Below I noted, very briefly and mainly in passing for those who have no earthly idea what terms like “canonization” and “beatification” and the like mean, what is going on regarding Anne Catherine Emmerich. I was just doing a quick “blog run” and discovered that Akin invested a major size chunk of his blog today to what I call the Catholic Answers Shuffle. It is very much like what Gerry Matatics did when he was the darling of the staff of Catholic Answers in our first debate in 1990: he spent the first 14 minutes of his 20 minute opening statement never once mentioning the topic of the debate, but rather seeking to convince his audience that I had no idea what I was talking about (and even then, he completely misrepresented my first book, < The Fatal Flaw, in the process). While I find Akin’s reply to a quick note on the beatification of Emmerich rather picayune, what I find more odd is the fact that Akin would invest so much effort on a minor issue while continuing stone-cold silent on the errors in his statements I have documented just recently on this blog. Specifically, I have often made reference to his display of ignorance of the most basic elements of Greek grammar and syntax in our radio debate on the perseverance of the saints. I replayed his comments on The Dividing Line just recently. I’d think it would be significantly more important to address issues of biblical import rather than invest such effort on splitting hairs over how to define a “saint.” Possibly he is betting his readers do not read both of our blogs? He’d probably be correct. Someone should ask him about his “inceptive aorist” assertions regarding John 6.
Briefly, in response to Akin’s blog: I will ignore the majority of the reply as most of it is rhetorical (Akin would like a link to the article I had read: well, try Google). Akin seeks to dispute the definition of a saint in the Scriptures in relation to my assertion that a saint today is a believing Christian who has been justified by faith in Jesus Christ. My point, of course, is that there is no biblical basis for the Roman multiplication of meanings to the term. While he ignores the context of my comment (easily done when you focus upon a single paragraph notification of a recent event) he cites a number of passages, some even from the OT, where some form of a term that can be translated “holy one” or saint is used, as if this is relevant or supportive of the Roman Catholic creation of an entire category regarding supposed holiness and temporal punishments. One highly relevant example he provides is from John 6:69 where Peter replies to the Lord Jesus and says Jesus is “the Holy One of God.” Akin points out that you could render this, “The Saint of God,” as if somehow this is relevant to the point I was making. Is the use of hagios in reference to Christ (with the article in the singular in a particular context regarding the identity of Christ as the Messiah) somehow relevant to the regular use of hagioi in the epistles of Paul when addressing the Christians in the churches (the context to which I was referring, since I was referring to the use of “saint” today)? You judge.
Now, the title of Akin’s entry is “Check Your Facts.” That is, Akin wishes to take a few sentences in a blog, argue with them, and use this as a means of telling his audience I have no idea what I’m talking about when I mention Roman Catholicism. Again, it seems evident that he banks on his readers having never listened to any of the debates we have been doing for a number of years now. You would think it would be a bit more meaningful to address something I’ve published in a book, or presented in a debate, than a quick note on a blog about the beatification of Emmerich. Says something to me, anyway. But Akin is in “mock mode” in this entry, so we should not be surprised. He takes umbrage to my statement that someone might have “more merit than temporal punishment upon their soul at death.” OK, how much different is that than this statement: “Third, In order to gain the full effect of a Plenary Indulgence, it is also necessary to have a perfect repentance, and sincere detestation of all our sins, even the least venial sin; because, as the punishment of sin will never be forgiven, while the guilt of it remains in the soul, and as a sincere repentance is absolutely required for the remission of the guilty; therefore, this sincere repentance must precede the remission of the punishment.” “In the soul” or “on the soul,” is there some magic difference? If not, what purpose is there in wasting time criticizing the terminology, outside of trying to make yourself look good to a very biased audience? Next, he ignores the fact that I am talking about one use of the term “saint” to explain to my audience something about the process of canonization and basically demands of a few sentences the fullness of an encyclopedic entry. Akin invests a lot of time discussing the minutiae of canon law and practice, so I guess it is “his thing.” The fact remains that one’s holiness of life results in merit: that is the entire basis of supererogation, indulgences, the treasury of merit, etc. All I was explaining is that a person who is judged to have “extra” merit beyond what is needed in light of their sins so as to be considered cleansed and ready for entrance into God’s presence, does so without entering purgatory. Is this not the case? Yes, it is, so why play games? The reader is free to decide. Obviously, the term “saint” is then used of those who have been cleansed and “left” purgatory at a later time, but I wasn’t addressing that usage in explaining the basics of the Roman position so as to make the Emmerich situation understandable to those who have no background in why the Pope is doing what he is doing. Talk about being desperate to find a way to make a point!
So let’s compare things: I have pointed out the glaring incapacity of Jimmy Akin as a biblical exegete regarding comments he has made in public debate on John 6:44. His erroneous comments are available on the web. In comparison, Akin chooses to focus upon three sentences in a blog entry, and even then, can only ignore the offered context and insist upon fuller definitions. I’d think one of the chief figures of Catholic Answers could produce a little better effort in light of the three dozen debates we offer on Roman Catholicism and the numerous books in print relevant to the topic. Maybe Mr. Akin would like to comment on the exegesis of James 2 in The God Who Justifies that directly refutes his own claims on that passage? Let’s call Mr. Akin to a little higher standard, shall we?