James White and Chris Pinto recently debated the topic of whether or not Codex Sinaiticus is a modern forgery. White argued that it wasn’t, while Pinto argued that it was, thus defending his thesis put forth in his documentary on the subject. See my review of his film here.
The debate was wildly lopsided in favor of White because he is a seasoned champion as a public debater. Never has there been such an imbalance between opponents since Mike Tyson’s bout with Peter McNeeley. Additionally, he has taught extensively on textual criticism and had a firm command of the subject matter under discussion; but most importantly, he defended the correct position.
Kudos, however, do have to be given to Pinto, who admitted from the start of his opening statement that he had never done such a debate before. Not only was he going into “hostile territory” as it were, because he has come under heavy criticism from a number of individuals including myself, but he also lacked the textual expertise that White brought to the table.
The full debate can be heard HERE, along with about 35 minutes of opening comments by White who responded to Pinto’s absurd post-debate commentary in which he claimed White brought nothing substantive to the debate.
Now, in the preceding discussions leading up to the debate, those who defended Pinto’s Codex Sinaiticus conspiracy theory painted it as just a secondary issue among Christians. Sort of like amillennialist disagreeing with premillennialist as to how we are to interpret Revelation 20. In fact, in his opening statement, Pinto made the point to say the debate was an in-house disagreement between brothers in the Lord.
If we mean “secondary” in the sense that believing Pinto’s codex conspiracy is the same as teaching a false gospel, well of course I’d agree with him. But declaring the subject matter of this debate a “secondary” issue does not mean it is unimportant, nor does it absolve Pinto from his bad history lessons he presents in his film. He has to be held accountable.
The reason why this debate is an important one is that it challenges a prevailing stream of consciousness regrettably found among many believers these days. Pinto, and similar individuals like him, have taught numerous, undiscerning Christians to live spiritual lives that are, for lack of a better term, conspiratorially driven.
They are being told that church history has been largely shaped by sinister, dark forces that lurk in the shadows. Whether they be the Illuminati, Jesuits, or whatever, those forces ceaselessly toil to disrupt God’s purposes and the lives of Christians everywhere. If Christians are just only made aware of those forces and the evil they attempt to perpetrate and learn to identify and avoid them, why the church in America would be in much better spiritual health.
So the Christians who have come under the spell of that kind of spiritualized, tin-foil hat paranoia, gather to themselves literature and DVDs, like the stuff Pinto puts out, and believe if they know the intricacies of all the Masonic symbols on the dollar bill or on the monuments in DC, that they have risen to a level of sanctification that transcends your smarter than average Baptist deacon.
But not only does this nonsense inform Christians with a woefully errant understanding of historical fact, it draws people away from the important things of Christ to stirring up in their hearts trivial obsessions that honestly lead to no good at all. More importantly, it smites God’s character. Because conspiracy mongers unwittingly portray our Sovereign God as helpless in the direction of bad things influencing the Church. The Jesuits, for instance in Pinto’s movies, have been given almost omnipotent status. They control everything and there is nothing God can do about it. Practically every God-fearing, truth-loving, soul-winning, modern-version reading Christian has been duped by their trickery. Only those faithful TR/KJV onlyists hold the keys to truth. If more people would only read Gail Riplinger’s stuff.
What White did was to challenge the prevailing tin-foil hat theology that has infiltrated the minds of many Christians, exposing it as being bankrupt. How I pray more folks will have ears to hear and eyes to see in these matters.