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