Saturday, August 08, 2015

Polygraphing the Words of James White, Pt. 1

Instead of providing background for this post, if you want to get up to speed, you can do seven things:  (1)  read my four part series last week (1, 2, 3, 4), (2) then read my five part series from two weeks ago (1, 2, 3, 4, 5), (3) to really get serious, read Thou Shalt Keep Them, (4) read everything I've written here and at Jackhammer on the preservation of scripture or the version issue, (5) read what Thomas Ross wrote at his website, (6) above all, read what the Bible says about its own preservation, including the methodology (which we talk about in TSKT), and (7) read the historical theology of the preservation of scripture between 1500-1850 (look here at Richard Muller's book to get a good grasp,but there are many other places).  If James White would have at least read what I'd written before he made these last two videos, then he would have heard the answers to some of his questions or attacks (not that it would have mattered to him).

After Thomas Ross linked to my articles defending him at the Logos forum, James White started talking about them on his Dividing Line program, which you can watch live on his youtube channel. The first one is the last third of a show he calls, KJVO Deceitfulness.   A whole second video he titles, King James Only Straw Manism:  Kent Brandenburg.  Maybe there is more to come, but I wanted to begin on these first two.

It really is not my goal at all to win a debate here.  I want us to cut through the dust cloud to see the truth in this.  I hear and understand everything James White is saying.  I'm going to be very careful in looking at these first two sessions.  You are welcome to ask questions and even challenge, but please keep it on the topic.  I don't want to deviate to Ruckmanism, double inspiration, English preservationism, or whatever one might call that, unless it is necessary.

I certainly don't want to argue a straw man.  What reason would there be?  I have no intention in dealing with something James White is not really saying.  I am arguing with what James White does say, which is also what most critical  or eclectic text advocates say and write, and then some that is just pure James White, his own novel ideas.  I guarantee you that the one erecting a straw man is White.  Does anyone who reads here and has watched his words in the recent videos think that he represents what I believe and teach, or even what I wrote?

If James White and I did debate one another with a neutral moderator, which I would, and I'm sure our church would send me to do that, we could ensure that we understood each other perfectly and the games would end -- of course, I mean his games.  I understand that a lot of professing Christians like White.  With the way the country is sinking, it's just where we're at, but I believe this could contrast the biblical and historical position with what White offers.

As I write this, I'm watching them completely through for the first time (the first one starts at 40:40). I will number every one of his falsehoods, bold and italicized and will also point out when he uses a form of personal mockery that is completely unnecessary.  Some of it with White, I believe is just normal for him. I'm saying a kind of ridicule comes natural to him, but I'm going to expose every instance of it.  I want you to know that I know, and that this is the means White uses.

My biggest issues with this particular teaching of White about scripture are that (1) it dishonors God, the Author of the Bible, by contradicting what God said about His preservation of scripture -- that makes Him a liar, (2) it teaches and influences people away from a biblical position on the preservation of scripture, which leaves those people less certain, more easily swayed by false teaching and practice, and less faithful, (3) it revises a huge portion of history in order to justify the new doctrinal position and practice, and (4) it relegates the Bible to unsettled, open to further and further change, which results in a transference of human authority over scripture and diminished in its authority.  White becomes the enabler of doubt and weakness, until it reaches apostasy. He also perverts a biblical apologetic, elevating external, human documentation above the Word of God.  He thinks and then says the real spiritual battle is accomplished through spouting off manuscript evidence framed in the rules of textual criticism.  God is not glorified by that.  I could say much more here.

White begins in the first video by talking to himself, "What is this guy's name again?  Uuuuh, yes, Kent Brandenburg." My name is in the bibliography of his book (p. 342).  I'm not saying he did know my name, just that one highlights a lack of name recognition by saying such a thing.  How could he be ready to do a whole segment on someone and not know his name?  This strategy, by the way, acting like someone is a nobody, is what the religious leaders did with Jesus when they couldn't undermine the authority of what He said (see John 17:15).  It is an ad hominem argument that characterizes a loser.

Next James White identifies me a "King James Only guy."  You should know that title is still a pejorative, even more so, which is why White uses it again and again.  You use that title and you already drag it into the Gail Riplinger crowd, to whose position White is closer than me in his bibliological presuppositions. If she is KJVO, then I'm not.  We're not close to the same. I'm saying that I'm more radically different than the rank and file KJVO than White is.

Falsehood #1:  At 40:50 White calls me a "reformed King James Only guy."  I'm not reformed. He shouldn't make that statement unless he knows.

At 41:29, White editorializes that "there is something about hiding behind a keyboard that they're able to just speak in absurd ways."  The implication here is that these people who write against White are cowards, who would never say it to his face.  I'm not afraid of White intellectually, spiritually, or physically.  White doesn't inspire fear in me at all.  It really is not that hard for him to say things to a camera either.  I watched the Steven Anderson interview and White is about (literally) ten times more civil in person than he is when he's alone in his studio.  Anderson believes a false gospel, something that White never mentions in his long interview.

At 41:50 White says that he "vaguely remembered Kent Brandenburg and some weird King James only thing that he had said."  'It had to be vague because this guy is not someone that anyone would remember.  He's a nobody, ya know.'  'He's also weird.'  White being White.  A weird King James only thing in my case would be that the Bible teaches its own perfect preservation and availability.  Very weird.  There were two small posts written by Alan Kurschner that most today would call "drive-bys" or "trolling." They were nothing substantive -- just deceptive shots with the intention to hurt.  These comments by White serve no purpose except to poison the well before he gets started -- 'this guy is a kook, just know that to start with.'  He spends a long time on a backwater hayseed.

Falsehood #2:  At 42:20 and following White calls Thomas Ross's claim that White's position contradicts the 1689 London Baptist Confession an "abjectly ahistorical abuse of the writers, the framers, the 1689, and others."  It seems that if you string together a lot of words that start with "a," they have a better chance of being true.   I don't know who he means by "others," but White does not believe what the 1689 writers believed.  White in essence admits this right afterwards, but explains that it was because those writers didn't have the same manuscript evidence then that White has today. We're just talking about what they believed.  White doesn't believe what they believed.

Pause here for a moment to think about White's riff between 42:20 and 43:05.  Does the doctrine of scripture change because of new manuscript evidence?  That's what White is saying.  Even Burgon didn't have what we have today, he says, and if those earlier did have it, he is saying that their doctrine would have been different.  Like his.  Their doctrine though came from scripture.  That position in the confession came from a biblical presupposition.  They would interpret the outside evidence through an internal lense. This is critical that you understand what White is saying.

White then says after 43:05 that if you don't approach history like he does, that is, interpret the Bible in light of new historical documentation, that you are one of these people who don't "do history very well."  This is a post enlightenment method in which the doctrine can only be true if it can be verified as historical.  This method necessitates a willingness to progress in doctrine.  If they had what we had today, he's saying, they would have been different.  The London Baptist Confession at that juncture was what it was, but with new extra-scriptural evidence, it could progress.  This thinking was popularized in Germany in the 19th century and came to the United States from there through American professors trained in Germany.  It is a kind of rationalism.  It's why our constitution can mean something new too as history progresses.

White's method is also a two book approach.  You've got one book, the Bible, and the other book, history or science, which is what modern textual criticism is.  The two synthesize to a new truth. This is how doctrine progresses through history in White's mind.  White is presenting this like it is the Bible, but notice that he doesn't use the Bible to make the presentation.  Actually, based on what we see from him, White would just laugh and roll his eyes and mock the whole idea.

After 43:15, he says if you don't use this historico-critical approach, you are using history as a bat. We are batting James White out of sheer sadistic joy.  Do you see what White does here?  It's not that, and this is where White doesn't understand or is lying or is deceived too.  The uniformity of Christian doctrine, the unity of the Spirit, testifies to the truth of the doctrine.  I have mentioned this two or more times in these posts.  If you can't find your doctrine in history, you should be concerned, because not everyone is going to be wrong, especially when it is accompanied by exegesis.  For White to keep going with his fiction after 43:20, it is enough that I'll call it Falsehood #3, that this guy (Thomas Ross) just wants to be combative, proverbially fisticuff with James White.

To equate me with the Riplinger types, next White says he's surprised that my headline didn't have more capitals and underlines and red blinking lights.  He meant it as an insult.  I've seen a few of those websites.  Ironically, White's show itself has some characteristics like those websites, with the oddball props around him and the way that he uses them at times.  He has the plasma lamp in the back.  In his second video, he proudly pulls out his old, 1550 Stephanus and takes a long sniff of it. Before that, he talked about the safe that held the copy, looking all proud of himself.  He inserts regular short brags about his biking exploits at whatever elevation. I could go on (maybe later :-D ).

At about 44:25, James White begins to read my first post, the first question that I ask, as to whether believers were wrong on the doctrine of preservation for hundreds of years.  This, he says, is the straw man.  He scoffs at that for the next few minutes, laughing, tickled with himself -- "Just do that type of thing, um, I could put him on a little thing" -- professing that you know it's not going to be good when your first sentence is a straw man.  After that, you kind of wait for him to tell you how it is, ya know, a straw man, as he rocks back and forth, and his mouth opens, and he says, "And, um, that's the way it is."  Then he moves on.  We know it's a straw man, because he says it's one.

White doesn't answer my first two questions.  He implies, "no," because he explains why it's no, because of what we know today about the character of manuscripts.  What that means, he says, "is that to try to drag them in and make them participants in the current debate is illogical and dishonest." What?  That is falsehood #4, where White essentially is voiding the London Baptist Confession statement about preservation because they didn't have the same manuscript evidence.  To bring up their statement ("drag them in") he says is illogical and dishonest.  Illogical and dishonest.  He then says that is strawman number one.

A "strawman" is to give the impression that you've refuted someone's argument, when you've set up a replacement, a straw man, that is an easier argument to knock over, and then say that you just refuted his argument.  To make even a straw man argument, you've got to make an argument.  Those first two questions haven't even concluded an argument yet.  I'm arguing in that first paragraph that it's a serious thing to reject the doctrine of the London Baptist Confession.  If White is doing that, it's a serious thing.  Is that a serious thing to White?  It seems, no.  However, it isn't a straw man.

At 46, White says I'm lying when I say he rejects biblical and historical preservation of scripture.  I will call that falsehood #5.  Let's hear what White says in defense of his charge that I'm lying, because if I am lying, I really should stop that.  I know what those men meant about preservation.  I've read about everything we still possess from the period of the LBC and before about preservation.  Daniel Wallace says they were wrong about preservation.  White parks awhile, broadbrushing the lying King James Onlyists.

White holds up his book, and says people have read that book, King James Only Controversy.  White says he has defended the preservation of scripture.  That doesn't surprise me.  I said biblical and historical position.  He says to make that absurd argument destroys credibility right off the bat.  OK. And?  "Why do you all do this?"  He asks, you all.  He takes time to talk about how that King James Only are liars.  He drops Sam Gipp and Steven Anderson, guys who don't in fact believe in preservation of scripture.  He asks why I want to be associated with names like those?  Because I dream to be associated with liars?  Then he adds Peter Ruckman and Gail Riplinger.  We really have almost nothing in commong, but this is White.

I bring up how that about everyone believed those confessions.  And White says, which confessions? He lectures that there are differences between them that are important.  Oh really?  How are they different on the subject we're talking about, the preservation of scripture?   They're not actually.  And the Helvetic confession teaches the same.  Which confession teaches something different on that? None.

White says at 48 that "the issue as everyone who has honesty and integrity knows is not the issue of the preservation of scripture.  It is the methodology of that preservation."  No, falsehood #6,  it really is preservation itself that is the issue too.  Were all the words preserved for that generation of believers?  White doesn't believe that.  He believes we didn't have all of them available until the papyri, for instance, were found in the 20th century.  Those were lost for at least 500 years.  That's not just methodology.  Method is an issue too, and scripture and the confessions both also talk about that, and White doesn't agree with those either.  So, putting aside his slander that I'm a liar without integrity (I thought it was only KJVO that called people liars...hmmmmm).  I never called him a liar or lacking in integrity.  I said he might be lying about this, but I didn't know, because he could be deceived or not know what he's talking about.

More to Come.


KJB1611 said...

Here are all the verses of Scripture White cites in all his videos on this:

Here are all the quotations from the writers of the London Baptist Confesssion:

Remember, though, that you are the one being ahistorical and not dealing with the important facts.

Farmer Brown said...

Kent writes: "Does the doctrine of scripture change because of new manuscript evidence?...Even Burgon didn't have what we have today, he says, and if those earlier did have it, he is saying that their doctrine would have been different."

This is key. He admits they believed they had the settled word, but only because they did not know what he (and others) know now. This means they had bad doctrine because they lacked the evidence. Now that we (finally) have the evidence, our doctrine can be good.

Why does he assume we are the pinnacle of knowledge? In this way he is like an evolutionist. Each assumes we can make definite conclusion based on recently discovered knowledge. However, if we are on a quest to discover more knowledge, we cannot make any conclusions until we have all the knowledge. He assumes we have it all, but that is a poorly supported assumption.

If it took 1900 years to finally get all the manuscripts we have today, certainly in another 1900 years we will have a whole new batch of manuscripts that change everything again. Perhaps in 3900AD people will look at Mr. White's book and say he only thinks that because he did not have the most recent discoveries, like they do, and if he did his doctrine would have been different.

Kent Brandenburg said...



Farmer Brown,



Derek said...

Kent said: "He drops Sam Gipp and Steven Anderson, guys who don't in fact believe in preservation of scripture."

You don't believe in preservation. If you did you'd be typing in Greek.

Farmer Brown said:

"certainly in another 1900 years we will have a whole new batch of manuscripts that change everything again.

What do you think is in the papyri? That's Jesus is named Xenu and he saves us from the Klingon onslaught? Why are you so afraid of scraps of ancient paper?

Kent Brandenburg said...

I'm guessing George's middle name is Derek.

Derek said...

Nope. Derek's name is Derek.

Terry Basham, II said...

Not a comment. I don't have your email... so i write here.

I really appreciate you taking the time to do this sort of work. It really helps me to see it in print.

You're dead right about White's attitude - he's a jerk. I've seen him only become worse as he's gotten more popular.

I was talking this over with another preacher this afternoon and he's really into the whole reformed view of about everything and he said that the position of the 1689ers is the position of record as far back as 1100 ad. I think he got this from a guy named peter van something.

anyway, i just wanted to say thanks.

every blessing.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks Terry. I appreciate the words. I think it's Peter Van Kleeck. Never met him, but read a few things he's written and thought they were good.

The Preacher said...

"A weird King James only thing in my case would be that the Bible teaches its own perfect preservation and availability."

You keep saying THE BIBLE...THE BIBLE, but every time I reference THE BIBLE you have nothing to say or many times you just do not post it.

So, once again what bible is THE Bible you keep referring to?

The Preacher said...

"I'm guessing George's middle name is Derek."

You guessed WRONG. Derek has nothing to do with any Greek heritage. George's middle name is from his dads first name, Thomas.

You speak about integrity, well then, make sure you publish this with an apology.

George Thomas Calvas--> My Greek name used in Greek documents (Γεωργιος Adανασιος Kολοβος).

The Preacher said...

"You don't believe in preservation. If you did you'd be typing in Greek."

Got an answer to that when you quote scripture?

Art G said...

Pastor Brandenburg,

Thank you for this series about preservation.

"(3) to really get serious, read Thou Shalt Keep Them,"

My paper copy is misplaced, so a Kindle copy was purchased at Amazon. The run-on words make the book difficult to read; e.g., "Words.AlthoughsomedismissordenythedeclarationoftheLordthatHewillpreserve" in Thomas M. Strouse's Introduction.

Is there a Kindle update available or forthcoming?

Thank you for your help

Art G.

Unknown said...

Michael Ayguan (1340-1416). On Psalm 12:7 Ayguan comments, “Keep them: that is, not as the passage is generally taken, Keep or guard Thy people, but Thou shalt keep, or make good thy words: and by doing so, shalt preserve him—him, the needy, him the poor—from this generation…and so, preserving him from this generation, shalt hereafter give him a portion with the happier generation, the assembly of the First-born which are written in heaven.”
J.M. Neale and R.F. Littledale, Psalm I to Psalm XXVII, vol. 1 of A Commentary on the Psalms from Primitive and Mediaeval Writers, 3rd ed., 4 vols. (London: Joseph Masters, 1874), 1:181