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Contending For “Grace”

The following is a statement that was sent to one of our supporters named Kim by a ministry representative of Grace to You whose title is listed as Internet Ministry Coordinator. Kim e-mailed him to ask him several questions about their executive director that has has been so vocal on social media in defense of James White and his interfaith dialogue with a Jihadi Imam name Yasir Qadhi. Kim posted the statement on our Facebook page. We also have the screen shots to validate that indeed this statement did come from Grace To You. Below you will find their statement and then my response.

 

 

Dear Kim,

 

I'm sorry to hear of your disappointment. For our part we are disappointed at the many misrepresentations and false accusations that have caused this controversy to become what it is. Phil Johnson and the elders of GCC have made it very clear that the event is not one that GCC would ever be involved with. But to summarize, here are some of the reasons why we believe the many accusations against James White are unfounded:

 

1. This was not a church event. A church was the venue (location) for it, but it was not a church event. It was on a Tuesday and unrelated to any official church ministry. The audience was not the congregation, but anyone in the community who wanted to attend. This is probably why James White is being attacked and not the church. One wonders whether this controversy would exist if they had chosen to use any other venue.

2. Both James White and Yasir Qadhi repeatedly made it clear that their intention was not to minimize differences and highlight similarities. They made it abundantly clear that the goal was simply to increase understanding and decrease fear out of ignorance. It was no different than a Christian teaching on Islam to increase understanding, except James White wanted people to hear it directly from a Muslim.

 

3. Wolves in the NT are those who pretend to be believers but are seeking to draw people away from the truth. In this case both men were abundantly clear about who they are and what they believe. Again, the goal was to make it clear what Islam and Christianity teach. It was not to attract followers to each other's side or pretend that there really aren't any meaningful differences.

 

4. Some have accused James White of wanting to build community by minimizing differences between Muslims and Christians. That is a blatant misrepresentation of what James White said. What he said was that both sides need to understand each other better so that we are not afraid of each other. And when we are not afraid of each other we can live in community better--and I'm certain that he means local communities, relationships with neighbors and co-workers, etc.

Once again, the point of this dialogue was not to hold hands and pretend that we are all one. The point was to understand each other better so that we are not afraid of each other.

If you haven't watched the debate, I would encourage you to at least watch the beginning to hear them set up expectations and explain what they are doing and why. You can find the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=updtj99Fp80

 

 

My Response:

 

1. What misrepresentations have been made of Dr. White and his interfaith dialogue and by who? We hear this all the time but no one ever gives any examples that are documented? In fact we hear examples that are proven false by the documentation.

Dr. John MacArthur makes it clear in his sermon entitled “Separating From Unbelievers” that we are the temple of God as described in 2 Corinthians 6:14-17. So the venue is NOT the issue at the end of the day. It is not acceptable to do in a church but it would NOT be acceptable anywhere to hold such a public spiritual enterprise that was NOT a debate but a self-described interfaith dialogue seeking to find where light and darkness agree and disagree.

In fact when speaking about this in the context of 2 Corinthians 6:14-17, even Dr. John MacArthur says the issue is so clear there is no wiggle room. He says "do not touch."  This Grace to You statement by this individual DOES NOT line up with the sermon by John MacArthur here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jaj796HkXzE

 

2. James White allowed Yasir Qadhi to highlight all kinds of differences about Jesus and the cross and the return of Jesus Christ, but James White never refuted him or offered the Biblical response. Qadhi said that Jesus taught Isalm and he was not refuted. Qadhi said that the crucifixion was a fake and he was not refuted. Qadhi taught the Five Pillars of Islam and was not refuted. That is just three examples. You can see that with your own eyes if you watch the interfaith dialogue here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRuGBLT5cVo

Their statement says: “They made it abundantly clear that the goal was simply to increase understanding and decrease fear out of ignorance.”

2 John 9-11 and 2 Corinthians 6:14-17 does not provide any loophole that says a Christian can enter into a spiritual enterprise with the representative of a false religion if the purpose is to increase knowledge and decrease fear out of a false religious system.

Then they state: “It was no different than a Christian teaching on Islam to increase understanding, except James White wanted people to hear it directly from a Muslim.”

Now this is really troubling because it DOES make a difference. A muslim can lie to you per the teaching of the Koran for the purpose of deception. This is called “taqiyya.” So why would you not want to learn Islam from a former Muslim who is now a Christian such as Shahram Hadian? Or from Christian, Egyptian and Koran expert, Usama Dakdok?Additionally, it makes a difference because a Christian is regenerated and indwelt by the Holy Spirit and thus the Christian can refute the lies of Islam through the teaching of the Word of God that is illuminated by the Holy Spirit.

 

3. Where does the Bible say they will ALWAYS appear as believers? Some pose as Christians, but some do not. New Agers do not pose as Christians, but would a New Ager coming into a church to teach their spirituality not be a wolf? Acts 16:17 reads: The same followed Paul and us, crying out and saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who show unto us the way of salvation.” This demonic girl was not posing as a Christian. In fact, she was well-known to the people as bringing her master much money by telling fortunes. Yet, she was trying to infiltrate this new church. She was declaring some truth to gain credibility and undermine the gospel. No, GTY, not all false teachers are known for being unbelievers.

4. Who has accused Dr. James White of wanting to build a community to minimize differences between Muslims and Christians? Who? Straw man alert! Then the GTY statement reads: “What he said was that both sides need to understand each other better so that we are not afraid of each other. And when we are not afraid of each other we can live in community better.” 2 John 9-11 and 2 Corinthians 6:14-17 does not provide any loophole that says a Christian can enter into a spiritual enterprise with the representative of a false religion if the purpose is to live in community together and not be afraid of each other. In addition, how can we live in “community” with a non believer? We can live in a town or city with them but we can only have community, unity, or fellowship with believers around the truth of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit that indwells us and marks us as a child of God.
 

Pastor Shahram Hadian and myself reached out to Grace Community Church and requested a phone conference with some of their elders so we might brief them on what the Executive Director of Grace to You was saying on social media and to stop the mess they now find themselves in from occurring. We are hearing from countless Christians that are absolutely heartbroken over the error that apparently Grace to You has fallen into, as evident by this unbiblical statement defending of James White.

I highly doubt that Dr. John MacArthur would agree with his statement put out by a ministry representative that is now on social media. We have sent communication to Dr. MacArthur pleading with him to release a statement publicly refuting even his own ministry employees for the sake of his sound Biblical reputation, years of faithful exposition of the scripture, and to encourage the Saints that are confused. Please join us in praying that God will extend amazing Grace and bring this to a resolution for His Honor and Glory and preserve a ministry we value.