Response to Protestant Apologists Eric Svendsen's and David T. King's Public Charge of My Alleged  "Deceit" and Inability to Debate

Dr. Eric Svendsen                                       Pastor David T. King

The direct charges of my alleged "deceit" from Dr. Svendsen, a major, published anti-Catholic apologist who has a large website and many books to his name, were made on The Areopagus, a public forum connected with his website and ministry. The entire exchange is available online, at:

Here are some of the rules of this board, written by Dr. Svendsen (Eric's remarks will be in blue, throughout; David T. King's words will be in red), which provide interesting, ironic background to Eric Svendsen's hypocritical and slanderous remarks, and those of others:


3. All posters are asked to be charitable in their posts and responses. This implies no name-calling, mud-slinging, taunting, gloating, harassing, etc. What exactly constitutes lack of charity is completely up to the discretion of the moderators.

4. All posters are asked to post reasonable arguments. Arguments based on emotional hysteria are not considered reasonable by this board.

6. All posters are asked to refrain from any kind of malicious slander (or libel if you wish) of any other poster or third party. This includes all ad hominem arguments.

7. All posters are asked to show respect for the views of the host site, whether you happen to agree with those views or not . . .

10. Violations of any of these rules, depending on the severity, will result in either a warning or a suspension of board privileges. Repeated violation will result in being handed over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh. Thank you for your cooperation.

Eric Svendsen, Ph.D.
Director, NTRMin

Edited by: NTRMin at: 5/15/03 1:32:10 pm

A Catholic poster (Keith A. Rickert, Jr.) wrote, at 08:44 AM 6/4/2003:
I happened upon Dave Armstrong's Biblical Evidence For Catholicism web site via his G. K. Chesterton page. I started reading his dialogues with Protestants. The Protestant position just never made sense to me, while the Catholic position made complete sense.
Dr. Svendsen ("NTRMin" on the board) replied, at 6/4/03 4:49 am:
I take it then that you are not aware that those "dialogues" that Dave Armstrong has on his website never actually took place? Oh, the quotes are real. It's just that Dave Armstrong's responses didn't come until months--sometimes years--after the dialogue ended. Hence, the reason Dave always seems to have the final word is because he added those final words after the fact. Of course, he doesn't tell you that, because then it would look too much like he lost the debate.

I keep forgetting that some people still take "Joe Camel" seriously.

I shall now respond to each false charge in turn:

I take it then that you are not aware that those "dialogues" that Dave Armstrong has on his website never actually took place?

The only ones that "never took place" are clearly indicated as such. The following seven dialogues are short pieces designed as breezy introductions to the issues. Note the titles. There is no deception going on here:

A Fictional Dialogue on "Vain Repetition," the Mass, and the Liturgy
A Fictional Dialogue on Penance
A Fictional Dialogue on Purgatory
A Fictional Dialogue on Infant Baptism
A Fictional Dialogue on the Real Presence in the Eucharist
A Fictional Dialogue on Justification and Salvation
Fictional Dialogue on Sola Scriptura
Oh, the quotes are real. It's just that Dave Armstrong's responses didn't come until months--sometimes years--after the dialogue ended.

This is ridiculous. On occasion I do paraphrase my opponents' words after they refused permission (reproducing their ideas as closely and carefully as I can), because I thought the exchange was worthwhile. I indicate this, too, of course. I don't "hide" anything. This was particularly the case in my third book, Bible Conversations, which was based on actual dialogues. I wanted to present the Protestant case as accurately as I could, so I based the Protestant responses there on actual Protestant replies from actual Internet exchanges. One would think this is praiseworthy, as I don't try to distort Protestant views (many of which I used to strongly hold myself). I don't manipulate the dialogues, as Eric is implying.

Some editing is necessary, of course, and there are different ways to edit dialogues, but no dishonesty or unsavory tactics are being used. My general policy is to list the e-mail address of my opponent so that readers can get their edit-version of what occurred if they like, because good men in good faith can disagree as to how to edit a dialogue. I prefer the back-and-forth Socratic format, as is well-known, and often people object because I am "cutting up" their paragraphs. But of course readers can simply read all of their words consecutively if they like, if they want to have a better feel for context (which is an altogether legitimate consideration) since they are in a different color (usually blue). The dialogues on my site are presented as they occurred. I don't screw around with my opponents' words. That is unethical, and it would not be in my interest to do even if I thought it was ethical.

Eric accused me in a personal letter -- in late December 2000 -- of being "disingenuous" and that I "massaged" a dialogue that we had had in 1996 on James White's sola Scriptura mailing list. Wishing to achieve some mutually-agreeable solution, I wrote back to Eric (1-31-01):

How is it "massaging" to include all your replies to me? . . .  It is also a fact that I informed you of these dialogues as soon as I put them up, but received no reply from you. I would have been just as willing to work with you for a mutually-agreeable result then, as I am now. If there is some wicked, nefarious motive in that gesture as well, then surely I am unaware of what it might be.

. . . I have already acknowledged that editing of such exchanges is a subjective matter, where good people can disagree in good faith. I continue to strongly disagree that it is some terrible, unspeakable thing for me to collect some tidbits of the discussion that went on on that list . . . But as a sincere and well-intended gesture of conciliation and an attempt to resolve the difficulties you have with these dialogues, I again extend an invitation for you to add whatever you wish to them to make them "fair" and representative of both sides equally, in your opinion. This time I will even offer substantially more than I have previously: you can add whatever you like and I will not add anything else at all. That is, in effect, you can have the last word (on my website, which virtually no one would ever do). Is that fair enough for you?

Your brother in Christ,


I received no reply to this letter. In any event, Eric keeps talking about this now almost three years later, never mentioning that I tried very hard to work together with him to rectify what he thought was unfair, nor that I removed the dialogues after he refused to cooperate to make them mutually-agreeable.

Hence, the reason Dave always seems to have the final word is because he added those final words after the fact.

I find this highly amusing, as well as absurd.  Most people would readily agree that the owner of a website is entitled to the "final word" in a dialogue. After all, it is a courtesy to allow opposing views on one's own partisan site in the first place (and most people are unwilling to do that at all, whereas I post more dialogues than any website I have ever seen). This is not some novel or unheard-of concept. On the other hand, oftentimes I allow my opponent to have the final say, out of courtesy to them. I could easily provide many examples of that, if pressed. In several instances, the number of my opponents' words exceed my own. Few websites are willing to do that for an opposing position.

Of course, he doesn't tell you that, because then it would look too much like he lost the debate.

There is nothing to tell! The facts are exactly as I have presented them. If Eric or anyone else wishes to challenge the facts with regard to any particular dialogue on my site, I would be happy to do so, and publicly. I cannot post on NTRMin because for some reason it keeps putting a huge picture of me every time I post. I tried to correct it, even switching my photo with Eric's on my EZ Board profile, but nothing worked (and then I was foolishly accused of doing this on purpose). Weird . . . Keith was nice enough to write to me to allow me to give my side of this. Hopefully, it will be allowed to be posted, but I have my doubts.

As for me "losing" debates and desperately trying to cover up that fact by means of alleged, fictional nefarious editing tactics, I find that a very interesting (ironically, fictional) charge in light of the actual, documented, verifiable facts, which are as follows:

1. Eric has been unwilling to seriously engage me in any written debate since 1996, when we were together on Dr. James White's sola Scriptura list. He has challenged me to oral debate once or twice but I don't do those, for a variety of reasons having to do with principle, preference, and ability. Eric, however, is a writer like myself, so there is no immediate (good, understandable) reason that I can see, for him to refuse to do this. The closest Eric and I got to an exchange recently was a contentious runaround about Greek scholars which took place on Greg Krehbiel's board around January 2002, and my response to his arguments concerning aspects of Mariology at the same time (to which he never counter-responded). See:

Luke 1:28 (Full of Grace) and the Immaculate Conception: Linguistic and Exegetical

I also dealt with an argument of his concerning the biblical canon in a dialogue with Jason Engwer (one of four or five I have done with Jason). See:

Further Dialogue With an Evangelical Protestant on Various Aspects of Development of
Doctrine (Particularly Concerning the Canon of Scripture)

Eric ignored that as well. Perhaps he was unaware of it. Now he is aware . . .

2. I have indeed many (if not most) of the major anti-Catholic apologists, and recorded the results on my website for readers to judge for themselves what happened, and who "won." The most notable example is Dr. James White. I uploaded our "postal debate" from 1995, from before I was online. The only editing I did on that was personal remarks on both sides (for which I later apologized, while James did not for his end of it), which I thought did not add to the debate or help readers understand the issues. See: Is Catholicism Christian?: My Debate With Dr. James White.

I may have added some clearly-indicated notes here and there. The words appear exactly as they occurred. I have the paper copies of the letters in my possession, should anyone doubt this. And, of course, James has not to this day ever answered my 36-page, single-spaced final installment of that debate, nor has he ever linked to this paper on his website (strange, if he got the better of me in the debate, as he always says he does, with any opponent).

James, too, has asked me to do a live debate about six times now. I refuse, but have always been willing to do a written exchange. Knowing his reluctance to do a written debate (we did have a brief one on the definition of "bishop" a few years back before he got disgusted with me and split once again), I offered to do a live chat with him in his chat room. My proposal was to ask him whatever I wanted to ask for an hour, and then he could question me all night if he chose to do so, and all of it would be preserved on my website, whatever happened. Dr. White refused. I guess the "rules" were not fair enough to him . . .

3. I answered Ankerberg and Weldon's anti-Catholic book. I had some correspondence with Dr. Weldon, but neither of them ever replied to my criticisms:

Critique of Ankerberg and Weldon's Protestants and Catholics: Do They Now Agree?

4. I have replied at length to William Webster twice now, and informed him by e-mail both times. He has never responded (though he has replied to Steve Ray several times):

Refutation of William Webster's Fundamental Misunderstanding of Development of Doctrine

Refutation of Protestant Polemicist William Webster's Critique of Catholic Tradition and     Newmanian Development of Doctrine

5. Readers can make up their mind if David T. King responded adequately to my critique of his mistaken and factually-challenged notions:

Protestant Contra-Catholic Revisionist History: Pope St. Pius X and Cardinal Newman's Alleged "Modernism"

6. Gary DeMar (who was informed in an e-mail and briefly replied) offered no response to my critique, either:

Critique of: Denying Sola Scriptura: The Attempt to Neutralize the Bible (by Gary

7. I'm still awaiting the counter-response of the following gentleman (who originally challenged me in an e-mail):

Does St. Alphonsus de Liguori, in The Glories of Mary, Teach That Mary is "Above God"
and Can "Manipulate God"?: Corrections of Protestant Misunderstandings of Catholic
Mariology (vs. Len Lisenbee)

8. Readers can also judge how well Calvinist apologist Matt Slick did, in a recent unfortunately short-lived exchange with me:

"Apostate" Churches, Deceptive Catholics, and Desperate Judgment Day Pleas: My     Non-Encounter With Protestant Apologist Matt Slick

The pattern is becoming very familiar: Matt, too, insisted on either an oral debate or a similar exchange on "PalTalk." Per my usual policy, I refused, but offered to do either a written exchange in his CARM forum or a live chat. He wasn't interested, for the following "reason":

So far, you've shown yourself to be evasive, a bit pedantic in your writing, and you can't seem to answer a simple question . . . Since you won't answer it, rather, you bury it in prose and argumentation, I'll consider our conversations ended since you will, I am sure, continue in the same vain if I were to pose other questions to you and I do not want to become entangled in the mire of hairsplitting.
9. Mormon apologists with Ph.D's are also reluctant to respond (as well as several of the many atheists I have also debated). This person, too, challenged me first, in an e-mail and sent me an entire argument which I thoroughly refuted. I didn't know him from Adam before that time. I quickly answered and have been waiting over a year for his promised response:

Dialogue With A Mormon Apologist on the  Christian Doctrine of God, and Doctrinal     Development (vs. Dr. Barry R. Bickmore)

10. I tried to visit the Areopagus live chat room recently. I said "hi" to two people and they said "hi" back. Then I got a message on the screen that I had been booted. I tried to go back in, in case there was some mistake. The same message came back. Later I was asked by one of the people who had said "hi" why I didn't hang around. I told him that I had been booted, which was surprising to him, since David T. King, who was in the room at the time, was acting as if I wasn't booted and simply chose to say "hi" twice and then leave.

This is nothing new from Pastor King. He used to kick me off of Dr. White's chat room as soon as he saw me there, complete with epithets such as that I am a "liar" or "foul-mouthed." He disagreed even with Dr. White, who invited me to come into the room the last time I was there. Pastor King protested against this. His policy was that I should not be allowed in at all (so obviously wicked am I). So it isn't surprising that he would boot me out of Areopagus. But one would expect him to at least be honest about it to others there, rather than pretend that I was not being removed against my will.

And on and on it goes. As Dr. White would say, "I think there is a very good reason why people are reluctant to debate." But according to Eric, obviously I am "scared" to debate -- so much so that I have to twist "dialogues" around so it won't appear that I "lost the debate." This makes no sense at all, of course, given all these facts. Some folks, however, don't want to be confused with the facts. The record is very clear as to who is willing to debate and who is not; who is "running" and who isn't.

My policy is generally to avoid anti-Catholics, since it is almost always a complete waste of time and an example of the sort of "vain disputation" or "stupid controversy"  that we are commanded in Holy Scripture to avoid. However, I do make exceptions to the rule. I was willing to with Matt Slick, and James White, and I would with Eric (especially after this absurd slander of my supposed methods and internal state of mind and apologetic abilities) if he were ever willing to do a written exchange. Also, I will reply to anyone who rebuts any paper of mine point-by-point. I have stated that on my home page by my e-mail address for several years now.

I keep forgetting that some people still take "Joe Camel" seriously.

It is pathetic if all the major anti-Catholic apologists are so reluctant to engage "Joe Camel" in writing. What are they scared of? My arguments should have been made mincemeat many times over if they are bankrupt or nonexistent. Only Jason Engwer has put up any significant, repeated, substantive, lengthy "resistance" (and I respect that; he is also a pretty nice guy who refrains from personal attack. He conducts himself, by and large, as a Christian should).

You can edit these remarks off the board if you like [they were not allowed on at all]. If you don't, you have my hearty thanks beforehand for your fairness. If Eric wishes to reply, I would be delighted to also post his response on my website, or do a dialogue about these sorts of matters. I am an advocate of free speech and the free exchange of ideas. If theology can't be discussed openly and amiably between Christians (oops, sorry; forgot that I wasn't one ...), why not false charges of dishonest editing? It's a start . . .

Eric Svendsen, Ph.D.
Director, NTRMin

Dave Armstrong, BA (sociology)
Full-time Catholic apologist and author

Another lamentable incident on a discussion board reveals certain shortcomings in Dr. Svendsen's dialogical tactics, also. Presbyterian Tim Enloe wrote on the Greg Krehbiel Discussion Board, in early October 2003:

It is true that I have taken Dave to task in the past for attempting, in his self-admitted near-total ignorance of the Greek language, to correct men who have studied Greek professionally for years as to their analysis of grammatical conventions and figures of speech and so forth,  . . .
This is another falsehood that Tim has been stating about me for about two years now. I have explained myself more than once, but to no avail. He keeps repeating this incident and putting his cynical slant on it. To hear him describe it, I do sound truly ridiculous and like some sort of arrogant know-it-all. This is based on an actual dispute and ugly Internet exchange, but when one learns all of the facts, they gain an entirely different impression than the one left above. The last time Tim brought this up I was determined to retrieve the exchange to show people what had happened, but it was too old, and no longer online. The facts are these:
1. I was in a discussion (in January 2002) on this board with Dr. Eric Svendsen about Luke 1:28 and the meaning of kecharitomene ("full of grace" or "highly favored"). It was an argument about Mary's Immaculate Conception (specifically, whether she was sinless). At the same time, I was critiquing some related arguments from Svendsen along the same lines (to which he never responded). That is found in the following paper:

Luke 1:28 (Full of Grace) and the Immaculate Conception: Linguistic and Exegetical Considerations

I cited Greek scholars in favor of the meaning of this phrase here as "completely, perfectly, enduringly endowed with grace." The scholars were Blass and DeBrunner (Greek Grammar of the New Testament, and H.W. Smyth, Greek Grammar -- Harvard Univ. Press, 1968). They are cited in footnote number 188 in my book, A Biblical Defense of Catholicism (Sophia edition), page 178. Svendsen said that he had heard of Blass and DeBrunner, but not Smyth. He proceeded to minimize Smyth's importance and severely criticized me for trying to argue a point of Greek grammar with him (since he knows Greek).

2. I quickly proved (from extensive Internet searches) that Smyth was a very well-known Greek scholar, whose work is used in many important colleges for Greek courses. Now, the point was that Svendsen had hardly even heard of the guy (if at all) and wanted to pretend he was a nobody. That was shown to be clearly false. But what does that show about Svendsen's attitude and competence in the field of Greek linguistics? When one acts like they know something that they don't know (in this case, concerning the importance of Smyth), isn't that at least pretentious?

3. Svendsen later found out (from James White, I think) that Smyth's Grammar was for classical, not koine, NT Greek. This he thought to be a knockout punch and proof of my ignorance and arrogance, in trying to delve into matters of Greek, where I knew nothing.

4. I publicly apologized to him on the board at that time, for some of my words and attitudes, and for questioning his abilities in Greek.

5. On the other hand, I also pointed out that the whole incident reflected much more badly on him, since (despite claiming to be an expert on Greek) he had mocked this important, well-known, prominent scholar and hadn't even heard of him, and didn't know that his widely-used work (which is even available online now) was for classical Greek in the first place. He was supposed to know this stuff, whereas I (as a non-scholar) had simply made an innocent mistake. And I apologized, whereas he did not.

6. The most amusing thing in all this was that Eric's own research associate, Mike Taylor, was utilizing Smyth in some in-depth exegetical research he was doing concerning the Eucharist. So at the very same time I was being blasted as an ignoramus and pretender for merely citing Smyth, Eric's own comrade was citing him! When I pointed out the incongruity and irony of this to both of them, needless to say I didn't receive the warmest reception in world history.

Proof of Mike Taylor's heavy use of H.W. Smyth, whom he used to support his contentions, can be found in a densely-argued paper about the Eucharist and aspects of Greek grammar, entitled, "Sungenis and Taylor: An Exchange." I have compiled below Mike Taylor's citations of Smyth. Nowhere does he argue that Smyth is 1) unimportant as a Greek grammarian, or, 2) that he is absolutely irrelevant because his grammar is for classical rather than koine Greek.

It's true that he does mention the classical vs. koine Greek distinction, and the implications of that with regard to using Smyth as an authority on the New Testament, but nowhere does he imply that Smyth has no bearing on New Testament grammar at all (let alone that he is a "nobody"). If he believed that, then he would have simply refused to engage the argument (classical Greek being irrelevant to it). He even cites Smyth in support of the interpretation of NT passages (see #3 below). His comrade, Dr. Eric Svendsen, on the other hand, argued both points as proof of my gross incompetence as an apologist, since I had dared to cite Smyth in support of my exegesis of Luke 1:28:

1) I tracked down one of those grammarians (Smyth) who says no such thing, . . .

2) I looked in Smyth to see if I could find any evidence for your "special case" and simply found no such thing. So if it turns out that you were wrong about Smyth (and you are) then would I be wrong to wonder if you might be wrong about the other grammarians?

3) . . . this really isn't the section of Smyth that is most relevant to the point in question. In the quote above, Smyth himself refers us to section 1872 (p. 419) wherein we read the following: 1872. "Participle (not in indirect discourse).--The participle, as a verbal adjective, is timeless. The tenses of the participle express only continuance, simple occurrence, and completion with permanent result. Whether the action expressed by the participle is antecedent, coincident, or subsequent to that of the leading verb (in any tense) depends on the context."  The key words here are the following: "not in indirect discourse," (which would cover both Matthew 26:28 and Luke 22:19f); "in any tense" (which would cover the present indicative main verbs in both Matthew and Luke) and "depends on the context" . . .

4) Here is what Smyth says of the present participle in 1872a . . .

5) We’ve already seen Sungenis’ mishandling of Smyth.  Why, then, should we simply take his word for it that Shanz is on his side?

6) But the rule you stated didn't register for me, so I got out Smyth (which was my textbook at Harvard) and Wallace (the current "Bible" of NT grammars) and did some reading.

7) With that in mind, I went back to Smyth a second time to see if I could find any evidence for such a distinction. So far, no luck. Then I went to Zerwick to see what he says.

8) Essentially, Wallace is saying that the time reference for participles is usually determined by the main verb. This accords with what I learned in Greek class and with what I have read in Smyth and Zerwick.

9) Rather than admit that his Smyth quote really does not support his claims, he instead attempts to play off Smyth against Zerwick.

10) I would respectfully suggest that Mr. Sungenis is in no position to judge between the Zerwick and Smyth.

11) Mr. Sungenis’ attempt to pit Smyth against Zerwick is misguided.  Mr. Sungenis rightly notes that Smyth claims that participles not in indirect discourse are “timeless.”  Unfortunately, Mr. Sungenis neglects to mention the following:  “Whether the action expressed by the participle is antecedent, coincident, or subsequent to that of the leading verb (in any tense) depends on the context” (Smyth: 1872, my emphasis).  This is a crucial qualification.  Would Zerwick disagree with Smyth on this point?

12) Right away, then, we see that a direct comparison of Smyth to Zerwick is invalid.  Smyth’s grammar only deals with classical Greek, whereas Zerwick’s Biblical Greek concerns—you guessed it—Biblical Greek.

13) Second, in full agreement with Smyth, Zerwick states that the context shows the sense to be future.

14) Mr. Sungenis’ case is weakened somewhat by two factors:  First, to the extent that he is basing his case on a Smyth, he weakens his case in that Smyth’s scope is classical Greek, not Koine.  Second, the rules he had originally quoted from Smyth govern participles in indirect discourse, whereas the participles in question are in direct discourse.

15) There is therefore no fundamental disagreement here with Smyth, who in any case is dealing with classical Greek, not the Biblical Koine and its underlying Semitisms.

16) Does this not suggest that Sungenis was unaware of the fact that the present participle can be future no matter what the tense of the main verb (cf. Smyth 1872, p. 419)?

17) I went back to Smyth a second time to see if I could find any evidence for such a distinction.


Svendsen and I have never interacted in any substantive way since then. Tim keeps bringing up this incident in order to "prove" something about me that is untrue. He never mentions, of course, my apology (because that would ruin the effectiveness of the slander; apart from showing that it is highly unethical), and he never gets into the gist of what occurred (because that would make Eric Svendsen look really bad, just as he did at the time). I've repeatedly urged Tim to drop it and decided not to post the argument at the time (as an act of charity), but since he won't let it drop, and keeps talking about this publicly, I must record the incident now, so it will be a matter of record.

It may seem a minor point, but when the incident is fully-explained, people can see what I was getting at, and that I was justified in my observation; it wasn't a case at all of trying to talk about something (on my own, without the aid of scholars) that I knew nothing about (Greek). If anything, Dr. Svendsen was the one who made statements he knew little or nothing about (about Smyth's credentials and importance).

The same Catholic poster, replying to Eric's remarks above (6/4/03 6:34 am), wrote:

Why is it that the professional apologists around here end their posts with not-so-subtle digs? It makes an honest and forthright inquirer such as myself suspect that their defense of the truth has hardened into mere polemics.
Dr. Eric Svendsen responded to the above question (6/4/03 6:42 am), referring partially to me (as part of the class of those who "deceive":

Perhaps it's because we have experience with those who use the "strategy of deceit" to mislead people down the road to a false gospel.

The Catholic also stated in the same post (6/4/03 6:34 am):

I will ask Dave about [these] dialogues; but I will say now that Plato invented dialogues completely out of his head. Either the logic is good or it isn't.
Dr. Eric Svendsen responded (6/4/03 6:42 am):

And it isn't good, but sometimes that's difficult to know without hearing the other side . . .

Protestant anti-Catholic apologist and author, Pastor David T. King ("DTK" on the board), answered Keith's first question above as follows (6/4/03 7:28 am):

You wrote: "Why is it that the professional apologists around here end their posts with not-so-subtle digs?"

If you're making reference to myself, here's why...

1) I am not a "professional" apologist. And I don't think any of us here could be classified as such in that we don't make our living being apologists.

2) When you have been cussed out in emails, lied about etc., and hear the same ole spoon-fed arguments regurgitated without the least bit of serious thought, we have good reason to believe that something is seriously amiss and much less than "genuine" from your side of the fence. And I've expressed this kindly as can be said.


3) Such complaints as the one you've registered seem to overlook completely the constant roll of overt character assassination coming from your own camp. I suggest you apply that critique just as seriously to those representing your communion as "professional" apologists. In fact I invite you to go read how they conduct themselves elsewhere on internet web boards. Since you're new to this, then 'll assume that you are unaware of the kind of things in which your "professional" apologists engage.


Dr. Eric Svendsen then responded to Catholic Keith Rickert's comments (6/5/03 5:27 am):

I mentioned your name in a general and subjective (and respectful) sense in a response to another person, giving biographical information about myself. It seems like you are demanding that I defend myself as if I made an allegation in an argument.
What you mentioned was that you were unconvinced of my arguments. We don't allow gratuitous statements on this board. If you're going to come to this forum claiming to know what arguments I have made that left you unconvinced, then back it up. Which ones? In my books? In my debates? In my articles? In my radio interviews? And which arguments specifically?
I will try to give the examples you desire; but first, can you--or someone besides Cranmer--please honor my request for information on good, classic Protestant apologetical reading material?
If someone on this board wants to answer your question, that is their prerogative. But no one on this board is obligated to honor your request for a reading list. Having said that, I will oblige. Have you read the Roman Catholic Corner of this web site? That would be a good starting place for you.
How many hoops does a guy have to jump through, huh? Email, join discussion board, give biographical information, defend biographical information...
You've already gotten several responses for a reading list from members of this forum. Do you actually expect everyone on the fourm to bow to your request? Seems to me you're being just a bit presumptuous. There was no "hoop" to send email. There was no "hoop" to "defend" your bio. To post on this board, you have no more and no fewer obligations than every other poster. What are you whining about?
Also, I asked Dave about his dialogues, he wrote a response which he would like me to post here. Is that acceptable?

Personal rhetoric and name-calling (along with refusal to allow open discussion) is nothing new from Dr. Svendsen. In February 2002 on another public discussion board, he wrote:

After a while one just gets tired of the stupidity of some people. Some people have emotionally hysterical fits when you tell them there is both an objective and a subjective element to determining the canon. Why? Well, because that makes it more difficult for them pin you against the wall with their grubby little hands so that they can do everything in their power to destroy you. That is, after all, why some on this board persist with the nonsense they do . . . They persist in taunting and flaunting and hounding that they weren’t satisfied with my answers; but neither one of them can make a simple case for their own views . . . To give them even more answers at this point would be to dignify their inane responses and to throw pearls before swine. I decline to do that.

( -- no longer available on the Internet)

In March 2002 I spent a very brief time on Eric's own NTRMin board, and was informed by him:

Perhaps your tendencies to misrepresent issues, to cast aspersions and innuendoes on other people's character, and to perpetuate your biased take on events is something you can get away with on Greg's discussion board; but--I am giving you fair warning--you will not be doing that on this board. I do hope you are clear about this.

( -- no longer available on the Internet)

On 15 April 2003, Dr. Eric Svendsen made the following incredible indictment of a fellow Christian, consigning him to hell and damnation, on the large CARM Catholic Discussion Board:

I recognize that some people--and you are one of them--have rejected truth, distorted facts, and hardened their hearts to the point that they cannot believe and be saved, no matter what. I alluded to this before when referring to your spiritual blindness (2 Cor 3) and to the fact that your apostasy showed you were really never of us to begin with (1 John 2:19). It's sad, to be sure; but it's the cold, hard reality. My job is not to wring my hands until I have convinced you otherwise, contrary to what you may believe. Rather, my job is to be the "fragrance of life to those who are being saved and the stench of death to those who are perishing" (2 Cor 2:15-16). God must grant you repentance to life, and apparently he hasn't done that. God is glorified either way. To you, I am the stench of death; and if you are not among the elect of God, that's just as it should be. God is glorified even by your obstinate, hardened heart. Your increasingly entrenched responses indicates to me that you are simply storing up wrath for yourself in the Day of Judgment. Since I take no pleasure in contributing to that storehouse I'll not waste any more of my time responding to you. Good day.


Here are some more edifying tidbits from Dr. Svendsen:

It is a very common tactic among RC e-pologists to side-track the discussion with irrelevant distortions of words. That's why most dialogues with RCs are completely unfruitful.


We can tell whether someone who has left Christianity for Romanism really understood Christianity to begin with by examining the way they describe it, the words they use, the underlying assumptions of the inquiries. All of that betrays their failure to comprehend the faith they left . . . I have the same attitude as the NT writers. If you don't like what I have to say about "hardness of heart," and "storing up wrath," etc., don't complain to me. That's the theology of the NT writers toward those who abandon the faith for a false gospel. All I'm doing is reiterating it. Take it up with them.


Sir, I am part of the Church to which God gave authority to interpret Scripture. You, on the other hand, have left the Church. You have instead followed your own “authority” in deciding from your inept study of Scripture and church history that Rome is the “true” church. And in doing so you have repudiated Christ’s finished work and have embraced a false gospel and a false authority.

However, the matter is not one of “knowledge and wisdom,” as you seem to think. God preserves His elect—even the most scripturally inept of us—from embracing false gospels. Hence, my earlier statement that the real reason you left has nothing at all to do with some “study” you engaged in—each one of the Roman Catholic beliefs has been thoroughly refuted in other contexts. The real reason you left is a spiritual one—“They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us.” (1 John 2:19).

Since it is a spiritual issue and not a “knowledge” issue (you clearly do not have sufficient biblical or historical knowledge to evaluate these things), there is not much any of us can do for you. You have been blinded by the god of this world from believing the true gospel (2 Cor 4:3-4); hence, you will not respond to knowledge and reason. It’s a waste of time, therefore, to pursue this further. You may have the last word.


If you're referring to my suggestion that Brent Arias [a Catholic apologist] has engaged in lies and innuendo, well that's just a statement of fact. The biblical characterization of someone who distorts the truth is "liar," a term I came just short of using.


Please, Brent, enough of the semantic games. One of the definitions of lying is to convey a false image or impression. You did exactly that. Unprovoked by me, you took it upon yourself to “suggest” a certain hypothetical situation in which my motives are impugned and in which your arguments are so dazzling that we have to contain them in some way. You stated this “hypothetical” not once, not twice, but multiple times, clearly with the intent of implanting in everyone’s mind that the “hypothetical” is likely fact. You admit you engaged in innuendo. The definition of that is “an indirect or subtle, usually derogatory implication in expression; an insinuation.” You insinuated something not only that you could not substantiate, but that turns out to be completely false. You engaged in this willingly and repeatedly. I consider that a deliberate attempt to invent and perpetuate falsehoods—another definition of lying. You may very well have some twisted way of vindicating yourself in all your perverse accusations, but I’m not buying it.


I addressed your slander (actually, libel) that you leveled against me personally--not my views, mind you, but my motives and intentions--as well as against members of my staff . . . Brent, I am happy to debate you on that issue or any other. But you will not be the one making the rules; nor will you be framing the debate so that your position is off limits to scrutiny. RC apologists love to do that. In real life there is a choice to make in evaluating truth claims. If you're willing to compare the two to see which one conforms more closely to truth, very well. If all you're interested in doing is attempting to show the weaknesses of the Protestant case without also subjecting your own views to scrutiny, that's a different matter altogether.


Why would someone who is being slandered and lied about give the lying slanderer the benefit of the doubt that his assertions are true? That makes absolutely no sense.


RC apologists will do or say just about anything--true or not--to advance their cause. They engage in the strategy of deception regularly.


Apologetics is exhausting and time-consuming work. Five percent of your time is spent propagating
the truth, and the other 95% is spent defending your work and correcting the errors,
misrepresentations, mischaracterizations—and, yes, lies—of those who seemingly have dedicated
their very lives to distorting the truth and deceiving the uninformed. They always seem to come up
with an “answer” to any truth statement issued from the Evangelical side. As I’ve indicated in
previous articles, however, “answers” are not to be equated with meaningful and substantive
responses. The former flows like water over the Niagara in the Roman Catholic apologetic world,
while the latter always seems to be conspicuously absent.

("Reports of the Witch's Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated," November 2003)

Likewise, David T. King offers his own collection of charitable observations about Catholics (and Orthodox, like Nicholas):

Tell me Mr. Nicholas from Texas, do you ever have anything of substance to offer, or do you just like to pick? I already have a very low view of the integrity of non-Protestants in general, and you aren't helping to improve it.


Yes, most of you are too dishonest to admit what you really think. But one has only to visit your web boards and read to see how you folks really regard us. I don't play the hypocrite about what I think of you folks in general.

Another thing I've noticed generally is that when folk convert to the RCC or Orthodoxy, they begin to claim this general knowledge of acquaintance with the early Church fathers, plus some kind of elevated Gnostic "knowledge" that protestants simply cannot understand. But for all these claims to knowledge and Church history, and an understanding of both, on the part of these converts and wanna-be apologists, all I've witnessed time and time again is rank ignorance, and the need for one spin job after another.

Take yourself, you never have anything of substance to offer here either, just mostly your comments from time to time on how unjustly you think you've been treated here. And you claim you're studying to be a priest. And all of you folks posting here without exception are grossly ignorant of the writings of the Church fathers, the very people you claim to revere. So, please excuse me for not being impressed by your claims to higher knowledge and a higher plane of morality. You're just another picker like your friend Nicholas.

Nope, don't look for me to ask you folks to hang around here. I'd had enough experience with your types for the past 8 years to last me a lifetime.

Now, care to begin to offer something of substance for a change?

most sincerely, I assure you,



My generalizations of you folk represent my experience, and you're just like the others I've encountered.


. . . It's only a mystery to those who wish to ignore the evidence of the fathers themselves, which I have repeatedly found to be typical of the average Roman apologist like yourself. Ignore the evidence and belittle it. I guess that's what works in the world of Roman apologetics.


It is a typical Roman Catholic tactic to misrepresent one's opponent purposely in order to "name and claim" a victory.


See also the related paper:

Hurry, Hurry; Read All About it! My Harshest Anti-Catholic Protestant Critics' Opinions of Me and My Work

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Uploaded by Dave Armstrong on 5 June 2003. Additions: 20 January 2004.