I mentioned on the Dividing Line a few weeks ago the quandry presented by those associated with Robert Sungenis. I have debated Sungenis five times, by my count. Some will recall a period when Sungenis actually attempted to behave in a meaningfully restrained fashion, but that period did not last long. All one has to do is track down the fireworks between he and his Roman Catholic critics to get an idea of what is up at CAI. Anyway, if you go back to the archives of the DL you will hear our discussion of Mr. X, the man CAI put forward as being an “insider” who actually funded the research of Bill Webster and David King that resulted in their three volume work on sola scriptura. Likewise Mr. X told all sorts of stupid stories about Webster, King, myself, and others associated with this ministry. His allegations were so absurd, so outlandish, that they were easily refuted. Then it was discovered Mr. X was a troubled teenager pulling a prank, and as we said then, Sungenis’ reputation as a serious apologist was, for all intents and purposes, over at that point. Since then he has only marginalized himself even more by adopting a whole range of odd and downright eccentric positions, resulting in a wholesale abandonment on the part of mainstream Roman Catholics of his work.
I mentioned that one of his associates had decided to write a brief response to me a few weeks ago. I looked at it briefly, but was immediately struck by the quandry: given how minimalized CAI has become, and their need for “controversy” to keep themselves going, what benefit is there in aiding them to do so? At the very worst, they can write articles, issue challenges, and say I am avoiding them because they are so brilliant and insightful (and it isn’t like anyone can go and listen to the five debates I’ve done against Sungenis or read the articles on our website responding to elements of his work, etc.), but that really doesn’t do for you what actual interaction does. So, given you have only a certain amount of time for dealing with any particular area, I decided it was best to focus on those who actually represent mainstream Roman Catholic views rather than a small fringe minority that has already shot its credibility in the head.
Well, while I’ve been over here in Italy Mr. Sungenis has been writing to my ministry, challenging me to debate sola scriptura (there’s a topic I’ve never tackled before). Rich Pierce informed him that I was away, and beyond that, we were not interested in light of our past encounters and the Mr. X debacle. Sungenis would not take that answer, so I finally wrote to him myself, once I got my e-mail sem-functional. I explained what I said above, and you can guess the response. I have just been informed that I am afraid of Mr. Sungenis, and am a hypocrite. Further, we should all be mature and get over incidents like Mr. X. Get over them? Is that like getting over a cold, or the flu? I mean, once you demonstrate you are willing to use anything, no matter how wild or insane it might be, as a billyclub against your imagined opponents, doesn’t it require you to do a little something to repair your own credibility? What has Sungenis done? He’s gone farther and farther down the road with his unique views, and just recently an article was featured on his website referring to my “chicken heart” or something along those lines, so I hardly have any reason to think that he has made a concerted effort to change over the past two years or so since the Mr. X debacle. Ironically, even Roman Catholic apologists I know agree that he should just be left alone to wander off into whatever form of religion is next to sample (his testimony story lists quite a range, from a follower of Harold Camping to a member of the International Churches of Christ–and that from being a Presbyterian, as I recall). So I am sure we will be seeing some very…entertaining articles appearing in the near future. And that’s the report from here in Italy. Ciao!