Amazingly, after posting his horrific image, Armstrong has tried to turn the tables by accusing me of posting something even worse than his blood-stained Charlie-Mansonesque picture. Remember, Armstrong just posted the picture: no context, no words, no application to any particular issue. Just Rome’s arrow (replete with Papal flag) sticking out of my forehead with blood flowing from the wound. And how does Armstrong defend this? By saying we did something much worse by posting the cartoon Angel drew of Patrick Madrid (see the blog archive). And what makes that picture as bad as his bloody one? Well, obviously, poor Patrick is going to get stoned, literally. Of course, as anyone knows who has listened to the debate to which Angel is referring (oh, what, look at context?), this very issue came up in the discussion, and to my amazement (and most everyone else’s), when I asked whether the latria/dulia distinction would have held up when a person was found worshipping an idol (hence the idol in the background), his response was that the Israelites had a particular penchant for idolatry, one that we no longer struggle with! And it is this amazing response that prompted Angel’s cartoon. I truly wonder if Armstrong has even listened to or watched the debate, so as to have a context? Probably not. He surely gives no evidence of knowing anything about it.
I do not need to waste much more blog space on this one: the truth is clear for anyone who wishes to see it. Just three notes:
1) Armstrong is either feigning some kind of mock amazement and hurt, or, is simply completely clueless as to what I believe and teach. In either case, he writes:
By implication, not only Pat Madrid, but all Catholics who hold to the Church’s teaching, are the equivalents of worshipers of the Golden Calf: the rankest, most primitive, despicable form of idolatry. I need not establish that this is not in the slightest degree related to Catholic veneration of images or the Mass. That is too silly to waste time on. I just wanted to establish exactly the point that James’ caricaturist (with his permission) was trying to make, in this “accurate” and “perfectly on-target” caricature. I’d like to hear from Protestants: do you think this is a fair portrayal of Catholicism?
Yes, Mr. Armstrong, that is exactly what I have been saying, and said, clearly and without apology, in the debate with Patrick Madrid. The latria/dulia distinction does not hold and cannot survive examination and hence yes, your prayers to Mary and your bowing to statues is idolatrous, hence the need to warn you to flee from that which offends God. Now, you can seek to throw post-modern dust in the air if you wish, and appeal to the “crowd” by asking Protestants for their “feelings,” just as Madrid asked the Catholics in the audience if they “felt” like they were committing idolatry. None of this deals with the simple fact that it is not up to you to define idolatry: God did that already.
2) The impossibility of the task of trying to deal with Dave Armstrong’s rhetoric is illustrated by the fact that at one point he actually argues that I misrepresented his drawing because I said the arrow was between my eyes. Armstrong points out it is in the middle of my forehead! Oh goodie! A distinction without a difference! Perhaps Mr. Armstrong would like to illustrate for us the functional difference between taking an arrow between the eyeballs and one in the middle of one’s forehead?
3) Finally, 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. Want proof? OK. Here’s a response to his most recent attempt to “respond” to the exegetical comparison I posted a while back.