Friday, May 02, 2008

Today on Iron Sharpens Iron- ERIC SVENDSEN: "MARY: Her Role & Status in the New Testament & Roman Catholicism."Listen Live to Iron Sharpens Iron Monday through Friday 3-4 PM via live-streaming on the Internet or in New York and Connecticut on WNYG 1440AM Christian Radio. Tune in now to WNYG using Real Player. PLEASE JOIN US ON THE AIR as a part of our live broadcast by CALLING IN WITH YOUR OWN QUESTIONS at:1-631-321-WNYG (9694) Monday through Friday, 3PM - 4PM.

ERIC SVENDSEN, Evangelical apologist, debater, author and director of New Testament Research Ministries , will address the theme of his groundbreaking, 334-page work WHO IS MY MOTHER?: The Role & Status of Mary in the New Testament & Roman Catholicism .Renowned Biblical Counselor and scholar Dr. Jay Adams said of Eric's masterpiece: "Until this book there has been no definitive response to the many Roman Catholic myths concerning Mary. Here, at last, anyone looking for it may find more than enough help. Arguments, no matter how outlandish, are considered and refuted; every biblical reference is carefully examined and exegeted, and a devastating (but calm) counter-argument is presented. The book is scholarly, but not difficult to read. I highly commend it!"


Matthew Bellisario said...

This is the same guy who wrote this scholarly piece of work on Archbishop Chaput? This guy doesn't even understand the fundamentals of Catholicism and yet is going to write something on the Blessed Mother? Lets take a quick look at one paragraph of something he wrote addressing Archbishop Chaput from his own blog site in reference to the CCU President, who he also mocks in his post. Can anyone tell me where Svendson gets Catholic theology completely wrong? If this guy even wants to be taken serious he is going to have to at least get his facts straight, and learn some manners as well. Tell me who the real fool here is? Here is part of his post...

He (the archbishop of Denver) also believes, O foolish CCU president, that a man is justified by the merits he earns through his own works. He also believes, O foolish CCU president, in a gospel that was specifically condemned by the Apostle Paul. He also believes, O foolish CCU president, that Mary and the saints ought to be venerated and looked upon as objects of prayer. He also believes, O foolish CCU president, that his church and pope are infallible. He also believes, O foolish CCU president, that Jesus is not the only road to salvation; that Muslims, Jews, and even good atheists are saved; that a piece of bread and a cup of wine are the objects of adoration and worship; . . . and on and on it goes.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Sorry I unintentionally misspelled his name. Svendsen, my apologies.

kmerian said...

I have to agree with matthew, Mr. Svendsen routinely demonstrates his ignorance of and disdain for Catholics on a regular basis. And like many Anti-Catholics he doesn't like to be questioned (hence no comments allowed at his blog).

He also routinely makes outlandish statements about Catholics for no other reason than to mock them. For example, he recently posted on his blog about a specticle of "hundreds of thousands of Catholics gathering to worship a piece of melba toast". Of course this is a ludicris and ridiculaus statement.

So, pardon me, if I doubt he accurately portrays Catholic beliefs about Mary in his new book

Rhology said...

Gentlemen, please.

You're saying that RCs believe that
-a man is NOT at least partly justified by merit he gets thru his works?
-Mary and the saints are NOT to be prayed to nor venerated?
-the RCC and the Pope are NOT infallible?
-bread and wine of the Eucharist are NOT objects of adoration and worship?


They all are spoken from the POV of a Reformed Protestant, so we don't expect you to agree, but those 4 at least, are they not correct representations of RC dogma?

As for Svendsen's blog, feel free to comment in his forum. But one grows tired of things like this - to call into question these 4 points is kind of silly. I barely have time for such silliness; I doubt he has any.


kmerian said...


From a Reformed Protestant POV, I would say those are accurate (albeit superficial) representations of the perception of Catholicism.

As a Catholic, I would say they are at best vague and at worst inaccurate.

We ascribe different meaning to the word "justification"

Your other 2 points are overly broad without further explanation and your fourth point fails to say WHY we consider the bread and wine objects of worship.

As for his forum, I may venture over there and take a look

Alexander Greco said...

Rhology: You're saying that RCs believe that
-a man is NOT at least partly justified by merit he gets thru his works?

Me: We state that God enables man to cooperate in good works through His grace. Without God's grace there would be no merit in good works. God supplies the grace for man to have both faith and good works. Man participates in his having faith in God, as well as good works.

Rhology:-Mary and the saints are NOT to be prayed to nor venerated?

Me: We seek their intercession and venerate God's good work in them as Christians have done since the foundation of Christianity. We know full well where the source of their holiness comes from, and it is God alone whom we worship. Unfortunately, folks like Svendsen, White and Swan attempt to obfuscate this fact.

Rhology:-the RCC and the Pope are NOT infallible?

Me: Within certain parameters they are.

Rhology:-bread and wine of the Eucharist are NOT objects of adoration and worship?

Me: They absolutely are not. The person of adoration is Jesus. The bread and wine are no longer substantively present. What is present is Christ's body, blood, soul, and divinity.

Rhology: They all are spoken from the POV of a Reformed Protestant, so we don't expect you to agree, but those 4 at least, are they not correct representations of RC dogma?

Me: As I just showed you, even at the most elementary level they are not correct representations of Catholic dogma. It is important to address the issues correctly.

Rhology: As for Svendsen's blog, feel free to comment in his forum. But one grows tired of things like this - to call into question these 4 points is kind of silly. I barely have time for such silliness; I doubt he has any.


Me: It is more silly to create an inaccurate representation of Catholicism. Leveling well thought-out objections towards Catholicism is one thing. At least make sure it is accurate.

Rhology said...

Hi Alexander Greco:

1) Svendsen agrees.
2) Ditto.
3) Ditto.
4) The bread and wine are VISIBLY present; and of course, Svendsen agrees.

I think what we're seeing here is this: Svendsen forwards what he believes to be accurate representation of the logical conclusion of certain RC dogmas from the Reformed POV, and they are accurate.
Certain RCs come along and view these statements using their RC POV, and of course it looks different. But it comes down to diff in terminology and of course acceptance and investment in those ideas. But disagreement is not the same as inaccuracy or misrepresentation. Let the reader judge whether this is a case of the former or the latter, and let him also take into acct the emotion invested into this unprovoked statement of disagreement from RCs in this combox already.


Alberto said...

I think that Bellisario and Kmeria should read the book of Svendsen firts and then you can said all that you want, because you are not critic something in that book.
I will buy the book, it will be helpful to me because I think that the catholics of Amercica Latina has more "MARIOLATRY" than those of North America.
I have a question, Who was the firts father of the Church who taugh pray to Mary?

Alexander Greco said...

Hi Rhology,
You are doing a disservice to the facts by simplifying it down to just a difference in terminology. You cannot say that what you posted, and what I responded with are the same...they are not. If the terminology is off, so is the argument. At that point, what are you arguing against? For instance, you state that the bread and wine are visibly present, and before you had asked if we worshiped the bread and wine of the Eucharist; however, I would state that to refer to the accidents only and not the substance (Jesus), you are engaging in obfuscatory sophistry and deliberately misleading. We worship Jesus, not bread and wine. And to call attention to the so-called "emotion invested into this unprovoked statement of disagreement from RCs in this combox already," is really just another cheap rhetorical if none of you have ever displayed any emotion when your theological viewpoints were misrepresented.

Howard Fisher said...

I have read Svendsen's book. It is excellent. It is scholarly though. This means that most Protestants will not benefit from this important work. As for the RC, they see misrepresentations where there are only disagreements. Therefore they will not be able to benefit from this work either.

Perhaps, and I have no idea how this would work out, someone could explain which parts of the book are explanations of Rome's position and which are the disagreements.

RCs, as has already been seen here by kmerian statement, "For example, he recently posted on his blog about a specticle of "hundreds of thousands of Catholics gathering to worship a piece of melba toast"" cannot begin to see this is a conclusion of a Protestants argument. Of course Prots understand Rome teaches that the toast is only accidentally toast but the substance has miraculously been changed. We simply believe that is absurd and an unverifiable miracle.

That would be like saying Jesus rose from the dead and yet the Pharisees producing the body. Well, the Christian would then respond by saying, "Well, that is only the accident, the reality has been changed and raised from the dead. You must have faith."

These categories never existed in the church in the days of the Apostles. So we Protestants must somehow attempt to work into the conversation with Romanists this understanding that clarity may be achieved.

God Bless

kmerian said...

Well, if you want to dialog you can begin by not calling us "Romanists".

Second, here is what Mr. Svendsen wrote:
Witness the spectacle of hundreds, or thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of Roman Catholics massing together to worship a piece of melba toast, or a stain on the side of a wall, or a shadow against a building, or a growth on a tree, or the latest "apparition" that vaguely resembles the shape of what Roman Catholics have come to associate with Mary.

This is not a logical conclusion of an argument, nor is it factual in any way. Nor, does it have ANYTHING to do with the Eucharist.

This is mocking, plain and simple..

I would like to read his book and if I find it at the library or at a used book store, I will get it.

Alberto said...

Svendsen said the truth and this is very common in Latin America, and Kimerian you should know better about this situation.
I just want to see a refutation to the work of Svendsen, Do you know where can I find it?

Alexander Greco said...

Alberto, I've lived in Latin America for three years, and have a great number of Latin American friends. Your accusation is in large part without merit. The majority of people (who have not mixed their faith with paganism), are completely aware of the distinction with which they venerate Mary from the worship that they give to God. Those who do not, simply disregard the Church's teachings...and on more levels and issues than this. So you can not seriously calls these folks Catholic. Therefore, this is a non-issue.

Alberto said...

Hi Alexander, you lived 3 years, but I am living here since 22 years ago.
And I know the diference between the "official" teachings of Rome and how the members of the Church of Rome live the teachings of the Church, however only a minority behave like apologists Roman Catholics, and almost live their teachings mixed with paganism, Why your Church pertmint it??
It is not a secret that in Mexico the catholic people love more to LA VIRGEN DE GUADALUPE than our Lord Jesus, What is doing the Church of Rome to solve this problem???

Matthew Bellisario said...

"It is not a secret that in Mexico the catholic people love more to LA VIRGEN DE GUADALUPE than our Lord Jesus, What is doing the Church of Rome to solve this problem???"

First of all this is an absolute fallacious comment, I don't care how long you have lived there. For you to determine how much a large group of people loves another person is absurd. Second of all, what do you want the Vatican to do? Send down the catechism police to give everyone a ticket if they are not following what the Church teaches? The Catholic Church teaches definitively what is to be held as doctrine and dogma, and what the true Gospel of Christ is. If you don't follow it, thats your problem, not the the Vatican's. There are countless documents teaching about the Blessed Mother, and none of them put her on par with Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. What, do you expect the Pope to put on his water wings and swim across the Atlantic to police South America for people who are not living an authentic faith? This argument is purely subjective and is thrown out of any court, or debate...

As far as Svendsen goes, we see how he intentionally misrepresents Catholic teaching so he can mock the faith of Christ and His Church. If you don't agree with the Catholic Church's teaching, then fine, but don't misrepresent its teachings by making fallacious comments like, "Catholics think they are saved by works", it is not something a real apologist would do.

Alexander Greco said...

Hi Alberto,
I believe that three years has given me sufficient knowledge as to how the people in Mexico behave, especially the poor and ignorant. You see, I was a seminarian with the Missionaries of Charity Fathers. Our entire apostolate was centered around the poorest of the poor. So I can confidently proclaim that I know the mind set of these folks. Not all of them have mixed paganism with Catholicism. These people know beyond a doubt that Mary is not a god, and she only participates in the work of her Divine Son. They simply have a greater dedication to her intercessory work, but they know very well that the source is God. Those who think differently have also mixed paganism with Catholicism and believe in other issues against the Catholic faith, such as witchcraft and the like. These people know good well that the Church teaches against such things. So to say that the Church permits it displays your ignorance of the Church. So you are absolutely incorrect to say that the people in Mexico love La Guadalupana more than El Cristo Rey.

Alexander Greco said...

When I stated: "They simply have a greater dedication to her intercessory work, but they know very well that the source is God," I was contrasting this from people of other cultures. I was not implying that they had greater dedication to Mary rather than Jesus...which is a myth.

The Dude said...

I think Albert's point was not that the Pope should personally come over and police the faithful, but rather that the leadership of the diocese where these abuses might be occurring should step in. Now, Alberto/Alexander can speak better to this as they live there, but I have seen documentaries on television that seem to show official festivals in central/latin america involving priests and the like where it certainly seems the actions are bordering on idolatry. But perhaps it's just a cultural thing and the participants are indeed aware of church teaching on the matter and are being perfectly orthodox.

But if the priests of some parishes are fostering this type of activity, then presumably the bishop should step in and rebuke the priests for leading (either actively or passively through neglect) their flock into error. And then if the bishop sees no problem, then the archbishop, and if the archbishop, then Rome should start taking notice and move to rectify the situation as is her pastoral duty. (Obviously if it's private practice of some individuals and the priest/parish has no knowledge of it, not much can be done, which might have been what you were alluding to with the "catechism police").

It is true that the shepherds will be held more accountable than the flock, but if the faithful RC is to submit to his pastor's authority, he should be able to trust that his soul isn't being put in danger and that authentic catholic teaching is being reflected in his church.

Alberto said...

Your comments are interesting but there is a problem, and this is that your church is supporting these practices, not in a direct way, but in an inderec way, How it is???, well the answer is that your church is not doing nothing to teach to all the people, not only of Mexico but all Latin America, why their practices are wrong, and you cand said: Why the Church is doing that?, and I don´t know, but is sure that the Church of Rome encourage this kind of practices, not in the official teaching but in the practical way.
I have a question, and no body until now can answer it according with the official teaching, Why when the pope come to Mexico he participated in the Basilica of Guadalupe in a magical ritual??
If you don´t live at Mexico, maybe you had not see that horrible thing, but I saw in TV.

Alberto said...

Bellisario, but think, If the people, whom are not Theologians, has this kind of feels on Mary this is because they were taught by the priests.
This is not about who loves more to someone, although it is obvious who is the winner, but about doctrine.
This is an inrresponsability by your church, How it is that an Infabillity Church can´t guides it own members??

Matthew Bellisario said...

One again your argument is based on no factual information. The Church is responsible, since it teaches sound doctrine for the average person to follow. You act as if every person there is an illiterate fool. That is certainly not the case, and you would also have to prove that bishops and priests are teaching and condoning pagan practices, which once again you have not done. Making generalizations like these with no sound substance is worthless. They all have access to the Spanish Catechism in Mexico just as we have an English translation. They all teach the same doctrine.

If anyone is practicing the faith outside of the general norms of the faith, then it is their own fault, not anyone else's including the priests. No, the Catholic Church is not irresponsible, it is people who do not take their faith seriously that are the problem. Don't try and equate the two.

Alexander Greco said...

What magical ritual did the pope engage in Alberto?

Alberto said...

Do you know what its a "limpia"?, maybe you know what is because you lived here for three years.
This is a magical ritual that use the indigenas people of Latin America.
This was very strange to all the people, even to protestans like me, I think that the Pope did not know about this present of the Mexican Church, If he has known about it he would refused to participate but the show was funny.

Alexander Greco said...

The "limpia" (an Indigenous purification cerimony) was approved by the progressivist Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera as a means of showing the ancient cultural practices of I guess the Aztecs (keep in mind, this was during the canonization of Juan Diego). This is hardly an example of outright papal approval, and also this is not the only example of a post-conciliar litrugical abuse (if it happened during the liturgy, I do not remember). Point is, this is not a "ritual" that the Church in Mexico engages in...and even further to the point, if anything it speaks to those who do not take church teachings seriously, not the teachings themselves.

Alexander Greco said...

An interesting observation that I had in Mexico was that many protestants did not retire their veneration of La Guadalupana.

kmerian said...

Alright Alberto, if this is a "common" occurance in Latin america then please provide a news article or photograph of hundreds, or thousands or hundreds of thousands of Catholics gathering to worship a stain or piece of melba toast.

This is a generalization and false.

Alberto said...

Even though it was the canonization of Juan Diego, Why the pope received a limpia??? this don´t have any sense. Are the "limpias" a good way to recive purification?? I know that your answer is no, at least if you are a pagan you would say yes.
When someone who call himself a Christian participate in this kind of acts this is an offense to the christian faith, more when that person call himself the POPE.

Alberto said...

Well Kmerian I don´t need to do a great research to prove my arguments.
I just to use the example of the conmemoration of the "aparition" of the Virgen de Guadalupe, there are not thounsand, but millons of people whom come to the Church that was building in its honor, because according with your church she wanted a Church for herself.
The people who come to this celebration, come to pray to Mary not to God, come to celebrate to Mary no to God, come to give thanks to Mary no to God, come to sing songs to Mary no to God, they call themselves MARIANISTAS, not Christians and the worts they call to Mary the Queen of Mexico...
I know what are the teaches of your Church about the position of Mary however the members of your church behave otherwise, because your church permit that behavior.

Alexander Greco said...

Alberto, I'm as confused as to why he received the "limpia" as you are. Maybe he did not think it was best to deny it (like how he accepted the Koran). I don't even know if an actual limpia was taking place, or if a symbolic one for cultural value was being done...either way it was apparently scandalous. Even so, the main points to consider are 1) the Church has never placed any value in such acts (please find a document that proves otherwise), and 2) the Church in Mexico does not make use of such a ritual. So I really can't follow what type of argument you are making.

Regarding the Marian apparition, what is the biggest event that corresponds to both the apparition and the pilgimages to the basilica? It is the Mass. When people address Mary in prayer, what is their underlying premise? It is that she will pray with them to God. As I have written before, all they are doing is recognizing God's good work in Mary. You have forced into this an unsupported dichotomy separating Mary from God. I don't see it. I believe that your protestant inclinations are causing this.

kmerian said...

Ok, I looked into that. Lets see, about 30 masses a day are said at the basillica of Guadalupe. Jesus is the focus of the Mass, not Mary. So, at the basillica, Christ is celebrated 10,950 times per year.

Tell me again how it is all about Mary?

Alberto said...

hehe, Do you think that the people cares about Jesus??, they don´t care about Jesus, it is obvious they know that Jesus is superior to Mary, but they don´t care.
Almost all tha Latin catholics aren´t "christocentric" in their devotions but are MARIANISTS, we are talking about this, Who is the center of your devotion???, This is very important.
The oficial teaches said something but the behavior of the members said otherwise.

Alexander Greco said...

Alberto, when you venture into stating what is in people's minds and hearts on a whole (Latin America) when they are clearly engaging in practices (like the liturgy) that is Christ-centered, I cannot take this discussion seriously. You are doing what only God can do.

Alberto said...

Well, I am not God, but all that I am tell you it is easy to see in the culture.
You can see this in the movies, in the TV, music and celebrations.