Sunday, December 06, 2009

Send Some $$... Revisited

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.

19 comments:

bkaycee said...

Why don't the RC apologists run a bingo for some bucks.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Why don't you sell some barbecue at your fat baptist lunch parties to raise more money? Sorry, I couldn't resist. :)

Alex said...

Or they can bring out the Chest of Joash like they did at my wife's former pseudo-church along with the pig-pickin'.

Rhology said...

Matthew,

You think James Swan is a Baptist?

James Swan said...

I spent most of today at the hospital emergency room with some relatives, and what a pleasant surprise to come home and discover Mr. Bellisario has proved once again why he's the Catholic Champion and I'm just a beggar.

The first paragraph alone of Matthew's recent entry is enough to demonstrate why reasoning with him is a frivolous endeavor. He can't seem to wrap his mind around the simple fact that I don't think asking for donations is wrong, and then he took more opportunities to attack Dr. White.

As to removing my name of the CA mailing list, I haven't tried this yet, but I recall Dr. White saying he tried it, and was not taken off. On the other hand, their mailings provide an insiders look at who Catholic answers think they are, so I may simply keep their spams, and read them occasionally.

He then digressed to the justification of authority structures, which is kind of where I thought he would go, but this is either a discussion for another time, or someone else with time. I've already had enough wisdom from the Champion today, I don't know how much more I could take in a 24 hour period without losing valuable ground, well, inches, in my sanctification.

steve said...

"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."

That also raises the question of whether Armstrong's miraculous hot-tubs (holy water not included) are tax deductible.

Or perhaps miraculous Catholic hot-tubs are tax deductible while non-miraculous Prot hot-tubs are not.

James Swan said...

Now Steve, if you haven't tried a miraculous Catholic hot-tub, you should suspend judgment.

I've heard if you bury one upside down in your lawn, your house will sell quicker, even if it's not for sale.

Constantine said...

James.

It's lovely to see the spirit that manifests itself in members of the "one true church" isn't it?

If Bellisario is a "Champion" of that church, who would want to be like him?

Your Christian manner, James, puts the matter in stark relief. Thank you for your efforts.

Best wishes,

EA said...

Catholic apologists have repeatedly told me that what the RCC teaches is so readily understood that anyone who puts forth a modicum of effort can easily grasp the teachings of the Magisterium.

Save your money for a Catechism.

Matthew Bellisario said...

It seems that you guys don't have the common sense to see that Catholic Champion is the name of the site, not my name. I have stated this many times, but you all aren't smart enough to grasp that concept. Should I now refer to Dr. White as Alpha and Omega? Is he making himself out to be God? Grow up.

bkaycee said...

Has the mageterium decreed that only local RC parishes can sponsor Bingo? Seriously, who determined that bingo was a valid fund raiser?

Edward Reiss said...

Matthew,

"It seems that you guys don't have the common sense to see that Catholic Champion is the name of the site, not my name. I have stated this many times, but you all aren't smart enough to grasp that concept. Should I now refer to Dr. White as Alpha and Omega? Is he making himself out to be God? Grow up."

Since the topic (or one of them actually) is your repeated misunderstanding of what Mr. Swan wrote--re: he is not against fund raising despite your protestations to the contrary--your attempt to save some face by changing the subject is, well, lame.

There is also the authority issue which was raised: why should I take your word for anything regarding RCism? Who are *you* to tell me what RCism teaches when the Majesterium has written a catechism for this very purpose? Not only that, some RC apologetic groups (I don't think we can call them ministries...) want money to "teach" what the infallible Majesterium has already infallibly said--all without sanction from the Majesterium.

Where is your authority to do this?

Now, in principle I don't have a problem with online RC apologists doing what they do. It is just that you guys are so invested in argument from authority that you make yourselves look silly when yo u"interpret" "Tradition" for those outside the Church (and inside it, too!)--you are all **self-appointed** interpreters of RC Tradition.

Fascinating, really.

Who do you think you ARE?

Randy said...

Do you really want to say someone should be protestant because protestants have more moral fund-raising techniques? That is stupid on so many levels. For one thing there are so many immoral protestant fund-raisers. For another, it has nothing to do with the relative truth of protestantism or Catholicism. So the logic of your argument is beyond hope. You have false premises and completely invalid line of reasoning. So you are just throwing mud. But you are not even doing that well. You need to throw mud at the church. Catholic Answers is not the church. You are the only one who gets confused about that. They are simply a bunch of folks making arguments. If they make good ones we should listen and maybe even send them money. If they don't then they are irrelevant.

James Swan said...

Do you really want to say someone should be protestant because protestants have more moral fund-raising techniques?

No, I never said this, or implied this.

That is stupid on so many levels.

As is the fact you actually brought it up.

For one thing there are so many immoral protestant fund-raisers.

Indeed.

For another, it has nothing to do with the relative truth of protestantism or Catholicism.

Correct.

So the logic of your argument is beyond hope.

Actually, your understanding of my arguments are beyond hope.

You have false premises and completely invalid line of reasoning.

You have a false understanding of my points, and thus your reasoning is invalid.

So you are just throwing mud. But you are not even doing that well.

LOL, opinion, not an argument.

You need to throw mud at the church. Catholic Answers is not the church. You are the only one who gets confused about that. They are simply a bunch of folks making arguments. If they make good ones we should listen and maybe even send them money. If they don't then they are irrelevant.

We're agreed on this, they are simply a bunch of folks. I have argued they are the interpreters of the Magisterium, while the Magisterium claims to be the interpreter of God. Perhaps if you read more carefully, you wouldn't waste your and my time.

Edward Reiss said...

Randy,

"Do you really want to say someone should be protestant because protestants have more moral fund-raising techniques? That is stupid on so many levels."

I don't think anyone here has said any such thing. So let me agree with you--I don't think anyone should become "protestant" because of the way RC apologists raise money.

As I said above, it seems to me that the emotional reaction of the RCs here means a nerve has been struck. Who has sanctioned all these apologists, and why should anyone--RC or prot--believe htey speak foe the Majesterium.

Further, if they speak for themselves, why should anyone--RC ot prot--take their private interpretation as anything but their private, individual interpretation of the Majesterium's teaching?

I think there is a way to answer honestly, it is just that it will undermine the over-used and over-relied-upon argument from authority--meaning RCs will have to discuss issues and not just make believe that their authority structure solves the issues under discussion.

"Catholic Answers is not the church."

Exactly, they are just a bunch of private individuals giving their opinions abou tthe teachings of the RCC, but without the authorization of this Majesterium we keep hearing is so necessary to understand anything.

So, who authorizes them to do so?

And I think THAT is the nerve...

steve said...

Randy said...

"For one thing there are so many immoral protestant fund-raisers."

True. And being the schismatic Prots that we are, we're at liberty to disassociate ourselves from immoral Protestant fund-raises.

"You need to throw mud at the church. Catholic Answers is not the church."

But it calls itself "Catholic" Answers, right? So does it, or does it not, truly represent the institution it presumes to speak for?

Moreover, folks like Dave Armstrong keep assuring us that their "apostolates" enjoy the implicit sanction of the local bishop.

So are you admitting that lay "apostolates" are, in fact, rogue entities?

Constantine said...

Bellisario - the gift that just keeps on giving.

We have now graduated from "fat baptist lunch parties" to disparaging ad hominem attacks about our intelligenct to "Grow Up".

I ask again...if that is the fruit of Romanism, who wants it?

Thanks, Matt. Keep 'm coming. Your testimony for the "One True Church" is magnificent.

L P said...

Edward,

You said...
Now, in principle I don't have a problem with online RC apologists doing what they do. It is just that you guys are so invested in argument from authority that you make yourselves look silly when yo u"interpret" "Tradition" for those outside the Church (and inside it, too!)--you are all **self-appointed** interpreters of RC Tradition.


Ain't that the truth.

This is most certainly true.

The best thing a self-appointed RC apologist can do is to reason or argue for Mother Church on a personal level.

They should also have a warranty statement saying - their opinions are their own and not that of the Magisterium. The fault is not in the Apologists, it is just that the Magisterium has offered them no franchise whatsoever. So if we Prots are saying this, they should file a complaint (and to paraphrase Buzz LightYear) at HQ Command Center.

Seriously, the situation is so obvious, you do not have to be a rocket scientist to see this.

LPC

James Swan said...

Bellisario - the gift that just keeps on giving.

Well, let's give Matthew a little credit. This site (http://www.catholicity.com/links/119/)says of his blog:

"Catholic Champion is an apologetics website in which many authors contribute to the defense and understanding of the Catholic faith. The website is more oriented towards a Catholic journal type format."

With a description like that, I thought for sure he'd have a spot to which one could donate to his endeavors and labor. But kudos to him, he's not asking for PayPal handouts like Mr. Windsor does.