Debating Roman Catholic doctrines using the 'church fathers,' ecumenical councils, and various creeds is a mental exercise between puffed up know-it-alls on both sides of the issues. There are never any winners since both sides in the cock fight claim victory. I played a clip on today's show of a Protestant and a Catholic apologist arguing over sola-scriptura. In the beginning of that Youtube video, the Catholic boasted that he won the debate hands-down. He admitted that the highlights he gathered in the Youtube were the slam-dunks he was able to land and that, no doubt, his opponent would choose a different set of clips for his own highlights video. You could hear the cheers of the Catholic side of the battle of words at the end.
What many Protestants don't understand, if they have never been a Catholic, is that the every-day Catholic sitting in the pew simply never heard of the doctrines their own church teaches. Rome has dummied down the people. Catholics have turned over those 'higher things' for their hierarchy to handle; all they need to do is be faithful to attend mass and do the day-to-day requirements. Debates with Catholics don't seem to reach the real life of a Catholic which consists of mysterious rituals, spooky atmosphere of incense, candles, statues and the tabernacle, monstrance and host.
A Catholic lives a life of fear, never knowing whether they will be good enough to enter into heaven. They were taught growing up that if you commit a 'mortal sin' you will go to hell unless you can get to a confessional first and do the prescribed penance. Then you're good to go until you commit another one - then you better hope you don't die before you can get back to that little box of absolution. (Venial sins just get you in Purgatory.) If a Catholic - even the pope - claims to be saved with the assurance of heaven, according to their church, they are guilty of the 'sin of presumption.'
I would love to see Protestant scholars direct their efforts to rescue Catholics from their bondage instead of academic exercises of prowess that sheds more heat than light. One winner I point to in this radio program is Jack Chick, the cartoonist so many orthodox Christian scholars love to belittle. His little cartoon booklets don't beat around the bush or speak with $3.00 words. You can google the cartoon booklets I mentioned and see for yourself what a punch they pack.
The first one I mentioned is "The Death Cookie," that shows how the worship of the host as if it were God (eucharistic adoration) is idolatry. It is used by church authority to blackmail the 'faithful' because the church teaches that it is the method of receiving Jesus into your life by way of the belly and out the usual course. If you defy the church and can't get to the host, you have been cut off from Jesus himself. They hold Jesus hostage.
The other cartoon I spoke of is "Why is Mary Crying?" It documents the Roman Catholic view of Mary as the Queen of Heaven and proves it to be a pagan practice. The true Mary is being slandered by such false claims about her and this little tract really gets to the nitty gritty.
Chick tracts may not be 'politically correct' in some Christian circles because it doesn't mince words. But when it comes to setting the captives free, they bear a lot more fruit than so-called scholarly debate.