James White, Rosaria Butterfield, and the Secret Changing of Minds
In my previous post on this subject, I entitled it A Brief Condescension to James White and explained that his defenses for Rosaria Butterfield are so embarrassingly bad the man is hardly worth responding to at all.
White claimed that Butterfield’s positive referencing of heretics was merely part of a “bibliography.” When I pointed out that Butterfield drew from these books her perspectives on Same-Sex Attraction in the body of the book and that list they were later mentioned in it was not a bibliography but a list of “recommended reading.” James went on to mock and deride me for not knowing what a bibliography is, saying that “recommended reading is just a less-scholarly, nicer way of saying “bibliography.” He then asked me in front of his foam-mouthed, frenzied Facebook toadies who lather him up with daily adoration and praise if I had noticed that the Recommended Reading list was nothing but a list of works cited in the book.
Of course, James was wrong. Most of the books in Butterfield’s Recommended Reading list are not mentioned in the book. That’s because it’s matter-of-factly not a bibliography. This is a list of toxic, profane, sodomy-stained books and authors recommended by Butterfield both in the list and inside the book itself. She credits them with helping to shape her thought.
James was busy calling me a slanderer five batrillion times a day for citing Butterfield’s own words (technically that was Diane Gaskins who wrote the article about Butterfield, but it was posted at Pulpit & Pen which makes me responsible for it). White insisted that it was “slander” to quote Butterfield.
Even James’ fiercest defenders were wringing their hands over his obtuse defense of the indefensible. They noticed his nitpicky complaints about Diane’s article that didn’t serve as the foundation for the debate, his overlooking of many issues addressed by Diane but zoomed over by James, apparently afraid touch them, and his insistence to eisegete his views into Butterfield’s writing. Even his closest fans could see that when White asserted over and over again that Butterfield does not use preferred pronouns that he was blind to truth. She’s on video promoting preferred pronouns and it’s all over her book.
All of that is par for the course with James White, whose monumental ego disallows him from admitting error, even when it is so clearly due.
Last week, White released communication between Butterfield and himself in which Butterfield ‘clarified’ (*ahem*) that she changed her views on pronoun usage because of Obergfell v Hodges. In other words, she once did promote preferred pronouns as an offering of ‘hospitality’ but now, because of Obergell, she no longer does.
James was quick to use this as evidence for his accusation of “slander” on our part (an over-used and improperly applied accusation if ever there was one). If you made a Word Cloud of James White’s 2019, the term “slander” would loom larger than any other words (besides, perhaps “bike” “1.5 speed,” and “Coogi”).
Here, I am obligated to speak some common sense into James’ life and help him with the discernment he is sorely lacking.
First, if a teacher promotes an idea publicly, it is their responsibility to recant it publicly. Nowhere did Butterfield go on record as to her views changing prior to making private correspondence with James White. If indeed she has backtracked, no one in the world would have known it if it weren’t for Diane Gaskins’ work on this subject. In fact, both White and Butterfield owe Gaskins a debt of gratitude for providing the impetus for letting Butterfield’s newly changed views be known.
Nowhere else, besides to James White, has Butterfield gone on record to denounce her use of preferred pronouns. That tidbit has not surfaced in any of her books, lectures, or social media.
Furthermore, there’s a timeline problem here. Butterfield says that her views changed after Obergfell v. Hodges, but she’s on record advocating for preferred pronouns well after the Supreme Court made their ruling.
In fact, the video of Butterfield telling people to use preferred pronouns is still up on her website this very second. [Editor’s note: see the Family Life interview under “What is Hospitality.”] A private denunciation of your public views simply does not cut the mustard. This is especially so when your teaching you now consider wrong is still prominently highlighted on your website.
So Butterfield secretly changed her views on preferred pronouns and forgot to tell anyone until Diane Gaskins’ article was published. Who is to blame – Diane Gaskins or Rosaria Butterfield?
Finally, until Butterfield makes it known that her position has changed somewhere besides an obscure webcast through a niche internet personality, and unless she’s willing to make her real (supposedly) position known to her friends on the Same-Sex lecture circuit, it would be foolish for anyone to consider it sincere.
With all of that said, Butterfield still uses fake names traditionally used to designate gender (preferred nouns, rather than preferred pronouns) and will still refer to the ‘husbands’ and ‘wives’ of sodomite couples. There’s lots of compromise to deal with, and James White doesn’t seem concerned about dealing with it.
Most astonishingly, Rich Pierce, the president of White’s Alpha and Omega Ministries, took time on the air to claim that in order to be respected by prison inmates, chaplains must swear. This makes them ‘relatable’ and helps to ‘speak their language’ so as to win them to Christ. As someone who does jail ministry weekly, I can personally attest to that being one of the most asinine things I have ever heard. Never would I think twice about swearing in front of the inmates. If I did, they would call me a hypocrite. Prison is a ‘respect culture.’ Inmates aren’t rude or disrespectful to clergy (seriously, that hardly ever happens) and you don’t have to cuss at them.
While Rich posited swearing as an evangelism strategy (to be clear, Rich said he wouldn’t personally be comfortable doing it), he went on to compare that to using preferred pronouns so as to not offend the ‘transgender’ person. Lying about how God created them could be used, to paraphrase Rich Pierce, as a helpful tool to win them to Christ.
Undergirding all of this is James White’s monumental naivety he has demonstrated over years. James White seems incapable of understanding subversion. The Bible warns us that false teachers deceive. White will not critique Mohler no matter Mohler’s behavior because James was present at a meeting with Mohler in the Spring of 2019 in which he was told that Mohler was going to fight social justice ‘behind the scenes.’ In the meantime, Mohler has done everything possible to promote those teaching Critical Race Theory and Social Justice at his institutions. James, however, can’t fathom that someone would personally lie to him, no matter what the facts show.
All the facts about Dr. Michael Brown being a charismatic fanatic and outright heretic are not weighed into James’ thinking because the two have a friendship and James can’t fathom being lied to by Dr. Brown who, in private, dispels all concerns about the charismatic extremism he’s personally involved in.
James personally communicated with Butterfield, who told him something quite different than what she has previously written and spoken. And so instead of considering Butterfield a double-minded and unstable woman, he would prefer to call those of us who cited her own words (flawlessly, by the way) “slanderers.”
Until Butterfield takes her position against preferred pronouns outside the dusty, dying corner of the Internet devoted to James White fandom, we have no reason to believe she’s changed her views. Again, her position arguing for the use of preferred pronouns is still up on her website and still left uncorrected every other place it remains in print.
A CALL TO ACTION
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