Can anyone help me with some answers?


#1

I left the Baptist church last year because I became firmly convinced of the truth of the Catholic Church. Just last night I was in a discussion on the phone with a former fellow protestant from the Baptists.

The problem in the conversation was that he would not accept testimonies from the Fathers because, as I explained, they were not necessarily infallible in their writings. He said therefore you cannot pick and choose which bits fit with the CC and dismiss anything that is not official. e.g. Augustine’s view of predestination.

I did not have much of a leg to stand on due to my inexperience in defending the faith.

Also, he has just read a book called “Salvation, The Bible and Roman Catholicism” by some former Catholic chap. (I’ll find out his name if need be.)

Does anyone know it? What are your thoughts?

He wants me to read it, and in return he will read ANY Catholic apologetics book I can find, which covers as many of the differing doctrines between Catholicism and Protestantism as possible, and which also explains why the Catholic position is right, and the Protestant one is wrong. My friend is at a fundamentalist Bible college, and has always been willing and ready to grapple with truth at a deeper level than most Protestants I know.

I have a book in mind which fits this description, called “Defend the Faith”, by Robert Haddad, a formidable Catholic apologist from Sydney, Australia. Does anyone have any other suggestions? I have two weeks until we exchange books.

I would greatly appreciate any help, especially on the issue of the Fathers, and the official teaching of the Church.

Btw, for anyone who’s interested in a great apologetics reference, there is an online version of “Defend the Faith” by Robert Haddad here: lumenverum.org/apologetics/DefendtheFaith/page.html

Thanks for your help with this!


#2

[quote=captaincoog]I left the Baptist church last year because I became firmly convinced of the truth of the Catholic Church. Just last night I was in a discussion on the phone with a former fellow protestant from the Baptists.

The problem in the conversation was that he would not accept testimonies from the Fathers because, as I explained, they were not necessarily infallible in their writings. He said therefore you cannot pick and choose which bits fit with the CC and dismiss anything that is not official. e.g. Augustine’s view of predestination.

I did not have much of a leg to stand on due to my inexperience in defending the faith.

Also, he has just read a book called “Salvation, The Bible and Roman Catholicism” by some former Catholic chap. (I’ll find out his name if need be.)

Does anyone know it? What are your thoughts?

He wants me to read it, and in return he will read ANY Catholic apologetics book I can find, which covers as many of the differing doctrines between Catholicism and Protestantism as possible, and which also explains why the Catholic position is right, and the Protestant one is wrong. My friend is at a fundamentalist Bible college, and has always been willing and ready to grapple with truth at a deeper level than most Protestants I know.

I have a book in mind which fits this description, called “Defend the Faith”, by Robert Haddad, a formidable Catholic apologist from Sydney, Australia. Does anyone have any other suggestions? I have two weeks until we exchange books.

I would greatly appreciate any help, especially on the issue of the Fathers, and the official teaching of the Church.

Btw, for anyone who’s interested in a great apologetics reference, there is an online version of “Defend the Faith” by Robert Haddad here: lumenverum.org/apologetics/DefendtheFaith/page.html

Thanks for your help with this!
[/quote]

You will get great answers here, but I would take this over to the Ask an Apologist forum. They’re TOPS. You could also call the CA apologists on the phone. The number should be listed on the home page of CA --not the forums, the main page.


#3

Congratuations on your journey home to the Catholic faith.

The way that the conversation of the OP with his friend seems to have gone would make me question the method in which the appeal to the fathers was approached. If the argument of the friend is that one cannot exclude some commentary of the Fathers to the exclusion of others to defend the Catholic position over the Protestant positions then the argument works the same in reverse and then the discussion should move to one concerning how one knows what a father said is orthodox or not. This will lead to a discussion about authority which is highly documented here and in other sites.


#4

Welcome home to the Church! :smiley:

On the issue of the Fathers. You can simply say that the Church draws on but does not rely on the Church Fathers when it decides matters of faith and morals. IOW, the Fathers are only one source and are not necessarily foundational in the formulation of doctrine and dogma, no more than the findings of scholars or the conclusions of theologians.


#5

[quote=captaincoog]I left the Baptist church last year because I became firmly convinced of the truth of the Catholic Church. Just last night I was in a discussion on the phone with a former fellow protestant from the Baptists.

The problem in the conversation was that he would not accept testimonies from the Fathers because, as I explained, they were not necessarily infallible in their writings. He said therefore you cannot pick and choose which bits fit with the CC and dismiss anything that is not official. e.g. Augustine’s view of predestination.

I did not have much of a leg to stand on due to my inexperience in defending the faith.

Also, he has just read a book called “Salvation, The Bible and Roman Catholicism” by some former Catholic chap. (I’ll find out his name if need be.)

Does anyone know it? What are your thoughts?

He wants me to read it, and in return he will read ANY Catholic apologetics book I can find, which covers as many of the differing doctrines between Catholicism and Protestantism as possible, and which also explains why the Catholic position is right, and the Protestant one is wrong. My friend is at a fundamentalist Bible college, and has always been willing and ready to grapple with truth at a deeper level than most Protestants I know.

I have a book in mind which fits this description, called “Defend the Faith”, by Robert Haddad, a formidable Catholic apologist from Sydney, Australia. Does anyone have any other suggestions? I have two weeks until we exchange books.

I would greatly appreciate any help, especially on the issue of the Fathers, and the official teaching of the Church.

Btw, for anyone who’s interested in a great apologetics reference, there is an online version of “Defend the Faith” by Robert Haddad here: lumenverum.org/apologetics/DefendtheFaith/page.html

Thanks for your help with this!
[/quote]

We don’t pick and chose the Church does. The Catholic Church is the protector of Divine Revelation. The Church determines if something written by a human person is compatable with the Deposit of Faith revealed by God.


#6

Rather than a book of deep apologetics, I would simply recommend Scott Hahn’s Rome Sweet Home. He may not necessarily agree with Scott and Kimberly’s reasons for becoming Catholic, but the book will certainly give him a clearer idea of their thinking, and yours.


#7

I want to caution you about this book swap. Go into it KNOWING if it has questions you can’t answer, THE CATHOLIC CHURCH CAN! There is nothing wrong with not having the answer and simply having faith that there are many far older, far wiser than we who have gone before us. They grappled with these issues and we do not have to if we do not want to. He is promising to do this book swap because he is firm in his faith and you (he judges) are not. Faith and intellect are two different things though! You do not have to understand and defend dogma to have faith in it. Nonetheless, if you desire to understand it, there is nothing your friend can throw at you that has not been thrown at the church before. The church has answers, you need simply look for them.

Do you accept the authority of the Catholic church? If so, everything else falls into place.

OK, now I can step down off my cautionary soap box. I’ve heard one entitled something like Catholicism and Fundamentalism praised a lot here. You might want to check it out. (If not for him, then for yourself.) I would recommend the Catechism, though. Nice big book. It is a commentary on the Bible and outlines where in the Bible we get the teachings we do. If you want him to know what we believe, give it to him straight from the horse’s mouth, huh?


#8

Yes, if you’re going to have to look up the answers to a lot of arcane charges against Catholicism, you really need to have a copy of Catholicism and Fundamentalism, by Karl Keating, on hand.


#9

There’s a list of questions that you can ask your friend listed at Steven Ray’s web site. I think since you’re exchanging answers, exchange questions as well. Some of the questions:

Where in the bible does Jesus say put together a book and that will be the only source of knowledge of me?

Where in the bible does it say what books are infallible?

I never thought of actually asking the questions first. But it’s a non invasive approach and will foster discussion.

Good luck with the book swap. I think the CCC would be a great one. If your friend is really sincere this book will help him clarify any misconceptions he may have about catholic dogma.

in XT.


#10

Hi

I have read and liked Rome Sweet Home by the Hahns and Karl Keatings Catholicism and Fundamentalism. They helped me stay in the faith when my fundamentalist friends seemed to have good reasons to give me on why I should be leaving. David Currie’s Born Fundamentalist, Born-Again Catholic to me is a good combination of the first two - it is a personal testimony like the Hahns and is filled with excellent scholarship like Keatings - lots of Biblical citings too. Another book I normally have on hand is Oates’ Catholic Doctrine in Scripture.

Catholic doctrine does not contradict anything in scripture. In fact you can support Catholic doctrine with scripture. The Fathers simply show that Catholic doctrine and practices were in the earliest records of the church - at the same time Sacred Sripture was being inspired - not some medieval and later invention as some like to believe.

Carrie


#11

If I can add:

Do not be afraid of reading those books when you have a strong faith. The Truth is the Truth. The Catholic Church is the True Church. So those books will be wrong. They are based on protestantism, which, at its foundation, if we can call it that, is based on man and not God’s directions for His kingdom.

God bless! I’ll say a prayer for your walk!

Aaron


#12

Thank you one and all for your contributions to this post of mine. This is really helpful stuff. When you’re being barraged with difficult questions, it is a real encouragement to know one is not alone in this battle. This forum is, and has been for some time, my favourite site on the entire Internet!


#13

Hey Cap’n,

The problem in the conversation was that he would not accept testimonies from the Fathers because, as I explained, they were not necessarily infallible in their writings. He said therefore you cannot pick and choose which bits fit with the CC and dismiss anything that is not official. e.g. Augustine’s view of predestination.

He will not accept the testimony of someone who is fallible? This is silly. He can’t mean that. If that were rule were operative he couldn’t even accept the testimony of his own pastor when he’s preaching.

The reality is that all Prot denoms rely on extra-biblical sources to form their beliefs to some extent. Reasonable folks will admit this. In fact, there are some non-negotiable beliefs held by most Prots which are almost entirely based on tradition. See Mark Shea’s little book By What Authority for some examples.

cordially

Karl


#14

On the Church fathers, I’ve rarely gotten into it about their alleged “infallibility.” In fact, I can’t remember a time when I might have faced that question. Rather, I use the Church Fathers to show historically what the Church believed in the earliest times. Whenever there’s a dispute about what a group of passages means, and the argument has come down to, “I say this, you say that,” I use the Church Fathers as mediators. They show us what the Church believed and taught since the beginning. You don’t have to be infallible about that.

Of course, most Protestants simply ignore the Church Fathers–and all Church history–unless there’s some sort of obscure passage that supports some kind of “Early Protestant Church” cospiracy theory.


#15

[quote=captaincoog]The problem in the conversation was that he would not accept testimonies from the Fathers because, as I explained, they were not necessarily infallible in their writings. He said therefore you cannot pick and choose which bits fit with the CC and dismiss anything that is not official. e.g. Augustine’s view of predestination.
[/quote]

He’s right. You “cannot pick and choose which bits fit with the CC and dismiss anything that is not official.” Neither can I. You and I don’t have the authority to do the picking and choosing. Fortunately, however, the Magesterium, guided infallibly in matters of faith and morality by the Holy Spirit, does have that authority.

– Mark L. Chance.


#16

I, too, use to ignore the Church Fathers when trying to defend my Catholic Faith, because I knew my friends wouldn’t accept their teachings. You’ve got to understand that they must have this position, because to accept them as teachers is to accept the Catholic Church.

Now, though, I use them in the following two ways.

  1. If there is no “irrefutable” evidence between our position and theirs. For example, Infant Baptism: Every case of Infant Baptism I cite in the Bible (i.e. the household of the Romain Jailer) is thrown back at me with, “But it doesn’t specifically say infants. You (Catholics) are inserting your own beliefs into the text”. OK, so when we agree to disagree, why don’t we look at what the Early Church practiced. If you look hard enough, you’ll find graves in the 1st century of children, and the headstones claim they had been baptized in their first year. You’ll also find in the 2nd or 3rd century they were arguing whether you should wait 8 days (as in circumcision) or whether you should baptize earlier.

The Reason for this logic is, I’d rather trust the Church Leaders that often knew the Apostles then any one who’s interpreting the Bible today. If these were heresies, the Apostles would have nipped them in the bud, as we’ve seen in Acts.

  1. If you look hard enough, you’ll often find a Church Father agreeing with any argument a Protestant presents today (For these are usually very valid questions). But when you find one ECF disagreeing with the Papacy, while eight ECF’s are defending the Papacy, it’s pretty easy to see which side I’m going to stay with.

You must remember, probably 90% of the reasonings behind their positions (books, scrolls, ORAL TRADITION) have been lost to us. So should I trust Brother Bill who has his Theology Degree from Podunk University or should I trust Polycarp who learned at the feet of the Apostle John???

If you use this line of reasoning, and do a little research (“The Four Witnesses”, “One Holy Catholic and Apostolic”), it will be hard to argue with you.

Notworthy

P.S. Thanks for the webpage on your opening post!!


#17

Of course he accepts some of the teachings of the early churtch fathers. He is the one picking and choosing.

Is your friend Tritarian? That is not explicitly in the bible. That teaching comes from the early church fathers.

Does he accept the bible as the word of God? The bible was given to us by the early church fathers who assembled it and have taught us through an unbroken chain that it is the inspired word of God. If it had not been, we would have no reason to choose it over the koran or some other writing.

Does he accept Jesus as Savior? We only know about Jesus because of the witness of early Christians who preserved His teaching and memory in tradition and Scripture.

Without the early church fathers we would know nothing of Jesus, for it was the early church fathers (& mothers) who preserved the teaching of the Apostles and cherished them… and passed them on.

Does he accept the eucharist as the Real presence of Jeus Christ, Body, Blood, Soul, & Divinity? He is probably ignoring the witness of the martyrs who were accused of cannabalism.

Does he follow a bishop? If not he is ignoring the admonitin of the early church fathers that the church, the very body if Christ is to be found in unity with the bishop.

Does he ask the saints for their prayers or pray for the dead? If not, he is choosing which witness of the early christians to believe and what to reject. The catacombs are full of prayers for the repose of the souls of the dead as well as the requests for the dead to pray for us.


#18

I’m still a Protestant, but my foundations are shaken and I am seriously studying Protestantism. Two questions started all of this; one was asked by a Professor friend of mine, and the other was one I thought up. They both have to do with authority. You might want to ask your friend these two questions:

  1. What’s the difference in the Catholic view that God presides over the Church to keep his message intact and without error, and the Protestant view that God presides over the Bible to keep his message intact and without error?

  2. Why do you accept Scripture? Because you did a study of the original texts and other writing that claimed to be inspired and decide that the books in the Bible are inspired? Or because you accept it on tradition (your parents, pastor, friends, bookstore, etc; all places where you received the Bible as the Word of God through tradition)? If you accept it on tradition, do you view tradition as authoritative? It would seem like you have to view it as authoritative to accept the Scriptures as authoritative. To authoritatively present the Scriptures as the Word of God, then you would have to believe that tradition is authoritative on this issue. (I think you can see the type of pressure that you need to put on him through these type of questions)

Also, if I may say, don’t let anyone get away with saying that they don’t accept Sacred Tradition or the Magisterium because they “don’t trust men” or they “are skeptical of men”. In other words, they try to say that they wouldn’t completely trust a group of men to teach the truth because men are fallible. This is a faulty argument, really close to begging the question(a logical fallacy that happens a lot in everyday discussion). Here’s why: These people are operating on a principle that says Men are fallible, therefore I will not completely trust them to teach the truth. However, if they are fundamentalists, then they don’t believe this principle, because they accept the writings of men in the Bible as completely the truth. So then, one has to modify their principle to say this: Men are fallible, therefore I will not completely trust them to teach the truth, unless they are guided by God. But don’t you see how this is begging the question? (For those of you who might not know what it is, begging the question is the logical fallacy that takes for granted or assumes the truth of the very thing being questioned. An example would be if I said, “I believe abortion is murder” and someone refuted that by saying “You’re wrong because abortion is not murder”.) The question at stake between Catholics and Protestants is whether or not God is guiding the Church into truth, so for someone to say that they don’t believe this because they are skeptical or men, this is really just begging the question. For in saying they are skeptical of men, they are saying that they are skeptical of anything not guided by God, and that is the original question.

Hope this can be of some help,

Micah


#19

Your Protestant friend is trying to argue that the ONLY authority that Christians should accept is the Bible. This is one of the easiest of the Protestant heresies to debunk. Simply ask your friend where the Bible refers to itself as the SOLE authority for Christians. He won’t be able to show you any verse where the Bible makes this claim for itself.

Ask your Protestant friend where the Bible lists which books belong in the Bible, and then point out to your Protestant friend that his Bible is missing several books. Your Protestant friend will have to defend the canon he accepts by an appeal to a authority outside of the Bible. At this point, you can start appealing to the authority of the Church Fathers and the Bishops of Christ’s Church compared to the authority of one man, Martin Luther, who imperiously declared the canon of scriptures to be what Luther decided it should be.

Ask your friend if he believes that Martin Luther was speaking infallibly when he created his own personal canon of scriptures. :wink:


#20

I would suggest you give him *Surprised By Truth (Volume 1) *by Patrick Madrid…personal testimonies from former ministers, apologetics, and lots of biblical back-up all rolled into one.


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