Sometimes I am tempted to think that I enjoyed blogging more back in the days when nobody read my site. Of course those are mostly moments when I am feeling sorry for myself and the thoughts are not worth entertaining. After all, if no one read this site I wouldn’t get nearly as many opportunities to liveblog some really amazing conferences. And I really enjoy those conferences. Now that I have written a great deal, people tend to assume they know what I am saying even before I say it. It seems that some people begin to read my articles, or perhaps even just read the headlines, and immediately jump to conclusions. Or maybe I am just very poor at expressing myself. I prefer to believe the former.
A case in point was the article I wrote yesterday. I thought I was quite clear in expressing that the point of the article was not “Tim Challies believes that the Roman Catholic Church is the antichrist.” Yet, judging by emails I’ve received and comments posted at other sites, that is exactly what people took from it.
Andy Jackson said “Tim wants to defend Roman Catholic Beast position…” and that I believe that “there is a forceful argument for the Roman Catholic Beast postion based on past great men, not the Bible or contemporary great Evangelical theologians.” Blogotional says I came out “in defense of the contention that the Roman Catholic Church is the beast of Revelation!” He also says that “Challies needs to grow a pair and say what he thinks.” Joe Carter addressed my article (calling it a beastly argument), even analyzing my line of reasoning:
Tim’s primary premise could be outlined as:
The Beast of Revelation (a) is an Antichrist (b)
The papacy (c) is an antichrist (b)
The Beast of (a) Revelation is the papacy (c)
And so on. The fact is that my argument was clearly stated in my final sentence. “To simply ignore the consensus of so many great men, and to label such a consensus as ‘absolutely ridiculous’ seems to me to be far more ridiculous.” I was not arguing that the Roman Catholic church is antichrist, but that to simply ignore the testimony of so many other believers is folly. And secondarily, I wished to show that these people made some claims that were not wholly unjustified. My purpose in writing the article was to show that Andy Jackson’s charge that to consider Rome the antichrist was “ridiculous” was itself a ridiculous claim, for this is a belief a great number of Christians have held to.
Several people expressed disgust that I did not back my claims from Scripture but only from a bunch of old, dead theologians. And yet this was exactly the point of the article. These old, dead theologians, despite being both old and dead, deserve to be heard. And yesterday I gave them a voice. I did not argue from Scripture that the Catholic Church is antichrist because I don’t know that this is true.
I don’t know how I could have stated this more clearly. It seems to me that many who read the article carefully understood my intent and responded accordingly. If you want to argue whether or not the Catholic Church is the antichrist, take it up with Luther or Calvin or any of the rest of them.