Over the course of the past seventeen years I have engaged the subject of sola scriptura in a tremendously wide variety of venues. My first public debate was with Gerry Matatics on sola scriptura in August, 1990. I had already written a book, Answers to Catholic Claims that interacted with Karl Keating’s works and included discussion of Newman’s development hypothesis. Since that time I have written hundreds of pages in various venues on this topic, some making up chapters in books with various contributors (such as the Soli Deo Gloria publication, Sola Scriptura wherein I wrote a chapter on the nature of tradition in patristic sources as it relates to a meaningful biblical doctrine of sufficiency) and in my own books, including lengthy discussions in The Roman Catholic Controversy and of course, Scripture Alone. Some of the exchanges I’ve engaged in have included lengthy discussions of individual patristic writers, sometimes involving extensive examinations of such sources as the Thesaurus Linguae Graece. A quick review of the files listed on our website under Roman Catholicism will yield a number of extensive, documented discussions of the subject demonstrating a knowledge of the full range of objections offered in published Roman Catholic works. Aside from all of this, I have debated this topic nearly half a dozen times against Madrid, Matatics, and Father Mitch Pacwa.
   In light of this, I could not help but note the musings of one user on the Envoy message boards by the name of Paul. He noted that I had taken the time to respond to Jerry-Jet (I wrote all three installments at once, but spread them out over a number of days due to the length of the resultant material). He then wondered why I had not interacted with “better” objections to sola scriptura posted by other users. Now, there is no question, Jerry-Jet has completely melted down since I began my response (see the preceding entry), but I chose to respond to his original post because he is, sadly, representative of the kind of “James White is the servant of Satan–but no, I won’t listen to a word he has to say and yes, I will just repeat the same ol’ same ol’ that White has refuted a thousand times before” rhetoric that not only passes for apologetics on Envoy but on numerous websites around the net as well. Now, if I had never addressed Trent or Newman or all the modern writers traveling about speaking in parishes and conferences, and had not engaged leading Roman Catholic apologists, and had standing challenges to others who will not debate the topic, then I could understand Paul’s comments. But given the reality of my work in this field, I am truly left wondering how Paul could ask such a question.
   Instead, what keeps coming out in my examination of forums like that at Envoy or Catholic Answers is a “mirror image” effect. As I have noted of late, Rome’s apologists generally ignore even published refutations of their statements and works. They try to present the idea that “those Protestants are irrelevant, we represent the ancient Church, just listen to us repeat the same ol’ same ol’ arguments again.” Or as I’ve put it in the past, “Don’t worry, be Catholic!” So is it really hard to understand how their audience ends up mirroring those they follow? If those you seek to emulate show little interest in vigorous examination of truth, but instead settle for repetition of the “party line” without interaction with its refutation, should we be surprised at the attitude at Envoy and elsewhere that says, “Hey, we are the ancient church and to be honest, we could care less what anyone else says about it, even when they provide documented responses to what we say.” And it is useful to examine this attitude in this context since the readers of this blog are most likely the very ones who would be encountering this kind of “apologetics” in the Internet and in “real life.”

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