Thursday, June 08, 2006

For The Record: On Luther's Mariology

"I think that most Protestants are quite capable of understanding Catholic positions - provided they aren't anti-Catholic. James Swan is, so he has a tough time figuring out that we don't think Mary is a goddess, etc., and will often make rather silly and ridiculous statements about our supposed Mariology."

"But we see that James Swan doesn't even agree that I established that Luther believed these things [about Mary]. He insists that Luther later changed his mind, in the face of the consensus of even Lutheran scholarship."
-Musings from a Catholic Apologist

I’m not really sure why (nor do I really care as to the reason), but on his blog, a Catholic apologist is highlighting the discussion he and I had on Luther’s Mariology from a few years back. The two recent quotes above show that he didn't read my old responses very carefully. The first statement neglects that Luther rebelled against the Mariolatry inherent in the medieval church, the second neglects that I dealt, at length, with the majority of his argument about the "consensus" of scholarship.

Now I haven't re-reviewed his "responses" in a while. This guy frequently revises his "responses" so, if he's added anything new, I haven't read it. Also, it should go without saying, that simply because someone offers a "response" doesn't mean they've offered a valid refutation.

Of course, I have my side of the “Luther’s Mariology” fixation as well. These links below are responses:

*Luther's Theology of Mary* This paper was originally written for a class at Westminster Seminary. This paper takes a look at Luther’s understanding of Mary. Some Roman Catholics perpetuate the myth that “Luther was extremely devoted to the Virgin Mary.” While having nice things to say about Mary, Luther’s Mariology is not modern-day Roman Catholic Mariology. Luther’s Mariology stands in direct contrast to the midieval Mariolatry of his day.

*Luther's Theology of Mary: A Response* After a Romanist reviewed my paper Luther’s Theology of Mary, I provided this detailed counter response, which took months to write. If I recall, this Romanist responded in about a week or two (I’m sure he’ll post the dates). His counter-responses to this paper are the reason I don’t take his work with great seriousness. The time and I effort I poured into this paper has not been matched by his “counter-responses.” I have found no compelling arguments in any of his responses. I invite anyone who has read both my work on this subject, and this guy's work on this subject, to prove to me Romanism has an important, valid point on this subject with which I disagree, or have been soundly “refuted” by his work.

*How To Eliminate Blog Readers: Bore Them With Tedium*A short response to a Romanist on the tedium involved with long discussions on Luther's view of the Immaculate Conception.

*“They understood not the saying, which he spake unto them.”*This is a selection from Luther from a sermon in which Luther makes some claims about the imperfection of Mary.

*Luther, and Mary...One More Time.*A short response to Romanists on Luther's Mariology, and a plea for them to use ad fontes evidence in his Luther research.

*Ad Fontes: To The Sources *A plea to Romanists to use ad fontes evidence in their Luther and Reformation research.

Very recently, a Roman Catholic said to me, “IMHO [this guy] intellectually evicerates [sic] James in a dialogue about the leader of the Protestant revolution. No offence James. By the way James, did you post his rebuttle[sic] to you on your blog for your readers to view?” I think I shocked him when I informed him that I try to link all of the “responses” on this blog. For instance, "Be Nice To Catholic Apologists" Thursday links to many of Romanist responses. I have also linked to other writings as well.

I’m really not scared of Romanist papers or responses. I say go ahead, read them all. My challenge though is for people to read my material as well. Rarely does this happen. I come across this type of sentiment from time to time: "Hey look at this link about this Swan guy." Usually when they do this, it’s an indication they aren’t able to deal with what I’ve written, so rather than do some work, it’s much easier to link to someone who has done “something” and hope that the tactic of poisoning the well against me has worked. My question is usually, “Ok, which point 'eviscerates' my work?" 9 out 10 times, they haven’t got a clue.

Most people don't want to take the time to read both sides- this isn't just bashing Catholics- Protestants do this as well. We all are emotionally attached to our presuppositions, and we love when our heroes bash down “the infidels.” We enjoy watching "our guy" argue against the position we emotionally dislike. My gut feeling is that 90% of what we like to read is based on what we agree with emotionally- and no amount of logic or fact will change our likes or dislikes. This has come quite clear to me in my recent dialog with Art Sippo. Sippo says all sorts of inane things, and so far, the surrounding Catholics will not step out of the box and say, “Hey Art, you’ve said some really silly illogical things.” Of course, it’s peer pressure- doing something like that takes guts. We all cower at times. I really find it hard to believe the Roman Catholics in the discussion board that hosts Dr. Sippo’s comments are that simplistic in their thinking, that they can’t tell the emperor he’s got no clothes on.