Saturday, July 04, 2009

Clarification of Why I No Longer Attempt Debate With Anti-Catholic Protestants



This occurred over on an anti-Catholic blog:
[William] Webster is wrong, just as any Protestant who argues that the fathers (many or even a significant minority) adopted some form of sola Scriptura are dead wrong (as the best Protestant scholars and Church historians themselves affirm: Oberman, Kelly, Pelikan, etc.). I think I've shown this in my book on the fathers, which contains 112 pages on this topic.

You've [David Waltz] shown it in your excellent papers. Many others have demonstrated it. But nothing is sufficient for our harshest critics.

William Webster is notoriously deficient and inaccurate in how he portrays both the fathers and Catholic belief. He's not to be trusted in those areas at all, as far as I am concerned. He is especially clueless about development of doctrine. I have refuted him at length, twice, without a single word in reply back from him (one / two).

He acknowledged the first in friendly manner, but I never heard one word back, regarding the content. So I am quite unimpressed with his research and his unwillingness to interact with criticism (a general tendency of the anti-Catholics, as my 12-year online experience abundantly confirms).

(8 July 2009)

I engaged apologist Jason Engwer in a huge, CARM-sponsored debate on sola Scriptura and the fathers, but alas, he decided to leave the debate less than halfway through (one / two).

I've been in many debates about the fathers' views. My experience has been -- almost universally --, that the Protestant (even the many who weren't anti-Catholics, that I have debated) offers no further argumentation, once the Catholic side is presented. That's a shame, because for me, the best part of every debate or dialogue is in the second round, where things get very interesting. It's so rare to find anyone who is even willing to get that far into a discussion. 'Tis a pity. But if one has a weak case, this is altogether to be expected.

(8 July 2009)
Ken Temple wrote:
I was always willing to go all the way in those debates on your blog, (when I had the time) except for time constraints.

(9 July 2009)
I replied:
I agree. You were one of the few, though oftentimes you simply repeat yourself over and over and reiterate things that I have disposed of long ago. I have lots of our debates posted.

In any event, you should be given a great deal of credit for not running from a challenge or legitimate criticism, like virtually all anti-Catholics do -- e.g., when seven of them turned me down, after I challenged them to a live chat debate about the fundamental question of the definition of Christianity. This is what made me give up all hope of debate with anti-Catholics.

Now that you are anti-Catholic (you weren't for most of the time you spent on my blog), I wouldn't spend time debating you, because that is always futile. It has nothing to do with whether a person is cordial or not. I have no problem talking to anyone and being friendly (as presently), but dialogue and debate are something different.

It's a matter of time stewardship and not spending time where there is little or no hope of any constructive dialogue taking place. I tried for ten years online. We all make those decisions. R. C. Sproul told James White that Catholics aren't worth the time debating. . . . White now (mostly) ignores me, by choice. I've responded to Tim at length recently because he went after Catholics and converts and apologists, and because he is not an anti-Catholic (though close in many ways).

So I can make those same decisions about whom I will spend time with in debate or one-way refutations, when they choose to ignore what I write. We're all stewards of our time under God, and the Bible often warns us about vain conversations and silly disputes: to avoid them.

People can mock that all they want. My 150-200 written debates with or refutations of anti-Catholics remain online for all to see. I did my "apologetic duty" as regards anti-Catholics and all their falsehoods. I'm under no obligation to futilely wrangle forever. I have pretty much the same policy regarding Catholic "traditionalists" and liberals, though it is not ironclad, and I allow some exceptions in some cases. I also have very few debates with Orthodox anymore. These are all deliberate decisions of how I choose to spend my time in the best way I know how. There is still plenty to do, and I haven't slowed down a bit.

Meanwhile, I am systematically responding to Calvin's Institutes, Book IV, because I always allowed an exception of my rule for folks like Luther and Calvin. A Catholic apologist can hardly not deal with them.

Even friendly Protestants will often decide not to debate. You urged me to interact with C. Michael Patton's series on sola Scriptura. I did so: in six lengthy parts. Michael was very friendly, but wrote and said he had no time to reply. Woulda been a lot of fun . . . but I do understand time constraints. I just thought the second round could have been a fascinating time of discussion and was disappointed that it wasn't to be.

(9 July 2009)
The illustrious "Turretinfan"; The Anonymous One (TAO) chimed in (words in blue, henceforth):
You call us "Christians" but do you use that term as synonymous with "saved"? Or do you mean something less by that?

(9 July 2009)
Protestant baptism is valid, sacramental, and regenerative.

(9 July 2009)
Which is a "no" to my question about "Christian" meaning "saved," right? I'm not sure why you're being so cagey. Do you equate "Christian" and "saved" or not?

(9 July 2009)

I don't debate anti-Catholics anymore, per my above explanation. You had your chance to engage in a live chat debate with me about the definition of Christian and you declined***, carping on and on, as you do, about your contention that I am not a bona fide orthodox Catholic in the first place. I won't be baited into it here.

(9 July 2009)

[*** "I ask the reader to judge, what would be the point of the debate at this time? . . . My conclusion is that Dave is not now prepared to do a debate, and consequently I will await information suggesting that Dave has either stopped calling himself a Roman Catholic . . . or until Dave has accepted that Trent denied Sola Gratia by Denying Sola Fide; . . . and Vatican II asserted that Roman Catholicism worships the same god as Islam . . . Before anyone launches the usual "You just don't know what Catholicism is" . . . I ask that such a person ask themselves what they think makes them a better interpreter of Roman Catholic documents than me? . . . Obviously, for now, the debate is on hold, pending Dave's decision about whether to follow Roman Catholic dogma or not label himself Roman Catholic." (27 October 2007)

[Dave: present comment] This makes eminent sense: in order to enter a debate as a Catholic, I have to become a Protestant (i.e., illogically collapse sola gratia into sola fide, as all orthodox Protestants do). I have to admit that Catholicism equates Allah with Yahweh; trinitarianism with Islamic absolute oneness of God in terms of person. Both absurd scenarios are logical nonsense, so in order to debate TAO, I have to commit intellectual suicide before we begin.

"
Dave has apparently
never defined Christianity. . . . Maybe Dave will actually stand behind the dogmatic declarations of the church for which he is allegedly an apologist." (29 October 2007)

"
Still, if Dave could take the position of T, V1, and V2, I would be willing to debate him, as I have made clear. . . . not all of his doctrines are Catholic." (29 October 2007)

"Dave never intended to debate, as is evident from his own comments. Asking Dave to take the Roman Catholic position is hardly an 'absurd' or unfair request." (28 January 2008)

Actually, TAO's demands amount to a requirement that I adopt as "Catholic" his caricature of Catholicism (which he knows more about that I do myself), so that he has the opportunity to debate the usual straw man of what he wrongly thinks Catholicism is, rather than true Catholicism.

I'd truly be an idiot if I agreed to those stacked conditions. The first requirement in any intelligent debate is to understand the opponent's position. TAO not only does not do that; he takes his profound, perhaps invincible ignorance and wishes to bind his opponent to it before the thing even gets off the ground.

This is so absolutely asinine that I truly wonder if it is merely a sophisticated ruse and big joke on TAO's part. Perhaps he is trying to deliberately play the role of a caricature of a Jack Chick-type anti-Catholic just for the fun of it? It's hard for me to believe that he really can't grasp the elementary points we are making.

On the other hand, it could be a case study of the profound effect of false premises on one's reasoning abilities. I've always said that false premises wreak havoc on cogent thought in almost singular fashion (which is one reason I am a Socratic in method). In that instance, this would be a striking example of that shortcoming, plain for all to see (except for TAO himself, who is blind to his fundamental mistake). (
31 January 2008)

"What always amuses me is how you seem to suppose that you must be right and I must be wrong when we disagree about what Trent, Vatican I, and Vatican II teaches. It's almost as though you think your own pontifications are necessarily infallible." (31 January 2008)

You don't know what you are talking about and are bound to the categories of your own making (presuppositionalism proper) so that you can't even comprehend how one can possibly believe in sola gratia without simultaneously adopting sola fide. You're a prisoner of your arbitrary and false assumptions.

Why do I have to be infallible? I simply know far more than you do about the Church that I have devoted my life to defending. You are ignorant of some things. We would fully expect this, just as I know very little about Turretin: your big hero. I don't have to pretend that I am not ignorant, as you do about Catholicism.

Using your ridiculous methodology, I could just as well reason as follows:

1) TAO claims to be a Protestant and to represent Protestantism.

2) But I know better than he does, what Protestantism is.

3) For example, Martin Luther was the founder of Protestantism, so he certainly knew what it was.

4) But Luther would think anyone who denied the Real, Substantial Presence in the Eucharist was no Christian at all (let alone good Protestant).

5) In fact, he stated this about Zwingli and Oecolampadius, for precisely that reason.

6) Therefore, if TAO denies the Real Presence (which denial includes the Calvinist "dynamic presence" view, according to Luther), he is no Christian or Protestant, according to Luther. Luther even stated that he would rather partake of Holy Communion with a Catholic than a person with such beliefs.

7) Therefore, he cannot sensibly defend a position he doesn't hold himself.

8) Ergo, it is a non-starter proposition to debate him as a representative of Protestantism, since he isn't one himself. Unless he adopts Luther's terms for what a Protestant is, he has no basis for defending what he doesn't understand even as well as I (and Luther) understand it.

The logic here works exactly the same as your own, except for my appeal to Martin Luther as the founder of the thing I am talking about, whereas in your case, you simply appealed to your own pontifical knowledge about other belief-systems, that you assume is superior even to those who devote their lives to studying and defending the systems that you oppose (and have plenty of credentials to back themselves up). (
31 January 2008)

"If Dave was interested in debating, he would have tried to negotiate something. You and I both know that. That's how its done. He stopped negotiating, because he had already lost interest in debating, if he ever had interest in debating. I could have legitimately refused the debate for many reasons. I chose not to do so." (31 January 2008)

TAO's categories do not allow for sola gratia to exist without sola fide also being true. He is unable to think outside of that box (presuppositional Calvinism). So he can't be persuaded otherwise unless he is willing to challenge his premise, and he obviously is not. That's why it is perfectly futile. (3 February 2008)

". . . it is actually you who has great difficulty properly defining 'Christian.'" (10 February 2008)

"
. . . you're not really in line with orthodox Roman Catholic teaching, Dave."
(
6 July 2009)

See also Reginald de Piperno's scathing refutation of TAO's absurd reasoning in declining to debate.]

Moreover, my last 36-page installment in my postal debate with James White way back in 1995 remains utterly unanswered to this day, and the topic was specifically about the definition of a Christian. If he cannot answer the hard questions that his goofy positions provoke, then I doubt you or anyone else here would do any better job.

Presumably that is why seven folks turned me down. They saw the old debate, and they wanted no part of an enterprise where they would be sunk by their own self-defeating propositions. Can't say that I blame them, but in any event, that proved to me beyond all argument that further time spent "debating" people with so little confidence in their own positions, is a completely unjustifiable use of my time, under God.

(9 July 2009)
Churchmouse (words in green henceforth), responding to the second paragraph above:
This presumes that James White didn't respond because "he couldn't answer the hard questions." Is there a possibility that he didn't respond because it was 36 pages in length from a guy who he doesn't respect as a legitimate apologist? Is there a possibility that White doesn't see you as worthy of the time and effort, especially since you won't engage him in a public debate? I'm sure the latter will remedy the former.

(9 July 2009)
He didn't respond (I deduce, quite reasonably, based on many evidences over 14 years) because of his constant record ever since of fleeing for the hills whenever he is challenged on anything. He gets in his insults and blasts and has his say, yes, but as soon as it is challenged and a second round begins, he either insults or dashes full speed on his bike up to the Arizona hills.

If someone doesn't respond to him, he immediately concludes that they are unable to do so. Therefore, when he runs and doesn't answer, we arrive at the same conclusion he does.

As for public debate between myself and the good bishop, this is factually untrue. I engaged White in a live chat in his chat room: an unplanned, spontaneous, unprepared debate. This occurred on 29 December 2000. White had technical difficulties after a short time and was never heard from again that night.

Later, I twice challenged White to a live chat debate, giving him more time to ask me questions than my time to challenge him. He refused twice. I proposed a "double cross-examination" format. White talks about the glories of cross-ex all the time, and how we Catholics are supposedly so deathly afraid of it. He had two chances to get me into the chair and fire away and make mincemeat of me: golden opportunities.

But he said no, because he would have to be questioned, too, and he wants no part of that. I'm not scared at all; not in the slightest. The tree is known by its fruit.

I don't do oral debates, due to my own principles that I have explained many times (which have nothing to do with either total inability or fear). I informed White of this in our 1995 postal debate. I told him then that my friend Gary Michuta would be glad to do a live debate with him, but White said no because he hadn't heard of Gary's name in 1995, whereas he had heard of mine (from Surprised by Truth: 1994, and possibly some magazine articles he might have seen). Later, when Gary was more well known, White did do a debate with him, on the Deuterocanonical books. People have to be perceived "big names" in the apologetic world, or White doesn't have the time. He has challenged me to an oral debate many times, so if he thinks I am of no consequence in the apologetics world, that would be rather odd, wouldn't it? This disproves your suggestion that he doesn't respond because I am an idiot and not worth his time.

Beyond my principled objections, I make no claims to great oratory. This is why I don't do lectures. It's not my gift. I am almost solely a writer. But I have appeared on radio, however, about a dozen times. I also did a live Pal Talk exchange with Calvinist apologist Matt Slick, in 2003. A live chat room debate is more like an oral debate than a written one, in my opinion. It ain't "oral" but it is live, and people can observe it as it happens.

It is ridiculous to assert, as White does, that oral debates are the only true debates, to the exclusion of the written format, and that those like myself who prefer the latter, are "hiding behind their keyboards." That would be big news to Plato and Aquinas and lots of Church fathers, who engaged in many written debates with heretics. But he refused the live chat twice, even after being offered big time advantages, and six other anti-Catholics also refused.

Now I am no longer interested, but I'm simply recounting the undeniable facts of previous refusals.

If the anti-Catholics who declined (including the illustrious blogmaster of this blog) say it is because I am an imbecile, idiot, ignoramus, dummy, "evil" (Steve Hays), etc., etc. (zzzzz), then it seems that someone would have jumped at the chance to prove this to the world. But they did not. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why they didn't.

(9 July 2009)

It's amazing you cannot answer a simple and straight question about what the word "Christian" means when you were hounding Reformed folks to debate you on that topic.

I bet the folks who declined simply see this as further evidence of the wisdom of their decision. Meanwhile, I still have held open the option (despite your outright lies to the contrary) of debating you if you will take the Roman Catholic position in the debate.

(9 July 2009)

Right TAO. Nice melodramatic flourish there. The pseudo-"negotiations" were beaten to death with many thousands of words -- summarized in a lengthy footnote in my recent paper [this very one]

You required me to adopt distinctively Protestant tenets (sola gratia = sola fide) in order to be accepted as a "Catholic" so you could lower yourself to debate me in a chat room. Makes a lot of sense. When a prospective debate opponent requires one to adopt his own positions before he will even talk, that is hardly a debate at all. It is ridiculous foolishness not remotely worthy of the name. It's capitulation and surrender of principle.

Therefore, you did in fact decline because your "requirements" were ludicrous and would require me to make huge changes in my heartfelt religious beliefs to even participate.

I'm through debating all anti-Catholics, in terms of working through issues back and forth. You know that full well. You saw me reiterate it in this thread. Yet you tried to bait me into a discussion on the very same topic. Surely you are not so ignorant as to not know the huge vistas of debate that open up when throwing out even one gigantic term like "saved." Surely you are not so naive as to not know that there can be no short answer to that. A short answer would lead to more of your prodding, and then there we are: right back into a debate situation that I have already stated is out of the question, after 12 or so years of trying to have cordial, reasonable discussions with anti-Catholics like yourself.

White's unfinished "reply" from 1995 set the tone and it has never been any different since then. The only constructive dialogues I have had were with ecumenical Protestants. I have had far better and many more good discussions with atheists than I had with anti-Catholics. At least their position was not immediately self-defeating, and they are often quite cordial.

Keep insulting if you wish, or must. It only hurts you. Insults have never remotely stopped me from doing what I do. They only make me more determined, so go ahead and keep up a steady stream.

Lastly, it is irrelevant even what my own theological allegiance is, when discussing the definition of a Christian.That is a proposition that can be discussed by anyone, as long as they introduce the proper objective evidences for their position. It matters not a whit what their own position is.

So even if I am not an orthodox Catholic, as you claim, of what relevance is that? But you go beyond that. You specifically said I had to "accept that Trent denied Sola Gratia by Denying Sola Fide". The discussion was a fundamental one of the definition of Christian, not a technical soteriological discussion. But where do you get off demanding that someone change their beliefs before you will even talk to them at all? I have to become a Catholic (i.e., as you define the term, and your demands and definitions are extremely absurd and out to sea) for you to debate me.

I still have some suspicion that you were merely joking around the whole time (Steve Hays' style). It was just too surreal and anti-logical to have actually been what you believe . . . but maybe not.

Lastly, at the time (and I can quote it) you stated that my refusal was not due to fear. I don't think yours was, either. I think you are a victim of your own false premises (which is what I generally think of what I believe to be false belief-systems). You're a victim of poor logic, not malice, though you obviously think very little of me personally.

(9 July 2009)

Amazing that you can type so many words to criticize a flourish (your description) and can't answer a simple question. That ought to trouble you, even if you want to call any criticism of yourself an "insult."

(9 July 2009)

But again - does "Christian" mean "saved"? Dave won't say (choosing instead to focus on flourishes). So, even leaving aside the consistent (per Dave) testimony of Dave's critics as represented by Mr. Bridges, there are some serious questions raised by Dave's ecumenicism.

(9 July 2009)

Psychological (baiting) tactics don't work with me, TAO. I don't play those games. Theology is a serious matter and we should all respect it as such.

(9 July 2009)

Apparently, you don't take theology seriously enough to be able to answer a simple question. If "baiting" (your term) doesn't help you to stop evading - would anything help you? Are you just hopelessly unable to answer simple questions? Your heart should be doing my job for you, telling you that while you post floods of self-justifying comments for your insults, you cannot actually answer a simple question.

(10 July 2009)

So many words from Dave on his favorite misleading label of "anti-Catholic" and still no answer about whether being Christian means being saved. One wonders if Dave himself notices this oddity.

(10 July 2009)

I notice that you are quite odd (and oddly, inexplicably uncomprehending).

(10 July 2009)

Don't let any oddities I possess distract you from answering a simple question, please. Try to focus on the issues. I think that, if you try hard, you can probably bite the bullet and answer the question.

(10 July 2009)

Simple question, simple answer.

Etc.

See my two comments above (one / two).

(10 July 2009)

Dave simply references two of his previous non-answers - the excuse in response to try #3 and to the first of a series of lengthy comments in defense of the misleading label "anti-catholic". I really think that any reasonable person would say that his claim: "I have no problem talking to anybody, or being friendly, or answering questions, etc. " simply isn't true. How many chances do I Have to give this guy to be able say that such a claim is a lie?

(10 July 2009)

"But where do you get off demanding that someone change their beliefs before you will even talk to them at all?"

If you thought my request was unreasonable, you could have:

a) tried to negotiate something more reasonable; and/or

b) withdrawn your challenge.

Falsely claiming that I "refused to debate" is something you did to suit your polemical purposes and justify your running away from Reformed apologists. You practically admitted as much later on when explaining your motives for the challenge.

So, please - run away all you like, refuse to answer simple questions as much as you like, but face the fact of what you are doing, at least for your own benefit, if not for that of the folks who read your blog.

(11 July 2009)

And that simple question, just for the record, is whether you consider "Christian" and "saved" to be synonymous. That's the question that I asked, and for which I got belittled and insulted by you.

(11 July 2009)

The record shows, TAO, that at the time you conceded yourself that my reason for refusing debate with you (and, by implication, all anti-Catholics) was not fear. Now you think it was. Nice piece of revisionist history.

(11 July 2009)

Besides, if I was so interested in "running away" from reformeds, why would I be engaged for hundreds of hours presently in answering the entirety of Calvin's Book IV of his Institutes line-by-line? Surely you have better things to do than to utterly make a fool of yourself, no?

(11 July 2009)

Whatever you say. If anyone holding Calvin's positions decides that your Calvin posts are worth responding to they will be labeled "anti-Catholic" and ignored per your non-vow commitment to running away from Reformed apologetics.

(11 July 2009)

If someone responds who is not an anti-Catholic (like, e.g., Pilgrimsarbour), I'll be more than happy to interact, just as I was with him.

(11 July 2009)

I'd rather "run away" from foolish and vain conversations than from logic and charity, any day.

(11 July 2009)

"I'd rather "run away" from foolish and vain conversations than from logic and charity, any day."

"My own definition of anti-Catholic has no connection whatsoever to behavior."

(11 July 2009)

I don't believe you can possibly be this dense and logically challenged., Surely you must be joking when you make so many elementary logical lapses . . .

(12 July 2009)
Churchmouse started in again:
What's more surprising than the energy I've spent with you is how you continue to indulge the "anti-Catholics" in this combox when you admittedly "swore them off." It's fine though. It's just goes to show that its all an act.

(10 July 2009)

1) As explained recently, I never said I would not talk to anti-Catholics, only that I would not engage in theological debate with them. You may be a bit dense in some of these matters, but I'm sure you have it in you to understand that simple distinction.

2) The only actual dialogue I have had in this combox is with Pilgrimsarbour. Since he is not an anti-Catholic, this involves no contradiction in my resolve, as you are itching to demonstrate is the case.

3) As you see, I have continually declined T-Fan's baiting, precisely because he is trying to woo me into a theological discussion / debate, which I refuse to do with an anti-Catholic anymore.

You can't have it both ways: mock me for supposedly engaging in what I'm not engaging in, as proven by T-Fans infantile mocking and attempts to goad me. Not that logic is the high point of anti-Catholic gifts and talents, but still . . .

(11 July 2009)
Bridges and Turretinfan are now calling me a chronic liar over on Triablogue. Obscurantism or obfuscation can be undertaken without the slightest intention of dishonesty. They can flow from false premises and false ideas.

Nor is running from intellectual responsibility dishonest. It's simply being afraid and unwilling to defend one's own accusations.

I knew I'd be banned shortly or asked to leave. No surprise whatever there. I never stay long, anyway in places with blatant double standards in comment "moderation."

(11 July 2009)
One "EA" has been parroting a lie often uttered against me by anti-Catholics:
Why do I get the feeling that this dialogue with Dave is going to end with him vowing to never dialogue again? It's a feeling of deja vu....

(7-10-09)
Gene M. Bridges, a particularly vitriolic, obnoxious anti-Catholic (he has, in the past, directly compared me to Castro and the dictators of North Korea and Iran), is also reiterating it presently:
You've also taken an oath to stop interacting with "anti-Catholics", and yet here you are wanting us to interact with you. I, for one, take the Law on making vows seriously, and I am not going to contribute to you sin before God in violating your word.

(7-9-09)
I never made a "vow" or "oath" to not dialogue with anti-Catholics. I have made resolutions at times, some of which I softened or reconsidered, which is perfectly permissible, as we all learn and grow. I broke no vow.

If those who have lied and ignorantly prattled on about me for years in this regard think otherwise, let them prove it. It's easy enough to do Google searches. The only vow I have made in my life was when I got married. Bearing false witness is a serious sin.

My current policy is to not debate or dialogue with anti-Catholics on theological issues (and I have kept strictly to it). I didn't say when I announced this about two years ago that I would not talk to them at all, period. I have no problem talking to anybody, or being friendly, or answering questions, etc. But a conversation or even a clarification, as presently, is not the same as a pro-con debate or dialogue on theological subjects, which is what I have said I am through with, out of futility.

You think I made a "vow"? Then prove it, liar. You and others who say this are lying about me. I'm the world's biggest expert on my past and my own decisions and statements.

And don't bother to quote the famous declaration of 2001 that has been trumpeted by Svendsen, White, and others. Neither the word "vow" nor "oath" ever appears in it. Go look up what those words mean, and what "resolution" means, and you'll be getting somewhere.

I can just as easily produce many statements of James White saying he would utterly ignore me henceforth (Tim made another of these recently), and then going back on their promises. James White made it very clear at one point that he would never consider debating Art Sippo. Then after a few years passed, he issued several debate challenges to Art. But I don't lie and misrepresent and claim that these were "vows".

(7-10-09)

Dave seems to have a problem distinguishing between words and concepts. Vow...oath...resolution...promise. When we pin him on a concept, he resorts to words. When we cite his words, he appeals to concepts. . . . Lots of words though. Lots and lot and lots of words.

(10 July 2009)

That's how propaganda works. Facts and documentation and the truth of the matter are absolutely irrelevant. All that matters is the charge. Guilty until not proven guilty.

(10 July 2009)

I actually said you were going back on your word, which you regularly do, and I employed the term "vow" with respect to the OT Law, which is a bit wider in application than manner in which you're using it. Of course, you are welcome to your shoddy, amateur, et.al. exegesis any day.

The long and short of it, Dave, is that you can't keep your own word, and when we call you out on it, you resort to equivocation. That's typical. . . . One more word, Dave, and you'll be deleted, just like many a dishonest opponent before you. I don't have time to play feed the troll with you. This isn't a forum for you to post ad nauseum and ad infinitum. This is where I get my say. You are here at my deference, which I am now withdrawing. I delete trolls. You're a troll. Care to try my patience? Back to your bridge, troll. Back, back. The power of Christ compels you! The power of Christ compels you!

(10 July 2009)

As to any "clarification" of facts...that's a real hoot, Dave. You took my words out of context and you have the gall to act like you're the honest person? Indeed, you and I wouldn't be having this little "chat" if you hadn't opened your big mouth in the first place and invoked my name to start with. Just remember that, Dave. You, not I, initiated this discussion. If you don't like that, then here's a clue...keep your mouth shut. Your posts have all the integrity of a teenage schoolgirl caught gossiping about somebody who, when caught, gets angry at the person who caught her and doesn't realize what she's done herself. Back, back under the boardwalk, Troll. The power of Christ compels you! The power of Christ compels you!

(11 July 2009)
I've written about this in the past, showing that it is an outright lie:

James White's Reply to My Recent Critique / The "Vow Breaker" Bum Rap

James White has used this lie, too:

He truly strikes me as a kind of stalker. Anyway, I explained to him that arranging a debate with him would be problematic for the obvious reason that he can't be trusted. He is not stable. He swings from pillar to post, and if we did, in fact, arrange a formal debate today, how could anyone trust that next week he won't have yet another change of heart, make another vow to avoid anti-Catholics, and bag out?

(4-6-07)
TAO is now using it again, too, having learned nothing from my clarifications, as usual:
"Hays being an anti-Catholic, this is out of the question."

Why is that? Because he made the following vow: "I'll be ignoring you and other anti-Catholics (barring exceptional circumstances; particularly if it involves defending someone else from anti-Catholic smear campaigns)." Of course, as I predicted, he couldn't do that. In fact, I've already documented over 50 examples of his not ignoring "anti-Catholics" (documentation) since that vow was made. I could add many more. As you can see the list hasn't been updated for a few months.

But now the vow has morphed. It's not really ignoring us (which would be impossible for poor Dave) but instead just running away from theological arguments, explanations, and (most of all) the dreaded task of answering simple questions.
In a very worldly sense, this is wise of Dave: his positions are so weak that they cannot stand up to reasoned discussion (or even simple questions) with the most staunch opponents of his religion. One way to minimize having the weakness of his positions demonstrated for all is to run away from theological discussions with those that oppose his religion.

But - then again - isn't Dave supposedly an apologist? Isn't an apologist for religion, position, or viewpoint "x" supposed to be prepared to defend that from anti-x's? We defend Calvinism against anti-Calvinists, and the Reformed faith more generally against her most outspoken detractors. Not Dave. Go figure.

(12 July 2009)

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17 comments:

Dave Armstrong said...

And I replied in a letter to Ken, to this very thing:

***

Every Catholic who understands Catholic soteriology, thinks that they are saved by Christ, by grace apart from works (i.e., over against non-Pelagianism). This is Catholic teaching. We believe in sola gratia, as you do. That would make every informed, obedient Catholic a Christian, on this basis, and you would have to cease being an anti-Catholic.

. . . I don't debate anti-Catholics anymore, and that includes you, if you insist on putting yourself in that category. You flat-out denied that I was a Christian in the last go-around. That's more than enough insult for me to stop debating anyone who believes such a ridiculous thing about me. . . .

Anyone else can do as they please on my blog, as long as it remains cordial and has some substance.

Ken Temple said...

So, why don't you answer Turretinfan's question, does "Christian" = "saved" ?

I am just curious.

Dave Armstrong said...

Explained in that combox.

Ken Temple said...

1. I could not find any explanation of it. Do you mean "Christian" = "saved" or even "justified" and "going to heaven" ?

2. What happened to the "recent comments" thingy on the side?

3. Sola Gratia was the issue that Luther and Erasmus debated in the freedom of the will vs. the bondage of the will. Luther won that debate, going on what Jesus said,
"Truly truly I say to you, he who commits sin is the slave of sin." John 8:34

and
Titus 3:3-5
"we were all formerly enslaved by various lusts"

2 Timothy 2:24-26
"if perhaps God will grant repentance, and they come to the knowledge of the truth, having been held captive by the devil to do his will."

Ezekiel 36:26
"I will give you a new heart, and cause you to walk in my statutes"

Acts 16:14
The Lord opened Lydia's heart to respond to the things that Paul was preaching.

Romans 4:16
justification is by faith, that it may be in accordance with grace.

Dave Armstrong said...

Here's where I replied to TAO's juvenile baiting:

http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2009/07/ive-been-refuted-by-da-once-again.html?showComment=1247179514494#c1046335350187004885

Ken Temple said...

Ok, I see it now.

Isn't that the main issue of the Reformation, whether grace alone that awakens the soul from it's deadness and bondage in sin, is sufficient to save all the way?

We Protestants do believe that Trent denies Sola Gratia, by denying Sola Fide, although the RCC claims that it does not.

So why don't you debate that issue?

Romans 4:16 --

"That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,"

That is the issue that Luther and Erasmus debated on the bondage of the will vs. the freedom of the will.

Since the RCC says we still have a free will, even before regeneration, then it denies Sola Gratia, in the Reformed perspective.

"So then, it does not depend on the man who runs or wills, but on God who has mercy." Romans 9:16

Ken Temple said...

Augustine, Enchiridion, 32 –

on the Freedom of the Will, which only God makes to be free from the natural state of the bondage of the will. (see also John 8:34; Romans 9:16; Titus 3:3-4; 2 Tim. 2:24-26; Ezekiel 36:26-27; Acts 16:14; John 6:44)


Chapter 32.—The Freedom of the Will is Also the Gift of God, for God Works in Us Both to Will and to Do.

"And further, should any one be inclined to boast, not indeed of his works, but of the freedom of his will, as if the first merit belonged to him, this very liberty of good action being given to him as a reward he had earned, let him listen to this same preacher of grace, when he says: “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to do of His own good pleasure;” (Phil. 2:13 ) and in another place: “So, then, it is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy.” (Rom. 9:16) Now as, undoubtedly, if a man is of the age to use his reason, he cannot believe, hope, love, unless he will to do so, nor obtain the prize of the high calling of God unless he voluntarily run for it; in what sense is it “not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy,” except that, as it is written, “the preparation of the heart is from the Lord?” (Prov. 16:1) Otherwise, if it is said, “It is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy,” because it is of both, that is, both of the will of man and of the mercy of God, so that we are to understand the saying, “It is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy,” as if it meant the will of man alone is not sufficient, if the mercy of God go not with it,—then it will follow that the mercy of God alone is not sufficient, if the will of man go not with it; and therefore, if we may rightly say, “it is not of man that wills, but of God that shows mercy,” because the will of man by itself is not enough, why may we not also rightly put it in the converse way: “It is not of God that shows mercy, but of man that wills,” because the mercy of God by itself does not suffice? Surely, if no Christian will dare to say this, “It is not of God that shows mercy, but of man that wills,” lest he should openly contradict the apostle, it follows that the true interpretation of the saying, “It is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy,” is that the whole work belongs to God, who both makes the will of man righteous, and thus prepares it for assistance, and assists it when it is prepared. For the man’s righteousness of will precedes many of God’s gifts, but not all; and it must itself be included among those which it does not precede. We read in Holy Scripture, both that God’s mercy “shall meet me,” (Psalm 59:10 ) and that His mercy “shall follow me.” (Psalm 23:6) It goes before the unwilling to make him willing; it follows the willing to make his will effectual. Why are we taught to pray for our enemies, ( Matt. 5:44) who are plainly unwilling to lead a holy life, unless that God may work willingness in them? And why are we ourselves taught to ask that we may receive, ( Matt. 7:7) unless that He who has created in us the wish, may Himself satisfy the wish? We pray, then, for our enemies, that the mercy of God may prevent them, as it has prevented us: we pray for ourselves that His mercy may follow us.”

(with my emphasis)

This is why Reformed Protestants believe that Trent not only denies Sola Fide, but also denies Sola Gratia, because it says "man can cooperate" and "choose by his own free will"; and also because he has to keep his state of grace by continuing to stay on and get back on the sacramental treadmill of "on again" "off again" each time he commits mortal sin.

Turretinfan said...

"But where do you get off demanding that someone change their beliefs before you will even talk to them at all?"

If you thought my request was unreasonable, you could have:

a) tried to negotiate something more reasonable; and/or

b) withdrawn your challenge.

Falsely claiming that I "refused to debate" is something you did to suit your polemical purposes and justify your running away from Reformed apologists. You practically admitted as much later on when explaining your motives for the challenge.

So, please - run away all you like, refuse to answer simple questions as much as you like, but face the fact of what you are doing, at least for your own benefit, if not for that of the folks who read your blog.

Turretinfan said...

And that simple question, just for the record, is whether you consider "Christian" and "saved" to be synonymous. That's the question that I asked, and for which I got belittled and insulted by you.

Dave Armstrong said...

The record shows, TAO, that at the time you conceded yourself that my reason for refusing debate with you (and, by implication, all anti-Catholics) was not fear. Now you think it was. Nice piece of revisionist history.

Dave Armstrong said...

Besides, if I was so interested in "running away" from reformeds, why would I be engaged for hundreds of hours presently in answering the entirety of Calvin's Book IV of his Institutes line-by-line?

Surely you have better things to do than to utterly make a fool of yourself, no?

Martin said...

@TF:
The question you actually asked was not as simple one but a loaded gun equivalent to "have you stopped beating your wife" :

You call us "Christians" but do you use that term as synonymous with "saved"? Or do you mean something less by that?

Turretinfan said...

Martin: Please explain. How is it loaded? What's the erroneous premise. Dave does in fact call us "Christians." So, I'm puzzled as to why you think the question is loaded.

Dave: Whatever you say. If anyone holding Calvin's positions decides that your Calvin posts are worth responding to they will be labeled "anti-Catholic" and ignored per your non-vow commitment to running away from Reformed apologetics.

Dave Armstrong said...

If someone responds who is not an anti-Catholic (like, e.g., Pilgrimsarbour), I'll be more than happy to interact, just as I was with him.

Dave Armstrong said...

I'd rather "run away" from foolish and vain conversations than from logic and charity, any day.

Turretinfan said...

"I'd rather "run away" from foolish and vain conversations than from logic and charity, any day."

"My own definition of anti-Catholic has no connection whatsoever to behavior."

Dave Armstrong said...

I don't believe you can possibly be this dense and logically challenged., Surely you must be joking when you make so many elementary logical lapses . . .