Duffy says that “there is no sure way to settle on a date by which the office of ruling bishop had emerged in Rome, and so to name the first Pope, but the process was certainly complete by the time of Anicetus in the mid-150s, when Polycarp, the aged Bishop or Smyrna, visited Rome, and he and Anicetus debated amicably the question of the date of Easter.”. As far as I can tell, Brown is the only one who both has expertise in the area and rejects the Catholic claim to apostolic succession. In other words, they are claiming Catholics have beliefs that they do not in fact believe. **Catholicism and Fundamentalism: Attacks on “Romanism” by “Bible Christians.” (One of the BEST books on defending the Catholic faith against Protestants and anti-Catholic arguments). In it, the author mentions “apostles, bishops, teachers, and deacons, who have lived in godly purity, and have acted as bishops and teachers and deacons chastely and reverently to the elect of God,” as well as “the presbyters who preside over the Church.” Assuming that these presbyters are the same as bishops, and that there are multiple bishops per city, just begs the question. To conclude, remember that this is the “STRONGEST argument against Catholicism.” It requires rejecting all of the second century evidence for apostolic succession as “pious romance” or worse, and there’s zero positive evidence actually supporting it. Capturing Christianity, Cameron Bertuzzi’s YouTube platform, recently released a 90-minute video called “The STRONGEST Argument Against Catholicism w/ Dr. Jerry Walls. Cherry picking means you take one line from the entire Bible and make that your argument. These stories were to be accepted as sober history by some of the greatest minds of the early Church—Origen, Ambrose, Augustine. So how does Walls’ “STRONGEST argument against Catholicism” hold up? . In every succession, and in every city that is held which is preached by the law and the prophets and the Lord.” So notice that each of these authorities says that all of the apostolic churches keep lists like this: that fact will become salient in a moment. It is a life long journey of Christ saving us. Your email address will not be published. In this order, and by this succession, the ecclesiastical tradition from the apostles, and the preaching of the truth, have come down to us. It requires believing that Irenaeus (or someone Irenaeus is reliant upon) is rewriting nearly two hundred years of history about the Church in Rome, the literal center of the Roman Empire, and a place of tremendous importance to the early Church. At various points after the Reformation, some majority Protestant states, including England, Prussia, and Scotland made anti-Catholicism and opposition to the Pope and Catholic rituals major political themes, and the anti-Catholic sentiment which resulted from it frequently lead to religious discrimination against Catholic individuals (often derogatorily referred to in Anglophone Protestant countries as "papists" or … If so, the reliability of Christianity itself is in serious question (since why trust apostolic Christianity if you can’t trust any apostolic Church?). The Bible itself says “Baptism saves you” (1 Peter 3:21) speaking of a water baptism. Notice that it isn’t as if historians have some good evidence to the contrary—some other source explaining why Caesar crossed the Rubicon, or why the early Christians believed in the empty tomb and the Resurrection. Unlike what the picture above says, we need to repent (Acts 3:18); we must confess our sins (Rom. So he mentions bishops in every other letter, he’s almost obsessed with the authority of the bishop. Matthew 16:17-19, Luke 22:26-32, Luke 5:1-11, Matthew 13:47-50, John 21:1-17, Acts 21:4, Acts 11:26, Acts 26:26, Apologetics, Catholic Church, Papacy, Protestantism. **The Case for Catholicism – Answers to classic and contemporary objections. An evangelical discovers Catholic Tradition” by Mark Shea. Although Walls repeatedly claims that this is the “consensus” of even Roman Catholic scholars, he’s actually contradicting even the scholars he cites. The picture above quotes one verse that says we are saved by “believing in Jesus,” which is true. “Search and Rescue: How to bring your family and friends back – or back into – the Catholic church” by Patrick Madrid. Walls appears to be basing this claim off of both Eno and Duffy, the latter of whom says that Ignatius of Antioch “wrote a series of letters to other churches, largely consisting of appeals to them to unite round their bishops. For example, there are not one but four gospel accounts. Conversely, if the Catholic claim stands up to scrutiny, Walls, Bertuzzi, and the rest of us should all be Catholic. However, this is incorrect. In other words, the initial picture says we must believe in Jesus, which is true, but it is taken out of context and forced to mean something that it does not. Walls calls the question a “family dispute” between Catholics and Protestants, and he’s not afraid to acknowledge those things that he thinks Catholicism gets right. As for the Shepherd of Hermas, it’s a mystical vision, not a description of the local church of Rome. And, as always, if you have any questions about anything listed in the picture above, just ask. In the early 16th century the Catholic Church experienced a large separation which significantly changed Christianity. Christ called us to be the “light of the world!” Therefore, we need to know know our Bible and our faith! In other words, there are many other things that Jesus commanded us to do, that if we do not do them, we will not be saved. But there’s a second problem with this reasoning as well. This book is especially relevant as the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation draws near and discussion of the arguments made against the Church during that time in history receive renewed interest. This picture not only makes multiple errors regarding Catholicism, but the Catholic Church herself does not even teach half of the things listed on it. Many Protestants think Roman Catholics teach a works-gospel that cannot save, while Roman Catholics think Protestants teach easy-believism that requires nothing more than an emotional outburst brought on by manipulative preaching. Rome accurately understands the Protestant position and unapologetically anathematizes it. The arguments for Catholicism or Protestantism or Orthodoxy (etc.) Different list of books were circulating during the fourth century, and a definitive list was drawn up in the African councils at the end of that century and by Pope Innocent I in 405. And what about the Muratorian fragment, which mentions Pius being the Bishop of Rome, even before Anicetus? And it requires assuming that these twentieth-century skeptics had a better idea of what the Church looked like in Rome in the first and second century than did the actual Christians of the second century (including both Roman Christians and visitors to Rome, like Hegesippus). In both his article and his conversation with Bertuzzi, Walls makes much of the fact that St. Ignatius of Antioch doesn’t mention the Bishop of Rome in his letter to the Romans. After all, the Bible is a Catholic book. There’s actually a lot to like about the video. First, the question here isn’t whether to accept Christianity or Catholicism. Scripture cannot be any more clear! Catholics Worship Mary as a Goddess. It is basically prejudice that one battles, and without a proper disposition and openness to the Truth, it will be a hopeless to reason with them. Walls treats Duffy and Brown as if they were independent sources, and cites the duo/trio as evidence of a scholarly “consensus”: So again, I emphasize, I’m citing the Roman Catholic historians. The crux of Walls’ claim goes something like this: Christ establishing the papacy upon Peter is the distinctive claim that Catholicism makes relative to all other forms of Christianity; but this claim is poorly-supported by the evidence of the early Church, where (he claims) there wasn’t even a Bishop of Rome until nearly 200 AD. We need to do things do be saved. Walls supports this claim principally by citing two Catholic historians, Fr. One of the most formidable Jesuit polemicists for Catholicism was Robert Bellarmine, whose Controversies profoundly influenced Church thinking for more … For example, the Catholic Church does not teach that we are saved by Peter or that Peter gets us to heaven. Let us consider specific common Protestant objections. Duffy is convinced that there isn’t an unbroken line from St. Peter, but he is a historian of the fifteenth to seventeenth century, not of the early Church, and his arguments are heavily reliant on that third scholar, Fr. I’ve actually written a book on this very subject, which is why Word on Fire asked me to respond to his claims. There are two major fallacies in this reasoning. I agree with Walls that this is precisely the question that we ought to be discussing, but if his case is the strongest argument against Catholicism, it’s hard to see how anyone can resist becoming Catholic. The problem with the second defense is that the “consensus” mostly consists of other people reading Brown and his coauthor Meier, and repeating their conclusions, without adding any new argument or expertise or scholarship (Duffy is a prime example of this—the passage of his book in question has only one footnote, to a second-century text from Irenaeus that Duffy disagrees with). I mean, where did someone even concoct this from? 10:9); we must live out our faith in good works (Mt. Catholics are not uncomfortable at all because they understand that Christ saves us, but He chooses to use different means to do so, like Baptism. In both cases, it’s irrational skepticism: it’s not a skepticism built on the evidence, but a skepticism that refuses to take the evidence seriously. I have a library of books (Catholic and anti-Catholic) that I have read, and I’m passing it on to you…, As always, thanks for reading! After all, disagreements about governance structure are the cause of schism today (it’s the defining feature distinguishing Congregationalists, Presbyterians, and Episcopalians from one another), and it’s hard to overstate how seriously this question was taken in the first two centuries of the Church. “Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic” by David Currie (Protestant becomes Catholic). 25:31-46 and many others), and we must follow the commandments (Mt.19:17-21) and do God’s will (Mt. Raymond Brown, appears in his article), and saying that this constitutes a scholarly consensus. The time gap from original manuscripts to our oldest complete copies is relatively small. During the tempestuous time of the rise of Protestantism following the Reformation, the Catholic Church needed advocates who would defend the faith against calumnies and distortions, while at the same time militating for needed reform. Is it plausible to suggest that it would not have been equally divisive in the first decades of the Church’s life, and could have taken place without leaving any trace whatever? It’s Ignatius setting his final affairs in order as he approaches certain death. Such a presupposition seems to me to be a bit naïve concerning the state of Catholic scholarship, and the often-fraught relationship between the Magisterium and certain Catholic scholars. For his part, Bertuzzi appears to be on his way towards the Catholic Church, and seems to be genuinely trying to sort out the competing claims of Protestantism and Catholicism. The Bible says in James 5:16 “Therefore, confess your sins to one another a. The issue being that it is a completely stupid argument against the Church. ++, **My recommendations based on this article. his is the most up-to-date, comprehensive, and thorough defense of the Catholic Church against Protestant objections in print. He doesn’t bother to make any arguments or give any evidence. Analogously, the Church has never taught that Mary saves us or died for us, or anything of the sort. But Ignatius’ seventh letter is to the Romans, and it is markedly different in tone. You’ve got all of these witnesses there, but there’s not a single exception among these people that would support the traditional papal theology. And again, so far as I’m aware, this represents the consensus among Catholic historians: that Peter was not the first bishop of Rome, there was not a continuous succession of bishops following Peter, as Vatican I would have it. . In place of that evidence, there’s no evidence pointing in the other direction. Among low-church² Protestants, there are two — no, three — no, probably more, but I’m going to tackle only three — three major arguments made against the Catholic view of the saints. As stated above, most of these assertions are just made up – invented. That is not the case. In short, Walls makes three arguments: Walls gives something of an abbreviated version of his argument to Bertuzzi. This list was in peaceful possession in the Western Church until the Reformation, and it was necessary to reaffirm it at the Council of Trent (DS 1502–03) and at Vatican I (DS 3029). In fact, the Catholic Church teaches the opposite and states that only Jesus saves us and that He alone justifies us by His body and blood on the cross. As Michael C. McGuckian, S.J. That is what Catholics believe! Papal succession is foundational to Catholicism, and so we should expect it to be historically well-supported, but it isn’t. For now, though, I want to turn back to Irenaeus, who says that Peter and Paul founded Rome, and lists their successors down to his own day (c. 180): The blessed apostles [Peter and Paul], then, having founded and built up the Church, committed into the hands of Linus the office of the episcopate. A Catholic and a Protestant debate Two theology professors — one Catholic, one Protestant — get to the heart of … To hold to this position, you have to ignore the fact that several other (seemingly independent) ancient sources all tell us that Clement was the Bishop of Rome: St. Irenaeus says so in c. 180, Tertullian treats it as well known history in c. 200, Eusebius (265-339) talks about it in his discussion of the history of the popes in Book III of Church History, and St. Jerome mentions it in his biographical sketch of the life of Clement. And Anicetus was succeeded by Soter, and he by Eleutherus. Some are so far off that it is hard to take them seriously. Likewise confession is part of God’s plan. Walls’ argument, in a nutshell, works like this: the Resurrection is foundational to Christianity, and so we should expect it to be historically well-supported, and it is. Now, I would argue, and I suspect that Walls would agree, that this rejection of the supernatural is actually irrational. By disregarding it as fake, on the authority of the Lutheran scholar Peter Lampe: Lampe argues that this list “is with highest probability a historical construction from the 180s, when the monarchical episcopacy developed in Rome.” In other words, it anachronistically imports into earlier decades what was emerging in the 180s. 13:47-50; John 21:1-13); the promise that he will gather the Gentiles into the Church so that there will be “one flock, one shepherd” (John 10:16) followed by his commissioning of Peter (individually) to “feed my lambs,” “tend my sheep,” and “feed my sheep” (John 21:15-17). The process of canonization of the Scriptures is documented. https://twitter.com/WordOnFire/status/1334627488014667776, @WordOnFire Great reading!!! 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