James White’s presuppositions

In my first post on James White, I tried to articulate some thoughts on what could be called presuppositionalism and evidentialism, that is, on the balance between one’s religious convictions and the open and self-critical attitude in the face of evidence contrary to one’s position.

Now what I would like to know in dealing with James White, and what I think every listener of his should ask themselves, is whether James White is even in principle open to consider conversion to another faith if faced with a sufficient amount of evidence.

On the one hand, White has admitted he doesn’t consider himself infallible (except perhaps as an interpreter of his own books – we all remember that hilarious cross-examination period with Robert Sungenis), but on the other, at least according to his sister (who converted to Catholicism – but let’s not go there yet), he has stated that he has never seriously considered the possibility that Catholicism might be true.

I would very much like to know if this piece of information is true or false. If true, it casts a shadow on White’s credibility and honesty as a seeker of truth and an apologist who otherwise seems to have made a real (and often succesful) effort in understanding Catholicism. If false, I would like to know where White draws the line between his presuppositions and the evidence.

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6 Comments on “James White’s presuppositions”

  1. MarcoPolo Says:

    James White’s sister, Patty Bonds, was interviewed on The Journey Home. Perhaps that will help.

    Patty Bonds from 2002: http://tinyurl.com/yk2dbr3
    Patty Bonds from 2007 (not sure if rerun): http://tinyurl.com/ybf87bo

  2. Patty Bonds Says:

    Actually, I asked that exact question once. I asked him if he had ever, for even a brief moment, considered the possibility that the Catholic Church was right. I asked that question for the same reasons you bring up. In order to have honestly investigated the claims of the Catholic Church and the evidence from the Church Fathers, he would have had to been open to the possibility that his previous views of Christianity were not necessarily accurate. But, of course, his response was that he had never, even for a moment, considered the possibility of the Catholic Church being right and then listed some reasons that were all based on presupposition and loyalty to the faith of his father. He is not intellectually honest with himself or others. It is a frightening thing to open your mind to another position, and he is not willing to take that chance.

  3. Ellie Says:

    Has James White ever answered publicly about the accusations against his father? It seems to me that it would be important to comment on those.

    I am also saddened and disturbed by his lack of empathy or concern for his sister all in all. I would hope that as Christians we would have some empathy or concern for people who have been abused. His criticisms of her coupled with a silence on the claims of abuse is extremely harsh.

    Either she is telling the truth and deserves his deep sympathy and care or she is delusional, in which she deserves his deep sympathy and care.

    Either way, I see a “Godly man” being harsh and unloving to a blood sister who deserves his love and concern. I am a Christian, and this is not how I want to believe we act.

    • Emil Anton Says:

      I think the problem lies in Calvinism. When you believe that you are regenerate and that regenerate i.e. true believers believe the same way you do (although as I’ve said elsewhere, White hasn’t been clear or consistent here) and that the rest are children of wrath and hateful to God, you easily adopt the same attitude you believe God does toward these people… sad thing. I think William Lane Craig is a beautiful counter-example with his loving attitude toward his unbelieving opponents. He is a Protestant but not a Calvinist, and it shows…

  4. Patty Bonds Says:

    Publicly he says I’m lying. Privately he tells me I’m crazy.


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