Unexpected Development

Converts to a communion may often display a zeal that old-timers find off-putting. In Reformed circles, we have the phrase “cage phase” to denote the over zealous and new Calvinist who expects every Reformed pastor to sound like Calvin and every congregation to be as rigorous the New England Puritans.

It turns out that Roman Catholics have their own problems with converts. One instance, largely forgotten (perhaps another indication of Vatican II’s epoch-making shift) was the exchange between Orestes Brownson and John Henry Newman. Both were converts, but Brownson, admired by some contemporary conservatives, was not impressed by Newman’s theory of development of doctrine. In fact, Brownson believed it would kill Roman Catholicism (which makes it odd that Jason and the Callers do not regard Brownson as the model convert). Here is a short sampling of what Brownson said about the idea of the development of doctrine:

. . . we could not accept Mr. Newman’s Essay, even ,if its theory were susceptible of a satisfactory explanation. It deserves to be excluded from every Catholic library for its unorthodox forms of expression, as scandalous, even if not as heretical, erroneous, or rash. Words are things, and used improperly by men of eminence, or with inexactitude, become the occasion of error and heresy in others. Not a few of the errors which have afflicted the Church have come in under shelter of loose or inexact expressions, which great and sometimes even saintly men have suffered to escape them. The vain, the restless, the proud, the disobedient, seize on them, ascribe to them a sense they will bear, but not the one intended by their authors, and lay the foundation for ” sects of perdition.” Sometimes even better men are deceived and misled, as we see in the case of Fenelon. One cannot be too careful to be exact in expression, or to guard against innovation in word as well as in thought, especially in this age, in which there is such a decided tendency to abandon the scholastic method for the rhetorical. The scandalous phraseology of the Essay is no charge against its author, writing when and where he did, but is a grave charge against the Essay itself.

Finally, we repeat, from our former article, that we object to the Theory of Developments the very fact that it is a theory. We see no call and no room for theories in the Catholic Church, — least of all, for theories concocted outside of her by men whose eyes are dim, and who have nothing but their own reason to work with. From the nature of the case, they are theories, not for the conversion of their authors, but for the conversion of the Church, — framed to bring her to them, not them to her. They can do no good, and may do much harm. It is natural for us to concoct them when out of the Church, for then we have, and can have, nothing but theories, and can do nothing but theorize ; but, if we are wise, we shall not attempt to bring them into the Church with us. The more empty-handed we come to the Church, the better ; and the more affectionately will she embrace us, and the more freely and liberally will she dispense to us her graces.

Lest anyone miss the implicit significance of this exchange for the future of Roman Catholicism and its conservative (or traditionalist) members, readers should know that some Roman Catholics believe that Newman prevailed and Brownson lost at Vatican II. Here is how one traditionalist puts it:

. . . Brownson foresaw the future danger should Newman’s theory become accepted in the Church. Unless his theory was renounced, Brownson affirmed, it would either ultimately lead Newman himself out of communion with the Church or, much worse, be wrongly absorbed into the Catholic Church (p. 1).

In fact, the latter happened. His “pioneer” work established the idea of the development of dogma as a principle later held by the Modernists. Taken up by the Progressivists, it was consecrated at Vatican II, invoked in both the Declaration of Religion Freedom and the Constitution on Revelation. (2)

Newman alleged he was simply showing that the Catholic Church of his time was in continuity with that of the Apostles and the Fathers. But Vatican II did what Brownson feared could happen – it used this ‘theory’ to justify new advances and actual shifts in doctrine, such as its teaching on religious freedom. Jesuit Avery Dulles singled out Newman as anticipating the thought of Karl Rahner “to the effect that every dogmatic proclamation is not only an end, but also a beginning.” (3)

Someone could object that this work was written when Newman was a Protestant, and, therefore, should be disregarded as irrelevant after Newman’s conversion to Catholicism. The objection would be pertinent if he had rejected its theories or buried it, as Brownson suggested. On the contrary, he offered the work to the public and continued to defend its thesis until the end of his life. Thus, the objection is invalid.

Most American Catholics have not read Newman’s suspect theological works, such as the Essay on Development of Doctrine. His fame and popularity rest on his letters and sermons on piety and religious devotion. Let those well-meaning Catholic take the time to read at least Brownson’s criticism of Newman’s Essay, and they may begin to question the orthodoxy of the “oracle from Littlemore.” They may also begin to wonder if the beatification of Newman, rightly called the Father of Vatican II by the progressivists themselves, has the underlying purpose of giving needed impetus to the Council at a time when dissatisfaction with it is significantly increasing.

These tensions within Roman Catholicism may be obscure to recent converts, as difficult to perceive as the real fault lines between conservatives and other varieties of Roman Catholic communicants. For instance, John Zmirac has wondered (a la Brownson about Newman) whether Protestant converts to Rome understand what happened at Vatican II or whether they can find their way to the genuine Roman Catholic liturgy:

7) The Novus Ordo Missae was crafted by an ecumenical committee (including Protestants) that aimed at Christian unity. In a creative compromise, the committee cut large sections from the Mass — those that made it screamingly obvious that the Mass was a sacrifice and a wedding. The committee also trimmed away many rituals designed to underscore those doctrines, adding other practices to boost the role of the laity and undercut the role of the priest.

These changes didn’t vitiate the sacrament, but they did cloud its symbolic and catechetical clarity. They also reduced its dignity, gravity, and beauty. The Dies Irae gave way to “Gather Us In.” Or, as then-Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger wrote: “In the place of the liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living, process of growth and development over centuries, and replaced it — as in a manufacturing process — with a fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product.”

8) The most important elements that distinguish the priest’s role from the people’s, and hence Catholic sacraments from Protestant prayer services, are the following: The priest facing the altar; the prayers of the old Offertory (which survive in the First Eucharistic Prayer); the exclusive claim of the clergy (priests and deacons) to handle the Sacrament; the all-male priesthood; and kneeling for Communion on the tongue.

9) Each practice we add to the liturgy that blurs the difference between the people and the priest adds to confusion about what the heck is going on up on the altar. It’s no surprise that after 40 years of liturgical “renewal,” only 30 percent of American Catholics still believe in transubstantiation. More troublingly, those who are receiving Communion rarely bother with the Sacrament of Penance. The old terror of blasphemy that was underlined by gold patens tucked under our chins gave way to a shrug and a smile as we take in our hands a wafer from a neighbor.

10) Dissenters from key Catholic doctrines of faith and morals took ruthless advantage of the hype surrounding the Second Vatican Council and the symbolic confusion sowed by radical liturgical changes — which seemed to signal, like a new flag flying over a country, a new regime in the Church. Maybe a new Church altogether. Some of these dissenters, like Archbishop Rembert Weakland, were also involved in creating the new liturgy itself.

11) That liturgy kept on metastasizing, “renewing” itself seemingly every year. The same bishops who pushed relentlessly for Communion in the hand, extraordinary ministers of Communion, altar girls, and standing for Communion were the men who appointed feminists and pro-gay, pro-contraception, and even “pro-choice” delegates to dissident conferences such as the Call to Action (1976). Such bishops also persecuted adherents of the old liturgy and clergy who preached Humanae Vitae. The same men repeatedly defied Pope John Paul II, who avoided a schism and decided instead to replace them as they retired with more faithful bishops. He mostly succeeded.

All of the above is simply, uncontroversially true. And in saner times, it would be none of a layman’s business. We have enough on our plates pursuing our own vocations and staying in a state of grace, and we really shouldn’t have to shop around for the least sacrilegious parish, or fight with our bishop’s religious education office against nuns who deny the Creed. But here we are, still gasping for breath as the smoke of Satan slowly lifts, and there’s no excuse for pretending the air has been clear all along. The Bride of Christ has been battered, hounded, and hunted by the Enemy — but she’s still standing, as we were promised. Now it’s our task to bind her wounds, repair the rents in her gown, and lovingly comb her hair.

Although Zmirac is no traditionalist, one Trad Catholic has picked up on the problem that Protestant converts post-Vatican II face when trying to adjust to and find a place within Rome’s traditionalism:

Catholic converts from Protestantism bring to the Church a certain mentality that can make it difficult for them to accept Traditionalist arguments in favor of restoring a lot of the discarded “externals” of our faith’s tradition. In the post I used myself as a reference point (being a revert to the faith from charismatic Protestantism) and explained how it took some time for me after my return to the Church to start seeing the beauty of Traditional Catholicism, and perceive that much had been lost by rejecting this beauty. . . . I deny that a convert from Protestantism is not as “good’ as a cradle Catholic; I did say (and I maintain) that a convert-from-Protestantism-mentality does color the way we see things once we return to the Church.

It is interesting, however, that John Zmirak . . . talks about the non-Trad confusion over apparent Trad fixation on “mere externals.” This is, I think, one of the central ideas of Traditionalism – that alleged inessentials were not as inessential as once thought.

I often wonder if Jason and the Callers got more than that for which they bargained. They have a lot to make sense of over there on their side of the Tiber. Here is how Boniface puts it:

Then why bother even pointing out the differences? Because the Catholic Church as a whole – Trad, non-Trad, liberal, mainstream, whatever – is in an identity crisis. Who are we, and what does it mean to be Catholic? What does a Catholic life look like? These questions of identity;,far from being useless and divisive, are I think some of the most important issues Catholics can examine. I tend to take the position that Traditionalism exemplifies a more perfect continuity with the fullness of Tradition than other non-Trad manifestations of the faith, and part of what I do here is defend that proposition against those who take a more negative approach to Traditionalism. We may disagree on what Catholic identity should look like, but let’s not say that these questions are not important; if only our fathers in the 1960’s and 1970’s had more of a concern for Catholic identity, we might not be in a liberal crisis.

Given Jason and the Callers’ covering their eyes to church history — ancient and recent, I am not sure they are up to the task of accounting for such developments. But they sure know they aren’t Protestant (as long as they don’t know about Brownson).

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272 Comments

  1. Posted May 8, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Darryl,

    Given Jason and the Callers’ covering their eyes to church history — ancient and recent, I am not sure they are up to the task of accounting for such developments. But they sure know they aren’t Protestant (as long as they don’t know about Brownson).

    I was willing to discuss the topic of your last two posts, but I couldn’t find an argument in either of them.

    It puzzles me why you assume (uncharitably) that we don’t know about Brownson. We have discussed Brownson’s position on development under at least three different CTC posts.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  2. Posted May 8, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    I’m sure their response will be, “If the Bishop of Rome is the head of the Church and he is satisfied with her state, then I am as well.” Their faith is ultimately in a man, and not even a god-man at that.

  3. Posted May 8, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    When I go to CTC and search for “Brownson” I get:

    “No posts found. Try a different search?”

    Maybe Bryan is mistaken and the posts were on (Charles) Bronson?

  4. Joel
    Posted May 8, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    I couldn’t find an argument in Byran’s post. I’d be willing to address it, if I could find it.

  5. Posted May 8, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    “Brownson” search:

    “No posts found. Try a different search?”

    “Newman” search:

    Dozens of hits.

    Bryan, why do you (uncharitably?) assume that DG is being uncharitable in his assumption, when a simple search of your site reveals no articles on Brownson?

  6. Posted May 8, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Bryan, here’s what I find at CTC.

    Here is Jason covering his eyes:

    And I’m not going to bother responding to the rest of what you wrote, since your rhetorical zingers have been answered enough times here and elsewhere. If you ever feel like actually engaging your opponents’ positions as stated by them, let me know and we’ll try this again.

  7. B
    Posted May 8, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Bryan,

    If I could assist you in your defenses, maybe you should try the excuse, “thats old news and doesn’t matter anymore.” In some circles that excuse works for events just 7 months ago, so how much more for something 700 years ago?

    In my experience, the old, “I know your stupid but what am I,” debate tactic that you are employing starts losing its effectivness about 96 months into one’s life.

  8. sean
    Posted May 8, 2013 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Bryan, uncharitable?! From the; “you ‘catch’ more than you ‘learn’ gang”, cradles, since Vat II get charitably slotted into the ‘lost generation’ category. You ever wanna compare ‘dinner table notes’ let me know. Kung has ‘owned’ Ratzinger for over 40 years now, be careful picking on people who know more than you and equally know where all the bodies are buried. Since Vat II, the see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil paradigm has been losing and now in full blown modernity even Ratzinger realized he wasn’t up to the task, he couldn’t even make his butler hold the line much less the Italian curia. Here come a shoe.

  9. Posted May 8, 2013 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    About the only time I tried to debate with Jason he went off on me like that, too. What if Richard had done that? My life would be much less complete without our ongoing cohabitation here.

  10. Posted May 8, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Bryan will at least calmly condescend to you and pat you on the head vs. getting all uppity about it.

  11. Robert
    Posted May 8, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    The problem with Brownson is that he did not have a principled way to avoid begging the question when he was interpreting Newman.

  12. Posted May 8, 2013 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    Darryl,

    We discussed Brownson’s position under the Tu Quoque post, the Son of a Tu Quoque post, and under the St. Vincent post. Just go to google, and type in what is between the brackets: [Brownson site:http://www.calledtocommunion.com/%5D

    But what puzzles me is that when your search query didn’t show up anything on Brownson, you assumed that we didn’t know about Brownson’s position. Wouldn’t the more charitable approach be something like, “I didn’t find any place on CTC where they addressed Brownson’s position,” without making any derogatory inference (or comment) about what we do or don’t know? Even apart from the principle of charity, should I assume that you don’t know about every person you haven’t mentioned on OLTS? This is precisely why the argument from silence is a fallacy, because the conclusion does not follow from the premise, and so leads to false conclusions.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  13. Posted May 8, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Sorry if I’m still doodling in the margins, but I’m totally OK with the MichaelTX wishing peace and whatever as it seems consistent with his combox demeanor. But Bryan says

    “You are a question-begging moron. You are blessed that I condescend to talk to you; I hold my nose while doing so. In the peace of Christ,….”

    Bryan, how about “yes indeedy, we have talked about him and our response to your point is blah blah blah.” Maybe you could have done that rather than spend seven lines complaining. It’s like you’re only used to lecturing audiences that listen to you in awe.

    OK,I’ll try to say something on point next time.

  14. Posted May 8, 2013 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    Andrew Preslar in “Son of a tu quoque”:

    “The Catholic Church, however, believes that she has been gifted with a participation in the divine authority of her Head. Thus, the Church can and has definitively adjudicated the matter of which writings are, and which are not, Sacred Scripture. ”

    and how does the Catholic Church know she has been gifted if not from Scripture?

    Circularity problem?

    If she knows from history, does history speak with certainty?

  15. Posted May 8, 2013 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Andrew again:

    “It is true that Catholics do not have an infallible, exhaustive list of infallible teachings. What we have are instances of self-proclaimed infallible (irreformable) teachings, other instances of irreformable teaching identified by common consent and inference, more or less clear from case to case, and instances of irreformable teaching that has been infallibly identified by self-proclaimed irreformable teaching.”

    This sounds like a line from Woody Allen’s parody of Russian novels & foreign films, “Love and War”, that I just got done watching this morning. It’s been called Woody’s most pretentious film, which is saying a lot.

  16. Posted May 8, 2013 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Bryan,

    Do I really have to wade through 58 comments “under the son of a Tu Quoque post” to find where you discuss Brownson? Maybe I missed it in the post itself?

    You guys are the goofiest apologists I’ve ever seen. It’s like asking a guy for directions and instead of the guy just telling you he hands you a box full of maps, a broken compass, and a divining rod. Can’t we just have a simple conversation?

  17. Posted May 8, 2013 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    The more I read the Callers the more I realize that their “identifying the Church that Christ founded” is mainly just wish fulfillment for someone to provide the answers + diving in head first + bobbing and weaving when anyone questions you. It’s not much more than burning in the bosom. There is occasionally an attempt at logical persuasion (for instance, Cross’s response to Horton), but not much willingness to defend the attempt against tough questions after it’s been thrown out there.

  18. Posted May 8, 2013 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    Bryan needs to identify the “cut” and “paste” functions on his computer, go to his own sources, and bring the relevant points back here. Referring us to multi-thousand word essays and comment sections is mostly just hand waving. Either converse or just stay away. It’s as bad as Old Bob.

  19. Posted May 8, 2013 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    Bryan,

    A logical response to your “lack of charitability” complaints is, have you read what our Confessions say about your church? As you have said yourself, we’re not going to make our opponent’s arguments for him. This is not Evangelicals & Catholics together.

    This, of course, does not mean that I (hopefully we) have any personal animus toward you or any other individual at CTC. That is not befitting of any Christian, whether they are Reformed or Catholic. But charity toward your theology and church? Not where we disagree and our Confessions speak clearly.

  20. Posted May 8, 2013 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    Bryan, you’ve never written anything that makes me think you have the slightest historical awareness.

  21. Posted May 8, 2013 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    Bryan, btw, what do you think of Zmirac’s post? Is it ad hominem and more hand-waving?

  22. sean
    Posted May 8, 2013 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    and how does the Catholic Church know she has been gifted if not from Scripture?

    Circularity problem?

    If she knows from history, does history speak with certainty?

    Me: I know you’re probably asking this rhetorically, but formally this is a ‘faith claim’. A declaration of the faithful premised principally upon the notion, in the case of the callers, of; ‘wouldn’t have made sense that God would have left us a visible church we could recognize’?. And per the illegitimacy of philosophical skepticism to arrive at the requisite certainty necessary(according to whom? according to CTC), and because protestant claims never rise to this requisite certainty; ‘councils may and do err’, bypassing the claims of the Jim Jones’ and Joseph Smith’s( on what grounds one can only imagine) we are left with the claims of Rome. Once it is determined there is a modicum of reasonableness to the claims of Rome(MOC-motives of credibility), we can enter into the noumenal realm of faith claims and sleep at night not haunted by the exclusive claims of mormons and word of knowledge pentecostals. Then there’s the rest of the RC’s whose humanity and reasonableness was vindicated at Vat II until Pope Paul got scared of what they’d unleashed and Ratzinger and others set about a reinterpretation of the open ended pastoral interpretation/hermenuetic of Vat II borrowed from Bultmann, and finally in 2005 insisted on a hermenuetic of continuity not rupture, and told the CDF to work out the details. 7 years later he quits realizing the flood of modernity is about to engulf him and he can’t even control his own house staff, much less the curia, and even more so the faithful. But, not before he pulled his golden parachute with red dossier in hand and formal title and landed in the abby next to the pope’s residence where he can enjoy all the amenities while bypassing all the work All the while keeping his finger on the pulse of Francis per his personal secretary who is also, wait for it, wait, Francis’ secretary. Now there’s some performative hand-waving for ya.

  23. Richard Smith
    Posted May 8, 2013 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    EC: This, of course, does not mean that I (hopefully we) have any personal animus toward you or any other individual at CTC. That is not befitting of any Christian, whether they are Reformed or Catholic. But charity toward your theology and church? Not where we disagree and our Confessions speak clearly.

    RS: But of course Bryan would argue that his Confession speaks clearly as well and has a lot more history behind it. So how do we settle the issue? It would seem that Scripture is the only real way, though of course that does not always convince people. But then again, Bryan could also pull the argument that he has far more people that believe in his Confession than you have that believe in your Confession. But as I hope you know by now, that is a really bad argument.

  24. Posted May 8, 2013 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Mikelmann,
    I appreciate the compliament. I do truly search to speak charitably and find ways to understand.
    MichaelTX

    PS Glade I not Bryan here though. History makes a difference in how we hear each other.

  25. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted May 8, 2013 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    pull the argument that he has far more people that believe in his Confession than you have that believe in your Confession. But as I hope you know by now, that is a really bad argument.

    I think there’s some sort of critical mass question. If only 0.00000000000000000000001% of the human race has it right, mebbe they don’t.

  26. Posted May 8, 2013 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    Sean,

    I would think it would make sense that Jesus would have left us with a church that was in accord with what Scripture teaches, but I’m just back here in the cheap seats.

  27. Posted May 8, 2013 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    Richard,

    Bryan could argue that his catechism has way more questions than mine and with that assertion I could not argue.

    Our Confessions are only valuable to the extent that they are Biblical, you are correct in that. I realize that you don’t find them to be biblical at all points.

  28. Posted May 8, 2013 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Tom – I think there’s some sort of critical mass question. If only 0.00000000000000000000001% of the human race has it right, mebbe they don’t.

    Erik – I don’t think that is necessarily true. I do think it is hard to form & sustain a visible church if that is the case, however. Reformed people will ultimately lose an argument that hinges on size. The best answer to Catholics bragging about numbers is (1) How many are extremely nominal?, and (2) What does Jesus say about the narrow door?

  29. Posted May 8, 2013 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    Sean,

    At what point in the game have the Spurs scheduled their wake-up call for tonight?

  30. Posted May 8, 2013 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    Sean,
    Per you 8:03 comm,
    There is some in there I agree with, but much I wouldn’t. Most especially the hermenuetic of continuity being somewhat of a novelty. At least for me it would be impossible as a faithful Catholic to seek and understand any proclamation of Christ’s Church with rupture. What others believe is their own business, but it is not Catholic to believe the Church is infallibly teaching against infallible teaching. Its not even logical. But even if the flood of modernity is about to engulf the Catholic folks, I by God’s grace will be in His protective ark to withstand its unbiblical, illogical, anti-Christian plague. I am accountable for me and God will be faithful; therefore I shall not fear what the world may bring from within or without the Church. Grabbin’ my cross and catchin’ a step.

    Peace,
    MichaelTX

  31. Posted May 8, 2013 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    Michael – At least for me it would be impossible as a faithful Catholic to seek and understand any proclamation of Christ’s Church with rupture.

    Erik – How do you make sense of Noah? Or Israel in exile? Or Richard Smith? Scratch that last one.

    The point: Has the true church not been quite small at various points in redemptive history?

  32. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted May 8, 2013 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    If only 0.00000000000000000000001% of the human race has it right, mebbe they don’t.

    Erik: I don’t think that is necessarily true. I do think it is hard to form & sustain a visible church if that is the case, however. Reformed people will ultimately lose an argument that hinges on size.

    Well, the question is whether “Reform[ation]” is constructive or entropic. It seems the result of every theological “reform” is another schism. That sucks.

    The best answer to Catholics bragging about numbers

    At arm’s length here, as though watching from space–the Roman Church’s own reform movements [say, the “Counter-Reformation” or Vatican II] were actually Rome cleaning up its act, resulting in greater unity, internal theological coherence, and in the end, consolidating its numbers.

    Anti-entropic. Unlike the Reformation, which produced and continues to produce splinter after splinter. And look, I’m not entering into the theology here. But when I held down the zero button for 0.00000000000000000000001%, all of a sudden it occurred to me that out of 7 billion persons on earth, that might be closer to literal truth than exaggeration for effect.

    You heard about that Episcopal church in San Diego that just lost its appeal this week, that they can’t secede over gay bishops, yes? And how many of you true Calvinists are left, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, claiming a membership of only 30,000? Hey, I respect you guys–the old Congregationalist [Calvinist] churches of New England are now owned by the Unitarian Universalist Church, which doesn’t even believe in God, let alone Jesus fer crissakes.

    But give the Catlicks their due.

    (1) How many [Catholics] are extremely nominal?

    I think you guys get a little too wound up in these minor theology thingees. From a disinterested distance, looking at the gay PCUSA [2-3,000,000 adherents], your “Presbyterianism” looks a lot more nominal than does your distance from the Roman Church. [So does the Baylys’, but one ecclesiastical crisis at a time.]

    and (2) What does Jesus say about the narrow door?

    What does CS Lewis say about our dogs waiting to meet us in Heaven? If Heaven would be incomplete without Spunky waiting for me, how would I feel about a heaven without you, my brother? A lot of Bible verses suffer from overwork.

  33. Posted May 8, 2013 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Erik,
    Understood, and agreed. I can not make others believe, but “by God’s grace I am what I am.”

  34. Posted May 8, 2013 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    One thing you will have probably noticed in some of my posts is something that you raise there. That the people of God may be small or large that is not significant. What is extremely significate is that they have a clear knowledge that they are God’s people and that to be with God’s people you must join the covenant people. This is what has lead we away from Protestantism. I can’t not hear a voice that has the validity to say “we are God’s people” anywhere within Protestantism having reasonable credentials to say it. None say here is the Ark.
    Blessings and nite all,
    MichaelTX

  35. Richard Smith
    Posted May 8, 2013 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    Tom: I think there’s some sort of critical mass question. If only 0.00000000000000000000001% of the human race has it right, mebbe they don’t.

    RS: It appeared that Jesus was against the whole world and then Athanasius and Luther later. If we think of how God wiped out the world by a flood and left only eight people, and not all of them were of true faith, it might also be a bit shocking. If we think of the Jewish people during the Exodus as being the only people in the world with true faith, but then think of how few of them had true faith, that again makes us wonder about the ability of percentages to determine truth. How many people believed Copernicus at first? How many people believed in germs at first?

  36. Richard Smith
    Posted May 8, 2013 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    Tom: At arm’s length here, as though watching from space–the Roman Church’s own reform movements [say, the “Counter-Reformation” or Vatican II] were actually Rome cleaning up its act, resulting in greater unity, internal theological coherence, and in the end, consolidating its numbers.

    Anti-entropic. Unlike the Reformation, which produced and continues to produce splinter after splinter. And look, I’m not entering into the theology here. But when I held down the zero button for 0.00000000000000000000001%, all of a sudden it occurred to me that out of 7 billion persons on earth, that might be closer to literal truth than exaggeration for effect.

    RS: Perhaps the real issue has to do with the nature of God and how many He elected and how many Christ died for. Those great truths would account for how may believe and how many don’t rather than the percentage of people who believe something. It has appeared throughout history that the true people of God are usually quite small and weak in terms of numbers and power. So if we look at the real reality of it all, the issue is not percentages and numbers, it is God Himself.

    Rom 9:13 Just as it is written, “JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.”
    14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be!
    15 For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.”
    16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.”
    18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.
    19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?”
    20 On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it?
    21 Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?
    22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?
    23 And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory,

  37. Richard Smith
    Posted May 8, 2013 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    Tom: At arm’s length here, as though watching from space–the Roman Church’s own reform movements [say, the “Counter-Reformation” or Vatican II] were actually Rome cleaning up its act, resulting in greater unity, internal theological coherence, and in the end, consolidating its numbers.

    RS: But it could have been greater unity in error. It could have been theological coherence that started from error. It could have been consolidating in error. When I attended a lecture by Hawkins, it seemed as if I was the only one there that did not hate God. But the number of those on their feet and cheering wildly were wrong, despite the greatness of their numbers and the greatness of their hostility toward God. I am not claiming to have been the only one that believed in God there, but it seemed like it. But even if there were 5,000 people there that hated God and I was the only one that loved God, the vastly greater numbers does not demonstrate the truth of the matter.

  38. mark mcculley
    Posted May 9, 2013 at 1:34 am | Permalink

    Some of Horton’s “cage stage” stuff has gone down the memory hole. If one doesn’t get through the “stage” fast enough, one never gets to the main stage. The folks who say you are on the margins will push you to the margins. So the thing to do is to develop—say covenant, not unconditional election. Say that being Reformed is “more than the five points” so that people won’t notice that for you it’s become less than the five points. But this good old essay by Horton is still up at

    http://www.reformationonline.com/arminians.htm

    Horton: This is not simply an argument from the so-called “slippery slope”: History actually bears out the relationship between Arminianism and naturalism. One can readily see how a shift from a God-centered message of human sinfulness and divine grace to a human-centered message of human potential and relative divine impotence could create a more secularized outlook. If human beings are not so badly off, perhaps they do not need such a radical plan of salvation. Perhaps all they need is a pep talk, some inspiration at halftime, so they can get back into the game. Or perhaps they need an injection of grace, as a spiritual antibiotic, to counteract the sinful affections.

    But in Reformation theology, human beings do not need help. They need redemption. They do not merely need someone to show them the way out; they need someone to be their way out of spiritual death and darkness. Thus, the evangelicals who faced this challenge of Arminianism universally regarded it as a heretical departure from the Christian faith. One simply could not deny total depravity, unconditional election, justification by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone, and continue to call himself or herself an evangelical…

    The heart of the Reformation debate was, Who saves whom? Does God save sinners? Or do we save ourselves with God’s help? The Roman Catholic Church was confused on that question throughout the Middle Ages, sharply divided at the time of the Reformation, but finally determined by the Council of Trent in the mid-sixteenth century that the second answer was better. God’s grace is the source, but human cooperation with that grace is what makes God’s saving will effective. Thus, God justifies us by making us better and that involves our own participation.

    The orthodox Protestants were not over-reacting, therefore, when they regarded the Arminian denials as no different from the positions of Trent, which had declared the evangelicals “anathema.” It would have been bigoted for them, therefore, to regard Trent’s position as unorthodox if they were unwilling to say the same of a similar “Protestant” deviation.

    …As Wesley began to teach that justification was not purely forensic (that is, a legal declaration), but that it depended on “moment by moment” obedience, the Calvinists who had enthusiastically supported the revival and led the evangelistic cause side by side grew increasingly worried. Late in life, Wesley concluded that his own position was but “a hair’s breadth” from “salvation by works.” Fearing an implicit antinomianism in the Reformation doctrines, Wesley urged his supporters to warn the Calvinists ” that if they remain unrighteous, the righteousness of Christ will profit them nothing!”

    John Wesley’s favorite writer, William Law, wrote, “We are to consider that God only knows what shortcomings in holiness He will accept; therefore we can have not security of our salvation but by doing our utmost to deserve it.” “We have,” said he, “nothing to rely on but the sincerity of our endeavors and God’s mercy.” Was Law an evangelical? If so, someone owes Pope Leo an apology.

  39. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted May 9, 2013 at 4:06 am | Permalink

    RS: It appeared that Jesus was against the whole world

    Not to me. He was FOR the whole world, which is my starting point here.

    RS: Perhaps the real issue has to do with the nature of God and how many He elected and how many Christ died for.

    Yeah, that “elect” stuff gets a bit squirrelly. Even if true, I have my doubts about those who think they’re among them.

    RS: But it could have been greater unity in error.

    Well, if you look at the reforms of the Counter-Reformation, there’s an implicit acknowledgement of many of the legitimate complaints of the Reformation. Not really a doubling-down on error.

    But even if there were 5,000 people there that hated God and I was the only one that loved God, the vastly greater numbers does not demonstrate the truth of the matter.

    Well, I’m talking about the general availability of God’s Truth and Will to mankind. If there’s only 30,000 people out of 7 billion who know what’s what and the rest can go to hell, I’m not good with that.

    Mom’s going to hell because she’s not on the right side of your theology? Well, the hell with you, then.

  40. Posted May 9, 2013 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Tom, while you’re giving Roman Catholics their due, consider this.

  41. Posted May 9, 2013 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Richard,

    Hawkins? Do you mean Hawking? Who is Hawkins?

  42. Posted May 9, 2013 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Tom,

    If you think that Old Lifers are the least bit concerned about denominations (or small denominations) or being in the mainstream of anything you have missed the point of Old Life. The flagship theological journal here has the word “Nicotine” in it, for goodness sake. How cool is smoking these days?

    You should move to Houston and join Osteen’s church. I hear they meet in a basketball arena.

  43. sean
    Posted May 9, 2013 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    MIchael, it’s less about being illogical and more about reversing course on a trajectory the entire church took in 1965. There is no contesting that Vat II was a sea change, both in addressing the sacred text-historic-critical hermenuetic per german protestant liberalism and an expansion of the charism to the laity in a manner never before acknowledged. Ratzinger along with Kung in support of the German bishops helped craft the documents for inclusion in Vat II. Ratzinger in fact changed course, and acknowledged so, after the student uprisings at the University. Ratzinger freaked, Kung laughed and Pope Paul blamed the devil. Rome understood the church was ill equipped to address modernity, had the foresight to see what was coming, tried to embrace it and got shelled. By 1981 you had the ENTIRE CDF set aside and effectively amputed from being an official part of the magisterium. It would be like the United States lopping off the judiciary for fear of the implications of constitutional amendments they passed less than 20 years earlier. Rome is a medieval institution trying to grow with an ever changing world while at the same time proclaiming; ‘we’ve never principally changed’ it’s simply disingenuous. I know, I lived through it, I was in seminary during JPII, I know what was being taught and practiced and what a break that had been from my parents training and practice much less their parents. It’s O.K., but when you’re CTC and either ignore such facts, or start arguing infallibility down to a wafer-thin consideration, well, what exactly are you selling? In fact they can’t argue it, but rather to those who don’t know the difference they manufacture and sell their own product, to those who call them on the bait and switch, it’s; ‘I believe that I might understand-fideism and a polemical attack on protestantism’.

  44. AB
    Posted May 9, 2013 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Tom,

    Our boy Machen in “What is Faith” makes clear at one point (ask me and I’ll post the quote) that we can’t know the whether any one person (ie my mother) is saved or not. He phrases it by saying people would ask him very frequently to opine on others in this way, and he refused. Maybe the idea of Hell is offensive, but the problem we Bible believers have is it is a constant biblical theme, so you’ll hear us explain what we think God’s Word says about it. I’m not looking to butt in or create problems, but am just sharing. Oh, and instead of me wondering about my mother, I think the Bible would have me read and look at my own heart before a Holy God. Call me selfish, but looking out for number one just seems to come natural. Its weird how it works like that.

    AB

  45. Drew Pressoir
    Posted May 9, 2013 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    TVD: Well, I’m talking about the general availability of God’s Truth and Will to mankind. If there’s only 30,000 people out of 7 billion who know what’s what and the rest can go to hell, I’m not good with that.

    DP: Mr. Van Dyke, you are unfortunately mistaken on the nature of the claims of members of the OPC or the greater Reformed community on this matter. None make the claim that only those who know and adhere to the standards or the members of churches who subscribe to such are those who will inherit salvation. Our claims are much more modest, that we believe that the Westminster standards and/or 3 forms of unity are a faithful summary and representation of all that has been specially revealed by God, namely Scripture. Therefore, we are bound by obedience to that will of God which He has revealed to all mankind to worship Him in accord with that revelation and we are happy to be in communing fellowship with all those who would not constrain our consciences to by asking us to sin against God by worshipping Him out of accord with that which He has revealed. So the availability of God’s truth and will is not at stake here, it is available to all mankind in the Scriptures. Furthermore, though we do believe that our system of doctrine is that which is revealed by God, we by no means believe that only those who believe the entire body of the truth with 100% accuracy are saved. We believe that we are saved by the Triune God alone through faith in the work of Christ whose righteousness is imputed to us just as our sins were imputed to Him on the cross and this by the ministry of the Holy Spirit ordinarily by means of word and sacrament in and among us. This being the case, we believe that there are many Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, and even Catholics who are regenerated by the Spirit and trust in the finished work of Christ for their salvation and have no hope besides.

    Your position on this matter is confusing to us to say the least since the Romanists have not infallibly defined the meaning of every word of the text of the Scriptures. How can you know what the will of God is any better than us Protestants when it comes to any text of Scripture on which the Romanists have not infallibly spoken? So, even if it was the case that there are only .000000000001% of humanity that knows the will of God under the Reformed scheme, that’s still greater than the 0% who can know it under the Roman scheme. Even the pope would be bound to believe things he cannot know since he cannot know that his understanding of any text is infallibly guarded by the Spirit except where the Romanists have already infallibly spoken. Now, if I am misunderstanding the Roman position I will be glad to listen to how I am mistaken as any explanation I have seen to this point has not alleviated this problem. But, as things stand now, I am unable to understand how it is that God’s truth and will is in any sense available in the Roman scheme when we are told that we need an infallible interpreter of that truth and will but so very little of it has been infallibly interpreted. If such is indeed the case, does not the Roman scheme take that which God has revealed and hide it again?

  46. Posted May 9, 2013 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Tom,

    You’re also creating a straw man if you say that we say that not everyone who is in a conservative P&R church is going to hell. We believe that all Christians should be joined to a true Church and we have identified attributes of true churches, but we don’t claim infallibility in discerning these attributes. Add to that the fact that God is free to save whoever He wishes — even Catholics and guys from the West Coast.

  47. Posted May 9, 2013 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Drew – So, even if it was the case that there are only .000000000001% of humanity that knows the will of God under the Reformed scheme, that’s still greater than the 0% who can know it under the Roman scheme.

    Erik – Touche’

  48. AB
    Posted May 9, 2013 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    I’ll shard anyway, TVD. I love breaking out Machen. Call me a machenist:-)

    Page 155:

    “At this point, a question may perhaps be asked. We have said that saving faith is acceptance of Christ, not merely in general, but as He is offered to us in the gospel. How much, then, of this gospel, it may be asked, does a man need to accept in order that he may be saved…Indeed it is a question which I think no human being can answer. Who can presume to say for certain what is the condition of another man’s soul…this is one of those things which much surely be left to God.”

    I keep a Microsoft word version of “what is faith” on hand, so you can ask our resident blogmeister for my E-mail, if you want my copy. It’s also free on the inter.webs, and you can find if you’ve hear of this website called “Google.” Thus, my morning rhetorical flourish. Bottoms up!

  49. Posted May 9, 2013 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    AB,
    Quite agreed with you there. God alone knows the heart and apparently He wants to keep others heart hidden to us. I think He knows best and will be just fine in how He works. It is me who wish I could hide my on heart from Him, yet that is quite foolish. To hide from His light is to embrace and love the darkness. Christ complete exposes His healing light, therefore we are left with nothing to do except either seek to crucify Him or embrace our cross and join Him.

  50. AB
    Posted May 9, 2013 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Machen ends that chapter thus:

    “we ought to search the Scriptures reverently and thoughtfully and pray God that He may lead us into an ever fuller understanding of the truth that can make us wise unto salvation. There is no virtue in ignorance, but much virtue in a knowledge of what God has revealed.”
    In other words, “stay thirsty, my friends.

  51. Posted May 9, 2013 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Sean,
    Some of that may be the case. I am no VII historian. I guess I careless what peoples desire for things were and more what God actual allowed to be written. I see nothing had the intent nor did change any dogma of the Church. Like St. Paul some preach out of illicit desire, but some out of sincerity. Like him I just rejoice that Christ is preached to the nations. If my understanding of the words tell me that it is against a dogma then apparently I don’t understand it yet. The Holy Spirit is trusted that way in the Scriptures and He ought be trusted that way in guiding the Church. Men do His work, but His work is not limited by their motives. The actual text is what is important.
    Peace,
    MichaelTX

  52. Posted May 9, 2013 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Sean,

    The series got interesting last night. We need to consider a friendly wager.

  53. Posted May 9, 2013 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    We have 4 great series’ going right now. The Bulls & Heat had a football game last night. 9 technicals, flagrant fouls, ejections. It was like a day at Old Life.

  54. Posted May 9, 2013 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Sean,
    Concerning the historic-critical hermenuetic methods, it is not as if we are not able to gain in site from the studying of the texts of Scripture as long as we are addressing the text in light of our faith. The problems come in when we rebel against our faith and use any method to present it.
    Just my thought,
    MichaelTX

  55. sean
    Posted May 9, 2013 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Michael, I need to get to work on your prior post to me. But as regards Vat II, it’s in the text. For example, the ordinary magisterium was given permission and encouraged, per the hermenuetic principles outlined in historical-critical method to make pastoral application that was PURPOSEFULLY(not yelling at u) open ended and fluid and flexible. This was done in conjuction with a more purposeful and formal recognizing of the Charism exercised by the laity and ordinary magisterium. The idea was/is to set in place a church that could adapt to historical and theological understandings. So, what you have now is a church with a belief structure that ranges from militant feminism and gay advocation amongst the religious to forensic theologians to traditionalists looking for a latin rite mass. They all have legitimate footing within the church. That’s a kind of disunity in pursuit of unity that would make Nietschze cringe. Hey look it’s all fine, but you(not you personally) can’t come back and say; Never mind how the sausage is getting made, we’ve made it this way since Jesus died and it tastes just the same. They haven’t and it doesn’t.

  56. sean
    Posted May 9, 2013 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Erik, We look like old men and they don’t pay me to ride the rollercoaster. However, if Golden State is the wave of how the NBA will look, well, it’s more entertaining than anything we had in the 2000’s. This is where we need Cap’n Jack or an Horry to knock Curry and Thompson into the placards. We looked like this against Nash’s Phoenix one year until Horry bloodied his mouth and knocked him into the scorer’s table.

  57. Richard Smith
    Posted May 9, 2013 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Erik Charter: Richard, Hawkins? Do you mean Hawking? Who is Hawkins?

    RS: Hawkins is a conflation (in my mind) of Hawking and Dawkins. The man I went to hear was Richard Dawkins. Sorry about that.

  58. Posted May 9, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Sean,

    I’ve often wondered why more guys who are good shooters don’t just get knocked on their asses more often. You need to get into their heads to get them out of their rhythm. Being angry and shooting a basketball don’t go together well. It’s not like football.

  59. Richard Smith
    Posted May 9, 2013 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Tom Van Dyke quoting RS: It appeared that Jesus was against the whole world

    TVD: Not to me. He was FOR the whole world, which is my starting point here.

    RS: It depends on what one means by FOR the whole world. But to go on, Jesus spoke in parables in order to hide and His coming was a judgment on some people:
    13 “Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 “In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, ‘YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE; 15 FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES, OTHERWISE THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES, HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.’

    John 12: 37 But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him.
    38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke: “LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT? AND TO WHOM HAS THE ARM OF THE LORD BEEN REVEALED?”
    39 For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again,
    40 “HE HAS BLINDED THEIR EYES AND HE HARDENED THEIR HEART, SO THAT THEY WOULD NOT SEE WITH THEIR EYES AND PERCEIVE WITH THEIR HEART, AND BE CONVERTED AND I HEAL THEM.”

  60. Posted May 9, 2013 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Richard,

    You should have asked him about his theory of life being seeded on planet earth by aliens. That comes out in Ben Stein’s “Expelled”. Christian theology sounds strange until you start delving into atheists’ theories. I listened to a podcast from an atheist awhile back. The first half is him tearing down Christianity. The second half is his New Age theories that make Christianity look positively rational.

  61. Richard Smith
    Posted May 9, 2013 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    RS: Perhaps the real issue has to do with the nature of God and how many He elected and how many Christ died for.

    TVD: Yeah, that “elect” stuff gets a bit squirrelly. Even if true, I have my doubts about those who think they’re among them.

    RS: But Scripture speaks differently on the matter than you do:
    II Peter 1:10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;
    11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.

    1 John 5:13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

    TVD quointing RS: But it could have been greater unity in error.

    TVD: Well, if you look at the reforms of the Counter-Reformation, there’s an implicit acknowledgement of many of the legitimate complaints of the Reformation. Not really a doubling-down on error.

    RS: While moral reforms are important, morality is not the Gospel. The Pharisees had a lot of external morality and hypothetically they could have had a movement (like they started with) that strove for moral reform. But that moral reform would have been a form of hardening to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as well.

    TVD quoting RS: But even if there were 5,000 people there that hated God and I was the only one that loved God, the vastly greater numbers does not demonstrate the truth of the matter.

    TVD: Well, I’m talking about the general availability of God’s Truth and Will to mankind. If there’s only 30,000 people out of 7 billion who know what’s what and the rest can go to hell, I’m not good with that.

    RS: While I don’t know any exact numbers and make no pretense to doing so, we should bow in humility before the living God and leave that to Him since it is left to Him anyway. Since all human beings (except the human nature of Christ) deserve hell, we should have no complaint regarding how many God chooses to save by grace alone and no complaint how many He chooses not to save. We all deserve hell and no one deserves heaven in and of him or herself.

    TVD: Mom’s going to hell because she’s not on the right side of your theology? Well, the hell with you, then.

    RS: No one goes to hell because they are on the right or wrong side of theology. People go to hell because they are sinners who sin. No one is saved because one has the right theology either, but one is only saved if one really has Christ and Christ has that person. There is a difference between having a proper doctrine about justification and being justified by Christ alone. There is a difference between have an intellectual belief about the Gospel and being a new creature in Christ Jesus by grace alone. No one is saved by the degree of correct theology that s/he has, but instead by grace alone. Theology matters, but it does not save.

    In discussing hell and the doctrines of election and grace alone I have had your basic point (if not mom, then to hell with you) brought up to me many times. If my grandparent, parent, and so on died without Christ then I will not have that Christ. If so and so is not saved, then I won’t believe that. The passage below addresses part of the issue, but not all.

    Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.

  62. Dwight Lindley
    Posted May 9, 2013 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Darryl,

    Interesting thoughts. Still, as I know a few things about Newman and the disagreement over his development theory you are bringing up here, I want to offer a few clarifications:

    1. Despite whatever you see in your usual Catholic sparring partners, Brownson’s position hasn’t actually been obscured or effaced by Catholic historians: Brownson was in fact speaking for the majority at the time, and any good historian of the period (I think of Jaroslav Pelikan’s accounts, for instance) will admit that Newman’s theory faced stout opposition from most Catholic theologians and other intellectuals. In fact, Newman’s book only nearly avoided being condemned by the Holy Office (now called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith). It was only later in the century, and especially in the first half of the 20th century, that Catholics began taking his theory seriously.

    2. Next to Newman’s most eloquent opponents in this dispute, Brownson’s critique looks pretty insubstantial, and this is one of the reasons his critique has not been dignified with frequent remembrance. He speaks of “loose or inexact expressions” and “scandalous phraseology,” but does not move beyond language to a criticism of the substance of the theory. Like many at the time, he seems vaguely worried about the effects the theory will have, primarily because he cannot imagine a theory of development that is not “progressive” in the Hegelian sense, or evolutionary in the Darwinian sense. But Newman’s theory is something different from either of these.

    3. Newman’s theory was slowly and openly accepted by theologians and eventually by the Magisterium, over the decades between 1845 (when it was written) and Vatican 2. He is broadly admitted to be (along with J.A. Mohler, et al.) the grandfather of all RC Historical Theology, and there’s really no question about whether he or Brownson won this disagreement. As a result, I’d be careful of taking too seriously the far-right schismatic accounts you’ve been reading (e.g. the author of your second [and improperly linked] quote from this website: http://www.traditioninaction.org/): following Brownson, they associate Newman’s doctrine with progressivism, and damn it along with the pope, the bishops, Vatican 2, and everything after, say, 1914. While of course such nostalgic views are influential in the hinterlands of rad-trad practice, they don’t really have a seat at the Catholic theological table. The theory of development is here to stay in RC theology.

    for what it’s worth,
    –Dwight

  63. mark mcculley
    Posted May 9, 2013 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2008/11/why-calvinism-is-the-least-rational-option/

    The first comment is by Byron Cross equating “private judgment” with “rationalism”. Of course the “evangelical middle” post is saying that Calvinism has the most “tension” and therefore the least “rationalism” in Protestantism and therefore “most probably right”. No eternal security here!

    But me, I am just “ratinalistic” enough to read Machen and wonder why he thinks some liberals are Christians. Reason asks–if Christianity and liberalism are two different faiths, but some of those who are liberals are Christians, shouldn’t we say that also some of those who are Mormons or Muslims also Christians. See how discontent I am will the “mystery” . I tend to think the true and holy God uses human falsehoods to bring glory to Himself by way of ANTITHESIS. (not tension, not alliance, not coalition).

    No mystery about San Francisco being able to shoot. The question is if the refs will call the fouls. Since they probably won’t, the Heat will most likely win. But I hope not. If the fouls are not going to be called in the finals, then Memphis might have the best chance to take down the old guys in Miami.

    Bonner is a problem on defense. Also on offense.

  64. Posted May 9, 2013 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Sean,
    I understand your point, but disagree because I think it is very easy to misjudge the actual teaching from the practice. Maybe I am ignorant of what you speak, but I am not called to know everything. I am called to be faithful with what I know. The Holy Spirit moves where and how He wishes, but He always points to Christ and brings glory to God the Father. Glad to hear your thoughts. I do not doubt you may have more info for me to sort thought my grid of faith. Iron sharpens iron.
    Peace,
    MichaelTX

  65. Posted May 9, 2013 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Ahh, a faculty colleague:

    http://hillsdale.academia.edu/DwightLindley

    I appreciate the “for what it’s worth” sign off. That’s a man I can dialogue with.

  66. Posted May 9, 2013 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Mark – Bonner is a problem on defense. Also on offense.

    Erik – Bonner suffers from the most terminal of NBA maladies — extreme whiteness.

  67. Posted May 9, 2013 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    For every Larry Bird there are 1000 Mark Madsens:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgOQO5MilfI

  68. mark mcculley
    Posted May 9, 2013 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    RS: No one goes to hell because they are on the right or wrong side of theology. People go to hell because they are sinners who sin. No one is saved because one has the right theology either, but one is only saved if one really has Christ and Christ has that person. There is a difference between having a proper doctrine about justification and being justified by Christ alone. There is a difference between have an intellectual belief about the Gospel and being a new creature in Christ Jesus by grace alone. No one is saved by the degree of correct theology that s/he has, but instead by grace alone. Theology matters, but it does not save.

    mark: without rerunning old debates, I simply want to call attention to the many false dichotomies in the rs version of ‘private rationalism” quoted in the pietism above.

    1. There are many reasons a person will perish. One reason is that God has not elected a person. Persons God has not elected in Christ will perish.
    2. Another reason persons perish is that they are born guilty and condemned. These persons do not need to hear something to be condemned. These persons don’t need to reject or disbelieve something to be guilty. We are all born that way.
    3. That being said, it is still sin for persons not to believe the gospel when they hear it.
    a.. the gospel is that Christ only died for the elect and none of them will perish
    b. the gospel also includes the fact that these elect for whom Christ died will believe this gospel
    c while it’s true that it’s a sin not to believe the gospel, this fact does not change the gospel into law
    d. . while it’s true that apart from election nobody has the ability to believe the gospel, this fact does not change the gospel into law
    e. if a person really knows they need to be saved, their concern will not be whose fault this is
    f. if a person really knows they need to be saved, their concern will not be the sin of unbelief or the duty of belief, but rather HOW CAN I BE SAVED FROM GOD’S WRATH?

    4. A person with Muslim theology will perish because of their Muslim theology, This does not deny the prior causes given just above.

    5. it is a bad news moralism which defines sin only in terms of moral behavior. Faith in the theology revealed in the Bible is itself a moral question. A pietist is simply being stupid if they think they can be devoted to “the person” without thinking about the doctrines which identify that person (and that person’s work). Though there is only one true Christ, there are many false Christs, and it’s foolish to play horse-shoes on this matter (close enough, relativism, since I am sincere the object of my faith does not matter).

    6. It would be foolish to say that the only prostitutes are those who charge a thousand dollars. It would be silly to say that the only nonChristians are people who don’t name the name of Christ. We can say that some who understand the true doctrines of the gospel may not believe those doctrines, but that’s no reason to say that those who believe in Christ don’t know who He is by doctrine. If you don’t know Christ by doctrine, then exactly how do you know who or what you know? Maybe you got affectionately over-excited by the joy of a walk in the woods and came back saying ” now he REALLY belongs to me.” Better add another “really”, but only if you “really” mean it….

    7. Sure, there’s a difference between Christ’s righteousness and our faith in Christ’s righteousness, but that doesn’t mean only one of the two is important. The doctrine of justification is something other than a person being justified, but that in no way proves that a person who is justified does not understand the doctrine of justification.

    8. I call attention to the antithesis inherent in the rhetoric of rs. When he says that doctrine and person are two different matters, he is not ONLY saying that. He is saying that WE DON’T HAVE TO KNOW THE DOCTRINE. But nothing in his paragraph argues for that, because it’s just one long begging of the question, one long assertion over and over again.

    9. And what RS is giving us is not “not theology”? It IS also theology. It’s his theology, and he seems to think his point is important, but perhaps he would grant that we could be Christians and not know what he’s telling us (or even disagree with it). But could we “really”….???

    10. Sensations in one’s “feel good center” possibly “matter” but I couldn’t say how or why. Neither does RS ever get around to telling us why theology matters.

    Or even why his theology matters. Which theology RS doesn’t seem to think he has right now when he’s talking about being saved or not

  69. Posted May 9, 2013 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Dwight, thanks for the clarification. I would like to be a fly on the wall sometime when the Trad’s discuss matters with the conservative RC’s about Vatican II. It might sound, with RC cadence, like a discussion between OP’s and Evangelical Presbyterians debating the merits of the PCUSA.

  70. Posted May 9, 2013 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Michael, but now that you know, or have some inkling of knowledge, what do you do then?

  71. mark mcculley
    Posted May 9, 2013 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Doctrines as Reasons for Joy

    there’s this person who did a work
    and before you know if that work was for you,
    you must know and agree with the doctrine
    of what He did

    if you don’t know what the person did,
    you know neither the person
    nor if that person
    did anything for you

    commitment to the imperative
    to know the person cannot come
    before we know the indicative
    of what he got done

    since we are children of Abraham
    remember that Abraham knew what the seed had to do
    Abraham knew that he himself was not going
    to bring in the righteousness

    one result of election
    is submission to the doctrine of righteousness
    obtained by Christ for the elect alone
    and then imputed by God

    the test of the exodus out of the false gospel
    is not our testimony that
    “we know the person”
    the same one the crowd knows

    we are not called to a tragic imperative
    “to know the person” without knowing which person
    the sheep don’t follow the wrong
    person taught in the wrong doctrine

    ,do you know,
    how nice man like Jesus
    got himself killed
    if it was not the offense of his doctrine?

    yes, it’s fact He died
    but there are many possible
    explanations,
    and these doctrines divide

    they hated His doctrine
    so much they wanted Him dead
    but that was a long time ago
    and now we are all caesar
    and the person is in some of our hearts

    now there is so much more immorality
    so many undisciplined affections
    let’s worry about that
    NOT Him being king of our doctrine

    you gather around a person
    you give reasons
    why your doctrines are not doctrines
    and you thank your god you are not
    like those doctrine persons

    with great reasons
    Jesus the person
    faced the Father’s silence
    with great tears

    for this doctrine I was born
    to satisfy Our demand
    for righteousness
    no justifying of the ungodly which is not just

    we have reasons for our joy
    these doctrines cause us to
    judge by the gospel

    which Christ was crucified?

    mm, 2013 may

  72. Richard Smith
    Posted May 9, 2013 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    McMark: 8. I call attention to the antithesis inherent in the rhetoric of rs. When he says that doctrine and person are two different matters, he is not ONLY saying that. He is saying that WE DON’T HAVE TO KNOW THE DOCTRINE. But nothing in his paragraph argues for that, because it’s just one long begging of the question, one long assertion over and over again.

    RS: No, I am not saying that we don’t have to know doctrine. But I am saying that one can know the doctrine and not know Christ. A few more premisses are needed in order to make the claim that you are claiming here, but I did not give you those. You are making some assumptions and then attributing them to me. I was responding to a specific statement made by TVD and that is the context of my statements. Here is the statement of TVD that I was responding to:
    TVD: Mom’s going to hell because she’s not on the right side of your theology?

    RS: Note, person A is going to hell because person A is not on the right side of theology A is not a correct statement. Person A goes to hell because Person A is a sinner and sins. I am reading TVD’s statement as reading “just because she’s not on the right side of your theology.” True enough a person is born a Pelagian and has to repent of being a Pelagian and one has to know the Gospel in order to believe the Gospel of the glory of God in Jesus Christ. But one can know the facts about the Gospel and still not be a converted person.

    McMark: 9. And what RS is giving us is not “not theology”? It IS also theology. It’s his theology, and he seems to think his point is important, but perhaps he would grant that we could be Christians and not know what he’s telling us (or even disagree with it). But could we “really”….???

    RS: Of course one must believe the Gospel, but people go to hell because they sin and part of that sin in some is because they reject the Gospel. But not all hear the Gospel. Everything is theology, so of course I am giving theology. But again, theology does not save.

    McMark: 10. Sensations in one’s “feel good center” possibly “matter” but I couldn’t say how or why. Neither does RS ever get around to telling us why theology matters.

    Or even why his theology matters. Which theology RS doesn’t seem to think he has right now when he’s talking about being saved or not

    RS: I have no idea of how you arrived at where you arrived at in this post, but there are mysteries we cannot know. It is not the same thing to say that person A is not saved by theology and then to say that person A is saved without or apart from theology. A person is saved by Jesus Christ and His grace alone. But Christ reveals Himself to people through the teaching of Scripture/theology. That is why people must know theology, which is supposed to be the study of (ology) God (theos). Theology does not save but true theology is a revelation of the God who does save. God is not obligated to save those who hear correct theology or even know and understand (to some degree) correct theology. God saves those whom He is pleased to save. and part of that is by revealing Himself and the glory of the Gospel through Scripture/theology.

  73. Richard Smith
    Posted May 9, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    mark: without rerunning old debates, I simply want to call attention to the many false dichotomies in the rs version of ‘private rationalism” quoted in the pietism above.

    RS: But there was no specific pietism in what I wrote.

    McMark: 1. There are many reasons a person will perish. One reason is that God has not elected a person. Persons God has not elected in Christ will perish.
    2. Another reason persons perish is that they are born guilty and condemned. These persons do not need to hear something to be condemned. These persons don’t need to reject or disbelieve something to be guilty. We are all born that way.

    RS: Exactly, but they perish not because they don’t believe the doctrine, but because they are born guilty and condemned. That is not a slam on the doctrine nor the importance of the doctrine at all, but it simply says that a person does not have to know that doctrine in order to be condemned. The doctrine tells us the state of all people.

    McMark: 3. That being said, it is still sin for persons not to believe the gospel when they hear it.
    a.. the gospel is that Christ only died for the elect and none of them will perish
    b. the gospel also includes the fact that these elect for whom Christ died will believe this gospel
    c while it’s true that it’s a sin not to believe the gospel, this fact does not change the gospel into law
    d. . while it’s true that apart from election nobody has the ability to believe the gospel, this fact does not change the gospel into law
    e. if a person really knows they need to be saved, their concern will not be whose fault this is
    f. if a person really knows they need to be saved, their concern will not be the sin of unbelief or the duty of belief, but rather HOW CAN I BE SAVED FROM GOD’S WRATH?

    RS: But again, does the propositional truth of true theology save? No, it is in what true theology reveals about Christ saves. That is not pietism, that is a deliverance from rationalism.

    McMark: 4. A person with Muslim theology will perish because of their Muslim theology, This does not deny the prior causes given just above.

    RS: But it is also quite misleading to put it that way. They are not saved because they are sinners and because they reject the true God.

    McMark: 5. it is a bad news moralism which defines sin only in terms of moral behavior. Faith in the theology revealed in the Bible is itself a moral question. A pietist is simply being stupid if they think they can be devoted to “the person” without thinking about the doctrines which identify that person (and that person’s work).

    RS: And a rationalist is simply being non-rational to think that one can be saved because he has the right theology and believes that the propositions in his theology are true. Jesus said that a person must be born again and not that a person must believe that he must be born again. Of course theology is vital, but the theology in and of itself does not save. It tells us the truth about ourselves and of the One who does save. Knowing the truth about justification by grace alone does not save in the slightest, but being justified by grace alone does. Sure God works through knowing the truth of the doctrine, but it is not because one believes the doctrine.

    McMark: Though there is only one true Christ, there are many false Christs, and it’s foolish to play horse-shoes on this matter (close enough, relativism, since I am sincere the object of my faith does not matter).

    RS: Yes, but there are also many forms of rationalism that can be the object of a person’s faith as well. I am sure there are may apologists who can set out many distinctions between the true Christ and the false Christs, but knowing all about the false Christs do not save. Knowing about the true Christ does not save either. It is only those who are born of God and know God that are saved. Eternal life is to know God which is not the same thing as knowing about God. Does that mean that it is not important to know about God? No, not in the slightest. We must know about God, but we must also know God if John 17:3 and I John 4:7-8 have any meaning at all.

  74. Posted May 9, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    The debate between Mark and Richard goes back to how the elect comes into union with Christ. This is still a union debate. I think Richard does not count forensic union as union with the person of Christ. This also goes back to the fiduciary element of faith that many reformed systematic theologies talk about. Gordon Clark rejected the necessity of that “trust” element of saving faith in his book WHAT IS SAVING FAITH? It is the object of faith that saves us. And that object (Christ) has to be explained to us as doctrine in the scripture. If our faith is in any other object. not explained as Christ in the Scriptures, than our faith is spurious and false. Only faith in the Christ as explained in the scriptures is saving faith. Our minds, hearts and wills (which are used as synonyms in most cases in the Scriptures) have to believe the content of what the Scriptures teach about Christ. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. Richard and Mark divert ways when describing how this hearing takes place. Richard says it is by the Spirit and Mark says the Spirit cannot begin its work until the imputation of Christ’s righteousness has been transferred by God to the elect who is yet ungodly. The imputation causes the hearing and then the effectual call by the Spirit occurs. This has vast ramifications for how the Christian believer then lives his life.

  75. Posted May 9, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    DGHart,

    Know what? That people don’t always act in accord with the Holy Spirit, yet He can work just fine without them for His purposes. I guess I praise God for His mercy and grace. He’s done it before and He will do it again.

    God never changes, but we on the other hand most defiantly do. I pray by God’s grace we change for the better forevermore. These are not new things Hart. People have been failing while God never fails since the beginning. The Scriptures are filled with His providential hand in all kinds of ridiculous human affairs.

    Just how I see it,
    MichaelTX

  76. Posted May 9, 2013 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    RS: While I don’t know any exact numbers and make no pretense to doing so, we should bow in humility before the living God and leave that to Him since it is left to Him anyway.

    Always my point, Richard, and my [our?] prayer, that hell will be empty. Which makes this “Elect” business superfluous, we hope.

    McMark: 4. A person with Muslim theology will perish because of their Muslim theology, This does not deny the prior causes given just above.

    RS: But it is also quite misleading to put it that way. They are not saved because they are sinners and because they reject the true God.

    I triggered this by having a little fun with you via a semi-famous argument from the early days of the C of E, that rejected one’s Recusant [still-Catholic] mother was going to hell. And for you, forget the Catlicks–you reject most Protestants and now even most Presbyterians and Calvinists. Nobody could find your theological truth even if they wanted to.

    I would think that at some point pre-Reformation, a person’s odds of getting into heaven were a lot better. They might have been in error, but there was nobody there like you or Calvin to tell them they were.

    Kind of like the Men of Athens at Mars Hill, in error about many things and ignorant of the rest, but worshipping the True God all the same. All things considered, they were better off before Paul showed up, not after.

  77. Posted May 9, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Debating theology with Michael is kind of like picking up Jello off of the kitchen floor with your bare hands…without using your thumbs.

  78. Posted May 9, 2013 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Debating theology with

    I dunno, Erik. Whenever they call it theology, you say it’s sola scriptura. Or vice-versa.

  79. Richard Smith
    Posted May 9, 2013 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    TVD: I triggered this by having a little fun with you via a semi-famous argument from the early days of the C of E, that rejected one’s Recusant [still-Catholic] mother was going to hell. And for you, forget the Catlicks–you reject most Protestants and now even most Presbyterians and Calvinists. Nobody could find your theological truth even if they wanted to.

    RS: It is true that theological truth cannot be found or understood by the “wants” of the human will as they have to be illuminated by the Spirit, but it is still in the pages of Scripture if one longs to pray and seek the truth as revealed.

    TVD: I would think that at some point pre-Reformation, a person’s odds of getting into heaven were a lot better. They might have been in error, but there was nobody there like you or Calvin to tell them they were.

    RS: So provocative of you, but as you know there is no such thing as odds, which may sound rather odd to some. “It does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.”

    TVD: Kind of like the Men of Athens at Mars Hill, in error about many things and ignorant of the rest, but worshipping the True God all the same.

    RS: But they were not worshipping the true God, but instead were worshipping something that they thought they might have missed. Paul told them that the god they were ignorant of he was going to proclaim to them.

    TVD: All things considered, they were better off before Paul showed up, not after.

    RS: So men are better off in ignorance, darkness, and on the road to hell without light?

  80. Richard Smith
    Posted May 9, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    John Yeazel: The debate between Mark and Richard goes back to how the elect comes into union with Christ. This is still a union debate. I think Richard does not count forensic union as union with the person of Christ.

    RS: I am in agreement that there had to be some kind of union from eternity past, but that until there is a real union with Christ there is no true oneness with Christ. Jesus Himself prayed this in John 17: “and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

    JY: This also goes back to the fiduciary element of faith that many reformed systematic theologies talk about. Gordon Clark rejected the necessity of that “trust” element of saving faith in his book WHAT IS SAVING FAITH? It is the object of faith that saves us. And that object (Christ) has to be explained to us as doctrine in the scripture.

    RS: But of course I don’t deny that Christ has to be explained in terms of doctrine, but the doctrine itself does not save. It is not enough to believe that a person must be born again, but instead a person must really be born again.

    JY: If our faith is in any other object. not explained as Christ in the Scriptures, than our faith is spurious and false. Only faith in the Christ as explained in the scriptures is saving faith.

    RS: But apart from a union with Christ, our faith in Christ is a work.

    JY: Our minds, hearts and wills (which are used as synonyms in most cases in the Scriptures) have to believe the content of what the Scriptures teach about Christ.

    RS: Indeed, but they must believe more than just the content and instead behold the glory of it all.

    JY: Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.

    RS: Can one hear apart from being born again which is the effectual call in the older creeds? It is in the effectual call that the soul is regenerated and given ears to hear so that it can believe. Check on the WCF and the LBCF on that one.

    JY: Richard and Mark divert ways when describing how this hearing takes place. Richard says it is by the Spirit and Mark says the Spirit cannot begin its work until the imputation of Christ’s righteousness has been transferred by God to the elect who is yet ungodly.

    RS: The Spirit Himself was purchased by Christ for His people. The Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. I am not sure how we can be united to one without being united to the other. It has appeared in the past that to argue for the imputation of the righteousness of Christ before the actual union with Christ is for God to declare the guilty non-guilty because they don’t have the righteousness of Christ imputed to them.

    WCF 11
    II. Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and His righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification:[4] yet is it not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but works by love.[5]

    III. Christ, by His obedience and death, did fully discharge the debt of all those that are thus justified, and did make a proper, real and full satisfaction to His Father’s justice in their behalf.[6] Yet, in as much as He was given by the Father for them;[7] and His obedience and satisfaction accepted in their stead;[8] and both, freely, not for any thing in them; their justification is only of free grace;[9] that both the exact justice, and rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners.[10]

    IV. God did, from all eternity, decree to justify all the elect,[11] and Christ did, in the fullness of time, die for their sins, and rise again for their justification:[12] nevertheless, they are not justified, until the Holy Spirit does, in due time, actually apply Christ unto them.[13]

    RS: While the WCF is not inerrant, my position is in line with it. Souls are not justified until Christ is actually applied unto them.

    JY: The imputation causes the hearing and then the effectual call by the Spirit occurs. This has vast ramifications for how the Christian believer then lives his life.

    RS: Christ purchased the Spirit Himself and all spiritual blessings for His people. All those blessings are in Christ. See how often the preposition “in” is used over and over in Ephesians 1, for example. All of these things happen in Christ and when He is in His people.

    Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood,
    13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation– having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,

    RS: Notice that all spiritual blessings are given in Christ. We have redemption in Christ. It is in Christ that we believe and are sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit. By the way, it has been a long time since you have been around, John. I hope you are doing well.

  81. Posted May 9, 2013 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    RS: It is true that theological truth cannot be found or understood by the “wants” of the human will as they have to be illuminated by the Spirit, but it is still in the pages of Scripture if one longs to pray and seek the truth as revealed.

    This is the rub–
    a) That your interpretation is Spirit-filled whereas the next fellow’s is not
    b) There’s a sola scriptura slipperiness that denies the very existence of theology–my interpretation of the Bible isn’t “interpretation” atall, but what the Bible plainly says to anyone with eyes.

    But in the end, that’s tautology, or self-fulfilling prophecy anyway, be it Darryl G. Hart’s or Tim Bayly’s, who can make their truth claims by precisely the same method, although one [if not both] is surely wrong.

    I don’t read Paul as a mere fideist–“Prove [Test] all things; hold fast that which is good.” Logic, logos, reason if you will, is corrupt in the way man perverts it, but not in itself. If what you’re saying is illogical, it’s simply not true. This has to be the uncontroversial starting point–or all is lost [or at least useless]. There are truths and mysteries of God that are unprovable, unknowable, but they are not contradictory.

  82. Posted May 9, 2013 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    Tom, au contraire. Again, you’re doing a good impersonation of Donnie in the Big Lebowski (“Donnie, you’re outside your element”) if you think that Tim Bayly and I roll the same way. He believes the Bible is crystal clear about all of his opinions. I believe the Bible is limited in what it reveals, I need to submit to it, and for the rest — which is a lot — I am free to opine (but never to claim a biblical warrant for my opinion.

  83. Posted May 9, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure you want to hang with comparing yourself to Walter in the Big Lebowski, DG, telling other people they’re outside their element. Were I to want to insult you, I’d be tempted to accuse you of just that. [Walter is a loudmouthed know-it-all who consistently screws everything up by assuming he knows better than anyone else.] You don’t wanna go there.

    Anyway, everybody knows I’m the Dude. ;-P

    Now then, re

    He believes the Bible is crystal clear about all of his opinions.

    I’m willing to accept your correction here. What I know about these persons is already too much, and I’m not sure I can bear any more. However, I’m a little doubtful they believe in a Christian Way of plumbing. There may be a bit of caricature going on with that stuff.

    Still, point taken, that where the Bible is silent it’s silent–there is no Biblical standard for tax rates or whathaveyou.

    OTOH, I wasn’t really accusing you of pounding Bible for everything under the sun, so it’s really not germane to my point here, although it may succeed in helping to bury it. No, I was speaking strictly of the stuff that you and your cohorts here do claim Biblical warrant for, Darryl.

  84. Posted May 9, 2013 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    Erik says: “I’ve often wondered why more guys who are good shooters don’t just get knocked on their asses more often. You need to get into their heads to get them out of their rhythm. Being angry and shooting a basketball don’t go together well. It’s not like football.”

    Me: Erik, I hate to pull rank on you, BUT it’s common knowledge that Jerry West played MUCH better when he was mad.

    Sean, the problem I see with your Spurs, is the defense of those hot shooting Warrriors. Klay Thompson is all over Parker, making Tony look pedestrian. I have a feeling the Warriors are going all the way! I can hope, right? Barnes and Green are all over poor Ginobili. making it look like it’s time he thinks about retiring.

    Welcome to the new powerhouse in the NBA!

  85. Posted May 9, 2013 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    Richard,

    I appreciate your concern and I am in a good place living now in Savannah, Georgia. In fact, I have been attending the Independent Presbyterian Church pastored by Terry Johnson. A beautiful and historical church in the heart of downtown Savannah. Lots of theological heavyweights in the congregation and pastoral staff. The Sunday morning bible studies before the service have been a joy to attend. However, I did not agree with everything that Pastor Johnson preached about at last Sunday’s sermon. He preached on Luke 10: 25-29. He did distinguish between the Law and the Gospel in the text but when explaining how the Gospel is applied to the sinner he made the statement that the believers faith is counted as the righteousness. That seems to me to condition the salvation on the sinner and his faith rather than on the imputed righteousness of Christ which causes the faith. I don’t think the Westmister confession describes saving faith in that way either, ie the faith counted as the righteousness.

    I am not denying that a spiritual union with Christ occurs by the Spirit. I am just giving the logical priority to the legal and forensic union. This legal union is what John chapter 15 is talking about. You claim that John 15 is about spiritual union. Without the legal union there would be no spiritual union.

  86. Justin J.
    Posted May 9, 2013 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    Darryl,

    When precision is at such a premium in discussions such as these, it’s helpful if you maintain a certain level of accuracy: ” . . . Donny! You’re out of your element!”

  87. Posted May 9, 2013 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    Doug – Me: Erik, I hate to pull rank on you, BUT it’s common knowledge that Jerry West played MUCH better when he was mad.

    Erik – I stand corrected. You may be correct depending on the player. I know I see nights when a shooter goes off that they don’t get touched, though. On those nights it’s probably worth a try. Of course the league I play in there’s no free throws so that makes a huge difference.

  88. Posted May 9, 2013 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    Walter’s decision making was right up there with Jerry Lundegaard.

  89. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted May 9, 2013 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    Walter’s decision making was right up there with Jerry Lundegaard.

    Precisely, Erik. Resolve thou henceforth, y’all, Punk Not the Dude.

  90. Richard Smith
    Posted May 9, 2013 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    Tom Van Dyke quoting RS: It is true that theological truth cannot be found or understood by the “wants” of the human will as they have to be illuminated by the Spirit, but it is still in the pages of Scripture if one longs to pray and seek the truth as revealed.

    TVD: This is the rub–
    a) That your interpretation is Spirit-filled whereas the next fellow’s is not

    RS: Not necessarily. But Scripture does teach us that the natural man (as opposed to the spiritual man) cannot understand the things of God. Then the part that God reveals things to people in His own time (as He pleases) and not their own.

    TVS: b) There’s a sola scriptura slipperiness that denies the very existence of theology–my interpretation of the Bible isn’t “interpretation” atall, but what the Bible plainly says to anyone with eyes.

    RS: Which can be a troublesome thing in many areas.

    TVD: But in the end, that’s tautology, or self-fulfilling prophecy anyway, be it Darryl G. Hart’s or Tim Bayly’s, who can make their truth claims by precisely the same method, although one [if not both] is surely wrong.

    RS: But surely we can agree that what is obvious to one person may not be obvious to another. This is why I would argue that it takes a village to interpret (argh, I actually hate that), or rather it takes a church with an eye on history (how others have interpreted) but primarily the Bible.

    TVD: I don’t read Paul as a mere fideist–”Prove [Test] all things; hold fast that which is good.” Logic, logos, reason if you will, is corrupt in the way man perverts it, but not in itself. If what you’re saying is illogical, it’s simply not true.

    RS: But what Paul wrote was breathed forth by the Spirit, so the Spirit can illuminate His own words as He pleases. Logic, like most other things, operates in a context and is limited by what is known. What is illogical in one context is not necessarily illogical when another premiss or more is added. Missing premisses can mess up good logic.

    TVD: This has to be the uncontroversial starting point–or all is lost [or at least useless]. There are truths and mysteries of God that are unprovable, unknowable, but they are not contradictory.

    RS: But if there are mysteries and truths of God that are unprovable and unknowable, how do you know that there are those things? Are they unknowable and unprovable to God? If God knows them, maybe He can reveal them as He pleases.

    I Cor 2:6 Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away;
    7 but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory;
    8 the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory;
    9 but just as it is written, “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.”
    10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.
    11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.
    12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God,
    13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.
    14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

  91. Richard Smith
    Posted May 9, 2013 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    John Yeazel: Richard,
    I appreciate your concern and I am in a good place living now in Savannah, Georgia. In fact, I have been attending the Independent Presbyterian Church pastored by Terry Johnson. A beautiful and historical church in the heart of downtown Savannah. Lots of theological heavyweights in the congregation and pastoral staff. The Sunday morning bible studies before the service have been a joy to attend. However, I did not agree with everything that Pastor Johnson preached about at last Sunday’s sermon. He preached on Luke 10: 25-29. He did distinguish between the Law and the Gospel in the text but when explaining how the Gospel is applied to the sinner he made the statement that the believers faith is counted as the righteousness. That seems to me to condition the salvation on the sinner and his faith rather than on the imputed righteousness of Christ which causes the faith. I don’t think the Westmister confession describes saving faith in that way either, ie the faith counted as the righteousness.

    RS: Mark and I had a bit of a discussion on this the other day. While you are absolutely correct that faith in and of itself cannot be our righteousness and if that is what is meant it does condition salvation on the sinner and his faith, there may be another way of looking at it. Perhaps Pastor Johnson used faith (as Scripture does at times) as a synecdoche (a figure of speech in which a term for a part of something is used to refer to the whole of something) and simply refers to faith and to what faith looks to (Christ) rather than explaining it all each time it is spoken. Surely that is what he meant to do. Anyway, good to hear from you again and it seems that you are getting some solid teaching and doing well.

  92. Posted May 10, 2013 at 12:21 am | Permalink

    @Mark Mcculley; have you ever read the Bible? Try reading Jesus message to the 7 churches in Asia Minor. Jesus has something against 5 out of the 7 churches! And not once did he fault them for not understanding the “ordo”, or the exact formula of salvation.

    What did Jesus have against them? One church lost their first love, some were practicing immorality and such sins. But not once did Jesus fault them for what you *think* is a big deal. Doesn’t that give you pause? How can you be right, when Jesus concerns are not yours?

  93. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 12:37 am | Permalink

    RS: But what Paul wrote was breathed forth by the Spirit, so the Spirit can illuminate His own words as He pleases. Logic, like most other things, operates in a context and is limited by what is known. What is illogical in one context is not necessarily illogical when another premiss or more is added. Missing premisses can mess up good logic.

    See, Richard, I’m way good with all that. In fact since nobody knows everything, has not heard all sides of every argument, it’s exactly why we should gather together in places just like this and kick it around with each other.

    Cheers, bro. I was warned that I wouldn’t like your arguments, but your arguments* are honest and coherent. What we must discuss is where they lead us.

    *Premises, if you will. Premiss[es], as you spelt it. I like that. CS Peirce? Such a mind… 😉

  94. Posted May 10, 2013 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Justin. My memory is not what it used to be, plus, I was too lazy to do a google search.

  95. Posted May 10, 2013 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    Erik, but Walter’s intentions were good.

  96. mark mcculley
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    rs: The Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. I am not sure how we can be united to one without being united to the other. It has appeared in the past that to argue for the imputation of the righteousness of Christ before the actual union with Christ is for God to declare the guilty non-guilty because they don’t have the righteousness of Christ imputed to them.

    mark: John Y brings in a question about the nature of faith, which (important as it is) I don’t think has anything to do with the “union” question. RS continues to say “actual union” in a question-begging fashion, and the problem is that he does not define what that means, except for his assumption that the “actual” is not the legal (which he does not deny).

    So what RS needs to do is find a term for what he’s calling “actual”. Is what he’s calling “actual” regeneration? Is what he’s calling “actual” the indwelling of the person Christ in us, so that (as in Luther), when faith is in us, Christ is in that faith and thus in us? In any case, RS needs to explain what he means. Faith is an experience. Imputation (God’s legal sharing of the merit of Christ’s work) is not an experience.

    I certainly agree that nobody can be united to Christ without also being united to the Holy Spirit. But the question concerns the Spirit’s priority in the “application”. RS (with Calvin) assumes this. But does this mean that the elect are united to the Spirit logically before they are united to Christ, and then the Spirit binds Christ together with elect persons? This is not a technical query about the order of salvation application (or even about the order of redemptive history). Rather, it’s a basic exegetical question about baptism in and with the Holy Spirit. Though RS agrees that Christ purchased the work of the Spirit for the elect, he still seems to think that the Spirit baptizes into Christ, but exegesis of all the seven texts (including Corinthians 12:13) tells us that Christ is the one who baptizes in and with the Spirit.

    But how could this possibly be anything but a technical scholastic “order” question? Gaffin and all who dismiss the order question (Barth, Anthony Hoekema, Ferguson) as of no importance tend to have their own order, at the end of the day. Yes, you can’t have the Spirit without Christ, or Christ without the Spirit, but then it turns out that, when it comes to “actual union”, the priority always goes to the work of the Spirit in us, to faith as that which ‘applies” Christ. And this is practical, because that gets us away from thinking about the atonement or about the atonement being only for the elect, and gets us back to the place where we can work with Arminians–ie, the place where the atonement is for those who believe (whatever), the place where atonement is for those with the Spirit, the place where the atonement is not back there then but here now, so that the atonement becomes the application of the atonement, so that the “real” atonement becomes what the Spirit does with Christ.

    if indeed the order is not practical and important, why is it that Gaffin and others spend so much time insisting on the priority of union with the resurrected Christ over any “legal union” with what Christ did in the past? If it doesn’t matter, then why not let us other folks keep on talking the way we do?

    But the Confession says the Spirit applies, and Calvin did also. I won’t take the time to talk about the ambiguity in Calvin (or the Confessions, David R is good on that), but I think the reason Calvin gives priority to the Spirit uniting to Christ has something to do with the way Calvin thought he had been baptized (in water). But why does RS also give the priority to the Holy Spirit? I don’t know if Rs thinks water baptism is about Spirit baptism (or about baptism into the death of Christ, or if Rs equates those two), but my guess is that Rs gives priority to experience. Imputation is not an experience..

    This brings me back to the last sentence from Rs above—‘to argue for the imputation of the righteousness of Christ before the actual union with Christ is for God to declare the guilty non-guilty because they don’t have the righteousness of Christ imputed to them.” This is simply question begging. When Rs says “because they don’t have the righteousness imputed to them” yet, he’s simply reasserting again that imputation can’t take place logically before the experience. RS thinks imputation would be a fiction because imputation doesn’t take place before the “actual union”. But if the Spirit (the blessing of Abraham) is given to sons, not in order to constitute sons (Galatians 3-4), then God’s imputation is first.

    Rs agrees that Christ purchased the Spirit. He also agrees that faith is not really the righteousness. But nevertheless he thinks it acceptable for us (and the Bible) to say that God counts our faith experience as the righteousness, and acceptable to say that the Spirit gives Christ (at least when it comes to “union”, as opposed to Christ giving the Spirit). But the result of that is always going to be us talking about regeneration and indwelling and our hearts instead of about Christ’s guilt-bearing for those elected in Christ.

    I ask that we define “union”. It does no good to agree that “union” has various aspects (ie, it’s by election and it’s legal also) if we then go on from that to use the word “union” to mean “experimental break with the pattern of sin”.

    Romans 6 is certainly a key text on the relationship of justification and the Christian life. Many read Romans 6 as if it were saying: don’t worry about that two legal heads stuff in Romans 5, because there is another answer besides justification as to why we don’t sin, and that is “union”. Or don’t worry about justification of the ungodly now, because God is not only looking to Christ’s death but also looking to what the Spirit is going to do in us in the future.

    Others (like Robert Haldane) read Romans to say that the answer to the question about the Christian life is not something else besides justification, legal identity with Christ’s death and resurrection. We read Romans 6:7 as saying that the answer continues to be “justified from sin”.
    We insist on that because Christ became dead to sin, was justified from sin, and that certainly was NOT “regeneration” or the work of the Spirit in Him. We insist on reading Romans 6 in terms of “sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law”.

    Others of course read Holy Spirit baptism into Romans 6. They don’t talk about Christ giving the Spirit (which also is not in Romans 6). They talk about the Spirit giving Christ (which is not in Romans 6). Others talk about the sacramental water of the church. But it is no way acceptable to these folks to think that Romans 6 is about justification and legal identification. They already have their minds made up that imputation is not a good enough answer to the question of Romans 6.

    If this topic is not practical, don’t waste your time on it. If you spend time on it, let’s agree that “order” questions are important even for you.

  97. Richard Smith
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    TVD: See, Richard, I’m way good with all that. In fact since nobody knows everything, has not heard all sides of every argument, it’s exactly why we should gather together in places just like this and kick it around with each other.

    RS: Yes, but in this place one does not always kick arguments around, but instead gets kicked around.

    TVD: Cheers, bro. I was warned that I wouldn’t like your arguments, but your arguments* are honest and coherent. What we must discuss is where they lead us.

    RS: But looking down the road requires a lot of vision at times.

    TVD: *Premises, if you will. Premiss[es], as you spelt it. I like that. CS Peirce? Such a mind…

    RS: I simply like the older way of spelling it better than the new way.

  98. Richard Smith
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    mark mcculley quoting rs: The Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. I am not sure how we can be united to one without being united to the other. It has appeared in the past that to argue for the imputation of the righteousness of Christ before the actual union with Christ is for God to declare the guilty non-guilty because they don’t have the righteousness of Christ imputed to them.

    mark: John Y brings in a question about the nature of faith, which (important as it is) I don’t think has anything to do with the “union” question. RS continues to say “actual union” in a question-begging fashion, and the problem is that he does not define what that means, except for his assumption that the “actual” is not the legal (which he does not deny).

    RS: But neither have you defined what you mean by a legal union as opposed to an actual union. I am not begging the question in the matter but simply assuming that people would understand that as when people are really and actually united to Christ. A legal union, or at least I think that is what you mean, is a declared union in a legal sense. I am arguing that an actual union is required for there to be a legal union in this case. When Christ is married to His people, that is, they are one body (marriage analogy), then it is legal to declare His people just because of the oneness with Christ because when they are one His righteousness is imputed to them.

    McMark: So what RS needs to do is find a term for what he’s calling “actual”.

    RS: The union between Christ and His people is actual, which is to say they are really united. To say that they are really united is to say that they are in Christ and Christ is in them and God views them as one.

    McMark: Is what he’s calling “actual” regeneration?

    RS: Yes, regeneration actually happens which is the bringing of spiritual life into the soul as opposed to the soul being spiritually dead in sins and trespasses.

    McMark: Is what he’s calling “actual” the indwelling of the person Christ in us, so that (as in Luther), when faith is in us, Christ is in that faith and thus in us?

    RS: Yes, when a person has faith then a person has Christ because there is no such thing as faith apart from an object of faith. But of course I mean more than Christ is merely an object of faith, but that through faith Christ is united to the soul and Christ and the soul are one.

    McMark: In any case, RS needs to explain what he means. Faith is an experience. Imputation (God’s legal sharing of the merit of Christ’s work) is not an experience.

    RS: But God’s imputing of righteousness to the sinner is legal, but it is a legal declaration based upon Christ and the soul being one. Faith is not so much an experience as it is the receiving of Christ and grace. What faith does is receive grace/Christ, which is to say that it is not faith in and of itself that is an experience, though it would be hard to deny that when Christ is received something changes.

  99. Richard Smith
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Mcmark: I certainly agree that nobody can be united to Christ without also being united to the Holy Spirit. But the question concerns the Spirit’s priority in the “application”. RS (with Calvin) assumes this. But does this mean that the elect are united to the Spirit logically before they are united to Christ, and then the Spirit binds Christ together with elect persons? This is not a technical query about the order of salvation application (or even about the order of redemptive history). Rather, it’s a basic exegetical question about baptism in and with the Holy Spirit. Though RS agrees that Christ purchased the work of the Spirit for the elect, he still seems to think that the Spirit baptizes into Christ, but exegesis of all the seven texts (including Corinthians 12:13) tells us that Christ is the one who baptizes in and with the Spirit.

    RS: I also argue that Christ purchased the Holy Spirit Himself for the elect. I would disagree that exegesis of the texts will get us away from the idea that the Spirit baptizes us into Christ.

    I Cor 12:11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. 12 For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

    RS: The Spirit is the one who works and distributes (gifts) to each one individually just as He wills. In giving these gifts He is putting them into the body of Christ as He pleases and Christ is one body. The Spirit baptizes people into that one body (Christ) and in doing so we all drink of one Spirit.

    McMark: But how could this possibly be anything but a technical scholastic “order” question? Gaffin and all who dismiss the order question (Barth, Anthony Hoekema, Ferguson) as of no importance tend to have their own order, at the end of the day. Yes, you can’t have the Spirit without Christ, or Christ without the Spirit, but then it turns out that, when it comes to “actual union”, the priority always goes to the work of the Spirit in us, to faith as that which ‘applies” Christ.

    RS: But one cannot have faith apart from regeneration and it is regeneration that precedes (logically) faith. So faith itself is the work of the Spirit and it is faith is the “instrument” that receives Christ.

    RS: And this is practical, because that gets us away from thinking about the atonement or about the atonement being only for the elect, and gets us back to the place where we can work with Arminians–ie, the place where the atonement is for those who believe (whatever), the place where atonement is for those with the Spirit, the place where the atonement is not back there then but here now, so that the atonement becomes the application of the atonement, so that the “real” atonement becomes what the Spirit does with Christ.

    RS: But Titus 3:5 says this: “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior.”

    This washing of regeneration and renewing is by the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit Himself and all spiritual blessings were purchased by Christ. Clearly in the atonement it was the work of Christ that purchased a people to be washed and renewed and also purchased the Spirit who does the renewing work. So it is not a dismissal of the atonement in any way, but it is simply saying that the work of Christ includes more than the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, but also includes the way it is applied.

    McMark: if indeed the order is not practical and important, why is it that Gaffin and others spend so much time insisting on the priority of union with the resurrected Christ over any “legal union” with what Christ did in the past? If it doesn’t matter, then why not let us other other folks keep on talking the way we do?

    RS: I am not arguing that it does not matter, but then again I have not read Gaffin on the subject. I am arguing, along with the WCF, that the Spirit regenerates and unites to Christ. When the soul is united to Christ, it is not a fiction when God declares the soul just based on Christ Himself because the soul is united to Christ. So God declares (legally and forensically) the soul just because in Christ the soul can be truly considered that way based on its union with Christ.

    WCF XI of Justification
    IV. God did, from all eternity, decree to justify all the elect,[11] and Christ did, in the fullness of time, die for their sins, and rise again for their justification:[12] nevertheless, they are not justified, until the Holy Spirit does, in due time, actually apply Christ unto them.

    Chapter XIV Of Saving Faith
    I. The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls,[1] is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts,

  100. mark mcculley
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    RS continues the question-begging. Right now all I want to do is show this, not argue about which one of our assertions is right.

    rs: When Christ is married to His people, that is, they are one body (marriage analogy), then it is legal to declare His people just because of the oneness with Christ because when they are one His righteousness is imputed to them.

    mark: when His righteousness is imputed to them, they are one legally. Legal marriage comes before the experience of marriage.

    rs: God’s imputing of righteousness to the sinner is legal, but it is a legal declaration based upon Christ and the soul being one.

    mark: Christ in the person is an experimental reality based on the legal indicative of God’s imputation of the righteousness to the elect sinner.

    See the difference? not who’s right, but can you see the difference? Not why it’s important, but see the difference?

    Perhaps I need to ask Rs again about original sin. Are we born corrupt and unable to keep the law (or believe the gospel) because we are born legally guilty? Or are we are born guilty because we are are born corrupt? I am not asking what Calvin or Edwards said about this, or even about what John Murray said about Calvin or Edwards.

    I am asking RS if he’s taking a “mediate imputation” view. It’s not an answer to say we are born both guilty and corrupt. We agree on that, but if you say guilty because we are corrupt, then you have just denied the practical ‘actuality” of imputed guilt from Adam. And this is important, because those who deny the actuality of imputed guilt end up denying the actuality of imputed righteousness, and make imputation depend on regeneration, and make Christ’s atonement depend on the work of the Spirit here and now.

  101. mark mcculley
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    RS: But one cannot have faith apart from regeneration and it is regeneration that precedes (logically) faith. So faith itself is the work of the Spirit and it is faith is the “instrument” that receives Christ.

    MARK: BUT BOTH THE REGENERATION AND THE FAITH ARE THE IMMEDIATE EFFECT OF THE IMPUTATION. Justification is “through faith” does not mean that faith is the condition of the”union”. Nor does it mean that regeneration is the condition of the union. Please read the following from Bavinck on how “pietism” turns the gospel into conditional-on-faith neonomianism.

    H. Bavinck, Gereformeerde Dogmatiek, Vol. IV (1930), pp. 198

    With respect to the doctrine of justification there is no difference between Lutheran and Reformed theology as far as the essence is concerned; however, the doctrine does occupy a different place and does receive a different emphasis in the latter. This manifests itself first of all in the Luther pushed predestination steadily into the background, while Calvin placed it increasingly in the center and viewed justification also from that perspective.

    “The Lord, when He calls, justifies, and glorifies, does nothing other than to declare his election;” it is the elect who are justified. For that reason, it is entirely correct to say that Calvin never weakens either the objective atonement of Christ or the benefit of justification; but nevertheless, his perspective results in the righteousness of Christ being presented to us much more as a gift bestowed by God than as something which we accept through faith. The objective gift precedes the subjective acceptance.

    Calvin feels himself in the presence of God and placed before his judgment throne; for such a creature, humility and trusting in God’s mercy are the only proper thing; to that end are the elect justified, that they should glory in him and not in something else.

    Under the influence of Amyraldianism, there developed the neonomian representation of the order of redemption which made forgiveness of sins and eternal life dependent on faith and obedience which man had to perform in accordance with the new law of the gospel. Parallel with this development, Pietism arose which also shifted the emphasis to the subject, and which either demanded a long experience or a sudden conversion as a condition for obtaining salvation.

    As a reaction against this came the development of anti-neonomianism, which had justification precede faith, and antinomianism which reduced justification to God’s eternal love. Reformed theologians usually tried to avoid both extremes, and for that purpose soon made use of the distinction between “active” and “passive justification.” This distinction is not found in the reformers; as a rule they speak of justification in a “concrete sense.” They do not treat of a justification from eternity, or of justification in the resurrection of Christ, or in the gospel, or before or after faith, but combine everything in a single concept.

    Efforts were made to keep both elements as close together as possible, while accepting only a logical and not a temporal distinction. However, even then, there were those who objected to this distinction inasmuch as the gospel mentions no names and does not say to anyone, personally: Your sins have been forgiven. Therefore it is not proper for any man to take as his starting point the belief that his sins have been forgiven.

    The atonement of Christ is particular rather than universal. The preacher of the gospel can assure no one that his sins have been forgiven since he does not know who the elect are; and the man who hears the gospel is neither able nor permitted to believe this, inasmuch as he cannot be aware of his election prior to and without faith. As a result, the conclusion appeared rather obvious that the boldness to know one’s sins to have been forgiven and to have assurance of eternal salvation only came about after one has fled unto Jesus in faith. But in this manner the ground of justification shifted once again from God to man, from the righteousness of Christ to saving faith; from the gospel to the law.

    If, then, not faith in its quality and activity, but the imputed righteousness of Christ is the ground of our justification, the question arises with all the more emphasis: What is then the place of faith in this benefit? Does imputation take place in the death or resurrection of Christ, in the preaching of the gospel, prior to, or at the same time as, or after faith?

    The first position was asserted by the real antinomians. According to them justification was nothing else than the love of God which is not concerned about the sins of man, which does not require atonement in Christ, and which only needs to be proclaimed in order to enable man to believe. Faith is nothing but a renouncing of the error that God is angry and a realization that God is eternal love.

    This school of thought should be distinguished sharply from the views of the so-called anti-neonomians who opposed the change of the gospel into a new law as well as the idea that faith was a conditional factor in our justification, and who from this perspective sometimes came to confess an eternal justification. And it is true that election is from eternity. The “counsel of redemption” which includes the substitution of the Mediator for his people is from eternity.

    HOWEVER, THAT IS NO REASON TO RECOMMEND SPEAKING OF ETERNAL JUSTIFICATION. However, that is no reason to recommend speaking of eternal justification. “Justification as an act immanent in God” must of necessity be eternal, then it should be remembered that taken in that sense everything, including creation, incarnation, atonement, calling, regeneration, is eternal. Whoever would speak of an eternal creation would give cause for great misunderstanding.

    Besides, the proponents of this view back off themselves, when, out of the fear of antinomianism, they assert strongly that eternal justification is not the only, full, and complete justification, but that it has a tendency and purpose to realise itself outwardly. This amounts really to the usual distinction between the decree and its execution.

    The counsel of God and all decrees contained therein as a unit are without doubt eternal “immanent acts”, but the external works of God, creation, preservation, governing, redemption, justification, etc., are in the nature of the case “transient acts.” As works they do not belong to the plan of God’s ordering but to the execution of it.

    Under the influence of Arminian and Amyraldian theology, and of Pietism, the understanding of this actual justification gradually became that man had to believe and repent first, that thereafter God in heaven, in “the court of heaven,” sitting in judgment, acquitted the believer because of his faith in Christ.

    mark: I recommend those who are interested to read the rest. I agree with Bavinck that we don’t have to teach eternal justification to deny justification conditioned on the Holy Spirit’s work in the elect sinner.

    Bavinck: If justification in every respect comes about after faith, faith becomes a condition, an activity, which must be performed by man beforehand, and it cannot be purely receptive. But if the righteousness, on the ground of which we are justified, lies wholly outside of us in Christ Jesus, then faith is not a “material cause” or a “formal cause.”

    Faith is not even a condition or instrument of justification, for it stands in relation to justification not as, for example, the eye to seeing or the ear to hearing. Faith is not a condition, upon which, nor an instrumental organ, through which we receive this benefit, but it is the acceptance itself of Christ and all his benefits, as He presents Himself to us through word and Spirit, and it includes therefore also the consciousness, that He is my Lord and I am his possession.

    Faith is therefore not an instrument in the proper sense, of which man makes use in order to accept Christ, but it is a sure knowledge and a solid confidence which the Holy Spirit works in the heart and through which He persuades and assures man that he, not withstanding all his sins, has part in Christ and in all his benefits.

  102. Posted May 10, 2013 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    DG,
    Per my last post at 4:35 yesterday,

    I was a bit sharp and hope you will forgive me for it. I guess I still don’t understand what your purposes are in what you are doing and it doesn’t seem like you care why or what I believe at times and I let it get to me. Sorry. I have never asked you. What are your purposes in what you’ve been working on?

  103. Richard Smith
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    McMark: But the Confession says the Spirit applies, and Calvin did also. I won’t take the time to talk about the ambiguity in Calvin (or the Confessions, David R is good on that), but I think the reason Calvin gives priority to the Spirit uniting to Christ has something to do with the way Calvin thought he had been baptized (in water). But why does RS also give the priority to the Holy Spirit?

    RS: Because that is what the Bible teaches. A person is dead in sins and trespasses until that person is regenerated by grace and grace alone. The Spirit does the work of regeneration, though indeed Christ purchased the Spirit for the elect. Christ will not and cannot dwell in a soul that has not been cleansed and is dead in sins and trespasses. So until the soul is cleansed and regenerated by the Spirit, Christ is not in the soul and the soul is not in Christ. So the priority (in terms of order) has to be the Spirit.

    McMark: I don’t know if Rs thinks water baptism is about Spirit baptism (or about baptism into the death of Christ, or if Rs equates those two), but my guess is that Rs gives priority to experience. Imputation is not an experience..

    RS: The priority is not experience but what the Bible says must happen. As set out above, the washing and renewing of regeneration must occur before Christ will dwell in the soul.

    McMark: This brings me back to the last sentence from Rs above—’to argue for the imputation of the righteousness of Christ before the actual union with Christ is for God to declare the guilty non-guilty because they don’t have the righteousness of Christ imputed to them.” This is simply question begging.

    RS: No, not really. The judicial declaration of a person as righteous based on the imputation of the righteousness of Christ is vital and essential. The question, however, is how that can occur without it being a legal fiction (which Rome accuses Protestants of, though I think Rome is actually guilty of a legal fiction in that regard). When a soul is united to Christ, God can declare a sinner righteous because the soul is one with Christ and as such there is no legal fiction at all.

    McMark: When Rs says “because they don’t have the righteousness imputed to them” yet, he’s simply reasserting again that imputation can’t take place logically before the experience.

    RS: Not before experience, but before union. When marriage actually meant something in our country, the two were not called by one name until the vows were taken and consumation occurred.

    McMark: RS thinks imputation would be a fiction because imputation doesn’t take place before the “actual union”. But if the Spirit (the blessing of Abraham) is given to sons, not in order to constitute sons (Galatians 3-4), then God’s imputation is first.

    RS: But notice that people become sons through faith in Christ. When does one have faith in Christ? Only after one is regenerated.

    Gal 3: 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
    27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
    28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
    29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.

    McMark: Rs agrees that Christ purchased the Spirit. He also agrees that faith is not really the righteousness. But nevertheless he thinks it acceptable for us (and the Bible) to say that God counts our faith experience as the righteousness, and acceptable to say that the Spirit gives Christ (at least when it comes to “union”, as opposed to Christ giving the Spirit).

    RS: As long as a person is using the term “faith” as a synecdoche, that is fine. It is, after all, used that way in Romans 4: “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness” (v. 5). But I do not think of it as a faith experience. Christ purchased the Spirit for His people so that the Spirit would bring people to Him (Christ). The Spirit comes to convict of sin and to regenerate and renew sinners. Christ purchased that for them so that He could be in union with them. As God would not dwell in the temple in the OT until it was cleansed and made holy, so Christ and His Spirit will not dwell in a temple (human souls) until they are cleansed and declared holy now.

    McMark: But the result of that is always going to be us talking about regeneration and indwelling and our hearts instead of about Christ’s guilt-bearing for those elected in Christ.

    RS: No, not at all. Christ bore the wrath of the Father and took the wrath away from His people by satisfying the justice of God in their place. But when that wrath is taken away, that means that Christ will now dwell in them and the love of God will abide in them. It is not that one replaces the other, but that all are there and should be dealt with. If Christ purchased the Spirit and merited the work of the Spirit for His people on the cross, I cannot see how it is denigrating what Christ has done by speaking of what the Spirit does in applying what Christ purchased.

  104. Posted May 10, 2013 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Erik,

    Per your 5:05 yesterday,

    I’m not here to debate. I’m here to understand and be a voice for anyone who want to know or understand my faith and hope. I’ll leave the debating to someone who has charge over you soul, as one who will give an account. I have that to do with my children. Which no one here is, so I’m just among brothers and am going to seek and speak as I would to my own brother. No one in my family is Catholic. Only my family in now Cathlic, so it isn’t new to be among brothers who don’t believe like me.

    But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, being ready always to satisfy every one that asks you a reason of that hope which is in you. 1 Peter 3:15

  105. Richard Smith
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    McMark: I ask that we define “union”. It does no good to agree that “union” has various aspects (ie, it’s by election and it’s legal also) if we then go on from that to use the word “union” to mean “experimental break with the pattern of sin”.

    RS: It is when Christ is in a person and that person is in Christ and the human person is married to Christ in that Christ becomes the life of that person and the person takes the name of Christ.

    McMark: Romans 6 is certainly a key text on the relationship of justification and the Christian life. Many read Romans 6 as if it were saying: don’t worry about that two legal heads stuff in Romans 5, because there is another answer besides justification as to why we don’t sin, and that is “union”. Or don’t worry about justification of the ungodly now, because God is not only looking to Christ’s death but also looking to what the Spirit is going to do in us in the future.

    RS: But if justification is the only issue, then once a person is declared just then why does God not just take the person to heaven and be done with it? No, God saves to the praise of the glory of His grace and human beings that are declared just on the basis of Christ are now to be temples of His glory and instruments of His glory. The OT tabernacle and temple were not used until they were cleansed, so God cleanses His temples now in order to dwell in them and use them.

    McMark: Others (like Robert Haldane) read Romans to say that the answer to the question about the Christian life is not something else besides justification, legal identity with Christ’s death and resurrection. We read Romans 6:7 as saying that the answer continues to be “justified from sin”.
    We insist on that because Christ became dead to sin, was justified from sin, and that certainly was NOT “regeneration” or the work of the Spirit in Him. We insist on reading Romans 6 in terms of “sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law”.

    RS: But don’t forget about the resurrection part. Christ died, but He rose to live again and that for all eternity. So in Christ sinners are declared just based on the sufferings and death of Christ, but they are to live in light of the resurrected Christ now.

    McMark: Others of course read Holy Spirit baptism into Romans 6. They don’t talk about Christ giving the Spirit (which also is not in Romans 6). They talk about the Spirit giving Christ (which is not in Romans 6). Others talk about the sacramental water of the church. But it is no way acceptable to these folks to think that Romans 6 is about justification and legal identification. They already have their minds made up that imputation is not a good enough answer to the question of Romans 6.

    RS: But in reading Romans 6, it is not either…or, it is both. The resurrection and the resurrection life are also brought up. It is not that the concept of holiness and the continuing resurrection life are more important than the death of Christ, but they are all part of what Christ has done and is doing. We have died to sin, yes, but now we are to live to Christ. So we have died to sin in the death of Christ but we are to live because Christ now lives in us and through us with His resurrected life.

    Romans 6:3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?
    4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
    5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection,
    6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;
    7 for he who has died is freed from sin.
    8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
    9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
    11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
    12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts,
    13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
    14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
    15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!
    16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?
    17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed,
    18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

  106. Posted May 10, 2013 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Richard,
    Me and you agree on more than you make out.
    Peace,
    Mike

  107. AB
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    MTX,

    I won’t speak for the dude (aka Darryl), but I think his motives for being a blogmesiter have something to do with his two cats? Since I’ve started reading this blog, I feel I have been brought up to speed on many topics which I find interesting. I see you blog as well. Something is driving you, no? My guess is something is driving all of us to post our public comments. Sometimes, maybe we don’t need a reason, and just hang out with concerned folks like ourselves? Share a glass a beer together here, so to speak. The point is, the reason I told you about my reading out here was because that’s what I was up to when you asked me. Were just chatting, right? I’ll check back on the blogosphere in June. I’ve personally got a golf swing to refine, and the weather out here in CA isn’t always this perfect. Call me self serving…

  108. Richard Smith
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Mark Mcculley quoting rs: When Christ is married to His people, that is, they are one body (marriage analogy), then it is legal to declare His people just because of the oneness with Christ because when they are one His righteousness is imputed to them.

    mark: when His righteousness is imputed to them, they are one legally. Legal marriage comes before the experience of marriage.

    RS: Not entirely. They are legally married when the representative of the state declares them married, yes, but that can be annulled quite easily if the marriage was never consumated. This was true of Hebrew marriages and of marriages until recently if not the practice today.

    McMark quoting rs: God’s imputing of righteousness to the sinner is legal, but it is a legal declaration based upon Christ and the soul being one.

    mark: Christ in the person is an experimental reality based on the legal indicative of God’s imputation of the righteousness to the elect sinner.

    RS: Or the imputed righteousness is the legal indicative based on Christ in the soul and the soul in Christ. Again, how can the righteousness of Christ be counted as mine in a way that God cannot be accused of calling the guilty innocent, until I am one with Him?

    McMark: See the difference? not who’s right, but can you see the difference? Not why it’s important, but see the difference?

    RS: Yes, I see the difference, but…

    McMark: Perhaps I need to ask Rs again about original sin. Are we born corrupt and unable to keep the law (or believe the gospel) because we are born legally guilty? Or are we are born guilty because we are are born corrupt? I am not asking what Calvin or Edwards said about this, or even about what John Murray said about Calvin or Edwards.

    RS: We are born dead in sins and trespasses, corrupt and unable to keep the law or believe the Gospel, because we are one with Adam and come from him. We are really united to Adam as well as legally because we all come from Adam who is our federal head and representative.

    McMark: I am asking RS if he’s taking a “mediate imputation” view. It’s not an answer to say we are born both guilty and corrupt. We agree on that, but if you say guilty because we are corrupt, then you have just denied the practical ‘actuality” of imputed guilt from Adam. And this is important, because those who deny the actuality of imputed guilt end up denying the actuality of imputed righteousness, and make imputation depend on regeneration, and make Christ’s atonement depend on the work of the Spirit here and now.

    RS: We have the imputed guilt from Adam because we are one with Adam in reality. Imputation does not depend on regneration as such just because regeneration is prior to imputation (logically) and the atonement does not depend on the work of the Holy Spirit here and now. At the cross Christ purchased the Spirit and His work for His people so that they could be united to Him (Christ) and have His perfect righteousness imputed to them.

    Heb 7: 9 And, so to speak, through Abraham even Levi, who received tithes, paid tithes, 10 for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.

    My view of Adam was that all human beings that came from human fathers (Christ did not have a human father, but was conceived by the Holy Spirit) were seen as in Adam and were one with Adam. So we are guilty of the sin of Adam because were really were in Adam and are guilty.

  109. Richard Smith
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    MichaelTX: Richard, Me and you agree on more than you make out.
    Peace,
    Mike

    RS: I must admit to being a bit shocked at this in this context. I would be interested in hearing details of how this can be.

  110. Richard Smith
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    mark mcculley quoitng RS: But one cannot have faith apart from regeneration and it is regeneration that precedes (logically) faith. So faith itself is the work of the Spirit and it is faith is the “instrument” that receives Christ.

    MARK: BUT BOTH THE REGENERATION AND THE FAITH ARE THE IMMEDIATE EFFECT OF THE IMPUTATION.

    RS: Stop shouting. I don’t disagree that faith is purchased by Christ and is a gift of Christ. But I still don’t see the imputed righteousness of Christ as being imputed until the soul has Christ and the soul is one with Christ.

    McMark: Justification is “through faith” does not mean that faith is the condition of the”union”. Nor does it mean that regeneration is the condition of the union.

    RS: But I am not arguing that faith is a condition that man must meet, but that it is the logical order that God works salvation. It is something like God decreeing salvation, the Son purchasing salvation, and the Spirit applying salvation. Each and every part of salvation is from eternity and is from the decree of God and the grace of God, but it still has to be applied by God. So as the Son did not purchase salvation apart from the decree and plan of God, so the Spirit applies salvation according to the decree and plan of God and in accordance with what the Son did in purchasing salvation according to the decree and plan of God. There is nothing in the Gospel of grace alone that depends on man, but we are simply discussing/trying to understand how God carries out His decrees in time. So faith is not the work of man, but instead it is the work of God in His people so that they may be united to Christ and Christ be in them and so His righteousness imputed to them.

    Please read the following from Bavinck on how “pietism” turns the gospel into conditional-on-faith neonomianism.

  111. Richard Smith
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    McMark: Please read the following from Bavinck on how “pietism” turns the gospel into conditional-on-faith neonomianism. H. Bavinck, Gereformeerde Dogmatiek, Vol. IV (1930), pp. 198

    RS: It may take a bit to get to it and then to read it with care. I would argue that his view of pietism seems to really be Arminian at best. Of course if one conditions things on a faith that man comes up with that changes things, but that is not what the WCF meant and that is not what I mean either. Faith is the work of God and not the work of men.

  112. AB
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Or, Mike, try reading the “about” page, at Dr. Hart’s blog, here. Ok, I’m outta here, see ya’ll in July. Maybe August. The golf course is calling me home;-)

  113. mark mcculley
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    I still don’t know if rs thinks water baptism is about Spirit baptism or about Christ’s death, or both of those things being one thing.

    RS: Not before experience, but before union. When marriage actually meant something in our country, the two were not called by one name until the vows were taken and conssumation occurred.

    mark: But what is “union” if not “actual” experience. SHOULDN’T PEOPLE HAVE ACTUAL SEX FIRST, and then the legal, because of the “real” which has then happened?

    The Spirit (the blessing of Abraham) is given to sons, not in order to constitute sons (Galatians 4:6) then God’s imputation is first. Romans 8:10 the Spirit is life BECAUSE OF righteousness.

    RS: But notice that people become sons through faith in Christ. When does one have faith in Christ? Only after one is regenerated.

    Gal 3: 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
    27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

    mark: Faith is a result of “regeneration” but “union” is not regeneration, nor is “union” conditioned on regeneration. RS is begging the question, assuming that “baptized into Christ” means something that the Spirit does which is “actual” (not legal)

    Galatians 4: 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

    RS: As God would not dwell in the temple in the OT until it was cleansed and made holy, so Christ and His Spirit will not dwell in a temple (human souls) until they are cleansed and declared holy now.

    mark: correct, no sex before legal marriage. Set apart, cleansed, declared Holy…this is definitive sanctification, adoption and justification, none of which you have proven to be conditioned on previous regeneration or indwelling. God justifies the ungodly.

    Is it just your “soul” which is the temple? Why did Jesus promise to come back to earth and what does this have to do with your ‘soul”?

  114. mark mcculley
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Rs says it’s both and. Ok, legal imputation comes first, so that cleaning by Spirit can take place. No says Rs, cleaning by Spirit comes first so that imputation can take place. So no both/ and. It’s either or, and there’s no use of pretending otherwise.

    RS: But if justification is the only issue, then once a person is declared just then why does God not just take the person to heaven and be done with it?

    mark: I have no plans to ever “go to heaven”. Yesterday was Ascension Day. The justified elect are going to be Raised (and given immortality) but we are Not Going Up There. He’s Coming Back Here.

    Acts 2: 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.

    RS: But don’t forget about the resurrection part.

    mcmark: yes, don’t. Nor the coming back to earth part either.

    McMark: Others of course read Holy Spirit baptism into Romans 6. They don’t talk about Christ giving the Spirit (which also is not in Romans 6). They talk about the Spirit giving Christ (which is not in Romans 6). Others talk about the sacramental water of the church. But it is no way acceptable to these folks to think that Romans 6 is about justification and legal identification. They already have their minds made up that imputation is not a good enough answer to the question of Romans 6.

    RS: But in reading Romans 6, it is not either…or, it is both. It is not that the concept of the continuing resurrection life is more important than the death of Christ, but they are all part of what Christ has done and is doing.

    mark: I want to see the details of the exegesis. Being regenerated is NOT part of what Christ did to be freed from under the law. Christ died because of guilt imputed, and rose because of justification (not in order to other steps toward justification). Rs has not come to terms with the fact that there is no Spirit baptism in Romans 6. No Christ baptizing in the Spirit, and no Spirit baptizing into Christ. So, on this topic, it’s not both and, but neither nor…But thinking about this means actually

    looking at Romans 6.

  115. mark mcculley
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    RS: We have the imputed guilt from Adam because we are one with Adam in reality. Imputation does not depend on regneration as such just because regeneration is prior to imputation (logically)

    mark: this is something Rs has not come close to proving, anymore than he has shown that faith comes (logically) before the imputation of Christ’s death…
    Heb 7: 9 And, so to speak, through Abraham even Levi, who received tithes, paid tithes, 10 for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.

    My view of Adam was that all human beings that came from human fathers (Christ did not have a human father, but was conceived by the Holy Spirit) were seen as in Adam and were one with Adam. So we are guilty of the sin of Adam because were really were in Adam

    mark: I don’t know if your anti-federalism extends to a “traducian” account of the “creation of souls”, but if so, here’s some more homework. And if you say that “federalism” and your “realism” are a both/and, you need to remember what you just said—“guilty because really were in”

    http://www.arsdisputandi.org/publish/articles/000260/article.pdf

  116. Posted May 10, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Richard,
    I believe it would really to too much to try and work through how much you guys have been working at. But, just to drop an Amen on a quote of yours…

    You said:…why does God not just take the person to heaven and be done with it? No, God saves to the praise of the glory of His grace and human beings that are declared just on the basis of Christ are now to be temples of His glory and instruments of His glory. The OT tabernacle and temple were not used until they were cleansed, so God cleanses His temples now in order to dwell in them and use them.

    And all the people ought say, Amen! God in His merciful grace now uses the temples we have desecrated by our sins for the praise and glory of His name. That all may know we have a King who saves the sinner.

    …and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid.

    Later,
    MichaelTX

  117. Posted May 10, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Mark MC,
    I am not wanting in any way to get in on you guys explaining. I just wanted to point out a oddity in the life of Jesus that is often over looked. You said, Christ did not have a human father which is technically true, but He is a Son of David and all the human fathers to whom the virgin Mary was born. This is what makes Him a son of Adam, son of Abraham….. born under the Law, so that He might the redeemer of those born of Adam.
    Just something to put in the noggin. Keep at it fellas. I like the respect you guys are showing each other.

    Peace,
    MichaelTX

  118. Posted May 10, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    AB,
    I’ve read the about page. It does answer the question I have, as to why Hart particularly asked me what I am going to do about the info me and Sean had discussed in our conversation. I think my reasons for interacting in the blogs are quite clear, I hope. I want to connect and understand others and how others understand what they do. I also hope to be able to try and do the same for other who want to understand my faith and hope. I think this is a God pleasing motive, but defiantly not the only one. God shapes us all differently with different needs, but all of it He does that we my love and seek Him completely with our whole hearts and minds and abilities. This occurs parallel with our loving our neighbors as ourselves. We know we do not know God if the love of God is not manifest toward our neighbor.

    Enjoy the day AB,
    Mike

  119. sean
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Michael, I’m still in the weeds but I’ve read through your post twice now. Is it safe to say you disagree with both the selection of books in the ‘protestant canon’ and that you feel in making ‘their’ choices, short-shrifted the work of the Holy Spirit in speaking through the scriptures? Additionally are you at odds with the divines in not locating a particular man or church through which God’s will is established?

    I ask because these are all underlying arguments that touch on AS(apostolic succession) and Canonical arguments, i.e. what is the canon and how is it decided. These both can be very long discussions and I want to make sure I’m tracking with you.

  120. Posted May 10, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Richard,

    I guess one of the main things we have agreement on to is how God has immutably wed the justification of the sinner with the renewal and indwelling life of Christ. We have some differences in our understanding of this, but the essence is the same. If I understand you properly, you view it that God justifying the ungodly is a cleansing declaration that has a rebirth part that is always and essentially there and this happens only and fully in union with Christ. I would say it with a little different phrasing and emphasis, but we are the same here. I might say it this way, The rebirth of Christ by the Spirit in the Christian is what God sees as justifiable in the redeemed Christian, for it is Christ who lives in Him. He is no longer his own. He has been bought with the blood of the Lamb.

    RS:So faith is not the work of man, but instead it is the work of God in His people so that they may be united to Christ and Christ be in them and so His righteousness imputed to them.

    The only difference here is that the Catholic says the word infused instead of imputed, because it is Christ and Christ alone that God sees as His beloved righteous Son. We are in Him when He is in us. This is what the Catholic calls the state of grace. These may be look at and examine as separate but they may not be divorced.

    You guys continue without me. I’m just enjoying the ride.

    Good stuff fellas,
    MichaelTX

  121. Richard Smith
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    McMark quoting Bavinck: If justification in every respect comes about after faith, faith becomes a condition, an activity, which must be performed by man beforehand, and it cannot be purely receptive. But if the righteousness, on the ground of which we are justified, lies wholly outside of us in Christ Jesus, then faith is not a “material cause” or a “formal cause.”

    RS: Which is an argument against Arminianism, but certainly not historic Calvinism. In historic Calvinism (English Puritan, Scottish, and American Puritan types) faith was a condition but it was a condition that was fulfilled by God and was not a work by man. The righteousness of Christ did lie wholly outside of man in the sense that it was accomplished by Christ and was not infused into man. Faith is not a cause in and of itself but is the gift of God who works the whole of salvation by grace alone.

    McMark: Faith is not even a condition or instrument of justification, for it stands in relation to justification not as, for example, the eye to seeing or the ear to hearing. Faith is not a condition, upon which, nor an instrumental organ, through which we receive this benefit, but it is the acceptance itself of Christ and all his benefits, as He presents Himself to us through word and Spirit, and it includes therefore also the consciousness, that He is my Lord and I am his possession.

    RS: Yes, faith is what receives Christ and as such all His benefits, but one of those benefits is imputed righteousness. But still we have to deal with the fact that a person with no faith will not be saved. So while justifiction does not depend on the work of faith that man does, one still must have faith in order to be declared just. God works the faith in the human soul.

    McMark: Faith is therefore not an instrument in the proper sense, of which man makes use in order to accept Christ, but it is a sure knowledge and a solid confidence which the Holy Spirit works in the heart and through which He persuades and assures man that he, not withstanding all his sins, has part in Christ and in all his benefits.

    RS: Yet we have Romans 4:16 which tells us that it is by faith in order that it may be in accordance with grace. So the faith that Scripture speaks of is a faith that is not a work of man but is always in accordance with grace. Then we go to Ephesians 2:8 and we see that it is by grace that we are saved through faith and even that is not of ourselves but a gift of God. If it is grace that gives us faith and then it is that same faith which we receive Christ and all His benefits, this teaches us that it is only when we receive Christ that we receive His benefits and even what we receive Christ by (faith) is a gift by grace as well.

  122. Posted May 10, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Sean,
    I think you are probably catching me correctly and are right that it will end up dealing with AS and the “how” of deciding the canon. I don’t have a problem with the Protestant OT nor the Catholic OT canon being the OT, but I find no way we have that right to decide it. I find no way to declare the canon from within the canon, so it must be ascertained elsewhere. Which causes a sola scriptura disconnect, therefore you can’t proclaim a dogmatic canon with a dogmatic sola scriptura. In reading the Westminister Divines they seek to say both dogmatically while not saying they are an authority which can, nor point to an authority able to say what they have just presented. Paradoxes are okay with me if I understand I’m receiving the revelation from God, but otherwise I am not.

  123. sean
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Michael, thanks. I’ll probably not pursue it all here, but as a pushback, protestants recognize apostolic authority; Peter, Paul, John, Matthew, Mark, Luke et al. so it’s succession that is in debate not apostolic authority. Additionally, not all authority must necessarily be absolute or infallible. So, confessionalist’s recognize a subordinate and sufficient authority in the visible church but resist an absolute or infallible one outside the manifestation of the God-breathed word per the original apostles. Finally, Canon can be argued as self-attesting and apostolic attesting as Peter himself recognizes Paul’s letters to be and as Paul argues in Timothy 3:16, which of course is encompassing of the OT Canon. I think you’re finding disconnect with sola scriptura because you’re associating authority as NECESSARILY(not yelling) encompassing infallible or absolute. As believers we still must leave room for the working of the Holy Spirit illumining the word. So, it’s not a choice between a churchly authority or else ‘Solo’ scriptura but a recognition of legitimate, sufficient but a subordinate authority in a visible church.

    More later.

  124. Posted May 10, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Sean,
    I understand the ability of the possibilities you speak of, but they seem to be assertions which can not be squared with the scriptures themselves. That is at least the conclusion I have come to. Being I am not infallible I could be wrong.

    Looking forward to your more,
    MichaelTX

  125. sean
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Michael, what do you mean can’t be squared with the scriptures themselves?

  126. Posted May 10, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    It would probably take a lot more time than I am able to put into it right now. But to drop just a couple that come to mind… 1 Tim 2:15, Luke 10:16, Matt 18:17

    if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.

    “The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

    If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

    Not calling someone my brother in Christ is pretty serious to me and I would in no way do it lightly.

  127. sean
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Michael, these are all arguments for the church. Protestants believe in the church. We even believe that in ordinary course, salvation can not be found apart from/outside it’s(church) manifestation. It appears you would have to put forth the case that the RC is the only legitimate(scripture sanctioned) church. Even Vat II argues ‘seperated brethren’ as regards protestants.

  128. Posted May 10, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Sean,
    I have already admitted to you that it is possible that the Church in Rome is not the one Church. My understanding tells me there is one that I can go to for an authoritative decisions on matters, such as the canon and who would be considered as a Gentile and a tax collector and at what point that would need to happen. Which I find I can not decide on my own authority, nor do I believe scripture makes these things clear. If the Church I am in is not that Church then I want to know where to find it. There are only a few options that claim such authority. I find most to be implausible. If you have some pointers for me I am open.

  129. sean
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Michael, well, Paul is going to argue per Gal 1:8 not only that the gospel message is knowable but you have a responsibility to know it and reject false gospels. John in 1 John is going to tell us this ‘knowing’ is confirmed by the internal witness of the spirit, but this witness again is in accord with the gospel they have received. This gospel message as contained in apostolic writings is available in the vernacular to be understood. Confessional protestant church’s claim sufficient authority, though not infallible; ‘councils may and do err’ but the scriptures are perspicuous as regards faith and life. There is no responsibility laid at the feet of disciples to find an supposed single visible church who makes infallible claims, but rather church’s whose authority is solely derivative of their fidelity to the original apostolic message.

  130. Posted May 10, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Sean, I have done your Gal 1:8 directive and I don’t find Paul arguing with me and find myself in Rome. I would hope your church doesn’t tell you to consider me a outsider and I hope you don’t.

  131. sean
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Michael, I make no judgements on the state of your soul. I’m not God, I don’t know my own heart much less yours. I do have issues with how Rome has directly responded to the reformers proclamation of the gospel per the council of Trent and thus indirectly defined what the Roman gospel is NOT. I also reject as insufficiently scriptural the Thomistic understanding of the soul(overly platonic), the fall of man and the ontological emphasis of justification per Rome. Implicit and explicit in those issues I take with Rome’s propounding is an understanding of the Law of God that falls short of the declaration Paul makes of our own state before the Law in Rom 1-3, Rom 7, Rom 9 and Gal 3 for starters. In brief, I don’t need the help of the spirit to overcome my wounded nature(Thomistic), but I need someone who bore the curse in my stead and performed the law completely and without blemish or failure on my behalf-2nd Adam motif-Rom. 5

  132. sean
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Michael, in case the last part isn’t clear. My soul is beyond need of repair and assistance(per the sacraments or the Holy spirit’s enabling) I need a savior to save me from the curse of my sin(gal 3), then and only then can we talk about renovation.

  133. Posted May 10, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Sean,
    I know your heart. Thank you.
    I believe the gospel propounded by Rome, if understood, is Paul’s Gospel. Though I in no way doubt that it can be looked at and easily misunderstood within the history which we live. I know I am really nobody in your and other peoples worlds, but it is clear once understood. I’m just a sinner over here following the path to Calvary, by the strength of Christ in me, to the glorious Holy City above. I don’t believe anyone of us Catholics can truly explain it well, but there are some good folks I’ve read that may help. It take truly seeking to understand what is wrong with us to make us be so different. I wish we shined the light of Christ better. He shines the light of the Father so well.
    I’m sorry,
    MichaelTX

  134. Posted May 10, 2013 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    “All the evils of the world are due to lukewarm Catholics.”- Pope St. Pius V

    “All the strength of Satan’s reign is due to the easygoing weakness of Catholics.” – Pope St. Pius X

  135. sean
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Michael, it’s not a failure of the zeal or sincerity of RC’s, I’m a cradle and pursued the religious life. I read the scriptures and found many of the claims of Rome to be either unscriptural or extra-canonical. Of course Rome would deny the unscriptural part but acknowledges the extra canonical. I along with many millions of sincere protestants would argue it’s those disputed extra-canonical teachings that greatly contribute to the unscriptural positions.

  136. Posted May 10, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    It is not the zeal or sincerity which I speak of but the reality which we cloud. We easily make ourselves more than we are. We are but broken earthen vessel carrying the infinite beloved Son of God back to the Father who sent Him to be our savior.

  137. Posted May 10, 2013 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    It is usually our zeal and sincerity that is the problem.

  138. sean
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Michael, not to give offense, but that doesn’t mean anything. It’s well-meaning, I’m sure, but it’s so esoteric as to not get any traction. Jesus spoke in parables so as to confound, but the romantic notions of the pietists and the enthusiasts is tantamount to pentecostals speaking in tongues. My piety or your piety don’t amount to much; Is 64:6 ” all of our RIGHTEOUS acts are like filthy rags” This is our problem. We can’t conjure it up or work it up or really mean it enough, even with the help of the Holy Spirit. We need a salvation that is outside of us, in history, quite apart from us. Look up from yourself to the brass serpent in the wilderness, John 3:14 ‘And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.’ (John 3:14-15, ESV)

    29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

    This is what faith in Jesus looks like. Our faith looks out to Jesus, not inward in ‘how am I doing today’.

  139. Posted May 10, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    No offense taken.
    Is 64:6 ” all of our RIGHTEOUS acts are like filthy rags” I know and we agree.That is my point. It is when it is “our zeal and our sincerity” that things go wrong, but when it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me, then we are walking not in the fresh but by the Spirit and the blood of Christ covers all our sins.

  140. sean
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Fair enough Michael. The response back is that the spirit-infused works as Rome understands it in regards to Justification fall in the same category as Is 64:6. This is where the ontological and forensic knock heads.

  141. Posted May 10, 2013 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    I’m not arguing Sean. I’m just giving my heart and what I can of my mind.

  142. Posted May 10, 2013 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    It is the forensic and the ontological which Christ came to make one in Him. The declaration and the reality. The Word and the flesh. The let it be and it was so. This is our faith which has over come the world, Christ came in the flesh.

  143. sean
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    No worries Michael. These differences are a lot older and extensive than you or I. However our faith calls on us to testify to Jesus Christ to each generation. We just have some differences about that faith. I’m much more comfortable acknowledging the differences and affirming the respective boundings than try to pretend they don’t exist or blur them for sake of convenience.

  144. Posted May 10, 2013 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    If we divorce these we have forsake the whole of the Christian hope. “what God has joined together let not man separate.”

  145. sean
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    Michael, for certain it’s not an either/or, but Rome doesn’t adequately reconcile with what Paul says of our state; there is none good not one. If one fails to understand rightly what is wrong, how can he know what the prescriptive is? If I’m right about what scripture says about our state, and the Thomists(Rome) don’t believe it to be so, how can you trust they have the remedy for what ails the soul?

  146. Posted May 10, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    Does it seem as if I am confused of my utter and total lack of my own adequacy before God who’s justice requires perfection?

  147. sean
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Michael, not after that statement. But, Rome regularly and officially repudiates the need for perfection before God in the law.

  148. Posted May 10, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Sean, It is not that Rome does or doesn’t it is that anyone can seek to separate Paul from Rome or you can look at both and know the truth without assuming otherwise. That is what I have done.

  149. sean
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Michael, can you flesh that out a little more and then how does that reconcile uniting with a church that according to a now agreed upon precept(perfection before the law) violates an foundational premise of the incarnation of Christ and subsequent gospel proclamation that Paul says in Gal 1:8; If I or an angel of God should preach to you a contrary gospel let him be anathema.

  150. Posted May 10, 2013 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Sean, I just have not hear what you say Rome says. Though things may be able to be read as contrary to others. The benefit of the doubt like we are giving each other clears it up in time. I assume you have got a Catechism?

    Under the Fall –

    401 After that first sin, the world is virtually inundated by sin There is Cain’s murder of his brother Abel and the universal corruption which follows in the wake of sin. Likewise, sin frequently manifests itself in the history of Israel, especially as infidelity to the God of the Covenant and as transgression of the Law of Moses. And even after Christ’s atonement, sin raises its head in countless ways among Christians.287 Scripture and the Church’s Tradition continually recall the presence and universality of sin in man’s history:

    What Revelation makes known to us is confirmed by our own experience. For when man looks into his own heart he finds that he is drawn towards what is wrong and sunk in many evils which cannot come from his good creator. Often refusing to acknowledge God as his source, man has also upset the relationship which should link him to his last end, and at the same time he has broken the right order that should reign within himself as well as between himself and other men and all creatures.288

  151. Posted May 10, 2013 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Sean here is the summary of the whole section on the Fall in the Catechism:

    413 “God did not make death, and he does not delight in the death of the living. . . It was through the devil’s envy that death entered the world” (Wis 1:13; 2:24).

    414 Satan or the devil and the other demons are fallen angels who have freely refused to serve God and his plan. Their choice against God is definitive. They try to associate man in their revolt against God.

    415 “Although set by God in a state of rectitude man, enticed by the evil one, abused his freedom at the very start of history. He lifted himself up against God, and sought to attain his goal apart from him” (GS 13 § 1).

    416 By his sin Adam, as the first man, lost the original holiness and justice he had received from God, not only for himself but for all human beings.

    417 Adam and Eve transmitted to their descendants human nature wounded by their own first sin and hence deprived of original holiness and justice; this deprivation is called “original sin”.

    418 As a result of original sin, human nature is weakened in its powers, subject to ignorance, suffering and the domination of death, and inclined to sin (this inclination is called “concupiscence”).

    419 “We therefore hold, with the Council of Trent, that original sin is transmitted with human nature, “by propagation, not by imitation” and that it is. . . ‘proper to each'” (Paul VI, CPG § 16).

    420 The victory that Christ won over sin has given us greater blessings than those which sin had taken from us: “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Rom 5:20).

    421 Christians believe that “the world has been established and kept in being by the Creator’s love; has fallen into slavery to sin but has been set free by Christ, crucified and risen to break the power of the evil one. . .” (GS 2 § 2).

  152. sean
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Michael, I’m going to be off and on for the rest of the evening but;

    417 Adam and Eve transmitted to their descendants human nature wounded by their own first sin and hence deprived of original holiness and justice; this deprivation is called “original sin”.

    Take notice of the terminology of ‘wounded’ thomistically it means diminished and even after baptism in need of super added grace to accomplish. This would be in contrast with the inability Paul would posit in Rom 7 let’s say; ‘the good that I WOULD do(agreement in mind that it is good) I DON’T do. Or Rom 3 where the assessment is that there are none who seek after God not one. So we have a disagreement over capacity and ability post fall, spirit enabled or otherwise.

    Again;

    418 As a result of original sin, human nature is weakened in its powers, subject to ignorance, suffering and the domination of death, and inclined to sin (this inclination is called “concupiscence”).

    Paul would argue not merely weakened, but incapable. Paul talks about being ‘dead in our sins’ not merely wounded or weakened. This is a Thomistic principle based on an unbiblical assessment of the fall of man but an evaluation of man’s internal ‘fitness’ for supernatural virtue in need of the super added grace lost in the fall. It’s this super added grace that’s imparted to the roman believer per the sacraments beginning with baptism. It’s primarily an ontological consideration of salvation not a forensic or legal consideration. Much Much more needs to be said but familial duties call. Feel free to carry on and I’ll try to catch up.

  153. Posted May 10, 2013 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    I got the family privileges over here too.

    I know you have it in your quote but I will put it here again so it can be read with the Pauline emphasis of the Scriptural back ground every Catholic should have.418 As a result of original sin, human nature is weakened in its powers, subject to ignorance, suffering and the domination of death, and inclined to sin (this inclination is called “concupiscence”

    “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ” – St Jerome

    As I understand it, knowledge of Church teaching and ignorance of Scripture can not go together and come up with a clear understanding of either.

    Blessing to you brother,
    MichaelTX

  154. Posted May 10, 2013 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    I guess my point is if you divorce and pit any Scripture against the Church or any official teaching of the Church against the Scriptures there will be faulty readings of both. It works the same when you ignore one Scripture and take another Scripture arbitrarily.

    Night all,
    MichaelTX

  155. mark mcculley
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    “Increasing justification” always means justification by our imperfect fulfillment of God’s law. And it makes no difference if we give God the credit for doing the work in us which causes us to imperfectly fulfill the law. It makes no difference that we are not Pelagians, or that we give grace the credit for what we do.

    God demands perfection. God only accepts perfection. God only accepts the righteousness of Christ as that which perfectly fulfills God’s law for the elect.

    James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

    Romans 3:20 For by works of the law no human will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

    Galatians 3:10 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, ‘The man who does these things will live by them.’

    http://www.saintaquinas.com/Justification_by_Grace.html

  156. Posted May 11, 2013 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Mark,
    I’m guessing you have this directed at me? If I am out of my place forgive me.
    You said:

    “Increasing justification” always means justification by our imperfect fulfillment of God’s law

    I’m not try to come across harsh. This really isn’t helpful to understand what I have been talking about nor does it represent what I believe. This is where our use of terms means different things and we have to at time use different ways a presenting our understanding to each other as Catholics and Reformed.
    I will never fulfill the Law to the requirement God requires. I am a sinner saved by grace through faith and this is not of me. When I stand before God I will still be saying “Have mercy on me a sinner!”
    Let me use a visual aid with a Luther background that we will all get. Luther said the redeemed are like a pile of dung covered in snow. This presents the view of forensic justification as I think you would understand, correct me if I err. The dung remains yet God only sees snow(Christ). This is not my understanding. I see differently. God sees Christ because now Christ lives in me. Let me change Luther’s picture. The dung remains but the seed of Life(Christ) has been planted in it.God truly sees His beloved Son living and growing yet undefiled by the dung which will never ever be justified before His holy throne. Sinful flesh can not inherit the Kingdom of God. It requires His suffering union with us. This is the burden of the Cross. Union with sinners for the glory of the Father and renewed purpose for the dung.

    Our theological terms can sometimes get in the way and we have to go Jesus style in parables.

    I hope that helps a little,
    MichaelTX

  157. sean
    Posted May 11, 2013 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Michael, thank you for being honest. This is where we are going to radically differ. Your elevation of the tradition such that you condition your understanding of Paul, in this case, so as to not contradict standing church teaching is a violation of original apostolic teaching and the point at which Rome, in the protestant/sola scriptura paradigm, abdicates it’s authority to represent Jesus Christ. Gal. 1:8. It also highlights the Roman interpretive grid that is not so much a three-legged stool, but an interpretive grid with the magisterium as interpretive authority of a tradition which itself is super-imposed upon sacred text.

  158. Posted May 11, 2013 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Michael, you asked about my purposes? Were you asking about Old Life in general, or about the posts here about Roman Catholicism? If the latter, I am concerned that a rosy view of Roman Catholic history is being communicated by a number of converts like Jason and the Callers, especially in contrast to Protestantism’s inferiority. It may be a tough call, but it would be interesting if you had to choose between 30,000 Protestant denominations and the Renaissance popes. If the converts are going to point out our weaknesses, I would like them to acknowledge the difficulties on their side (and if they don’t know about those difficulties, then the should stop talking about the superiority of Rome).

  159. Posted May 11, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Sean,
    It is plausible you have misunderstood me, but either way this brings us back to where our discussion started with the Westminster Divines. There will be an elevation of some tradition. I have found no reasonable way to state sola scriptura with the dogmatic canon otherwise. We must decide which tradition is valid. Both present a way of knowing divine revelation that are mutually exclusive and can only be excepted by receiving a tradition. I have just found the tradition of the Church to be apostolic and found the Reformed tradition to not be compatible with scripture and its own tradition.

    I do not believe Paul can only be understood with tradition. I believe he an the other writers of Holy Scripture can be understood alone, yet doing so will have us separating something God has brought together in the beginning. This will leave us looking with one eye when God has given us two.

    I hope we can continue trying to understand what I initially raised in my comment to you over in post. I just seek reasonable option to my understanding.

    Peace, MichaelTX

  160. Posted May 11, 2013 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Hart,
    Thanks it was the latter. I am concerned that a rosy view of Roman Catholic history is being communicated by a number of converts like Jason and the Callers, especially in contrast to Protestantism’s inferiority. I believe that to be a reasonable set of problems to raise. I hope you realize I do not have the perfect rosy picture you speak of and I do understand it would have been greatly more difficult to enter the Roman Church in other ages. I also don’t think it was a rosy process for me as I entered full communion. By God’s grace I am what I am. The mystery of iniquity is a great mystery and it will be what leads us to our appointed crosses. By God’s grace we will take them with the joy and freedom given by the protective care of God with us. I do hope you will realize that the sin of the members of the Church is the greatest sin against God and none get away with sin. God will not be mocked.

    May we continue understanding one another,
    MichaelTX

  161. mark mcculley
    Posted May 11, 2013 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Michael:. The dung remains yet God only sees snow(Christ). This is not my understanding.

    mark: I understand that you think you are saved by grace, which is “not of me”. But it seems that you are opposed to the idea of anybody (you or me) being justified by an alien righteousness, by only the merit of Chrsit’s work outside us, and that imputed to us, so that we are clothed in it (thus Luther’s snow analogy).
    And of course there is more to be said about the gospel or the Christian life than only talk about atonement or justification. But that being said, you object to the idea that Christians are not also “being justified” by grace in them working.

    Of course, you don’t claim to be perfect. That is the point of the “increasing”. Indeed, you claim that your righteousness needs to be increasing so that your justification will be increasing (and so that you won’t lose it)

    michael: I see differently. God sees Christ because now Christ lives in me.

    mark: I agree that these are two “different” gospels. Both cannot be true. The position (of Osiander, to give one example) means that there was no need for the imputation of guilt to Christ or the death of Christ. Grace is what is now working in us. Grace is Christ now in us.

    michael: Let me change Luther’s picture. The dung remains but the seed of Life(Christ) has been planted in it.God truly sees His beloved Son living and growing yet undefiled by the dung which will never ever be justified before His holy throne.

    mark: the assumption is that there some part of you which is a. imperfect but b. still not dung. But I cited three (of many) biblical texts that teach that God does not accept imperfection. Break one law, all is lost. You need to come to terms with these texts, and then also with your self-righteousness that wants to think that whatever your god has now created in you is somehow not dung. Maybe not perfect, but close enough. Not perfect, but helpful.

    michael Sinful flesh can not inherit the Kingdom of God. It requires His suffering union with us. This is the burden of the Cross.

    mark: I notice you say nothing about Christ’s legal union with the elect, in which Christ bore the sins, the guilt of the elect. With you, it’s all about now and the future, and what the two of you are going to do which will be good enough when God cuts you some slack because you are in the family. But since you have (and need no) snow above, the problem is that what you think is the non-dung in you might just be dung already (or turn into dung, if you don’t do your part and increase). Yes, it’s grace, but it’s not good news grace. Neither is it the biblical account of grace. The Son of God gave Himself in death for the imputed sins of His people.

    Galatians 2: 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in regard to me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died

    for no purpose.

  162. Richard Smith
    Posted May 11, 2013 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    mark mcculley: I still don’t know if rs thinks water baptism is about Spirit baptism or about Christ’s death, or both of those things being one thing.

    RS: The passage in Romans 6, in my view, links the two.

    MM quoting RS: Not before experience, but before union. When marriage actually meant something in our country, the two were not called by one name until the vows were taken and conssumation occurred.

    mark: But what is “union” if not “actual” experience. SHOULDN’T PEOPLE HAVE ACTUAL SEX FIRST, and then the legal, because of the “real” which has then happened?

    RS: No, both must occur. It is only when both happen that the two are one.

    MM: The Spirit (the blessing of Abraham) is given to sons, not in order to constitute sons (Galatians 4:6) then God’s imputation is first. Romans 8:10 the Spirit is life BECAUSE OF righteousness.

    RS: Your point from Galatians 4:6 does not prove your point. God continues to send the Spirit into the hearts of people so that they continue to cry out Abba, Father. For example, in the Lord’s Prayer (Mat 6) we are told to pray “Our Father who is in heaven.” In order to cry out to Him as Father that requires that the Spirit work that in our hearts. So each time a son in truth prays “Our Father who is in heaven,” that is the Spirit who is working that in him. So Galatians 4:6 does not show that the Spirit is given to sons in a way to prove that they are sons before they receive the Spirit, but to show why those who are already sons cry out to the Father continually.

    Now on to Romans 8:10. If I understand your point you are saying that people are made alive by the Spirit because of righteousness, but then you will argue that the righteousness intended in that text is the imputed righteousness of Christ. In the context of that verse there is nothing of imputed righteousness, but instead it is about the war going on between the flesh and the spirit/Spirit. Yes, Hodge and Haldane differ on what that righteousness is, but I don’t think that either would say that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us so that we could receive the Spirit.

    But again, the text is about the war between the flesh and the spirit. Notice that those who are in the flesh are hostile toward God and cannot please God (vv. 7-8). Then note the connection between the indwelling of the Spirit who is the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ in v. 9. But the Spirit of Christ is then said to be Christ dwelling in you in v. 10. Verse 10 asks if the Spirit of Christ is in you then…, while verse 11 starts off with if the Spirit of Him dwells in you. Where sin is there is death, but where there is life there is righteousness. So those who are living according to the flesh must die, but those who are putting to death the deeds of the body by the Spirit will live (v. 13). The text is connecting the indwelling Christ and the indwelling Spirit with life and righteousness, while using those things to show what leads to death and is death. Those who have Christ will put sin to death by the Spirit and will have life and this will be seen as life because of righteousness, but those who live in flesh don’t have Christ and as such are in death. But the text is not teaching us that we receive the Spirit and regeneration because of the imputed righteousness of Christ.

    Rom 8:5 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
    6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,
    7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so,
    8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
    9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.
    10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.
    11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
    12 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh–
    13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

  163. Richard Smith
    Posted May 11, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    MM quoting RS: But notice that people become sons through faith in Christ. When does one have faith in Christ? Only after one is regenerated.

    Gal 3: 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
    27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

    mark: Faith is a result of “regeneration” but “union” is not regeneration, nor is “union” conditioned on regeneration. RS is begging the question, assuming that “baptized into Christ” means something that the Spirit does which is “actual” (not legal)

    RS: I am only begging the question if your position is correct, and so far that has not been shown to be the case. As shown in my previous post on Romans 8, when one has Christ one has the Spirit of Christ and when one has the Spirit of Christ one has Christ. Yes, I am assuming that the Spirit is the only One who can put us into the body of Christ per 1 Corinthians 12:13 “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” The passage in Galatians 3:26-27 (in context) tells us that we are in the body of Christ and it is there that we are one in Christ.

    MM: Galatians 4: 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

    RS: See my previous post on this passage. If your interpretation is correct on this God sends the Spirit once into those who are already sons. But according to my interpretation of the passage God sends the Spirit constantly or many times so that sons can cry out to their Father. This refers to the continuous work of the Spirit rather than a once and done work referring to an adoption as sons based on an imputed righteousness before one is regenerate.

    MM quoting RS: As God would not dwell in the temple in the OT until it was cleansed and made holy, so Christ and His Spirit will not dwell in a temple (human souls) until they are cleansed and declared holy now.

    mark: correct, no sex before legal marriage. Set apart, cleansed, declared Holy…this is definitive sanctification, adoption and justification, none of which you have proven to be conditioned on previous regeneration or indwelling. God justifies the ungodly.

    RS: Titus 3 gives this rather clearly.

    5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

    Sinners are saved by 1. washing of regeneration by the Spirit 2. renewing by the Spirit. 3. SO THAT being justified by His grace we would be made heirs.

    MM: Is it just your “soul” which is the temple? Why did Jesus promise to come back to earth and what does this have to do with your ‘soul”?

    RS: The soul, at least in this context, has to do with the immaterial part of man. So if Christ and/or His Spirit is dwelling in the inner man, in a sense they can also be said to dwell in the body. However, as noted before in Romans 8, the body is dead because of sin and the spirit is alive because of righteousness, though I don’t think the text is speaking of an imputed righteousness at that point. The text does, however, make a distinction. I Cor 6: also speaks of the body as being a temple of the Spirit, but it is still not inaccurate to think of Christ dwelling in the inner man as the life of the soul as Galatians 2:20.

  164. Richard Smith
    Posted May 11, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    mark mcculley: Rs says it’s both and. Ok, legal imputation comes first, so that cleaning by Spirit can take place. No says Rs, cleaning by Spirit comes first so that imputation can take place. So no both/ and. It’s either or, and there’s no use of pretending otherwise.

    RS: No pretending here. Jesus Christ will only take His place in the temple when the temple is washed by blood and declared holy. Jesus Christ will only be united to the soul that has been washed by theblood of sacrificial lamb. Then Christ comes into the soul and is united to the soul and in that marriage the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the sinner.

    MM quoting RS: But if justification is the only issue, then once a person is declared just then why does God not just take the person to heaven and be done with it?

    mark: I have no plans to ever “go to heaven”. Yesterday was Ascension Day. The justified elect are going to be Raised (and given immortality) but we are Not Going Up There. He’s Coming Back Here.

    RS: Fine, agreed, but still you didn’t answer the question.

    Acts 2: 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.

    MM quoting RS: But don’t forget about the resurrection part.

    mcmark: yes, don’t. Nor the coming back to earth part either.

    RS: But I am referring to the resurrected Christ and then the life of the believer from that resurrection.

    McMark: Others of course read Holy Spirit baptism into Romans 6. They don’t talk about Christ giving the Spirit (which also is not in Romans 6). They talk about the Spirit giving Christ (which is not in Romans 6). Others talk about the sacramental water of the church. But it is no way acceptable to these folks to think that Romans 6 is about justification and legal identification. They already have their minds made up that imputation is not a good enough answer to the question of Romans 6.

    RS: True, some of us don’t think that is the main subject. But so far you have not shown that it is.
    Romans 6:1 starts off by asking if we are to continue in sin so that grace may increase. Then v. 2 wonders how those who have died to sin can still live in it. So the point of Romans 6 is not an imputed righteousness, as important as that is, but of our unity with Him and this resurrected life being shown forth in our newness of life. Then several verses later, once again it goes back to living the new life of Christ. The context is against your position.

    Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?
    2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?
    3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?
    4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
    5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection,
    6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;
    11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
    12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts,
    13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

    MM quoting RS: But in reading Romans 6, it is not either…or, it is both. It is not that the concept of the continuing resurrection life is more important than the death of Christ, but they are all part of what Christ has done and is doing.

    mark: I want to see the details of the exegesis. Being regenerated is NOT part of what Christ did to be freed from under the law. Christ died because of guilt imputed, and rose because of justification (not in order to other steps toward justification). Rs has not come to terms with the fact that there is no Spirit baptism in Romans 6. No Christ baptizing in the Spirit, and no Spirit baptizing into Christ. So, on this topic, it’s not both and, but neither nor…But thinking about this means actually
    looking at Romans 6.

    RS: Yes, I have done that just a bit above. The context is on living in a righteous manner in a way that corresponds to the resurrection of Christ. How can you say there is no baptism of the Spirit in Romans 6? The only way to be baptized into Christ is by the Spirit. Verse 3 speaks of being baptized in Christ which the Spirit alone can do, then verse 4 (starts off with a “therefore”) speaks of baptism again. Some think of this as the same baptism of the Spirit while others think that this is water baptism. But what Paul is getting at is that we have died “so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” We have to die in some way so that we can walk in newness of life. But were does that life come from? It is the life of Christ in the believer. It is the work and fruit of the Spirit in the believer. So the text clearly speaks of baptism by the Spirit because there is no other way for a believer to be put into the spiritual body of Christ.

    3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?
    4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
    5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection,
    6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;
    7 for he who has died is freed from sin.
    8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
    9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him.
    10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.

  165. Posted May 11, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Mark,
    I have not said I don’t have a different understanding than your tradition presents. What I have said is that I have not accepted a gospel contrary to Paul’s. You and I just disagree and we can’t agree on a common church body with authority between us. I will not have time this weekend to try and argue Scriptures which have disagreements over when we will not have a common authority to abutrate between us and our conclusions.
    Peace,
    MichaelTC

  166. MichaelTX
    Posted May 11, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Mark,
    Just for clarification I find myself completely incalable of adding one bit to my justification before God, though Christ completely is my justification.

  167. Posted May 11, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Richard,

    Mark is right- there is no Spirit in Romans 6:1-13. It is Paul exhorting the believer to “really” believe that he is dead to sin. There is no application by the Spirit. Really believing that your sin has been put to death at the cross is how you defeat your sin. We are passive in believing this. It is a done fact. We either believe it or we don’t. And we often don’t. Our still indwelling sin is still a powerful pull which we “feel” more than our belief that we are dead to our sin. Instead of “fighting” with the Spirit we need to believe and reckon that we are dead to sin when we are facing the temptation.

    And you are still not dealing with scriptures that tell us that God justifies the ungodly. They are justified before they are regenerated or “cleansed” by the Spirit.

  168. mark mcculley
    Posted May 11, 2013 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    mark: Being regenerated is NOT part of what Christ did to be freed from under the law. Christ died because of guilt imputed, and rose because of justification

    But rs ignores what he can’t explain. He says there’s no imputation in Romans 6 but instead “Spirit baptism”. But we need to keep our eye on Christ, and His death, which is what Romans 6 is about. Romans 6 is not about Christ being baptized by or with the Spirit. Why did Christ die? Imputation. What does “being baptized into the death” mean? Imputation. Because the entire chapter is about legal sharing in the ONE DEATH so that the elect are no longer under the condemnation of the law. (Romans 6;7, 14) Romans 6 is about Christ the public representative of the elect first being under condemnation.

    RS: The only way to be baptized into Christ is by the Spirit. Verse 3 speaks of being baptized in Christ which the Spirit alone can do, then verse 4 (starts off with a “therefore”) speaks of baptism again. Some think of this as the same baptism of the Spirit while others think that this is water baptism.

    mark: Well, there is a third way. Legal imputation by the Trinity (or by the Father for the Trinity). But that’s not in the text, says rs, and then says it must be the Spirit or water, neither of which words are in the text either! Rs is sure that Romans 6 is about something else than Romans 5, something else than imputation. (At least I hope rs does agree that Romans is about imputation. I hope that rs doesn’t think that the righteousness in which we reign (5:21) is our own righteousness put in our hearts by the Spirit.)

    So Rs needs to think through Romans 6 again, and not simply repeat himself. How did Christ go from being under wrath to not being under law (ever again!)? How did Christ make that transition? By His death as a satisfaction of law. So how are justified people connected to that one death? I am not rejecting the idea of life and many other good consequences resulting from union with the one death. But how do elect people get united to the death? Why must it be Spirit? Why can’t it be legal imputation?

    Think about this, Rs. Don’t merely repeat yourself. The goal here is to understand the text, not for us to show each other stuff. If I had to guess, I think your dogmatism might have something to do with your notion of continual revival by the Spirit. But I am not sure where you stand on a topic like one time baptism with the Spirit vs continual infilling and indwelling.

    One thing is sure. I think you have to agree that in many texts Christ is the one who baptises with the Spirit. Now it may be that you are too spiritual to actually look at a commentary on I Cor 12:13, but if you are going to be that dogmatic about it not being Christ who baptizes in that verse, at the very least, you need to explain why you think it’s the Spirit there, but Christ in other texts who baptizes. (The standard introduction for the argument that all seven texts are saying the same thing, Christ as baptizer, is in John Stott’s little book on Spirit baptism.)

    Romans 6: 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death NO LONGER has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died HE DIED TO SIN once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus…. present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”

    Christ was never under grace and is still not under grace. Christ was under the law because of the imputed sins of the elect. Romans 6 is about Christ’s condemnation by the law and His death as satisfaction of that law. Christ after His resurrection was and is no longer under law.

    The death of the justified elect is that VERY SAME legal death. The resurrection of the justified elect in Romans 6 is the result of justification from being under the condemnation of law.

    Christ was never under the power of sin in the sense of being unable not to sin. Christ was always unable to sin. The only way Christ was ever under the power of sin is by being under the guilt of sin. The guilt of the elect’s sin was legally shared by God the Trinity (not the Spirit) with Christ.

    Christ’s death to sin was death to the guilt of sin, and since the elect are united with a death like his, the Romans 6 death of the elect is also a death to the guilt of sin. And this is what Romans 6:7 teaches: “For one who has died has been justified from sin.”

    Yet many commentators tell us that “set free from sin” must mean the elect’s transformation by grace and by the Spirit so that the justified elect cannot habitually sin (or that their new nature cannot sin) They tell us that justification was in chapter five and that chapter six must be about something more if it’s to be a real answer to the question “why not sin?”.

    But Christ was never under the power of habitual sin or any sin, and the death of the elect is like His death.

    Romans 6:10, “For the death He died He died to sin.” When the elect consider themselves dead to sin and alive to God, they think of themselves as dead to the guilt of sin. Death to the guilt of sin means life before God. Romans 8:10 also teaches that life is given because of righteousness. Of course many think this righteousness is their own personal righteousness. I guess they think their own imperfect personal righteousness also exceeds that of the Pharisees. (Matthew 5:20)

    Romans 6:14 does not say, For sin shall not be your master, because the Holy Spirit has changed you so that you cannot habitually sin, but only occasionally and always with repentance. Romans 6:14 says, “For sin shall not by your master, because you are not under law but under grace.”

    Christ also died to purchase every blessing, including the giving of the Spirit and our believing the gospel. But it is not believing which frees the elect from the guilt of sin. It’s being legally joined to Christ’s death.

  169. Posted May 11, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Correction on my post: We are justified before we are regenerated is wrong. I often confuse this because I am thinking wrongly about what justification of the ungodly means. Imputation precedes regeneration not justification. I am also equating regeneration with cleansing which is probably not true either. Regeneration by the Spirit occurs after the imputation and then the regeneration causes the faith which justifies the believer. However, the faith is not counted as the righteousness. The it in Abraham believed God and IT was counted to him as righteousness is the death of Christ on the cross because of Adam’s sin. I am just asserting, Mark proves in his previous numerous posts and links.

    I think the concept of freeing the elect from the guilt of sin is that which liberates the elect. Who can now bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? Even when we are struggling with walking in the flesh rather than walking in the Spirit we are freed from this guilt of sin which is the power of sin. And the law brings us under the condemnation of sin, but we are not under law but under grace. The flesh, the guilt of sin, which holds power over us, and the law all keep us under the condemnation of the law. On account of sin, God condemned sin in the flesh that the righteous requirements of the law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Therefore brethren we are debtors, not to walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

  170. mark mcculley
    Posted May 11, 2013 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    Michael, could you answer two questions about “imperfection”.

    1. Does this mean that you believe in “purgatory”?

    2. Do you still believe in “limbo”. I hear that the pope has dropped that one.

    Development.

  171. Richard Smith
    Posted May 11, 2013 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    John Yeazel: Richard, Mark is right- there is no Spirit in Romans 6:1-13. It is Paul exhorting the believer to “really” believe that he is dead to sin. There is no application by the Spirit.

    RS: The text tells us that those who have been baptized into Christ have been baptized into His death. There is only One who can baptize people into Christ. If we find a text that speaks of creation, then whether or not it speaks of God we know that only God can create. So the only One who can baptize people into Christ is the Spirit.

    John Y: Really believing that your sin has been put to death at the cross is how you defeat your sin.

    RS: But that is not what this text says. It also says that we must walk in newness of life and as such the life He lives (resurrected life) He lives to God. Even more, when one arrives in Romans 8 we see that we must put sin to death by the Spirit.

    John Y: We are passive in believing this. It is a done fact. We either believe it or we don’t. And we often don’t. Our still indwelling sin is still a powerful pull which we “feel” more than our belief that we are dead to our sin. Instead of “fighting” with the Spirit we need to believe and reckon that we are dead to sin when we are facing the temptation.

    RS: But believing we are dead is not the same thing as actually being dead.

    John Y: And you are still not dealing with scriptures that tell us that God justifies the ungodly. They are justified before they are regenerated or “cleansed” by the Spirit

    RS: Indeed God does justify the ungodly, but they are ungodly in and of themselves when they are justified and are ungodly in themselves their whole time on earth as well.

  172. Richard Smith
    Posted May 11, 2013 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    mark mcculley: mark: Being regenerated is NOT part of what Christ did to be freed from under the law. Christ died because of guilt imputed, and rose because of justification

    But rs ignores what he can’t explain.

    RS: I am not ignoring anything that I am aware of.

    MM: He says there’s no imputation in Romans 6 but instead “Spirit baptism”. But we need to keep our eye on Christ, and His death, which is what Romans 6 is about. Romans 6 is not about Christ being baptized by or with the Spirit.

    RS: But the text clearly says that we are baptized into Christ.

    MM: Why did Christ die? Imputation. What does “being baptized into the death” mean? Imputation. Because the entire chapter is about legal sharing in the ONE DEATH so that the elect are no longer under the condemnation of the law. (Romans 6;7, 14) Romans 6 is about Christ the public representative of the elect first being under condemnation.

    RS: But the text does not mention imputation. You are importing that into the text to fit your scheme. Remember how chapter 5 ended: “even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Grace does reign through righteousness and that is one thing that Paul sets out to show in Romans 6. Believers must not just die by imputation, but they must die to self which is what grace does in them. We are commanded to deny self and take up our cross and follow Christ, not just believe that He did it in our place. Is that a work? No, it is what grace does in the hearts of those that grace reigns.

  173. Posted May 12, 2013 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    RS: The text tells us that those who have been baptized into Christ have been baptized into His death. There is only One who can baptize people into Christ. If we find a text that speaks of creation, then whether or not it speaks of God we know that only God can create. So the only One who can baptize people into Christ is the Spirit.

    John Y: I don’t follow your argument about “only God can create.” Why can’t God baptize into Christ? Romans 4:17 states: “(as it is written, ‘I have made you a father of many nations’) in the presence of Him whom he believed- God who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did.”

    That seems like a pretty clear verse that God’s imputation or baptism into Christ gives life to the dead (the ungodly) and calls those things which do not exist as though they did. All of Romans chapter 4 is about imputation. Accounted, counted, imputed are used 12 times in the chapter. And God the Father is them member of the Trinity doing the imputing. The Spirit is never mentioned in the chapter.

    RS: But that is not what this text says. It also says that we must walk in newness of life and as such the life He lives (resurrected life) He lives to God. Even more, when one arrives in Romans 8 we see that we must put sin to death by the Spirit.

    John Y: I am not sure what that phrase “put sin to death by the Spirit” means. I am supposing that it means that the Spirit is always pointing the believer to the atonement and death of of Christ on the cross. The Spirit reminds the believer to be doing this continually.

    RS: But believing we are dead is not the same thing as actually being dead.

    John Y: What is the difference between believing we are dead and actually being dead? Does that mean that the flesh and sin no longer have a pull and attraction for us? Do we cease to sense their presence and working in our lives? I am not clear on what you are saying here.

    RS: Indeed God does justify the ungodly, but they are ungodly in and of themselves when they are justified and are ungodly in themselves their whole time on earth as well.

    John Y: I am not clear what you are saying here either. I think we often are unaware of when we are walking in the flesh and when we are walking in the Spirit. Paul seemed to be able to discern when people in the churches he ministered at were in the flesh and when they were in the Spirit. He told the Corinthians they were walking in the flesh when there were divisions among them. It seems clear that those who are true believers can either be walking in the flesh or walking in the Spirit. You cannot bear fruit when walking in the flesh. Nor can you please God. Nor can you be subject to the law of God in the flesh. But we are not under law but under grace if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in us.

  174. Posted May 12, 2013 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    Mark M,
    Per your May 11, 2013 at 9:00 pm,
    I don’t spend much time and effort in speculative theology. Therefore I wouldn’t be your best bet on answers about limbo and its history. I have enough trouble fighting the good fight against the world the flesh and the Devil. I find trying to be who I ought to be in Christ for others more important. I spent most of my time while studying the Church trying to grasp the big picture of Catholic doctrines and understanding the actually Catholic mind.

    About Purgatory,
    I do believe the whole of the life of the Christian to be a repentant purgative walk until our unveiled union with God in Christ. I continually find hidden sin in me. I do not find the idea of a final purgative stage at death to be contrary to the Old or New Testament Scriptures. I even find pretty reasonable Scriptural evidence for it. The world and ourselves has got us pretty screwed up and Christ mercifully cleanses us for His glory and our good. Grasping the whys of Catholic doctrine really takes an extreme effort to get as much together in your mind as possible to see the big picture so one can truly judge it for what it is and not what it seems to be.

    I hope that help some. Sorry for my delay. I normally take very little time on the PC over the weekend.

    Blessings to you this Lord’s Day,
    MichaelTX

  175. sean
    Posted May 13, 2013 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Michael, the principle of perspicuity argues against the idea of elevating tradition over the scripture. Can you point me to where the WCF(reformed tradition) contradicts scripture?

  176. Posted May 13, 2013 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Hey Sean,
    Hope you enjoyed your weekend. This is sort of where we were in the start of our discussion, too. We never got particularly in to this detail of it, but I believe the principle of perspicuity to be part of a tradition which is argued against in the Scriptures. I know it is a principle required by Sola Scriptura which I still can not find an principled and untraditionally oriented way to come up with the Canon, so I find it to be tradition which is rejected by the Sola Scriptura dogma. I think Peter points us against perspicuity especially in regards to the writings of Paul.

    So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures. (2 Peter 3:15-16)

    This points me to understanding I can easily be misinterpreting Scripture if I have not been instructed. Christ sent the Apostles to make disciples of all nations. I see this exampled in Acts with the Etheopean and Philip. I don’t believe the job is done so there must still be someone I can go to to be the disciple of. I have found very few who say I am them. I don’t get that that impression our of the WCF, yet the Scriptures do point me and you to an authority of this sort.

    If you remember I didn’t get into any specific misallocations of Scriptures in the WCF, but that is secondary to me. If it contradicts itself I can not confess it as a true confession. There are many confessions that do not blatantly contradict Scripture, yet there are also many that do not compare to the fullness of the Scriptures also. Fullness is what I seek. It is who I am and what God has made me to need.

    Peace,
    MichaelTX

    P.S. For anybody trying to figure out what/where me and Sean have been talking about. Here is the link to my final comment in discussion on the other post.
    http://oldlife.org/2013/05/development-of-loophole/#comment-83740

    Here is where we started:
    http://oldlife.org/2013/05/development-of-loophole/comment-page-1/#comment-83547

  177. Posted May 13, 2013 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Sorry about that last sentence in the paragraph after the Scripture quote. I should read,

    I don’t get that impression from the WCF, yet the Scriptures do point me and you to an authority of this sort.

  178. Posted May 13, 2013 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Hey Sean,
    Hope you enjoyed your weekend. I’m re-posting this comment. It has been waiting moderation because I dropped some links to our other posts in it. I will put them separately.

    This is sort of where we were in the start of our discussion, too. We never got particularly in to this detail of it, but I believe the principle of perspicuity to be part of a tradition which is argued against in the Scriptures. I know it is a principle required by Sola Scriptura which I still can not find an principled and untraditionally oriented way to come up with the Canon, so I find it to be tradition which is rejected by the Sola Scriptura dogma. I think Peter points us against perspicuity especially in regards to the writings of Paul.

    So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures. (2 Peter 3:15-16)

    This points me to understanding I can easily be misinterpreting Scripture if I have not been instructed. Christ sent the Apostles to make disciples of all nations. I see this exampled in Acts with the Etheopean and Philip. I don’t believe the job is done so there must still be someone I can go to to be the disciple of. I have found very few who say “I am them”. I don’t get that impression from the WCF, yet the Scriptures do point me and you to an authority of this sort.

    If you remember I didn’t get into any specific misallocations of Scriptures in the WCF, but that is secondary to me. I haven’t found any Reformed confession solve the Sola Scriptura Canon contradiction for me. If it contradicts itself I can not confess it as a true confession. There are many confessions that do not blatantly contradict Scripture, yet there are also many that do not compare to the fullness of the Scriptures also. Fullness is what I seek. It is who I am and what God has made me to need.

    Peace,
    MichaelTX

    Hart,
    You can drop my other comm if you wish.

  179. Posted May 13, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Hey Sean,

    Hope you enjoyed your weekend. This is in a sense where we were in the start of our discussion, as well. We never got particularly in to this detail of it, but I believe the principle of perspicuity to be part of a tradition which is argued against in the Scriptures. I do believe the Scriptures to be understandable, but I believe dogmatic perspicuity to be untenable scripturally. I understand it as a principle which is required by Sola Scriptura. Therefore, one dogma requires the other. I still cannot find any unified and un-traditionally oriented way to come up with the Canon, so I find it to be a tradition which is rejected by Sola Scriptura. I think Peter points us against dogmatic perspicuity especially in regards to the writings of Paul.

    So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures. (2 Peter 3:15-16)

    This points me to understanding I, as others exampled in the Scriptures, can easily be misinterpreting Scripture if I have not been instructed. Christ sent the Apostles to make disciples of all nations. I see this exampled throughout the NT and clearly in Acts with the Etheopean and Philip. I don’t believe the job is done so there must still be someone I can go to be the disciple of. I have found very few who say “I am sent that you may know”. I don’t get that impression from Westminister Divines in the WCF, yet the Scriptures do point me and you to an authority of this sort.

    If you recall I didn’t get into any specific misallocations of Scriptures in the WCF, but that is secondary to me. If it contradicts itself, as I have described, I cannot confess it as a true confession. I have found no Reformed confession that does not run me into this Sola Scriptura Canon contradiction. There are many confessions that do not blatantly contradict Scripture, yet there are also many that do not compare to the riches of the Scriptures. Fullness is what I seek. It is who I am and what God has made me for. He has made me to know the Truth.

    Peace,
    MichaelTX

  180. Posted May 13, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Guys,
    I’m really sorry for all the posts. None of them were there when I retyped the last on above.

    Hart, help me! I’m not posting anymore. The one above at 12PM is all I care about.

    Sorry again,
    MichaelTX

  181. sean
    Posted May 13, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Michael, there’s a delay at old life. Don’t sweat it. I’d give you penance, but I don’t abide that anymore. Weekend was good. I’m getting an unsolicited re-baptism into all things Texan per my gun-toting, baptistic but not teetotalling father-in-law. If my wife had any reference for it, she’d be crossing herself the whole time he and I were palling around.

    I think we’re still stuck at an impasse on authority. I’m not sure why infallibility is so compelling when it’s rarely exercised. The WCF is meant to bind as an subordinate but no less real(discipline and even excommunication taken against violation) confession of professed religion. Why is faith inadequate as a biblical category of religious fidelity? Perspicuity isn’t meant to be a fail safe against corruption so while others may twist it, the epistemological assumption is still that it is knowable per ordinary course. Additionally, confessional protestants hold to the offices of the church by which she exercises authority. The question still keeps rounding back to who best represents the original apostolic tradition.

  182. Posted May 13, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Sean,
    Thanks. I hope you read the last one. It was the clearest of my concerns. If not please read back over it.
    Anyway, I think you may be somewhat right. I believe it does have a concern with what represents Apostolic tradition. I find the Catholic understanding of church order to have greater unity with what is knowable from Scripture and makes the exhortations of Christ and others within Scripture possible and universal. It also gives a way to identify the canon which I have not been able to hear an authoritative voice on within the Reformed/Protestant camp. On at least this one thing I find no way to solve reasonably from where I was as a Protestant. Therefore I found it to require a universal voice that would be binding on us all as Christians. My love of truth and Scripture alone left me outside of all Reformed confessions to the Catholic Confession which can confess the Scriptures with complete faith in God who makes it known.

    I just did a google to find someone better than me to present what I’m talking about. Old evangelical Beckwith seemed to have a short post that covers the thoughts smoothly enough. I think there is just a delay when there are links in the post. I’ll drop it separately.

    Hope that helps,
    MichaelTX

  183. Posted May 13, 2013 at 1:40 pm | Permalink
  184. Posted May 13, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    It’s kind of funny. I have never read any Francis Beckwith, but his article there really captures my thoughts well. He keeps it very short, so it lacks alot of details and working through. Yet, he cover the overview well.

  185. sean
    Posted May 13, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Michael, I’ll read Beckwith when I get a chance. I’m gonna pushback for now on the idea that RC dogma or interpretation maintains greater relation to canonical tradition than confessional reformed or lutheran simply for the fact that RC’s so inclined(know their faith-not that you don’t) will generally deny the need to reconcile RC dogma solely with scripture often giving equal ultimacy to sacred tradition. The canon question is more involved. I haven’t always liked the canonical defenses I’ve heard on the protestant side of the fence but I’ve also found the RC historical claims for the canon equally suspect. Suffice to say historically both camps acquiesce to considerations of the historic church as regards canonicity. I’ll get back to the protestant canonical argument when I have time and can condense it sufficiently.

  186. Posted May 13, 2013 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Sounds great Sean. I’m really enjoying chatting with you on this. As the saying goes, two minds are better than one. I realize the canon question is quite involved. That is one reason why I said Beckwith does a very short overview. Hey, I pushed back, too. So I don’t mind a bit of push back.
    Later,
    Mike

  187. Posted May 14, 2013 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    The Council of Constance (1415-1418), the same Council that resolved the Great Schism, put the proto-reformer John Huss to death. I did not know that.

    There have been two John XXIII in the history of the Papacy – the first an Antipope, the second a Pope. Complicates the scorecard.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antipope_John_XXIII

  188. Posted May 14, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t know it was that council either. It is important to remember the council condemned him as a heretic then Germany executed him at the stake per legal code Sachsenspiegel (about 1225) and the Schwabenspiegel (about 1275). Only details, but there that is history.

    I am kind of new trying to understand the details of how the debate between the 2Ks and Federal vision guys battle this out. So I have a question to anybody who would answer.

    If the state in a given place or era decides to punish something contrary to the faith, should the Church then not condemn it for fear of the states action? In our day maybe homosexuality in Iran or somewhere or even Germany in the 40s. Just a question I am wondering how others would answer.

  189. Posted May 14, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    By the way, I’m not suggesting the folks then did things the way they should have in regards to Hus. Just looking to understand the stances of some guys here and what we think the role of the a church or the Church ought to be in this type situation.

  190. sean
    Posted May 15, 2013 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Michael, I still haven’t been able to spend much time condensing a protestant view. I did read Beckwith, and the objection against sola scriptura on grounds it doesn’t contain essentially a ‘table of contents’ is really nothing more than a confusion of necessity with accident. OT canon is recognized by Jesus and the apostles in the NT, it doesn’t include apocryphal citation. As such it lacks both messianic and apostolic signature. NT canon is agreed on by both traditions per apostolic authority and that within the first generation of the church-Peter recognizing Paul’s writings as such and John referring to the circulation of the same letters The church isn’t granting status as authoritative, but merely receiving per apostolic signature an essential authority it already adheres. The ‘church’ doesn’t give us the canon, it is a consequence of it.-God-breathed, creative word. If I ever get the time I’ll try to do more.

  191. Posted May 15, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    I hope you can. I have some things in what you’ve said that I don’t find solid enough for conclusion. I don’t feel we can say the OT canon was “officially” set. Nor do I feel the NT’s internal words speak definitively about it. Nor do I think we have the right to do that with the Word of God. This is exactly where I believe the job given to the Apostles is necessary. The same Church body that recognized the NT recognizes a different OT than the Protestant canon. I don’t believe we have the right to gather and decide this for ourselves. I find this a very real and substantial problem.
    Peace,
    MichealTX

  192. sean
    Posted May 15, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Michael, Jesus seemed to consider the OT canon officially set, so did Paul. ‘The law and the prophets’. We even have Josephus’ verification of a canon absent the apocryphal writings, so what do you mean not ‘set’. You want to argue the canon isn’t the canon until Trent? And then state we don’t get to decide this for ourselves? That’s what Trent did. Based on your assessment the problem is Trent not the community of faith. The Canon was the canon long before Trent.

  193. Posted May 15, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Sean, the problem isn’t that Jesus and Paul spoke authoritatively in regards to the Scriptures. The problem is we don’t know what they meant in regards to the canon which they spoke of. Also Josephus’ canon is unclear as to it being the Protestant OT. He also isn’t our authority. We can say the Jewish don’t have the same canon as the Catholic OT now. We also know the Greek translation of the Scriptures pre-Christ had more than the current Jewish canon. But even the Jewish leaders do not say when the canon was set, they just accept that it is now. These all seem to require more than assumption to me.

  194. Posted May 15, 2013 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Also I don’t mean we can’t decide this for ourselves period. I mean Reformed/Protestant ecclesiology is inept to do it. It requires the authority Christ gave the Apostles and the protection given them by those promises and directives which we can find in the NT.

  195. sean
    Posted May 15, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Who says we don’t know what they were referring to? Josephus is widely accepted as historically authoritative and we have correspondence in the Hebrew canon for Law and Prophet. Neither encompass the apocrypha. That’s why they were widely referred to as the apocrypha(doubtful)by no less than Jerome amongst others. It’s terribly indictive as well that neither Jesus nor the apostles reference the apocryphal books. The church can’t claim apostolic representation and then NOT follow the apostles, this is the very ground on which a reformed ecclesiology can claim apostolic authority and challenge Rome on it’s diversion.

  196. MichaelTX
    Posted May 15, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Sean,
    I really am nobody, but reading the Scriptures, I can’t. You can?
    Yes, Jerome was but others disagree. That is the point.

  197. sean
    Posted May 15, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Michael if I’m understanding your question, then yes, the law and the prophets is readily identifiable. Not to mention the particular citing of prophets such as; Hosea, David, Daniel, Moses, Isaiah et al. There is no sense in the referencing done by Jesus or the apostles that this was a contested point or consideration at even that point in history, which further diminishes the idea that it’s the NT church who later inscriputurates much less creates or grants canonical authority.

  198. Posted May 15, 2013 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    Sean,
    I want you to know something. This canon sola scriptura contradiction is the substantial part of why I can no longer remain Protestant. I could find no way around it. I don’t know if you have read my testimony on my blog, but I and my wife and our kids are the only Catholics in my family; if you look don’t at the Catholic Church being the true visible manifestation of the all baptized that is. As I believe now you are as Catholic as I was before I knew it. I have lived the fear of being the only crazy Catholic in this pile of Texas lone star boys. If I could have remained Protestant with a clear conscience I would have. I did not want to leave. If out of all the folks out here you think you might could convince of the flaws of Rome, I am him. One problem is once I moved forward drinking deeply from the Church after God have taken away all other options and now all makes sense and fits together in a way that I believe only God can do. So, I guess I am saying if you never want a chance at being Catholic in the visible sense you may want to drop this. I truly pray you don’t, but find no substantial way out of this problem. If you truly believe no Idolaters enters Heaven and I worship Christ in the Eucharist in error as an Idolater, please don’t blow this off or give up.
    Anyway moving on from me,
    I think a major part that is overlooked in trying to saying the Church just picked the Trent canon is that it confirmed the canons of the early Church councils, none of which differed. At lest that I am aware of. I am no scholar nor do I have the time to be. I barely have enough time to keep up my little blog I have started up and chat on here. So, here is a quote from Michael Barber’s articles on the Old Testament canon:

    The two most significant councils in this matter were Hippo (393) and Carthage (397). The decree of the council of Hippo is reproduced in the canons Carthage – which incidentally, was largely concerned with liturgical isues. The list was given again in 419 with an interesting and often overlooked appendix:

    “But the Canonical Scriptures are as follows: Genesis. Exodus. Leviticus. Numbers. Deuteronomy. Joshua the Son of Nun. The Judges. Ruth. The Kings, iv. books. The Chronicles, ii. books. Job. The Psalter. The Five books of Solomon. The Twelve Books of the Prophets. Isaiah. Jeremiah. Ezechiel. Daniel. Tobit. Judith. Esther. Ezra, ii. books. Macchabees, ii. books. THE NEW TESTAMENT. The Gospels, iv. books. The Acts of the Apostles, i. book. The Epistles of Paul, xiv. The Epistles of Peter, the Apostle, ii. The Epistles of John the Apostle, iii. The Epistles of James the Apostle, i. The Epistle of Jude the Apostle, i. The Revelation of John, i. book.
    Let this be sent to our brother and fellow bishop, Boniface, and to the other bishops of those parts, that they may confirm this canon, for these are the things which we have received from our fathers to be read in church.”

    It is important to remember the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed is dated 381AD. That is in this same time and we almost all universally accept it. These bishops were the ones who had been defending our Christology or been disciples of the ones who hammered out our Christology. Of this bishops some were probably ones at the Council of Ephesis who defined the true personal unity of Christ, and renewed the condemnation of Pelagius and the Nostorian heresy.
    Also something to consider about leaning on Jerome’s doubts about the deuterocanonals is that he later changed his mind and none other than Augustine had been completely for the them through out. I don’t find picking and choosing Fathers of the Church to follow to be following the exhortation of Paul when he teaches us to not talk of ourselves a of Paul or of Peter or of Apollos, oddly he even puts Christ in that list. Still working on understanding that. I think it has to do with truly being for one another as we are taught by Christ, but that gets me on a tangent.
    I hope you catch some time to look over the articles by Michael Barber. First time I read over them was today, but they dig pretty well into the formation of the OT evidences. This is actually some of the only things I read about over at CtC back before I entered the Church. Tom Brown had an article over there and Brian Cross had one. Both covered the details well I thought. I’ll drop the links after this post for the quote above and drop the Brown and Cross articles if I can find them again.

  199. Posted May 15, 2013 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    Here is the third part of M. Barber’s Articles which I quoted from. http://www.thesacredpage.com/2006/03/loose-canons-development-of-old_09.html
    The first one in the series probably would be better to start with though. Here it is: http://www.thesacredpage.com/2006/03/loose-canons-development-of-old.html

    Here is the Brown article on the Canon Question. He goes into a lot more details than Beckwith: http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/01/the-canon-question/

    Here was the one from Cross. It is a little more on the question of how can we be able to dicide things of this nature. http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2009/11/solo-scriptura-sola-scriptura-and-the-question-of-interpretive-authority/

    Sean please, don’t let me overload you with reading. If you want to just continue with my concerns I will try and keep up. Maybe I can read back over them and thy and find you some things, but with this topic it really is best to try and get all the ideas in your head to work through. Like I’ve said though I am no scholar, but just do my best to understand what I can.
    Peace,
    MichaelTX

  200. Posted May 15, 2013 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    Sean,
    I thought I would add a little of my mind set about this problem to you. If both the Catholic and the Protestant had the same OT I would still be Protestant. I have no doubt about it. Just wanted you to know how significant this issue was for me.
    Here is another short page with some quick facts on it about this.
    http://www.crawfordcountycatholics.com/bible_differences.html

  201. Posted May 15, 2013 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    This was on that link I just posted and thought it might interest you. It adresses your thought that none of the NT refers to the seven missing books in the Reformed Canon.

    Here are a number of places in the New Testament that refer directly or indirectly to passages from these Old Testament books which are included in a Catholic Bible:

    1. Heb 11:35…2 Maccabees 7:24-29
    2. Matt 6:14…Sirach 28:2
    3. Matt 27:39-42…Wisdom 2:16-20
    4. Rom 1:20…Wisdom 13:1
    5. Rom 1:20-32…Wisdom 13 and 14
    6. Heb 1:3…Wisdom 7:26
    7. James 1:19…Sirach 5:11-13
    8. 1 Peter 1:6…Wisdom 3:1-3

    By the way these seven books aren’t in any different place in my Catholic Bibles. They are right in the mix of the other books just like they were in the councils canonical lists and the Gutenburg Bible printed 80 years before the Reformation. All these books are read in the liturgy without any stipulations now and throughout the Church age.

    Hope some of these details help,
    MichaelTX

  202. Posted May 15, 2013 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Sorry about the block quotes on the last paragraph. It is mine. I’m shutting down for now. Talk to you tomorrow I hope.

  203. sean
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Michael, just seeing this. I’ll give it some more time and effort. I was raised RC and went to seminary and then formation center briefly, before converting to protestantism. I was trained by Oblates and Jesuits primarily. So, the RC you see in me, is purposeful and unavoidable. The whole authority issue that former protestants find with Rome is a bit bewildering to me, particularly with the changes that came at Vat II, and strike me as less to do with Rome and more to do with scratching a psychological itch. I don’t say that to demean, but just an observation. Rome since Vat II has been less and less about the magisterium as the church. So, the emphasis the other direction from converts to Rome always strikes me a bit askew. Anyway, I’ll try to address your particular points as possible as time allows. The historical canon particulars aren’t always available to me off the cuff for timely blog interaction but I’ll do my best.

  204. Posted May 16, 2013 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Sean, This kind seem confusing to me. Are you saying that Vat II and the current magisterial teachings of the Church officially teach that Bishops should not authoritatively teach the “faith once for all delivered to the saint?” Is this what was taught to you by your Oblates and Jesuits?

  205. sean
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Michael, it means that a much more prominent recognition of the charism of the laity combined with a purposeful deconstructive historic-critical hermenuetic led to a much more modern and much less autocratic understanding of how the church interprets the movement of God amongst his people. This was so evident that JPII, in reaction against these movements, disconnected the CDF from the magisterial arm. That relationship has now largely been restored however as late as 2005 Ratzinger is issuing ‘advice’ to that the hermenuetic needs to be one of reform but not rupture. They never have been able to get hold of what they crafted in 1965. Quite frankly, the traditionalists are practicing quite a bit of revisionist history.

  206. sean
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Sorry, you asked if this is what the Jesuits and oblates were teaching. Yes. Unequivocally and they still teach it and most of them are/were adherents of liberation theology. It’s why you see Francis’ turning away from the more monarchial aspects of the papacy, he’s a religious of the liberation theology cloth, just right off a marxist but not much right of it.

  207. Posted May 16, 2013 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Sean, You are telling me the people who instructed you in the faith said the Bishops of the Church aren’t suppose to authoritatively teach the Faith?

  208. sean
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Michael, I’m telling you it NEVER came up. There was no waiting around the TV or newspaper tracking the latest thing coming from JP II or Archbishop Flores. We were the church. We were about reaching out to the poor, venerating/worshipping Mary, performing the mass and leading the folks into all things historic-critical about the scriptures. You have to understand, particularly in america, Rome wasn’t about to bother that cash cow. US catholics were/are the proverbial money tree. Poland and Ireland and Mexico were/are the clerical supply. Everybody else slots in. The bishops/archbishops are political/moneyed positions, by the 80’s they were also ethnically considered positions. They are not primarily or even secondarily teaching posts.

  209. Posted May 16, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Sean,
    I don’t know why anybody wouldn’t leave “the Church” you say you have been taught about. I know I would. The Scriptures teach, my pastor teaches and my bishop teaches and Rome teaches, what Catholics ignore is to their own peril. Mainly, I don’t know why you would think those teachers were teaching what the Bishops teach when they don’t seem to care what the Bishops actually teach authoritatively. Glad you got out of there when you did. That is not what the Church teaches in the text of V II documents, nor any historic council of the Church, nor the inerrant Scriptures. I haven’t seen any teaching like that from JP II, Benedict XVI, nor do I hear that from Pope Francis. I also don’t know how Protestantism could occur with a docile Church like that. I realize these guys were your teachers and they haven’t been formally kick out of the Church as heretics, but nor have I. I have been welcomed and find the texts of V II not to say what you say it says, but the opposite. I can’t imagine my Bishop believing it is not his responsibility to preach and teach, nor my local pastor. What someone else believes is the Bishops role is in their own hands. Heck even what a bishop believes his role is doesn’t matter. That is his role. Just like a father is to be the father to his kids even if he doesn’t think so. It is not what is taught by the Church.
    Lumen Gentium :
    Sec 8
    This is the one Church of Christ which in the Creed is professed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic, (12*) which our Saviour, after His Resurrection, commissioned Peter to shepherd,(74) and him and the other apostles to extend and direct with authority,(75) which He erected for all ages as “the pillar and mainstay of the truth”.(76) This Church constituted and organized in the world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him,(13*) although many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside of its visible structure. These elements, as gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, are forces impelling toward catholic unity.
    Sec 14
    Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.
    They are fully incorporated in the society of the Church who, possessing the Spirit of Christ accept her entire system and all the means of salvation given to her, and are united with her as part of her visible bodily structure and through her with Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. The bonds which bind men to the Church in a visible way are profession of faith, the sacraments, and ecclesiastical government and communion
    Sec 18
    This Sacred Council, following closely in the footsteps of the First Vatican Council, with that Council teaches and declares that Jesus Christ, the eternal Shepherd, established His holy Church, having sent forth the apostles as He Himself had been sent by the Father;(136) and He willed that their successors, namely the bishops, should be shepherds in His Church even to the consummation of the world.
    JP II – Motu Proprio Paragraph 21
    In faithfully exercising their teaching office, the Bishops serve the word of God, to which their teaching is subject, they listen to it devoutly, guard it scrupulously and explain it faithfully in such a way that the faithful receive it in the best manner possible.(82) Since the doctrine of the faith is a common good of the whole Church and a bond of her communion, the Bishops, assembled in Episcopal Conference, must take special care to follow the magisterium of the universal Church and to communicate it opportunely to the people entrusted to them.
    Benedict XVI – Dominus Iesus Paragraph 17
    Therefore, there exists a single Church of Christ, which subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him.
    Pope Francis – Speaking April 22nd to newly ordained Priest who also must submit to the teachings of the Bishops in communion with Rome
    He told the new priests they would have “the sacred duty of teaching in the name of Christ the teacher. Impart to everyone the word of God which you have received with joy.”
    “Meditating on the law of the Lord, see that you believe what you read, that you teach what you believe and that you practice what you teach,” he said. “Remember, too,” he added, “that the word of God is not your property; it is the word of God. And the Church is the custodian of the word of God.”

    Sean, Just because I don’t kick my children out of the house every time they don’t do what is right doesn’t mean it is not my role to teach them the truth authoritatively and expect them to do what is right. My children ought not listen to my other children unless what they say was said by me. This is how God works with us too and He uses the teachers of Church to do it, but some come in sheep’s clothing saying different things than God and the Church. This is the Church I know the Catholic Church to be. It is the Church hated for standing against so many thing the world loves, like many other Christians who aren’t in communion with the visibly unified Church. These are the people that become martyrs for the “faith once for all delivered to the saints. There may be many wolves around, but Christ said we are sent out among them to be wise as serpents but innocent as doves.

    Hope you can get into some of the other stuff we have been talking about.
    MichaelTX

  210. sean
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Michael, I’m no fan of the traditionalists. My profs include current oblate counsel to the Vatican, hardly wolves in the eyes of Rome. We weren’t/aren’t renegades. I was part of the mainstream. I left Rome because she did not hold to the scriptures, plain and simple. It wasn’t even a particularly contested issue. They agree that they don’t hold solely to the scriptures. When was the last time your bishop held a heresy trial? When was the last time you or they got face time with the pope? It doesn’t really matter much to me anymore Michael, I’m not an RC. But I know what RC is and what the intent and dominant pastoral interpretation coming out of Vat II was, and it wasn’t ‘all hail the chief’. It was a more prominent recognition of the charism among the laity, the preeminence of individual religious conscience, an outward looking church directed toward the needs of the world and a biblical hermenuetic pulled straight from German protestant liberalism. Heck even Ratzinger himself was in league with Kung until the student revolts. JPII began to curb the interpretation then acquiesced in the years before he died much to Ratzinger’s dismay which is why he lobbied for the job, tried to make a hard right turn and realized he couldn’t even tame his butler much less the curia and resigned. But like I said I’m not particularly interested in which brand of Rome is true or dominant, they both fall short of biblical christianity. I’ll get back to canon as I can.

  211. Posted May 16, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Sounds good Sean. I am just a Catholic father. I hold no category over myself. I go to a normal parish. I try to understand what and why the Church teaches what is taught. By God’s grace, I love Christ and the Scriptures and serve my wife and kids for His glory. I wouldn’t careless about the Church myself; if I didn’t now believe it to be the Apostolic Church appointed by Christ to preach Him to the nations unto the end of the age. As a matter of fact, I’d probably seek to be it’s worst enemy if it were not Christ’s Church, especially now. I do know one thing about Christ’s Church; the dominate view has never been what it has taught. It just is what it is, formed by Christ to be His beloved bride.
    Til later,
    Blessings,
    MichaelTX

  212. Posted May 17, 2013 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Sorry Sean,
    I didn’t answer you questions about the Bishop stuff. I don’t know about the heresy trial. My diocese is relatively new. I believe we are on our third Bishop. Our current bishop was consecrated early this year and he just got back from Rome after some time with Pope Francis. He is a local guy that grew up less than a hundred miles from our Cathedral. He teaches well and has a very warm and welcoming presence.
    Hope that helps some,
    MichaelTX

  213. Posted May 17, 2013 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Sean, Actually It was late last year when our bishop came in. Time flies when you are a father of four.
    Just so you know, I don’t have a perfect rosy picture of my parish or diocese or of Rome. I’m not involved in all the ministries and am sure there are plenty of people I wouldn’t agree with on stuff. There are squabbles over stupid things such as allowing stained glass to be put in our Church or not. We have debts for our Church building that we are all seeking to get out from under. And I know there will be issues to come. Nothing new under the sun. I would be more involved but my primary responsibility is to my wife and kids. I like to be involved in Faith formation. Until I see I have my home settled, outside ministries are secondary to me. I guess this blogging is what I am able to do outside of my family right now. I guess that is why I told you that of all the people out here I think you could actually save from the Church, I would be him. The reason is I careless for my being made a fool and much more for me teaching and guiding my family in the truth of Christ and His love and mercy. If I am wrong now, I would rather be made a fool for all the decisions I have made and get my family following the truth. I don’t believe that is the case, but who does. I have been a fool before and I doubt that was the last time. Surely, I still have too much pride for God to be done letting me make a fool of myself.
    I hope this helps you understand me. Enjoy your day.
    MichaelTX

  214. Posted May 17, 2013 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Sean, How long you been out of the RC?

  215. sean
    Posted May 17, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Michael, I haven’t practiced in 24-25 years. My parents are still active and I still see my old seminary profs every once in awhile.

  216. Posted May 17, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    I guess that puts your seminary time right in the mist of the post Vat II times. It seems quite common, from what I understand of Church history, for there to be some crazy times after each council. And with Vatican II not being directed at any particular heresy it seems it was run away with by many into every heresy. I was kind of pondering your statement that your profs weren’t renegades or wolves. The thought I had was would St Paul or the any of the Apostles have thought they weren’t. From what you have said they didn’t seem to care much for the truth of the Apostles words, nor the historic teaching of the Church. What about the saints through the ages? One wolf in Rome sending another doesn’t tell me they weren’t wolves.
    25 years puts you bit older than this little buck over here. Congrats on the years under your belt.
    MichaelTX

  217. sean
    Posted May 17, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Michael, this may be a bit hard for you to understand or believe, but we were following the church’s directive. They still are. It’s not a function of my experience or my profs being on the margins or those times being ‘crazy’. If you’re going to indict an entire generation, because that’s what we’re talking about, then what is more likely; that everyone missed, obfuscated or purposely went astray? Or that the task which Vat II undertook was near impossible and the attempt an abysmal failure; trying to modernize an essentially medieval institution. For example the historic-critical hermenuetic was the pastoral directive from Vat II for the ordinary magisterium to employ in teaching the scriptures. Full Stop. That wasn’t a misunderstanding or somebody going off on there own, that was THE pastoral direction. I went to seminary in Texas and a formation center in California in separate dioceses. The exact same thing was being taught AND practiced. Mexico the same. Spain the same. Germany the same. Rome the same. Ireland the same. Africa the same. I knew religious from all these places. ALL teaching the same thing. No deviation. The entire CDF was teaching the same thing. Who’s off? The crafters of the document or the faithful? You’ll forgive me if I scoff a bit at prot-catholics(I’m thinking primarily CTC here) 4 months to 10 years in, writing off an entire generation as unfaithful and purposeful in their infidelity to boot. Bill shiite, if you’ll excuse my French. Rome didn’t have a choice, modernity was about to engulf the entire church that’s why Vat II was even pondered, proposed, written and enacted. Now Trad’s wanna come back and say we were all clouded by the devil and morons to boot. Yeah, they’ll have to sell that to folks(other prots looking at Rome) who don’t know better.

  218. Posted May 17, 2013 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Sean, I have no problem with your frustration. At me or the teachings you received. I think I can seriously understand. But think about good old St. Athanasius, He had quite a time after the Council of Nicaea. This isn’t a new thing for a whole generation to take the voice of the “Spirit” in a direction the Spirit didn’t send them. What it always comes back to is looking at the Word of God and the words of the council in light of that Word. That is what I was saying the other day with I said if you divorce and pit any Scripture against the Church or any official teaching of the Church against the Scriptures there will be faulty readings of both. It seems to me this is at lest partly what was done popularly after Vatican II. Maybe from ignorance of Scripture maybe from ignorance of Church teachings, I don’t know. Maybe it’s written in such a way by the Spirit that only us Protestant laymen can understand. I just know perverting or ignoring Scripture won’t work and it is not what the council text says to do. I also know if men think they can gather in the name of Christ and do something against the faith of Christ, then they will most surely fail. The Spirit will speak of Christ. He will do nothing else.
    Dei Verbum (Dogmatic Constitution on the Word of God)–
    1. 1. Hearing the word of God with reverence and proclaiming it with faith, the sacred synod takes its direction from these words of St. John: “We announce to you the eternal life which dwelt with the Father and was made visible to us. What we have seen and heard we announce to you, so that you may have fellowship with us and our common fellowship be with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ”…
    2. 2. In His goodness and wisdom God chose to reveal Himself and to make known to us the hidden purpose of His will (see Eph. 1:9) by which through Christ, the Word made flesh, man might in the Holy Spirit have access to the Father and come to share in the divine nature (see Eph. 2:18; 2 Peter 1:4). Through this revelation, therefore, the invisible God (see Col. 1;15, 1 Tim. 1:17) out of the abundance of His love speaks to men as friends (see Ex. 33:11; John 15:14-15) and lives among them (see Bar. 3:38), so that He may invite and take them into fellowship with Himself. This plan of revelation is realized by deeds and words having an inner unity: the deeds wrought by God in the history of salvation manifest and confirm the teaching and realities signified by the words, while the words proclaim the deeds and clarify the mystery contained in them. By this revelation then, the deepest truth about God and the salvation of man shines out for our sake in Christ, who is both the mediator and the fullness of all revelation.
    3. Para 11
    4. In composing the sacred books, God chose men and while employed by Him they made use of their powers and abilities, so that with Him acting in them and through them, they, as true authors, consigned to writing everything and only those things which He wanted. Therefore, since everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit, it follows that the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings for the sake of salvation.

    If you weren’t taught to believe the Scriptures you weren’t taught by the Spirit of Vatican II, but by some other spirit. Not believing the Scripture is not what the council says. I don’t think this is some crazy Radical Traditionalist Catholic over here. I just read the dogmatic constitutions of the council. They don’t teach us to ignore the Scriptures, but to love them, embrace them, and believe them and our Maker. Then with that Word living in us to live the life God calls us to in them for the salvation of the world. Like I said maybe God’s Spirit wrote them in such a way that only the faithful hear it correctly. I don’t know, but I know I would recommend everybody read the dogmatic constitutions that came out of the Council, both Reformed and Catholic.
    Peace,
    MichaelTX

  219. Posted May 17, 2013 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Sorry I forgot to close my italics in my first paragraph.

  220. sean
    Posted May 17, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Michael, it’s not a matter of whether the Vat II documents held the scriptures in high esteem, Holy Spirit inspired or otherwise. The interpretive grid given to understand and expound those same scriptures was the historic-critical hermenuetic. The relevant documents were crafted largely by those attending to the german bishops to the council. They put forth the higher-critical method employed by Bultmann and others by which those scriptures were to be understood and expounded. Here’s the relevant section through which the historic-critical hermenuetic was to be employed;

    12. However, since God speaks in Sacred Scripture through men in human fashion, (6) the interpreter of Sacred Scripture, in order to see clearly what God wanted to communicate to us, should carefully investigate what meaning the sacred writers really intended, and what God wanted to manifest by means of their words.

    To search out the intention of the sacred writers, attention should be given, among other things, to “literary forms.” For truth is set forth and expressed differently in texts which are variously historical, prophetic, poetic, or of other forms of discourse. The interpreter must investigate what meaning the sacred writer intended to express and actually expressed in particular circumstances by using contemporary literary forms in accordance with the situation of his own time and culture. (7) For the correct understanding of what the sacred author wanted to assert, due attention must be paid to the customary and characteristic styles of feeling, speaking and narrating which prevailed at the time of the sacred writer, and to the patterns men normally employed at that period in their everyday dealings with one another. (8)

    Part of this ‘interpreting’ was to establish WHAT the apostles ACTUALLY said in distinction from WHAT was finally written down and a ‘divining’ of what they might have meant. There never was an idea of perspicuity or verbal plenary understanding of the scriptures in Rome either in sacred tradition or in sacred text. So, even apart from the historic-critical hermenuetic there was/is still the intepretive grid of sacred tradition to be reconciled to and because their is no infallible commentary propounded by Rome to understand the sacred text, the idea was to ‘offer’ and understanding of the scriptures that allowed for a ‘living interpretation’ one that was available to address the ‘opportunities’ of modernity and NOT be hamstrung by antiquated historical considerations which may have ‘unduly’ compelled the writers of scripture in their understanding. This isn’t radical in Rome either then or now.

  221. Posted May 17, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Here was another line in Dei Verbum I thought I’d drop here.

    …like the Christian religion itself, all the preaching of the Church must be nourished and regulated by Sacred Scripture. For in the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven meets His children with great love and speaks with them; and the force and power in the word of God is so great that it stands as the support and energy of the Church, the strength of faith for her sons, the food of the soul, the pure and everlasting source of spiritual life. Consequently these words are perfectly applicable to Sacred Scripture: “For the word of God is living and active” (Heb. 4:12) and “it has power to build you up and give you your heritage among all those who are sanctified”

    That’s good stuff no matter where you camp at.
    MichaelTX

  222. Posted May 17, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    I wanted to put this quote again.
    In composing the sacred books, God chose men and while employed by Him they made use of their powers and abilities, so that with Him acting in them and through them, they, as true authors, consigned to writing everything and only those things which He wanted. Therefore, since everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit, it follows that the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings for the sake of salvation.
    Does that mean it is not right and good to understand the structure and reason for the writer who is writing to help us understand what is meant? No. It seems I can misunderstand the Scriptures if I don’t understand their circumstances and Jewish history and mind to better understand the Scriptures. In a sense that means the Scriptures are more accessible. They are really written by real people in real situations, and this is how God comes to us in those Scriptures. So that we may know Him and His Truth in human forms. This doesn’t mean we can lack faith in God, His Word, or His Church and change the faith to some thing it has never been. That is not what V II says. There are plenty of places in the constitutions to back me up on that. But slinging Church docs from a Church you don’t believe in anymore doesn’t seem to make since to me. I just want you to know I think any Church teaching can be used against what the Church teaches as well as any Scripture can be used against what Scripture teaches when not done with faith in the God of Scripture.
    You had in ideas on the Canon Sola Scruptura contradiction stuff?

  223. sean
    Posted May 17, 2013 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Michael, you made an general assertion about my time as an RC and what I learned and what I was taught and how those immediate post-conciliar times are kinda wild and crazy, so on an so forth. It’s a fairly common charge coming from trad. prot-catholics as it turns out. I was simply defending what I know, knew and what I was taught. I’d put my RC piety and fidelity up against any prot-catholic’s. The prot-catholics don’t get to impugn or discredit my RC training or practice as a marginal, disobedient or mistaken era of catechesis and practice resulting in my leaving the faith. We were fully engaged with the spirit of Vat II and had/have a better grasp of it than the trad’s revisionist rendering. We were doing the bidding of our church and doing it well and with integrity. The trad’s, prot-catholics much less the extraordinary magisterium don’t get to come back and blame us for their poor execution and development of the deposit which they all held to btw and many still do. Having said all that, even under Balt. catechism RC, I hope I would’ve left upon realizing the church was not upholding the teaching of the original apostles. Vat II didn’t leave the scriptures in contrast to what had come before, Rome had added to them long ago with the elevation of sacred tradition.

  224. sean
    Posted May 17, 2013 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Btw, I’ll try to carve out some time on the canon this weekend.

  225. Erik Charter
    Posted May 17, 2013 at 7:25 pm | Permalink
  226. Posted May 17, 2013 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Erik. I’ll check it out.

  227. sean
    Posted May 18, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Erik, I’ve read about half of Kruger and I find him refreshing in how he deals with Canon.

    MIchael, I’ve been trying to condense a lot of the different thoughts into bite size considerations and it’s difficult. Anytime we turn to secondary considerations like historical survey it’s a lengthy exercise. I’m also trying to avoid linking you to a few places I’m aware of on the web and many more which aren’t. If we are discussing the need for an external authority to establish acceptance, then I think Kruger is adequate to the discussion. At best Rome ends up on an interminable regress as to their canon recognition and why their authority at Trent is better than Jerome or a number of patristics including Athanasius, much less Jewish councils. References to the council of Hippo hardly rise to the level of authority even for RC’s as evidenced when you have someone like Pope Gregory rejecting the apocrypha’s canonical authority supposedly bestowed at Hippo.

    I think what is most historically relevant to these discussions is the Jewish community’s considerations at the time verified by Josephus, Philo both of whom are using the septuagint but still limiting what they consider as attaining canonical authority, what we’ll anachronistically call the protestant OT canon. Before the historical point however I’m going to point you to an internal consideration of canon and covenant I learned by reading Meredith Kline. I hate to load you with links so I’ll keep it to two for now, and as per usual my attempts to condense Kline always leave me feeling like I’ve done his thoughts a disservice so I’ll leave it at this for now. Suffice to say it continues to be a situation where the scriptures establish or testate to their own authority and whose divine signature is self-evident and not one for ‘final’ evaluation by the community but instead the community recognizes what those scriptures testify of and to themselves and the community merely receives what God has declared as authoritative. Kline is helpful in that he moves the discussion into it’s Biblical theological arena and shows how canonicity is implicit in and a part of the treaty form inherent in the OT. Which is part of what I was alluding to when discussing Jesus’ citing of the Law and prophets. The internal coherence being if God is authoring the covenant then directly He’s authorizing the canon. So, if the OT are in fact covenant documents, Pentateuch for example, then they inherently attain Canon status. If a document isn’t part of the covenant documents then they don’t attain canon status, even though you may find additional documents that refer to the ‘law’, (Maccabees I believe refers to a set of documents as the ‘law’ or treaty documents while itself not formally being a part of the covenant documents so never attaining the status of canonical authority.) but don’t constitute a part of the treaty form whether as historical prelude or treaty document or praise or covenantal lawsuit for violation of the covenant. Anyway, now that that is clear as mud, here’s some reading.

    http://www.meredithkline.com/files/articles/Canon-and-Covenant-1.pdf

    http://www.meredithkline.com/files/articles/Canon-and-Covenant-2.pdf

  228. sean
    Posted May 18, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    sent into moderation purgatory so I’ll split up the links.

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Thanks Erik, I’ve read about half of Kruger and I find him refreshing in how he deals with Canon.

    MIchael, I’ve been trying to condense a lot of the different thoughts into bite size considerations and it’s difficult. Anytime we turn to secondary considerations like historical survey it’s a lengthy exercise. I’m also trying to avoid linking you to a few places I’m aware of on the web and many more which aren’t. If we are discussing the need for an external authority to establish acceptance, then I think Kruger is adequate to the discussion. At best Rome ends up on an interminable regress as to their canon recognition and why their authority at Trent is better than Jerome or a number of patristics including Athanasius, much less Jewish councils. References to the council of Hippo hardly rise to the level of authority even for RC’s as evidenced when you have someone like Pope Gregory rejecting the apocrypha’s canonical authority supposedly bestowed at Hippo.

    I think what is most historically relevant to these discussions is the Jewish community’s considerations at the time verified by Josephus, Philo both of whom are using the septuagint but still limiting what they consider as attaining canonical authority, what we’ll anachronistically call the protestant OT canon. Before the historical point however I’m going to point you to an internal consideration of canon and covenant I learned by reading Meredith Kline. I hate to load you with links so I’ll keep it to two for now, and as per usual my attempts to condense Kline always leave me feeling like I’ve done his thoughts a disservice so I’ll leave it at this for now. Suffice to say it continues to be a situation where the scriptures establish or testate to their own authority and whose divine signature is self-evident and not one for ‘final’ evaluation by the community but instead the community recognizes what those scriptures testify of and to themselves and the community merely receives what God has declared as authoritative. Kline is helpful in that he moves the discussion into it’s Biblical theological arena and shows how canonicity is implicit in and a part of the treaty form inherent in the OT. Which is part of what I was alluding to when discussing Jesus’ citing of the Law and prophets. The internal coherence being if God is authoring the covenant then directly He’s authorizing the canon. So, if the OT are in fact covenant documents, Pentateuch for example, then they inherently attain Canon status. If a document isn’t part of the covenant documents then they don’t attain canon status, even though you may find additional documents that refer to the ‘law’, (Maccabees I believe refers to a set of documents as the ‘law’ or treaty documents while itself not formally being a part of the covenant documents so never attaining the status of canonical authority.) but don’t constitute a part of the treaty form whether as historical prelude or treaty document or praise or covenantal lawsuit for violation of the covenant. Anyway, now that that is clear as mud, here’s some reading.

    http://www.meredithkline.com/files/articles/Canon-and-Covenant-1.pdf

  229. sean
    Posted May 18, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Permalink
  230. Posted May 18, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Sean,
    I’ll have a read over them. Reading over your summary leaves me in the same delima, if I understand the basics of it. I understand the Church to have “received” the Canon. It is the Canon on its own merit. It would be the Canon without the Church to identify it. Yet it is the “community” along with the individual that does receive the authoritative texts. So, the question isn’t does the community have the authority over the canon but what community does receive the authoritative canon submissively to Christ and the Holy Spirit. I believe this to be where the promises of Christ and the anointing of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles and then the mystical body of Christ on Pentecost make the difference. I understand it to, come down to John speaking of some of the “believers” leaving that unified body because they were not “of us.” None of these things happened or were promised directly to me. I find this sicnificate. God has not directly revealed these things to me, but to the “community;” the Church. So two different canon means two different Churches which I find incompatible with Scripture. Therefore I must deal with a “who do you trust” type situation which will inevitable put us in a “tu que” and MOC situation. I find the Catholic position lines up with the typ of Church operating in the Scriptures, and no one in the Protestant camp able to operate with that authority. Any solution?

  231. Posted May 18, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Sean, it will probably be Mon or Tues until I can read over those. You get a chance to read over Barber or Brown’s article. Browns is more direct while Barber’s is more scholarly.

  232. Posted May 18, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Sean, sorry to leave your comment in purgatory. I was with a Reformed pastor in Izmir.

  233. sean
    Posted May 19, 2013 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Darryl, that’s interesting. Is he aTurk?

  234. Posted May 19, 2013 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    With our luck the only Reformed pastor in all of Turkey will be a Revivalistic Theonomist with Federal Vision and Postmillennial sympathies who is considering the Call to Communion…

    If nothing else this site will make you into a world-class cynic.

  235. Posted May 19, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Sean, yes he is and they have a modest Reformed communion, 5 or6 congregations.

  236. sean
    Posted May 19, 2013 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Darryl, that’s got to be a great story. Love to hear it when you get back.

  237. sean
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Michael, I have no silver bullet solution for what vexes you. I find the scriptures knowable(perspicuity) and based on nothing less than apostolic authority. I believe in tradition, a visible church and churchly authority. That those claims of authority from the protestant side subordinate itself to the infallible word of God and His Holy Spirit in exercise of it’s claims, offices, rule and discipline would appear, from the scriptures, to be the manner in which a church, in this church age(already and not yet), is called to function and accord itself. Rome is more or less a true church, not based on it’s claims for itself, but it’s fidelity to an equally shared canon(we don’t disagree about NT canon) that inscripturates apostolic tradition and teaching. We are called to walk by faith and not sight, and that faith centered upon the word of God. 1 Tim 3:16. I found Rome’s errors to be that it added to, and thus diminished and eclipsed scriptural apostolic tradition. This was made all the more definitive by it’s anathematizing of the reformation’s gospel at Trent.

  238. Posted May 20, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Sean, Thanks for your honesty. I haven’t had a chance to read all of the articles you sent me yet, but I will. I did notice in the first couple of pages Kline seems to agrees that the OT canon is not knowable from a historic perspective until after 100 AD. I think it was ranged 200 BC to 100AD as the possible period. The quote I thought summed up with, “This delimiting of a sacred collection of scriptures is said to have been a dogmatic decision reached by way of reaction to threats to legalistic Judaism from apocalypticism, the Qumran faction, and above all from Christianity. He looks to agree that a historic 39 book OT canon can only be reasonable “centering around the activities at the school of Jabneh in the late first century A. D.” From there it seems Kline seeks to work out how we a can get there apart from historic post-Christian Judaism and instead from an understanding of the covenant which will give us the center gem with which we can attach each book. I haven’t got that far into it to see how that turns out yet.
    So you understand me, I do believe the the Scriptures to be understandable and a wonderful way to know and come in contact with God and to be corrected from error and sin. What I do not believe is that they by themselves can bring about the unity of a knowledge of the canon or the unity which is already present in the Church in them. I believe this because the Scriptures show this unity to exist prior to the writing of the written NT Scriptures, and within the written Word there are promises and prayers from Christ, the living Word, to maintain this unity by His Spirit, the active Word. It is written “the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you.” It does not say He will bring you apostles to write down what the rest of the Church will need to rebuilt the unity I have just created with calling you out of the world and into the unity of the Church which He previously promised that the “gates of hell” would “not overcome”. The Church which Paul says ought have all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
    Sean, I just can’t get it to line up. If you can’t help me here that is fine. I have found the only resolution I can see that fit the Scriptures. I have been as faithfu of a “Berean” as I can.
    Can you explain to me what parts of the Scriptural Gospel is anathematized according to in the canons of Trent?

  239. Posted May 20, 2013 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Hey Sean,
    I am getting close to the end of the 1st Kline article. I ran into this and couldn’t get it to line up with the purpose of the article:
    In this treaty form as it had developed in the history of international relationships in the
    ancient Near East a formal canonical structure was, therefore, available, needing only to be taken up and inspired by the breath of God to become altogether what the church has confessed as canon. And that is what happened when Yahweh adopted the legal-literary form of the suzerainty covenants
    for the administration of his kingdom in Israel. It is necessary to insist constantly that the Scriptures, whether the Mosaic covenant documents, which constituted the nuclear Old Testament canon, or any other Scripture, are authoritative — uniquely, divinely authoritative — simply in virtue of their origin through divine revelation and inspiration. Certainly then their authority as such is not to
    be accounted for by looking beyond them elsewhere. As divinely authoritative revelation, documentary in form and with unalterable content, they possess the essential components
    for a definition of canon properly conceived. Nevertheless, it is legitimate to inquire into the precise literary brand of canonicity in which God was pleased to cast his authoritative words, for this is an altogether different and purely formal matter. In this respect biblical canonicity does have an
    earthly pedigree.

    Isn’t the article trying to show a reason for the accepted canon which couldn’t be asserted previous to the set apart Jewish Christian Church community which is to receive the canon?
    Kline at the beginning of the article says: The attempt
    will be made to arrive at a specifically and authentically historical conception of the matter[historic formation of the OT canon], and thereby to make some contribution in the area of prolegomena to Old Testament.
    It will emerge, we believe, that for purposes of reappraising the Old Testament canon the most significant development in the last two decades has not been the Dead Sea scroll finds but discoveries made concerning the covenants of the Old Testament in the light of ancient Near Eastern treaty diplomacy.8 Tracing the historical origins of biblical canon, though it is done for primarily positive purposes, will be found to have as a by-product a certain apologetic value as well.

    I’m still reading and hope Kline will come out the other end somewhere, but Kline seems so far to say we have an OT canon. Some say it is the longer canon others say it is the Judaic canon. Which history says it is uncertain if the Judaic canon is knowable before NT times. Then he says “here” is a reason to accept the process of the canonical formation but this reason doesn’t matter. I’m just trying to help while not giving an definitive answer. He undercuts his own argument. It is kind of opposite my problem with the WFC. The WFC says we can only have dogma regarding things in the Scripture and then list dogmatically the 66 book Canon. While Kline presupposes, seemingly, the 39 book OT canon, then says we can’t say this dogmatically though we just must accept it.
    Am I missing something so far?

  240. sean
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Michael, I just don’t have the time to lay all of this out in detail a timely manner. You make some rather large leaps in speaking of the pre-canonical church in Acts and during the time of Paul’s missionary journeys. Just off the top of my head; there’s pagan worship concerns, tolerating of incest, and pagan temple sensuality concerns which Paul is laboring to deal with, divisions over whom their spiritual father is(Paul, Apollos), problems with the administration of the Lord’s supper, and Paul agreeing that there must be divisions amongst you. Then there’s Galatia which is being besieged by Judaizers. There’s Paul and Barnabas taking different paths over John Mark. There’s ethnic divisions arising in Jerusalem. There’s the difficulties of the transitory period from temple Judaism to synagogically patterned Lord’s day practice. The need for supernatural gifts to establish and maintain authority and authenticity and distinguishing those from false prophets and charlatans per declarations of the divinity and resurrection of Christ. Not to mention defection and Martyrdom at the hands of Jews and Rome. There’s nothing romantic or particularly unified about this time. So, after Paul diminishes the very ground that you want to rally around Rome for-‘I am of Paul’, he raises up a more sure ground;

    Gal 1:8

    8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.

    2 Tim 3:16

    16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God[b] may be complete, equipped for every good work.4 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

    Not to mention Jesus commending others over Thomas who had to see feel and touch to believe.

    Michael from what you’ve said, I would argue you are looking for a surety secured not by the testimony of the Holy Spirit, which we are promised; 1 John or the spirit of adoption promised in Romans, but something you can see, feel and handle. Again we walk by faith in this life, it’s in the next life we will know as we’ve been known. There is a unity secured around the word rightly preached and sacraments administered and that per apostolic tradition, but there was no lack of ‘schism’ or disunity either pre-canonical or post

    As for the anathemas at Trent, and for brevity sake, it was a denial of the solas of the reformation which linked itself most strongly to a Pauline and even Augustinian catholicism contrary to the errors of Pelagius that Rome was deemed(per Reformation voices) to have become corrupted by.

  241. sean
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Michael, I’m just seeing your comments about Kline, I’ll try to respond later tonight.

  242. Posted May 20, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    I am not of Peter or Paul of Apollos. I am in communion with Rome, but the body of Christ is my home not because of Rome but through my baptism into Christ. I have my own bishop and he does not reject Rome’s bishop. I think I have said this before. Here at OL. Basically we don’t reject Peter, like Paul didn’t. I understand your points about the craziness of the times. The times now are pretty crazy too. This doesn’t change that there was a real faith at which they and we are all called to. I see one essential difference regarding those times and these. Some say we don’t have to have a knowable unified understand of the Faith with areas of uncertainty, while others say the opposite. Basically saying, “We have some essentials we can all agree on while there are many non-essentials, but we don’t have a way to proclaim together what those two areas are dogmatically.”

  243. Posted May 20, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Sound good, Sean. Later.

  244. sean
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    Michael, I’ve read through your concern a couple of times. Kline isn’t primarily making an apologetic argument one way or another, he’s simply saying what he’s doing will have a secondary apologetic effect. Kline is a OT biblical theologian, he’s exploring the ANE(ancient near east) treaty form as an template by which to view the pentateuch, in particular. Within that work he argues for an inherent canon or covenantal document component which is an intrinsic aspect of ANE treaties. The subsequent apologetic import is that if he’s correct in his ANE assesment of the pentateuch, what you will find is an inherent canon or set of ‘covenant documents’ with set features such as; historical prologue, that will also be indicative, for our purposes, of distinguishing between canonical and non-canonical documents. The aside he makes and that you initially quote is his acknowledgement that ANE treaty form is not a necessary conditionality of canon, God’s ordination and inspiration alone are, but simply an accident or circumstance that God chooses to use in his covenant making with the Israelites in the OT. Hope that helps.

  245. Posted May 21, 2013 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Sean, I think I can agree with your basic assessment there. He isn’t primarily trying to make an apologetic argument to state the 39 book OT. He seems primarily concerned that we can know there is a canonical core per the historic structure God has chosen to reveal His word with. Kline seem clearly to point out the historic evidence “may well sound startling to many Protestant ears.”[p51] So the apologetic value for our topic seems to confirm my understanding that we do not know what OT Scriptures Jesus and the Apostles spoke of when they spoke and wrote of the Scriptures. I see he is trying to make a case for why we would accept a particular canon, but he clearly is also saying we don’t have a solid biblical reason for the case he is making and that the case won’t prove what that 200BC to 70AD canon was.
    Sean, you spoke of me yesterday saying,

    I would argue you are looking for a surety secured not by the testimony of the Holy Spirit, which we are promised; 1 John or the spirit of adoption promised in Romans, but something you can see, feel and handle.

    This is not true of me. I know I am a son of God, per the reasons you speak of. I am seeking to be a faithful reflection of the son of God. He calls me to be “as wise as a serpent and innocent as a dove.” I continue to fail at both of those often, but they are the words of life. I can not find the canon to be establishable by my own assessments, nor do I think each Christian community should do that either. There is an absolute Canon of inerrant Scriptures. I believe God gives a way for me to know it. I have found no logical way in Protestant ecclesiology to state it authoritatively. If the apostles had it written down somewhere we basically would have no problem as Protestants, but we don’t have that. So, I am not seeking something more than God wants me to know, only what He has promised me. Peace He gave it to the Apostles and they turned the world upside down.
    Peace,
    Michael

  246. Posted May 21, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Sorry about the double blockquote. I will still read through the 2nd part of Klines work. Did you get a chance to read over Brown’s article or Barber’s stuff?

  247. sean
    Posted May 21, 2013 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Michael, I haven’t read through Brown or Barber. To be honest because of the delay at OL, I don’t always see what gets posted at the time. I’ll carve out some time for them.

    Kline isn’t always completely decipherable the first, second or even third time through. He will occasionally gloss his own terms and he’s pulling from and addressing a number of different points all at the same time. I think the ‘foreign to protestant ears’ is one of those times. It doesn’t mean what you think it means, he’s responding against liberal theological assessments of the OT. I also only gave you two of the series of articles but it’s enough to get familiar with what he’s trying to do.

    Again, the idea that sola scriptura needs a table of contents is a non sequitur. They are not a necessary condition but a circumstance. However, I do think Kline is laying out a biblical theological structure by which to evaluate. Your question seems to revolve around who has authority to say, which so far, Rome’s qualifications are; they make infallible claims(rarely) but it’s in the toolbox. Jim Jones, David Koresh and others with messianic complexes make claims as well. The better question is who upholds inscripturated apostolic tradition. When Paul anathematizes those who proffer a different gospel that compels the conscience to assess.

  248. Posted May 21, 2013 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    I’ll show my ignorance here, but I am not perfectly clear as to the definition of “non sequitur.” I know how it is used, but not its definition. If you mean it is a pointless argument, I disagree. If there were unified agreement in all Christian camps. I’d be with you, but that is not the case. There are “disputed books” in the received “inerrant books” among different Christian communities. If you mean it’s not a logical conclusion, I’d say in a way you are right. The problem is it seems you’d be looking at it from the wrong end of history. We can assume and “accept” a canon and then look back and say all we need is Sola Scriptura, but you can’t look forward from before the “accepted” canon and say all we will need is Sola Scriptura. There is my problem. Protestant Christian faith requires what has not always been possible, nor does the Christ or the Apostles say in the Scriptures there will be that change or I could accept it.

  249. Posted May 21, 2013 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Also, I am pretty sure I understood Kline properly. He is not addressing liberal theologians in this case. Here is the larger context of what he said:
    “…there is evidence for a similarly broad attitude in Palestine itself during the first
    century A. D. and particularly in pre-70 A. D. Judaism.3 The new theory contends that during the days of Jesus and his apostles no closed canon of Jewish scriptures had been defined, whether Palestinian or Alexandrian, and that the Western church accepted a broader collection while Judaism of the late first century A. D. settled for a narrower canon; and the conclusion is then drawn that Roman Catholics and Protestants should be able to concur on the Christian (or ecclesiastical as versus Judaistic) Old Testament canon. This is certainly congenial to the ecumenical tide, but it may well sound startling to many Protestant ears.”

    He may be addressing modern thoughts, but they are directly related to what we are talking about.

  250. Posted May 21, 2013 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    I’m going to jump back into reading now. Maybe I can get on through #2 today.
    Later,
    MichaelTX

  251. sean
    Posted May 21, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Michael, real quick, read the immediately following on pg 51 and it may become clearer what I was saying. I’ll get back to you on the 10:43 comment when I get a chance

  252. Posted May 21, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Sean, I understood what he said following that. If I understand him properly, he moves on to say even with that historical witness the problem with taking it is he believes it looks at the canon improperly as a “voice of the community.” I agree. He is trying to protect the idea that the canon isn’t the canon with out the authority of the community. Basically the voice of the community doesn’t mean squat if it is not God’s authoritative word which the “voice of the community” accepts. The words of Scripture are scripture when they are written then and forever. I agree. This doesn’t change the historical context of what we have been talking about. We have a historic and eternal God, because of Jesus Christ. He has given us a historic truth to understand so we have a eternal hope to know. He works in and through history to show us what our eyes can not see. They both go hand in hand. We live in both in the here & now and the eschaton through Christ. This is our reality as Christians. We have faith in what we can not see, but has been shown to us by faith in the God of Abraham revealed in the Son born of the virgin, Jesus Christ. He works with the physical history(the flesh) to reveal the heavenly truth(the Spirit). To separate these is to have some other faith than Christian faith. The trouble I have with the canon question is there are two different historical accounts. One says we know the OT previous to Christ and it was 39 books and the other says we know or may not know the historic infallible OT previous to Christ but we have been given the authority by the sending of Christ and His Apostles to say what it is so that you may know. The first I am not finding the historical evidence to back up, in fact I am finding the opposite.

  253. Posted May 21, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Words are quite important. Sorry, I forgot one in sentence four. Here it is corrected:
    He is trying to protect against the idea that the canon isn’t the canon with out the authority of the community.
    I say again, I agree to that.
    For clarity, the Church just confesses what it already is. Both Protestants and Catholics do this. My conflict is that Protestants also say we can’t confess things not found in Scripture. In the Reformed/Protestant camp there appears to be a self made road block against its own dogma.

  254. Posted May 21, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Sean, I’m still reading and I found the 3rd part and will continue seeking to get Kline’s full picture. Thanks,
    Michael

    For anybody following here is the link.
    http://www.meredithkline.com/files/articles/Canon-and-Covenant-3.pdf

  255. Posted May 21, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Looks like Kline gets into cessationism of the Apostlic ministries in part 3. Basically the 70AD temple destruction being when the OT covenant ceases, so there will probably be his ultimate area of importance for our topic. He says:
    Although the New Testament canon is the currently normative canon for the church, it contains in the Gospels certain directives for the company of Jesus’ disciples which were applicable only within the old covenant order, and else­ where in the New Testament directives are found which were made temporarily expedient by that overlapping of the old and new orders which was not terminated until the judgment of the former in 70 A. D. So, for example, certain procedural details of the mission of the twelve or the mission of the seventy were conditioned by their old order context and hence are not normative for the present mission of the church.
    Sorry for reading ahead. I like to have some idea where somebody is going.
    MichaelTX

  256. Posted May 21, 2013 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    Sean, still reading but I thought I’d drop my thoughts how I am not seeing how Kline’s Hittite covenant idea does not seem as though it will bring about the excluclusion of the 7 books included in the Catholic Canon. They seem to all fit in the categories Kline lays out which fit with the Hittite treaty form. He finds these categories valid for the canon; history, law and wisdom, prophecy and praise. Which seems to encompass the books in dispute. Kline has this summary of the attachment to the primary Law which I don’t find contrary to them either: In this process of organic extension there was combined with the Pentateuchal record of the establishment of the covenant a centuries spanning documentary witness to the continuing relationship, consisting in historical accounts, documents of the prophetic emissaries of the Lord, and literary deposits of other aspects of covenant life. The Old Testament which was thus produced represents an adaptation of the treaty form which is as much creative as it is imitative. Hence, the Old Testament is a covenantal corpus which is not only materially but formally sui generis. But it is indeed as a whole a covenantal corpus.

  257. sean
    Posted May 22, 2013 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Michael, your judgement of inclusion would not be one he shared. But, I’m glad you’re finding the reading at least compelling to a point. This eventually comes back to what documents were considered part of the covenantal corpus which would have been the documents housed in the ark of the covenant, which brings us back to both the considered covenant-canonical discussion and, for secondary historical verification, Josephus’ testimony of temple contents when Titus(I believe) sacked Jerusalem in 70 AD. There’s other self-attesting-internal attesting, prophecy-fullfillment, intertestamental assertation, authorship, timeframe et al. considerations we’ve already touched upon some, but I guess we can go over more in depth at a later on.

  258. Posted May 22, 2013 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Sean, there is much which Kline has put forth that I can agree with, but also things that don’t fit. Oddly several conclusion he draws from his research in to the ancient near east covenants are things that I am familiar with. They are some of what helped me understand the Church on earth with Christ as the heavenly King to be the fulfillment of the plan of God since the beginning. The fullness of the Davidic Kingdom is what we are in while not fully as we await the return of the King unveiled from the sacramental signs. The Davidic covenant is not the only covenant fulfilled in Christ. All the covenants are included. The Adamic(God with us), the Noahic(no more destruction by water), the covenants to Abraham being a blessing to all people; which are brought to fruition in the birth of Isaac(made a family) and the Mosaic or Sinaitic Covenant(made a nation), then we have the fall and the reformational(Deuturomonic Covenvant) and finally the Davidic Covenant(Kingdom) which is given to the Son of David for the Temple being built in Jerusalem(which has the court for gentiles), then sadly all the new falls until the final fulfillment of all those covenants by the one who will not fall; the Son of David and eternal Son of God. This is the permanent union of all peoples and nations in the Holy One of the temple made flesh. Those in union with Him are the Church, the Temple of living stones who may all enter the Holy of Hollies through Him the one and only high priest of all peoples and nations for all eternity.
    I did finish reading the third part by Kline last night and have some things he said that I want you to look at from my perspective. I’ll put them together and get them out here hopefully today.
    Peace,
    Michael

  259. Posted May 22, 2013 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Sean, You may find these articles pretty interesting:

    Christ, Kingdom, and Creation:
    Davidic Christology and Ecclesiology in Luke-Acts
    http://www.salvationhistory.com/documents/scripture/LSJ3%20Hahn.pdf

    COVENANT IN THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS:
    SOME CURRENT RESEARCH (1994–2004)
    http://www.salvationhistory.com/documents/scripture/CBR%20Covenant%20Research-2005.pdf

    We may get off our topic though. Hope you get a chance to read the other articles first.
    Michael

  260. Posted May 22, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Sean per your 9:51,
    “…what documents were considered part of the covenantal corpus which would have been the documents housed in the ark of the covenant, which brings us back to both the considered covenant-canonical discussion and, for secondary historical verification, Josephus’ testimony of temple contents…”
    I he never got into the things you talk about there. Is there more article than the three in that series? It seemed like he finished with the third.

  261. sean
    Posted May 22, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Michael, he does a whole book/primer called ‘Structure of Biblical Authority’ but I wasn’t going to do that to you, though I got quite a lot out of it. I’m not sure he goes into the Josephus-Titus bit in ‘structure of biblical authority’. Though he, like everyone I ever read, considers Josephus’ accounts an historical touchstone.

  262. Posted May 22, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Sean, I found the intro 20 pages or so to it. It looks like a good read. My question being you have read it is, does it prove we don’t need apostolic Holy Spirit protected authority to “know” the canon dogmatically. That still just does not seem possible to me. Dogma seems to necessarily require authority to me. Most Dogma I can receive from the inerrant Scriptures, but I can’t get the canon from it with the knowledge I have now. If that authority I receive dogma from is not authority from God I don’t want it. Maybe you have never been trapped by the Devil with his scheming, I have.
    Peace,
    MichaelTX

    I’m still trying to put together my thoughts on part three.

  263. sean
    Posted May 22, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Michael, protestants have authority. We don’t claim infallible authority.’ Councils may and do err’ I understand Rome claims it. Their claims don’t mean much to me apart from fidelity to original apostolic tradition. I understand Rome claims for itself ‘apostolic succession’ the historical record is another matter entirely. I’m probably less concerned about the apocrypha(doubtful) than I am about it’s content. What is the gospel message? Paul says we’re faith endangering apart from and conscience bound to it(gospel message); Gal. 1:8, over even his own apostolic authority. I’m under religious authority, always have been, my concern is that Rome has abdicated it’s authority via departure from the Pauline gospel. I just don’t find the canon argument all that decisive, not that it’s not important. Your concern seems to be more about who’s religious authority can I submit to so as to ensure the safeguard of my soul and keep me from error. Well, the scriptures say we get to walk by faith and our assurance and ‘deposit’ is per the testimony of the Holy Spirit; 1 John. Then Paul calls on us to test all spirits and reject those whose gospel message is NOT the one he brought. This isn’t an argument that he hinges on apostolic authority, which he has exemplar, but on gospel message and almost in an attempt to further diminish what could be his own appeal to his apostolic authority, he says; If I OR an angel of God should preach to you another gospel, let him be anathema(As far as I know, Rome doesn’t even hold this out as a possibility for herself). So, I’m not trying to diminish this as a turning point for you, but I think it’s a bit misplaced. Still, I’m happy to walk through it the best I can.

  264. Posted May 22, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Sean, It really is simple what I am talking about. I can not with a clear conscience “bear witness” against God’s revelation. If it is not revealed I can not call it God’s dogmatic revelation. I would be a liar. If I am shown that it is revelation I can confess it to my torturer and death, then I can “love not my life unto death” for that “testimony”. If it is not revealed I will not. I don’t think this is unbiblical, I think it is the only biblical type of witness.

  265. Posted May 22, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Sean, I’ve had 5 rooms get flooded in my house so don’t feel I have abandon our talks. Catch up later.

  266. sean
    Posted May 22, 2013 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Michael, get on that. Yikes. Sorry.

  267. Posted May 23, 2013 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    Sean,
    Fun fun. I now have three rooms with no carpet. Anyway, while reading I pulled out a few quotes from part 3 of Kline’s work. They seem to be interestingly right with some of the things we have previously talked about. So, I thought I would put them down and put some thoughts with them to connect them with our conversations and thoughts.

    As word of power, Scripture finds a prototype in the original, creation house- building of God. The divine creative fiats were God’s effectual architectural utterances by which he actually produced and actively manipulated ultimate materials — light, life, and spirit, so fashioning his creation house. Similarly, the Scriptural word of God effectually wielded by the Spirit is the fiat of God’s new creation.115 It is through the instrumentality of Scripture as powerful word that God constructs his new redemptive temple-house, dynamically molding and incorporating his people as living stones into this holy structure.

    This one lines up with your thought that the canon creates the community. Posted: http://oldlife.org/2013/05/development-of-loophole/comment-page-2/#comment-83631
    You said, “The community exists because the canon births the community.”
    You were responding to my post: http://oldlife.org/2013/05/development-of-loophole/comment-page-2/#comment-83614
    Were I said: “…apart from the Covenant People of God, such as the Apostles and the leaders of the Church and all the baptized members of Christ through the ages we don’t have anybody forming, carrying, and defending the Scriptures and Gospel we all love. It is the people of God, the Church, who love and proclaim the living Word and His care over us, and they have been doing it since the beginning. The Scriptures are formed within the people of God, by God’s Spirit and the authors; then protected by those same covenant people. To take the Scriptures from their habitat will always point back to their home in that unified Covenant People.
    Here Kline brings this forward in his thoughts:

    As to its nuclear formal function, canonical covenant is a community rule. Inasmuch then as canonical Scripture is God’s house- building word, the community rule for his covenant people, the Reformation insistence is confirmed that the Scriptures form the church, and not vice versa. Indeed, in respect to the formal identity of Scripture, that position turns out to be true in an even more precise way than Reformed orthodoxy has had in mind. Yet, curiously, we are at the same time compelled by this apprehension of the nature of biblical canon as constitution for the community to acknowledge that our traditional formulations of the canon doctrine have not done full justice to the role of the community. The community is inextricably bound up in the reality of canonical Scripture. The concept of covenant-canon requires a covenant community. Though the community does not confer canonical authority on the Scriptures, Scripture in the form of constitutional treaty implies the community constituted by it and existing under its authority. Canonical authority is not derived from a community, but covenantal canon connotes covenantal community.”7

    In that same post above I said,” The Scriptures apart from the protected people of God are like a fish out of water.”
    And in a previous post I said in response to you saying The community exists because the canon births the community.
    By saying, “I agree. There is more to this picture though. Not only does the Spirit gather the covenant people with the conviction of the Word from the outside of the covenant people, He also keeps the gathered within the covenant people, too. One important aspect which is inherent in this is that this has been happening since before the Scriptures were written and scattered among God’s covenant people who alone have the means to know Him and His Word. His sheep know His voice and they follow Him. The Scriptures are the fruit and seed of the covenant people. IOW, the Word is the beginning and the end of the gathered people of God. The Scriptures come from the body of Christ and draw to the body of Christ. But it is the glorification of the one body of Christ that is there purpose and goal. Christ and the Scriptures work as one, He and they seek the lost sheep to gather them not for their fellowship with each other, but for fellowship with Him. Though, in fellowship with Him they will have fellowship with each other.
    Now a problem will inevitably occur if the Scriptures birthed in that Holy Spirit indwelt body of the covenant people are used contrary to Christ’s purpose. The cause of Christ is gathering and if the Scriptures are used to scatter His people, then they are no longer used in accord with the will of God. They are then used against Him….God does create and gather the people of God ex-nihilo, with the written Word, but they are created for fellowship with those created ex-nihilo by the living Word who spoke to the Apostles and dwells with His Church by the gift of His Spirit until the end of the age. This fellowship with Christ goes to the begin and it is in this fellowship bound and protected by the Holy Spirit which brought forth the written Word born of the Spirit in union with the writers and recieved by the beloved who recognize the Scriptures as born of God. The Scriptures are both born and eternal. Like Christ is both born and eternal. He was born into the people of Israel in which we are reborn and ingrafted.

    After that was when you got concerned we might be getting a bit too esoteric. It might seem clearer now. Me and Kline have many common ideas there. Kline continues later saying,

    In brief, the Old Testament canon was given as the covenant constitution for the Israelite community formally established as a kingdom under Moses, the servant of Yahweh. The ground layer of this canon bears witness to the covenant- making events by which that kingdom was established, and it includes besides, as an historical prelude, a record of prior relationships of the parties to the treaty, or their predecessors back to the very beginnings.

    And then later,

    In the Gospels the New Testament canon testifies to the covenant-making events which were foundational to the building of the house of God over which Jesus was set as a Son.

    Directly following that above is where I and Kline part ways to a degree. But basically we agree about the OT. He follows interpreting the NT Church saying,

    Then beyond the Gospels the New Testament reflects a history of church polity involving distinct stages. As in the Old Testament, following the founding ministry of the covenant mediator there was a transitional era of community extension for the church. In the Old Testament, this period witnessed a movement of the covenant people from outside of Canaan into the land and eventually to a central cultic focus at Jerusalem, Yahweh’s selection of which for his permanent residence fully introduced the final Old Testament stage of polity.

    Oddly this idea from Kline may make one wonder why the whole of Paul ministry work climaxes at Him teaching to the Jews in Rome and then turning to the Gentiles in Rome.

    Mainly it is when Kline begins asserting how these stages work and what isn’t part of the Church. I find little biblical merit in asserting some of the Scriptures to be only valid in the pre-70AD Church. I and Kline seem to have a difference with where we put an “end” to the Old Covenant. Mainly I put it at the Last supper and the Cross with the rending of the veil and the Resurrection, but this isn’t an end to it but the true and definitive beginning of it as the New Convenant.
    Here is a bit more of what I quoted to you the other day:

    Consequently, determining what is currently normative within the New Testament canon for community structure and function involves a process of discrimination analogous to that which faced those living under the Old Testament canon.140 Although the New Testament canon is the currently normative canon for the church, it contains in the Gospels certain directives for the company of Jesus’ disciples which were applicable only within the old covenant order, and elsewhere in the New Testament directives are found which were made temporarily expedient by that overlapping of the old and new orders which was not terminated until the judgment of the former in 70 A. D. So, for example, certain procedural details of the mission of the twelve141 or the mission of the seventy142 were conditioned by their old order context and hence are not normative for the present mission of the church. Examples of transitional features explicable in terms of the temporary overlapping of the covenants but no longer normative are the Jerusalem council’s ruling concerning certain Old Testament cultic proscriptions143 and the more positive endorsement of the continuing legitimacy of the Jerusalem temple cultus by the practice of the apostles.144 There is the further necessity to distinguish current from non-current norms which arises from the fact that the New Testament prescribes for more than one phase of church polity as it renders canonical service for apostolic and post-apostolic eras. It is within the framework of the church’s distinctive phases, and particularly with due regard for the special historical purposes of the apostolic phase of the new order, that the interpretation of the church’s early charismatic functions must be sought.

    Many things in this quote are things I don’t find Biblical reasons to make them certain enough to be the norm for the Church today. Someone could assume it, but I don’t believe Scripture says much of this. It would seem some authority would need to speak up to clear these ideas up. And this is where the importance of what he had spoken of earlier would come into play for me. It seems if the Covenant Canon proves the Covenant Community pre-exists the NT Scripture, then finding that community should be how you would have a better chance of knowing how the post-Gospel, Acts, NT letters history should be functioning. Not asserting how it should work and forming a community to fit our interpretation of Scripture as we think would be best. Kind of a block out this verse keep that verse type of thing. This is what would make you a separate community instead of “the” covenant community. This would be like taking the OT Scriptures to a foreign nation and getting them to incorporate them in to their culture and say the “core canon” the Law happened to them and they are the community in them. Here is the Jerusalem of the OT Scriptures. This is sort of what happened with Samaria.

    I did appreciate reading Kline. Thanks

    Hope that didn’t give you too much, Sean.
    Later,
    Michael

  268. Posted May 24, 2013 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    Here was your comment over there I thought I would repost it before I respond.

    Michael, just a heads up on where this goes, the existence of a community doesn’t then spawn another extra-canonical, roman-particular tradition administered by peculiarly roman offices because, well, Rome claims it does. If Rome wants to have a sufficient, subordinate, fallible tradition of interpretation submitted to the infallible perspicuous canonical authority, then, welcome to the club. What Rome can’t have is a non-perspicuous canonical authority NECESSITATING the unwritten Roman “T” tradition which is itself administered by and even infallibly interpreted by a monarchial magisterium. They particularly can’t administer that salvation exclusively prior to Vat II then switch gears and avail it to those in schism, as seperated brethren, but in ignorant communion with the roman pontiff, and then engage the canonical authority per a higher-critical hermenuetic that not only denies the possibility but the knowability of infallible dogma and then diminishes the original apostolic written tradition as so much community enthusiast interloping, a hermenuetic they borrowed from german protestant liberalism because, well, they didn’t have one. And that by the way, is the dinner table conversation of the past 50 years that you converts weren’t privy to.

    I will mainly wait ’til you read all the way through the above post, but I will touch one thing in here just for a thoughts sake.

    You said, …the existence of a community doesn’t then spawn another extra-canonical, roman-particular tradition administered by peculiarly roman offices because, well, Rome claims it does.”
    The bolded above I actually agree with. The main thing is that Scripture doesn’t exclude it and actually testify to the very clear reasonableness of it. As the existence of the Pentateuch, shows a particular Old Covenant people who are called to and are submitted to the Law, so also the Gospels and Acts testify to a particular New Covenant people created by the call and promises of Christ. There is no hint in the NT Scriptures that you or I can reject the authentic teaching of Christ and the Apostles “whether by word of mouth or writing,” therefore there could and most likely is truly Apostolic teaching that is active in the different Christian communities that for them to reject would be disobedience to Christ or at least the Apostles teaching whether we can find it in Scriptures or not. If I were in those community I would, by the Spirits leading, continue to do and teach those things even if it were not written in Scripture received as inerrant by the Church. No amount of pressure would cause the believer convicted by the Holy Spirit to reject it. I do not doubt this is hard to jump at with faith in God’s care, but it is not illogical to truly be a faithful biblical Christian who recognizes that capitol “T” tradition can be part of the True teachings of Christ and the Apostles. Actually as you see in Kline’s work of the ancient near eastern treaty covenant-canon being a testimony of the true witness to the Covenant people’s covenant. It is the community formed by Christ with His covenant promises in the NT what would be able to testify to that by the Holy Spirit’s promised protection[John 14:26,15:26, and other promises such as the promise Peter being the Rock[Matt 16:18}, and only that community would have the actual history that would provide such a situation. Of course these are not the only promises and prophecies of Christ in the NT to grasp the understand of all the functions of the Church’s role in relation to Christ.

    I say again like I have before, it is possible that it is not the Catholic Church’s bishop in communion with Rome that has this covenant history, but I still ask if I can be pointed in some other direction I am all ears?

  269. sean
    Posted May 27, 2013 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Michael;…….. “then finding that community should be how you would have a better chance of knowing how the post-Gospel, Acts, NT letters history should be functioning. Not asserting how it should work and forming a community to fit our interpretation of Scripture as we think would be best.”

    Me: And we’re back to the RC assumption that surely God would have left us a solitary visible readily identifiable church by which we might know the truth. This denies perspicuity, visible-invisible distinction, ironically enough, original apostolic teaching on the offices of the church, weighing/testing true and false teachers per that same written tradition, and again puts the community before the canon. If Rome wants to limit it’s claims to real, subordinate, sufficient, and fallible, then they can join the protestant club. Otherwise, they’re just another sect making infallible, messianic claims or not (Vat II-Francis), that when weighed against the canon come up short and Rome jumping through the escape pod of “T” tradition is no cover for their lack of adherence to written apostolic tradition.

    Michael, history is not neat. People are not tidy, and the church has suffered division and turmoil since it’s inception. The challenge for you and for us all is can we stomach the tension and live by faith in the words of God. Can we believe in that which we can’t see, can we live with doubt attending to our faith. Can we live in the tension of the already-not yet eschatological scheme of scripture. Rome seeks to ameliorate these tensions by offering a comfort in certainty of a visible manifestation and sole earthly mediation which unfortunately displaces a comfort from and by the Holy Spirit in the Risen Christ. Protestants aren’t recreating the wheel, they’re acting in faith upon the written apostolic tradition and conviction of the Holy Spirit, as you say; ‘the sheep hear His voice.” It’s messy and inconvenient. So, what’s new about that this side of Glory. The ultimate ‘beef’ with Rome is that she’s added to canonical scripture and varyingly obscured the apostolic gospel. Gal 1:8

  270. Posted May 27, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Sean, I having a hard time understanding how you are continuing to say I and other RCs are displacing the “comfort from and by the Holy Spirit in the Risen Christ.” If that were the case I would not be Catholic. My comfort is exactly in the One you speak of. If not, how could I look at the crazy history of the Church be at peace; the ridiculous historic circumstances, Saints persecuted by power hungry leaders of the Church, sinful priest, popes who may not have even believed in Christ. I promise there is plenty to tell me to walk by sight in what can be seen and walk away from the Catholic Church.
    “The challenge for you and for us all is can we stomach the tension and live by faith in the words of God.”
    Sean, this is what God called me to and by His strength alone I followed His voice to where I am. I would not be here if it were up to me alone.

    You said, “And we’re back to the RC assumption that surely God would have left us a solitary visible readily identifiable church by which we might know the truth. This denies perspicuity, visible-invisible distinction, ironically enough, original apostolic teaching on the offices of the church, weighing/testing true and false teachers per that same written tradition, and again puts the community before the canon.

    Does this not work both ways. Are you not assuming that God does not wish there to be a visibly identifiable pearl of great price which has both wheat and tares, and that the Holy Spirit will not protect the official preaching of the Church from error(lead you to all truth), and which one may leave and know that we have “departed from us because they were not of us.”

    Sean, If you read through Kline’s arguments you will clearly see he is demonstrating that the evidence of the ANE covenants shows that the “canon” has authority over the community because the community is covenanted within the canon. This does put the community before the canon because the Canon shows the community before the Canon, not because the Canon isn’t authoritative over the community but because those who see this distinction are under the canonical mandates in the Canon.

    Like you said the other day,
    Now that that is clear as mud.

    Have you gotten a chance to read over Brown or Barber?

  271. Posted May 27, 2013 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    Sean, reading over that last sentence I thought I would clarify it with a few missing words and added emphasis.
    Try this:
    This does put the covenant community before the canonical Scriptures because the Canon shows the community before the Canon, not because the Canon isn’t authoritative apart from the communities canonically given authority but because those who have previous knowledge of this distinction are under the covenantal words of Christ from before the written Canon. In essence the Scriptures can’t undo the pre-existing Covenant they present within the written words; they preserve and present the covenant’s existence created by the living Word for all generations.

    Hope that is a little clearer,
    Michael

  272. Posted May 30, 2013 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    Sean,
    Any luck?

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