Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Theological debates and anti-Catholicism

For those of you who read my other blog, Grace for the Wayward Heart, you might have noticed in a recent thread on the origins of Hallowe'en, a rather heated exchange between "Risen_Soul", "CJFreeman", and myself.

Risen_Soul, also known as Jacob, is an Southern Baptist youth minister. He's stopped by the blog on a couple of occasions both to encourage and to criticise. CJFreeman is a buddy of mine who is training to become a Lutheran pastor. We met in Bible College about 6 years ago. He's a great guy, and he's slowly making his way into the Catholic Church. And you all know me.

Jacob is what could be considered an "anti-Catholic", at least by Catholic Apologist Dave Armstrong's standard definition, which is simply one who denies that Catholicism is a valid form of Christianity. Jacob has said on more than one occasion on his own blog that we preach a false Gospel, and those who believe it are not saved. He recently began a debate with me over what are known as the "pillars" of the Protestant reformation. By pillars, I mean two doctrines that hold up the whole Protestant system, and if they are proven to be false, then Protestantism as a whole is shown to be a system in error. These two doctrines are Scripture Alone is the sole rule of faith, and Faith alone is what saves us.

The debate, title by him, "Why the Reformation was and still is Necessary" argues for these doctrines, claiming a)that Catholicism should believe them, and b)does not. So the Reformation is still necessary because as a Catholic I continue to believe and preach a "false Gospel."

I won't go into the details except to say my position is quite the opposite of his. Not only do I believe that the Bible nowhere teaches Sola Scriptura (which, if Sola Scriptura is true, has to itself be taught in the Bible!) or Sola Fide--but more, actually contradicts those two doctrines! Further, I would contend that the Reformation was neither necessary then nor now, and is instead a sinful scandal on Christian unity!

I'll also mention that when the debate is finished, or maybe sooner, I'll post it here, in it's entirety (though possibly with some editing for clarity). I'm not expecting great things from this debate. I don't think I'll prove to him my position, and he'll most surely not even demonstrate his position to me, let alone prove it.

I say this for two reasons: 1--He has yet to offer anything resembling convincing proof for Sola Scriptura in the Bible (and according to the stipulated thesis of what it would take to prove Sola Scriptura, that is only the first step. My thesis that he has to prove to make his case runs thus:
"The burden of proof is on you to demonstrate a) that Sola Scriptura is actually taught in the Bible, b) why the Church somehow missed this teaching for nearly 1500 years, if indeed it is so clear in the Bible, and c) that it is in fact a workable theory in the promotion of Christian truth and unity, despite the glaring evidences to the contrary."
Even if he could show me in Scripture where it says that Scripture is to be our sole rule of faith, and that every Christian doctrine must be found there [including SS itself!], he would still have to explain points b and c. So you can see that the deck is rather stacked against him!)

2--He has such a poor grasp of the truth of Catholic teaching (not that it is true, but rather, what Catholicism actually does teach) that every time he says "Catholicism teaches this," he invariably has been wrong. Note for his example, his comment about the saints that Chris took such issue with at my blog.

Add to that the fact that as a Pentecostal, I believed the exact same things about Catholicism that he currently does, but after more than 3 years of intensely researching the faith with an open mind and a prayerful attitude that God would show me the truth of the matter, I converted to Catholicism! I've seen both sides of the issue. He can't possibly bring up something I haven't considered.

Why do I say all this? Because it's my ranting blog and I can say whatever I want to! But more, it brings me to the issue of theological debates. If I'm so set in my ways, and he is so set in his, what is the point? Well, short of God's grace, there would be no point at all to proclaiming the Gospel. Without His grace, no one would come to Him! So when I say I have little hope for this debate--I mean that I have little hope of my human ability to convince him. But with God, all things are possible!

Moreover, it was through reading different debates that I was brought closer to accepting Catholicism. They weren't the sole factor, but they did certainly help. As such, if I can help a reader, who has not made up his or her mind, to decide--or can at least aid them on their way, then this debate will have been worth it. So who will win the debate? That's up to you, the reader, to decide. Weigh the evidence presented, reason through the issues, and most of all, pray to the Holy Spirit to enlighten your hearts with the truth.

I guess that's about all I had to say. Maybe I'll put the first debate segment up here today. If I have time.
God bless


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7:49 AM  
Blogger Gregory said...

I want to go on record and apologise. In the original form of this post, I had included a section on censorship, regarding the new moderation feature on Blogger, and Jacob's use of it. I didn't say anything negative about Jacob's use of it, but I did say that I didn't agree with the practice of censoring.

However, I better understand the situation that prompted him to use the program--namely an anonymous, trolling blogger looking to make trouble in a most offensive way. Jacob had removed the bulk of the vulgarity that he had spewed forth, and so I had not seen the extent of it. Nor could I believe that anyone with a modicum of self-respect and intelligence would talk in such a manner until this same person began making extremely rude and hateful and vulgar comments about me and my wife.

I have since reconsidered my stance, and fully endorse Jacob's practice. I won't turn on the moderation function because I simply find it annoying, but if anyone posts here, or at Wayward Heart, in such a manner, I will delete it post haste.

God bless

9:40 AM  
Blogger risen_soul said...

You wouldn't believe, or perhaps you would, some of the things that guy was saying. I don't permit swearing and right out making fun of people and their faith. You know I strongly disagree with you and will openly oppose you, but I don't hate you, I do hate what the RCC teaches, but not the people in it. This guy was over the top.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Gregory said...

No kidding!

I finally have had it with him, too. I've begun deleting all his posts. I don't want to put the moderation stuff on because it's more work for me, and kind of annoying that you can't see your comment right away, but I can sympathise now. He's made remarks about my wife and my ability to be a good husband...sexually, as well as just being perhaps the biggest biblically-defined fool I've ever met!

Keep on rollin' on, I guess.
Hope things get updated soon at To Die Is Gain. I'm getting antsy.

8:20 AM  
Blogger Vic said...

Hey, I'm coming along a little late to this blog. It's fine if nobody responds. My two cents follows.

From your requirements for Sola Scriptura you said that it must be shown "why the Church somehow missed this teaching for nearly 1500 years, if indeed it is so clear in the Bible." You might try reading Martin Luther's response to Erasmus when Erasmus asked Luther the exact same thing, but over the issue of human free will. Erasmus argued for free will and said words to the effect (this is my own paraphrase), "How could all the Saints have missed such a truth since the time of Christ?" Luther's answer sums up to, (1) they were all sinful men, and (2) those whose wrote supporting free will were simply in error, and (3) my view that humans do not have free will were supported by St. Augustine, and (4) here is all the scripture that supports my view (and he discussed it at length). Luther's response is in the book, "On The Bondage Of The Will." http://www.amazon.com/Martin-Luther-Bondage-Will-Diatribe/dp/0548185859/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1207699292&sr=1-2

Luther also addressed Sola Scriptura at length. I would recommend that all parties of this discussion read Luther before wandering around any more in this debate.

I probably missed it in one of your blogs, but in case 2 Timothy has not been mentioned, this scripture is proof to me of Sola Scriptura:

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

It does not say, "All Scripture and some edicts from Rome are inspired by God...." It SOLELY mentions Scripture. Only Scripture is inspired by God. What writing of man can do even one small thing to increase or inform my faith? Scripture does so with complete authority and effectiveness.

Scripture alone equips the man of God for EVERY good work. EVERY. Man does not require any other document, any other opinions, any other judgments, any other explanations. Scripture alone is adequate to equip mankind for EVERY good work.

It is obvious that Sola Scriptura is in the Bible.

5:26 PM  

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