Critique of THE PROTESTANT'S DILEMMA by Devin Rose
Chapter 16 - The Role of History and Tradition
According to sola scriptura and the principle of private judgment,
Protestants believe they can discover saving Christian truth
themselves, using only their Bible and the Spirit. This understanding
is especially prevalent in Evangelicalism – stemming perhaps from the
influence of the Radical Reformers, who were not impressed by Luther,
Zwingli, and Calvin and instead took the magisterial Reformers’ ideas
to their logical end. As a result, most Evangelicals today know little
about history and tradition, including the history of their own beliefs.
Note: Do Catholics know that Catholic Church history is filled with decadence and ungodliness?
Of Alexander's many mistresses the one for whom passion lasted longest
was a certain Vannozza (Giovanna) dei Cattani, born in 1442, and wife
of three successive husbands. The connection began in 1470, and she
bore him four children whom he openly acknowledged as his own:
Giovanni, afterwards duke of Gandia (born 1474), Cesare (born 1476),
Lucrezia (born 1480), and Goffredo or Giuffre (born 1481 or 1482).
Three of his other children, Girolama, Isabella and Pedro-Luiz, were of
uncertain parentage. His son Bernardo, a product of his liaison with
Vittoria (Victoria) Sailór dei Venezia in 1469, is much less known
because his father kept him in hiding, most likely due to shame, for he
was a cardinal, who aspired to become the pope. He gave up hiding his
many children after he fathered four more. Therefore, Bernardo received
the least amount of attention of his siblings. When he became older, he
grew bitter of his father and fled for his mother. Wikipedia
Note: Pope Alexander VI reign was filled with decadence.
Page 111: Even though
Evangelicals owe many of their most important beliefs to John Calvin’s
influence, through the revival spirit of anti-traditionalism many
denied any connection with him and did not even have a basic
understanding of who he was. Fast-forward to today, and the situation
is much the same. One Evangelical friend of mine said almost the same
thing to me: “I don’t care what Luther or any other Protestant
teaches,” much less what some Christian from the second century said –
even if he was a disciple of John the Evangelist! Why don’t he and
other Evangelicals care what Luther or anyone else says? Because my
friend has the Holy Spirit dwelling within him, and he has his Bible,
so he believes from those he can individually come to know divine truth.
Note: The Great Awakenings eventually led to the eradication of slavery in England and America.
Baptists and Methodists in the South preached to slaveholders and
slaves alike. Conversions and congregations started with the First
Great Awakening, resulting in Baptist and Methodist preachers being
authorized among slaves and free African Americans more than a decade
before 1800. "Black Harry" Hosier, an illiterate freedman who drove
Francis Asbury on his circuits, proved to be able to memorize large
passages of the Bible verbatim and became a cross-over success, as
popular among white audiences as the black ones Asbury had originally
intended for him to minister. His sermon at Thomas Chapel in
Chapeltown, Delaware, in 1784 was the first to be delivered by a black
directly to a white congregation. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Note: The original reformers began the godly reformation against Catholic Church decadence.
Pages 111-112: It is not only
“Protestants in the pews” who have a low view of history and tradition.
Consider well-regarded Protestant William Webster, whose book The
Church of Rome at the Bar of History sought to discredit the Catholic
Church. In his section on St. Thomas Aquinas, Webster “summarizes” the
Summa Theologiae in a mere six sentences; to the effect that Aquinas
taught that faith in Jesus Christ is not vital to salvation. For
Evangelicals like Webster, even the most brilliant and faithful men who
lived in prior centuries are superfluous to our “walk with God.”
Note: Thomas Aquinas said that reason was necessary to know God.
Thomas viewed theology, or the sacred doctrine, as a science, the raw
material data of which consists of written scripture and the tradition
of the Catholic Church. These sources of data were produced by the
self-revelation of God to individuals and groups of people throughout
history. Faith and reason, while distinct but related, are the two
primary tools for processing the data of theology. Thomas believed both
were necessary — or, rather, that the confluence of both was necessary
— for one to obtain true knowledge of God. Thomas blended Greek
philosophy and Christian doctrine by suggesting that rational thinking
and the study of nature, like revelation, were valid ways to understand
truths pertaining to God. According to Thomas, God reveals himself
through nature, so to study nature is to study God. The ultimate goals
of theology, in Thomas's mind, are to use reason to grasp the truth
about God and to experience salvation through that truth. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Note: Knowledge of nature is not necessary for Christian salvation.
For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would
grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened
with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell
in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in
love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width
and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which
passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Page 112: This little story
demonstrates an endemic problem with Evangelical Protestants: They have
largely forgotten men and women who came before them in the Christian
faith, those giants on whose shoulders (and prayers) they now stand.
Christianity didn’t end in the year 100 when the Bible was finished
being written and resume again 1,500 years later when the first
Baptists founded a new ecclesial community.
Note: Catholics are easily distracted away from God through their focus on saints.
Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and
your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you,
making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus
Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and
revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding
being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling,
what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and
what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe,
according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ
when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in
the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and
dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also
in that which is to come. Ephesians 1:15-21.
Page 113: A does of humility is
the remedy. Just as we do not attempt to re-derive all mathematical and
scientific formulas anew in every generation, so we should stand on the
shoulders of the saintly theological giants who have gone before us. If
nothing else, it stands to reason that the men and women closest in
time and proximity to the apostles could give us invaluable insights
into their teachings. And, indeed, this is what we see when we read
Note: Catholic Church Fathers Origen and Eusebius were both suspected of heresy.
The theological views of Arius, that taught the subordination of the
Son to the Father, continued to be a problem. Eustathius of Antioch
strongly opposed the growing influence of Origen's theology as the root
of Arianism. Eusebius, an admirer of Origen, was reproached by
Eustathius for deviating from the Nicene faith. Eusebius prevailed and
Eustathius was deposed at a synod in Antioch. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Page 113: This is exactly the
pattern followed in the Old Covenant, in which the Israelites revered
and learned from the great men and women of God who had gone before
them – so much so that these heroes were eulogized in the New
Testatment in chapter 11 of the book of Hebrews. The inspired author
instructs us to learn from the examples of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham,
Joseph, Moses, Rahab, David, and the holy woman in 2 Maccabees 7.
Note: Hebrews 11 does not quote 2 Maccabees 7.
Women received their dead raised to life again. Hebrews 11:35.
It came to pass, at the end of seven years, that the woman returned
from the land of the Philistines; and she went to make an appeal to the
king for her house and for her land. Then the king talked with Gehazi,
the servant of the man of God, saying, “Tell me, please, all the great
things Elisha has done.” Now it happened, as he was telling the king
how he had restored the dead to life, that there was the woman whose
son he had restored to life, appealing to the king for her house and
for her land. And Gehazi said, “My lord, O king, this is the woman, and
this is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” And when the king asked
the woman, she told him. 2 Kings 8:3-6.
Page 113: How much more so,
then, should we learn from the great Christian saints of the past 2,000
years? Rather than reinvent the wheel (and inevitably design a worse
one), we should build on the wisdom of the great men and women whom God
has raised up in the Church since Christ founded it.
Note: Catholics are easily distracted away from God through their focus on saints.
For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s
building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a
wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on
it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other
foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus
Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:9-11.
Page 113: Even secular wisdom
informs us that forgetting history condemns us to repeat it. Many of
the heresies today are not new – they are unwittingly recycled from
centuries past, often by well-meaning Christians who interpret the
Bible apart from Tradition and the historical witness of the Church.
The Catholic belief that our Lord has guided his Church into all truth
through every century gives us the confidence that we can trust our
forefathers in the Faith.
Note: Murder has had a large role in Catholic Church history.
The St. Bartholomew's Day massacre (Massacre de la Saint-Barthélemy in
French) in 1572 was a targeted group of assassinations, followed by a
wave of Catholic mob violence, both directed against the Huguenots
(French Calvinist Protestants), during the French Wars of Religion. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Note: Why doesn’t the author acknowledge bad Catholic Church history?
Page 114: If Protestantism is
true, then Christians in each generation figure out all truth for
themselves, with nothing but the Bible as their guide. After all, it is
quite possible that the Christians who came before us made errors, even
on important doctrines, and that God is raising up new voices today to
correct those errors. But how can we know which are teaching truth, and
which are reviving old heresies?
Note: A Christian will be focused on Jesus Christ not perceived saints from the past.
For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17.
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