Dr. James White, How Ya Like Me Now?

In the comment section of my last post Dr. Andy Jackson stated that he had kindly given us some "link love" over at his site SmartChristian.com (thanks for that, by the way, it appears that we are the only atheist site linked to your site).

I went over and browsed through some of his site (which appears to be an excellent Christian resource with a political bent). I noticed a link there that mentioned some comments that Dr. James White made about one of John Loftus' posts here.

I clicked over to Dr. White's site and found Dr. White's comments for myself (sorry, I couldn't figure out how to link it, so you will have to do some searching for it if you want to read it).

Though Dr. White is primarily addressing Loftus' post, he made one comment that I found interesting. He wrote, "That has been my experience: 'former' Christians, freed from the constraints of morality, express their hatred for the faith in the most outrageous ways, and rarely do you find a high regard for fairness or accuracy in their writings."

I found this quote interesting for personal reasons. Though, as I've explained, I hope to keep my anonymity, it might interest some readers that I was once one of Dr. White's students. I took a class in Christian Philosophy which Dr. White taught as an apologetics class.

During that (albeit, short) class, Dr. White was very complementary of my work. Because of my background, the two of us often chased rabbit trails that most of the other class members could not follow. I got an "A" in that class.

After reading Dr. White's quote, I couldn't help wondering what he would think of me now. He, obviously, doesn't believe that one can be a "'former' Christian," so would he, now, believe that I had fooled him?

More generally, do Christians think that I fooled people throughout my whole life. Did I fool my mother when I was five-years-old and I asked her to help me pray the "sinner's prayer" so that Jesus could live in my heart? Did I fool my whole church and pastoral staff when at age 13, I "felt a call to Christian ministry" and they prayed for me and held a dedication service for me? Did I fool my Baptist Student Union when they prayerfully selected me to be a summer missionary? Did I fool the first church that (after a great deal of prayer) hired me as their youth pastor and music minister? Did I fool the conservative Christian college that prayerfully selected me to be a campus leader? Did I fool the churches that, after prayer, asked me to preach at their "revival services"? Did I fool the seminary that designated me one of their outstanding students when I graduated? Did I fool the panel of pastors that questioned me, prayed about their decision, said they got God's confirmation of that decision, and then recommended me for ordination? Did I fool the church that prayed for God's guidance and unanimously ordained me to the ministry? Did I fool the missions' committee that prayerfully selected me to be a church planter for their denomination?

And most importantly, did I fool myself? I know that many of the Christian readers, here, have theologies that say that this can't be the case, but I tell you that during all of those years, I honestly believed that I was a Christian. I believed that I was a sinner unworthy of grace, that Jesus died for my sins, that I had been elected for salvation by the God of the universe. I was serious about my sanctification. I prayed that God, who had began a good work in me, would be faithful to complete it. I wept over my sin. I wept over the lost. I attempted to study to show myself approved so that I would be a faithful minister of God's Word. I prayed over every decision I made in life. I attempted to seek first the kingdom of God.

So, all that time, was I fooling myself? Or was I like the seed that grows in shallow soil with no roots so that I was blown away at the first "trial" (though there really was no "trial" to speak of)? I know that your theology may not allow for the non-perseverance of the saints, but honestly, I can describe it in no other terms. Where I once had faith, hope, and love in and for the Christian God, I now only have skepticism.

But how can one fool oneself like this? If one thinks they are expressing faith, how is that different to the person than actually expressing faith?

Whatever your theology dictates, don't you think it is telling that hundreds (if not thousands) of Christians have prayed over me and believed they received word from God that "his hand was on" me, and that God was directing them to confirm my ministry? If all of these Christians can be fooled after firmly believing that God has given them confirmation of my Christianity and my "call" to ministry, how can any Christian trust that they are hearing anything from God?

No, James White probably never prayed to God to confirm my salvation, but he did consider me an intelligent person, well-versed in Christian apologetics. But all of these churches that firmly believed that God had indicated that I was a believer and called to do Christian work, what can be said of all of them?

It seems that the Christian is only left with three options: (1) those churches didn't really get any guidance from God and only believed they did, (2) they did hear from God, but he tricked them into thinking that I was a Christian and a "called" Christian minister, or (3) that a true Christian can lose his or her faith.

Anyway, James, if you are reading this, I want to say that I enjoyed your class and still think fondly of it. Your post simply got me thinking about my past. If, by any chance, you can figure out who I am, I would appreciate it if you kept it secret. Thanks.

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