Sunday, April 10, 2005
Response from an "unarmed man"
Christian Apologist Anton Willem Hein has now deemed me an "unarmed man" in a "battle of wits" and a person whose comments "take on shades of cyberstalking," as noted below:
From Anton Hein's Web site entry about yours truly: "Sites... Mark Kellner's weblog. Kellner says the blog is where his 'shares his views of the current state of Christian apologetics, religious liberty and related issues'. However, the weblog appears to have been set up because Mr. Kellner was denied a forum elsewhere, and thus far (August 2003 through Jan, 2005) has been used almost exclusively to 'answer' people he cannot and/or will not answer elsewhere. The blog does serve to demonstate why Mr. Kellner is not considered to be an apologist. It also illustrates Mr. Kellner's usual approach:I'm glad Mr. Hein is interested in what I have to say -- even if he won't accept my e-mails to him, or allow me to post to his "ApoloTalk" forum or has campaigned to block me from posting to the AR-Talk and AR-Forum lists (I have a copy of his e-mail). He even (sob) cut me off from his self-promoting ministry e-mails. (By the way, can anyone tell me which of these tactics, or equivalent ones, were undertaken by Jesus or the apostles?)
As noted before, for reasons known only to him, Mr. Kellner appears to have taken a special interest in agitating against messages posted by the co-publisher of Apologetics Index. He simply doesn't get the message: as the saying goes, I'm not interested in a battle of wits with an unarmed person - particularly not when it appears that his pompous ponderings now take on the shades of cyberstalking."
- * fail to properly address the issues,
- * don't pay attention to what people say, and
- * instead change the subject (preferably by using straw men)
Of course, this is the same Anton Willem Hein who has yet to fulfill his promise -- made more than a year ago -- to respond to my Liberty magazine article about the controvesial book "Encyclopedia of Cults and New Religions," which is the subject of a $136 million libel suit in the state of Texas. Mr. Hein thought that article to have all sorts of errors and false statements; so far, he hasn't demonstrated any. Since Mr. Hein is fond of quoting American aphorisms, let me use one to describe his unfulfilled claim: Anton Hein is, in this instance at least, "all hat and no cattle," as the noted thinker Trace Adkins would say.
In short, Mr. Hein is interested in promoting his views and defending them in sites and forums he controls, without the bother of opposing questions and, yes, honest criticism. This is far different from most fields of endeavor, particularly in the scholarly realm, where positions are examined, often strenuously, but the participants can remain civil at the end of the day.
Mr. Hein now accuses me of being "unarmed" in a "battle of wits," and of showing "shades of cyberstalking."
Like Mr. Hein, I respond to e-mails that I receive. (Unlike Mr. Hein, I don't block people from e-mailing me, or threaten harassment charges against people who do e-mail me.) Like Mr. Hein, I'll page through Web sites (e.g., John Gorenfeld's) and/or use Google and other resources to document my claims and -- yes -- opinions. (Please note that, contrary to Mr. Hein's assertions, "Apologetics Answers" is an opinion/analysis blog, and nothing more -- so far, at least.)
If that behavior -- research, analysis and commentary -- is showing "shades of cyberstalking," then there are several million people in the United States alone who do something similar, on their blogs, every day. Some of them brought out errors committed by major media figures, politicians, and so forth. It's called free speech, Mr. Hein -- something you claim the Netherlands supports more than the United States does.
Mr. Hein has made two other statements worthy of comment: He claims that I linked to his Web page about the "ad hominem" charges against him solely from my posting abou John Gorenfeld's e-mail to me (see below). Mr. Hein is wrong: scan the "Apologetics Answers" page and you'll see that I linked there from my comments about his non-delivery of a "promised response" to the Liberty article referenced earlier.
Anton Hein believes that my linking to the page about his background (which conveniently includes one disclaimer in ultra-small type that a reader must enlarge -- so much for candor and transparency!) says more about me than it does about him. Maybe. But if Mr. Hein is going to malign people who defend their religious freedom (Art. 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, perhaps sadly for Mr. Hein, contains no distinction between the religions one approves and those one disapproves), I can only hope there will be many people willing to challenge those assertions, and to do so online.
It's very sad that Anton Hein takes after me and after those whose opinions differ from him, with his own brand of "ad-hominem" (if using the phrase "a battle of wits with an unarmed man" in reference to me is isn't ad hominem, would someone tell me what is?) instead of engaging the issues.
(By way of comparison, an apologetics site that attracts more viewers than Mr. Hein's "Apologetics Index" -- without engaging in personal attacks on critics -- is the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, as can be seen here [as of April 11, 2005]. Please note, however, that this comparison is for illustration only; I do not, sad to say, agree with everything at the CARM Web site.)
I look forward to the day when Anton and I can sit down and have a friendly chat, respecting each other's differences and talking on the basis of facts. But Mr. Hein prefers to slam me for not strenuously agreeing with his positions. All hat and no cattle, indeed!
Saturday, March 26, 2005
I Win the "Extraordinarily Silly Gentleman" Award from John Gorenfeld
LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARILY SILLY GENTLEMEN: John Gorenfeld (above, as seen on www.gorenfeld.net) considers Mark Kellner an "extraordinarily silly gentleman," but the usually verbose Mr. G won't say why.
The e-mail arrived in my mailbox with no fanfare, just an intriguing subject line: "You are an extraordinarily silly gentleman."
The message text:
"Yours sincerely,along with his Web address, phone and fax numbers and street address, all of which are omitted here, for obvious reasons.
I shot back a question: "To what do I owe this honor?" And I waited about 24 hours. Mr. Gorenfeld, a journalist who seems to claim a rather prolific output, hasn't responded.
I suppose he doesn't like my comments about Anton Willem Hein, who has approvingly quoted Mr. Gorenfeld's ad hominem attacks on a United States Government official, Amb. Josette Shiner of the U.S. Trade Representative's office. Ms. Shiner, you see, is a former Managing Editor of The Washington Times (disclosure: I'm in my 15th year as a freelance weekly computer columnist there) and a former member of the Unification Church. Mr. Gorenfeld, perhaps forgetting that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States" (Art. 1, Section VI, Clause 3, Constitution of the United States (scroll down to find the clause), felt it necessary to spread word of Ms. Shiner's apparently former religious views to all who'd listen, including the aforementioned Mr. Hein.
Most recently, Mr. Gorenfeld posted a short smirk to note that Ms. Shiner will not ascend to the top position in the USTR's office. Whatever her reactions, I would personally suggest that Josette Shiner, an acquaintance and a person of great integrity, has already achieved far more in her life than John Gorenfeld is ever likely to accomplish.
Ms. Shiner has long stood for freedom and human rights and has practiced exceptional journalism in many situations, not the least being a memorable interview with the late Kim Il Sung [corrected, Apr. 11, 2005], this despite her well-known anti-Communist stance. Mr. Gorenfeld has, well, picked on a girl, and called me silly.
I'll stand with Josette Shiner any day of the week, even though I'll also happily defend Mr. Gorenfeld's freedom of speech.
Post Script: Mr. Gorenfeld has responded on his blog, which I suppose is easier than responding to an e-mail. He says that I "misread" the attack on Ms. Shiner as religiously based. Perhaps, but Mr. Gorenfeld should remember that others, such as Anton Willem Hein, picked up on Mr. G's screed; Mr. Hein's primary interest is in religious matters.
And if Mr. Gorenfeld, as he now claims, was merely interested in whether Ms. Shiner retained earlier political-social views, WHY DIDN'T HE SAY THIS UNTIL AFTER MY COMMENTS WERE POSTED? (For those wondering, yes, I've e-mailed Mr. G asking this same question.)
Again, Mr. Gorenfeld has freedom of speech, and I'll defend it. I just wish he'd be clear, and up front about his motives and concerns.
Friday, March 25, 2005
Anton Hein's Failure -- Will He Now Back Down?
More than a year ago -- as seen in the unchanged e-mail below, quoted elsewhere in this Weblog, Anton Willem Hein, formerly of San Diego and currently, it is to be presumed, of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, has had more than 365 days to live up to what he said:
">-----Original Message-----Nor have I seen any evidence of Mr. Hein's having the decency to withdraw his charges, let alone admit that my arguments may -- just may -- have some merit.
>From: Mark A. Kellner [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
>Sent: Thursday, March 18, 2004 11:49 AM
>Subject: Re: [AR-forum] Hein's 'engagement' of Kellner's facts and data
>I'll repeat: If Mr. Hein cannot document his charges, he
>should have the decency to withdraw them.
Mr. Kellner, thou protests [sic] too much. As I have already indicated, your material will be dealt with in time. I will show it to be in error, full of logical fallacies and wrong conclusions, an example of shoddy apologetics, and an attack on Christians. You'll just have to exhibit some patience and self-control."
So far as I have been able to determine, Mr. Hein has utterly, completely and totally failed to document his claim, and his charges against me over my article in Liberty magazine concerning the Local Churches and their libel action against Harvest House Publishers and authors John Ankerberg and John Weldon.
Perhaps Mr. Hein will want to take refuge in the saying of Mark McGwire, the former St. Louis Cardinals baseball player, who admonished the U.S. Congress that he (McGwire) was "not here to talk about the past."
Monday, January 10, 2005
Is this Anton Hein's latest response?
Following a sincere (at least on my part) exchange with the venerable Anton Willem Hein of Amsterdam on the AR-Talk and AR-Forum lists, I found the following bon mot from Mr. Hein in my Gmail.com mailbox this evening:
Gmail - You have been unsubscribed from the ainewsletter mailing listMr. Hein, who previously banished me from his ApoloTalk forum, now is cutting off my receipt of his self-promoting "ministry newsletter" for the Apologetics Index Web site he operates.
... and that's all he wrote. No explanation. No comment. Nothing. Just "hasta la vista, Kellner." And, no, I did not ask Mr. Hein to unsubscribe me.
Instead of engaging the facts presented, instead of even considering that he may be mistaken in such tactics as presenting John Gorenfeld's screed against long-departed Washington Times managing editor Josette Shiner as an apologetics "resource," Mr. Hein chooses to circle the wagons, raise the drawbridge and lower the gate of Castle Anton. (Did I mention, before, that Mr. Hein has set up his computer to block e-mails from me? And that he has publicly said he would consider any attempt to e-mail him as "harassment"? Surely Mr. Hein, who claims to have once been employed by computer publishing giant Ziff-Davis, and who operates multiple Web sites, knows what the "delete" button on a computer does. But I digress.)
Christians are supposed to be notable for their openness and transparency: Jesus of Nazareth never had an e-mail filter, never cut anyone off his newsletter list, and indeed told the Pharisees and Sanhedrin leaders who sought his capture that he had taught openly in public daily, obviating their need to seize him at night.
Mr. Hein, on the other hand, is now presenting a facade of openness and accessibility, while limiting access from those who dare question his positions and conclusions, particularly when his views challenge that most basic of freedoms, the freedom of religious belief and expression. What, do you suppose, would Jesus do in a similar situation?
Thursday, March 18, 2004
Coming Soon: Anton Hein Tells All (About Kellner's article, that is...)
For the third time in less than three weeks, Anton Hein of Apologetics Index has refused to answer my challenge concerning his accusations against me. Mr. Hein claims that my article in Liberty magazine "falsely accuses the brethren" and contains "gross misrepresentations."
I've asked -- three times now -- for examples. So far, Mr. Hein's contribution has been ZERO.
But don't worry, sports fans, Mr. Hein may yet change his ways and actually substantiate his claims. Note the following post from AR-Forum:
>From: Mark A. Kellner [mailto:email@example.com]
>Sent: Thursday, March 18, 2004 11:49 AM
>Subject: Re: [AR-forum] Hein's "engagement" of Kellner's facts and data
>I'll repeat: If Mr. Hein cannot document his charges, he
>should have the decency to withdraw them.
Mr. Kellner, thou protests [sic] too much. As I have already indicated, your material will be dealt with in time. I will show it to be in error, full of logical fallacies and wrong conclusions, an example of shoddy apologetics, and an attack on Christians. You'll just have to exhibit some patience and self-control.
For now, your approach is well-covered in this Apologetics Index entry:
For reasons explained there, I will not respond in this forum to further communication from you on this matter. Again, please give it a rest and allow these forums to be used for the purpose they are intended for.
Anton and Janet Hein-Hudson
Research resources on religions, cults, sects, doctrines, and related issues:
http://www.religionnewsblog.com (News and news archives)
http://www.apologeticsindex.org (Other research resources)
I anxiously await Mr. Hein's response. It should make for interesting reading.
Meanwhile, however, other apologists and interested observers will not be able to offer their comments on Mr. Hein's posted positions, or mine. Co-moderator Steve Hogel has "called" discussion on the topic.
Therefore, an offer to anyone who reads these words. Send me an e-mail, in confidence, and I'll consider your comments -- pro-Kellner or anti-Kellner -- for publication and response.
Is that fair enough?
Tuesday, March 16, 2004
Good News: Mr. Hein updates and expands his quote from my article on his "Seventh-day Adventism" Web Page
Anyone who has followed some of my backing-and-forthing with Anton Hein, owner/publisher of Apologetics Index, know that I have long been distressed that he had quoted PART of my Sept. 2000 Christianity Today magazine article on the Seventh-day Adventist Church, but not the relevant countervailing quote. He had quoted my report of a General Conference Session 2000 resolution about the ministry of Ellen G. White, but neglected to quote the then-newly-elected president of the Adventist Church in North America, Pastor Don Schneider, as saying the Adventist Church did -- and does -- put the Bible first and foremost.
Mr. Hein has now changed his mind, apparently, and I appreciate the way he quotes me now:
Seventh-day Adventism - Apologetics research resources on religious cults and sects: "Even Seventh-day Adventists themselves understand that certain things set them apart from historical Christianity:
In a move almost certain to invite the scrutiny of evangelical apologists, the 57th General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church voted July 2 ''to intensify efforts to inform all church members, especially young members, about the gift of prophecy through the ministry of Ellen G. White.''
White, who was one of the leading figures in the founding of the church, has remained a controversial figure in Adventism since her death in 1915. While describing her own writings as ''the lesser light'' leading to the ''greater light'' of the Bible, the promotion of her writings by the church has stirred charges of cultism against the group.
According to a report by the Adventist News Network, several delegates registered discomfort with the resolution: 'Is there any resolution with similar wording that deals with the Bible?' asked Jurrien den Hollander, an Adventist pastor from the Netherlands. Hollander's motion for such a resolution was voted and referred to committee.
And, said Don C. Schneider, a 57-year-old Adventist leader from Berrien Springs, Mich., who was just elected to head the church's North American Division, while some outside the group may question the resolution's meaning, Adventist church leaders line up behind the Bible as their source of doctrine.
'There's a very clear understanding here that Seventh-day Adventists believe in the Bible, and our faith comes out of the Bible,' Schneider told CT in an interview. 'There's no question among the group here.'
Schneider, who had been in charge of one of church activities in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and WiscWisconsin, added that he would gladly explain the group's position to any apologists or others who have questions.
"I'd be most pleased to tell anyone about my priorities of the Bible ahead of anyone else," he said.
Mark Kellner, "Adventist Church Reaffirms 'Gift of Prophecy' , Christianity Today, July 7, 2000 (Author is a Seventh-day Adventist)
(NOTE: Mark Kellner - who authored the above-quoted article some 30 months before he became the assistant director for news and information for the SDA's General Conference Communications Department - wants to make sure people read his entire article at the URL provided. He has been made aware of the fact that - as a matter of policy - Apologetics Index is specifically designed to encourage indepth research.)"
I do wish Mr. Hein would take a kinder view of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and I most certainly wish he'd have a few more "pro" Internet links to balance the "contra" ones which seem to support his arguments. But his willingness to take even this step is appreciated by this writer, even if I have been critical of some of his comments in times past.
Thank you, Mr. Hein, for doing this.
Redacto Ad 'Footnoteum,' or Anton Hein on "Mark Kellner - religious cults, sects, and related issues"
I appreciate Anton Hein's work on many levels. It's just that I don't agree with some of his views, and, as it should be apparent to readers here, with his views on how religious liberty should be granted and/or withheld. Mr. Hein, in the item below (a new footnote on his page about yours truly), makes what I'd consider a snide comment: that I "waited" more or less seven months to note a discrepancy. He also says he "in no way" had "meant" to "slight" Christianity Today magazine by saying their giving me a small honor in 1996 was "probably a mistake" since I am (since 1999) a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
While I am grateful for Mr. Hein's correction and explanation, he still misses some key points. Claiming, as he previously did, that a magazine with a large editorial staff and a five-decade tradition of accuracy had "probably" not verified in 1996 which church I was a member of, is a slam against the magazine. At least I, as a former senior editor, news editor and editor-in-chief of technology trade magazines, would view it as such.
Mr. Hein also doesn't like some of my words, or perhaps my tone. I'll try to do better, but surely Mr. Hein's experience in Amsterdam with all sorts of "cultists" and members of world religions should have toughened him against a few verbal barbs. I don't believe I have engaged in personal insult against Mr. Hein; I have been a critic of some of his views and statements, but not of him personally.
I hope I'm misreading Mr. Hein's last comment as shown below. He made a mistake. I called him on it. He corrected it, and I'm grateful. But that doesn't alter my opinion that his initial comment was unfair to CT. (By the way, had he e-mailed CT, they might well have provided him with a suitable answer. Then again, had he e-mailed me, I would have happily answered him as well.)
Mark Kellner - religious cults, sects, and related issues: "Footnotes --- Note 1: Previously - from the initial publication of this page on Aug. 11, 2003 until the Mar. 8, 2004 update - the statement read as follows: 'In 1996, Christianity Today named Kellner as one of '50 Leading Evangelicals Under 40.' This was probably a mistake, given the fact that he is a Seventh-day Adventist....'
Though that statement was first posted on Aug. 11, 2003, Mark Kellner waited until Mar. 8, 2004 to note that this was incorrect. He did so on the AR-talk list, where he suggested I should have 'recalled' that he joined that list in 1999, after he had joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
True to form, on his web log, Mr. Kellner describes the 'ERROR' (which he also refers to as 'a shot of bile') as follows: Along with attempting to slime me, Mr. Hein takes a pot shot at Christianity Today magazine.
For the record, the statement was in no way meant as a slight on Christianity Today, which we consider to be a fine publication.
The publishers of Apologetics Index thank Mr. Kellner for illustrating by way of his online behavior the need for this page. "
Monday, March 08, 2004
Hein to correct error re Kellner
In a follow-up post to AR-Talk, Mr. Hein writes the following:
"The 'ERROR,' posted on Aug. 11, 2003, will be corrected later tonight (CET)."
I am grateful that Mr. Hein will undertake this and look forward to seeing the result online.
Mr. Hein's "Index" on Kellner: Correcting an Error
Anton Hein, who claims "29+ years" in apologetics and counter-cult ministry (which means, given that he was born in 1957, he had been doing this since about the age of 17), has added a shot of bile to his Apologetics Index entry on "Mark Kellner," which is available online at http://www.apologeticsindex.org/k04.html.
He writes: "In 1996, Christianity Today named Kellner as one of '50 Leading Evangelicals Under 40.' This was probably a mistake, given the fact that he is a Seventh-day Adventist (Kellner is the assistant director for news and information for the SDA's General Conference Communications Department)."
Unfortunately, as I pointed out on AR-Talk, Mr. Hein is wrong in this statement, and he should know it. In 1996 (and, indeed, from July 1982 through April of 1999), I was a lay church member of The Salvation Army, or the "Leger des Heils," as it is known in Mr. Hein's homeland of the Netherlands. The Salvation Army is almost universally recognized as an evangelical church, hence, the kind designation CT gave me was thoroughly in order.
Mr. Hein should have known this because he should recall that my activity on the AR-lists began in 1999, after I had joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Mr. Hein, among others, considers the Seventh-day Adventist Church to be a (his term) "cult of Christianity." Other apologetics leaders, including the late Dr. Walter R. Martin and the current Chrisitan Research Institute, do not.
Along with attempting to slime me, Mr. Hein takes a pot shot at Christianity Today magazine. It's sad that Mr. Hein can see little merit in my work, opinions or arguments, since I do see some value in his work, and even occasionally merit in some of his arguments. It's truly sad that he has to throw mud on an exemplary Christian magazine in the process.
Post Scriptum: Mr. Hein, on the AR-lists, objected to my using the word "Psychic" below to describe my opinion of his apparent ability to divine my views as expressed in Liberty magazine -- without his having read the article. For any reader who is unclear, my use of the word was not to suggest that Mr. Hein engages in ANY occult practice. Rather, it's a cynical comment that could be taken as satirical. Both forms of expression, particularly about a public person as Mr. Hein is (and as I am), are apprently protected in the United States of America by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Oddly enough, that same amendment would appear to ban "anti-sect laws" in this country, as opposed to France, where religious freedom for more than the odd Scientologist or Jehovah's Witness is under legislative attack.