I have encountered many who see Catholicism to be not only wrong in its theology but to in fact be a cult, a false faith, something to not only eschew but to rail against for promulgating idolatry, blasphemy and cultish beliefs.
My experience has been that these folks are less interested in seeking truth and more interested in proving to the world that they are right (particularly when their wrongness would chip away at foundational or core ideological, rather than faithful, beliefs).
Yet I’ve also encountered people who are genuinely seeking truth, who truly are open to new ways (new to them) and who might find a piece like this one published by Tony Layne a few days ago to be insightful:
A Facebook source led me to a page titled “Questions for Roman Catholics”, by Matt Slick of the Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry. “The responses [I get],” Slick states, “vary from defensive tradition to ignoring them and hoping to go away. Some of the questions are easier for Roman Catholics to respond to, and others are not. I hope that these might be helpful in your dialogs with the Roman Catholics as you try to present to them the true and saving gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Well, it depends on the context in which Slick presents the questions; some are pretty intrusive. But overall, some of the questions are no-brainers, some misrepresent Catholic doctrine to some extent, and some just show how little Slick himself understands what he’s attacking. The overall presentation is supposed to lead the Catholic to question his faith and the Church. But it’s by no means an infallible (*ahem!*) wrecking ball. Here I present it with fearful fidelity, including Slick’s misspellings, along with the answers. (Note: Questions rendered irrelevant by the answer to a previous question — or, in the case of the oral tradition questions, based on a fallacious notion — are presented in strikeouts.)
- When Jesus instituted the supper, he had not yet been crucified. How then was the Eucharist his crucified body and blood? The same way the Eucharist becomes his crucified Body and Blood at the Mass: Through the power of God. Time is a property of the universe; God, as Creator of the Universe, is not part of it, and therefore not constrained by the sequentialism time imposes.
- If, as the Roman Catholic Church teaches, that the Eucharist Wine is the literal blood of Christ, then how is that not violating the Old Testament law against drinking the blood of any flesh (Lev. 17:14)? Because the necessity of eating his flesh and drinking his blood (cf. Jn 6:53-58) is part of the New Covenant, which supersedes the Old Covenant. Moreover, Christians are not justified by the Law of Moses; invoking it as binding on Christians, therefore, indirectly rejects the salvific work of the Cross, as St. Paul argued in Galatians 5:4.
- How is it possible for the Eucharist to be the actualy [sic] body and blood of Christ if, by definition, a human body is only in one place at one time as Jesus’ body was in the incarnation, especially when you realize that Jesus is still a man (1 Tim. 2:5; Col. 2:9). Error: Jesus is not “still a man”; he was and is both man and God (cf. Jn 1:1, 10:30-33; Col 2:9). Mark 10:27: “… [F]or all things are possible with God.” Again, as argued in Q.1, God is not constrained by temporality or the sequentialism it imposes.
- The Roman Catholic Church says that individuals are not allowed to interpret the Bible, but that they must submit to the teaching authority of the Catholic Church. How then can you know if the Catholic Church is correct if you can’t check it against Scripture? Remember, Paul praised the Bereans [sic] for checking even what he said against Scripture (Acts 17:11). Here is a simple conditional which can’t be safely contradicted: If the Holy Spirit guides the Church (Jn 14:26, 16:13), and the Holy Spirit is reliable because God is trustworthy (Rom 3:34; 2 Tim 2:13), then it logically follows that the Church is reliable … or, as we say, infallible. If, however, the Church cannot be reliable, why then, either the Holy Spirit does not lead the Church or the Holy Spirit is not reliable: either answer contradicts Scripture, and impugns the fidelity of God to boot. Merely possessing a Bible doesn’t make one an expert in hermeneutics.
- Does the phrase “let each man be convinced his own mind” (Romans 14:5) mean that a person is able to look at the Scriptures and be fully convinced according to what he sees it says? If not, why not? No, it doesn’t; this is an out-of-context fallacy, one of the great dangers of “proof-texting”. When read in context,Romans 14:5-9 merely says that one can pursue a holy life by many ways, some of which can be in opposition to others. It does not support a do-it-yourself interpretation of Scripture.
If the phrase “let each man before he convinced his own mind” means that he is able to interpret Scripture on his own, what does he do if he believes what he sees in Scripture contradicts the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching? If the phrase “let each man before he convinced his own mind” means that he is able to interpret Scripture on his own, then doesn’t that contradict the official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church which denies you the right to interpret God’s word regarding faith, morals, and doctrine in a manner inconsistent with what it proclaims?
- How many verses has the Roman Catholic Church officially, infallibly interpreted? It is extremely low. How then do you know what is actually correct? Because of the trustworthiness of the Holy Spirit which guides the Church, as answered in Q.4. Besides the dubiousness of the assertion that the number of verses which the Church has “officially, infallibly interpreted” is “extremely low”, even when interpretations and doctrine aren’t proposed definitively, the doctrine of the ordinary infallibility of the Church holds that such teachings are protected from error, and are to be given the assent of faith. (See CCC 892)
Mr. Layne goes on to cover topics such as Christ Himself, His Mother (and our Mother) Mary, Oral Tradition, Prayer, Salvation and Scripture. It’s good and enlightening stuff, well worth bookmarking for reference later.
I’ve also covered similar material in the Answering Pastor Pete series.
Read, learn, pass on… and carry on.
Crossposted at Brutally Honest.