Saturday, June 04, 2005


J-Bo, not to be confused with J-Lo, has come to the rescue of Enloe.

Why he thinks that Enloe needs a spokesman is an interesting question, but I won’t speculate on the answer.

<< Enloe is a presbyterian, so I don’t think he is attempting to imply that presbyterian polity is a merely mental abstraction. >>

So what is he attempting to imply? Absent an alternative explanation, which J-Bo doesn’t offer, why should we credit J-Bo’s denial?

Enloe sets up a contrast between episcopacy and non-episcopacy, and he does so in terms of the “mental abstractiveness” of non-episcopacy. The contrast is Enloe’s, not mine. The terminology is Enloe’s, not mine.

Presbyterianism is non-episcopal. Indeed, if you read any traditional defense of divine-right Presbyterianism, it is ferociously anti-episcopal.

BTW, why should we assume that just because Enloe is still a nominal Presbyterian (ditto: Paul Owen), he is not in a transitional stage on the way to something more truly episcopal and catholic or Catholic? Frankly, “Reformed-Catholic” is just a softening up exercise for the next logical step. This is done incrementally to cushion the blow.

<< If you’re an heir of the radical reformation…>>

I’m not an heir of the radical Reformation. Rather, I’m an heir of the Reformed tradition. And, unlike J-Bo and the other 11 members of the worldwide Reformed-Catholic movement, I realize that I don’t have the right to redefine and customize a theological tradition just to make it agree with me. I acknowledge, on historical grounds, that a Calvinist can be a Baptist (cf. LBCF), an Anglican (39 Articles; Lambeth Articles), a Welsh Methodist (cf. Calvinistic Methodist Confession of Faith, 1823), or a Presbyterian (cf. WCF).

Like it or not, Anabaptism is just as Reformational as Calvinism and Lutheranism. Of course, Anabaptist theology is not Reformed theology, but, then, neither is Lutheran theology.

For that matter, Zwingli affirms infant baptism (a la Calvin, Luther), but denies sacramental grace (a la John Smyth). Does that disqualify Zwingli as a charter member of the Magisterial Reformation?

Far from being catholic, “Reformed-Catholicism” is sectarian and schismatic. It is to Calvinism what Matatics and Sungenis are to Catholicism. It parachutes into the Reformed community, sets up a squatters’ rights HOA, and then attempts to evict the natives.

If “Reformed-Catholics” think they can improve on Calvinism, we welcome their arguments. Just don’t treat the illegals like the natives and the natives like illegals.

It is quite a spectacle when nominal Presbyterians attack Reformed Baptists because they are insufficiently deferential to Lutheranism and Catholicism. These guys aren’t even bona fide Presbyterians, yet they are setting up their Presbyterian heritage as the arbiter of what is truly Reformed.

<< Where does Enloe imply such a thing? He does not say that there is no objective reality. >>

Tim was the one who put the scare quotes around “objective,” used that adjective to modify “reality,” and set that in contrast to “flesh-and-blood realities.”

And J-Bo has done nothing to extricate Enloe from my syllogism. Perhaps Enloe is waxing hyperbolic here. Perhaps he is using an ontological category (objective “reality”) when he really intends an epistemic category (objective “knowledge”).

Still, how can Enloe make a claim about objective reality or objective knowledge unless he has access to one or the other? How is he in a position to set up a contrast between the objective and subjective dimension from within the subjective dimension? If an insider’s perspective is the only perspective we have, then we have no way to draw the line. Enloe is surreptitiously assuming the very viewpoint he denies.

Invoking “catholicity” multiplies rather than simplifies the conundrum, for “catholicity” is merely collective subjectivity.

Instead of offering a knee-jerk reaction to what I said—which wasn’t directed at J-Bo in any event, J-Bo would to well to slow down and really think through the bind that Enloe has gotten himself into.

<< I don’t know Tim all that well…>>

In that case, why pose as his spokesman?

<< Goodness. Why do people attempt to comment on things about which they know very little? >>

It’s always unintentionally comical when a twenty-something lectures a forty-something on how little the forty-something supposedly knows in relation to the twenty-something—rather like an adolescent explaining the birds and the bees to his own parents.

It’s especially droll when the twenty-something, by his own admission, has been a Christian for all of six years; has--in that time—already gone from Arminian dispensationalism to Baptistic Calvinism, then from there to “covenantal” Calvinism, then from there to “sacramental covenantal Calvinistic Catholicism” (a hyper-hyphenated Christian!), and has only been into the last phase for the past two years.

“No doubt you are the people, and wisdom will die with you! (Job 12:1).

At least guys like Doug Wilson and Andrew Sandlin have a lot of life experience under their belt.

<< Docetism is an entire system of thought which opposes spirit to matter, not merely a Christological heresy. >>

That’s a nonstandard definition of docetism. Docetism is just a Christological heresy--nothing more, nothing less. Yes, it later gets plugged into a whole system of thought, but doceticism itself is logically and historically separable from that subsequent development, and--in any event--the part cannot be equated with the whole. B-Lo is committing both the division fallacy and the post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy.

“The monophysite heresy—unlike docetism – was only a Christological heresy.”

Not according to Enloe himself, who in response to J-Bo, says that:

<< Christological heresies are fundamentally ecclesiological heresies (Christ being head of the Church, and all). >>

On that view, there is no Christological heresy which is “only” a Christological heresy. No, every Christological heresy is “fundamentally” an ecclesiological heresy. Which just goes to show that J-Bo was right the first time when he admitted that he doesn’t know Enloe all that well.

But while we’re on the subject, note the sloppy reasoning. To say that Christ is the head of the church does not imply that every Christological heresy is fundamentally an ecclesiological heresy. Christ is not the church. He is the head of the church—the head of the body. So, if it implies anything at all, it would only imply that every ecclesiological heresy is fundamentally a Christological heresy. These are not convertible propositions.

But, what is more, to make good on his claim, Enloe would need to diagram a stepwise argument from a specific feature of a specific Christological heresy to a specific feature of a specific ecclesiological heresy. Needless to say, Enloe doesn’t bother to do this since that would impel him to make an actual case using actual evidence.

He stonewalls Frank Turk the same way he stonewalls me. Instead of his giving a straight answer to an honest question, Enloe does a snow-job with pretentious allusions to Jean Gerson, Pierre D’Ailly, and the Thomistic doctrine of natural law—mere allusions, mind you, no actual quotes or literary references or concrete summaries—as if Enloe was the next Etienne Gilson. Frank Turk was simply asking Enloe to state his own position.

Like a debtor on the run from his creditors, we keep waiting for Enloe redeem all those promissory notes—even a down-payment would be better than nothing—but with Enloe, the check is always in the mail, and the mail is always late…or the check was lost in the mail...or he forgot to stamp the envelop...or the dog ate it.

Not surprisingly, J-Bo drops out before we ever get to Rom 11. This is the same pattern we find with Tim and with Kevin. Emerge from the bushes just long enough to lob a few stones, then go back into hiding.

It’s is all about keeping up appearances. Make an empty gesture, then wash your hands of the whole affair and pat yourself on the back.


  1. Steve --

    Keep up the good work.


  2. Apparently it's not required to know what a person has written in depth on the subjects he references offhand in order to criticize him as being guilty of "stonewalling." Mr. Hays, would you like to see my nearly 300 page draft thesis on the development of Medieval conciliarism and its influence on the Protestant reformation? It's just a B.A. level work, granted, but the reason I wrote so briefly to Frank is precisely because there is SO MUCH material to cover and just no way to cover it in a response to a Letter to the Editor of Communio Sanctorum.

    I assure you that even if I am wrong in what I have written, I have written quite enough on the subject to be able to avoid the charge of "stonewalling." On second thought, why not just take the easy way out like so many others are doing, and say "Well Enloe has no Approved Academic Standing, therefore he couldn't possibly know what he's talking about."

  3. Tim,

    This is a rather odd comment. First off, how would we be in a position to know what you had written in a draft thesis? Is this in the public domain? Is it available online?

    Second, who said you had to cover the relevant material in response to a letter to the editor? You do have your own blog, do you not? You post tons of stuff on your own blog, do you not?

    Third, this is not the only time you've been unresponsive to Turk. So it's not just this particular question, is it now?

    So what does your reply amount to? You've written quite enough on the subject to avoid the charge of stonewalling, even though no one is privy to what you've written in your thesis? What kind of reply is that?

    Surely it's possible to come up with something short of a 300 page answer. There's a difference between an answer and an explanation. It doesn't require all the supporting material to answer a question.

    This was Frank's question: "(1) Who determines what law is “unjust”? What standard does he use?"

    Answering that question doesn't require you to review 16 hundred years of church history, or delve into Aquinas, Gerson, and D'Ailly.

    Frank was simpy asking you to state your position, not to justify your position. That would be the next step. So, yes, Tim, it looks very much like you're stonewalling.