Wow are protestant apologists really THAT dishonest?


i was looking at Philip Porvaznik’s (“Philvaz”) website and saw an interesting quote from protestant apologist william webster and david king in their book “The Holy Scripture: Pillar and Foundation of our faith”

" The patristic evidence for sola Scriptura is, we believe, an overwhelming indictment against the claims of the Roman communion. " (volume 1 by David King, page 266)

" Such statements [regarding the unhistorical nature of sola Scriptura] manifest an ignorance of the patristic and medieval perspective on the authority of Scripture. Scripture alone as the infallible rule for the ongoing life and faith of the Church was the universal belief and practice of the Church of the patristic and medieval ages. " (volume 2 by William Webster, page 84-85)

" When they [the Church Fathers] are allowed to speak for themselves it becomes clear that they universally taught sola Scriptura in the fullest sense of the term embracing both the material and formal sufficiency of Scripture. " (volume 3 by Webster/King, page 9)

obviously this is a blatant lie since we can see through reading the church fathers in context that they did not teach sola scriptura at all! Now if webster’s argument was that there are certain passages from the church fathers which can be used to support his argument that is one thing (allthough i highly dissagre with it) but to say that there was a universal consesus for sola scriptura seems like these heretics are intenionally trying to misslead people. What do you think?


There is nothing new under the sun. Go read some stuff from sixteenth century controversial literature and you will end up with a heart attack.
These guys do nothing else but get on along a well-trodden path, too cheap and down-trodden to bother about.


Please don’t mistakenly lump “All Protestant Apologists” together. There are some that are really sincere in their faith and apologetic works. Any blinders that they may have are often not to their knowledge. And the love that many of them have for Christ would put many a Catholic to shame.

By the same token, please don’t think Protestant Apologists have a monopoly on dishonesty.

Now Jack Chick on the other hand… :banghead:


Unfortunately, I have had discussions on another forum with some fundamentalists who think Chick Publications are akin to Theological Academic Journals :rolleyes: Oy vey

Rev North


Sadly, Jack Chick would have been in another line of work a long time ago, if he didn’t have a willing audience.


Well, I’m part of that willing audience :slight_smile:

I need some good entertainment now and then, you know.

Anyway, we must keep in mind that some Catholics can be dishonest too.


Yes, he is entertaining. But to the un-catechized, he does gain a foothold.

And yes, it is sad that Catholics can be dishonest. I’m more disappointed in them than guys like Jack Chick.


William Webster seems to be:rolleyes: appearing with :rolleyes: ominous regularity lately…From what I’ve seen, he apparently :shrug: claims anything that he thinks will bolster his opinions.
Not really an “apologist” at all, IMHO.


If a person use really thinks that Jack Chick is a reliable theologian then such a person isn’t being dishonest, just highly mistaken.

There are some people though, whose pride creates a desire to win the arguement regardless of the facts. Such a person will lie or twist facts to win a convert or create confusion.:frowning:


Yep. I agree. Look at C.S. Lewis - one of the best non-Catholic apologist out there.


I consider C.S. Lewis probably the best non-catholic Catholic Apologist out there!


You really can’t credibly lump Webster with Chick.

William Webster is a thorough going researcher and knows what he is saying. He backs up his claims with documentation of his sources, and is not in the habit of repeating hearsay or falsehoods. Nor does he over-reach.

Now it is possible to disagree with his conclusions. However, he sets a very high bar with the integrity of his writing. So you’d better come with your best stuff.

His critique of Gary Michuta’s attempts to resolve the issue of 1 Esdras between Hippo and Trent is worth reviewing.

Chick by comparison is a reclusive kook who bites at every salatious story thrown his way.

You may dismiss Chick with a wave of the hand, but Webster is a serious critic and worthy of respect for the effort he puts into his work.

For people who value the truth over predjudice, William Webster needs to be taken seriously.


All I can say is THANK GOD I’M CATHOLIC!!:thumbsup:


Yes most of them are that dishonest, but to see the real thing check out


I agree. He is not blatantly stupid or dishonest. Unlike you, I do not consider this a “very high bar.” Webster is not a very good apologist, but he’s as good as many of his RC counterparts. I have a low opinion of apologists in general–I think that the best apologists (like Lewis) are people who have some rigorous intellectual discipline that they pursue for its own sake. This keeps their minds sharp and reminds them that truth matters in and of itself, not just to score a point.



As are Michuta’s responses to Webster found here:

Additionally, Steve Ray DESTROYED William Webster in a 200-page rebuttal after Webster critiqued Ray’s book, “Upon This Rock”.

You can find Ray’s rebuttal at

Hope this helps. :tiphat:


I have to pay more attention to the comma’s, or maybe my eyesight is getting weaker. It thought you said, “He is not blatantly stupid or dishonest unlike you…” I thought someone was fixing to throw down.


Of course, the question isn’t “Is Webster and his ilk good apologists?” but rather “Are they honest apologists?” Yes?

I agree with the OP’s assessment. There are some Protestant apologists who fudge facts or skew quotes or misquote or quote so far out of context as to make their statements ludicrous. And what makes it worse–this is done deliberately.

And why do they feel they can do this? Because to them the Catholic Church is leading millions to hell (this is what they literally and truly believe).

And because, more importantly, they believe wholeheartedly in “the end justifies the means”–something C. S. Lewis and G. K. Chesterton, of blessed memory, would never have ascribed to. That’s what makes them dishonest and hence bad apologists.


No, I don’t think that’s the question. Deliberate dishonesty is, I think, relatively rare among serious adherents of any form of Christianity. Perhaps I am naive. A “bad” apologist is “dishonest” in the sense that he or she does not pay careful enough attention to the evidence, but is overly driven by an ideological agenda.

And because, more importantly, they believe wholeheartedly in "the end justifies the means.

I see no evidence that Webster or any other major apologist for any Christian position believes in this. Where are you getting this rather shocking and frankly bizarre idea? OK, it’s not that bizarre–it’s a stock element of anti-Catholic rhetoric (that Catholics believe the ends justify the means), so I suppose it’s fair in some grimly ironic sense that Catholics are now using it against Protestants. It seems to be part of human nature to ascribe unscrupulousness to people with whom we disagree strongly. I think it comes from an unwillingness to recognize just how mistaken sincere people can be. After all, we wouldn’t want to be “relativists.” Unfortunately, the recognition of just how difficult and confusing matters of religious truth are (a recognition which often seems to be confounded with relativism) is simply a recognition of reality. It is quite the opposite of relativism, actually.

“On a huge hill,
Cragged and steep, truth stands, and he that will
Reach her, about must, and about must go,
And what the hill’s suddenness resist, win so.” (Donne, Satire 3)

People like Webster–and his counterparts in Catholicism–insist on charging straight up the hill. No wonder they generally fall down and bump their heads and wander around half-crazed ever afterwards. And no wander that unsympathetic people mistake them for liars.



Webster/King basically re-define “sola scriptura” as a Father having a high view of Scripture, etc. And they quote only those statements of the Fathers (there are a lot of them) and statements of patristic scholars (JND Kelly, Schaff, Pelikan, etc) that seem to support them. Also their definition of “material and formal sufficiency” (see beginning of volume 3) is very loose and allows for customs or practices and minor “traditions” among the Fathers. In Volume 2 Webster goes through some of those traditions.

What they do not quote is this:

(these are also found in Not By Scripture Alone as well)

Philip Schaff, Presbyterian/Reformed, History of the Christian Church

“The church view respecting the sources of Christian theology and the rule of faith and practice remains as it was in the previous period, except that it is further developed in particulars. The divine Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as opposed to human writings; AND the ORAL TRADITION or LIVING FAITH of the catholic church from the apostles down, as opposed to the varying opinions of heretical sects – TOGETHER FORM THE ONE INFALLIBLE SOURCE AND RULE OF FAITH. BOTH are vehicles of the same substance: the saving revelation of God in Christ; with this difference in form and office, that the church tradition determines the canon, furnishes the KEY TO THE TRUE INTERPRETATION of the Scriptures, and guards them against heretical abuse.” (Schaff, volume 3, page 606)

JND Kelly, Anglican, Early Christian Doctrines

“It should be unnecessary to accumulate further evidence. Throughout the whole period Scripture AND tradition ranked as complementary authorities, media different in form but coincident in content. To inquire which counted as superior or more ultimate is to pose the question in misleading and anachronistic terms. If Scripture was abundantly sufficient in principle, tradition was recognized as the SUREST CLUE TO ITS INTERPRETATION, for in TRADITION the Church retained, as a legacy from the apostles which was embedded in all the organs of her institutional life, an UNERRING GRASP of the real purport and MEANING of the revelation to which Scripture AND tradition alike bore witness.” (Kelly, page 47-48)

“Thus in the end the Christian must, like Timothy [cf. 1 Tim 6:20] ‘guard the deposit’, i.e. the revelation enshrined in its completeness in Holy Scripture and CORRECTLY interpreted in the Church’s UNERRING tradition.” (Kelly, page 51)

Jaroslav Pelikan, Lutheran (later Orthodox), The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine

“Clearly it is an anachronism to superimpose upon the discussions of the second and third centuries categories derived from the controversies over the relation of Scripture and tradition in the sixteenth century, for ‘in the ante-Nicene Church…THERE WAS NO NOTION OF SOLA SCRIPTURA, but neither was there a doctrine of traditio sola.’…” (Pelikan, volume 1, page 115-117)

“Fundamental to the orthodox consensus was an affirmation of the authority of tradition as that which had been believed ‘everywhere, always, by all [ubique, semper, ab omnibus].’ The criteria for what constituted the orthodox tradition were ‘universality, antiquity, and consensus.’ This definition of orthodox Catholic tradition was the work of Vincent of Lerins… To identify orthodox doctrine, one had to identify its locus, which was the catholic church, neither Eastern nor Western, neither Greek nor Latin, but universal throughout the civilized world (oikoumene). This church was the repository of truth, the dispenser of grace, the guarantee of salvation, the matrix of acceptable worship. Only here did God accept sacrifices, only here was there confident intercession for those who were in error, only here were good works fruitful, only here did the powerful bond of love hold men together and ‘only from the catholic church does truth shine forth.’…[It was] the tendency of heretics to teach doctrines that were not contained either in Scripture or in tradition. But the church of the four Gospels and the four councils [Nicea, Constantinople, Ephesus, Chalcedon] was faithful to Scripture and to tradition and was universal both in its outreach and in its authority.” (Pelikan, volume 1, page 334-335)

Phil P

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