Sunday, July 29, 2018

Indulgences Debate Commentary Part 3

So, we've gone through both debater's Opening Statements, now on to the Rebuttal Phase. James White goes first and begins with his rebuttal of the discussion of the keys...
1:04:50 - While it is still fresh in your minds, please, I wish to just point out the discussion concerning Matthew 16:18-19 and the keys is thoroughly unbiblical it is only traditional. It is first of all the application going back to Isaiah, unknown the first 700 years of the Christian Church, no one ever even came up with it at that point in time. And when you do look at Revelation 3:7 when Jesus does say He holds that very key. He holds it, NOTHING there about delegating it to someone else. Again, it is pure tradition being read back into the Scriptures that is against the apostolic witness of the text itself. If you simply listen to the Apostles you're not going to come up with this idea of the keys. There is nothing there in regards to having that kind of authority whatsoever.
Okay, help me out here... how is a discussion based in biblical verses cited from numerous sources within Scripture "thoroughly unbiblical?" With all due respect, that would be the very definition of a biblical discussion! White is being dismissive here without actually DEALING with the FACTS which Williams brought up.
* As for the use of Isaiah being allegedly unknown for the first 700 years of Christendom...
  • * It was clearly not unknown to Jesus, as He uses the same terminology.
  • * That we don't see others referencing Isaiah 22:22 is an argument from silence, and not a valid one - since Jesus, in fact, did make the reference, though He did not cite Isaiah by name.
  • * Even if true - the fact that no one else cites this during the first 700 years does not make citing it now invalid or irrelevant and thus an actual response - not a dismissal - is in order. 
 * As for Jesus holding "that very key" in Rev. 3:7, Williams already addressed that. Revelation is a eschatological book dealing with the future - not with the past - AND - 
* As Williams also addressed, Jesus did not relinquish the keys/authority - this is still HIS authority. He delegates that authority to Peter's station.* As for "nothing there about delegating..." Um, that is the very purpose of using the analogy of the keys! When you GIVE "the keys" to someone else, YOU ARE DELEGATING!
Back to White...
1:05:38 - Next I wish to address the reality of the confusion that was presented between the consequences of our sins and the idea of temporal punishments; those are not the same things. The consequences of my getting drunk and having a car accident could be my death, my physical injury, the loss of my car, issues regarding other people - but the LEGAL ramifications might have nothing to do with any of those things. The legal ramifications might be my spending a great amount of time in jail or something along those lines. The consequences of my sins are not the same things as the temporal punishments and that was made very plain when, and I'm very thankful that Peter did this, he talked about satispatio. Satispatio is the suffering of atonement that you undergo in Purgatory. That is YOUR suffering, that's not the application of merits of Christ. That's not the application of the merits of Mary or the Saints - that is YOUR suffering. My suffering cannot remove anything that is relevant to the holiness of God. Only Christ can accomplish that. And those punishments are those that have been applied to you by the priest, sacramentally that must be worked through before you can then be cleansed of those temporal punishments and enter into the presence of God.
Again I have to strenuously assert - these "temporal punishments" are NOT "assigned to you by the priest sacramentally" or otherwise. Temporal punishments are due to the SIN itself. White here confuses, I believe, the concept of temporal punishments and the penance a priest gives in the Sacrament of Reconciliation (aka, the Sacrament of Penance). Some or even all the temporal punishment due to sin may be removed through this Sacrament. That any temporal punishment may remain after Confession could be related to your disposition and/or preparation for Confession.

The bigger point here is, after the absolution in the Sacrament of Confession, the confessee walks out a new creation - wholly forgiven and in the state of grace (assuming, of course, it was a valid confession). If he or she were to die at that point, or at any point before committing another mortal sin, they will be in Heaven.  
1:07:05 - Total difference between that and the mere consequences of our sins.
No, really there is no difference! 
  • That you might suffer the consequence of a physical death and while that might seem quite "permanent" - we all know, as Christians, that this life is temporal by its very nature, at least ever since "The Fall." 
  • That you might have the consequence of physical injury is certainly temporal; you will heal - and if you don't, I refer you back to the fact that this whole life/existence is temporal. 
  • That you might have the consequence of the loss of your car - definitely temporal - you can get another car. 
  • Regarding other people, if others were involved, again - there may be temporal punishments imposed upon you by the court for restitution to those people. 
  • As for the consequence of jail time, it is rarely a life sentence for drunk driving - but even if it were, again I refer you back to the fact that EVERYTHING in THIS LIFE is TEMPORAL by the very (fallen) NATURE of this life!
Back to what White is saying...
1:07:10 - We then had a presentation on Purgatory. White mentions he has debated this a number of times, not against Peter but with others. He asks us to look "very, very carefully at what we have in 1 Cor. 3:12-15 is about testing of the nature of their works as ministers...This is not about every single believer standing in some sort of judgment in regard to punishments and punishing and suffering loss in fire in Purgatory. Because you'll notice, 'If any man builds upon this foundation with gold, precious stones, wood, hay straw' obviously two kinds of works that are being done, 'each man's work will become evident for the day will show it.' So it's the same testing, this fire is applied to everybody, not just those who have wood, hay and straw, it's everybody. This isn't, there is nothing here about Purgatory. This is about God testing the quality and nature and motivation of those working in the ministry. The fire itself will test the quality of each man's work, 'if any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward - if any man's work is burned up he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved so as through fire.' There isn't anything about Purgatory here, this is about the judgment of people's works. Nothing about any type of temporal punishments, anything like that at all. It is truly an abuse of 1 Cor. 3 to utilize it in this way."
First off, the objective reader must discount and disagree with what White is saying here. He would like us to just dismiss that this is talking about Purgatory and temporal punishments due to our sinful works (those which are burned up and we "suffer loss"). He would like us to believe that this only applies to ministers in God's Church. Well I've got news for White - we are ALL called to be ministers in the Catholic Church, which IS "God's Church!" We are ALL called to "be ready to give an answer to the hope which is in us," (1 Peter 3:15). And why? Because in doing so we are building upon that Foundation which was laid, which is Christ the Lord. There is no separation of the laity from the clergy in 1 Cor. 3:12-15, no for it says "If ANY MAN builds upon this Foundation..." it says, "if ANY MAN'S work which he has built remains..." and "if ANY MAN'S work is burned up..." (emphasis mine) it does NOT say "if ANY MINISTER'S work..." that would simply be eisegesis on White's part to limit this passage solely to ministers or clergy, separating the works of the laity from any such "building" upon the Foundation.
Secondly, for the sake of argument, even if we grant White that 1 Cor. 3:12-15 is limited only to the clergy, he is GRANTING that it IS a time of purgation of the works of the clergy! Clearly, he has just admitted at LEAST to the existence of a Purgatory for clergy. Again, he apparently ignores the FACT that we are ALL called to be ministers and co-builders upon that Foundation.
Ask yourself, "What part of 'any man's work' is at all limiting to the work(s) of the clergy?"
1:09:00 - Now, did you notice it was about 12 minutes into (Peter's Opening) that we got to anything on indulgences and even then, it was about 5 minutes before the end that we got to a presentation of what indulgences are. But nowhere did we get anything where any Apostle of course uses the term. And of course Peter will say, "No, the Apostles did not use the term," I'm sure he admits that.
On the contrary - Williams OPENS by REPEATING what White has proposed as the definition of the debate that evening, specifically "My opponent has proposed this evening that indulgences are a fundamental denial of the Gospel of Jesus Christ." He then foundationally explains "What is the Gospel of Jesus Christ?" Then, building upon that foundation, he answers "What are indulgences?" So, in fairness, Williams is spot on the topic of this debate which IS specifically about the Gospel of Jesus Christ AND the subject of indulgences. White himself spent a good deal of his Opening Statement on the subject of what is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, so why the criticism of when and how much time Williams spent on the foundational topics of this debate? 
It is the opinion of this correspondent that White's nit-picking on the timing of and how much time is spent on the subject(s) of this debate is nothing short of a distraction tactic and a personal attack on Williams methodology versus the actual substance of what he stated.
1:09:23 - What about the concept? Where does this appear in apostolic teaching about sanctification, for example?
This is a distraction from the question which this debate is to answer! The debate is NOT about whether or not indulgences are of apostolic origin - but rather - the topic of this debate is specific to whether or not indulgences are contrary to the Gospel. The very title on White's YouTube page is "Do Indulgences Deny the Gospel?" Please do not get caught up in White's distraction tactics.
1:09:30 - We had much said about what Christ accomplished, but when we look at what Christ accomplishes in Hebrews chapter 7, I would simply just remind you of what the apostolic witness truly is at this point.
And again I point out - this debate is NOT about the apostolic witness! THIS debate is about whether or not indulgences are contrary (or deny) the Gospel of Jesus Christ. White continues...
1:09:43 - But Jesus, in contrast with the Old Testament priests, on the other hand because He continues forever - holds His priesthood permanently, without successor, 
Let's stop right there for a moment... there is NO mention of successor, much less the words "without successor" in Hebrews 7. That Jesus is "a priest forever" is not denied in the apostolic succession of bishops in the Catholic Church - but again, this is yet another distraction White has inserted into the mix. So, with that, let us continue...
...therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost. Or, forever or completely, pantelis. He has the capacity to fully and completely save those who draw near to God through Him, why? Because He establishes a church that a thousand years later establishes something called Purgatory and indulgences and all the things like this to help you get to heaven easier? No, that's not what it says. Since He always lives to make intercession for them. We have an intercessor before the throne, not a treasury of merit; and that intercessor is able to save to the uttermost and completely. As He said, the lamb standing as if slain. 
And again, this debate is NOT about whether or not Jesus is our Intercessor before the throne! Certainly He has interceded for us and has won our redemption - our salvation - but this does not answer the question of THIS DEBATE! Do indulgences deny that Jesus is our intercessor, our Redeemer, our Salvation? No! And I repeat - indulgences are NOT about salvation or redemption, they are ONLY applied to those who HAVE BEEN redeemed and/or ARE saved. There is NO denial of the Gospel message here.
He stands and yet His being slain is a finished reality. That is the Lamb (which) is available to every believer in Jesus Christ. That is who He is. He always lives to make intercession for them. And my friends, is more than enough. Do not dare to add anything to it. Do not dare to add anything to what He has provided. You look at Hebrews 9:24, He has entered into the holy place having done what? Having contributed His excess merit to a treasury of merit that will then have the merits of Mary and of Saints put into it? And then that can be deposited to your account to make it easier to get into Heaven? No! Having obtained eternal redemption He enters into that holy place and that's why He's offered once. You see if we really wanted to lay the foundation of what is between Peter and I, it is that I have the finished work of Christ that perfects those for whom it is made and Rome's doctrine of the Mass fundamentally denies that. Jesus Christ is, His death is re-presented over and over and over again in a non-bloody fashion, but a propitiatory fashion upon the alter of the Roman Church. There is no finished work upon which you can fully understand how we can have Christ's perfect righteousness.  There is a fundamental Gospel difference between us.
This debate is NOT about the propitiatory nature of the Mass. This debate is NOT about whether or not Jesus has obtained our redemption - we agree with White on this, Jesus DID obtain our redemption! Yes, that IS the Gospel message - but the question of THIS debate asks do indulgences deny that Gospel message - and the simple answer is NO! They do not deny the Gospel.
1:12:13 - Now I only have two and a half minutes, but Peter just gave us a wonderful and as I fully expected, an historical, Trentian talk. Peter, you were born in the wrong century. Ok, you would have looked good with a miter on, and you probably would have been in the Inquisition and we probably would not be having this friendly discussion. So, but here is the problem, Peter lives today and what he presented to us is a(n) historical view that would very, very well with the popes, up until recently.
And off we go into another distraction! I'm beginning to sound like a broken record (for those who remember "records") in repeating the mantra of what this debate is about. This debate is NOT about what century Peter Williams lives in; it is NOT about how good Williams would look with a miter on and it is NOT about the Inquisition! This debate is NOT about the historical view of the popes and certainly has nothing to do with recent popes. This debate asks ONE question, "Do indulgences deny the Gospel?" And again, the answer is NO! 
1:12:52 - But you may have watched recently, the current pope... now this isn't an official dogma changing anything, but it does represent what he believes and he's choosing the cardinals in the Church and he's interpreting these things and you may have seen the touching scene of him talking to this young boy whose daddy had died. Did you see it? If you saw it, you know what happened. His daddy died as an atheist. His daddy didn't believe God exists. And so he asked the Pope, where is my dad? Did he go to hell? And the Pope's response was very clear.  The young boy said, "he had us baptized!  Even though he was an atheist, he had us baptized."  And the Pope says, "Isn't that the kind of person that God wants in His presence? Would He turn away one of His children who has done something like that?" And he gave that young boy assurance based upon that. No pope up until the last century would have ever said such a thing, or done such a thing. Oh, it feels real good to say things like that but the reality is the Scripture says "that without faith it is impossible to please God and that the one coming to Him must believe that He is and He is the Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. The inspired Scripture says it is impossible.  Now, here's the problem. Can't get into all the epistemology, but Peter is not the Bishop of Rome, and only the Bishop of Rome gets to define Catholic teaching. He does so in many ways. Practical ways, official ways and by and through the Magisterium. And so the real question is this, twenty-five years from now, thirty years from now, will indulgences still be taught in the way that Peter explained them tonight? I can guarantee you one thing, that as long as you stand upon the apostolic witness of Scripture, what I've said to you tonight about your relationship with Jesus Christ will be exactly the same fifty years from now and a hundred years from now - that's our firm foundation. Thank you very much. (1:14:50)
And again I point out to you reading this - White has gone off-topic. This debate is NOT about what Pope Francis might think, say or do. This debate is NOT about whether or not a little boy's unbelieving father is in Heaven or Hell. This debate is NOT about speculation on whether or not indulgences will be taught the same way in which Williams taught it that night. No! This debate is specifically asking "Do Indulgences Deny the Gospel?" And all of James White's diversions do NOT answer that question! Peter answers it!  I answer it!  The Gospel is about salvation and indulgences deal with those who are ALREADY SAVED, so NO! Indulgences do NOT deny the Gospel. THAT is the topic and answer to this debate.

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