Saturday, July 11, 2009

Scripture-twisting for Catholicism

I see that Dave Armstrong is using 2 Tim 1:16-18 as a prooftext to justify prayers for the dead. I’ll just touch on a few problems with his use of this text:

1.If Paul shared the Catholic view of Purgatory, then why would he merely offer a prayer in passing for the departed soul of Onesiphorous? Wouldn’t we expect Paul to celebrate a requiem mass on behalf of Onesiphorus?

2.Likewise, why doesn’t Paul pray to Mary, Queen of Heaven, to intercede on behalf of Onesiphorus?

3.It’s striking to see the way in which Armstrong misquotes Guthrie, to plant the false impression that Guthrie supports his interpretation. To the contrary, Guthrie is summarizing an interpretation he disagrees with as a preliminary step to then present his contrary interpretation.

4.Armstrong also passes over in silence the various commentators who take issue with his interpretation (e.g. Knight, Liefeld, Marshall, Mounce, Towner).

5.Assuming, for the sake of argument, that this is a prayer for the dead, how are the specifics of this prayer consistent with Catholic dogma? Paul is praying that Onesiphorus will find mercy on the Day of Judgment. But if Onesiphorus went to Purgatory when he died, then it’s a sure thing that he will find mercy on the Day of Judgment. By definition, Purgatory is reserved for heaven-bound decedents (in Catholic dogma).

Praying for the dead in Purgatory is a prayer to hasten their progress in Purgatory. To expedite their entrance into heaven. It’s not a prayer for postmortem salvation–as if their eternal fate still hangs in the balance.


  1. Had a typo . . .


    Congrats, Steve: an entire post about something I wrote without rank personal insults! I confess that I wouldn't-a-thunk it possible. But there it is . . .

    Once Bridges starts commenting, this will no longer be the case, of course LOL But, give credit where it is due . . .

  2. Actually, I think it started when you insulted Gene, Dave. But that's what anti-Calvinists do.

  3. Right. It HAS to always be my fault, no matter what. Nothing less will do.

    Anything under the sun can be said about me and I have to either take all the crap, or if I utter a peep in protest, clarify the actual facts, etc., then I am a martyr, with a persecution complex, etc. LOL

    I laugh so hard at some of the nonsense I read from you guys, that my sides hurt.

  4. Hey Dave,

    How about interacting with the actual substance of the argument here?

    Or are you hoping for some "slight" that you can use as a reason to withdraw to "the high ground"?

    Thanks & God Bless.

  5. Hays being an anti-Catholic, this is out of the question. I also don't waste time debating flat-earthers, people who think that Elvis is still alive, Holocaust deniers, various conspiracy theorists, etc. We all make these choices.

  6. "Burn all" Bridges wouldn't let me, even if I wanted to reply and attempt intelligent discussion. You see how he deleted all my words in another recent thread.

  7. Dave said:
    Right. It HAS to always be my fault, no matter what. Nothing less will do.

    No, it HAS to be Bush's fault. It just happens to be your fault in this case, seeing as how you made a personal insult about Gene while saying that personal insults wouldn't happen until Gene started posting.

    I merely pointed out your inconsistency, although I do grant that it's somewhat like pointing out logical fallacies in fourth grade evolution textbooks.

    In any case, let me clarify a bit. You said:
    if I utter a peep in protest

    A) You'd never write something as short as a "peep."

    B) And it has been my experience that all your protestations just demonstrate your hypocrisy.

    You said:
    clarify the actual facts

    I really would actually like to see you do this some time. You can start with Steve's post above.

    You said:
    then I am a martyr, with a persecution complex

    There's a line from Lucky Number Slevin that comes to mind: "The first time someone calls you a horse you punch him on the nose, the second time someone calls you a horse you call him a jerk but the third time someone calls you a horse, well then perhaps it's time to go shopping for a saddle."

  8. BTW, "anti-Catholic" means "disagree with Dave." I know he tries to say it's restricted to people who think Catholics are going to hell, but just go over on his board sometime and disagree with him and see what happens. All you have to do is argue that justification is by faith alone and point out that Trent said people who believed this are damned, not separated brethren, and that Mary wasn't immaculately conceived--never once saying "Catholics are going to hell"--and you'll be called an anti-Catholic.

  9. "Hays being an anti-Catholic, this is out of the question."

    Why is that?

    Because he made the following vow: "I'll be ignoring you and other anti-Catholics (barring exceptional circumstances; particularly if it involves defending someone else from anti-Catholic smear campaigns)."

    Of course, as I predicted, he couldn't do that.

    In fact, I've already documented over 50 examples of his not ignoring "anti-Catholics" (documentation) since that vow was made.

    I could add many more. As you can see the list hasn't been updated for a few months.

    But now the vow has morphed. It's not really ignoring us (which would be impossible for poor Dave) but instead just running away from theological arguments, explanations, and (most of all) the dreaded task of answering simple questions.

    In a very worldly sense, this is wise of Dave: his positions are so weak that they cannot stand up to reasoned discussion (or even simple questions) with the most staunch opponents of his religion. One way to minimize having the weakness of his positions demonstrated for all is to run away from theological discussions with those that oppose his religion.

    But - then again - isn't Dave supposedly an apologist? Isn't an apologist for religion, position, or viewpoint "x" supposed to be prepared to defend that from anti-x's? We defend Calvinism against anti-Calvinists, and the Reformed faith more generally against her most outspoken detractors.

    Not Dave.

    Go figure.

  10. "I also don't waste time debating flat-earthers, people who think that Elvis is still alive, Holocaust deniers, various conspiracy theorists, etc."

    Haha, yes. It's a good thing you only believe in plausible stuff, like a cracker that turns into human flesh when a pedophile talks to it.