Does it seem to you that Protestant apologetics change in response to ours?

Sorry–I can’t fix the title :o

Anyway, istm that over the almost-20 years I have practiced my Catholic faith (Deo gratias :)), the sort of Bible-based Evangelical apologetics has changed in response to Catholic arguments. What do others, who may be more in touch with this, see?

Just wondering :slight_smile:


Hi! I was wondering if you could elaborate on what you perceive as changing? It could be the difference in a denominational teaching?

Thanks and God bless!


How about reposting your title and elaborating a bit on your post. I’m a wee bit confused, eh?

I think their responses have changed, as well. They have to in order to “keep up”, so to speak.

Seeing that their explanations for denying various Catholic doctrines no longer hold water/are no longer convincing they try some other approach rather than simply admitting they don’t have a leg to stand on.

For example, the whole petra argument against Peter being given greater authority than the other Apostles. Their old argument about the word petra in Greek and the big rock/little rock argument has pretty much died out. So, now another tack has to be taken–not a new one–all the arguments have already been made, but some old one, that no longer worked in some other age, is taken out, brushed off and renewed as if it was a sure fire arugment Catholics cannot get around. But, again, it gets soundly refuted, so another argument as old as the hills is produced to try to silence Catholic apologists. :shrug:

They’ve gone so far as to deny the Incarnation by calling Mary a mere vessel, as if she never conceived Jesus but he was simply dumped into her body. It gets more and more bizarre the more some need to deny Catholic teachings just because they are Catholic teachings not because Catholic teachings aren’t reasonable or in any way diminish God or draw men away from worshiping him. For some it’s irrational hatred fueled by the will not to believe because in believing they’d have to surrender their will to a higher authority than themselves–something they are not willing to do.

I think I agree with Della because there are a few subtle changes coming down the pike from the various money driven anti-Catholic “ministries” like Richard Bennett, Mike Gendron and Brannon Howse and there are a few newer faces appearing with their own variants of their opposing opinions. However. I recently discovered a pretty excellent discourse by a pretty well known Catholic (whose cause for sainthood is in progress) that is a preface to Volume 3 of Radio Replies in which he says…

PREFACE to Radio Replies Vol 3
Once there were lost islands, but most of them have been found; once there were lost causes, but many of them have been retrieved; but there is one lost art that has not been definitely recovered, and without which no civilization can long survive, and that is the art of controversy. The hardest thing to find in the world today is an argument. Because so few are thinking, naturally there are found but few to argue. Prejudice there is in abundance and sentiment too, for these things are born of enthusiasms without the pain of labor. Thinking, on the contrary, is a difficult task; it is the hardest work a man can do that is perhaps why so few indulge in it. Thought-saving devices have been invented that rival labor-saving devices in their ingenuity. Fine-sounding phrases like “Life is bigger than logic,” or “Progress is the spirit of the age,” go rattling by us like express trains, carrying the burden of those who are too lazy to think for themselves.

Not even philosophers argue today; they only explain away. A book full of bad logic, advocating all manner of moral laxity, is not refuted by critics; it is merely called “bold, honest, and fearless.” Even those periodicals which pride themselves upon their open-mindedness on all questions are far from practising the lost art of controversy. Their pages contain no controversies, but only presentations of points of view; these never rise to the level of abstract thought in which argument clashes with argument like steel with steel, but rather they content themselves with the personal reflections of one who has lost his faith, writing against the sanctity of marriage, and of another who has kept his faith, writing in favor of it. Both sides are shooting off firecrackers, making all the noise of an intellectual warfare and creating the illusion of conflict, but it is only a sham battle in which there are no casualties; there are plenty of explosions, but never an exploded argument.

The causes underlying this decline in the art of controversy are twofold: religious and philosophical. Modern religion has enunciated one great and fundamental dogma that is at the basis of all the other dogmas, and that is, that religion must be freed from dogmas. Creeds and confessions of faith are no longer the fashion; religious leaders have agreed not to disagree and those beliefs for which some of our ancestors would have died they have melted into a spineless Humanism. Like other Pilates they have turned their backs on the uniqueness of truth and have opened their arms wide to all the moods and fancies the hour might dictate. The passing of creeds and dogmas means the passing of controversies. Creeds and dogmas are social; prejudices are private. Believers bump into one another at a thousand different angles, but bigots keep out of one another’s way, because prejudice is anti-social. I can imagine an old-fashioned Calvinist who holds that the word “damn” has a tremendous dogmatic significance, coming to intellectual blows with an old-fashioned Methodist who holds that it is only a curse word; but I cannot imagine a controversy if both decide to damn damnation, like our Modernists who no longer believe in Hell.

[/FONT]Enjoy the rest! :thumbsup:

[FONT=Georgia]I think he sums this up pretty well. :slight_smile:

Sorry about not being clear; I was a bit tired when I posted that :o Like a little kid, I was afraid I would forget if I waited til the next day!

Della, you hit the nail on the head! Thank you for your great answer, along with the explanation of “recycling” talking points :slight_smile:

I must say that lately most of what I have come across is not what I would consider apologetics, but more like the difference between a boxing match and a brawl. There hasn’t been much engagement what is being said, more like alternate explanations without an explanation as to why one is better than the other, accompanied by a sort of fingers-in-the-ears I-can’t-hear-you attitutude. I just figured it was what I was running across, but it seems from what you say to be more widespread than I thought.

(And that is very sad, as if their dislike of Catholicism was overrunning their love for Christ :()

Yes, this is also something I am noticing. RR is sooooo great :slight_smile:

I don’t think they’ve changed much in the years I’ve been talking with all brands of Protestants, including Evangelicals. However, they do seem to be getting more crass. They get especially aggravated when you use ‘bible alone’ to show the real Catholicism which they deny even exist. They reserve the right interpret scripture ‘subjectively’ yet refuse Catholics the same right to show harmonizing objectivity in Scripture. As they run out of argument the conversation becomes little more than name calling. After all Catholics are all brainwashed, don’t you know?


I was thinking this might be a function of the internet, where so much apologetics seems to occur nowadays. It’s not that long ago that apologetics occurred much more in person, or maybe by letter (snail mail). So then 1. people would stay more civil, and 2. being “forced” to be civil, they stuck more to a civil style of apologetics. Do you think that might be the case?

(Altho how they think frustrated name-calling would entice someone to convert, I don’t know!!!)

Luckily, this is probably just a few Protestants who are doing this. Those whom I meet in person are not at all like that :slight_smile:


…and there’s another aspect at play here–the very nature of Protestantism. They are a reactionary faith, born of their reaction to Catholicism. Which is to say, they exist, because Catholicism is flawed. Hence any time a perceived flaw of Catholicism is satisfied or dismissed…it isn’t met with “Catholicism is therefore true”–but with championing of the next great flaw (myth). So the internet has made the process of jumping from ‘flaw’ to ‘flaw’ (or myth to myth) more fluid.

The net (pardon the pun) result has been a palatable decrease in mainline Protestantism by the intellectually too lazy and/or proud to continue digging for the Truth, a retreat into non-denominationalism, where they are not called upon to defend anything, since they don’t really stand for anything–(besides warm, buzzy, lovey-dovey feel-goodism), or a flat out abandonment of faith altogether (agnosticism or atheism), and even some retreating into Islam, as they are perceived as solidly grounded enough to resist Catholic Christianity (notice the fruits of the underlying vitriol: anything BUT submission to the Church that Christ actually bequeathed to us–or as they would view it–anything BUT “Romish Papist Mary worshippers”–or some variation thereof).

Only the sincere truth seeker finally surrenders to Truth (and therefore declares him/herself Catholic)–which is what prompted [John Henry] Cardinal Newman–himself, a former Protestant–to quip his famed quote:

To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.”

I couldn’t agree more. Protestantism is the philosophy of protest. Truth is relative and the buzz word is that ‘one faith is as good as another.’. Those Catholics baptized at birth have a special blessing most take for granted, at least I did.

All the rest are indeed left to their own to seek an objective truth which is only found in Catholicism. Notice that Protestantism is in a constant state of schism; first theirs Luthers and one or two others, then hundreds different faiths by the end of the 16th century, then 10s of thousands of different true faiths by the end of the 17th century marching up to our time with nearly 40,000 different truths - how can they all be the one truth and yet be different? The one and only unifying element in Protestantism is the philosophy of ‘reject Catholicism’. The Protestant who excels in protest finds himself rejecting a Divine truth. And as a result are unable to recognize His Real Presence. The reason should be obvious, there is only one Truth just as there is only one God, one Christ and one Body of Christ, i.e. the Church. What is infrequently recognized by the protester is that it takes a Divine Institution to teach a Divine Truth; one that is absolute, immutable and universal. To reject Christ’s teachers rejects Christ. (the Real Christ). [Cf. Luke 10:16].

I don’t think the Protestants are necessarily uncivil as a rule, now or in the past. Instead they think they are doing you a favor by laying doubts in the Catholic faith and by making the Catholic realize they are doomed to hell by a pernicious god who saves a few of them but not Catholics. Actually, the doubt is their own manifested in schism and its philosophical brother relativism, the virus of rational thought.

The animosity towards Catholics has always been there, long before the internet. Remembering back when I held similar liberal views, long before the advent of the computer, one could go from one of their churches to another and always hear anti or hate Catholic rhetoric in most every sermon - Catholics are their biggest enemy, right along with the devil. Standing prominent in their thinking is that if Catholicism is right or even ‘just another Church’ then their own faith is misplaced. They hate you because you put the light of truth on Luther’s lies. Fear of damnation is their greatest tool and their own psychological makeup. If they don’t condemn you then you remain a witness to God’s truth. They need to control this thing they call god so that they aren’t condemned themselves. The reformation didn’t reform the Church, I can’t name a single doctrine that Changed as a result of reformation. Maybe you can? It split the Church and many were truly lost. Part remained Catholic, the other part subjected god to the will of man (so they thought) to avoid damnation - which seems to be the function of their god, serve man and keep him out of hell. Read “Liberalism is a Sin”


Hi, I’d just like to say that Christianity has suffered
greatly from “poor catechism”, b/c of poor learners,
even in the Biblical N.T. times we have the problem
of immature disciples(Heb.6:1-3). Heretics “twist” the
Word of Truth to suit their followers’ itching ears, and
start their own churches!!!
People who handle MONEY must familiarize themselves
with the genuine $10 or $20 bills SO THAT they can
spot a counterfeit when they see one, so too, one must
be so familiar with the Word of Truth that whatever devi-
ates from that we can immediately say that that is a
FALSE teaching.

As a Protestant myself who is in the process of converting to Catholicism, this is right up my alley.

PLUS… my father is an ordained Lutheran minister to boot.

Anyways, much of the differences and mindsets have been well pegged already in this thread IMO, but I want to introduce a suspicion of mine that ties in social and political norms into the divide.

I’ve always theorized, and mildly sensed, that Protestants view the Catholic church as very “Dark-age European”, or controlling, tyrannical, and under orders of a King. Meanwhile, Protestantism feels it offers “Freedom”, as in the Constitution, Rights, and America.

It would be one of those underlying elements that nobody outright says, but is there. I’ve spent 30 years as a Protestant. I don’t know all, but for some reason I’m led to at least suggest this theory and opinion.

I think Luther’s breakaway from a troubled Catholic Church (at the time) is often linked to America’s breakaway from an oppressive England (at the time).

The difference, of course, is that there’s certainly no promise that the Holy Spirit will work through and correct America.

I agree with everything here, except for the part about it being a latent belief, rather than express. While it has become latent, in America’s early days up until JFK was elected POTUS (first and only Catholic POTUS ever), the suspicion of the potential conflict of loyalty between the Pope and the US, was clearly articulated, and loudly and broadly proclaimed.

This is the reason why the Knights of Columbus incorporated Patriotism as one of its four foundational pillars in its founding in the late 1800’s–that is, to preemptively address the question of Catholic allegiance.


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