Thursday, October 25, 2007

Staples vs. Slick


I haven't had a chance to listen to this yet, but Catholic apologist Tim Staples was on Matt Slick's Internet show: Matt Slick and Tim Staples Discuss Salvation. Slick is the founder of CARM, and, if I recall, he is also Reformed (a graduate of WTS). It's always interesting to listen to Tim Staples (as the Catholic Answers clips on the Dividing Line prove).

Update: I listened to almost all of the broadcast. My overall conclusion was that the dialog was not fruitful. I'm not one who appreciates conversations that wander all over the place, even though I realize the topic was "salvation" and that entails a lot of different related points.

Positively, Tim Staples was treated respectfully by Matt Slick, and I appreciated Matt's tone and demeanor. Matt asked some good questions, and sought to have Tim define his position.

But Matt did a less than adequate job of corralling Tim. Tim can speak quickly, and throw out a lot of content. I recall more than once hearing Matt say something like "No it isn't. you're wrong," and then Tim saying, "O.K. why am I wrong?" And then the discussion moved on to other points. In fairness to Matt, Staples is a very difficult person to do a radio dialog with. Just go back and listen to Staples on the BAM show with James White a few years ago. Hank would try to go to commercial, and Tim was still talking! Tim frequently would not stop talking to give the opposition a chance to speak.

I know some people like the free-for-all type of discussion, I don't. Probably what would have been helpful, would have been to pre-pick a particular passage of Scripture about salvation, and then discuss the text. A crucial passage to concentrate on would be Romans 3-4 (I think these verses only came up briefly, and the topic was salvation!). I think the structure of looking at a key text like this, and trying to stick with it would have helped the conversation stay coherent. Give Tim 5 minutes to state his case, then let Matt make his case, then try to set up some form of constructive dialog. Maybe let Tim ask Matt questions for 5 minutes, and then let Matt do likewise with Tim.

My gut feeling is this will be another one of those broadcasts Catholic Answers will sell like the the BAM show with Akin vs. White. Catholic Answers sells that set because Akin got most of the time. Dr. White was not given the opportunity to even respond to most of the points Akin brought up (in case your interested, Dr. White has gone through that old radio show, and proved this). They sell this set gleefully, knowing full well, that Akin would be bulldozed by Dr. White in a formal debate.... Best let the Catholic Answers folks have a James White (alleged) debate in which he isn't given time to respond to points raised.

In this case, Slick allowed Tim to make multiple points and use multiple verses, and simply didn't seem to be able to keep up with all Tim was saying. This is the type of stuff Catholic Answers loves to sell. They will say something like, "See, Tim made all these points that went unanswered!" "Swim The Tiber!"

Anyway, Matt if you read this- I respect you for doing this dialog, and for also standing up for the gospel, as well as not holding back what your position is on Roman Catholicism. But if you have Tim back, you better come up with a better strategy to dialog with him.

25 comments:

L P Cruz said...

I think there is no mistaken that Tim articulated the teaching of RC on salvation i.e. a person is saved if he has faith as well as works which the church stipulates.

Now are there people here (RCs) who will dispute Tim's presentation?

I ask because I do not think he misrepresented the RC as I used to understand it too, ie faith + works stipulated by the church.

LPC

Rhology said...

There seem to be some RCs around here who can't seem to figure out whether they agree with that formulation or not.

Albert said...

Matt Slick is Reformed. He explains his Reformed beliefs in another website: http://www.calvinistcorner.com

Jason said...

Just in the interest of accuracy in reporting, Mr. Slick's show "Faith and Reason", while streamed on the Internet, isn't Internet only. It's actually on the radio up in Idaho (if I recall correctly.)

I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet, but it's downloaded and in my podcast "on deck circle" for the day.

My favorite "Faith and Reasons" ever were the several dialogs with Mark Bonocore Matt had some months ago.

kmerian said...

I am listening right now. And I find it interesting to see who is using the scriptures more. Tim Staples has a profound knowledge of scriptures. And all Matt can respond is, well that is out of context, or that is wrong.

The fact is, Matt was out of his league on this one.

Anonymous said...

Prots fight Rome on the basis of whether or not anything has to be done to be saved, rather than on the basis of the fact that Rome is idolatrous, and that's why they always lose. If the Prots would grow up and realize that certain actions are necessary to salvaiton, maybe they could become Christians. And if the Catholics could grow up and stop worshiping stocks and stones, maybe they could be Christians.

Kepha said...

"Tim Staples has a profound knowledge of scriptures"! LOL! I'm sorry, but that was just funny.

Rhology said...

I love it.
Slick: "Tim, *are you keeping the commandments?*"
Staples: "Yes."

That's brilliant.

Saint and Sinner said...

I p cruz,

check out this quote:

"If there is justice, it will be in what each person capable of choice turns out to be on the Last Day. That will be up to each of us. ***If we appear before the Lord Jesus on that day having offered our suffering, undeserved as well as deserved, in union with his perfect self-sacrifice, then it is most likely that justice for us will consist in our being happy with him forever.*** If we appear before him complaining that the whole cosmic setup is unfair, especially to us, then justice will consist in being miserable forever with the first creature to take that attitude."
http://mliccione.blogspot.com/

I think that says it all.

kmerian,

It is one thing to cite a verse, but it is another to exegete it. RC apologists are good at listing a bunch of verses that they think support their position, but they get tongue twisted when you ask them to explain how their interpretation of that verse fits in with the rest of the verses in the passage. Great at a-contextual proof-texting, horrible at exegesis.

L P Cruz said...

Rhology,

Slick: "Tim, *are you keeping the commandments?*"
Staples: "Yes."

That's brilliant.


Or it is bull (sorry for my Hebrew).

LPC

Jason said...

James:

Yeah, it was a bit one-sided time wise. I think, however, there is a plan to do a second one in which Tim has said he'll try to hang back and let Matt do more of the talking.

If another show is done as a flip-side of this, I think the two shows taken together could be profitable.

An hour is such a short time especially when you have 500 years worth of disagreements to sort through.

Kevin said...

James,

I actually think that Matt did a better job, and he hit Tim on the key issue (whether we can keep the commandments). I'm not impressed by Tim's "proof-texting," but you are right that Catholics (and less-than-educated Protestants) would find it impressive (e.g. kmerian's reaction). Regardless, Tim said he keeps the Ten Commandments, and, when he breaks them, he goes to confession. In this view, faith is a necessary prerequisite and supplement to this works system, but it is ultimately a matter of you, the Christian, willing it so. The stark contrast to Reformation teaching is rarely revealed to this extent in Catholic-Protestant debates, and, in that regard, I definitely appreciated this debate.

Are you keeping the Commandments?
Yes

Thank God for the Reformation.

Anonymous said...

Are you keeping the Commandments?
Yes


The above is supposed to be a scorn at someone who strives to keep the Commandments of God!! It is truly sad that Protestantism now triumphantly calls good, evil and evil, good. I suppose the dialogue that makes Protestants happy is one that goes like this:

Mr. A - Are you keeping the Commandments?
Mr. B - No
Mr. A – Thank God for the Reformation we do not have to keep the Commandments of God
Mr. B – Those who keep the Commandments seek to save themselves while those of us who have no regards for the commandments or even conscious of keeping them have an assurance of salvation that is independent of commandment keeping.
Mr. C – Do any of you love Jesus?
Mr. A and B – Our salvation has nothing to do with loving Jesus

One has to wonder if what is reflected above is Christian. If you love me, keep my commandments - the Protestant scornfully responds: “Not Applicable here”. It is a shame, really.

Kevin said...

anonymous,

With Matt Slick in regard to Staples, I have to say that you just don't get it. Given the deeper understanding of the ten commandments by Jesus (we all lust, have anger, and/or covet to some degree everyday), we are convicted by our inability to truly keep the ten commandments (even though we may be able to keep a less strict standard -- one of our own making, often enough) yet we must keep them perfectly to attain eternal life. Who shall save us from this sure condemnation? Jesus Christ, who fulfilled the law. Jesus' victory over sin and death is our victory, and this is also our foundation for living a holy life, i.e., living in the power secured by Christ and given by the Holy Spirit.

Anonymous said...

In the OT, if one cannot keep the commandments, isn't death the penalty? Thats what the blood sacrifices are for. Moreover, there was no confessional box in the temple, was there? :)

In the NT times its still the same: the penalty is still death, yet paid in for by the precious blood of the Savior. The principle followed here is the Holiness of God and His perfect justice. As for confession? Well, if it can erase sin, then Jesus would have died in vain :)

Anonymous,

The fact is NOBODY truly is able to keep the Commandments except for Jesus. That was the idea.

Jerry

Anonymous said...

“The fact is NOBODY truly is able to keep the Commandments except for Jesus. That was the idea.”

That’s the idea you get from where? Where do you get the idea that Jesus died to save himself? Does the idea that Jesus died to lift man up - to devinize him and to save him from SIN - repulse you? What Protestantism does is to render the life, death, and resurrection of Christ of no effect. Men and women remain as though nothing happened and nothing changed; you rob the sacrifice of Jesus of its power and instead reduce the glorious work to a prank or make-believe. It is him who says in Matthew 19:24-26 “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” As Cardinal George of Chicago said a time ago in reference to homosexual conducts: (paraphrasing) to say that one cannot overcome homosexual inclinations is to deny the efficacy of the sacrifice of Christ. The same can be said with regard to keeping the commandments.

“Jesus' victory over sin and death is our victory, and this is also our foundation for living a holy life”.
Then what is your particular problem with keeping his commandments? Would you do what he says or would you do your own things on the pretence that he says hard things which no one can bear? Do you then turn his clear command into self-serving, self-pleasing escape from responsibility with interpretations that simply nullify the commands of your God? Read the Bible again; there are only two choices (1) the entire manual is a joke and the God it describes does not exist, or (2) the God described in both the new and the old is, and is very serious about what he says, commands and requires.

“our inability to truly keep the ten commandments” therefore they can’t be taken seriously. I have not seen any one who is able to keep the speed limit perfectly. If for example the speed limit is 60 MPH, one always goes at exactly this limit. I have not such individual yet. Yet, keeping the speed limit is a requirement. Bottom line: those who truly love God will obey him and will strive to keep his commandments. If they fall, they have confidence in the God they can approach and who is willing and able to forgive sins. To discard the commandments of God with absolutely no authority to do so is to be in enmity with God.

anonymous 2

L P Cruz said...

.Where do you get the idea that Jesus died to save himself? Does the idea that Jesus died to lift man up - to devinize him and to save him from SIN - repulse you?

Jesus died to save you and I. His death was not for himself - it was for sinners such as us.

I want to know who if there is a person here who is saying that Jesus died to save himself...

No it does not repulse me, but Jesus died to save us from sin in Scripture means that we are saved from the wrath of God, he took the blows meant for us. Hence he is Lord.

The problem I think is that most people do not think that their problem is God.

LPC

Anonymous said...

Anonymous2 said:

That’s the idea you get from where? Where do you get the idea that Jesus died to save himself?

Whooah! Hold your horses. I looked back to my last post & simply could not see where I said or implied that Jesus died to save himself.

The issue is I can always do my very best & strive all I can but my best will come short of the glory of God (i.e. sinless perfection). But that doesn't mean I'm free to disobey. Clearly then it only goes to shows that I need a savior.

My point was this- If I break the law, the payment for it is not confession, but eternal separation from God. That's how serious the consequence is.

Are you keeping all the commandments?

Jerry

Anonymous said...

"Are you keeping all the commandments?"

In which ways do you expect my answer to alter the commandments of God? Your focus obviously is on yourself and not on the Word of God. You interpret the Word of God based on your inclinations. For one who believes in SS, you seem not be paying much attention to the Word of Life.

Anonymous2

Perhaps you have special revelations about the disposition of the Ten Commandments; it is not yet clear. Your task is to show that the commandments were not intended to be given and once given are not required to be observed. You must also establish your credentials as a greater teacher than Christ. And then, take your eyes off the individual and to the degree they live up to the ideal. It is God who will judge the heart as it is said, "God will judge the righteous and the wicked".

Anonymous said...

Are you keeping all the commandments?"

In which ways do you expect my answer to alter the commandments of God? Your focus obviously is on yourself and not on the Word of God. You interpret the Word of God based on your inclinations. For one who believes in SS, you seem not be paying much attention to the Word of Life.

Perhaps you have special revelations about the disposition of the Ten Commandments; it is not yet clear. Your task is to show that the commandments were not intended to be given and once given are not required to be observed. You must also establish your credentials as a greater teacher than Christ. And then, take your eyes off the individual and to the degree they live up to the ideal. It is God who will judge the heart as it is said, "God will judge the righteous and the wicked".

Anonymous2

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I was on a short hiatus over the weekend.

Annonymous2 said: Your task is to show that the commandments were not intended to be given and once given are not required to be observed.

First off they are intended to be observed because they are COMMAND-ments. Secondly, the role they play in regards to salvation is explained by Paul to the Galatians that the law is a shoolmaster (guardian/ guide/protector) that leads and guides to CHRIST- the savior.

The law is a dead end street. We cannot reach heaven through works of the Law as Paul concluded: "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight"

So its evident that because of the Law we need a Savior. Paul then explained "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh"

Thus the strange answer to the loaded question:
Slick: "Tim, *are you keeping the commandments?*"
Staples: "Yes."

...made me cough :)

Regards,

Jerry
P.S. What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Rom 7:7

anon said...

"One has to wonder if what is reflected above is Christian. If you love me, keep my commandments - the Protestant scornfully responds: “Not Applicable here”. It is a shame, really."


Bravo!


------

"The law is a dead end street. We cannot reach heaven through works of the Law as Paul concluded: "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight"

Indeed, and at the same time, Faith alone is dead faith and it DOES NOT SAVE.

"sola fide" is "another" Gospel.

Anonymous said...

Hi annonymous2 and Anon,

Okay, will try to shift focus and look into our good works. Shall we plant our feet from high theology unto the ground of real life? i will try to give a good picture of my life background to highlight good works.

Im a 36 year old father of 3 beautiful children the eldest is 7 years and the youngest is 6 months. I work out my own time in the medical field in a third world country.

To get a clearer idea what we are talking here in this blog. Let us compare how much good work we are doing.

How much % of your gross personal income do you give to the church? % to missions? % to charity giving?, % to supporting others in who are in the ministry? % to parent support, etc.
(1. please dont include in the gross: sales, support recieved, donations, inheritance money, proceeds from stocks and investments, etc. just hard earned personal income- I do dont have those extra income so its hard to compare 2. also please don't include irregular, inconstent, one time, on-and-off giving)

How much of your time do you give to outreach ministry?
% personal charity works (not supervising)? % time personally with people in extreme poverty (Im in a 3rd world) providing spiritual and material needs hands on i.e. not only supervising?, % time teaching and preaching in outreach ministries? Please do not include irregular and inconsistent on-and-off outreach ministries.

How much of your time do you personally spend your wife and family? % time you are there personally for their school, driving, them to work (we only have one car.), % personal time to play with them.

I am a deacon in the church. And chairman of missions board. Do you teach consistently and regularly(I teach the couples)? then for how long? Do you have a regular preaching schedule? I am not in the regular choir but I join the easter and christmas musicale. Have you done personally evangelism works? How much percentage of your personal income do you regularly give to the chuch? I give more than the tithe but actual % will discuss with you below (Dont include church meetings & the like in the % time).

I have gone to 2 big medical missions for the past 2 years. Performing major operations for free each for 5 days straight.
I do charity operations for free for cleft lip repairs for free for second year straight. During my regular secular work I do charity operations for free in between

In your parish, how many % of your registered members with full time secular works are like you doing these works?

I have a full time secular work. I work for a hard driving chairman and have organized 5 straight postgraudate course. My secular work is also my only personal income. I could decide to be much richer if I like :) So If you are in full time ministry, or supported by church and others, it will be hard to compare.

So let us compare good works. I intend to win. If I loose then I loose but that would be a drive for me to give more of me :)

I know that to my Beloved Lord this is still not enough. Lord, I have given my best, please give of your sweet Grace to give more of myself.

Let us give your email addresses privately.


Jerry

P.S. I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me
2 COR 12:11

Anonymous said...

"Thus the strange answer to the loaded question:
Slick: "Tim, *are you keeping the commandments?*""

The appropriate response at this point is to continue to lament that The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind is real and extensively devastating. Poor theology does not just happen; it reflects the state of the Mind.

anonymous2

African Blogger said...

Tim Staples continued what Mark Bonocore left in the CARM Internet radio show. It's funny to hear Matt accusing Tim of verbal Carpet bombing.