Category Archives: James White

Nestorianism in Light of Modern Christian Apologetics (Part 1)

In an earlier article entitled, “Should Christians Appeal to Jesus’s Human Nature to Explain God’s Ignorance or Fallibility?“, I concluded that doing so is to use the heresy of Nestorianism. To demonstrate this, I quoted an example from James White’s The Forgotten Trinity:

“Crucifixion is only meaningful with reference to his human nature (you cannot crucify the divine nature). When Paul speaks of the crucifixion of the Lord of glory, he is speaking of Christ as one person with two natures.” – White, James R. (1998-11-01). Forgotten Trinity, The (p. 160). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Most recently, in my debate with Tony Costa, “Was Jesus the Son of God or Only the Prophet of God?“, I also raised this argument. In response, Tony argued that I didn’t understand what Nestorianism was. In light of this, I began to realise that the more popular Christian apologists did not seem to be aware of what the Church Fathers had written about Nestorianism in light of the doctrine of the ‘communication between the two natures’. Thus, in this short article I’d like to refer both of the aforementioned apologists, to The Anathemas of Cyril of Alexandria which was accepted in the Council of Ephesus (431 CE). He writes:

4. If any one distributes between two characters [προ′σωπα] or persons [υ‘ ποστα′ σεις] the expressions used about Christ in the gospels, etc. … applying some to the man, conceived of separately, apart from the Word, … others exclusively to the Word …, let him be anathema.1

The full text reads:

4. If anyone distributes between the two persons or hypostases the expressions used either in the gospels or in the apostolic writings, whether they are used by the holy writers of Christ or by him about himself, and ascribes some to him as to a man, thought of separately from the Word from God, and others, as befitting God, to him as to the Word from God the Father, let him be anathema.2

Thus, the position that both of these apologists hold to, that they can apply some expressions of Christ (suffering, dying, hunger) to singly his human nature and others singly befitting God, is considered to be Nestorianism. The consequences of which, both of these apologists could be labelled as heretics and anathematized from the Christian faith according to the Church Father Cyril of Alexandria.

Note: Here is a Christian who apostated from Reformed Theology, and has debated James White’s colleague Turretin: click here for the apostate’s exposition on Reformed Theology’s similarities of Noestorian beliefs, and here for the debate. Thus, it seems as if I have inadvertently stumbled upon an inter-Christian debate, leading to the same conclusions I have been arguing all along. 

and God knows best.

Sources:

  1. Bettenson, Henry. Documents of the Christian Church. 3rd ed. London: Oxford UP, 1999. 51. Print.
  2. “Twelve Anathemas Proposed by Cyril and Accepted by the Council of Ephesus.” Twelve Anathemas. Web. 31 Oct. 2015.

Should Christians Appeal to Jesus’s Human Nature to Explain God’s Ignorance or Fallibility?

Question:

When discussing whether Christ was God or a man with Christians, they often explain his “defects” as being due to his human nature. For example, they say if he was hungry, it was due to his human nature, or cursing the fig tree and praying to God, was due to his human nature. What would be your response to this?

Answer:

Assuming that this question refers to interactions with Trinitarian Christians, it is actually a heresy to explain Jesus’s actions exclusively in light of his human nature. In Trinitarianism, Jesus is considered to be both God and man, with his divine nature and his human nature being eternally united, otherwise known as the hypostatic union. In the centuries when the Trinitarian creed was being developed, a popular heresy which existed at that time was to separate these two natures. This was known as Nestorianism. Thus, the Nestorians believed that there were two natures, a divine and human but that they were not joined together in a union.

Trinitarians describe this union as Jesus being one person with two unified natures, sometimes referred to as “fully God and fully man”. Meaning, at all times, he – Christ, was both fully God and fully man. Let’s take the example of Jesus’s crucifixion. If we ask, did the all powerful God suffer, a Christian would say no, as a divine being cannot suffer. Only the human nature suffered. This is the heresy of Nestorianism. They are disuniting the natures, and isolating the human nature from the divine nature. We must remind these Trinitarians of their beliefs, if the human nature suffered, then the divine nature must also have suffered as these natures are eternally united. Modern Trinitarians often use the heresy of Nestorianism when defending the Trinity, without realising it.

Another popular example is Jesus praying. Many Trinitarians would claim that the human nature was praying. This is incorrect, both the divine and the human natures were praying to God, the human nature is eternally united with the divine, at no point can one nature be disunited from the other. When Jesus was hungry, the human nature hungered. This is what Trinitarians claim when we inquire of Jesus’s cursing of the fig tree. Yet, they are once again isolating one of the two natures. We must remind them, both the divine and the human nature hungered, these natures cannot be separated under any circumstances unless one is willing to declare themselves apostates from Trinitarianism and believers in the heresy of Nestorianism. As Dr. James White says in his book, The Forgotten Trinity:

“Instead, the doctrine is misunderstood as well as ignored. It is so misunderstood that a majority of Christians, when asked, give incorrect and at times downright heretical definitions of the Trinity.” – White, James R. (1998-11-01). Forgotten Trinity, The (p. 16). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Interestingly, despite this book claiming to be a defense of the Trinitarian doctrine, Dr. White himself also appeals to the heresy of Nestorianism. In seeking to explain the dual nature of Christ, he says:

“Crucifixion is only meaningful with reference to his human nature (you cannot crucify the divine nature). When Paul speaks of the crucifixion of the Lord of glory, he is speaking of Christ as one person with two natures.” – White, James R. (1998-11-01). Forgotten Trinity, The (p. 160). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

In the space of two sentences, a person writing on the very topic of understanding the Trinity, appeals to and accepts Nestorianism. He begins by saying that the crucifixion can only be meaningful in regard to the human nature, yet in the next sentence he states that Paul teaches that the crucifixion is of the person of Christ, the person with two natures. Such a level of confusion and contradiction is rampant throughout Trinitarian teachings. I have previously written about another Trinitarian book that sought to explain the Trinity, which you can read here.

It is interesting that John 14:26 claims that the Spirit would come to explain all things necessary for salvation and to make these things easy to understand, yet all Trinitarians would gladly proclaim that the Trinity is a divine mystery which cannot be understood and that the communication between the two natures (communicatio idiomatum) is a divine mystery. Surely then, the Trinity is not a doctrine of God, and it is something that both Christian scholars and laymen alike, find extreme difficulty in accepting and believing, and it is unfortunate that while they condemn Nestorianism as a heresy, they openly appeal to it in trying to explain Trinitarianism.

and Allah knows best.

Response to ‘James White says what again?’

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

James White has released another video, completely missing the mark on our previous video, while misleading his viewership. Note, we released this 40 minute video as a response to, “MuslimByChoice refuted en toto”:

Unfortunately, James decided he didn’t want to respond to the 40 minute video, apparently it was easier to reference a subclip from a 1 minute video based on the 40 minute response we did to him. In this regard, here is our latest response to James White:

I hope that James can hold himself to the same standards that he holds us, it was quite disappointing to see him defrauding his viewership by misleading them with a 1 minute video, whereas purposely neglecting or rather ignoring it’s predecessor under which it was based upon.

wa Allaahu Alam.
[and God knows best].

When Did Jesus Become a Deity?

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

This subclip is from the response that James White made to our video, published on Br. MuslimByChoice’s YouTube channel, shows James stating that the belief of Jesus being a deity, originated from the people after the apostles. Note, he doesn’t say from Jesus or from the disciples but from the people after those two groups:

wa Allaahu Alam.
[and God knows best.]

Data Venia James White [Updated]

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

Data Venia (Latin: With due respect), to James White, this is our official response to his video, which for the most part attempted to demean and propagate conjecture towards Br. Muslim By Choice:

James was quite quick to respond to the last video, it seems as if we’ve put a ‘Jam‘ into the ‘James’, as he’s failed to as much write something defending himself against his blatant dishonesty. As it is said, the blind will lead the blind. Seeing however, that I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, I took it upon myself to inform him, personally of our response:

Just to be clear, the confirmation page, after sending the message says:

Therefore, we can truly only address e-mails that are on “topic,”  i.e., those that are relevant to the topics contained in the writings of James White, on our website, and in the debates and programs we have produced.

Seeing as the video was in response to his debate, and his subsequent reply posted on his website, by himself, then they should reply to it. Otherwise, James is simply fishing for an excuse to avoid publicly humiliating himself.

To conclude, a kind word from my Brother Ibn Anwar of Unveiling Christianity, as posted here:

That was an excellent rebuttal to James White’s usual shoddy responses. Well done :D .

wa Allaahu Alam.
[and God knows best.]

James White’s Futility and Inconsistency

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,
This video analyses James White’s evidences, his pivots during his opening statement with Br. Shabir Ally during their debate, “Did Jesus Claim Deity?”. An indepth write up to be published on Monday/ Tuesday 26th/ 27th of March fully explaining, and refuting his arguments. I was planning to write up a full response, but I’m terribly busy, please see our video response to James White instead, thanks.
wa Allaahu ‘Alam.
[and God knows best.]

Muslim Response: 40 Arabic Words by Alpha and Omega Ministries [Update]

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

This is a full response to James White’s blatant attempt to attack and misrepresent Islamic beliefs in his missionary video, “40 Arabic Words”.  The video examines his point by point statements, on which he collaborated with a Christian artist to spread some understanding of their religion while aimlessly misusing ayat of the Qur’an, mostly to his own disdain. Please see our Articles and Rebuttals section to see our previous dialogues/ discussions with him and the response, to the eventual blog post from his website on one of our articles.

If he does indeed see this, he will most likely attempt to respond. If this is the case, then expect a response, also from us within a few hours, God willing.

Update: Our video can now be found on MuslimByChoice’s channel on YouTube.

wa Allaahu Alam.
[and God knows best.]

Exaltation of Man: James White’s Hypocrisy

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

It is sometimes very disturbing to see the extreme arrogance and ignorance that self professed scholarship continues to display within Christian circles towards the faith of Islam. Recently, James White authored a piece on his blog denouncing, what he calls the, “exaltation of Muhammad”. In his words, he was “taken aback” and found it “burdensome” to listen to the praises bestowed upon Muhammad {saw}. I find it quite hypocritical that he finds it deplorable that Muslims honour their Prophets. We must remind James, of his own faith, where even when Jesus allegedly died, the disciples sought to honour this great man:

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. – Bible : Mark 16 : 1.

James White really makes me wonder if he could apply the same criteria to himself and his own faith, as he does to Islam. Recall, he made an entire video on this topic, subsequently to only display what I can say is intellectual dishonesty:

I was taken aback at the direct nature of his statements regarding the absolute necessity of loving Muhammad. Indeed, that the Muslim must love Muhammad more than he loves his own soul.

Yet, this same level of love is given to Jesus, because he allegedly commanded his fellow people (Bani Isra’il) in the Bible to forgo their attachments to their families, their lives, their wives and even their children:

If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. – Bible : Luke 14 : 26.

Yet, I have never witnessed James White ever saying that this was disturbing, alarming, wrong, sinful, a woeful attachment. Nothing, no criticism from him on this verse on the relationship that his fellow faith adherents are supposed to engage in. Sir, if you cannot apply the same scales to yourself that you apply to us, then you should not propagate such falsehood.

He continues:

That Muhammad was the perfect man, the balanced man, the greatest man who ever lived, the example for all time, etc. and etc. It was burdensome to listen to, I assure you.

James, would you honestly deny attributing these things to the personhood of the Messiah, Jesus? Therefore, why would it be incorrect for Muslims to attribute the same characteristics to another great human being? We should not be dishonest, especially in this field of work, where we deal with faith, spirituality and religion. We are to be responsible , ethical and morally guided. I really must say I am disappointed in his lack of integrity. If you cannot apply the same scales you apply to Muslims, to yourself, then someone’s morals need aligning.

wa Allaahu Alam.
[and God knows best].

Response: Why I Love Jesus But Reject Islam

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

The popular anti-Semite, James White whose infamous incoherent rants against Islam which are taught by undereducated and abusive friends has collaborated on a video to display his poor workmanship and lack of intellectualism when it comes to Islamic doctrine. While he spends most of his time attacking Arabo-Islamic thought, he also spends a lot of time thinking of new ways to embarrass himself when it comes to displaying his knowledge of Islam or for that matter, recently Calvinism as well. One brother did a really wonderful response to his petulant video, “Why I Love Jesus but Reject Islam”, which you can view below:

 

Hopefully, James White can someday become the academic he falsely promotes himself as, and with that in mind, then he may actually be able to discuss Islam with Muslims.

wa Allaahu Alam.
[and God knows best.]

James White’s Ignorance of Calvinist Teachings Regarding the Crucifxion

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

It was sad to see a display of monumental incompetence from James White while discussing the Crucifixion of Jesus. His complete and total loss of composure and vile attitude was indeed shocking to say the least. However, when I quoted the Geneva Study Bible, a classic in Calvinist Exegesis on the Bible, his rejection of such a work really led me to question his purpose of trying to seriously engage me in discussion. The importance of John Calvin’s contribution to the Geneva Bible is extant:

“The Geneva Bible is the Bible with marginal notes authored by John Calvin, John Know and Miles Coverdale, and many other leaders of the Reformation. The Geneva Bible was the predominant English translation during the period in which the English and Scottish Reformations gained great impetus. Iain Murray, in his classic work on revival and the interpretation of prophecy, The Puritan Hope, notes, “…the two groups in England and Scotland developed along parallel lines, like two streams originating at one fountain. The foundation was no so much Geneva, as the Bible which the exiles newly translated and issued with many marginal notes… it was read in every Presbyterian and Puritan home in both realms”……. The greatest distinction of the Geneva Bible, however, is the extensive collection of marginal notes that it contains. Prominent Reformation leaders such as John Calvin, John Know and Miles Coverdale, William Whittingham, Theodore Beza, and Anthony Gilby wrote the majority of these notes in order to explain and interpret the scriptures. The notes comprise nearly 300,000 words, or nearly one-third the length of the Bible itself, and they are justifiably considered the most complete source of Protestant religious thought available.” – 1599 Geneva Bible Notes, Introduction, L. L. Brown Publishing.

In my questioning of the crucifixion of Jesus, I referred to Matthew 27:46 which reads:

About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

My point being, has Jesus according to his alleged own words, disbelieved in the plan (predestination) of God, which in itself is a Calvinist tenet or has he uttered words of blasphemy? I stated this and then for an addendum, included the words of the Geneva Study Bible, which reads:

27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou o forsaken me?

(o) That is, in this misery: And this crying out is a natural part of his humanity, which, even though it was void of sin, still felt the wrath of God, the wrath which is due to our sins.

In my message to James White, I indicated that Jesus was feeling the wrath of God, thus Jesus spoke words of abandonment/ disbelief:

James, after having read this, then sent a really interesting response. I was under the impression that he knew what the GSB (Geneva Study Bible) was, after all, he is a self claimant to being highly learned and a proponent of John Calvin’s theological teachings. However, whether out of pure ignorance or perhaps arrogance, he accused me of not properly understanding Jesus’ words. Yet the claim that Jesus spoke such words of disdain against God because of the pain of God’s wrath, did not originate from me, but from what is the most authentic Protestant Reformation source on Christian Bible Theology that has ever existed. This was his response:

It’s quite amusing to see Christian “scholarship” refuting their own scholar’s teachings. Here it is, James White, the illustrious Islamophobe, condemning his own source of Christian Theology. Sir, I greatly applaud you on your accusation against me, for it does not bother me in the least, but what it has done is significantly displayed your ignorance of your own teachings. It is in that light, you’ve demonstrated that you are not an authority on your religion, and for that matter on Islam as well, no matter how much you quote from an online Greek version of the Bible, that will never make you a scholar. Hopefully, after having written this, I pray that it does come to your attention and that I do hope that you one day, do actually commit to reading John Calvin’s words and the words/ works of other Protestant Reformists.

wa Allaahu Alam.
[and God knows best.]

 

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