A critique of William Webster's essay:
LOGIC for Protestants to test. ““Test everything. Hold on to the good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22
Return to Homepage
Dear Christian reader.
The above link is a critique of William Webster's essay: "Did I Really Leave," (for which the answer is a resounding yes). The logic truths contained in it extend to all of his works, for the premise is the same. The above essay was sent to me by a dear friend and classmate who attempted to use his essay as evidence of the early Church Fathers being advocates of Sola Scriptura or the Bible Only idea.
As I demonstrate logically, there were no devout Protestants in the first millennium because they didn’t exist yet, only devout Catholics. For the *only* Christian faith in the first millennium was the Catholic Faith. And logic follows there were also no Protestant ideas such as Sola Scriptura in the first millennium because they too had not been invented yet. Given these historical facts, Mr. Webster tries to force ancient devout Catholic Saints to speak "renaissanic protestanteeze." He tries to force them to substantiate Sola Scriptura through misquotes, incomplete quotes and as we will see, flawed logic.
The misrepresentations in Mr. Webster's works are not critiqued theologically here. There is no need to, for his account of Christian history is unsubstantiated and his logic tree is non-existent. We know Mormon theology is flawed because it did not exist in the first millennium. Therefore it can be rejected without even opening the Holy Bible. The same principle applies to the life works of Mr. Webster on Sola Scriptura: it didn't exist in the first millennium for the Apostles to teach. This is freshman history and logic 101. For if the Catholic Saints used Sola Scriptura, a concept in the Protestant sense unknown until the second millennium, we must ask ourselves one very salient question. A question that undermines all of Mr. Webster’s works and for which he is at a loss of words for. In fact his entire life's writings on Sola Scriptura crumble when asked the following question and an answer is actually demanded. I personally asked Mr. Webster this question and his answer was silence yet again, which is understandable given his position and what he has to lose by actually answering it.
Did the early Church Fathers embrace Sola Scriptura or the Bible Only idea? Many Protestants like Mr. Webster claim that SS was taught by the early Church Fathers such as Cyril of Jerusalem (4th century) or St. Augustine (5th century) or other Catholic Saints. This line of reasoning is logically impossible for the modern Christian as illustrated below.
Mr. Webster speaks of Cyril of Jerusalem and Sola Scriptura in the same sentence in many of his works:
"No clearer concept of Sola Scriptura could be given than that seen in these statements of Cyril."
So what did Webster's "Champion of SS" embrace VIA the concept of Sola Scriptura? Cyril was a Catholic Bishop of Jerusalem and Doctor of the Church, which means he embraced and (being a Doctor of the Church) explained the very doctrine that Catholics enjoy today. All using the "Concept of SS:" 7 sacraments, the sacrifice of the Mass, Purgatory, the Priesthood, Apostolic Succession, Apostolic Tradition , just about everything the PBS rejects to include ,,, the intercession of Saints!
Cyril of Jerusalem
"Then [during the Eucharistic prayer] we make mention also of those who have already fallen asleep: first, the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, that through their prayers and supplications God would receive our petition . . . " (Catechetical Lectures 23:9 [A.D. 350]).
Read more of your Church Fathers using the Concept of SS on the intercession of Saints at: http://www.catholic.com/library/Intercession_of_the_Saints.asp
All this derived VIA SS or as Webster says the concept of SS. I say SS rocks! But do you see what a bomb SS is for Protestantism?
If SS works cool! The product was Catholic Theology!
If SS doesn't work then the entire Protestant belief system is a farce for its sole tenet is SS!
Either way the PBS loses and Catholic Theology wins out.
What does Mr. Webster choose? No wonder he would not answer me.
Given Webster's logic citing Cyril, SS didn't produce the PBS,,, it produced Catholic Theology in it's entirety.
Ask Mr. Webster yourself if the concept of SS lead Cyril to the belief in (the Jewish Idea of) purgatory?
Cyril of Jerusalem
"Then we make mention also of those who have already fallen asleep: first, the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, that through their prayers and supplications God would receive our petition; next, we make mention also of the holy fathers and bishops who have already fallen asleep, and, to put it simply, of all among us who have already fallen asleep, for we believe that it will be of very great benefit to the souls of those for whom the petition is carried up, while this holy and most solemn sacrifice is laid out" (Catechetical Lectures 23:Mystagogic 5:9 [A.D. 350]).
Cyril of Jerusalem
"And I wish to persuade you by an illustration. I know that there are many who are saying this: 'If a soul departs from this world with sins, what does it profit it to be remembered in the prayer?' Well, if a king were to banish certain persons who had offended him, and those intervening for them were to plait a crown and offer it to him on behalf of the ones who were being punished, would he not grant a remission of their penalties? In the same way we too offer prayers to him for those who have fallen asleep, though they be sinners. We do not plait a crown, but offer up Christ who has been sacrificed for our sins; and we thereby propitiate the benevolent God for them as well as for ourselves" (Ibid. 5:10).
See: The Fathers on Purgatory. http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/1992/9205frs2.asp
But Mr. Webster will not tell you "what else" Cyril or Augustine wrote nor will he address this little pickle of his.
So which is it Mr. Webster?
What is your answer to this dilemma?
Either Cyril of Jerusalem or Augustine etc. embraced SS, or they didn't.
Which position below does Mr. Webster take? 1, 2, or 3?
This is Mr. Webster’s pickle.
1. If Christ's Church really did embrace Sola Scriptura as he claims, why does *he* not embraced what was derived from the Scriptures Solely, using this method?? (I.e., The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the Saving power of Baptism, the Sacraments, the liturgy, ordination of its clergy, salvation by "Grace through Faith", vs. "once saved always saved" etc., all doctrines embraced by the first Protestants even..but not Mr. Webster.) Why does he not embrace the Christian Faith of the first millennium? Why does he not embrace the ONLY Christian Faith of the first millennium if it used SS as he maintains? And why does he reject the faith of his own first reformers if they used SS too? If SS is true as he asserts, why does Mr. Webster reject SS's product? For according to Mr. Webster, SS was embraced by the Church Fathers in the first millennium. But the product of this SS used by the Church Fathers i.e., Catholic theology, is rejected by Mr. Webster and his kind and that is Mr. Webster's pickle.
2. Since he rejects the universal faith of the first millennium that was derived via Sola Scriptura, (and he denounces this faith as "apostate"), this means that the modus operandi that this Church used to derive its theology (i.e., Sola Scriptura) is flawed itself, and not a viable method of coming to the true Gospel of Christ for it doesn't work every time if anytime. If this is the case we should reject Sola Scriptura outright!
3. Contrary to what Mr. Webster asserts, perhaps none of the devout Catholics of the first millennium embraced SS because it didn’t exist in that millennium. If this is the case, then Mr. Webster should not lead others to believe it did exist or that devout Catholics embraced this Protestant idea. That would not be an honest portrayal of history.
This is the pickle Mr. Webster has himself in and this is why Mr. Webster and his ideas on Sola Scriptura should be dismissed outright. They don't make sense historically and he has no answer his flawed logic.
So which is the case? 1,2, or 3?
How does Mr. Webster answer this for one cannot have it both ways? Either (name your early Church Father here) embraced SS or he didn't. If he did, answer question 1 or 2. If he didn't answer question 3.
What Mr. Webster needs to teach is that the Holy Bible is materially sufficient in that it holds all the materials for the complete faith of Christ's Gospel, but it is not formally sufficient, in that everything required for the Christian Faith is present in the proper form to "take off the shelf" if you will. A perfect example is the Holy Trinity. It is "materially" present in the Holy Bible but it is not "formally" present, for nowhere does the Holy Bible define the Trinity as: One God in three persons, all existing from eternity, that the Spirit proceeded from the Father and the Son as the Nicene Creed states. Where does it state that the Holy Spirit is Divine as well as a separate person in the Trinity or define the Trinity as we know it today, or even mention the word "Trinity?" Another example is the Christian understanding of Christ, that he was fully divine and fully human, one person not two, but with two natures, one divine and one human. Was he born human and then became divine?? Or vise versa? Or half and half? Or did he possess both qualities since the incarnation? These principles and doctrines are not "Formally" presented in the Holy Bible, so for one to claim it is "the complete Truth and all that we need" or any variation of that, ignores the fact that not everything is in the Bible in a formal manner. Something else gave us these formal definitions of GOD. And that something else was the: "The church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of Truth" 1 Tim 3:15. The Church Mr. Webster left of his own free will.
But this is all predicated on one wanting to believe as the Apostles taught Christ's early Church, no matter where it leads him and no matter what it costs him. If this is not your desire, all bets are off and you are free to believe anything and everything whether the Apostles taught it or not. But if this is not the case, go to the LOGIC link above and "Test" your theology as the Holy Bible commands. “Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 I just want to believe as the Apostles taught Christ's early Church, no matter where it takes me and no matter what it costs me. If you desire the same, Click the Logic link and test what you have never tested before.
Intro to the Catholic Faith for Evangelicals http://www.davidmacd.com/catholic/index2.htm
Catholic Answers: "Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth" A compendium of basic Catholic beliefs and the Biblicism behind these beliefs. http://www.catholic.com/library/pillar.asp
FAQ about the Catholic Faith from Columbia University
1. "BIBLE ONLY" CHRISTIAN or "BIBLE BELIEVING" CHRISTIAN?
50 Practices and Doctrines not found in the Holy Bible. http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/unbiblical.html
2. JUST THE TRUTH: 2 Dozen Logic and Historical Facts Refuting the Apostolicity and Biblicism of the Modern Christian Belief Systems "Test Everything." 1 Thess 5:21 http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/justfacts.html
3. The "PROMISES OF JESUS CHRIST" to His Holy Church (as recorded in Holy Writ) http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/promises.html
4. The Historical Origins & Authors of the Modern Christian Theologies. http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/dates.html
5. Seven Reasons Christians Go To Church, Which One Is Yours? http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/7stages.html
6. Three Questions Your Pastor Won't Answer.
7. "The 7 Stages of Christian Spiritual Development" What stage are you? http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/7stages.html
8. An Exercise in Logic, Two Logic Proofs from History 101 demonstrating how the modern Christian theologies did not even exist in the first millennium, making it impossible for Christ and His Apostles to have taught to His early Church.
9. Is Sola Scriptura or the "Bible Only" idea even Biblical? Where does the Bible teach the "SOLA" or the "ONLY" in Sola Scriptura? http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/ss.html
10. Modern Christians often ask: "WHAT ELSE IS THERE? What else has Christ's infallible authority besides the Holy Bible?" Featuring the verses not underlined in most Bibles nor taught in modern Christian seminaries or churches. http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/whatelse.html
11. FAITH ALONE (SOLA FIDE): It is a Catholic Position. Have you been taught that Catholics "work their way to Heaven?" http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/faithalone.html
12. "Who is the Bride of Christ?" How do non-Catholics fit into the Body of Christ? http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/bride.html
13. Did the BEREANS "Search the Scriptures" and therefore follow the BIBLE ONLY idea?
Or did the THESSALONIANS, who also "Searched the Scriptures? http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/bereans.html
14. The 3rd Unanswered Challenge for the Non-Catholic Theologies:
Is the Catholic Faith Apostolic? Name just one Catholic doctrine that isn't. Name one doctrine the early Church believed,,,, that the Catholic Faith today *no longer does*. Why can't the modern Christian theologies make the same bold claim? http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/3challenge.html
15. Biblically, did the "Official Teachings or Doctrines of the Catholic Faith" become corrupt or Apostate as your Pastor might teach? Are there verses in the Holy Scriptures that forbid the "Gates of Hell" from overcoming His Church? What does the Holy Bible really say about: "The Church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth" 1 Tim :15? http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/gatesofhell.html
16. Is Praying to Saints Biblical? Is the "HAIL MARY" Prayer Biblical? Read the verses not underlined in your pastors Bible nor taught in his church. http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/saints.html
17. How Modern Christian are compelled to use and embrace an unbiblical and anti-biblical definition and concept of a Christian Church. http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/onchurch.html
Return to Homepage "A Biblical Case for the Catholic Faith"