Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Posts Tagged ‘LCC’

Understanding Roman Catholicism – Another response

April 30th, 2011, Promulgated by Mike

Last month I wrote about a postcard mailing that was promoting a series of talks to be held on the three Sundays proceeding Easter Sunday (see here).  The talks were given by Pastor Vince DiPaola of Lakeshore Community Church in Greece and the mailing claimed they were intended for anyone who “ever wanted to understand Roman Catholic teaching in light of the Bible.”  Recipients were told they would receive “a careful look at Roman Catholic teaching from history, councils, quotes of leaders, and official catechisms” which would be compared to “the appropriate verses in the Bible.”  Finally, they were asked to “check us out with an open mind and then reach your own informed conclusions.”

Well, as many of you already know, Cleansing Fire’s Ben Anderson did check them out and did reach some informed conclusions (see here, here and here), but I suspect they were not the conclusions for which Pastor Vince was hoping.  To put it briefly, Pastor Vince’s three talks were full of misconceptions, half-truths, Church statements and Bible verses taken out of context and a few outright lies – pretty much the standard stock-in-trade of anyone attempting to “prove” that Catholicism is a false religion.

Fr. Tom Wheeland of Holy Cross Parish decided to approach the subject from a different angle.  Fr. Tom contacted Lighthouse Catholic Media and ordered three of their CD-ROM talks – several hundred of each.  The talks were given by Steve Ray and David Curie – both converts from Evangelical Protestantism – and Patrick Madrid – a lifelong Catholic.  Each person attending one of the Easter Sunday Masses at Holy Cross was encouraged to take one home, listen to it, and then either pass it on to a friend or bring it back to swap for one of the others.

As a Holy Cross parishioner it is going to be interesting to see just what might develop from this.

Understanding Roman Catholicism: Disagreements part 2 (lies, misconceptions, and deceit)

April 25th, 2011, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

The 3rd and final week of Pastor Vince’s series “Understanding Roman Catholicism” was this past Palm Sunday.  I debated whether or not to even write anything up about it because his claims are just so outrageous.  He’s already proven in the first 2 weeks (week 1 hereweek 2 here) that he is more inclined to anti-intellectual, anti-Catholic rhetoric than he is to actually investigating and pursuing true differences between Catholicism and Protestantism.  If you’re wondering if such an investigation is even possible to do in a gentlemanly fashion, the answer is yes; quite so.  A while back, I wrote about the group Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT) and posted links to their documents.  Pastor Vince (PV from here on out) would do well to read up on some actual Protestant scholarship.  This critique of PV’s “sermon” will be much more brief as I’m thinking it not worthwhile to do a point-by-point of each and every error.  There are just too many to even count.  Instead I’ll just respond to a few points I scribbled down as I listened.

PV set up his unmentioned conclusion in earlier weeks.  Catholics don’t know the Bible.  If only they did, they’d realize just how easily their doctrines are disproved.  To that, I’d simply respond that the Church doctors, teachers, theologians, and great Saints who advanced and deepened Catholic theology over the years knew the Bible better than most of us could ever dream.  Before just writing them off, one would be wise to at least read what a Catholic intellectual would have to say.  To all of his biblical quotes where he supposedly disproves Catholicism, the Catholic response is, “yeah – so what.  That doesn’t prove the point you’re trying to make.”  The Bible has led more people into the Church than out of it.

Since I’m not going to address each and every issue, let me just say that if a protestant who stumbles across this series of posts truly wishes to delve deeper, feel free to contact me.  There are responses to each issue.  I’ve shown in the previous weeks that PV’s claims are not credible.  I’ve shown that Catholicism is credible.  To validate that claim – go back and read those posts (links above).

I’ll transcribe PV’s quotes in blue (these quotes are not exact – I scribbled down some notes on my commute; red lights only – not while driving) followed by my responses.

[podcast]http://ben.cleansingfire.org/audio/pv_damned_to_hell.mp3[/podcast]
PV: The Roman Catholic Church has condemned me to hell and condemned every member of LCC to hell.

youch!  That’s quite the claim.  This is perhaps the most important message to get across to PV and his flock, “the Church condemns no one to hell”.  That would be grossly overstepping her bounds.  In fact, we affirm that Evangelicals are our brothers and sisters in Christ.

and another:

[podcast]http://ben.cleansingfire.org/audio/pv_make_the_call.mp3[/podcast]

I’m sure LCC’s staff are incredible people.  I’d love to talk with any of you (including PV).  However, this presentation by PV is anything but objective.  It’s pretty clear also that it is intellectually dishonest.

PV: anathema is the equivalent of damning someone to hell.

http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2000/0004chap.asp

PV: Roman Catholicism is a cancer

Nice – real nice 🙂

PV: popery started with Gregory

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2009/06/antidote-to-john-calvins-institutes_25.html
http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2005/06/i-love-word-popish-steve-hays-and.html

PV: the Protestant response is…

PV says this multiple times throughout this session.  #1 there is no one protestant response.  #2 if you were to weld together all of the various protestant responses into one, it would sound much different that PV’s response.

PV: Catholics “need” Mary

hmmm – not really anymore than protestants would.  How exactly did Jesus get here?

PV: If there’s one chapter in one book I’d like to destroy it’s 2 Maccabees 15 because there’s so much damnable content

Father, forgive him for he knows not what he says.

PV: He uses a pretty nasty voice when quoting a Catholic who said “there’s only one Cathechism”

I thought he wasn’t going to do any Catholic bashing.  Sure, whoever said that was wrong.  So what?  We all make errors.  And supposing this person was a jerk to him – that’s just one person.  I know of at least a few people (myself included) who have sent very polite emails and received no response.  But he choose to caricature us Catholics as whiny dimwits.  Thanks, PV!

PV: merit means earned

He’s leaving out a major distinction between condign merit and congruent merit.  From wikipedia:

Condign merit (meritum de condigno) is an aspect of Roman Catholic theology signifying a goodness that has bestowed because of the actions of that person. In opposition is congruent merit, a goodness bestowed on a person because of someone else, typically God.

PV: earn what Christ has earned – very complex idea

Actually it’s not that complex.  I’ll be honest in that I find the justification debate somewhat lame.  The only issue I had w/ it when becoming Catholic was that I didn’t want it to be true.  I had no issue believing intellectually that works are necessary.  I didn’t want to believe it because that meant I had to change some things in my life.  The best explanation I’ve heard is that both faith and works are responses to God’s grace.  Neither are our own doing.  Both kinds of faith and works required for salvation require God’s graces.  The tired Protestant expression that “Catholics work their way to heaven” is just flat wrong.  Catholics believe that man is required to respond to God’s grace by allowing Him to change our lives and turn away from sin is a much better way to put it.

PV: Catholics have no idea if a baby who dies w/out baptism goes to heaven.  That child is at the mercy of God.

I didn’t hear PV say what was wrong about this.  He must believe 1) the child is damned, 2) the child is saved, or 3) we don’t know if the child is saved or damned.  I don’t believe he stated his position or if he gave any reason for his position.

PV: The rosary is 10 prayers to Mary for every one to God.

hmmm – he totally skips the most important part of the Rosary – the meditations on the life of Christ.  Perhaps others understand it differently, but I’ll share my experience having gone from having never prayed the rosary to trying to pray it frequently.  To me, rote pray (saying “Hail Mary, full of grace…” over and over again) is not an end, but a means to meditation.  All the externals of Catholicism are meant to effect our constant interior conversion to Christ.  If the externals are not doing that, then I’ll grant PV that they are all for naught.  However, as someone who was mostly turned off by such externals most of my life (even after my initial conversion to Catholicism), I have become more and more astonished by the kind of effect these externals have on my interior life.  This was especially surprising to me after my first few TLM experiences.  The TLM was somewhat repulsive, yet so enticing.  Afterwards, I felt like I understood the mysteries of Christ much more than I did before.

PV: Catholics believe that they can be saved by someone else

No – ultimately our salvation is up to us.  Everyone either chooses heaven or chooses hell.  Certainly other people help us make that choice; in some ways direct and other ways indirect.  I’m sure PV wouldn’t disagree w/ that.  He’s using bad logic.  How would PV even know about Jesus Christ unless someone told him?  Would his salvation not be dependent on that other person?  Is that person not in some sense his savior?

PV: Catholic soteriology is based on obeying the law

Yes, there is legitimate disagreement among Catholics and Protestants about the involvement of good works in regard to our salvation.  However, Catholic theology has never excluded the fact that God wants our hearts.  He desires an intimate relationship with us.  In fact, he knows us better than we know ourselves.  We get to heaven by responding to his grace.  PV’s description of the Catholic understanding of salvation is completely lacking in this dimension.  This is another case of the Catholic both-and (as opposed to either-or; either faith or works in this case).

PV: Mary had brothers

http://www.catholic.com/library/Brethren_of_the_Lord.asp
http://www.catholic.com/library/Mary_Ever_Virgin.asp

PV: Mary w/out sin means she had no need of a savior

PV once again misrepresents the Catholic position.  Mary needed Jesus for her salvation just like everyone else.  What’s different is that Jesus saved her earlier in that she was able to lead a sinless life.  I don’t remember where I head this analogy, but I’ll retell it the best I remember:

Human sin is like a tar pit which we can’t free ourselves from.  We require a savior to reach down and pull us out of it.  In Mary’s case, this savior kept her from falling into the pit in the first place.  Without the assistance of the savior, she would’ve have fallen in just like everyone else.

PV: purgatory

The best response to a protestant I can mount about the existence of purgatory is, “CS Lewis believed in it”.
http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2010/06/c-s-lewis-belief-in-purgatory-and.html

I heard a scholar talking about Lewis (one of my favorite authors) on a radio program once.  The host prodded with a question like, “do you think if Lewis had lived another 10 years he would’ve eventually become a Catholic?”  The response was something like, “yes, but I don’t believe that was in God’s plan.  I believe God purposely kept Lewis outside the Church.  If he had entered, then he wouldn’t have become the giant of Protestant thought that he is today.  They would write him off as one of those Catholic writers (much like Newman).  Instead, by remaining an Anglican, he serves as a splendid bridge legitimizing so many Catholic beliefs into the Protestant mind.”

Resources:

3 books that probably had the most profound effect on my eventual conversion:

Catholicism and Fundamentalism

The Salvation Controversy

Rome Sweet Home

And as always – be sure to recommend 1460 AM to one and all.

If you happen to encounter anyone with such anti-Catholic beliefs, be sure to be gentle.  If they’re really open to hearing the Catholic point of view, there are plenty of resources that you can give them.  If they aren’t open, then nothing you can say will convert them.  Ultimately it’s all up to the Holy Spirit (but that doesn’t get us off the hook of doing our part).

The whole session is here:

[podcast]http://lakeshorechurch.org/musiclibrary/fileman/podcast/sunday/183/183-848.mp3[/podcast]

 

This is just bad logic.

 

Understanding Roman Catholicism: Week 2 – Disagreements

April 12th, 2011, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

This past Sunday was the 2nd week of Lakeshore Community Church’s 3-week series titled “Understanding Roman Catholicism”.  The first week dealt with agreements.  This 2nd week and the upcoming 3rd week deal with disagreements.

[podcast]http://lakeshorechurch.org/musiclibrary/fileman/podcast/sunday/183/183-847.mp3[/podcast]

For brevity’s sake, I will be abbreviating Pastor Vince as PV. I’m sure he won’t mind since he abbreviates the V2 document Dei Verbum as DV.


Objective Presentation and letting you “make the call”

At the beginning of this week’s session he reiterates the fact that he’s going to present the debate objectively and let you “make the call”.  Again I’ll say that this presentation is not objective and you can’t make the call if you haven’t heard both sides of the story.  Imagine in the next presidential debate having President Obama represent both sides and then letting the American people make the call.  And who exactly is PV asking to make the call?  I would assume that the people who regularly attend LCC have already “made the call”.  With the corresponding brochure that was mailed out it’s obvious that Pastor Vince is expecting there to be Catholics in attendance who might be willing to leave their faith and begin attending his church.  Notice also the timing of this series.  Next week is Palm Sunday.  I would imagine that the next (and final week) there will be an invitation.  Something like, “If after hearing this objective presentation of Catholicism you would like to learn the Bible for yourself and let Jesus save you, please join us again next week for Easter.  Your decision has eternal consequences.”  Indeed it does.  Some people might be up in arms that this is sheep stealing.  Personally, I call it fair game.  Well, not quite.  He’s not playing the game fairly when he misrepresents our side, but the fact that he’s playing the game is fair.  I actually have no problem with his attempt to “steal sheep”.   He thinks he’s right.  He thinks people are more likely to get to heaven if they come to his church.  If that’s the case, then for him to really care about you and I is to try to bring us into his flock.  We should actually believe the same thing, but in reverse.  Do we?  Are we brave enough to step out of our comfort zone?  Do our diocesan leaders believe that their #1 mission is to get people to heaven?  Do our priests yearn to get their parishioners into heaven?  Do we go out and try to bring lost sheep into the fold?  If the answer is no to any of those questions, then it’s obvious we have a major problem on our hands.  Watered down Catholicism has no teeth.

Continuing on, I’ll follow the same template as my previous post and start with the main points and then follow with some additional commentary.

 

Obviously False Assertions by PV

PV makes a special note that he wants to be notified if he has misquoted anything.  I checked some of his quotes – they check out.  That’s not the issue, though.  The issue is taking quotes out of context and drawing false conclusions from them.  Accuracy of quotes does not nullify the fact that you might misuse quotes to present misleading arguments.

1) “Apocryphal” works were added by Trent
Actually the deuterocanonicals were widely considered scripture (mostly undisputed) since the earliest Christian age.  It was Martin Luther who wanted to get rid of certain doctrines, so he found a convenient way to do so by throwing the deuterocanonical books out of scripture.  He also tried to throw out other books like James because of it’s “not by faith alone” text.
http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2004/05/historical-case-for-apocrypha.html
http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2010/10/catholic-resources-for-greek-septuagint.html
http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2000/0009sbs.asp

2) the Catholic Church suppressed the Bible
PV includes quotes that when not given the full context are extremely misleading.  The reason the Church restricted reading and printing of certain Bibles was because they wanted to be sure of their accuracy.  One can legitimately disagree whether the Church handled this correctly or not, but you can’t dispute the fact that there were reasons for the Catholic Church’s stance.
http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2006/08/was-catholic-church-avowed-enemy-of.html

I’d also note that the issue of common people owning Bibles was not the same issue in the 16th century that it is today.  The idea of a commoner owning a book was a totally new concept in the 16th century (and probably not a common reality even then).  The Protestant idea that equates being a Christian with owning a Bible doesn’t make sense historically.  If owning a Bible and interpreting it for yourself is such a crucial part of Christian living, then how do we consider commoners prior to the printing press?  No, I’m not saying that Christians today shouldn’t own and read Bibles.  They most certainly should.

3) PV claims that the Catholic church has a higher regard for Islam than Evangelical Protestantism
This is obviously a misreading of the documents.  V2 addresses Evangelical Christians and Muslims in separate documents.  The names of the documents are enough to disprove PV’s assertion.  Listen very closely, PV, “Evangelical Protestants are our brothers and sisters in Christ.”  Perhaps the DOR’s ecumenism office might want to take note that one of our brothers feels slighted and focus some of their efforts on conservative Evangelicals and prove PV wrong (instead of denying truths of the Faith).

DECREE ON ECUMENISM
UNITATIS REDINTEGRATIO

The children who are born into these Communities and who grow up believing in Christ cannot be accused of the sin involved in the separation, and the Catholic Church embraces upon them as brothers, with respect and affection. For men who believe in Christ and have been truly baptized are in communion with the Catholic Church even though this communion is imperfect.
…It follows that the separated Churches(23) and Communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church.

DECLARATION ON THE RELATION OF THE CHURCH TO NON-CHRISTIAN RELIGIONS
NOSTRA AETATE

3. The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth,(5) who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.

He also uses a couple B16 quotes to prove that the Catholic Church holds Islam higher than Protestantism.  It’s not even worth my time to address that because his misinterpretation is just so obvious.

3b) PV claims that the Catholic Church teaches that Evangelicals can’t be saved.
Another misunderstanding.  Admittedly, it’s taken time to nail down what exactly “no salvation outside the Church means”, but V2 is pretty clear.  See above quote from Unitatis Redintegratio.

Legitimate differences between Evangelical Protestantism and Catholicism

1) Sola Scriptura
The following links provide much more substance than I can, but real quickly the obvious counter questions to Protestants are:  How do you know what books should be in the Bible?  What do you do when 2 people have 2 different interpretations of an essential doctrine?  Who decides what are the essentials and what are the non-essentials?  Where in the Bible is Sola Scriptura defined?
http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2006/06/are-all-biblical-books-self-attesting.html
http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2006/11/bible-church-tradition-canon-index.html
http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2008/12/introduction-from-my-book-xxx-biblical.html
http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2004/0409fea3.asp

One other note on Sola Scriptura and perspicuity…  PV actually does a better job disproving the perspicuity of Scriptures (and the right of each individual to interpret scripture for themselves) than I could do.  If you listen, you’ll find yourself disagreeing with many of his interpretations about some pretty big issues.  If Scripture is so clear, then how come my interpretation of John 6 is so different than PV’s?  And if I’m entitled to my own interpretation, than how can I be wrong to say that Scripture clearly points to the Eucharist and the institution of the Church?

2) no such thing as the priesthood in the New Testament
http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2006/05/biblical-evidence-for-priests.html
http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2005/09/eucharistic-sacrifice-witness-of_12.html
http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2005/0503fea4.asp

Areas where PV differs from generally accepted protestant scholarship

Yes, that’s right.  I said protestant scholarship.  Intellectually honest protestants know where and how to pick their battles.  Most educated protestants will not argue the following points because they know they don’t have a leg to stand on.

1) call no man father

Most protestant scholars don’t see this passage as a refutation for calling priests father.
http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2004/12/catholic-refutation-of-catholicism.html
http://www.catholic.com/library/Call_No_Man_Father.asp

2) interpretation of Matthew 16:18 – petros/petra

Obviously no protestants find the modern day papacy in this passage, but most protestant scholars have given up the petros/petra distinction.
http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2009/07/protestant-exegesis-profoundly-affected.html
http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2009/07/prominent-baptist-exegete-john-albert.html
http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2009/07/evangelical-nt-scholar-peter.html

3) “the Bible says that the body is made up of many churches”
I’ve actually never heard this one before.  He’s using Paul’s body parts text to claim proof of the need to have many different churches.  I’m not even sure how exactly to dispute this because it’s just so whack.  I suppose Jesus’ dying wish is the most obvious refutation – John 17:21 “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me”

My guess at what he’s saving for week 3

1) Mariology

2) Faith+Works

3) Eucharist

So that’s the biggies.

Click here to continue reading my minute/second commentary…

Understanding Roman Catholicism: Week 1 – Agreements

April 4th, 2011, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

Today was the first session of Pastor Vince’s “Understanding Roman Catholicism” series at Lakeshore Community Church (as reported previously by Mike).  Like most people, I was willing to give this effort the benefit of the doubt, although I was somewhat skeptical of the strategy.  LCC releases their podcasts of the messages very quickly, so I was already able to listen to the first sermon in this series.  The series is 3 weeks (the 1st week about agreements and the 2nd and 3rd about disagreements).  I’ve included a link (and embedded player) of the mp3 so you can listen.  I’ve also transcribed some of it, although I did so hastily, so please let me know if you find errors.  I’m going to start out with what I believe easily discredits Pastor Vince’s claim to be simply objective and then continue on with some random notes on the rest of it.  Pastor Vince also doesn’t stick to agreements during this first week.  Here’s the full audio if  you want to follow along (after the initial wow factor, the rest will be chronological if you wish to listen along with my notes).  I will also be sending a link to this article onto LCC.

1:45 Our approach is the most absolutely objective way I possibly could employ.  And it’s simple.  I’m going to use quotes of the Bible, quotes of the Popes, quotes of Roman Catholic councils… Roman Catholic Catechisms… so that’ll allow you to see everything just straight up, so you can decide for yourself.  Let me say that last phrase again… so you can decide for yourself.

36:17 “these are all historical facts.  You can’t question any of what I’m about to say.  It’s verifiable and historical.  In 1374, John Wycliffe denounced the sale of indulgences and denounced the pope.  He also was denounced for his translation of the Bible into English.  The very first translation of the Bible into English accomplished by John Wycliffe.  The Roman Catholic Church who wanted to control distribution of the Bible… opposed him putting it into the language of the common people and Wycliffe was denounced and excommunicated from the Church.

Jan Hus … followed Wycliffe and started preaching in English (based on Wycliffe’s translation).  He was also branded a heretic and excommunicated… Ever hear of “burned at the stake?”  This is what happened to Jan Huss.  Why?  For teaching the Bible to ordinary people.  Girolamo Savonarola… tortured… tortured… tortured…  These are absolutely historical facts.

Historical facts, eh?  More like historical falsehoods.  So where did he error? (it’s late and I’m tired, so I’m gonna resort to wikipedia for references.  I hope to get better ones in the future.)

  1. Wycliffe’s translation was not the first translation into English.  (English_translations_of_the_Bible).  While we’re discussing it, everyone should also know that Luther wasn’t the first to translate the Bible into German.
  2. Wycliffe was not denounced simply for translating the Bible into English. (John_Wycliffe)
  3. Jan Hus was not burned at the stake for teaching the Bible to ordinary people.  (Jan_Hus)
  4. This one isn’t quite as clear cut because we’d agree w/ Pastor Vince’s exact wording, “the Catholic Church wanted to control distribution of the Bible.”  His implication, though, is that the Church didn’t want people to read it because they were scared of what they’d find out.  This is obviously false.  The Church wanted to control distribution because many “translators” wrote into the words of Scripture, their own theological interpretations.  Or, perhaps, they just weren’t qualified and might make significant errors.  The Church still does this to this day with the use of imprimaturs and nihil obstats.

That is classic anti-Catholicism.  I had hoped that LCC’s efforts would’ve been better than this.  So Pastor Vince claims this series is going to be an objective view into Roman Catholicism?  Looks like the answer to that is:

Pastor Vince also builds the drama by dwelling on the cruelty of their deaths as if it were unique to the Catholic Church.  Protestants ended up doing the exact same things (even worse).  It’s just how things were done then.  It was a different time.  We can all agree now that burning people isn’t the best way to handle conflict.  But pointing out that Catholics burned Protestants (or their predecessors) doesn’t validate your point.  Sure – there was corruption in the Church, but if you want to compare stories (good and bad), the Catholic Church will wallop any other religious organization or secular institution.  For one such hero story – check out Edmund_Campion.  For a less than glorious look at one of the fathers of the Reformation, John Calvin, see this article.

Alright, so that’s the big shocker.  I think that gives us a good idea of the tactics Pastor Vince will be using in the next 2 weeks.  If that’s enough for you, now is the time to stop reading.  If you’d like more commentary on Pastor Vince’s sermon, let’s continue.  Here’s the 8 points that Pastor Vince works through during his talk that he claims unite us

  1. Bible
  2. Trinity
  3. Holiness of God
  4. The Fall of Man
  5. Lord’s Prayer / Apostle’s Creed
  6. Christ’s Death
  7. Christ’s Resurrection
  8. Holy Living / Moral Standard

Those are all fine, but I wish he would’ve included a few more.

  1. something on justification.  Obviously we don’t believe exactly the same thing on justification.  However, there is much common ground that could be affirmed.  For example a few years ago, the Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation released a document titled JOINT DECLARATION ON THE DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION.  Obviously Pastor Vince didn’t have time to go into that much detail, but a cursory overview of our similarities on justification would’ve done the discussion justice.  The fact that he avoided it makes me wonder whether he considers Catholics Christians.
  2. Stances against the evils of our modern world.  Abortion, Same-Sex-Marriage, Euthanasia, etc.  Standing together on these issues is perhaps one of the best reasons to come together and unite on what we can.
  3. Reverence for the writings of the early Church Fathers.  Obviously these writings aren’t inspired like scripture, but they give us a good idea of how the early Church interpreted the scriptures.  I wish he’d have agreed to the fact that these writings are critical to understanding how the early Church.

“Bible believing, protestant, evangelical”

He has a hard time naming his belief system.  He seems most comfortable with the term “Bible Believing”.  I’ve never liked anyone who claims that name, though, because we all claim that.  I am a Catholic – a Bible believing Christian.  Past Vince acknowledges as much in his first point of agreement.  This is why I love the name of John Martignoni’s organization – the Bible Christian Society.  I read lots of books when I converted, but no other book convinced me more of Catholicism than the Bible itself.  If all you need is the Bible, then why couldn’t Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin resolve their differences by merely going to scripture?

With that said, let’s do a chronological response (quotes w/out minutes:seconds means I forgot exactly where they fit in and might be out of order)

3:02″objective and no need to coerce…”

How can you make this claim w/out letting the other side speak for themselves?  I hereby challenge Pastor Vince to a public debate (with the understanding that I can pick someone smarter than me to represent the Catholic side).  How bout it, Pastor Vince?  You have to admit that a one-sided presentation of a topic can’t possible be objective, don’t you?

He mentions some negative feedback he’s gotten from Catholics – as if that paints the whole picture.  Does this border on Catholic bashing?  He didn’t mention any of the polite emails he got (like the one I sent):

To whom it may concern,
I see you’re doing a series on Roman Catholicism…  I’m a former Presbyterian (Calvinist) who became convinced of Catholicism and 4 years ago crossed the Tiber.  If, by chance, you’d like to have a Catholic provide their own perspective, I’d be more than happy to provide that.  Or if you’d just like a Catholic to review the presentation to make sure you’re accurately representing Catholic teaching – I’d be happy to help out with that as well.
God Bless,
Ben Anderson

I received no response.

He lists his credentials to cover this topic (honestly I don’t really need his credentials, but since he brought it up).

  1. 23 years as a faithful Catholic.  I’m curious how fervent he was in his Catholic faith.  He later claims that the Apostles Creed is said at every mass.  The fact that he’s wrong on that doesn’t invalidate the point he was making.  But it does make one wonder if he really was a fervent Catholic, wouldn’t he know that it’s not the Apostles Creed said at mass, but the Nicene Creed?
  2. Masters Degree from Dallas Theological Seminary.  This is a protestant seminary, so I’m not sure why that qualifies him.

6:41 my best man converted from Evangelicalism to Catholicism and that it doesn’t happen as much.

I don’t know if it doesn’t happen as much, but this short NCRegister article sheds a little light on the issue.  I’d also like to point to a site I discovered recently that is very interesting – http://www.calledtocommunion.com/.  Many of the authors are from the denomination I was raised in (PCA – Presbyterian Church in America).

in the creed “Catholic” means merely universal, not a single, visible, communion separate from others

hmmm – I’m not convinced of that.  Here’s 2 articles disputing that point. (What_Catholic_Means and What Does Catholic Mean?)

12:20 the Philadephia Confession of Faith.

I’m not positive, but I think he’s referring to this which states:

26.4. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the church, in whom, by the appointment of the Father, all power for the calling, institution, order or government of the church, is invested in a supreme and sovereign manner; neither can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof, but is that antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church against Christ.

continuing on…

20:44  All have fallen short

I’ll let Dave Armstrong (http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2007/03/all-have-sinned-mary.html) tackle that.

27:00 “we don’t celebrate a mass here, though some of you have congratulated me on delivering a nice homily at the mass.”

This gives a pretty good idea as to the understanding level of many of the “former Catholics” who now attend LCC.

27:40 “1 Peter 3:18 ‘for Christ died for sins once for all’.  I had you remember ‘all have sinned’. I hope you remember ‘once for all’ because that’s gonna play out in the next two weeks…. Christ died how many times? four? He died once for all. All have sinned. These are going to be important phrases.”

You can see what he’s doing here.  It’s pretty obvious.  An honest inquirer wouldn’t focus so clearly on the shallowness of this debate.  Obviously we believe in the same Scriptures.  You don’t need to repeat it for effect and act like Catholics don’t have an answer.

I enjoyed this next clip so much that I want you to hear it.

AMEN!   (and I love the voice!)  We have the same problem with “liberal” Catholics.

30:55 “by the way, where did Paul receive that from?  Peter?  nope – Jesus Christ himself.”

ummm – is he trying to imply that Catholics believe otherwise?  It seems like he’s falsely setting up the Catholic side of the debate so he can more easily knock it down.

31:05 he explains that the Catholic church he group up in replaced a cruficix with a risen Lord cross.

I don’t have time to look that up, but I thought that was illicit.

35:30 he defines a heretic.

I could be wrong, but I think he has heretic mixed up with apostate.

Here’s another article from Dave Armstrong on Luther:

Alright, that’s all for now – I’m up much too late.  I’m not sure if I’ll have the energy to respond to the next 2 sessions (or if they’re even going to be worth responding to).  I hope our diocese can organize some sort of counter program to not only try to keep Catholics from leaving, but try to bring back those who have already left (LCC is made up of 50% “former Catholics”).  And while we’re at it, why not also make a serious effort to bring in those who have never been in a Catholic Church?  You’re probably getting sick of hearing me harp on this – but we need to emphasize the importance of teaching the faith.

“Understanding” Roman Catholicism

March 24th, 2011, Promulgated by Mike

A large postcard from the Lakeshore Community Church (LCC) showed up in yesterday’s mail.  On the front is a photo that appears to have been taken inside Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, along with the phrase “Understanding Roman Catholicism,” with the latter two words much larger than the first and in a font that seems to have been chosen to evoke feelings of shabbiness, disorder or decay.

On the back is a large banner that asks …

So You Want To Understand Roman Catholicism?

… and beneath the banner is this message from LCC …

If you have ever wanted to understand Roman Catholic teaching in light of the Bible, you’re not alone. Many people wrestle with what it all means and how much it applies to their life today.

At Lakeshore, we’re taking a careful look at Roman Catholic teaching from history, councils, quotes of leaders, and official catechisms and will compare them to the appropriate verses in the Bible. We think you’ll be intrigued by the comparison and learn more about both in the process.

Our promise? No Catholic bashing because we believe people matter to God. Our request? Check us out with an open mind and then reach your own informed conclusions.

On nothing more than a whim I googled the phrase “Understanding Roman Catholicism” (with the quotes) and a very interesting resource popped up.  It is a book by that name written some 16 years ago by Rick Jones.  According to Amazon.com,

Rick was born and raised a Roman Catholic which laid the foundation for his third book, “Understanding Roman Catholicism”. Being saved out of Catholicism caused him to experience the dramatic difference between the emptiness of religion and a fulfilling personal relationship with Jesus Christ. In addition, in 1987 God led Rick to Chick Publications, where he has worked for the last twenty years. It was there that he began an extensive study of official Catholic beliefs and learned the stark differences between Catholicism and the Bible. Not wanting a single Catholic to miss heaven, this book was written to offer Catholics true Biblical salvation, which they will never find in their religion.

Chick Publications has conveniently posted a version of this book online so it is possible to get some idea of what Jones means by “the stark difference Catholicism and the Bible.” I am not,however, going to spend any time critiquing Jones’ arguments as they are really quite sophomoric. You can check them out for yourself or take a quick look at this thread from Catholic Answers Forums where several people say essentially the same thing.

While Jones’ book contains elements drawn from “history, councils, quotes of leaders, and official catechisms” and bears the same name as LCC’s series of talks, I don’t know for sure that LCC plans to base its presentations on this particular resource.  Even if it doesn’t, though, I expect LCC will rely on something similar.

I doubt that LCC will pick up any new members from among those Catholics who actually know their faith.  The problem is that, in this diocese anyway, there are thousands who don’t – both practicing and non-practicing.

As one of the members of the Catholic Answers Forum wrote,

The problem is that as practicing Catholics, we know to avoid Chick publications – Protestants and non-practicing Catholics don’t. We know how to knock down his arguments – non-practicing Catholics don’t.