by Matt Slick
Roman Catholics often do whatever they can to improve the image of the Roman Catholic Church, verify what they say as being true, and try to make the critics of Roman Catholicism look bad. One of the things they've done is taken an audio interview I had with a Roman Catholic apologist, Robert Sungenis. He and I had three interviews. In the first interview, Roman Catholics say that I contradicted myself, and they have been trying to use it against me.
Well, first of all, my discussion with Sungenis was on my radio show. (There were three total. In the first, he did quite well. In the second, it was a draw. In the third, he didn't do so well. Catholics only promote the first). In radio, during the flow of conversation sometimes we misspeak or say things in a way that isn't very clear. We've all done things like this. Nevertheless, as far as the conversation goes, here is the transcript of part of the interview in question.1
Matt: I have authority.
Sungenis: Yeah, where did you get it?
Matt: From Jesus.
Sungenis: Yeah, did he talk to you or something?
Matt: Well, actually he, uh, let's just say he manifested himself to me while I was receiving him. And he actually came in his presence
Sungenis: Can you prove that to me?
Matt: Why would I have prove it to you?
Sungenis: Well, if I'm going to believe what you say Matt, then I'm going to need some proof that Jesus gave you the authority.
Matt: I didn't say he gave me the authority.
Sungenis: Okay, where'd you get it then?
Matt: I have the authority by virtue of being a Christian. As many as received him to them he gave the right with the authority to be called the children of God.
I will admit that I could have said things more clearly but that's the way it goes in conversation sometimes. Nevertheless, notice I said that I got my authority from Jesus. What I meant was that I received it by the fact of being a Christian, not that Jesus personally came to me and gave it to me when I got saved. I meant that I, along with all other Christians, have authority that is concomitant with becoming a Christian--when we receive Christ. It is the authority to be called children of God (John 1:12), and with it comes the indwelling of the Holy Spirit who helps us understand Scripture. The Bible is not a closed book that can only be understood by certain people in ecclesiastical authority in the Roman Catholic Church. It belongs to Christians, who in spite of what the Roman Catholic Church will tell you, can actually read it and understand it. Otherwise, Paul would not be saying in Romans 14:5 that each person should be "convinced in his own mind" when it comes to some very significant Biblical issues.
Anyway, my saying that he did not give me the authority was in the context of Sungenis asking me to prove that Jesus came to me--as though He appeared and personally gave me authority. It was in that context that I said that Jesus did not give me the authority (as a personal manifestation and designation by Christ). Instead, it was in the earlier sense that He gave me authority--as He gives to any Christian to understand and interpret God's Word.
- 1. youtube.com/watch?v=YvbTmQ0Gu5o at about 12:30