Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Roman Catholic Apologetics: Street Level (#1)
08/05/2006 - James WhiteThe following post appears in the Envoy Magazine forums, posted by a veteran of those forums, Jerry-Jet, who has posted over 1,000 times there. Since his words represent the kind of argument you will get from the Catholic Answers/Envoy style Catholic apologetics realm, I felt it would be useful to respond to it here.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 is the LAMEST overused text that proves ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about sola scriptura.It would be useful to know if this person has read, say, Warfield on the text? Turretin? Whitaker? Any modern writers, even leaving my own comments aside? I have been shocked over the years to see how often those who dismiss this text and what we say about it, when pressed, have nothing to offer in response to it that is at all meaningful. Since "Roman Catholic apologist X says you are wrong, you must be!" Could Protestants fall into the same trap of intellectual laziness? Of course. But do we encourage that? Surely not. But given that so few of Rome's most popular apologists actually take the time to step up to the plate and go to the "next level" in replying to the refutations of their own statements, it is easy to see why their followers are willing to accept a less than strident pursuit of the highest level of dialogue and debate.
What happened until all the scriptures were written--was there NO authority? What kind of sense does that make? At EXACTLY what point did God say to the world--this right here is the exact scripture and it is all you need--have a nice day?!It is hard to see how this is a response. It surely demonstrates the writer has not read outside his own narrow spectrum of belief, that is for certain. Roman Catholics and Protestants agree that we do not live in the time period he describes. Roman Catholics and Protestants agree that the Pope in Rome was not the authority during those time periods, either. So while it is interesting to discuss enscripturation, the relationship between already given Scripture and continuing revelation, etc., the fact is that both sides agree that we no longer live in that context. Both sides agree that the canon is closed, and there is precious little in the deuterocanonicals that is even slightly relevant to the issues that separate us. The question we face today is, "What is the ultimate authority for Christ's Church today?" Is there a single, infallible rule of faith that does not change, that is God-breathed, or do we have a multi-faceted source of authority? How do we know what is qeo,pneustoj (theopneustos, "God-breathed") today? These are the issues we must face, and all the arguments about a time period we do not live in are little more than red herrings until the current questions are answered. The fact is that Rome's claims need to be subjected to the very same standard used in reviewing my claims, and rarely to Roman Catholics follow through on this level of consistency. Instead, they are content to repeat this kind of objection, not realizing that their own ultimate form of authority was just as absent at that time period by their own standards! Does this not refute the argument? It should, if consistency were the highest goal of these would-be apologists.
I don't think that Protestants who have been confronted with the issue and thought about it really believe it either. Ignorance is an excuse--once you're not ignorant Protestantism is a CHOICE against God!The irony is that while we regularly cite from Roman Catholic sources, I truly, truly wonder what Jerry-Jet's reading list looks like. Immediately prior to his post another Roman Catholic, donnatoo, had indicated that at least she (I assume the person is female, I could be in error) has no reason to consider what Protestants have to say, and that she had read only the first five chapters of my book, Scripture Alone, before putting it down for good. I guess five chapters is better than nothing, but in any case, I find it ironic that this kind of accusation can be made, when it is so obviously self-refuting and untrue.
2 John 1:7 'For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.'Yes, this refers to the docetists, a gnostic sect that denied the coming of Christ in the flesh.
Mr. White and all the other Protestants in the world who reject that Jesus IS come in the FLESH in the Eucharist are simply ANTICHRIST--not because I say so but because God's INERRANT word says so!
A glorious example of the grossest form of eisegesis, since, obviously, even Roman Catholic exegetes recognize that the reference here historically and contextually is to the incarnation, not to a later Eucharistic theology. Note, for example, Brown's concise commentary on the Johannine corpus (p. 116), which makes no reference at all to Eucharistic theology, but to the denial of the incarnation. And that is obviously the case, unless one is going to ignore the consistency of John's own writings. When he introduces this error to his audience in his first epistle, he does so thusly:
1 John 4:2-3 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world."has come in the flesh" is the Greek term evlhluqo,ta, the perfect participial form of the same verb used in 2 John 7. Clearly, John is not talking about some other kind of "coming" in 2 John. The false teachers are the same in both contexts. So to lay stress upon the present tense, as Jerry-Jet seems to be doing, and reading into that a eucharistic theology that was long, long in the future, is a manifest error. Instead, John is describing the "deceivers" and is saying that they are the "not confessing ones" (present participle) and the present tense of erchomai flows naturally and stylistically therefrom.
You either believe Jesus IS come in the flesh or you don't--and for all you protestants who have Bibles that have been changed in wording because Satan wants the scriptures to lie read the King James Version--it uses IS COME in the flesh just like the Douay Rheims.Such rhetoric seems to indicate that our writer does not even read his own biblical scholars, let alone Protestant ones.
The only way that Jesus IS COME in the flesh in the PRESENT tense when 2 John 1:9 was written would be IN THE EUCHARIST! I really believe that once a Protestant has been taught the Catholic faith and continues to reject it that at that point they should be treated like a publican or a sinner because they don't accept the teachings of the disciples and if they don't accept the teachings of the disciples then they don't accept Christ because that's what Jesus SAID!Apart from the lack of exegetical foundation for such an assertion, one is tempted to ask why this Roman Catholic seems to be in rebellion against his current leadership. I mean, do we have a future Gerry Matatics here? Are we not just "separated brethren"? Do I need to point to the many, many examples of men with much higher position in the Roman Church than this writer engaging in ecumenical dialogue and relations with non-Catholics? There is no question that those with an apologetic concern on both sides of the Tiber River are more conservative than the "mainstream." But that is a real problem for the Roman Catholic, is it not, given his claims of Papal Infallibility and the indefectability of the Church? It must be tremendously frustrating for conservative Roman Catholics to observe the state of affairs in the Curia in Rome and watch the goings on in Catholic "higher education." At least I can look at the liberals in "Protestantism" and with Machen say, "That's just a completely different religion." Sorta hard for the Roman Catholic to do that when you are talking about men appointed by the alleged Vicar of Christ on earth. But I digress.
Mr. White is one of those people. We should pray for him but if he stubbornly rejects the Holy Spirit drawing him to the Catholic faith until death he will go to Hell because:Again, is our writer in line with current Roman Catholic teaching on this matter? One is truly led to wonder.
1) He will know better and therefore have no excuse andSuch would require me to know Rome's claims are true and reject them. Instead, I know Rome's claims are lies, and that is why I reject them. I find her to be in error in her biblical claims, in her historical claims, and I find her entire epistemology circular and self-refuting. I have found her to have used so many false documents to prop up her claims in the past (Donation of Constantine, Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals, just to name a few) that I have no reason to believe in the system that has been built upon such vaporous materials. So I have to wonder, has our writer ever even considered, fairly, such materials?
2) He will have no life in him because he will continue to reject the Eucharist and that is true not because I say it but because Jesus says it!I have a friend who has often asked Roman Catholics who call him a "brother in Christ" and who, along with the CCC, promote a form of inclusivism, how they can believe one particular reading of John 6 (a grossly a-contextual one, as I have demonstrated elsewhere) that requires participation in the Roman Eucharist. It truly makes no sense. Our writer here represents old Catholicism, the Romanism of the Papal Syllabus of Errors or Trent, but surely, even he must admit, not that which marks the vast majority of Roman bishops and prelates today. I can respect this kind of hard-knuckled Roman Catholicism: I believe his worship of the "consecrated host" is idolatry, and I identify the entire "sacrament" as false religion. Now, let's get to the text and let the Spirit speak through the Word. It is a lot harder to deal with the wishy-washy, "Oh, this is just my view, you are free to believe your view, we can all just get along" type of Catholic.
[continued in our next installment]