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...]
Isn’t the correct translation “born from above”?
And not be “born again”?
Where in the Bible does it say "scripture only?" It doesn't, and I have not said that. However, I have cited 2 Tim. 3:16-17 on the authority of scripture coming from God. You can't cite such a thing for extra-Biblical traditions.
Trinity. Yes, I do: that's a man-conceived phrase for a plain teaching in scripture - that there are 3 persons in the God-head. I don't think I have to cite the basis of that for you. But is this an 'extra-Biblical' tradition (pre-empting the next question)? I say no, because I can literally cite chapter and verse the basis of this doctrine.
Christian Unity. We Protestants indeed fail here ... every denomination created after the Reformation has been created on the basis of either error, style, emphasis or some combination of all three.
Most Many of us have certain 'essentials' that we agree upon. Of course, if this is our only problem (unfortunately not), then that's pretty good. Clearly, God wants us all to get it right... which leads into...
Truth. Well, there's the rub, right? Yeah.... we need to find the truth. I'm hardly perfect, so no, I don't claim to know it all. I'd like to think I recognize obvious error when I see it, and my complaint with the RCC is that a sizable chunk of your doctrine is not backed up by scripture. Maybe you don't understand it from an outsider's point of view, but saying "well, we do it this way because we always have believe it to be right" doesn't have the same strength as "we do it this way because it's commanded by scripture that I can show you right here." That's the essence of my complaint.
The trunk. You are correct - the RCC is the trunk of the church. I recognize that's a hard thing to question or to give up...Especially when you see a myriad of competing options out there. My goal here is not to get anyone to join my church. It's to recognize (maybe) that scripture has much more weight in matters of doctrine than anything else.
Apparently, these essentials of NT doctrines failed to include any discussion of purgatory, Marianism, and the like. That's my complaint. If these were important doctrinally, then where are they? Yet y'all essentially dismiss all debate about these topics under the blanket 'tradition' argument. And this dismissal happens precisely because... it's an undefendable position.
And with that, I realize that we’re probably at an impasse (no real surprise) since I seem to be repeating myself.
"1)Catholicism is a liberal religion in which "truth" is ever changing, ever evolving, and symbolic rather than factual; "
Birth control? The evil of Homosexual acts? That marriage is between a man and a woman? Abortion is murder? No woman priests? The Catholic Church was established by Christ? Which religions have caved on these issues? Not the Catholic Church.
I think you missed my point. No, scratch that . . . I know you missed my poiint.
Which was that this is what Fundamentalism is . . . the unalterable truth of fundamental doctrines. That's why it's called "Fundamentalism." And a religion with these characteristics is fundamentalist and should not be condemning "Fundamentalism." To condemn "fundamentalism" implies that the opposite is true.
Do you understand now, or do I have to repeat it in even simpler language?
Our argument is that they are in the oral Tradition of the Church which Scripture clearly states exist. The Scripture is clear that an oral handing on of truth also existed along side Scripture:
2Th 2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
The term "fundamentalist" has both a denotation and a connotation. The denotation is unchanging factual truth. The connotation is "inbred swamp-dwelling redneck moron" (which is why Blacks aren't considered "fundamentalists" . . . well, that and the fact that they've sold out).
The original "fundamentalists" of the late nineteenth century were very intelligent, intellectual people from the large cities who opposed liberal theology and higher criticism (at one time their headquarters was actually Princeton University). It didn't mean someone who hangs "people who are different" from lampposts. It didn't mean rural Southerner. It didn't mean someone who uses the words "you-uns" and "fixin' to" in everyday speech. These are all connotations created to discredit traditional orthodox theology.
When Catholics insist that their religion is not "fundamentalist" it must mean one of these two things: either that it is liberal and opposed to traditional orthodox theology, or that Catholics refuse to sully themselves by mixing with rural white Southerners.
Unfortunately for you, "sola scriptura" is nonsense (since the G-d-dictated Torah consists of nothing but a string of consonants with no vowels or punctuation) and the rules for writing a Torah Scroll correctly (so that it matches exactly the Torah dictated to Moses) were handed down orally and are not actually recorded in the Torah. Also unfortunately for you, you have been "vaccinated" from ever considering the Oral Torah and rabbinic authority because you have heard nothing but the Roman Catholic/Eastern Orthodox case against sola scriptura (which is pathetic) all your life. Well . . . that and the fact that you believe scripture simply must be absolutely clear so anyone anywhere can read it in his own language (which is no longer the text dictated by G-d) and be "saved." All this is nonsense completely at odds with the Torah as understood from Mt. Sinai, but you will never listen because any argument for an authentic authoritative oral interpretive tradition sounds like a defense of rosary beads. More is the pity.
If it believes ITS fundamentals are correct and the other's are not then they can surely take it to task and more surely defend itself from attacks which are clearly erroneous. You use the word "condemn" too loosely I think. We defend the truth and mark error.
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the Father by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds; Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high;” (Hebrews 1:1-3)
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.
That would be the Catholic version of the scriptures...The real scriptures were being written and passed around as they happened...
1Th 5:27 I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.
1Jn 5:13 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 may believe on the name of the Son of God.
Well not really, eh??? John meant in 400 years after your religion figured it out, people would know they have eternal life because of what was, what??? WRITTEN???
And you guys still don't even know if you have eternal life even tho John the apostle explains it to us...
2 Thess. 2:15 - Paul clearly commands us in this verse to obey oral apostolic tradition. He says stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, either by word of mouth or letter. This verse proves that for apostolic authority, oral and written communications are on par with each other. Protestants must find a verse that voids this commandment to obey oral tradition elsewhere in the Bible, or they are not abiding by the teachings of Scripture.
The verse itself voids your religion's perversion of it...
Hold to the traditions...The oral ones...OR...The written ones...That's what the verse says...
According to your religion, you don't need a bit of scripture if you chose to follow only the oral traditions...Trouble is, you have no record of oral traditions from the Apostles...
The only way you can follow the oral traditions OR the written traditions is if they are identical...And they were...M
This also proves that oral tradition did not cease with the death of the last apostle. Other examples of apostolic tradition include the teachings on the Blessed Trinity, the hypostatic union (Jesus had a divine and human nature in one person), the filioque (that the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son), the assumption of Mary, and knowing that the Gospel of Matthew was written by Matthew.
Oh please...The revelation to the Apostles ENDED with the Apostles...The false teaching of the assumption of Mary is oral Scripture??? God does not continue to reveal 'new' tradition to anyone...If you guys would study the scriptures, you'd know better than to post junk like this...
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.
I'd normally say, 'you can't just make this stuff up',,, but then you guy go ahead and prove me wrong...
If what you say is true, why was it commanded to have the written scriptures read in the churches??? Read much bible???
I'd like to see you guys preach the Gospel to the world with only your man-made tradition spewing from your lips...
And not be born again?"
Its a shame that we are all not fluent in Hebrew, Aramaic, Koine Greek and even the Vulgate Latin. It would make these discussions so much more productive than attempting them in modern English. English is such a poor language for these things.
Idiomatically, the reference is to being renewed. In this respect we Catholics are no different than our separated brothers and sisters. We simply refer to that renewal as "conversion". Where we differ is that we believe that conversion is a life long process that is never really completed and not a single Road to Damascus Epiphany.
God calls us to seek him, to know him, to love him with all our strength, all or our heart and all of our soul. The Catechism teaches that faith is our response to God's call. Responding in faith requires we trust in the authority of God as the cause of our belief. As the Blessed John Henry Newman said; Faith is not a conclusion from premises, but an act of the will following on the conviction that to believe is a duty. Intellect, education, and reason can assist, but they cannot substitute for faith. We must choose to believe and at that moment when we first choose to believe and to cooperate with Grace, in a very real sense we are born of the Spirit, both again and from above.
"T'was Grace that taught...
my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear...
the hour I first believed."
Isn't it obvious that the apostles taught from the OT? How many times do they quote the OT in the New? The Septuigent and the Hebrew scriptures were both available.
They taught what they had learned from Christ
Which was the OT! Luke 24:27 - "Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures."
The Bible as we know it today wasn't formalized until 400 AD. What did they use?
The canon was established well before 400 AD. What did the apostles quote from? The entire NT was written before 100 AD. How could they quote from the OT if it didn't exist until 400? What did Jesus quote from? What did He read in the temple? The Jerusalem Times?
The OT Scriptures were referenced a lot but not so much for their message or the law, but for their 450+ references to and prophesies of Jesus and His ministry and primarily in the context of evangelizing Jewish communities. They were rarely referenced with respect to the New Law and had little traction with the Gentile communities.
As for their being available and recognized by the late first century is really two different issues. There were many competing writings and forgeries so the challenge was to identify the authentic writings from among the many others. This is not unlike you having to pick the correct six lottery numbers from the numbers from a simple list of numbers 0 through 50.
This has to be the top, number 1, beyond all doubt, most abused passage that the RCC uses to justify its claims to the so-called "oral tradition." It is utterly disguisting the ignorance propagated by the RCC.
My friend, if you will look at the context, you will see the complete lack of exegetical ability of the RCC. Since you and all other Catholics up here on FR constantly hammer this verse ... I am going to take the time to post the entire chapter in context ... and I pray that God will open your eyes to see the truth ... that it has NOTHING to do with what you claim.
1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him,
2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.
3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,
4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.
5 Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things?
6 And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed.
7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.
8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming;
9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,
10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.
11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false,
12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.
13 But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.
14 It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
15 So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.
So now the analysis ...
Vs 1-2: Paul instructs the Thessalonians "not to be shaken" or "disturbed" believing that the Day of the Lord has already come. He says don't let a spirit or a letter or anything deceive you concerning this. It is conceivable that those who are spreading this false doctrine have forged a letter and claimed it was from Paul.
Vs. 3-4: He begins to remind them of the correct precursors to the Day of the Lord, those being the apostasy, man of lawlessness, etc. etc.
Vs. 5: Paul reminds them that he already taught them these things when he was there in Thessalonica!
Vs. 6-12: Paul continues to list out the events surrounding the Day of the Lord and the particular persons who will be involved in those events; namely, the man of lawlessness, the Lord Jesus Christ, and unbelievers.
Vs. 13-14 He reminds them that they have been chosen for salvation, they were called by the gospel, and that they are going to glory.
This ... THIS is the context of the passage that the RCC butchers time and time again.
In this context, what does verse 15 say?
So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.
Vs. 15: So then, because of this, because I have already taught you this, and I have just reminded you of what I taught you before ... because of this ... "stand firm" (not be shaken!) ... and hold to the traditions ... WHAT traditions? ... The traditions concerning the Day of the Lord, the teachings he just regurgitated to them concerning the Day of the Lord ... those things "which you were taught" ... when did he teach those things ... WHEN HE WAS THERE ! "Whether by word of mouth" (when he was there!) ... or by letter (1st and 2nd Thessalonians!) ... hold fast to those teachings.
THIS is the passage in context. It has absolutely nothing to do with any so-called "apostolic traditions."
There is nothing left to say than to call you to repentance for maintaining and spreading false doctrine.
My vote is for 2 Timothy 3:16.
On and on ... all Gentile communities. Paul quotes from the OT when writing to them, he quotes OFTEN. His epistle to the Romans discusses MOSTLY the law ...
Not sure what you're reading that youre getting this ...
The bigger question is where you are getting that the Old Testament had any relevance with anyone other than Jews. To the non-Jewish communities the Old Testament was as foreign as Chinese arithmetic. Recall that St. Paul often had to rebuke Judaizers for attempting to adhere to the Old Law.
In evangelizing the Gentiles St. Paul relied on three proofs for the deity of Jesus. The first that Jesus Christ alone among the pantheon of pagan gods was predicted, and relied upon the Old Testament's 450+ predictions. The weight of those predictions surpassed any argument of coincidence. The second was that He worked miracles, the foremost among them was the resurrection. The last was that nothing in the Gospel conflicts with human reason.
In this respect, the Old Testament was presented, but not so as to first make Jews of the Gentiles.
The crime of the Reformers was in pointing out the errors of the church. Each one of them did so knowing that they risked their lives to espouse their opinions against an unwilling-to-listen church, which ruled almost by compulsion (not unlike Islam of today). These men didn't act on a whim or out of revenge or for any other reason than simply wanting to fix an inherent problem. They were highly educated (by the church!), they wrote multiple volumes on the problems they saw, they tried to fix the church from within. Finally, an intransigent church forced them to break away. These were men of supreme courage and devotion. We would all do well to know the scriptures as they did, and to use that knowledge in the education of others.
What the Reformers did was twofold:
1. Provided necessary correction where error existed (and still does);
2. Brought God's Word to the masses, and thus brought choice... and, in truth, accountability as well.
I ignored this topic earlier. You can call what they did as a break in Christian Unity, but I don't -- it resulted in spreading the gospel to the world.
Yes, the RCC stands on its own.... but it stands apart from the foundational Biblical truths of God's Word which are hidden behind so-called traditions. Heck, I even have to take issue with the use of that very word. We 'traditionally' celebrate Christmas on December 25th. Scripture doesn't indicate this, but doctrinally, it is meaningless. But having important doctrines that flat-out contradict scripture or make up things not present isn't 'tradition'. There's another word for it. Heresy.