Saturday, November 26, 2011

Why Have a Blog?

Do you have a blog?

According to this website, in 2008 there were 184 million blogs.  Have you ever thought honestly about why you have a blog? Is your blog a hobby, or just a fun and frivolous endeavour? Is it something you take seriously as your "ministry"? Do you think you have theological, apologetic, or personal insights the world needs to hear?

Here's a recent comment posted to this blog that provoked me to post my answer to my own question:
"I'm concerned at the number of re-posting old posts going on lately, as if there is nothing new to write about. To me, posts like these don't help either side because they're based on opinion rather than fact."
-snip-
"I want to see some posts where you personally have defended or demonstrated the truth of Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Soteriology, Ecclesiology, Sacrametns, etc. Just posting quotes about what Luther said or what this or that Catholic apologist said isn't the same as making a theological argument and defending it."
I started this blog late December 2005. I did so because I had spent the previous five years or so interacting with people on discussion boards. I started out on various boards discussing and defending Reformed theology. Then I became interested in interacting with the claims of Roman Catholicism. It wasn't too long before I noticed Roman Catholics negatively citing Luther or Calvin as part of their argumentation. I can actually recall the very first Roman Catholic-cited Martin Luther quote I looked up. I had exactly one volume of Luther's Works. I was amazed at what was cited and what was actually said. From there, I became intrigued about the contexts of the outrageous Reformation quotes Roman Catholics were so freely dishing out.

I discovered quite quickly that the contexts and historical explanations for the outrageous Reformation quotes weren't always so easy to come by. Once I began tracking down the pertinent information and posting it in dialog, the discussions changed. It became fairly easy to shut down someone defending Romanism in regard to Reformation history. I discovered that more often than not, Rome's cyber-zealots hadn't even read the actual contexts of the quotes they were citing.

Probably some of you have had the very same experience I've had: you've spent hours composing a response or a discussion post, only to have it eventually disappear. Or, you've written something on a discussion board, and then months later you couldn't find it. That's enough to provoke anyone to start a blog. That's a condensed version of what happened to me. I originally simply wanted  somewhere to keep the information I had been compiling which I could link to quickly.

I entitled the blog "Beggars All Reformation and Apologetics" because the emphasis of the blog was (and still is) on Reformation research. As far as I can tell, there aren't that many blogs out there that do what I do. So when someone says "Just posting quotes about what Luther said or what this or that Catholic apologist said isn't the same as making a theological argument and defending it" they've apparently missed exactly why I "do" this blog. I haven't limited myself to looking up Luther quotes, but I certainly have focused on it. Rome's apologists have provided enough material to keep me busy for years if I so choose.

As I surf through cyber-space there are a multitude of people (both Protestant and Roman Catholic) offering their opinions on "Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Soteriology, Ecclesiology, Sacraments". In fact, it's a cacophony of voices. I choose (usually) to not be one of those voices. I'm enjoying doing something a lot less popular.

11 comments:

Marcus McElhaney said...

Dear James Swan,

I have learned so much from your blog. From you and Ken. This is awesome and I think as many people as possible need to read these posts.

RPV said...

Go James.

One of the things that struck me upon leaving Rome and becoming/joining a Protestant church, even a P&R one (OK maybe the PCA isn't too reformed) was the ignorance of many P&R as to what Rome was really up to.

It was not for nothing that Wm. Cunningham called it the masterpiece of Satan. Rome is set up to appeal to and exacerbate the natural sinful tendencies of the human heart.

Ergo the insidious lies, rumours and gossip that surround the truth, be it concerning the lives of the reformers, if not the gospel itself.

And of course we don't like being reminded of all the egregious propaganda Rome has been responsible for in the past. What else would we expect. It does make it harder for all the door to door internet salesman to get to first base with the customer and that's a good thing.

IOW to paraphrase that great theologian Dr. Seuss(?), Go cat, go.

Matt said...

RPV,

Let's be careful about knocking down Rome because some Roman Catholics quote people incorrectly. I think that James Swan would agree that you could also have a website dedicated to Protestants who misquote Roman Catholics as well.

Anyway, thanks for a website which I hope makes Catholics more careful about how they quote Martin Luther, et al.

Pax,
Matt

Constantine said...

James,

Thanks for all your work these past six years. I am grateful for your dedication and the fact that you have endured. You have provided much information that has been very, very helpful. Your specialization in all things Luther is unique and much appreciated.

Peace

Martin Yee said...

Thanks you for this great blog. Learned loads from you. Keep up the good work.

Martin Yee
Singapore

James Swan said...

Thank you all for your comments.

I have learned so much from your blog. From you and Ken.

Likewise, I've learned from Ken as well.

One of the things that struck me upon leaving Rome and becoming/joining a Protestant church, even a P&R one (OK maybe the PCA isn't too reformed) was the ignorance of many P&R as to what Rome was really up to.

The "really up to" is a tough thing to define. If forced to pick one thing, for me, the Roman goal appears to be something similar to the Borg from Star Trek: you will be assimilated. Rome's already an ecumenical force. She would like you to be thoroughly Roman, but will settle for cordial and ecumenical. Within current serious Roman Catholic Luther scholarship, there is a tendency to ecumenical blurring. For instance, in Franz Posset's new book (which is the best book on Luther I've read in a long time), he says the 1999 Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification promoted Christian unity between Lutherans and Catholics who together confess salvation is "By grace alone, in faith in Christ's saving work and not because of any merit on our part." This is not the same thing as saying "justification by grace alone through faith alone".

With Rome's apologists, they would like you to embrace the alleged full truth of Romanism, but will embrace you as a fellow believer despite your not being smart enough to go all the way into Romanism. As it relates to Luther, a Roman apologist will take quotes from Luther about Mary and say, "See, even your Protestant founder" believed what we do. Why won't you?" On the other hand, where Luther utterly rejects something distinctly Roman, many Roman apologists throughout the years have argued against Luther the person: he had psychological problems or was blatantly antinomian.

Let's be careful about knocking down Rome because some Roman Catholics quote people incorrectly. I think that James Swan would agree that you could also have a website dedicated to Protestants who misquote Roman Catholics as well.

Indeed.

Carrie said...

I want to see some posts where you personally have defended or demonstrated the truth of Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Soteriology, Ecclesiology, Sacrametns, etc.

Are you taking requests now?

:)

Algo said...

James,
I have enjoyed learning from you through this blog since you first began it. In fact before you began blogging I remember reading your work posted on NTRmin.org. Rarely a week goes by where I don't look up something archived here. You have done us a great service.

RPV said...

Let's be careful about knocking down Rome because some Roman Catholics quote people incorrectly.

I'm sorry, I don't get your point, Matt.

I knock Rome because it doesn't get the gospel straight, as well that it lies about people.

Do some protestants lie about Rome or Romanists? Well, I'm sure you can find anything if you look, but what I am talking about is the rule versus the exception.

Much more, the spirit of Rome is one of deceit and guile, if not ignorance, willful or otherwise. And the more accomplished an apologist one is for the same, means partaking of what necessarily accompanies it. (I could point out examples close to home but,...anyway, see below.).

I know that's not considered nice but it hardly bothered Paul for example in Gal. 1:8,9. Is it supposed to bother us? I respectfully don't think so.

Bob S.

Rhology said...

Critics of James should be careful to distinguish between what he writes and what lesser lights, like me, write.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"I discovered that more often than not, Rome's cyber-zealots hadn't even read the actual contexts of the quotes they were citing."

Wow!