Sunday, March 13, 2005

And speaking of a complete lack of qualifications

James White is in the process of biting off more than he can chew:

The Reformed Baptist-turning-Orthodox asks a number of the most common questions you see in situations like this in his writings on the RBDL. First he asserts that there was a "universal" view of the early Fathers regarding a "sacramental view of the church," and asks why we should reject this "universal view." Secondly, the old question of how the church is led, combined with the idea that, in essence, to belong to any other organization than one of the "historical" churches (i.e., Romanism or Orthodoxy) is to believe that the "true" church is an unheard of minority, appears once again. And thirdly, though rather closely related to the first point, how do Reformed Baptists in particular defend the idea of holding to a "radically different theology than the early church"?

Where does one begin? We have addressed so many of these issues before, but mostly in reference to Rome's claims regarding them. In tomorrow's entry I'd like to address the common problem with the first and third questions: the idea, prevalent in Orthodoxy via tradition, but present in Rome via dogma, that there is some kind of universal viewpoint of the early church that we have "abandoned." Is that the case? Does a fair reading of the patristic sources substantiate such a belief?

Like Svendsen, White lacks any sort of qualifications in church history or metaphysics, so this situation is analogous to a high school biology student offering to explain heart surgery to a thoracic surgeon. White doesn't even know what a "fair reading" is, much less what such a reading would "substantiate." And yet again, White thoroughly mischaracterizes the Catholic and Orthodox belief based on his own dubious (and I would argue false) metaphysical account of what Scripture is. I hope that I have time to address each of his responses in detail, because this should be an excellent example of White's willingness to accept blatantly false accounts of history and patristics in a desperate attempt to give his position some kind of historical legitimacy, which it entirely lacks.

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