Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Did the NT Use Eyewitness Sources for its Information about Jesus?

Interacting with a Jesus Mythicist 
By Keith Thompson

In the context of Jesus’ historicity, Carrier asks how Ehrman could trust a gospel story “that cites no sources” (Richard Carrier, The Ehrman-Price Debate, www.richardcarrier.info/archives/11435). He also claims for Jesus “we have not a single named eyewitness source in any of the accounts of him” Carrier (2014), 22). I will therefore say a few words to refute these assertions.

I have already argued Mark used the disciple Peter as his source for his gospel. This is confirmed by Papias and other patristic traditions, the inclusio of eyewitness testimony found in canonical Mark, the plural to singular device involving Peter in canonical Mark, the fact Mark’s gospel follows the structure of Peter’s preachings in Acts, and the fact Luke used Mark as a source and then identified his sources as eyewitness narratives in his preface (Luke 1:1-3). Matthew used himself as his eyewitness source for his gospel, he relied on Mark as an eyewitness source, and he relied on “Q” and “M”. Luke used himself as an eyewitness source in Acts as is evident from the we passages. He also used the eyewitness source Mark, as well as “Q” and “L”. What is more, I demonstrated John used himself as an eyewitness source. This is confirmed by patristic tradition, the literary device of inclusio of eyewitness testimony in the forth gospel, as well as the epilogue. He may have also relied on the synoptic gospels as sources too (two of which are primary eyewitness sources).

It should be pointed out the gospels intentionally named various minor characters as a way to inform readers who their eyewitness sources were for specific stories (Bauckham (2006), 39-55; idem., “Gospel Traditions: Anonymous Community Traditions or Eyewitness Testimony?,” in Charlesworth et al (eds.) (2014), 494-495; idem., “In Response to My Respondents: Jesus and the Eyewitnesses in Review,” in Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus, 6 (2008), pp. 225–253). Although there is more evidence, Bauckham summarizes,

“Why is it that in Mark’s Gospel Jairus and Bartimaeus are named (Mk 6:3; 10:46), while all other recipients of Jesus’ healings are anonymous? Why does Luke, in his narrative of the two disciples who meet the risen Jesus on the way to Emmaus, name one of the two (Cleopas, Lk 24:18) but not the other? Why does Mark go to the trouble of naming not only Simon of Cyrene, who carried Jesus’ cross to Calvary, but also his two sons, Alexander and Rufus (Mk 15:21)? Why does Luke name Zecchaeus the tax collector and Simon the Pharisee (Lk 19:2; 7:40)? Given that a very large majority of the minor characters in all the Gospels are anonymous, why do they specifically name some? The only hypothesis I know that accounts for the evidence is that in most of these cases the named persons became members of the early Christian communities and themselves told the stories in which they appear in the Gospels” (Bauckham, “Gospel Traditions: Anonymous Community Traditions or Eyewitness Testimony?,” in Charlesworth et al (eds.) (2014), 494-495).

Naming minor characters as a way to cite eyewitness sources for specific stories was a fairly common practice of ancient historians. Herodotus, Thucydides, and Plutarch engaged in this exercise (Bauckham, “In Response to My Respondents: Jesus and the Eyewitnesses in Review,” in Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus, 6 (2008), pp. 227-228).

In Galatians 1:18-19 Paul named Peter and James as eyewitness sources for information on Jesus’ life (Galatians 1:18-19: “18Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to ἱστορῆσαι Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. 19But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord's brother”). In this text Paul identified James as Jesus’ “brother” and said he met with Peter and James to ἱστορῆσαι. In classical writings and Old Testament Apocrypha, this Greek term referred to gaining an historical account, inquiring, or interviewing someone to get information (Bauer et al (2000), 483; see James Dunn, “The Relationship Between Paul and Jerusalem According to Galatians 1 and 2,” NTS 28 (1982), pp. 463-466 for a good case this is how the word was used in Galatians 1:18. For this use of the word in Old Testament Apocrypha see Licona (2010), 230 n. 130). In the same verse Paul emphasized he was with Peter and James for fifteen days. This was Paul’s way of saying he learned from them for a decent amount of time. Paul would not take two weeks just to get know Peter as a person and not take the opportunity to learn about Jesus. That makes no sense. Indeed, during this time Paul received the historicist 1 Corinthians 15:3-7 creed about Christ from Peter and James. It says,

 “3For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received. Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles” (1 Corinthians 15:3-7).
As Bruce noted,

 In that list two individuals are mentioned by name as having seen the risen Christ, and two only: ‘he appeared Cephas’ and ‘he appeared to James’ (1 Corinthians 15:5, 7). It is no mere coincidence that there should be the only two apostles whom Paul claims to have seen during his first visit to Jerusalem after his conversion [Gal 1:18-19]. . . .  It was almost certainly during these fifteen days in Jerusalem that Paul received this outline” (F. F. Bruce, Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free, [Grand Rapids, MI: Wm B. Eerdmans, 2000], pp. 85, 86  brackets mine).

When Paul said he “received” this 1 Corinthians 15 creed in v. 3a, he used the Greek word παρέλαβον which was a rabbinic term referring to the passing of oral tradition (Thayer (2009), 484; David Garland, 1 Corinthians, (BECNT, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2003), p. 683. Garland (2003), 683-684 also indirectly refutes the argument of Carrier (2014), 536 that because Galatians 1:11-12 says Paul did not “receive” his gospel from men but from revelation, that therefore 1 Corinthians 15:3 can not be taken to mean Paul “received” his gospel from Peter and James in Jerusalem. Garland notes,  “In Gal. 1:11-12, he does not have in view the historical details of which the gospel is based but the interpretation of what those facts mean. . . . he came to understand the theological ramifications of Christ’s death and resurrection through a revelation from Christ and did not receive it from another’s interpretation, which his limited contact with other apostles proves (Gal. 1:15-2:21). Also, Carrier’s claim that 1 Corinthians 15:3-4’s phrase “according to the scriptures” means Paul may have just been saying he received his Jesus-information from the Old Testament and not eyewitnesses is also erroneous. That is reading too much into the text. According to lexicographers the phrase κατὰ τὰς γραφάς just indicates Paul’s creed was homogeneous, consistent, agreeable, or in conformity with scripture, not that it was derived from it. See Bauer et al (2000), 512; Thayer (2009), 328). This further confirms the argument. I will return to 1 Corinthians 15:-7 later in chapter 11 to respond to the mythicist mishandling of it as regards James being Jesus’ “brother”. For now, it is clear here Paul named and used eyewitness sources for information about Jesus.

The preface of the Gospel of Luke is also important in regard to the question of eyewitness source citation and utilization. It reads,

“1Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, 2just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, 3it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught” (Luke 1:1-4).

Luke affirmed “many” (Keener (2012), 173 n. 54: Since the plural and not dual was used, “many” here just meant “at least three”) narrative works concerning Jesus written by eyewitnesses and ministers of the word made their way to him, and that he followed them closely for his own account. As noted, Bauckham has shown Luke also named minor characters as eyewitnesses for his gospel. Hence, Luke in essence informed Theophilus his work was based on earlier eyewitness narratives as well as individual eyewitness oral testimonies. The fact Luke did not provide the names of his eyewitness sources in his preface does not mean he did not possess eyewitness sources. We know he did. Mark was one of them. He also used “Q” and “L” if we accept the two source/four source theory. Despite Luke’s decision to not name his sources in his preface, it nevertheless has clear affinities with prologues of good ancient histories (Sean A. Adams, “Luke’s Preface and its Relationship to Greek Historiography,” JGRChJ 3 (2006) 177-191 refutes Loveday Alexander’s thesis Luke’s preface resembles scientific treatises and not ancient histories. Indeed, he demonstrates Luke’s preface is very similar to those of respectable Greek historians. Alexander did not survey the background material sufficiently. Tarrance Callan, “The Preface of Luke-Acts and Historiography” NTS 31 (1985), pp. 576-581 accomplishes the same; Cf. Blomberg (2014), 27; Bock (1994), 54; Aune (2010), 369). There are preface similarities with ancient histories on matters of style, personal introduction, preface length, dedications, and truth-based intentions, etc. Witherington notes, “Luke’s prefaces also bear some striking resemblances to prefaces by Polybius, Josephus, Philo. . .” (Witherington (1998), 15). Aune has shown Luke’s preface also very closely resembles Plutarch’s preface in The Dinner of the Seven Wise Men (Aune (2010), 371-372). Since Plutarch was a respected and reliable biographer, this comparison is significant. 

(This is some research from my forthcoming project refuting Jesus mythicism). 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A Definitive Look at the James White and Yasir Qadhi Controversy

By Keith Thompson

In January, 2017 Christian apologist James White invited Muslim leader Yasir Qadhi to have an inter-faith dialogue meeting at Grace Church in Memphis, TN. White has come under attack for this event for many reasons including: (1) Allowing Qadhi to justify Islam by lying and misleading Christians with demonstrably incorrect claims all unchallenged; (2) Endorsing Qadhi’s dishonest portrait and promotion of “true” Islam as being peaceful even though it is not, and even though Qadhi has recently endorsed, buddied up with and defended terrorists, and even though Qadhi is a member of numerous terrorist and Muslim Brotherhood front groups (as the Holy Land Foundation Trial proves); (3) Having an inter-faith meeting in a church in front of Christians which is unbiblical; (4) Allying with a wicked leader of a false religion like Qadhi which is unbiblical (e.g. calling Qadhi his “mentor,” saying he has a “kindred spirit” with Qadhi, wanting to unite with Qadhi and Muslims against secularism, saying he is honored by Qadhi’s presence, and "fellowshiping" with Qadhi and Muslims as the event banner advertised, etc). In this article I will explain the reasons why these criticisms of White are valid.

White’s critics include the following Christians and experts in Islam: Keith Thompson of www.reformedapologeticsministries.com, Sam Shamoun of www.Answering-Islam.org, Anthony Rogers of www.Answering-Islam.org, Robert Spencer of www.JihadWatch.org, David Wood (on White’s denial Islam is inherently violent) of www.AnsweringMuslims.com, Paul Flynn of www.megiddoradio.com, Pastor Andy Woods of www.andywoodsministries.org, Janet Mefferd of www.janetmefferd.com Brannon Howse of www.worldviewweekend.com, and Usama Dakdok of www.thestraightway.com. Even James Simpson of www.theamericanthinker.com has critiqued White on this, as has former FBI counter-terrorism expert John Guandolo of www.understandingthethreat.com. Other writers and videographers have chimed in as well. At the end of this article some of the relevant critiques of White from these people will be provided. Thousands of Christians viewing the controversy on the side lines have likewise taken a stand against White for his compromising actions.

Below is the video of the event and throughout this article I will provide time-stamp references whenever I quote or allude to statements of White and Qadhi from it (e.g. “05:11”, etc).

White allowed Qadhi to justify Islam by lying to and misleading Christians with demonstrably incorrect claims all unchallenged.

Much of this dialogue consisted of White just sitting back and allowing Qadhi to lie to the Christian people in his justification and promotion of Islam. White did not challenge these lies but just allowed the saints to be misled.

For example, at 22:53 Qadhi said “There is only one Quran. There are no variant versions. There is one standard copy of the Quran across the Muslim world.” And at 23:59 he said “Really there’s not been any variant versions of the Quran.” Yet, this is an unchallenged lie. Arthur Jeffrey’s works The Qur’an as Scripture and Materials For The History Of The Text Of The Qur'an demonstrated prior to the 1924 standard Cairo edition of the Quran being embraced by Muslims, there were variant Qurans. Muhammad’s own companions had different Quranic codices which disagreed with each other and with the 1924 edition now in use. These codices had thousands of meaningful variants among themselves. Some were missing entire surahs. Some had extra surahs. Uthman had to burn variant copies of the Quran and allegedly produced a standardized version. What is more, in Sahih Muslim we read that the best reciters of the Quran in Basra used to recite a surah of the Quran which they forgot, except for one verse they report. Yet, the verse they report is not in the Quran today (Sahih Muslim, Book 5, Hadith 2286). 

Another lie Qadhi was allowed to get away with is at 32:13 where he said “Historically speaking there’s been a spectrum of acceptable interpretation and these are the main schools of Islamic law. There’s never been any type of sectarian warfare between these schools of Islamic law.” However, as professor of Middle Eastern studies Scott Siraj al-Haqq Kugle notes,

“disagreements often resulted in heated argument and sometimes degenerated into violence as jurists championed their legal school against others. The Hanbalis reverted to the mob to enforce ideas of orthodoxy. As riots based on legal school partisanship rocked Baghdad, some jurists dissented” (Scott Siraj al-Haqq Kugle, Homosexuality in Islam, (Oneworld Publications, 2010).

Qadhi was allowed to lie and claim at 01:04:43 “ISIS at max has 15-20,000 people.” The problem is recently the United States special operations chief affirmed 60,000 ISIS fighters have been killed by the US and its allies (www.foxnews.com/us/2017/02/15/special-ops-chief-us-troops-have-killed-60000-isis-militants-past-two-years.html). Moreover, even back in 2014 the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights declared ISIS had around 100,000 members (www.military.com/daily-news/2017/02/14/specops-commander-60000-isis-fighters-killed-by-us-troops.html). To White’s credit he did play “devil’s advocate” and stated perhaps Muslims around the world support ISIS but just do not become fighters. In response Qadhi then obfuscated a Pew poll on the matter unchallenged claiming at 01:06:13 “The IS Pew which is a think-tank in Washington has done a very exhaustive survey in twenty Muslim countries. And they have demonstrated, this is a three year long survey, that the position the Muslim world has on almost all issues of violence is similar if not less than in the Western world.” The problem is that Pew poll actually showed at least 63 million (maybe even 287 million) Muslims in just eleven countries support ISIS (www.americanthinker.com/blog/2015/11/pew_poll_between_63_million_and_287_million_isis_supporters_in_just_11_countries.html). Also, an Arabic al-Jazeera poll revealed 81% of the respondents support ISIS - that is over 61,000 people (www.express.co.uk/news/world/580221/Islamic-State-support-Arab-world-poll-finds). Moreover, a Clarion Project poll study revealed 42 million people in the Arab world alone support ISIS (clarionproject.org/isis-has-least-42-million-supporters-arab-world/). The erroneous 15-20,000 statistic White allowed Qadhi to mislead people with was just a leftist number which came from the pro-Islamic Obama administration. The fact is even in 2015 news agencies reported at least 30,000 foreign Muslims from around the world travelled to Syria to join ISIS since 2011 (www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3252265/30-000-foreign-fighters-including-250-Americans-poured-Iraq-Syria-join-ISIS-2011-intelligence-fears.html).

At 01:07:29 Qadhi said,  “The very fact we have never seen in our fourteen and one half centuries a cult like ISIS, we’ve never seen anything like this, is demonstrative of the fact that this is not typical.” The problem is there have been many caliphates in history starting with Muhammad, and they have looked very similar to ISIS. The books of Andrew Bostom and Robert Spencer, and the videos of myself and The Masked Arab (www.youtube.com/watch?v=qk_VwZxN9bA;www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mSLSzugDfw&list=PLKurjH_dbSTJiajkF74qvqwcOML6PS0Ty) demonstrate this. For instance, like ISIS the caliphates of history also had sex slaves, murdered women and children, murdered Muslims who were deemed heretics or apostates, engaged in mass-murder (beheadings), had child soldiers, cut off peoples’ hands and feet, crucified people, executed homosexuals, executed family members who were heretics or apostates, raped captive women, destroyed monuments and shrines, engaged in offensive warfare against unbelievers to spread Islam, engaged in terror attacks, and burned people alive, etc.

Qadhi went on to lie at 01:09:18 saying, “Iraq and Syria had no radical and jihadist tendencies twenty years ago, thirty years ago, seventy years ago, one-hundred years ago. . . Iraq had never seen a suicide bombing in its 1500 year existence in Islamic history until the 2004 American invasion.” However, Iraq and Syria have had a long history of jihadi and terrorist tendencies prior to the 2004 US invasion of Iraq. In Aleppo, Syria in the year 1947 Muslims rioted murdering 75 Jews and injuring hundreds. In Damascus, Syria in the year 1949 12 Jews were murdered by Muslims and dozens more were injured in the Menarsha synagogue attack. In 1973 Muslims in Iraq hijacked KLM Flight 861. In 1980 five terrorists from the Iraqi-backed Arab-Liberation Front entered the kibbutz nursery in Misgav Am in Israel murdering the secretary, an infant and then holding the rest of the infants hostage. In 1986 in Syria some pro-Iraqi militants used a truck bomb to murder 60 people. That same year in Damascus, Syria car bombs from pro-Iraqi militants murdered 144 people. I could go on and on. For White to allow Qadhi to blame Muslim terrorism on America is reprehensible.

At 01:37:40 Qadhi pretends caliphates have never burned non-Muslims alive: “We have never seen anything like ISIS in our history. And I’m a theologian and a historian of my tradition. This is the first time something as crazy, I mean burning people alive in cages?” Yet, the earliest biographer of Muhammad Ibn Isaq and the primitive Islamic historian al-Tabari both tell us Muhammad had his followers light a man named Kinana on fire until he was near death, after which he was beheaded. Moreover, as Spencer pointed out,

“What about the followers of Tulayha ibn Khuwaylid ibn Nawfal al-Asad, who left Islam and proclaimed himself a prophet? They were burned alive during the Wars of Apostasy in the early 630s. What about the eleven Catholic monks who were burned alive for proselytizing among Muslims in North Africa in 1272? In the 1590s, the English traveler Fynes Moryson noted that Muslims burned apostates and blasphemers alive. . . A later traveler, John Braithwaite, wrote in the 1720s that apostates were burned alive. . . . In Morocco in 1792, 50 Jews were burned alive for refusing to convert to Islam. And on and on and on. There are so many examples of this as to place the Islamic State’s burnings squarely within Islamic tradition. But White just sits there and lets Qadhi lie. Yes, it’s a discussion, not a debate, but does this mean that Qadhi is just allowed to lie with impunity?” (www.jihadwatch.org/2017/06/christian-minister-james-white-has-kindred-spirit-in-jihadi-imam-yasir-qadhi).

Qadhi also lied about Surah 9:5 of the Quran. At 01:39:19 he said, “Muslims have never interpreted the verse ‘Kill them wherever you find them (Quran 9:5)’ as meaning go and kill infidels wherever you are.” And at 01:41:37 he said, “Not a single person has ever been killed because of this verse (Quran 9:5) in Islamic history.” Quran 9:5 says, “And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they should repent, establish prayer, and give zakah, let them [go] on their way. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful” (Quran 9:5). The problem is in sahih ahadith Muslims are commanded to accept, Muhammad interpreted Quran 9:5 as a universal final marching order aimed at getting all pagan unbelievers to convert or die. In the following hadith, Surah 9:5 is first quoted and then interpreted by Muhammad:

“(The Statement of Allah) ‘But if they repent [by rejecting Shirk (polytheism) and accept Islamic Monotheism] and perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat) [prayers] and give Zakat then leave their way free.’ Narrated Ibn 'Umar: Allah's Messenger said: ‘I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Messenger, and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity, so if they perform that, then they save their lives and property from me except for Islamic laws and then their reckoning (accounts) will be done by Allah’” (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 1, Book 2, Hadith 25). 

Notice Muhammad’s interpretation is that he was commanded to “fight against people” until they convert. Contra Qadhi, 9:5 is to then be seen as a basis for murdering unbelievers wherever Muslims find them if they refuse to become Muslim once a caliph declares offensive jihad.

What is more, Qadhi lies when he says 9:5 has never been carried out against unbelievers in Islamic history. For, even Muhammad and his early caliph successors carried this text out by attacking pagans forcing them to either convert to Islam or die. For example, in A.D. 630 Muhammad sent al-Dahak ibn Sufyan to lead a Muslim force to al-Zuji to command the people of the Banu Kilab tribe to embrace Islam or die. Al-Waqidi reported, “The messenger of God sent an army to al-Qurata. . . . they met them in Zujj. They invited them to Islam but they refused. So they fought them and defeated them” (Al-Waqidi, Kitab al-Maghazi, [Routledge, 2011], p. 481). Ibn Sa’d confirmed the same thing, “They . . . invited them to embrace Islam. They refused, so they attacked them. . .” (Ibn Sa’d, Kitab Al-tabaqat Al-kabir, Vol. 2, [Kitab Bhavan, 2009], p. 201). 

In A.D. 631 over a dozen men of the Banu Azd clan led by Surad ibn Abdullah became new converts to Islam. Muhammad’s response was to order them to attack their non-Muslim neighbouring tribes i.e., the people of Jurash in Yemen. Ibn Sa'd notes, “He (Surad) invited them [the neighbouring tribes] to embrace Islam but they declined” (Ibn Sa’d, Kitab Al-tabaqat Al-kabir, Vol. 1, [Kitab Bhavan, 2009], p. 398). The historian al-Tabari notes the Muslim Surad therefore “inflicted a heavy loss on them” (History of al-Tabari, Vol. 9, [State University of New York Press, 1990], p. 88). 

In A.D. 632 Muhammad sent Jarir ibn Abdullah al-Bajali on an offensive expedition to destroy the Dhul Khalasa which was a religious temple of Yemenite pagans. The temple was destroyed and the pagans who attempted to defend it were murdered (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Number 64; Hisham Al-Kalbi, The Book of Idols, pp. 31-32). 

At 01:06:46 we were told:

“Qadhi: Sharia has become a boogieman. Muslims by definition support Sharia. But what is Sharia? It’s like asking a Christian ‘do you believe in Jesus?’ White: It’s like asking a Christian ‘do you believe God’s law is good?’ Uhh yeah I think so. Qadhi: For me Sharia is being good to my parents. It’s giving to the poor. So what do you mean by ‘Sharia’? It’s become a boogieman. It’s become this vicious understanding that is alien to the mainstream Muslim world.”

But of course, Sharia is viscous and violent according to all four Sunni schools of Islamic law (the mainstream), as well as the Shia ones. It is not just “being good to parents and giving to the poor.” That is a very deceptive portrait of it. When one reads authoritative Islamic law manuals from the different schools of law and see what they say about Sharia, we read about the following kinds of things: Under Sharia Muslims are to make war on unbelieving towns and cities to spread Islam forcing Jews and Christians who refuse to become Muslim to either be murdered or to pay a crippling and humiliating tax (jizya) once their town or city has been conquered and subjugated. Christians and Jews who agree to subjugation and jizya to save their lives are not allowed to repair their churches or synagogues. There is death for those who insult, or just speak honestly about, Islam or Muhammad. Christians are not allowed to evangelize or openly practice shirk (e.g. proclaim that Jesus is God or that God is triune) and so that does away with freedom of speech and expression. Under Sharia women are beaten, women’s testimony is half that of a man, and there is female genital mutilation, etc. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Sharia.

In sum Qadhi was allowed to get away with dozens of demonstrably false claims and outright lies and deceptions. White just sat back nodding his head and allowing the Christian people be deceived all in an effort to justify and promote Islam as something other than what it truly is.

White endorsed Qadhi’s deceptive portrait and promotion of “true” Islam as being peaceful even though that portrait is factually inaccurate, and even though Qadhi has recently endorsed, buddied up with and defended terrorists, and is a member of numerous terrorist and Muslim Brotherhood front groups (as the Holy Land Foundation Trial proves).

The following comments from James White clearly demonstrate he is on board with the false idea “true” Islam is peaceful. In fact, they show he actually wants Qadhi to teach Christians the idea “true” Islam is peaceful when it is not. This is very odd given the fact that in White’s debate with Robert Spencer (www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBCWsabA5Y4), White claimed there is no “true” Islam, and that therefore we should not say “true” Islam is violent. Talk about inconsistency and confusion. The man talks out of both sides of his mouth:

03:13 “I want you to hear especially when he [Qadhi] talks about what Islam is and what it is not, and who speaks for Islam.”

01:03:19 “What you [Qadhi] need to do, my community needs to have someone with your ability to clearly present things, take what you’ve written about the Khawarijites and who speaks for Islam and produce an hour long YouTube video that we can understand, that would say ‘this is how you know what the true Islam is.”

09:28 “They [Christians] see pictures. They’re bombarded with images every single day. There’s been the truck and the Christmas thing in Germany I think it was. We got to understand: what is Islam? Right here in this area you [Qadhi] are one of the primary leaders of Islam. But there would be people who would say ‘you don’t really speak for Islam. ISIS is more consistent.’ Help us to start understanding.”

01:39:34 “This is Surah 9:29. That obviously is one of the key texts. Do you have a video, a lecture where you contextualize Surah 9 and you work through it?. . .  just as we have texts concerning the destruction of the Amorites, we have to look at the Bible and say there was a specific context here. . . What is the context of Surah 9 that contextualizes that and delegitimizes the utilization of al-Qaida and ISIS? ”

These comments indicate White bought into Qadhi’s apologetic and agrees with his claim that “true” Islam is peaceful. They also reveal White wants Christians to listen to and believe Qadhi’s defense of “true” Islam being peaceful. White is not merely interested in Christians learning different perspectives of Islam from Qadhi, but instead “what Islam is,” “what the true Islam is,” etc. This is very sick and twisted, since, as Spencer demonstrated in his debate with White, and as many excellent books demonstrate, Islam is inherently violent. All schools of Islamic law teach, based on Muhammad’s words and example, that Muslims are to make war on unbelievers to spread Islam.

What is really deceptive about all of this is that while White wants Christians to believe Qadhi when he says “true” Islam is peaceful, the fact is Qadhi actually knows Islam is not peaceful. He is just deceiving White and Christians. For, Qadhi has recently (even in 2016 and 2017) endorsed, buddied up with and defended convicted terrorists:

On October 23, 2016, Qadhi defended convicted American-born Taliban member John Walker Lindh, saying that by fighting for the terror group, all he was “primarily guilty of is youthful naïveté, not treason, and that he should be released.” Qadhi then went on to liken Lindh to American politician Rahm Emanuel — who volunteered for two weeks to help repair Israel Defense Forces (IDF) trucks during the 1991 Gulf War.

On July 14, 2014, Qadhi tweeted a petition supporting female Al-Qaeda operative Aafia Siddiqui, who was convicted of 86 years in jail for the attempted murder of a U.S. Army officer.

On October 9, 2008, Qadhi praised militant Ali al-Timimi, who was sentenced to life imprisonment for encouraging Muslim youth to fight for the Taliban and fight against the U.S. and India. Qadhi said of al-Timimi: “he played an instrumental role in shaping and directing me to take the path that has led me to where I am today…he was the first teacher who taught me the realities and intricacies of tawhid [God’s oneness] and aqidah [creed], which, to this day, remains my primary focus and speciality” (canarymission.org/professors/yasir-qadhi/).

In May of 2017 Qadhi invited people to hear Siraj Wahhaj speak at the Muslim school in Memphis where Yasir works. Wahhaj is an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. He was also a defense witness for the Blind Sheikh, Omar Abdel-Rahman, at his trial. The Blink Sheikh was a leader of an Egyptian terrorist organization who was sentenced to life in prison for plotting terrorism. Wahaj has stated "Islam is better than democracy. Allah will cause his deen to prevail over every kind of system, and you know what? It will happen” (www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=716; en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siraj_Wahhaj).

Moreover, Qadhi is a member of numerous Muslim Brotherhood front groups and terrorist organizations such as ICNA, CAIR, AMJA, the al-Maghrib Institute, and the Islamic Society of Boston (www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/261733/muslim-who-apologized-cursing-jews-featured-terror-joe-kaufman; www.understandingthethreat.com/utt-throwback-thursday-are-you-still-listening-to-the-imam/). The al-Maghrib Institute has produced many terrorists/jihadists and The Islamic Society of Boston was founded by an al-Qaeda financier. We know the rest of the groups are Muslim Brotherhood fronts because the Holy Land Foundation trial revealed that official Muslim Brotherhood documents named them as such. So White is totally wrong when at 01:23 he said “Qadhi is a consistent Muslim. He believes what he says.”

This brings us to White’s defense of Qadhi. White claims we can trust Qadhi when he teaches “true” Islam is peaceful because ISIS has threatened Qadhi’s life for standing against them and their violent ways. White said:

57:05 “Many people are told Muslim representatives are supposed to say these things. They’re engaging in Taqiyya. They’re giving you a story that’s not really true. I can not tell you how many people look at me and say ‘you just can’t believe what these people are saying.’”

59:00 “ISIS twice printed Dr. Qadhi’s picture and called for his assassination.”

But as Spencer pointed out in his debate with White, just because Qadhi opposes ISIS (and vice versa) does not mean Qadhi is opposed in principle to jihad warfare. The Muslim Brotherhood Qadhi is tied to is a rival of ISIS. It also wants a caliphate and all the violence Islam and Sharia brings. Its just the Muslim Brotherhood does not want ISIS to lead the caliphate. They want to lead it themselves. So just because Qadhi has denounced ISIS does not mean he personally rejects caliphate, warfare against unbelievers to spread Islam, subjugation, and all the violence and cruelty of Sharia. These are all things the Muslim Brotherhood accepts. When one does even the smallest amount of research on the Muslim Brotherhood this becomes clear. In a retrieved document the Muslim Brotherhood stated their goal is “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within, and sabotaging its miserable house . . . so that it falls, and Allah’s religion is victorious over other religions” (www.investigativeproject.org/5807/explanatory-memorandum-detractors-ignore-evidence). Qadhi himself has preached jihad warfare against unbelievers and the seizing of their property in the context of a caliphate (freedomoutpost.com/tennessee-imam-abu-ammaar-yasir-qadhi-jews-christians-filthy-lives-property-can-taken-jihad-muslims/#ixzz2jD7UdMtc).

White having an inter-faith meeting in a church in front of Christians is unbiblical

The whole idea of having a deceptive terrorist-tied Muslim leader preach to saints in a church in a dialogue setting is unbiblical. White does not like the word “preach” here because Qadhi was not officially given the pulpit (no one said he was!) and it was not an actual church service. Qadhi did say at 01:35:35 “My job is to be as good a role model to you and preach to you as politely and as clearly as I can. And I’ve done my job.” When I say “preach” I am using the word in the sense that Qadhi did i.e., the act of proclaiming his religious views. Plus, it was in a church in front of saints of that church. And although the saints expected a discussion, they did not expect to be lied to over and over. So there is no defense of this. The biblical prohibition of this event is to be found in 2 John 1:9-11:

“9Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works” (2 John 1:9-11).

White objects to this argument since this text was originally about not letting proto-Gnostic Docetists into house churches to teach Christians. However, the errors of the Docetists which led John to forbid them from entering Christian house churches to teach are shared by Muslims. For instance, John condemns Docetists for denying the incarnation of Jesus (1 John 4:2; 2 John 1:7). Muslims deny Jesus was incarnated. John chastised the Docetists for not “confessing Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 4:15) since their Jesus only seemed or appeared human. Well Muslims explicitly say they do not believe Jesus is the Son of God. We learn from other writings Docetists and later Gnostics denied Jesus was crucified (they thought he was too holy to have an “evil” material body which was crucified). Muslims also deny Jesus was crucified. Even the exegete Robert W. Yarbrough affirms broader application makes perfectly fine sense: “An analogy today would be Jehovah’s Witness, Mormon, or other missionaries who seek to spread quasi-Christian views” (Yarbrough, 1-3 John, 351). Although 2 John 1:9-11 was originally about Docetists, it can easily be applied to Muslims since they share many of the heresies of the Docetists. White and his followers have said that Docetists were Christian heretics though! Well, this is desperate since Muslims claim to believe in Jesus and yet they deviate from true christology and other vital doctrines. So in a sense Muslims are Christian heretics. This is why way back in the 8th century John of Damascus identified Islam as a Christian heresy. Islam is an apostasy from biblical truth. It accepts the Torah and the Gospel but then perverts it and ignores crucial parts. The fallacy of White and his followers is that here they use the “situational hermeneutic” liberal eisegetes have been utilizing for a long time. This method says we can not give biblical texts modern application. So that Jesus was “the way” only in the first century, but not today. Today there may be many ways, etc. (Thanks Robert Morey) With this hermeneutic we could never use the Bible to say Mormonism is a heresy, that Muhammad was a false prophet, etc. But White is inconsistent here. The Jehovah’s Witness apologist Greg Stafford said in his debate with White that the Old Testament texts saying there is only one God can only be applied to that time, so that now there may be many gods. Yet, White rightly objected to this and said we have to be able to apply the Bible to modern times, otherwise it would have to be rewritten for every modern situation (Thanks Sam Shamoun). Well, exactly! That is what White’s critics are saying about 2 John 1:9-11. In regard to not “greeting” such people (vv. 10-11), the text is not saying we can not say “hello.” A Christian greeting was more than that. It was “sometimes combined with a kiss . . . which express[es] mutual acceptance and affection on the basis of shared conviction regarding and commitment to the apostolic Christ” (Yarbrough, 1-3 John, 352). The celebration of Muslim and Christian “agreements” about Jesus and other theological matters and the affection displayed in that inter-faith event (e.g. "you honor us with your presence" and "fellowship" between Christians and Muslims being advertised in the official banner of the event) clearly violates the principle of not giving such people the Christian greeting.

Another reason the White/Qadhi inter-faith meeting was unbiblical is that Ephesians 5:11 says, “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” Islam and Islamic preaching (especially involving blatant deception and lies) are fruitless deeds of darkness. Instead of entertaining and having much to do with such things, White should have just exposed them as good apologists do.

What is more, 2 Corinthians 6:14-17 says,

14Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, "I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you” (2 Corinthians 6:14-17).

The verb ἑτεροζυγοῦντες (translated as “unequally yoked together”) only has one other metaphorical use in surrounding literature and it’s found in Plutarch (Cimon 16.10). In Plutarch the metaphorical use has the meaning of “ally” (Hafemann, 2 Corinthians, 279 n. 5). It may also go back to Leviticus 19:19 where in the LXX it mentions “to yoke together” in the context of crossbreeding animals. Can White’s relationship with Qadhi be seen as this kind of alliance, etc? Yes, very easily (and we will argue this further below). Let’s keep looking at the text. Did White “partner” up with Qadhi? Yes. Did White “fellowship” with Qadhi and the Muslims? Yes. Even according to the invitation banner fellowship was part of the agenda. Did White make note of his “agreements” with Qadhi and the Muslims throughout the meeting? Yes. Was White being “separate” from Qadhi and going out from his midst? No, he brought Qadhi into the midst of the church to preach error. Now yes, there is historical context to this passage. But none of it negates the application to this inter-faith event. Again, we must not employ the liberal “situational hermeneutic.” What needs to be noted is evangelism and debate are one thing, but this inter-faith fellowship, alliance and partnership is another. The latter violates the biblical doctrine of separation. White literally violated almost every aspect of this text. 

Official banner of the event mentioning "fellowship" between Christians and Muslims.

Allying with a wicked leader of a false religion like Qadhi is unbiblical

Another text on not allying with wicked people is 2 Chronicles 20:35-37:

“35After this Jehoshaphat king of Judah allied himself with Ahaziah king of Israel. He acted wickedly in so doing. 36So he allied himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish, and they made the ships in Ezion-geber. 37Then Eliezer the son of Dodavahu of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat saying, ‘Because you have allied yourself with Ahaziah, the LORD has destroyed your works.’ So the ships were broken and could not go to Tarshish” (2 Chronicles 20:35-37).

As is clear, both this text and 2 Corinthians 6:14-17 condemn making alliances with unbelievers and the like. Well, what is the evidence White made an unbiblical alliance with Qadhi? At 01:12 White said Qadhi has a “kindred spirit” with him. This is odd given the fact Qadhi has the spirit of antichrist for denying the Father and Son according to 1 John 2:22 (Islam explicitly denies Jesus’ Sonship and God’s spiritual fatherhood). The alliance can be further seen in White’s remark at 05:09: “Dr. Qadhi sir, you honor us with your presence.” Moreover, at 48:31 White called Qadhi his “mentor.” And at 01:02:40 White proposed an alliance between himself and Qadhi, and between Christians and Muslims against secularism: “In case you haven’t noticed, our culture is becoming much more secular. . . it’s coming everywhere. We all may be facing being a religious minority. How are we going to get along in that situation? Are we going to want someone to come alongside us? Then we need to extend the hand now.” Lastly, the banner again said part of the agenda was "fellowship" between Christians and Muslims. I will end with a quote from the Protestant divine John Brown of Haddington (thanks to Paul Flynn for this one):

"If therefore any preacher appears among you who does not declare and inculcate these very doctrines concerning Jesus Christ, and the redemption of sinners through his blood, according to the riches of God's grace, which we delivered unto you, see that ye give him not the smallest encouragement, by entertaining him in your houses, or wishing him any success in his ministrations; for whoever wishes him success, or familiarly converses with him, is accounted by God as a criminal encourager and assistant of him in spreading his errors, to the dishonour of Christ and the eternal ruining of men."


In sum it is clear White’s critics are correct. He is in serious error and compromise. But he is too prideful to repent and admit he did wrong. Instead he just attacks his critics on twitter, facebook and his radio show. His fanboys who view him as their idol also need to be rebuked. If in light of the evidence they still come to his aid and support his actions, that shows a major spiritual fog or blindness and spirit of idolatry is over them. Many Christians have prayed White either steps down or repents unto restoration never repeating this kind of serious error. His loss to Spencer in their debate should have humbled him. But so far it has not. I therefore pray God will either remove White from ministry or else grant him repentance.

The following links are from Christians, experts on Islam and other concerned onlookers critiquing this inter-faith event: 

- Pastor Andy Woods Says James White Brought A Wolf Before The Sheep

- #263 The James White/Yasir Qadhi Controversy | (Megiddo Radio)

- James White Calls Jihadi Imam Mentor During Interfaith Dialogue (Part 1) (WVW)

- Shocking Video on James White & Islam (Student of Theology)