Five years ago now I decided to celebrate my birthday by riding up South Mountain three times. The goal was simple enough: climb 100 ft in ascent for every year of my age. So, today I did that for the fifth time. Obviously, as the years have passed, each effort gets a little harder, partly due to the simple rules of mathematics, partly due to the aging of my legs. But I am thankful for the health that has allowed me to pursue this goal each year. Today I climbed 4739 ft. over the course of 42.1 miles. And yes, my legs are tired.
Over the course of the over 3.5 hours I listened primarily to two series of talks I had downloaded from iTunesU. If you have not discovered all the valuable information available from iTunesU, I encourage you to take a look at what is offered there. I listened first to three presentations made by Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo, speaking at Covenant College in Georgia. (You can find these by going to the chapel services for Covenant College in the iTunesU area of the iTunes store). His second presentation was particularly compelling, and made me again desire to produce long-lasting, helpful resources for the persecuted church.
The second series of lectures came from Dr. Albert Mohler in the chapel services of the Dallas Theological Seminary. I had listened to a very much shortened version of this presentation, which, eventually, became Dr. Mohler’s book, Atheism Remix, an excellent introduction to the New Atheism. The background information Dr. Mohler provides relating to the key authors (Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens, Harris) as well as the information on the cultural shift that has catapulted them into prominence is very useful and necessary as we face a hardening form of secularism in our own nation.
So after I got back and got cleaned up I was working through my RSS feeds and came across a blog entry by Patrick Madrid. Yesterday Rich Pierce had mentioned to me that a Catholic radio station was coming on line in the Phoenix area. I found that only moderately interesting. If I wanted to listen to most of the interesting programs on such stations, I could have been doing so all along on line. James Swan kindly sends me clips from CA Live and other such programs fairly regularly, and, of course, we review them on the Dividing Line (something I note the pop apologists for Rome do not do—that would require them to update their arguments and research!). In any case, I have listened briefly to such stations when traveling (there was one up in the Mill Valley area when I was teaching a class at GGBTS) and found them horrifically boring in general. You can only listen to so many repetitive prayers and discussions about Mary. In any case, Madrid provided the following commentary:
24/7 Catholic radio is now beaming across metro Phoenix and beyond thanks to the newest station to come on line in the ever-expanding Immaculate Heart Radio network. This follows the recent launch of another powerhouse Catholic radio station in Salt Lake City, which is now broadcasting 24/7 Catholic programming across the great State of Utah.
If I remember correctly, a couple of the more bumptious Protestant pop-apologists live in Phoenix. So it warms my heart to know that they will now be able to enjoy listening to Catholic preachers, apologists, and commentators such as Scott Hahn, Marcus Grodi, Tim, Staples, Father Corapi and, of course, the ever-popular “Catholic Answers Live” show, practically any time they want, in the air-conditioned comfort of their cars, homes, and offices. Or even when riding a bike! I’ve heard that well-equipped bike shops carry portable AM radios to help thoroughly furnish cycling enthusiasts
Evidently “bumptious” was Word of the Day recently. It fits Patrick’s on-going effort to continue living on the reputation of being an apologist who seems reluctant to engage in a lot of apologetics. Remember, Patrick likes to claim he wiped the floor with me in our two previous debates, and he is the author of the infamous “White Man’s Burden” article (and editor of the magazine that did the anonymous hit-piece based upon a footnote that never gave the reader the means of actually reading the original article they were criticizing, a true low in yellow theological journalism). Over the past couple of years we have gone through both debates bit by bit, demonstrating that once again the Roman position cannot be successfully defended without engaging in circular and fallacious reasoning. In any case, Patrick has been regularly referring to me (though rarely by name, that would violate his standards) as a “pop apologist,” and now he’s added “bumptious” to the list, a term which means “self-assertive or proud to an irritating degree.”
First, aside from Tim Staples coming on my program next month to do a discussion on 1 Corinthians 3, it has become next to impossible to get any of those Patrick listed above, including himself, to debate any longer. Remember, I was challenged to debate first by Catholic Answers, an organization which, at the time, had as its Vice President, one Patrick Madrid. Their hesitance to accept debate challenges over the past number of years seems very odd in light of their repeatedly claiming to have cleaned my clock. If that is the case, I wonder why they wouldn’t like to continue that process of cleaning, publicly? I think those who have seriously examined those debates know the reason for their hesitance. And in particular, I wonder why Patrick has not been looking for an opportunity to clarify my confusions on so many issues relating to the Marian dogmas, Papal Infallibility, purgatory, the priesthood, the Mass, etc. I stand ready to debate these issues. In fact, maybe Patrick would like to arrange a debate on, say, the priesthood and the Mass at his Envoy Institute? In front of his own students, perhaps? It would seem to me that to claim to have been victorious in his two preceding debates with me, while refusing to engage in the refutation of his points that has been provided in the years since then, is, well, downright bumptious, don’t you think?
Secondly, I wonder at Patrick’s use of “pop apologist.” What is Patrick? I don’t want to seem unkind, but let’s be honest: Patrick’s books have been acknowledged by other Roman Catholic apologists as surface level treatises that barely get past the “compile a bunch of articles from Envoy and call them a book” stage. I have not personally seen any serious scholarship coming from his pen. What is more, I wonder if the range of topics I address in lecture, debate, and teaching, is not significantly wider than anything Patrick has ever attempted, wouldn’t this make him even more of a “pop” apologist than I would be? Has Patrick taken on Crossan, Borg, Ehrman, Barker, Ally? Upon any serious consideration, it would seem that there is a real possibility of sour grapes here as the motivating factor in Patrick’s language.
Finally, for those who have not listened to the 1993 debate with Patrick (yes, coming up on seventeen years ago), you can not only obtain the mp3 from us, but the transcript has been on line for years, and I went through the errors in Patrick’s attempted rebuttal on the DL in a series of programs, starting in the summer of 2008 and concluding in October of 2008. In fact, here’s a video clip from one of those programs:
Unlike Patrick, we actually tackle the topics in depth rather than just claiming victory and then whistling louder when challenged on our claims.