Concerning the discussion on the blogs recently, I have corresponded with James White I spoke with James White on his show The Dividing Line tonight. You can listen here. I think it was a fruitful discussion?


Note: I don’t come on until after 40min.

Oh, one admission of a mistake. I am not REALLY moving toward a position that Batman could take Superman. I don’t know why I said that. Maybe it was the nerves. While I love Batman, he just could not take Superman any day and he knows it. 

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C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    16 replies to "James White and Myself on Dividing Line Discuss the Roman Catholic Protestant Issues"

    • jybnntt


      I don’t want to keep being the one dissenting voice, but c’mon man! With all that Wayne money Batman would totally have some sweet kryptonite darts or boomerangs or something. Batman could take Superman down anytime.

      I hereby proclaim C Michael Patton a Supermanian heretic of the worst kind. He is of the spirit of the anti-Batman and should be either avoided altogether or apprehended to be brought up on charges to receive the appropriate punishment for his errors.

      Semper Batmata semper Batmanda!

      BTW, I think you handled yourself very well on the program today. Excellent work!


    • C Michael Patton

      Thanks Jay. And I do sypathize with the krytonite stuff, I really do. It is not as if I am saying you are ignorant or have no precident . . . (trying to remain irenic here) . . . but, krytonite is not as easy to come by as one might think. As well, if Superman new there was going to be a fight, he would simply put on his lead suit.

      Don’t get me wrong, Batman is something else. And the issue is not like the PC/Mac issue. It does not necessarily have to be an either/or, it could be a both/and. (And DON’T call me postmodern for saying that!!)

    • vangelicmonk

      I have to say the discussion between you two was great. I loved it. It actually helped me out tremendously on some issues that I wasn’t totally clear upon. Michael I think you did a great job in clarifying your position (and White helped me understand better where he is coming from even though I do not totally agree with him on certain points). Especially the discussion concerning the issues concerning the “False Gospel, Partial Gospel, and a Fall from Grace). However, as someone who isn’t Reformed (or Arminian) in his soteriology I would disagree I only have a Partial (False?) Gospel. However, that is another discussion (and something I am continually re-examining).

      There are several issues I will try to bring up at Mr. White’s site, but there is one I want to bring up here. That is the issue of perpescuity of Scripture. And I would have to ask White this directly, but maybe someone can help me with this here. Was White claiming that all of Scripture is perfectly clear? I believe that scripture is clear on the essentials of the faith, but I seriously do not see that scripture is perfectly clear on such things as the age of the earth, perserverance of the saints (I know that will ruffle feathers), sprinkler or dive Baptism, tithing in percentage etc. It seemed to me white was claming the perpescuity of all of scripture, but I don’t think that is what he intended to say exactly. I think someone who believes ardently in a perfect perpescuity of scripture can be dangerous in that it leads to something like this:
      This is a real guy who claims to have the perfect view on every theological issue and if you don’t fit inside his perfect system, guess what, you’re a “false teacher.” Yes his real name is Darwin Fish. Let the irony begin.

      As for the whole Batman & Superman thing. Well I collected Marvel comics growing up, so that may make me an agnostic or athiest in the whole debate, but a funny video on youtube called something like “How Superman Should Have Ended” shows this witty and funny dialouge between Batman and Superman.


    • vangelicmonk

      opps the real link to that is:

    • C Michael Patton


      Thanks for the comments. I am glad that the broadcast was helpful. You never know from the inside looking out how clear things were.

      You said:
      “Was White claiming that all of Scripture is perfectly clear? I believe that scripture is clear on the essentials of the faith, but I seriously do not see that scripture is perfectly clear on such things as the age of the earth, perserverance of the saints (I know that will ruffle feathers), sprinkler or dive Baptism, tithing in percentage etc. It seemed to me white was claming the perpescuity of all of scripture, but I don’t think that is what he intended to say exactly.”

      It sounded like that at the beginning and this was something that we did not get to discuss. I seriously doubt that James would say that everything in Scripture is perfectly clear.

      Again, this comes down to the issue of polemics. He started a polemic against me and Dan at the very beginning and was overstating his own case (saying that the Scriptures were clear, and implying that all of it is clear) by trying to undermine our belief that Scripture is clear to varying degrees and we can only express our convictions to the degree of its clarity. But, in the end, he did not represent what I supposed to be his own position nor ours. Therefore it was a lose lose. This is what I took up in my Advice to Christian Apologists Blog.

      Anyway, who do you think would win between Hulk and Thor? In the past I would have said Thor, but now I don’t know.

    • jybnntt


      The original post from Dr. Wallace ended with this question:

      “If the theological distinctions between Catholics, Orthodox, and evangelicals don’t define the boundaries of heaven and hell, then what do they do? What is the value of such distinctions? What purpose do they serve?”

      After listening to the program I think you would answer that question this way:

      They simply serve to either rob the gospel of its fullness or enrich the fullness of the gospel. For the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox, the question is not do they have the gospel? The question is do they have any elements of doctrine that detract from the fullness of the gospel? To which you would answer, yes.

      You seemed to also say that Reformed Protestantism also lacks the fullness of the gospel in some areas of doctrine (e.g. eschatology). But I am assuming since you are a Reformed Protestant, you must then believe that at least we have more of the fullness than either RC or EO.

      Is that right? If not could you clarify?

      Also, the whole idea of fullness or lack seem to be based on spatial categories that, for me, seem a little weak. I thought one of White’s strongest points was that we wouldn’t tell someone who is knowingly rejecting the truth to somehow gradually grow to the point of accepting the truth. For instance, we wouldn’t tell someone who is Mormon to gradually whittle their concept of God down from an unlimited number of God’s to just a billion, then a million, then a hundred, then one. We would instead expect them to reject their false belief outright and turn to the one true and living God. Why then should we say that when evaluating a system that has knowingly, officially, dogmatically rejected the idea that God is the sole efficient cause of salvation based on the completed work of Christ, we should work that way? Do you think it would be wise for Protestants to work toward moving Roman Catholicism from seven sacraments (as they understand them dogmatically) to five to two to one (e.g. faith as Arminianism understands it) to none? Or maybe help them to move to denying Mary and the pope are mediators of redeeming grace to just Mary, then to Christ himself?

      I don’t recall that you really answered that question.

      I understand that you don’t want to label Roman Catholic dogma as teaching a false gospel, although you believe elements of it are false. Those false elements you do not consider core or essential elements. As you and White were conversing this came up. White asked, if memory serves, how sola fide could not be a core element when that seems to be exactly what Paul is saying in Galatians. You didn’t deny that interpretation of Galatians, so I am assuming you agree with it. Instead you referred to the passage in Philippians where Paul says that some people were preaching the gospel out of envy and rivalry but wasn’t too concerned as long as the gospel was being preached. You made the comparison between the two cases. I’m not sure about the validity of that comparison. In the Philippians Paul never says that the people were preaching a false gospel. He just says their intentions in preaching were not good. But in Galatians Paul clearly says the circumcision party was teaching a false gospel. How do you justify the comparison you made. And, if you can’t, doesn’t the fact that Paul is willing to call the teaching that something must be added to faith in justification a false gospel provide strong support for calling Roman Catholicism’s gospel false?

    • vangelicmonk

      lol. Thanks Michael. Actually, I had a comic where Hulk and Thor go at it, but I can’t remember who wins. Lets not get into the whole cross over debate of Spider-Man vs. Batman or anything like that. Give me ardent Calvinists and Catholics in a room any day rather than a room filled with ardent DC vs. Marvel fans. lol. I wonder if Rhome was a fan of the super Canadian group Alpha Flight (from Marvel)? Oh, boy this is going down hill fast. The geek fan boy part of me is coming out.

    • C Michael Patton

      I think you have it right (the essence of what I was saying). I also agree with your statement about the misuse of Phil in comparison with Gal. That was not a valid parallel I used. Thanks for pointing that out.

      I would say that the most essential element of the Gospel is the object of our faith, the person and work of Jesus Christ. If someone affirms that Christ, the God-man, died for them, a sinner, and begs him for mercy, they have it, whether they know it or not.

      Now, after this, were they to be presented with the fullness of the Gospel (their security, the radical nature of Grace, imputation of Christ’s righteousness) and they reject it, I would find that curious, but there can be many reasons. Others may be telling them that if they do something really bad, you will lose your salvation. At that point, they will begin to fall from grace were they, like the Galatians, to believe such a proposition that is anti-Gospel. This does not mean that they would lose their salvation, but they would begin to focus on other things rather than the object of their faith, Jesus Christ.

      My point is that someone in this situation can still be saved, but they desperately need the burden lifted from their back. For with this burden, they are severed from Christ and the Gospel, even if they are still saved. This is a serious issue.

      I do believe that the Catholic Church is like the Galatian Church with regards to their soteriology. I do think this is very sad.

      Concerning the Protestant’s lack of the Gospel with regards to eschatology, let me first say that this would take many a blog to flesh out and I will certainly do it one day. But our lack of understanding of the “restoration of all things” (Acts 3) and the the ultimate plan of God is very sad. We don’t realize, as I believe the Orthodox do, that salvation is more than just justification in a forensic sense. While justification is indeed forensic, salvation, the entirety of the Gospel, has to do with God’s ultimate plan to restore what God started. In other words, we often think that after Adam and Eve fell, God thought, “Well, plan A did not work, let’s go to plan B.” While plan A had Adam and Eve and the rest of humanity living on earth, enjoying its benefits, and acting as God’s stewards in a physical world, plan B to the average Protestant has us “escaping” from the evil physical world to a spiritual place where we will float around and bow before the throne all day and all night. This is wrong and a lack of understanding the fullness of the Good News. God is restoring Plan A. His Kingdom on a physical earth is the culmination of plan A.

      As well, there is our deemphasis on the “Second Adam” aspect that is very closely connected to this.

      Well, I realize this cannot be said all here, but I hope that this helps.

      We do cover all this in The Theology Program. Humanity and Sin is especially helpful here.

    • C Michael Patton

      One day I will post a picture of my . . . . umm . . . I mean Will, my son’s, collection of figures. Then you will REALLY see who the geek is.

    • Chad Winters

      I have to say Batman would probably win. Superman could of course break
      Batman like a twig, but Superman is a big softie . Batman could be ruthless enough to stick Superman with a few kryptonite laced bat boomerang things and its all over…

    • Perry Robinson

      1. Forensic imputation is an essential part of the gospel.
      2. Anyone who knowingly denies an essential part of the gospel has a false gospel.
      3. Augustine considered and rejected (denied) forensic imputation.
      4. Augustine had a false gospel.

      Is this really what Reformed Christians are to say?

    • JoanieD

      Jay said, “…Supermanian heretic of the worst kind.” Funny, Jay.

      Michael, I listened to at least 80 percent of the talk but I started it too late at night and was sleepy. But from what I heard, you did very well. I think James expresses his points very well too. Boy, he talks fast!

      Oh, Superman could take Batman any time. Superman had super powers after all, not being from this planet.

      Joanie D.

    • jybnntt


      Thanks for the clarification. I appreciate your taking time to answer my questions with thoughtfulness, graciousness, and humility.



    • Samson


      Batman and Superman fought in a comic that takes place in the future.
      and Batman won, while choking Superman to death, Batman says,
      “remember my hand on your throat. Remember who beat you.”
      And then died of a heart attack on top of him.

      Sorry to be totaly off topic, but I will not stand for hetrocomictry in
      this blog.


    • Samson

      I just finished listening to the broadcast. You should have
      stuck with Batman you had written authority for it.

      Now, Michael whenever anyone on any show says “would you like to
      make any last statements?” you always say “Yes, visit our web site
      at for The Theology Program, Converse with
      the Scholars, and Theology Unplugged. Thanks for having me on (blank).”

      other than that it was Dawsome!


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