In the first part of "James White and Historical Hooey," I showed two visible flaws in James White's argumentation methods. First, I demonstrated White's egregious habit of making his arguments into scornful contempt for his opponent rather than serious critique of the ideas under consideration. I put it this way:
"I've never, in my sixty years on this earth, encountered another human being so coldly, consistently, and belligerently set on verbally and morally assaulting other people as liars, deceivers, frauds, imbeciles, idiots, and overall nincompoops as James White."
White routinely and contemptuously disdains Catholics, Mormons, Muslims, and non-Christians of various religious persuasions. Southern Baptists are especially prone to be the aim of White's sights. What Southern Baptist mega-church pastor has escaped the satirical ridicule White frequently offers on his Dividing Line program?
Nor does one have to take my word for it that James White contemptuously disdains representatives of other faiths and religion. We're not alluding to questioning what White thinks constitutes the errors of another faith. The fact is, we agree with many of the errors he points out. Rather we're speaking of the incredibly ruthless, and at times, merciless way White digs at individuals personally. James White misguidedly makes theological arguments into moral ones. I've dubbed this apologetics procedure the you-sir-are-a-liar method of argumentation and have documented it on this site several times that James White majors in it if not the originator of it. Google search will richly supply the interested enquirer with all the necessary examples to prove my point, examples pointed out by each disdained target himself or herself. Indeed White doesn't even seem to realize that his supposed "response" to the first part of this two-part piece demonstrating his historical blunders was itself a prime example of James White's contempt for the critics themselves rather than criticism of the critic's notions.1
More importantly, I showed in part 1 White's specific flaw in criticizing the alleged lack of both the credibility and number of sources in "John Calvin: A Real Evangelical Cover Up." White erroneously claimed I used a single source when I employed four sources. He further claimed the one source I did use was the "most biased" I could have employed but could not explain why nor has he attempted since I challenged him to do so.
What follows in my next installment entitled "James White and Historical Hooey (Part 2)" are a series of historical assertions White made originally in a Dividing Line response to atheist, Dan Barker, and posted on youtube and my response to White's claims. The video entitled "Calvin and Servetus: Dan Barker Twists History" was uploaded by James White. About 4 minutes and 10 seconds into the video, White begins his criticism mainly as a series of rhetorical questions raised against Barker's commentary on the legendary trial of Servetus at Geneva in 1553, commentary played from an audio clip at the beginning of the video. White claims he corrects Barker's "lies" about history. Hence, to illustrate the substance for my claim that James White engages in gross historical hooey--or, consistent with White's moral verbiage, immoral historical lies2--I'll respond to each claim James White makes concerning the historical context in Calvin's Geneva, 1553. For your convenience, White's entire video is embedded below:
"James White and Historical Hooey (Part 2)" deals with each of White's claims. Know also that while my critique demonstrates James White's deplorably inadequate understanding of the historical context surrounding John Calvin, Michael Servetus, and Geneva in 1553, I'm neither defending Dan Barker's atheism (though contra John Calvin, as a Baptist dissenter I'd defend unto death Barker's moral right to openly and freely express his atheism) nor am I suggesting I'm an accomplished church historian myself. I'm accomplished in no discipline--theological or otherwise--so far as I know. But it's neither necessary nor expedient for that matter that one be an accomplished church historian to debunk the historical hooey presented by James White. All one has to do is read church historians who are accomplished in their respective field and couple that with one's own exploration of the primary and secondary sources to demonstrate James White is apparently full of historical bologna--at least so far as his historical claims surrounding Calvin and Servetus.
Next Up: "James White and Historical Hooey (Part 2)"
1in the piece, White claims I suffer from mental derangement not to mention moral deception while the Muslim apologist I cited is the "looniest of the loons" (not to mention the Muslim apologist is a liar too!). Is it even possible for James White to blush? Consider: I criticize his methods of sub-Christian interaction with critics and cite examples to prove my point; he denies it, claims I "attacked" him, and then turns right around in the very same piece and offers yet another explicit example to bolster my claim. It's a Twilight Zone like experience! Know also White didn't once interact with the two main criticisms I offered in part 1: a) White erroneously claimed I used but a single source in the piece to which he supposedly responded; b) further, the single source White claims I used was the "most biased" I could cite. Both of these are bogus claims as anyone reading my piece must attest. Yet White ignores his double-edged gaffe, and it's obvious as to why. If White admits he asserted falsehoods about my piece, then given his extensive public testimony concerning uttering falsehoods unequivocally constitutes the act of lying, then White is, in essence, admitting he's a liar. I don't think a man who habitually refers to his critics as liars and even goes around the country offering seminars on why another apologist is a liar is going to readily confess he's a liar too. White also continues to mention a video I made and uploaded about three years ago wherein I offered interpretative wording throughout the video to which White objected and not surprisingly referred to me as a liar. What White never mentions along with the video the detailed explanation in which I responded to his rhetorical fury, an explanation to which he's never, to my knowledge, actually engaged.
2for those who know me, they well understand I don't think making mistakes in what one says or writes necessarily reduces to committing deception. Hence, in my view, if someone makes an historical gaffe or commits a "jump" in logic, it doesn't mean the person is either a liar or deceptive in any way. In other words, mistakes like this are not moral issues any more than wrongly adding in arithmetic is a moral issue. Therefore, one should not be accused of "lying" when he or she gets history wrong. Merely getting history wrong is based in ignorance not morality. Ignorance can and should be corrected by education not repentance. On the other hand, deception is a moral issue and thus can and should be morally remedied by confession and repentance. Men like James White blur this distinction and therefore end up calling people liars when lying is an entirely inappropriate category to consider. So, when I say, for example, James White uttered an "historical lie," it must be kept in mind that I do not actually believe he did based on my premises. On White's own premises, however, he most certainly did lie and needs therefore to repent.