Apologetics for the Masses #230 - Blue Collar Apologetics (cont'd)

Bible Christian Society

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General Comments

Hey folks,

Just a couple of things here:

1) If you are interested in the course on spirituality that I mentioned in my last communication - "Navigating the Interior Life - Foundations of Prayer and Union with God," please note (if you haven't already) that I misspelled the link.  It should be as follows: http://www.Avila-Institute.com. Once you get there, select “Application for Admission” in the “Admission” menu. (Important Note: Please select “School of Formation” when the drop down menu appears as you're filling out the form.)

2) Please check out this little article that the National Catholic Register posted about me online yesterday: www.ncregister.com/blog/dan-burke/run-away-or-stand-up-and-fight-for-the-truth.  And, if you guys could chat up the Bible Christian Society - the newsletter, CD's, etc. - in the comment boxes below the article, that would be most helpful in getting word of the Bible Christian Society out to more and more people.  Yeah, yeah...I know...self-promotion.  Well, it's sort of one of those necessary "yucky" things one has to do every now and then, especially when one depends on the kindness of others in order to feed the family.  Such is life...


Finishing up chapter 2 of Blue Collar Apologetics.

Blue Collar Apologetics - Chapter 2 (cont'd)

He Who Hears You, Hears Me
I mentioned this earlier, but I want to drive home the point in regard to Luke 10:16.  This is an absolutely amazing passage.  Jesus has just chosen 70 disciples to send out ahead of Him into the towns and places He was going to be passing through.  And what does He tell them as He sends them out?  “He who hears you hears Me, and he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him Who sent Me.”  That is mind-boggling.  If anyone heard the message of any of these 70 disciples, they were hearing not the disciples speak, rather they were hearing Jesus Himself speak through His disciples.  

Ask any Protestant you know if there is any leader of their church of which it could be said, “He who hears you, hears Me, and he who rejects you rejects Me [Jesus Christ]?”  Is there any leader of their church who speaks with the infallible authority of Jesus Christ?  There isn't, at least, not in any Protestant faith tradition I've ever heard of.  Once again, Protestant theology on infallibility precludes such a possibility. 

However, we have such leaders in the Catholic Church.  We hear the voice of Christ through the priest each and every time he consecrates the bread and wine during Mass.  We hear the voice of Jesus Christ each and every time the priest absolves us, or looses us, from our sins in the confessional (binding and loosing, anyone?).  We hear the voice of Christ through the priests and the bishops in all the other Sacraments as well.  And, we hear the voice of Christ through the Bishop of Rome, and all the Bishops in union with him, when he speaks infallibly on matters of faith and morals.  

Now, there will of course be those who doubt what I’m saying here, and that’s fine, but the fact of the matter is, the Word of God tells us that the early leaders of the Church spoke with the authority of Christ and that when the people were hearing them speak, they were hearing Jesus Himself speak, and that these leaders had the power to bind and loose.  Thus spoke Scripture!  

Which means, that this church Jesus founded, whichever church you believe that to be, should, at the very least, claim that Christ is speaking through its leaders in an infallible and authoritative and binding manner, as Scripture states was the case for the early leaders of the church.  But, Protestant theology has no provision for infallibility and for binding and loosing and such, so that would rule out any and all the Protestant churches as being contenders for the title: The Church Jesus Founded.  

And, as Sherlock Holmes would always say, if you’ve ruled out all of the other possibilities, then what you’re left with must be true.  The only alternatives a person has to counter this argument is to claim either: 1) God never gave Peter nor the Apostles nor any other disciples the gift of infallibility, or 2) That, as we mentioned earlier, Jesus did give the Apostles the gift of infallibility, but it was only for them and it died with them.

The first alternative is easy to dismiss, because every Protestant who believes in the infallibility of Scripture, believes that Peter and James and John and Matthew and Mark and Luke and Paul and Jude were all infallible when they wrote their particular portions of the Bible, not to mention all of the infallible Old Testament writers, as well.  So, if God never gave anyone the gift of infallibility, then we do not have a Bible we can trust, it’s just that simple.  

Also, if God never gave anyone the gift of infallibility, then I would love to hear how  someone interprets infallibility out of the passages I have mentioned above from Matthew 16 and 18, Luke 10, Acts 15, and elsewhere.  

The second alternative is not as easy to dismiss, but in order to believe that the gift of infallibility was just for the first leaders of the Church - the Apostles - and for no one else, one has to basically add to Scripture, for that is a tradition of men that is not found in the pages of the Bible.  Nowhere does the Bible say, “Once the last Apostle dies, then Scripture is closed.”  

Now, a particularly astute individual might say, “Well, the fact that no other inspired books of Scripture have been written since the death of the last Apostle proves that the gift of infallibility died with them.”  That’s a clever observation, but it is, nonetheless, without merit.

My response to that observation is twofold: 1) Who told you that no other inspired books of Scripture have been written since the death of the last Apostle?  You must be relying on some source, some witness, to make such a claim, because nowhere does the Bible say that once the last Apostle dies there can be no more inspired Scripture.  

Yes, one might point to Revelation 22:18-19 which says that no one should add to or take away from the words of the “prophecy of this book,” and say, “See, the Bible does tell us not to add to it after the Book of Revelation.”  Well, the problem there is that verses 18 and 19 are, in context, speaking of the Book of Revelation, not the whole Bible.  The Book of Revelation was, when first written, not part of the book we now know as the Bible, because there was no book called the Bible at the time.  Each book of the Bible was written on separate scrolls.  They were not put together in a single binding as we have the Bible today until years later.  So, those words in Revelation 22:18-19 were speaking of the Book of Revelation, and not the Bible as a whole.  

Furthermore, Revelation 22:18-19 is speaking of the “prophecy” of this book.  Of adding to or taking away from the prophecy of the book.  So, even if, for argument’s sake, Revelation 22:18-19 was referring to the whole Bible, it’s only referring to a particular prophecy (not prophecies) in the Bible.  Which means, as long as one is not messing around with that prophecy, there is no restriction to adding other books to the Bible.  

Finally, on this point, if you look at the Book of Deuteronomy, chapter 4, verse 2, it says: “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it; that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.”  Hmm...sounds a lot like the language we find in Revelation 22, doesn’t it?  But, this time, God is speaking to the Israelites and He is speaking of all the things He commands them in the following chapters of Deuteronomy.  Scripture repeats this in Deuteronomy 12:32, “Everything that I command you,  you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to it or take from it.”  

If you interpret these verses as many Protestants interpret Revelation 22:18-19, then your Bible should have just five books in it.  The Scriptures should have been closed after the Book of Deuteronomy was written.  Yet, the Protestant Bible has more than five books.  Hmmm.

So, now that we have responded to the faulty interpretation of Revelation 22:18-19, and shown that the Bible nowhere states that inspired revelation has necessarily ended, the question still remains: Who told you that no other inspired books of Scripture have been written since the death of the last Apostle?  Who?!  On what authority are you relying for your belief that the canon of Scripture - the list of books that make up the Bible - is closed?  It’s not the Bible, but if not the Bible, then where does this belief come from?  Maybe, just maybe, it comes from a church that teaches with the authority of Christ and that has the power to bind and loose so that it can make an infallible, authoritative, and binding decision as to what is and is not to be considered inspired Scripture?

We’ll talk about that more in the next chapter, but I would like to say one more thing here about the gift of infallibility supposedly dying with the last of the Apostles.  If that is true, then as I mentioned earlier, the church of the Bible - the church that is described in the Bible - essentially died with the last Apostle.  We apparently went from a first century church that was presided over by leaders who made infallible decisions on matters of doctrine and discipline and morality, to a church which, from the 2nd century on, was presided over by leaders whose authority comes from how convincing they can argue that their private fallible interpretation of the Bible is better than the private fallible interpretation of everyone else who can read the Bible.

So, Jesus knows that this transition from a 1st century church with infallible leaders who can bind and loose with His own authority, to a church of the 2nd century and beyond, with leaders who are not infallible, who cannot bind and loose anything because they do not have His authority to do so, and where everyone in their flocks can challenge each and every fallible interpretation of Scripture that they make, is supposed to result in all Christians being “in full accord and of one mind” (Phil 2:2) and that there will be “no dissensions among [us]” (1 Cor 1:10)?  



I hope you have enjoyed this edition of the newsletter and I hope all of you have a great week.  I'm going to try to get another newsletter out this coming week.

God bless!

Apologetics for the Masses