Sunday, June 21, 2009

Pastor Tony Bartolucci on Francis Beckwith: Drowning in the Tiber

For the last week I've been listening to a sermon series by Pastor Tony Bartolucci of Clarkson Community Church called Drowning in the Tiber. It's an ongoing series which so far has 6 parts. If you go to the link above, just click on each individual sermon to download and listen.
These sermons or lectures are in response to a book written by Professor Francis Beckwith, the former president of the Evangelical Theological Society, who recently reverted to Roman Catholicism. The book is called Return to Rome: Confessions of an Evangelical Catholic.
Pastor Bartolucci comes to many of the same conclusions that I have come to about Roman Catholicism after studying it's doctrines compared to God's word and studying Church history.

35 comments:

Moonshadow said...

This pastor needs prayer ... I appreciate you providing a link to this sermon series which is so clearly a waste of his congregation's time. How sad.

"It is likely that the average Christian would be quite intimidated by the book. ... Don't rush out and buy it!" The pastor essentially bans the book for his congregation. What a power grab.

I will pray for this pastor's heart with as much sincerity as I can muster.

Peace of Christ to you.

Jennie said...

Teresa,
Pastor Bartolucci needs prayer because he's right, and so I'll pray for him to continue to have the courage to stand for the truth of the pure gospel against the false gospel of the Roman Catholic church.
I agreed with him and was encouraged by his teaching. It definitely is NOT
a waste of time; people are being led astray by the false ecumenical message being taught today.
The pastor thought people would be intimidated by Frances Beckwith's book because Beckwith makes himself sound so scholarly and wise and as if he's done so much conclusive research to cause him to go back to
Roman Catholicism. The pastor says 'don't rush out and buy it' because he doesn't want to push the book's sales up any higher and so give credibility to it. He also suggests that anyone who wants to read it can borrow it, so he's certainly not 'banning' the book. However I can understand his cautioning people about reading it, because most of the conversion stories I've heard lately somehow manage to stress Rome's supposed superiority while also trying to make it sound like we're all just one big happy family with no important differences. Both of those things can't be true, but both can be false and, in fact, are false.

Jennie said...

Part 7a is up now, which is a lecture on Sola Scriptura.

Elena said...

I listened to 9 minute of part one. That was more than enough.

He is undoubtedly an anti-Catholic bigot who is able to spout a lot of things he THINKS are wrong with the Catholic church, but he doesn't back any of it up with statistics or facts, but merely the anecdotal information of some guy named Greg Bonson - who I never heard of and am not sure why I need to take his works as compelling or authoritative.

Let me just take on two points of his misinformation. The priest scandal involved 4% of the ordained Catholic priests which means 96% of the priests were not involved. And of course we know that Protestant ministers and clergy also have their fair share of sexual scandals. So I don't think that argument flies very far.

And I also wonder where he gets off saying that the Catholic Church numbers are plummeting? It's the largest Christian church world wide. But again, I'd like to see his stats that counter that.

Again Jennie who are you trying to persuade? If it's Theresa and myself you have failed miserably with this attempt because most everything the man says is so easy to counter and dispel. If it's your one other lone commenter, well... she probably would agree with pretty much everything you write against Catholicism anyway.

I think I'm pretty much done wasting time here.

Jennie said...

Hi Elena,
I'm sorry you feel you are wasting your time on my blog.
I'm also sorry you think Pastor Bartolucci is a bigot. He's warning his people about false teaching, just like the scriptures teach us to do; I don't expect you to agree with that, but it's true.
He says quite a bit more than the things you mention; if you listen to more of it, you'll see.
I don't think it's important whether or not the church numbers are plummeting; some are entering it and some are leaving; and churches grow for good reasons and bad ones.
I think you've picked out the least important, incidental things he's mentioned and missed the important things, or maybe you just didn't listen long enough.
Since you're on te defensive, you may not be able to hear the truth.

Here's some info on Greg Bahnsen: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greg_Bahnsen
http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2009/02/11/new-web-series-bahnsen-intro

Elena said...

No it's not true Jennie.

It's true that Catholic teaching doesn't jive with what you and Pastor Bartolucci in your very limited and uninformed world view believe, but that doesn't make it true.

Jennie said...

Elena,
My world view is limited by the scriptures, but it's not so uninformed as you think; but that's not really important. The fact is that the true church has always 'limited itself' to scripture alone (which includes all the apostles' teaching-in the beginning it was oral and written) to determine it's 'world view.'
If you care to listen to more than the first few minutes you'll hear what he is concerned about regarding the catholic church.

Have you looked at the post on 'Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone' yet? I think the scriptures there make it clear how people are saved, and how they are not.

Elena said...

My world view is limited by the scriptures, but it's not so uninformed as you think; but that's not really important.

Oh I don't know Jennie. You're lack of depth on the topic never ceases to amaze. And yes it's important to me. I have neither the desire on the inclination to be your primary educator on the topic.

The fact is that the true church has always 'limited itself' to scripture alone (which includes all the apostles' teaching-in the beginning it was oral and written) to determine it's 'world view.'

Nonsense. Sola scriptura isn't scriptural. The entire false doctrine was invented by Luther. But you have been well indoctrinated with the revisionist history.

If you care to listen to more than the first few minutes you'll hear what he is concerned about regarding the catholic church.

Nope. BTDT with other speakers many times. I have no desire or interest. I'm sure if he had come up with something earth shatteringly compelling and persuasive I'd have heard of him by now. But so far from what I heard its' the same old anti-Catholic screed. Nothing new or interesting.

Have you looked at the post on 'Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone' yet?

Nope. Probably won't either. Just not that compelling Jennie. Sorry.

Jennie said...

"I'm sure if he had come up with something earth shatteringly compelling and persuasive I'd have heard of him by now. But so far from what I heard its' the same old anti-Catholic screed. Nothing new or interesting."
"Nope. Probably won't either. Just not that compelling Jennie. Sorry."

Your ability to tell if something is compelling without either reading or listening is amazing, Elena :) He hadn't even got fairly going yet after 9 minutes.
About my post, it's supremely important for catholics to understand that we are justified through faith by Christ's imputed righteousness alone, and then after that, we are made like Christ by God's grace through the Holy Spirit as we abide in His word. Both justification (which happens on the moment of calling on Him in faith) and sanctification (the ongoing process of being made like Christ) are by grace through faith. 'The just shall live by faith.' 'Without Me you can do nothing.'

Jennie said...

"Nonsense. Sola scriptura isn't scriptural. The entire false doctrine was invented by Luther. But you have been well indoctrinated with the revisionist history."
Better watch out what you call nonsense. Seems like the fact that scripture is called God's Word would make you think twice about saying it's not the supreme authority. I don't know who came up with the Latin term 'Sola Scriptura' but the idea of the supremacy of Scripture is taught in scripture and was taught by the church fathers. Listen to part 7a of Pastor Bartolucci's series for an intro on the topic.

Elena said...

Your ability to tell if something is compelling without either reading or listening is amazing, Elena :) He hadn't even got fairly going yet after 9 minutes.

I've heard better speakers grab their audience in less than half that time. Professor Hahn is a good example.

Better watch out what you call nonsense

Oh good job Jennie- threats!

But to be clear, I am not calling scripture nonsense, but rather then man made doctrine of sola scriptura and your ongoing borderline obsession with Catholicism that you have not studied and do not understand - nonsense.

Oh, and while we're at it- Sola Fide- the other pillar of the Reformation - also unscriptural.

Jennie said...

"I've heard better speakers grab their audience in less than half that time. Professor Hahn is a good example."

Elena, this is a series of messages with alot of material in them, so to listen to only 9 minutes is to only hear part of the introduction, and miss all the meat.
This isn't a contest to see who is the most entertaining or eloquent; Paul himself said he wasn't an eloquent speaker, and he apparently even put people to sleep with his long messages, if you remember Eutichus :) The truth is the truth, whether the speaker is boring or not; but I don't think Pastor Bartolucci is boring.

"Oh good job Jennie- threats!

But to be clear, I am not calling scripture nonsense, but rather then man made doctrine of sola scriptura and your ongoing borderline obsession with Catholicism that you have not studied and do not understand"

I wasn't threatening you, Elena; I was saying that you shouldn't say that the supremacy of God's word is 'nonsense' because God 'has magnified His word above all His name' as it says in Psalms. It's God whom you insult and call a liar when you say that. You don't understand or accept His word as final, so what gives you the authority to say anything about what His word teaches?

I've said before that I have been studying catholicism consistently for months, and off and on for several years. I think I understand it very well, and maybe even better than you do, since I've examined it in light of scripture, and found it wanting.
Catholicism has added the words (traditions) of men to God's word, and so has 'made the word of God to no effect' in the lives of catholics. They've 'darkened counsel by words without knowledge' by placing their faulty teachings between people and the truth.

Elena said...

1. I didn't say he was boring. I said he wasn't compelling and he isn't.

2. LOL! Of course you were making a threat Jennie. But nice attempt at backpeddling. I'm still trying to figure out why God would be insulted when man made doctrines are called nonsense.

3. ooooo!! Months huh? Honey, you haven't even scratched the surface.

but enough banter... life is short, this is pointless - I am outta here.

Jennie said...

Do you understand the difference between a personal threat, which I did not use, and a warning to fear God and revere His word, which I did give?

Jennie said...

"I'm still trying to figure out why God would be insulted when man made doctrines are called nonsense."
How about when the supremacy of His word is denied and when man-made doctrines (traditions of catholicism) are called His word?

Jennie said...

"ooooo!! Months huh? Honey, you haven't even scratched the surface."

That's arrogant, Elena. If it takes years to understand enough about the RCC to know whether or not it teaches the true gospel, then we are all hopeless, Elena. If the RCC teachings are so hard to understand that a normal person, a born again person like me, can't understand them when comparing them to scripture then the RCC teachings are definitely not the gospel, because the gospel is simple and concise. I don't need to study for twenty years and have an advanced degree in theology to be able to compare doctrines to scripture. All believers are told to do this, to beware of false teachings, and we all can do it in days or weeks if we prayerfully study with the help of the Spirit who teaches believers.

Paul said...

Jennie,
This was a very interesting exchange. I have been studying Sola Scriptura as well and have found some great resources that I would like to share with you. Let me know if that is O.K before I try to post any links.

Jennie said...

Hi Paul,
You're welcome to post your links.
I'm interested to see them.

Dave said...

Hi All,
I go to Clarkson Community Church. Tony did not ban us from reading it. That would not be proper or legitimate authority on his part. And, yes my wife and I read Beckwith's book. It was not much of a defense of Catholicism as a personal justification for his change in his beliefs. He attempted at times to use the Bible to explain his beliefs but not very hard.

As to your heated discussion, Catholic vs. Protestant, what I have found from discussions with Catholic friends is that they typically don't have a good handle on what they believe or why. When you dig deeper into Catholicism by looking at the Catechism, you will find that there are some serious differences between what the Bible teaches and what the Catholic church teaches. Before someone jumps all over me about that comment, please get the latest publication of the Catechism and read it completely.

Dave

Jennie said...

Hi Dave,
Welcome. I'd be interested to read Beckwith's book, too. I have, as I said, enjoyed Pastor Tony's series, and hope he will post some more.
If you come over to the discussion thread 'Two false doctrines: Daughters of Augustine--Part One' we have been discussing the catholic teachings on salvation and a little about the catechism. I've been told I have to read it before I can criticize, but the little I've read has shown me already the contradictory teachings of catholicism. I've also been told that catholics are not confused by it, so they don't know why I am. Please join in if you'd like to add some insight.

Lockheed said...

Irenaeus (c. 130-c. 200): . . . then, in the first place, we prove from the authoritative Scriptures that all the things which have been mentioned, visible and invisible, have been made by one God. For these men are not more to be depended on than the Scriptures; nor ought we to give up the declarations of the Lord, Moses, and the rest of the prophets, who have proclaimed the truth, and give credit to them, who do indeed utter nothing of a sensible nature, but rave about untenable opinions. Ante-Nicene Fathers: Volume I, Against Heresies, 2:30:6.

I think some readers need to study Church history a bit before they make claims such as "The entire false doctrine was invented by Luther." Also note that Sola Scriptura doesn't mean that there are not other, fallible, rules of faith binding upon believers.

Athanasius (297-373) cites the books of the canon & says: These are fountains of salvation, that they who thirst may be satisfied with the living words they contain. In these alone is proclaimed the doctrine of godliness. Let no man add to these, neither let him take ought from these. For concerning these the Lord put to shame the Sadducees, and said, ‘Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures.’ And He reproved the Jews, saying, ‘Search the Scriptures, for these are they that testify of Me.’ Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series: Volume IV, Letters of Athanasius, I.. Festal Letters, Letter 29.

Jennie said...

Thanks so much, Lockheed, for the good quotes. I need to study it more, myself, but what I've learned so far,barely scratching the surface, has confirmed the truth of scripture and the falsehood of Roman Catholicism.

Francis Beckwith said...

It's "Francis" with an "i," not an "e." "Frances" with an "e" is a girl's name. I'm not a girl. :-)

Jennie said...

Hello Francis,
I apologize for misspelling your name; I thought I had checked it. I'll change it ASAP.
I wonder how you found my blog; several people from Pastor Bartolucci's church have also been on.

Jennie said...

It's done, except I can't change it in the comments. Sorry, I did know you are a man, but I always get those spellings mixed up:)
Welcome to my blog; I haven't read your book yet, so I don't know anything but what Pastor Tony has discussed about it in his messages, but please feel free to comment.

Anonymous said...

I find the exchange interesting. I am a recent convert to the Catholic Church from a Protestant denomination. My two year journey involved more prayer and study than I think would be possible in that time. I researched all the major Protestant doctrines, and the switch did not happen without pain. But in that switch, I have been given blessings untold.

Catholics do not reject the authority of Scripture - they reject the typical Protestant interpretation of it. St. Jerome once said that "ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ." I have found the Catholic interpretation to make the most sense, to omit the least in terms of Scripture. It seemed to me that as a Protestant, I paid more attention to the words of Paul than I did to the Gospels - the very words of Christ. When read through the eyes of Tradition (which is not man made doctrine, but the God-inspired interpretation of the written Scriptures), the Bible comes alive in a way not possible otherwise. Worship makes more sense. The Christian way of life makes more sense when seen through Catholic eyes. I was a Berean, and I found the man made Protestant doctrines to be wanting.

The quote from Iraneus was indeed true - but where we all go astray is in our interpretation. Iraneus trusted the original apostles and their direct students to give us the best meaning of what Jesus meant. He trusted the Church as a body, that Christ would not renege on his promise that "on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it."

NewCatholic

Moonshadow said...

NewCatholic's post is very encouraging and refreshing. Thank you for it.

Christ's peace to you.

Anonymous said...

Hey kids - just want to let you know that Part 8 is now available here:
http://www.mediafire.com/?vidldjuhndn

Part 9 will be posted within the next 24 hours. Just keep an eye open at http://clarksonchurchsermons.blogspot.com/

Jennie said...

Hi Anonymous New Catholic,
I didn't see your comment until just now. Thank you for visiting; I hope you'll come back and join in some more.
I apologize for the shortness of my reply, but we are getting ready to start home school and I am rather distracted :)

Jennie said...

Anonymous New Catholic,
I know the Catholic Church has a richness of background and history, and ritual that the protestant church overall does not have, so I understand why the Catholic Church is attractive. The protestants as a whole (though not all) have become cut off from the past in a way, and lost some things that way. It is good to know our history, and traditions can be good things, as long as they don't contradict the intent of scripture.
There are man-made protestant doctrines in many denominations, and there are also protestants who adhere to God's word and leave behind false doctrines as they learn and grow in Christ. That is part of being a believer. In Ephesians 4 it speaks of growing up into unity:
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

I don't think your experience of paying more attention to Paul than to Jesus is a universal protestant experience. All the books are equally inspired and important, but Christ's words should grow more and more dear to the believer. Paul's great compassion and grace is endearing too.

You said When read through the eyes of Tradition (which is not man made doctrine, but the God-inspired interpretation of the written Scriptures), the Bible comes alive in a way not possible otherwise.
I disagree with you about tradition not being man-made doctrine, but I wonder what you mean by 'looking through the eyes of tradition". Tradition can be good, as I said, but if it changes the way we understand scripture, it may be actually adding to or taking away from scripture, and changing the original meaning of it, or obscuring it. What you see may seem good, but how do you know if it is right? The bible says, 'There is a way that seems right to a man, but the ends thereof are the ways of death.' All religions seem good to those who practice them, but God's word is the final rule or plumb line against which everything must be measured.
The catholic doctrine of salvation is different than the biblical doctrine. Things have been added to it, so how do you know how to be saved if it is different from God's pure gospel?
These are some of my concerns.
Thanks so much for stopping by :)

Jennie said...

the Bible comes alive in a way not possible otherwise.

For me as a protestant, the Bible has come alive more and more as I have learned and grown in my relationship to Christ and other believers. The Holy Spirit, who indwells believers, has revealed more and more to me as I abide in His word and also am edified by other believers. The more we know the whole of scriptures and obey them, the more we understand the richness of the treasure God has given us. His word alone as taught by the Spirit is sufficient for all our needs, as the Bible itself says.

Jennie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennie said...

I was a Berean, and I found the man made Protestant doctrines to be wanting.

I commend you for being a Berean if you found this only by searching scripture; it is true, as I said before, that many protestant churches are teaching doctrines of men, and failing to teach the scriptures and obey them by faith. However, I have done the same thing as you (as has my husband who has a ministry to point people back to the Word of God, away from false doctrines) and seen that the Catholic doctrines are 'wanting' even more than many protestant ones, and for a longer time in history. Unfortunately, but inevitably, the church as a whole has failed to follow God's word, and to preach the pure gospel. I say inevitably because this was prophesied, that there would be a falling away before Christ returned. He said 'When the Son of Man returns, will He find faith in the earth?' See 2 Thessalonians 2:
1 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

So there will be an apostasy, which has already begun, and has happened more than once since the church began; the whole last 2000 years could be considered the end times, since to God 'a thousand years is as a day.'

Jennie said...

the church as a whole has failed to follow God's word

When I said this, I meant the protestant and catholic churches together, by the way. From what I have read of history, I have seen that the Roman Catholic church developed and became prominent slowly, mainly after persecution by the Romans ended and the Church became supported by the state. Corruption came in when men vied for power and money instead of remaining faithful to the gospel, and also many unregenerate people were baptized into the church having no faith and no understanding of the Word of God. This quickened the entry of false doctrines and pagan idolatrous practices into the Church. Many who saw these dangers began to separate themselves, after trying to correct the problems and meeting with no success. This has continued over the centuries, with many Bible believers being persecuted by the Church and called heretics. Certainly some were heretical, but many were much more close to Biblical faith than the Roman Catholic Church.
Now that the RC Church does not have as much political power, people have forgotten the past persecutions, but the doctrines of the RCC have still become even less Biblically based then they were in the past when the dissenters and Reformers were forced to separate from it.
However, the Reformers failed to separate themselves completely in most cases and still retained many Catholic doctrines and practices, such as infant baptism, and a dependance upon Augustinian philosophy which has caused much division. Notice the division is caused first by the false doctrines of the RCC, and then continues because some of those doctrines still remain. Until we are united under God's word, getting rid of false doctrines of men, divisions will continue.

Jennie said...

(continued)
Other 'divisions' come in the form of totally heretical sects which are not Christian, though they call themselves so, such as Jehovah's witnesses, Mormons, and Unitarians, etc. These cannot rightly be called protestant, because they don't come out from Catholicism necessarily, and don't hold to Biblical doctrine.