Thursday, June 18, 2015

Dialog with Ed G.: When is a Man's Testimony Reliable?


I recently had a discussion with a “Bible Christian”, who goes by “Ed G.”, who leans on the side of conspiracy theories about the Catholic Church, believes the Church to be a one-way ticket to hell, and also believes spurious claims made by “ex-Catholics”.  I have “ex-Catholics” in parenthesis because Baptism leaves an indelible mark, so there’s really no such thing as an “ex-Catholic”.  They are merely non-practicing Catholics, and sometimes commit calumny in their false witness against the Church. 

Ed brought up the testimony of two “ex-Catholics” who have made some serious accusations against the Church; one was a Priest and the other a Bishop.  You can look both of them up, and you will find that each left the Church over one matter or another and flatly rejected any authority within the Church.  Ed believes that because they were Priests in the Church, their testimony is therefore reliable.  I disagree, and our conversation will explain why.  I have snipped out repetitive comments and off-topic remarks to save space, but the pertinent details are preserved.  Ed’s words are in maroon, my responses are in blue, and my commentary is in black, and a different font. 

Ed:  Catholic scholar Dr. Malachi Martin, formerly a Jesuit professor at Georgetown University…flatly declared in a recent New York City interview: "Yes, it's true. Lucifer is enthroned in the Catholic Church."   [snip]   "Anybody who is acquainted with the state of affairs in the Vatican in the last 35 years is well aware that the prince of darkness has and still has his surrogates in the court of St. Peter in Rome."

It's hilarious when one of the big finned catfish tells the truth about satanism in the catfish church,

Archbishop Milingo went on to make an accusation...[that] the devil is actually protected by the Catholic Church.  [snip] The devil within the Church today is actually protected by certain Church authorities from the official devil hunter in the Church--the exorcist. In a subsequent interview, the…archbishop stated: "Certainly, there are priests and bishops alike who are followers of Satan." [snip]

So, there it is, the testimony of two “ex=Catholics” who said so.  Notice the reference to the “catfish church” and the “catfish” within it.  Just a helpful hint to anyone in faith-based discussions:  these types of comments are never helpful and do not reflect the life of Christ within the person making them.  I have seen comments like that from Christians of every flavor (including Catholics) and non-Christians.  Scripture tells us to be respectful in our dialog of this matter (1Pet 3:15).  Those types of comments are juvenile at best.  If you are in a conversation and those types of comments are being made, it is perfectly acceptable, respectable, and Scriptural to simply shake the dust from your feet and walk away while praying for that person.

Dave:  So, Mr. G, we have a disenchanted former Priest who is angry at the Church and an ex-Bishop who renounced the authority that Christ gave to His Church [and went to get his desired Marriage blessed by the Unitarians].  Why is their testimony credible?  Just because it feeds your own prejudice?  Or is there some objective evidence that makes their claims credible?

Ed:  Hey he one of many that exposed the corruption of the roman cult, he said it, you can believe it or not!

There’s a bit more of that unhelpful and disrespectful attitude shining through.  Calling the Catholic Church “the roman cult” is an excellent way to make a Catholic not take you seriously and see you as having a true lack of Christ in your heart. There will be more as this dialog continues, but I’ll stop pointing out each one.  Catholics, you can learn a lesson here as well about using derogatory names for protestants.  The main point I want to focus on here is the “he said it, you can believe it” aspect.  This is a critical error in logic, and there is a perfect Scriptural example, from the teachers of the law themselves, that flops this on its face quickly.

Dave:  Well, given that he obviously has bias against the Church, and given that there is nothing substantial or objective to support what either of them claimed, then I will choose to not believe them.  I choose to base my decisions on actual facts.

[You said,] "...he said it, you can believe it or not".  People also said that Jesus was a demoniac and a drunkard, before there was ever a Scripture to prove them wrong.  Should 1st century Jews have believed that, just because someone said so?  Or should they have investigated the actual facts (that Jesus didn't go out getting drunk and that He really is Who He says He is)?

Ed:  Well i have never heard that said about Jesus.

If you worked at a job 20 years or so and you told me a lot of things about the business i would at least believe 50% of it, if one believes 50% that's way too much,

This isn't the only occurrence of witchcraft and satanism in the catfish cult, you can easily do an internet search and find hundreds of articles on it,

It's very clear god has no part in this organization since it's totally defiant to scripture…[snip]

Dave: If you have never heard that said of Jesus, then you aren't as familiar with Scripture as you might think you are.  It's in Scripture, and part of it is attested by Christ, Himself, that people were saying these things about Him.

[I never did tell him which Bible passages I was referring to because I was hoping he would take the time to look it up, or at least ask.  I don’t know if he looked it up or not.  Examples of what I was referencing are Mt 9:34, 11:19, 12:24; Mk 3:22; Lk 11:15; Jn 7:20, 8:48, 10:20, etc.]

Whether I worked at a job for 20 years is not the issue.  The issue is whether I left that job as a disgruntled employee and wanted to bash my employer.  That's what is happening with your two "sources".  There are no actual facts to support the claims [and subsequent conclusions] of either of those men.  I don't believe them because 1) they are not providing any substantial evidence to support their claims and 2) they rejected and left the Church over prior disagreements before making the bogus claims against the Church...they are nothing more than disgruntled "ex-Catholics" who wish to drag Christ's Church through the mud.

What you are doing is judging the Church based on the actions of sinners who reject the Church's clear teachings (Priests who commit sins, for example).  What you SHOULD be doing, if you wish to reflect Christ, is make your decisions based on what the Church actually teaches.  Why don't you do that?

By the way, you never answered my question:  Should 1st century Jews have believed what Christ was accused of, just because someone said so?  Or should they have investigated the actual facts (that Jesus didn't go out getting drunk and that He really is Who He says He is)?

Ed:  You mean what saw and heard about Jesus, no it was prophecy being fulfilled that he must die, if your next door neighbors daughter wanted your young daughter to spend the night with her and 4-5 parents said he was a child molester would you let her, maybe there was no hard evidence against him but would you let her?

David, you belong to a false man made cult, [snip]…are an enemy of Christ…involved in idolatry and you have put a woman in authority over men,…have been fooled by a demon…worshiping a demon…[and you] put Jesus as a baby in marys arms making him out to be a mamas boy when scripture says he is the Lion of Judah!!!

I can prove Peter was never in Rome or a pope.

The disrespectful remarks are self-evident, but look what else is going on.  Some folks call this the “machine gun” or “shotgun” approach…where the interlocutor, unwilling to remain on the initial topic [for whatever reason] starts tossing out random accusations and side topics in the hope of snaring his opponent into a different discussion.  Don’t fall for that.  Stick with the initial topic until you are BOTH satisfied that it has been sufficiently addressed, and then move on to the next.  If he/she isn’t willing to do that, it’s a good bet that they aren’t really interested in discussion.  Notice also that, even though he ignored my questions, I am willing to answer his latest one.  But I will have to draw a line in the sand that we show mutual respect, otherwise this conversation isn’t worth having.

Dave:  Of course I wouldn't let my child go over there.  But that doesn't mean I automatically believe what was said.  And you have avoided answering me again.  You keep dancing around this even though it's a very simple and direct question.  It shouldn't take more than a second to know, and a short sentence to type it out:  "Should 1st century Jews have believed what Christ was accused of [being a drunkard and a demoniac], just because someone said so?  Or should they have investigated the actual facts?"

I have answered you directly for every single question you have asked me, and addressed everything you have put forward.  If you would like to continue this conversation, you can start by giving me a direct answer to that very simple question.   You can also address the other question I asked, which you also ignored, and is pertinent to the false accusation you are now making.  Here they both are again:

-"Should 1st century Jews have believed what Christ was accused of [being a drunkard and a demoniac], just because someone said so?  Or should they have investigated the actual facts?

-"What you SHOULD be doing, if you wish to reflect Christ, is make your decisions based on what the Church actually teaches.  Why don't you do that?"

Ed:  Now can you prove Peter was ever in Rome or was ever a pope;

 Romans 1:11 which reads:  

[followed by that and a few other Scriptural passages written by Paul that don’t mention Peter, and so that MUST mean that “none of the apostles had been [in Rome]”…not a single mention of anything pertinent to the topic].

[snip] You can say some silly tradition or some catholic cult history book says he was…

Dave:  Ed, you obviously are not interested in discussion or in hearing anything other than what you already believe.  This is at least the 3rd (4th?) time you've completely avoided answering the simplest of questions...and there were only two of them.  I answered your questions to me, and openly and honestly and directly addressed everything you put forth to me, up to the 2nd instance of you ignoring mine.  If you choose to ignore my questions, that's your business.  But it's not how discussions are had and it's a very poor example of a Christian reaching out to spread the Good News.  I wish you well and I pray that God will bless you richly in spirit.

In Christ,

Dave

And that was the end of it, for several hours anyway.  I let him know why I will no longer continue and reminded him that I treated him more than fairly.  I closed it with a wish for God’s blessing in his life and left.  Eventually he did respond:

Ed:  All they had to do was Be a Berean: "11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." Acts 17.

Dave:  Ah, so you finally get to one of them.  Okay, so let me make sure I understand you correctly:  The first century Jews, during the time that Jesus was still on earth and being accused of being a drunkard and a demoniac, were supposed to reference which Scriptures that said...what exactly?  Remember, these were teachers of the OT Scriptures that were making these accusations...people who knew the Scriptures better than the back of their hands.  Are you telling me that the Jews who heard these accusations should NOT have taken it on the word of the teachers of the Scriptures, what they were saying about Jesus?  Instead, those Jews should have gone and made an informed decision that did NOT involve the use of those teachers' remarks?

Notice where this went?  Ed believed that because the men making the claims were Priests, Catholic teachers of the Bible, that whatever they said can be relied upon.  That could go into several illogical directions (does Ed believe EVERY Priest that says ANYTHING, or just the anti-Catholic ones that foster his pre-conceived notions, etc…) but I decided to hone in on the Scriptural parallel.  Some of the men accusing Christ were Pharisees…teachers of the Scriptures.  Why wasn’t their testimony about Jesus reliable?  I summed up before heading off for the evening.  When taking a break from the dialog, it can he REALLY helpful to go back, re-read, and make a brief note about where you left off, where agreements were made, or seemed to be, and what has been left unattended.]

Dave:  Ed, before I head off to bed, I just want to recap where we left off so it will be easier for you to get back to topic tomorrow:

After presenting the testimonies of two disgruntled "ex-Catholics" as evidence, we discussed why their testimony isn't reliable, while simultaneously agreeing that their testimony should make us want to investigate some actual facts.  I pointed out, as well, that even Jesus was falsely accused by teachers of the Scriptures, yet that should not mean we take those accusers at their word...instead we should investigate actual facts.  You seem to agree and I have asked you for clarification:

"Okay, so let me make sure I understand you correctly:  The first century Jews, during the time that Jesus was still on earth and being accused of being a drunkard and a demoniac, were supposed to reference which Scriptures that said...what exactly?  Remember, these were teachers of the OT Scriptures that were making these accusations...people who knew the Scriptures better than the back of their hands.  Are you telling me that the Jews who heard these accusations should NOT have taken it on the word of the teachers of the Scriptures, what they were saying about Jesus?  Instead, those Jews should have gone and made an informed decision that did NOT involve the use of those teachers' remarks?"

There is still the other question that you ignored, which ties directly into the above:

"What you SHOULD be doing...is making your decisions based on what the Church actually teaches,[instead of what someone says...while providing no evidence/facts].  Why don't you do that?"

Ed:  Ok i answered one of your little catfish trick questions, you have not answered any of mine yet,

 Question; Give me the first documented evidence, when the elements were worshiped. [snip]

Dave: Ed, it is obvious to me that you don't care about having a Christian discussion.  Comments like, "...one of your little catfish trick questions..." are not representative of Christ and do not reflect the Scriptural imperative to be respectful in our dialogs (1Pet 3:15-16, for example).  You are also bearing false witness, whether you meant to or not in this comment:  "...you have not answered any of mine yet...".  The fact is, I answered everything you asked of me up until you ignored my previous questions to you for a second and third time.  If you want to dialog with me, you will:

-Answer what I asked in my last post.

-Stay on topic until we have sufficiently addressed that topic.

You said those 2 ex-Priests were reliable in their testimony, and I believe they are not, for the reasons stated.  Before we move on to a new topic (is it "Rome" or the "Eucharist" you wish to discuss??), I want to know where you stand now, in light of all we have discussed.  Please address my last post to you (from last night).  If you refuse to do that, then I will not waste anymore time here with you.  (I will, however, include your uncharitable remarks in the blog article I am writing about this discussion, and explain why they fail at fostering Christian dialog.)

In Christ,

Dave

That’s where it ends unless he really decides to have a discussion with me.  If he ever does address the questions which were on-topic, I’ll post them in the comments section…or maybe he will.  I have a hunch, however, that he’ll either not respond at all, or he’ll continue with the off-topic banter and be unwilling to discuss why the witness of those two “ex-Catholics” is unreliable and false.


I am attempting to link the original conversation, but I am not certain if the link will work due to the privacy settings of the person hosting the dialog.  Here it is:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/112916187613073752904/posts/UeNM8vGzH5Q

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Was Paul the Apostle for the Gentiles, Only?

I recently heard this: "Peter was only the head Apostle for the Jews, and Paul was the Apostle for the Gentiles." Noting that most Christians in the US would be considered “Gentiles”, the person summarized that, therefore, “Paul’s writings are the most important ones for us, and Peter’s writings are not required”. There was also mention that Peter is shown more in relation to preaching to the Jews, and Paul preaching to the Gentiles. But even if that were true, it’s not a logical step to say that, because “person A” preached mostly to “group Y”, he was therefore ONLY the Apostle for that group. That’s not only illogical, it’s also unbiblical.


According to another person, there is even a Christian group that claims we don't need the rest of the Bible at all, only what Paul wrote, because Paul is “our Apostle” and because, while Paul was converting Gentiles, the Jews rebelled against him. But God's Word tells us differently.


For starters, God, Himself set Paul and Barnabas apart “for the work to which I have called them” (Acts 13:2). What work was involved in that? Preaching to the Jews in their synagogue at Salamis! “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. 4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia; and from there they sailed to Cyprus. 5 When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John also to assist them" (Acts 13:2-5).


Acts 14:1 places Paul and Barnabas in the Jewsish synagogue yet again, converting both Jews and Greeks: “The same thing occurred in Iconium, where Paul and Barnabas went into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks became believers.
This makes sense, of course, because God Himself said that Paul would be "an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel" (Acts 9:15).


Another passage flatly refutes the claim that Peter was “only the head Apostle for the Jews”. Acts 15:7 quotes Peter, with Paul and Barnabas present: "...Peter stood up and said to them, 'My Brothers, you know that in the early days of the Church, God made a choice among you, that I should be the one through whom the Gentiles would hear the message of the good news and become believers". In fact, the first Gentile converts were accepted and Baptized into the Church by Peter (Acts 10).


But perhaps the best Scriptural, and most common-sense, example of why this “Paul for the Gentiles, Peter for the Jews” claim is completely false and unbiblical comes from the simple fact that we, as Christians, are ONE body in Christ (Rom 12; Eph 1,4; Col 1; Jn 10, 17 and a host of others) neither Gentile not Jew, slave nor free (1Cor 12). When we accept Christ, we are not defined by which race we came from as unbelievers, we are simply Christians, and the offspring of Abraham (Gal 3:27-29).

Paul says it best himself in several of his letters. One of my favorites is 1Cor 15:1-11.
"I am reminding you, brothers and sisters,
of the Gospel I preached to you,
which you indeed received and in which you also stand.

Through it you are also being saved,
if you hold fast to the word I preached to you,
unless you believed in vain.
For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received:
that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures;
that he was buried;
that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures;
that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve.
After that, he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once,
most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
After that he appeared to James,
then to all the Apostles.
Last of all, as to one born abnormally,
he appeared to me.
For I am the least of the Apostles,
not fit to be called an Apostle,
because I persecuted the Church of God.
But by the grace of God I am what I am,
and his grace to me has not been ineffective.
Indeed, I have toiled harder than all of them;
not I, however, but the grace of God that is with me.
Therefore, whether it be I or they,
so we preach and so you believed
.
"