Dave Armstrong is responding on his blog, but I confess, it seems to be pretty difficult to follow where he’s going. Here’s how today’s retort, which in its title speaks of “ad hominem,” starts. My words are in blue:
DA has replied to my first comments on his book [see: previous installment ]. They were…predictable. Armstrong says his book is not “primarily” exegetical. Quite true. It is not secondarily exegetical. It is not exegetical in a tertiary manner. It simply isn’t exegetical at all.
It does contain some exegesis, but here’s the heart of my purpose (from my Introduction):
. . . only rarely do they seriously engage the biblical texts utilized by Catholics to support their positions . . . . critique of common Protestant attempts to ignore, explain away, rationalize, wish away, over-polemicize, minimize, de-emphasize, evade clear consequences of, or special plead with regard to “the Catholic Verses”: 95 biblical passages . . . ultimate incoherence, inadequacy, inconsistency, or exegetical and theological implausibility of the Protestant interpretations . . . (pp. xii-xiv)
But, that’s the whole point. The book pretends to “confound” Protestants with biblical passages, remember? I did not choose the title, Mr. Armstrong did.
Technically, I am not trying to “confound” anyone. It is the Bible which gives Protestants difficulty. I’m merely documenting exegetical bankruptcy, confusion, or irrationality.
Maybe I’m missing something, but, don’t you have to provide a positive argument for your own side before you can demonstrate failed arguments on the part of the other side? If Armstrong wants to prove that Protestants “only rarely…seriously engage the biblical texts utilized by Catholics” then shouldn’t he be reading the books that actually do so, rather than openly admitting he doesn’t? If he is attempting to demonstrate the “exegetical and theological implausibility of the Protestant interpretations” doesn’t he have to know those interpretations and engage in his own positive exegesis so as to demonstrate, one would think, the eisegetical nature of Protestant interpretations? And isn’t that what I’ve been pointing out? That he doesn’t do any of this, but rather simply assumes the Roman interpretation, ignores the need to do any exegesis at all, and after all that, does not avail himself of counter-exegesis when it is only two pages away from passages he cites in his book? And what’s more, I’m confused as well by the fact that when I mentioned looking for an exegesis of Romans 4:6-8 (which seemingly is not forthcoming: I’m sure I’m not the only one who would like to see Mr. Armstrong’s exegesis of the text) in A Biblical Defense of Catholicism he accused me of changing the topic; but now I am told to look there for the positive exegesis of these passages from the Roman Catholic side. Which is it? Sorta hard to figure out, isn’t it? Indeed it is.