Protestant Machine Gun Evangelization Only Works on People Who Are as Ignorant as the Evangelist

Steve Finnell’s style represents a common Protestant Fundamentalist behavior. He is a “Church of Christ” (CofC) or CofC-esque “keyboard evangelist” who denies that he is “Protestant” even though a huge portion of his work is devoted to protesting the Catholic Church.
Finnell wrote the following list (his blog format doesn’t allow for me to link specifially to his post; it is dated August 2, 2014) and it is a typical “machine gun” attempt to prove how the Catholic Church is evil, and therefore, prove that his sect is awesome. Finnell has trolled and spammed my sites and other Catholic sites for at least a year, but I’ve never seen him post a comment on his own blog that does not support his views. Finnell “argues” that the Bible does not support Catholic teachings. Of course, he makes no “argument”; he just squeezes the trigger and lets the bullets fly in a manner that is, unfortunately, stereotypically indicative of CofC evangelism. Under each item, I offered a quick response.
“The Bible Never Teaches”
Steve Finnell: 1. The Virgin Mary lived a sinless life.
ME: The burden is on the accuser of the saints (Revelation 12:10; Satan is also eager to accuse the saints!) to show, from the Bible, how Mary ever sinned (which cannot be done). BTW, Romans 3:23 – . . . all have sinned . . . – clearly allows for exceptions. (Jesus didn’t sin, babies cannot commit Actual Sin, some mentally handicapped cannot choose to sin, etc.; therefore, all is a generalization and cannot include all people. Other NT uses of the word allows for exceptions as well.)
Steve Finnell: 2. Men should pray the Rosary.
ME: So… Jesus never taught his disciples to pray? Is Steve aware that the Rosary consists of the Our Father prayer and is almost entirely comprised of Scripture?
Steve Finnell: 3. Transubstantiation.
ME: This is my body (Luke 22:19). It’s clear enough for most people, but of course, some people were discouraged by Jesus’ hard teaching and turned away from the Church (cf. John 6:60-66).
Steve Finnell: 4. Praying to Popes, the Virgin Mary and other dead saints.
ME: At least Steve, although inadvertently, admitted that Mary is a virgin! The saints aren’t dead. Nor does the Bible condemn asking others to pray for us. In fact the Bible teaches that the prayers of righteous men (and women) have great power (cf. James 5:16). Asking our saints to pray for us is perfectly biblical, just as asking our own family members to pray for us is perfectly biblical.
Steve Finnell: 5. Kissing the Popes feet.
ME: Feet? Well, I do know that popes have washed people’s feet. Even if people chose to kiss his feet, there would be nothing wrong with that. And the Bible surely teaches that we are to respect our leaders. Christians of every generation have flocked to the pope – even trying to position themselves so that even his shadow might fall on them (cf. Acts 5:15).
Steve Finnell: 6. Confession of sins to a priest.
ME: If you [Church leaders] forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained (John 20:23).
Steve Finnell: 7. Burning candles in the church building.
ME: Does the Bible condemn candles? Does Steve believe candles were not used in any way in the early Church setting? Are light bulbs allowed? Oh wait… Finnell must believe the early Church actually met in buildings since his congregation, I’d bet, meets in buildings…
Steve Finnell: 8. Baptizing infants for the remission of sins.
ME: I’ve written a book about this subject. Bottom line: the Bible does not condemn Baptism for infants; it, in fact, suggests that Baptism for infants is not only needed, but recognized and practiced from the earliest days of the Church. For more, see: 1) The Church of Christ Brings Its Children to Jesus, 2) Protestant Church of Christ Objection to Baptism #1, 3) Protestant Church of Christ Objection to Baptism #2.
Steve Finnell: 9. Baptizing anyone because they are guilty of Adam’s sin.
ME: Finnell thinks he’s describing Original Sin by implying Catholics believe we are guilty of Adam’s sin; he’s wrong, of course. Original sin introduced sin into the world and corrupted our nature. We are brought forth in iniquity (Psalm 51:5), by nature we are children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3), the imaginations of a man’s heart is evil from his youth (Genesis 8:21), sin came into the world through one man, and then spread to all men (Romans 5:12), and in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22). Of course, Steve would counter with the modern Protestant proof-text (Ezekiel 18:20: The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father) to develop an entire theory of a world where all men are immaculately conceived by ignoring that the passage is about Law and Actual (volitional; not original—the sin that is washed away at an infant’s Baptism) Sin.
Steve Finnell: 10. Teaching that the Virgin Mary is co-redeemer with Jesus.
ME: “Co” does not mean “equal”; it means “with”. Mary’s decision to deliver the Deliverer was a real decision; her choice is what gave the Redeemer flesh. Our names for Mary are perfectly biblical, reasonable, and theologically and linguistically sound. After all, Jesus is the heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2), yet I doubt Finnell would deny that Christians are co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17).
Steve Finnell: 11. Purgatory.
ME: One reason Protestantism started to remove books from the Bible in the 16th century was precisely this topic. So, if Protestants used the historical Christian Bible (and not their own abridged versions), they would learn that 2 Maccabees 12:39-46 does teach the existence of Purgatory. And when the theology that surrounded 2 Maccabees is wedded with other New Testament passages (that relied on the presupposed theology of 2 Maccabees) are read (such as Matthew 5:24-25, Matthew 12:32, and 1 Corinthians 3:11-15), it becomes clear that Catholicism’s teachings about Purgatory are completely biblical (and Protestantism’s denial of Purgatory is a result of its denial of Scripture).
Steve Finnell: 12. That the apostle Peter was the first Pope.
ME: What Bible is Steve reading? I’m pretty sure his version still contains Matthew 16 and Isaiah 22, which is the necessary (yet ignored by Fundamentalists) verse that provides the background for the Papacy (and which uses the word “pope” / “father”!!!). For more, see my article called The Church of Christ is Hierarchical or purchase my book that addresses the subject.
Steve Finnell: 13. That the Pope was given authority to change Scriptures.
ME: Popes don’t change Scripture. What else is there to say?
Steve Finnell: 14. The use of Holy Water.
ME: Ah HA! You got us there, Steve! But of course, the Bible does not teach, in any way, that “holy water” is a no-no. For future study, I suggest you first research the word “holy”.
Steve Finnell: 15. A sacrificial Mass.
ME: The Mass is a re-presentation of Christ’s sacrifice. It is not a “different” sacrifice; it is the same timeless sacrifice. The Catholic Mass is perfectly biblical.
Steve Finnell: 16. Sales of indulgences.
ME: The Church doesn’t sell indulgences. The Reformers were rightly appalled by some priests’ abuses of selling indulgences, but one should not judge a religion by those who practice it poorly; they should judge a religion by those who practice it best. Also, money is not given for an indulgence; it is sometimes voluntarily given because of the indulgence.
Steve Finnell: 17. The bodily assumption of Mary.
ME: Does the Bible teach against it? Think for a moment… All of us craaazzy Catholics are always showcasing bones and artifacts, but we’ve never been able to pony up for Mary. It makes perfect biblical sense to collect all the available data about Mary, her sinless life (which Steve cannot argue against from the Bible), and develop the dogma of Mary’s Assumption.
Steve Finnell: 18. Devotion to Mary is essential for salvation.
ME: I don’t know of any religion that requires devotion to Mary.
Steve Finnell: 19. Church tradition voids Scripture.
ME: Sacred Tradition does not “void” Sacred Scripture; Sacred Tradition provided, protects, and interprets Scripture just as the Bible itself teaches. Sola Scriptura is actually anti-Biblical.
Steve Finnell: 20. Priests or pastors have the authority to forgive church members of their sins.
ME: Steve is repeating himself. See #6.
Steve Finnell: 21. The church is the final authority for faith and practice. The Bible is not the final authority.
ME: The Bible never claims to be the “final authority” in matters of faith; it teaches that both Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture act in concert. Oh… here’s about sixty passages that Steve won’t address.
Steve Finnell: 22. Infants are guilty of sin.
ME: Again, Steve is repeating himself. See #9. The Church does not teach that infants are guilty of Actual Sin. Again, she teaches that sin came into the world through one man, and then spread to all men (Romans 5:12), and in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22). Such sin is called Original Sin.
Steve Finnell: 23. The Pope is the head of the church of Christ on earth.
ME: Steve is repeating himself again. See #12.
Steve Finnell: 24. Penance, a sacrament for forgiveness after baptism.
ME: And of course, Steve, again, is repeating himself. See #6 and #20. I guess his magazine is empty.
I wish I could say that Steve Finnell is unique or that he is a CofC outcast, but his behavior is indicative. Of course, some CofC bloggers and keyboard evangelists don’t behave like him, but it is difficult to find a CofC keyboard evangelist who does not resort to similar tactics. I left a comment (which he, predictably, refused to post) so I could teach him how apologetics and Comparative Religion works in the civilized world. I told him that he should present his opponent’s best arguments and then proceed to argue against their arguments; but Steve doesn’t even know what the Catholic Church believes, nor does he care. Keyboard evangelists have at their disposal a computer and the Internet. If they cannot make use of Google, but rather, choose to bear false witness against a billion of their brothers, then why would any thinking person trust them on matters that matter most?
This entry was posted in Anti-Catholics, Steve Finnell and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.