Friday, December 4, 2009

Swan/White-The "Reformed" Double Standard: Donations Please!

Over on James White's Alpha and Omega blog site, one of his henchmen by the name of James Swan is upset that Catholic apologists keep asking for donations to keep their organizations going. This is not the first time that White, or one of his lackeys have complained about this. Yet, it seems to me that there is a double standard going on here. In fact, what is so amusing is that just before Swan posted his post on Alpha and Omega complaining about Catholic apologists asking for money, White had just put up a post asking for money for one his friends who is an apologist that writes about Islam. Over the past several years I have seen White ask for donations several times, and yet that is perfectly OK to do. Granted I haven't received any internet emails from White asking for money, nevertheless, he begs for money all of the time on his blog. What is even harder for me to believe is that people actually keep spending their hard earned money to buy him computers and books all of the time, while he flies around the US and England spreading his false religion. Let us take a look at what White begged his readers for on his blog recently.

Dec 3rd, 2009-

I will probably be looking for help in this area in the not too distant future myself, but for the moment, my MacBook is fully functional (as you can see on the video I will be posting, Lord willing, by the morning, from here in St. Louis). But Sam Shamoun, a tireless producer of in-depth material on Islam, needs a computer, and David Wood and Nabeel Qureshi of Acts 17 are attempting to put together some funds to get him one. So I thought I'd try to help by posting the widget David put together, that allows you to donate to the fund. This isn't a part of A&O, but I know some of my readers have been blessed by Sam's research and writing,...

Nov 17, 2009
Last year another ministry offered to pay for the video taping of the debates I did in London. They had likewise taped the debates in Southern California earlier in the year, and in Durham with Zulfiqar Ali Shah. We have received two of the eight debates (both with Osama Abdullah). However, they took too much on, and with the economic collapse of last fall, they have been unable to pay the videographers. After a lot of trying, I have been able to determine that we need to raise $500/debate for the four debates in London (I really don't have details on any of the others). Already today someone gave one video's worth ($500) since I mentioned this on the DL, so we are down to $1,500 to ransom the other three from the videographer. Yes, my new video camera and tripod is a lot cheaper, however, I have seen the finished product of the debates that have already been sent to us, and it is pretty impressive in quality, too. For those who know how much videography normally costs, this is pretty cheap. In any case, we have set up a donation item for anyone who would like to help us get the debates with Shabir Ally, Adnan Rashid, and Sami Zaatari that took place in London. To help out, click here.

Nov 10th, 2009

I am placing an item on the ministry resource list today that would truly add to the depth and breadth of a very important aspect of the library. Nothing sells today like Gnosticism. Atheists and secularists join with a wide range of Muslim apologists in utilizing any claim they can dig up from the Gnostic sources, and especially from Nag Hammadi, to promote their attacks upon the New Testament and the Christian faith in general. So when I saw a sale today that extends only till the end of the year on the 5,148 page authoritative Coptic Gnostic Library, which contains the complete texts of all of the Nag Hammadi codices, I was ecstatic. How often these very texts are cited, yet, one almost never has access to the original languages so as to check for editorial bias or to examine context. How vital that is in examining any other ancient text, and yet these oft-cited sources are almost always presented only in English translation in the flood of books that have come out promoting Gnosticism over the past few decades. This resource is normally tremendously expensive, listing just over $700.00. But till the end of the year, with a special discount code, it is obtainable for 50% off that price, which, given the rarity of the original language material, is actually reasonable for once! I have included the code in the description on the Ministry Resource List. There is another item on the list as well that is quite important, a resource that would provide the original language texts of the Dead Sea Scrolls along with textual variants! Once again, my deepest personal thanks to all who have helped our work in this important manner in the past.

Oct 21st, 2009
We've managed to do the DL on a shoestring for a very long time. Thanks to volunteers who know a great deal about computers and the net, and to the Lord's blessing of our equipment, we have almost never missed doing the program due to technical difficulties. But the reality is, we do the program for almost nothing with a minimum of equipment and cost.

Now, here is our current webcasting computer setup (that's me back there doing the DL). These two units have been crunching along for ages (in computer time), and every time I hear them fire up I can tell the Day of Disaster is not far away. Check out that box on the right---that's a 3.5 inch floppy drive! We've coaxed these two ancient boxes to perform beyond their capacities for quite some time now, and wisdom says it is time to replace them with a single computer capable of handling the entire task without melting down. So if you enjoy the DL, please consider helping us make sure we can keep it going without interruption. You can contribute toward the new DL computer unit here. Thanks for considering us in your stewardship!

Oct 14th, 2009
The Ministry Resource List continues to be a tremendous blessing to this apologist doing his best to bless the people of God. Last week I listed a very expensive volume, one of the earliest Shia pieces of literature to have come down to us, the Kitab al-qira'at of Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Sayyari. This new edition, with extensive introduction and notes, contains some of the earliest documentation of textual variation in the Qur'an. It just arrived today, and I wanted to provide a scan of what it provides...

Sept 19th, 2009
The irony of challenges is that in my experience, right as the pressure reaches maximum is when something else will come along that makes you realize your utter dependence upon God and your own self-limitations and incapacities. I would imagine we have been less impacted by the economic down-turn than most, simply because we do not have almost any "major" donors. Our support comes from people just like us who see the unique nature of this ministry and, after taking care of their duties to their local church, seek to help us as well. We don't have any high-flying Wall Street folks pouring money through our mailbox. So, when those high-fliers are getting shot down, that's not a major issue for us.

But $4 gas and $4 milk gets to everyone eventually, and so yes, we've felt it as well. Now unlike some, you won't be getting six copies of the same e-mail from me seeking to scare you into giving or all your children will end up in some kind of cult group. But we have new folks coming to our website and listening to The Dividing Line all the time, and since we almost never mention support and donations, sometimes they figure we are already "set." So let me explain that like most everyone else, we do what we do through the generosity of God's people. I take many very unpopular stands on tough topics, so it is hard to "market" a ministry like this in a compromising, frightened evangelical context. So we stay small so we can stay truthful. But even the smallest ministry needs support. So please remember us when you are considering your role in the support of Christ's kingdom. We are not a church, and we strongly believe that believers should support their local fellowship first before looking anywhere else. If that is all the Lord enables you to do financially, then would you please pray for us? And if, after doing what is right regarding the church, you choose to assist us in continuing our work in proclaiming and defending the Gospel, we would be deeply appreciative. We promise to use those funds to the glory of God and the furtherance of the kingdom of Christ. You can go here to help us as we move into this very challenging and exciting period of ministry and proclamation.

May 1st, 2009

Here is a sub-$300 solid-state (no hard drive) mini-laptop from Asus. If I install my Verizon software on this, along with Skype, and a decent microphone, I should be able to connect to our studios in Phoenix prior to the debate, and then...forget it, until the debate is over, anyway. The unit, since it is not running a hard drive, should have sufficient battery power to last through any debate, so I wouldn't have to be looking for power sources for it, and it is very small and light, making it easy to carry and get through security at airports. I could either keep it on my desk, or, have a fellow believer keep it in the audience (in front of the speakers). In any case, it would provide a cheap, but effective means of providing for on-site streaming of future debates and presentations.
So I have placed this unit on the Ministry Resources list. Lord willing, if God's people provide the unit (I've included a protective cover) then I should be able to test it out in June when I travel to New Jersey and New York.
I was sitting at gate B6 in the Indianapolis airport when I posted the above article. I turned off my computer, put it in my bag, and went down to a store down the way to buy some snacks for the flight home. When I got back to the gate, I pulled my BlackBerry and decided to see if I could get my wish list up with my browser. This was within ten minutes of posting the above article. When I got to the list, I discovered that the computer had already been purchased! Within ten, at most, fifteen minutes, after I posted the article! Rich already knew it when I called him before boarding my flight, and all we could say was, "God's people are good." I am truly thankful.

I think we can see that White has no problem begging for money to keep his little apologetics business going. While he flies around the globe plaguing the airwaves with his bad arguments, he begs people to buy him books, computers, etc. Look at that huge office in which he makes his videos. It doesn't look like he is in the poor house to me. Judging by his videos, it also doesn't appear that White is going without food.

James Swan took issue as to the need for Catholic Apologetic information. He wrote, "America isn't starving for information about anything. We're a culture over-stuffed with enough information that's only a mouse click away." If that is the case, then people do not need Alpha and Omega either. There is plenty of information on "Reformed" theology out there without James White and his apologetics business begging for money to keep his business going. In fact, why not just pick up a copy of the Bible? According to their religion, that is all one really needs no?

Finally, I thought this comment by Swan was amusing. Swan said, "Why not just go to the official Vatican website? Here you can get Rome's official answers, and not the interpretations of those answers by the largest apologetics organization in North America." I ask this question to Swan. Why do you and White pollute the Gospel with your writings, videos, ect? Why not promote on your websites for your readers to go to the store and buy a Bible so they can read it for themselves. They can get the Gospel from the pages of Scripture, rather than be subjected to someone like yourself or James White's interpretations of the Scriptures.


Jen D said...

Nice work in putting together all the pieces to expose this hypocrisy so eloquently. An eye-opening read indeed!

Matthew Bellisario said...

Thanks Jen!

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Paul Hoffer said...

I was writing up my own response to Mr. Swan's little piece when I saw yours. Good job!

I had another problem with Mr. Swan's article though. His snarky little exaggeration of history about noone wanting to read Catholic apologist stuff in the 16th century is something I still intend to address.

While we are at it, why doesn't Mr. Swan direct us to the "official" Protestant website so we can get the correct answers about all of that stuff that Protestants are constantly disagreeing about or to the "official" Protestant website that will tell us what Protestant blogs are the best to read.

God bless!

Turretinfan said...

Paul Hoffer:

Are you aware of any English translations of Bellarmine's works?


Paul Hoffer said...

Hi TF, I am aware that a number of St. Bellarmine's more polemic works were translated into English in the 1630's. I am also aware (by virtue of our interaction over a certain quote attributed to Fr. Luther) that he had even written some of his works in English. He taught theology to English students at the University of Louvain.

The only work of his that I have actually read from cover to cover in English is "The Art of Dying Well" and that was before my internet days. I have seen a number of quotes in books written in English from his writings. I am reading a book now that features a number of them pertaining to the sacraments particularly the Holy Eucharist. WorldCat lists some 65 works that are English translations of his writings.

I hope that is helpful to you.

God Bless!