Apologetics for the Masses #229 - Blue Collar Apologetics (cont'd)

Bible Christian Society

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General Comments

Hey folks, we survived the great snowpacolypse of 2014 down here in Birmingham.  The problem here, as in Atlanta, was that the weather forecasters, at 7:00 AM that morning, were telling us that we would just get a "dusting" and no accumulation.  So, the schools opened up, all the businesses opened up, and everyone proceeded as normal.  But then it started snowing a little before 10 o'clock.  It took just half an hour for the roads to start icing over.  By the time everyone realized that it wasn't going to be just a "dusting," the roads were already covered with snow that was turning to ice and everyone tried to get home all at the same time, which hopelessly jammed up most of the major thoroughfares.  Add that to the fact that no one in the South has snow tires, or chains, or any such thing to deal with snow and ice on the road, it was a disaster.  Fortunately, I took a route that was probably the least used major highway, with no major hills, and was able to get home within an hour and a half (normally a 20-minute drive).  My kids all got home school okay, but it was kind of iffy for my wife and youngest child for a while.  It took them 4 hours to go 4 miles after my wife picked him up at the elementary school.  She had wrecks in front of her, wrecks behind her - it was a mess.  For a while I thought I was going to have to break out the heavy books and walk a few miles to get to them.  But they finally made it home safe and sound - thanks be to God for that.  So many others were not so lucky.

Our weather forecasters can't tell us even three hours ahead of time that we're going to get snow and ice, but they want us to believe they can predict what the temperature of the Earth is going to be in 50 years?  Right.

Anyway, I'll be in Baton Rouge this week hosting the on-air pledge drive for Catholic Community Radio in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.  If you're in the area, I'd love to have you come by and say hello!  And, since I'll be down in Cajun country, I won't be getting a newsletter out this coming week, but hopefully the week after. 

And, one last thing, I should be getting my newest talk, Genesis and Evolution - What Do Catholics Believe? up on the website within a couple of weeks for those who have been asking about it. 

Well, one last last thing, between the technical difficulties, and this week the snow, and next week my travel out of state, my local radio program, Balaam's Ride, has not yet gotten back on the air for 2014. The plan is to get it back up and running the 2nd Wednesday of February - the 12th - so stay tuned...


Here is more of Chapter 2 from, Blue Collar Apologetics...

Blue Collar Apologetics - Chapter 2 (cont'd)

Decapitating Christ
When you start talking to someone about infallibility and the authority of the church and such, you just might be accused of, “Going by what the church says instead of what the Bible says.”  I know of so many Catholics who have basically been accused of being nothing more than mind-numbed robots conditioned by the Catholic Church from the time they were babies to accept hook, line, and sinker all that the Church teaches them.  They are apparently incapable of anything that would approach an intelligent thought when it comes to matters of faith and morals.

I myself have been accused by a number of Protestants of believing in something called, “Sola Ecclesia,” or, the “Church Alone.”  They tell me that they are independent thinkers, that they think for themselves, while I simply think whatever the church tells me to think.  They believe in the Bible alone - which is good in their eyes - while I believe, according to them, in the church alone - which is, naturally, bad in their eyes.  They tell me that I put what the church says above what the Bible says.  They tell me that they wouldn’t ever let any church get between them and the Bible, between them and Jesus.

It never ceases to amaze me when I hear such things being said.  I sometimes think to myself, “Have these people ever actually thought about what it is they are saying?”  They are, essentially, pitting the church against Jesus and against the Bible.  Which simply reinforces all I have said above about the infallibility of the church and the authority of the church according to Protestant theology.  It has none.  At least, none that really counts for anything.  

Whenever someone tells me that I should think for myself, be my own man, and not simply believe what the church tells me to believe, I ask them a couple of questions: “Did Jesus found the church?” Most will say that yes, Jesus did indeed found the church.  And, the second question: “Doesn’t the Bible say the church is the Body of Christ?”  To which they generally answer that the Bible does indeed say the church is the Body of Christ.  To which I then reply, “So, you’re telling me that I shouldn’t just accept what the Body of Christ tells me, I should decide for myself, right?  And, if what I decide for myself is contrary to what the Body of Christ is telling me, then you’re saying I should go with my individual decision over the decision of the Body of Christ?”  

Silence.  Or, someone will say, “Well, the Catholic Church isn’t the church of the Bible.”  To which there are two responses: 1) “Oh yea, says who?” and, 2) “So which church is the church of the Bible and do you accept everything it teaches, yes or no?”  Now they have backed themselves into a theological corner.  First of all, before we go on, I want you, the reader, to say out loud, right now, the following sentence - not as an oath or any such thing, but just to hear it said out loud: “I will trust my own individual decisions about doctrines and morals, over and above the decisions about doctrines and morals made by the church of the Bible, the church founded by Jesus Christ, the church that is the Body of Christ.”  Sounds pretty ridiculous, doesn’t it?  

Now, again, someone might say that the Catholic Church isn’t the church of the Bible, so they don’t need to listen to it.  We’ll get into whether or not the Catholic Church is the church of the Bible in a later chapter, but for right now, it doesn’t matter.  The point for now is that by their original statements about going by what the Bible says instead of what the church says, they have already exposed themselves, theologically speaking.  They have pretty much admitted that they do not go by what the church of the Bible - the church founded by Jesus Christ which Scripture tells us is the Body of Christ - says, regardless of where they believe that church is found. They go by their own private, fallible interpretation of the Bible, and they will not let any church get between them and the Bible or between them and Jesus.  

You need to make them realize what it is they are actually doing.  Ask them if there is any church whose opinion about matters of doctrine they would accept as being authoritative over and above their own private interpretation.  If they say, “Yes, there is,” ask them which church it is and if that church is infallible in its teachings.  They cannot say the church is infallible, because they don’t believe any church, or any person within any church, is infallible.  So you then ask them, “Well, if you are going to accept the opinions of a fallible church over your private interpretations of Scripture, then why do you chastise me for accepting the opinions of what I believe to be an infallible church for my beliefs?  Isn’t that being a bit hypocritical?"

If they say, “No,” there is no church’s teaching they would accept as authoritative over and above their private interpretation of Scripture, then ask them if the church Jesus founded is more authoritative than their private interpretation of Scripture or not.  Now they are really backed into that theological corner.  They can’t say, "Yes," the church Jesus founded is more authoritative than their own private interpretations because they just said there is no church whose authority they would accept over their own authority to interpret the Bible; but they can’t say, “No,” because how crazy is that to say that the church founded by Jesus Himself is not more authoritative then their private fallible interpretations?  They have quite a dilemma on their hands.  And this is the kind of thing that Catholics have to make our Protestant brothers and sisters think about.  This is how you plant seeds.

The concept of an authoritative church, like the one found in the Bible, one that can bind and loose and make doctrinal decisions and render judgments between Christians, can be very, very problematic for Protestants if they are ever pressed on this subject.  That’s because the doctrine of private interpretation of Scripture - each person interpreting the Bible on their own to determine what is true and what is false doctrine - which is a necessary corollarly of the belief in Sola Scriptura (which will be discussed later on), basically neuters the idea of an authoritative church.  It does this by causing a division.  A division between the head (Jesus Christ) and the body (the church).

Anyone who claims they do not necessarily go by what any church says, or that they don’t let any church get between them and Jesus, or that they don't need the church as long as they have their Bible, or who looks down on Catholics for just accepting what the church says and not going by their own private interpretations of Scripture, has done something really terrible.  They have, in essence, using their private fallible opinion of Scripture as the weapon, decapitated Jesus.  Think about it.  Scripture tells us that Jesus is the head of the body and that the body is the church (Ephesians 4:15-16, 5:23; Colossians 1:18, 2:19).  Also, Scripture tells us that Jesus identifies Himself with the church.  We see this in Acts 8:3 where it tells us that Saul (Paul) “laid waste the church.” In other words, Saul was persecuting the church something fierce.  And then, in Acts 9:4, Jesus asks Saul, “Why do you persecute Me?”  Jesus identifies Himself with the church.  The church is His body.  He is its Head.  They are one.

Which means, anyone who tells you that you should decide matters of doctrine and morality on your own, regardless of what the church says; and that you should never let the church come between you and Jesus, is, essentially, decapitating Christ.  They have separated the Head from the Body.  They have separated Jesus from the church.  They have allowed their own private, fallible, man-made interpretations of Scripture to come between Jesus and His Body - the church.  Anyone who puts their private, fallible interpretations of Scripture above the teachings of the church has removed the Head from His Body. 

All of this is the result of an under-developed sense of what the church is.  Oh, folks give lip service to the fact that the church is the Body of Christ, but when it comes right down to it, the Body of Christ had better not get between them and its Head, Jesus Christ.  It amazes me how so many people who claim to love Jesus, to love the Head, pay little to no attention to His Body, the church.  But, again, according to Protestant theology, that’s the way it actually has to be, since there is no church, nor anyone in any church, who has the binding authority to tell any individual believer in Christ that their particular interpretation of this or that passage of Scripture is wrong.  So, the Head has to be separated from the Body, to make way for the fallible opinions of the individual believer.  The Body of Christ, the church, gets in the way of the individual believers having the authority to decide doctrine and dogma for themselves, so they have to separate the Head from the Body - they have to decapitate Christ. Because, if individual believers have to all of a sudden start accepting as authoritative and binding the teachings of the church founded by Jesus Christ, whichever church they may believe that to be, then they have to start, sort of, acting like...Catholics.


Apologetics for the Masses