Saturday, November 24, 2007

Bloggers Who Love Talking to Themselves

One unhappy reader provided the title critique of the present blog (link):
Let's quickly investigate, expose, and discard his ad hominem.
1) "Francis Turretin's blog joins the many not worth reading with his recent performance,"
Notice the suggestion that it previously was worth reading. Interesting, eh?
2) "which is not publishing a single Orthodox response to his misapprehensions about what Orthodox believe."
a) The underlying problem with this criticism is that, even if there were some legitimate Orthodox response, the present author is under no obligation to permit his blog to be a soapbox for the other side. In other words, Orthodox's complaint here is not that the blog is really not worth reading, but that the blog does not provide comments from the "other side."
b) There is a second problem with this criticism, namely that it's not as though there was any significant amount of "Orthodox" response. It's not as though the present blog had to shut down the torrent of inflowing Orthodox comments, or something.
c) The third problem is that "Orthodox"'s real complaint is that his own comments were not posted. Of course, they were eventually posted (though not all of the endless tirade of ignorance that began "Arrghh. Bring some facts to the table before accusing us of not understanding" in response to a fact-filled post).
d) A fourth problem is that not only were "Orthodox"'s own comments posted (in part) but another Orthodox poster's comments (or perhaps "Orthodox"'s own comments posting anonymously) were also posted and responded to.
In short, Orthodox's claim is not true (unless "not ... a single" includes at "two"), not significant (because what was not published was rude and/or useless to the discussion), and egotistical.
3) "To add insult to injury, he's criticizing those who won't let people clarify their own position."
I invite people to read the post Orthodox links to (a post on a blog Orthodox says is not worth reading), and see what it actually says. Let the post speak for itself.
But notice the implicit confusion on Orthodox's part: he seems to have conflated himself with "Orthodoxy" at large. If he's not allowed to speak, I'm refusing to let "Orthodoxy" clarify itself. The idea that he, apparently a lay (and fairly new) member of the Orthodox church speaks for Orthodoxy generally would be laughable, if Orthodox were not so serious about it. The egotism of the claim is startling! The contradiction of classic Orthodoxy entailed in it is amusing. The reinforcement of the claim in the original post (that "Orthodox" and many others in modern "Orthodoxy" do not actually know what the "Orthodox" church historically taught) is ironic.
4) "This is hyper-hypocrisy at work."
I'll let the reader judge for himself. It is exactly this sort of comment that is the reason that "Orthodox"'s comments have tended not to get published in full.
5) "All the while he's starting on some brand new debate without bothering to conclude our debate. I can only conclude that Francis is in love with talking to himself in monologue, and presumably has conceded defeat on the debate front."
The conclusion will eventually be posted. How my not posting a conclusion (which will be the last post of the debate) is proof that I love talking to myself, or how engaging in a debate (with an opponent, and several of his commenters in his comboxes) is evidence of the same is certainly odd.
Is it just me, or this just more of the same nonsense as evidenced in numbers 1-4 above?

Well, "Orthodox" does not leave us wondering. He points out that he has been banned by the folks over at Triablogue.

He has not been banned from this blog, yet. Perhaps that's a moot point, as "Orthodox" has indicated that this blog is not worth reading, and we cannot believe that he'd waste his own time after going to such lengths to demonstrate just how worthless this blog is.

Incidentally, God willing, my conclusion (which is presently about 30% complete) will be ready by the end of the year, though I had hoped to finish it by American Thanksgiving Day.


UPDATE: More of the same from "Orthodox" (link). Orthodox doesn't salvage his position in any meaningful way in his attempted comeback, basically repeats his same points, and fails to apologize for his previous misrepresentations.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Episcopal Bishop Makes Massively Enormous Jump to ...

... Roman Catholicism.


He states: "I believe God is now calling us to continue our ministry to serve in the healing of the visible Body of Christ in the world. I am convinced our Lord’s deepest desire is for the unity of the Church."

His way of healing the visible Body is - leaving his post.
His way of enhancing unity is - changing sects.

Odd, don't you think?

Yet, I suppose his "conversion" will be far less noted than Prof. Beckwith's - if only because Epispoleanism and Roman Catholicism are so close to begin with.


Helpful Template for Response to a Weak Ad Hominem

Suppose that someone points out that your otherwise very upright pastor watches too many violent movies, or the deacons overspent on the paint that they bought when painting the church, or some other minor quibble regarding something otherwise excellent, you can now use as your response:

"That's like the title of this post (link) compared to the video linked therein."

And hats off to the lass in the video.


Letting the Author Clarify Himself

I think more than a few folks can relate to the situation illustrated here (link).

If people around you both misinterpret what you write, and refuse to accept your clarifications of what you write, what chance is there that such people are going to understand what you wrote?

A similar phenomenon happens in the reading of Scripture.

Folks read it, see what they want to see, and refuse to let the rest of Scripture correct their misunderstanding. This is a personal, subjective problem. It's not a problem with Scripture; it's not an objective problem. That's where the church (meaning the saints around us, whether our spirtual brethren, our spiritual fathers/mothers, or even sometimes our spiritual children) can help. The church helps fallibly, but it can help.

If, however, one decides that one's own reading ability (whether because it is one's own, or that of the sect to which one belongs) is infallible, then one can end up to an observer looking as ridiculous as the reader in the cartoon linked above.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Does Doug Wilson Get it?

In two recent posts, Doug Wilson seems to express frustration that (his friend?) Steve Wilkins is the focal point of charges brought against the Lousaiana Presbytery of the PCA. (link) (link)

In essence, the way the situation is this:

1. the LA presbytery has a duty to exercise godly discipline;

2. Wilkins' promotion of heretical views has become notorious or at least the allegations that Wilkins has heretical views have become widely known;

3. the LA presbytery's way of addressing the situation has been (in essence) to exonerate Wilkins, or at least not to prosecute him; and

4. so the charge is that the LA presbytery is tolerating serious heresy.

Doug Wilson doesn't seem to get it. He hears:
Wilkins wasn't and isn't on trial. Now LAP is technically on trial for violating the BCO. That said, Wilkins' errant theology does figure prominently in the case. You can read that clearly in the SJC's decisions.
And then Doug Wilson objects that Wilkins has never been judged guilty of errant theology! Seriously!

Doug, for example, asks:
How can Wilkins' errant theology figure prominently in the case when Wilkins' "errant" theology has never been established in a trial?
I ask myself, does Doug get it? The whole point is that the LA presbytery, as a court, has failed to properly address the Wilkins' situation. Suppose that rather than the issue that really exists, suppose that Wilkins publicly claimed to have ghost-written Cristopher Hitchens' latest book (Mr. Hitchens is a prominent atheist). Suppose that in the same public claim, in writing, Mr. Wilkins had said, "We all know God really doesn't exist, and the Bible is a bunch of baloney." Suppose further that the LA presbytery, prompted by the PCA general assembly, did some kind of investigation and reported back that they concluded that Wilkins' theology is "sound as a pound."

Would Doug Wilson still not understand both why the presbytery could be charged, even though Wilkins' theology had not yet been judged wrong in church court, and why Wilkins' theology would feature prominently in that trial?

I cannot believe that Doug would not get it in that situation. But one will object that this situation is not that situation. The problem is that one could not tell that from Doug's principle objections.

I respectfully submit that Doug's judgment is colored by two salient facts:

1) Wilkins seems to be a friend of Doug's; and
2) Wilkins' errant theology is at least tied in the public eye with Doug's theology, which Doug insists is not errant.