Below is a log between Scott Windsor and James White of a discussion that took place in #prosapologian, a live IRC chat channel run by James White. The text between Scott and James is uneditted though I have removed most other side discussions that were not pertinent to the discussion between James and Scott. For clarity, obviously BigScott is Scott Windsor, JRWHome, NA27 and Ortho are James White's nicknames on IRC.

Any other additional comments that were added later will use this font and color.


[15:22] <JRWHome> Hey BigScott?
[15:22] <Big_Scott> Hello JRW
[15:22] <JRWHome> Wanted to talk to you about that Peter passage....
[15:23] <Big_Scott> JRW, is that NA?
[15:23] <monergon> Well, maybe months
[15:23] <JRWHome> Yes.
[15:23] <Big_Scott> Oh, OK... what about it?
[15:23] <JRWHome> What do you think it means?

2Pet3:16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. (NAS)

[15:25] <JRWHome> Scott?
[15:25] JRWHome is now known as Ortho
[15:25] <Big_Scott> JRW - those that are uneducated, or ill-educated... tend to distort scriptures in interpretting them (on their own) - to their own destruction.
[15:25] <Ortho> So, then, what can a taught and stable man do with the Scriptures?
[15:28] <Big_Scott> <JRWHome> Yes.
[15:30] <Big_Scott> <Ortho> So, then, what can a taught and stable man do with the Scriptures? (didn't see this till I scrolled back)
[15:30] <Big_Scott> The "taught and stable" provided they are "taught the truth" can learn much.
[15:30] <Ortho> Learn much?
[15:31] <Ortho> If the untaught and unstable distort the Scriptures to their destruction, then the taught and stable are capable of doing what?
[15:31] <Big_Scott> yes... much...
[15:32] <Big_Scott> If they are taught the truth... they will not distort Scriptures... and if we read the opposite into that verse... they will do so to build themselves up (and the Church).
[15:33] <Ortho> Are you not able to see, Scott, that the taught and stable are able to preach and teach the Scriptures with accuracy, to the benefit of those to whom they teach?
[15:33] <Big_Scott> That's pretty much what I said Ortho
[15:34] <Big_Scott> the key is that they are taught the Truth... not manmade doctrines (like sola scriptura, et al)
[15:35] <Ortho> I see...so let's follow this a bit more. Did anyone in the days of Paul believe what you believe?
[15:37] <Big_Scott> Of course I would say "yes" to that Ortho.
[15:37] <Ortho> You actually believe that there were people who believed in an infallible Pope and the Immaculate Conception in the days of the NT?
[15:38] <Big_Scott> Ortho - yes.
[15:38] <Ortho> You realize you don't have a scintilla of factual evidence of this, correct?
[15:39] <Big_Scott> I realize that the Church has existed from "Day 1" in unbroken succession... and that certain things were "defined" throughout history as the "need" arose.
[15:42] <Ortho> Yes, the Church existed since day 1. That that was the Roman Chruch is a completely separate issue. Anyway, those who were "taught" back then were not taught many things you are taught today, yet, they were able to accurately teach and preach the Word. How could that be, in light of your denial of sola scriptura?
[15:43] <Big_Scott> so... if education is the basis... let's take someone like Scott Hahn, who has even more "education" than James White - yet comes to a different conclusion... do we take White's private interpretation or Hahn's interpretation that is in union with the Church that has existed since Day 1?
[15:44] <Ortho> It is not a matter of education at all, actually (and no, Hahn doesn,'t Scott); the issue you seem to be avoiding is that Paul didn't have your idea of the insufficiency of Scripture in his thinking.
[15:44] <Big_Scott> Ortho, you brought up "what can the learned do?"
[15:45] <Big_Scott> And I have not avoided THAT question at all...
[15:46] <NA27> Well, Scott, I get the distinct feeling that you cite that passage because of the common *misuse* of it in Roman apologetics....and I have pointed out that, in fact, the passage is one you have to attempt to explain away.
[15:46] <Big_Scott> regardless if you believe Hahn doesn't have "as much" or "more" than you... is he not "learned?"
[15:46] <NA27> That is obviously a different use of the term than we have in 2 Peter.
[15:47] <NA27> Since it is used in parallel to "stable."
[15:47] <Big_Scott> I don't think you've been able to demonstrate that here and now... you mentioned "the learned" and I asked you about Hahn...
[15:47] <Big_Scott> Is Hahn "unstable?"
[15:47] <NA27> Demonstrate what?
[15:47] <NA27> Yes, he is.
[15:48] <The-Ox> Oh please.

The-Ox is another op in #CathApol (my IRC Chat Channel).

[15:48] <Big_Scott> Because he left behind what you still embrace - that makes him "unstable?"
[15:48] <NA27> He has gone through many theologies thus far....is that a sign of stability, Scott?
[15:49] <NA27> I also have observed him stalk out on Gerry Matatics in anger...I've seen his anger more than once, actually.
[15:49] <Big_Scott> NA... that is a sign of "growth" and "openness" to the Truth.
[15:49] <NA27> Cath....just asking Scott about why he cites 2 Peter 3:16 in his ping reply file along with 2 Thess. 2:15, for example....
[15:49] <The-Ox> NA> And I suppose you have never gotten angry.
[15:49] <NA27> I'm sure all people who move from religion to religion call it a sign of growth and openness, Scott. :-)
[15:50] <NA27> Surely I do, Ox. I just control it in those situations.
[15:50] <The-Ox> NA> I suppose St. Augustine was unstable too.
[15:50] <Syzygus> Scott: What qualifies as "unstable" in your eyes, then?
[15:51] <Big_Scott> Syz - in "my" eyes is not so important as what's in the eyes of the Lord and His Church.
[15:51] <The-Ox> NA> Jesus got pretty angry in the temple didn't he?
[15:51] <zopac> What if someone moves from religion to religion to the reformed position? Do you consider that growth?
[15:51] <Big_Scott> excellent point zopac
[15:51] <monergon> Righteous Anger, Ox---Something which few of us exhibit
[15:52] <Cath4Life> John Henry Cardinal Newman must also have been unstable
[15:52] <NA27> Quite.
[15:52] <Syzygus> Good point, Cath :)
[15:52] <Big_Scott> Calvin must have been unstable....
[15:52] <NA27> Cath: Agreed.
[15:52] <Big_Scott> :-)
[15:52] <NA27> Ox, I was asked a question. I answered it.
[15:53] <NA27> I will not go into the personal issues that I could to demonstrate the basis of my conclusion.
[15:53] <The-Ox> NA> Why don't you define unstable for us. You seem to have given it at least two distinct traits so far (changing religions and becoming visibly angry), but I fail to see how these two are essentially related.
[15:54] <NA27> Not interested, Ox. If you wish to discuss it in the context I raised it, 2 Peter 3, that would be fine.
[15:54] <Big_Scott> was it "growth" for Calvin to leave Catholicism or "instability?"
[15:54] <NA27> And the ability to twist Scripture to one's destruction against its clear meaning has been documented often, especially in your own case, Ox.
[15:54] <Big_Scott> Or Luther for that matter?
[15:55] <The-Ox> NA> You answered the question about intelligence by pointing to stability, which you then refused to define. I'm just trying to follow your arguments.
[15:55] <NA27> You asked a question, Scott, I answered....YOU brought up persons, I did not. Peter refers to those who are untaught and unstable. That was the original context.
[15:56] <NA27> Can you Romanists EVER stick with a Bible passage?
[15:56] <NA27> Sheesh.
[15:56] <NA27> *I* didn't raise the name of Hahn, Scott did.
[15:57] NA27 notes yet again the fascination of Romanists regarding Luther....
[15:57] <Big_Scott> NA, YOU asked about the stable and the unstable... yes, I applied names to it to see if when we took it out of the theoretical if it really meant anything...
[15:57] <NA27> Scott, YOU cited 2 Peter 3:16. *I* pointed out the passage is not relevant to its normal misuse by RC's.

No, you pinged me and my autoresponse which puts out random quotes (seen only in private by the one who pinged me) popped up that verse. You (James) are the one who raised the topic publically in this channel.

[15:58] <The-Ox> NA> Yes, BigScott brought up Hahn. Let's forget Hahn if you want. The point is this: even the intelligent can get the Scriptures wrong. When pressed on this, you said that intelligence was to be understood in relation to stability. So then, what is stability? And how is this digressing from the verse?
[15:58] <NA27> The passage makes it plain that those who are taught and stable (hence, it is not a matter of academics, obviously) are able to properly handle the Scriptures. Period. No mention of Popes, traditions, or anything of the kind.
[15:59] <Big_Scott> NA, I fail to see where you've even come close to pointing out any "misuse" in fact you haven't cited even ONE misuse!
[15:59] <NA27> IF the passage means anything, then we need to take it into consideration. Romanists may dismiss it, but that will just be yet another example of their own twisting the Scriptures to their own destruction.
[16:00] <The-Ox> NA> I'm only wondering what stability means. Because it seems to me that your line of reasoning to this point depends on this.
[16:00] <NA27> You mean Peter's line of reasoning. I have simply repeated his own words.
[16:00] <Big_Scott> Sorry James... you have failed to make your point... whereas I think the objective reader here must agree, I have made mine.
[16:01] <NA27> lol
[16:01] <NA27> Well, you have often thought you had made your point, Scott, when it became apparent you were unaware of what the argument was. :-)

The reader will note, I have not left the context of this argument at all, it would seem that James is aware that he has lost this round with me and is attempting to resort to ad hominem.
[16:02] <The-Ox> NA> I mean your interpretation of them. For you said that an intelligent person can arrive at *accuracy*. Scott's point was that intelligent people cancome to different conclusions. You then pointed to stability. You are presuming a certain understanding of stability (and I don't mean that negatively) to qualify your defense of how intelligence leads to acuracy. I am only wanting to know what you mean by stability.
[16:03] <NA27> No, you are in error again. Scott misunderstood the issue. I never made "taught" = seminary education nor academics. The two terms are used together: untaught and unstable, hence, taught and stable. It refers to a person who is spiritually mature, not to a scholar.

So, by the standard that James is professing here, even though I am still working on my first BA and don't have a doctorate or even a masters, I can be just as "learned" and "stable" as he? Yes, that's what it appears he is saying, so I'm glad he's leveled the playing field!

[16:04] <The-Ox> NA> Okay. So the two are not referring to separate qualities in a person, but are to be understood as referring to a single concept?
[16:06] <NA27> I have no idea how a person can be one or the other: it is the untaught AND unstable that distort the Scriptures. I see no reason to think Peter separated the two into completely distinct ideas.
[16:06] <Big_Scott> No James... and Hahn's initial degrees came from Protestant Universities... he is quite "educated" or "learned" as is the context of 2 Peter 3:16 - and "stability" is not measured by his changing theologies... or else you have to consider Calvin just as instable for the same reason.
[16:06] <NA27> And the simple fact of why I brought it up is easy: the passage does not support the idea that the Scriptures are somehow "dangerous" outside of Rome's interpretive canopy.

Oh, now James admits HE brought it up! :-)

[16:07] <NA27> I see Scott is still lost as to the topic.....
[16:07] <NA27> Oh well.
[16:07] <NA27> :-)
[16:07] <Big_Scott> James... if one is "Outside the Truth" then all the "learning" they have is pointless.
[16:07] <The-Ox> NA> Well, Hahn was certainly "taught." After all, he was Presbyterian before becoming Catholic. I'm sure that he knows Reformed theology as well as anyone. And yet he seems pretty unstable according to you.

And that was my point earlier as well. James equated Hahn's move to Catholicism as a sign of instability - so James clearly accepted the example as pertinent to the topic at hand, and never did respond to the fact that if he believes Dr. Hahn to be "unstable" because he changed theologies, then Calvin must be seen just as "unstable" - or else James is being inconsistent. Faced with the fact he'd either have to claim Calvin as unstable or retract his reasoning for Hahn to be unstable, James opted for the easier option - ignore it and it will go away. Well, get your head out of the sand James! Will you retract or will you call Calvin unstable?

[16:08] <Big_Scott> James... I have not lost the subject at all... I am sticking to it quite well... and not just in hypotheticals... I applied real names... and that is "wrong?"
[16:08] NA27 [~ortho@cpe-024-221-125-235.phoenix.speedchoice.com] has quit IRC (Broken pipe)
[16:09] <BibleBot> Taught and stable men are able to preach and teach the truth. For this we can be thankful.

I think BibleBot is James as well.
[16:09] <Big_Scott> well... I need to run an errand... again, my point was validly made and well made...
[16:10] <BibleBot> As to people who have apostatized and entered into a false religious system, well, I don't consider them stable. Obviously, we do not agree as to who is, and who is not, stable.

That was not an answer. Earlier James' "standard" was that since Hahn changed theologies... let's quote it exactly: "He has gone through many theologies thus far....is that a sign of stability, Scott?" James' implication is that it is a sign of instability. James is deliberately avoiding dealing with the fact that Calvin went through a change in theologies.

[16:10] <skyman`> I guess triumphalism suffices for a victory <g>
[16:10] <BibleBot> That it does, sky.
[16:10] <BibleBot> :-)
[16:10] <Big_Scott> sky... I did not cry "victory" I only state that my point is well made and valid.
[16:11] <skyman`> No you did Romanist...no need to lie.
[16:11] <Big_Scott> whatever sky

Here skyman` attacks me personally, implying I am a liar - and using a term he uses derogatorily (Romanist). I have learned not to answer back in kind to skyman` which would not be charitable anyway.

[16:11] <The-Ox> Biblebot> Then stability becomes something identifiable a posteriori, and becomes a useless concept in determining the true teacher. For if the unstable person is the apostate, there is no need to identify him as unstable, for one already knows that he teaches error. It becomes an epistemologically empty concept.
[16:12] <BibleBot> Ox: Take it up with Peter. He wrote it. :-)
[16:12] <Big_Scott> May the Peace of God that surpasses all understand keep you or bring you to Christ Jesus...
[16:12] <Big_Scott> In JMJ, Scott<<<
[16:12] <Big_Scott> See you soon in #CathApol !
[16:12] Big_Scott [firewall-u@socks1.hbocvan.com] has left #ProsApologian

*** Log file closed: 1/5/2001 4:12:57 PM