James White’s #1 fanboy recently took on Catholic Answers with an Alpha and Omega Ministries blog post titled “Shattering Catholic Answers’ Wedge“. The post responds to the Catholic claim that, “Jesus told his apostles to establish a church, not write a book.” It’s hardly his (or any other Protestant polemicist’s) best work, and I am actually rather shocked that AOM published it. But it’s been a while since I posted anything and I figured writing a shattering response wouldn’t take much energy. So here you go. (My responses follow Turretinfan’s headings.)
1) Actually, Jesus did say “write in a book” (Revelation 1:11).
Turretinfan admits that this is just a “Gotcha!” but I am not sure how it is even that. Far from a “shattering” “gotcha,” this response is barely yawn worthy. When a Catholic apologist makes this argument, the word “book” is being used to signify (at least) the New Testament, and Turretinfan certainly knows this. Indeed, Sola Scriptura (the subject under discussion when this Catholic response comes up) could hardly function if the New Testament were reduced to the letters to the seven churches or even the entirety of the Book of Revelation itself – so this “Gotcha” hardly helps his position. More importantly, St. John was told to “write in (eis) a book” – not to “write a book,” which is the Catholic argument. So, technically, still wrong.
2) Jesus alluded to them writing books (John 17:20).
Turretinfan knows there is nothing in this passage alluding to writing a book – or to writing at all. So, instead of making a biblical argument, he claims that for most of history, people got the word of the apostles “through their word written in the books of the Bible.” This is an incredible claim considering how long it took the printing press to be invented, worldwide illiteracy overcome, and how even modern missions work. How did Turretinfan think he could get away with such a historical gaffe?
3) Do you really think Jesus and the Holy Spirit are on different pages (2 Peter 1:21)?
Here Turretinfan interprets what the Bible says the prophets spoke as being what they wrote. But he doesn’t stop there. Turretinfan also ignores the fact that Peter is writing about how things were done in the past (i.e., the Old Testament cf. Hebrews 1:1) – not how they are to be done in the present or future. The best part about Turretinfan’s proof text is that this passage is actually arguing against the legitimacy of private interpretation and warning of false teachers who would use it to spread their heresy. (Now – which teachers started their own churches 1,500 years after the fact by relying on their private interpretations again?)
4) The Holy Ghost was sent in Jesus’ name (John 14:26).
Now Turretinfan interprets the words, “the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance” as meaning, “the Holy Ghost telling the New Testament writers to write a book.” I don’t know . . . I just don’t see it. Maybe it’s in the Greek??? (I hope not, because if Turretinfan’s “interpretation” is correct here, then apparently 10/12 apostles disobeyed the Holy Spirit by not writing books.)
5) Logically, you can have both (1 Timothy 3:15).
It is ironic that Turretinfan uses the word “logically” here, as this response manages to commit one logical fallacy in the (failed) attempt to expose another. The Church has never excluded Scripture as authoritative, so this “response” to the Church’s alleged False Dilemma is actually a Strawman Fallacy. Second, from the fact that “the church (not “churches”) is the (not “a”) pillar (not “pillars”) and ground (not “grounds”) of the (not “a”) truth (not “truths”),” Turretinfan somehow concludes that, “Each church is supposed to be the pillar and ground of the truth.” Now, “each church” could only support this function if all churches were united in their teachings. But Turretinfan is defending a movement that has produced hundreds of competing churches that disagree over everything from abortion to justification to works. How can these contrary and fissiparous groups possibly be said to function as “the” anything? Third, Turretinfan says, “The church is ministerial, whereas the Scriptures are our ultimate authority, because they are the very word of God.” This begs the question as it is not stated anywhere in Scripture, nor is it even hinted at in the verse he cites.
So….there you go.