Thursday, August 30, 2012

St. Augustine the Catholic (Not "Proto-Protestant"): 135 Different Proofs

 
By Catholic apologist Dave Armstrong

These are excerpted from my book, The Quotable Augustine: Distinctively Catholic Elements in His Theology. Many more quotations on most of these topics are in the book. This is only barely scratching the surface.

[the context and background of all quotations can be consulted by following the links made in each instance to the primary sources -- themselves all in the public domain]

* * * * *

1. Absolution . . .the peace of the Church looses sins, and estrangement from the Church retains them, not according to the will of men, but according to the will of God . . . (On Baptism, Against the Donatists, iii, 18, 23)

2. Angels, Intercession of . . . they [prayers] may be made known also to the angels that are in the presence of God, that these beings may in some way present them to God, and consult Him concerning them, and may bring to us, . . . according to that which they have there learned to be their duty; for the angel said to Tobias: “Now, therefore, when you prayed, and Sara your daughter-in-law, I brought the remembrance of your prayers before the Holy One.” [Tobit 12:12] (Letters, 130 [9, 18]: to Proba [412] )

3. Anointing, Sacrament of For unless that sign be applied, whether it be to the foreheads of believers, . . . or to the oil with which they receive the anointing chrism, . . . none of them is properly administered. . . . every good thing is sealed to us in the celebration of His sacraments . . . (Lectures on the Gospel of John, 118, 5)

4. Apostasy (Falling Away from the Faith or Salvation) Wherefore let us now consider that, which ought to be cast forth from the hearts of religious persons, that they lose not their own salvation through evil security, if they shall think faith sufficient in order to attain to it, and shall neglect to live well, and in good works to hold the way of God. (On Faith and Works, 21)

5. Apostolic Succession In this respect the testimony of the Catholic Church is conspicuous, as supported by a succession of bishops from the original seats of the apostles up to the present time, and by the consent of so many nations. (Against Faustus the Manichee xi, 2)

6. Baptism and Being "Born Again" . . . born again by baptism; the generation by which we shall rise again from the dead, and shall live with the Angels for ever. (Expositions on the Psalms, 135:13 [135, 11] )

7. Baptism and Justification . . . the question of baptism, . . . justified by the grace of God, . . . (Against the Letters of Petilian the Donatist, iii, 50, 62)

8. Baptism and Salvation . . . that sacrament, namely, of baptism, which brings salvation . . . (Letters, 98 [1]: to Boniface [408] )

9. Baptismal Regeneration  . . . the sacrament of baptism is undoubtedly the sacrament of regeneration . . . (On Merit and the Forgiveness of Sins and on Infant Baptism ii, 43 [XXVII] ) 

10. Bishops . . . if in the office of bishop, or presbyter, or deacon, the orders of the Captain of our salvation be observed, there is no work in this life more difficult, toilsome, and hazardous, especially in our day, but none at the same time more blessed in the sight of God. (Letters, 21: to Bishop Valerius [391] )

11. Celibacy; Consecrated Virginity  So, again, if your exhortations to virginity resembled the teaching of the apostle, "He who gives in marriage does well, and he who gives not in marriage does better;" [1 Corinthians 7:38] if you taught that marriage is good, and virginity better, as the Church teaches which is truly Christ's Church, you would not have been described in the Spirit's prediction as forbidding to marry. (Against Faustus the Manichee xxx, 6)

12. Church and Salvation . . . the Church our Mother, by whom we are born unto life eternal. (Sermons on the New Testament, 7, 2 [LVII] )

13. Church: Authority of . . . they admit the necessity of baptizing infants—finding themselves unable to contravene that authority of the universal Church, which has been unquestionably handed down by the Lord and His apostles . . . (On Merit and the Forgiveness of Sins and on Infant Baptism i, 39 [XXVI] )

14. Church: Blaspheming of  What does it serve you, if you acknowledge the Lord, honour God, preach His name, acknowledge His Son, confess that He sits by His right hand; while you blaspheme His Church? (Expositions on the Psalms, 89:52 [89, 41] )

15. Church, Catholic  . . . the name itself of Catholic, which, not without reason, amid so many heresies, the Church has thus retained; so that, though all heretics wish to be called Catholics, yet when a stranger asks where the Catholic Church meets, no heretic will venture to point to his own chapel or house. (Against the Fundamental Epistle of Manichaeus, 4, 5)

16. Church: Fullness of the Faith  For when men come to the peace of the Catholic Church, then what was in them before they joined it, but did not profit them, begins at once to profit them. (On Baptism, Against the Donatists, vi, 9, 14)

17. Church, Holy Mother  For have ye now merely heard that God is Almighty? But ye begin to have him for your father, when you have been born by the church as your Mother. (Sermon to Catechumens on the Creed, 1)

18. Church, Indefectibility of  No one can erase from heaven the divine decree, no one can efface from earth the Church of God. (Letters, 43 [9, 27]: to Glorius, Eleusius, the Two Felixes, and Grammaticus [397] )

19. Church, Infallibility of  For in the belly of the Church truth abides. Whosoever has been separated from this belly of the Church must needs speak false things: . . . (Expositions on the Psalms, 58:3 [58, 5] ) [syntax modified]

20. Church, One "True" . . . let them come to the true Church of Christ, that is, to the Catholic Church our mother . . . (Letters, 185 [9, 36 / 10, 46]: to Boniface [416])

21. Church, Sinners in  My advice to you now is this: that you should at least desist from slandering the Catholic Church, by declaiming against the conduct of men whom the Church herself condemns, seeking daily to correct them as wicked children. . . . Those, again, who with wicked will persist in their old vices, . . . are indeed allowed to remain in the field of the Lord, and to grow along with the good seed; but the time for separating the tares will come. (On the Morals of the Catholic Church, 34, 76)

22. Church, Visible . . . you are not in the city upon a hill, which has this as its sure sign, that it cannot be hid. It is known therefore unto all nations. But the party of Donatus is unknown to the majority of nations, therefore is it not the true city. (Against the Letters of Petilian the Donatist, ii, 105, 239)

23. Confession Who is the proud? He who does not by confession of his sins do penance, that he may be healed through his humility. (Expositions on the Psalms, 94:12 [94, 11] )

24. Confirmation, Sacrament of . . . the laying on of hands now, that persons may receive the Holy Ghost . . . Then if you would know that you have received the Spirit, question your heart: lest haply you have the sacrament, and have not the virtue of the sacrament. (Homilies on the First Epistle of John, 6, 10)

25. Contraception; Contralife Will The doctrine that the production of children is an evil, directly opposes the next precept, "You shall not commit adultery;" for those who believe this doctrine, in order that their wives may not conceive, are led to commit adultery even in marriage. They take wives, as the law declares, for the procreation of children; but . . . their intercourse with their wives is not of a lawful character; and the production of children, which is the proper end of marriage, they seek to avoid. . . . you seek to destroy the purpose of marriage. Your doctrine turns marriage into an adulterous connection, and the bed-chamber into a brothel. (Against Faustus the Manichee, 15, 7)

26. Councils, Ecumenical They attempt, accordingly, to prevail against the firmly-settled authority of the immoveable Church . . . But He who is the most merciful Lord of faith has both secured the Church in the citadel of authority by most famous ecumenical Councils and the Apostolic sees themselves, and furnished her with the abundant armour of equally invincible reason . . . (Letters, 118 [5, 32]: to Deoscorus [410] )

27. Creation Days (Old Earth) . . . no one who reads the Scriptures, however negligently, need be told that in them “day” is customarily used for “time.” (City of God  xx, 1)

28. Cross, Sign of the Let them all sign themselves with the sign of the cross of Christ . . . (Homilies on the First Epistle of John, 5, 7)

29. Dead, Almsgiving for Nor can it be denied that the souls of the dead are benefited by the piety of their living friends, who . . . give alms in the church on their behalf. (Enchiridion: Handbook on Faith, Hope, and Love, 110)

30. Dead, Masses for These things she [his mother Monica] entrusted not to us, but only desired to have her name remembered at Your altar, which she had served without the omission of a single day; whence she knew that the holy sacrifice was dispensed, . . . (The Confessions ix, 13, 36)

31. Dead, Offerings for . . . we take care, in regard to the offerings for the spirits of those who sleep, which indeed we are bound to believe to be of some use, . . . that which is a pious and honourable act of religious service shall be celebrated as it should be in the Church. (Letters, 22 [1, 6]: to Bishop Aurelius [392] )

32. Dead, Prayer for For if we cared not for the dead, we should not, as we do, supplicate God on their behalf. (On the Care of the Dead, 17)

33. Denominationalism; Sectarianism . . . there were to be schisms in various quarters of the world, which would be jealous of the Church Catholic spread abroad in the whole round world, and again those same schisms dividing themselves into the names of men, and by loving the men under whose authority they had been rent, opposing themselves to the glory of Christ which is throughout all lands . . . (Expositions on the Psalms, 72:9 [72, 12] )

34. Deuterocanon (So-Called "Apocrypha") There are other books which seem to follow no regular order, and are connected neither with the order of the preceding books nor with one another, such as Job, and Tobias, and Esther, and Judith, and the two books of Maccabees, and the two of Ezra, which last look more like a sequel to the continuous regular history which terminates with the books of Kings and Chronicles. Next are the Prophets, in which there is one book of the Psalms of David; and three books of Solomon, viz., Proverbs, Song of Songs, and Ecclesiastes. For two books, one called Wisdom and the other Ecclesiasticus, are ascribed to Solomon from a certain resemblance of style, but the most likely opinion is that they were written by Jesus the son of Sirach. Still they are to be reckoned among the prophetical books, since they have attained recognition as being authoritative. . . . The authority of the Old Testament is contained within the limits of these forty-four books. (On Christian Doctrine, ii, 13; deuterocanonical books included are presently italicized; Augustine would have included Baruch as part of the book of Jeremiah)

35. Development of Doctrine For many things lay hid in the Scriptures: and when heretics had been cut off, with questions they troubled the Church of God: then those things were opened which lay hid, and the will of God was understood. . . . Therefore many men that could understand and expound the Scriptures very excellently, were hidden among the people of God: but they did not declare the solution of difficult questions, when no reviler again urged them. For was the Trinity perfectly treated of before the Arians snarled thereat? Was repentance perfectly treated of before the Novatians opposed? . . . (Expositions on the Psalms, [55, 21] )

36. Dissent (from Catholicism) / Anti-Catholicism “Let them be confounded and turned backward, as many as have evil will at Sion” [Psalm 129:5]. They who hate Sion, hate the Church: Sion is the Church. And they who hypocritically enter into the Church, hate the Church. They who refuse to keep the Word of God, hate the Church . . . (Expositions on the Psalms, 129:5 [129, 8] )

37. Divorce and Remarriage . . . the sanctity of the Sacrament, by reason of which it is unlawful for one who leaves her husband, even when she has been put away, to be married to another, so long as her husband lives, . . . (On the Good of Marriage, 32)

38. Ecumenism But there may be something Catholic outside the Catholic Church, just as the name of Christ could exist outside the congregation of Christ, in which name he who did not follow with the disciples was casting out devils. [Mark 9:38] . . . (On Baptism, Against the Donatists, vii, 39, 77)

39. Eucharist and Salvation If, however, Christ did not die in vain, then human nature cannot by any means be justified and redeemed from God's most righteous wrath— in a word, from punishment— except by faith and the sacrament of the blood of Christ. (On Nature and Grace, 2 [II] )

40. Eucharist: Transubstantiation . . . Catholics . . . have eaten the body of Christ, not only sacramentally but really, being incorporated in His body, as the apostle says, “We, being many, are one bread, one body;” [1 Corinthians 10:17] (City of God xxi, 20)

41. Eucharistic Adoration . . . He walked here in very flesh, and gave that very flesh to us to eat for our salvation; and no one eats that flesh, unless he has first worshipped: we have found out in what sense such a footstool of our Lord's may be worshipped, and not only that we sin not in worshipping it, but that we sin in not worshipping. (Expositions on the Psalms, 99:5 [99, 8] )

42. Evangelical Counsels When the judges, however, accepted Pelagius' answer, they did not take it to convey the idea that those persons keep all the commandments of the law and the gospel who over and above maintain the state of virginity, which is not commanded—but only this, that virginity, which is not commanded, is something more than conjugal chastity, which is commanded; . . . the state of virginity, persevered in to the last, which is not commanded, is more than the chastity of married life, which is commanded. (On the Proceedings of Pelagius, 29 [XIII] )

43. Excommunication . . . what is bound on earth is bound in heaven, and what is loosed on earth is loosed in heaven,— for when the Church excommunicates, the excommunicated person is bound in heaven . . . (Lectures on the Gospel of John, 50, 12)

44. Faith Alone (Falsity of) Who is he that believes not that Jesus is the Christ? He that does not so live as Christ commanded. For many say, “I believe”: but faith without works saves not. Now the work of faith is Love, . . . (Homilies on the First Epistle of John, 10, 1)

45. Faith and Works Therefore, the apostle having said, “You are saved through faith,” [Ephesians 2:8] added, “And that not of yourselves, but it is the gift of God.” And again, lest they should say they deserved so great a gift by their works, he immediately added, “Not of works, lest any man should boast.” [Ephesians 2:9] Not that he denied good works, or emptied them of their value, when he says that “God renders to every man according to his works” [Romans 2:6]; but because works proceed from faith, and not faith from works. Therefore it is from Him that we have works of righteousness, from whom comes also faith itself . . . (On Grace and Free Will, 17)

46. Fast, Eucharistic Must we therefore censure the universal Church because the sacrament is everywhere partaken of by persons fasting? . . . for the honour of so great a sacrament, that the body of the Lord should take the precedence of all other food entering the mouth of a Christian . . . (Letters, 54 [6, 8]: to Januarius [400] )

47. Fasting and Abstinence And this is man's righteousness in this life, fasting, alms, and prayer. Would you have your prayer fly upward to God? Make for it those two wings of alms and fasting. (Expositions on the Psalms, 43:5 [43, 7] )

48. Free Will . . . we may not so defend grace as to seem to take away free will, or, on the other hand, so assert free will as to be judged ungrateful to the grace of God, in our arrogant impiety. (On Merit and the Forgiveness of Sins and on Infant Baptism ii, 28 [XVIII] )

49. Free Will and God's Foreknowledge . . . we are by no means compelled, either, retaining the prescience of God, to take away the freedom of the will, or, retaining the freedom of the will, to deny that He is prescient of future things, which is impious. But we embrace both. We faithfully and sincerely confess both. The former, that we may believe well; the latter, that we may live well. (City of God v, 10)

50. Friday Abstinence . . . the Lord suffered on the sixth day of the week, as is admitted by all: wherefore the sixth day also is rightly reckoned a day for fasting, as fasting is symbolic of humiliation; whence it is said, “I humbled my soul with fasting.” (Letters, 36 [13, 30]: to Casulanus [396] )

51. God: Circumincession / Coinherence / Perichoresis . . . we have already shown, by many modes of speech in the divine Scriptures, that, in this Trinity, what is said of each is also said of all, on account of the indivisible working of the one and same substance. (On the Trinity i, 12, 25)

52. God: Foreknowledge of . . . God most high, who is most rightly and most truly believed to know all things before they come to pass . . . (City of God v, 8)

53. God: Immutability (Unchangeable) And should any one suppose that anything in God's substance or nature can suffer change or conversion, he will be held guilty of wild profanity. (On the Morals of the Catholic Church, 10)

54. God: Impeccability of (Impossibility of Sinning) Then again, inasmuch as, in an infinitely greater degree, it is God's not to sin, shall we therefore venture to say that He is able both to sin and to avoid sin? God forbid that we should ever say that He is able to sin! (On Nature and Grace, 57 [XLIX] )

55. God: Middle Knowledge of For God knows His own future action, and therefore He knows also the effect of that action in preventing the happening of what would otherwise have happened . . . (Against Faustus the Manichee xxvi, 4)

56. God: Omniscience of The infinity of number, though there be no numbering of infinite numbers, is yet not incomprehensible by Him whose understanding is infinite. (City of God xii, 18)

57. God: Outside of Time But the place and time of these miracles are dependent on His unchangeable will, in which things future are ordered as if already they were accomplished. For He moves things temporal without Himself moving in time, He does not in one way know things that are to be, and, in another, things that have been; neither does He listen to those who pray otherwise than as He sees those that will pray. (City of God x, 12)

58. God, Providence of . . . all things in the universe, from the highest to the lowest, are governed by God's providence. (Against Faustus the Manichee xxii, 19)

59. God: Self-Sufficiency of For He is perfect and independent, underived, not divided or scattered in space, but unchangeably self-existent, self-sufficient, and blessed in Himself. (Against Faustus the Manichee xiv, 11)

60. God: Simplicity of But the Catholic Church has taught me many other things also, . . . that God is not corporeal, that no part of Him can be perceived by corporeal eyes, that nothing of His Substance or Nature can any way suffer violence or change, or is compounded or formed . . . (On the Usefulness of Believing, 36)

61. God: Sustainer of Creation . . . sustaining, pervading, and protecting; creating, nourishing, and developing; seeking, and yet possessing all things. (The Confessions i, 4, 4)

62. God the Father: Monarchia / Principatus of The Holy Spirit thus receives of the Father, of whom the Son receives; for in this Trinity the Son is born of the Father, and from the Father the Holy Spirit proceeds. He, however, who is born of none, and proceeds from none, is the Father alone. (Lectures on the Gospel of John, 100, 4)

63. Gospels: Harmony of . . . any contradiction between the evangelists will fail to be detected, as nothing of that nature really exists. (Harmony of the Gospels iii, 2, 8)

64. Grace: Degrees or Greater Measure of . . . only let us love, only let us grow in grace . . . (Expositions on the Psalms [128, 8] )

65. Grace, Irresistible (Falsity of) If, however, being already regenerate and justified, he relapses of his own will into an evil life, assuredly he cannot say, “I have not received,” because of his own free choice to evil he has lost the grace of God, that he had received. (On Rebuke and Grace, 9 [VI] )

66. Hades; Sheol; Paradise; Intermediate State During the time, moreover, which intervenes between a man's death and the final resurrection, the soul dwells in a hidden retreat, where it enjoys rest or suffers affliction just in proportion to the merit it has earned by the life which it led on earth. (Enchiridion: Handbook on Faith, Hope, and Love, 109)

67. Hardening of the Heart Nor should you take away from Pharaoh free will, because in several passages God says, “I have hardened Pharaoh;” or, “I have hardened” or “I will harden Pharaoh's heart;” for it does not by any means follow that Pharaoh did not, on this account, harden his own heart. For this, too, is said of him, after the removal of the fly-plague from the Egyptians, in these words of the Scripture: “And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also; neither would he let the people go.” [Exodus 8:32] Thus it was that both God hardened him by His just judgment, and Pharaoh by his own free will. (On Grace and Free Will, 45 [XXIII] )

68. Hell (Eternal Punishment) It is in vain, then, that some, indeed very many, make moan over the eternal punishment, and perpetual, unintermitted torments of the lost, and say they do not believe it shall be so; . . . (Enchiridion: Handbook on Faith, Hope, and Love, 112)

69. Heresies . . . all the heresies have proceeded which deceive by the use of Christian terms. (On Baptism, Against the Donatists, v, 15, 20)

70. Holy Days Celebrate with temperance the birthdays of the Saints, that we may imitate those who have gone before us, . . . (Expositions on the Psalms, 89:52 [89, 41] )

71. Holy Items But, it will be said, we also have very many instruments and vessels made of materials or metal of this description for the purpose of celebrating the Sacraments, which being consecrated by these ministrations are called holy, in honour of Him who is thus worshipped for our salvation: . . . Do we pray unto them, because through them we pray to God? (Expositions on the Psalms, 115:7 [115, 7] )

72. Holy Places; Shrines But in regard to the answers to prayer which are visible to men, who can search out His reasons for appointing some places rather than others to be the scene of miraculous interpositions? To many the holiness of the place in which the body of the blessed Felix is buried is well known, and to this place I desired them to repair; because from it we may receive more easily and more reliably a written account of whatever may be discovered in either of them by divine interposition. (Letters, 78 [3]: to the Church at Hippo [404] )

73. Holy Spirit: Procession of (Filioque Dispute) And yet it is not to no purpose that in this Trinity the Son and none other is called the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit and none other the Gift of God, and God the Father alone is He from whom the Word is born, and from whom the Holy Spirit principally proceeds. And therefore I have added the word principally, because we find that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son also. But the Father gave Him this too, not as to one already existing, and not yet having it; but whatever He gave to the only-begotten Word, He gave by begetting Him. Therefore He so begot Him as that the common Gift should proceed from Him also, and the Holy Spirit should be the Spirit of both. (On the Trinity xv, 17, 29)

74. Homosexual Acts But as regards any part of the body which is not meant for generative purposes, should a man use even his own wife in it, it is against nature and flagitious. Indeed, the same apostle had previously [Romans 9:26] said concerning women: “Even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature;” and then concerning men he added, that they worked that which is unseemly by leaving the natural use of the woman. Therefore, by the phrase in question, “the natural use,” it is not meant to praise conjugal connection; but thereby are denoted those flagitious deeds which are more unclean and criminal than even men's use of women, which, even if unlawful, is nevertheless natural. (On Marriage and Concupiscence ii, 35 [XX] )

75. Images, Icons, and Statues: Use and Veneration of But in regard to pictures and statues, and other works of this kind, which are intended as representations of things, nobody makes a mistake, especially if they are executed by skilled artists, but every one, as soon as he sees the likenesses, recognizes the things they are likenesses of. (On Christian Doctrine, ii, 39)

76. Indulgences . . . when one is reconciled by the Church, the person so reconciled is loosed in heaven . . . (Lectures on the Gospel of John, 50, 12)

77. Jesus Christ: Supposed “Ignorance” of Certain Matters . . . they ought to have said to Him, whom they knew to be omniscient, “Thou needest not to ask any man,” . . . He, who knew all things, had no need even of that, and as little need had He of discovering by their questions what it was that any one desired to know of Him, for before a question was put, He knew the intention of him who was to put it. (Lectures on the Gospel of John, 103, 2)

78. Jonah and the Whale . . . either all the miracles wrought by divine power may be treated as incredible, or there is no reason why the story of this miracle should not be believed. The resurrection of Christ Himself upon the third day would not be believed by us, if the Christian faith was afraid to encounter Pagan ridicule. . . . I am much surprised that he reckoned what was done with Jonah to be incredible; unless, perchance, he thinks it easier for a dead man to be raised in life from his sepulchre, than for a living man to be kept in life in the spacious belly of a sea monster. . . . with how much greater force might they pronounce it incredible that the three young men cast into the furnace by the impious king walked unharmed in the midst of the flames! (Letters, 102 [30-32]: to Deogratias [409] )

79. Judgment and Works Next, in what manner is that true which He will say unto them whom He will set on his left hand, Go ye into everlnsting fire, which is prepared for the devil and his angels? Whom He rebukes, not because they have not believed in Him, but because they have not done good works. (On Faith and Works, 25)

80. Judgment of Nations Accordingly this seems to me to be one principal reason why the good are chastised along with the wicked, when God is pleased to visit with temporal punishments the profligate manners of a community. They are punished together, not because they have spent an equally corrupt life, but because the good as well as the wicked, though not equally with them, love this present life; . . . (City of God i, 9)

81. Justification, Infused As therefore, for example's sake, a man who is lamed by a wound is cured in order that his step for the future may be direct and strong, its past infirmity being healed, so does the Heavenly Physician cure our maladies, not only that they may cease any longer to exist, but in order that we may ever afterwards be able to walk aright—to which we should be unequal, even after our healing, except by His continued help. . . . For, just as the eye of the body, even when completely sound, is unable to see unless aided by the brightness of light, so also man, even when most fully justified, is unable to lead a holy life, if he be not divinely assisted by the eternal light of righteousness. God, therefore, heals us not only that He may blot out the sin which we have committed, but, furthermore, that He may enable us even to avoid sinning. (On Nature and Grace, 29 [XXVI] )

82. Lent . . . Christians, not heretics, but Catholics, in order to subdue the body, that the soul may be more humbled in prayer, abstain not only from animal food, but also from some vegetable productions, without, however, believing them to be unclean. A few do this always; and at certain seasons or days, as in Lent, almost all, more or less, according to the choice or ability of individuals. (Against Faustus the Manichee xxx, 5)

83. Marriage: Sacrament . . . in the City of our God, in His Holy Hill, that is, in the Church, wherein of marriage, not the bond alone, but the Sacrament is so set forth, as that it is not lawful for a man to deliver his wife unto another . . . (On Faith and Works, 10)

84. Mary: Mother of God (Theotokos) Moreover, those parties also are to be abhorred who deny that our Lord Jesus Christ had in Mary a mother upon earth; . . . Neither is there anything to compel us to a denial of the mother of the Lord, in the circumstance that this word was spoken by Him: “Woman, what have I to do with you? Mine hour is not yet come.” But He rather admonishes us to understand that, in respect of His being God, there was no mother for Him, the part of whose personal majesty (cujus majestatis personam) He was preparing to show forth in the turning of water into wine. . . . if, on the ground of His having said, “Who is my mother?” every one should conclude that He had no mother on earth, then each should as matter of course be also compelled to deny that the apostles had fathers on earth; since He gave them an injunction in these terms: “Call no man your father upon the earth; for one is your Father, which is in heaven.” (Of Faith and the Creed, 4, 9)

85. Mary: New Eve; Second Eve . . . since through a female death had happened unto us, life unto us through a female should be born: that so of either nature, that is, the female and male, the devil being overcome might be put to torment, seeing that he was rejoicing in the overthrow of both; . . . (On the Christian Conflict, 24)

86. Mary: Perpetual Virginity of . . . being born of a mother who, although she conceived without being touched by man and always remained thus untouched . . . (On Catechizing the Uninstructed, 22, 40)

87. Mary: Sinlessness We must except the holy Virgin Mary, concerning whom I wish to raise no question when it touches the subject of sins, out of honour to the Lord; for from Him we know what abundance of grace for overcoming sin in every particular was conferred upon her who had the merit to conceive and bear Him who undoubtedly had no sin. [1 John 3:5] (On Nature and Grace, 42 [XXXVI] )

88. Mary: Virginity In Partu (During Childbirth) The body of the infant Jesus was brought forth from the womb of His mother, still a virgin, by the same power which afterwards introduced His body when He was a man through the closed door into the upper chamber. [John 20:26] (Letters, 137 [2, 8]: to Volusianus [412] )

89. Mass, Daily . . . some partake daily of the body and blood of Christ, others receive it on stated days: in some places no day passes without the sacrifice being offered; . . . (Letters, 54 [2, 2]: to Januarius [400] )

90. Mass, Sacrifice of And hence that true Mediator, in so far as, by assuming the form of a servant, He became the Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, though in the form of God He received sacrifice together with the Father, with whom He is one God, yet in the form of a servant He chose rather to be than to receive a sacrifice, . . . Thus He is both the Priest who offers and the Sacrifice offered. And He designed that there should be a daily sign of this in the sacrifice of the Church, which, being His body, learns to offer herself through Him. Of this true Sacrifice the ancient sacrifices of the saints were the various and numerous signs; . . . To this supreme and true sacrifice all false sacrifices have given place. (City of God x, 20)

91. Mass, Sacrifice of (and the Crucifixion) You know that in ordinary parlance we often say, when Easter is approaching, “Tomorrow or the day after is the Lord's Passion,” although He suffered so many years ago, and His passion was endured once for all time. In like manner, on Easter Sunday, we say, “This day the Lord rose from the dead,” although so many years have passed since His resurrection. But no one is so foolish as to accuse us of falsehood when we use these phrases, for this reason, that we give such names to these days on the ground of a likeness between them and the days on which the events referred to actually transpired, the day being called the day of that event, although it is not the very day on which the event took place, but one corresponding to it by the revolution of the same time of the year, and the event itself being said to take place on that day, because, although it really took place long before, it is on that day sacramentally celebrated.Was not Christ once for all offered up in His own person as a sacrifice? And yet, is He not likewise offered up in the sacrament as a sacrifice, not only in the special solemnities of Easter, but also daily among our congregations . . .? (Letters, 98 [9]: to Boniface [408] )

92. Merit Merit is accumulating now to the believer, and then the reward is paid into the hand of the beholder. . . . As far as each one has been a partaker of You, some less, some more, such will be the diversity of rewards in proportion to the diversity of merits . . . (Lectures on the Gospel of John, 68, 3)

93. Monks and Nuns . . . servants of God, who wished to hold a more lofty degree of sanctity in the Church, in cutting off all ties of secular hope, and dedicating a mind at liberty to their godly service of warfare . . . (On the Work of Monks, 19)

94. Mortification and Self-Denial Emulate each other in prayer with a holy rivalry, with one heart, for you wrestle not against each other, but against the devil, who is the common enemy of all the saints. “By fasting, by vigils, and all mortification of the body, prayer is greatly helped.” [Tobit 12:8] (Letters, 130 [16, 31]: to Proba [412] )

95. Original Sin; Fall of Man It was not I who devised the original sin, which the catholic faith holds from ancient times; but you, who deny it, are undoubtedly an innovating heretic. In the judgment of God, all are in the devil's power, born in sin, unless they are regenerated in Christ. (On Marriage and Concupiscence ii, 25 [XII] )

96. Orthodoxy (Correct Beliefs) But the right faith of the Catholic Church rejects such a fiction, and perceives it to be a devilish doctrine: . . . Let us therefore reject this kind of error, which the Holy Church has anathematized from the beginning. (Lectures on the Gospel of John, 34, 2)

97. Paganism and Christianity Moreover, if those who are called philosophers, and especially the Platonists, have said anything that is true and in harmony with our faith, we are not only not to shrink from it, but to claim it for our own use from those who have unlawful possession of it. . . . take and turn to a Christian use. (On Christian Doctrine, ii, 60)

98. Papacy; Popes For who does not see in what degree Cœlestius was bound by the interrogations of your holy predecessor and by the answers of Cœlestius, whereby he professed that he consented to the letters of Pope Innocent, and fastened by a most wholesome chain, so as not to dare any further to maintain that the original sin of infants is not put away in baptism? . . . What could be more clear or more manifest than that judgment of the Apostolical See? (Against Two Letters of the Pelagians ii, 6 [IV] )

99. Paul the Apostle: Commissioned by the Church Let us beware of such dangerous temptations of pride, and let us rather consider the fact that the Apostle Paul himself, although stricken down and admonished by the voice of God from heaven, was yet sent to a man to receive the sacraments and be admitted into the Church; [Acts 9:3] . . . (On Christian Doctrine, Preface, 6)

100. Penance On this account it is also, either for the demonstration of our debt of misery, or for the amendment of our passing life, or for the exercise of the necessary patience, that man is kept through time in the penalty, even when he is no longer held by his sin as liable to everlasting damnation. (Lectures on the Gospel of John, 124, 5)

101. Peter: Primacy of . . . the Apostle Peter, in whom the primacy of the apostles shines with such exceeding grace, . . . I suppose that there is no slight to Cyprian in comparing him with Peter in respect to his crown of martyrdom; rather I ought to be afraid lest I am showing disrespect towards Peter. For who can be ignorant that the primacy of his apostleship is to be preferred to any episcopate whatever? (On Baptism, Against the Donatists, ii, 1, 2)

102. Prayer (of the Righteous) For one single prayer of one who obeys is sooner heard than ten thousand of a despiser. (On the Work of Monks, 20)

103. Priests; Sacrament of Holy Orders In like manner as if there take place an ordination of clergy in order to form a congregation of people, although the congregation of people follow not, yet there remains in the ordained persons the Sacrament of Ordination; and if, for any fault, any be removed from his office, he will not be without the Sacrament of the Lord once for all set upon him, albeit continuing unto condemnation. (On the Good of Marriage, 32)

104. Priests and “Call No Man ‘Father’” . . . Paul the elder says, “Not to confound you I am writing these things, but as my dearly beloved sons I am admonishing you:” [1 Corinthians 4:14] though he knew of a truth that it had been said by the Lord, “Call ye no man your father on earth, for One is your Father, even God.” [Matthew 23:9] And this was not said in order that this term of human honour should be erased from our usual way of speaking: but lest the grace of God whereby we are regenerated unto eternal life, should be ascribed either to the power or even sanctity of any man. (Expositions on the Psalms, 78:12 [78, 10] )

105. Procreation . . . cohabitation for the purpose of procreating children, which must be admitted to be the proper end of marriage, . . . child-bearing, which is the end and aim of marriage. (On Marriage and Concupiscence i, 16 [XIV] )

106. Purgatory . . . will any man say this time of faith can be placed on an equal footing with that consummation when they who offer sacrifices in righteousness shall be purified by the fire of the last judgment? . . . after the judgment those who are worthy of such purification shall be purified even by fire, and shall be rendered thoroughly sinless, and shall offer themselves to God in righteousness, and be indeed victims immaculate and free from all blemish whatever . . . (City of God xx, 26)


107. Relics For even now miracles are wrought in the name of Christ, whether by His sacraments or by the prayers or relics of His saints . . . The miracle which was wrought at Milan when I was there, and by which a blind man was restored to sight, could come to the knowledge of many; . . . the occurrence was witnessed by an immense concourse of people that had gathered to the bodies of the martyrs Protasius and Gervasius, . . . By virtue of these remains the darkness of that blind man was scattered, and he saw the light of day. (City of God xxii, 8)

108. Reprobation; Causes of Damnation God no doubt wishes all men to be saved [1 Timothy 2:4] and to come into the knowledge of the truth; but yet not so as to take away from them free will, for the good or the evil use of which they may be most righteously judged. This being the case, unbelievers indeed do contrary to the will of God when they do not believe His gospel; nevertheless they do not therefore overcome His will, but rob their own selves of the great, nay, the very greatest, good, and implicate themselves in penalties of punishment, destined to experience the power of Him in punishments whose mercy in His gifts they despised. (On the Spirit and the Letter, 58)

109. Roman Primacy For already have two councils on this question been sent to the Apostolic see; and rescripts also have come from thence. The question has been brought to an issue; would that their error may sometime be brought to an issue too! (Sermons on the New Testament, 81, 10 [CXXXI] )

110. Rule of Faith / “Three-Legged Stool” (Bible-Church-Tradition) But those reasons which I have here given, I have either gathered from the authority of the church, according to the tradition of our forefathers, or from the testimony of the divine Scriptures, . . . No sober person will decide against reason, no Christian against the Scriptures, no peaceable person against the church. (On the Trinity iv, 6, 10)

111. Sacramentals and Sacramentalism Sanctification is not of merely one measure; for even catechumens, I take it, are sanctified in their own measure by the sign of Christ, and the prayer of imposition of hands; and what they receive is holy, although it is not the body of Christ—holier than any food which constitutes our ordinary nourishment, because it is a sacrament. (On Merit and the Forgiveness of Sins and on Infant Baptism ii, 42)

112. Sacraments . . . that they may be healed of the plague of their sin by the medicine of His sacraments . . . (On Merit and the Forgiveness of Sins and on Infant Baptism iii, 8)

113. Sacraments and Grace . . . grace, which is the virtue of the Sacraments, . . . (Expositions on the Psalms, 78:1 [78, 2] )

114. Sacraments and Salvation . . . the sacraments of the Church, without which there is no entrance to the life which is the true life. (Lectures on the Gospel of John, 120, 2)

115. Sacraments: Ex Opere Operato Remember, therefore, that the characters of bad men in no wise interfere with the virtue of the sacraments, so that their holiness should either be destroyed, or even diminished; but that they injure the unrighteous men themselves, that they should have them as witnesses of their damnation, not as aids to health. (Against the Letters of Petilian the Donatist, ii, 47, 110)

116. Saints: Awareness of and Contact with This World Hence too is solved that question, how is it that the Martyrs, by the very benefits which are given to them that pray, indicate that they take an interest in the affairs of men, if the dead know not what the quick are doing. . . . We are not to think then, that to be interested in the affairs of the living is in the power of any departed who please, only because to some men's healing or help the Martyrs be present: but rather we are to understand that it must needs be by a Divine power that the Martyrs are interested in affairs of the living, from the very fact that for the departed to be by their proper nature interested in affairs of the living is impossible. (On the Care of the Dead, 19)

117. Saints, Communion of For the souls of the pious dead are not separated from the Church, which even now is the kingdom of Christ; otherwise there would be no remembrance made of them at the altar of God in the partaking of the body of Christ, . . . For why are these things practised, if not because the faithful, even though dead, are His members? (City of God xx, 9)

118. Saints, Incorruptible Bodies of . . . the bodies of Gervasius and Protasius, the martyrs (whom You had in Your secret storehouse preserved uncorrupted for so many years), . . . (The Confessions ix, 7, 16)

119. Saints, Intercession of It is true that Christians pay religious honor to the memory of the martyrs, both to excite us to imitate them and to obtain a share in their merits, and the assistance of their prayers. (Against Faustus the Manichee xx, 21)

120. Saints, Invocation of There was a fellow-townsman of ours at Hippo, Florentius, an old man, religious and poor, who supported himself as a tailor. Having lost his coat, and not having means to buy another, he prayed to the Twenty Martyrs, who have a very celebrated memorial shrine in our town, begging in a distinct voice that he might be clothed. . . . he, walking on in silence, saw on the shore a great fish, gasping as if just cast up, . . . on cutting up the fish, the cook found a gold ring in its belly; . . .(City of God xxii, 8)

121. Saints, Veneration of But we build altars not to any martyr, but to the God of martyrs, although it is to the memory of the martyrs. No one officiating at the altar in the saints' burying-place ever says, We bring an offering to you, O Peter! Or O Paul! Or O Cyprian! The offering is made to God, who gave the crown of martyrdom, while it is in memory of those thus crowned. The emotion is increased by the associations of the place, and love is excited both towards those who are our examples, and towards Him by whose help we may follow such examples. We regard the martyrs with the same affectionate intimacy that we feel towards holy men of God in this life, when we know that their hearts are prepared to endure the same suffering for the truth of the gospel. There is more devotion in our feeling towards the martyrs, because we know that their conflict is over; and we can speak with greater confidence in praise of those already victors in heaven, than of those still combating here. (Against Faustus the Manichee xx, 21)

122. Sanctification But it may be inquired how they were no more of the world, if they were not yet sanctified in the truth; or, if they already were, why He requests that they should be so. Is it not because even those who are sanctified still continue to make progress in the same sanctification, and grow in holiness; and do not so without the aid of God's grace, but by His sanctifying of their progress, even as He sanctified their outset? And hence the apostle likewise says: “He who has begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” [Philippians 1:6] (Lectures on the Gospel of John, 108, 2)


123. Scripture: Canon of . . . to maintain this opposition he must bring evidence in support of his statement from writings acknowledged by the Church as canonical and catholic, not from any writings he pleases. In the matters of which we are now treating, only the canonical writings have any weight with us; for they only are received and acknowledged by the Church spread over all the world, which is itself a fulfillment of the prophecies regarding it contained in these writings. (Against Faustus the Manichee xxiii, 9)


124. Scripture: Perspicuity (Clearness of) For many meanings of the holy Scriptures are concealed, and are known only to a few of singular intelligence . . . (Expositions on the Psalms, 68:30 [68, 36] )

125. Scripture: Septuagint (Ancient Greek Translation) . . . the Septuagint translators, who, being themselves under the guidance of the Holy Spirit in their translation . . . (On Christian Doctrine, iv, 15) [the Septuagint included the deuterocanonical books]

126. Sin: Mortal and Venial He, however, is not unreasonably said to walk blamelessly, not who has already reached the end of his journey, but who is pressing on towards the end in a blameless manner, free from damnable sins, and at the same time not neglecting to cleanse by almsgiving such sins as are venial. (On Man's Perfection in Righteousness, 9, 20)

127. Sola Scriptura (Falsity of) For if none have baptism who entertain false views about God, it has been proved sufficiently, in my opinion, that this may happen even within the Church. "The apostles," indeed, "gave no injunctions on the point;" but the custom, which is opposed to Cyprian, may be supposed to have had its origin in apostolic tradition, just as there are many things which are observed by the whole Church, and therefore are fairly held to have been enjoined by the apostles, which yet are not mentioned in their writings. (On Baptism, Against the Donatists, v, 23, 31)

128. Suffering, Redemptive (Participation in Christ’s Suffering) . . . whatsoever thing you suffer from those that are not in the members of Christ, was wanting to the sufferings of Christ. Therefore it is added because it was wanting; you fill up the measure, you cause it not to run over: you suffer so much as was to be contributed out of your sufferings to the whole suffering of Christ, that has suffered in our Head, and does suffer in His members, that is, in our own selves. (Expositions on the Psalms, [62, 2])

129. Synergy: Cooperation with God’s Grace as “Co-Laborers” . . . the grace of God, which does work not only remission of sins, but also does make the spirit of man to work together therewith in the work of good deeds, . . . To believe in God therefore is this, in believing to cleave unto God who works good works, in order to work with Him well. (Expositions on the Psalms, 78:8 [78, 7] )

130. Theosis; Divinization For this thing God does, out of sons of men He makes sons of God: because out of Son of God He has made Son of Man. See what this participation is: there has been promised to us a participation of Divinity: . . . For the Son of God has been made partaker of mortality, in order that mortal man may be made partaker of divinity. . . . He that to you has promised divinity, shows in you love. (Expositions on the Psalms, 53:3 [53, 5] )

131. Total Depravity (Falsity of); Human Nature . . . no one is evil by nature, but whoever is evil is evil by vice . . . (City of God xiv, 6)

132. Tradition, Apostolic But such a Council had not yet been held [in the third century], because the whole world was bound together by the powerful bond of custom; and this was deemed sufficient to oppose to those who wished to introduce what was new, because they could not comprehend the truth. (On Baptism, Against the Donatists, ii, 9, 14)

133. Tradition, Oral And this custom, coming, I suppose, from tradition (like many other things which are held to have been handed down under their actual sanction, because they are preserved throughout the whole Church, though they are not found either in their letters, or in the Councils of their successors), . . . (On Baptism, Against the Donatists, ii, 7, 12)

134. Works, Good (in Grace) If the love of the Father abide not in you, you are not born of God. How do you boast to be a Christian? You have the name, and hast not the deeds. But if the work shall follow the name, let any call you pagan, show by deeds that you are a Christian. For if by deeds you do not show yourself a Christian, all men may call you a Christian yet; what does the name profit you where the thing is not forthcoming? (Homilies on the First Epistle of John, 5, 12)

135. Worship (Latria) What is properly divine worship, which the Greeks call latria, and for which there is no word in Latin, both in doctrine and in practice, we give only to God. . . . holy beings themselves, whether saints or angels, refuse to accept what they know to be due to God alone. (Against Faustus the Manichee xx, 21)


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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Introduction to The Quotable Augustine (edited by Dave Armstrong)


[link back to the main book page]

This book will be roughly along the sames lines as my previous quotations books: The Quotable Newman (Sophia Institute Press, 2012) and The Quotable Wesley (Lulu, 2012): with an overwhelming emphasis on theology and exegesis, and much less (if any at all) on spirituality, philosophy, ethics, liturgy, politics, aesthetics or other areas.

That narrows down the already quite daunting task of selection and collection. I'm interested in St. Augustine's theological views and passing these along to the reader, with the best and most pithy and descriptive quotes I can find.

Frequently, however, citations are relatively less “quotable” and more so a documentation of the theological views of St. Augustine: much like works of systematic theology that cite various Scriptures in order to establish specific theological tenets. In this sense, the book might function as a handy reference source for those who want to know what Augustine believed on a given topic: with full documentation and the absence of sometimes annoying footnotes.

The difference between this work and my two quotations books mentioned above, is its focus on "distinctively Catholic" elements in Augustine's writings (thus adding a certain “apologetic” perspective to this volume).

Our esteemed Protestant brethren (especially Reformed Protestants, or Calvinists) often assert that St. Augustine's views were closer to theirs than to the present-day Catholic Church. In this they follow the founders of their theological traditions: Martin Luther and John Calvin; though the “allegiance” of these two men to Augustine – closely examined – is selective and a “mixed record” at best.

My aim is to systematically document St. Augustine’s advocacy of positions that historic or traditional Protestantism has expressly rejected, and (conversely) detail his opposition to some doctrines or beliefs that it has (generally speaking) espoused.

Sometimes, it should be noted and clarified, the “oppositional” relevance of a category has more limited application. For example, several soteriological topics are specifically intended to be counter-evidences to Calvinist positions (whereas they wouldn’t be in opposition to Arminian or Wesleyan Protestantism). For example:

Apostasy (Falling Away from the Faith or Salvation)
Grace, Irresistible (Falsity of)
Hardening of the Heart
Synergy: Cooperation with God’s Grace as “Co-Laborers”
Total Depravity (Falsity of); Human Nature

Other topics are cited with opposition to “heterodox” skepticism mostly in mind:

Hell (Eternal Punishment)
Jonah and the Whale
Miracles
Scripture: Inerrant and Infallible
Scripture: Inspiration of

A sub-theme of the same opposition to theological liberalism has to do with the doctrine of God: presently being corrupted in many quarters by the sadly fashionable heretical scourges of “open theism” and “process theology”:

Free Will and God’s Foreknowledge
God: Impeccability of (Impossibility of Sinning)
God: Omniscience of
God: Outside of Time
God, Providence of
God: Sustainer of Creation
Jesus Christ: Supposed “Ignorance” of Certain Matters

The previous two groups of topics are areas where Catholics and evangelical or Reformed Protestants can heartily agree, for the most part, over against those who have chosen to reject doctrines held in common by Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox alike.

Additionally, there are a few topics of particular relevance to our Eastern Orthodox brethren: “Holy Spirit: Procession of (Filioque Dispute)” (where arguably it is largely a semantic misunderstanding), and “Theosis; Divinization” (where St. Augustine and Catholics agree -- since it is an explicitly biblical motif --, though this is seemingly not realized by many Orthodox).

Many great doctrines that are held in common by almost all historic Christian communions, are not included, since they are not exclusive to Catholicism; for example: the divinity of Christ, trinitarianism in the broadest sense, salvation by grace alone, or Jesus' Resurrection and Second Coming.  The subtitle of this book is truly the key to understanding its intention and goal: "Distinctively Catholic Elements in His Theology."

Quotations are drawn from 42 separate works of St. Augustine, as well as collections of his letters and sermons, and arranged alphabetically under 157 topics. The translations used are all in the public domain (dating from the 19th century), and freely available online.

As was my custom in previous similar books, the quotations are also arranged chronologically within topics, insofar as that can be determined. This helps to clarify any development in Augustine’s views.

I utilized the dates that appeared in Allan Fitzgerald’s Augustine Through the Ages: An Encyclopedia (a wonderful 1999 work mentioned in the bibliography). In instances where a book took many years to complete (e.g., City of God; dated 413-427), I went by the earliest listed date, for the purpose of chronology.

These dates (as well as abbreviations used) appear in the initial bibliography, but not in the collection of quotations. The only dates listed under quotations are those of letters, or epistles: for obvious reasons.

Editorial input is kept to an absolute minimum: confined to an occasional bracketed clarification (usually a contextual matter or reference) or briefly stated fact considered to be indispensable in understanding some aspect of the quotation. My contribution consists in the collection and topical and chronological arrangement of the great father’s thoughts.

It was my joy and privilege to do so, and to pass along to readers a "capsulized version" of his wonderful theology and writing.

The presuppositions and “bias” of my own orthodox Catholicism will perhaps be in evidence in some places in this collection, but if so, I submit that this could scarcely be considered improper or even unexpected, given my stated emphasis and intentions.


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Updated on 1 September 2012.


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Friday, August 10, 2012

Failed Protestant Attempts to Tear Down St. Peter and His Papal Authority at the Expense of St. Paul, and My Reply

 
By Catholic apologist Dave Armstrong

One of my better-known articles / papers is my piece, 50 New Testament Proofs for Petrine Primacy and the Papacy, which was part of my first book, A Biblical Defense of Catholicism (2001), and published in The Catholic Answer in Jan / Feb. 1997, right before I put up my website.

Lo and behold, an anti-Catholic Protestant apologist named Jason Engwer, wrote, back in 2002, a turn-the-tables rhetorical reply to my piece, which he called, "51 New Testament Proofs for Pauline Primacy and the Papacy." I refuted that, and he made another counter-reply, which I rebutted also

Apparently his paper was no longer online, and someone made a request for him to re-post it (which he did). Here is his current explanation about what he was trying to accomplish:

I wrote it in response to a Roman Catholic apologist's list of 50 alleged Biblical proofs of a Petrine papacy. Some of the items in my list are meant to parallel items in that Catholic's list. For example, he cited the performance of a miracle through Peter's shadow (Acts 5:15) as evidence of Petrine primacy. I paralleled that with a citation of Acts 19:11-12 as evidence of Pauline primacy. I don't actually think a Pauline papacy is implied by Acts 19 or any other passage I cite below. What I was doing was demonstrating how the same sort of bad reasoning that Catholics often apply to Peter can be cited to justify similar conclusions about other Biblical figures, like Paul.
Catholics can't object to my list by pointing to post-Biblical evidence for a Petrine papacy, since the issue under discussion is whether the Biblical evidence supports a papacy. Nobody denies that a Petrine papacy eventually developed in Rome. The question in this context is whether that papacy was just a later development or is a teaching of the scriptures as well.

Amidst the usual worthless anti-Catholic bilge in the comments for Jason's paper, the guy who requested him to post it (a former Catholic, just for the record) made some remarks: a few of which I will reply to, as sort of a fun continuation of the spirit of my two rebuttals. He gushed in rapt admiration:

Jason, this article is a CLASSIC (!!!!!). Thanks for posting it again. In my opinion, your Biblical argument for Pauline Papacy is SOOOOOO much stronger than Catholic Biblical arguments for Petrine Papacy. You BEAT them (not merely match them) at their own sophistical game.


* * *

I then made my reply:

Jason, no doubt by a mere inadvertent oversight (seeing that he was kind enough to also keep my name anonymous), neglected to mention that I responded at great length not only to this paper of his, but also to his follow-up effort. For any who care to read both sides of a dispute (I know that that is sort of a quaint outdated custom these days), here they are [link / link]:

Suffice it to say that Jason's was a failed effort. He didn't prove at all what he set out to prove, and Petrine primacy, as indicated in the Bible, is as strong as ever, with the Pauline data not undermining it one bit: neither in point of fact nor in terms of turning-the-tables rhetoric, counter-analogy, or reductio ad absurdum (as in Jason's paper).


So, here are some things I would add to your list (though, they are already there implicitly).

Regarding: . . .

#37. The demons don't recognize Peter.

In context, why would they? The context of Paul being named was Paul's handkerchiefs healing folks and casting demons out of them (Acts 19:11-12): which is precisely a secondary relic in Catholic theology: God using an object connected to a holy person to bring about miracles. Even Peter's shadow healed folks (Acts 5:15), so the two were not unlike in that respect.

The Jewish exorcists specifically mention Jesus and Paul (Acts 19:13-14). Therefore, the demon answered and said, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know" (Acts 19:15).

It doesn't follow (in any sense) that they would never mention (or "recognize") Peter in another context, or that Paul is therefore above Peter, simply because Paul was mentioned in this instance and the demon recognized his name. Nothing is proven by this example.

Even if the NT doesn't mention a specific example of Peter being named by a demon, that isn't proof that it never happened; only proof that it is not recorded in the Bible (as many many things were not).

We know, in any event, from the Gospels, that Peter, as one of the twelve, cast out demons.

Much ado about nothing . . .

#1 . . . Peter is never said to be an apostle to Gentiles; but only the Jews. . . .

How very odd, then, that God gave Peter the vision of all foods being clean: an issue that had specifically to do with Gentiles in relation to Jewish law (Acts 10:9-16).

Doubly odd (given what you claim) is the fact that Cornelius, a Roman Gentile, was told by an angel specifically to seek out Peter, and he sent men to beseech him (Acts 10:1-8, 17-18).

Peter is told by the Holy Spirit that they have arrived (Acts 10:19-20). Peter then visited and ate with Cornelius and a great many persons and spoke about how Gentiles were now part of God's plan of salvation (Acts 10:21-43).

The Holy Spirit then fell upon these men, and Peter baptized them (Acts 10:44-48).

All this (an entire chapter devoted to it), yet you claim that Peter was to preach only to the Jews? Quite a strange position indeed . . . Here God, and angels are communicating all over the place, to Peter and a righteous Gentile, but we are told by you that "Peter is never said to be an apostle to Gentiles" -- as if that has any relevance to anything. Here, right in Scripture, we see him reaching out to the Gentiles most dramatically.

It's one of innumerable Protestant "either/or" false dichotomies that I shoot down almost on a daily basis in my apologetic work.

This particular anti-Catholic site has a record of deleting my comments, so I made sure to preserve them in this new paper. Thanks for the opportunity, guys, to give further support to the primacy of St. Peter over against failed and illogical attempts to shoot him down!

* * *

My opponent came back for a second round.  I won't cite all his words here, but they can be read in the discussion thread. I respond to most of his additional particular counter-arguments:

Dave, you act as if Jason was genuinely attempting to make a case for Pauline Papacy such that his arguments (and my comments) have to make sense. In actual fact, he was attempting to show how Catholic-style eisegesis (not exegesis) could be used to argue for Pauline Papacy.

I did no such thing. I know exactly what he was trying to do: knew it originally (ten years ago) and now. I can read his own explanation, and in fact, I quoted his explanation of the nature of his counter-argument in my Internet post that I made out of this exchange: precisely so my readers wouldn't be confused about that (since it is a somewhat complex form of counter-argument).

And so my replies presuppose the nature of the argument utilized. If he or you argue that it is just as plausible or more so, to argue for a Pauline papacy (whether it is merely rhetorical or not doesn't change the validity of logic or exegesis used), I come back and show how it is not: that the argument fails.

I fully understand it, and I think I refute it on its own terms: not as a straw man. The entire argument fails, period. It was fun to interact with, but I think it is thoroughly fallacious all down the line, and my two long replies show exactly how and why I think that. You expanded upon his reasoning in the same "mode" and I believe I've shown how you fail, too. Nothing personal. :-)

Your argument about Peter and demons was that they didn't "recognize" him. I showed how it fails, by delving into the context of the demons and Paul: from which you derived your argument.

One must also understand the intent of my original paper. I wasn't claiming that all 50 points were equally strong or earth-shaking. Some are merely interesting in terms of showing that Peter was more eminent in Scripture than is commonly supposed.

Jason's tongue-in-cheek #37 was "The demons in Acts 19:15 recognize Paul's primacy." You follow up with "The demons don't recognize Peter." Neither one can withstand scrutiny. The fact remains that these arguments can be shot down, but mine are valid examples from the Bible. The data in Acts about a demon and Paul is irrelevant because it wasn't tied to primacy in the first place.

The strength of my paper comes from its cumulative effect. Some of the 50 points are far more important (namely, the "rock" and "keys of the kingdom" that are supported by massive Protestant scholarly comments, as to Peter being an extraordinary leader).

There are a lot of quite significant things: Peter was the first to preach the gospel after Pentecost, first to  perform a miracle, to raise the dead, to receive the Gentiles into fellowship, to recognize and refute heresy and to pronounce an anathema, etc. These are not insignificant.

It's not a "wild inference" from Scripture that Peter was the first pope. A guy like F. F. Bruce, after all, could write:

So in the new community which Jesus was about to build, Peter would be, so to speak, chief steward.

(Hard Sayings of Jesus, Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1983, 143-144)

Likewise, The New Bible Dictionary:

So Peter, in T.W. Manson's words, is to be 'God's vicegerent . . . The authority of Peter is an authority to declare what is right and wrong for the Christian community. His decisions will be confirmed by God' (The Sayings of Jesus, 1954, p. 205).

(New Bible Dictionary, edited by J. D. Douglas, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1962, 1018)

There's something going on there. It isn't just flimsy, arbitrary Catholic propaganda, as you guys pretend. There is real and solid biblical indication of serious, profound leadership, and from this we derive the notion of a pope: the leader of the Christian Church.

Just as James' statements to the other Apostles of "listen to me [James]" (Acts 15:13) and "Therefore I [James] judge" (verse 19) could be jumped upon to prove Jacobean Papacy. Does anyone doubt that if Peter had said "therefore I judge" that Catholics would use that to argue for Petrine Papacy? I know that when I was a Catholic I personally would have loved for Peter to have said it, rather than James. I would have prayed, "Lord, why didn't you have Peter say it instead since Peter actually was the Pope? Father, shouldn't the Holy Spirit not have inspired Scripture to record James' statement even if he did say it? Why Lord? Why?!?!"

I dealt with this in my latest book, 100 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura (#74; p. 95):

We learn that “after there was much debate, Peter rose” to address the assembly (15:7). The Bible records his speech, which goes on for five verses. Then it reports that “all the assembly kept silence” (15:12). Paul and Barnabas speak next, not making authoritative pronouncements, but confirming Peter’s exposition, speaking about “signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles” (15:12). Then when James speaks, he refers right back to what “Simeon [Peter] has related” (15:14). Why did James skip right over Paul’s comments and go back to what Peter said? Paul and his associates are subsequently “sent off” by the Council, and they “delivered the letter” (15:30; cf. 16:4).

None of this seems consistent with the notion that Paul was above or even equal to Peter in authority. But it’s perfectly consistent with Peter’s having a preeminent authority. Paul was under the authority of the council, and Peter (along with James, as the Bishop of Jerusalem) presided over it. Paul and Barnabas were sent by “the church” (of Antioch: see 14:26). Then they were sent by the Jerusalem Council (15:25, 30) which was guided by the Holy Spirit (15:28), back to Antioch (15:30).


I stand by my statement that Peter is never said to be an Apostle to the Gentiles (i.e. commissioned to or sent especially to them).

And I stand by my assertion that this is perfectly irrelevant, insofar as we know (from the Bible) that Peter evangelized Gentiles as well as Jews. This is why I showed the example of an entire chapter of Acts, while you insist on playing non sequitur word games.

We have in the Bible, Peter stating at the Jerusalem Council (RSV): ""Brethren, you know that in the early days God made choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe." (Acts 15:7).

The great Bible scholar and self-described "Paulinist" F. F. Bruce, in his book, Peter, Stephen, James, & John (Eerdmans, 1979, p. 32) states:

That Peter's missionary activity was not restricted to Jews is implied here and there in the New Testament. . . . 1 Peter . . . is addressed in Peter's name to Gentile converts in various provinces of Asia Minor (including two which were evangelized by Paul).

2 Peter also seems to be addressed to Gentiles, though it is debatable.

Bruce also noted (p. 33) that Peter was among the eleven disciples that Jesus commissioned to "make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19 ff.): thus obviously including Gentiles. So we know that Peter did indeed have such a commission.

We Protestants acknowledge all of those passages and conclude that none was above another in authority (even if Peter was a "leader" of sorts). . . . Actually, it's you who doesn't properly acknowledge the other passages we cite that balances the truth of Peter's position in the early Church.

It's not just me, nor just Catholics. In my book on the papacy I cite a host of Protestant scholars who agree with a Bible-based Petrine primacy (based on "rock" and "keys of the kingdom" and other passages); so do even the Orthodox [see. e.g., The Primacy of Peter, edited by John Meyendorff (St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1992].

You're not even in line with John Calvin, for heaven's sake, who wrote:

One was chief among the apostles, . . . That twelve had one among them to direct all is nothing strange. Nature admits, the human mind requires, that in every meeting, though all are equal in power, there should be one as a kind of moderator to whom the others should look up. There is no senate without a consul, no bench of judges without a president or chancellor, no college without a provost, no company without a master. Thus there would be no absurdity were we to confess that the apostles had conferred such a primacy on Peter.

(Institutes, Book IV, 6:8)

This was part of my book about Calvin. You don't even appear to be aware of it, since you claim that Protestants en masse deny that Peter had primacy.

Not Calvin, and not lots of other Protestant scholars, whose word carries far more weight in your circles and in the world of Bible commentary than yours or Jason's.

* * *

My opponent, to his credit, came back for a third round of debate. But at this point of the debate  censorship problems arose, as usual, at Triablogue, where the debate was taking place:


It's been about thirty-one hours now since I tried to post some additional comments in the thread (my "meta-analysis below). They're still not up. 

1) Thus it appears quite likely that Triablogue is censoring my latest comments on the thread (which it has often done in the past), to make it look like I have no further replies to several vigorously argued posts from my opponent (that I reply to below), and that he emerged triumphant by default, due to my apparent silence. It's not absolutely certain that censorship is taking place. But, you know the saying: " it it walks like a duck, smells like a duck . . . " This site has a notorious track record of cowardly censorship, especially where I am concerned, so I may be excused for suspecting it again, after two comments of mine have not yet appeared in 31 hours.

2) Jason Engwer originally re-posted his paper from ten years ago without mentioning that it was a reply to my paper. I'm never named and am only referred to as "a Roman Catholic apologist." This is a game many anti-Catholic sites have played for some time now, so that they can avoid being found in a Google search. They almost never inform me that any writing of mine is being critiqued on their sites. Fortunately, my opponent in the present debate mentioned my name (the big naughty no-no), thus allowing me to locate the post. :-)

3) Furthermore, he neglected to mention that I responded at length not only to this paper at the time, but also his follow-up paper. Dialogue or debate is not Jason's forte (he once departed a major one with me in the large anti-Catholic forum CARM in mid-stream), but he loves the one-way lectures, with no mention of any replies made.

4) Moreover, Bishop "Dr." (?) James White has broken his sacred code of silence concerning me, by posting a snide little post that merely links to Jason's; entitled, "Excellent Thoughts on How You Can Manufacture Evidence of 'Primacy' By Selective Citation." He shows himself, therefore (and not for the first time, by a long shot), a coward, by blasting someone without (again!) mentioning their name, in linking to the paper that did the same thing. And his site has never allowed comments. Dialogue and debate on the Internet is not Mr. White's thing to do, either. He avoids it like the plague. On several occasions when I ventured into his chat room I was promptly banned.

What do these people have to hide, if they are supposedly so confident of the superiority of their case over against the one true Catholic Church? What are they so scared of?

I started my third counter-reply with a meta-analysis of "Annoyed Pinoy's" methodology:

Dave I want to say that I respect your intellect. You're smarter than myself. I don't want my disrespecting anyone (including you) take away from my credibility or my own objectivity about issues I debate. I have crossed the line in the past when I've made reference to you (whether you're aware of it or not). I apologize for that. 

Thanks for your kind words. It has been an enjoyable dialogue. I wanted to preface any reply by noting the curious irony of the structure of all your questions: "If the Papacy is true, why [Bible passages x, y, z, etc.] . . . ?"

This is, of course, an argument from plausibility: precisely similar to many in my 50 Petrine Bible Proofs. But you and Jason have bashed that form of argument when I make it on behalf of a papacy. He described my method as "the same sort of bad reasoning that Catholics often apply to Peter." You called it "Catholic-style eisegesis" and a "sophistical game."

The logical structure of most (but not all) of my 50 proofs was:

1. "IF we assume for the sake of argument that Peter was indeed a leader / "pope" then would the (presented) data in the Bible about Peter be consistent with that notion?"

You simply flip that around, using the same logical structure for the opposite proposed conclusion:

2. "IF we assume for the sake of argument that Peter was NOT a leader / "pope" then wouldn't the (presented) data in the Bible about Peter be consistent with that notion and inconsistent with his being pope?"

It's the same sort of argument: from plausibility, analogy, and strong to the degree that it creates a cumulative effect: if each point can be solidly defended under scrutiny.

Therefore, since (far as I can tell), your fifteen questions are perfectly serious: not merely a reductio that utilizes (as you view it) unworthy Catholic eisegetical methods, how is it that it is legitimate exegetical analysis or permissible speculation when you use it to argue against the papacy, but sophistical eisegesis when I use it to defend same?

You seem to be perfectly serious, rather than tongue-in-cheek or turning the tables (merely rhetorically) when you state things like "for someone like myself, these questions seriously call into question the concept of the Papacy." That's not just joking and fooling around, is it?

It seems to me, then, that if you wish to argue in this way, you have to retract your opinion of my method as a whole in my 50 Proofs paper. You can still, of course, disagree with my particular and broad conclusions (just as all Bible exegetes will question others in good faith).

That is much different, however, from questioning the entire methodology from a to z, and classifying it as "sophistical eisegesis" etc. It's simply attempted exegesis that you disagree with for [biblical] reasons a, b, c.

We could also compare your method and mine in another way by using your exactly stated structure:

AP: "If the Papacy is true, why [Bible passages x, y, z, etc.] . . . ?"

Dave: "If the Papacy is untrue, why [Bible passages x, y, z, etc.] . . . ?"

You say I can't and shouldn't argue in that fashion in my paper, yet you are allowed to do it with your 15 questions? It's a disconnect and inconsistent.

Either both are legitimate forms of argumentation (considered apart from the particular premises and conclusions drawn) or neither is. It can't be (logically) that one is legitimate and the other not. For elaboration on arguments from plausibility, see this book devoted to it (esp. p. 3 ff.).




Paul and Barnabas were sent by “the church” (of Antioch: see 14:26).

You imply that being sent signifies that Paul wasn't Pope. Then what do you do with Acts 8:14 which says, "Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:"? By the use of your own logic, Peter wasn't Pope because he himself was "sent" by the Apostles.

I think this is a good point. Let me try to give my best answer. In context, I made this remark in my recent book a section that started off by stating, "Paul's ministry was not 'self-validating.'" I was trying to overthrow a rather common Protestant outlook that regards Paul as totally above all assemblies and churches and sort of a lone ranger apostle: as if he could never conceivably be told to do anything by a mere local assembly..

The Catholic view holds that Peter is above all churches in terms of being the first pope, but we also think that categories of ecclesiology were fluid and less developed than they were later on (just as trinitarian theology was). Thus, we have no problem  with instances where it doesn't seem as "worked out" as it is later on.

But beyond that. we can also surmise that St. Peter was humble enough to be sent by a group of apostles in Jerusalem, even assuming he was the leader. He listened to the judgment of the Church, just as popes today work in concert with ecumenical councils. This doesn't necessarily imply inequality, since the Father sent the son and the Holy Spirit, while they remained equal with Him. Jesus as a boy was "subject" to Joseph and Mary, even though he was God and they were creatures.

Imagine as an analogy, the President of the United States having a conference with his cabinet, about a serious crisis in a foreign country. They decide together that it is best for the President and the Secretary of tate to visit the trouble spot. So in that sense the group sent the leader, but he remained the leader all the while.

I realize, though, that this could all apply to Paul, too, so it is a point well taken. The bottom line about Peter remains all the particular distinctives and prerogatives given to him that were not seen even in an apostle as great as Paul. Like I've said, it is a cumulative argument, and the evidence becomes strong when seen all together.



None of this seems consistent with the notion that Paul was above or even equal to Peter in authority. But it’s perfectly consistent with Peter’s having a preeminent authority.

Just because it's "consistent" with it, doesn't prove it.

I agree. All I claimed above (in your very quotation from me) was that it was consistent with Peter, but not with Paul. Logical inconsistency can, however, rule out certain things, even if it doesn't prove others. It depends on the nature of the argument, as I discussed above. Arguments from analogy or accumulation of themes are not ironclad proofs. But they can be quite strong, as more pieces are found to fit into them.

The burden of proof is on Catholics to positively prove Peter is the Pope. 

I think the cumulative case, rightly understood, and not caricatured, is very strong. It may not be absolute proof (not like, say, "God exists" or "man was created," but it is quite impressive.

If Peter were the Pope, and if he was especially sent to the Jews, then wouldn't it make sense that he stay in Jerusalem (as the Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church)? Jerusalem was center and birthplace of the Christian Church. That's precisely why the council of Jerusalem was held there and not elsewhere.

He spent time there but also elsewhere, as I have shown. He did a lot of evangelization of Gentiles, too.



Like I said above, even if we interpret Acts 10 as Peter being commissioned to Gentiles, it's irrelevant if we're paralleling the bad arguments that Catholics often make (emphasizing one set of texts to the exclusion of others). 


Again, I agree. This wasn't part of my original argument for Petrine primacy (which you imply in your comments preceding the above). I was responding here to your additional claim that Paul was sent to Jews and Gentiles and Peter only to Jews. I have now provided about five counter-examples. You then confused my argument on that score with my proofs for primacy; but this is not part of that. It's simply proving that Peter evangelized Gentiles, too, over against your extreme assertion.

It's not just me, nor just Catholics. In my book on the papacy I cite a host of Protestant scholars who agree with a Bible-based Petrine primacy (based on "rock" and "keys of the kingdom" and other passages); so do even the orthodox.

Primacy is not equivalent to Papacy. 

I agree, which is precisely why I used the word "primacy" above. It's a prerequisite for papacy, but not equivalent. So you tell me nothing new.

Primacy is consistent with Papacy, but it doesn't amount to Papacy. 

Exactly. But it is not insignificant. It is a strong indication of a possible papacy existing in primitive and less developed form at that time: just as all doctrine develops.

That's why even though the Orthodox willingly acknowledge Petrine Primacy, they deny the Papacy. They even go so far as to say that for the first few centuries the Roman See was "the first among equals". 

Exactly. Again, you tell me nothing new, that I don't already know. The reason I brought this up was that you seemed to be denying even the primacy of Peter, so I noted that lots of folks (including John Calvin) don't go that far. They (the Orthodox and many Protestants) accept it, while denying a papacy based upon it. It all depends on what one is trying to prove at any given time. I'm very precise with my terminology and aware of precisely what I am arguing at any given time.

The burden of proof is on Catholics to prove Papacy, not merely to prove things consistent with it.

We can demonstrate or argue for it a lot more successfully than many doctrines of Protestantism can be supported from Scripture (yet you guys casually accept them anyway). Sola Scriptura isn't at all seen in Scripture (I've written two whole books about that). The canon of Scripture obviously isn't, also. Sola fide is unable to be harmonized with all of Scripture: especially Pauline teachings. Many other false Protestant doctrines (such as denominationalism or a symbolic Eucharist) are difficult if not impossible to establish from Scripture alone. But Protestants have no problem accepting them, almost by osmosis.

It's only when it comes to Catholicism, that the most rigorous, philosophically compelling evidence is required, in a way that is never applied to the many Protestant doctrines that are radically unbiblical. It's a double standard (needless to say). And I've seen it a hundred times in my apologetics dialogues, if I've seen it once. It's standard Protestant modus operandi.

I have no problem with Calvin's quote or in even saying that Peter had "primacy", if we mean by that he was the leader of the Apostles. Affirming that the apostles were equals doesn't mean that one can't at the same time affirm that Peter had primacy. I didn't intend to "claim that Protestants en masse deny that Peter had primacy." I affirm Peter's primacy in that sense. I think the Bible is clear about that.

Good. Then if you grant that Peter was the leader of the apostles, then you are closer to grasping that he was the leader of the Church: since the apostles were the early Church in capsule form. And you can perhaps be persuaded that if there was a leader at first, then God intended for there always to be one, just as with other offices: priest (presbyter or elder in Scripture), deacon, and bishop. That's just common sense: why would the Church have a leader till Peter died, and not have any leader for the next 2000 years? It makes no sense. But Protestants (typically) simply pick and choose which offices they like and which they will discard.

Previously I said...

However, you're the one who's using EITHER/OR [i.e. false dichotomy] thinking in saying, either Peter is the Pope because of the passages you highlight OR Protestants are wrong because they don't properly acknowledge those passages.

I should have said "However, you're the one who's using EITHER/OR [i.e. false dichotomy] thinking in saying, either Peter is the Pope because of the passages you highlight OR these passage shouldn't exist if he wasn't the Pope."

I have defended the logic and form of my arguments above, and have demonstrated, I think, that you use the same form in your 15 points (below).

Let's be honest. If Peter was the Pope then:

1. Why were the Zebedee brothers asking if they could be Jesus' right-hand and left-hand men (Matt. 20:20ff) if Jesus already made it clear that Peter was to be the Pope in Matt. 16? Why wouldn't the Gospel writers correct their misunderstanding and state that Peter was Pope?

The disciples didn't understand a lot of things, including the necessity of the crucifixion, and that Jesus would rise from the dead (even though He told them repeatedly that they would happen, and arguably made it quite "clear"). Peter likely didn't know what Jesus meant, himself, when he was being commissioned in Matthew 16. But after he received the Holy Spirit, he did, as seen in his behavior. So why would you think that they would understand this fully? It is an unreasonable demand that has no force. The Gospel writers need nopt spell out everything in declarative statements. They teach mostly by example.

If you are so convinced my 50 proofs are bad ones and unable to withstand scrutiny, then you can take on all 50 yourself. Even Jason Engwer didn't do that (no one ever has these past 15 years). He chose to engage in a failed reductio instead, that I shot down twice as fallacious and ultimately irrelevant to my arguments.

2. Why wouldn't Paul make the exception of Peter when he sarcastically referred to "super apostles" (2 Cor. 11:5) if the Papacy is true?


Because this is a non sequitur with regard to Peter. Paul wasn't referring to real apostles, but sarcastically (11:1: "foolishness"; cf. 11:13-14) to those who preached another Jesus or another gospel.

3. When Paul's apostleship was questioned by some, why didn't he immediately appeal to the fact that the Pope acknowledged his genuine apostleship to settle the issue, if the Papacy is true?

In the previous example he used sarcasm and appealed to his preaching of the true gospel over against the heretics. He didn't have to do that every time. But he did do it in Galatians, where he says rthat he went to see Peter for fifteen days (Gal 1:18) and Peter, James, and John at a later date (2:9): who gave him "the right hand of fellowship."

4. In light of 1 Cor. 1:12ff and the whole of chapter 3, why wouldn't Paul refer to Peter as Pope? If the Papacy is true, then there can be a genuine sense in which one could say, "I am of Cephas/Peter". Even if there might be negative fleshly sense in which it can be said.. Yet Paul doesn't explicitly affirm or implicitly acknowledge the Papacy. Nor does Paul address the abuses of the Papacy but deals with himself, Peter and Apollos as equals. 

You are taking all that out of context. This is an unreasonable, senseless demand, since in that passage Paul was contrasting the Lordship of Jesus Christ (1:10, 13, 17); to the factions made by man. In any event, if someone was "of Peter" and Peter was the head of the universal Church, then that would simply be saying that "I am of the universal Church," which is perfectly acceptable. Thus, St. Augustine (I'm compiling a book of is quotes right now) habitually referred to Peter as representative of the whole Church in his person.

It seems to me that a Pope cult developed years later (as the Orthodox have documented).

The papacy developed, for sure: a lot more rapidly after persecution ended, as Cardinal Newman has demonstrated and discussed in his Essay on Development. So did many other Christian doctrines, so this is not surprising at all, let alone novel. But there is plenty of indication already in Scripture.

5. If the Papacy is true, why would Paul (in Gal. 2:9) refer to James, Cephas, and John as seeming/reputed pillars of the Church when he knows all along that there is a special sense in which Peter is pope? He refers to all three as if they were equals.

Because there is a sense in Catholic ecclesiology that all bishops are equals. I went through these dynamics earlier in the discussion of Paul and Peter being "sent." All bishops are "pillars of the Church."

6. Regarding the same context, if the Papacy were true, why would Paul say what he did in Gal. 2:6?

And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me.-ESV

But from those who were of high reputation (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)-- well, those who were of reputation contributed nothing to me.-NASB


Paul implies his equality with them (including Peter).


Not really. He was simply saying that they added nothing to him in terms of his having received the gospel and commission directly from God. It doesn't follow, however, that he regarded himself as their equals in the Church (which is what is at issue in this debate). This is shown by his notion that he had to have his ministry confirmed by the Church's leaders. He was consulting with them specifically for that purpose (Gal 2:1-2). He never denies that they were "of repute."

None of this is inconsistent with the notion of Peter being the leader. Even Paul's famous hypocrisy rebuke of Peter (one of the great favorites of Protestants) strongly  implies this, insofar as Peter is singled out as especially sinful in committing hypocrisy, on the principle of "to whom much is given, much is required."

That hypocrisy is not inconsistent with leadership is shown in Jesus telling His disciples to follow the teachings of the Pharisees, despite their being hypocritical (Matthew 23).

7. If central authority was essential to Christianity, why didn't Jesus do something about those others who were preaching in His name (Mark 9:38ff)? If the Papacy were true, why would Jesus say, "For he that is not against us is on our part"? Notice I cited Mark's gospel. The gospel that may have been based on Peter's sermons. Why wouldn't Mark make clear in this passage (or any where else in this gospel) that Peter is the Pope?


At that point the Church per se was not yet formed (the real beginning was after Pentecost). Therefore, leadership issues of that sort were not yet put into place or operation (and not as yet fully understood, since the disciples misunderstood many important things). Jesus was simply saying that if these guys were doing good works in His name, to let them do it: "he that is not against us is for us."

8. If the Papacy is true, why in John 12:20-22 did Philip go to Andrew and then together they went to Jesus, when Philip could have gone to Peter as the Pope? The only way I can understand this is if the Church didn't realise Peter was the Pope until later. Maybe after the resurrection. If so, when exactly after the resurrection? Before or after Paul's conversion? Before or after Peter's own death? How many generations or centuries afterward? 


This is straining at gnats. You don't even look at what the text says, in your rush to run down Peter and the papacy. And where are you finding all these 15 points? I highly doubt that they are all original with you. The answer here is easy: Peter isn't Jesus! The text plainly asserts that "we wish to see Jesus." Why in the world would Philip have to go to Peter, seeing that the inquirers were looking specifically for Jesus? Next objection?

9. If the Papacy is true, why isn't that office mentioned in Eph 4:11-12, 1 Cor. 12:28-29, 1 & 2 Timothy or Titus?

I guess for the same reason that bishops aren't mentioned in the Ephesians passage, while they are elsewhere. Neither bishops nor deacons are mentioned in 1 Cor 12:28-29. Obviously, not everything has to be mentioned in every passage, or you yourself wouldn't argue that there are no bishops in the Bible, because these two passages didn't mention them, while mentioning many other offices. By the same token, we see Petrine primacy and the papacy in all the various indications I set forth in my paper. peter alone was given the keys, called the "rock", told to feed the sheep, etc.You want to major on the minors and completely ignore the majors, which is the usual methodology in critiques of the papacy. You argue as the atheist does who denies Christianity and an inspired Bible altogether: poke a 100 supposed holes in something: yet each "poke" is shown to be irrelevant or fallacious upon close scrutiny.

I did an extensive study of Paul's word usage and discovered some very interesting things:

Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Titus, and Philemon neither mention "Scripture" nor cite the OT, and Philippians doesn't mention the word and makes just one OT citation.

In Ephesians, the Church/Tradition ratio to Scripture is 18-6; other books are similar: Philippians (4-1), Colossians (12-0), 1 Thessalonians (5-0), 2 Thessalonians (3-0), Titus (4-0). Would any sola Scriptura advocate have predicted such an outcome before studying these words? Not likely . . .





By your reasoning, then (that you apply to Peter and the papacy), because five NT books never mention Scripture, it is not our rule of faith. And because tradition or the Church are often mentioned far more than Scripture, therefore, they should be part of the rule of faith, whereas Protestants exclude them.

Meanwhile, you apply a double standard in relation to things you do accept. The Bible nowhere spells out its own canon, yet you accept the standard canon confirmed by the Church in councils in the 4th century (minus the seven books you arbitrarily threw out).

The Bible never teaches sola Scriptura at all, yet you make it one of your pillars, your rule of faith, and build everything else upon it. It's merely a false tradition of men, and your whole system rests upon it. Meanwhile, you demand excruciating, compelling proof of the papacy, while expecting no proof at all of sola Scriptura, and accepting it in blind faith.

10. If the Papacy is true, why doesn't Peter (in his epistles) acknowledge or make reference to it? In fact, Peter refers to himself as a "fellow elder" (1 Pet. 5:1ff) in a context where it would be supremely fitting for him to appeal to his position as Pope.

Peter was humble, just as popes are today, referring to themselves as "the servant of the servants of God." Jesus told His followers not to Lord it over others (in the autocratic sense). The pope is a fellow bishop with other bishops. But he is the leader of them, too. Peter acts as a leader. He lets his actions speak louder than his words. Even Jesus usually did the same. He didn't go around always saying, "I'm God, I'm God!" He called His disciples (far lesser than Him) brothers and friends and sons, and subjected Himself to Joseph and Mary as a child. God (Jesus as a child) did what a mere created man and woman told Him to do. But you're saying that a pope can't even say someone is a fellow elder? It's absurd. You don't grasp biblical / Hebraic categories and thinking very well if this is how you argue.

11. If the Papacy is true, then why doesn't the author of Hebrews acknowledge the Papacy in light of the fact that authority and priesthood are two of the main topics of the book? How could such a supposedly vital and useful office not be referred to in any of the epistles (including Peter's) or in this very long book (Hebrews)?

Hebrews is about the priesthood of Jesus in particular, not all priests. So this should not surprise anyone. Petrine primacy is referred to in the epistles, though not very explicitly (as the papacy was still a developing doctrine). If you had read my 50 Proofs you would have known this already:

I already mentioned Paul confirming his ministry initially through Peter. But I guess you never saw that passage, huh? Paul distinguishes the Lord's post-Resurrection appearances to Peter from those to other apostles (1 Cor 15:4-8). Why? He was obviously singling him out as more significant. Paul refers to Peter as distinct among apostles (1 Cor 9:5). Peter acts, by strong implication, as the chief bishop/shepherd of the Church (1 Pet 5:1), since he exhorts all the other bishops, or "elders." Peter interprets prophecy (2 Pet 1:16-21). Peter corrects those who misuse Paul's writings (2 Pet 3:15-16). Peter wrote his first epistle from Rome, according to most scholars, as its bishop, and as the universal bishop (or, pope) of the early Church. "Babylon" (1 Pet 5:13) is regarded as code for Rome.

"For those who have eyes to see . . ."

12. If the Papacy is true, why didn't Christ sent Paul immediately to the Pope to be instructed and have his apostleship legitimized? 

I don't know. But we know that Paul did do so after three years (Gal 1:18). You ignore the significance of that and major on the minors by honing in on the time period. Like I said, you argue exactly like atheists who try to find all these alleged :difficulties" in the Bible. I know, because I've debated many of them. I was in a room with 16 one time, answering their rapid fire objections. You lack faith. You need to pray to God to open your eyes to be able to see all this evidence, if you can't see it, and can only try to relentlessly poke holes. God wants you in the one true Church, in the fullness of faith. He wants you back.

Or why didn't Christ send Peter to Paul ahead of time like Cornelius did when he sent two of his servants and one of his soldiers to find Peter? 

Beats me.  Why does God do a lot of things? Why doesn't he judge and annihilate America, since we have sinned far more than Sodom and Gomorrah ever did, with the blood of some 50 million aborted babies all over us? We don't understand a lot of things God does.

Instead Christ sends Ananias to Paul. You might say that it's because Ananias was closer.

God uses whom He wills, for His purposes. He once used a donkey to speak to a prophet..

But Paul didn't visit Peter for years afterward. In all those years, Paul could have gone to see Peter, or Peter to have seen Paul. When they do meet, Paul refers to Peter and the others as not having "added/contributed anything" to him (Gal. 2:6). How could the Pope not add/contribute anything to Paul? 

Dealt with above . . . 

After Paul's conversion, many Christians feared whether he was a false convert. At any time he could have sought the Pope's confirmation.

Again, you minimize the fact that he did do so, and make it a matter of "why did it take so long?" You miss the forest for the trees.

13. If the Papacy is true, then wouldn't the Jews know that Peter was the Pope and therefore the leader of Christianity? If so why didn't they go after him and "cut off the head", as it were? Why, instead, go after Paul (Acts 21:28)? As Jason said, "he's the man they hold most responsible for teaching Christianity everywhere." It was Paul, not the Pope that opponents of Christianity wanted to assassinate (Acts 23:12).

It's not either/or. Paul as the most active missionary was an obvious target. They did go after him. I guess you overlooked Acts 12:1-11 in your Bible-reading. And he was regarded by the Jews (Acts 4:1-13) as the leader and spokesman of Christianity, along with John, but here Peter had a more prominent role. So that is two incidents before they ever went after Paul, who wasn't even yet a Christian during the first, and barely converted at the time of the second. Peter was also the first traveling missionary, before Paul, and first exercised what would now be called "visitation of the churches" (Acts 9:32-38,43).

14. Paul says in 1 Cor. 11:1 "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ." (ESV). Why doesn't Paul or any other writer of the NT say that about Peter, especially since he's supposed to be the Pope? Excluding Matthew (because of the disputed interpretation of chap. 16), no New Testament writer teaches about or refers to (even implicitly acknowledge) the office of the Pope (or Peter as Pope). Not the writer of Hebrews, or Mark, James, Jude, or in the entire Lukan, Johannine, Pauline, (EVEN!) Petrine corpus.

Any saint is worthy of imitation, as we see in Hebrews 11 and the heroes of the faith. This is simply irrelevant. It was valid for Paul to say he should be imitated because he was a great follower of Christ.

As for the second claim, poppycock. Go read my 50 Proofs and other papers of mine where I defend the papacy on various grounds, from the Bible.

15. If the Papacy is true, why would Peter's centrality fade in NT history as the book of Acts shows and as the rest of the epistles show by their deafening silence of Peter? Before Luke published Acts, he could have conferred with other Christians regarding the Pope's whereabouts and activities. But he didn't.

There is plenty there, and more than enough to bolster Catholic claims. Broad claims like this are not really arguments in the first place. You have to demonstrate your grandiose claims. I've given many biblical arguments in my defenses of the papacy, as seen in this very paper.

Finally, EVEN IF Peter were the Pope, that doesn't prove that his successors have the same or similar prerogatives. Apostolic succession is an additional burden of proof Catholics need to shoulder.

Technically, that's correct, though I argue that it is strongly implied by analogy and cross-examples of other Church offices. I have made the case for apostolic succession as well: both biblically and historically.



Dave, admittedly these 15 questions are very basic and so I assume that you've got ready answers for them. But for someone like myself, these questions seriously call into question the concept of the Papacy. I say that as someone who likes the idea of the Papacy. So, I don't think I'm being biased about this issue. 

Good! Then you can be persuaded! If God wants you back in the Catholic Church (as I'm sure He does), you'll feel the Holy Spirit "tugging" you, assuming you truly are willing to go wherever he leads you.

But I realize that there are a lot of things that I would like to be the case, or that I think that God should have done and God didn't do. God often does things counter-intuitively both in Redemptive History as well as providentially.

That's very true. He often does fool and surprise us in what He does. All of Christianity has shocking and surprising elements that no one could have predicted (including the incarnation and crucifixion and Resurrection themselves), and that many cannot accept at all. So why should the papacy be any different?

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My opponent made a few more replies on his blog, in the combox (one / two). He stated, "I have no problem with the form of argument you used.. . . I didn't bash the form of the argument." I reply as follows:

You described my article as a "sophistical game." That's not merely a disagreement in good faith on the conclusions of an opponent's exegesis. It's loaded, polemical language.

I then answered four specific questions that he asked:

1. Do you believe that the NT explicitly or implicitly teaches the Papacy?

Implicitly in most cases, but since there is quite a bit, it is cumulative. In other instances (such as Matthew 16), it is fairly explicit, once cross-referencing and the cultural and OT background are considered in the overall equation.

2. When do you believe the Church explicitly and consciously believed in the Papacy?

From the beginning, but with increasing development as time went on. By the time of Pope Leo the Great (440-461), it was pretty much developed, except for fine details. But it continues to develop.

3. Do you believe that sometime during his lifetime Peter consciously knew he was the Pope? If so...

Yes. That derived from his commission in Matthew 16 ("rock" and keeper of "the keys of the kingdom").

4. Do you believe Peter knowingly had all the prerogatives that Vatican I says the Pope has? Or do you believe he had them, even if he wasn't aware of having them (since maybe it was later understood by the Church that Popes have such prerogatives)?

No, because that incorporated another 1800 years of development. I believe he knew he was the leader and had strong central authority as somehow the shepherd over the flock of the universal Church.

Much of Protestant misunderstanding of the papacy, as with many "Catholic" doctrines, such as Mariology, has to do with an insufficient grasp of development of doctrine. That's why the latter was key in my own conversion. Once I understood that, it was the final piece of the puzzle found. It explained many things to me that were formerly perplexing.


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