Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Reading Carefully

I read this entry from a Catholic apologist this morning. His name came up on a Catholic Answers thread. One of his readers made mention that one of his books says Calvin accused the Papacy of Pelagianism. Another person questioned if he was taking Calvin out of context.

The Roman apologist took the time to refute the charge. After reading his explanation, it would appear it was the person reading the book that needs to read a little more carefully.

The points made questioning the citation and reading primary sources on Calvin are well taken. Indeed, it is the responsibility of those quoting this book to quote both the author and Calvin correctly. This person quoting the apologist really hasn’t read Calvin.

The author takes the time to assure that he did not quote Calvin out of context. He says:

"Now, note that I did not come right out and assert that Calvin accused Catholics of Pelagianism. I simply cited what he wrote about this passage in his biblical commentary (because the book was devoted to how well-known historic Protestant exegetes dealt with verses that Catholics use as prooftexts for Catholic theology). Calvin compared Catholics to Pelagians in a particular context, and then made an argument that seems to equate Catholic soteriology with at least semi-Pelagianism (which I would fully expect him to do). My point was perfectly valid in and of its own right. Nothing was taken out of context or distorted. I criticized Calvin, but then cited a great Protestant, John Wesley, over against him."

He gleefully corrects any who would question him. Perhaps what he should have done with equal zeal, is take the time also to exhort his readers to read his books more carefully, and challenge them to read primary sources. Perhaps though, he will add this exhortation to his readers once he reads this. He tends to edit his blog based on what I post here.