Suggestions for Catholic Apologists 1.0

In order to help you all become better presenters of your faith, I thought you might appreciate some constructive feedback and suggestions from the other side of the fence:D

So I am compiling a list themes that I have heard from y’all that really detract from what you are trying to say (at least from my perspective). So…one at a time

(1) Over use of the term Protestant.

OK. I can understand a simple term to denote the 6,743,982:) branches of Christianity that are not Catholic or Orthodox. I can understand Protestant has a common definition of those branches of Christianity that can trace their roots to the historical event known as the reformation. (Now 400 years later, most of us aren’t protesting anything…from our point of view the local Catholic church is not logically different than the local Lutheran church that we don’t attend but aren’t protesting. I wish there were another term, bt for now I guess we are stuck with the term Protestant I suppose).

But “Protestantism”??:confused: What in the wild world of sports is “Protestantism”. “Protestant” is just a term of convenience of denominations that are not Catholic or Orthodox. None of us belong to the “First Protestant Church of…” There is no unifying creed that any of our churches have to sign off on to receive the label of Protestant. Given these realities, there is no such entity as Protestantism unless it means “anything that is Christian but not Catholic or Orthodox”. Not very descriptive is it.

Oh…and one more thing. I realize there is 2,568,923 denominations of Protestant that you have to keep tabs of…and I can understand that can be very daunting at times…but here are a couple of suggestions for starters. First, try to avoid the fallacy of allness. That would be ascribing to all Protestants the characteristics of a few. Particularly when those few are a little wacky (given the millions of denominations out there, there are bound to be some wackos). Second, when the affiliation or even theological bent is known, it is more accurate to use these affiliation. Terms like Baptist, Lutheran, Evangelical, Wesleyan, Calvinist…etc are more accurate than Protestant. Protestant tells me nothing other than not Catholic or Orthodox.

An example is a statement I just found in another thread. I see this type of stull “all the time”

Every Protestant denom and every Protestant claims infallibility

Oh really. Like I believe the author of this statement is familiar with the all 4,589,234 to make such a blanket statement.

BTW. I don’t know of one that claims they are incapable of being incorrect. I know of many that believe they are correct. Believing you are correct is not logically the same as believing you are incapable of being incorrect.

Noted.

And, Thanks! :slight_smile:

Thanks for that… I think the term Protestant is widely used to describe non-Catholic Christian denominations and is not intended to offend. This name stems from the Reformation when Luther left the Church in protest and continues to this day.

I also believe there is wide-scale belief amoung Catholics that the vast majority of non-Catholic denominations subscribe to Luther’s doctrine of ‘sola scriptura’. It was this doctrine that has led to the establishment of the 6,743,942 denominations because of the lack of scriptural and doctrinal unity. Since all of these denominations feel their interpretation of scripture is the correct one, it hlead to statements like the one you site above.

I guess from my side I don’t understand the sensitivity because no offense is intended. From your side it’s easy you simply refer to us as Catholics, RC’s. But from my side its much harder…I can’t possibly learn the names of all 6, 743,942 branches of Christianity. I mean I have a hard time remembering my cell phone number so I guess :shrug: I’ll continue to use the term ‘Protestant’ to describe all non-Catholic Christian denominations.

No offense meant.:blessyou:

Iowa Mike

Thanks for that… I think the term Protestant is widely used to describe non-Catholic Christian denominations and is not intended to offend. This name stems from the Reformation when Luther left the Church in protest and continues to this day.

I also believe there is wide-scale belief amoung Catholics that the vast majority of non-Catholic denominations subscribe to Luther’s doctrine of ‘sola scriptura’. It was this doctrine that has led to the establishment of the 6,743,942 denominations because of the lack of scriptural and doctrinal unity. Since all of these denominations feel their interpretation of scripture is the correct one, it hlead to statements like the one you site above.

I guess from my side I don’t understand the sensitivity because no offense is intended. From your side it’s easy you simply refer to us as Catholics, RC’s. But from my side its much harder…I can’t possibly learn the names of all 6, 743,942 branches of Christianity. I mean I have a hard time remembering my cell phone number so I guess :shrug: I’ll continue to use the term ‘Protestant’ to describe all non-Catholic Christian denominations.

No offense meant.:blessyou:

Iowa Mike

Thank you Mozart. Have you completed #2 yet?
:blessyou:

Yup…here is #2

“Sola Scriptura” and “Sola Fide”.

These are titles and titles only. They are absolutely meaningless in and of themselves.

You have problems here. First of all, your average Protestant in the pew is probably totally unfamiliar with these terms. I was only vaguely familiar with these terms before I came here.

So the Catholic apologist defines these terms for him. Sola Scriptura means that all I need is me 'n my Bible 'n Jesus. Sola Fide means I can live absolutely as I please and still have eternal life. And then they shoot down a strawman that we really don’t believe in (I remember a post saying "gee in Sola Scriptura all these Protestants need to do is drop Bibles over a country…ya don’t need missions work at all)

Without definition, titles are meaningless. Now under these titles are interesting questions that Christians of good will can and do disagree on (believe me…good Protestants disagree on these questions)

  • How do exactly faith and works work together in the life of the believer?
  • How exactly do the institutions of church and the written Word of God work together in the life of the believer?
  • Does God still speak today outside of the written Word of God?
    …and gimme time and I can think of more…

And this goes back to issue 1.0…since there is no such entity as Protestantism…there is no common answer to these questions, and thus no common definition of “Sola Scriptura” and “Sola Fide” (if used in your average Protestant church…which is doubtful).

Instead of asking and answering these questions, I’m stuck on “Sola Scriptura is false because the Bible doesn’t teach Sola Scriptura.” Huh??? At this point I tune out.

Related to this issue is the 6,798,234 denominations of Protestant. Somehow the cause of this is “Sola Scriptura”. I haven’t gotten how. But I think I will make this a separate one.:slight_smile:

Issue 3.0 is the canon. Invariably in Catholic apologetics this always comes up (maybe in Sola Scriptura stuff). Somehow I think that you think it proves proves something. Problem is I haven’t figured out what. But that is another post.

Mike:
I really am not offended by the term “Protestant”. I understand the need for some bucket type of term term to cover all of branches of Christianity that are not Catholic or Orthodox and somehow evolved from the reformation. I wish the term of choice didn’t have the word “protest” imbedded in it…but whatever…I can live with that.

It is when I read the term “Protestantism” that I want to yell into my computer “there is no such thing”.

So what is the more common Sola to which our separated brethren adhere to…

They believe that the Bible is the sole authority…most of them
They believe that we are saved by Faith alone…most of them

Nope. Changing direction here. Issue 3.0 just has to be that “all Protestants are our very own popes”. I have read this so many times I have stopped counting. But I saw this sentence in another thread and split a gut laughing

Each Protestant is his or her very own Pope, General Council, Bishop, priest, and litugy coordinator - a church of one. And God help anybody who suggests to them that they might not have their own personal Holy Spirit.

Oh really! Puhleeeeze.

I am sure the author of this statement has done due diligence and has interviewed each Protestant to verify this is indeed the case.

At the mininum I am sure the author of this statement has intimate knowledge of each of the 6,236,781 denominations of Protestant to back up his assertion.

(BTW this statement received Amens from the amen corner here).

Funny thing is I know of no Protestant that claims they are incapable of being wrong. And where I go to church we are taught:

  • You should attend church and fellowship with other believers. Church of one…hmm.
  • You should have a teachable spirit and be open to being taught by those more mature in the Lord (our own personal popes…hmmm).
  • God speaks to His people through the church…hmmm.

Never mind the logical fallacy of ascribing to all the characteristics of a few. This one ascribes to all the characteristics of nobody.:smiley:

I guess the “Protestant” churches in my neck of the woods are anomalies…and Protestant churches in the other 49 states outside of Vermont teach that you can be your own pope.:slight_smile:

Please apply due diligence before spouting off such nonsense.

What do you mean the sole authority? With respect to what? Is there nothing else authoritative?

If there are other authorities, what is the relationship that each has with the other?

Now these are good questions and worthy of some discussion. Not "The Bible doesn’t say it is the sole authority so “Sola Scriptura” (whatever this is) is false.

Define “Faith”? What is the relationship of works to this faith?

How does one initially come into a state where (if they died that night) they would spend eternity with the Lord (neglecting Purgatory for the moment). After they come into this state…then how does it work…how do faith and works work together?

Not “Sola Fide” means you can do whatever you want and live however you please and still have eternal life. Puhleeze.

I think the problem with debating Prot- err… non-Catholic, non-Orthodox Christians is that there are so many different “flavors” so that in many cases one group can teach a certain doctrine while another one teaches an opposite doctrine (OSAS versus non-OSAS, predestination/Calvinism versus Arminianism/freewill, various versions of dispensationalism, differing doctrines concerning baptism and the Lord’s Suppper, etc. etc.

Yup…and you have my sympathies. Honest…you really do. I would have a hard time if I were in your shoes.

Suggestion: treat each of us as individuals and avoid blanket statements for all Protestants (particularly inane ones that just aren’t true). That way you are at least safe.

Oh really. Like I believe the author of this statement is familiar with the all 4,589,234 to make such a blanket statement.

It is sufficient to know that all organizations calling themselves Christian that are not Catholic and not Eastern Orthodox, without exception, base their teachings on the Bible Alone (the 66-book version cut initially by Luther). Their claim to absolute truth derives not from themselves but from their belief in the inerrancy the Bible. That they hold their interpretation of the Bible to be Truth itself is their reason for existing as a separate denomination.

Name one denomination that admits that it’s teachings – which conflict with the teachings of every other denomination – are merely opinion and should not be considered as Truth.

The World Christian Encyclopedia, in two volumes, edited by David Barrett, 2001 edition, and previous editions of the same work, classifies Christian organizations into four categories: (Roman) Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Protestant. This is necesssary in order to either count them or discuss them. Barrett is an Anglican clergyman (could that be why “Anglican” has its own category?) and a distinguished statistician. So, if a denomination isn’t Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or Anglican, it is labeled Protestant. Obviously, organizations (and you) may not like it, but that’s the way it is. There are too many to deal with cohesively any other way.

BTW, your estimate of denominations is probably more nearly accurate than any I have previously seen. :stuck_out_tongue:

Likos
former Protestant, agnostic, atheist

Counter Suggestion: Each of us, whether Catholic, Orthodox, or some other is an individual.

However, faith is not simply individualistic, as there is “my faith,” “your faith,” “their faith,” and “The Faith.” Perhaps the best tact would be simply to present “The Faith” and then let the non-Catholic, non-Orthodox defend his or her refusal to follow “The Faith.”

It would sure save the rest of us a lot of time!

JUST JOKING!

Mozart wrote:

It is when I read the term “Protestantism” that I want to yell into my computer “there is no such thing”.

Mr. Webster sez:

Protestant: 1. any Western Christian not an adherent of any Catholic, Anglican, or Eastern Church.

Protestantism: The religion of Protestants.

Likos

There is a huge logical difference between beliving one is correct about something and believing one is incapable of being wrong.

I may take a math test and be absolutely possible I aced it with a 100 score…that does not mean that I am incapable of error in math.

Sheesh, it doesn’t even mean my math test is error free. A higher authority may grade this test and find errors of which I am unaware.

Unless we (as Protestants) are saying that we are incapable of being wrong (as the pope claims), the accusation that “all Protestants are their own popes” is just silly.

The Popes aren’t incapable of all wrong - only in specific circumstances.

Point being, did Christ say or did he not to the Apostles ‘all authority in heaven and on Earth has been given to me …’ and then ‘as the father has sent me, so am I sending you …’, not to mention ‘what you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and what you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven’?

I think that just about says it all as to what they are.

No need for lavish descriptions.

Ah yes…I can see I was sloppy in the use of the word infallible. We all do it.:slight_smile:

Only processes are infallible, people aren’t. Catholicism properly understood does not abuse the word “infallible”. The process in this case is the pope speaking ex-cathedra on an issue concerning faith and morals.:thumbsup: The result would be that is impossible for him to be in error.

Now whether papal infallability is a valid conclusion from the cited scripture or just an assumption is an issue in your local “The pope is infallible…no he is not” thread. I do note that the assumption one normally makes for any human processes is that is error is possible (in some cases maybe highly improbable I suppose). So that puts the burden of proof on those claiming this process is an exception to the general case. But I digress.

I find that the vast majority who are outside the Catholic Church have at least two thingw in common…

[1] While they may change denominations on a whim, they retain one constant… they think the Catholic Chuch is wrong.

[2] The misconceptions about the Catholic Church far out number things on which they are correct.

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