Friday, June 08, 2012

Follow up to Joshua Lim

Here is my follow up to Joshua Lim:

Dear Joshua,

I would prefer to interact directly with you. A setting such as the “Called to Communion” site is not as conducive for the type of discussion I prefer to have. Nevertheless, I will interact with what is written in the com box as it pertains to what I have written.

Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy

You claimed that they are very similar, but ultimately it was the “Petrine office that did it for [you].” The problem is you have only Rome’s word that Peter was even in Rome, Rome’s word that apostolic succession even exists, and Rome’s word that the Holy Spirit intended successors to the apostles to be infallible when they proclaim doctrine ex cathedra. You also have only Rome’s word that the Petrine office is limited to one location. In other words, you presuppose Rome to choose Rome. That is hardly a good argument for why one would choose Roman Catholicism over Eastern Orthodoxy.

Submission to authority

You claim that Roman Catholics submit to an external authority as established by Christ. But how do you know that such an external authority has been established by Christ? Again, you presuppose Rome to choose Rome. Eastern Orthodoxy will dispute that Roman Catholicism is established by Christ because they have fallen away from the patriarchs.

Next, you misrepresent the Reformed and Protestant notion of authority. We do not submit to “his/her own interpretation of Scripture.” I am surprised and sad that you did not even get the Protestant view of authority correct. How can you claim to be competent in rejecting Protestantism when you cannot even represent it correctly?The Holy Spirit is the one who brings people into the one true interpretation of Scripture. Your view denies the Holy Spirit and prefers a material authority over a spiritual authority. You cannot claim that such is totally subjective since Roman Catholicism claims to believe in the person and work of the Holy Spirit also. Similarly, you cannot use empirical evidence to attack Protestantism since the same empirical evidence of diversity works against the myriad views within Roman Catholicism.

The question is: Did the Holy Spirit promise to guide believers into the truth? Indeed, He has (Jn. 16:13). Therefore, your preference for Rome has absolutely no biblical authority at all, but rather you presuppose Rome to choose Rome.

You claim that “the moment a [Roman] Catholic disagrees with the Church, he goes against Christ’s own authority.” It sounds nice, but the problem is that you have yet to define who “the Church” is. Is the Church referring only to the present occupant of the Vatican? Or is the Church referring to the Vatican at the time of the Council of Florence? What happens when popes contradict each other, which is what we see with Pope Honorious who was anathemized by later popes? Or as I have mentioned: the contradiction between the inclusivism of Vatican II with the ecclesiastical exclusivism of Florence? Who is right? Vatican II disagrees with Florence, so regardless of what position is taken, all Roman Catholics disagrees with “the Church.” You either disagree with Florence, or disagree with Vatican II. Or will you settle for chronological snobbery in saying that the Vatican at the present time is right by definition?

The Nature of the Church

You claimed:

I joined the Catholic Church because I became convinced that if Christianity is true, then there must be a way to know and submit to its truth in a more than intellectual manner. In other words, there must be a historical and visible Church that is in substantial continuity with the Church from her inception at Pentecost, through the Early Church Fathers, through the Medieval and Reformation era, until today. Christ, after all, promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church.

The problem is upon what basis is this true? Why must there be a “historical and visible Church” &c if Christianity is true? You have further stated that Jesus has prayed for a visible unity, but why must a visible unity be an institutional one? I am united with my Baptist friends, even Charismatic friends in the Gospel, and such a unity can be seen in my fellowship with them. Why must I be in the same church to show forth unity?

Concluding remarks

You have consistently presuppose Rome to choose Rome. That is totally illegitimate argumentation. You have no real reason to prefer Rome over Constantinople. You don’t even have any real reason for not following Mel Gibson in his sedevacantism. Your whole argument is viciously circular, and the circle begins and ends in Rome, which has NOT remained the same throughout the ages.

Once again, I call upon you to repent of your apostasy from Rome. The Holy Spirit is available to all believers, and He is the only one who reveals the objective truth of Scripture to those who are His. You are sadly rejecting the Holy Spirit and rejecting Christ in choosing a material faith rather than one grounded in the Holy Spirit. For the sake of your soul, I implore you to turn from your present path towards perdition. It is not too late to repent now.

Ultimate, this is a spiritual issue, not a intellectual issue. Do pray for Josh Lim (and Jason Stellman) that the Holy Spirit will turn their hearts back to Him.

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