Thursday, June 14, 2007

Dave Armstrong Takes Book Review Personally

Polemical Papist, Dave Armstrong, took personal offense today, at the critique of his recently released book, "One Minute Apologist."

Notice how Armstrong manages to post a 1000+ word post (including quotations) without ever once addressing the substantive errors raised in this quick review of his work.

Here is a link to the review.

If you want to check for yourself, here is a link to DA's response, in which he spends most of his time trying to get personal with the review's author. Link is here.

Note to everyone out there. If you want to be taken seriously, you have to respond to the substance of critiques of your writings, not to the person of the critiquers. Dead folks like Cornelius Van Til and Bahnsen have an excuse, but living folks (especially those who have time to post gripes about their reviewer's persona) do not have an excuse. After all, you are not so much writing a response to the person who is critiqueing your work, as to the readers of that critique.



FX Turk said...

He must be sick or something. 1000 words is how long it usually takes Dave just to get involved in starting a response.

Paul Hoffer said...

Dear Sir, I wanted to say that I reviewed Mr. White's critique of Mr. Armstrong's book and offered my response to same on Mr. Armstrong's comments section. Mr. White's critique reduced down to its essential point is this: Based on the fact that the koine Greek would render the passage at Matt. 16:18-19 in the future tense and because the Scriptures do not record an actual conveyance of the keys later, Jesus did not keep His Word to Peter. While this does not constitute a substantive critique of Mr. Armstrong's work (although it does suggest the lengths that Mr. White would go to discredit a Catholic), it does provide fodder for an interesting heresy-that Jesus lied or somehow failed to keep His Word or promise. This sounds more like a criticism of Jesus that you would find in a midrash or the Gemarra of a Talmud than on the website of someone who has crowned himself as the voice of Reformed Protestantism.

How do you want Mr. Armstrong to respond to the nonsensical argument that Mr. White poses? Don't you think that you, yourself, could have come up with a better argument? Or at least better worded?

God bless.

~Paul Hoffer

Turretinfan said...

Dear Mr. Hoffer,

I was on the fence about posting your comment becasue I felt you misrepresented Dr. White's argument.

Since there is a link to Dr. White's argument above, and since you clearly did read it (and not just DA's response) since you saw part of one of his several objections, I invite you to quote the part where Dr. White states that Jesus lied or failed to keep His Word or promise.

The reason I ask is that I read the same article and missed that part, but you seem to have indicated that you saw it. So, rather than call you a liar for making up something that Dr. White did not say.

And, if you cannot, then isn't the nonsensical argument that "Jesus failed to keep his promise" something gleaned your own anti-Reformed imagination?

Let me put it to you another way: you clearly do not like Dr. White; but do you really think he would be so stupid as to take the position that Jesus broke his word?

Is that honestly the perspective on his position that you are advocating?


Paul Hoffer said...

Dear Sir: I believe you took my comment out of context. I didn't claim on Mr. Armstrong's blog that Mr. White said that Jesus lied. I said that Mr. White's argument reduced to its logical conclusion implies that. I apologize if my summary on your blog was too terse. I did not intend to mislead.

The point is this. Contrary to how I feel about Mr. White's oral debating style and tactics (I run across alot of the same when dealing with unscrupulous lawyers. Why such a passionate lover of Christ as Mr. White would adopt the same tactics is beyond me especially when it turns off many people who would otherwise might be interested in what he has to say.), he is a Christian. As such, I would offer him (and you as well) that cup of water as called for in Mk. 9:38-41 even though I know from his writings and his discussions on DL that he would not do the same for me as a Catholic Christian because he would not deign to regard me as a Christian because of my belief as to the truth in "the additions of Rome" and because I am nothing but a rascally Romanist or a perfidious Papist (my words, not his). He might offer me that cup out of charity, but not because I, too, bear the name of Christ.

The biggest problem I have with the critique of Mr. White is that his argument is merely a personal attack on Mr. Armstrong's character flavored with a little Greek in order to dress up the attack and make it appear that the critique has something substantative to say. The Greek argument Mr. White posited was purely put on for show for Protestant "rubes" ignorant of the biblical foundations of the papacy. Catholic Scripture commentators even prior to the Reformation would have countered White's argument by reference to Luke 22:31-32 and John 21:15-19, but Mr. White fails to mention that in his critique. If Mr. White is going to use lawyer tactics in his harangues about Mr. Armstrong's work, then he should be mindful to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth or in his case, aletheia.

Again, I apologize for my summary on your comments which did not accurately express my intent.

God bless.

~Paul Hoffer

Anonymous said...

Good day! I am wondering why the keys of the kingdom and binding and loosing are seen by Dr. White as identical concepts:

It seems to me that there is something more to the giving of the keys. Thank you, and may the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit!


Turretinfan said...

Thanks, Mr. Hoffer, for the clarification.

The rebuttal, of course, is that such is not the logical conclusion.

Dr. White's argument runs thus:

1. God promises to give the keys.
2. There is no record of God doing so, at least not in so many words.
3. If the transfer of the keys were a transfer of authority (like crowning), it would be significant.
4. Yet the transfer of authority is not recorded in Scripture.
5. So we can reject the authority hypothesis, because it would mean that the significant even of the transfer of authority, the donation of the keys.

Even if you do not agree with that argument, can you see the difference between that conclusion and the conclusion that because it is not recorded it didn't happen?


Turretinfan said...

Dear Mr. Holter,

I'm not really authorized to speak for Dr. White. He does have a call-in radio show, and he welcomes calls.

If I had to guess why he would think that, I can imagine two possible reasons:

1) That's what keys are used for (locking/binding, and unlocking/loosing).
2) That's the context of the promised donation of the keys.

Why do you think that there must be something more?


Paul Hoffer said...

Dear Sir,

Just two more comments and I will leave you and your readers in peace...

First, I suggested by my query to you in my first comment that you could make the argument better.

Second, as to the argument itself, Catholics do believe that Scriptures record that transfer at John 21:15-19. You may disagree with that interpretation, but there it is. We Catholics believe that God keeps His promises, all of them, including the one He made to the son of Jona at Matt. 16:18-19. Others are certainly better than me in arguing this point on behalf of Catholics (see for example

That being said, I appreciate the chance to exchange views with you and for providing me the opportunity to clarify my remarks. Like my namesake, I sometime makes mistakes (cf Acts 23:1-5), but I do try to apologize when I am not understood.

P.S. There is something I really do admire Mr. White for~the fact that he bikes in the desert. As someone who bikes long distances, too, I truly admire someone who is willing to take on a steep grade especially as hot as it gets in Arizona.

God bless.

~Paul Hoffer

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting my comment and also responding to it.

The reason it seems like there is more to the giving of the keys is that this sentence is not repeated in Matt. 18. And binding and loosing may be a function of the keys, but it doesn't equal the keys, right? People are able to bind and loose because someone has the keys.

Dr. White made the comment in the debate I linked to in my previous post that he sees Matt. 18 as the fulfillment of the promise made in Matt. 16. The assumption that is made in the Matt. 18 as fulfillment view is that the rest of the apostles are able to bind and loose because they have all been given the keys of the kingdom. But one could also think that all of the apostles are able to bind and loose simply because they are with Peter, who will be given the keys.

Dr. White makes the point that the binding and loosing sentence is exactly the same in both chapters, except that it is plural in 18. Hence, I would think that this does not give any indication as to whether the keys had been given at that point.

I would think that Peter would be given the keys at the close of Jesus' earthly ministry.

It's an assumption either way, but it makes more sense to me that this sharing of His authority would wait until after the time of His earthly ministry, when the apostles would receive power from the Holy Spirit.

Is mine a worse assumption?

Again, thank you for taking the time to respond. I am a "fall away" / "never was" Catholic who came to know Jesus Christ a couple of years ago, or rather to be known by Him. :) And now - and this was unforeseen - I'm looking into the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Thank you for your help!

Turretinfan said...

Dear Mr. Hoffer,

I appreciate your taking the time to interact here.

1) We are aware that Vatican I asserted that John 21:15-17 was the fullfilling of the promised key transfer. The passage itself, of course, does not mention either keys or authority (just feeding the sheep), and we are not willing to just take Vatican I's word for it.

2) More importantly, the point of my response was not so much to support Dr. White's view, as to show that the nonsensical position that God does not keep his promises is neither Dr. White's view, nor the logical conclusion of Dr. White's view.

Thanks for the interaction, and if you want to continue this discussion, please feel free.

I appreciate your courteous decorum, despite our doctrinal differences.


Turretinfan said...

Dear Mr. Holter,

There are a lot of other interesting perspectives on the keys.

In other words, don't feel that you have to choose between Dr. White and Vatican I.

For example, there were various views among the early writers in church history. Augustine, for example, takes the promise to Peter as really being to all the apostles, with Peter serving as a representative.

But to get back to your question, the issue may be whether the keys represent authority or power. If the former, your intuitive sense that it should happen at or after the end of Jesus' earthly ministry, but if power, then any time from after the promise until Pentacost seems to be reasonable.

In favor of power, consider:

Luke 11:52 Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.

With that view, the provision of keys to Peter would relate to the work of evangelism, rather than to spiritual leadership.

And against the view that it means authority, consider the bizarre result that this view would have as applied to the following:

Rev 1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

Who is the Prince of the Underworld, Jesus or Beelzebub? (If you have any doubt, read Luke 11.)

But if it means power, then read Matthew 10:28 and Luke 12:5, to see who it refers to.