I had read the Ketchum post and didn't have any trouble with it. I read the Doran post and thought it was unusual for him. I like Doran in so many ways. It seemed to be something little less than a pot shot, a hatchet job (to mix my metaphors) on Ketchum. And Doran's name was mentioned by Ketchum.
Ketchum quotes our book on ecclesiastical separation, A Pure Church, in his article, but this has nothing to do with my post right now. Doran really didn't touch what we were quoted on. There wasn't enough of a context to the quotes to know what positions we would be taking exactly on the text.
Doran's post was so short, let me just quote the entire thing right here:
FWIW, I was reminded of this previous post when I read this article.
The genuine cause of biblical separatism is not helped by applying biblical texts about false teachers to brothers with whom we disagree. It may work to create controversy and generate heat, but my observation over the past 30 years is that it only works for the short term and then blows up. People who makes claims like this lose their credibility and their following, properly, grows smaller and smaller. Sadly, they interpret that as some kind of proof that they are right, but in reality it is simply a sign that they are unbiblically divisive. Even more sadly, because they wave a Bible verse and drape their false accusation in biblical garb, good people and assemblies are hurt by the confusion it causes.
Succinctness can be good....and bad. I judge the latter here, because there isn't enough explanation for Doran to avoid failing. I quoted the whole thing, so I could refer to it in this post.
The post to which Doran links, which you can pick up by clicking on the link I provide in my first line, deals with a misinterpretation or misapplication of Romans 16:17-18, that I have to say, I've never heard in my life, making it seem like nothing more than strawman. He bashes a position I've never heard taken and doesn't tell us who he heard taking it. Ketchum doesn't take it, so it doesn't even apply to Ketchum, even though Doran links to it like he does. So we're bad there right off the bat. Problem #1.
Then the major point of Doran is that Ketchum's article misapplies Romans 16:17-18 (and I think Doran may be saying, misapplies to me). He uses the words "brothers with whom we disagree." That is at least misleading. Ketchum isn't talking about "disagreements," like non-biblical issues (Rom 14 ones). Ketchum is talking about false teachers and false teaching. Problem #2.
I wrote Doran about this, so I know now what he thought was the misapplication. Ketchum applies Romans 16:17-18 to false teachers who are professing believers and Doran thinks that it should apply only to lost false teachers. That's it. Doran treats this like it is some egregious issue of interpretation or application. I don't see Doran going after this kind of situation normally, but obviously his name and some of his closer friends were mentioned in the article. He and they were involved with Mark Dever at a conference a few years back, and this got some hubbbub.
Is Doran right? Does Romans 16:17-18 apply only to unbelieving false teachers? If there are false teachers teaching something that is against scripture, we don't mark and avoid them, at least according to Romans 16:17-18? I don't think Doran can prove his point. He doesn't even try in the article. Actually I think it applies to any kind of false teacher, and we're not always able to instantly determine whether the one doing the false teaching is saved or not. Usually saved people, when confronted about false teaching, will repent, so you don't have to mark and avoid them. The terms aren't a dead give-away to say that these are surely all unsaved people. Problem #3.
The way Doran reads is that Ketchum was attempting to "create controversy and generate heat." So this comes across like he is assigning that motive to Ketchum. I don't think so. I think Ketchum is concerned about the Bible being followed and obeyed. He sees fundamentalism changing and he doesn't think in a good way, and he wants to do something about it, so he uses a lot of exegesis to do so. Doran says bad exegesis with no proof, but Ketchum does in fact refer to scripture in a serious way to make his point, unlike ironically what Doran does. Doran just blasts Ketchum without providing proof, except for a link that is a bridge to nowhere. And I think the plain reading has Doran judging Ketchum's motives. Problem #4.
In the exactly previous post to this one by Doran, he writes about what bothers him about blog debates, and #2 is: "when a written text is defended or attacked by arguments that assume the ability to read the author’s mind." So in his next post, he attempts to read Ketchum's mind in a blog debate. Bravo! His number one was treating arguments like they are an attack on a person, when they are an attack on a text. What text did Doran really deal with? Voila. Nothing. All he did was smack down Ketchum. Problem #5.
Doran says that Ketchum makes a false accusation. What is the false accusation? Please, if there is confusion, let's clear that up! No clearing up available with this essay. Ironically, more confusion with this post than with what Ketchum offered. I got what Ketchum was talking about. Doran serves up ambiguity that then comes across as a smear job. It is a smear job. So, it is a false accusation against Ketchum about Ketchum making a false accusation. If you are going to say someone is making a false accusation, you've got to do better than this, or you yourself are making one. He says that Ketchum is losing credibility, being unbiblically divisive, and then being a con man by putting biblical garb over his sinful actions. That's all very serious. Doran seems to think that the sheer weight of his personality or self-perceived gravitas is enough authority here, all very much like the fundamentalism that I witnessed when I was in it. Problem #6.
Ketchum is supposed to be concerned that his "following is growing smaller and smaller." Ouch. This is big with fundamentalists, their following. They will lose a following. I could riff on several posts on that. That idea makes me sick. Is Ketchum really concerned about his "following," so he writes an article to make sure he keeps it? That sounds dastardly. I would hope not. I don't think so. Problem #7.