This is a response to Matt Slick the Founder of CARM about His criticisms of Christ’s Church in a series of criticisms of the Church that he is currently posting. Mr. Slick does not allow the copying of his entire article so I will take excerpts of his criticisms and refute his claims. For the purpose of this commentary Mr. Slick’s writing will be in italics and mine will be in bold. The name of this first article is:
Why is it necessary to write about Roman Catholicism?
The Protestant Church cites the Bible alone as the source of doctrinal knowledge. The Catholic church, on the other hand, cites the Bible and Tradition. Please consider the following:
. . .the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence."1
Apparently, it is Tradition that is the source of doctrines which are clearly not taught in the Bible, but which the Catholic Church still says are implicit within its text and elucidated through Apostolic Tradition.
Mr. Slick makes the implication that He will support his criticism of Catholic teaching and practice by using the Bible alone but I suspect before this series of criticisms of Christ’s Church are complete he will also attempt to use patristic evidence and historical evidence out of context to make his points. He is already using the Catechism of the Catholic Church out of context to make his first refutation of Catholic teaching by coming to obvious erroneous conclusions. I suspect from my experience with him in the past that such will be a pattern throughout his series.
Since he is basing his refutation on Sola Scriptura let us examine the veracity of such a doctrine:
By the end of the first century the Church was formed around the bishop who represented the Church in apostolic succession. The great commission was well underway and had extended to the Gentiles as well as the Jews. In scriptures we see St. Paul in his epistles telling the Church to respect the Sacred Traditions handed to them coming from both written sources and oral ones. Even the written sources were delivered orally as transcripts were very rare and few people were literate. There was not widespread distribution of what we consider today to be inspired Scripture as decided at the African Synods by the Church in the late fourth and early fifth centuries. Throughout the first sixteen centuries of the Church there was never any question that the authority of truth rested in the Church as the “regula fidei” where all teaching was and is measured by Sacred Tradition not by the Bible alone, especially when interpreted outside of its source the Church. To orthodox Christians this would be considered ridiculous as well as arrogant considering the church never wrote the Bible to be a sole source of faith, morals and practice and one author even reminded those who would approach its use in such a way as to consider it the only source that it is incomplete as far as teaching and that Christ taught much more than what it contained. In fact, it warns that it contains only a small part of Christ’s teaching, but the faithful need not fear because the Church was sent the Holy Spirit that leads the Church to all truths.
Christ did not teach that we are to gather around a book of Scriptures to find the truth but that the truth is found in the Church that gathers around the bishop. God was not the author of division as has occurred with those who have abandoned the Church for their private interpretations of Scripture into tens of thousands of exponentially increasing schisms without end. God is a God of unity where He prayed His prayer before His arrest and crucifixion that we all be one. He is not a God that can only be found in the pages of a Book but who is found in His Church and where His corporeal presence is given to His Church as He promised so that we may endure to eternal life and His Church may endure until He comes again. It is His Church where the truth resides and it is the place where we find “the pillar and foundation of the truth”, there is no other.
He goes on to suggest not only that Catholic teaching and doctrines are not supported in Scriptures but seem to suggest that often the come from Sacred Tradition which by the way is the same source of the New Testament of which he claims is the only source of reliable Christian truth. But, neither he nor anyone else would have known the Canon of Scripture were it not for the authority of the Church, given by Christ, to declare the veracity of sacred writ and protect it as such through the 2000 year history of the Church. The truth is that there is strong Scriptural evidence for all Catholic doctrines, practices and teaching. Only the Assumption of the blessed mother of God is evidenced solely by implicit biblical evidence and more by patristic and historical evidence. Clearly all revelation to Christ’s Church is not recorded in the Bible or even written but is evidenced by the living testimony of the Church revealed by Sacred Tradition of which the Bible is its product.
“ Some of them are as follows: The Mass, Penance, Veneration of Mary, Purgatory, Indulgences, the Priesthood, the Confessional, the Rosary, Venial and Mortal Sins, and statues in the Church. The issue is whether or not these teachings of the Roman Catholic Church are credible. Do they accurately represent Christianity? Can they be substantiated with the Bible? Do they contradict the Bible?”
I look forward to the refutation of Mr. Slick’s criticisms of the preceding doctrines, beliefs and practices I agree that the issues between the Protestant and the Catholic positions as to each position respectfully is whether the teaching is credible, represent true Christianity, and whether they are contradictory the Holy Scriptures. They can be substantiated by the Bible but even more completely and fully in that they also agree with the patristic and historic evidence as well.
The writing in italics are taken from the CARM website where thy can be viewed in their entirety and are the writings of Matt Slick here: