Saturday, March 26, 2011

James White's Stretching of the Truth About His (Accredited) Teaching Assignments

By Dave Armstrong (3-26-11)

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 In a nutshell, Bishop White is stating currently that he is still teaching at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, when in fact he hasn't done so since January 2010 (a three-day seminar), and hasn't been listed on the adjunct faculty for that school since December 2008. Critics of his suspect that he does this because GGBTS is accredited. Since White yearns for academic respectability, despite having a bogus "doctorate" from an unaccredited diploma mill, this is important to him, so he fudges the facts. This is the charge. It's not a matter of life and death, but it is ethically elementary and important to be honest about things like this.

Now, the latest development today regarding my part in this controversy, is a post that appeared at Cryablogue: a site run by White comrades and fellow anti-Catholics. Evan May, one of the regular contributors there, wrote a post entitled "Consistency" (3:35 PM, 3-26-11). It's always important to document and to keep safely filed away any dealings with Tribalblogue, since posts (and especially combox comments by Catholics) can inexplicably, mysteriously disappear or be modified to hide incriminating evidences and arguments that are difficult to refute. Mine could quite possibly be removed.

But if it is allowed to remain, mocking and obfuscation and topic-changing are almost certain to follow in the combox,
since it shows I am innocent of the implied charges -- and these guys are the type that can never admit that a Catholic is right about anything. Accordingly, I've already been ridiculously mocked on the site in an absurd, clueless post by regular trash-talker Gene "Troll" Bridges, entitled "Thou Hypocrite" (3-24-11), and of course, the Grand Poobah Steve "Whopper" Hays couldn't resist his usual mindless mocking, either ("Customizing Hell," 3-27-11). I'll keep you posted!

As usual, I wasn't informed that I was mentioned in the post. Such rudimentary courtesies are exceedingly rare in the anti-Catholic blogosphere. I happened to run across it in my perusal of the usual anti-Catholic sites today.
Here is May's post in its entirety:

Since evidently Peter Lumpkins has not permitted my comment to display on his blog, I will post it here:
Dave Armstrong said:

If White would ever simply say he's sorry (as Peter noted), and messed up (like all of us have many times, being mere sinful mortals), this thing could be so over, and he would gain a lot of people's respect for such an acknowledgment.
Hey Dave,

While you're calling protestant apologists to admit their errors, do you have a similar call to repentance for Ergun Caner?


I responded as follows:

I haven't followed the Caner thing very closely (who has time for the endless Protestant internal disputes?; it takes all my time to counter Protestant theological errors), but from what I've seen, it seems that James White has raised some troubling issues about him and that he has fudged facts, just as White now appears to be doing.

I would also agree (again, from what I know about it, which isn't too much) that Caner's errors are far more serious than White's fudging about where he is currently teaching and whether he has a legitimate doctorate (he does not, of course).

That said, it doesn't follow that White should not set the record straight because Caner hasn't, nor that he should not because his fudging is probably far less than Caner's.

The attempt here is to determine hypocrisy and double standards, or inconsistency on my part (per the post title), but as you see, I am completely consistent in this instance, since I'm not a Caner advocate, and have no personal interest in how that turns out. That is Protestant controversial stuff.

I am calling for people to be honest and straightforward about themselves. I don't care if a person is a Protestant, Catholic, Buddhist monk, atheist, dog catcher. It makes no difference, since it is an elementary ethical issue upon which almost all men can agree.

The fact remains that White himself inquired (as he reported last June) as to his status at GGBTS. He knows what answer he received, but thus far has been silent about that.

One expects Bishop White to both mock and essentially ignore any critic or anyone who asks him a clarifying question. What else is new? He's been doing that with me for over 15 years now, and clearly it is his modus operandi with fellow Protestant critics as well.

(posted at 6 PM, 3-26-11)

* * *

Further exchanges in the combox at Tribalblogue:

Color code:

Evan May: blue
Matt: red
Pilgrimsarbour: purple
Matt Burke: green
Gene M. Bridges: orange
Mark | hereiblog: brown

White claims to be teaching there now, while the place itself doesn't list him in its list of adjunct faculty. It didn't as early as Dec. 2008 (over two years ago by my math). That's a disconnect. You and other White fans can try to rationalize it away all you like, but the facts of the matter are plain.

Even if you want to call White's doctoral studies at an unaccredited institution not "legitimate," White has not promoted any false information here. He has always been very open about the nature of his degree.

Of course. I acknowledged this years ago in my first critique of his degree. But it's completely beside the point. His take on degrees and the purpose of obtaining them does not somehow make a doctorate become something different from what it is. My only objection is his claiming that he has such a degree and calling himself "Dr." He wants the prestige and the honor without having done the work, and that is wrong, and ultimately dishonest. I have no objection whatever to his reasoning for doing what he did. I think it was a worthy motivation. But it is not therefore a doctorate degree because he had admirable motives in writing about the Trinity, etc. This is fundamentally relativist, liberal thinking: "hey, I had the noblest of intentions, therefore I can define terms however I want to, and whoever says I can't is a bigot and an ignoramus with nefarious motives; out to get me."

Dave, or anyone else taking exception to JW's doctorate, is not questioning his value judgment; they are questioning his degree.

Precisely. The values involved in his choice of school (taking his report at face value, as I do) were perfectly honorable; the claim to a particular degree that is not in fact a degree is dishonest and downright silly as well.

James White has, to the best of my knowledge, always been open about the nature and history of his studies. At no time, that I'm aware, did he lie and say that his doctorate is an accredited degree when it is not.

He hasn't stated that in those terms, no, I agree, but on the other hand, calling yourself "Dr." in effect does the same thing, since it is universally understood, pretty much, what is entailed in obtaining a doctorate. White simply didn't do that work; therefore he shouldn't use the title because it is a running falsehood: based on how that terminology is understood. It puts out false information. White is no more a "Dr." than I am. He has accomplished many things in apologetics (many of which I agree with when he is doing stuff other than lying about and misrepresenting Catholicism), and that ought to be sufficient for him without having to be dishonest about his credentials by using "Dr." in the way he does. He has a graduate degree from Fuller, which is an admirable thing. Why can't that be enough? The desire to falsely advertise one's accomplishments raises character questions. One might reasonably suspect a pride problem there.

How do you know his unaccredited degree program was not just as rigorous as an accredited one?

Simple: by reading his own account of what he had to do to get it; as I recall, basically writing his book, The Forgotten Trinity. That is not a doctoral dissertation; sorry. A dissertation, as I understand it (I may be wrong here, but I don't think so), is something where the person can be considered to know as much or more than anyone in the world on the topic they choose to treat in the dissertation.

To claim this about The Forgotten Trinity would be an absolute joke: laughed out of any accredited doctoral program in the world.

A Master's level education is all that is required to teach as an adjunct faculty member at an SBC seminary.

I'm not aware of anyone denying this, who is raising questions about White. I certainly don't, since this (I would think) is common knowledge. It's not the issue at hand at all.

And it isn't as if Dave Armstrong has an qualifications whatsoever to level complaints in that regard.

One doesn't himself have to have something (or experience something) to know the proper definition of it. I no more have to have a doctorate to know what it is and what is required to get it than I have to have an abortion to know what that is. Bridges uses the same clueless reasoning that pro-aborts do: saying that men can't talk about abortion, etc.

Apparently, White has demonstrated his abilities to those at GGBTS. His relationship with the school and students have always been good.

Great. This has nothing whatever to do with Lumpkins' critique or my own.

While White's doctorate may be unaccredited it does not mean he did not do any work for them.

No one is saying that, either. What we are saying is that, while he did work and toiled away, this does not make x=y. What he did is simply not anywhere near the amount of work or the rigorous standard entailed in legitimate doctorates. He has no basis for calling himself "Dr." I know this probably pains his ego tremendously, but life is tough. We can't make up our own definitions of things. It doesn't work that way.

Whatever one thinks of the quality of White's work, he did not just buy a degree.

Who said this? I'd like to see a quote if you think Lumpkins did. I haven't said it. On the other hand he did register at a diploma mill and jumped through the necessary hoops to get the bogus degree.

Well Dave, had I been addressing your points I would have mentioned your name. I was, instead, replying to Matt and expanding my thought to some more general issues concerning accreditation, qualifications, etc.

So please read your own reply of "who said this?" because I was not "saying that" toward what you referenced. Please try to keep me in context.

My replies remain valid. You made some points; I replied to them. Lumpkins and myself are the two main critics researching this matter at present. I myself was the subject of the post under which this discussion is occurring. So it is relevant for me to say that I (as one of the main critics) have not claimed what you have said White critics have claimed; nor, to my knowledge, has Peter Lumpkins.


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