Apologetics for the Masses - Issue #37

Bible Christian Society

General Comments

First, just want to let you know about some good stuff from Catholic apologist Dave Armstrong. He is offering his book Bible Conversations, for free, in either PDF or Word 2000 format. For more information, see:


The above URL also has a cover photo of Dave’s new book, The One-Minute Apologist, due out this month from Sophia Institute Press, and links for more information on it (table of contents, excerpts, introduction). Dave also offers eleven e-books (including A Biblical Defense of Catholicism) via e-mail (Word) or on a CD (PDF) for only $15. See:


Once on Dave’s blog, the sidebar offers lots of links to a wide variety of apologetic topics – check them out!

Second, I just wanted to say, “Wow! What a response to last week’s newsletter!” About half of you loved it and the other half cried “No mas!” Which again goes to show that you can’t please all of the people all of the time. However, for those of you who said, “No more Matt Johnson,” I just want to reiterate what I said in the last newsletter, that I put all of that material in one newsletter in order to get it out of the way and done with, rather than extending it over several newsletters. Plus, I wanted to publish the whole thing so that the other side cannot accuse me of not putting everything out there for all to see.

The ones who weren’t too thrilled with last week’s newsletter generally said something along the lines of, “It seemed like a case of the two of you just trading ‘I said so’s,’ with one another.” Which, actually, is part of the point. The “But That’s My Interpretation” strategy that I teach folks is to basically use the other guy’s sola scriptura theology – in which each individual has the right to read and interpret Scripture for themselves without regard to any authority other than themselves – against them. If you use this strategy, the best the Protestant can do is a tie. The worst the Catholic can do is a tie. It does indeed become a case of “I said so” vs. “You said so.” But, that is the inevitable outcome of Sola Scriptura and personal interpretation of Scripture without any authority greater than the individual doing the interpreting. It becomes a question of, “Why is your interpretation more valid than my interpretation?” The answer, under sola scriptura theology, is it’s not. Everyone has the right to interpet for themselves, and there is no authority higher than the individual’s interpretation. So, no one person’s interpretation is more valid than anyone else’s. One interpretation may be more informed than another interpretation, but they are all equally valid. Which should give every Catholic the confidence that they can engage anyone in a conversation about the Bible, and, using the “But That’s My Interpretation” Strategy, the worst that they can do is end up in a “tie.”

Also, I wish to thank all of those who wrote to express their support for me…that was unnecessary, but very kind of you. Thank you. And, I wish to tell anyone who was worried about how I grew up, that the incidents from my life which I mentioned in the last newsletter were all fabricated, save one. Can you guess which one actually happened? I did indeed once ask a girl if she wanted to go to this particular fraternity party only to have her answer, “Sure, with who?” Talk about having to drag yourself back up off the floor. I was just being a bit tongue-in-cheek with those things. I was blessed to have two very loving parents. My mom was an absolute sweetheart, and my dad (God rest his soul) was a tough but fair man who attended every single little league game I ever played in.


Below is my next response to Matt. I get back to following my own personal rules of engagement, which I had suspended for the last few exchanges. I let the conversation wander off in a bunch of different directions rather than keeping it tight and on topic. Usually, I would refuse to move on until my questions were answered, but I didn’t do that this time, and you saw the result…things can get a little messy.

With this newsletter, I’m trying to pull the conversation back to 4 main points, as you’ll see. If we are able to move forward in our dialogue, I may stay with Matt for another couple of newsletters or so, but if his responses don’t move us forward, then I’ll move on to others.

Next week will be his response to this and then my follow-up response.



Okay, let’s drop the chitchat and get down to the basics. I have 3 different things that I want to get into here:

First, I have a few questions to ask and I would like for you to give yes or no answers, please. If you would like to add explanation to your answers, please do, but first please answer with a “yes” or a “no.”

1) Did the Apostles teach different doctrines to different people? Yes or no?

2) Did the Apostles and other leaders of the early Church believe it was okay to have false doctrines within the Church? Yes or no?

3) Did the Apostles break fellowship with those who were teaching different doctrines than they were teaching? Yes or no?

4) Did Jesus and the Apostles demand conformity to the doctrines they taught? Yes or no?

5) Were the Apostles infallible in their teaching? Yes or no?

6) Is there anyone on this earth who has the authority to tell you – Matt Johnson – that you are wrong in any of your interpretations of Scripture? Yes or no? If “yes,” who? (Or, whom?)

7) Can you be “one” with someone who believes in false doctrines? Yes or no?

8) In your church, can two walk together if they are not in agreement? Yes or no?

Strategies/Comments: Just trying to get the conversation back on track, so to speak. Here are several unanswered questions from previous emails and they all relate to Matt’s vision of the church. It seems he believes you can have unity in the church even if you don’t have doctrinal unity in the church. I don’t believe that, and I don’t see that anywhere in Scripture. So, I’m asking these questions to try and figure out exactly what he believes and how it compares to what Jesus taught the Apostles. I don’t think he can answer them and be consistent with both Scripture and what he has said in previous emails. Also, I’m trying to figure out his view of authority in the church, especially in regards to the interpretation of Scripture.


Second, I would really like to get to the bottom of why you feel Catholics “exclude” you and others. Catholics (Roman Catholics in your parlance) are the most inclusive group of folks that I know of. Everyone – Protestants, Buddhists, Muslims, Atheists, Jews, Church of Christ, Church of God – everyone, is invited to participate in our worship services, Bible studies, RCIA programs, Adult Ed classes, bingo games, etc.

“But,” you would say, “they are excluded from receiving the Eucharist, or the Lord’s Supper, and, therefore, you Roman Catholics are indeed exclusive ” With all due respect, I think you’re being a bit of a hypocrite here. Either that, or you are simply ignorant of Catholic teaching regarding the Eucharist.

Let me ask you, if someone came to your church, and said, “I don’t believe in a lot of what you teach, and I don’t believe your preachers and elders have any authority whatsoever, and I don’t believe in what you believe in concerning ‘The Lord’s Supper,’” would you then let that person receive the Lord’s Supper? Yes or no?

And, wouldn’t you consider this person a hypocrite if they didn’t believe what you believe about the Lord’s Supper, but they still wanted to receive the Lord’s Supper in your church? Please explain to me why I shouldn’t consider you a hypocrite when you don’t believe what we Catholics believe, particularly about the Eucharist, yet you still wish to receive the Eucharist in our church? Or when you feel “excluded” because we won’t let you receive the Eucharist in our Church? Why would you want to participate in something that you don’t believe in? Why would you feel “excluded” when you’re not allowed to participate in something you don’t believe in? That makes no sense to me, whatsoever.

Furthermore, let’s say that Catholics are right in our beliefs. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that the bread and wine actually turn into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, as we believe. That they become God Himself. Yet, you deny this. Would we not be doing you a favor by preventing you from receiving that which you do not believe? In other words, if you do not believe what we teach, and we just happen to be right in what we teach, then you would be guilty of denying a central truth of the Christian Faith. In your opinion, would a person who denies a central truth of the Christian Faith be considered worthy or unworthy when it comes time to receiving the Lord’s Supper? Maybe in your church, you wouldn’t have a problem with that, but in our church, we believe that someone who denies a central truth of the Christian Faith cannot worthily receive the Lord’s Supper – the Eucharist. In which case, by denying the Lord’s Supper to those who do not believe as we believe, we are not being “exclusive.” We are not drawing any circles to keep anyone out. We are keeping them from profaning the Body and Blood of the Lord as it says in 1 Cor 11:27-30.

So, do you consider it a good thing or a bad thing, to prevent someone from profaning the Body and Blood of the Lord? Is it being “exclusive” to prevent someone from profaning the Body and Blood of the Lord, or is it being charitable? Again, I understand that you disagree with what we believe in regard to the Eucharist, but, given our beliefs, are we being “exclusive” by denying the Eucharist to those who do not believe as we believe, or are we being charitable in doing so?

Furthermore, let’s say someone came to your congregation one Sunday morning and insisted that all the singing should be done a capella (no instruments), as the folks in the Church of Christ do. Would you accede to their request? Would you stop using musical instruments in your worship service to accommodate this person’s request? If not, would you consider yourself to be exclusive, as you consider Roman Catholics to be exclusive, because not only didn’t you do what this man wanted you to do, but you then proceeded to create a worship environment – by the use of musical instruments – that was hostile to this man’s beliefs and caused him to get angry and leave? Wouldn’t that be exclusive, in the way that you use the word?

Strategies/Comments: It seems to me that Matt acts like someone with an inferiority complex when it comes to being “excluded” by the Catholic Church when it comes to the Eucharist. It seems to really get under his skin, so I just wanted to explain that a bit and to turn his accusations about being “exclusive” around on him. There are a number of folks in the Churches of Christ who do not believe musical instruments should be used in worship services. In fact, the use of musical instruments was one of the reasons the Churches of Christ split from the Christian Churches. So, by using musical instruments in their worship service, Matt’s Christian Churches are being exclusive toward these folks from the Church of Christ. He wants us to change our beliefs and worship practices for him, and if we don’t, then we are being “exclusive.” So, why won’t he change his beliefs and worship practices for others? Isn’t he, and his entire congregation, being “exclusive” everytime they play a piano or organ at the church?

Another thing I don’t understand, why does someone want to participate in something they don’t believe in? And why would they be offended for not being allowed to participate in something that they don’t believe in? If you believe abortion is wrong, do you want to participate in an abortion? If you don’t believe in ghosts, do you want to participate in a seance? If you believe the Eucharist, as celebrated by Catholics is wrong, do you want to go out and participate in receiving the Eucharist? Matt does. Makes no sense to me whatsoever.

And, what if we are right in our beliefs? Is not what we are doing charitable…is not refusing to allow someone to profane the Body and Blood of our Lord an act of charity rather than an act of exclusion?


Now, the third thing I wanted to get into is your total lack of Scriptural evidence for your beliefs regarding John 6 and elsewhere. Please, I am not interested in your opinions and conjectures, back up your beliefs from Scripture, since you profess Scripture to be the source of your beliefs.

John 6:51, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

The bread which Jesus gives us to eat = His flesh that He shall give for the life of the world

Strategies/Comments: This is the crux of this particular argument. Does Jesus say, or does He not say, that the bread which He will give us to eat, is His flesh, which He will give for the life of the world? I’m sorry, but that is about as clear as it gets. When did He give His flesh for the life of the world? On the cross. Was that real flesh on the cross or symbolic, metaphorical flesh? Real flesh! So, the bread He gives us to eat, if we are to take Jesus at His word, is it real flesh or symbolic, metaphorical flesh? Real flesh! If not, then the words of Scripture just don’t add up. And, when His listeners don’t fully appreciate what He is saying in verse 51, does He tell them that they’re misunderstanding Him? No. He repeats Himself (like He does nowhere else in Scripture) and emphasizes what He was saying in an even more strident manner.

I asked you, based on this verse, what is the bread that Jesus wants to give us to eat? Is it not the flesh that He gave for the life of the world? So, the very logical question to ask, which I did ask, based on this verse of Scripture, is this: “Did Jesus give His real flesh or His symbolic flesh for the life of the world?” Which was it?

You responded with the following to that question: “You are guilty of presenting a false choice here. I know that Jesus’ sacrifice was real, not symbolic. Yet you have manufactured an unnecessary correlation. You have implied that if one was real and not symbolic that the other must be real and not symbolic. Where did you get that? Who said that must be true? The Bible doesn’t. Does your church?”

How am I manufacturing an “unnecessary correlation?” Does the Bible say – yes or no – that the bread that Jesus wants us to eat is the flesh that he will give for the life of the world? Yes, or no? I’m assuming, based on your previous answer that you would say, “yes.” Then, was the flesh that Jesus gave for the life of the world His literal flesh…His real flesh? Yes, or no? I believe, from your previous answer, that you would say Jesus gave His real flesh…His literal flesh… for the life of the world. (If you would have answered “no” to either of those two questions, please let me know.)

So, I’m assuming that you would agree (and, again, correct me if I’m wrong) to the following: 1) Jesus gave His literal flesh, not symbolic flesh, for the life of the world; and 2) the Bible records Jesus, in John 6:51, as saying that He is giving us – to eat – the flesh that He will give for the life of the world. So, if Jesus gave His literal flesh for the life of the world, and He is giving us to eat the flesh that He gave for the life of the world, why is it an “unnecessary correlation” to draw the conclusion that He is giving us His literal flesh to eat?

Furthermore, you stated: “You have implied that if one was real and not symbolic that the other must be real and not symbolic.” Please tell me what you are referring to as “one” and what you are referring to as “the other”? I’m talking about one phrase…”the bread that I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh”…that Jesus uses in one verse. I’m not talking about two different things as you seem to be. Jesus gives us the following equation: the bread that I shall give you to eat = the flesh that I will give for the life of the world. You seem to be making Jesus say the opposite of what Scripture records: the bread that I shall give you to eat does not = the flesh that I will give for the life of the world. But, that’s not what Scripture says, is it?

Again, was the flesh that Jesus gave for the life of the world His literal flesh or not? If it was, then where in verse 51 of John 6 do you see Jesus saying that he wants to give us His symbolic…His metaphorical…flesh to eat? There is no “unnecessary correlation” here, this is just a simple straightforward reading of the Bible along with a little common sense and logic. It’s okay to use common sense and logic, isn’t it?

Now, let’s move on to John 6:53-55 – “So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.”

First question, if Jesus didn’t mean what Catholics think He means, then what exactly does He mean? All you’ve given me so far is that you don’t agree with what Catholics think it means, but you haven’t told me what it actually means…other than to say Jesus is speaking metaphorically. Okay, fine. So what does He mean…metaphorically speaking? How do we eat His flesh and drink His blood? How do you do that? By eating a piece of bread and drinking some grape juice? What does He mean when He says His flesh is “food indeed” and His blood is “drink indeed”? You claim it is merely a metaphor. A metaphor for what?

Fact is, I can tell you how the Jews used the term “to eat one’s flesh” metaphorically. You probably aren’t aware of this, but the phrase “eat the flesh” is indeed used as a metaphor in Scripture…a metaphor that conveys something wicked and evil:

Psalm 27:2, “When the WICKED came against me to eat up my flesh, my ENEMIES and FOES…” (KJV)

Micah 3:2-4, “You who HATE THE GOOD and LOVE THE EVIL, who tear the skin from off my people, and their flesh from off their bones; who eat the flesh of my people…”

Isaiah 9:20, “They snatch on the right, but are still hungry, and they devour on the left, but are not satisfied; each devours his neighbor’s flesh…”

We see that, in the Bible, the phrase “eat the flesh” has very negative connotations. It is not a good thing. It is something evildoers do to others. So, if Jesus was speaking metaphorically, then, using the Bible to interpret the Bible, as I assume you do, one would have to conclude that He was saying something pretty bad, right? Yet, He says you must do this bad thing to have eternal life. Could you help me to understand this, please?

Yet, even though there was a metaphor, “eat the flesh,” that was used by the Jews, as evidenced by Scripture, the Jews who were standing there at the time took Christ to be speaking literally, not metaphorically. Verse 52, “The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’” Verse 60, “Many of His disciples, when they heard it, said, ‘This is a hard saying, who can listen to it?’” And, in verse 66, they left Him. They left Him because they could not accept the literal meaning of His words. So, again, even though there was a metaphorical meaning for what Jesus was saying, the folks standing there took Him literally.

Your response, when I brought this up earlier, was rather off the point:

“Please do not tell me you are looking at the reaction of people who deserted Jesus and knew nothing of the last supper or the cross to give you an accurate indication of what Jesus actually meant.”

I am looking at the reaction of people who deserted Him to see whether they took Jesus literally or metaphorically. When Jesus said that he is a door or a vine, did the disciples take Him literally or metaphorically? They took Him metaphorically, did they not? No one asked, “How can this man be a door?” Or, “How can this man be a vine?” Did they? Did anyone jump up and say, “This is a hard teaching; who can accept it,” and then leave Him? Did they? No, of course not. The point I am making, and Scripture backs me on this 100%, is that those listening to Him that day took Him to be speaking literally…even His own disciples. So much so, that many of them left Him over this teaching.

And, I take it from your previous response, that you know full well that His listeners on that day 2000 years ago did indeed take Him literally. My question to you is this: Why, 2000 years later, do you take Him metaphorically? What in the Bible states that He was speaking metaphorically? And, again, if He is speaking metaphorically, then exactly what was He saying? I have already shown, from the Bible, that the metaphor of eating one’s flesh was known to the Jews and that it had incredibly negative connotations. It was something evildoers did. So, what did He mean exactly, when He said we need to eat His flesh and drink His blood to have eternal life?

One other thing to consider. If Jesus let His disciples walk away from following Him, even though He knew it was simply a misunderstanding on their part, what does that say about Him as a teacher, as a Rabbi, as God? Can you name other instances in the Gospels where Jesus’ disciples didn’t understand what He was saying? I can. And, in each and every instance of the disciples not understanding, what happens? I’ll tell you what happens: either they go to Jesus to ask Him what He meant, or Jesus goes to them, even without them asking, and explains what He meant. But, that didn’t happen in this instance…how come? Could it be because Jesus knew that there was no misunderstanding on their part…they got it exactly as He meant it? And, the difficulty of understanding and believing what He said put their faith to the test, and they failed that test?

Regarding the accounts of the Last Supper, you stated the following:

“Second, the apostles never literally ate the actual flesh or drank the actual blood of Jesus Christ. In fact, the Bible says that they ate the bread and drank the wine…They gathered around the table. They ate the food in that was front of them. Jesus thanked the Father for the bread. Jesus told them to eat the bread. Jesus thanked the Father for the cup. Jesus told them to drink from it. Are you, for the sake of argument, trying to claim it is probable that the apostles did not eat and drink the elements that Jesus gave them as they sat around a table and he instructed them to eat? ”

Didn’t you leave out something in your account of what happened? After Jesus thanked the Father for the bread and for the cup, didn’t He say something like, “Take eat, this is My body?” And, “Drink this all of you, for this is My blood?” So, actually, what the Bible records is that Jesus gave them His body to eat, and that He gave them His blood to drink. So, if the Bible says He gave them His body to eat and His blood to drink, why do you say, “the Bible says that they ate the bread and drank the wine?” Where does the Bible say that?

You also stated the following: “…wouldn’t it be impossible for any of us to “literally eat” the flesh of Christ since, in his resurrected body he ascended to heaven and now sits at the right hand of the Father? How can we literally eat the flesh that is not available to us? So since the apostles didn’t literally do it and it is impossible for us to do it, how can you say that it is mandatory for eternal life? You say this is very clear teaching. But it doesn’t seem so clear to me. As a matter of fact, it seems that you have added something to the Bible. Could you help me out and explain it?

I believe it is possible for Jesus to be in Heaven and on earth at the same time…don’t you? I do believe that there are some things that are impossible for God…like making a square circle and creating a rock so heavy that He can’t lift it and committing a sin and other things along those lines that are contradictions – God cannot contradict Himself…however, I do believe it is possible for God to be everywhere at once, don’t you? And, if He can be everywhere at once, then your objection becomes more a statement of unbelief rather than an objection. Can God be everywhere at once or not? What is your belief on that? If He can be, then how can you object when Catholics merely believe as you do on that matter? We can (and do) literally eat the flesh of Jesus because He wills it to be so. Do you deny that He can make such a thing happen?

Regarding the Last Supper, does Jesus say that He is giving the Apostles His body to eat and His blood to drink or not? Yes or no? And, if God holds up a piece of bread and declares it to be His body, who are you to say that it’s not His body? God didn’t hold up a vine and say this is my body. He didn’t hold up a door and say this is my body. He did indeed speak metaphorically in those instances. But, nowhere in those instances did He say, “This IS…” At the Last Supper He didn’t say, “This is metaphorically My body,” or “This is symbolically My body,” or any such thing, He said, “This IS My body.”

Now, one of the objections you made in a previous email was this: “You say that you did not claim that the Bible uses the word “literally” in John 6, yet you react as if it did. You do claim that we must literally eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus Christ in order to have eternal life. The Bible doesn’t. You do. You made that point.”

The Bible does not use the word “literally” in John 6, but I ask you again: Was Jesus talking about His literal or metaphorical flesh in John 6:51 when He said that He would give His flesh for the life of the world? Did He give His literal or metaphorical flesh for the life of the world? I ask you again: Did those who heard Him on that day take Him literally or metaphorically?

You said in the quote above that I react as if the Bible uses the word “literally,” even though it doesn’t actually use that word. The implication is that I am “adding” to Scripture. However, you react as if the Bible uses the word “metaphorically,” even though it doesn’t actually use that word. Why isn’t that “adding” to Scripture? Why is it bad when I do something, but okay when you do the same thing? Besides, I believe I have given good reason, from the Bible, for that reaction. I have laid out a case, from the Scripture, for why I believe Jesus is speaking literally. I have seen nothing from you, other than your own opinion, as to why you believe He is speaking metaphorically. By the way, which scripture passage is it that mentions the word “metaphorically?”

Strategies/Comments: This is something to constantly be on the lookout for…when a Catholic does something, it is bad. Very bad. But, when the non-Catholic does the exact same thing, just from a different direction, then it’s hunky-dory, no problem, whatsoever.

You also stated the following: “Yes, Jesus literally said, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life . . .” This is obvious from the Scriptures. But Jesus does not say, “Whoever eats my literal flesh and drinks my actual blood transubstantianaly, has eternal life..,” as your theology assumes he did.”

Please tell me where the Bible says, “Whoever eats my metaphorical flesh and drinks my metaphorical blood in some abstract spiritual sense has eternal life…,” as your theology assumes He did? Again, this smacks of hypocrisy – you do the exact thing – interpreting – that you say I’m doing, but it’s okay for you and not okay for me. That is the definition of hypocrisy.

Does Jesus literally say that we must “eat His flesh” and “drink His blood” in order to have “eternal life?” Yes or no? You answered “yes” in the quote above, yet you take me to task for believing what the Bible actually says.

Do you deny that, at the Last Supper, Jesus said what He was giving the Apostles was His body and His blood? Yes or no? You seemed to leave that part out of your description of the Last Supper that I quoted above.

Another of your objections: “You asked me to specifically state what you have added to the Bible. Here are the three interchangeable words that you have added: literally, actually, and transubstantially. Your doctrine fails without them, but they are nowhere to be found in Scripture. You have added them.”

Did Jesus literally say…did He actually say…that we must “eat [His] flesh” and “drink [His] blood” in order to have eternal life? Yes or no? Yes, He did So, I am not adding anything. He literally, and actually, said, “eat My flesh.” He literally, and actually, said, “drink My blood.” Do you deny that? And, again, was Jesus talking about His actual, literal flesh when He said He would give it for the life of the world? Did He give His actual, literal flesh for the life of the world? Yes or no?

Another argument from you was this: “Let’s have another bit of brutal honesty in our discussion concerning John chapter 6. It is you who claim that the doctrine of transubstantiation is biblical, but any guesses as to when that doctrine pops up in history? Any guesses? Anyone?
Surly [sic]this is so important that the early church unanimously agreed on it. Surly [sic]not a year or decade would go by before this important truth was revealed to the Church. But alas this is not the case. The word “transubstantiation” was first introduced in 1079. (Hmm, lots of new doctrines are introduced after 1054 A.D. – perhaps more on that later, I bet your readers would be interested in it.) I wonder why it took God so long to clear this one up. Perhaps you can see now that it is my faith that is ancient (because it is based Scripture) and your faith that contains innovations and additions. My faith is not 200 years old. It is nearly 2000 years old. It is your faith that is constantly being changed to serve its institutional purposes.”

With all due respect, Matt, but this is not much of an argument. Regarding transubstantiation, it is simply a description of what is happening in the process of ordinary bread and wine becoming the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ. The substance of the bread is replaced by the substance of Christ’s body and blood. If you want me to explain how that happens, you can forget it. I have no idea how that happens, other than the fact that it happens by the power of God. I believe by faith.

Regarding the fact that the word “transubstantiation” wasn’t coined until 1079 A.D. or thereabouts, you have proven nothing. As if this is some shocking revelation? Oh, no! Catholics don’t read this part! The Church has been trying to hide this from you! You can’t read this or the Church will go out of business. Oh, please…

Where do you think you ultimately got your information on when the word “transubstantiation” came into existence? Do you think some clever Protestant snuck his way into the Vatican archives to discover this secret? You got your information, whether directly or indirectly, from Catholic sources. You might be interested in picking up a copy of “The Sources of Catholic Dogma,” edited by Denzinger. It contains a wealth of information on Catholic teaching and the Councils that formulated (not invented) the teaching on certain doctrines and dogmas – like, the Trinity, transubstantiation, the Incarnation, and so on. We don’t try to hide any of these things…they’re not these big faith-shattering secrets that the Vatican is trying to hide from everyone…they’re published in books and articles and what not for the whole world to see. Your “brutal honesty” is nothing of the sort…it is brutal ignorance, with all due respect.

To try and argue, as you do, that this belief is an “addition” to the Bible because the term was first introduced several hundred years after Christ, is pretty nonsensical. By similar argument you can toss out the doctrine of the Incarnation and the Trinity, among others. After all, those terms weren’t introduced until after the Bible was written either. Those terms are merely used, after the fact, to describe what is contained in Scripture…the same with transubstantiation. The term merely gives us a way to try and explain what exactly is happening when Jesus says, “This is My body.” To call it an “invention” or an “addition” to Scripture is an argument that I thought was beneath you. I thought you said you were going to give me some different arguments from what the fundamentalists use?

Besides, the fact is that everyone in the early Church did believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, whether they called it transubstantiation or not – have you read the Early Church Fathers? The fact that it wasn’t until around the 11th century that the need to better define the teaching came about shows that it wasn’t until then that there were any serious doubts regarding the teaching. Surely you are familiar with the historical fact that Councils were, for the most part, called to counter heresies that would spring up from time to time? And that these Councils would better formulate and explain doctrines that were being challenged by these heresies and heretics? The Council of Nicaea, which formulated much of the doctrine on the Trinity that you believe in, wasn’t called for almost 300 years after Jesus’ death. Does that mean that the teaching on the Trinity wasn’t important? No. It means it wasn’t seriously challenged until the 4th century. The fact that we don’t see any Councils being called to better formulate and explain Eucharistic teaching before the 11th century shows that the belief in the Real Presence was a universal belief for many centuries in the Church, and only of relatively late was it seriously challenged.


Actually, there is a fourth point I wish to make. You stated the following:

The Roman Catholic church adds nothing to the Word of God ? ? Where should we start? Perhaps you can tell me where in the Bible we find the teaching that Mary was immaculately conceived (not Jesus, but Mary)? Perhaps you can tell me where in the Bible I can find a distinct class of priests in the Church. Perhaps you can tell me where in Word of God we are told that those “special” priests cannot be married. Perhaps you can tell me where in the Bible it is okay to make statues of people and pray to dead people. Perhaps you can give me just one clear example in the Bible of an infant being baptized. Shall I go on? But wait, your theology allows you to add things to the Bible. When the Roam Catholic church adds these things they say that God has entrusted them with these words. That allows them to add anything they want and still call it the “Word of God”, tricky.

I can give you answers to each and every one of those questions. However, before I do, let me ask you these questions to once again point out what appears to be a slight case of hypocrisy:

1) Where in the Bible does it list the books which should be part of the Bible?

2) Where in the Bible does it say that public revelation ended with the death of the last apostle?

3) Where in the Bible does it say that we should go by the Bible alone when it comes to all matters pertaining to faith and morals?

4) Where in the Bible does it say that the writer of the Gospel of Mark was inspired by the Holy Spirit?

5) Where in the Bible does it tell us that the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews was inspired by the Holy Spirit?

I previously asked you how you know the Bible to be inspired. You basically said that you know it to be inspired because it says so Talk about your circular reasoning Actually, not all the books of the Bible say that they are inspired, and I assume you know that they were all written individually. But, even more importantly, the Koran claims to be inspired, how do you know that it’s not? And, if you asked a Muslim how he knows the Koran is inspired, and he said, “Because it says so,” would you accept that reasoning? I don’t think so. If I claimed that what I am writing right now is inspired, by your reasoning and logic, I assume you would then accept it as inspired, right? You should, using your standard.

You don’t accept the Bible as being inspired because it says so, you accept the Bible as being inspired because someone told you it’s inspired. So, who was it? Who told you that the Bible is inspired? Whose authority did you accept in order to come to believe in the Bible as the inspired Word of God?

The point I’m making with all of this, Matt, is that many of your beliefs are based on authority that is outside of the Bible…you add to the Bible, to use your terminology…but either you don’t realize it, or you simply won’t admit to it. You hold to beliefs that are not found in the pages of Scripture. You believe the writer of the Gospel of Mark was inspired, don’t you? Yet, can you give me a chapter and verse to tell me where the Bible says that. No, you can’t. Which means you hold me to a different standard than you hold yourself to. You tell me Catholics add to the Bible, yet you cannot give me Bible verses for some of the beliefs you hold that all the other beliefs you hold depend upon. You believe the Gospel of Mark to be inspired Scripture, yet, you can’t tell me how you know the writer of Mark was inspired by the Holy Spirit You believe all the books of the Bible to be inspired, but you can’t give me a list, from the Bible, of which books are supposed to be in the Bible

So, again, I ask you to answer all of my questions, #1-#5 above, with citations, chapter and verse, from the Bible. If you cannot, then I accuse you of “adding to the Bible,” and I condemn you as holding a thoroughly Roman Catholic belief – the belief in Sacred Tradition.

Now, I will get back to more on the issue of authority and interpretation of the Bible, but that will be in the next email, as I’m sure your response to this email will give me ample opportunity to do just that.

Oh, one more thing, if you have any questions that you have asked me in previous emails, that you feel I haven’t answered, please do list them like I did the ones at the beginning of this response. I would be happy to answer any and all of them.

God bless


In Conclusion

No need for too much commentary on my part, I think most of that speaks for itself. How many yes and no answers do you think I’ll get? I’ll bet zero, but, there is always hope. How many direct answers to direct questions do you think I’ll get? I’ll bet zero, but, again, there is always hope. If I don’t get direct answers to the questions I’ve asked, then I will try one more time, and that will be it.

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Apologetics for the Masses