Thursday, January 07, 2010

VLog #3- The Use of Conversion Stories In Apologetics



I recorded this on Wednesday, prompted by the de-conversion story of a Roman Catholic blogger. I see from the comment box, more tenets of Roman Catholicism besides a particular understanding of development of doctrine is being jettisoned.

Update: If you ever want to generate blog traffic, announce a conversion or de-conversion. David Waltz doesn't have a site meter, but the prophet in me (lol) says the comment section will continue to build.

24 comments:

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Good post, James.

I agree with you that conversion stories are inappropriate during the worship service, unless the minister is making a specific point in his sermon. I think (not making any judgements of the woman you spoke to) that those who desire to hear conversion stories during the worship service are more likely to think of it as an evangelistic tool rather than a gathering of the saints in communion in the House of the Lord.

Hence we see the seeker-friendly model which promotes such things as personal testimonies and other fairly subjective experiences with the (laudable) concern to see souls saved and grow God's Church.

Sadly, the overemphasis on subjective personal experiences can easily obscure the true worship of Christ. We see this every day with the health and wealth gospel preaching (along with all its variants) so popular today.

Almost invisible on TV is the call to repentance and the burden of the soul as it cries out to God for salvation. That has largely been replaced by those who think that "Jesus wants to make your life whole and bless you with a great marriage and sound finances."

I have always wondered how the millions of believers throughout time, and even now around the world, those that gave up all security, stability, safety, and even their lives for the sake of the gospel, could have possibly related to the kind of drivel we call "preaching" on our idiot boxes today.

Carrie said...

Where is Vlog #2?

Churchmouse said...

As in all things, we pray for David and hope that God will lead the seeker as he seeks His truth.

Although, his words seem a bit harsh (regarding the Protestants who he believes stunted his, pardon the pun, "development"), I can see where he's coming from. When one has been involved in the tit for tat discussions of comboxes and forums, blogs and whatnot, it's hard to "fall in line" with those you've opposed on the very issues pointed out in his blog entry. We all have good intentions, even though our intentions aren't always perceived as "good" by some.

Regarding conversion stories, there may be some value, if it brings glory to God and substantiates a lifelong commitment to the Lord, filled with the works that accompany a changed heart. Still, no one should put their trust in a convert's story anyway, as Jim has pointed out in his vlog, but our hearts and minds should be focused on Christ and His testimony alone. To do otherwise is comparative to those who give in to faith healers, only to find discouragement when healing isn't found.

Ah, yes, Dylan, Cleaver, etc. Remember Mike Warnke's "conversion story"? Let's just say that conversion stories come and go, but Christ remains firmly seated on His throne.

James Swan said...

Carrie said...Where is Vlog #2?

It was more of a test video, so I didn't post it.

It's all a bit of lark anyway. I have some time off so I've been playing around (probably to avoid finishing the tile on my downstairs hallway ceiling). Once my schedule picks up, I probably won't continue to build my empire via the medium of video, LOL.

John Bugay said...

I can't seem to view this, either on your blog, or on YouTube.

beowulf2k8 said...

Or you could announce that your Cainite rejection of baptism is something you received from apostolic succession tracing its way all the way back to Judas Iscariot, like Rhology says of himself. That's sure to get ratings.

James Swan said...

I can't seem to view this, either on your blog, or on YouTube.

I'm having a similar problem. The video spins and won't load. What I did to get it to play was advance the time cursor to about 3 or 4 mintues in, then it starts to play. Then back up the cursor to as close to the beginning as possible.

Hope that helps.

John Bugay said...

James, that worked, thanks!

You make some excellent points.

David Waltz said...

Hello James,

Where to begin…I think I will start with your written words; you posted:

>>I recorded this on Wednesday, prompted by the de-conversion story of a Roman Catholic blogger. I see from the comment box, more tenets of Roman Catholicism besides development of doctrine are being jettisoned.>>

Me: First, I am quite surprised that my heartfelt announcement has “prompted” you to post a “YouTube” video on your blog. Second, for record, I have not “jettisoned” the development of doctrine, DD is part of the fabric of any Christian denomination/sect (even though the uniformed deny it). What I have “jettisoned” are some of aspects of Newman’s DD—more accurately—I came to the conclusion that some of Newman’s “notes”, needed to be modified; and, of course, some of his conclusions.

>>Update: If you ever want to generate blog traffic, announce a conversion or de-conversion. David Waltz doesn't have a site meter, but the prophet in me (lol) says the comment section will continue to build.>>

Me: My blog has never been about “traffic”; as such, I have never thought about implementing a “site meter”.

Now, on to your video…

You said that I, “linked to a post that was supposed to explain why I left the Roman Catholic Church”. False, you need to read the information you comment on a bit closer; the link was to a thread that discussed the possibility that there may be problems with Newman’s DD theory—this was the initial “crack” that I made reference to in my opening post.

You also said that “none of the 14 comments were vehemently anti-Catholic”. I never said that they were, so, why did feel the need to state the obvious?

“We’ll have to let David explain why he left the Catholic Church.”

Sigh…I already did that in the opening post of the thread that “prompted” your video.

You then go on to imply that someone who de-converts from a church is “unstable”. Your reasoning is difficult to follow: what would you have a person to do who, after spending hundreds of hours in research, has reached a conclusion that the church he attends requires it’s members to accept a doctrine that he can no longer embrace?

It seems that you link a person’s “stability” to an unwillingness to make changes when new information comes to their attention which strongly suggests that their current stance is incorrect. I suppose this makes some sense, for gentlemen I referred as anti-Catholic epologists all have this trait (i.e. an unwillingness to make changes when new information comes to their attention) in common.

You then stated that “they” (unstable persons), “should actually do their research, and do their work and then talk about it”. Are you saying that a year and a half of intense research is not enough? Could you please explain your mind on this a bit further, it seems, quite frankly, to be emotionally charge babble—I am willing to listen…

Grace and peace,

David

P.S. I have quickly typed up this post, so please forgive any spelling and/or grammatical errors.

James Swan said...

Hi David,

Your "announcement" which only took up the last 2 or so minutes of the blog entry, was an opportunity for me to experiment a bit with Vblog. As you've heard, the vblog emphasis was more on the use of conversion stories, rather than your story. as to DD, obviously, you know "anti-Catholic" (LOL) Protestants hold to it as well (see Dr. White's book Scripture Alone, chapter 9. My qualifier for what I said would be that my meaning is DD as put forth by the Newman/pop-Romanist apologetics types, so we're on the same page. I knew what you meant.. you now know what I meant (but you should have all along). I never said you were a stat monger, rather, my point was that the type of post you put up tends to generate interest. I noted the comments had doubled within a few hours. You're up to 41 comments as I write this, I suspect you'll receive many more. As to how many people are reading your deconversion announcement, while you don't have site meter, I do, and I'm getting a lot of hits from your story back to Beggars All.
As to the video, you're quibbling. The reasons that provoked you to even consider leaving the RCC were supposed to be in your other post. I read through it, and such really was not the case. I didn't really see you "cracking" at all on Newman's DD. You also said anti-Catholics hindered your research. Where? It certainly wasn't in your earlier post, which was my point. If anything, I doubt "anti-Catholics" (a term you use for people like myself, King, White, Tur8, etc, some mentioned in your blog post title), did no such thing. In other words, you slandered people for no reason, or you can at least explain why the devious anti-Catholics were in your way of discovering the falsity of Papalism.

As to whether or not you actually posted your "reasons" for leaving the RCC, we both know your recent post merely is the tip of your iceberg. I assumed at some point you would (or are planning to) go into it further. If I said, I quit being a Calvinist because of seeing trouble with perseverance of the saints... the next question is.... what exactly? No need to spell it all out here, when you're ready, we'll read it on your blog if you so choose to reveal a bit more.

As to "unstable," as of not too long ago, you appeared to be full-fledged papist. I have no other way to describe it. Then, you suddenly announce you no longer will be a Papist. If anything smells of instability, it's your quick change. Even if countless hours went into your studies, that you don't seem to know where you are now theologically is what one would call, instability. If it were me, I would shut down my blog stating personal reasons, and maybe years down the road, after all was digested, I would explain my journey. Then of course, there's folks like Pelikan, whom if I recall, never gave many reasons for his defection.


Now, that I'm actually cautioning you to be cautious, should in fact prompt you to consider my motivations. Here your announcing exactly what my minions and I always long for. Yet, I'm giving you a hard time in some ways. Don't you get it David? My point was about the use of the story, or the use of your story. I've consistently spoke out about "stories" even when one deconverts from the RCC, as was the point of my video.

David Waltz said...

Hello again James,

Thanks for responding, you wrote:

>>…as to DD, obviously, you know "anti-Catholic" (LOL) Protestants hold to it as well (see Dr. White's book Scripture Alone, chapter 9. My qualifier for what I said would be that my meaning is DD as put forth by the Newman/pop-Romanist apologetics types, so we're on the same page.>>

Me: I know from experience that many Protestants do not embrace any of the published theories on DD; in fact, I have dialogued with quite a few individuals on the internet who have never even heard of DD, let alone have formed a well thought out position on it. Now if many who visit Christian message boards and blogs have little (if any) knowledge of DD, I think it is safe to assume that one a can expect a considerable amount confusion concerning your bare statement that I had jettisoned DD from those who may view your video on “YouTube”. Perhaps you think everyone who has viewed, and will view your video will understand what you meant, but I sincerely doubt that without the qualifications that have now been made, such would be the case.

>>I never said you were a stat monger, rather, my point was that the type of post you put up tends to generate interest. I noted the comments had doubled within a few hours. You're up to 41 comments as I write this, I suspect you'll receive many more. As to how many people are reading your deconversion announcement, while you don't have site meter, I do, and I'm getting a lot of hits from your story back to Beggars All.>>

Me: OK, fair enough, but I just don’t see any relevance.

cont'd in next post...

David Waltz said...

>>As to the video, you're quibbling. The reasons that provoked you to even consider leaving the RCC were supposed to be in your other post.>>

Me: No they were not, and I did not make such a claim. I honestly don’t know how I can be more clear on this—here is what I actually wrote:

== Back in 2002 when I entered the RCC, I was able to acknowledge both via the assistance of Newman’s theory of doctrinal development; however, in the spring of 2008, certain cracks in Newman’s theory began to appear on my ‘radar’ while engaged in some historical research. This research brought to my attention numerous works that I had not been aware of, which I then began to acquire and read. I proceeded to put out some ‘feelers’ with the hope of enlisting the aid of others in my examination of this new information, beginning with THIS THREAD==

The thread linked to was my first thread devoted to DD, and in that thread I provided a selection from a book that was highly critical of Newman’s theory of DD and ended the post with:

== I cannot help but think that though Darby certainly raises some important questions concerning Newman’s view of development that need to be addressed, Darby’s own view of DD presents even greater difficulties—difficulties that are inherent to any Protestant concept of DD.

Have I missed something in the overall equation?==

You said you have read the thread, which means you have read the above; as such I cannot understand at all how you can then write:

>>I read through it, and such really was not the case. I didn't really see you "cracking" at all on Newman's DD.>>

My goodness James, and you actually think most understand your video comments on DD?

>>You also said anti-Catholics hindered your research. Where? It certainly wasn't in your earlier post, which was my point.>>

Me: Sigh, here is what I actually wrote:

==no viable alternatives over the next several months were forthcoming==

And then:

==in fact, the efforts put forward by so many anti-Catholic epologists severely hindered the advancements I had been making in my research; and looking back, I know that some of the dismal apologetic methods employed by these epologists actually delayed my decision==

If you could point me to even one anti-Catholic epologist who presented with an articulated counter theory to Newman’s DD during the period in reference, I will formally apologize. Instead, what I was running into was attempts to read Reformation doctrines back into the early Church Fathers that just are not there; and all this while I was becoming acutely aware that the attempts to read certain developed Catholic doctrines back into the ECFs were woefully misguided.


>>If anything, I doubt "anti-Catholics" (a term you use for people like myself, King, White, Tur8, etc, some mentioned in your blog post title), did no such thing. In other words, you slandered people for no reason, or you can at least explain why the devious anti-Catholics were in your way of discovering the falsity of Papalism.>>

Me: I use the term “anti-Catholic” for anyone who embrace the notion that the Catholic Church is not a Christian church. And, to be blunk James, if any slandering is going on, it is certainly NOT from my pen…

>>As to whether or not you actually posted your "reasons" for leaving the RCC, we both know your recent post merely is the tip of your iceberg.>>

Me: But in your video you said: “We’ll have to let David explain why he left the Catholic Church.” This gives the impression to individuals who view the video that I gave NO explanation. I wanted to make sure that that such an impression will not be made by anyone.

The game has started, so I shall end here for now.


Grace and peace,

David

James Swan said...

David,

I assume those I attract here similarly are of the alleged same "anti-Catholic" strain as I. When we discuss DD, it's normally the Romanist DD as previously described. Indeed, I concede the fact that as with Romanism, Protestants have varying views of DD. I'm sure some of those not of my similar strain would interpret my statements differently. I will revise the text of the blog entry to reflect our current discussion.

As to your previous thread, "the crack" as espoused didn't appear all that significant, particularly when you argued the one who made it, "Darby’s own view of DD presents even greater difficulties—difficulties that are inherent to any Protestant concept of DD".

My reading of your comment, along with your argumentation in the comment box, leaves your reasons for departing Newman's DD vague, at least to me. I can appreciate your inquisitive nature in that earlier thread, but it didn't really spell out anything concrete. I look forward, at some point, for further clarification as to your issues with Newman.

Exactly whom do these comment refer, and should they be linked at all to those mentioned in your blog post title:

"the efforts put forward by so many anti-Catholic epologists severely hindered the advancements I had been making in my research; and looking back, I know that some of the dismal apologetic methods employed by these epologists actually delayed my decision.

If these comments were not meant to be connected with those mentioned in your blog title, you would do well to clarify that.

As to pointing to "anti-Catholic epologists" that didn't have what you were looking for,or that you simply couldn't find it even if they did, doesn't mean they hindered you. As your comments stand, the alleged "anti-Catholic epologists" (whomever that mystery group comprises of), actively hindered you from achieving x. Perhaps the person who needs to clarify is you, not me.

I have no idea as to whom you refer to "reading Reformation doctrines back into the ECF's." Dr. White spoke about that explicitly on the latest Dividing Line broadcast. The ECF's were the ECF's, let them say what they said, and so be it. If they support Romanism, fine, if not, fine. If they're confused or brilliant, that's fine as well. I hope you're not simply taking another shot at David King.

I don't think my blog or video gave the impression you didn't give ANY reasons for your departure from your previous Church affiliation. My thrust is that your reasons were a bit vague.

I haven't scrolled through your recent comment box yet to see any new comments, but I am curious as to your issues with Newman and DD, a lot more than I am with your departure from Roman Catholicism. In other words, I can appreciate the fact that whatever it was that prompted you to leave Rome must've been quite significant.

That you left Roman Catholicism or that someone converts to Roman Catholicism is neither proof that Roman Catholicism is either true or false. However, once we get past all of this stuff about you, I hope to take a look at your interactions and studies on DD that led to your recent decision. Perhaps though you don't want to share this with me? Indeed, if you make good points, I will use them against Newman and those Roman Catholics who ascribe to his theories.

Either way, I do wish you all the best. Despite my hostility to conversion and deconversion tales, I respect the fact that you followed your conscience to where the facts lead you, despite the long term investment you had previously made.

Best Wishes, James

James Swan said...

The game has started, so I shall end here for now.

Well, this isn't a game for me, and I'm sorry you feel that way.

David Waltz said...

Hi James,

It is halftime, so I am taking a quick peek to see if you had responded to my last posts...

The game I mentioned is the BCS football game (wink).

I appreciate that you extended to me your best wishes...back to the game, though I don't know exactly why--the team I am rooting for lost their starting QB and is getting creamed.

Grace and peace,

Daavid

James Swan said...

David,

I'm at a loss when it comes to football. so obviously, I misinterpreted your words.

I do know enough about baseball to fake my way through a conversation.

I also by accident, walked in on a party a few years back in which NJ Devil's player Steve Stevens (if that was his name) was showing off the Stanley Cup. I had my picture taken with him, and I held the trophy. I know very little about hockey as well.

James Swan said...

Over on David's blog, my friend Frank is singing the same tune:

Frank said...
David,

I know we have a bad relationship with each other, but I would still like to know (in private perhaps?) in a bit more detail your perspective on Newman, since I left Rome over this very issue.

January 7, 2010 6:46 PM

Ken said...

To David Waltz -
As I mentioned on your blog also - it seemed to me that you had doubts about Newman's DD in some of your other posts, especially the posts on John Nelson Darby and his book critiquing Newman, Analysis of Dr. Newman’s Apologia Pro Vita Sua.

You talked about this issue in many other posts, than the one you linked to; it seemed to me. I cannot find where we got into more in depth.

Let's all pray that God will give light and truth to David as he reads and meditates in the Scriptures to find a more biblical church in his area. Psalm 42-43. esp. 43:3-4

Rhology said...

The game has started

As an Oklahoma fan and saxeT hater, I knew what you meant, David! :-D

Good game, it was. Too bad McCoy was injured; he's such a good guy, and saxeT would've won, too.

James Swan said...

I use the term “anti-Catholic” for anyone who embrace the notion that the Catholic Church is not a Christian church.

David:
Just out of curiosity, and perhaps you've answered this already elsewhere. If a person holds that The Church of Later Day Saints is not a Christian church, is that person anti-Mormon?

Without a particular church affiliation at this point, exactly what authority do you rely on at this point to make such a judgment?

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Just wanted to let you know that I finally got some time to respond to your post (it is over at the AF thread).

Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hey Rho,

I am neither a ‘Bama or Longhorn’s fan, but I was pulling for TX because of McCoy; and then the poor guy gets injured so early—ARRRGH!!! I think TX would have definitely beaten ‘Bama if McCoy had remained healthy. (I am also scratching my head a bit after watching the game and comparing it the Gators/‘Bama game: how did Florida lose to Alabama so badly ???)

Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi James,

You posted:

>>Just out of curiosity, and perhaps you've answered this already elsewhere. If a person holds that The Church of Later Day Saints is not a Christian church, is that person anti-Mormon?>>

Me: For sure (personally, I have no problem with the prefix “anti-”; for instance I am certainly anti-Docetic and an anti-Modalist).

>>Without a particular church affiliation at this point, exactly what authority do you rely on at this point to make such a judgment?>>

Me: The Bible, and the additional ‘light’ that has been shed via the major theological controversies that have occurred down through the history of the Church.

Now, some questions for you: is there a particular church affiliation that you believe should be viewed as authoritative? If so, which one, and what is the extent and nature of its authority; also, how did you come to accept its authority?


Grace and peace,

David

James Swan said...

Hi James,You posted:>>Just out of curiosity, and perhaps you've answered this already elsewhere. If a person holds that The Church of Later Day Saints is not a Christian church, is that person anti-Mormon?>>Me: For sure (personally, I have no problem with the prefix “anti-”; for instance I am certainly anti-Docetic and an anti-Modalist).

Just so I understand you, by "for sure" you mean an anti-mormon is someone who believes Mormons are not part of the Christian church.

Would you therefore be inclined to personally hold Mormonism is a part of the Christian Church?