Public Statement on James R. White

The contributors to Choosing Hats have unanimously chosen to comment upon the recent controversy surrounding Dr. James R. White of Alpha and Omega Ministries.

White has faced extreme criticism related to his apologetics ministry to Muslims. Since Choosing Hats embraces what is known as the doctrine of Total Depravity, we also believe that no man, including White, is above correction.

Additionally, we believe the greatest care should be given to any apologetic endeavor. An apologist is under constant attack – not just from his unbelieving opponents and methodological detractors – but from his own flesh, the world, and the devil.

The aforementioned obstacles to faithful apologetic witness are particularly strong when engaging with members of some false religions, like Islam, which, along with other unique characteristics, is at this very moment in the center of the political spotlight in the United States of America. For these reasons, we call upon Christians – particularly those gifted or interested in the area of apologetics or knowledgeable about Islam – to pray for White, recognizing what he faces on a daily basis, particularly when he is addressing Islam.

The discussion of Islam in America includes a wide array of what can sometimes be extremely complex and emotional topics. Sharia law, violence, terrorism, refugees, and freedom of religion factor into almost any conversation surrounding Islam. We face uncertain times in our nation, not because what is happening all around us is unprecedented, but because we act like it is.

Unfortunately, it’s becoming popular to read a warped understanding of the ‘doctrine of separation’ into several different texts of Scripture in an attempt to justify anti-evangelistic, anti-intellectual, and even hateful (we use this word carefully, wondering what the alternative to loving dialogue is?) attitudes toward more ‘undesirable’ groups of unbelievers such as Muslims. These attitudes are easily accented by our current political climate. Thankfully, as Christians, our unchanging source of truth is plain with respect to how we as Christians must respond to false faiths, even those that tend to produce the really bad sorts of sinners. We should pay close attention to the context of one of the most crucial texts of Scripture related to apologetics in the Bible.

Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. (1 Peter 3:13-17)

Unfortunately, a number of conspiracy theorist Christians are placing the supposed significance of their political affiliations and ideas far above the importance of the gospel. They pretend to have inside information on jihad and terrorism that the rest of us do not have access to. They claim White is duped about this information. They imply that the United States government either does not know or does not care about their supposed inside information. A closer look reveals they are very clearly placing their own health, wealth, and prosperity above the proclamation and defense of the gospel in terms of importance.

We do not believe false teachers should be granted a platform without opposition during a regular corporate worship gathering. We reject any attempt to work from supposed “common ground” outside of the imago Dei and context of God’s created order. We deny that local gatherings of believers are identifiable with the physical buildings wherein they happen to meet. And we think White would agree.

White’s relationships with particular Muslim apologists have been called into question. We note such relationships are not unique for White, nor unique to White. Indeed, White has joined many other Christians before him who have faithfully defended the gospel in exchanges with Muslims without compromising on any of his beliefs. His friendships with Muslims have provided him opportunity to highlight and affirm the common ground of the imago Dei, obtain firsthand knowledge of Muslim beliefs, and draw a sharp distinction between Christianity and Islam in terms of the authoritative revelation of God, the Trinity, the person of Christ, and salvation by grace through faith.

Although some believers have lovingly and truthfully expressed their concern about this controversy in a civil manner with the best of intentions, it is clear that many others have not attempted to lovingly build White up, but to tear him down. If White’s supposed error cannot be pinpointed in his doctrine or morality, and if he has not broken the law, then there is simply nothing here to make such a great fuss about. We condemn their shameful reaction to a perceived fault in a brother and encourage them to repent. As it stands, they are only bringing disrepute upon themselves and the name of Jesus Christ.

We express our admiration and support for Dr. White. He did not ask us to do so. We are not jumping on a bandwagon (although some of White’s critics have claimed they are doing exactly that). We commit to praying for him, his opponents, and his critics. We continue to strongly recommend his apologetic work, especially pertaining to Islam, as we always have.

– The Choosing Hats Contributors


40 Comments

Tim

Well written my friends, this brings a question on why White is being singled out yet nobody seems to bad an eye when Ravi Zacharias sits down and has conversations with Islamic leadership.
You nailed the right word, conspiracy theorist. That is exactly what they are, they are always right and can never be wrong except for the fact the lack Godliness of humility among other things as well.

Michael

They appear to be “drive by critics”, not looking at full contexts, but rather pulling select phrases here and there and ad lobbing the “connecting dots” to create a case against him. Truly sad as they endeavor to do this under the guise of Christian gate keepers. I pray they are granted open eyes and repentance for this gross misrepresentation, because otherwise they are playing the fool for Satan, and bringing harm to the body of Christ. I pray they have done this out of simple ignorance, but fear there is something more sinister at play. You will know them by their fruit.

Kent Semple

Well said. Jesus said it very clearly in Mark 16:15 Mark 16:15 “And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” I don’t think that Muslims are an exception here. This is what James has done in an excellent and loving manner.

Steven Long

Thank you! I have been absolutely grieved that Christians, and even pastors, would accuse him of compromising the Word of God in order to reach Muslims. White has proven over and over, his integrity, character, and love towards those he debates and ministers to. I had a first-hand experience in meeting Dr. White during the 2008 Easter debates that took place in Norfolk, VA. I have had the uttermost respect for him and the ministry he has, as I heard him personally plea with Muslims from the debate platform to trust Christ.

Thank you for your involvement.

Terry Davidson

Amen.

Michael Iliff

Well said. We should thank God for Dr White and pray for his ministry and that he would be kept by God as he continues to preach Christ.

Bill Kron

Thank you so much for standing up for Dr. White! I am relatively new to the Reformed faith and that particular understanding of the gospel.

Of course the primary credit and glory go to God, but Dr. White is the one who virtually led me patiently by the hand, instructed me not to take his own word for it, but to accept the Doctrines of Grace only if I could see that the Scriptures validate them.

This was a months-long process for me, but I stand Reformed today because of his clear teachings of the Scriptures. But not only that, over this time I have been able to see that his intention is always first and foremost to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. Reformed or not, anyone who prioritizes the preaching of the gospel is my brother or sister in Christ.

But more than a brother, Dr. White is much more like a father in the Reformed faith to me. The mistreatment of Dr. White has been particularly painful for me, especially because I am new to the reformed faith. To see the man who has taught me so much, be misrepresented in this way, has been deeply hurtful for me.

As disgusting as it has been to see Christians attacking a true and faithful advocate of the gospel, I can fully trust that God is sovereign in and over all of this and will glorify His name through this.

Once again, thank you for defending Dr. White, for making this public statement, and for your continued prayers and support on his behalf.

As Dr. White has pointed out, we must see the Muslim people not as our battlefield, but as our mission field.

To God be the glory!

Eric Watson

My brothers, consider this comment:

“The Gospel does not advance on the back of public favor. It advances on the back of the Holy Spirit in spite of public hostility.” -Dr. John MacArthur

I believe this is very evident in light of today’s society, including those that claim to be Christians. Excellent thoughts on the situation. I am quite disheartened at the attitude of the people perpetuating the attacks. We can only pray the insanity is over soon.

Michael Adams

Very well put

Christopher

Well said.

Dan Neal

I was at both events in Memphis for the dialogues. Dr White did an outstanding job of reprenting our faith to Muslims at the mosque of Memphis. My
pastor and another friend who is a pastor as well, attended the first event and learned a great deal regarding Islam from Dr. Qadhi and his presentation. Our responsibility as believers is to share the gospel, engage the lost including Muslims. How narrow and short sighted are those attacking Dr. White’s ministry, the real question is what are the detractors doing to advance the gospel in the world or even more so the Muslim world. So much for love your enemies, it seems we have met the enemy and he is us.

Robert

Well that was refreshingly balanced and thought through.
I am just a believer who hopes for fairness in public dialogue and have no official affiliation with any party in this “hoo har” but I wish to say thank you for producing this statement.

Chris Symonds

Thank you for making this statement it expresses succinctly what I was trying to say in my own blog. https://chrissymonds65.wordpress.com/2017/07/15/what-you-win-them-with-is-what-you-win-them-to-is-it-about-truth-for-you/

Jim Stjernstrom

Unlike most of Dr. Whites critics I have read several of his books, attended his debate in Dallas with Dr Flowers, listened to many of his point by point refutations of his growling, snarling, barking critics, and even made a contribution to support his ministry, I’ve listened to his sermon series on Leviticus, and his current series on church history. His ministry has been a blessing to me! I will continue to pray that the Lord will continue to bless Dr Whites ministry. My only concern, the only thing about James White that leaves me perplexed and concerned is why would any rational human being get up at 3 am to ride a bike up a mountain. Why don’t his critics get an answer to that question?

C. L. Bolt

Phoenix

Michael

Lol! Right? That truly is the greatest question that needs investigation! Abnormal behavior for sure!

Eric Bouchard

It is so good to see a balanced and Biblical approach to this matter. Thank you for posting this.

Tim

“An apologist is under constant attack – not just from his unbelieving opponents and methodological detractors – but from his own flesh, the world, and the devil.”

I would add to that from his “friends” and “brethren” as well.

C. L. Bolt

Subsumed here under “methodological detractors.” But yes, thank you.

Floyd Vaz

Across the world, the one certain way of getting the message of the Gospel across is to engage all people who are perishing everywhere with the foolishness of the cross and preaching Christ crucified with clarity and with love. If you are not doing this, Christ would ask, “were you ashamed of my Gospel?” I don’t for a moment think that Dr. White is ashamed in any way, shape or form. But those who speak against him would want to examine their own hearts and minds over whether they are ashamed in engaging the lost with the only message of hope the world has. Here in India and in the Middle East the only way to engage muslims is to make friendships based on showing the light of Christ. Sure, some Christians have been tortured and killed for it but didn’t Jesus say that this was part of the Christian life? Brethren, it still remains the only way for violent men of zeal to advance the kingdom of heaven and to stand firm until Christ returns. If Dr. James White were in India – no one would oppose him the way he has been opposed by his own. May God have mercy on those who cause disruption to the works of his kingdom.

JINTO THOMAS

I am grieved by what’s going on a daily basis but I what I am more concerned is the testimony of the so called apologists is now questionable as they display so much of animosity to a brother. As rightly pointed out even if Dr White is in error this is not the way forward.

I think it’s time as we continue to pray for Dr White , we also have to pray for these people so that our living God deals with them gracefully so that they can realize and repent.

I have been following Dr White’s ministry for a long time and it has helped me tremendously and I have seen his concern for the lost especially in the Islamic world. May our good Lord bless his ministry more.

Mike M

Ditto – very well said.

Joshua Bolaji

A hearty, amen!

David Shotwell

Spurgeon, Luther, Calvin, just a few names of great Christian men who were likewise slandered by others within the body of Christ for holding to what they knew was right. Time has vindicated those men as it will for Dr. White. Press on with the Gospel good Dr White!

Haydee

Thank you for clarifying the ongoing controversy and finger pointing to Dr. White. I appreciate your well written article and continue to offer my support to Dr White’s great work on apologetics.

Elaine Trewarthe

David Wood had a long and close friendship with Nabeel Qureshi and this led ultimately to Nabeel’s conversion and subsequent ministry. How can anyone doubt that God calls us to committed relationships with unbelievers? No one who is criticizing James White can have truly done what they should have done, tested what he says, before offering criticism. I have not seen or heard him say anything unsound or that conflicts with the gospel.

Michael

Great job. The facts through a Christian lens, well done.

Richard Williamson

These people “muslims” are every much a part of creTion as we all are. God’s creation needs the Gospel to draw out the elect. Dr. White does just that; he preaches the Gisoel to all nations for God alone, and His Glory has already manifested by the reaction of the so called Christians that are on the attack, but a verbalized attack only. They date not get out there and join the fight.

Daniel Rex Hamilton

Ad hominem definition, appealing to one’s prejudices, emotions, or special interests rather than to one’s intellect or reason. ref: dictionary.com
The accusations are broad and lack specificity that I have heard on youtube.

Craig northwood

Amen to that- It’s unbelievable that someone as clearly gospel-centred and faithful as Dr White should be attacked in such a way by those professing to be brothers in Christ when he is clearly so faithfully upholding everything the bible teaches. I thank God for the ministry of him and those like him who so lovingly and faithfully reach out to those of different beliefs, and respectfully but firmly point them in the direction of our Lord and Saviour.

Sean Cadd

Amen and amen. Thank you for this well written and thought out statement. I personally appreciate the reference of 1 Peter 3:13-17. I have observed this controversy with sadness and amazement at the vehemence directed from his critics. We do indeed need to pray for Dr. White and those brothers who are misguided in the criticism and tactics.

steve hays

Currently, who are the contributors to Choosing Hats?

RazorsKiss

Just aim at me if you’re that bored, Steve.

steve hays

Since Bolt prefaced the public statement by saying “The contributors to Choosing Hats have unanimously chosen to comment upon the recent controversy surrounding Dr. James R. White of Alpha and Omega Ministries,” it’s reasonable to ask who are the contributors endorsing this statement. Or is that supposed to be shrouded in anonymity? If so, why so?

C. L. Bolt

Hey Steve,
I don’t know if anyone replied.
Specifically, RK, book (I don’t remember his handle here), taco (same), and me. I’m still in contributor limbo (as are a few of the old regulars who I did not consult with before posting).
I did read your posts on the topic prior to posting. fwiw, I didn’t see the problems there that I have with a lot of other folks attacking White. In fact, your posts were helpful.
Grace,
Chris

steve hays

Thanks.

Anna Cooper

Thank you for this well stated scriptural balanced response to the NONSENSE that is being leveled against Dr. White. His intent is CLEARLY demonstrated in his debates and responses to the issue of Islam. Muslims are not our enemy. False doctrine is. I appreciate Dr. Whites attempts to LOVE his neighbors while calling them to repentance.

What you win them with is what you win them to. Is it about truth for you? – chrissymonds65
Jason Martin

What a well written article, i totally agree with this and will continue to support Dr White in his amazing work. he has really modeled a way in how to reach those outside our faith in a gracious manner

Daniel Martin

I have been watching this whole debacle from here in the UK. The level of biased scaremongering and venomous slander that has been thrown at Dr White it sinful and destructive to the call of the gospel.
I watched videos for both nights and none of what Brandon Howes claims happened. It is not based on any evidence or valid careful review. Rather it is clearly nothing more that a vitriolic, self serving personal attach on a godly Christian minister whose only offence in the instance is to have a love for the lost as Christ himself commanded us to have.
The attacks are nothing short of thinly valed racism and xenophobia.
I have read a number of his books and viewed many of his debates. I have never known Dr White ever miss an opportunity to graciously, clearly and unequivocally proclaim the gospel. This dialogue was no different.
Dr White’s ministry has been a great blessing for me and helped me really grow in depth of knowledge of our faith.
This is an excellent balanced article so thank you.


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