The Protestant’s Dilemma!

dilemmaThe new book is available for pre-order, to be shipped out at the end of this month. Catholic Answers has also created a mini-site for the book with summary, endorsements, purchase links, and a video interview that Jimmy Akin graciously did with me.

What if Protestantism were true? What if the Reformers really were heroes, the Bible the sole rule of faith, and Christ’s Church just an invisible collection of loosely united believers?

As an Evangelical, Devin Rose used to believe all of it. Then one day the nagging questions began. He noticed things about Protestant belief and practice that didn’t add up. He began following the logic of Protestant claims to places he never expected it to go—leading to conclusions no Christians would ever admit to holding.

In The Protestant’s Dilemma, Rose examines over thirty of those conclusions, showing with solid evidence, compelling reason, and gentle humor how the major tenets of Protestantism—if honestly pursued to their furthest extent— wind up in dead ends of absurdity.

love the book’s cover, though all should know that the church depicted that is falling over the cliff is fictitious. No Protestants were harmed in the making of The Protestant’s Dilemma.

Catholic Answers is offering a large discount, 30% off, for anyone who pre-orders the book. Just enter ROSE when checking out after you click on the purchase links. I don’t know how long that discount will last but probably not that long.

Remember too that the book makes a great Valentine’s gift to the Protestant in your life. Nothing says “I love you” like giving someone a dilemma about their most foundational beliefs. Trust me on this one and go with your heart!

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46 Responses to The Protestant’s Dilemma!

  1. I’m not really(officially) a Protestant…but a Lutheran.

    But I really don’t feel any “dilemma”. What I have come to experience from Christ alone, through His Word alone, and by faith alone…is His freedom. The freedom that He so dearly died to give me.

    No add-on’s (to Christ) are necessary for me.

    No dilemma. Just freedom.

    Thanks, anyhow.

    • > I’m not really(officially) a Protestant…but a Lutheran.

      Please ‘splain…

    • Devin Rose says:

      Ah, Steve. Interestingly, another friend (on facebook) commented that he also didn’t feel a dilemma. However whether one feels a dilemma or not does not mean that one doesn’t in fact *have* a dilemma! The worst kind of dilemma is having one and not knowing it. It is akin to atheists who say they don’t feel concerned about sin or the devil. Whether or not they feel concerned about those, they should be concerned!

      That said, I understand you believe that you are in the truest version of Christianity: Lutheranism. Maybe you are right. Then again, maybe not. The book seeks to challenge you to confront the arguments that claim you are not. Martin Luther is quoted extensively. And in the introduction to the book I added a specific section addressing Protestants who claim they are not Protestants (which can include Pentecostals, non-denominationals, Anglicans, Lutherans, Anabaptists, etc.).

    • But Steve, all of us have freedom (free will). Jesus died to give us salvation. Salvation comes to those who accept and love Jesus, and who persevere in that love until the end. It’s what the Church and the Bible have always taught.

      If you mean that Christ frees us from sin, yes, He does. But we can choose to sin again, and heartily. We can, as the Bible says, be “cut off” if we don’t stay in God’s friendship.

      And I am pretty sure that the only place the New Testament uses the words “faith alone” is where it says we are not justified by faith alone. Thus Luther’s need to add the word “alone” to the Word of God, to make it fit his new theology. Yipes.

  2. Leila,

    When it comes to the things of God, we do NOT have a free-will. Our wills are bound, To sin.

    As far as the “alone” goes…it is garnered from Scripture. “We are saved by faith through grace…not of works lest anyone should boast.”

    The Trinity isn’t mentioned specifically, either. But it is all over the N.T….just as being saved by grace, alone, is.

    • “We are saved by faith through grace…not of works lest anyone should boast.”

      Of course. We agree on that. We canonized that Book and those words. But you are not addressing the point. You can’t analogize it to the Trinity, as the Bible is not explicit on the Trinity, it is implicit (and verified by the Church). However, the Bible is explicit on “faith alone” (as in: we are “NOT justified by faith alone”.

      On what authority did Martin Luther add a word to Scripture? And on what authority did he try to trash entire books of the New Testament? Why follow such a man? Gives me the shivers to think of a man trashing entire books of the Bible, and yet his new doctrines are followed as if he is a man of authority.

      • Well, Leila…we disagree.

        The Bible says, “Baptism now saves you.” Is that a work that we do?

        The Bible says that “those who work will be given their due. But those who trust in Christ will have their faith counted as righteousness.”

        The Bible says that we are saved “not by the will of man…but by God.”

        I can go on, but you get the picture.

        • Ah, exactly, Steve! Baptism does save us, just as the Bible says and the Church has always taught. The Bible says that we are justified/saved/given new birth and receive eternal life in these ways:

          By believing
          By repentence
          By baptism
          By the work of the Spirit
          By declaring with our mouths
          By coming to the knowledge of Truth
          By works
          By grace
          By his blood
          By his righteousness
          By his Cross.

          (thanks to Stephen K. Ray’s Crossing the Tiber which contains full Bible references.)

          None of this equals “faith alone“, and again, the Bible is explicit that we are not justified by faith alone. No need for implications, as it’s explicit. To be extra clear, we are talking about the modifier “alone” and why you use it.

          You never answered the other points, about Luther, but I’d like your thoughts on that if you could.

          Love between man and God requires a relationship, no? Even brining ourselves to the altar, to baptism, even praying a sinner’s prayer, even repenting, is a “work”, no? We are not robots, we are not unconscious. Of course we bring ourselves to the relationship, and we elect to stay in that relationship, lest we be cut off, as St. Paul explicitly says. Thanks!

  3. This is a short read on “free-will”:

    http://theoldadam.com/2012/09/01/so-called-free-will/

    It’s pretty good, though.

  4. Luther didn’t add a word to Scripture. It’s what Scripture points to.

    I was a Catholic for 40 years. They operate from a legal scheme (what ‘we must do’)…

    we Lutherans view the gospel through the grace scheme (Christ does it ALL…for us) that’s what grace means…unmerited favor. If there’s something that we need to do, then it isn’t grace.

    This is how Luther figured out “the dilemma”:

    http://theoldadam.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/the-question-that-precipitated-the-reformation.mp3

    It’s worth a listen just to understand where we are coming from…even if you don’t agree with it.

  5. Actually, he did add it, and even Wiki (non-Catholic source) reports that fact:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luther_Bible (look under “Theology”)

    I’ve been debating for twenty years (since I came back to the Church) so I do understand the other side, and I hope to never misrepresent your position. I agree that all good is grace, and that we are saved by grace, but we are not robots, and we either choose to cooperate with God’s grace or not. He gives us the dignity of choosing to love him or not.

    When you say that we don’t “need” to do anything, then you are saying we don’t “need” to repent? We don’t “need” to be baptized? We don’t “need” to love God? Yet we are commanded to these things. Not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but He who does the will of Jesus’ Father. Oh yes, we need to do His will!

    But I don’t think you addressed the issue of authority, and by what authority Luther messed with Sacred Scripture? He hated parts of the New Testament and wanted to trash them. Why do you not dismiss him outright, for that alone? How could you trust this man to have sound doctrine when he did not even accept the whole of the New Testament? Don’t you see a problem with using him as any kind of authority at all?

  6. I would listen to the audio you posted, but can you tell me on what authority the man speaks? Is he part of a Church that has apostolic succession? Because I have scoured the New Testament and have not found any model of church that was started up without the authority of the Apostles or their appointed successors. I don’t see that model of church, and I have yet to have a Protestant (or Lutheran or anyone) show me that model in the New Testament. So, what authority does the speaker you linked have, that I don’t have, or that any other Christian has? Why should I believe him? Who vouches for him? I’m not trying to be ornery, I’m really seriously asking why I should think his opinion is authoritative? Thanks!

    • The Word of God is the authority.

      It’s the same authority that acts when you, or anyone else tells someone about Jesus and faith is born (by hearing).

      The Word of God…alone…is the authority.

      There…I used it, too. :D

  7. Some people just like self-focused ascendent religion. That is the heart of Catholicism.

    Others hear about what Christ has done for them, the ungodly, and are overjoyed.

    Every once in a while someone hears the pure gospel and is freed. So I keep throwing it out there.

    I’m not at all saying that Catholics aren’t saved. Far from it. I’m just doing what Luther did. Trying to scrape some of the barnacles off the hull.

    Thanks.

  8. Thanks, Steve. Your comments did not address my specific questions at all, so I will take my leave. God bless!

  9. Amber says:

    Well, on a different note from the exchange above… Congratulations!! I really liked your suggestion at the end… :-)

  10. Joe Fen says:

    Hi Steve,

    You said: “The Word of God…alone…is the authority.”
    Since you go by the Bible alone, I imagine this comes from the Bible.
    What chapter/verse would I find your claim?

    • Bob says:

      Joe,
      Its not necessary for the Bible itself to say in its pages that it is alone the Word of God and the ultimate authority for the church. Christ revealed to the church that this is the case.

      • “Its not necessary for the Bible itself to say in its pages that it is alone the Word of God and the ultimate authority for the church.”

        Not necessary according to whom?

        “Christ revealed to the church that this is the case.”

        Can you provide evidence that Christ revealed exactly that to the Church? Because the early Church Fathers, saints and martyrs did not believe what you believe on that.

        • Bob says:

          Actually Paul calls all Scripture inspired by God (2 Tim 3:16). This statement covers both the OT and NT. Since the OT was already established by the time of Christ we can deal with the NT canon which was officially recognized by the 4th century if I’m not mistaken.

          • Well, he couldn’t have actually been talking about the NT at that point, obviously. But nonetheless, Catholics believe that all Scripture is inspired by God, definitely. We agree on that. But that was not the question.

            By the way, the Bible is the written Word, but it is not “alone the Word of God” as you say. Jesus Christ Himself is the Word of God, isn’t He? If so, then the Bible cannot be the Word of God “alone”, correct?

            • Bob says:

              Whether Paul was aware of the entire NT canon at the time does not change the fact that these books when written were the Word of God the moment they were written.

              It is true that Jesus is the Word but what I’m referring to is the Scriptures which alone are inspired-inerrant Word of God. No church documents such as encyclicals or commentaries are inspired-inerrant.

  11. Pingback: This Week's Best in Catholic Apologetics | DavidLGray.INFO

  12. Joe,

    “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for IT IS the power of God…”

    Romans 1:16

    The Word (the gospel) creates faith. That is why IT alone, has authority.

    And whenever ANYONE preaches that gospel (you, or I, or the kid down the block) the authority is there…in the Word itself.

    • The written Bible is the only Word? Nothing else but the written Word has authority? What did the Christians do before there was a New Testament? The first word of the New Testament was not even written before a decade had passed since Christ’s resurrection, and yet in that time the Church was already thriving, and growing, and saving souls. So, how could they know what the Gospel was without the written Word?

      • Bob says:

        Leila Miller,
        Only the Bible is the inspired-inerrant Word of God and thereby the ultimate authority for the church.

        • And yet the Church that gave us the Bible says otherwise. And the Bible itself says otherwise. The Bible says that the Church is “the pillar and foundation of truth”.

          • Bob says:

            The church is not inspired-inerrant. Only the Word of God is. It is true that the church is ““the pillar and foundation of truth” but it is not the truth but the support of it.

            It was not the church that “gave” us the Bible. The OT Scriptures were already in place before the church came into being. It was Christ Who used the church to determine the canon of the NT.

            • You definitely have a dilemma there. The Church that Christ used to give us the Bible (the authority to write the NT, the authority to discern it, to protect, copy and ultimately canonize it) is the Church comprised of bishops, a pope, and distinctly Catholic doctrine. If you can trust the authority of the Church regarding the NT, you can surely trust her, period. Christ gave her authority. And the Church was thriving for centuries before the New Testament was canonized. If you can’t trust the Church, then you can’t trust the Book it provided and vouched for.

              • Bob says:

                The church of the 4th century was not the RCC. In the 4th century they did not believe in the Marian dogmas, purgatory, infallible papacy etc. It is these doctrines and others that the church of the 4th century did not believe in.

                Secondly, my confidence in the Scripture is not grounded on what a church or council does but on God Himself Who has power to get His Word to the church.

                Third, you have a problem trusting your church given its history. Just look at the inquisitions or the evil popes or how it has dealt with the priest scandals in modern times.

  13. Christie says:

    Devin,

    This looks great! Although there is a period missing on page 28 – “…while Christ’s true Church became invisible and purely spiritual”

    -Christie

    • Devin Rose says:

      Doh! First typo found. It is somewhat inevitable, but I have sent this to Catholic Answers in case we can correct it before another printing. Thanks!

      • Christie says:

        Devin,

        I got your book and was skimming through it. I liked what I saw! I’m excited to sit down and read it. Although I noticed at the very end it seems to stop rather abruptly. You talk about interpreting things in a different lens, and then, it’s over. I really appreciated the invitation to seek truth at the end of “If Protestantism Is True.” But congratulations on this book, I hope it will open eyes and hearts and minds to seek unity.

        –Christie

        • Devin Rose says:

          Thanks Christie! Yes, you found another goof: several paragraphs were accidentally chopped off the conclusion during one of the final revision passes. I told my editor about it at Catholic Answers and he is having the e-books all updated immediately and the paperback will be updated for the second print run. Ooops! Oh well, a small thing. Thanks again.

          • Christie says:

            Devin,

            Oh, okay…This might be a strange request and I understand if the answer is no. But I wanted to give this book (the one I bought) to a friend to borrow but I don’t think the ending makes for a good closing the way it is, with my friend being pretty anti-Catholic and all…an ending with more of a welcoming invitation to seek truth is obviously better (since that’s the way you wrote it first of all). Can I send in the book I bought to Catholic Answers and exchange it for the 2nd publishing edition? The price is the same.

            –Christie

  14. “The church of the 4th century was not the RCC. In the 4th century they did not believe in the Marian dogmas, purgatory, infallible papacy etc. It is these doctrines and others that the church of the 4th century did not believe in.”

    You might want to check your Church history on that, Bob. What are your sources? I suggest a very thorough reading of the Fathers and Church history up to that point. Catholic Answers at catholic.com (or any book of the Early Fathers’ writings that is not creatively edited) has the sources and documents that will confirm Catholic understanding of all those things, long before the NT was canonized.

    It’s right there in history, for anyone to access.

  15. Well…here’s putting it to the Evangelicals…and their blasphemous theology:

    http://theoldadam.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/the-one-true-foundation1.mp3

    Man, does he let them have it…but good.

  16. Matt says:

    So I have a question, when you read the Bible, it says that the Sabbath is the Seventh Day of the week why do Catholics worship on Sunday which is the first day of the week? thanks in advance.

      • Matt says:

        Thanks for the reply, I read those articles – they both say that Catholics don’t worship on the Sabbath, but when you read the Bible it says Jesus did. So that’s my question why don’t Catholics worship on the Sabbath?

        Then I read this quote from the Catholic church, I don’t understand:
        “I have repeatedly offered $1,000 to anyone who can prove to me from the Bible alone that I am bound to keep Sunday holy. There is no such law in the Bible. It is a law of the holy Catholic Church alone. The Bible says, ‘Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.’ The Catholic Church says: ‘No. By my divine power I abolish the Sabbath day and command you to keep holy the first day of the week.’ And lo! The entire civilized world bows down in a reverent obedience to the command of the holy Catholic Church.” father T. Enright, C.S.S.R. of the Redemptoral College, Kansas City, in a lecture at Hartford, Kansas, February 18, 1884, printed in History of the Sabbath, p. 802.”

        • Devin Rose says:

          Matt, Jesus worshiped on the Sabbath because He was Jewish and was following the Old Covenant, even as He was ushering in the New Covenant.

          In the New Covenant, worship was moved to Sunday, the first day of the week, the day Jesus rose from the dead. So Christians from the most ancient times (read, Apostolic Age) worshiped on Sunday.

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