The negative has been beating a straw-man since the beginning. The topic is “The first century church WAS completely apostatized” and NOT, “The first century church completely apostatized”. The church wasn’t the active doer of the action. Somebody led the church to apostasy. My proposition is that Satan though the Pope led the church to complete apostasy.
By definition, it is agreed that APOSTASY is falling away or abandonment of true faith. Also as used in LXX and in other OT renditions, Apostasy means rebellion against God ( Joshua 22:22), disobedience against the commandment of God (Jer. 2:19), and following other gods (Judges 2:19). Also, the bible portrays apostasy as adultery (Ezekiel 16) and a prostitution (Isa. 1:21).
The negative’s argument is also lacking in substance and proofs. He has no thesis. Instead, he formulated hypotheses without laying down facts and evidences. Here are his hypotheses and my counter-arguments:
Hypothesis: Apostasy applies only to individuals and not to groups.
Counter-argument: He said the “The Church is the institution that would guide its members “and is “one body… [where] everyone is member of one another”; thus, “cannot be separated”. The church, as an institution and one body, acts as an individual; whatever the brain said, the body will follow. As an institution, the church was led to apostasy. Blind is leading the blind. This is the Principle of Authority.
Hypothesis: The Jesus Christ guarantee.
Counter-argument: We have been defining apostasy but the “gates of Hades” never came up as definition. The guarantee is conditional. The “gates of Hades” is not apostasy. It’s too late for the negative. The “gates of Hades” is about death in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:14). The church is protected from it.
Hypothesis: Without specific date, complete apostasy didn’t happen.
Facts/Evidences: His own opinion
Counter-argument: Jesus’s birthday is without specific date; therefore, Jesus wasn’t born? The burnt house is burnt even though the exact time the fire ended isn’t known.
Hypothesis: Eastern Orthodox Church didn’t submit to Pope.
Facts/Evidences: His own opinion
Counter-argument: The Catholic Encyclopedia said “…before the schism… the Roman See was already the Apostolic See par excellence, not only in the West but also in the East.” And “The authoritative acts of the popes,… are styled acts of the Holy or Apostolic See.”.
Hypothesis: A kingdom that will never be destroyed
Counter-argument: The negative failed to connect the kingdom to first century church.
The fourth kingdom, divided kingdom, is the Catholic Church, a divided church. The fourth king is the Pope who spoke against God and the verse said “The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time.”
The kingdom that will never be destroyed will come AFTER the completion of “time, times and half a time” which is the period of apostasy. “Time, times and half a time” is a symbol for about half the time of the total dispensation of Christian period.
The negative has no cohesive thesis. He didn’t stand-up for the Catholic Church and did not prove that it is still the same church as the first century church. He didn’t do that. He just tried to negate my thesis and did not raise his own. This is the reason why his presentation is lacking and he failed miserably.
Moreover, the negative in trying to win a debate has abandoned his Pope. He did not try to rebut the argument that the Pope is the man of lawlessness. He also did not rebut the argument that the Catholic Church is the Babylon, the prostitute. In fact, he raised the point that the Eastern Orthodox Church might be the remnant of the true Church. That is, he said arguing without accepting. Again, he was negating and not raising a thesis. It was proven that the Pope had control over the East and West before schism as Catholic Encyclopedia stated.
The negative agreed that there was apostasy of great magnitude in the church. But he forgot that he also argued that the “Jesus Christ guarantee” is unconditional. If unconditional, then the guarantee must be in effect no matter what this great magnitude or number of people did. They are supposedly part of the body and thus, any unconditional guarantee must trickle down to them. Yet, this great number of people apostatized, he said. His argument simply doesn’t make sense.
By making those two arguments, the negative was implying that the apostasy wasn’t complete – that there were remnants – either the Eastern Orthodox Church or those few people left. However, he forgot that both were under the authority of the Pope as their leader or head. Whatever the head said, people follow. If the brain has cancer, the whole body is affected. He can’t say that the forearm is still good. It just won’t function well if the brain is damaged. Thus, when the church leadership was apostatized, the church was led astray completely.
The negative blundered on the question: who is the rock upon the church is built? First, he tried to avoid the question. Next, he said the rock was the Catholic Church; luckily for him, the moderator allowed him the completely change his position to Peter. His position in this matter is shaky and unstable. He probably has doubt in his faith. Who is Peter? For the Catholics, he is the first Pope. For Christ, who does Peter symbolize?
Satan led the apostasy of the Church
The Lord said the Peter: “Get behind me, Satan. You are a stumbling block to me…”. Right from the very beginning, the Lord knows that Satan, the stumbling block, is symbolized by Peter, the skandalon stone. Peter is not the “Petra” or “Shu’a” where the church was built upon. Peter is “Petros” or “Kepha”, the small stone that causes one to stumble. The negative introduced the “pebble” or “lithos” in trying to point out a smaller stone. Peter is bigger than a pebble; big enough to cause “skandalizo” or “falling away”. The Lord predicted: “You will all fall away (Skandalizo)”. That very night, Peter denied the Lord three times. After the Lord died, Peter went back to fishing; abandoning his calling to feed the sheep [with fish?]. Peter did not understand his calling. Even Paul got mad at him. He said Peter is to be blamed (Gal. 2:11). Peter used “Babylon” as a symbol for the church. Babylon is the symbol for the apostate church in Rev. 17-18.
The Church committed adultery with Paganism and Roman Emperors
The Apostles warned that after their departure or death; savage wolves will not spare the flock (Acts 20:29), which is the church (v28). Thus, the history of apostasy began. From 2nd century to 3rd century, the doctrines of the devil had been slowly creeping into the church. The fourth century was the climatic period of apostasy. Greek spirits prevailed over the church. The church committed adultery with the Roman Emperor and forgot about the true God. Trinity was introduced. Papacy gained more power. Papacy had control of both East and West.
The Jesus Christ guarantee was voided
The first century church was completely apostatized. As an institution, it was led to believe in philosophies of man – Greek Spirits e.g. Platonic Trinity. Doctrines of demons were introduced. The gospel was altered. Christ’s guarantee was voided.
The Pope, the man of lawlessness and Catholic Church, the prostitute
The negative, in taking a chance to recover, introduced the kingdom that will never be destroyed. He failed to link this kingdom to the first century church. He can’t because this kingdom will be built by God AFTER apostasy. The fourth kingdom, the apostate kingdom, will come first. In Daniel 7:24-25:
After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time.
For time, times and half a time, the holy people of God have been under the spell of Satan, through the Pope [man of lawlessness, fourth king, spoke against Most High] and under the Catholic Church [Prostitute of Babylon, the fourth kingdom, kingdom divided].
Time, times and half a time is a long period of time. It is half of the total dispensation of the Christian period which was divided into seven seals, which can subject of future discussion.
God was exhorting all of those who have been deceived
To all Catholics: Come out of her, my people! – Rev. 18:4
To the Protestants: Escape, you who live in Daughter of Babylon—Zech 2:7
I came out of her. But where should we go? Christ never left us alone. He had “other sheep”, a third group from a far place and a far time - The Church of Christ – the placeholder for those who will live in the everlasting kingdom that will never be destroyed.
May the Lord God bless us all!