In a previous article (here), I criticized numerous apologists in adjacent and unrelated fields to biblical studies of using their authority in unrelated fields, their titles, and often even just fake degrees to promote themselves as professionals or authorities (or allow themselves to be treated as authorities on biblical studies, and so are complacent in this dishonesty). I listed a number of figures who do this: Lydia McGrew (PhD in English Lit, virtually no noteworthy publications in biblical studies at all), Jonathan McLatchie (PhD in Biology and no relevant publications), and several others.
Well, of course, apologists did not take kindly to this. I have already updated the previous post to include the fallout and then apologies that Stephen Boyce sent my way (he was very kind and took full accountability for his actions in our conversations, which was nice, we still chat a bit now). But others did not take kindly, and instead of doing the mature thing, like Boyce, they simply doubled down with really crappy behavior. Which is basically what I have come to expect from apologists… since they are essentially spiritually immature children who are afraid of what having intellectual integrity entails for their lives.
McLatchie and the Strawman from Hell
So, Jonathan McLatchie, who is often touted around as one of the kinder and nicer apologists, chimed in on this whole situation with, perhaps, one of the most incompetent responses to my criticisms that I have ever seen. Like, this is lack of reading comprehension on levels seldom beheld in the history of humankind.
Now, for those who read my previous post, you will remember that I explicitly used McLatchie as an example of how apologists essentially do scholarship by convenience. They only care about the consensus when it validates their own personal beliefs, and any other consensus in academia, which violates those beliefs, is cast aside often with grand pronouncements made by a person who has no publications in the field and is completely irrelevant to the field. McLatchie, though, has a long history of promoting himself as knowledgeable about the field, making authoritative claims about anything he dislikes, and then whinging like a wounded syphilitic mule on PCP when people criticize him.
And that is exactly what we get here. Virtually every single point that McLatchie argues against here is something I never argued. Firstly, I never said that McLatchie claims to have a PhD in anything other than Biology. I never said he was introduced as otherwise. I said that his status as “Dr.” Jonathan McLatchie is used to grant faux authority, whether he intends it or not. I never said that one’s work is “rendered credible by the possession of a relevant doctoral degree” or anything similar. The implication here seems to be that McLatchie thinks (or is dishonestly misconstruing me) I am attacking interdisciplinary work or that scholars in adjacent or outside fields should not be taken credibly in biblical studies. I have never said anything of a sort. I fully endorse interdisciplinary work. Apologists… are not doing interdisciplinary work though.
But here is where things got extremely interesting to me.
Jonathan just goes on to prove multiple points I made in my article. I specifically make note of how problematic it is when apologists with no relevance to biblical studies, make grand pronouncements about a field that they have no relevant credentials or publications in, and especially when they (on top of this) have a documented history of being an ignoramus. Well… McLatchie does that. And not only that, I made another point about how outsider biblical studies people desperately try to both cling to biblical scholarship to give their apologetics credibility (which McLatchie consistently tries to do by promoting McGrew’s work as “academic” and credible to the field), while simultaneously also eschewing the field when it suits them, because they know that the field will never actually be on board with their nonsense. McLatchie did all of this:
Cases 1 and 2: Eschewing the field and simultaneously making grand pronouncements about a field which McLatchie has no credibility in whatsoever, and nothing worth taking seriously:
Case 3: Contradicting his claims by trying to establish McGrew as a credible scholar for NT studies and trying to promote her pop-publisher books as “scholarly”:
Big whoop, looks like I was proven right. Apologists function like clockwork. The world’s most incompetent clockwork. If you all were not trying to be taken seriously in the field, McLatchie, you would not see a need to defend her work as “scholarly,” when I accuse it of being amateurish and irrelevant to the field.
Oh and just one more bit. This is from a chat that Derek Lambert had with McLatchie, where McLatchie just outright claims that McGrew is a scholar in NT studies… which she is not. He is literally just performing the faux credentialism that I criticized him for right here:
So when Jonathan claims that he and others are not trying to be recognized by the scholarly establishment… that is a lie. They clearly are and are pretending to be scholars in a field that they have virtually no relevant publications in, which proves my point. They are trying to pass themselves off as experts, when they actually are not. They are hacks.
McGrew and Credibility
Well, McLatchie did his whinging in two places. He did it on Twitter, where I interacted with him, and then he did it also on Facebook, which got screencapped by a friend of mine and sent to me, because those comments got pretty tasty.
Now at this point, Erik Manning, Jonathan McLatchie, and others have been hounding me about reading McGrew’s “scholarly” books… I have now read four of her books on NT studies, all published with a hack Christian pop publisher called DeWard. It is not an academic press, has no relevance in the field of NT studies, and a cursory look at their products showcases nonsense and drivel of just about every low-brand dimestore apologist order. So… not looking good just from the start. But I am a masochist and punishing my brain is something is just one of the many ways that I accomplish this. So… I read them, spending over $100 dollars in a week to get this nonsense, and I was so underwhelmed. I was less disappointed by the eighth season of Game of Thrones, and that was perhaps the worst ending to a TV series ever made. Like… I was basically having to plug up my nostrils and ears so that my brain didn’t just ooze out of my orifices. We will get to some “stellar” examples of “undesigned coincidences” that really just are… the chef’s kiss of awful.
Anyways, the first thing I wanted to do was to actually review just how much New Testament scholarship Lydia McGrew actually interacted with. McLatchie, of course, claims that she is extremely well-read in the field and definitely, for sure, knows what she is talking about. So I went through every single footnote and bibliography of hers to do some basic analysis. In my documentation, I did not include all the random websites that McGrew cites. These are usually blogs or apologetics sites, not credible in any academic sphere. I have only included legitimate publications here:
Across all four books, she cites a grand total of only 159 relevant sources (+12 that are not from the field at all). Of these 159, every single one of them was either written in or translated to English. This demonstrates clearly that McGrew does not actually have wide knowledge of the field, as she is exclusively monolingual. Tons of the leading research in the field (and I mean a huge amount of it) is in German, French, Spanish, and Italian, among other languages. Additionally, virtually every single author cited is a man, most works are evangelical, and those that aren’t are sparse.
But this is the kicker… of the 159 sources I counted, 113 of them are from before the year 2010. Since all of her work books I read were written after 2017, that showcases that the vast majority of her reading was outdated… when she wrote the books. She does not know the field virtually at all, in short. Here is where things get even more startling. Of those 46 works cited after 2010, thirteen of those are her own papers/books. Of journals, one of her favorites to cite is the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society… of course. So essentially, 28% of her post-2010 citations are to herself. It gets worse. Around 79 of her works cited are prior to the year 2000!!! Which means that roughly 50% (rounding up from 49.6%) were 17 or more years old when she wrote her first book… and upwards of 20 or more by her most recent. Of those, 33 of them were written prior to 1950 and several in the 1800s or prior. And probably more telling than anything… despite claiming to know about the Synoptic Problem, Lydia McGrew does not cite a single book or leading paper on the Synoptic Problem anywhere in these books. Let me repeat that… not a single academic source on the Synoptic Problem is cited.
But sure McLatchie and others, please do tell me about how “academic” and “scholarly” her books are. They are outdated and the reading showcases Lydia McGrew’s echo chamber that she lives in. They are almost all evangelical or some other variant of Christian academic, almost all are white men, and almost all are outdated. She absolutely does not know the currents of this field whatsoever. She does not know hardly anything that happens or exists outside the confines of her own narrow evangelical sphere.
And this woman has the audacity to tell us about how bad epistemology and other issues in NT studies are, while simultaneously trying to make a case for the accuracy of the gospels using “undesigned coincidences,” because Mark mentions that the grass was green (Hidden in Plain View, 66-67).
So needless to say, anyone claiming McGrew knows this field and is extremely well-read on it, has some legwork to do, because her books demonstrate the exact opposite: that she primarily reads old work no longer standard in the field, and consistently demonstrates she barely knows what she is talking about on virtually every topic to do with NT studies. It is staggering how completely amateurish these books are. Probably why she didn’t send them to a real academic press and instead to a shill Christian publisher who would release anything that helps Jesus out.
Evidently, Lydia herself realized this, so she decided to make a point at talking about just how many publications she has in… the adjacent field of philosophy.
Sorry Lydia, but my mind was not “blown” by this. I have never taken a New Testament course in my life, and I have numerous papers published in the subject (here) at “top-notch journals, through *blind* peer review.” I have seen your CV on your website before Lydia, that is how I know you have virtually no publications in NT studies, and that all your books are with a hack Christian press with no relevance in the field whatsoever.
Now here is what is really surprising… McLatchie says that they are not trying to be taken seriously by scholars in New Testament studies, because the constant “epistemology” issues… and yet here is Lydia (following McLatchie as well) trying to promote herself as credible to me (a non-academic) and others using… credentials in an adjacent field. Almost as though she is… proving my point that apologists exist in this paradoxical state of wanting to be taken credibly, while simultaneously trying to eschew the field that finds them to be hacks, and seeking to creating faux credibility by using their records in unrelated and adjacent fields. Thanks Lydia! You literally validated my entire point.
Essentially, these two chumps (McLatchie and McGrew) just completely proved all of my criticisms were correct. They are hack apologists trying to make authoritative statements about a field that they are massively ignorant about, and those adjacent credentials (like her philosophy publications) and titles like “Dr.” get used as a credibility boost for them, even though they aren’t actually pertinent to NT studies. Because apologists, while desperately wanting affirmation (otherwise they wouldn’t bother trying to claim to be “scholarly” or ramble about their “blind peer review” publications), also do not care to go through the actual work to become scholars in these fields.
And when confronted with this disingenuous posturing… what do they do? Well, first they strawman my criticisms, because they cannot actually handle the ones I issued, and secondly, they become transphobic garbage.
Jonathan McLatchie: Dishonest and Dickish
Jonathan, being the ever pleasant and nice person that he is (this is called sarcasm Jonathan), decided on his Facebook to post bits like this:
Ah yes, calling me “it” is charming. Most Apologists are the same. They are dishonest hacks, and they are insulting, pathetic, and childish little people. This is Jonathan’s recourse when he is held to scrutiny, to be a transphobic, garbage excuse of a human being. And of course… he then follows it up by being a liar. People came to defend Jonathan, and I posted a response… then this happened:
I am sorry Jonathan, but this is just all wrong and dishonest. Firstly, a person who doesn’t have an irrational aversion does not feel the need to call someone an “it” and refuse to use their pronouns. A person who lacks basic respect and has an aversion to trans people definitely does do this though. The lie here is that he did not call me an “it”… but… well… Dan McClellan showed why this is totally false:
Yeup. Pronouns like “it” do not receive indefinite articles. “It,” thus, referred to me. McLatchie either does not know how the English language works or is a liar… or both. Probably both. He responded with the following:
Why is it you “disagree” McLatchie? We all know the reason you disagree is because you dislike transgender identities and you think they are invalid, and don’t want them to be a part of society. As a case in point, here are other things that McLatchie has reposted or said that simply prove that he dislikes trans people:
You know what is sad Jonathan? Your pitiful apologetics career.
And here is my favorite… McLatchie gloating because Trump targeted trans people to remove their protections.
McLatchie definitely dislikes trans people. He is a hateful, spiteful, pathetic little man who turned to being transphobic because he is a butthurt child who cannot take the fact that I called out his disingenuous tactics and behavior. This is the kind of behavior of someone who is an intellectually stagnant individual, with nothing to offer this world but his own echo chamber grown dogma.
Faux credentialism, strawmanning, transphobia, and dishonesty. That is all McLatchie amounts to. But what should we expect from a hack at the Discovery Institute?
Let this all be a lesson to you. Apologists like McLatchie have no ability to withstand scrutiny, and their only fallback will be bigotry and pedantry. They are immature, spiritually stunted, and intellectually disingenuous.
I must thank McLatchie though for proving literally every single one of my criticisms correct.
 And let me emphasize that Jonathan is a quintessential nobody in biblical studies. He has no publications in the field to my knowledge, he has no relevant knowledge of the ancient languages, and it is blatantly clear that he does not read outside of his own pathetic echo-chamber.
 I did not count the numerous random websites she cites from unscholarly sources.
 Notably, this number is generous. I also included a number of translations of primary sources from the ancient world that she uses. Honestly, the number is probably 20+ someodd smaller if we only included academic discourse.
 For comparison… I have a published paper that cites over 107 sources alone… the fact that across four books she only cites 159 independent (broadly) academic sources, and a huge chunk of them are from the 1800s or her own crappy papers.
1 thought on “How to Prove My Point: The Broken Clocks Named McLatchie and McGrew -Guest Post by Chrissy Hansen”
When ad hominem is all you’ve got.