Wednesday, February 28, 2018
After watching, reading, and participating in hundreds of discussions and debates with Catholics, it has become obvious that some, if not most, Catholic apologists believe that their church can never teach anything wrong, even when it is obvious to others that certain Catholic teachings contradict the Bible.
Apparently, the Catholic Church is immune to any arguments against it from Scripture. It seems there is always a reason that the Bible doesn’t really mean what it clearly seems to be saying. What is clear to the avid Bible student is philosophized away by these Catholic apologists.
So, what about philosophical arguments? Philosophy can be a good thing, but the apostle Paul warned us against using philosophy wrongly:
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (Colossians 2:8)
There are some Catholics today who will start off with, and base their arguments almost entirely upon, philosophy, rather than on the principles and exegesis of Scripture. But any philosophy that is not first based on biblical principles is a deceptive philosophy (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
But philosophy is not the Catholic apologist’s only tactic. There are many others. It is as though Catholic apologists have received an “argument vaccine” and feel that they are therefore immune to any biblical arguments used against them, no matter how common-sense, scripturally accurate, or logical the Protestant arguments are.
So, how does this Catholic system of arguments work? Here are only a few of the many tactics that Catholic apologists use to deny the clear teachings of Scripture in order to promote Catholicism:
1 1) When the Catholic is at a loss to refute common-sense arguments that are based on simple biblical statements or principles, he “waxes eloquent” and tries to use philosophy to prove his point (as mentioned above), but philosophy that twists biblical concepts.
2) They’ll tell you that you don’t understand what the Catholic Church teaches (even though you are directly quoting official Catholic sources)
3 3) They’ll tell you that their argument is based on a “mystery” (even though this particular “mystery” is not a biblical concept)
4 4) They’ll tell you that you’re just a “Johnny come lately,” and you are ignoring the Church that Jesus has established, which has been around for 2000 years (although the Catholic can never prove from the Bible that the teachings of the church in the New Testament match his own church’s teachings – They often place their version of church history above Scripture)
5 5) When they are in a real bind and at a loss for answers, they’ll tell you that what you’re saying is “just your interpretation” of the Bible, and that we can’t really know anything for sure without an infallible interpreter of Scripture
6 6) They’ll play word games or change the defintion of certain words (for example, when Catholics claim they don’t use “their own authority” in Bible interpretation, but claim that Protestants do – or they will effectively re-define terms by clouding the meaning of words like devotion, vereration, and worship)
7 7) They will often ignore the apostle Paul’s teaching in order to favor certain things that Jesus said, for example, when dealing with justification (even though Jesus is the One who inspired Paul to deal with the doctrine of justification at length, and inspired him to say exactly what he said in Scripture)
8 8) The Catholic will point to “development of doctrine” to prove his point (even though this “developed” doctrine totally contradicts God’s Word)
9 9) They’ll use ideas that are unfalsifiable, or untestable (For example, the concept of transubstantiation, or the changing of bread and wine into Jesus’ actual body and blood. If someone says, “There is no change in these elements after consecration,” the Catholic will respond with, “Oh, yes, but it DOES change. It’s just that the appearance does not change, but only the essence.” To this nonsense, we will only say that no miracle in the Bible was ever done with this kind of fake “evidence.”
1 10) They believe that “submit to your leaders” (Hebrews 13:17) means submit to the Church, i.e., the Catholic Church, and that we Protestants should do the same (but they seemingly forget that we must follow our leaders ONLY AS THEY FOLLOW CHRIST [1 Corinthians 11:1]! To be biblical, one does not submit to the Catholic Church)
1 11) Sometimes they’ll protray us (Protestants) as automatically guilty by association, as they brand us as “followers of Luther” or “followers of Calvin” (even though we may be neither Lutheran nor Calvinist)
1 12) The Catholic can’t give you an answer to your scriptural points, so he casually diverts your attention by claiming that you don’t know the canon, i.e., the correct list of Bible books (even though it has nothing to do with the topic at hand)
1 13) He may argue against your point because the exact wording you used is not in the passage, for example, when denying Sola Scriptura (2 Timothy 3:16-17) they’ll say, “But it doesn’t say only Scripture!” (although the concept is there; and furthermore, we can present many, many instances where specific Catholic terminology is NOT used in Scripture, yet they can make these teachings into infallible dogmas!)
1 14) They’ll very often ignore CONTEXT (for example, when Catholics try to refute “Faith Alone,” they use James 2 when we point to Romans 3 and 4, which specifically deals with, and defines, justification, whereas James does not)
1 15) They’ll isolate a verse without considering the whole of Scripture (like when they try to promote “prayer to the saints,” yet, they ignore the fact that NOWHERE in Scripture do we see the actual practice, but on the contrary, there are multiple warnings about prayer to someone other than God)
1 16) When losing an argument, they’ll refer to a very ambiguous (unclear, vague) term like, “But ‘Tradition’ says…” (and worse yet, they even attribute infallibility to it)
1 17) They will use special pleading, for example, when speaking of Mary’s “sinlessness.” (Why is Mary exempt from mankind’s sin when Scripture never suggests such?)
1 18) They are very often guilty of using eisegesis, i.e., reading something into the text that isn’t there (for example, deriving Mary’s “sinlessness” from Luke 1:28)
Ok, so these are just a few of the many tactics that Catholics use in their arguments. But what all of these tactics have in common is that they either directly violate the principles of sacred Scripture, or they point to the fact that Catholics have a low view of it. Catholics can talk all they want about how they love the Scriptures, but these types of arguments betray them.
This is not to say that none of these fallacies ever occur in Protestant circles. They sometimes do. But anyone using these types of invalid arguments is just as wrong. The problem in either case is that they are not giving the Word of God its rightful place.
Someone once said that the dogmatic Catholic teaching concerning the pope is a lawyer’s dream. There are all kinds of qualifications and exceptions so that no matter what the pope teaches, no matter how much nonsense appears to exist in his statements, there can never be an official contradiction in that teaching (paraphrased).
This same idea seems to be the goal of the tactics mentioned above. They want to teach and promote Catholic concepts and they don’t want Scripture to interfere with that process. But suppose there are a few Catholics who disagree with the Church? Is a Catholic layman allowed to protest against any teachings in his church?
Not according to Pope Pius X. In a 1906 papal encyclical, he said: the “one duty” of the laity “is to allow themselves to be led, and like a docile flock, to follow the Pastors.” (Vehementer Nos, paragraph 8)
Well, there you have it, folks. Rome has spoken! And, according to Pius X, don’t you dare question your leaders! According to this pope, you should check your mind out at the door when you come in. And they call this “unity.”
Beware of the Catholic apologist who believes that he is unstoppable. No “Bible evidence” can sway him. He is immune! He has taken the powerful “Catholic vaccine” and all is well…
until Judgment Day when he is reminded what Jesus Christ said about His Word:
He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day (John 12:48).