Showing posts with label tim staples. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tim staples. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Tim Staples vs. Catholic Answers on Matt. 5:29

Catholic Answers says:
Christ used hyperbole often, for example when he declared, "If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell" (Matt. 5:29, cf. 18:9; Mark 9:47). Christ certainly did not intend this to be applied literally, for otherwise all Christians would be blind amputees! (cf. 1 John 1:8; 1 Tim. 1:15). We are all subject to "the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life" (1 John 2:16). 
Source: Call No Man Father NIHIL OBSTAT: I have concluded that the materials presented in this work are free of doctrinal or moral errors. Bernadeane Carr, STL, Censor Librorum, August 10, 2004 IMPRIMATUR: In accord with 1983 CIC 827 permission to publish this work is hereby granted. +Robert H. Brom, Bishop of San Diego, August 10, 2004

Tim Staples says it isn't hyperbole. Listen here.Tim says if your eye or hand offend, cut the eye out and cut the hand off.. "because I'm gonna get a new one when I get to heaven..."

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

James White vs. Tim Staples on BAM

I recently re-listened to the first White / Staples debate on Sola Scriptura: Is The Bible the Only Infallible Rule of Faith? This debate is from 1996. If you listen to this debate, you'll hear references to an earlier discussion between James and Tim on the Bible Answer Man show. I had never heard this before, so I tracked it down: The Roman Catholicism Debate on BAM (White vs Staples - I). This is a lively discussion as well. It's an inexpensive downloadable mp3.  Since it's an old recording, for best sound results, lower the bass frequencies and raise the highs.

I mention this old discussion because it serves as a reminder that Dr. White was interacting with Roman apologists long before many of us even cared. His argumentation back in 1996 (probably a lot of it compiled without the Internet or "e books" or gizmos) was excellent, both in this discussion, and in his debate with Tim.

Addendum #1
In the BAM discussion, you'll hear a basic outline of the White vs. Staples Purgatory debate, many years before the debate actually happened. This is the 2010 debate Catholic Answers has no interest making available.

Addendum #2
During this 1996 BAM show, Iron Sharpens Iron host Chris Arnzen called in to explain to Tim Staples how to beat the "old" James White in debate. Click to hear the answer.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Tim Staples, Luther, and "Error Begets Error," a Review

I was sent a link over to a recent Catholic Answers article by Tim Staples: Error Begets Error. The "errors" Mr. Staples has in mind are Luther's understanding of justification without the contribution of human works, Luther's error of claiming Roman Catholics deny the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice,  the error of denying free will,  the error of "simul justus et peccator," and finally the ultimate error of double predestination.


1. Justification
In regard to the first "error," Staples cites the Packer / Johnston translation of Luther's The Bondage of the Will, (he doesn't cite the page number, 294):
The assertion that justification is free to all that are justified leaves none to work, merit or prepare themselves… For if we are justified without works, all works are condemned, whether small or great; Paul exempts none, but thunders impartially against all.
Staples says Luther misinterpreted Paul because,
St. Paul was answering "Judaizers"—believers in Christ who were attempting to re-establish the law of the Old Covenant as necessary for salvation in the New. This was tantamount to forfeiting Christ, or rejecting the free gift, because it represented an attempt to be justified apart from Christ.
What Staples appears to mean by "the law of the Old Covenant" is the Mosaic law. The actual debate then Staples should have with Luther is over this very issue: what constitutes the Law, according to Paul? Had Staples backed up a few pages in The Bondage of the Will, he would have found Luther specifically addressing this issue. Luther states the moral law (the Decalogue) was indeed important to Paul as being commanded by God, as were the other aspects of the Mosaic law:
Ceremonial works were as much commanded and made obligatory in the old law as was the Decalogue; therefore, the latter had neither more nor less force than the former. Paul speaks to the Jews first, as he says in Rom. x (v. 16); so none need doubt that by 'the works of the law' all the works of the entire law are meant. Indeed, they could not be called 'the works of the law' if the law was abrogated and death-dealing, for an abrogated law is law no more, as Paul well knew. When he speaks of 'the works of the law', therefore, he is speaking, not of a law that is abrogated, but of a law that is in force and authoritative. Otherwise, how easily he might have said: 'The law itself is now abrogated!'—which would have been a plain, clear statement of the case. But let us appeal to Paul himself, his own best interpreter. In Gal. 3, he says: 'As many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them' (v. 10). Paul is here urging the same point as in Romans, and in the same words; and you see that when he makes mention of the works of the law he speaks of all the laws that are written in the book of the law. Moreover—what is still more remarkable —Paul cites Moses as cursing those who continue not in the law, whereas he himself pronounces accursed those who are of the works of the law; thus adducing a passage with a different scope from his own expressed view, the former being negative and the latter affirmative. This he does, however, because the real position in the sight of God is that those who are most zealous in the works of the law are furthest from fulfilling the law; for they are without the Spirit, Who alone fulfills the law. Men may try to keep it in their own strength, but they can accomplish nothing. Thus, both statements are true—that of Moses, that they are accursed who 'continue not', and that of Paul, that they are accursed who 'are of the works of the law'. Both speakers require that men should have the Spirit, without Whom works of law, however many are done, do not justify, as Paul says; so that men do not continue in all things that are written, as Moses says. In a word: Paul fully confirms what I say by his division. He divides workers at the law into two classes, those who work after the Spirit and those who work after the flesh, leaving no middle state. He says: 'By the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified.' What is this, but to say that when men work at the law without the Spirit, being themselves flesh, that is, ungodly and ignorant of God, their works profit them nothing? In Gal. 3, he makes use of the same division when he says: 'Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?' (v. 2). Again, in Rom. 3 he says: 'But now the righteousness of God has been revealed without the law'; and again: 'We conclude that a man is justified by faith without the works of the law' (VV. 21, 28). From all these passages it is clear and plain that in Paul the Spirit is set in opposition to the works of the law, as He is to all other things that are not spiritual, and to all the powers and qualities of the flesh. So it is certain that Paul's view here accords with Christ's teaching in John 3 (v. 6), that everything which is not of the Spirit is flesh, however specious, holy and excellent it may be, even the most - glorious works of God's law, by whatever powers wrought. For the Spirit of Christ is needed, and without Him all is nothing but a matter for condemnation. Let it be settled, then, that Paul by 'the works of the law' means, not ceremonial works, but all the works of all the law. Then it will also be settled that all works of law that are wrought without the Spirit are condemned. But the power of 'free-will' (which is the matter in dispute), though no doubt the most excellent thing in man, is without the Spirit. That he is 'of the works of the law' is the finest thing that can be said of a man. But Paul does not say, 'who are of sins, and of ungodliness, contrary to the law'; he says, 'who are of the works of the law'—. that is, the best devotees of the law, who, over and above the power of 'free-will', are also aided—that is, instructed and encouraged—by the law itself. If, now, 'free-will,' when aided by the law, and occupied in the law with all its powers, profits nothing and fails to justify, but is left in ungodliness in the flesh, what must we think it could do on its own, without the law? 'By the law is the knowledge of sin,' says Paul (Rom. 3.20). Here he shows how much and how far the law profits, teaching that 'free-will' is of itself so blind that it does not even know what sin is, but needs the law to teach it! And what can a man essay to do in order to take away sin, when he does not know what sin is? Surely this: mistake what is sin for what is not sin, and what is not sin for what is sin! Experience informs us clearly enough how the world, in the persons of those whom it accounts its best and most zealous devotees of righteousness and godliness, hates and hounds down the righteousness of God preached in the gospel, and brands it heresy, error, and other opprobrious names, while flaunting and hawking its own works and devices (which are really sin and error) as righteousness and wisdom. By these words, therefore, Paul stops the mouth of 'free-will', teaching tat by the law it is shown sin, as being ignorant of its sin; so far is he from allowing it any power to make endeavors towards good. (pp. 285-287)

2. The Sufficiency of Christ's Work 
In  regard to the second "error" Staples cites an undocumented sermon from Luther:
[Catholics] know very well how to say of him: I believe in God the Father, and in his only begotten Son. But it is only upon the tongue, like the foam on the water; it does not enter the heart. Figuratively a big tumor still remains there in the heart; that is, they cling somewhat to their own deeds and think they must do works in order to be saved—that Christ's person and merit are not sufficient. . . . They say, Christ has truly died for us, but in a way that we, also, must accomplish something by our deeds. Notice how deeply wickedness and unbelief are rooted in the heart.
The sermon being cited is Luther's Sunday After Christ's Ascension (1522). The error this is supposed to represent is that Luther "claimed any belief that man must actively cooperate in salvation at all to be equivalent to a denial of the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice."

In context, Luther is speaking about those who claim to "know" God broadly, not simply "Catholics" (a word that was added to Luther's quote by Mr. Staples). In fact, if one were to look at that which immediately precedes what Mr. Staples quotes, Luther refers to the Turks and a little earlier mentions the pope, not "Catholics" generally, but I grant that Luther certainly has the "papists" of his day in mind as well.

Staples argues,
Saying man must 'accomplish something' in Christ does not deny the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice; it merely states, in agreement with St. John no less, that man must, among other things, 'walk in the light' of Christ in order for Christ’s all-sufficient sacrifice to become efficacious in his life."
Notice what Luther immediately goes on to say from the same context:
But to know Christ in the other and true sense is to know that he died for me and transferred the load of my sin upon himself; to so know this that I realize that all my doings amount to nothing. To let go all that is mine, and value only this, that Christ is given to me as a present; his sufferings, his righteousness and all his virtues are at once mine. When I become conscious of this, I must in return love him; my affections must go out to such a being. After this I climb upon the Son higher, to the Father, and see that Christ is God, and that he placed himself in my death, in my sin, in my misery, and bestows upon me his grace. Then I know also his gracious will and the highest love of the Father, which no heart of itself can discover or experience. Thus I lay hold of God at the point where he is the tenderest, and think: Aye, that is God; that is God's will and pleasure, that Christ did this for me. And with this experience I perceive the high, inexpressible mercy and the love in him because of which he offered his beloved child for me in ignominy, shame and death. That friendly look and lovely sight then sustain me. Thus must God become known, only in Christ. Therefore, Christ himself says to his disciples: "No one knoweth the Son, save the Father; neither doth any know the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son willeth to reveal him." Mt 11, 27.
The issue in the actual debate between Luther and Romanism is that for Luther, one who is saved by faith alone goes on to live a life in gratitude to what Christ has done, but this life of gratitude is not a salvific contribution. As was stated of Luther's sermons long ago, "[Luther’s] leading thoughts were always faith and charity, justification and sanctification, giving to each its proper place and its due importance. He did not preach sanctification at the expense of justification, a sin which many sectarian preachers are guilty; but he did not fail to emphasize the necessity of the Christian life. His sermons were immensely practical, as all preaching, in order to serve its purpose should be” [Rev. John H.C. Fritz, “Luther as a Preacher,” found in W.H.T. Dau (editor), Four Hundred Years: Commemorative Essays on the Reformation of Dr. Martin Luther and its Blessed Results [St Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1917), 204].


3. Free Will
Mr. Staples then refers to another "error of Luther:
The errors continue in The Bondage of the Will when Luther takes the next logical step by declaring man’s will to be absolutely passive when it comes to salvation; and consequent to that, he expressly denies the truth of man’s free will. This again follows logically from the principle of "no works," meaning there is nothing we can do, leading to two-for-one errors.
He cites The Bondage of the Will (he doesn't cite the page number, 103-104):
So man’s will is like a beast standing between two riders. If God rides, it wills and goes where God wills. . . . If Satan rides, it wills and goes where Satan wills. Nor may it choose to which rider it will run, or which it will seek; but the riders themselves fight to decide who shall have and hold it.
Certainly Mr. Staples is correct that Luther denies "free will." As to whether it's a denial of "the truth of man’s free will" is more an example of Mr. Staples preaching to his own choir rather than a detailed argument against Luther's book (and, I realize the article by Staples was not meant to be a detailed refutation of Luther).


4. Simul justus et peccator
Mr. Staples then cites another error:
Luther’s famous notion of simul justus et peccator (“at the same time just and sinner”) is another error rooted in leaving man completely out of the equation when it comes to his own justification. It means, in effect, man's justification is accomplished extrinsic to him. God declares a man just via a divine, forensic declaration—a legal fiction—rather than the biblical notion of a real inward transformation that makes him truly and inwardly just (cf. II Cor. 5:17).
Once again this is another snippet of preaching to the choir rather than an interaction with any of Luther's argumentation, nor does Mr. Staples offer any particular Luther quote. What Mr. Staples should have done, to be fair to Luther, is to explain what Luther actually believed the role of works were in the life of a Christian.


5. Predestination
Mr Staples then goes on to state what he believes was Luther's worst error:
There are many other errors we could add to this litany of Lutheran misstandings, but what I would argue to be Luther’s most egregious errors came as a direct consequence of his denial of free will. Think about it. If you deny free will, but you also teach that at least some people will end up in hell—and Luther did just that—then it necessarily follows that God does not will all to be saved. This is logical if you accept Luther's first principles. The problem is it runs contrary to plain biblical texts like I Tim. 2:4: “God wills all to be saved” (see also II Peter 3:9: I John 2:1-2), and Matthew 23:37, which records the words of our Lord himself.
Well, I'm Reformed, so I don't particularly have a problem with Luther if his view was "God does not will all to be saved." However, as far as I've been able to understand Luther, he did not limit the extent of the atonement. He rather argued Christ died for "all", as in, every single person.  Mr Staples then provides actual argumentation from Luther on this issue from The Bondage of the Will (he doesn't cite the page number, p. 176),
Here, God Incarnate (sic) says: “I would and thou wouldst not.” God Incarnate (sic), I repeat, was sent for this purpose, to will, say, do, suffer, and offer to all men, all that is necessary for salvation; albeit he offends many who, being abandoned or hardened by God’s secret will of Majesty, do not receive Him thus willing, speaking, doing, and offering. . . . It belongs to the same God incarnate to weep, lament, and groan over the perdition of the ungodly, though that will of Majesty purposely leaves and reprobates some to perish.
Mr. Staples interprets Luther as follows:
So what is Luther’s response to Jesus’ obvious willing all to be saved? Certainly, he would acquiesce to the Master and acknowledge God's universal salvific will, would he not? After all, Jesus Christ is, in one sense, the will of God manifest in the flesh. Unfortunately not. Luther claimed Christ's human knowledge to be lacking when it came to understanding "God's secret will of Majesty," which led our Lord's human will to find itself in opposition to the divine will. Poor Jesus. If he only knew what Luther knew.
Exactly where is Luther saying this about Christ's human knowledge? Luther certainly isn't saying this in the quote cited by Mr. Staples. What's interesting is this very section is quoted in Packer's introduction along with an explanation of Luther's Deus absconditus (pp. 55-57), and that appears to be the actual text Mr. Staples is citing (based on the fact that both Mr. Staples and Packer leave out the same sentences). Luther describes God in his bare majesty as the hidden God (deus absconditus). This God has absolute control over everything. Of the agenda of the hidden God, a finite creature can know nothing. He is the God who enforces his “hidden and awful will” which includes the predestinating punishment for sinners. Of this hidden will, no creature is to speculate on or inquire. Rather, as Packer explains, "...we must listen to, and deal with, God as He speaks to us in Christ." Packer, as far I could see from the immediate context, does not say anything about Luther's solution being to limit the knowledge of Christ. In fact, I would refer Mr. Staples to one of the standard works on Luther's theology for his review.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Another Tim Staples Debate...

Here's another recent Tim Staples debate. It's a short written debate on Eternal Security against Mike Gendron. It looks like this one is published in the current issue of Catholic Answers. Wow, that's another debate that Catholic Answers wants to promote... What happened to Tim's debate against Dr. White on Purgatory?

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Recent Tim Staples Debate

I was recently sent a Catholic Answers support e-mail which highlighted a debate between Tim Staples and someone named Dr. Peter Barnes, which they refer to as Australia's "premier Protestant debater" "a pastor and an author of many books." Well, I've never heard of him... then again, he's in Australia.

This debate was on the Eucharist... because Catholic Answers explains,
Worse yet, there has been a crisis in the Catholic Church that has left many of its members with only the shakiest grasp on their faith. After decades of “Catholic-lite” religious education programs, countless Catholics have basically no understanding of the faith—including what the Church teaches about the Real Presence. Opinion polls show this. A frighteningly high number of Catholics do not believe that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist. They have bought into the “just a symbol” viewpoint. Think about that. What it means is that these Catholics simply have no understanding of “the source and summit” of their faith lives. Bad catechesis and doctrine-free homilies have left them clueless about the very core of the Catholic life.They are also ripe pickings for Fundamentalists and others who deny the Real Presence.
Who needs a magisterium to protect and instruct? The world now has.... Catholic Answers! Might as well stay home or just miss that there doctrine-free homily causing so much confusion.

Well anyway. Here's the good news. You don't have to send any money to Catholic Answers to hear this debate. Dr. Peter Brown makes it available for.... free:

Part one (Brown opening statement)
Part two (the rest of the debate, not including questions from the floor)

What strikes me about this is that as far as I know, Catholic Answers has yet to offer the last debate Tim Staples did with Dr. White on purgatory. What's up with that? Catholic Answers says of Staples (in the Barnes debate):
This time someone stood up and fought back.This time that person was an expert in answering just these kind of charges, a well-trained apologist able to make the Catholic case and show precisely why the Church’s teaching on this issue is—literally—the gospel truth from the lips of the Savior himself.
I haven't had a chance to listen to Staples vs. Barnes (not sure when I will), but Mr. Staples is usually very entertaining. If any one gets a chance to listen to this, please drop me a note and let me know how it went. Also if you're interested, write Catholic Answers and ask them where the White vs. Staples Purgatory debate is.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

"We Have Apostolic Tradition"- The Unofficial Catholic Apologist Commentary #1

Originally appeared on the aomin blog 01/06/2009

Catholic apologists often let us know how crucial it is to have an infallible magisterium help one interpret the Bible correctly. With so many Catholic apologists now commenting on sacred scripture, I thought it would be interesting to provide their commentary on the Bible. Let's see how they've been able to rightly divide the word of truth . I'll post their interpretations as I come across them.

In this first installment, Catholic apologist Tim Staples explains Romans 5:12, "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned."

Listen to Tim's interpretation of Romans 5:12, here.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Karl Keating on Canon Certainty From Local Church Councils

This is a blog post I did last year on aomin.org.

Here's an interesting tidbit from Karl Keating's book Catholicism and Fundamentalism (San Fransisco: Ignatius Press, 1988). Chapter two is dedicated to exposing the errors of Lorraine Boettner's book on Roman Catholicism.

Keating documents Boettner's error of attributing the forbidding of the Bible to laymen by the Council of Valencia in 1229. Keating points out this is historically inaccurate. It would be impossible for a council to have occurred at this location at this period in history. Keating does though go the extra mile: he suggests a council which may actually be the source for Boettner's claim.

Keating notes a council was held in Toulouse France in 1229. Keating specifically notes it was not an ecumenical council (p.45). He then goes on to describe the situation which prompted this council to restrict the use of the Bible. He notes, "Their action was a local one" and it "is hardly the across-the-board prohibition of the Bible" Boettner mentioned (pp. 45-46). Problem solved: Boettner confused a local decree with an ecumenical decree binding on the church for all ages. Case closed.

But not so fast- If one skips a bit further down page 46, one finds Mr. Keating correcting Boettner's position that the Roman church added the apocrypha to the Bible in 1546. Keating states,

The fact is that the Council of Trent did not add to the Bible what Protestants call the apocryphal books. Instead, the Reformers dropped from the Bible books that had been in common use for centuries. The Council of Trent convened to reaffirm Catholic doctrines and to revitalize the Church, proclaimed that these books always had belonged to the Bible and had to remain in it. After all, it was the Catholic Church, in the fourth century, that officially decided which books composed the canon of the Bible and which did not. The Council of Trent came on the scene about twelve centuries later and merely restated the ancient position (pp. 46-47).

Keating states "it was the Catholic Church, in the fourth century, that officially decided which books composed the canon of the Bible and which did not." Now if Keating is referring to the councils of Hippo and Carthage, they were provincial councils which did not have ecumenical authority. There's also the Esdras problem. Hippo and Carthage include a book as canonical that Trent later passed over in silence. So, if Keating has these councils in mind, why is it these local councils were binding on decreeing the canon, while just a few paragraphs earlier, Keating explains local councils aren't binding on the church for all time?

I'll go the extra mile for Keating like he did for Boettner. Maybe Keating has the Council of Rome with Pope Damasus in mind. A few years back I read the following from a Roman Catholic blogger:

"It was at the Council of Rome in 382 that St. Pope Damasus decreed the final canon of Scripture. Often, it is said that the Council of Trent codified the canon of Scripture after the reformation, but the evidence points to this early council as the when the canon was finalized. The Council of Trent reiterated the canon in a response to the reformer's revision of the historic canon" [source].
The canon as allegedly defined by Damasus includes the apocryphal books, so it's important for Roman Catholics that the statement from this early Pope be used as historical proof for the Bible they claim their church has infallibly defined. Upon closer scrutiny, the distinct position held by the Roman Catholic writer above on the canon is not consistent, nor does the historical record provide any certainty for the beliefs espoused above. The historical record is important in Roman Catholicism, because the claim made by the current batch of Roman Catholic apologists is that Rome provides certainty.

Roman Catholics are supposed to believe conciliar statements which bind all Christians are those put forth by ecumenical councils. The Catholic Encyclopedia points out: "Ecumenical councils are those to which the bishops, and others entitled to vote, are convoked from the whole world under the presidency of the pope or his legates, and the decrees of which, having received papal confirmation, bind all Christians." Was the Council of Rome an ecumenical council? No it was not. It was a local council. Were the decrees issues by this council then infallible binding pronouncements for the universal church? No. The Catholic Encyclopedia states also, "only the decisions of ecumenical councils and the ex cathedra teaching of the pope have been treated as strictly definitive in the canonical sense, and the function of the magisterium ordinarium has been concerned with the effective promulgation and maintenance of what has been formally defined by the magisterium solemne or may be legitimately deduced from its definitions." So, in terms of the Council of Rome being a binding council for all, it was not. Here we find that whatever was said at the Council of Rome cannot bind all Christians. Whatever was said at the Council of Rome can provide no certainty for a Roman Catholic. Hence, it cannot be true, in a consistent Roman Catholic paradigm, that the Council of Rome infallibly decreed the final Canon.

But the Pope was at the Council of Rome, was he not? Doesn't this mean what he said at this local council binds the universal church? In the decree on the Canon, Damasus is reported as saying:

"The holy Roman Church has been placed at the forefront not by the conciliar decisions of other Churches, but has received the primacy by the evangelic voice of our Lord and Savior, who says: "You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it; and I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you shall have bound on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall have loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

Here we can infer that the statement on the canon issued by Damasus is infallible because the Roman Church and Pope speak infallibly. But here is a rarely cited fact by the defenders of Rome. The statement above, and indeed, the entire statement from Damasus listing the canonical books, probably didn't come from Damasus. F.F. Bruce notes,

"What is commonly called the Gelasian decree on books which are to be received and not received takes its name from Pope Gelasius (492-496). It gives a list of biblical books as they appeared in the Vulgate, with the Apocrypha interspersed among the others. In some manuscripts, indeed, it is attributed to Pope Damasus, as though it had been promulgated by him at the Council of Rome in 382. But actually it appears to have been a private compilation drawn up somewhere in Italy in the early sixth century" [F.F. Bruce, The Canon of Scripture (Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1988), p. 97).

So this statement from Damasus didn't actually come from Damasus. In fact, as far as I know, there isn't a written formal record of the proceedings at the Council of Rome to have certainty exactly what was said or decreed. Much historical speculation then surrounds the decree of the canon by Damasus. The bottom line though, is that Roman Catholics cannot have any certainty on the accuracy of this statement. Of course, they are free to believe it, but they do so on faith, not on historical verification. Thus to be deep in history, is not to be certain that the Roman Catholic Church infallibly defined the Canon in 382.

To make it even a bit more complicated, Tim Staples (who works for Karl Keating as a staff apologist for Catholic Answers) says the canon was dogmatically closed in 1442. Here's a quick mp3 clip from Dr. White on the Bible Answer Man show with Catholic apologist Tim Staples:

Tim Staples Dogmatically Closes the Canon

Staples dogmatically closes the canon in 1442, while Dr. White says Rome closed it in 1546. Anyone interested in this entire discussion can purchase the mp3 here for a few bucks.

Ah, what a tangled web they weave.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

The Dogmatic Closing of the Roman Catholic Canon


When did the Roman Catholic Church dogmatically settle the contents of the canon? Here's a quick mp3 clip from Dr. White on the Bible Answer Man show with Catholic apologist Tim Staples:

Tim Staples Dogmatically Closes the Canon.

Staples dogmatically closes the canon in 1442, while Dr. White says Rome closed it in 1546. Most of the Roman Catholics I've interacted with dogmatically close the canon in the 4th century.

Anyone interested in this entire discussion can purchase the mp3 here for a few bucks.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Tim Staples keeps the commandments!



It's not easy listening to Matt Slick discuss with Tim Staples, but I got thru round three recently. I left a comment too, which led a (I believe) Roman Catholic fellow-listener to write me an email. I won't reproduce his email to me, but it had to do with his assertion that, no, really, good Christian people CAN keep 7 or so of the 10 Commandments, at least most of the time. And a few other related questions flowing out of the podcast. I reprint here the relevant parts of my response to him:


Let me share with you sthg I've noticed - where sin and man's sinfulness is downplayed, grace is by necessity downplayed as well.
One place that definitely occurs is in the RCC. You're not really all THAT bad, you haven't broken the _th commandment, or at least only a few times in your life, etc.
And your sin and resulting distance from God is not such that you can't get there by any of your own efforts. No, no, no, God's grace ENABLES us to DO some things to get there, to provide some atonement for our own sin whether by penance that we do or by Purgatorial sufferings. All that to say, we add to Christ's atonement in order to be saved.
It's terrifying! If I must rely on partly myself to get to Heaven, I'll never make it!

Tell you what, let's examine what you/Tim say about the 10 Commandments. You say that we should be able to keep the 1st 7 commandments w/o too much trouble.

From Ex 20:3-17 -

Commandment #1 - "You shall have no other gods before me.

-Have you ever put ANYthing before your devotion to God?
Of course you have. Every time you sin in ANY way you do so.

Broken? Check.

#2 - "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am(D) a jealous God,(E) visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

- Why does God say He's jealous in this cmdmt? It's b/c this is about putting material things before God Himself! Ever done that? Ever preferred a material thing over God? Ever lusted after a material woman?

Broken? Check.

#3 - "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

-Ever used God's or Jesus' name as a curse?
Ever proven yourself unworthy of bearing the name "follower of Christ" by your actions? (ie, ever sinned?)

Broken? Check.

#4 - "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy...

-Is your devotion and faith in Jesus Christ complete and full so that you NEVER trust in anything other than Him?
(This is the interpretation of the Sabbath from the book of Hebrews.)

Broken? Check.


#5 - "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.

-Have you ALWAYS honored them? NEVER grumbled? NEVER disobeyed?

Broken? Check.

#6 - "You shall not murder.

-Ever been angry with someone? Ever called them a derogatory name? hated?
(See Jesus' interp of this in Matthew 5.)

Broken? Check.


#7 - "You shall not commit adultery.

-Ever looked at a woman with lust? (Matthew 5)

Broken? Check.



Etc.
Be honest - NO ONE can fulfill the law. Not even a little. Galatians 3 says that this is the whole point of the law - to demonstrate to us by our inability to keep it even a little the fact that we need to fall on God's grace IN TOTAL. Yes, we are THAT low. Yes, God's grace is THAT wonderful!
You say you haven't broken any of those 1st 7? That is self-righteousness and a lie. Please, repent before God. Tell Him that you are relying on Him and Him alone to bring you to heaven, to forgive your sin, that you can do NOTHING.

Finally, Tim was being incredibly inconsistent when he talked about "but when I do fall, there's forgiveness."
1) In RC dogma, you have to DO PENANCE to ACHIEVE that forgiveness. That's not by grace at all! "If it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace." Romans 11:6
2) God's standard is not "pretty good, not breaking 7 of the 10 most of the time"; it's PERFECTION. You can't EVER get there.
3) The whole point of the law, as I said, is to point out our inability. Not to try to make us think we can do it ourselves!

I hope you'll consider what I've said here. Please repent and ask God for forgiveness for your pride.

True Peace to you,