Sunday, October 14, 2007

Fan Club Testimonial

This was simply too good to not share:

"Catholic apologists do I admit get a little less then scholarly when the report on Luther. However James Swan is not exactly exempt from mis-reporting the fact either. He misrepresented the popes theology on Scripture. He made the false claim that the pope was condeming the position of "Material Sufficiency" when in fact he was not. So James Swan is not perfect either.

Luther was not stupid, neither were the other reformers, however Luther did have some daddy issues, and I think one would have to stick their head in the sand to maintain his daddy issues did not affect his abberent theology of God.

In any case BOTH sides have an agenda to push. Swan's agenda is to show that Luther was 100% right to break from the Church, and begin the "Reformation Movement." In other words Swan wants to show that Lutheranism is the pure form of Catholocism, and that Catholocism got off track. The Lutherans in his mind, as well as the Lutherans themselves are what true Catholocism looks like- purged of all the barnicles such as Mary, the pope, Purgatory, etc.

The Catholic apologist on the other hand wants to show that Luther was wrong to break from the Church, and that while some of his thesis were correct, and indeed reform was needed, that he went to far by breaking from the Church and not submiting to the authority. The Catholic apologist wants to show that the RCC is the one true Church, and while always in need of reform, and always reforming, that the reformation churches which stem from the reformation are not the true Christian Church.

Thus, James Swan as well as other Lutherans are going to want to tend to minimize some of the more embarrasing facts about Luther. They will also want to minimize some of his very Catholic thought like devotion to Mary, etc. James Swan does exactly this on his website. Catholic apologists on the other hand will of course want to draw emphasis to them, and even exagerate them. Each side interprets the facts according to their own agendas, and of course it is no different when reading the ECF, and the Bible itself. That happens.

So in short, I agree that the Catholic apologists in their zealousness to defend the One True Church, do exagerate and distort facts. However so do protestants. James Swan and pals are just as guilty.

Here is the thing:

1) I can readily admit some of the embarrasing facts about Roman Catholocism. I can readily grant the errors of our popes, especially James White's very best excellent friend Pope Honorius. (Of course I am giving him the benifit of the doubt that White is correct in his understanding of history and the incident with him.) I can readily admit that the RCC is far from perfect, and that some of our doctrines can seem to be difficult to defend. None of this affects my Faith, none of this gets me to even consider that the RCC is not the Church of Christ. Why? Becasue Faith is not always easily demonstrable, since Faith is something supernatural. I can't always defend in a rational manner, and a scientific something that transcends their boundaries. This leads me to my next thought:

2) Why can't James Swan just admit the embarrasing facts about Luther, and admit his very Catholic thoughts on Purgatory, Mary, etc. Even James White admitted Calvin believed in the perpetual virginity of Mary in a debate- then said "But I hold Calvin to the same standard he holds me: The Bible." In other words- White even admited that Calvin would not have agreed with him on many issues. White didn't care. It as far as he was concerned was a non-issue for him. So why can't Swan simply admit the facts, rather then minimize them, and go from there? If what Pope Honorious taught or untaught doesn't affect my Faith, why should Luther's devotion to Mary affects Swan's?

In the end, I can say to White "Yeah, Honorius may have been a heretic- if I give you the benifit of the doubt. So what? What do you think that proves, besides Pope Honorious made a mistake?" Why can't swan just say "Yeah, Luther was very Catholic in some of his theology, there were some embarrasing things Luther did and taught that I wish he did not, but what does that prove, except that Luther made a few errors?" I mean, even if Swan admits Luther did and said the embarrasing things he is accused of saying and doing by Catholic apologists, would Swan even consider for even one milli-second that Catholocism might be right? So what does it really matter in the end what Luther did and said, or what he undid or unsaid? Swan is Lutheran, and Lutheran he will stay regardless of the facts


Turretinfan said...

You certainly applied the correct label!


Carrie said...

Wow, someone has spent alot of time thinking about you.

Was he serious with the "Swan sounds like a Lutheran name"?

Too funny.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

“You mean you’re not a Lutheran?” ;)

L P Cruz said...


I know you do not worship in a Lutheran church though I wish you were ;-)

See what your love for Luther will do to you, get identified with the wrong crowd;-) He went beyond suspicion, he went beyond suspecting you of being crypto-Lutheran.

He was right though, Lutheranism is a pure form of catholicism. We have been saying that for the last 500 years.


James Swan said...

I found that post quite by accident, but it did give me a chuckle. I don't get over to CARM as often as I did in previous years.

The Luther stuff is a bit like catching fish in a barrel for me at this point, and I must admit, I was hoping he'd at least provide some examples of my poor research methods on Luther.

Indeed, everyone makes mistakes- for instance, I have found errors that I need to correct from time to time. For instance, one of my papers on Svendsen's site was written using the Luther's Works CD rom. It says it will automatically cite a citation cut and pasted- well it did, but usually gave the wrong page number!

As to the bit about James White, Calvin, and perpetual virginity, I believe that was brought up in the old debate he had with Gerry Matatics on the Marian dogmas. I'd have to check, but I think i'm right. Dr. White did correct Gerry on this, presenting a similar explanation I did.

Rhology said...


I didn't know you were Lutheran. I thought you went to TD Jakes' church!