Sunday, November 6, 2011

Response to JP Holding of Tekton Apologetics Regarding Uncharitable and False Characterizations

I find myself in the unfortunate position of having to respond to intentional and irresponsible misrepresentations of my views on a number of issues. If you have followed this blog recently, you noticed I recently wrote about James Patrick Holding of Tekton Apologetics. Mr. Holding insists on using what he calls "insult rhetoric" to belittle and shame his opponents. He uses words like "stupid, idiot, moron, bigot, hypocrite, and bully" to "win" encounters with those he disagrees. I have discovered that he uses these terms without any discretion or discrimination whatever. I confronted Mr. Holding about his behavior and he increased his vitriol and even resorted to personal threats. I was shocked that any believer would resort to such behavior. I have no objection to using invective rhetoric when appropriate and within reason as Scripture would permit. However, even the use of invective rhetoric must come under the authority and guide of Scripture and should always be seasoned with love and respect as defined by Scripture. It is one thing for me to say that I think the human race is increasing in stupidity when I see educational leaders introducing kindergarten children to homosexual behavior and quite another for me to directly call a specific person stupid for contending for gay marriage. I believe that practice crosses the line. At any rate, J.P. Holding has posted some ungodly, inaccurate, nasty, and highly irresponsible remarks about my positions on his website at Tekton and I feel compelled to respond publicly to his contentions (see disclosure below).

Obscurantist and anti-scholarship. The above is a typical example. At a time when academics like Bart Ehrman are culling Christians away from the flock, and when so much unsound information is being presented via innumerable media outlets, deriding scholarship and calling for a return to "simplicity" is akin to suggesting, at a time an enemy attacks America with hydrogen bombs, we ought to return to using flintlocks. Dingess' anti-scholarship attitude is the last thing needed now.

Anyone who knows me and who reads my blog will recognize I am not anti-scholarship nor am I an obscurantist. Mr. Holding is responding to my point that oftentimes, scholars love to complicate certain biblical issues unnecessarily. For instance, take the idea of deconstructionism. Taken to its logical end, we cannot know anything about the written communication an author produces. This includes deconstructionist authors like Derrida himself. Another example is the demythologizing of the NT. Bultmann was a brilliant scholar who rejected the miracle claims of Scripture. He adopted a method that was in direct opposition to the presuppositions necessary for a Christian worldview. In a most complicated manner, he responded with a destructive hermeneutical method that resulted in the annihilation of the gospel.

Secondly, I often decry the lack of critical thinking that goes on in the church. I deplore the manner in which the Western Church has absorbed the culture around her. I have criticized the seeker-sensitve and emergent movements for their lack of concentration on discipleship. I have repeatedly criticized the church for her refusal to properly execute church disciple when appropriate. What I have worried about where Mr. Holding is concerned is the lack of discernment within evangelicalism concerning the wholesale adoption of certain critical methods that potentially result in a downgrading view of the authority of Scripture. Mr. Holding himself applauds the work of the context group in the area of social-science criticism. Oddly enough, leading members of that group are documented to oppose Holding's own methods and outright deny the divine nature of Scripture and have classified the doctrine of inerrancy as a modern, man-made invention. They attribute the success of Christianity to sociological factors within the Greco-Roman culture rather than to the supernatural work of God to bring forth His church according to His divine plan. I have made this point in previous exchanges with Holding and he has yet to respond with an intelligent argument. He just calls me a bully.

Authoritarianism and bullying. When confounded by arguments he is not able to answer, Dingess resorts to harsh language and treating others with subservience (eg, telling them to "Hold your tongue") or, if that fails, "tattling" to others he believes to be authority figures in order to get those he is enaging to change their minds, based on pressure and authority alone. In so doing, it should be added, Dingess also expresses his hypocrisy, for he is guilty of the very same behavior for which he "tattles" to others.

Scripture teaches us to submit to one another. We are also commanded to submit to those who are over us in the Lord. I have asked Holding on a few occasions if his church knows about and supports this behavior. He attends a SBC in Florida. He refuses to answer that question. I did challenge him to a debate in front of that church and he declined. I was not surprised. I have informed other ministries about Holding and the response I have received from all of them so far is shock and disbelief. They are cutting their links to Tekton's website and severing the relationship. I believe we all need to be held accountable for our behavior and this includes blogs and private exchanges. If you know your brother has something against you, you are to go to him (Matt. 5 & 18). None of us are above sin. We all make mistakes, say things we should not, and grievously sin against God from time to time. The sin nature makes accountability absolutely essential. Mr. Holding's response to biblical accountability and fair disclosure is to call me an unconscionable bully and a hypocrite. That is unfortunate and regrettable. Mr. Holding fails to grasp the fact that one of the biggest problems in modern evangelicalism is the complete autonomy with which numerous evangelists and apologists operate. They are accountable to no one for nothing. Mr. Holding told me he is accountable to his ministry partner who is a student at Southern Evangelical Seminary. You cannot be accountable for your ministry to the partner of your ministry. I have had an exchange with this young man, and he is no different than Holding.

Misogyist and bigoted. Worst of all, Dingess holds to an extremely aberrant view of women, one which degrades and insults half of humanity for no other reason than what they are. It is impossible to deny, in this light, that Dingess has earned every public reproach placed upon him by this ministry.


Mr. Holding appears to be a radical egalitarian in his views on the roles of men and women in the family as well as in ministry. When he discovered that it was my view that women should lovingly and graciously submit to the leadership of their husbands, he accused me of being a chauvinist. When he discovered my views on female pastors and elders and that I do not think it proper for females within the church to call the pastor or elders on the carpet over issues of doctrine or ecclesial matters, he concluded that I was an antiquated outdated woman hater. He accused me of being a dangerous false teacher even though my position is mainstream, being held also by the SBC, the PCA, and the Lutheran Church of the Missouri Synod. When I pointed out that my views are in complete harmony with the SBC's Baptist Faith and Message, the PCA's Westminster Confession of Faith, and the Lutheran's Missouri Synod, Holding never responded with a rational argument. He simply continued to issue insults.

I will not respond to future attacks from Tekton Apologetics. I do not have the time and it is a waste of energy to do so. It is my view that one response will suffice. Once we understand the manner in which Holding contorts the views of others and then attacks them personally rather than interacting with the actual propositions that people make, you will know that you simply cannot trust him to be fair in how he analyzes the views of other people.

This is a significant issue for Tekton Apologetics. Holding makes a living responding to supposed threats against the Christian worldview. If he cannot be trusted to accurately represent the views of those he considers a legitimate threat, it places his work in serious question, not to mention, his usefulness in the field of apologetics. Take this final comment about me for example:

In conclusion: Based on the above, Dingess has qualified himself as a dangerous false teacher upon whom the use of strong language is warranted. He deserves shame and scorn for his inconsistency, his behavior, and his misogynist viewpoints.

I am a member in the PCA church. I hold to the WCF. I have the highest view of Scripture. Concerning apologetics, I am a presuppositionalist. No conservative evangelical reading my blog would conclude I am a dangerous false teacher who deserves shame and scorn. Everyone who knows me will attest that my theological positions are soundly orthodox. There are a number of excellent apologetic ministries and resources on the Internet.

I would be hesitant to use Tekton, not because of my disagreement with J.P. Holding. Rather, because if this is how he represents me to others, I simply cannot trust, in any way, shape, or form, how he represents everyone else to the rest of us. I would always be left wondering if that is really that person's position or is this another intentional and deliberate misrepresentation by Holding on someone he deems worthy of shame and scorn. That is my perspective. The fact that Holding is paid to engage in this kind of behavior full time is most unfortunate. There are a lot of good missionaries doing a lot of good work for the kingdom who could use this money to do even more good work. From my experience at this point, I have to conclude that Tekton's research and literature is simply unreliable.



Disclosure: I am unaware of the actual author of this article. It is posted at Tekton and therefore I can only assume it is Holding. It may be someone writing in Holding's place. Nevertheless, if Holding did not write it personally, he approved of it and placed it on his site.









5 comments:

  1. I used to go to his church. He spoke once in the singles group about a decade ago. Let us just say he wasn't invited back.

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  2. I had a similar experience with Mr. Holding on of all places, Amazon.com. He had just crushed a mother of 2, who dared to challenge one of the many erroneous arguments he had posited.
    I called him on his error. He reacted like a petulant child. I have been a Pastor for 33 years. I hold Doctorates in Apologetics, & Critical thinking. I am therefore used to healthy debate, not debasement.
    The man is an embarrassment. He harassed, and even threatened me to, "Make an argument." I would not, as I don't argue, I debate. He is in my observation, a mental midget.

    You're not alone my brother. Mr. Holding is a disgrace to the pulpit.

    Sincerely
    T.Pasio
    Bethel Christian Fellowship.

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  3. I used to follow Holding as a new believer and liked his work. Early on it seemed most of his invective was a clear response to very aggressive atheists. Over time, I think it became clear exactly what this author said -- Holding uses that kind of language indiscriminately, putting others down and rudely dismissing fellow believers. I will not follow or recommend his work anymore. He needs to repent.

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  4. I'm the guy that sued Holding for libel, once in 2015, and again in 2016. The first lawsuit was dismissed solely on jurisdictional grounds. The second lawsuit was dismissed solely on the falsehood that I failed to name it as a potential asset in a prior bankruptcy filing. I offered to settle for $15,000, but Holding mrefused and instead paid a lawyer more than $21,000 to obtain dismissal for reasons other than the merits. This is apparently his way of "providing things honest in the sight of all men". I will be suing him for a third time because, as you good people know, Holding lacks the brain circuitry normally responsible for causing us to learn from our mistakes and avoid repeating them in the future. My blog contains the most comprehensive and detailed exposure of his lies about me and others.

    Since 2008, I promoted on the internet that the scholars Holding uses to justify his acerbic invective "style", when confronted with a sample of his insults to me, asserted that Holding gives Christianity a bad name, is a boor with no manners, and does not deserve for anybody to respond to him. I document this in full at https://turchisrong.blogspot.com/2017/05/blog-post.html.

    For years he responded that I had dishonestly manipulated these scholars to say such things. In 2015 Context Group scholar Rohrbaugh gave the following opinion of Holding's most comprehensive effort to justify defamation entitled "The Christian and Harsh Language" at www.tektonics.org/lp/madmad.php: Rorhbaugh said that article is an "obvious perversion of ALL Context Group work, my own work, and the New Testament. But...respond? Not worth my time."

    If you lookup the version of that article that google cached, you'll find Holding recently appended a few paragraphs to the beginning of the article, in which he derides Rohrbaugh and the Context Group and tells them to go mind their own business. Apparently, the Context Group somehow communicated to him directly, behind the scenes, in a way that confirmed my years-long understanding: They really do think Holding is a crackpot heretic who perverts their scholarship for unChristian purposes.

    A few days after I exposed this on my blog, presto, that particular article became inaccessible. The direct link now merely gives you the message "Parse error: syntax error, unexpected '<' in /home/tekton5/public_html/lp/madmad.php on line 6"

    Methinks Holding's world is finally caving in on him. Holding complained in 2015 about how certain political developments in Florida had screwed his wife out of thousands of hours of earned vacation and medical leave time. I asked Holding whether he was open to the possibility that God caused that plight because of Holding's insufferably obstinate insistence on violating every NT prohibition against "slander", since in the bible, God "delights" to inflict horrible miseries on those who disobey him, Deut. 28:63, Holding didn't respond.

    For many express reasons that are documented in full at my blog, I assert that Holding does not believe himself to be a true Christian, he is instead exactly like a 1990's televangelist: He plays the game for no other reason than to pridefully put himself at the center of attention and fleece the gullible. He has a purely genetic or psychological compulsion to dominate anything that gets in his way, and Christian apologetics, of course, provides him plenty of opportunity to indulge such sin. It is by the testimony of other Christian apologists and scholars, not merely unbelievers, that Holding is a closet-homosexual with a filthy mind expressing itself in sinful ways.

    I document all this and more at my blog

    https://turchisrong.blogspot.com/
    barryjoneswhat@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the information. I still have people pull this info up as a way to refute some of my arguments. I simply tell them to trot on over to JP Holdings site and dare to disagree with him. Let me know how that works out for you. I appreciate your comments. I honestly have never encounter a more vicious character anywhere. I have always said I would like to talk to him eyeball to eyeball...being a martial artist as well an avid weight lifter, it would be sort of fun to play around with him in person.

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