Taylor Marshall has not been a devoted follower of Rome for very long, but he has surely learned the standard tactics of the Roman Apologetics Group (RAG) quickly. The RAG manual is very large (we managed to obtain one covertly from a liberal Church of England guy—not even the Jesuits could tell he wasn’t one of them!), and contains an innumerable cadre of brilliant “tactics of distraction.” But some are used so often it is easy to create a list of them.
A few days ago I noted a number of problems with Taylor Marshall’s presentation on the Immaculate Conception, in particular, its incoherent use (or abuse) of Scripture, as well as its completely selective citation of historical sources. This was all in the context of asking whether a person who is a graduate of Westminster Seminary would even attempt to communicate to his former religionists in a meaningful, fair, accurate fashion. It would strike me that a sound response would provide some kind of compelling argument for the kind of interpretational system offered, or, some explanation of the quotes from Ludwig Ott, or at least some kind of weighty historical citations refuting my over-all case.
Instead, Mr. Marshall demonstrated that he has already drunk deeply at the well of Roman Catholic apologetic tactics. Rome learned long ago not to go toe-to-toe, for let’s be honest, the battleground is not hers. She can only hope to prevail on one ground, her own. So, you assume that ground, and then define your critic, your opponent, as “anti-Us.” So, before you even get to the text of his blog, you have the poison thrown into the well, the constantly prescribed ad-hominem that is at the very heart and soul of Rome’s apologetic methodology: those who would dare oppose us, who would dare say we are twisting Scripture, dare point out how often history directly contradicts us, they are all…anti-Catholics. Remember, Rome was using this tactic long before the homosexuals came up with the ever-ready, mind-numbing, discussion stopping “homophobe” label. But it has the very same purpose, of course. It is the constant drumbeat of Catholic Answers, the regular phraseology of Envoy, and here we find it in the title of Marshall’s response, “Please Pray 3 Hail Mary’s for This Anti-Catholic Man.”
Once you have gotten your constituency properly numbed by the use of the mantra “anti-Catholic,” you can begin the personal belittling, and remember, if it is in service of “mother Church,” anything goes. So, we have:
Many Catholics are not fully aware of how much some Protestants hate Catholicism. James White is one of those Anti-Catholics and he has made a living out of “refuting” Catholicism.
Make sure to ascribe hatred to those “Anti-Catholics,” because you do not want to have anyone thinking that it is just possible that someone would oppose Romanism out of a love for, and allegiance to, Jesus Christ, His Gospel, and His Church! No, that possibility must be banished, so, you can freely adopt the role of heart-reader and judge of motives, and impugn those “Anti-Catholics” in this manner. Of course, since you have already marginalized them by defining them by your own religion (their own surely is not sufficient to define them!), who needs to worry about ignoring the full picture of their work? I mean, just because my blog is currently featuring hours worth of teaching and ministry on the subject of Islam, that’s irrelevant. So is the work I’ve done in debating Bart Ehrman, John Dominic Crossan, Marcus Borg, Dan Barker, John Shelby Spong, etc. I’m just a wild-eyed “Anti-Catholic” according to the cookie-cutter Roman Catholic apologetics manual. You’d think they would come up with something new, but, no, it’s the same, over and over again.
The only positive of this non-response (no attempt is even made to pretend this is a response) is that he linked to the full article, which would allow any and all to see for themselves the facts of the matter. But he closed with this,
…but don’t forget to pray three Hail Mary’s for his conversion. Even more, why don’t we all leave a comment over at his site saying that we love him and that are praying for his conversion to the Catholic Faith. Storm the gates!
Another good reason not to have a comments section! So to all who are praying for my conversion to Romanism, let me repeat what I said before: doesn’t it strike you as odd that you pray for conversion to a system rather than conversion to Christ? And that you are likewise praying to someone who has absolutely no knowledge of your prayers? You have been deceived, deluded, led astray, to think Mary is listening to your prayers, let alone that she would seek to convert me (if she even had the ability to do so) to a system that is so thoroughly opposed to the finished, completed work of her Son, a religion that did not exist when she lived, and about which, thanks be to God, she knows absolutely nothing. Mary (the true Mary, the Mary in heaven today, a faithful servant of Christ, not the pagan Queen of Heaven that Rome has created over the centuries) has never heard of a Pope, let alone heard a prayer from you, or anyone else.
So make note of this situation: an apostate embraces Rome, and abandons the gospel. He then promotes falsehood, twisting and distorting the Scriptures, and misrepresenting history, badly. When I point out these problems, what is his response? A clear, compellingly argued rebuttal, replete with meaningful exegesis, and cogent, weighty historical citation? No, of course not. Sling the anti-Catholic insult, attribute hatred, and pretend to take the high road by continuing your belief in the barely baptized pagan mythology of Marianism! It truly is amazing how fast some folks pick up the tactics used by Rome for centuries.