Wednesday, February 6, 2008

James Swan and why he should repent

I did something that I normally don't do today. I went over to the bulletin board of anti-Catholic James Swan. One of the prots who haunt the Envoy Apologetics board had been asked to take his discussion with me over here to my blog and he had just started posting on Swan's "Beggars All" board instead. While I was there I noticed that my name was in the index and I followed the links.

Low and behold! I am vilified multiple times for the crime of not thinking that the excommunicated apostate Martin Luther was a worthy Christian thinker and for following the line of thinking that had originated back in the 16th Century that he was mentally deranged and which has excellent support in modern Luther scholarship.

Mr. Swan even had the temerity to go out looking for Catholics to personally condemn me. You see among the Anti-Catholic elite it is far more important to insult and defame Catholics than it is to refute them.

Well, the sad and hypocritical Mr. Swan needs to get his facts straight. This is why I dismiss Luther as an enemy of Christ and I condemn the entire Protestant Deformation as a demonic deception:

1) The Church as it came form the hands of Christ passed to the Apostles with St. Peter chosen by Christ to be his vicar. About this Scripture and Tradition are absolutely clear.

2) The Apostles ordained men as their successors and these men ordained their own successors. This pattern has persisted to the present and this succession has been preserved in both the Catholic Church and in the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

3) Ordination was not seen in either the Bible or Tradition as a mere human institution, but it conveyed he power of the Holy Spirit to tech to sanctify and to rule the Church.

4) The possession of the Holy Spirit in the hierarchy by the laying on of hands is what preserves the Catholic Church from error, not the opinions of scholars, the repetition of what people did and thought in the past, or the private interpretations of mere men.

5) No Protestant religion possess valid Apostolic Succession. In fact the Deformers all rejected Apostolic Succession thereby taking themselves out of the Church with no authority or power to teach, to sanctify, or to rule God's people.

6) The central tenet of the Deformation - 'justification by faith alone without good works' (JBFA) - is contrary to the Gospel as taught by Jesus and was explicitly condemned as an error in James 2:24

7) JBFA was used by Luther to sow anarchy within the Church of his day. It continues to wreak havoc in our own time.

8) Luther was excommunicated and his works condemned by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.

9) The religions Luther invented or inspired do not have valid ministers, valid sacraments (Baptism a possible exception in some groups), sound doctrine or right morals. As such, Protestantism as a whole is totally corrupt and none of the groups within it or spawned from it meet the criteria for valid Christian Churches from the 1st Millennium.

10) Despite paying lip service to 'sola scriptura', when the Bible conflicts with Protestant doctrine, the Bible is ignored, marginalized or explained away. Examples of this are in James 2:24, Romans 2:5ff, Matthew 16:16ff, 2Peter 3:15ff, John 6:53ff, and NUMEROUS other examples.

11) Meanwhile the Protestant Deformers (including Luther and Calvin) along with the groups they founded have openly and explicitly condemned Catholicism and the Pope as the Anti-Christ. This can be seen throughout Luther and Calvin's writings, in Deformed creedal statements such as the Westminster Confessions, and in the books, lectures, and web sites of Anti-Catholic bigots in our own day.

12) Insulting labels have been created by Protestants to be used when talking with and about Catholics: Romanist, Papist, Romish, Popish, jesuitical, Pope's Nose, Popery, Popedom, etc. Yet these same people have very thin skins when you tell them that the Protestant apostasy of the 16th Century reformed noting and actually DEFORMED Christain doctrine and Christian

13) Among Martin Luther's supporters in the last 3 centuries have been vituperate anti-Semites most notorious of which was Adolph Hitler and the Nazis.

14) Modern studies of Martin Luther's writings disclose a man with a serious mental disturbance. He suffered from depression, paranoia, delusions of grandeur, flight of ideas, and loose association all of which are symptoms of a bipolar manic-depressant disorder

15) Luther's theology was used by him as a catharsis for his periods near suicidal depression.

16) Luther became a poor exegete of the Bible who read his own mental illness into the text as he got deeper into the 'reform'.

17) Luther was guilty of excessive cursing, vulgarities, obscenities, and inappropriate speech which his fawning sycophants constantly try to explain away.

18) Hypocritically, when a Catholic says anything negative about Luther or condemns Protestantism, or uses pejorative terms about the conduct of Protestants, he or she is held to a standard much stricter than what Protestants tolerate for Luther.

19) Protestants are constantly on the attack against the Catholic Church. When Catholics try to defend themselves, they are attacked as uncharitable. There is double standard here.

20) Protestantism is FALSE RELIGION. It openly contradicts the Bible, ignores Tradition, supports immoral practices (divorce with remarriage, contraception, abortion, euthanasia, homosexual behavior, persecution of Catholics, Anti-Semitism, etc.), tries to misrepresent Catholics, and attempts to seduce Catholics out of the Church.

For these reasons among others, I do not tolerate the insulting and ignorant comments made by Protestant Anti-Catholics. When some Protestant tells me that I should adopt the opinion of card carrying Nazi party member Fr. Josef Lortz toward Luther in preference to that of other more critical Catholic scholars and then insults me because I refuse to follow Lortz's Nazi party line it proves to me that this Protestant is not a person of integrity nor is he being honest with the fact of history.

Luther, the Nazis, and Fr. Lortz are being relegated toe the dustbin of history. Modern biblical scholarship is highly critical of Luther and finds no justification for his version of JBFA in the Bible. And the pioneering work of Fr. Denifle in pointing out Luther's serious personal failings as the source of his aberrant and heretical views has been bolstered by modern psychiatry.

The New Perspective on St. Paul objective condemns Luther as being WRONG about JBFA. Church history shows that Luther's JBFA did no exist at anytime in Church history and was an innovation of the Deformation. Fr. Denifle, Fr. Grisar, Preserved Smith, Paul Reiter, Richard Marius, and Herbert David Rix have all shown that Luther was seriously disturbed and that this mental disturbance was the source of his deviations from sound doctrine. The religions that Luther founded do not meet the ecclesiastical standards of the earliest Church.

On all counts, Protestantism is a damnable fraud and the defection of all those millions into apostasy was a serious error. It is a Pandemonium of warring cults united only in their antipathy towards the Catholic Church and those of us who defend her.

Protestants all LEFT the Church cursing those of us who stayed as they did. They have no legacy within the Church founded by Jesus but are robbers and thieves trying to enter the kingdom by any means other than through the sheep-gate. Unless they renounce their errors and submit to the Vicar of Christ, they endanger their souls.

As such their is no compromising the truth. Protestantism and its false doctrines and empty sacraments cannot save anyone. The faith they preach is not that which was delivered once and for all to the Saints but a subjectivist counterfeit designed to assuage the endogenous depression of a seriously disturbed monk. Had there been Prozac in the 16th Century, we would have been spared the whole Deformation disaster.

Please understand that this is where I am coming from. There is no possibility whatever that Luther or any Protestant was correct when They contradicted the teachings of the Catholic Church. The only hope for ecumenism is for the prodigal Protestants to come to their senses and return to their Father's house. The Catholic Church is large and her practices diverse. There is room for everyone and we welcome whatever good things our separated brethren may bring with them. But they must abandon the loose living and false teachings that led them and their ancestors astray and submit themselves to the rule of their Father. Submission and humility are the virtues they need. They must cease trying to justify the errors of the past and seek true reformation and true repentance. They can only do so in Catholicism.



kevin82 said...

[Protestantism] supports immoral practices (divorce with remarriage, contraception, abortion, euthanasia, homosexual behavior, persecution of Catholics, Anti-Semitism, etc.), tries to misrepresent Catholics, and attempts to seduce Catholics out of the Church.

Okay, seriously. You cannot say "Protestantism" supports abortion, euthanasia, homosexual behavior, persecution of Catholics, and anti-Semitism. Yes, some Protestants support abortion, euthanasia, and homosexual activity -- but this would be a small minority (both globally considered and in the United States). In the United States, for example, the free church tradition (e.g., Southern Baptists, Assemblies of God, nondenominational evangelicals) is by far the largest segment of Protestants -- and all are pro-life and pro-chastity. As for persecution of Catholics and anti-Semitism, what Protestant churches support this? Are you seriously going to lay faults from the past (which Catholics equally share) on all Protestants? What about the deep anti-Semitism of the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages (especially the latter half) or the burning of Protestant "heretics"? There's blame here on both sides -- don't think your church is above reproach.

kevin82 said...

Modern biblical scholarship is highly critical of Luther and finds no justification for his version of JBFA in the Bible.

As someone who is actually doing postgradute work in theology (at a University-based divinity school), I can assure you that the New Perspective on Paul is hardly the reigning interpretation. Do you think Sanders and Dunn have the final word? The vast majority of biblical scholars (whether mainline Protestant, Evangelical, or Catholic) do not accept the NPP or, if they do, it is with heavy qualification that still allows for the traditional works-righteousness vs. faith alone framework (as with N.T. Wright). To give you one example of a non-NPP reading of Paul, see Simon Gathercole's Where is Boasting?: Early Jewish Soteriology and Paul's Response in Romans 1-5. Dr. Gathercole is now at Cambridge and formerly at the University of Aberdeen (my school).

Arthur C. Sippo MD, MPH said...

First of all, the NPP is the cutting edge of biblical scholarship on this issue. It surprises me that you are allegedly in a graduate school and you are clinging to outmoded methods of exegesis. I will assume that you are a THEOLOGY grad student, not an exegete. It is those who are committed to the errors of the Deformation that try to pretend that Luther et al got it right.

You also misrepresent Dunn and Sanders as if they have abandoned Justification by Faith. In the new edition of Dunn's book The New Perspective on Paul he gives a very spirited defense of his belief in Justification by Faith while remaining highly critical of Luther's excesses.

You appear to be ignorant of what the NPP actually teaches. It does not advocate Pelagianism or semi-Pelagianism. Instead it insists that the primary focus of St. Paul was on the mission to the Gentiles and that the 'works of the law' that he deemed unnecessary were literally 'mitzvot Torah'.

A correct reading of Romans 3:28ff makes this clear:

Rom 3:28 For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law.
Rom 3:29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also,
Rom 3:30 since God is one; and he will justify the circumcised on the ground of their faith and the uncircumcised through their faith.

This is the central issue of NPP. Justification by Faith means that you don't have to keep kosher to be a set right with God, but you do need to have faith in Christ. But not an empty faith as Luther et al proclaimed that consists in a trusting belief unformed by charity.

St Paul makes it clear that works are necessary for salvation:

Rom 2:5 But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed.
Rom 2:6 For he will render to every man according to his works:
Rom 2:7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life;

St. Paul also says this which most Protestants completely ignore:

Rom 6:17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed,
Rom 6:18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
Rom 6:19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once yielded your members to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now yield your members to righteousness for sanctification.
Rom 6:20 When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.
Rom 6:21 But then what return did you get from the things of which you are now ashamed? The end of those things is death.
Rom 6:22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the return you get is sanctification and its end, eternal life.

NPP gets it right. Faith in Jesus obliges us not only to believe and trust in Christ as our Savior but to submit to his Lordship and thus love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Those who live by the errors of Luther are the ones that Jesus condemned in Matthew 25 for not feeding the hungry and clothing the naked.

I have Gathercoles book and it is poorly written. I highly recommend the work of Don Garlington. And you definitely need to read the new edition of Dunn's book.

Besides all the other deficiencies of the Protestant religions still apply.


Arthur C. Sippo MD, MPH said...

You are denying that your religions advocate divorce and er-marriage which is contrary to the clear teachings of Jesus? This is a universal failing throughout the Protestant world. The teaching of Jesus on this mater is dead letter among you. So much for 'sola scriptura.'

Oh yes you admit that SOME Protestants support immorality but not you. I can go down a list of Protestant religions that advocate these abominations: the Methodists, the United Church of Christ, the SDA, several flavors of Presbyterians, ELCA, and the Episcopalians.

I don't where you get your info about the Southern Baptists but they are NOT pro-life. They practice a moral 'discipline' called 'soul competence' in which the individual is able to determine for himself what is right or wrong for him (or her). When former White House occupant Bill Clinton was getting "serviced" by his young female aide, it was 'soul competence' that allowed him not only to perform these adulterous acts but to lie under oath about it.

{As for persecution of Catholics and anti-Semitism, what Protestant churches support this? }

You never heard of Ian Paisley? How about Jack Chick? You have been living in a dream world. My faith has been attacked and reviled IN PUBLIC numerous times. Have you ever read the Westminster Confessions? You know, the parts which condemn the Pope as ANTI-CHRIST! You live in Scotland. You know how the Wee-Free Presby excommunicated one of their members in the 1990s for attending a Catholic Funeral Mass for a dead colleague because it was IDOLATRY!

As for anti-Semitism, while Catholics and Jews did not get along well in the past, nothing like the Holocaust ever occurred in the Middle Ages. And who was responsible for that? Nazis who quoted Luther's anti-Semitism and co-opted the German Lutherans into complicity through their 'German Church' movement.

If you want to know the real story about Catholic/Jewish relations in the past read The Myth of Hitler's Pope by Rabbi David G. Dalin. I think you will learn something.

Catholics do not share equally for the problems of the past. Protestantism is innovative heresy and the abandonment of the Gospel. Those Protestants duly convicted of heresy deserved he punishments they received. Don' do the crime if you can't do he time. When those Protestants were executed they died in their sins a a testament to their own egoism.

Meanwhile Catholics in England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales were martyred in the thousands by Protestant apostates because they refused to follow the heretics into the sin irreligion.

Please remember that all Protestant religions are false and do not conform to the ecclesial standards of the undivided Church before the Deformation. While you may possess some positive religious elements, you lack the fullness of the faith which can only be found in the Catholic Church.

As Vatican II taught in Lumen Gentium:

8. Christ, the one Mediator, established and continually sustains here on earth His holy Church, the community of faith, hope and charity, as an entity with visible delineation through which He communicated truth and grace to all. But, the society structured with hierarchical organs and the Mystical Body of Christ, are not to be considered as two realities, nor are the visible assembly and the spiritual community, nor the earthly Church and the Church enriched with heavenly things; rather they form one complex reality which coalesces from a divine and a human element. For this reason, by no weak analogy, it is compared to the mystery of the incarnate Word. As the assumed nature inseparably united to Him, serves the divine Word as a living organ of salvation, so, in a similar way, does the visible social structure of the Church serve the Spirit of Christ, who vivifies it, in the building up of the body.

This is the one Church of Christ which in the Creed is professed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic, which our Saviour, after His Resurrection, commissioned Peter to shepherd, and him and the other apostles to extend and direct with authority, which He erected for all ages as "the pillar and mainstay of the truth". This Church constituted and organized in the world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him,(although many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside of its visible structure. These elements, as gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, are forces impelling toward catholic unity...

14. This Sacred Council wishes to turn its attention firstly to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation. Christ, present to us in His Body, which is the Church, is the one Mediator and the unique way of salvation. In explicit terms He Himself affirmed the necessity of faith and baptism and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church. Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.

They are fully incorporated in the society of the Church who, possessing the Spirit of Christ accept her entire system and all the means of salvation given to her, and are united with her as part of her visible bodily structure and through her with Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. The bonds which bind men to the Church in a visible way are profession of faith, the sacraments, and ecclesiastical government and communion. He is not saved, however, who, though part of the body of the Church, does not persevere in charity. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but, as it were, only in a "bodily" manner and not "in his heart." All the Church's children should remember that their exalted status is to be attributed not to their own merits but to the special grace of Christ. If they fail moreover to respond to that grace in thought, word and deed, not only shall they not be saved but they will be the more severely judged.

Sorry, Kevin, but you have a very unrealistic view of Protestant Pandemonium and you do not understand Catholicism. You need to repent of your errors and leave the body of sin to which you have been attached.