Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Confessions of Faith and the Champions of Catholicism

Update! (3/7/12, 8:51 P.M.) See Addendum below

I don't believe the gift of prophecy still functions today. Yesterday as I quickly posted my previous blog entry No Creed But Christ: Down With the Westminster Confession, I had a gut feeling that some Roman Catholic blogger was going to read this entry and post something. I didn't know which one it was going to be, but lo and behold, the winner is: The Catholic Champion. The Champion blog states,
Mr Swan gives us all a clear example that for him, Scripture just isn't enough. Sure he tries to philosophize his way to having a man-made creed, claiming that it is a subordinate authority to Scripture, yet, his reasoning falls far short of making any rational sense.
I'm going to look beyond the obvious ignorance demonstrated by the Catholic Champion in regard to the fact that Lutheran, Reformed, and Presbyterian churches have had confessions for centuries. He seems shocked to have find out that Protestant churches actually believe in sola scriptura and  use confessions of faith. As an aside,  I would like to remind the Catholic Champion that his Roman Church actually exterminated one of the authors  of one of the confessions of faith I hold to.

Let's see how rational the Catholic Champion rebuttal will be. Will the rebuttal be free of private interpretation of either the Bible and history? Let's give the Catholic Champion three strikes to see if he hits the ball or strikes out.
I fail to remember the passage of Sacred Scripture where it says that man should go forth and make their own creeds.
Strike one. Private interpretation.
In fact, a creed worthy of belief would only be capable of being so had it been assembled by the direct authority of Christ through His Church. In other words, it is worthy of belief because it is part of the Church's ability to say it is worthy of belief.
Strike two. Unproven presupposition held personally by the Catholic Champion.
Christ had given Christians an apostolic Church with His authority stamp on it to form a believable and authentic Creed. Likewise the Church would formulate it further with that same authority at her Ecumenical Councils. No group of men merely claiming to be believers of Christ or followers of the Scriptures have any authority to assemble their own Creed.
Strike three. Private interpretation of church history.

Above you'll notice that each of these points is the result of... the private interpretation of the Bible and history of the Catholic Champion. Isn't it ironic that only Roman Catholics are allowed to use private interpretation? Shouldn't it be enough to have an infallible magisterium interpreting the Bible and history? It looks to me like the paradigm believed by the Catholic Champion is bit more Protestant than he realizes.

I see the Catholic Champion has been awakened and is engaging in his pro-wrestling-like method of dispute and dialog. For those of you who are new visitors, a few years back he used to post comments here, typically ornery and volatile. To his credit, he now contains much of his hostility to his own blog, and for that, I'm most grateful.

The Catholic Champion appears to be unaware of the point I was making, so I’ll simply state it for him:

First, Protestant creeds and confessions are nothing more than a group of people agreeing together as to what they think the Bible is saying. That is, the relationship of a confession to Scriptures is, in a sense, two-way communication: God speaks, we hear those words, digest what he said, and respond back saying what we collectively hear. That’s a basic sense of what a confession is. “Basic” is the key. Contrary to the Catholic Champion, there’s nothing in this that contradicts sola scriptua, any more than my writing a blog article citing Scripture is a denial of sola scriptura.

Second, Roman apologists like the Catholic Champion really function with Protestant capital. They set forth their opinions and interpretations of what the Roman Church means, while at the same time chastising Protestants for interpreting the Bible.

Using Catholic Champion logic (that is, similar logic to that above in which a confession of faith disproves the sole sufficiency of Scripture), let's apply this same logic to that ultimate authority that has enveloped the Catholic Champion. Shouldn't it simply “be enough” for him to point me to the Vatican website or somewhere where the infallible interpretations of all things Romanist are found? In other words, the Catholic Champion violates the sufficiency of his own ultimate authority (an authority which is supposed to be his interpreter!) by putting forth his opinion as to what that authority means and says, this while saying confessions imply “scripture isn’t enough” for Protestants. Therefore, if confessions prove that "the scripture just isn't enough" the opinions of the Catholic Champion interpreting Romanist reality for me prove "Rome has spoken, it is settled" isn't enough for him either.

And one last thing: when the champion says: "I fail to remember the passage of Sacred Scripture where it says that man should go forth and make their own creeds" he implicitly is affirming that he understands the Bible, all on his own, just like one of those renegade protestant sects he so despises. To be consistent, he should have said, "I fail to remember the passage of Sacred Scripture interpreted by the Roman Magisterium where it says that man should go forth and make their own creeds."


Martin Yee said...

Haha...three strikes and the Champion is out. Very interesting and humorous. No need to buy fiction novels. Just come here and read the facts. Some facts here are stranger than fictions :)

Jugulum said...

He also gives the impression that he didn't read the CARM thread.

You had very carefully made the point that a creed is nothing more than people getting together to write down what they think the Scriptures say. And I can't tell from his post why the Catholic Champion thinks that is inconsistent with Sola Scriptura.

James Swan said...

If the Catholic Champion was previously a Protestant (I don't recall if was or not), I would assume he was probably some sort of garden variety evangelical, so it doesn't surprise me that he seemed shocked to find out about the Westminster Confession of Faith.

The garden variety evangelical types make easy converts to Romanism. That's why CTC has gained so much popularity. They're trying to present the case that well-educated Reformed Protestants likewise convert to Rome.

RPV said...

I saw yours yesterday, James and now this.
Suffice it to say when Scripture tells us to preach and teach sound doctrine (hint, pastoral epistles); that we are to enter into the labors of others, that Christ has given gifts to his church, that of preachers and teachers; that Christ chides the Sadducees for not drawing the good and necessary conclusions from Scripture when they asked him about the woman with seven husbands - well connect the dots. You end up with creeds (credo - I believe) confessions and catechisms (catecho - teach). They are unescapable. Everyone has one, whether they write it down or not.

IOW everybody believes something about the bible - whether it is the Romanists, the 7DA, the JW, the Mormons. Or the guy down at the corner bar - who thinks the bible is a bunch of bunk.

But then again ignorance talks loudest and longest. Ignorance of what Scripture teaches about itself, i.e. the doctrine of Scripture (see WCF 1 for the most complete statement) and what Scripture says again about sound doctrine.
Your average fundamentalist/arminian/papist unfortunately doesn't have a clue and is just venting his opinion or what he has been told.

Bob S

James Swan said...

Hi Bob-

Thanks. Well stated.

EA said...

"Second, Roman apologists like the Catholic Champion really function with Protestant capital. They set forth their opinions and interpretations of what the Roman Church means, while at the same time chastising Protestants for interpreting the Bible."

Exactly. If I use the Catholic standard of measure, by what "authority" do they speak for Catholicism?