Apologetics for the Masses #245 - Blue Collar Apologetics (cont'd)

Bible Christian Society

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General Comments

Hey folks,

I'm looking forward to being in Beaux Bridge, LA, for the unveiling of my new interactive Blue Collar Apologetics seminar.  Since it's the first time I'll be doing it, I know there will needs be some trial and error as to what works and what doesn't...so I'm sure there will be some re-working of things as it goes forward, but, hopefully, the folks down in Cajun country will enjoy it and learn from it.  If anyone else is wanting to have the roadshow come to their parish, just shoot me an email and we can work it out.  It's a Friday night, Saturday morning, and Saturday afternoon deal.  I will be talking a good bit to start out, but then I will also be asking and answering questions.  Lots of interaction with the participants where I challenge them to apply the strategies and techniques they will be learning to situations I give them, or that other participants give them, or to past situations they've been in to see how they could have handled them better.  The cost is just $500 plus expenses (airfare, lodging, and food), plus I will ask for a free will offering at some point during the day on Saturday.  Just let me know if you're interested.

And, just to keep you informed, the EWTN mini-series I recorded (5 shows) on Blue Collar Apologetics is working its way through the editing process and is currently slated to air sometime in either February or March, so please keep that in your prayers!


Three things:

1) So far no response to my last email from Mr. John Smith, the Evangelical that I have been having some back and forth with about the Catholic Church, which I published in the last issue of the newsletter, #244 (www.biblechristiansociety.com/newsletter). So, I'm going to continue with my book, Blue Collar Apologetics, in this issue and will come back to Mr. John Smith should he decide to respond. 

2) One of my questions to John Smith in the last email was this: "10) Was God wrong to order the Israelites to put graven images in the Temple of Solomon?  Yes or no?"  A reader sent me an email asking where exactly it was that God "order[ed]" Solomon to put graven images in the Temple.  Well, there is no direct passage that says, "God ordered Solomon," or that has God saying, "I order you to do this," or anything like that.  However, in 1 Kings 5:4-5, and 12, we see that the Lord told David that Solomon would build Him a house and that the Lord gave Solomon wisdom.  In 1 Kings 8:10-11, we see that the Lord apparently approved the newly-built Temple because His glory cloud filled it.  In 1 Kings 9:3, the Lord Himself says that He consecrated the Temple - which means that He definitely approved of what was in the Temple.  But, even more to the point, in 1 Chronicles 28:19, we see that the plans of the Temple were given to Solomon by David, and that these plans were "from the hand of the Lord."  Combine this passage with 1 Kings 6:11-13 where God says to Solomon, "Concerning this house which you are building, if you will walk in my statutes and obey my ordinances and keep all my commandments and walk in them, then I will establish My word with you..."  So, God gives plans for the Temple and then speaks to Solomon of keeping all of His commandments, statutes, and ordinances.  So, no, God did not directly "order" Solomon to put graven images in the Temple, but He said that Solomon would build the Temple and He gave the plans for the Temple, and all the things in the Temple (1 Chronicles 28:1-19) to Solomon through David, so, I think it is safe to say that the Temple was built according to God's plan and design, and His "order," and not of Solomon's own doing.

3) This issue will close out chapter 4 of my book (which is on Sola Scriptura).  It basically picks up where Issues #236 and #237 leave off.  In Issues #240-243, I had gone back and inserted a new Chapter 1 which covered the 4 apologetics strategies that the book will use throughout.  So now I'm picking back up with Sola Scriptura.

Oh, one last thing - if you ever accidentally delete an issue that you wanted to save, or you want to send an issue to someone, you can always go to the "Newsletter" page of the website (www.biblechristiansociety.com), click on that particular issue, scroll to the bottom, and then click on "Forward this issue" to send it to yourself or to anyone else. 

Blue Collar Apologetics, chapter 4 (cont'd)

Sola Scriptura and the Four Strategies

What I am going to do here, and at the end of all the subsequent chapters, is show you how to apply the four strategies we learned about in Chapter 1 to specific topics you might be questioned about.  In this chapter, it will be questions asked regarding Sola Scriptura.  I'm going to give examples of answers you can give to these questions, or challenges, you receive:


1) The Ignorant Catholic

Protestant: Why do Catholics go by the traditions of men rather than the Word of God?  Don't you know that the Bible condemns the traditions of men?  Scripture tells us in 2 Timothy 3 that the Bible is all the man of God needs to be complete - why do you try to add to it?


Catholic response: Well, I'm going to have to be honest with you and tell you that I don't know the answers to your questions right now, but I am going to find out the answers and I'll get back to you on that.  By the way, could you do me a favor?  Could you give me the Bible verses that say what you've said here?  I'd like to look them up and read them.  Thanks!


2) How to Be Offensive (Aw-fensive) Without Being Offensive (Uh-fensive)

Protestant: Why do Catholics go by the traditions of men rather than the Word of God?  Don't you know that the Bible condemns the traditions of men?  Scripture tells us in 2 Timothy 3 that the Bible is all the man of God needs to be complete - why do you try to add to it?


Catholic response: Are you saying the Bible condemns all traditions of men?  For example, does it condemn altar calls?  Wednesday night church meetings?  Birthday parties? 


In 2 Timothy 3, does it say that scripture "alone" is all the man of God needs to be complete?  Is that word, "alone," in there? 


Is the Bible really all that the man of God needs to be complete?  What about faith?  What about love?  In James 1:4, it says that patience, or steadfastness, is needed for one to be complete.  Does one need patience to be complete, as the Bible says, or not?  And, if you do need patience to be complete, then are you possibly misinterpreting 2 Tim 3 as saying the Bible alone is all one needs to be complete?


Right before it says that "All scripture is inspired by God...that the man of God may be complete," it mentions the sacred writings that Timothy has known since his childhood.  Which scriptures is it talking about there? 


Do you believe the Gospel of Mark is inspired Scripture?  If so, where does the Bible say that?  And, if it's not in the Bible, wouldn't that then be a tradition of men that Mark is inspired Scripture? 


3) It's the Principle of the Thing!

Protestant: Why do Catholics go by the traditions of men rather than the Word of God?  Don't you know that the Bible condemns the traditions of men?  Scripture tells us in 2 Timothy 3 that the Bible is all the man of God needs to be complete - why do you try to add to it?


Catholic response: In 2 Thes 2:15, Paul tells the Thessalonians to "stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter."  Since nowhere does the Bible tell us that the Thessalonians ever had this order from Paul revoked, by Paul or by anyone else, and nowhere does the Bible tell us that all oral traditions were written down in the Bible, then it stands to reason that there were traditions that Christians were commanded to hold firm to, that were not ever written down in the Bible. 

Catholic Scriptural Principle: Not all authentic Christian beliefs and practices, or traditions, were necessarily written down in the Bible. 


Referring again to 2 Thes 2:15, since we call the letters which Paul wrote the Thessalonians - which contain some of the traditions they were told to hold fast to - the Word of God, then it only stands to reason that the oral traditions they were told to hold fast to, which Paul put on the same level as those written traditions, would also be the Word of God.  This is confirmed by the fact that Paul tells the Thessalonians, in his first letter to them, that what they "heard" from him was not the word of men, but the Word of God. 

Catholic Principle: Not all of the Word of God was written down in the pages of Scripture. 


In 2 Tim 2:2, Paul tells Timothy to "entrust to faithful men" what he has "heard" from Paul, so that these faithful men will be able to teach others also.  Four generations (Paul - Timothy - faithful men - others) of the oral transmission of the faith.  Paul does not tell Timothy to pass on the written Sripture so that others may read and interpret it for themselves, as individuals, so as to determine correct Christian doctrine and practice.  

Catholic Principle: The passing on of the Word of God through oral transmission, in addition to the written scriptures, was a standard Christian practice from the beginning of the Church. 


Conclusion: The Catholic belief in the Word of God being transmitted both through Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition is indeed supported by Sacred Scripture. 


4) But That's My Interpretation!

Protestant: Why do Catholics go by the traditions of men rather than the Word of God?  Don't you know that the Bible condemns the traditions of men?  Scripture tells us in 2 Timothy 3 that the Bible is all the man of God needs to be complete - why do you try to add to it?


Catholic response: I will be happy to continue talking to you about all of these things and to answer your questions, but before we go further, there is an issue that is fundamental to all of this that we need to get out on the table: I need to know if you are infallible in your interpretation of the Bible?   {Pause and wait for answer.} 

If the answer is, "No, I'm not infallible": Then, just so we're clear on this, everything you're telling me about what this or that passage of the Bible means, could be wrong, right?  I mean, since you're not infallible in your interpretation of the Bible, you could be wrong some of the time, or even all of the time, couldn't you?  So, essentially, the best you can do in this conversation, is to offer your fallible interpretation of the Bible vs. my fallible interpretation of the Bible, right?  And I know you'll say your fallible interpretation is better than my fallible interpretation, but you won't be able to be absolutely sure of that, will you...since you're not infallible? 

If the answer is, "Yes, I am infallible": You are infallible?!  Really?!  Well, then, could you provide me with some evidence that tells me you are indeed infallible?  Does the Bible mention your name as being infallible?  Have you received a vision from God telling you that you're infallible?  How do you know that you are infallible?  What would you say if I claimed to be infallible? 


Summary of the Strategies

These responses are obviously not all there is that could be said on this particular topic. There are many different questions you could ask under Strategy #2, and many different principles, under Strategy #3, from many different Scripture passages, that you could pull out of Scripture.  I simply offer these as a few examples just to get you started and to get you thinking.  However, these are examples that you will probably be able to use verbatim, or almost verbatim, in your dialogues and discussions with Protestants, as the questions the Protestants ask - whether they be Evangelical, Presbyterian, Church of Christ, Pentecostal, Baptist, Methodist, non-denominational, etc. - are pretty much all the same and will generally be fairly similar to the ones I've posed here. 

Regarding Strategies #1 and #4, however, you will see the same, or almost the same, verbiage regardless of the topic.  By the time we get a few chapters into this, and you come to the questions at the bottom of each chapter, you'll read: "The Ignorant Catholic," and you'll say to yourself, "I know, I know...I don't know but I will find out and get back to you."  In other words, the more you read these things, the more they are going to sink into your psyche and become 2nd nature to you.  Which is a good thing.



I should be back with another issue next week.  And, again, if Mr. John Smith sends me a reply to the questions I asked him, I'll go with that next week.  If not, then we'll get into Chapter 5 - Sola Fide.  I hope all of you have a great week


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Apologetics for the Masses