I've been having a "discussion" with a very odd fellow who runs some sort of bible fellowship church in California. He rejects the label Protestant, but is clearly a Protestant by definition. I first encountered him via some comments on a website discussing the Eucharist, and decided to read what his "thoughts" were. He claims that Justin Martyr paganized the Eucharist, transforming it from a memorial into a sacrifice in order to fuse it with existing mystery religions. Now, this is no new claim, but the arguments he uses are extremely strange:
Against oral tradition:
"Jesus promised to bring all things to the apostles’ remembrance and stated that "his sheep" would be made up, not only of his immediate disciples, but also "those who will believe in me through their word." These apostles understood their role in the forming of new prophetic scriptures to be similar to that of Moses in forming the Pentateuch of the Old Testament."
St. Justin's innovations:
"There are, in the main, three adjustments in Justin Martyr’s approach to the bread and wine that we should note: 1) He uses “Eucharist” as a technical term for the developing “orthodox” rite. 2) He assumes greater similarity with, and even adopts, the Hellenistic “mysteries” as a valid ritual category for his developing orthodoxy. 3) His “eucharist” has transitioned from the biblical use of the bread and wine with memorial words in the context of a fellowship meal to a mere symbolic or liturgical meal as a cultic rite."
Really? He claims that Justin is the earliest writer to use the term Eucharist, and that an earlier reference (Ignatius) is "spurious" (this is not a disputed letter). He totally ignores the Didache or implicitly dates it absurdly late.
He further claims about the word "Mystery":
The term “mystery” in Hellenistic religion stands for the “magical action” or “for the formula which effects the magic” (Kittel Vol.4, p.810).
More generally the term refers to “...the sacramental rites which constitute the true event of the mystery, the cultic actualization of the deity, which shows itself to be present in the sacred drama, in the exposition by the hierophants of the sacred symbols and the pronouncement of the accompanying formulae, and which enters into sanctifying sacramental fellowship with the devotees. Because this encounter takes place in the mystery liturgy, the sacred actions and objects must be protected from all profanation (Kittel Vol.4, p. 807).”
This whole paragraph is reflective of obsolete 19th century ideas, prompted by the scientific racist "Golden Bough movement."
In our discussion, he refuses to actually addresses my counter-points, choosing instead to speak a blend of Christianized Yoda-isms and typical evangelical litmus testing ("Did the word of God get to you? Do you accept Jesus? Do you accept the authority of Scripture?")
Any advice on where I should go from here? Should I simply drop it?