GERRY SOLIMAN’S INTELLECTUAL DISHONESTY
By Atty. Marwil Llasos, O.P.
A fellow Catholic apologist emailed me a link from the defunct blog of FRANKLIN LI accusing me and Reverend Father Arganiosa, CRS of conflicting views. Franklin Li is not original in his attacks; he merely parroted his master GERRY SOLIMAN’s ideas hook, line and sinker. The real culprit is Gerry Soliman.
In an article Mary as the Woman Clothed with the Sun of Revelations 12: Symbolical (sic) or Literal? posted in his blog with only two (2) followers, Mr. Soliman pitted my statement against Fr. Arganiosa’s to create the impression that we don’t agree on the identity of Mary as the woman clothed with sun in Revelation 12, and whether that identity of Mary is literal or symbolic. Here is what he said in his blog (http://solutions-finder.blogspot.com/2010/11/woman-clothed-with-sun-of-revelations.html):
“Let the infallible Church of Rome tell you. According to Atty. Marwil Llasos, a Roman Catholic apologist specializing on Mariology:
To answer Mr. Soliman, verse 2 of Revelation 12 does not in any way affect the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Because, just like Mr. Soliman, we don’t interpret it literally.
I hold Mr. Soliman’s word that he does not interpret Revelation 12:2 literally. And so do we.
According to Fr. Abraham Arganiosa, another Roman Catholic apologist and comrade of Atty. Llasos:
I DIDN’T SAY THAT ‘THE WOMAN CLOTHE WITH THE SUN’ SOMETIMES REFERS TO MARY. IT REFERS TO MARY LITERALLY ALWAYS AND AT ALL TIMES BECAUSE SHE IS THE MOTHER OF THE KING OF ALL NATIONS.”
The intellectual dishonesty of Gerry Soliman is all too apparent to be ignored. He concealed the fact that Fr. Arganiosa and I were discussing two (2) different issues. Yet, Gerry Soliman, taking each of us out of context, made it appear that we were discussing one.
My comment, which Gerry Soliman fully knew, was concerned about the interpretation of “birth pangs” [or “birth pains”] in Revelation 12:2. Gerry Soliman cannot feign ignorance of that fact because he was totally aware that I was responding to his question which he posted in my blogs comments section on November 4, 2009. This is what he asked: “Your article here identifies Mary as the woman in Revelations 12:1ff. I would like to ask if this in any way affect the dogma of the Immaculate Conception? As you know God punished Eve by increasing her birth pains.” Again, on November 10, 2009, responding to Fr. Arganiosa’s comments, Mr. Soliman reiterated his question: “Right now, just like Sir Mars, I am still gathering some info. That’s why asked him if the birth pains would affect the Immaculate Conception dogma.” [See: http://bromarwilnllasos.blogspot.com/2009/10/mary-mother-of-church_30.html].
In my response dated November 9, 2009 to Mr. Soliman’s query, I said in part: “This early, there are points of agreement already between his position and ours. However, there are also divergences. These will be expounded on the article I will post.”
Hence, from the very start, there is not the least iota of doubt that Mr. Soliman and I were discussing the “birth pains” mentioned in Revelation 12:2. My answer dealt with that issue, thus –
“To answer Mr. Soliman, verse 2 of Revelation 12 does not in any way affect the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Because, just like Mr. Soliman, we don’t interpret it literally. I hold Mr. Soliman’s word that he does not interpret Revelation 12:2 literally. And so do we.”
It is obvious from the context that I was explaining “birth pains” and not the identity of the apocalyptic “woman.” This is made clearer by the immediately preceding and succeeding paragraphs. Any one with at least an average reading comprehension skills would understand that. But not Gerry Soliman.
I invite the reader to validate for himself what I am saying by reading my article in toto at http://bromarwilnllasos.blogspot.com/2010/08/woman-in-revelation-12-part-ii.html. This should unmask the mendacity and intellectual dishonesty of Mr. Soliman which has further eroded whatever is left of his credibility in the field of apologetics. I understand that Mr. Soliman is a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Internal Auditor, professions that demand the highest standards of accuracy and honesty. More than that, Mr. Soliman is a Christian and Scripture tells us that “a truthful witness does not deceive, but a false witness pours out lies” (Prov. 14:5).
Let’s now proceed to the statement of Fr. Abraham Arganiosa which allegedly conflicted with my statement. This is what Fr. Arganiosa said: “I DIDN’T SAY THAT ‘THE WOMAN CLOTHE WITH THE SUN’ SOMETIMES REFERS TO MARY. IT REFERS TO MARY LITERALLY ALWAYS AND AT ALL TIMES BECAUSE SHE IS THE MOTHER OF THE KING OF ALL NATIONS.”[http://thesplendorofthechurch.blogspot.com/2010/11/more-on-woman-clothed-with-sun.html].
Any objective reader will note that Fr. Arganiosa’s concern in that statement is the identity of the “woman” in Revelation 12. He was not discussing the interpretation of “birth pains” as I did.
Rev. Fr. Abraham P. Arganiosa, CRS was answering the question asked by a reader “if we will argue that Woman is sometimes Mary, because it has similarities with Mary…” to which Fr. Arganiosa replied, “I DIDN’T SAY THAT ‘THE WOMAN CLOTHE WITH THE SUN’ SOMETIMES REFERS TO MARY. IT REFERS TO MARY LITERALLY ALWAYS AND AT ALL TIMES BECAUSE SHE IS THE MOTHER OF THE KING OF ALL NATIONS. BUT AT THE SAME TIME ALLEGORICALLY IT REFERS ALSO TO ISRAEL WHICH IS THE ‘DAUGHTER ZION’ REFERRED TO BY GOD IN ISAIAH AND JEREMIAH.” Clearly, the question that Fr. Arganiosa answered was the identity of the “woman” in Revelation 12.
Gerry Soliman is once again unmasked for his intellectual dishonesty. There seems to be no end for this discernible pattern in Mr. Soliman’s style of apologetics. Mr. Isahel Don Alfonso, RN of the Catholic Faith Defenders of Davao also disclosed this foul tactic of Mr. Gerry Soliman, CPA, CIA. [http://catholiceternaltruth.blogspot.com/2011/01/solutions-finder-apologetics-finds-no.html].
No doubt, when Gerry Soliman disdainfully complained that his head was aching, well, it was to his own making. He was comparing apples with oranges. And here’s another reason for his head to ache.
Evangelicals are on a collision course regarding the Marian interpretation of Revelation 12. Mr. Soliman and his cohort Franklin Li absolutely denies any Marian reference to Revelation 12. Yet, fellow evangelicals with better academic credentials disagree.
Theology professor and published scholar Prof. Tim Perry admitted that “the case can be made for a fourth secondary referent: Mary” [Mary for Evangelicals (Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 2006) p. 112]. According to this author of Mary for Evangelicals, “There are grounds to read the heavenly woman as Mary, the maiden of Nazareth through whom God’s plan was realized not in heaven but in this world. But those grounds reside in Revelation only after it is placed in its context as Christian canon” [Ibid., p. 112].
I could hear Gerry Soliman’s rebuttal: “But Tim Perry is ecumenical!” So what? He reads the same Bible as you do but how come he arrived at a different conclusion? That should give you more head ache.
If you don’t accept an “ecumenical” Evangelical author, then what about an anti-Catholic and avowed critic of Catholic Mariology? Here’s what World Evangelical Fellowship categorically said:
“In the apostolic witness, there are only two references to her [Mary]. Paul spoke of the seed born of a woman (Gal. 4:4), and John told of the woman clothed with the sun who brought forth the manchild (Rev 12:1). Both depict the birth of Christ” [Paul G. Schrotenboer, Roman Catholicism: A Contemporary Evangelical Perspective, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1988), p. 92].
Who is telling the truth? The World Evangelical Fellowship debunked Mr. Gerry Soliman’s thesis. I already raised this issue before but Mr. Soliman has yet to prove that his and the WEF’s view are not at war with each other. They read and interpret the same Bible verses but the conclusions they arrived at are diametrically opposed. More aspirin for Gerry Soliman, please!
Gerry Soliman concluded that “Mary as woman clothed with the sun is not an apostolic teaching.” But what did the World Evangelical Fellowship say? ““In the apostolic witness, there are only two references to her [Mary]. Paul spoke of the seed born of a woman (Gal. 4:4), and John told of the woman clothed with the sun who brought forth the manchild (Rev 12:1).” Whose words should I take? I’m having a head ache, too!
Another point that Mr. Soliman raised the issue that the Roman Catholic Church “didn’t have any official and infallible interpretation of it during the first 300 years of Christianity.” This is another manifestation of Mr. Gerry Soliman’s internal mental inconsistency, if not intellectual dishonesty. Mr. Soliman has vehemently maintained that the Roman Catholic Church did not exist for the first 300 years of Christianity; yet, now he is asking for an official and infallible interpretation of that Church which he said did not exist for the first 300 years! As Rodimus, Gerry Soliman claimed that the “the Church of Rome was founded only after 300 A.D.” [http://marwil-n-llasos.blogspot.com/2009/03/bereans-are-neither-here-nor-there.html].
Assuming arguendo that the Catholic Church did not have an official and infallible interpretation during the first 300 years of Christianity that the “woman” of Revelation 12 is Mary, so what? There was no need to officially and infallibly define it because there was no necessity for an interpretation as there was no controversy over that. And more importantly, there was no Christian canon of Scripture yet at that time! It is crazy for Gerry Soliman to demand for an official or infallible interpretation of the “woman” in Revelation 12 when the very canonicity of the Book of Revelation itself was being disputed!
In A Handbook of Christian Faith, John Schwarz stated that “[t]he final recognition and acceptance of the books of the New Testament cannot be dated precisely, as with the Old Testament, but it appears that as early as the middle of the second century there was already general agreement on twenty of the twenty-seven books – all except Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, Jude and Revelation” [John Schwarz, A Handbook of Christian Faith (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Bethany House Publishers), 2004]. (emphasis added)
In his obscene haste to discredit the Roman Catholic Church, Mr. Gerry Soliman conveniently forgot that the canon of Scripture, both the Old and New Testament, was finally settled at the Council of Rome in 382 A.D., under the authority of Pope Damasus I and was reaffirmed on numerous occasions such as the Council of Hippo in 393 A.D. and at the Council of Carthage in 397 A.D. Pope Innocent I reaffirmed the canon in 405 A.D. in a letter to Bishop Exuperius of Toulouse. The second Council of Carthage in 419 A.D. reaffirmed the canon of its predecessors and asked Pope Boniface to “confirm this canon, for these are the things which we have received from our fathers to be read in church” [see: http://www.ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/DEUTEROS.htm].
Given the foregoing historical background, Evangelical professor and author Dr. Tim Perry concluded: “It is not surprising, therefore, to find that Marian interpretation of Revelation 12 begins in the fifth century, after the New Testament canon is fixed. As part of the New Testament Canon, Revelation’s depiction of the heavenly woman completes the biblical Marian material” [Tim Perry, Mary for Evangelicals (Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 2006) p. 113. Gerry Soliman admittedly has not read this book].
One final point. Mr. Gerry Soliman posited that “none of the church fathers during that time ever interpreted the woman as Mary. Some of the church fathers referred the woman as Israel, the people of God but never on Mary.” Mr. Soliman has suddenly become interested in the Church Fathers!
This point of Mr. Soliman is a non-issue. As already stated, the Book of Revelation has not yet been accepted into the canon in the early centuries of the Church. How could there possibly be an interpretation of the woman in Revelation 12 as Mary when the very inclusion of the Book of Revelation into the canon was itself being debated! Even if there is no mention of Mary as the woman in Revelation 12 in the earliest of the fathers who were closest in time to the composition of Revelation, yet the identification of Mary as the woman in Revelation 12 is “well attested in the patristic tradition of the Church.” The first extant citation is from the fourth century in Epiphanius. Steve Puluka explained that “this silence of the early evidence is as much a reflection of the dearth of material interpreting Revelation at all from the time period. The references to any aspect of the book are few and far between in the extant literature. But the tepid mention by Epiphanius demonstrates that the existence of a Marian identification of the woman in the same time period was widespread enough that he could not pass the text without comment on it.” [http://puluka.com/home/index.php?id=51#_ftn41].
Steve Puluka further notes: “Typical of later interpretation of the fathers is Oecumenius; indeed he is likely the source for many later fathers. Oecumenius clearly takes the woman as Mary. She is robed in the Sun of Justice, the moon at her feet is Moses and the Law which becomes the lesser light on the coming of Christ” (ibid., citing Oecumenius, 141-42).
Protestant Bible scholar Hilda Graef supports this. She records that Quodvultdeus, a disciple of Augustine, writing in the mid- to late- fifth century, made the first overtly Marian identification of the woman of Revelation 12. Graef likewise adds that it is not until the first half of the sixth century that Oecumenius, in his commentary on Revelation (the earliest extant commentary on the whole book), read the woman exclusively as Mary [Mary: A History of Doctrine and Devotion, Vol. 1: From the Beginnings to the Eve of the Reformation (London: Sheed and Ward, 1963) pp. 131-132; see also: footnote 61, Tim Perry, Mary for Evangelicals (Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 2006) p. 113].
Mr. Gerry Soliman’s conclusion that “Mary as woman clothed with the sun is not an apostolic teaching” has no leg to stand on. Even the World Evangelical Fellowship says exactly the opposite of the unfounded claim of Mr. Soliman: “In the apostolic witness, there are only two references to her [Mary]. Paul spoke of the seed born of a woman (Gal. 4:4), and John told of the woman clothed with the sun who brought forth the manchild (Rev 12:1)” [Paul G. Schrotenboer, Roman Catholicism: A Contemporary Evangelical Perspective, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1988), p. 92)].
That’s it, folks. Gerry Soliman is intellectually dishonest as he is unscholarly. Scholarship and intellectual honesty go hand in hand; and so is the opposite. And we see that opposite precisely in Mr. Gerald John P. Soliman, CPA, CIA.