Amazing. Simply Amazing.

by Jimmy Akin

in Non-Catholic Apologists

James White has been active in the combox over at Stand To Reason–despite his dislike of comboxes (I guess he uses them when it suits him)–in connection with Frank Beckwith’s recent appearance on that organization’s radio program.

HERE’S A LINK.

I was told he had reposted some of the material from there on his own blog, and I was thinking about responding to something he said, but then I ran into

THIS ITEM (CURRENTLY) AT THE TOP OF HIS BLOG.

It’s amazing. Simply amazing.

The topic concerns a statement Frank made on Stand To Reason that he had read documents from the Council of Trent back when he was in his twenties and then recently re-read them and was surprised by what he read. They did not say what he understood them to say based on his prior reading and what he had been told about them by others subsequently.

No big deal, right? People read something when they’re young and green and then read it again years later and realize it didn’t say what they thought it said or means something else. Happens all the time, right?

Not, apparently, to the mind of James White.

First, here’s the quotation from Frank, transcribed from the broadcast, that White picks on:

If you read the Council of Trent…which, by the way, really shocked
me. I expected to read this sort of horrible document, you know,
requiring people to stick pins in their eyes, you know, and flagellate
themselves, you know, and it turns out that there are things in there
that are quite amazing, that the initial grace is given to us by God,
in fact, there’s a condemnation in there for anyone who says that our
works, apart from grace…I mean, I thought to myself, I had not been
told…I had been misinformed!

On his blog White poses the following questions:

1) How can a person be shocked by re-reading something they read twenty
years ago. Is it your claim that you had completely forgotten
everything you had read then? Or is it your claim that you were so
completely prejudiced in your twenties that you could not even read the
document in a meaningful fashion?
2) How can someone speak of "expecting to read" something in a document
that they have already read? Are you claiming that your prejudices were
do deep that you had actually made up in your mind things like
"sticking pins in your eyes" and "flagellation"?
3) How can you find "amazing" things in a document you read twenty
years ago? Did you simply not read it well enough to understand it then?
4)  If you read this document, how is it relevant to claim that you had not been "told" the truth about it? 
5)  If you read the document, how could you be misinformed about its contents? 


Finally, would not a perfectly fair minded reading of these statements
lead any rational person to the conclusion that this was, in fact, your
first reading of the canons and decrees of the Council of Trent? [emphasis added]

HUH???

White is actually insinuating that Beckwith did not previously read the documents, despite his claim to have done so!

What possible reason would he have to lie about this? Or if the claim isn’t that he’s lying, why suppose that his memory has gone so wrong on this?

I think what "a perfectly fair minded reading" of Frank’s statements would lead "any rational person" to the conclusion that he read the documents–or some of them–back when he was young and inexperienced in matters of theology and then, with a couple of decades of additional learning under his belt, he went back and realized that they were saying something different than he thought. In the meantime, what he had read about them from other sources had colored his understanding of them, and so reading what they really have to say–and now having the background to understand them properly–was an enlightening experience for him.

That kind of thing happens all the time with human beings. It’s no big deal and nothing out of the ordinary.

If this, then, is what "any rational person" would be led to conclude by giving "a perfectly fair minded reading" to Frank’s statements, I can only conclude that James White is either not a rational person or that he is not giving a fair reading to them (or both).

The way I see it, there are three options (in order of ascending probability):

1) James White is such a supergenius that he always reads every document correctly the first time and remembers it perfectly for decades, without allowing his view of it to be colored by what others have told him about the document (though if he’s this kind of supergenius, why hasn’t he noticed that other people don’t work that way?)

2) James White is not a supergenius but assumes that he is, so that he thinks his first reading of any document is correct and he is so closed minded and incapable of admitting–even to himself–that he has been wrong that he never re-evaluates what a document says and thus has never had the experience of finding out that the document didn’t say what he thought.

3) James White is irrationally going after Frank’s claim out of a overweening desire to score points that prevents him from seeing what is blindingly obvious to "any rational person" and thus renders him incapable of giving "a perfectly fair minded reading" to the statements of someone whom he has chosen to controversially engage.

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{ 151 comments }

Zemi August 8, 2007 at 8:32 am

I think you hit the nail on the head, Jimmy.

Mike Petrik August 8, 2007 at 8:34 am

Agreed. Frankly, White comes across as embarrassingly hysterical. I feel bad for him.

Marcel LeJeune August 8, 2007 at 8:58 am

White only gets this upset when an Evangelical becomes Catholic, as when his sister did.

JoAnna August 8, 2007 at 9:14 am

I’ll take what’s behind door #3, Jimmy.
Unbelievable.

4ddintx August 8, 2007 at 9:25 am

“1) How can a person be shocked by re-reading something they read twenty years ago.”
But, I can pretty much assure you that James White looks with kindness on any Protestant who has been reading his Bible for years and then states with awe, “Guess what I just found in Scripture for the first time?”–even though that person had read that passage several dozen times before! And heard sermons on it! And been to Bible studies on it!

AnnonyMouse August 8, 2007 at 9:28 am

If we don’t read something 20 years later and see it differently or maybe something we have missed, then would that mean we are standing still and not growing?
God Bless Beckwith.

Chad Toney August 8, 2007 at 9:31 am

It seems that Mr. White can’t even properly scientifically exegete the text of someone who speaks his language (American English), from his culture (America) and subculture (American Christian Middle-aged Men Who Write Books and Mostly Talk About Ideas), of nearly the same age without his pesky biases and assumptions coloring it.
What’s worse, he challenges the clarification of the text (the interviews) given by the *the person* who said it.

Chad Toney August 8, 2007 at 9:38 am

Dr. Beckwith has given an answer to White’s Questions in the blog comments at STR.
I think this sums it up:
This is a common phenomenon among reflective souls.

bill912 August 8, 2007 at 9:57 am

AnnonyMouse nailed it.

BobCatholic August 8, 2007 at 10:03 am

James White has lost any shred of respectability on his responses.
His hatred of the Catholic Church is irrational, illogical, and frankly borders on insanity.
It seems that Mr. White can’t even properly scientifically exegete the text of someone who speaks his language
But somehow he CLAIMS to scientifically exegete the text of someone who DOES NOT speak his language (the Bible)
Right. I’ll believe his claims any…minute….now :)

Steve August 8, 2007 at 10:04 am

Beckwith responded to these very questions from White on the stand to reason blog. I hope it’s ok to post his comment in full here without his permission, but his response shines:
*************************************************************************************************************
I just couldn’t help myself. Below is my reply to Mr. White’s questions. Each question is preceded by a number. My answer follows the question.
I really don’t think these are serious questions, since they are not the sorts of questions that one asks if one is reading another charitably. That is, when reading another person’s claims and arguments, one should always think to oneself–if I were so-and-so how would I reply to my inquiries? What this exercise does for the mind and soul is deeply virtuous. For it nurtures empathy–a moral virtue–but it also results in sharpening one’s own arguments and reasons. After all, if you can come up with a plausible account of another’s case, then it is that plausible account and not the original take that one must confront and assess. This helps one to avoid the straw man fallacy, which we are all prone to commit now and again.
Nevertheless, I respond to these questions because it will give STR readers an opportunity to see what happens when one artificially detaches analytic disputation from the virtues of the soul. It harms oneself–and in this case, Mr. White’s moral development–and it teaches others–his readers–to be uncharitable and mean under the mantle of biblical authority.
1) How can a person be shocked by re-reading something they read twenty years ago. Is it your claim that you had completely forgotten everything you had read then?
The same way one feels when one runs into an old girlfriend and then wonders what one saw in her in the first place. Before you run into her, you “remember” her in one way. When you see her again, you realize that that was puppy love and not real love. And sometimes one quivers at the thought that one could have married that person.
It is safe to say that Paul re-read the Old Testament differently after his conversion and was shocked at what he found. After all, if he had read the OT correctly to begin with he would not have persecuted the church. A good friend of mine from graduate school shared with me how much more persuasive Christian apologetics works seemed to him after he had become a Christian. He told me, “These arguments that I dismissed prior to my conversion seem so convincing now.” This is a common phenomenon among reflective souls.
2) Or is it your claim that you were so completely prejudiced in your twenties that you could not even read the document in a meaningful fashion?
My reading was both prejudiced and meaningful. It was shaped by my Lutheran professors and my lack of philosophical sophistication. For this reason, I read Trent more like a prosecutor looking to convict a defendant rather than a student seeking to learn. I loved my Lutheran professors, but I have since come to the conclusion that they were wrong.
3) How can someone speak of “expecting to read” something in a document that they have already read?
See answers to 1 and 2. As an aside, it is common for scholars to see things differently and more clearly (or more ambiguously, as the case may be) over time as one begins to get a fuller picture of a particular subject matter and its primary texts. Because I am an academic with different obligations and responsibilities than those involved in popular polemics, I am blessed with a lifestyle that allows me the time and resources (and brilliant graduate students and colleagues) to ruminate about and think through many texts and issues.
4) Are you claiming that your prejudices were do deep that you had actually made up in your mind things like “sticking pins in your eyes” and “flagellation”?
I was making a humorous allusion to the Opus Dei loon from the DaVinci Code. It’s typical Beckwith humor. “How many Gnostic Aesthetics does it take to screw in a light bulb?”
5) How can you find “amazing” things in a document you read twenty years ago? Did you simply not read it well enough to understand it then?
I read it well, but not well enough. See answers 1, 2, and 3.
6) If you read this document, how is it relevant to claim that you had not been “told” the truth about it?
I not only read Trent. I read about it. Those commentators read the document uncharitably. That shaped my reading. Happens all the time. See answers 1, 2, 3, and 7
7) If you read the document, how could you be misinformed about its contents?
The same way that a Mormon can read the Bible a hundred times and still get Mormon theology out of it. A text is not like a box with things in it, “contents.” It is something to be approached with humility and teachability. For example, at one time I fully accepted the notion of the imputation of Christ’s alien righteousness as unambiguously biblical. And, in fact, one will always get that out of the text if one approaches it with entrenched Reformed assumptions (informed by late medieval nominalism, a philosophy implicitly hostile to Christian philosophical anthropology, IMHO). However, if one begins to reflect on the entirety of Christian history and the numerous exegetes who have seen different “contents,” equally at home with the same text, one begins to have a fuller picture of the sorts of philosophical and anthropological issues that were at stake during the Reformation.
That’s enough for now. (I know I’ve said that before. But this time I’m serious!).
Thank you for indulging me (pardon the pun).
Posted by: Francis Beckwith | August 08, 2007 at 09:28 AM

BobCatholic August 8, 2007 at 10:16 am

Here are some of the canons attached to the chapter on justification:

Notice that he avoids Canon I and III for some odd and interesting reasons:
CANON I.-If any one saith, that man may be justified before God by his own works, whether done through the teaching of human nature, or that of the law, without the grace of God through Jesus Christ; let him be anathema.
CANON III.-If any one saith, that without the prevenient inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and without his help, man can believe, hope, love, or be penitent as he ought, so as that the grace of Justification may be bestowed upon him; let him be anathema
Oops. The typical “works based salvation” false accusation leveled against Catholicism, collapses like the house of cards it truly is.

Esau August 8, 2007 at 10:24 am

If we don’t read something 20 years later and see it differently or maybe something we have missed, then would that mean we are standing still and not growing?
Annonymouse,
Good going!
Beckwith’s understanding was perhaps a product of who he was at that time (e.g., his knowledge, feelings, perspective of that period in his life).
Thus, one might say it was sort of the lense from which he saw the world, including the books he read would be understood from these same lense.
Now, he’s an entirely different person from what he once was, having matured from those days, looking through a new set of eyes, from a brand new perspective, knowledge he had accumulated since, and, therefore, sees new shades of meaning he couldn’t see at the time he originally read Trent.

PrincessJ August 8, 2007 at 10:30 am

COMMENT DELETED AT USER’S REQUEST. (And I agree with the user’s request; asking for it to be deleted was the right thing to do.)

Tim J. August 8, 2007 at 10:38 am

I don’t find the airing of James White’s dirty laundry in the combox to be especially helpful.
Love your enemies.

Jimi Hahn August 8, 2007 at 10:45 am

LOL! I vote for “not a rational person”!!

Russ August 8, 2007 at 10:52 am

PrincessJ,
There was no good reason to say that.
Russ

Ann Margaret Lewis August 8, 2007 at 10:53 am

I agree. As offputting as Mr. White’s behavior is, one should not reflect upon his family life here. The truth is – he looks like an a$$ in print because of his obvious seething hatred for anyone or anything Catholic. He can’t speak logically or sensibly on the topic. I think anyone with half a brain will see that without bringing in the dirt of his family life.

bill912 August 8, 2007 at 11:02 am

I’ll join the chorus. I hope that Jimmy deletes the offending post.

PrincessJ August 8, 2007 at 11:05 am

My apologies. I am unable to delete it myself, or I would.

Esau August 8, 2007 at 11:13 am

PrincessJ,
Surely, you didn’t mean any actual harm by it.
Perhaps you were searching for some psychological explanation for his actions.
However, although it may have been inadvertent, it is nonetheless bad form.

Shane August 8, 2007 at 11:24 am

I don’t know, I’m a bit torn. If Miss Bonds has made the statement herself in some public venue, then I have a much harder time objecting to mentioning it. I’m the very first one that wants to avoid even the hint of inappropriate comments about a person, but if a public figure is behaving negatively and there is public information about possible psychological causes, I can’t immediately reject the idea of discussing it. I can see why it might be right to reject such a comment, on the other hand. I can then again see how this “dirty laundry” may make many people look more lovingly upon the man than they did before.
If it was some sort of private information that was being divulged, then I’d have a much, much easier time agreeing with the general consensus.

Esau August 8, 2007 at 11:27 am

Shane,
I can see what you’re saying and that was initially why I found that perhaps Princess J was attempting to discover the psychology behind why James White is behaving the way he is in order to better understand him.

Mike Petrik August 8, 2007 at 11:31 am

I cannot speak to princessJ’s intentions, but I can say that her speedy retraction and apology speak more loudly than her offense.

PrincessJ August 8, 2007 at 11:49 am

I am certainly not to be commended for my apology. I commend the others who called me out. This little exchange provided a real lesson to me. As crazy as James and others make me, he is a human being, whom God loves very much. He is not just a “character.” I wouldn’t want the same thing done to me. Even though this information is “out there” (which why I initially didn’t think it was wrong) and it “may” explain things, I wouldn’t want to be analyzed by someone who doesn’t know me. I have no right to judge that. I’m hardly a psychiatrist. Sorry again.

PrincessJ August 8, 2007 at 11:54 am

One more thing…I was initially thinking of the psychological side of it, but then, as you can see, I moved quite quickly from sympathy and compassion to smugness. No wonder he’s an anti-Catholic with “witnesses” like me. Kyrie eleison.

Guardian August 8, 2007 at 11:57 am

As ridiculous and however psychologically messed up Ole’ Jimbo White is, there is always hope for him to come to the truth. Keep him in your prayers.
http://www.jamesrwhite.org

Esau August 8, 2007 at 11:57 am

People should never judge others — yet this doesn’t negate the fact that we should try, at the very least, to “understand” them.
It’s like the St. Francis Prayer:
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand
Also, though we should not judge others, we still should call out their actions.
Thus, the Spiritual Work of Mercy:
– To admonish sinners
And in the Bible:
Ez 33:8:
8 When I say to the wicked: O wicked man, thou shalt surely die: if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked man from his way: that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but I will require his blood at thy hand.

Brian Miles August 8, 2007 at 12:01 pm

For a while there, Beckwith and White were actually having a productive debate…for a while. But then White starts in with all these patronizing and condescending rhetorical questions which he uses to impugn Beckwith’s credentials.
“Surely, you’ve read this, and certainly, you must have known that, what with your ‘marathon reading’ and all?”
Sheeesh!

Foxfier August 8, 2007 at 12:03 pm

Well, my reading of twenty years ago didn’t really have anything to shock on re-reading (run, Spot, run) but I recall reading the first few pages of one of my favorite books (Dealing with Dragons) when I was about seven; I utterly hated it and put it away. Five or six years later, I open the book from boredom… and it was a wonderful, funny book!
So, add another person who got something out of re-reading.

bill912 August 8, 2007 at 12:09 pm

Doesn’t White realize that most of us get smarter as we get older? I remember that, when I was in my teens, my father was the stupidest man in the world. I recently told him how impressed I am as to how much smarter he has gotten in the last few decades.
(I, on the other hand, have gotten dumber; I no longer know everything.)

Esau August 8, 2007 at 12:10 pm

But then White starts in with all these patronizing and condescending rhetorical questions which he uses to impugn Beckwith’s credentials.
I can recall the same thing which happened back then to Scott Hahn.
In fact, there were those who were spreading ridiculous rumors that Scott never taught at a Protestant seminary nor did he have any of the credentials he claimed whatsoever and that Scott actually lied about his background and other elements in his past just for the sake of enterprise and capturing the business of Catholics in the marketplace.

AnnonyMouse August 8, 2007 at 12:13 pm

(On the side to Esau)Ez 33:8:
8 When I say to the wicked: O wicked man, thou shalt surely die: if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked man from his way: that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but I will require his blood at thy hand.
One thing I have trouble with, is judging who is “worth the time” and who is not. In a perfect world, everyone is, right? But there are some that seem to be looking for a fight and my words are useless. Like throwing pearls to swine?
Beckwith is a better man than I, I am not sure I would have responded to him.

m. swaim August 8, 2007 at 12:16 pm

hey, I re-read “the death cookie” with fresh eyes after converting to Catholicism, and oddly enough, I had a totally different perspective on it than before…

SDG August 8, 2007 at 12:23 pm

I can name books that have surprised me once a decade or so. I can’t believe the things I missed 10 years ago, and 10 years ago, I couldn’t believe the things I missed ten years before that.

J.R. Stoodley August 8, 2007 at 12:23 pm

I’m way to remember anything I read 20 years ago (or to have read anything 20 years ago period) but I do have this experience.
I first read the whole Old Testament (actually the whole Bible cover to cover) about 7 years ago, while in High School. Since then when reading the Bible it was mainly the New Testament and a few select parts of the Old. Realizing this long defect, I reread much of the OT last December. I found that it was a lot deeper than I remembered, a lot less theologically problematic, and it didn’t contain some disturbing things that my mind had apparently exagerated from some of the harder passages. The text hadn’t changed (it was the very same copy of the Bible even), I had.

John Henry August 8, 2007 at 12:32 pm

Is it amazing? Really? Come on, the guy would openly deny that I had Bran Flakes for breakfast, if it somehow helped his Reformed Baptist cause.

Brian Miles August 8, 2007 at 1:03 pm

So White has promised to post Beckwith’s reply to his questions on his blog:
“Specifically, if Dr. Beckwith wishes to provide replies to the following, I will gladly post them.”
Beckwith has replied over at the STR blog in a manner which IMO makes White’s questions look extremely foolish. Anyone want to bet as to whether or not White will actually post Beckwith’s responses? I’ll give him major props for integrity and humility if he does. Its hard to keep a promise when doing so makes you look so bad.

Christine the Soccer Mom August 8, 2007 at 1:07 pm

I see nothing wrong with reading things over and seeing completely different things each time. Every three years, I hear the same Gospel, and yet new things come to light every time I hear/read it. It even applies to other books. For example, when I read Uncle Tom’s Cabin while I was in college, I was moved by the book. But when I read it again this past year, as a wife and mother and as a stronger Christian, I was moved to tears again and again. It was practically like a different book!
Perspective changes as you grow older, and the world seems a different place.

Scott W August 8, 2007 at 1:09 pm

Bottom of the barrel. We gotta stop reading and commenting on White like he has something to say. Chalk him up to same respectability as the Raelians or the Branch Davidians.

Justin August 8, 2007 at 1:22 pm

I remember reading Hal Lindsey years ago and thinking that this guy was a genious and a true Christian Scholar. Yea, I was young and after years of experience and investigation i obviously changed my mind on that. I think it’s absurd to suggest that we never grow in our understandings of something we read or studied years ago, I mean we all have thought things and believed things that later wew say “wow i cannt believe i thought that”

Dale Price August 8, 2007 at 1:39 pm

It helps if you think of White as the Inspector Javert of Reformed apologetics.
The accused is to be slammed against the iron grate of the law, and prosecuted to its fullest extent. No mercy and no exceptions.

joe August 8, 2007 at 1:53 pm

“1) How can a person be shocked by re-reading something they read twenty years ago.”
Just yesterday I was shocked by something I wrote twenty years ago.
-J.

Jarnor23 August 8, 2007 at 2:02 pm

Men like me can never change
Men like you can never change
No, 24601
My duty’s to the law – you have no rights
Come with me 24601

Eric August 8, 2007 at 2:06 pm

Here is a question, how do you have a discussion with someone who believes that whatever he read 20 years ago is set in stone and that if you have ever read something once you must take an official stand on it and if you ever change your stance from that first reading, you are an inconsistent and possibly a liar? In other words, there is no introspection or growth in such a person, which is a foreign concept to Mr. White.

Esau August 8, 2007 at 2:11 pm

In sum:
“Without Contrast, there is no Progression”

Mark August 8, 2007 at 2:42 pm

Mr. White’s dissembling about what Beckwith “read/didn’t read” 20 years ago illustrates his desperation and need to change the topic from a substantive exchange to a quarrel about NOTHING. Francis’ demeanor throughout the discussion vs. James’ obsessing sends a clear message about where lies the truth.
Incidentally, if you haven’t seen it, there is another initially contentious debate on the STR blog about Indulgences which one Br. Matthew Augustine, OP has done a masterful job of winning over his listeners with grace and persuasion. It is worth a read too …
Here’s a comment from one of Brother Matthew’s interlocutors on that thread: “By the way, I find the methodic and gracious manner in which you espouse your opposing viewpoint to be refreshing in that it seems to be rare, these days, to find people who don’t primarily rely on showboating to convince. I look forward to reading anything you have to contribute on other topics, as well.”
I think we all could learn a lesson (negatively from Mr. White and positively from Mr. Beckwith and Br. Augustine) about the virtues which should attend our vigorous debate and charitable discussions in these comboxes.
Pennsylvania Church Offers Plenary Indulgences
http://www.str.org/site/PageServer?pagename=blog_iframe

A Simple Sinner August 8, 2007 at 4:31 pm

“Is it amazing? Really? Come on, the guy would openly deny that I had Bran Flakes for breakfast, if it somehow helped his Reformed Baptist cause.”
Well, I dunno John, did anyone actually see you eat these Bran Flakes? Sure you tell us you did…

Steve Polson August 8, 2007 at 4:51 pm

White has backed away from his contention that any rational person would conclude that Beckwith is a liar, but rather than apologizing or expressing sorrow or at least embarrassment, as one would have expected him to do, he is now complaining that Beckwith is attacking HIM. He continues to amaze me.

Jeff August 8, 2007 at 5:10 pm

Here is how I see it, a prominent protestant intellectual reverted to the Catholic Faith and Dr. White didn’t take it too well. He is now attempting to besmirch Dr. Beckwiths name, motives, and intentions – useing every dirty debate tactic available. It is truely sad, if Dr. White believes he has the truth then why does he have to question an honorable Christian whether he has read something when he said that he had?

francis 03 August 8, 2007 at 5:19 pm

I have to point out what I think might be one of Jimmy’s rare factual mistakes. In the interview, Dr. Beckwith did not specify whether he had read Trent before. While, as an eminent theologian, it would make sense for him to have done so, his words could easily have been misunderstood as suggesting the opposite. He clarified this in the comments, which I think came after White first made a remark assuming that this was Beckwith’s first read.

Esau August 8, 2007 at 5:20 pm

Because you do not have a valid reason to convert to Catholicism unless James White says so!

Mary August 8, 2007 at 5:36 pm

I am thinking of Michael Swanwick —
He’s a SF/fantasy writer. Once upon a time, in his teens, he had read The Lord of the Rings. He was afraid to re-read it as an adult, because it could have been the flush of adolscence that made it seem such a great book. But one day, his son had a friend, younger than he was, who was getting The Lord of the Rings as a bedtime story, and so Swanwick had to read him it as his bedtime story.
He was shocked. His son heard the same great fantasy adventure as he had read as an adolscent, and he himself was reading the saddest book in the world — a great, an important book, a book full of loss and tragedy.

Victor Hartanto August 8, 2007 at 6:05 pm

BobCatholic,
Your comment is exactly what hits the nail for me too when I was still a protestant seeking the truth about Catholicism, there was a protestant website that posted (what they thought was the meaning of) Council of Trent, they did exactly that, omit the canon on Justification which condemns that we are saved by works …
A lot of (I believe sincere) protestant Christians read the bible verses out of context, so I have no problem (but it is a serious problem!) accepting that they do the same thing to the Church Councils 😉
I like how Dr Beckwith put it… Uncharitable reading :)

netnet August 8, 2007 at 6:37 pm

As a former Fundamentalist turned Evangelical turned Catholic (finally!), I am deeply saddened by this whole affair, one that seems to keep repeating every time someone leaves their ranks and joins ours. And it’s not just the high profile cases, it’s just about every one of us, we have to endure such irrational outbursts of anger and accusations and all manner of illogical and unChristian behavior. This all leaves you feeling as though you have just entered the Twilight Zone, where nothing you ever knew before is now even remotely recognizable.
What I once saw as zeal for the truth, I now know as being utterly vicious, rabid attacks whose origins are of a completely different spirit than of Christ. I can only pray for all who have to endure this, it takes great grace to get through, although not without pain.

Anonymous August 8, 2007 at 6:43 pm

“Just yesterday I was shocked by something I wrote twenty years ago.”
LOL!!
TOO TRUE! You said a mouthful, Joe.

Mary August 8, 2007 at 6:47 pm

1) James White is such a supergenius that he always reads every document correctly the first time and remembers it perfectly for decades, without allowing his view of it to be colored by what others have told him about the document (though if he’s this kind of supergenius, why hasn’t he noticed that other people don’t work that way?)
OTOH, that would not be being some kind of supergenius. That would just mean having a photographic memory.
And because we all think we are normal, it can be hard to think that other people are different from us. I know that I, having a very good memory, have difficulty remembering that people who say something and deny it totally a month later, are not necessarily lying.

Richard August 8, 2007 at 7:33 pm

This seems like a non-issue to me. Just because he is unhappy with the Beckwith situation, I think James White is trying really hard to take something Beckwith said and twisting and turning it inside out and imposing foreign context on it in order to make him look bad.

Jeremiah August 8, 2007 at 10:04 pm

I am a reformed Baptist and I must admit, when I read the comments on aomin.org I thought they were a bit uncharitable. Furthermore, the line of questions seemed to go nowhere. It seemed overly suspicious in a conspiracy sort of way.

StubbleSpark August 8, 2007 at 10:09 pm

Before I became Catholic, when I read what the Bible had to say things like persevering in the faith, I always thought “That was before Luther.”
I did not realize the level to which that thought elevated Luther.
Since becoming Catholic, there have been many many things that I once enjoyed that I can enjoy no more and I am not just talking about sins and Friday steak. I have come to recognize the exultantly heretical qualities of some forms of entertainment.
It is not like I am like Captain Ahab, I have my pleasures.
But they are different now.

brian August 8, 2007 at 10:34 pm

I asked this question a few times, and its not some attempt to fain sympathy but it seems to be the crux of the issue. What is the Gospel? Can God save to the uttermost? As for Dr. White I dont like much of what he has said but I do listen to his DL, I also listen to Catholic Answers, I have never heard people treated rudely on either show, and I have listened to both shows for about a decade. I tend to run on the emotional side of life but I do not think my emotions are valid, actually they are often skewed.
I do see a world in need of the Love of God and forgiveness of sin, I know I need it, every second. Dr. Beckwith I do wish you and you family the very best. Mr. Akin I read your conversion story in Surprised By Truth it was quite touching and I relate to it on many levels. One thing that draws me to the Catholic faith is the idea that suffering has a redemptive value. I find a great deal of hope in that. Take care all. Brian

Tartanarmy August 9, 2007 at 6:24 am

This whole thread is amazing. All this talk about charity!
Not one word about the essence of Mr Whites point, which really was a simple one.
The point seems to be proven, namely that Beckwith all those years ago, and I will assume the man was reasonably intelligent even then, was unable to grasp what is so plainly stated in Trent, that even 20 years later, the man is able to draw such sharp contrasts to his previous reading of that material.
Listen folks, maybe you all have met these so called Protestants that would not know one end of a sentence to the next, but surely Beckwith was not one of them!
James is actually telling you people that any reasonable student who would be a Protestant student, knows what Trent teaches, and such a person 100 years down the road would never come to such contrasts as Beckwith has.
All this talk about us not growing in our understanding etc is not the issue, even James would clearly admit that. It is about the contrasts that are now being used by Beckwith that I can see would cause reasonable people to question his two readings separated in time.
And if that is not enough, the most important issue that James was getting at, and has always been the issue with Trent, is not that Grace etc is necessary as Trent teaches, but the issue is “sufficiency”. Is Grace alone, by faith Alone in Christ alone Sufficient for the saving of the soul and Justification?
Not one of you even mentions this, but some have time to even dare go into more personal matters and utterly fail to show any charity to James White, and what it is he is actually saying.
Maybe you do not like how he says what he says, but get over it and address the “main” point of his argument rather than snowballing the whole discussion into smearing Mr White as someone who does not advocate that we all learn and grow in knowledge etc.
What a shame this thread does not get past the so called insults and deal with the issues behind them.
Man, do any of you guys ever read the kinds of things said about James White by Catholics out there? Sheesh, the imbalance is scary.
Mark

Mary August 9, 2007 at 6:35 am

Listen folks, maybe you all have met these so called Protestants that would not know one end of a sentence to the next, but surely Beckwith was not one of them!
So — you think he’s a liar instead?
He’s said it. Your choices are he didn’t, as he claimed, understand, or he’s a liar.

Bill August 9, 2007 at 6:37 am

Did it strike anyone else as kind of funny in a sad way that some of the things that Mr. White is using as his defense for his beliefs are these:
“CANON XI.-If any one saith, that men are justified, either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ, or by the sole remission of sins, to the exclusion of the grace and the charity which is poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, and is inherent in them; or even that the grace, whereby we are justified, is only the favour of God; let him be anathema.
CANON XIV.-If any one saith, that man is truly absolved from his sins and justified, because that he assuredly believed himself absolved and justified; or, that no one is truly justified but he who believes himself justified; and that, by this faith alone, absolution and justification are effected; let him be anathema.”
I know Mr. White is a big proponent of “Saved by faith alone” – but don’t both of these say the exact opposite?
Talk about reading something in the past and not really being able to see what it was saying…

bill912 August 9, 2007 at 6:39 am

“Is Grace alone, by faith Alone in Christ aloneSufficient for the saving of the soul and Justification?”
No. See James 2:24

Slowboy August 9, 2007 at 6:40 am

“How many Gnostic Aesthetics does it take to screw in a light bulb?”
Ok I missed it. Is the answer in the interview?
I love lightbulb jokes.

Marion (Mael Muire) August 9, 2007 at 7:23 am

“When I was eighteen I thought my father was a fool but by the time I was twenty one I was surprised at what he had learned in three years”. – Mark Twain

LCB August 9, 2007 at 7:24 am

Tartanarmy,
Please consider the following:
How many Supreme Court Justices in 1972 looked at the Constitution and found a “Right to have an abortion”?
How many Supreme Court Justices have looked at the Constitution and found a “Separation between Church and State?”
Even experts can read a document incorrectly, after studying it their whole lives. A young, impressionable, college student who is told in advance what a document will contain is very likely to reach the pre-determined conclusion. Finding something OTHER than what he was told he would find would induce an incredible crisis of faith. Of course he found what he was told to find.
With all due respect, it’s similar to “Sola Scriptora.” Some folks become so convinced that they know what the document says, that they fail to recognize what the document actually says.
Charitably and In Christ,
-LCB

Thaddeus August 9, 2007 at 7:37 am

1) How can a person be shocked by re-reading something they read twenty years ago. Is it your claim that you had completely forgotten everything you had read then? Or is it your claim that you were so completely prejudiced in your twenties that you could not even read the document in a meaningful fashion?
3) How can you find “amazing” things in a document you read twenty years ago? Did you simply not read it well enough to understand it then?

As was recently pointed out to me by a dear friend, I’m surprised nobody has posted the comment “When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; …” (1st Corinthians 13:11) Paul most certainly understood the maturation of the human mind and soul, in our understanding and actions.

Mike Petrik August 9, 2007 at 7:45 am

LCB is right. Furthermore, words are imperfect vehicles for thought. They invariably leave some ambiguity, and the temptation to make the words mean what you think they should mean is very real.

Jonathan Prejean August 9, 2007 at 9:04 am

Mark:
You seem to have missed the point as badly as White.
Not one word about the essence of Mr Whites point, which really was a simple one.
The point seems to be proven, namely that Beckwith all those years ago, and I will assume the man was reasonably intelligent even then, was unable to grasp what is so plainly stated in Trent, that even 20 years later, the man is able to draw such sharp contrasts to his previous reading of that material.
Listen folks, maybe you all have met these so called Protestants that would not know one end of a sentence to the next, but surely Beckwith was not one of them!

Then White failed to grasp the simple point that it isn’t reading Trent but grasping the underlying philosophical concepts that is the problem. Note Dr. Beckwith’s explicit statement: “My reading was both prejudiced and meaningful. It was shaped by my Lutheran professors and my lack of philosophical sophistication.” And there are very few Protestants who are expert in Aristotelian philosophy and practically none who are conversant in St. Thomas. Indeed, many Protestants rely on the interpretation of both the Reformers and the Fathers, which modern scholarship has consistently shown to be erroneous. Given the paucity of Protestant expertise on this subject, it is unsurprising that (1) Protestants read texts all the time without understanding them and (2) Protestants who become conversant in these texts have a suspiciously high rate of conversion to Catholicism. James White is clearly not an expert on Aristotelico-Thomism; indeed, I think it is fair to say that he has practically no knowledge on the subject, despite being able to read Greek. Someone who lacks this knowledge is not even competent to exegete most Catholic theological texts, which routinely use terms like “formal sufficiency” and “efficient cause” that have narrow technical meanings.
Take, for example, Trent on justification:
Of this Justification the causes are these: the final cause indeed is the glory of God and of Jesus Christ, and life everlasting; while the efficient cause is a merciful God who washes and sanctifies gratuitously, signing, and anointing with the holy Spirit of promise, who is the pledge of our inheritance; but the meritorious cause is His most beloved only-begotten, our Lord Jesus Christ, who, when we were enemies, for the exceeding charity wherewith he loved us, merited Justification for us by His most holy Passion on the wood of the cross, and made satisfaction for us unto God the Father; the instrumental cause is the sacrament of baptism, which is the sacrament of faith, without which (faith) no man was ever justified; lastly, the alone formal cause is the justice of God, not that whereby He Himself is just, but that whereby He maketh us just, that, to wit, with which we being endowed by Him, are renewed in the spirit of our mind, and we are not only reputed, but are truly called, and are, just, receiving justice within us, each one according to his own measure, which the Holy Ghost distributes to every one as He wills, and according to each one’s proper disposition and co-operation.
Now, if you actually know what “efficient cause” means, this statement directly contradicts your statement:
“And if that is not enough, the most important issue that James was getting at, and has always been the issue with Trent, is not that Grace etc is necessary as Trent teaches, but the issue is ‘sufficiency.’ Is Grace alone, by faith Alone in Christ alone Sufficient for the saving of the soul and Justification?”
In fact, this was NOT the issue, and people who have studied this issue in detail know for certain that it was not the issue. For a study by an actual scholar on the subject (as contrasted with White), see Christopher Malloy’s study Engrafted in Christ, for example. So what you say here is just wrong, period. There’s no debate on it; “efficient cause” means the agent’s power to cause the effect is sufficient, regardless of instrumentality. Nobody whom the merciful God wishes to justify and anoint with the Holy Spirit is not justified. Nor is there any difference between initial justification and recovery of justification in this regard (see Chs. XIII-XIV). You are wrong as a historical matter, and the reason that you are wrong is that you don’t know what an efficient cause or a formal cause is. And given the number of Protestants who know Aristotle and St. Thomas well enough to form a scholarly opinion on the matter, it is unlikely that this error will ever be corrected.
That means that White has made the same mistake, by his own admission, for EIGHTEEN YEARS. This is practically the paragon case for Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “foolish consistency” that is “the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.” Consistency in error, particularly consistency in foolish error resoluting from lack of study, is not a virtue but a vice, and that is the point of Jimmy’s (2). You yourself have mindlessly followed White, who is incompetent on basic matters of Catholic theology, without checking the matter yourself, which is little better. Dr. Beckwith, a genuinely great mind, was not attached to foolish consistency when his studies revealed an error. But White, a little mind if there ever was one, prides himself on consistency with himself more than consistency with the truth. If you cannot decide which example to follow, then God help you, because reason clearly can’t.

Paul H August 9, 2007 at 9:29 am

Frankly, White comes across as embarrassingly hysterical.
Doesn’t he always come across that way?

LCB August 9, 2007 at 9:37 am

Excellent post Mr. Prejean, a first rate job of bringing light to an area where there once was darkness.
If I may offer an example that allows Mr. Prejean’s post to (perhaps) be better understood by those without a philosophical background. I turn to the Decl. of Independence:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…”
The above sentence is a detailed philosophical statement of principles. If one lacks a philosophical background, it becomes very difficult to understand the meaning intended by the authors. As a consequence, the rest of the document becomes skewed in meaning. A very technical usage is envisioned by the words “truth” “self-evident” “created equal” “endowed” “Creator” “unalienable” and “Rights.”
A self-evident truth is one that is true without the need of a proof. A triangle can not have 4 sides, a whole can not be greater than the part, something can not both exist and not exist at the same time, etc. This is made possible by understanding the meaning of the object (which presupposes that all objects, including intellectual objects, do infact have meaning). Therefore (according to the Founding Fathers), if a person understands the meaning of Rights, it follows that they are endowed by them by their Creator (who must exist for rights to exist), and that those same rights are unalienable. If an opponent says, “Prove it” the Founding Father responds, “I don’t have to, the nature of Rights reveals my statement to be self-evidently true, requiring no proof.”
Holy Cow. That’s REALLY different than what we are taught in high school. Understanding the first sentence in a different way radically alters how one understands the rest of the text (and then later, how one understands the Constitution).
In all Christian charity I say this: Mr. White truly doesn’t know what he is talking about. A lot (but not all) of Catholic-Protestant debate consists of Protestants insisting they know what they’re talking about, when very often times they simply don’t.
Mark, I invite you (or anyone else reading) to e-mail me to discuss some of these matters one-on-one. Just be careful, because learning the truth might turn you Catholic.

Jonathan Prejean August 9, 2007 at 10:27 am

Typo correction: “rely on the interpretation of both the Reformers and the Fathers” should be “rely on the Reformers for their interpretation of both St. Thomas and the Fathers.” That’s a pretty serious mistake! I’ve corrected it in , along with adding a link to this interview with Christopher Malloy.

Jonathan Prejean August 9, 2007 at 10:28 am

Oops. Didn’t close the quotes. Here is my corrected blog entry. Here is the interview with Christopher Malloy.

Inocencio August 9, 2007 at 10:34 am

LCB and Jonathan Prejean,
Your comments and explanations are most appreciated!
Comments like yours add so much to the enjoyment of reading Jimmy’s blog.
Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

BobCatholic August 9, 2007 at 11:31 am

>Because you do not have a valid reason to convert to Catholicism unless James White says so!
And James White says there is no valid reason to convert to Catholicism :) You could throw 100,000 verses at him supporting Catholicism, and he’ll just say you’re wrong :)

Churchmouse August 9, 2007 at 11:44 am

Hmmm…isn’t it a deception to use the url http://www.jamesrwhite.org to connect to Catholic Answers? Who would go through through the expense of buying a domain name to lead others to Catholic Answers? For that matter WHY would someone go through the bother?

Shane August 9, 2007 at 11:46 am

You could throw 100,000 verses at him supporting Catholicism, and he’ll just say you’re wrong :)
That would be difficult, seeing as that there are only about 30,000 verses in the Bible. :)

Shane August 9, 2007 at 11:49 am

Jamesrwhite.org? Evangelization I’d imagine. Someone picks up a book of his, thinks he’s great, so they go over to their web browser and type his name in. Next thing they know, they’ve got the answers to many of his arguments at their fingertips. That’d be the thinking behind it.
In any case, it’s very easy to make quite a bigger deal out of this than it really is. The “expense” of a domain name, as Mr. White and now you, Churchmouse, have mentioned, is only about $10 or so for an entire year. It hardly breaks the bank. :)

Esau August 9, 2007 at 11:51 am

Hmmm…isn’t it a deception to use the url http://www.jamesrwhite.org to connect to Catholic Answers? Who would go through through the expense of buying a domain name to lead others to Catholic Answers? For that matter WHY would someone go through the bother?
Posted by: Churchmouse | Aug 9, 2007 11:44:55 AM

Isn’t it deception to say that Catholics believe in one thing (tainted with all sorts of distortions) when really it is not what Catholics actually believe or what the Catholic Church actually teaches?

Esau August 9, 2007 at 11:59 am

Shane,
Good point!
Although I don’t appreciate the accusatory tone of Churchmouse, as if the Catholic Church itself deliberately took the domain name “Jamesrwhite.org” and had it linked to Catholic Answers.
Just who is she accusing of “deception” here?

Jonathan Prejean August 9, 2007 at 12:20 pm

Thinking on White’s comments re: Dr. Beckwith’s conversion reminded me of another issue, so I composed the following addendum to my blog entry:
While I’m thinking about it, I noticed once again that every time anyone converts, White seems to make much of “the best” Protestant arguments for Scriptural authority being those given by William Goode, William Whitaker, and George Salmon, asking whether the person has read any of these. I have no idea why White is impressed with any of these arguments, other than their habit of misrepresenting Catholic dogma almost as badly as White himself does. However, anybody who wants to read them can read them on the Internet Archive: Whitaker, Goode (vol. 1, vol. 2, vol. 3), and Salmon. Of the three, Whitaker is far and away the most reasonable, although prone to uncharitable misrepresentation of Bellarmine and the Jesuits. Goode and Salmon are what you expect from their age, both in terms of writing style and mindless anti-Catholic hostility. The former irritates me even when reading Newman, although many fans of 19th century English literature doubtless consider Newman’s prose excellent. The latter will doubtless make it difficult reading for Catholics, but if you feel the need to slog through these works, you have been warned.

Foxfier August 9, 2007 at 3:56 pm

Hey, Churchmouse- anyone can claim a domain, and make it forward anywhere else. It’s entirely possible that a supporter of Mr. White himself did it.
I can think of dozens of reasons *why* someone would go through the bother of doing this, including that he pissed someone off, and that he did it himself for attention. It’s rather amusing that you’re willing to tar an entire faith before you’ll consider that a single man may be in the wrong. Distrust is a two-edged sword.
The site was registered on the 4th of this month, with the mailing address in Riverside, CA, by someone whose phone is in Moreno, CA. (Riverside addie is a PO box, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the phone is an answering service.)
If you would like to politely email them and ask who they are and why they made the site, http://www.publicdomainregistry.com/ will let you look up the registration information.
Going from the utter lack of information listed and the fact that they went through Mapname.com, I’m going to bet they won’t reply.

Esau August 9, 2007 at 4:08 pm

Foxfire,
Thanks for that bit of info!
I still don’t know who exactly she was accusing of deception there in her comments!
Was she accusing the entire Catholic Church of taking the domain name and deliberately “tricking” them to visit Catholic.com instead?
Was she accusing Catholic Answers?
Was she accusing Jimmy Akin?
Who, exactly, was she accusing of deception here?
And if it were any of the mentioned parties, what proof does she have?
And, really, is she even vaguely aware of how ridiculous her accusations are?
I mean, for the entire Catholic Church to place such weight and significance on James White that the Church would go to the extent of purchasing a domain name such as Jamesrwhite.org just to trick the visitors into visiting Catholic.com?
And if she’s actually accusing Catholic Answers, or even Jimmy, it still seems equally ridiculous for the same aforementioned reason!

bill912 August 9, 2007 at 4:27 pm

Esau, we all know that it’s part of a deep, dark, devious plot. Denying it won’t do you any good. That will just prove that you’re in on it. Just as those who most vehemently deny the Trilateralist conspiracy are, in fact, the biggest Trilateralists.

Esau August 9, 2007 at 4:32 pm

bill912,
I’m still seeking a refund for my Jimmy Akin cult decoder ring, buddy! ;^)

Bill August 9, 2007 at 4:43 pm

I still don’t know who exactly she was accusing of deception there in her comments!
Was she accusing? Looks to me like she was asking a question.

Esau August 9, 2007 at 5:07 pm

Bill,
Look at her comments that were actually in response to what was said earlier in the thread:
Hmmm…isn’t it a deception to use the url http://www.jamesrwhite.org to connect to Catholic Answers? Who would go through through the expense of buying a domain name to lead others to Catholic Answers? For that matter WHY would someone go through the bother?
Posted by: Churchmouse | Aug 9, 2007 11:44:55 AM
One cannot help notice the accusatory tone of her comments as well as what was being implied by them.

Foxfier August 9, 2007 at 5:08 pm

Bill– generally, when you suggest deception, you have a deceiver in mind. Especially when you bring it out of the blue like that.
My bet is that Churchmouse came from Mr. White’s site, since that’s the only place Google shows the addie.(Jimmy’s comments aren’t search-able.)
Actually, I kind of wish I had the IP address of the Guardian fellow, and of Churchmouse, as well as their linked-from addresses. I tend to be suspicious of those who assume ill-will.

Bill August 9, 2007 at 5:22 pm

One cannot help notice the accusatory tone of her comments as well as what was being implied by them.
Her “comments” as you call them are three legitimate questions.

diane August 9, 2007 at 5:22 pm

Hey, 30 years ago I thought Brother Sun Sister Moon was a great movie. When I saw it again a few years ago, I could hardly sit through its hippy-dippy idiocy.
And 30 years ago the emotional manipulation in The Mayor of Casterbridge didn’t bother me. (I sat up till 4 a.m. to finish the novel, sobbing all the way through the final few chapters.) When I re-read it several years ago, its manipulativeness infuriated me.
Guess one isn’t allowed to change one’s mind upon mature reflection, eh? 😉
Does that mean I still have to like “The Bright Elusive Butterfly of Love”? :)
Diane

Gerald August 9, 2007 at 5:27 pm

I tend to be suspicious of those who assume ill-will.
Would that exclude being suspicious of yourself?

Esau August 9, 2007 at 5:33 pm

Her “comments” as you call them are three legitimate questions.
It’s not her questions per se, but what was implied in her questions!
Here, since you’re not familiar with what I mean by “implied“:
“Who is here so base that would be a bondman? If any, speak; for him have I offended.
Who is here so rude that would not be a Roman? If any, speak; for him have I offended.
Who is here so vile that will not love his country? If any, speak; for him have I offended. I pause for a reply.”

Jeremiah August 9, 2007 at 5:39 pm

I think Dr. White’s point is that no amount of forgetfullness or change of perspective could lead anyone to expect Inquisitorial-type torture in a document they had read even once. However, it is clear that Beckwith was using hyperbole to demonstrate the rather unsympathetic view to which he had previously held the text. Dr. White appears to be pointing out that such hyperbolic language is designed to reflect poorly on Protestantism and its undertstanding of Trent. Personally, I would expect as much from someone who had come to view the magisterium from the Roman Catholic perspective, and I am forced to ask the perennial question: So What?

Bill August 9, 2007 at 5:41 pm

It’s not her questions per se, but what was implied in her questions!
Is it ok for you to read implications into her questions but somehow not ok for her to ask legitimate questions about a website redirect?

Foxfier August 9, 2007 at 5:45 pm

Well, Bill, how long has it been since you last beat your wife?

Get the point?

Tim J. August 9, 2007 at 5:51 pm

“30 years ago I thought Brother Sun Sister Moon was a great movie. When I saw it again a few years ago, I could hardly sit through its hippy-dippy idiocy.”
Thank you. I also could not stomach this highly touted movie.
I was showing Saint movies to my kids as part of their homeschooling, but when we got to Brother Sun, Sister Moon, we all just cracked up. I don’t think we made it through the first half-hour.

Foxfier August 9, 2007 at 5:54 pm

*mischief* Hey, Tim, watch The Princess Bride! It’s a pro-life movie– After all, the Dread Pirate Roberts was only *mostly* dead!

Jeremaih August 9, 2007 at 5:54 pm

I think Churchmouse’s question is a legitimate one. Obviously, no one in support of White would redirect his name to a website that specifically exists to promote the Catholic apologetic, one that we can all agree is contradictory to his own. We must surmise then that the motive of the individual who purchased the domain was merely to counter or answer James White, but to use his name as the domain for such a purpose is inherently improper. Such an action seems likely to have arisen in a desire to either mock James White or decieve people looking for information on James White. Neither is appropriate in the setting of Catholic-Protestant discourse.

Jeremiah August 9, 2007 at 5:57 pm

It appears I misspelled my own name, Doh.

Foxfier August 9, 2007 at 6:18 pm

Jeremiah– depends on how ticksie the hobbitsis is feeling.
Honestly, is an avid supporter–or even just a mild fan–of Mr. White going to *read* a site called “Catholic Answers”? That’s a bit like me typing in “Catholicanswers.net” and it bringing up a site that says “HOW THE ROMAN CHURCH IS WRONG.” I’ll roll my eyes and leave.
There’s yet another option no-one has suggested– that there’s a guy named James R. White who reads Catholic Answers, saw the things that this guy was saying, and felt protective of his name. Check out where Jamesrwhite.com leads you–he could be Catholic, or just dislike the other Mr. White, for all we know.
Taking the information I previously found about the domain name, I used anywho.com to look up White families in Moreno, CA. There are 69 different results, including a J. White. There are several couples listed. J. White or one of the families could include a Catholic James R. White. Those are just the *listed* numbers– since the domain was registered with an unlisted number, there could very well be an unknown member here.
Or, as yet another option, it could be someone who doesn’t like EITHER member and is trying to cause trouble.

Wes August 9, 2007 at 6:24 pm

Some might see it like one of those porn sites that pops up when you’re looking for something else.

AnnonyMouse August 9, 2007 at 6:26 pm

“Taking the information I previously found about the domain name, I used anywho.com to look up White families in Moreno, CA. There are 69 different results, including a J. White. There are several couples listed. J. White or one of the families could include a Catholic James R. White. Those are just the *listed* numbers– since the domain was registered with an unlisted number, there could very well be an unknown member here.
Or, as yet another option, it could be someone who doesn’t like EITHER member and is trying to cause trouble”
uh, don’t you think that is taking it a bit too far? I mean, if Jimmy thought it were that big of a deal, which it isn’t, he could tell??

Foxfier August 9, 2007 at 6:31 pm

AnnonyMouse- what do you mean? Unless Jimmy knows who registered the domain, or has something that could get the cops to look into it, there’s only the publicly available information.
I simply don’t like folks assuming the only possible option is bad intent by pro-Catholic forces. (It’s the Vast Angelwing Conspiracy!) ;^)

bill912 August 9, 2007 at 6:37 pm

I see that Foxfier and Esau are both in on the conspiracy.

AnnonyMouse August 9, 2007 at 6:38 pm

Well, unless I am missing something, it is strange to creat that LINK but won’t Jimmy be able to tell, behind the scenes? IP address or whatever?
Kinda funny in a way tho

Foxfier August 9, 2007 at 6:43 pm

If Catholic Answers has a web page counter that includes pagelinks, all it will show is that it’s getting a lot of hits from that .org addy.
Typepad will let Jimmy know where folks are posting from, but unless Guardian is posting from Mr. White’s IP addy, (Honestly, I greatly doubt that) and Jimmy knows what that addy is, it doesn’t help.

Sally August 9, 2007 at 6:47 pm

The site was registered on the 4th of this month, with the mailing address in Riverside, CA, by someone whose phone is in Moreno, CA.
The address and phone number are the registered address and phone number of mapname.com of Riverside, CA, a company which sells domain name registrations.
The person who registered jamesrwhite.org could live anywhere.

Jeremiah August 9, 2007 at 6:49 pm

Foxfier:
Don’t you think the proximity of the action of registering the domain to the beckwith situation might be a clue as to the intent of the one who registered it. As for a Catholic protecting his own name, such a scenario does not seem likely as such a person would need a vested interest in doing so. Sharing a name with White does not seem like a sufficient reason. If there was, for example, a Catholic apologist sharing the same name, then such a scenario might be more likely.

AnnonyMouse August 9, 2007 at 6:51 pm

I sure would not use the site, although if you go there using the link then go to forums, all looks ok, and if you notice in the address on top, it shows the regular Catholic Answers address.
Kinda childish, assuming you are being “infected” on your end.

Foxfier August 9, 2007 at 6:51 pm

Sally– my estimation of that site just went up again, although I did mention that they may not be the person’s personal address.
Someone *really* didn’t want to be found.
Now I’m actually tempted to email them….

Sally August 9, 2007 at 6:56 pm

Now I’m actually tempted to email them….
The e-mail address also belongs to someone at mapname.com who has a bucketful of domains all cloaked.

AnnonyMouse August 9, 2007 at 6:57 pm

meant to say
assuming you AREN’T being “infected” on your end.

Foxfier August 9, 2007 at 7:05 pm

Kinda childish, assuming you are being “infected” on your end.
I’m a bit confused– what are you talking about?
Jeremiah- No, not really. If the theoretical same-name person heard the show Mr. White refers to (http://aomin.org/index.php?itemid=2163), he could have become angry; if a White fan wanted to make Catholic Answers look bad and knew a situation was coming up, he could have decided to take action.
Honestly, the only situation that *is* discredited by the timing of the domain-buying is the theory that it’s Catholic Answers lashing back for White being nasty– the domain was claimed four days before his post with the accusation, and the day before the Beckwith show was even on.

Foxfier August 9, 2007 at 7:06 pm

Sally, it’s an addy that forwards to the buyer anonymously.

Jeremiah August 9, 2007 at 7:09 pm

Foxfier: I never gave any credence to the idea that it was CA, I don’t think Jimmy would be complicit in something like that.

Sally August 9, 2007 at 7:16 pm

Sally, it’s an addy that forwards to the buyer anonymously.
Maybe it will, maybe it won’t.

Foxfier August 9, 2007 at 7:17 pm

Jeremiah– sorry if it sounded like I meant you were, it’s simply one of the situations suggested above.

Esau August 9, 2007 at 7:51 pm

Foxfire,
Thanks!
Your example above was far more appropriate.
Speaking of which, why do wife-beaters often take the alias “Bill” for their handle?
OOoopppssss… was I actually implying something?
Was I actually referring to our Bill?

bill912 August 9, 2007 at 7:53 pm

Don’t worry, Esau; I buried her in the back yard years ago.

Churchmouse August 9, 2007 at 9:36 pm

First of all, I am a “he” not a “her.” Secondly, it IS deception, pure and simple, to use the name of a well-known Protestant apologist and link it to Catholic Answers. If you can’t see that, I would question my motives and my conscience. Thirdly, regardless if it’s just a mere $10, it is still an expense used to deceive, regardless of how those others seem to justify it here. And, lastly, it speaks volumes about a person who would go so far as to use this type of a tactic just to steer the honest seeker, those who would like to weigh the issues without bias, to Catholic Answers. Evidently, some here don’t believe in the ability of the Holy Spirit to guide the honest seeker.

Esau August 9, 2007 at 9:48 pm

“…Secondly, it IS deception, pure and simple, to use the name of a well-known Protestant apologist and link it to Catholic Answers. If you can’t see that, I would question my motives and my conscience. Thirdly, regardless if it’s just a mere $10, it is still an expense used to deceive, regardless of how those others seem to justify it here. And, lastly, it speaks volumes about a person who would go so far as to use this type of a tactic just to steer the honest seeker, those who would like to weigh the issues without bias, to Catholic Answers. Evidently, some here don’t believe in the ability of the Holy Spirit to guide the honest seeker.”
Posted by: Churchmouse | Aug 9, 2007 9:36:14 PM
Churchmouse,
Again, just WHO are you ACCUSING of DECEPTION here????
WHO is it do you think did this???
The Catholic Church???
Catholic Answers????
Jimmy Akin???
Also, are you saying that “honest seeker” applies only to those who are disciples of James White?

Esau August 9, 2007 at 9:56 pm

By the way, Churchmouse, what you’re basically doing here is tantamount to “bearing false witness”!
I could’ve sworn that they taught that as being one of the Commandments — even in Protestantism as well!

Esau August 9, 2007 at 10:01 pm

“Evidently, some here don’t believe in the ability of the Holy Spirit to guide the honest seeker.”
I guess the Catholic Church was responsible for this Act of Deception since James White is SUCH A THREAT TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH that Pope Benedict XVI went ahead and purchased the domain name in order to divert those folks to Catholic Answers!
No wait, rather it was the Jimmy Akin Cult Club did it!
Geeesh!

Churchmouse August 9, 2007 at 10:10 pm

Why is it so hard for the folks here to understand that the PERSON who is a DECEIVER it the ONE who created the link. I don’t know who created it and it is ridiculous to assume that I would. It isn’t bearing “false witness” because EVIDENTLY someone is DECEIVING. Instead of slighting away the EVIDENT why don’t those here deal with the person who created it (assuming that some here might know who this person is). It is disheartening to see grown adults playing such childish games and attempting to steer the blame to those who are simply pointing out this DECEPTION! Amazing!

Mary August 10, 2007 at 4:20 am

Is it possible that Churchmouse did it, in order to spawn this thread? Given that Churchmouse noticed it awfully quickly, and successfully used it to derail this topic?

Foxfier August 10, 2007 at 4:28 am

Mary- My bet’s on Guardian, although I suppose they could be the same.

Brian Walden August 10, 2007 at 6:07 am

What’s deceiving about it? The link goes to a site with many articles refuting Bishop White specifically and the type of doctrine he preaches generally. It might be deception if that link went to a porn site or something, but the content at Catholic answers certainly has some relation to White.
If you disagree with that argument, how do you the know it’s not a joke? If it’s a joke, and no one is harmed by the momentary deception, it’s not a lie. Just as a work of fiction isn’t a lie.

Karen August 10, 2007 at 6:18 am

If it’s a joke, and no one is harmed by the momentary deception, it’s not a lie.
You admit it’s a deception.
Just as a work of fiction isn’t a lie.
It would be if you bought it then opened it up and found it wasn’t as advertised.

Brian Walden August 10, 2007 at 7:27 am

“If it’s a joke, and no one is harmed by the momentary deception, it’s not a lie.”
You admit it’s a deception.

No, I don’t know where it came from. Please reread my statement more carefully. I said “if…” When you use the term deception, do you mean bearing false witness or do you mean using legitimate deception? If you mean legitimate deception, and if the name was purchased by Catholic Answers, it would be deception. That’s not necessarily the sin of lying. Police use deception to make criminals feel they’re on their side so they confess, debaters use deception to lure their opponent into a weak spot in their argument, and I use deception playing basketball when I fake one way before cutting the other – but none of these are lying.
“Just as a work of fiction isn’t a lie.”
It would be if you bought it then opened it up and found it wasn’t as advertised.

Is Jonathan Swift lying in A Modest Proposal? He doesn’t actually intend for anyone to follow the advice of his pamphlet; he’s not actually making a proposal. And A Modest Proposal isn’t even fiction. Was he lying?
Is there an ad out there telling people that jamesrwhite.org is a site supportive of James White? If there is, the person making that ad would be lying. The closest I can find is that google lists the description of the site as: “Find info about jamesrwhite at http://www.jamesrwhite.org.” Sure enough, when I type in “James White” in the search box at Catholic Answers there are many results. The web site has info about James White, where’s the lie?
While I don’t know who purchased the domain name or why they pointed it to Catholic Answers (my guess is that Guardian who posted it might have something to do with it, but that’s just a guess), I did a little testing to look for similar cases. I found that geicosucks.com points to GEICO’s web site. I would assume that GEICO bought that domain name so that no one could use it against them. Is GEICO lying by directing people looking for negative information about the company to it’s web site full of positive information?

Karen August 10, 2007 at 8:25 am

Police use deception to make criminals feel they’re on their side so they confess, debaters use deception to lure their opponent into a weak spot in their argument, and I use deception playing basketball when I fake one way before cutting the other – but none of these are lying.
Straight from the dictionary:
lie
1 : to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive
2 : to create a false or misleading impression
Is there an ad out there telling people that jamesrwhite.org is a site supportive of James White?
In today’s world, a normal expectation is that it would be a website by, or at least substantially if not primarily about, James White. The “ad” that tells people such a thing is called culture. It is that same culture which also suggests to people that the registrant was perhaps likely intending to play upon that expectation in order that someone be deceived and/or annoyed.
I did a little testing to look for similar cases. I found that geicosucks.com points to GEICO’s web site.
Geicosucks.com and jamesrwhite.org are not fully similar. For one, the name geicosucks.com expresses dislike of Geico, while jamesrwhite.org does not express dislike of James White. And two, while geicosucks.com would and does point to a website primarily about Geico, jamesrwhite.org does not point to a website primarily or even substantially about James White.
Is GEICO lying by directing people looking for negative information about the company to it’s web site full of positive information?
Under definition #1, was it Geico’s intent that you be deceived? Under definition #2, did Geico create a false or misleading impression? To some it may be, and to some it is not, as it is now a custom among many businesses, not just Geico, to register such names themselves.

Brian Walden August 10, 2007 at 9:28 am

Straight from the dictionary:
lie
1 : to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive
2 : to create a false or misleading impression

The dictionary doesn’t make a moral judgement about lying: 1 and 2 are the same to the dictionary. Christians make moral judgements about lying: 1 and 2 are different to Christians. The “good cop” who tells a suspect how good he’ll feel to get his crime off their chest just after the “bad cop” has finished explaining the worst case scenario of what could happen to him if he’s found guilty is employing deception (defintion 2). While definition 2 is lying according to the dictionary, it is not morally wrong per se.
While we don’t yet know who bought the name or why, it appears whoever did is using deception. I haven’t seen where they’ve flat out made untrue statements. Without knowing their intent, it’s difficult to say whether or not they did something morally wrong.

Karen August 10, 2007 at 9:33 am

Without knowing their intent, it’s difficult to say whether or not they did something morally wrong.
That’s why I haven’t said they did.

Churchmouse August 10, 2007 at 10:51 am

What is wrong with the folks here??? Someone posted a link, under the assumption that it leads to White’s site, but steers towards Catholic Answers. This is DISHONEST folks! It is DECEPTION! Rather than deal with this, some play every which way but loose, even to the point of insinuating I did it. GOD knows who did it, but one thing can be certain, no Protestant would go through such extremes let alone steer folks to Catholic Answers. Are folks here so beyond reason that, rather than deal with the problem, they build “conspiracy theories”? Who in their right mind would consider this a “conspiracy”?

Churchmouse August 10, 2007 at 11:46 am

Foxfier,
Considering you indulge conspiracies as well. Look no further. My IP is 68.78.47.8 Now if that Guardian fellow would submit his, you would have broken the case! Good for you 😉 Gee, what would you do if you found it was a Catholic who did (assuming you could actually find out).

Esau August 10, 2007 at 11:53 am

This is DISHONEST folks! It is DECEPTION! Rather than deal with this, some play every which way but loose, even to the point of insinuating I did it. GOD knows who did it, but one thing can be certain, NO PROTESTANT would go through such extremes let alone steer folks to Catholic Answers.
SO FINALLY IT COMES OUT!!!
It’s those darn Romanists, Papists, responsible for the website!

Churchmouse August 10, 2007 at 11:53 am

Ah, yes. Mr. Akin, if you do have the IP to “Guardian”, please compare his/hers to mine. Do yourself another favor and compare Guardian’s IP to the other IP’s which frequent your blog. Those who claim “conspiracies” would like to know, but those who want to expose deception would like to know as well.

Churchmouse August 10, 2007 at 11:56 am

Esau,
It isn’t worth a pig in a pokey interacting with you. The “pointers” indicate that it someone wants folks to read Catholic Answers. If you don’t get it, you probably never will. Entiendes?

Jack August 10, 2007 at 11:57 am

It’s those darn Romanists, Papists, responsible for the website!
No way! What popery!

Spence August 10, 2007 at 11:58 am

The “pointers” indicate that it someone wants folks to read Catholic Answers.
Or maybe it’s just someone who wants it to LOOK like that.

Esau August 10, 2007 at 11:59 am

Yes, it is we PAPISTS who seized the domain name and declared that its visitors be diverted to Catholic Answers since we have deemed James White such a threat to The Whore of Babylon! Hahahahahahaha!!!!
Like you said:
“…one thing can be certain, NO PROTESTANT would go through such extremes.”

Churchmouse August 10, 2007 at 11:59 am

WHY???

Churchmouse August 10, 2007 at 12:01 pm

Esau, I think I will start dealing with only those who show a semblance of what they speak of and not those who spend their day provoking others. Good day!

Foxfier August 11, 2007 at 9:41 pm

… Have you even read the post Jimmy did?

Stuart August 12, 2007 at 10:32 am

Several days ago, I responded to “Steve” who had written about Dr, Beckweith’s not being Biblical. I challenged him to write to me with any questions he may have so I could respond defending the Catholic faith Biblically. So far I have heard nothing. If anyone knows how to reach Steve, please forward this challenge to him. I am eager to set him straight.
As for James White, I have read several of his books, and I visit his Web page every day. I often wonder, Would Jesus have acted like James does? It appears that Dr. Beckwith is replacing Dave Armstrong as the man White most fears. James is a man who hopes that his readers have read less of the Bible than he has. He accuses others of ad hominem attacks, while he specializes in them. Would Jesus have dedicated his entire ministry to attacking the beliefs of others, or would he have preached the Gospel to reach those people? I rarely see White preaching the Gospel on his Web page. Even his statement of faith could be agreed to by Mormons, JWs and Catholics. Maybe even Muslims. James White is scared of Dave Armstrong, and he fears anyone who really knowd their Bibles. The Bible is a Catholic book. The Catholic Church is a Biblical churdh. Where does that leave James White?

Jerry McTigret August 12, 2007 at 1:14 pm

The conversion of the greatest early Church Father, St. Augustine of Hippo.
The Confressions, chapter 12 “The Voice as of a Child.
“Such words I spoke, and with most bitter contrition I wept within my heart. And lo, I heard from a nearby house, chanting and repeating over and over, “Take up and read. Take up and read.” Instantly, with altered countenance, I began to think most intently whether children made use of any such chant in some king of game, but I could not recall hearing it anywhere. I checked the flow of my tears and got up, for interpreted this solely as a command given to me by God to open the book and read the first chapter I should come upon. For I had heard how Anthony had been admonished by a reading from the Gospel at which he chanced to be present, as if the words read were addressed to him: “Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven, and come, follow me.” and that by such portent he was immediately converted to you.
So I hurried back to the spot where Alypius was sitting, for I had put there a the volume of the aspostle when I got up and left him. I snatched it up, opened it, and read in silence the chapter on which my eyes first fell.(Rom 13:13) Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and impurities, not in strife and envying; but put you on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh in its concupiscences.” No futher wished I to read, nor was there need to do so. Instantly, in truth, at the end of this sentence, as if before a peaceful light streaming into my heart, all the dark shadows of doubt fled away.

Esau August 13, 2007 at 1:54 pm

Acts 8
30 And Philip running thither, heard him reading the prophet Isaias. And he said: Thinkest thou that thou understandest what thou readest?
31 Who said: And how can I, unless some man shew me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
32 And the place of the scripture which he was reading was this: He was led as a sheep to the slaughter: and like a lamb without voice before his shearer, so openeth he not his mouth.
33 In humility his judgment was taken away. His generation who shall declare, for his life shall be taken from the earth?
34 And the eunuch answering Philip, said: I beseech thee, of whom doth the prophet speak this? Of himself, or of some other man?
35 Then Philip, opening his mouth and beginning at this scripture, preached unto him Jesus.
36 And as they went on their way, they came to a certain water. And the eunuch said: See, here is water: What doth hinder me from being baptized?
37 And Philip said: If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest. And he answering, said: I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still. And they went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch. And he baptized him.

CatholicWayne August 14, 2007 at 12:09 am

now the jamesrwhite link points to white’s blog.
hmmm
what, praytell, happened?
did james get a phone call from a salesman,
or was it one of his buddies having a harmless bit of fun? … and it finally got ironed out on monday…

NaturalCatholicMama August 14, 2007 at 7:42 am

I am planning to offer 10 sacrifices over the next 10 days, as well as 5 Masses, and all my work for James White, his intentions (health, family, etc.), and God’s intentions for him.
Anyone care to join me?

Fury August 15, 2007 at 9:06 am

Hehe, found out something amusing…. http://www.jamesrwhite.org now points at White’s site…Suspicious, eh?
Posted by: Foxfier | Aug 14, 2007 1:10:05 PM
HA!
Where now are all those who have cried out:
This is DISHONEST folks! It is DECEPTION! Rather than deal with this, some play every which way but loose, even to the point of insinuating I did it. GOD knows who did it, but one thing can be certain, NO PROTESTANT would go through such extremes let alone steer folks to Catholic Answers.”
… and had sinisterly maligned Catholic Answers gone off to???
Churchmouse??? CareBear???
One thing is certain:
These folks who have deviously perpetrated the entire affair here are a DISGRACE to Protestants!!!
Indeed, the Prince of Lies whom they have served must be so very proud of them!!!
Jn 8:44:
44 You are of your father the devil: and the desires of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning: and he stood not in the truth, because truth is not in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof.

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