Archive | Mail Bag

RSS feed for this section

Responses to E-mails

Thanks, “Buck Helmington”

   I don’t think “Buck Helmington” exists, and when I wrote back to the address provided here I did not get any response at all, so I can only assume this is a spoof. But, it’s a humorous one, whoever pulled it off.

James White,
A while ago I listened to the debate that you had with Lou Rugg. I was thoroughly surprised over Lou’s compelling argumentation, which I thought demolished your Kalvinististic diatribe. Let me tell you why I don’t find Kalvinism compelling. Much of what I’ve heard about Kalvinism is from the chat program Pal Talk. Now, there are knowledgeable brothers on Pal Talk, and they have attempted to explain the basic teachings espoused by Jon Kalvine and his 10 statutes, and I am not impressed sir. BTW, his 95 theses nailed to the door of the catholic headquarters is admirable, but he went downhill from there. And as an aside, I find it interesting that you briefly signed up for Pal Talk but left as fast as you came. Is this because you couldn’t stand up to the Biblical knowledge that is permeating Pal Talk? Perhaps you didn’t want be backed into a corner and refuted? Are you courageous enough to debate my friends on pal talk? We shall see.

   Here is a video about ol’ Lou Rugg:

When Roman Tradition Continues to Blind

   I just found this e-mail on my system. It illustrates perfectly how no matter how clearly you state your case, those who do not want to hear will find a way not to:

You’ve spent mulitple Dividing lines now resting your entire argument on assuming that whatCatholics now call dulia must be judged by what a 2nd century BC translation might think it means. To rest all your argument on the dictionary would be to concede that if only the word say “appreciate” was used instead of “dulia”, (or maybesupercalifragilisticexpialidocious), then your entire thesis would fall apart. Similarly with “prayer”. Apparently if the word “talk” or some other word were used, your entire argument would fall apart.

How does it even begin to be a valid argument to compare the lexical meaning of words across completely different centuries and cultural settings, to be a valid argument? As far as I see, almost your entire debate was based on the worst kind of lexical fallacy.

   For those who have been listening to the DL, you know that I have been insisting that God gets to define what is, and what is not, proper worship. He does so in Scripture. We have no right to change that revelation, or ignore that revelation. Since Rome claims to be guided by “Scripture and Tradition,” but that Tradition never contradicts Scripture, the fact that there is no latria/dulia distinction in the biblical teaching concerning service and worship should be, for the Christian, absolutely final in its definitions. But Rome says otherwise. So once again we have either God defining His worship in Scripture, or, man defining it in councils that did not even possess a meaningful level of biblical knowledge in the first place. Our Catholic writer doesn’t seem to understand that the “dictionary” is provided by God: the normative role of Scripture flies right past him due to the presence of his Roman tradition glasses. A classic case, yet, one that is still quite sad.

A Response to a Roman Catholic on Ignatius

A couple of points regarding your commentary on Ignatius. I find your arguments on Ignatius’ conception of the Eucharist to be very poor and entirely unconvincing.

   I’m sorry to hear that, but, since I provided extensive background information, put his statement in the context provided by his own pen, and you refuse to allow for that, who is actually guilty of misrepresenting and abusing Ignatius’ words?

Ignatius clearly stated that, “they confess notthe Eucharist to be the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ.” He did not say symbol, image, or anything other than “the flesh.”

   And he did so for a reason (anti-docetism) in reference to a particular group of people who denied Jesus ever had flesh. Your dogged refusal to admit the reality of Ignatius’ context is troubling, and indicative of having a real “truth deficit” in your religion.

When he stated “prayer” it was in clear referrence to the liturgical prayer of the Church. All reputable sources (read: scholarly journals) at test tothe fact that there were liturgies in the Church dating back to the beginning.

   Classic example of faulty logic: no one disputed the existence of liturgy in the ancient church. I am disputing the assertion that Ignatius’ words indicate a belief in transubstantiation. Ironically, if you had read the article you positively referenced at the end of your e-mail, you would see that the person writing it agrees.

To deny this fact would be equivalent to engaging in mental violence. It is an absurd argument, or distraction really, to ramble off on how the Church later defined transubstantiation…etc.

   More disconnection from clear thinking. It was “mental violence” to introduce a non-issue (liturgy in the early church). It is not relevant to pointing out the evolution of Roman doctrine, nor the fact that the concept of transubstantiation, dependent as it is upon Aristotelian philosophical categories, was not the faith of the early church. It is perfectly logical and valid to point out that the results of believing in transubstantiation, seen so clearly beginning in the 12th century in particular, were absent from the early church’s discussions.

The basic concept was well understood by Ignatius and those of his period. The reality of this is clearly and readily available by mearly observing how the ancient church practiced their faith within the liturgies…as well as the clear support Ignatius gives in his letters when read in context (the context of how he practiced his faith in the liturgy).

   This is called “wishful thinking.” Having failed to provide a single error in my contextual reading of Ignatius’ own words, based upon the original language in which he wrote, you do what all folks do who have lost the argument: you repeat your conclusion as if the repetition is itself evidence, and declare yourself the winner on that basis. You have provided no grounds for saying the “basic concept” was well understood by Ignatius; you have provided nothing from the liturgy to overthrow Ignatius’ anti-docetic teaching; and you are simply flat out wrong in missing the fact that the early church did not treat the consecrated hosts the way they are treated today.

A nice article about you:

   Yes, ad-hominem filled screeds that demonstrate the author hasn’t the first concern for accuracy of representation do seem to be the modus operandi for many of Rome’s defenders today. Thanks for writing!

Shame On You!

Dr. White, After reading a few articles on your site about Catholicism, I have decided that your anti-Cahtolic bigotry has clouded your reasoning. You reject Church authority for the interpretation of scripture, yet on what basis do you determine what Scripture teaches? Your own? Like Luther, you have allowed your ego and bias to determine what scripture says, layering it with Protestant dogma that likewise has no basis in scripture and calling it Truth. Shame on you. Grace and Peace, David Roberts

Dear Mr. Roberts:
   Thank you for reading a few articles, Mr. Roberts. I’d invite you to read a few books, maybe view some of the three dozen debates we have done with your leading apologists. You might have a little better basis upon which to offer meaningful commentary.
   You refer to my “anti-Catholic bigotry.” Really? Possibly you could document this bigotry? I mean, bigotry is easily identified, isn’t it? It results in the kind of abuse of facts you see with someone like Steve Ray and a whole host of Catholic apologists who abuse the “33,000 denominations” number, right? It prompts men like Patrick Madrid to publish anonymous hit-pieces in response to perfectly fair and sound articles on the history of the Council of Nicea. That kind of thing. So…would you care to provide documentation, from these few articles you’ve read, of “anti-Catholic bigotry”? It is easy to make the accusation—it should be just as easy to document it, yes?
   You say I “reject Church authority.” If you mean Rome, yes, I do. Rome is not the church. The church existed long before a man in Rome decided to allow folks to call him the Vicar of Christ or the Holy Father. I know of no apostle of Jesus Christ, including Peter, who ever told me to look to the bishop of Rome as my final authority, either. The concept of the Papacy developed over time, Mr. Roberts, and it stands firmly opposed to the teaching of the Apostles of Jesus Christ regarding the nature and form of Christ’s Church.
   You further say I reject Rome’s authority for the interpretation of Scripture. Well, how ironic, since I recently noted the confusion of Rome’s defenders regarding just what the Roman Church has, in fact, infallibly defined as the meaning of any particular text of Scripture. Can you tell me, Mr. Roberts, what the infallible Roman interpretation of John 6:37 is? Romans 4:8? Galatians 2:16? Maybe you can point me to Rome’s official, infallible interpretation of the Granville Sharp Construction at Titus 2:13, possibly? I’d be very interested in seeing these infallible interpretations.
   You then ask how, having rejected Rome’s false claims to authority, I can determine what Scripture says. What an amazing question! Consider the implications of what you have asked. How could anyone know what Isaiah’s words meant until the middle of the second century when the first singular bishop of Rome came into existence? Are you seriously suggesting that for nine hundred and fifty years no one could figure out what Isaiah was saying? What an incredible claim!
   How do I know what Scripture says? It’s called exegesis Mr. Roberts. It’s called paying attention to context, authorial intent, grammar, syntax–all those kinds of things. That’s what I did in questioning Catholic apologist and scholar Fr. Peter Stravinskas:

   See how that works? Context, language—works real well! So you see, your entire question, which tries to locate some kind of “authority” in me (or in Luther, for that matter), completely misses the point. The authority is found in the text itself, not in me, or Luther, or anyone else. When Paul wrote to the Galatians, he intended them to understand his words. I don’t need a man in Rome to tell me what Paul meant, Paul did just fine, thank you very much!
   You then speak of layering the text with Protestant dogma. Of course, you don’t give examples, so it is impossible to refute non-documented charges. If you would provide something more than rhetorical flourishes, I would be happy to demonstrate that it is not my side presenting as dogmas beliefs that have not the slightest biblical foundation (shall we discuss purgatory, for example?).
   So you say, “Shame on you.” I invite you to provide some foundation for your accusations. I do a live, call-in webcast Tuesdays and Thursdays. The schedule is easily found on my website. Toll free phone number, too. You would be welcome to call and attempt to back up your assertions, Mr. Roberts.
James White