Thursday, September 30, 2010

Luther and the Immaculate Conception: More Opinion From (Mostly or All) Non-Catholic Historians and Other Scholars

Bridget Heal (University of St Andrews)

[Luther's own words are in blue]

This is a follow-up to my heavily-researched paper, Martin Luther's Mariology: Particularly the Immaculate Conception. See also the related posts:

Luther's Belief in Mary's Immaculate Conception: Much Lutheran Scholarship

Luther and the "Immaculate Purification"

I'm simply compiling more opinions from Luther scholars and other historians with regard to Luther's acceptance of the doctrine, and particularly whether he modified his views sometime after 1527 (some think he did so).

* * * * *

1) Donald G. Bloesch, The Church: Sacraments, Worship, Ministry, Mission (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press: 2002).

[I]t is important to consider that Luther was remarkably open to some of the Marian doctrines, including Mary's assumption, perpetual virginity and immaculate conception. While his formulation of the immaculate conception varied from the more traditional formulation, he steadfastly affirmed Mary's complete purity. (pp. 258-259)

2) Julius Köstlin, The Theology of Luther in its Historical Development and Inner Harmony, Volume 2 (Philadelphia: Lutheran Publication Society: 1897), translated from the second German edition by Charles E. Hay.

Luther clung also to the opinion, prevalent in the Middle Ages, that, as Mary conceived without sin, so she brought forth also without pain or physical injury, and always remained a virgin. As a bee deftly extracts the honey from a flower without injuring the latter, so the Holy Spirit caused Christ to emerge from the womb of the Virgin, because He brought with Him a true fleshly nature, but without sin. But Luther maintains most stoutly, that the Child in the womb of its mother received from her everything which any natural child receives from its mother, only without sin—that the Virgin "was required to contribute of her seed and natural blood" — that He did not pass through her like a reflection, or shadow, or as a ray of the sun passes through painted glass — that, in the act of delivery itself, the womb of Mary fulfilled its natural office (only without receiving any injury) — that a body was not made in heaven for Christ, and then passed through the body of Mary. (pp. 370-371)

3) Julius Köstlin, Life of Luther (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons: 1883), translated from German.

The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, which Pius IX., in our own days, first ventured to raise into a dogma of the Church, was zealously defended by the Augustinians, and firmly maintained by Luther himself, even after the beginning of his war of Reformation. (p. 45)

While Luther, Zwingli and even Calvin defended Mary's perpetual virginity, Luther's very traditional teaching on other key medieval Marian doctrines set him apart not only from Zwingli and the other leading proponents of the Swiss and upper German Reformations, but also from many of his own followers. Luther, for example, continued to describe Mary as sinless, though he emphasized that this state was achieved through God's grace rather than through her own merit. [151] His exact position on the Immaculate Conception has been the subject of extensive debate. [152] Belief in Mary's sinlessness did not necessarily imply belief in her Immaculate Conception, [153] but Luther does seem to have held that Mary had been purified from sin by the Holy Spirit at some point before Christ's incarnation. [154] His sermon on the feast day of Mary's conception in 1520 put him firmly on the immaculist side of the medieval controversy: Mary's first conception was, he argued, normal but at her second conception, when the soul informed the body, she was purified from original sin. 'So that from the first moment that she began to live, she was without all sin.' [155] His later position wavered somewhat, and in later sermons dating from 1539 and 1540 he stated that Mary was conceived and born in sin like all men. [156] Yet he still, in 1543, felt able to write that Mary was 'a holy virgin, who was saved and purified from Original Sin by the Holy Ghost', although he no longer specified at what point this purification took place. [157] (pp. 58-59)

[151] See especially WA, vol. 52, p. 633 (Hauspostille, 1544); Kreitzer, 'Reforming Mary', pp. 73-4.

[152] Dufel, Luthers Stellung, pp. 164-6; Campi, Zwingli und Maria, pp. 59-60.

[153] Kreitzer, 'Reforming Mary', p. 73.

[154] Ibid., p. 76.

[155] WA, vol. 17, part II, p. 288 (Festpostille, 1527); Kreitzer, 'Reforming Mary', pp. 241-5.

[156] WA, vol. 47, p. 860 and vol. 49, p. 173.

[157] WA, vol. 53, p. 640.

5) Beth Kreitzer, "Luther Regarding the Virgin Mary," in Timothy J. Wengert (editor), The Pastoral Luther: Essays on Martin Luther's Practical Theology (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.: 2009). Her chapter appeared originally in Lutheran Quarterly 17 (2003), 249-266.

In Luther's final sermon on the holiday of her conception, preached in 1520, he complains that the debate about her conception has caused a great deal of trouble among the monks, even though "there is not a single letter about it in the gospels or otherwise in the Scriptures." [41]

In this sermon Luther outlines his views on Mary's conception and clearly leans toward the immaculist side of the debate, but takes the middle position favored by most theologians. His explanation rests on the common medieval division of generation into two conceptions: the "first conception," that of the body, is during the act of intercourse, necessarily infected by concupiscence and thus sin; the "second conception" is at a later point when the newly formed soul enters the fetus, also called animation. . . . Mary . . . was born through the usual means of a father and a mother, and thus experienced a physical conception tainted with sin. It was at her second conception, when her soul entered her body, that she was "purified from original sin and decorated with God's gifts." [42] Because this second conception is more important than the first, and is the moment at which one is said to live, Luther can say that "from the first moment that she began to live, she was without all sin," placing Mary in the "middle between Christ and other men." [43] However, Luther insists that no required doctrine can be made about Mary's conception, as it is not expressly mentioned in the Bible. (pp. 246-247)

[41] WA 17II:280, Festpostille (1527).

[42] WA 17II:288. The words Luther uses, "von der erbsunnde sey gerainneget worden," clearly indicate the idea of cleansing Mary from sin rather than preserving her from it.

[43] WA 17II:288. Some scholars have doubted whether Luther maintained this belief throughout his life, and there are several ambiguous statements in later texts. He did not comment directly on the matter again.

Albert Ebneter, a Jesuit priest, also criticizes the earlier works on Luther's views of Mary, not only for their extreme positions but also for mistakes in interpretation, for removing quotations from their contexts, and for generally twisting the evidence to support their own ends. The problems are most evident in the various presentations of Luther's stance on the immaculate conception: the authors who tend to see Luther as devoted to Mary present his adherence to the commonly held theory, while those who find that Luther's mind and practice changed concerning Mary present him as eventually rejecting Mary's immaculate conception. [30] Ebneter tries to maintain a more nuanced view, by suggesting that while Luther definitely held to the immaculate conception until the early 1530s, certain statements made after that time call into question his final views on the matter. . . . Ebneter, despite his attempts to present a balanced view of Luther's position on the immaculate conception, fails to consider the context of Luther's statements on the queenship of Mary and
insists that Luther maintained a strong Marian devotion throughout his life. (pp. 7-8)

[p. 156: footnote 30] See Ebneter ["Martin Luthers Marienbild," Orientierung 20 (1956), 77-80, 85-87], 78-79.

Saturnin Pauleser [Catholic], in his book, Maria und die Reformation, indicates that Luther remained a devotee of Mary his entire life, at least in essentials, and even suggests that Luther continued to call Mary mediatrix. [34] (p. 8)

[p. 156: footnote 34] Saturnin Pauleser, Maria und die Reformation (Miltenberg, 1951); cited in Cole, 105-106.

Luther's position in the 1527 Festpostille is clearly in favor if the immaculate conception . . . However, some of Luther's later texts do call into question whether he held this position throughout the remainder of his life. In several sermons in 1532 he mentions that Mary was somehow healed from sin when she conceived through the Holy Spirit so "that she was without all sin." [97] In a Christmas sermon from 1540, Luther stresses that Christ's sinlessness did not simply come from the Virgin Mary's purity [Dave: Catholics have never asserted this, since we hold that Christ was inherently sinless and indeed incapable of sin, being God] but from the working of the Spirit: Mary was "born from her parents in sin like all men." [98] In a later writing Luther insists that Mary was "saved and purified from original sin through the Holy Spirit" at some point before Christ's incarnation, although he does not specify when this happened. [99] These ambiguous statements do not allow for a definitive answer to the question of whether or not Luther always held to the immaculate conception of Mary, . . . (p. 124)

[three footnotes from p. 205]:

[97] Hauspostille 1544 (Christmas, 1532), WA 52, 39: "das sie ohne alle Sund gewesen ist."

[98] Sermon on Christmas Eve, 1540, WA 49, 173: "Ideo describitue, quod natus ex virgine, nec tantum sic, quia Maria ist auch nicht zu rein, quia nata a parentibusin peccato utalii homines."

[99] Vom Schem Hamphoras und vom Geschlecht Christi, 1543, WA 53, 640: "[Maria ist] ein heilige Jungfraw, die, von der Erbsunde erloset und gereiniget, durch den heiligen Geist." Ebtener thinks that because this statement falls in the context of a defense of the incarnation, Luther means that Mary was purified at that point. Others (e.g., Schimmelpfennig) believe that this phrase still supports the immaculate conception. See Ebneter, "Martin Luthers Marienbild," 78-79.

[Dave: the English translation of the key phrase from Gerhard Falk, in his book, The Jew in Christian Theology: Martin Luther's Anti-Jewish Vom Schem Hamphoras (McFarland & Co.: 1992) is "a holy virgin . . . freed of original sin and cleansed by the Holy Ghost" (p. 217) ]

[from footnote 94 on from p. 205]:

Duns [Scotus] stresses . . . that Mary was preserved by Christ from any original sin, rather than restored to grace. Luther's "sey gerainniget worden" may only be a manner of speaking rather than a technical explanation -- it is difficult to judge, as evidenced by the number of scholars who have disagreed on Luther's views on Mary's conception. See, for example, Algermissen, Heiler, Schimmelpfennig, and Cole in favor of Luther holding, throughout his life, the immaculate conception of Mary; see H. Preuss and Delius in favor of Luther's position shifting. Luther does speak of Mary as "in Erbsunden empfangen" (WA 17-2, 287) but distinguishes between the physical conception (act of the parents) and the animation by the soul, at which point the person is in existence. The reinigung of which he speaks refers, it seems, to the original sin present in the body . . . Max Thurian suggests that, when Luther speaks of Mary having original sin, he is referring both to her body before its union with her soul and to the presence of the effects of original sin in Mary's body (fatigue, etc.). See Thurian, Mary, Mother of the Lord, Figure of the Church (London: Faith, 1963) . . .

Luther makes a number of comments about Mary's freedom from sin, and even seems to have held to the immaculate conception, despite certain later ambiguous statements. (p. 137)

Even if one holds strictly to the doctrine of the immaculate conception, which Luther apparently did not always do . . . (p. 179)

Zwingli's Belief in Mary's Sinlessness

Huldreich (or Ulrich) Zwingli (1484-1531) was one of the founders of Protestantism. Note: since he rejected the orthodox Christian doctrine of original sin, he cannot be said to have espoused Mary's immaculate conception, because that doctrine presupposes original sin (in order to remove it from Mary by grace).

[Zwingli's own words are in blue]

* * * * *

1) Hans Joachim Hillerbrand, Encyclopedia of Protestantism, Volume 3 (Taylor & Francis: 2004).

Although Zwingli did not explicitly state a belief in Mary's immaculate conception, he did emphasize her sinlessness and her role in the stainlessness of Christ's conception. (p. 1173)

2) George Henry Tavard, The Thousand Faces of the Virgin Mary (Liturgical Press: 1996).

Although he does not explicitly relate Mary's virginal and immaculate conception of her Son with her own immaculate conception, Zwingli does call her "immaculate." As he also wrote in De vera et falsa religione, she was without "the smallest trace of a stain." (p. 107)

3) Gottfried Wilhelm Locher, Zwingli's Thought: New Perspectives (Leiden: E. J. Brill: 1981).

Zwingli goes so far as to state: "I firmly trust that she is exalted by God above all creatures of blessed men or angels in eternal bliss." [Z I 424; H 1 159] (p. 88)

. . . forceful expressions which Zwingli frequently used to describe Mary's purity ("immaculata", "illibata", "purissima", etc.) . . . [Zwingli:] ["]God has also sanctified and purified the mother (of the holy Son), for it was fitting that so holy a Son should have so holy a mother.["] (p. 88; original Latin version is also documented on this linked page)

4) Raniero Cantalamessa, Mary: Mirror of the Church (Liturgical Press: 1992).

In a sermon in 1524, Zwingli called Mary "the pure virgin Mary, mother of our salvation," and he stated that where she is concerned, he never "thought, let alone taught or publicly affirmed the slightest thing that could be impious, dishonoring, unworthy or bad of her." (p. 130)

5) Andrew Pettegree, The Reformation: Critical Concepts in Historical Studies (Taylor & Francis: 2004).

. . . the eternally pure body of Mary . . . (p. 287)

6) Donald G. Bloesch, Jesus Christ: Savior & Lord (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press: 2006).

Zwingli could refer to Mary as "the Mother of God, the perpetually pure and immaculate Virgin Mary." (p. 117)


Luther's Belief in Mary's Immaculate Conception: Much Lutheran Scholarship

Lutheran Eric W. Gritsch, Luther scholar, knows far more about his subject than amateur polemicists and pseudo-"scholars"

I wrote very extensively about the topic over seven years ago (Martin Luther's Mariology: Particularly the Immaculate Conception -- 8800 words), and much of that research made it into my book about Martin Luther. Way back in 2003 I demonstrated how many Lutheran and other non-Catholic Luther scholars affirmed that Luther believed in Mary's immaculate conception (in slightly modified form).

Anyone interested in the fine (and many!) details can peruse my paper, but for my present purposes, I summarized in the paper above what I found about what these scholars think:

[T]he following is a summary of the views of scholars on the subject of what Luther believed pertaining to the Immaculate Conception, in his later years (post-1528). I have not discovered a single scholar who treats this subject who denies that the early Luther believed in the Immaculate Conception in some form. The only dispute is over whether he later rejected his earlier views. I shall list the scholars from least convinced about the later Luther to most convinced: even to the point where it is thought his view was identical to that of the Catholic dogma proclaimed ex cathedra in 1854:

1. Hartmann Grisar (Catholic): Luther rejected the Immaculate Conception after 1528 or so.

2. Horst-Dietrich Preuss (Lutheran): Luther rejected the Immaculate Conception after 1528 or so.

3. Thomas A. O'Meara (C): later rejection "likely, but not certain."
4. Hilda Graef (C): probably accepted, but in somewhat diluted form.
5. Arthur Carl Piepkorn (L): "life-long" accceptance "(barring two lapses)."
6. Walter Tappolet (C): accepted (yes).
7. Max Thurian (Reformed): yes.
8. William J. Cole (C): yes.
9. Eric W. Gritsch (L): yes.
10. Jaroslav Pelikan (L): yes.
11. Richard Marius (probably Protestant of some sort): yes.
12. 10 Catholic scholars on the Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue Committee (C): yes.
13. 11 Lutheran scholars on the Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue Committee (L): yes.
14. Reintraud Schimmelpfennig (C): yes, in the same sense as the infallible Catholic dogma proclaimed in 1854.
15. K. Algermissen (L): yes, in the same sense as the infallible Catholic dogma proclaimed in 1854.
16. Friedrich Heiler (L): yes, in the same sense as the infallible Catholic dogma proclaimed in 1854.


Yes: 31 (16 Lutherans, 13 Catholics, 1 Reformed, 1 probably Protestant [uncertain] )

Probably: 1 (Catholic)

Probably not: 1 (Catholic)
No: 2 (1 Catholic; 1 Lutheran)
That makes for an 89% rate of scholars of various religious persuasions who positively affirm that the later Luther believed in the Immaculate Conception. Only one Protestant scholar is firmly against the opinion, while two Catholic scholars are against and probably against (putting to rest the charge of denominational bias and special pleading). The Lutheran scholars can be, I think, fully trusted for the interpretation of the founder of their branch of Christianity. Catholic scholars are, then, only agreeing with the consensus of Lutheran scholarship on this point. I, therefore, rest my case . . .

Grisar is one of very few scholars who believe that Luther ceased believing in Mary's immaculate conception after 1527 or 1528, of at least of the 35 scholars I've run across who give any opinion at all. The only others I've found who agree with that opinion are Horst-Dietrich Preuss (Lutheran) and Thomas A. O'Meara (Catholic). 
This was verified by the eminent Lutheran scholar Eric W. Gritsch, who studied for his doctorate under the famous Luther biographer Roland H. Bainton, and was a major translator of Luther's Works in English (edited by Jaroslav Pelikan), including the lengthy treatise, Against the Roman Papacy: An Institution of the Devil (vol. 41, 263-376). He wrote:
Luther defended Mary's perpetual virginity and regarded her Immaculate Conception as "a pious and pleasing thought" that should not, however, be imposed on the faithful.

(in The One Mediator, the Saints, and Mary, Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue VIII, edited by H. George Anderson, J. Francis Stafford, Joseph A. Burgess, Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Press, 1992; 241)

In footnote 43 on page 382, he elaborated:

'Haec pia cogitatio et placet.' Exposition of the Ninth Chapter of Isaiah, 1543/44. WA 40/3:680.31-32. Two scholars doubt whether Luther affirmed the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary: Preuss (n. 11 above came to the conclusion that Luther rejected the doctrine after 1528; O'Meara states that "it is likely, but not certain" that Luther rejected the doctrine (118 [n. 11 above]). But Tappolet (32 [n. 1 above]) demonstrated with the use of texts that Luther did not change his mind. The literary evidence from Luther's works clearly supports the view that Luther affirmed the doctrine, but did not consider it necessary to impose it.

Walter Tappolet is "the man" as far as documenting Luther's Mariology. Gritsch writes about him on page 379:

An exhaustive collection of Luther's statements on Mary has been offered by Walter Tappolet and Albert Ebneter (eds.), Das Marienlob der Reformatoren (Tubingen: Katzmann, 1962), 17-218, 357-64. Two studies have analyzed the chronological development of Luther's views in conjunction with his basic theological views: Hans Dufel, Luthers Stellung zur Marienverehrung ( . . . 1968) and William J. Cole, "Was Luther a Devotee of Mary?" Marian Studies 21, (1970), 94-202) . . .

So Gritsch recommends Tappolet and notes that the latter's opinion on Luther's espousal of the Immaculate Conception was that he "did not change his mind." He also cites the article by Cole that I have had in my library for many years, having copied it from the local Catholic seminary. Cole reaches the same conclusion as Tappolet:

It is noteworthy that Luther himself with considerable consistency down to the time of his death in 1546 accepted the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

. . . Luther's final attitude can probably best be described by saying that he believed the truth of the Immaculate Conception himself, but did not find it formally and expressly taught in Scriptures.

(pp. 121, 123)

That's only the tip of the iceberg of the many scholars' views that I detailed seven years ago.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Liberal Catholic Historians: Anti-Catholic John Bugay Loves Them for His Polemical Purposes
Francis Christopher Oakley

This is a confirmation of something I have observed for years: when fighting the Catholic Church, the more virulently opposed Protestants will latch onto anyone at all in an effort to establish their opinions.

Like Jehovah's Witnesses, atheists, and Muslims (strange bedfellows but quite similar in this respect), they are happy to enlist liberal, dissident, heterodox Catholic historians, because they trust them more to give them the truth. Imagine them doing this with Protestant scholars! The same person who enlists a dissident Catholic scholar for polemical purposes will disdain liberal dissidents in their own denominations.

But when it comes to the Catholic Church, anything goes! Not only is the liberal welcomed as an ally in the All-Important Fight to denigrate the Catholic Church; it is even denied that he really is a liberal (hence the cynical use of quotations around the words conservative and liberal below)!

John Bugay Tim, I think it is the "liberal" Catholics who are more willing to be honest with history. That'll be a great work to look into. (10-5-10)

John Bugay But I think there is "literally no support" for that which is most foundational to the most ardent of them, and that is the notion of a "divine institution" of the papacy. (10-9-10)

For related reading, see:

Brian Tierney, Hans Kung, et al: Inveterate Enemies of Papal "Tyranny" and Infallibility

Does the History of the Papacy Contradict Catholic Ecclesiology?

Dollinger's, Liberal and Old Catholics' "Semi- Historical Positivism" and Rejection of Papal Infallibility / Cardinal Newman's Critique 


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Do Catholics Believe in Imputed Justification, External Righteousness, and Justification by Faith Alone? Yes (!), With Proper Biblical Qualifications

The following is an excerpt from my book, Biblical Catholic Salvation: “Faith Working Through Love” -- Chapter One.

* * * * *

Many Protestants (and Catholics) are unaware that the Council of Trent does not absolutely rule out all notions whatever of justification by faith alone or even of imputation of God’s righteousness. It condemns only extreme versions of these notions. For example:

Canon IX. If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.

We observe, then, that Canon 9 anathematized not faith alone (in the sense of initial justification) per se, but a minimalist, absolute position on faith alone that excludes further necessary cooperation, or “outworking” of the same faith. The term “faith alone” is carefully qualified and defined, but it is not itself rejected (the key phrase being “in such wise as to mean”).

Another way of looking at this is to say that Canon 9 doesn’t absolutely forbid imputed justification, either, as an aspect of justification, but rather, only the notion that justification consists solely of imputation. The next canon makes it clear that there is indeed a proper sense of imputed justification or “extrinsic” or “declarative” or “external” righteousness:

Canon X. If any one saith, that men are just without the justice of Christ, whereby He merited for us to be justified; or that it is by that justice itself that they are formally just; let him be anathema.

Again, what is asserted is the denial of a minimalist view. The first clause espouses initial imputed, external justification (“the justice of Christ, whereby He merited for us”). But the second clause condemns the legalistic extreme of making this alone the cause of justification, as if there is no cooperation required (assuming the person proceeds on with his life after initial justification). Imputation is present (and indeed necessary) but not sufficient unto salvation, in and of itself. The next canon reiterates:

Canon XI. If any one saith, that men are justified, either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ, or by the sole remission of sins, to the exclusion of the grace and the charity which is poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, and is inherent in them; or even that the grace, whereby we are justified, is only the favour of God; let him be anathema.

We are initially justified by “the justice of Christ” and “grace,” but we are not justified by a “sole imputation.” Imputation is, thus, a truth of Catholic soteriology, but it is not the “whole ball of wax” of salvation. In this sense, and this one alone, Catholics deny imputed justification and justification by faith alone. Canons 1-3, in their condemnation of Pelagianism and salvation by works, assert essentially the same notion from a different vantage-point: the initial grace and justification comes from God, and God alone.

Moreover, it is made clear elsewhere in this section of Tridentine decrees, that justification by faith is also a Catholic concept, and that even justification by faith alone is properly applied to the stage of initial justification:

Chapter VIII. (In what manner it is to be understood, that the impious is justified by faith, and gratuitously).
And whereas the Apostle saith, that man is justified by faith and freely, those words are to be understood in that sense which the perpetual consent of the Catholic Church hath held and expressed; to wit, that we are therefore said to be justified by faith, because faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation, and the root of all Justification; without which it is impossible to please God, and to come unto the fellowship of His sons: but we are therefore said to be justified freely, because that none of those things which precede justification-whether faith or works-merit the grace itself of justification. For, if it be a grace, it is not now by works, otherwise, as the same Apostle says, grace is no more grace.
Even the cause of the human faith, that brings about justification, is God’s grace: so that there is not the slightest hint or trace of Pelagianism or Semi-Pelagianism (yet Catholics, for some reason, are falsely accused of these heresies to this day). Chapter 5 concurs (“the beginning of the said Justification is to be derived from the prevenient grace of God, through Jesus Christ” / “disposed through His quickening and assisting grace” / “God touches the heart of man by the illumination of the Holy Ghost”).

Initial imputation and justification by faith alone in the first stages of justification are reiterated elsewhere in the same section:

Chapter VII. (What the justification of the impious is, and what are the causes thereof.)
Of this Justification the causes are these: the final cause indeed is the glory of God and of Jesus Christ, and life everlasting; while the efficient cause is a merciful God . . .
. . . the meritorious cause is His most beloved only-begotten, our Lord Jesus Christ, who, when we were enemies, for the exceeding charity wherewith he loved us, merited Justification for us by His most holy Passion on the wood of the cross, and made satisfaction for us unto God the Father . . .
. . . the alone formal cause is the justice of God, not that whereby He Himself is just, but that whereby He maketh us just . . .
. . . no one can be just, but he to whom the merits of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ are communicated, yet is this done in the said justification of the impious, when by the merit of that same most holy Passion, the charity of God is poured forth, by the Holy Spirit . . .

Chapter X.
(On the increase of Justification received.)
Having, therefore, been thus justified, and made the friends and domestics of God, . . . they, through the observance of the commandments of God and of the Church, faith co-operating with good works, increase in that justice which they have received through the grace of Christ, and are still further justified, . . .


Monday, September 27, 2010

Is Peter Pike an Anti-Catholic Presbyterian? Yes

Peter Pike, a severe Presbyterian critic of mine, recently wrote in a combox on my site (on 9-24-10):

Dave goes on and on about me being an anti-Catholic. . . . I defy you to produce this cornucopia of anti-Catholic statements I've supposedly uttered. Your readers are all invited to read every single one of my posts no Roman Catholicism here and find anything that supports your claim that I'm an anti-Catholic. The fact is, you won't find it.

Okay; fair enough. Despite all his lying about me recently, I try to do good even to my proclaimed "enemies" (just as our Lord Jesus says we should in the Sermon on the Mount) and so I thought I owed it to Pike to at least check out his writings more carefully, to see if I should modify my opinion of him.

This post was at first a retraction of my contention that Peter Pike was an anti-Catholic, after I looked over a bunch of his posts on Catholicism and didn't find any solid proof there. It was originally entitled: "Retraction: Peter Pike is Not an Anti-Catholic." Hence the picture of the sad-eyed puppy, who is "sorry." I clarified where I thought my reasoning had gone awry, issued an apology as well, and had written:

So how do I proceed now? . . . I shall . . . go over my posts that mention Pike, and remove the designation of anti-Catholic in descriptions of him.

But lo and behold, when I was in the process of doing that I discovered proof from Pike that he was anti-Catholic after all (therefore, that this must have been part of my rationale in the first place). He never has apparently understood the meaning of the word. He seems to think that it is almost a synonym for "bigot" whereas my use has always been, "one who denies that Catholicism as a system is a species of Christianity".

So if he thinks that my classification of him as an anti-Catholic was simply a variant of calling him a bigot, then he was out to sea as to my basic meaning. I agree that I wasn't calling him an anti-Catholic in that sense, because I have never used it with the definition of "bigot" in the first place.

The proof occurs in a Cryablogue thread: "Making the Judaizers Orthodox" (written by anti-Catholic Jason Engwer and dated 9 December 2009): in Pike's combox remarks. Engwer wrote in the post itself:

Evangelicals and Catholics disagree significantly over what "died for our sins" (1 Corinthians 15:3) means. As the book of Galatians illustrates, the adding of works to the gospel nullifies what Paul summarized in 1 Corinthians 15. As he puts it elsewhere in 1 Corinthians itself, the gospel involves the sufficiency of the crucified Christ (1 Corinthians 2:2). . . .

For an explanation of why the Roman Catholic gospel is false and why it should be considered to be under the anathema of Galatians 1, see posts # 94 and # 99 in the thread here.

The gist of the post and ensuing discussion was an analogy between the Judaizers and Catholicism: both supposedly believing in works-salvation, or Pelagianism (and elsewhere I think I have shown that the Judaizers, as the Bible describes them, were actually Christians). In the combox, Jason elaborated:

See the two posts I referenced in the Challies thread above for a further discussion of the degree to which the Judaizers' gospel was wrong and, by implication, the degree to which the Catholic gospel is wrong. . . .

For reasons I've explained already, such as in threads here and in the Challies thread linked above, the possibility that some Catholic and Orthodox signers of the Manhattan Declaration are justified in spite of their group's false gospel isn't sufficient to justify the language of the document about those groups. Individuals who attempt to be justified in a manner contrary to what their group prescribes shouldn't be considered representatives of their group's view of salvation. And the most natural way of reading the Manhattan Declaration, for reasons I've already explained, is that Catholicism and Orthodoxy are orthodox as groups, not just that some individuals within those groups are orthodox. When we judge the Catholic gospel, for example, we judge it in accordance with the assumption that people attempt to be justified through that gospel from the start. We don't assume that they believe the true gospel, then go astray after the Catholic gospel afterward. People who accept the true gospel are sometimes unfaithful to it, as we see with Peter and the Galatians. But we judge a group, like Catholicism, by its gospel alone, without an assumption that another gospel was first or later believed.

Pike made no protest against any of these notions. He responded to Truth Unites . . . and Divides ("TUAD"), who had been asking some penetrating questions, eliciting a query from TAO: "Do you believe that Rome proclaims a false gospel?" Pike then stated:

I think Jason actually addressed your question at the very end of his response when he said:

People who accept the true gospel are sometimes unfaithful to it, as we see with Peter and the Galatians. But we judge a group, like Catholicism, by its gospel alone, without an assumption that another gospel was first or later believed.

In other words, if you are to ask on an individual basis, is such-and-so Judaizer saved, then he very well could have been; but when you say "Were Judaizers as a group saved?" the answer is clearly no, as the Scripture Rhology quoted demonstrates.

The gospel of the Judaizers was a false gospel, and it would always be a false gospel even if some of its members believed in the real Gospel too. Those who believed what the Judaizers put forth would not have saving faith, but there are often people who identify themselves with a certain group without holding to all that that group maintains.

TUAD replied:

But Peter's answer (which I would put in Category D) is what every conservative anti-MD Protestant that I have read says. There are CHRISTIANS in a church/Church which teaches and preaches a false gospel, but they are not damned to Hell. So then it can't be (A) as Rhology asserts. Rather, it must be (D) as Peter argues (in so many words).

Earlier, TUAD had defined his position D as: "(D) Some Judaizers are damned to Hell. Some Judaizers are not damned to Hell. And damned if I know which Judaizer is going where." Pike then replied:

My position would not be your D) because your D) included "And damned if I know which Judaizer is going where." Maybe there are some we don't know the final destination on, but there's plenty of Biblical evidence that gives us the ability to accurately judge most of their states right now. So I can talk to a Catholic, for example, and often tell fairly quickly whether he or she is a Christian in a false church, or lost.

That nails it. That's the ironclad proof. This is classic anti-Catholicism, and is identical to the positions of Luther, Calvin, and James White. In other words, it is the belief that could be expressed as follows:

There are some real Christians in Catholicism, as in most false systems. Some Catholics are saved and will make it to heaven, but if they are, it is despite what their false "church" with its false "gospel" teaches, not because of it. The "Church" itself is a false, non-Christian system.

Hence, when Pike used the description "false church," he proved that he is anti-Catholic. The Catholic Church is a false church; i.e., it is not Christian. Individual Catholics are either "lost" (and Pike -- sadly like so many judgmental, holier-than-thou, Pharisaical anti-Catholics -- seems to think he knows about many folks' final destination, even though John Calvin said we couldn't know this for sure at all), or if they are Christian, it is despite the Catholic Church.

Thus, they are either damned or "a Christian in a false church." That is pure, unbridled anti-Catholicism. Case closed. The "lie" is not in my calling Pike what he is, but in his lying about what the Catholic Church is.

But if Pike has concluded that I am personally no Christian (since I gladly, joyfully, accept all that the Catholic Church teaches, and it is a "false church") and am, in fact, damned to hell, then that would go a long way in explaining his blistering personal attacks, wouldn't it?

* * * * *

One bottom line question, for example, is to ask, in determining whether a person is an ant-Catholic:

Can a Catholic believe in ALL of the doctrines of the Catholic Church and be saved?

If the answer is yes, the person cannot possibly be an anti-Catholic. If it is no, then the person is anti-Catholic, because he is saying that being a consistent Catholic is inconsistent with salvation; it makes it impossible.

Therefore, if the system precludes the possibility of salvation (assuming it is being totally adhered to) it can't possibly be a Christian system (since it is opposed to the central goal of Christianity: to be saved). Therefore, the view reduces to "Catholicism is not a Christian system," which is precisely the doctrinal definition of anti-Catholicism. And that can be determined, pretty much, by one's answer to this single question. If the system precludes salvation, it is not Christian. Period.

I have run across undeniable evidence showing that Peter Pike would deny that a person can be saved, even abiding by the Catholic soteriological doctrines alone. It occurs in a Debate on Justification with the Catholic apologist Kevin Tierney (December 2002):

Man is saved through justification, . . . In order for justification to be biblically consistent, it must conform to the ideas that we saw above. Neither the Roman Catholic system, nor the system of belief of many mainstream Evangelicals today, is harmonic with the Scripture already presented. . . .

There was a time when people felt secure enough to proclaim this truth: what you believe about justification is what you believe about the Gospel! Now, in an effort to offend as few people as possible, any such statements are delegated to the roles of the theological madmen. I am such a madman, however; and let me loudly say that the Catholic idea of justification (and all the Protestant denominations that essentially agree with the Catholic view) is not a saving Gospel. This is not to say that all Catholics are damned, for I have met some Catholics who understand this issue and actually agree with the Reformed position, although why they remain in the Catholic Church is beyond me.

Any Gospel that does not have God doing all the work and man merely passively receiving salvation is not a Gospel of grace, but is instead one of works. It does not matter if the result is so magnificent compared to such trivial labor as faith-any work done by humans at all destroys grace. . . .

Suffice it to say that the historical Reformed Protestant position is both consistent with itself and consistent with Scripture. While there are a few passages that seem to hint, at first glance, at meanings opposite of the Reformed views, any meaningful exegesis of the text will prove that there are no counter-arguments against the Reformed position on the several positive texts that I can put forth, and there are several interpretations that are at least possible, if not likely, for the "tricky" verses that I can posit. I therefore submit that the Biblical Christian must accept the Reformed doctrine of justification or else abandon the term "Biblical" in his title. (Opening Statement; my bolding)


Blogger's Spam Function Deletes Some Things Automatically (Twelve Comments Restored) / "juscot's" Ridiculous Attacks on My Catholicism

After blog contributor Nick informed me of how to access the spam folder in Blogger, in a combox comment today, I went and checked it out. I knew that Blogger did this sometimes, after having read a post about it at the Boors All blog, where there was trouble with missing comments. Anti-Catholic Reformed blogmaster "Turretinfan" (TAO) has also now noted the same thing happening on his site.

Blogger doesn't explain much about the criteria it uses to determine that a comment is worthy of being deemed as spam:

Spam Inbox
Blogger now filters comments that are likely spam comments to a Spam Inbox, much like the spam folder in your email. When someone leaves a comment on your blog, it will be reviewed against our spam detector, and comments that are identified as possible spam will be sent to your blog’s Spam Inbox, found at Comments | Spam.

Alas, I was accused recently by an anti-Catholic Presbyterian severe critic of mine, Peter Pike (comrade of Steve Hays) of deleting a rather critical comment of his; and he regarded this as "proof" of my "dishonesty." I knew that I hadn't done so (I was watching television the entire time during which it would have happened, if it did, and I delete comments only on extremely rare occasions), and so I immediately thought that it might be this spam function of Blogger. I even mentioned it at Cryablogue, where Pike posts:

It was probably one of those things where Blogger deletes comments automatically for some reason. They were talking about it Boors All recently, trying to figure out why comments were disappearing.

And in the same comment I said that it was an "honest mistake . . . no doubt" on Pike's part. But that was of no avail in getting him to remove his hit piece or continuing to regard me as dishonest. He wrote in the same combox:

The sad thing, Dave, is that you might actually be telling the truth. Blogger does weird things. . . . all I have to go by is the fact that you're a dishonorable man. If it were someone else, I'd give them the benefit of the doubt. But you used up all the doubt I could give you long ago. After you cry wolf enough, it's your fault I don't trust you.

God will have to deal with his judgmental cynicism. He's obviously past rational discussion in that regard. I wrote a reply-post, proving that I hadn't done what I was accused of doing.

Now the proof is even more compelling, because I found his missing post in the spam folder. I am now restoring it, as well as eleven other comments. As it is restored in the original sequence of comments now, in the thread, it is seen that his comment occurred at 10:01 PM EST on 9-23-10. Pike then complained at 10:18 and posted his hit piece about my dishonesty. It took him seventeen minutes from a comment that didn't appear, to conclude that I had deleted it and was proved "dishonest." Even my later explanation was futile. Perhaps he will give it up now, but I won't hold my breath.

The breakdown of the "dirty dozen" missing comments is as follows:

Truth Unites.....and Divides (two comments in the Young Earth Creationist [YEC] combox)

Peter Pike (two comments: YEC and "Armstrong is Dishonest" comboxes)

juscot (two comments: YEC combox)

Peter Sean Bradley (one comment: YEC combox)

Adomnan (one comment: YEC combox)

TimMD (one comment: "Rome's Apologists are Dishonest" combox)

Rick DeLano (two comments: "No One's Perfect: Galileo's Errors" combox)

I need people now to let me know if they feel that a comment of theirs has disappeared. Apart from the obvious Viagra-type spammers, I've only deleted two comments from Turretinfan (TAO) in recent days, and I openly stated that I did that, and why. Even he was allowed to rant and rave and lie in other comments that remain. The people above now know what happened in their cases, and they can locate the restored comments in those threads.

Ironically, six of the eight people above (all but the first two) are Catholics, and eight of the twelve comments deleted (two-thirds) came from them, so obviously no "conspiracy" is in play here. Adomnan and Paul Hoffer are longtime regular contributors (and I have met Paul in person; he is a friend in the "real world"). I can't imagine ever deleting their comments.

Finally, even "Truth Unites.....and Divides" noted the Blogger spam thing in a comment of his that (humorously enough) Blogger deemed as spam and didn't allow. He wrote:

I've been informed that Blogger sometimes "eats" comments and because of that some comments don't appear. Here's a comment that did not appear (for watever reason) and it deserves to be on the thread. It's by Juscot . . .

The juscot comment itself was in the spam folder, just as "TUAD" suspected. It was a comment on use of the word "fundamentalist." His comment was fun, too, and it's too bad it was placed in the spam folder, because it contains a gem of a classic clueless remark: juscot saying about me:

I'm embarrassed that Armstrong would stoop to this kind of demonization of creationists. I believe he's creeping toward liberalism, because in my experience, only liberals ever talked this way about creationism, not believers in the biblical text.

juscot is himself a Catholic young earth creationist. I disagree with his position; therefore I must be a liberal. Makes perfect sense, doesn't it? He reasons in that respect exactly as do his Protestant anti-Catholic fellow young earth creationists. In another post that Blogger thought was spam, he lied more about me and denied that I was a Catholic:

. . . those of us who believe what the scriptures say about creation will turn away from "Catholic" commentators who deny the truth God gave us. To me, a "Catholic" blogger who denies the history recorded in Genesis is a bigger anti-Catholic than those "Protestant Fundamentalists."

This is so patently ridiculous and preposterous, that one has some warranted suspicion that "juscot" may be an anti-Catholic Protestant masquerading as a Catholic YEC. Anything's possible online, with all the anonymity, and nicknames often being used unethically (once there was a massively slanderous blog created where the person was pretending to be me writing it). I don't assert this; I merely suspect it.

With these two posts, juscot actually veered into territory that would make his comments delete-worthy. If he had written a third straight post with attacks like this, he could be deleted, according to a rule on "purely slanderous posts" that I have had in place since August 2006. But I also like to see my opponents who have no case, hang themselves with their own ludicrosities. Therefore, these lying remarks will remain posted. If juscot keeps on in this vein, then I'll start deleting his comments, as an inveterate slanderer insofar as his comments on my site are concerned.


How Protestants Explain (or Explain Away) Conversions to Catholicism: a Collection of Links

Conversions to Catholicism, and away from Protestantism are definitely a trend. We know that because we see the alarm in Protestant circles (and quack analyses). Having had my conversion story published, it is often amusing to me to see how much people think they know about what supposedly went on inside of my heart and head during that exciting time.

Most times they don't have the slightest clue. It's like music critics pretending that they know what Bob Dylan or someone like that is talking about in their music lyrics. They're just winging it. But here we have vested interests. Someone thinks Catholicism is false; therefore they have to explain away by any means necessary (usually irrational, arbitrary ones) a person who became convinced of its truthfulness.

Even the analyses of more ecumenical Protestants, who acknowledge that Catholics are still Christians, are filled with "psychoanalytic"-type observations and fallacious explanations of why such a move has occurred. Most of these pieces are entertaining reading, but also disturbing and sad insofar as they miss the mark so widely.

* * * * *

Romeward Bound: Evaluating Why Protestants Convert to Catholicism (David Hagopian) [7-18-96]

From Wheaton to Rome: Why Evangelicals become Roman Catholic (Scot McKnight, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Sep 2002)

Shifting Boundaries and Protestant Conversions (Dan Clendenin) [13 January 2003]

Roman Catholicism, Evangelical Protestantism, and the Beckwith Controversy (Sam Storms, 10 May 2007)

They Went Out from Us, But They Were Not Really of Us (Elliot Miller, Christian Research Journal, Issue 30-06, 2007)

Why Evangelicals are Returning to Rome: The Abandonment of Sola Scriptura as a Formal Principle (Bob DeWaay) [April 2008]

The Church Fathers: A Door to Rome (Fundamental Baptist Information Service) [18 August 2008]

Going Catholic (Jason Byassee, The Christian Century, 22 August 2008)

Whose Rome? Which Catholicism? A Review of Beckwith’s Return to Rome (James K. A. Smith) [24 March 2010]

Why do Evangelicals convert to Catholicism? (Adam Omelianchuk) [25 March 2010]

Evangelicals ‘Crossing the Tiber’ to Catholicism (Jonathan D. Fitzgerald) [28 July 2010]

Why Evangelicals Convert to be Catholic, and Why Evangelicals should Care (Andy Gustafson) [18 August 2010]

A Summary Critique: Surprised by Truth (Ralph MacKenzie; PDF file) [unknown date]

Emerging Church is Leading Protestants back Home to Rome (Mike Gendron) [unknown date]

Why Are Evangelicals Converting to Roman Catholicism? (Michael J. Vlach) [unknown date]

Surprised by What?: A Defense of Sola Scriptura (Jake Magee) [unknown date]

Sunday, September 26, 2010

"Yet More Proof That Dave Armstrong is Dishonest": Peter Pike's Big, Triumphant Announcement (and 852 is "far more than double" 899, too!)

This is more fun than a human being ought to be allowed to have (as Rush Limbaugh says). Peter Pike is an anti-Catholic Presbyterian who makes no bones about his very strong detestation of yours truly. Apparently he was itching for a way to "get" me, after being mentioned in a recent post of mine about the many young earth creationists among anti-Catholic Protestant apologists. But it has backfired on him. Here is the entirety of the post that he wrote at Steve "Whopper" Hays' Cryablogue site (posted at 8:18 PM MST on 9-23-10):

Yet More Proof That Dave Armstrong is Dishonest

Too bad for Dave I can post my comments in a forum that receives far more than double the hits per day he gets, so when he deletes them it only means more people read them. Here's a comment I submitted:

Adomnan said:
This is enough to put you in the "nutjob" category. Anyone who believes that YEC is "credible" is a kook.

Adomnan, have you ever heard of me before?


But Dave thinks so highly of me that he's placed me "Among Leading Online Anti-Catholic Protestant Fundamentalists." I'm leading the pack here. Right up there with Sproul and White!

It must break Dave's heart to know I don't care about him at all, that I only came here because TUAD mentioned it and I only commented because I found it so hilarious he put *ME* in another one of his stupid lists.

I can't help that he's so incompetent that he forgot how I told him three years ago (back when he called me just a "Lesser-Known Anti-Catholic") that I wasn't YEC. Check it for yourself:

I said on October 2, 2007:
I really loved this, especially since I’m not even YEC (as if YEC has any bearing on Dave Armstrong’s misuse of Scripture).

And now all you can do, Adomnan, is twist a comment I wrote on Triablogue. You didn't read the whole thing, and there's a *REASON* Dave didn't post the whole thing (because he knows if he posts the whole thing everyone will realize he's conducting a shell game here).

Dave doesn't care about the truth, and it's obvious you don't either. You just have an agenda, and a need to twist everything into conformity with your false beliefs.

But who am I to lecture you? Oh yeah: I'm a leading online anti-Catholic.

And you still take anything Dave says seriously? Who's the kook now?
The truth apparently hurts Dave, as he immediately deleted my comment. But now the world knows what he tried to hide.

Labels: , , ,

I replied at Cryablogue, as soon as I found out about this charge:

I never saw the comment, let alone delete it. Now that I know about it, I'll be glad to make a whole new post of it, along with your falsehood that I deleted it.

The latter is an honest mistake on your part, no doubt (see how easy it is to grant benefit of the doubt?), but now Pike will probably call me a liar for saying I never saw it.

So it's loads of fun no matter what happens. Always is with you guys.

I saw that Pike commented on my blog at 10:18 PM EST, "Truth hurts, don't it Dave?"

It did seem to be a strange comment. Presumably he tried to post his longer hit-comment around that time.

I had posted at 8:36 PM in the same thread, right before going downstairs to watch TV with my family for a few hours. I came back to my computer at around 10:50. So I have an alibi. Four witnesses: a wife, daughter, and two sons.

It was probably one of those things where Blogger deletes comments automatically for some reason. They were talking about it [at] Boors All recently [link], trying to figure out why comments were disappearing.

But of course, I get no benefit of the doubt from Pike. If his rotgut disappears, I must have deleted it; therefore, it is "more proof" that I am "dishonest."

And more fun for my readers. Thanks!

My reply above was posted at 9:20 PM at Cryablogue (here's the link, in case it is deleted), but the time of comments there is set for MST (since it was 11:20 PM EST where I am writing, from Michigan). Therefore, we know that all of this happened between 8:36 PM EST (the time of my comment in the same thread) and 10:18 PM EST (8:18 MST), when Pike issued his complaint on my blog and the post at Cryablogue (only an hour and 42 minutes). But the entirety of that time I was watching TV with my family on a whole different floor of my house (and I don't have a laptop computer); therefore I couldn't have possibly deleted his comment. I first posted again at 10:53 PM EST, in response to Pike's short comment.

It's funny and highly ironic that the Pikester makes the charge about my mythical deletion of his comment at the site that has often deleted mine (as I carefully documented back in January). All my comments are now deleted at Boors All, an associated anti-Catholic site (with great hypocrisy being exhibited there, too, in this regard). I've long been banned from James White's chat room as well; from Eric Svendsen's defunct discussion board, and from "the Polemicist" Tim Enloe's blog (he's now a regular ranter at Boors All). Anti-Catholics (whom Pike hangs around a lot) aren't big on open and fair discussion, with both sides being heard.

The only deletion I have done lately (I very rarely ever do it, excepting unquestionable spammers hawking Viagra, etc.) was two remarks from the inimitable "Turretinfan" in the same thread. He came in and immediately called me a liar for no reason, so I deleted it. But there are plenty of his comments still up in the same thread. The comment I wrote at 8:36 was directed towards him. There are also lots of other highly critical comments that can be observed by one and all in the same thread (especially those from "Truth Unites .... and Divides"), including from Pike himself. If I actually wanted to delete Pike's blast in order to "hide" the terrible truth that I supposedly am terrified of, why would I leave these other things up?

Far from wanting to hide this nonsense; to the contrary, I want to expose it (hence this very post). And I do so because it illustrates yet again, for the umpteenth time, how bankrupt the "arguments" coming from some of our Protestant friends are. When they have no substance, they attack people (and this time with blanks and squirt guns); rather like the congressional Democrats who have nothing positive to offer, and so go around lying about their Republican opponents. If that's all someone can do, I'm happy to help them spread their "message" because it helps the Catholic cause and hurts theirs. That's fine and dandy with me.

* * *

Pike has now made his bizarre, pathetic (but utterly predictable) reply in the thread at Cryablogue:

The sad thing, Dave, is that you might actually be telling the truth. Blogger does weird things.

But when you're threatening TUAD and have already deleted TFan's comments, and when I post the comment and it *appears* on your blog but an hour later it is the only post that's gone, then all I have to go by is the fact that you're a dishonorable man.

If it were someone else, I'd give them the benefit of the doubt. But you used up all the doubt I could give you long ago. After you cry wolf enough, it's your fault I don't trust you.

(9-23-10, 9:45 PM MST)

Dave is a blowhard and a buffoon. I've wasted enough energy on him to last another year now.

(9-23-10, 11:39 PM MST)

As expected . . . This guy really needs to get a life. Let them keep this ridiculous post up if they insist. No skin off my back; it is a classic example of how anti-Catholics "argue": merely making personal attacks and distorting the truth about the facts about others. whom they disagree with. There is nothing they can do about being caught red-handed here. I even tried to mercifully give Pike an out in my reply over there, saying that I thought his was an "honest mistake . . . no doubt", but he didn't take it, and instead chose to reiterate my supposed dishonesty. All he had to do was say it was an honest mistake, retract it, and take the post down. In those cases, I invariably remove my reply-posts as well. But he chose not to, and to dig in and make himself even more small, silly, and foolish.

This is what irrational bitterness does to people. It's very sad to observe. So, failing any rational reply at this point, I predict that they will step up the attacks and try to come up with some other ridiculous charge that anyone with an IQ higher than a fence post could see through in a second. When will these characters ever learn?

Pike (to get back to comedy) can't even get his math (i.e., simple arithmetic: adding, subtracting, and percentages) right. He wrote above: "Too bad for Dave I can post my comments in a forum that receives far more than double the hits per day he gets."

Really, now? That didn't seem quite right to me. I went over to Cryablogue to see what the daily hits were. The average number per day there was 852 as of 12:50 AM EST, 9-24-10. Anyone can consult the Site Meter there to verify this. Anyone can visit my Site Meter, too. At the same time I checked at Cryablogue, my hits per day were listed at 899. Can anyone explain to me how Pike figures that 852 is "far more than double" 899? Now there is a challenge! And I can't wait to hear the explanation. Talk about "new math," huh?

Since Pike wants to talk numbers (he brought this up, not I), I also have achieved more total visitors than Steve Hays' Cryablogue and its army of regular contributors, including the Pikester (whereas I am all by my lonesome self over here!). My total (as of this writing) is 1,450,959, whereas Cryablogue's is 1,344,142. But by Pike's inexplicable yet undeniably dazzling numerical wizardry, of course 1,344,142 is "far more than double" 1,450,959, too! And Catholics aren't Christians. Abracadabra! Pike is pulling rabbit manure rather than rabbits out of his magical hat.

Our two blogs even started around the same time (mine on 2-2-04 and Hays' on 4-11-04), so I have gotten 106,817 more readers visiting my blog over the last six and-a-half years than Hays (with his several associate writers) has achieved, with only two months' advantage.

Looks like Pike's math skills are about as good as his discernment of what constitutes "proof" of supposed deletions and fear and alleged disdain for truth. Maybe even better . . . Perhaps he thinks Pike's Peak is 1411.5 feet elevation rather than 14,115, too, with his odd brand of math?

Lucky for him, then, that I posted his stellar observations at my site in their entirety, so that more folks can read them and be convinced of his "proof" that I am a liar, so that no one would dream of daring to dissent from his pontifications, because, after all, Peter Pike sez so, and like Simon (and Garfunkel), whatever he sez goes!

I'm dying laughing over here . . . the numbers thing did me in, I confess (as if the "proof" claim and all the accompanying jeremiads and condemnations of my character weren't more than enough itself to cause one to double over in utterly helpless laughter . . .).

* * *

Uh oh! Now Pike has posted his unanswerable critique on his own CalvinDude site, too! The truth about my deceitful character is out! I'm ruined! What will I do now?

* * *

UPDATE: 27 September 2010

I have learned more about Blogger's automatic spam deletion policy, and located Pike's remark in the Blogger spam folder. I wrote about it today, describing exactly the twelve comments that were placed in the folder by Blogger, and how I had restored them to their original sequence in the comboxes where the writers originally posted them. Here is a portion that was devoted to this issue of Pike's blistering criticisms:

God will have to deal with his judgmental cynicism. He's obviously past rational discussion in that regard. I wrote a reply-post, proving that I hadn't done what I was accused of doing.

Now the proof is even more compelling, because I found his missing post in the spam folder. I am now restoring it, as well as eleven other comments. As it is restored in the original sequence of comments now, in the thread, it is seen that his comment occurred at 10:01 PM EST on 9-23-10. Pike then complained at 10:18 and posted his hit piece about my dishonesty. It took him seventeen minutes from a comment that didn't appear, to conclude that I had deleted it and was proved "dishonest." Even my later explanation was futile. Perhaps he will give it up now, but I won't hold my breath.

UPDATE #2: 27 September 2010

This thing gets weirder by the minute. I went over to Cryablogue to Pike's hit-piece post, Yet More Proof That Dave Armstrong is Dishonest, to let Pike and his cronies know that Pike's controversial comment was indeed found in my spam folder. Here is what I wrote:

Today, it was absolutely proved that I didn't delete the comment that Pike claims I deleted, thus providing compelling "proof" that I am allegedly "dishonest." I put a post up explaining all that: [link]

Someone explained on my blog how to access the Blogger spam folder. I went over there and found Pike's comment. It occurred at 10:01 PM EST on 9-23-10. It's now restored in the YEC thread, along with six others in the same thread and five others elsewhere.

Sorry to disappoint the conspiratorialists in these parts. Ironically, 8 of the 12 comments placed in the spam folder were from Catholics, not Protestants.

There is no way that I know of to go back and re-insert a post from the past, with the original date and time and original person who posted it.

If it is possible to do that, I know nothing about it (and I doubt that it is possible: if it is, someone can tell me how it works). Therefore, if anyone sees the re-added post in its original place, this comprises proof, in my mind, that:

1) I never deleted it, and

2) that it was indeed in the spam folder (placed there automatically by Blogger, not myself), so that when I okayed it, it reappeared in its original place.

Go see it for yourself: [link]

Seeing is believing! And a lie and slander of another person is a lie and a slander. A=a. Pike again has a chance to repent and make this right. Will he do so? Or he can dig in even deeper, like Nixon and Clinton during their scandals, and make this a hundred times worse than it ever had to be.

This was posted at 3:21 PM MST 9-27-10 (5:21 EST). Shortly thereafter it disappeared: probably (another irony, if so) because of Blogger spammer policy (in which case it is in Hays' Blogger spam folder and can be restored). I believe that Blogger sent it there because I provided two URLs in it. Later I reposted a link-free version, and it appeared, dated "9/27/2010 3:51 PM" [MST]. But within three minutes, it was gone, too (it was gone by 3:54 MST). Did Pike or Hays delete it? Maybe; maybe not (maybe it was Blogger). I sent the following test-post:

Dave (since my last two posts disappeared).

9/27/2010 3:58 PM [MST]

It was still there at 4:00! And at 4:01! And 4:04! And 4:08. That suggests to me that Blogger didn't take it out (though there may be a delay). Maybe this is left up because it has hardly any content.

By an odd coincidence, Pike had posted just five minutes before I originally did (3:16 PM MST). Check out this sad masterpiece of derisive contempt, where he makes the astounding claim (complete with the obligatory diagnosis of mental illness) that it is entirely possible that I deleted his post and lied about Blogger having removed it):

Dave still get's it all wrong. I am anti-Dave Armstrong.

He's the one who thinks he's the definition of "Catholic."

And, Dave, I'm leaving everything up because it shows what a pompous ass you are, nothing more. (Besides, I'm not convinced I did make a mistake either, since you have the character of a charlatan and you are the kind of person who would delete a post and claim Blogger did it.) Anyone can read our exchange and see that for themselves.

But you really do need to get therapy, Dave. This is not an insult. This is an honest assessment. I've never met anyone with as over-inflated ego as you have. Everything, everywhere, is always about you. It's like the world is a giant conspiracy. If I sneeze, it's because of you. If I quote something Steve says, it's because I'm an anti-Catholic.

Doesn't your pathetic little world ever get boring for you? Expand your horizons. Turn off your computer and leave your basement occasionally. Then you'll see that the world doesn't revolve around you, and you are not some great mystic champion for the Truth. You are a lesser-known wannabe who's only claim to fame is crying a lot about nothing.

You're not on my radar, Dave. I don't follow you. I don't seek out your posts. I don't read your blog. And before you start soiling yourself with how I wrote this post, I merely point out how easy it is for your obviously diseased mind to forget this was a response to your slanderous post about me.

I didn't initiate your post calling me an anti-Catholic YEC. I did't [sic] go to your computer and pen those words.

You did.

Now deal with it.

9/27/2010 3:16 PM