Monday, February 15, 2010

Roman bubble wrap

I looked over Scott Windsor’s latest pseudoresponse to me. 9/10ths of what he says is repetitious bubble wrap. It’s one of those situations where a disputant feels the need to say something even if he has nothing to say, to avoid the appearance of having no comeback–when, in fact, he has no real comeback.

I’ll just quote the few things that have any semblance of substance.

“And Steve Hays isn't a Dr. Francis Beckwith or Dr. Robert Bellarmine, but he certainly is polemical. We, as Christians, should strive to be less insulting and/or polemical in our apologetics and try to be more in the spirit of 1 Peter 3:15-17.”

St. Peter wasn’t so charitable in his dealings with Simon Magus. And my remarks pale in comparison to what Leo X said about Luther and other Protestants in Exurge Domine.

“With all due respect, I disagree that it is hyperbolic. Why does Mr. Hays seem to be arguing for a lesser meaning to Jesus' words here?”

That’s why I reference R. T. France’s commentary.

“Regardless, the point is that not every word of Scripture needs an in-depth interpretation – ‘thou shalt not kill" still means ‘do not murder.’”

Actually, that’s a good example of a text that calls for interpretation–as anyone would know who’s had to debate a pacifist of opponent of the death penalty.

However, we appreciate Windsor’s confidence in the perspicuity of Scripture. How very Protestant of him!

“Mr. Hays missed the point - interpretation is not part of Scripture. The interpretation is extra scriptura - and thus if sola scriptura is the rule of faith - then this interpretation is outside the rule.”

A correct interpretation coincides with the meaning of Scripture. Therefore, that’s not extrascriptural.

“Mr. Hays is essentially conceding my point and then attempting to establish that my point is not necessary for "sola" scriptura.”

Windsor is too incompetent to know basic forms of argument. A conditional form of argument (“Even if such-and-such were those-and-so…”) is not a concession. Rather, it demonstrates the weakness of the objection. Hypothetically speaking, even if the objection were sound, it would fail to disprove the position it opposes.

This is not a concession to the actual soundness of the objection. Rather, it exposes the inadequacy of the objection–even if (ad arguendo) it were sound.

“Again, I understand Mr. Hays need to spin this and put the onus back upon me, but my position is in the negative - MY position is that sola scriptura is NOT TAUGHT IN SCRIPTURE. Thus, no matter how much he would like to ‘wiggle’ and turn this back to me, the onus truly lies with the person holding the positive in debate. ”

His position is just as much of a claim as the counterclaim. So he has an equal burden of proof. A denial is still a claim. Simply an opposing claim. Affirmations and denials are on a par.

“Again Mr. Hays changes the subject. The BIPM is not merely a ruler, it is a set of rules regarding measurement. The BIPM defines precisely what it is - an international standard. ”

And the set of rules is distinct from the commission which issued the rules. But that doesn’t render the rules self-refuting.

“If something must be added, then even the rule itself does not stand alone!”

Windsor is so illiterate. Did I say that something must be added? No.

“Again, trying to point back to the ‘Catholic alternative’ is not a valid response to whether or not sola scriptura is the sole infallible rule of faith for the church.”

i) As I’ve pointed out before, I didn’t confine myself to a tu quoque argument. I addressed the Catholic objection directly.

ii) But it’s also a valid additional move to bring in the tu quoque, for that exposes the sincerity or insincerity of the Catholic opponent. If he’s not prepared to apply the same yardstick to his own position, then he doesn’t really find the objection all that objectionable. And if he doesn’t believe the objection in application to his own position, then he can’t seriously believe the objection in application to the opposing position.

The fact that Windsor runs away from his own objection when it’s turned against him shows his lack of confidence in his argument.

“Mr. Hays turns to the Westminster Confession of Faith - but the WCF does not teach sola scriptura either, as Mr. Hays rightly points out, it never uses the term ‘only’ to define its stance on the Scriptures.”

In that event, Windsor doesn’t regard the Westminster rule of faith as self-refuting. So, by his own admission, his precious objection is impotent against a Christian who subscribes to the Westminster formulation.

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