Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
A Quick Hello From the Front
09/18/2006 - James WhiteNot much time for anything but writing, but...
Miki says she will call the DL as long as I do not dominate the conversation with sophistry and anger. Yet, she has never listened to the DL, so, how would she know...oh, never mind. If you want an example of more of this kind of thing, check out the melt down at the Catholic Answers forums here. "Catholichead" asserts I lied about Irenaeus in that thread, but, as with all of these folks, sorta forgot to actually back up what he said. Here is a sample (first entry/second entry) of what I've said about Irenaeus, here refuting Mark Bonocore, who is elsewhere promoted in that thread by Phil Porvaznik.
Speaking of Bonocore, looking at that thread I clicked on one of the links and couldn't help but chuckling at the kind of argumentation that some folks find compelling and convincing. Look at one portion of this interaction with Bonocore:
JW> 7) You wrote: Now, while it is true that, in Matt 18:18, Jesus bestows a similar authority to "bind and loosen" upon all of the Apostles collectively, it is to Peter alone that Christ entrusts "the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven." So, what are these Keys? What are they suppose to signify?" When, specifically, did Christ bestow the keys ALONE to Peter? The Greek verb in Matthew 16 is future in tense. Hence, if this does not take place in Matthew 18:18, when does it? And, can you cite patristic foundation for saying the keys differ in authority and meaning from the power of binding and loosing? >>
:-) First of all, the way you pose the question is shamefully deceptive, and based on an incorrect understanding of the Greek. In comparing Matt 16:19 and 18:18, the "bind/loose" statements are each arranged in two couplets. The first verb in the couplet is an active aorist and the second is a perfect passive participle which is best translated into English as a passive future perfect. Thus, the verses literally say "Whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in Heaven." The obvious meaning of the Matt 16:19 &18:18 statements is that whatever the Apostles (and their successors) bind upon the faithful (i.e., faith or morals) will not be their own teaching but what has already been bound upon the Church by God in eternity. So, I am overwhelmed by your misuse of the Greek.
Now, keep in mind, Bonocore has never taught Greek in any context to my knowledge. But the "Catholic Legate" style has even led them to attempt to refute Eric Svendsen's work on a particular Greek phrase though they had to start their effort by admitting their lack of training in the subject! As far as I know they never got very far on that project. In any case, when faced with such argumentation, you can either dig down and provide a substantive response, or, you can attempt to blow smoke and obscure the fact that you really have no idea what you are talking about. And that is what Bonocore does here. Note the question I asked: "When, specifically, did Christ bestow the keys ALONE to Peter? The Greek verb in Matthew 16 is future in tense. Hence, if this does not take place in Matthew 18:18, when does it? And, can you cite patristic foundation for saying the keys differ in authority and meaning from the power of binding and loosing?" Now, a serious response would involve examining dw,sw and providing some kind of exegetically sound foundation for the absolutist position of the Roman See regarding the concept of papal authority. Remember, absolute claims of authority cannot be substantiated by "maybe's" and "possibly's." Is this what Bonocore provides? Of course not. Instead, what you do when you don't really have an answer is you accuse the person who has asked you a question you cannot answer of some kind of wrong-doing--it is always best to accuse them of what you are about to do yourself--and then make some assertions about something utterly irrelevant to the original question, hoping your readers will find the resultant reply compelling. The clear thinking reader runs into this kind of stuff constantly in politics, and it is just as prevalent in theology and apologetics.
Providing us with an incredible example of this kind of non-response, Bonocore starts out with an accusation. I have, he claims, been "shamefully deceptive" and I do not understand a topic I have taught for years and Bonocore has not. Now, keep in mind what I said. I said dw,sw is in the future tense ("I will give" not "I am right now giving to you, Peter, in contrast to the others, alone, the keys"). How is this shamefully deceptive? Well, you can read the rest of Bonocore's paragraph till the sun grows dark in the sky and you'll never find out. Though he ends with another assertion of the "misuse of the Greek," he never even touches on the only assertion made, that being that the verb in 16:19 is future in tense! Now, it is possible he simply doesn't get the point. It is possible he hasn't read my books on the subject, or just doesn't follow the point. Instead, he victoriously overlooks dw,sw (I said "verb" not "verbs") and looks at a completely different aspect of the text which has nothing to do with what I said, and on the basis of that, accuses me of misusing the Greek! This kind of errant apologetics is what Rome's defenders tout as providing a "refutation" of my work.
And finally, the Islamic apologetics community seems as liable to dispute and disruption as the Roman Catholic one (witness Keating vs. Matatics, Sungenis vs. Everybody). I have mentioned a few times in the past the Peter Ruckman of Islamic apologists on the net, Nadir Ahmed. He and his followers use the basest forms of bullying tactics. I have demonstrated Ahmed's utter incapacity to deal with scholarly subjects on the DL in the past. Well, we got the following e-mail just today:
Mr. James White, Can you tell us why you are running from Nadir Ahmed. He has called you out in a debate and you are afraid of him. It seems like you only like to go after weaker opponents of the Islamic community like Shabir Ally! Shabir Ally is to much into liberal Biblical scholarship rather than Islam. So he is a very confused man. You are fooling no one.That's been the mantra, "You are afraid!" Pretty hard to deal with irrational folks like that, isn't it? They truly have no idea that their actions prove so clearly the bankruptcy of their own position.