A regrettable decision to “dialogue” with spiritually deadly error

Thanks to Chris at Wings of the Wind for his indirect contributions to this post.

In my last “Weekend Roundup” post, I commented on a recent “dialogue” session held in Idaho featuring evangelical and Mormon apologists. The purpose of that dialogue was to promote understanding between the two “parties” and find common ground. Argh! I’m definitely of the opinion that evangelical apologists should debate false religionists rather than dialogue with them. Accommodation and cooperation with error are slippery slopes that always lead to compromise and betrayal of the Gospel. Try to imagine the apostle Paul endeavoring to dialogue with the priests of 1st-century Roman paganism in order to benefit “mutual understanding and respect.” Imagine, if you can, Charles Spurgeon, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, John R. Rice, or James R. White having dialogue sessions with clerics of false religions. Stop the tape! James R. White? I should definitely rewind that statement in light of recent events.

I truly appreciate the ministry of evangelical apologist, James R. White. He’s done some excellent work examining Roman Catholicism and other non-Christian groups. I have favorably reviewed several of his books on this blog. Where other popular apologists have accommodated and compromised, White has stood firmly on the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. I can’t think of another apologist who has engaged in more debates with false religionists than James White. There are those who have criticized White for his sometimes brash approach but perhaps a debater needs a bit of a thick skin.

This past January, White inexplicably chose to hold two dialogue sessions with Dr. Yasir Qadhi, “one of the most influential conservative clerics in American Islam.” One of the sessions was held at an evangelical church and the other at a mosque. The purpose of the project was to increase understanding between Christians and Muslims. It appears that one of the specific goals of the dialogues was to convince the Christian audience that the extremist views of Al-Qaeda and ISIS are not representative of the majority of Muslims in this country.

Dr. White is currently catching a lot of flak from some concerned Christians for organizing the dialogue sessions with Dr. Qadhi. They wonder why a Muslim apologist was allowed to promote Islam in a church setting. They wonder why White felt obligated to help Muslims counter the general public’s negative perception of Islam due to jihadist terrorism. Is that White’s responsibility?

I believe Christian apologists should be debating false religionists, not dialoguing with them. Certainly, individual Christians “dialogue” all the time with unsaved friends, family, neighbors, and acquaintances in order to ultimately lead them to salvation in Jesus Christ. But dialoguing with clerics of false religions in front of audiences in an effort to “increase mutual understanding and respect” is definitely not the mission of apologists of the Gospel. Despite this recent breach of prudence, I honestly don’t believe James White would participate in a dialogue session with Roman Catholic clerics. How then did he see clear to organizing friendly dialogue sessions with a Muslim cleric?

I believe Dr. White made a mistake in this case, a rather large one. But nobody’s perfect. We all have spiritual blind spots. We must pray for Dr. White as he deals with the repercussions of his regrettable choice. Unfortunately but predictably, some of the objections to Dr. White’s misjudgment are being posted on the internet in the form of ad hominem attacks.

“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” – Ephesians 5:11

Christian Muslim Dialogue Pt.1 | Dr. James White & Dr. Yasir Qadhi

Christian Muslim Dialogue Pt.2 | Dr. James White & Dr. Yasir Qadhi

White’s defense of his dialogues with Yasir Qadhi begins at the 27:50 mark of the video below:

15 thoughts on “A regrettable decision to “dialogue” with spiritually deadly error

  1. Well stated, Tom.

    “Certainly, individual Christians “dialogue” all the time with unsaved friends, family, neighbors, and acquaintances in order to ultimately lead them to salvation in Jesus Christ. But dialoguing with clerics of false religions in front of audiences in an effort to “increase mutual understanding and respect” is definitely not the mission of apologists of the Gospel.”

    I completely agree. There is way too much of this happening among respected Christian theologians today. I don’t think anyone will find an example where Charles Spurgeon put himself in this position. We know that Jesus didn’t and He’s the one who really counts.

    God’s blessings…

    Liked by 3 people

      1. You’re welcome, Tom. And thank you for sharing your views and not just because we are in agreement on key issues. It is always a blessing to learn from another brother online. I don’t have the knowledge of Catholicism that you have but I am aware of the major difference and it is always nice to run into someone who can dialog with them better than I. I’ve been around protestant churches all of my life and there are so many problems with them these days that much of my focus has been there. I’m finding that there is a lot of overlap these days with the introduction of the thinking of mystics, some with Catholic roots, into many protestant churches. We certainly need to keep our eyes open and attempt to help those who are struggling to see through the fog.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I appreciate another brother I can converse with and who doesn’t get “freaked out” by a blog named “excatholic4christ.” I’m very much aware it’s not a “ecclesiastically correct” title these days.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Reblogged this on Wings of the Wind and commented:
    I’ve spent a bit of time on this particular issue lately. Tom of excatholic4Christ has written an excellent post which mirrors my position on this topic. I must add a link to a Youtube channel where I first heard about this issue. I’ve had to criticize the young Christian apologist Keith Thompson for a picture he put up with one of his videos on this topic but I think Keith is correct about the main issue which Tom confronts in his post.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. To be honest with you I haven’t followed this whole controversy as well as I should have been. Last week I barely kept my head above water with my own blog since I was busy in our small church getting VBS coordinated. Thank you for this post.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Tom, James R. White’s teaching and writing ministry have been very helpful to my husband and me so I will agree with you all in praying for him. We’ve been listening to Keith Thompson but especially to Dr. White’s response to objections to what he did.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Maria. I’m very grateful for White and his ministry as well. I gather some of his motivation for organizing the dialogues was to counter negative public sentiment regarding Muslims as a result of jihadist terrorism. These dialogues were regrettable and I hope White learns from this. Even so, there’s no comparison between these misguided dialogues and, say, Ravi Zacharias’s promotion of Catholicism.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You and Chris are right to bring this forward – if only Dr. White will listen to correction!
        Ravi Zacharias and others in the ecumenical movement are misleading people and working against the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.
        The world is a mess. The Lord will take care of all of this!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. RE: The world is a mess. The Lord will take care of all of this!

        Yes, we needn’t be frazzled. The Lord was aware 2000 years ago of the apostasy at the end.
        “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” – Luke 18:8

        Liked by 1 person

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