t are you rhoughts on this site?


#1

A Protestant friend sent me this site. We like to debate and it helps our apolegetic skills.

Its obviously thats its an anti-catholic site, so its biased, but whenever you have time maybe my Catholic bretheren can answer a few of the questions posed on the site for me.

bible.ca/catholic-questions.htm


#2

My lands, there are so many questions. How is one supposed to answer this site? They act as though they are the first to raise these questions. I’ll bet each question can be explained on this site. If there is one that is a particular concern to you, although none seem very compelling to me, ask on this site. You will surely get an answer. Be sure to address particular topics in their appropriate subject forums. That way, scholars in those areas will see them.

In my opinion, it seems a little cowardly to ask questions when you apparently do not want answers. This site seems this way.


#3

It’s an anti-Catholic world. This forum is just an apologetic boot camp.

Try one of the other forums, the Jesus was a vegan thread had me laughing for a week, and there was certainly nothing anti-Catholic about it, just some humor and a different point of view.


#4

Are you speaking of the world in general or of the world of this particular group? I can agree with the latter (of course, they are anti- lots more things than just Catholicism), but not the first.


#5

The first two questions can be answered simply by each **individual church **which at first rejected or questioned a book was waiting for confirmation that that book was in fact written by an apostle. If for example a church gained access to the book of James without the story behind who the author was, they would read it with caution to make sure it lines up with what they know to be true. Later, once the traditions, story behind that book became known from a reliable source, that book was then accepted or rejected based on the traditions, stories and sources of those stories. The book of Hebrews does not say who its author is. So, it had to be confirmed by tradition from an reliable source.

The questions do not strike me as being unanswerable by those knowledgable in history of the church.

One problem with the first two questions, is that he is asking the question in universal terms, like the whole church rejected the book of James or the whole church rejected the book of Hebrews, when in fact it was individual churches that questioned if those books were really from the apostles or not, in the absence of the traditions, stories about those books from reliable sources.

They did not have the means of communication we have today, like picking up a phone and calling the bishop in another country. They had to wait for responses by primitive mail system of sending out runners to travel hundreds of miles for an answer.


#6

Another problem I am seeing in his questions is that he is assuming that the Orthodox and Catholic churches were divided before the divide around 1054.

question 6 reads,

Since the two synods of Hippo (393 AD) and Carthage, (397 AD) were under the control of what would later become the “orthodox church”, how can the Roman Catholic church claim they determined the Canon? Would not such a claim be more naturally due the Eastern Orthodox church?

In 393 and 397 there was no “Eastern Orthodox church”, both were Catholic at that time.

The East-West Schism did not occur until 1054.

The author of the questions also ignores the fact that there were three or four major historic sees that worked together.

question 5, contains its answer in the question

Since the synod Carthage in 393 AD stated, “But let Church beyond sea (Rome) be consulted about confirming this canon”, does this not prove that Rome had no direct input or initiative in determining the canon.

The canon of Carthage had to be confirmed by Rome and thus the authority of the see of Rome is recognized. He does not state if there were any correspondance with those involved in the synod. He is basically using an argument based on ignorance.

He ignores development of doctrine.


#7

question 10 is odd,

Provide a single example of where inspired apostolic “oral revelation” (tradition) differed from “written” (scripture)?

Logically, if both had the same source, that being the apostles, they would not contradict each other. So, this question is just weird.

question 13

How could the Jews know that books of Kings or Isaiah were Scripture?

is a question for Judaism to answer.

Question 16, shows that the author of the question does not unde rstand the different levels of theology – dogma, doctrine, theology.

Doesn’t all this just confirm that Christian theology is really arbitrary?

Well, no. Roman Catholics have been dealing with these kinds of things forever, and they have developed a very helpful vocabulary for making distinctions among teachings with varying levels of authority. Using that vocabulary, and applying it to the career of a certain apostle, helps clarify what is going on.

The most universal level is dogma. It is the most solemn teaching of the Church. To give up a dogma of the faith is, directly or indirectly, to give up the good news itself. To teach against dogma is to proclaim “another gospel.” In the letter to the Galatians Paul treats the demand that Christians be circumcised as effectively qualifying the righteousness of Jesus Christ that is received by grace through faith. Justification by grace through faith is thus a dogma. Teaching it is teaching orthodoxy; teaching against it is teaching heresy.

The middle level is doctrine. This refers to the teaching of a particular community. It is authoritative for them and not to be taken lightly, but it is not necessarily binding on all believers everywhere. It might be reversed, so there is room to disagree with an established doctrinal position even of one’s own community. Paul’s teaching on the role of Jewish custom in the life of Gentile believers in Galatians differs from James’ teaching in Acts. The former pertains to the churches Paul founds in Asia Minor, and the latter to the churches of Jerusalem and Judea. There are great cultural and geographical differences between these communities, and both can support their local teachings as being valid and necessary expressions of the one apostolic faith. Neither is heretical. Neither may simply be dismissed by the unconvinced. However, one may still be a better expression of the faith; one may apply across cultural contexts more broadly; one may die out while the other survives and prospers. Just because a teaching is not heretical does not mean it is equal to others.

The most local level is** theology**. This refers to the faithful thinking of individual believers. It guides, expresses, and develops the faith of their communities, but it is not necessarily the faith of their communities. It is not to be taken lightly either, but just because it might be more sophisticated or draw on weighty authorities does not make it right. It is subject to the correction of dogma, doctrine, and other theology. It should defer to doctrine when possible. However, it may influence and even correct doctrine, and over time it may even influence the development and articulation of dogma. Some churches now treat some of the teachings of Paul (for instance on the role of women in “all the churches of the saints” in 1 Cor. 14) as simply theological, arising from his own idiosyncracies rather than out of necessary aspects of the good news. Luther certainly thought that about the letter of James! Less controversially, few churches believe that the theology of Paul that is not preserved in Scripture should be dogmatic. Just because Paul thought something does not mean it is gospel.

westmont.edu/~work/faq/dogma.html

His questions are only irrefutiable if one ignores history, accepts his assumptions, ignores distinctions or levels of authority.


#8

Ephesians 3:3-5 (New International Version)

3that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets.

question 19

The Church Fathers believed what Paul said in Eph 3:3-5, that the scripture could be understood by merely reading it. They indicated that the scriptures themselves were clear, so clear, they even criticized the heretics for getting it wrong. If those outside the church and common pew dwellers are unable to understand the Bible themselves as the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches teach, then why did the apostolic fathers expect the heretics to understand the Bible with their own human skills? (Tertullian, The Flesh of Christ, ch 20), (Athanasius, On the Incarnation of the Word, 56), (Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, Book 1, 35), (Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, Book 7, 16)

Does Eph 3 really say, that ALL of scripture is clear merely by reading it?

2 Peter 3:16
As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are **unlearned and unstable **wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

If something is hard to understand, does that not mean it is not always clear to the reader what it means?

:confused:

When reading the questions ask,

What are the authors assumptions?

What in history or scripture is he ignoring?

Where can I read about a council?

Are there levels or distinctions that he is ignoring?

Is he confusing dogma with disciplines?

Is he honestly stating the position of others?

Is there a strawman?

Is this an argument based on ignorance?

Is this an circular reasoning argument?

Once you apply these above questions to each of his questions, the “irrefutiable” disappears.


#9

I am protestant and I don’t see these questions as being irrefutible.


#10

Good job, DM! My thoughts exactly! You handled those questions very nicely. :smiley:

Lisa


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