Apologetics for the Masses #420: Refuting GotQuestions.org

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The Protestant website - GotQuestions.org - and John 6:51 (Part 6)

General Comments

Hey folks,

Meant to have this out last week, but the last 2-3 weeks have been absolutely nuts.  One week it was storm damage to the roof of my house that resulted in water damage, so we had to have the roof replaced.  The next week, we had a leak in the plumbing behind the dish washer resulting in damage to the den, kitchen, and a bathroom.  The water has been dried up and the damage has been cleaned up, now we're just waiting on the insurance adjuster to okay replacing the floor in our den.  Anyway, all of that took up a good bit of my time and attention.  So, while we wait for our new floor, I'm back at it this week.


     Last issue I published the response I got from "Sally," at GotQuestions.org in reply to the question I keep asking them about John 6:51, and for which I never really get an answer.  Or, I get conflicting answers.  Yes, Jesus is talking about His real body on the cross in John 6:51, they will say, but that means He is talking about His symbolic body being "eaten" as symbolic bread.  What?!  They are seriously challenged in a philosophical sense.  They want John 6:51 to be referring to His actual body and His "symbolic" body at the same time.  That violates the Principle of Non-Contradiction which says something either is, or it isn't.  It can't be, and not be, at the same time. 

     Anyway, in this issue, I am going to begin analyzing (i.e., ripping apart) Sally's response, particularly her "Seven Convincing Reasons" for why John 6:51 "must be taken figuratively".  But, before I address those "Seven Convincing Reasons," I am going to inform her about how she seriously misrepresented Catholic teaching in her previous response.  She asked, so I want to make sure she gets an answer.

     I printed her entire response in the last newsletter - https://www.biblechristiansociety.com/newsletter/599-apologetics-for-the-masses-419-gotquestions-org-one-more-time - so I'm not going to do it here.  I will simply print it piece-by-piece and intersperse my replies after each part of her response.

     I hope you enjoy...


Sally - GotQuestions.Org

First and foremost, I would love for you to identify the places where I ‘seriously misrepresented Catholic teaching’ in my previous answer, because I try to refer to their Catechism, as well as to the Bible, as guides for answering Catholic questions.


My Response

Dear Sally,

     Here are the places you "seriously misrepresented Catholic teaching":

1) In the Catholic Church, the belief is that the priest commands Christ to leave His seat at the right hand of the Father, at which time the bread becomes the actual body of Christ, and the wine becomes His actual blood. This is called “Transubstantiation” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, page 368, The Eucharist – Source and Summit of Ecclesial Life.)  This is performed in Catholic churches, world-wide, approximately 250,000 times per day.  It is an abomination to teach that the God of all creation, Jesus Christ, would obey the command of a fleshly, sinful priest, and turn Himself into a wafer of bread, or a cup of wine, to be consumed by people who do not know the truth.

     As a Catholic, and a rather well-informed Catholic, I can tell you that there is no teaching in any official document of the Catholic Church - whether it be the Catechism, a Church Council, a papal encyclical, a document issued by one of the Vatican congregations, or any other official magisterial document - that teaches that at the moment of consecration, "the priest commands Christ to leave His seat at the right hand of the Father."  Cite the document that says that, or, if you are an honest and forthright Christian, retract your statement. 

     Three things to note: a) Catholics believe that with God, "all things are possible."  Therefore, at the consecration, it is not necessary for Jesus to leave His seat at the right hand of the Father because He can be in more than one place at a time, so your statement to that effect is erroneous; b) The priest, of his own power and authority, does not "command" Jesus Christ to do anything.  Catholic belief, if you were to look more deeply into the Catechism, believes that Jesus acts in and through the ministry of the priest to effect the consecration of the bread and the wine.  So, it is the power and authority of God by which this action takes place.  Please read Paragraphs #1373-77, particularly #1375, of the Catechism (CCC), and in #1375, particularly the quotes from St. John Chrysostom and St. Ambrose (which, by the way, show what the early Church believed about the Eucharist). 

     Furthermore, we do not believe that Jesus "turns himself into a wafer of bread, or a cup of wine."  Rather, we believe that the substance of the bread and wine are turned into the substance of Jesus Christ - body, blood, soul, and divinity.  Also, please note how you contradict yourself here - first you say the priest commands Jesus to do this, then you say Jesus does it Himself. 

2) "In other words, according to their tradition, Jesus is sacrificed over and over again during the various Masses."

     You correctly quote the CCC, #1367, in regard to the "sacrifice of the Eucharist," but then you put your own "spin" on our words.  You say, "In other words, according to their tradition, Jesus is sacrificed over and over again during the various Masses."  Where does the Catechism say such a thing?!  How dare you tell us, or anyone else, what it is we mean, when the Catechism says exactly what we mean?!  No!  Nowhere...NOWHERE!...does "our tradition" tell us that Jesus is sacrificed over and over again at each and every Mass.  That is a lie.  In other words, you are wrong.  And, if you are an honest and forthright Christian, I expect you to renounce that lie. 

     Because of your built-in biases and prejudices, based on the misperceptions and half-truths and lies you have been taught about the Catholic Faith, you have interpreted the Catechism in such a way as to make the Catholic Church teach something that it does not teach.  Again, as you quoted from #1367, we teach that, "“The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice."  One sacrifice.  One sacrifice for all time.  One sacrifice for all people.  One sacrifice that is re-presented at each and every Mass around the world.  One! 

     Let me ask you this: I have heard from any number of Protestants, that they have been "covered in the blood of Christ."  Well, how is that possible?  is Jesus still bleeding?  Are they nailing Jesus to the Cross again and again and again every time someone is supposedly "saved" and thereby covered in the blood of Jesus?  When someone is saved, do they re-sacrifice Jesus, or do they, essentially, say to God the Father, "Here...here is the sacrifice upon which my salvation is based...the sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus, on the Cross."  Are they not, whether they are consciously aware of it or not, re-presenting the sacrifice of the Cross to the Father as the basis of their salvation?  Or do you believe that Jesus gets re-sacrificed each time someone is "saved"?  Just so the Sacrifice of the Eucharist.  We are re-presenting the Sacrifice of the Cross to the Father at each and every Mass.  So, again, we do not re-sacrifice Jesus at every Mass.  You never learned that in your Catholic schooling and you should be a bit embarrassed for not just believing such a thing, but passing it off to others as authentic Catholic teaching.

     Now, having told you where you "seriously misrepresented Catholic teaching," I hope you will apologize for your mistakes, and that you now better understand the authentic teaching of the Church in these areas, so as to no longer misrepresent them.  I always tell people, "If you want to disagree with Catholic teaching, fine.  But disagree with what we actually teach and not some misrepresentation of what we believe."  As a Christian, you have an obligation to tell the truth to people.  I hope you take that obligation seriously.

     Finally, I find it a bit of a joke that you would quote Mike Gendron on anything to do with the Catholic Church.  I have shown in my e-newsletter, on multiple occasions, that not only is Mike Gendron grossly ignorant when it comes to a number of Catholic teachings, but he also deliberately misrepresents a number of other Catholic teachings.  I say "deliberately" because he will quote from one paragraph of the CCC, and do like you did, "In other words, this means...," yet, the very next paragraph of the CCC will directly counter what he says.  But, that paragraph gets no mention from him, as if it didn't exist.  That cannot be attributed to ignorance.  Please don't be like him.


Sally - GotQuestions.Org

Therefore, the question of utmost importance is -- Was the message Jesus conveyed to the Jewish multitude [in John 6:51-58] to be understood as literal or figurative? Rome has never presented a good argument for defending its literal interpretation. Yet there are at least seven convincing reasons why this passage must be taken figuratively.

1) Counterfeit Miracle

There is no Biblical precedent where something supernatural occurred where the outward evidence indicated no miracle had taken place. (The wafer and wine look, taste and feel the same before and after the supposed miracle of transubstantion). When Jesus changed water into wine, all the elements of water changed into the actual elements of wine.


My Response
     Oh, really?  No biblical precedent where "something supernatural occurred" yet the "outward evidence indicated no miracle had taken place"?  Huh. Sally, do you consider a person being saved to be "something supernatural," or is it purely a natural occurrence?  I hope you will agree that when a person is saved that "something supernatural occurred".  And I hope you will also agree, with Scripture, that when a person is saved, something truly remarkable has occurred in that person.  Do you? 

     Do you believe that when a person is saved, when they are "in Christ," that he or she is a "new creation"?  That the old person has passed away and that a new one has come in the old one's place?  I mean, that's what it says happens in 2 Corinthians 5:17, right?  Something very real, very substantial, very transformative, and very supernatural has taken place.  That person has been changed, actually changed.  God has taken the old creation - a son of man - and turned him into a new creation - a son of God.  Do you believe that change is real, or is it merely symbolic?  I hope you will agree with me that it's real...as real as it gets.  Because if it isn't real, if it's merely a symbolic change, then a person hasn't really been saved, have they?  Not only that, but it would put the lie to Scripture. 

     So, here we have an amazing supernatural event taking place each time a person is saved.  And not just in the pages of Scripture, but today!  God is taking the old creation and making it new.  A supernatural occurrence.  Something has changed, actually changed, in the person.  Yet, even though the saved person is a new person...even though "something supernatural occurred"...even though this inward change has occurred...yet, the "outward evidence indicated no miracle had taken place".  

     Which means, that there is indeed "Biblical precedent where something supernatural occurred where the outward evidence indicated no miracle had taken place."   So, the first of your "Seven Convincing Reasons" turns out to be not so convincing after all. 



     She is left with very limited options here.  She can deny that a person being saved is a miracle of God, which would be a rather foolish thing to do.  If it's not a miracle, then that means it's a naturally occurring event in nature.  Or, she can say that being saved is not a supernatural event.  Again, a rather foolish thing to do and same response as above.  Or, she can admit that she was wrong.  Or, what she will probably do, is not argue the point I'm making but, instead, try to argue that transubstantiation is not the same thing as being saved.  Which is an argument that I have not made and one that I would agree with.  Transubstantiation isn't the same thing as a person being saved.  The point is, though, that a supernatural event has taken place when a person is saved - a real and substantial change has happened - yet there is no outward evidence of that event occurring.  Which, in that sense, is the same thing as what happens in the Eucharist. So, yes, there is indeed Biblical precedent for what happens in the process of transubstantiation.  Which means the first of her "Seven Convincing Reasons" is taken off the board.

Closing Comments

That's all I'm going to do for this week.  I'll take three more of her "Seven Convincing Reasons" in each of the next two issues of the newsletter.  Hope you have a great week!


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Apologetics for the Masses