Thursday, February 11, 2016

When YouTubers Misrepresent the Catholic Church

Mike Winger scratching his head
I'm not sure how popular he is (I've never heard of him before), but there's a guy on YouTube named Mike Winger who has a 4-part video series with which he attempts to refute the teachings of the Catholic Church. I don't even remember now how I found the guy, but somehow I ended up on Part 4 and started watching it (I haven't seen the other parts yet).

He does seem to have some familiarity with Catholicism, almost like someone who used to be Catholic but then fell away. But, he also misrepresents the teaching of the Church a great deal. People were pointing this out in the comments, but no one was giving any actual examples so I thought I would provide that worthwhile service.

Note that I am not even bothering to respond to his theological errors or his misinterpretations of Scripture (maybe that's a post for another day). I am simply pointing out the times when he misrepresented what the Church teaches or why She does what She does. But, I think that even this exercise can be instructive for people. I hope you find it helpful.

Let us begin:

1:25 - Yes, a sacrament is a means of grace. Your mistake was when you put it in your own words. We do not believe that the sacraments are "a way that you can earn grace." You will not find that anywhere in the Catechism. The only one working in the sacraments is God.

2:12 - It was not "certain forms of indulgences" that were frowned upon, but instead the abuse of a legitimate practice.

2:40 - While indulgences are a part of the spiritual life of the Catholic, and they are not something that a Catholic could say were false, I would not go so far as to say that they are "essential to Catholicism." I think you're giving indulgences more prominence then they deserve.

3:58 - Our reason for believing that the sacraments are necessary is not because "there isn't enough with just Jesus." We have the sacraments and find them necessary because the grace of Jesus -- which is MORE than enough -- is given to us through them.

4:08 - Yes, Catholics have to baptize their children into the Catholic Church. But, you seemed to imply that Catholics don't recognize the baptisms of other Christian denominations, which would not be true. Any person baptized with the Trinitarian formula is validly baptized.

4:30 - Catholics believe that baptism washes away ALL sin, not just original sin. When baptized as an infant, baptism only washes away original sin because infants haven't committed their own sins yet. But, adults who receive baptism have ALL of their sins washed away.

5:09 - Catholics do not believe that being born again amounts to a mere declaration. Baptism makes us a new creation, we are regenerated by it, an indelible mark is placed on our soul so that we are forever changed. An infusion of grace takes place in baptism. By it we put away the old man and put on Christ. It is in every way more than a mere declaration of a new status.

7:29 - The "whole doctrine" on infant baptism is not built on the phrase from Acts that "his whole household" was baptized. It stands on much more evidence, and stronger evidence, than that ... although I will admit that this verse is a piece.

10:03 - The fact that the only minister of the sacrament of Confession is a priest does not mean that we can't go to Christ to have our sins forgiven. We can pray to Jesus with a contrite heart and He will forgive our venial sins. Only mortal sins are reserved to the sacrament. And at any rate, when we go to Confession we believe that we ARE going to Christ because it is Christ who forgives through the person of the priest.

10:47 - The treasury of the Church contains not just the good works of the canonized saints, but of all the saints in heaven and those on earth as well.

10:59 - They are not ONLY received through the keys, but I will say that the ministry of the Church is the primary or normative means.

11:47 - We don't follow the instructions of the priest (or, to put it another way, we do not perform our penance) in order to stay out of Purgatory. That is a result, but it is not the primary motive, which is to heal the negative effects that our sin has upon our neighbor and the Body of Christ.

12:25 - The stole is only purple in the administration of the sacrament, and then more because purple is representative of penance than because it is an expression of the authority of his office. In the administration of the other sacraments, the stole is the color of the liturgical season. The stole does represent the office of the priest, but it also represents the yoke of Christ, since it is worn over the shoulders of the priest.

16:27 - We do not believe that the purpose of the Mass is to "appease the wrath of God." That is nowhere present in the Catechism. The purpose of the Mass, specifically the sacrifice of the Mass, is to make Christ's work of redemption present to us and to apply its benefits.

18:33 - Mass is celebrated daily not because "grace is handed out piecemeal" but because Christ instructed his disciples to pray for their "daily bread", because it was the practice of the apostolic church to meet daily for the "breaking of the bread" (Acts 2:42, 46), because worship is not something that you just offer God on Sunday, and for many more reasons besides.

24:57 - You said it was "considered, at least for a long time, a mortal sin" to miss Mass, but that has never changed. It is still considered a mortal sin to miss Mass on Sunday. It flows from the requirement of the Third Commandment to keep the Lord's Day holy. But, a Catholic is not required to go to Mass on the other days of the week.

27:46 - The reason that the sacrifice of Christ is re-presented in the Mass every day is not because, as you put it, Jesus only paid for the sins one committed since the last time he went to Mass. Jesus paid the price once, we know that. But, the grace has to be applied to us. This happens every day in the Mass because sinners are always in need of the grace of God.

28:00 - The Church does not teach that we need this grace because we are constantly condemned. If you have committed sins, you will be forgiven, which is good and necessary. But grace does more than sanctify. It also enlightens the mind, strengthens the will against sin and temptation, helps us to be faithful to God and rids us of attachments to sin. Grace helps us to grow in holiness. All of this is certainly something that every person could stand to have more of. The Catholic faith is not about doing what you need to do every day in order to stay out of hell. It's about growth and maturity and persevering to the end (as Paul encouraged us to do) and strengthening our relationship with Christ.

30:06 - The Mass is not a continual reminder that one's sins are not fully paid for. No Catholic believes that, and that is not what the Church teaches. You quoted Hebrews where it says that Jesus paid it once and ... FOR EVER. Did you miss that part? Jesus "continues a priest for ever" (Heb 7:2) and "He always lives to make intercession for us" (Heb 7:25). The Mass simply makes that perpetual offering present to us.

31:46 - We are not "paying for sins again, and again, and again", as I have already explained.

32:01 - The primary purpose of going to Mass is not "to get freshly cleansed." It is to offer to God the worship He deserves. It is only secondarily about what we might get from it.

32:40 - Confirmation does not signify that the young Catholic has now "come of age." That is a widespread misconception, not the teaching of the Church.

33:05 - Again, we are not trying to "appease the wrath of God." We're not Puritans ;)

35:00 - There was no "upgrade". The teaching of the Church has always been the same regarding salvation in the Church. What Vatican II did was to clarify what it means to be "outside of the Church." You can find similar statements throughout the history of the Church.

37:52 - Catholic ecumenism does not "ignore differences" and that is not what Pope Francis is doing. Ecumenism is about using what we have in common as a bridge with which to bring Catholics and Protestants together so that we can experience unity in what we have in common, and so that the charity engendered by that unity will permeate our discussions of the things that we differ on and help us to come to a greater mutual understanding. This is the desire of not only Pope Francis, but of his recent predecessors as well.

41:23 - I have never seen Eph 5:26 used to defend Purgatory. I'm sure someone probably used it before, but it's not the go-to passage I would use. In fact, I'm not sure I would use it at all, since it only really applies to Purgatory in an analogous sort of way. I think you're tearing down a strawman here by using that passage as the representative text in defense of Purgatory.

53:36 - There is no belief entrenched in the heart of Catholics that Mary loves us more than Jesus. I'm sorry, there's just not. I've also never heard of the prayer that you recited. I'm sure you can find it somewhere on the internet, but it's not a part of the common prayers that Catholics pray every day (the Our Father, the Hail Mary, the Glory Be, the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, etc.). I could explain the meaning of the prayer, but this is not the place for that.

54:58 - We don't pray to images. Instead, we pray to the saint who is depicted in the image.

55:38 - We are also not taking something identical to worship and giving it a new name. Whether or not something is worship depends on the intention of the person performing the action more than it does on the action itself, and no Catholic intends to grant to the saints the adoration that is reserved to God alone. We know all the passages against idolatry. We do not worship anyone or anything other than God.

59:02 - The Catholic rebuttal is not that the word "brother" means "cousin", or at least that's not all that we say the word means. We acknowledge, as every Greek dictionary will tell you, that the word for "brother" (adelphos) encompasses a host of relations: sibling, cousin, nephew, close friend, tribesman, someone of the same nation, someone you share a spiritual kinship with, etc.

1:00:58 - We don't emphasize Mary more than Jesus. In fact, central to each of the Marian dogmas is a truth about Jesus that we are simultaneously affirming. Mary can't help but point to Jesus, and our Marian doctrines can't help but affirm Him. Our Marian doctrines redound to the glory of Christ.

I think that's everything. Notice how I couldn't go more than 2 minutes or so without stumbling over something that was not presented accurately. It's shocking but I'm afraid that is the reality with many Protestant apologists. They simply do not know what they are attempting to refute. I don't think that Mike is intentionally trying to deceive anyone. I just think that there is still more that he could stand to learn about the Catholic faith.

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

10 comments:

Restless Pilgrim said...

Excellent summary! I had seen some of these videos and not sure how to write a rebuttal due to the pretty constant stream of misrepresentations to address. I think I'm going to steal your format :-)

And using Ephesians to defend Purgatory?! Eesh...

Nicholas Hardesty said...

Thanks Pilgrim! Feel free to steal my format :D

Mike Winger said...

Dear phatcatholic,

This is Mike Winger, you wrote a blog to refute my assessment of Catholic doctrine by demonstrating significant ways in which I misrepresented Roman Catholic teaching. The important thing was that, in order to refute my conclusions, you were trying to show that I had so misrepresented Roman Catholic Theology as to make my points invalid. This means that you didn’t challenge my reasoning but my premises regarding what the Roman Catholic Church teaches in the first place. If you were right then my whole video was a straw man. If you were wrong then my video is a real challenge to Catholic teachings and even more so with a failed attempt to refute it.

The following is my response, point by point, to your blog refuting my video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1xZTPY98Oc

I am going to include your time references so that a point by point response can be seen.

1:25 - Though you and I agree that sacraments are a means of grace you don’t think that this means grace is earned through sacraments. Here is what the council of Trent says, which supports my claims.
Trent VI, Canon 32.
If anyone says that the good works of the one justified are in such manner the gifts of God that they are not also the good merits of him justified; or that the one justified by the good works that he performs by the grace of God and the merit of Jesus Christ, whose living member he is, does not truly merit an increase of grace, eternal life, and in case he dies in grace, the attainment of eternal life itself and also an increase of glory, let him be anathema.
If any one saith, that the justice received is not preserved and also increased before God through good works; but that the said works are merely the fruits and signs of Justification obtained, but not a cause of the increase thereof; let him be anathema.
Trent VI, Canon 24.
If anyone says that the justice received is not preserved and also not increased before God through good works, but that those works are merely the fruits and signs of justification obtained, but not the cause of its increase, let him be anathema.
http://www.ewtn.com/library/councils/trent6.htm
I hope it is abundantly clear that grace is merited. An increase of grace is merited (earned) by works and to deny this is to be under an anathema of the Roman Catholic Church


2:12 - There is no significant difference between certain forms of indulgences and certain abuses of indulgences. This is merely where you want to find something to disagree with. Abuses of indulgences (like those preceding the reformation) are also certain forms of indulgences.


2:40 - Indulgences are essential to Catholicism because every time a person goes to confession they are obtaining indulgences. This is supremely important in the theology of Roman Catholicism. Confession, the Eucharist and penance are all to obtain indulgences. May I note, that even if I were wrong in this issue it has little to do with my actual point in the video. Most of your criticisms are irrelevant to the point being made and don’t even try to refute the conclusions about Catholicism. It’s like I’m trying to address the significant and you are responding by drowning me in the insignificant.

Response continued in NEXT comment...

Mike Winger said...

...continued

3:58 - This is just semantics. Jesus isn’t enough because you have to add works. But you claim that grace is given through the sacraments. That isn’t grace. That is merit. That is works. Roman Catholic teaching says that we need works to earn grace. But this is a redefinition of grace to mean something other than grace. This is why Romans 11:6 and Ephesians 2:8-9 are in the scripture. Those passages refute the idea that we can mix grace and works and pretend it is still grace.
The Council of Trent, 1545 to 1563, came out with these statements
"It is given as a reward, promised by God Himself to be faithfully given to their good works and merits. By those very works which have been done in God, fully satisfied the divine law according to the state of this life and to have truly merited eternal life."

God rejected this concept in the Bible

Romans 4:4–5 (NKJV) 4Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. 5But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,
Contrast of grace and debt

Romans 11:6 (NKJV) 6And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.

Grace = unearned!
Works = earned!

So they can’t be mixed

Ephesians 2:8–10 (NKJV) 8For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.


4:08 - True. I misspoke. I completely receive this correction and I am sorry for misrepresenting Roman Catholic theology in that way. I don’t want to minimize this but I don’t think it offers a substantive refutation of my conclusions because you would have to agree that Roman Catholic teaching treats baptism as a work towards meriting eternal life.


4:30 - So to be clear, baptism removes original sin from all who are baptized, removes all sins from those who are older and are truly sorry for them at time of baptism but doesn’t guarantee against the person having fresh guilt because of future venial sins or even from losing the grace of salvation from committing mortal sins. I will be more clear in the future and I appreciate the more detailed understanding. I have only read material about it in the context of infant baptism which lead me to conclude that it only removed original sin. So, what I was wrong about is that if an adult gets baptized he has a clean slate but what I was right about is that baptism is required but not sufficient for salvation in Roman Catholic teaching. That is, the meat of my point is still valid.


5:09 - You have missed my point here. The point is that they have a different view of being born again than the biblical one that I described in the video. We see being born again as resulting in a change of the whole man and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which causes a real and noticeable change in the character of the individual. Your definition of “born again” can be stated in romantic terminology but it seems to amount to no more than a change of status.


continued in NEXT comment...

Mike Winger said...

7:29 - I agree that the whole doctrine isn’t built on that one phrase. Catholic theologians attempt to use that passage to justify infant baptism and this is one example of the very weak case for it in the New Testament.


10:03 - I don’t actually see you disagreeing with me here. It is just a relatively empty claim that even though you go to men to mediate between you and God you are still somehow going to Jesus. That is just a rhetorical way of ignoring the fact that the Catholic church is chock full of mediators between people and Jesus.


10:47-If by this you mean “some people are saints even though the church hasn’t canonized them and their works are also part of the treasury of merit” then I think this is a nit-picky point that does nothing to challenge the claims I have made about the problems with the way the Roman Catholic Church pretends to dole out grace piecemeal and without biblical support.


10:59 - I’m not sure of the relevance of this or what correction is in it for me.

11:47 - I don’t want to be sarcastic but I really don’t think you are representing most Catholics in this. Do you really suppose that, if I surveyed Catholics after
confession, the most commonly cited motive would be “to heal the negative effects that our sin has upon our neighbor and the Body of Christ”? This is just a baseless romanticizing of Roman teaching. I see this a lot and I think that it represents an insincerity in commitment to one’s own beliefs. Why not shamelessly admit what is obviously the case, Catholics do penance to remove the guilt of sin over and over and over again.


12:25 Unimportant minutiae that, like most of what you wrote, doesn’t even begin to correct my conclusions about the falseness of certain Roman Catholic doctrine.


16:27 - Potato potahto. Christ’s sacrifice appeases the wrath of God. We both believe this. You just think this is somehow accomplished through Mass. More nitpicky criticisms over words that end up meaning the same thing either way and have nothing to do with addressing my point.


18:33 - More romantic words. Again, there is no substantive difference between what you are saying and what I have claimed. You aren’t telling me that Mass doesn’t give fresh grace to the person each time they partake, you are just wanting to use pretty words to describe it. You still think Mass is a means of grace which is much more than calling it an act of worship. You still think it is only received through the priesthood and that is much more than “daily bread” (which passage is talking about actual food).


24:57 - Your understanding is even more strict that I described. This only underscores my point further.

continued in NEXT comment...

Mike Winger said...


27:46 - Tomato tomahto. This is another case of just wanting me to say the same thing with romantic flare. The more romantic your words the less they mean. “sinners are always in need of the grace of God”. It would seem we could agree on this but we can’t, because we wouldn’t mean the same thing by it. I think I always need the grace of God but that I constantly have it because Jesus ever lives to intercede for me. You think we always need God’s grace because we can sin and lose the grace of salvation and need to be forgiven anew or because we will suffer in purgatory if we don’t get that grace again and again and again and again. Your romantic words serve to confuse and obfuscate rather than to clarify. Personally, I find that sort of thing deceitful.


28:00 - More romance. Your altruistic representation of Catholicism is not the experience of your average Catholic. Though they might like to think it. Also, I don’t think the average Catholic is fearful of hell nearly as much as they are of purgatory, not that this has anything to do with my point in the video.

30:06 - You don’t want to say that sin still needs to be paid for again but I use the term because of the idea of meriting (earning, working for) grace through things like Mass. You use those passages to say exactly the thing they are against. A simple reading of the context would show that they don’t teach Mass. If you only had the Bible you would never come up with the peculiar theology of the modern Roman Catholic Church.


31:46 - If I were to say “representing payment over and over again” would you object? It’s more of Jesus flesh and blood to cover new sins that were not forgiven until the Eucharist was completed again. In any case it is true that if this payment isn’t made again and again in mass then I can’t be saved even if I had truly and rightly received it in the past. At least that’s old Catholic theology, it seems that universalism is on it’s way in the RCC.


32:01 - More romanticizing about the motives of Catholics. I don’t see any substantive argument that somehow challenges my point here. You would probably agree that they get freshly cleansed and that it’s necessary, and even though these are accurate descriptions you would like to use more flowery words that de-emphasize the doctrinal claims and focus on the generic “glory to God”. But, if Mass is not a biblical thing then it isn’t really to God’s glory.


32:40 - The earliest time confirmation is offered to a person is when they are of age to reason. This is typically when it is done and it does signify a coming of age. That is not to say it is the ONLY element of confirmation but it’s not inaccurate to say that the majority of people who do so do so when they come of age. At any rate, we still haven’t touched a substantive point in that this doesn’t prove wrong my conclusions about Catholic theology being wrong. Not that all of it is wrong just that it has some important false theology. I hope you take the time to consider my other 3 videos in the series because in them I dealt in much greater detail with the real meat of the issues.

continued in NEXT comment...

Mike Winger said...

33:05 - Again, this is semantics.

35:00 - PLEASE watch videos 2 and 3 in my series. It is a fairy tale to think that the RCC hasn’t had an evolving theology for the past 1700 years.


37:52 - This is a whole can of worms. I hope you would check out my video response to Francis’ “prayer request” for January 2016.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EX1BjID_fE
If nothing else, time will tell that this pope is ecumenical in a way that is an abandonment and distortion of previous Roman Catholic theology.


41:23 - Fair enough, but I would challenge any passage you try to use to teach that purgatory exists. You don’t get this except from some extreme hermeneutical gymnastics. 1 Cor 3 is a passage I imagine you would use and I tackled that head on. Your defense of purgatory in response to my video is “one of those passages doesn’t teach purgatory”. We agree on that. In fact, I think that no passage teaches it. Please note that even if true, your complaint does nothing to diminish my conclusion that purgatory is unbiblical, you merely agree that Ephesians 5:26 doesn’t teach it.


53:36 - You say you’ve never heard of this prayer but I don’t hear you saying that you disagree with it’s content. That is significant in and of itself. It is the observation of anyone who pays attention to Catholic practices. Mary is seen as “the safest way to approach Jesus”. To the Catholic it is like Mary is going to exert influence over Jesus because Jesus can’t say no to His mother. Notice that you ignore the substantive arguments I give against prayer to Mary. 1- that she would need to have some kind of powers like God in order to hear everyone praying to her all over the world at the same time. 2- that there are prayers exampled from Genesis to Revelation and NONE of them are given toward someone other than God. 3- that any attempt to contact the dead is forbidden.


54:58 - Then why use the image? If the image doesn’t somehow convey prayers to the saint. No cult thought the idol was the god but associated the idol with the thing it represented in the same way Catholics are taught to by the RCC.


55:38 - I covered this in the video. Your claim is empty because it is denied by your practices. It is just a rewording of things to escape an obvious conclusion. It’s merely a practicing of idolatry while saying, “don’t worry, it’s not idolatry”.

continued in NEXT comment...

Mike Winger said...

59:02 - So, you take an even more liberal stance than I represented on the word adelphos. You are saying they may have been his cousins, nephews, friends, tribesmen, or merely other Jews. I’ve never heard such a broad and weak interpretation of the term. Further, the context of its use clearly implies that these were brothers of the same mother. This is because of the joining of “brothers” with the “mother” of Jesus, not to mention his sisters. It would be strange indeed to be taking the word to mean “the mother of Jesus and some who shared spiritual kinship with Him”

Matthew 12:46–47 (NKJV)
46While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him.
47Then one said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.”

Matthew 13:55 (NKJV)
55Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas?

Mark 6:3 (NKJV)
3Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him.

Luke 8:19–20 (NKJV)
19Then His mother and brothers came to Him, and could not approach Him because of the crowd.
20And it was told Him by some, who said, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see You.”

John 2:12 (NKJV)
12After this He went down to Capernaum, He, His mother, His brothers, and His disciples; and they did not stay there many days.

Acts 1:14 (NKJV)
14These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

The context pushes us to seeing adelphos as Jesus sharing a mother with these brothers and sisters.

This is a whole debate in and of itself but I think you simply demonstrate the willingness to receive any interpretation, no matter how unlikely, as long as it supports RC teaching. The priority is on the church, not on the truth of the Bible.


1:00:58 - Empty claims contradicted by the doctrines and practices in the Catholic church.

You merely attacked side issues and played semantics instead of tackling the substance of my concerns. You didn’t defend Catholic teaching or claims. You didn’t refute the meat of my points. You didn’t even offer one significant refutation that would detract from the conclusion that the RCC has a false claim to authority and has piled up many doctrines which are unsupported by the Bible and amount to a gospel of works + grace which is contradicted by scripture. I sincerely hope that you will consider these things and while I disagree with you it is not with any animosity. I appreciate you taking the time you did on this but the consequences of being wrong on these issues is too big to ignore.


Sincerely,
Mike Winger

Mike Winger said...

I would appreciate a response to my comments. I have no animosity or bitterness toward you at all, I just want to seek truth on these issues and I think that the things you wrote hurt that agenda. I spent a great deal of time and energy trying to accurately understand and present information that is relevant to the truthfulness of Roman claims. I could have used spurious info or gone for days talking about Catholic endorsed violence, persecutions, papal orgies, Babylonian and pagan practices, etc etc. Why didn't I do this? Because I don't want to deal with secondary or spurious issues and I don't want to do what I have seen some people do when they miss the target by attacking things that don't really represent Catholicism. I took the time to respond to your blog and I appreciate that you have left my comments available to others. However, I would appreciate a response to what I have said about your blog.

in search of truth,
Mike Winger

pwndecaf said...

Well said, Mike.

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