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Feb 11, 2011

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Darby Livingston

"Never has there been a time when this concession is more literally true."

Stop! You're killing me! :)

Alan Kurschner

I found it telling that you reacted against my illustration---not the actual biblical argumentation. But that is expected.

peter

Alan,

Thanks for the log-on. A) Not sure why it's "telling"; B) I but teased out the principle you yourself employed. I do see how you do not fully appreciate how it worked itself out, however. I mean, it is quite absurd, is it not? Even so, perhaps that's because you may have taken an absurd interpretation of the biblical data.

Have a great evening.
With that, I am...
Peter

peter

Darby,

I'm glad you got a kick, bro.

Peace for this weekend.
With that, I am...
Peter

A Person

You said: "some theologians classify the theology James White embraces as Hyper-Calvinism"

Such theologians would be complete and utter morons, thus leading me to the conclusion that "such theologians" = Peter Lumpkins.

Ed Goodman

My heart's desire is to see unity between both soteriological sides, but it seems that both sides are content arguing and bickering. Please know, I have no ill will toward either side, but I lean toward Peter's understanding of libertarian free will simply because imperatives are found within Scripture. That may seem elementary, but it seems that simple to me. If humanity had no obligation or responsibility toward God (that they could freely and independently decide to exercise), why are commands contained within the Bible?

Let me say, no matter how ignorant or naive I may sound with my argument, I really do have sincere intentions toward both sides of this argument. Much love and grace to all.

Ed Goodman
Ephesians 4:3

Joshua Bennett

"Alpha & Omega, the apologetic website of extreme Calvinist* James White..."

I stopped here. Why should I trust you when you have lied about your opponent fifteen seconds in?

peter

Dear "Person" aka "Bob"

You get one insult anonymously. If you'd like to log on again, you're going to have man-up with who you are. As for me being a moron, you sound like brother. To be sure I've had some moronic moments. But, had you read SBC Tomorrow for any time, you'd know precisely who the accomplished theologians are who classify White's theology as Hyper-Calvinism. And, I assure you, they are not morons.

With that, I am...
Peter

peter

Ed,

Thanks for your contribution and always your spirit of reconciliation.

Peace, brother.
With that, I am...
Peter

peter

Joshua,

Thanks. First, you have no reason to trust me. Trust your pastor and/or an accomplished theologian/scholar from our reputable seminaries. Second, the "you, sir, are a liar" approach is an infallible give-a-way of someone who supports JW. Hence, you wouldn't "trust" anything on this site even if an angel from heaven appeared to you and told you to. I am anathama.

Finally, to dismiss an entire essay because of the opening sentence--no matter how radical it may seem--is indicative of a hopelessly closed mind which feeds on a priori ideas about reality. In other words, it seems to openly confess one already knows all to know about a particular subject.

Thanks for logging on though.

With that, I am...
Peter

Roy

I was talking to a friend the other day who is a Calvinist, and somewhat of a fan of White, but very objective and aware of his hateful treatment of people who disagree with him.

I asked her, "have you noticed, among his supporters, that when they defend him, they must always point to his supposed knowledge as the evidence of his Christianity, or his spiritual maturity/correctness? They NEVER point to his behavior as being Christlike?"

She agreed, and she has tons of James White supporting friends. Mr. White exudes absolutely no characteristics of Christlikeness in the way he acts or his treatment of others. He does not consider others before himself. He tries to destroy anyone who dares to disagree with him. He may know the Bible very well, but he has no understanding of a lot of it, such as 1 Corinthians 13.

It reminds me of the actor who played Eric Liddell in "Chariots of Fire." Liddell, in real life, was a missionary and a great man of God. The man who played him in the movie was, in real life, a homosexual. However, he prepared for the role of Liddell by reading the entire Bible, cover to cover. Quite a long time later, the actor died of AIDS. He had read and knew the Bible, but it had no practical application to his life.

I would say, to James White supporters, despite how knowledgeable you believe he is of Calvinism and the Doctrines of Grace, he is not exempt from 1 Corinthians 13, and other examples of Christlikeness in the Bible. We are not gnostics and saved by knowledge, we are saved by grace, and transformed.

Ed Goodman

Roy, I must agree with you 100%. Behavior, not knowledge, is the evidence of a transformed heart. I have been guilty of treating others poorly, but I recognized the sin and admitted it to God and others as I repented from that behavior. Repentant attitudes and broken hearts lead to changed behavior.

Also, APPLICATION is further up the "cognitive ladder," so to speak, than is KNOWLEDGE. So, Roy, to agree with you, anyone can know the Bible, but the Spirit of God must enable us to crucify the flesh to apply the Bible's truth. Thanks for your thoughts, my brother.

Roy

Ed, you are right about the cognitive ladder. I have met many a strong Christian who, although they were simple minded and didn't understand everything there was to know about monergism and synergism and other fun stuff, had it down pat when it came to treating others in a Christlike manner, and representing Christ in their actions and deeds.

I have a lot of dear friends who are Calvinists and are very humble people. However, there are others, like James White, who remind me more of the Catholics that, when you try to speak to them about the Bible and their rejection of scripture in terms of their lifestyle, tell you that, since they wrote the Bible/put it together, you have no right to try to call them to task in terms of following it.

Likewise, with some Calvinists such as Mr. White, since they believe they are the only ones with the right theology, you have no right, and in fact, you insult them, for wondering why they ignore/throw out 1 Corinthians 13 and other passages which dictate that we live with humility, grace, love and kindness.

Doug

Funny how many of you presuppose no Christlikeness from Dr White. How many of you have entered into the IRC chat channel he often frequents, called a Dividing Line (I've called in for times) or even met the man (I did just last night). I can vouch for his godliness and gracious spirit.

If you want to call him "un-Christlike" for his plainness of speech, let's see a few blog posts about good ol' Johnny Mac - he's a pastor with an international ministry and is as to-the-point (and even more so at times) than Dr White. Is that crickets I hear in my concrete jungle...?

Rhology

Why should I trust you when you have lied about your opponent fifteen seconds in?

Indeed. Gracious sakes, sir. You are an embarrassment.

Peace,
Rhology

Ray

Doug,

You must be new to the area. There are no presuppositions in regards to white's un-christlikeness.

maybe you are receiving a different spirit because you are a potential donor to his ministry.

at any rate a good place to see white's pattern of going from inwardly seething to openly vitriolic is here:

http://www.shields-research.org/Novak/mail/white/letter1.htm

this was an exchange with a non-believer. do a quick search and you will see this same treatment to christians who don't agree with his systems.


WWJD?

Roy

Doug, I don't need to presuppose anything when I see all the evidence otherwise. I'm not sure if you're being willingly obtuse or dishonest in what you are saying.

1. I've met and interacted Dr. MacArthur. I told him how much I appreciated his expository preaching. He is just as gracious, humble, and loving as I had imagined he would be. There is a reason that he is invited on talk shows, such as Larry King Live, constantly... because he treats people with respect, even if he disagrees with them. If people think he's “unchristlike” or harsh, it's because of his conservative, not because of his behavior or treatment of people. He is upfront, but “considers others above himself” in his interactions. Just watch some youtube clips of MacArthur on various talk shows. James White does the complete opposite. I've interacted with him as well. He's worse than I had imagined in terms of how he treats people he disagrees with.

2. For someone such as yourself that would claim to respect Dr. MacArthur, I find it bizarre you would insult him in two ways. First, by equating his accredited doctorate to the cracker jack box one that James White has is an insult to he and others who actually earned a real doctorate. If you would be a bit more objective about White, you would see his “doctorate” is a constant joke among people he debates and disagrees with. He certainly refuses to live “above reproach” by continuing to be dishonest about it. Secondly, by comparing his forthrightness with James White belies either your dishonesty about Mr. White, or refusal to distinguish between acceptable and vicious behavior.

The friend of mine I had mentioned earlier had read an email exchange between White and her friend who is a believer and had disagreed with White about something. I read the exchange myself. My friend said the exchange was so vicious and hateful that if she had received such email, she would have burst into tears. Your average drunk guy in a bar is “upfront” with people. That alone is not a trait of Christianity when it comes down to just acting the way you feel like acting.

Arguing that James White is Christlike in the way he treats people reminds me of the adage of the abusive husband who says, “I beat her because I love her.”

Although I do not know you, one can only wonder if the reason you would defend such behavior is because you treat others the same way. If so, I would encourage you to get in the Word as well.

Arlin

So Dr. James White is un-Christlike for being blunt, using occasional satire, and being firm in his disagreements with others...

and you are saying this on Peter Lumpkins website where Dr. White is frequently called a 'hyper-Calvinist' and where Lumpkins says such things as: "James White embarrassed evangelicals with this poor dialog with Ehrman" and "... White crawls away like a whipped mongrel" on a rather regular basis?

With all do respect, I have listened to Dr. White as well as a plethora of other ministers for many years. I am absolutely certain you and anyone who agrees with your assessment are woefully ignorant of what Dr. White says and does.

Roy

Arlin, "Mr." White, as he is not a doctor, is unchristlike for being vile, rude, vicious, and hateful to anyone who disagrees with him. You apparently missed the clear contrast I made between him and say, Dr. MacArthur. Or are you saying MacArthur is not blunt and straightforward?

Where else should I say it? It would be deleted on his site, or maybe the "whiteheads" would go after me.

White continues to be an embarrassment to Christians, and an embarrassment to Calvinists. The hateful, spiteful, and downright satanic viciousness that he engages in towards those who don't agree with him as as much Christlike as it is "caring" to club baby seals.

Does he consider others above himself? Is he patient, kind, and loving as we are directed to be in 1 Corinthians 13? He certainly is not in any of his public interactions with people, particularly those he disagrees with.

I will admit one thing I'm ignorant about, as far as how he acts in the comfort of his own home. Maybe he's nice there... who knows. I DO Know, and many others do, that he is hateful and vicious publicly. One need only look at the recent nonsense he engaged in making fun of the looks of Mormon women. But perhaps that is the more "mature" Christlikeness than we simpletons are used to.

Like I said, you guys are arguing, as the domestic abuser does, that "he beats her because he loves her."

Joshua Bennett

You did not answer my objection.

A hyper-Calvinist is a person who does not believe in the offer of the free gospel to all people. White does believe this and has said so many times. You are obviously free to not agree with him. But why misrepresent him? Why do you call him a hypercalvinist when he is not?

peter

All,

I’ve intentionally stayed out of this particular thread.  And, to be honest I should have closed it a good while back.  Too many sidebars arose. Also, when JW fans show up here to defend their hero, the thread rarely may be redeemed.

Even so, a couple of things.  First, as for White’s doctoral credentials, they who argue neither White’s public work (i.e. books) nor the viability of his scholarship is necessarily connected to him having an accredited PhD (or ThD) are correct. Possessing an accredited academic degree does *not* guarantee sound scholarship.  The real point, however, is this: James White et al  not only defends the degree he obtained as legitimate, he broaches the absurd by arguing his unaccredited degree is superior to traditionally obtained PhD degrees!  I wrote a piece on this here for those who’d care to read it. Try this on for size:  no one in academia will recognize such nonsense. The best approach is to get over the fact that while James White has a doctoral degree, he does not have a doctoral degree which is going to be broadly recognized as an academic degree regardless of how much his supporters yell “foul” or how many scholarly works he produces.

As for the suggestion that a “hyper-Calvinist is a person who does not believe in the offer of the free gospel to all people,” such a statement reveals a fundamental ignorance concerning Hyper-Calvinism.  To the contrary, a Hyper-Calvinist does not believe in the offer of the gospel to any people. If I am not mistaken, early Hyper-Calvinists rejected the term “offer” flatout. On the other hand, according to C. Daniels, Hyper-Calvinists thoroughly embraced preaching the gospel indiscriminately to all people. Hence, locating the identity of Hyper-Calvinism in whether one believes in proclaiming the gospel indiscriminately or not seems entirely presumptuous.

With that, I am…

Peter

peter

Oops. I meant also to include my own observation on White & Pierce's poking fun at "ugly" women. And, while I have not seen Pierce's presumably stunning physique, I am quite familiar with White's appearance. I'm afraid White has little moral authority on this one. In other words, he ain't no hunk himself if that makes sense.

Even so, the issue is not about Young's wives or Russian women but all women generally. Is this the type of junior-high rhetoric coming from a major apologetics center one should expect? Not in my view. Imagine William Lane Craig making comments like this. It just is not going to happen. White desires to be taken seriously as a scholar but public idiocy like this forbids it from the masses of people. What's more, if White & Pierce go this far in the public arena, what do you suppose they say in private amongst themselves about women? Perhaps about supporters' wives they've met?

Of course, the track record remains that JW supporters will not hold him accountable. He will get by with it and they will defend him...regardless.

With that, I am...
Peter

EJ

Question to Roy & Peter L (and whoever has a good answer)

I've listened to the dividing line program for a few years and have enjoyed the apologetics work that goes through AOMIN. Also, I’ve asked at least one question in this blog’s comments and received a genuine response from Peter – so thank you. I say that only to indicate that I do have a genuine question regarding one issue that keeps coming up. That is: many times, objections to James' credibility focus on where he received his Th.D or DMin., and I was wondering if you could explain more fully what this objection is. And I ask this because I truly don't understand the criteria for or rationale behind this objection.

Here’s what I understand to be the thinking behind/surrounding the objections from what I’ve read and heard (please correct me if I’m wrong):

1. Academic accreditation – some places have a certain accreditation, some have other, and some have none.
2. Columbia Evangelical Seminary, at least as of 1998 or 2002, did not have any accreditation or it did not at least have a specific type of accreditation.
3. Any degree issued by Columbia (doctorate or masters level) prior to a specific accreditation process is significantly worth less or completely worthless as a degree.
4. Anyone with a doctorate from Columbia in that timeframe (or any similar educational institution in a similar accreditation situation) has not really attained that level of education and is dishonest if they claim the title associated with it as being on par with accredited doctorates.
5. Repeated claims to this end – being a doctor – are at the very least intentional lies that disqualify the person from being above reproach, and therefore not biblically qualified to be an elder of a church.

To Peter – thanks for answering some of my questions (even before I finished composing my question and posting it to your blog). While it was Roy who made the charge of not being above reproach for “continuing dishonesty about” his degree (#5 above), is this something that you would agree is truly an issue with both James’ claims and or his character?

To Roy – Since it was your comment that largely brought my question about, have I accurately represented your line of thinking (or at least close enough)?

Thanks

peter

EJ,

Let me do this quickly. The academic culture, right or wrong, is in lockstep with accrediting agencies. But not just any accrediting agencies but approved accrediting agencies. I'm guessing there are perhaps 6-8 approved accrediting agencies in the US. For us in Georgia, it's SACS--Southeastern Assoc of Colleges & Schools. In New England, it's NEACS, etc. You get the idea. Consequently, all of our Baptist colleges either presently have or seek accreditation from the respective regional approved accrediting agency.

In addition, all of our seminaries have regional accreditation and accept degrees almost exclusively from approved undergraduate programs.

As for CES, it has never had accreditation nor, from reading its philosophy of education, does it desire it. OK. Fine. No problem. If one understands this and agrees with this, go for it. But when those who choose to go this route attempt to pass off their degree as equal to or--in James White's case at least--superior to recognized institutions who've gone through the grueling, excruciating process of accreditation, few if any are going to take their claims seriously.

James White would have been better off to not have associated himself with CES *if* he wanted to swim in academic waters. That's a mistake he made and there is no changing it.

While I realize this doesn't answer all your questions, I hope it helps.

With that, I am...
Peter

Joshua Bennett

"To the contrary, a Hyper-Calvinist does not believe in the offer of the gospel to any people. If I am not mistaken, early Hyper-Calvinists rejected the term “offer” flatout. On the other hand, according to C. Daniels, Hyper-Calvinists thoroughly embraced preaching the gospel indiscriminately to all people. Hence, locating the identity of Hyper-Calvinism in whether one believes in proclaiming the gospel indiscriminately or not seems entirely presumptuous."

You are mistaken. So-called "hyper-Calvinism" is indeed what I said it was - the belief that the free offer of the gospel (not offer of the free gospel, sorry about that). That is simply what the term means. Even if it means what you say it means - that the gospel is meant for no one - then you are still in the wrong for charging White with it. White is not my "hero." I have never even met the man.

However, Curt Daniel (not Daniels) is a dear friend of mine. He gave me a copy of his unpublished manuscript "The History and Theology of Calvinism" (they are only 30 dollars). Daniel says that hyper-Calvinism is, as I said, a rejection of the free offer of the gospel to all. He even quizzed me over this in a Bob Evans in central Illinois.

I really am not trying to be disrespectful. I don't even know you. Again, you are obviously free to disagree with White and engage his arguments. But no matter which definition of hyper-Calvinism we embrace (either yours or the historical one), neither is true of him. Why do you still make this accusation that White is a hyper Calvinist?

peter lumpkins

Joshua,

First, note:  “So-called "hyper-Calvinism" is indeed what I said it was…” (emphasis added).  Well, there you have it.  Controversy over.  Joshua has definitively settled the issue. Ya gotta love it...

Second, “Even if it means what you say it means - that the gospel is meant for no one…”  Excuse me?  I said Hyper-Calvinism meant the gospel is meant for no one?  Which part of the quotation above implied such non-sense Joshua?

Third, you are not the only one who has a copy of Daniel’s dissertation. In it, he writes:

“For  all  that  the  Hyper-Calvinists  may  say  about  the  basic  Gospel being  accepted  by  some  pro-offer  Calvinists, most  of  them  felt  that  the notion  of  offer  was  directly  contrary  to  the  very  essence  of  the  Gospel. Since  the  Gospel  is  part  of  the  revealed  will  of  God,  the  idea  of  the free  offer  reflects  on  God. Offers  imply  that  in  the  Gospel  God  sincerely wishes  to  give  something  when  in  fact  He  does  not.” (p.396, embolden mine here and below))

“Hussey  taught  that  a  preacher  can  only  preach, not  offer. It  might  surprize  some  to  learn  that  this  was  Pink's  view  as  well…High  Calvinists  could  not  go  as  far  as the  Hyper-Calvinists  but  it  is  notable  that  they  sometimes  preferred preaching  to  offering  while  not  entirely  rejecting  the  latter" (p.408)


“Moving  on,  the  word  'offer'  is  to  be  rejected  because  it  is  a  market word,  which  goes  contrary  to  the  doctrine  of  gift  of  grace…Gill spoke  of  'free  promise'  but rejected  'free  offer'…Even  so,  he  still  felt  that  the  Gospel  had  to  be  preached…But  no  matter  how  narrowly  or widely  one  preaches,  one  cannot  offer  grace  to  anyone  -  no,  not  even to  believers" (pp.409-10)


“In  spite  of  their  theological  position  on  other  points,  the  Hyper-Calvinists  have  stressed  the  primacy  of  preaching  in  a  way  that surprises  many  of  their  critics. Contrary to the opinion of some, opponents, they nearly always believed that the Gospel  is  to be preached indiscriminately to all men.  This is not a minority view either, nor a  later development,  for we find it from  the  very  beginning. Hussey  gave as the first answer to the question above, "We  must  preach the doctrine of salvation to all sinners, in general, within the hearing". The same opinion can be found in the special subject of our study, Dr.  John  Gill:  "the  Gospel is to be preached to all" (pp.448-449)

Now, Joshua, I wrote in my comment contrary to your assertion that a hyper-Calvinist is a person who does not believe in the offer of the free gospel to all people a “Hyper-Calvinist does not believe in the offer of the gospel to any people.”  And, I employed Daniels as a source. I also tentatively suggested (“if I am not mistaken”) early Hyper-Calvinists rejected the term “offer” flatout, while Hyper-Calvinists thoroughly embraced preaching the gospel indiscriminately to all people. My conclusion was “locating the identity of Hyper-Calvinism in whether one believes in proclaiming the gospel indiscriminately or not seems entirely presumptuous," a conclusion I think is reasonable given both your words compared to Daniels.' Daniels presents a much more sophisticated understanding of Hyper-Calvinism than your simplistic--even skewed--definition.

Hence, unless you can show how I’ve misunderstood Daniels, I do not see the point you’re attempting to make. Have I misunderstood Daniels? Please show me.

Furthermore, if you do not agree that James White’s theology squares with Hyper-Calvinism, you have my express permission to disagree. But do not come back here again insinuating anyone is lying about James White. I trust that’s clear.

With that, I am…

Peter

Roy

EJ,

If I were to say why Mr. White is disqualified to be an Elder or whatever, the Dr. thing would be pretty low on the list. Much higher would be his hateful and vicious treatment of others that he disagrees with.

I said "above reproach" because CONSTANTLY mormons, muslims, catholics, non-calvinists bring up the fact that he is not being honest about his credentials. This never happens with people like Dr. MacArthur, because he lives above reproach and there is no question as to his doctorate.

I would encourage Mr. White to "drop" the Dr. issue because it's never going to go away. Let him focus on gaining respect through his actions, not titles that people do not think he has earned and which will serve to do nothing but cause conflict with others.

Roy

I think this quote by Dr. Seifrid says it best, after he had been savagely attacked by White:

"We Christians must be aware of the danger of depersonalization of our discourse which the Internet presents. Had they been true, the charges which James White brought against me in his blogs on his website would have resulted in my dismissal from Southern Seminary. A calling to teach here is contingent without qualification on fidelity to our confessional statement (“the Abstract of Principles”). Yet, as far as I can tell, before posting these charges Dr. White made no attempt to contact me to see if he had understood me correctly, or to ensure that he had understood the issues correctly, or to urge me to retract any statement I had made. Nor, as far as I know, did he contact Southern Seminary to express his concerns. Love surely requires that we seek to correct one another gently."

Mr. White does NOTHING but depersonalize his critics, attack them viciously, and have absolutely no qualms about trying to destroy them, and this is not just limited to the internet.

EJ

@Roy

Thanks for your response. I guess I have a followup question or two based on what you said. I’m thinking about practically applying your statements. Now, as to the situation involving Dr. Selfrid, I’ve not been aware of that until now, so I am in the process of reading any information about the issue now.

But in the mean time – one of the reasons for my question to you (really the only reason I authored it in the first place) – was to deal with the above reproach comment and how his not being above reproach was directly related to “continuing to be dishonest about [his doctorate]”. The practical question is this: if I had received a doctorate degree from an un-accredited institution and used, and accepted the use by others, the title of Doctor (whether in or out of an academic setting, but more specifically in a church setting as an elder or deacon), would that constitute dishonesty on my part that would need to be addressed by my church body as an issue of sin and an issue of whether I am thus disqualified from being an elder? And, if that church was aware of the issues surrounding doctorates and accreditation but affirmed me in my stance, would they not also be guilty of dishonesty by their actions? And whether or not this situation would presently be a cause for mockery or disrepute among unbelievers (mormons, Muslims, etc) because of my degree and my title, it may or may not come up in the future, so the issue would still be one that would need to be addressed now.

The reason I bring it up this way is two-fold: first of all you and I don’t know each other and you have nothing more to go on other than this issue, so the other things that you have laid at the feet of James White would not be attributable to me. Secondly, this same issue spreads farther and wider than James White or (hypothetically) myself in the situation above, and it would likely impact many churches.

Thanks again for your previous response, and I truly look forward to your response to this question.

Roy

EJ,

I'm sure a lot of his supporters don't even know or understand the nuanced issue regarding his doctorate. I say nuanced not because it's not important, but because it's confusing to people who do not have a doctorate. They do not understand that his requirements as far as foreign languages did not need the prescribed requirements that other doctorates meet.

I also think many of his supporters have not bothered looking into this issue and just written it off, as he has, as some horrible, personal attack directed at him, and therefore false and not worth investigating.

As you can see in the other thread, the one about honking his nose, another poster with a REAL doctorate has directly confronted Mr. White about this, and did so in the 90s. Mr. White is fully aware, and as the poster mentioned, his critics are fully aware, of this. His catholic, mormon, muslim, etc critics are aware, and it is the source of the appearance of deceit on his part, as you can see from postings on the internet. Some mormons even bothered going to where his "seminary" is located, and taking pictures, in order to show how silly the claim was.

He is not above reproach because regardless of what he says, he has an asterisk by his name by many because they know about this issue with him, and it will always color their perception of him.

EJ

@Roy

Thanks for responding.

I have been somewhat following the other comments as I have time and I saw the post by the individual you referred to.

However, I'm more interested in the application of what you've said in the broader Christian context than I am in your specific charge against James White.

In the ficticious example that I gave where it was I who had a degree like that. Would I also be guilty of not being above reproach? And would my church have the obligation to deal with me in that area of sin? For the sake of space I'll not restate all of my questions, I am simply looking for whether this standard would/should apply to other men who have received doctorate degrees from non-accredited institutions.

Thanks. I look forward to your answer.

grace and peace

Roy

@EJ

I guess one thing I would say is, why are we dealing with fictitious examples when we have so much real examples to work with? Many of the times that being "above reproach" is mentioned in the NT, it is in positions that James White claims to fill. That's part of the reason I mentioned those specific words.

If you are actively and willingly taking part in dishonesty, I would guess you could be considered not being above reproach either. The point being that, what does it mean "above reproach?" Does it mean that every time your name or claims come up, people are drawn to something negative or unchristlike that you did?

Mr. White is not taken seriously, and considered hypocritical, by many, including those he debates with, because of his dishonesty regarding his doctorate. In other words, they cannot even get past the superficial dishonesty regarding his education and deal with what he's actually saying. In the same way, a pastor should probably step down if he's associated with corruption or something related, as no one will ever hear what he has to say except through the lens of what he is associated with.

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