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.