Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Shea Not Willing to Dance to this Particular Piper
11/23/2009 - Tur8infanMatthew 11:16-17
But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.
Mark Shea seems unhappy (link to his post). He states:
Speaking of weird partisanship, here's yet another Calvinist sitting in the peanut gallery and cheering on the atheists because they happen to be quarreling with Catholics. Better that God be blasphemed than that any slight pettiness of the 16th Century quarrel be abandoned for one second. We must have our priorities!He's complaining because I posted a link (on my personal blog) to a debate in which a Roman Catholic archbishop and a Roman Catholic member of the British parliament got trounced in a debate with Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry (link to my previous post).
It's not the first time I posted a debate between a Roman Catholic debater and Hitchens. Shea, however, didn't make the same complaint when I posted a link to a debate between Hitchens and Dinesh D'Souza (link to my previous post) some time ago.
Perhaps that's because I had positive things to say about Dinesh's performance and negative things to say about the performance of Archbishop Onaiyekan. That is still a bit odd, though, because I didn't see Shea complain when his co-religionist Patrick Madrid posted this same debate and said negative things about Archbishop Onaiyekan's performance (link to Madrid's post).
Shea mentions something about cheering from the peanut gallery, but frankly if you read my post, there isn't actually any "cheering" going on there. In fact, there was more cheering in the Dinesh post than in the Onaiyekan post.
What makes Shea's botched potshot more amusing is that so far no atheists have complained about "weird partisanship" because of my comments about Dinesh, though I spend a larger fraction of my blog addressing the false gospel of Rome than addressing the irrationality of atheism.
Although, in fairness, I did not go un-fired-upon for my posting of the Dinesh debate. Roman Catholic Dave Armstrong did mock me because my post says something nice about Dinesh's performance (link to Dave Armstrong's mockery).
So, when I post a debate that went poorly for Rome, I get targeted by Shea while he leaves Madrid alone; meanwhile when I post a debate that goes well by a Roman Catholic debater I get targeted by Armstrong.
The moral of the story: you can't make folks with double standards happy.
An Ironically Accurate Description of the Majority of Roman Catholic Apologetics Efforts
11/13/2009 - James White
I say it is ironic because it is provided by...a Roman Catholic. In criticizing "Catholicism: Crisis of Faith," SDG wrote:
In short, the video appears to be aimed at Catholics whose faith is shallow, ill-informed, and unstable, who will not realize that there is anything more to the issues than you have presented here. It seems to seek to make a case that will appear unanswerable and unarguable to those who have never heard the arguments and answers. It looks like its purpose is to prey on the weak and sick of the flock … with promises of greener pastures: but it seems unwilling to admit to its prey that their flock may have healthier sheep (not to mention shepherds) who might withstand the attack; or that there may be greener pastures within the very fold which they have never known.
Is this not the very essence of what we see constantly from Catholic Answers, Patrick Madrid, EWTN, etc.? Have we not demonstrated this very syndrome over and over again on this blog and on The Dividing Line? That is why I had to take a moment while some video is rendering to point this out as a great irony, since it came from Jimmy Akin's blog. I would direct SDG to just about everything Patrick Madrid has put in print in the form of a "book" for the exact fulfillment of his words, only in reference to non-Catholics.
An Attempted Syllogism Examined
11/03/2009 - James White
It has long been understood by sound Christians that the Scriptures are the Word of God, yet, as Peter expressed it, they were spoken by men. "Men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit" is Peter's phraseology. Everyone knows that the language Paul uses in Ephesians, for example, differs in tone from Galatians, reflecting the fact that this is a real human being speaking, and he was in a very different state of mind when writing the one than when he wrote the other. Only those who hold to some kind of dictation theory where a mechanical method of inspiration is posited struggle with the reality of the different styles found in Scripture. So the fact that Scripture is a divine revelation that enters into human existence through human agency is the teaching of that divine revelation itself. It is traceable through the "thus says Yahweh" of the Tanakh into its fuller explication in the New Testament.
Next, it is likewise understood by sound students of Scripture and theology that the Bible teaches (note, I did not say tradition teaches) certain truths about the person of Jesus Christ that cannot be compromised. His deity, His eternal pre-existence, His full humanity, His incarnation, etc. These biblical revelations have provided the guide posts, the walls, so to speak, outside of which we dare not wander, in thinking about the Person of Christ. Fully God, and fully man, without sin, the perfect sacrifice.
Recently Frank Beckwith sought to defend Rome's gospel by reference to the above truths. Though he never explains the basis upon which he does so, he makes an argument that just as the Bible can have a divine and a human component, and Jesus likewise is divine and human (though, I would argue, there are differences between those two), salvation must share the same divine/human combination or dichotomy. For the argument to hold, however, it would require us to have some particular reason to parallel the hypostatic union with justification by faith, and Dr. Beckwith does not provide us with any basis. He presents the parallel, based upon Rome's confusion of justification and sanctification, denial of the imputed righteousness of Christ, etc., but he does not tell us why we should think that because Jesus was the God-Man this means the gospel has to be partly God's work and partly man's (a synergistic system). Further, in quoting the Roman Catholic position Beckwith embraces not only the concept of infusion, but that "Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life." Of course, only God's grace makes it possible for this to happen, however, we are still doing the meriting and, of course, there are those who do not "cooperate" and thus lose the grace of justification, becoming enemies of God. And so the real issue of the Reformation remains the same today as it was then: it is not the NECESSITY of grace that is at dispute, it is the SUFFICIENCY of grace that is the focus of the debate. And, of course, so many of those who are non-Roman Catholics today actually agree with Rome against the Reformers on that topic, and are thusly crippled in resisting Rome's teachings. Beckwith makes the assertion:...
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The Reformation Brought About No Real Reformation: Frank Beckwith
11/01/2009 - James WhiteIn a comment left on James Swan's blog (and then removed, I might add), Frank Beckwith noted:
I use the term "Reformation" and "Reformers" even though I do not believe that there was any real Reformation for which the Reformers are morally responsible. Nevertheless, I use the terms out of respect for my Protestant brothers and sisters.As if the Council of Trent (we won't revisit Dr. Beckwith's comments on Trent in his interview with Greg Koukl) would have done what it did without the Reformation as its background! I'm sure there were plenty of folks in Rome who wanted to keep the money spigot on "full blast" with the sale of indulgences, but that troubling German monk really messed that up. I wonder if the "reformation" of indulgences would have happened without the Reformers?
But again, we cannot be overly surprised at such a comment. Dr. Beckwith has returned to Rome, and we would not expect him to see the Reformation as a time when the light of the Gospel broke through the encrustations of Roman tradition. But as we have pointed out many times, it does not seem that Dr. Beckwith ever viewed Rome's gospel as non-saving and actually false. He continued:
What would be really something, by the way, would be finding Madrid, Hahn, Ray, et al using "Roman Catholic" in every single instance the word "Catholic" appears in their writings and blog post as well as employing "Papist" and "Romanist." Just like hip-hoppers who call each other "n**ger" once and a while, we Catholics can refer to each other as "Roman Catholic" every so often. We do it out of love for the Bishop of Rome; you do it out of condescension and derision.Well, there you go. The real problem is not that Rome herself does not use terms like "Roman church" all the time, as she self-evidently does. It is that Dr. Beckwith can read the hearts of others and decide that when they speak of the Roman Church they do so out of "condescension and derision." It matters not if we explain that we believe it is necessary to be specific, as long as we do not grant to Rome her own claims to represent Christ, we are precluded from using the language she herself uses. I'm glad we have gotten that straight.
You ain't me homie, you can't use "Romie." :-)