The Pintonian Inquisition: Scholarship or McCarthyism?

One of the darkest chapters in American history occurred in the opening years of the Cold war. From 1950 to 1956 Senator Joseph McCarthy conducted what would later to become known as “the Communist Witch Hunts.”  McCarthy and those on his committee were experts in the art of accusation. Their tactics included guilt by association, broad brushing, the use of the most superficial and flimsy of evidence against those whom he suspected of being Communists. McCarthy recklessly defamed his victims’ characters and destroyed the reputations, careers and lives of many. So notorious were McCarthy’s tactics that a new word was added to the English language. That word is McCarthyism and it means 1) the practice of making accusations of disloyalty in many instances unsupported by proof or based on slight, doubtful, or irrelevant evidence. 2) the practice of making unfair allegations or using unfair investigative techniques, especially in order to restrict dissent or criticism.

A prime example of McCarthy’s malicious use of guilt by association is his ruining of the reputation and career of American diplomat, John Service. The details of his case are as follows:

“Foreign Service Officer John S. Service was dismissed from the Department of State on Dec 13, 1951 following a determination by the Civil Service Commission’s Loyalty Board that there was “reasonable doubt” concerning his loyalty to the United States. Service was one of a number of so-called “China hands”—State Department officials who were experts on China and the Far East—who saw their careers ruined during the 1950s by Senator Joseph McCarthy and his cohorts. McCarthy targeted Service and several of his coworkers… for criticism and investigation. McCarthy charged that Service and other State Department officials had effectively “lost” China to the communists, either through incompetence or, more ominously, through sympathy with the communist cause…McCarthy singled out Service as one of what he called “the 205 known communists” in the Department of State. In short order, Service’s case was reviewed once again, and this time he was dismissed.

Service fought the dismissal, and was eventually reinstated in 1957, but his career never recovered from the damage.”[1]

Chris Pinto Master of the McCarthyistic Arts of Accusation & Guilt by Association

In this portion of my article I will provide three examples of Chris Pinto employing the use of McCarthyism. One of the examples will be from his documentary, Tares Among the Wheat and two will be in response to critics. In each example Pinto casts suspicion and doubt on his victim through the use of accusation and/or guilt by association. Sadly, I could provide literally dozens more examples than these.

Exhibit #1 – Tischendorf’s Mysterious Audience with the Pope

In the documentary, Tares Among the Wheat, Pinto attempts to build a case that Codex Sinaiticus is not an authentic 4th century manuscript but is instead a 19th century text penned by Constantine Simonides. The film itself spends an inordinate amount of time discussing the sins of the Vatican and the Roman Catholic church. The reason for this is that Pinto believes that this provides the historical context that must be understood in order to properly interpret the discovery of Codex Sinaiticus by Tischendorf in 1859.

One of the “interesting” pieces of evidence that Pinto believes is critically important information regarding Sinaiticus’ authenticity is the fact that Tischendorf had an audience with the Pope and other prominent Papal leaders during one of his trips to Egypt. The relevant scene begins at the 58:26 mark and continues until 1:09:18


Note that Pinto believes that Tischendorf’s audience with the Pope is vital evidence pertaining to Codex Sinaiticus authenticity. Yet, all he has done is cast suspicion on Tischendorf by documenting that he is guilty of associating with the Pope. In Pinto’s mind this is proof that something sinister is a foot and that something ominous is in the air. But, this is not relevant evidence. This is McCarthyism!

The authenticity of Sinaiticus in no way hinges on whether or not Tischendorf met with the Pope, shook the hand of Stalin or had lunch with Hitler. There are no textual scholars who are struggling with doubts about the authenticity of Sinaiticus due to the fact that Tischendorf met with the Pope.

Exhibit #2 – Dr. James White Attended Fuller Theological Seminary

Recently, on Facebook, a fan of Chris Pinto alerted him to an episode of Dr. James White’s radio program in which he offered criticism of Pinto. In predictable McCarthyistic fashion, Pinto responded by associating Dr. White with that notoriously liberal, Fuller Theological Seminary as if that somehow actually proved something about Dr. White. Here is Pinto’s response.


Ironically, Dr. White who was unaware of Pinto’s comment at the time, actually anticipated this tactic and commented about it on his radio program. Here’s the audio.

Anyone familiar with the ministry of James White would never believe that Pinto had actually proved anything about Dr. White’s theology, reliability or fidelity to the truth by merely pointing out that he graduated from Fuller. In Pinto’s mind, however, just the mere mention of Dr. White’s association with Fuller is sufficient enough to cast doubt and suspicion on him. This is not evidence this is McCarthyism!

Exhibit #3 – Alan Kurschner Attended Pro-Homosexual Harvard Divinity School

This last exhibit speaks for itself. In the audio below you will hear a quintessential example of McCarthyism being employed by Pinto in order to cast suspicion and doubt on Alan Kurshner and Dr. James White.

Rather than comment on Pinto’s unsubstantiated allegations, let me instead remind you of the definition of McCarthyism which is 1) the practice of making accusations of disloyalty in many instances unsupported by proof or based on slight, doubtful, or irrelevant evidence. 2) the practice of making unfair allegations or using unfair investigative techniques, especially in order to restrict dissent or criticism.

What Pinto needs to explain to everyone is if Alan Kurschner has been somehow compromised by exposure to pro-homosexual liberalism by taking a course on textual criticism at Harvard, why does he publicly write and speak out against the pro-homosexual agenda?

Concluding Thoughts

McCarthyism is not scholarship nor is it honest journalism. Instead it is a smear tactic that slanders its victims without regard for the truth. It is employed by conspiratorialists and witch hunters but should never be employed in the service of Christ, His Kingdom or His Gospel. As Jesus Himself taught us, it is satan who “does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)

McCarthyism is a tool of the devil.

I pray that Chris Pinto repents.