Fr. Mitch Pacwa vs Kenneth Samples debate

Does anyone know if there is a transcript of the debate regarding Sola Scriptura between Fr. Mitch Pacwa and Kenneth Samples? I have started listening to it twice but was too busy to sit for the entire debate. It is my opinion that Samples seems to be a better debater than James White and would like to read and highlight it.


I haven’t read/watched Samples before, so can’t link a transcript of a debate he took part in, haha. Why do you think he’s better than White?

It’s on Youtube.

Bible Alone is False Doctrine

Mr. Ken Samples is either trying to skirt the issue of determining the canon of the Bible or else he does not understand the problem it is for Protestantism or the Catholic position.

When beginning the discussion with Protestants, non-Catholic Christians, it is important to state that I, or any reasonably good Catholic apologist, am not in any way casting doubt on the Sacred texts, and I am not in any way minimizing their value, rather my aim is to point to the only solid rock of assurance that can be found anywhere for their authority and authenticity which is the Catholic Church. And so by exposing the weakness of the Protestant position in their misguided claims to the contrary I wish to point to the rock solid assurance we find in Catholicism.

Ken Sampes correctly states that the Sacred Scriptures have their authority because of what the Holy Spirit did in helping to bring them about, not because of what the Catholic Church did in canonizing them. So, yes their authority came before canonization.

However, the whole issue of canonization is determining which books constitute Sacred Scripture.

Peter’s letter mentions Paul’s writings being Scripture but it does not list which books it is talking about. Are all of Paul’s writings Scripture? What about books or letters he would write after this statement by Peter ? And which books were written by St. Paul ?

What about the following, what infallible source determines whether they were included as the writings of St. Paul that Peter was talking about : Epistle of Paul to the Laodiceans, Third Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, Acts of Paul, Acts of Sts. Peter and Paul, Acts of Paul and Thecla, Pseudo-Correspondence of St. Paul and Senec, or The Apocalypse of St. Paul.

And what infallible source determined that Peter really authored those two letters we call by his name today. And who said that the Apostles could write inspired Scripture. And what about the Gospels of Mark and Luke. And how do we know that Matthew the Apostle wrote the Gospel associated with his name. All of these titles are not part of the Sacred Text, but what were placed on them later.

1. The Doctrine of Sola Scriptura is not taught anywhere in the Bible
Perhaps the most striking reason for rejecting this doctrine is that there is not one verse anywhere in the Bible in which it is taught, and it therefore becomes a self-refuting doctrine.
Protestants often point to verses such as 2 Timothy 3:16-17 or The Apocalypse (Revelation)22:18-19 in defense of Sola Scriptura, but close examination of these two passages easily demonstrates that they do not support the doctrine at all.
In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 we read, “All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice, that the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work.”
Notice, it does not say the Bible Alone.
I can send a more detailed examination of this verse if you like.

2. The Bible Indicates that In Addition to the Written Word, we are to accept Oral Tradition
St. Paul both commends and commands the keeping of oral tradition. In 1 Corinthians 11:2, for instance, we read, “Now I praise you, brethren, that in all things you are mindful of me: and keep my ordinances as I have delivered them to you.”

in 2 Thessalonians 2:14(15), where Christians are actually commanded: “Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle.”

3. The Bible Calls the Church and not the Bible the "Pillar and Ground of the Truth."
It is very interesting to note that in I Timothy 3:15 we see, not the Bible, but the Church –

2 Peter 3:16 that in St. Paul’s epistles there are “certain things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable wrest [distort], as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction.”

The Doctrine of Sola Scriptura Produces Bad Fruit, Namely, Division and Disunity.

The Doctrine of Sola Scriptura Did Not Exist Prior to the 14th Century.
The Canon of the Bible was not settled until the 4th Century.


The Doctrine of Sola Scriptura Produces Bad Fruit, Namely, Division and Disunity.

The Doctrine of Sola Scriptura Did Not Exist Prior to the 14th Century.
The Canon of the Bible was not settled until the 4th Century.

Bereans Not Sola Scriptura This Rock

**Acts 17:10-13**

“The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Beroea; and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue.11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with all eagerness, examining the scriptures daily to see if these things were so.12 Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men.13 But when the Jews of Thessalonica learned that the word of God was proclaimed by Paul at Beroea also, they came there too, stirring up and inciting the crowds.”



This Rock
Volume 8, Number 3
** March 1997 **



Thanks John. I was particularly interested in what Ken Samples had to say because several “Reformed Calvinists” have entered into my life lately and I wanted to read to see if there is any new “wrinkle” in their discussion of SS since I last discussed this topic with another “reformed Christian”. I finished listening to the debate between Samples and Fr. Pacwa and then listened to Peter Kreeft’s talk on why he became Catholic and have determined that there is nothing new under the sun.

I listened to the debate too and like you said, nothing new. I do think that both did a great job of presenting their position. But I did notice some distinct differences between the two. Samples seems more committed to “winning” the debate. His style is to present his position, present the opposition’s position, and then refute the opposition’s position before the opponent gets a chance to speak–sort of the preemptive strike style. His “proof” is chosen scriptures and “I believe” or “we, confessional protestants believe” statements.

Pacwa had plenty of opportunity to refute is debate style. I mean:
a: Saying “I believe we’re right” doesn’t equate to being right.
b: Samples misquoted “a pillar and bulwark of truth” for “the pillar…”
c: Samples misquoted Augustine, “if not for the authority of the Catholic Church…”
(Samples omitted the word “Catholic”)

What impressed me was that, I have no doubt Pacwa noticed the above (and probably much more), he wasn’t necessarily interested in that. He speaks of the Bible in a more revered sense. He spoke of being taught to kiss the Bible, to love the Scriptures, to connect the word of God and the Word of God.

It reminded me of something else; the opposite of “love” being “use”, not hate.
Love is the giving of self to another for the other.
Use is taking from other to self for self.

I think that there are those who “use” the bible as a tool for themselves. They look at it as an instruction book or a proof book. You use it to look up proofs to show that you are right or to get some instruction on life. And then there others that “love” the word of God and the Word of God and view reading as a participation if His Word, and consider it a privilege to be called into that participation.

Personally, as debates go, I think they both did a great job. But it seemed clear to me that while Samples may “believe that the Bible is XYZ”, Pacwa is in love with it. And for my money, I’d rather walk a mile in his shoes.

I don’t know if Annie39 is still looking for a transcript of the Samples/Pacwa debate but I made a sort of a transcript of it. It isn’t a 100% verbatim transcript but, especially as far as Samples goes, it isn’t far off it. My ‘transcript’ also includes comments on what Samples said. If anybody wants a copy I’m happy to provide it but I don’t how to do so. I would probably need an email address to send it to.
As far as the debate is concerned it has been removed from YouTube and other such sites as result of copyright problems. You can, however, hear an audio version here:

The Samples/Pacwa debate is also available on this site:
The site also has lots of other debates.

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