Five Questions For J (Protestant Evangelical)
I have shown the true Church of the Scriptures is one, universal, visible, historical, hierarchical, sacramental, concrete/locatable/identifiable, infallible Church. It is clearly the Church of the Bible, the Fathers, the Creeds and the Councils. If the gates of hell have not prevailed on that Church (Matt 16:18), where is that Catholic Church today? If you believe it is found in modern Protestantism or "evangelicalism" today, where was that Church before the sixteenth century?
Scripture says that the men of God are the high ecclesiastical authorities we are to submit to as our Christian leaders (2 Tim 3:17; Hebrews 13:7,17; cf. verses in my opening statement on "man of God"). Scripture does not allow men to appoint themselves leaders of the faith to usurp or replace the legitimately appointed leaders in the Church; neither does Scripture allow the received doctrines of the Church to be reformed, restored, or changed except by ranking ecclesiastical authorities (i.e. the men of God). My question: Who are the men of God (i.e. the high ecclesiastical authorities or legitimately appointed leaders) today? If you believe they are found in modern Protestantism or "evangelicalism" today, who were the men of God before the sixteenth century if not the bishops of the Catholic Church?
Your assumption throughout this debate is the Protestant concept of "Sola Scriptura" which is your alternative to an infallible teaching Church. Could you (a) provide a definition of that concept; and (b) produce a biblical defense of the concept.
How do you propose we arrive at truth on doctrine? If the Catholic method (apostolic succession, tradition, Church and papal authority) is invalid and wrong, what is your alternative? If two people disagree in their interpretation of Scripture on doctrine, or even "essential" or "orthodox" doctrine, can you explain how your method "works" to unite Christians in the truth? And can you name anyone before the sixteenth century who believed truth was found that way?
William Webster writes: "The doctrine of baptism is one of the few teachings within Roman Catholicism for which it can be said that there is a universal consent of the Fathers...From the early days of the Church, baptism was universally perceived as the means of receiving four basic gifts: the remission of sins, deliverance from death, regeneration, and the bestowal of the Holy Spirit." (Webster, The Church of Rome at the Bar of History , page 95-96).
R.C. Sproul writes in the forward to Gary Demar's new book: "In my years of study and ministry I have yet to discover a single text of sacred Scripture that teaches a pretribulation Rapture. In my opinion the notion, which is quite recent in church history, is pure fiction." (Sproul, in Gary Demar End Times Fiction , page viii).
A two-part question: (a) if you are so concerned about "evidence" and "probabilities" how can you reject Baptismal Regeneration since it is unanimously believed by all the Fathers who discuss Baptism (and not a few Scripture texts, Acts 2:38; 22:16; John 3:3,5; 1 Peter 3:21, Rom 6:3ff; etc); and (b) why do you believe in the dispensationalist idea of the "pretribulation Rapture" theory when it is a new belief in the history of Christianity and there are no Scriptures that teach the theory?
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