Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Seems the Followers of Catholic Answers Would Like More Debates
01/30/2010 - James WhiteI mentioned yesterday my suggestion to Tim Staples that we do a similar type of fair debate and exchange on Catholic Answers Live. I said then that I would expect many in the CA audience would love to hear the "largest Catholic apologetics organization in the United States" actually doing direct, one-on-one apologetics with leading critics of their position. I was pointed to a thread that has begun on the CA web boards that seems to verify my prediction. You can read it here.
Greetings From Kingdom Envoy, We Miss You!
01/30/2010 - James SwanSometime back I had a discussion with Dr. Art Sippo on Luther biographies. It was a written exchange via Patrick Madrid's Envoy discussion forum. I can't provide the forum link, because it was deleted. I did though save my posts and analysis of Mr. Sippo's opinions. Eventually, I was banned from Envoy by Patrick Madrid. In fact, if you're a Protestant, chances are you'd be banned from Envoy as well. I was banned for posting a link to an aomin article.
Recently on Envoy, Dr. Sippo asked:
Where have the Protestant Pundits gone? It seems that the Protestnat [sic] Pundits just kind of drop in to give a few insults and then run away newver [sic] staying to engage in any frank discussion. Very typical. I hae [sic] made a number of charges about Protestantism that the pundits refuse to refute.
Where have we gone? Why Mr. Sippo, we were banished from Kingdom Envoy. I thought perhaps Sippo had forgotten this, so I dropped him a little e-mail:"Dr. Sippo, We were banned from Envoy... Remember? Perhaps raise this question to Mr. Madrid." To which I received the response, "Only the REALLY rude ones, Jim. ;-)."
Anyone can read through my posts and see this is entirely untrue. I was banned for posting a link, plain and simple. Sippo appeared to be tickled that I actually wrote him and posted this followup:
I got an e-mail from a Protestnat punpit [sic] who shal [sic] remain namelss [sic] but whose initials are Jimmy Swan. He was all cut up about being banned from this board. Golly! I wrote back to him that this is only done to the REALLY nasty people. I wonder if he got the hint? For those who do not know this fellow, he thinks that Catholics should ignore the general historical consensus that Luther was mentally disturbed and instead accept the position of Fr. Josef Lortz, a german priest in the 1930s who was a CARD CARRYING NAZI and who (among other things) wrote an extended defense of Hitler's book Mein Kampf in contradiction to the position taken by the German hierarchy. Luther was a great hero to the Nazis for a variety of reasons including his rejection of 'decandent'[sic] Rome for 'modern' German values and his snti-Semitism [sic].
Of course, the above paragraph includes the disclaimer, "Edited by - Patti on 01/29/2010 10:30:39 AM," so what was actually posted was probably far worse. What irony- Dr. Sippo has repeatedly called me names (including "Nazi") and hurled abusive language at me, yet I'm the one who is supposedly rude and nasty. Even during my discussion with Dr. Sippo, Patrick Madrid stated:
Art, we've been through this so many times now, I don't know how else to say it. Please drop the invective and ad hominem and just make your case, critique the other guy's, and move forward with the conversation. All the egregious stuff is just plain unedifying and it has no power to persuade, only provoke.
Ah well, it seems Dr. Sippo is tolerated because he supports Mother Church. Envoy is truly an odd place. They know what they like, and they like what they know. They also don't have a problem reinventing their own history.
Format for Today's Debate with Tim Staples
01/28/2010 - James White
Don't forget to be with us live this afternoon at 3pm PST, 6pm EST, for the special 90-minute edition of the Dividing Line, featuring a live debate with Tim Staples of Catholic Answers on 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 and the doctrine of Purgatory. The format is as follows:
15 minute opening statements (Tim gets to go first)
8 minutes rebuttals
5 minutes cross examination each
8 minute closing statements
Then, we will take phone calls for just under 20 minutes. We will open the lines for your calls when Tim begins his closing statement. So be ready to ask a QUICK and CONCISE question at 877-753-3341.
Tim Staples vs. The Reformers on Priestly Celibacy
01/28/2010 - James SwanWhy can't Roman Catholic priests get married? I've heard this question asked a number of times on Catholic Answers. Tim Staples recently commented on priestly celibacy here (mp3). Tim points out Roman Catholicism considers priestly celibacy a discipline, not a dogma. This means it's something that could theoretically change, but probably will not because (as Tim says) "celibacy is a saint making machine." He also argues it's an apostolic tradition.
Tim Staples also used Biblical proof-texts to prove his case:
10 The disciples said to Him, "If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry." 11 But He said to them, "Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 "For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother's womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it."
First Tim says the context of these verses is the calling of the twelve apostles, then he says the context is the sending out of the twelve apostles. In Matthew though, the calling is in chapter four, and the sending is found in chapter ten. He then quotes Jesus saying, "He that can take this ought to," concluding "so Jesus recommends celibacy." He then infers the apostles chose celibacy: "And Peter then says 'Lord we have left all and followed you,' which seems to indicate that they did in fact just that, so Jesus recommends celibacy." This statement from Peter does follow, after another 14 verses (including the account of the little children brought to Jesus, and the story of the rich young man). It was the response Jesus gave to the rich young man that provoked Peter's immediate question, not Matthew 19:12. ...
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Who Really is Anti-Catholic?
01/23/2010 - James SwanBack in one my old philosophy classes I recall lengthy discussions as to the relationship between names and reality, and then spinning around for hours contemplating the brain teaser of what it means to "mean" something about anything. The aftermath: an entire class of young minds slipped further into skepticism, as if the reality each twenty something experienced was completely unknowable. Of course, arriving at the conclusion that ultimate reality is unknowable is... to know something about ultimate reality! Ah, the futility of the sinful mind in its continual construction of Babel towers. Without the presupposition "He is there and He is not silent" the sinful mind does what it does best: it creates a worldview that can't account for the reality it truly experiences.
Despite the aspirin needed after attending such classes, it did force me early on to think about ostensive definitions, and the carefulness with which one defines terms. With theology, correctly using terms takes on the greatest moral imperative: one is speaking about the very holy God that created the universe. Think of terms that are used to describe Biblical doctrine, like "Trinity." One is using a term to describe a collection of factual data given by the Holy Spirit. If ever one should use caution, it should be with the construction of theological terms. ...
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Letting the Word Speak: Justification
01/22/2010 - James WhiteTim Staples argues that the Bible presents justification as a "process." But close and careful examination says otherwise.
Beckwith's Bait and Switch
01/19/2010 - Tur8infanFrancis Beckwith has a recent blog post entitled, "Sola Scriptura and the canon of Scripture: a philosophical reflection" (link). Let's take a look at his reflection.
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Why I am Not a Roman Catholic
01/11/2010 - Alan KurschnerThe following simple juxtaposition is a sufficient reason.
Roman Catholic apologist Tim Staples:
"The bottom line here is this: Jesus Christ did not suffer and die so that we don't have to. Jesus Christ suffered and died so that our good works offered up in him can be truly pleasing and salvific before God. And indeed, Jesus didn't suffer and die so that we don't have to suffer and die, he suffered and died so that our suffering and death could be salvific."
““Look, my servant will succeed! He will be elevated, lifted high, and greatly exalted– (14) (just as many were horrified by the sight of you) he was so disfigured he no longer looked like a man; (15) his form was so marred he no longer looked human– so now he will startle many nations. Kings will be shocked by his exaltation, for they will witness something unannounced to them, and they will understand something they had not heard about. (1) Who would have believed what we just heard? When was the LORD’s power revealed through him? (2) He sprouted up like a twig before God, like a root out of parched soil; he had no stately form or majesty that might catch our attention, no special appearance that we should want to follow him. (3) He was despised and rejected by people, one who experienced pain and was acquainted with illness; people hid their faces from him; he was despised, and we considered him insignificant. (4) But he lifted up our illnesses, he carried our pain; even though we thought he was being punished, attacked by God, and afflicted for something he had done. (5) He was wounded because of our rebellious deeds, crushed because of our sins; he endured punishment that made us well; because of his wounds we have been healed. (6) All of us had wandered off like sheep; each of us had strayed off on his own path, but the LORD caused the sin of all of us to attack him. (7) He was treated harshly and afflicted, but he did not even open his mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughtering block, like a sheep silent before her shearers, he did not even open his mouth. (8) He was led away after an unjust trial– but who even cared? Indeed, he was cut off from the land of the living; because of the rebellion of his own people he was wounded. (9) They intended to bury him with criminals, but he ended up in a rich man’s tomb, because he had committed no violent deeds, nor had he spoken deceitfully. (10) Though the LORD desired to crush him and make him ill, once restitution is made, he will see descendants and enjoy long life, and the LORD’s purpose will be accomplished through him. (11) Having suffered, he will reflect on his work, he will be satisfied when he understands what he has done. “My servant will acquit many, for he carried their sins.” —New English Translation
The God Centered Gospel vs. a Man Centered Gospel
01/11/2010 - James White
Sola Ecclesia Defined and Illustrated
01/10/2010 - James White
Bryan Cross, Frank Beckwith, and Being A Trinitarian Simply Because Rome Tells You To Be
01/09/2010 - James White
Steve Hayes On Playing Theological Chicken
01/08/2010 - James WhiteSteve Hays is driving his '64 muscle car at the triad of Cross/Beckwith/Liccione at full speed, with all 8-cylinders guzzling gas so fast Al Gore is having a panic attack. A classic retort, and one that well needs to be said. As I said last night, the fact that these Roman apologists have made Rome's magisterium the sole line of defense against something as insidious and Christ-denying as Arianism speaks volumes, and should be repeated every single time they attempt to bandage up the mortal wounds they are forced to inflict upon the Christian conscience that knows, by Spirit-borne witness, that the Word is sufficient, it is truly God speaking.
Roman Unity: If it Promotes Mother Rome, It's All Good
01/06/2010 - James WhiteMy first moderated, public debate was on the subject of Roman Catholicism. It took place in August of 1990. Since I have a few decades of experience now, I find myself shaking my head in disbelief at one particular fact over and over again: Rome's apologists just don't seem driven to work hard in their field. Further, they clearly observe the "throw everything including the kitchen sink in defense of Rome, no matter how objectively bad it is on a scholarly level."
Illustration: today Patrick Madrid took a shot at "Calvinists" in general on his blog. For someone who has yet, to my knowledge, to engage a Calvinist on the relevant subjects (of course I would, Patrick, let's set it up!) in debate, I find his surface-level retorts somewhat amusing. But what is amazing are the three links he provides for, what he calls, "quite able" refutations of Calvinism. Two are ancient articles Jimmy Akin wrote years and years ago, neither of which provide much in the way of substance. And the third is to Dave Armstrong's series on Calvin! Now, with all due respect to ol' Dave Armstrong, he is one of the clearest examples of why past canon law prohibited laymen from engaging in public disputation in defense of Rome. Serious readers in the field realize that while Dave may stumble over a thoughtful argument once in a while, it is always to be found somewhere else. He simply does not produce original argumentation of any kind, and clearly does not understand the responses that have been offered to him over and over again. So, we find Madrid once again pulling out of mothballs surface-level materials that are nearly two decades old, and promoting Dave Armstrong as "quite able" refutations of Reformed theology. One is truly left wondering if these men really think this kind of material has real weight and meaning, or if they are just too bored to do serious work in the field. I will leave it to the reader to decide.
Arianism is Consistent with Scripture?
01/04/2010 - Tur8infanPhoebadius (d. @ 392): Knowing, therefore, this unity of substance in the Father and in the Son, on the authority, not only of the prophets, but also of the gospels, how canst thou say that the Homoüsion is not found in scripture? Latin text: Cum ergo hanc unitatem substantiae in Patre et Filio non solum prophetica, sed et evangelica auctoritate cognoscas; quomodo dicis in Scripturis divinis ὁμοιούσιον non inveniri? S. Phoebadius, De Fide Orthodoxa, Contra Arianos, Alias De Filii Divinitate et Consubstantialitate, Tractatus, Caput V, PL 20:41.
Sometimes the opponents of sola scriptura end up taking their position to absurd lengths. Consider the following statement from Roman Catholic Bryan Cross:
The term 'refute' means "shown an argument to be unsound". The bishops did not 'refute' Arianism; they condemned it, by defining the Faith by way of an extra-biblical term: homoousious. They were unable, by Scripture alone, to refute Arianism. The Arians could affirm every single verse of Scripture. That's precisely why the bishops had to require affirmation of the term homoousious. So if the bishops had no authority by way of apostolic succession, then their requirement of affirming homoousious would have had no more authority than its denial by the Arians. Scripture alone was insufficient to resolve the dispute, precisely because both sides could affirm every verse in Scripture. And since sola scriptura denies the transfer of authority by way of apostolic succession, therefore the Council of Nicea and the Creed, given sola scriptura, only have authority if you agree with its interpretation of Scripture.Mr. Cross' zeal for his church has placed him out of touch with history, as can be seen both from the initial quotation above, as well as from the discussion that follows.
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