After responding to Jimmy Akin’s blog note, I took a moment to read the comments attached to it. I found them fascinating. Some were your standard “ra-ra” kind of comments from folks who obviously are not big on fairly evaluating apologetic material and logical argumentation. One fellow, Brad Haas, was all excited about Dave Armstrong’s “work.” Sorry, but anyone who can read Armstrong’s meandering diatribes and go, “Ooh, that’s good!” isn’t going to find much of what I have to say useful anyway. Sorry, Brad. A number of them likewise made reference to the BAM show as if it were a debate (obviously, covering dozens of topics, sometimes with less than 60 seconds to make a comment, is anything BUT a debate). One wrote, “Hearing White fumbling after you asked him ‘Do you know with absolute infallibility that you’re really saved?’ was only one of a number of times where I felt you completely destroyed the Protestant position.” It has been a number of years since that BAM program, and I generally do not go back to listen to things from that far back, but to give a meaningful response to such a question would require, in the Roman Catholic context, differentiating between their claims of epistemological certainty and infallibility and my own understanding of the nature of man, the authority of the church, etc., and then would require relating this to the nature of saving faith, the testimony of the Holy Spirit, and the nature of sanctification (which would likewise require a discussion of the relationship, and differences between, justification and sanctification, again in the Roman Catholic context). So I suppose if that question was asked and I had less than a minute to respond it would be nigh unto impossible to do anything but “fumble” in the eyes of one who probably accepts Rome’s claims to infallibility without giving the matter a second thought. But it is surely odd how folks can listen to the same program and come away with completely opposite impressions.
Be that as it may, the comment I found most interesting speaks to an interesting aspect of Alpha and Omega Ministries. One of the comments referred to my blog where I wrote on the recent “abortion rights” march (I have a hard time with such euphemistic terminology: “holocaust rights” would make as much sense). But, the day before, I had written on the new Vatican document on the sacraments. In that article I had quoted from the WCF and demonstrated that it was anything but “eirenic” in its rightful rejection of Rome’s denial of the finished, completed, perfect work of Christ in its theology of the “Eucharistic sacrifice.” The contrast of the two was too much for the writer, who considers the proclamation of a finished, perfect work an “attack” on Christ’s “very Body.” He calls it “slander” to identify Rome’s beliefs in the fashion of the WCF. Of course, let us remember how many thousands died over the centuries at Rome’s hands for refusing to believe her doctrine of the Mass as a propitiatory sacrifice. I wonder if the person who was offended by my rejection of Rome’s doctrine is likewise offended at the history of his own communion? I wonder if he is offended at the Popes who pursued entire crusades against peaceful evangelicals in the Piedmont Valley? Am I offended by Rome’s teachings? Of course. I’m offended that she would pretend to lord over the consciences of men with her man-made traditions. But I am most offended that she would turn the finished, perfect work of Christ into a repetitious sacrifice that never perfects anyone for whom it is made, and that in direct contradiction to the inspired Word of God.
Now, I can either channel my “offense” into speaking the truth with clarity and forcefulness to those who have been given a false hope by Rome, or, I can go the Jack Chick route and just produce prejudiced bluster. If I had not very clearly, and very carefully, explained why Rome’s sacrifice of the Mass is a blasphemy to the finished work of Christ (the subject of my very first book, in fact), then I would have no basis upon which to complain of the man’s comments. But I have, and I simply point out that what he calls “slander” is nothing more than “historic, exegetically based Reformed teaching on the key passages on the atoning work of Jesus Christ.”