For once I wholeheartedly agree with anti-Catholic apologist Eric Svendsen (one of my very harshest critics); except for the word "hate," which I almost always think is too strong and inappropriate in all but the most extreme situations. Of course, this observation will be greeted by his cohorts as profundity and proof of the worth of his own ministry.
But (dare I say this?) when I express similar things about ludicrous attacks coming my way (and it is rather obvious that I have been personally attacked -- especially in the last year -- as much as Svendsen or James White or any other apologist I know: Catholic or Protestant), it is "proof" that I am filled with pride, utterly lacking in humility, a narcissist, suffering from a persecution complex, etc. In any event, apart from that curious double standard (not to mention also that Svendsen himself engages in the much the same kind of personal attacks that he decries when others do it to him) and the "hate" rhetoric, the following observations are dead on:
. . . Defending the faith can be a thankless, discouraging job. The people who happen to disagree with your views somehow feel at liberty to engage in hate-fests against you personally. To respond back only incites them further in a never-ending and futile attempt to get them to read your views rightly (gasp!) rather than constantly distort them as they always do. . . .
"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you." John 15:18-20
Indeed, the "world" in many of these instances refers not to the secular world at large, but to the religious world. . . .
"Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets." Luke 6:22.
I was going to respond to the grossly uninformed hate-fest that is taking place against me at the Crowhill discussion forum--where both Roman Catholics and Roman Catholic wannabees are dining sumptuously on slander and gossip--but Pedantic Protestant beat me to it.
Having been subject myself to a huge "slander-thread" filled with personal attacks, on the same board, some months ago (led by an Orthodox polemicist who goes by "Nevski", who thinks I don't work for a living and pretend to be a scholar when I am not), I'm curious as to what is taking place over at the Crowhill board. Let's go look (c'mon over there with me). If Svendsen is being lied about the way, for example, that James White is often ridiculously lied about and slandered by some Catholics (as if he is the devil incarnate and drinks bat's blood every night), I will defend him too (just as I did, James White). It doesn't matter to me what Svendsen thinks of me. If something is wrong, it's wrong, and ought to be condemned.
So what do we find? First, "dormitantius" ("Moderator" no less! Catholic):
And a little child (Eric Svensen) shall lead them, right? Not quite; Svensen is just too goofy to be taken seriously.
[mere ridicule and character-assassination rather than argument]
Then, "Retro Rosco III" (Anglican, I believe)
. . . folks like White and Svendsen . . . I'd wager that there is more idolatry and works-righteousness in their system than one could ever dream of in Rome. Why should anyone ever take them seriously?
[ditto; also, we shouldn't be accusing others of Pelagianism and idolatry when we Catholics and Anglicans are often falsely accused of the same]
. . . For example, I think the evidence is overwhelming that because of their views on baptism (not to mention communion) White and Svendsen's claims to unhold the soteriology of the reformers is "untenable." They clearly have another Gospel.
[Baptist soteriology is different; yes, but this is an erroneous definition of the gospel, which, biblically speaking, is (literally) the "Good News": the life, death, atonement and propitiatory sacrifice for our redemption on the cross, Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus, not fine-tuned soteriological theology]
. . . he not only has betrayed the Reformation, but he is not even a orthodox christian in the most basic sense (i.e. affirming the Incarnation and the Trinity).
[I have little patience for Svendsen's errors, especially about the Blessed Virgin Mary, and (of course) his anti-Catholicism, but this goes way too far. He affirms the Incarnation and Trinity, even though there might be some quasi-Nestorianism* there, from what I have seen. Let's have some semblance of accuracy and fairness to theological opponents, for heaven's sake!]
*"Jesus is both God and man; therefore, we must use the proposition some of Jesus is God....Mary cannot be said to be the mother of all of Jesus, but only of his humanity...Mary is the mother of some of Jesus; for Mary could very well be (and indeed is) mother of only the non-God part of Jesus....The fallacy again lies in not making the proper distinction between the humanity and deity of Christ. No one in the first century worshiped the body of Christ per se, but rather the person of Christ who happened to be embodied...." (Eric Svendsen: Evangelical Answers, pp. 179, 242 --- Svendsen defender John Bugay replies: "This quote is an accurate quote, but it is taken within the context of a 'logic exercise.' And as I pointed out, he apologizes for using such terms as 'some of Jesus.' " -- [7-5-05])
"Quickbeam of fangorn" (Catholic) then writes concerning the last quote: "I have to agree with your post."
Quickbeam: "If he rejects them [statements on the Theotokos] he is not a christian." (7-5-05)
Retro Rosco III: "Well, at a minimum the phrase 'some of Jesus is God' is bad logic, even in a 'logic exercise.' If he affirms the phrase as true, QB is right, he simply isn't a christian. And if he has to apologize for such terms, why did he use them in the first place? . . . a heretic by the standards of basic christian orthodoxy . . . And not just heresy by the standards of Catholicism, but of Classical Protestantism as well.." (7-5-05)
[I submit that Svendsen's problem is not that he isn't a Christian, but that (perhaps due to reflexive anti-Catholicism) he doesn't properly understand the notion of the Theotokos and fine points of orthodox Christology, or else doesn't know how to write about it without lapsing into unintended serious heresy, or at least what might be understandably interpreted as prima facie heresy. this was true of some orthodox Church Fathers, and even popes at times (such as Honorius). It is indeed possible that he has strayed far enough to be considered a Christological heretic (anything's possible for us fallen men), but to publicly question even whether he is a Christian at this point is, in my opinion, a rather rash judgment, to put it mildly]
Sadly, this is a typical three-days' work in character assassination and slander on an Internet Discussion board, which is why I have participated virtually nil on any board (Catholic, Protestant, or Rastafarian) for coming up to two years now. It happens on all sides, and we should condemn it on all sides. Only when folks start protesting against lack of charity and fairness to opponents amongst their own parties can we hope that anything will substantially change on Internet discussion boards.