When a simple layman such as I can see through the distorted use of history and misrepresentations employed by most of these “defenders of the faith” what other conclusion should I hold except that their arguments are illegitimate? If the “silver bullet” existed they would be all over it, right? It suggests the “silver bullet” doesn’t exist when Protestants are forced to use foolish arguments.
Some friends and I recently watched this DVD from Always Be Ready (ABR) Apologetics Ministry with some guy named Charlie Campbell. Viewers of this DVD would be wise to verify any information contained in this talk; maybe even see how Catholics explain their own faith (a novel thought). I’d recommend Catholic Answers for starters.
Campbell’s use of argumentation is painful to watch and his use of history is so bad one is forced to conclude he relied solely on secondary sources that he felt were trustworthy enough to not bother verifying the information contained.
It was an hour-long talk so I will not go over every point. It would take too long. However, a few some simple examples should suffice to show the shallowness of his talk. If anyone watches this DVD, take everything said with a huge grain of salt and not at face value. This guy is dealing with issues that do not have a cut-and-dried answer, and he did not even do his homework well.
Example 1: Bad Argumentation
Towards the beginning, Campbell said, “Most scholars, outside of the Catholic Church, reject the popular teaching of the Roman Catholic Church that the church at Rome was established by Christ Himself through the apostle Peter. Why is that?”
Well…… If a person truly believes the church at Rome was established by Christ Himself through Peter, then that person would be Roman Catholic, right? That sort of argumentation is like saying, “Only those people who like bacon actually like bacon. Most people who don’t like bacon don’t like bacon. So that proves we should not like bacon.” Uhhhh….what?
Campbell is apparently trying to create an “ah-ha!” moment in our minds but such argumentation only suckles the cravings of those who already reject the RCC and are willing to grab hold of any “proof” against it, whether the proof is true or not. There are many scholars who have studied the early church and joined the RCC. Maybe Campbell should actually read some of those guys and find out their reasons (men like John Henry Newman, Robert Hugh Benson, G.K. Chesterton, or Scott Hahn).
Example 2: Bad History
Apparently feeling firmly grounded upon his argument of sand, Campbell went on and gave two successive points.
- There is no historical evidence Peter was ever bishop in Rome.
- The list given by Irenaeus lists Linus, not Peter, as the first bishop in Rome.
Campbell even praised Irenaeus as a “very trusted source for early church history.” But if Campbell had actually read Irenaeus he would have seen these statements.
- Irenaeus stated “Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church” (vol. 3 chap. 1).
- Irenaeus talked about “the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul” and said “For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its pre-eminent authority” (vol. 3 chap. 3).
- Irenaeus then said, “The blessed apostles, then, having founded and built up the Church, committed into the hands of Linus the office of the episcopate” (vol. 3 chap. 3).
So Campbell’s two points are utterly destroyed by the trustworthy source of his own choosing. Irenaeus himself says that Peter founded the church in Rome, the Roman church had pre-eminent authority, and Peter passed the “episcopate” to Linus. (We get the word “bishopric”, and therefore “bishop”, from the word “episcopate.”)
Needless to say, at this point Campbell’s credibility is already waning and he’s only 9 minutes into his talk.
But wait! Campbell gave a recommendation for anyone “in the dark when it comes to church history.” What is the recommendation? Wait for it…. The movie “Luther” starring Joseph Fiennes…… Hhmmm…. Considering his constant appeal to “most scholars”, I was hoping for something a little more, I don’t know, scholarly.
The next blog post will be about the questionable hermeneutics Charlie Campbell employs.
Disclaimer – This blog post is just that: a blog post with my personal thoughts. I am not a Catholic apologist or theologian. What I say here is not official doctrine of the Catholic Church. I am still learning and am susceptible to error. Don’t take anything here as Gospel. Don’t be stupid. Do your own research and learn for yourself what the Church teaches.
Catholics: if my understanding of Catholic doctrine needs adjustment, please point out my error.