Armstrong Fan Club #7: Fun Insults from James White

Armstrong Fan Club #7: Fun Insults from James White May 15, 2020

Bishop “Dr.” [???] James White is the most influential and well-known anti-Catholic (Reformed Baptist) apologist online. I’ve been interacting with and refuting him since 1995.

I have made a specific selection out of hundreds of the good bishop’s insults, for the sake of humor, diversion, and entertainment (and to demonstrate that this supposed “champion” often descends to sheer ad hominem attack and personal insult). If I were to do a comprehensive list, the Library of Congress wouldn’t be able to hold all the books, and you would never have the weeks of time required to read all of ’em . . . A few of my own comments are in green and bracketed.

The anonymous fundamentalist Calvinist anti-Catholic apologist and friend of White’s, “Turretinfan” made the following claim in my blog combox in September 2007: “While Dr. White certainly has made personal comments about you, as far as this writer can recall, none of his responses have ever been ‘pure personal attack’.” Right . . .

As Jesus said, “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure produces evil; for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Lk 6:45, RSV)

Ironically, White tweeted to someone four days before I put up this revised post: “[Your] original tweet was absurdly slanderous. Why write such drivel? Why inflame emotions, impute evil motives, and in general just add to the evil in the world with such behavior? You cannot read hearts and minds. You stink at it. Stop it.”

*****

1) Dave, I don’t trust you as far as I could throw you, to be perfectly honest with you. You are no different than the Crusaders of old, you just don’t get to use a sword to hack me to pieces (and get a plenary indulgence in the process!). I do not believe that you were being honest, kind, or anything other than your old self when you wrote what you wrote in the list. Your intentions were obvious. When “caught,” you dissembled. Period. All the protestations to the contrary are meaningless, since this is NOT the first time you’ve taken this route. Eventually, wisdom demands that you don’t believe the untrustworthy. (12-2-96: personal letter to me)

2) I have done all I could since then [our first “postal debate” from 1995] in light of certain aspects of your behavior to avoid interaction like the plague. My website contains nothing about you for that very reason. . . . It’s a no-win situation, and I am still kicking myself for even thinking about hitting the “reply” button on the first e-mail from you regarding that dialogue. . . . But we all have moments of weakness, I guess. So I apologize for even considering the idea of having ANY contact. . . . I had three people say to me this morning, “You are wasting your time.” I will have to accept their counsel after this response.

Mr. Armstrong, I have no interest, whatsoever, in continuing this with you. I don’t like you, and I don’t believe you like me. Until a few weeks ago I had followed the path of wisdom and avoided every entanglement with you. . . .

I’m going to ask you to join me in promising to stay as far away from each other as possible. I’m not asking you to not respond on your own website to what I write or doing whatever you want to do when speaking, etc. I am talking about personal interaction. Stay out of prosapologian [his chat room]. Don’t write to me. Don’t ask to do dialogues, debates, or anything else. You just do your thing, and I’ll do mine. OK? (1-12-01: personal letter to me)

[the funniest thing about this is that literally the day before, White had challenged me to an oral debate, which I turned down, as I always have, because I don’t do them with anyone, out of a principled objection to their nature, as opposed to far-superior written debates. He had challenged me before in 1995, and would again in 2007 (it seemed to be a cycle of every six years).]

3) I’ll be right up front with you, Dave: you would never survive a one-on-one debate with me, because you can’t defend your position without using obfuscation and rhetoric. You can’t survive direct cross-examination, and what really bugs you is you know it. (1-13-01)

4) Roman Catholic apologists like Dave Armstrong, who lack any meaningful ability to engage the text in a serious manner, have no compunctions about grabbing anything to use as a bludgeon against the truth. (3-27-04)

5) DA lacks the ability to engage the text of the Scriptures in a meaningful fashion, and 2) DA will use anything to attack the truth. . . . As to the first, I simply direct anyone to the “exegesis” presented in A Biblical Defense of Catholicism, his 2001 publication. The book is a monument to how to ignore context, avoid grammar, shred syntax, and insert the traditions of Rome willy-nilly into any passage you cite. . . . DA thinks himself a modern Socrates, yet, his writing takes wild leaps from topic to topic, inserts endless (and often gratuitous) irrelevant material that serves only to cover the shallow nature of what is being said, and in the end requires one to possess the skill of nailing jello to a wall to be able to respond to it for its utter lack of substance. (3-28-04)

6) Armstrong complained again that I have “ignored” his rebuttals of my position. Yes, in general, I find them to fall so far short of meaningful and relevant that I do not believe them worth the investment of time. (4-16-04)

7) You know, it never crossed my mind, back in 1988/89 when I first started listening to tapes from Catholic Answers and started replying to their claims that someday I’d have folks like DA shooting blanks at me from long range. That’s OK. Anyone who took the time to read the exegesis comparison and follow up knows the score. (4-19-04)

8) Those of you who have been following the blog, uh [laughter], just, I don’t know, what do you do with someone like Dave Armstrong, you know? I mean, really, it is a question that you face, because, just simply by being out there, I mean, uh, if you read his materials, he’s very very high on himself and, uh, makes sure that you know how many books he’s written.

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

. . . Cuz, it’s sorta, sort of; it’s really disturbing to me, uh, that I hear from people, and they go, “well, well, whaddya think about what he said about this?” And I sorta, I sorta; I, it’s really hard for me to go, “well, have you really thought about, you know, the foundation of this argument, and the background of this argument?” People need to learn how to examine argumentation! And see through fluff! Uh, see through stuff that shouldn’t even be called an argument; it’s complimenting it way too much to call it an argument! And [sigh] it’s just, how do you deal with folks like that? . . . 

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

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

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

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

Well, on a much higher level; on a much much much higher level; uh, on a, on an extremely much higherly [sic] level [derisive laughter], . . . (webcast of 4-20-04)

9)  Dave . . . proved he is beyond all rational discourse yet once again by attaching various altered forms to his fantasy “debates” (remember, DA has never debated me, and will not do so in person). As I said a few weeks ago, since there is no substance to the man’s methodology or study, but no end to his time to tap away at a keyboard, what do you do when he starts in with his irrational diatribes? Hopefully the clear demonstration of his incapacity to engage in meaningful exegesis (indeed, even to know what the term means) will help some who have been impacted by his sheer volume of verbosity. (4-23-04)

10) Mr. Armstrong has provided a reading list on his blog. In essence, this means that instead of blaming ignorance for his very shallow misrepresentations of non-Catholic theology and exegesis, we must now assert knowing deception. So far, DA has been unable to provide even the slightest meaningful defense of his own published statements and their refutation. Which is really only marginally relevant to the real issue: hopefully, aside from demonstrating the exegetical bankruptcy of The Catholic Verses, answers are being given to all those observing and learning how to speak the truth to those who likewise would handle the Word from the vantage point of tradition rather than allowing it to speak for itself with its own voice. (12-31-04)

11) But I never dreamed that a total and complete melt-down would take place, resulting in Mr. Armstrong pulling the material off his blog and going into hiding! And yet, you can read for yourself. We are asked to believe this was a “long time coming,” etc., but let’s face it: DA isn’t up to defending his published works.  There’s just nothing to say in defense of on the one hand saying, “Here is accurate exegesis of texts that confound Protestants” and on the other, the demonstration that DA can’t do meaningful exegesis, and has made a number of errors in the process of writing his materials. You can try to distract folks with lots of charges of misbehavior on the part of the one pointing out your errors, and you can post dozens of URL’s to your previous works, but the fact of the matter is, fair-minded, serious folks can tell when you simply have given it your best and have failed at your task. Perhaps some time off will allow Mr. Armstrong to consider the things he has come to believe to be true outside the field of battle? That would be a welcome thing. (1-3-05)

12) Quite honestly, I just don’t see that he follows an argument really well. . . . A Biblical Defense of Catholicism. This is a self-published book, alright? [At first it was, but it was published by Sophia Institute Press in June 2003: a year and seven months before this screed by Bishop White] There’s no editor in the sense of a Bethany House or something involved with this particular book [really? That would be big news to Todd Aglialoro: currently editor for Catholic Answers] . . . . The man does not know how to do exegesis. It’s a fact. I went through it and demonstrated that. But that book really didn’t have a lot of distribution. [That would be news to Sophia, and is a curious comment, since the book was a bestseller in its field] Well now he’s put one out with Sophia Institute Press. [Yeah, my second one!] Now that’s an actual publisher. And so that means it’s gonna get actual distribution [my 2nd of three bestsellers for them!] . . . so it would be useful to a wider audience to go ahead and respond to some of the arguments that are presented in the book, The Catholic Verses, . . . there is a consistent pattern of eisegetical misunderstanding, and an inability to deal with the text . . . basically, Mr. Armstrong melted down . . . it does not seem that anyone knows what ad hominem argumentation is . . . the reason that Dave Armstrong is doing this is pretty much the same reason that Dave Hunt won’t debate me. He can’t. He can’t . . . the facts are not on Dave Armstrong’s side. He can’t respond! . . . Dave Armstrong has gone into hiding . . . because he can’t respond anymore . . . . . . If you don’t read what the other side is saying, you can’t call yourself an apologist, can you? . . . if it’s right there, and you are writing on the subject of sola Scriptura or against sola Scriptura, and two pages prior to something you do cite, a hole is blown right through your argument, facts are presented that are completely contrary to your own position, and you hide that; you say nothing about it, that’s not honest! That’s not apologetics! I don’t have any respect for that, and I’m gonna point it out! You’re misusing your audience when you do that. Aren’t you? . . . I would rather have had 20 verses that confound Protestants, and had serious arguments presented, than 95 fluffy pieces; 95 fluffy passages. Most of the time, these passages are cited, and there’s no exegesis offered. It’s just, “well here’s what the text says, and my Catholic tradition says this, and therefore we move on from there.” That’s not meaningful argumentation . . . if you’ve been in a serious, Bible-oriented, Bible-preaching church for the past ten years, you should be able to refute clearly and exegetically, at least 90 of these 95 . . . the argumentation is so basic and so clearly fallacious . . . clear, obvious, logical errors . . . Armstrong could throw his hands up in the air and say, “look, I’m not a scholar; I have no scholarly training. [I guess that is why I wrote in the Intro. of this very book (p. xiii): “This is not a scholarly work, as I am no scholar in the first place . . .”] . . . . . . your refutation is actually based upon your own ignorance; you didn’t understand what they were saying . . . . . . If Mr. Armstrong can’t defend his material, then so much the worse for Mr. Armstrong. Maybe he will move on to doing something else. Maybe he’ll recognize this isn’t something he should be doing. Maybe he’ll think twice before putting himself in that situation again. . . . No one has even tried to document that I have misrepresented Dave Armstrong. They can’t. (webcast of 1-4-05)

13) Same fellow who melted down into a puddle of apologetic goo when I finally invested the time to start working through his book, The Catholic Verses, and that after years of wanting to “debate” me in writing (but, of course, never in person). Same fellow who then took an oath [I never made an “oath” or “vow”; I made a resolution, that I later changed my mind on, as it was rash] to stop interacting with “anti-Catholics” (convenient use of terminology)—which had the not overly unexpected result of basically killing his blog [which is still kicking and indeed flourishing, now almost 14 years later] . . . Honestly, how utterly pathetic can someone become? It was bad enough that his work was shown to be consistently shallow, and worse that his attempts to respond were shrill and panic-filled (leading to his melt down and his unwillingness to even attempt further defense), . . . But it truly amazes me that someone who utterly lacks the tools to do the work he claims to do with such expertise continues to be dragged along by the rest of his compatriots. Just another example of “as long as it is in the service of Mother Church, it is all good.” What a contrast: we seek to be consistent in honor of the truth, . . . (4-5-05)

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

. . . As anyone can see by going back to the records, Armstrong made the most recent version of his “I will not respond to anti-Catholics” promise after and as a direct result of my critiquing his book. In fact, at first, he tried to respond to my articles . . . But it was painfully clear he was in way over his head, so he all of a sudden had a change of heart and issued his “don’t respond to anti-Catholics” decree. Now he would have his readers thinking he actually did so before I began my review, so that I was taking the easy road in going after him only after I knew I would be “safe” from his brilliant and awe-inspiring rebuttals, which, sadly, the world cannot now see because he is so consistent in keeping his oaths. Please! Someone fax over some reality to Mr. Armstrong. (5-4-05)

15) The Dave Armstrong Arcade Game

A while back I took the time to engage Dave Armstrong’s The Catholic Verses on this blog. The response by Mr. Armstrong was 1) bluster and absurdly silly replies; 2) full-scale retreat and a “promise” (again) to stop interacting with “anti-Catholics” like me. Since then, Mr. Armstrong has returned and, evidently, has healed from his wounds, forgotten his own promises, and is now busily non-responding to me all over again (even producing reverse-color purposefully bad pictures originally taken by Mormons). Remember that cheesey arcade game where the little animal pops up out of a hole and you have to bop it back in to get points? The kind of thing you played just because you only had one token left and the real games took two? Well, I may have played that game once, but found it completely boring and not worth even that last token. Ditto, Mr. Armstrong. There is no reason to even respond to a person who, upon being shown to be in error, will reply, “Oh, I don’t have to answer that! That person is anti-me, and I take an oath not to respond to his kind…until this topic has passed, anyway, or I have had more time to come up with a response or something.” Such is not apologetics, it is excus-a-getics, and is not worth the time it takes to activate the RSS feed. (5-26-05)

16) Now, moonbat is an interesting phrase. It is generally used to describe the wacko left, but it strikes me as being particularly descriptive of wackos in general, unhinged folks who have no self-control and are utterly controlled by their angry emotions. Most religions have their moonbats. Rome surely does. Off the top of my head, we can list . . . Dave “the Stalker” Armstrong . . . (5-4-07)

17) Read Armstrong‘s post. Not even the mention of a single point of criticism of his position. Not once. Just “Oh, woe is me! I’m a victim!” Truly amazing. Please note, I am not reviewing Armstrong‘s book for the sake of Armstrong. He is beyond dialogue or discussion. But his errors repeat themselves out there in the “real world,” and hence the refutation of them…again…is useful for those who refuse to be silent. (6-14-07)

18) Armstrong has no compunctions about constructing straw-men. I note briefly in passing as well that Armstrong‘s response proves that he is unable to engage the actual texts under discussion outside of relying upon secondary sources. That is, all he can do is try to line up commentators on one side or the other and say, “See, my point is possible because these guys say so.” But he is not capable of responding to the substance of the comments regarding martu,rwnqeatai, etc., for this is beyond his area of study. Now, there is nothing wrong with someone being ignorant of the original languages, exegesis, etc., however, there is everything wrong in being ignorant of these things and yet making repeated pronouncements about the conclusions of the study of these fields. (6-21-07)

19) Speaking of incoherent vitriol…Dave Armstrong has returned to blogging. I just happened to see a new article on his site. I truly think Armstrong is headed for a full-on meltdown soon, to be honest. The level of “shrill” is peaking. . . . Armstrong is helpless when it comes to being refuted. All he can do is throw a fit and grow more shrill, which is why I have a feeling we may see a complete melt-down (again–how many has DA exhibited over the years?) in the not too distant future. (8-25-07)

20) “Bad Roman Catholic Apologists . . .” [title]

Steve Ray and Dave Armstrong, . . . those Roman Catholic apologists who really are not serious about truth but do what they do for less-than-noble reasons, . . . (7-31-08)

21) The little yip yip yip yip yip dog? That’s Dave Armstrong, because he never does anything original on his own. He always borrows from somebody else. . . . . . . try doing it truthfully. Try presenting both sides; maybe try listening to both sides sometime. You’re not gonna get that kind of example following Dave Armstrong and Jerusalem Jones [Steve Ray], but I call you to a higher standard. (webcast, 7-31-08)

22) Now, with all due respect to ol’ Dave Armstrong, he is one of the clearest examples of why past canon law prohibited laymen from engaging in public disputation in defense of Rome. Serious readers in the field realize that while Dave may stumble over a thoughtful argument once in a while, it is always to be found somewhere else. He simply does not produce original argumentation of any kind, and clearly does not understand the responses that have been offered to him over and over again. (1-6-10)

23) . . . the abject looniness that is going on out in the world today, specifically in the Internet. . . . Some of you know that right now on certain blogs out there in the blogosphere, there is so much libel, slander, bile, hatred, anger, and the number of lies defies the imagination, being thrown about by people . . . the silliest combox comment I’ve ever seen in the entirety of my life . . . This is on Dave Armstrong’s blog. Where else, but on good old DA’s blog, will you find something as utterly inane as this?!! [laughs] Here it is [quotes the comment made in my combox on 2-21-11] . . . on Dave Armstrong’s blog, where , of course, they were recycling stuff that is now, what, 1999 or something like that, from a Mormon; it’s nowhere near accurate anymore . . . it’s been debunked a thousand times before, but it’s the best Dave’s got, you know, you gotta give the guy credit; he gets refuted and he keeps repeating himself. It’s a sad thing to watch. . . . Give them the credibility they have earned, which is absolutely, positively none. Keep that in mind. [all this explosion was in response to my third analysis of his fake “doctorate” degree] (2-26-11)

24) Dave Armstrong is not a serious or thoughtful or reflective or studied Roman apologist or writer. Period. (Twitter, 5-17-12)

25) Dave Armstrong has never had a fresh insight on a theological and doctrinal topic. Period. (Twitter, 5-18-12)

[the hilarious thing about that is that he was replying to Dan Pritchett, who is is Executive Vice President at FaithLife / Logos Bible Software, which publishes eleven of my books!]

26) Dave Armstrong is one of the best arguments against Romanism I know, actually. :-) (Twitter, 1-12-15)

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(originally, 18 of the insults were compiled for a Facebook post of 3-7-19; eight more from the treasure trove were added, and others lengthened on 5-15-20)

Photo credit: James White: posted on 14 May 2020 on Twitter [source]

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