Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A Story: Lies, Libel, and Blogdom

Besides writing some posts here and at Jackhammer, I read and comment on a few other blogs. With not every one of these am I in ecclesiastical fellowship. I would categorize them anywhere from fundamentalist to conservative evangelical. Perhaps the most visited blog among the conservative evangelicals, non-separatists, is called Pyromaniacs. It sounds criminal, but the title means to catch attention and then inform us about the Bible being like fire in a certain sense as described in Jeremiah. The regulars at Pyro know me and know who I am and where I stand. Every few weeks there I comment, probably 50-50, positive and negative. If I read something and don't agree, I'll say it. If I like it, I'll type that too. It has given me a forum for understanding how these types of men interact with what I believe. For the most part, they don't engage in a substantive way, but instead choose to mock and insult. Some of their rhetoric must be met, but mostly I keep it to a scriptural discussion.

A Story

Recently, Phil Johnson, the purveyor of the blog and the executive director of Grace to You, wrote a challenging post targeting Arminians in which he called on them to apply their understanding of God's sovereignty in inspiration of Scripture to the doctrine of salvation as well. I wrote this comment:
God is sovereign in salvation. We get this from Scripture, so we believe it. This is in the London Baptist Confession. Every man still sins and sins, but we still believe this; God is sovereign.

God is sovereign in verbal, plenary inspiration. We get this from Scripture, so we believe it. This is in the London Baptist Confession. Men don't possess the original manuscripts, but we still believe this; God is sovereign.

God is sovereign in verbal, plenary preservation. We get this from Scripture, so we believe it. This is in the London Baptist Confession. Men have made errors in copying, but we still believe this; God is sovereign.

Who believes in sovereignty?
One of Phil's two partners at his blog, Frank Turk, immediately begins with something both false and insulting. Ultimately he writes this:
We love you and your cultic interpretations of both the confessions and the preservation of the text of the Bible, Kent.

Play on. May God have mercy on you.
Of course, he's being sarcastic and mean. He means that he doesn't love me (I figured that out awhile ago) or what he calls my "interpretations" (I don't know what "interpretation of...the preservation of the text of the Bible" means). "Play on" is meant to be insulting as well as the benediction to his comment. That is normal fare from Frank.

Frank couldn't leave this one alone so he wrote a whole post about his use of the word "cultic." This was the first time I had ever written a comment on his blog and I did so only to clear up the "cultic" terminology. If you read the 83rd comment, you'll see that in the end, he bans me from his and the Pyro blogs for something I had said about Daniel Wallace.

I first wrote:
Daniel Wallace doesn't believe in inerrancy even in the original manuscripts. I don't know if that affects anything for you.
I wrote this because someone linked to a Wallace article. Then Frank wrote:
Ardent engagement is one thing, and libel is another. Find some way to here retract your statement and apologize, or get banned.
I replied:
Evidence. And I'll let you decide. Read this article by Daniel Wallace. http://www.bible.org/page.php?pa...php? page_id=676

He says that the CT reading in Mark 1:2 is in the originals, even though it is an error. There in Mark is a quote from Malachi 3:1, which the CT attributes to Isaiah. The T says "the prophets." He calls himself an inerrantist; true, Carl, but in this article he says that the error was in the originals. This is why he gives a long explanation of his particular view of inerrancy. So there is my explanation, Carl.

I don't have a personal bone to pick with Daniel Wallace. I think his Greek Grammar is very helpful and I've told him that personally. I believe that he is harmful; however, because of what he says. Just because I criticize his views doesn't mean that I don't like him, Carl. It could mean, and I believe it does, that I love him.

I believe in verbal, plenary inspiration, so one or two words in error void inerrancy. You are welcome to disagree with that, but it isn't an unusual view, Carl.
Frank then wrote:
You're banned for being what you have demonstrated here: an unapologetic liar, and a person who is willing to resort to libel in order to advance an argument.

Dr. Wallace does not deny inerrancy, and for being unable to admit you were wrong, you're banned until you apologize.
I still believe that Daniel Wallace rejects the historic view of inerrancy. So would this man, based on this article. In this article, Daniel Wallace says:
My own views on inerrancy and inspiration have changed over the years. I still embrace those doctrines, but I don’t define them the way I used to.
He has changed on the doctrine of inerrancy. You'll notice in the Wallace article on Mark 1:2 that he charges anyone who disagrees with him as "quite arrogant." Should we assume that this is always true, because Wallace says it? Couldn't Wallace's position be arrogant too? His only explanation for differing is that they're quite arrogant.

In this article, Wallace agrees with Metzger (Metzger denied inerrancy) that certain texts went out from their author uncorrected (in other words, with errors). The textual variant in Romans 5:1 puts the doctrine of reconciliation in doubt---we might have peace with God rather than surely have peace with God. As another example, Wallace says that Paul made an error in 1 Corinthians 1:14 that he later corrected in 1 Corinthians 1:16. That doesn't read as inerrancy to me and I don't believe it does to many others either. Daniel Wallace doesn't believe in any Scriptural or theological presupposition of inerrancy. I have enough of a reason to reject Wallace's claim of inerrancy that this is not a libel against him. And yet Frank says I'm a liar and a libel and I'm banned. What do you think is happening here? Do you believe I have lied about and libeled Wallace?

Frank expects me to apologize for the lie and the libel. I told him that apologizing would be the actual lie in this situation. At this point my conscience is clean and clear because I do think that Wallace does "not believe in inerrancy" (my words).

On the other hand, Frank has lied about me many times, and I guess that since it is public, it could be called libel. I have mentioned these several times and Frank has never retracted them. One is the "cult" charge that started this whole thing. Frank becomes angry over my errancy charge with Wallace, but he's fine with calling me a cultist. He gets there by making false statements. I think they are false statements until corrected and if not, they become lies. That is regular with Frank.

He does this dozens of times in our debate at his debate blog. By the way, Frank tried to get his followers and readers to comment about our debate. He solicited comments. He got nothing. He has a huge readership and yet he didn't get any public support. If you read the debate, it will be easy to see. The position of verbal, plenary preservation wiped his view all over the floor. Frank and his view were decimated. I'm happy to hear explained how this wasn't true, but it very much was true. But I digress.

What About These?

In the comment section of Pyro, these are false statements that are lies:
"KENT BRANDENBURG DRIVE-BY!"

"my cultic idea that the KJV is the only legitimate translation in English"
Then we go over to Frank's blog and we read these lies in the original post:
"Kent Brandenberg showed up to wave the flag of KJVO"

"to get to the place where the NIV and the NASB are not just flawed but devil-inspired"

"Which edition of the TR is the inerrant edition? You haven't answered that question yet. Across 3 blogs and many months, you haven't answered that."

"Kent doesn't answer questions."

"he has invested a lot of his writing time on this topic, discrediting himself as a person who is serious about the Gospel"
In a later comment, Frank lied about me when he said this:
"BTW, Kent has informed me that you are all "yes-men" who are only flattering me to a "dense and desolate" end."
I don't have to get into another long list of times that Frank does this during our debate.

This is where the story ends.

Questions

Did I lie or libel?

Did he?

21 comments:

Bob Hayton said...

I wouldn't say you are lying or libeling. Instead I would say either you are mistaken, or very obstinate. Perhaps you just will not entertain Wallace's view long enough to be fair with him. Maybe you're reading into it too much. I don't know.

You are wrong, however.

1) Regarding the first article on Mark 1:2, an unbiased reading of the article will show that Wallace claims Mark wrote something which seems to be an error. Wallace doesn't say it is an error. Instead he says we don't know enough to dogmatically say it is an error. He points out that there are a few options for interpreting the phrase in such a way that it is not an error. He doesn't tell us which option he lands on, but he claims to still uphold the inerrancy of the Bible as a whole.

He even points out that textual critics, many of whom have a presupposition that the Bible is inerrant, still deal with the evidence honestly and favor the "Isaiah" reading. This does not mean they are errantists, but it means they are honest, and they have to grapple with that reading and how the Bible can be inerrant yet seem to be in error there.

Also, in this discussion, it would be important to mention Matt. 27:9, where both users of the KJV and users of modern versions have a similar problem. All versions say "Jeremiah" but the quotation is undeniably from Zechariah not Jeremiah. Everyone has a similar "threat" to inerrancy at this passage. John Gill deals with that threat here. I can imagine strong similarities between how everyone handles Matt. 27:9, and how modern version using, evangelical inerrantists handle Mark 1:2.

2) Regarding Romans 5:1 you are even more emphatically wrong. You state in this article: "Wallace agrees with Metzger (Metzger denied inerrancy) that certain texts went out from their author uncorrected (in other words, with errors).". But the article you link to has Wallace asserting this: "But he [Metzger] says more than I [Wallace] do: he says that the original document went out uncorrected." brackets are added. It is clear that Wallace says Rom. 5:1 was corrected by Paul before it was sent out. He thinks it is possible that Rom. 5:1 was wrongly copied by Paul's secretary Tertius, and then Paul hand-corrected that verse before releasing the letter on to the Romans to read. This would be equivalent to a CEO dictating a letter to his secretary, and reading it over before sending it out. Wallace makes clear in the article that he believes the final product -- Romans -- was inspired and inerrant. The writings were breathed out, but we don't know exactly how that process took place, we just know the result is inerrant.

So based on the above discussion, I believe that you are reading Wallace wrong. He does support inerrancy. He may have adapted some of his views and grown in his understanding of it, but he still believes there are no errors in Scripture.

You say he believes there are errors in Scripture. You should at the least equivocate somewhat, and admit that Wallace does manage to uphold inerrancy, even if his views are inconsistent with yours, and you think they are faulty. Just because they don't pass with you, doesn't make them into something they aren't. He does not stand for errant originals.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Bob,

I don't think you're ready yet to say "obstinate" or "mistaken." I believe we have perfect preservation in Mark 1:2, as you know, the text received by the churches. "The prophets," what we find in the TR works theologically and leaves no error in the text. If he were to leave the error in the copy, he would still have the Warfieldian "inerrancy in the original" intact, but he goes one step further, that is, says that the error is in the originals and based upon his induction. He is against presuppositional inerrancy. Brahnsen tears into that one in the article that I linked from him. Did you read that article? You would need to in order to end with your two assessments.

On the Romans 5:1, yes, he says that inspiration required editing. He goes that far to comrade with Metzger, who doesn't believe in inerrancy.

You didn't say anything at all about 1 Corinthians 1. That was the worst of the three. That denies verbal inspiration, which in turn burns inerrancy.

You also didn't deal with either Frank's statements---is he holding a double standard?

You also didn't deal with Wallace's "quite ignorant" label for anyone who disagrees with him. What do you think of that?

Bob Hayton said...

The 1 Cor. 1 thing is what it is. Paul says "I didn't baptize any but Crispus and Gaius", and then a couple sentences later says basically, "Oh, well also the house of Stephanus, and beside that, I don't think I baptized anyone else". Inspiration gives us the whole section. Was Paul correcting himself, thinking out loud, so to speak? Was this done for rhetorical effect or something? I'm not sure. Wallace claims Paul is correcting himself, but whatever the case the entire thing is Scripture. We also know that per Scripture, Paul baptized more than Crispus and Gaius, even though vs. 14 says he just did Crispus and Gaius. I think based on the whole section being given, we could surmise Paul either corrected himself as he was writing and the whole section is what was written/inspired, or Paul was using some kind of writing style or rhetorical device.

On Rom. 5:1 you still aren't budging. You said Wallace believed the text went out uncorrected. Wallace says that was Metzger's views, not his own. Disagree with his assumption that correction was involved if you will, but you can't have Wallace believing the book was released uncorrected.

I don't need to read Bahnsen on this. Wallace says what he does, and he says there are options. Gill gives options in a similar place, Matt. 27:9.

Frank's statements are not my beef. At times he may be stretching what you say a bit. At times you do that to him. I read the debate at his debate blog, I thought you did better than he gave you, but I don't think you won. I think he could have done better, but still I thought he won.

I do think Frank said too much to say you were a liar. But based on this response where you still won't admit you were wrong in the slightest, I'm not sure if I say you're not libeling anymore. I'd have to look up "libel". You're making Wallace out to be worse than he is. You're refusing to allow any other interpretation but your own to stand when evaluating his statements. This is obvious here.

As for Wallace saying people are "quite ignorant", again that is no big deal. People through that line out far too often. I'm sure you've used it. It can be a mean way to silence a critic, it can be said out of honest motivations. Someone ignorant themselves can claim others are ignorant. But that's all beside the point.

Frank may be a little rough to be banning you at this point, but he was seeking any admission of error on your part -- any. In all my dealings with you online, I've never seen any admission of error. And I've seen lots of claims that others have error. So maybe Frank is right in this. I don't know.

Kent Brandenburg said...

I'll admit an error right now. I meant "arrogant" not "ignorant," that was a typo. Wallace said "quite arrogant," not "quite ignorant." I have a hard time seeing you as a credible source, Bob, for obvious reasons that I won't go over again. You've got your opinion. I think it is tell-tale that in 1 Corinthians 1:14, you don't think it is a problem that Paul made an error there that he later corrected. That represents "inspiration" and "inerrancy" to you?

When you look up "libel," you'll find that it is worse than lying. I have to admit that I think the "libel" charge is funny that it is such a stretch. It's like two people in a debate who think totally differently saying that they libeled each other. I have an explanation for mine. Frank doesn't think he even needs to give explanations for his. The fact that it doesn't matter to you shows a bias that is personal on your part. You aren't objective on this.

In the debate, Frank actually agreed that the position I represent is what the WC men believed. I proved that, of course, and he gave nothing to disprove it. Now in hindsight at Pyro, he says that it is a cultic position and giving a spin on what they believed. He should have showed how that was the case in the debate. He never did. He repeatedly wants me to say which TR edition is God's Word. We have never taken that position. Yes, we believe it is Scrivener's and essentially Beza. I said this about ten times and he won't accept it, even though it is the Scripturally defensible position.

You've settled on not having every word available. Enjoy your position, but you shouldn't act like you can't understand how I am so serious about mine, especially with what errors do to the authority of Scripture, by the admission of Scripture itself. I am willing to believe in a miracle. I have to do the same with inspiration and salvation. It's faith. You have turned toward a willingness to appreciate someone who doesn't believe in inerrancy as a Scriptural teaching but as something that he comes through his own experience. This runs far afield from a believe in sovereignty.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Regarding admission of error, which you say you have "never seen" me do. I have admitted error and you have actually previously given me credit for admitting error. That's too bad for you. I'm not going to go through all the comments I've made at your blog, but I've admitted error and you recognized it. By the way, I only recognize error when I make an error. I don't think there is anything particularly noble in admitting something that you didn't do.

Bob Hayton said...

Okay, I saw you admit error one time (maybe 2?). I honestly forgot that occasion.

Now again to clarify, you still claim that for Wallace to believe Mark used "Isaiah" instead of "prophets" means Wallace disbelieves in inerrancy. Never mind that Wallace claims there are a couple of options one has for interpreting the passage which result in "Isaiah" not being an error (for instance Isaiah headed the scroll that Malachi was contained in). Never mind that "Jeremiah" (instead of "Zechariah) in Matt. 27:9 seems to be an equally egregious error but KJV only proponents, along with everyone else, give a few options for interpreting the passage so as "Jeremiah" is not an error.

Even though Wallace points out how "Isaiah" does not have to be understood as an error, even though he claims to believe in inerrancy, that is not enough. Since in your mind "Isaiah" is a clear error, and since Wallace argues for "Isaiah", you claim Wallace stands for errant Scripture. In light of Matt. 27:9, your argument fails.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Wallace doesn't argue theologically, because he doesn't believe in it. I argue that way.

The Mark passage uses gegraptai, which is always a reference to Scripture. It is the perfect passive---results ongoing.

The Matthew passage uses aorist passive of lego, which differs in the word and in the tense. Those are easy to see. So Jeremiah said these things at one time and the results were not ongoing. So we find out that Jeremiah spoke what Zechariah said before he did. A beautiful truth to find out.

Then when you read Zechariah---it doesn't correspond exactly. Things are missing or added, so it really isn't exactly in Zechariah either.

I've given you three different examples to show you the approach of Wallace and you said nothing about Paul writing an error in 1 Cor 1. Do you believe that, Bob?

Frank Turk said...

Thanks for omitting at least half the story, Kent.

God bless you -- you need it.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Frank! Thanks for coming over!

I've honored your banning by not attempting to discuss anything theological over at the Massachusetts Bay Colony that is your blog.

What half of the story have I left out?
1) I think this is all of it.
2) I didn't hide anything. Anyone can click on the links to check it out himself. I would be glad if he did.

I'm going to preach the gospel for a few hours before Bible study and prayer. Night Frank.

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Brother Kent:

I have run into the unkind tactics of Frank Turk also. You can read about that in my blog (from a couple months ago).

I visit that web page now simply to read Phil's stuff, not Frank's or Dan's.

On a side note. I have posted information about your debates with Tom Ross (Rom. 10) and with Hafley in my blog lately. You might check it out.

God bless,

Stephen

Bob Hayton said...

My last comment didn't make it, maybe it got lost somehow.

I expressed surprise at your handling of Matt. 27:9. I've never seen that approach by anyone. You can't be serious that lego never introduces a formal quote. And there are numerous quotes, introduced like quotes, that are not exact word-for-word duplicates of the OT text.

I also stated that re: 1 Cor. 1, we have the whole story in the text. Charles Hodges makes a comment on how the text informs our view of inspiration, authors didn't receive perfect and total recall. I will have to study the text out further before I land on a position, but from the beginning Wallace's suggestion does not strike me as out of bounds or anything. Paul corrects himself as he's speaking/recollecting. He leaves the whole reminiscence there to show that baptism really isn't a big deal to him. I think its a little of both. No I don't say vs. 14 is an error, because it is placed along side vs. 16. But Wallace's words are not an outright denial of inerrancy.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Bob,

A few things and some of it reminds me of Frank.

When did I say that lego NEVER introduces a quote? I am saying that it doesn't always refer to Scripture and thus the differentiation between lego (aorist) and grapho (perfect). Isn't it mean and unloving to misrepresent what I said? Shouldn't you read what I said and argue against that? Frank does this all the time and then he is completely unapologetic. I say one defensible thing about Daniel Wallace and I get banned and Frank does this kind of thing every other paragraph.

I saw what you wrote to Frank at his blog. I hope you enjoy your emailing. Know this, you had nothing bad to say when you left us. And you shouldn't, we treated you incredibly and helped you incredibly and put up with a lot and still treated you greatly. If I would find something otherwise, I've got a whole church here that loves the Lord in a difficult area, something Frank chooses to disrespect totally, the church that God loves---in this case, our church here.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Stephen,

I'll go over and look at your materials. Thanks for coming over.

Kent Brandenburg said...

One more thing on 1 Cor. Do you see how you excuse Wallace, Bob? You think it's fine that he says Paul made an error in 1 Cor 1:14. I don't. That's where we are at in this in addition to Romans 5:1 and Mark 1:2.

Bob Hayton said...

Misrepresentation is in the eye of the beholder, apparently. It was not my motive to misrepresent. Rather it was an oversight on my part. Or maybe I should have been a little more clear. Lego introduces quotes often, I'm sure. In Matt. 27, it certainly appears to be a quote, and a great many commentators past and present take it as a quote. The fact that it was spoken in the past, doesn't mean Scripture is not in view, necessarily either. I still think you are twisting things to fit what you want in your treatment of Matt. 27.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Bob,

Did I say that "lego" NEVER introduced a quote? Did I? How hard is that? You can't say yes or no to it for obvious reasons.

I didn't say it wasn't a quote here. I said that it wasn't something written, which is why he uses lego and not grapho. Does lego mean "written"? Does the perfect and aorist mean anything? I'm not twisting anything. That is a scurilous charge that could be said to be libelous by Frank's definition.

We have apples and oranges between Mark 1:2 and Matthew 27:9. As far as you never seeing this, I have seen it, but does it matter if we can line up seventeen commentaries for a view. There are about fifteen different explanations for this. Mine I believe is the best grammatically.

Cathy said...

Pastor Brandenburg,
I have a question if I may. About 6-7 years ago, I truly studied out Armenism and Calvinism. From my understanding Armenism believe you can lose your salvation. So since I believe in the eternal security and free will of the believer, I could not adequately describe myself to either titles, thus I prefer to be called a Biblicist. Is that correct about Armenist?

As I understand about lies posted about someone on a blog. It isn't fun, and I am sorry that has happened to you. I fought it out with Phil Johnson about 7 years ago on the FFF, when he was openly blaspheming the Lord, of course in a jokingly way. (This was before I was in a good Church) I know his dirty tactics.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Cathy,

Historically Baptists have been more Calvinistic than Armenian. I don't think you have to choose one or the other either, but I stay out of the title game, because no one will like any title you use. Spurgeon, for instance, was an avowed Calvinist and he was also a Biblicist, I'm sure most would say. If you believe in eternal security and that salvation is of the Lord in Christ alone, you're fine.

I'm sorry about your experience with Phil Johnson.

Kent Brandenburg said...

For those of you that are commenting here---http://www.haloscan.com/comments/centuri0n/4605712512339558243/?src=hsn---and then coming over and reading here. The group there on the comments are saying that I've been dishonest. Please, and I mean this, give me specific examples of how that I've been dishonest. I do want to know. You'll see above that I cut and pasted quotes, actual quotes. I linked to everything. Frank has the opportunity for due process here, but instead he chooses to just make snide comments. This doesn't bode well for him.

Anybody that knows me and reading this. Tell me if I've been dishonest. My conscience is completely clear.

Bradford said...

To answer Bob's questioning of Matthew 27:9, which I honestly was stumped for a period of time... The quotation is from Zechariah. Yet Matthew 27:9 in the KJV doesn't say, "It is written", is says, "Then was fulfilled that which was SPOKEN by Jeremy the prophet". There is a BIG DIFFERENCE between spoken, and written. Perhaps Jeremiah prophesied the betrayal of our Lord by Judas Iscariot selling out our Lord for 30 pieces of silver, and Zechariah wrote what Jeremiah prophesied. This wouldn't be too unusual because people quote other people all the time. In Mark 1:2, most of the modern versions declared that Isaiah wrote both of the prophesies fulfilled in Mark 1:2,3 which is NOT true. Mark 1:2 was written by Malachi (Malachi 3:1), and Mark 1:3 fulfillment was written by Isaiah (Isaiah 40:3). There is no error in the KJV, but an obvious one in many of the modern versions.

Anonymous said...

Kent you have not been dishonest--they are. Hortians always have been. They have been lying for over 120 years and continue to do so. Their internet tactics are well known. They are slanderers and knowing deceivers. The fear of God is not in the CT crowd. They are puffed up and proud. Say what you will about Ruckman, but he described them to a "tee" and they deserve no better apologist from our side than he. They are worthy of Peter Ruckman. But at least Ruckman is right, and they are always wrong. Woe to those who add to or take away from God's Word!