When I start to get to know people at church, one of the many topics that come up are our favorite authors. MacArthur, Piper, Mahaney, and Bridges are usually the names that come up in the discussion, and I always want to hear the stories they have when encountering what they’ve come to learn about God through their books. It’s even great to hear how they came to know of their favorite authors and how they have been a great help in times of crisis, fear, or even depression. The main reason people within the church have favorite authors is that they are led to a deeper knowledge of the God who saved them. Books like Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis or Knowing God by J.I. Paker have been truly instrumental in building up a faith that is rooted in the Word of God, creating a trust in God and His Word to protect them from daily struggles in temptation. They even break habits of sin resulting from a diagnosis of their self-admitted distortion of who God has revealed Himself to be. Tim Keller spoke of John Owen’s The Mortification of Sin as the book that saved his own life and that were it not for that great work, he would not be in the ministry today.
I personally have given God thanks for having R.C. Sproul write his most popular work The Holiness of God, which truly removed the veil of sinfully not taking into account God’s only attribute thrice-repeated of holiness and how serious He takes His and our own holiness in sanctification. You cannot help but praise God in song and tears for being given His own revelation, whether it be in creation, the written Word, or the living Word made flesh. It’s awakened in me a desire to want to tremble at the listening, reading, and study of His Word.
One of my favorite authors, if not, my favorite author, is my fellow brother in the faith, James White. His books have been such an encouragement to me and give a refreshing look at truths defended in the same way they were defended at a time when life and death were literally at stake. He takes it just as serious as those who were persecuted for it. I was first made aware of his ministry by a somewhat overzealous interest in apologetics, which is an area that specifies how to defend the faith against differing cults and religions. He opened the Scriptures in every radio program I’ve ever listened to in responding to those who would be proponents of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, Roman Catholicism, Oneness Pentecostalism, Islam, and more. He is well-versed in the Scriptures and relies on the veracity of the Word to be the foundation of an effective ministry that could open up opportunities for the Gospel to be preached with passion. He has truly been an example of one who has a strong belief in the local church to grow as a Christian (which I hadn’t come to understand until the last couple of years). That seems a little rare in ministries focused on apologetics, since some are bent towards defending the truth at all costs, even to the point of sacrificing truth to win an argument. James White has been a man of God who pointed me to the cross as a truth to cherish and a truth to fight for in a day where even many professing Christians would be quick to throw under a bus.
James White is an elder at the Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church, who has degrees from Fuller Theological Seminary and Coumbia Evangelical Seminary. He was a Critical Consultant of the NASB Updated Bible, and has taught Greek, Hebrew, Systematic Theology, Christology, Apologetics, and more. He has been in over 60 moderated public debates with Roman Catholic, Mormon, Islamic, and Oneness Pentecostal apologists. He’s written many books that are faithful to Scripture, and very God-glorifying in pushing for a deeper knowledge of God that will lead to a life that will seek to defend His name when slandered or devalued.
His work on the Trinity has led me to love God in knowing more of who He truly is, and that it isn’t enough to just know the truth; it must be lived out in greater love for God and people. His work on Roman Catholicism challenged me to represent the beliefs of others for love of the truth and to never be slack in representing Christ in a day where doctrine is no longer considered important. His work on John 6:35-45 has led me to see a picture of God’s sovereign plan in redeeming and reconciling those who are completely undeserving of His mercy and grace. His work on justification shattered my soul in ever having the idea that I could bring anything to the table to merit salvation in any way.
He’s been known to say a few phrases such as, “Theology Matters,” or “No Compromise” or “It is evil to pervert the Word of God,” and especially, “What you win them with is what you’ll win them to” (in matters of the Gospel you present to unbelievers). He has been gifted by God to see the issues clearly, and defend the Gospel in a way that will make you want to be a student to see how God can use one person to bring Himself much glory. The truth of God’s Word is genuinely at stake, and White makes you aware of that. He has been caught up by the God of the Bible, and seeks to honor Him in presenting Him before others in an accurate way.
When you can find a Christian writer who can bring you to the presence of God in a way that leaves you in awe of what you’re getting a glimpse of, stick with them! James White is a man I commend to anyone who wants to see how theology can direct your life and thoughts to ponder the deep truths of God’s Word, and give you a deeper desire to “sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence…”