Thursday, November 07, 2013

Comparing Dr. Sippo to Dr. White?

From the CARM forums:

Quote Originally Posted by 2timone7 View Post
Art is a friend of mine and no fool. Moreover, Alpha and Omega Ministries is not an unbiased source when it comes to Art Sippo. They, and Sippo, go after each other with tongs and gusto.....on both sides.
Quote Originally Posted by 2timone7 View Post
I spent many years debating Art on-line back when I was of the Protestant persuasion. He can certainly be abraisive, although not much more so than James White and the other folks at A & O Ministries.
A few years ago (2006!) on Patrick Madrid's Envoy Forums I engaged Dr. Sippo on Luther, Luther biographies, and psychology. A good summary of the discussion can be found here: Using Psychohistory To Interpret Luther (A Response To Catholic Apologist Art Sippo. In order to respond to Dr. Sippo, I had to read his posts before the Roman Catholic moderators did. They would frequently edit Dr. Sippo's posts (to relieve them of vitriol), but never ban him from posting. I violated no forum rules, but I was eventually banned from Madrid's forum, and all of my posts deleted. Mr. Madrid actually set up a filter on the Envoy Forums that would stop any posts from from posting. Over the years I've found the behavior of many of Rome's defenders to be abominable, both those who claim to be "professional" apologists, and those who do not.

Some of you know that I do post on Dr. White's blog. There is a huge gulf that separates the Internet behavior of Dr. White and people like Dr. Sippo and Mr. Madrid. I'm not exactly sure which "folks" from aomin "2timone7" considers to be "not much more" abrasive than Dr. Sippo. I certainly require documentation. When it comes to ethical Internet behavior, I have no respect for either Dr. Sippo or Mr. Madrid. Dr. Sippo began calling me a "Nazi" and various other names. I've kept up with Dr. Sippo's rants from time to time with The Quotable Sippo Series. I defy anyone to make a list of similar statements from anyone at

On the other hand, to be fair, I abhor some of the ways people dialog here at CARM. Particularly displeasing to me is anyone who claims to be "Reformed" and posts insulting comments directed at Roman Catholics. I hold Reformed people to a much higher standard. Certainly I haven't been perfect on the Internet. I've lost my temper. I've written things that were uncharitable. But the older I get, the more I realize that being "Reformed" means grace, mercy, humility, all provoked by God's holiness. Yes, Romanism is wrong, and those who defend Romanism are defending another gospel. But some of you appear to post like you're fans of pro-wrestling. I challenge my Reformed brothers and sisters to be offensive because of the Gospel rather than being offensive because.. you're just being offensive!

In regard to my interactions with Dr. Sippo on the Envoy Forums, the bulk of the conversation has been preserved on my blog:

I. On Dialoging With Catholic apologist Art Sippo on Luther Scholarship

II. Catholic Apologist Art Sippo on Father O’Hare’s “Facts About Luther”

III. Catholic Apologist Art Sippo on Luther Scholarship and Research (Part 1)

IV. Art Sippo on Catholic Historians Grisar and Denifle and Luther’s Demon Possession (part 2)

V. Using Psychohistory To Interpret Luther (A Response To Catholic Apologist Art Sippo (part3)

VI. Catholic Apologist Art Sippo Takes The Time To Thank Me For My Luther Research

VII. Luther Between God and the Devil: Catholic Apologist Art Sippo on Heiko Oberman

VIII. Catholic Apologist Art Sippo on Roland Bainton's "Here I Stand"

IX. Catholic Apologist Art Sippo on Richard Marius 

X. Catholic Apologist Art Sippo on Catholic Historian Joseph Lortz

XI. A Last Look At Catholic Apologist Art's Sippo's View Of Luther Biographies

XII. Art Sippo on Luther Biographies Revisited: Marius on Denifle 

XIII. Sippo vs Lortz Revisted: Cardinal Ratzinger help Dr. Sippo understand Joseph Lortz

XIV. Sippo, Lortz, Ratzinger, and Luther

Update 11/10/2013

Quote Originally Posted by 2timone7 View Post
I spent considerable time posting on Pat Madrid's Envoy forums and remember many such debates. You are absolutely correct that Art's postings were often edited by the moderator (Patti) because they went overboard. However, there were certainly Protestant posters who went overboard as well and I think that Patti was actually very even-handed in removing vitriol from both Catholic and Protestant posts.
Certainly people on both sides go overboard. Patti though was not "very even-handed. " Patti and Madrid would flat out ban non-Roman Catholics while allowing Dr. Sippo to remain for far worse comments.

Quote Originally Posted by 2timone7 View Post
It was also very clear that Art Sippo and James White were/are, to be understated, not great fans of the other person or his apologetics. I don't think that James White posted often at Envoy (unless he did so under a screen name that was not obvious), but certainly many of his supporters did.
To my knowledge, Dr. White never posted on Envoy, nor does he typically post on discussion forums. I still challenge you to produce comments from Dr. White anywhere near the vitriol put forth by Dr. Sippo.

Quote Originally Posted by 2timone7 View Post
That's also about the time period that I learned about your work, James, and Beggars All. I can't honestly say that I agree with you real often, but I do believe that you go to great lengths to honestly research Luther's writings, provide source materials, and to confirm/refute what people say about Luther. That is a worthwhile effort and I commend you for doing it.
Thanks for the kind words. Once again though, I would caution you to be careful with defending Dr. Sippo by comparing him to Dr. White. There simply isn't any comparison. I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but Dr. Sippo actually debated Dr. White in person. As Dr. White recalls, Sippo gave his opening presentation. Then, Dr. White got up to give his opening statement. Dr. Sippo then left the room and went for a coke. From Dr. White's blog:

Finally, someone asked Art Sippo if he had, in fact, left our debate during my presentation. He says he did not. I say he did. I say he used the restroom and got himself a Coke as well. And it seems that is how Madrid recalled it as well, for he wrote back on May 26th on his blog,

Item: Another way Sippo didn’t follow debate etiquette was by leaving the dais and going to the bathroom . . . during one of White’s periods to speak.
Item: As moderator, I could have done a more rigorous job of corralling Sippo, such as not letting him go to the bathroom during White’s remarks, but then, human physiology is what it is, and when the body imposes certain demands, one sometimes must accede to them, no matter what may be happening. Let he who is without physiological demands cast the first stone.

Earlier Madrid had confirmed Sippo’s sitting upon his desk swinging his legs, and he dismissed this as merely representative of “how Art was feeling that day.” So, if I produced a Glock and dispatched my opponent, I could dismiss this as simply being representative of how I was “feeling” that day? Odd, I doubt I’d get away with that. Anyway, let me add another incident from the debate. During the very rigid cross-examination we stood behind podiums that were placed in front of our desks (which is why Sippo could step back and sit on his desk and swing his legs and make faces and gestures to the audience). At one point he asked a question that had as its basis a number of false presuppositions, which I pointed out. When it came time for him to respond, he came back to the podium and began, “Well, of course, no Protestant can answer that question anyway…” and went on to comment without even bothering to respond to what I had actually said. This was his attitude throughout. Now, what would fit with this kind of behavior—my recollection of Sippo’s trip to the Coke machine (the door was to my right…I can remember hearing the Coke machine sound as the can came tumbling down) or his claim to have been intently listening to a presentation for which he hasn’t the first shred of respect and refers to dismissively all the time as the mere rantings of a “prot”? And as to just “having” to go, somehow I have managed to take care of the needs of nature so that I did not have to miss a word any of my opponents have ever said in fifty six debates so far. I’d think Sippo, an M.D., would be able to do the same thing.


Quote Originally Posted by 2timone7 View Post
Everybody has their perspective, but I have to disagree with you here. As a Protestant posting at Envoy, I saw very many of my posts edited by Patti when I went overboard and got too personal or too inflammatory. I also saw plenty of Art's posts edited for the same reasons (his posts probably more often that mine--lol). I saw this with respect to other posters of various religious affiliations. You may argue that it was a good idea or a bad idea for Patti to moderate the forum in that fashion (there are valid arguments both ways), but she was certainly even-handed in how she went about doing that.
The difference between your recollection and mine is that Dr. Sippo was simply edited. I was banned, and broke no rules, at all. Other than having some links removed, my posts were never edited by Patti (to my recollection) because I strove to abide by the rules. I know of other people as well that were simply banned, while Dr. Sippo was allowed to continue his insulting tirades.

Quote Originally Posted by 2timone7 View Post
I remember one time when I said that I was working on posting a short piece on the faith/works debate and especially how I saw James fitting into that debate and, ahead of time, Patti encouraged me to post what I believed and assured me that she would be watching to see that comments from some of the more assertive Catholic posters remained civil and charitable. I have much respect for how Patti moderated that forum and I truly miss being able to discuss things there.
I have a track record of attempting to abide by rules on whichever forum I'm participating on. Why do you think Patti and Madrid banned me from Envoy, but never edited one of my posts? Why do you think these words from Dr. Sippo were not edited by Patti on the Envoy forums?

“First of all, I support the ban on Mr. Swan. He is arrogant and no friend of the truth. he acted quite poorly on this board and has some nerve complaining about my "vitriol." His idea of a "Catholic theologian with a positive assessment of Luther" was Fr. Josef Lortz, who had been a card carrying Nazi before and during WWII. Fr. Lortz was a big fan of Hitler's book Mein Kampf and saw the Third Reich as a chance to get the Church "back on track" with its historical agenda which had been derailed by all those Roman policies since the 13th Century.”
I'll tell you exactly why I was booted: it's because the folks over at Envoy back then could not tolerate cogent counter-arguments. After my friend Algo posted some materials based on Dr. White's argumentation demonstrating the futility of the Roman Catholic worldview, he was booted and the forum ceased being a public forum for a while.

I run into the same problem with Catholic Answers. They've been looking for a reason to ban me for years, but I keep a low profile, and abide by their rules. I've gotten a number of infractions. One time for alerting the moderators that a Roman Catholic was using abusive hurtful language. I made alerts on around 3 posts, and then I was chastised fur allegedly abusing the alert system. My last infraction was for using the terms "Roman church" and "joining Rome." How silly is that?

As I stated to you previously, I think some Protestant folks here on CARM are disrespectful, and if I were still a CARM moderator, I wouldn't tolerate it. On the other hand, the folks in control here at CARM are not petrified of counter arguments like Envoy & Catholic Answers. Kudos to CARM for allowing people to truly interact on the subject of Rome. You see, when people have the truth, they need not fear counter arguments. You're part of a religion now that often fears to have arguments scrutinized.


EA said...

"There is a huge gulf that separates the Internet behavior of Dr. White and people like Dr. Sippo and Mr. Madrid. I'm not exactly sure which "folks" from aomin "2timone7" considers to be "not much more" abrasive than Dr. Sippo. I certainly require documentation. When it comes to ethical Internet behavior, I have no respect for either Dr. Sippo or Mr. Madrid."

It seems to me that Catholics in general take very personally any apologetic or argumentation against their denomination. So they tend to react emotionally and consequently perceive people opposed to Catholicism as being 'mean'. So to Catholics Dr. White is mean because he opposes the Church of Rome.

explorer said...

I just saw a comment on a Youtube video the other day. The subject I think was RC inquisition or child abuse.

One commenter said something like: "The RCC killed lots of Protestants".
An RC replied: "Whats wrong with that? Protestants are just wrong".
No one corrected the RC commenter.

I get the feeling that if a Protestant said that there is nothing wrong with killing RCs, a flood of RCs would be correcting him.

Algo said...

James, I still have my :

"I Was Called An Anti-Catholic-Bigot By Art Sippo". T-Shirt.
I still can''t believe how "Speak Your Mind" Forum Operated.
Good Old Patti-Scissor-Hands Editing Art's Trash-Talk ASAP.

explorer said...

Didnt someone on Planet Envoy insult someone's parents by saying that person is "an ignorant bigot who has no academic credentials ..... raised by bigots to be a bigot"?

Algo said...

Yes Explorer,
Dr. Sippo posted the following:

"Mr. White is an ignorant bigot who has no academic credentials. He was raised by bigots to be a bigot and would parade around in a white sheet burning crosses on people’s lawns if there was any money in it. In a strange bizarro parody of Christian discipleship, he hates his enemies and does bad things to people whom he doesn’t like. He also is a big whopping LIAR and likes to slander anyone who has the temerity not to kowtow to him. He is known affectionately as Pseudopodeo by those who know him best."