David Ponter has decided to respond to my article refuting Byrne's arguments concerning the quoting of John Bunyan to prop up his Neo-Amyraldism. It has been an interesting read, but unfortunately this can be mostly filed under irrelevant and irrational.
Before interacting with the post proper, I must thank David for pointing out the issue of Preston being a hypothetical universalist. I will admit that I did not read Preston except for that one paragraph quoted by Byrne, as I was focusing mainly on John Bunyan. Yet, if that is the only legitimate complaint that David has against the article, then he is truly grasping at straws. After all, Preston is utterly irrelevant for proving my case. [The paper has been ammended accordingly to take this into account]
In dealing with my article, Ponter's first part dismisses the first section of my article en toto, stating that "[Dr. Bob] Gonzales has already dealt with all this in exegetical detail". This is utterly hilarious if it was not so sad. The fact of the matter, though I did not want to trumpet it, is that in the course of preparing my reply to Byrne I have seen the necessity of addressing Gonzales' inaccurate interpretation of Scripture, his faulty philosophical argumentation and numerous logical fallacies. The entire first section thus is a refutation of Gonzales' posts on this issue, proving from Scripture the biblical teaching on the topic and how Gonzales has utilizes logical fallacies such as non sequiturs and false dichotomies to advance his unbiblical philosophical positions. For example, in addressing Gonzales' denial of God's impassivity, I wrote in a footnote, Footnote 10, that
It is a far cry from denying that God has mutable emotions to stating that He has no [real] emotions. Yet Dr. Robert Gonzales in “There Is No Pain, You Are Misreading”: Is God “Comfortably Numb”? (http://blog.rbseminary.org/2009/02/there-is-no-pain-you-are-misreading-is-god-comfortably-numb/), (accessed: June 26th 2009) commits this non sequitur logical fallacy. Furthermore, the direction of reasoning should be from what Scripture teaches, THEN to have it transform our philosophical framework, not choosing an interpretation of Scripture that conforms to a particular a priori philosophical framework.
Immediately after this, Ponter makes the astonishing claim that "commands presuppose desire for compliance to those commands", a definition which is based on Ponter's petitio principii reasoning based upon his interpretation of what "wish" and "desire" as used by ancient theologians mean. Circular reasoning cannot get any worse than this. How does one know that the Reformers and Puritans believe that "commands presuppose desire for compliance to those commands"? Ponter answers that we know this because this is what they say, as according to his interpretation of their sayings. But how do we know that Ponter's interpretation is correct? Well, because they are, at least to Ponter!
Next up is Ponter's denigration of logic. I guess when one cannot deal with Scripture passages such as Jn. 1:1 and 2 Peter 2:12, name-calling (i.e. rationalism) is all one can come up with.
In my second section, it is very revealing when Ponter has no argument showing why my alternative interpretation of Bunyan's writing is wrong. Simply derisively dismissing it with the phrase "nothing new" does not an argument make.
In the third section when dealing with the issue of historical quote-mining, Ponter it seems prove his irrationality and basic empiricism, as well as lose the gist of the argument. No one is arguing that nobody can produce interpretations of historical quotes, and through careful reading and research offer the best interpretation they can discern. What we are saying is that (1) such proofs are never conclusive, (2) such proofs cannot prove biblical truth. Biblical truth is to be proved by the Scriptures, not by the sayings of theologians no matter how godly they are. Ponter in defending his methodology proves his basic empiricism, and in fact it is very likely that his empiricism has blinded him to the irrationality he is engaged in.
In a previous post, it seems that from the comments so far that for these Neo-Amyraldians, they can harshly denounce and label others "hyper-calvinist", but for them that label functions like an academic badge! The label "hyper-Calvinism" should rightly denote the heresy of denying the need to preach the Gospel to all and offer Christ to all, and that all men are not duty bound to believe in the Gospel. Yet, for these "scholars", all of these labeling seems to be an exercise in academic discourse. I am utterly shocked at the cavalier attitude such people have towards matters of such gravity. Theology, although an academic discipline, is a spiritual matter. Believing in wrong theology can potentially damn a person, yet these Neo-Amyraldians treat the applying of a label which is understood as denoting serious heresy as nothing more than a stroll in the park?! Utterly disgusting! It is no wonder that these people are not interested in truly reaching others like Roman Catholics with the Gospel, since for them everything is just an exercise in academia?! I can just imagine the scenario from a spiritual bird's eye point of view:
Ponter: This guy X teaches hyper-Calvinism. Apply the tag.
Byrne: Hey, another guy Y there believes the same thing. Tag him.
[Meanwhile on the ground]
The left flank of the battlefield is soaked with blood. The 3rd Division is fighting a losing battle against the enemy, when suddenly X and Y arrived with much needed reinforcements in the 40th Brigade.
3rd Div Soldier: Hey, who goes there?
X: It's us X and Y. We have heard of the need here, and have brought some reinforcements to aid you in this battle.
3rd Div Soldier: You may pass. Glad that you can join us here sir.
3rd Div General: Hold it right there! You are X and Y?
X and Y: Yes, sir.
3rd Div General: I have just received a radio report from command that you are now labeled the enemy. Soldiers, shoot them!
X and Y: Wait, you have it wrong. We are not...
[Sound of gunshots erupted; X and Y lay dead on the floor. Chaos and battle erupts as the 40th Bde return fire]
Enemy General: Soldier, what is the sound I hear?
Enemy Scout: It seems that there is a battle going on in the enemy camp, sir.
Enemy General: Excellent. Prepare our troops to move in and crush all opposition.
[Hours later, the 3rd Div is eliminated and the enemy is victorious]
May God save us from such flippancy with regards to spiritual things.