Catholicism is not Biblical
Debate Rounds (3)
This is a topic I have been eager to discuss for quite some time now and look forward to the opportunity to do it. I am a Protestant Christian (Church of Christ to be exact) and I have many problems with how the Catholic Church justifies their beliefs.
The resolution of this debate, as you can see, is that Catholicism is not based on the Bible; in other words, it is not founded on God's commands.
Of course, this is a very broad topic, so I will narrow it down to several "sub-resolutions" I wish to discuss:
Res. 1. The Papacy- nowhere in the Bible is any authority given to establish a papacy. Jesus is the head of the church, not the Pope. In addition, Peter was never a pope.
Res. 2. Mary's holiness- Mary, the physical mother of Jesus, is not holy.
Res. 3. The Apocrypha- The Apocrypha is not Holy Scripture.
Res. 4. Salvation- Salvation does not come simply by faith, or as some put it, by simply "accepting Jesus into your heart." While such an acceptance is indeed part of salvation, it does nothing without the act of baptism. (Note: this topic could be debated with members of many other denominations, but I feel that it is important to my case that Catholicism is not Biblical.)
As for the rules of this debate:
1. Of course, participants are expected to treat each other with respect and conduct themselves properly. No profanity or personal attacks.
2. I would ask that whoever accepts this challenge be a member of the Catholic Church. Don't accept just to play devil's advocate.
3. I invite anybody to comment and vote on the debate, however rule 1 applies here. Please, no belittling or disparaging remarks against religion or religious people, or against any group of people. Such remarks are uncalled for and do not prove anything.
FIRST ROUND is for acceptance only. Thank you, in advance, to whoever accepts this debate. I ask the Lord to bless both of us as well as those who follow the debate.
Many thanks to leandro.sanchez for accepting this debate! I look forward to a fascinating discussion into the subject of Catholicism and how it relates to the Bible.
As per the format of the debate laid out in round 1, I will go through my points one by one.
Res. 1: The Papacy
The Pope is, according to Catholics, the head of the church, and a successor to Peter, who they claim was the first pope. Usually the passage they cite as the one in which God established the papacy is Matthew 16:18-19, where Jesus is speaking to Peter. The passage reads: "I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven."
Thus, we have the teaching that Jesus ordained Peter as the first "rock" of the church.
Mainstream Catholicism says that this rock is Peter because (1. he is referred to by Jesus as the rock on which Christ will build his church, and (2. Christ gave him the authority to bind and loose in heaven and on earth. A deeper analysis of this verse, however, proves otherwise.
(1. To say that Jesus referred to Peter as the rock of the church is a misinterpretation of a concept taught throughout the New Testament. It is clear that Jesus is referring to Himself, not Peter. Had Jesus ordained Peter as the head of the church, then why would Peter refer to Jesus as such? In Acts 4:11, Peter calls Jesus the "chief cornerstone." It is widely accepted that this means the cornerstone of the church. The very next verse proves my point further: "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved." If Peter was truly the head of the church, would he have said this? This clearly shows that he did not have the authority to forgive sins, which proves that he was not a pope.
(2. The authority to bind and loose was not unique to Peter. In Matthew 18:18, Jesus gives this power to all of his disciples. Furthermore, consider how Matthew 16:19 is worded in the original Greek. The passive perfect statement is used (A.T. Robertson, 1934). Therefore, the verse literally means that whatever the apostles shall bind or loose on earth will have been bound or loosed in heaven.
Res. 2: Mary's holiness
There is one main passage that Catholics run to when proving the holiness of Mary, John 19:25-27. In this passage, Jesus' mother is brought to the cross with the apostle John. Jesus says to John, "Behold your mother!" This is interpreted by Catholics to mean that Jesus is appointing Mary to a special role in Christianity, specifically a mother of sorts. However, the objective reader can clearly see that nowhere in this passage does anything suggest that Mary was given a special role. For one, Christ spoke this command to John- not to everybody present. Furthermore, John took Mary to his own home, which makes it clear that Jesus was telling John to tend to the physical care of his mother. Why did John not take Mary to a "Holy Shrine of the Blessed Virgin?"
Res. 3: The Apocrypha
The Apocrypha is the set of seven books that are included in the Old Testament of the Catholic Bible in addition to the "standard" 39. Catholics claim that these books are canonical texts and inspired by God. There are obvious reasons to reject these books as part of the Biblical canon, though. (1. They were never included in the Hebrew canon. One could argue their authenticity by stating the fact that they were found in the Septuagint, but given that the Septuagint was translated from the Hebrew canon, the books were very likely added to copies of it gradually and were not originally from the Hebrew. (2. They were rejected by early Christians and credible sources such as Josephus. In his work Against Apion, Josephus makes reference to a collection of books that he says are disagreeable and contradict one another. He then refers to 22 books of the Old Testament, which he says are "justly believed to be divine." He is referring to the 39 canonical books of the Old Testament. He numbers them as 22 because in his works, he combined many of the Old Testament books into one. Clearly, he acknowledges that the 39 "standard" books of the Old Testament are canonical and rejects the Apocrypha.
Res. 4: Salvation
Catholicism is among the many denominations of Christianity that teaches that salvation is through faith alone; that is, they teach that to be saved, one must declare Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and from then forward, that person is a Christian. Many refer to this as "accepting Jesus into your heart." I believe that this teaching ignores the commands of Jesus Christ, who explicitly commanded us to be baptized for our salvation (Mark 16:16). Those who claim that baptism is not necessary to salvation will often claim 1. that the thief on the cross was never baptized, yet he was saved by Christ, and 2. that baptism is merely symbolic of the fact that we have already been saved.
(1. Not only did the thief on the cross obviously have no way of being baptized, his proclamation of belief in Christ occurred BEFORE Christ was buried! The church, which was purchased by Christ's blood, had not yet been established. Thus, it was possible for the thief on the cross to receive salvation without the act of baptism. Note also that this man was in the direct presence of Christ, unlike us today.
(2. Where is the Biblical support for this claim? Nowhere does the Bible say that baptism symbolizes previous forgiveness.
Without a doubt, the Bible states that baptism is a necessary part of salvation. Acts 2:38 "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Many people try to twist this verse around with other verses from the Bible, but it is still clear that baptism is a requirement for salvation. In the Great Commission, Jesus commands his disciples to go into the world and preach the gospel to every living thing, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Why would he command them to baptize if it is not necessary? It's simple as that.
I look forward to my opponent's arguments for this round.
A.T. Robertson, A Grammar of the Greek of the New Testament, 1934, pg. 361
Flavius Josephus, Against Apion, 1.8
All Bible verses come from the New American Standard Bible.
leandro.sanchez forfeited this round.
Unless leonardo.sanchez decides to argue in the next round, it appears this debate may be a dud. Nevertheless, I will post an argument regarding infant baptism to "replace" my argument on baptism from the previous round. This is due to a misunderstanding I had about baptism in the Catholic Church. See the comments for details.
Infant baptism- the mostly Catholic belief that babies must be freed from their "sinful nature" and "the power of darkness" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994). Most Catholics will support infant baptism by claiming that all humans bear Adam's "original sin" and must be relieved of this burden.
First of all, there is absolutely no Biblical command to baptize infants, nor is there any mention of it to begin with. Most Catholics support it by quoting verses that they claim would authorize infant baptism, but these claims can easily be demonstrated to be false. I will examine some of these claims and provide a Biblical refutation for each claim.
1. Infants are born with Adam's sin; therefore, they must be immediately cleansed of it.
Yet in Ezekiel 18:20, it is clear that a child cannot be punished for the sins of his father. This command is mentioned several times in the Old Testament, usually in the form of "the son shall not be put to death for his father's sins; each shall be put to death for their own sins." Since no child can bear his father's sins, then ultimately, nobody bears Adam's sin. We inherited his sinful nature, but not by any means his actual sin.
2. Mark 16:15 says to preach the gospel to and baptize all creation. This obviously includes infants.
The context of this verse makes it clear that "every creature" includes all creatures that have the gospel preached to them, understand it, and choose to repent. This is why we don't baptize plants, inanimate objects, or our pet cats and dogs. The same line of reasoning applies to infants. You can preach to infants all day, but they certainly will not have any clue what you are saying and do not yet have the presence of mind to choose to repent. This is why the decision to put on Christ in baptism must come when a person is aware of the decision he is making and is ready to carry out the responsibilities of a Christian. One must examine a verse in its proper context before jumping to a hasty conclusion.
3. The Apostles baptized regularly baptized children and "all the household" of several people.
First of all, how can we be sure that somebody's whole "household" meant every single member of the family? It is hasty reasoning to assume such. As a matter of fact, in the context of the New Testament, we see who was baptized in these kinds of families. Consider the Philippian jailer in Acts 16. Luke tells us in particular which members of the family were baptized. Verse 34 reads: “And he brought them (Paul and Silas) into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household.” Are infants capable of “rejoicing greatly” because of “having believed in God”? The obvious answer is no. Going back to my original point, it is hasty reasoning to assume that a person’s “whole household” included every member right down to the infants. The passages say that the people who were baptized believed in God and rejoiced, two things that infants are not capable of. Nowhere, then, does the Bible imply examples of infant baptism.
I conclude my arguments for this debate.
leandro.sanchez forfeited this round.
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