A REFUTATION OF ROMAN CATHOLICISM
By Dr. Robert Morey
The Reformers did NOT say that the Bible was the ONLY authority.
this is why they appealed to logic, history, science, the Church
fathers, tradition, councils, creeds, confessions, commentators,
Greek and Hebrew scholars, etc.
But what they did say was that when it came to DOCTRINE, there
can be ONLY ONE ULTIMATE AUTHORITY - the Bible.
The "buck" has to stop somewhere. Thus the "final court of appeal"
is the Bible and not the Pope, councils, creeds, tradition, etc.
The other authorities (logic, history, etc.) are as good as far
as they go. But they are not THE ULTIMATE DECIDING FACTOR IN
Just like the prophets, apostles, Jesus and the N.T. Church,
Protestants appeal to the scriptures as the "final court of
appeal" i.e., the ultimate authority in matters of faith.
1. Question: When deciding doctrine, to what did the prophets,
Jesus, the apostles and the N.T. Church appeal as their
ultimate authority, i.e., what was their "final court of
appeals" when seeking to establish doctrine?
Answer: They always appealed to the scriptures as the determin-
ing authority in matters of faith.
2. Question: How do we know this?
Answer: Throughout the Bible, the prophets, Jesus, the apostles
and the N.T. Church used key literary phrases which indicated
an appeal to authority (Isa. 8:20; Matt. 22:23-46; I Cor. 15:3-4;
I. "as it is written" used 46 times:
A. O.T.: 13 times (ex. II Kings 23:21).
B. N.T.: 33 times (ex. Romans 1:17).
II. "Scripture says" used 7 times:
ex. Rom. 4:3; 9:17; 10:11; 11:2.
III. "according to the Scriptures"
used 3 times: ex. 1 Cor. 15:3-4.
IV. "the law and the prophets" used
38 times: ex. Luke 24:44-47
4. Question: Did the prophets, Jesus, the apostles or the N.T.
Church ever appeal to "tradition" as the authority for their
Answer: Not once did the prophets, Jesus, the apostles or N.T.
Church appeal to tradition as the authority of their doctrines.
As a matter of fact, the idea of people appealing to "tradition"
instead of Scripture is condemned by the prophets (Isa. 29:13),
Jesus (Matt. 15:1-9) and the apostles (Col. 2:8).
The ONLY Biblical author to use the word "tradition" in a
positive way is the Apostle Paul who clearly used it to refer to
the handing down of scriptural doctrines such as the Gospel.
Since the Church had just begun, it would be logically impossible
for him to be referring to "historical traditions" when the history
of the Church had only just begun! How could it have any "historical
traditions" when it did not have any history yet?
THE ROMANIST VIEW OF AUTHORITY
I. Romanism's view of religious authority is usually based on the
fallacy of circular reasoning.
They appeal to their church's authority to prove their church's
authority! This is like rowing with one oar. All you do is go
around in circles.
Romanist: The "Church" is the ultimate authority.
Protestant: Who says so?
Romanist: The "Church" says so.
Protestant: By what authority?
Romanist: The "Church" is the ultimate authority.
II. Romanist are guilty of setting up a false dichotomy between
Scripture and tradition. This is the fundamental logical error
underlying their entire argument.
The moment it is admitted that there is such a thing as a scrip-
tural tradition," the dichotomy falls apart. For example, in 1 Cor.
15:3-4, the Apostle Paul clearly appeals to the authority of the
Scripture as the basis for the Gospel. Then this is scriptural
teaching on the atonement is called a "tradition" to hand down to
others in 1 Cor. 11:2.
III. Romanist use the logical fallacy of appealing to human
authority. Some papist argue, "since there are so many
denominations and interpretations of Scripture, we need
someone to decide what is true. Thus we need the Pope!"
Of course we can point out that Hitler, Joseph Smith,
Rev. Moon and many other people have all made that same
exact argument! We have no more reason to let the Pope
do our thinking for us than to let all the other cult
Romanist Objection #1
Note: Karl Keating is a Roman Catholic apologist and author
of "Catholicism and Fundamentalism." Nowhere does the Bible say,
'Scripture alone is sufficient'" (Karl Keating, "What's Your
Authority For That?").
First, this is a logical fallacy. The fact that the Bible does
not contain the exact words "Scripture alone is sufficient" does not
logically imply that the concept which underlies those words cannot
be found in the Bible.
For example, where does the word "Trinity" appear in the Bible?
where does it explicitly say "God in three persons?" Yet, the concept
which underlies the doctrine of the Trinity can be found in the Bible
even though the terminology was developed later on in Church history.
Second, this argument is self-refuting. Where does the Bible say
"immaculate conception," "papal infallibility," "the mass," etc.?
If this argument were valid, it would do far more damage to Romanism
than to us.
Third, the Reformation doctrine simply states that the prophets,
Jesus, the Apostles, and the N.T. Church always appealed to what-
ever written Scriptures existed in their day as basis for their
doctrines (for example, see 1 Cor. 15:3-4). They never appealed to
"tradition," "the Church," "the pope," etc.
Fourth, logically, since they only appealed to Scripture as the
basis for their doctrine, then the burden of proof falls on the
Romanist to demonstrate why we should appeal to anything else.
lastly, in 1 Cor. 4:6 we are told "not to go beyond what is
written" in Scripture. This statement of Paul is the sum and sub-
stance of "sola scriptura."
Jerusalem Bible: "Keep to what is written."
New American Bible: "do not go beyond what is set down."
Romanist Objection #2:
"The Bible actually denies that it is the complete rule of faith"
(Karl Keating, Catholicism and Fundamentalsim, p. 136).
First, this negative argument claims, without substantiation,
that the authors of Scripture explicitly knew of and then clearly
denied the doctrine of "sola scriptura."
Second, please show us passages in the Bible where the authors
deny that Scripture is the complete rule of faith. Protestants have
been waiting several centuries for Romanist to "put up or shut up."
Yet, they have never found a single text to support their argument.
Romanist Objection #3:
"The Church tells us the Bible is inspired, and we can take the
Church's word for it precisely because the Church is infallible"
(Karl Keating, Catholicism and Fundamentalism, p. 125).
This argumant is based on circular reasoning: He "proves" the
Bible by the Church and then "proves" the Church by the Bible!
This is irrational to say the least!
Romanist Objection #4:
"The Church existed BEFORE the Bible. The Church MADE the Bible
therefore: a)The Church is OVER the Bible. b)The Church has GREATER
authority than the Bible" (see Keating, Catholicism and Fundamental-
ism, pgs. 121-133 and also "How to Talk To Fundamentalist" tract).
There are major problems with this typical Romanist argument.
In Logic, chronology does not determine authority. This is the
fallacy of irrelevance. For example, the Buddha came several cen-
turies BEFORE Jesus. Is Buddha therefore OVER Jesus and does he
have GREATER authority than Jesus? NO!
Second, historically, Romanism did not exist in the first cen-
tury. So, how couldit have anything to do with the canon of Scrip-
ture? The truth is that popery did not exist did not exist until
many centuries AFTER the canon was closed.
Romanist Objection #5:
"But didn't the Church decide doctrine in Acts 15 on the basis
of its own authority instead of Scripture" (Dr. Robert Festiggi,
The Classic Debate, VT-53 (R.E.F. video))?
In Acts 15:13-22, James appealed to the Scriptures to settle
the Gentile issue. Once he quoted the Scriptures which applied
to the issue, the discussion was concluded. No Further words
needed to be said. The Scriptures had solved the issue.
Editor's note: Dr. Morey's article has been shortened due to lack
of space in the original "Researcher" newsletter. Those of you
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Dr. Robert A. Morey, is the Executive Director of The Research &
Education Foundation. Dr. Morey has earned degrees in theology,
philosophy, and apologetics and has received personal training
from Dr. Walter Martin, Francis Schaeffer, Gordon Clark and
Cornelius Van Til. He has authored over 20 books. Some of which
have been listed in Christianity Today's annual "best Books of
the Year" and the Christian Booksellers Association's "The Best
of the Good Books."
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