2 Comments

  1. Good post Justin. It saddens me to read about professedly Reformed & Presbyterian ministers (such as Scott Hahn, Gerry Matatics, and now one of our own, Jason Stewart) "swimming the Tiber" into Romanism. (I have to wonder just how commited to and/or knowledgeable of the Reformed Faith men like this actually were before their "conversion" to Rome.) Mr. Stewart's arguments as you list them above are standard fare in Romanist apologetics and conversion stories, but as you show even a little careful thinking about such arguments demonstrates how vacuous and superficial is the case for Romanist claims.

    As you point out above, Stewart inconsistently appeals to Scripture in order to disprove "Scripture alone" (and ironically he does so by misinterpreting 1 Tim. 3:15 and Matt. 16:18). Romanist apologists frequently try to win over Protestants by claiming that "Scripture itself doesn't teach Scripture alone," but in my opinion they rarely interact seriously with the best historic Protestant biblical arguments in favor of sola Scriptura or with Scripture passages that would appear to refute their "Scripture plus Tradition interpreted by an infallible church" view; plus they seem often to misrepresent Protestant Sola Scriptura as if it means "just me and Jesus and my Bible in my prayer closet, without the interpretive authority of the church" (a straw man of what the Reformers meant by Sola Scriptura). They claim that an infallible Bible needs an infallible church to offer a true interpretation. The fallacy in their thinking is the assumption that a fallible church could never yield a true interpretation of the infallible Word. Ultimately the Romanist position is not "Scripture plus Tradition," but "Sola Ecclesia" (the church alone), for ultimately both Scripture and Tradition must bow to the current dogmatic thinking of the church's hierarchy (Pope & Magisterium).

    The Romanist appeal to "the unanimous consent of the church Fathers" is almost laughable, since the church Fathers disagreed with each other on a whole host of issues, and some were quite unsound (as you pointed out in your reference to Origen). The idea that the early Church Fathers were thoroughly Roman Catholic is historical anachronism — reading more recent debates and issues and doctrinal positions in church history back into the earlier centuries. The fact is that the papacy had a gradual historical development, and many of the doctrines of the modern Roman Catholic church were completely unknown (or in some cases undeveloped) in the early church (the immaculate conception, papal infallibility, etc.). Though there are some superficial resemblances, the ancient "Catholic" (i.e., "universal") church was not the same thing as the modern "Roman Catholic" church.

    Again, good post. Keep up the good work.

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