Rome Bitter Rome Part 2: Answering a Roman Catholic’s Angry Rant

I was the recent subject of a tirade which appeared in the  comments section beneath one of the articles on my blog.   The article is entitled, “Rome Bitter Rome: The Real Reason Why Scott and Kimberly Hahn Converted to Catholicism”.   You can find the article here:

The commenter’s name is John Coleman McNichol, and like a King James Onlyist he went on a long convoluted  mess of a rant, posting multiple comments that each appear like afterthoughts – “. . . oh yeah, and another thing . . . !”, while periodically punctuating them throughout with verbal mic drops (see video above).

He has not posted again since unleashing his rant though, and so I am happy to say he is not totally like a King James Onlyist in that respect.  It does appear he has given me some time to respond to his arguments.

And so here we are.  Rather than filling up the bottom page of my aforementioned article with more comments, I thought it more productive were I to address his comments in a separate article.  I have copy/pasted his comments to here.  His comments are highlighted in red, mine in black.

JCM:  Splitting hairs on the Greek over Peter’s office as pope with the Greek is what is truly irrelevant. If you want to find out how the original Christians felt about Peter, why not:
a) go to Peter Himself,
b) The other Christians in the book of Acts,
c) look at the Early Church Fathers, who were doing their things quite a bit before James White was.
Last: About your bible verses:
Ive seen folks do this: Dump a million verses from the Book given its authority by the Catholic Church in an effort to tear the authority from the Church that gave the Bible its authority in the first lace.

huh?   Exactly. Circular Argument/Begging the question. That’s the error is using the Bible to prove the Bible’s authority.

DB: Using the Bible to prove the Bible’s authority is not a circular argument.  The New Atheists, with their appeal to emotionalism and rejection of logic, make this same error you have.  It would actually be circular to do the opposite; that is, use something outside the Bible to try to prove the Bible’s authority.

The truth of this is really rather simple.  An epistemological axiom must be both self evident, as well as self authenticating.  Any attempt to use a second epistemology to prove the first only invalidates the use of the first.  This is the problem with Empiricism.  How can you be certain you can learn truth from sense experience?  You must presuppose you can.  But this is the very problem, for you are now relying upon Presuppositionalism to validate Empiricism.  This only proves Empiricism cannot be trusted.

If we had time we could go walk through each and every epistemological theory and see in each and every case how each and every axiom needs Presuppositionalism to get started.  Romanticism, Rationalism, Empiricism and so on, they must all resort to Presuppositionalism for validation.   But this actually does the opposite.  It invalidates them.  In the end what we have left standing is Presuppositionalism alone.

And this is exactly what Scripture is, a book composed of Presuppositional  propositions.  This is why the Bible never bothers to try to prove itself empirically.   It never asks us to believe its claims on the basis of sense experience (evidentialism).  Rather, blessed are those who do not see and yet believe.   The Bible instead insists we believe its claims on the basis that it says they are true.

So no, using the Bible to prove the Bible’s authority is not a circular argument.  Quite the opposite, in fact. It is a perfectly sound and reasonable argument that is both self consistent and also self evident.

JCM:  Ive seen folks do this: Dump a million verses from the Book given its authority by the Catholic Church in an effort to tear the authority from the Church that gave the Bible its authority in the first lace.

DB: Now this really is circular reasoning.  You assert the Catholic Church gave the Bible its authority.  First, there is a world of difference between recognizing the Bible’s authority and giving the Bible its authority.  The former is true while the second is a logical absurdity.  Allow me to demonstrate.

What is the infallible justification for the belief that the church is infallible?

Remember what we just discussed.  Any attempt to use an epistemological axiom to validate another epistemological axiom invalidates the former axiom.

In other words, your attempt to validate church authority by an appeal to Scriptural authority invalidates church authority.  By appealing to Scripture’s authority to validate church authority you are demonstrating that church authority cannot be trusted.

Were you to be sound in your reasoning then you should have no Scripture at all.  Rather, your appeal should be entirely to church authority alone.  This however, would present you with a grave problem, as I think you well know, for the Magisterium is anything but self consistent.  It is instead a heap of inconsistencies and self contradictions.


JCM: Splitting hairs on the Greek over Peter’s office as pope with the Greek is what is truly irrelevant. If you want to find out how the original Christians felt about Peter, why not:

  1. a) go to Peter Himself,
  2. b) The other Christians in the book of Acts,
  3. c) look at the Early Church Fathers, who were doing their things quite a bit before James White was.


DB: You are asserting the conclusion of your argument without proving it.  This is called begging the question.  Peter was no pope, nor is there any office of pope mentioned in Scripture.

Second, I already know how the original Christians felt about Peter.   The apostle Paul tells us in Galatians 2 how he felt about Peter.  Whatever Peter and the other apostles seemed to be made no difference to him, for “God shows no partiality.”

Furthermore, Paul tells us he did not make the trip up for Jerusalem for his sake or for the sake of anyone who may have seemed influential.  Rather, he tells us he made the trip for the sake of those in the churches he had planted who were being persecuted by the Judaizers.

This takes us to your next assertion.

JCM: When the Christians have a question about wether or not they should get circumcised, they do have a meeting (the first Church Council, In fact).

How is it resolved?

Not a vote.

Not a committtee.

Yes, Peter Listens, but…

When Peter Speaks, it’s Settled.

Council of Jerusalem, Acts 15.

Oh, and lets not all the times in the bible that Peter speaks for the Apostles.  Every time he’s there.   He’s listed 1st, and he speaks for them.  Check it out….

Pentecost, the Sanhedrin, all of ’em.


DB:  This is a false assertion.  You have not read the text, or at least not carefully enough.  Acts 15 does not say Peter addressed the council.  Instead, Acts 15 says JAMES addressed the council.  Go ahead.  Read it now. Verse 13.  “After they finished speaking, James replied . . .”

I think I may know what happened.  Infuriated by my first comment in the previous article you went racing through Scripture trying to cherry pick examples which you thought would prove me wrong.   You skimmed through Acts 15 and then saw in James’ address specifically where he says, “Simeon has related to us how God first visited the Gentiles . . .”  You misunderstood this to be Simeon speaking.  No.  It was James.  James led the council, not Peter.

Furthermore, this is corroborated in Paul’s epistle to the Galatians.  Paul tells us in Galatians 2 that sometime later after the Jewish council took place Peter visited him in Gentile territory.   Paul tells us that Peter happily ate and drank with the Gentile converts.  However, when some of the brothers from James’ party arrived, Peter was led astray by his fear of James.  Paul tells us that he had to correct Peter on this issue in front of everyone.

Galatians 2
11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. 13 And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

James was the most influential person in the church at Jerusalem, not Peter.  Who was it that Paul paid a visit to first when he arrived in Jerusalem?  Not Peter.  Rather, it was James. Read it.  Acts 21.  Your knowledge of Scripture in this instance is grossly inaccurate.  But this is sadly what happens when you pay homage to the self refuting opinions of men rather than to the consistent truth of God.

JCM: Oh, and why does John wait for Peter to enter the tomb when he gets there 1st, after the resurrection?


DB:  Because John was a teenager at this point in time.  Peter was older.  Der.

You are begging the question again.  Just because Peter’s name is shown first in a list of the disciples’ names, or just because he entered into the tomb first does not automatically imply he became a pope or had influence with the other disciples.  Clearly John and James (the brother of John) did not think he had any influence, because they wasted a great deal of time arguing with each other and with the other disciples about who was going to be first in heaven, James or John.

Again, your knowledge of Scripture is grossly lacking.  You are making fantastical leaps in logic.  And you were taught by Scott Hahn?  I would not be so proud of this if I were you.


JCM: So, when Annainas lies to Peter in Acts 5:3, who does Peter *himself* say Annanias has lied to?
…>The Holy Spirit.
Check it.

DB:  This is as bad an argument as the first one you presented where you claimed we cannot know what Jesus said because His words weren’t recorded in Aramaic.  It is another leap in logic.

Ananias lied to the Holy Spirit.   Peter informs him he lied to the Holy Spirit.  Peter was not asserting that either he or the church is the Holy Spirit.  Just because there is a dead man lying on the floor of a room does not mean the other people in that room are the ones who killed him.

The writer of Hebrews tells us the Holy Spirit bore witness to the gospel.  How did He bear witness?  The author tells us.  He quotes Jeremiah 31, the terms of the New Covenant.  This is the Holy Spirit’s witness.  The Scriptures.

Hebrews 10
15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,

16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them
    after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws on their hearts,
    and write them on their minds,”


17 then He adds,

“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”


JCM:  The New Testament contains five different metaphors for the foundation of the Church (Matt. 16:18, 1 Cor. 3:11, Eph. 2:20, 1 Pet. 2:5–6, Rev. 21:14). One metaphor that has been disputed is Jesus Christ’s calling the apostle Peter “rock”: “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18).

Some have tried to argue that Jesus did not mean that his Church would be built on Peter but on something else.

Some argue that in this passage there is a minor difference between the Greek term for Peter (Petros) and the term for rock (petra), yet they ignore the obvious explanation: petra, a feminine noun, has simply been modifed to have a masculine ending, since one would not refer to a man (Peter) as feminine. The change in the gender is purely for stylistic reasons.

These critics also neglect the fact that Jesus spoke Aramaic, and, as John 1:42 tells us, in everyday life he actually referred to Peter as Kepha or Cephas (depending on how it is transliterated). It is that term which is then translated into Greek as petros. Thus, what Jesus actually said to Peter in Aramaic was: “You are Kepha and on this very kepha I will build my Church.”

DB: I have already demonstrated why this is a false charge.  “You are Peter and upon this rock I will build My church.”  The sentence makes no grammatical sense if the rock Jesus mentioned was to be Peter.   Rather, Jesus would have said, “You are Peter and upon YOU I will build My church.”   He did not say this though.  Consult my comments posted at the bottom of part 1 of this essay for further clarification.

In addition to this, we have already seen that it was James the brother of Jesus, not Peter, who presided over the church council in Jerusalem.

JCM:  The Church Fathers, those Christians closest to the apostles in time, culture, and theological background, clearly understood that Jesus promised to build the Church on Peter, as the following passages show.

<You go on to provide some cherry picked quotes from some church fathers.  I won’t waste our time posting them here.  If anyone finds themselves interested (and honestly I don’t know why they would), they can consult your comments posted at the bottom of part 1 of this essay>

Your move.

DB:  Romanists are fond of doing things like this.  Quote mining and then eisegeting their Romanist traditions into the quote.  You quote Origen, yet Origen only mentions Matthew 16:18 seven total times in all of his writings, and never once does he agree with what would later become Rome’s assertions.  For example . . .

Origen’s commentary on Matthew (pgs 29-30):

“And if we too have said like Peter, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,’ not as if flesh and blood had revealed it unto us, but by the light from the Father in heaven having shone in our heart, we become a Peter, and to us there might be said by the Word, ‘Thou art Peter, ‘etc. For a rock is every disciple of Christ of whom those drank who drank of the spiritual rock which followed them, and upon every such rock is built every word of the Church, and the polity in accordance with it; for in each of the perfect, who have the combination of words and deeds and thoughts which fill up the blessedness, is the church built by God.

“But if you suppose that upon the one Peter only the whole church is built by God, what would you say about John the son of thunder or each one of the Apostles? Shall we otherwise dare to say, that against Peter in particular the gates of Hades shall not prevail, but that they shall prevail against the other Apostles and the perfect? Does not the saying previously made, ‘The gates of Hades shall not prevail against it,’ hold in regard to all and in the case of each of them? And also the saying, ‘Upon this rock I will build My Church?’ Are the keys of the kingdom of heaven given by the Lord to Peter only, and will no other of the blessed receive them? But if this promise, ‘I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven,’ be common to others, how shall not all things previously spoken of, and the things which are subjoined as having been addressed to Peter, be common to them?

“’Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ If any one says this to Him…he will obtain the things that were spoken according to the letter of the Gospel to that Peter, but, as the spirit of the Gospel teaches to every one who becomes such as that Peter was. For all bear the surname ‘rock’ who are the imitators of Christ, that is, of the spiritual rock which followed those who are being saved, that they may drink from it the spiritual draught. But these bear the surname of rock just as Christ does. But also as members of Christ deriving their surname from Him they are called Christians, and from the rock, Peters…And to all such the saying of the Savior might be spoken, ‘Thou art Peter’ etc., down to the words, ‘prevail against it. ‘But what is the it? Is it the rock upon which Christ builds the Church, or is it the Church? For the phrase is ambiguous. Or is it as if the rock and the Church were one and the same? This I think to be true; for neither against the rock on which Christ builds His Church, nor against the Church will the gates of Hades prevail. Now, if the gates of Hades prevail against any one, such an one cannot be a rock upon which the Christ builds the Church, nor the Church built by Jesus upon the rock.”

No intellectually honest person could read this lengthy passage from Origen and then think that when taken in context he agreed with Rome.  An intellectually honest person would immediately recognize that you, rather than I, are the one who cherry picks.  And he would also immediately recognize you have eisegeted the context right out of the cherry picked quote.

As I said, Romanists are fond of doing this.  They will comb through passages like the one I just posted in order to find one or two sentences they can isolate from the rest of the passage and then eisegete their traditions into before presenting it as proof Origen agrees with them.  It is the same sort of intellectually dishonesty practiced by defense attorneys, politicians and cults.

JCM: Correction: arguing against Robert Sungenis isn’t hard (darned auto correct!)…and he quite frankly gets his theological clock cleaned by Mr. Madrid, too, if you’d actuallyy listed to it in it is entirety.
DB: Then why are you using his arguments?   You looking to get your clock cleaned too?  Too late, you already have. (see video above)

JCM: Oh, and where again does the Bible say only the Bible has authority? And why isn’t this a logical fallacy?

DB: I explained why it is not a logical fallacy.

There are two kinds of propositional truths – implicit and explicit.   The Bible trades in both.

For example, the truth about God’s triune nature is an implied truth.  That is, the summation of all which Scripture teaches about God logically leads one who believes the Scriptures to the conclusion that He is three persons and one being.  However, never once does Scripture ever explicitly state this.

Psalm 119:160 The sum of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous rules endures forever.

Similarly, the summation of all which Scripture teaches about itself also logically leads to the conclusion that only Scripture alone is the believer’s authority.   Take, for instance, Timothy 3:16-17.

Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness ; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

The apostle describes Scripture here as “inspired by God.”  The Greek word is “theopneustos” and it actually means “God-breathed.”  In other words, Paul is stating unequivocally, in explicit language that Scripture was breathed out from the mouth of God.

2 Peter 1:20-21 Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.  For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

But notice the apostle also states that these Scriptures which are breathed out by God are profitable for something.  That is, they are profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness.

Now, notice lastly the apostle states that the reason these things are profitable is because they produce men of God who are adequate and equipped for every good work.

Notice this.  Adequate.  Complete.  Finished.  That they may be complete and equipped for every good work.  What is necessary for this adequacy and equipping to take place?  The text explicitly tells us what is necessary.   Teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness.  Very well, now what is the profit of Scripture?  In other words, what is Scripture’s profit?  What does it produce?  The text tells us explicitly what it produces.  Teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness.

So here is Paul stating in no uncertain terms that Scripture’s profit is teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness, and that this profit nets a believer who is adequate and equipped for every good work.  It does not take much thought to realize what he is saying.  Scripture is all a believer needs to be adequate and equipped for every good work.

If I were to say four glasses of water per day is adequate to sustain life, then I would be saying four glasses of water is all anyone needs to drink every day in order to stay alive.

Likewise, Paul tells us that Scripture is all a believer needs in order to be equipped for every good work.

John 17:17-21 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.  As you sent Me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.  And for their sake I consecrate Myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.   I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word, that they may also be one, just as you Father, are in Me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent Me.

1 Corinthians 4:6 Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that in us you might learn not to exceed what is written, in order that no one of you might become arrogant in behalf of one against the other.

Rome tries to get around this text by insisting that because its oral tradition has been recorded in writing, therefore it counts as what is written.   However, Rome cannot produce anything that can be identified as a written oral tradition from the apostles.


About David Bishop

Gospel of Grace Church
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