So to reply to someone like this in any serious way is itself a labor of love – because if “coram deo” is wrong about any of his accusations, or all of them, he goes to work tomorrow with nothing lost; he goes to church on the next church day with nothing lost; he goes to his friends and his family with nothing lost – because he makes all his charges from his digital batcave from behind a mask of bandwidth and anonymous e-mail addresses. He’s immune from any ill he may have done because he’s not accountable to anyone.
Therefore, let’s begin our labor of love for his sake, that in all he cannot lose he might gain something useful.
Frank said: There is a massive difference between Alpha-Omega Ministries (as one example; a group of men blogging under the spiritual guidance of an elder in a local church who -regularly- proclaim Jesus Christ) and the people I am talking about in my comments here.The very-odd thing about this is that my opinion here is not a new one. I have stated it over and over again during the last 5 or 6 years. I said it most visibly here, and I am certain that I have said on either TeamPyro or my home blog that 90 or 95% of all “watchblogs” would be better off closing the doors forever (can’t find the link; sorry). To just now discover that I hold the practice in ill-repute is to sort of admit that you really don’t follow my blogging and therefore don’t really have a basis to judge it broadly.
Okay so aomin is off the table, check. It would seem that leaves Zach's readers a bit clearer about the people you're not "talking about in [your] comments here".
So we have at least one negative case; is it then up to those who'd like to take up your challenge to figure out who the quote-unquote "discernment ministries" are who - at least in your mind -serve no purpose?
That said, why make a list? I’ll just throw this out there: if you take all the plainly-credible (i.e. – elders in churches and men who are obviously under an elder in accountability; university professors who are accountable to their faculty senate and their peers; etc.), non-anonymous guys blogging on apologetics off your list, you’re left with 90-95% of all “discernment blogs”, and that would be my list. Work with that.
As you can probably appreciate, your challenge becomes much more difficult when there are no goalposts, or else when you move them to suit your mood.Unlike you, who is anonymous, has an anony e-mail address, and who doesn’t really have a history of reliability (or, to be fair, unreliability). My goalposts are the mobile ones.
It’s an interesting theory. The problem is that I suspect you know who I’m talking about and you would rather say, “Frank Turk hates Ken Silva,” to generate something to occupy your hobby-time rather than thinking clearly about this issue.
And by “thinking clearly,” understand that I mean this:
There are no advocates in the “watchblog” category who have ever issued an apology or a retraction for anything they have every published on their blogs. Some of them anathemaciously delete posts they discover they ought to be ashamed of – usually without comment – but you can’t find them coming back and demonstrating that they are actually protestants. They are more like Anabaptist prophet-kings who, in lieu of an overtly-stated belief in their personal inspiration by the Holy Spirit, hide behind the words “reformation” and “scripture” and “orthodoxy” as if their interpretation of those words and all Scripture is both encyclopedic and perfect -- de facto inspired, but not that you can get them to say it. These are the ones I am talking about, and these are the ones who comprise nine-and-a-half of every 10 blogs which are ranting about “discernment”. Look to them.
Frank said: "That distinction is regularly lost in this discussion, so feel free to do what you think you are setting out to do as long as you keep in mind that I am not throwing the baby out with the bath water."I am asking you to read what I wrote – but that might be unfair. Let me say it this way: in your mind, you have already defined my complaint as “all forms of apologetics,” and that’s simply your own biases and lack of insight in this matter emitting a radioactive glow from the center of your anonymity.
Hey, foul on the play, coach! I'm only offering to take up the challenge that you set forth here. Are you revoking your offer?
That you cannot see that there is a difference between “academic/pastoral apologetics” and “drive-by theology vomited out by anonymous, unaccountable people” points to a problem in your approach, not mine.
Feel free to “take the challenge”. Feel free to employ an army of research assistance. Also, feel free to think about what I did say rather than what you would have liked me to say in order to make your own point, such as it is.
Frank said: "As to the PS, is it really so disturbing or actually unhumble to admit that somehow I have fairly-large platform to say what I have to say, and that I didn't hard-scrabble it together, but rather God has given it and I have used it well?"Huh. Where did I say that? It seems to me that what I did say is this:
I just couldn't help being impressed by the wording of your comment. You seemed to be awfully thankful that you weren't like the sinners and tax collectors over at the "discernment blogs" - whoever they may be.
 TeamPyro and Evangel (and my blog, until it fell into what is essentially disuse) are fairly-large platforms in the blogosphere. That’s an empirical fact.
 Because I know what I did to make them successful (which is: nothing which really counts as a big kudo to me), I thank God for those opportunities which He has provided.
 Because of the feedback I have gotten privately and publicly for that work, I count it as “good work”.
 It does actually stand in contrast to all the blogs I would toss in as “watchbloggers”. As one example, I’d point you to your own comments to me and my approach at the D-Blog – where I treat the people I debate like they’re human beings, and in some cases brothers in Christ who are merely but clearly wrong.
To blow that up into some kind of self-congrats is simply viewing it with a bias.
Frank said: "Feel free to help me understand the problem as you see it there. It will be enlightening to get advice from a guy who names himself 'coram deo' regarding humility."That’s not a diversion: that’s pointing out that a lecture on humility from someone who calls himself “coram deo” is like a lecture on fashion from someone wearing a tin-foil hat and a newspaper tuxedo. The degree of self-inflation it takes to call one’s self “coram deo” when, in the best case, one is seeking to be “coram deo” – that is, “before the face of God” or “in the presence of God” or “(personally) before God” – and cannot have achieved such a thing.
Nice diversionary tactic, but Mahaney wrote the book, not me. Maybe you have a dusty unread copy laying around from your Christian bookstore days?
The snide remark “so what about a guy who calls himself ‘centuri0n’?” and all its cognates misses the facts of the matter – because when I adopted the handle I did actually have 100+ employees, and the guy in Luke 7 which helped me choose that handle was actually humble and knew what to expect from a man in authority.
Since you brought it up, regarding the "fairly-large platform" that God gave you - and this is just a suggestion - you might reflect on your [ab]use of it as a personal Isengard from whence you can hurl your thunderbolts of glib and gratuitous ad hom at people who - at last presumably - you would claim as brothers and sisters in Christ. From what I can tell this appears to be at least part of your gripe with the watchbloggers, no?There’s simply no substance to this accusation. You can’t find any evidence for it – expect for the incidents when I have made mistakes, and in all of those cases which I am aware of, I have apologized publicly and without any qualifications.
Mote, meet log.
Anyway, if you're serious about the challenge let me know and I'll serve you, otherwise I'll assume you were just blowing smoke, and leave it at that.I am serious. I think it is you who are less than serious since you yourself as anonymous, aloof, often unable to make simple distinctions, and frankly unable to substantiate any of your charges.
But feel free to do what you say you are going to do. It will be educational for they rest of us, I am sure. It seems your education is complete.
ZSB,The last fellow who said that found himself in over his head because he thought he could strike a pose and I’d walk away – because most guys in the blogosphere who have a good rep do walk away. Sadly for you, I am the last of the last of the reputable street fighters, CD. Please, as they say: bring it. If your case against my statements is as vague and unsubstantiated as this little chat has been, I am sure that at least the readers of Zach’s blog (and now, my blog -- who are now fewer than in days past, but probably more than is necessary) will have a good laugh at your expense.
No need to worry about civility or "tone", Frank's a big boy.
In Christ,I am sure.