James White 'discussion' on common Catholic Apologetics


#1

I say ‘discussion’ in the title because it is an article where he inserts ‘knowlelable protestant responses’ into a Catholic Answers article.

James Whites discussion aomin.org/Morrow.html

The Catholic Answers article he is siting.
catholic.com/thisrock/2000/0011fea4.asp

It is interesting to read because he says some interesting things if they are true.

Some of the major ones
-The council of Jamnia never existed, it was only a discussion, nothing declarative. Which flies in the face of a common Catholic support for the deuterocanonicals. And, that there was a clear consensus on what OT books were to be included prior to Christ’s life.
-The early church believing in Real Presence, not transubstantiation. (claiming there is a difference)
-Council of Rome (an early listing of the NT canon) never having existed and “is an anachronistic interpolation of Gelasius’ listing”
-That much of the NT was in the hands of the apostles pretty early on. Including Paul quoting from Luke calling it ‘scriptures’.

Has anyone ever seen this, and does anyone have a good rebuttal for it? Because even if it is made up, it makes this ‘Catholic’, with very Catholic arguments, look unlearned.


#2

White claim << -The council of Jamnia never existed, it was only a discussion, nothing declarative. Which flies in the face of a common Catholic support for the deuterocanonicals. >>

Not a big deal to me, some Catholic apologists I’ve heard use this in the past that some Jews disagreed about the OT canon at a c. 90 AD council. Gary Michuta (Why Catholic Bibles are Bigger) argues there isn’t good evidence for a council of Jamnia. The criterion for inclusion of the deuterocanonicals in the OT canon is Church usage of those books from the beginning, not what Jews before or after Christ thought of the books.

White claim << And, that there was a clear consensus on what OT books were to be included prior to Christ’s life. >>

Depends on whether you buy all of Roger Beckwith’s OT Canon of the NT Church arguments, or Gary Michuta’s counter-arguments and explanations in Why Catholic Bibles are Bigger. Michuta also debated White on the issue a few years ago.

Note: Real Presence vs. transubstantiation claim in next post.

White claim << -Council of Rome (an early listing of the NT canon) never having existed and “is an anachronistic interpolation of Gelasius’ listing” >>

I’ve heard this, but again not a big deal. There is still Hippo and Carthage (c. 393/397/419) in the west laying out the same canon (with the deuterocanonical books included). The point is it took time for the full 27-book NT canon to be collected and recognized by the Church (late 4th century AD).

White claim << -That much of the NT was in the hands of the apostles pretty early on. Including Paul quoting from Luke calling it ‘scriptures’. >>

I’ve heard this also, Luke is supposedly quoted by 1 Timothy. This is also argued in prominent evangelical books such as A General Introduction to the Bible by Geisler/Nix (1986 revised). Not a problem to Catholics since this shows the early Church recognized the canonicity of the Gospels very early on. It argues for the canonical Gospel’s reliability whether you are Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant and is an argument we can use against Bible critics. So 1 Timothy (c. 60 or 90 depending how you date him) is either quoting Luke, or an oral tradition that was later preserved in Luke’s Gospel.

Phil P


#3

White claim << -The early church believing in Real Presence, not transubstantiation. (claiming there is a difference) >>

This is more important, but White accepts neither the Real Presence nor transubstantiation. Remember: White is a baptist.

Transubstantiation is a later philosophical explanation and more detailed defense of the “conversion” view (Greek metabole and other terms, Latin conversio or transformatio and other terms) held by St. Ambrose in the west, and in the east by St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. John Chrysostom, St. Cyril of Alexandria and St. John Damascene:

All the main examples from the Church Fathers found here.

Darwell Stone’s Conclusion of the Ante-Nicene Fathers:

“…THROUGHOUT the writers of the period the identification of the ELEMENTS WITH THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST appears to be the ruling idea.”

“The belief that the Eucharist IS A SACRIFICE is found EVERYWHERE. This belief is coupled with strong repudiations of carnal sacrifices; and is saved from being Judaic by the recognition of the ELEMENTS AS CHRIST’S BODY AND BLOOD, of the union of the action of the Church on earth with that of Christ in heaven, and of the spiritual character of that whole priestly life and service and action of the community as the body of Christ which is a distinguishing mark of the Christian system.” (A History of the Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist, volume 1, page 54, emphasis added)

JND Kelly’s Summary of the Ante-Nicene Fathers:

“…the eucharist was regarded as the distinctively Christian SACRIFICE from the closing decade of the first century, if not earlier. Malachi’s prediction (1,10f) that the Lord would reject the Jewish sacrifices and instead would have ‘a pure offering’ made to Him by the Gentiles in every place was early seized upon by Christians [Did 14,3; Justin dial 41,2f; Irenaeus ad haer 4,17,5] as a prophecy of the eucharist…It was natural for early Christians to think of the eucharist as a sacrifice. The fulfillment of prophecy demanded a solemn Christian offering, and the rite itself was wrapped in the sacrificial atmosphere with which our Lord invested the Last Supper…The eucharist was also, of course, the great act of worship of Christians, their SACRIFICE. The writers and liturgies of the period are UNANIMOUS in recognizing it as such.” (Early Christian Doctrines, page 196-198, 214 emphasis added)

NEW CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA under Eucharist (as Sacrament)

“Nothing is more solid than the UNANIMITY of belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist for the first 1,500 years of the Church. The spontaneous uproar caused by men such as Berengarius of Tours (d. 1088) only attests the more to the unquestioned acceptance of the Real Presence. This UNANIMOUS belief of 1,500 years is itself an argument to its truth. For it is impossible that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, could leave the Church in error over a long period of time about one of the central doctrines of Christianity, according to the argument from prescription.” (NCE, volume 5, page 604)

White rejects every teaching of the Eucharist from St. Ignatius of Antioch (110 AD) to St. John Damascene (750 AD) whereas the Catholic/Orthodox view of transubstantiation/Real Presence and Eucharistic sacrifice is perfectly compatible with all the Fathers, east and west.

Phil P


#4

Two more points White mentions on Theodoret and Pope Gelasius. These are dealt with in detail by Darwell Stone (I have to check his volumes again), and mentioned by Ludwig Ott (Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, page 382):

=====

In order vividly to represent the mystery of the Eucharist, the Fathers employ analogies such as the change of nourishment into the substance of the body (St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. John Damascene), the change of water into wine at the Marriage of Cana (St. Cyril of Jerusalem), the change of the Staff of Moses into a serpent, the change of the waters of the Egyptian rivers into blood, also the Creation and the Incarnation (St. Ambrose of Milan).

In the old Liturgies the Logos or the Holy Ghost is called down in a special prayer (Epiclesis) in order that He may “make” (Greek given) the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, or in order that the bread and wine might “become” (Greek given) the body and blood of Christ. St. Cyril of Jerusalem says in his description of the Mass… (quotes from Cat Myst 5, 7).

Theodoret of Cyrus (d. 460) teaches that the Eucharistic elements “do not emerge from their nature after consecration” but “remain in their former essence and in their appearance and in their shape.” On the other hand, he attests that these are “something else before the invocation [Epiclesis] of the priest, after the invocation, however, they are changed and become something else” (Eranistes dial 2). As the change is clearly expressed here, many theologians take the first utterance to mean the continuance of the external appearance of the bread and wine after the mutation of the substance.

In association with his Antiochian Christology, according to which the human nature exists independently side by side with the Divine nature, but participates in the name, the honor, and the adorability of the Divine nature, this conception tends towards the argument that in analogous manner the Eucharistic elements after the consecration continue unchanged, but participate in the name, the honor and the adorability of the celestial Christ, who has united Himself with them at the Epiclesis.

Thus the mutation maintained by him is not to be understood as a mutation of the substance, but as a mysterious attachment of the unchanged elements to the body and blood of the Lord (moral mutation).

Similarly, Pope Gelasius I (492-496) observes: The Sacraments of the body and blood of Christ are “a Divine matter” on which account we are through them partakers of the Divine nature (2 Peter 1:4), “but still the substance or nature of the bread and wine does not cease to be.” Bread and wine go over into the Divine substance through the efficacy of the Holy Ghost, “but nevertheless remain in their peculiarity of their nature” (De duabus naturis in Christo 14). Also pseudo-Chrysostom, an Antiochian, teaches that the bread after Consecration is called the body of the Lord, “even if the nature of bread remains in it.” (Ep ad Caesarium).

=====

So we have some differences on the nature of the “change” among some of the Fathers, while most of them argue “change” in the sense of a conversion which approximates a “transubstantiation” view, while a few use the analogy of Christ’s two natures and thus hold more a “consubstantiation” view.

As for sacrifice, I quote this again from Darwell Stone on the west and St. Augustine:

“There is like terminology in the West. A canon of the Council of Arles, held in 314 A.D., like the Council of Nicaea eleven years later in the East, incidentally contains the word ‘OFFER’ to describe the work of the presbyters which the deacons might not perform [Canon 15]. St. Optatus of Milevis uses the words ‘SACRIFICE’ and ‘OFFER’ in regard to the Eucharist [2:12]. St. Ambrose says that it is part of the work of the Christian ministry to ‘OFFER SACRIFICE for the people’; that Christ ‘is Himself on earth when the body of Christ is OFFERED’; and that the word of Christ ‘consecrates the SACRIFICE which is OFFERED’ [In Ps 38 Enar 25]. St. Augustine refers to the Eucharist as ‘the SACRIFICE of our redemption,’ ‘the SACRIFICE of the Mediator,’ ‘the SACRIFICE of peace,’ ‘the SACRIFICE of love,’ ‘the SACRIFICE of the BODY and BLOOD of the Lord,’ ‘the SACRIFICE of the Church’ [Conf 9:32; Enchir 110; In Ps 21 Enar 2:28; In Ps 33 Enar 1:5; De civ Dei 10:20]. St. Leo speaks of ‘the OFFERING of the SACRIFICE’ as an act of Christian worship [Serm 26:1; 91:3].” (A History of the Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist, volume, page 113)

Sorry just wanted to be thorough to show how wrong White is. :smiley:

Needless to say, White holds neither the Real Presence nor Eucharistic sacrifice of the Fathers, neither consubstantiation nor transubstantiation. His view of the Eucharist has nothing to do with any of the Church Fathers.

Phil P


#5

White claim << Now at this point I could present a number of responses that have been offered by Roman Catholic controversialists, but they all share the same circularity: the decision to embrace Rome as the final authority in all things is a fallible decision. It can produce no more certainty than any other human decision. >>

The “fallible decision” argument was demolished by Cardinal Newman in the 19th century, from B.C. Butler’s reply to the “Abridged” Salmon:

Confusing Infallibility with Certainty

It is however encouraging, on reading on a few lines further in the Abridgement [to Salmon’s Infallibility of the Church], to discover what this argument is. It is that

“our belief must, in the end, rest on an act of our own judgment, and can never attain any higher certainty than whatever that may give us.” … “I do not see how a Roman Catholic advocate can help yielding the point that a member of his Church does, in truth, exercise private judgment, once for all, in his decision to submit to the teaching of the Church.” …“The result is, that absolute certainty can only be had on the terms of being infallible one’s self.” (Salmon, pages 15f, 17, 21)

Now no one, so far as I know, has ever maintained that an act of faith, in one who has reached the age of reason, does not involve or imply an act of personal decision, and a Roman Catholic advocate has no inclination to contest this point. The Church teaches that an act of faith is a virtuous act, and no act can be virtuous unless it comes from the intelligence and will of the agent. We do not merely concede the point, we strongly maintain it. But it does not in the least follow that when I say “I believe the Church to be infallible” I am in effect saying “I believe myself to be infallible.” On the contrary, I am saying, “God, in giving the Church as a reliable teacher of his truth, has of course made her recognizable precisely by fallible people like me. She is recognizable, and I recognize her.”

Salmon has confused the notion of infallibility with that of certainty, and he appears to identify the notion of belief with that of certainty, so that (on his showing) any act of belief, whatever the object of the act, is a claim to personal infallibility – a conclusion so paradoxical that it can hardly have been intended by him.

…But though I am certain of my own existence, I am not infallible. Infallibility connotes that one is not liable to error within some whole province of truth – as the Church, according to the Vatican definition, claims infallibility in the province, not of science or politics, but of “faith and morals.” But though I am certain of my own existence, I am not free from my liability to error in the province of metaphysics; I am certain of a particular proposition, I am not infallible in a given science, and many of my judgments in that science may prove to be erroneous, though not the particular judgment (of whose truth I am certain) that I exist.

As usual Cardinal Newman states the distinction between certainty (or as he styles it, certitude) and infallibility with luminous clarity:

"It is very common, doubtless, especially in religious controversy, to confuse infallibility with certitude, and to argue that, since we have not the one, we have not the other, for that no one can claim to be certain on any point, who is not infallible about all; but the two words stand for things quite distinct from each other. For example, I remember for certain what I did yesterday, but still my memory is not infallible; I am quite certain that two and two make four, but I often make mistakes in long addition sums…

“A certitude is directed to this or that particular proposition, it is not a faculty or gift, but a disposition of mind relative to the definite case which is before me. Infallibility, on the contrary, is just that which certitude is not; it is a faculty or gift, and relates, not to some one truth in particular, but to all possible propositions in a given subject-matter. We ought, in strict propriety, to speak not of infallible acts, but of acts of infallibility…I am quite certain that Victoria is our Sovereign, and not her father, the late Duke of Kent, without laying any claim to the gift of infallibility…I may be certain that the Church is infallible, while I am myself a fallible mortal; otherwise, I cannot be certain that the Supreme Being is infallible, until I am infallible myself…It is wonderful that a clearheaded man, like Chillingworth, sees this as little as the run of everyday objectors to the Catholic Religion…” (Newman, Grammar of Assent, pages 224f)

From Reply to Salmon’s Infallibility (chapter “Alleged Argument in a Circle”)

Not much else in that White article requires a response. :thumbsup:

Phil P


#6

:shrug:

Some of the major ones
-The council of Jamnia never existed, it was only a discussion, nothing declarative. Which flies in the face of a common Catholic support for the deuterocanonicals. And, that there was a clear consensus on what OT books were to be included prior to Christ’s life.

We’ve been saying all along that Jamnia (or Javnia as it is also known) had no authority, and yet it is the n-Cs I’ve encountered who attempt to use this to justify the absence of the DCs from their Bible. Thanks for the help I guess…:smiley:

-The early church believing in Real Presence, not transubstantiation. (claiming there is a difference)

There’s not, because you cannot have one without the other. This is just a weak argument…

The Real Presence is discussed by the ECF and transubstantiation (as a term) did not come along until the heretical reformers challenged it. The term is a definition of the way in which the Real Presence comes into being, something that the ECF simply took for granted according to 1st Corinthians 11:23-30.

-Council of Rome (an early listing of the NT canon) never having existed and “is an anachronistic interpolation of Gelasius’ listing”

A very good (LONG) article.
[FONT=“Palatino Linotype”]But while eminent scholars and theorists were thus depreciating the additional writings, the official attitude of the Latin Church, always favourable to them, kept the majestic tenor of its way. Two documents of capital importance in the history of the canon constitute the first formal utterance of papal authority on the subject. The first is the so-called “Decretal of Gelasius”, de recipiendis et non recipiendis libris, the essential part of which is now generally attributed to a synod convoked by Pope Damasus in the year 382. The other is the Canon of Innocent I, sent in 405 to a Gallican bishop in answer to an inquiry. Both contain all the deuterocanonicals, without any distinction, and are identical with the catalogue of Trent. The African Church, always a staunch supporter of the contested books, found itself in entire accord with Rome on this question. Its ancient version, the Vetus Latina (less correctly the Itala), had admitted all the Old Testament Scriptures. St. Augustine seems to theoretically recognize degrees of inspiration; in practice he employs protos and deuteros without any discrimination whatsoever. Moreover in his “De Doctrinâ Christianâ” he enumerates the components of the complete Old Testament. The Synod of Hippo (393) and the three of Carthage (393, 397, and 419), in which, doubtless, Augustine was the leading spirit, found it necessary to deal explicitly with the question of the Canon, and drew up identical lists from which no sacred books are excluded. These councils base their canon on tradition and liturgical usage. For the Spanish Church valuable testimony is found in the work of the heretic Priscillian, “Liber de Fide et Apocryphis”; it supposes a sharp line existing between canonical and uncanonical works, and that the Canon takes in all the deuteros.

-That much of the NT was in the hands of the apostles pretty early on.

Including Paul quoting from Luke calling it ‘scriptures’.I don’t believe he can support this historically. Most scholars will disagree. Funny that he neglects to discuss Peters reference to Paul’s writings as “sometimes difficult to understand”.:shrug:

Has anyone ever seen this, and does anyone have a good rebuttal for it? Because even if it is made up, it makes this ‘Catholic’, with very Catholic arguments, look unlearned.

I wouldn’t lose any sleep about that guy.:rolleyes:

BTW…[SIGN]***YOU GO PHIL!!! ***[/SIGN][/FONT]


#7

yeah Phil, nice work rebutting all that, you supplied more answers than I ever expected for this thread.

Thanks guys, not losing sleep, it’s just White’s arrogance that unnerves me, and disgusts me, for some reason.


#8

<< yeah Phil, nice work rebutting all that, you supplied more answers than I ever expected for this thread. >>

Thanks, I’ll respond just to keep this thread on the front page a few more days. Any time you need refutations of White’s old arguments, you come to me. :thumbsup: And I’ll advertise this article in response to White:

Quasi-Oz Poppycock: An Exchange on Mary, Another Redeemer

Phil P


#9

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