Friday, June 29, 2007

Lutheran Pastor and Slander Expert Paul T. McCain "Replies" to My Paper on the Communion of Saints

As of the last several months, about all that Pastor McCain could do in "response" to my work was to write tiny put-down posts on my blog or at Josh Strodtbeck's blog. He even noted (with seeming satisfied pride) that he had never mentioned me by name on his blog. Well, obviously that is no longer true. So let's see what the good Reverend has to say. His words will be in blue.

* * * * *

Dr. James White offers a helpful refutation [link] of the popular way among Roman Catholics to defend their practice of praying to the saints.

I find it highly amusing that Rev. McCain has tried to insult me in the past by making out that I am "the Catholic version of James White" and suchlike, but as soon as White agrees with him he cites him against me, even though his argument was pathetic ("my enemy's enemy is my friend"). I have already made several replies to White's efforts. Rev. McCain wrote, for example, the following on a Lutheran blog, c. 22 March 2007:

Dave Armstrong is one of those sad persons who apparently spend nearly every waking moment on their Internet site. He is a Roman Catholic apologist who culls through the Internet looking for any chance he can to pounce on people who dare breathe a word of protest against what "Holy Mother" Rome has to say on anything. As is the case with most apologists like him, he tends to get his facts pretty screwed up.

If you engage him, it is akin to sticking your hand on flypaper, he and his groupies like to swarm.

He is the Roman version of a guy like James White, who has a similar style.

Dave Armstrong is not interested in "helpful discussion" but only attacking non-Romanists. I informed him that he is unwelcome to post on any of my blog sites. He only wants a platform to spread his false teachings. [he is welcome on my blog, any time]

Just a word of caution.
His foil here is a Roman Catholic layman named Armstrong who self-published a book titled, "The One Minute Apologist."

Nice try, but, um, no cigar. It is published by Sophia Institute Press, a very reputable and well known Catholic publishing house that specializes in classics (and I received an advance of $3000: that would be quite a feat indeed for a self-published book. Who would write the check, I wonder?). One would think that a "reviewer" could get his basic facts about the book reviewed straight, but no such luck.

I always get a chuckle out of this "self-published" charge (Bishop White has stated the same long after it was demonstrably untrue), since I'm now on my fourth published book with a "real" publisher (Our Sunday Visitor: the largest Catholic publisher, put out my New Catholic Answer Bible -- co-author: Dr. Paul Thigpen).

And my previous two books with Sophia are both consistently on the bestseller list on amazon (Catholic theology category). The Catholic Verses is, right now as I write, sitting at #12 on the list of Top 100, with a #6,164 sales rank. A Biblical Defense of Catholicism is #26, with a #13,816 sales rank, while The New Catholic Answer Bible is at #88 and has a #45,505 rank.

Rev. McCain then cites (I believe) the entire "review" by White. He shows no awareness that I have already disposed of it in reply, even though his post was written a few days after my reply.

Nor does he make any attempt of his own to actually deal with my biblically-soaked reasoning. True to form, he simply asserts and proclaims the Lutheran view without argument. This is in line with his stated antipathy to apologetics:
Perhaps we would do well to distinguish between apologetics and polemics. Lutherans have done polemics since the "we condemn" of the Lutheran Confessions. Apologetics? Not so much.

When I read Dave Armstrong's blog, or James White's blog, I frankly find myself getting bored, in a hurry. Both men are self-proclaimed and self-annointed [sic] "apologists" and yet they seem to spend a lot of their time attacking other apologists and arguing with how other apologists argue, and then debating who said what, about what, when, and where, etc. It is really finally absurd.

I think Lutherans much prefer simply to proclaim, and confess, and teach and let the truth speak for itself.

That is not to say that we do not do polemics. This is a perfectly fine and even necessary thing to do, but apologetics? Well, like I said, not so much.

(5-30-07, on Josh Strodtbeck's blog)
Not impressive . . . thus far, everyone who has recently taken a crack at this topic in reply to my apologetic has either ignored my arguments altogether (Rev. McCain), or dealt with one or two and ignored all the rest (White) or thoroughly misunderstood even what my arguments were, as shown by their "counter-reply" (Doug Mabry and some other anti-Catholics also).

Shame shame shame . . . how I long for a critique that actually understands its target and offers a real challenge: something that is actually engaging and stimulating to reply to.

It seems that Rev. McCain's impulse to finally mention me on his blog has something to do with a marked dislike of my person. On the same discussion thread (the next day) he "proclaimed":
By the way, this particular post and thread has set Dave "I'm a Roman Catholic apologist" Armstrong off on what can only be described as a temper tantrum becoming a three year old. It is however a very good illustration with the problem of most of this on-line "apologetics" work going on. Dave tried to bait me into an argument, one of his favorite tactics, and then failing to do that he didn't take kindly to some observations I made about his blog site and his apologetics methodologies and then the mud really started to fly.

Armstrong is a convert from what he calls "Evangelicalism" though admitted to be a member of an ELCA congregatio[n] at some point or another. Now, as is so often the case, he must breathlessly, with near desperation, "defend" Romanism against any perceived slight. The funny thing is that he can't see that the very things he finds as faults with others and how they express themselves, are all precisely the same way he conducts his "apologetics ministry" only at about a multiplying factor of ten.

It finally gives me a good case of the giggles.
Pray for this man. He is a pastor and presumably guides his congregation in the pastoral sense of spiritual oversight. God used Balaam's ass and frogs (one of the plagues on the Egyptians), so I'm sure He can and does mightily use Pastor McCain and blesses his ministry, but hopefully, juvenile expressions and "thinking" like this are the exception to the rule in his discourse and counseling and preaching. But it may not be, for all we know. Pray! Ask the Blessed Virgin Mary and other saints to intercede before God for this man, that he may cease providing scandalous example of the behavior of a man of the cloth. It isn't just a "Protestant problem." Divisive, overly-sectarian, propagandistic-like antics of any Christian has some adverse effect on all Christians insofar as those who read him project his attitudes onto all of us. It's not good (least of all for the one doing it).

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