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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Rebuttal of James White's Analysis of My "Silver Bullet" article.

It has come to my attention that James White has commented upon my Sola Fide article (which I described as a 'silver bullet' and would play an instrumental role in his conversion). The following are my comments to his radio show analysis of my arguments. In my response I will make approximate references to the minutes and seconds in which White addresses the various issues.

Throughout the show White repeatedly accused the Catholic position of being in irreconcilable conflict with Scripture and that this is a manifest denial of the Gospel and even proliferation of a false gospel. I am glad he did this, because all sides agree a false Gospel cannot save and such falsehood should be rightly exposed. The stakes are high and there can be no compromising with error. It's no exaggeration to say both our positions hang in the balance on just this topic; if White is right, the Catholic Church comes crashing down; if Catholics are right, White and Protestantism come crashing down.

In his introductory remarks White asserts that I (likely) haven't read or in some way ignored his two main books on this subject, The God Who Justifies (TGWJ) and The Roman Catholic Controversy (TRCC). The truth is, I own both books and have read them in their entirety. As will be shown in my response, I know the manifest deficiencies in those books (as well as other similar Protestant writings on the subject) and my 'silver bullet' article was in fact written to exploit such deficiencies. 

Regarding my first point (Abraham believing before Gen 12): The first issue to clear up is that White mistakenly accuses me of denying justification took place in Gen 15, though I never denied such a thing (22:50). Rather, what I said was the *Protestants understanding* of justification couldn't have taken place in Gen 15:6. White strongly maintains Abraham was justified in Gen 15, not before, not after (2:58). (I originally made reference to the objection "Paul wasn't concerned about timing" because I've met Protestants who try to get around this point by arguing just that.) The problem with this assertion is that White must embrace Pelagianism, for Abraham had faith and pleased God prior to that time, which is impossible for the unjustified.

White even suggests (23:40, 23:50) Abraham's belief in Gen 12 onward was akin to "a lot of people who obey general things in this life" and that "that does not mean they've entered into a relationship with God and accepted God's promises." Is White suggesting Genesis 26:4-5 only applies to Gen 15 onward? Would one guess God is *not* in a relationship with someone who: (a) He speaks directly to and promises great rewards, Gen 12:1-4; 13:14ff; (b) has a faith "pleasing" to God, Heb 11:6,8; (c) "built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD", Gen 12:7f; 13:18; and (d) is declared "Blessed by God Most High", Gen 14:19?
It seems the evidence is clearly against White, who is actually imputing his views onto Paul. Paul would never have made such a manifestly weak (even heretical) argument. But that's not all, White argues in Gen 12 Abraham didn't have a promise by which to put his faith in until Gen 15. This is not only false for the above reasons given, it's explicitly refuted in Galatians 3:8, "Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you. [Gen 12:1-4]" To top this off, White dodges this verse in The God Who Justifies and The Roman Catholic Controversy.


Regarding my second point (Phinehas in Ps 106): White states he addressed this issue in TGWJ and I should have known the Protestant reasoning behind this. While White does address this issue in TGWJ, if one examines what he wrote they will see the main problem is not directly addressed, but compounded. Here are some key quotes from TGWJ on the approximately two pages (pages 225-226) White spends dealing with this subject (my emphasis): 

If Phinehas was justified on the basis of what he did (an action), then clearly Paul is mistaken. Is this the case? Murray answers in the negative and argues as follows,

We must, however, recognize the difference between the two cases (Gen. 15:6 and Psalm 106:31). In the case of Phinehas it is an act of righteous zeal on his part; it is a deed. He was credited with the devotion which his faith in God produced - righteousness in the ethical and religious sense. But that which was reckoned to Abraham is of a very different sort. It is in Paul's interpretation and application of Genesis 15:6 this becomes quite patent. Paul could not have appealed to Psalm 106:31 in this connection without violating his whole argument. For if he had appealed to Psalm 106:31 in the matter of justification, the justification of the ungodly (cf. vs. 5), then the case of Phinehas would have provided an inherent contradiction and would have demonstrated justification by a righteous and zealous act. Though then the formula in Genesis 15:6 is similar to that of Psalm 106:31, the subjects with which they deal are diverse. Genesis 15:6 is dealing with justification, as Paul shows; Psalm 106:31 is dealing with the good works which were the fruit of faith. This distinction must be kept in view in the interpretation of Genesis 15:6, particularly as applied by Paul in this chapter. 

Those who would point to this passage as subversive of sola fide likewise ignore a few other issues. The context of Genesis 15:6 is clearly that of God giving the promise to Abraham so that his faith is in that promise, a point Paul will stress in the rest of the chapter. There is no promise in Numbers 25 or Psalm 106. Abraham places faith in God as one capable of keeping His promises. Phinehas acts upon God's law and brings punishment upon evildoers, and as a result is rewarded. The righteousness he receives is, however, defined in the context quite differently than what we have in Genesis 15:6. Phinehas was already a man of faith, and his jealous for the glory of God resulted in his receipt of a "covenant of peace" and and "covenant of a perpetual priesthood." This was not Phinehas's initial encounter with God or with faith in Him.

This is essentially the detailed version of the brief comments White made on the radio show (24:50; 27:45). As is obvious though, the main issue was not addressed: "it was counted as righteousness" in Psalm 106 means the act was counted to be a righteous, thus when applied to Abraham's case should mean Abraham's faith was counted to be a righteous act. Instead of explaining why it cannot mean "faith is counted as a righteous act" (which Catholics maintain works fine), White and Murray shift the focus onto why the context wont allow it to mean justification. While the two issues are closely linked, White and Murray fail to address the key point. Now I will get into the specifics of the above claims:

First, notice how White and Murray repeatedly insinuate that if the Catholic argument is true, then Paul would be contradicting himself and that the Catholic argument is an argument against Paul. The fallacy here is that they fail to note the fact is it's their interpretation of Paul versus the Catholic interpretation of Paul, not 'Catholics versus Paul.' The way White repeatedly states this accusation gives off the impression to his audience that the 'Catholic problem' is with Paul himself, hiding the fact the problem is actually with White's Protestant interpretation of Paul. Second, White and Murray immediately jump to the idea that two different types of righteousness are being dealt with and that one is dealing with justification while the other is not, but this is unsubstantiated. This "distinction" is nothing but a desperate attempt to avoid the implications of Psalm 106. Third, Murray frankly states that Paul would have contradicted himself had he appealed to Psalm 106 (not realizing what Murray really meant was that it would have contradicted Murray's interpretation of Paul), but this implies Paul's argument was so flimsy that a Judaizer could have mentioned Psalm 106 and knocked down Paul's argument (which is what White insinuates when saying the Catholic argument is essentially a Judaizer argument). But surely the Apostle was smarter than that and that inspired by the Holy Spirit wouldn't have had to 'hide' from anything.

Now onto White's remarks: First of all, he says there is no promise stated in Numbers 25, though there clearly is (Phinehas is promised various blessings), but regardless this is invented criteria for a context to be about justification (many people in Scripture were justified without a promise stated in the text, Psalm 32 is a good example). And notice the last part of White's analysis: Phinehas wasn't converting but was already a believer...as if Abraham was converting and was not already a believer by the time of Genesis 15:6? As stated above, White did indeed "address" Psalm 106, but the truth is he only compounded the problem. 


Regarding my third point (faith is what is counted as righteousness, it is not an 'empty hand'): Here White doesn't really address the proofs I raised and again relies on the argument that if someone disagrees with White then they must be contradicting Paul. For example, White said, "now if [Nick] is actually arguing that faith has an inherent value that results in God doing something, he just fell into Romans 4:4" (29:45). The truth is this is White's interpretation that runs into problems here, not Paul. This is highlighted by the fact I substantiated my claim that faith is not an empty hand by truly has inherent value, but White never took a careful look at the texts I cited, Rom 4:18-22 and Hebrews 11:1,6. I don't think it was a mistake that White never addressed Hebrews 11 (esp 1,6,4) TGWJ or TRCC. As for Rom. 4:18-22, White briefly touches upon these verses in TGWJ (pages 234), here is some of what he says:

God's promise did not seem to have any high probability of taking place as Abraham saw the situation, yet he "grew strong in faith" and by doing so gave glory to God by believing what He said.
The object of Abraham's saving faith was the God who is able to fulfill promises He has made. ... It was this kind of radical faith, based upon the character of God as the one saving and not upon the facts as he saw them (his age, the age of Sarah, etc.) ...

Now does this sound like the description of faith being of no inherent value but rather an 'empty hand'? Does an 'empty hand' grow strong, give glory to God, be described as "radical", and rise above natural barriers (e.g. age of Sarah)? Unfortunately, White seems to miss the implications of what he says in his book. Again, Paul unpacked Genesis 15:5-6 in Romans 4:18-22, and the facts clearly point away from the notion faith is an 'empty hand'.


Regarding my fourth point (how logizomai is used): White says my claims about logizomai were the worst part of my article and flatly denies any accusation that Protestants define logizomai to fit their needs. He says, "“we are in no way, shape, or form attempting to cram a certain meaning into logizomai" (31:00). As White proceeds to quote my fourth point he says I don't even try to substantiate my claim, when it was White who failed to accurately quote me because I clearly pointed to the (one and only) end note where I lay out the data for all to see (32:05). The fact is, White is simply dodging any attempt to address the issue of logizomai head on. In my experience, I've yet to find any Protestants who have. In both TGWJ and TRCC White speaks of logizomai but only very briefly and with only a few 'rigged' examples of where "counted" is used in Scripture. Consider the following quotes:

How we interpret the Bible affects our understanding of justification. ... many times people build an entire theology on the minority of references to a subject while ignoring the majority. (TRCC, p.146)

The Hebrew term hashav [i.e. "counted"] has some interesting uses in the Old Testament. We need to discover the background of Paul's use of the term as it is found relative to the imputation of righteousness. ... [White then quotes Genesis 31:14f and Leviticus 25:31 as examples of how the OT uses "counted"] ... All of the examples listed above of this use hashav are translated in the Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint) by the very same term [note #17: "Greek:logizomai"] Paul uses in Romans 4 when he speaks of the imputation or reckoning of righteousness to the believer!

Why is this so significant? Because scholars recognize that Paul utilized the Septuagint as his main source of biblical citations, and his vocabulary is deeply influenced by it. Our understanding of what it means to impute something should take this into consideration. (TRCC, pp. 155f; c.f. TGWJ, pp.112f) 

I mentioned the first of these quotes for the purpose of showing how White actually goes against his own methodology (i.e. building an entirely theology from a biased sample of evidence). Also, it should be noted that White's claims are essentially the same in both TGWJ and TRCC, and in both cases (though not quoted above) White is arguing that "counted" does not mean to cause a subjective change in the individual. First off, Catholics never argued "counted" means to transform, thus White is starting off his analysis attacking a straw man. The real argument is that "counted" most often is speaking of counting something to be what it really is, rather than imputing an alien status to the object. White then proceeds to quote only a few examples of "counted," from the OT, and uses this as his basis for determining what "count" means. Worse yet, he quotes Charles Hodge (TGWJ, p.114) who employs Philemon 1:18 (which uses a different word than logizomai) as his main proof of how we should interpret logizomai. This is a popular tactic I've seen by various Protestant authors (e.g. Hodge, White, Webster), but it's deceptive for not only is the term in Philemon used different than logizomai, the truth is the term for "counted' appears about 120 times in the OT and 40 times in the NT and yet these are virtually ignored. To select the passages he selected shows White's so called 'analysis' and 'conclusion' are already deeply biased. This is the essence and extent of White's examination of this critical concept, and it's very clear that it falls well short of the level of analysis it deserves.

I invite readers to see the end note of my article where I list every occurrence of the term in the Bible and thus present the actual 'hard data' for people to see. What they will see is that White's claims are either terribly uninformed or down right deceptive.

Finally, White turns to my Romans 4:4 argument and says, "this is where Nick has left the realm of meaningful exegesis" (33:40), but the fact is White doesn't substantiate this claim. In fact he either misses my point entirely or is scrambling to avoid the implications. Later (35:22) he says I'm ignorant of the Protestant position and exegesis, yet I've read and studied and know the classical Reformed position on this subject as well as if not better than most informed Reformed individuals and popular Protestant apologists. My track record speaks for itself, simply examine how I explained Sola Fide in the introduction, quoted the Westminster Confession, and expressed various other points relating to the doctrine all in accurate fashion. When it came to my charge that Paul couldn't be equivocating with the term 'counted' in verses 3-5, White brushes off my claim (35:10). He had no answer for my 'silver bullet' and instead scrambled to dodge the point being made.

The rest of his commentary (up to 37:20) was spent going off on tangents about Romans 4*.
I have responded to every major point White has said and I have backed up all my claims in both my initial article and in this response. White, on the other hand, has a lot of explaining to do, because as it stands now, the unbiased reader can quite clearly see White's position is not only unsubstantiated by Scripture, in many cases he contradicts Scripture.



*For example: White demands to know who Catholics the "Blessed man" of Romans 4:6-8 is (35:55). Clearly, while it applies to all Christians, it's first about David (who wrote Ps 32 about himself), who fell into grave sin and thus must have lost his justification and had it restored (else Paul couldn't quote it as a moment of justification, and clearly David wasn't converting here). White is well aware of this Catholic argument, but I don't believe he has a reasonable response against it, for here is what White says in TGWJ, page 214: 
To attempt to go back into the life of David and undercut the apostle's own interpretation of these words by pointing to some actions David engaged in is to question Paul's own understanding of the texts...
What we see is more of the same form of ad hominem and category confusion from White: in other words, if we disagree with White's interpretation we must be undermining Paul and his teaching. The Catholic interpretation is perfectly consistent with Paul, it's the Protestant position that cannot accept the implications. White also insists I address 4:6-8, which I will now do so briefly. First, I believe "justifies the ungodly" is not God declaring an unrighteous person to be righteous, which even Protestants deny (i.e. God only justifies those who have righteousness, even if alien; God never says "you unrighteous man are righteous", and Protestants fully agree). This realization undercuts the Protestant initial appeal to the passage, making it not as 'extreme' of a statement as they once believed. I believe "justifies the ungodly" clearly connects with Paul's immediate statement, "just as David says...blessed is the one who's sins are forgiven." Thus, to 'justify the ungodly' is first and foremost about forgiving them, removing the ungodliness and thus rendering them godly (c.f. Acts 15:9; 1 Jn 1:7-9). This is also a solid proof that "justify" is more fluid than simply "declare righteous" (as even Protestants admit forgiveness is going on here). Now what does "blessed is the man to whom God will not count sin" mean? Using the same definition of "counted" as before, along with the parallel "blessed is the man who's sins are forgiven," this indicates God in forgiving the individual wont reckon the individual as a sinner any longer, and that's because their sin is truly removed/forgiven (see the context of Ps 32, esp 2b-5 & 11, which vindicates this reading).

24 comments:

Rhology said...

Hi Nick,

I'd like to know sthg specific. Given your claim that to your knowledge no one has ever come up with this argument before, why would this not raise a red flag for a RC like you? Why wouldn't the arguments produced by the infallible Magisterium be sufficient for you?

If you argue that this is simply an internal critique of Protestantism, I respond in two ways:
1) Why wouldn't the internal critiques produced by the infallible Magisterium be sufficient for you?
2) The Bible matters for RCC too, so it's not only an internal critique if you intend to tell us what the Bible says. Why are you, an anonymous layman blogger, doing the serious job of biblical exegesis?

Peace,
Rhology

Aristion said...

Hello Nick,

Interesting article. I would have to agree with the points you've made, but I can't seem to draw your conclusions.

I can't understand Paul to mean anything other than the fact that one is justified by faith apart from works (even if these works are performed by the grace of God, as the Judaizers believed).

How would you respond to Protestants who would raise this valid objection?

Jae said...

"One is justified by faith apart from works." Paul was refering to the work of Mosaic Laws of the judaizers that they were using to put God UNDER LEGAL OBLIGATION TO SAVE THEM. Paul was rebuking them for this attitude and these kinds of work that has no bearing to their justification. Paul didn't say works apart from Love or works apart from Hope because Love and Hope are from God's Grace; beside the fact that Paul also didn't say "ALL WORKS" because if he did otherwise then he would never be able say as he does in Romans 2:13, “THE DOERS OF THE LAW WILL BE JUSTIFIED”, “For HE WILL RENDER TO EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS WORKS” (Rom 2:6).

We must clearly differentiate between the work of the Law of Christ (Gal 6:2, 1 Cor 15:58, Heb 6:10, Col 3:23-24 and a lot more)by which Paul has supported as necessary for our justification AND NOT the same as the work of the Law (Gal. 2:16, Romans 4:4, Rom 3:28) by which Paul opposed.

Peace and Grace.

Nick said...

Aristion,

I'm not sure what you mean by you agree with my points but not the conclusions. My points were that the Protestant interpretation is indefensible. Thus, before we examine any other doctrines or even the Catholic side, we know the Protestant interpretation is ruled out.

You asked how I would respond to a Protestant that said Paul excludes even 'works of grace'. My answer would be, they're jumping to conclusions to say Paul excludes any act under any conditions and at any time. They're reading too much into Paul's argument. Paul torpedoes the Judaizers with merely an appeal to history, namely that Abraham was justified before being circumcised. This is nonsense if Paul is really arguing Abraham is justified in spite of any works he's done.


Rhology,

Coming up with a new argument against a heresy is perfectly fine. Heresies pop up all the time, even old ones under new forms, thus we'd expect new arguments against them. The only time 'novelty' is to be looked upon with suspicion is when it comes to redefining or introducing new doctrine.


Jae,

I agree. The Protestant's fundamental mistake is missing Paul's point. He was dealing with a racial/covenantal issue, not a pelagian one. The Judaizers were not pelagians. The Protestant approach to Romans comes from a phantom problem that arose in Luther's mind, requiring a novel solution, foreign to Paul's thought and argument.

Rhology said...

Coming up with a new argument against a heresy is perfectly fine.

I'm not all that interested in your say-so. I'd like some evidence, please. I'd also like you to answer my questions. Thanks!

Nick said...

Rhology,

Your comments are not relevant to the topic of this post, I'm not on any sort of trial and don't need to answer your question which are ultimately aimed at taking this discussion off topic (so as to avoid the main arguments) and turning this discussion into a an all too common game of you keep asking endless questions while I invest my time answering (and you having no intention of returning the favor). Question and answer is a two way street.


I consider myself pretty well read in terms of Catholic theology and practice, and I can say with a clear conscience I'm not going against any Church teaching in what I've said. If I am, and you know about it, it's your duty to point it out. Otherwise, I have no reason to do your homework for you.

Rhology said...

I consider myself pretty well read in terms of Catholic theology and practice

Wow, and I'm really happy for you.
Unfortunately, that doesn't tell me anything about my questions.
If you think I'm only interested in asking questions, you haven't read any of my blog writings. Sad to see you won't answer simple questions. In my experience, it's usually b/c you can't. See you.

Peace,
Rhology

Nick said...

Rhology,

One of the Decrees of the Second Vatican Council is APOSTOLICAM ACTUOSITATEM*, a decree focused on the life and place of the layman in the Church, here is some of what it said:

"Since, in our own times, new problems are arising and very serious errors are circulating which tend to undermine the foundations of religion, the moral order, and human society itself, this sacred synod earnestly exhorts laymen-each according to his own gifts of intelligence and learning-to be more diligent in doing what they can to explain, defend, and properly apply Christian principles to the problems of our era in accordance with the mind of the Church."

* http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decree_19651118_apostolicam-actuositatem_en.html

Rhology said...

I don't see how that answers the question.

Nick said...

There is no satisfying you, and I'm not spending anymore time with *your* agenda, especially when this combox is for an entirely different subject.

Rather than have this combox flooded with anymore of that type of posts, I'll likely be deleting them if they show up.

Lastly, I'm not afraid of you and my apologetics abilities are far superior to yours. Based on our interactions of the past, and examining what your work elsewhere, you'd be crushed in a written debate against me. My work on the blog and my webpage are open for all to see, if there's anything you think you can expose, go ahead and try. I invite any challenge to any of my work.

Rhology said...

Based on our interactions of the past, and examining what your work elsewhere, you'd be crushed in a written debate against me.

Tee hee, you must not've read any canon law on the topic of humility this week.
Thanks for not answering. Have a good one.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Nick, Rhology's apologetic method is to play mosquito and buzz around until he gets swatted.

Looking at this from a legal perspective, St. Paul in no way condemns work, but rather the expectations of one who does them. If one expects a quid pro quo for one's work, that is contrary to the Gospel. But there is nothing that could be read into his argument that condemns works done pro bono-that is without expectation. If one realizes that good works themselves are vehicles of God's grace, then the false conflict that is manufactured by White's eisegesis disappears.

I enjoyed both your original article and the rebuttal!

God bless!

Nick said...

Paul, that's exactly right. Many Protestants are under the false impression that if God responds favorably to an act, then God must be in debt.

This error of logic is exposed in a simple example: Reformed Protestants are quite often angered (and rightly so) when people suggest that since Calvinism teaches Eternal Security that this gives the Christian free range to sin. That's because the Christian is called to do good works out of love for God, so to take that as a license to sin is a distortion of the calling.

So, by analogy, a person doesn't have to be putting God in debt when they do works pleasing to Him, and God doesn't have to be responding in debt just because He blesses a good work. To suggest such is a distortion and bad logic, as if no other motives existed besides a debt-debtor relationship.

Another good example, using the word "please." When someone says "please do X," they are not putting the other person in debt. Rather, the other person is pleased to respond to a polite request.

One of the problems with that false logic is that letting go of it would automatically validate the Catholic argument, which would be disastrous to the Protestant side.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Great job Nick! Unfortunately no matter how good of a job you do in presenting the Catholic side of things, there are some who will come up with any excuse not believe it. The old faith vs works game never gets old to them does it? They refuse to see in Scripture that faith and true works (Not works of the "Law") are never separated, as if one exists without the other. They forget passages like John 14:15 when Jesus says, ""If you love me, you will keep my commandments." Their reply to Jesus is akin to, "we don't need no stinkin works!"

Dan Lower / KKairos said...

Hmm. If you got White's attention, you're in deep, Nick. No getting out of the internet apologetics wars now.

Anonymous said...

Hebrews 11 completely destroys monergism. Good job, Nick.

Tracy said...

@Matthew - I am replying to your comment "Their reply to Jesus is akin to, "we don't need no stinkin works!"

Any man of any denomination who thinks like that is clearly not a bible-believing Christian.

To say that a bible-believing Christian does not see the value in works is a ridiculous summation.

How can you judge my heart? I believe faith without works is dead and I believe that salvation is by faith through grace alone. These two statements are not oppositional, they are hand in glove.

If you are saved by faith in Christ's finished work on the cross, it will transform every fiber of the new believer's being, such that they will want to follow the one who died for them.

I want to please God every waking moment of the day, which I know is impossible. My desire is there, but desire alone does not save me. And the 10 out of 11 (let's say) good works won't save me. If I don't keep all of the law, the 10works (for example) don't count on my behalf for salvation. Without the 11th, I am doomed to a life of separation without God - if I believed the Catholic teaching.

But I don't believe it. I've trusted Jesus and walked in the good works he's prepared in advance for me to do (Ephesians).

I love to serve the living God. I don't want to displease Him. But I know that "all who sin fall short of the glory of God." And that "while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

The life I live in this body "tent", I live for Christ and to preach the good news to those enslaved by legalism and fear. I want to be part of what God is doing in this world to bind up the broken-hearted, as He promised in Isaiah.

I ask you to rexamine your flippant statement that I don't need no stinkin' works.

No, for salvation, I don't need to prove anything. But the works I do, I do out of love for the Lord of my life. Before I was saved and set free, I had to force myself to do good things.

Now, it comes naturally as God leads me and I follow Him.

You are subjecting the whole creation to frustration if you expect any human being to be able to add their own works to Christ's sacrifice.

Nick said...

Tracy,

Matthew's words were more given to convey the Protestant 'defeatist' notion regarding Christ's commands.

The Protestant who knows their theology will strongly admit the truth of all of Christ's Commands - but the catch is that their theological presuppositions state nobody can "really keep" Christ's commands - so in the end Christ's teaching are sent to the back burner in day to day Christian living. This is why when the Rich Young Ruler story comes up, Protestants say Jesus was giving impossible demands to him and that the Young Man didn't really keep any commandments.

De Maria said...

‪Rhology‬ said...
Hi Nick,


Hi Rho,
Nick has answered your questions very astutely. But, as I also consider myself a lay Catholic apologist, I would like to add my 2 cents to your questions.

I'd like to know sthg specific. Given your claim that to your knowledge no one has ever come up with this argument before, why would this not raise a red flag for a RC like you?

Since you're being specific, please explain why this should raise a red flag to any Catholic?

Why wouldn't the arguments produced by the infallible Magisterium be sufficient for you?

It seems to me that these arguments are derived from the teachings of the Catholic Church. Therefore, if you are being "specific" please provide the specific argument to which you are making reference.
If you argue that this is simply an internal critique of Protestantism, I respond in two ways:

Debating with yourself? You'll always win that argument. Nick hasn't mentioned any internal critiques. Therefore, this is a straw man.


1) Why wouldn't the internal critiques produced by the infallible Magisterium be sufficient for you?

Again, since you are being specific, please produce the internal critiques to which you refer that we may have an opportunity to comment upon them.

2) The Bible matters for RCC too, so it's not only an internal critique if you intend to tell us what the Bible says. Why are you, an anonymous layman blogger, doing the serious job of biblical exegesis?

Because the Church empowers Catholics to endeavor the serious job of Biblical exegesis according to the Tradition of the Church (CCC109-141


Peace,
Rhology

And to you,
Sincerely,
De Maria

De Maria said...

Hello Nick,

Interesting article. I would have to agree with the points you've made, but I can't seem to draw your conclusions.

I can't understand Paul to mean anything other than the fact that one is justified by faith apart from works (even if these works are performed by the grace of God, as the Judaizers believed).

I'm a Catholic. And I agree. St. Paul meant what he said. We are justified by faith APART FROM WORKS. Not by faith alone nor by works alone.
Here's the thing. If you go to Romans 2:13, you'll see that no one is justified who does not keep the law:
Romans 2:13
King James Version (KJV)
 13(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
The Law in reference here is that encapsulated in the Ten Commandments.

Unless one keeps the Ten Commandments, one will not be justified by God in Baptism. The Sacraments are the works of God and we bring nothing to the fount of grace wherein we, who keep the Commandments, are justified by the Mercy of God.
CCC1216

If you're Catholic, you're probably familiar with the RCIA process for adults. They study to show themselves approved and they work to become more virtuous. Then they request Baptism where they are justified by the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

How would you respond to Protestants who would raise this valid objection?

That is how I always respond to that objection.
Revelation 22:14
Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

We are not justified by any works which we do. But unless we do the works of the Law, God will not justify us.

Sincerely,
De Maria

De Maria said...

Jae said...
"One is justified by faith apart from works." Paul was refering to the work of Mosaic Laws


Actually, he was referring to anything which we do. The Commandments and the works of corporal and spiritual mercy only justify in a manner of speaking.

What is that manner? They are the measure of our faith. It is by these works that we perfect our faith. But neither the work nor the faith of which they are a product actually justify us. God justifies everyone who has such faith and expresses that faith in works by keeping His Commandments. And no one who does not express His faith in God by keeping the Commandments will be justified by Him.


of the judaizers that they were using to put God UNDER LEGAL OBLIGATION TO SAVE THEM.


Actually, God did that Himself. God promised to save the Jews who kept His Commandments (Exodus 19:5-6).

Paul was rebuking them for this attitude and these kinds of work that has no bearing to their justification. Paul didn't say works apart from Love or works apart from Hope because Love and Hope are from God's Grace; beside the fact that Paul also didn't say "ALL WORKS" because if he did otherwise then he would never be able say as he does in Romans 2:13, “THE DOERS OF THE LAW WILL BE JUSTIFIED”, “For HE WILL RENDER TO EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS WORKS” (Rom 2:6).

Sort of. Those who do the works of God will be justified by God. Those who don't, won't. No matter how much faith they claim to have (Matt 7:21).

We must clearly differentiate between the work of the Law of Christ (Gal 6:2, 1 Cor 15:58, Heb 6:10, Col 3:23-24 and a lot more)by which Paul has supported as necessary for our justification AND NOT the same as the work of the Law (Gal. 2:16, Romans 4:4, Rom 3:28) by which Paul opposed.

With this I agree. But the works themselves do not justify. They are prerequisite for God to pour His salvific justifying grace into us.

Peace and Grace.

to you as well,

Sincerely,

De Maria

Anonymous said...

It's been four years since your silver bullet claim and J. White has still not converted. Your pronouncement clearly failed; much like your argument for it.

congrats

Nick said...

LOL, he didn't convert because he and others never gave an honest look at the evidence. He and others intentionally dodged and ignored the facts. He never came close to refuting anything.

For a guy who devotes his life to teaching Scripture, he has no problem turning a blind eye to those parts that are too inconvenient for him.

Nick said...

I know people like you, you don't even read the articles before you post comments. In my article, I quoted TWO of White's major books where he deliberately looks at only two verses in the Bible (only from the OT, ignoring the NT) when the term appears in numerous verses.

It's become painfully obvious that Protestants don't care about the Bible.