Unveiling Dr. James White
by Ibn Anwar
Very recently my article on God not being a man was published at:
It got the attention of the notorious Sam Shamoun who then directed Dr. James White to it. As a result of that Dr. James White of the Alpha and Omega ministries produced a 20 minutes and 45 seconds long video response to the article(or to a fraction of the article). Before you watch Dr. White's response you should first read the article in question. The following is the video response:
I was actually deliberating on whether I should dignify Dr. White's response or not. Some of my friends said that I should whilst others said it would be a waste of time. Eventually, as you can see I decided to go for it lest I be deemed defeated. If I had remained silent without any response whatsoever it might have seemed that I gave in to Dr. White's assessments thus rendering my article on the issue moot. I do not want people to get misled by Dr. White's apparent eloquence if I can help it. Let us begin with the reply.
*In the article I will make time frame citations to the video response so that the readers will be able to refer back to the video if they need to.
Listening to Dr. White's response one gets the impression that he tries to treat the article as if its focus is on the doctrine of the Trinity per se. Anyone who has read the article carefully will be able to see that isn't so. Although the article mentions the Trinity a few times its main focus is on Jesus being a man and what that entails. I have tried to show in the article that precisely three verses found in the Old Testament disqualify Jesus as God. I did not discuss the details of the Trinity as a doctrine, but tried to show that if Jesus isn't God then there is no Trinity.
At the beginning of the response Dr. White said that I am, "a gentleman that has misunderstood in a serious manner my teaching on the subject of the incarnation." Instead of naming my supposed erronuous understanding immediately after that accusation he somewhat goes off on a tangent and starts to accuse the Muslim masses of ignorance regarding the Trinity and spent sometime on that in a way that may lead the viewers to think that he is elaborating on my supposed misconception when in fact he isn't. He says that the Muslims' misunderstanding is, ".not because of a lack of clarity on our part." He does concede however that there are Christians who themselves do not really comprehend the concept but coated it with diplomatic words instead saying, "granted I'm sure they have to deal with Chritians who are somewhat less than accurate in their understandig of the Trinity. There are Christians like that."
Dr. Anis Shorrosh recently convicted for arson is a Christian theologian and he wrote in his book The Liberated Palestianian that he is thankful to the Father for dying for his sins. I had the opportunity to discuss Christian beliefs with Pastor Iben Arang of the Anglican Cathedral of St. Mary the Virgin in Kuala Lumpur which is situated just beside the Sultan Abdul Samad building and the Merdeka Square both of which are popular tourist sites in the city. Pastor Iben explained the Trinity to me in this way, "In the past there was the Father, then he decided to come as the Son(about 2000 years ago) and now we have the Holy Spirit with us." Basically, what he was saying is that the Father came down to be the Son and then the Son after His crucifixion came back as the Holy Spirit who now resides with us. So they are all basically the same guy. And then he went on to say that Muslims don't undersand this and think that he worships multiple Gods when in reality they are just the same guy. Can we describe these understandings or rather misunderstandings on the Christians' part as merely "less than accurate" ? What do you think? I challenge anyone to go and talk to 30 or more Trinitarians who do not know each other and see how many of them are consistent with one another.
I have been talking to Christians for the past 6 years or so and I have encountered numerous different understandings on what the Trinity stands for. As an example, many a time sincere Trinitarians would unknowingly resort to modalism to prove Jesus' divinity. In fact, I was in Royalson's room on paltalk last week which is called "Christians pray for Muslims" under the social issues, human rights section with over 60 people in it most of whom were Christians discussing Christian beliefs. One Arab Christian came up and actually gave a modalist perspective and the whole room cheered him on even after I explained that he has committed a heresy according to Trinitarian belief. It would then appear that we Muslims are not the only ones who do not really comprehend the Trinity.
Dr. James White however is of the opinion that the Trinity is simple. In fact he says in his response, "The reality is the doctrine of the Trinity is fairly easily defined and has been around for a long long time, therefore, to understand what it's saying is not that difficult." Notice that he says the doctrine has been around for a long time and therefore(because of that) it is easy to understand. Hindu anthropomorphism and pantheism have been around longer than the Trinity and yet if you were to ask 30 Hindus hardly anyone will be able to provide a cogent answer because Hinduism is a mess and people make up their own gods whenever they wish. Prolonged period of time does not necessitate easeness in comprehension. If it did we wouldn't find Christians(many Christians even learned ones) stumbling all over the place trying to explain the Trinity to themselves and others. Dr. White suggests that we go to systematic theologians for correct understanding of the Trinity. The rule of thumb is of course to go to the experts. No problem. Let's go to an expert in the field and see what he says about the Trinity. How about we look at the words of Dr. Millard Erickson who's a professor of Systematic Theology at Western Seminary, Portland, Oregon. He was also professor of theology at Bethel University seminary and also taught at Baylor University. He writes,
"This doctrine in many ways presents strange paradoxes.It is a widely disputed doctrine, which has provoked discussion throughout all the centuries of the church's existence. It is held by manywith great vehemence and vigor. These advocates are certain they believe the doctrine and consider it crucial to the Christian faith. Yet many are unsure of the exact meaning of their belief. It was the vey first doctrine dealt with systematically by the church, yet it is still one of the most misunderstood and disputed docrines. Further, it is not clearly or explicitly taught anywhere in scripture, yet it is widely regarded as a central doctrine, indispensable to the Christian faith. In this regard, it goes contrary to what is virtually an axiom[that is, a given, a self-evident truth] of biblical doctrine, namely, that there is a direct correlation between the scriptural clarity ofa doctrine and its cruciality to the faith and life of the church."  (emphasis added)
So according to the above testimony from a prominent theologian the Trinity is widely disputed and misunderstood. This is something that should not exist if indeed as Dr. White claims, "it is fairly easily defined".
Dr. White then goes on to say that, "at least, you can go back to 15, 16, 17 hundred years and find a lot of consistency in what is being said on the central issues." Yet, Dr. Erickson glaringly says that it is widely disputed and misunderstood! But anyway, let us say for the sake of argument that Dr. White is correct in his estimation. What I would like to know is why does he not trace it back to the early initial years of Christianity? If you trace the Trinity back 1700 years ago there's a gap of over three hundred years! Where was the Trinity in those first three hundred years? I would suggest people purchase Prof. Bart Ehrman's Lost Scriptures and Lost Christianities for in depth information on other theological ideas that existed in the early years of Christianity and got stamped out by what eventually became "Orthodoxy". In fact, Dr. White seems to be echoing the words of the Catholic encyclopedia which says regarding the Trinity,
"There is the recognition on the part of exegetes and Biblical theologians, including a constantly growing number of Roman Catholics, that one should not speak of Trinitarianism in the New Testament without serious qualification. There is also the closely parallel recognition on the part of historians of dogma and systematic theologians that when one does speak of an unqualified Trinitarianism, one has moved from the period of Christian origins to, say, the last quadrant of the 4th century. It was only then that what might be called the definitive Trinitarian dogma ?One God in three Persons' became thoroughly assimilated into Christian life and thought . it was the product of 3 centuries of doctrinal development."  (emphasis added)
So who brought and defined the Trinity? Which or what Prophet? NONE! This doctrine was developed by men who are now regarded by mainstream Christians as Church Fathers or early Christian theologians at the expanse of other concepts that existed at that time that are now deemed heretical. One cannot help but compromise strict adherence to the so called idea of sola scriptura(only scripture) in order to arrive at the Trinity. For if you only went by scripture without the assistance of theologians you will miss the Trinity. Thus, the Trinity depends on the tradition of men which is rather ironic for the Protestants who oppose Catholocism because of its dependance on the "tradition of men".
The Encyclopedia Brittanica tells us that, ".in Christian doctrine, the unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three persons in one Godhead. Neither the word Trinity nor the explicit doctrine appears in the New Testament, nor did Jesus and his followers intend to contradict the Shema in the Old Testament. The doctrine developed gradually over several centuries and through many controversies."  (emphasis added)
"Belief in God as Three-in-One is as old as Christianity itself. The word Trinity doesn't appear as a theological term till near the end of the second century. It was first used as ?Trias' by Theophilus, the Bishop of Antioch in AD. 180 and later by Tertullian as Trinitas to signify that God exists in three persons. * * * Trinity is a mystery as well as a doctrine, which is beyond our intuitive recognition and faculty. One God in Three persons, that is the mystery of the Holy Trinity." 
Dr. White continues lambasting the Muslims, "why are there such confusion on the part of Muslims on the subject?" Well, perhaps it is because Christians themselves are confused as illustrated? If you have been discussing with Christians you will inadvertantly encounter this very common script from them which goes somewhere along the lines of, "You cannot understand because you do not have the Holy Spirit!" This is essentially what Lehman Strauss says, "The Apostle Paul wrote, "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh . . . " (I Timothy 3:16). Confessedly, by common consent the Incarnation of Jesus Christ is outside the range of human natural comprehension and apprehension. It can be made known only by Divine revelation in the Holy Scriptures, and to those only who are illumined by the Holy Spirit." So this idea of Jesus becoming man cannot be understood by the human mind, but rather by divine intervention! It goes without saying that the same is true for the Trinity. If that is the case why complain when Muslims don't understand when understanding is contingent on divine revelation via the dwelling of the Holy Spirit? However, this standard would appear to fail even Christians themselves! Paul says, "no one can say,"Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit."(1 Corinthians 12:3) So it is only by the Holy Spirit one can say Jesus is Lord. I am quite certain that both Dr. Anis Shorrosh and Pastor Iben Arang being confirmed Christians have said on numerous occassions that ?Jesus is Lord' which indicates the presence of the Holy Spirit with/in them according to 1 Corinthians 12:3. If that is the case one would expect correct understanding of the crucial Christian doctrine of the Trinity. Yet, as we have illustrated they do not grasp it even then. So is the Holy Spirit a failure? What is it?
Dr. White then continues, "I think Islam forces the confusion upon them through its misrepresentation of the doctrine.certainly the Qur'an never identifies the doctrine of the Trinity in ny accurate fashion, and to an depths watsoever." Does Islam really mispresent the Trinity? I would ask Dr. White to please get hold of Dr. Louay Fatoohi's book The Mytery of the Historical Jesus for clarification and to stop making basless remarks on this. Afterall, Dr. White enjoys reiterating that he goes back to Islamic sources to try his level best not to misrepresent Islam. Shabir Ally have explained what the Qur'an says regarding Christian theology to Dr. James White in their debates yet Dr. White repeats the same thing again and again. It gets boring after a while. In any case I find it totally ironic(bordering on hypocrisy) that he accuses the Qur'an of not presenting an accurate or in depth description on the Trinity as if that affects its integritywhen that is PRECISELY the problem that Christians face with the New Testament! We have already seen the words of Dr. Millard Erickson who elsewhere in the same book says, "For here is a seemingly crucial matter where the Scriptures do not speak loudly and clearly."  Roger Olson and Chris Hill mention, "Nowhere is it clearly and unequivocally stated in scripture."  Shirley Guthrie who is a professor of Systematic Theology at Columbia Theological Seminary puts it even more bluntly,
"The Bible does not teach the doctrine of the Trinity. Neither the word "Trinity" itself nor such language as "one-in-three", "three-in-one, one "essence" (or "substance"), and three "persons" is biblical language. The language of the doctrine is the language of the church taken from classical Greek philosophy. The doctrine of the Trinity is not found in the Bible." 
The fact that the Trinity is neither clearly nor explicitly taught in the Bible is also observed in mainstream works like The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology and The New International Dictionary of New Testament Testament Theology.
In no more than 2 minutes and 35 seconds Dr. James White have dug a rather deep hole for himself. Need I go on? Well, if I didn't I would seem cheeky and I don't want to be perceived as cheeky. So, let's proceed.
Dr. James White then goes on to mention Ahmed Deedat who he says misrepresented the Trinity. Whether he did or not is none of my concern and I'm not sure why he's even bringing Ahmed Deedat to the table. Nowhere in my article did I allude to Deedat's arguments. I have watched most of Ahmed Deedats talks and debates. I have hardly found instances where he actually used any of the three verses that I have employed in my article to disprove Jesus' alleged divinity. Anyway, let's move on.
At 3:18 to 3:34, Dr. White reads Numbers 23:19(God is not a man.nor the son of man) and says that he has used this many times when talking to Mormons. I am glad that he has done so because now we do not have to bicker over the translation which will be important later.
At 5:00, he states that that what I have written displays, "fundamental misunderstanding on the part of Muslims when Christians speak of the incarnation of Jesus Christ." He then says that the logos took on the flesh at 5:27.
At around 6:35 onwards he reads what I wrote,
God did not actually become man. What happened was that God manifested Himself in the flesh. So the verse does not contradict the fact that Jesus was both man and God at the same time.
This argument is favoured by apologists like VenomFangX. It basically postulates that God dwelt in the human cocoon made of flesh and that the flesh itself was not divine and God certainly did not transform into the flesh.
After reading that at 6:50 he blasts me with the accusation, "tremendous amount of confusion on the part of the author." First of all, it's not even my view to begin with. I was merely reporting what the Trinitarian Christians propose and in this instance I named VenomFangX which I spoke with on this subject two days before I wrote the article. Dr. White accuses me of "TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF CONFUSION", yet if you listen carefully he does not actually show you clearly where the supposed confusion is. He then goes on to explain from 7:05 onwards that, "we affirm that the human nature that Jesus represents to us, the logos, the word became flesh. That human nature is a true human nature. He was truly human. It wasn't just uh an outward cocoon indwelt by deity." Where did I write that the cocoon was meaningless flesh that was not fully and truly human simply indwelt by the deity??? You can see how Dr. White has started a straw man. What does reincarnation mean? Lehman Strauss in his Why God Became Man? article writes at the beginning, "It is derived from the Latin in and caro (flesh), meaning clothed in flesh, the act of assuming flesh" In other words, the flesh was like a cocoon! So where is the error in what I wrote? Nowhere!
At 7:26 to 7:28 he reads the part where I wrote, "the flesh itself isn't divine" to which he remarked, "well, of course not." And then he goes onto say that this is one of the early errors in Christology that was rejected. He then further argued that, "The incarnation is not that God ceased to be God and became flesh. It is not that you have the deity here and the flesh here and becomes an intertwining so that you have 50% God and 50% man. So, there is a fundamental confusion on the part of Ibn Anwar here." I challenge anyone to show me where I said that God ceased to be God and became flesh and that when the incarnation happened it was 50% God and 50% man! Where did I say any of those things? Nowhere! Again.straw man.
From 9:30 onwards he claims that I have misrepresented his position in the debate he had with Sami Zaatari when they were discussing the incarnation. He is referring to my mentioning of Sami's debate with him in the UK in my article. He then says, "Lord willing the actual debate footage is finally going to be delivered to us hopefully in the near future so that we can finally provide to everyone as we wanted to all along." What the heck is this guy on about? What jungle has he been living in? The debate has been out for about three months now! Everyone can watch it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f24JASepa34&feature=channel_page.
From 10:15 to 10:23, he repeats again the straw man that, "it is not 50% God and 50% man and so to assert that I was saying that is completely inaccurate. The essential nature of God did not change." He then says, "He does not cease being all powerful, He does not cease being eternal(11:03 to 11:04) etc. in the incarnation." For one more time, where in the world did I assert that in the incarnation it was divided to 50% God and 50% man? Am I confused or is Dr. White confused? What about the unchanging essential nature of God in the incarnation according to Dr. White? Well, maybe Dr. White forgot that Trinitarians believe that Jesus lowered himself? That is the word used by them to describe Jesus' lowly position before the Father during his ministry e.g. he did not know the hour. Perhaps Dr. White needs to reread his basics.
From 13:10 to 13:21 he reads the part where I mention that he had a debate with Abdullah Al-Andalus and conceded that the Son of God(who is himself fully God) died. But then he starts the common Trinitarian word gymnastics game. Please watch the part carefully and you will agree with me that what he explains is just confusion. He tries to explain that to die does not mean to cease to exist! When the Son died there was no ceasation of existence, but rather he gave his life. It was the giving of life he says. I pray for the day that these folk can speak without tongue in cheek. I never once mentioned anywhere in the article that death = ceasation of existence. This is yet another straw man. At 13:41 he agrees explicitly that Jesus died saying, "of course", but then he starts talking about caesation and non-ceasation in death again as if that is what I implied!
At 14:50, he agrees that Christians must accept the position in order to be consistent with their theology. However, he misunderstood what I meant by that. Dr. White thought that I meant the divinity of Jesus. I'll reproduce the sentences from the article here,
"Ergo, the death on the cross was not simply experienced by the flesh, but also by the divine part of Jesus. This position has to be accepted by Christians who take him as God so as to remain consistent with their theology as we shall see."
Anyone reading that can see that the last sentence is a direct continuation of the previous. What I meant was that Christians must agree that Jesus died bodily and spiritually(the fully God part also) which Dr. White actually agreed to as did Jay Smith whom I cited in the article. What is the point? You will see in a moment.
At 15:04, he starts to read the paragraph where I mention John 1 and says that it's a strong text, but then he wonders why Muslims do not engage in stronger texts like Titus 2:13 etc. that prove Jesus' divinity. He then accused Muslims of borrowing from Jehovah's Witnesses rather than doing first level research in this subject. Where and what exactly have I borrowed from the JWs in my article?? I did not cite John 1 to try and refute the Trinitarian interpretation on it(that it shows Jesus as divine) as is the assertion made by Dr. White. I have cited it to prove a very crucial point which I will have to reiterate here soon. At 16:10, Dr. White claims that , "It sems that Ibn Anwar thinks that God ceased being God and transmuted into something else. That's clearly not John's message." Not at all. Let me explain the whole excercise here as simply as possible. We have seen that Dr. White, Jay Smith and other Christians believe that when Jesus died it was the so called "God-man" who died i.e. both the man(truly human) and the God(truly God) died in which case they must now agree that the God part was imbued into the flesh since Spirits in reality cannot be harmed by human means, let alone killed. This is what we find in Luke 12:4, ""I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body(soma), and after that have nothing more they can do." If the body dies, expires or whatever the Spirit does not. If Trinitarians say that God the Son died then the implication of that is that the fully man was indeed the fully God despite their saying that the flesh itself isn't divine. This then means that God really became man which is in fact the message of John 1:14 provided we accept the Trinitarian understanding of logos = theos and the logos who is theos BECAME flesh. It does not say that the flesh was covering some spirit dwelling inside. Numbers 23:19 clearly negates the idea that theos is a man and yet Trinitarians claim that theos who is logos and vice versa literally became man. Any reasonable person will be able to see that there is a clear contradiction involved. Trinitarians often like to equate certain attributes or titles given to Jesus with those given to God in the Old Testamet then make the conclusion that they're really the same being which is why they share same attributes and titles. Yet, when we want to apply the same standard with Jesus being A MAN with three explicit verses in the Old Testament saying that God isn't a man they are not willing to employ that standard anymore and wish to instead get us into a convoluted theological gymnastics. In the video response Dr. White has only really covered the 2nd rebuttal part and left out the other points discussed in the article. I invite the readers to please consider all the points mentioned including the ones that Dr. White thinks he has refuted. Lastly, we come to "The Son of God" which was mentioned earlier. In my article I have illustrated that the verse attacks the idea that Jesus is God in a two-pronged approach. One would be that God isn't a man which what our discussion has revolved around so far. The other is that God is not the Son of Man. Who is the Son of Man? Jesus! One of the verses used by Trinitarians to prove Jesus is God is Mark 14:62 where Jesus predicts the Son of Man coming in the clouds sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One. Michael Licona a New Testament historian and Christian apologist used this verse to argue for Jesus' divinity which can be watched here. How can the verse prove Jesus is God when Numbers 23:19 clearly says that God is NOT the Son of Man? More than 80 times Jesus is called the Son of Man why should Numbers 23:19 not be applied to Jesus? The reason is because if it is applied to Jesus, he ceases to be God and Trinitarians obviously will not stand for that. I would like to thank Dr. James White for taking the time to respond to my article and brother Sami Zaatari for continuing to post my articles on his website.
* Dr White says that Jesus, the Son of God who is God the second person died and so the Father was there to look after the universe. In his response he expanded on this and included the Holy Spirit. What he has done is reduced the Trinity to only two persons at least at the time of the death of "the Son" on the cross. What was the son doing if he did not cease to exist before he was "reincarnated"? Was sleeping? In addition, saying that the second person who is fully God died goes against 1 Timothy 6:16, "He alone has endless life and lives in inaccessible light. No one has ever seen him, nor can anyone see him. Honor and eternal power belong to him! Amen" Dr. White also stated at 11:03 to 11:04 that God is eternal. To be eternal is to never experience death. Everybody knows that. If 1 Timothy 6:16 is about the Father and not Jesus then Jesus is also disqualified as God or maybe he will have to be demotted to a lesser position by Trinitarians and those who worship him. That is because the verse identifies that He(God) alone(monos) has endless life(athanasian).
The following is a brief exchange I had with my good friend HopeinChrist who happens to be a Trinitarian and also Dr. White's fan.
Ibn Anwar Al-Shafie: lol
Ibn Anwar Al-Shafie: hi
Ibn Anwar Al-Shafie: did u watch the video?
Ibn Anwar Al-Shafie: : p
HopeinChrist: sorry, which video?
Ibn Anwar Al-Shafie: lol the one James White made
HopeinChrist is currently chatting in, Christians pray for Muslims
HopeinChrist: it's a video?
HopeinChrist: I looked on his blog
Ibn Anwar Al-Shafie: yea
Ibn Anwar Al-Shafie: do you believe God was killed?
Ibn Anwar Al-Shafie: did God die?
HopeinChrist: I believe God incarnate died on the cross.
HopeinChrist: but I would not just say "God died"
Ibn Anwar Al-Shafie: lol
HopeinChrist: I would say God incarnate died
Ibn Anwar Al-Shafie: so the flesh died but not the God part?
HopeinChrist: you can laugh
HopeinChrist: I mean that the Son, who is God in the flesh, died on the cross.
Ibn Anwar Al-Shafie: so God did die
Ibn Anwar Al-Shafie: but the second person that is
HopeinChrist: like I said
HopeinChrist: I think it's more accurate and specific to say God incarnate died.
Ibn Anwar Al-Shafie: when you say that I don't think you're being clear either to yourself or to me
HopeinChrist: so why you must press it into "God died" I don't know
Ibn Anwar Al-Shafie: i want to know from you as a trinitarian
HopeinChrist: I think I'm being MORE clear.
Ibn Anwar Al-Shafie: did the flesh die or did the God part dwelling in the flesh die or both?
HopeinChrist: I'm not sure which words you aren't understanding
HopeinChrist: but I believe God the Son BECAME flesh
HopeinChrist: He added humanity to His deity
HopeinChrist: and He died on the cross
Ibn Anwar Al-Shafie: THANK YOU
Ibn Anwar Al-Shafie: : D
HopeinChrist: You're welcome.
?-END OF EXCHANGE?-
 Millard J. Erickson. God in Three Persons, A Contemporary Interpretation(1995). Grand Rapids: Baker Books. p. 11
 The New Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIV. p. 295
 Encyclopaedia Britannica, Volume 11. p. 928
 Millard J. Erickson. Op. Cit. p. 108-109
 Roger E. Olson, Christopher A. Hall. The Trinity(2002). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. p. 1
 Shirley C. Guthrie. Christian Doctrine(1994). Louisville, Westminster: John Knox Press. p. 76-80