I realize that writing about Roman Catholic ministries and donations would probably cause a bit of trouble. For instance, the Catholic Champion has taken issue with my recent blog post . The majority of Mr. Bellisario's criticisms are a blatant misunderstanding of my article. He appears to think I don't believe anyone should ask for donations. This is completely false. My criticism of Catholic Answers has to do with their method of solicitation and their support (or lack thereof) from the master headquarters Rome.
In regards to comparing the support / donation methodology of Catholic Answers and Alpha and Omega Ministries, Mr. Bellisario needs to listen to CA live a bit more, and then buy something from them. There is no comparison, as he will quickly find out. You probably won't find Dr. White making heart making wrenching emotional statements like, "give us a donation because people are starving for Reformed theology," nor will you be bombarded with e-mail support letters. Keating's words are manipulative, and emotionally charged. That's the only way to separate little old ladies from their $$. In fact, since my blog article, I've gotten yet another support request from Catholic Answers.
I've tried to do whatever I can with the brief amount of time I have to help Matthew Bellisario understand things. So, in the spirit of Helping Matthew Bellisario do research, here are the points of my earlier blog post, simplified and extracted:
1. A Church that claims to be the infallible interpreter of God's revelation shouldn't need to have her interpretations interpreted by a mega-organization on another continent. Catholic Answers in effect, become the interpreter of the infallible interpreter.
2. The magisterium appears to care little about her zealous American defenders. I don't think they care or know the differences between Karl Keating, Gerry Matatics, Robert Sungenis, etc. The Vatican cares more about movie lists than what her self proclaimed apologists produce. Why?
3.There isn't anything (to my knowledge) set up by the Roman church to tell you who is a legitimate apologist and who is not, who to send your money to, and who you should not, who interprets Rome correctly, and who does not. It's all left up to you, the individual, to pick your poison.
4. Certain Roman Catholic apologists / websites think their work is actually something that deserves support because of its greatness. Is there actually a way via Romanism to tell if their work actually does deserve support, or is great? Or, is it left to the individual to guess? I can think of one apologist who simply reproduces arguments made by others, and states them with a southern drawl. I see no reason why anyone should support him as he reinvents the wheel.
5. Some Roman Catholic apologists have questionable support methodology. If you try to pass off apologetic work as non-profit ministry, but actually have to channel donations through someone else, that's highly telling it may not be a non-profit ministry.
There were also a few specific points raised by Matthew. He states,
James Swan took issue as to the need for Catholic Apologetic information. He wrote, "America isn't starving for information about anything. We're a culture over-stuffed with enough information that's only a mouse click away." If that is the case, then people do not need Alpha and Omega either. There is plenty of information on "Reformed" theology out there without James White and his apologetics business begging for money to keep his business going. In fact, why not just pick up a copy of the Bible? According to their religion, that is all one really needs no?
Matthew is correct in this sense, the Word of God doesn't need any help in being effective. On the other hand, the same Word of God proclaims that there will be people called to preach, teach, and shepherd the flock against wolves. I am thankful for the ministry of Dr. White, who is a pastor, teacher, elder, and defender of the faith once for all delivered to the saints. Dr. White would probably be the first to tell you to buy a Bible, and become an active devoted member of a solid church. Your support should first go to your local church.
In comparison, the Roman Church claims to infallibly interpret God's revelation- thus the need for things like Catholic Answers seems a bit silly- unless Matthew is willing to admit the infallible interpreter needs to be fallibly interpreted. I find it a bit humorous that Rome's defenders attempt to paint Protestants as people who disrespect authority, leadership, and structure, and these same people declare themselves authoritative apologists, often not submitting their work to any higher Roman authorities for approval. They are functionally Protestant, but call themselves Roman Catholic, all the while saying Protestants don't respect authority.
Matthew also stated:
Finally, I thought this comment by Swan was amusing. Swan said, "Why not just go to the official Vatican website? Here you can get Rome's official answers, and not the interpretations of those answers by the largest apologetics organization in North America." I ask this question to Swan. Why do you and White pollute the Gospel with your writings, videos, ect? Why not promote on your websites for your readers to go to the store and buy a Bible so they can read it for themselves. They can get the Gospel from the pages of Scripture, rather than be subjected to someone like yourself or James White's interpretations of the Scriptures.
My answer above similarly applies. I have never advocated a "me and the Bible in the woods position." I strongly believe in the God ordained means of preaching and teaching. In the case of my writings, a careful read of the majority of blog posts I produce show that I spend more time with historical material than Biblical exegesis. This blog is nothing more than a fancy high school book report on Luther and the Reformation, it is not the work of an exegete or ordained minister. In fact, it is a hobby, not a ministry, as I explained recently. Anyone with a computer, time, and a library could simply look up the truth about the Reformation. The majority of anything I post on Romanism has to do with evaluating truth claims, and pointing people to critically think through the position advocated by Roman Catholic apologists.
In regards to Dr. White's work, of all the resources he reccommends, the one he recommends most is Bible Works so people can have the necessary tools to get the most out of Bible study. Dr. White is also an ordained minister, and a qualified teacher, following those parameters set up by Scripture.