What's even more impressive, though, Dave managed to keep the personal issues largely minimized. Good work!
Having dealt with the matters of form (mostly in Dave's favor), let's turn to substance:
1) In the first few paragraphs, Dave provides a brief excursus on the term "bishop." It's an interesting topic, but not particularly germane here.
2) Then in the next two-and-half paragraphs (and table list of Bible versions), Dave defends against an imaginary argument in which S&S supposedly accuses Dave of importing "bishop" into the text. Of course, unless S&S edited the post between then and now, the argument simply isn't there. And Dave does not quote any such argument from S&S.
3) Next, in a paragraph (and block quote of - who else - Dr. White) Dave suggests that S&S's use of cross-referencing is similar to Dave's own cross-referencing.
4) Subsequently, in one paragraph Dave asserts that the explanation above showed that S&S was engaging in "eisegesis" because S&S used "overseer/elder" rather than "bishop" in explaining the sense of the text. The reader is left wondering if Dave recalls what the word "eisegesis means.
5) After that, in a paragraph Dave argues that S&S is presenting a biased interpretation, while from the other side of the paragraph, asserting that everyone does. Point of the paragraph? Apparently Dave wants to point out that everyone has biases.
6) Next, Dave claims that S&S is all over the map, and that - while this is ok by Dave - Dr. White would consider it improper.
7) Then, Dave spends a paragraph on YEC (the relevance being that S&S recognizes the truth of YEC). Apparently, Dave thinks his readers will find YEC distasteful.
8) Subsequently, Dave essentially agrees with the rest of S&S's own exegesis of the verses.
9) Dave then makes an argument to the effect of: "suppose we grant the "invisible church" explanation: how does it work?" This is a strange question. Does Dave not know how Reformed churches (whether Presbyterian or Congregational) work? Dave also "what is this truth?" (emphasis removed) We refer Dave Armstrong to the answer Pilate received to the same answer in John 18:38.
10) Next, Dave asserts that he asked a similar question to Dr. White in 1996 and that Dr. White has not answered the question since. Perhaps Dr. White was following Jesus' example, or perhaps Dave missed Dr. White's answer. In any event, Dave continues with a block quote from Dr. White, and an assertion that Dr. White's commentary is vague.
11) Dave continues by asking "how can they speak of one church unified in truth, given their own ecclesiological chaos and doctrinal relativism, brought on by innumerable competing truth claims amongst themselves?" This question, of course, is loaded. Dave's charges of "ecclesiological chaos" and "doctrinal relativism" are simply his assertions -- not something that he established. Dave follows the question with a lengthy block quotation of a dialogue of his with Dr. White some time ago.
12) After the block quotation, Dave concludes that his "what is this truth" question remains unanswered. Dave ironically accused Dr. Erik Svendson, saying that he "hemmed and hawed and switched the topic, and obfuscated and indulged in obscurantism and other forms of evasion." The irony of that charge can be seen from the leading quotation of this post, as well as the conclusion below.
13) Dave then, in another paragraph, reasks the question, "What is this truth?" and adds to it: "So what good is a "church" that cannot answer this question? In what sense is it a "pillar and foundation of the truth" at all?" Of course, Dave's argument is non-unique. He does not offer an alternative in which the question can be answered better than Jesus answered it.
14) This apparently reminds Dave of something he wrote in earlier remarks on the perspecuity of Scripture, and consequently he provides a lengthy block quotation of himself.
15) Finally, Dave disagrees with S&S's conclusion, asserting: "I have just shown that this is an impossible position for a Protestant to take, because it has no discernible meaning and content. Protestants are forever condemned to theological relativism (in many areas, not all) because of their false first premises (sola Scriptura, private judgment, supremacy of "conscience" over against the authority of received Christian Tradition)." Unfortunately for Dave, he has not "shown" any such thing. Dave has asserted such charges, but has not provided the reader with any reason to accept them as true.
16) In a four paragraph flight, Dave argues that S&S assumes certain definitions without demonstration. Dave argues that both "truth" and "church" have a degree of semantic range in Scripture. Dave, however, seems to have forgotten that these are "his verses," and consequently the burden of production is on him. The semantic range arguments, consequently, actually enhance S&S's critique. Dave concludes by asserting that the sense of the words is of little consequence because, "In what sense does the doctrinal chaos and inability to unify on so many doctrines in Protestantism constitute supporting (the one) "truth"?" Again, this is a loaded and non-unique question, and consequently cannot constitute a meaningful rebuttal.
17) Next, in two paragraphs, Dave asserts that the "High Church Misinterpretation" identified by S&S is derived from the text of Scripture (which S&S has demonstrated is not the case), and asks the same questions noted above.
18) After a block quote from the introduction portion of S&S's post, Dave argues that the book is being treated as something which it was not, stating, "I merely stated the Catholic belief, as here. I wasn't trying to defend it."
We assume Dave will contact his publisher who describes Dave's book thus:
Armstrong shows that a fair-minded reading of each of these passages (and of the whole Bible) supports the Catholic position on the key issues that divide Protestants from Catholics. Here is Biblical evidence that Catholicism is right about the nature of baptism, the communion of saints, the Eucharist, and the Church; the authority of the Pope, the Bible, and tradition; the salvific role of faith, good works, relics, purgatory, and Mary; the immorality of divorce and contraception; and much more.After all, we would not want them to falsely advertise or misrepresent the purpose of his book.
As well, we can assume that Dave will revise his own summary/introduction of his book, which states: "I will be asserting - with all due respect and hopefully a minimum of "triumphalism" - the ultimate incoherence, inadequacy, inconsistency, or exegetical and theological implausibility of the Protestant interpretations, and submitting the Catholic views as exegetically and logically superior alternatives."
It would also be good for Dave to kindly move "Catholic Verses" from the "Apologetics" category if it is true that: "I merely stated the Catholic belief, as here. I wasn't trying to defend it."
19) Dave nevertheless continues by attempting some form of defense against S&S's critique. Blockquoting TheoJunkie (who called it), Dave agrees that he does not claim that the church is the source of truth, but merely a "preserver" of truth. Dave mentions that he used the term "ground," and points out other people who arrived at the same conclusion.
20) Next, in three paragraphs, Dave asserts that he gets infallibility of the church from the Jerusalem council. Of course, as Dave notes, this really goes to another section of his book.
21) Dave denies that the church is the clerical orders, and states: "Catholics believe also in the consent of the faithful or the sensus fidelium." One wonders whether Dave accepts Vatican I as one of the ecumenical councils of the Roman church. If so, what remaining value does sensus fidelium have, if the pontiff's authority does not depend on it? We could go further with this, but a lampoon is unnecessary. The sensus fidelium is an inherently unworkable tenet within modern Catholicism.
22) Finally, in a further paragraph, Dave admits that the verse may mean what S&S says, but reiterates the questions posed above about alleged Protestant lack of unity.
23) After rehashing a couple points noted above, Dave distinguishes the OT priests from NT clergy, because the OT priests were - according to Dave - not given infallibility. One wonders what Dave thinks the Umim and Thumim were for. It's rather ironic that Dave has it backward: the High Priest and the Prophets did have access to a divine oracle (High Priest) and were verbally inspired (the Prophets): Ben16 does not have such an oracle and is not inspired.
24) After a lengthy block quotation from a previous dialogue Dave had with a Baptist, Dave asserts that the Saducees were the "Bible Alone" folks of the Old Testament time (which is neither relevant to the discussion, nor true).
25) In the words of Armstrong, "The rest is of little importance, or reiteration of topics already dealt with" and consequently there is no need to rehash it any further.
The primary argument that Dave makes is to ask questions: "What is this truth?" (which has been answered, though not the way Dave would like, by Jesus) If Dave will complain that he did not mean "what is truth," but rather "what is the truth on such-and-such an issue," then Dave's question defeats both Roman Catholics and Protestants alike: for neither claims to have provided answers to every conceivable question. If Dave will further complain that he did not mean on every conceivable question, but only on say some particular question of his choosing, we are ready to give an answer, and Dave knows that.
Dave's lengthy, frequently off-topic post does not establish 1 Timothy 3:15 as a "Catholic Verse." It shows that Dave did not build his ecclesiology on 1 Timothy 3:15, but attempted to impose his ecclesiology on 1 Timothy 3:15. It demonstrates that S&S's charge of eisegesis was justified.
(link to S&S) (link to Dave)
Praise be to God who has provided us with a columna et firmamentum of truth.
In firm defense of the truth, against the ipse dixit-al errors of Sola Ecclesia,