Following instep with such silliness that Benedict XVI/Raztinger, "is functionally a pantheist" (LINK), the ever increasing anti-Catholic bias that is being exhibited at the Beggars All blog continues with Matthew D. Schultz's diatribe aimed at a gent named David Meyer ("someone in process of converting from the PCA to the Roman Catholic denomination"), utilizing some of the stock 'tools' of the Reformed apologists tradecraft: caricature, double-standards and ad hominems. Let's examine a few of Matthew's examples (LINK):
Ignorance is what we find among many converts, leading or otherwise, to Catholicism. They demonstrate a serious lack of knowledge about both the early church and the very Reformed doctrines which they claim they are rejecting. Concerning the former, I'm often able to determine from where a set of early church quotations has come by simply copying and pasting portions of it into a Google search. The results are predictable; the Catholic has simply lifted the entire set from some website, typos and all, without any evidence of critical interaction with those texts, let alone evidence of having at least read the context of those passages. They care more for the appearance of intellectualism than the hard work necessary to obtain the genuine product.The latter failure of doctrinal comprehension is particularly revealing--they consistently fail to properly represent Reformed doctrines or demonstrate that they really understand them. This casts doubt on their claims to have seriously wrestled with the doctrines of the Reformation. It would seem these converts were (and are) more interested in inflating their egos than pursuing "the truth."
Pretty much all the above criticisms leveled by Matthew at the "many converts" to Catholicism are just as true with converts to Protestantism. If Matthew is indeed correct, it would seem to imply that "ignorance" is THE common factor in most conversions.
Converts to Catholicism are notorious for dismissing the intellectual leaders of their denominations and acting as if such people are either irrelevant or downright heterodox. These converts behave as if they are the gate-keepers of true Catholic belief. The appeal to intellectualism is just a convenient abstraction.
No examples are given, just rhetoric. I know some Catholic converts who are well read in the writings of such Catholic intellectuals as Raymond Brown, Yves Congar, Avery Dulles, Joseph Fitzmyer, Richard John Neuhaus, Karl Rahner, George Tavard, Hans von Balthasar, et al. On the 'flip-side', I wonder how many Reformed converts are as well read in the more recent Reformed intellectuals like Karl Barth and G. C. Berkouwer.
But why would we want to engage in the cult of celebrity which defines the modern Roman Catholic apologetics industry? We should care about pointing people to Christ, not to conversion stories, even if these stories are overlaid with all the finery of sophistication and erudition.
And "the cult of celebrity" does not exist in the Protestant paradigm? There is no question that within the broader Evangelical paradigm each generation bears witness to a new crop of "cult" celebrities; the same holds true within the more narrow confines of the competing conservatives denominations and sects—though the conservative Reformed sects seem to keep their "cult" figures around much longer than the broader EV paradigm.
Before closing out this opening post, I would like to mention that at the beginning of Matthew's thread, he briefly touched on the early Church Fathers, and the development of doctrine. I would be very interested in knowing what textbook/s are being used in the English speaking Reformed seminaries to cover these subjects—hopefully, readers 'in the know' can supply the answer/s.
Grace and peace,