Critique of THE PROTESTANT'S DILEMMA by Devin Rose

Chapter 17 - Doing What the Bible Says

Page 115: Protestants point to the Bible as their sole rule of faith. But the Bible contains many commands, some of which may seem kind of strange. But they’re expressed plainly enough, so they should be followed without fail. Yet Protestants don’t follow them all. Instead, they use some extra-scriptural filter to help them pick and choose which ones to accept and which ones to reject.
Note: The Gospels were written in the context of the Old Testament Law.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!” Matthew 23:23-24.

Pages 115-116: Let’s look at some biblical commands and think about whether Protestants are following them consistently. In Luke 14:12-13, Jesus says: When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your kinsmen or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. I cannot remember the last time that faithful Protestant friends of mine did this. In fact, I don’t think any of them ever have. Yet Jesus doesn’t offer any exceptions. He is quite clear that people should invite the outcasts to dinner and not their friends or relations, or wealthy people.
Note: The author is apparently ignorant of Christian rescue missions.
The Union Rescue Mission (URM) is a private Christian homeless shelter in downtown Los Angeles's Skid Row. It is the largest private homeless shelter in the United States. Founded in 1891, it provides emergency and long-term services including food, shelter, clothing, medical and dental care, recovery programs, transitional housing, legal assistance, education, counseling, and job training.
Note: This Christian mission provides dinners to unrelated guests everyday.

Page 116: St. Paul is quite popular among Protestants, at least with some things he says. Less popular however are these words of his for women, in 1 Cor. 11:5-6: Any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled dishonors her head – it is the same as if her head were shaven. For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair. Although a few Protestant sects exist where women wear veils, these are a tiny minority. When was the last time you walked into a Protestant church and saw a sea of veils covering the heads of the women? This command of St. Paul’s, inspired by God no less, is nearly ignored by Protestants.
Note: The Catholic magisterium is confused about this command from the Apostle Paul.
The wearing of a headcovering was for the first time mandated as a universal rule for the Latin Rite by the Code of Canon Law of 1917, which code was abrogated by the advent of the present (1983) Code of Canon Law. Traditionalist Catholics still follow it, generally as a matter of custom and biblically approved aptness; some also suppose that St. Paul's directive is in full force today as an ordinance of its own right, without a canon law rule enforcing it. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Note: The wearing of the veil is not necessary for salvation.

Pages 116-117: When he speaks of marriage in Luke 16:18, our Lord says: Every one who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery. Yet, most Protestant churches allow divorce and remarriage without any examination of the original marriage. Christ is clear here (and in Matt. 19:6) that there is no divorce and remarriage but rather only adultery when someone divorces and “marries” another. It’s another tough teaching silently ignored by the vast majority of Protestant denominatons.
Note: The author is ignorant of the difference between the law and the grace of God.
But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion. 1 Corinthians 7:8-9.

Page 117: In one of the most famous passages in the Bible, Jesus gives commands for how we are to respond when someone wrongs us. He says in Matthew 5:38-39: You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. Now, most Protestant might agree that this is a good thing to do, at least in theory. But how many do it, literally or even figuratively? Very few, at best. Yet Jesus again makes no exceptions and adds no qualifiers.
Note: It is the responsibility of authorities to punish evil people.
For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. Romans 13:3.
Note: Everyone is not perfect and everyone needs the Savior Jesus Christ.

Pages 117-118: It seems obvious that the Bible cannot be taken in every verse literalistically: Otherwise we’d all be breaking Christ’s express command every time we throw a party with friends! A given book or passage may contain poetry, parable, apocalyptic imagery, or hyperbole, each necessitating its own interpretive principles. But the Bible itself doesn’t tell us when to use which principle in a given instance; neither do all scholars or theologians agree on it. A Protestant, bound by sola scriptura, cannot appeal to a magisterium, or Sacred Tradition, or even sound principles of biblical scholarship, for all these things are extra-scriptural. When encountering difficult and even seemingly absurd scriptural data, he can only make his own interior judgment about what to accept as literal and what to interpret otherwise.
Note: Knowing the basic difference between the Old and New Testaments is a start.
Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Galiatians 3:24-26.

Page 118: This is not a problem for the Catholic because his Church is protected from error by the Holy Spirit. He has the magisterium of the Church to guide him through.
Note: The magisterium supported murder during the reformation.
In France, a series of conflicts termed the French Wars of Religion was fought from 1562 to 1598 between the Huguenots and the forces of the French Catholic League. A series of popes sided with and became financial supporters of the Catholic League. This ended under Pope Clement VIII, who hesitantly accepted King Henry IV's 1598 Edict of Nantes, which granted civil and religious toleration to Protestants. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.

Page 118: So, for example, in the passage where Jesus exhorts his followers not to invite friends to meals, or where he commands them to turn the other cheek, the Church provides the sure interpretation that in these instances Christ is teaching important principles (giving to the poor and loving our enemies are meritorious things), not giving absolute and literal moral commandments.
Note: Giving to the poor is highly recommended.
But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles), and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do. Galatians 2:7-10.

Page 118: On the other hand, the Church teaches authoritatively that Christ’s difficult-sounding words about divorce and remarriage do amount to a strict moral command.
Note: The Catholic magisterium is relying on the Old Testament law.
But if any man thinks he is behaving improperly toward his virgin, if she is past the flower of youth, and thus it must be, let him do what he wishes. He does not sin; let them marry. 1 Corinthians 7:36.

Pages 118-119: This is a primary cause of Protestant division: disagreement over what verses of the Bible mean, how they should be applied, whether they are essential or non-essential, and so on. One Protestant is ready to fall on his sword over women covering their heads, while another thinks it is simply obvious that that passage no longer applies to Christians. One group notices the lack of musical instruments mentioned in the New Testament and interprets it to mean that the Sunday worship service must be a cappella, while another thinks organs or guitars are fine.
Note: The Catholic magisterium is guilty of changing over the years.
Beneventan chant is a liturgical plainchant repertory of the Roman Catholic Church, used primarily in the orbit of the southern Italian ecclesiastical centers of Benevento and Montecassino, distinct from Gregorian chant and related to Ambrosian chant. It was officially supplanted by the Gregorian chant of the Roman rite in the 11th century, although a few Beneventan chants of local interest remained in use. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.

Page 119: If Protestantism is true, then we must obey the Bible alone, even when its commands seem impractical, even absurd, for we reject any authoritative interpreter outside of Scripture itself. Yet in practice Protestants don’t do this. Instead they fill in the interpretive vacuum by silently accepting various principles and ideas that form a lens through which they read the word of God.
Note: Scripture should be compared with Scripture at arrive at a good interpretation.
These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:13-16.
Note: The Catholic magisterium has changed numerous times on numerous subjects over the years.