The Papacy..James White


Where can I find on-line the best refutation of James White’s contention that The Papacy is a human invention, unheard of in the early Church? What are the flaws in his arguments


Try these;

hope these help.

God Bless,


Try this link: www.bringto go to Apologetics.I hope this helps.Peace.


Thanks for the help. The last link to catholic-legate has ample enough material to make Mr. White look amateurish, and of course, heretical.


You might want to examine some of the articles on Catholic apologist Steve Ray’s website. On his writings page, if you scroll down, you can see some of Ray’s replies to James White and William Webster on their criticism of Ray’s book Upon This Rock. Plus, there are some other documents of interest.


Wow! I didn’t know there were this many resources fot that. Several years ago I down loaded a bunch of stuff from CA, and some of it was on the Papcy. It’s nice to know that there are people who know how to use the bible and care to respond to the nonsense of protestants.


Now for another question. I realize that the Catholic Church can’t respond to every anti-Catholic kook, but when the individual is well known and public, as in the case of James White, does the Church mandate anyone to defend the Faith against people like White? What I mean is, whose job is it? Bishops? Priests? Laymen? Anyone?? Or do we ignore people like White, and leave them unanswered?


I say ignore them. There are too many of them with so many accusations that it would be almost impossible to answer them all. Especially when they don’t want to hear our side of the argument. Just live and speak as a Catholic and let others see Christ in you. That is the best defense you can give the Church.


What specifically would you have them so?

The guy’s not that good, even on his best days.

I think it’s sufficient that we know our faith and defend it as the need arises on a personal level. Guys like this have been surfacing for 500 years…none has made good on their “apologetics” against the church. The same refutations of 500 years ago are still valid today. I think CAF and other Catholic forums do a good job in dealing with this guy.

PhilVaz has done a great job on him. Check it out.


I’ll summarize his “best” arguments as follows (off the top of my head), with links to some of my articles:

(1) Peter is not the rock of Matthew 16:18 (or this one by Sungenis/Palm)

(2) The “keys” of Matthew 16:19 were given to all the apostles (i.e. Matthew 18:18), so no special authority for Peter

(3) The “key” of Isaiah 22 relates to Jesus only (Revelation 3:7) not to Peter as the “prime minister” or “chief steward”, and the plural keys vs. key makes a huge difference :stuck_out_tongue:

(4) Peter doesn’t “act” like a Pope in the Book of Acts or elsewhere

(5) Peter said he was just a “fellow elder [or presbyter]” (1 Peter 5:1)

(6) There was a “plurality of elders” in Rome until c. 150 AD (an answer to this on the board last year)

(7) The “primacy of Rome” wasn’t clear in the early centuries (or this long one by Mark Bonocore)

(8) St. Cyprian didn’t teach the Papacy (dispute with Pope Stephen)

(9) St. Augustine didn’t teach the Papacy (meaning of “Rome has spoken…” and Pope Zosimus)

(10) St. John Chrysostom said the rock was Peter’s confession

(11) The Council of Nicaea (325 AD) didn’t believe in a Papacy

(12) The Council of Chalcedon (451 AD) didn’t believe in a Papacy

(13) Of course the anti-infallibility arguments on Pope Honorius and Monothelitism

Arguments White used to rely on (back in 1990-91, see his Answers to Catholic Claims) which he has since abandoned:

(14) St. Jerome didn’t believe in a Papacy (i.e. the two Jerome passages dealt with by Chapman)

(15) Pope Gregory rejected the term “universal bishop” and therefore rejected his own Papacy

Most of these are wrong or answerable. :thumbsup: Any of them I missed? :smiley: Pat Madrid’s book Pope Fiction covers all these as well. Other arguments such as “fallible decision to follow Rome” answered by B.C. Butler’s reply to George Salmon. Yep it was all dealt with in better arguments from the Anglicans of 100 years ago: Salmon’s Infallibility of the Church, R.F. Littledale’s Plain Reasons Against Joining the Church of Rome, Charles Gore’s Roman Catholic Claims, other Anglican authors in Edward Giles’ Documents Illustrating Papal Authority, etc. Some of these are available as PDF from Google Books or your online used bookstore

Phil P




Require him to define “papacy”.


I forgot one! The alleged and dreaded

“The Peter Syndrome” :slight_smile: (or here by Mark Bonocore)

Demolished and obliterated by John Chapman’s articles on St. Augustine, St. John Chrysostom, St. Jerome, etc. Some century White will get around to answering Chapman I’m sure.

Phil P


Teflon << Require him to define “papacy”. >>

Oh that’s easy. The Papacy is the thing the “Roman Church” believes in that replaces the Holy Spirit the true “vicar of Christ on earth” with the false “vicar of Christ in Rome” and replaces the true head of the Church Jesus Christ with a mere man, the Pope in Rome. The Papacy rejects, replaces, and eliminates the need for both the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ. Very simple! :rolleyes:

“If we find that the Church has not always understood this doctrine as Rome now defines it, and that the modern Roman Catholic doctrine of the Papacy is the result of centuries of theological and political development, we find an obvious and glaring error in an allegedly infallible pronouncement. And if the claim that the Papacy is the ancient and constant faith of the Church is in error, what other claims of Rome are likewise contradicted by the historical evidence?” (The Roman Catholic Controversy, page 106)

“In light of the testimony of the entire New Testament, the Roman apologist must be able to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the few passages to which he appeals prove the establishment of the Papacy. We cannot accept the mere possibility that the Roman position is correct. Given the absence of the Papacy from all the rest of the New Testament, the few passages cited by Roman apologists such at Matthew 16 and John 21 must plainly and unequivocally establish Petrine primacy and succession in the office of the Pope. But do these passages accomplish this?” (The Roman Catholic Controversy, page 113)

Classic White. Most of this book comes straight from his formal debates.

Phil P


Yes, but in the quoted passages he has not defined the term.


Teflon << Yes, but in the quoted passages he has not defined the term. >>

I was joking, he does basically define it correctly citing Vatican Council I in his book and debates. But White assumes that “ancient and constant faith of the Church” (from Vatican I definition) means:

(A) every Church Father must interpret Matthew 16 to apply to Peter alone as rock, and to his successors as bishops of Rome (he quotes old studies by Jesuit scholars “Launoy” and “Maldonatus” who he gets from George Salmon’s anti-infallibility book)

(B) there cannot be any doctrinal development

A and B is what he argues in his past debates, and presses his opponent to show (for example) St. Clement of Rome in c. 95 AD had the explicit Vatican I definition of papal infallibility in mind.

He does use the phrase “vicar of Christ on earth” a lot, a phrase I don’t think is found a lot in Vatican definitions. Although the Pope is known as the “vicar of Christ” meaning representative, as we all are (2 Cor 5:20 “we are Christ’s representatives” or ambassadors), the apostles and St. Peter in a greater sense in Catholic teaching (Matthew 16; John 21) :slight_smile:

Phil P


I understand and agree.

It’s like saying “The early United States did not show evidence of the presidency”, where “presidency” refers specifically to the modern office with powers quite significantly enhanced from George Washington’s day.

Many people do not realize that presidential elections were quite different in 1796 than in 2008, and that the President’s powers have evolved quite a bit since then. Likewise, direct election of senators was not something done in the earliest years of the Constitution. While it is correct on some level to say that the Senate as we know it today did not resemble the Senate of George Washington’s first term, there has clearly been continuity of office going back to the start of the Constitutional era. Even had we no written record, we would know this through the traditions of the Senate.

Such arguments take advantage of people’s ignorance of prior eras, in this case, one with less written evidence extant than in the case of the early American republic. The dishonest anachronistically read backward into this era all sorts of things utterly foreign to it in light of their modern doctrines.


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