Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Phil Porvaznik Convinces Me that "Romanism" Is Indeed the Proper Identifier of His Religion
08/25/2007 - James WhiteIn generations past the term "Romanism" was used to identify those who make the bishop of Rome, whom they call "the Pope," the central figure in Christianity. Since Rome claimed ultimacy in all things ecclesiastical, epistemological, theological--then it seemed quite appropriate to identify those who serve Rome, defend Rome, seek to make converts to Rome, as...Romanists.
Today political correctness has neutered most in Western civilizations. The last thing you ever want to do is offend someone, so, when a description is just too accurate, you claim you are offended by it, and voila! It is gone! Look at the abuse of this concept in such terms as "homophobia" and "Islamophobia."
Jim Swan has documented in some of his recent blog articles the fact that in modern Roman Catholic apologetics, it is conversion to Rome that is the be-all of all things. It is not conversion to Christ, but conversion to Rome, that is sought. Rome is the goal. He is quite right in his observations.
Over the past few weeks as we have again observed the incredible double standards that mark the modern Roman Catholic apologetics movement (they are Catholic apologists, the rest are all anti-Catholics; they are charitable while using every insult you can use without triggering profanity filters, anyone else is uncharitable even when focused solely upon the issues, etc.). The common theme for them all is easy to identify: as long as it promotes Rome, it is good; if it doesn't, it is bad. Rome again defines the core of their worldview.
A few days ago I posted factual information demonstrating that the claim that there are 33,000 Protestant denominations arising from the Reformation is utterly bogus. I documented that the source "cited" lists less than 9000 Protestant denominations, and that even this number is obviously 1) inflated as far as any meaningful use of the term "denomination" is concerned, 2) errant, since it includes non-Trinitarians, and 3) ridiculously irrelevant to the issue of sola scriptura. I pointed out that the actual number listed in the source is only 27% of 33,000, and I likewise noted that included in the 33,000 number are groups such as "Gnostics" (yeah, they came out of the Reformation, and they practice sola scriptura!), Mormons, and Jehovah's Witnesses.
I have been informed that Steve Ray is writing a response. I should hope so. The only appropriate response from Steve Ray, of course, is, "I am very sorry I have so consistently and grossly misrepresented this number for so long. I apologize, retract my assertions, and likewise wish to offer this explanation of how I could claim to cite a source I had not actually read...." I doubt that is what we will get, however, especially if the smoke and mirrors offered by Phil Porvaznik in a comment on Ray's blog is any indication. Here is what Porvaznik wrote:
People complain about the number, but it is a Protesant source, World Christian Encyclopedia, published (2001, 2nd edition) by a reputable scholarly publisher, Oxford University Press. The total number of “Christian” denominations / paradenominations in that source is 33820 as of 1995.As soon as I saw this comment I knew Porvaznik has never laid his eyes on the source being cited. Why? Because of his mathematical formula: anyone who has actually looked at the source knows it lists less than 9k groups under "Protestant," not 32,797. In other words, he's blowing smoke. He is pretending to address a topic about which he is utterly ignorant. But note, that doesn't stop the faithful apologist for Romanism. So I wrote to Phil, and he confirmed, in his response, that he has not seen the 2001 edition, though he claims to have seen the previous edition. Well, if that is the case, he is still convicted by his own words of simple dishonesty, since the previous edition likewise broke down the data in such a fashion as to demonstrate beyond all contradiction that the use of its data to allege the existence of more than 20,000 "Protestant denominations" is just as bogus and dishonest as the current 33,000 claim. Eric Svendsen pointed this out years ago.
We have to do a little subtraction since the source claims “242 Roman Catholic denominations” (i.e. basically one RCC for each country) and “781 Orthodox denominations” so we get:
33,820 (total) - 242 (Catholic) - 781 (Orthodox) = 32,797 (Protestant)
Round it up and you are still at 33,000. “Protestants” are basically those who broke away from the Catholic Church (Latin, West) in the 16th century, and all their further splinters since then. Orthodox are those who broke away from Rome in the 11th century. Granted, we could narrow down “Protestant” further and exclude others. But considering the initial big number with “Christians” being either (1) Catholic, (2) Orthodox, or (3) “Protestant” that’s what you get.
So Porvaznik has now convinced me, along with men like Steve Ray, that my forefathers were right all along. These men are Romanists. Rome is all that matters to them. Service to Rome is their highest goal. All facts, arguments, and thoughts, are to be twisted to the service of...Rome. I cannot help but recall the words of one of the greatest Romanists of all time, Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits:
That we may be altogether of the same mind and in conformity with the Church herself, if she shall have defined anything to be black which to our eyes appears to be white, we ought in like manner to pronounce it black. - [St. Ignatius Loyola, "Rules for Thinking with the Church", Rule 13, (cited from: Documents of the Christian Church, pp. 364-365, ed. Henry Bettenson, New York and London: Oxford University Press, 1947.)]Rome is the goal, the greatest good, the ultimate. And what do you call a religion that is focused upon conversion to Rome, following Rome, defending Rome at all costs, even at the cost of simple truth? It's called Romanism. And how do you accurately describe men who will sacrifice their integrity, their logic, their rationality, and put forth such monumental efforts in defense of Rome? They are Romanists.