Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Two Conversions: An Interview with Spanish Journalist Itxu Díaz, of the Dicax Press Agency

Itxu Díaz is a journalist from Spain. He works for the Dicax Press, and also has a personal website. He contacted me for an interview that will be part of a feature for his site, called "Catholics Around the World". His questions will be in blue.

* * * * *

As far as I could read in this article, before your conversion you were interested in the "supernatural". What got you interested in telepathy or magic?

I think that was a function of a certain "spiritual curiosity" or religious urge, even before I had much interest in Christianity itself. I was raised as a Methodist but I was very ignorant and knew little about my faith. For whatever reason, Christianity appeared to me boring, inconsequential, and removed from the "real world." I hated to go to church on Sunday, and in fact, we stopped going when I was nine years old, when our inner-city congregation ceased to exist. I basically lived as a "secular pagan" for the next nine years of my life: all the way through high school.

Yet I had a curiosity that would later lead me to Christianity, once I learned more about it. In this vacuum, I became fascinated with supernatural things: probably as a result of "eery" television shows like The Twilight Zone, One Step Beyond, and so forth. I read a book about it, and then tried to actually do telepathy, ESP, the Ouija board, and other practices. It wasn't just a game for me. I was genuinely pursuing it and thought it was a real thing.

Now I know that much of it is indeed real, but lies in the Satanic or demonic realm. I think it is a case study of any number of beliefs taking the place of Christianity, where the latter is absent for the most part. G. K. Chesterton noted that when people reject Christianity, the problem is not that they believe in nothing, but that they will believe in anything.

In your [initial, evangelical] conversion, the film Jesus of Nazareth and your depression in 1977 were two important points. What did you learn from the movie Jesus of Nazareth? How did it influence you?

Movies about Christian themes (when they are done well) have always made a powerful impression on me. Dramatic films "make it real" and possess an emotional impact that doesn't always come across in writing. This was a case of "the right thing at exactly the right time." It remains my favorite Christian film.

Beyond the excellence of the movie itself, as a piece of art, I think what moved me was being presented with a realistic portrayal of Jesus. I was dazzled by it. For the first time in my life I was confronted with what He was really like. By this time I had figured out (from my evangelical brother Gerry) that He was actually God in the flesh, which I hadn't realized till about two years before (actually during another film about Jesus: The Greatest Story Ever Told). It fascinated me, while watching it: that this Person was actually God.

The Person of Jesus was so immensely appealing that I could hardly not become His disciple after that experience. He seemed like the ultimate nonconformist (something very important to me, especially at that stage of my life), and He would always give answers that were striking and unexpected. As it turned out, I gave my life over to Him as a disciple at that time, around Easter 1977. This was my "conversion to Christ through evangelical Protestantism." It was a profound event for me, and transformed and changed my life. I've never been the same since.

Relating to your depression, was it an important event in your [first] conversion?

It was key, because it was highly symbolic of my previous thinking, that I didn't need God: that I could supposedly go through life with little or no thought of him. Like most people, I had a lot of pride and a self-delusion of self-sufficiency without God: what has been called "practical atheism" (living your life as if God doesn't exist).

Now, when a person has that amount of stubbornness and stupidity, sometimes drastic action is necessary. God loves us enough to do whatever it takes to wake us up. Going through serious, clinical depression is enough to scare the wits out of anyone, I think. I went from a very self-confident, "got it all together" person to someone who was in the deepest despair and anguish, and unable to figure out why I was depressed or how I would get out of the deep dark pit that I was in. My self-image and seeming "happiness" was annihilated. I had never experienced anything like that before, and never since that time. Thus, in my mind, in retrospect, I think the larger purpose of it in God''s providence was to cause me to finally decide to yield up my self-will (and myself, period) to God.

It was almost like I had no choice but to surrender to God and cease my rebellion against Him. I had nowhere else to go. As I was coming out of the depression, having cried out to God, I felt that I literally experienced what King David did, as he expressed in Psalm 40:1-4:

I waited patiently for the LORD;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
[2] He drew me up from the desolate pit,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
[3] He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the LORD.
[4] Blessed is the man who makes
the LORD his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after false gods!

When did you start to become interested in theology? Was it the reason that led you to Catholicism?

What led me to theology and Christianity was the process I briefly described above, along with the influence of my brother Gerry, who would "witness" to me now and then. Occasionally I attended his church and would squirm in my seat, because I basically knew that what the pastor was saying was correct. I just didn't want to give my life over to Jesus, because I wanted to be my own Boss.

But God gave me a consciousness and innate sense that Christian teaching on moral issues was correct. I didn't want to follow those teachings. I was a typical teenager of today (and probably of all times). Interest in theology came immediately after my conversion; particularly C. S. Lewis and books about prophecy by Hal Lindsey. Biblical prophecy had a great appeal to my curiosity. Generally, things have to challenge my mind or intellectual curiosity for me to become interested in them. That was as true in those days as it is now. And that is why I took quickly to apologetics, which is a a way to harmonize faith and reason.

My interest in Catholicism came 13 years later, in 1990. By then I had become a Protestant Christian apologist and campus evangelist, and had studied many many things in theology and apologetics. The initial issue that drew me into wanting to learn more about Catholicism was contraception, as a result of being in the pro-life movement and meeting Catholics there. I couldn't comprehend what was so wrong about it. I even argued once (in a friendly manner) with a priest, and he couldn't give me a solid reply. He was a solid pro-lifer (this is how I met him), but wasn't up to speed with his apologetics. I was informed by a Catholic friend that no Christians (including the Orthodox and all Protestants) thought that contraception was permissible and right, until 1930, when the Anglicans first allowed it in limited cases. That shocked me to no end. Again, then, it was moral theology or questions of right and wrong that played a key role.

The next factor that led me on was an interest in studying the so-called Protestant "Reformation" and what really happened in the 16th century with Martin Luther, John Calvin, and other Protestant founders. I had read some material from the Protestant perspective; now I wanted to see what Catholics would say about it, to get a more balanced view. Once again I was astonished by what I learned. I had been brainwashed by hearing only one side, and it was usually a thoroughly biased account. There are two sides to every story, in other words.

If you had to choose just one author who was decisive for your conversion to Catholicism, who would you choose?

Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890). This was the third and decisive factor in my conversion to Catholicism: reading his work, Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine. What that did was explain in a coherent and intellectually brilliant fashion, how the early Church developed into the historic and current Catholic Church: how what we see today, that often seems excessive and different from the early, New Testament Church, is, in fact, the very same one, by a consistent process of development, much like an acorn grows into a large oak tree, while remaining identical to itself all along. I had been ferociously fighting against infallibility: a notion that I regarded as perfectly ridiculous; almost laughable. Cardinal Newman made short work of my pretensions.

This caused a revolution in my thought, as I realized that the Catholic Church was indeed the one true Church, and the "Church" referred to in the Bible, since the Bible never refers positively to denominations or more than one Church, or even more than one set of doctrinal beliefs in the one Church. Denominations are a category entirely foreign to the biblical, apostolic worldview. Protestants themselves know this full well, which is why they acknowledge that it is a scandalous state of affairs, and don't try to defend it. At best, they come up with an artificial, rationalizing, non-biblical distinction between primary or central and secondary doctrines: with a wide latitude allowed for the latter. But this breaks down on many levels, upon the slightest scrutiny.

Your conversion was in 1991 and you currently work as an author of numerous books on apologetics and Catholicism. What did you do before?

After several different jobs, I became a missionary to college campuses as an evangelical Protestant, from 1985 to 1989. After that, I settled into a delivery career (payroll) all through the 90s. My first book, A Biblical Defense of Catholicism, was finished during this period, in 1996, from individual treatises all the way back to early 1991, but it took seven years to get it "officially" published. I had started my website in early 1997, that continues to this day as a blog, and now I have also associated Facebook and Twitter Pages.

People knew of my work by the end of that decade, from the website, from articles in Catholic apologetic magazines (This Rock and The Catholic Answer), starting in 1993, and from my conversion story being published in the bestseller Surprised by Truth (edited by Patrick Madrid) in 1994. Thus, when the delivery company I worked for went out of business in December 2001, two weeks after the birth of my daughter and fourth child, I made an appeal on my website to see if people thought I should do full-time apologetics. They did, and I have been doing that ever since, with an income from book royalties, donations, and additional part-time work as necessary. I've definitely "paid my dues" but it is a great life, doing what I passionately love. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Do you find similarities between your conversion and Scott Hahn's conversion?

Not many. He was already a Presbyterian pastor. So his journey had a lot more to do with painstakingly working through each theological issue where Catholics and Protestants disagree. My journey, on the other hand, had to do with moral issues (contraception), and then historical matters (including study of the Protestant "Reformation" -- more properly described as a "Revolution" or "Revolt") and the determination of where the one true, biblical, apostolic Church could be found (ecclesiology).

Right after my conversion, I worked through the various doctrines and tried to explain them to Protestants, with as much biblical support as I could find, so I did what Scott did, but after my conversion, not before; and these initial papers eventually comprised my first book. That, in turn, has been the leading theme of my subsequent apologetics career: "biblical evidence for Catholicism" (as my blog is called): trying to explain to Protestants in terms they can understand (mostly from the Bible), that Catholicism is the fullness of Christian truth and that there continues to be a visible, apostolic, institutional Church, specially guided by the Holy Spirit and granted by God the gift of infallibility.

Do you think that Catholics study and know enough about their own religion?

On the whole, no: generally speaking, they are abysmally, shamefully, shockingly ignorant, and fervent Protestants know this full well, which is one of the reasons they don't think too highly of Catholicism: Catholics themselves are the worst witness for the faith. I experienced this myself, having run across very few Catholics during my 13 years as an evangelical, who could and would share and defend their faith. When I finally did meet such a person in the pro-life movement, it was such a curiosity to me that it led me to extensive discussions and study and ultimately conversion. It could have easily happened many years before if only a Catholic had taken the initiative to defend and explain his or her faith to me.

The irony is that Catholicism is, we believe, the fullness of Catholic truth; yet we Catholics do such a poor job of proclaiming, defending, and living out that faith. And this is one of the primary motivations for why I am an apologist: I want to educate Catholics to be confident in their beliefs, by knowing what they are in the first place, understanding them, and comprehending the reasoning behind them: why they believe what they believe. But the apologist can't compel anyone to be persuaded. That is ultimately the job of the Holy Spirit and grace. Mostly we try to remove roadblocks, or take out objections, to make the way clear for a change of mind and allegiance.

The more I engage in Catholic apologetics, the more I am convinced myself (without exception in every study that I do) that Catholicism is the fullness of Christian truth. This is the particular blessing that comes from apologetics. You know that you know that you know that the thing is true. I have always (since 1977) been interested in learning more about what I believe to be the truth, and sharing what I have found with others, by the grace of God and as a result of His calling.

Thanks for the opportunity to share about my life and journey to the Catholic Church. I appreciate it, and I enjoyed the interview a lot. May God abundantly bless you and all your readers.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Anglican Newman on the Falsity of Extreme Versions of the Protestant "Faith Alone" Viewpoint

The following are excerpts from my upcoming book of quotations from Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman: The Quotable Newman: Theology and Church History.

* * * * *

Still dwelling on the sin and misery of our unrenewed nature! still anxiously turning to the corruption and odiousness of the flesh, and refusing to contemplate the work of the Spirit, lest grace should fail of being exalted, lest glory should be given to man, lest Christ's work should be eclipsed! What a strange and capricious taste, to linger in the tomb, to sit down with Job among the ashes, by way of knowing him who has called us to light, to liberty, to perfection! How eccentric and how inconsequent,—how like, (unless sometimes seen in serious and well-judging men,) how like an aberration, to argue that to extol the work of the Spirit, must be to obscure the grace of Christ? Yet this is firmly held,—held as if in the spirit of confessors and martyrs,—held, mordicus, as a vital, sovereign, glorious, transporting truth, by the dominant ultra-Protestantism. Regenerate man must, to the day of his death, have in him nothing better than man unregenerate. In spite of the influences of grace, there must be nothing in him to admire, nothing to kindle the beholder, nothing to gaze upon, dwell on, or love, lest we glory in man. Grace must do nothing in him, or it is not duly upheld. The triumph of grace is to act entirely externally to him, not in him. To save and sanctify is not so great a work as to save and leave sinful. There must be nothing saintly, nothing super-human, nothing angelic in man regenerate, because man unregenerate is the child and slave of evil. Sin must be his sole characteristic, his sole theme, his sole experience . . . Faith is to be made everything, as being the symbol and expression of this negative or degraded state; and charity, which is the fulfilling of the law, the end of the commandment, and the greatest of Christian graces, must not be directly contemplated or enforced at all, lest it be thereby implied that the Christian can be better with grace than he is without it. Such is supposed to be, . . . spiritual religion, the religion in which the Spirit is supposed to do little or nothing for us.

(Review of The Life of Augustus Hermann Franké, by H. E. F. Guerike, British Critic, vol. 21, July 1837)

. . . a system of doctrine has risen up during the last three centuries, in which faith or spiritual-mindedness is contemplated and rested on as the end of religion instead of Christ. I do not mean to say that Christ is not mentioned as the Author of all good, but that stress is laid rather on the believing than on the Object of belief, on the comfort and persuasiveness of the doctrine rather than on the doctrine itself. And in this way religion is made to consist in contemplating ourselves instead of Christ; not simply in looking to Christ, but in ascertaining that we look to Christ, not in His Divinity and Atonement, but in our conversion and our faith in those truths. . . . The fault here spoken of is the giving to our ''experiences" a more prominent place in our thoughts than to the nature, attributes, and work of Him from whom they profess to come,—the insisting on them as a special point for the consideration of all who desire to be recognized as converted and elect.

(Lectures on the Doctrine of Justification [1838 / 1874; London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 3rd edition, 1908], ch. 13)

True faith is what may be called colourless, like air or water; it is but the medium through which the soul sees Christ; and the soul as little really rests upon it and contemplates it, as the eye can see the air. When, then, men are bent on holding it (as it were) in their hands, curiously inspecting, analyzing, and so aiming at it, they are obliged to colour and thicken it, that it may be seen and touched. That is, they substitute for it something or other, a feeling notion, sentiment, conviction, or act of reason, which they may hang over, and doat upon. They rather aim at experiences (as they are called) within them, than at Him that is without them. They are led to enlarge upon the signs of conversion, the variations of their feelings, their aspirations and longings, and to tell all this to others;—to tell others how they fear, and hope, and sin, and rejoice, and renounce themselves, and rest in Christ only; how conscious they are that their best deeds are but "filthy rags," and all is of grace, till in fact they have little time left them to guard against what they are condemning, and to exercise what they think they are so full of.

(Ibid., ch. 13)

To look to Christ is to be justified by faith; to think of being justified by faith is to look from Christ and to fall from grace.

(Ibid., ch. 13)

. . . it is not an uncommon notion at this time, that a man may be an habitual sinner, and yet be in a state of salvation, and in the kingdom of grace. And this doctrine many more persons hold than think they do; not in words, but in heart. They think that faith is all in all; that faith, if they have it, blots out their sins as fast as they commit them. They sin in distinct acts in the morning,—their faith wipes all out; at noon,—their faith still avails; and in the evening,—still the same. Or they remain contentedly in sinful habits or practices, under the dominion of sin, not warring against it, in ignorance what is sin and what is not; and they think that the only business of a Christian is, not to be holy, but to have faith, and to think and speak of Christ; and thus, perhaps, they are really living, whether by habit or by act, in extortion, avarice, envy, rebellious pride, self-indulgence, or worldliness, and neither know nor care to know it. If they sin in habits, they are not aware of these at all; if by acts, instead of viewing them one and all together, they take them one by one, and set their faith against each separate act.

(Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. V, 1840, London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1907; Sermon 13: “The State of Salvation”)

Faith is the tenure upon which this divine life is continued to us: by faith the Christian lives, but if he draws back he dies; his faith profits him nothing; or rather, his drawing back to sin is a reversing of his faith; after which, God has no pleasure in him. And yet, clearly as this is stated in Scripture, men in all ages have fancied that they might sin grievously, yet maintain their Christian hope. They have comforted themselves with thoughts of the infinite mercy of God, as if He could not punish the sinner; or they have laid the blame of their sins on their circumstances; or they have hoped that zeal for the truth, or that almsgiving, would make up for a bad life; or they have relied upon repenting in time to come. And not the least subtle of such excuses is that which results from a doctrine popularly received at this day, that faith in Christ is compatible with a very imperfect state of holiness, or with unrighteousness, and avails for the pardon of an unrighteous life. So that a man may, if so be, go on pretty much like other men, with this only difference, that he has what he considers faith,—a certain spiritual insight into the Gospel scheme, a renunciation of his own merit, and a power of effectually pleading and applying to his soul Christ's atoning sacrifice, such as others have not;—that he sins indeed much as others, but then is deeply grieved that he sins; that he would be under the wrath of God as others are, had he not faith to remove it withal. And thus the necessity of a holy life is in fact put out of sight quite as fully as if he said in so many words, that it was not required; and a man may, if it so happen, be low-minded, sordid, worldly, arrogant, imperious, self-confident, impure, self-indulgent, ambitious or covetous, nay, may allow himself from time to time in wilful acts of sin which he himself condemns, and yet, by a great abuse of words, may be called spiritual. . . . Instead of faith blotting out transgressions, transgressions blot out faith.

(Ibid., Sermon 14: “Transgressions and Infirmities”)


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Anti-Catholic Polemicist Steve Hays Falsely Claims That I Have No Accountability to My Priest and Bishop
It seems to be goin'; around these days: anti-Catholics stretching the truth to the breaking point.
Now it's Steve Hays' turn for more of his patented whoppers.

Here is the latest from this inveterate slanderer:

Is he [Paul Hoffer] accountable? I notice the conspicuous absence of contact information, either at the end of his post, or over at his own blog, which would enable readers to report him to his parish priest or diocesan bishop in case of misconduct. By the same token, I notice that Armstrong hasn’t made that information publicly available either. Yet Armstrong is hosting a post about personal accountability. Hoffer and Armstrong pay lip-service to the accountability-system of the Roman church while they shield themselves from direct accountability to their religious superiors. If they have the courage to stand behind their words, why don’t they provide the contact information for their religious superiors in case a reader has a grievance to lodge with superiors over their conduct?

I already answered this identical charge (from him) on 22 January 2011. But that is assuming that 1) the man reads anything by Catholics, or perhaps 2) takes anything seriously that is written by Catholics, or 3) takes at face value self-reports by Catholics, or 4) reads what Catholics say specifically in reply to him. None of these things are by any means certain, since he often deletes my comments on his blog when he finds himself unable to answer.

The controversy in question was an attack on lay apologetics at Boors All: an anti-Catholic site that Hays frequents. He participated in this discussion, which is why I replied to him on this very issue. He wrote in the combox there:

One simple test of whether lay Catholic apologists are accountable to their religious superiors is whether they leave contact info on the sidebar of their blog so that you can run what they say by their parish priest or local bishop's office. When have you ever seen this?

He parrots himself with the usual clueless anti-Catholic inanity and boorishness: not realizing (or cynically ignoring the known fact) that I have already fully dealt with this ridiculous charge. I replied at the time:

I have written many times for my parish newsletter, primarily under the auspices of Fr. Paul Ward (St. Joseph's in Detroit). I've spoken at parish meetings; my books are sold in the vestibule. The current priest is Fr. Paul Czarnota, who had approvingly read several of my books before he ever arrived. Steve is free to contact the church to ask what is thought of my work. The Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron, Archbishop of the Detroit archdiocese, granted ecclesiastical approval for the book What Catholics Really Believe: for which I wrote the study guide. I was informed by the editor, Stan Williams, that not a single word of my portion was modified when the censor (Professor Robert Fastiggi, from Sacred Heart Seminary) checked it out for orthodoxy and accuracy. Those are my credentials in my own archdiocese. I also have an Imprimatur for my New Catholic Answer Bible. Steve Hays, however, is apparently accountable to no one. I recommend that someone try to find out who he is accountable to: if anyone. After all, accountability is also a Protestant concept. But he's just a guy (frustrated, unsuccessful academic) with a blog and a big mouth, and master of insults. He's not published anywhere that I know of, except for self-published works.

Now, I will be charitable and help poor Steve Hays, who -- notwithstanding his fathomless wisdom -- seems to have an extraordinarily difficult time navigating websites, and comprehending how he can possibly find this exceptionally mysterious, obscure information about where I go to church (and have these past twenty years).

When one looks at the top of my blog, there are seven major categories with which one begins a "card catalogue-type" search on my site. Steve (now pay close attention!) will want to select the second from the right, entitled "About Me." I think the average reader would be able to ascertain that this might lead to the desired personal information. Maybe not, and maybe Steve would find this difficult to comprehend. We all have our weaknesses and limitations, after all, and he stated outright that I haven't "made that information publicly available" and that my blog was notable for such information's "conspicuous absence."

But back to our task at hand. Now, here's where it could conceivably become quite frustrating for Steve, but we'll try our best to "dumb it down" and walk him through the process. Once there, readers are confronted with an incredibly complex, Byzantine set of three tables, each having eight sections. This might be over Steve's head, but if he puts his mind to it, I think it is entirely possible. He will (presumably, if he gets this far in his quest) look over these, and hopefully, by God's grace and a bit of luck, would be able to locate a category on the bottom-left corner of the second table down (the one in the middle).

Got that, Steve? Good! It is entitled (drum roll): "Home Parish: St. Joseph's in Detroit." This takes the reader to our parish website, complete with contact info! Now, that wasn't so hard, was it? Two clicks of a mouse: "About Me" (which is always on the top of my blog), and the parish link. This is even easier than a sidebar, because my sidebar has lots and lots of stuff, but the top of the blog is one small portion that is always visible.

The archdiocese is another story. It's true that I don't have that contact information listed on my site, as far as I know. But of course it could be obtained from my parish if necessary. Failing that, let's see if we can actually find such a thing. How about searching in Google:"Archdiocese of Detroit." The fact that I live in the Detroit area is all over my blog and Facebook page: if you click on the bottom of my profile on the sidebar ("View my complete profile"), it goes to my Blogger Profile, wherein it states at the top that I reside in "Metro Detroit, Michigan." Or one can click "Resume": permanently on the top right of my blog. At the bottom of that is my lengthy blurb, "About the Author." At the very end of that and end of the Literary Resume one learns that I "reside in Melvindale, Michigan (metro Detroit)." I don't think this is rocket science. Does anyone else except Steve Hays, who has a whale of a time figuring it out?

But back to the elaborate, excruciatingly tough Google search for my bishop. Using the words above, we have success! The very first hit is called "The Official Web Site for the Archdiocese of Detroit." YES! Even as you view it there, sitting on the Google search page, attentive readers may spot a subsection entitled "Contact." This actually takes one to phone numbers, email addresses, and street addresses. So it is another two-mouse-click affair: "Archdiocese of Detroit" in Google and "Contact" under the first hit. I think even Hays could manage to navigate this ineffably complicated labyrinth. Two clicks to my home parish; two clicks to my archdiocese.

Then Hays is free to inquire all he likes: to my priest, who is a big fan of my books and was reading them before he even arrived at my parish, or to my bishop, who has granted me ecclesiastical approval of one of my writing projects. Feel free, Steve. Not that he would ever actually do any of this, of course . . . but it makes for a melodramatic rhetorical flourish, doesn't it?: to make the vapid charge with no basis whatever in reality. This is a particular specialty of Hays'. He's the master of the groundless, logically challenged accusation.

Now let's see how mysterious is the contact information for my friend Paul Hoffer, who was also blasted by Hays. His blog is called Spes Mea Christus! Remember the charge that was made:

I notice the conspicuous absence of contact information, either at the end of his post, or over at his own blog, which would enable readers to report him to his parish priest or diocesan bishop in case of misconduct. . . . why don’t they provide the contact information for their religious superiors in case a reader has a grievance to lodge with superiors over their conduct?

Okay, Steve! The challenge has been met to find this difficult information. Let's head over to Paul's site and begin our quest. Less than a page view's scroll down we see "About Me" on the sidebar, and we learn that Paul lives in Norton, Ohio. Good! That wasn't too bad. Next section: "Important Links." We look through those, and . . . ah! Tenth one down is "My Diocese - the Diocese of Cleveland." A click on that brings all the contact information. Very next link is "My Parish - Saint Augustine Church - Barberton." Click: and we find all contact information again.

This is even easier than my site, but both are quite easy for anyone above a, say, third grade education, or IQ higher than a hose nozzle.

Okay; that settled, let's go over to Cryablogue: Steve Hays' infamously imbecilic anti-Catholic site. How easy is it to find his contact information, so we can hold him accountable? Pretty quickly in scrolling down the sidebar we find his name. Clicking on that, we get a profile, where we discover that he is "a native of the greater Seattle area" -- but alas, we don't get to hear where he resides now. We have no idea where the man lives, and that's how he wants it: lest he actually be accountable to anyone. Who is Hays accountable to?! Nobody.

We see nothing about any church, or even a denomination (we know he is an anti-Catholic Calvinist), yet we are duly informed of the crucial , astonishingly revelatory information that Hays is a "semicessationist, . . . an Augustinian exemplarist . . . a Cartesian dualist. . . . an alethic realist, [and] scientific antirealist." Oh goody! I wouldn't be able to get to sleep without knowing all of this pedantic information! There is no human being we can contact in order for Hays to be accountable. He's an island unto himself, and thus almost a self-parody of a caricature of Protestant atomistic individualism that fellow Calvinists like Tim Enloe have tried so hard to maintain is not the case in Protestant ranks, and that "private judgment" does not mean what it means. But here is Exhibit #1.

The same profile page on 2-20-09 informed us that Hays was "a TA at RTS." Huge clues there, and perhaps at least an inkling of a denomination (once we figure out what "RTS" is). The current one says, "I have an MAR from RTS." But of course, folks who attend seminaries are often from different denominations. We want to know to whom the man is accountable (generally in the Protestant world, a guy called a "pastor"), and that is not to be had on his site: at least not easily, if so. If it is there, then I'm sure Steve will be happy to direct us all to it, just as I showed him where my personal parish and archdiocese info. could easily be found.

He has revealed in recent comments that he usually attends a PCA church (Presbyterian Church of America), but that is beside the point of the accountability issue. He doesn't say which church, where it is, and who is the pastor: let alone offering contact information that he demands of Catholics. As usual, it is the glaring anti-Catholic double standard. If he wants to argue that Protestants aren't accountable to anybody, let him. That will perpetuate one of the flaws that Catholic apologists have been pointing out for 500 years. He's a walking case study of what rampant sectarianism leads to.

I could find nothing else of a personal nature on his sidebar. Perhaps I missed it. So I guess we're out to sea. If Hays is accountable to anyone at all, certainly we couldn't find out who that might be by looking at his blog sidebar. But both Paul and I have easily accessible links to our home parishes.

One can only shake one's head at such rank hypocrisy and foolishness . . .

* * *

Paul Hoffer has now replied underneath Hays' hit piece:

I will offer a Christian response to your post on my own blog, but I just wanted to point out one slight error here. In regards to accountability, I offer a disclaimer that if I post anything contrary to the Catholic faith, I will make correction. I give my hometown on website, too. I also list links to both my bishop and my pastor on my website in the Important Links section. Thus, if you or any of your readers have a problem with anything I write that you think my bishop or my pastor should be aware, you may click on those links to where their addresses can be easily be found. I would also hope that you or they contact me so I could offer a response or provide correction if I do say anything offensive. I am sure that you will provide a correction to your article so no one would think you are bearing false witness against me. I will post your article and its correction on my blog so no one on my side of the Tiber could accuse of the same either.

I must say that if accountability is an issue for you perhaps you and Mr. Fan should provide links to your pastors on your websites as well lest one labels you and he hypocrites.

God bless you and yours! (3-27-11)

Hays, undaunted, makes himself even more ridiculous than he already is, in reply:

And does Armstrong's failure to heed your example indicate a lack of accountability on his part? (3-27-11)

As shown above, there is no such failure. Paul counter-replied:

He has a link to his parish under the "About Me" link and has posted articles about his particular parish on several occasions (which btw undercuts your beef here). (3-27-11)

Hays, in his increasing desperation to avoid ever admitting that he blew it and lied publicly yet again, comes back with this:

I see no email address for his priest. (3-27-11)

Etc. It's classic Hays obscurantism. Having been caught with his pants down and shown to clearly be in error about whether Paul and I list our home parishes (and never seeming to be able to retract and apologize), now he is desperately switching topics in the combox for his post, hoping that no one will notice. His cronies no doubt won't notice (they never do), but we do.

* * *

See Hays' astonishingly ridiculous "reply" -- but be duly forewarned: it will insult your intelligence like few things I have ever seen in my life.

James White Compared to Adjunct Faculty Members at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary Who Are Not Teaching in the Present Semester

For background information, see:

In a nutshell, Bishop White and his large fan club are stating now that he is still teaching (present tense) at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, when in fact he hasn't done so since January 2010 (a three-day seminar), and wasn't listed on the adjunct faculty for that school on 12 December 2008, nor on 2 February 2009. Using the GGBTS listing of adjunct faculty and Course Syllabi (by Professor), I have listed a comparison of listed adjunct faculty who are not teaching a class in the present semester, and when they last taught a course, in comparison to Bishop "Dr." White.

James White (not listed: last course taught: January 13-15, 2010):

*Mike Baird Spring 2009

Randy Bennett Spring 2010

*Eric Bryant Fall 2009

*Kelly Campbell Fall 2009

Michael Crane January 2010

Darlene R. Gautsch Fall 2010

Steven Goodwin Summer 2010

Gerald Green Fall 2010

*Ron Ornecker Fall 2009

*Norm Langston Fall 2009

Larry Laxton Spring 2010

Kei An Lee Spring 2010

*Tim Levert Summer 2009

*Hector Llanes Fall 2008

*Joshua Mathews Fall 2009

*Raymond Meyer Spring 2009

*Mark Mucklow Fall 2009

*Michael Nolen January 2009

W. Berry Norwood Fall 2010

Don G. Overstreet Fall 2010

*Edward Pearson Summer 2009

*Richard Porter Spring 2009

J. T. Reed Spring 2010

Steve Saccone Spring 2010

*Stuart Sheehan January 2009

Del Straub [no courses listed]

*Andrea Taylor Spring 2009

David Tetrault Fall 2010

*Mark Wagner Spring 2009

Adella Washington Fall 2010

Grand totals: 30 faculty were listed who are not teaching at GGBTS this semester; 16 of the 30 last taught a course prior to the date that White did (while one additional person has no listed courses at all); yet they are among the roster of adjunct faculty, along with the other 14, while White is not. Why? Is it not reasonable, then, to safely assume that White is no longer a member of the adjunct faculty of GGBTS? One would think so. Why, then, does White keep asserting that he is?

His bio sheet for his publisher, Bethany House, states that he is "an adjunct professor with Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary." His bio sheet for his diploma mill alma mater, Columbia Evangelical Seminary asserts that "White, an ordained Baptist minister, is Adjunct Professor teaching New Testament Greek, Systematic Theology, Christology, and Hebrew for Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary at their Arizona Campus." The blurb for ReformedCast: episode #26: "The Importance of Apologetics (Pt. 1), 3-21-11, states that "White . . . teaches Greek, Systematic Theology, and various topics in the field of apologetics at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary."

[Later April Fool's Day note from 4-1-11: Bethany House has modified its blurb and it now reads: "[White] has taught courses for Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary."]

But according to the GGBTS syllabi, White taught about apologetics (secularism, atheism, and Islam) in Summer 2009, and Islam in Spring 2008. In order to date courses taught on these other mentioned subjects, we have to consult White's own bio page at his website, "aomin". There we learn that he hasn't taught anything with "Greek" in the title of the course since 2001 (hardly current). He hasn't taught systematic theology there since 2004. His last (and only course) in Christology was way back in the previous century and millennium: 1997. And for Hebrew, we have to go back to 2000.

I guess 7-14 years ago is considered "present tense" and "current" by the good folks at Columbia Evangelical Seminary and the ReformedCast. White, so we are told, is "teaching" these things now. We all regard time in different fashions, I reckon. Einstein's relativity and what-not . . . "Current" is in the eye of the beholder? In James White's thought-world, and that of his rabid followers, apparently this is the case. I guess I "currently" am not the father of a daughter, since my only daughter was born in 2001. But since 2000 and even 1997 are present now, I am simultaneously her father and not at the same time.

This is how ridiculous it gets: Orwellian doublespeak and doublethink . . . Unfortunately for White, GGBTS doesn't play these word games. They don't have him listed as adjunct faculty. He'll have to accept that cold, hard, cruel fact sooner or later. I suggest it be sooner, if he is concerned about his credibility, which has suffered enough through the years as it is, with all of his endless personal attacks on others and myriad other silly shenanigans.

* * *

Scott Oakland, who was connected with the posting about white on ReformedCast, is on record as refusing to alter it:

I’m having a go-round with him here. He wanted me to remove James White’s reference to his teaching at Golden Gate on podcast. When I wouldn’t, he went on the attack. He melted down pretty good as you can see from the comment string.

(comment of 3-26-11 in the combox for "Internet Stalker’s Bitterness And Vindictive Self-absorption Rots His Soul: The Sad Little Non-World Of Peter Lumpkins," by Thomas Twitchell)

There you have it! Circle the wagons and dig in, trying to defend what appears thus far to be indefensible. Now, maybe if new information comes out (a clarification from GGBTS or something), it would be different, but given what we know thus far, it looks like world-famous Mackinac Island Fudge to me.

Thomas Twitchell himself chimes in, with this classic of obscurantism (on 3-26-11):

Peter won’t give a specific person because there isn’t one. The context of the no current contract claims are not current. And it doesn’t really matter, for JW did teach there as the President admitted. Which is really the question. Is he an adjunct professor? Yes, when contracted. It is a rediculous reductionism to say that changes with the beginning of every new contract and then ends with it. You can see the self-absorption oozing out. Peter doesn’t care whether or not there is any irony, irony is what he imagines it to be. What an egotistical slob! It is as if he and his minions are sitting around drinking swill and laughing at each others gaseous releases, as if it was funny. Cute for teens, but the only reason Lumpy’s boys are laughing is that they are drunk, and can’t tell the difference between humor and vile talk and action. Everyone else sees them for what are. There isn’t any commonality between JW demanding an answer and Peter asking who TF is. Peter made an accusation, JW hasn’t. TF isn’t a material figure. The official who supposedly informed Peter is. Reasonable people think the JW teaches as an adjunct professor. And that he may or may not be under contract currently. Peter requires that an adjunct is on contract currently to be considered a teaching professor. He is wrong. And reasonable people understand that a full or part-time teacher are just that and an adjunct is something else. But no reasonable person thinks that they are not teachers. Until White is formally told that he will not be considered as any longer being employable by GSBT, a reasonable person will continue to consider him a teacher there as an adjunct professor. And White is fully justified in claim to be a teacher there. As I said, Peter is insane. He needs to apologize. But, his reality is so fractured that when he throws a rock he thinks the window he shattered needs to throw his rock back as if the window stole it.
By the way, there are no private e-mails if you are in possession of them, legally. Unless you have given your word that you will not disclose them, Peter is just a fool to send them if what he wants is anonymity. And why the secrecy, anyway? What is to hide? You know, Peter ought to rewrite his book and drink plenty of wine in the process. It would do him some good.
* * *
Comments I made on Peter Lumpkins' site:

Hi Adam [Parker],
You (and others) can play the "Caner card" all you like, but in the end, White has to explain himself. I couldn't care less, myself, about the Caner dispute, and I have been involved in the present dispute also. If anything, I would be inclined to agree with White, with what I have read about Caner. I've been writing about White and his dubious educational credentials since 2004. To me, his behavior now is all of a piece.
To the extent that Caner must keep being mentioned, it does reveal that there is a certain double standard: what White requires of others in terms of utter truthfulness, he excuses himself from. There are many aspects of White's ethics in general that are quite dubious as well: how he presents and systematically distorts the views of others who differ from him; the constant personal attacks and pettiness, his treatment of people on his webcast, violation of personal confidences (I was a victim of that in 1996, and I have seen others mention this tactic of his), his abominable public treatment of his own sister, etc.
There is much in his conduct and arguments that is highly questionable. This is just one of a long series of such things. It started long before Ergun Caner and, sadly, it looks like it will continue on for some time to come unless White repents of these things. With a rabid fan club that apparently sees nothing in the least questionable about anything he ever does, it probably won't change anytime soon. This is why accountability is so important.
If no on in White's own circle and admirers will hold him accountable, then others will have to do the task. If God could use a donkey and Nebuchadnezzar to help accomplish His will, surely He can occasionally use even detested "Romanists" and Arminians to get Baptist bishops back into line . . . :-)
* * *

Of course, it's also patently obvious that White is using the Caner issue to deflect and change the topic: a ridiculous, childish example of the "your dad's uglier than mine" canard. There are lots and lots of sins and lots of hypocrisy in the world. None of them, however, have directly to do with the question of whether White fudged and whether he got his "doctorate" from sending in Cheerios boxtops.
It reminds me of Democrats today who can't bring themselves to fault Obama for anything. What do they do? Well, they immediately blame Bush for the deficit. Everything is Bush's fault . . . So if anyone dares criticize Blessed Bishop White (who has never done anything wrong in his life, much less admit it), then they are informed that Ergun Caner is Satan incarnate, and his supporters a pack of demons, as if that has the slightest relevance to the matter at hand . . .
The only constructive thing that comes from such games is a verification that White has absolutely no defense; therefore, he and his lapdogs switch topics and obfuscate, just as the lawyer who has no case will attempt to do . . . ***

Saturday, March 26, 2011

James White's Stretching the Truth About His (Accredited) Teaching Assignments and My Alleged Inconsistency Concerning It
Don't stretch the
truth now, Bishop White . . .
For background information, see:

James White's "Doctorate" Degree: Is it Legitimate? (vs. James White and Mark Bainter)
Doktor James White on Fudging His Teaching Assignments (by Baptist Peter Lumpkins; see also my Facebook link and further comments and documentation in both comboxes + Lumpkins' follow-up post)

* * * * *

The last link above will give readers who haven't followed this a quick summary of the problem. In a nutshell, Bishop White is stating currently that he is still teaching at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, when in fact he hasn't done so since January 2010 (a three-day seminar), and hasn't been listed on the adjunct faculty for that school since December 2008. Critics of his suspect that he does this because GGBTS is accredited. Since White yearns for academic respectability, despite having a bogus "doctorate" from an unaccredited diploma mill, this is important to him, so he fudges the facts. This is the charge. It's not a matter of life and death, but it is ethically elementary and important to be honest about things like this.

Now, the latest development today regarding my part in this controversy, is a post that appeared at Cryablogue: a site run by White comrades and fellow anti-Catholics. Evan May, one of the regular contributors there, wrote a post entitled "Consistency" (3:35 PM, 3-26-11). It's always important to document and to keep safely filed away any dealings with Cryablogue, since posts (and especially combox comments by Catholics) can inexplicably, mysteriously disappear or be modified to hide incriminating evidences and arguments that are difficult to refute. Mine could quite possibly be removed.

But if it is allowed to remain, mocking and obfuscation and topic-changing are almost certain to follow in the combox,
since it shows I am innocent of the implied charges -- and these guys are the type that can never admit that a Catholic is right about anything. Accordingly, I've already been ridiculously mocked on the site in an absurd , clueless post by regular trash-talker Gene "Troll" Bridges, entitled "Thou Hypocrite" (3-24-11), and of course, the Grand Poobah Steve "Whopper" Hays couldn't resist his usual mindless mocking, either ("Customizing Hell," 3-27-11). I'll keep you posted!

As usual, I wasn't informed that I was mentioned in the post. Such rudimentary courtesies are exceedingly rare in the anti-Catholic blogosphere. I happened to run across it in my perusal of the usual anti-Catholic sites today.
Here is May's post in its entirety:

Since evidently Peter Lumpkins has not permitted my comment to display on his blog, I will post it here:
Dave Armstrong said:

If White would ever simply say he's sorry (as Peter noted), and messed up (like all of us have many times, being mere sinful mortals), this thing could be so over, and he would gain a lot of people's respect for such an acknowledgment.
Hey Dave,

While you're calling protestant apologists to admit their errors, do you have a similar call to repentance for Ergun Caner?


I responded as follows:

I haven't followed the Caner thing very closely (who has time for the endless Protestant internal disputes?; it takes all my time to counter Protestant theological errors), but from what I've seen, it seems that James White has raised some troubling issues about him and that he has fudged facts, just as White now appears to be doing.

I would also agree (again, from what I know about it, which isn't too much) that Caner's errors are far more serious than White's fudging about where he is currently teaching and whether he has a legitimate doctorate (he does not, of course).

That said, it doesn't follow that White should not set the record straight because Caner hasn't, nor that he should not because his fudging is probably far less than Caner's.

The attempt here is to determine hypocrisy and double standards, or inconsistency on my part (per the post title), but as you see, I am completely consistent in this instance, since I'm not a Caner advocate, and have no personal interest in how that turns out. That is Protestant controversial stuff.

I am calling for people to be honest and straightforward about themselves. I don't care if a person is a Protestant, Catholic, Buddhist monk, atheist, dog catcher. It makes no difference, since it is an elementary ethical issue upon which almost all men can agree.

The fact remains that White himself inquired (as he reported last June) as to his status at GGBTS. He knows what answer he received, but thus far has been silent about that.

One expects Bishop White to both mock and essentially ignore any critic or anyone who asks him a clarifying question. What else is new? He's been doing that with me for over 15 years now, and clearly it is his modus operandi with fellow Protestant critics as well.

(posted at 6 PM, 3-26-11)

* * *

Further exchanges in the combox at Cryablogue:

Color code:

Evan May: blue
Matt: red
Pilgrimsarbour: purple
Matt Burke: green
Gene M. Bridges: orange
Mark | hereiblog: brown

White claims to be teaching there now, while the place itself doesn't list him in its list of adjunct faculty. It didn't as early as Dec. 2008 (over two years ago by my math). That's a disconnect. You and other White fans can try to rationalize it away all you like, but the facts of the matter are plain.

Even if you want to call White's doctoral studies at an unaccredited institution not "legitimate," White has not promoted any false information here. He has always been very open about the nature of his degree.

Of course. I acknowledged this years ago in my first critique of his degree. But it's completely beside the point. His take on degrees and the purpose of obtaining them does not somehow make a doctorate become something different from what it is. My only objection is his claiming that he has such a degree and calling himself "Dr." He wants the prestige and the honor without having done the work, and that is wrong, and ultimately dishonest. I have no objection whatever to his reasoning for doing what he did. I think it was a worthy motivation. But it is not therefore a doctorate degree because he had admirable motives in writing about the Trinity, etc. This is fundamentally relativist, liberal thinking: "hey, I had the noblest of intentions, therefore I can define terms however I want to, and whoever says I can't is a bigot and an ignoramus with nefarious motives; out to get me."

Dave, or anyone else taking exception to JW's doctorate, is not questioning his value judgment; they are questioning his degree.

Precisely. The values involved in his choice of school (taking his report at face value, as I do) were perfectly honorable; the claim to a particular degree that is not in fact a degree is dishonest and downright silly as well.

James White has, to the best of my knowledge, always been open about the nature and history of his studies. At no time, that I'm aware, did he lie and say that his doctorate is an accredited degree when it is not.

He hasn't stated that in those terms, no, I agree, but on the other hand, calling yourself "Dr." in effect does the same thing, since it is universally understood, pretty much, what is entailed in obtaining a doctorate. White simply didn't do that work; therefore he shouldn't use the title because it is a running falsehood: based on how that terminology is understood. It puts out false information. White is no more a "Dr." than I am. He has accomplished many things in apologetics (many of which I agree with when he is doing stuff other than lying about and misrepresenting Catholicism), and that ought to be sufficient for him without having to be dishonest about his credentials by using "Dr." in the way he does. He has a graduate degree from Fuller, which is an admirable thing. Why can't that be enough? The desire to falsely advertise one's accomplishments raises character questions. One might reasonably suspect a pride problem there.

How do you know his unaccredited degree program was not just as rigorous as an accredited one?

Simple: by reading his own account of what he had to do to get it; as I recall, basically writing his book, The Forgotten Trinity. That is not a doctoral dissertation; sorry. A dissertation, as I understand it (I may be wrong here, but I don't think so), is something where the person can be considered to know as much or more than anyone in the world on the topic they choose to treat in the dissertation.

To claim this about The Forgotten Trinity would be an absolute joke: laughed out of any accredited doctoral program in the world.

A Master's level education is all that is required to teach as an adjunct faculty member at an SBC seminary.

I'm not aware of anyone denying this, who is raising questions about White. I certainly don't, since this (I would think) is common knowledge. It's not the issue at hand at all.

And it isn't as if Dave Armstrong has an qualifications whatsoever to level complaints in that regard.

One doesn't himself have to have something (or experience something) to know the proper definition of it. I no more have to have a doctorate to know what it is and what is required to get it than I have to have an abortion to know what that is. Bridges uses the same clueless reasoning that pro-aborts do: saying that men can't talk about abortion, etc.

Apparently, White has demonstrated his abilities to those at GGBTS. His relationship with the school and students have always been good.

Great. This has nothing whatever to do with Lumpkins' critique or my own.

While White's doctorate may be unaccredited it does not mean he did not do any work for them.

No one is saying that, either. What we are saying is that, while he did work and toiled away, this does not make x=y. What he did is simply not anywhere near the amount of work or the rigorous standard entailed in legitimate doctorates. He has no basis for calling himself "Dr." I know this probably pains his ego tremendously, but life is tough. We can't make up our own definitions of things. It doesn't work that way.

Whatever one thinks of the quality of White's work, he did not just buy a degree.

Who said this? I'd like to see a quote if you think Lumpkins did. I haven't said it. On the other hand he did register at a diploma mill and jumped through the necessary hoops to get the bogus degree.

Well Dave, had I been addressing your points I would have mentioned your name. I was, instead, replying to Matt and expanding my thought to some more general issues concerning accreditation, qualifications, etc.

So please read your own reply of "who said this?" because I was not "saying that" toward what you referenced. Please try to keep me in context.

My replies remain valid. You made some points; I replied to them. Lumpkins and myself are the two main critics researching this matter at present. I myself was the subject of the post under which this discussion is occurring. So it is relevant for me to say that I (as one of the main critics) have not claimed what you have said White critics have claimed; nor, to my knowledge, has Peter Lumpkins.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

35 (or 100) Million Inquisition Victims?: A Typical Example (in Live Chat) of Absurd Anti-Catholic Exaggerations and Prejudice

Pastor David T. King: King of the Anti-Catholic Whopper and Dripping Disdain of Catholics

[This is yet another paper resurrected from the archives (see the original, from Internet Archive); originally posted on 4 July 2000. "skyman" = Pastor David T. King: a vocal anti-Catholic Presbyterian pastor and associate of active online anti-Catholic Protestants James White, John Bugay, and Eric Svendsen. Notes added later will be in blue]

* * *

[mostly original introduction] This pathetic exchange took place in the public chat room of the website (Alpha and Omega Ministries) of the prominent anti-Catholic polemicist James White, on 29 June 2000. I think it splendidly illustrates the sad, deluded, bigoted tendencies of many anti-Catholics. When I simply asked for references for the ridiculous historical numerical claims, I was promptly kicked out of the forum (as you will see at the end). Skyman's words will be in purple. Statements of various other Protestant commenters will be in red. One chatter appears to have been a Catholic. His words will be in brown. He, too, was kicked out for ostensibly exceedingly minor "transgressions." My own words (I went by "Bo") will be in plain black. Some extraneous material has been deleted; whenever a comment appears it is unedited. I pick up the discussion after some 20 minutes or so of innocuous, light, non-theological banter.

* * * * *

    Bo ( has joined channel #ProsApologian Users on #ProsApologian: Bo solomondo spinster amylu crstofr Brando skyman` @Logos @NAaway @RightWing @X _Aram StevenD The-Ox RTSstudnt tefedur RefDoc -NAaway- (~NA27@hybrid-024-221-118-154.phoenix.speedchoice.c om) Welcome to ProsApologian. This channel is for the respectful discussion of Christian apologetics. Please review the guidelines for this page at: [. . . ]
    You guys ever visit Steve Ray's bulletin board?
    [a prominent Catholic apologist and author of two books and good friend of mine, who had recently been slandered and accused of deliberate deceit by the chat room manager James White]
    I have once. Why would we waste our time with Steve Ray's garbage. :) I got in trouble too.
    To refute it, if you disagree with it, of course.
    Bo: Unfortunately, error is too wide for universal refutation from me.
    No need to refute the nonsense they put forward there.
    Someone said he had just converted to the RCC, I sent him a reply asking why he would do such a stupid thing like that for. I have better things to do.
    Romanists always talk about converting to the Church...never to Christ.
    Yep. You'd think there is no other name under heaven whereby men must be saved but Rome. ~KJV Acts 4:12 Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (KJV)
    No, saying one is converting to a particular Christian church presupposes that one is converting to Christ . . . Not either/or, is it?
    I was expecting that from you, Bo. :-)
    Yeah right.
    Cut out the middle man.
    I thought the Reformed were big on ecclesiology, no? More so than your average evangelical today...... Calvin certainly liked the idea of "church."
    I bet bishop likes ecclesiology. [big grin]
    /\/\/\/\ Hi bishop3! /\/\/\/\ Ecclesiology???? Hey RW. Yeah, they were running down the church as the "middle man" above..... Well, RefDoc was, anyway. *** RefDoc is not paying attention I thought James [White] was gonna stop using "Romanism" ? Go Ecclisia..rah rah :-\ LOLOL Go Bo..rah rah rah. :-) Well I don't know what else to call Romanism but Romanism. Go bishop go! Rofl. ["rolling on the floor laughing"] :-) [smile] No, James White stated somewhere that he was gonna stop using the term, because it is considered pejorative....then I saw it on the front page today. Why, because Romanists say so? Whatever the reason; he said that, so I was surprised. It is a silly term in the first my opinion. What's better? catlickers? I think it's very descriptive. Sure! big improvement! LOL Catlickers??? Hmmmm...bish gets out his Strong's[Concordance]. Well, if Romanist is one who follows Rome over against the Bible, then Calvinist must be one who follows Calvin over against the Bible :-) My folks were Dutch immigrants, their term was similar to 'romanist.' I mean Rome Sweet Home sounds pretty Romanist to me. That's what [Catholic apologist Dr. Scott] Hahn titled his book. [For an in-depth discussion of this issue of polemical titles for one's theological opponents, see my paper: "Roman Catholic" vs. "Catholic" (Proper Titles) (with Jimmy Akin) ] Fee Fei Fo Fine, I smell the slaves of Rome on-line!
    The pope lives there.
    The entire Church says "Rome says so." I don't see how it's pejorative. Naw, he lives in Vatican City......separate municipality :-) Give me a break. Why call him pope? It means papa right? He ain't my papa. Then why would James stop using it? Maybe you opt for papist? Ask him Bo.
    [I did, in a personal letter later that night, but James White refused to answer the question, stating that we should keep our interaction at a minimum]
    Is he here? I don't give a rip why James did or did not quit using it. Maybe yes, maybe no, who wants to know? Why not call his book The Romanist Controversy? LOL [The actual title is The Roman Catholic Controversy] I didn't title it; ask him. Roman Catholic has a far better ring to it. Like I said, is he here? Maybe yes, maybe no, who wants to know? RW, Roman Catholic is very contradictory. Skyman`: indeed. "Roman Catholic" was first developed by the Anglican polemicists in the 16th century. Before that it was simply "the Catholic Church" (as far as I know, anyway). Amen sky. Agreed, I like the term "Romanist" better...It's far more descriptive. As do I. So you guys disagree with James on that point? Beats me. I don't know what he thinks about it. Don't really care. <---- Likes papist ... more pugnacious. :) I see. Hehehe... Well what does the Bible say about which term ought to be used? ;) Call em what Gov. Bradford called em.... "papist trash." That title can be found in the first history book of the Mayflower settlement, by the way. RW> Christian charity at its finest. The Bible speaks of one body, one faith, etc. "Catholic" meaning "universal" - I find that rather biblical myself, saying that there is one universal church. The-Ox, you want to talk about Christian charity you hypocrite? Your Church is responsible for the murder of thousands. The-Ox: yep... Some charity! Go read What Gov. Bradford said... They settled here to get away from ROME. No, most of the Pilgrims were escaping Anglican or other Protestant persecution in England; Catholics had no power there at that time. skyman> Certainly an example of grave sinfulness, as I have said to you on numerous occasions. The-Ox, then shut up about charity. And, correction skyman, far more than thousands, we are talking millions. skyman> Well, uh, I didn't murder anyone. The-Ox: you put your money in the coffers of a Church that does. The-Ox, no but you love and support the church that did. Bo: please refer to what he said in the book. RW> skyman said it right: "did." You can have your murdering hypocritical church. All Christians are complicit in past Christian crimes........ skyman> You are just as hypocritical if you think your church is without sin. I strongly question the past tense. RW> Then take it up with skyman. The Protestant witch hunts were far worse than the Inquisition. The-Ox has been kicked off #ProsApologian by X ((skyman`) bye hypocrite). You beat me to it. Bo, hardly. "Protestant witch hunts"? Yes, the witch mania was far more a Protestant phenomenon (Salem was at the tail end of it...was far worse in Europe). You mean that thingy in Salem where all of 5 or 6 people were burned and the Puritans attempted to stop it? Bo: many historians on both sides has said Rome killed as many as 35 million, others say 1/10th of a billion. [i.e., 100 million] Already answered you [iustafide]. Name one [historian], and give me a source. Bo, one Church has been responsible for wholesale murder, guess which one? Wow...35 million! [ever] hear of St. Bartholemew's massacre? Hmmm, Schaff, Dollinger. Dollinger taught RC history for 47 years and he was Roman Catholic.
    [Dollinger was excommunicated after refusing to accept the dogma of papal infallibility, defined at the First Vatican Council in 1870].
    Name of work and pages please, so I can check it out? Bo: I am not a human library here. These guys are saying 35-100 million huh? Voice of the Martyrs also has the same information. Wow, that is incredible. Then don't make the claim, with numbers RW. I say it is nonsense; you disagree, then give me reputable historians and exact references.

You [that's me!] have been kicked off #ProsApologian by RightWing (You
give me evidence of your first) [sic]

Boy, what a show of confidence! I ask for references for such an extraordinary claim, and I get kicked off by the very person I was asking to back up his ridiculous historical assertions.

    [Respected non-Catholic historian Edward Peters, in his work, Inquisition (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989, p. 87), states:
      The Spanish Inquisition, in spite of wildly inflated estimates of the numbers of its victims, acted with considerable restraint in inflicting the death penalty, far more restraint than was demonstrated in secular tribunals elsewhere in Europe that dealt with the same kinds of offenses. The best estimate is that around 3000 death sentences were carried out in Spain by Inquisitorial verdict between 1550 and 1800, a far smaller number than that in comparable secular courts.
    Utilizing these ballpark figures, the claims above are exaggerated by a ratio of either 11,667 to 1 or 33,333 to 1, depending on which grotesque, ludicrous numerical figure is believed. See the link from Van Hove below, and the Catholic Encyclopedia link: section: The Number of Victims. Edward O'Brien ("A New Look at the Spanish Inquisition") writes:
      Fray Tomas de Torquemada, the Grand Inquisitor whose very name is now a symbol of ruthless cruelty, actually checked the excessive zeal of the earlier inquisitors in many ways, including the limiting and mitigating of torture. Walsh thinks that torture under Torquemada was no worse than that used by American police in the 1930s. Also, under Torquemada's entire tenure as Grand Inquisitor (1483-1498), 100,000 prisoners passed before his various tribunals throughout Spain. Of this number, less than 2% were executed. In Barcelona, from 1488 to 1498, "one prisoner out of 20 was put to death" (23 executions). Torquemada is not the monster of the Black Legend; still, he was responsible for, as an estimation, between 1,000 and 1,500 deaths. And by burning, the common method for those times.
    True, we may not be dealing with Boy Scout leaders here, but these men were far closer to that than they were to Hitler, Mao, and Stalin!
    Likewise, Ellen Rice ("The Myth of the Spanish Inquisition") comments:
      The Myth of the Spanish Inquisition, a 1994 BBC/A and E production . . . is a definite must-see for anyone who wishes to know how historians now evaluate the Spanish Inquisition since the opening of an investigation into the Inquisition's archives. The special includes commentary from historians whose studies verify that the tale of the darkest hour of the Church was greatly fabricated.
      In its brief sixty-minute presentation, The Myth of the Spanish Inquisition provides only an overview of the origins and debunking of the myths of torture and genocide. The documentary definitely succeeds in leaving the viewer hungry to know more. The long-held beliefs of the audience are sufficiently weakened by the testimony of experts and the expose of the making of the myth.
      . . . In 1567 a fierce propaganda campaign began with the publication of a Protestant leaflet penned by a supposed Inquisition victim named Montanus. This character (Protestant of course) painted Spaniards as barbarians who ravished women and sodomized young boys. The propagandists soon created "hooded fiends" who tortured their victims in horrible devices like the knife-filled Iron Maiden (which never was used in Spain). The BBC/A and E special plainly states a reason for the war of words: the Protestants fought with words because they could not win on the battlefield.
      The Inquisition had a secular character, although the crime was heresy. Inquisitors did not have to be clerics, but they did have to be lawyers. The investigation was rule-based and carefully kept in check. And most significantly, historians have declared fraudulent a supposed Inquisition document claiming the genocide of millions of heretics.
      What is documented is that 3000 to 5000 people died during the Inquisition's 350 year history . . . As the program documents, the 3,000 to 5,000 documented executions of the Inquisition pale in comparison to the 150,000 documented witch burnings elsewhere in Europe over the same centuries.
      . . . Discrediting the Black Legend brings up the sticky subject of revisionism. Re-investigating history is only invalid if it puts an agenda ahead of reality. The experts - once true believers in the Inquisition myth - were not out to do a feminist canonization of Isabella or claim that Tomas de Torquemada was a Marxist. Henry Kamen of the Higher Council for Scientific Research in Barcelona said on camera that researching the Inquisition's archives "demolished the previous image all of us (historians) had."
    Even Henry Charles Lea, the first major American Inquisition historian and no fan of the Catholic Church, says of the calculations of victims:
      There is no question that the number of these has been greatly exaggerated in popular belief, an exaggeration to which Llorente has largely contributed by his absurd method of computation....
    (A History of the Inquisition of Spain, volume 4, p. 517)
    Lea calls Llorente's guess-work "reckless" and "entirely fallacious." ]