Friday, September 10, 2010

Protestants can face history with eyes open

In the light of all the recent discussions, in which I and other have been accused of "being inconsistent" for the practice of citing the works of certain scholars without swallowing whole everything else those scholars seem to say or believe, Tim Enloe has made the following helpful comment:
it's really fascinating to me to see all these pop-apologists complaining that you can't cite a source on Point A without also accepting his view of Point B, and since Point B materially attacks the Christian Faith in a way that you yourself would not accept, you should not accept his view of Point A.

This is just absurd, and shows the lack of critical thinking ability in the pop-apologetics community. Of course you can cite a scholar on Point A without accepting his view of Point B - it's called weighing arguments. Pop-apologists operate with a goofy, uncritical standard that is really a double standard. When scholarship supports them, they love it ("All these Protestant scholars admit that Peter was the Rock! Why don't you?"). Yet when scholarship contradicts them ("The papacy relied on forgeries for many centuries, and this materially affects its claims to sovereignty in the Church"), they darkly suspect it - and anyone who relies upon it.

The simple fact of the matter is that sober historical inquiry, a discipline given to us by thoroughly committed Christians in the Renaissance, has never been the friend of many of Rome's dogmatic claims, but has in fact demonstrated that the "historical" support for her dogmatic claims is weak, suspect, or else very easily and quite reasonably challengable. If you're a papalist, it's pretty hard to grapple soberly with Lorenzo Valla, or even Erasmus - both good Catholics - and still maintain that your doctrines have "historical" support, so lots of modern Catholics don't even try to grapple with them. They just dismiss them by a specious and really quite intellectually childish appeal to having a superior "faith."

It's just a lot of hand-waving, and it makes you glad to be, as my friend Peter Escalante says, a Protestant since as a Protestant you can face history "with your eyes open" instead of following Belloc's childish dictum, "Always hold the hand of nurse, for fear of finding something worse."
Tim is very close to finishing his Master's degree studies at the University of Dallas.

65 comments:

Matthew Bellisario said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dozie said...

"Tim is very close to finishing his Master's degree studies at the University of Dallas"

But before he does, he starts ranking himself among Protestant scholars.

Just as Matt Slick calls himself a Protestant theologian. At least we can all agree: "good for Protestantism".

John Bugay said...

Matthew Bellisario said: [Mr.] Bugay, why didn't you post the four words that make up the entire quote you put up that Tim wrote?

Gee, that's an honest question Matthew. It's because I knew you'd do the very thing that you did. Still, I wanted to give you the opportunity not to be yourself for a change. I see you did not take that opportunity.

As it is, please know that your comments are most unwelcome here, and your tactics of insult will not be tolerated.

Matthew Bellisario said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lvka said...

If not even Rome can face history, to say that Protestants can is the peak of absurdity. -- It's like comparing shards to broken pots.

In the end, Rome is infinitely truer than any single Protestant denomination (with the probable exception of what was once called Anglicanism: but that was ages ago)

John Bugay said...

to say that Protestants can is the peak of absurdity. -- It's like comparing shards to broken pots.

Perhaps you've not read Schaff.

John Bugay said...

Definitions of scholar on the Web:

* a learned person (especially in the humanities); someone who by long study has gained mastery in one or more disciplines
* learner: someone (especially a child) who learns (as from a teacher) or takes up knowledge or beliefs
* a student who holds a scholarship
wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"Protestants can face history with eyes open"

Implication: Other Faith-Traditions are not facing history with their eyes open.

Rough analogue: Holocaust-deniers are not facing history with their eyes open.

But Protestants who affirm the Holocaust happened are facing history with their eyes open.

John Bugay said...

Implication: Other Faith-Traditions are not facing history with their eyes open.

That's not necessarily an implication, although it does happen.

Blogahon said...

I definitely concur, rather I strongly agree that all Christians can look at history with their eyes open. I say this as a former Protestant and now happy Catholic.

The claim that the history of the early church is more on the side of 20th century Protestantism is simply unbelievable. It is like Jim Carrey in 'Liar, Liar' trying to say that the red pen is blue.

In the end, I could not perform the mental gymnastics necessary to swallow the idea that the fathers were all just proto Presbyterians. There is a reason why the Catholic seminaries have much greater emphasis on Church history.

As respect to this thread, John's answer, that he is just 'testing everything' and Tim's answer, that he is just 'weighing the evidence' is merely begging the question.

Four years ago I 'tested everything' and 'weighed the evidence' and as a result (and by the Grace of God) came into full communion with the Christ's church.

Tim Enloe said...

John,

Regarding your last line, I'd only say that nearly having the M.A. degree doesn't necessarily mean I'm correct. America is a funny place these days when it comes to education. On the one hand, there is a lot of superstition in America about what a "college education" implies about a person - despite declining standards all across the board, there is still a powerful, and largely emotional, perception in the minds of many that "having a degree" means you know what you are talking about. On the other hand, there is an equally powerful - dare I say invincibly ignorant - opposite impression held by many that rigorous intellectual training is simply unnecessary to grasp most subjects, even very complicated ones, because the American Individual is sovereign and competent to grasp all things merely by the amazing power of his "common sense."

The issue is not what degrees I have or don't have; the issue is the substance of the assertion that it is quite rational to accept the conclusions of a scholar on point A while also rejecting his conclusions on Point B. I saw someone on the other thread claiming that DTK is being inconsistent because the scholar he's citing "uses the same method" to arrive at one conclusion that DTK accepts and at another conclusion that DTK rejects. This, too, is a non-response. "Method" is not the all-important factor. One has to "weigh" arguments by doing such things as being familiar with a broad range of subjects so as to place the present subject in contexts both large and small. One has to have pored soberly over many primary texts and many secondary scholarly aids to those texts so as to become equipped to analyze nuances, ask questions of texts that are not necessarily "literally" stated on the surface of the texts, and think through different interpretive options without a bunch of emotional posturing because one is trying to win today's Great Battle on the Blog.

Weighing arguments is a skill that has to be developed over a long period of time in which one spends a great deal of time ALONE WITH BOOKS, with a commitment to questioning not just the assumptions of one's opponents but one's own assumptions as well, and all of this in a context of forgetting all about "winning" petty squabbles on the Internet. It takes time and patience, but people who want to "win" apologetics battles usually have neither.

This is why pop-apologetics is ultimately stupid and futile. People get their shorts all in a bunch about "Truth" and, just because they know how to type and can pay $9.99 a month for the Internet and are all emotionally riled up about "Them," set themselves up as "apologists" and start hawing their incompetent wares as if, yes, their untrained, uncritical, little opinion really is as valuable as anyone else's. It's American egalitarianism at its worst. And, ironically, given the passion these folks exhibit against Protestantism, it is all a VERY American Protestant thing to do. It's all spelled out in Nathan Hatch's The Democratization of American Christianity and Mark Noll's The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. Unfortunately, pop-apologists don't read books like that, let alone many others that they desperately need to read. It's so much easier to login to the blog and just start ranting about all the glorious "clear and evident" truths right there on the surfaces of their own shallow little minds.

John Bugay said...

The claim that the history of the early church is more on the side of 20th century Protestantism is simply unbelievable. It is like Jim Carrey in 'Liar, Liar' trying to say that the red pen is blue.

The claim that the history of the early church is more on the side of 20th century Roman Catholicism is simply unbelievable as well. And unlike your Jim Carrey analogy, we actually do have a quote from Ignatius of Loyola's Spiritual Exercises whereby the Catholic is directed to say that a red pen is blue when the Church directs one to do so.

In the end, I could not perform the mental gymnastics necessary to swallow the idea that the fathers were all just proto Presbyterians.

I'm sure it is a figment of your imagination that someone was actually trying to convince you that "that the fathers were all just proto Presbyterians."

As respect to this thread, John's answer, that he is just 'testing everything' and Tim's answer, that he is just 'weighing the evidence' is merely begging the question.

And what question might that be begging? You are very long on assertions here and short on substance.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

Blogahon writes:

In the end, I could not perform the mental gymnastics necessary to swallow the idea that the fathers were all just proto Presbyterians.

Who is claiming that the fathers were "proto Presbyterians"? Documentation would be appreciated. If you don't have any, then a retraction would be appropriate.

There is a reason why the Catholic seminaries have much greater emphasis on Church history.

Perhaps that's because your denomination is oriented to the post-Biblical traditions of men rather than the older and more reliable Word of God.

See how easy it is to throw out vacuous little gotchas? Why you think the kind of rhetorical bluster that defines your most recent response is either productive or helpful is not obvious.

John Francis said...

I take it that Tim would also take an analogy and turn it into a systematic teaching?

John Francis said...

Given what he said above, I would think that he would agree that David is isolating Gelasius quote from the entire body of the text as well as the historical period, liturgies and all.

John Francis said...

Moreover, Tim, if I were you I wouldn't easily dismiss other people's education as if you are the only sane one here. It is odd that you are attending a Catholic college, yet at the same time promoting the belief that only protestants can face history with their eyes open. What does this say of you that given the above you would find the Catholic college competent enough to pay them for a higher degree?

John Francis said...

Matthew:

It does cause one to wonder who much variance away from protestant teachings a Father can get before protestants dismisses him as a Father. See what I am questioning? I've heard about the essentials and the non-essentials, or at least I've heard about the idea of a distinction, but I've never quite heard exactly what the essentials are. If the Mass is considered a sacrifice, would that place the Father outside of orthodoxy? I guess we could keep it going. If the idea of the Mass as Sacrifice is a heresy, then surely you wouldn't call that Father a Christian, right?

Blogahon said...

John,

To answer your question about 'begging the question' let me ask you:

What happens when one reads the scholars that you read and 'tests everything' like you suggest and 'weighs the evidence' like Tim suggests than and comes out on the other side as a Catholic? What do you say about that person?

What I see as begging the question on your end is the idea that one who does what you do and reads what you read will surely come to the conclusions that you come to in the end.

You deflect the problem of opposing scholars and scholars upon which you rely coming to unorthodox opinions which you reject by saying, "Well, I just test everything and accept what is good and reject what is bad."

Well, I do that too and here we are...what now? And on what basis can you insist to me that Peter Lampe's assessment of the 1st century Roman church is correct and mine is wrong? Because I could flip it back and say, "One what basis do you reject Peter Lampe's assessment of the authorship of 2nd Timothy?" You'll then just say, "Test everything." And I'll say, "I am."

Rhology said...

John Francis,


See my series on this question, in order:
here
here
here

natamllc said...

Citing from two comments in a previous thread, I offer this:

JAE: The only thing that is clear now, do we lean on the teachings of the men who were closest and had heard the Apostles themselves? viz. Iraneus, Polycarp etc. - OR - men who were 1,517 years later?

What is clear in these words is the tacit tactic that they use these days. It is clear that they will not be able to carry this debate and persuade reasonable men unless they persuade you to move away from those First Century Writers of record and to move towards the writings of men they rely upon from the Second Century onwards. After the First Century Apostles, Elders and Brethren, all gifted men full of the Holy Spirit, there is no clear understanding within the RCC that they presently have about the error of their dogmas, edicts and successions, which are all erroneous fundamentally.

It seems they have been blinded?

Where have we read about such men as these in Scripture, men blinded by forces of evil at work to destroy the Faith once delivered to the Saints? 2Co 4:4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.


Here is a Biblical understanding of the error for why they are not wanting you to go back further to the actual writings themselves from the First Century. Could it be because when you do you also will see the trajectory of the errors accumulated over these many centuries of their man made religious practices?


Here is that Biblical text:

Act 20:32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.


Now, why is that one verse important and relevant for this debate, seeing the error of the RCC as they have progressed to become what they are today?

Well consider the reason the Apostle Paul wrote that little, "big", important admonition to the Elders of Ephesus?

Several previous verses above it tells us why.


Could it be that as in their day, so it is in our day too, that there are wolves working in our midst along with deceived and false brethren, who from within will rise up to do the very same things they were doing in the First Century, the Second, the Third and so on?

Isn't it obvious that these kinds of men do what their father, the Devil, does quite well himself in every generation among God's people?

And what is that?

Well he comes but to steal from us, kill and destroy us today as he did back then! 1Pe 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1Pe 5:9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.



This is why is it so important to check Second Century doctrines for errors and Third and Fourth up to even today's scholarly theological works and men against the First Century Writers and their records preserved by God Himself for posterity. If you are not coming into the Light of Christ, the Light of the Holy Spirit and the light of History, having your eyes opened wide, continually, based on God and the Word of His Grace, you will end up looking like the RCC who sadly is a rude example of God and the Word of His Grace. And isn't it exactly what JAE has said, cited above, cited again, here, for emphasis:

JAE:The only thing that is clear now, do we lean on the teachings of the men who were closest and had heard the Apostles themselves? viz. Iraneus, Polycarp etc. - OR - men who were 1,517 years later?

This also might be why John Francis wrote this as well?

N:

Why should I when I believe that Revelation wasn't confined to just the written Word? You must have me confused with a protestor.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"Protestants can face history with eyes open"

Rough analogue: Holocaust-deniers are not facing history with their eyes open.

But Protestants who affirm the Holocaust happened are facing history with their eyes open.

Here's an interesting link:

Catholic Holocaust-denier guilty of inciting hatred.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

John Francis writes:

Matthew:

It does cause one to wonder who much variance away from protestant teachings a Father can get before protestants dismisses him as a Father.


You directed this comment to me. I assume you mean that your post here is relevant to what I wrote. So why does it cause "one to wonder"? How does this bear on the assertion's I addressed in Blogahon's most recent comment?

See what I am questioning?

I do. And to be frank, it's neither new nor interesting (and I don't mean "interesting" as a personal preference). Historical/theological evaluations of the orthodoxy of the authors of the documents of the early church rise and fall on their own (and rather nuanced) terms. I don't see what that has to do with the claim that Protestants try to turn the collective fathers into "proto Presbyterians" or even the general issue of studying church history.

I've heard about the essentials and the non-essentials, or at least I've heard about the idea of a distinction, but I've never quite heard exactly what the essentials are.

This seems just a bit off-topic to merit sustained discussion. Do we have to determine the essentials or the non-essentials in order to "face history with eyes open"? I don't see how that follows. That would only be potentially relevant if we were forced to find continuity with the early church documents in order to hold to our particular Protestant beliefs. But if that's the assumption you (and Blogahon) are bringing to the table, you're merely ascribing your own denomination's need for historical continuity to our position without sufficient justification.

Rhology said...

It's not as if earlier Christian writers or modern RCs or EOx have fully fleshed-out doctrines of essential/non-essential. Special pleading.

Tim Enloe said...

John (Francis),

I am only concerned with the statement I saw which claimed there was an "inconsistency" in accepting a scholar's point about A while also rejecting his point about B which was arrived at by "the same method."


I neither confirm nor attack any particular thing that DTK was saying on the other thread. If you want to go after him, that's between you and him. I don't talk to DTK, and he doesn't talk to me, and that's just the way it is.

Tim Enloe said...

What I mean, John F., is that I well understand that scholarly method is not infallible because the people using it are not infallible. There are plenty of Ph.Ds who are idiots, and plenty of non-degreed people who are intelligent. It isn't about credentials, nor about some "neutral method" that generates a "consistency" of results. Evidence has to be weighed, arguments have to be weighed, and conclusions have to be critically evaluated. That is what is sorely lacking in most of these conversations that are perpetrated by pop-apologists.

Constantine said...

I definitely concur, rather I strongly agree that all Christians can look at history with their eyes open. I say this as a former Catholic and now happy Presbyterian.

The claim that the history of the early church is more on the side of 20th century Catholicism is simply unbelievable. It is like Jim Carrey in 'Liar, Liar' trying to say that the red pen is blue.

In the end, I could not perform the mental gymnastics necessary to swallow the idea that the fathers were all just proto Romanists. There is a reason why the Protestant seminaries have much greater emphasis on Church history.


Fifteen years ago I 'tested everything' and 'weighed the evidence' and as a result (and by the Grace of God) came into full communion with Christ's “true” church.

The one, true church that was founded by Christ “before the creation of the world” (Eph.1) and not after the establishment of some city in Italy.

Peace.

Tim Enloe said...

Btw, my time is extremely limited due to my teaching load / prep work at school, and various forms of tutoring I am doing for extra income. It is impossible for me to read everything that is written here, let alone to respond to everything directed my way, and I only ask that if I don't answer something that you be charitable and assume it's because I'm taking care of my real-world responsibilities. Thanks.

natamllc said...

At "Life After the Return to Rome"

there are a couple of comments I would address seeing we can and must face history with eyes open!

JAE:

The only thing that is clear now, do we lean on the teachings of the men who were closest and had heard the Apostles themselves? viz. Iraneus, Polycarp etc. - OR - men who were 1,517 years later?

John Francis:

N:

Why should I when I believe that Revelation wasn't confined to just the written Word? You must have me confused with a protestor.


What is the relevance here?

Well, consider the position both of these men take which is revealed about them towards God and the Word of His Grace.

Could it be, [borrowing from one cliche'], this is the "dividing line" that distinguishes those of the True Faith from every century since Adam until now and those who are of an errant faith? I would note this because of that, because of what the Apostles Paul and Peter "established" with their First Century "writings" that these two guys presumably don't care for or rely upon much that men of True Faith do when checking for the verity or veracity of Second, Third, Fourth, and so on, of the past centuries, up to and including this very century's writers, scholars and theologians of note that they or we rely upon? Have God or His Word of Grace ever changed?

Here is what the Apostle Peter wrote:

1Pe 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1Pe 5:9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.


Here is the what the Apostle Paul wrote:

Act 20:28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.
Act 20:29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;
Act 20:30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.
Act 20:31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears.
Act 20:32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.


Could it be that Holy Spirit has spoken to men in every century the Truth and the Truth sets us free so that with eyes wide open we are able to know and understand the historical error when we read it or when we see a religious practice that misses the mark of what God and the Word of His Grace establishes for us through Christ and those First Century writers of the New Covenant, "His witnesses" of these things?

After all, all the Scriptures up to that time were explained to these First Century Writers by Jesus Himself. Here's another First Century writer writing about that event where Jesus opens their minds to understand the Scriptures:

Luk 24:44 Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled."
Luk 24:45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,
Luk 24:46 and said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,
Luk 24:47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
Luk 24:48 You are witnesses of these things.




I suppose it is error if any one writing about "those" First Century writings and the fruits of those works do not taste like or nourish us like the fruits of the First Century Writers' writings about God and the Word of His Grace do?

natamllc said...

Sean

remarkable assertion coming from you, here:

In the end, I could not perform the mental gymnastics necessary to swallow the idea that the fathers were all just proto Presbyterians. There is a reason why the Catholic seminaries have much greater emphasis on Church history.

Do you ever take the time to understand the writings of the First Century Apostles?

It's remarkable you would even write such stuff as "all just proto Presbyterians".

It seems you don't understand why either Peter or Paul were directed to write making a distinction between "babes" in Christ and those who go onto maturity? You, it seems from any rational, reasonable understanding are caught away in some immature understandings of Mature Christianity.

Why then, if you understand these things, would God inspire this writing:

1Pe 2:1 So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.
1Pe 2:2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation--
1Pe 2:3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
1Pe 2:4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious,
1Pe 2:5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Rom 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
Rom 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Rom 12:3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.


I don't suppose you see or understand the nuance there?

Tim Enloe said...

John (F.), you wrote:

Moreover, Tim, if I were you I wouldn't easily dismiss other people's education as if you are the only sane one here. It is odd that you are attending a Catholic college, yet at the same time promoting the belief that only protestants can face history with their eyes open. What does this say of you that given the above you would find the Catholic college competent enough to pay them for a higher degree?

Come now, John. Like Protestants, Catholics are all over the map in terms of intellectual abilities, training, and emphases. I have already said that it is not the possession of a degree that matters, but the quality of an argument made. But the quality of an argument can only be assessed by someone who has cultivated the skills of intellectual breadth (and in a few areas, also depth), academic rigor and care, and personal security in the face of plausible alternative beliefs. A Ph.D. in Ancient Politics does not necessarily imply that one is competent to address, say, specific issues of patristic interpretation. An M.A. in humanities (as I will shortly have) does not necessarily imply that I am competent to discuss the nuances of the objective / subjective genitive debate concerning Romans 3:22.

Surely I do not have to keep giving examples to illustrate the basic point that just because a university (whether Protestant or Catholic or even Secular) pays a given person for their possession of a higher degree does not mean that that person is omnicompetent and that all arguments he makes are to be given equal weight because he "has a degree and gets paid for it." No true scholar would ever say that of himself - certainly none of my professors at UD would.

As, ironically, a Catholic friend of mine put it some years ago, "A scholar outside of his area of expertise is just another layman." The possession or non-possession of degrees is not the issue. Getting paid by a prestigious university because one has this or that degree is not hte issue. The issue is the quality of arguments advanced, and that can only be evaluated by people who have bothered to rigorously prepare themselves to do so - whether or not they have this or that degree in this or that subject. There is in the pop-apologetics communities - both Catholic and Protestant - a severe lack of attention to intellectual prolegomena and to the skills that can only become one's possession by long, patient, sometimes frustrating, practice with all manner of serious works. Most pop "apologists" I know simply refuse to read anything serious, let alone to withdraw from all these usually superficial quarrels on the Internet for a while so that they can learn patience, rigor, and lack of fear in the face of alternative beliefs.

So, contra you, I neither "dismiss" other people's education or act as if I'm "the only sane one" here. As a matter of fact, I have known Catholics for over 10 years who are able to make plausible arguments for various aspects of their faith, and I respect them despite continuing to disagree with them. I never have claimed nor ever will claim that Catholicism PER SE is some kind of stupid deception that only backwards rubes could ever embrace. I have a high degree of respect for men such as Thomas Aquinas, Thomas More, and various professors of mine at UD.

The bit about facing history with eyes open is more of a rhetorical point than a literal point. It comes from long years of dealing with pop-Catholics (note the emphasis on POP). There is a lot of real scholarship on this blog, but even its owners would admit that it is geared primarily toward answering the POP apologetics community. One has to keep in mind the focus and the audience so that, as Aristotle teaches in the Rhetoric, one can more easily discern truth from appearance of truth and also find the available and appropriate means of persuasion in any given case.

I hope that clears up your misconception of my remark.

natamllc said...

John Francis, you wrote:

It does cause one to wonder who much variance away from protestant teachings a Father can get before protestants dismisses him as a Father. See what I am questioning? [sic]

In light of that comment here, it makes perfectly good sense why you answered my request of you at the "Life After The Return to Rome" thread, the way you did, there:

JF,

ok,

please uncover the Scriptural basis, referrals, for Mariology, the Magisterium, The assumption of Mary, her immaculate conception, papal succession and other asunder dogmas and edicts of the infallible Roman Catholic Church.

Let's deal with these issues with First Century Writers of the Faith Once Deliver To The Saints seeing the Salvation is common as is the Faith.

Let's not use special pleadings for any of these topics, ok?

Let's just get down to bedrock Holy Spirit inspired Biblical foundations of Truth.


Your reply:

N:

Why should I when I believe that Revelation wasn't confined to just the written Word? You must have me confused with a protestor.


Has it ever occurred to you that these men of God who are debating you and your RCC positions truly have taken into their heart the Word of God and because of that gone onto become mature, discerning Believers, discerning the differences between good and evil?

Here’s an admonition they most certainly have living within their beings you might want to take note of:

Act 20:28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.
Act 20:29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;
Act 20:30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.
Act 20:31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears.
Act 20:32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.


I can assure you, for what it’s worth to you, that men of God who have both God and the Word of His Grace working through them will easily be able to know when they read the word of wolves and the words of men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them!

Also, they will be able to locate and relocate the Truth of the words they read and understand as these men are doing here with you.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Thanks Constantine for your hilarious satire of Blogahon's comment on 10:59 AM, September 10, 2010.

Quite funny.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Q: Does the Magisterium pick and choose among all the writings of the Early Church Fathers to come up with its doctrine? To be more precise, does the Magisterium pick one aspect of what an ECF wrote while rejecting other parts of what that very same ECF wrote that happens to contradict what the Magisterium has declared as Church dogma?

Yes or no?

If so, then why all this blabbering about citing Lampe and not accepting Lampe's other conclusions? After all, if the Magisterium cites an ECF on one issue, but doesn't accept that ECF's other conclusion on other matters, isn't John Bugay merely doing what the Magisterium has done way before John Bugay was ever born?

Hypocrisy. Pot. Kettle. Black. Special pleading. Bullscheiss. Are just some of the words that come to mind when reading the criticisms lobbied at Bugay and others by their Catholic detractors.

Lvka said...

I did read Schaff, John: my favorite part was seeing him twist and turn like speared whenever the Fathers said something that hurt his Reformed sensibilities... :-)

John Bugay said...

my favorite part was seeing him twist and turn like speared whenever the Fathers said something that hurt his Reformed sensibilities... :-)

Might you show us a specific example of this?

Lvka said...

Even better, John: I'm gonna show you my all-time favorite! :-)

John Bugay said...

No doubt Schaff's dead body is now twisting and turning as upon a spear over that one.

John Bugay said...

And one might further say that if that is the worst thing that you can find in Schaff -- that he thinks Chalcedon set boundaries but that Augustinianism should not have been compromised with Pelagianism -- then I would conclude that he is a very solid and honest and accurate historian indeed.

Lvka said...

If double standards are in any way logically-coherent, internally-consistent, solid, honest, true, and accurate, then yeah.. he's the KING, baby! :^)

John Bugay said...

Wow Lvka, your logic may yet prompt me to call up James Swan and resign in humiliation.

Lvka said...

There's no such thing as "my" logic, just as there's no such thing as "my" truth.

natamllc said...

Using your logic Lvka, why do we read this about "My Gospel"?

Rom 16:25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages
Rom 16:26 but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith--
Rom 16:27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

Constantine said...

Hey TUAD,

You're welcome.

It was fun!

Peace.

Tim Enloe said...

Hmm, I wrote a reply to John Francis's assertion yesterday that I was simply dismissing the education of others, perhaps even of my professors at UD. It seems to be gone now, and no indication that it may have been deleted by a moderator. Odd.

At any rate, I spent all day doing prep work for teaching classes this week, and I have no time left to rewrite what I said yesterday. The whole "You go to a Catholic university?" thing is somewhat humorous though, accompanied as it has been by mere anecdotes of other Protestants converting and / or strange statements that seem to have implied that just because a major university pays someone with a higher degree, that must mean anything he says is trustworthy and so to disagree with him is to "dismiss" his education.

Very odd, indeed.

John Bugay said...

Tim, we've noticed that blogger is deleting comments on an occasional basis. Not sure why this is happening. Try posting it again -- if not, give me a few keywords to search-- I likely have it in my email, and I'll be happy to repost it for you.

John Bugay said...

I think this is the comment that disappeared.

John (F.), you wrote:

Moreover, Tim, if I were you I wouldn't easily dismiss other people's education as if you are the only sane one here. It is odd that you are attending a Catholic college, yet at the same time promoting the belief that only protestants can face history with their eyes open. What does this say of you that given the above you would find the Catholic college competent enough to pay them for a higher degree?


Come now, John. Like Protestants, Catholics are all over the map in terms of intellectual abilities, training, and emphases. I have already said that it is not the possession of a degree that matters, but the quality of an argument made. But the quality of an argument can only be assessed by someone who has cultivated the skills of intellectual breadth (and in a few areas, also depth), academic rigor and care, and personal security in the face of plausible alternative beliefs. A Ph.D. in Ancient Politics does not necessarily imply that one is competent to address, say, specific issues of patristic interpretation. An M.A. in humanities (as I will shortly have) does not necessarily imply that I am competent to discuss the nuances of the objective / subjective genitive debate concerning Romans 3:22.

Surely I do not have to keep giving examples to illustrate the basic point that just because a university (whether Protestant or Catholic or even Secular) pays a given person for their possession of a higher degree does not mean that that person is omnicompetent and that all arguments he makes are to be given equal weight because he "has a degree and gets paid for it." No true scholar would ever say that of himself - certainly none of my professors at UD would.

As, ironically, a Catholic friend of mine put it some years ago, "A scholar outside of his area of expertise is just another layman." The possession or non-possession of degrees is not the issue. Getting paid by a prestigious university because one has this or that degree is not hte issue. The issue is the quality of arguments advanced, and that can only be evaluated by people who have bothered to rigorously prepare themselves to do so - whether or not they have this or that degree in this or that subject. There is in the pop-apologetics communities - both Catholic and Protestant - a severe lack of attention to intellectual prolegomena and to the skills that can only become one's possession by long, patient, sometimes frustrating, practice with all manner of serious works. Most pop "apologists" I know simply refuse to read anything serious, let alone to withdraw from all these usually superficial quarrels on the Internet for a while so that they can learn patience, rigor, and lack of fear in the face of alternative beliefs.

So, contra you, I neither "dismiss" other people's education or act as if I'm "the only sane one" here. As a matter of fact, I have known Catholics for over 10 years who are able to make plausible arguments for various aspects of their faith, and I respect them despite continuing to disagree with them. I never have claimed nor ever will claim that Catholicism PER SE is some kind of stupid deception that only backwards rubes could ever embrace. I have a high degree of respect for men such as Thomas Aquinas, Thomas More, and various professors of mine at UD.

The bit about facing history with eyes open is more of a rhetorical point than a literal point. It comes from long years of dealing with pop-Catholics (note the emphasis on POP). There is a lot of real scholarship on this blog, but even its owners would admit that it is geared primarily toward answering the POP apologetics community. One has to keep in mind the focus and the audience so that, as Aristotle teaches in the Rhetoric, one can more easily discern truth from appearance of truth and also find the available and appropriate means of persuasion in any given case.

I hope that clears up your misconception of my remark.

Lvka said...

Pop-apologists operate with a goofy, uncritical standard that is really a double standard.


..just like some famous Protestant scholars we've been discussing recently.. ;-)

Jae said...

@Constantin and others who wrote, "The claim that the history of the early church is more on the side of 20th century Catholicism is simply unbelievable."

Is this the type of tactic you employ? Deconstruction and not a trace of any substance. Typical! If you really believed otherwise then let's see what the early church say about: The Eucharist - as True Body and Blood of Christ.

ST. IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH (circa 98 A.D.)

I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the Bread of God, WHICH IS THE FLESH OF JESUS CHRIST, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I DESIRE HIS BLOOD, which is love incorruptible. (Letter to Romans 7:3)

Take care, then, to use one Eucharist, so that whatever you do, you do according to God: FOR THERE IS ONE FLESH OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, and one cup IN THE UNION OF HIS BLOOD; one ALTAR, as there is one bishop with the presbytery... (Letter to Philadelphians 4:1)

They [i.e. the Gnostics] abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that THE EUCHARIST IS THE FLESH OF OUR SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST, flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in his goodness, raised up again. (Letter to Smyrn 7:1)

ST. JUSTIN THE MARTYR (c. 100 - 165 A.D.)

For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by Him, AND BY THE CHANGE OF WHICH our blood and flesh is nourished, IS BOTH THE FLESH AND THE BLOOD OF THAT INCARNATED JESUS. (First Apology 66)


cont:

Jae said...

Cont:

ST. IRENAEUS (c. 140 - 202 A.D.)

"When, therefore, the mixed cup and the baked bread receives the Word of God and BECOMES THE EUCHARIST, THE BODY OF CHRIST, and from these the substance of our flesh is increased and supported, how can they say that the flesh is not capable of receiving the gift of God, WHICH IS ETERNAL LIFE -- flesh which is nourished BY THE BODY AND BLOOD OF THE LORD...receiving the Word of God, BECOMES THE EUCHARIST, WHICH IS THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST..." (Against Heresies 5:2:2-3)

ST. ATHANASIUS (c. 295 - 373 A.D.)

"BUT AFTER THE GREAT PRAYERS AND HOLY SUPPLICATIONS HAVE BEEN SENT FORTH, THE WORD COMES DOWN INTO THE BREAD AND WINE—AND THUS IS HIS BODY CONFECTED"( Sermon to the Newly Baptized, from Eutyches)

ST. CYRIL OF JERUSALEM (c. 350 A.D.)

"For just as the bread and the wine of the Eucharist before the holy invocation of the adorable Trinity were SIMPLE BREAD AND WINE, BUT THE INVOCATION HAVING BEEN MADE, THE BREAD BECOMES THE BODY OF CHRIST AND THE WINE THE BLOOD OF CHRIST..." (Catechetical Lectures 19 [Mystagogic 1], 7)

ST. EPHRAIM (c. 306 - 373 A.D.)

Our Lord Jesus took in His hands what in the beginning was only bread; and He blessed it, and signed it, and made it holy in the name of the Father and in the name of the Spirit; and He broke it and in His gracious kindness He distributed it to all His disciples one by one. HE CALLED THE BREAD HIS LIVING BODY, AND DID HIMSELF FILL IT WITH HIMSELF AND THE SPIRIT. And extending His hand, He gave them the Bread which His right hand had made holy: "Take, all of you eat of this, which My word has made holy. DO NOT NOW REGARD AS BREAD that which I have given you; but take, eat this Bread [of life], and do not scatter the crumbs; FOR WHAT I HAVE CALLED MY BODY, THAT IS INDEED. ONE PARTICLE FROM ITS CRUMBS IS ABLE TO SANCTIFY THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS, AND IS SUFFICIENT TO AFFORD LIFE TO THOSE WHO EAT IT. TAKE, EAT, ENTERTAINING NO DOUBT OF FAITH, BECAUSE THIS IS MY BODY, and whoever eats it in belief eats in it Fire and Spirit."(Homilies 4:4; 4:6)

Cont

Jae said...

How about the liturgical celebration of the Mass, a very essential component of protestantism as evidence by early church practices:

St. Justin Martyr was born a pagan but converted to Christianity after studying philosophy. He was a prolific writer and many Church scholars consider him the greatest apologist or defender of the faith from the 2nd century. He was beheaded with six of his companions some time between 163 and 167 A.D.

Let's see what Justin Martyr has to say:

"No one may share the Eucharist with us unless he believes that what we teach is true, unless he is washed in the regenerating waters of baptism for the remission of his sins, and unless he lives in accordance with the principles given us by Christ.
We do not consume the eucharistic bread and wine as if it were ordinary food and drink, for we have been taught that as Jesus Christ our Saviour became a man of flesh and blood by the power of the Word of God, so also the food that our flesh and blood assimilates for its nourishment becomes the flesh and blood of the incarnate Jesus by the power of his own words contained in the prayer of thanksgiving.

The apostles, in their recollections, which are called gospels, handed down to us what Jesus commanded them to do. They tell us that he took bread, gave thanks and said: Do this in memory of me. This is my body. In the same way he took the cup, he gave thanks and said: This is my blood. The Lord gave this command to them alone. Ever since then we have constantly reminded one another of these things. The rich among us help the poor and we are always united. For all that we receive we praise the Creator of the universe through his Son Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit.

On Sunday we have a common assembly of all our members, whether they live in the city or the outlying districts. The recollections of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as there is time. When the reader has finished, the president of the assembly speaks to us; he urges everyone to imitate the examples of virtue we have heard in the readings. Then we all stand up together and pray.

On the conclusion of our prayer, bread and wine and water are brought forward. The president offers prayers and gives thanks to the best of his ability, and the people give assent by saying, “Amen.” The eucharist is distributed, everyone present communicates, and the deacons take it to those who are absent.

The wealthy, if they wish, may make a contribution, and they themselves decide the amount. The collection is placed in the custody of the president, who uses it to help the orphans and widows and all who for any reason are in distress, whether because they are sick, in prison, or away from home. In a word, he takes care of all who are in need.

We hold our common assembly on Sunday because it is the first day of the week, the day on which God put darkness and chaos to flight and created the world, and because on that same day our saviour Jesus Christ rose from the dead. For he was crucified on Friday and on Sunday he appeared to his apostles and disciples and taught them the things that we have passed on for your consideration."


This is an historical wrritten description from a guy from 1,850 year ago, very protestant!


Peace.

Tim Enloe said...

Let’s remove the principles at work here from the immediate context of Catholic-Protestant apologetics.

Vignette 1

Scholar A has a Ph.D. in Ancient Near Eastern studies. One of his big projects is working on the Epic of Gilgamesh, a 4000 year old legend preserved in Akkadian on clay tablets. He has studied the Akkadian cuneiform language, the various cultures of the ancient Near East, and piles and piles of secondary scholarly literature on these subjects. He gets paid by a big, prestigious university to pursue his studies and write papers and books on various Near Eastern subjects.

At some point in his career, he writes a largely excellent book on the interpretation of the Epic of Gilgamesh. As the basis for his book, he managed to get his big, prestigious university and a couple of others to pay for him to spend a year overseas examining the actual clay cuneiform tablets containing the Epic, and based on his firsthand study of the tablets, he spent many months of hard, painstaking labor re-translating the Epic from scratch. His book is well-received by his peers, who can find no technical, stylistic, or basic factual flaws in his arguments about the Epic.

However, in the course of the arguments in his book, this author also makes some arguments about the authorship of the Pentateuch, arguments which he has drawn from his knowledge of the Documentary Hypothesis. He makes these arguments as matters of historical speculation because the Epic of Gilgamesh comes from around the same time as Abraham. This scholar, who is not a Christian, figures that he can piggyback some highly-critical arguments about the inspiration of the Old Testament on his expertise in Near Eastern studies.

Scholar B has a Ph.D. in Classics. He knows the Greek and Latin languages like the back of his hand, has written numerous professional journal articles on subjects such as the use of the future infinitive construction in Aulus Gellius’s Attic Nights and the meaning of several obscure phrases in Cicero’s corpus. He has also spent a great deal of time studying classical rhetoric, and has published well-respected books on Aristotle’s Rhetoric and Plato’s dialogue Gorgias. He gets paid by a big, prestigious university to pursue his studies and write papers and books on various Near Eastern subjects.

At some point in his career, Scholar B became interested in the subject of the use of classical rhetoric in the New Testament writings, and after a couple of years of careful, painstaking study, all filtered through his doctoral-level studies in classics, he publishes a book on this topic as well. The book is well-received by his peers, who can find no technical, stylistic, or basic factual flaws in his arguments about how the New Testament writers used classical rhetoric.

[cont]

Tim Enloe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tim Enloe said...

Vignette 2

Mack has always been just an ordinary guy, content to think whatever his parents and friends think about automobiles. None of them have ever really understood how automobiles work. They just know they stick the key in and push the pedals and go.

However, in his 20s, Mack encounters some formerly like-minded people who have begun to question the “wisdom” of their families and friends and have begun to be interested in the arcane, seemingly deeply intellectual subject of auto mechanics. These people point Mack to Wikipedia articles about alternators and solenoids, and he devours them with reckless zeal.

An expert with the Google search engine, Mack hunts down message boards run by like-minded automobile-fixing enthusiasts, and quickly learns by watching their behavior how to vigorously debate subjects such as whether one should leave the positive cable off the battery when getting a jump, how best to situate the jack under a ’93 Chrysler LeBaron when changing a flat tire, and so forth.

(Now, you have to understand that none of the people on the message boards have ever given a jump to someone else or had to get one from someone else, have never changed real alternators on real cars, have never spent hours of backbreaking labor trying to track an electrical short through real engines, and so forth, but these disconnects with the real world are really quite minor to them - they have read all the relevant Internet articles about fixing cars, so they know what they are talking about.)

Mack keeps reading Wikipedia, message boards, and amateur car-enthusiast websites for about 6 months. Each day brings a new revelation to his uncritical mind, soaked in the ignorant traditions of his family and friends. One day he exclaims to his mother, “Mother, please. Until our little family came along with all its novelties, people always fixed automobiles this way. Chrignatius of Chicago wrote a manual on fixing cars only 5 years after the car first came out, and even though I never heard of him or his manual until last week, having read him on the Internet just yesterday, I am now in a place to say that all our traditions are nonsense and we must convert to the One True School of Auto Mechanics! Once I was blind, but now I see!”

Not content to spread his near-total ignorance of automobiles to his family and friends, Mack starts up his own car-fixing apologetics website, on which he regularly mocks anyone whose views on the subject he can even remotely associate with the views of his family and friends. Other ignorant people flock to his website like moths to the flame, and soon Mack is riding high on a wave of popular approval. Mack expends considerable zeal attacking so-called “professional mechanics” who have been trained in real garages. These people are “arrogant,” he says, to imagine that one actually needs to have spent serious time working with alternators and fuel injection systems and camshafts in order to have a valid claim to knowing how to fix cars. Thanks to Wikipedia, message boards, and books by other people just like himself, Mack has Truth, and it’s all so blazingly plain that only bigoted fools could deny it.

Well, one day, you get up and your car won’t start. You pull out the Yellow Pages looking for a mechanic, and lo and behold, you see that Mack has expanded his ministry beyond the Internet. He now has his very own garage, and proudly advertises that despite his verifiable lack of any serious training in fixing cars, he actually does have a superior ability to fix cars. Do you take your car to him? Why not?

John Bugay said...

Tim Enloe has posted two comments, which I think are relevant. The first of the two did not get posted. The text of it is here:

Let’s remove the principles at work here from the immediate context of Catholic-Protestant apologetics.

Vignette 1

Scholar A has a Ph.D. in Ancient Near Eastern studies. One of his big projects is working on the Epic of Gilgamesh, a 4000 year old legend preserved in Akkadian on clay tablets. He has studied the Akkadian cuneiform language, the various cultures of the ancient Near East, and piles and piles of secondary scholarly literature on these subjects. He gets paid by a big, prestigious university to pursue his studies and write papers and books on various Near Eastern subjects.

At some point in his career, he writes a largely excellent book on the interpretation of the Epic of Gilgamesh. As the basis for his book, he managed to get his big, prestigious university and a couple of others to pay for him to spend a year overseas examining the actual clay cuneiform tablets containing the Epic, and based on his firsthand study of the tablets, he spent many months of hard, painstaking labor re-translating the Epic from scratch. His book is well-received by his peers, who can find no technical, stylistic, or basic factual flaws in his arguments about the Epic.

However, in the course of the arguments in his book, this author also makes some arguments about the authorship of the Pentateuch, arguments which he has drawn from his knowledge of the Documentary Hypothesis. He makes these arguments as matters of historical speculation because the Epic of Gilgamesh comes from around the same time as Abraham. This scholar, who is not a Christian, figures that he can piggyback some highly-critical arguments about the inspiration of the Old Testament on his expertise in Near Eastern studies.

Scholar B has a Ph.D. in Classics. He knows the Greek and Latin languages like the back of his hand, has written numerous professional journal articles on subjects such as the use of the future infinitive construction in Aulus Gellius’s Attic Nights and the meaning of several obscure phrases in Cicero’s corpus. He has also spent a great deal of time studying classical rhetoric, and has published well-respected books on Aristotle’s Rhetoric and Plato’s dialogue Gorgias. He gets paid by a big, prestigious university to pursue his studies and write papers and books on various Near Eastern subjects.

At some point in his career, Scholar B became interested in the subject of the use of classical rhetoric in the New Testament writings, and after a couple of years of careful, painstaking study, all filtered through his doctoral-level studies in classics, he publishes a book on this topic as well. The book is well-received by his peers, who can find no technical, stylistic, or basic factual flaws in his arguments about how the New Testament writers used classical rhetoric.

[cont]

Tim Enloe said...

Let’s remove the principles at work here from the immediate emotion-laden context of Catholic-Protestant apologetics.
Vignette 1
Scholar A has a Ph.D. in Ancient Near Eastern studies. One of his big projects is working on the Epic of Gilgamesh, a 4000 year old legend preserved in Akkadian on clay tablets. He has rigorously studied the Akkadian cuneiform language, the various cultures of the ancient Near East, and piles and piles of secondary scholarly literature on these subjects. He gets paid by a big, prestigious university to pursue his studies and write papers and books on various Near Eastern subjects.
At some point in his career, he writes a largely excellent book on the interpretation of the Epic of Gilgamesh. As the basis for his book, he managed to get his big, prestigious university and a couple of others to pay for him to spend a year overseas examining the actual clay cuneiform tablets containing the Epic, and based on his firsthand study of the tablets, he spent many months of hard, painstaking labor re-translating the Epic from scratch. His book is well-received by his peers, who can find no technical, stylistic, or basic factual flaws in his arguments about the Epic.
However, in the course of the arguments in his book, this author also makes some arguments about the authorship of the Pentateuch, arguments which he has drawn from his knowledge of the Documentary Hypothesis. He makes these arguments as matters of historical speculation because the Epic of Gilgamesh comes from around the same time as Abraham. This scholar, who is not a Christian, figures that he can piggyback some highly-critical arguments about the inspiration of the Old Testament on his expertise in Near Eastern studies.
Scholar B has a Ph.D. in Classics. He knows the Greek and Latin languages like the back of his hand, has written numerous professional journal articles on subjects such as the use of the future infinitive construction in Aulus Gellius’s Attic Nights and the meaning of several obscure phrases in Cicero’s corpus. He has also spent a great deal of time studying classical rhetoric, and has published well-respected books on Aristotle’s Rhetoric and Plato’s dialogue Gorgias. He gets paid by a big, prestigious university to pursue his studies and write papers and books on various Near Eastern subjects.
At some point in his career, Scholar B became interested in the subject of the use of classical rhetoric in the New Testament writings, and after a couple of years of careful, painstaking study, all filtered through his doctoral-level studies in classics, he publishes a book on this topic as well. The book is well-received by his peers, who can find no technical, stylistic, or basic factual flaws in his arguments about how the New Testament writers used classical rhetoric.

[cont]

Tim Enloe said...

[cont]

However, based on his research in classical rhetoric, this scholar also makes arguments in his book that he says undermine the Christian belief that the New Testament writings are inspired by God. This scholar, who is not a Christian, figures that he can piggyback some highly-critical arguments about the inspiration of the New Testament on his expertise in Classics and classical rhetoric.
Now let’s put our thinking caps on. Are the views of these scholars on the latter subjects (the biblical ones) to be trusted as much as their views on the former subjects? After all, they are the same guys, the Ph.Ds are the same, and the same big, prestigious universities are paying them both to write their articles and books on various subjects in Near Eastern studies and the Classics and to write their books on Gilgamesh and rhetoric in the New Testament which, among other things, argue that the biblical writings are not divinely-inspired.
If we trust Scholar A’s conclusions about the Epic of Gilgamesh, why shouldn’t we automatically trust his conclusions about the inspiration of the Old Testament? If we trust Scholar B’s conclusions about the use of classical rhetoric in the New Testament, why shouldn’t we automatically trust his conclusions about the inspiration of the New Testament?

Tim Enloe said...

Vignette 2

Mack has always been just an ordinary guy, content to think whatever his parents and friends think about automobiles. None of them have ever really understood how automobiles work. They just know they stick the key in and push the pedals and go.

However, in his 20s, Mack encounters some formerly like-minded people who have begun to question the “wisdom” of their families and friends and have begun to be interested in the arcane, seemingly deeply intellectual subject of auto mechanics. These people point Mack to Wikipedia articles about alternators and solenoids, and he devours them with reckless zeal. An expert with the Google search engine, Mack hunts down message boards run by like-minded automobile-fixing enthusiasts, and quickly learns by watching their behavior how to vigorously debate subjects such as whether one should leave the positive cable off the battery when getting a jump, how best to situate the jack under a ’93 Chrysler LeBaron when changing a flat tire, and so on.

(Now, you have to understand that none of the people on the message boards have ever given a jump to someone else or had to get one from someone else, have never changed real alternators on real cars, have never spent hours of backbreaking labor trying to track an electrical short through real engines, and so forth, but these disconnects with the real world are really quite minor to them - they have read all the relevant Internet articles about fixing cars, so they know what they are talking about.)

Mack keeps reading Wikipedia, message boards, and amateur car-enthusiast websites for about 6 months. Each day brings a new revelation to his uncritical mind, soaked in the ignorant traditions of his family and friends. One day he exclaims to his mother, “Mother, please. Until our little family came along with all its novelties, people always fixed automobiles this way. Chrignatius of Chicago wrote a manual on fixing cars only 5 years after the car first came out, and even though I never heard of him or his manual until last week, having read him on the Internet just yesterday, I am now in a place to say that all our traditions are nonsense and we must convert to the One True School of Auto Mechanics! Once I was blind, but now I see!”

Not content to spread his near-total ignorance of automobiles to his family and friends, Mack starts up his own car-fixing apologetics website, on which he regularly mocks anyone whose views on the subject he can even remotely associate with the views of his family and friends. Other ignorant people flock to his website like moths to the flame, and soon Mack is riding high on a wave of popular approval. Mack expends considerable zeal attacking so-called “professional mechanics” who have been trained in real garages. These people are “arrogant,” he says, to imagine that one actually needs to have spent serious time working with alternators and fuel injection systems and camshafts in order to have a valid claim to knowing how to fix cars. Thanks to Wikipedia, message boards, and books by other people just like himself, Mack has Truth, and it’s all so blazingly plain that only bigoted fools could deny it.

Well, one day, you get up and your car won’t start. You pull out the Yellow Pages looking for a mechanic, and lo and behold, you see that Mack has expanded his ministry beyond the Internet. He now has his very own garage, and proudly advertises that despite his verifiable lack of any serious training in fixing cars, he actually does have a superior ability to fix cars. Do you take your car to him? Why not?

Tim Enloe said...

Hmm, the second one seems to have not posted, either. It is just as important because there are two fallacies at work in the apologetics world about "education."

The first fallacy is the "cult of the experts" - if the experts say, it must be true. This fallacy appears in apologetics when, say, apologists argue that this or that Protestant scholar agrees that Peter is the rock, and so on.

The second fallacy is the antithesis of the cult of the experts, "the cult of the amateur." This fallacy in apologetics when, say, apologists argue that they don't really need any training in the relevant disciplines to properly construe and defend the truth.

It's interesting sociologically and psychologically speaking that the apologetics community vacillates between these fallacies, now promoting one, now promoting the other - whatever one supports the particular argument they are trying to make at a given time. Both of these fallacies were born in modern American Protestantism between the middle of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th. Hence, it's very interesting to find RC apologists - most of whom are converts from modern American Protestantism - committing both of them.

Tim Enloe said...

Here's the second comment, the one that chronicles the "cult of the amateur" fallacy:

Vignette 2
Mack has always been just an ordinary guy, content to think whatever his parents and friends think about automobiles. None of them have ever really understood how automobiles work. They just know they stick the key in and push the pedals and go.
However, in his 20s, Mack encounters some formerly like-minded people who have begun to question the “wisdom” of their families and friends and have begun to be interested in the arcane, seemingly deeply intellectual subject of auto mechanics. These people point Mack to Wikipedia articles about alternators and solenoids, and he devours them with reckless zeal. An expert with the Google search engine, Mack hunts down message boards run by like-minded automobile-fixing enthusiasts, and quickly learns by watching their behavior how to vigorously debate subjects such as whether one should leave the positive cable off the battery when getting a jump, how best to situate the jack under a ’93 Chrysler LeBaron when changing a flat tire, and so forth.
(Now, you have to understand that none of the people on the message boards have ever given a jump to someone else or had to get one from someone else, have never changed real alternators on real cars, have never spent hours of backbreaking labor trying to track an electrical short through real engines, and so forth, but these disconnects with the real world are really quite minor to them - they have read all the relevant Internet articles about fixing cars, so they know what they are talking about.)
Mack keeps reading Wikipedia, message boards, and amateur car-enthusiast websites for about 6 months. Each day brings a new revelation to his uncritical mind, soaked in the ignorant traditions of his family and friends. One day he exclaims to his mother, “Mother, please. Until our little family came along with all its novelties, people always fixed automobiles this way. Chrignatius of Chicago wrote a manual on fixing cars only 5 years after the car first came out, and even though I never heard of him or his manual until last week, having read him on the Internet just yesterday, I am now in a place to say that all our traditions are nonsense and we must convert to the One True School of Auto Mechanics! Once I was blind, but now I see!”

[cont]

Tim Enloe said...

Here's the second comment, the one that chronicles the "cult of the amateur" fallacy:

Vignette 2

Mack has always been just an ordinary guy, content to think whatever his parents and friends think about automobiles. None of them have ever really understood how automobiles work. They just know they stick the key in and push the pedals and go.

However, in his 20s, Mack encounters some formerly like-minded people who have begun to question the “wisdom” of their families and friends and have begun to be interested in the arcane, seemingly deeply intellectual subject of auto mechanics. These people point Mack to Wikipedia articles about alternators and solenoids, and he devours them with reckless zeal. An expert with the Google search engine, Mack hunts down message boards run by like-minded automobile-fixing enthusiasts, and quickly learns by watching their behavior how to vigorously debate subjects such as whether one should leave the positive cable off the battery when getting a jump, how best to situate the jack under a ’93 Chrysler LeBaron when changing a flat tire, and so forth.

[cont]y

Tim Enloe said...

[cont]

(Now, you have to understand that none of the people on the message boards have ever given a jump to someone else or had to get one from someone else, have never changed real alternators on real cars, have never spent hours of backbreaking labor trying to track an electrical short through real engines, and so forth, but these disconnects with the real world are really quite minor to them - they have read all the relevant Internet articles about fixing cars, so they know what they are talking about.)

Mack keeps reading Wikipedia, message boards, and amateur car-enthusiast websites for about 6 months. Each day brings a new revelation to his uncritical mind, soaked in the ignorant traditions of his family and friends. One day he exclaims to his mother, “Mother, please. Until our little family came along with all its novelties, people always fixed automobiles this way. Chrignatius of Chicago wrote a manual on fixing cars only 5 years after the car first came out, and even though I never heard of him or his manual until last week, having read him on the Internet just yesterday, I am now in a place to say that all our traditions are nonsense and we must convert to the One True School of Auto Mechanics! Once I was blind, but now I see!”

[cont]

Tim Enloe said...

[cont]

Not content to spread his near-total ignorance of automobiles to his family and friends, Mack starts up his own car-fixing apologetics website, on which he regularly mocks anyone whose views on the subject he can even remotely associate with the views of his family and friends. Other ignorant people flock to his website like moths to the flame, and soon Mack is riding high on a wave of popular approval. Mack expends considerable zeal attacking so-called “professional mechanics” who have been trained in real garages. These people are “arrogant,” he says, to imagine that one actually needs to have spent serious time working with alternators and fuel injection systems and camshafts in order to have a valid claim to knowing how to fix cars. Thanks to Wikipedia, message boards, and books by other people just like himself, Mack has Truth, and it’s all so blazingly plain that only bigoted fools could deny it.

Well, one day, you get up and your car won’t start. You pull out the Yellow Pages looking for a mechanic, and lo and behold, you see that Mack has expanded his ministry beyond the Internet. He now has his very own garage, and proudly advertises that despite his verifiable lack of any serious training in fixing cars, he actually does have a superior ability to fix cars. Do you take your car to him? Why not?

John Bugay said...

Tim, I would have reposted them both together, but I saw that you were doing that, and I didn't want to duplicate your efforts. It looked to me for as if both parts had posted (as well as Scenario 2 as well).

I'll check through my email and repost them, or you can feel free to give it another shot.

My thought is that if you were to try changing some of the verbiage in the post, it might not perceive it as spam coming through. But hey, I don't really know what's happening with Blogger.

Lvka said...

The only problem with your little comparison is that it's totally inaccurate.

A more apt similitude would have been that of 2 equally-trustworthy or equally-believable Schools of Automobiles, with equal membership each (1,000 & 800 million members respectively), and each with its own praiseworthy experts AND silly amateurs...

Tim Enloe said...

I don't follow, Lvka. My vignettes illustrate two opposite, yet related fallacies present in the lay apologetics world - yes, even in the lay Protestant apologetics world.

The first two vignettes show the fallacy of "the cult of the expert" as it has come out in these recent threads where apologists claim it is improper to cite a scholar on point A without also accepting his views on Point B, arrived at by the same method. This criticism betrays a naive understanding of the scholarly task, a naive trust in "method" and "credentials," and a lack of understanding that regardless of what any scholar says, his readers must be equipped to critically analyze what he has said.

The third vignette chronicles the simply verifiable FACT in the lay apologetics community that many set themselves up as "apologists" without ever bothering to do any serious work in prolegomena and without ever doing any serious research for themselves.

Are you sure you understood the point of the vignettes?