On June 26, 2017, I posted some commentary on the James White / Brannon Howse debacle. The following day, I decided to take it down.
Having followed both Alpha and Omega Ministries and Worldview Weekend for some time, I immediately found some of the accusations suddenly being hurled at Dr. White by Brannon Howse and WVW to be quite ludicrous. But when I saw that some unexpected battle lines were being drawn, I thought it would be wise to refrain from criticizing Worldview Weekend too harshly. Perhaps there was more to the story; perhaps Dr. White was in fact out of line in dialoguing with Yasir Qadhi.
Over the following few weeks, subsequent emails I received from WVW (dated 7/1, 7/12 and 7/25) were filled with nothing but links to articles, audio and presentations perpetuating the same irresponsible and erroneous narrative against James White. Now that Howse has dug himself so deeply into this mess he seems to be doing everything he can to defend his allegation that White is an Islamic dupe and working for the enemy (instead of simply repenting of his slander and retracting his accusations). Despite numerous attempts by various ministries to correct Howse, it is apparent that no retraction is forthcoming. It is for this reason (and because of a friend’s insistence) that I reprint my original post (with minor additions where relevant).
This is not a running commentary and I have no intention of trying to keep up with all of the new allegations by Howse, but perhaps the post may be helpful to someone:
For anyone who follows Alpha & Omega Ministries or listens to The Dividing Line, it is old news that apologist James White engaged in two public dialogues with Muslim apologist Yasir Qadhi back in January 2017. At two different venues (a church and a mosque), these men capitalized on the rare opportunity to discuss the key tenets of Islam and Christianity in a cordial and civilized manner, and the mixed audience benefited by hearing each man represent his respective faith in a scholarly fashion. For at least some of those present at one or both of the events, it has been called a success in terms of interaction and evangelism. But for many in the Dispensational, fundamentalist, internet self-appointed “discernment ministry” crowd, not so much.
In the weeks to come I am quite certain that more ministries and bloggers will jump on the bandwagon and with Brannon Howse arrogantly declare that White is an “Islamic Dupe” or “useful idiot” for the Islamic cause. Howse, in both his article and recent Worldview Weekend TV series has repeatedly condemned the White/Qadhi exchange as an “interfaith dialogue”. This strawman is erected more times on his radio show than I would bother to take the time to count. James White called his exchange with Qadhi a “dialogue”, and I think that is an appropriate term since it was not a formal debate but a chance for each to present and discuss the major tenets of Christianity and Islam. But not in any sense could what White and Qadhi engaged in be termed an ecumenical “interfaith dialogue”. Yet, in one WVW program, Usama Dakdok compares the White/Qadhi exchange to the ecumenical charades of Rick Warren. This is an outlandish and absurd misrepresentation of James White and shows either a complete ignorance of the actual content of the dialogue or an unrelenting quest for hunting down heresy where there is none to be found.
It is possible that James White was already a blip on Howse’s heresy-hunting radar since White took the opposing position to Chris Pinto (another of Howse’s WVW contributors) regarding the history of codex sinaiticus and textual criticism in general. It is speculation on my part, but it is certainly plausible that White was already relegated to the outer fringes of Christianity in Howse’s mind ever since White debated Chris Pinto in 2013 and dismantled Pinto’s assertion that codex sinaiticus is a modern hoax. Many who take a KJV-only (or textus receptus-only) position are quick to cast dissenters into outer darkness, so perhaps such was the impetus for searching out White’s “hidden agenda” in dialoguing with Qadhi. Sadly, but not surprisingly, in a Noise of Thunder Radio program, Pinto has followed Howse in accusing White of engaging in an “interfaith dialogue” and claims that White has admitted such, using “that term [interfaith dialogue] in particular”.
Howse writes: “I have been writing and speaking on radio about Yasir Qadhi for several years, so it is not like I went looking for this controversy.” Yet on his radio program mocking James White as a “useful idiot” for the Islamic state, Howse seems oblivious to the specifics of the White/Qadhi dialogue. He claims to have done a whopping “five hours” of research the morning before his initial broadcast on this topic was thrown together, and Howse and his guests’ agenda appear to be cataloging White as another casualty of the great apostasy so prominent in Dispensational eschatology.
I happen to follow the work of both James White and Brannon Howse. I am a member of the Worldview Weekend Situation Room and was disappointed to find one particular polemics ministry parting ways with Howse a few years ago. For the sake of Brannon Howse and the ministry of Worldview Weekend, I hope that this attack on White does not result in even more reputable teachers departing from Worldview Weekend. On the other hand, if Howse refuses to repent of his slander and cease this crusade he has instigated against White, it is only natural that any remaining respectable, discerning Bible teachers would depart from WVW. More importantly, James White’s name must be cleared and other “discernment experts” should be reluctant to follow suit in slandering White and accuse him of ecumenical “interfaith dialogue”.
Brannon Howse and his co-hosts need to repent of their disingenuous remarks toward a brother who has devoted an enormous amount of time researching, writing, and teaching on the subject of Islam. The White/Qadhi dialogue has already accomplished more in terms of evangelism than the method employed by Howse, Dakdok and Hadian, at least according to some of the testimonies of those who were actually present at one or both of the venues. Even if Howse and others disagree that Christians should engage in such an exchange, or disagree about the venue, at the very least they could have watched the entirety of the two-part video before blasting White into oblivion and treating him as if he is suddenly an opponent of Christianity. White has debated more Muslim scholars than Howse, Dakdok and Hadian combined, and if any of these men would listen to some of those debates, they would find that White faithfully proclaims the biblical gospel and in no way “compromises” and gravitates toward “Chrislam” [consider some of the brief excerpts from the dialogues compiled here].
I cannot take the time to go through and address the many misrepresentations made by Howse, Dakdok and Hadian, but James White has already addressed these many accusations in great detail on recent episodes of The Dividing Line (here, here, here, here and here [as well as subsequent programs]), which I strongly recommend to anyone tempted to jump on Brannon Howse’s bandwagon. If anyone after listening to the White/Qadhi dialogues or the many rebuttals and corrections by James White can continue to allege that White has engaged in an ecumenical “interfaith dialogue”, that he embraces “Chrislam”, has become an “apostate” or is being employed as a “useful idiot” for the Islamic cause, such a person is either devoid of reasoning or devoted to promoting damaging and despicable lies about a fellow brother.
It is ironic that Brannon Howse complains of being slandered in facebook groups when it is he who is guilty of slander by his ignorant accusations against Dr. White. In this same video address, Howse says that “some defend him [James White] because they are ignorant, but they don’t desire to learn, or even have ears to hear”. It is truly shocking that Howse could bring himself to make such a statement when it is clear that he himself has not taken the time to simply listen to both the dialogues and the Dividing Line commentary before attacking White. Throughout this particular video, Howse astonishingly portrays himself as the victim of slander and false accusations.
The persistent and unrelenting misrepresentation and slander by Howse and his contributors is shameful and astounding. Unfortunately, unless Howse is moved to humble repentance, I do not foresee Worldview Weekend recovering from this controversy, a controversy which they themselves have initiated. As I already mentioned, Chris Pinto has taken up and promoted the Howse narrative, and seeing that the late Dave Hunt’s cohort T.A. McMahon is also a contributor to Worldview Weekend (and like Dave, a longtime opponent of reformed theology), my prediction is that it won’t be long before The Berean Call jumps on board and disseminates Howse’s lies to its vast audience [at this point, The Berean Call appears to be silent on this controversy].
Jimmy DeYoung is another WVW ministry partner who has gone even further in his promotion of the Howse narrative. According to Pulpit & Pen, “Jimmy DeYoung that recently referred to Dr. James White as a heretic, unchecked on Worldview Radio [later clarified that Brannon Howse is not in agreement with this assessment by Mr. DeYoung”
In response to Howse’s video titled, “Warning: So-called conservative Christians defending spiritual enterprise with jihadi imam”, I would issue a warning to the many and various so-called “discernment ministries” and authorities who refuse to exercise discernment here because it may interfere with their primary mission of being the first to “expose” a professing Christian as a heretic. Research as minimal as simply listening to the White/Qadhi dialogues would have been sufficient to dispel the fictional narrative that Howse has devoted himself to promoting and defending over the last several weeks.
In the above video, Howse says concerning the defenders of White: “When their daughters and granddaughters marry Muslim men because they were led to believe they could find common ground between their faiths, don’t dare complain about a Muslim son-in-law and the Muslim babies populating the family tree.” Howse again shows his stubborn ignorance in making such a statement, since White has publicly proclaimed his desire for Muslims to be converted to Christ, and since both White and Qadhi assert in the dialogue that their respective views are “mutually exclusive”.
Unfortunately, I can no longer promote and support the work of Brannon Howse unless he repents of this sub-Christian deceitful behavior and retracts the many accusations he and his team have hurled at Dr. James White.