Critique of THE PROTESTANT'S DILEMMA by Devin Rose

Chapter 6 - Doctrinal Reliability

Page 60: The Catholic Church makes the outlandish claim that all its teachings on faith and morals are true – that not a single one of them is erroneous. As a Protestant, when I learned about this claim, I smelled blood in the water. I knew that there was no way it could be true, and that all I had to do was find one example of a false teaching and the whole house of Catholic cards would come tumbling down. Why was I so sure that the Catholic Church’s claim was false? Simple: I knew from human experience that every person and human institution is corrupt in some way.
Note: True. The Roman Catholic Church used torture and murder to suppress opposition.
The Medieval Inquisition was a series of Inquisitions (Catholic Church bodies charged with suppressing heresy) from around 1184, including the Episcopal Inquisition (1184-1230s) and later the Papal Inquisition (1230s). The Medieval Inquisition was established in response to movements considered apostate or heretical to Christianity, in particular Catharism and Waldensians in southern France and northern Italy. These were the first inquisition movements of many that would follow. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.

Pages 59-60: St. Paul writes, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” because there is none righteous, no not one” (Rom. 3:23). Every organization and institution is therefore full of people who sin. Churches aren’t exempt: How many pastors have been caught in infidelities, embezzlement, and worse? If they sin, they can err, too. As a Protestant, although I thought what my pastor taught was mostly true, I didn’t necessarily agree with everything he taught. Why should I? He was just another sinful, fallible human being like me.
Note: True. The Roman Catholic Church used torture and murder to suppress opposition.
The first medieval inquisition, the episcopal inquisition, was established in the year 1184 by a papal bull entitled Ad abolendam, "For the purpose of doing away with." It was a response to the growing Catharist movement in southern France. It was called "episcopal" because it was administered by local bishops, which in Latin is episcopus, obliged bishops to visit their diocese twice a year in search of heretics. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.

Page 60: Furthermore, as a Protestant I believed that the Bible taught that we had no hope of ever becoming righteous. By faith, Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us by the Father such that we appear holy, but deep down we remain sinful and corrupted people. My Protestant friends and mentors loved Isaiah 64:6, where, speaking of the Israelites, the prophet says: “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.” Filthy rags and polluted garments: That’s what human goodness amounts to.
Note: True. Have you put your faith specifically into Jesus Christ?
For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Romans 3:22-26.
Note: Do you believe the Apostle Paul?

Page 60: Given the universal corruption in people and in institutions, what hubris for the Catholic Church to claim that it teaches no error! Protestant churches, I thought, are at least honest enough to recognize their fallibility. They know the Bible is true and they try to teach from the Bible – if sometimes they teach contradictory things from it, well, that’s a result of their corruption. Protestants have to give their churches only qualified or conditional assent, knowing that at anytime they could leave to find one whose doctrines were less corrupted.
Note: True. The Roman Catholic Church used torture and murder to suppress opposition.
The Inquisition was established by Pope Gregory IX in 1231 as a special court to curb the spread of heresy. Pope Gregory IX's response to the failures of the episcopal inquisition with a series of papal bulls became the papal inquisition. The papal inquisition was staffed by trained inquisitors or judges recruited almost exclusively from the Franciscan and Dominican orders. As mendicants, they were accustomed to travel. Unlike the haphazard episcopal methods, the papal inquisition was thorough and systematic, keeping detailed records. Some documents from the Middle Ages involving first-person speech by medieval peasants come from papal inquisition records. This tribunal or court functioned in France, Italy and parts of Germany and had pretty much ceased operation by the early fourteenth century.
Wikipedia Encyclopedia.

Pages 60-61: Infallibility is a practical necessity for Christianity, because it safeguards the deposit of faith given by Christ to the apostles and the first Christians. Imagine if God didn’t protect the Church from error: We would be left to our own devices to identify and preserve what Jesus taught. After 2,000 years of such fallible human activity, and the countless disagreements and divisions it inevitably produces, we could have little expectation that what was passed down to us was the pristine truth of divine revelation.
Note: Christian faith is centered upon the Word of God not the Roman Catholic Church.
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17.

Page 61: A bald-faced appeal to the Holy Spirit’s help doesn’t solve the problem, either, since the way in which the Spirit works would have to be given. For Protestants, the Holy Spirit primarily works within individual Christians; but the ubiquitous fractures among them make it impossible to conclude that the Holy Spirit is leading all of them to truth. The Holy Spirit could work infallibly to guide someone into the full truth of revelation, but there’s no sure way for a Protestant to say where this has happened. What practical good is that guidance if we can’t identify it?
Note: Being led by the Holy Spirit is absorbing the Word of God in context.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. Ephesians 6:17-20.

Page 61: Yet Protestants subconsciously realize the need for infallibility, through their recognition that, by inspiring fallible men to write the books of Scripture, God ensured that what was written was free from all error. Without that belief, it would make no sense to call Scripture the rule of faith for Christians, since it could present mere human ideas as divine truth. But they stop short of recognizing an infallible guide to interpreting Scripture – and so every fallible Protestant must do it himself as best as he is able, fashioning his own body of fallible doctrines to believe in.
Note: Are you abiding in the infallible Word of God?
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32.

Pages 61-62: As I continued growing in my faith and sought to refute the wild Catholic claim of infallibility, I was still bothered by the lack of unity among Christians, which was clearly against Christ’s and Paul’s commands. I investigated where we got the books of the Bible and looked at moral issues such as contraception – which I had always assumed was a good thing – where the Catholic Church contrasted with Protestantism. I found reasonable answers to my old objections and challenged my Evangelical friends with them (my argument against contraception must have felt like a bolt of lightning out of the sky), and they failed to respond with convincing answers.
Note: The Roman Catholic Church destroyed the Word of God during the Inquisition.
As one manifestation of the Counter-Reformation, the Spanish Inquisition worked actively to impede the diffusion of heretical ideas in Spain by producing "Indexes" of prohibited books. Such lists of prohibited books were common in Europe a decade before the Inquisition published its first. The first Index published in Spain in 1551 was, in reality, a reprinting of the Index published by the University of Louvain in 1550, with an appendix dedicated to Spanish texts. Subsequent Indexes were published in 1559, 1583, 1612, 1632, and 1640. The Indexes included an enormous number of books of all types, though special attention was dedicated to religious works, and, particularly, vernacular translations of the Bible. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.

Page 62: I remember the day I could see that the Catholic Church’s claim of infallibility just might be true. It was similar to when I had been an atheist and one day realized that Jesus Christ might really be who he said he was. It was exhilarating! It meant that God had not left us alone to wallow in error. It also meant that I could actually become holy! Though “all” sinned and fell short of God’s glory, Jesus did not; this meant that we too could live in true freedom from the slavery of sin. Likewise, even though the Church is made up of sinful human beings, the Holy Spirit could make it not just infallible but also holy.
Note: The Roman Catholic Church is not infallible based on historical facts.
García Cárcel estimates that the total number processed by the Inquisition throughout its history was approximately 150,000; applying the percentages of executions that appeared in the trials of 1560–1700—about 2%—the approximate total would be about 3,000 put to death. Nevertheless, it is likely that the toll was much higher, keeping in mind the data provided by Dedieu and García Cárcel for the tribunals of Toledo and Valencia, respectively. It is likely that between 3,000 and 5,000 were executed. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.

Pages 62-63: If Protestantism is true, then Christian churches are no more reliable than any other human institution. Any confidence we place in a set of doctrines, therefore, is shaky; we must always take a stand with one foot out the door. Without the assurance that God has preserved the deposit of faith from error and by his Spirit guided people in every age to defend that truth, we who live two millennia after Jesus Christ cannot trust with certainty what we have been taught about him. We’re left to sift through the sparse rubble of (allegedly) historical documents and piece together a puzzle for which we don’t have the complete picture. We surely believe that God would never leave us in such a state; but if Protestantism is true, he has.
Note: Numerous Protestants have suffered for the Word of God like the Apostle Paul.
Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 2 Timothy 2:8-10.
Note: The Roman Catholic Church is not infallible based on historical facts.