I’d really appreciate some help in response to a lot of James White apologetic output. My husband is really into him, and I am finding it hard to respond to a lot of what he says. I’m still really interested in Catholicism and want a coherent answer for the things he comes out with. Is there a Catholic apologist who has addressed James White comprehensively?
Many have done so. Among the more dubious arguments White has made, I think this is one of the top-3:
James White was ‘correcting’ Catholic Steve Ray’s claims on Sola Scriptura, but White ended up saying something very devastating to Sola Scriptura (here):
White: The main element of [Catholic apologist] Mr. Ray’s misrepresentation of sola scriptura can be seen in just this: the doctrine speaks of a rule of faith that exists. What do I mean by this? One will search high and low for any reference in any standard Protestant confession of faith that says, “There has never been a time when God’s Word was proclaimed and transmitted orally.” You will never find anyone saying, “During times of enscripturation—that is, when new revelation was being given—sola scriptura was operational.” Protestants do not assert that sola scriptura is a valid concept during times of revelation. How could it be, since the rule of faith to which it points was at that very time coming into being? One must have an existing rule of faith to say it is “sufficient.” It is a canard to point to times of revelation and say, “See, sola scriptura doesn’t work there!” Of course it doesn’t. Who said it did? As many Catholics have noted, James White has effectively conceded Sola Scriptura (especially via 2 Timothy 3:16f) is false - the very doctrine he strongly defends. This is because texts like 2 Timothy 3:16f applied during a “time of enscripturation,” it couldn’t have been teaching SS without falling into the fallacy of anachronism (that is, reading back into a text a historically impossible detail).
Also, James White has never touched the issue of Logizomai. I’m a firm believer that when White openly and objectively addresses Logizomai, then he will no longer in good conscience be able to support Protestantism. This is why NO Protestant apologist has dared to touch this issue as well.
Check this site…philvaz.com/apologetics/
JWhite has debated a number of Catholic apologists…some of these may be in the website…as well as transcripts of other debates.
After years of doing apologetics, I have found that jumping from topic to topic (or allowing the Protestant to do so) is ineffective. So I usually just refute the great apostasy and go home. Seriously… to be a Protestant you have to believe that Jesus left the Church without knowledge of the truth and salvation for a thousand years… that’s not something that He would do, and any Protestant who loves Jesus will recognize that and drop the weapons.
Thank you all for your responses. I had kind of got the impression from his website that Catholics just run scared from his indomitable debating prowess and thus, he was right about things. It’s nice to see that people have actually responded in a calm and assured manner to his argumentation.
Well, one thing to bear in mind is that he can’t deal honestly with the writings of the Early Church Fathers.
St. Ignatius of Antioch testifies to the very early Christians believing in the trinity and incarnation. This is very useful in debates with Muslims because they always find a way to reinterpret New Testament passages which support these doctrines and consider the Bible to be a corrupted book anyway.
Yet, this same martyr also testifies to the very early Christians believing in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. This is very useful for Catholics and Orthodox in debating with Calvinists and Evangelicals because they consider the New Testament not to teach this doctrine.
So, in the context of responding to a couple Islamic apologists, James White writes:
The meaning of this text * has been clearly understood from the start. Only a tremendous prejudice and bias could cause any person to miss the intention of John, and that is only more clearly seen when we take John’s testimony as a whole. Indeed, when you read the text through the lens of the prologue, follow the argument through the I Am sayings, hear the testimony from Christ’s lips concerning His relationship to the Father, you are truly not left in a position of being surprised when you come to Thomas’ confession. That is why enemies of the faith have to cut John up, disconnect his own words, posit unproven and unprovable theories about redaction and a late date for the work, etc., to avoid its plain teaching. There is no question–none–that the author of the Gospel of John believed in the full deity of Christ and the full humanity of Christ, and that his faith was picked up by his disciples in the earliest generations of the church. Indeed, Ignatius of Antioch, who tradition says was directly acquainted with John the beloved disciple, called Jesus “God” frequently in his letters, and plainly confessed the dual nature of Christ. Note just a few citations…*
But, to the best of my knowledge, this Reformed Baptist apologist has never argued that Christians should look to St. Ignatius of Antioch for guidance on the Lord’s Supper–if he did, James White would have to become a Lutheran or Anglo-Catholic. And that ain’t gonna happen.
And here are a couple articles that are addressed to James White himself: “The Death Knell of Protestantism: Romans 4:3-5” and “Rebuttal of James White’s Analysis of My “Silver Bullet” article”.
This is what convinced me. But there are some Protestants who will say that the Catholic Church, while it was bad, still had the message of Christ partially right and there were still people in the Church that were saved, and the reformation brought a greater sense of enlightenment to the people. The majority of Protestants don’t believe that the Catholic Church is and always was totally corrupt and from the devil (this is more like what the fundamentalists believe) in other words not an exclusive condemnation of Catholicism but in general they question the actual teaching authority of the Catholic Church.
Just a word from experience: that kind of talk is usually a very clear indicator of insecurity. He probably thinks that because the majority of Catholics who have debated with him generally do not use the same degree (if any) of the aggressiveness/rudeness that James White uses in his debates.
I have listened to his podcasts fairly regularly for roughly 4 years
He has expressed a view on a number of ocassions that he considers there to be no peace in the gospel found in Catholicism and that he has not received a suitable answer/explanation to the contrary. Predominantly he has identified this with the example of having unconfessed mortal sin and then being hit by a car(or death bed)
But I understand this to be a strawman, given Gods mercy recognised outside of the normative means in the sacrament of reconcilliation in a desire/intent/repentant heart without ability to recieve the amazing! sacrament.
I normally enjoy listening to him, prompting me to think and study more.
I hear that he eats kittens (joke from one of his shows)
Nothing wrong with that… no need to let perfectly good meat go to waste.
Very, very interesting.
It appears that Mr. White has indeed, unwittingly, rejected Sola Scriptura in an attempt to proclaim Sola Scriptura.
I have no interest in defending someone who teaches and spreads heresy–especially denial of the sacraments–but I’d like to ask for some concrete examples in which James White exhibited “aggressiveness” and/or “rudeness”.
I don’t know about aggressive but I find him quite intimidating because he seems to have a fearsome intellect and knowledge of original languages and I have neither!
That’s quite understandable. James White looks “intimidating”, but only until you take his beliefs to their logical conclusion: no real Christians–as he defines the term–lived from ca. 100-200 AD to ca. 1500-1550 AD, because the historical record does not point to there being Calvinists or Baptists, let alone Calvinistic Baptists, during that period of a thousand and five hundred years, between the death of St. John and the birth of Protestantism.
Plus, I’d wager that most of us would find Marcion, Arius, Nestorius, Eutyches, or any of the other numerous heresiarches down through the ages to be “intimidating”. Each and every one of them surely “[had] a fearsome intellect”, and many, if not most, a “knowledge of original languages”. But each and every one of them, as we know, was still very much in error.
This has always been my impression of him from having witnessed his youtube debates with Catholics including Fr. Mitch Pacwa
In December of 2011, I actually invited (via email) James White to debate on CAF. He had taken issue with comments made about him in this forum and crafted two blog articles (on his own website) in response. He collectively referred to the members of CAF as “truth-starved denizens.” I was not one of the people he had a complaint with, and my invitation was very polite. He did not thank me for the invitation and declined it in a manner that I personally felt was caustic and boorish. Moreover, although I had twice sincerely wished him and his family a merry Christmas, he returned no such sentiment to me. Maybe I’m nitpicking here, but I think it was supposed to be an intentional slight.
Anyway, the relevant parts of my exchange with White are preserved on CAF in the following thread (along with the personal reflections of myself and others). People can read it and decide for themselves if he was being aggressive and/or rude. An Invitation to Dr. James White.