Tuesday, August 28, 2007

GNRHead Responds - TurretinFan Rebuts

In a previous post, the present blogger had posted a response to a video by GNRHead (link to TurretinFan's response). Now, GNRHead has provided comments regarding that posting. His comments are reproduced using block quotations below. His response is line-by-line with respect to much of the original post, and accordingly, his quotation of the original post has been retained.

GNRHead writes:
Now if I had been directed to this post earlier I would have done a good job to it, but I was barely shown it so here goes my quick response:

TF responds:
Thanks for your response.

GNRHead writes:
what he posted: A internet poster named William, going by the handle GNRHead, has posted a series of videos on the internet, in which he defends Roman Catholic theology, with an emphasis on patristic issues. This is a response to his most recent video here (link here, warning, near profanity employed).
My response:Near profanity is NEVER in my videos. A complete lie.

TF responds:
A rose by any other name.
Around 45 seconds into your video you use two abbreviated profanities, in summarizing the responses you have received. Hence my warning.

GNRHead writes:
what he says: I also appreciate his apparently sincere belief that the Early Church Fathers held to Roman Catholic doctrines. On the other hand, I firmly disagree.
My response: Good for you, too bad the Early Church was Catholic in it's decrees and all it's beliefs. Not Protestant

TF responds:

Such a claim is both obviously false, a bit of a red herring, and undermines GNRHead's position.

The allegation is obviously false, because the Early Church was not "Catholic" either in the sense of having universal agreement or in the sense of holding to the dogma of the modern Roman Catholic Church.

The allegation is a bit of a red herring, because Protestantism is defined by references to various corruptions in the Roman Catholic Church that were "protested" by the Reformers. Before those corruptions entered, naturally no one protested them. Thus, one does not see an outcry over the use of Indulgences in the Early Church, not because everyone agreed with the modern and/or medieval Roman Catholic views on Indulgences, but because no one had heard of either of those views yet.

The allegation undermines GNRHead's position, because the Early Church may not have been - to take an example - part of the PCA (or any other modern Protestant body), but they were also not part of the modern Roman Catholic Church.

GNR writes:
what he says:GNRHead states that "every single early church father agrees that Peter was the rock" in Matthew 16:18. That's simply not true.
My response:It is true, as I demonstrated in my responses to Protestant apologist Moses Flores sloppy videos.

TF responds:

Substantively: no it is not true. But feel free to attempt demonstrate it, if you feel you can.

Formally: calling someone else's presentation "sloppy" is obviously not a substantive refutation. Calling their presentation "sloppy" in a sentence that contains a grammatical error is at least mildly ironic.

GNRHead writes:
what he says:In my own research, every time before the third century that an Early Church Father explains a metaphorical use of the term "Rock" they make that refer to Christ, not Peter.
My response:Well maybe you should study a bit more, cause your studies are sloppy at that. I have a full video response to this completely uneducated stance on Youtube in video format already. That is an utterly fallacious and sloppy position to hold and I name many many many Fathers that believed otherwise.

TF responds:

Formally: see above, calling something "sloppy," is not a refutation. The same principle applies to labelling things pejoratively and exhorting one's opponent to further study. The mild irony above is amplified here, where you use "cause" in place of "because," misuse the term "fallacious," and engage in a run-on sentence.
Quasi-Substantively: The thrice repeated "many" with reference to the number of Fathers that believed otherwise is not a substitute for simply enumerating the "Fathers" that supposedly "believed otherwise."
Substantively: In fact, as your own response below demonstrates, you yourself appear to recognize that many Fathers identified the use of the figure "Rock" in Scripture as pointing to Christ Himself. Thus, your disputation on this point appears to be internally inconsistent. Perhaps you would care to clarify. Do you mean to claim that early Fathers did not identify the figure of "Rock" with Christ, or do you have another claim in mind?

GNRHead writes:
what he says:Likewise, in the Shepherd of Hermas, the rock is Christ, the tower is the church, and the tower is built upon the rock.
My response:No one denies that Christ is the eternal Rock. We agree with that, just as Peter is the vicarious rock. In the Shepherd of Hermas we are not dealing with a refutation of the passage of Mt.16, so your parallelism fails and is sloppy at that.

TF writes:
Formally: See above regarding the "sloppy" argument, with a hint of irony regarding your use of "refutation."
Substantively: The Shepherd of Hermas is the earliest Christian writing that addresses the church being built on a rock, and explicitly identifies that rock with Christ. The writing does not explicitly reference Matthew 16, but then again, SoH doesn't refer to any Scripture at all, except, arguably to Moses' writings: "'The Lord is near to them who return unto Him,' as it is written in Eldad and Modat, who prophesied to the people in the wilderness."
Nevertheless, the Shepherd of Hermas is significant because of its use of the same church-built-on-a-rock figure, and because it explicitly identifies the rock as Christ.
GNRHead writes:
what he says:Indeed, the first time an "Early Church Father" that might be taken to support the view you suggest is Turtullian in his letter against Marcion, some time around the the turn of the 3rd century.
My response: This simply is not true and if anyone wants quotes as proof I will show it, not just blow smoke up your nose.
TF responds:

This author is waiting on tenterhooks for the smoke-free proof. Obviously, there is no way I could demonstrate that there is not some earlier relevant writing, so let's see some quotations, GNRHead.

GNRHead writes:
what he says:Yet even Turtullian in later writing comments that Peter was called Peter in order to typify Christ, the Rock. And we look back more carefully at what Turtullian wrote in the single passage where Turtullian makes the connection, you will see that Turtullian writes not that Peter was the rock, but that Peter was called the rock.
My response:This is so sloppy it doesn't deserve a response. First off, it's TERTULLIAN, as the correct spelling, secondly no one claims Peter was actually a rock in the sense of a Rock you can hold, so your assertion is a failure and makes no sense at all.

TF responds:

I did misspell Tertullian's name. (And I have no corrected that error in the original post. Thank you for pointing it out to me.)

As for the reply that Peter was not literally a rock, that's irrelevant: you've missed the point of the argument. The point is that Peter was called the rock, but Jesus IS the rock. Of course, Jesus is human, not granite.

GNRHead writes:
what he says:Then Cyprian applies the term rock to Peter, but not just to Peter but to all the bishops of the Church.
my response:I covered this and there's no disagreement here nor does that contradict the Primacy of the Pope, which Cyprian affirms many times over even out of this quotation.

TF responds:
The alleged primacy of the pope would be an interesting topic for another time.
The point was simply to observe that Cyprian did not uniquely identify Peter with the rock. Since that point appears to be granted, we can move on.

GNRHead writes:
what he says:Firmillian, in contrast, applied the term only to Peter, and mocked Stephen for claiming to sit in the chair of Peter. Both would have been writing toward the middle of the third century.
My response:Looks like someone is desperately grasping at James White arguments, I already fully responded to this in a youtube posting.

TF responds:

Substantively: While the present author will certainly diligently read all of GNRHead's youtube videos, it would be more useful if the full response (or even an abbreviated response) were provided here, in a media that is more readily searchable.

Formally: Thanks for the James White association. He is a much more well known debunker of RCC myths than I am.

GNRHead writes:
what he says:If you are reckoning Early Church Fathers as those before the council of Nicea, I wonder what makes you think that "all" of them held your view: the vast majority make no reference at all to the subject, and the few who mention it do so in very few places.
My response:you are simply incorrect, the majority make clear reference to this and that direct passage saying that Peter was indeed the Rock, so you are once again in ERROR.

TF responds:
GNRHead's contentions here are clearly wrong. As noted above, the vast majority of ante-nicean fathers make no mention of the issue. That's simply a matter of fact. The appropriate rebuttal would be to list the ante-nicean fathers who do address the subject, and (if possible) cite where they address the subject, so the claim could be verified.
There is a simple reason that GNRHead does not provide such a list: the list would not support GNRHead's exagerated claims.
Capitalizing "ERROR" is not a rebuttal that works here, citing fathers is really the only way to establish the claims that have been made.
Note, however, that GNRHead has switched from "all" to "the majority." That alone should be enough of a concession to convince any fair-minded person that GNRHead's original claims were untenable.

GNRHead writes:
what he says:So here's the challenge to you:Back up your claim that "every single early church father agrees that Peter was the rock" and then reconcile that with Augustine, who explicitly stated that it was mistaken to say that Peter was the rock.
my response:I already proved that each time a Protestant attempts to point to a Father and claim he didn't view Peter as the Rock that it's simply untrue. In my video response to a youtuber I pointed out that Augustine held that Christ was also the Rock, but never abandoned his claim to Peter being the Rock, as he STILL calls Peter the Rock in a quotation AFTER the one you are thinking of!

TF replies:
Again, oblique references to youtube videos are not that helpful. Furthermore, rather than simply asserting that "Augustine ... never abandoned his claim to Peter being the Rock" it would be helpful if you would provide a citation, so that the reader could confirm whether there is merit in what you have to say. Perhaps, in any event, it would be safer for you not to assume that you know what quotation I'm thinking of, and just present your own demonstration.

The challenge still stands: back up your claim with patristic quotations.

GNRHead writes:
what he says:Finally, note that even Trent does not have your back. After all Trent writes:"For which cause, this council has thought good, that the Symbol of faith which the holy Roman Church makes use of,--as being that principle wherein all who profess the faith of Christ necessarily agree, and that firm and alone foundation against which the gates of hell shall never prevail,--be expressed in the very same words in which it is read in all the churches."Faith, not Peter, is described as being the foundation by Trent, which if you are to remain RCC, you must be bound to accept as true.
My response:It is true that Faith is the foundation, but unlike your sloppy and sad misreadings, the Church never disavows that Peter is the Rock. You simply are neither an apologist or someone well read in Early Church History or Biblical teachings. Simply because Faith is called a foundation that does not make it that Peter was not the Rock of the Church. Where is your logic. Is illogicality your true armor?

TF responds:
a) Trent does not explicitly say "Peter is not the Rock." Instead, Trent says that "Faith" is the foundation, and that it is so "alone." Please feel free to disagree, but please explain how it can be so "alone" and how Peter can also be the foundation?
b) The logical principle involved is the law of the excluded middle. Either faith alone is the foundation, or faith not alone is the foundation: both cannot be true.
c) Formally: "illogicality" - that's good for a chuckle.
d) No, I use a sword.

GNRHead writes:
what he says:What will it be then? Is Peter or Faith in Christ the Rock in Matthew 16:18?
My response:My response is the LOGICAL one buddy, you cannot SEPARATE Peter's FAITH from his person nor can you separate the Fact that Christ calls Peter the Rock upon which he will build his Church! It is because of Peter's revelation from GOD and faith in Christ that he is entrusted with the Keys of the Kingdom and called the Rock! Refute that!

TF responds:

Sure you can separate Peter's faith from his person. Why couldn't you? It's easy to do: I have the faith of the apostle, though I am not him. I believe that Jesus is the Christ, and yet I am not Simon Peter Barjona.

As for the requested refutation, Peter himself refers to Jesus as the Rock, and the keys were given to all the Apostles.

I realize that the fact that Jesus was speaking of Faith in Himself, not about the fisherman from Galilee, may be hard for a Roman Catholic to accept, but it is the truth.



Anonymous said...

Are you saying Trent says the RCC believes in "faith alone"? If so, in what way?

TheoJunkie said...

As usual, a well constructed response, TF.

Because I'm finicky in this way, I would like to point out for your readers that the Protestants were (and are):

PRO-testing (testifying FOR) the GOSPEL of Grace.... and

CON-testing (testifying AGAINST) the RCC dogmas that had crept in and corrupted the Gospel as known to the early Church.

... though this is basically just a semantical exercise, I find it interesting and clarifying.

Turretinfan said...


Don't be confused: the RCC defines "faith" differently than the Reformed churches do.

Trent explicitly denies that faith alone justifies the impious.


Turretinfan said...

Methinks thou dost protest too much.


For your etymological interest, here's a handy link. See, especially, the second entry:



Turretinfan said...

No, that was just an address, here's the link:


With apologies for my error.


P.S. thanks for the points!

TheoJunkie said...

Speaking of all this...

and not without a shameless attempt to increase my hit counter and make it seem like smart people read my blog...

Check this out (and comment of course, if you have time or interest): http://theojunkie.blogspot.com/2007/09/thought-number-32-i-think-catholicism.html ... the inspiratory link which I found whilst lurking in the Wesleyan/Holiness kaffee-klatch on Crosswalk.

Turretinfan said...