Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Patrick Madrid: Stuck in Neutral after Fifteen Years
09/01/2008 - James White
Beginning tomorrow on The Dividing Line I will be reviewing the 1993 sola scriptura debate with Patrick Madrid from San Diego, California. [We will have a special guest, Alan Kurschner, on Thursday, to discuss the important textual variant at Luke 23:34, and then continue the review of the debate after that]. I listened to the full debate for the first time in many years a few days ago, and I must admit: my memory is an odd thing. I had not recalled how simply nasty Madrid was in that debate, let alone how many incredible blunders he made, and how he utterly failed to even attempt to respond to my biblical argument, even going so far as to clearly mock the use of the original languages in doing exegesis! The circularity of his argument is so clear, I think it will be most useful to go over the entire debate, just as we did the veneration debate, so as to let the listener decide if Madrid's claim to being the champion Roman Catholic debater, undefeated, in fact, has any merit.
Today Madrid demonstrated that his study of this issue has been stuck in neutral for nearly a decade and a half now, something I find to be common amongst the leading, popular Roman Catholic apologists. It really does not seem the "big boys" are overly serious about their subject: once they find a set of arguments that keep the faithful happy, they are more than content to repeat them ad nauseum, ignoring their repeated refutation. Indeed, when Catholics find videos filled with contextless snippets accompanied by techno music and graphics focusing upon my forehead powerful and weighty---well, you can figure out what that says fairly easily. Anyway, today Madrid posted some comments on his web board. Now remember, this is the web board that filters out URLs to aomin.org, and automatically changes "Roman Catholic" to "Catholic" for you (a wonderful service to the users!). It is likewise the forum where Art Sippo rages, and Patti, one of the moderators, follows him around, editing his posts, and deleting those of others who make valid and telling points against Roman Catholic claims. In other words, "Speak Your Mind" means "Agree with Us." In any case, Madrid wrote,
As I explained to White in that debate, there is no question of a request for universal negative involved here. His "universal negative" argument was a red herring in that debate, just as it is a red herring for you to attempt it here.
There is nothing in the Catholic refutation of sola scriptura that involves asking Protestants to prove a "universal negative." You should drop that claim, as White was forced to drop it, since it is irrelevant to this discussion. No one here is asking you or any Protestant to prove a universal negative. To keep insisting that we are asking this of you is to simply miss the point.
This is currently found here (I say currently because things tend to get edited on the Envoy forums). Now just as Madrid erred 15 years ago in our debate, he continues to this day, only demonstrating how rare it is to find a Roman Catholic controversialist who seriously considers what is being said in response to his claims. They are far more likely to simply dismiss their critics as "anti-Catholic fundamentalists" and move on from there rather than seriously engage a critical response to their position. The fact is, Madrid did depend upon the common demand to prove a universal negative, and the recordings make this very clear. As I pointed out from the start, the Bible claims it is an infallible rule of faith. It tells us that our ultimate authority is that which is God-breathed, and the Scriptures are God-breathed. It places all other authorities beneath this ultimate authority. But nowhere does the Bible enumerate every possible false authority that man might attempt to join to Scripture, or to which man might subjugate Scripture. Every time a Roman Catholic says, "Oh, well, sure, the Bible is an infallible rule of faith, but where does it say it is the ONLY infallible rule of faith?" they are doing exactly what I said fifteen years ago they were doing: demanding that we disprove every possible contender someone might wish to propose. Obviously, if the Roman Catholic apologist has the slightest interest in truth, he will gladly step up to the plate to demonstrate, using the very same standards and argumentation he uses against sola scriptura, that Rome's authority and traditions are binding upon the Christian. Of course, this would require them to prove that their traditions are theopneustos, and I have found most of them to be very hesitant to make that claim, yet, this is what is required to substantiate their argumentation. We will see over and over again in our review of Madrid's arguments in the upcoming programs that the only way for his argument to stand is for him to assert that Roman traditions are theopneustos.
In our debate Madrid strongly asserted that THE Roman Catholic position is that of "material sufficiency" (evidently, his knowledge of the views of the past, the partim partim view of the majority at the Council of Trent, etc., is lacking), yet, he then went on to quote passages that would only be relevant to the more conservative partim/partim view of tradition. When it is convenient for him to use one viewpoint (which provides a grounding for traditional dogmas based upon oral tradition) he will do so, but then he will immediately retreat to the safer "material sufficiency" viewpoint to deflect refutation of the very claims he just finished making! If anyone were to seriously attempt to graph out the arguments Roman Catholic apologists use to defend Rome's circular claims of infallible authority, the resultant mish-mash would look like a road map to Washington D.C.
So tune in tomorrow on the DL for the beginning of this important series!