For those of you who’ve listened to the recent Dividing Line broadcast, I’d like to provide a little background on the section in which Dr. White played a Roman Catholic calling Steve Gregg’s The Narrow Path radio show. Since there’s a good chance this call may eventually get me banned from Catholic Answers, I might as well document what happened. A few weeks ago one particular Catholic Answers discussion thread caught my attention: “I called in at the Steve Gregg radio show” (some of you may remember that Dr. White debated Mr. Gregg on the Freedom of God in Salvation). The person who wrote this post (“Adamski”) stated,
I was listiening [sic] to Protestant radio (Anabaptsit [sic] radio) And this guy Steve Gregg the host went off on all you need is your bible and don’t become a member of any church. This concept really bothers me because I have friends that are like this and they have come up with some really really strange ideas on thier [sic] own. So I called the radio show and asked him “if your [sic] an expert how do you get a different answer than Tim staples or Scott Hahn” His response is “sadly they don’t know thier [sic] bible very well.” Then I responded “then how do you come up with a different answer than John Calvin or Martin Luther.” All this was said in a calm manner but my John Calvin and Martin Luther response was not put on air and he went off on some tangent back to how one should stay away from institutional churches.
This sounded like something worth hearing, so I inquired to Adam as to when he was on Mr. Gregg’s broadcast. I was able to track down Gregg’s show calender (it took weeks for the show to be uploaded). I found the call in question and posted it on Catholic Answers in the same discussion thread. I can’t add much to what Dr. White said. Mr. Gregg made some good and bad arguments. One thing does come across in the call: Mr. Gregg was cordial with the caller, despite cutting him off from time to time. In fact the call ends peacefully between these two men. From the way the discussion was portrayed in the Catholic Answers post, I had thought it was going to be a much more volatile discussion than it actually was. I said as much to Adam, and he responded:
Yes I think he was fair with me. I just think its [sic] silly to say his version of Christianity is right because he can interpate [sic] the bible better. That’s rediculous[sic]. Luther and Calvin both great Protestant scholars claimed they where [sic] both right because the[sic] could interpate [sic] the bible better and they argued who is right. I used to go to bible study fellowship when I was a Protestant and all they did was argue.
I responded as follows:
I don’t recall Calvin and Luther ever arguing about anything with each other. Keep in mind, during the 16th century, everyone argued with everyone, including those attached to the Roman church. One need only search out the squabbles between the different orders of monks. Steve Gregg makes some good points to you, while other points were not so good. For instance, the claim that Tim Staples did not “know” his Bible previous to becoming Roman Catholic is simply untrue. As much as I may disagree with Mr. Staples, it certainly is the case he has quite a lot of Scripture memorized, and had this before joining Rome.
According to the Catholic Answers moderator Eric Hilbert, this comment of mine crossed the line and I received an “infraction.” He stated, “After reviewing your post, and your explaination [sic] for it, I have reached the conclusion that, although this post does not reach the level of contempt for Catholicism, it does show a general disrespect.” Was it because I pointed out monks fought each other in the sixteenth-century? No. Was it because I mentioned Steve Gregg made some good points? No. Was it because I actually defended Tim Staples against the charge of Mr. Gregg? No. My crime appears to be using these words: “Roman church,” “Roman Catholic,” and “joining Rome.” Another Catholic Answers participant informed me of how offensive I was: “The terms ‘Roman church’ and ‘joining Rome’ are highly offensive. What Staples joined was the Catholic Church.”
Certainly two can play at this game. I’m highly offended that those dedicated to the Roman rite think they are the Catholic church, when in fact Rome has anathematized the Gospel and set up another infallible authority over the Scriptures. Any group doing such things is not a member of the Catholic church. Certainly posting such a comment though would’ve violated the rules of the Catholic Answers forums, rules I agreed to when I signed up. Instead, I posted the following explanation from something written by… Catholic Answers:
Within the Catholic Church there are a number of individual churches, sometimes called rites. One of these is the Roman rite or Roman church. It includes most of the Catholics in the Western world. A Roman Catholic is a Catholic who is a member of the Roman rite [What is the difference between the Roman Catholic and the Catholic religion?]
I’ve replied back to Eric Hilbert’s infraction summons:
I try to abide by the CA rules as much as possible, and did not realize what I had posted while I was defending Mr. Staples had violated the rules. In the future, can I use the phrase, “Roman rite” or “Roman church” as described by this CA link? If so, had I revised my sentence using these phrases instead, would my words still show “general disrespect” and if so, Why? The CA link in question uses both terms, and does not capitalize the word, “church.” If I’m missing something, please let me know. Keep in mind, the link in question, written by someone on staff for Catholic Answers uses the term, “Roman Catholic.”
What’s interesting as well is Pope Leo XIII didn’t have any problem with the word “Roman” or “Roman Church” as this encyclical shows.
Mr. Hilbert also stated, “I would highly suggest you change your tone to be in accordance with CAF rules in the future.” Now the ironic part of this is that the Catholic Answers moderators are allowing this multiple rule-breaking post, Answers to James White, shame on them. The Catholic Answers moderators have done some odd moderating on me before. Back in March I defended Dr. White using the Catholic Answers rules, only to have all my comments deleted (one can still read them here). Even with this current incident, Hilbert actually deleted my last 14 posts, including comments that didn’t break any rules. Again though, I suspected this would happen, so I posted them on my blog.
I’ve been a member of the Catholic Answers discussion forums since 2004. Some of you may wonder why I would be a member, others of you are probably wondering how it is I was never booted off Catholic Answers. I became a member to interact with Roman Catholics on Reformation history. I have a special interest in historical presuppositions and the use of the facts of history put forth by Roman Catholics in regard to the Reformation. I probably haven’t been kicked off because I don’t post often. If Mr. Hilbert happens to see this, I challenge him to respond back to me as to why my defense of Tim Staples while using the word “Roman” is disrespectful and this official Catholic Answers page is not. It appears to me that either Mr. Hilbert simply applies rules haphazardly, or perhaps he’s simply looking for a reason to boot me off Catholic Answers. Perhaps this very post is the reason he’s been looking for.