Thursday, March 29, 2007

James White's "Dare" to Post His Links / My Reciprocal Challenge: Why Not Return the Favor and Also Reply to Eight of My Critiques?

Illustration by Maria Korusiewicz

In the continuing comic saga of Baptist anti-Catholic luminary James White and his love-hate relationship with Catholic apologists, he is now calling for us to have the guts to post some of his old papers, in his latest post: For the Serious Minded.

I would like to invite Jonathan Prejean, Patrick Madrid, Dave Armstrong, and the rest of that group of RC apologists, to post links to the paper as well.

Who??!!! Why is he mentioning me? After all, I thought he was through with me once and for all, after his recent insult-barrage in turning down my debate challenge. Some highlights:
Your credibility rating is 0.0. You are all verbiage, zero substance. . . . I consider you a stalker, nothing more. . . . Your arrogance knows no limitations and your hubris is likewise without bounds. . . . your very integrity and honesty [are] highly suspect. I would invite you get some help with your obsessive/compulsive problem. . . . I have not said a word about you in ages, because I have no interest in your re-tread Catholic apologetics, and I am focused upon important things.

[it took exactly 23 days for White to decide to mention me again. I guess for him, that is an "age"]

I do not have time for your childish games, Mr. Armstrong. You just ignored numerous reasons why even investing the time to try to get you to act in an adult manner in the issue would be next to impossible, . . . I debate adults, sir, who can be expected to keep their word long enough to make the investment of time and money worthwhile.

. . . you play games focused solely upon your monumental ego, Mr. Armstrong, . . . I cannot imagine what it is like to do what you do, to live like you live, to view yourself as you view yourself. I can only be thankful I will not be in your shoes when God judges the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Yes, okay; back to the topic at hand after that humorous aside . . . White "invites" us Catholic apologists (obsessive stalkers with zero substance and unbounded hubris though we possess) to post a link to his article, What Really Happened at Nicea? (Christian Research Journal, Spring 1997). I have linked to it in the title of the article, above. White complained about the small print in the Internet Archive version he found. I have done him the service of finding an earlier archived version with larger print. I'm sure he will be most grateful, since he holds me in such high regard.

[should we post the link]? Well, they are all claiming the paper is a glowing example of how unscholarly I am, how ignorant I am, and why no Roman Catholic should ever listen to anything I have to say.

I haven't said one word about it. I don't even participate on the Envoy Discussion Board. So I don't know why White thinks I have. Maybe it's because I am (so sez he) a "stalker", so he just assumes I am in on the evil Jesuit conspiracy to prove that he is so ignorant?

So, how about posting this link

Your wish is granted, good bishop!

along with the Envoy article, and my brief response (which was limited, by the way, by publication word limits)?

I'm happy to be of service (I've been known to provide more than a few links on my blog and former website):

"Ancient Baptists" and Other Myths, Fr. Hugh Barbour, O.Praem. (July / August 1998 -- Envoy)

Ancient Baptists and Other Myths (White's reply of 8-25-06)

That way, you can let your audience find out if Hugh Barbour was actually dealing with what I wrote, or was doing as I have said, writing nothing but a shameless hit piece that mocks the very nature of sound scholarship?

Being a lover of two-sided dialogue myself, I am ecstatic to present one such example and let readers decide.

And would it not be a great benefit for Madrid and Prejean and Armstrong to post my article as an example of just how dull I am?

I don't know if "dull" is the best word to describe Bishop White. I would prefer "sophist" or "obtuse" or "intellectual coward" in light of how he has interacted with me these past twelve years.

I mean, each of them should be able to provide a far superior summary of the main issues at Nicea, Constantine's role, the primary personalities involved, and make it all understandable to the interested layman, and do it all in 4500 words, right? I mean, since I failed so miserably at it, they should be able to pull it off, right?

I might just take up this challenge, but will Mr. White, for his part, promise to respond if I do so, rather than high tail it for the hills, like he has done virtually every other time I have critiqued his writing? One tires of cowardice, poorly masked by bombast and relentless arrogant, self-congratulatory trumpeting of one's supposedly singular debating abilities.

So I look forward to their demonstrating their integrity and honesty by posting the link along with their far superior articles.

Oh goodie! I have regained my integrity! It took just 23 days too!

But I must confess that I didn't fulfill White's wish and request merely out of the goodness of my heart and in order to help him along in his increasingly desperate plight to attain some semblance -- any remote shred -- of intellectual respectability in my eyes and that of my colleagues. I actually have a small favor to ask of Mr. White, too.

Would the good bishop be willing to give some sort of answer -- at long last -- to any or all of these eight critiques of mine that he has run from and ignored (the first going back nearly twelve years now?):

Is Catholicism Christian?: My Debate With James White (+ Part Two) (May 1995)

Dialogue on the Alleged "Perspicuous Apostolic Message" as a Proof of the Quasi-Protestantism of the Early Church (June 1996)

Pope Silvester and the Council of Nicaea (July 1996)

"Man-Centered" Sacramentalism: The Remarkable Incoherence of James White: How Can Martin Luther and St. Augustine Be Christians According to His Definition? (November 2003)

"Whitewashing History": Critique of James White's Book, Mary -- Another Redeemer? (with William Possidento) (March 2004)

The Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:6-30) vs. Sola Scriptura and James White (September 2004)

Refutation of James White: Moses' Seat, the Bible, and Tradition (Introduction) (+ Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI | Parts VII & VIII) (May 2005)

Refutation of James White on 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 and Purgatory (March 2007)

One rare exception to the rule of White's fleeing in terror from any critique of mine is his multi-part critique of my book, The Catholic Verses (January 2005). He actually stayed on topic for about a post and a half before predictably descending into the slime pit of personal insult. After a few posts of that, I tired of it and simply ceased discussing it with him.

Ever since, this has been the lone instance that White can cite, where I stopped discussing things with him (after having begun an exchange). Since he knew that I had stopped discussing the topic, suddenly he became emboldened and manly enough to write several posts (knowing that I would not be responding). How brave; how impressive . . . I dare say most people would have reacted the same I did, if they had been subjected to asinine vitriol such as the following:

White claimed I was ignorant as a Protestant, and had not done sufficient reading to know much of anything. I promptly provided a detailed list of what I had read as a Protestant. Without missing a beat, White replied:

In essence, this means that instead of blaming ignorance for his very shallow misrepresentations of non-Catholic theology and exegesis, we must now assert knowing deception.


Armstrong simply doesn't understand the process of scholarly examination of a text . . .


This kind of utterly amazing mishandling of Scripture is sad to observe, . . .


. . . in reality, Dave Armstrong does not understand the basics of how to respond to sound, simple scholarly observations regarding the subject.


I never dreamed that a total and complete melt-down would take place, resulting in Mr. Armstrong pulling the material off his blog and going into hiding! . . . let's face it: DA isn't up to defending his published works. . . . DA can't do meaningful exegesis, . . .


. . . it is hard to take what Mr. Armstrong says seriously . . .


At the moment a fairly small group of folks are filling up the blogosphere with the constant assertion that I have engaged in ad hominem argumentation in my reviews of Armstrong's book, mainly because I have concluded sections by noting Armstrong's inability to seriously engage the topic at hand (i.e., provide meaningful exegesis). . . . Evidently, it is not allowable in our society to point out when someone provides shallow, errant, and generally worthless argumentation in a written form . . . when he is forced to attempt to deal with specifically exegetical material, he is out of his depth. . . . To call this a "melt-down" is to engage in understatement to an absurd degree.


The man does not know how to do exegesis. It's a fact. . . . the reason that Dave Armstrong is doing this [ceasing discussion with anti-Catholics] is pretty much the same reason that Dave Hunt won't debate me. He can't. He can't . . . the facts are not on Dave Armstrong's side. He can't respond! . . . Dave Armstrong has gone into hiding . . . because he can't respond anymore . . . . . . the argumentation is so basic and so clearly fallacious . . . clear, obvious, logical errors. . . Armstrong could throw his hands up in the air and say, "look, I'm not a scholar; I have no scholarly training. I can't read the original languages." But he won't do that. [No? That's news to me. I did just that on 1-4-05, on my blog, and many times before. Bizarre claim . . .]

(Dividing Line webcast, 1-4-05)

. . . what we find in The Catholic Verses. No exegesis is offered. No argument from context appears . . . But nowhere does Armstrong do the one thing he must do to be taken seriously: he never exegetes the passage. He never makes the connections that would be absolutely necessary to prove his point. He just assumes his position, nothing more. . . . the "Catholic Verses" are, in fact, "Badly Chosen Catholic Prooftexts Devoid of Exegetical Meaning." But we must be ready to explain why and hope and pray the Spirit will open hearts and minds that have been blinded by a false gospel and a false hope.


This was only the climax of a long history of slander by Bishop White. For example, there was his eight-minute rant about me on Dividing Line (4-2-04):

Those of you who have been following the blog, uh [laughter], just, I don't know, what do you do with someone like Dave Armstrong, you know? . . . you know, in your heart of hearts, that this fella, uh, bless his soul, has no idea what he's talking about. He's read some books, but the important foundational stuff that allows you to actually make sense out of all that stuff, he's clueless; he has no idea what he is talking about, but he writes constantly!

[Why, then, has Dr. White, challenged me to debate him live some 5-6 times now, through the years (from as far back as 1995 -- and he was insulting me back then already, just as he does now), if my thought is so utterly worthless? Does he seek out the very worst opponents he can find? What does that make him, then?]

. . . So what do you do? Cuz, it's sorta, sort of; it's really disturbing to me, uh, that I hear from people, and they go, "well, well, whaddya think about what he said about this?" And I sorta, I sorta; I, it's really hard for me to go, "well, have you really thought about, you know, the foundation of this argument, and the background of this argument?" People need to learn how to examine argumentation! And see through fluff! Uh, see through stuff that shouldn't even be called an argument; it's complimenting it way too much to call it an argument! And [sigh] it's just, how do you deal with folks like that?

. . . the whole point was to illustrate the difference in exegetical methodology. I have one. He doesn't. And he doesn't because he doesn't know the field. He's just; he doesn't know what he's doing! I mean, that would be like my trying to, to, write to a CPA and criticize uh, an audit that he's done on a major corporation. I'm not trained in that. I don't know the terminology. I don't know the basics, the foundational rules that you're supposed to do and why you put this in this ledger and why you put that -- I don't know that stuff. It's not my area, I; you can go to school and learn those things. Uh, but he hasn't done so.

. . . This guy [sigh], sadly, there are people who write recommendations of his stuff! I mean, you got Scott Hahn, all these folks, which amazes me. Uh, because you [laughter] look at some of his books, and it's just like "wow! there's just no substance here." It's just rattle rattle rattle rattle, and quote John Henry Cardinal Newman and that's the end of the subject. And there's no meaningful argumentation going on at all.

Then we must never forget White's classic ad hominem post (also from April 2004: a real banner month for Jimbo): Dave Armstrong: Socrates without Substance ("Dave Armstrong has never once cracked the binding of a book on exegesis, let alone taken the subject seriously enough to equip himself to honestly approach the subject with integrity," etc.).

* * * * *

In passing, I'm wondering if someone can help me find the in-depth, full refutation of the Talpiot Tomb claims by these Roman Catholic apologists? I mean, I would think the fact that they are so far beyond me in scholarship (especially Mr. Prejean), that they would have been providing information on the Acts of Philip and mitochondrial DNA and the like far faster than I have. So could someone direct me to their rebuttals?

Why would we need to? The Body of Christ is composed of many parts, with each playing his role, including apologetics. I've stated time and again that Mr. White does good work in many areas, such as the Muslims, Mormons, liberals, homosexual activists, KJV-Only, and this sort of skeptical nonsense. I've defended white against slander more than once. I link to many of his non-Catholic-related papers. That being the case, this is what I wrote to him recently:
Yes, I complimented you on that in my last letter. God bless you. I don't need to spend time on that particular nonsense because you are doing a thorough job. Kudos! I can simply refer people to your refutation if they want something on that.

I do have extensive critiques on my blog, of course, of atheists and theological liberals (a page devoted to each), along with other work, such as against homosexual activists, pro-aborts, Muslims, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, scientific materialism, etc. So you're not the only one out there fighting the forces of evil and falsehood. There are plenty more in the apologetic trenches.
So how about it, James? I fulfilled your request. Now will you make links to all of my papers that you have run from in abject terror for twelve years? And will you summon up all your courage and intellectual acumen to answer maybe one of the eight that I listed? Even two or three?

Oh, and I would invite all of them to help us test out our new phone system this afternoon/evening on The Dividing Line? The toll free number is 877-753-3341. I'd love to give you the opportunity of continuing the demonstration of "ethics in defense of Rome," i.e., "As long as you are slandering critics of Mother Church, it's all fair game."

Why would I want to go on a show where James controls everything? He hung up on Jonathan Prejean. I'm gonna be dumb enough to participate in such a situation stacked entirely in his favor? I offered to go on this show for an entire hour (see #4 below), and White refused. It was part of his long pathetic history of refusals and running from challenges, where I am concerned:

1) Bishop White volunteered to substitute for Tim Enloe in a prearranged live chat debate (12-29-00) after Tim gave up and failed to fulfill what he had agreed to. We went back and forth for 5-10 minutes and then he had computer problems and disappeared. I hung around for a good two more hours hoping he would return but alas, it wasn't to be.

2) White declined an offer in early 2001 to ask me questions all night in his chat room (on any topic!) if I could have 90 minutes questioning him. The entire thing was to be recorded on my website, no matter what happened.

3) White virtually begged and pleaded with me to leave him alone after I turned down yet another request by him to do a live oral debate (for principled reasons I have consistently given). He wrote on 11 and 12 January 2001:

I have done everything I could to avoid further contact with you. I cannot stand people who attempt to impress by bluster, obfuscation, and rhetoric. It's a personal problem I have, maybe a character defect, but that's the way it is. I know you cannot back up your "tightly reasoned arguments" . . . and so to hear you so smugly rely upon your ability to write and write and write without end is tremendously annoying to me. I'm one of those folks who truly dislikes long, wordy people who say nothing.

. . . I'll be right up front with you, Dave: you would never survive a one-on-one debate with me, because you can't defend your position without using obfuscation and rhetoric. You can't survive direct cross-examination, and what really bugs you is you know it.

. . . I detest inconsistency and deception. I detest surface-level assertions and the misuse of facts. That is why you and I don't get along. I'm not impressed by rhetoric and bluster and verbosity. There are many who are, I'm not one of them. I have a deep-seated dislike of those who make a show of knowledge for the sake of something other than the truth itself. . . . If you think written exchanges have the ability to allow for the kind of interaction that live ones do, well, what can I say? It obviously does not.

. . . I have done all I could since then [May 1995] in light of certain aspects of your behavior to avoid interaction like the plague. My website contains nothing about you for that very reason. You are a writer who seemingly has endless vistas of time in which to write endlessly irrelevant diatribes that, if they are not dissected point by point, you claim are, in fact, "tightly reasoned" classics of Socratic logic and insightful patristic and biblical scholarship. And if someone does point out obvious errors, well, poof! Mean-spirited angry Protestants!

. . .
Mr. Armstrong, I have no interest, whatsoever, in continuing this with you. I don't like you, and I don't believe you like me. Until a few weeks ago I had followed the path of wisdom and avoided every entanglement with you.

. . .
I'm going to ask you to join me in promising to stay as far away from each other as possible. I'm not asking you to not respond on your own website to what I write or doing whatever you want to do when speaking, etc. I am talking about personal interaction. Stay out of #prosapologian. Don't write to me. Don't ask to do dialogues, debates, or anything else. You just do your thing, and I'll do mine. OK?

4) He declined my suggestion in October 2004 that I come onto his webcast so we could just chat like human beings for an hour.

5) He kicked me out of his chat room recently when I had done nothing wrong (and had been harangued by the notorious anti-Catholic Pastor David T. King. I wasn't even allowed to go to the second "debate" chat room. I'm far too threatening, I guess, to enter a place with 25 anti-Catholics. The odds are too stacked in my favor, I reckon.

6) He declined my challenge to do a live chat debate (on the topic of "What is a Christian? / Is Catholicism Christian?"), where I would give him 90 minutes to cross-examine me whereas I get 60 to question him. This was specifically designed to give him plenty of opportunity for cross-examination, since he frequently extolls the glories and supreme importance of same on his blog. His sidekick John Q. Doe then refused the same exact challenge.

7) And he ruled any possibility of even his beloved live oral debate on the same topic.

All this, and yet White thinks "you would never survive a one-on-one debate with me, because you can't defend your position without using obfuscation and rhetoric. You can't survive direct cross-examination, and what really bugs you is you know it."

Lastly, there is the issue of reconciliation and apology. I have sought the former many times and done the latter many times. All to no avail with James White, because, as he said himself, he doesn't "like" me and according to him I am a mean-spirited simpleton, pretender, liar, with no integrity or substance, nothing whatsoever good to offer by way of apologetics (even general Christian apologetics), etc., etc. Recently, I was asked a question by Doe on his anti-Catholic blog:

I'll mention to James next time I talk to him how sorry you are for the innane [sic] things you've said about him over the years, and how you're trying to change. Maybe we can work something out and move you off the stalker list.
I replied:
Yes, case in point. I have made now maybe ten different apologies to James through the years (virtually all of them open and public). He has made exactly none back. What do you think God would think of that? You are actually silly enough to believe that James has never said anything about me in eleven years that deserves an apology? If so, you are truly out of reality and live in a fantasy land.

One time I apologized to him right in his chat room, with everyone witnessing it. He would not apologize back, though, for all the lies he's told about me through the years.

Recently I simply removed 75 papers of personal nonsense back and forth, including many legitimate defenses of myself against slander. But all of White's garbage written about me remains on his site.

And now I'm a "stalker." This guy just keeps getting more and more ridiculous. It's amazing! Now he's reduced to showing five-minute radically-divorced from the overall context clips where he supposedly embarrassed his debate opponents?

But that's not foolish and arrogant . . . James White can levy insults and defend himself and his great unvanquishable (ha ha!!!) wisdom till Kingdom Come and he has the utmost integrity, etc. The blatant, ongoing double standards of ethics are never acknowledged.

That's one reason (of many) why I have ignored anti-Catholics for two years. One only has so much patience for this sort of inane childishness.

And, by the way (as if it were not obvious), I didn't leave the chat room when asked to by James because I had done nothing wrong, as I stated. To do so would be to, in effect, accept the lie that was being implied: that I had violated some rule or had some nefarious purpose. I had not. It was a matter of principle and basic ethics.

So I wasn't about to leave. He had to ban me, so his hypocrisy and arrogance would be manifest, just like you now think Pat Madrid is a coward and a hypocrite because you were banned on his forum. If it applies to Pat then it does in the exact same way to James White (who doesn't even allow comments on his blog).

I don't know what you wrote at that forum and so I can't have an opinion on whether it was right that you were banned. But I know Pat personally and I know he would certainly be able to offer a good reason for what happened. And I do have most of the transcript of what occurred when I was in White's room. . . . Facts can be brought to bear on these things. It's not just a "he said she said" scenario.

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