A Response to "A Tale of Two Debates" by Roger Perkins

For those following the White and Perkins debate please read. Below are James White's statements from his blog with the replies of Roger Perkins following.
A Tale of Two Debates
10/22/2011 - James White
You could not have a stronger contrast between the mindset and behavior of my two debate opponents this week, and, in particular, in their response to how I bent over backwards to try to make these debates as fair, even-handed, and useful as possible. I refer to my taking a tremendous amount of time on the Dividing Line going over their own presentations in recent debates so as to make sure that they would know exactly where I was coming from and exactly what I would be saying. Abdullah Kunde clearly listened, learned, incorporated my comments, accepted correction where necessary, and the result was a very excellent debate that while direct and forthright was likewise respectful and cordial, the very best kind. The issues were clearly presented and debated as a result of Abdullah Kunde's willingness to listen and learn without feigning offense at my refutation of some of his previous statements.
Alas, Roger Perkins chose the exact opposite path. Rather than listening, pondering, considering, learning, and growing, he chose to be deeply offended at what I did in responding to his own statements on the Dividing Line. All through the debate he kept referring to what I had said in the most negative fashion. He was clearly personally offended and chose to interpret my review in the most negative light. The result was to be expected: just as in the debates we reviewed, Mr. Perkins showed himself unwilling, or unable, to "hear" what was being said to him. You could tell he was sitting there, waiting for me to finish my question, just so he could launch into a prepared response, even if that response was not even relevant to the question I was asking. He came with sound clips, for example, from the Dividing Line, as I had predicted. However, he put them together so as to try to forge a contradiction or inconsistency on my part. But to do so he had to obviously violate the context of my statements. He took one statement where, in commenting on 1 John 2:23, I said that you cannot "separate" the Father and the Son. Obviously, to any semi-honest or reasonable person, my meaning was clear. I was saying you cannot have the Son without the Father, and you cannot have the Father without the Son. John's point is that confession of the Father demands confession of the Son, and vice versa, in light of the Father's testimony to the Son (a concept found in John 5, 8, etc. as well). Then he took that specific comment that had a specific context about what was being said in 1 John 2:23, and tried to create a contradiction with other statement I made regarding the distinction that is provided by the actions and attributes of the Father, Son, and Spirit. Hence, I had said that we can distinguish the Father from the Son, and he took this to be a contradiction to what I had said about 1 John 2:23. Does Mr. Perkins really lack the ability to grasp that basic level of human communication and language, or is he just being obtuse in defense of his tradition? I do not know.
It is immediately clear you view yourself as the one holding the superior posture, and others in the position of needing to ‘learn’ [ a natural outgrowth of “Reformed Theology“].  This, of course, coming from someone who unashamedly told the world you have no problem acknowledging you worship a God who exists as “three-divine-individuals, each with their own separate center of consciousness.”  All right there for the world to see if you don’t edit it.  None of God’s covenant people knew a thing about such an existence, nor ever once acknowledge such….and I’m to “listen” and “learn” from you?  No thank you sir.   

Secondly, I have received emails from all over the country about your behavior and I have started to post an open letter to you several times, but saved it for the debate.

The sound-bites were your chosen words, not mine.  As an Apologist, you of all people should know to chose your words more carefully.  If you do not mean them, do not say them.  I wanted the folks to hear you refer to the “divine persons” as “separate individuals”…..which I assume was just me taking your words “out of context” also…right?  Not hardly.    
One mistake I made in hindsight was to not press him to answer a question I had raised in my opening statement. I even ended my second portion of cross-examination almost three minutes early, mainly out of disgust at trying to reason with someone who clearly had no intention of engaging in rational thought. I should have taken that time to press him on the mediatorial role of Jesus today, since he did not make a single comment on the question, and I do not think he has ever considered the question at all. I likewise misspoke once and referred to Mr. Perkins "mistranslating" Rev. 21:22, when I should have said "misinterpreting" or "misreading." My point remained valid, however, as he had attempted to draw a parallel between this text and John 10:30 when there is no valid syntactical relationship whatsoever.
I as well made some mistakes in hindsight.  I “misspoke” in regards to Col. 1:16 & the Son creating by His “Pre-eminence.”  As soon as I said it, I knew it did not at all reflect my thoughts & did not sound coherent, but there would be no opportunity to correct it in a cross-ex.  My point was & is, that if it can be shown that Vs’s 14-15 are conclusively referring to the Historical Messiah, then all of the pronouns in Vss. 16-18 are contextually identifying the same as opposed to switching back to the pre-existent world in mid-stream of the Hymn.  The preceding passages refer to the Son who redeemed us to the forgiveness of our sins.  How and when did this happen Mr. White?  In Eternity, or at Calvary?  This is the same one who is in view in vs. 16, based upon the conjunction hotee introducing the dependent causal clause.    

The point in Rev. 21:22 is that both passages have, as the subject of the verb, the Father and the Son.  You adamantly claim that the plural verb in Jn. 10:30 demands plural persons [even though those on the very spot did not reach this conclusion, even after hearing the plural!?], then shift the verb usage identifying the same subject in Rev. 21:22.

Also, when you asked me how I would translate the term Jn. 17:5, I should have responded by telling you that I feel no need to retranslate the term, as you apparently do [& did with Phil. 2 w/ clear insertions unfound in the Greek Text].  But, alas, hindsight is indeed 20/20!

You are quite in error concerning the mediatorial role of Christ.  I have studied the issue quite well & a Trinitarian explanation is quite inadequate.  From your perspective, you would have the 2nd divine individual in heaven interceding to the 1st (presumably) divine individual.  Strange that the Revelation does not at all give us this picture, but rather has Jesus sitting on the Throne [Rev. 3:21; 22:3-4, etc.].  In fact, you apparently were not listening closely enough since I addressed this in my closing statement.  Paul expressly identifies the mediator:  “…and there is one mediator between God and men, the MAN, Christ Jesus.”  Nothing in the text about a “2nd divine person in the Trinity” now is there?  This is supplied by the Trinitarian world…not the actual text itself.     
One of the limitations of doing debate like this at the speed we were going was illustrated last evening, but it is also a learning opportunity as well. I found Mr. Perkins is not interested in learning, but others will be, so here we go.
At least three times, maybe four, Mr. Perkins insisted that the term εἰκών was defined by Bauer as "a man" or, I think he may have said as well, the form of a man (I have the recording from my LiveScribe pen, and may track down the specifics before the next DL). He used this as his sole defense in trying to avoid the obvious teaching of the text that the Son, as the Son, pre-existed and was, in fact, involved in creation itself. Now, there was no way for me to look up the reference during cross-ex. I suspected that, as we have documented many times, Perkins was engaging in lexical abuse, but I could not speak and open up BDAG and check the small print at the same time. So, during Perkins' closing statement, I checked the reference, and confirmed my suspicions. After the debate I approached Mr. Perkins and asked if he had the reference to Bauer handy. He said he did. He opened his notebook to Colossians 1:15.
He had one line, which said Bauer, "of a man…Col. 1:15." No page number, nothing else. So I showed him the actual entry in Bauer on my iPad (in Accordance), and explained that he was mistaken. He refused correction. Let me explain it to those who have a willingness to learn.
What you have omitted form your recount of our table-side chat is that I also showed you Friberg’s Analytical definition of Aykone, which expressly references Col. 1:15, even if I did inadvertently misquote Bauer [I’ll be showing you own “abuse” below].  Here’s what it says for those interested in “learning”:  “an EMBODIMENT, or living MANIFESTATION of God form, appearance (CO 1.15).“  See also Vine’s on this terms usage in Col. 1:15.  Clearly this refers to the human life of the Messiah, or else you have the 2nd divine individual in heaven “embodied,” with the other two invisible.  If the “divine individuals” in the Trinity are as separated that one can be distinguished from the others with a body, wherein lies practical Monotheism?   To this, you simply responded by correcting my pronunciation of the Lexicon & said you owned the grammar.  Not much of a response now is it?

I then asked you if you would accept Bauer’s on the preposition usage in the Baptismal accounts in Acts, to which you just responded with, “You don’t know how to read a Lexicon.”  Then, turn there & read it for yourself!  Point is you’re highly selective in what you accept from the Lexicons & what you reject in them….all due to your theological preferences.
Below is the relevant entry from BDAG, just as I showed it to Mr. Perkins. I have put what he quoted in bold so you can see how far removed the two portions are:
2. that which has the same form as someth. else (not a crafted object as in 1 above), living image, fig. ext. of 1 εἰκὼν τοῦ θεοῦ (ἄνθρωπος πλάσμα καὶ εἰκὼν αὐτοῦ [God] Theoph. Ant. 1, 4 [p. 64, 17]; w. ὁμοίωσις Did., Gen. 56, 28) of a man (cp. Mitt-Wilck. I/2, 109, 11 [III BC] Philopator as εἰκὼν τοῦ Διός; Rosetta Stone=OGI 90, 3 [196 BC] Ptolemy V as εἰκὼν ζῶσα τοῦ Διός, cp. APF 1, 1901, 483, 11; Plut., Themist. 125 [27, 4]; Lucian, Pro Imag. 28 εἰκόνα θεοῦ τ. ἄνθρωπον εἶναι; Diog. L. 6, 51 τ. ἀγαθοὺς ἄνδρας θεῶν εἰκόνας εἶναι; Sextus 190; Herm. Wr. 1, 12 al.; Apuleius as image of God, Rtzst., Mysterienrel.3 43; JHehn, Zum Terminus ‘Bild Gottes’: ESachau Festschr. 1915, 36–52) 1 Cor 11:7 (on the gradation here cp. Herm. Wr. 11, 15a); of Christ (Helios as εἰκών of deity: Pla., Rep. 509; Proclus, Hymni 1, 33f [Orphica p. 277 Abel]; Herm. Wr. 11, 15; Stob. I 293, 21=454, 1ff Sc.; Hierocles 1, 418: the rest of the gods are εἰκόνες of the primeval god.—The Logos: Philo, Conf. Ling. 97; 147. Wisdom: Wsd 7:26) 2 Cor 4:4; Col 1:15 (εἰ. τοῦ θεοῦ ἐστιν ὁ υἱὸς αὐτοῦ ὁ μονογενής Did., Gen. 58, 3; cp. εἰκὼν γὰρ τοῦ . . . θεοῦ ὁ λόγος ἐστὶ αὐτοῦ Orig., C. Cels. 4, 85, 24.—EPreuschen, ZNW 18, 1918, 243).—εἰ. τοῦ χοϊκοῦ, τοῦ ἐπουρανίου image of the earthly, heavenly (human being) 1 Cor 15:49. (See SMcCasland, The Image of God Acc. to Paul: JBL 69, ’50, 85–100). The image corresponds to its original (cp. ὁμοίωμα 2ab; Doxopatres [XI AD]: Rhet. Gr. II 160, 1 εἰ. καὶ ὁμοίωμα διαφέρει; Mel., P. 36, 245 διὰ τῆς τυπικῆς εἰκόνος; 38, 262 τοῦ μέλλοντος ἐν αὐτῷ τὴν εἰκόνα βλέπεις and oft. in typological exegesis of the OT).
Now, Mr. Perkins does not read Greek. I do not believe he would even know the Greek alphabet, let alone could he make his way through the text. So portions of this kind of material are simply beyond his comprehension. But you do not have to actually be able to read koine to accurately use a Greek lexicon. The second portion of the entry for εἰκών gives a major semantic domain delimitation; the subcategories are marked various forms of punctuation.
Hence, the portion Perkins cited, "of a man," is in the first sub-category, and is followed by examples such as "Philopator as εἰκὼν τοῦ Διός." Another sub category is introduced with "of Christ," and this is in contrast to the preceding category "of a man." The reference to Colossians 1:15 is under the listing of "of Christ" (along with 2 Cor. 4:4) it is not under the listing of "of a man." Mr. Perkins is simply wrong, without question, to have read the entry as he did, yet, when I pointed out his error, he rejected my correction. So I told him to go ask a secular Greek scholar, since clearly he will not believe anything I say. Any scholar of the language will correct him on the matter. To insist, as he did in the debate, that "Bauer says this term refers to a man" and then to build his interpretation of the entire text upon that, is to demonstrate yet once again a clear example of "lexical abuse."
I am currently in the process of relocating to begin a church plant & will review this more closely after I get settled in.  What I can state immediately is that Bauer above references “Christ,” the term for the historical Messiah [God in flesh], both definitionally as well as biblically.  Jesus Himself affirmed that He was the human Messiah to the woman at the well.  “I, who am speaking to you am He”.  Peter declared to the Human he was speaking to “YOU are the Christ.”    
I was also disappointed that Mr. Perkins decided to accuse me of errors in citation of source, such as Moulton-Milligan, without giving a single example. In fact, at one point, when I challenged him on why he had not offered meaningful exegesis of the key texts (Phil. 2:5-11, John 17:5, John 1:1), his response was that he had pages of exegesis on those texts right there in his notes! Well, that's not much of an argument when you don't present it, is it? Evidently he just wanted us to trust him.
In your article “The Pre-existence of Christ,” you reference Moulton in dealing with Monogenes Theos as “more accurately, the unique God”.  Moulton says nothing about the “unique God” in his given defintion, yet you include it in quotes?  Here is the quote you referenced as it appears on pg. 417 of Moulton & Milligan, “…monogenes is used in the NT of only sons and daughters, and is so applied in a special sense to Christ in Jn. 1:18, where the emphasis is on the thought that, as the only Son of God, He has no equal…”.  

Before you charge me for the ellipsis, I’ll simply point out your usage of the same in your definition of monogenes in your book, The Forgotten Trinity, in which you only partially quote Bauer’s.  Here’s the portion you conveniently omitted:  “But some, (e.g., WBauer) prefer to regard monogenes as somewhat heightned in mng. In Jn…to only-begotten or begotten of the only one…”.  Readers can see BAGD, pg. 527 for the full quote.  

In your book The King James Only Controversy, you introduce evidence for the rendering Theos, as opposed to Heios in Jn. 1:18 from UBS-4.  Problem is, you totally omitted the support from UBS-4 to the contrary.  Here’s a small sampling of the support for ’Son’ in I:18 you left out from UBS-4:

Uncials: A (5th Century), Seven codices from the 8th & 9th century
Miniscules: Families 1, 13, 28, 157, 180, 205, etc.
Ancient Versions: Several old Latin Mss., Vulgate, the Curetonian version of the Old Syriac (3rd - 4th century), the Harclean and Palestinian Syriac, the Armenian & Ethiopic versions, etc., etc.
Church “Father’s”: Tertullian (200 a.d.), Hippolytus, Letter of Hymenaeus, Alexander, Theodore, Chrysotom, Jerome, etc.

Ironically, you appeal to many of the same “Father’s” on pg. 205 of The Forgotten Trinity in support of Rom. 9:5.  Thus, you appeal to these sources when they support you, then conveniently omit from your audiences consideration when they don’t.  “Abuse” indeed!

I had a response prepared for every argument you raised, but in countering your charges & attempting to make my own points, they got lost in the mix.  Basically, I planned to appeal to Colwell’s Rule in Jn. 1:1 & the various grammarians who say if Colwell’s Rule applies we have “Inadvertent Modalism [a misleading term in itself].”  I have numerous quotes from various grammarians arguing for the definitive application of Jn. 1:1c, in stark contrast to the supposed qualitative tag you argue for.  Yes, you both reach the same Trinitarian conclusions, but it’s for Theological preferences, not the actual grammar of the text.  

In Phil. 2, the present participle huparcho is contingent upon the aorist indicative “consider,” which Wallace defines as “simple past-time.”  The participle necessarily derives it’s “time-ness” from the verb & Wallace is clear on this.  I then had many references to Trinitarian Grammarians who disagree w/ you on this text….including Robert Reymond.        
In any case, the contrast between the two debates is very instructional. In one, my opponent listened to my comments and incorporated them into his preparation and comments, resulting in a clear, cogent, meaningful, and cordial debate. In the other, as the saying goes, "not so much." 05:22:54 - Category: General Apologetics - Link to this article - 
Finally, you had the perfect opportunity to clearly present your side to our agnostic moderator, who is a judiciary debate judge.  He intentionally walked up to me after the debate to tell me he thought I presented the more clear case & won the debate.  Personally, I have never stated this in any debate as I leave it to the few unbiased audience members who are in search of truth.  He then outright said to me, “He was an arrogant….”.  As a Christian, I will not use the language he chose to use [for which he immediately apologized], but he was clearly aggravated with you.  This was evident in his calling you down on your repeated “I’m an authority on the Lockman Foundation” assertion.  Of course, this has absolutely nothing to do with the text in question [Gal. 3:20].  Firstly, you did not work on the translation team of this particular passage (or the entire work to my knowledge); secondly, did the translators faithfully communicate the genre of the Greek text or not?  If not, you have a responsibility to correct them (which wouldn't surprise me at all).  My point stands & I was told so by a Trinitarian Pastor who was the audience that night.

In conclusion, I am well able to interact with you on a scholastical level, but will not bow down to your pompous condescension, as well noted by many, many others.   I am not a part of your glory-train & have studied you quite thoroughly & reject your presuppositions rife in your arguments.  If you begin your usual postings on YouTube, I’ll simply clip you stating to the world that you worship a God who exists as “Three-Divine-Individuals, each with their own center of consciousness.”  We shall see what happens!

Roger Perkins


Ray Haruzi said...

Is the video or audio of this debate available already?

Josiah Foster said...

Can someone please explain how a postion of "superiority" is a natural outgrowth of “Reformed Theology“?

Anonymous said...

No true trinitarian denies that Jesus is the same God as the old testament. He is Jehovah, the same Jehovah of the old testament. However, while he is the same Jehovah (Same GOD) of the old testament, He is not the same PERSON as the FATHER. Jesus (The Son) is an individual PERSON, not an individual GOD.

Anonymous said...

On top of that, if you really believe that the Jesus as a man had a human conciousness...and as the divine he had a divine conciousness....don't you understand that that is TWO PERSONS? After all, that is all Trinitarians are saying, THREE self conscious individuals, yet ONE GOD. In Oneness, at the incarnation, GOD must exist at least as TWO self concious individuals. It is the position you hold whether you want to admit it or not. The next question naturally follows...Was Jesus only a man? or was he truly God as a Man? Either way, by definition of PERSON in Trinitarian language...You must have TWO at the incarnation.

Anonymous said...

I would like to make this comment, following my previous post about Jesus having a Human Consciousness and a Divine Conciousness: Let me please apologize for any Trinitarian that has accused you of not "being saved." Is it possible to not understand what the Trinity is, or what is being said by Trinitarians? Absolutely. Admittedly, it takes some concentration, and a bit of work in figuring out what is specifically meant by terms like "Being" and "Person" to arrive at a Trinitarian conclusion, but not at the expense of scripture, or belief in ONE God. I believe one can be saved without a thorough knowledge of the Trinity. As a former Oneness Pentacostal, I assure you, I believed with all my heart that Jesus was God himself. However, I did not have a genuine understanding of what it meant to SAY..."Jesus is God." When you SAY "Jesus is God," you must be able to define HOW it is that He indeed is God. Mormons believe Jesus is God, but they believe it in a specific way, that way being: that Jesus is a seperate GOD than the Father alltogether. I believe Roger Perkins, and indeed the majority of Oneness Pentacostals genuinely believe that Jesus is God. I also believe they are genuinely saved. That being said, when one realizes that if indeed Jesus possesed TWO CENTERS OF CONSCIOUS (one human, one divine), you must at that point concede that you are speaking of TWO DISTINCT PERSONS. (Self Conciousnesses) Trinitarians believe Jesus is Jehovah, but they believe he has always existed as Jehovah the SON...meaning, the SON is divine, distinct from the FATHER eternally. (Not a distinct GOD, a distinct "self consciousness"...or "Person.") So again I pose to my Oneness friends that will read this...When you say Jesus' Humanity pray to his Deity, (One human consciousness to One divine Consciousness) Can you at least concede that you indeed are placing TWO PERSONS in the one individual that you call the "SON?" If so, the next step is to figure out if that Human being that you call the "SON" was divine in his own right, God Himself...is the SON (the man that walked this earth) divine in his own right? Was Jesus TWO PERSONS? or was he ONE PERSON with TWO NATURES? I submit to you, that he was ONE PERSON, and he speaks and acts as ONE PERSON, and that ONE PERSON was divne. The SON himself is the Divine person I am speaking of. And he speaks as that One undivided Person, to the PERSON of the Father.

Adversus Trinitas

"...unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins." (John 8:24 ESV)