from God's spiritual power, not by man's earthly
John's Gospel states again the tension between God's predestination and man's
free will as Jesus confronts the Jews. In John 6:39-40 Jesus says:
And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none
of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.
For my Father's wil is that everyone who looks to the Son and
believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him
up at the last day.
Here John reiterates the same theme noted in Romans 8:28-30. God has calculated
his whole plan with such care that he knows the very number of those whom he
will give to Jesus to be saved. In John 17:12 Jesus adds, "While I was with them,
I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost
except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled." Here
Jesus tells us that Judas' betrayal and perdition were foreknown to God and
recorded in Scripture. This does not mean, however, that Judas or anyone else who
does not come to God did not have a free will to choose for God or that God did
not give them the power to respond positively to God. As Jesus says, it is the
Father's will that all who believe (choose to believe) will be raised on the
John reiterates these themes in John 6:37, 44-45:
All that the Father gives me will come to me and whoever comes to me
I will not drive away... No one can come to me unless the Father who
sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. It is
written in the Prophets: `They will all be taught by God.' Everyone
who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.
Again, Jesus clearly states that it is the Father who initiates the salvation
process. The Father must draw to Jesus those whom he desires to save. At the
same time, however, Jesus specifies that each person has the chose to "listen"
to the "teaching of God." Wehn they "listen" and "learn" they will come to
Jesus. Yet Jesus is clear in John 5:40 that it is man who decides not to come
to God: "These are Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come
to me to have life."
- So you believe it is putting this under too fine a microscope and this refers to
a future event even though the passage indicates otherwise?
<31 minutes into the debate, time for a break. Lasts till 35 minutes into the time.>
- You have to remember that God is not limited to our [concept of] time. God is
eternal [and exists before, during and after our existence]. He knows
all that we will do and decide to do because He has seen it
already. [God "remembers" our future for He is not limited to our linear
view of time. He is eternal, with no beginning and no end and exists in
- God knows all, but part of His Will was to give us Free Will so that we
could choose Him.
- [ Robert Sungenis contributes this after reading about what transpired:
The perfect tense of dedooken is not crucial. White is taking
it to mean that the Father chose everyone without their free
will, but the text does not say that.
From our perspective, it is very easy to interpret this as
the Father having given to Jesus those who responded to the grace
the Father gave them. They respond by their free will.
In fact, the next verse, John 6:40, uses "sees" and "believes" in
the Greek present tense, active voice, showing that the people are
seeing and believing at the present time, by their own wills (Greek
active voice, not passive), and it is the Father's will that each
one who does this will be raised on the last day.
This is also significant since the "last day" in John 6:40 is
pivoting off of the "last day" in John 6:39, showing that the "have
given" of John 6:39 must be related to the those who chose to "see"
and "believe" in John 6:40. If anything, there is a dynamic
relationship here, not one weighted to the Father making all the
Also, the verb "give" in John 6:37 ("All that the Father gives to me
will come to me") is a Greek present tense, not a perfect, which shows
that the action of "giving" is occurring presently, and is not confined
to whatever White conceives the perfect tense of 6:39 to be saying. The
"give" of John 6:37 is the same Greek word as the "has given" of John
6:39, only a different tense.
Moreover, we can say the same about 6:37 as we did about 6:39, that is,
those the Father "gives" to Jesus are those who have responded to the
Father's call by their free will. The Father gathers these people and
brings them to Jesus.
In the final analysis, one cannot say what period of time the perfect
tense of John 6:39 refers to, since the text does not give a reference
point. It is very easy to abuse the perfect tense, because we don't
always know when the action of the perfect tense starts.
White is assuming that the perfect tense refers to a time long before
the coming of Jesus. But all we can tell from the verse is that the
action of the perfect tense occurs before the future tense occurrences
of "I shall not lose" and "I shall raise him up."
Although it is possible that the perfect tense refers to an event in the
mind of God before the world was created, there is absolutely nothing in
the grammatical text itself that demands that interpretation. That
interpretation is simply commandeered from other passages they see as
teaching absolute predestination, which they then place in John 6:39.
That fact, coupled with the present tense didoosin in John 6:37, and the
present tense, active voices of "seeing" and "believing" in John 6:40,
leans the interpretation to a present interaction between the Father and
man, not an exclusive action by the Father in the distant past.
- I am, admittedly, not knowledgeable in the Greek, but Robert Sungenis is, and
has confirmed the position I presented - that being that the text itself does
not demand James' interpretation.
- I also brought this discussion up with "The-Ox" (one of the "operators" of
our #CathApol Chat Channel)
and "The-Ox" is a theology student (senior year) who also knows the Greek
and is familiar with this passage and also confirmed my position (White also
makes mention of "The-Ox" within this debate).
- We are left with James White's private interpretation of this text, which
is contrary to nearly 2000 years of Christianity/Catholicism. ]
- Theology is to be derived from Scripture and Tradition is to be tested on the basis
of Scripture and Jesus' words are given to us so that we can do this. If looking at
something as the meaning of verbs, the tense of a verb is going too far then I
would point out that every passage that has been cited, such as John 12:32 or
references in James 5, I can simply say, "Well, that's putting it under too fine
of a microscope, we need to look at the whole context of Scripture...
- [Ah, but wait, you've just gone from using a "microscope" in dissecting one
verb down to it's tense, and moved into a "macro-vision" of looking at several
other passages of Scripture - which we do to see if it fits.]
- ...whole context of scripture says that it is God alone who saves and that we are
dead in our sins, there is nothing that we can do in and of ourselves. It is clear
that Jesus doesn't lose any of His sheep, and He saves all that are given to Him.
- I believe all of these are true and the way to arive at this conclusion is through
exegesis of the text of scripture itself.
- How would you Scott, respond to the point that I believe that it is you who has
missed the entire context of the Scriptures, the Sovereignty of God, etc. I get
from you that the only way to arrive at this is through the sole infallible Church.
- [I can say "My mother has given me love" and I can refer to that as a
past, present [my mother has loved me and on this day that love is given in the
form of (some gift)], or future tense [using a similar scenario as given in the
present tense example].
- [When Paul uses the word "dead" as in "dead in our sins" he is using a
metaphor not a theological definition. Literally, "dead" means
one thing, but figuratively it means many things. Paul uses a metaphor, and
one cannot take a metaphor from Scripture and make a theological definition of
it. When I say, "Katie (my wife) is the apple of my eye," do I have an apple in
- [James, a couple of times in this section stated, "I believe..." which struck a
nerve with me when he first said it - though I didn't comment then, on rehearing
this, I must - James, it's not so much a matter of what YOU believe or even
what I believe that matters. What does matter is what did Jesus teach, and
is our comprehension/interpretation of the passage in harmony with what the
Church has always taught - OR would that interpretion
force us into a position contrary to another statement in the Scriptures? This
cannot happen! This is also the fundamental difference between James and myself -
and that is authority. James says the Scriptures are his sola regula
fide yet, ultimately it is James' private interpretation of the Scripture
that is his ultimate authority. It must make sense to him or else he
won't accept it.]
- I say the exact same thing, I believe you are ignoring the rest of Scripture that is
so clear on the Sovereignty of God and the deadness of man in sin,
but the point is
that when we get down to the point of interpretting Scripture, it sounds like what you
are saying is that Jesus wasn't speaking in this language... let's say for a moment
that Jesus was speaking in Aramaic in the synagogue...(he drops this point)... it is
my understanding that the historic view of the Roman Catholic Church is that the
canonical books of Scripture, the canonized version of the Gospels are in the Greek
language, and there is no "canonical John" written in any other language other than
Greek, so it seems to me that Rome has said "these are the original books, these are
the canon of Scripture and not that these are simply a good translation but we
cannot get into tenses of verbs, etc. Yet people such as Robert Sungenis, Steven Ray,
Karl Keating and Patrick Madrid - they all have gone into the tenses of verbs to
without once saying "this is just minutia."
- I don't belittle anyone who wants to take it to that level, unless they are doing so
at the cost of the rest of Scripture, then you're losing something there.
- [James likes to point out the Sovereignty of God, but his interpretation would
exclude verses like: Zec 1:3 "Therefore tell the people: This is what the LORD
Almighty says: 'Return to me,' declares the LORD Almighty, 'and I will return to
you,' says the LORD Almighty." (NIV).
- [It would seem that everytime you (James) see another Scripture where man's will
is involved or where God pleads with man, you invalidate those passages to support
the Sovereignty of God and Predestination issues.]
- Where does Scripture define God taking someone without their will involved?
- The Church did not canonize a specific translation of Scripture, She said, "these
are the books.
- And again I emphasize, and later point out other verses that are simply not
tenable if we were to take James' interpretation of this section of John 6.
- Yes, in the original languages. I mean it has always been understood that the
Gospel of John was written in Greek. If anyone has read the Early Church Fathers,
if you read (St.) Chrystostom, (St.) Athanasius, they argue using the exact same
arguments that I am...
34. Caller Mike:
- [James stops there and moves on to callers, but let me state that since he
brought up the Early Fathers, then we can also turn to Eusebius, who points to
the original form of Matthew being written in Aramaic - yet that translation is
no longer extant. But that's another discussion, so I too will stop.]
- Was Rome fallible when they declared St. Augustine a Saint when he clearly
denies the transubstantiation of the Eucharist and it is nothing
more than a symbol, and Trent states that anyone who denies the Real
and substantial change are under the anathema of God.
- I don't believe that Augustine held that view of Transubstantiation.
- Well sir, he did... He said that Jesus delivered to His disciples the figure
of His Body and Blood, and he does distinguish what he means by the word figure
within his writings that it is the representative of something, not the reality of
something... you can read that in his Homilies on Psalms 3:1 and there's
lots of other places where he says the Eucharist is not the Body and Blood
38. Caller Johnny:
- [First point, it is an invalid argument to merely state there are "lots of other
places..." and not cite or name these alleged "other places."]
- [I found this reference that Mike was refering to at:
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1801003.htm and the mentioning of "figure" here
is so brief and in passing that one has to "assume" that "figure" here is denying
transubstantiation. There's simply not enough context around this citation to
support Mike's conclusions.
- The above being said, what has Mike to say to this?
"That Bread which you see on the altar, having been sanctified by the
word of God IS THE BODY OF CHRIST. That chalice, or rather, what
is in that chalice, having been sanctified by the word of God, IS THE
BLOOD OF CHRIST. Through that bread and wine the Lord Christ willed
to commend HIS BODY AND BLOOD, WHICH HE POURED OUT FOR US UNTO THE
FORGIVENESS OF SINS." (Sermons 227)
"The Lord Jesus wanted those whose eyes were held lest they should
recognize him, to recognize Him in the breaking of the bread
[Luke 24:16,30-35]. The faithful know what I am saying. They know Christ
in the breaking of the bread. For not all bread, but only that which
receives the blessing of Christ, BECOMES CHRIST'S BODY."
"How this ['And he was carried in his own hands'] should be understood
literally of David, we cannot discover; but we can discover how it is
meant of Christ. FOR CHRIST WAS CARRIED IN HIS OWN HANDS, WHEN, REFERRING
TO HIS OWN BODY, HE SAID: 'THIS IS MY BODY.' FOR HE CARRIED
THAT BODY IN HIS HANDS." (Psalms 33:1:10)
"Christ is both the Priest, OFFERING Himself, and Himself the Victim.
He willed that the SACRAMENTAL SIGN of this should be the daily Sacrifice of
the Church, who, since the Church is His body and He the Head, learns to
OFFER herself through Him." (City of God 10:20)
These quotes and more can be found at:
All this being said, Mike's point is lost. St. Augustine did believe that
the Eucharist was truly the Body and Blood of Christ - so his one quote,
out of context means nothing.
[WC=10] (James supports this caller, so it
counts as another in his "wrong count.")
- I used to believe in Free Will, but I read the writings of Augustine
... all of those things were preceeded by God's sovereign choice. The
will of God is all in control.
- God's sovereign Grace is not dependent on my will or desire... but on
God who has mercy.
I quoted for Johnny, "But the religious mind chooses both (Free Will and
Foreknowledge), confesses both, and maintains both by the faith of piety."
(City of God, Book V, Chapter 9).
- Of course we depend on God's mercy. Our will does not give God the impetus.
Now Scott, you are aware of the work called the Retractations, you know that
Augustine was one of those interesting, interesting folks who had, what shall
we call it, the intestinal fortitude to go back and say "You know what, a lot
of the stuff I wrote in the past wasn't really any good." In fact later in his
life he retracted many of his claims to synergism, due to some of his battles
with Pelagianism, and ended up with just what Johnny was saying... [cites no
source, makes not even a quote here].
[WC=12](Johnny, who goes by RW on IRC
contacted me privately afterward, when I asked him if City of God was
part of the Retractations he couldn't answer, said he would get
back to me, and hasn't since then either).
- [James, would you happen to have a citation from the Retractations
wherein St. Augustine specifically denies Free Will? I would challenge that
no such citation exists.][WC=13]
- [After discussing this with one of the moderators from the ACTS Email
List I was provided this information:
They said therefore unto Him, what shall we do, that we may
work the works of God? For he had said unto them, "Labour not for
the meat which perisheth, but for that which endureth unto eternal
life." 'what shall we do?' they ask; by observing what, shall we be
able to fulfill this precept?' Jesus answered and said unto them, '
this is the work of God, and ye believe on Him whom He has sent' This
is then to eat the meat, not that which perisheth, but that which
endureth to eternal life. To what purpose dost thou make ready teeth
and stomach? Believe, and thou has eaten already. Faith is indeed
distinguished from works, even as the apostle says, 'that a
man is justified by faith without the works of the law.'
Commentary: This passage is used by opponents to claim that Augustine
denied the substantial presence of Christ in the Eucharist and only believed
in a spiritual presence. Such was the proposition of Protestant apologist
James White in a debate on the Eucharist when challenged to provide one
instance of Augustine denying the belief in the substantial presence of
Christ in the Eucharist.
First in this section of the Tractates, Augustine is not speaking directly
about the Eucharist. He is speaking about the first half of John 6, the
section of the chapter in which Jesus is speaking purely in symbolic terms
with the Jews. Tractate 25, from which the above quote is taken is
subtitled "Chapter VI, 15-44" in NPNF, which refers to John 6: 15-44. It is
not until Jesus begins the series of verses in John 6:49-58 that Catholic
theology enforces a literal interpretation of Jesus' words concerning the
Eucharist. It is obvious by even a cursory reading of the context that
Augustine is merely showing the contradiction between works and faith in the
Jewish mindset; not a denial of the substantial presence in the sacrament,
or that mere belief in Christ does not require one to partake of the
(Not by Bread Alone by Robert Sungenis, pp272-273)
So, we have found at least one place where James has attempted to use a quote
from St. Augustine to indicate a "change of mind" but
- It comes from the Tractates, not the Retractationes.
- It is not in the context of defining the substance of the Eucharist,
rather contradicting faith and works. Though it IS in the context
of our discussion of John 6! However, it does not say what James
would have it to say.
- The person is dead in sin... So, [to complete the comparison] it would be like
God is going around to dead corpses causes them to rise up, spiritually. (If
they are "dead" they cannot act upon anything themselves).
- We're all dead in sin when we're not reconciled to God. We become reconciled
to Him through accepting Him, through baptism and after those, through the
Sacrament of Reconciliation or Sacrament of Penance.
- So, a person who is "dead in sin" can still accept God?
- We accept God, and again, we go back to the drawing, and what Jesus was lifted
up on the Cross, He drew all men to Him.
- Going back to John 12;32, which you've brought up a number of times now, you
believe that when He says "all men" He is not refering to Jew and Gentile,
because you know the context, Jesus says in John chapter 12, that Greeks come
seeking Jesus and Andrew comes to Jesus... Jesus' words are the result of the
fact that non-Jews / Gentiles, are seeking after Him, and in that
context He says, "If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto Myself." So,
your view is that "all men" means "every single person," right?
Yes, and I don't think that the reading from John 12 has to go your way.
[In fact, the context of that verse is a bit more broad than James is
attempting to make it! Look at the verse which immediately preceeds:
31 Now is the judgment of the world; now will the prince of the
world be cast out. 32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, I will
draw all things (men) to myself. 33 Now He said this signifying by
what death He was to die (being lifted up on the Cross).
So, again James is just flat out wrong when he attempts to say this verse
does not refer to all men as in every single man for truly,
every single man will come to the "judgment of the world!"
- Does not the Bible say the Cross will be a stumbling block to the world?
- The very nature of Christianity is a stumbling block to many (most) people of
- I understand, so how the cross, which is a stumbling block, foolishness, repulsiveness,
how can that draw all men?
The Cross doesn't do the drawing, Jesus does! "When I am lifted up (on the cross),
I will draw all men to Me..." (he says) I will draw, not the Cross, but Jesus.
- So, yet again, James is proven dead wrong in his representation of Scripture,
for clearly it is not the cross that does the drawing, but Jesus!
- Ok, so in John 6:44 then, you believe it is the same drawing that is mentioned six
- [It is noted that James ignores the point I made over Who or what does the drawing,
and tries to go back into another comparison.
- It would be a similar drawing, yes. [No, it is the same drawing - for there
is only one drawing, and Jesus tells us when it will be - "When I am lifted up..."
- God does the drawing.
- So in James 6:44 you are saying that every man is drawn to the Father?
Yes, every man has been given the opportunity, has been given the gift...
[WC=17](James denies this).
- Now, in John 6:44 it says that "I will lift them up on the Last Day" now, will
everyone be lifted up on the Last Day?
No, only those that the Father gives. There's a difference between the "drawn"
and the "given" but there is no difference between the "given" and "who will be
raised up." [WC=18]
- Can you explain then that in John 6:44 that there is no difference between the
one who is drawn and the one who is raised? "No one can come to the Father unless
He has drawn him and I will raise him on the Last Day."
- What you are saying is that the first him is everyone in the world
and the second him is only the select few that accept Him. Can you give
us any basis of that from the text?
- In this particular text it doesn't say anything about those who were drawn, but
- Other parts of the Scripture make reference to "many are called, but few are
chosen." Did God fail in His calling when He calls many, yet only "few" make it?
- (No answer).
- [The operative word is "come."
- drawn = when man is drawn to Him. (past event)
- come = an act of the will (current event)
- raised = those that are raised on the last day (future event).
- How can a man who is dead in his sins, say yes to God?
- James addes his story about having "dead cadavers" that he could lift out the
heart or the lungs, and they didn't complain a bit. He could ask them anything
he wanted to, but they wouldn't respond - because they're dead! How can
one be dead, but not really dead?
Johnny now uses the "dead" metaphor/analogy - it doesn't work any better
this time round than it did the first time round.
- Well, because we are dead, but not really dead! We are living sentient beings
who are given an oportunity sometime during our life to hear the Word of God,
if we hear the Word of God and reject it, we're in trouble. If we've never
heard the word of God then there's a different category - for as it is recorded
in Scriptures, it is better to have never heard the Word of God than to have
heard it and rejected it.
- I then related the story of the Prodigal Son and James 5:19-20 in support of those
who once had the faith an lost it.
- * A Reader responds (click here).
Scott, does it matter that neither James 5 nor the
Prodigal Son parable has anything to do with salvation nor the context of
Luke 15 have anything to do with how a person is saved?
- James reiterates that neither one of these passages has anything to do with how
one is saved.
64. New Caller, John
- [During the debate, I didn't back down from this position, but I didn't have the
references opened up to support it either:
- In going back and LOOKING at the context, it is found within SEVERAL parables.
- 14:7-11; The Last Seat (about pride
and being invited to the Wedding Feast which IS relevant to
salvation and the Kingdom of Heaven).
- 14:12-14; The Poor Guests (inviting
the poor, and you will be rewarded at the resurrection of the just - the
resurrection of the just, relevance to salvation).
- 14:15-24; A Great Supper(regarding those
who were invited to the Great Supper shall not taste of it - clear
reference to the Jews rejecting their Messiah, but in doing so, they
rejected their salvation.
- 15:1-8; The Lost Sheep (Going after the
one sheep that was lost and leaving the 99 behind to find the one.
Again, a clear analogy to being part of the flock, yet lost, and how
important it was to the Shepherd to go out and save the lost sheep).
- 15:11-31; The Prodigal Son (I stated that
THIS parable had to do with salvation, one squandering his
inheritance and yet, came home, and his father"
declared that he was dead, and has
come to life; he was
lost and is found." Bare in mind, this son was GIVEN the inheritance,
and squandered it, yet when he came home he regained the position
of being alive. This is CLEAR reference to salvation.
- 16:1-13; The Unjust Steward (Another
parable about squandering what has been given you).
- 16:19-31; The Rich Man and Lazarus (Clearly
a reference to the afterlife, Lazarus is in heaven and the Rich Man is in hell).
- So I ask the reader, is the parable of the Prodigal Son NOT within the context of
salvation, the gift of God, the free will of man to reject (and/or squander) the gift,
and the ability of man to come back, or be brought back to the flock/Church? Was
James misinformed, mistaken or being deliberately misleading in saying the Prodigal
Son parable had nothing to do with the context of salvation? Was James White
wrong when he said the context had nothing to do with salvation? Very clearly,
yes - he was wrong.
Does not the Prodigal Son parable mention the "dead" metaphor? The Prodigal was
"dead" but of his own Free Will, he returned to the father and is now "alive" again.
- James also stated that when I cited James 5:19-20, that this was not in the context
of salvation, or the judgment. Let us take a look at the context.
James 5:1-6 (talks about the
Unjust Rich - speaks about how your riches can be a witness
against you - hmmm, when would our riches possibly be a witness
against us, if not the judgement?)
- James 5:7-12 (Talks about the
farmer waiting for the precious fruit of the earth clearly
a reference to The Farmer (God) waiting for the end times/judgment).
- James 5:13-18 (Talks about a
Catholic Sacrament, The Last Rites or Extreme Unction!
Allow me to quote: 14 Is any one among you sick? Let him bring
in the presbyters (priests) of the Church, and let them
pray over him, annointing him with oil in the name of the Lord
15 and the prayer of faith will save the sick man (not
necessarily heal him) and the Lord will raise him up, and
if he be in sins, (not in the state of grace), they shall
therefore be forgiven him." Noting the sins have not yet
been forgiven him, but will be forgiven him when?
AFTER the presbyters pray over him! Again, this section
clearly is within the context of salvation for the individual.
- James 5:19-20 (the section I
refered to originally, allow me to quote again:
My brethren, if any one of you
(speaking to those whom he calls brethren)
strays from the truth (they were once IN
the truth) and someone brings him back (how
can one be brought back to something they
were never in to begin with?) 20 he ought
to know that he who causes a sinner to (again)
be brought back from his misguided way, will
save his soul from death, and will cover a
multitude of sins.
So, if THIS is not refering to the salvation of one's soul,
I don't know what is! It even explicitly states "save a soul from
death" and the only "death" the soul can ever know is the eternal
death and punishment which happens after the judgment!
(emphasis and parenthetical statments mine).
- So, was James White wrong about the context of James 5:19-20?
Clearly the context shows that the Apostle James is refering to
salvation of the soul - so again, James White is proven wrong.
- Scott states that the reason the people turned away in
John 6 was due to Jesus teaching eating the Flesh and drinking the Blood,
I'm curious about why you think the people actually turned away, v65 I think
it was the preservation, election as well as the teaching of a spiritual
nourishment that the people actually left.
- Essentially, this is what led us to this actual debate (and this caller is the actual
person that was in my #CathApol Chat
Channel) that this person (tatrbrain) had asked me to read White's book on
this subject, and I had made the comment that "White has been proven wrong so many
times it isn't funny." That statement got back to James - he came over (to my
chat channel) and talked to me, and here we are now!
- The topic, John 6, Jesus' teaching "You must eat My Flesh and drink My
Blood or you have no life in you." And after that point [not any
earlier points of alleged Calvinism] that many of His disciples left Him.
[Mind you, these were disciples not just some people who just started
following Him looking for miracles - they were disciples!] These men
were called they were drawn to Christ and yet they left Him! Why,
because they couldn't handle the literal Word when He was saying "eat My Flesh"
and "drink My Blood."
Scott, if I may comment, any reading of the text will contradict you here. Jesus
entire discussion of the calling is talking about why they would leave, He tells
them that He already knows who believes and who would not believe.
- [Note, the word "believe" implies an act of the will on the part of the "believer."]
- And what were those words that they would not believe? They were the words saying
you must eat My Flesh and drink My Blood or you have no life in you.
- My point is that in verse 64 that Jesus said there were some who would not believe
and He knew who they were who did not believe and who it would be that would betray
Him. These are not men drawn to the Father, or to the Son. Well, you would say it
was, but He's explaining in the passage, their unbelief and then verse 65 and He would
say "no one can come to Him unless it has been granted from the Father, as a result of
- Let's go on to this other point though, Jesus turns to the 12 and I assume you would
agree that these are part of the elect, the called, the drawn. (James responds "right.")
And He turns to them and says, "Will you also leave?" He gave them a choice! Was He
only kidding when He said that?
Oh, wait-wait-wait-wait-wait! This is where we have to look at what the Scripture
actually says. There is a way in the Greek language that you can phrase a question
that expects a negative answer, and that is the way Jesus phrased this.
- He may have phrased it that way, but He still gave them a choice.
- "The Greek wording does not use
the type of wording used with a rhetorical question."
(Telephone conversation, Robert Sungenis, February 6, 2001).
- Obviously it was not purely a rhetorical question, because Peter answered Him!
- Notice what Simon Peter says, "To whom Lord shall we go? You have words of eternal
life." How does Peter receive this knowledge? Both of us know Matthew 16 quite well,
it is through the Father that Peter is given this knowledge. He is among the drawn,
and the Son will not fail to bring him/them up. This is a consistent understanding
throughout John 6 that simply does not allow for this (Scott's) idea, that the Father
can try to save, and the Son can try to save, and the Spirit can try to save, but the
ultimate authority in the issue of salvation is the dead sinner - it's just not in
there. You have to read that in from another source and Scott, it's not the Bible.
It your interpretation of text, that has been provided, I would assert, you by the
magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church.
- Part of that I would have to agree with. I accept the teaching Magisterium of the
Church, because I believe that Jesus empowered men to lead and rule and guide
His Church, and He promised that His Holy Spirit would be with that Church and that
Church would be the pillar and foundation of all Truth. If we go on this basic
statement, then YES I believe in the Magisterium of the Church because I
believe that Jesus created the Magisterium and He empowered men to be in charge
of His Church and provided the means that they would be free from error in anything
that was doctrinal in nature.
- [And I would add, it is precisely through the Bible that I have been making most of
my points today!]
- For clarity sake, James, you believe God created and predetermined who would go
to hell - and that these men had absolutely no choice in their lives?
- Where is culpability here?
- What about the men who claim to be leaders of the Church who don't even know that
Jesus used a structure in that question that expected a negative answer? Why
should I believe, for example, the dogmatic teachings of men who are ignorant of
the text of Scripture? I doubt if very many of the "Church Fathers" or prelates,
for example at the 4th Lateran Council, knew enough Greek to know what John 6:67
said, so I guess the question is since John 6:67 the very breathed out word of
God, why should I have what is so clearly indicated in that text taken away from me,
by what someone said 1215 years later? ...So you know that Carthage and Hippo were
not infallibly councils, for they were not eucumenical councils like Trent - did
anyone know with any certainty, when reading John 6:67 (you do not want to go away
also do you?) Are you saying that until 1546 that no one could know with any
certainty, that that form of the Greek expects a negative answer?
- There still is a potential that they could leave, even if Jesus is asking a
sarcastic question. This leads me to the fact that just looking back through
history, 90% of all Christians could not read! They relied on the
Tradition of the Church to preach them the Gospel, because they couldn't read it!
- Prior to the Reformation, which I like to call the Innovation, there was no one
like you, James. There may have been little pockets here and there, but prior
to this time - if you were Christian - you were Catholic.
- How do you test the Church? You claim that you base your authority on the
Church, but how do you know that the Church has infallibly taught anything?
- First off, prior to the Reformation, I like to call it the Innovation, of the
16th Century, there was no one who believed like you - there may have been little
pockets here and there, but no "movement" there was no "church" that believed
as you do.
- Scott, was there anyone at the Council of Nicea that believed as you do?
- OK, name me one person who believed in the Bodily Assumption of Mary.
- How about the Immaculate Conception?
- Is it mentioned?
- [This is nothing more than a red herring (invalid) argument. There is
no talk of the Canon or Justification either - those weren't the points
of the Council of Nicea! Going on James' logic, since the Canon was
not discussed nor was Justification so these are were not and would
never be defined by the Church.]
- So, you're asking me to prove a negative. You want me to show you the
reference to this at Nicea, when there is no way I can show you something
that wasn't there. (Trying to make an argument from silence).
Athanasius was at Nicea, right (yes). And he wrote many, many books, right?
(yes). Did he ever express a belief in Transubstantiation, in the Immaculate
Conception and the Bodily Assumption of Mary?
- I am not familiar with all of his works, has he ever rejected any of
- ["But when the great and wonderous prayers have been recited, then the bread
becomes the body and the cup the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ
....When the great prayers and holy supplications are sent up, the Word
descends on the bread and the cup, and it becomes His body."
(Athanasius, Sermon to the Newly Baptized)
- St. Athanasius doesn't use the "word" Transubstantiation, because that would
be a term that would be coined later - but the teaching definitely
pre-exists the label.
- As for the Immaculate Conception and the Bodily Assumption, I could not find
reference to those (for or against). An argument from silence is not a valid
- It should suffice though, that the context of THIS debate has been
centered around John 6, and one of my chief points has been the
Eucharist, and clearly James was dead wrong in implying that St. Athanasius
never expressed a belief in Transubstantiation.
- No one ever discussed any of those things...
- No I don't have the sources right here in front of me, but I have seen writings
and hymns from the very Early Church that do discuss and mention these
- [James' position has already been shown to be false.]
That's quite true Scott (he admits it!) but you
know Thomas Aquinas specifically rejected the modern form of the Immaculate
Conception, right? So to go before Aquinas and say that the use of a term in a
hymn equates to belief is, I think, grossly anachronistic. Scott, I think I'm
very, very fair and I can point you to many Roman Catholic theologians and
historians who will all say that there was no one at the Council of Nicea who
believes what you believe.
- How can they say that?
- [Name one "Roman Catholic historian or theologian" who would say that they
(at the Council of Nicea) did not believe as we (and he, this alleged
historian or theologian) do today.]
- [St. Thomas Aquinas did not "specifically deny" the doctrine of the
Immaculate Conception! Again James attempts to argue from silence. In fact
St. Aquinas believed she was preserved from sin from before her birth -and-
remained sinless throughout her life:
(Summa Theologiae III:27:4): I answer that, God so prepares and endows
those, whom He chooses for some particular office, that they are
rendered capable of fulfilling it, according to 2 Cor. 3:6: '(Who)
hath made us fit ministers of the New Testament.' Now the Blessed
Virgin was chosen by God to be His Mother. Therefore there can be
no doubt that God, by His grace, made her worthy of that office,
according to the words spoken to her by the angel (Lk. 1:30,31):
'Thou hast found grace with God: behold thou shalt conceive,'
etc. But she would not have been worthy to be the Mother of God, if
she had ever sinned. First, because the honor of the parents reflects
on the child, according to Prov. 17:6: 'The glory of children are
their fathers': and consequently, on the other hand, the Mother's
shame would have reflected on her Son. Secondly, because of the
singular affinity between her and Christ, who took flesh from her:
and it is written (2 Cor. 6:15): 'What concord hath Christ with
Belial?' Thirdly, because of the singular manner in which the Son
of God, who is the 'Divine Wisdom' (1 Cor. 1:24) dwelt in her, not
only in her soul but in her womb. And it is written (Wis. 1:4):
'Wisdom will not enter into a malicious soul, nor dwell in a body
subject to sins.'
We must therefore confess simply that the Blessed Virgin committed
no actual sin, neither mortal nor venial; so that what is written
(Cant 4:7) is fulfilled: 'Thou art all fair, O my love, and there
is not a spot in thee,' etc. "
- [Again James attempts to use a red herring to make a point. The fact is that
being a Council of the Catholic Church, Nicea would have agreed with anything
the Church had defined. James cannot bring out a point from Nicea that the Church
now disagrees with - his argument is from silence (again) believing if
Nicea was silent on the matter, it must not have been a dogmatic issue. Well
James - councils don't work like that. They are generally convened with a
specific purpose in mind - and chiefly address that purpose.]
- Because, they recognize, if you're going to say first...
- (I interupted) Did they talk about birth control or abortion in those councils?
Are those "wrongs" that are definitely defined by the Church [at a later time]?
- You're missing the point Scott.
- No I'm not. This is exactly the point you're trying to make! [James is
trying to say that if it wasn't explicitly taught at these councils or by these
Fathers, then they don't believe it.]
No, what I am saying is that you cannot demonstrate the positive existence of
a dogma at that time, because no one even mentions it. Are you telling me that
in all the things that (St.) Athanasius wrote, all the things (St.) Augustine
wrote - that they believed this as a dogma, but somehow, for 500 years,
minimally, no one ever put pen to paper to ever discuss it?
- It's not a matter of putting pen to paper, it's a matter of the Church defining
it - and that didn't happen until a major dispute arose over it, causing heretical
schisms in the Church. That's when the Church would come out and say, "Hold it,
wait a minute..." That's what this whole thing, Nicea, was all about, was the
Trinity. And the Trinity was not yet defined at that time. The Church had to
come out and say "Wait a minute, this is the Trinity, if you don't accept it,
you're no longer Catholic."
- [I have already demonstrated that St. Athanasius did indeed believe as I believe
and as every "true" Catholic believes - in the Eucharist.]
Actually Scott, the Council of Nicea didn't say anything about the Trinity, it
talked about the Deity of Christ, but there were references all through the
Fathers before then unto that belief - all the way back to Ignatius.
- Are you saying that Ludwig Ott is in error to admit that the very first
reference in anything to the Bodily Assumption of Mary is in AD 495 when Pope
Gallacius condemns as heretical the transitus beatae Maria literature? That
this is the first place in all recorded history that ever records this belief?
Are you saying that Ludwig Ott or Michael O'Carroll, that these people are
Roman Catholics and are in error to make these assertions?
- Before we get to that point, lets look at what he's refuting (Pope Gallacius).
He's refuting a work on Mary, so that work had to have existed prior!
[Nicea didn't say "anything" about the Trinity? Hmmmm, please note this quote
and then note the source:
Bernard is one of the few Oneness writers who does not directly
attribute the doctrine of the Trinity to Satan. He seems aware
of the fact that the Oneness position avoids the supposed
"philosophical language" by basically ignoring the issue that
was faced squarely at Nicea and Chalcedon.
http://www.aomin.org/CHALC.html Author: James White
[WC=29] (James is either wrong in
today's statement, or the statement from his own webpage - they both cannot
|James has responded to this point, saying I
took that quote of his from his article about the Trinity "out of context."
Now, that confuses me - he wrote and article on the Trinity - he
brought up the "issue was aquarely faced at Nicea" and somehow *I*
am missing the context? Suppose I did take him out of context, are all
these quotes "out of context" as well?
- The Bodily Assumption of Mary is refered to: Epiphanius (c. 377),
questioning the possibilities of Mary's end, states:
"...or she remained alive, since nothing is impossible
with God and He can do whatever He desires, for her end no one knows"
(Panarion, 78, 23). (Qtd in:
The very fact that it is being discussed by Epiphanius is evidence that
it has been a matter of discussion of the Early Father - and prior to
495 - so I would have to concur that Dr. Ott is wrong - that is IF he
has stated that 495 was "the earliest" source. As of now, that it an
unsubstantiated, unquoted claim. That being said, James HAS been answered
on this point before, as evidenced by the very title of the webpage
- Regarding ANY dogma, is the "time element" so important? Was the "dogma"
of the Canon of Sacred Scripture not "in effect" until the Council of
Florence or Trent? Was the "dogma" of the Trinity not in effect until
Arianism challenged it and the Church defined it? Is "dogmatic" based
- Yah, and he said it was from heretics.
- But (the point you were making was that it did not exist prior) it existed
prior (to Pope Gallacius, or he'd have had nothing to refute!).
Time runs out in the program. Had I been able to give "the parting shot" I may have said
something like this:
- But not amongst Christians Scott. That's the whole point, you can't point
to someone who believed as you do.
- [James, I believe I have indeed demonstrated that there were those who did
believe as I do today, especially in regard to the Eucharist (you kept
getting away from that topic). Our topic of the day was John 6. You were
partial to showing Calvin's predestination, which clearly your arguments
required assumption and extra-scriptura support. I believe I have been
able to raise at least some doubt to your arguments and have demonstrated
at least 29 points that you were wrong about, several of which you were
inargueably wrong. I grant you that some of our disagreements are based in
authority, which ultimately is the "holy grail" of our discussions, so some
of my "wrong count" points you will dismiss, based on your authority. Some,
you just can't get around.
- I was partial to the Eucharistic references in John 6, and the text will
bear out that I have demonstrated this from Scripture and the Early Fathers,
including one Early Father (St. Athanasius) whom you said didn't even mention
it, ever, in his writings.
- As my parting challenge: James - Tell us which of the Early Fathers that
actually agree with the Reformed Baptist theology. You won't find even
just some thoughts on being "dead in his sins". Johnny's/ James
argument regarding dead cadavers does not take into account the
spiritual nature of our souls. They have overlooked completely the
effect of sin on our souls. The argument, as it is presented is totally
in the temporal sense, rather than in the spiritual sense. If anything
this line of argument appears to be a denial of the existence of the
soul, as well as a denial of how God's grace works within a soul.
I found Archbishop Fulton Sheen's "Lift up your hearts", an excellent
resource on the issue of sin - the effect of sin on the soul, and how
God works even when the soul is completely black from sin. It is a
concept called Black Grace, and Sheen explains that this particular
grace works to awaken a person from their sin, but the person must still
respond to this grace. (I am probably not being very clear here).
The parable of the Prodigal Son supports the point that I am making.
That there comes a time, when a person is leading a hedonistic lifestyle
recognises that he/she cannot continue to live in that style. It is at
this point, when the wake up call comes that the person is responding to
God's grace. Only then does the hedonist repent and seek forgiveness of
his sins and attempts to change his/her lifestyle habits through
reformation, and returns to God, who is waiting to welcome the sinner
with open arms.
Also it seems to me that James White has missed the whole point of John
Chapter 12 and the Greeks seeking out Jesus. He mentions that the Greeks
sought out Jesus, and then he skips the most important verse:
"And Jesus answered them: The hour has come for the Son of Man to be
(The KJV states: "The hour has come that the Son of Man should be
glorified" - again this is not a positive statement, rather it indicates
uncertainty into the words of Jesus. It is not stating that it will
happen but that it should happen).
The point to be made here is that the Jews had failed in their mission
to bring the word of God to the other nations, and it was a part of the
mission of Jesus that he would draw the other nations so that all men
will be saved in accordance with the will of God.
"and I have other sheep, that are not of this fold. I must bring them
also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock , one
shepherd." John 10: 16
Therefore, when the Greeks came seeking Jesus, he knew that his mission
of drawing "other sheep" to himself had been accomplished.
(This person is not responding to this page, but to the actual debate itself).
Number of visitors to this page
since January 23, 2001:
Return to ACTS Homepage