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Dispelling the Myths in James White's Legends: A Response
American Catholic Truth Society ^ | May 31, 2000 | Scott Windsor

Posted on 02/13/2007 11:57:37 AM PST by Titanites

Catholic Legends

Windsor's Response

The large gap that exists between Roman Catholic historical scholarship and Roman Catholic apologists is a large one indeed. One often finds the historians admitting what the apologists will not regarding the truths of history that are so often utterly contradictory to later Roman dogmatic claims. This is especially true regarding such modern doctrinal developments as the Marian dogmas and the infallible Papacy.

Over the past few years Roman Catholic apologists have been producing a great deal of written material of varying levels of quality. Books and magazines of this nature gain a wide audience. As in so much of our modern culture, many readers are willing to simply accept at face value whatever is said without performing any first-hand testing of the quality of the data being presented, let alone the conclusions that follow. The result has been a growing body of "Catholic legends," claims or concepts that are being presented as absolute fact by large numbers of Catholics who simply do not know better.

James begins by impuning the integrity of not only Catholic apologists, but also most, if not all, Catholics who read and accept what these apologists have written. The gauntlet has been laid out. Let us just see who is promoting "legend" and who is presenting the Truth regarding history and the Catholic Church.

A glowing example of how these "urban legends" get started can be seen in the way in which Karl Keating’s Catholicism and Fundamentalism is treated by Catholic readers starved for some kind of an answer to the Evangelical position. If it appears in the pages of C&F, it must be true! And so highly questionable statements of dubious historic integrity (easily challenged by anyone familiar with the historic sources) end up being repeated as pure fact by those who implicitly trust their sources.

On page 217 of Catholicism and Fundamentalism we find a paragraph that has given rise to two of these "Catholic legends," ideas that are utterly without merit, historically speaking, but are now a part of the "lore" that makes up the majority of Catholic apologetics. Just as the medieval Church built its power on the back of spurious documents and forged decretals, modern Roman Catholics find a means of propping up their faith in supposedly historical dogmas through this kind of writing:

As Christians got clearer and clearer notions of the teaching authority of the whole Church and of the primacy of the Pope, they got clearer notions of the Pope’s own infallibility. This happened early on. In 433 Pope Sixtus III declared that to assent to the Bishop of Rome’s decision is to assent to Peter, who lives in his successors and whose faith does not fail. Cyprian of Carthage, writing about 256, asked: "Would heretics dare to come to the very seat of Peter whence apostolic faith is derived and whither no errors can come?" Augustine of Hippo summed up the ancient attitude when he remarked, "Rome has spoken; the case is closed."

We have often seen amateur Catholic apologists confidently asserting that Cyprian believed in the infallibility of the bishop of Rome, or that Augustine took the word of Rome as the final authority. Surely that is Keating’s intention, given the context, in citing both patristic sources. But, as all students of church history know (and as Roman Catholic historians have admitted for a very long time), neither early father would have agreed with the use of their words by Keating. In fact, Keating could never defend the veracity of his research against a meaningful criticism. Let’s look briefly at Cyprian and Augustine and see how this Catholic legend is just that: legendary.

Cyprian

Cyprian did indeed speak of the "seat of Peter," in Latin, the "cathedra Petri." It was also very central to his view of church unity and authority. No one who broke unity with the cathedra Petri was truly in the Church. All of this is quite true. And beyond this, Cyprian spoke highly of the Roman see when defending Cornelius as a result of the Novationist schism in Rome. He rebuked those who rejected Cornelius’ position as the bishop of Rome. Despite this, Cyprian sent a sharp rebuke to Cornelius when he gave audience to men who had been deposed in North Africa.

But it is just here that we learn how important it is to study church history as a discipline, not as a mere tool to be used in polemic debate. We can assume out of generosity that when Mr. Keating wrote his book he actually believed that when Cyprian spoke of the "cathedra Petri" that Cyprian understood this phrase as a modern Roman Catholic would. That is, he may well have assumed that the "seat of Peter" was understood by everyone back then to refer to the bishop of Rome. However, all students of church history know differently. Cyprian (and the North African church as a whole for the span of centuries) believed the "chair of Peter" referred to all bishops in all churches across the world. Cyprian, for example, claimed to sit upon the "cathedra Petri" as did all bishops. For example, he wrote in Epistle XXVI:

Our Lord, whose precepts and admonitions we ought to observe, describing the honor of a bishop and the order of His Church, speaks in the Gospel, and says to Peter: 'I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.' Thence, through the changes of times and successions, the ordering of bishops and the plan of the Church flow onwards; so that the Church is founded upon the bishops, and every act of the Church is controlled by these same rulers (emphasis added).

This fact is recognized by Roman Catholic historians. Johannes Quasten, Catholic patristic scholar, commented, (Patrology, vol. 2, p. 375), "Thus he understands Matth. 16, 18 of the whole episcopate, the various members of which, attached to one another by the laws of charity and concord, thus render the Church universal a single body." And a little later Quasten cites the words of an African Synod, led by Cyprian, which said:

No one among us sets himself up as a bishop of bishops, or by tyranny and terror forces his colleagues to compulsory obedience, seeing that every bishop in the freedom of his liberty and power possesses the right to his own mind and can no more be judged by another than he himself can judge another. We must all await the judgment of our Lord Jesus Christ, who singly and alone has power both to appoint us to the government of his Church and to judge our acts therein (CSEL 3, 1, 436).

"Just as the medieval Church built its power on the back of spurious documents and forged decretals..." I have already answered James on this point, and he ignores the Truth on this issue. Please see my page entitled: The Papacy and the Early Fathers wherein the "False Decretals" are dealt with and James is answered. James is aware of this page, so he is either deliberately not reading it so as to avoid dealing with it, or he is being deliberately deceptive in his continued allusion to "forged decretals."

James does not refute Keating's use of Cyprian in the least, and in fact further down admits the importance of the cathedra Petri! He attempts to downplay the role of Peter's seat by emphasizing that the Church is run by all the bishops but in doing so he fails to recognize what he just said!

  1. The Church IS run by all the bishops! Yes, even today this is still true! And, what's more, where does HIS "church" fit in with this succession of bishops?
  2. The True Church IS in union with the cathedra Petri! If they are not in union with this seat, then they are not "truly" in the Church!

The fact that Cyprian offers strong criticism to the Bishop of Rome does not downplay the signifigance of the role the Bishop of Rome plays. Many popes were criticized, as was even St. Peter!

Perhaps the most damaging fact to James' position here, that he seems to overlook, is that the argument James is using here against Keating demands that one be in communion with one of the bishops in succession (from the Apostles). So, let us ask James, to which bishop in valid succession from the Apostles, does the Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church belong? I, for one, would be very interested to see this line of succession acknowledged and documented - for if it cannot be shown, then truly James is the one being disingenuous in using THIS citation from St. Cyprian.

Then Dr. White brings up the often quoted: "Roma locuta est, causa finita est" which is, at least in part, what spurred this webpage from Dr White. Well, this too has been answered, likely on the page that sent you here: http://www.a2z.org/acts/aug131.htm



TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; General Discusssion; Theology
KEYWORDS: exposed; legends; myths; white
This is an excerpt of the response. Please see the entire response here.
1 posted on 02/13/2007 11:57:40 AM PST by Titanites
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To: Titanites; Gamecock; Alex Murphy; P-Marlowe; blue-duncan; Jean Chauvin; Dr. Eckleburg

Y'all are really exercised about James White, aren't you?

Haven't had this much fun since throwing pebbles at old man Murphy's bull over in Chauvin Pasture.


2 posted on 02/13/2007 12:54:42 PM PST by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and proud of it! Supporting our troops means praying for them to WIN!)
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To: Titanites; Gamecock; Alex Murphy; P-Marlowe; blue-duncan; Jean Chauvin; Dr. Eckleburg

Why do you keep posting new threads? Why don't you just go back to the original thread with White's article and try, IN YOUR OWN WORDS, to refute it?


3 posted on 02/13/2007 1:03:17 PM PST by P-Marlowe (What happened to my tagline?)
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To: P-Marlowe

There is no reason to refute a pack of distortions and lis a second time if someone has already ably done it a first time.


4 posted on 02/13/2007 1:04:01 PM PST by Andrew Byler
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To: xzins
Y'all are really exercised about James White, aren't you?

Well, no. I'm not any more "exercised" about White than those who post White's hit pieces are "exercised" about the Catholic Church. I don't see you on the other threads accusing the posters of White's material of being "exercised" about the Catholic apologists discussed in his article. Do I smell hypocrisy, again?

My reason for posting these rebuttals of White are first, because someone requested I post them (instead of only leaving the links to these articles on the thread about White's article), and second, it can't hurt to expose White's errors for what they are. If it "exercises" you so much that I've posted these, maybe you should avoid these threads.

Before those with thin skins start whining about invectiveness, please read the articles by both authors.

5 posted on 02/13/2007 1:18:05 PM PST by Titanites
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To: P-Marlowe
Why do you keep posting new threads?

If it bothers you so much, stay away.

Why don't you just go back to the original thread with White's article and try, IN YOUR OWN WORDS, to refute it?

Because I don't have the time. White's article is very lengthy and two apologists have already refuted it. There's no need for me to do it again.

6 posted on 02/13/2007 1:22:45 PM PST by Titanites
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To: Titanites; Alex Murphy; Jean Chauvin; P-Marlowe; blue-duncan

That bull in Chauvin Pasture is a lot of fun, but this could prove to be even funner.

:>)


7 posted on 02/13/2007 1:49:02 PM PST by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and proud of it! Supporting our troops means praying for them to WIN!)
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To: All
For those who might be interested, I recently came upon this article about the unaccredited Columbia Evangelical Seminary, where James White obtained his doctorate. This probably explains why White is so confused.

At the same website, you can also you can find a photographic tour (all 4 photos) of the seminary (Dr.) White attended.


Photo of Columbia Evangelical Seminary

8 posted on 02/13/2007 2:04:20 PM PST by Titanites
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To: Titanites
For those who might be interested, I recently came upon this article about the unaccredited Columbia Evangelical Seminary, where James White obtained his doctorate. This probably explains why White is so confused.

"This article" is found at a website promoting the LDS church, underneath a section with articles about "The Worst Of The Anti-Mormons". Are you a Mormon, Titanites? Do you regularly go to Mormon resources in a search for truth? And here I thought you were a Catholic. Confusion abounds!

Welcome to SHIELDS, a site for responses to issues raised by critics of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (The Church of Jesus Christ, LDS, Mormons). This information is presented with the hope that you will not be deceived by those who would not tell you the truth about The Church of Jesus Christ.

9 posted on 02/13/2007 2:58:42 PM PST by Alex Murphy (Until the preordained day that we are to die, we are immortal. On that day, we are inescapably dead.)
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To: Alex Murphy
"This article" is found at a website promoting the LDS church

So are you claiming that what is posted about Columbia Evangelical Seminary is untrue simply because it is posted on a Mormon website?

Confusion abounds!

As is evident in the hit pieces you post.

10 posted on 02/13/2007 3:16:55 PM PST by Titanites
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To: Titanites; Alex Murphy; Jean Chauvin; P-Marlowe; xzins; Gamecock; Dr. Eckleburg

"This probably explains why White is so confused."

Please explain how a Christian Seminary or any religious seminary can be accredited by the state? In order for that to happen the state would have to pass on the theology, bible courses and faculty as well as the admission policy of the seminary and that would violate the First Amendment.

Accreditation would also mean that the seminary has submitted to the authority of the state. That is why the State of Washington has an exemption for seminaries. Lack of state accreditation is meaningless as it applies to seminaries. Look at the faculty on the web site. They are more than qualified to teach and mentor grafuate students.


11 posted on 02/13/2007 4:37:25 PM PST by blue-duncan
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To: Titanites; Alex Murphy; Jean Chauvin; P-Marlowe; xzins; Gamecock; Dr. Eckleburg

"They are more than qualified to teach and mentor grafuate students."

And graduate students too!


12 posted on 02/13/2007 4:54:31 PM PST by blue-duncan
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To: blue-duncan
Please explain how a Christian Seminary or any religious seminary can be accredited by the state?

Not by the state:

    There are 52 recognized national accrediting bodies. The national accreditors include a variety of religious, professional, and vocational accreditors, and get their name from their common policy of accrediting schools nationwide or even worldwide. Requirements for accreditation vary from each national accreditor according to the speciality.

    In general terms, the national accreditators may be divided into those that accredit academic programs leading to a degree, those that accredit vocational programs leading to preparation for a career, and those that offer specialized and professional accreditation as an add-on to other accreditation.


13 posted on 02/13/2007 5:00:08 PM PST by Titanites
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To: blue-duncan
Here is one view, by Jimmy Akin, on why accreditation is important if you are claiming the title "doctor".
14 posted on 02/13/2007 5:12:02 PM PST by Titanites
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To: blue-duncan
For example, here is the website for Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities that does the accreditation.
15 posted on 02/13/2007 5:22:16 PM PST by Titanites
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To: Titanites
oops, the rest of the sentence should read:
    the accreditation of Alaska Pacific University, which is a private (formerly Methodist) institution.

16 posted on 02/13/2007 5:29:33 PM PST by Titanites
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To: Titanites

You are right, it's one view. Let me give you another view, Acts 4:13, "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus." That's what accreditation means.


17 posted on 02/13/2007 6:08:37 PM PST by blue-duncan
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Comment #18 Removed by Moderator

To: Titanites

How can a secular institution evaluate the course of study and the faculty of a religious institution? Would a Roman Catholic institution allow a Fundamentalist Baptist or a Calvinist Presbyterian to evaluate it's theology department or it's bible courses or it's faculty or it's library or facilities? Would it allow an atheist or Orthodox Jew to have the final say on whether it is teaching it's students properly?


19 posted on 02/13/2007 6:29:10 PM PST by blue-duncan
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To: Religion Moderator; blue-duncan

Could you please delete my post #18, as it can be taken as a personal attack. Thanks. I will post a slightly revised version.


20 posted on 02/13/2007 6:30:28 PM PST by Titanites
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To: Titanites
That's what accreditation means.

That can be one definition. However, the topic I was addressing was the certification process conducted to ensure academic instituions meet formal official requirements of academic excellence, curriculum, facilities, etc. The definition you are using is not consistent with the discussion.

21 posted on 02/13/2007 6:30:53 PM PST by Titanites
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To: Titanites

"You are doing the old switcheroo in an attempt to obfuscate."

No, that's what you are doing. The seminary is not offering secular subjects. It is preparing men and women for the ministry. It is a seminary, not a college or university. It's courses are strictly religious courses, even it history courses. All accreditation does is protect the franchise of those who submit to it and protect the letters of the degrees. Just look at some of the nonsense parading as legimate subjects at most state institutions of higher education.


22 posted on 02/13/2007 6:34:34 PM PST by blue-duncan
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To: blue-duncan
How can a secular institution evaluate the course of study and the faculty of a religious institution?

Look at the site I provided the link for. It details their whole process.

23 posted on 02/13/2007 6:36:24 PM PST by Titanites
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To: blue-duncan
No, that's what you are doing. The seminary is not offering secular subjects.

You seriously can't see the value of an accreditation process to differentiate between those who have earned a valid doctorate through a rigourous education and those who have paid $15 to obtain one? If so, I can't help you.

24 posted on 02/13/2007 6:47:56 PM PST by Titanites
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To: Titanites

"Look at the site I provided the link for. It details their whole process."

I read the information and the State of Washington has legislation exempting Religious Institutions for just the reasons I have cited; it violates the First Amendment and as a practicle matter it is impossible for an outsider to critique another's religious education since there are no neutral principles to guide one when evaluating an institutions theology, bible interpretation, faculty or library. If an institution wants to go through the process it can but because an institution refuses on sincere religious grounds does not take away from the legitimacy of its degrees unless you can show some deficiency in the course of instruction. Because a degreed apologist disagrees with one's opinion is not a valid criticism of the institution, else there are a lot of meterologists today who have brought the legitimacy of their accredited institutions into question.


25 posted on 02/13/2007 6:49:34 PM PST by blue-duncan
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To: xzins; Alex Murphy; Jean Chauvin
Haven't had this much fun since throwing pebbles at old man Murphy's bull over in Chauvin Pasture.

Is you using code names?

26 posted on 02/13/2007 6:51:40 PM PST by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Titanites

"You seriously can't see the value of an accreditation process to differentiate between those who have earned a valid doctorate through a rigourous education and those who have paid $15 to obtain one?"

That's not what we are talking about here. Columbia Evangelical Seminary is not a $15.00 diploma mill and its degrees are just as valid as any accredited institution until the Department of Consumer Affairs or the Commission on Higher Education in the State of Washington disagrees.

You haven't answered the question, "Would a Roman Catholic institution allow a Fundamentalist Baptist or a Calvinist Presbyterian to evaluate it's theology department or it's bible courses or it's faculty or it's library or facilities? Would it allow an atheist or Orthodox Jew to have the final say on whether it is teaching it's students properly?"


27 posted on 02/13/2007 6:55:36 PM PST by blue-duncan
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To: Dr. Eckleburg; P-Marlowe; blue-duncan; Jean Chauvin

Do you think I'd ever dream of using code names?



This is the only good use I've found for Jean Chauvin in about 9 years now.:>)


28 posted on 02/13/2007 7:11:10 PM PST by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and proud of it! Supporting our troops means praying for them to WIN!)
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To: blue-duncan
I read the information and the State of Washington has legislation exempting Religious Institutions for just the reasons I have cited; it violates the First Amendment

Of course the state cannot require a religious institution to be accredited. Nobody had claimed that. Accreditation is a voluntary process. But don't you even wonder why religious institutions highly value their accreditation? If you went to college, wasn't accreditation even a factor you considered? I guess I'm just stunned that someone sees no value in being able to tell if a college or university meets rigorous standards - which is what accreditation provides, and that you just didn't order your diploma off the internet. But rest assured, employers and others (especially educational institutions if you are seeking higher education) know the value.

29 posted on 02/13/2007 7:14:06 PM PST by Titanites
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To: blue-duncan
"Would a Roman Catholic institution allow a Fundamentalist Baptist or a Calvinist Presbyterian to evaluate it's theology department or it's bible courses or it's faculty or it's library or facilities?

Are you being serious? Did you look at the members of the Standards Review Committee for NWCCU? Is accreditation for universities something you've never heard about?

30 posted on 02/13/2007 7:20:13 PM PST by Titanites
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To: Titanites

Again, we are not talking about colleges or universities that teach secular subjects along with their religion courses. We are talking about a seminary, an institution whose purpose is to prepare people for the ministry of its particular faith or prepare those who teach people for the ministry of its particular faith. In its web site it is up front with the disclaimer that it is not a state accredited institution and all those who get their degrees from there are aware of the fact as are the churches, mission organizations or schools that hire them. What's the problem? Most states grant exemptions for seminaries and licensing and accreditation are voluntary for them.


31 posted on 02/13/2007 7:40:33 PM PST by blue-duncan
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To: Titanites

"Did you look at the members of the Standards Review Committee for NWCCU?"

I see a Mormon, a Roman Catholic, a Methodist but no Baptists, orthodox Presbyterians or Reformed. So who is going to evaluate and by what criteria are they going to evaluate the theology, bible interpretation, faculty or library of a Fundamentalist Baptist institution or a Muslim institution or a Jehovah's Witness institution?


32 posted on 02/13/2007 7:49:28 PM PST by blue-duncan
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To: blue-duncan
We are talking about a seminary, an institution whose purpose is to prepare people for the ministry of its particular faith or prepare those who teach people for the ministry of its particular faith.

Yes, we are. The people on that board which includes Catholics, Mormons, etc. accredit universities that are Catholic, Mormon, etc. Here's another accrediting organization you can look at for religious instituitions, Association of Theological Schools, which is a membership organization of more than 250 graduate schools that conduct post-baccalaureate professional and academic degree programs to educate persons for the practice of ministry and for teaching and research in the theological disciplines. The Commission on Accrediting of ATS accredits the schools and approves the degree programs they offer. If you look here, on their website, you'll finding a denominational listing of colleges and seminaries that are accredited by this group. The denominations include Baptist, Luthern, Catholic, Evangelical, Methodist, etc. The schools are listed. Look for yourself. There are many prominent seminaries listed. Why do you suppose accreditation by a recognized group is important to these seminaries?

What's the problem? Most states grant exemptions for seminaries and licensing and accreditation are voluntary for them.

Wow. There's no problem. Accreditation is a VOLUNTARY process, as I've already stated. Why do you think these seminaries VOLUNTEER to go through the accreditation process if there is no value in it, like you are trying to assert? They are showing that they have a vigorous education program that awards degrees that meet strict requirements. Degrees of value, not fake degrees purchased for a few dollars on the internet.

Really, there isn't much else I can tell you to convince you that there is a reason for universtities to be accredited. Just know that the universities and seminaries highly value it and do it for a reason that justifies them going though all the trouble to become accredited. That's all I have to say about it right now.

33 posted on 02/13/2007 8:07:20 PM PST by Titanites
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
Is you using code names?

"Ya'll hear that? We're usin' code names!"

34 posted on 02/13/2007 9:16:13 PM PST by Alex Murphy (Until the preordained day that we are to die, we are immortal. On that day, we are inescapably dead.)
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