How to respond to this claim

I was having a discussion with my Baptist Father about Catholicism and he eventually posted this link:…stand_rcc.html.

Earlier I posted this and asked how might I respond to such accusations, I certainly received some great responses (and for that I thank those who did!), but one pointed out that it probably wasn’t the best idea to just paste the article and wait. The user (dmar198), suggested that I should perhaps just post each individual claim the author makes, one at a time (spread out of course, not consecutively). So I shall take that advice, starting with the first:

The author says: That Catholic apologists (Scott Hahn, Peter Kreeft, etc.) are not authoritative and therefore he doesn’t need to read them.

That kind of puts a damper on things when I try and discuss, considering a lot of the stuff I get and use are from Apologists. How might I respond to this?

Thank you ahead of time!!!

So, the link you posted does not work for me, but in answer to the first claim that Catholic apologists are not authoritative, I would venture to ask the following questions: 1.) What does the author mean by “authoritative”? 2.) How is the author qualified to judge whether or not a Catholic apologist has authority?

By the way, Scott Hahn has an extensive background in Theology and Philosophy, has a Ph.D. from Marquette and currently teaches at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. He founded and is the President of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, has given over 800 talks in the U.S., and makes frequent appearances on EWTN.

Peter Kreeft also has a great deal of education, and received his M.A. and doctoral degrees from Fordham University. He has received several honors for achievements in philosophical reasoning including the following: Woodrow Wilson, Yale-Sterling Fellowship, Newman Alumni Scholarship, Danforth Asian Religions Fellowship, and Weathersfield Homeland Foundation Fellowship. He is currently a professor of philosophy at Boston College and The King’s College and he has a lengthy, professional list of published works.

If these are not “authoritative” individuals, I truly have no idea what an “authoritative” individual would look like.

Hello my friend,

This is my first response to a post, I hope I can provide something useful.

The author says: That Catholic apologists (Scott Hahn, Peter Kreeft, etc.) are not authoritative and therefore he doesn’t need to read them.

To me the question is what is authoritative? Exegetes have worked for a long time to make sense of the scriptures. The Church, in its magisterial role, has done a great job of guiding both exegesis as well as sharing the teaching it has found. Hahn and Kreeft have done a magnificent job in its efforts to understand what the scriptures say in an academic and honest manner.

I would simply ask two questions. Who is an authoritative source? If Hahn and Kreeft in truthful academic exploration is not authoritative, will they only accept sola scripture? If so, how are we to interpret it?

Hope this helps. Interested in learning more about the discussion.


That seems rather prejudicial and irrational for the author to say that.

Even if Einstein was a unabashed Nazi and Hitler’s chief scientist, that still wouldn’t mean that Einstein’s discovery (that E=mc2) is false.

Its a fallacious conclusion, more than likely stemming from his knowledge that Hahn, Kreeft, etc. are Catholic and not from what they’ve written.

Not that he’s not entitled to his prejudices, but for any objective person considering the claims of the author that irrational position should speak volumes.

Not authoritative in comparison with what or with whom? There’s some missing pieces in this view, and I’m not sure what exactly is being argued. Can you expand a bit?

Not to mention, what is the authority of your Baptist friend…or any Baptist?

The Baptist friend will argue that he’s not an authority, that his authority is God’s Word.

What needs to be shown is that the Bible is not self-interpreting and that his Baptist friend necessarily reads the Bible through the lense of that Baptist tradition.

And when there’s a disagreement over interpretation these disagreements are never settled by Scripture alone but by that tradition-or as more often than not-the splintering of that community.

I think this is what he meant to link to:

Given that article, I think the comment about authority means that the writings of Scott Hahn et al are not magisterial documents and therefore not authoritative teaching for Catholics. But you can play the same game. David Cloud, the Baptist author of that article is not authoritative for Baptists, either, so you need not read it.

As to the article itself, taken by itself it seems to be fairly reasonable for the most part. He rebuts Catholics who claim that our Church doesn’t teach what it does teach (e.g. that baptism is necessary for salvation, that there is a purgatory, that Mary is Queen of Heaven, etc.). He points out that authoritative (i.e. magisterial) documents do teach these things.

The part that is really screwy is this:


“But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him”(1 John 2:27).

This verse instructs me that the Holy Spirit is my teacher. He will enable the child of God to understand and interpret doctrine, to discern truth from error. If someone tells me that I cannot understand doctrine for myself, he is calling God a liar.

That is pure circular reasoning, since his Protestant interpretation of 1 John 2:27 is necessary in order to glean from it the principle upon which his interpretation is based.

(You will find a Catholic commentary on that verse in Haydock.)

Hey! Thank you so much for the responses so far!

Anyway, apparently the link isn’t working so hopefully this one works (although it looks like
Ad Orientem already posted it in his comment [Thanks Ad Orientem!]), probably might help more in your responses to see in what context he is stating it, too, haha:

Thanks again!


Sorry, if I do not respond directly to your posts, just please know though that I do read all of them and take all of them into account. Thank you!

1st read my sig line :D.

2nd - this link might help you Paul & James on Faith & Works
by Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.

3rd - Sacraments in Scripture
*]Private Interpretation of Scriptures

There is an interrelationship between the work of exegetes and believers and the work of the magisterium. It is the magisterium’s task to be the ultimate arbiter of whether or not a given theological idea belongs to the Catholic faith. But where does the theological idea come from in the first place? Who thinks of it, formulates it, develops it, expresses it? Bishops, yes, but also priests, saints, scholars, even ordinary believers. All of us, bringing our spiritual and critical faculties to the sources of faith (Scripture and Tradition) in a spirit of humility and docility to the teaching authority of the Church, may explore the meaning of divine revelation for ourselves.

*]2 Peter 3:15-16

4th - Sola Fide and Sola Scriptura are man made principles that are not found in Scriptures and were absent from the Christian Church for 1,500 years.

5th - How does he exegete the great commission?
Matthew 28:16-20
[16] And the eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them. [17] And seeing him they adored: but some doubted. [18] And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. [19] Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. [20] Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.
Ask him how does one translate Teaching Office into Latin - :smiley:

In regards to authority!

If he believes that it is the bible alone that is authorative, than does he ever read commentaries, or listen to messages? Why?

If he does read commentaries, then why not some from guys in the first few hundred years of Christianity? Like Ignatius of Antioch on the Eucharist around A.D 105 or St. Cyprian of Carthage on infant Baptism around A.D 240.

If the word of God is the authority, then why all the preaching and teaching, are the words of scripture insufficient?

Why then, do men feel they need to explain the bible, if the word of God alone is sufficient, why not just read scripture aloud!

Are they not trusting that the words alone of scripture being read, will bring about conversion?

Since he is Baptist, does he hold to a confession of faith like the Baptist confession of 1689?

If there is no authority outside of scripture, then what does he make of what scripture says about authority?

How was the bible compiled, through what medium?

Is the canon of scripture closed? If so, by who’s authority?

Sometimes, you can get people to listen to other non-Catholics, that hold more Catholic views. For instance, their is a debate between John MacArthur, and R.C Sproul on Baptism using scripture alone.

R.C Sproul holds to a pro infant baptism view, and lays his case out pretty well, using scripture alone!

Both of these men are often on evangelical radio dials, and are well respected, so he may not listen to you, or any catholic apologist, but he may listen to R.C Sproul :thumbsup:
You can find the debate on YouTube!

There are non-Catholics that have similar views to Catholic doctrine on Justification as well, guys like Charles Hodge, or Norman Geisler!

I find that many non-Catholics will steer clear of anything Catholic, but will read stuff by non Catholics (excluding Lutherans, and Anglicans, they stay clear from them as well, too catholic I guess :shrug:)

Hope that helps!
God bless!

I didn’t get a chance to read your other post and the link didn’t work… But what the others have said is good. I have many non Catholic family members who are die hard evangelicals, baptists, etc. I don’t try to convince them to be Catholic. Here’s the deal about human beings. People don’t change through argument they change through pain and religiously speaking “pain” is a conversion experience. Unless the pain of remaining the same is greater than the pain of change, people won’t change.

This is what I have learned about “sales” or “business development” over the years which is a bit different from evangelizing but not completely.

People aren’t going to change unless there is a reason to change. You have to uncover their “pain points”. If they don’t see themselves as having any, they won’t change. So, instead of telling them things, ask questions only at first and see if you can uncover the pain points. Even if I know a client needs what I have, I can’t just say “so, you want 1 or 100 of X widgets?” I have to uncover his pain points first. If he is happy with his current provide (Baptist, Evangelical) then what motivation is there for him to change? The most powerful sales techniques are to ask questions, but know the answers before you ask.

If they don’t have a need, don’t fight them.

Pray for them. That is about all you can do, let the Holy Spirit work on them.

From the link your father provided -----

    But, even more so, I wish all Catholics would – not only read the authoritative declarations, but accept and uphold them.

I won’t go into all that the author writes after the above quoted statement, except to say that I found it almost humorous to note the text segments from “authoritative declarations” he chose to avoid literally including by using instead the “…” notation.
For example, in his quote from the CCC #1257, he chose to use “…” rather than type out the clauses shown below in red print The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them. Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.” God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.

That kind of puts a damper on things when I try and discuss, considering a lot of the stuff I get and use are from Apologists. How might I respond to this?

Give the official documents to your father and make sure you read them too. Then study Hahn, Kreeft and others to see how they explain those official teachings. When your father questions you about what the official documents teach, draw on the knowledge you have gained from those apologists to explain and defend in your own words the official teachings of the Church.

Don’t know if anyone else found this rather ironic, but Mr. Cloud begins his list of 3 items by stating there are authoritative sources of official Catholic teachings/beliefs:


And then he concludes his blog with an 1851 quote that includes the following clause in the final sentence of his blog:

“… Thus nothing is so difficult as to know what the belief of Roman Catholics really is; …”

:confused: :slight_smile:

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