What’s Good for the Goose….

Dr. James R. WhiteHaving nothing else to listen to at work last week, I decided to re-listen to Dr. James White’s debate with Gerry Matatics, a Roman Catholic apologist. While I think the debate was over as soon as Dr. White finished his opening statement (seeing as he effectively anticipated and addressed almost all of what Gerry was going to throw at him), it was interesting to listen to, if only to take note of the various twists and turns the unbeliever will perform in order to justify his unbelief.

One clear example of the unbeliever digging himself into a deeper and deeper ditch can be found in Gerry Matatics’ rejection of the idea that Scripture is Self-attesting. In the debate, he objected to the idea that Scripture is self-attesting because this would establish Scripture’s authority on the Scripture’s authority – and such reasoning is circular. For Matatics, the Roman establishment attests to the Holy Scriptures. Circle avoided.

Right?

Well, no.

You see, Matatics goes on to say that tradition and the offices of the Roman organization also constitute the Word of God. Scripture is the Word of God, but Sacred Tradition and the authoritative proclamations of the Roman “church” are also the Word of God.

Therefore, he is also arguing in a circle by saying that the Word of God (the Scriptures) is shown to be the Word of God by means of the Word of God (i.e. Sacred Tradition, Official Church pronouncements, etc, etc, etc).

 Consequently, the circle is not at all avoided.

This is helpful to remember when engaging Roman Catholic apologists, if they follow the same pattern as Matatics. At some point, the issue between the Christian and the non-Christian (in this instance, the Roman Catholic) will be clearly be that of authority.

Christians hear the Voice of Christ; those who do not belong to Christ do not hear His Voice.

Sola. Scriptura.

Here is a link to the debate, available for purchase at aomin.org:

http://store.aomin.org/christian-apologetics/roman-catholicism-81/roman-catholicism/debate-sola-scriptura-i-white-vs-matatics.html

Advertisements

What is a “Philosophical” Argument?

Avoiding the Inexorable Consequences of One’s Beliefs

Since the debate a few weeks ago, I’ve been talking to annihilationists about the foundations on which they build their doctrine. The result has not been very fruitful, as there has been much misunderstanding from the annihilationist camp about the various critiques I have been offering. In the course of our interactions, the accusation arose that we (myself and Michael Burgos from grassrootsapologetics.org) were making “philosophical” arguments and not “Biblical” arguments. The statement bugged me because it is, well, worthless in terms of refuting any singular point that one’s opponent raises in a given discussion. What is worse, however, is the fact that the assertion wrongly identifies logic as philosophy, which are two different things.  Logic is the science of necessary inference; philosophy is a branch of study that involves the study of knowledge (i.e. epistemology), the study of first principles (i.e. metaphysics), the study of being/s (i.e. ontology), and the study of ethics. Logic is prerequisite to all cognition. Philosophy is the fruit of such cognition.

So the accusation that a person is making a “philosophical” argument, as opposed to a Biblical one, is a meaningless assertion. What I’ve noticed, however, is that the accusation occurs when prooftexting is not involved in the argument that one is making, but deduction from a given set of premises (whether Biblical or extrabiblical). Yet this still does not give one grounds to identify the argument as a “philosophical” argument. Why then is this meaningless assertion used? Because it is a way to avoid dealing with the inexorable consequences of one’s beliefs. For instance, if a Romanist’s simultaneous belief in the perpetual virginity and sinlessness of Mary leads us to conclude that if Mary was perpetually a virgin, then Joseph was perpetually subject to sexual temptation, Mary was willfully neglecting her duty to be physically intimate with Joseph and, therefore, guilty of sin and could not have been born without the taint and stain of original sin, will he concede the point? Not at all. Rather, the focus will be shifted. The one who draws out the logical consequences of the Romanist’s idolatry will be shunned as rationalistic, or his arguments will be said to be the fruit of philosophical speculation, or something of that sort. “Mary’s perpetual virginity and immaculate conception,” they will retort, “are a mystery that you must accept, even if you think it is irrational.”

Regarding the annihilationists I mentioned above, a similar course of action was taken. Arguments that work deductively, were identified as “philosophical” and not logical. The one making the assertion had the advantage, because he was then in a position to state that he wa arguing biblically and not philosophically. This move can only be made in one of two ways: (1.)abject ignorance of what philosophy, logic, and theology are, or (2.)a good understanding of the differences between philosophy, logic, and theology, and yet the unwillingness of the one who knows these things to follow his beliefs to their inexorable conclusions.

This is not Christian thinking, but cultic reasoning. And as such, it is completely unfit for all who profess the name of Christ.

I have written some more on this, but I will post it over @ Grassroots Apologetics.

Soli.

Deo.

Gloria.

-h.