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Old 11-18-2008, 08:32 PM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 57

I have had correspondence with a Roman Catholics on various boards. The below correspondence, a little over 3 years ago, centered on a comment this particular Catholic made in regards to the issue of final authority. I provide FYE:

(name withheld)writes:

"Also, as many of you have pointed out, just because it's not mentioned in the Bible doesn't necessarily mean you can or can't do it."

"Since I am not "sola scriptura", I use writings of the Church Fathers to study how the Truth was applied. Before you burn me at the stake
let me say this...I believe the Bible is the inspired, inerrant word of God. I believe we can learn from the trustworthy, though not necessarily inspired, writings of the saints and martyrs of the early church."

My response:

This is the crux of the matter. We can "go back and forth" on doctrinal issues until we are "blue in the face", or until the Texas Rangers win a World Series(i.e., a very long time!), but it is akin to the proverbial "re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic". There can be no rational, logical discussion of doctrinal issues unless there is a "meeting of the minds" on this issue: What, or Who, is the final authority? "Who gets to rule whom?" The statement by (name withheld), A Roman Catholic(and thus I am assuming he/she accepts the official, in writing pronouncements by the "Roman Catholic Church" on doctrinal issues-perhaps I am wrong-it would not be the first time!), "just because it's not mentioned in the Bible doesn't necessarily mean you can or can't do it" really crystallizes the issue, and is quite telling. That is, he/she just summarized the nature of the dispute. Protestants, if I may use that term in the generic sense, accept the written revelation of the Lord God as the sole source of truth, the exclusive source of final authority on matters of doctrine("faith and practice"), and that written revelation is contained in a book we call the Holy Bible. The Roman Catholic Church does not(and notice I am referring to that "the Church", known as the RCC organization- that which has made official, in writing pronouncements on doctrinal issues)-they teach it i s the "pope", church councils(the "Magesterium"), and tradition decided by them. It is that simple. Once the doctrine of "Sola Scriptura" is rejected, a proverbial "Pandora's Box" of doctrinal additions is opened. And this has indeed happened, as verified by such extra-biblical doctrines as the perpetual virginity of Mary, her "assumption" into heaven, her "sinlessness", "praying the Rosary", "purgatory" ......., and as verified by some of the comments by RCC apologists on forums such as this one. As one RCC writer asserted, and this is confirmed by official RCC pronouncements(I can only take these official pronouncements as they are written in plain, "5th grade English"), "Scripture has been, and remains our primary, although not exclusive, source for Catholic doctrines."

This is not a trivial matter-souls are at stake. Everyone should be interested in authority. Regardless of your "lot" in life, I believe it is a reasonable conclusion to state that everyone is under authority, and many are in a position of authority.

The Holy Bible is about authority from Genesis 1:1 through Revelation 22:21. Authority is what all the hoopla is about-woman's rights; sodomy rights; children's rights; animal rights; civil rights..... Is abortion a woman's natural right, or an act of murder of an unborn child? Should homosexuality stand on equal moral ground with heterosexual relationships? Are all religious belief systems just different ways to the same God? Is it intellectual to reject a belief in God? Why do people professing to be Christians have so much trouble believing the same Biblical truths? Does it matter what Bible you use?

The list of questions could go on and on. In our modern world there is an overwhelming amount of news, information, and commentary that bombards us on a daily basis. From kindergarten to corporate America, the idea that all belief systems and lifestyles have equal value is crammed down our throats(relativism). How can anyone make sense of this confusing world? When faced with choices, how do we decide what to believe? Whether we want to admit it or not, each one of us relies on some authority to establish and justify our beliefs, the only exception being those that are their own authority, i.e., those that propose that man is a law unto himself. This is what we call secular humanism. The Holy Bible summarizes this world view as follows:

"...but every man did that which was right in his own eyes"(Judges 17:6, 21:5).
"...Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? Genesis 37:8
"...Who made thee a prince and a judge over us?" Exodus 2:14
"...We will not have this man to reign over us." Luke 19:14
"...Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us?" Acts 7:27

Authority is the imparted right to bring the power of another into operation. It is delegated power, and its value depends upon the force behind the user.

The ground of authority has been the battlefield for over 6000 years. The first sin (and all subsequent sins) was a rebellion against authority (Isaiah. 14:12-14). Therefore, rebellion is a Satanic principle (1 Sam. 15:22). Our LORD is a God of ORDER and authority (1 Cor. 14:40). When God is ignored, anarchy results (Jude. 21:25).

What is your authority? When you take a stand on an issue or choose a course of action for your life, you are influenced by your concept of authority. We all put our faith in something. Whatever you consistently put your faith in is the guiding authority for your life.

When I was saved by the grace of God 7 years ago this month(April 2005-happy 7th birthday to me!), and delivered from the bondage of Roman Catholicism, I was eager to share the Holy Bible with Catholics, including my family, so that they might know the truth it contained, as opposed to the contradictions and lies of Catholicism. To my surprise, I found that the typical RCC "apologist" did not care how clear or undisputable the facts were-their only concern was to "win the debate", and defend Roman Catholicism. Any reasonably, prudent person, if simple "5th grade English words" are to be understood, has to conclude that most RCC doctrines cannot be derived from the Holy Bible. RCC apologists usually start out a debate by presenting some scriptural verse as their "proof texts', but when I demonstrated the actual context of the verse,to hopefully bring out it's true doctrinal implications, or even when the verse was so simple even a "5th grader" could understand it, the RCC apologist would present a standard "company line" debating technique, such as "the Rubber Stamp Technique", or "The Alice in Wonderland Technique-the word means what I says it means"(The technique Bill Clinton used-you know, "It depends how you define the word...."), "The attack Martin Luther Technique", "The look at how many denominations Protestantism has Technique", "The Attack Solo Scripture Technique"...........

Invariably, any skilled RCC apologist, such as are on this forum, presents these techniques very quickly and methodically. It was irrelevant how thoroughly incorrect they were when their doctrine was compared to the Holy Bible-the objective was not the truth, but instead defending Roman Catholicism.

Most RCC responses were just flippant "sound bites", and illogical replies, as also demonstrated on this forum for all to see. And, with very few exceptions, I would receive more accusations of lies and blatant misrepresentations, even though most of my points were not addressed, much less refuted. Just more "company line propaganda" sent my way, and more quick, thoughtless, and illogical answers, with no concern to what evidence or logic demonstrates, and unconcerned with the facts as clearly outlined by the LORD God in the Holy Bible.

I asked myself: "What gives"? Then "it hit me". I was the same way when I was a Catholic! I then reviewed my experience prior to my regeneration, and I realized that anyone discussing with me the "error of my ways", discussing "my" RCC doctrine, as opposed to the Holy Bible, was doomed to failure. And here is why:

1.Pride: When the LORD saved me 7 years ago, he saved one of the most self-centered, wicked, rebellious, "puffed up", proud scoundrels around. This is not "false humility"-it is a fact and the truth. Almost every thought I had was captive to achieving one goal-satisfying John. The scriptural term for this is the "lust of the flesh"(Galatians 5:16,1 John 2:16), or "wordly lusts"(Titus 2:12). A more apt description would be "me"-satisfying, pampering, and exalting myself. This mind set, which "...mind the things of the flesh..."(Romans 8:5), and is in opposition to "...the mind of Christ...."(1 Cor. 2:16) by it's very essence automatically places my desires, my lusts, my reputation, my achievement........above others'-whether that be my neighbor or God. More importantly, this is the "abomination" of pride-it is the opposite of GRACE!

Pride is the anti-God state of mind-it is enmity against God.

7 years ago I thought I was "gold"(Seinfeld!)-I was "in like Flint". As a member of the Roman Catholic Church, I thought I was on "easy street", in the first-class section on the airline headed for them big, pearly gates! I was so "proud"- a member of the only church, the RCC, that had the "only ticket to the big show"!

The "bottom line": I had no need for "The Bible", I was "cool", and thus no need to be "saved"(to be delivered from a danger). Saved from what? I was "in". "What are you talking about? My priest never told me that? I was brought up a Catholic, my family is Catholic, my friends are Catholic, I went to Catholic grade school and a Jesuit high school, I have fellowship at the Knights of Columbus playing poker..............................." And I thought: "Why study the Bible? My priest and parents would not lie to me!" I did not want to be told I was wrong, and I certainly did not want to believe that those in AUTHORITY over me would mislead me. I, like Adam before me, in my state of rebellion, "...was afraid...."(Genesis 3:10), and was "shifting responsibility to someone else"(Genesis 3:12)-"That is what my parents, my priest....... told me. Let them take responsibility".

2. I rejected the Holy Bible as the sole source of authority. I had hardly ever read it, and had never really heard the gospel of Christ as outlined in 1 Corinthians 15:1-5. Only after I had heard this gospel of Christ as contained in the scripture, was I convicted of my utterly hopeless and desperate situation, and the need for a Saviour, the only Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, and was thus saved.

My conclusion: Their is no profit in discussing doctrinal points with Roman Catholics unless they accept the scripture as the sole source of authority in matters of doctrine. As previously stated, doing so is akin to "rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic". Discussing doctrinal points with me when I was a "Roman", when I rejected "Sola Scripture", was not only vain/useless, but it made me angry(pride). I have discussed this with other former Catholics, and they confirm that their experience was very similar. I find it non-productive to discuss biblical doctrine with Catholics who reject that the Holy Bible is the sole source of authority.

Let me elaborate: We are all subject to prejudice, i.e., things we believe because that's what we've always been taught and believed-"If it was good enough for my mom and dad, its good enough for me". We've our minds made up because that's what we were taught. We all have a tendency to"pre-judge" without the facts. Prejudices are deep rooted. They are not easily removed.

Consider the subject of "sola scripture". Can we trust the Holy Bible alone, or must we lean on the tradition of the Church as well? Can a Christian interpret/understand the Holy Bible himself, or must he rely on the "Magesterium" of the RCC?

When Roman Catholicism relegates to itself (as it does) the sole means of salvation (Sola Sotera), it practically "pre-wins" any "arguments" on subjects like "sola scriptura". We "Bible only people can argue all day long until we are "blue in the face", bringing up verse after verse proving our point - and many have done so, including on this particular thread - only to marvel at the uncanny ways the Scripture itself can be "wrested" (2 Peter 3:16) to the destruction of the one "using" it. Call up your favorite search engine on the Internet and see if these "things were so"(Acts 17:11). You will find all the arguments, all the verses, all the fanciful "interpretation" of those verses. You will find Catholics taking the Bible and trying to prove that the Berean citizens rejected "sola scriptura" precisely because they "searched the scriptures".

I will no longer argue that subject on the authority of someone who "uses", or "consults" my authority, the Holy Bible, but doesn't really believe my authority, (the Holy Bible) but believes that in the end, his "the Church" is the final authority.

This is not an overstatement. When pushed into a corner, the Roman Catholic will put "the Church" first, scripture and tradition second. The reason? They believe "the Church" came into existence prior to scripture. In other words, the Church generated Scripture, not vice versa. The "Bible only" Christian understands that the Scripture brought men to the Lord Jesus Christ, who then formed the churches. The Bible believer who allows the Roman Catholic to take him to task in the Scriptures is playing the part of a fool( which I have been in this debate many times!), for even if you should "score", the Roman Catholic has been prejudiced against "sola scriptura" since he was a child (in most cases, and like myself until the LORD God, by His grace, "opened my eyes"). When you have thoroughly "trounced" him with Scripture, he will simply retreat to the Church and her tradition. Arguing a single issue then, with a Roman Catholic, is a losing proposition. You don't argue with a prostitute(and I am not referring to individuals, I am referring to the organization known as the RCC-I would never refer to my mother and sister as prostitutes) - you'll lose or else wind up in bed with her, which is exactly what is happening to "Protestant" Christianity . What must be done is to show the RCC whore for what she really is. Then any honest, logical, reasonable(Isaiah 1:18, Acts 17:2) person would run for his "life". He would avoid her like the bubonic plague, for "aids and death might be awaiting him." Rather then arguing "sola scriptura", from now on, I will, without undo emotion, through documents, decrees, papal bulls, the Church fathers, and the edicts of the Church councils, thoroughly expose the whole Church to honest, "get rid of your pride"minds, for what she really is. Then you be the judge.

Do you recall the the story of the four blind men who were called on to describe an elephant? One, feeling the trunk of the great animal, described it as a loathsome serpent. Another, feeling the tail described it as the branch of the willow tree. Another, feeling the ivory tusks declared the elephant to be a monster with teeth that could chew up and swallow down the whole world. And finally one, feeling the massive leg of the animal, declared that it was the post upon which the earth itself was founded.

Thus it is with the massive superstructure called the Roman Catholic Church. If one only looks at the priesthood, or at the sacraments, or perhaps one is awed with the majesty of the cathedrals, or the "pomp and display" exhibited recently upon the death of the "pope"("Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts...."- Luke20:46)
or tradition or any other singular feature of this highly successful (and expensive!) prostitute, one will never see the deception and blasphemy she foists upon unsuspecting people, who just bought the package because the box was pretty, or because when they were little, someone told them with all the sincerity of Santa Claus telling kids he comes down their collective chim- neys on Christmas eve, that this is the "right" Church. Prejudice - pre-judging without looking at the facts.

So, what is the real issue?-Final Authority. It is not the Bible verses the Bible plus tradition. It is the Word of God verses the RCC. If "the Church" says one thing, and the Scriptures another, then we must ask, "Which is the final source of authority?" When the subject is looked at under the searing searchlight of Biblical truth and compared with the Biblical record, the dust settles, and the "sola scriptura" issue (as well as all the straw man issues the Roman Catholic Church spews out) clears up.

The RCC refuses to allow that God would command any Christian to interpret the Bible for himself, in spite of the verse after verse which tells us to do so. They are too numerous to list here.

The RCC insists that pronouncements of the Church "fathers", along with selected statements of various "popes"(not in the Holy Bible), constitute "sacred tradition" that, while never contradicting scripture, add to it in such a way as to give its "dark" sentences (Daniel 8:23) meaning to us poor mortals, "unlearned and ignorant men"(Acts 4:13), who have simply made a shambles of trying to "interpret" it. The apostasy (falling away from truth spoken of in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 ) of our times certainly makes it seem that some sort of "Magesterium" is needed to help us interpret Scripture. As stated previously, but bears repeating, we live in a time typified in the Bible by the book of Judges:

"In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes." Judges 21:25

So, in reality, the question is not "sola scriptura", that is, the scriptures alone as authority,but rather Final Authority. If the Catholic Church is the sole dispenser of salvation; if she is infallible in the interpretation of Scripture, then tradition may take it's rightful place alongside the Bible as authoritative. Why, because it (tradition) then derives its authority from the Church. If we believe that the Bible is the final authority, then, "the church" is in subjection to the Scriptures, and tradition has no standing whatsoever, rather it becomes "anti-Scripture".

The doctrine of "sola scriptura"will not then be argued as a singular doctrine. We are commanded(not a suggestion) to study scripture with a humble attitude, and the Holy Spirit will teach us. And the LORD God does not call us to exhaustive knowledge of everything! He calls us to be serious students(look at how many times we are urged in the Bible to meditate and study) of His word. The assurance, the certainty we have is not exhaustive, absolute-but God never promised exhaustive, absolute certainty. He has promised us solid, hopeful(biblically hope means "confident expectation") certainty, and this comes from repeated exposure to the truth as contained in His Word."

If we read in the Scriptures that we can understand it,(and we do read this, despite RCC claims to the contrary), then we should wonder why the RCC at one time forbade Catholics to read the Bible, and now, while permitting it, frowns on anyone interpreting it using the brain God gave him. If, as the Scripture states, (and Catholics do not deny that the Scripture has authority), "...every one of us shall give account of himself to God...."(Romans 14:12), how will one give account for his "study" if he has, all his life, relied on the interpretations given him by the Church?

Why do we need an infallible pope if the scripture's continual testimony is that you can understand it(not exhaustively, for only God is omniscient, but sufficiently)?

If the RCC, as the infallible teacher of truth is correct, then we cannot possibly argue that Scripture is all we need. But if we are told to study, (and we are) and if we are told that the Spirit of truth will guide us, (and He will) and if the Scripture stands against the writings of the Church fathers, and the Ex-Cathedra pronouncements of the popes, and the councils of popes and bishops that clearly contradict the Scripture (and they do! - try the council of Trent for starters), then Roman Catholicism is seen for what it really is: a clever deception; an imitation designed to deceive. (No one ever came away from a prostitute really feeling better for the encounter - guilt is no respecter of persons).

I will continue to preach the gospel of Christ to a lost world, "...For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth..."(1 Tim. 2:3,4)and that requires(a command, not a suggestion) rebuking false doctrine, including that of the RCC, and differentiating between Biblical salvation in this "dispensation of the grace of God"(Eph. 3:2), and Bible truth and the traditions and councils of the Roman Catholic Church.

As I have done in the past, I quote Catholic sources to do so. I will continue to shine the light of objective, empirical, demonstrable truth on the "whole elephant". But I will refuse to, nor do I need to, debate single issues per se. When tradition is lined up with the Scripture, and it is seen that there is no way both can be true at the same time- only the person poisoned by his pride(my former state to a much greater degree) and prejudice will not be able to see clearly the deceptive, slick, monstrous superstructure known as the Roman Catholic Church for what she really is -corrupt. I say this not to demean Catholics-my family is Catholic. I am not "anti-Catholic". But I am against "the church" that enslaves the souls of men, and prepares them for eternal separation from a Holy God. I can sympathize with Paul's lament "with many tears"(2 Cor. 2:4, Acts 20:31) and grieving about how deception was hurting those he loved dearly. As a spiritual application, I can understand somewhat Jeremiah's(the "weeping prophet") cry of "... my soul shall weep ....with tears, because the LORD's flock is carried away captive"(Jeremiah 13:17).

However, I will no longer argue single doctrinal points, including "sola scriptura", for my purpose is not to win an argument, but to win souls. I will only address those sincere Catholics who are lost by ignorance, as I was, and who truly care about what the LORD GOD really has communicated in the book we call the Holy Bible. I am confident that there are many out there, who when presented with the truth of the word of God, will, like I did 7 years ago this month, rejoice in the salvation given as a gift by this great God of ours, because it was paid for by the death, burial, and resurrection of our great and only Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

"Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable." Psalms 145:3

And now, fellow believers, I am braced for "the Cains"(Jude 11), and I will "stand fast"(1 Cor. 16:13; Galatians 5:1; Philippians 1:27, 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 3:8) and "...endure...." ".... the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God...."(2 Timothy 4:5, 1:8).

However, as it is written:

" Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" Galatians 4:16

As one wise person once said, the only time the truth hurts is when you do not tell it.

I admit I am a Bible believer. I accept the Holy Bible as the final authority. I do not prefer it(I "prefer" ice creme,and I "prefer" not getting out of bed early every weekday morning and going to work)- I submit to it. I believe that the Holy Bible is the final authority as the source of truth.

Truth: an exact and faithful expression of the facts; the standard by which to judge all else; final authority.

The LORD God is the source of the truth: God the Father is the truth(Psalms 31:5); The Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ is the truth(Jn. 14:6); God the Holy Ghost is the truth(Jn. 14:7).

Only an absolute authority can provide absolute truth; all other truth is relative and changeable(Psalms 119:128). The Holy Bible is the source of the truth, if words are to have any meaning. I "take God at His word"(the simple definition of faith). He inspired it(2 Tim. 3:16), He preserved it, and it is without error, in 5th grade English- Scripture repeatedly declares that it is the source of truth, as it is written:

"... Thy word is true from the beginning:."(Psalms 119:160

"...thy word is truth...." John 17:17

"...the scripture of truth...." Daniel 10:21

"...thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name...." Psalms 138:2

"...if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." Isaiah 8:20

Now, "...Who is on the LORD's side....?"(Exodus 32:26)

As commanded, do not "take my word for it". The apostle Paul, the primary Holy Spirit inspired "writer" of the New Testament, said the same, i.e., "check it out in the Book!":

"These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." Acts 17:11

Ask yourself these questions: "Do you believe that the Bible is the sole source of truth?(The RCC does not) The question you need to ask yourself is this: Do you think that the LORD God has the wisdom to give His word in easily understandable terms?(The RCC does not) Are you going to believe what the Bible says, or what man(the "Magesterium") teaches? Do you believe God's word carries His authority? Do you believe that the Bible is the full, sufficient, clear, authoritative, and adequate rule of faith?(The RCC does not)."

If not, then are you not reflecting the mind set of pharaoh, as his shout resounds:

"...Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice....?"(Exodus 5:2).
__________________________________________________ _____________

Sorry for the preceding "book"! Being a former "Roman", I tend to vent on the subject. But perhaps my reflections on my experience as a "Roman", when a Christian was attempting to persuade me of the evil(although he did not say it that way!)of the RCC, would be helpful in any encounters you may have with these lost souls. Preach 1 Cor. 15:1-4, "peppered" with a few verses that contradict RCC teachings. That is what I will do when I visit my Catholic "biological" family over the holidays, as I stumble over the statues of "Jesus", "saints", of "Jesus", "saints", angels......

In Christ,

John M. Whalen

Last edited by JMWHALEN; 11-18-2008 at 08:53 PM.