Tim Staples vs. Catholic Answers on Matt. 5:29



As seen here, it looks like it may be unclear to some that to pluck an eye out if it is an occasion for sin is an hyperbole in cases where forgiveness is possible, or other solutions exist. it is not an hyperbole if we had to die and had to choose.

But is it so unclear? If so, could someone clarify how Tim Staples and Vincent Serpa (?) are both correct. For me, it is a matter of situation.


I am tempted to ask why you are reading this anti-Catholic, anti-Christian nonsense.

Do you really believe that Christ, or Tim Staples, wants Christians to blind themselves?


I read this in order to refut it. It is better and necessary to be able to respond when we are asked. But how can you respond to objections, when you don’t even consider them? That’s why, as I read the Quran so that I can talk about it when I discuss with Muslims, the same I should do with other Christian confessions. To them who say it is so in Scripture, we should be able to respond the best way we can, and we cannot do it alone.


Your kiddin me , right? If that is what goes as Reformed theology then I really feel sorry for them.
The Achilles heel of Protestant theology is an either/or stance.One reading.
Point A. cannot be possibly right because Point B is the correct one. Such a simplistic way of reading scripture. Catholics use and/or.
Mary is the mother of Jesus and the mother of God.
That is a phrase Catholics totally understand and many protestants would not.
If Staples and his ilk really believed it literally many of his followers would be blind and limbless.but they aren’t. Apparently they aren’t that serious about literalism.

These people are so ignorant about Catholicism that they believe there is a "rule’ to apply to every scripture. They quote Catholic Answers-as if it were dogmatic.
Many Bible scholars have many opinions about verses of scripture.That’s what they are a scholarly intelligent opinion but still an opinion.
Swan reports in the article a book with an Nihil Obstat as if the Nihil was a dogmatic
approval rating. They have no idea what NO means. It doesn’t mean it’s dogmatic. It does mean it’s ok to read and the stuff therein is not heterodox.That’s all.


My take on it is that Tim Staples said that he WOULD take it literally if his eye or hand were stopping him from being saved. An extreme measure to be sure, but certainly not the first course of action. Also, we Americans want instant results. ( :gopray: Lord, grant me patience but I want it now. ) :shrug:


I have a friend who is diagnosed schitzophrenic (sp?) and he did this very thing!

One day at work, he took a piece of metal shipping band, went into the bathroom and cut out his own eye because he was seeing visions of naked women.

This is not understanding the nature of sin and how it is overcome.

Jesus was using analogies of our limbs to tell us its better to make great sacrifices of good things if they become an occation to sin. Literally cutting your eye out will not remove the lust in your heart for unchastity. Cutting off a hand because you want to steal something will not cause you to not want to steal it and find other ways to obtain it.

But refraining from the privaleges of things for the sake of avoiding sin can save us from destruction.


The Blog post: “For all of Rome’s protests and her insistence upon the need to submit to the ‘unanimous consent’ of the fathers, as well as her own official definitive meanings of holy Scripture, there are no specific infallible interpretations to which anyone can point! Dogmatic assertions do not make for proof. At the end of the day, no matter how often the claim is made, it is still nothing more than a claim, because Roman apologists cannot produce the actual rule for which they argue. [David King, Holy Scripture: The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith, Volume I, (Battle Creek: Christian Resources, 2001), p. 226]”

Right now I am in the middle of reading “Politicizing the Bible” by Scott Hahn and Wiker. I can therefore see WHY Staples has this difficulty. He is actually imposing the Protestant dilemma upon the Catholic Church. Ever since Luther, the Protestants have been looking for a way to definitively interpret Scriptures. All of the various opposing Scriptural interpretations advanced by various Protestant sects has magnified this dilemma which is of their own doing, since they separated the Bible from Traditio, which was an infallible guide to the Bible.

Protestants admits this separation with the comment: “For all of Rome’s protests and her insistence upon the need to submit to the ‘unanimous consent’ of the fathers, as well as her own official definitive meanings of holy Scripture”

They also admits the difficulty of Protestant exegesis: “At the end of the day, no matter how often the claim is made, it is still nothing more than a claim, because Roman apologists cannot produce the actual rule for which they argue.”

This “actual rule for which they argue” is what they are searching for. A fool-proof method for interpreting Scripture, which is inarguable.

He is more to be pitied, as the dog who chases his tail. :shrug:




Reminds me a bit of Origen. He took the “eunuchs for the kingdom” line a bit too literally. Maybe one of the reasons he isn’t St. Origen.


Let’s be clear who Tim Staples is, before condemning “his ilk,” shall we?

Tim Staples is Director of Apologetics at Catholic Answers. His statement on the A&O site was lifted out of context and used against Catholicism by the author on the A&O site referred to in the first post.

Obviously Jesus said what he said because he meant his words to be taken as true at some level, perhaps not literally, but seriously, which was Staples’ overall point; a point which was badly mangled at A&O.

Ultimately, I would suggest, martyrdom is precisely the result of being willing to give up one’s body - all of it - for the sake of the Kingdom.

Where the error lies, IMHO, is in presuming that merely because you give up your body you thereby “earn” the Kingdom. That is not the implication from Jesus’ words, however, because his point was: IF a body part is what prevents someone from entering the Kingdom - BECAUSE it is the cause of sin - THEN it ought to be forsaken.

However, this teaching ought to be understood beside Matthew 15:

10 Then he called the crowd to him and said to them, “Listen and understand: 11 it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.” 12 Then the disciples approached and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?” 13 He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind.[e] And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit.” 15 But Peter said to him, “Explain this parable to us.” 16 Then he said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? 18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. 19 For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.”

It isn’t the things that enter the mouth, the eye, the ear, etc. that defile, it is what is inside - the evil intentions - that do. Clearly, cutting out an eye does nothing to stop evil intentions that are living inside a person’s will, so what would be the point of cutting out the eye, following the full meaning of Jesus’ words? There would be none. Eyes, mouths and ears are not, according to Jesus, the proximate “causes” of sin, so his suggestion to cut them out IF they are, is to be taken as hyperbole. Eyes, ears, noses, mouths don’t - under normal circumstances - CAUSE any person to sin, evil intentions do. They are what need to be “cut out.”

Ultimately, the meaning is that we need to have a surgeon’s attitude and precision towards evil, being ready to remove it cleanly because it is cancerous in nature. Surgeons are sometimes called upon to remove legs, livers, breasts and stomachs to stop cancer, but they do clearly identify the nature of the cancer before they take such drastic action. We, too, are required to understand evil and remove IT with a surgeon’s precision at its source, not just because we - falsely - think we ought to remove something extraneous because THAT extraneous action will save us.


What? My question is real and legitimate.


my apologies to mr.staples.I thought staples was a catholic- just quarterback sneak movement on the part of Mr.Swan,toconfuse us:p




In support of this post, I would like to point out that Tim Staples himself has stated that the passage in question is hyperbole: The truth is: Jesus was using a common rabbinical teaching tool known as ‘hyperbole’ in order to accentuate an important point. He did not intend that line to be taken in a strict, literal, and absolute sense. In fact, Jesus uses hyperbole throughout the Sermon on the Mount. … [H]ere are some other examples that are not as well known:

  1. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away… (5:29)

Do we really think Jesus wants us to pluck out our eyes and throw them away? No! He is speaking hyperbole to emphasize the fact that we must eliminate all obstacles to serving God.

  1. … if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away… (5:30)

Is anyone out on the stump encouraging folks to cut off hands in the name of Jesus?



Yes dmar, that’s another point that makes me think that the author of the page I quoted didn’t search a lot about what Tim Staples believes, just what he once said, and out of context, so to say.


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