Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Another open letter to Dave Armstrong

I'm dying to know if I must now be classed as an apostate because I wasn't an emotive, superficial, anti-intellectual ignoramus as an evangelical (first three words your own descriptions). Does this not prove deliberate rejection of Gospel Truth, as James White maintains?

In Him,

Dave Armstrong


Well, Dave, I’m just dying to answer your question, but when I asked the Archangel Michael about your prospects last Saturday night over a glass of beer down at WallyGators, he swore me to silence, forewarning me that this was privileged information which he would only divulge on condition that I kept mum about your eternal perdition…uh…I mean…destiny. So you can’t expect me to burn my celestial sources. Otherwise I’d lose all my best contacts.

Moreover, to leak classified information about the secret decree would result in my demotion from the seventh sphere to the fourth. As a student of Dante, I’m sure you appreciate what’s at stake.

But I promise to put in a good word for you the next time I see Beatrice.


  1. He asked my question. Am I getting this right -- he is insisting that he knew the Gospel, and now has turned his back on it for Rome, knowingly and deliberately?

    I'm wondering: if that is not apostasy, what would be? Or what am I missing? Sincerely?

    Do we have different estimates of the Gospel? or of Rome? or of apostasy?

  2. Hi Steve,

    In the position you are in, it was wise to use evasive humor. If you continue to admit that I may still (possibly) be in a state of grace and refuse to apply the word "apostate" (and all the unsavory aspects that conjures up) to me, then you have to deal with your less charitable mates like DJP and no doubt many other fans of yours who think like he does.

    If you change your mind, then I believe you will have to struggle with a great deal of cognitive dissonance and explain how an apostate unregenerate person can write all the stuff that I write, much of which even you would agree with, including, e.g., my strong defenses of the Bible just last night in responding to Ed Babinski on the "last days" / false prophecy issue.

    So either way, you'd be in the hot seat, now that your mythical scenario of my allaged former blissful ignorance and superficiality was shown to be precisely that: blissfully ignorant and superficial.

    I don't fit into the category you thought I was in. And I know that gives you pause, because you are a thoughtful person, and know better than to make the silly quick judgments of folks like djp (who couldn't even comprehend my half-jesting reply) and travis, etc.

    You may not admit this publicly, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist . . . even this little crack of sorts gives me hope that you can reason your way out of the morass of self-defeating anti-Catholicism some time in the not-too-distant future.

  3. Dave,

    If you believe in the Mass, Mariology, the veneration of saints, indulgences, etc. then you are an apostate and not in a state of grace. I don't say that lightly, or with a cavalier attitude, it is a grave matter and I say it with proper solemnity. You preach another gospel and have departed from Christ. I say it bluntly in order to speak the truth and for the sake of your never dying soul. You can defend various Christian doctrines, and you may be an intelligent apologist as far as it goes, but that is no proof that you are saved and in a right relationship with God. There are many examples of self-deceived men who can talk up theology with the best of them. I will admit that there may be Roman Catholics who don't believe much of what the RC church teaches and don't know any better, who nonetheless trust in the Lord and are true believers. However, that is the exception not the rule. If you knowingling hold to and believe what the Pope teaches as dogma, you are an idolater and lost. You can offer all the sophistry you want in response, but please seriously consider what I say (although I know you've heard it all before).

    Also, may I say the term "anti-Catholic" is pejorative and inappropriate, we are against error. Would you like me to refer to you as "anti-Protestant" in the same manner?

  4. If all this is self-evident, then why doesn't Steve get it? Is he so dense he can't see that I am a wicked apostate who (by your -- false -- definitions and utterly incoherent reasoning) denies the gospel and can't possibly have grace? What's wrong with him, anyway?

    >>>Also, may I say the term "anti-Catholic" is pejorative and inappropriate, we are against error.

    This is sheer nonsense. The term has a long scholarly pedigree, and is standard usage among Protestant scholars: historians, sociologists, etc. Oftentimes it means political or know-nothing type groups (the historical movement of the 19th century) but it is not restricted to that meaning. It also has a theological application. I've argued this probably 15 times now, but here is the paper you would want to check out:

    Use of the Term Anti-Catholic in Protestant and Secular Scholarly Works of History and Sociology (Dave Armstrong vs. "Romans 45")

    >>>Would you like me to refer to you as "anti-Protestant" in the same manner?

    It doesn't fit, because I don't deny that you are what you are: Christians, and I have a great admiration for Protestants. I simply disagree with some of your doctrines. I condemn anti-Protestantism and anti-Catholicism with equal vigor. In fact, just last night I went after anti-Protestantism in a Catholic forum.

    I am anti-abortion and anti-Mormon, anti-terrorist, anti-homosexual "marriage", etc. Those are proper uses.

    The double standard resides on your side, as I have noted numerous times. James White, e.g., objects to "anti-Catholic" while at the same time he habitually uses the terms "anti-Calvinist" and "anti-Reformed". See:

    James White's Use of "Anti" Terms & More "Tired" Rhetoric and Anti-Catholic Terminological and Ethical Double Standards

    James White Outdoes All With His "Anti" Language

    Eric Svendsen does the exact same thing:

    Eric Svendsen's & Other Anti-Catholics' Inconsistent Use of Anti-Evangelical as a Description of Catholics

    More Examples of Eric Svendsen's Hypocritical Double Standards for "Anti" Language

    So that and Steve's incoherencies (per your reasoning that I am damned) are where your critiques ought to go. I am perfectly consistent in my beliefs and my use of language.

    Nor do Catholics deny the "gospel" as biblically defined in the least. But that would be a theological discussion, which I don't do with anti-Catholics anymore because it is a complete waste of time, and St. Paul urges strongly against vain and stupid controversies and discussions.

  5. The gospel biblically defined is stated succinctly in 1 Cor. 15:3-8, as opposed to that which Tim Staples said the gospel was in his debate with James White, "the gospel is all that the Catholic church teaches about God".
    And Steve does get it, read his latest post. If you don't deny that Protestants are not Christians from your theological perspective, what does that say about your gospel? Apparently then the Mass, penance, etc. are not necessary unto salvation. I guess all those anathamas were suggestive rather than authoritative. You can defend the term "anti-Catholic" if you want, but I don't generally label those who oppose my doctrinal distinctives as "anti-Protestants". And as far as I know the apostle Paul defended the biblical gospel and didn't think such a defense was a stupid or vain controversy or discussion...