Critique of THE PROTESTANT'S DILEMMA by Devin Rose
Chapter 17 - Doing What the Bible Says
Protestants point to the Bible as their sole rule of faith. But the
Bible contains many commands, some of which may seem kind of strange.
But they’re expressed plainly enough, so they should be followed
without fail. Yet Protestants don’t follow them all. Instead, they use
some extra-scriptural filter to help them pick and choose which ones to
accept and which ones to reject.
Note: The Gospels were written in the context of the Old Testament Law.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of
mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of
the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done,
without leaving the others undone. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat
and swallow a camel!” Matthew 23:23-24.
Pages 115-116: Let’s look at
some biblical commands and think about whether Protestants are
following them consistently. In Luke 14:12-13, Jesus says: When you
give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers
or your kinsmen or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return,
and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the
maimed, the lame, the blind. I cannot remember the last time that
faithful Protestant friends of mine did this. In fact, I don’t think
any of them ever have. Yet Jesus doesn’t offer any exceptions. He is
quite clear that people should invite the outcasts to dinner and not
their friends or relations, or wealthy people.
Note: The author is apparently ignorant of Christian rescue missions.
The Union Rescue Mission (URM) is a private Christian homeless shelter
in downtown Los Angeles's Skid Row. It is the largest private homeless
shelter in the United States. Founded in 1891, it provides emergency
and long-term services including food, shelter, clothing, medical and
dental care, recovery programs, transitional housing, legal assistance,
education, counseling, and job training.
Note: This Christian mission provides dinners to unrelated guests everyday.
Page 116: St. Paul is quite
popular among Protestants, at least with some things he says. Less
popular however are these words of his for women, in 1 Cor. 11:5-6: Any
woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled dishonors her head
– it is the same as if her head were shaven. For if a woman will not
veil herself, then she should cut off her hair. Although a few
Protestant sects exist where women wear veils, these are a tiny
minority. When was the last time you walked into a Protestant church
and saw a sea of veils covering the heads of the women? This command of
St. Paul’s, inspired by God no less, is nearly ignored by Protestants.
Note: The Catholic magisterium is confused about this command from the Apostle Paul.
The wearing of a headcovering was for the first time mandated as a
universal rule for the Latin Rite by the Code of Canon Law of 1917,
which code was abrogated by the advent of the present (1983) Code of
Canon Law. Traditionalist Catholics still follow it, generally as a
matter of custom and biblically approved aptness; some also suppose
that St. Paul's directive is in full force today as an ordinance of its
own right, without a canon law rule enforcing it. Wikipedia
Note: The wearing of the veil is not necessary for salvation.
Pages 116-117: When he speaks
of marriage in Luke 16:18, our Lord says: Every one who divorces his
wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman
divorced from her husband commits adultery. Yet, most Protestant
churches allow divorce and remarriage without any examination of the
original marriage. Christ is clear here (and in Matt. 19:6) that there
is no divorce and remarriage but rather only adultery when someone
divorces and “marries” another. It’s another tough teaching silently
ignored by the vast majority of Protestant denominatons.
Note: The author is ignorant of the difference between the law and the grace of God.
But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if
they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let
them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion. 1
Page 117: In one of the most
famous passages in the Bible, Jesus gives commands for how we are to
respond when someone wrongs us. He says in Matthew 5:38-39: You have
heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”
But I say to you, do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes
you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. Now, most
Protestant might agree that this is a good thing to do, at least in
theory. But how many do it, literally or even figuratively? Very few,
at best. Yet Jesus again makes no exceptions and adds no qualifiers.
Note: It is the responsibility of authorities to punish evil people.
For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to
be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise
from the same. Romans 13:3.
Note: Everyone is not perfect and everyone needs the Savior Jesus Christ.
Pages 117-118: It seems obvious
that the Bible cannot be taken in every verse literalistically:
Otherwise we’d all be breaking Christ’s express command every time we
throw a party with friends! A given book or passage may contain poetry,
parable, apocalyptic imagery, or hyperbole, each necessitating its own
interpretive principles. But the Bible itself doesn’t tell us when to
use which principle in a given instance; neither do all scholars or
theologians agree on it. A Protestant, bound by sola scriptura, cannot
appeal to a magisterium, or Sacred Tradition, or even sound principles
of biblical scholarship, for all these things are extra-scriptural.
When encountering difficult and even seemingly absurd scriptural data,
he can only make his own interior judgment about what to accept as
literal and what to interpret otherwise.
Note: Knowing the basic difference between the Old and New Testaments is a start.
Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be
justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a
tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
Page 118: This is not a problem
for the Catholic because his Church is protected from error by the Holy
Spirit. He has the magisterium of the Church to guide him through.
Note: The magisterium supported murder during the reformation.
In France, a series of conflicts termed the French Wars of Religion was
fought from 1562 to 1598 between the Huguenots and the forces of the
French Catholic League. A series of popes sided with and became
financial supporters of the Catholic League. This ended under Pope
Clement VIII, who hesitantly accepted King Henry IV's 1598 Edict of
Nantes, which granted civil and religious toleration to Protestants.
Page 118: So, for example, in
the passage where Jesus exhorts his followers not to invite friends to
meals, or where he commands them to turn the other cheek, the Church
provides the sure interpretation that in these instances Christ is
teaching important principles (giving to the poor and loving our
enemies are meritorious things), not giving absolute and literal moral
Note: Giving to the poor is highly recommended.
But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the
uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the
circumcised was to Peter (for He who worked effectively in Peter for
the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward
the Gentiles), and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be
pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me
and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the
Gentiles and they to the circumcised. They desired only that we should
remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do.
Page 118: On the other hand,
the Church teaches authoritatively that Christ’s difficult-sounding
words about divorce and remarriage do amount to a strict moral command.
Note: The Catholic magisterium is relying on the Old Testament law.
But if any man thinks he is behaving improperly toward his virgin, if
she is past the flower of youth, and thus it must be, let him do what
he wishes. He does not sin; let them marry. 1 Corinthians 7:36.
Pages 118-119: This is a
primary cause of Protestant division: disagreement over what verses of
the Bible mean, how they should be applied, whether they are essential
or non-essential, and so on. One Protestant is ready to fall on his
sword over women covering their heads, while another thinks it is
simply obvious that that passage no longer applies to Christians. One
group notices the lack of musical instruments mentioned in the New
Testament and interprets it to mean that the Sunday worship service
must be a cappella, while another thinks organs or guitars are fine.
Note: The Catholic magisterium is guilty of changing over the years.
Beneventan chant is a liturgical plainchant repertory of the Roman
Catholic Church, used primarily in the orbit of the southern Italian
ecclesiastical centers of Benevento and Montecassino, distinct from
Gregorian chant and related to Ambrosian chant. It was officially
supplanted by the Gregorian chant of the Roman rite in the 11th
century, although a few Beneventan chants of local interest remained in
use. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Page 119: If Protestantism is
true, then we must obey the Bible alone, even when its commands seem
impractical, even absurd, for we reject any authoritative interpreter
outside of Scripture itself. Yet in practice Protestants don’t do this.
Instead they fill in the interpretive vacuum by silently accepting
various principles and ideas that form a lens through which they read
the word of God.
Note: Scripture should be compared with Scripture at arrive at a good interpretation.
These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but
which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with
spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the
Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them,
because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges
all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has
known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the
mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:13-16.
Note: The Catholic magisterium has changed numerous times on numerous subjects over the years.
WORD FAITH INDEX
CATHOLIC CHURCH INDEX