Dr James Ach, J/A
James White did not fail to disparage Chris Pinto all throughout the debate while Chris Pinto was polite and reasonable throughout the debate and never returned White’s insults. White accuses Pinto of being an ignorant conspiracy theorist that claims that there is a Jesuit behind every bush. White adds a plethora of accusations against Pinto that Pinto has never said or claimed, and in White’s closing he even accused Pinto of using arguments for the sole purpose of “getting people to watch his film” (Tares Among the Wheat).
Something interesting about White’s cross-examination is he spends virtually all 15 minutes of his cross-examination of Pinto in attempting to prove that Pinto had a bias in favor of the Received Text in producing the film. Almost every question White asked was directed toward this end. SO WHAT IF HE DID? Does James White have a biased against the Majority Text and in favor of the Sinaiticus? Of course he does, HE WROTE A BOOK ABOUT IT. In fact, James White has even gone so far as to accuse us of not being able to fashion reasonable arguments and dialogue based upon the sole fact that we are King James Bible only adherents, and he said this on a radio program in response to an article that had NOTHING TO DO WITH THE KING JAMES CONTROVERSY (See our article, Response to James White for evidence of this and links).
James White and others (like Fred Butler) have criticized even our own understanding of Biblical doctrine (because we are opposed to Calvinism) simply because we hold to a King James Bible only position, and yet one of our largest contributors to this website on the King James issue (Will Kinney) is a Calvinist. Yet White never criticizes Kinney’s personal beliefs because he is “KJVO”. James White has therefore absolutely no room whatsoever to offer one scintilla of criticism against Chris Pinto over any “bias” he may have had. Considering that White I believe would deem himself a presuppositional apologist, how can a presuppositional apologist accuse anyone of having a bias when having presuppositions in itself means a bias that underwrites ones beliefs? White spent almost 15 minutes chasing a rabbit trail that proved futile and hypocritical.
White then attempts to attack Chris’s scholarship, which since White has touted himself as the “worlds leading apologist to Muslims”, we knew that was coming. A common tactic of White and his ilk: do as the Pharisees did to Christ and attack their education (John 7:15). However, Chris masterfully responded to White by saying that in a court of law, a juror is called upon to determine the credibility of experts and examine consistencies in testimony and whether it makes sense even though the juror themselves are not experts in the field being examined. Brilliant response from Chris on this attack from White. White presumes that only an expert in the collation of manuscripts can properly appreciate the time needed to invest in the kind of project that Simonides claimed to have achieved, and yet White himself is appealing to an audience of non experts expecting them to simply take his word for it. By the way, White never mentioned what experience HE HAS in collating manuscripts either, or that he has ever done so. White is merely quoting whom he considers experts in collations, which in essence is merely the same kind of evaluation of textual scholars that he does not afford Pinto the same courtesy of evaluating.
White then attempts to show that Pinto’s theory about Jesuit involvement is a figment of Pinto’s imagination. Pinto did attempt to show quotes from scholars which even included John Calvin to refute this, but White cut him off and did not allow Pinto to finish his rebuttal. Pinto mentioned Spurgeon and I wish that Pinto would have quoted what Spurgeon said, because Spurgeon is relied upon more by contemporary Calvinists as proof that Baptists have strong ties to Calvinism than by referring to John Calvin (Calvin, ironically, was a classmate of Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit Order.)
Spurgeon himself an admitted Calvinist, would likely be considered by White to be a conspiracy theory nutcase. Consider the following quotes by Spurgeon about the Jesuits and Rome,
[Spurgeon commenting on Westcott & Hort] “With those who treat the Bible as waste paper, and regard the death of Christ as no substitution, we have no desire for fellowship. After the gospel has been found effectual in the eternal salvation of untold multitudes, it seems rather late in the day to alter it; and , since it is the revelation of the all-wise and unchanging God, it appears somewhat audacious to attempt its improvement. When we call up before our mind’s eye the gentlemen who have set themselves this presumptuous task….. Their gigantic intellects are to hatch out the meanings of the Infinite. Hitherto they have not hatched out much worth reading. Their chickens are so much of the Roman breed, that we sometimes seriously suspect that, after all, Jesuitical craft may be at the bottom of this “modern thought”
White’s main argument is to explain how all of the additional scribal markings were introduced into the text, and why are the text type and penmanship apparently different from the manuscripts that Simonides claimed to have used, but this is easily answered. First of all, Did White get this information from the ORIGINAL TEXT that Tischendorf presented to the Westcott & Hort Revision Committee? Or is the manuscript White referring to the product of the Sinaiticus AFTER it had been in the possession of Westcott & Hort for twenty years? At least White does agree with Pinto (and all textual scholars) that Sinaiticus has 23,000 changes.
Pinto introduced other manuscripts that Simonides claimed to have used, of which White calls a speculative argument. But White’s argument itself is speculative. The only way to truly know whether or not White’s assumptions are valid is that if White himself is basing his evaluation off of the original text that Tischendorf had before it was used by Westcott & Hort. All of the differences that White alleges that separate the Sinaiticus from the manuscripts that Simonides claimed to have were clearly made by the Westcott & Hort committee who were in possession of these manuscripts for twenty years prior to their publication of the Revised Version of 1881-1885.
The documented evidence that White seems to ignore is that Simonides challenged Tischendorf to a public debate and told the public that he could PROVE that he was the author of the manuscripts. The most compelling part of this history is the fact-ignored by White-that SIMONIDES SHOWED UP TO THE DEBATE, Tischendorf DID NOT. Tischendorf had every opportunity to publicly denounce and humiliate Simonides for the several years that Simonides made his claims, and refused. Tischendorf had previously had to retract an accusation against Simonides when Simonides had also claimed authorship to a Greek version of The Sheperd of Hermas. Yet White did not address this glaring confirmation that if the Sheperd of Hermes was proven to be the work of Simonides, when no other scholar had seen a Greek version of this, then why is it such a stretch to believe Simonides did not have the manuscripts available for the production of the Sinaiticus? Tischendorf was wrong about his accusation about Hermes, but then failed to show up to defend his accusations about the Sinaiticus, obviously because he wanted to avoid the embarrassment that Simonides was RIGHT.
White then cites manuscripts such as P46 that agree with Sinaiticus to show that Simonides could not have authored the Sinaiticus because those readings were unknown at the time of his claims. Isn’t it just ironic that these manuscripts magically appear out of nowhere after the publication of the RV and ASV of 1901? (The Catholic Church also did this with Erasmus in offering manuscripts unknown to anyone else, which Erasmus rejected) Furthermore, scholars themselves do not even agree on the veracity of the origins of P46 considering that there are DIFFERENT COPIES OF THEM. One version of P46 has 56 leaves to it (The Cheaster Beatty collection in Dublin, Ireland), and the other (6238) 30 leaves at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States. P46 was initially found with only 10 leaves, but when their authenticity was questioned, all of a sudden more leaves began to appear. This is the spurious scholarship that White and all anti KJVO “scholars” use as a basis for promoting the critical text theories and what White uses to validate the supposed early origin of the Sinaiticus. White emphasizes spurious verses where numerous variants agree with Sinaiticus, but does not discuss all of the numerous places they DISAGREE with each other as well as their frequent misspellings. (Eph 1:1, Sinaiticus reads JESUS CHRIST where P46 reads CHRIST JESUS, and omits “which are”; Philippians 1:14, the Sinaiticus and P46 do not agree on “to speak the word without fear”, P46 and Sinaiticus fight each other on “death is swallowed up in victory” in 1 Cor 15. In 2 Corinthians 2:14, Sinaiticus reads “OUR Lord Jesus Christ” whereas P46 reads “THE Lord Jesus Christ”. etc…etc…)
White even admits that one of the verses he cited as a proof text (Mark 14:30 “boisterous” which is actually in Matthew 14:30 not Mark 14;30) was itself A CORRECTION. Thus if this verse is cited as evidence that “proves” that Simonides could not have written Sinaiticus, but the verse itself is an ADMITTED CORRECTION, then how can White claim that this verse reflects a more ancient text type that was unavailable to Simonides?
Pinto pointed out that Simonides uncle had assisted in the collation of the manuscripts and there is no reason to believe that this could not have been done by the time that Simonides made his manuscript. White claims that they had to have been collated during Simonides era, but that is simply not stated in the sources cited. White bases this on one single quote that states that Simonides “helped collate the manuscripts”, but that does not mean that Simonides collated ALL of the manuscripts that were used. There is no evidence that the majority of the manuscripts used by Simonides were not already collated for him, and that he only helped with the remaining manuscripts. White’s accusation on this point is even more speculative than that of which he accuses Pinto of. Considering the mount of manuscripts that are known to exist at Mount Athos where Simonides claimed to have written Sinaiticus as well as the fact that evidence does show that manuscripts were actually collated for Simonides regardless of whether or not White LIKES this fact, the weight of the evidence is in favor of Pinto’s assertion.
White also argues that Simonides age of 19 (or maybe he was 20, but who’s counting months!) prevented him from being such an expert. Pinto solidly refuted this by offering testimony given from Simonides contemporaries that knew him. However, would James White question the ability and intelligence of his own Calvinist theologians such as Jonathon Edwards who went to Yale at age 13? While White railed on Pinto for arguing certain possibilities, White himself creates his own assumptions about the possibilities of Simonides abilities which if White were honest, he would have to admit unless he can prove beyond the same doubt that he demanded of Pinto, that Simonides could not have possibly done the work he claimed, that his argument was also speculative.
In closing White wants to know “what the Bible really says” but White admits that the Codex Sinaiticus readings were “utterly unknown” to any of the contemporaries of Tischendorf of Simonides day. This brings up a great question for the anti KJV proponents like White who snidely ask KJVO proponents “where was the Bible before 1611?”. Where was the Bible before Codex Sinaiticus? If White admits that thousands of readings were “utterly unknown” to anyone, and yet his Reformation beliefs were developed by people using the Majority Text, does that mean that all of the beliefs derived from the Received Text of the Reformation should be re-examined now (including White’s Calvinism!)? It is ironic that White assails the Majority Text, but scholars like White, Wallace, McDowell, et al. will use the 5000 plus manuscripts that support the King James when arguing against atheists, and then criticize those same texts and give more weight to the critical text (less than 100 total manuscripts) when debating a King James Onlyist. THAT is some lopsided apologetics!
White as all critical text scholars, adopt the Darwinian theory that “things are evolving and getting better everyday”. That with the passage of time, more manuscripts become available that shed light on what God told us He would preserve when the texts were written. Thus, we will never know if what we have now is really the word of God because the issue is never settled. Just as some new scientific discovery may surface to disprove creation, so too, may some new variant arise that shows that Christians throughout the ages have all been wrong. There is never a time when the Christian can simply say, “I believe God created the world” and thus relax that no amount of new discoveries will disprove that. No professing Christian holding to the critical text theories of White can ever be sure that what they call a Bible today may have doubt cast on it tomorrow by some new discovery.
It is ironic that as much as White believes that God predetermined all of the “elect” from the foundation of the world, and believes that such persons are held in perseverance by God (which we at least sort of agree with although we disagree that our view of eternal security and perseverance of the saints are the same thing), that the very source of which that belief is based on can not be held to that same assurance. Common sense should tell anyone without having to have one hour of “scholarly training in textual criticism” that TWENTY THREE THOUSAND CHANGES to a manuscript can not possibly be similar enough to the Bible that has been accepted throughout the centuries by fundamental Christians to be called the word of God. As Pinto rightly pointed out, there are numerous Muslim and atheist websites that use this as an argument against the validity of the Bible, and have even quoted James White confessing that Luke 24:34 and John 7 readings are not in the Bible.
Of course, James White piously states that he debates Muslims all the time and this is not an issue. HOGWASH. We’ve heard the debates James and we know better. Shabir Ally used it quite a bit, and if James White ever spent an hour knocking on doors or going into Muslim neighborhoods WITNESSING instead of DEBATING all of the time, he would see these arguments up close and personal. While James White is bragging about being the “leading apologist to the Muslims”, I know of dozens of missionaries, and would even include my own daily discussions with Muslims, that I can guarantee you have personally led more Muslims to a personal relationship with Christ then White ever has from a 2 hour debate with a Muslim scholar, using a plain old King James Bible. This is where even though I disagree vehemently with the doctrines of Calvinism, I will at least give credit to some of their adherents like William Carey and others who were personal soul winners (even though Carey’s own pastor opposed him on using “means” in salvation presentations). Even while defending their views, and writing books about doctrine, they never forgot what their purpose was as sojourners on this temporary earth, and that was and is for us- taking the gospel door to door, street to street, person to person-what should be every Bible believers objective. I can’t say for sure I know who listens to White’s debates, but I can tell you I know for sure that the Jews and Muslims I have personally talked to today heard the gospel! as well as those missionaries who are in present danger doing the same. However, I can also tell you that “scholarship” like White’s has made it all the more difficult to convince skeptics, critics and various religions that the source of my beliefs is valid. Things that are different are not the same, which seems to be the most elementary and simple concept that bloated egotistical “scholars” bent on trying to prove their intellectual superiority neglect.
Furthermore, a factor that White and his ilk also neglect is that while White accuses KJVOs of propagating “conspiracies”, the apostles themselves claimed that the Bible was being attacked. Should we not expect those corrupt manuscripts to be somewhere today? If altering manuscripts was a problem then, why would it be a conspiracy theory to believe it is occurring now? Although scholars have argued “where are the good manuscripts”, “which ones are closer to the ‘originals'”, I think a neglected question is “where are the corruptions?”. Sure we know of “Bibles” such as the Watchtower’s New World Translation that are corrupt (which of course, is based on the texts of Westcott & Hort that White defends), but Paul and Peter seemed to be concerned about this problem among PROFESSING FUNDAMENTAL BELIEVERS WITHIN THE CHURCH. So if there were corrupt manuscripts, WHERE ARE THEY? The oh so obvious answer to that is what men like White spend a life time denying.
In one comment in another video White made about the KJV’s archaic language (in which he pronounced the word “ado” as “adoh” as one crazy Baptist pointed out), White said we shouldn’t make people have to carry around a big 19th century dictionary with our Bibles to have to understand the KJV. Well I would posit Mr. White that we shouldn’t have to have 20 different translations on our desk when preparing an article or sermon, or have to figure out which “Bible” we are going to preach from on Sonday investing the same amount of time in figuring that out as to which bow tie one will wear to church.
God breathed the Scriptures for the common and simple man. Men like John Bunyon who couldn’t read, the drug addicts, prostitutes, homeless, for the simple and even the retarded. It was the scholars that Christ had the most problems with (Malachi 2:12) and the so-called intellectuals of the day (1 Corinthians chapter 1). God never intended for the Bible to be so difficult that you had to consult a priest to tell you if it was a Bible or not (anyone remember the Dark Ages?). Sure, the Ethiopian Eunuch asked “how can I understand except some man teach me” but he wasn’t questioning whether what he was reading was God’s word, and I bet he was reading ONE translation. Could you imagine if the Eunuch had 50 translations in his buggy? His question would have been different. He would have been asking, “which one of these is God’s word”. Of course, White would say “all of them”, 23,000 changes and all.
The reason “scholars” like this defend such trash is because their livelihoods DEPEND on it. Not only that, but they set themselves up as authorities on the Bible like a mechanic is to a car. The average person can’t possibly know “what God said” without an exhaustive knowledge of Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, and then textual criticism and all of its variations. He must consult 50 translations or so until he finds what he thinks is an accurate representation of what God said. The greatest revivals in history happened with ONE BOOK-ONE TRANSLATION. The believer in today’s world of scholarship can never be certain that what he reads is actually what God said. There is constant and consistent doubt cast on that premise by CHRISTIAN “scholars”, and because of this modern phenomena, many a believer’s faith have been shipwrecked.
Men like White are like showboat trial lawyers paid to convince the world that the Emperor is actually dressed when the reality is he’s standing stark naked in front of everyone. Let the Bible believer take his King James Bible and his “simple faith” and continue to win souls for Christ while the “scholars” pat themselves on the back for “winning debates” (as White so adamantly reminded Pinto).
One positive thing about the debate though, even though it wasn’t nearly long enough to get to all of the issues (which of course, White blames on Pinto’s video being 3 hours long. Ironcially, White has debates that are virtually just as long: James White’s debate with Jehovah’s Witness Greg Stafford is 2 hours and 55 minutes long. His debate with Michael Brown on Calvinism is 2 hours and 22 minutes long. His debate with Yusuf Ismail is 2 hours 59 minutes which is 2 minutes longer than Pinto’s documentary) at least the moderator kept the time right and never interrupted.