Saturday, May 26, 2007

Two Questions from an Unhappy Listener

by Steve Ray on May 26, 2007

After my Catholic Answers Live "appearance" on Friday evening, I received an e-mail from an ex-Catholic. The e-mail contained two questions — the questioners words are in blue. I have removed his name out of respect for his privacy. 

Dear friend, you wrote:   >> I found it rather interesting you had all those questions for Bible Christians. I am a Protestant convert that had been Catholic for 20 years. I just have two simple questions for you that I cannot get a reasonable answer from any other source, even Catholic answers. <<

First, let me say I appreciate you writing and understand your probable motive. I understand that many people have left the Catholic Church to become everything from agnostics to Jehovahs Witnesses, from Baptists to Communists. I also know that far more leave for moral reasons than for theological reasons. Why you left I do not know. I am, for the most part, singularly unimpressed with the arguments and reasons given by ex-Catholics. On the other hand, I am very impressed with the reasons why thousands are becoming Catholics. Anyway, let's get to the points at hand.

Second, I have no desire to debate or carry on a long argument with you. I have far too much to do and am quite convinced of the truth of Catholicism (being once an anti-Catholic evangelist) and the weakness of the Protestant arguments. So, I will anwer briefly and hope you are an honest and noble man who is not just looking for a punching bag. So . . .  

 1.)     Where do I find an infallible list of infallible Catholic traditions? (and prove to me the infallibility of the list)

Before I answer your question, let me show you how flawed your question is by your own standards. You can't even provide such an answer concerning what you accept as infallible — the Bible. Provide me a list of infallible books in the infallible Bible and prove to me the infallibility of the list. And since the Bible is your only infallible authority, where does the Bible says that the individual writings contained within are infallible and inspired? Answer this and I will give you an answer for Tradition.

Since your theology is that the Bible is the only infallible source of revelation from God binding on the Christian, then where do you find a list of which books are exclusively infallible and to be included in the canon of Scripture? And let's take it one step farther– who has the authority to define that list or make that determination?

Remember even R. C. Sproul (Evangelical Theologian) says that Catholics have an infallible list of infallible books; Protestants have a fallible list of infallible books; liberals have a fallible list of fallible books. The books are infallible and inspired, not the Table of Contents. And remember, if you say it is "obvious" then why did it take four hundred years for the early Christians to come up with a final list and who put the authority to put that list together and declare it infallible and binding? And why is there differences in the collection of books in the Bible even today?

And where do we find in the Bible alone, that your list is infallible and binding for all time? Martin Luther sure didn't think so. And, by the way, where do you find in the Bible that everything that is the word of God is contained only in the book when even the book refutes such a claim?

2.)     Did Mary (Mother of Christ) die?

I noticed you call Mary the "Mother of Christ" instead of the "Mother of God" (both of which are true). But that is another discussion. Regarding the end of her life: we are not told in Scripture or Tradition whether Mary died. We believe that at the end of her earthly existence she was taken into heaven body and soul. Now, please don't tell me that it is necessary for everyone to die since we know of at least two cases in Scripture where men were taken to heaven without dying first. Whether Mary died or simply fell asleep is not the issue. The issue where you and I might disagree is what happened to her in the end. All Christians have believed that Mary was assumed into heaven. Only recent Protestant innovations have denied it. You find yourself in a very small and novel slice of the Christian pie and one with a very short and troubled history.

Now, I hope you have answers for these "Questions for 'Bible Christians'", click here.