Monday, August 09, 2010

"All of Rome's apologists are simply dishonest (or deceived, or both)": Grand Poobah James White Joins the Crowd of Anti-Catholic Nattering Nabobs

Bishop James White
(he of the bogus "doctorate degree") reiterates the venerable anti-Catholic tradition of sweeping, judgmental claims about Catholic apologists' dishonesty:

But I think the Bodily Assumption is the single clearest illustration of the fact that all of Rome's apologists are simply dishonest (or deceived, or both) when they proclaim fealty to "Scripture and Tradition." (11 September 2010)

This is a statement worthy even of the notorious arrogance and derision of White's good buddy, David T. King, who has stated:

I already have a very low view of the integrity of non-Protestants in general, . . . most of you are too dishonest to admit what you really think. (on Eric Svendsen's Areopagus board, 4-15-03)

It is a typical Roman Catholic tactic to misrepresent one's opponent purposely in order to "name and claim" a victory. (on Eric Svendsen's Areopagus board, 6-5-03)

Not to be outdone is their mutual friend and comrade-in-arms, Eric Svendsen:

RC apologists will do or say just about anything--true or not--to advance their cause. They engage in the strategy of deception regularly. (on his Areopagus board: 4-27-03)

[W]e have experience with those who use the "strategy of deceit" to mislead people down the road to a false gospel. (on his Areopagus board: 6-4-03)

April and June 2003 were obviously banner months for the anti-Catholic endeavor, over on Svendsen's board! A candid frankness was displayed that was, in its own weird and perverse way, quite refreshing. I had known they felt this way for years, but it was at least good to see them come right out and say it. Openness is a good thing. They're honest about their accusations of massive dishonesty in theological opponents.

Steve "Whopper" Hays is also a member of this venerable club:

I see a great deal of deception and self-deception in Catholicism. They give their alleged reasons for being Catholic, as well as their alleged reasons for not being Protestant. When we answer them on their own grounds, they become evasive and repetitive. That's not the mark of someone who values the truth. (8 August 2008)

This is one of those dishonest tactics that Catholic epologists like [Bryan] Cross resort to.
(10 August 2008)

And so is The Anonymous One (TAO):

However, I did have to smile a bit when I noticed that the entire forum [Patrick Madrid's Speak your Mind forum] has now been encased in a protective shell of registration, lest outsiders shine any more light on the deception routinely attempted there. (18 May 2009, on White's blog)

But getting back to Bishop White: this isn't the first time he has spoken of massive Catholic "dishonesty" or "deception":

. . . Rome will only get you the consolation prize of deception now, and destruction at the final judgment. (19 November 2003)

I am not a Roman Catholic because Roman Catholicism is a false religion. It is headed by an imposter, a man who claims to be something he is not. . . . Roman Catholicism is a man-made perversion of the truth.

. . .
There is a divine gospel whereby God glorifies Himself in the salvation of His elect, and anything less than that isn't the gospel at all. It's a sham, a fraud, a deception. Now that kind of thinking doesn't sit well in a post-modern world, to be sure, where it smacks of "epistemological arrogance." But to say otherwise is to insist that God has not spoken with clarity and that the Lord has not preserved the gospel for His people. . . .

So if you really believe the gospel, you really believe the negation of the gospel is evil. Just as the person who loves God and holiness will hate sin, so too the person who really believes the gospel will find its negation, its corruption, its perversion, an object of hatred. (12 April 2009)

And he wouldn't be himself if he didn't display a double standard. He can sling accusations of dishonesty (being the POSSESSOR OF TRVTH), yet at the same time, condemn it as an unworthy, silly tactic when it is done to him or his fellow Protestants (a thing I condemn along with him):

As I read the e-mail, written by someone only identified as "Charles," I tried my best to "hear" it, despite where it was posted, by whom, and how it was lauded by the former Calvinist Baptist. But I could not get past the constant accusations of dishonesty and conspiracy on the part of all "Calvinists." (8 June 2005)

If the book is filled with deception and misrepresentation, why not document it? Easy: what these men really are saying is "He disagrees with us, therefore, he must be deceptive." Now, of course, that is circular argumentation and irrational, but it is the heart of their apologetic. (6 August 2005)

. . . 99% of the time these people are using the term "dishonesty" and "lack of scholarship" to refer to areas of simple disagreement. It is not that I am dishonestly misrepresenting Rome's position, it is that they think I'm wrong regarding my response, nothing more. The few times people have called in to back up their statements, we have seen this illustrated, and it would be helpful to illustrate it yet again. The chances are not good for a simple reason: accusations of dishonesty are simply false. (14 July 2007)

Protestants, in particular, are liars, as we will see, even if they are holding a sincerely held (and perfectly defensible) viewpoint. It's still a lie, and they are liars. . . . refusing to recognize the necessary difference between "I disagree with your position" and "you are lying." (11 July 2008)

But as I have read the argument (which, ironically, is coming from someone in the law school, who should know better), they disagree with how I am reading Caner's meaning (based upon our previous interactions) and are equating disagreement on that level with dishonesty and misrepresentation. This kind of muddled thinking is commonplace in our society today. We think with our hearts and emotions, not with our heads. (15 October 2009)



Tim MD said...

Hi Dave,

As you know, Luther often claimed that anyone who disagreed with Him must be lying. His interpretations of Scripture, at least in his mind, were SO clear represented in Scripture that they simply had to be obvious to everyone. When people disagreed, he claimed and I think actually believed, that they actually DID agree with him but lied in claiming that they didn't.

Of course Luther was the first man in Christian history to claim that the Holy Spirit led individual Christians to correctly understand Christ’s Doctrinal Teachings in Scripture. Ultimately this led to a tremendous amount of doctrinal discord and arrogance in Protestantism, even (or especially) when in disagreement with each other. Most of the “better” Protestant Apologists are VERY certain that their doctrinal beliefs are the Real Deal, which in essence means that they hold themselves to be “better led” Personally than those Protestants who disagree with them. It’s the only possible conclusion that could have been derived from Luther’s claim of the “Right” of the Individual to Interpret.

Of course, Luther’s attitude was part and parcel with his extreme arrogance, which was basically driven by his extreme need to be “right” about Salvation (by Belief Alone). That extreme need led to his arrogance and also resulted in his dismissive style of polemics. Unfortunately, modern Protestantism and especially their Apologists have no choice but to adopt at least a portion of Luther’s arrogance. After all, in their version of Christianity, for them to be “wrong”, especially about an important doctrine, is an inference that THEY are not “properly led”. That being inconceivable (to them at least), they have no choice but to vehemently proclaim their opinions as being God’s Absolute Truth. Of course the tremendous doctrinal confusion within Protestantism implies that they should not be taken anywhere nearly as seriously as they take themselves.

As you point out, we see Luther's very dismissive style of polemics constantly being employed by modern Protestant Apologists in that they rarely seem to deal with our actual arguments but normally only criticize us personally. Especially in his later years, Luther rarely attempted to appeal to his critics or those who shared similar beliefs to them. He wrote mostly to appeal to those who agreed with him, hoping that they would see his responses as being valid even when he had not even attempted to deal with their arguments. When nothing else was available, he would simply call his opponents names or make unfounded accusations, which appealed mostly to the unlearned who didn’t know the basis for the arguments on either side. Protestant Apologists are still using this “poisoning of the well” as a standard tactic when they have little to say from logic, reason or actual Church history to support their positions.

God Bless You Dave, Tim

Dave Armstrong said...

I think there is a lot of truth to that. The Calvinists are especially prone to this because they are proportionately more anti-Catholic, and also because they believe in total depravity and unconditional election: the net effect of which is the result that anyone arguing against them is either ignorant or deliberately deceptive and evil. They are quite quick to dismiss the former and assert the latter.

White is a case study of this mentality.

But if a Calvinist is not anti-Catholic, it is usually vastly different, and good faith is granted, so that actual discussion is possible.

Paul Hoffer said...

I read Professor White's remarks and their are as muddled as ever. The problem of dismissing the Assumption as an example of sola ecclesia is that the Orthodox Church affirms the doctrine as much as the Catholics do and they split with the Catholic Church centuries prior to the doctrine being formally enunciated in "Munificentissimus Deus." So it can't be a matter of "the Roman Church says it, so believe it." Should we call Professor White a liar or should we blame the lava lamp in his office for distracting him.

And it is interesting that he wants to debate "big names," but he himself has not ever to my knowledge actually addressed the contents of "Munificentissimus Deus" which is probably the biggest one that counts (I could be wrong on that-but I don't claim that I am always right like he does).

As far as sound exegesis goes, where does the Bible say we must use his brand of touchy-feelie opinion is a proper substitute for exegesis especially when his kind of exegesis is not the kind of exegesis practiced by Our Lord Himself or any Church father who all interpreted the Scriptures in the context of the regula fidei, something that Professor White rejects using his private judgment or, more appropriately, opinion by which he judges things.

And isn't it remarkable that he, King, Hays, Svendsen, and Mr. Fan have never found the Catholic Church to be right on a single issue, but they are always right. I am surprised they don't play the horses with that kind of luck. Just once, it would be fun to see if they could find themselves in agreement with the Catholic Church on anything important.

BTW, I find sola Albus or any other sola [fill in the blank Protestant] to be just as repugnant as he claims sola ecclesia is to him. In its essentials, private judgment is nothing more than exalting oneself as the pillar and ground of truth over the Word of God which is 100X worse form of idolatry than any veneration of Mary and the saints could be. In contrast, at least the Scriptures state that the Church is the pillar and ground of truth (1 Tim. 3:15), so we have a pretty good reason to heed what it teaches.

But I will admit that he isn't all bad. He likes cats, he bikes and he looks far better in a kilt than I do.

Tim MD said...

Hi Dave,

I have spent the last two years almost exclusively revealing the truth about Luther, which does not agree to any real degree with the Legend that Protestantism has dishonestly built around Him. While most Protestants know very little of the truth about Luther, it does amuse me to be accused of dishonesty and to see the comments you posted about Catholic Apologists who supposedly lie in defending our beliefs. That being said, I completely understand why Protestantism had to lie about the man who established the foundational concepts upon which Protestantism was constructed. If Protestants were to know the truth about Luther’s character, education, and hatred (including of God); not to mention his “abilities” as a systematic Theologian and his obviously un-Christian (but hidden from Protestants), Interpretations of Scripture, they would have no choice but to question whether he was really “correct” in being the first Christian in history to “discover” in Scripture the following:

1. Scripture as being the only “rule” of faith.

2. The Priesthood of All Believers as being the ONLY definition of the Priesthood.

3. The Church of God as being ONLY the “invisible church”, known only to God.

4. The “right” of the individual through the leading of the Holy Spirit, to correctly understand Christ’s Doctrinal Teachings.

As you know, only a few years into his Revolt, Luther had retracted or substantially retraced his steps on each of these four foundational concepts, having realized (at least on some level), that they were not working out all that well in the real world. However, no matter how hard he tried to force that genie back into the bottle, it would not return and he was faced with not only Catholic, but also Protestant opponents of several stripes. What astonishes me is that in spite of Luther’s backtracking, he is still recognized as being the first to “notice” these “truths” in Scripture upon which Protestantism was founded.
The one thing he could not retract though was his belief about Salvation by Belief Alone, because to do so would mean a return to the terrors that were far worse than his fear of his opponents and anything that they could threaten.
As for Mr. White, I have only read one of his books but had to laugh especially at the chapter defending Sola Scriptura in that it was decidedly void of much in the way of Scriptural references. As with Luther I got the impression that his defense of SS was mostly based on his personal authority. The other chapters weren’t much better prompting me to wonder how he maintains his reputation.

I agree with your comment about Calvinists. I have had many dialogues with Calvinists who don’t seem to hear much of what is said to them. On the other hand, a few of them appear to be very willing to consider viewpoints other than their own and engage in real dialogue.

Generally I find the “orthodox” Lutherans to be much less open to the beliefs of us “others”, with “others” being defined as anyone who is not a staunch Lutheran, who by the way do not at all buy into all of Luther’s teachings. I guess they find little reason to respect anyone who chooses to “follow” the anti-christ, especially after they have so charitably pointed out that ‘fact’. My experience is that when they run out of arguments or are “having trouble” developing any kind of response at all to questions and points, they normally suggest that I (finally) read the Scriptures, inferring that once I finally do, I will agree with them on everything. True sons of Luther those ones and their arguments are just about as compelling.

God Bless You Dave, Tim

Adomnan said...

The real, albeit politically incorrect, truth is this:

Only a liar or a fool maintains that the teachings of Internet Reformdom ("the Father gets satisfaction from pouring His wrath out on the Son", "God, as righteous Judge, imputes sinners' guilt to the innocent and Christ's righteousness to the guilty", "the Father is paid to 'forgive' sin") are Biblical tenets or even sane beliefs. That includes "Dr." White.

Notice I didn't claim White was a liar. He may well be a fool.

Dave Armstrong said...

I am surprised they don't play the horses with that kind of luck.


I sure am enjoying the comments lately . . . :-) They may not play the horses but they are sure slinging a lot of horse you-know-what.

Suburbanbanshee said...

Luther obviously wasn't the first person to claim that about the Holy Spirit, because St. Augustine made plenty of comments about how certain Christians wanted to trust the Holy Spirit alone to teach them Bible stuff without human intervention, in the Preface to his book on scripture interpretation, On Christian Doctrine. He points out a lot of arguments against trusting to this only, including Biblical ones.

One of the few comforts about coming up with an error (of any kind) is that you're probably not the first person in history to mess that one up.

The earlier folks seem to have been more sure that they received proper knowledge than that other Christians did, though. (Unless you go to the more Gnostic people who figure lack of understanding is proof that you're an "animal soul" and not meant for eternal life.) So assuming that was true of everybody would be different.

Mike said...

the net effect of which is the result that anyone arguing against them is either ignorant or deliberately deceptive and evil. They are quite quick to dismiss the former and assert the latter.

Reminds me of this Chesterton quote.

Dave Armstrong said...

Excellent quote from The Man! Thanks!