Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Jame White is a complete mental midget with no ability to research Church history.
07/30/2007 - James WhiteHello, your local "complete mental midget" here, on the road and far from home today, but not completely out of touch, anyway. While traveling I was sent this link to Pat Madrid's Envoy forums. You will note that the thread begins with the ever-timid Phil Porvaznik doing his best to act as if he can respond to my criticisms of his position, but failing, badly. But that is not the interesting portion. Down below Porvaznik's "same old same old" you will find "vincitveritas," a writer who truly epitomizes the spirit of good ol' Romanism. He starts off,
Of course we can prove that the teaching of the bodily assumption Mary in the year 491 existed. Jame White is a complete mental midget with no ability to research Church history. We can look to the writings of the Syriac manuscripts of the fathers to see that they all referred to the Dormition or the falling asleep of the Virgin Mary and her assumption into heaven. These Syriac manuscripts date from the early 4th century. Such writings from Epiphinaus, ect all refer to the assumption of Mary. The only thing that was ever disputed was whether she died before she was bodily assumed or not. Many of the Eastern Orthodox believe she died and her soul went to heaven first and then her body was assumed 3 days later. I wouldn't bother with the likes of James White. He is a person who only looks to winning a debate, but little does he know he is debating his way into hell by rejecting Christ and His Church. The Devil laughs and dances a jig as he plays folks like James White for his golden fiddle of heresy. James White is the kind of person who you can show clear evidence to an argument and yet his arrogance never lets him concede his inaccurate position. We can see this every time he debated Robert Sungenis, as well as others who have completely cornered him in a debate, and yet he never admits that he is wrong.
Here is a writing I can pull off the top of my head, the writing of Melito of Sardis. He also testifies to the Blessed Mothers assumption into heaven. The manuscript dates from the 400s. You could bring this to James White and he would still stand in complete denial that this teaching is as ancient as the Church itself. If Mr. White is around I hope he reads this. Here is clear evidence for him proving the the teaching existed in the 400s as was his challenge. It has been met by an amateur sitting at at his home library.
Now, I am not anywhere near my library, and given that I am doing a video interview for airing nationally on the subject of Islam in the morning, I will not invest too much time with this kind of "correspondent." The gentleman cites a 5th century apocryphal work that is well known to anyone who has done even the slightest bit of study into the Marian dogmas, one I made mention of in my small book on the Marian dogmas years ago. Specifically, he cites the Transitus Beatae Mariae of Pseudo-Melito. Now please note, he first claims this is actually the work of Melito, the bishop of Sardis, but seemingly later realizes he has blundered grossly (in the midst of calling me a "complete mental midget") and tries to cover his error over. But the facts are the facts, and I wonder if any of his co-belligerent Romanists will call him to account for his actions? I doubt it. What vincitveritas needs to realize is that Melito of Sardis never knew anything of the dogma of the Bodily Assumption of Mary; the source he cited is historically irrelevant and laughable. In fact, one of his own scholars of the subject has written,
The account of Pseudo-Melito, like the rest of the Transitus literature, is admittedly valueless as history, as an historical report of Mary’s death and corporeal assumption; under that aspect the historian is justified in dismissing it with a critical distaste (Juniper Carol, O.F.M. ed., Mariology, Vol. l (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1957), p. 150).
What is more, this very transitus literature was condemned as heretical by Gelasius, the bishop of Rome, at the end of the 5th century! What an amazing thing for a modern promoter of the myths of Rome's Marian dogmas to rail like this while showing once again that "anything works as long as it promotes Rome," something Roman Catholics have done over and over again in history. How many utter historical frauds have been used in the defense of Rome's pretensions? Many, and here we see one being pressed into service again.
Many thanks, vincitveritas, for showing us that truth does indeed triumph, for it has triumphed over you and your attempt to misrepresent history in the promotion of a falsehood unknown to the early centuries of the Christian faith and unknown to inspired Scripture.
Since I am away from town today, I will direct you to Bill Webster for an excellent discussion of this particular topic.
The "I Came Home to Rome" Tour Begins
07/29/2007 - James WhiteThe question "will Beckwith's reversion be used as a Roman Catholic apologetics tool" is being answered.
As I have traveled over the past three months--speaking at assorted venues around the United States--I have had inquiries from many about the deliberations that went into our decision. As I have said already, I am working on a book that will document my pilgrimage and offer an account of my journey.
Over the next two months I will be interviewed by Greg Koukl (President of Stand to Reason) on his radio program (August 5) as well as on Catholic Answers Live (September 5) and the television program, The Journey Home (September 24). Each of these is a call-in program.
My, How Things Change
07/26/2007 - James WhiteHe was the darling of Catholic Answers back in 1990. He was their leading apologist, their poster-boy for seeing the light of coming home to Rome. I remember well debating Gerry in Denver on the Papacy, and seeing Karl Keating and Jimmy Akin (I think Madrid was there, too, but I am not certain) in attendance the first night of the two night debate. I remember him standing before an audience reading out of the index of the Jurgens 3-volume collection of patristic citations as if this was serious evidence for his side. He assured us that without an infallible papacy, established by God, we could have no certainty.
James Swan just directed me here, to Matatics' website. Matatics is now a sedevacantist, one who teaches that there is no valid Pope in Rome. Check out some of these claims:
At each venue I speak on "Counterfeit Catholicism: Why Vatican II, the New Mass, and Benedict XVI Are Not What They Claim to Be," a talk I am continually updating, refining, and adding new elements to. In it I try to provide everything necessary to understand the magnitude of the current crisis (the worst in the 2,000-year history of the Church):Of course, his "Mega Tour" of 300 cities (he speaks in rented Holiday Inn rooms) has stalled because, well, his tribe is small, to be sure. But check out this assertion about his former colleagues:
• what Sacred Scripture, Our Lady, saints (such as St. Nicholas of Flue) and Doctors of the Church predict about the great apostasy
• the long-standing plans of Freemasonry, Judaism, and Communism to infiltrate and subvert the Church
• historical precedents in Biblical times, in the Arian and Nestorian crises, in the Great Western Schism, in the English "Reformation," in 17th and 18th century Japan, and in other eras, each of them foreshadowing individual elements that have come together during the current crisis: antipopes on the throne of St. Peter, defections of whole hierarchies from their episcopal office due to heresy, massive apostasy on the part of lay people, lack of easy access by the remaining faithful to valid or lawful sacraments, etc.
• why Vatican II is another "robber council" like 17 others previously condemned by the Church
• the disturbing changes built into the New Mass and new sacraments (especially the new rite for the ordination of bishops) and their impact on the validity of these sacraments
• the errors of the new catechism and the immoralities of the new code of canon law
• the heretical beliefs of the usurpers John XXIII through Benedict XVI
$2500 a month is a shoestring operating budget. That's only $30,000 a year. Compare that to the big name Novus Ordo apologists and apologetics organizations living high off the hog because they, individually, each rake in over a million dollars a year - all of it wasted singing the praises of Benedict XVI and the "New Springtime of the Church" they vainly claim we are now enjoying, and sending people to a counterfeit "Mass" and to counterfeit sacraments from the hands of counterfeit priests who cannot properly save these people's souls.And here I thought the Magisterium brought pure harmony and certainty in all things! How odd to see Matatics posting this, Sungenis taking on Hahn (and in the issues I've noted, Sungenis seems to be correct in identifying some pretty wild-eyed ideas on Hahn's part)---all of these men "converts" to the "one true Church," all men who have asserted that sola scriptura leads to "anarchy." Hopefully the irony is not lost on you.
The Obscurity and Insufficiency of Scripture
07/16/2007 - James WhiteAs is normal with threads on the CA forums, the one about my "dancing" around issues has devolved into the standard "sola scriptura is irrational" snippets from the regulars, all patting each other on the back and repeating the same lines over and over again. But one thing is for certain. Most of the folks posting in that forum do not trust the Word of God to speak with any level of clarity.
David King posted the following two citations on the NTRMIN forum today, and I thought, in light of the distrust implicit in the statements of so many today, these words are a corrective from the ancient world.
Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393-466): Some people who have fallen foul of this complaint have endeavored to level charges at the divine Scripture, and especially the inspired oracles, of being shrouded in obscurity. To such people the divine-inspired Paul would retort, “Now, even if our Gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, but to the mature it is wisdom we are speaking.” In keeping with this, too, is what is said by our Lord and savior to the holy apostles, “To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom, whereas to those others it is not given;” and to explain the reason he immediately adds, “Seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not understand” — that is, they willingly bring upon themselves the cloud of ignorance: if they turn to the Lord, as the apostle says, the veil will be lifted. Divine realities, therefore, are not obscure to everyone, only to those who are voluntarily blind; they ought to take note and realize that nothing worthwhile is readily accessible to human beings. Robert Charles Hill, trans., Theodoret of Cyrus, Commentaries on the Prophets, Vol. Two, Commentary on the Prophet Ezekiel (Brookline: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2006), preface, pp. 27-28.
Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393-466): Let no one, therefore, especially devotees of the true religion, adopt such a presumptuous attitude to the divine Spirit as to accuse his words of obscurity. Instead, in their longing to understand the sacred words, let them cry aloud with the divinely-inspired David, “Unveil my eyes, and I shall grasp the marvels of your law:” having promised the knowledge as a benefit, he will definitely grant the request. In fact, in our case, too, let us offer this request to the Lord, who according to the divine David gives wisdom to the blind, and according to blessed Isaiah to those in gloom and darkness, and let us venture upon a commentary on the divinely-inspired Ezekiel, attempt to plumb the depths of the prophecy as far as is possible for us, and make available to all religious people the value drawn from it. Robert Charles Hill, trans., Theodoret of Cyrus, Commentaries on the Prophets, Vol. Two, Commentary on the Prophet Ezekiel (Brookline: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2006), preface, p. 29.
An Attorney on Cross-Examination
07/15/2007 - James WhiteBefore I post the comments made by one Paul Hoffer regarding cross-examination in debate (and how I don't have the Holy Spirit), I wanted to note the irony of the fact that I have found attorneys to be the worst debaters I have ever faced. I assumed, wrongly of course, that attorneys would be trained in logic, in the art of cross-examination, so as to be able, through questioning, to demonstrate contradition and error in the position being examined. Instead, the attorneys I have debated have collapsed under cross-examination, and they have likewise failed to present any kind of meaningful examination of my own claims. Just a note from my debate experience (for examples, see my debates with Martin Tanner [LDS] and Barry Lynn).
So over on DA's comments section an attorney named Paul Hoffer has chimed in. You will note, as usual, the complete lack of examples. Lots of ad-hominem, lots of personal observations and feelings, zero substance. Throw in a little mind reading, or spirit-reading, I guess, and you have another reason why attorneys should probably stay out of the debating field. My comments follow.
As an attorney who uses both written and oral formats to advocate for clients, I wanted to put my two cents in this discussion. Lawyers all know that the use of legalistic cross-examination in a formal debating situation (that is mainly what a trial is-a stylized debate with certain rules as to the manner how that debate is conducted) is a tool that that can be used to obscure or distort the truth as well as expose it. Watching some of Mr. White's debates demonstrate that he is proficient in the use of cross-examination to do just that-obscure or hide the truth. There is no Holy Spirit moving him; he is not interested in being factual or accurate; it is all about winning and beating the other guy. He is truly a hypocrite in the original Greek sense of the word-a play actor- and he is good at it. If he were a attorney, he would probably be a rich PI or criminal defense attorney somewhere.
If getting at the truth is truly the purpose of this exercise, then a written format is more conducive to actually getting there. One can't win using trial lawyer tricks to persuade or obscure. Instead, in a brief, one's arguments are laid bare on paper where they can be sifted, weighed and measured. Sure there is oral argument in appellate practice, but it is that-argument and not a cross-examination.
Furthermore, in a trial setting, we lawyers have certain rules of procedure, evidence and ethics that limit how cross-examination is used because we know how cross-examination as a technique can be misused. From what I have seen of Mr. White's debates, there are no similar rules. Instead, sophistry and trick questions seem to be the guiding principal. Many times, White's cross-examination questions are patterned after the old "so when did you stop beating your wife" or false initial premise type question then anything that is designed to get at the truth.
Don't get me wrong, I rather enjoyed seeing him take apart Spong and some of the other relativistic, theologically liberal goofballs that he has taken on. (On those occasions, I truly wish he would see the light and cross the Tiber. However, for now, I thank God he is a Christian like the rest of us.) But while such debates might make good U-tube, they don't necessarily make for good truth seeking.
Regarding the assertion that cross-examination "is a tool that that can be used to obscure or distort the truth as well as expose it," of course. Yet, the legal system continues to utilize it. In fact, it is basic to our system of justice to be able to face, and question, your accuser, is it not? If a person wishes to use cheap debating tricks to do nothing more than score points (see my discussion below, for example, regarding Gerry Matatics' use of this very tactic regarding sola scriptura), they can do so. I have often said that I debate only for those who are willing to think, reflect, and maintain a high standard of truthfulness in viewing my debates. Those without ears to hear, or who are more influenced by style and flash than by substance, will not find my approach overly useful. But the fact remains that without cross-examination, there is no debate. All you have is competing presentations that could have been pre-recorded. No reason to get together in one place if the two sides are not going to directly interact.
Now, Hoffer makes plenty of accusations. He accuses me of obscuring the truth. No examples given. He says the Holy Spirit is not moving me. No examples given, no basis for his ability to read my mind or heart provided. He says I am not interested in being factual or accurate. No examples given, no reason to accept his mind-reading abilities offered. He says it is all about "beating the other guy," but again, no examples offered, no foundation given. He makes reference to sophistry and trick questions, but, as easy as it would be to offer examples, he offers none. The typical "slash and burn personal attack in the service of Mother Church" methodology that is the norm of RC apologetics these days.
So I'd like to add Mr. Hoffer's name to the list of folks I am inviting to call The Dividing Line so as to give them the opportunity of doing what any honest person must do who has made public accusations against me: step up and back up what these men are willing to say from behind the relative anonymity of the keyboard. I know that if I were to write anything remotely like what Hoffer or "Guardian" have been willing to put in the public sphere about someone else, and they challenged my personal accusations and gave me the opportunity of backing up what I had said, I would feel a very strong moral necessity to either apologize and withdraw my statements, or back them up. But, as we have seen over the years, there is this thing about "Mother Church" standing in the way. In a sense, the Roman Catholics share with the Muslims their own form of taqiyya. As long as slander and falsehood is uttered in the service of Mother Church, all is well. It is OK. Just last evening a Roman Catholic came into our chat channel. During the discussion he posted numerous lies about me, such as, "Why don't you shake your Roman Catholic opponents' hands after a debate?" Given that there is video of me doing just that, dozens of times, I informed him he was lying about me. I told him this falsehood goes back to a single debate wherein my opponent, Art Sippo, had behaved in the most outrageous and childish manner (something easily proven anymore by just visiting his blog and reading for a while), and I refused to shake his hand. One time out of about three dozen, and that for quite appropriate reasons. Yet, folks who do not care about truth will repeat the false rumor over and over again. And it is OK, as long as it promotes their cause.
In any case, Mr. Hoffer, consider yourself invited to join me on The Dividing Line. My audience would love to hear you actually provide substantiation for your assertions, or, your withdrawal of them, whichever is best! 877-753-3341, toll-free, Tuesday, 2pm EDT, Thursday 7pm EDT. Hope to hear from you then!
Dancing With Phil Porvaznik
07/15/2007 - James WhitePhil Porvaznik, a humorous, if less than imposing, Roman Catholic apologist, of sorts (and collector of odd video clips), has continued posting on the thread noted below. He has posted some imaginary discussions, and I thought it would be useful, since he won't actually risk calling my program to promote his viewpoints, to use his claims to illustrate the circularity of his position. It will also help to answer part of a rather common objection that is raised against me. At the end of his presentation, he writes,
PhilVaz then hangs up again because there is no reply other than the usual stuff about "bodily assumption of Mary", "satispassio", this or that indulgence or prayer to Mary that White does not like.Why do I speak of, for example, the Bodily Assumption of Mary? Simple. It is the most recent dogmatic declaration by Rome that illustrates how vitally important sola scriptura is. A doctrine that no one who called themselves a Christian ever even mentioned in five hundred years of Christian history today possesses the same level of dogmatic de fide standing as the resurrection of Jesus Christ (both have to be believed by faith). How can such a thing happen? Through a denial of sola scriptura, that's how. Roman Catholic apologists know why I raise the issue, they are just attempting to avoid the subject like the plague, which I fully understand. The belief is indefensible biblically, historically, or logically. They can only defend it through a denial of sola scriptura and an assertion of the ultimacy of the authority of Rome. But even then it is embarrassing to them, since they want to attempt to speak of "tradition" in some sense that would at least look biblical, but, there is no possible way to stretch any biblical concept of tradition to cover such a dogma. It just isn't possible. This is dogma created out of whole cloth without any compelling connection to either Scripture or tradition. It is Rome being Rome, nothing more. So it is easy to see why they want to stay as far away from that one as possible.
So, let's take Phil's pretended conversation and flesh it out some, since, of course, Phil won't call in to do it himself!
PhilVaz: Did the people in Jesus' day practice sola scriptura? The hearers of our Lord, Yes or No, Mr. White.
White: I have said over, and over, and over again, that sola scriptura --
P: It's a Yes or No.
W: -- is a doctrine that speaks to the normative condition of the church, not to times of enscripturation.
P: So your answer is No?
W: That is exactly what my answer is.
P: Thank you.
W: It is NO.
P: Did the apostles practice sola scriptura, Mr. White? Yes or No?
P: Thank you.
PhilVaz: Did the people in Jesus' day practice sola scriptura? The hearers of our Lord, Yes or No, Mr. White.
White: I would think you would have learned from Gerry's mistakes in that debate, Phil, that hoping for sound-bite victories is empty at best, and deceptive at worst.
PhilVaz: It's just a yes or no question.
White: No, it isn't, and you know it. You are purposefully deceiving your audience by hoping they will not realize that the days of the Apostles and the day in which we live differ fundamentally and that, in reality, we all agree on that fact.
PhilVaz: Yes or no!
White: Since you don't seem willing to even address the issue, I will continue. We both agree that revelation--special, scriptural revelation, was taking place through the ministry of the Spirit of God during the period of Christ's ministry and in the decades that followed. And we both agree that such revelation is not taking place today. Will you at least answer that question?
PhilVaz: I am just asking a yes or no question!
White: I'll take that as an agreement, since I know you know I am speaking the truth. So, since the very definition of sola scriptura assumes the existence of a definable scriptura, and during that time period the scriptura was being given by revelation, how could your question even be relevant, logical, or meaningful?
PhilVaz: Ha! You've admitted I'm right! I win!
White: I've admitted that sola scriptura speaks to the only meaningful question before us today: is there another infallible rule of faith alongside Scripture to which the church is accountable today, now, here? I say to you that only Scripture is theopneustos, God-breathed, and therefore if you are going to allege another infallible rule of faith to which I am to be held accountable, you must demonstrate it to be theopneustos as well.
Now, Phil provided some quick quotes. As normal for he and his clan, they are partial, and misleading. For example:
(A) For the early Church the divine Scriptures AND the oral tradition of the apostles or living apostolic Faith of the Catholic Church together formed the one infallible source and rule of faith for the Church; Church Tradition determined the canon of Scripture and furnished the key to the true interpretation of the Scriptures (Schaff, History of the Christian Church, volume 3, page 606);
This works great in the CA forums, where almost no one actually takes the time to look anything up. Across the page we read,
The old catholic doctrine of Scripture and tradition, therefore, nearly as it approaches the Roman, must not be entirely confounded with it. It makes the two identical as to substance, while the Roman church rests upon tradition for many doctrines and usages, like the doctrines of the seven sacraments, of the mass, of purgatory, of the papacy, and of the immaculate conception, which have no foundation in Scripture. Against this the evangelical church protests, and asserts the perfection and sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures as the record of divine revelation; while it does not deny the value of tradition, or of the consciousness of the church, in the interpretation of Scripture, and regulates public teaching by symbolical books.I have addressed the issue of the claim made by Schaff regarding the canon from a theological perspective elsewhere. But note that Porvaznik, like all Roman apologists, must equivocate on the meaning of "tradition." He quotes sources that use the term, but does he make sure there is a consistent definition applied to the term? Of course not. He can't. The tradition to which Schaff or Kelly or anyone else would refer would not, and could not, fulfill the Roman requirements of the term. Any tradition to which Schaff would have made mention would not have contained any of the elements upon which Rome has defined her dogmas, the very dogmas she must defend by denying sola scriptura! We see here the deceptive nature of Catholic argumentation, for they force the early writers to stand as defenders of doctrines and dogmas utterly unknown to them. What is more, when early writers did err, and violate Scriptural teaching, the Catholic who believes their errors points to their teachings as evidence in their favor, and then attempts to piggy-back on his agreement with them on this one matter the entire mountain of modern dogma that has been defined by Rome but that has not a leg to stand on in the very same ancient writers. This is a gross misuse of their words, to be sure.
What is more, when I cite early writers against the modern Roman definitions, what do I hear in response? "Well, you see, that writer was just a private theologian, and could err." The specter of sola ecclesia rises yet again, for when the early writers support Rome, they are passing on "tradition"; when they don't, they are just private theologians in error. And the deciding factor? Rome, of course. Rome decides what is and what is not tradition. This is very similar to the concept of IAE that I have been discussing on The Dividing Line: Islamic Anachronstic Eisegesis. What parts of the Bible are inspired? The parts that agree with the Qur'an. What parts of the writings of early fathers carry tradition? The parts that agree with modern Rome. Same idea, different tune. Bad argumentation in either Latin or Arabic.
So here's one final dialogue with Phil "I Write the Posts, I Don't Make the Calls" Porvaznik:
White: So, Phil, you like Yves Congar on tradition. Big book, his work on tradition, isn't it?If Phil would like to call in and answer that question, I'd be most interested. Of course, if he says yes, he will have to say, "But...we have no evidence of it being known to anyone." That's great. So, what might be in the great, grand tradition box today that future generations will have to believe by faith that no one today has a clue about? Who knows, but that's what you get when you deny sola scriptura.
Porvaznik: Uh, yeah.
White: So, don't you think it is rather odd that in all that verbiage, we can never find anyplace where Congar gives us the actual content of this wonderfully nebulous thing called "tradition"? I mean, let me ask you plainly: did your proposed "tradition" contain the doctrine of the Bodily Assumption of Mary in the year 490 AD?
Porvaznik: Well, umm...you see, you have material sufficiency, and formal sufficiency, and....
White: That isn't what I asked you. When you ask me for my rule of faith, I point you to something that can be known, seen, and examined. When I ask for yours, you point me to Scripture and tradition. When I ask you what is contained in tradition, you simply don't know. All you can say is, "Well, this is what the Church has said was contained in tradition." But you don't know what else might be lurking in that wonderfully nebulous box called tradition. So, I ask again...did that box called tradition contain something called the Bodily Assumption of Mary back in AD 490, and if so, why didn't anyone on earth...except maybe some gnostic heretics...know it?
Guardian Contemplates Backing Up His Claims
07/14/2007 - James White
Hmmn, should I fall for the trap? Will I call up Mr. White, only to have him hang up on me like he did crimsoncatholic, and then, once crimsoncatholic couldn't respond, bash him for saying he was laughing at God's Word, when it was obviously not the case?This participant on the Catholic Answers Forums says he is not a Catholic (he did not say what he was, at least at that point).
Or will I call in to give my specific examples, and then Mr. White, knowing where I'm headed, try to steer the conversation into satispassio or the bodily assumption of Mary?
I may have to wipe the dust off his books once again. How many examples of dishonesty or lack of scholarship should I come up with? Is 10 good enough?
I'll have to pray about this. I think the real question is, will this benefit anyone if I do call in, and will it glorify God?
Let me provide a prediction, if I may. For many years we have documented the rumor-mongering, ad-hominem filled nature of the myth-making realm of Roman Catholic apologetics on the Internet. Over and over again we have provided examples of people making wild accusations against me and others who stand with me against Rome's claims. Of course, their accusations are always just like this man's: vague, undocumented. And when you challenge them, one of two things happens. Most often, they just disappear. They go silent, because they know they are not up to the task of substantiating their accusations. But the second (and this is why I hope he will call) is useful to a wider audience: 99% of the time these people are using the term "dishonesty" and "lack of scholarship" to refer to areas of simple disagreement. It is not that I am dishonestly misrepresenting Rome's position, it is that they think I'm wrong regarding my response, nothing more. The few times people have called in to back up their statements, we have seen this illustrated, and it would be helpful to illustrate it yet again. The chances are not good for a simple reason: accusations of dishonesty are simply false. But who knows? The Dividing Line airs Tuesday afternoon, 2pm EDT, and Thursday evening, 7pm EDT.
Herd Mentality, Ad-Hominem, and the CA Forums (Additional Update)
07/13/2007 - James WhiteMy Google Search widget pulled up another Catholic Answers Forum thread that once again illustrates the inherent fear many Catholics have of seriously interacting with "the other side." Here is the thread. Notice that the originator of the thread, "Colliric," is afraid to even link to my materials, and, it is painfully obvious, has not read any responses to the Roman Catholic articles he cites. You truly have to feel sorry for folks who are so insecure in their faith that they have to behave in this manner. Though I documented error and error after error in Madrid's "White Man's Burden" article (here), he refers to it as if my rebuttal does not even exist. Even his references to what I have said about sola ecclesia demonstrate that he is either going on second-hand sources, or, he is doggedly unwilling to actually listen to what I have had to say.
Of course, the nature of the CA forums is such that if one person spits in my direction, others will come along to join in with the fun. Montanaman opines, "He basically would bloviate for pages at a time and wrap it up with a "gotcha!" quote. It reminded me of how college freshmen write term papers." Great refutation! But then Phil Porvaznik chimed in, and at least he asserted that I have been consistent in my defense of sola scriptura all along, and he even suggested that if someone wants the most up-to-date defense of the doctrine from me, they should see my book, Scripture Alone.
But what I found most interesting is that Porvaznik clearly recognizes that the material/formal distinction that Madrid used in our 1993 debate was, in fact, a new "development" in CA's approach. Notice his words:
Since 1993 or so Catholic Answers and Catholic apologists following them have made the distinction between "material" and "formal" sufficiency. This appeared first in Keating/Madrid's Aug 1993 "World Youth Day" debate with Jackson/Nemec, then in Madrid's Sept 1993 debate with White, then in the pages of This Rock Oct 1993 in that "White Man's Burden" article, in a side bar by James (Jimmy) Akin. Before this time there was no "material" or "formal" sufficiency distinction ever brought up in popular Catholic apologetics, although it was explained by Yves Congar's Tradition and Traditions in the 1960s. Professional Catholic theologians have known this distinction, and I think it is a fair one if you read Congar and his sections on the Fathers.
However, the "material/formal" distinction is not found in Keating's 1988 classic Catholicism and Fundamentalism (for example). So since 1993 or so, Catholic apologists have placed an extra burden on Protestants to defend not just "material" but "formal" sufficiency. We can agree all Catholic doctrines are found in Scripture at least implicitly.
A refreshing admission on Porvaznik's part, to be sure. I take a moment to note with humor how others in the thread, specifically someone named NPS, get caught up in the kind of rhetoric that develops in any situation where you are in the majority and you are speaking of an "outsider." I have often pointed out the fact that in the Roman Catholic vs. Protestant debate over authority, we all agree that we live in a day when divine revelation is not taking place. That is, the canon is closed, and the situation the church faces today is different than the one it faced in the very early decades when revelation was on-going in the presence of living apostles of Christ. This isn't even a matter of debate, of course, but even obvious facts get lost when the "herd mentality" kicks in. NPS writes, "I just LOVE the 'In times of enscripturation' thing. It's beautifully false." False? Is NPS a Mormon? Probably not, but, when you are into the flow of ad-hominem expression of religious bigotry, even the most basic elements of rationality fall by the way.
Once in a while it is worth "turning up the lights" on the kind of mindset and activity that passes for day in, day out Roman Catholic thought and speech as found in such places as the Catholic Answers Forums. It is especially useful when all you hear is how "mean" the non-Catholics are! Remember, I make myself available for two hours a week, live, call-in, on The Dividing Line, so if these folks really did believe I am so clearly in error, why wouldn't they wish to demonstrate it? I would love for "Guardian," author of the following swipe, to give me a call and lay out his case, but, we all know how often folks on the CA forums make claims like these and then discover that they have to have their cat's teeth flossed during the DL...every DL...every time it is on:
I don't know why you all give Ole' Jimbo White the time of day. I own and have read all of White's books regarding Catholicism, and think they lack scholarship at best and honesty at worst. In fact, I've found so many things misconstrued, not just with his books but with what he says in debates and on his blog, I simply dismiss him. Now, a lot of times he does make honest arguments, but they are laughable at best, usually.
He's the boy that cried wolf, in my opinion.
Dave Armstrong: Hey, Look At Me! I'm Over Here! Hey, Guys! (Updated With DA's "Response")
07/12/2007 - James WhiteI was speaking in Hawaii when James Swan sent me a quote from Dave Armstrong's blog. He was talking about how he was going to attend a Catholic apologetics seminar, but, he wouldn't actually get to go in the room to listen to the sessions, because he can't afford to register. He was hoping they'd have a video feed in the foyer he could watch.
For someone who is constantly talking about how well his books do, how he has refuted every Protestant apologist, the apologist's uncle, cousin, next door neighbor, and his dog as well, it strikes me as simply pitiful that Armstrong is not even being invited in the back door, let alone to be a presenter. The man is desperate, absolutely desperate, for attention, and evidently, since I have been too busy to continue the series I started on his book, he has to find where I am active (such as the Parchment and Pen blog), and follow me over there, and post drivel like this:
I've challenged James White to a lengthy debate in his chat room twice now (the first on any topic; the second on the definition of a Christian) and he refused twice (as did his associate James Swan). I also tried to enter his chat room a few months back and was kicked out after one day, even though I had done nothing wrong and was getting along fine with most in the room. I suggested that we do a program-long chat on his webcast to become more acquainted with each other as human beings and he turned that down too. I would go on his boat cruise, too. :-) Us poor apologists aren't used to such high luxury as ocean cruises!Now, that sounds pretty impressive, right? But let's remember the facts. Armstrong has a long, long history of flip-flopping around like a salmon caught on the river bank. Over and over again he has promised to never have anything to do with me, or with any "anti-Catholic." This has been going on literally for years. On March 14, 2001, for example, he posted the following:
He even ruled out any possibility of a live oral debate that he loves so much, when I asked him if he was unwilling to do that, for his part, too. All this stuff is a matter of record. It's all documented. He has, moreover, refused to respond to some dozen or more of my papers that critiqued his (several, recently).
So we see who has and has not the willingness to dialogue between us two . . .
I don't believe I will invest the effort to respond to all of your accusations against me here.
As usual. What else is new?
That way we can see how well they stand up to cross-examination, OK?
Knowing of White's love of the cross-ex format, I offered him more time to cross-examine me than I would have with him, in both my chatroom debate challenges, but it made no difference. The man debates those whom he wants to debate and ignores those he doesn't want to debate. It's as simple as that, really.
Of course, this headline was followed by a verbose explanation, but that's just Armstrong's way. In any case, I don't think this was the first time, and even if it was, it wasn't the last. When I took the time to take apart his pretended exegesis in his book, The Catholic Verses, he melted down and once again swore to have nothing to do with "us." The fact is, Dave Armstrong goes from 'in your face' apologist to pious ecumenist and back again, with various stages in between, with nauseating regularity, and you can never tell what stage he will be in at any given time.
So, how on earth can anyone trust him to not freak out a month before a debate and cancel out after a ton of money has been spent to arrange it? See, we are the ones who put out the effort to set up these debates, video tape them, and even provide the other side with a master video to use as they wish. That's not free. I have to believe the person I am going to debate is stable enough to actually show up and debate, and one thing is for sure, Dave Armstrong may be many things, but stable is not one of them. Armstrong had a standing challenge for years to debate, but after his melt-down when I took his exegesis apart a few years ago, I realized that such an endeavor would be a guaranteed disaster.
So, now, DA has come back (starting back in March, as I recall) with a vengeance, doing everything he can to get me to mention him on my blog. He has years of history in posting distorted pictures of me, cartoons, including one with an arrow stuck in my forehead with blood splashing all over the place, etc., and now he runs about the net trying to make it look as if I fear his great apologetic prowess. In some ways it is simply pitiful, in others shameful.
But I would like to help poor Dave. I mean, it's just wrong that he isn't up there with the big boys at the RC apologetics gatherings! So, here's my idea.
I won't invest my ministry's funds in arranging a face-to-face debate with Armstrong, since I don't trust him to show up. However, if Armstrong is so confident, and has so many supporters of his work, how about he do what I do all the time? If he will fly me in, put me up, pay to have the event recorded, and provide me with a master audio and video recording, I will be happy take Armstrong on. A real moderator, with knowledge of debate format, will be necessary. No honorariums needed for the debaters. Topics galore suggest themselves: Marian dogmas, purgatory, papacy, structure of the church, any number of things. All he has to do is do what A&O does all the time, and unlike him, my history with reference to remaining consistent in my views and position is spotless. So he knows I will be there, and I figure if he's paying the freight, he will be there, too. So, there you go, Dave. Put your resources on the line like I do all the time, and we will see if your challenges are worth the cyber-space it takes to post them.
Update: Armstrong Replies--Sorta
In another example of his "stalker" type status, Armstrong actually attempted to accuse me of inconsistency regarding the "anti-Catholic" label by citing all sorts of places where I have spoken of "anti-Calvinism" or "anti-Calvinistic" sermons, materials, etc. Evidently, he can't tell the difference between identifying someone as an anti-Catholic and identifying the nature of particular materials that are written specifically to oppose Calvinism. Well, that's DA for you. But ironically, though he has been going about touting himself as the champion Roman Catholic apologist I'm afraid to debate, he managed to completely ignore my invitation to him to put his resources on the line and arrange a debate with me the way we arrange debates with others (above). Here is all he provided:
Speaking of the absurd and comical, White has posted yet another of his hyper-ridiculous hit pieces against me on his blog. I will refrain from providing it the dignity of a response this time. He's gotten enough attention that he doesn't deserve. If he goes after one of my papers or books and makes an actual argument (I know it's tough, but he's capable of rational argumentation if he puts his mind to it), I'll respond -- and he will in turn almost certainly ignore that, as is his standard, yawningly predictable practice.However, various non-Catholics challenged him in his comments section, and he finally wrote,
The real question is: "why won't James White debate me in his chat room?" He continues to have this thing on his site. He even has a forum there just for debates, so he can't say that he is opposed to it in principle.In other words, Armstrong continues to refuse to debate man to man in person, and wishes only to hide behind his keyboard where he knows that no one, and I mean no one, can possibly force him to answer a direct question. As long as you can use the written forum, you can avoid the very essence of debate, the heart of debate, which is answering direct questions that test your position for consistency. Armstrong knows he is simply constitutionally incapable of the task, but he refuses to admit it, opting instead for this kind of rhetoric.
He's simply flat-out scared to do so. He wants no part of a double cross-ex format because his whole reputation is on the line and he would do very poorly.
The Heart of Post-Modernism, Beating Wildly in a Roman Catholic Breast
07/12/2007 - James WhiteSo far, from what has been forwarded to me, this is the only negative comment we have received so far. I post it because it illustrates the irrationality of post-modernism and the confused way in which modern men and women think. We must understand that in our modern culture, which eschews biblical categories of truth and replaces them with non-transcendental, man-centered, variable, changing standards, all opinions, no matter how untruthful, how irrational, or simply absurd, are due equal "respect." While this is not the case with many areas of human knowledge and inquiry, when it comes to religion, it most assuredly is the dogmatic assertion of our truth-suppressing culture.
A few posts ago, in the context of discussing how Rome defines itself, and her right of self-definition, I defended Benedict XVI's right to define, for the Roman communion, Roman theology. I then said that I reject his teachings, his office, his self-claimed authority, etc. I speak and write as a confessing Reformed Baptist. But you see, for the postmodernist, I do not have that right. I have to "respect" the claims of the Papacy. I have to "respect" theological claims that are directly contradictory to my own. I have to "respect" the teaching that Christ's sacrifice perfects no one, that there is a mythical place called purgatory, and I have to "respect" those who call themselves "alter Christus." It's all religion, you know, and deep down under, we all know religion is just a matter of opinions anyway, right? Or so says the post modernist anyway. And so, if I reject Papal pretensions for what they are, I am being disrespectful and unloving. Political correctness applied to theology results in a pathetic drivel of self-defined sentimentality where God's truth is trampled under foot and authoritative proclamation of truth is mocked as prideful arrogance. The confusion of the post modern mind is truly a thing to behold. Here's the e-mail:
" I have yet to have documented where I have misrepresented or misinterpreted Rome in my published writings and debates." Well gee James in the paragraph above you wrote this: "I reject Rome's pretensions to define Christ's body, and her wicked usurpation of the ultimate authority of God's Word in matters of faith and morals." Why would anybody think you are anti Catholic? I've never heard any pope say these things about another faith. You say you are a man of faith yet every day you have nothing but disrespectful things to say about the faiths you disagree with. You don't really get it do you. The Catholic Church, which I assume you are referring to, is not wicked. You are entitled to your opinion but for crying out loud, what are you going to say to God when asked about your constant disrespectful behavior. You are starting to sound like a person who doesn't know what the love of Christ is all about. Do you even understand that this kind of conduct is not Christ like? It seems to me you place more importance on disagreeing in the most disrespectful way than doing the things Christ told us to do. That comes straight from the bible I don't need the pope to understand that.It is truly amazing to read someone who thinks Jesus was a post-modernist. Have they not read Matthew 23? Almost any of the gospels at all? You are truly left wondering.
In Defense of Benedict XVI
07/11/2007 - James WhiteI just had to chuckle this afternoon as I noted that just before Mr. Patton posted his reply to me (noted below), Ruth Tucker (whose participation on this blog utterly mystifies me, I must admit) posted a brief article, also in response to the Vatican document cited below, titled, "The Catholic Church is a Cult." And I'm the "anti-Catholic?"
Now, may I be very blunt here? If you are surprised by the contents of the Vatican document, this only proves how little you know about Roman Catholic ecclesiology and theology in general. And if you are "disappointed" by it, then all that proves is that you have an idealized picture of what you would like Rome to be that is a far cry from the reality of the Roman Magisterium.
Folks, there is nothing new in the document released by Rome. Nothing. In fact, there isn't anything even surprising about it. It is fully consistent with Roman Catholic theology and ecclesiology. Protestant churches that lack constitutive beliefs relating to apostolic authority and the sacraments, and in particular regarding the Eucharist, cannot, by Roman definitions, be considered true churches. Anyone who has the most basic training in first-hand documents representing the Roman Church can only yawn at such things. Nothing new. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt level stuff.
Now, allow me to be perfectly clear. I reject everything the Pope says here as being true. I accept his authority to define these things for those who follow him. I simply reject that he is an authority for Christians, anywhere (including Rome). He is not the Holy Father (a term used by Jesus of God, the Father, alone), he is not the Vicar of Christ (a term describing the Holy Spirit), and he is not the successor of Peter. I reject the Papacy in its entirety and its particulars; I reject Rome's pretensions to define Christ's body, and her wicked usurpation of the ultimate authority of God's Word in matters of faith and morals. I knowingly, purposefully, and with all my heart, reject his teachings and his heresies. As such, again, I happen to be standing firmly in the middle of the historical stream marked "Reformed Baptists."
Finally, I have to note, again with a bit of irony, the words of C. Michael Patton:
The Pope’s declaration yesterday, ironically, did demonstrate that what I had said about the progress and attitude of modern Catholic scholarship was true. This perceived disagreement and change in the Catholic church is the exact reason why the Pope felt it necessary to sign this document yesterday. He is more hard-line than John Paul II was and demonstrated this yesterday.I am sorry, but this only shows once again the "wishful thinking" attitude of those who are promoting the idea that Rome is defined by their local liberal Catholic professor rather than the Bishop of Rome and the Cardinals along with the dogmatic decrees of Rome. There is no question of Ratzinger's "Roman orthodoxy," but the fact of the matter is, there is likewise nothing in this brief document that wasn't already stated by John Paul II in Ut Unum Sint! It is wishful thinking to project onto JPII views that he specifically repudiated in his own encyclicals. More on this on the DL tomorrow.
C. Michael Patton Responds
07/11/2007 - James WhiteI just saw that C. Michael Patton has replied to my comments on the Dividing Line yesterday. I will go through the response more thoroughly on the DL tomorrow (7pm EDT), but a few items briefly:
James said at one point that we were parting ways with historic conservative Protestant Evangelicalism. I disagree. Look at our theology. Go through the courses in The Theology Program. You will see that this is far from the truth. I, myself, and Dan as well, are both Evangelical Calvinistic Protestants. I am not ashamed of this title and I don’t think Dan is either. Simply because we are not as anti-Catholic as James is and don’t interpret Catholicism in the way he does, does not mean that we are leaving our Evangelical heritage in any way.Of course, I reject the label "anti-Catholic," and would invite Mr. Patton to reconsider his use of pejoratives in this fashion. I am a Reformed Baptist apologist, and my response to Rome, whatever else he may think of it, is perfectly and completely consistent not only with the historical position of Reformed Baptists and our confession of faith, but it is consistent with the Reformed Baptist position on preaching and the church as well. I understand why Roman Catholics seek to label those who oppose their over-arching claims to authority in the terms of their own faith. It is the same reason Mormons label others "anti-Mormon," JW's refer to "active opposers," and why the term "Islamophobia" has become popular as well. But I am no more anti-Catholic than Benedict XVI is anti-Baptist: what the Pope said in this recent document is perfectly consistent with Roman Catholic ecclesiology, and hence, to define his position in terms such as "anti-Baptist" is absurd, just as it is absurd to call me an anti-Catholic.
I have yet to have documented where I have misrepresented or misinterpreted Rome in my published writings and debates. It is not up to us to decide how to "interpret" Rome. As the Pope demonstrated yesterday, she is perfectly capable of doing that. One side quotes from official documents, one side quotes from anonymous individual Catholics. I think again this is a major problem. It is very much like what we see going on with the Mouw/Owen/Mosser group and the Mormon Church: one side quotes LDS scholars, one side quotes the consistent teachings of the LDS leadership, prophets, apostles, and general authorities. As I have been posting the series on Mormonism 101 we have even had secular reporters calling our offices asking questions about what we are saying. One individual even said, "I just am not seeing anyone else saying what you are saying out there." Given that I have simply been quoting the consistent testimony of the LDS leaders themselves, that says a lot. I see a direct parallel to what is going on here.
It seems obvious to me that you start with the official teachings, interpreting the dogmatic documents and decrees of the Roman magisterium in the context in which they were originally written, and only then do you have a firm foundation from which you can meaningfully interpret variant opinions of individual Catholic scholars or writers. If Mr. Patton wishes to disagree, I would very much like to see a coherent defense of that viewpoint. I have honestly yet to see that.
But most importantly in response to this statement is that it misses my point: when I spoke of moving away from the historic position, I was referring to the historic position of evangelicals concerning Rome. And that is really not disputable, is it? Mr. Patton might say that this is only because those of former generations were just not humble enough to allow for his "irenic" view (he later wrote, "Postmodernism may have brought in many terrible things, but it has opened the door for humility." Evidently, then, previous generations, untouched by post-modernism, would not have been as humble?), but the fact remains that it would be very, very easy for me to document that previous generations saw the issues of the gospel I have raised (not just sola fide but the entire Roman sacramental system, Mass and priesthood included) to be far more central than Mr. Patton is suggesting. Were they just ignorant, not as well read, as we moderns? I think not. I think they had a very different view of what is important, what is definitional, than some today. And I think I stand firmly in that line, and Mr. Patton simply does not. I don't think this should be a matter of dispute, it is simply a matter of historical identification. But my point was that they are moving away from the conclusions that previous generations came to regarding how the emphasis upon the purity and proclamation of the gospel, that marked what was once called evangelicalism, interacts with Rome's dogmatic teachings on the same subjects. Past generations, and those who stand in my line, see Rome's gospel as not just defective in "important areas" but still a true gospel, but as a false gospel, compromised at its very foundations. Saying the Mass is a propitiatory sacrifice is not an ancillary issue, separate from sola fide. Saying a priest has sacerdotal powers of absolution is not just a matter of indifference. Teaching that there is a treasury of merit and that the elect can die impure and need to undergo satispassio in purgatory before being able to enter into the presence of God is not just an odd viewpoint that can be dismissed as now irrelevant. Rome has taught these things, and continues to teach these things, under the guise of Christ's one true church, infallible in her authority as Christ's voice on earth.
Tomorrow I especially wish to focus upon his three reasons why he believes we cannot do what Paul did in response to the Galatian heresy. The irony is, I already responded to his position in the commentary on Galatians I began posting a few days ago, and as I mentioned, I wrote what I am posting 18 years ago. But I think this is vital, for if he is right, we have no foundation upon which to proclaim the gospel with power and authority today. We simply have no grounds upon which to say "this is the gospel, and that is not." And in a day of pluralism and anti-Christian attacks on all sides, if that is the case, we are indeed of all men most to be pitied. And so I will wish to focus the majority of my time upon the three points he made, specifically, that Paul was an Apostle, we are not; Paul did not always handle things "polemically" (as if I have ever suggested we are!), and finally that Paul was being polemical in a pastoral manner (and as those who have followed my ministry in this area know, given that I am a churchman with a higher view of the church than the vast majority of post-evangelicals today, I surely agree, just not with the application made here). So tune in, and remember, we do take phone calls, toll-free!
Omaha Bible Church Stands Against Compromise
07/11/2007 - James WhiteIn light of the DL yesterday, I was directed to this article regarding the cooperation of Luis Palau with Rome in his "crusade" in Omaha, Nebraska. I link to this despite the fact that I'm not listed in the sidebar ( sniff, sniff ). Pat Abendroth, of the (in)famous Abendroth Brothers (rumor has it they were once in a rock band, somewhere, but that's strictly a secret), pastor of Omaha Bible Church, tells me that for some odd reason, they are not joining in the fun. Something about the gospel.
Which reminded me of a story Steve Camp told on our cruise last year. I am going by memory (I'd love to see Steve provide his own version of the story), but he had been asked to sing at a Palau crusade. When he had finished, he was sitting on the platform. Then Palau asked the local Roman Catholic bishop to close the meeting in prayer. Steve was shocked and incensed. He knew he had to do something, so, in a split second decision, he turned his back on the platform when the bishop took the podium. Palau had a cow (that rhymes). For some reason, ol' Campi hasn't been invited back since!
I know, I know. "How mean, how...much like an apologist!" or the like. Reality reminder: every Roman Catholic priest, in his ordination, is identified as an "alter Christus," another Christ. Think about it, and ask yourself a simple question: if that doesn't offend you, just what would it take for you to be offended in behalf of the honor of your Lord?
Indulgences a Relic? Unknown Today? Hmmm, Really?
07/10/2007 - James WhiteDon't believe me. Read it yourself.
The Scriptural Roots of Catholic Teaching?
07/09/2007 - James SwanI recently purchased The Scriptural Roots of Catholic Teaching by Chantal Epie (New Hampshire: Sophia Institute Press, 2002), subtitled, How the Bible Proves the Truth of the Catholic Faith. Sophia Institute Press says this book will give "solid scriptural proof" for a number of distinctly Catholic beliefs, the first being, "God's revelation comes through the Bible, Tradition, and the Church's teaching authority." This is the subject matter of chapter one.
Epie begins by presenting evidence the Gospel was first preached orally. The defenders of Rome begin here, because only by establishing a vague category of unwritten doctrine are they able to bind men's consciences to non-biblical material. Epie's solid scriptural proof included John 21:25 and 2 Thes. 2:15. She argues:
"So it appears clearly that there was a considerable part of the Lord's teachings, later taught in their turn by the Apostles, that were not written down and cannot therefore be found in the Bible. These teachings, however, were faithfully transmitted to the Christian communities" (p.7).
"If we want to be faithful to God's word, we have to accept both the written revelation and this other part of revelation that was handed down to us by word of mouth and preserved for all generations in the Tradition of the Church" (p.7).
Are John 21:25 and 2 Thes. 2:15 solid scriptural proof for authoritative non-biblical oral tradition? No. With the former, Epie does not provide evidence of any other things Jesus did later handed down via infallible Tradition. Here would be a good time to present extra-Biblical information on any miracle Jesus performed or teaching imparted. Epie must be pressed on her interpretation. If she's positing the other things Jesus did are contained in Tradition, she needs to define the extent of this extra-Biblical content. John asserts, "...[I]f they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written." Exactly how much of this content and depth of detail of this content does the Roman Catholic Church have? Epie's prooftext demands an extraordinary amount of information. If Scripture + Tradition = a complete rule of faith, one must press Catholic use of this verse to provide that complete rule of faith. It appears that the Catholic position must borrow capital from the Protestant position. Protestants hold a sufficient authority does not need to be exhaustive in every detail. By implication, the Catholic must also adhere to this, unless they can provide the complete content mentioned in John 21:25.
John says earlier, "Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name" (John 20:30-31). Note, that of which John wrote was for a purpose: that one may believe Jesus is the Christ and Son of God. He doesn't say the rest was left as infallible Tradition so that one may believe Jesus is the Christ and Son of God.
The second major prooftext is 2 Thessalonians 2:15 (which ironically, Epie refers to as 2:14). The Catholic assumption is that the unwritten traditions referred to are different than those which are written. Such cannot be proven from this verse. The Catholic must be pressed to prove that both categories contain different information. 2:14 speaks of the Gospel, not doctrines like papal infallibility or indulgences. If these Traditions indeed exist, the act of producing them should be an easy task. Roman Catholics like Epie (whose view strongly implies partim-partim), must be pressed to produce what they claim to have. Further, Note what Paul says in 2:5, after writing on the man of lawlessness, "Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things?" The content being told matched that being written.
"As the Bible is the word of God, we can safely conclude that God has warned us that His revelation is to be found not only in Holy Scripture, but also in the Tradition of the Church, transmitted from generation to generation by word of mouth, then also in the writings of early Christians such as St. Polycarp, disciple of St. John, St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Augustine, etc. Obviously, there can be no contradictions between Holy Scripture and Tradition, as both take their origin from the revelation of the one true God" (p.8).
To quote an old commercial, where's the beef? She states tradition passed orally generation to generation, and then safely arrived in the writings of the early Christians. She needs to provide at least one example. She can't warn the people of God to hold traditions she cannot define. Epie should note well the warning issued by Augustine:
"But when He Himself was silent about such things, which of us could say, It is this or that? Or if he venture to say it, how will he prove it? For who could manifest such vanity or recklessness as when saying what he pleased to whom he pleased, even though true, to affirm without any divine authority that it was the very thing which the Lord on that occasion refused to utter? Which of us could do such a thing without incurring the severest charge of rashness, a thing which gets no countenance from prophetic or apostolic authority? For surely if we had read any such thing in the books confirmed by canonical authority, which were written after our Lord's ascension, it would not have been enough to have read such a statement, had we not also read in the same place that this was actually one of those things which the Lord was then unwilling to tell His disciples, because they were unable to bear them" [Tractate 96].