Saturday, May 22, 2010

Is Mary Greater than John the Baptist?

One difference I've noticed between Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics is the latter's greater emphasis on Mary and the former's greater emphasis on John the Baptist. Sometimes it's subtle, other times not so much. For example, Roman Catholicism does give Mary a greater amount of worship (i.e. religious reverence and devotion through religious ritual etc.)[FN1] than other saints.

The Church's veneration for the Madonna—a veneration that surpasses the cult of every other saint and takes the name of "hyperdulia"—invests the whole liturgical year.
(John Paul II, To the Young People, 10 January 1979, section 2)

And again:
Besides, the Blessed Virgin possessed, after Christ, not only the highest degree of excellence and perfection, but also a share in that influence by which He, her Son and our Redeemer, is rightly said to reign over the minds and wills of men. For if through His Humanity the divine Word performs miracles and gives graces, if He uses His Sacraments and Saints as instruments for the salvation of men, why should He not make use of the role and work of His most holy Mother in imparting to us the fruits of redemption? "With a heart that is truly a mother's," to quote again Our Predecessor of immortal memory, Pius IX, "does she approach the problem of our salvation, and is solicitous for the whole human race; made Queen of heaven and earth by the Lord, exalted above all choirs of angels and saints, and standing at the right hand of her only Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, she intercedes powerfully for us with a mother's prayers, obtains what she seeks, and cannot be refused." On this point another of Our Predecessors of happy memory, Leo XIII, has said that an "almost immeasurable" power has been given Mary in the distribution of graces; St. Pius X adds that she fills this office "as by the right of a mother."
(Pius XII, Ad Caeli Reginam (To the Queen of Heaven), 11 October 1954, Section 42)

Here's a problem for Roman Catholics that is less of a problem for Eastern Orthodox. Isn't John the Baptist greater than Mary? Or is Mary greater than John the Baptist?

Jesus said:

Matthew 11:11
Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
Luke 7:28
For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.
On the other hand, Jesus also said:

Matthew 12:46-50
While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, "Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee."

But he answered and said unto him that told him, "Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?" And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, "Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother."
Mark 3:31-35
There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him. And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, "Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee."

And he answered them, saying, "Who is my mother, or my brethren?" And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, "Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother."
Luke 8:19-21
Then came to him his mother and his brethren, and could not come at him for the press. And it was told him by certain which said, "Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee."

And he answered and said unto them, "My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it."
There is a sort of double-whammy effect that these passages have. First, they demonstrate a prominence for John the Baptist. While we do not offer worship/cult to John the Baptist, we do recognize his preeminence among the prophets, agreeing with Jesus. Second, they demonstrate an absence of prominence of Jesus' mother and siblings. Jesus de-emphasized his blood relations through Mary in favor of the spiritual relation that believers have with Him through faith.

Recall that Jesus' own brethren did not believe on him at first:

John 7:1-10
After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him. Now the Jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand. His brethren therefore said unto him, "Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world."

For neither did his brethren believe in him.

Then Jesus said unto them, "My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready. The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come."

When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee. But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.
Notice that in the passages above, Jesus' mother and brethren are not specifically identified as unbelievers, but in this passage it is made explicit that Jesus' brethren did not believe in him. Furthermore, immediately before his death on the cross, Jesus substituted John for himself in his familial relation with Mary:

John 19:25-27
Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, "Woman, behold thy son!" Then saith he to the disciple, "Behold thy mother!" And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

After the crucifixion, Mary receives only a cursory mention:

Acts 1:14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.

And Mary's role is further downplayed in Hebrews, where Jesus is described by comparison to Melchizedek as:

Hebrews 7:3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.

Thus, just as Jesus is recognized as being without father as to his humanity, Scripture teaches us that Jesus is without mother as to his divinity. This is not just my 21st century opinion, but is what was taught by Ambrose, Augustine, John Cassian, Gregory Nazianzen, and Theodoret (see evidence here).

Finally, rather than making Mary the mother of us all, Scripture assigns that place to Heaven, the Jerusalem above.

Galatians 4:26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

But there is a final Scriptural discussion that ought to nail close the case both against Mary and John the Baptist as being the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. It's the same thread of discussion that definitively disproves the papacy.

Matthew 18:1-4
At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"

And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, "Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 23:1-12
Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, saying, "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, 'Rabbi, Rabbi.' But be not ye called 'Rabbi:' for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted."
Mark 9:33-37
And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, "What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way?"

But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest.

And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, "If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all." And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them, "whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me."
Luke 9:46-48
Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest. And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him, and said unto them, "Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great."
Luke 22:24-27
And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.

And he said unto them, "The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth."
Notice that never in these discourses does Jesus say, "Pope St. Peter of course," or "Come on guys, obviously my mom is the greatest." Notice as well that at least one of these discussions comes after the discussion "on this Rock" discussion in Matthew 16. Jesus has many opportunities to identify a greatest mere human, and he declines to name names. Instead, Jesus gives the same basic answer: he teaches that those who are greatest in the heavenly kingdom are those who are converted and believe on him. Look at the similarity between Jesus' response to "your mother and brethren are outside looking for you" and Jesus' response to "who is the greatest?" In the former case he identifies those who believe on him as being his mother and brethren, and in the latter case, he identifies those who humble themselves and whose hearts are changed so that they become like little children as the greatest.

So is Mary greater than John the Baptist? We have no Scriptural basis for asserting that she is. If she is greater than John the Baptist, it would only be because she is more humble. But compare their humility as recorded in Scripture.

While Mary does call herself the handmaid of the Lord:

Luke 1:38 & 48
And Mary said, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word." And the angel departed from her. ... "For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed."
She is not always respectful of Jesus, you will recall that in Mark 3, she and Jesus' brethren had come because they believed him to be losing it.

Mark 3:21 & 31
And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, "He is beside himself." ... There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him.
And at least twice Jesus rebukes Mary:

John 2:3-4
And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, "They have no wine." Jesus saith unto her, "Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come."
Luke 2:48-50
And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.
By comparison, hear the words of John the Baptist:

John 1:26-27
John answered them, saying, "I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; he it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose."
John 3:25-36
Then there arose a question between some of John's disciples and the Jews about purifying. And they came unto John, and said unto him, "Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him."

John answered and said, "A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease. He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all. And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony. He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
Unlike Mary who did not understand what Jesus' meant by being about his Father's business, John seems to have understood from the earliest portion of Christ's ministry, as we will see below. We are told of one instance where John's faith wavered, but look at how Jesus' addressed it:

Matthew 11:2-6
Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, and said unto him, "Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?"

Jesus answered and said unto them, "Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me."
Even in the one instance where John needs to be corrected by Jesus, John had erred in his humility:

Matthew 3:13-15
Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, "I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?"

And Jesus answering said unto him, "Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness."

Then he suffered him.
If humility were the measure, it would seem that John the Baptist would win hands down. But, of course, Jesus' admonitions discourage us from seeking to have a "greatest" in the first place. Scripture explains:

Ephesians 4:5-6
One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
And that one Lord is Jesus Christ:

1 Corinthians 8:6
But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
As Jesus himself said:

John 13:13
Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
So then the answer to the question is that the only Scriptural passages that speak to the matter would seem to place John the Baptist ahead of Mary, although the fundamental basis for the question seems to be mistaken.

- TurretinFan

[FN1: For those Roman Catholics who always complain when I mention the worship of Mary, "cult" in that quotation is reference to religious reverence (look it up), i.e. worship (see here). I hate having to disrupt the flow of the post to explain this, but there are enough American Roman Catholics who deny the Mary-worshiping charge that this is necessary.]

Church Fathers on Jesus' Status as "Without Mother"

Ambrose (A.D. 337 - 397) writes: "He it is Who is without mother according to His Godhead ..." (On the Mysteries, Chapter 8, Section 4

Theodoret (A.D. 393 - 457) writes: "On account of this difference of term He is said by the divine Paul to be "without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of life." He is without father as touching His humanity; for as man He was born of a mother alone. And He is without mother as God, for He was begotten from everlasting of the Father alone. And again He is without descent as God while as man He has descent." (Letter 151)

Gregory Nazianzen (A.D. 329 - 389) writes: "These names however are still common to Him Who is above us, and to Him Who came for our sake. But others are peculiarly our own, and belong to that nature which He assumed. So He is called Man, not only that through His Body He may be apprehended by embodied creatures, whereas otherwise this would be impossible because of His incomprehensible nature; but also that by Himself He may sanctify humanity, and be as it were a leaven to the whole lump; and by uniting to Himself that which was condemned may release it from all condemnation, becoming for all men all things that we are, except sin;-body, soul, mind and all through which death reaches-and thus He became Man, who is the combination of all these; God in visible form, because He retained that which is perceived by mind alone. He is Son of Man, both on account of Adam, and of the Virgin from Whom He came; from the one as a forefather, from the other as His Mother, both in accordance with the law of generation, and apart from it. He is Christ, because of His Godhead. For this is the Anointing of His Manhood, and does not, as is the case with all other Anointed Ones, sanctify by its action, but by the Presence in His Fullness of the Anointing One; the effect of which is that That which anoints is called Man, and makes that which is anointed God. He is The Way, because He leads us through Himself; The Door, as letting us in; the Shepherd, as making us dwell in a place of green pastures, and bringing us up by waters of rest, and leading us there, and protecting us from wild beasts, converting the erring, bringing back that which was lost, binding up that which was broken, guarding the strong, and bringing them together in the Fold beyond, with words of pastoral knowledge. The Sheep, as the Victim: The Lamb, as being perfect: the Highpriest, as the Offerer; Melchisedec, as without Mother in that Nature which is above us, and without Father in ours; and without genealogy above (for who, it says, shall declare His generation?) and moreover, as King of Salem, which means Peace, and King of Righteousness, and as receiving tithes from Patriarchs, when they prevail over powers of evil. They are the titles of the Son." (Fourth Theological Oration (Oration 30), Section 21)

John Cassian (A.D. 360 – 435) writes: "For as He was begotten in His Divine nature "without mother," so He is in the body "without father:" and so though He is neither without father nor without mother, we must believe in Him "without father and without mother." For if you regard Him as He is begotten of the Father, He is without mother: if, as born of His mother, He is without father. And so in each of these births He has one: in both together He is without each: for the birth of Divinity had no need of mother, and for the birth of His body, He was Himself sufficient, without a father. Therefore says the Apostle "Without mother, without genealogy."" (On the Incarnation, Book 7, Chapter 14)

Augustine (A.D. 354 - 430) writes: "For the Lord was said to be a Galilean, because His parents were from the city of Nazareth. I have said "His parents" in regard to Mary, not as regards the seed of man; for on earth He sought but a mother, He had already a Father on high. For His nativity on both sides was marvellous: divine without mother, human without father." (Tractates on John, Tractate 33, Section 2)

And Augustine again writes: "And He goes on: "And no man has ascended into heaven, but He that came down from heaven, the Son of man who is in heaven." Behold, He was here, and was also in heaven; was here in His flesh, in heaven by His divinity; yea, everywhere by His divinity. Born of a mother, not quitting the Father. Two nativities of Christ are understood: one divine, the other human: one, that by which we were to be made; the other, that by which we were to be made anew: both marvellous; that without mother, this without father." (Tractates on John, Tractate 12, Section 8)



Augustine (354-430):
At that time, therefore, when about to engage in divine acts, He repelled, as one unknown, her who was the mother, not of His divinity, but of His [human] infirmity. NPNF1: Vol. VII, Tractates on John, Tractate CXIX, §1, John 19:24-30.

Augustine (354-430): Why, then, said the Son to the mother, “Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come ?” Our Lord Jesus Christ was both God and man. According as He was God, He had not a mother; according as He was man, He had. She was the mother, then, of His flesh, of His humanity, of the weakness which for our sakes He took upon Him. But the miracle which He was about to do, He was about to do according to His divine nature, not according to His weakness; according to that wherein He was God not according to that wherein He was born weak. But the weakness of God is stronger than men. His mother then demanded a miracle of Him; but He, about to perform divine works, so far did not recognize a human womb; saying in effect, “That in me which works a miracle was not born of thee, thou gavest not birth to my divine nature; but because my weakness was born of thee, I will recognize thee at the time when that same weakness shall hang upon the cross.” This, indeed, is the meaning of “Mine hour is not yet come.” For then it was that He recognized, who, in truth, always did know. He knew His mother in predestination, even before He was born of her; even before, as God, He created her of whom, as man, He was to be created, He knew her as His mother: but at a certain hour in a mystery He did not recognize her; and at a certain hour which had not yet come, again in a mystery, He does recognize her. For then did He recognize her, when that to which she gave birth was a-dying. That by which Mary was made did not die, but that which was made of Mary; not the eternity of the divine nature, but the weakness of the flesh, was dying. He made that answer therefore, making a distinction in the faith of believers, between the who; and the how, He came. For while He was God and the Lord of heaven and earth, He came by a mother who was a woman. In that He was Lord of the world, Lord of heaven and earth, He was, of course, the Lord of Mary also; but in that wherein it is said, “Made of a woman, made under the law,” He was Mary’s son. The same both the Lord of Mary and the son of Mary; the same both the Creator of Mary and created from Mary. Marvel not that He was both son and Lord. For just as He is called the son of Mary, so likewise is He called the son of David; and son of David because son of Mary. Hear the apostle openly declaring, “Who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh.” Hear Him also declared the Lord of David; let David himself declare this: “ The Lord said to my Lord, Sit Thou on my right hand. “ And this passage Jesus Himself brought forward to the Jews, and refuted them from it. How then was He both David’s son and David’s Lord? David’s son according to the flesh, David’s Lord according to His divinity; so also Mary’s son after the flesh, and Mary’s Lord after His majesty. Now as she was not the mother of His divine nature, whilst it was by His divinity the miracle she asked for would be wrought, therefore He answered her, “Woman, what have I to do with thee ?” NPNF1: Vol. VII, Tractates on John, Tractate VIII, §9, John 2:1-4.

Augustine (354-430): Each birth of his, you see, must be considered wonderful, both that of his divinity and that of his humanity. The first is from the Father without mother, the second from mother without father; the first apart from all time, the second at the acceptable time (2 Cor 6:2); the first eternal, the second at the right moment; the first without a body in the bosom of the Father (Jn 1:18), the second with a body, which did not violate the virginity of his mother; the first without either sex, the second without a man's embrace. John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine, Sermons, Part 3, Vol. 6, trans. Edmund Hill, O.P., Sermon 214.6 (New Rochelle: New City Press, 1993), p. 153.

Augustine (354-430): While hanging upon the cross, at the will and command of the Father, he also abandoned into the hands of men the human flesh which he assumed from the holy virgin, Mary, and commended his divinity into the hands of his Father, saying, Father, into your hands I commend my spirit (Lk 23:46). For Mary gave birth to the body which was destined to die, but the immortal God begot the immortal Son. John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine, The Arian Sermon §7, Part 1, Vol. 18, trans. Roland J. Teske, S.J., (Hyde Park: New City Press, 1995), p. 133.

Augustine (354-430): Because of his eternal birth scripture says, In the beginning was the Word. Look, I say that God the Son was born from God the Father apart from time. I have shown how he who is his Father is also his God on account of the human nature which he has assumed and in which he was born from the womb of his mother without intercourse with a human father. John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine, Answer to Maximinus the Arian, Book 2, XVIII, 2, Part 1, Vol. 18, trans. Roland J. Teske, S.J., (Hyde Park: New City Press, 1995), p. 297.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Dr. White's Debate with Hamza Abdul Malik

Some folks have wondered whether Dr. White has had a history of engaging Muslim apologetics. Dr. White has a long history of answering Islam's claims, going back more than a decade. Here is a clip from Dr. James White's Debate with Hamza Abdul Malik:

Does the NT Teach the Deity of Christ
, May, 1999 vs. Hamza Abdul Malik, Syosset, NY

You can obtain a copy of this debate:This isn't the only debate that Dr. White has done with Muslims. Here are some others:
  • Is the New Testament We Possess Today Inspired? May, 2006, vs. Shabir Ally, Biola University

  • Did Jesus Offer Himself on the Cross as a Willing Sacrifice for the Sins of God's People? October, 2007, vs. Shabir Ally, Seattle, WA

  • Can We Trust What the New Testament Says about Jesus and the Gospel? March 21, 2008, vs. Nadir Ahmed, Norfolk, VA

  • Does the Bible Teach Jesus is God? April 12, 2008, vs. Jalal Abualrub, Fullerton, CA

  • Was Jesus Crucified or Substituted? September 20, 2008, vs. Osama Abdullah, Bellflower, CA

  • Can We Trust the New Testament? September 20, 2008, vs. Osama Abdullah, Bellflower, CA

  • Did Jesus Claim to Be God? September 21, 2008, vs. Farhan Qureshi, Bellflower, CA

  • Does Belief in the Trinity Necessitate Shirk? November 11, 2008, vs. Adnan Rashid, London, England

  • Does Belief in the Trinity Necessitate Polytheism? November 13, 2008, vs. Abdullah al-Andalusi, Radio

  • Jesus: Divine Son of God or Prophet of Allah? November 13, 2008, vs. Sami Zaatari, London, England

  • Is Jesus Prophesied in the OT? November 17, 2008, vs. Shabir Ally, London, England

  • Is Muhammad Prophesied in the Bible? November 17, 2008, vs. Shabir Ally, London England

  • The Bible vs. the Qur'an: a Comparison November 20, 2008, vs. Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Shah, Duke University - Durham, NC

  • The Bible & the Qur'an June 25, 2009, vs. Imam Shamsi Ali, Queens, NY

  • The Bible & the Qur'an: Which is the Light to the World August 17, 2009, vs. Abdullah Kunde, Sydney, Australia

  • Jesus in the Bible and the Qur'an November 7, 2009, vs. Imam Syed Z. Sayeed, Queens, NY
I hope that helps, for those wonder whether Dr. White is new to the field of discussion of Islam.


One Year Until the End of the World

The subject of this post is the message I found in my inbox earlier today. The message reminded me that Harold Camping has, based on complex series of calculations, predicted judgment day to be May 21, 2011. I have already attempted to show a number of problems in Mr. Camping's theology, and rather than rehash those problems, I'll just provide links to the relevant posts below:

1) "Lucifer" and Angels' Names

2) More not Less Church as the Day of the Lord Approaches

3) ISI Discussion Regarding Harold Camping

4) Four Hundred Thirty Years Series
a) Camping Jenga
b) How Then Four Hundred, Thirty Years?
c) From Seventy to More then a Million?
d) 430 Years from the Promise - A Response to Fred Butler

5) Camping and the Atonement

6) Surprising Wisdom from Harold Camping

I have no idea how many of Harold Camping's listeners on the Family Radio network read this blog, or whether they will hear and listen to me before May 22, 2010.

- TurretinFan

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ergun Caner Index

  1. Ergun Caner Faith and Family Interviews (summary of issues found in three two-part interviews)
  2. California Christian Apologetics Conference 2006 (summary of issues found in the partial video Dr. White provided)
  3. Fallwell on Ergun Caner (Documents Fallwell's impression of Ergun Caner)
  4. "Intellectual Pit Bull of the evangelical world" (Documents and questions Caner's claim to have that nickname via the "national media.")
  5. "Second Wife" vs. "Many Wives" or "Other Wives" (Documents Apparent Contradiction Regarding Ergun Caner's Father's number of wives)
  6. When was Emir Caner Disowned (Documents odd issue of when Emir Caner allegedly last saw his father before his final illness, compared to when Ergun last saw his father before his final illness.)
  7. Ergun Caner's Odd Description of the Kaaba (Documents Ergun Caner making an odd statement that apparently conflates the Kaaba and the Black Stone)
  8. "Debated ... Over Sixty Times" Claim Still on (Documents lingering relic of Ergun Caner's debating claims.)
  9. Dr. James White on Iron Sharpens Iron (Dr. White discusses the Caner saga)
  10. Ergun Caner's Testimony - 28 Minute Video (Identifies a number of concerns regarding Dr. Caner's video testimony)
  11. Caner's Comments at Southwest Baptist Church - January 23, 2010 (Documents comments made by Dr. Caner in January 2010, regarding his autobiography)
  12. "An Ulima" and "Caliphats" Surrounding Caner's Father (Documents two hard-to-explain Arabic errors in Caner's comments)
  13. Ergun Caner - A Turkish Response (Documents a 2003 Turkish article reporting an interview with Ergun Caner.)
  14. Is there an Ergun Caner Failblog Entry? (Documents a wide spectrum of questionable, imprudent, or incorrect statements in a sermon presented at Calvary Chapel Old Bridge.)
  15. Ergun Caner and Pseudo-Arabic (Provides a video critique from Dr. White and Dr. White's Arabic tutor, regarding Caner's apparent attempt to use Arabic.)
  16. Pastor Lloyd Interviews Ergun Caner (Provides an identification of some issues presented in the interview.)
  17. Ergun Caner in Arabic-ish Gear (Provides a link to a humorous video in which Dr. Caner dresses like a genie. This is rendered a little less humorous by Caner's claims to have dressed "different" as a child in Ohio.)
  18. Ergun Caner Awards (Caner doesn't claim a lot of awards. This post aims to document/confirm those that can be confirmed.)
  19. Curious Caner Tidbits (Discusses selections extracted from Caner's books)
  20. Jerry Tackett Speaks? (Discusses comment allegedly from Jerry Tackett, the man who was influential in bringing Caner to Christ, according to many of Caner's testimonies)
  21. Caner Brothers - Raised by their Grandma (Discusses Caner's comments regarding being raised by his grandmother)
  22. Dr. Caner's Books (Discusses the Books that Caner has been affiliated with)
  23. Dr. Caner's Qualifications (Discusses Caner's experience as an author/pastor.)
  24. Turkey, Many Wives, and Many Half-brothers and -sisters (Discussion of sermon, "Don't Mess with the Book" documenting a number of questionable statements)
  25. Early Testimonies of the Caners - 2002 (Provides evidence of what the testimonies of the Caner brothers began to be in the year following 9/11)
  26. Haram Koran Handling (Examines the issue of Caner's father's devotion to Islam from one very particular angle.)
  27. Dr. Caner's Testimony before 9/11 (Provides Evidence of Testimony Attributed to Caner before 9/11)
  28. Caner's Old Biography Photos (Photos Previously Posted by Dr. Caner, with some criticism of their use by Dr. Caner)
  29. Ergun Caner's ThD Thesis / Dissertation (Supporting Evidence for Dr. Caner's claim to be a "Dr.")
  30. The Credentials Issue (Summarizing the Relevant Evidence)
  31. Ergun Caner on the Pastor's Perspective Compared to Other Testimonies/Evidence (Analysis of a number of the issues that arise when comparing Dr. Caner's testimony among multiple sources)
  32. One of Myriad Little Details - The Toledo Mosque (Including some analysis of a troubling, seemingly minor inconsistency.)
  33. Ergun Caner's Middle Name is What? (Including links to all known pre-9/11 Internet references to Dr. Caner.)
  34. Caner's Autobiography (video evidence unfortunately seems to be dead)
  35. Caner's Autobiography Per the AP (includes one additional photo)
  36. Who is Dr. Ergun Caner? (the most popular Caner-related post, no doubt due to the photos)
  37. Ergun Caner, Sri Lanka, and an Embellished Autobiography (illustrating some of the issues raised by Ergun Caner's comments)
  38. Dr. Caner's Debates, Dialogs, and Discussions (documenting the apparent extent of Dr. Caner's debate experience)
  39. Unveiling Unveiling Islam: References to the Hadith (a survey of citation to the Hadith in one of the Caner brothers' works)
  40. Inquiry Committee for Ergun Caner (reporting the formation of Liberty University's inquiry committee)
  41. Jamal Jivanjee's Memory (Commenting on the testimony of Mr. Jivanjee regarding his knowledge of the Caner family)
  42. Wishful Defense of Ergun Caner (Noting that some of Dr. Caner's supporters would like to ignore the allegations that Dr. Caner has been embellishing his autobiography in a variety of ways)
  43. Jamal Jivanjee's Testimony Regarding Ergun Caner (Proposing Some Further Questions for Mr. Jivanjee to help fill out his testimony.)
  44. Ergun Caner's So-called Apology (providing documentation of Dr. Caner's so-called apology, in which he did not admit to lying, and in fact claims: "I have never intentionally misled anyone.")
  45. Ergun Caner Parody (noting the existence of the parody YouTube page)
  46. Tom Chantry on Stephen Ambrose, Ergun Caner, and the Credibility of the Gospel (providing link to an interesting and thought-provoking article from Tom Chantry)
  47. Compare and Contrast (Compare and contrasting the approaches of Paul the Apostle and Ergun Caner)
  48. Possum Kill, North Carolina (Defending Dr. Caner from the charge that he was "lying" about the hometown of his father-in-law.)(Updated, because of one troubling testimony.)
  49. Ergun Caner, Rick and Bubba, and Daisy Duke: How LBTS does Apologetics (Identification of Dr. Caner's impossible claim to have watched the Dukes of Hazzard while growing up in Turkey, as well as noting that LBTS has used this show as an example of how they do apologetics.)
  50. New Biography for Caner (Commenting on a new biography of Dr. Caner that was posted to the Liberty University website. That biography was subsequently replaced with essentially a mirror of the biography that appears on Dr. Caner's personal page.)
  51. Ergun Caner - Son of a Devout Muslim Father (Defending Dr. Caner as a real ex-Muslim)
  52. Caner Materials (links to a variety of materials relating to Dr. Caner)
  53. Ergun Caner: Raised by a Devout Muslim Father (defending Dr. Caner as a real ex-Muslim, even while noting some troubling inconsistencies in his testimony)
  54. Responding to "Fake Ex-Muslims" (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)(Defending Dr. Caner as best I could from a variety of criticisms from the "Fake Ex-Muslims" website.)
  55. The Cost of What? (A Response to Tim Guthrie's odd post suggesting that, in effect, criticism of Dr. Caner was the result of Dr. Caner following Christ.)
  56. Ergun Caner vs. James White: Which is More like the Jerry Springer Show? (Providing link to Dr. White's video response to Dr. Caner's ignorant criticism of formal debates.)

Other than that, I only recall posting one video on the subject of Ergun Caner:
(a 60 second response to one of Dr. Caner's comments on Romans 9)


The All-Encompassing God

I have already adduced several proofs of Jesus' divinity, but I will add to them. One of God's many attributes is that he is all-encompassing. Scripture puts it this way:

Isaiah 41:4 Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he.

Isaiah 44:6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.

Isaiah 48:12 Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.

Jesus is also identified by this same description. We find this in several places, both directly and also in a parallel Greek expression.

Revelation 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

Revelation 1:11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

Revelation 1:17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:

Revelation 2:8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

Revelation 21:6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

Revelation 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

I realize that modern versions shorten the expression in Revelation 1:8 and omit the relevant expression in Revelation 1:11, but they have the others. My point here is not to criticize the modern versions but to simply note that both the KJV and the modern versions contain this same proof.

The connection to Jesus is fairly clear. The passage leading up Revelation 1:17 states:

Revelation 1:13-16
And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

He is the one addressing John and instructing him to write to the seven churches (which includes the item at Revelation 2:8).

An additional clue is that the book is the Revelation (note that it is singular) of Jesus Christ.

Revelation 1:1-2
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.

And again:

Revelation 1:4-7
John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

Similarly, in Revelation the speaker is described in this context:

Rev 21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
Rev 21:6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

The reference to the fact that Jesus is the enthroned one would be enough, perhaps, but notice that there is also a reference back to the water of life, which Jesus described this way:

John 4:14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

We see this water of life again in the final reference in Revelation:

Revelation 22:12-17
And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Praise be to the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last, even the Lord Jesus Christ,

- TurretinFan

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ergun Caner's Autobiography per the AP

The AP reports:
[Ergun Caner] told The Associated Press in 2002 that he was born in Sweden to a Turkish father and Swedish mother, who brought the family to Ohio in 1969, when he was about 3 years old.
(source)(see full AP article from 2002)

Compare Caner's autobiography here: (link to mp3) where he states: "Coming to America, the only thing that I understood, I was fifteen when we came, the only thing - or - thirteen when we came, the only thing that I understood about American culture, I got from American television. And the only television that we were allowed to watch was the television that was - that passed the conscriptions of the censors in Turkey. I lived in Ankara, but then I lived toward the east for the most part of my life, on the Iraqi border." (Apologetics of the Bible, Islam - podcast, about 10 minutes into the mp3)

- TurretinFan

(image from 1982-83 yearbook, Ergun Caner as a junior in high school illustrating what was at that time considered a "punk haircut" according to the yearbook)

Genesis and Theistic Evolution

I recently appeared as a guest on Jamin Hubner's Provocative Microphone discussing Genesis and Theistic Evolution (link to mp3). The first portion of the podcast is a discussion between the host and me and the second half is the host's thoughts on the topic.