Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Apple-Orange Fallacy


The Reverse Ad Hominem Fallacy Fallacy

I found this post linked from Tim Challies place,

The Faithfulness Fallacy

In sum, the author attempts to draw a comparison between John MacArthur and James MacDonald. It breaks down like this:

When John was criticized last year for waving his cane at YRR, hoodie wearing hipsters, John's supporters argued that he should be listened to because he has a long, 40 plus year track record of faithful ministry.

Now that James MacDonald has come under criticism for embracing T.D. Jakes as a fellow brother in the Lord, his supporters argue he should be listened to because he has a long, 30 plus year track record of faithful ministry.

Our intrepid blogger notes something I guess everyone else overlooked: The supporters of both men are in essence merely defending the men, rather than defending their ideas. Hence, its a reverse Ad Hominem fallacy. In other words, rather than defending what either man is saying, the supporters have shifted the true nature of the arguments from the arguments themselves to the character of the men.

Then, bringing to bear all the sagely wisdom a new church planter can muster, he warmly reminds us that we must not pre-judge a man based solely upon his character alone, but prayerfully seek wisdom and weigh any opposing views faithfully before we offer our opinion.

Ah yes, thanks for providing us with that much needed balance.

This is what I consider to be the example of an Apple-Orange Fallacy. That is when a youngish blogger, who thinks he has some hidden nugget of wisdom that transcends the masses', attempts to straighten everyone out with an erroneous comparison that is utterly off the mark and out of touch with the facts.

Let's reminds ourselves of the details so I can show you what I mean.

Many folks will remember last year John MacArthur wrote up a series of blog posts critical of the Young, Restless, and Reformed movement, and contrary to the libelous tweets of Steve Camp who attributed those posts to a ghost writer, John was involved with writing them.

Most folks appreciated what John had to say, but the post that got him into trouble was the one on beer drinking. That's because there exists a contingency of YRR oriented church planters who still have issues with their legalistic, fundy past and who like to booze it up at their men's Bible studies. YRR folks love iconoclasm except when it is their icons getting smashed.

When YRR supporters were complaining against John during his series, and Steve Camp was making his stupid tweets, I was one of those individuals who played the "faithful minister card." That is because the bulk of the arguments against John were ad hominem. And including, in a snort of irony, a post from this same young blogger who didn't deal at all with anything substantive in John's various posts. He just pleaded for him to hear his generation and not treat him and his friends like an enemy.

The reason why I could play that "faithful minister card" was simply because John has a consistently steady track record of pastoral ministry that proves exactly why what he was saying to the YRR should be heeded. While all his YRR critics were "exegeting" John 2 in order to determine what vintage the wine was that Jesus made at Cana, none of them really responded to what John was saying about the propriety and wisdom of a pastor encouraging his congregation to drink alcohol. It went right over their heads.

James MacDonald, on the other hand, jump the theological rails to become the biggest enabler of a heretic who not only denies essential Christian doctrine concerning the Trinity, but also teaches a false, "Health N' Wealth" gospel. MacDonald has been on record condemning Jakes' "Health N' Wealth" gospel, but threw away "30 years of faithful ministry" when Jakes agreed to be on his ER2 love-fest.

He allowed Jakes to remain unchallenged as to his theological views regarding the Trinity, he didn't even bother touching his false "Health N' Wealth" gospel, and MacDonald continues to stick his fingers in his ears and ignore all reasonable criticism of his actions to the point he has done an "Ergun Caner" and is blocking people from following him on twitter. Any one who seriously appeals to his "30 years of faithful ministry" as an argument why we must give him a fair hearing is deluded.

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Blogger Kevin Zuber said...

Thanks Fred! IMHO it's clear that there's even more of a difference between John MacArthur and James MacD than there is between an apple and an orange!

4:21 PM, February 15, 2012  
Blogger Peter said...

Great writing, Fred. And I love to read someone loyally defend a good preacher of the Word!

5:31 PM, February 15, 2012  
Blogger Sir Aaron said...

#1 - Most of us did give MacDonald some credit for his long and distinguished service in the Pastorate. But the offense became so blatant that faithful ministry just didn't cut it.

#2 - I didn't defend MacArthur because of his long and distinguished career. Many of us disagreed somewhat with MacArthur and still do with respect to his views on alcohol. But when you read his posts on the YRR, you have to admit that while you don't agree with everything, there are certainly some things he is right about.

#3 - The comparison is not even valid anyways because MacArthur was pointing out sin while MacDonald was ignoring it.

5:52 PM, February 15, 2012  

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