Monday, December 20, 2010

Protestantism and the Burden of Proof

It seems to me that most debates between Protestants and Catholics put Catholicism on the defensive against Protestant accusations of superstitious and unscriptural beliefs.  However, this relationship is exactly backwards.  The burden of proof lies on Protestantism, not Catholicism.  The very term Protestantism implies a protest against something that proceeds Protestants.  That entity was of course the Roman Catholic Church.  Protestants revolted against the established order and thus must first justify their beliefs before demanding evidence for the truth of Catholicism.

8 comments:

  1. Good post! Sooooo true! I read a protestant tract claiming that Thomas Aquinas invented the Sacraments! Not to be arrogant but I nearly laughed myself stupid,..the fact that the Orthodox Churches use the Sacraments completely destroys any valid protestant claim! Most intellectually honest protestants do,..(John Henry Newman,..for example)convert,.but we must realize that we are on the Holy Spirit's time not ours,.and 'information will always be received by the mode of the receiver.'

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  2. Thanks! You're totally right about the Orthodox. They make a great liturgical time capsule. When I debate Protestants, one thing I ask them is, "so you're saying that for the first 1500 years of Christianity, all Christians were actually members of a semi-pagan cult?" It sounds really odd when you say it like that but it is essentially the Protestant view of Church history.

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  3. Some years ago I got a copy of the writings of The Apostolic Fathers. At the time it was the only version I could find. The translation was OK, but the person who did the commentary/footnotes was constantly trying to explain that things didn't mean what they meant because they supported the Catholic Church's claims.

    Others do make the semi-pagan claim. Most of those are usually extremist fundamentalists or cults however.

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  4. AL: Some clarification. I know that most Protestants recognize Catholicism as Christian, but most also believe that Catholicism has been influenced by paganism.

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  5. Patrick, without going into detail, in my experience, most protestants arround here don't make the paganism claim unless they are of a fundamentalist bent. Most of them who disagree just think we took a few wrong turns. I suspect your experience has been different. That is where I am coming from in the statement I made.

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  6. Patrick, interested to see the Guns and God connection from a R.C. Usually that seems more fundamentalist protestant. Nice to see some tough Catholics out there. We may need them. Merry Christmas.

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  7. Marsha: Merry Christmas to you too!

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  8. Marsha: One other thing. Another Catholic gun nut you might like writes at the Alaskan Catholic Gun Club blog.

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