Thursday, July 14, 2005

More Slander From Enloe [Updated]

Here are some selected excerpts from Enloe's response to Tim McGrew:
Certain types of apologists--e.g., Eric Svendsen and a few others--tend to speak in stark absolutes regarding their methods and the conclusions they draw from their use of the methods. Men such as these think in very simplistic Black Hat / White Hat terms, and it shows in the way they constantly, deprecatorily, treat others who disagree with them.

In other words, because I challenged one particular view of what "truth" is with another view that is easily defensible by quite reasonable and godly men, and which is quite common in Reformed circles, Svendsen's Presbyterian friend concluded that I was not even "rational." With this judgment Svendsen agreed--and that is precisely why I have a problem with Svendsen.

Though a behavioral pattern may not necessarily be attributable to the intellectual position held by the person, it is not out of bounds to point out the behavior when it consistently affects the way the person makes his arguments, and in fact, seems to involve him in simplistic denials that any other kind of position is remotely tenable. Again, that's why I've written most of what I've written about the way Svendsen and his like-minded friends conduct themselves in discussions with other Christians

I have made this point, in fact, against Svendsen's colleague David King's very simplistic portrayal in his work Holy Scripture: The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith [(Battleground, WA: Christian Resources, Inc, 2001) pg. 20-21] of Pyrrhonism as supposedly something that damns only Catholic apologetic arguments--and this despite the fact that continuing the grand old tradition of trying to defend absolutely unquestionable faith via the techniques of faith-eroding skepticism, the White-Svendsen-King school of apologetics itself uses all manner of "Pyrrhonistic" arguments against the Catholics!

One reason that I find Descartes so interesting is because he sounds so much like Svendsen and White when they are talking grandly about the "clear and distinct truths" of their exegesis and how without the geometry-like precision of their exegesis, all we will have left is "skepticism" and "postmodernism" and "relativism."

Now perhaps I'm wrong in making this association between Descartes's method and these men's methods, but if one has read any Descartes firsthand and spent any serious time considering secondary works of scholarship, and then spends enough time reading Svendsen and White and their exegetical like, one can easily be forgiven for concluding that they have bought into Descartes hook, line, and sinker and simply do not realize that fact or know about the problems that philosophers often point out regarding Cartesian thinking.

I want to see constructive conversations take place, want to see the level of consciousness in Internet Protestantdom raised--which is one reason I think it's so important to take a stand against the obscurantizing portrayals of many issues done by men like Svendsen.

Dr. McGrew is probably unaware of the extremism which his friend Svendsen's blog entries very often demonstrate about people who disagree with his conclusions about various items of doctrine. For instance, Svendsen's (and White's) persistently vague, extremely condemnatory rhetoric about the evils of "postmodernism" and people whom they identify as embracing it and therefore "falling away" from "clear biblical truth" and leaving us with nothing but "relativism" is exactly the sort of thing I had in mind with remarks like this one from my paper

Anyone who has dealt with Svendsen and his followers long enough knows quite well what I am talking about.

I wonder what Dr. McGrew would think if I was to tell him that his "well trained" friend Svendsen once claimed that his exegetical prowess enables him to divorce his mind from all preconceived biases when he sits down to do exegesis, so that what he does in his exegesis is just get directly at divine truth itself. Is that a respectable epistemological position for a man to take, Dr. McGrew?
Here are the generalities I spoke of in my last blog entry, and which others (such as Steve Hays) has observed as well. Enloe feels free to slander, but won't offer specifics. Why? Because (1) he doesn't have any specifics, or (2) once he reproduces the actual written dialogue of the things of which he is here charging me, it will be clear to all that his wild characterization are nothing more than the rabid distortions of his own mind.

So here's my challenge to Enloe. Prove it. Post the actual dialogue that you claim supports your baseless accusations. Lay your cards on the table. Let's see what's really behind those accusations. Give specifics for once in your life. Then I'll produce the context of those conversations, post it here, and let the reader decide.

One other thing:
Now for clarity's sake, Dr. McGrew needs to understand that as a historian-in-training, the sketch I gave of the 17th century battleground was adequate for my limited purposes. It concerned not an attempt to give an authoritative graduate-degree level summary of philosophy, but only a brief, rhetorical description of the destruction of Christendom in the wake of the Reformation-Counter Reformation wars.
FALSE (I'm tempted to say "LIES," but I think Enloe actually believes his own clap-trap). Enloe has repeatedly accused us of being "Modernists" who are eslaved to the Enlightenment based on his understanding that our way of thinking started in the 17th century. That's a fact.

Update: As I mentioned above, Enloe has my dissertation. Here's a quick and dirty way for Enloe to show the world that my Exegete-O-Matic method of reading Scripture differs from the method of all other NT scholars. Post just one paragraph--just one--that shows this difference. That should be a relatively simple task given he has more than 325 pages to work with. Let's see how well he does supporting his accusations.