I was reading Kent Brandenburg's blog about this matter. One of the comments he allowed to be posted compared myself, Doran, and Pratt as using the tactics of the "New Atheists". Another on his blog said that though they are not Ruckmanites, they preferred Ruckmanism over against the CT as the lesser of two evils. Those kind of comments give Fundamentalism a very bad name. That is the kind of Fundamentalism that Kevin Bauder has been crticial of and rightly so. By the way, the same commentor also condemned MacArthur as a heretic on the Blood. Though I disagree with JM on numerous points, it is not fair to call JM a heretic on the blood. However, so often KJVO types participate in this kind of slander. In my opinion men like that are simply schismatic and I would not have ecclesiastical fellowship with them. Their ignorance is only surpassed by their arrogance.
I'd actually like to have things be civil between Mike Harding and myself. We see a lot of things exactly the same in doctrine and practice, but he doesn't seem to want as much peace as we can possibly have. In this case he didn't link to the post with this statement, so no one would get to see the context of the comments to which he was referring. Very ironic is that this paragraph that he wrote at SharperIron actually illustrates what P.S. Ferguson was talking about when he said that they use the tactics of the "New Atheists." If you saw the "New Atheist" comment in the context, it wouldn't look so bad. Without the context, it looks like that P. S. may have been calling these men atheists, but here's the entire quote from P. S.:
Like many of the polemicists on the New Atheist movement, Harding, Doran, Pratt, all assume that caricatures and insinuations trump arguments. It puts me in mind of Cicero's old dictum, "When you have no case, abuse the plaintiff.”
P. S. was referring to a bunch of abusive statements made by these men (Harding, Pratt, etc.) concerning King James Version advocates. I still love them, and I was pointing out their bad behavior. Harding chooses to pluck the two words, "New Atheism," out of the context to make it look worse than what it was. I would wonder if Harding is ignorant of the New Atheist movement and the kind of debate these men have used in the glut of new books they've written. P. S. was only paralleling the polemical similarities, not the doctrinal ones.
The second comment that Harding made was that someone "said that though they are not Ruckmanites, they preferred Ruckmanism over against the CT as the lesser of two evils." Everyone should know that no one used the words that Harding said they did. No one defended Ruckman. No one. At best he was referring to a comment made by Gary Webb:
I have been strongly "anti-Ruckmanism" because of the double-inspiration issue [as well as Ruckman's personal life, ungodly spirit, & crazy doctrines]. However, I have to admit that, concerning the Bible in English, the Ruckmanite position is FAR BETTER than the Critical Text position. The CT position not only undermines the King James but EVERY Bible, including whatever "version du jour" the CT crowd is promoting.
That doesn't sound like support for Ruckman. Later Joshua added:
[N]o one is supporting Ruckman here. I pointed out earlier that no one touches him or his followers with a ten foot pole. . . . If Gary is advocating supporting Ruckman just because he's better than Ehrman Ill eat my King James Bible.
Later Webb clarified:
If you are sounding a warning to the effect that I (and perhaps others) would consider Ruckmanism or those that hold it as potential brethren with which to have fellowship, I would find that fairly ridiculous.
It really does seem like Harding is the one that wants to stir things up with his representation of what is said. All that was said was that Ruckman gets far more attacked than someone like Bart Ehrman by fundamentalists and yet Bart Ehrman leaves men with far more doubt in the end about the Word of God. Perhaps Harding can't apprehend that kind of nuance.
Next Mike made this statement:
By the way, the same commentor also condemned MacArthur as a heretic on the Blood. Though I disagree with JM on numerous points, it is not fair to call JM a heretic on the blood. However, so often KJVO types participate in this kind of slander.
If you scroll down the comments on both articles I wrote on Bibliology and Separation, not one person, not a single one, said that MacArthur was a "heretic" on the blood. None. No one. Scroll down the comments yourself. So Harding tells the whole SharpIron world that I allowed a comment that said that MacArthur was a "heretic on the blood," and yet no one made that statement. The only person who said anything about MacArthur and heresy was Harding himself. He wrote:
Mac was not and is not heretical on the blood period. Bob Jones Jr. was mistaken on that issue. BJU does not consider Mac heretical on the blood today.
Somehow Harding was thinking of his own comment and that BJU, his alma mater, were the ones that said MacArthur was heretical. P. S. Ferguson said something about MacArthur and the blood issue, but all he said was this:
Despite MacArthur’s deeply disturbing views on the blood of Christ, total lack of biblical separation by preaching with Ecumenists and Charismatics in his ministry, promotion of rank CCM music at his conventions, BJU Board Member, Mike Harding, imperiously dismisses those who oppose MacArthur for their “the total lack of appreciation or honest commendation for men such as John MacArthur by some in our circles.”
P. S. Ferguson said MacArthur's view on the blood was "deeply disturbing." That's it. And then Harding broad brushes "KJVO types" as saying "this type of slander." A slander is a lie. Mike Harding, no one called MacArthur a "heretic." You are obviously ignorant of what I believe about heresy, because I've never called MacArthur a heretic. You are the only one who brought it up. I too think that MacArthur's view on the blood is deeply disturbing and I have been very careful in explaining why over at Jackhammer (here and here). I asked Harding whether he believed MacArthur's views were unscriptural. He said nothing, but then he jumps to calling us "slanderers" based on something that wasn't even said. Isn't that slander itself? I'll let you judge that rather that stooping to the Harding smear of all KJVO people. I really do want to get along with Mike Harding as much as possible, and the way to do that is to interact based on civil discourse.
Of course, Harding ends with a flurry of language, attacking us as schismatics and arrogant and ignorant. I would fly to anywhere in the country and debate Harding on the issue of the text. He should mop up an arrogant ignoramus. I already said I would do that with James White. I would even host him here in California for a debate if he wanted to get some sun in the winter months. We could video record it and have it available for posterity.
In the meantime, I would call on Mike Harding to reconsider what he has said. I think he has some explaining to do. I expect a retraction over at SharperIron. I know that's what I would do if I were him. And if there is anything that I say that is slanderous, I will be glad to admit it. Until then, I don't think the "they're idiots!" kind of argumentation is effective or should be given any kind of credit.
I sent a copy of this via email to Mike Harding at the same time I published it so that he could clear up any misrepresentations. He does think that he was mistreated here entirely in the comment section and mainly from P. S. Ferguson. He's not happy with me that I allowed the comment. He says that he wasn't going after those that take our view of the KJV, TR, and preservation, but the Ruckman/Riplinger crowd only. And I can appreciate that, but I was making only a very narrow point, that is, that the CT/eclectic side of the issue also uses name-calling as a technique. That was further validated in the SharperIron comment. I'm not even saying that he or Doran are wrong for using that type of language if they believe what they believe. I was just saying that it isn't an either/or on the style of criticism offered. The CT/eclectic side, especially James White, constantly talk about the KJV side as being the ones guilty of not being nice. That is not an argument either way on this issue, but it is being used that way. I think it is debunked by what we read in the quotes coming from the CT/eclectic side.
I don't believe I started this. All I did was point some things out that someone else said. P. S. referred to more things that people had said. Actually there has been a lot more said by the eclectic/CT side that is untrue and not very nice. I don't think that pointing out what we see happening is bad; I think it's good.
I reread P. S. Ferguson's comment and it was very strong. I wouldn't have said it how he said it, especially one or two specific sentences, but the essence of it I agreed with. I see what P. S. is writing to be very much akin to what Peter Masters wrote recently in criticism of the "conservative evangelicals." He, like me, sees, if any criticism at all, a very soft, civil criticism of MacArthur and his kind, accompanied with hefty portions of praise, but a very strong negativity toward KJV supporters by the non-revivalist fundamentalists. Harding may be targeting the English inspirationists and preservationists, but it reads absolutely broad brush, because delineations between the positions are not made.
Has this been personal? Yes. From both sides. We've been combative. People are going to have to sort out what they believe the truth is. I've got more to say on this issue as I move on in the Bibliology and Separation series.