Friday, March 21, 2008

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.