Skip to comments.+ the BEGGAR KING: Answer to an Anti-Catholic + Part I
Posted on 04/16/2012 4:33:07 AM PDT by GonzoII
Catholics are accustomed to being the favorite target of bigots. The Catholic Church is attacked and ridiculed by both the left and the right, by both Secularists and Fundamentalists. Their points might be different but the methods are universally the same; disinformation and willful misrepresentation.
What follows is an exchange of views. I am presenting the text of an anonymous tract which I've frequently found on-line. It is a pretty good example of an attack on the Church from the "fundamentalist" perspective. I present it here in its entirety, unedited. I've added my own rebuttal and corrections throughout, usually paragraph by paragraph. Here is the key to who wrote what:
The original text of the anonymous tract appears like this, in italics and colored purple.
** My rebuttal follows in bold-face blue and is set off by two asterisks.
I've used the author's table of contents. Each chapter is a separate link and is hot-buttoned. The flow of the original text is somewhat haphazard and not well thought out but I've retained it. Feel free to jump around.
There are hundreds of millions of Roman Catholics world-wide, yet many are largely unaware of the dramatic differences between the official teachings, practices, and positions of the Catholic Church, and the clear teaching of the Holy Bible. There are multitudes of dedicated Catholics who are spiritually uninformed concerning these differences because of a lack of sound biblical instruction and exposure.
** There are indeed multitudes of Catholics, as well as Christians of other denominations, who lack "lack sound biblical instruction and exposure." But where will they find it? SOUND biblical instruction comes from the Church!
Though many Roman Catholics give unquestioned support to their church and strongly reject any possibility that their church may be in conflict with their own Catholic Bible, there are sincere Catholics who see glaring inconsistencies and contradictions between the official teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and the fundamental truths contained in the sacred Scriptures. This booklet offers Roman Catholics, who are seeking after truth, a clear- cut comparison between the major teachings of the Catholic Church and the Word of God. The Word of God is the supreme authority from which all Roman Catholics must derive their beliefs and practices. All Scripture references cited in this booklet are taken only from official Catholic translations of the Bible.
** Every polemicist has an axe to grind and here is my adversary's axe: "The Word of God (meaning, I think, biblical scripture in this context) is the supreme authority from which all Roman Catholics must derive their beliefs and practices." This thesis statement calls forth the Protestant Doctrine of Sola Scriptura. Catholics believe that the Bible IS authoritative, as long as it is properly understood. But we find NO justification in Scripture or out for the notion that it constitutes a "supreme authority" on ALL matters of "beliefs and practices." In fact, the record of Scripture actually says something else, as we shall see...
While this booklet scripturally challenges many of the teachings within Roman Catholicism, it is not an attack upon the competence, sincerity, intelligence, integrity, or religious dedication of individual Catholics. This booklet doesn't deny the reality that many Catholics possess strong convictions and are deeply devoted to their religious beliefs. Neither do we deny the fact that some Catholics have had a genuine, born-again experience in Christ.
** Here we have the standard disclaimer that the author is not attacking Catholics, just Catholic doctrine. But it is going to be difficult to tell a few "hundreds of millions of Roman Catholics worldwide" that they are completely mistaken or that they have been duped all along, without attacking their competence or intelligence, isn't it? Note also that the author uses his own yardstick of what constitutes a "Christian," despite the fact that the Bible no where requires a "born-again experience" of anyone.
However, this booklet does challenge many of the positions and practices of the Catholic Church by using a point-by-point comparison of its major teachings and the obvious truths of the Word of God. This booklet asks Roman Catholics to carefully examine the Scriptures with an intellectually honest and open attitude (Acts 17:11), and to judge for themselves what the Bible actually says apart from official church censorship, restrictions, warnings, indoctrination, and qualifications. We believe the clear truths of the Catholic Bible will speak for themselves.
** Again we are told what the author is going to do. Let me add my own thesis here. I will show that this author's arguments are flawed by virtue of poor scholarship, poor logic, a lack of concern in presenting Catholic teaching fairly, a myopic reading of scripture and a sad lack of charity.
The fundamental problem confronting the average Roman Catholic is the fact that they are almost completely unaware of what the Catholic Bible really teaches. Many sincere Catholics, including laymen and parish priests alike, have never had sufficient cause to question the teachings of their church because they have never been adequately instructed in the Scriptural truths which challenge the principle doctrines of Catholicism.
** It would be a very rare Catholic who has never been accosted by a would-be evangelist quoting snippets of scripture to show that Catholic the "error" of his or her way.
The tragic reality is that the overwhelming majority of Catholics have either never personally studied the Bible, or have only done so under the strict supervision and scrutiny of their church. Many have not been exposed to the clear, simple truths of the Bible because they have been repeatedly warned to rely on the official interpretations, opinions, and traditions of the church.
** Yes, it is a tragic reality that so many Catholics have never personally studied the Bible. But let us be serious, many Catholics DO read the Bible at home. And scripture is an integral element of Catholic worship (the Mass). Does the author know that as many as five scripture readings (from the old testament, psalms, epistles and gospels) are read at the Mass every day? I don't personally know of a parish which doesn't have some kind of scripture study available, "under the strict supervision and scrutiny of their church." Does that sound menacing? The vast majority of Christians, of ALL denominations, learn about the Bible THROUGH THEIR OWN CHURCH. Why make it sound conspiratorial?
Even though Catholic versions of the Bible (Jerusalem Bible, New American, and Challoner-Rheims Version of the Latin Vulgate) encourage Bible reading and study (Deut. 6:7-9; Ps. 119:9-11; Acts 17:11), the tragic historical fact is that Catholicism, with very few exceptions, has repeatedly discouraged Bible reading and study, and even banned or restricted its use, distribution, and possession.
** The Church does have a tragic history and we, this anonymous author and I, will examine that history as we proceed. Does the church, "with very few exceptions," repeatedly discourage Bible reading and study? The answer is simply NO!
The Roman Catholic Church has traditionally suppressed, opposed, and forbidden the open use of the Bible. It was first officially forbidden to the people and placed on the index of Forbidden Books List by the Council of Valencia in 1229 AD The Council of Trent (1545-63 AD) also prohibited its use and pronounced a curse upon anyone who would dare oppose this decree. Many popes have issued decrees forbidding Bible reading in the common language of the people, condemning Bible societies and banning its possession and translation under penalty of mortal sin and death. The Roman Catholic Church has openly burned Bibles and those who translated it or promoted its study, reading, and use (John Hus, 1415 AD; William Tyndale, 1536 AD)
** The author makes sweeping, perhaps wishful, exclamations of "fact" and backs them up with a smattering of dates. But is this scholarship? "Facts" are part of a historical record. Let's see how the author did here:
Though external pressures have caused Rome to relax its restrictions and opposition against Bible reading in America, the Bible is still widely withheld and its distribution and free use discouraged in many countries which are heavily influenced by Roman Catholicism.
** Any Catholic will tell you that Rome doesn't bow to "external pressure" or they surely would have on artificial birth control and married priests by now. Bald statements such as "the Bible is still widely withheld...in many countries" need to be documented somehow to be taken seriously.
[To be continued...]
The heart experiences many things on the emotional side and you will never convince me the believers do not have apposing feelings or aversions toward the will of God. Does that make them not born again?
That's some fine tradition.
May we not forget: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God which liveth forever.” (1 Peter 1:23)
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:3)
I'll take the Scripture's word over your word, they never say I need to feel anything but clearly that I need Baptism.
Of course not. We all have feeling that oppose the will of God. That doesn't make us any less saved or emotionally invested, nor does it make the positive experience at baptism any less valid.
Does that make them not born again?
I think we can agree that Paul was born again.
Read Romans 7--the entire chapter. I think that will answer your question.
When Christ was baptised, His Father came down and announced that He was proud of His Son for obeying Him. Are you saying that there was no emotional factor there at that event?
“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy Word. With my whole heart have I sought Thee: O let me not wander from Thy commandments. Thy Word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against Thee.” (Psalm 119:9,10 & 11)
“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
“Entrance to Thy Words giveth light; it giveth understanding to the simple.” (Psalm 119:130)
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Don’t forget Deu. 4:29 and Deu. 6:5
Am I to believe that this single verse is justification for all of the extra-Biblical traditions, beliefs, and practices of the Roman Catholic church??? Wow.
There's so much wrong with that - I just don't know where to start. Just to begin with, the context of entire book is a guide for a young pastor - Timothy - in getting his church started: how his own temperament should be, how to select officers for his church, and describing the basis of general order in worship for the church. Yes, the church is intended to be the place where truth is preached and defended.... but that basis must be originated by God. What better place than the love letter God left for us? After all, anything outside of those words leaves one wide open to this charge of being outside the scripture. One could argue perhaps that certain traditions are good and noble if all other practices contained in scripture were also included. But even on this (quite liberal) test the RCC fails.
Obviously, then, the RCC decided that scriptures were entirely inadequate, since (for example) in this very letter Paul laid down the office of deacon and elder in this very book, and the RCC uses neither.
Yet (in context) when Paul describes in a subsequent letter to Timothy that there will come times of trouble, (2 Timothy chapter 3), he comes back to scripture as the basis of truth:
"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." (vv. 2 Tim 3:16-17)
You want a verse about the authority of scripture? That one's a good start. How about that Christ himself insured that scripture was fulfilled in every prophecy about himself (John 13:18,19:28, et al)? It was important to have these things be completely true... lest be open to the argument of factual error. Yet the RCC ignores much about scripture, and adds on all kinds of other things from outside... and by that I mean serious doctrinal beliefs that are well outside the clear teachings of the Holy Bible:
> Prayers for the dead
> the priest system (directly opposed to the teachings in 1 Timothy cited above)
These are just a few: and every single defense of these I've seen simply talks these topics to death, but utterly fails to cite any scripture to explain a rational basis for any of them. You have to start and end with scripture! Without this, you have nothing to fall back on to justify the doctrines that are the underpinnings of your entire existence!
In response, I want to know how you can have a system of beliefs and doctrines that exist from sources that do not include the Holy Scriptures. That's the only argument that matters here. How can one justify any such religious system without that? Even the Muslims and the Mormons (as whacked out as they are) cite their own scriptures as the basis for everything they do. They understand this argument (of course, their own error lies within their own doctrines).
You can't possibly know if there is any truth from oral communication outside of the Scriptures, or if it even came from God if you didn't get it from the Holy, preserved, written words of God...
1Th 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
In order to prove all things, one must have the standard of proof from which things can be tested...
On the one side of the scale we have the preserved written words of God...On the other side we have human sinners who claim their 'truth' is authoritative and yet have no record of any source of their 'truth' except other sinful men...
Why would any Christian chose the word of men over the word of God??? I don't believe it's possible...
1Th 5:27 I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.
Why would a non-Christian ask that?
God said "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." Matthew 3:16-17 "Or Thou art my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." Mk 1:11, 3:22.
The sense is the same. That testimony given by the Father was for the benefit of those who heard it. Christ didn't need to know he was God's Son because he Himself is God.
Also Christ didn't need to be baptized because he had no sin there would have been no emotional feeling of being freed from anything. Any way John's baptism didn't make you born again that came only through the baptism instituted by Christ which included the Spirit:
Acts: 19:2 And he said to them: Have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed? But they said to him: We have not so much as heard whether there be a Holy Ghost. 3 And he said: In what then were you baptized? Who said: In John's baptism. 4 Then Paul said: John baptized the people with the baptism of penance saying: That they should believe in him, who was to come after him, that is to say, in Jesus. 5 Having heard these things, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had imposed his hands on them, the Holy Ghost came upon them.
Nothing in that post negates the experience part of baptism. I’m not sure what you are trying to say here.
Mark 13:31 - heaven and earth will pass away, but Jesus' Word will not pass away. But Jesus never says anything about His Word being entirely committed to a book. Also, it took 400 years to compile the Bible, and another 1,000 years to invent the printing press. How was the Word of God communicated? Orally, by the bishops of the Church, with the guidance and protection of the Holy Spirit.
Mark 16:15 - Jesus commands the apostles to preach the Gospel to every creature. But Jesus did not want this preaching to stop after the apostles died, and yet the Bible was not compiled until four centuries later. The word of God was transferred orally.
Mark 3:14; 16:15 - Jesus commands the apostles to preach (not write) the gospel to the world. Jesus gives no commandment to the apostles to write, and gives them no indication that the oral apostolic word he commanded them to communicate would later die in the fourth century. If Jesus wanted Christianity to be limited to a book (which would be finalized four centuries later), wouldn't He have said a word about it?
Luke 10:16 - He who hears you (not "who reads your writings"), hears me. The oral word passes from Jesus to the apostles to their successors by the gracious gifts of the Holy Spirit. This succession has been preserved in the Holy Catholic Church.
Luke 24:47 - Jesus explains that repentance and forgiveness of sins must be preached (not written) in Christ's name to all nations. For Protestants to argue that the word of God is now limited to a book (subject to thousands of different interpretations) is to not only ignore Scripture, but introduce a radical theory about how God spreads His word which would have been unbelievable to the people at the time of Jesus.
Acts 2:3-4 - the Holy Spirit came to the apostles in the form of "tongues" of fire so that they would "speak" (not just write) the Word.
Acts 15:27 - Judas and Silas, successors to the apostles, were sent to bring God's infallible Word by "word of mouth."
Rom. 10:8 - the Word is near you, on your lips and in your heart, which is the word of faith which is preached (not just written).
Rom. 10:17 - faith comes by what is "heard" (not just read) which is the Word that is "preached" (not read). This word comes from the oral tradition of the apostles. Those in countries where the Scriptures are not available can still come to faith in Jesus Christ.
1 Cor. 15:1,11 - faith comes from what is "preached" (not read). For non-Catholics to argue that oral tradition once existed but exists no longer, they must prove this from Scripture. But no where does Scripture say oral tradition died with the apostles. To the contrary, Scripture says the oral word abides forever.
Gal. 1:11-12 - the Gospel which is "preached" (not read) to me is not a man's Gospel, but the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
Eph. 1:13 - hearing (not reading) the Word of truth is the gospel of our salvation. This is the living word in the Church's living tradition.
Col. 1:5 - of this you have "heard" (not read) before in the word of truth, the Gospel which has come to you.
1 Thess. 2:13 - the Word of God is what you have "heard" (not read). The orally communicated word of God lasts forever, and this word is preserved within the Church by the Holy Spirit.
2 Tim. 1:13 - oral communications are protected by the Spirit. They abide forever. Oral authority does not die with the apostles.
2 Tim. 4:2,6-7 - Paul, at the end of his life, charges Timothy to preach (not write) the Word. Oral teaching does not die with Paul.
Titus 1:3 - God's word is manifested "through preaching" (not writing). This "preaching" is the tradition that comes from the apostles.
1 Peter 1:25 - the Word of the Lord abides forever and that Word is the good news that was "preached" (not read) to you. Because the Word is preached by the apostles and it lasts forever, it must be preserved by the apostles' successors, or this could not be possible. Also, because the oral word abides forever, oral apostolic tradition could not have died in the fourth century with all teachings being committed to Scripture.
2 Peter 1:12, 15 - Peter says that he will leave a "means to recall these things in mind." But since this was his last canonical epistle, this "means to recall" must therefore be the apostolic tradition and teaching authority of his office that he left behind.
2 John 1:12; 3 John 13 - John prefers to speak and not to write. Throughout history, the Word of God was always transferred orally and Jesus did not change this. To do so would have been a radical departure from the Judaic tradition.
Deut. 31:9-12 - Moses had the law read only every seven years. Was the word of God absent during the seven year interval? Of course not. The Word of God has always been given orally by God's appointed ones, and was never limited to Scripture.
Isa. 40:8 - the grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God (not necessarily written) will stand forever.
Isa. 59:21 - Isaiah prophesies the promise of a living voice to hand on the Word of God to generations by mouth, not by a book. This is either a false prophecy, or it has been fulfilled by the Catholic Church.
Joel 1:3 - tell your children of the Word of the Lord, and they tell their children, and their children tell another generation.
Mal. 2:7 - the lips of a priest guard knowledge, and we should seek instruction from his mouth. Protestants want to argue all oral tradition was committed to Scripture? But no where does Scripture say this.
I'm saying Christ felt no elation on being baptized because he had no sin to be forgiven.
Christ was fully human and fully God. You're saying that Christ felt nothing when His Father proclaimed publicly that He was proud of His Son?
I find that quite difficult to believe.
The subject matter disallows me from saying I’m playing devil’s advocate - but would their be elation from hearing The Father, yet alone His Father, providing such a affirmation?
That,is a bold face LIE!!
“But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name.” (John 20:31)
“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1 John 5:13)