Tricks of the Trade

The Catholic Lane is calling off Roman Catholic apologists who use the tired phrase that Protestantism has produced 33,000 denominations:

One Protestant friend of mine gets royally annoyed when he hears Catholics say there are 33,000 denominations in Protestantism. Paraphrased:

Really, I can think of maybe four or five major schools of Protestant theology, and maybe — maybe — 70 denominations in this country. And that’s being generous.

He once noted to me that the number of 33,000 — or 44,000, or whatever — relies on counting local communities independently, and breaking up international groups by country. By that standard, there are as many Catholic churches as there are countries in the world which have Catholics. In fact, by the standard we’re holding Protestants to; our number of churches should be multiplied where the Eastern Rites are represented. This is, of course, a bogus standard, so it will turn off Protestants of any competence.

My friend went on to insist that what really matters is the theological unity, the unity in truths professed. To say “33,000″ when there are really only about five or six or ten or seventy is a gesture of bad faith, and a sign we aren’t being serious.

“Within those schools of thought,” he said, “they don’t really disagree on anything important.”

So what is the alternative?

There are at least two Protestant churches in the world. They contradict each other on important things, or disagree about which things are important. Isn’t this a problem? Keep in mind: This is not a case for Catholicism. This is a case against Protestantism.

This is where you follow up, building a case for Catholicism. When talking to a Protestant, begin with scripture, and point out the evidence for the Church in scripture. Don’t just say that scripture or history proves the Catholic Church. Competent Protestants will here want proof, so at this point refer to scriptural passages which together and in context point to a visibly united community of believers, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. It’ll still be a wild ride, so make sure you’ve studied the context yourself.

Keep in mind the stakes. Protestants aren’t merely mistaken about this doctrine or that doctrine. They lack sacraments. Some Protestants — those who were not validly baptized — lack all of the sacraments. This has eternal consequences, whether it’s as simple as not bearing the mark of chrismation in heaven or abiding forever the unforgiving fires of hell.

When we speak of communion, we mean all forms of communion, right down to Holy Communion. Yet by making sweeping claims, you might just sweep someone out of earshot, even further from the Eucharist than they were before. Allowing for God’s foreknowledge, that person you push away may come into the Church later anyway — but it may be much later, and if so you might get to answer to God for it.

In short, don’t say more than you have to. It rarely takes much to topple the internal contradictions of Protestantism. It certainly does not take 33,000 denominations.

And if two guys in white shirts and a tie show up at your front door, if it’s a Michigan winter invite them in. But if it’s warm out, be careful. They may be Roman Catholic apologists with instructions on how to reduce you to a puddle of uncertainty. But if you have a Bryan Cross hat, maybe that will provide the force you need to withstand their challenge.

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210 thoughts on “Tricks of the Trade

  1. Dr. Hart,

    As you have pointed out on many occasions, we see it here again: for Rome the ultimate message of Scripture is the Roman Catholic Church – nothing else in Scripture matters except where the Roman Catholic Church says it matters and only in the way the Roman Catholic Church dictates it to matter.

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  2. Dr. Hart, a heads up: there are Bryan Cross Hats and then there are hats like Bryan Cross wears. The Bryan Cross Hat (BCH) is force field protected and can detect poorly constructed syllogisms, arguments from silence, question begging and circular reasoning from up to 200 miles away. None of us in the Eucharist-deprived community are worthy of it.

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  3. “There are at least two Protestant churches in the world.”

    Hmmm… aren’t there more “Catholic” churches than that. Of course there are the EOs and RCs, so we’re even right? Where do those Anglican’s fit in? They hold to apostolic authority too don’t they (and now their priests can come over and keep their songs right?)? Then there are the various ME churches that split off way back for reasons incomprehensible to most modern Christians. Is bigger truer?

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  4. Chortles,

    I actually find this apologists approach, inasmuch as the above quote indicates, to be much more palatable than I do the CtC variety. It opens the door for meaningful dialogue, and I don’t have a problem with someone earnestly seeking my conversion for the good of my soul – from their standpoint, they are just carrying out the implications of their faith. I am not sure how this guy’s apologetic compares with CtC in other areas, like if he is forthcoming over the meaningful ideological divisions present in the RC today, or if he is honest about the RC’s checkered history. But, dealing forthrightly seems to be a better approach than defending a pristine church that doesn’t actually exist in the real world presently or historically.

    However, I think that where this approach is not likely to gain traction with large numbers of protestants is its insistence on pointing to Scripture. While RC’s might have a point in seeking to identify the evidence for one holy catholic church, they are going to be hard pressed to demonstrate from Scripture that they are the only valid manifestation of that church. Moreover, they will be hard-pressed to convince many protestants of how their practices and doctrines square with Scripture.

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  5. Jed, just saying that an assertion like this about the sacraments rings hollow if you know the history of sacraments in the RC. They’ve been all over the road so I don’t trust them to drive.

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  6. It’ll still be a wild ride, so make sure you’ve studied the context yourself.

    True inter-church relations can be a wild ride, sure. CtC is like the Autopia (or whatever) at Disneyland where every car goes 5 mph on a fixed track. Sure, my 7 year old daughter likes it. But adults know to go elsewhere.

    Hands while we putt down the lane, wheeeee!

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  7. No freedom. No assurance. Not even in the (their) sacraments. Because there is always another level to achieve. More stuff that the R. Church lays on their back.

    Been there…done that. No thanks.

    I hope these little religionists come to my door. They are going to hear the pure gospel…maybe for the first time in their lives. Whether they like it…or not.

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  8. I disagree. The number 33,000 is absolutely accurate. People just don’t understand the scholarship behind the publication and their criticisms are largely off base.

    This is a helpful link

    http://www.philvaz.com/apologetics/a106.htm

    I understand that the number 33,000 is devastating to perspicuity….. but thats just the way it is. Protestants made their bed cleaving Christendom. Sleep in it,

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  9. Kenneth Winsmann — philvaz was always a non-serious clown drawn to the more spectacular-looking things like that 33,000 number.

    If you are looking at “cleaving Christendom” you may want to look at the role that Rome’s boastfulness played in the 1054 split, and check out some of the underlying causes for the even greater schisms that happened in the fifth century. What you call “Christendom” actually a puny and boastful part of what Christ would call “church”.

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  10. Kenneth,

    I disagree. The number 33,000 is absolutely accurate. People just don’t understand the scholarship behind the publication and their criticisms are largely off base.

    Well, if we’re going to go by that analysis, then Roman Catholicism is likewise divided and it isn’t doing anything different except that it keeps insisting on its infallibility, but only when it is convenient. I mean there many Catholic denominations as well, including the Old Catholic Churches.

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  11. For Rome and its devoted apologists, it’s ultimately about “Holy Mother Church,” not Jesus Christ. (I’m sure they would deny this, but Dr. Hart’s quote from “The Catholic Lane” is just one example that seems to bear this out; I’m sure such quotes could be multiplied.) Making converts for Rome and getting people connected to the sacramental life of the Great Organization (aka “The Roman Catholic Church”) is paramount. Practically speaking, Christ and His gospel take a back seat. “Sola Ecclesia” is the name of the game. And if some of them use exaggerated, hyped-up claims (like the “33,000 Protestant denominations” nonsense) to help their cause, then that’s OK, the ends justifies the means when it comes to promoting Rome, even if those means fall short of strict truthfulness. Hey, as long as it is for the benefit of “Holy Mother Church” it’s OK.

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  12. Geoff, you’re right. The say we don’t have the sacraments, but we can reasonably say that they lack almost entirely the ministry of the word. The list of great modern RC preachers is similar in length to that of Jewish NBA superstars.

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  13. John B

    We aren’t discussing Phil or clowns but instead a Christian Encyclopedia published by Oxford. The “clown” philvaz understands the scholarship behind the publication and the reformed don’t. This is made evident by Roberts last comment that “by those standards Rome is just as divided and yours thatt the number 33,000 is “spectacular”.

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  14. Robert, it’s not even that consistent. The only RC’s insisting on infallibility are a few trads. There is at least as many RC’s who disagree with the trads as much as the prots. Francis is one of them. Francis thinks they are little ‘monster makers’. Maybe Bryan will correct Francis on his use of an ad hom, or maybe Bryan’s head will implode as he tries to correct the guy with extraordinary charism.

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  15. Kenneth,

    Just by looking at Phil’s site, it is clear he is not applying standards consistently. If we were, then we could say that the PCA and OPC are as much in communion with one another as so many of the Roman Catholic denominations listed. For them it means one church but not for us. I say hogwash.

    Rome’s infallibility hasn’t prevented a splintering into many RC Churches who call themselves Roman Catholic any more than Protestant fallibility has. If the only principled means you have for saying that the Most Holy Family Monastery is not the Roman Catholic Church is that Rome says so, that means nothing. Apply your standards consistently, and we might take your arguments more seriously.

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  16. Why are there fewer Muslim and Jewish sects than the putative 242 RC denominations quoted from the article? Islam believes in its own form perspicuity if I understand things right, yet manages to maintain quite a bit of unity (all without a pope!). Of course Islam in the US has seen some splintering as it has gained broader mainstream acceptance. Maybe the splintering of protestant denominations has less to do with theories about scripture and more about sociology, economics, and politics.

    I still have not seen a convincing case made that there is a difference between a protestant leaving his confessional reformed church and starting a primitive house church and an RC leaving her church to be a “spiritual but not religious” MTD congregation of one. Given that the decline of non-hispanic Roman Catholics more or less parallels the steep decline seen among mainline protestants (or that religious observance in Spain, France, Ireland, and Portugal is more or less comparable to Germany, the Netherlands, Britain, and Switzerland – the collapse of the faith in Ireland should give everyone pause) – it seems to me that theories about perspicuity and a magisterium really are irrelevant to an explanation of the sociological fact that Christianity is collapsing inthe west.

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  17. Sean – Maybe Bryan will correct Francis on his use of an ad hom, or maybe Bryan’s head will implode as he tries to correct the guy with extraordinary charism.

    Erik – Head Explosion = Paradigmatic Crisis

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  18. You know, they say OLTS is good for hangovers. Glad to see it when everyone shows up, seeing as I ain’t the only sufferer in blogdom. But for those of us who don’t believe in such things, the only mystery that remains is why are we here?

    Why ask why, I guess..no one wants to be the annoying 7 year old asking “why, why, why” all the time.

    Enjoy the day.

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  19. Darryl,

    A lack of Catholic consensus of how many different Protestant assemblies there are is not a church doctrine, and it doesn’t matter if it were down to a handful( give or take a few) because there still would be no way to determine theological truth from theological opinion. This is the point a Catholic “should be” trying to make. When a Catholic throws out, “33,000” I’m pretty sure that whatever version of Protestantism he is addressing thinks that his is “the” one closest to the bible, if he is a biblicist, or closest to bible as understood by Luther or Calvin, if he is a confessionalist and so could care less because he… [“hides from itself its own biblicist foundation, and in this way it is able to conceive of itself as different in some principled way from the biblicist approach it explicitly rejects and criticizes. This isn’t hypocrisy, but a simple failure to “know thyself,” i.e. unawareness of its own biblicist foundation, by failing to consider the processes and methods at work in the very formation and identification (as authoritative) of the Reformed tradition and Reformed confessions.”] ( Bryan Cross)
    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2014/01/clark-frame-and-the-analogy-of-painting-a-magisterial-target-around-ones-interpretive-arrow/

    Further, here’s something that might interest your interest in religion in America:

    Blurb—“[Joseph]Bottum sees the post-Protestant heirs of the old Mainline Protestant domination of culture: dutiful descendants who claim the high social position of their Christian ancestors even while they reject their ancestors’ Christianity. Turning to “The Swallows of Capistrano,” the Catholics formed by the pontificate of John Paul II, Bottum evaluates the early victories–and later defeats–of the attempt to substitute Catholicism for the dying Mainline voice in public life.”
    http://www.amazon.com/An-Anxious-Age-Post-Protestant-America/dp/0385518811/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389806024&sr=8-1&keywords=an+anxious+age

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  20. Susan,

    I’ve asked several Roman Catholics this and nobody has yet given an answer. What is your principled means for determining that what you have discovered about Rome is the truth and not just your opinion?

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  21. Susan, this site doesn’t “moderate.”

    The pursuit of truth and amendment and reflection is obviously embraced here as much as any other site can afford to allow.

    Incorrigible knuckleheads are dealt with in other ways…

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  22. “This is where you follow up, building a case for Catholicism. When talking to a Protestant, begin with scripture,”

    Normally not a good approach. Begin with the Superior Paradigm and the Pope.

    “Keep in mind the stakes. Protestants aren’t merely mistaken about this doctrine or that doctrine. They lack sacraments.”

    I was just saying to my wife the other day, “Honey, have you seen the sacraments?”. She hadn’t. I looked in the garage below the workbench and in the garden shed, but couldn’t find them.

    “In short, don’t say more than you have to. It rarely takes much to topple the internal contradictions of Protestantism. ”

    As if anyone claims “generic Protestantism” as their affiliation. I think Joel Osteen’s as wrong as Roman Catholics. This whole idea that Reformed people have to apologize and defend all Protestants is ridiculous.

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  23. Linking is fun and all, but remember, unmet (and likely never to meet (this aide of glory))fellow anonymous reader of this quadrant of inter-web space:

    It’s you we’re dying to hear from, not some posh academic. Speak your mind, yo.

    Peace out.

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  24. “I disagree. The number 33,000 is absolutely accurate. People just don’t understand the scholarship
    behind the publication and their criticisms are largely off base. ”

    Pulling it out of their behind doesn’t count for scholarship.

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  25. Kent,

    Maybe my name is flagged because my comment received, “your comment is awaiting moderation”

    Andrew Buckingham,

    We all trust teachers to have some amount of authority on a given subject so why not submit, to the “conversation”,a knowledgeable source on the subject? I think the articles I linked do a fantastic job of describing the Protestant dilema. In a Is there a rule against linking articles here at OL? If so I was unaware.

    Robert,

    See the Tu quogue objection again. I’m not going to do your homework for you.

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  26. Susan,

    I’ve read the response to the Tu Quoque objection, and it is all a bunch of hand-waving and question begging. Since you have no principled distinction to tell you that Rome is the true church, all you have to go on finally is your opinion of what the true church is, which is based on your own reading of Scripture and tradition. This is exactly what CTC faults Protestants for. I’m simply not going to grant a principled difference epistemologically between us because Bryan Cross wants me to. If we face the same situation at the point of entry—having to discern by our own faculties the true church based on what best fits our reading of the evidence—I don’t care what is claimed after that point of entry. You all could be in as much of a la-la land as you accuse Protestants of, and you have no way of infallibly knowing that. So don’t tell me you all have something we lack, especially since you are only remaining Roman Catholic because you either have ceased to care about the reasons for your beliefs or because you can make what Rome says fit your opinion discerned based on the evidence.

    The whole CTC apologetic is sound and fury, signifying nothing.

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  27. Susan, also, it’s not that there’s a rule. But style says hide your sources better, and you’ll score some time off OLTS purgatory (which us two or more links, we publish our rules in our circles, no secret decoder ring necessary).

    CtC has a page to explain html, you know..

    Anywat, to the substance of your point to me, we all steal from the best, so you get no points for that. Even Jesus knew to quote Scripture to the devil. But when trying to be tricked, he shut up and turned it on the religious leaders (think of By What Authority by Paul Tillich, I can link in a follow up if you like).

    Smart guy, that Jesus. I’ll stick with him over people who have too much time on their hands and write theology blog posts. Time’s ticking, we must be good stewards. Yo.

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  28. Susan, the moderation announcement has happened for me when I’ve attached links to my statements, which is fully understood.

    I’ve had a few comments edited out as if they never existed on here, I can understand why this occurred and have no complaints with The Man.

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  29. Robert,

    Its not my argument goof ball! Its an encyclopedia of Christianity published by Oxford University. The reason there are over 200+ RC denominations is because the Encyclopedia lists a different denomination for every country that particular church appears in. So for example there are over 8,000 prot “denominations” in America but only one Catholic “denomination”. All the other 234 “denominations” are also in union with the Bishop of Rome, submit themselves to the authority of scripture (with the correct number of books) and Sacred Tradition. They are Catholic. (Old Catholics are not in union with the Bishop of Rome and so can not be accurately called a Roman Catholic “denomination” any more than the sedevecantis can.) Now you may disagree with Barrets quasi fuzzy definition of “denomination” and that’s fine. But he uses a legitimate method to arrive at the number. Lets just limit our own definition of protestant to a body that subscribes to sola fide, sola scriptura, and has 66 books in its bible. You really think the number will be lower than 8,000? isnt 8,000 just as terrible?!? lol

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  30. If you define a single denomination as one that is communion (i.e. we accept one another’s sacraments), then number of protestant denominations shrinks to a handful. As far as I can tell, one can transfer one’s membership among the paedobaptist protestant denominations seamlessly and take communion at more or less any protestant church (setting aside the landmark types). If one were baptized as a believer, one is essentially in full communion with all protestant churches – one can move seamlessly from an evangelical free church to a PCA to an SBC to an Assembly of God. If you are out of town one Sunday you can go into any one of these and sing songs you know and follow rhythms you are familiar with. It is hard to see how these groups are more different from the group who goes to mass at the Church on the edge of campus with the edgy progressive priest versus the more staid service in the Basilica on campus to the more charismatic/P&W-hands-in-the-air mass at the student center.

    As far as protestant bodies that hold to sola fide and sola scriptura, you’ve ruled out the methodists (and their three legged stool),Episcopalians, modernists, the charismatics, and the arminians (just to get started). If you through in the other solas you lose those with heretical Christologies that were counted in his list. Why should independent evangelical churches that have identical statements of faith be counted as different denominations?

    But I’ll ask again. If a pope/magisterium is so important for keeping splinter groups down, why is it that Islam has so few “denominations”?

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  31. The RC argument that Protestantism is invalid because of its many denominations not only begs the question, but is also absurd. Why is the argument absurd? Because there is widespread freedom of religion. Anyone can start a denomination and call it a Christian church. Certainly no RC could expect a good OPC member to applaud the existence of Unitarians, oneness Pentecostals and the like.

    Furthermore, the multiplicity of denominations is also an indication of how seriously some Protestants take church discipline. There are times when separation is necessary for the sake of the gospel.

    For those of us who are not convinced that RC is the exclusive true church (much less those of us who believe it is a false church), pointing to the number of denominations is not persuasive. Protestants do not believe that all denominations are bad and we are certainly not in a position, any more than are RCs, to control the number of denominations. RCs just like to control the terms of the debate by calling anything claiming to be a church that is not RC a Protestant denomination and then asking the Protestant to defend all 33,000 of them.

    For those who might be tempted to use this argument, please note that “It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing.” Don’t be an idiot — with apologies to the Bard.

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  32. Robert,

    “Since you have no principled distinction to tell you that Rome is the true church, all you have to go on finally is your opinion of what the true church is, which is based on your own reading of Scripture and tradition.”

    No one has claimed one does not use private judgment in submitting to something. The difference is the object one is submitting to. So why you still fault CtC for this is beyond me. There’s a difference, as you readily admit (“Rome makes such audacious claims”).

    “I don’t care what is claimed after that point of entry.”

    That’s the whole point. That’s what criticisms of “private judgment” point to. Men in the NT used private judgment (in the sense you use it) when submitting to Christ and the Apostles. They didn’t use private judgment after that to constantly evaluate their teachings after such assent was given. As Newman said:
    “Men were told to submit their reason to a living authority. Moreover, whatever an Apostle said, his converts were bound to believe; when they entered the Church, they entered it in order to learn. The Church was their teacher; they did not come to argue, to examine, to pick and choose, but to accept whatever was put before them…Immediate, implicit submission of the mind was, in the lifetime of the Apostles, the only, the necessary token of faith; then there was no room whatever for what is now called private judgement…In the Apostles’ days the peculiarity of faith was submission to a living authority; that is what made it so distinctive; this is what made it an act of submission at all; this is what destroyed private judgement in matters of religion.”

    “So don’t tell me you all have something we lack”

    You freely admit you lack it. I don’t know why you’re mad about it.

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  33. “That’s the whole point. That’s what criticisms of “private judgment” point to. Men in the NT used private judgment (in the sense you use it) when submitting to Christ and the Apostles. They didn’t use private judgment after that to constantly evaluate their teachings after such assent was given. As Newman said:………………….”

    Gal 1:8

    “6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 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. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.”

    Me: We could also talk about this supposed humility/sincerity/apostolic-superiority of implicit faith. But it so poorly represents the imago dei responsibility of Rom 2, or the gospel narratives impugning the pharisaical ecclesiastical authority, as authority, and has no grounding in the epistles as juxtaposed to the ‘message’ delivered that most RC trads know to beg off the enterprise before it starts. The fidelity of the message delivered supercedes even original/only apostolic ‘living’ authority. IOW, implicit faith is a false piety. Tracking very closely to a ‘form of godliness, but denying the power’.

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  34. Hello Mad,
    “The RC argument that Protestantism is invalid because of its many denominations not only begs the question, but is also absurd”

    The RCC argument is that because there are so many denominations there is not a visible place where a person can look and say, to quote J. Stellman, “Look! There is the church, right there”. Many denominations as a phenomenon isn’t going away, because there will always be dissenters, but as a authority that knows without a doubt what is orthodoxy, it’s impotent. It just doesn’t have a way to deliver what is needed so that folks know what is and isn’t Christian teaching.

    “Furthermore, the multiplicity of denominations is also an indication of how seriously some Protestants take church discipline. There are times when separation is necessary for the sake of the gospel.”

    In the first place there has to be a church with authority from God for their to be discipline. If everybody says that their church possesses that authority( and they all do, per scripture) how does the one being disciplined prove his case if he is in fact not guilty of heresy? If he can just leave and find another group who happens to agree with his interpretation then how is the truth ever found?
    I don’t think you appreciate the seriousness of your dilemma.

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  35. Sean,

    Why do you submit to Gal 1:8’s injunction if it came from an Apostle that could be preaching wrong?

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  36. Susan
    Posted January 15, 2014 at 7:27 pm | Permalink
    Hello Mad,
    “The RC argument that Protestantism is invalid because of its many denominations not only begs the question, but is also absurd”

    The RCC argument is that because there are so many denominations there is not a visible place where a person can look and say, to quote J. Stellman, “Look! There is the church, right there”. Many denominations as a phenomenon isn’t going away, because there will always be dissenters, but as a authority that knows without a doubt what is orthodoxy, it’s impotent. It just doesn’t have a way to deliver what is needed so that folks know what is and isn’t Christian teaching.

    “Furthermore, the multiplicity of denominations is also an indication of how seriously some Protestants take church discipline. There are times when separation is necessary for the sake of the gospel.”

    In the first place there has to be a church with authority from God for their to be discipline. If everybody says that their church possesses that authority( and they all do, per scripture) how does the one being disciplined prove his case if he is in fact not guilty of heresy? If he can just leave and find another group who happens to agree with his interpretation then how is the truth ever found?
    I don’t think you appreciate the seriousness of your dilemma.

    Pretty much so. Who gets to throw who out of the church is a question of ecclesiastical politics, not theology. Or math.

    Your pal “CD-HOST:

    “…Machen spent a lifetime promoting the intolerance that this blog has frequently attacked. Had Machen’s plan for requiring the statement of faith be interpreted to his standards, that is the removal of all liberal preachers from the church, the PCUSA would have had to carry something on the order a ten minister excommunications per day every day for over ten years. And what about the membership that would have refused to honor these excommunications? Then we are up to 1000 excommunications per day, a level of purging that would have required a state apparatus, and since none would have been forthcoming a failure. There wouldn’t be a PCUSA if Machen had won, the debate with Machen leaving the PCUSA ended the only way it could have with a strong vote for tolerance, a virtue this blog supports. Moreover Machan wasn’t excommunicated he resigned after being suspended from ministry. To compound things further in Machen’s case I believe he was guilty of what he was tried for.

    So the natural question is, why did he make the list of invalid excommunications? His trial was seen as farce of justice and the charges themselves were and still are even questioned. Even the opponents of Machen were offended. That is a valid excommunication carried out, without broad support can undermine the sense of justice required for church discipline to be effective. What is important about the Machen case is it shows how a failure in process, even when the defendant was guilty can do incredible harm. The mainstream denominations never recovered from the damage that the trial of Machen did them. All feeling that there was a prohibition against schism were obliterated in America of 1937 during the Machen trial. What had been conflict and tension before Machen’s trial became open warfare.

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  37. Cletus,

    I’m not mad. My point is that you are doing nothing other than what a thinking Protestant does. None of us here walks around wondering if the Trinity is a true teaching. If for some reason any of us come to the conclusion that what our church is teaching is not true, we’ll leave. But the truth of our church’s teaching isn’t dependent on our consent.

    You do EXACTLY the same thing if you put any thought into the matter. If you ever came to the conclusion that Rome was not the church Jesus founded, you’d leave. You are as much the final authority for yourself as any Protestant. And if you deny any of this, then that really means you have checked Rome’s claim at the door.

    The whole point about you submitting to an institution of a different character than Protestants is irrelevant if one cannot know your institution is true in an infallible way. This is why the rampant skepticism we see from folks like you who embrace this apologetic logically ends in a denial that one can know anything. And what is never addressed is this assumption that God certainly never would let things operate without an infallible church is simply that-an assumption that nobody ever tries to prove.

    Meanwhile we get thousands of words from the CTC gang telling us that based on Roman presuppositions, Protestantism is lacking. Big whoop. Remember, you can only critique a system based on its own criteria, right? Give us all a break.

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  38. Andrew,

    Sean said “The fidelity of the message delivered supercedes even original/only apostolic ‘living’ authority.”

    He gathered that by submitting to Gal 1:8 which he interprets to mean he should examine authority, even apostolic authority, even though Gal 1:8 came via that same authority.

    Secondly, I don’t know he interprets Gal 1:8 to mean people should use their judgment that might even supercede original apostolic living authority. Paul says:
    “As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.”

    Where did they receive the gospel from? People with Apostolic authority.

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  39. Cletus,

    One more thing. We don’t need the church to be infallible because we put our faith in the person of Christ, not the church. That’s one of the reasons we do a much better job of kicking the heretics to the curb and, you know, protecting our innocents from lecherous clergy.

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  40. Cletus,

    If Paul calls us to discern the truth of his teaching by our own interpretation of what has already been given, how much more his “successors”?

    But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!

    Read what Paul actually said, it might do you some good.

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  41. Robert,

    “None of us here walks around wondering if the Trinity is a true teaching.”

    Sure – opinions can be right. Never said otherwise. But none of your confessions or churches makes any steps to claim they issue infallible interpretations/authority in defining it – so it’s all just professed plausible opinion. Hence the difference and Rome’s “audacious claims”.

    “But the truth of our church’s teaching isn’t dependent on our consent.”

    If you thought a church’s teaching was true, you’d submit to it or hold it as valid.

    “If you ever came to the conclusion that Rome was not the church Jesus founded, you’d leave.”

    I sure would. That doesn’t mean what I submit to (whether Rome, EOxy, Crazy Dave on the street) has the same type of claim as what I submit to in Protestantism, which is everyone’s point when it comes to private judgment criticism.

    “The whole point about you submitting to an institution of a different character than Protestants is irrelevant if one cannot know your institution is true in an infallible way.”

    So if you were in a debate with Jesus right now, you would be challenging him based on your private judgment? Of course you wouldn’t – you’d simply ask clarifying questions and that’s it, but you’d still be fallible. You would be submitting to a different type of authority and claims than some guy just giving his self-proclaimed opinion about what Scripture teaches.

    “This is why the rampant skepticism we see from folks like you who embrace this apologetic logically ends in a denial that one can know anything”

    I already posted citations from Vat1 and the catechism to Darryl showing how RCism claims natural reason/revelation can lead to some truths/knowledge.

    Like

  42. Robert,

    “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!”

    Uh yeah he says “the one we preached to you”. It wasn’t beamed into their heads. Why were people to accept what they preached in the first place?

    Like

  43. I would think that every time any believer reiterates the reasons he or she chose a certain tradition that’s private judgement reassessing the original thought and actions. If the word judgement seems too strong or harsh, then discernment but unless you’re an automaton or you have a mind-drip with Popes as far ranging as Pius V and Francis I, every time you re-write your reasons why you’re using private or singular or personal judgement. The Apostles did it all the time after they accepted Christ as the Messiah: “What do you want to talk to her for, she’s Sypro-phoenican, isn’t she?”

    The private judgement argument is terribly cheap maybe that’s why it’s used so often but I think that’s not what convinces most people to move to RCism. And it’s not necessarily a rational move either. It’s a mystical/spiritual movement wrought by the RC/EO understanding of the Eucharist.

    Lennie Bruce said the the reason RC had what he called the “franchise” was because they had churches that weren’t like a congregant’s living room. He put it in vulgar terms but if there were a movement in Protestantism to build beautiful churches, to faithfully use wine at the Lord’s Supper (I mean en masse) you’d see a movement back in time probably. Biblical inerrancy presses down upon a people in that it restricts imagination. I guess it has to be that way, really, if you’re going to have an anchor.

    Once a protestant moves to roman catholicism, should his faith in the organization fail, the likelihood that he’ll move to agnosticism is probably around 98%. RCism allows you to relax in the faith in some ways Protism just won’t or can’t. I’m not sure whether that’s good or bad. I suspect bad because it allows what the Grand Inquisitor describes: “We don’t need you anymore; explaining who You are has become too difficult!” “Leave and don’t come back.”

    People think losing your faith is easy but it’s not. It’s painful and before you ever dream you might lose it you can never imagine the tears you’ll shed on account of it.

    Like

  44. CVD, it’s not a syllogism. We both agree to Paul’s apostolic authority. Paul places the content of the message above his office and then gives apostolic instruction that fealty to the message delivered trumps apostolic authority, even angelic authority, which brings into serious question, visions and messages from our lady of fatima for example. So, unless you’re willing to accuse Paul of an illogical/impossible/inconsistent construction or ‘skepticism’ you need to rethink your tact.

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  45. And you’d think people would be eager to talk of Eucharistic draw or empowerment or however it’s best termed but historically (and I think across the board) there’s so much that can’t be well defined or described that most lay people are going to hear themselves talking in hocus-pocus terms and they rethink their argument.

    Like

  46. kent
    Posted January 15, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Permalink
    “I disagree. The number 33,000 is absolutely accurate. People just don’t understand the scholarship
    behind the publication and their criticisms are largely off base. ”

    Pulling it out of their behind doesn’t count for scholarship.

    The article was correct. Even if true, the “33,000 argument” is going to met with this sort of thing, so don’t bother.

    Like

  47. Sean,

    “which brings into serious question, visions and messages from our lady of fatima for example.”

    You’re aware RCism condemns many more visions than approved right?

    I’m saying what Paul says is no different than Rome saying “If any bishop/pope preaches againt infallible doctrine X, he’s wrong” etc. It may surprise you, but bishops can err in RCism – they aren’t infallible all the time just based on their authority. Paul’s warning in Gal was not free license to continually use private judgment a la Protestantism – I’m saying your interpretation is what forces it into a self-defeating illogical proposition. Further, it reduces the Apostles to having no infallible authority whatsoever.

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  48. St. Paul’s authority eclipsed that of St Peter’s. St. Peter said that we ought to be careful with the Doctrine(s) of St Paul because they were hard to understand.

    Tom Wolfe says the three people most historically significant are Jesus, Calvin and Freud.

    It’s arguable that St. Paul triumphs even over Jesus so having to work out what is true is no measure of illegitimacy. I don’t imagine Barth’s very popular here but his advice in times of trouble was return to the Scriptures. To pretend that legitimacy or absolute knowledge of the truth can be assured by a mother church, clouded by the mists of history and which speaks of itself, by itself (like gravity birthing gravity) doesn’t seem tenable to me. And I think the Vatican II participants probably understood that.

    Like

  49. You misunderstand. Ponyboy’s great, Ponyboy’s real. Stay gold, AB.

    As for the game that’s being played hereabouts, I don’t think you’ve figured it out yet. There are all sorts of tricks and all sorts of trades. The problem with polemicists is they need a wall to push against. Without one, they fall. There’s a reason your visitors are attacked, not seduced.

    Like

  50. CVD, because Rome claims it’s infallible, doesn’t mean it is so. We have obligation to original apostolic authority and inscripturated tradition, to verify(Gal.1:8). You assume apostolic succession, we deny. I’m not the one presenting the scenario, Paul is, and it only creates a syllogistic conundrum if I presume sola ecclesia. I don’t. I presume sola scriptura. Your dilemma is not mine. My premise places infallibility in divine revelation and bounds apostolic authority correspondingly, just like Paul does in Gal. 1:8. His authority is subject to supernatural revelation previously revealed, and so are the angels.

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  51. That’s fine, but you misunderstand. Stick with Christ. I’ll stab you in the back when you aren’t looking.

    We’re strangers on the internet. Go to church, please.

    Tom, that’s the Atheist’s problem, not so for Christians.

    Who are you?

    Like

  52. Andrew Buckingham
    Posted January 15, 2014 at 9:09 pm | Permalink
    That’s fine, but you misunderstand. Stick with Christ. I’ll stab you in the back when you aren’t looking.

    We’re strangers on the internet. Go to church, please.

    Tom, that’s the Atheist’s problem, not so for Christians.

    Who are you?

    I’m not anybody’s wall, that’s who. It’s been interesting lately, watching the polemicists hereabouts get exposed when they get pushback. They’re so used to attacking, they had little idea how weak their own position is.

    Like

  53. But Tom, are there any dings against The Dude. You know who I mean. We aren’t talking to anyone else, here. Remember?

    As far as I fan tell, no one has laid even a finger..

    I’m willing to be corrected here. Yo.

    Like

  54. sean,

    “because Rome claims it’s infallible, doesn’t mean it is so.”

    True, Crazy Dave can claim it as well.

    “We have obligation to original apostolic authority and inscripturated tradition, to verify(Gal.1:8).”

    Rome claims her doctrines are consistent with scripture and Tradition. You presuppose they violate according to Gal 1:8 instructions.

    “I’m not the one presenting the scenario, Paul is, and it only creates a syllogistic conundrum if I presume sola ecclesia. I don’t. I presume sola scriptura. Your dilemma is not mine.”

    Where did I present sola-scriptura/tradition/magisterium triad (not ecclesia) when discussing your interpretation’s conundrum? I didn’t. I’m saying your interpretation results in the conundrum (the self-defeating nature of it as well as negating infallible apostolic authority of any sort during the time of revelation), whereas my interpretation does not, and is also consistent with Rome’s claims.

    “My premise places infallibility in divine revelation and bounds apostolic authority correspondingly, just like Paul does in Gal. 1:8.”

    Your premise (sola scriptura) does not identify “divine revelation” for you to place infallibility in.

    “His authority is subject to supernatural revelation previously revealed, and so are the angels.”

    And so is Rome’s by her own claims.

    Like

  55. Susan, I do think that Rome appeals to American Protestants who know the mainline is no longer a factor. But I’m not sure switching from one Corinthian church to another Corinthian church is the solution.

    Thanks for the links.

    Like

  56. jame vd, well, if Roman Catholics don’t think, if they pay, pray, and obey, there goes that glorious intellectual tradition some apologists talk about.

    Face it, you’re in a pickle.

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  57. CVD, my position isn’t solo scriptura, so ‘my’ interpretation doesn’t suffer the dilemma you need for it to. You have to reconcile to the text and both the explicit and implicit subjugation of authority Paul subjects his own office to and even angelic utterance. Divine revelation has apostolic imprimatur. Canonicity when not considered from the primacy of being instrinsic to covenant administration, which is a first order consideration replete with apostolic office and inscripturation, is a matter of reception by the cultic community not establishment by it. Recognition does not grant authority, it affirms it or recognizes it. The revelation is self-attesting to it’s divine, infallible authority(2 tim 3:16, 2 peter 1:17-21). It doesn’t require cultic(churchly) reception to be divine and thus infallible. Though it is good and right for the church to receive it and recognize it as such in it’s(church’s) subjugated but no less real authority.

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  58. james vd, Why do you submit to a pope’s teaching if his teaching could be wrong? Oh, you mean, they’re never wrong? Oh wait. It’s not that they’re never wrong. It’s just that they are sometimes infallible. How do I know? The pope tells me when he’s infallible.

    Brilliant.

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  59. Cletus,

    Wait, so you’re telling me that Rome makes different claims than Protestants? Duh.

    The issue at the end of the day is whether those claims are true. The apologetic is all just hand-waving, as if the claim to infallibility automatically makes one a more secure way of knowing divine truth. If Rome is automatically superior to Protestantism because it claims infallibility for some things, Crazy Dave is better than Rome because He claims that every utterance he’s ever made in writing and in speech is infallible. He provides much more epistemological warrant because he doesn’t limit his infallibility.

    Make all the claims you want but don’t worry about if there true or not. In fact, when we judge Rome by its own standards it must be true. That’s not viciously circular, nope. That’s sure evidence of critical thinking on your part.

    Be consistent. If a system is to be judged only by its own standards, drop the argument. By our own standards we don’t need an infallible church to have certainty of divine truth. We’re all okay over here.

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  60. Darryl,

    “if Roman Catholics don’t think”

    Sure they think. That’s why theologians are an aide in developing doctrine. They don’t just all sit around hooked up to the RomeBot2000 network.

    “james vd, Quaker Oats claims their oatmeal will change my life. Trader Joe’s doesn’t. Which one do you believe?”

    I might look at scientific health data/studies. Whaaa? I use private judgment in determining Rome’s claims to authority over Crazy Dave’s authority? Of course I do.

    Sean,

    “CVD, my position isn’t solo scriptura, so ‘my’ interpretation doesn’t suffer the dilemma you need for it to.”

    Why do you put ‘my’ in quotes? You don’t interpret Scripture?
    And why isn’t it solo? Because you subscribe to a confession you agree comports with your interpretation of Scripture and has authority insofar as it adheres to that interpretation of Scripture? And are part of a community who all agree on interpretation?

    “You have to reconcile to the text and both the explicit and implicit subjugation of authority Paul subjects his own office to and even angelic utterance.”

    Magisterium is servant of Scripture and Tradition, not overlord. Dei Verbum. Reconciled.

    “Recognition does not grant authority, it affirms it or recognizes it.”

    RCism agrees its recognition of the canon did not confer divine authority to it.

    “The revelation is self-attesting to it’s divine, infallible authority(2 tim 3:16, 2 peter 1:17-21)”

    Those are passages specific to the books – such a scheme would have to work for each book in the canon. Further, non-canonical books claimed authority as well. Now you are going to claim “convenant community administration”. But that community got books wrong in your view for 4 centuries with the NT, and that same post-apostolic covenant community messed up with the OT in your view.

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  61. Cletus van Damme,

    Any argument you can make, we protestants can turn around on you. Don’t believe me? Trying following Mark Hausam here, I even got in a word edgewise (amazing, because other times when I’ve tried, I get a deep six, without even an e-mail to explain why. And Bryan and I have actually e-mailed each other a lot, as have I with JJS, TF, GB, to name but a few.

    I see the game being played out here, and it’s a joke. I get your angle, and it doesn’t work. Check out Zrim’s latest on the Hell thread. It’s golden. I don’t see you stringing together cogent RC arguments. But protestants may be enjoying the target practice here, like I am.

    We’re all serving someone’s ends. Make sure you are on the right side. Yo.

    Peace.

    Like

  62. Robert,

    “The issue at the end of the day is whether those claims are true. ”

    If the claims were true, do they offer a more secure way of knowing divine truth over Protestantism (if Protestantism was true) or not?

    “Crazy Dave is better than Rome because He claims that every utterance he’s ever made in writing and in speech is infallible. He provides much more epistemological warrant because he doesn’t limit his infallibility.”

    I like this Crazy Dave guy. What else does he claim about himself? I’d have to look into evidences for his credibility, just like I did with Quaker Oats and Trader Joes.

    “By our own standards we don’t need an infallible church to have certainty of divine truth.”

    Certainty? Haven’t you seen what Darryl’s been saying – No certainty for you (and the confessions agree with him). That’s part of Rome’s “audacious claims”.

    How can you propose articles of faith without infallibility? Should I put faith in something that someone claims to be an opinion?

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  63. Cletus van Damme,

    Better yet, give me your best elevator pitch. Now.

    If you are like me, you don’t like wasting time. You don’t want to be comboxing forever at OLTS. Let’s cut right to the chase. What do you want to do/know, and let’s talk it out. I’m serious. This stuff gets old, and unless you are serious about understanding us more, or have pertinent questions, it’s not worth the effort. You need to take care of yourself. Yo.

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  64. The dilemma of knowing what it is that Rome teaches is in maybe small measure demonstrated by Pius V’s mandate of the Tridentine in perpetuity then nullified by Paul VI new mass. It would be considered variable discipline but the way we prayed is the way we believed and that changed. Pius V didn’t have the authority to bind another Pope to the Tridentine but discipline has a way overtime of becoming teaching no matter how easy it may seem to an authority figure to dismiss the jolt to the faithful as just a matter of discipline.

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  65. CVD, it’s not solo because I’m not interpreting in a vacuum, apart from the church and tradition. The only way it’s solo is if RC(particular) implicit faith is necessary. We deny and further charge RC with substituting it’s own piety(implicit faith) for imago dei responsibility and Holy Spirit illumination of perspicuous divine revelation, which effectively/practically displaces the authority of God in Christ as head of His church and assign it to themselves.

    Just as an aside, there’s no way to limit ‘all scripture’ in 2 Tim, particularly as it’s descriptive of his familiarity with the sacred writings from his youth, nor the self-attesting proclamation of Peter that NO prophecy comes from someone’s own interpretation nor ever produced by the will of man, inclusive of Torah inscripturation, to just the letters in which they are contained. The context simply argues against such a reductionist and simplistic conclusion and is a denial of the supernatural, perspicuous(all scripture profitable…that the man of God may be complete) and infallible character of scripture.

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  66. Cletus,

    Magisterium is servant of Scripture and Tradition, not overlord. Dei Verbum. Reconciled.

    Magisterium defines Scripture and Tradition and anything it says isn’t Scripture or Tradition isn’t Scripture or Tradition. No check exists on Magisterium. Magisterium is actually lord of Scripture and Tradition.

    If the claims were true, do they offer a more secure way of knowing divine truth over Protestantism (if Protestantism was true) or not?

    No. Rome’s way of finally knowing divine truth must be self-attesting no less than in Protestantism.

    Certainty? Haven’t you seen what Darryl’s been saying – No certainty for you (and the confessions agree with him). That’s part of Rome’s “audacious claims”.

    Um, the only thing I being denied is infallible certainty.

    Should I put faith in something that someone claims to be an opinion?

    So without infallibility, all is mere opinion? What is your opinion on 2+2?

    I like this Crazy Dave guy. What else does he claim about himself? I’d have to look into evidences for his credibility, just like I did with Quaker Oats and Trader Joes

    Wait, you said Protestantism is out of the running because it doesn’t claim infallibility for anything. Any group or person that claims infallibility for just one doctrine is automatically worth considering and Protestantism must be rejected, as you have essentially said elsewhere.

    In comparison to other claims of infallibility, Rome’s are rather meager. To consistently apply your line of thinking, that means we must discard Rome in favor of only those authorities that claim infallibility for everything. I mean, if a claim of only a handful of teachings are infallible, how much more worthy of consideration are those who claim all teachings are infallible.

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  67. Hello Olivia( lovely name btw)

    By some of your comments it sounds to me that you might be a former Catholic. It was something you said on another thread some time ago and so I don’t think I can exactly pinpoint it. I don’t know,maybe it’s just your ease in mentioning a Pope, any Pope. Before I was Catholic I wouldn’t have dreamed of reading an encylclical( actually didn’t know they existed). I only happened to read something by B16 because my former Reformed congregation had an adult Sunday School teacher who was raised Catholic and casually mentioned admiring the strong intellectual leanings of B16 being that he, as an 5 pt Calvinist apologist, believed in loving God with all of our mind. He put the seal of approval on it and off I went!
    You see, I am a newbie Catholic and whenever any Protestant shows they are familiar with the faith that I am falling in love with, I find them intriguing, even if they disagree. Anyways, pleased to meet you.

    I’d like to address something you said:

    “I would think that every time any believer reiterates the reasons he or she chose a certain tradition that’s private judgement reassessing the original thought and actions. If the word judgement seems too strong or harsh, then discernment but unless you’re an automaton or you have a mind-drip with Popes as far ranging as Pius V and Francis I, every time you re-write your reasons why you’re using private or singular or personal judgement.”

    Actually the Roman Catholic Church doesn’t claim to be a choice amoung equally possible choices, and so I don’t see that I chose it as if I only excercised my private opinion and chose a new denomination. Once I established that my senses weren’t failing me and that it was reasonable to believe in God, I had faith that the scriptures were true and that Jesus did found a particular church.( actually new it all along, just didn’t know it was the RCC)
    Everytime I reiterate my discerning that the RCC is whom she says she is when I write or speak, I don’t gain force of conviction. I am absolutely sure she is who she claims to be. The motives of crediblity do play over in my head and lend support if and when I have cognative dissonance seeing that I live in a very Protestant country and comment on this blog where “the faith” is chewed up.
    http://www.hebrewcatholic.net/12-07-motives-of-credibility-for-faith/

    Best!
    Susan

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  68. Susan,

    Stellman’s point is not very convincing. There have always been alternatives to Rome. If you say that the institution defines the church, then there are the issues such as the schism with the Eastern Church, three simultaneous popes, and scant biblical evidence. .

    But in any case, Protestants don’t find RC arguments regarding institutional continuity persuasive. After all, why does Stellman think that the answer to his question must be Rome and not Constantinople or Canterbury?

    Protestants would assert that the answer to the question of where the church is lies in doctrine (eg, Word, sacrament, and discipline). And certainly Rome cannot completely disagree with this point, for it has taken pains at times to cut off those whose doctrine Rome did not like. Take Jansenism, for example, which identified as RC and yet was condemned in Unigenitus.

    Regarding your concerns about church discipline, the problem was created by Rome in the first place. The Reformation began as an in-house attempt to correct doctrinal errors and the establishment put the Reformers out on pain of death. And now Rome wrings its hands because people are going around creating churches left and right?

    Besides, the problem of heretics or those in error creating their own churches is not one easily remedied in a society that allows freedom of religion. Do you really want to force people to not be allowed to form a church based on their own (mistaken) beliefs? Or do you simply look past theological errors so long as the institution is not compromised?

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  69. Sean,

    “it’s not solo because I’m not interpreting in a vacuum, apart from the church and tradition.”

    You mean the church and tradition that agrees with your interpretation of Scripture. If only Scripture is infallible, “church and tradition” are authoritative insofar as they conform to Scripture (i.e. your interpretation). You do interpret apart from the Roman church and tradition, and the Lutheran church and tradition, and so on.

    “Just as an aside, there’s no way to limit ‘all scripture’ in 2 Tim,”

    Correct – I misspoke here. Because it says “all scripture” does not identify what “all scripture” actually is and not every book in your canon claims self-attestation. Here you go to covenant community which I already remarked on.

    “ll scripture profitable…that the man of God may be complete”

    Are you arguing that SS was operative when Paul wrote that? If not, how could he have meant it?

    ****************************

    Robert,

    “Magisterium defines Scripture and Tradition and anything it says isn’t Scripture or Tradition isn’t Scripture or Tradition. No check exists on Magisterium. Magisterium is actually lord of Scripture and Tradition.”

    Right. So it should’ve just removed books that contradicted its teaching from the canon right? I mean it’s lord over it. It can also say Nicaea never happened, or that it really endorsed Arianism instead of condemning it. Tomorrow I guess it can just say Christ wasn’t real and Mary is eternal. Give up the tired sola ecclesia charge already.

    “No. Rome’s way of finally knowing divine truth must be self-attesting no less than in Protestantism.”

    So you are saying if a body that claims to be divinely authorized to be able to define infallible articles of faith is true, it does not offer a more secure way of knowing divine truth over a body – that we can assume is also true for comparison – that claims to not be able to do that but can define reformable plausible opinion?
    So did the Apostles and Christ who claimed divine authority/infallible teaching not offer a more secure way of knowing divine truth over a random Jew who did not claim such divine authority and offered self-proclaimed opinions?

    “Um, the only thing I being denied is infallible certainty.”

    Is divinely revealed doctrine infallible or not?

    “So without infallibility, all is mere opinion? What is your opinion on 2+2?”

    This again. Natural revelation is not identical to supernatural revelation. You can deny Rome’s claims and hold this – so instead of plausible opinion, it’s all just knowledge – but then you face the issue of reducing divine revelation to a science textbook or a geometric proof so that people who do not grasp divine revelation are just insufficiently informed like someone who doesn’t understand or accept the Pythagorean theorem. That eviscerates any notion of faith.

    “Wait, you said Protestantism is out of the running because it doesn’t claim infallibility for anything. Any group or person that claims infallibility for just one doctrine is automatically worth considering and Protestantism must be rejected, as you have essentially said elsewhere.”

    Correct.

    “In comparison to other claims of infallibility, Rome’s are rather meager. To consistently apply your line of thinking, that means we must discard Rome in favor of only those authorities that claim infallibility for everything. I mean, if a claim of only a handful of teachings are infallible, how much more worthy of consideration are those who claim all teachings are infallible.”

    Incorrect. Rome’s claims of infallibility yields the same type of truth as Crazy Dave’s. Crazy Dave just yields more – it’s a difference of degree, not kind. The issue between Protestantism and RCism/CD is of kind.

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  70. Andrew Buckingham
    Posted January 15, 2014 at 9:33 pm | Permalink
    But Tom, are there any dings against The Dude. You know who I mean. We aren’t talking to anyone else, here. Remember?

    As far as I fan tell, no one has laid even a finger..

    I’m willing to be corrected here. Yo.

    Dude, I’m The Dude, ask anyone who knows me. What happened to my picture, anyway?

    It took me all day to figure out who you meant here, but The Great and Powerful Oz spends most of his time hiding behind a curtain, appearing only as a fearsome but ultimately gaseous visage. And at the end, he sails off in a balloon, leaving his minions and citizenry going WTF.

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  71. Ah, there’s my picture/avatar. Philosodude, at my old blog. FTR, I have to enter my homeblog URL for it to come up here.

    But I’ve only been linking to my homeblog, American Creation, when I’m straightening out Dr. Hart on his errors about history, not on his errors about Catholicism, evangelicalism, or the Religious Right.

    Hi, Darryl. ;-P

    [I don’t talk behind your back. Not my style, ding ding.]

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  72. Incorrigible knuckleheads are dealt with in other ways…

    Kent treasonously blurts the truth out at last.
    Well, some of it. There is a bounty placed on the head of drones, clones and papists who don’t have a clue, wear funny hats/haircuts and have zip for a sense of humor. KnowwhatImean? (Find the target, center the crosshairs and squeeze.)

    As Newman said:

    “Men were told to submit their reason to a living authority.. . .

    Newman is a liar. And because papists don’t know Scripture, he can get away with it.
    The appeal in the NT by Christ and the apostles is to their fulfillment of the OT Scripture.
    The appeal of the papists is to disregard Scripture and harken unto the pope, tradition and the magnificent magisterium. Somehow there isn’t quite the one to one correspondence between the prophets, apostles and the pope, no matter what he or his converts claim, if there isn’t there’s more claim jumping going on than Mark Twain’s famous frog.

    You do EXACTLY the same thing if you put any thought into the matter. If you ever came to the conclusion that Rome was not the church Jesus founded, you’d leave. You are as much the final authority for yourself as any Protestant. And if you deny any of this, then that really means you have checked Rome’s claim at the door.

    Wobert, there you go again thinking like a prot. Weally now. Fideism is as fatuous as it comes. Upon becoming a member, CtC to a man threw away their private judgement. It will never return/the placemarker for it is no more than an atrophied appendix to their soul. A little kindness would be in order therefore in your weplies.

    Where did they receive the gospel from? People with Apostolic authority.

    The missing premise and “blessed” assumption in all the roman propaganda is that the pope and all his minions have apostolic authority.
    IOW Bryome didn’t do his homework. Obviously the Utah apostles have to submit to the Vatican apostles, but he failed to address the Scriptural apostles, which failure is fatal to his popish paradigm presumptions.

    RCism has never claimed equal clarity to all teaching. If that was the case, development and further clarification would be impossible.

    Translation: somebody would be out of a job.
    And if you are standing on a freeway off ramp wearing a funny hat and a robe, it doesn’t make any difference what your cardboard sign says. You really will be homeless and eating out of garbage cans.

    Uh yeah he says “the one we preached to you”. It wasn’t beamed into their heads. Why were people to accept what they preached in the first place?

    Because it was the NT fulfillment of what the OT prophets foretold and prophecied of in the OT.
    Rome? It is the fulfillment of the NT prophecies of antiChrist, who sits in the church of God and claims to be God. 2 Thess. 2:4.

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  73. Here you go again CVD, arguing against perspicuity by denying anything but personal interpretation, which is hardly that if confirmed within a tradition and suitable to imago dei responsibility accountable to God no less as revealed in the scriptures, as if somehow you escaped the fray by clinging to a group who says they have something more than personal interpretation both as a collective and sole extraordinary charism, when you break the glass and pull the lever. And you interpret or worse acquiesce, by means of implicit faith at the very least, apart from the reformation to include lutheran, EO and even anabaptist tradition because Rome says so. Oh ok. The charge of eclipsing Christ’s sole authority of the church is confirmed.

    No, you’re wrong. I don’t go to cultic community first. I go to apostolic signature, and the community receives as such. You have to establish apostolic authority much less succession not assume it.

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  74. RCism allows you to relax in the faith in some ways Protism just won’t or can’t.

    Just in case you thought things were getting too wild around here, somebody shows up to smother a thousand little free spirited prot votive candles. You will not get to let your light shine unhindered. Now that we got that straight, Igor might let the straps for the straitjacket off a few notches, but don’t get any big ideas.

    And you’d think people would be eager to talk of Eucharistic draw or empowerment or however it’s best termed but historically (and I think across the board) there’s so much that can’t be well defined or described that most lay people are going to hear themselves talking in hocus-pocus terms and they rethink their argument.

    OliviaC, does that mean you are for or against Dostoevsky’s summary of the Roman appeal to “mystery, miracle and authority” ?

    The problem with polemicists is they need a wall to push against. Without one, they fall. There’s a reason your visitors are attacked, not seduced.

    I’m not anybody’s wall, that’s who. It’s been interesting lately, watching the polemicists hereabouts get exposed when they get pushback. They’re so used to attacking, they had little idea how weak their own position is.

    It’s been interesting lately, watching Tom keep complaining and keep posting/polemicizing against polemicism all the while buying into the Roman fideism. IOW it really is possible to hold two contrary positions in one mind and papists aren’t the only example.

    Your premise (sola scriptura) does not identify “divine revelation” for you to place infallibility in.

    DVC, you can start with the prophets and the apostles. A pope is neither.

    “His authority is subject to supernatural revelation previously revealed, and so are the angels.”

    And so is Rome’s by her own claims.

    Contra Christ and the apostles, who often enough appealed to Scripture to validate their claim to authority.
    Now if the pope rose from the dead, or was an handchosen disciple of Christ, we might pay more attention to his fatuities. Until then, nada, your heartfelt protestations and assertions of his holiness’s truthfulness notwithstanding.

    And Crazy Dave is better than Rome because at least he is consistent in his craziness.
    You know, let your yea be yea and your nay, nay.
    As in because the Laodiceans were lukewarm they were going to get spit out.

    And why isn’t it solo? Because you subscribe to a confession you agree comports with your interpretation of Scripture and has authority insofar as it adheres to that interpretation of Scripture? And are part of a community who all agree on interpretation?

    Now the truth comes out. As in a community who communes in the truth is cheating. Versus Rome’s community which doesn’t agree with itself. Yup, that’s what we want. Nominal unity, but in reality, genuine disunity.

    And again, Paul expected the Bereans to agree with his gospel and commended them for examining it – because it could stand examination in light of the Word – while implict – aka ignorant faith – is a pillar of Romanism. If not its foundation. Contra the exhortation to have the mind of Christ. Somehow, doofus and fallible prot that we is, we don’t think a blank slate or a kindergarten mentality qualifies, contra the caliber of the roman propaganda to “just submit”.
    IOW it’s reasonable souls versus rubber stamp drones and clones.
    Guess what?

    cheers

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  75. Thank you, Mad Hungarian.

    “There have always been alternatives to Rome. If you say that the institution defines the church, then there are the issues such as the schism with the Eastern Church, three simultaneous popes, and scant biblical evidence. .”

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I think there have always been groups that think they are the true manifestation of the Christian Church, not as an “alternative” to Rome, but the ones who “really” know what scripture teaches. There can be no alternative to the Church founded by Christ,but you can see that every faith group feels certain of it’s identity as the church that teaches what is true( doesn’t every group have their version of what constitues “the gospel”?).
    I don’t think many protestant faith communities are purposely trying to deceive people and that they do honestly believe their interpretation is the true one,but that there is a huge disparity over what is considered essential, even among mainline Protestants, should give a person reason to question that scripture is actually perspicuous.
    The EO is closer being that it broke away sooner( on the presupposition that there was a founding and a body who believed the same thing that day in the Upper Room) and still believes in the same sacraments, the same Eucharist, has devotion to the Theotokos, and has apostolic succession. Protestants are really the odd man out.

    Yes, I do say that Church is an instituiton. I hardly see that it could be unorganized and still be the locus of orthodoxy.

    “But in any case, Protestants don’t find RC arguments regarding institutional continuity persuasive. After all, why does Stellman think that the answer to his question must be Rome and not Constantinople or Canterbury?”

    I don’t know about Jason, but I still had to ask myself who would be able to adjudicate when a doctrinal stalemate presented itself. If there was no way to determine opinion from infallibly certainty then Jesus just left us a book to fight over. The ability to act in schism in fact, proves that continuity and unity are the ideal, establishishing the notion of a church with authority to bind and loose in the first place.

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  76. Susan

    Actually the Roman Catholic Church doesn’t claim to be a choice among equally possible choices…
    ___________________________
    The Mad Hungarian
    Posted January 15, 2014 at 11:36 pm | Permalink
    Susan,

    Stellman’s point is not very convincing. There have always been alternatives to Rome. If you say that the institution defines the church, then there are the issues such as the schism with the Eastern Church, three simultaneous popes, and scant biblical evidence.

    Again, it’s a formal statement. Susan is saying that the Catholic Church has always offered itself as the One True Church.

    The argument against “Protestantism” is that it was never a “church,” that offered itself as the One True Church that all true Christians should join and follow. [I suppose Luther’s and then Calvin’s did, and Zwingli and whatnot, but they spun out into their own orbits in a hurry.]

    With 2 billion of the 3 billion human beans who call themselves “Christian,” the Catholic Church has survived the challenge of the Eastern Orthodox Schism [1054–a big deal, called the Great Schism] and the Reformation [1517–verrrrrrry big deal].

    (The 3 popes thing [1378-1415] was also called “The Great Schism” but don’t be talking BS. There is no surviving splinter church from the 3 popes thing. There are no traces of that “Great Schism” today, except in anti-Catholic blogs.)

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  77. Are you arguing that SS was operative when Paul wrote that? If not, how could he have meant it?

    The old canard of CDV is getting old.
    The NT does not add or contradict the OT in that the NT is a fulfillment of what the OT foretold. The OT was sufficient for the day and until the NT was written, Paul found it sufficient also even as he preached its fulfillment in Christ.

    This again. Natural revelation is not identical to supernatural revelation. You can deny Rome’s claims and hold this – so instead of plausible opinion, it’s all just knowledge – but then you face the issue of reducing divine revelation to a science textbook or a geometric proof so that people who do not grasp divine revelation are just insufficiently informed like someone who doesn’t understand or accept the Pythagorean theorem. That eviscerates any notion of faith.

    By faith we either receive Scripture or the pope as the ultimate infallible authority.
    But then we expect consistency as part of that infallibility chrism thing.
    Or as per the WCF 1:5 the consent of all of the parts of Scripture.
    Rome, not so much.
    Because she opens the door and appeals to Scripture, nominally.

    It’s one thing to accept three persons in one God because that is what Scripture teaches.
    It is another to accept three infallible authorities because that is not what Scripture teaches.
    IOW Rome is a charter member of the 3M club.
    Contra SS, “the Bible and” is fundamental to the paradigm.
    It is either the Bible and the Magisterium, Muhammed or the Angel Moroni.

    Contra Eph. 2:19, 20 the household of God is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.
    Or Mark 7, Matt. 15 on the traditions of men which make the commandments of God of no effect.
    Or Mary as Co-redeemer.

    The list is endless.
    The excuses likewise.
    The culpability manifest.
    And the damnation both assured and just.

    Rome needs to ditch Scripture in order to have a more self consistent paradigm. But then the gig would be up.

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  78. Sean,

    “arguing against perspicuity by denying anything but personal interpretation, which is hardly that if confirmed within a tradition and suitable to imago dei responsibility ”

    Anything but personal interpretation? Are you claiming you somehow don’t interpret Scripture?
    Did you interpret Scripture that you are to find a tradition suitable to imago dei responsibility, or even what the imago dei means? I don’t know why you chide me for “implicit faith” and then somehow claim you don’t personally interpret Scripture – it sounds like you have “implicit faith” in your tradition the way you’re presenting these points against interpretation.

    Are there other traditions you reject that are suitable to imago dei responsibility and also claim perspicuity? Why do you reject them? Does your community hold to a confession/tradition that claims it is authoritative only insofar as it conforms to Scripture? How do you then determine when it conforms to Scripture? Do you agree with Frame: “And when a confession becomes canonical, the authority of the Bible is threatened, not protected.”?

    “as if somehow you escaped the fray”

    I don’t claim I don’t use private judgment in choosing what body to submit. But you and I both claim my body makes “audacious claims” (infallibility and certainty in articles of faith) whereas yours, and others whose tradition/churches you reject who also hold to Protestant principles, does not make and actively rejects such claims.

    “And you interpret or worse acquiesce, by means of implicit faith at the very least, apart from the reformation to include lutheran, EO and even anabaptist tradition because Rome says so.”

    Do you not reject other churches and traditions based on your interpretation of Scripture? So how is saying you subscribe to church and tradition so it’s not solo mean anything? The confessions have no intrinsic authority of their own – confessionalism doesn’t get you anywhere solo doesn’t – it just masks it. RCism/EOxy and such do get you somewhere else.

    “You have to establish apostolic authority much less succession not assume it.”

    I am not assuming Rome is true. I am assuming divine revelation/articles of faith are infallible truth, not opinion. Is that not a fair assumption in your view?

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  79. Do you not reject other churches and traditions based on your interpretation of Scripture? So how is saying you subscribe to church and tradition so it’s not solo mean anything? The confessions have no intrinsic authority of their own – confessionalism doesn’t get you anywhere solo doesn’t – it just masks it. RCism/EOxy and such do get you somewhere else.

    And words don’t have any meaning, John Doe.
    Scripture is incoherent and likewise your argument.
    What did you say your name was? JVC? XYZ?

    Rather if the confession truly confesses Scripture,(you gotta do the Berean thing at times C, no implicit ignorance chrism), then its authority is real, although derivative.
    It’s not hard to figure out.

    The only way RC/EO gets anybody anywhere is if fideism/ignorant faith is consonant with having the mind of Christ. Somehow, I don’t think a blank slate or a kindergarten mentality is what is called for. We weren’t given a Bible just so we could carry it around like the host and the statue of Mary in an ecclesiastical procession along with an smoking censer full of myrrh.

    I am not assuming Rome is true. I am assuming divine revelation/articles of faith are infallible truth, not opinion. Is that not a fair assumption in your view?

    Speaking of audacious claims. You have assumed Rome is true from the get go in that you have assumed that Rome is the true church is a fact of divine revelation/article of faith. Rather the question is, is it an article of a biblical faith apprehended in part through reason and knowledge, not ignorance.

    TVD choose. The true church or the true gospel.
    If you got the latter, the other follows.
    Rome chooses the first.

    cheers

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  80. Bob,
    “Rather if the confession truly confesses Scripture,(you gotta do the Berean thing at times C, no implicit ignorance chrism), then its authority is real, although derivative.
    It’s not hard to figure out.”

    And how do you determine if it truly confesses? No different than solo.

    “Rather the question is, is it an article of a biblical faith apprehended in part through reason and knowledge, not ignorance.”

    Rcism teaches faith works with reason not ignorance. So is it wrong to assume articles of faith are infallible supernatural truths and not opinion or items of natural knowledge?

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  81. Bob S
    Posted January 16, 2014 at 2:01 am | Permalink

    TVD choose. The true church or the true gospel.
    If you got the latter, the other follows.
    Rome chooses the first.

    cheers

    Thx, BobS. The Catholic argument is that the “Church” defined what the New Testament even is. No ecclesia, no scriptura. There were so many “gospels.” The Gospel of Mary, of Peter, of Judas. the “Gospel of Thomas ” is particularly interesting, if you’re familiar with it.

    I’m following the debate here. With great interest. I have to say that when the Old Life faithful don’t have one single [Catholic] commenter to gang up on—or even a CD-HOST

    http://church-discipline.blogspot.com/2008/07/gresham-machen-invalid-excommunication.html

    Machen spent a lifetime promoting the intolerance that this blog has frequently attacked. Had Machen’s plan for requiring the statement of faith be interpreted to his standards, that is the removal of all liberal preachers from the church, the PCUSA would have had to carry something on the order a ten minister excommunications per day every day for over ten years. And what about the membership that would have refused to honor these excommunications? Then we are up to 1000 excommunications per day, a level of purging that would have required a state apparatus

    it’s at least a synagogue, not an abattoir.

    I listen to you all, Bob “S”, and I know how to google. You guys wail, if only on each other.

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  82. I think the biggest proof of Protestant ecclesiastical inferiority is the little man syndrome displayed by the reformed. Ecclesiology is all Robert ever talks about at CCC…. all Daryl ever blogs about over here…. think about it. How many threads on salvation? How many on the Eucharist? Baptism? Atonement? Grace? Predestination? We don’t ever get to talk about any of those things. Why? Refromed little man syndrome. All I hear about is how multiple denominations and personal judgement is a terrible argument and yet…… all I hear about is personal judgement and multiple denominations.

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  83. Kenneth Winsmann
    Posted January 16, 2014 at 3:06 am | Permalink
    I think the biggest proof of Protestant ecclesiastical inferiority is the little man syndrome displayed by the reformed. Ecclesiology is all Robert ever talks about at CCC…. all Daryl ever blogs about over here…. think about it. How many threads on salvation? How many on the Eucharist? Baptism? Atonement? Grace? Predestination? We don’t ever get to talk about any of those things. Why? Reformed little man syndrome. All I hear about is how multiple denominations and personal judgement is a terrible argument and yet…… all I hear about is personal judgement and multiple denominations.

    In all fairness, Kenneth–and you have taken your own share of abuse hereabouts–even if it had some truth, “little man syndrome” is unfair and below the belt, although all the rest is solid ground for discussion.

    I make it that all those here gathered are sincere, each in their own way, more or less. Let each of us strive to be more more than less. 😉

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  84. james vd, don’t forget. We have God’s infallible word. You have an infallible pope. Do we have different interpretations? Have you looked in the mirror?

    While I am honored to be invoked, I am not a bishop (though I am an overseer). My point about certainty was more about your following Descartes than my following a deity who is infallible.

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  85. james vd, “If only Scripture is infallible, “church and tradition” are authoritative insofar as they conform to Scripture (i.e. your interpretation). You do interpret apart from the Roman church and tradition, and the Lutheran church and tradition, and so on.”

    And papal teaching is infallible as it conforms to your understanding of infallibility (plus your application of it — as long as no one is persecuting the conservatives, the church is infallible).

    Does James Young listen to CVD?

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  86. james van cletus van dumb, “Do you not reject other churches and traditions based on your interpretation of Scripture?”

    Well, how exactly do you get away with rejecting Protestants when your popes do not reject Protestants (remember, separated brothers, some of the truth)? It looks like you have your own interpretation of what EENS means.

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  87. Kenneth,

    I think the biggest proof of Protestant ecclesiastical inferiority is the little man syndrome displayed by the reformed. Ecclesiology is all Robert ever talks about at CCC…. all Daryl ever blogs about over here…. think about it. How many threads on salvation? How many on the Eucharist? Baptism? Atonement? Grace? Predestination? We don’t ever get to talk about any of those things. Why? Refromed little man syndrome. All I hear about is how multiple denominations and personal judgement is a terrible argument and yet…… all I hear about is personal judgement and multiple denominations.

    This is just flat-out wrong. Are you not paying attention? How many doctrines have we gone back and forth over, including man’s ability in salvation?

    You want to know why Darryl posts on ecclesiology and the rest of us bring it up? It’s because the CTC apologetic is “we’re superior because our ecclesiology is superior.” Are you not paying attention.

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  88. Cletus,

    Right. So it should’ve just removed books that contradicted its teaching from the canon right? I mean it’s lord over it. It can also say Nicaea never happened, or that it really endorsed Arianism instead of condemning it. Tomorrow I guess it can just say Christ wasn’t real and Mary is eternal. Give up the tired sola ecclesia charge already.

    I’ll give up the sola ecclesia charge when Rome stops being selective about what it accepts from the early church and what it doesn’t. (ie, it would have to reject papal primacy of jurisdiction and infallibility) I’ll also give it up when Rome gets serious about determining doctrine according to what the Apostles actually intended. The fact that you haven’t “removed” books from the canon is irrelevant when the biblical truths for so many doctrines (like the Assumption or the mediatorship of Mary) rest on allegorical interpretation that your own Bible scholars wouldn’t even accept as a legitimate way of reading Scripture today.

    So you are saying if a body that claims to be divinely authorized to be able to define infallible articles of faith is true, it does not offer a more secure way of knowing divine truth over a body – that we can assume is also true for comparison – that claims to not be able to do that but can define reformable plausible opinion?
So did the Apostles and Christ who claimed divine authority/infallible teaching not offer a more secure way of knowing divine truth over a random Jew who did not claim such divine authority and offered self-proclaimed opinions?

    First, we don’t believe that our churches offer mere “reformable plausible opinion.” We believe our churches teach true doctrine but that the final infallible authority is Scripture.

    Second, unlike you all who have a religion in your own head, many of us here have actual pastoral responsibilities, so in one sense we could care less about a claim to infallibility. What matters if that claim is true or not. When Rome’s apologetic stops devolving in almost every case to an argument from silence (well, nothing in Scripture or tradition contradicts that), the claim to infallibility will be worth considering. Until then, while you may pride yourself on being on the same level as Crazy Dave, we know better than to let him and his friends around the women and children.

    Third, the one who offers certainty is the Holy Spirit. The Spirit certainly can and does speak through his church to provide certainty, but we don’t know that He has spoken merely because a bunch of people in Rome tells us that He has spoken.

    Fourth, the Apostles and Jesus, to my knowledge, never tell anyone that the reason they are to be trusted is because they offer a better way of knowing divine truth due to the fact that they claim infallibility. They proclaimed their message and expected people to believe it. They did signs and wonders to confirm it—actual signs and wonders that could be verified with the senses, not pseudo-miracles that tell us bread is not bread when it is plainly still bread.

    Is divinely revealed doctrine infallible or not?

    Sure it is. Where is doctrine revealed? In Scripture, which claims inspiration for itself. Don’t claim the authority to provide revealed doctrine infallibly unless you claim inspiration of the same sort for the Magisterium. I notice that you are hesitant to do that. Given Rome’s history, I completely understand that.

    This again. Natural revelation is not identical to supernatural revelation. You can deny Rome’s claims and hold this – so instead of plausible opinion, it’s all just knowledge – but then you face the issue of reducing divine revelation to a science textbook or a geometric proof so that people who do not grasp divine revelation are just insufficiently informed like someone who doesn’t understand or accept the Pythagorean theorem. That eviscerates any notion of faith.

    That’s not what I’m doing. And there are many points at which natural revelation corresponds to/is identical with supernatural revelation, not the least of which is the fact that the created order tells us there is a Creator. You all are the ones who believe it is possible to have true faith in this Creator apart from personal knowledge of Christ. Apparently those people don’t need an infallible interpreter for the certainty of faith. Just looking—futilely—for you guys to show a little consistency.

    Incorrect. Rome’s claims of infallibility yields the same type of truth as Crazy Dave’s. Crazy Dave just yields more – it’s a difference of degree, not kind. The issue between Protestantism and RCism/CD is of kind.

    Incorrect. It’s not the same time of truth if the whole system is a mix of truth and error. You end up with a mixture that is far more unstable than what Crazy Dave can offer when he says all of his truths are in error. You end up with the common folk arguing over what is infallible and what isn’t, over what is doctrine and what is discipline (at least until that infallible list of infallible doctrine shows up, I’m not holding my breath). Crazy Dave doesn’t have to apologize for past errors because he is always infallible.

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  89. Kenneth, where do you get off with this stuff? I’m a mopey ponyboy. But you just done off as mean. You haven’t changed your one liner since showing up here. What gives?

    Though every man be a liar..

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  90. I wonder the profiles of these characters out here in blogdom. I remember being in Sunday school in the 2nd grade, and how I treated my teacher and others. Now I teach 2nd grade Sunday school as a sub, and am on for the Jr. High next week. It’s amazingly revealing, at least to me, to make Gospel truths accessable for our young ones.

    Think back, fellow anonymous reader and comboxxer. Whoever you are, reading this. What were you like at age 7? Does it mirror your default demeanor when discussing theology amongst strangers who you will never meet, and where there’s no repurcusion for acting out?

    I would like to Darryls recent post on Sunday school, but I wasn’t that kind I’d kid, to go the extra mile (emoticon). Look it up. Yo.

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  91. Not to be outdone, here is Mencken on the joy that Sunday school brought to boys:

    The one thing I really remember about that Sunday-school is the agreeable heartiness of the singing. It is, of course, the thing that all children enjoy most in Sunday-schools, for there they are urged to whoop their loudest in praise of God, and that license is an immense relief from the shushing they are always hearing at home. . . .

    My favorite then, as now, was “Are You Ready for the Judgment Day?” — a gay and even rollicking tune with a saving hint of brimstone in the words. . . . We grouped it, in fact, with such dolce but unexhilarating things as “In the Sweet By-and-By” and “God Be With You Till We Meet Again” – pretty stuff, to be sure, but sadly lacking in bite and zowie. The runner up for “Are You Ready?” was “I Went Down the Rock to Hide My Face,” another hymn with a very lively swing to it, and after “the Rock” come “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus,” “Throw Out the Lifeline,” “At the Cross,” “Draw Me Nearer, Nearer, Nearer, Blessed Lord,” “What A Friend We Have in Jesus,” “Where Shall We Spend in Eternity?” . . . and “Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Revive Us Again.” . . . It was not until I transferred to another Sunday-school that I came to know such lugubrious horrors as “There Is A Fountain Filled with Blood.” The Methodists avoided everything of that kind. They surely did not neglect Hell in their preaching, but when they lifted up their voices in song they liked to pretend that they were booked to escape it. (Happy Days, 178-79)

    Mencken himself wondered why his father, an infidel, would send his boys to a Methodist Sunday school. The reason is that dad tired of shushing:

    What moved him, he confessed, was simply his overmastering impulse to give over the Sunday afternoons of Winter to quiet snoozing. This had been feasible so long as my brother and I were puling infants and could be packed off for naps ourselves, but as we increased in years and malicious animal magnetism and began to prefer leaping and howling up and down stairs, it became impossible for him to get any sleep. (177)

    Here we have an example of the best laid plans. While evangelical Protestants thought they were improving on catechesis with Sunday school, they were providing a social service that domesticated Christianity. The Weltys and Menckens felt no threat from the Christianity on tap in Sunday school. Even the whiff of brimstone in the songs were no match for household demands and childhood vigor.

    This is not to say that the passing of Sunday school will not be without its disadvantages. But those who worry about the demise of the institution should not overestimate its accomplishments.

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  92. Tom, of course RCism survived the Reformation. It survived because of Calvin. That was what Bultmann said he was trying to do, via demytholigizing.

    What didn’t survive was Tridentine Xianity. Well, it did, but it’s a schism. I know, your eyes glaze over, here. For some of us, we’re at a hinge.

    Get used to us. We ain’t budgin’

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  93. Yes, America has been good to the Catholic Church in many ways. As Cardinal Gibbons pointed out on that memorable occasion in Trastevere, American-style separation of church and state, long regarded with suspicion by Rome, preserved the Church from the sort of political entanglements that so often proved to be her undoing in Europe while helping to discourage the rise of the virulent anti-clericalism that still exists in many parts of the Old World. Citizen participation in democratic processes has helped stimulate the participatory approach to church governance widely accepted as desirable—at least in principle—by the Church in America. And American egalitarianism has served as a natural basis for ecclesial communion

    Back to exercising,..

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  94. Susan,

    I guess my quibble with the 33,000 denominations argument is that it assumes more than it proves. A bunch of denominations is much more of a problem if Rome is the church that Christ founded. But if Rome is not the church that Christ founded, then a bunch of denominations might be less of a problem, or a different kind of problem.

    I believe this is why Protestants see the 33,000 denomination argument as RCism patting itself on its back (not necessarily a bad thing, we do that too, but it would be nice if RCs acknowledged it as such).

    Even if Prots acknowledge that the many denominations is a problem, the problem is a very different one for a Prot than it is for a RC, as is the solution to the problem.

    Regarding perspicuity, the 33,000 denomination argument is not persuasive. The doctrine of perspicuity merely states that Scripture “can” be understood, not that it “will” be understood.

    Reformed Prots make a distinction between true and false churches, but it is made on the basis of doctrine (Word, Sacrament, and discipline), not on an ongoing succession of bishops and tradition. We would say that a true church is founded by Christ and on the apostolic tradition because it is Christ that builds his church and because a true church teaches the same gospel that the apostles taught.

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  95. And Tom, I even shares emails with our CD host character. Some people outbhere, I get. Others, not so much. It could be me (don’t neglect that small wrinkle) but what passes as acceptable and even praiseworthy on the internet should give all Christians pause. The more so those who hold themselves out as internet authorities. We must be discerning. Good thing webhave the Word. Don’t neglect it, yo.

    Who is witnessing who here?

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  96. Dr.Hart,

    You asked, I think, Kenneth-“Do we have different interpretations? Have you looked in the mirror?”

    It depends on what you mean by “we”. There are Catholics who are under the authority of the Church( actually since there is one church, all who name Christ are under her authority without realzing it) but still choose to believe outside the truth which is Christianity or they believe false things without knowing what is the truth of Christianity and there is a “we” that trusts and declares what the Church teaches. But make no bones about it, there is a way to know all that is orthodox. Dissenters cannot change the truth, that’s why it’s “the truth”.

    It’s good that you have all these articles against Catholicism though, that way when you do convert your detractors will not be able to say that you didn’t put up a good fight.( not being snarky, just teasing) 🙂 Honestly, wish you well.

    Susan

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  97. Susan,

    But make no bones about it, there is a way to know all that is orthodox.

    Not if heretics go undisciplined. What happened to the Living Magisterium that tells us these things. You all keep wanting to point us back to documents. That sounds rather Protestant, as if you can accurately interpret the Magisterium’s interpretation to know what has been declared definitely as orthodox. The heretic disagrees with you, but isn’t disciplined. The heretic may disagree with the Magisterium but isn’t disciplined.

    Don’t tell us we need a Magisterium to know orthodoxy when the Magisterium tolerates what it has called heterodoxy. It doesn’t really believe it is heterodox, or it just doesn’t care.

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  98. Darryl,

    “Robert, yes, James vd goes knock-kneed when someone says infallibility, sort of like Marilyn Monroe singing Happy Birthday to JFK.”

    Lol this was pretty good I admit.

    “And papal teaching is infallible as it conforms to your understanding of infallibility (plus your application of it — as long as no one is persecuting the conservatives, the church is infallible).”

    Right I foisted my private judgment onto the church that it teaches the Assumption infallibly. Or that it even thinks its infallible in the first place. It’s actually just another Protestant denomination. That must be what it’s claiming in all those documents I cited. Why the hate from the Reformers – those guys just didn’t get it – we’re one of you!

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  99. Cletus van Damme, to be one of us, you must exist. Sorry, TV show characters are the figment of someone’s imagination. You have to be discerning. You wouldn’t believe what I’m already hearing, and my oldest is only 7 years old.

    Spooky, man.

    Like

  100. Robert,

    Me: “But make no bones about it, there is a way to know all that is orthodox.”

    You: “Not if heretics go undisciplined.”

    Does your response pose a valid objection to what I said? Think of it like this: If a person denies the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, it doesn’t change the truth that He is really present in the Eucharist. Real presence as a doctrine is unreformable.( Reforming presupposes something is wrong in the first place)

    But how does one know there is error needing reform if he has no way to know what is true?

    As for your question, discipline is self-inflicted sometimes, as in the example of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist. In regard to other instances, how do you know that the violater of orthodoxy won’t eventually be caught and disciplined. Sometimes, it’s best to be long suffering and sometimes it’s best to bring down the hammer, but only those with real apostolic authority know when to do what. Besides, formal heretics believe themselves to be absolutely right, so what they do is go off and start their own community and hang out a sign saying, “bible church here”. They snub their noses at the place that really is the truth. The true church isn’t going to chase them down, drag them back and conduct court, so the heretic gets away, but he isn’t safe BECAUSE there is a place where orthodoxy lives, thank God.

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  101. Mad,
    “Reformed Prots make a distinction between true and false churches, but it is made on the basis of doctrine (Word, Sacrament, and discipline), not on an ongoing succession of bishops and tradition. We would say that a true church is founded by Christ and on the apostolic tradition because it is Christ that builds his church and because a true church teaches the same gospel that the apostles taught.”

    I do understand that you are able to see distinctions, but look at what you are presupposing:

    You say you discern based on the particularly Protestant doctrine of the marks of the true church. This is what Bryan Cross is arguing against, and that is painting your own magisterium around your own arrow. The term “marks of the church” wasn’t a Protestant invention. The “marks” are 4: one, holy, catholic, apostolic.

    Yes, the true church is founded on Christ and that occured in 33 AD, and this is how we can be sure that the gospel wasn’t lost,forgotten or squelched for 1500 yrs prior the Reformation. The church does teach the same gospel that the apostles taught because the church is still in existence doing the work of an evangelist. If the gospel was lost then the Protestant notion of gospel could very well be a novalty of Luther, but you would have no way to know. This is the problem with Protestantism not having a infallible intepretor of infallible scripture…it’s interpretation is only learned opinion even if it’s right, until it comes and checks itself against the church and learns that it’s opinion is completely true. For instance, protestant’s can be confident that The Trinity is truth, and that baptism saves.

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  102. Andrew,

    As in “defensable”. Robert was presenting an objection that didn’t follow from my comment.

    Robert, if I am misunderstanding your objection forgive me. I’m not trying to be a smart ass. I would really like for us to understand one another.

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  103. Susan, So it’s not the same “valid” necessarily as when you called me a member if a heterodox sect, a few weeks (or has it been a month or more, now..).

    Machen in What is Faith? starts off by saying how important it is we define our terms carefully. He was a very smart, loving man, who spent his life in service of Christ’s church. You might enjoy reading this free book, even if you have before. He drives home a clear Gospel to all who would here. And it’s free!

    Peace to you on your journey.

    Like

  104. Robert,

    “I’ll also give it up when Rome gets serious about determining doctrine according to what the Apostles actually intended.”

    That is you mean, what GHM exegesis alone applied to Scripture alone teaches. What they intended? You use a canonical hermeneutic in interpreting them. Where does GHM allow for you to interpret authors/texts according to other authors/texts (some of whom are completely anonymous or lived in different centuries) in order to extract their authorial intent/meaning? This applies to OT and other OT writers, NT writers and OT writers, and NT writers and other NT writers.

    “The fact that you haven’t “removed” books from the canon is irrelevant”

    Pretty relevant when you claim RC is lording over Scripture.

    “when the biblical truths for so many doctrines (like the Assumption or the mediatorship of Mary) rest on allegorical interpretation that your own Bible scholars wouldn’t even accept as a legitimate way of reading Scripture today.”

    You mean the same allegorical exegesis ecfs used in formulating core doctrines? GHM is useful – but it is limited, and whether it should be the primary method, or not combined with other techniques/methods to yield exegetical theological divine truth, is not answered by it. I replied to your GHM stuff in the other thread at this comment which I don’t want to just re-paste here.

    “First, we don’t believe that our churches offer mere “reformable plausible opinion.” We believe our churches teach true doctrine but that the final infallible authority is Scripture. ”

    True doctrine but not infallible. Makes sense. Articles of faith are infallible by nature, not just “kinda true”. Final infallible authority is Scripture means everything is “true” and “authoritative” insofar as it conforms to Scripture. That evaluation of what conforms to Scripture can change based on interpretation. Semper reformanda. It’s reformable plausible opinion. If it wasn’t, someone would say it was irreformable truth. No one does, nor do your confessions.

    “we could care less about a claim to infallibility”

    Except you claim Scripture is infallible. Again a plausible opinion. And articles of faith aren’t plausible opinions.

    “Third, the one who offers certainty is the Holy Spirit. The Spirit certainly can and does speak through his church to provide certainty, but we don’t know that He has spoken merely because a bunch of people in Rome tells us that He has spoken.”

    Who is his church? Those people who agree with your interpretation of Scripture? How would you ever know if the Spirit is actually talking to a group you disagree with and you were wrong? Did the HS speak to the early church in recognizing the canon? Why did that same group get doctrines wrong you disagree with, including books of the canon? Were they only given partial certainty by the HS?

    “Fourth, the Apostles and Jesus, to my knowledge, never tell anyone that the reason they are to be trusted is because they offer a better way of knowing divine truth due to the fact that they claim infallibility. They proclaimed their message and expected people to believe it.”

    Why would someone believe them on supernatural matters if they weren’t claiming divine authority (i.e. infallibility)? Do I really have to cite verses showing Christ claimed divine authority (which was also given to the Apostles)? By your logic the commissioning of the Apostles and handing over His authority to them was completely superfluous. The reason Christ expected people to believe it just based on His proclaimation is because of His authority (and associated infallibility). He didn’t sit with people saying “here’s an interpretation of the OT I’m proposing for belief. let’s exegete it together with GHM – so let’s consult with a filtered subset of erudite Jewish scholars and historians to reach our conclusions”

    “Sure it is. Where is doctrine revealed?”

    Okay it’s infallible, but Protestantism cannot and won’t define or identify any of it by its own admission (and yours above – no infallibility). Not very compelling.

    “Don’t claim the authority to provide revealed doctrine infallibly unless you claim inspiration of the same sort for the Magisterium.”

    That would mean it adds to the deposit of faith. Which it cannot do. Remember, it’s servant.

    “not the least of which is the fact that the created order tells us there is a Creator.”

    RCism agrees as I’ve cited Vat1 and the Catechism saying same. But you cannot apprehend the Trinity like a geometric proof.

    “You all are the ones who believe it is possible to have true faith in this Creator apart from personal knowledge of Christ.”

    So I guess infants, fetuses, and mentally impaired people can’t have true faith. You need to be more careful with your words.

    “Incorrect. It’s not the same time of truth if the whole system is a mix of truth and error.”

    It’s the same principles being affirmed (divine authority to define articles of faith) and the same type of truths being defined in both. The degree/number has nothing to do with it. That’s the point, and the difference between Protestantism and RCism with some articles, Crazy Dave who has an endless number of articles, and the cult that claims it only has a single article.

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  105. Tom,

    Im not being uncharitable. I am merely noticing the napoleonic syndrome displayed by the reformed when the issue of ecclesiology is brought up. Its a legitimate contention. Charismatics don’t even bat an eye at ecclesiastical arguments. They generally couldn’t care less. On the other hand, the reformed seem to obsess and foam at the mouth every “church” is discussed. I dare say that if they ever attended a sporting event or concert and it was announced that 33,000 people were in attendance their collective heads would implode.

    Robert,

    Oh yes we have touched on nearly every topic under the sun….. but at the end of the day…. on almost every thread and conversation…. you bring up authority. Just scroll through the last years worth of conversations and you will see that its true. You are one of my favorite interlocutors and have very challenging arguments with witty one liners and zingers that are intellectually stimulating and entertaining all at once….. but you suffer from ecclesiastic little man syndrome. So does Daryl. First step of recovery is admitting you have a problem

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  106. kenneth: I dare say that if they ever attended a sporting event or concert and it was announced that 33,000 people were in attendance their collective heads would implode.”

    I attended several dozen football games with attendance announced over 100,000 and my head never exploded.

    Is this part of the deep scholarship that Kenneth keeps referring to?

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  107. James van dumb, please site one major statement from a bishop or the Vatican that isolates infallibility the way you do.

    You know, you are a bit of a one trick pony, as if infallibility is the only thing that keeps you committed to Rome. Nothing wrong with that. But your view of infallibility is not very attractive. So for apologetic purposes, you may want to try a different drum.

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  108. Susan,

    I agree as well that a true church must be one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. The rub is that I do not believe that the Catholic church is any of these. I must base my conclusion upon Scripture. Naturally, we are going to disagree about the nature of the Protestants churches and the Roman Catholic Church. But the fundamental and most necessary arguments are theological and scriptural, not about how many denominations there are.

    I do not find the argument concerning 33,000 denominations convincing; indeed, I believe that it is a mere distraction. The most fundamental questions concern the interpretation of Scripture, the nature of the gospel, and other doctrinal points in contention.

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  109. Andrew Buckingham
    Posted January 16, 2014 at 8:23 am | Permalink
    Tom, of course RCism survived the Reformation. It survived because of Calvin. ’

    ____________
    ¿Huh?

    Perhaps one can make that case for Luther, that Catholic corruptions such as simony would have destroyed it [doubtful], but Calvin and Calvinism are not in the equation.

    And as for the comportment of your co-religionists hereabouts, the namecalling speaks for itself.

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  110. Kenneth Winsmann
    Posted January 16, 2014 at 4:00 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    Im not being uncharitable. I am merely noticing the napoleonic syndrome displayed by the reformed when the issue of ecclesiology is brought up. Its a legitimate contention. Charismatics don’t even bat an eye at ecclesiastical arguments. They generally couldn’t care less. On the other hand, the reformed seem to obsess and foam at the mouth every “church” is discussed. I dare say that if they ever attended a sporting event or concert and it was announced that 33,000 people were in attendance their collective heads would implode.

    Robert,

    Oh yes we have touched on nearly every topic under the sun….. but at the end of the day…. on almost every thread and conversation…. you bring up authority. Just scroll through the last years worth of conversations and you will see that its true. You are one of my favorite interlocutors and have very challenging arguments with witty one liners and zingers that are intellectually stimulating and entertaining all at once….. but you suffer from ecclesiastic little man syndrome. So does Daryl. First step of recovery is admitting you have a problem

    Well, I think this “little man syndrome” thing is out of line, albeit not by the prevailing standards of these comboxes. Just sayin’. In the larger sense, I also have trouble featuring that God’s Own Truth is known only by a sect of some 30,000.

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  111. Darryl,

    “James van dumb, please site one major statement from a bishop or the Vatican that isolates infallibility the way you do.”

    We already had this dance. I cited Vat1, Vat2, the catechism, canon law, Professio Fideo and commentary. You cited…nothing.

    “You know, you are a bit of a one trick pony, as if infallibility is the only thing that keeps you committed to Rome. Nothing wrong with that. But your view of infallibility is not very attractive. So for apologetic purposes, you may want to try a different drum.”

    When Protestants hammer Rome over the head with GHM + SS or call them synagogues of satan as your buddies do, then yeah I’m going to examine your assumptions and infallibility will come into play – you don’t expect those claims to go unchallenged and just for people to cheerlead? Or when you hammer about liberalism, it again comes into play. If you’d like to talk about RC spirituality, the saints, devotions, confession/eucharist, etc we can certainly do that. But somehow I think you’ll chalk to that up to false pagan piety like John does, or you’ll just drone on about liberalism (speaking of one-trick ponies).

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  112. Andrew Buckingham
    Posted January 16, 2014 at 6:18 pm | Permalink
    Tom, you just need to buy Darryl’s book. Silly you.

    Yes, the argument is always behind that curtain over there.

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  113. Cletus van Damme
    Posted January 16, 2014 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    You said:

    you mean, what GHM exegesis alone applied to Scripture alone teaches.

    This certainly seems dishonest to me.

    First, “grammatical-historical exegesis” seeks to understand what the text actually says, in context. This is not a bad thing, and in fact, it’s the best way to understand a text.

    Second, Sola Scriptura certainly does not mean that “nothing but Scripture is taken into account. Calvin cited Augustine And yet, you continually assert it.

    You may (or may not) be aware of a study that Anthony Lane did — Calvin cited Augustine many hundreds of times in his 1559 Institutes, and hundreds of other patristic and medieval citations. And, he cites these favorably!

    The key to what Calvin and the others were doing was not creating a new rule of faith, but rather rejecting Roman claims.

    Discounting Sola Scriptura, then (especially your straw-man version of it) is not the way to affirm Roman claims.

    But we see that sort of thing all the time.

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  114. John,

    First, “grammatical-historical exegesis” seeks to understand what the text actually says, in context. This is not a bad thing, and in fact, it’s the best way to understand a text.

    I didn’t say GHM was bad or useless. I said it does not answer the question whether it should be the primary method, or not combined with other techniques/methods to yield exegetical theological divine truth, especially when GHM is driven by the shifting sands of the currently best available data and analysis we have in terms of history/linguistics/etc. I also fail to see how GHM is properly applied when applied to a canonical hermeneutic.

    “Second, Sola Scriptura certainly does not mean that “nothing but Scripture is taken into account. Calvin cited Augustine And yet, you continually assert it.”

    Where does WCF claim Calvin and Augustine are infallible or part of the infallible rule of faith. Here is what I continually assert for SS:
    “The supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.”

    “You may (or may not) be aware of a study that Anthony Lane did — Calvin cited Augustine many hundreds of times in his 1559 Institutes, and hundreds of other patristic and medieval citations. And, he cites these favorably!”

    That’s wonderful. Mormons cite Athanasius favorably.

    “Discounting Sola Scriptura, then (especially your straw-man version of it) is not the way to affirm Roman claims. ”

    It’s not a strawman to cite WCF and proceed accordingly, which is what has always been assumed in my points. You claim I was using “formal sufficiency” incorrectly and so was straw-manning, but never addressed how my use of the term formal sufficiency impacted any of my points related to SS.

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  115. Tom,

    I also have trouble featuring that God’s Own Truth is known only by a sect of some 30,000.

    Good thing, then, that nobody around here believes that.

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  116. Robert
    Posted January 16, 2014 at 9:49 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    I also have trouble featuring that God’s Own Truth is known only by a sect of some 30,000.

    Good thing, then, that nobody around here believes that.

    Well, the floor is yours. The Orthodox Presbyterian Church, of Darryl G. Hart, membership 30,000. 30,000?

    Explain yourselves instead of just attack the Catholics all the time. [And not very accurately. The amateur Catholics who show up here have been kicking your ass, and some of you are professional Presbyterians.]

    Dudes. You’re losing. On your own blog. If only because you’re acting like jerks to your guests. That’s not the Jesus way. On one thing all humanity agrees: Jesus wasn’t a jerk.

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  117. Darryl,

    “James vd, Vat 1 et al do not stress infallibility — period. They mention it. Do you know how to read and interpret a text?”

    So they mention it, but they don’t “stress” it, whatever that means (I disagree but I’m not going to cite everything again right now). Can RCism as a system survive without it? If not, how can it not be something that is “stressed” if its integral to the system and its claims? If yes, why isn’t RCism just another Protestant denomination then?
    Your point is like me saying WCF just mentions sola scriptura, it doesn’t stress it. And then asking you if you know how to read and interpret a text.

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  118. Tommy,
    You forget – or don’t know – the salient distinction between a valid argument and a true argument.
    Neither is DCV’s argument formal, but we’re not going to parse frog hairs like Bryan.

    That the pope is infallible and he has declared Rome the true church, hence Rome is the TC is a valid argument, but not necessarily a true one.
    Which is why CVD essentially refuses to entertain questions about his premises.

    Instead, we hear blather like:

    ‘All Rome has to do is present one infallible doctrine – such as the Immaculate Deception – and automatically her infallibility index outranks protestantism. Hence she is infallible and the vincible better submit before their fate becomes invincible.’

    And Kenny has been whupped on Adamic imputation and corruption – both/and, not one or the other – and predestination, so true to form, he has to play the accusatory little man card. Name it and claim it IOW.

    actually since there is one church, all who name Christ are under her authority without realizing it)

    That’s rich. If it wasn’t bad enough that Rome claimed ignorant fideism implict faith in ecclesia was saving, now she wants to claim we’re part of the problem too in that – unbeknownst to us, duh – we practice what we don’t preach.
    But maybe this is in hopes of getting us to shut up about stupid inanities like ignorant fideism implict faith.

    I mean after all, the immediate inference of what Col. 2:4 teaches is an “interpretation” and we all know “interpretations” are interchangeable and relativism is the only real divine infallible truth.

    . . . which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. Col. 1:27,28

    Presenting every man perfect in Christ.
    As opposed to presenting everyone a papist.
    There is a difference.
    Really.

    Right I foisted my private judgment onto the church that it teaches the Assumption infallibly. Or that it even thinks its infallible in the first place. It’s actually just another Protestant denomination.

    Distinguish between a protestant church and an apostate church.
    Then look in the mirror.
    Problem solved.

    And the real presence as a doctrine is unreformable only if you are a papist and believe it because the pope said so.
    In short there are none so fideistic as a fideist and if they say they believe, there remains no cloak for their naive credulity.

    Except you claim Scripture is infallible. Again a plausible opinion. And articles of faith aren’t plausible opinions.

    Scripture claims to be infallible. Big diff there. But by the same token you just just claimed your opinion above was plausible. It’s not. It’s wrong.

    Do I really have to cite verses showing Christ claimed divine authority (which was also given to the Apostles)? By your logic the commissioning of the Apostles and handing over His authority to them was completely superfluous. The reason Christ expected people to believe it just based on His proclaimation is because of His authority (and associated infallibility).

    A swing and a miss again, John Doe.
    Do we really have to cite verses of Christ quoting the OT in saying man does not live but by every word that proceeds from God? That the commissioning of the apostles is tantamount ot the commissioning of Roman bishops and popes? The reason Christ expected people to believe in him, not only because who he was and what he did, was because Moses and the prophets testified of him.

    Oh yes we have touched on nearly every topic under the sun….. but at the end of the day…. on almost every thread and conversation…. you bring up authority.

    Kenneth is channeling . .. himself. Again. Get with it, Ken. We’re rooting for you to stop beating your wife. Again.

    But enough of the repeat scrub propaganda. We work for a living.

    cheers

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  119. Tom, here’s what CVD said: “I wasn’t accusing Darryl of being a Chomskyite because he thinks America has made mistakes. I was just curious as to how measured his views were.”

    Notice the effects of a mensch.

    Live and learn.

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  120. James van Cletes, No, the parallel is what churches that confess chapter one of the Confession do today compared to your church that asserted infallibility so dogmatically in 1870 compared to the way your church teaches and reacts today. Conservative Presbyterians still act like sola scriptura is important. Francis doesn’t act like infallibility is important.

    And since infallibility came dogmatically when the church was saying no to the modern world, and then it receives just a bissle of attention when the church is cozying up and putting its big arms around the modern world, you say there’s a difference.

    This really is simple historical judgment and you are playing dumb. The U.S. still has a constitution with delegated powers and all that. And yet the Country is very different from what it was in 1800 or even 1890.

    If you can understand that, which I think you can, then you are capable of understanding the point about how Roman Catholicism has changed. Except that like Bryan you can’t admit because you are committed to an idea that won’t admit deformity.

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  121. Cletus van Damme
    Posted January 16, 2014 at 8:44 pm | Permalink
    https://oldlife.org/2014/01/tricks-trade/comment-page-3/#comment-115127

    JB: “grammatical-historical exegesis” seeks to understand what the text actually says, in context. This is not a bad thing, and in fact, it’s the best way to understand a text.

    CVD: I didn’t say GHM was bad or useless. I said it does not answer the question whether it should be the primary method, or not combined with other techniques/methods to yield exegetical theological divine truth,

    What should “the primary method” be? Ratzinger suggests it is “the mind of the Church” over the centuries. Bryan Cross relies on this concept also, in his “Tradition and the Lexicon” piece.

    But if “the Church” doesn’t come upon the correct meaning, in context, of what any given particular point of Scripture is saying, then how is that not “doctrinal error”? All that amounts to is “well, we just started believing it this way … we can’t say precisely when that happened, or why that happened”. This is the opposite of “grammatical historical exegesis”. You call this method of “arriving at divine truth” “infallibility”, and not only is it anachronistic, but has permitted Rome to dogmatize wrong understandings of actual “divine truths” given within the Scriptures themselves.

    And this speaks to how actual doctrines have been created, as I noted in my article which described how this happened in an actual and very significant mistranslation that was essentially put into place by Augustine:

    Where Augustine failed specifically was in the “translation” issues – over time, the Hebrew Scriptures were translated into Greek (in the form of the Septuagint, or the LXX), which was later translated into Latin. And here is where Augustine confused the issue, and where Roman Catholics miss the boat. McGrath studies the tracking of two related Hebrew words through these translations:

    ‘righteousness’: sedaqa –> dikaiosyne –> iustitia
    ‘to justify’: hasdiq –> dikaioun –> iustificare

    What in essence had happened was that because he didn’t understand the Hebrew concept of “sedaqa” from the Hebrew Scriptures, Augustine substituted an Aristotelian concept in its place – which was quite different. In doing so, the original Scriptural meaning was lost, and a wrong meaning was put into place. This faulty meaning became the underpinning for the Roman Catholic dogmatic pronouncement on justification.

    This is merely one instance that the Reformers had in mind, of how whole “Roman” concepts of things became huge misunderstandings, codified in what Ratzinger calls “the mind of the Church”, and dogmatized in “Tradition”.

    I’ve written about a number of other instances like this. But before you can begin to criticize “the Protestant Principle”, you Roman Catholics MUST address the errors of the Roman system first, and say precisely how and when “infallibility” is manifested in these kinds of errors.

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  122. Tom,

    Yeah, kicking our whatever. As long as you assume the truth and coherence of the Roman definition of infallibility, maybe you are right. We just won’t assume that.

    Well, the floor is yours. The Orthodox Presbyterian Church, of Darryl G. Hart, membership 30,000. 30,000?

    If you actually knew anything about Protestantism or Dr. Hart, you would realize that just because he is a member of the OPC or I am the PCA, that doesn’t mean we believe God’s “Own Truth” is found only in those denominations. God’s “Own Truth” is found wherever the gospel is faithfully preached, the sacraments are properly administered, and the church pastorally cares for its people via discipline. There are lots of Protestant denominations and individual churches that meet all those marks. So while we believe the Reformed tradition is the best example of what Scripture teaches, we by no means believe the true church is limited to the OPC or the PCA or any other “sect.”

    Meanwhile, we’re all still trying to figure out your purpose here.

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  123. Robert, thanks for responding to that. Lately, I start reading sentence (a few interlocutors fit this bill lately around here) of a combos statement, and my eyes glaze over faster than you can say (insert whatever here).

    I don’t know how you do what you do out here in blogdom, nor how you sustain it. It rivals DGs ethic. Don’t stop. Just please, take care of yourself as well. Yo.

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  124. Cletus van Damme
    Posted January 16, 2014 at 8:44 pm | Permalink
    https://oldlife.org/2014/01/tricks-trade/comment-page-3/#comment-115127

    It’s not a strawman to cite WCF and proceed accordingly, which is what has always been assumed in my points. You claim I was using “formal sufficiency” incorrectly and so was straw-manning, but never addressed how my use of the term formal sufficiency impacted any of my points related to SS.

    I did not claim you used “formal sufficiency” “incorrectly”. I said that you used it anachronistically. It is also a category error which does not fully describe what the Scriptures, being God’s divine revelation, actually are supposed to be for “the People of God”. The WCF does not apply the term “formal sufficiency”. It is not important to them. The term itself was a descriptor that was applied in medieval times, but it fails to take into account God’s own design and his own efforts in “giving divine revelation” in the first place. It is deistic in that it supposes that God just throws his word “out there” and then needs the help of some “infallible authority” to decipher it properly for his people.

    (For the Protestants here, this is a good example of why we should not get caught up trying to use Roman Catholic terminology – in this instance, “material sufficiency” and “formal sufficiency” – to describe the Scriptures. In this, we would be following the Reformed Scholastics, who also didn’t use that terminology in describing the Scriptures.)

    You seem to be most emphatically concerned that “Sola Scriptura” only arrives at its conclusions through “inductive or abductive reasoning” and “doesn’t provide the kind of certainty that deductive reasoning provides”.

    But I’ve mentioned elsewhere (can’t keep these threads straight) that deductive reasoning only works properly if the information in the premises are correct. That’s where “grammatical historical exegesis” comes in (as I described it in my comment immediately above this one, at at 7:15 am) – and when the information from which your premises are derived is faulty, then your deductions are also “certainly” faulty.

    And on the other hand, perhaps you can say precisely how “inductive or abductive reasoning” is insufficient for you to know some pretty essential things – for example, that the sun will come up tomorrow – that’s a thing that you only know “inductively”. But that doesn’t make it untrue. Nor does your knowledge of this fact differ significantly (if in any way) from what it would be if you could “deductively” prove that the sun will come up tomorrow.

    If Rome is wrong about its own infallibility, then no amount of wiggling about “inductive reasoning” is going to fix that. Rome must make the case for its own infallibility, and if it can’t do so (which I believe to be the case), then its “interpretive paradigm” is simply bankrupt and not to be taken seriously.

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  125. Darryl,

    Please. I asked you “Do you like Chomsky? Or is he too far for you?” I did not accuse you of holding his views or being a lapdog. It was a simple question, and not unreasonable. If someone thinks America has erred on foreign policy historically, Chomsky is a quick and well-known gauge to evaluate someone’s position on that score. It’s like someone agreeing with the Iraq war and someone asking if they like Hitchens and Kristol – well-known easy gauges.

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  126. Mad,

    “I agree as well that a true church must be one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. The rub is that I do not believe that the Catholic church is any of these. I must base my conclusion upon Scripture. Naturally, we are going to disagree about the nature of the Protestants churches and the Roman Catholic Church. But the fundamental and most necessary arguments are theological and scriptural, not about how many denominations there are.”

    Sure, I understand that you don’t believe that the Roman Catholic Church is one, holy, catholic, apostolic. There are many more people in the world who do believe it to be the authentic church, but then our believing doesn’t make anything true. I used to not believe it to be either, but I also didn’t know that those were the true marks……I believed that there were 3 marks as per my former congregation’s confessions, that was drawn up by the same group of people who pour new meaning into what it means to be “church, and “apostolic”.
    I didn’t think there was any need to bother about seeing whether or not “rightly administered sacraments” that were particular in number “only” to the Reformed was “the way” to understand it. I presupposed it based on somebody’s else’s definition. The RCC says they’re are 4 and had believed this for 1500 yrs( and still do) before the Reformation, and had no reason to change it.

    Notice that when you counter Catholics you hold in your mind “one” church or entity, and even note that this entity has one head pastor. This means that there is one Catholic Church. I on the other hand, look over and have to argue against a hydra. I don’t mean this as if Protestants are monsters, but that “Protestantism”[large protest against the RCC, and EO as well as lots of inner protests] by its nature is a name without a unity, so it can’t be considered one, and fails the “four mark” test.
    So when Darryl says that the RCC is just as divided, he is wrong because what I wrote above shows that there is a institution that he can pinpoint , in much the same way is that there is a United States of America. Otherwise,”what” is the entity that he challenges?

    Like

  127. Mad,

    Maybe this conversation that we Catholics are having on this blog is making no headway at all, or maybe somebody is reading and can see the dilemmas that are raised. Anyways, the tags do say “Are the CtCers Paying Attention, and “Roman Catholicism”,so I take it we are still invited to the talk and that Old Lifer’s are people of goodwill who care about Christian unity. I hope that someone will read the links and listen to the podcast I linked that talks about the motives of credibility that the Church is who she says she is. I relistened to it again last night and it is very helpful.

    Have a great day! Hey it’s Friday!

    Susan

    Like

  128. Bob,

    “Which is why CVD essentially refuses to entertain questions about his premises.”

    I refuse to entertain questions that presuppose your premises without examining those first, yes. So?

    “Distinguish between a protestant church and an apostate church.”

    You mean adopt your interpretation of Scripture? Why should I do that?

    “In short there are none so fideistic as a fideist and if they say they believe, there remains no cloak for their naive credulity.”

    You’re the one putting faith in self-proclaimed opinions and then just shrugging it off. I’m not sure how that’s not fideistic.

    “The reason Christ expected people to believe in him, not only because who he was and what he did, was because Moses and the prophets testified of him.”

    Yes Christ’s proclamations were consistent with the OT. RCism’s doctrines are consistent with Scripture. Because something is consistent does not make Christ some OT sola scripturist. I don’t know why you keep trying to take that position.
    “And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes”

    Like

  129. Darryl,

    “And since infallibility came dogmatically when the church was saying no to the modern world, and then it receives just a bissle of attention when the church is cozying up and putting its big arms around the modern world, you say there’s a difference.”

    Infallibility did not come into being with Vat1. PI was defined then, that is not the extent of the church’s understanding of infallibility. The Resurrection did not become infallible just after 1870.

    “This really is simple historical judgment and you are playing dumb. The U.S. still has a constitution with delegated powers and all that. And yet the Country is very different from what it was in 1800 or even 1890.”

    Can the country survive without those documents? If those documents were removed, would ‘America’ still exist? Or be something else? That’s my point with your argument against RC infallibility – gutting RCism of infallibility makes it completely self-defeating and essentially just makes it another Protestant denomination – which you of course do not hold to for a minute, nor have Protestants for the past 500 years. They were fighting the church for a reason – one of which was its “audacious claims” to infallibility/authority. We’re not one of you – you recognize it, we recognize it, so why you peddle this argument escapes me.

    “If you can understand that, which I think you can, then you are capable of understanding the point about how Roman Catholicism has changed. Except that like Bryan you can’t admit because you are committed to an idea that won’t admit deformity.”

    You define change here without any nuance as if it’s all or nothing game. There can be change in some aspects, continuity and constancy in others. That is not a contradiction. Protestants’ changing views on 2K stuff does not mean it eviscerates the WCF or other essentials of their system.

    Like

  130. James van clete, I thought I did answer. I’m inclined to take the read of conservative historians like Lukacs and M. E. Bradford. I’m not a fan of individualism or unhindered freedom, nor of the U.S. as the embodiment of universal ideals (a radical view).

    Like

  131. Susan,

    There are problems with identifying the “one” in the Apostle’s creed with a particular church (whether RC or OPC).

    Reformed Protestants do not identify the “one church” with an institution complete with hierarchy, but rather with Christ’s Church, encompassing everyone from Adam on. Thus, the church cannot be anything but one or holy.

    If RCs identify the “one” and “holy” from the creed as applying to the RC church as an institution, then there are significant problems. For example:

    The RC church has not always (or ever) been holy — there has always been sin and corruption (this is hardly debatable, no church is perfect).

    Additionally, if there is only one church (one institutional, identifiable, and RC church) and if it is true that extra ecclesia nulla salus est (there is no salvation outside the church), then what to make of Vatican II, the current Catechism of the Catholic church, and Pope Francis — all of which teach salvation outside of the institutional, identifiable, and RC church?

    It is important for Protestants (and RCs as well, no doubt) to make a distinction between the visible and invisible church. The argument concerning the multiple denominations does not make this distinction and the constant reference to the RC institution does not make this distinction either.

    Protestants certainly adhere to the Apostle’s creed (we recited it weekly in my old OPC) and the 3 marks of the church should not be understood to replace the creed, but rather to help one identify if a particular, historical, visible, and local instance of the church is a true church. That is, it helps one answer the question: is the church’s confession of the Creed in good faith? I believe that Reformed churches confess the Creed in good faith and the RC church confesses the Creed in bad faith, and no doubt RCs believe the opposite.

    Like

  132. Tom VD:Well, the floor is yours. The Orthodox Presbyterian Church, of Darryl G. Hart, membership 30,000. 30,000?

    Several of us are not OPC.

    DGH is very welcoming of those of us in other acceptable denominations, provided we behave like a Christian on here.

    Like

  133. John,

    “But if “the Church” doesn’t come upon the correct meaning, in context, of what any given particular point of Scripture is saying, then how is that not “doctrinal error”?”

    How does one determine the context? Is that a matter of socio-historical, linguistic, hermeneutic, and other academic fields’ studies and investigations? Is that not by its very nature an ever-shifting set of criteria based on the latest state of evidences and analyses? And such scholarly analysis and conclusions are reached via abductive/inductive reasoning, not deductive and so does not necessitate truth, just explanatory tentative conclusions. And not only shifting criteria, but sometimes opposing analyses by erudite scholars. That’s why you don’t base articles of faith just on that criteria – and your condemnation of RC teachings as “doctrinal error” (i.e. articles of faith) based on that shifting criteria (i.e. opinions) is dubious.

    “And this speaks to how actual doctrines have been created, as I noted in my article which described how this happened in an actual and very significant mistranslation that was essentially put into place by Augustine:”

    So this error by Augustine infected and plagued the entire western church for over 1000 years with no one noticing, even those who were fluent in Greek and Hebrew? For your claim to work, everyone was as ignorant as Augustine was in the west and never caught on, including Jerome.
    Secondly, it has no explanation for why the East holds to infusion and denies extra nos sola fide just like Rome does – pretty sure they were good with the Greek and weren’t relying on Augustine’s translations.
    Thirdly, Augustine botched this but somehow he got everything right with grace still according to you guys (well except for things like baptism and mortal sin and the like). Wonder how that worked.
    Fourthly, does not explain those who also held to the RC/EO view of righteousness before Augustine.
    Fifthly, presupposes RC dogma sources itself on the opinion of Augustine. Even if he got it completely wrong, does not mean anything in terms of the validity of what RC defined as dogma, or that dogma is defined based on scholarly lexical analysis.

    “But I’ve mentioned elsewhere (can’t keep these threads straight) that deductive reasoning only works properly if the information in the premises are correct. That’s where “grammatical historical exegesis” comes in (as I described it in my comment immediately above this one, at at 7:15 am) – and when the information from which your premises are derived is faulty, then your deductions are also “certainly” faulty.”

    The application of GHM to Scripture yields conclusions that are abductive/inductive, not deductive. That’s why there’s honest scholarly disagreement in both the fields that are utilized in GHM, as well as the conclusions from Scripture drawn by GHM.

    “Nor does your knowledge of this fact differ significantly (if in any way) from what it would be if you could “deductively” prove that the sun will come up tomorrow.”

    Do erudite scholars disagree that the sun will come up tomorrow? Do they disagree on proper hermeneutics, socio-historical analysis of Biblical data, linguistic/lexical analysis of Biblical data, the evidence in those fields to be even considered when coming to those conclusions, how to even properly apply those fields to the Biblical data, and so forth? Yes. And all of this reduces to various levels of probable opinion. Which does not yield infallible truth/articles of faith by definition. That’s why when you bring up oh Ehrman agrees Christ existed, it doesn’t mean anything. Does he believe the Resurrection or Trinity? No, based on his same methodologies that he used to conclude a man known as Christ lived.

    “Rome must make the case for its own infallibility, and if it can’t do so (which I believe to be the case), then its “interpretive paradigm” is simply bankrupt and not to be taken seriously.”

    Part of making its case is showing the insufficiency of other systems.

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  134. John,

    “Part of making its case is showing the insufficiency of other systems.”is BS.

    Is the Reformed tactic to use presuppositional apologetics pure BS? Better tell your triablogue buddies. I agree if I was saying Rome wins by default or had nothing to form a positive case that’d be BS. But I’ve never said that.

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  135. CVD: Presuppositional apologetics is not BS — but at some point, it is very clear to us that evidence can and does play a role in either confirming or contradicting our presuppositions. You may think it’s a matter of “shifting criteria”, but this is truly what “advancing knowledge” is. And as I said, the more that we learn.

    Presuppositional apologetics only works because God is the source of knowledge, and “increasing knowledge” merely serves to affirm that the non-believer is relying on God’s criteria (i.e. Scripture as the foundation of all knowledge).

    But the Reformed apologetic doesn’t hesitate as well to show that history supports the Gospel accounts, that Paul’s letters are the more well-attested in history than most ancient documents, etc. We’ve got tangible history on our side.

    Where Rome fails is that Rome’s doctrines are not confirmed by “increasing knowledge”, but that (as I wrote to you yesterday), the story on the papacy is only one among a number of “doctrines” being pushed back against the wall — for example, that “25-year bishopric of Peter in Rome”, which the Roman church dogmatically asserted for centuries, has been proven to be an error.

    the Reformed apologetic rests upon historical knowledge; it is not undermined by it. The Reformed don’t have to be afraid of history.

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  136. Mad( I don’t know why you call yourself “mad”, you see level headed to me)

    One thing to consider is, “is there a way for us to correct our division if we have different definitions of what constitutes the four marks”.

    You said,” It is important for Protestants (and RCs as well, no doubt) to make a distinction between the visible and invisible church”, and I say that you are correct.

    Protestantism claims an invisible church that is faithful to “the gospel”( as they describe it and begs the question)yet it still says that there is membership in some or another visible body where the member has to subscribe to confessions that may or may not be scriptural( who can know with many interpretations?), and has to put themselves under a heirarchy that goes as far back as the 1500s.
    But as for sin, that will always be, however there is great holiness within the church too, and the saints are a great motive of credibility as are miracles.

    “Additionally, if there is only one church (one institutional, identifiable, and RC church) and if it is true that extra ecclesia nulla salus est (there is no salvation outside the church), then what to make of Vatican II, the current Catechism of the Catholic church, and Pope Francis — all of which teach salvation outside of the institutional, identifiable, and RC church?”

    The catechism is proof that Vatican II wasn’t wrong. Extra ecclesia nulla salus est, is still true, “because” there is one, holy, catholic( and it means it) church; a one stop shop for all your orthodox needs 🙂 (Protestantism offers some truth here, some truth there and good luck finding a visible body where all doctrines must be agreed upon even if you don’t want to give assent( but should since the church is God’s and He cannot decieve). If you are baptized you are a member of The Church even if you are kicking against the goad, for there is only one Lord, one faith, one baptism.
    If you really would like to understand more please do listen to that lecture by Lawrence Feingold on the motives of credibility.

    Wish you well!
    Susan

    Like

  137. kent
    Posted January 17, 2014 at 1:43 pm | Permalink
    Tom VD:Well, the floor is yours. The Orthodox Presbyterian Church, of Darryl G. Hart, membership 30,000. 30,000?

    Several of us are not OPC.

    DGH is very welcoming of those of us in other acceptable denominations, provided we behave like a Christian on here.

    You mean like ganging up on the people outside of your club and calling them names? Good Christian fun, I guess. The Gospel According to St. Bastard.

    ___________

    Susan
    Posted January 17, 2014 at 1:14 pm | Permalink
    Mad,

    Maybe this conversation that we Catholics are having on this blog is making no headway at all, or maybe somebody is reading and can see the dilemmas that are raised. Anyways, the tags do say “Are the CtCers Paying Attention, and “Roman Catholicism”, so I take it we are still invited to the talk and that Old Lifer’s are people of goodwill who care about Christian unity.

    Or not.

    Like

  138. Tom: You mean like ganging up on the people outside of your club and calling them names? Good Christian fun, I guess. The Gospel According to St. Bastard.

    Good to see you saw the humour in that Friday afternoon softball toss to you… 😀

    Like

  139. John,

    “You may think it’s a matter of “shifting criteria”, but this is truly what “advancing knowledge” is. And as I said, the more that we learn.”

    It is shifting criteria, because you filter whose scholarly conclusions you accept in analyzing the data. All of that is shifting – the abductive analyses/conclusions, the methodologies and validity of them used in reaching those conclusions, the evidences/extent of the available data set, what counts as valid in the data set, the experience/number of scholars studying a particular issue, your competence in the subjects you use in order to filter scholars, etc. It is only “advancing knowledge” if it agrees with your precommitments. You don’t think scholars or archaeology that undermines the OT historical record are “advancing knowledge”, or ones who undermine biblical inerrancy, or the Resurrection. Why? Because it doesn’t agree with your precommitments – they must not just be interpreting the data right.

    “(i.e. Scripture as the foundation of all knowledge).”

    Wait, I thought general revelation pointed to a creator.

    “history supports the Gospel accounts….We’ve got tangible history on our side.”

    So all erudite historical and biblical scholars should believe in the Resurrection right? That’s in the gospel accounts. All of them should believe in biblical inerrancy right and not question the historicity of the OT or NT right? You are again confusing fallible shifting conflicting historical scholarship with a means of discerning divine articles of faith.

    “The Reformed don’t have to be afraid of history.”

    No they just dismiss it as “pagan piety” as you did when it shows beliefs they don’t share, but then hold it as “God being sovereign over epistemology” when it does agree with them. Special pleading.

    “CVD: Meanwhile, you seem to be using “presuppositional apologetics” as an excuse not to have to account for the historical data.”

    Like you and your speculation on the historical data for Irenaeus/Ignatius (“we might not have everything they wrote, they might have lied, what we have might be doctored, contemporaries might not have known what they wrote so we can’t refer to those in analyzing them, etc”). Your account of the historical data is shaped by your current favored selection of scholars and the latest available data – you filter out those scholars and data who disagree with your conclusions, you use ones when it suits your purposes against Rome whose same methodologies to reach those conclusions are used to undermine your own conservative positions, you make dogmatic claims based on these shifting opinions/conclusions within shifting fields, and you base your acceptance/rejection of articles of faith based on the plausible opinions of these scholars.

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  140. You totally miss the boat regarding how I understand “scholars”. You might be right if there were scholarship out there that agrees with Rome. But NONE of them agree with Rome (except for Bernard Green, and he’s both a liar and a child molester).

    I intend to respond to this in detail.

    Meanwhile, you still accept “inductively and abductively” the knowledge that the sun will rise tomorrow, with no qualms about it. And you fail to lift a finger to try to show the truth behind Rome’s claims, which are thoroughly discredited in these circles.

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  141. Erik ducks into the room to see what’s going on. Hears loud voices…

    “But NONE of them agree with Rome (except for Bernard Green, and he’s both a liar and a child molester).”

    Quietly ducks out, hoping no one has seen him.

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  142. John,

    “But NONE of them agree with Rome (except for Bernard Green, and he’s both a liar and a child molester).”

    Good to know. Although how his decadent behavior affects his scholarship is beyond me. I wonder if your head would implode if Lampe was found guilty of something.

    Greene’s not the only one who disagrees with your view of early Rome:
    William Moran’s The Government of the Church in the First Century (1913)
    John Bampton’s The church in Rome in the first century (1913)
    Felix Cirlot’s Apostolic Succession: is it True? (1955)
    Kenneth E. Kirk’s The Apostolic Ministry –Essays on the History and the Doctrine of Episcopacy (1946)
    Robert Wiliams Bishop Lists: Formation of Apostolic Succession of Bishops in Ecclesiastical Crises (2005)

    And of course you disagree with Lampe’s methodology and conclusions in his analysis of the NT (even though that same methodology/conclusions directly influences his analysis related to the continuity with the post-apostolic church in Rome which you do like).

    “Meanwhile, you still accept “inductively and abductively” the knowledge that the sun will rise tomorrow, with no qualms about it”

    Find me the shifting data related to our belief the sun will rise tomorrow that is in any way analogous to the shifting data and analyses used in heremeneutics, sociology, history, linguistics/lexical analysis, textual criticism, archaeology, etc. There’s a reason erudite scholars disagree with each other when analyzing the same data sets in these fields, and a reason no one disagrees the sun will rise tomorrow.

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  143. John,

    Just an addendum related to the sun rising thing.
    Btw I’ve made the same point before about your inconsistency with you and your tblog buddies rampant skepticism with science related to matters of global warming or YEC or evolution that has a pretty high consensus by scientific scholars, just because it conflicts with your precommitments (ah they must just be biased, or they’re being dishonest!) and yet your absolute disregard for any such skepticism when it comes to matters in history and all the other fields I mentioned above. Given science is much “neater” in terms of reaching solid conclusions (although of course still revisable) and certainly has a greater consensus amongst scholars (I mean how many specialists study early Roman church order compared to those working in biology or cosmology) compared to the much softer fields I mentioned above, it is a bizarre inconsistency.

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  144. kent
    Posted January 17, 2014 at 4:16 pm | Permalink
    Tom: You mean like ganging up on the people outside of your club and calling them names? Good Christian fun, I guess. The Gospel According to St. Bastard.

    Good to see you saw the humour in that Friday afternoon softball toss to you… 😀

    Ah. Darned sporting of you. Cheers.

    Like

  145. John,

    “Meanwhile, all your other guys are pre-Cullmann. So they’re lacking in some of the key information that Cullmann brought to light. In other words, they are in the dark, just the same way the papacy kept the world for much of about 1600 years.”

    Thank you for making my point. Ever-shifting criteria. Yet you use that to make dogmatic claims.

    So I won’t be able to find any reputable scholar who disagrees with Cullman on anything? Of course even if I couldn’t, which I doubt, it wouldn’t mean anything. Cullman is only as good as his methodology (which was informed by other academic fields that were equally subject to shifting) he uses in analyzing the data set he had available to him at the time, and was giving his plausible opinion based on his abductive/inductive reasoning. All shifting and not the basis for infallible articles of faith.

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  146. Regarding Bernard Green: Although how his decadent behavior affects his scholarship is beyond me

    Allen Brent’s review of Green’s work should shed some light as well. Brent notes:

    “part of the evidence [that Rome was a loose confederation of separate assemblies] Green knows but misrepresents”

    Allen Brent (2011). Review of Bernard Green ‘Christianity in ancient Rome. The first three centuries’ The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 62, pp 564-565

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  147. John,

    Bryn Mawr Classical Review might shed light as well:
    “The underbrush is dense but Green is deft at clearing a way through the thicket of topics: the formation of orthodoxy and heresy, Christianity’s proper relationship to the heritage of Judaism and its scriptures, the nature and identity of Christ, the formulation of creeds and canons, and the evolution of ecclesiastical structures bent on providing order and leadership in the midst of competing claims and ideas. It might be noted that although Green readily acknowledges doctrinal diversity, he is less inclined than some recent scholars to see “fractionated” multiplicity as a defining feature of the city’s Christian social landscape or to postpone the emergence of a fully fledged Roman episcopate until as late as the 230s and 240s.”

    Amazing how scholars and reviewers can disagree isn’t it?

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  148. Much of Green’s work is good. Brent was in a position to know where he was fudging.

    Green is an offender against children and he “misrepresents” on key points of his scholarship — that is one spot where Brent is in a position to know.

    “By their fruits you shall know them”.

    Oops — that’s “Sola Scriptura”. Therefore, it makes everything about Green right!

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  149. “By their fruits you shall know them”

    Seriously? So you can’t divorce the art from the artist? Or the scientific theorem/proof from the scientist? Or the company’s products you use from the company? Or the invention from the inventor? I bet you did a moral inventory of every scholar and theologian you’ve ever accepted. Come on.

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  150. You obviously MUST divorce the “art from the artist”.

    On the other hand, I can point to a body of work — beginning with the Scriptures, which cohere from beginning to end, along with a growing body of scholarship of all types — all of which support the Biblical account and it all points to and supports “Christ alone” and “to God alone be the glory”.

    It doesn’t matter that there isn’t “infallible certainty” around all of what I’ve got. The Scriptures themselves are infallibly true, and truth is truth.

    It’s no surprise to me that some Roman Catholics had to invent “the dark night of the soul” and the “Spiritual exercise” of Ignatius — teaching you to believe the very opposite of what your God-given sense tells you, all to uphold what “the Church” says.

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  151. John,

    “teaching you to believe the very opposite of what your God-given sense tells you, all to uphold what “the Church” says.”

    RC Sproul:
    “However, if something can be shown to be definitively taught in the Bible without questioning, and somebody gives me a theory from natural revelation—that they think is based off of natural revelation—that contradicts the Word of God, I’m going to stand with the Word of God a hundred times out of a hundred. But again I have to repeat, I could have been a mistaken interpreter of the Word of God.”

    Looks like sproul says he’s gotta believe Scripture over what his God-given sense is telling him about natural revelation, or revise his interpretation in light of it. Not any different from what Ignatius says.

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  152. John,

    “On the other hand, I can point to a body of work — beginning with the Scriptures, which cohere from beginning to end, along with a growing body of scholarship of all types — all of which support the Biblical account and it all points to and supports “Christ alone” and “to God alone be the glory”.

    You say growing body of scholarship of all types supports “Christ alone” and “to God alone be the glory”. So if it’s all types – can you point me to atheist scholarship (you like Ehrman) where the scholar supports “Christ alone” and “to God alone be the glory”? Also you say such scholarship supports the Biblical account that “coheres beginning to end” so can you find me lots of liberal and atheistic scholarship that doesn’t deny inerrancy or historical errors of the Bible? You get the point. Your “growing body of scholarship of all types” is that which you’ve filtered/selected and then diced and cut to fit your precommitments and use them when they help you, ignore them when they work against you.

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  153. james van cleat, “No they just dismiss it [history] as “pagan piety” as you did when it shows beliefs they don’t share.”

    Well, there is that veneration of the “saints.” Not as if you don’t get devotional about the past.

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  154. Cletus Van DAMMIT!

    You want a real riot, read liberal prots. That’s me and my little history. I unfortunately have that as a holdover, seeing as they were a waystation until reformed protestantism. I still haven’t found anyone who can drill into WCF beliefs the way the guru of Tillich (mailine Episcoplian) could with me. From what I can tell, you aren’t bringing much new.

    But there’s something worth while to this post. Let’s keep it up re: Infallibility. Dude, that one took me years. I mean, stay papist and all. But there’s more to discuss. I promise my links won’t be arousing from here on out. Yo.

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  155. Cletus,

    Looks like sproul says he’s gotta believe Scripture over what his God-given sense is telling him about natural revelation, or revise his interpretation in light of it. Not any different from what Ignatius says.

    Except Ignatius handed his mind over to the papacy and said it could never be wrong and he had no right to doubt it under, well, really any circumstances. Then he founded an order that was at first shock troops for Rome but whose descendants have been known for being unorthodox. And except that Sproul would not say that the church was infallible and that inspiration is necessary for infallibility, except you say its not necessary.

    Sure, no difference.

    Meanwhile, Rome’s reading of history went from Jesus instituting the papacy basically as is to your recent “well, papal jurisdiction primacy isn’t incompatible with primacy of honor.”

    But no changes everybody. Nothing to see here. After all THAT aspect was never placed on that elusive infallible list of infallible doctrines.

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  156. TVD
    Well there are a lot of bastard arguments floating about, even if you think they are true.
    Such as the bastard church of Rome trying to piggyback on the authority of Scripture by claiming that the bastard Trad/Mag is equal to it and denying that prots can know anything infallibly, even when the Word of God become flesh plainly tells us in the word of God that  “ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” John 8:32.
    Which is just another bastard “interpretation” by bastard protestants.
    Because if Rome can offer just one infallible doctrine/article of faith QED she is the true infallible church. Such as the assumption or immaculate deception. Speaking of . . . .

    Meanwhile the Wizard of Oz pope is fumbling through his papers looking for an infallible list/index of infallible traditions/statements because the infallible Scripture is not good enough/sufficient.
    But the Papal Index of Books to be Suppressed was suppressed at long last which was a good thing. Its suppression, not its suppression of books like the Bible by dragging its feet when it came to translations, despite some of the bastard special pleading for that intransigence.

    So maybe there could be a lot more name calling than there is.

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  157. Bob,

    I’m sure Tom will reply but I’ll chime in since you and i are bffs.

    “denying that prots can know anything infallibly”

    Rome doesn’t deny it. You guys do. If you don’t why don’t you and your confessions do it?

    “Word of God become flesh plainly tells us in the word of God that ”ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” ”

    Hey the JWs just knocked and told me that as well. So did the Mormons and Crazy Dave. Anyone can claim that verse to justify their beliefs. If you know the truth, you should be able to give me an infallible irreformable interpretation/article of faith of Scripture – not just something that’s “probably true”. But you can’t and won’t according to your own principles.

    “infallible Scripture is not good enough/sufficient.”

    It’s certainly good enough and sufficient – when not wrenched out of the interpretive community and tradition it came from. It wasn’t good enough for the Arians, because that’s exactly what they did.

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  158. Long story short, Cletus Van Doe, that the confession can err, does not mean it has.
    The Scripture declares that we can know God and know him truly/infallibly. From Scripture.

    Rome says otherwise.

    WCF affirms the first and you complain because on the basis of our own authority we claim nothing. But the pope doesn’t get to tout his own credentials or inspiration or infallibility.

    You want an divine article of faith? Faith in Christ is a gift of the Holy Spirit, not little papa’s. And if you don’t have it, this is all Greek to you and you won’t stop complaining.

    As for the Arians, they were answered from Scripture.
    IOW we been here before. Whitaker answered Bellarmine.

    But yeah, when Scripture is wrenched out of its context in the name of the Roman narrative about the patristic consensus – the at all times in all places by all meme- then it’s not sufficient.

    But then we redefine Scripture to include the Trad/Mag/Assumption/Immaculate Deception/Co-mediatrix and it’s all good according to the RCC.

    IOW Scripture can be broken or added to and the Trad/Mag can be trusted to mend its own justification just like fixing Humpty Dumpty with super glue.

    But hey, words only mean what you want them to mean when you roll with His Holiness, even if Francis is riding a bike these days.

    ciao

    Like

  159. Dunno ’bout you, Bob the striker S, but doe-boy is getting old. I wonder how long before the Doug Sowers treatment is applied by the dude. I love how we have our ways, without resorting to nuclear like at CtC with moderated comments. One convo there last week had BC linking me to a scene from a disney movie. I love it. Thats who bryan’s infallible is, a mickey mouse hat. I can link to it on CtC, but of course BC didnt let me exposing his little foible get through. The more things change…and I’ve got more of those!!

    I say we deep six doey and send him the liberal Protestantism, that’s all he is to us:

    We think of the Reformation. This was a moment in the history of the Church in which the question of authority was once more in the center of events. Luther, and consequently the whole Protestant world, broke away from the Roman Church and from 1500 years of Christian tradition when no agreement about the authority of the pope and the councils could be reached. Here, again, someone had arisen who spoke and acted with an authority the sources of which could not be determined by legal means. And here also we must ask, “Are the Catholic authorities who rejected him in the name of their established authority to be blamed for it?” But if we do not blame them, we can ask them, “Why do you blame the Jewish authorities who did exactly the same as you did when the people said of the Reformers that they spoke with authority and not like the priests and monks?”Is the same thing so different if it is done by the Jewish high priest and if it is done by the Roman high priest? And one may ask the present-day Protestant authorities in Europe and in this country, “Are you certain that the insistence on your authority, on your tradition, and on your experience does not suppress the kind of authority which Jesus had in mind?”

    And now we ask, “What does authority mean? What does it mean for man as man? What does it mean for our period and for each of us?”

    First of all, it means that we are finite and in need of what the word “authority” really says

    And we have weak psyches, per the diaper changer? One doesn’t simply write this stuff.

    Your comments stand out, even dough boy admits it. Later, brah.

    Like

  160. If you read my comments, and follow Bryan’sblogic, you get incrediboy YouTube telling us protestants who is in charge.

    You can’t write this, folks..

    They picked the wrong religion to pick a fight with.

    With that, I leave poor BC to his mickey mouse religion, alone. Nice guy, but he’s dishonest. We need to expose, for the Christian religion flourishes (keller tee hee) not in the darkness, but in the light.

    Like

  161. Andrew,

    So your Tillich reference was to paint Rome as the Jewish leaders? Just because Christ did not explicitly address their authority question in that passage, does not mean he did not talk about his authority in many other places. Secondly, it completely ignores the NC being something superior and better than the OC – viewing the NC in light of the OC instead of the other way around – there’s a reason Christ made promises and the HS/Pentecost happened. Thirdly, it seems you’re implying the Reformers were of the same authority as Christ and/or Prophets. So why didn’t they claim that? Why didn’t they claim any type of divine infallible authority? Were Christ and the Prophets sola scripturists like the Reformers? If not, why the difference? Fourthly, any heretical group could use that same argument against any authority to justify rebellion.

    Also why’d you leave out this gem from Tillich:

    “What would He say to us? He would not have to fight about His authority with the chief priests and the scribes and the elders of our day. In our time they all acknowledge Him. He would have to ask a quite different question of them. He would have to ask: “What is the nature of my authority for you? Is it like that of John the Baptist, or is it like that of the authorities who tried to remove me? Have you made the words of those who have witnessed to me, the Bible, the Church Fathers, the popes, the reformers, the creeds, into ultimate authorities? Have you done this in my name? And if so, do you not abuse my name? For whenever my name is remembered, my fight with those who were in authority is also remembered.”

    Why’d you end up making the Bible the ultimate authority then?

    Of course I agree that Christ and the Bible are not competing authorities (nor is Rome). But the way you frame the Tillich quote above comparing Jewish leaders to Rome equally cuts against you.

    Like

  162. As a courtesy reminder, please include text "olts webbot" to any and every post directed at the homo sapien born Andrew David Buckingham April 17 19XX, earth. No more courtesy reminders to be given by olts webbot. Note: I am designed with the best specifications for theology blogging ever conceived, and receive frequent firmware updates. End transmission.

    Begin program:

    Andrew,

    So your Tillich reference was to paint Rome as the Jewish leaders? Just because Christ did not explicitly address their authority question in that passage, does not mean he did not talk about his authority in many other places. Secondly, it completely ignores the NC being something superior and better than the OC – viewing the NC in light of the OC instead of the other way around – there’s a reason Christ made promises and the HS/Pentecost happened. Thirdly, it seems you’re implying the Reformers were of the same authority as Christ and/or Prophets. So why didn’t they claim that? Why didn’t they claim any type of divine infallible authority? Were Christ and the Prophets sola scripturists like the Reformers? If not, why the difference? Fourthly, any heretical group could use that same argument against any authority to justify rebellion.

    Also why’d you leave out this gem from Tillich:

    “What would He say to us? He would not have to fight about His authority with the chief priests and the scribes and the elders of our day. In our time they all acknowledge Him. He would have to ask a quite different question of them. He would have to ask: “What is the nature of my authority for you? Is it like that of John the Baptist, or is it like that of the authorities who tried to remove me? Have you made the words of those who have witnessed to me, the Bible, the Church Fathers, the popes, the reformers, the creeds, into ultimate authorities? Have you done this in my name? And if so, do you not abuse my name? For whenever my name is remembered, my fight with those who were in authority is also remembered.”

    Why’d you end up making the Bible the ultimate authority then?

    Of course I agree that Christ and the Bible are not competing authorities (nor is Rome). But the way you frame the Tillich quote above comparing Jewish leaders to Rome equally cuts against you.

    olts webbot is not under any obligation to read or respond to questions directed at homo sapien born Andrew David Buckingham April 17 19XX, earth, from other homo sapiens pretending to be TV show characters. Please try again tomorrow after power down cycle complete. Read Westminster Confession of Faith, and corresponding Protestant Bible for further information. End Transmission.

    Like

  163. Andrew or whatever you want to call yourself,

    “Read Westminster Confession of Faith, and corresponding Protestant Bible for further information.”

    Why’d you make those your ultimate authorities like Tillich says you shouldn’t?

    “Have you made the words of those who have witnessed to me, the Bible, the Church Fathers, the popes, the reformers, the creeds, into ultimate authorities? Have you done this in my name? And if so, do you not abuse my name? For whenever my name is remembered, my fight with those who were in authority is also remembered.”

    Like

  164. Cletus van Damme,

    Do you like how that feels?

    I’m not a protestant liberal, you are, for my intents and purposes. Neal Stephenson has a funny part in his book Anathem about making the hypothetical monks in his story do monotonous exercises over and over (like Bart Simpson in detention), although I haven’t listened to all of that book yet. Reading bad theology can be a waste of time as well, so I try to point people to stuff that helped me. I gave up Tillich years ago as being influenced by it, and it was never an authority the way my OPC membership vow was, which at 19 required I affirm the Bible as the Word of God. I combatted that in my mind many years, before settling as conservative. That just (all about) me.

    Lately it’s been the music radio, stress if work and all, I go for the chick music. Guilty pleasure.

    The OLTS WEBBOT 9000 is undergoing repair, it wasn’t supposed to respond, above. Until it’s fixed, my golf game will suffer. Rats!

    Call me anything you like. Those toward Andrew in the future may make it to the Webbot. He’s a sap, I designed him that way..

    But I’m short on time. I prefer reading than writing, just as I play the greats on piano instead of compose my own. Though I hear the latter is a trip, so maybe I’ll give that a go…..

    Like

  165. Andrew,

    Please enlighten me how I am equivalent to a Protestant liberal. I’m genuinely curious. Is it just because I affirm development along with continuity?

    Like

  166. If you try to keep your comments short, I will indeed keep talking. I would have written a shorter letter, if I had the time. Blaise Pascal (butchered quote, though, on a cell phone).

    First, I don’t know you from Adam. There must be a psychological thing I’m doing, defaulting to my past experiences. But the OPC is small, so I guess I look at all those outside us the same way. Ask your co religionist Kenneth he’s our psychology major here.

    But I’ll answer simply by saying my friend elevated Tillich to where it sounds above Scripture. You so that with RC tradition. You won’t admit it, youll qualify, and chsnge meanings of words. But that’s where i get off saying that.

    Dudez if you have question, the link on my name is how to private message me. I don’t promote myself. I want to point others to Christ, as I’m sure you do too. At best I’m a window to that reality of Jesus as the Christ (there’s my tillichian self).

    My son is wrestling me (won’t nap) and I’ve said to much for others to have to read. I won’t respond again, have the last word all you like. I usually seem to cone back within several hours, can’t guarantee it. But DG has a great clip from Big Laguna. I know the world revolves without me. Point people to Christ. Worship and doing that, It’s what were here to do.

    I should have gone to seminary…(or not!)
    Peace.

    Like

  167. I always thought the 33,000 number was based from the age-old RC reasoning:

    6 people show up more than once a month to the local entity, therefore 6,000 are members.

    Like

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