Monday, June 15, 2009

David Ponter, Neo-Amyraldians and double standards

Recently, I have posted a rebuttal to David Ponter's defense of his [and Tony Byrne's] methodology of historical quote-mining. It seems that David is feeling the heat, and decided to respond with another article here defending his previous defence.

While David has added some new paragraphs in points 5-7 in his defense attempt, it can be seen that nothing of substance has been added to the discussion. Remember that we are not going to play Ponter's and Byrne's game of elephant hurling. Since Byrne has mentioned the Bunyan quote of which the book is in the public domain, I have stuck to that and given an alternative explanation of what Bunyan had actually said. The onus is on Ponter and Byrne to prove my alternative interpretation wrong and their interpretation correct, or concede their error at this point. And if they have committed this error in Bunyan's work, why should we trust that they do not multiply the same error of eisegesis of historical sayings in the other quotes they so liberally 'provide' on their respective blogs?

It is astonishing that in point 5 of David's defence, David thinks that we are asking historians to be prophets who can come up with what we think the Reformers would have said and meant instead of reporting what they have said. Evidently, he is not reading our objection alright. What we are saying is that there is such a possibility that it may be the case that the words used by them at their time in their context do not convey the same meaning as what they would have when utilized in our context. Along those lines, they may have utilized phrases which we in our modern context would find strange and even heretical. One such concept is the issue of the Real Presence. Are we supposed to think that the phrase and concept as used and taught by Irenaeus and the other church fathers meant that the early church was essentially Roman Catholic (which is what Rome would want us to think)? According to Ponter's logic, why not?

It seems that no matter how frequent we champion the issue of CONTEXT and letting the whole CONTEXT determine the meaning of historical quotes, the Neo-Amyraldians do not *get* it. Historians are not to think of what might have happened if Calvin et al would have said or modified if they were living today; that is a strawman! Rather, that is a possibility which must be taken into account so that all quotes are to be read and interpreted according to their own CONTEXTS. It is interesting to note that David evidently thinks that acknowledging the dynamic nature of language and technical (theological) jargon = a "low view of Scripture"! As someone who is fluent in two languages of which one is not a Western language (ie Chinese), this is the most hilarious thing I have ever read. Evidently, unless the Church utilizes the same terminology consistently down through the ages (ignoring the language barrier), this implies a low view of Scripture? I think not!

Anyway, here is the comment I have left on that post. Let's see if David would interact with it.

I see you have not interacted with my alternative interpretation of Bunyan's work. Since your good friend Tony Byne was the one who utilized that quote as proof of your Amyraldism first, shouldn't you defend your common interpretation of Bunyan's post first instead of changing the subject and, in your own words, "ignoring the responses I have made"? Otherwise, why can't the same leaky boat analogy be applied to you, and that you are "simply change the goal post [from Bunyan's work] to a new location [Musculus]"? Remember, the Bunyan quote was provided by Byrne first, so the onus is on either of you to defend that quote, NOT shift the goal post to Musculus or any other Reformer.

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