Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Taking Luther out of Context

Over at Beggars All  James Swan has been going through Dave Armstrong's book, Protestantism Critical Reflections of an Ecumenical Catholic. I have not done anywhere near the work James has done on Luther's works, but on the occasions I have responded to outrageous Luther quotes I have found that he is taken out of context more often than not. It seems to me that James' context makes Dave's claims rather difficult to believe. It seems to me that if one has to take Luther out of context to "prove" something about "protestantism", that perhaps one's own position is a bit weaker than one would like.

Finally, this does not mean that one has to agree with Luther, but one should disagree with him based on what he actually believed and said, and not because of quotations taken out of context.

111 comments:

Steve Martin said...

Not everything Luther said was great. But he said plenty that was (great).

I like to place the focus on the good stuff, and realize that he was a man (after all), and a real sinner. He never claimed to be anything else.

Edward Reiss said...

Steve,

Interestingly, many of these folks would not agree that the behavior of the popes tells against RCism, yet outrageous citations of Luther are proof against "Protestantism".

Dave Armstrong said...

Hi Edward,

Just curious: what is it that you think I am (was) trying to prove about "Protestantism" with Luther citations?

Also, what do you think is my own opinion of Luther as a man?

Please provide documentation of what I wrote that leads you to have whatever your opinion is in your reply.

Thanks!

Dave Armstrong said...

Rather than talking about me writing about someone else, based on second-hand speculations from a very hostile source with an agenda (and, I suspect, without knowing all that much about my overall opinions, which are infinitely more nuanced than critics like this ever realize), I think it would work a lot better actually talking to me about it; having a real conversation with someone who won't immediately conclude that you are an inveterate liar if we disagree (like fellow Protestant Steve Hays did).

Dave Armstrong said...

Note, e.g., when a fair-minded Anglican Church historian, Dr. Edwin Tait, read my interpretations of what I thought certain Luther quotes implied, he responded on my blog:

"I appreciate your attempt to 'set the record straight,' and you may or may not be surprised to hear that I agree with most of your points."

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2010/02/martin-luther-after-lutheran-gospel-was.html?showComment=1266868373094#c6593187639674521474

I recall Edwin also having positive things to say about my lengthy treatment of the question of Luther and the Peasants' Revolt several years back. We actually collaborated on some papers regarding Melanchthon and Luther and their view and use of the Church fathers.

Note also what "CPA": a Luther professor of history, with whom I have had several good dialogues, has written about me (entirely unsolicited):

"Let me just say a word here for Dave Armstrong. . . . he is a former Protestant Catholic who is in fact blessedly free of the kind of 'any enemy of Protestantism is a friend of mine' coalition-building we've been discussing . . . Maybe he went through a 'I despise all of my past' stage at one point in his life, but at least now, he's pro-Catholic (naturally) without being anti-Protestant (or anti-Orthodox, for that matter)."

(7-12-05)

Edward Reiss said...

Dave,

Your opinions about Luther as a man are not really relavent--you could believe he is the bees knees and still take him out of context. Regarding James' posts about your book, it seems to me that you have taken Luther out of context. I have not read your book, so it is possible James' critique is off base, But when I have checked his work, it has checked out quite well. That is my documentation as James is a source I trust. But let us focus on one quote:

"Men have broad chests and narrow hips; therefore they have wisdom. Women have narrow chests and broad hips. Women ought to be domestic; the creation reveals it, for they have broad backsides and hips, so that they should sit still."

The link you supplied a link where the quote reads thus:

"Men have broad and large chests, and small narrow hips, and more understanding than women, who have but small narrow nreasts, and broad hips, to the end they should remain at home, sit still, keep house, and bear and bring up children."

The quotes are slightly different, with the latter quote not making the claim that men have wisdom not because of their narrow hips, but just a claim that men have more wisdom which is much less silly. This is one of the risks when using Table Talk--which version is "true"? Was it ever really uttered etc. Your post claims that scholars believe these are Luther's words. Which version is Luther's words? The one where men have wisfdom because they have narrow hips, or the one where men are simply asserted to have more wisdom than womrn? The citation you supplied also does not give the context of the remark. If the context is one of demanding physical labor it is not too outrageous at all, nor it it outrageous if if Luther did not say that men have wisdom because of their narrow hips.

Now, it is not my position that Luther never said anything outrageous. It is my contention that a lot of RC apologists follow the RC tradition of citing Luther out of context to "prove" something rotten at the heart of "protestantism". My point baout the pope is germain here: if Luther's outrageous statements tell us somethin gabout "protestantism" (which you did not specifically claim in the post I respond to), then how much more do corrupt popes tell us about RCism--especially given the elevated claims of the RCC?

Dave Armstrong said...

Hi Edward,

Your opinions about Luther as a man are not really relavent--you could believe he is the bees knees and still take him out of context.

So you aren't willing to state publicly what you think my opinion of Luther may be?

it seems to me that you have taken Luther out of context. I have not read your book, so it is possible James' critique is off base,

There is a background to everything. What is being critiqued is one appendix from one book, entitled "The Agony of Luther, Melanchthon, and Bucer Over the State of Early Protestantism." That was my entire "editorial" comment. I simply cited Luther's words. I was not editorializing the entire time and steering readers in the direction I wanted them to go, like some other people I know (rather like the liberal news media giving their interpretation of any speech by a conservative, as if people are too dumb to understand what was just stated).

Do you deny that Luther was very upset about aspects of early Protestantism?: e.g., the Anabaptists, the Sacramentarians, the social problems brought on by the Peasants' Revolt and social unrest in Germany from that time (1525) till his death in 1546; Carlstadt and iconoclasm, etc.? This was what my citations had to do with.

The quotes were mostly compiled from research I did in 1990-1991, right at the time of my conversion. That was before the Internet. I didn't have many books on the topic from a Catholic perspective. Now we have Google reader and "Look Inside" at amazon and Internet Archive and access to thousands of books, so that we can get to context right on the Internet. It's far easier to do research on something like this than it was in 1991. So there are limitations inherent in what I was doing then, because of those things, but it doesn't make the entire set of citations bogus or out-of-context or somehow fundamentally different in meaning.

At that time, I had very little material on Luther from a Catholic perspective. It was before the Internet. I was mostly copying things by hand from a local seminary and the library at the University of Detroit. The book was completed in May 2003. Even then, I don't think Google Reader was yet around. So it's very easy to do all this further research now and claim that I have butchered all these quotes. I simply cited historians (Durant, Denifle, Janssen). If anyone cited wrongly, therefore, they did, not I.

You refer to my "claims" being "rather difficult to believe." As I said, the only "claim" in this appendix was that Luther had "agony over the state of early Protestantism." One either denies that or they do not (what do you think?). But it is plain enough from the historical record.

Dave Armstrong said...

[cont.]

Then you talk about "if one has to take Luther out of context to 'prove' something about 'protestantism', . . . So now you want to claim that I am trying to make an argument about Protestantism in that appendix, when in fact it was simply documentation of Luther's distress, which is about his emotions, not Protestantism itself. So you have missed the essence of what I was doing there. Thus, you are making editorial statements about arguments I didn't make, and complaining about out-of-context citations from a book of mine that you have never read. This is supposed to be impressive method? One might see a lot of irony in it . . .

It is my contention that a lot of RC apologists follow the RC tradition of citing Luther out of context to "prove" something rotten at the heart of "protestantism".

I'm sure they could be found. But the matter at hand was not your complaints about Catholic apologists as a class, but rather, about myself. You cited my name and my book and went on to make various claims about what I did. So here I am giving my side and providing a rebuttal.

My point baout the pope is germain here: if Luther's outrageous statements tell us somethin gabout "protestantism"

I have not said that they do. The situation was very complex. The citations have to do mostly with the historical situation in Germany from 1525-1546. What I was trying to show was accurately described in the title of the appendix. That's the purpose of a title: to sum up content underneath it.

Do you deny that Melanchthon and Bucer were upset about how things were proceeding, too? Or do you not know enough about those things to have any opinion one way or another?

(which you did not specifically claim in the post I respond to)

Your post was about one of my books, not the recent posts that I have put up about Luther. Am I to take this as a semi-concession that you cannot find that I have made the claims (relevant to my book) that you initially criticized?

then how much more do corrupt popes tell us about RCism--especially given the elevated claims of the RCC?

I've argued for 20 years that the "sin argument" proves very little about anyone or about competing truth claims. I'm currently writing a book about Calvin. In the Institutes, Book IV he makes extensive arguments about "sin in the Church" not proving anything. it is to be expected precisely because of original sin and propensity for actual sin. I completely agree with him. Therefore, papal sin proves little about Catholic claims, and nothing about papal infallibility, because it has nothing to do with that. Infallibility is about doctrinal proclamations, not sins that a particular pope may be committing.

Usually when I document "controversial" stuff in Protestant history or in Luther's words in actions, it is to overcome the myth that early Protestants were inherently more noble and holy than the Catholics at the time. Luther himself specifically disavows that opinion when he stated that "our manner of life is no better than the papists."

In other words, the methodology and intent is not to disprove Protestantism by citing Protestant sins and hypocrisy, but rather, to show that the above claim that many Protestants make about Catholicism is factually untrue, as seen in Luther's own statements.

Two very different arguments . . . But you seem to have missed these crucial distinctions in your attempted critique of my book and alleged out-of-context quotations.

Dave Armstrong said...

But let us focus on one quote:

This is from a recent post of mine, not my book, which was the recent focus of your criticism.

"Men have broad chests and narrow hips; therefore they have wisdom. Women have narrow chests and broad hips. Women ought to be domestic; the creation reveals it, for they have broad backsides and hips, so that they should sit still."

The link you supplied a link where the quote reads thus:

"Men have broad and large chests, and small narrow hips, and more understanding than women, who have but small narrow breasts, and broad hips, to the end they should remain at home, sit still, keep house, and bear and bring up children."

The quotes are slightly different, with the latter quote not making the claim that men have wisdom not because of their narrow hips, but just a claim that men have more wisdom which is much less silly. This is one of the risks when using Table Talk--which version is "true"? Was it ever really uttered etc.


The differences above are exactly what we would expect from different renderings of the same event: much like the Synoptic Gospel accounts. You can major on the minors if you like, but to me it is clear what Luther was driving at, when we see the other comments that he also made; particularly:

"God created man with a broad chest, not broad hips, so that in that part of him he can be wise; but that part out of which filth comes is small. In a woman this is reversed. That is why she has much filth and little wisdom." [WA, TR II, no. 1975, p. 285]

The first quote above that I used was from two professional historians, in a book published by Cambridge University Press; taken from the Weimar edition of Luther's works in German: considered the most authoritative version. If you think it is inaccurate in some way, then go after them. I simply cited what they produced. But there are different renderings in Table-Talk because of different recorders and translation issues.

Dave Armstrong said...

[cont.]

Your post claims that scholars believe these are Luther's words. Which version is Luther's words?

Which of the three Synoptic Gospels accurately record Jesus' words? Are you in the habit of questioning those, too?

The one where men have wisdom because they have narrow hips, or the one where men are simply asserted to have more wisdom than women?

Based on several other versions I have seen, looking around more on Google Advanced Book Search, the first. Here's one example:

"Men have broad shoulders and narrow hips, and accordingly they possess intelligence."

http://books.google.com/books?id=okdX8254AIsC&pg=PR36&dq=Luther++intelligence+woman,+OR+women&lr=&as_drrb_is=q&as_minm_is=0&as_miny_is=&as_maxm_is=0&as_maxy_is=&as_brr=3&cd=12#v=onepage&q=Luther%20%20intelligence%20woman%2C%20OR%20women&f=false

Richard C. Gamble, Professor of Systematic Theology at Reformed Presbyterian Theological seminary in Pittsburgh, backs up that interpretation. He states that Luther:

". . . argued in his Genesis commentary that women could not be created in the image of God. Certainly, their broad hips and intellectual inability makes that clear to anyone, he argued."

(in Always Reforming: Explorations in Systematic Theology, edited by A. T. B. McGowan, Downers Grove, Illinois: IVP Academic, 2006, p. 233)

http://books.google.com/books?id=jsJcsuoMks0C&pg=PT233&dq=Luther,+women+chests,+OR+hips&lr=&as_drrb_is=q&as_minm_is=0&as_miny_is=&as_maxm_is=0&as_maxy_is=&as_brr=3&cd=81#v=onepage&q=Luther%2C%20women%20chests%2C%20OR%20hips&f=false

The citation you supplied also does not give the context of the remark. If the context is one of demanding physical labor it is not too outrageous at all, nor it it outrageous if if Luther did not say that men have wisdom because of their narrow hips.

Table-Talk generally has little context. But if we cross-reference similar statements to each other (here and elsewhere), we can get the drift. This is one such case.

James Swan said...
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Dave Armstrong said...

Obviously, I am here to have a discussion with Edward Reiss, not a guy who is obsessed with my work (some 140-150 posts by now), even though he states he hasn't taken me seriously for five years, says I suffer from serious psychological deficiencies and should be left alone for that reason, then proceeds to foster his obsession all the more.

Nice try, but I am interested in serious, substantive discussion.

James Swan said...
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Dave Armstrong said...

Comment all you like. I can't stop your obsession. But I can stop all serious interaction with you (as I have), and stop providing the exposure and notoriety that you crave on my blog (as I have).

Nothing you are doing harms my overall presentation of, or opinion of Luther in the slightest. To the contrary, you are reinforcing what I am doing, but you are too blinded in your anti-Catholic zeal to see it. By all means, continue! I think it is a delightfully humorous and entertaining state of affairs.

Now I have six great new posts about Luther up (his words only) that wouldn't have been there, but for you. Keep it up, and you will accomplish exactly the opposite of what you think you are accomplishing, which is, of course, fine with me! I encourage you: by all means, write a hundred more such posts.

Dave Armstrong said...

yes, your behavior is a bit bizarre at times.

Nice try at revisionist history. Here is what you actually wrote:

"I think it's quite possible you have serious psychological issues. . . . your cyber-behavior strikes me (and probably others) as very bizarre. If you get yourself checked out, and my suspicions prove accurate, and you get the help you need, be it medication or therapy, and we see a change in your cyber behavior, I'll seriously consider never mentioning you, and begin trying to strike your name from this blog. Perhaps then we could actually have a civil dialogue. If indeed this happens, I don't want to be known as a guy who picked on a person struggling with deep psychological issues. . . . That being said, to all of you who share my concern, perhaps it is time we back of from Dave Armstrong a bit. I know you probably think I'm being sarcastic, but actually, I'm not. / . . . There's just something not right with Mr. Armstrong. I think he needs some help."

(22 and 24 August 2009, on the Boors All blog)

Dave Armstrong said...

Now I have six great new posts about Luther up (his words only)

Correction: five are like that. The sixth is this present dialogue with Edward, which has my thoughts and opinions, too.

James Swan said...
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Dave Armstrong said...

So our friend offers me this choice:

"If you go to the shrink and get therapy and meds, I'll stop lying about you, won't mention you and will consider removing the massive evidence of my obsession with your non-serious work from my blog, and we can (as a special bonus) even engage in civil dialogue! All you have to do is admit that you are nuts!

"But if you don't admit that you have serious psychological trouble, I'll continue lying about you and being obsessed, as I have for six or seven years now."

Makes eminent sense, doesn't it? Truly an intelligent, compassionate, Christian opinion there . . . who could argue with it?

James Swan said...
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Dave Armstrong said...

Visitors to my blog decline when I post on obscure Luther quotes. I write for me.

All the more reason to do it! Keep right on doin' what you're doin', Doe!: my arguments get bolstered, more people learn various things about Luther, and your readership decreases. Three benefits in one . . .

ROFL

Perhaps your readers have enough wits about them to realize how ridiculous it is for you to take the view of me that you do, while you keep obsessing over my work and trying desperately to discredit me. Maybe even your readers are embarrassed by that, so they don't respond and hope you will write about something else for a change, and stick to your resolve to not continue tormenting a desperately pathetic, psychologically ill figure such as I. :-)

Dave Armstrong said...

Thanks very much for using the word "psychosis," so folks can know exactly what you are talking about. Excellent.

James Swan said...
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Dave Armstrong said...

I don't know Dave, since I write for me, not them.

Yes, that's patently obvious.

Why put it on a blog at all, then, if it is only for "you"? Just write a diary to entertain yourself. Why bother cross-posting at times on Bishop White's blog, where multiple thousands read?

Despite all that, it's just for you, because you're not a theologian of glory, like you say I am; you're a theologian of narcissism (being "just for [you]".

No one's buying the false humility schtick. Even a witless moron could see through that. Like everyone else on the Internet, you are writing for others. Otherwise, why publish online? Take the blasted thing down tomorrow if you truly want to abide by your own statements of purpose for a change.

Dave Armstrong said...

This is my last remark in this thread about your idiotic comments.

Either Edward is willing to continue our relatively civil conversation or I will move onto other things, but there is no reason wasting more of my time.

So know that further comments of yours here will not be replied to -- and it will have absolutely nothing to do with inability to answer.

James Swan said...
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Turretinfan said...

Dave wrote: "What is being critiqued is one appendix from one book, entitled "The Agony of Luther, Melanchthon, and Bucer Over the State of Early Protestantism." That was my entire "editorial" comment. I simply cited Luther's words."

Then shortly later Dave wrote: "I simply cited historians (Durant, Denifle, Janssen). If anyone cited wrongly, therefore, they did, not I."

Therein lies the important distinction that either Dave hasn't grasped or (possibly, but I'll let him say) he was hoping you wouldn't grasp.

Dave's appendix was not "The Agony of Durant, Denifle, and Janssen Over the State of Early Protestantism." Dave's appendix was not even "Scholars who think Luther Agonized Over the State of Early Protestantism." Dave's appendix purported to provide evidence of "The Agony of Luther, Melanchthon, and Bucer Over the State of Early Protestantism."

With the appendix as named, Dave is conveying the idea that the quotations he provides support the thesis for which they are provided. When the context is found, and they turn out not to support his thesis, it has been shown that he misled the readers.

Dave may now regret that he didn't do a more thorough job of researching some of the quotations in the appendix. He may well try to shift the blame to the secondary sources he relied on. Hopefully, at some point, he'll just come out and say, "I didn't carefully research the matter, and consequently ended up misrepresenting Luther." It would also be nice if he (rather than Mr. Swan) were the one bringing these research errors to light. However, perhaps there is some reason that Dave is not interested in correct his research deficiencies of the past.

- TurretinFan

Dave Armstrong said...

Are you truly this clueless and ignorant about early "Reformation" history and Luther's own life, TAO? It's hard for me to believe, but then again with you, absolutely any stupidity is possible.

Here are a few remarks from Protestant historians, from my latest post, Was Luther in His Last Years in Agony & Bitter About the Course of Protestantism in Many Quarters (Including His Home Town)? Many Biographers Think So

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2010/02/was-luther-in-his-last-years-in-agony.html

"Luther had also experienced extreme frustration and disappointment about the progress of the Reformation movement. He expressed this disappointment through searing indictments of the ingratitude with which the Germans had responded to the restored gospel. He upbraided them for the "Epicurean" indifference and, what was worse, for their open blasphemy. Alongside his attack on the papal "abomination," then, he added a condemnation of his contemporaries's response to the gospel.

"This change should not be attributed to Luther's growing age or increased illness. . . . at some level of his being, above or below his understanding as a theologian, he had apparently hoped for more than the actual course of events had provided. . . .
Luther was doomed to disappointment."

(Mark U. Edwards, Jr.)

"In 1542 had had to admit resignedly that he had been unable to change the contempt for God's Word in Germany and would have to let the destruction run its course."

(Martin Brecht)

"His last years in Wittenberg were bitter. He was disappointed in the undisciplined lives of his congregation, and he raged at his audiences from the pulpit. Near the end of his life he threatened to leave the city altogether. . . . The Christian was moved by gratitude to God and sought to do good works not to win salvation but out of spontaneous love. Luther saw no evidence that his people in Wittenberg were so moved."

(Richard Marius)

"In his last years Martin Luther lamented over the low morality of the great mass of those who had gone over to the Protestant Church."

(B. K. Kuiper)

Edward Reiss said...

Dave,

In answer to your question "what do you think my opinion of Luther is" I still don’t think it is relevant.

"I simply cited Luther's words. I was not editorializing the entire time and steering readers in the direction I wanted them to go, like some other people I know (rather like the liberal news media giving their interpretation of any speech by a conservative, as if people are too dumb to understand what was just stated)."

Well, I wouldn't say you "simply cited Luther's words", you had something to prove: Luther's feelings about the th estate of Protestantism.

"As I said, the only "claim" in this appendix was that Luther had "agony over the state of early Protestantism." One either denies that or they do not (what do you think?). But it is plain enough from the historical record."

And if James' responses to you are correct, and it seems to me that he has tracked down the relavent quotes, then what you claim Luther said is not what he meant.

"So now you want to claim that I am trying to make an argument about Protestantism in that appendix, when in fact it was simply documentation of Luther's distress, which is about his emotions, not Protestantism itself."

If, as I said, James' critique of your citations is spot on, then what you claim Luther is not proved by your citations.

'The differences above are exactly what we would expect from different renderings of the same event: much like the Synoptic Gospel accounts. You can major on the minors if you like, but to me it is clear what Luther was driving at, when we see the other comments that he also made…”

The quotes say different things. In one Luther's quote states that men are wiser because they have narrow hips, in the other he says that men are suited for work while women are suited for the home. Those are not the same things.

"Which of the three Synoptic Gospels accurately record Jesus' words? Are you in the habit of questioning those, too?"

I don't believe it is possible to harmonize thr two quotes from your blog post.

"Table-Talk generally has little context. But if we cross-reference similar statements to each other (here and elsewhere), we can get the drift. This is one such case. "

If Table Talk does not give context, and we have to supply it via cross referenceing different similar sounding quotes from different contexts, I find it difficult to believe we should use Table Talk as a source for serious study of Luther's state of mind.

Edward Reiss said...

James,


An editorial comment is 'steering readers in the direction you want them to go.'"

Precisly. An editorial comment is meant to lead the reader to a conclusion. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with that, but the data supplied needs to be supportive of the direction which the editorial commentor wants to go. I think Table Talk is not really suited to that for Luther.

Regarding sources, I agree it is not good ebough to simply say one believes the source. Some checking needs to be done. (I have spot checked you BTW! :-))

Dave,

"Obviously, I am here to have a discussion with Edward Reiss, not a guy who is obsessed with my work (some 140-150 posts by now), even though he states he hasn't taken me seriously for five years, says I suffer from serious psychological deficiencies and should be left alone for that reason, then proceeds to foster his obsession all the more.

Nice try, but I am interested in serious, substantive discussion. "

It is my opinion that James' research is substabtive, though your milage may vary.

Edward Reiss said...

TFan,

"Dave's appendix purported to provide evidence of 'The Agony of Luther, Melanchthon, and Bucer Over the State of Early Protestantism.'"

Precisely, if the quotes in context do not support that the "editorial comments" were not justified. I would also poin tout that without context it is difficult to understand what is meant. Thus, even if Luther did agonize over Protestantism, the citations in question need to support that if that is what the "point" of the citation is.

James Swan said...
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Turretinfan said...

"with you, absolutely any stupidity is possible"

Classic Armstrong argumentation.

Dave Armstrong said...

Who said it was an argument? It is a declarative statement, based on long, sad personal experience with you.

James Swan said...
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Dave Armstrong said...

And twelve Catholic historians have confirmed that it is so in my case, just as twelve Protestant ones have in Luther's case:

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2010/02/was-luther-in-his-last-years-in-agony.html

James Swan said...
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Dave Armstrong said...

"Evil" and "Psychotic" Dave: "Agony Over the State of Early Protestantism"

Protestant historian Mark U. Edwards, Jr.: "Personal disappointment and fears / shocked and disappointed him / indignant / complaint / inevitable disappointment / challenged / extreme frustration and disappointment / disappointment / This change / he had apparently hoped for more than the actual course of events had provided / Luther was doomed to disappointment / his hope for the progress of the gospel in this world, however faint, withered in the light of experience / gripped by apocalyptic hopes and fears / disappointed his hopes / he became ever more pessimistic"

"events from the mid-1520s onward / widespread indifference and ingratitude toward the renewed Gospel / "ingratitude of the Germans" / brutal realities of the Peasants' War / rending of the Protestant ranks / about the progress of the Reformation movement / ingratitude with which the Germans had responded to the restored gospel / "Epicurean" indifference / open blasphemy / condemnation of his contemporaries's response to the gospel / remain fast in its sin despite the renewed preaching of the gospel / a movement that had taken, for him, a painful and frustrating direction."

Protestant historian Martin Brecht: "Luther's effort on behalf of the Reformation was anything but a triumph / In 1542 had had to admit resignedly that he had been unable to change the . . ."

"unwillingness to repent -- especially for the sins of usury and greed -- which he confronted in those around him / contempt for God's Word in Germany / all classes lacked a consciousness of injustice and sin"

Protestant historian Richard Marius: "His last years in Wittenberg were bitter / disappointed / he raged at his audiences from the pulpit / lambasting the Wittenbergers"

"undisciplined lives of his congregation / Luther saw no evidence that his people in Wittenberg were so moved / adultery, greed, and the desires of the flesh"

Protestant historian Philip Schaff: "Luther and Melanchthon themselves often bitterly complained in their later years / Luther, and especially Melanchthon, bitterly complained, in their later years"

"The fact is undeniable, that the Reformation in Germany was accompanied and followed by antinomian tendencies and a degeneracy of public morals / the abuse of the liberty of the gospel and the sad state of morals in Wittenberg and throughout Saxony / abuse of the episcopal power assumed by the magistrate, and the avarice of princes in the misappropriation of ecclesiastical property"

Goose/gander, pot/kettle black, if the shoe fits wear it, etc. But I am evil and psychotic and no Christian, and so I must be opposed at all costs, even if I have said nothing that good Christian historians have said (in even more graphic terms).

Dave Armstrong said...

will he ever answer what I've just written? Will he explain why the quotes he used don't say what he says they do in context?

See:

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2010/02/taking-luther-out-of-context-reply-to.html?showComment=1267256637046#c1995103468344849048

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2010/02/taking-luther-out-of-context-reply-to.html?showComment=1267296300585#c4535827593566286798

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Edward Reiss said...

Dave,

The point is that your citations do not support your conclusions. You can say that Luther was despondent, etc. but that does not make your use of the quotes accurate, i.e. in context.

Edward Reiss said...

Dave,

No one in this thread has called you psychotic or a non-Christian.

James Swan said...
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Dave Armstrong said...

No one in this thread has called you psychotic

My mistake. The words used were "your psychosis" rather than "psychotic." Mea culpa.

http://upstatelutheran.blogspot.com/2010/02/taking-luther-out-of-context.html?showComment=1267217023271#c8506111520241664895

or a non-Christian.

It is incipient in the anti-Catholic position. This may not be your viewpoint (I don't know; far as I can tell, it isn't), but it is that of my antagonist in this thread. I follow all binding Catholic teachings, and according to anti-Catholicism, I can't do that and be considered a Christian, or saved, IF I follow it, because it is a "false gospel" that cannot save. Of course, they don't even understand what we teach in the first place (esp. on soteriology) but that is a whole 'nother issue.

Edward Reiss said...

Dave,

OK, fair enough. But ISTM you brought up the issue from another discussion.

"It is incipient in the anti-Catholic position."

But this assumes the RC position is the correct one. By the same logic, you don't think I, or any Reformed person is a Christian. Even the RCC allows for the EOC to be "church" while being "Anti-Catholic"--i.e. polemically opposed to RC teachings.

I would also like you to show how your quotes, in context, support your position. The two comments you linked to don't address that issue.

Dave Armstrong said...

Would you be willing to go on Iron Sharpens Iron radio program this week on this topic?

You know what my policy is. What is it you don't get about it? Do you have amnesia now?

You had your chance in 2007 to do a live chat debate with me, but you (and six other of your buddies, including Bishop White, twice) refused. At that time I gave up debating anti-Catholics, since they were unwilling to even discuss the foundational issue of what Christianity is. That was the last straw, after 12 years.

The only exception since October 2007 was Jason Engwer recently, for the sake of former Catholic David Waltz, who said that one of Jason's arguments was persuasive to him. Like Jesus said, one rescues a sheep out of a pit on the Sabbath, because the sheep is more important than the rule.

You can't goad me into this, just because all of a sudden you have worked up the gumption and guts to actually do a real debate. I don't operate on that plane, but by principle. Since I'm not the egomaniac narcissist that you think I am, this ploy doesn't entice me in the slightest.

Why would I waste my time with a guy who thinks I am 1) psychotic, 2) not to be taken seriously, 3) unable to ever tell the truth about Luther, 4) not a Christian?

That sounds like a real good discussion to you, eh? Talking things over with a lying, unregenerate nut whose work you are obsessed with?

James Swan said...
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Dave Armstrong said...

Hi Edward,

OK, fair enough. But ISTM you brought up the issue from another discussion.

How is that relevant to anything? Here I am being called a psychotic and you want to talk about semantics and how it was brought up? Either it is true or it isn't! Do you think it is? Do you think it is conducive to discussion to make such a ludicrous charge with no personal contact with a person, not to mention no degree in psychiatry?

ME: "It is incipient in the anti-Catholic position."

But this assumes the RC position is the correct one.

It is irrelevant to this matter what view one has of "the RC position." Anti-Catholicism is the position that claims that Catholicism is not Christianity. That remains true whatever one thinks of Catholicism, because it is a matter of definition. My definition of "anti-Catholicism" didn't change in the slightest when I converted from evangelicalism to Catholicism.

By the same logic, you don't think I, or any Reformed person is a Christian.

How so? When have I ever said that? I don't follow this "logic."

Even the RCC allows for the EOC to be "church" while being "Anti-Catholic"--i.e. polemically opposed to RC teachings.

Mainstream Orthodoxy does not deny that we are Christian. That's why there are fruitful high-level ecumenical talks taking place right now.

I would also like you to show how your quotes, in context, support your position. The two comments you linked to don't address that issue.

I don't need to. What I have on my site is more than sufficient to back up all my claims.

I have tried to have a conversation with you on this thread but you have resorted to boilerplate and talking points and have not addressed the questions I asked you in all sincerity.

Dave Armstrong said...

Why is it, that you think I'm obsessed with you

Why is it that you keep talking to me and writing about my opinions (now even challenging me to a debate), when you think I am a nut and not to be taken seriously?

You have some 150 papers about me on your blog (when I still posted your garbage on my site I documented what you had up, in one paper). You say no one should take me seriously; I lie all the time about Luther; I am psychotic (you even said folks should stop pestering me because I am so seriously mentally disturbed), yet you keep doing it. That's obsession because it is certainly not rational (or consistent) behavior.

And I DO have some background in behavioral science (sociology with a minor in psychology), so that I can recognize an obsession when I see it (especially when I am the target of it). But I wouldn't deign to dogmatically diagnose someone as "psychotic," as you do.

Dave Armstrong said...

Your misrepresentations of my positions in this thread alone are more than enough just by themselves to discredit you in my eyes forever as any credible sort of thinker, but of course that is just the tip of the iceberg of the falsehoods and nonsense you have spewed against my Luther research for some eight years now, since we "met" on CARM. That's why you don't deserve any more consideration or time. I was stupid to even participate in this thread, when I have important work to do today.

No one knows about your relentless misrepresentations better than I do, because MY positions were the ones that you have endlessly tortured and caricatured and twisted and taken out of context (ah, the sweet irony there!). It just never ends. That happened in 2003 when we first sparred at length about Luther's Mariology, and it has been the case ever since.

But apparently some people find you impressive. On the surface it may seem that way, but your kind of intellectual "depth" is the sort that is a mile wide but a quarter inch thick. Anyone who looks close enough can see right through it.
And slime (such as charges of "psychosis") is always close to be found, floating on the surface.

Unlike you, I don't waste time with folks whom I don't take seriously. That's precisely why I removed all of our former "debates" from my blog. You don't deserve that serious attention. It's why I don't debate anti-Catholics anymore (though I still expose their antics, such as Hays' jokes about topless and S&M nuns, his advocacy of masturbation as a helpful "warm-up" to marriage, or his abominable treatment of our host a short while back, or TAO banning me for a day on his blog and then changing his mind). I can't resist poking fun at such inanities, but I don't do serious debate anymore with fools, as anti-Catholics invariably are.

You, OTOH, continue to write about me all the time. That makes no sense, if in fact you think I am a nut and a completely unserious thinker, a narcissist, a liar, etc. ad nauseum.

But it's your life, not mine. Like I said, it does me no harm, and even helps my cause, so by all means continue if you must, in your obsession. One can't rationally argue with a position that is not rational or logically consistent in the first place.

Edward Reiss said...

Dave,

"I don't need to. What I have on my site is more than sufficient to back up all my claims.

I have tried to have a conversation with you on this thread but you have resorted to boilerplate and talking points and have not addressed the questions I asked you in all sincerity. "

Even if your over all characterization of Luther is correct, the citations you gave, in context, do not support the claims you make. Those are two separate issues. For example, if it is true that I like my job, you cannot prove that by showing that I generically like IT work. Another example, if I do not like my job, you cannot prove that by showing where I dislike the way people use networks. This is not a "talking point", but a valid critique of your use of Luther quotes. Unless he means in the specific quote what you claim he means, you are taking him out of context.

Edward Reiss said...

Dave,

"How is that relevant to anything? Here I am being called a psychotic and you want to talk about semantics and how it was brought up? Either it is true or it isn't! Do you think it is?"

It seems to me there is a history behind these labels, so I was pointing out that simply pointing out that James said it first may not tell the whole story.

"Anti-Catholicism is the position that claims that Catholicism is not Christianity. That remains true whatever one thinks of Catholicism, because it is a matter of definition. My definition of "anti-Catholicism" didn't change in the slightest when I converted from evangelicalism to Catholicism."

I think the Reformed in general walk right up to the line of saying RCism is non-Christian without crossing it. This is similar to how the EOC treats Rome, in my opinion.

Dave Armstrong said...

Alright, Edward. I've tried repeatedly to have a normal discussion with you, but it's just not working. You are ignoring my points and questions just as Doe is doing. I don't know why that is, but it is, and I can't control it, just as television news show hosts can't get their guests to answer questions if they are unwilling to.

You don't even take a stand as to whether I am a "psychotic" or not. You have to play games with that because of party affiliation, which is very disappointing. It seems that there are basic things we can agree not to call each other, and one of them is "psychotic" (another is "evil"). But you want to act as if I called someone this? I did not. He simply decided to assert that I have serious psychological problems and need therapy and meds. Today he bolstered it by saying I have a psychosis.

That by itself is reason enough to ignore anything he writes henceforth, but as I said, it is only one thing out of literally hundreds of distortions through the years that he has spouted about my opinions or my person. There certainly is a history here: for eight years. Nothing has changed over that time, though to my knowledge I was at least not deemed as nuts till last August.

I do thank you, in any event, for the opportunity to express my opinions here, and wish you the best.

Edward Reiss said...

Dave,

"You don't even take a stand as to whether I am a "psychotic" or not. You have to play games with that because of party affiliation, which is very disappointing. It seems that there are basic things we can agree not to call each other, and one of them is "psychotic" (another is "evil"). But you want to act as if I called someone this? I did not. He simply decided to assert that I have serious psychological problems and need therapy and meds. Today he bolstered it by saying I have a psychosis.
"

I don't take a position because that is how a lot of e-discussions go. As for what preceded, you wrote in this thread "Obviously, I am here to have a discussion with Edward Reiss, not a guy who is obsessed with my work..." This seems to confirm my statement that this is how e-discussions go. You say James is obsessed, he claims you are psychotic. What's the diff?

Re: "Ignoring" your posts. I don't see that I am doing that. Indeed, I simply ask how the quotes you supplied show that Luther was despondent. You have not done so, and instead cited a lot of material about Luther's general state of mind. Those are two different issues though, as it is possible to have the correct conclusion and the wrong evidence to back it up. James has also stated he agrees that Luther was subject to depression etc. The issue here is whether or not your specific quotes support the claims you make. So far you have not shown they do so.

And I accept your thanks in all sincerity.

Dave Armstrong said...

You say James is obsessed, he claims you are psychotic. What's the diff?

You don't see the huge difference between a (possible) neurosis and a serious psychotic mental disturbance that requires therapy and/or meds and for folks to lay off (advice he obviously hasn't heeded himself)?

Edward Reiss said...

Dave,

"You don't see the huge difference between a (possible) neurosis and a serious psychotic mental disturbance that requires therapy and/or meds and for folks to lay off (advice he obviously hasn't heeded himself)?"

In a clinical sense, yes. As a rhetorical tool, no.

Dave Armstrong said...

Is it wrong to call someone a psychotic? Would you waste time with a person who called you that?

Dave Armstrong said...

I do admire (in a weird sort of way) your acumen in finding many ways to avoid answering direct questions. Sure you're not a politician?

Turretinfan said...

"I do admire (in a weird sort of way) your acumen in finding many ways to avoid answering direct questions. Sure you're not a politician?"

Another example of Dave's declarative sentence, non-arguments, coupled with an interrogative sentence non-argument.

And still - classic Armstrong.

Dave Armstrong said...

And again, I never said it was an argument in the first place. LOL It is truly astonishing how you can so consistently be wrong about absolutely anything (to do with me). One would think you would stumble upon the truth pertaining to me once in a while, since even an unplugged clock is right twice a day.

To be wrong 99.9999% of the time is truly a marvel to behold.

And that is "classic TAO." No one else is able to do it like you do! You're sui generis.

James Swan said...
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Turretinfan said...

Remember what has been said about Armstrong taking things out of context?

Armstrong (above - and apparently just yesterday - not 150 years ago before the Internet) wrote:

Protestant historian Philip Schaff: "Luther and Melanchthon themselves often bitterly complained in their later years / Luther, and especially Melanchthon, bitterly complained, in their later years"

This is supposed to support:

"Evil" and "Psychotic" Dave: "Agony Over the State of Early Protestantism"

Let's look at the context of this quotation (which seemed to be his strongest one, which is why I investigated it - I haven't checked the others):

The Lutheran doctrine of Christian freedom and justification by faith alone, like that of St. Paul on which it was based, was made the cloak of excesses by carnal men who wickedly reasoned, "Let us continue in sin that grace may abound" (Rom. 6:1), and who abused their "freedom for an occasion to the flesh" (Gal. 5:13). All such consequences the apostle cut off at the outset by an indignant "God forbid."

The fact is undeniable, that the Reformation in Germany was accompanied and followed by antinomian tendencies and a degeneracy of public morals. It rests not only on the hostile testimonies of Romanists and separatists, but Luther and Melanchthon themselves often bitterly complained in their later years of the abuse of the liberty of the gospel and the sad state of morals in Wittenberg and throughout Saxony.

But we should remember, first, that the degeneracy of morals, especially the increase of extravagance, and luxury with its attending vices, had begun in Catholic times in consequence of discoveries and inventions, the enlargement of commerce and wealth. Nor was it near as bad as the state of things which Luther had witnessed at Rome in 1510, under Pope Julius II., not to speak of the more wicked reign of Pope Alexander VI. Secondly, the degeneracy was not due so much to a particular doctrine, as to the confusion which necessarily followed the overthrow of the ecclesiastical order and discipline, and to the fact that the Lutheran Reformers allowed the government of the church too easily to pass from the bishops into the hands of secular rulers. Thirdly, the degeneracy was only temporary during the transition from the abolition of the old to the establishment of the new order of things. Fourthly, the disorder was confined to Germany. The Swiss Reformers from the start laid greater stress on discipline than the Lutheran Reformers, and organized the new church on a more solid basis. Calvin introduced a state of moral purity and rigorism in Geneva such as had never been known before in the Christian church. The Huguenots of France, the Calvinists of Holland, the Puritans of England and New England, and the Presbyterians of Scotland are distinguished for their strict principles and habits. An impartial comparison of Protestant countries and nations with Roman Catholic, in regard to the present state of public and private morals and general culture, is eminently favorable to the Reformation.

***

That's the context for the quotation Dave provided. I ask any reasonable reader to tell me whether Luther's disappointment was:

1) Agony over the state of early protestantism; or

2) Righteous indignation over wicked men who abused their liberty.

Also, is Schaff saying that Luther's disappointment is greater or lesser than under Romanism?

1) Greater; or

2) Lesser.

And we could go on like that.

Armstrong has carefully excluded the context. He can no longer claim that one can't find Schaff's History of the Christian Church on the Internet, so what's his claim going to be (aside from accusing critics of stupidity etc.)?

We'll see.

Dave Armstrong said...

While we're at it, what do you think of calling someone a psychotic, TAO? Is that a legitimate expression during the course of a discussion?

When our host Edward was being called a liar 20,000 times by Steve Hays I didn't see you anywhere defending him and decrying the ad hominem (perhaps I missed it). I did that. But now you and Edward are big buddies.

Why don't you do the right thing for a change and condemn both things? Say it is wrong to call someone either a liar or a nutcase. Would that put you out to do that? Would the sky fall down? Are you that intimidated by Doe and Hays, that you wouldn't dare ever rebuke them, even when they have done something wrong?

This is not a Protestant-Catholic issue (as I always note). It is a basic NT ethics issue; an issue of how proper dialogue ought to proceed.

C'mon, surprise me and be unpredictable for once. I think it would do you a world of good to break out of the box occasionally.

Turretinfan said...

"But now you and Edward are big buddies."

Hey you yourself were calling me a brother the other day. Remember that?

Dave Armstrong said...

as I've stated repeatedly while I think you're wacky,

Thanks again! This is a great day for the cause of documenting anti-Catholic inanities! We've got "psychosis" and "wacky" in one day!

Go jump in the Atlantic. I have better things to do than to explain rather evident and easily ascertained historical facts (all over my blog) to you or anyone else. Go read and keep writing and lying about me till the cows come home. It is absolutely no concern of mine.

If the best thing you can do is deal with one whom you regard as a wacky psychotic day after day, then perhaps you should examine your own priorities and stewardship of time.

And if your anti-Catholic masses are so profoundly stupid that they can't even discern that the rantings of a Romanist madman and liar aren't worth their time, then go give them THEIR meds and urge THEM to seek therapy (and education). . . .

LOLOL

Turretinfan said...

Incidentally, I love the idea that Edward and I are buddies. There is a theological divide between us, but I don't have any personal issues with him.

Dave Armstrong said...

Hey you yourself were calling me a brother the other day. Remember that?

I do: brother in Christ (something you won't call me). And I showed how that is perfectly biblical to do that and also criticize, as Paul did with the Galatians and Corinthians, and Jesus did with the seven churches, and that shut you up and you had no reply (but alas, you never shut up for long).

Jesus can call some Pharisees "vipers" while at the same time urging His disciples to follow their authority.

There is a theological divide between us, but I don't have any personal issues with him.

Of course not; being a fellow Protestant. It's only us Catholics who get treated like manure by you "real Christians."

But who was Edward's neighbor and brother and buddy when he was being publicly lied about. I didn't even know him and I defended him, because it was the right thing to do. You claim to be friends and uttered not a peep because it wold have to be against the Great Hays, with his Wrath coming down on your head.

Edward Reiss said...

Dave,

"While we're at it, what do you think of calling someone a psychotic, TAO? Is that a legitimate expression during the course of a discussion?"

It is no more or less legitimate than calling someone obsessed. I don't see why it is such a big issue. There is a difference between calling someone e.g. obsessed and a liar, BTW, because "liar" is a moral judgement. Obsession or psychosis to me just goes with the Internet territory. They are just names--sticks and stones and all that. The reason I don't want to get into the weeds on it is because I don't think it is a very big deal. And if someone makes a foolish accusation, there is a record of it.

Edward Reiss said...

TFan,

Given my Monophysitism and your Nestorianism, I don't think we are theologically close. We have been in at least one theological scrap. There are even issues where my sympathies lie with DA.

Turretinfan said...

"There are even issues where my sympathies lie with DA."

I do not limit my friendships to those whose theology aligns precisely with my own.

Nevertheless, as you've pointed out, there is a theological divide between us - and some of those issues are important issues.

Dave Armstrong said...

The reason I don't want to get into the weeds on it is because I don't think it is a very big deal.

You thought it was a "big deal" when Hays called you a liar a million times, because you wrote about it (and I defended you). Yet someone is called a psychotic who needs meds and therapy and you don't see that as any big deal; nothing you should condemn.

If we all don't start speaking out against this sort of garbage, it'll never end and will get worse. I for one think the Internet is a great tool, and I'm not willing to settle for sewer scum talk dominating it, when it has so much potential for good. I never settle for the status quo when something is wrong.

Alright . . . time for me to split from this place. I'll go back to the great discussions on my blog with my friend Dr. Edwin Tait, Anglican church historian, where we get along fine and can have normal conversations.

Turretinfan said...

"Alright . . . time for me to split from this place."

Indeed it is!

James Swan said...
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James Swan said...
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Dave Armstrong said...

The lid has already been closed for some time with regard to you. You know my policy. Nice try, though. Now you go back and write 50 more posts about me in the next two months, feeding your obsession, and I will go about my business of defending the Catholic faith and helping people to be more confident in their faith and in our Lord Jesus.

P.S. If you have provided "context" for 15 of my citations, why is there any remaining need for me to do so, anyway? People can go to your site, read your ultra-objective, super-scholarly excerpts or else (if they are in a mischievous mood) play the same kind of games with you: saying that because you didn't type out the 20 pages prior to a "quote" and 20 after, that you obviously left out crucial information and are, therefore, misleading your readers.

I expect, then, to see Luther's complete works (including the many volumes to come that are finally being released only now) available on your site in the next year or two. That way, you can never be the target of the bogus accusations you throw at me, since it is all there and you have hidden nothing, and have engaged in no nefarious jesuitical cover-up conspiracy. That will prove your noble integrity for all to see (not that anyone would ever dream of questioning it, of course . . . ).

Dave Armstrong said...

There is another great good to be gained from continuing your obsession, too: if your site averages about one comment every three days now, just think what it'll be after 50 more "DA posts"! It may get to one comment a week and 14 hits a day! That would be a marvelous outcome. So by all means, keep it up! If you get down to no readers at all, then you can live by your oft-expressed ideal of writing for yourself only (the "theologians of narcissism" outlook).

So it's a win-win all around. You achieve your goal (no one reading you, since you write for you, ad don't care about amassing any readers at all, unlike we pride-filled "theologians of glory") and I achieve one of my 3,647 goals (no one reading you).

And let's all remember with a chuckle how Bishop White confidently predicted in 2005 that if I stopped debating anti-Catholics, my readers would dwindle down to nothing. I think I was getting about 300 hits a day then. Now I get 700-800 a day, after 2 1/2 years of not debating anti-Catholics anymore. I suggest that the good bishop get out of the prognostication business.

Eric Svendsen, at the same time, embarrassed himself even more than that, by triumphantly announcing over my "apologetic grave" (having thrown in the last clump of dirt) that I was leaving apologetics altogether, in abject fear of his (and the illustrious bishop's) unanswerable polemics:

"It appears that direct and substantive critiques of his work have proved too much for Dave Armstrong. He has pulled the plug on his little blog experiment gone bad . . . now, as poetic justice would have it, Dave Armstrong is not merely closing the comments section of his apologetic blog--he's getting out of the apologetic blog business entirely!" (1-4-05)

What actually happened (over five years ago now) was that there were some technical problems with Blogger that day. By the evening they were ironed out. Talk about "jumping the gun" and a huge load of wishful thinking, huh? ROFLOL

2005 was a fun year.

Dave Armstrong said...

It's still time for me to split, but I'm in a frivolous, zany mood today, so if Doe keeps putting up shots, I may still reply, because it's just plain old fun. His humorlessness and White-like sour response to sarcasm directed at him makes it all the more fun.

James Swan said...
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Dave Armstrong said...

I hope to one day attain to your sublime heights of profoundly objective scholarship. With your constant help and guiding hand and inspiring example, perhaps I can get there.

It'll be an uphill battle, though, being the lying evil scumbag and psychotic and vow-breaker and narcissist that I am (i.e., stuff that you anti-Catholics have been telling me for years, but my stubborn ears wouldn't receive it).

Please say a Rosary for me and I shall keep trying. Maybe eventually I'll even figure out that I'm not a Christian. Hope springs eternal . . .

James Swan said...
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Turretinfan said...

What's interesting is that James' and my comments about Dave taking things out of context would be equally applicable regardless of whether it was Dave who did it, or someone of unimpeachable character and profession. The criticism of Dave's work doesn't require one to accept first that Dave is a "lying evil scumbag and psychotic and vow-breaker and narcissist" (his words) or even that he lacks a credible Christian profession of faith. Yet those are the things that Dave's responses seem to focus on, as though they were the most important thing.

It's too bad that Dave's focus is not on correct the errors that he's propagated in his "best-selling" (his description) works.

One other thing I should point out in Dave's defense. He has, if I recall correctly, previously responded to some of the most extreme anti-Lutheran garbage out there. So, while he's clearly on the other side of the Tiber from Luther, one should not conclude that his errors in scholarship are somehow solely the result of malice and ill-will toward Luther.

James Swan said...
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Edward Reiss said...

James,

DA has a new post up, but like his posts here, he does not address the issue of the particular quotes he gave being taken out of context. No matter how many sources he cites, it does not make his particular quotes in his book in context. In other words, he is changing the subject from whether his editorial comments are true, from whether or not he took Luther out of context to "prove" his editorial comments are true. In all the posts on this thread he has not addressed that simple issue.

Also, using Table Talk can be risky, and as I pointed out the source he linked to in his post does not match the citation in his post, and indeed has a different meaning than the one in his post.

It would be better if he just admitted he made a mistake instead of fighting of every millimeter of ground.

Dave Armstrong said...

It would be better if he just admitted he made a mistake instead of fighting of every millimeter of ground.

I'm in the habit of admitting to a mistake when I have actually made one (I'm weird that way), as opposed to saying something that is not true merely because of pressure put on me by one guy who thinks I am a dishonest, incompetent, narcissistic psychotic, and another who thinks I am a lying vow-breaker: both with a definite agenda.

You have no such agenda yourself, but you are a Lutheran, and so you are inclined to take what you feel is a "pro-Lutheran" bias, based on the "evidence" of the posts in question. That's only natural, but the arguments you have set forth (insofar as you have done so at all) are by no means compelling or even persuasive.

As usual with the anti-Catholics, whatever I do will be mightily questioned and come back to me somehow. There always has to be a negative slant. Currently, I say I have no need to put things in context because I have produced nothing (in my book being critiqued) that is out of context. And my recent posts reiterate that.

But to say what I am saying, I get must (inevitably) be accused of being dishonest. Doe has already stated as much (more than once); it's not my mere speculation. This is how it always goes: if I disagree with him, I am dishonest, because what he writes is self-evidently true.

Bishop White is the same way. One time he said I was an ignoramus in terms of my knowledge of Protestantism. I then produced a list of books I had read when I was Protestant. Without missing a beat he immediately said I must be deliberately dishonest rather than ignorant. LOL

It makes no difference what I do, but in any event, I truly, sincerely believe I am not guilty of what I have been charged of (and I have been showing why in several different ways, for those who aren't blinded to it). In that case, I must be seen as dishonest by those who can't handle or comprehend any honest disagreement without slinging charges of dishonesty and deliberate misrepresentation.

So be it. I think Doe is a liar and relentless twister and distorter when it comes to my Luther research (and I am the world's biggest expert on my own research and what motivates it), so we'll simply regard each other as liars and go our merry ways.

Doe (he should talk!) misrepresented Luther's opinion this very day, but I doubt that any of you see that, and likely no reasoning will persuade you.

For my part, I put out facts, whether they are "pro" Luther or are seen to be "against" him. So, e.g., I put up a post in the last day or two proving that he opposed antinomianism and ditching the Law. That is a "good" thing in terms of agreement and ecumenism. It is the fact of the matter. I stated in the paper that I thought he was saying nothing more than what St. Paul taught.

Other things that don't look so great, and are regarded as embarrassing or shocking are also facts. My concern is to follow the truth wherever it leads, in matters of history as well as theology.

Turretinfan said...

"As usual with the anti-Catholics, whatever I do will be mightily questioned and come back to me somehow."

Do you feel this issue of "mightily question[ing]" and bringing it "back to [the person] somehow" is like or unlike your approach of responding to criticism by us by accusing us of being agenda-driven folks with low opinions of you (Example of you doing this: "one guy who thinks I am a dishonest, incompetent, narcissistic psychotic, and another who thinks I am a lying vow-breaker: both with a definite agenda.")

James Swan said...
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James Swan said...
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James Swan said...
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Dave Armstrong said...

Here would've been a good oportunity for him to show how I personally attacked him by misconstruing Luther quotes and contexts,

We have an example right in this thread, of the difficulty you have in reading English (at least when Catholics use it):

You wrote:

Admitting that I'm right about the contexts of the quotes in question would mean that not all my research is the work of a "slimeball sewer scum" (his words).

You think I attributed (as I virtually knew you would, when I wrote it) the term "slimeball sewer scum" to you as a person ("the work of a so-and-so," meaning your work, with the term applied to you). Of course this is not the case. Here is the context, from what I wrote on my blog:

"Many thousands of people who read these kind of slimeball sewer scum charges on anti-Catholic blogs about me think any number of falsehoods about me."

The term was used to describe the nature of the charges, not a person. Equivalents would be "pathetic" or "slanderous" or "ridiculous" the description applies to the noun "charges" rather than any particular person making them.

But you (as so often with me) see what you want to see. So you take that out of context and cite it here, to make people think that I described you in this way. I did not.

Case in point, out of many hundreds through the years.

I did call you a slanderous ass, and if anyone ever deserved to be called that, after my personal experience for eight years, it is you. I know it to be the case, because as I've said, it is my work that you have distorted on an ongoing basis all that time.

You say I do it about Luther; I say you do it with my own work. The difference is that i know my own work and motivations a lot better than you know Luther's work or motivations.

Dave Armstrong said...

it should be obvious I was more than willing to discuss the contexts of the quotes in question, despite my opinion of Mr. Armstrong.
Here would've been a good oportunity for him to show . . .


Etc. etc.

What is it about "I don't debate anti-Catholics anymore, as a matter of principled policy," that you don't understand?

Even if I still did so, however, I wouldn't waste time "refuting" this, because there is nothing to refute.

Dave Armstrong said...

Adomnan on my blog has clearly seen what is going on here all along. The following statement of his exactly reflects my own opinion:

"You, Dave, accurately quote Luther saying A. Swan digs up the texts where Luther said A (or some other text he sees as related), and notes that he also said B, C, D and E, the "context" of A. Swan then claims that because Luther said B, C, D and E, none of which contradict A, it follows that he didn't say, or didn't mean, A.
This is false on the face of it and, in my opinion, deserves no response other than perhaps a curt dismissal."

James Swan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Edward Reiss said...

Dave,

Interpreting "A" in light og B, C, D, E etc. is, by definition, interpreting "A" in context. If your reader wants to ignore context, perhaps he believes the title Coredemptrix means that RCs worship Mary as a co-equal goddess. And if he denies that, I will simply point out that his or her reply is worthy of nothing more than a curt dismissal since Coredemptrix means redeemer along side, period.

Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

In other words, context counts, and even if your proposition is correct, the quotes you used do not support that proposition when read in context--A, B, C, D, E...

Dave Armstrong said...

. . . making slimeball sewer scum assertions. . . .

Thanks for acknowledging for a change that you took me out of context (which has happened about 1,548,395 times by now). All falsehoods and especially all deliberate lies are sewer scum, and far worse, since their ultimate origin is the devil and the pits of hell. They are not from God. Therefore, no description is terrible enough to convey how bad they are.

Not to mention the ongoing irony of your fundamentalist Calvinist legalism about terms like "ass" (that Calvin, Shakespeare and the Bible itself used), all the while winking at Luther's ferocious language and woodcuts of cardinals being pooped out by a demon, etc. No; you can only get worked up in righteous indignation by me saying "ass" and describing a lie in a colorful way. Even Tim Enloe has noted how your type of fundamentalist is entirely hung up by language in a way that isn't even in line with historic Calvinism (or in this case, even with Calvin himself). All it means is "donkey." Get over it. I think "donkey" is a lot less offensive than calling someone a psychotic and saying they need therapy and meds.

your going on and on doing exactly what you've said you don't do: interact with anti-Catholics.

What is it about the distinction between "theological debate with anti-Catholics" and (limited) "interaction with anti-Catholics" that you don't understand? Do you think all discussion whatever is theological debate? I know you have the greatest trouble with nuance and fine distinctions, but this ain't rocket science.

I'm sure my eight-year-old daughter could readily grasp it. I highly doubt that you can't (though with you it is possible that you truly don't). Rather, it is likely yet another attempt to distort what I said in order to make polemical hay and score "points." All the nonsense about my supposedly breaking a vow (that I never made) is along those lines. It's one of the most beloved tactics in the "DA Playbook".

I realize you're a "last word" person, so go ahead, get your "last word" posted I'm moving on to other things.

I am when I am dealing with a perpetual slanderer like you, who will keep on lying until kingdom come. As long as you lie and distort what I believe and even what I have written in this combox and on my blog discussion I'll reply and get the last word (unless you wait two months and then come back in with another lie after I am long gone).

You have said you are moving on. So let's see that. Go ahead and do it, and shut up in this combox. Now you can go plan another thirty-forty posts devoted to showing that I don't know the slightest thing about context or establishing a contention through documentation and about how dishonest and stupid and "anti-Luther" I supposedly am (to get up to 200 posts about me by summer-s end). Have fun. God sees what you are doing. You can't get away with continually lying, whether I call you on it or not. Your soul is what gets harmed by that, not me. It's your loss, not mine.

Turretinfan said...

"you have the greatest trouble with nuance and fine distinctions"

"a perpetual slanderer like you, who will keep on lying until kingdom come"

"continually lying"

Wow, Dave. If there was any question about what was in your heart toward James, you have certainly revealed it!

Dave Armstrong said...

The fact of lying is simply what it is. My indignation is against the sin, not the person. It does him no good to keep doing it. I am rebuking the sin for the sake of his soul. All of you yes men that he surrounds himself with don't see that he is distorting and twisting my work. I do, because I have been the target of it.

But there is no personal malice involved at all. I see him and all anti-Catholics as victims of a deeply flawed, intellectually-suicidal worldview (though it remains Christian, with added garbage on top of that which is untrue).

I'm simply sick and tired of having my work distorted over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.

You would be, too. Anyone would. On the other hand, life is too short to waste it in anger and resentment and hatred against other people. Our Lord Jesus forbids that. Speaking out against sin, however, is never forbidden in Scripture.

Did Paul "hate" people? when he wrote:

1 Timothy 1:19-20 By rejecting conscience, certain persons have made shipwreck of their faith, [20] among them Hymenae'us and Alexander, whom I have delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

2 Timothy 2:16-17 Avoid such godless chatter, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, [17] and their talk will eat its way like gangrene. Among them are Hymenae'us and Phile'tus,

2 Timothy 4:14-15 Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will requite him for his deeds. [15] Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message.

The same Paul also wrote:

Galatians 4:16 Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?

Dave Armstrong said...

And how about what is in my critic's heart against me, TAO (since we are keeping tabs on these things and since you claim to know what is in my heart?). The following are all from this thread alone, and believe me, there is an avalanche more on his site:

1) Armstrong considers himself a "professional apologist." Any "professional" should know the importance of context.

2) Context? Who cares? Let's just string Luther's words together to make him say whatever DA wants him to.

3) Dave, I'm sure you would very much appreciate it if I didn't look up the quotes you mishandle and put them back in their proper context.

4) Indeed, I don't take you seriously as a "professional" apologist, and yes, your behavior is a bit bizarre at times.

5) You've put forth enough bogus "research" to keep me busy for a long time, . . .

6) If you think you're that important that I would benefit or gain notoriety by being on your blog, you're more deluded than I thought.

7) If your propaganda fuels Romanists, so be it.

8) Those who care about truth will benefit from contexts and will find your "work" substandard.

9) protecting your ego via massive amounts of text in those blog comments,

10) calling people names, and then playing the martyr when someone says something uncharitable towards you

11) Great example of your psychosis. Rather then simply admit you didn't read Luther in context and subsequently put forth propaganda, you'd rather talk about your favorite subject: Dave Armstrong.

12) But well done with this diversion, now that we're talking about your favorite subject (you), you don't have to explain contexts that you never read.

13) your "editorial" comments were not justified based on the quotes when put back in context. It's very simple.

14) It appears though, Mr. Armstrong isn't willng to check his facts before publication.

15) Yet, we find Armstrong repeatedly promoting imbalance by what he leaves out, and how he chooses to direct his "editorial" comments.

Dave Armstrong said...

16) That's what happen when you take a statement and make it sound the way one wants it to.

17) If anyone is presenting shoddy review of history, it's Armstrong and those like him.

18) While Denifle and Janssen would beat you over the head with it, Armstrong's poison is much more subtle. The goals though are very much the same.

19) He sees what he wants to. He leaves out details when he needs to. Who really is the one creating the false image?

20) Simply explain how the context of those quotes supports your editorial comments, and stop all the nonsense, smoke & mirrors.

21) Yes indeed, I do find your shenanigans quite odd behavior. However, as I've stated repeatedly while I think you're wacky, other people take you seriously.

22) stop being a martyr. I explained earlier your eratic behavior, particularly on my blog, lead me to question whether or not you needed help. Your behavior over here and evasion of a simple question about contexts doesn't help either. That you won't answer simple questions about context really does make one question your honesty.

23) With a context, correcting your poor research and misguided editorial comments of the quotes doesn't take much intelligence.

24) There is a reason why I've often said I don't take his work seriously. That is, when I read it, I know I'm not getting the insights of someone looking honestly or in-depth at an issue involving Luther.

25) Armstrong jumped through hoops, used multiple smoke machines, and a truck full of mirrors to defend the integrity of his friend.

26) there's too much pride involved.

27) If Dave is the Roman Catholic Superman, the contexts of those quotes are like kryptonite. So of course, the argument had to be shifted to being about him personally.

28) If you want to be in high school, I'll try to think and interact with you on on your level.

Dave Armstrong said...

BYE folks. I've wasted way, WAY too much time on all this silliness. I was stupid enough to enter into it again today. Go ahead and keep insulting if you must. It's your soul and your life.

But God sees all. You may be able to fool some people with lies and falsehoods, but you can't fool God. And truth remains truth, whatever someone may say about it.

Turretinfan said...

Dave:

I don't see what would stop James from simply saying: "The fact of [see items 1-28] is simply what it is." If that's a legitimate answer for your behavior, why is it illegitimate for James'?

- TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

And you left out:

29) You'd would try to refute an empty paper bag if it blew in front of you the wrong way.

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