LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Deleted Comments from Lou Martuneac’s Blog

(By Matt Waymeyer)

Greetings Bluecollar Readers,

My name is Matt Waymeyer. I am a long-time reader, occasional commenter, and first-time guest contributor here at Bluecollar. During the course of a recent dialogue I had with Lou Martnuneac at his blog “In Defense of the Gospel” (see his post on June 24 entitled "The Gospel According to Jesus: What is Authentic Faith?"), Lou deleted two of my comments because he said they were disingenuous and inflammatory. After deleting these comments, he continued his own comments, referring to my “tactics,” my “mantra,” and my “behavior,” all of which were allegedly displayed in the now-deleted comments. And through the use of a complex mathematical formula which involves taking the square root of every third letter in Lou’s final comment, I’m pretty sure he even said my dog is ugly. Well, okay, everything but that last one.

Anyway, I must confess that it’s more than a little frustrating when someone accuses you of something and then deletes the evidence that would either convict or acquit you. Makes you feel a little like you are talking on the phone with someone who is standing in a room full of people, and that person says to you, “Hey Matt, you don’t need yell and curse at me!”; and yet nobody there in the room with that individual is able to hear your side of the conversation to know whether you were actually yelling and cursing.

Anyway, my purpose here as a guest contributor at Bluecollar is to publish the deleted comments and let Lou’s readers decide for themselves. Mark Pierson has graciously allowed me to use this forum to do so, for which I am very grateful. If you want the full context of these two deleted comments, you will need to go to Lou's blog and peruse the comment thread under his June 24th post. I have recommended to Mark that he turn off the comments on this post, since I can’t see anything positive coming from a conversation about whether or not Lou should have deleted these two comments. Frankly, it's Lou's blog and he has the right to do whatever he wants with it. I just wanted my side of the conversation to be heard.

Deleted Comment #1 (6.28.08 at 10:40 AM):

Matt Waymeyer said:

Lou,

I am sorry that I offended you by saying that you misrepresented John MacArthur. I do not entirely understand why this has offended you, but I am sorry nonetheless. I did not at all intend my previous comment as an attack on your integrity as you suggested. I sincerely believe that your misrepresentation of MacArthur was not due to a lack of integrity, but rather a lack of carefulness in your reading of him. That’s why, in the offending comment, I suggested that rereading Faith Works might help you avoid such misrepresentations in the future.

All of this really comes down to one simple question: Do you believe that you represented MacArthur accurately when you claimed that he has not responded openly to Charles Ryrie’s book So Great Salvation? If so, what do you make of MacArthur’s book Faith Works (which you read just recently) in which MacArthur references Ryrie’s So Great Salvation 48 times in the first 100 pages alone? If not, why are you offended because I said you misrepresented MacArthur?

Earlier in this comment thread, you wrote, “I have always done my dead-level best to accurately depict the views of any man I discuss. If ever I am in error, I always make that right.” Lou, here is your opportunity to do just that.

Blessings.


Deleted Comment #2 (6.28.08 at 1:57 PM):

Matt Waymeyer said:

Lou,

In your comment above (6.27.2008 at 7:19 A.M.) you personally invited me by name to direct your attention to a work by John MacArthur in which he openly discusses Charles Ryrie’s book So Great Salvation (i.e., you wrote: “If any such treatment(s) of these volumes exist by MacArthur I invite Matthew [that’s me] and any LS advocate, to direct my attention to them.”). Then, when I answer your invitation and direct your attention to MacArthur’s book Faith Works (which references Ryrie’s So Great Salvation 48 times in the first 100 pages alone), you delete my response because I am stirring up controversy? Absolutely amazing.

As you know, the only reason I showed up in this comment thread in the first place is because you sent me a personal email with a link, inviting me to read your article. Lou, please don’t email me any more such invitations. And for the sake of those readers who saw my comment before you deleted it, feel free to answer the question I asked you in it: Do you believe that you represented MacArthur accurately when you claimed that he has refused to respond openly to Charles Ryrie’s book So Great Salvation? You can dismiss this question as a distraction from the main issue, but keep in mind that a good part of your original article (as well as this comment thread) consisted of you calling MacArthur into question for refusing to respond to men like Ryrie.


POSTSCRIPT:

I thought it would be only fair to mention that finally, in a comment subsequent to my two deleted comments above, Lou came clean (sort of) and admitted that he misrepresented MacArthur in the way I had pointed out to him. Speaking directly to me, Lou wrote: “You take a thread comment where I asked whether MacArthur EVER addressed Ryrie’s [So Great Salvation], which I had forgotten and was mistaken on, and try to make the field upon which you will die.” (Anyone remember the Fonz trying to say he was sorry on “Happy Days”? Not sure why that just came to mind.)

Anyway, just a few thoughts in response: First of all, Lou did more than innocently offer a simple inquiry of whether MacArthur had ever addressed So Great Salvation by Charles Ryrie (i.e., “Say fellas, anyone here aware of whether MacArthur has responded to Ryrie?”). Instead, he chided MacArthur for refusing to do so—saying that MacArthur wants no part of Ryrie’s book because it devastates his position in ways that MacArthur cannot easily fend off—and he challenged me to produce the title of a work where MacArthur had addressed Ryrie. In response I pointed out to him that MacArthur responded to Ryrie extensively in Faith Works, a book Lou himself has recently read. That’s when things started to get ugly.

Secondly, what absolutely puzzles me is that the whole reason Lou was so upset with me is that I accused him of misrepresenting MacArthur by claiming that MacArthur had refused to respond to Ryrie’s book So Great Salvation, and now Lou admits that yes, he did indeed misrepresent MacArthur in this way! At least I think that’s what he means by the words: “which I had forgotten and was mistaken on.” (He’s not exactly crystal clear about having misrepresented MacArthur, but you take what you can get.)

So Lou, if you did misrepresent MacArthur in this way, why didn’t you just admit that in the first place and be done with it? I called you on this, and you deleted my comment, saying that I was trying to stir up controversy. So I called you on it again, and once again you deleted my comment, this time saying I was disingenuous. What’s with all the drama and deletions and defensiveness? Why not just respond right away with something like: “Yes, you are right. I inadvertently misrepresented MacArthur when I said he had refused to interact with Ryrie. I have read MacArthur’s book Faith Works, but I had forgotten that he responds to Ryrie in that book.” If you had, that would have been the end of it. But instead, you drag it out and then act as if this is a hill that I am wanting to die on.

On a final note, I just saw that Lou, in his most recent comment at his blog, has accused me of refusing to answer three questions he asked earlier in the comment thread either (a) because I have no answer for these questions, or (b) because these questions betray the disingenuousness of my interaction with him. This, Lou says, is one of my “tactics” in seeking to undermine the truth.

Wow. Pretty amazing stuff. I only wish that my wife could read my mind as well as Lou can. Seems that communication between us would be a lot easier. Anyway, in the spirit of wanting to show that I’m actually a really sincere guy, I thought I would take a stab at answering these penetrating inquiries from Lou:

Question #1: Why is it, in three editions of the mainstay of his LS apologetics, does MacArthur never find the opportunity to acknowledge this important distinction in the FG camp?

My Answer: I wasn’t there in the meetings when John MacArthur and Phil Johnson met with the publisher regarding subsequent editions of TGATJ, so I wouldn’t have the slightest idea. But I’m sure the only possible explanation is that John MacArthur is simply not a man of integrity! In any case, as I mentioned in the comment thread at your blog, the distinctions between Ryrie and Hodges did not become clear until after the two of them had written their responses to TGATJ in 1989. So you can’t fault MacArthur for failing to make the distinction in the first edition, which came out in 1988. But once the first edition of TGATJ had come out in 1988, and once Ryrie and Hodges had written their responses in 1989 (thereby making the distinctions between their two positions very clear), I suppose at this point MacArthur now had three options: (1) he could ignore the distinctions between Ryrie and Hodges altogether; (2) he could rewrite The Gospel According to Jesus in such a way that makes these distinctions clear; or (3) he could write a second book in which he makes these distinctions clear. MacArthur obviously chose the third option by writing Faith Works (later retitled The Gospel According to the Apostles) in 1993 (one year before the second edition of TGATJ), and you obviously believe his integrity is in question because he failed to choose the second option. Lou, I sincerely pray that you will not be judged by others according to the same standard by which you have judged MacArthur.

Question #2: How does Ryrie’s So Great Salvation a major work, by one of the most recognizable theologians in evangelical circles, who rejects LS fail to appear in the bibliography in either of the revised and expanded editions of TGATJ?

My Answer: I’m pretty sure this is because MacArthur was desperately trying to hide the fact that Ryrie wrote the book So Great Salvation because of how devastating Ryrie’s arguments were to MacArthur’s position. But boy did MacArthur’s strategy backfire when he accidentally cited So Great Salvation nearly 100 times in his next book!

Question #3: Would you agree that in the article I “have (NOT) failed to acknowledge” MacArthur has to some degree drawn a distinction?

My Answer: Lou, what I wrote to you in my very first comment at your blog was that “MacArthur appropriately distinguished between the two [i.e., the positions of Ryrie and Hodges], something you have failed to acknowledge.” I stand by that comment entirely, because you certainly did not acknowledge that MacArthur appropriately distinguished between the positions of Hodges and Ryrie in your original article. That's what I said, and that's what I meant.

So ends the drama, and so ends my interactions with Lou Martuneac, on his blog or any other. And by the way, if you’re wondering why I do not plan to discuss the lordship issue with Lou any longer, I’m sure he can tell you the reason. He seems to have special insight into the motives of other people’s hearts. I’m looking forward to finding out myself. Should be a real hoot.

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