Saturday, April 17, 2010

Fulfilling a promise to Pastor David King

This last Thursday evening, I was having difficulty getting to sleep, so I got out of bed and jumped onto the internet. After checking my blog, I signed onto James White’s “Prosapologian” chat room and began to interact with a couple of other visitors. We were having a friendly discussion concerning some Reformed systematic theologies (Charles Hodge and W.G.T. Shedd to be specific), when ‘out of the blue’ Pastor David King (aka: Skyman`) made his presence known. The theme he wanted to discuss was me, and on a very personal level. He called me a “liar”, “hypocrite”, “unstable”, and a few other things not worth repeating. I attempted to deflect the open hostility, and during the course of that attempt, (once I got David to calm down just a little), David expressed one of the primary reasons for his current disdain for me: on a few occasions prior to the publication of the joint (with William Webster), self-published, 3 volume work, Holy Scripture – The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith, I had “praised” some of the work that David had shared with me; but then, I later criticized parts of the published work.

Now, David is absolutely correct on this, though I do not understand how this makes me a “liar”, “hypocrite”, and “unstable”. I mentioned to David that I have never been critical of the entire work, but only of certain conclusions/premises; and that just this week in the combox of a thread at James Swan’s Beggars All blog, had explicitly said that part of his contribution was “solid”. He told me that he did not “believe me”, and I replied that I would type up a thread on this issue and post in here at AF no later than the following Monday. Here is what I posted at BA:

Me: For the record, I have never said that William’s and David’s 3 volumes are “awful”, and/or “horrendous”; in fact, I think David’s treatment of the Biblical doctrine is [sic] of Scripture is solid (though it presents nothing ‘new’).

>>I assume you have Pastor King's book. Can you demonstrate the material is sub-standard?>>

Me: Depends on how one interprets “sub-standard”. Here is the rub James, I have yet to see W/K’s work cited by any patristic scholar since its publication. Now, does that make it “sub-standard”—personally, I believe that in and of itself, is [sic] does not; however, when this is coupled with the fact that a primary thesis of the work is at odds with a consensus contemporary, Protestant, patristic scholars, I must in good conscience say that in scholarly circles, the work is “sub-standard”. (LINK.)

I would like to delineate a bit further on what I believe to be “solid”, and then, what I consider to be “sub-standard”.

Pastor King is solidly Reformed (and not just in his soteriology); he subscribes to the Westminster Standards, and when he took up his pen to defend the Biblical doctrine of Scripture, it is from the Reformed perspective; the very sub-title of his volume on this, A Biblical Defense of the Reformation Principle of Sola Scritpura (vol. 1 of the 3 vol. set), is certainly accurate—and, for the record, once again, his presentation is quite solid. Personally, if I had to pick just one modern-day volume to represent the Reformed position on Scripture, I would choose G. C. Berkouwer’s Studies In Dogmatics – Holy Scripture (Dutch ed. 1967; English ed. 1975); but with that said, I would have no problem recommending David’s work to anyone interested in the Reformed perspective.

Next, I also think one should acknowledge the efforts of David and William as the editors of vol. 3, which is a collection of selections from the early Church Fathers (up to the time of John of Damascus) concerning how they viewed Scripture—they have done their English speaking readers a great service in providing up-t0-date English translations of the Greek and Latin, a few of which appear, at least to my knowledge, for the first time in English.

However, I believe that the sub-title of this 3rd volume, The Writings of the Church Fathers Affirming the Reformation Principle of Sola Scriptura, is not entirely accurate. As I have documented here at AF on more than one occasion (see A.N.S. Lane’s essay referenced and linked to on the right side bar, as well as the posts I linked to in my previous thread), the consensus of modern-day patristic scholars is that the sola scriptura principle of the early Church Fathers (some prefer the term prima scriptura) is not identical to that of the magisterial Reformers of the 16th century. So, while the 3rd volume is a good source for the non-scholar, it needs to be supplemented in order to get the more complete picture of the early Church Fathers view of Scripture. (I could add much more on this issue, but I would just be repeating what I have already posted in the past.)

Summation: if you are interested in a passionate, polemical defense of sola scriptura from the somewhat narrow perspective of the Reformed position (which, btw, is not entirely monolithic concerning the teachings of the early CFs on SS), then by all means purchase David and William’s 3 vol. set—but for me, Christendom is much larger than just our Reformed brothers in Christ, and as such, I believe that one should give a serious ear to the scholarly efforts of the patristic scholars I have referenced here at AF.


Grace and peace,

David

16 comments:

dtking said...

Greetings to the readers of Mr. Waltz's blog:

Let me state for the record, I never solicited any such comment from Mr. Waltz. He made this decision unilaterally, nor do I agree with the negative light in which he has cast me personally, i.e., as "openly hostile and lacking a state of calmness" in speaking with him in a chat channel, especially since it was not a face to face conversation. This is his own opinion, and his own perception of my person, and I do not share it. Now, to be sure, I do believe him to unstable, given his own personal track record from being a Jehovah's Witness, to "Reformed," to a member of the Roman communion, and now who knows what; and hypocritical especially because of his claim to "objectivity" which militates against his track record here and on other blogs. For instance, I don't think there is anything "objective" about the way he has described me in my personal dealings with him here. I told him repeatedly that I was not speaking to him out of anger.

He has frequently described such folk who disagree with him as "anti-catholic," especially Protestants. I don't find that to be "objective," because it represents a personal agenda. Now, granted, I believe Roman apologists to be the most "anti-catholic" folk I've ever encountered for very specific reasons - 1) Their claim that the head of the Roman communion is the head of all Christendom, which I understand to be an affront to the crown prerogatives of the Church's only King and Head, the Lord Jesus Christ; 2) because of the dogmas peculiar to Rome which all Christendom doesn't accept, and 3) because of what I believe to be post-apostolic, accretions to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. But I make no claim in doing so to objectivity.

I told him that he is a modern day example of that class of men whom the Apostle Paul described as "always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (2 Timothy 3:7). He is quite proud of his personal library, which he employs as his Avatar, but it is my personal opinion that his critical reading skills are questionable. But for all of his reading, he is by virtue of his own admission at a loss as to where to reside ecclesiastically.

Now then, the words which he has employed here to describe me -> "I attempted to deflect the open hostility, and during the course of that attempt, (once I got David to calm down just a little)” - on this occasion are a complete misrepresentation of myself personally, and is one further example (of a long history with Mr. Waltz) as to why I distrust him. I was neither hostile nor lacking calmness - this is simply typical of the way in which Mr. Waltz is pleased to cast those with whom he disagrees. So, he has fulfilled not so much a promise to me as he has to himself. I have never solicited, nor shall I ever, his approval for our work. Any words that appear here as "kind remarks" are, in my opinion, an attempt to cast himself in the best possible light.

What I asked him to do repeatedly in our exchange was to admit, and he has not done so here, that his claim to "objectivity" is unfounded, given his history of appearing on Evangelical blogs, and offering his own perspective on issues with which he disagrees. This post is simply an attempt to make himself appear to be objective, the very opposite of what I requested him to do. Again, I told that I was not soliciting anything from him but a frank admission of his own lack of objectivity, and that he has refused to do.

I'm sure he is probably otherwise a nice guy, probably a good husband (I certainly pray he is), but he is not to be trusted as a theologian, for he lacks stability. But since he has chosen to post this publicly on his blog, I offer my own perspective on his remarks. I thank yours and his patience.

David Waltz said...

Hello David,

Thanks for responding, and presenting your perspective; as you felt the need to add your comments and thoughts concerning my post, I too believe I should address some of your comments. You posted:

>>Let me state for the record, I never solicited any such comment from Mr. Waltz. He made this decision unilaterally…>>

Me: True, but you seem to missing the point; as I mentioned in the opening post of this thread my “promise” stems from the following:

==I mentioned to David that I have never been critical of the entire work, but only of certain conclusions/premises; and that just this week in the combox of a thread at James Swan’s Beggars All blog, had explicitly said that part of his contribution was “solid”. He told me that he did not “believe me”, and I replied that I would type up a thread on this issue and post in here at AF no later than the following Monday.==

>>…nor do I agree with the negative light in which he has cast me personally, i.e., as "openly hostile and lacking a state of calmness" in speaking with him in a chat channel, especially since it was not a face to face conversation.>>

Me: I will let the readers decide if your charges of “liar”, “hypocrite”, “unstable”, etc. do or do not reflect some hostility on your part.

>>This is his own opinion, and his own perception of my person, and I do not share it.>>

Me: That’s fine. Apart from profanity and attempted links to pornography, I do not censure comments made here (unlike so many other blogs); you are welcome to post your opinions and views here.

>>Now, to be sure, I do believe him to unstable, given his own personal track record from being a Jehovah's Witness, to "Reformed," to a member of the Roman communion…>>

Me: So, deeply studied and deeply reflected change is a sign that one is “unstable”…hmmm…(maybe everyone should cease missionary work, apologetics, debates, et al.). What is even more troubling is the fact that the co-author of your work has made at least as many changes as I have—I know for a fact that William went from a Catholic, to some kind of Baptist, and then to starting his own church (I think there was at least one other ecclesial change, but I am not certain on this—perhaps you or William could lend some clarification here). So, here is the rub David: at best you embrace a double-standard on this issue…

>>…and hypocritical especially because of his claim to "objectivity" which militates against his track record here and on other blogs. For instance, I don't think there is anything "objective" about the way he has described me in my personal dealings with him here. I told him repeatedly that I was not speaking to him out of anger.>>

Me: I sincerely do not understand your assessment here David; to me, a lack of objectivity precludes the willingness to make changes when new data/information/knowledge is acquired via continued study and reflection.

>>He has frequently described such folk who disagree with him as "anti-catholic," especially Protestants.>>

Me: That is not accurate at all—I reserve the term “anti-Catholic” (capital “C”) for those who have gone on record as holding the position that the Roman Catholic Church is not a Christian Church (FYI: I have stated this quite clearly both here and at BA).

>>I don't find that to be "objective," because it represents a personal agenda.>>

Me: I honestly fail to see how my position on the use of the term “anti-Catholic”, “represents a personal agenda”—IMO, it is an accurate description of a certain/explicit position.

CONTINUED…

David Waltz said...

CONTINUED…

>>I told him that he is a modern day example of that class of men whom the Apostle Paul described as "always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (2 Timothy 3:7).>>

Me: Hmmm…I believe in the God of the Bible; I believe the Bible to be the Word of God; I believe in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ; I believe Jesus to be the promised Messiah, et al.—fact is, my CORE beliefs have not changed for decades.

>>He is quite proud of his personal library, which he employs as his Avatar, but it is my personal opinion that his critical reading skills are questionable.>>

Me: Do you really want to go there David? My goodness, have you forgotten our discussion over whether or not Benedict XVI (Ratzinger) held to the material sufficiency of Scripture? As for the ECFs position on Scripture and tradition, are Bauckham’s, Beaven’s, Hanson’s, Kelly’s, Lane’s, Outler’s, Pelikan’s, Schaff’s, Wiles’s, Williams’, et al., “critical reading skills”, “questionable” too?

As for my library, I have clearly admitted that I am a bibliophile…

>>But for all of his reading, he is by virtue of his own admission at a loss as to where to reside ecclesiastically.>>

Me: It seems honesty means next to nothing…

>>Now then, the words which he has employed here to describe me -> "I attempted to deflect the open hostility, and during the course of that attempt, (once I got David to calm down just a little)” - on this occasion are a complete misrepresentation of myself personally, and is one further example (of a long history with Mr. Waltz) as to why I distrust him. I was neither hostile nor lacking calmness - this is simply typical of the way in which Mr. Waltz is pleased to cast those with whom he disagrees.>>

Me: Once again, I shall let the readers decide if your language to me has reflected “calmness”, or if represents some hostility.

>>So, he has fulfilled not so much a promise to me as he has to himself.>>

Me: I told YOU, that I would provide documentation to what I asserted no later than Monday.

>>I have never solicited, nor shall I ever, his approval for our work.>>

Me: This is not is relevant to our discussion.

>>Any words that appear here as "kind remarks" are, in my opinion, an attempt to cast himself in the best possible light.>>

Me: Wow…I am pretty much at a loss for words on your above comment; the only thing that immediately come to mind is ‘bizarre’.

CONTINUED…

David Waltz said...

CONTINUED…

>>What I asked him to do repeatedly in our exchange was to admit, and he has not done so here, that his claim to "objectivity" is unfounded, given his history of appearing on Evangelical blogs, and offering his own perspective on issues with which he disagrees. This post is simply an attempt to make himself appear to be objective, the very opposite of what I requested him to do. Again, I told that I was not soliciting anything from him but a frank admission of his own lack of objectivity, and that he has refused to do.>>

Me: To have done so would have been folly on my part, for I sincerely believe that you do not understand what objectivity means. For the record, here is my take:

When I study religious paradigms/worldviews I sincerely try to ‘place myself into the shoes’ of the those I study; I also try to discover/unfold the best scholarly arguments in that process; and last of all, I always realize that I am anything but infallible, and as such may need to make corrections as new knowledge is acquired.

>>I'm sure he is probably otherwise a nice guy, probably a good husband (I certainly pray he is)…>>

Me: Thanks David; my wife and I are less than two months away from celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary; and though she surely knows that I am anything but perfect, we both love, and deeply respect each other.

>>…but he is not to be trusted as a theologian, for he lacks stability.>>

Me: I sincerely disagree, but you are welcome to your opinion here.

>>But since he has chosen to post this publicly on his blog, I offer my own perspective on his remarks. I thank yours and his patience.>>

Me: Once again, I am glad you responded; though we obviously have different views on the issues involved, I respect your right to express your opionons here.


Grace and peace,

David

Dave Armstrong said...

Hi David,

My deep sympathies. I'm well familiar with Pastor King's name-calling habits in that chat room. Usually as soon as he saw me enter there (the few times I was allowed in at all), it was a constant harangue: sometimes repeating things over and over and over, like a mantra or a chant (I'm a liar, a heretic, foul-mouthed, etc.), like someone in the Moonies or something. It was very weird and ultra-rude.

On a few occasions, he was intent on kicking me out, even though I had violated no rules and was getting along fine with everyone else.

The man is given to extreme and uncharitable statements (watch out if he replies to me here!). For example:

"I already have a very low view of the integrity of non-Protestants in general, . . . most of you are too dishonest to admit what you really think."

(on Eric Svendsen's Areopagus discussion board, 4-15-03)

It is prior profound hostility of this sort that precludes any rational and fruitful discussion.

Dave Armstrong said...

I think it is particularly absurd how you were treated, seeing that you said several sincere, nice things about his books -- things I would never say myself, given my own experience with the reasoning and argumentation of Pastor King and of his co-author William Webster, whose understanding of development of doctrine is woefully abysmal at best.

I refuted (I think soundly) papers of his on that topic and the papacy twice and he never bothered to make any counter-reply.

David Waltz said...

Hello Dave,

What a pleasant surprise!!! So good to see you back at AF; you wrote:

>> My deep sympathies. I'm well familiar with Pastor King's name-calling habits in that chat room.>>

Me: Indeed, and it sure seems that you and I are not the only ones who get targeted; our Eastern Orthodox brother in Christ, Ken Guindon (one of the most calm and gracious persons I have met), has shared a few of his experiences with me—he has certainly ‘been there’.

>> Usually as soon as he saw me enter there (the few times I was allowed in at all), it was a constant harangue: sometimes repeating things over and over and over, like a mantra or a chant (I'm a liar, a heretic, foul-mouthed, etc.), like someone in the Moonies or something. It was very weird and ultra-rude>>

Me: Not surprised at all Dave. BTW, have you noticed that many Reformed epologists allow themselves to use emotional charged language and terms against others but ‘cry foul’ if the recipient/s of their ‘love’ return the favor?

>> The man is given to extreme and uncharitable statements (watch out if he replies to me here!). For example:

"I already have a very low view of the integrity of non-Protestants in general, . . . most of you are too dishonest to admit what you really think.">>

Me: Ah yes, the ol’ ‘I can read your mind’ you silly non-Reformed punk…(GRIN).

>> It is prior profound hostility of this sort that precludes any rational and fruitful discussion.>>

Me: But Dave, don’t you know that such verbiage and treatment is not hostile…well, unless, of course, you return the favor.

>> I refuted (I think soundly) papers of his on that topic and the papacy twice and he never bothered to make any counter-reply.>>

Me: I have not read those papers; if you get a chance could you post the links?


Grace and peace,

David

Dave Armstrong said...

Hi David,

Thanks for the warm reception.

BTW, have you noticed that many Reformed epologists allow themselves to use emotional charged language and terms against others but ‘cry foul’ if the recipient/s of their ‘love’ return the favor?

Absolutely (i.e., the anti-Catholic ones). I just went through this at Beggar's All. Swan refused to renounce his open suspicions that I am psychotic. Hays actually called me a "schizophrenic." He reiterated that I have an "evil character" (a thing he has casually stated in the past) and Swan refused to distance himself from that remark, too.

Then Swan made an argument that my calling him "Doe" was equally as objectionable as his questioning my mental state.

I have not read those papers; if you get a chance could you post the links?

Glad to:

Refutation of William Webster's Fundamental Misunderstanding of Development of Doctrine

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2004/02/refutation-of-william-websters.html

Refutation of Protestant Polemicist William Webster's Critique of Catholic Tradition and Newmanian Development of Doctrine

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2006/08/refutation-of-protestant-polemicist.html

You might also be interested in my famous exchange with Pastor King. He was whooping it up making fun of Catholics in Eric Svendsen's forum and saying they were dumbbells because they denied that Cardinal Newman was a liberal and considered one by the Church. King claimed that Pope St. Pius X thought this; that is, until I produced a letter from the pope that stated quite otherwise. King then fled for the hills and Tim Enloe was enlisted to special plead on his behalf.

King has never attempted to tangle with me to the slightest degree since that time. It has been complete mockery and insults. See:

Protestant Contra-Catholic Revisionist History: Pope St. Pius X and Cardinal Newman's Alleged "Modernism"

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2006/11/protestant-contra-catholic-revisionist.html

Also of related interest:

Refutation of David T. King Regarding St. John Chrysostom & St. Irenaeus as Alleged Sola Scriptura Advocates

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2007/04/refutation-of-david-t-king-regarding-st.html

Steve Polson said...

Surely anyone who accuses another of lying must either be soliciting a defense from the accused, if he disagrees with the action--or he is the very hypocrite that he accuses the other of being.

In other words, if someone is honestly and sincerely outraged at a lie he can only hope that he is mistaken or despair that he can be mistaken. In either case, he could only be overjoyed to discover that he was wrong, that there was no lie after all. Someone who would accuse another of lying then admit that he doesn't want to hear a defense is implicitly revealing himself to be a hypocrite.

I know that is pretty obvious, just common sense, but sometimes it's a good idea to point out the obvious just as a reminder.

Nick said...

David,

I don't own Vol 1 of King's series (which I understand to be defending SS from Scripture). Could you tell me if (and how) King addresses the "every Scripture" argument against SS, because if he does not, then I consider that a serious shortfall against his book.

Here is my take on the 'every scripture' argument:
http://catholicnick.blogspot.com/2010/04/sola-scriptura-is-unscriptural.html

David Waltz said...

Hi Nick,

Forgive my somewhat tardy response to your question, but in my defense, Blogger failed to inform me of your post; anyway, you asked the following:

>>Could you tell me if (and how) King addresses the "every Scripture" argument against SS, because if he does not, then I consider that a serious shortfall against his book.>>

Me: David King presents a solid presentation of what I would term the “Princetonian” defense of SS; but, as you probably know, that particular defense has serious critics within the Protestant paradigm. With that said, I was disappointed with the lack of serious reflection on Catholic theologians who embrace the material sufficiency of Scripture.

It is late, I will try to remember to read you blog essay tomorrow (if you get a chance, email me, and remind me !!!)

God bless,

David

nilesh mahapatra said...

I think it is particularly absurd how you were treated, seeing that you said several sincere, nice things about his books -- things I would never say myself, given my own experience with the reasoning and argumentation of Pastor King and of his co-author William Webster, whose understanding of development of doctrine is woefully abysmal at best.
Quran

Nick said...

Hi David,

This is a reminder about you wanting to read my article and tell me if King's book addresses the issue. I was out of town the last few days so I couldn't get to a comp until now.

David Waltz said...

Hello nilesh,

So nice to see a new face here at AF—WELCOME!

If you get a chance, could to explain in a bit more detail the weaknesses of David and Williams “understanding of the doctrine of development”?


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi Nick,

Thanks much for the link; will try to get to the article (and 60 posts!) later today.


Grace and peace,

David

nilesh mahapatra said...

I think it is particularly absurd how you were treated, seeing that you said several sincere, nice things about his books -- things I would never say myself, given my own experience with the reasoning and argumentation of Pastor King and of his co-author William Webster, whose understanding of development of doctrine is woefully abysmal at best.

I refuted (I think soundly) papers of his on that topic and the papacy twice and he never bothered to make any counter-reply.Quran