Socratic Dialogue / Debate vs. Anti-Lutheran Catholic

Socratic Dialogue / Debate vs. Anti-Lutheran Catholic January 30, 2020

[Words of Holly McWilliams will be in blue, those of Mark Wilson in green; Petros BM in purple]


I have a great deal of respect for traditionalist Lutherans, who are, in my estimation, the most respectable and intellectually cogent Protestant denomination. I say that after years of interaction with all sorts of Protestants (and being an evangelical Protestant myself, from 1977-1990).

I’ve enjoyed my dialogues with Lutherans through the years. I disagree with many things, of course, but it is with a lot of respect and thankfulness for all that Lutherans and Lutheranism have brought to Christianity, historically and in the present era.


What are examples of things they’ve brought?

Bach, Leibniz, Kierkegaard, Bonhoeffer, great biblical exegetes.

Now people may lump you together with the Pope who said something nice about John Wesley.

[I edited a book of his quotations, which was published by a Methodist / Wesleyan publisher, Beacon Hill Press]

Yeah, they might. Some people never learn that truth is truth, wherever it is found. Jesus said nice stuff about the pagan centurion.

One need not go to Lutheranism to find any of the truths found in Lutheranism.

One need not become a Lutheran or deny anything Catholic to affirm any of the truths found in Lutheranism.

They’re all borrowed truths.

What’s true is true. Credit where due. Don’t be anti-Protestant. Oppose whatever is false in Protestantism.

Credit is not due to Luther, it’s due to the Apostles.

What is your opinion about Protestants in general?

I have no opinion about Protestants in general, I make individual judgments about them. My belief about Protestantism in general is that should not exist, which is why I left Methodism 15 years ago.

Trent says they are validly baptized, which means regenerated and brothers and sisters in Christ. So you acknowledge no truth found within Protestantism, and give no credit and thanks for same?

Ideally it should not exist, but it does, and there is a lot of truth in it, as well as error.

Any truth found within Protestantism is Catholic truth. Any error found within Protestantism is Protestant error.

Are they your brothers and sisters in Christ?

You said it yourself, they’re validly baptized. But the Protestant community effects nothing in that regard. If no Protestant church had ever existed, the world would lose nothing in terms of the accessibility of saving grace.

You’re trying to make it about people in order to bring emotion into the discussion, while I am talking about Protestantism as a belief system.

That’s what I’m talking about, too. They are validly baptized, sez Trent. So are they your brothers and sisters in Christ? You need to conform yourself to Catholic magisterial teaching.

They are not validly baptized because they are baptized Protestants, but in spite of that.

For the third time, are they your brothers and sisters in Christ?

You keep shifting the discussion from the “what” to the “who”.

I did no such thing. You keep evading simple questions. Why?

The Church also teaches that a marriage between two lifelong Protestants is sacramental.

Because I’m not talking about people, I am talking about heresy. Lutheranism is a scandal and a scourge, even if it maintains a valid baptism.

Fourth time: are Lutherans our brothers and sisters in Christ? Do you maintain that a Protestant is serving Satan and not Jesus, or is not in Christ by virtue of baptism?

Why credit Protestants for only rejecting part of the deposit of faith? They have never added anything to that deposit, and are incapable of doing so. The sole purpose of the Church is to maintain the deposit of faith, and all Protestant churches have failed to do that to one degree or another. Their sole reason for existence is to reject that which Christ handed down to the Apostles.

So no Protestant is sincerely serving God, in good faith, according to their best lights?

Was Lutheranism willed by Christ?

I already said “Ideally it should not exist.” See, I answer your questions; now please answer mine.

I already answered your question as well. “You said it yourself, they’re validly baptized.”

Fifth time: are Lutherans our brothers and sisters in Christ?

The Church calls them “separated brethren” after all, and has done so at least since the time of Pope Leo XIII, over a hundred years ago.

Fifth time: why is that relevant to the question of where people should look to find truth?

I didn’t say it was. It’s relevant to the question of who is a Christian and brother in Christ or not. You’re practicing sophistry and evasion.

The Catholic Church is the fullness of Christian truth, as I have defended for 27 years now.

Lutheranism teaches nothing true that wasn’t already taught by the Catholic Church. Its only original contribution to the world is error. There is literally nothing to praise about Lutheranism, or any other Protestant belief system.

Alright. You can go spread this sort of anti-Protestant animus and hostility somewhere else. God bless you.


Related Reading:

Ecumenical Gatherings at Assisi: A Defense: Ecumenism in St. Thomas Aquinas (Fr. Alfredo M. Morselli) [8-1-99]

Dialogue: Vatican II & Other Religions (Nostra Aetate) [8-1-99]

My Respect for Protestants / Catholic Ecumenical Principles [2001; addendum: 1-8-03]

Defense of 2nd Ecumenical Gathering at Assisi (Mark Shea) [2-6-02]

Anathemas of Trent & Excommunication: An Explanation [5-20-03, incorporating portions from 1996 and 1998; abridged on 7-30-18]

Salvation Outside the Church?: Alleged Catholic Magisterial Contradictions & St. Thomas Aquinas’ Views [7-31-03]

How Catholics View Protestants [9-4-03; rev. 10-9-03 and 1-5-05; abridged on 11-14-16]

Wickedness of Christian Division & Anti-Protestantism [8-11-03 and 5-3-04]

My Conversion: Not Due to Hostility to Evangelicalism [9-9-06]

Comments on the Question: “Are Protestants Heretics?” [2-2-07]

Ecumenical Dialogue: Protestant & Catholic Soteriology (with C. Michael Patton) [7-8-07]

Reply to Michael Spencer’s “Five Questions For Roman Catholics” [9-26-07]

Fair Ecumenical Discussion & Catholic First Principles [11-29-07]

Gratefulness for My Evangelical Protestant Background [3-18-08]

Catholic-Protestant Common Ground (Esp. Re Good Works) [4-8-08]

No Salvation Outside the Church: Reply to Pastor Bill Keller [4-23-08]

The “Catholic-Sounding” Luther: 25 Examples [6-16-08]

Am I “Anti-Luther” or “Anti-Lutheran”? (Clarifications) [9-30-08 / 5-28-09 / 1-6-15]

What I Like About Calvinism and Calvinists [June 2009]

50 “Catholic” John Calvin Views [3-18-10]

Did Trent Anathematize All Protestants? [6-5-10]

“Separated Brethren” Term Before Vatican II (1962-1965) [3-25-13]

Martin Luther: Catholicism is Christian [6-12-13]

Michael Voris’ Anti-Protestant Rhetoric [8-8-13]

Catholic Approach to Protestants: Reflections [8-9-13]

How Protestants Can be Brethren in Christ (Christians) and [Partial] Heretics at the Same Time, According to Trent [1-4-14]

Dialogue with a Baptist Philosophy Professor on Catholic-Protestant Ecumenical Relations (vs. Dr. Jerry Walls) [5-13-15]

Top Ten Remarkable “Catholic” Beliefs of Martin Luther [8-13-15]

Top 15 “Catholic” Beliefs of John Calvin [8-22-15]

Defending John Calvin’s “Top 15 ‘Catholic’ Beliefs” [9-2-15]


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(initial statement written on 3-20-07; debate on Facebook on 10-24-17)

Photo credit: Lutheran composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750): 1746 portrait by Elias Gottlob Haussmann (1695-1774): copy or second version (1748). The original painting is in the gallery of the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall) in Leipzig, Germany [public domain / Wikimedia Commons]


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