Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Authority Debate

Cross Examination: Svendsen to Pacwa
A couple of weeks ago I posted a video clip of the cross-examination segment of the Authority Debate. That video clip showed Pacwa cross-examining me. Here is the second half of that segment in which I cross-examine Pacwa:

I want you to count how many times I ask the first question (re: extra ecclesiam nulla salus). Pacwa went to great lengths to dance around the issue, and ultimately never answered my question, so I had to move on. The Roman Catholic audience mistakenly took my move to the next question as an indication that Pacwa had won the point (you'll hear the laughter; once again, from an extremely rude brood of RCs). In reality, Pacwa continuously engaged in equivocation by changing "Roman Pontiff" to "Church" each time I pushed him on it (you'll see that I catch him on this, but he still dances). Eventually, I had to drop the first issue and move to the next because I had many questions I wanted to ask him with a very limited amount of time in which to do it.

Watch also the section where I press the difference of opinion among RC scholars on the extent of biblical inerrancy. Pacwa claims there is a PBC document that clarifies the ambiguous statement in Vatican II, but he cannot name that document (a document that doesn't exist, by the way).

Next, I ask him about the practice of facing east when praying. The audience explodes when Pacwa says that his church faces east. What you may not hear (due to the wild applause) is my follow-up question of whether or not he, too, faces east, or just his congregation. He answers that he in fact does not face east, which falls under the condemnation of the tradition that I cited--he does indeed pastor a "perverted church" according to the tradition of Basil.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Unethical Practices of GodTube

I have pulled all of my debate videos from GodTube due to the forum's unethical practices. For about two weeks now antagonistic Roman Catholic posters have been posting comments on my video pages that are filled with inaccuracies and (in some cases) blatant lies. I have attempted to post responses several times during that same time period. Although the message returned when I post is that the posts have been accepted and I should be able to view it in a few minutes, the posts (strangely) never appear--even after waiting days to see them. I have contacted their tech support, and they could not explain the problem. So, I deleted the RC comments and posted a note informing posters about the problem, and redirected them to the NTRMin forum if they would like to post a comment--which note never appeared. Each time I deleted the RC posts, they would be reposted within hours, and not one of my comments made it through. Today after logging in, I found that still more RC posts had been posted, but this time there was no Delete button to delete them.

All this seems just a bit odd to me. Roman Catholics can post at will; No Protestant post can get through (I even created a separate account and attempted to post using it, but to no avail); Now, I no longer have the ability to delete Roman Catholic posts. Too odd, in my view, to be written off as a coincidence. So, I'm through with GodTube; all videos have been deleted. I'm not going to have a situation in which a Roman Catholic antagonist is freely able to slander me--on my own account!--with no means of responding and refuting that slander.

On the other hand, what else would one expect of a forum that advertises its mission in this way:
Representing Baptist, Catholic, Episcopal, Evangelical, Messianic, Methodist and all of the traditional Christian denominations, GodTube is unique in its appeal and in its mission to "Broadcast Him".
What else would one expect of a so-called "Christian forum" that places more importance and focus on hip-hop and shallow contemporary "christian music" than they do on sound exegetical Bible study (just go to their main page for proof)?

I'm certainly disappointed with their practice since it is no small task to trim, format and upload videos to their forum. But, it is what it is. You can see the debate here.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Lest We Forget the Most Basic Truths

Compare the extravagance and opulence of this . . .

. . . to the words of the Apostle:
"For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor. To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now." (1 Cor 4:9-13)

Sometimes all one needs is a contrast to remind us who has rewards in heaven, and who "has their reward in full" in this life (Mark 6:2).

Friday, March 21, 2008

Responses to my Video Clip Postings on GodTube

GodTube is not the most reliable system. Not only does it strain to buffer video (unlike the more robust YouTube), but its acceptance of comments in the comboxes is eradic. Over the past few days, two Roman antagonists have posted off-the-wall comments to one of my videos, and even though I have responded to those comments on three different occasions, and even though the GodTube system verified my comments were accepted, they never actually showed up. Since I'm not going to have a situation where Roman Catholics are allowed to slander me on my own space on Godtube sans my ability to post a response, I have deleted those comments and am redirecting them here and to the discussion thread on the NTRMin discussion board (there is a thread already started for the video series; post there if you want to comment). In the meantime, here is what one Roman Catholic posted before I ended up deleting it:
Yet Svedson [sic] affirms the Catholic view [of Matt 16], which is the historic view that noone [sic] denied before John Calvin. Not even Luther.

Oh really? Here' a summary of the work Bill Webster has done on this passage:

Augustine on the issue
"Christ, you see, built his Church not on a man but on Peter’s confession. What is Peter’s confession? ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ There’s the rock for you, there’s the foundation, there’s where the Church has been built, which the gates of the underworld cannot conquer." (Sermon 229). . . . "For on this very account the Lord said, ‘On this rock will I build my Church,’ because Peter had said, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ On this rock, therefore, He said, which thou hast confessed, I will build my Church. For the Rock (Petra) was Christ; and on this foundation was Peter himself built. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus" (Commentary on the Gospel of John, Tractate 124.5). . . . "For, ‘Thou art Peter’ and not ‘Thou art the rock’ was said to him. But ‘the rock was Christ,’ in confessing whom, as also the whole Church confesses, Simon was called Peter." (The Retractations Chapter 20.1). . . . "Therefore,’ he saith, ‘Thou art Peter; and upon this Rock’ which Thou hast confessed, upon this rock which Thou hast acknowledged, saying, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God, will I build My Church;’ that is upon Myself, the Son of the living God, ‘will I build My Church.’ I will build thee upon Myself, not Myself upon Thee. For men who wished to be built upon men, said, ‘I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas,’ who is Peter. But others who did not wish to built upon Peter, but upon the Rock, said, ‘But I am of Christ.’" (Sermon XXVI.1-4)

"He speaks from this time lowly things, on his way to His passion, that He might show His humanity. For He that hath built His church upon Peter’s confession, and has so fortified it, that ten thousand dangers and deaths are not to prevail over it" (On Matthew, Homily 82.3)

"He, then, who before was silent, to teach us that we ought not to repeat the words of the impious, this one, I say, when he heard, ‘But who do you say I am,’ immediately, not unmindful of his station, exercised his primacy, that is, the primacy of confession, not of honor; the primacy of belief, not of rank.This, then, is Peter, who has replied for the rest of the Apostles; rather, before the rest of men. And so he is called the foundation, because he knows how to preserve not only his own but the common foundation...Faith, then, is the foundation of the Church, for it was not said of Peter’s flesh, but of his faith, that ‘the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.’ But his confession of faith conquered hell. And this confession did not shut out one heresy, for, since the Church like a good ship is often buffeted by many waves, the foundation of the Church should prevail against all heresies (Ambrose, The Sacrament of the Incarnation of Our Lord IV.32-V.34).

"Let no one then foolishly suppose that the Christ is any other than the only begotten Son. Let us not imagine ourselves wiser than the gift of the Spirit. Let us hear the words of the great Peter, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Let us hear the Lord Christ confirming this confession, for ‘On this rock,’ He says, ‘I will build my church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.’ Wherefore too the wise Paul, most excellent master builder of the churches, fixed no other foundation than this. ‘I,’ he says, ‘as a wise master builder have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.’ How then can they think of any other foundation, when they are bidden not to fix a foundation, but to build on that which is laid? The divine writer recognises Christ as the foundation, and glories in this title." . . . . "The blessed Peter also laid this foundation, or rather the Lord Himself. For Peter having said, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God;’ the Lord said, ‘Upon this rock I will build My Church.’ Therefore call not yourselves after men’s names, for Christ is the foundation" (Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1,12). . . . Surely he is calling pious faith and true confession a ‘rock.’ For when the Lord asked his disciples who the people said he was, blessed Peter spoke up, saying ‘You are Christ, the Son of the living God.’ To which the Lord answered: ‘Truly, truly I say to you, you are Peter and upon this rock I shall build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it’ (Commentary on Canticle of Canticles II.14) . . . "Wherefore our Lord Jesus Christ permitted the first of the apostles, whose confession He had fixed as a kind of groundwork and foundation of the Church, to waver to and fro, and to deny Him, and then raised him up again" (Theodoret, Epistle 77).

Eusebius of Caesarea
"as Scripture says: ‘Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it’; and elsewhere: ‘The rock, moreover, was Christ.’ For, as the Apostle indicates with these words: ‘No other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Christ Jesus.’ Then, too, after the Savior himself, you may rightly judge the foundations of the Church to be the words of the prophets and apostles, in accordance with the statement of the Apostle: ‘Built upon the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone.’" (Commentary on the Psalms, Vol. 23).

"For that reason divine Scripture says that Peter, that exceptional figure among the apostles, was called blessed. For when the Savior was in that part of Caesarea which is called Philippi, he asked who the people thought he was, or what rumor about him had been spread throughout Judea and the town bordering Judea. And in response Peter, having abandoned the childish and abused opinions of the people, wisely and expertly exclaimed: ‘You are Christ, Son of the living God.’ Now when Christ heard this true opinion of him, he repaid Peter by saying: ‘Blessed are you Simon Bar–Jonah, for flesh and blood have not revealed this to you but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.’ The surname, I believe, calls nothing other than the unshakable and very firm faith of the disciple ‘a rock,’ upon which the Church was founded and made firm and remains continually impregnable even with respect to the very gates of Hell. But Peter’s faith in the Son was not easily attained, nor did it flow from human apprehension; rather it was derived from the ineffable instruction from above; since God the Father clearly shows his own Son and causes a sure persuasion of him in the minds of his people. For Christ was in no way deceptive when he said, ‘Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven.’ If, therefore, blessed Peter, having confessed Christ to be the Son of the living God, are those not very wretched and abandoned who rashly rail at the will and undoubtedly true teaching of God, who drag down the one who proceeds from God’s own substance and make him a creature, who foolishly reckon the coeternal author of life to be among those things which have derived their life from another source? Are such people not at any rate very ignorant? (Dialogue on the Trinity IV, M.P.G., Vol. 75, Col. 866). . . . ."For when he wisely and blamelessly confessed his faith to Jesus saying, ‘You are Christ, Son of the living God,’ Jesus said to divine Peter: ‘You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church.’ Now by the word ‘rock’, Jesus indicated, I think, the immoveable faith of the disciple."(Commentary on Isaiah IV.2). . . . "The Church is unshaken, and ‘the gates of hell shall not prevail against it,’ according to the voice of the Saviour, for it has Him for a foundation (Commentary on Zacharias).

A belief that the Son of God is Son in name only, and not in nature, is not the faith of the Gospels and of the Apostles...whence I ask, was it that the blessed Simon Bar–Jona confessed to Him, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God?...And this is the rock of confession whereon the Church is built...that Christ must be not only named, but believed, the Son of God. . . . This faith is that which is the foundation of the Church; through this faith the gates of hell cannot prevail against her. This is the faith which has the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatsoever this faith shall have loosed or bound on earth shall be loosed or bound in heaven...The very reason why he is blessed is that he confessed the Son of God. This is the Father’s revelation, this the foundation of the Church, this the assurance of her permanence. Hence has she the keys of the kingdom of heaven, hence judgment in heaven and judgment on earth....Thus our one immovable foundation, our one blissful rock of faith, is the confession from Peter’s mouth, Thou art the Son of the living God" (On The Trinity, Book VI.36,37; Book II.23; Book VI.20)

"The one foundation which the apostolic architect laid is our Lord Jesus Christ. Upon this stable and firm foundation, which has itself been laid on solid ground, the Church of Christ is built...For the Church was founded upon a rock...upon this rock the Lord established his Church; and the apostle Peter received his name from this rock (Mt. 16.18)" (Commentary on Matthew 7.25)

"He confessed that ‘Christ’ is ‘the Son of the living God,’ and was told, ‘On this rock of sure faith will I build my church’—for he plainly confessed that Christ is true Son" (Books II and III, Haer. 59.7, 6-8,3)

"Now Christ called this confession a rock, and he named the one who confessed it ‘Peter,’ perceiving the appellation which was suitable to the author of this confession. For this is the solemn rock of religion, this the basis of salvation, this the wall of faith and the foundation of truth: ‘For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Christ Jesus.’ To whom be glory and power forever"

"This is that firm and immovable faith upon which, as upon the rock whose surname you bear, the Church is founded. Against this the gates of hell, the mouths of heretics, the machines of demons—for they will attack—will not prevail. They will take up arms but they will not conquer". . . . "This rock was Christ, the incarnate Word of God, the Lord, for Paul clearly teaches us: ‘The rock was Christ’ (1 Cor. 10:4)" (Homily on the Transfiguration, Col. 548).

Here's what one of RC's most prominent historians has to say about it:
"It does sometimes happen that some Fathers understood a passage in a way which does not agree with later Church teaching. One example: the interpretation of Peter’s confession in Matthew 16:16–19. Except at Rome, this passage was not applied by the Fathers to the papal primacy; they worked out an exegesis at the level of their own ecclesiological thought, more anthropological and spiritual than juridical" (Yves Congar, Tradition and Traditions, New York: Macmillan, 1966, p. 398).

Again, back to our GodTube poster:
By the way I do believe that Svedson [sic] has changed his tune on the stuff about Peter and used to use the old petros, petra arguement [sic]

It is a record of fact that I have held this same view at least since the writing of my first book, Evangelical Answers (where it appears), was first published in 1996. This poster can't seem to get anything right.

The Authority Debate: Svendsen vs. Pacwa

Cross Examination; Pacwa to Svendsen
Here is the first of two cross examination clips. In this clip Mitch Pacwa cross examines me:

Some brief comments are in order:

First, Pacwa is decidely out of touch with the majority view on the so-called "canon of the Sadducees" (time marker 00:42). He still thinks the Sadducees held only to the Pentateuch, and no other books of the Bible. That view is based on an extrapulation from Matt 22:23 and Acts 23:8 (see my response at 03:50), which tell us that the Sadducees rejected belief in the resurrection, spirits and angels. But the Pentateuch is filled with references to angels (at least 28 instances). So if we conclude that the Sadducees rejected all but the Pentateuch based on the fact that they rejected a belief in the resurrection, we must on that basis conclude that they also rejected Genesis, Exodus and Numbers based on the fact that they rejected belief in angels.

Second, Pacwa appeals to the earliest extant LXX text (Codex Vaticanus) to prove that the deuterocanonicals were included as Scripture (07:50 passim). But this proves too much since the deuterocanonical set included in Codex Vaticanus differs from the official deuterocanonical set of Roman Catholicism (see my response at 09:48). Codex Vaticanus omits I and II Maccabees and includes Psalm 151, The RC canon includes the former and omits the latter. Moreover, the RC canon differs from the Eastern Orthodox canon (EO includes III Maccabees; RC omits it). This is why we must reject Roman tradition--or any tradition for that matter--as binding on the conscience of man.

Third, Pacwa seems uninformed about the list of RC theologians before Trent that rejected the deuterocanonicals as Scriptures (12:50--14:18).
And to explain their rejection of the deuterocanonicals as "well, they weren't the official voice of the magisterium" explains nothing. There is no explanation of a rejection of the deuterocanonicals by faithful Roman Catholics centuries after a supposedly infallible decision had been made outside of the fact that no decision had actually been made.

Fourth, Pacwa seems unaware of the nomenclature used by both contemporary RC scholars and historical RC documents (15:30 ff), and makes some brownie points with the mostly RC audience (who ignorantly and rudely laughed and applauded at this point, in spite of the fact that they were instructed not to by the moderator). Yet, when I use words and phrases like "Rome," or "Roman church," or "Roman Pontiff," or "Roman Catholic," it is because this is the official nomenclature found in the historical documents, in the writings of the popes, and in scholarly RC writings. Pacwa seems to be unaware of this use--at least until I informed him, after the misplaced applause and after patiently waiting for him to finish his point (16:29), that I was simply using the language of pope Eugene IV.

It is this kind of thing that causes me to dislike RC audiences at events like these (I encountered a similar situation during my debate with Gerry Matatics). For them, it's all about winning a point. They are not there to be instructed by truth. Truth doesn't matter to them. They just want their hero to win--at any cost--and they don't care what rules they have to break to effect that end. The evangelicals at the debate respected the rules; the Roman Catholics blatantly disregarded them. Why? Because they are lawless. They pridefully tout their "moral superiority" with regard to abortion, birth control, etc, ad naseum; but their true character shows at these debates.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Romans 1:21-25 Alive and Well in New Delhi

The Indian villagers of New Delhi, the birthplace of Hinduism, are now worshipping--as a reincarnated god--a newborn girl born with two faces. News Link
Romans 1:21-25: "For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen."
Sadly, this kind of thing is not foreign to the ranks of Christendom. Witness the spectacle of hundreds, or thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of Roman Catholics massing together to worship a piece of melba toast, or a stain on the side of a wall, or a shadow against a building, or a growth on a tree, or the lastest "apparition" that vaguely resembles the shape of what Roman Catholics have come to associate with Mary. They are no less condemned; nor are their leaders who consistently refuse to discourage such idolatry, and in the process shamefully worship and serve the creature rather than the creator. True pastors of the church are distressed by such things, and do not remain silent about them.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Authority Debate: Svendsen vs. Pacwa

Rebuttal by Eric Svendsen
This is my rebuttal of Mitch Pacwa's opening statement:

At about the 3:12 marker, I make a statement that probably should be clarified. Namely, "I will ask Mitch tonight, and we will not get, a list of infallible teachings of the church." What I should have stated is "an infallible list of infallible teachings of the church." Later in the debate Mitch cites a couple of sources that he claims provides lists of infallible church teachings. What he does not provide is an infallible list of infallible teachings. That was my fault; I should have clarified that point in the debate and did not. I pointed out on the Areopagus Forum following the debate last year that my performance in the debate evidenced a lot of rust, and this is the point I primarily had in mind. C'est la vie.

The reason the question is pertinent is because Pacwa (like all RC apologists) makes a huge deal of the fact that (from the Protestant view) there is no infallible table of contents for the canon of Scripture, which prevents the Protestant (so the argument goes) from having any confidence that he can know the parameters of the canon apart from the decision of the Roman Catholic magisterium. But if that is the case, then neither can the Roman Catholic know the parameters of church tradition, since there is no infallible list of those traditions.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Relevant Church Pastor

This is my new all-time favorite video:

The Authority Debate: Svendsen vs. Pacwa

Opening Statement by Eric Svendsen
It took nearly a year to obtain the video, put it in digital form, and chop it up in segments, but it's finally finished. Here is my opening statement. I'll post various segments and offer comments on them as I go. The complete debate is available here.