Man’s most basic question: “How can a man be right with God?” Job 9:2

John MacArthur answers that question.

Posted in Faith, Gospel Truth, Justification

Review of Rod Bennett’s book, “Four Witnesses” (Part 1a)

This used to be at, but I just noticed it is no longer there.  But see update at Beggar’s All.  It is actually still there, but a guy named Rob helped me to see how I can see it.  When I wrote this article at “Beggar’s All”, I linked to it at, but it is not longer there.

Fortunately, I had saved it in my own computer.

This book is well done in some aspects, but terrible in others (below). For the good aspects I was going to give it a 3 star as “Ok”, but because of the negative aspects that lead people astray from Biblical truth, I give it a “2 star”.

It is an imaginative and exciting read in the story telling parts of trying to imagine the context and history of these four men. I like his method of seeking to “fill in the blanks” as long as it is consistent and reasonable. The book is a Roman Catholic apologetic and biased popular introduction to these four men in early church (adding others in also to expand the RC idea that the whole early church agreed with Roman Catholic centuries later doctrines and dogmas). Rod certainly makes history come alive with his vivid descriptions and story-telling skills, and he also does a good job of weaving other writers and church history in his story. He also makes extensive use of Eusebius, Polycarp, Tertullian, and Cyprian to relate and harmonize the early centuries of Christianity together. He states his main purpose is to let the Early church speak for itself in her own words. (page 17) He does this to an extent, but he also leaves out some key parts of Clement (page 87, see below), and especially Irenaeus that actually go against his stated purpose. (to let the early church speak for itself) He skewed Cyprian of Carthage (died, being beheaded, around 258 AD) by leaving out important aspects of his life and writings, that pertain to the whole Roman Catholic vs. Protestantism debate. However his real purpose seems to be – to show that Protestantism is not historical, which is subtle. His main purpose seems to be to show that Sola Scriptura and Protestantism is wrong, especially when we read the afterward and the appendix of all the Roman Catholic distinctive doctrines that are the main issues that Protestants have against the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church.

Rod is a friend (I hope all my criticisms are against the doctrines, issues and principles and not against him as a person) a good story teller, and the aspects of early church history that he treats fairly that Protestant’s agree with is great. The intro is skewed in a few places toward the RC side of things, as is the Afterward and the Appendix; – the last 2 sections of the book, Afterward, and on “Catholic Teaching in the Early Church” and “Catholic Teaching Today” are very skewed, in that they are trying to show that the doctrines and dogmas of the RCC that Protestants dis-agree with were there from the beginning of church history. They were not.

The biggest problem is that he leaves out key elements of the quotes from Clement, which would show that Clement treated presbyteroi (elders) and episcopoi (overseers/bishops) as one church office/same person – as in Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5-7; Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Peter 5:1-4; 1 Timothy chapter 3. Since Clement, along with the Didache are the earliest writings outside of the NT and they are compatible with a two office local church government (elders/overseers who do the work of shepherd/pastors and deacons); and all scholars of church history agree, and Rod agreed with me when I pointed this out, that it was not until Ignatius around 107-117 AD, who exalted one of the presbyers out from the college of presbyters and made him the mono-episcopate (one bishop over the college of elders. When I pointed this out, Rod eventually agreed with me that he will need to add information in a subsequent edition on that issue. The way Clement is left, he has made it appear that the early church from the beginning had a three office structure, rather than just two.

Getting a grip on early church is hard work, and Rod provides us with some handles, such as the context of the Roman persecutions and the heroic Christianity of Polycarp, Ignatius, Justin Martyr in dying for the sake of Christ, and Irenaeus in defending the doctrines of Christ against Heresies. Rod has also challenged evangelicals to know and study church history and for that, we are grateful for his contribution.

But there are many things that he leaves out, that, if they had been included, would weaken his case against Protestantism. He is a former Protestant, a Southern Baptist, and evangelical, and by leaving out certain parts of Irenaeus and Clement, at the exact places that balance these men and their writings a little more toward Protestantism, his purpose seems clear. I am not saying that these four men, or the early church was Protestant or Evangelical in the modern, fully developed forms of Baptists, Presbyterians, etc. and other Protestants. Not at all. They were “catholic” (universal), and they provide the trunk of the tree that later branched off into Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, and Protestantism.

Now, there is nothing wrong with being selective, and no one can include everything in his or her research, otherwise, one would just have to rehash too much material with no analysis, and what would be the point of that? We don’t expect just a complete re-stating of all of Irenaeus’ great work, “Against Heresies”. And certainly, I realize that I would be accused of the same thing, if I wrote an apologetic for Protestantism and the early church and I leave out some parts of Irenaeus and Tertullian that seem to teach Mary as the New Eve (that, according to R. Catholic claims, provide seeds of the later ideas of the intercession of Mary, prayers to Mary, that she is an advocate for us, a co-mediatrix ideas of Mary); or if I leave out other passages of other early church fathers/writers that seem to teach some kind of baptismal regeneration or apostolic succession. Those three issues have Protestant responses; my point is that I understand that this tendency can work both ways, and it is a massive task to thoroughly cover all the issues in a small book. Some ancient passages are anachronistically interpreted to be something about the Roman Catholic church, the Pope, etc.; but they do not really teach that at the time of the early church, in the Roman Catholic Papal sense that took centuries to develop. An author has every right to pick and choose what he wants to in order to make his case; my only point is that someone else also the right to come along and show how certain things have been left out, and at just the precise place, so as to seemingly, although innocently, skew the evidence. Giving Rod the benefit of the doubt, I wish to say that leaving these things out may be just an oversight that, as he said to me when I pointed this out, did not occur to him at the time. But he later agreed with me on that.

Clement of Rome
In his section on Clement, on page 87, Rod Bennett stops the quote short of confirming that episcopais (overseer or bishop) and presbuteras (elder) are used interchangeable and teach that they are the same office in the local church. (see I Clement 43:6 – 44:1-4) In 44:3-6, if the quote is allowed to continue, shows that the earliest churches, closest to the written Scriptures, still held to the teaching that elders and overseers were one and the same office in the church, charged with the responsibility of teaching, pastoring, and guarding the flock from false teaching. (Acts 20:17-30, Titus 1:5-7, I Timothy 3, I Peter 5:1-5) All of these passages show that elders and bishops are the same, and that their job is to pastor/ feed/ shepherd the flock, and do the work of “overseeing” (leading).

Clement agrees with this, with the Scriptures, that elders and bishops are the same, so this is hardly an early church document in which teaches a papacy or Roman Catholicism. Rod claims that he “found only Catholicism” (page 281) , when reading and studying the Early Church Fathers. We can agree with this, if he means “catholic’ with a little “c”, in the sense of “universal”, spreading throughout the world, believers from all nations (Revelation 5:9; 7:9), and which is orthodox and is unified on the “rule of faith” and is against the heretics, such as Gnosticism, Arianism, Judaistic legalism, and other anti-trinitarian heresies. Historic Protestants agree with the early centuries and the develpment of the doctrine of the Trinity (and the early councils and creeds on doctrinal issues – Nicean, Constantinople, Chalcedon, Athanasian Creed), because it was all based on consistent exegesis of all the texts. He is wrong, if he means in the later “Roman Catholic” way, which took centuries to develop, which is what he is really claiming.

Also, in the Irenaeus section, he cuts the quotes and re-arranges them out of order in such a way as to give a false impression.

Irenaeus believed in the rule of faith, but how does Irenaeus define the rule of faith?

On page 246, he leaves out part of the quote that shows that Irenaeus is using Scriptural proofs for his arguments against the Gnostics.

On page 247, Rod claims that the Gnostics always appealed to Scripture for their views:

“To what did they appeal when they offered their various insights? To Scripture always . . . though always to Scripture properly understood of course.”

Where is the proof of this? I have not found this anywhere in Irenaeus. Rod is making it seem like Protestantism is like Gnosticism. Actually, Irenaeus says just the opposite!
He says that the Gnostics:
a. gather their knowledge from other sources other than the Scriptures. (Against Heresies, 1:8:1)
b. claim that the Jesus gave the apostles a secret, oral tradition. (3:2:1)
c. accuse the Scriptures of being unclear and ambiguous. (3:2:1)

But these 3 things are what the Roman Catholic church actually does do. They have other sources of authority that the Scriptures. Secret oral tradition, historical development of interpretation throughout history, the other councils after the first four ecumenical councils, creeds, and interpetations that grew centuries later, writings of the Popes, and the Apocrapha books, which are called “Deutero-canonicals”, meaning, “secondarily received into the canon as God-breathed.” Jerome and Athanaisus and Melito of Sardis have enough evidence to show the Apocrapha books were not inspired or part of the canon in the way that Roman Catholic apologists try to make them out to be.

Roman Catholics say the Scriptures are unclear, whereas Protestantism says that the Scriptures are clear to those who are born again by God’s Spirit and are willing to honestly look at them and do proper exegesis. (“My sheep hear My voice . . . ” John 10:27-30) This is not to say that all things are equally clear; (granted some secondary and minor things are unclear), but only to say that the main things necessary for salvation are clear. This is called the Protestant doctrine of the “perspicuity of Scripture”, which the Roman Catholic denies.

Knowledgeable Evangelical Protestants do not hate the word, “tradition”, nor “Eucharist”, nor “catholic”. Properly understood, there is no problem with these words as originally meant. When reading the early church fathers, those words come up a lot; but that does not mean that the early church was Roman Catholic.

What is “the tradition”?
The tradition that Irenaeus is talking about, is the right Biblical tradition, he defines it, in context (belief in One God, who created all things, Jesus as Son of God, the same God in OT as NT, against Gnosticism, etc.)
(See, Against Heresies, 1:10:1 and 1:10:2; 3:4:2)

On page 250, leaves out a key part of Irenaeus that defines what the “faith”, the preaching, the tradition is. He quotes 1:10:2 and makes it seem like what Irenaeus is saying is that tradition that the church protects is some thing different from the basic doctrines of the apostles creed, and the Nicean Creed.

The way he treated Cyprian (bishop of Carthage, lived around 200-258 AD) was very problematic (pages 272-273, as part of Irenaeus), leaving out key aspects and historical information. While Cyprian operated on the mono-espiscopate principle, which started with Ignatius; he did not agree with any kind of “univeral bishop over all other bishops”, that Rod skews it toward. The chair of Peter, the faith of Peter, only meant the doctrinal content of Matthew 16, that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. It did not mean any kind of “ex cathedra Papal sense” of the 1870 dogma. Cyprian, Firmillian and 85 other bishops from all over the Christian empire in the 7th Council of Carthage wrote; “no one has the right to claim he is bishop over all the other bishops” – the claim that Stephen, bishop of Rome, made. This was an arrogant claim, and those 86 bishops rightly rebuked Stephen. There is no such office as “Pope” in the early centuries of Christianity. Even Gregory, bishop of Rome in 601 AD argued against the concept in his disagreement with John of Constantinople.

There is much more I could write, but these are the main issues for now.

See other blog articles I have written on Rod Bennett’s book and lectures.  Click on Rod Bennett on the side bar.

Part 1b at Beggar’s All.

Part 2 at Beggar’s All.

Part 3 at Beggar’s All.


Posted in Apologetics, apostolic succession, church history, early church history, Rod Bennett, Roman Catholic false practices, Roman Catholicism, Truth

The Empty Tomb. He has risen!

Posted in The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ Debate

A Great debate on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Dr. White and James Renihan did an excellent job of defending the resurrection of Christ against 2 of the most notorious liberal scholars, John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg.

Apologetics and Agape

James White and James Renihan defend the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ in history against two very famous liberal theologians, Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan.

1 Corinthians 15:1

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand

γνωρίζω δὲ ὑμῖν ἀδελφοί τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ὃ εὐηγγελισάμην ὑμῖν ὃ καὶ παρελάβετε ἐν ᾧ καὶ ἑστήκατε

1 Corinthians 15:2

by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

δι’ οὗ καὶ σῴζεσθε τίνι λόγῳ εὐηγγελισάμην ὑμῖν εἰ κατέχετε ἐκτὸς εἰ μὴ εἰκῇ ἐπιστεύσατε

1 Corinthians 15:3 –

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

παρέδωκα γὰρ ὑμῖν ἐν πρώτοις ὃ καὶ παρέλαβον ὅτι Χριστὸς ἀπέθανεν ὑπὲρ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν…

View original post 191 more words

Posted in The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Can a Consistent Eastern Orthodox Believer be “the Bible Answer Man” ?

Dr. James White examines Hank Hanegraaff’s recent explanations of his conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy, in the light of the gospel, Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, prayers to icons, theosis, and other Eastern Orthodox distinctives such as “sacred oral tradition in the liturgy”.

Posted in Apologetics, church history, early church history, Eastern Orthodoxy, Hank Hanegraaff, Tradition

Dr. White rebukes Sam Shamoun and his sinful anger and being a bad and negative witness to Muslims

Sam Shamoun was properly rebuked by Dr. James White.  (see video below)
Just saying again, because it needs to be said again.
Sam needs to repent of his sinful anger, bombast, name calling, and bad witness to Muslims, and violating 1 Peter 3:15 (violating the “with gentleness and respect” part) and Ephesians 4:15. (violating the “speaking the truth in love” part) and also violating “do not return evil for evil or insult for insult” (1 Peter 3:8-9)  He does the opposite of this to anyone who disagrees with him and turns on them.  I tried to encourage Sam privately  by email, to stop this method, but he has refused to heed the admonition of Scripture.

Sam Shamoun has had lot of good material at his blog and at  and at, when he sticks to issues and reasoned argumentation, and uses the texts of the Qur’an and Hadith and history and the Bible, etc. and quotes from theologians, but many times he laces his interaction with people with lots of pugnaciousness (constantly fighting back and quarreling), name-calling, ad hominem, sinful anger, bombast, and snarkiness.

Sam needs to repent, because his witness is a bad witness and all the Muslims are using his anger and bad behavior to drag Christ’s name in the mud.

It is out of love that we rebuke you, Sam.  Repent of your pugnacious spirit.  (see 1 Timothy 3:3 and take heed to 3:7 also)

1 Timothy 3:1-7

1 It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do.
2 An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,

3 not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money.
4 He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity
5 (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?),
6 and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.
7 And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

1 Timothy 3:1-7
New American Standard Bible

Qualifications for overseers/elders/pastors – the same goes for missionaries, evangelists, and apologists.

Addendum:  (April 13, 2017)

If anyone is interested in seeing an example of Sam Shamoun’s anger and ad hominem, you can look here and see our back and forth.

Posted in Apologetics, Christian Attitudes toward others, Islam, Muslims, Sam Shamoun | 2 Comments

Older and newer documentation of Robert Morey’s absurd, outrageous, and dangerous suggestions

The above video is from 2012.

The newer documentation: (from December 16, 2016)

I apologize for being late (April of 2017) on putting this up.  I had written some things as a draft and just recently felt like it was ready to publish, mainly because of lack of time.

From an article that Sam Shamoun provided at his Facebook post: Robert Morey not only called for bombing the Kaaba, but also the whole cities of Mecca, Media, and also the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Sick and shameful.

By Robert Morey:

“The path to Paradise, according to the Five Pillars of Islam, involves the city of Mecca and its stone temple called the Kabah. Muslims pray toward Mecca five times a day. What if Mecca didn’t exist anymore?”

. . .

“They must make a pilgrimage to Mecca and engage in an elaborate set of rituals centered around the Kabah once they arrive. What if Mecca and the Kabah were only blackened holes in the ground?”

. . .

What if Medina, the burial place of Muhammad was wiped off the face of the planet?
What if the Dome Mosque on the Temple site in Jerusalem was blown up?

“With American ships stationed all around Arabia and troops on the ground within Saudi Arabia itself, it would take about 7 minutes for cruise missiles to take out Mecca and Medina. These cities could be vaporized in minutes and there is nothing the Saudis or any other Muslim country could do to stop us. The Israelis could take out the Dome Mosque at the same time. It could happen so fast that no one would have the time to respond. With these surgical strikes, FEW LIVES WOULD BE LOST. And, with three strikes against them, Islam is out!”
Robert Morey

Calling for bombing the Kaaba and asking the question, “what if Mecca didn’t exist anymore?” (The whole cities of Mecca and Medina !!!) clearly would mean that lots of innocent civilians would be killed.

He claims that “FEW LIVES WOULD BE LOST”.

Yeah, right; just like all the trouble we have had with all the other wars and how Muslims are upset by all the collateral damage and civilians that get killed.

This is not something a Christian should be saying or writing.

Shame on Robert Morey.

It would do just the opposite of what he claims/hopes:  It would unify the whole Muslim world against the USA and Christians everywhere.  They would attack the Copts in Egypt and Christians in Lebanon and Pakistan and all over the world.

It does not matter if Morey says “I was speaking about USA military policy; not as a type of “Christian Crusade” – it is still very bad military policy, shameful, sinful, unwise, and dangerous to talk like this and it is a bad witness coming from a Christian, and coming from a Christian apologist. Amazing that some seem think this kind of talk is ok.    It is not a Christian attitude at all!

Posted in Christian Attitudes toward others, Evangelism, Islam, Muslims, Politics, Truth