Sunday, September 23, 2007

Documentation of James White Posts That Are Solely Personal Insults, Without Any Substance or Actual Counter-Reply (Reply to "Turretinfan")

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[ source ]

White should have been a sailor, not an apologist. He lacks the proper temperament and demeanor for the latter (see many examples below)

In the recent round of exchanges with the anonymous Reformed anti-Catholic apologist "Turretinfan", he made the following claim in my combox:
[W]hile Dr. White certainly has made personal comments about you, as far as this writer can recall, none of his responses have ever been "pure personal attack" and saying that Dr. White refuses to engage "virtually all" your critiques is definitely an overstatement.
Note, first of all, that TF knows full well that White has ignored many of my critiques. He only denies that he has ignored "virtually all" of them. But I explained what I meant in context; that White "never follows through with an entire discussion with me without eventually descending into pure personal attack." It is true that sometimes he is actually substantive (albeit in error) for a short time. But by the end of that post or almost always in the next post, it becomes personal (often, entirely so).

This is what happened (most notoriously and infamously) in his series of reviews of The Catholic Verses. He got more and more personal and I got tired of it and simply left, when he accused me of "knowing deception" (after I showed him all the books I had read as a Protestant). Here is White's entire post from 12-31-04 (all bolded emphases my own, throughout):

Armstrong's Reading List
James R. White

Mr. Armstrong has provided a reading list on his blog. In essence, this means that instead of blaming ignorance for his very shallow misrepresentations of non-Catholic theology and exegesis, we must now assert knowing deception. So far, DA has been unable to provide even the slightest meaningful defense of his own published statements and their refutation. Which is really only marginally relevant to the real issue: hopefully, aside from demonstrating the exegetical bankruptcy of The Catholic Verses, answers are being given to all those observing and learning how to speak the truth to those who likewise would handle the Word from the vantage point of tradition rather than allowing it to speak for itself with its own voice.
Then White (joined by Eric Svendsen, Frank Turk and other anti-Catholics in a wild "feeding frenzy", thinking they saw blood in the water) mocked me for many weeks afterwards, implying that I was a coward and utterly unable to respond, and "melted down" etc. ad nauseum. This occurred in early 2005. I used to have all the documentation on my blog but removed 70 or so papers of personal nonsense like that, some time ago. One can see in the present instance how interaction with anti-Catholics so often (almost always, in fact) becomes personal. This is one of the maddening things for anyone who tries to actually dialogue with anti-Catholics (and why I have often stopped altogether, notably during 2005 and 2006). As my friend Steve Ray wrote recently: "whenever one steps into a mud puddle with White one always feels the need of a shower." How well I can relate to that!
The fact remains that White ignores many of my critiques entirely. Even "Turretfan" knows this, because he was careful and smart enough not to deny it and involve himself in manifest falsehood. White himself has admitted it several times. For example, in a post of 16 April 2004:

Armstrong complained again that I have "ignored" his rebuttals of my position. Yes, in general, I find them to fall so far short of meaningful and relevant that I do not believe them worth the investment of time.
Yet TF wants to give me misery for not replying to his arguments against some of my stuff, while White does exactly the same thing. This is what I call a double standard. TF wants to kiss up to White and not openly criticize him, because he is the Grand Poobah and Big Cheese: the King of the Anti-Catholics. And so it is a naughty no-no to publicly call him on his blatant, wanton, ongoing hypocrisies. That would make TF mighty unpopular in know-nothing anti-Catholic circles.

Note also how TF covers his bases by acknowledging (in a low-key way, but he still did it) that White has indeed made personal comments about me. No conscious, sane person who has followed our twelve-year interaction could possibly deny that, so he was wise to not do so. Elsewhere, TF even admitted that White engages in mockery against me:
When you accuse Dr. White of "falsehoods and misrepresentations and mockeries" and can only demonstrate that he mocks you, your readers are left wondering why you do not demonstrate the more serious allegations.

( 6-19-07 )
In the same post, he rails against and excoriates behavior that he thinks he sees in me: the exact thing that White routinely does (literally hundreds of times by now), against all sorts of opponents:
If you believe that your critics are providing "sophistical inanities," don't simply assert it, demonstrate it. When you dodge the issues and hurl ad hominem arguments and well-poisoning characterizations of your opponents, your readers start to realize that it's bluster not rebuttal.

. . . there is also a significant body of readers who are put off by excuses for failing to rebut what one's opponent has to say.

. . . There is something about your evasion above that gives most of us pause.

Quit trying to go after my person and address my arguments, if you can. And if you cannot, revise your position, striking the errors from your position. Apologetics, Dave, is not about personalities but positions.
So White's hypocrisy is evident. TF knows that he ignores many of my critiques of his work. He knows also that White engages in mockery against me and makes "personal comments." For this we can all be eternally grateful to TF: for his astonishing, noble, heroic honesty in accepting the utterly obvious. It's more than most anti-Catholics will ever admit about their big Hero and Champion, Bishop White. It's bad PR to do too much of it, though. So TF makes sure his implied criticism is muted and subtle enough to not bring White's (and his large fan club's) ire down upon his head.

So far so good (as far as it goes). But TF is very clever and ingenious in how he handles this problem in his ranks. Rather than deny that White engages in personal attack, insult, slander, ad hominem (which he cannot possibly do), he argues that yeah, White does that sometimes, but unlike the Catholics and guys like Dave Armstrong, he mixes in a little bit of substance with his personal attacks, so that they can be excused and winked at as understandable excesses (White makes a similar argument in defense of his frequently unethical and pathetic, despicable behavior and incessant personal attacks, in a post of 1-4-05). "Turretinfan" wrote:
. . . as far as this writer can recall, none of his responses have ever been "pure personal attack" . . .
Now, the contrary is easily demonstrable. And I shall proceed to do so now. I already gave one instance above. This will prove beyond a reasonable doubt in anyone's mind (including sane, conscious anti-Catholics with an IQ higher than a pencil eraser) that White is often guilty of the same thing TF has falsely accused me of: engaging in pure personal attack. First of all, White, of course, denies that he does such things. One of his most ridiculous utterances along these lines was the following:
God knows, and James Akin knows, that my writings do not contain any kind of material like that produced regularly by Catholic Answers. Every mention of Karl Keating, James Akin, Patrick Madrid, or other Roman Catholic apologists, in my newest book, is based upon issues, not personalities. Oh, it would be easy to get into that game. But I continue to strive for a higher standard. I don't want to become like my opposition, whether they be hatefilled [sic] Fundamentalist KJV Only advocates, or hatefilled [sic] Roman Catholic apologists. In either case, I pray God will allow me to not become like them.

( Mirror Mirror: The Decline of Catholic Answers )
White wrote in a letter to me, dated 12-2-96 (since he had sent to his cronies a personal, confidential letter of mine, in an effort to harm my reputation earlier that year -- long story --, I have taken the liberty to reveal his personal letters as well, ever since):
Dave, I don't trust you as far as I could throw you, to be perfectly honest with you. You are no different than the Crusaders of old, you just don't get to use a sword to hack me to pieces (and get a plenary indulgence in the process!). I do not believe that you were being honest, kind, or anything other than your old self when you wrote what you wrote in the list. Your intentions were obvious. When "caught," you dissembled. Period. All the protestations to the contrary are meaningless, since this is NOT the first time you've taken this route. Eventually, wisdom demands that you don't believe the untrustworthy.
Below I shall document, by many examples, posts that are entirely composed of sweeping personal insult:

3/28/04: Dave Armstrong

It is good to know that even on weekends the ever-vigilant Dave Armstrong is reading my blog. J Seriously, only a few hours after posting my response to TGE [Tim Enloe] below, DA (as he is so affectionately known by so many) posted a long, rambling response that, to be honest, has almost nothing whatsoever to do with what I said. I normally try to avoid DA when I write, since he seems to have no end of time nor any interest in actually focusing upon any one topic in his writings. In fact, he has written so much that it seems to be approaching critical mass, and may soon crash the internet due to all of his self-congratulatory self-citation. Anyway, if you dare mention him you will get a minimum of ten times the amount of text in return (witness this situation), and there is simply no end to the verbiage that can be pounded out on a keyboard connected to one of today's high-speed computers.

Be that as it may, what I said was 1) DA lacks the ability to engage the text of the Scriptures in a meaningful fashion, and 2) DA will use anything to attack the truth. Unwittingly he has proven the second proposition true in his lengthy response and the argumentation it contains. As to the first, I simply direct anyone to the "exegesis" presented in A Biblical Defense of Catholicism, his 2001 publication. The book is a monument to how to ignore context, avoid grammar, shred syntax, and insert the traditions of Rome willy-nilly into any passage you cite. Sadly, given how rare it is for anyone to honor the Word by engaging in serious AND believing exegesis these days, few in the pews have the process modeled for them consistently in the pulpit or the Bible Study room, and hence are impressed by even this kind of rambling eisegesis. DA thinks himself a modern Socrates, yet, his writing takes wild leaps from topic to topic, inserts endless (and often gratuitous) irrelevant material that serves only to cover the shallow nature of what is being said, and in the end requires one to possess the skill of nailing jello to a wall to be able to respond to it for its utter lack of substance. Take away his quotes from the CCC and Newman, and there would be little left.

To demonstrate this with clarity, let me provide a contrast. DA has published a book in which he seeks to give a "biblical defense" of his theology (it is much more of a defense offered by selective citations of Newman than anything else). It struck me this evening that he "explained" issues regarding Hebrews 7 and Christ's priesthood in his book, and I am writing an article for a journal on the same topic. So, the best way to substantiate what I have said is to just allow the reader to decide. Below I reproduce DA's comments, and after that, my own as they will be published in an upcoming journal article. Click here for the comparison. [ link ]
The second piece did actually make some arguments. I thoroughly responded to them, and was summarily ignored. This is what almost always happens with white: he may get in one round of (semi-) rational reply, but if I counter-reply, he flees for the Arizona hills (either on his bicycle or on foot if he has to split in a hurry to avoid a dreaded real dialogue).

The day before (3-27-04), White had written a post primarily about Tim Enloe, called "Blog Wars II . . ." When he mentioned me, it was pure insult and nothing else:

Roman Catholic apologists like Dave Armstrong, who lack any meaningful ability to engage the text in a serious manner, have no compunctions about grabbing anything to use as a bludgeon against the truth.
Then there was the famous "caricature war" controversy. I won;t revisit all that. I've written about it several times. But here was one White post, of 15 April 2004:
4/15/04: Dave Armstrong's Sense of Humor

I've taken a great deal of heat for having *any* humor on this blog, and especially for the cartoons Angel was so kind to provide. No matter how accurate his commentary, or how perfectly on-target the satire, there are some who just don't believe there is any room at all for the use of sarcasm, satire, or humor in apologetics.

Each of the cartoons we have presented have not only been accurate in how they look, but they have had a clear application to a particular situation, as anyone knew who listened to the debates or programs to which the cartoon referred can attest. And in no case was anything even remotely like violence suggested. Angel is a professional.

Well, as Rush Limbaugh always says, you really need to leave such things to the professionals. Today Dave Armstrong, Roman Catholic apologist extraordinaire, posted an altered version on his blog. Yes, Rush is right. Leave such things to the professionals. So, the next time you think about complaining about Angel's professional cartoons and the points they make, remember what the "other side" thinks is funny.

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[March 2004; source page]

Bishop White: "in no case was anything even remotely like violence suggested"

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(copyright 2004; posted on 4-22-04)
[source page and post / photograph URL]

Bishop White:
"Each of the cartoons we have presented have not only been accurate in how they look, but they have had a clear application to a particular situation, . . ."

April 2004 was a high point in White's apologetic career, no doubt. He was filled to the brim with personal insults. Here's another entire post from 19 April 2004:
4/19/04: Wow, I Feel Sooooo Much Better
Proving that reasoning and refutation are but minor irritations, Dave Armstrong has reposted his mauled graphic of me. However, his rather less than talented artist removed the blood from my face this time (as I said, I'm so thankful and feel so much better now). And he has chosen, in his own inimitable style to post it on one of his fantasy "debates," where he takes something I've written, works his wonderful Socratic magic (i.e. writes ten times the amount of material and hopes the verbiage will dazzle his audience), and puts "Dave Armstrong vs. James White" at the top. You know, it never crossed my mind, back in 1988/89 when I first started listening to tapes from Catholic Answers and started replying to their claims that someday I'd have folks like DA shooting blanks at me from long range. That's OK. Anyone who took the time to read the exegesis comparison and follow up knows the score. And proving that all things work together for the good, Angel has indicated I should be keeping my eyes on my e-mail in-box. Never know when he might provide us with one of his artistic commentaries on Mr. Armstrong's apologetic endeavors. :-)
Here is a real (and quite illuminating) classic: White's eight-minute rant about me on his Dividing Line webcast (20 April 2004). I made a transcript of it. If you prefer to hear it in audio format, I have preserved that too [link]. Like other similar nonsense, I had removed it from my website, in charity towards White and so as to not bore my readers with White's unsavory antics. But since I am being challenged, and it is being insinuated that Venerable Bishop White doesn't do this sort of thing, here it is, back again, for the record. The text below is a complete, absolutely unedited transcript for this portion of the show. All italics represent White's own frequent emphasizing of words:
Those of you who have been following the blog, uh [laughter], just, I don't know, what do you do with someone like Dave Armstrong, you know? I mean, really, it is a question that you face, because, just simply by being out there, I mean, uh, if you read his materials, he's very very high on himself and, uh, makes sure that you know how many books he's written.

Of course, they're vanity published, but how many books he's written, and uh, you read the top of his page, and it's [mocking tone] exegesis and history and apologetics and philosophy and all this stuff, and you know, in your heart of hearts, that this fella, uh, bless his soul, has no idea what he's talking about. He's read some books, but the important foundational stuff that allows you to actually make sense out of all that stuff, he's clueless; he has no idea what he is talking about, but he writes constantly!

I mean, he must live on two hours of sleep and must type at 130 words a minute. That's the only way that you could possibly produce the kind of verbosity, uh, that he produces. So what do you do? Cuz, it's sorta, sort of; it's really disturbing to me, uh, that I hear from people, and they go, "well, well, whaddya think about what he said about this?" And I sorta, I sorta; I, it's really hard for me to go, "well, have you really thought about, you know, the foundation of this argument, and the background of this argument?" People need to learn how to examine argumentation! And see through fluff! Uh, see through stuff that shouldn't even be called an argument; it's complimenting it way too much to call it an argument! And [sigh] it's just, how do you deal with folks like that?

I mean, uh, you know, he posts this horrific image of me, with an arrow sticking out of my head; blood everywhere, and tries to say, well [mocking, derisive tone] "you had that Angel cartoon about Patrick Madrid and you were stoning him!" Actually, you know, I think Patrick, not only, since he's in Envoy Magazine and they use cartoons all the time, but I think he would be, he -- if you really got him on an honest moment -- he would have to admit that that's one of the best caricatures of himself he's ever seen. I mean, he looks good in that! He really does! He looks better than, well, I think I look alright in mine, too, but he looks good! He looks really good. There's no arrow sticking out of his head. There's no blood anywhere. And everyone knows that it was a part of the debate
that we specifically talked about whether Moses would have stoned you, had you used this kind of argumentation.

[Richard Pierce, President of White's Alpha and Omega Ministries] He looks better than Spurgeon did in the one with Dave Hunt.

Well, uh, but see, now Spurgeon was just a background thing there. I think . . .

[Pierce] Well, he's also being strangled.

[laughter] He was not being strangled; he had a gag in his mouth, but
uh, uh, no, I mean, he really looks good! This; I'm sorry, but Mr. Armstrong's artist isn't an artist. He has no; he shouldn't be doing what he's doing, okay? He's not good at this. Angel is a professional. He knows what he's doing, and he's good at it, and he's making a point. There's no point in anything Mr. Armstrong, in his disgusting little graphic, has produced. But he's got a new one; I mentioned last night on the blog, he's got a new one; they took the blood off. [laughter] It's still the same thing, and [laughter] if anyone's . . . do you know what they could have done, and this is so simple; this would have actually maybe communicated something. And it might have been funny.

But they blew it. Uh, what they could have done, is, if you look at my graphic, the one that's on my blog, the first one that Angel did for me, do you notice something about those little arrows? They're little play arrows. They have the little rubber suction cup on the end. If they had just taken the Roman Catholic one, with a suction cup and stuck it to my forehead. No blood, and then just slightly change, the, uh, visual of the face, to one of surprise or "duh" or something like that, it might have been funny! It might have actually, you know, maybe you coulda made a point with it or something.

[Pierce] Yeah, but there's only one problem with that.

Uh, what?

[Pierce] The problem is that it would have required him to have some original artistry.

[laughter] That's true!

[Pierce ] And I would like to point out that, as the President of the organization . . .

[laughter]

[Pierce] . . . [clears throat] at the bottom of the page where that appears . . .

It's got a little copyright there.

[Pierce] Copyright . . .

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[Pierce] So in fact, Mr. Armstrong had to steal it, and modify it.

Yeah, well, he's done that before, and I've pointed out to him that he shouldn't do that, but anyway, that's, that's, aaah, whatever. I'm not overly concerned about that.

Um, but I am, the point is, that would have been funny; that would have been, "oh, ha ha ha", coulda got a little chuckle about it, but the fact that Mr. Armstrong can't see what the first one was all about, and refuses to acknowledge, [mocking tone] "you know, that was really dumb to post that, that was . . ", you know, he just won't do that.

That illustrates, then, what happened in my response to his writings. When you respond to him, and I don't know if anyone followed it, if they went to his blog -- we provided some of the links and stuff -- but, I went through, I provided, I quoted from his book, and then I quoted from the article I had written. And the whole point was to illustrate the difference in exegetical methodology. I have one. He doesn't. And he doesn't because he doesn't know the field. He's just; he doesn't know what he's doing! I mean, that would be like my trying to, to, write to a CPA and criticize uh, an audit that he's done on a major corporation. I'm not trained in that. I don't know the terminology. I don't know the basics, the foundational rules that you're supposed to do and why you put this in this ledger and why you put that -- I don't know that stuff. It's not my area, I; you can go to school and learn those things. Uh, but he hasn't done so.

And so, I just provided as an example. Well, he writes this response which has nothing to do with the text; it has nothing to do with exegesis; it just simply proves my point, but that's one of the things [mocking me] "see, he just ignores this." Well, okay, yeah, I did, because it wasn't worth responding to! I mean, it's just that bad! So, I did respond to it, after he said I wouldn't, and so I responded to it, demonstrated that it had no connection with reality whatsoever, it was really really bad, and his response to that was basically to accuse me of attacking him, and all the rest of this stuff, which for him means, I pointed out that he doesn't know what he is talking about.

When do, where do you draw the line? I mean, it would be so much easier to just ignore all these people, but the problem is, we're one of those few folks that actually gets out there and we get our hands dirty. We actually take on these, these individuals, and show where the argumentation's bad, and you're gonna end up with dirt on your hands, and on your face, when you wallow with some of these folks, and we try to figure out where the line is. This guy [sigh], sadly, there are people who write recommendations of his stuff! I mean, you got Scott Hahn, all these folks, which amazes me. Uh, because you [laughter] look at some of his books, and it's just like "wow! there's just no substance here." It's just rattle rattle rattle rattle, and quote John Henry Cardinal Newman and that's the end of the subject. And there's no meaningful argumentation going on at all.

Where do you draw the line, because eventually, I have to trust that the people who are reading these things, and are concerned about these things can eventually go, "hey, wait a minute, that wasn't even a response; that's not even a meaningful argument," without my having to hold their hand and show that to them. But, sadly, in a postmodern world, where, for a lot of folks, if you can produce a response, and spell it right, that somehow means something. The view of logic, rationality, the ability to examine argumentation; let's face it, folks, listen to the political dialogue in our nation! There's not a whole lot of meaningful discussion going on there! And yet you get people all excited; you know, I could play my Howard Dean .wav [audio file] here, you know. [laughter] It's just like, "whoah!" People, people look at this kind of stuff and as long as your mouth is moving, somehow you're making a point! Instead of going, "you know what? That person didn't answer that question, either!, that person didn't answer that question, either," wow! you know, all the rest of that kind of stuff . . . it is, it is, it's a daily battle as to how to decide what you respond to and what you don't.

Well, on a much higher level; on a much much much higher level; uh, on a, on an extremely much higherly [sic] level [derisive laughter], . . .
If anyone wants to see my interjected responses to this slanderous garbage (now removed from my blog), you can still view it on an Internet Archive page.

He was still ranting on 23 April 2004:
James White: Bad, Bad Man
Dave Armstrong wrote a nearly 4200 word "response" to Angel's cartoon, and, of course, it is all my fault. See, Wilson was right: it doesn't matter what you say. UPDATE: Dave then ignored copyright laws, demonstrated he has no one around him who can do original work, took the caricature below, and proved he is beyond all rational discourse yet once again by attaching various altered forms to his fantasy "debates" (remember, DA has never debated me, and will not do so in person). As I said a few weeks ago, since there is no substance to the man's methodology or study, but no end to his time to tap away at a keyboard, what do you do when he starts in with his irrational diatribes? Hopefully the clear demonstration of his incapacity to engage in meaningful exegesis (indeed, even to know what the term means) will help some who have been impacted by his sheer volume of verbosity.

Things got really absurd and ludicrous when I decided to stop interacting with White because he refused to cease issuing personal attacks in his "reviews" of my book The Catholic Verses: (you can see documentation of the "feeding frenzy" from White, Svendsen, and others in the second part of an old paper of mine, from the Internet Archive)

01/03/2005

James White: Meanest of the Mean
James R. White

It is hard to find words to describe the response of Dave Armstrong to the review of his own published work. I mean, when you publish a book, do you expect that no one will respond to it, review it, check it for accuracy, examine it for apologetic coherence? When you claim to be able to perform action X (i.e., provide coherent, accurate exegesis and analysis of biblical passages) do you really think you should be given a pass when you consistently fail to do so? I'm sorry, but up till today the essence of DA's replies has been, "He's so mean! He's engaging in ad hominem!" Yet every example he provides refers to a statement where I am making observations, or providing conclusions, based upon the very factual and exegetical material that Mr. Armstrong has miserably failed to handle accurately (and, of course, he'd cite that as more ad hominem).

But I never dreamed that a total and complete melt-down would take place, resulting in Mr. Armstrong pulling the material off his blog and going into hiding! And yet, you can read for yourself. [links to my paper that I cite in the introduction above] We are asked to believe this was a "long time coming," etc., but let's face it: DA isn't up to defending his published works. There's just nothing to say in defense of on the one hand saying, "Here is accurate exegesis of texts that confound Protestants" and on the other, the demonstration that DA can't do meaningful exegesis, and has made a number of errors in the process of writing his materials. You can try to distract folks with lots of charges of misbehavior on the part of the one pointing out your errors, and you can post dozens of URL's to your previous works, but the fact of the matter is, fair-minded, serious folks can tell when you simply have given it your best and have failed at your task. Perhaps some time off will allow Mr. Armstrong to consider the things he has come to believe to be true outside the field of battle? That would be a welcome thing.

Now, some might ask, "Are you going to continue your review?" Surely. I have been writing "ahead," actually, and have my blog articles through tomorrow evening already written and scheduled to appear via our blog software, including the conclusion of the Luke 1:28 examination regarding Armstrong and an article on Dr. Scott Hahn's claims regarding the same subject. And unless DA pulls his book from publication and distribution, it remains a resource that is in "the field," and hence proper material for response.
The above post is not included in White's January 2005 blog archive. Transcript of Dividing Line webcast of 4 January 2005 (the audio for this show appears to be unavailable now):

Quite honestly, I just don't see that he follows an argument really well. He's very sensitive; if you say anything, he's gonna run off and accuse you of ad hominem, even though he doesn't follow the standard definitions of ad hominem . . . A Biblical Defense of Catholicism. This is a self-published book, alright? There's no editor in the sense of a Bethany House or something involved with this particular book . . . . The man does not know how to do exegesis. It's a fact. I went through it and demonstrated that. But that book really didn't have a lot of distribution. Well now he's put one out with Sophia Institute Press. Now that's an actual publisher. And so that means it's gonna get actual distribution . . . so it would be useful to a wider audience to go ahead and respond to some of the arguments that are presented in the book, The Catholic Verses, . . . there is a consistent pattern of eisegetical misunderstanding, and an inability to deal with the text . . .
It's fascinating to read the comments . . . basically, Mr. Armstrong melted down . . . it does not seem that anyone knows what ad hominem argumentation is . . . the reason that Dave Armstrong is doing this is pretty much the same reason that Dave Hunt won't debate me. He can't. He can't . . . the facts are not on Dave Armstrong's side. He can't respond! . . . Dave Armstrong has gone into hiding . . . because he can't respond anymore . . . once I stop this review and the dust settles, then everything will be back to normal. That's my prediction, anyway.
. . . It is amazing to read what people are saying here; it truly is . . . If you don't read what the other side is saying, you can't call yourself an apologist, can you? . . . if it's right there, and you are writing on the subject of sola Scriptura or against sola Scriptura, and two pages prior to something you do cite, a hole is blown right through your argument, facts are presented that are completely contrary to your own position, and you hide that; you say nothing about it, that's not honest! That's not apologetics! I don't have any respect for that, and I'm gonna point it out! You're misusing your audience when you do that. Aren't you? . . . I would rather have had 20 verses that confound Protestants, and had serious arguments presented, than 95 fluffy pieces; 95 fluffy passages. Most of the time, these passages are cited, and there's no exegesis offered. It's just, "well here's what the text says, and my Catholic tradition says this, and therefore we move on from there." That's not meaningful argumentation . . . if you've been in a serious, Bible-oriented, Bible-preaching church for the past ten years, you should be able to refute clearly and exegetically, at least 90 of these 95 . . . the argumentation is so basic and so clearly fallacious . . . clear, obvious, logical errors . . . Armstrong could throw his hands up in the air and say, "look, I'm not a scholar; I have no scholarly training. I can't read the original languages." But he won't do that. He should! Because if he then said that, what would be the follow-up? "Well, then, you might want to avoid publishing books where you pretend to address these issues . . . you don't actually follow-through on what you claim you're gonna do . . . your refutation is actually based upon your own ignorance; you didn't understand what they were saying . . . there is a club, and as long as it is in service to Mother Church, then we all just pat each other on the back and say "eh, that's great; that's wonderful" . . .
I don't think Dave is an idiot. He's quite adept; he's quite the historian of the Beatles, for example. But that does not give you the ability to actually address the biblical text, does it?
. . . If Mr. Armstrong can't defend his material, then so much the worse for Mr. Armstrong. Maybe he will move on to doing something else. Maybe he'll recognize this isn't something he should be doing. Maybe he'll think twice before putting himself in that situation again.
. . . No one has even tried to document that I have misrepresented Dave Armstrong. They can't. I'm giving the direct citations . . . I'm not misrepresenting him. I'm accurately representing him . . .

More nonsense from 5 April 2005:

04/05/2005

The Most Pathetic Post I've Ever Seen...
James R. White

...at least from an "apologist." This just appeared on Dave Armstrong's blog. You remember Dave Armstrong. Yes, he's the fellow who kept stealing Angel's artwork, having a four-year old butcher it, and posting it on his blog. Same fellow who melted down into a puddle of apologetic goo when I finally invested the time to start working through his book, The Catholic Verses, and that after years of wanting to "debate" me in writing (but, of course, never in person). Same fellow who then took an oath to stop interacting with "anti-Catholics" (convenient use of terminology)---which had the not overly unexpected result of basically killing his blog, which then went into hibernation during Lent anyway. And so now what do I find but a listing of my books and their Amazon sales ranks compared to who else, but DA! Honestly, how utterly pathetic can someone become? It was bad enough that his work was shown to be consistently shallow, and worse that his attempts to respond were shrill and panic-filled (leading to his melt down and his unwillingness to even attempt further defense), but evidently he was stewing a good deal more than anyone knew to stoop this low. Of course, there's a little problem: Amazon is not a major outlet for my works. My own ministry, other Christian ministries, and bookstores (including academic ones: a number of my works are used as textbooks in various Bible schools and seminaries) make up the majority of my distribution. Now, I don't personally care if Mr. Armstrong does in fact outsell me: the Prayer of Jabez sold more books than I will ever sell in my entire lifetime, and it remains a vapid waste of paper. But it truly amazes me that someone who utterly lacks the tools to do the work he claims to do with such expertise continues to be dragged along by the rest of his compatriots. Just another example of "as long as it is in the service of Mother Church, it is all good." What a contrast: we seek to be consistent in honor of the truth, which at times requires us to speak to less-than-popular topics (such as our exposure of the many errors of Dave Hunt). Where is that kind of consistent dedication to truth on the "Roman" side?
The following post (5-26-05) has, oddly enough, disappeared from White's blog archives for May 2005. But it can still be found in a search of White's blog. I documented it:

The Dave Armstrong Arcade Game

A while back I took the time to engage Dave Armstrong's The Catholic Verses on this blog. The response by Mr. Armstrong was 1) bluster and absurdly silly replies; 2) full-scale retreat and a "promise" (again) to stop interacting with "anti-Catholics" like me. Since then, Mr. Armstrong has returned and, evidently, has healed from his wounds, forgotten his own promises, and is now busily non-responding to me all over again (even producing reverse-color purposefully bad pictures originally taken by Mormons). Remember that cheesey arcade game where the little animal pops up out of a hole and you have to bop it back in to get points? The kind of thing you played just because you only had one token left and the real games took two? Well, I may have played that game once, but found it completely boring and not worth even that last token. Ditto, Mr. Armstrong. There is no reason to even respond to a person who, upon being shown to be in error, will reply, "Oh, I don't have to answer that! That person is anti-me, and I take an oath not to respond to his kind...until this topic has passed, anyway, or I have had more time to come up with a response or something." Such is not apologetics, it is excus-a-getics, and is not worth the time it takes to activate the RSS feed.
A post earlier in that same month (5-4-05) has also strangely vanished from White's archive:

If you want to see how to deal with Dave Armstrong, look back a few months to what happened when I invested the time to dig into his book. Response? Bluster, sputter, retreat, collapse, invisibility, Lent.

. . . As anyone can see by going back to the records, Armstrong made the most recent version of his "I will not respond to anti-Catholics" promise after and as a direct result of my critiquing his book. In fact, at first, he tried to respond to my articles (here's an example). But it was painfully clear he was in way over his head, so he all of a sudden had a change of heart and issued his "don't respond to anti-Catholics" decree. Now he would have his readers thinking he actually did so before I began my review, so that I was taking the easy road in going after him only after I knew I would be "safe" from his brilliant and awe-inspiring rebuttals, which, sadly, the world cannot now see because he is so consistent in keeping his oaths. Please! Someone fax over some reality to Mr. Armstrong.
Nor is this sort of non-substantive idiocy merely a thing of the past, or for short periods of time when White lost it or had a bad hair day or something (oops; he has no hair . . .). It continues to this day. White is so desperate to insult me that he had to even resort (on 4-7-07) to making fun of a portrait taken by my wife Judy (my "leather jacket / serious" series from March 2007:

04/07/2007

Ah, There It Is
James R. White

I had wanted to use this picture in my blog article last night, but could not locate it. With a little help this afternoon I was able to find it. Since Dave Armstrong posted this one of himself, I figure he likes it, and I would not want to be one to use a photo of him that he would not like. So this is Dave Armstrong, Catholic apologist. In a tree. I am fighting madly to avoid making the obvious commentary that begs to be made at this point. Really. I am. I'm biting my lip. Or my fingers. Or something. Dave Armstrong in a tree. There you go. No distortions, color fades, or anything else required. Just, Dave, in a tree.
If this just isn't enough for you, there are more. And more. And more.

When "Turretinfan" himself took to defending White's own stuff because white wouldn't, White chimed in with this post, of 14 June 2007:

06/14/2007

From the Mouth of Two or Three Witnesses
James R. White

I could not have said it better, but, it is best when someone else observes, and comments upon, the obvious. Read Armstrong's post. Not even the mention of a single point of criticism of his position. Not once. Just "Oh, woe is me! I'm a victim!" Truly amazing. Please note, I am not reviewing Armstrong's book for the sake of Armstrong. He is beyond dialogue or discussion. But his errors repeat themselves out there in the "real world," and hence the refutation of them...again...is useful for those who refuse to be silent.
A week later I made a joke about a picture of a statue of the "reformers" in Geneva, and this (remember, in a sarcastic vein) proving "idolatry" on the part of Protestants. But White, as always, has no sense of humor when he or his ideas are the target, and so issued this hyper-serious "reply":

06/21/2007

James White Promotes Worship of John Calvin!
James R. White

...or so Dave Armstrong alleges this morning. As an example of his methodology of argumentation (which often includes the, "Oh, look at that issue over there that is completely irrelevant to the point at hand, isn't it interesting?" tactic), Armstrong's attempted response to this blog entry begins by re-posting Dan Borvan's picture from Geneva of the "Reformation Wall" with this subtitle:


James White sanctioned rank idolatry by posting a picture of statues of "reformers" on the same day that he issued a critique of my book's discussion of communion of saints, and mocked statues of Mary and the saints.

For this to be true, of course, it would have to follow that DA has evidence that Dan bowed down to these statues, lit candles to them, prayed to them, and sought the intercession of these men of God. Of course, Armstrong doesn't have that evidence, and, of course, Dan didn't do that, which only shows once again that Armstrong has no compunctions about constructing straw-men.

I note briefly in passing as well that Armstrong's response proves that he is unable to engage the actual texts under discussion outside of relying upon secondary sources. That is, all he can do is try to line up commentators on one side or the other and say, "See, my point is possible because these guys say so." But he is not capable of responding to the substance of the comments regarding martu,rwn, qeatai, etc., for this is beyond his area of study. Now, there is nothing wrong with someone being ignorant of the original languages, exegesis, etc., however, there is everything wrong in being ignorant of these things and yet making repeated pronouncements about the conclusions of the study of these fields.
In an article of 8-25-07, as soon as I am mentioned, it is "pure insult" and nothing else:
Speaking of incoherent vitriol...Dave Armstrong has returned to blogging. I just happened to see a new article on his site. I truly think Armstrong is headed for a full-on meltdown soon, to be honest. The level of "shrill" is peaking. In any case, the article started, "David T. King: anti-Catholic Reformed Baptist pastor...." Poor Dave. He can't even start an article with accuracy. It is well known that David King is a Presbyterian minister, not a Reformed Baptist. Now, that is not for my not trying! We'd love to have David...but alas, my brother remains, as Bill Shishko, a Presbyterian. Anyone reading the response brother David wrote to Armstrong will once again see that Armstrong is helpless when it comes to being refuted. All he can do is throw a fit and grow more shrill, which is why I have a feeling we may see a complete melt-down (again--how many has DA exhibited over the years?) in the not too distant future.
I've cited enough verbatim, but additional examples can be found also (as well, as of course, countless, almost infinite individual potshots, insults, slanderous rubbish mixed in with the occasional rational, misguided argument:
"The Dave Armstrong Shuffle" (4-6-07)

"Dave Armstrong: Hey, Look At Me! I'm Over Here! Hey, Guys! (Updated With DA's 'Response')" (7-12-07)

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