David Marshall Writes a Polemic Against (the Wrong) Celsus

I was just informed by an Amazon reviewer named Robert (whose profile name is Celsus) that apologist David Marshall has posted a scathing diatribe about me on his blog:


[Update: After I made this post, David Marshall updated his blog to remove my name and picture. To see the original polemic that started this exchange, click on the following: Christ the Tao: Matthew Ferguson (Celsus) on the “Marshall School of Apologetics”.]

Marshall wrote his post complaining about an Amazon thread, titled “The David Marshall School of Apologetics.”

interview-david-marshallIn his post, Marshall describes me as “that unfortunate type of ignoramus who is even ignorant of the fact that he is ignorant.” He also accuses me of misusing a Martin Luther quote, stating, “I bet Ferguson hasn’t read this quote in context.” He also states at another point in the post, “Ferguson clearly is lying.”

This is all very strange to me, because, so far as I know, I have never written or commented on any reviews at Amazon!

What is further perplexing is that I have clarified to Marshall, when he commented here a couple weeks ago, that I am not the reviewer named Celsus on Amazon. I dare say that I was rather polite in my comment reply to Marshall, where the first thing I specified was that he had confused me with another Celsus.

And now Marshall accuses me of being ignorant and not fully reading things in context… Alas, I have learned not to expect much out of apologists these days, but I hope that Dr. Marshall, since I have informed him of this oversight and impetuous reaction against the wrong person, will at least have the honesty to apologize.

Marshall does state in the post: “I’d love to admit I was wrong about something, if only Ferguson would once in a great while get something right.” Well, aside from the fact that I wrote nothing in that Amazon review, I do think I am right about who I actually am.

I will also note that I have previously accepted apologies from apologists Mike Licona and Cliffe Knechtle for mistakes of their own, and David Marshall is more than welcome to follow their lead.

[Update: After being notified on his blog, David Marshall has apologized in the comments section for incorrectly directing his post against me. I have accepted his apology, and updated this page accordingly. Marhall has also edited his page to take down my name and picture. For the original context of what started this exchange, you can see the original post here.]

-Matthew Ferguson

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6 Responses to David Marshall Writes a Polemic Against (the Wrong) Celsus

  1. Toasty McGrath says:

    “I’d love to admit I was wrong about something, if only Ferguson would once in a great while get something right.”

    Oh man, what a buffoon. Hey Mr. Marshall, next time, try aiming before you shoot.

    • Matthew: I guess all I can say is, having driven 900 miles yesterday, I’m glad I made this scale error on my blog, rather than on the road. But my profound (not “sort of” apologies for the error. While I have, as you say, changed the post to correct that error, I have also left a note at the beginning to acknowledge it. The other Celsus is, of course, wrong when he claims I never admit my errors — here’s one, and the biggest that has come to my attention in some time. But it is certainly not my first.

      At the same time, if you are going to be charitable, I think you should try to understand how easy the error was to make. Both of you call yourselves Celsus — not a common name, these days. Both share an intense interest in rebutting “apologists.” The Amazon Celsus is always accusing Christian apologists of being “liars,” as does one of the posts that is immediately visible when I open your blog. (Well, “dishonesty.”) There are also other common interests and tropes.

      I also think it is wrong for someone to hide behind a pseudonym while publicly and by name accusing someone of “lying,” as did that other Celsus. So I do believe Robert (if that is his name) shares part of the blame for the error. If people hide behind pseudonyms while spewing venom, and the pseudonyms coincide, that does raise the danger of collateral damage when the target responds.

      But I don’t deny the egg on my face: I will now have a nice quiet meal of crow, and again, apologies.

      • Thank you, Dr. Marshall. Your original disclaimer at the top came off as kind of dismissive, but I see that you have now updated it to state, “Clearly I should have gone one step further in verifying the identity of these two skeptics.” Thank you for acknowledging this.

        I will note though that my name still appears in the URL and five lines up from the bottom of the page, so the article still partially implicates me.

        I can understand your confusion, but I am sure that you can also understand what it was like to find a whole polemic with my picture directed against me, when I never wrote those things nor even was confrontational towards you in the past. In fact, if you look at our one online exchange, you can see that I was rather polite to you when you commented here last month.

        I’m not sure what your past interactions with this Robert guy were like, but I’ve never personally attacked you on this page. And even when I have criticized other apologists for dishonesty, it’s been to critique their rhetoric, not to call them “ignoramuses who are ignorant of the fact that they are ignoramuses” or to say that they have “puppy-doggish lack of guile.” I don’t think those types of personal attacks reflect well, even if one launches them against the correct target.

        Thanks though for being more forthcoming in this second reply.

      • [DM] “The Amazon Celsus is always accusing Christian apologists of being “liars,” as does one of the posts that is immediately visible when I open your blog.”

        True, so true. Many thanks again professor for revealing the Truth to everybody.

        Walmart Celsus
        Google Play Celsus
        Montgomery Ward Celsus (deceased)
        Sears Celsus (any day now)
        and Microsoft Celsus (a bit wobbly though)

  2. Look, I think it was all an honest mistake in identity.

    The Jesus apostle that also started the Catholic Church… honest injun

  3. Trolling the web, looking for haters
    [DM, Christ-the-Tao] Tristan Vick: “Marshall, Go Kill Yourself!”
    A zombie author (well, an author about zombies) named Tristan Vick earlier this year apparently told me to “go kill myself.” This is actually the punch-line in what he apparently regards as an argument (more a ghost than a zombie in terms of its visibility to mortals), or else perhaps a joke.

    perhaps. Ever think about working for the NSA? Tip: Better make sure you have their right address before you send any more stuff in.

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