Before I begin, I want to state that I have recieved personal permission from this site's webmaster to make this post.
This is my rebuttal to Catholicsoldier (James)' response to myself on the Papal Infallibility thread. See here: https://www.the-highway.com/forum/showfla...;o=&fpart=1
James is no longer with us, and at first I had a bit of a problem with responding to one who can or will no longer speak in their own defence, but I feel that for the sake of the Truth being told I should post this. I am quite thankful for the whole conversation with James, as I have learned much about what I believe, and what I obviously don't believe. I'm curious what other think about what I've written here- give some input! It's good to be sharpened by one another as we speak the truth in love.
Please note, that I've done this on a limited time budget, so forgive all spelling erros and the like.
Thank you for your thoughtful response, and all the work you put into it. In the first portion you made some analogies, I will address those first.
The analogies you posed can do no more than express you sentiment and cannot be considered as "hard evidence", simply because they are all inexact parallels when compared to sacred doctrines.
Well, aparantly it's decided then. The point must have been missed, that the analogies were simply examples of a gross logical fallacy, which I expressed in plain form more then once:
What I am doing is drawing an unwarranted conclusion based upon insufficient data, something we call "silly" when we see it in real life...
This a priori
discarding of analogy is quite a blatant evasion tactic to avoid having to deal with the arguments behind them. For the sake of clarity, I will reword my statement on "Bill" to deal specifically with the issue at hand:
...Do you see the humourous logical errors I am making? For starters, the apostles have not told us anything of their plan (for their office to continue forever). Just because they do this thing once (appoint a sucessor for Judas, who died prematurely), I am in no place to assume that they will always do this (i.e. that the line of apostles will continue indefinately), or especially to assume that their sucessors (even if there were any besides Matthias, which there were't- and this may be the most important piece of agrument against your position
) will always do this, so that the Apostolic office will carry on for all time. This is simply ridiculous, for countless reasons which don't need explaining.
I will state again, that the only reason we would deduce apostolic succession from the appointment of Matthias, is if, for whatever reason, I held to a predetermined belief in such. But once again, James did not deal with my arguments directly and show that Acts 1 "incontrovertably" lays down apostolic succession. We are still left with no more then sentiment (his term), and absolutely no hard evidence (again, his term) for his position.
catholicsoldier said:To be pitied if you tried so desperately to keep a business afloat, which is not nearly the same, (in manner or magnitude) as preserving sacred Christian tradition.
Also there is indeed reason for us to believe we are to preserve and pass on the faith, and Apostolic Succession is rooted in scripture, but here I hesitate to delve any deeper into this subject because it is a separate issue to be dealt with on a separate thread. I will, though deal with your last point being as you see it as your trump card.
More evasion. The thread, at least partially, had
turned into a discussion on apostolic succession. He brought it up, and went to the time of responding to my post on the matter. This is just time-buying.
catholicsoldier quoted:If any Bishop loses the judgement in some case (decided by his fellow bishop) and still believes he has not a bad but a good case, in order that the case be judged anew...let us honor the memory of the apostle Peter by having those who have given the judgement write to Julius, Bishop of Rome, so if it seem proper he may himself send arbiters and the judgements may be made again by the bishops of a neighboring province.
If some bishop be deposed by the judgement of the bishops sitting in the neighborhood, and if he declares that he will seek further redress, another should not be appointed to his see until the Bishop of Rome can be acquainted with the case and render a judgement. Canon 3,4 A.D. 342
In the city of Rome the episcopal chair was given first to Peter; the chair in which Peter sat the same who was head; that is why he is also called Cephas (Rock) of all the apostles, the one chair in which unity is maintained by all. Neither do the Apostles proceed individually on their own. And anyone who would presume to set up another chair in opposition to that single chair would, by that very fact, be a schismatic and a sinner. Recall then the origins of your chair, those of you who wish to claim for yourselves the title of holy Church. The Schism of the Donatists 2:2 --A.D. 367
I am well aware of the fact that the Bishop of Rome began to take prominence amoung his peers around the 4th century, and that he made ex cathedra
statements before the 13th century (as Joe demonstrated in an earlier post). But, as de Rosa shows in the book I recommended, the pope did not speak ex cathedra
as the sole and supreme leader of the church until the 13th century. Before this time, he spoke as one who recieved higher honours then the other bishops, but he did not have supreme authority over the whole church. Actually, this quesiton of Roman authority was one of the issues that caused the Great Schism in 1054. See: http://www.wordiq.com/definition/East-West_Schism
Now that we have dealt with a thorough refutation of the first posrtion of my post, we move on to some quoted portions of "Vicars of Christ" by Peter de Rosa I provided. While I did this simply to highlight some of the absurdity in the Pope claiming to be Peter's successor, I wasn't really expecting direct responses. However, I will offer a couple brief comments, trying not to get sidetracked...
catholicsoldier said:Again, skewed facts. The Vatican was built for the honor and service primarily of Jesus Christ, as is all Catholic churches. Though they bear the title of the saints they honor, it is only a secondary honor. Catholicism, despite anticatholic hype, is Christ centered...
That sounds nice, but just stating something doesn't prove it.
Ok. Let's take this analogy to the natural conclusion of the course your author set it on. This is the going presumption of all these comparisons: Anything Jesus does, we must also do. Anything Jesus didn't do, we must never do.
Jesus was homeless. Are we all to become homeless?
Jesus was unmarried. Is it now a sin to marry? When did Jesus convey this to Peter?
Jesus was poor and never carried money. We know this because He asked for a Denarius to be brought to him so He could make a point about taxes. Is it sinful to be well off, or even rich? Will the money we carry in our wallet drag us into the pit of hell?
Let's take this to even more ridiculous proportions. Jesus was a carpentar. Is any other line of work now unlawful? He also had a beard, is it now sinful to shave?
Ok, we'll consider that last segment quid pro quo for your opening comparisons, because there are some deeper issues you're not seeing.
Perhaps you forget that the Tabernacle and later the Temple were constructed of the finest and costliest materials. You may minimize the grandure of the most holy place in the tabernacle compared to the palaces of Rome, but the Tabernacle was built to the very best ability given the talent and resources available to the Hebrews at the time. When the Temple was constructed, it was considerably bigger, more majestic and expensive. Reading about the construction of the Temple by Solomon would prove very similar to those splendid palaces in Rome, but both were for the same purpose, to glorify and honor God.
In fact, God's superiority to all other gods is evident in the greatness of the buildings built in His honor throughout history, in comparison to pagan counterparts. God has not changed, and the honor He merited in the past He still merits today.
Must we teach every practice of Jesus? Perhaps not, at least not in the sense of the examples of homelessness and celibacy we are given by James here. But we must certainly practice every teaching of Jesus. It could may well be that the good-hearted folks in the Vatican missed Matt. 6:19: "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal." "Do not-" that looks awfully like a command to me. Interesting. And as to whether or not Rome's splendour and indulgence is justified because of the Old Testament temple, I must have missed where the New Testament church was commanded to build a new temple. Instead, I read in John 4:21-24:
Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."
He constantly taught: "Go, sell all thou hast and give to the poor, then come follow me."
Again speaks to the truth twisting nature of this author. Jesus didn't constantly teach that.
Perhaps not. But he did teach Matt. 6:19 (above).
When the Pope renews that sacrifice...
Protestant hype. The sacrifice of Christ is not duplicated, it is re-enacted and honored as Christ commanded.
It was a great temptation not to get into trasubstantiation here, but it seems James is again oblivious to the teaching of his church.
catholicsoldier said: Perhaps you are also forgetting how the Levitical priests were also dressed in the finest robes and costliest materials and jewels. Again, God has not changed, neither should our manner of worshipping Him. Also, you keep pointing to the splendor in which the Church is built as if there were some scandel inherent. By human standards perhaps, but we live by the word of God, and according to the word of God, the Church is the bride of Christ and adorns herself. (Rev 21:2) That this is to be taken in a spiritual sense is irrefutable, but also we are to manifest this beauty physically. Again, God has not changed.
I am quite curious where the Bible says we are to manifest this beauty physically. Actually, I could yank up tons of proof texts showing the opposite conclusion. Matt. 6:19 keeps singing in my ears...
James also keeps stating "God has not changed." Well, the fact of the matter is that a lot did
change from Peter to the Vatican. That's the point I was trying to get across, which was obviously either missed or ignored completely. Peter did quite well without a palace, and I'm at a loss to see where the Bible allows or even promotes the lavish opulence we see the Pope living in, which makes it all the more ridiculous for him to find justification for all this in the fact that he is ostensibly Peter's successor.
And that the Vatican has its own bank to which clients are only admitted if, in addition to sound referrences, they can provide something Peter never had; a baptismal certificate.
Is there something reprehensible about a Church bank that wants only church members in it? Baptismal certificates are needed in a way that they weren't in Peter's day. Which brings up another point, you are making no allowances for the changing of Papal responsibilities as the church grows. Why was there no need for a "supreme administrator and manager of all Church property"? Because the Church had very little property at the time, mostly because Christians were persecuted at the time and needed to remain aloof.
Peter...and His Master, as Jews, were opposed to religious images.
As averagefellar might say, "Scripture referrence, please?"
Images are in fact a significant part of Jewish worship, and Protestants don't like to acknowledge this. They like to read the second commandment like this: Thou shall not make any graven image. But in fact it says: Thou shall not make any graven images unto thyselves
. God wasn't prohibiting the creation of images, but rather the creation of other gods. Protestants are at a loss when we remind them that He had cheribum erected in the Tabernacle, and a bronze serpent put on a pole. I should wish they would work up the nerve to accuse God of scandal if they think it wrong, instead of accusing Catholics while ignoring the holy precident of this practice.
Thanks to The Passion
, we've been here, done that, bought the t-shirts, and ripped holes in those t-shirts... We'll forget about this for now.
catholicsoldier said: Every church that has broken away from the holy Catholic Church have one thing in common, hatred for the Pope stemming from some disagreement that led to the separation in the first place.
That there is a consortium of antisentiment is no definitive proof that there is anything unbecoming either in the Bishop of Rome, or the seat he holds. I am not comfortable responding to a book, and this is probably the last time I'll do it, because I want to know what YOU think.
This confusing of personal opinion with empirical fact seems to be one of James' biggest errors. What "YOU" think, i.e. personal opinion, means absolutely nothing, if it's wrong. Just give me the facts. If they come from a person, fine, but that person had better be able to back them up. If they come from a book, fine, and likewise. But let's just deal with them, putting personal opinion in it's proper place- which should not be taking anything close to a lead role in a theological discussion.
In a similar, and yet enigmatically opposite vein (if you try to follow James' logic here, you'll end up quite confused), we find James dismissing all "antiCatholic" statements as pure sentiment or unfounded opinion, thus supposedly nullifying his responsability to deal with what they they present. This confused duplicity is quite evident, and is simply another example of pure evasion. If you can't fight the enemy, just stick your head in the sand and decide he's not there.
catholicsoldier said: There is no mantel of truth about any book, article, or any other work designed to paint another person or organization in the worst light possible. It is called advocacy, and it is a twist on the truth.
In fact, it is possible for a creative mind to write a scandelous piece on anyone or anything. You simply take things that are not well understood and give it a little twist to make it seem suspicious at best, and contemptable at worst. All such anticatholic works are like that; dripping with contempt, and fueled by blind antipathy to our faith. Such "facts" derived from such sources ought to be taken with a grain of salt.
Wow! Read that again, folks: "All such anticathlolic works are like that." The court has sat, the jury has deliberated, and the verdict is in. Anyting negative about the Catholic church is false. Period. So stop arguing, and lets just all go join our local parish.
Forgive my sarcasm, but this is ridiculous. Unless James personally has had the privilage of reading every "antiCatholic" work in print, and has evaluated each work, exporing every assertion and thoroughly refuting every statement claimed as fact, this statement is almost humorous, and is again another example of a blantant evasion tactic so as not to interact in any meaningful way with what was presented. This is the closest to "don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up already!" that I have seen on this board since I started here.
I'd give this benefit of the doubt, and credit this to a momentary slip, but this is an unbroken pattern. I feel like I'm playing dodgeball, not having a theological debate. James just didn't stop evading and dodging, and refused to deal with the hard evidence. If I'm wrong, I would expect it to be proven to me, and I'd hope to take it like a man. I would expect the same behavior from the one I am debating with. But this continual side-stepping is just frustrating. Once again, Luther's statements about Erasmus come to mind, when he described him as an eel, who was impossible to grasp- slipping out of your grip, so that only Christ could lay a hold of him.
catholicsoldier said: But on to your most important point. You quote Acts 1:21, 22 which listed the accolades that the candidate for apostle needed for consideration, and then made a case that this would always be the necessary qualification for any future apostle, (does this sound familiar? Kinda like the comparison's you drew at the start?)
Actually, I am thankful he brought this up, because it clarified in my mind the incoinsistent hermeneutics at play in his theology here. Let's review:
- The apostles appointed a successor for their apostatized and fallen comrade. Therefore, every apostle must always have a successor.
- The apostles employed certain criteria in choosing a successor. This criteria we can disregard.
I would like to see exegetical support for interpreting one part of the Acts 1 passage one way, and another part another way. A ridgid apostolic uniformatarianism would demand that if the apostles are always to have successors, their successors would have to fulfill the same criteria that the original Apostles did. By this, we would also only have 13 apostles alive at any time. But if we disregard the qualifications and the tit-for-tat succession, what right do we have to still claim support for succession at all?
catholicsoldier said:But if this was an attempt to disprove apostolic succession, you have indeed failed. For in that the original 12 were appointed by Christ Himself ("Did I not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?" Jn 6:71). This qualification changed with the appointment of Mathias. And if it changed once, it can change again to reflect new situations that warrant the changes. I will go no further to establish the biblical case for apostolic succession. That's for a different thread.
Perhaps I didn't explain well enough. Yes, the original twelve were choosen by Christ himself, but they were men who were there with him, and shared with most, if not all (in the case for sure of Peter, James, John, Andrew, Philip and Nathaniel) of Christ's earthly ministry. When the apostles, Christ's sent ones, chose a successor, they insisted that he be one who had shared in the same experiences. Nothing changed, it's just that the Apostles were appointing him in the stead of Christ. And when Paul came along, like I've stated before, he had seen Christ face to face and spent time in heaven itself learning things too great to speak.
I have a hard time taking James seriously when he states, "if it changed once, it can change again to reflect new situations that warrant the changes." Nothing changed! Every apostle was a man who had seen Christ, who had spent time with him, and had been instructed in his doctrine. I will state again, unequivocally, that unless the Roman church can prove that every pope and bishop throughout all of history has experienced the same thing, then apostolic succession, and consequently the entire Church of Rome, falls apart.
James stated that he will go no further to prove the Biblical case for apostolic succession. Whether he could go any further or not is suspect, but, like before, the fact that he did not do so until now, and again defers it for later, suggests to me that this is just another evasion tactic, an attempted purchasing of time.
catholicsoldier said:You're being led astray, so you don't need to worry about me. You read books written by spiteful authors and take them for gospel truth. Perhaps in time you will be wise enough to take a few steps back and take a gander at the larger picture.
Trust me, I could make many such statements about James, saying things like, "I realize that accepting that you've been fed error on this issue would mean accepting that your church is a fraud, and that you've been decieved, and you will never do this, because it would cost too much, so you will simply keep arguing and disputing against the facts until blue in the face, and that's quite too bad, and I'm not sure how long I'll hang around and participate." But I don't think I will say things like that, because I've seen them to be quite pointless in the past, because telling a man that his position is wrong means nothing unless you can prove it. It could also be said, proving to a man his position is wrong is pointless until he's willing to accept it.
But, nevertheless, we again come to the end, and no progress has been made. My position has yet to be proven wrong- for goodness sakes, the arguments I presented have yet to be interacted with, instead of evaded and dodged. I think this discussion is a real example of the lengths someone will go to to avoid having to deal with the cold, hard truth. Truly, only Christ can grab such. I am most sad that things ended like this, and I think it is the responsibility of all of us to pray that the Holy Spirit would convict James of his sin and error, and lead him to the Truth of God as revealed in His Word.
Soli Deo Gloria!