Apologetics for the Masses #226 - Blue Collar Apologetics (cont'd)

Bible Christian Society

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General Comments

Hey folks,

I've been getting a number of questions and comments from you guys the last few months about my radio show on EWTN (Open Line Monday), and about why I have never done a TV show for EWTN, and so on.  Well, instead of continuing to respond to those questions and comments individually, I'll answer them en masse, since they seem to just keep coming.  Basically, my response is that I have absolutely no control over what I do at EWTN, other than, of course, for the answers I give while I'm on the radio. I am very grateful to EWTN for the opportunity to simply be heard on the radio.  It was EWTN's airing of my first few public apologetics talks that I did back in 1999 that got this whole apologetics ball rolling.  So, I have them to thank (or maybe to blame, depending on the day) for where I am and for what I am doing today in the world of apologetics/evangelization.  In fact, the book I am in the process of writing will be dedicated to some of the folks at EWTN.  So, if you have anything you want to say about my radio program - good or bad - or about me being on TV or not being on TV, or anything else of that nature, you don't need to send it to me, you need to let EWTN know.  And, it just so happens, they have a Listener Comment Line which allows you to do that should you so desire.  That number is: 205-795-5773.  So, give them a call if you feel so moved, and leave 'em a message.

Also, I get a decent amount of questions about why I have not been on the Catholic Answers Live! program recently.  For the last few years I've been on once a month to do "biblical apologetics," or "questions Protestants can't answer," or other such topics.  Well, between my travels to give talks, plus studying to get a Masters Degree online, and throw in my 3 or 5 other jobs and, oh yeah, my family, I just needed a break from some of the things I had going on.  So I asked them if they wouldn't mind if I took 2013 off and maybe we'll re-visit the possibility of my getting back on their regular schedule at some point in the not-too-distant future.  Just that simple.


More of my book, Blue Collar Apologetics, in this issue.  Wrapping up chapter 1 on the issue of authority, but that doesn't mean I will be abandoning authority once I finish this chapter.  I will be looking at authority from the "church" perspective as I move into chapter 2 in the next newsletter. 

This issue is a little shorter than I had planned, because I had a lot of loose ends to tie up today as I will be taking off tomorrow morning for Huntsville to see my mom and brother and sisters.  So, loose-end tying didn't allow me enough time to start chapter 2 as I had hoped, but I'll get there next time.

Blue Collar Apologetics - Chapter 1 Closing

Save Yourself Some Time

As I mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, no matter what particular topic you are talking about - Mary, the Pope, Confession, the Eucharist, Purgatory, salvation, and so on - by bringing the conversation around to the issue of authority, you can save yourself some time, and probably a lot of frustration, too.

There are a couple of reasons why I say that.  First, as I’ve said a few times already, authority is the issue that undergirds all the other issues.  Which means, if you can plant a seed pertaining to this issue, then not only can you use that seed in a discussion of every other topic, but you may find yourself not needing to even discuss some of the other issues, thus saving yourself some time, and maybe some frustration, in the long run.  

There is also another reason why it could save you some time and some frustration.  Have you noticed something about all of the points that I have made so far in this chapter?  I have not used a single Bible verse to make any of them.  Every point that I have made so far is based on simple logic and common sense.  Now, I will bring Scripture into this discussion of authority in the next chapter, but herein are some very valid points on authority that you can make in a discussion with anyone, that don’t require you to spend a lot of time doing a lot of research.  You don’t need to search through the Bible for a verse to answer a verse, you don’t need a concordance, you don’t need a Bible dictionary, you don’t need a Bible commentary, and you don’t need any of the other tools that folks use when reading and studying the Bible to make these points.  You just need a little logic and a little common sense, which are two wonderful time-saving devices.  

Also, and this is very important to remember, when you make these arguments regarding authority using just simple logic and some plain ol’ common sense, you are going to be able to gauge whether or not your “opponent” is open to arguments of this type.  You'll be able to tell whether or not this is a person you can have a fruitful dialogue with.  I once made a fairly airtight argument about a particular Bible verse to a preacher of a particular denomination, only to have him flatly reject it.  All he said was, "That's not right."  When I asked him to tell me where I was wrong, to point out the flaw in my logic, he told me, “Logic has nothing to do with the Bible.”  No counter-argument, no well thought out rational response, just, "Logic has nothing to do with the Bible."  And I’ve had plenty of others who have not said such a thing to me directly, but sure have acted as if logic and common sense played no role whatsoever in helping one determine what is and is not true when it comes to the Bible.

So, if the person you are engaged in conversation with about theological matters wants nothing to do with logic and common sense, then you need to make that conversation a short one, because no matter what points you make - even points using any number of Scripture verses - no matter how solid they are logically, no matter how much they make sense, that person will simply reject them out of hand.  Not only will he reject them, but he generally will simply ignore your arguments altogether and not even attempt to respond to them. Which means, not only have you wasted your time, but now you’re probably frustrated as all get out.    

Which, again, is why the arguments on authority can possibly save you a whole lot of time and a whole lot of frustration.  If you make these logical, common sense arguments, and the person you are talking to does not respond to them in a like manner, then you know not to try to pursue this conversation into other topics of the faith.  I mean, why bother?!  Now, I’m not saying the other guy has to necessarily concede your arguments on authority for you to continue talking to him, but he does need to respond in a manner that is not devoid of logic and reason.  Think about it - if their response to these arguments don’t make at least some sense, then why do you think their responses to any Scripture verses you bring up about Mary, or Purgatory, or the Pope, or anything else will somehow be better?  

My advice is if you can’t have a meaningful conversation on the question of authority, then pull off your sandals, shake the dust from them, and move on.  If you get nowhere on authority, then why do you think you'll be able to have a worthwhile conversation on Mary, or on the Pope, or on salvation, or any other point where you disagree?  Continuing a conversation with a person who cannot, or will not, respond in a logical, common sense manner to your logical, common sense arguments, is quite often an exercise in futility.  Don’t waste your time.  Tell them you will keep them in your prayers and thank them for their time, but you have realized that there really is no point in proceeding.  

Don’t get me wrong, though - I am not saying the people you are talking to are just a bunch of idiots or any such thing.  Not necessarily so.  I have found that there are a number of very bright people who, for some reason, basically throw logic and common sense out the window when it comes to talking about the Bible.  Also, what I have found to be the case in a number of these situations is that the person you are talking to wants to preach, but they do not want to listen.  They want you to listen to them, but they don’t want you to talk back.  So, since they are not listening to what you have to say - since they are not listening to the arguments you are presenting - then their responses generally have little to anything to do with the argument you have made.  Their responses may seem to be born out of illogic, when they are simply the result of not listening.  Either way, though, why bother?
In Summary
Always remember: When you discuss with a Protestant of matters pertaining to the Bible, Protestant theology says that discussion is, essentially, a discussion involving two private, man-made, non-authoritative, fallible interpretations of what the Bible is or is not saying.  There is no party to the discussion, even if you had a discussion that involved ministers from hundreds of different Protestant denominations, who can make an authoritative decision regarding a biblical interpretation that is binding on anyone else in that conversation.  Not one!  It can’t be binding since it is not infallible.  You can’t bind someone in a matter pertaining to faith and morals if what you bind just might be wrong.  Error can never be binding on someone.  

The best the Protestant can do in a discussion of matters of faith with a Catholic, according to Protestant theology, is his fallible interpretation of the Bible vs. the Catholic’s fallible interpretation of the Bible.  The best a Catholic can do in a discussion of matters of faith with a Protestant, according to Catholic theology, is the infallible teaching of the Church founded by Jesus Christ vs. the Protestant’s fallible interpretation of the Bible.

That should give you a great deal of courage, folks...


I hope all of you have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving holiday!  And I hope this upcoming Season of Advent is one that prepares you and your loved ones for the coming of the Christ child. 

Don't eat too much...(I'm actually talking to myself with that one).

Apologetics for the Masses