I Thank God for James White

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…”  

How Deep the Father’s Love

I never thought this post would end up this way, but the sovereign providence of God has helped me re-evaluate my heart in a certain area of my life that not a lot of people know about. That has to do with the absence of my father throughout my entire life. I meant to write a post that would allow me to express my thoughts about where I am, and who God has put in my life, along with who He hasn’t placed in my life, that would hopefully be of help to someone. Let me explain.

When I was younger, I always had a hard time dealing with the fact that I did not have a father figure in my life. I would see my other friends who had both parents meet them after school or at sports events, and I never understood what that was like. I used to play tee-ball and would end up calling my uncle dad simply because of the fact that he came to watch me play (he never corrected me for saying that). Growing up without a father soon became the norm for me, and I thought those with both parents were the strange ones. I grew up watching WWF and baseball, seeing the strength and power they exuded in front of thousands.

When I realized I didn’t know how to shave or how to tie a tie, I panicked. My cousin ‘Coco’ helped me with both, and I have barely managed since then. NJROTC showed me, among many things, how to dress appropriately. There were, of course, the officers that displayed a sense of manliness that I wanted to emulate simply from the fact that I was extremely scrawny in high school (it hasn’t really changed since), and yet they, not being completely buff, still had a presence of manhood surround them. My vague conception of a father only worsened a couple years back when working at a grocery store. The other men prided themselves in being strong and doing well at their job, yet at the same time have an utter disregard for the women there (one of them told me, “You’re too Americanized and not Mexican enough because you respect women too much”). I lost all hope of finding a good father figure.

The absence of my dad has hit hard over the years, building up a dangerous view in my own mind about how I was going to be as a father. I resolved to become a good father to spite my own father, as if this would somehow shame him. It had nothing to do with wanting to please God or living in the light of Gospel truth. My kids would receive love and care merely for the sake of ruining any chances of reconciliation with him, should the opportunity present itself. Fellowship with the Father soon began to fade, which came from my distaste in fathers, particularly my own. The idea of becoming a man slowly dissipated. I was in sin, covering myself with filth as time flew by. This was one area I didn’t believe God addressed in His Word; and yet that just showed my lack of intake that would have shaped my heart and mind sooner, among other things.

The absence of a father makes you try to find a substitute, and I had none in sight. Everyone I knew became a huge disappointment, and I’m sure they weren’t consciously trying to be one. I always shifted the blame to those in authority to be my example to follow, and yet, they never managed to satisfy my expectations. My selfishness completely directed my own actions, hardly ever submitting to Christ’s Lordship in this matter, and truly searching His Word to see what He has to say.

The Gospel is this: that God created the world, and as creator, has complete ownership of His creation. We were created to bring God glory and worship Him, yet we failed miserably and are deserving of eternal punishment because of our complete disobedience to the eternal God and His Word. Our being completely unable to save ourselves is what drove the Father to display His love for us by sending His own, unique Son, to die for us, His enemies. The Heavenly Father is showing how good He truly is by the death of His own Son, and yet loves Him, and Christ to His Father. Infinite love is displayed on the cross to give God the Father infinite glory, for it shows His infinite holiness, justice, and love, all at once! Those who believe in Christ the Son as the sole Savior from sin and God’s wrath and repent of their repugnant sins are now called ‘sons and daughters.’ God the Father is now our Father, having a new heart and a new nature to seek to obey Him in love as a redeemed slave. The Son loves the Father, and wanted to show His love by obeying Him always, to the point of death. Even now, as the resurrected Christ, constant fellowship within the Trinity displays the love one has for the other, and vice versa. Do you see the implications this has on cultivating a right view of fatherhood?

This is one of the reasons I love being a member at Lighthouse, because it fosters that community of the older men teaching the younger to be an example of good deeds, since the older men are examples of good deeds, as Titus 2:7 exhorts. The instruction of sound doctrine led to a changed mindset in my own life to no longer see my father as an easy target to hate, but a sinner in need of sovereign grace, and I can’t allow my bitter feelings get in the way of the most important relationship that has been broken, namely, that of my earthly father and my Heavenly Father.

Why have I brought all of this up now? Well, I recently received a call from a cousin on my dad’s side of the family, who wanted to get to know my mom’s side of the family, and let me know that my father is still alive. I was taken aback by this, not really knowing what to say. Before, I could say, “Sure, I’d love to meet my dad; of course, I won’t be mad at him because he left.” Now, the opportunity might come and my words be put to the test. Will I ever meet my dad? I have no idea. How will I respond? No clue. And yet, now I know what I will never say: “I wish you were dead.” I hope to say, “You are dead, but you must live.” I must tell him the Gospel. That is of most importance; not who was hurt the most by him leaving, or how he must make amends. As much as he may have hurt me, it’s nothing compared to how much he has hurt God and offended Him in disobeying His Word. I am not holy; He is holy, and my father has slapped Him in the face with his sin, and that multiple times. He was responsible for the death of God’s only and unique Son, and He must be punished if he doesn’t bow the knee. God has given me a love for Him, and that creates and builds my love for my earthly father. I pray one day my father and I will have true, biblical fellowship with each other and look to the loving Father for grace and mercy, praising Him for being the God He has revealed Himself to be, and that all honor would go to Him, and never to me nor my father.

Where Do We Go From Here?

In spite of the fact that I cannot transfer my xanga entries onto WordPress, I think I might press on and start up a new blog here. I have to admit, WordPress is appealing in its clean look (and I do love clean). I do not plan on giving up Xanga altogether, since I’ve been on that thing for more than 2 years (4 if you count the one I had before). It might take time, but I do want to be more focused on what to write on this blog, and write a little more of what I am learning, instead of posting a dozen links for every post (though I love doing that). It’s going to be a challenge, but I pray to God that He would continue to renew my mind and heart in how to write a blogpost, so that I may show Him to be the Supreme One in my life, knowing that I must die to self and live for Christ. Hopefully, there will be overlap, even identical posts on both sites, but an increasing opportunity to show how wonderful Jesus truly is when He is seen in a true light: as the Sovereign Master over all, my life in particular, and that He has died in my place as the sinless suffering servant, and rose again from the dead to reign in the heavens with His Father, with His Spirit in us to make us more like Christ in preparation for the day of His second coming. I hope and pray that the Gospel and Christ are at the forefront of my mind and heart when I write a post, and that this is only a minor extension into the Christian life that must also be lived outdoors as well. It seems like I’m treading new ground here, and am not sure where I will go. Hopefully, I will follow Christ deeper and with more zeal, in the hopes that I please Him in telling others about Him and living a life guided by His perfect and pure Word.

Sea La Gloria Solo a Ti

To God Alone Be The Glory