Saint Thomas Aquinas

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Answering the Swan Addendum

Answering the Swan Addendum

Here is part three of the exchange between myself and the Protestant blogger, James Swan. At least I got a few paragraphs out him this time. OK James, lets take a look at your proposal, shall we? I will put your text first indented, and then my response after.

“I see the Catholic Champion has been awakened and is engaging in his pro-wrestling-like method of dispute and dialog. For those of you who are new visitors, a few years back he used to post comments here, typically ornery and volatile. To his credit, he now contains much of his hostility to his own blog, and for that, I'm most grateful.”

Awakened? Pro-wrestling like? Who is the one calling me the “Catholic Champion?” Is it not clear after several years now that the name refers to the blog and not to myself? Do you refer to your buddy James White as Mr. Alpha and Omega? Enough said there. The reason why I do not comment on your blog is that there is no possible way to get a word in edgewise. So, for that reason, I will be content to refute your false claims on my blog.

“The Catholic Champion appears to be unaware of the point I was making, so I’ll simply state it for him:

First, Protestant creeds and confessions are nothing more than a group of people agreeing together as to what they think the Bible is saying. That is, the relationship of a confession to Scriptures is, in a sense, two-way communication: God speaks, we hear those words, digest what he said, and respond back saying what we collectively hear. That’s a basic sense of what a confession is. “Basic” is the key. Contrary to the Catholic Champion, there’s nothing in this that contradicts sola scriptua, any more than my writing a blog article citing Scripture is a denial of sola scriptura.”

You see James, that depends on your idea of what a creed is. Your definition does not coincide with what the actual Church proposes it to be. It is a symbol of faith, given by the authority of the Church. For your pretended “Reformers” to go off and rewrite a Creed is pure blasphemy. Have you read the documents of the early Ecumenical Councils? The point is, if a creed is to be worth the paper its written on, it must be more that a mere “dialog” on what a group of people think Sacred Scripture means. You are trying to have your cake and eat it too. The very fact that the entire ecumenical apostolic Church proposed a Creed on its own Christ given authority, which was then a required profession for all Christians, is another proof that Christianity was never based upon Sola Sciptura. You can try and change the idea of what a creed is, but if your definition stands, then it isn’t worth the paper its printed on. Contrary to your first article, it is apparent that your Protestant “creeds” are worthless.

“Second, Roman apologists like the Catholic Champion really function with Protestant capital. They set forth their opinions and interpretations of what the Roman Church means, while at the same time chastising Protestants for interpreting the Bible.”

This is an absurd accusation here. The issue at hand is where Christ’s authority lies. If it lies only within Scripture, then your opinion is as good as mine. However, if it lies with whom Christ gave His authority to, that is, a selected person or group of people, then your accusation falls flat. You see, you have no living person to go to who has the seal of Christian authenticity. The Scriptures cannot defend themselves from misinterpretation. Living beings guided by the Holy Spirit within the Church can. So the buck does not stop with me, but with the living Church which Christ has given me. Big difference my friend.

“Using Catholic Champion logic (that is, similar logic to that above in which a confession of faith disproves the sole sufficiency of Scripture), let's apply this same logic to that ultimate authority that has enveloped the Catholic Champion. Shouldn't it simply “be enough” for him to point me to the Vatican website or somewhere where the infallible interpretations of all things Romanist are found? In other words, the Catholic Champion violates the sufficiency of his own ultimate authority (an authority which is supposed to be his interpreter!) by putting forth his opinion as to what that authority means and says, this while saying confessions imply “scripture isn’t enough” for Protestants. Therefore, if confessions prove that "the scripture just isn't enough" the opinions of the Catholic Champion interpreting Romanist reality for me prove "Rome has spoken, it is settled" isn't enough for him either.”

Again, you fail to see the main point here. Perhaps a parable will suffice. Two men go the factory to assemble a BMW. The factory has engineers who draw up blueprints for the car. One of the two men  remains in the factory to help assemble the car under the supervision of those who drew up the plans. We will call him Matt. The car plant has everything necessary to interpret the blueprints, and produce the car. In fact, Matt can actually walk up to the drawing room, or send someone to the drawing room, to be sure that the car is being assembled properly. In other words, what matters here are not that the blueprints exist, but that there is a correct way to read them. The first worker, Matt, has live access to the those who drew them up. Enter the second, guy, we will call him James. James breaks into the plant at night and steals the blueprints. He gets them home, cracks open a beer and then presumes to go about building the BMW in his backyard. To cut the story short, no matter how brilliant you think you are, you are not going to produce a BMW. You have no access to anyone who knows what everything on them means. Nor do you have the resources or assembly process to bring the blueprints to life. Can you see the difference here? You my friend are going to be sitting on a lemon in your back yard with grass growing through the hood. This vision adequately illustrates the man-made religion of your pretended "Reformers." This ridiculous comparison of yours doesn’t fly.

“And one last thing: when the champion says: "I fail to remember the passage of Sacred Scripture where it says that man should go forth and make their own creeds" he implicitly is affirming that he understands the Bible, all on his own, just like one of those renegade protestant sects he so despises. To be consistent, he should have said, "I fail to remember the passage of Sacred Scripture interpreted by the Roman Magisterium where it says that man should go forth and make their own creeds."

Again, this is an untenable claim. All I have done is give you what has been handed on to me within the living Church. So no, I am not like yourself, the renegade protester who has committed grand larceny by stealing the Sacred Scriptures out of the Church as you have. I believe in the Creed given to me by the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Where did you get yours from? Certainly not from the Church Christ gave us. Thanks for at least writing more than a few three or four word sentences this time. I do appreciate the effort James.

3 comments:

Steve "scotju" Dalton said...

I don't understand James Swan. Here's a guy who's read all the Protestant literature he can get his hands on, yet he can't figure out that it is based on the private interpetions of men who rejected the faith once delivered. In the holy Catholic faith, we have consistancy in faith and practise that spans over 2000 years. In Protestantism, they couldn't agree with each other from the very start, with the exception of hating the faith they turned their backs on. So, Der Schwann's definition of a creed as being "nothing more than a group of people agreeing together as to what they think the Bible is saying", is pure foolishness. What group of people? The Baptist? The Anglicans? The Reformed? Our eternal life depends on what we believe. The Nicene and other creeds tells us with God given authority what we have to believe to be saved and what Church we must belong to. The creeds of Protestantism are nothing more than the rules of a club like the Masons or the Kiwanis's. If you follow their rules, you can be a member. However, their rules won't give you eternal life, so in the long run, it's irrevelevant wheather you follow them or not.

Steve "scotju" Dalton said...

BTW Matt, you're wise to stay away for Beggar's All. I just took a quick look at the comment boxes on this post, and man, I can't believe the low intellectual comprehension of Der Schwann's cyngets. Don't lower yourself by going there! Stay away! ROTFL! BTW, didn't he learn anything from his experiance with John Bugay? he should know better than to allow low-brow on his site!

Unknown said...

Unfortunately, both arguments really boil down to the truth of the premises, and are necessarily tautological. What is meant by "Church"? What is meant by "Authority"? It's my view that the most common-sense view, the view grounded in history and in the authority of the whole Christian Church from the time of Christ, is the Catholic view. But you're never going to get Swan or any of his readers to accept your premises, or even to investigate the the truth of them. They're even willing to suspend their adherence to sola scriptura for just long enough to accept Luther's act of vandalism against those parts of Holy Scripture that violated his personal ecclesiastical doctrine.

So it should be no surprise that re-defining a word like "creed" is in the bag of tricks too. Here's the thing, though: historically, Protestants have never looked at creeds as the results of some ecumenical focus group. In fact, adherence to particular creeds has often been considered the very form and substance of Christian salvation, resulting in things like, you know, Protestants slaughtering each other en masse over differences of creed--Calvin certainly did not believe his five principles were the mere outcome of a discussion, non-binding, and purely practical in nature. His followers certainly never treated them that way. So what we have here is a convenient innovation designed to rescue Swan from the obvious contradiction which adheres in a view which says sola scriptura, but also derives that doctrine from no authority other than the opinion of certain men against the continuous belief of the Christian Church for over a thousand years. Why one ought to take a particular interpretation of Scripture as not only authoritative, but actually binding, they cannot say without appeal to some earthly opinion. So now, a creed is a mere "discussion"? I daresay the early Reformers would have had Swan on the rack for that one.