Catholicism is not Biblical (2)
This is the second debate I have started on this topic. My previous one has turned out to be a dud, as my opponent does not seem to be willing to argue.
My resolution is that Catholicism is not based on what the Bible says.
The previous debate can be found here: http://www.debate.org...
I will not restate my arguments here, so whoever accepts will argue against the points I made in the second round of the previous debate (link above). PLEASE NOTE: in creating that debate, I misunderstood the Catholic position of baptism when making sub-resolution 4. I cleared up my position in the comments. I instead posted an argument against infant baptism in the third round.
Here are the four sub-resolutions:
Res. 1- The Bible does not authorize a papacy.
Res. 2- Mary, the physical mother of Jesus, is not holy
Res. 3- The Apocrypha is not Holy Scripture.
Res. 4- Salvation- The Bible does not authorize infant baptism.
To summarize, whoever accepts this debate must argue against my points regarding the first three sub-resolutions from the second round of the previous debate. For the fourth, you must argue against the points I made in the third round of the previous debate.
Rules are the same as before.
1. Both sides are expected to treat each other with respect. No profanity or personal attacks.
2. Please accept this debate only if you are Catholic. Don't accept just to play devil's advocate.
3. I invite anybody to comment and vote on the debate, but remember the first rule. Keep your comments clean, and please no derogatory remarks or insults against religion, religious people or any group of people. Such remarks are uncalled for and do not prove anything.
My opponent's first argument will be in the first round, and we will proceed from there. I ask the Lord's blessing on both of us, so that His truth will be revealed in this discussion.
Although non-Catholic Christians may not agree with some elements of the dogma of Catholic faith, I feel it is disingenuous not to acknowledge that their belief system is a derivative of Catholicism. I would also like to note that I firmly believe that the abundance of moral relativism that we experience today is a direct result of the Protestant reformation. After all, if you attempt to diminish the authority of the Church that Christ established, the same authority which determined the cannon of scripture, you are left with individual authority. If authority resides within the individual, then it is not surprising that Protestantism has splintered into 20,000 different denominations.
In this debate I am a bit hamstrung, because 1) I have agreed to argue against points that Pro has made in a separate debate, and 2) there are four topics that Pro has raised. Although each in themselves could be subjects of separate debates, I have agreed to the terms, and as a result, I will be forced to make my arguments and associated rebuttals brief in order to stay within the character limit.
1) The Papacy
Pro rightly points out that Matthew supports the Catholic claim that Peter was the first Pope. Matthew 16:17-19 reads, "Jesus said to him in reply, 'Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.'"
1A) Peter as Rock
Jesus changes Simon"s name to Peter. In Aramaic (Jesus' primary language ) Jesus calls Peter Kepha, meaning "Rock". He makes the statement, you are Rock and on this rock I will build my church. Prima facie, Jesus is establishing Peter as the rock on which He will build His Church. I can see no other reason Jesus has for changing Peter"s name. Pro argues, "it is clear that Jesus is referring to himself" as the rock and not Peter. In fact, it is extremely unclear. Pro needs to explain Jesus' purpose for changing Simon"s name to Rock in order for there to be clarity.
1B) The Keys to the Kingdom
Jesus gives Peter the keys of the kingdom. He is giving Peter great authority to bind and loose. Jesus uses almost the same language from Isaiah 22:22 where the Lord gives Eliakim the authority of the House of David. Pro wants the reader to believe that Jesus is giving the keys to all of the disciples. While I agree the disciples are given authority in Matthew 18:18, the keys denote a specific office. As highlighted in Isaiah, this office is held by one person. The keys are for Peter alone.
2) Mary"s Holiness
With all due respect, I find it a bit amusing that Pro is arguing that Mary isn't holy. We are all called to holiness (Lev. 11:44; 1 Pet. 1:16), but if Mary isn't holy, I don't hold out much hope for the rest of us. Let's look at a few pieces evidence on Mary's holiness.
2A Hail Mary
The angel Gabriel greets Mary with, "Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you." (Luke1:28). Gabriel recognizes that Mary is favored by God. More favored than any other human being, for she alone will be the arc of the new covenant. Gabriel continues to recognize Mary's holiness by stating that, the Lord is with her.
2B Most Blessed
If Mary is an unholy sinner, why would her cousin Elizabeth greet her with, "Most blessed are you among women." (Luke 1:41). Note that she does not say Mary is highly blessed or very blessed. Mary is "Most" blessed among women. If Mary isn't holy then no other woman can ever be considered holy.
2C Not Relevant
Pro makes the claim that the passage in John 19:25-27 is the key verse which supports the Catholic view that Mary is holy. Catholic's might point to this verse for other reasons, but it is a stretch to claim that May's holiness hinges upon the interpretation of this one passage. This passage is not relevant to the topic.
3) The Deuterocanonicals
As part of the Reformation, Protestants removed seven books from the Old Testament even though they had always been included in the Canon up until that point. Unfortunately, they opposed Martin Luther"s personal view of theology , so they were tossed out. The bottom line here is that the Catholic Church established the cannon of the Christian Bible beginning in 367 AD. This includes all the books of the New Testament. Pro would like us to believe that the Catholic Church was correct in its selection of New Testament scripture, but was somehow flawed in what should be included in the Old Testament. You simply can't have it both ways.
The title of this debate is "Catholicism is not Biblical", but God used Catholicism to create the Bible.
4) Salvation " Infant Baptism
I respond to this topic by asking Pro the following question. If a person accepts Jesus has his personal Lord and Savior and dies before he is baptized, is he still saved (i.e.: does he go to heaven)? If the answer is "yes", then what is the specific biblical purpose of baptism? If the answer is "no", then baptism must have some salvific value in and of itself apart from anything else. Catholics believe that the latter is the case. Apart from any other action an individual may take, baptism itself has the power to save.
Once Pro puts forth his position, a reasonable debate on this topic can be had.
To make the claim that Catholicism is not biblical is simply false. Pro himself points to specific passages that Catholics use to support their beliefs. Pro"s main argument is that Catholics misinterpret what the bible is saying. But where does the authority of proper interpretation come from? Catholics have the apostolic Church established by Christ as their authority. Where does Pro derive his authority, Thomas Campbell, the local church elders, or does the bible interpret itself? After exhaustive biblical research what happens when a Christian feels there is no biblical warrant for excluding infant baptism? Where does he go for a definitive answer? Or are they just doomed to heresy? Maybe they just start a new Church (20,000 + 1)
Many thanks to Sojourner for accepting this debate. Reading through his arguments for round 1, I feel that he is very intelligent and will offer a good challenge to me over the course of this debate.
1A) First off, I would like to point out that arguing from the Aramaic language is unreliable, since we do not have an Aramaic text of the New Testament. The original passage is in Greek, not Aramaic. Therefore, the argument that Jesus called Peter and the church-rock both “Kipha” does nothing to help the Catholic, since no texts exist to support this claim. It is true that Jesus spoke Aramaic, but it is also true that he spoke Greek (he spoke to a Roman centurion, who certainly spoke Greek). Getting down to my point, one can look at the Greek text of Matthew 16:18 and clearly see that Jesus refers to two different types of rocks. When he says, “I also say to you that you are Peter,” the word he uses for Peter is “petros,” literally meaning “stone” or “boulder.” Then, when Jesus says upon this rock I will build my church,” he uses “petra.” The contrast here is that “petra” means “a solid mass of rock,” or even a cliff. So we see that Jesus calls Peter a “stone” that can be easily moved, and properly calls the rock He on which the church will be built an immovable mass of rock. Note Romans 9:33, where Jesus is referred to as a rock again, with the very same word: petra. (In a Lexicon you may see “petran,” which is still the same word, only grammatically different.) Therefore, I stand by my argument that Jesus refers to himself as the rock on which his church will be built. As to why Jesus changed Peter’s name, since his new name refers to a movable stone, He is referring to Peter as an instrument with which Jesus will add souls to His church.
1B) To say that Peter’s obtainment of the keys to the kingdom denotes supreme authority over the church is a misrepresentation of the context of the New Testament. We must first understand what the keys were supposed to be used for. The best explanation of this is by Alfred Barnes: “When the Saviour says, therefore, he will give to Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven, he means that he will make him the instrument of opening the door of faith to the world—the first to preach the gospel to both Jews and Gentiles.” This interpretation is supported simply by what Peter did afterwards- he and the other apostles preached to the multitudes, resulting in the baptism of 3,000 Jews, thus resulting in the opening of the doors of the kingdom. The interpretation that Peter has now received the church is inaccurate, which is made clear by other verses in the New Testament (Acts 10:26, which shows us that Peter is only a man; Ephesians 5:23, where we see that Christ is head of the church. Con will have to explain these passages to successfully argue that Peter was made head of the church).
2) Perhaps I should have been more clear- of course we are all called to holiness! I meant that Mary is not the supreme figure she is made out to be.
2A) One must only look at the original Greek text of Luke 1:28 to derive the true meaning of this verse. “Hail, favored one” is translated from χαQ50;ρε κεχαριτωμ^1;νη. The first Greek word there is translated as “greetings,” and the second one means “to make graceful, to endow with grace.” It can also be translated as “favor,” but notice what I’m getting at. First of all, nowhere is there indication from the Greek that Mary was “full of grace,” as is recited in the Hail Mary. Only twice in the New Testament do we see “full of grace” used: once for Jesus and once for Stephen (John 1:14, Acts 6:3-5). So Stephen was a sinner, yet, with the Holy Spirit, he is full of grace and not Mary? Next of all, why are there are others in the Bible who are “favored by God?” Acts 7:46 tells us that David was favored by God. We see that he was given a special duty, that is, to make God a dwelling place. So he had a special duty, and was favored by God. Why don’t we recite a Hail David? Nowhere do we see evidence, then, that Mary was exalted to a high position in Christianity.
2B) Nowhere in the original Greek do we see “most blessed.” Indeed, Mary was highly blessed with the privilege of being Christ’s physical mother, which is why Elizabeth calls her most blessed among women. I do not see how one can extrapolate a meaning of supreme holiness from this passage.
2C) It may not be the key verse, but it certainly is relevant. It is in fact used by many Catholics to support the claim that Mary is a mother of sorts to all of us, since Christ said to John “Behold your mother!” My argument against this claim still stands.
3) Con seems to think that the books of the Apocrypha had always been accepted as canonical until the Protestant Reformation. This is false, and I provided arguments for this in the previous debate. The Hebrew Canon never included the seven books, and none of them are in Hebrew, the sole language of the inspired Old Testament writers. The Jews, along with Ancient sources such as Josephus, rejected the Apocrypha as valid texts (see previous debate). Jerome himself, who translated the Vulgate at the behest of Pope Damasus, rejected the books. Bottom line, the rejection of the Apocrypha predates the letter of Athanasius. I might also point out that the Apocrypha was not officially established as canon until 1546, in the Council of Trent.
4) Con asks me if a person goes to heaven if he accepts Christ as his Savior but dies before he is baptized. This seems to me to be a usual question asked by those who dispute the necessity of baptism as a personal decision. Normally, it is asked in a form such as, “What if a person decides to be baptized, gets in the car to go to a lake or something, but dies in a car crash on the way?”
In response to Con’s conclusion: I interpret the Bible out of what it says, not by any specific authority except the Bible itself. He asks the question: “But where does the authority of proper interpretation come from?” I may ask him the same question. I have shown what the Bible directly says in its original text, and it does not support any of the teachings of mainstream Catholicism.
1) The Papacy
1A) Peter as Rock
Pro comments that, “we do not have an Aramaic text of the New Testament.” We do, however, have instances where Aramaic is translated in the New Testament. For example, in John 1:42 we again see the renaming of Simon. In this passage John translates Cephas (the Greek rendering of the Aramaic, Kepha-Rock) into Peter (Petros). Pro is correct when he mentions that “petra” means a “solid mass of rock”. What Pro does not acknowledge is the fact that “petra” is feminine in gender. It order for the word to make sense as a male’s name, it is only appropriate in the Greek to add the masculine ending (“os” instead of “a”). What essentially occurs in Greek is naming Peter as Mr. Rock instead of Miss Rock.
Contrary to Pro’s position, there is a considerable amount of biblical scholarship to support the meaning of Peter as “Rock”. In the below referenced source  there are 13 prominent non-Catholic Christian scholars who agree that Peter’s name means "Rock". Even Alfred Barnes, who Pro uses as a biblical authority regarding the “keys”, acknowledges that fact that the obvious meaning of the “Rock” passage is, "Thou art a rock. Thou hast shown thyself firm, and suitable for the work of laying the foundation of the church. Upon thee will I build it.” 
1B) The Keys to the Kingdom
Catholics agree that Jesus is head and cornerstone of the Church. As discussed in the previous round, however, it is Peter who is the one Jesus singled out as Prime Minister. I do not deny that Peter is only a man and that Christ is the head of the Church, so the sited scriptures are not relevant. However, there is a plethora of examples where Peter is clearly first among the apostles. For the sake of brevity (as my word count is getting low). I will only include four:
Pro has completely ignored the fact that Jesus was referencing Old Testament scripture from Isaiah where God presents the “keys” to one individual and connotes the appointment to an office.
Finally, using the same source as previously submitted, there are numerous examples non-Catholic Christians who agree that the “keys” of the kingdom were presented to Peter apart from the other apostles. They may not agree with Papal succession, but their interpretation of the Matthew is clear. 
2) Mary’s Holiness
It seems that Pro has committed the informal logical fallacy of “moving the goal posts”. I have adequately addressed resolution 2 “Mary, the physical mother of Jesus, is not holy”.
By his own admission, Pro states that Mary was “endowed with grace” and “favored by God”. I thank Pro for acknowledging these very holy attributes. Pro has not offered any support for his resolution “Mary, the physical mother of Jesus, is not holy”. Either he concedes the resolution or needs to argue how Mary is unholy.
If Pro wants to debate other aspects of Marion doctrine, I suggest he begin a separate debate.
3) The Deuterocanonicals
My apologies, I thought this resolution dealt with the Christian Canon, not the Hebrew Canon.
Pro is simply wrong when he states that deuterocanonicals were “not officially established as canon until 1546, in the Council of Trent.” The Council of Trent infallibly reiterated what the Church had long taught regarding the canons of the Old and New Testaments. Pro is correct in saying that Pope Damasus published the full Catholic canon. This was done at the Synod of Rome in A.D. 382. The Church again defined the same list of books at the councils of Hippo (393) and Carthage (397, 419). 
The reiteration of the cannon at the Council of Trent was in response to Protestants removing the seven deuterocanonical books plus portions of Daniel and Esther.
4) Salvation - Infant Baptism
I’d like to thank Pro for addressing my question. I shall do the same before continuing. The fate of an unbaptized infant is entrusted to the mercy of God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church best describes the Catholic Position
1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them. Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.” God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments. 
Because the Sacrament of Baptism has salvific value in and of itself, Catholics see no problem with infant baptism. Nowhere in the bible does it say that infants cannot be baptized. Pro seems to argue that it is not the act of baptism that saves, but rather ones decision to be baptized that has value. I’m not 100% sure, but I don’t think there is a biblical verse that states, “decide to be baptized and then be baptized.”
Like Pro, we Catholics believe that one must repent (the Sacrament of Reconciliation) and one must (after a period of discernment) profess their faith in Christ (the Sacrament of Confirmation). God’s salvific grace is imparted in each of these sacraments.
I have again provided evidence that Catholic teaching is indeed biblical. Furthermore I have exemplified that either 1) Pro’s biblical interpretation is flawed, or 2) Pro’s understanding of Catholic teaching is flawed.
 http://marysaggies.blogspot.com...; Note: I don't normally reference a "blog" as a source, but for the benefit of the reader, it best encapsulates the issue and also provides a source from which it is based.
1A) Con says I do not acknowledge the fact that “petra” is a feminine form of “petros.” In fact I have been aware of this, and originally was going to note it in my previous argument but I was forced to remove it in the interests of saving space. Con, however, ignores the fact that the two words do in fact have a different meaning. Thus they denote two different things. This is the only sufficient explanation for the use of two different words, unless Con would have us believe that Jesus is saying “You are Mr. Rock, and upon Mrs. Rock I will build my church.” And again, though his name is translated from Cephas, we cannot have a solid argument from the Aramaic language unless we have an Aramaic text of the New Testament.
I am not arguing that Peter’s name doesn’t mean Rock. I agree this is the name that Christ gave to him; however, I am arguing it is a mistake to say that Christ established him as the rock of the church. I would accept that he would be a rock, but he is not by any means the rock.
1B) The verses I cited are certainly relevant. We see from them that Peter is only a man and rejects worship (this was in fact a main point I neglected to mention) and that Christ is head of the church, without any reference to Peter. Con still has not explained these verses. Instead he cited a few other verses which he claims establish Peter’s superiority to the other apostles. None of these, however, can be interpreted as such.
John 21:15-17- The objective reader can clearly see that Peter’s role here is that of servitude. Jesus is asking Peter if he loves Him. Are these roles and question not asked of all of us by Jesus? How can one interpret this as an establishment of superiority?
Acts 1:15- I still do not see how this denotes supremacy among the apostles. It proves that Peter could speak authoritatively (an ability that all of the apostles obviously had), not that he was supreme among the apostles. I would ask Con to elaborate here.
Acts 5:15- Not the same power, but equal or perhaps greater powers. In Acts 19, we see that the people were using Paul’s handkerchiefs to heal the sick and demon-possessed.
Acts 15:7-12 Once again, this only proves Peter’s ability to speak authoritatively. Our friend Paul settled many such disputes in his letters, and was not questioned.
Con accuses me of completely ignoring the Isaiah reference that Jesus uses when he give Peter the keys to the kingdom. I have not ignored it. I argued that the obtainment of the keys does not denote superiority among the apostles, even if the privilege was unique to Peter. And I have trouble accepting this, because if the keys denote a specific office like Con says, and all the apostles are give the authority to bind and loose, what are they binding and loosing with? If only Peter has the keys, then what are the other apostles using to bind and loose?
2) I have committed no such fallacy. I simply clarified my meaning in the last round. As of yet, Con has not attempted any argument against my stance that Mary is not deserving of the exaltation she receives in the Catholic Church, aside from brief points in the first round. Even if my meaning wasn’t clear, then Con still should have tried to disprove my arguments. If you thought I made a mistake in wording and needed clarification, all you had to do was ask.
3) Sarcasm will not help your case here. The Hebrew canon was the list that the Jews used up until the time of Christ, and it never included the apocryphal books. Simple as that.
Going forward to the time after Christ, Con argues that the Catholics established the Apocrypha as canon as early as the 4th century. Regardless of when the books were officially established by the Catholics, Con must explain why they were not accepted as canon earlier than the dates he provided. Sources close to the time of Christ and the apostles indicate that the books were rejected. Josephus, who more or less lived during the time of Christ, rejected them. The Muratorian fragment, dated to a 170 A.D. text, lists the books of the Bible and does not include the Apocrypha. Philo, who lived during the time of Christ, quoted from canonical texts but not once did he quote from the Apocrypha. Of course, this is just a rehash of what I said in the previous round and even in the previous debate. Con must address these arguments if he wishes to prove that the Apocrypha is canonical.
4) I do understand the Catholic position on baptism, and the text that Con cited in fact helps me in the course of my study. I would have con know that I am appreciative of this. Here I will restate my views on baptism and why I do not believe infant baptism is valid. With the clarification of the Catholic view, I believe this will be clearer to both my opponent and the followers of this debate.
In the example we have of the Ethiopian eunuch, we see the eunuch wanting badly to be baptized. He says “Look, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” Philip tells the eunuch, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” So we see that there is a prerequisite for baptism, which is a confession that Jesus is the Son of God. Are infants capable of such a confession?
I feel that I have successfully proven that Catholicism is not based on the teachings of the Bible in this debate. I also feel that evidence Con has provided has not been sufficient in disproving my arguments or proving that Catholicism is Biblical. My Biblical interpretations come directly from what the Bible says in plain language, not simply my own judgment. I conclude my arguments by thanking Sojourner for agreeing to this discussion. I pray that the Lord has revealed His truth in this discussion and that those following the debate have increased in their knowledge.
In the spirit of fairness, I will not introduce any new arguments in this round, as Pro will not have a chance to respond. Rather, I will simply address Pro’s arguments and hopefully offer the reader some semblance of a summation. I am severely limited in my word count, so my comments will be brief.
I have offered up significant evidence that Matthew supports the Catholic position where the rock that Jesus referred to was, in fact, Peter and “on this rock” Jesus will build his Church. Pro has argued that there is one and only one clear interpretation of this passage and that Jesus refers to himself as the Rock. Despite the evidence I have put forth that significant non-Catholic scholarship does not agree with his interpretation, Pro holds fast to his position.
Similarly, I have shown how Peter drew from Isaiah when issuing they keys to Peter. Pro argues that it was not Peter who was given the keys, but rather all of the apostles. I have agreed with Pro that authority was given to all of the Apostles, but argued that the Prime Minister’s office was given to Peter alone. I have also provided evidence where Peter was first among the apostles, to which Pro’s response is that my evidence was not properly interpreted, and that the other Apostles had the same authority. Pro alludes that “Paul settled many such disputes” yet gives no specific examples.
I again have provided non-Catholic Christian scholarship which agrees with the Catholic position on the meaning of the “keys”..
Pro argues that the bible interprets itself, but what is really happening here is that Pro feels his own interpretation is the only proper one in the face of a mound of evidence to the contrary. At a minimum, I feel I have provided at least some substantiation that the Catholic position is biblically based.
I first must acknowledge that I did miss-quote Pro in round 2. I quoted him as saying “full of grace”. I meant to acknowledge the Pro agreed that Mary was endowed with grace. I offer my sincere apologies for this mistake.
In the final round Pro has provided us with a definition of holy to which I am very thankful.
Catholics believe that God alone deserves the highest honor. In Latin, it is referred to “Latria”. In contrast, those human beings who have lived very saintly lives are also deserving of our honor. This term is called “Dulia”. Because God endowed upon Mary the very special honor of being the Mother of God incarnate, she is deserving of a very unique respect from us; in Latin, “hyperdulia (more that dulia).
There is so much more to the Catholic doctrine on Mary, but limited space prevents me from going further. Suffice it to say, based on what Pro has put forth, the special respect that we have for Mary is biblical.
Pro has not met his burden of proof in arguing that Mary is unholy.
Pro insists that it is incumbent upon me to explain why the first century Jews did not include the Deuterocanonical as part of their canon. Frankly, I do not see the need. The Church established the Christian Cannon as previously outlined. For centuries included the deuterocanonicals starting in 382 AD. Pro brings up the Muratorian Canon, but I hope the reader will note that the fragment did not include James, John, Peter and Jude as well as the deutercanonicals , so are we to consider this source authoritative? I think not.
Pro is dependent on Catholicism as authoritative when considering the books of the New Testament, but denies the Church’s authority with regards to the old. As stated before, you cannot have it both ways.
Pro and I are really close on this issue. We both agree that baptism is necessary for salvation. We both agree that a profession of faith is necessary for salvation. Pro has argued (successfully, I might add) that an adult should make a proper profession of faith before being baptized, and that this profession saves. My whole argument is that each element is salvific in nature and does not necessarily depend on the other. Infants obviously are not in a position to make a profession of faith, yet the baptism has great value. For the one who has made a profession of faith, but has not been baptized, the profession still has great value. This exemplifies their exclusivity. Since the bible does not exclude infant baptism, it is allowed.
I sincerely want to thank Pro for this debate. I consider him to be a forthright and honest person and it was a pleasure to have the exchange. I thank him for his prayers, I encourage him to continue his search for the truth as well.