Thursday, October 25, 2007

For The Record

Kim Jong Armstrong has declared that I have turned down a debate with him. The reason I am writing this is to make the historical record as clear as possible, just in case the Roman Polit Bureau decides to craft a few whoppers (that's "porkies" for our UK friends) by omitting certain facts from the record.

I learned this today when I ran into this little comment over on Turretin Fan's blog:

I have offered my opponents 90 minutes of time to examine me, to my 60 for asking them questions. White and Swan turned that down. S&S and Bridges and Cory T. appear to have also. TF is still pondering.
So, let's get this straight, shall we, Dave assumed, without any interaction whatsoever from me one way or the other that I had turned down a debate with him.

Where was this challenge posted?

1. On Dave's blog.
2. In this thread.

I don't read, Kim Jong Armstrong's blog. Unlike him, I'm not so self-obsessed that I troll about the internet looking for references to my name so that I can find targets to test fire missiles. In fact, I rarely interact with Kim Jong Armstrong up in the great North, since my interests are more about Southern Baptists, at present in particular.

Note that the thread in which this was posted was a thread about...rain - not Catholicism - rain. Was there something about this thread that attracted nullifidians and Kim Jong Armstrong? Yeah, I know, that's just weird. Also, I don't read every comment stream of everything I write here; sometimes I follow it part way then move on and forget about it. Yeah, I know, weird. You see, I believe in the priesthood of all believers, since I am, after all Baptist, and that means I believe in letting others participate in a discussion on their own. Oh, and, for the record, no, we writers here do not receive messages that somebody has commented on something we've written. We have to fend for ourselves in that regard.

So, I learned about this "challenge" from Kim Jong Armstrong that I had "turned down" in a comment box on another blog; so I had to google for a debate challenge to me, which I then found to be on Kim Jong Armstrong's blog, and then come back here to find where, exactly, he had posted it. Apparently, Kim Jong Armstrong works with all the stealth of the North Korean nuclear program.

Reading the post, the debate is, itself, more about his feeling left out, mocked, etc. than it is about the truth of Scripture, theology, etc. No, the list of resolutions are, for the most part, all about Dave's ego.

By the way, you'd think that Saint and Sinner has enough on his hands too, since he's posting exegetical responses to Dave's book. As I said before, this seems like a diversionary tactic on Dave's part. Let S&S finish his work before that, or is Kim Jong Armstrong upset that the United Reformed Apologetics Security Council won't give him the attention he so desperately craves?

By the way, as you can see the central members are all in the center - clearly the balding guy is James White. (Yeah, Brother James, you know that's you, don't deny it!) Hays is at the head of the table ( I see the Cary Grant resemblance, don't you?) , Swan, Slick, Turk, and Svendsen are the others. I'm in the second circle all the way on the right. As you can see, my hand is not raised. That's me turning down the vote to recognize Kim Jong Armstrong's debate challenges, obviously.

Frankly, I think me debating Dave would be as profitable a use of my time as a US official debating Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. His challenge, in my estimation, bears a striking resemblance to that very challenge.

So, just in case the Armstrong Polit Bureau decides to start with the triumphal cry that I have refused to debate Dave for self-serving reasons - for example that I fear to cross the demilitarized zone because I can't defend my position, here is the exact reply I left for him on TF's blog:
Dave, I don't keep up with your blog or comments that you hide in the comments of other blogs. I come by you when I stumble across you.

I have not received a proper request from you for a debate, so don't go running about telling people I have "refused" to debate you about anything. Notice that this is, what, all of one or two days, and already, according to you I've "refused."

In fact, let's put this in context, the only reason I am aware of your request now is that I saw it here.

It's announcement was not in an email to me (that would be too easy and logical, since my mail is public) but in a link to your blog that you posted one or two days ago, near the end of a comment thread on a prayer request for rain! Since it is presently raining here, I wasn't aware I needed to check it for debate challenges on Catholicism. Sorry,but that tactic earns you an automatic "No," since you lacked the integrity to simply email. You had your chance, and you blew it.

This reply is also here, and not on my blog to make that point. I've placed it where I found the challenge, and it's not in my email box.

Further, you are a chronic liar who says that we want monologues with you. As I recall, you are not banned from posting commentary in any article I have written on Catholicism on Tblog, and, since I've written on you recently, as I look around, I've seen my name show up once on your blog. Again, you had your chance then,and you blew it.

Oh - and since the infallibility of the Pope had not yet been made a de fide object of faith in Rome until the 19th century, what Steve and I have said stands, and, as usual, what you say doesn't begin to touch what we have stated. It suffers from anachronistic reading of texts.

If you would write something less than the long, incoherent, and rambling posts you write - posts that an English professor would grade "C" at best, I might be willing to do a blog debate. I prefer to respond to other articles or, in your case, to your shoddy, incompetent,and anachronistic exegetical work.

I don't use a chat function on my computer-not even for AOL - all chatrooms are blocked-, and I'm not a member of Paltalk, and don't intend to be. I don't even use a soundcard. I also have a real life in the real world, and that includes working as a freelance writer who will be chronically several conferences beginning in November. I also live with terminal illness. I'd rather not waste an over an hour of my already brief life on talking to you. It would be poor stewardship of my time.

I follow the same policy with you that Steve Hays follows, and since the greater luminaries of the debate world aren't debating you, why should I? You're the one that refuses to debate them in public, and then you have all the courage to issue a debate challenge to me near the end of a comment stream on praying for rain. I learned about it here, and then I had to Google that by first googling for a debate challenge from you to me, going to your blog, which I don't read already, and then finding the thread on my blog, not in a thread on the topic of Catholicism, but on a prayer request for rain. Why should I honor that, Dave?

And here's another reason Dave: Titus 3 says to reject the factious man. You are the epitome of that man. You've demonstrated that several times. Further, this isn't about the truth for you Dave, however defined, it's about stroking your own overbloated ego. Frankly, after observing your past behavior as well, such as particular artwork that gets posted from time to time, I'm not willing to debate with a person of such obviously low character either. You've also taken an oath to stop interacting with "anti-Catholics", and yet here you are wanting us to interact with you. I, for one, take the Law on making vows seriously, and I am not going to contribute to your sin before God in violating your word.

But here is something you can do Dave. You can renounce Rome and all her merits. You can cast yourself on Christ and Christ alone, and you can trust in Him and Him only for your eternal salvation.

Also, if one reads the comments @ TF's blog, there are already some problems with agreeing to the debate, and I didn't even have to reply to Dave for them to emerge. Dave is already equivocating. He's moved from "debate" to "informal talk" and he's already begging the question, by calling it an informal discussion "between Christians who seriously differ" - but his suggested topic is actually whether or not it is proper to call Roman Catholics "Christians." So it seems to me that if you accept on his terms at present, you'll have already stipulated to the outcome, since it is about the identity of "Christians." This is just like Brian Fleming's debate challenge. You can debate him - as long as you stipulate to his own conclusions.

Sure, we can stipulate that Catholics can be saved - as I pointed out, I already do that and I've stated those reasons so many times I've lost count, and I can also use a "historical" definition such that just about anybody is a Christian. I've distinguished many times between a saving profession of faith and a credible profession of faith and between types and levels of error. So has Steve Hays. I've even gone so far as to say that one can not believe in justification by faith alone and still be justified by faith. That's for God to decide, but all I have to go by is a credible profession of faith. Sola Fide is not an object of saving faith - Christ alone is, and the issue is whether or not the person is trusting in Christ alone and His sole and sufficient merit or Christ and merit coming from other sources. One of the problems with Rome is that it makes other items de fide such that saving faith is dogmatic faith. This really isn't too much different in principle than Sandemanianism in Protestant circles; there's just more to the content. Maybe that's why Dave crossed the Tiber. I'll cut more slack to the Catholic in the pew than one who constantly promulgates this error, but at some point, I have to draw the line. There is a long and distinguished literature on that subject. KJA could start by reading Francis Turretin or Witsius.

Oh, and one more thing, the reason that the comments here are turned off is quite simple:

1. I'm sure Mahmoud Armstrong, like his counterpart overseas, will have his own little rant on his own blog.

2. I derive a certain pleasure from that sort of thing, rather like Andy Taylor watching Barney Fife implode - you know to see that little vein on his neck pop out, mussed up hair and all.