Saturday, June 30, 2007

Response to Canon Comments

I would like to do some posts on Sola Scriptura and the canon as Catholic e-pologists promote false statements about these things, but don’t have the time right now to give it the proper attention.

For now I will just refute a few of the comments made here regarding these topics:

The Church was founded in 33 AD. While the apostles and disciples were spreading the faith throughout the world, they began to write. The Church finished writing the bible in about 100 AD, and the Church finally decided which books belonged in about 397AD. jswranch

Long before Jerome assembled the first Bible, timothy

When I look at Church history I find councils of Bishops at Hippo and Ephesus deciding these matters. timothy

Wrong. The Roman Catholic canon was not decided until the Council of Trent in 1546.

“The idea of a complete and clear-cut canon of the New Testament existing from the beginning, that is from Apostolic times, has no foundation in history. The Canon of the New Testament, like that of the Old, is the result of a development, of a process at once stimulated by disputes with doubters, both within and without the Church, and retarded by certain obscurities and natural hesitations, and which did not reach its final term until the dogmatic definition of the Tridentine Council.” Catholic Encyclopedia

The fact is, the canon of the old testament remained in dispute through the years before Trent made its decision. Jerome was strongly against the idea of the deuterocanonicals as inspired scripture (those 7 books Luther supposedly through out of Protestant bibles) as were other members of the early church such as Origen, Athanasius, Cyril, and Epiphanius and others.

The doubts about the OT canon continued through the middle ages.

“In the Latin Church, all through the Middle Ages we find evidence of hesitation about the character of the deuterocanonicals. There is a current friendly to them, another one distinctly unfavourable to their authority and sacredness, while wavering between the two are a number of writers whose veneration for these books is tempered by some perplexity as to their exact standing, and among those we note St. Thomas Aquinas. Few are found to unequivocally acknowledge their canonicity. The prevailing attitude of Western medieval authors is substantially that of the Greek Fathers. The chief cause of this phenomenon in the West is to be sought in the influence, direct and indirect, of St. Jerome's depreciating Prologus. The compilatory "Glossa Ordinaria" was widely read and highly esteemed as a treasury of sacred learning during the Middle Ages; it embodied the prefaces in which the Doctor of Bethlehem had written in terms derogatory to the deuteros, and thus perpetuated and diffused his unfriendly opinion.” Catholic Encyclopedia

The Roman Catholic canon was not ratified until 1546 at Trent, the time of the Reformation (not at Hippo or Ephesus as Timothy and jswranch tried to claim). The Protestant Bible is compatible with Jerome’s (and others) view of the OT canon, while the Catholic Bible is not.

We can debate over who currently has the correct canon, but the fact remains that the Catholic Church did not give the world the Bible back in 397AD.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Whose Book Is It?

In discussions here about Catholicism and on other blogs/forums that I visit, it never seems too long in a discussion with a Roman Catholic before the following statement is made in some form or other: “The Catholic Church gave you your Bible”.

No matter how many times I hear it, it still makes me cringe. Not only is the statement inaccurate, but the arrogance that often permeates that statement makes me fearful for the person saying it. I wonder if any Catholic would dare say such a thing when standing before the judgment seat.

From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

It will be seen, therefore, that though the inspiration of any writer and the sacred character of his work be antecedent to its recognition by the Church yet we are dependent upon the Church for our knowledge of the existence of this inspiration. She is the appointed witness and guardian of revelation. From her alone we know what books belong to the Bible.

(Church = Roman Catholic Church, not the invisible body of believers)

Actually, that statement is pretty mild compared to what I have heard out of the mouths of laypeople, but misleading nonetheless.

As I have time I will search around for some of the comments I have seen online that have made me shudder…but in the meantime let me just clear up the general confusion. God wrote the Bible, it is HIS book.

Example comments:

“The church came before the bible. The church wrote the bible, then the church decided which books belong based on tradition.” source

“I'm not sure why you laugh when the Catholic Church gave the Bible to the world.” source

“As I and others have often said, the Catholic Church did not come out of the Bible; rather, the Bible came out of the Catholic Church! Jesus didn't leave us an instruction book; He left us a Church as our teacher. The Church produced the Bible and is its only rightful interpreter.” source

Early Church Fathers on Sola Scriptura

Irenaeus (ca. 150)
Against Heresies 3.1.1
“We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith.”

Clement of Alexandria (d. 215)
The Stromata, 7:16
“But those who are ready to toil in the most excellent pursuits, will not desist from the search after truth, till they get the demonstration from the Scriptures themselves.”

Gregory of Nyssa (, 395)
“On the Holy Trinity”, NPNF, p. 327
“Let the inspired Scriptures then be our umpire, and the vote of truth will be given to those whose dogmas are found to agree with the Divine words.”

Athanasius (c. 296–373)
Against the Heathen, 1:3
“The holy and inspired Scriptures are fully sufficient for the proclamation of the truth.”

Basil the Great (ca.329–379)
On the Holy Spirit, 7.16
“We are not content simply because this is the tradition of the Fathers. What is important is that the Fathers followed the meaning of the Scripture.”

Ambrose (340–397 A.D.)
On the Duties of the Clergy, 1:23:102
“For how can we adopt those things which we do not find in the holy Scriptures?”

St. Augustine (354–430)
De unitate ecclesiae, 10
“Neither dare one agree with catholic bishops if by chance they err in anything, but the result that their opinion is against the canonical Scriptures of God.”

Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
Summa Theologiae, Question 1, art. 8
“For our faith rests on the revelation made to the Prophets and Apostles who wrote the canonical books.”

Thanks to Reformed Rants for this list.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Random Answers to John, Part 2

-Yep, you have relativism in Protestantism, where each person decides what the truth is.

Wrong, the truth is the truth, Protestants just allow some disagreement on the non-essentials.

This canned Catholic argument is getting old. There is plenty of disagreement in the Catholic church, you just pretend there is not. And you know for a fact that amongst the laypeople there is a variety of beliefs spanning from universalism to all non-Catholics go to hell. Then there are the sedevacantists, the traditionalists, and the mainstream/VII Catholics all of whom are in differing degrees of disagreement.

Where is your source of authoritative scripture interpretation? I have yet to see a verse by verse, infallible interpretation anywhere. Until then you are pretty much left to your own interpretation which is exactly what you and your “apologist” friends engage in. You even told me once that there are very few dogmatic proclamations which means for most things you laypeople are left to your own interpretations.

This has been shown on this blog many times where multiple Catholic commenters gave conflicting answers. Even you John, have been wrong in your interpretations and corrected. If you think that kind of relativism is truth just because you pretend to all be of one unified opinion, then you are clearly blind.

Either the Catholic Church is the masterpiece of Satan and his greatest trick, or it is fully Christ established/H.S. run and an individual's salvation is in jepardy for not being in full communion (which makes all other 'churches' the whore of Babylon). No two options here.

Well, I am happy to hear you finally admit that non-Catholics are in jeopardy of hell rather than your usual Prot-Cat kumbaya. We agree, only one way is correct.

More later…

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Random Answers to John

John (jswranch) left a rather long comment in reference to a post on Challies site called The Appeal of Roman Catholicism. Unfortunately the comment section there was turned off so John left his rebuttal here.

I will attempt to answer some of John’s comments even though I didn’t write the original article and even though I know my answers will not be good enough. I don’t have the time for an attempt at an intense, scholarly response but hopefully some answer is better than none at all.

Perhaps when I am done John can answer one of my comments that went unanswered.

(John’s comments are in italics:)

He might be surprised to find out that about 2 Protestant Pastors/Theologians become Catholic every week over the last 15 years (~1,500 last 15 years).

Really? 1500? Name fifty for me.

“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.” 1 John 2:19

When a Catholic becomes protestant, it is usually a layman these days…However, when a Protestant becomes Catholic, they are usually Protestant scholars and leaders

Can you provide me with a percentage value for the word “usually”? If you want to say usually = 90%, then 90% of millions of laypeople is obviously a much larger final number than 90% of thousands (scholars/leaders).

I don’t have access to any facts nor do the titles impress me, but yes, I believe MANY more RCs become Protestants than vice versa. Whether they are laypeople or scholars it doesn't matter - more in the kingdom is great no matter who they are.

We now go to Catholic bible studies, fellowship groups, etc full of ex-Protestants.

Again, I would love to hear some actual numbers. Do a quick survey at your next group and tell me how many former Protestants there are versus cradle Catholics.

Please name me 4 Protestants who lived between 100-300 AD.

I can go even earlier than 100AD…Paul, Peter, John and James. They didn’t use the term “protestant” obviously, but these men did follow God’s word as written through their own hands.

John, you get hung up on the word Protestant. People who use God’s Word as their only authority (Protestants) have been around since the time of the apostles because that is what the apostles taught. God always has a remnant.

You seem to care more about the writings of 100-300AD than those before 100AD, in other words, the early church fathers seem to carry more weight than Scripture. If error was already creeping into the churches during the Apostolic age, what makes you think the writings of later, fallible men can be trusted?

Now, while the ECFs don't carry any weight with me, I think there is still a fair amount of gymnastics to make them entirely Roman Catholic-like. This quote from Irenaeus is a good example:

"We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the Gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith. For it is unlawful to assert that they preached before they possessed "perfect knowledge," as some do even venture to say, boasting themselves as improvers of the apostles." (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, book 3, 1, 1)

Even when I read some of the ECF quotes from the link you sent me, I wasn't very impressed. I think the interpretation of the quotes based on the category to which they have been placed is quite a stretch and requires a fair amount of presumptions.

We can get into a battle of ECF quotes to support our sides, but neither will win that way, and who really cares. Until you can prove to me that the ECFs were either inerrant or infallible, it is basically irrelevant.

More later…

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Glories of Mary

Excerpts from
by St. Alphonsus de Liguori

Nihil obstat: Rev. Arthur J. Scanlan, S.T.D.
Censor Librorum
Imprimatur: + His Eminence
Patritius Cardinalis Hayes
Archiepiscopus Neo-Eboracensis
Die 16 Aprilis, 1931

The Necessity of the Intercession of Mary for our Salvation

(Chapter 5)

Jesus Christ says, that no one can find him unless the Eternal Father first draws him by the means of divine grace: No one comes to me unless my Father draws him ("Nemo potest venire ad me, nisi Pater, qui misit me, traxerit eum"—John, vi. 44). Thus also does Jesus address his Mother, says Richard of St. Laurence: "No one comes to me unless my Mother first of all draws him by her prayers" ("Nemo potest venire ad me, nisi Mater mea suis precibus traxerit eum"—De Laud. B. M. 1. 12, p. 2). Jesus was the fruit of Mary, as St. Elizabeth told her: Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb" ("Benedicta tu inter mulieres, et benedictus Fructus ventris tui"—Luke, i. 42). Whoever, therefore, desires the fruit must go to the tree; whoever desires Jesus must go to Mary; and whoever finds Mary will most certainly find Jesus.

Cassian speaks in still stronger terms. He says absolutely, "that the salvation of all depends on their being favored and protected by Mary" ("Tota salus humani generic consistit in multitudine gratiae Mariae et favoris"—Pelbart, Stell. l. 12, p. 1, a. 3). He who is protected by Mary will be saved; he who is not will be lost. St. Bernardine of Sienna thus addresses this Blessed Virgin: "O Lady, since thou art the dispenser of all graces, and since the grace of salvation can only come through thy hands, our salvation depends on thee" ("Tu Dispensatrix omnium gratiarum"—Pro Fest. V. M. s. 13, a. 2, c. 3).

St. Bonaventure says, that "God will not save us without the intercession of Mary" ("Ipse, sine ea, non salvabit te"). And that "as a child cannot live without a nurse to suckle it, so no one can be saved without the protection of Mary" ("Quemadmodum infans, sine nutrice, non potest vivere; ita nec sine Domina nostra, potes habere salutem").

"And she is so called that sinners may understand that as the plane-tree gives shelter to travelers from the heat of the sun, so does Mary invite them to take shelter under her protection from the wrath of God, justly enkindled against them…"before Mary," to quote the saint's own words, "there was no one who could thus dare to restrain the arm of God." But now, if God is angry with a sinner, and Mary takes him under her protection, she withholds the avenging arm of her Son, and saves him. "And so," continues the same saint, "no one can be found more fit for this office than Mary, who seizes the sword of divine justice with her own hands to prevent it from falling upon and punishing the sinner""

"The Blessed Virgin herself revealed to St. Bridget "that there is no sinner in the world, however much he may be at enmity with God, who does not return to him and recover his grace, if he has recourse to her and asks her assistance" ("Nullus ita alienatus est de Deo, qui, si me invocaverit, non revertatur ad Deum"—Rev. l. 6, c. 10). The same St. Bridget one day heard Jesus Christ address his mother, and say that "she would be ready to obtain the grace of God for Lucifer himself, if only he humbled himself so far as to seek her aid" ("Etiam diabolo exhiberes misericordiam, si humiliter peteret"—Rev. extr. c. 50). That proud spirit will never humble himself so far as to implore the protection of Mary; but if such a thing were possible, Mary would be sufficiently compassionate, and her prayers would have sufficient power to obtain both forgiveness and salvation for him from God.

Prayer of St. Bernard

We raise our eyes to thee, O Queen of the world. We must appear before our Judge after so many sins: who will appease him? No one can do it better than thou canst, O holy Lady, who hast loved him so much, and by whom thou art so tenderly beloved. Open, then, O Mother of mercy, thy heart to our sighs and prayers. We fly to thy protection; appease the wrath of thy Son, and restore us to his grace...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Popes on Mary

I'm just trying to bookmark some things.

"The recourse we have to Mary in prayer follows upon the office she continuously fills by the side of the throne of God as Mediatrix of Divine grace; being by worthiness and by merit most acceptable to Him, and, therefore, surpassing in power all the angels and saints in Heaven. Now, this merciful office of hers, perhaps, appears in no other form of prayer so manifestly as it does in the Rosary. For in the Rosary all the part that Mary took as our co-Redemptress comes to us,"

"Thus is confirmed that law of merciful meditation of which We have spoken, and which St. Bernardine of Siena thus expresses: "Every grace granted to man has three degrees in order; for by God it is communicated to Christ, from Christ it passes to the Virgin, and from the Virgin it descends to us.""

"A soul that shall devoutly repeat these prayers, that shall ponder with faith these mysteries, will, without doubt, be filled with wonder at the Divine purposes in this great Virgin and in the work of the restoration of mankind. Doubtless, this soul, moved by the warmth of love for her and of confidence, will desire to take refuge upon her breast, as was the sweet feeling of St. Bernard: "Remember, O most pious Virgin Mary, that never was it heard that any who fled to thy protection, called upon thy help, and sought thy intercession, was left forsaken." But the fruits of the Rosary appear likewise, and with equal greatness, in the turning with mercy of the heart of the Mother of God towards us. How sweet a happiness must it be for her to see us all intent upon the task of weaving crowns for her of righteous prayers and lovely praises!"

"Yes, we fly to thee, we miserable children of Eve, O holy Mother of God. To thee we lift our prayers, for thou art the Mediatrix, powerful at once and pitiful, of our salvation. Oh, by the sweetness of the joys that came to thee from thy Son Jesus, by thy participation in His ineffable sorrows, by the splendours of His glory shining in thee, we instantly beseech thee, listen, be pitiful, hear us, unworthy though we be!"

"Now may God, "Who in His most merciful Providence gave us this Mediatrix," and "decreed that all good should come to us by the hands of Mary" (St. Bernard),"

"but chiefly with the power of the most holy Rosary, the devotion which the Mother of God taught to our Father Dominic in order that he might propagate it."

"By the fullness of grace which confers on her the most illustrious of her many titles, the Blessed Virgin is infinitely superior to all the hierarchies of men and angels, the one creature who is closest of all to Christ. "It is a great thing in any saint to have grace sufficient for the salvation of many souls; but to have enough to suffice for the salvation of everybody in the world, is the greatest of all; and this is found in Christ and in the Blessed Virgin.""

"Besides, as we are indebted to Christ for sharing in some way with us the right, which is peculiarly His own, of calling God our Father and possessing Him as such, we are in like manner indebted to Him for His loving generosity in sharing with us the right to call Mary our Mother and to cherish her as such."

"The foundation of all Our confidence, as you know well, Venerable Brethren, is found in the Blessed Virgin Mary. For, God has committed to Mary the treasury of all good things, in order that everyone may know that through her are obtained every hope, every grace, and all salvation. For this is His will, that we obtain everything through Mary."

"Then, again, no sooner had Pius IX. proclaimed as a dogma of Catholic faith the exemption of Mary from the original stain, than the Virgin herself began in Lourdes those wonderful manifestations, followed by the vast and magnificent movements which have produced those two temples dedicated to the Immaculate Mother, where the prodigies which still continue to take place through her intercession furnish splendid arguments against the incredulity of our days."

"Those, alas! furnish us by their conduct with a peremptory proof of it, who seduced by the wiles of the demon or deceived by false doctrines think they can do without the help of the Virgin. Hapless are they who neglect Mary under pretext of the honor to be paid to Jesus Christ! As if the Child could be found elsewhere than with the Mother!"

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Appeal of the RCC

I enjoyed this post on Challies: The Appeal of Roman Catholicism.

Eventually the RC apologists will show up and then the comment section should be interesting.