After the posting of an article written in response to the conversion of James White’s sister to Roman Catholicism, a flood of e-mails came into the ministry. Many were very thankful for the information, and greatly encouraged by the stand for truth the article represented. They were encouraged to redouble their faithfulness in praying for, and witnessing to, their Roman Catholic friends and relatives.
But most other e-mails were simply hate-filled. And while we have grown accustomed to the fairly regular drum-beat of “nastigrams” from various religious groups, the posting of this particular article brought out a whole new level of hatred.
In the article noted above we reproduced an e-mail from Stephen Ray, Roman Catholic apologist and author of such books as Crossing the Tiber and Upon This Rock. The reader is invited to read his comments and ponder the attitudes displayed therein. Most importantly, contrast this unsolicited blast with the attitudes portrayed by Mr. Ray in his writings.
Within a day or two of the posting of that article, Dr. Art Sippo posted his thoughts to Steve Ray’s message board. We have many years’ worth of documentation, in writing and on tape, of Dr. Sippo’s harangues. Our experiences with him began in the debate on justification in Toledo, Ohio in 1991, where Dr. Sippo demonstrated a complete inability (or unwillingness) to behave in a respectful, proper manner. And nothing has changed in eleven years. Of course, one thing is always constant: Dr. Sippo will insult you in one paragraph, and then complain about how mean and unloving you are in the next. We reproduce his post below.
Then, the day after Mrs. Bonds’ appearance on The Journey Home, Mr. Mark Shea, author of By What Authority? weighed in on Gregory Krehbiel’s discussion board. Few of the “nastigrams” from Roman Catholic apologists speak more to the intense hatred and emotionalism of these men than this one does. We would like to provide more of the thread from Khrebiel’s board, but he deleted it, and this was all he managed to save. We truly appreciate the Christian brothers who demonstrated the utter irrationality of Shea’s blast, but, sadly, must report that Shea, though apologizing for the thread, did not apologize for what he said. The interested reader would find a great deal of consistency between Shea’s behavior in 2002 and that in 1997 (click here).
Update as of 3/01/02:
It seems Rome’s apologists are intent upon continuing to provide more and more evidence of their utter desperation as well as their complete willingness to attack the person rather than the issue. This morning Scott Windsor posted an accusation of plagiarism against me on his website. He noted that in the apologetics index on our website my name was listed as the author of three articles by Dave Brown, a former volunteer who had been involved with Alpha and Omega Ministries a number of years ago. As a result Mr. Windsor impugned and libeled my character and accused me of actually claiming these articles as my own!
The only element of truth in the accusation is that my name is listed on the apologetics index that was added to our site late last year. What Mr. Windsor did not mention (because, of course, he posted his attack without even contacting us) is as follows: 1) The articles were recent additions, scanned and proofed off of old masters of “information sheets” that we made up back in the 1980s. 2) They were scanned by a volunteer who has only known about our ministry for about two years, and hence had never heard of Dave Brown. 3) If the volunteer did not see any other name listed, he assumed James White had written it, and listed it as such. 4) Rich Pierce, who oversaw this volunteer’s work, was unaware that any of the articles he chose to be scanned and added to the site were written by anyone other than James White. 5) I was not asked about any of this, and since I have never liked the index itself (and have asked that it be changed or eliminated), I was unaware of even the addition of the new articles, let alone any authorship listing issues.
As any semi-unbiased person can quickly see, to impugn a man’s entire character when you did not have the honesty and temerity to even inquire about the situation is utterly reprehensible. As a result of this simple mistake, and the desperation to find anything to use as a weapon shown by Mr. Windsor, we have removed all articles on the Watchtower from the website that bear Mr. Brown’s name. I am surely learning more and more about the meaning of Matthew 5:11-12!
We should add that Mr. Windsor, upon being faced with some of this information, pulled the article from the “featured” article position, and Mr. Brown has apologized for assuming I was personally claiming authorship of his material. Unfortunately, Mr. Windsor has demanded that I apologize for the incident (despite the fact that he knows I had nothing to do with it in the first place). Sadly, Mr. Windsor has chosen to post another article that, while carefully worded, continues this utterly amazing demonstration. One thing I learned long ago: once someone makes this kind of accusation, it does not matter if it is retracted or corrected. Those who are desperate for some kind of response (outside of actually dealing with the truth) will repeat it ad nauseum. est autem Deus verax.
Why post the following material? Because people should know how men like Dr. Sippo, Steve Ray, and Mark Shea behave in personal contact (not just as they appear before an audience or in a published work). They often lead the chorus in attacking the character of Christian ministers and apologists, and the truth needs to be known.
Posted by Art Sippo (artsippo) on February 11, 2002 at 13:24:08:
In Reply to: Dr. White responds to his sister and Steve Ray posted by Frank Ramirez (Pope St Pe on February 09, 2002 at:
I have had the pleasure of corresponding with your sister over the last 2 years and have welcomed her as my own sister in the Lord.
She is an intelligent, sensitive, and articulate woman who shows not a hint of the emotionalism or lack of reasoning faculties of which you accuse her. In fact she and I share one gift from God that surprised me when she first told me about it: a deep and profound sense of God’s special presence in the reserved Eucharist in the tabernacle.
Many of us in the Catholic apologetic community knew of her conversion, but out of respect for her wishes, we did not publicize it. Out of respect for you and your family, James, she had asked that her identity be kept secret. She did not want you in particular to be humilitated in public. In speaking with her, though, it became apparent that she was no ordinary convert.
Patty is quite articulate and her witness to Christ shines through the things she writes. Your family is blessed with a surfeit of literary talent, James. Many of us encouraged her to write about the faith and what it means to her. She chose to tell her conversion story as a help to others. She now assists new converts in coming into the Catholic Church. She has a sweet and loving personality which makes her an ideal travelling companion for other pilgrims “on the way.”
In the process of doing so, she ran afoul of you. Unlike Patty, you are not bound by scruples, mercy, or respect for the dignity of others. Many people such as myself have been victimized by your arrogance, condescension, and cruelty. You do not care whom you insult or embarrass. This is one sign to a true follower of Jesus of your real status, James. Our Lord and Savior told us that the world would know we were his disciples by the love we would have for one another (John 13:35). He did not say that we would be known by following the opinion of some apostate theologians as if they were the “truth.”
Patty is a child of her Father in Heaven and a sibling to Christ in a way that I believe you are not. I can see the piety in her and the conversion of heart. She is a kindred spirit to us Catholics who is obviously moved by the Gospel of God’s love for men. From you, all we have ever gotten is insults and lies. Nolo contendere.
Your fear of “emotionalism” is really, I believe, a fear of the Gospel itself, for it is “foolishness to the Greeks and a stumbling block to the Jews.” You want “truth” based on schoalrship and so you affect phony degrees to make your opinions more plausible. This is a Theological Pelagianism which is typical for Protestants. You deny that “good works” can in any way assist one to gain access to heaven, but you think that “good studies” can earn one access to absolute religious truth. You strain at a gnat but swallow a camel.
In your harping on the notion of “truth” as the ground of the Christian religion, you betray your elitist and gnostic prejudices. St. Paul replies best to your error:
1Cr 1:18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1Cr 1:19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will thwart.”
1Cr 1:20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
1Cr 1:21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.
1Cr 1:22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom,
1Cr 1:23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,
1Cr 1:24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
1Cr 1:25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
1Cr 1:26 For consider your call, brethren; not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth;
1Cr 1:27 but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong,
1Cr 1:28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are,
1Cr 1:29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.
1Cr 1:30 He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption;
1Cr 1:31 therefore, as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord.”
1Cr 12:1 Now concerning spiritual [gifts], brethren, I would not have you ignorant…
1Cr 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet I will show you a more excellent way.
1Cr 13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
1Cr 13:2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
1Cr 13:3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
1Cr 13:4 Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful;
1Cr 13:5 it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
1Cr 13:6 it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.
1Cr 13:7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1Cr 13:8 Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
1Cr 13:9 For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect;
1Cr 13:10 but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.
1Cr 13:11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
1Cr 13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.
1Cr 13:13 So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
St.Paul exalted love above faith and in fact taught that a man with faith who lacked love was “nothing.” It was precisely a faith “unformed by charity” which was what the Protestant deformers — especially Luther — meant by their heresy of Faith Alone. In doing so they ran afoul of St, James 2:24, but more importantly, they also contradicted St. Paul:
Rom 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.
Rom 13:9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Rom 13:10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
You play the typical Protestant game of equivocating on the word of God when it suits your systematic theological prejudices, for your allegiance to the Bible is a sham. What you really seek are out-of-context proof texts for heretical and unbiblical notions.
On the other hand, we Catholics take what Our Lord and Savior said seriously. With regard to the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, we follow the teaching of Jesus, not the skepticism of apostate men from 15 Centuries later:
Jhn 6:47 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.
Jhn 6:48 I am the bread of life.
Jhn 6:49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.
Jhn 6:50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die.
Jhn 6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
Jhn 6:52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
Jhn 6:53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you;
Jhn 6:54 he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
Jhn 6:55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
Jhn 6:56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.
Jhn 6:57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.
Jhn 6:58 This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever.”
Furthermore, in doing so we share the faith of the early Church:
St. Ignatius of Antioch, EPISTLE TO THE SMYRAEANS (@107 AD)
Chapter 7: “They [i.e., heretics] abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again. Those, therefore, who speak against this gift of God, incur death in the midst of their disputes. But it were better for them to treat it with respect, that they also might rise again. It is fitting, therefore, that ye should keep aloof from such persons, and not to speak of them either in private or in public, but to give heed to the prophets, and above all, to the Gospel, in which the passion[of Christ] has been revealed to us, and the resurrection has been fully proved. But avoid all divisions, as the beginning of evils.”
This is one of the earliest statements of the Church Fathers on this matter but it sums up Catholic belief rather succintly. It is only one in a line of thousands of similar testimonies written by Historic (i.e., Catholic and Orthodox) Christians from the 1st Centruy onwards. It clearly opposes virtually everything that you stand for, James. Your man-made religion — descended as it is from a mixture of 16th Century apostasy and skepticism — presents a dissenting voice that has no foundation in either Scripture or Tradition. When you deny the Real Presence and the sacrifical nature of the Eucharist, you do so by DENYING the faith of the early Church, not “reforming” it.
The Calvinoid ‘god’ you worship capriciously created some men to be eternally (and irrevocably) damned and other men to be undeservedly “saved” for no greater purpose than his own self aggrandisement. He is a selfish monster lacking in any love or concern for the plight of men. You and your co-religionists worship him not because of his goodness or moral authority, but because of his sovereign power. Basically, your ‘god’ is the biggest bully on the block and you want to be on his side so you can cheer him on while he picks on others who are helpless to be anything other than what he allows them to be. This is the portrait of an abusive and sadistic pagan demiurge, not the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Your advocacy of this horrible religion helps to explain the way you treat people.
I have debated the issues with you many times, James, and I fear that it is you who have failed to respond convincingly on contested matters of faith. You seem to think that merely stating your personal opinion while misrepresenting the views of your opponents (and abusing them) is sufficient refutation. It is not.
I have refuted your errors using the Scriptures alone in the past as other Catholic apologists have. Yet you continue to perpetuate lies such as the claim that the Church of teh Council of Nicea did not believe in baptismal regeneration, the Real SUBSTANTIAL Presence of Christ in the Eucharistic species, the Sacrifical nature of the Mass, purgation after death, the imposition (and pardon) of penances for post-baptismal sin, the Spiritual Motherhood of Mary, or Papal Primacy. Indeed, the terminology of later ages was not present in the 4th Century, but the concepts were in nascent form. Meanwhile what is conspicuously ABSENT is any notion of Sola Fide, Sola Scriptura, double predestination, total depravity, or other distinctive Protestant errors. Frankly, you know this, but you have tried to misrepresent the facts in order to present a false picture of Christian history that is more to your liking.
You compound your dishonesty by pretending to have earned graduate degrees when in fact you have no such degrees from any accredited institution of higher learning. Frankly, you have not done the work that earns you the right to use any academic title. But as Oscar Wilde put it, “Hypocrisy is the compliment that vice pays to virtue.” You want a legitimacy for your views that you think an ersatz doctorate will give you.
Those of us who have graduate degrees know how hard you have to work to earn them and how broad your knowledge base must be. The nonsense you proclaim to be “truth” would not be tolerated in any institution of higher learning where graduate students are expected to know their chosen field.
Frankly, your published work is amateurish, selective, and — in places — deliberately deceptive. Unfortunately, it is presented in a style that can lead simple people astray. For this reason it is necessary to refute your lies with extensive documentation. This is not an easy task and takes quite a bit of exposition.
For this reason protecting people from your erros is a full time job and it takes the strength and faith of the Catholic Community to do so. No man is an island, James, and neither faith nor the faithful are ever alone. As the Niceo-Constantinopolitan Creed begins, “WE believe” as a unitied worldwide Church and as a single family. As a Catholic, I do not profess my own opinion. I profess the faith of the Church along with my brothers and sisters in Christ.
Refuting your errors is a necessary apostolate because of the souls you are leading astray and making them more distant from Christ. The ancient Church has preserved its faith and subsists in the Catholic Apostolic and Roman Church. The several thousand Protestant splinter groups that have arisen over the last 490 years represent a continuum of degeneration and pandemonium all in opposition not only to the witness of the contemporary Catholic Church, but also to the faith “which was delivered unto the saints.”
It very sad that after you are abusive to those folks who have the temerity to disagree with you, you are then surprised and hurt that they do not like or respect you. The merely formal nature of “righteousness” in your religion makes it impossible for you to have any meaningful or constructive introspection. You are already “saved” and so you have no need of personal repentence or reform. For you, being a Protestant means never having to say you are sorry.
Well, I think I speak for all Catholic apologists when I say that I am sorry for any unjust or inappropriate words I have ever said to you. It is not our intention to offend, but it is our intention to tell the truth in love. I have said some harsh things to you in the past in order to convict you of your sins and errors. I do not repent of telling you the truth. I do repent of any unjust offense I may have caused you in trying to do so. You are very easy to dislike James, but for Christ’s sake I love you as an errant brother. I ask your pardon for any such offenses and sincerely continue to pray for your conversion.
I call on you once again to reflect on what has happened between you and people of other faiths. Can you honestly say that you have always acted kindly towards them? If you cannot, then I abjure you in Christ’s name to repent of your behavior and seek forgiveness from those you have hurt.
Patty has found her way home to us, James. As I have told you on numerous occasions, you too are called to repent and believe the Gospel as well. Faith in Luther and Calvin cannot save you. You must have faith in Christ and in the Church HE founded, not the parodies that trace their origins to the opinions of mere men. The time is getting short. You must decide. Please come home. We are waiting for you.
Art Sippo MD, MPH
Below we produce the material provided by Gregory Krehbiel after he deleted this thread from his board. Only the first page of posts was saved: all my replies were deleted and lost. Mark Shea’s posting name is “chezami.” His starting subject title was “It makes my flesh creep.”