Apologetics for the Masses #350 - An Evangelical Pastor and Mary

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The Sinlessness of Mary - A Debate With an Evangelical Pastor



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Hey folks,

     I am back in the saddle after a few weeks of being away from writing due to the busyness of work and life and travel and such.  This week continues the Pastor Greg Smith saga.  I believe this week, and then next week, will be sufficient to wrap this one up.  I believe I have given more "airtime" to Pastor Smith than any other person I've ever featured in one of my newsletters, so he cannot say that he was not given an adequate shot at converting all of us poor, ignorant, biblically uneducated, magisterially misled Catholics. 

     What I hope this dialogue has shown you is: 1) Non-Catholics you talk with will quite often, if not always, avoid giving direct answers to direct questions.  2) When you have a response to their "Holy Spirit-guided, yet fallible" interpretations of the Bible, that takes issue with their "Holy Spirit-guided, yet fallible" interpretation of the Bible," they will quite often just tell you that your interpretation is wrong and they will simply repeat their "Holy Spirit-guided, yet fallible" interpretation.  It always amazes me that these folks are apparently blind to the fact that being guided by the Holy Spirit - yet being fallible in their interpretation of Scripture - is an inherent contradiction, and also blind to the fact that they have absolutely no authority - none whatsoever! - to tell any Catholic (or anyone else for that matter) that the Catholic interpretation of the Bible is wrong! 

     The absolute arrogance of telling someone that you are led by the Holy Spirit and they are not is mind boggling to me.  And how do you know that the other guy is not led by the Holy Spirit?  Because he disagrees with you!  Time after time after time, I have pointed out to Pastor Greg that he gives me not the Word of God, but the Word of Greg.  He will quote or cite a passage of Scripture and then tell me what he "thinks" it means.  Every non-Catholic Christian you ever discuss your faith with will do the exact same thing.  The problem is, Pastor Greg admits that he is fallible (which, by definition, means his interpretations could be wrong); yet, he won't admit that, being fallible, his interpretations - the Word of Greg - could be wrong.  Again, the lack of realization of the inherent contradictions in their theology, and in their arguments, never ceases to amaze me. 

     Okay, in this newsletter, Pastor Smith is responding to my comments in Issue #344 (http://www.biblechristiansociety.com/newsletter/453-apologetics-for-the-masses-344-an-evangelical-pastor-and-mary-part-5).  He has broken his comments up into well-defined sections, so I will give a section of his comments followed by my comments.  His comments will be in italics, and my comments will be right below each section of his.  He got a bit wordy because he threw in a bunch of nonsense on the popes and Peter and apostolic succession that shows his ignorance of Catholic teaching and which did not really respond to what I had said on those topics.  So, after my first two or three responses, I was much more "efficient" in what I said so as to keep it from going on too long.  Anyway, I hope you enjoy...



Mary is a sinner

     You obviously did not understand my explanation of “all” and “many.”  So, let’s go to other passages that explain the same thing.  Let’s let Scripture explain Scripture.

     Romans 3:10:  there is none righteous, no, not one

     Romans 3:11:  there is none who seeks after God

     Romans 3:12:  there is none who does good, no, not one

     Romans 3:19:  all the world may become guilty before God

     Romans 3:22:  and this explains the “all” without question.  It says “even the righteousness of God which is through faith in Jesus Christ to all (do not stop here John) who believe.  Paul is clearly saying that no one is righteous and it is all who believe who are saved.  This agrees again with what I have been writing about all along.  You are taking a section of Scripture and misinterpreting it to fit your church’s preconceived notion.  Again, Mary was a sinner.  There is not one human being, except Christ of course who is the God-man, who lived a righteous life before they obtained Christ’s righteousness through faith in Christ.  And you have no Scripture that says Mary was sinless, do you?  You can only try to build a case, but it falls short each time. 


My Response  
    I love it!  I "obviously" did not understand his explanation.  No, Pastor, I understood your explanation just fine.  The problem is, your explanation was contradictory.  Just as your explanation of your explanation is contradictory. 

     Okay, folks, please notice he is trying to pull a little sleight of hand here.  First of all, notice how he is trying here to switch from giving me a lot of his own words - i.e., his fallible interpretation - to simply quoting Scripture.  That, people, is a reaction to the fact that I have consistently pointed out to him how he gives me the Word of Greg as opposed to the Word of God.  It does have an effect, so use it and keep using it in your conversations.  But, simply quoting Scripture doesn't work for him, because I agree with every single verse of Scripture he has quoted.  Every single one!  But, I still disagree with his illogical, inconsistent, and fallible interpretation of those verses. 

     He seems to be saying that "none" and "no one" are absolutes, but he has already previously stated that "none" in verse 11 is referring only to "unbelievers," which means it is not an absolute.  So, there's the first contradiction.  Yet, even though "none" is not necessarily an absolute, "all" is indeed an absolute (at least here).  There's the second contradiction.  And, notice, very importantly, that he completely ignores my comments and questions in regard to Rom 5:18-19, where he contradicted himself not just one verse to the next, but within the same verse.  

     Let me quote those two verses again: Rom 5:18-19, "Then as one man's trespass led to condemnation for ALL men, so one man's act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for ALL men. For as by one man's disobedience MANY were made sinners, so by one man's obedience MANY will be made righteous."  So, if absolutely ALL men are condemned, then absolutely ALL men should be acquitted and have life, right?  I mean, if "ALL" is an absolute.  Well, Pastor Greg's way of interpreting the Bible says, "Not so fast."

     According to Pastor Greg Smith's interpretation, those verses actually read this way, "Then as one man's trespass led to condemnation for ALL [ABSOLUTELY ALL WITHOUT EXCEPTION] men, so one man's act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for ALL [NOT ABSOLUTELY ALL WITHOUT EXCEPTION] men.  For as by one man's disobedience [ABSOLUTELY ALL MEN WITHOUT EXCEPTION] were made sinners, so by one man's obedience [NOT ABSOLUTELY ALL MEN WITHOUT EXCEPTION] will be made righteous." 

     You see, in Pastor Greg's theology, Rom 5:18-19 is a very problematic passage.  The first "ALL" in verse 18 is an absolute - absolutely everyone stands condemned.  He has said such.  But, the second "ALL" in verse 18 is not an absolute -  that's because Pastor Greg does not believe absolutely everyone is acquitted and receives life (and this is in reference to eternal life).  I.e., he does not believe in universal salvation.  Then, in verse 19, Pastor Greg's theology believes the first "MANY" actually is an absolute that means "ABSOLUTELY ALL," but the second "MANY" just means, well, "many".  Do you see why he avoided Rom 5:18-19 in his response?  His theology gets taken to the woodshed there.  "ALL" means "all," except when it means "many," and "many" means "many," except when it means "all," according to Pastor Greg.

     And my point in all of this is that when he tries to say "ALL" in Rom 3:23 - "for ALL have sinned..." - is an absolute and, therefore, Mary had to have sinned, he is interpreting that particular "ALL" as an absolute because his theology tells him he has to, even though that causes him to be inconsistent in his interpretations of Rom 3:11 and Rom 5:18-19. 



     You state that the laying on of hands by the godly men at my seminary was “just some formality that you indulged in, but nothing significant was passed on to you through the laying on of hands.”

     Again, I find your statement uninformed and judgmental.  So, let me explain to you what it meant for me.  These were men whom I studied under for many years.  They were men who understood the call that I received, and that in obedience, I began to preach the Word, with the spiritual gifts God has given me.  The laying on of hands was a confirmation to my call and a prayer that God might use me to do the very thing I am commanded to do.  So, this was very significant for me going forward into the ministry.

     My church is approximately 150 years old.

     Nowhere in Scripture does it confirm apostolic succession.  And if it did, the line in the Roman Catholic church would have been broken multiple times through certain popes, cardinals, and priests who were ungodly and just plain evil.  I would have liked to research this further, but if just half of this (below on the popes) was true, the Roman Catholic church hierarchy should have been abolished hundreds of years ago.  For example, let’s look at some of your popes, who supposedly speak to God for us and who relay the things of God to us:

   Pope Urban II

  • Initiated the first Crusade
  • Promised forgiveness to all those who joined the crusade (salvation through war???)

   Pope Leo X

  • Offered salvation from damnation upon death

   Pope Julius III

  • A homosexual and pedophile with a teenage boy he found on the streets of Rome
  • He took him into the Vatican as his lover and adopted nephew
  • He then promoted him, Innocenzo Ciocchi Del Monte, to Cardinal, while he was still a kid

   Pope Stephen VI

  • He dug up the body of a previous pope Formosus, and put him on trial!  He was found guilty.  His body was dragged through the town, beheaded, buried, dug up again, and thrown into the River Tiber

   Pope Alexander VI

  • His family bought the papal seat
  • He admitted to fathering several children from his various mistresses
  • He hosted lavish orgies at the Vatican
  • He hired prostitutes for entertainment

   Pope Paul III

  • Accused of murdering both his mother and niece to inherit the family’s wealth prior to becoming Pope
  • Was known to eliminate his enemies by strangulation

   Pope John XII

  • Accused of raping and engaging in sexual deviant behavior
  • Killed by a jealous husband who found the pope in bed with his wife

   Pope Boniface VIII

  • Waged wars
  • Appears in Dante’s Divine Comedy, in the 8th Circle of Hell, for the crime of selling off ecclesiastical privileges

   Pope Urban VI

  • Had 6 cardinals arrested, brutally tortured, and executed

   Pope Benedict IX

  • Described in the Catholic Encyclopedia as “a disgrace to the chair of Peter”
  • Pope Victor III said, “his life was so vile, so foul, and so execrable that I shudder to think of it”
  • Hosted all-male orgies and raped men, women, and children
  • Sold the papacy to Gregory VI.  After him, Damascus II became pope.  Benedict poisoned Damascus II and reclaimed the papacy for himself
  • Then later driven out of Rome

     Is this the kind of succession that you say is from God?  Were these popes representatives of God to us?  No wonder Martin Luther had enough of the Roman Catholic church, especially its practices of indulgences, that you could buy your salvation for money.  In your last email, you denied this!  Seriously John???  How can you be considered credible?  Martin Luther’s main reason for leaving the church was because Pope Leo X offered indulgences for those who gave alms to rebuild St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.  Seriously John???

     If you want to talk about your history and succession going back to Peter, the Roman Catholic church hierarchy should have been abolished long ago as a false religion and practice.  I am not saying the people of the church do not have a sincere faith in God.  The Roman Catholic church was built upon a wonderful foundation, the foundation of Christ.  But many of your popes were immoral and evil, and unless they somehow repented before their death, they are burning now in hell.

     I wish the Roman Catholic church leadership today stood out as a moral example to people.  But what do we see with many priests and cardinals.  We see sexual sin, raping young boys and girls and nuns.  This is a disgrace.

     Note that I am not denying that this does not happen in some Protestant circles also.  Any Protestant pastor who does this should be fired and jailed.


My Response 

     Pastor Smith you still refuse to answer my question: "If your authority to preach, to teach, to lead, to pray, and to shepherd the church is delegated to you 'directly' by Jesus Christ through the Scriptures ALONE [as you claim; emphasis mine], then what, pray tell, could the 'godly men' who laid hands on you pass on to you through the laying on of hands?"

     You claim the laying on of hands "meant" something to you.  Well, that's nice.  So, there was some element of sentimentality involved.  You claim that by the laying on of hands these "godly men" basically gave you a "confirmation" of your call.  Well, I guess that's nice, too, but all your words do is confirm what I said - nothing "significant" was passed on to you through the laying on of hands.  In other words, no authority was passed on to you through the laying on of hands.  No spiritual gifts were passed on to you through the laying on of hands.  "Pastor" Greg: Please give me book, chapter, and verse from Scripture where the laying on of hands is simply a confirmation of the call a person has received straight from God through the "Scriptures alone".  I don't think you can do that, can you? 

     And can you, "Pastor" Greg, also give me book, chapter, and verse where God commands you, Pastor Greg Smith, to preach, teach, pastor, and rule with authority over others?  Didn't you say your call came from your "heart"?  Aren't you a fallible man?  Could your heart have been wrong?  Could you not actually be a false teacher with absolutely no authority to preach, to teach, to pastor?  Is that not at least a possibility?

     And, furthermore, "Pastor," you admit that your church is only about 150 years old.  Will you then also admit that your church could not possibly be the church founded by Jesus Christ in Israel some 2000 years ago?  I mean, you believe Jesus started a church, right?  And that would have been 2000 years ago, right?  So, your church was started by a man, or group of men, but not by Jesus.  That is fact.

     You mentioned all these popes that were horrific sinners.  To what end?  I know they were sinners. Every informed Catholic knows they were sinners.  Every pope we've ever had was a sinner. Are you telling me that God cannot use sinners to accomplish His purposes?  Are you saying that there have been no sinners pastoring your 150 year old church in all of its 150 years of existence?  And I can hear your response: "Yes, we are all sinners, but not THAT bad of a sinner!" 

     Furthermore, you displayed your ignorance of all things Catholic with your comments.  I will give you just one example, but it reveals a grievous misunderstanding of Catholic teaching: You stated that Pope Urban II, "Promised forgiveness to all those who joined the crusade (salvation through war???)"  Uhm...no...he did not.  He promised a plenary indulgence to those who joined the Crusade and made it to the Holy Land.  An indulgence has absolutely nothing - NOTHING! - to do with the forgiveness of sin and with salvation.  But you don't know that, do you?  So, is it considered "Christian" in your 150-year old church, "Pastor," to misrepresent the beliefs of others?  You've never actually read anything by Catholics, have you?  No, you read what anti-Catholics say about Catholics and just accept it all hook, line, and sinker.  Are you guided by the Holy Spirit when you misrepresent the beliefs of others?

     Finally, I will say this: Are you familiar with Gamaliel and what he said in Acts 5?  If this undertaking be of men, it will fail.  Can you explain to me why, after 2000 years, the Catholic Church is still in existence if it is not guided by the Holy Spirit?  With all of the horrible sinners that we have had - not just as popes, but as bishops and priests - why are we still in existence?  Would your church still be in existence if it was found out that you, the pastor, had concubines and children out of wedlock?  Or engaged in homosexual orgies?  Or had people murdered?  And not just if you engaged in that behavior, but your successor and then his successor?  Would your 150 year old church still be in existence?  You know it wouldn't.  But my 2000 year old church is, despite Satan's best attempts to overthrow it.



     John, I was not trying to brag about any degrees that I have obtained.  I was only answering your questions about my qualifications and work of preparation.  I apologize if I came across that way.  However, I think your readers can see a difference in tone when you listed your accomplishments.  I leave that to your readers to decide.

     Do you deny that God does not put things on our heart?  I am not talking about passing on doctrine.  I am talking about how he inclines our heart to Himself, speaking to our conscience (Romans 1), to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments (I Kings 8:58).  We must compare even this to the authority of Scripture, to make sure it is true and consistent with His Word.  When God puts a call on your heart, we are to give it our maximum effort to run the race (I Corinthians 9:24), pressing on that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus also laid hold for me.

     John, how do you know your spiritual gift?  Did God declare it to you in His Word?  No, of course not.  He did not do it to me either.  But, He presses it on our hearts as we listen to Him.  Again, we compare all of this to Scripture.


My Response 

     God does indeed put things on people's hearts.  But, you stated on the one hand that all of your authority to preach, teach, pastor, etc. was given to you "directly" by Jesus Christ, through the Scriptures "alone."  Then, on the other hand, you say your "calling" from God was "laid on your heart".  If your calling came through your heart, then it was not from Scriptures "alone" that you received your supposed authority.

     Furthermore, do you deny the Scripture passage, " The way of a fool is right in his own eyes," (Prov 12:15)?  Do you further deny that a person could "think" they have a particular calling from God, but they really don't?  Do you deny that, as a fallible human being, you could...just possibly...be wrong about your supposed calling?  I mean, how am I supposed to know that you truly have a call, and authority, from God Himself?  How do I know so that I should believe what you teach and preach?  How?!

     I mean, think about it: You tell me you received a "calling" from God?  How do you know that?  From your heart.  So, there is no way for me to know that.  You say you received authority to preach, teach, and pastor directly from Jesus Christ through the Scriptures alone.  I don't see your name in the Bible, so how am I to know that?  You say that the elders of the church who laid hands on you to "confirm" your call did not pass any kind of authority or spiritual gifts on to you through the laying on of hands.  In other words, you admit that there was no power of the Holy Spirit in that laying on of hands.  I believe you.  Also, the "elders" who laid hands on you are the elders of a "church" that you admit cannot trace its authority back to the Apostles.  I believe you on that, too.  And, you cannot tell me what authority, if any, these "elders" of this "church" do have.  And you admit that any authority they may have cannot be the authority that Jesus gave His Church 2000 years ago, because you admit that your church is only 150 years old.  So, given all of that, why should I believe a word you say in regard to the Bible?  Why should anyone?


Can John start his own church?

John, yes, you can start your own church, but I would advise against it. 

First, in James 3:1, James warns than many of you should not become teachers because you will be judged more strictly.

Second, John, you would receive great judgment because of your theology, especially on salvation.  Your teaching on salvation can lead people to hell.  While I believe we agree on the Trinity, the attributes of God, the deity of Jesus Christ, the incarnation, the virgin birth of Jesus, the resurrection of Jesus, the ascension of Jesus, we disagree on the following teachings of the Roman Catholic church which go against Scripture:

  • The church was built on Peter, who is called the first pope (I’ll talk more about this shortly)
  • The doctrine of purgatory after death, to purge a person of sin (instituted as church doctrine in 593 A.D.)
  • Prayers to Mary and dead saints to mediate on our behalf (600 A.D.)
  • Images to kneel and pray before
  • Confession to a priest for absolution of sins (1215 A.D.)
  • The mass and sacraments as necessary for salvation
  • Salvation comes only through the Roman Catholic church
  • The Eucharist of the Mass and transubstantiation (Transubstantiation in 1215 A.D.)
    • Teaching that the bread and wine literally become the blood and body of Christ when taken at Communion
  • Penance and the selling of indulgences (1274 A.D.)
  • Veneration and worship of Mary
    • Immaculate conception of Mary as discussed above (1854 A.D.)
      • Born without original sin and lived a life of sinlessness
      • Lifted into heaven (she did not die – where is that in the 27 books of the New Testament???)
      • Is the Mother of God and the Mother of the Church
  • Canonization of dead saints (995 A.D.)
  • Celibacy of the priesthood (another late doctrine, 1079 A.D.)
  • Praying the Rosary (1090 A.D.)

Most importantly, we differ on salvation, on how one is justified before God, on how a person receives eternal life instead of eternal death.  I summarize what I mean on the doctrine of salvation:

  1. It is God who predestines people to be saved (Romans 8:29, Ephesians 1:5, 11)
  2. God the Holy Spirit does His pre-salvation work, convicting us of sin (John 16:8 – 11)
  3. A person responds to God by faith, by trusting in Christ as his Lord and Savior (based upon His work on the cross, His death and resurrection) and the repentance of sins (Acts 16:31; Romans 5:1,10:9 – 10)
  4. Christ’s righteousness is then imputed or credited to the believer (Romans 4:3 – 5)
  5. God declares the person justified (not guilty).  Here, God legally declares a person to be absolutely righteous, pardoning his sins, based upon God’s grace (unmerited favor) (Deuteronomy 25:1; Romans 3:25 – 30; 4; 5:1; 8:1, 33 – 34; Galatians 3:6 – 14; 4:21 – 5:12; I John 1:7 – 2:2)
  6. Now, after salvation, God keeps working in us!  He does the work of sanctification (as I have already described) (Romans 6 – 8, 15:16; Hebrews 2:11, 10:14)
  7. We respond with baptism and good works (Matthew 28:19, Ephesians 2:10).

Therefore John, I would advise you not to start your own church.


My Response

     Here is the arrogance that I spoke of above, arrogance combined with ignorance.  An example of the latter: you state that Purgatory became a doctrine of the church in 593 A.D.  Yet, we have examples of Church Fathers speaking of Purgatory well before that date.  You know, Greg, you might want to actually read Catholic sources about the Catholic Church and its teachings.  Here is an article on Purgatory that it would behoove you to read, giving scriptural support - Old Testament and New - and the support of the teachings of the Early Church Fathers, to the doctrine of Purgatory:  http://newadvent.org/cathen/12575a.htm

     And, I find it absolutely fascinating that you say I could indeed start my own church, and then you think I would start my own Catholic Church.  You just don't get it, to you?  The Catholic Church was started 2000 years ago, by Jesus Christ.  I cannot start my own version of the Catholic Church.  If I wanted to start a church, I would do like all of your forebears in the Protestant Revolt and breakaway from the Church of Christ to form my own church. 

     One last point on this: I believe every single verse of Scripture that you cited.  I do not, however, believe your fallible interpretations of those verses.  Will you admit: 1) That your interpretations of those verses are indeed fallible; and 2) Being fallible, your interpretations could be wrong?


Should popes be allowed to marry?

     You say that eunuchs were made eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom.  This is a general statement by Jesus, directed to people in general, not to bishops / pastors specifically.  A more applicable verse that is directed to bishops / pastors is that an overseer / bishop / elder should be the husband of one wife (I Timothy 3:2)!  Your church violates this by commanding that the leadership be celibate.  The Scriptures never commanded it.

     You say that the married man is divided.  True, this could happen.  But this may also make him a more effective minister.  Paul wrote this for our own good, not to restrict us (I Corinthians 7:35).  You are trying to take 2 scriptures to fit into your theology.  Nowhere in Scripture does it restrict a person from serving as a minister and being married.  The Lord leaves that up to us – He does not impose it as the Roman Catholic church does incorrectly by restricting its leadership.

     And perhaps, if priests and popes were allowed to marry, there would not be all the sexual immorality that has inundated the Roman Catholic priesthood.


My Response

     Just one thing here - I did not say that the "married man is divided."  God said that.  It's nice to see that you admit God "could" be right on that.


Apostolic Succession

     Thank you for finally opening up on the subject.  But you failed to address my key comments and answer my previous questions.  I will repeat them here for you if you dare to answer:

     If Peter was supreme, he would not have been rebuked by Paul over his relationship with Gentiles, when he was not acting in line with the truth of the gospel (Galatians 2:11 – 14).  Peter was one of the leaders of the church in Jerusalem and the leader of the twelve, a great man used by the Lord, but James and Paul too were leaders of the church. 

     Nowhere in Scripture is Peter recognized as the pastor of the Roman church or that he was even in Rome!  Where is he in Paul’s mention of the saints in the church in Rome in Romans 16? 

     Where is he when Paul greets ten members from the church in Rome in II Timothy?  Instead, it was Paul who was entrusted as the pastor (or apostle) to the circumcised, to the Gentiles (Galatians 2:7 – 8), not Peter! 

     And nowhere in Scripture does it ever say that Peter’s successors (of which some of the popes were very ungodly) are absolutely supreme over the other apostles’ successors. 

     And let’s look at the humility of the Apostle Peter himself in I Peter 1.  Peter introduces himself as the apostle of Jesus Christ, not as the head of the church.  In I Peter 5, Peter exhorted the elders as a fellow elder.   I Peter 2:5, he says we are part of a holy priesthood, a people for God’s own possession.  There is no priesthood except for the priesthood of believers, of which all believers are a part.

     In response to your verses, I will answer them.  Here are my responses:

Matthew 28:19 – 20: 

     What does this have to do with apostolic succession?

     We are all to do this, right?

Acts 1:15 – 26

    If we are to follow the same requirements here for apostolic succession, then the one chosen must be one who witnessed Christ’s life and resurrection.  Bad choice of a proof text, John.

     And yes, we have elders in our church and if one dies, the office is filled by another.  But this is not apostolic succession.

Matthew 16:16 – 19

     Jesus gave Peter the keys to the kingdom

     But, have you ever read Matthew 18:18?  This verse is for all the apostles, so that whatever they bind in earth will be bound in heaven and whatever they loose will be loosed in heaven.  What Jesus gave to Peter in 16:18, He gave to all the apostles in 18:18.


My Response

     You stated: "What Jesus gave to Peter in [Matthew] 16:18, He gave to all the apostles in [Matthew] 18:18."  So, does your translation of the Bible say that all the apostles received the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven (Matt 16:19, not 16:18) in Matthew 18:18?  If not, how can you make the claim you just made?

     You know, I see a lot of the Word of Greg above - will you admit that you are giving me your fallible interpretations of Scripture and not the infallible Word of God...yes or no?


Peter is not the chief apostle

     Matthew 16:18:  what is the rock that Christ will build His church on?  It is Christ, not Peter (I Corinthians 10:4, Romans 9:33, I Peter 2:8).

     Jesus gave authority to all of His disciples based upon how people respond to the gospel message.  He gave the authority to forgive sins (John 20:20 – 23).  He gave authority to preach the gospel so that everyone who believes receives forgiveness of sins through Christ’s name.

     Christians have the authority to tell people who respond to the message of salvation by believing in Jesus Christ, that their sins are forgiven, by faith in Jesus Christ (to thus open the door of the kingdom of heaven and allow people to enter), or the authority to tell people that they are still in their sins and will be lost unless they repent.

     Peter was given authority, but so were the disciples, as I said above.  And we Christians have this authority. 

     It is kind of funny that you think just because Peter walked on water that this is somehow part of the proof he is the chief apostle.  The apostle John was the only disciple at the foot of the cross.  Is that also proof that John was the chief apostle?  And Jesus gave the command to John to take care of His mother.  Where was Peter?  Oh yeah, he was the only apostle that denied Jesus 3 times!  What does that do for being the chief apostle?

     Acts 15:  Here is another case where you completely misinterpret the Bible – and here you have no excuse because this is one of your chief doctrines.  You say, “Acts 15; Peter ends debate at the Council of Jerusalem and makes the decision regarding the Gentiles and circumcision.”  WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!!  It was James (please re-read Acts 15:13 – 19).  So, under your false interpretation, it should be James (not Peter) who is the head of the church!  Please do not write back and say you had an Elijah / Isaiah moment!  How can your readers trust you when you do not even understand what is clearly written?


My Response

     Everything you just said above can be summarized, and responded to, by just adding a few words to your title:

"Peter is not the chief apostle," in your fallible opinion.  Right?

     When you say I "completely misinterpret the Bible," will you admit that that is your opinion?  Your fallible opinion?  And that you could be wrong?


Early church fathers and councils

     Evangelical Christians, as I have already written, hold the writings of the early church with great value.  Do we hold them with the authority of Scripture?  No.  I have been clear on that.  So, when the early councils of Christians met to choose the canon, we hold this with great respect.  If sometime later, we found the original manuscript of one of the books with an obvious heresy (say with an additional chapter that was heresy), then we would have sufficient evidence that it was not inspired by the Holy Spirit.  Of course, we do not believe this is true, but I write this that you might understand.  Then we would throw out the book because it does not fall under the authority of Scripture, that it is without error, regardless of what the early councils said.

     I am not sure when the Catholic church hierarchy became corrupt.  I would have to do a lot of research on that.  I know that Martin Luther taught the Catholic church greatly abused the original teachings and practices of the original Christian church (catholic just means universal) because it brought in pagan festivals and rites, the worship of Mary, the sale of indulgences, and doctrines of purgatory which were not of the early church.

     John, I am not doubting the faith of you or any Catholic.  Each person must examine themselves to see if they have repented from their sins and put their faith in Jesus Christ and His work on the cross and grave for salvation.  I stand against the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic church and the false doctrines they teach alongside of the truth found in the Scriptures.


My Response

    Again, I find it absolutely fascinating how blind you are to the inherent contradictions in the very foundation of your arguments.  You go by the Bible alone as your sole infallible authority, yet you have some authority outside of the Bible which you have to rely upon in order to give you the Bible in the first place.  Yet, you do not believe in the infallibility of that authority.  Tell me please, how can a fallible authority, give witness to future generations that the Bible is infallible?  Have you ever thought about that?  Apparently not.

     You are admitting, and you outright say it, that the authority that you rely upon for your 66 book Protestant Bible - which did not exist until the 1500's - was fallible.  You admit that the authority you rely upon for your 66 books, got it wrong on 7 other books.  Well, if they got it wrong on 7 books, how do you know they got it right on all the other 66 books?  You believe the 66 books of your Protestant Bible - which did not exist until the 1500's - are the inspired, inerrant Word of God based on the testimony of an authority that you believe makes mistakes when it comes to claiming certain books are Scripture! 

     So, I will ask, is the canon of Scripture that you accept - 66 books in all - is that canon fallible, or infallible? 

     Finally, I will simply repeat my closing remarks from Issue #344, that you did not respond to at all: "Nowhere have you shown that I have misinterpreted Scriptures.  In fact, I have shown that the opposite is true.  Regardless, the best - the absolute best - you can do in regard to commenting on my interpretations of Scripture, is to say that my fallible interpretation disagrees with your fallible interpretation.  You cannot say, infallibly and/or authoritatively, that I am wrong - at least, not by your theology which allows everyone to pick up the Bible and interpret it for themselves as they feel led by the Holy Spirit in their heart, right?...You are wanting me - demanding, really - to accept the Word of Greg as if it were the Word of God!  What right?!  What authority?!  Who do you think you are?  On the one hand you say that all spiritual truth comes from Scripture, and then here you are trying to pawn off on me a spiritual "truth" that you have come to "by your own conclusion, not from Scripture." 

    If you answer nothing else, answer this last paragraph. 


Closing Comments

     Folks, do you see how in any, and pretty much every, conversation that you have with a Protestant, they will try to pass off their fallible interpretations of the Word of God, as if they were indeed infallible?  I have been getting, over and over and over again, the Word of Greg presented as the Word of God.  Pastor Greg claims to be fallible, yet acts as if he is infallible.  He dares to tell me how I have misinterpreted the Word of God, when the sin I am really guilty of, is disagreeing with his fallible interpretation of the Word of God. 

     And why do you think he didn't touch the arguments that I brought up, again, in the very last paragraph?  Because he cannot respond to them honestly and consistently and not contradict his own theology.  What authority does he have to tell me I have interpreted the Bible incorrectly?  What authority does he have to say the Catholic Church is wrong in any single one of its teachings, especially when he is so misinformed as to what the Catholic Church actually teaches?  None and none!  Yet, he does both. 

     He has no authority.  None.  No authority to tell me, or anyone for that matter, that they are wrong.  He admits to receiving no authority in the laying on of hands.  He admits to his church not being founded 2000 years ago by Jesus Christ.  Yet, he has the audacity to act as if he has some sort of authority over me, over you, over the Catholic Church, over the interpretation of the Bible, and so on.  Arrogance, mixed with ignorance, is a dangerous thing for the soul.



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