Apparently, Momma's Boy, didn't like what was said, so instead of manning up, he decided to run from the playground and take is marbles with him. Instead of not moderating comments, he decided to moderate them. This looks suspiciously like either Dr. Beckwith or his administrators do moderate comments and do disapprove comments, despite the disclaimer.
So, for the benefit of others, I'll comment here. Dr. Beckwith is more than welcome to at least attempt a reply.
Apparently, Dr. Beckwith, you and I are reading two different reviews. For example, you write:
I do not believe that this review is the consequence of reading the book very carefully. In one place, for example, the reviewer confuses Protestantism with comments I made at a Boston College conference about anti-creedal Protestantism.
Really? This is what Steve actually wrote:
Apparently, Dr. Beckwith is unaware that these statements he made at Boston College, which he recycles by repeating them in his book are also popular objections to Protestantism qua Protestantism (not mere "anti-confessional/creedal Protestantism). That's the problem here. The problem with Dr. Beckwith's evaluation of Steve's statements is that, ironically, while critiquing Steve, he misrepresents what Steve actually wrote. This is but one of several problems with his (hasty) commentary.
The first thing I note is that he merely recycles the stock arguments for Catholicism, as if no Protestant had ever heard of these before, much less answered them. Likewise, he recycles the hackneyed objections to Protestantism, as if this would leave us speechless. It’s all rather childish.
“In a nutshell, I argued that Protestants who don’t believe creeds are necessary—those who says things like ‘no creed but Christ’—do in fact accept creeds in the sense that they embrace fundamental doctrines that they believer are unassailable” (76).
Beckwith states this trite little truism as if he’d discovered some hitherto unknown and irrefutable objection to the Protestant faith. But, course, many Protestants are confessional Protestants of one kind or another, viz. Calvinists, Lutherans, &c.
Perhaps there’s some storefront church in Chicago where his objection would trigger an epiphany on the part of the listener, but for the rest of us, it’s rather like a Tibetan tourist in America who just discovered McDonald’s. This may be something new and amazing to him, but it’s no revelation to the natives.
What makes Beckwith think he came up with an explosive objection to the Protestant faith when he unfurls this utterly commonplace observation? My best guess is that this simply reflects the superficiality of his own evangelical dossier.
“Moreover, much of what these anti-creedal Protestants believe about Christ, the Trinity, the nature of scripture, and so forth are not easily derived form a reading of the Bible or mere appeal to the words of Christ” (76).
That’s another stock objection to the Protestant faith. At one level it’s difficult to respond to, not because it’s inherently difficult to respond to, but because it’s difficult to know who he has in mind. Who has he been reading all these years? More to the point, who has he not been reading all these years? It seems to be an expression of his own provincial ignorance. The evangelical literature on these topics is abundant. It’s hard to know where to start with someone like Beckwith, because I don’t know when he came on board. How much remedial education does he need?
Indeed, I can add another misrepresentation of another source, McGrath. Dr. Beckwith writes:
“The idea, that the Reformation’s view of forensic justification as a virtual theological innovation, is put forth even more strongly by none other than the great theologian and Oxford professor, Alister McGrath” (84).
What does McGrath actually write?
First, this is the quote from McGrath, proper:
"A fundamental discontinuity was introduced into the western theological tradition where none had ever existed, or ever been contemplated, before. The Reformation understanding of the nature of justification as opposed to its mode must therefore be regarded as a genuine theological novum." (Alister McGrath - Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification. Vol. I. .....Pg. 186)"
Here's some of the rest of what McGrath says:
"The pre-Augustinian theological tradition, however, may be regarded as having taken a highly questionable path in its articulation of the doctrine of justification in the face of pagan opposition"[ibid. 18-19]. McGrath mentions that "
For the first three hundred and fifty years of the history of the church, her teaching on justification was inchoate and ill-defined"[ Ibid. 23].
The Council of Trent was faced with a group of formidable problems as it assembled to debate the question of justification in June 1546. The medieval period had witnessed the emergence of a number of quite distinct schools of thought on justification, clearly incompatible at points, all of which could lay claim to represent the teaching of the Catholic church." [Ibid, 259]
there was considerable disagreement in the immediate post-Tridentine period concerning the precise interpretation of the decretum de iustificatione" [ibid. 268]. Put another way, even at that time, Catholics were uncertain about how to interpret the decree.
Indeed, regarding the whole idea that the Protestant conception of justification has no ecclesiastical predecessors (which Steve directly quotes Beckwith as having written), McGrath writes the polar opposite, even telling us that a good case can be made that Augustine misunderstood the Bible itself because, "
"The term iustificare is, or course, post-classical, having been introduced through the Latin translation of the bible, and thus restricted to Christian writers of the Latin west. Augustine was thus unable to turn to classical authors in an effort to clarrify its meraning, and was thus obliged to interpret the term himself. His establishment of a relationship between iustificare and iustitia is of enormous significance, as will become clear." (McGrath, 31)
So, once again, Dr. Beckwith is either citing his sources carelessly or selectively (and thereby misrepresenting them to his audience) and/or recycling this use of McGrath by Roman Catholic popularizers like Robert Sungenis and even Dave Armstrong, something a number of folks have long ago documented. Search, for example, James Swan's blog.
Dr. Beckwith would do well to actually interact with his critics now instead of (hastily) reacting to them. Does he do that? Judging by the quickness with which he closed the comments down on his blog and chose to tell us that some people cannot behave like grown-ups, the answer must be "No." Indeed, he mirror reads yet again, by labeling his critic(s). Grown-ups who write books don't run away from comments and corrections left on their blogs. Indeed, that is, in my opinion, dishonest. Let the readers decide if somebody has been childish. After all, if your cause is good, right, and true, and your critics aren't behaving like grown-ups, then just let them do damage to their own position. We certainly do around these parts, as the comboxes here will certainly demonstrate. Interact with your critics, don't react to them.
Dr. Beckwith, you chose to write this book, and you chose to react to Steve's review. We've interacted with your commentary more than once now, and you can't seem to muster the fortitude to even publish a single comment on your own blog when offered in good faith. I urge now a third time to interact with Steve's review, not merely react to it. As it stands now, you have given me (and I should think other readers) no reason not to agree with Steve's comment that your scholarship appears to be a bit hastily, overlooking the obvious objections.