How do you do Apologetics on Protestants?


#1

Hey all,

Your friendly neighborhood Protestant here. :wink:

I was curious, when Catholics try to use apologetics with Protestants…I’m not talking Orthodox, and I’m not talking any other religion…how do you go about it? I was thinking you must hit some real stumbling blocks because Protestants want everything to be backed up by Scripture. So…you can’t necessarily go with the Catechism or with Tradition or even with the “extra” books you guys have.

So let’s hear it! How do you give answer?

Oh and one more thing…an extra topic I guess. If Oral Tradition remained oral and never got written down, how do you know it wasn’t changed? Even unintentionally. How do you know that oral tradition handed down over the years has stayed preserved without writing, so no one would forget?

On these two topics, I look forward to hearing your responses.

Thankee


#2

Howdy!

[quote=Curious]I was thinking you must hit some real stumbling blocks because Protestants want everything to be backed up by Scripture.
[/quote]

Which is in and of itself unscriptual.

So…you can’t necessarily go with the Catechism or with Tradition or even with the “extra” books you guys have.

Sure we can. For the same reason that using Scripture alone is unscriptual.

And just so you know, we don’t have extra books, you guys are missing some! :smiley:

Oh and one more thing…an extra topic I guess. If Oral Tradition remained oral and never got written down, how do you know it wasn’t changed? Even unintentionally. How do you know that oral tradition handed down over the years has stayed preserved without writing, so no one would forget?

You do realize that the Old Testament itself is based on Oral Tradition that was eventually written down. I’m sure you don’t have a problem with that, do you? The Oral Traditions of the early church were eventually written down as well. I don’t see the problem.


#3

I never said there was a problem. Only questions. :slight_smile:


#4

I always go for the jugular. The fatal flaw in Protestantism is Sola Scriptura. If I am asked ‘Where is that in the bible?’, I immediately flip the question back, and ask them to show me in scripture where it claims to be the sole authority of the faithful Christian. Since Sola Scriptura is unscriptural, and cannot be supported, it usually becomes a battle for them to 1) change the subject (if they aren’t to swift), or 2) Explain that my understanding of sola scriptura is incorrect (for those who’ve thought things out a bit more).

As for Oral Tradition, that’s simple. If a Protestant claims that the bible is the inspired infallible word of God, he is claiming that God used fallible men, to write/teach infallible truth, and protected them from making error, and has continued to protect scripture through the centuries.

Tradition would be no different. God uses fallible men (the bishops), to teach infallible truths and protects them from making error, changing, or perverting those Traditions.

If you believe God can do it with scripture, you have to believe he can do it with Tradition. Whether you accept that or not is another story, but a Protestant should recognize the validity of such a position.


#5

Actually Apologetics is a more defensive art by its very nature then one you would use “on” someone.
But amazingly enough the issues you poised really aren’t difficult ones.
Especially the Oral Tradition part… you are getting Catholics and Jews mixed up a little I think.
-D


#6

[quote=Vitus]You do realize that the Old Testament itself is based on Oral Tradition that was eventually written down. I’m sure you don’t have a problem with that, do you? The Oral Traditions of the early church were eventually written down as well. I don’t see the problem.
[/quote]

You do realize this statement is completely false and based soley on 19th and 20th century higher criticism? This is not a Protestant or Catholic thing it is simply a fact of history. The individual books of the OT were all written over a period of hundreds of years by various authors including, Moses, Daniel, David, Solomon, Isaiah etc. Only liberal “scholars” who believe in already disproven theories think the OT was written years later based on some oral tradition.

Mel


#7

At least for me, I always found those who don’t make this parallel to be somewhat lacking in their perspective. Though I disagree with Rome, the issue to me is not the logical possibility of keeping tradition relatively pure (which, as you stated, is no more inherently illogical than keeping scripture pure, though one might well argue the practical dificulties in doing so in equal measure), but whether this actually did happen and secondarily what qualifies as legitimate tradition. Ultimately the issue must be decided not on the level of pure logic and deduction, but rather the messy details of history that imply the correctness of one position or another.

ken


#8

[quote=II Paradox II]At least for me, I always found those who don’t make this parallel to be somewhat lacking in their perspective. Though I disagree with Rome, the issue to me is not the logical possibility of keeping tradition relatively pure (which, as you stated, is no more inherently illogical than keeping scripture pure, though one might well argue the practical dificulties in doing so in equal measure), but whether this actually did happen and secondarily what qualifies as legitimate tradition. Ultimately the issue must be decided not on the level of pure logic and deduction, but rather the messy details of history that imply the correctness of one position or another.

ken
[/quote]

Great post! I absolutely agree that the messy details are where this gets hashed out. My response was a general one in response to a general question. Many (I’d say most) haven’t thought things out to the degree you have and simply pointing out the logical argument I did is ‘news’ to them, and at least makes the idea plausible in a way they can appreciate.


#9

[quote=Curious]Hey all,

I was curious, when Catholics try to use apologetics with Protestants…I’m not talking Orthodox, and I’m not talking any other religion…how do you go about it? I was thinking you must hit some real stumbling blocks because Protestants want everything to be backed up by Scripture. So…you can’t necessarily go with the Catechism or with Tradition or even with the “extra” books you guys have.

So let’s hear it! How do you give answer?

Oh and one more thing…an extra topic I guess. If Oral Tradition remained oral and never got written down, how do you know it wasn’t changed? Even unintentionally. How do you know that oral tradition handed down over the years has stayed preserved without writing, so no one would forget?

On these two topics, I look forward to hearing your responses.

Thankee
[/quote]

Hello friendly neighborhood protestant!:slight_smile: I hope “friendly” is the operative word here. We’ll be happy to answer all your questions if you are trult curious…and not just here to try and criticize. :slight_smile:

First off, we never hit any stumbling blocks because the Catholic religion is based on the truth. We won’t be making up any of our answers. If you go to www.biblechristiansociety.com you will meet a professional apologist who uses the bible to answer your questions. You can also order his audio tapes - some of them are free. You might be interested in that.

We don’t have extra books in our bible. You know that the Catholic church compiled and ratified the bible don’t you? Some of the books were taken out, about 1,100 years later, by Martin Luther. It is a Catholic document. Any historian will tell you that.

I know that Oral Tradition is never changed because it is the word of God. You might look around your own church and see what traditions you have. And I’m sure you have some. How about altar calls, or sola scriptura ? Those are protestant traditions.

Hope that helps.


#10

Here is a thought… we don’t hit stumbling blocks, but that is not the point.

The real point is how do we help those who we are ministering to turn their stumbling blocks into stepping stones?

-D


#11

[quote=Curious]Hey all,

I was curious, when Catholics try to use apologetics with Protestants…I’m not talking Orthodox, and I’m not talking any other religion…how do you go about it? I was thinking you must hit some real stumbling blocks because Protestants want everything to be backed up by Scripture.

[/quote]

The fact that Protestants want everything backed up by scripture is as much a blessing as a stumbling block. That is to say there is plenty in scripture that backs Catholic teaching and plenty to detract from most Protestant teaching. As is evident from these boards, our separated brethren (and, err, sisteren) don’t have a monopoly on biblical knowledge, though many a Catholic may be deficient in that area.

In argument, the very fact that much of scripture doesn’t remotely back “once saved, always saved”, the eucharist as mere symbol, sola scriptura itself, etc., etc… and doesn’t always appear to clearly back up one important postition over another leads one to the very heart of the question- by what authority might we properly interpret, know, and follow scripture. The answer is either a form a personal interpretation/revelation, which leads to wildly divergent results, Christianity by committee, which leads to wildly divergent results, or Rome.


#12

[quote=Curious]Hey all,

Your friendly neighborhood Protestant here. :wink:

I was curious, when Catholics try to use apologetics with Protestants…I’m not talking Orthodox, and I’m not talking any other religion…how do you go about it? I was thinking you must hit some real stumbling blocks because Protestants want everything to be backed up by Scripture. So…you can’t necessarily go with the Catechism or with Tradition or even with the “extra” books you guys have.

So let’s hear it! How do you give answer?

Oh and one more thing…an extra topic I guess. If Oral Tradition remained oral and never got written down, how do you know it wasn’t changed? Even unintentionally. How do you know that oral tradition handed down over the years has stayed preserved without writing, so no one would forget?

On these two topics, I look forward to hearing your responses.

Thankee
[/quote]

I am going to answer the last question first. The Apostolic Tradition are…
1: Testified to by the Early Church Fathers.
2: Preserved in the Churches Liturgy.

You know how many Protestants complained about the whole Latin thing.? For 2000 years in the various Liturgical traditions were found the teachings of The Catholic Church. an Illiterate Peasant could go to church and learn every Catholic Doctrine just by paying attention to the Bible Readings and Prayers. Its all there. Thats why we say the Traditions are preserved in the Church. Imagine a Protestant assembly that decided to codifiy all its doctrines and turn them into rituals performed on a daily basis. They wouldnt need Apologetic Books to learn their faith. Just go to church and pay attention.

Now as to talking to Protestants about they Faith. One needs to lear the vocabulary. We call the same things by differrant names. Once you lay that basic ground work they STILL may not believe because they will continue to interprete the Bible according to their own denominational traditions without realizing they even HAVE traditions. They can only come to understand or except the Faith of the Church once they come to understand that many of their foundational doctines are assumptions based on denominational traditions. No one in modern culture can be said to come to the bible without cultural and denominational presuppositions.


#13

[quote=Curious]? I was thinking you must hit some real stumbling blocks because Protestants want everything to be backed up by Scripture.
[/quote]

Well, in most arguments with protestants, I’ve come dangerously close to feeling like I am gonna be attacked becuase the argument of **authority ** is so powerful that it bulldozes and demolishes the protestant sola scriptura belief.

Basically if anyone promotes an interpretation of scripture, ask them this simple question:

Who gave you the **authority ** to interpret?

Example: Lets say you believe what I believe. Fine. But what happens if we are talking about something and you don’t belive what I believe? Who is the final authorirty to resolve the disagreement? Furthermore, who gave that person the final authority to resolve the disagreement? If their is no final authority the result is schism on the points of disagreement.

What if I say Jesus was fully God, but not fully man? This would sound ridiculous right? But to some it might not, and they might even quote scripture to back up their belief. So again, who has the final authority to reslove the dispute with what is the correct interpretation?


#14

st. jerome said of the heretics that they refuse to bow their heads, even with their necks broken. a truer statement was never uttered.
i gave up trying to do apologetics with protestants a long time ago. it’s much more entertaining just repeatedly breaking their necks.


#15

You need to understand the Protestant Mindset™ before undertaking any apologetics with a Protestant. The Protestant Mindset™ consists of two factors in equal quantities:

  1. Sola Scriptura
  2. Ritual is evilThose two factors drive everything they know and believe about God, and everything they *think * they know and *do * believe about Catholics. They believe that Catholicism is not biblical, and they believe that everything we do is ritualistic.

You could attack those beliefs and prove them wrong. But you won’t win any souls for Christ.

Rather than attack those beliefs, play into them. Protestants are unimpressed by most Catholics because most Catholics don’t know their Bible. In order to get to their hearts you must do so through the only means they trust - The Bible. Read it. Know it. Be able to quote scripture and verse. When they say “you are justified by faith alone” be prepared to quote James 2:20 - “Faith without works is dead.” The Bible is their shield. You must get inside that shield, and the only way to do it is to know that book.

You will have to debunk their prejudices. When they ask you why you call priests “father,” you will have an answer ready. When they ask you why you pray to statues, you better be able to tell them why you do not. When they ask you why you worship Mary, you better have that answer on your lips.

You will find that when you are face-to-face with evangelicals, they’ll change topics on you very quickly to a) throw you off; and b) prove their biblical knowledge/superiority. You should be up to the task. Don’t let them change the topic. Explore each one until they either agree with you or stump you, in which case it’s time to get back to the books.

Going at the task half-hearted will only make them more secure in their prejudices, and you may do more harm then good. If you are not up to the task, don’t try it.

Also, it’s a good idea (on several levels) to pray with them. Lead them in prayer to the Lord, and trust the Lord to fill their hearts with his law.

Most of all, pray that the Holy Spirit fills you with the knowledge and the courage to face the most difficult challenges. Pray that he gives you the words and the conviction to approach the challenge both as a humble disciple of Christ, and with the revolutionary zeal of recent convert to Christ.

Peace, and pleasant evangelization everyone!


#16

[quote=eikke]st. jerome said of the heretics that they refuse to bow their heads, even with their necks broken. a truer statement was never uttered.
i gave up trying to do apologetics with protestants a long time ago. it’s much more entertaining just repeatedly breaking their necks.
[/quote]

Sometimes they do. But only by the Grace of God. We defend our position and preach to them the gospel. I know. I was once a non-denominational Evangelical.

Non-denominational is an oxymoron.


#17

[quote=eikke]st. jerome said of the heretics that they refuse to bow their heads, even with their necks broken. a truer statement was never uttered.
i gave up trying to do apologetics with protestants a long time ago. it’s much more entertaining just repeatedly breaking their necks.
[/quote]

I would suggest there is a better way. Why drive people from the Church?


#18

[quote=SocaliCatholic]…If their is no final authority the result is schism on the points of disagreement.
[/quote]

…and the resulting 30,000 plus denominations and one seemingly fickle Holy Spirit.


#19

[quote=Curious]I was curious, when Catholics try to use apologetics with Protestants…I’m not talking Orthodox, and I’m not talking any other religion…how do you go about it?
[/quote]

Something of note: the bulk of “Catholic apologetics” that I am acquainted with is geared towards Protestants. Not unbelievers–Protestants. On the other hand, there seems to be more Protestant apologetics geared to non-Christians. Sure, there is plenty of anti-Catholic stuff, but there is much more apologetics for non-Christians. I don’t know why it is the case but it seems to be that way. Case in point: catholic.com


#20

[quote=Curious]Hey all,

Your friendly neighborhood Protestant here. :wink:

I was curious, when Catholics try to use apologetics with Protestants…I’m not talking Orthodox, and I’m not talking any other religion…how do you go about it? I was thinking you must hit some real stumbling blocks because Protestants want everything to be backed up by Scripture. So…you can’t necessarily go with the Catechism or with Tradition or even with the “extra” books you guys have.

So let’s hear it! How do you give answer?

Oh and one more thing…an extra topic I guess. If Oral Tradition remained oral and never got written down, how do you know it wasn’t changed? Even unintentionally. How do you know that oral tradition handed down over the years has stayed preserved without writing, so no one would forget?

On these two topics, I look forward to hearing your responses.

Thankee
[/quote]

The answer to your second question is faith. I could ask youhow do you kno your bible is not changed, it came to you from the church as a product of Tradition.

On your first point I think the burden of proof is on protestants, scripture does not teach that the bible is the only source of crhistian teaching


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