By Dave Armstrong (10-8-11)
This dialogue occurred at Cranach: The Blog of Veith: a Lutheran site, in the combox for the post "Mariology," in comment numbers 21, 25, 27, 186, 187, 188, 190, 191, 192, 193, 194, 195, 196, 198, 199, 201, 203, 206. I have arranged all these comments (no words changed or edited out!) in order to make it a coherent, flowing, back-and-forth dialogue.
Tom Hering's words will be in blue.
* * * * *
Mary as an examplar is Law, accusing us of falling short in the humility and obedience departments. Though why she should be made an examplar is beyond me,
Why should the Apostle Paul be an exemplar: also being chosen by Grace alone as every Christian is? But he urged his followers to imitate him and follow his example (as I documented in #180 above).
as she was chosen by grace alone: “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you … Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.” No reason for this is given in the Annunciation, no deserving qualities in Mary are mentioned, just “God’s favor” – unmerited grace.
Exactly! Where’s the beef? You actually think that Catholics would deny this?
I do call Mary “blessed among women,” but for the sole reason that she bore Our Savior. Yes, she received God’s favor, but so have all of the elect – and they, too, because of grace alone.
I don’t know anyone else who has been “hailed” by an angel [Lk 1:28]. Do you?
The Greek word is chairo, “greetings, rejoice, be glad.” I definitely see how this greeting indicates God has favored Mary above all women, but I don’t see how it indicates He has favored her on account of special qualities.
Baptist Greek scholar A. T. Robertson writes about Luke 1:28:
“‘Highly favoured’” (kecharitomene). Perfect passive participle of charitoo and means endowed with grace (charis), enriched with grace as in Ephesians. 1:6, . . . The Vulgate gratiae plena ‘is right, if it means “full of grace which thou hast received“; wrong, if it means “full of grace which thou hast to bestow“‘ (Plummer).”
(Word Pictures in the New Testament, Nashville: Broadman Press, 1930, Vol. II, 13)
Greek scholar Marvin Vincent noted that even Wycliffe and Tyndale (no enthusiastic supporters of the Catholic Church) both rendered kecharitomene in Luke 1:28 as “full of grace” and that the literal meaning was “endued with grace” (Word Studies in the New Testament, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1946, 1887 edition [New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons], Vol. I, 259).
Likewise, well-known Protestant linguist W. E. Vine, defines it as “to endue with Divine favour or grace” (An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Co., four volumes-in-one edition, 1940., Vol. II, 171).
All these men (except Wycliffe, who probably would have been, had he lived in the 16th century or after it) are Protestants, and so cannot be accused of Catholic translation bias. Even a severe critic of Catholicism like James White can’t avoid the fact that kecharitomene (however translated) cannot be divorced from the notion of grace, and stated that the term referred to “divine favor, that is, God’s grace” (The Roman Catholic Controversy, Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1996, 201).
Of course, Catholics agree that Mary has received grace. This is assumed in the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception: it was a grace from God which could not possibly have had anything to do with Mary’s personal merit, since it was granted by God at the moment of her conception, to preserve her from original sin (as appropriate for the one who would bear God Incarnate in her very body).
Thus, the angel favored Mary because she was full of grace, and being in that state was due to a special act of God. She had the special qualities; they came from God.
Gabriel had to tell Mary, “Do not be afraid.” What sinless person would fear the Lord, much less the Lord’s messenger?
Angels were universally feared, because they are extraordinary creatures, and out of the ordinary. I don’t see that Mary’s reaction would be any different from anyone else’s, whether she is sinless or not. One can be sinless, but still if one had no previous encounter with an angel, then they would tremble and fear. That’s not sin. It’s being a human being, responding to the extraordinary.
Nice generalization, but the verse doesn’t say, “Don’t be afraid. I know I’m an extraordinary visitor, but I’m a heck of a nice guy.” No, Gabriel tells Mary to be unafraid for a specific reason: “‘You have found favor with God.’” Which clearly indicates Gabriel knew that Mary, like any other sinful human, would be afraid she wasn’t in good standing with God. And rightly so. (Don’t you see how God’s grace toward Mary was amazing?)
Yes, it is. All grace is amazing, but the grace He gave to the Blessed Virgin Mary is more amazing, arguably, than any other instance, since He made her full of grace. God is so good! Isn't God amazing, to use a human being in such an incredible way to bring about the incarnation of our savior and redeemer and Lord, Jesus Christ? God didn't necessarily have to become man or even (theologians and spiritual masters have speculated) choose the cross and all the agony involved in Jesus' passion. He could have simply proclaimed that we were all saved, or that those who accepted His free grace were saved. But He didn't do that. He chose to suffer and die for us, and He chose to use a created human being, Mary, to bear God Himself in her womb and to be the Mother of God. It is sublime beyond all words, how God does things like this. This is why we venerate Mary so highly: because she is a witness to and example of God's grace and love for His creatures like no other human being.
Many millions of Protestants put out statues of Mary at Christmastime, because they can't deny that the birth of Jesus was such an incredible event. And every birth I know of entails a mother, who is not exactly an insignificant player . . . We honor every mother of a baby, for all that she has done, and gone through. Yet when it comes to honoring the mother of Jesus Christ: a created human being who had God Himself in her womb for nine months, and who lived with Jesus for about thirty years before He was known to the world, the Protestant balks, on the ridiculous grounds that this must be idolatry, or, at the very least, that it must somehow detract from our adoration and worship of God. This is an insufficient spirituality and insufficiently biblical as well.
You have yet to convince me from Scripture that Lutheranism (or Protestantism in general) is “insufficiently biblical.” Show me the verses and passages I asked you for. The ones that prove your not just adding your imaginings to God’s Word. As I said, I’m waiting.
* * *
Was Mary exceptionally humble and obedient? Sure. But what believer wouldn’t be in response to a supernatural visitation like that?
That doesn’t follow, either, since Satan and all the fallen angels were in the presence of God. That didn’t stop them from being disobedient, did it? You underestimate the strength of human (and demonic / angelic) free will by quite a wide margin.
What I carefully said @ 27 was (note the emphasis this time), “Was Mary exceptionally humble and obedient? Sure. But what believer wouldn’t be in response to a supernatural visitation like that?”
The thrust of this seems to be, “big wow: Mary was obedient. Who [of believers] wouldn’t be after an angelic visit?” But this is wrongheaded. We have free will. It is not a foregone conclusion at all that human beings will be obedient simply because an angel (or God) visits them.
For example, look at Jonah. The Bible says that “the Word of the Lord came to Jonah” (Jonah 1:1). He disobeyed: “But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord” (Jonah 1:3; cf. 1:10). Then when he finally did what God told him to do, he was “displeased” and “angry” at the good result (Jonah 4:1).
Adam and Eve had direct contact with God in Eden. Nevertheless they rebelled. So being with God (more more fabulous and wondrous than being with an angel) didn’t preclude the negative result and the rebellion. The first Eve said no to God; the second Eve said yes. What the Church fathers en masse marveled at and rejoiced over, you (and indeed many Protestants, for inexplicable reasons) regard as a ho-hum.
Thus, Mary is to be given credit for saying “yes” to God. That is the credit that can go to her, just as we are credited with all good and righteous acts, even though they are all ultimately due to God and His grace. As St. Augustine said (paraphrase), “merit is God rewarding His own gifts.”
I mentioned Satan’s rebellion, even though he had been in God’s presence. Satan was a “believer” at one point. How could he not be? He was with God, as His greatest angel! He was in a state even higher than we will be if we get to heaven. But he decided to rebel. How can someone rebel if they haven’t been in the camp from which they are rebelling? Therefore, your reiteration of your talking about a “believer” is irrelevant, since Satan was (just as Judas was). He used to be like the good angels now are.
“Big wow”? No, I consider it quite amazing that God puts a new heart into a believer, i.e., one who has received the gift of faith in Christ alone (the Christ that Mary looked forward to). And that this new heart responds spontaneously in humility and obedience. Amazing – full of grace indeed!
Satan and Judas were believers at one point? When did Satan or Judas ever trust in Christ for forgiveness?
When did Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, or Daniel ever trust in Christ for forgiveness? Were they not “believers”?
We’re talking about Mary. Are you going to address my questions and statements @193-194 directly, or are you going to continue to try to change the subject?
I did so, and am continuing to do so. My reply in #195 was exactly on-topic; dead on topic. It was a rhetorical question, based on the logical technique of reductio ad absurdum: not changing the subject at all. You just didn’t grasp the logic of it (and so ignored the burden of answering).
In this case, the logic was that you would be required to deny that Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel were believers, by your definition of the term. Since that is patently absurd, and proves too much, your initial premise and definition collapse; hence you declined to answer, having been stewed in your own juice, so to speak, and chose rather to pretend that I was off-topic, rather than that you were off-logic and off-Scripture.
It’s literally a textbook example of illogical and non sequitur thinking: fit for a textbook in logic (I took that course in college).
Show me the Scripture that says she was full of grace before the annunciation.
Luke 1:28. Because she is already in this state (“O favored one” — RSV), the angel hails her as such.
Show me this special pre-annunciation act of God in Scripture.
It follows logically from Luke 1:28 and (especially) from what kecharitomene means. It's a perfect passive participle, that shows a “completed action with permanent result” (Smyth), and denotes continuance of a completed action (H. W. Smyth, Greek Grammar, Harvard Univ Press, 1968, pp. 108-109, section 1852:b; also Friedrich Blass and Albert DeBrunner, Greek Grammar of the New Testament, Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1961, pp. 166, 175).
Show me the Scripture that says she received these before the annunciation.
I not only can, but did. What can’t be shown in Scripture (if you want to play that game) is the foolish notion of sola Scriptura: that only the Bible is the infallible rule of faith, to the exclusion of an infallible Church.
Asking you to convince me of RC teachings from Scripture alone is not a “game” – not for a Lutheran. Besides, having looked at your website, and seeing that you present yourself as a biblical RC apologist, you should have no problem at all making your arguments from Scripture – at least primarily. I’m waiting.
So I would go further and argue her humility and obedience were not, in fact, special qualities.
Duly noted. Mary really threatens you, doesn’t she?
Threatened? Not in the least. I am, however, amused by the number of times you’ve claimed or suggested that Lutherans (or Protestants or Evangelicals) are afraid, or weak in faith.
The humble handmaiden of the Lord . . . We must flee from her in terror, lest our faith in God be imperiled!!! You must have a very weak faith, if you are so scared of losing it merely from venerating God’s greatest created human being, just as Scripture says we should honor the heroes of the faith (Hebrews 11), precisely because they reflect the work and glory of God.
Rather, they were the normal response of a believer – a saint and sinner who looked forward to the coming of her Savior – when (A.) faced with an angel and (B.) fear of condemnation was allayed.
Mary’s humility is exhibited throughout the biblical accounts where she appears. Many Protestants who deny every Catholic and traditional (patristic, apostolic, biblical) doctrine about her wouldn’t dream of denying that, of all things. But you will have no talk of any extraordinary qualities of Mary! She only bore God in her own womb. Nothing to write home about . . .
Seems to me you have to imagine an awful lot to support the idea of Mary’s immaculate conception.
I have several arguments from Scripture. It takes faith to believe, like all Christian doctrines. The Christian (and Catholic) faith is not merely philosophy and epistemology, but a religious faith: a spiritual thing. It can’t be reduced to logic (though it is never inconsistent with that). Faith is a supernatural gift granted by God’s grace. God will grant anyone the eyes to see the truths of Mariology, if they are willing to grant them at least as possibilities.
I considered them more than possibilities back when I was RC myself. The only thing about Mariology that God opened my eyes to was the absurdity of it.
* * *
I can’t “prove” the Immaculate Conception in some airtight sense, but there are a lot of things that can’t be proven in that sense. I think the Catholic can demonstrate enough to show that the doctrine is plausible and not opposed to Scripture or reason at all.
* * *
I have no doubt that Mr. Armstrong believes “Catholics need only to show the harmony of a doctrine with holy Scripture.” But that’s not going to cut it with me – not from an apostle to the Protestants who wants me to believe he’s truly biblical. More biblical than any non-Catholic. I know full well that anything – anything – can be “harmonized” with Scripture if you’re clever enough.
* * * * *
I also had the following brief exchange in the same combox (#10, #183) with a person ("Jerry") of unknown denominational affiliation:
An additional insight from the Lutheran theology of the cross (vs the Roman Catholic and others theology of glory) is that Jesus in His complete humility was born to a big nobody. There is and was nothing in Mary to be adored, not even humility.
That’s interesting. Why in the world, then, does an angel say to Mary, “Hail, O favored one . . .” (Lk 1:28)? Since when does an angel “hail” a human being?
Why does Mary say “henceforth all generations will call me blessed” (Lk 1:48)? You certainly don’t do that. So is Mary a liar, writing inspired Scripture about how she shall be regarded by posterity? in addition to being a “big nobody” (only bearing God the Son, after all, a trifle if ever there was one . . . ).
I later wrote on my Facebook page more comments about this:
Well, if he meant (technically) by "adored" what we do (i.e., reserved for God alone), he may have been saying that we shouldn't worship or adore anything in her, which we agree with, of course. But we venerate her and her attributes, because God made her what she is, and she said "yes" to Him.
Mary's yes is to her credit. It came by God's grace, but He grants us free will, so she could have said "no" just as Eve did.
If Mary had said no, God wouldn't have chosen her in the first place; He would have simply chosen someone else whom He knew in His foreknowledge would say yes.
* * *
Alas, the inevitable personal attacks (sans answers to my arguments) started appearing. One "fws", who had replied to some of my earlier comments in the same thread (thought he was a nice and friendly guy), stated:
hmm. he made a series of posts over there. not one links back to the discussion here...... no need to wonder why. This man is sort of.. um.. crazy? dilusional? [sic] not sure what word to use. (#231; 10-10-11 as with all the following comments)
[Note from Dave: This post was later removed. But of course fws's rant was removed with neither retraction nor apology.]
Todd, another regular Lutheran posted on this blog, was fair-minded enough (actually consulting the facts of the matter) to correct that right away (seven minutes later):
FWS (@231), sorry, but every single one of those posts on Dave's blog links back to Veith's blog. Jumped the gun there, pardner.(#231)
[Note: the numbers of posts starting with #231 changed due to fws' removal of the original #231]
Then the illustrious Tom Hering couldn't resist getting in his ignorant barb:
Frank @ 231, the interesting thing is, I was never informed by Mr. Armstrong that he'd be posting my name and comments on his blog. Don't know if anyone else (you, Dr. Veith, . . .) received that courtesy. (#232)
Tom Hering again:
James @ 234, I understand the wild west nature of the internet. I just found it interesting that Mr. Armstrong doesn't follow the protocol he himself said was the right one to follow. (#234)
Nathan Rinne, a Lutheran friend with whom I have started cordial and constructive dialogues, defended me from these attacks, noting that I had made it crystal clear in the same combox, all of four days ago, as I write, on 10-6-11 (I know that's ancient history, but anyway . . . ), how I would be using dialogues engaged in on this Lutheran blog::
In comment #71 Dave had said:
Please Note: whenever I do any public dialogue, I always post it on my blog, and always post both sides. And I almost always post all my opponents’ words. If not (rarely, or if so, just a little editing), then I provide a link where they can be read in their entirety. If you object to that, just let me know, and I won’t interact with you, and don’t bother dialoguing with me, because I want my readers to see both sides (being the socratic teacher that I am), and it is wearisome to take out one side of a dialogue because a person refuses to let it be somewhere else online. Let it be known now, lest I catch flak (because some people don’t like that and seem to lack the courage of their convictions, from where I sit). [bolding my own, in the original comment]
fws, re: your comments in 231, I'm a bit surprised you'd say what you did.... : in the graphic that Tom provided in post 225, it shows that David had linked back to this discussion even at that point. You can go there now and see he has done this with all of the posts that he has created as a result of this discussion, as he warned he would do.
Tom, regarding your comments in 226, I am sure that Dave Armstrong, while totally admitting his RC bias, would say that he has arranged the discussion as best he can - trying to be as "objective" as a human being can be.
I actually appreciate his approach. I understand if others do not. Its definitely not for everyone. That said, I think that he needs to get back here and answer everyone's questions. : ) (#236)
Tom Hering admitted sheepishly:
Nathan @ 237, good enough. Though it's still not the personal notification Mr. Armstrong thinks he deserves. (#239)
fws (Frank Sonnek) decided to make himself look truly foolish by carrying his groundless gripe and clueless observations about my supposed character over to my blog. In the combox for this post, he wrote:
dave armstrong has "rearranged" this dialog beyond recognition. This is simply not an accurate reflection of the exchange. He ignores the context of the entire dialog which involved many persons. (10-10-11)
I did no such thing. All I did was present the dialogue back-and-forth between myself and Tom Hering. I explained at the top of the post, my usual method of editing such exchanges from comboxes. All the original posts are also linked at the top, if anyone wants to go read, including other comments that may have touched on the topic. (10-10-11)
I had explained in the opening paragraph:
I have arranged all these comments (no words changed or edited out!) in order to make it a coherent, flowing, back-and-forth dialogue.
Then in a combox for another paper, drawn from recent dialogues with Lutherans, Frank blasted me again:
dave, I take back what I said about your being honest. I note that you dont [sic] bother to show the link to the dialog over at Veith's site. there is a good reason for that isnt [sic] there? (10-10-11)
My reply to these (again!) truly surreal, completely non-factual accusations:
Thanks for your honesty.
I linked to the entire thread ("Mariology") right at the top. I also repeatedly linked to the individual comments of opponents (the link is in the date given after the comment). (10-10-11)
Frank Sonnek continued to rant over at the Cranach blog; issuing one apology (thanks), but continuing in his irrationality:
Tom Hering gives a big clue as to why the dialogue with him went nowhere, and why he now chooses to insult:
In my discussions with Roman Catholics, now, my attitude toward them depends on how loyal they are to the seat of the Antichrist. But what else would you expect from a Lutheran who takes the whole of his Confessions seriously? (You could check out the subject index in the Kolb Wengert edition of the BOC. One-and-a-half, fine print pages of references to statements on the Pope, and on those loyal to the Pope’s authority. They ain’t pretty. (#270)
Further personal attacks occur in the combox for this post (all from Frank Sonnek = fws, at the time of writing. Sonnek removed his post where he publicly wondered if I was "crazy" or "dilusional" [sic]; then reiterated that I was "delusional" in the combox here. Very cute, isn't it: take the insults down on the Lutheran site and say them again on the Catholic blog (directed towards the person who runs it) . . .I made several new comments over on the same combox ("Mariology"):
fws had the original comment #231 removed, because he described me in three (shall we say) “negative” ways. He has since (on my blog; dunno if he also did here; I think not) retracted one allegedly factual charge, after being shown repeatedly that it wasn’t so. The other two things he has not retracted, and in fact, repeated one of them on my blog just a few minutes ago. I won’t repeat it, in deference to the blogmaster’s decision to have this disgraceful material removed here. . . .
fws (231), I would strongly advise you to have that comment deleted by a moderator of this forum, if at all possible, as soon as possible.
fws replied in (current) #253:
. . . @ 234 done. thanks for the suggestion.
Note that all we have is the recommendation of removal, to cover up what was said, rather than a Christian recognition that it is slander and a disgrace to discourse. The slander was quite public; the removal was (almost) secret, minus retraction or apology. It reminds me of how the New York Times will say something stupid on the front page, then (if forced) retract it two weeks later on page C34 or something . . .
As I was writing this, fws (aka Frank Sonnek, in his comments on my blog), wrote in one of my comboxes, reiterating one of the charges that he removed here. This proves that he hasn’t changed his views in the slightest, but he removed the post to cover his you-know-what.
This is what pagans and worldly-wise sorts do; it’s certainly not Christian ethics: calling a man [censored] and [censored] because there is an honest disagreement, then removing it so no one will see, then (like a fool) stating it again on the person’s blog, so that it can’t be removed.
I want to publicly thank and express my admiration for “Dust” — for his integrity and fairness in speaking up repeatedly against the hogwash and personal nonsense that ruined what could have been (and even was, in isolated instances) a constructive (and fun) discussion; also thanks to Nathan Rinne: a Lutheran who is able to talk to a Catholic rationally and pleasantly, minus any hint of insult or hostility (he spoke up, too, against some of the slander). My next project will be to reply to his critique of my critiques of Chemnitz. I look forward to it.
Many thanks again to the host, Dr. Gene Veith, for allowing me to speak freely on his site, and to present what Catholics believe. I wish him many blessings in his important work. (#284)
The "Mariology" combox then exploded (#288-304 at the time of writing) with a bunch more psychoanalyses of my character and its supposed grave and manifest deficiencies, with "Dust" the only one even remotely siding with my perspective on things (i.e., in terms of this controversy; not theology). He's not fooled by all the melodramatic histrionics:
Just sayin, when some of the non-regulars, or some of the non-golden ones on this blog, say things that offend some of the regulars, they are accused of twisting words, or they get bombarded with a 100 questions off topic usually, and if they don’t relent or concede, then come the insults, and the threat of censorship or the threat of pulling the plug, yadda, yadda, yadda.
My point is that this is what seems to me to be happening with Dave. They don’t like what he is saying, they don’t like his style, they ask 100 questions and expect immediate replies, they bombard with pages and pages of replies, they try and control his conversation, then when he responds in ways that are interpreted by them to be mean-spirited or whatever, and in my opinion are not mean spirited, then the level gets personal and insults such as crazy or delusional, yadda, yadda, yadda…it’s happened to you [Grace: another person frequently attacked on the site] and that is my point of similarity with this situation with Dave. (#303)
What breath of fresh air!: the rare individual who is able to be objective and fair-minded and not automatically take the party line. He saw that something was wrong and called out the people who did it. It matters not that they were fellow Lutherans and I was a Catholic. It was the principle; the ethics of the situation. Someone was being treated most unfairly and absurdly and he denounced it. I think 99% of forums online would be much better places for conversation if they were moderated by people like "Dust." But alas, it is not so.
I basically swore off of Internet discussion boards (of all kinds: even Catholic) eight years ago, precisely because there is very little worthwhile discussion that occurs, where there are major disagreements. I had a vain hope that a semi-scholarly Lutheran site would be different (at least temporarily, if nothing else) -- sometimes blogs offer a higher standard of conduct -- and might perhaps be a place where some mutual understanding could occur; so I tried for a while. But I was wrong. It was eventually the same old same old (though at times there was some halfway decent discussion):
1) Theological disagreement.
2) Insults begin; "feeding frenzy" and gossip- and slander-fest against the one person who is the "outsider."
3) Three-ring circus.
4) I try in vain to speak out against it (as did two Lutherans in the thread).
5) More insults and charges of "immoral equivalence," hypocrisy, plus the obligatory sanctimonious lectures without the slightest inkling of what had actually occurred, or that the side that initiated the hogwash had any fault whatever. etc., etc., etc., ad nauseum. ZZZZzzzzzzz.
Thank heavens that "Dust" could see through the mud and mire and condemn these silly tactics. It renews my faith in Lutheran humanity. But I've learned my lesson about forums once again.
I clarified my position over against further charges:
One last reply to a person who asked that his words not be recorded (the equivalent of wiping the dust off my feet upon departure):
It is true that I respond strongly to lies and slander. You neglect, too, to acknowledge that fws has now apologized for what he wrote, and agrees that it was wrong and indefensible. So you can hardly object to my objections to his charges now that he agrees that they were indeed very bad.
Since I have visited this place (about a week ago), I’ve been accused of seeking to slander Luther (by yourself; retracted), being a fabricator of quotations (indirectly by Todd; retracted: I think), of being a bald-faced liar, regarding finding my own research source that [someone else] first discovered from me, being “crazy” and “delusional” (fws; retracted under pressure), dishonest (fws and Tom Hering), everything under the sun (Todd, fws), and an idolater and a host of the usual anti-Catholic accusations (Grace). And that’s just in one week.
Then several people lied about how I didn’t notify anyone that I was cross-posting on my blog, and what a huge hypocrite I was because of that, whereas I had made a very clear statement right in the thread (#71) that I was gonna do that; and whoever didn’t like it shouldn’t bother talking to me. Then I was accused of cynical editing to make my opponents look stupid. And I was accused of not making links back to this site (fws retracted that as well). Now there are all sorts of wacko psychoanalytic analyses and Pharisaical judgments of my character.
Real hospitality there. But I’m not supposed to utter a word of protest about that. I’m just supposed to lay down and die and lick all of your feet, because you are Protestants and I am but a lowly ignorant papist and all around wascally wascal who pulls the wings off of flies and steals babies’ candy (and their mothers’ purses, too).
You expect me to not have any harsh words in reaction to all that rotgut? Then after I responded strongly and didn’t take any of this crap, I was put in the same box as the persons who made the false accusations (you, Todd, fws all have implied this). Sorry, that is simply not true. But it is Internet group behavior; clone behavior. It’s always the same, no matter what the dispute is.
I used to be a moderator of the Coming Home Network forum for three years. I know the dynamics of how all this works. I kicked out at least two Catholics because they were anti-Protestant, and we didn’t stand for that. We didn’t allow personal attacks at all. Nor would this kind of nonsense be allowed on my blog, which has been running for over seven years. I don’t have to babysit. Everyone voluntarily chooses to act like Christian adults.
Your claim (sarcastic or not) was that I supposedly have a big “wound” and “emotional trauma.” This is not true. Insults never affect or upset me personally, in the emotional sense. If they did, I would have gotten out of the business of being an apologist long ago, because it is an occupational hazard. I’ve been called every imaginable thing, believe me. They do upset me in terms of my strongly believing that they are a disgrace in terms of supposed Christian discourse and an example to the nonbeliever.
You can call it a dodge [refusing to discuss the fine points of Luther's view of Mary] if you like, because you insist on putting a biased, negative spin on it. My explanation was perfectly sensible. I had written on it before; it was complex; I had a lot of other things to reply to, etc. Without the hostility, all of those reasons would be perfectly acceptable and accepted. But when there is ill will, the pretense of supposedly being scared and unable and all the rest is brought up.
Furthermore, it was off-topic. If you look at the initial post, it was about Catholic Mariology. I came here to give a Catholic counter-reply (Dr. Veith’s post was largely in response to me in the first place) and clear up several misconceptions about what we believe. That was on-topic. Yet no one chose to interact with my long reply; no one would touch it with a ten-foot pole. Instead, we got diversions into all sorts of extraneous topics that you expect me to answer to the nth degree. Luther’s Mariology is a whole different ballgame. I talked about it for a while, but I am not obligated to do it indefinitely.
fws also brought up original sin repeatedly. I was willing to post a lengthy excerpt giving the Catholic definitions of that and concupiscence. No interaction at all. I even asked fws later what he thought the differences were between our view and yours. No reply. But I am no more obligated to go into an intense discussion about original sin than I am to discuss Luther’s Mariology in a thread about what Catholics believe about Mary and how they arrive at their conclusions. It seems to me that this is all quite self-evident, but hostility wipes that out.
Authenticity was the issue because fws made it the issue: claiming that the [three Luther] quotes were possibly “bogus.” He made the charge; I answered it. Then when I asked if he accepted them as genuine, rather than admit that he blew it and had egg on his face (since the quotes were from Luther's Works, Gritsch, etc.), he switched topics to Luther’s Mariology and the meaning of the texts rather than their authenticity (which I had already politely declined to discuss, appealing to my four papers).
The thing about proving the authenticity of citations was why I came in the first place: because my basic trustworthiness as a researcher was being attacked, and I ran across that on Google (you yourself first brought up my name here). So I spent a lot of time on two Luther quotes; then fws attacked three more that I had mentioned in passing. (#322)
Back to your (and my) regularly scheduled program . . .I'm sure further attacks will occur after #322 [they did], but you can go there and read them if you like. I need to get back to my regular work now.