I was asked by a Catholic visitor to listen to a series of audio recordings of a catholic apologist making the case for the authority of the Catholic pope. I agreed to listen to the first one and told him I would give my response in a new post. The audio can be found here, and my response below.
Okay, so I listed to the first audio file and I was immediately taken back to the time I went through S.E.R.E. training in the Navy. S.E.A.R. stands for Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape. I spent a week in the woods of Maine, in November, learning to survive and evade hostile enemy forces. I spent the last three days of the course as a P.O.W. The first night of P.O.W. experience I was blindfolded and lead to a facility where I was placed in a small cell and forced to sit all night in a particular position that quickly became uncomfortable. They checked on me regularly to make sure I didn’t move from that position. While I sat there, severely sleep deprived, they played propaganda recordings throughout the entire night that continually told of American bombs hitting hospitals and civilian communities. Intertwined with that were several assertions about the American forces that were purely fabricated. And there was evidence reported by them that was taken out of context in order to make their cause appear justified.
Although I was sitting comfortably on my couch as I listened to that Catholic apologist on the audio, it felt almost as uncomfortable as that nigh in the cell. Before listening to the audio I predicted that it would be pure propaganda and I was right. The reason I knew this is because I am quite familiar with Catholic indoctrination and I know what things they are going to point to in Scripture and history and, more importantly, what things they will leave out. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s a question that requires little thought to answer; are you infallible? It ranks right up there with, “Are you God?” But to Catholic apologists the question is quite serious; that’s because they believe that there is a man on earth who, on the subject of faith and morals, is infallible; they call him, “holy father.” See, it does rank right up there with, “Are you God,” at least when coming from people who think their leader is equal with God on deciding issues of faith and morals.
According to Catholic apologist, John Martignoni, this question should cause Protestants to suddenly doubt everything they believe, and Catholics should take comfort in knowing they and only they, have an infallible leader here on earth. But how can they know? Is there one Catholic person out there, besides the pope of course, who will confess to being infallible? And if a Catholic is not infallible, how can he or she “know” their pope is infallible? They can’t! So if they cannot infallibly declare their pope to be infallible, then their assertion is nothing more than a fallible opinion. And if they are wrong, which my fallible counter-assertion says they are, then they are being deceived.
The logic that so often accompanies claims of papal infallibility goes something like this: “Jesus did not leave His people vulnerable to the doctrinal whims of competing leaders.”
The logic used is quite revealing; it indicates very strongly that those who use it have no idea what it means to have the gift of the Holy Spirit, because if they had the gift of the Holy Spirit they would not be looking to Rome for infallible direction. It also reveals that they think everyone else is like them, wanting to follow the whims of their leaders. It also denies the notion that Christ has relationship with man through the gift of the Holy Spirit. Their magisterium reserves that privilege for themselves and people buy into it. It’s no different than Mormons following their prophet in Utah.
The pope is the head of the Roman Catholic Church, but the Apostle Paul explicitly said that Christ is the head of His Church and He reconciles all things to Himself. To wit, Catholics will be quick to agree that Christ is the head, but then immediately contradict themselves by saying, “but He established the papacy through which He reveals His truths .” Based on what? If Christ is the head and we are the body, where does the papacy fit in? I see no evidence of this claim in Scripture or history, so if the evidence is not there the papacy must belong to a different body; one that is not associated with Christ and His church.
This will be the first installment of a series of articles where I will give my answer to questions asked by John Martignoni in his newsletters. But before we get to the question on assurance of salvation, I would like to briefly share my encounter with John Martignoni.
In January 2009, John Martignoni responded to an article I wrote where he asked me a barrage of questions in response to my criticism of his assertion that oral tradition is responsible for the canon of Scripture. I was happy to answer all his questions sincerely and honestly. Since in his newslettesrs John tends to ask a lot of questions to his Protestant opponents and then berates them for not answering them, I wondered how he was going to respond to someone that addressed each and every one. But much to my surprise, I never heard back from him. I suspect the reason was that he was too nervous about being called out on the false information he presented to his some 30,000 newsletter subscribers.
Preeminent – the word garners attention whenever it is used, suggesting to the reader or hearer that something or someone is held in the highest regard. And when the word is used by a respected early church father with regard to the church, its meaning demands attention. And when the word is used in connection to a specific church, the church in Rome, attention it will get. Such is the case regarding a certain passage from the works of a beloved second century bishop named, Irenaeus.
Any Roman Catholic that has heard of Irenaeus will tell you that in his works against heresies, he explicitly referred to the church in Rome as being preeminent. “For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church [the church in Rome], on account of its pre- eminent authority.” For Roman Catholics, this statement is proof positive that the second century church regarded the church in Rome as preeminent to all the others. The problem for Roman Catholics, however, is that the “proof” falls apart when the quote is reunited with its context. Read the rest of this entry »
“If anyone comes and tells me they’re the church and I know that they’re not teaching the same thing as the church of 2000 years ago then I know it’s false.” (Dr. Sungenis)
The above quote is the philosophy of Catholic apologist Dr. Robert Sungenis who made this comment during a debate with Evangelical apologist, Matt Slick this past July.
Apparently Dr. Sungenis never applied his philosophy to his own beliefs, because if he did he would find his own church to be false. This is because none of the “oral [T]raditions” of the Catholic Church that Catholics are required to believe were known in the ancient church nearly 2000 years ago. And what are Catholics required to believe? Dr. Sungenis answers that for us:
“Any oral teaching inspired by the Holy Spirit to the apostles is our Oral Tradition that we must be obedient to.” (ibid)
So for anyone that might be considering joining the Catholic faith, here is a non-comprehensive list of doctrines Catholics are required to believe that did not exist in the apostolic and Ante-Nicene church; doctrines that according to Dr. Sungenis, were received by the apostles from the Holy Spirit and passed down to the church by oral tradition.
- The Immaculate Conception
- The assumption of Mary
- Confessing sins to priests
- Holy days of obligation
- And the requirement to believe that the Roman bishop is infallible in regards to his proclamations concerning faith and morals.
I would love to hear from Catholics on this, especially apologists. Is Dr. Sungenis wrong, or is the Catholic Church teaching false doctrine?
Catholic apologist, John Martignoni decided to take his one-man apologetics show to You Tube. He intends to present a series called, “Questions Protestants can’t Answer.” He opens the series with this question: “Is a dead body really a body?” The analogy is that a body without a spirit is still a body though be it a dead body, and faith without works is still faith, but like a body without a spirit it is a dead faith.
So far very good and very biblical, but then Martignoni attempts to associate the doctrine of “faith alone” with dead faith. And how does Martignoni associate faith alone with dead faith? He doesn’t say. Martignoni offers nothing to support his accusation. Nevertheless he is willing to send his disciples out to confront Protestants with this accusation armed with nothing but ignorance and misconceptions.
Take a look.
If Catholics are going to confront Protestants on this issue, they better be prepared to talk about works, specifically works of the law.
Faith alone is a biblical doctrine and it refers to a living faith. Dead faith is faith that is not accompanied by the fruit of the Spirit, which is the works of God in us. There are indeed those who proclaim Christ yet lack the works of the Spirit in their lives, these have dead faith. But those who by faith have become a new creation in Christ are alive in Christ and Christ in manifested in them by the fruit they bear. When a person truly believes the Gospel of Christ they desire repentance, and in their repentance they change the way they talk, the way they treat others, and the way they perceive their neighbor. They begin to manifest the fruits of the Spirit, this faith is a living faith accompanied by good works.
Conversely, the Catholic view of faith plus works is entirely unbiblical. This view separates faith from works. If we apply this doctrine to the thief on the cross next to Jesus we have a conflict. In order for the thief to be saved, and we know he was, an exception has to be made to the Catholic doctrine. And if we are to say that a person can believe and be saved upon their deathbed we again have to make an exception to the doctrine. And again exceptions have to be made with regards to small children and the mentally handicapped. All this is proof that the Catholic doctrine of faith plus works is a doctrine of men.
In addition, the Catholic system, yes system, of salvation includes adherence to “canon law.” For example, if a Catholic does not go to mass on a day deemed mandatory by canon law, they supposedly commit mortal sin and are immediately removed from a state of grace. Then comes the exception; if they confess their “sin” to a priest and do the mandatory penance they can return to a state of grace.
Such laws were never intended to be imposed on Christians. Salvation by faith is accompanied by good works apart from any law. Catholics are told that their salvation is dependant upon following canon law, the Apostle Paul said,
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. against such there is no law.” (Gal. 5:22-23)