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Geoff Hutchinson wrote:
The following question was a set of questions which challenged a new Catholic who was in the process of joining the Church. It consists of three parts on three different web pages. [Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3]

Hi, guys —

I am in the process of joining the Catholic Church and I am engaged in a major debate about the Church with a person whom, up until now, I'm unable to articulate the Faith in a clear manner.

There are three areas that we have been discussing. If you could please examine his arguments and send me a reply, it would be most helpful. His Protestant arguments follow.


Who has the whole Bible or correct Bible?

Both Protestants and Catholics have the whole Bible, however, the Catholics added seven extra books to the Old Testament that Protestants do not count as inspired by God. Since most doctrine and important teachings on Christ and salvation come from the New Testament, these seven extra books don't do much to affect the main thrust of Christianity.

  • The next question then is, why are they a big deal at all?

The Apocrypha Books (or deuterocanonical books) were not originally part of the Catholic Cannon. In fact, they were not added to the Catholic Bible until the Council of Trent in the mid 1500s.

  • Why did the Catholic Church add the seven books at that time and not earlier?

For two reasons.

  1. First, no one in the early Church considered those books to be Scripture of God, and
  2. Second, the Protestant reformers had proven that Catholic teaching on several issues was going against the Scriptures and against God. The Apocrypha books have teachings in them that supported what the Catholic Church wanted to be true so they "all of a sudden" added them to their Bible so as to use them as Scripture, when in fact they are not!

When Jesus taught, preached and rebuked, He referenced Scripture. All those references and quotes were from the Torah, the Nevi'im or the Ketuvim. Jesus the Christ never used anything outside of those Books of Hebrew Scripture. The Jews have never thought those other seven books were from God or were part of Scripture.

The Jews did not include those books with their Scripture, and neither did Christ Jesus.

If Jesus the Christ wanted us to know that other writings were canonical, He would have made it apparent or quoted from them. He didn't.

Furthermore, the Apostles and early Church did not consider the other books as part of Scripture, nor did the Catholic Church Herself until the Council of Trent in the mid 1500s.

Therefore, Protestants have a very strong claim to having the whole Bible, and it is the Catholic Church that has to justify the sudden addition of other writings, that before, She had denied!

The Catholic Church was in crisis. Its own priests and theologians were criticizing the Pope, Vatican dogmas and teachings on several points, and they were winning the argument using solid Scripture! The Pope and the Vatican had gone outside of Scripture, and at the same time, ignored other Scripture, as it crafted doctrine to help make money and manipulate people through:

  • Purgatory
  • indulgences, and
  • relics.

Remember, the Protestant reformers were all Catholic priests and theologians who took a stand for God and Scripture over a corrupt religious system. You must examine the history. If the Catholic Church was wrong over those issues, and has never admitted guilt or apologized and tried to make it right, then She is just as guilty today, as She was then. Don't let them fool you.

Everyone must pursue God and "test" the doctrine that others send their way. There is no perfect Church, at least not that I have found, but I pick the lesser of the offenders to attend at any given time, and I try to be helpful and evangelize my fellow followers of Jesus the Christ along the way (the true ones, not the pretenders or fakers), using my knowledge to help them along, while seeking to learn what I can from them in the areas that they excel in. Nevertheless, in all cases,
I always look to the Scriptures alone to settle a disagreement of doctrine or morals. If I reach a stalemate with someone, I ask [him or her] to agree to setting a future date to discuss the matter, giving us both time to seek the truth from Scripture and to find out if perhaps we were mistaken, or if perhaps we missed a crucial piece of support.

Next time, the Catholic dogmas and traditions that also contradict Scripture.

  { How do I articulate the Faith to one who is questioning who has the whole or correct Bible? }

Eric replied:

Hi Geoff,

Let me see if I can assist you with some more counter arguments.

He said:
Who has the whole Bible or correct Bible?

Both Protestants and Catholics have the whole Bible, however, the Catholics added seven extra books to the Old Testament that Protestants do not count as inspired by God. Since most doctrine and important teachings on Christ and salvation come from the New Testament, these seven extra books don't do much to affect the main thrust of Christianity.

  • The next question then is, why are they a big deal at all?

The Apocrypha Books (or deuterocanonical books) were not originally part of the Catholic Cannon. In fact, they were not added to the Catholic Bible until the Council of Trent in the mid 1500s.

This is patently untrue.

The books were part of the Septuagint Greek translation of the Old Testament that predates Christ. They were part of the so-called "Alexandrian canon" of Scripture used by Greek-speaking Jews.

There is historical proof that they were used in the early Church. There are even allusions to it in the New Testament. As Protestant Church historian J.N.D. Kelly writes,

"It should be observed that the Old Testament thus admitted as authoritative in the Church was somewhat bulkier and more comprehensive [than the Protestant Bible] . . . It always included, though with varying degrees of recognition, the so-called apocrypha or deuterocanonical books."

Early Christian Doctrines, page 53

For more information see:

He said:

  • Why did the Catholic Church add the seven books at that time and not earlier?

For two reasons.

  1. First, no one in the early Church considered those books to be Scripture of God, and
  2. Second, the Protestant reformers had proven that Catholic teaching on several issues was going against the Scriptures and against God. The Apocrypha books have teachings in them that supported what the Catholic Church wanted to be true so they "all of a sudden" added them to their Bible so as to use them as Scripture, when in fact they are not!

This is so grossly wrong; it is hard to maintain that you are acting in good faith. Anyone with an even rudimentary understanding of history knows the deuterocanonical books were used from the beginning.

He said:
When Jesus taught, preached and rebuked, He referenced Scripture. All those references and quotes were from the Torah, the Nevi'im or the Ketuvim. Jesus the Christ never used anything outside of those Books of Hebrew Scripture. The Jews have never thought those other seven books were from God or were part of Scripture.

  • Then why did the Greek-speaking Jews use them?

He said:
The Jews did not include those books with their Scripture, and neither did Christ Jesus.

Allusions to the deuterocanonical books in the Gospels and in the rest of the New Testament:

The Hebrew bible was fluid until the Council of Jamnia in the late first century (consider the Sadducees), when they condemned the Christians and excluded the deuterocanonical books, which up until that point had been used by Greek-speaking Jews.

He said:
If Jesus the Christ wanted us to know that other writings were canonical, He would have made it apparent or quoted from them. He didn't.

So let me get this straight — a book which Jesus does not quote, or otherwise make apparent is canonical, is it not?

  • What if Jesus alludes to a book, as He does to several deuterocanonical books?

He said:
Furthermore, the Apostles and early Church did not consider the other books as part of Scripture, nor did the Catholic Church Herself until the Council of Trent in the mid 1500s.

This is again patently false — there is abundant evidence that the books were used by early Christians. See those links I gave above.

He said:
Therefore, Protestants have a very strong claim to having the whole Bible, and it is the Catholic Church that has to justify the sudden addition of other writings, that before, She had denied!

The Catholic Church was in crisis. Its own priests and theologians were criticizing the Pope, Vatican dogmas and teachings on several points, and they were winning the argument using solid Scripture! The Pope and the Vatican had gone outside of Scripture, and at the same time, ignored other Scripture, as it crafted doctrine to help make money and manipulate people through:

  • Purgatory
  • indulgences, and
  • relics.

Funny; you claim it "crafted" doctrine to help make money, yet even if you deny that 2 Maccabees is inspired, the fact remains that historically the document was written in the centuries before Christ. That means that the doctrine originates there, not with the Catholic Church. Josephus, the Jewish historian, in his Discourse on Hades, in the first century, also attests to the doctrine of Purgatory.

Relics are a Biblical concept. That's right, you heard me right.

  • Dead bones raised a man from the dead. (2 Kings 13:21), and
  • Paul's handkerchief healed people. (Acts 19:12)
  • Jesus used many physical things to heal; remember the power that came from His robe, the power of His touch, and the mud He used to heal a blind man.

He said:
Remember, the Protestant reformers were all Catholic priests and theologians who took a stand for God and Scripture over a corrupt religious system. You must examine the history. If the Catholic Church was wrong over those issues, and has never admitted guilt or apologized and tried to make it right, then She is just as guilty today, as She was then. Don't let them fool you.

Everyone must pursue God and "test" the doctrine that others send their way. There is no perfect Church, at least not that I have found, but I pick the lesser of the offenders to attend at any given time, and I try to be helpful and evangelize my fellow followers of Jesus the Christ along the way (the true ones, not the pretenders or fakers), using my knowledge to help them along, while seeking to learn what I can from them in the areas that they excel in. Nevertheless, in all cases, I always look to the Scriptures alone to settle a disagreement of doctrine or morals. If I reach a stalemate with someone, I ask [him or her] to agree to setting a future date to discuss the matter, giving us both time to seek the truth from Scripture and to find out if perhaps we were mistaken, or if perhaps we missed a crucial piece of support.

Next time, the Catholic dogmas and traditions that also contradict Scripture.

Whenever people bring up how corrupt the Catholic Church was, I always point to ancient Israel. There was one corrupt system.

  • You even had gross, overt, and widespread pagan worship but did this negate the election of Israel?

Not one bit. They remained God's chosen people. They remained His instrument of truth. No one would have had a right to found a competing Israel on the basis of Israel's infidelity. Such a thing would never have crossed their minds. They were a family, and had a mission, even if they had forgotten it. And God remained faithful to them, as He did to us.


Hope this helps Geoff!

Eric

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