Or to quote Errol Flynn (a movie actor from the 30s, for all o' y'all young whippersnappers), "my wicked, wicked ways" . . . I ran across this when looking over the blog of one Kerry Gilliard, who I once considered a friend, or at least a friendly acquaintance (when I was on his discussion board some years ago). At one point he was considering whether Catholics were Christians. Alas, at length he adopted a negative assessment. Sad, isn't it? So here (quite predictably, given his newfound viewpoint) is what he wrote about yours truly (in its entirety, lest I be accused by our subject of cynical use of ellipses), on his blog (wonderfully charitable stuff; very Christlike and reflecting well upon the Reformed tradition, isn't it?):
Noah gettin' drunk off his own grapes.....
09:28:55 pm, Categories: life and stuff, theology and stuff, 680 words
http://ic.net/~erasmus/ and http://socrates58.blogspot.com
There's a name I don't mention much because I don't feel like responding back to a 30-page 'debate' where he'll cite one article about 700 words in length, divide it up by sentences and type 200-1000 words in response to each sentence and call it a 'debate'. I first encountered Dave in 1998, when he joined my apologetics discussion list in my pre-Calvinistic days. Discussions with Dave are part of the reason I created the RCC-Evangelical discussion list on the site. If you check the 99 archives, you'll see many articles from his site dumped on the list as well as much argumentation from him during the life of the list.
Dave's generally a nice guy most of the time. I've seen him get quite nasty with folks, likewise, I've seen folks get nasty back at him. Likewise, I've seen some of his arguments have truck-sized holes in them (and no, I haven't taken the time to interact with them because I don't have the time to...), but that's typical of most Catholic apologists whose works and articles I've read through.
Anyway, hitting his blog and his apostolate website tonight, I looked at the amount of endorsements from both Catholic and non-Catholic folks that he had posted in the margins of his blog as well as on separate pages dating all the way back to 98 on his site. Some of the ellipses on some of the comments draw a raised eyebrow from me (because folks...can make... you say.... anything.... with dots in-between....), but that aside, I was reminded of a conversation I had with Tony earlier today.
In his wisdom, he told me that one of the major fights that most pastors have is against pride. "Watch out for people who love you TOO much" he told me. Watch out for it because what they're doing is elevating you and treating you like you can do no wrong. Likewise, if people start to 'like you'.... be careful. It's only one small step between being liked and believing it. He told me "Once you start believing that you ARE good, you'll begin your downfall and it will be a very fast one at that."
Pondered these thoughts much, I did. Read portions of Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith at Borders' today, I did. Many parallels between Anakin and what Tony told me, did I see.
And Dave's blog reminded me of them tonight.
Whether Dave is saved or not isn't my place to pass judgment. I do highly doubt that someone who fights so ardently against sola fide can be saved, but that's just my scripture from my soteriological grid talking.
Me, being a natural attention seeker, I do have a bit of an ability to spot pride - even pride shrouded in false humility ("Look at how HUMBLE and willing to dialogue I am! Look at what others say about me! My writings speak for themselves!"). Just an observation - and a right one, I think. If Dave's unregenerate....well, that would explain a lot. If he is, but just woefully misled and misleading others into Catholicism... that would explain a lot too.
I debated recently (but decided not to) on putting up comments I get via e-mail from folks praising my work on TC dot Com and givin' me props. After all, what man doesn't need affirmation ? I decided no. Though the site is my ministry given to me by the Lord for the purpose of spreading His name and glory, it's not my ministry. It ain't about me at all.
The first duty of the Christian - to serve God and enjoy Him forever. It's all about Him. So Glory to God alone for whatever help my ministry site can be to folks. If I died in an accident today, the advancement of the kingdom is no way dependent upon me nor am I not replaceable. God will and can raise up people from the ashes of the books on my shelves who can do a much better job than I.
Of course I could respond to much of this, but why bother, you know? I'm finally learning that it is futile to do so. Kerry's mind is made up, or else he wouldn't have published such a judgmental, substanceless (he, of course, having no time to actually refute anything I write), purely prejudicial rant. Of what use is it to argue against a charge that has no rational basis, anyway, and is based wholly on subjective feelings and prior sectarian bias? And if I did try to answer all the nonsense above, Kerry would likely simply answer: "see how prideful Dave is because he is defending himself?! He can't accept any correction!!!!" It's all very convenient: all wrapped up in a nice little box with a snazzy bow.
Just one thing, though (I couldn't resist): as a matter of simple comparison (rather than defending myself against charges that I am filled with pride). Kerry likes James White's blog, along with Eric Svendsen's and Steve Hays' blogs (wow, what a surprise and shock). One thing James White has written quite a bit about lately is irrational attacks on him, of a purely personal nature (which I have publicly denounced more than once, and thoroughly disagree with, as sinful). Among these attacks are accusations of a wanton pride. Here are some examples of such asinine attacks on White's person and character, from some Catholic fool with a "wild tongue," who goes by "John6jmj" [White's words will be in blue; his various critics' and slanderers' words will be in red]:
He can't answer those questions because he thinks he is a god. He is a pretex evangelist. Any obedient Catholic in this forum can defeat James White in a debate using the Catechism. James White IS a straw man with no moral courage.
(John6jmj's Weekend MeltDown, 6-25-05)
White responded in the same article (quite rightly and justifiably, in my opinion):
. . . this fellow says I can't answer these questions because I think I'm a god? If there is a semi-rational person left on Envoy, someone would have to say, "Excuse me, but are you not feeling well, john6jmj? You are acting rather...odd." But no, that kind of inane accusation will be allowed to stand. All in service of mother church, you know.
So far so good. But then White couldn't resist indulging in a little judging himself, immediately after he points out that this is wrong (the very next sentence and section):
Apolonio Latar then chimed in. Apolonio is a young man. I guess he's studying
philosophy in college. He has entered into the "Put the name of a famous philosopher, and then an obscure one, in at least one out of three sentences" phase of being omniscient (remember being omniscient when you were in college?). There is a reason why "sophomore" means what it means.
The very word "pride" has been used to describe White, as he chronicles (this time from a Catholic who uses the nick "Scholastic"):
IMO, this man has some serious issues, especially with his pride.
(To the Catholic "Scholastic" on PlanetEnvoy, 4-16-05)
White again answers properly:
Why is it that you folks are so consistent in 1) not citing anything from my published works, but 2) always including personal ad-hominem by 3) people who do not know me? You do realize that such tactics reveal, to the serious minded person, anyway, that your case is weak?
Then Catholic Dr. Art Sippo makes the same charge (which White describes as "losing control"):
Patrick, go tell White I think he is a BIG BABY! A WIMP! That will get him to debate because he is so full of pride.
(The Brave RC Apologists at Envoy, 6-10-05)
Now my question to my old "friend" Kerry is this:
Why is it wrong for these three Catholics to accuse James White of "pride," being a self-perceived "god," etc., whereas it is perfectly acceptable and right and proper for you to accuse me of the same sin?
White described this as "ad hominem," which is certainly the case. Why does it somehow cease to be that simply because a Calvinist makes the charge against a so-called "unregenerate" Catholic? Whether I am "saved" or not by his criteria is irrelevant to the ethical question before us. It's wrong, no matter whom the charge is directed against. That's why I condemn it when it is directed towards White (even though he hypocritically makes the same charge, such as against my friend Apolonio Latar, above). Those in Kerry's party ought also to condemn it when it is wrongly used by those in that camp. But when it comes to Catholics, anything goes.
Oh, and another thing: didn't Kerry (the "natural attention seeker," so he says) notice all the negative comments about myself that I also publish on my blog sidebar? And that is something that White habitually does, too, as seen above. He knows that apologetics always breeds harsh (usually unjust) criticism. The point is that "controversial" people (i.e., those who take a strong stand on anything) will always elicit strong opinions, both pro and con. The Bible says that leaders in the Church ought to be spoken well of, but also that Jesus' disciples would be lied about and persecuted: that they should fully expect this and rejoice. We see both things. The sad part is that today much of this immoral conduct is by Christians attacking other Christians (and reading them out of the faith before they do so). What a great victory for the devil!
In any event, the mere fact that I post comments of both sorts proves nothing (let alone profound pridefulness and hubris) other than that I am fulfilling both biblical expectations. Some people won't like what I write, or myself, personally (thus suggesting that I might be doing something right, per Jesus), and others will (thus suggesting that I might be doing something right, per Paul). And if I am doing something right (if indeed, this is so), that might perhaps persuade a few more folks to read my blog (which is the goal of any blogmaster and apologist and writer, after all; maybe Kerry wants no one to read his, but he would be in a lonely minority)!