Callers' Cognitive Dissonance

Ross Douthat wrote recently about the odd reaction of liberal Roman Catholics to the notion that Pope Francis may change church teaching. He referred to Damon Linker’s surprise when doing an NPR talk show and a liberal Roman Catholic caller indicated that Linker was wrong to think that Francis changing the church’s stands was a potentially big deal:

After reading an endless stream of gushing commentary by liberal Catholics on Pope Francis, I’m beginning to wonder if they ever really cared about reforming doctrine in the first place.

The seeds of doubt were planted a couple of weeks after my TNR essay was published, when I appeared on an NPR radio show to discuss the pope. I repeated my argument, but then a caller challenged me. Describing herself as a progressive Catholic, she dismissed my skepticism about the likelihood of Francis reforming church doctrine. “Doctrine for a Catholic, now, is not even an issue,” said Trish from Kentucky (you can listen to her beginning at 24:43). “Catholics do not care about doctrine,” she said, adding, “It’s irrelevant. It’s a non-issue for Catholics.”

That, to be honest, is something that I hadn’t considered when I wrote my essay. As I indicated in my remarks responding to Trish, I had assumed all along that liberal Catholics wanted to liberalize Catholic doctrine — that they wanted to bring the church, as I wrote in TNR, “into conformity with the egalitarian ethos of modern liberalism, including its embrace of gay rights, sexual freedom, and gender equality.”

But here was a liberal Catholic telling me I’d gotten it all wrong. The pope’s warm, welcoming words are “everything,” Trish said, because doctrine, including that covering contraception and divorce, is “useless.”

Douthat concedes that this form of liberal Roman Catholicism may be more prevalent in U.S. circles than he had imagined (though you’d never know that from CTC):

The Commonweal-reading wing of liberal Catholicism would certainly reject the latter idea [i.e., “Roman Catholicism” just happens to be the name of the stage on which your purely individual spiritual drama is taking place], but the kind of “post-Catholic Catholicism” Linker describes is clearly more of a force in our culture today than it was during the early days of the American Church’s post-Vatican II civil war (it’s hard to understand the controversy over American nuns, for instance, without recognizing its impact), and the Trishes of the culture have a strong wind at their back in a way that would-be reformers of the old, 1960s-era school of liberal Catholicism arguably do not.

But Douthat is hopeful of another way of reading the situation, one he found among Jewish Americans whose conflicted and at times hypocritical observance of Judaism’s norms translated into children more observant than their parents.

[The problem is] how to make its hardest rules seem like aspirations rather than just judgments, and how to deal with the many fine personal gradations that can exist between orthodoxy and apostasy, fidelity and dissent. And I suspect there are many Catholics who would be classified as “liberal” who want . . . room to dissent from a teaching or fail to live up to it in practice, but they don’t necessarily want the church to change that teaching so that the dissonance or tension they feel simply goes away. Hence their positive reaction to Francis’s rhetorical shift and their lack of urgency about actual doctrinal change. They aren’t necessarily all Trishes who have decided that they don’t care about what the Catechism says. Some of them, at least, might be more like the Orthodox Jews who parked their cars around the corner without demanding that the rabbi be okay with it, and whose children turned out to be more observant, rather than less.

Whatever this post may indicate about the more than cognitive dissonance — call it denial — that Protestants-turned-Roman Catholic must face when seeing how broad the spectrum of Roman Catholicism in action and possibly wondering why nothing of consequence happens, it does lead to a curious point that many miss about Protestantism, Douthat included. I can actually imagine describing the OPC as the kind of place where the room for dissent that Douthat imagines exists — a church that makes room for dissenters to turn into people with children who become much more disciplined in their observance. After all, we have plenty of public disputes in Reformed circles about the application of redemption, about the law, about biblical interpretation. An ordinary church member doesn’t need to worry about any of this, but also may follow the latest blogs with great zeal. At the same time, our officers know the procedures for negotiating such dissent. We have well prescribed rules and frameworks of jurisdiction that allow for discipline to be real and serious. If you cross the line as an officer, you will suffer, and the people who can make you suffer know what to do. As a lay person, if you don’t adhere to church teaching (as long as you don’t sin), you simply can’t teach Sunday school. Sabbath observance is arguably the best case of this. In many congregations, if you don’t attend both services you won’t be considered for special office. If you don’t return to church at night, no one is going to shame you into a puddle of remorse. Sanctifying the Lord’s Day is the norm, the standard, and it may even be an aspiration. Either way, the rules governing church discipline — which is in the hands of a variety of officers at a number of levels, thus insuring mixed government (hello, ecclesiastical subsidiarity) — give officers a clear sense of how to enforce the norms, even supplying a dose of wisdom by forcing an officer particularly zealous about the Lord’s Day to calculate how his charges against a fellow church member will go with other members of session, presbytery, and even General Assembly.

What Rome seems to lack, in contrast, is any mechanism for dissenters, bishops, priests, Knights of Columbus, Nancy Pelosi to know how to process dissent and its flipside. The Vatican has the levers of power but they are remote from ordinary priests, lay people, religious. In which case, dissent becomes as much a piece of ecclesiastical furniture as papal power. Dissent and papal power are there, but it’s just white noise. There’s no manual for how to adjust the volume or turn off the machine. (And what’s particularly odd about this state of affairs is that Rome has had over a millenium to try to figure this out, and with all that charism no less!)

Thanks to Calvin’s Ecclesiastical Ordinances (based on Scripture, of course), Presbyterians have the instructions.

Postscript: Here’s an example of the kind of white noise that dissent and authority comprise for the superior mechanism of an infallible pope. It is from John Allen’s story about papal representatives’ testimony in Geneva before the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Church about the child-abuse scandal:

Second, most of the immediate blowback against Thursday’s presentation by Tomasi and Scicluna focused on the claim that Rome is not responsible for supervising the more than 400,000 Catholic priests of the world, which falls instead to local bishops and religious superiors. Repeatedly, Tomasi and Scicluna offered statements of principle as to how the church ought to operate, but were then forced to concede that implementation varies widely at the grassroots.

Critics found the claim that the Vatican can’t take direct control of the situation disingenuous.

“We’re very saddened that such a huge and powerful church bureaucracy continues to pretend it’s powerless over its own officials,” said a statement from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

In fairness, insistence on the autonomy of the local church is perfectly consistent with both official Catholic ecclesiology and actual practice in the church. It’s worth noting that a federal judge in Oregon, who’s a Mormon with no dog in Catholic fights, took a close look at the contention that priests are “employees” of the Vatican in a lawsuit related to the abuse scandals in 2012 and ruled that they clearly aren’t.

Nevertheless, the skepticism those claims elicited Thursday illustrates the uphill climb the Vatican faces in trying to persuade people that it couldn’t impose its will if it really wanted to.

In truth, this has long been one the paradoxes generated by the sex abuse mess. For decades, church reformers (especially on the liberal end of things) have clamored for greater collegiality in Catholicism, and they applauded vigorously when Pope Francis pledged support for a “healthy decentralization” in his recent document, Evangelii Gaudium. Yet when it comes to sex abuse, they seem to want the exact opposite — they want the long arm of the law to reach down from Rome and crack heads.

What this perhaps suggests is that theologians working on the nature and limits of papal authority and the relationship between local churches and Rome need to sit down with the child protection people to make sure that the real-world experience of the abuse scandals is brought into the conversation.

The truth of it may be that a strong pope is a bit like a lawyer — everybody loves to complain until they need one.

Turns out that papal authority is great for apologetics, not so great for running the church.

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623 thoughts on “Callers' Cognitive Dissonance

  1. Darryl,

    Nothing here demonstrates any cognitive dissonance on our part. In order to do that, you would need to show that we hold two beliefs that don’t fit together. Anyone can *assert* cognitive dissonance between someone else’s beliefs, but that does not show that there is any such cognitive dissonance.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

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  2. Bryan, predictable. No engagement. Check out the postscript.

    BTW, who ever said this “demonstrates” something. You guys are all about certainty and logic and infallibility. Ad hominem alert: you haven’t left behind your evangelical past.

    Have you ever considered an implication of your views or your manner? I doubt it given your habit of interaction.

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  3. Bryan, haven’t read this yet, nor yours. Didn’t need to.

    I started fighting lib prots around Feb 2009. I was working out in my mind where I found God had planted me. Bloom where you are planted.

    And I resolved the epistimetic crisis episode of my life. You and your co bloggers did to. Via Boniface etc.

    There’s not much confusing about blogdom. I understand you come here to defend, that’s fine. But your vision of unification for Christendom is off base. Thus we continue, and I follow your words with interest.

    Have a good day.

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  4. Never have considered it to be cognitive dissonance. Instead, it’s more like bipolar disorder – trash the chain-of-command one day, when it’s inconvenient to one’s popular cultural drift, then come weeping and moaning the next, when circumstances warrant their intervention.

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  5. Bryan, allow me to NOT second what Andrew said:

    Have a good day.

    I hope you have a crappy today and that tomorrow (the Lord’s Day) is worse — all to the end that you realize that your much-needed unhappiness is blamable at least in part on your works-oriented, idolatrous religion. Mary and Francis can’t help you. Consider this a call to return to the true faith.

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  6. It’ll die in committee, unifier, a death of a thousand cuts.

    Just working that kellerism out of me, yo. It’s not my fault I like dancing.

    Who am I kidding. I second your not second. Not for a second would I think otherwise.

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  7. I can actually imagine describing the OPC as the kind of place where the room for dissent that Douthat imagines exists

    What I can’t imagine is Bryan ever coming here to talk with us.

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  8. What’s happened is their dissidence has become a prophetic voice. And while Francis largely places or observes this particular charism in the religious orders, in fact, the laity’s charism most often reflects these characteristics as well. Lumen Gentium recognizes and anticipates this reality and thus encouraged the bishops to employ it in their pastoral and administrative functions. The formal mechanism is the individual dissent which later takes on a corporate aspect and later receives codification as pew practice or even the movement of God amongst his people. Actually, in Rome, with numerous practices unhinged from sciptural warrant, it varyingly ends up being a necessary and rightful corrective; engagement of civil authorities in violation of canon law in reporting of abusive clergy, the laity is a generation ahead of formal canon law requirement and Rome finally lost Ireland before it changed it’s stance, and on the negative side(from a scriptural warrant perspective) the pew practice/observance of Mary, drove the ongoing recognition of Mary’s mediatorial elevation.

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  9. After all, we have plenty of public disputes in Reformed circles about the application of redemption, about the law, about biblical interpretation. An ordinary church member doesn’t need to worry about any of this, but also may follow the latest blogs with great zeal.

    So it’s wrong for the PCA to meet behind closed doors? Who would have thought common sense rules the day. Twilight Zone.

    anyway, great piece. I follow Douthat now, too.

    Cheers.

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  10. pew practice/observance of Mary, drove the ongoing recognition of Mary’s mediatorial elevation.

    Sean, downright fascinating. Between my next door neighbor and our conversations over the fence (someone give me a Tim the tool man Aru?!?), the house five doors down with an awning just fir the Mary statue out front (no joke), and my cubicle neighbor whose kids (won’t say how many, here) were dressed in outfits with Mary emblems on them for Halloween, I’ve been scratching my head more these days. These be kinda funny instances if not for the fact they actually did enter my eyeballs.

    We need not speed up. But good Eph 6 warriors stand firm. REM, yo.

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  11. I think you guys are being too tough on Bryan.

    He’s just being a ‘good little soldier’…he won’t criticize his own. Always stick up for the family…no matter what they say or do.

    The ability to criticize our own and call a thing what it truly is, is not all that common today. Maybe it never has been.

    Thank God that St. Paul was willing to stand up to St.Peter and tell him he was way off base. Otherwise we’d all have to become good little Jews first, before we could become Christians.

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  12. Steve — I find very interesting your observation that Cross does not call a thing as it truly is.

    Perhaps the Callers are not just Catholics, but also Nominalists? Whatever their views regarding realism, it does seem that they could use a good dose of reality…

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  13. Darryl,

    ” After all, we have plenty of public disputes in Reformed circles about the application of redemption, about the law, about biblical interpretation. An ordinary church member doesn’t need to worry about any of this, but also may follow the latest blogs with great zeal. At the same time, our officers know the procedures for negotiating such dissent. We have well prescribed rules and frameworks of jurisdiction that allow for discipline to be real and serious.”

    First of all a person has to be sure that the OPC is the community that is the one called by God. OPC didn’t begin in 33 AD. A visible instituition may not always be the invisible authority either, so another community like say the Lutherans might be the visible, invisible church, but how can one be sure.
    Secondly, if a member dissents from your rules he can just go to a community that believes the bible according to him. But it is still impossible to establish who is the true community in the Protestant’s invisible chuch scenario.
    The CCC says that on Pentecost The Church was displayed to the crowds; the Church must still be one “society structured with hierarchial organs and the mystical body of Christ”.

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  14. Susan, (was that you on Jason’s blog in July 2012? Has it been so long?)

    You say you were reformed. How much did you read of our standards? We flesh out visible / invisible distinction in great detail. After a month or two, ive got the guy who thinks he’s a tv character dealing with WCF chapter 1. I suggest you start there as well.

    On a phone, will dialog as able.

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  15. Susan,

    The RCC wasn’t founded in 33 either. Your denomination started, at the earliest, around 1054 AD when it split from the East. It would actually be better to say the Roman Catholic denomination didn’t start until Trent, since the Reformers ideas were acceptable before then in the Western church.

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  16. Does this help?

    <blockquote cite="")Now, my burden is to discuss how the animus has played out in Orthodox Presbyterian history, …

    I remember Sinclair Ferguson describing to me a parishioner in his church who was plagued by her doubts over the doctrine of assurance. She couldn’t find assurance for her salvation, though she was obsessive in its pursuit, and Ferguson finally told her that she was going to figure out assurance only when she stopped thinking about it. This was advice that was akin, you recall, to what Luther received from von Staupitz that morbid introspection must yield to our setting our sights on the work of Christ. Now, let me give you another example of what I am suggesting here, and this may be even more familiar to us. Consider infant baptism. I have been a theological educator now for about a quarter century, and I have known many young men who have migrated from credo-baptism to paedo-baptism, and I am sure you have, as well. Maybe there are some in this room who have made that migration. What I have never witnessed is anybody who has been persuaded by a study of New Testament proof texts. In those discussions, the credo-baptist stands firm. But, away from those texts, as he is given to consider broader issues in redemptive history – the beauty of the covenant in all its consequences, the symphony of Scripture that links God’s saving purposes in the New Testament with that in the Old Testament – here is where resistance to paedo-baptism begins to breakdown. And, I want to suggest that possibly a similar phenomenon may apply to controversies and conundrums regarding confessionalism. In my study of the history of the OPC, it was striking to learn how little the OPC has engaged in any corporate reflection on the nature and terms of subscription. Indeed, a search of the OPC General Assembly minutes will reveal that until the Creation Views Committee was erected in 2001, there was no reference to animus or imponentis on our minutes at all. And, I would even venture to suggest that the OPC seemed to achieve its moments of greatest confessional consensus at particular times when it was least given to corporate reflection on subscription. We have been united on the subject, it seems, when it doesn’t come up.

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  17. But another point I’d like to make, is “what does it mean to be the church?” It sounds to me like you think it’s to be some sort of political club. The Church exists to help a person get to heaven and is the reason why dissent is so harming. It’s the reason such things as sacraments exist.

    When I was in the URCNA our family had one elder visit in 9 yrs. That community is caring and generous, but not so good at watching out for one’s souls. I know of Protestant’s that agree with abortion in some cases,homosexual marriageand voted for Obama, but the elders are none the wiser to it and can’t very well excommunicate them just for holding antibiblical ideas or voted according to conscience, if they found out. Of course this URCNA of which I was a member is a Two Kingdom’s community so as long as those holding immoral ideas still believe in “the gospel” they’re members in good standing.

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  18. I’m concerned about struggling churches. That’s when we dig in our heels, we don’t quit tho.

    Luther was rejected. Definatively and authoritativly at Trent.

    Who are you going to believe?

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  19. Hi Andrew,

    It could have been me, and probably was.

    Thanks for the quote, but I don’t have a morbid fixation on assurance. These days I don’t read any Reformed writers. In the same way that I didn’t want my children to read books about Plato or Aristotle so I gave them the primary sources and a Great Books education, I prefer to read the scriptures and the ECF. If I was going to read any Reformer, I’d read Luther and Calvin, as I have. If one gets regurgitated information it could be misleading.

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  20. I should disavow my subscription to WCF because of regurgitation??

    Don’t get you at all, here. What are you after, then?

    Read WCF again, please. Chapt 1, start at p1

    The rest is banter.

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  21. Robert,

    “The RCC wasn’t founded in 33 either. Your denomination started, at the earliest, around 1054 AD when it split from the East. It would actually be better to say the Roman Catholic denomination didn’t start until Trent, since the Reformers ideas were acceptable before then in the Western church.”

    So say you. What I’d really like to know what do you do with the doctrinal disparity that exist between Protestantism and the shared doctrines of Rome and the EO? If what you say is true then Prostantism should look more like the EO. Your reductionism, besides being question begging, is stark. It doesn’t require a Sherlock Holmes to figure it out 🙂

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  22. Andrew,

    You like the WCF, I get it. I homeschool and so I satnearly everyday going over these standards, but I thought its entirety to be an infallible summary of what the scriptures principally teach. The first Q.is quite beautiful and true!

    “What are you after, then?” <>

    The church and the sacraments, all given to us by Christ Himself. This is loving. Not having a church and sacraments, and leaving us abruptly to live in the veil of tears would have been unloving.

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  23. I tried typing in the word “smile” and putting those arrow thingys around it, but it failed. yo. 🙂

    Take care Andrew.

    ~Susan

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  24. You like the Pope WCF , I get it. I dont homeschool and so I satnearly everyday going over these standards, but I thought its entirety to be an infallible summary of what the scriptures principally teach. The first Q.is quite beautiful and true!

    “What are you after, then?”

    The church and the sacraments, all given to us by Christ Himself. This is loving. Not having a church and sacraments, and leaving us abruptly to live in the veil of tears would have been unloving.

    Olts Webbot: Andrew works hard and it's hard to do that on a phone. Go easy. He's a friend and very sensitive

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  25. What do the Catholics here make of what I’ve been reading this week that the Vatican says they have little control over abusive priests because they are all citizens of different countries/states. How does having one, infallible leader help you in cases like this if the church can just throw up their hands when its expedient?

    It seems disingenuous to claim to have the answers but then claim to not have the answers when the rubber meets the road.

    There’s also the problem that they hid perpetrators from the same authorities that they now claim were supposed to police the problem.

    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304603704579324891654814828?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702304603704579324891654814828.html

    “Two high-ranking Catholic officials today basically told a United Nations panel that the Vatican has little real power to stop bishops from hiding clergy sex crimes,” said in a statement Mary Caplan of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP. “We’re very saddened that such a huge and powerful church bureaucracy continues to pretend it’s powerless over its own officials.”

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  26. The Dude beat me to my question in his postscript.

    D.G. – Why don’t you just include a boilerplate of Bryan’s anticipated comment before he makes it. It would save him some time.

    I think you’re thoroughly under his skin.

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  27. Susan,

    So say you. What I’d really like to know what do you do with the doctrinal disparity that exist between Protestantism and the shared doctrines of Rome and the EO? If what you say is true then Prostantism should look more like the EO. Your reductionism, besides being question begging, is stark. It doesn’t require a Sherlock Holmes to figure it out.

    What are the shared doctrines of Rome and EO that you have in mind, because I’m not sure there as many shared doctrines as you think there are.

    Its “question-begging” to assume that Rome was founded in 33 AD when the documents and witness we actually have from the first 100 years of that date don’t show us a papacy, the Assumption of Mary, justification by infused grace, ecclesiastical infallibility.

    I have no problem admitting that the church had much error in it in 1054 AD. The fact that I would say Rome was founded then (more actually, the Western church) in no way necessitates that Protestantism would have to look like EO. We don’t have to find every Protestant distinctive in 1054 to stand in the tradition of the church. If you want to believe that, be consistent and show me the full-blown Roman Catholic Church in 1054.

    The reductionism is stark only for those who refuse to deal with the absolute lack of evidence for Rome’s claims in the earliest church.

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  28. When I was in the URCNA our family had one elder visit in 9 yrs. That community is caring and generous, but not so good at watching out for one’s souls. I know of Protestant’s that agree with abortion in some cases,homosexual marriage and voted for Obama, but the elders are none the wiser to it and can’t very well excommunicate them just for holding antibiblical ideas or voted according to conscience, if they found out. Of course this URCNA of which I was a member is a Two Kingdom’s community so as long as those holding immoral ideas still believe in “the gospel” they’re members in good standing.

    Susan, you say this like it’s a bad thing. But what I hear is liberty of conscience is being observed and discipline reserved for doctrine and life. And last I checked with my Catholics (a descendant of blue collar Catholics and white collar WASPs here), priests aren’t really in the habit of visiting families every six months and policing their particular politics. So I wonder what your point is.

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  29. What Rome seems to lack, in contrast, is any mechanism for dissenters, bishops, priests, Knights of Columbus, Nancy Pelosi to know how to process dissent and its flipside. The Vatican has the levers of power but they are remote from ordinary priests, lay people, religious.

    Thanks to Calvin’s Ecclesiastical Ordinances (based on Scripture, of course), Presbyterians have the instructions.

    You don’t need any of it. You just resign like J. Gresham Machen did and go start a new church down the road, easy peasy.

    I’m not sure y’all are communicating here. Nobody expects The Calvinist Inquisition! ;-O

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  30. Susan – When I was in the URCNA our family had one elder visit in 9 yrs.

    Erik – That is definitely not right. I would like to hear what their excuse was. I’m sorry that happened to you. If Presbyterian & Reformed elders neglect their duty like this they probably deserve to lose their members to other churches.

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  31. have to remember that liberal catholics are just the squeaky wheel, NOT the silent majority. the other 94-percent don’t think like them.

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  32. Let Bryan dream.

    Tom, send your queries to OLTS WEBBOT 9000, clear communications only, and no ad-homs. It’s programmed to perfection. Think Kenneth and his mind exploding claims (what happens to us in small communes). The problem is, no one has yet seen what my creation can do. It’s alive!

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  33. Per Used’ta-was – “… have to remember that liberal catholics are just the squeaky wheel, NOT the silent majority. the other 94-percent don’t think like them …”

    I’d sure like to believe that, but I’m not so sure anymore. Brokaw’s Greatest Generation, the ones who were more likely to make up your 94% crowd, are passing away rapidly. The ones just behind them, the infamous Boomers – the ones who ushered in CW, birth control, and everything else contrary to previously established traditions – represent far more than just a squeaky wheel. And they’ve simply handed it all off to the their kids and grandkids. Who do you think elected the ones who are moving the country swiftly into Post-Modernism?

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  34. ZRIM,

    Then let me ask you what exactly the point is of elder visits in the first place if liberty of conscience is to be respected? About the visitation of priests, well, I can see a priest everyday if I so choose, while getting down to the nitty gritty and uglliness of my sin rather talk about my new coffee table.
    Isn’t Darryl’s point that the Catholic Church is bad at disciplining even when it has papal power, and that a small OPC can do a better job? I’m not feeling any cognitive dissonence here over there being dissenters because I know that for dissent to exist there must be orthodoxy and that the RCC is where all the official teachings are true.

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  35. Then let me ask you what exactly the point is of visitation of priests elder visits in the first place if liberty of conscience is to be respected? About the elder visits visitation of priests, well, I can see a priest pastor everyday if I so choose, while getting down to the nitty gritty and uglliness of my sin rather talk about my new coffee table.
    Isn’t Darryl’s point that the Catholic Church is bad at disciplining even when it has papal power, and that a small OPC can do a better job? I’m not feeling any cognitive dissonence here over there being dissenters because I know that for dissent to exist there must be orthodoxy and that the WCF chapter on the church is clear to determine RCC is where all the official teachings are true.

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  36. It’s amazing to me, Susan, you can classify me and everyone in my church in, like one sentence, and completely make us feel inferior. And I didn’t even repond, you then asked if I moderate here. Clean your own house, we have enough problems of our own. Start by talking to Bryan. Why does he do what he does?

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  37. Susan has, like, 1 1/2 talking points. But what she’s constantly commenting rather than keeping a degree of peace in her family is above my pay grade.

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  38. Well, first Erik chimed in with psychoanalyzing Susan’s relationship with her father, now Muddy chimes in saying she’s probably neglecting her family responsibilities. So charming.

    Robert,

    “What are the shared doctrines of Rome and EO that you have in mind, because I’m not sure there as many shared doctrines as you think there are.”

    Obviously there are differences but as to shared/similar doctrines that Protestantism opposes: Holy Tradition, larger OT, ecclesiastical infallibility, infused righteousness/theosis as justification, apostolic succession, 7 sacraments, liturgy with eucharist as centerpiece, most Marian doctrines, Petrine primacy of honor, view of Protestantism’s core doctrines as error (Synod of Jerusalem/Confession of Dositheus/Jeremiah’s reply to Lutherans), saints and veneration/intercession/relics, monastic/ascetic tradition, probably more I’m forgetting.

    “Its “question-begging” to assume that Rome was founded in 33 AD when the documents and witness we actually have from the first 100 years of that date don’t show us a papacy, the Assumption of Mary, justification by infused grace, ecclesiastical infallibility.”

    I can’t tell if by your 100 year date thing you are trying to limit it just to NT witness or are there particular post-apostolic writings/evidence you’re also including in this arbitrary cutoff timeline?

    “We don’t have to find every Protestant distinctive in 1054 to stand in the tradition of the church.”

    Can you point out some distinctives, where it doesn’t reduce to inconsistency? For example, even though he’s post 1054 you mentioned people offering Aquinas as believing Protestant sola fide. If that was true, he was massively inconsistent and incoherent. People can be that way of course, but it’s best not to run to that conclusion by default, as we wouldn’t ever do that in the normal way we reason about things/people.

    “The reductionism is stark only for those who refuse to deal with the absolute lack of evidence for Rome’s claims in the earliest church.”

    Presupposes no notion of development, which Protestantism also affirms. Also still not sure if by “earliest church” you mean just NT witness – in which case how to properly evaluate that evidence to evaluate whether an “absolute lack” exists is precisely the question in dispute – you would limit it to GHM exegesis alone, but there’s no reason for others to accept that assumption.

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  39. Susan, what caught my attention were the matters over which you thought discipline was relevant. It was all very particular politics (evangelical alert). What you seem to think are examples of bad discipling are examples of the opposite. Besides, you all have high profile members with the “wrong politics” and yet no evident corrections. Not that I think there should be (since even the high profilers have political consciences that should be free), but if you want to fault the Reformed for letting political diversity thrive maybe that energy should be channeled toward thine own house?

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  40. Susan, how do you know which are true? Was it true in 1215 when the church taught that Jews needed to wear gold stars? Why isn’t that true anymore? Why can the church change what’s true?

    Also, do you mean to tell me that unless the church infallibly declare adultery to be wrong, or Sunday to be holy, then we don’t know whether adultery or profaning the Lord’s Day is wrong? Don’t we know morality straight from the Bible? Or do you need the pope to tell you stealing is wrong?

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  41. Clete van James, well, even your church teaches hierarchy and submission to male heads of families, right? Doesn’t it seem a little strange to be a liberated Protestant at home and then a submissive RC at church?

    BTW, Susan did bring up her marital situation.

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  42. Interlocutor Impersonating TV Show Character Detected. Standard Protocol: Run Program ARTICLE 1.Administration [5000 - 5025.3] ( Article 1 added by Stats. 1945, Ch. 1353. )

    There is in the Department of Consumer Affairs the California Board of Accountancy, which consists of 15 members, 7 of whom shall be licensees, and 8 of whom shall be public members who shall not be licentiates of the board or registered by the board. The board has the powers and duties conferred by this chapter.
    The Governor shall appoint four of the public members, and the seven licensee members as provided in this section. The Senate Committee on Rules and the Speaker of the Assembly shall each appoint two public members. In appointing the seven licensee members, the Governor shall appoint members representing a cross section of the accounting profession with at least two members representing a small public accounting firm. For the purposes of this chapter, a small public accounting firm shall be defined as a professional firm that employs a total of no more than four licensees as partners, owners, or full-time employees in the practice of public accountancy within the State of California.
    This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2016, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2016, deletes or extends that date.
    Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the repeal of this section renders the board subject to review by the appropriate policy committees of the Legislature. However, the review of the board shall be limited to reports or studies specified in this chapter and those issues identified by the appropriate policy committees of the Legislature and the board regarding the implementation of new licensing requirements.
    (Amended by Stats. 2011, Ch. 448, Sec. 5. Effective January 1, 2012. Repealed as of January 1, 2016, by its own provisions.)

    5000.1. Protection of the public shall be the highest priority for the California Board of Accountancy in exercising its licensing, regulatory, and disciplinary functions. Whenever the protection of the public is inconsistent with other interests sought to be promoted, the protection of the public shall be paramount."

    End program. Resume Discussion with TV Show Character impersonator.

    Andrew Preloaded footnote: If Moniker States Cletus Van Damme, reason exists to conclude name is James. One may address him as they please, OLTS believes in freedom of conscience.

    Like

  43. Being that Susan hasn’t objected to any part of our discussions that I’m aware of, one has to ask who is trying to use her for their own selfish, rhetorical purposes.

    I vote for Clete and Tom.

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  44. Susan – Then let me ask you what exactly the point is of elder visits in the first place if liberty of conscience is to be respected?

    Erik – On the visits I’ve received the elders and pastor have not so much looked to discipline, but asked for ways that they could do a better job as shepherds. It’s always been a pretty good give-and-take.

    Discipline of members ordinarily occurs as a result of public sin, not private thoughts or convictions. For those pastors and elders teach the Bible and pray for growing maturity in members. People can and do change over time.

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  45. When I go to CtC, to ask questions of Jason Stellman, Bryan Cross shows up, linking me to comboxes about disney characters. Jason never resonds, so did I make a good point?

    I feel like I’m talking to a computer. And they put you down, and use you for target practice.

    No one enjoys talking to a computer. I work as a CPA, and many many reports and things I do involve uploading to other vendor sites, and I get automated e-mail bots ALL DAY. It’s like Brave New World or something.

    I apologize to the reading public here, and give full discretion to the one blog owner Darryl to wipe up any of my rheotrical flourishes. Darryl works very hard, and has many dissenters. This blog is run wonderfully, I hate to take it down with me in my sin. But my purpose (or so I say) is not to promote (all about) me and my inflated self worth. But talking with a computer or a TV Show Character is dumb and insults our intelligence. It makes people look like they are punk teenagers trying to hack the system.

    My point: cut the crap.

    I’ll start by checking out 🙂

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  46. Cletes, Susan compared the bad bad URCNA shepherding to the everything’s so wonderful RC oversight. Well priests don’t have families so maybe they have a blank look about family questions but running around a stadium waving the flag of a religion different than your husband is the kind of thing Charles Finney would advise. And just so you know Finney gives us the creeps.

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  47. Cletes, does you Bible have 1 Peter 3:1? But I’m no expert so maybe the Pope gives indulgences for convert flaunting. That would make sense based on what I’ve seen. Stellman must be almost out of purgatory by now.

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  48. DGHART,

    I have some questions.

    1. If your biblical system of dealing with dissent works so brilliantly then why so many split Presbyterians? What was Machen so upset about? Perhaps individual parishes enjoy great discipline…. but so do individual RC parishes. On a micro-level of discipline perhaps the reformed (depending on the micro-denomination) currently enjoy an advantage…. but on the macro-level all you have is schism. Schism is the only resort. Hence, Machen and the OPC. Every schismatic in history has thought of themselves as “breaking away for the good of orthodoxy”. Yet, schism is a sin and clearly orthodoxy has not been made more clear by the long list of possible reformed denominations in the US alone.

    2. Are you taking Sacred Tradition into account when evaluating RC dissent? Unlike the call to “semper reformata” we do not feel the need to take a vote every 100 years(or ten years or every year or whatever) as to what dogma is or what constitutes orthodoxy. So it doesn’t really matter if “everyone” thinks doctrine is important or if “no one” does. What matters is what has been defined and the certainty one can have in ones own convictions. I am certain that we are saved by both faith and works because the bible teaches such, its confirmed by Tradition and is firmly established as dogma in the Church established by Christ. I know you would like to argue that “we are all in the same boat” but it seems like that certainty is qualitatively different than saying “I think we are saved by faith alone because thats my best interpretation of scripture.” Or “its my educated and well studied opinion that scripture teaches salvation by faith alone”. Opinions can change. So can a consensus (hence, Machen). If we bring your presuppositions to the table the RCC looks to be at a tipping point. But if we bring mine its just business as usual. No cause for concern only patience, prayer and fasting. We have always had controversies and crises etc. We have always been made stronger for it at the end. This doesnt seem to be the case in the prot world of semper reformata. Why do you think thats the case?

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  49. Cletus,

    Obviously there are differences but as to shared/similar doctrines that Protestantism opposes:

    Oh, so now we have to reduce it to “similar.” Of course, because you know that the East thinks your claims are wrong at a core level. Let’s go:

    1. Holy Tradition — East doesn’t define tradition the way you do. That’s why it rejects the papacy.

    2. larger OT — East has an even larger OT

    3. ecclesiastical infallibility — East limits it to the first 7 councils, unlike Rome

    4. infused righteousness/theosis as justification — The East hardly ever talks about justification and then when it does never in forensic terms. Even Rome discusses justification forensically.

    5. apostolic succession — This is the closest you’ve got so far, even here the East doesn’t let bishops butt into one another’s dioceses, unlike Rome where all bishops succeed from the Apostle but not all bishops succeed more authoritatively than others. Further, the East’s view of the true collegiality of bishops is far closer to Presbyterian views of authority than Rome’s in so many ways.

    6. 7 sacraments — Relatively close, except the East doesn’t teach transubstantiation and performs chrismation at the same time as baptism

    7. liturgy with eucharist as centerpiece — Protestants have liturgy too. If the point here is that the East doesn’t care much about preaching the Word in the same manner that Rome doesn’t care, then agreed.

    8. most Marian doctrines — Except that the East hasn’t taken to itself the pride of determining such things with an infallible declaration

    9. Petrine primacy of honor — The East’s view is very different than what Rome means by this

    10. view of Protestantism’s core doctrines as error (Synod of Jerusalem/Confession of Dositheus/Jeremiah’s reply to Lutherans) — except that the East has not made an infallible anathema like Rome has, even though Rome later changed her mind on this:

    From http://www.orthodoxanswers.org/answer/481/
    The Acts and Decrees of the Synod of Jerusalem (1672) are considered as important and worthy of our consideration, but not as a fully authoritative or as binding source of teaching for Orthodox Christianity.
    Fr. Laurent Cleenewerck

    11. saints and veneration/intercession/relics — More or less the East shares in these idolatrous practices

    12. monastic/ascetic tradition — there have been Protestant monastic movements, even though we Reformed reject them.

    Finally, the East disagrees most vehemently with Rome that Rome is the one true church founded by Jesus.

    Yeah, I mean Rome and the East hold so much in common. It’s so clear.

    The East is about as convinced of Rome as we are.

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  50. This dude would have been an excellent Caller. Like Bryan, nothing got in the way of his superior paradigm:

    http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/17/world/asia/japan-philippines-ww2-soldier-dies/

    Tokyo (CNN) — A Japanese soldier who hunkered down in the jungles of the Philippines for nearly three decades, refusing to believe that World War II had ended, has died in Tokyo. Hiroo Onoda was 91 years old.

    In 1944, Onoda was sent to the small island of Lubang in the western Philippines to spy on U.S. forces in the area. Allied forces defeated the Japanese imperial army in the Philippines in the latter stages of the war, but Onoda, a lieutenant, evaded capture. While most of the Japanese troops on the island withdrew or surrendered in the face of oncoming American forces, Onoda and a few fellow holdouts hid in the jungles, dismissing messages saying the war was over.

    For 29 years, he survived on food gathered from the jungle or stolen from local farmers.

    After losing his comrades to various circumstances, Onoda was eventually persuaded to come out of hiding in 1974.

    His former commanding officer traveled to Lubang to see him and tell him he was released from his military duties.

    In his battered old army uniform, Onoda handed over his sword, nearly 30 years after Japan surrendered..

    Like

  51. I looked him up on Facebook. Still alive, still Catholic, just not writing for the Callers. Has he soured on their paradigm, mission, and approach? How long do they keep him on the masthead?

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  52. “Muddy Gravel”,

    Do I know you or do you know my family? Anyways, if we know each other or not, my family is not the business of anyone on this blog. If I were Protestant, you’d be commending my 1 1/2 talking points. If I were male you wouldn’t tell me to put my apron on and get back to washing dishes. I happen to like discussing theology, ecclesiology… Let’s stick to that as a topic.

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  53. Susan, M&M also mentioned Stellman who also is out there quite publicly while his wife is back in the PCA. We know about this because both you and Stellman made it public.

    Cognitive dissonance? Maybe.

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  54. Loser Ken, how exactly could you ever have a schism if — your words — ” it doesn’t really matter if “everyone” thinks doctrine is important or if “no one” does”?

    That gives me the creeps. How can you ever complain about liberalism? It doesn’t matter.

    But then when you take your meds you’ll go off about how Rome has the truth, ONE TRUTH ABSOLUTELY AND INFALLIBLY, and Protestants have a guh-zillion opinions.

    So which is it? Does doctrine matter or not?

    And if schism is a sin, and if the original Nicene Creed does not include filioque, then you’re schismatic. How do you feel NOW!?!

    Unlike you, Presbyterians have actually read Augustine on the invisible church where it is possible to find unity.

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  55. Susan – If I were male you wouldn’t tell me to put my apron on and get back to washing dishes

    Erik – My gender doesn’t stop my wife from telling me to wash the dishes. She doesn’t even provide an apron.

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  56. Darryl,

    This is true, however the difference is that my former community told me that God would have me obey my husband, while Jason’s wife probably isn’t getting such wisdom from Exile.

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  57. Susan, Muddy’s not too bright but he does stumble onto something once in a while. You brought up your former church and you brought up the counseling of the churches. We wonder how much influence the Bible has on the RC and there’s the I Peter passage that should be wrestled with to some degree. Pulling out the gender discrimination card really does not suffice in the circumstances; it looks like a dodge of the central issue.

    Marriage and the family structure does not belong to the RC. It is part of the created order, and it is good. If RC counsel has given you an “out” in some narrow or broad way that would be quite interesting to know.

    Before you bemoaned the lack of oversight from the URCNA. Now you complain about their oversight.

    Honestly, I have given advice to a woman whose presence in our church was not agreeable to her husband. Our advice was that she attend Sunday mornings and occasionally visit with the ladies of the church but to otherwise keep a low profile at home. We didn’t tell her that her marriage and family harmony was of no concern in light of her new religious convictions.

    As for Stellman, I don’t think he gets a total pass but he’s not here talking about his former church, their counsel, etc.

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  58. MM,

    It’s strange how things get twisted here at OL. I never bemoaned the lack of involvement in my family by my former elders; they are doing, brilliantly, what the heirarchy of the Reformed are able to do and no more. (Didn’t you read me to say that they are caring and generous? I said it and will stand by it again, so let that be clear.) The qualification is because elders are not supposed to be a substitution for priests, and neither is a pastor. Protestant churches have no real way to reign in dissenters in their midst because they often do know that someone is holding a view contrary to those prescribed by “that particular congregation”. Darryl likes to mention Pelosi, but what about Protestant liberals who hold a view that same sex marriage should be law, or that abortion should be upheld? Steve, called those things “political issues”. Give me a break! Are they moral issues when they’re Catholic but political when they’re Protestant? Is liberty of conscience permitted over contraception?

    Marriage and family structure belong to The Church. Jesus elevated it to a sacrament at the marriage feast of Cana, that’s what makes it sanctifying.

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  59. Susan, you said your elders never visited. That’s usually not a compliment, but if you want to say that is a judgment-free comment then OK.

    Sorry, but in light of the ongoing heinous crimes and cover ups in your church, your argument that RC is better at discipline is ridiculous and maybe even callous. And I’m not going to repeat all that’s been said here about the diversity of doctrine among RCC’s in the world.

    So your church gets to disregard marriage as extant from the garden and implicitly preserved in the Noahic covenant? Paul’s marital advice to the Corinthian church and Peter’s counsel (which you continue to dodge) were both written after the Cana miracle so your RC gloss is superfluous.

    And, if you want to tie in discipline and marriage issues, it’s well known that your sacrament of marriage can be obtained for a fee through annulment. Giving the keys of the kingdom for the right price, you might say. Rest assured the sacraments aren’t for sale within NAPARC.

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  60. Susan, no, they’re political whether Catholic or Protestant. But, ok, they’re moral. So how is Rome superior to keeping its adherents in line over Reformed communions? It seems to me both are vulnerable to human foible. But, once again, only one of us is making claims to Superiority.

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  61. Kenneth,

    If we bring your presuppositions to the table the RCC looks to be at a tipping point. But if we bring mine its just business as usual. No cause for concern only patience, prayer and fasting. We have always had controversies and crises etc. We have always been made stronger for it at the end. This doesnt seem to be the case in the prot world of semper reformata.

    I have nothing to add to Darryl’s response, but only to say I can appreciate thoughtful comments from human beings wishing to discuss protestant ecclesiology. Thank you for your questions here, and your demeanor.

    I would simply say in a response (not that you are asking for one) is that the church of the early 16th century was unspeakably corrupt. I know your standard responses here. But my argument is the reformation has made Christ’s church stronger, and in great measure. As a catholic, you have to explain why the reformation happened (dates 1517-1648 at least). You tell us to own stuff. You got a lot to own, bud. But come hang with us. Again, I like talking to humans. TV characters and comptuers, not so much.

    Peace.

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  62. Muddy,

    “Cletes, does you Bible have 1 Peter 3:1?”

    Are you some Driscoll/Wilson put-women-in-their place kinda deal?

    “But I’m no expert so maybe the Pope gives indulgences for convert flaunting.”

    Convert flaunting – you mean defending it against people who call it a synagogue of satan or a false gospel? Better start aiming your sights on your brethren here who comment or have blogs flaunting Protestantism over RCism and calling people to convert or not buy their arguments.

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  63. Better start aiming your sights on your brethren here who comment or have blogs flaunting Protestantism over RCism

    No. How about you go to CtC and get them to start being honest. We’re fine here. And we grow tired of jokers.

    It’s blogdom, man. Take a chill, pill.

    One last source of inspiration for Oldlife.org and the NTJ is – duh – J. Gresham Machen. He did not show a lot of wit or sarcasm in his writings. But his polemics were nonetheless blunt, so much so that many who believed charity to be the only Christian virtue considered Machen mean and beyond the pale. But it is precisely Machen’s candor and warrior spirit that is worthy of emulation. The following is from a piece he wrote for an inter-faith gathering on the relations between Christians and Jews:

    The fact is that in discussing matters about which there are differences of opinion, it is really more courteous to be frank – more courteous with that deeper courtesy which is based upon the Golden Rule. For my part, I am bound to say that the kind of discussion which is irritating to me is the discussion which begins by begging the question and then pretend to be in the interests of peace. I should be guilty of such a method if I should say to a Roman Catholic, for example, that we can come together with him because forms and ceremonies like the mass and membership in a certain definite organization are, of course, matters of secondary importance – if I should say to him that he can go on being a good Catholic and I can go on being a good Protestant and yet we can unite on common Christian basis. If I should talk in that way, I should show myself guilty of the crassest narrowness of mind, for I should be showing that I had never taken the slightest trouble to understand the Roman Catholic point of view. If I had taken that trouble, I should have come to see plainly that what I should be doing is not to seek common ground between the roman Catholic and myself but simply to ask the Roman Catholic to become a Protestant and give up everything that he holds most dear.

    . . . So to my mind the most inauspicious beginning for any discussion is found when the speaker utters the familiar words: “I think, brethren, that we are all agreed about this . . .” – and then proceeds to trample ruthlessly upon the things that are dearest to my heart. Far more kindly is it if the speaker says at the start that he sees a miserable narrow-minded conservative in the audience whose views he intends to ridicule and refute. After such a speaker gets through, perhaps I may be allowed to say that I regard him as just as narrow-minded as he regards me, and then having both spoken our full mind we may part, certain not as brothers (it is ridiculous to degrade that word) but at least as friends.

    None of this is to suggest that Oldlife.org pulls off the wit, sarcasm, polemics, or bluntness of the writers who have inspired this endeavor. It is only to point out that the tone and style of Oldlife.org is not over the top.

    who am i kidding, talking to tv characters is fun. dont stop being you. wierdos welcome (per me anyway, emoticon).

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  64. Cletes, I’ve been very successful at putting women in their place. Well, that was first wife to be honest.
    But I’m tellin you the Mudster has a list. I can’t find it, but I do have a list. Fighting RC’s really isn’t on it, but there’s the whole CtC deal so here we are. But your type is welcome here if it was up to Muddy and if you’re ever in my town feel free to come over and smoke cigars with me by the dryer vent.

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  65. Robert,

    “Oh, so now we have to reduce it to “similar.””

    Uh, yeah – are Lutherans not Protestants with shared principles with you guys even though they are similar and not identical? I guess Reformed baptists and Presbys don’t share the same view of grace or justification because they differ on their baptismal practices.

    “1. Holy Tradition — East doesn’t define tradition the way you do. That’s why it rejects the papacy.”

    No they reject development as we hold. They hold to fathers, councils, liturgy, feast days, etc as witnesses to tradition.

    “2. larger OT — East has an even larger OT”

    The point is they don’t adopt the Hebrew canon exclusively.

    “3. ecclesiastical infallibility — East limits it to the first 7 councils, unlike Rome”

    They believe in it is the point.

    “4. infused righteousness/theosis as justification — The East hardly ever talks about justification and then when it does never in forensic terms. Even Rome discusses justification forensically.”

    The East hardly ever talks about it? What are you talking about? Whenever they talk about Christology, they’re talking about it. Again the point is they believe in infused righteousness/theosis and loss of justification and synergism, etc. All contra Protestantism.
    Schaff lists out points related to soteriology and justification:
    “In all these important points the Synod of Jerusalem again essentially agrees with the Church of Rome, and radically dissents from Protestantism.”
    Essentially. Not identically.

    “5. apostolic succession — This is the closest you’ve got so far, even here the East doesn’t let bishops butt into one another’s dioceses, unlike Rome where all bishops succeed from the Apostle but not all bishops succeed more authoritatively than others. Further, the East’s view of the true collegiality of bishops is far closer to Presbyterian views of authority than Rome’s in so many ways.”

    Oh brother. Yes EOxy ecclesiology is so similar to Presbyterian polity.

    “6. 7 sacraments — Relatively close, except the East doesn’t teach transubstantiation and performs chrismation at the same time as baptism”

    No the East doesn’t teach transubstantiation. They do teach just as strong a view of the Real Presence. They also don’t hold to Rome’s notion of original sin, but believe in baptismal regeneration. The core principles remain the same. Your thing on chrismation is a non-starter dealing with application – again it’d be like me saying Ref Baptists and Presbys differ on baptismal application so they must hold to different views of monergism or justification.

    “7. liturgy with eucharist as centerpiece — Protestants have liturgy too. If the point here is that the East doesn’t care much about preaching the Word in the same manner that Rome doesn’t care, then agreed.”

    Brilliant. Yes, Rome’s/EO’s liturgy is not 4 walls and a sermon. The whole notion of worship/liturgy is different.

    “8. most Marian doctrines — Except that the East hasn’t taken to itself the pride of determining such things with an infallible declaration”

    Again infallibility completely different issue. They don’t hold to the IC because of their view of original sin. Dormition, perpetual virginity, veneration, theotokos meaning something more than just “god incubator”, etc are all universally held. Just because they don’t have a council to declare it infallible doesn’t mean they don’t view it as such or would accept someone who rejected it.

    “9. Petrine primacy of honor — The East’s view is very different than what Rome means by this”

    How? They still hold that Rome has it, but have just added illegitimate development to it. Rome holds both primacy of honor and jurisdiction – the East disagrees with the latter. That’s why ecumenical talks have focused on the former first.

    “10. view of Protestantism’s core doctrines as error (Synod of Jerusalem/Confession of Dositheus/Jeremiah’s reply to Lutherans) — except that the East has not made an infallible anathema like Rome has, even though Rome later changed her mind on this:

    From http://www.orthodoxanswers.org/answer/481/
    The Acts and Decrees of the Synod of Jerusalem (1672) are considered as important and worthy of our consideration, but not as a fully authoritative or as binding source of teaching for Orthodox Christianity.
    Fr. Laurent Cleenewerck”

    Those councils are not on the same level as the first 7. But they are held in high authority and esteem. If they weren’t, it’d be pretty easy to find EO followers of Lutheranism or Calvinism. The best you’ll offer is lone wolf Lukaris, even though those same councils condemning Calvinism (and some current scholarship) claimed he was being misrepresented or forgeries were used, and his cause never picked up any followers.

    Further a commenter replied to Cleenewerck:
    “The Council that produced the Confession of Dositheos was received by the entire Orthodox Oikoumene, and as such should be considered a reliable witness to the content of revealed Truth. Yes, perhaps caveats are in order about linguistics, etc., but it really struck me the wrong way that you’d recommend the writings of Met. John of Pergamos, or even Fr. Georges Florovsky, over the unanimous synodal voice of 70 Orthodox Bishops.
    It really makes me wonder whether modern Orthodox writers really think about the hard questions– like the nature of doctrinal authority, and the MEANS of knowing truth. If the Confession of Dositheos is not a valid witness as attested to by all of the Orthodox Churches of the 16th-18th Centuries, then what possibly could be? Did Orthodoxy go away during that time?”

    Which is a good point, and one of the things I would consider when evaluating Rome and EOxy’s competing claims after eliminating Protestantism and Crazy Dave.

    Furthermore, Schaff comments:
    “The Answers of Jeremiah received the approval of the Synod of Jerusalem in 1672 and may be regarded, therefore, as truly expressing the spirit of the Eastern Communion towards Protestantism. It is evident from the transactions of the Synod of Jerusalem that the Greek Church rejects Lutheranism and Calvinism alike as dangerous heresies.”

    on the Synod of Jerusalem and Confession of Dositheus:
    “This Synod is the most important in the modern history of the Eastern Church, and may be compared to the Council of Trent. Both fixed the doctrinal status of the Churches they represent, and both condemned the evangelical doctrines of Protestantism.”

    on Cyril:
    “Cyril left no followers able or willing to carry on his work, but the agitation he had produced continued for several years, and called forth defensive measures. His doctrines were anathematized by Patriarch Cyril of Berœa and a Synod of Constantinople (Sept., 1638), then again by the Synods of Jassy, in Moldavia, 1643, and of Jerusalem, 1672; but on the last two occasions the honor of his name and the patriarchal dignity were saved by boldly denying the authenticity of his Confession, and contradicting it by written documents from his pen.”

    East and Rome are united on this score.

    “11. saints and veneration/intercession/relics — More or less the East shares in these idolatrous practices”

    Outstanding.

    “12. monastic/ascetic tradition — there have been Protestant monastic movements, even though we Reformed reject them.”

    More pagan piety I’m sure.

    “Finally, the East disagrees most vehemently with Rome that Rome is the one true church founded by Jesus.”

    They do agree a church was founded with authority which you identify first to properly identify and interpret Scripture, not the other way around.

    “Yeah, I mean Rome and the East hold so much in common. It’s so clear.”

    Far more in common than with Protestantism. Because they both hold to similar fundamentals and principles, as opposed to johnny come lately.

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  66. as opposed to johnny come lately.

    Big Whoop.

    The Reformed faith may not be as old as Rome or Constantinople,

    Old life indicates that the old things are actually valuable and capable of sustaining authentic Christian faith, and that historic Reformed Protestantism specifically embodies a piety as vigorous and alive as any of its rivals.

    coming hangin’ out with us johnny calvin come latelies, and you even get an invitation to smoke with Muddy. I’ll have you know his billing rates are high. you’d be wise to take him up. yo.

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  67. But Cletes, when it comes to women in their place, neither of our churches has women officers but you have the celibacy requirement. That’s taking the whole “cooties” tradition a little too far.

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  68. I think it’s either the 49ers or the Broncos this year. That team that goes on the road for the wildcard game and wins often gets hot and runs the table. Kaepernick is the best player on the field.

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  69. Whoops, I just admitted to idle thoughts

    Q. 119. What are the sins forbidden in the fourth commandment?
    A. The sins forbidden in the fourth commandment are, all omissions of the duties required, all careless, negligent, and unprofitable performing of them, and being weary of them; all profaning the day by idleness, and doing that which is in itself sinful; and by all needless works, words, and thoughts, about our worldly employments and recreations.

    Some day I have to show to show you to use OLTS HTML, if you are interested.

    Thanks for pointing to that fiddler clip a few weeks or so back, Eric. Cheers bro.

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  70. Cletus,

    They do agree a church was founded with authority which you identify first to properly identify and interpret Scripture, not the other way around.

    Except that if you are a thinking person, you identify that “church with authority” based on your own interpretation of Scripture and history BEFORE you join it. And once you join it, if you are a thinking person, you remain in communion with it only as long as it conforms to your own interpretation or as long as you can justify its reading of Scripture and tradition. Same as Protestantism.

    Oh sure, you claim infallibility for your church once you join it—on certain things that no one can comprehensively identify—but that’s just verbal. If you ever became convinced that Rome did not teach true doctrine you would leave it, and you would come to that conclusion based on your own interpretation of Scripture and tradition. Of course, that assumes you are a thinking person. Maybe you are not a thinking person, but you seem to be.

    Like

  71. Robert, the only person I ever met who could sustain online arguments like you do out here still e-mails me about my conservative doctrine of scripture (and his lack thereof). He’s retired, and taught me to get passed the Calculus A/P exam in high school, and taught me Xianity via Paul Tillich in High School.

    I know not how you do it. But it’s impressive, bro. Blessings to you and yours. We should talk about infallibility sometime, but not on blog. We don’t let TV show characters know the secret handshake.

    Later.

    Like

  72. Robert,

    I admire your learning and your online demeanor too.

    I’m a wayward daughter of Rome, I never believed the Pope to be infallible because he’s a human being. I would say the same of the Apostles but that doesn’t mean that I don’t search for truth and value myself.

    BVXI said of Tertullian, his sin was a lack of humility because “only God is perfect.” That seems, tacitly or not, an admission that there is no such thing as human infallibility.

    I live by the laws of my church because obedience is important. I don’t commune but when I pray the Mass and the bread and wine has been given to all (if Mass attendance is manageable and amenable) the priest of the parish of my youth, lays his hands upon my head, and asks for God’s blessing to come upon me. He’s heard my confession and it was good for my soul!

    Like Erasmus, I’ll leave the Church when I find a better one.

    Nevin said that the sects (and at this point, Rome and Orthodoxy by dint of what the passage of time has stamped “tradition” are included in that category even if the idea repulses them) just didn’t love one another.

    Bishop Sheen, way back in the day, said keep your eyes on the Cross! I would add respect the Table of the Last Supper, it’s the last place Jesus was able to be with Friends.

    P.S. I’m sure you don’t care but I’m an amateur baker and my pain aux raisin turned out great! Yes!

    Like

  73. Olivia – P.S. I’m sure you don’t care but I’m an amateur baker and my pain aux raisin turned out great! Yes!

    Erik – I care. Old Life is severely lacking good food & drink discussion.

    Like

  74. Olivia, if talking theology online is your thing, my favorite comment of the last month or so at this blog is here:

    Andrew, before we get too confident about Protestantism and history, we need to remember that historical consciousness was and still is a great difficulty for biblical authority. Is it the word of God or is it the words of men who lived at a particular time and wrote in a given context? Once you contextualize, you lose the thus sayeth the Lord character of it.

    But for Roman Catholics it is doubly difficult. Not only is Scripture historical, but tradition is so as well. Nothing escapes history or its acids.

    The virtue of Old Princeton (especially Warfield) was to work out a way to affirm that the Bible was both fully divine and fully human — concursus. Doesn’t mean it will pass Cross’s logic meter. But it is smart.

    My sense is that the whole debate among RC’s over hermeneutics of continuity or rupture is a replay of what Protestants like Warfield were wrestling with 125 years ago.

    Peace to you on your journey.

    In my cave reading dead dudes’ words

    Like

  75. Andrew,

    Thanks for posting the comment.

    It goes without saying (what an expression! what follows is saying) that DG is a learned, if strike-force-y (nothing wrong with that), mensch.

    Take care.

    Like

  76. Thanks, Olivia. Those look wonderful.

    A month or so ago I made a Cinnamon Eggnog French Toast Bake that was really good (and simple):

    Ingredients:
    * 1 loaf cinnamon swirl bread, cut into 2-inch cubes
    * 2 cups eggnog
    * 6 eggs
    * 1/2 cup brown sugar
    * 1 teaspoon nutmeg
    * 1 teaspoon cinnamon

    Arrange bread cubes in greased 9″ x 13″ pan. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients and pour over bread. Mix gently to ensure all pieces are coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least three hours.

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees and bake for 45 minutes, or until golden. Garnish with fruit, syrup or whipped cream. Serves 20.

    Like

  77. I came back to OL and I thought I saw a recipe exchange. I haven’t been this out of it since that Grateful Dead concert back in ’77.

    Like

  78. Erik, if you start posting links for cross stitch patterns, just go ahead and mail your man card to Muddy. That is if you still have one

    Like

  79. DGHART,

    I apologize. It seems that you have misunderstood my broader point,

    So which is it? Does doctrine matter or not?

    Of course doctrine matters. What I meant when I said that it doesn’t matter if “everyone” or “no one” agrees with this or that Church teaching is that our standard of orthodoxy doesn’t change with the ebb and flow of lay people. We are anchored with a Tradition that is Sacred. It seems that in your examination of RC authority you have neglected to consider that very important leg of RC authority. For example, if a survey tomorrow revealed that 99% of RC lay people thought that “doctrine doesnt matter” and 65% of all priests and cardinals agreed it wouldn’t ultimately negate Catholic orthodoxy. However, if 99% of the PCA decided the same your “confession” would be altered and a new denomination would be formed that represented the current theology of the people and elders. See the difference? RC theology just isn’t free to fluctuate in the way that yours is. Semper reformata is fundamentally at odds with the idea of Sacred Tradition.

    Like

  80. Erik, thanks for trailer link. Looks like a good movie. I thought they weren’t made anymore.

    One last baking link from baking with Julia:

    Like

  81. KWINSMANN,

    Despite all my silliness about bots lately (yes, I was just goofing off, it all the work of my fingers combined with cell phone and chrome book (aren’t I something?), and my guilt is stillnquite high because of it), your conreligionist Van Dammit and I still managed to get me to squeeze out my opinions of him, a stranger, and why all I want you do to is own your liberal church and its lack of discipline. For me, you have nothing to offer.

    Anyway, read that interchange at the link, it not, or just the last comment. Your Paul Tillich to me, which isn’t bad. Just you are lost. Sorry.

    Oh, and cut the Napoleon stuff out. Its unnattractive, and only hurts whatever you are trying to accomplish out here. Reform thyself, yo. But peace on your journey, and all that jazz.

    Like

  82. james van cletus, where has OL used synagogue of satan or false gospel? This started because Jason and the Callers started beating their chests.

    But if you’re going to bring up sos or fg, are you going to stand by Trent’s anathemas? Or was it just context? Or was that discipline? In other words, you don’t see a lot of folks here debating Trent, the very document that says things like sos and fg.

    Are you that thin skinned? Are you hanging out with tomvd?

    Like

  83. Erik and Olivia, well, here’s my latest punch recipe, served yesterday to some Chargers. I wanted to follow Buckley’s National Review Christmas party rum punch recipe, one quart rum, one quart vanilla ice cream, one quart milk. But that didn’t seem of offer enough potential taste. So instead of milk I added one of those big Starbucks foo foo drinks they now sell in the supermarkets and used that instead of milk. Not bad.

    Like

  84. Erik, I gotta hand it to you. If Darryl needed a wingman, you fit the bill, as a fellow blogger. At least in my book. You make me proud to be an accountant. If I had recepies, I’d share. I’m not you. At least, not yet.

    My words are just that. But way to prop up the dude around here. If you need a break, I probably can’t help this cause much. So don’t count on me. I’ll just get weird with HTML tags.

    Take that all for what it says. And have a great week. People here have good taste and wit. What fun.

    Later, OLTS.

    Like

  85. Robert,

    Still peddling this line even though it’s been addressed ad nauseum.

    “Except that if you are a thinking person, you identify that “church with authority” based on your own interpretation of Scripture and history BEFORE you join it. And once you join it, if you are a thinking person, you remain in communion with it only as long as it conforms to your own interpretation or as long as you can justify its reading of Scripture and tradition. Same as Protestantism.”

    Not same as Protestantism. Here again is the difference. I’m around when Christ/Apostles are. I evaluate their credibility. I submit to them because I find them credible (faith works with reason). I then don’t constantly interrogate them afterwards when they give me an authoritative interpretation of the OT or teaching or think “eh you guys are probably wrong about that according to my astute study of Jewish scholars and historians – aka GHM – let me educate you” – that would mean I did not submit to them in faith in any sense of the word. It would mean Jesus taught as the scribes did, and not as one with authority.
    It’s the same difference in the Lewis quote you fawned over about how he could not submit to Rome or anyone making similar claims (even if he was to agree with their current teachings) because he could never be sure what they might teach in the future. And yes I’m still thinking – faith seeks understanding – it doesn’t lord understanding and opinion over faith, like you do with semper reformanda and no infallible articles of faith anywhere.

    Like

  86. Darryl,

    “where has OL used synagogue of satan or false gospel?”

    Seriously? Uh you said to me Rome was a false gospel like last week – I can grab the comment if you want. And your buds pretty much say it and SoS stuff in every thread concerning Rome – try Bob, John, Robert, et al. You hold to WCF all over the place which uses SoS and antichrist and I haven’t seen you or anyone else qualify that (other Reformed have) so you implicitly endorse it as well there. Or are you going to shift now and just say “oh, the comments don’t mean anything, it’s just the articles”. Please.

    “This started because Jason and the Callers started beating their chests.”

    You guys started it! And you ask if i’m thin-skinned. I guess Rome wasn’t beating its chest when it called Protestant churches defective and lacking.

    “But if you’re going to bring up sos or fg, are you going to stand by Trent’s anathemas?”

    Trent’s condemnations of heresy hold. Said it before.

    “Are you that thin skinned? Are you hanging out with tomvd?”

    Not thin-skinned. Just like pointing out people’s inconsistencies when they make little self-serving jabs at others.

    Like

  87. Since we’re sharing and all, I thought I’d share what my husband and I watched last night while cozying up with a fire( we’re in S. Cal and it’s hot, but the ambience was nice for this Prot and and Cat who have been married 30 yrs).

    Today while the family was at their church I watch EWTN where Dr. Anders was on again, taking questions from callers. This was an excellent interview. At least, I think so because he addresses several problematic Protestant doctrines that I too struggled with.

    On Friday, my whole family watched The Count of Monte Cristo staring Jim Caviezel who also played Jesus in the Passion of the Christ.
    Here’s a fun interview on the Craig Ferguson Show for some friendly comic relief.

    Obviously, I didn’t get any baking done.

    Have a good week. I’m gonna try very hard to resist commenting.

    Like

  88. D. G. Hart
    Posted January 19, 2014 at 10:05 pm | Permalink
    Are you that thin skinned? Are you hanging out with tomvd?

    Tom VD. How clever. “Mockery is often the result of a poverty of wit.”

    With all the lame name calling, it’s been like Appalachia around here lately. Old Life has fallen on hard times.

    Like

  89. Erik,

    Saw “The Trip” around a year or so ago. Great movie!

    The name Beatrice, is also a beautiful name. “There was a star danced, and under that was I born.”

    Like

  90. I have an earlier comment awaiting moderation……. There are three links on it, so we’ll see.

    Robert,
    “Except that if you are a thinking person, you identify that “church with authority” based on your own interpretation of Scripture and history BEFORE you join it. And once you join it, if you are a thinking person, you remain in communion with it only as long as it conforms to your own interpretation or as long as you can justify its reading of Scripture and tradition. Same as Protestantism.”

    A Catholic convert is still thinking when they convert; It’s thinking that has taken them on a journey to find the church when certain doctrines that have always trusted, fall apart. Once they discover the RCC they know that they can’t pick and choose what doctrines they will or won’t accept. I won’t say it isn’t a struggle for a former Protestant, but it’s a matter of faith and so one wills to trust in The Church. If you’ll listen to the Journey Home interview of Dr. Anders, he mentions this.

    Like

  91. Still peddling this line even though it’s been addressed ad nauseum. . . . . . . .

    Like you do with semper reformanda and no infallible articles of faith?
    Pot, kettle, papist?

    “This started because Jason and the Callers started beating their chests.”

    You guys started it! . . .

    While Bryan was one of our guys, when he started CTC he was already one no longer. Capiche?
    (Of course, since you are not the pope, all you are capable of is a fallible opinion, so hey, not a prob. This was a stumbling block for Jase, but we trust he got over it. You know, ignorant fideism/implicit faith is the ticket for ‘all those freakishly smart guys that popery attracts’ – like dead horses and flies.) But then turn about is fair play. The guy is ex P&R and he transgresses his own paradigm of presenting, if not understanding paradigms according to the paradigm’s own standard – i.e. abjuring the straw man fallacy – when it comes to protestantism’s fundamental principium cognoscendi or principle of knowing, aka Sola Scriptura.
    IOW our self righteous and sophistical “in the peace of my phd.” ecumenical dodger needs to heal his own phony hypocrisy indeed, before he’s going to get an audience for his paradigms that presuppose popery.
    Same goes for semper reformandum and no infallible articles of faith.
    Capiche?

    ciao

    Like

  92. To Cletus van Damme

    I’ve posted two comments in which I address some of the questions you asked from previous threads. Your question essentially was:

    Do liberal scholars believe the Resurrection happened or that the OT is historically accurate? No you dismiss them and their methodology. But when those same liberal methodologies help your case against Rome, then its jump onto the bandwagon. Hence your claim of “essentially by the same method of historical investigation” is disingenuous.

    Anyone interested in this topic can see them there.

    https://oldlife.org/2014/01/less-powerful/comment-page-9/#comment-115894

    Like

  93. Susan, curious…

    What is your honest opinion of CtC? Olts I take seriously only so far, and really plays no role for me religious-wise, except it may help me find books or learn useless HTML WordPress skills. Darryls fun, but not a minister, nor mine. But you seem quite fond of BC. He’s just like us, a propogandizer.

    Give that a go, yo yo, if you dig it.

    Like

  94. PS I’m not responding in this thread, henceforth. I’m told I’m meaner in real life than in my online incarnation. Enough to give the nicest stranger on a crowded elevator with me the creeps. So don’t feel you need to repond to any of my words. I work for the man, and have no business among you righteous comboxxers of oldlife. Pity the fool, yo..

    Peace, AB

    Like

  95. PS just to say, Bob the striker is someone I wish was at my Txgiving dinner. He cracks me up when I can’t sleep, and mops the place up like he owns it. Again, take my words in a combox for what they are. And try to convince tomvd to go to church, or cleat to stop being yella and to admit he does actually exist (hence I point him to existentialist Tillich. It’s a powerful God we serve. Yo.

    Ciao

    Like

  96. Cletus,

    Not same as Protestantism. Here again is the difference. I’m around when Christ/Apostles are. I evaluate their credibility. I submit to them because I find them credible (faith works with reason). I then don’t constantly interrogate them afterwards when they give me an authoritative interpretation of the OT or teaching or think “eh you guys are probably wrong about that according to my astute study of Jewish scholars and historians – aka GHM – let me educate you” – that would mean I did not submit to them in faith in any sense of the word. It would mean Jesus taught as the scribes did, and not as one with authority.

    1. My pastor isn’t Jesus or an Apostle or a prophet, and neither are any of the other leaders in my denomination.

    2. You can’t have it both ways. Jesus and the Apostles et al were inspired by God. Heck, Jesus is God. If you want the same kind of authority for your bishops, then they have to be inspired as well. But I notice that you don’t claim that for them. Quite strange. You hem and haw about needing an authoritative pronouncement in order to have the assent of faith, and yet when the rubber meets the road, the bishops aren’t inspired, and if they aren’t inspired, how do I know they have the authority you claim? Lots of people claim authority. The Pharisees claimed authority for themselves.

    3. Even Jesus did not expect people to submit to Him because of his mere claims to authority. Instead, he constantly pointed people to the Scriptures to show them who He was. He expected them to be able to interpret the Bible on their own correctly and to come to the conviction he was who he said he was. And this was true even AFTER they started following Him. Go read the gospels. When Jesus calls His disciples, He just tells them to come. Then as He teaches, He constantly points back to Scripture and expects them to get it. Seems to me Rome gets this backward. You all talk about motives of credibility, but once you enter the church, don’t ask any questions.

    4. I don’t know who you think these Protestants are that are always going about doubting the teaching of their denomination. They are, at least, not the confessionally Reformed. Meanwhile, the vast majority of Roman Catholics in this country at least ignore Rome’s teaching on birth control, the exclusivity of the church (now that one is confusing, so I don’t blame them but V2), participating in the Eucharist with mortal sin on one’s record that hasn’t been confessed, etc., etc. At some point you guys have to start asking whether your “principled distinction” means anything in reality if it produces people without implicit faith while the confessionally Reformed produce people who submit to their churches.

    It’s the same difference in the Lewis quote you fawned over about how he could not submit to Rome or anyone making similar claims (even if he was to agree with their current teachings) because he could never be sure what they might teach in the future. And yes I’m still thinking – faith seeks understanding – it doesn’t lord understanding and opinion over faith, like you do with semper reformanda and no infallible articles of faith anywhere.

    See above. Our leaders aren’t Apostles, nor do they make the arrogant claim to be Apostles. And again, if you want to claim that your leaders have the same kind of authority, they need to be inspired. “Implicit faith” is only worthy of those who have the same kind of inspiration and authority of Jesus.

    Like

  97. Erik,

    I can’t keep up with all of Starbuck’s non-coffee products, but they have three big quart-sized cartons now in the refridgerated section of the supermarket.

    Charger is the Hillsdale mascot.

    Like

  98. Clete van James, you are flat out wrong about how this started. Meanwhile, you didn’t show up until 14 months into the fun of mocking Jason and the Callers (or do you use another false name?). I don’t think you know what you’re talking about.

    Go ahead, uh find “false gospel.” I uh dare you.

    So if Trent holds, what’s uh up with separated brothers and salvation outside the church?

    Like

  99. Susan,

    A Catholic convert is still thinking when they convert; It’s thinking that has taken them on a journey to find the church when certain doctrines that have always trusted, fall apart. Once they discover the RCC they know that they can’t pick and choose what doctrines they will or won’t accept. I won’t say it isn’t a struggle for a former Protestant, but it’s a matter of faith and so one wills to trust in The Church. If you’ll listen to the Journey Home interview of Dr. Anders, he mentions this.

    I accept that the thinking person puts some thought into finding the church, but based on what you, and Cletus (James), and Kenneth say, it seems that you basically stop thinking once you join the RCC. If it says “this is infallible” you have to believe it whether or not it can be proven from Scripture. Now, if you are a thinking person, you are either going to

    • check up on this by your own study, find that your view squares with Rome has said and you are fine to stay RC
    • or you are going to check up on it, find it barely plausible, and you are fine because the church has spoken and it is plausible enough
    • or you are going to check up on it, not see it, but then think I need to study more because I do not have the same knowledge of Scripture and tradition as my leaders. However, since the church has said, it I’ll submit for now and keep studying
    • or you are going to check up on it, not see it, study more and still not see it, and then run screaming from Rome if you are an honest person, or you will continue to claim to be RC if you are a dishonest person

    All of the above are what professing Protestants do at one level or another in their churches. What we don’t do is believe something merely because someone has a fancy title in front of their name (at least thinking Protestants don’t) or has been ordained. This, I submit, is what you are called to do as a Roman Catholic. To even ask the question: “Where is this found in Scripture or tradition?” is to doubt the authority of the RCC, which would be a mortal sin would it not?

    So Rome is filled with a bunch of thoughtful people who are effectively Protestant in their epistemology or a bunch of people who don’t think at all. There’s really no third option. Now, we could say the same of Protestantism but the difference is this, we don’t make claims to infallibility that end up telling people just to accept it because the church has said it is so. Rome calls for implicit faith, and we don’t. And it seems to me that since the fall, not even Jesus called people to implicit faith but EXPECTED people to listen to his messages, read Scripture to see if He is the Messiah, etc. And this didn’t really stop once people became believers.

    Once they discover the RCC they know that they can’t pick and choose what doctrines they will or won’t accept. I won’t say it isn’t a struggle for a former Protestant, but it’s a matter of faith and so one wills to trust in The Church.

    I don’t know which Protestants are picking and choosing what doctrines they accept. In a denomination like the PCA or OPC, the leaders are certainly not allowed to pick and choose what parts of the WCF to believe without permission from their authorities to take certain approved exceptions to the confession. Laypeople pick and choose to a greater degree, but there is no way around that except by the sword or some kind of mind control. Rome is full of people who pick and choose what they want to believe, so your system doesn’t produce anything better. In fact, since you all don’t discipline, Rome produces far more people who pick and choose and think their souls are all in great shape. So much for the certainty Rome provides to anybody but wishful thinkers.

    And one can will to trust the church without believing its infallibility. All of the ordained men around here have pledged to do that to some degree.

    Like

  100. Cletus,

    It all comes down to this regarding Rome’s claims. If Rome wants infallibility, it must have the same thing that gave the authors of Scripture infallibility, and that is inspiration by the Holy Spirit that is just like the apostles and prophets had. This would mean that every utterance of Rome in its exercise of its teaching authority, on discipline or doctrine, would have to be infallible. From what I see, Rome does not claim any of that, at least formally. You want the authority and infallibility without the mechanism that grants it, namely the inspiration of the Spirit who moves men to speak His Word.

    Now if Rome claimed such inspiration, your claim would be more consistent, even more plausible. It would not convince me given what history shows us, but it would make more sense.

    The Apostles and prophets had authority precisely because they were infallibly inspired by the Holy Spirit. This is the consistent claim of the authors of Scripture. You want the authority without the inspiration. No dice.

    Like

  101. In case they send me to h e double hockey stick, posting for the record here.

    Lates.

    Andrew Buckingham January 20th, 2014 12:29 pm :
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Bryan,

    I’ve read protestant liberals justifying Brother Martin’s and the subsequent Magisterial Reformers breaking ranks from Rome, using Luke 20 as justification that Jesus there when asked what authority he had, turned the question on the religious and refused to answer. I wonder if you have considered this angle st CtC, if so, can you deep link me to it? Its interesting historical thought maybe, if nothing else, and I’d be happy to cite the liberal in referring to, his work is free at religion online dot org. Just sharing thoughts here, not arguing with you or taking away from your blog post. Let this through moderation at your discretion, of course.

    Grace and peace.

    Like

  102. Susan,

    Thanks for the movie recommendation. Looks good.

    “taking questions from callers” – THE Callers or just callers?

    She goes by “Bea”. She has to put up with the unsophisticated pronouncing her full name “Beat-Rice”.

    Have you ever been to the Sherman Oaks Galleria?

    Like

  103. Hi Eric,

    If I had another daughter, “Beatrice” is the name I’d chose.
    The avitar isn’t truly your likeness is it? If it’s an actor I don’t recognize the scene.

    No, never been to The Galleria. It looks like The Grove in LA…pretty ritzy. http://www.thegrovela.com/

    My last name is, Vader; look me up on FB, so I can see a family picture. I’m a FB of Steve’s and have seen is beautiful family. He’s a cut up like you. Are you tow friends?

    I tried to find Darryl, but he’s not on. I just know his face from his book jacket.

    Like

  104. Susan,

    The avatar is Stuart Margolin, an Iowa native best known for playing Angel Martin on “The Rockford Files”, my favorite show.

    My wife kicked me off of Facebook (for good reason) but I will look you up through my daughter’s account if I can sneak on.

    I’ve met Darryl in person and I can attest that he is a youthful 57. I have not met Mrs. Hart.

    If you click on my name you will go to my blog. I posted some family pictures from my daughter’s wedding this past August.

    Like

  105. Steve,

    I got the joke 🙂 No, I’ve never see “The Passion”. When it came out I was confused as to whether or not I would be breaking the 2nd Commandment if I saw it. Folks I respected had different opinions over the 2nd Commandment. But there didn’t seem to be a feeling of “it’s perfectly fine”, so I never did watch it. I was also concerned about what I thought might be too much sentimentality around His physical suffering rather than his substitutionary death.

    Like

  106. Susan,

    Nice family pics. You and your husband decided to spread the childbearing over 14 or so years like my wife & I. My oldest daughter got married at 19 so we joke that my youngest son is one of the few guys able to ride on his brother-in-law’s shoulders.

    Like

  107. Susan, wrong answer. You were supposed to say that you had seen it but with your evangelicals, so then I could say something like “more Catholics and Evangelicals Together.” But “Count” is also a classic in our house.

    Like

  108. Ah yes, I now remember Angel Martin, Jim’s sidekick. Those shows were good. My favorite was Columbo, or I liked to scare myself to death watching “The Night Stalker” with Darren McGavin.

    So in the wedding photo, which one is you?

    Like

  109. My question about Sherman Oaks Galleria was motivated by my seeing “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” on the big screen yesterday. That’s where the mall scenes were filmed.

    When people from Los Angeles talk about “The Valley” and “Orange County”, what are they referring to? Are those part of L.A.? Suburbs?

    Like

  110. Our wedding picture is funny. Me with my David Cassidy hair, him with his Billy Idol hair. We are both sunburnt. We were married by a notory public in Fort Walton Beach Fl.( my original home) when I was 17 and he, 21.
    Yes, our kids are really spread out. The oldest is 26 and the baby,Claire, is 12. I have one son who has to put up with so many females, who are type A, like their mom. He’s sooooo easy going! Thank God:)

    Like

  111. I’m behind the groom. My family is below me. On the other side are my wife’s parents, her sister, and her sister’s family. They are identical twins and her sister has been our next door neighbor for many years, in two different towns. When we each had one kid they lived with us is a one bedroom apartment for 6 weeks. I work with her sister. All very weird sounding, but it seems to work well.

    Like

  112. They have opposite gender kids in pairs. The first pair was born 10 days apart. The second pair was born 2 days apart. The third pair was born two months apart. We had a 4th and they didn’t, so we won.

    Like

  113. Susan,

    Wow, 17. I couldn’t even do my laundry at 17.

    “I have one son who has to put up with so many females, who are type A, like their mom. He’s sooooo easy going!”

    My son grew up hanging around my wife and two older sisters. He is the most mellow guy I know. Great kid. Content to watch Dr. Who all weekend. My younger son is energetic and constantly needs to be interacted with.

    Like

  114. Eric,

    Congratulations on your daughter’s marriage. Your family is lovely. The red hair….wow! Those boys are adorable. Red heads are my favorite, and they always grab my attention. I had a real crush on “Simply Red” back in the day! haha! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yG07WSu7Q9w

    I’m not a Cal. native( though I prob am considered such by now), but I think “The Valley” is referring to San Fernando Valley. I always think of Encino Man when I hear “the valley”.
    Since Los Angles is a major metropolis, everything around it is sub-urb, but Orange County decribes a wealthy Republican area between Los Angles County, San Bernardino County and San Diego County.

    I like the way you alphabetized your topic on the right-hand side of your blog. You have something to say about everything! :)~

    Like

  115. Steve,

    I saw Brave Heart with evangelicals,but that wouldn’t count because I was one too at the time. Freedom!!!

    Like

  116. Susan,

    We would have hit it off back in the day, you can be sure of that.

    I need to spend some time on the ground in LA and in NYC to get a feel for those places. They are so prevalent in film and literature that I need to see and experience them. I was in NYC for a week in college but it was all a blur. Never been to LA.

    Thanks for the compliments. You have done great with your family as well. I’m sure you are a fun and caring mom.

    Like

  117. Andrew,

    You Hartians should pay closer attention. You and DGHART are viewing The Church through Protestant eyes which obviously wont due. The way your system worksnis… 1. Purely preach the word and administer the sacraments 2. Discipline local parish as well as possible. 3. If liberalism creeps in appeal to elders and higher ups. 4. If higher ups and elders go liberal its time for schism. 5. Repeat cycle. This is the fruit of semper reformata. Orthodoxy changes with majority opinion. So when you evaluate the RCC (currently in crises) you interpret that data as us being right around step 4 and so having nothing to offer. What I am attempted to point out is that we don’t operate under semper reformata. We don’t have to jump ship everyime things get a little wacky. We are anchored by sacred Tradition (which stands opposed to semper reformata). This Tradition stands as a pillair of orthodoxy for Gods remnant people.

    Like

  118. Loser Ken, so let’s get this straight. There is a Roman Catholic orthodoxy that transcends the bishops, even the Bp of Rome. That does appear to be what you’re saying and it fits with the idea that popes do err; they just don’t err when the charism light is on (which no one can tell except for Denzinger).

    So how exactly does this idea of orthodoxy, that you can know and can judge a pope by, how does it result in something that Protestants don’t have? Something more certain, less fallible. You say you have documents to show you orthodoxy? Well, get this, so do we.

    Now if you want to say that you have an authority that we don’t, like a pope, then you may win. But that authority makes hay of the notion that you have a standard of orthodoxy by which you can even judge whether a pope is right or errs.

    The system breaks down, the mind boggles.

    Like

  119. Loser ken, “we don’t operate under semper reformanda.” No kidding. And that’s why you never get reform and why you have so many folks in but not of the Roman Catholic church.

    If you are anchored by sacred tradition, then why don’t more Roman Catholics appear to know this? Like, how do we know this is not just your opinion, man?

    And now you’re talking about remnant. Before it was all about how LARGE AND IN CHARGE your communion is. Now your a small Gideon-sized remnant.

    Take the meds.

    Like

  120. Kenneth,

    You wrote:

    You Hartians should pay closer attention. You and DGHART are viewing The Church through Protestant eyes which obviously wont due.

    Thank you foe your response, Kenneth. I’m currently working several angles to try to figure out your church. I really appreciate the interaction. Having never been to Roman Catholic mass, and only ever been a protestsnt Christian my whole life, a lot of what I read of Catholicism from Catholics on the internet and in published works causes me to be flummoxed. I am committed to further learning and dialog on this matter of difference of opinions. I hope you will grant me more time to come back with more substantial answers. For now, your demeanor is appreciated. This matter can sometimes bring out the worse in us (I’m the worst of all, here, perhaps?!).

    I look forward to further discussion with you, or others of your persuasion. Thanks again for speaking with me here.

    Grace and peace.

    Like

  121. kenneth winsmann
    Posted January 20, 2014 at 3:54 pm | Permalink
    Andrew,
    The way your system works is…

    1. Purely preach the word and administer the sacraments
    2. Discipline local parish as well as possible.
    3. If liberalism creeps in appeal to elders and higher ups.
    4. If higher ups and elders go liberal its time for schism.
    5. Repeat cycle.

    This is the fruit of semper reformata*. Orthodoxy changes with majority opinion.

    Undeniable. This is straight historical fact–indeed it happened to Darryl Hart’s own church.

    http://www.opc.org/books/conflict/ch8.html

    This is why these discussions get odd–Protestant polemicists such as Dr. Hart prefer to be on the attack [often against the Catholic Church but not always], which leads to an unbalanced discussion: It’s easy to win when you aren’t obliged to defend anything. Any successful attack, no matter how petty, is not returnable.

    It’s like scoring aces in tennis when the other guy’s not even holding a racquet. Victory dance!

    __________

    *In fairness, the Catholic Church has a level of “semper reformata,” but it’s more on the side of natural law reasoning, not scriptural interpretation. [Abortion teaching, indeed on contraception, is natural law reasoning, not Biblical.] And even sola scripturists have to be open to certain changes in understanding of scripture when trumped by reality, for instance that the earth revolves around the sun, or that man evolved, not just created ex nihilo.

    [Oooops, scratch that last one in some circles. At least pro tempore.]

    Like

  122. Tom, teeing it up for you again: Are you a Roman Catholic? Do you attend religious services regularly? Are you affiliated with any church? If not, why are you here? Why should we take you seriously on the subject?– game show appearances notwithstanding.

    Like

  123. Kenneth,

    When the higher ups go liberal in Rome, they resist with all their might — V1, then they see the writing on the wall and make it a part of orthodoxy — V2. That’s better how?

    Like

  124. Zrim,

    If it weren’t for Susan I wouldn’t have seen your family photos on Facebook (I found you through her page). You’re taller than I imagined.

    I found Stellman’s page through Zrim’s page. Most of Stellman’s photos are of…Stellman. Shocker.

    Like

  125. Chortles weakly
    Posted January 20, 2014 at 4:34 pm | Permalink
    Tom, teeing it up for you again: Are you a Roman Catholic? Do you attend religious services regularly? Are you affiliated with any church? If not, why are you here? Why should we take you seriously on the subject?– game show appearances notwithstanding.

    Because truth is truth. I’m the least of your problems. Deal with the arguments, drop the ad hom. It doesn’t matter whether I’m Richard Dawkins or Pope Francis.

    __________
    Andrew Buckingham
    Posted January 20, 2014 at 4:23 pm | Permalink
    Tom, they schismed. Not us. I know I read too much of the archives here to come to that. But it’s all there, public, for your reading.

    Peace.

    The Orthodox Presbyterian Church was founded in 1936.

    I appreciate your argument, but saying that the parent Presbyterian Church in the USA was the one that schismed and the microsect OPC is the true one is is OK by your theology*, but patently ridiculous by any numerical or historical standard.

    ______
    *Although by the OPC’s refudiation the PCUSA’s revisions to the Confession in 1903,

    http://www.opc.org/documents/WCF_orig.html

    “their” schism became retroactive. That’s a pretty funky argument for the disinterested observer to swallow. The below quote seems to admit the OPC “descended” from the PCUSA, which the historian would take as they are the parent church, not you.

    As an American Presbyterian church, the OPC descended from the Presbyterian Church USA and inherited revisions to the Confession made prior to 1900, some of which were ratified by the Synod of New York and Philadelphia as early as 1788. The OPC did not adopt the revisions to the Confession made by the PCUSA in 1903 (notably, new chapters entitled “Of the Holy Spirit” and “Of the Love of God, and Missions”; and a “Declaratory Statement” softening the Confession’s position on election), except for deletions in chapters 22 (about refusing a lawful oath) and 25 (about the Pope being the Antichrist).

    Like

  126. ZRIM,

    I know! And, they’re in Latin. And my other favorites songs are Stairway to Heaven(minus the buying part), and Let It Be!

    Susan

    Like

  127. Tom, you’ve got no skin in this game. Asking if you ATTEND CHURCH is not an ad hom. It is a basic, requisite. relevant information for a discussion on a blog whose subject is a particularly churchly form of Reformed Protestantism. You’re going to go school mechanics if you’ve never owned a car and have no tools? Actually you probably would. Now maybe that’s an ad hom. Or just bleeding obvious.

    Let me point out that every passive/aggressive manic/depressive serial critic this site has ever seen (RS, DS, and TVD) all refused the church question. Why is that?

    Like

  128. Robert,

    “Even Jesus did not expect people to submit to Him because of his mere claims to authority.”

    “And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.”
    “The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.”
    “whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.”
    “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”

    You again make any claims to his divine authority and commissioning of the apostles and passing on such authority to them completely superfluous.

    “Instead, he constantly pointed people to the Scriptures to show them who He was. He expected them to be able to interpret the Bible on their own correctly and to come to the conviction he was who he said he was.”

    So Christ was a sola scripturist I guess. You mean people like the Pharisees and other Jewish scholars? Did they just not apply sola scriptura right?

    “Then as He teaches, He constantly points back to Scripture and expects them to get it.”

    Uh yeah, Christ’s claims were not inconsistent with Scripture, nor were Paul’s when the Bereans checked them out. Nor are Rome’s. That doesn’t mean authority was superfluous or irrelevant. They worked in tandem. If the Bereans rejected Paul’s message based on their interpretation, they would not have been commended.

    “Seems to me Rome gets this backward. You all talk about motives of credibility, but once you enter the church, don’t ask any questions.”

    Would you ask Christ interrogating questions if you were discussing things with Him right now? Would you be debating him? Or would you just be submissive and asking clarifying questions since you trust he is infallible and has divine authority?

    “I don’t know who you think these Protestants are that are always going about doubting the teaching of their denomination. They are, at least, not the confessionally Reformed.”

    Just because they don’t doubt it, does not mean they can’t or shouldn’t. The confessions they subscribe to tell them they are quite in their means to question things if they want, including those confessions themselves. They think the opinions of the confessions are correct, but not guaranteed. On what Protestant principle are they not justified in doubting their denomination’s teachings?

    “At some point you guys have to start asking whether your “principled distinction” means anything in reality if it produces people without implicit faith while the confessionally Reformed produce people who submit to their churches.”

    You mean submit to their churches insofar as they line up with my current interpretation of Scripture. If they don’t match up anymore, or my interpretation changes, no reason for me to stay there – they don’t claim any divine authority so I won’t lose any sleep over it. It’s just moving from one side of the boat to the other, while ignoring the island sitting to the side.

    “If Rome wants infallibility, it must have the same thing that gave the authors of Scripture infallibility, and that is inspiration by the Holy Spirit that is just like the apostles and prophets had.”

    Why? Why does a post-apostolic gift or the promise “The HS will lead you into all truth” have to be a creative gift, rather than a protective one? You just claim a fixed deposit/ending of revelation and ongoing infallibility must be irreconciable, but assertion is not argument.
    Teachers and principals have the same authority over school kids, but not the same abilities over them.

    Like

  129. Chortles weakly
    Posted January 20, 2014 at 5:47 pm | Permalink
    Tom, you’ve got no skin in this game. Asking if you ATTEND CHURCH is not an ad hom. It is a basic, requisite. relevant information for a discussion on a blog whose subject is a particularly churchly form of Reformed Protestantism. You’re going to go school mechanics if you’ve never owned a car and have no tools? Actually you probably would. Now maybe that’s an ad hom. Or just bleeding obvious.

    Let me point out that every passive/aggressive manic/depressive serial critic this site has ever seen (RS, DS, and TVD) all refused the church question. Why is that?

    Because you’re polemicists and you play dirty. I’m the least of your problems. In fact, the more you attack, the more your own problems are exposed. The mechanic is taking you apart.

    Andrew Buckingham
    Posted January 20, 2014 at 5:18 pm | Permalink
    But Tom, at least I have a church.

    Actually, by Catholic–and Anglican [!]–theology, you’ve turned a temple into merely a synagogue.

    http://conciliaranglican.com/2012/06/14/on-the-eucharist-the-mass-is-a-sacrifice-its-just-not-a-mass/

    This is no small thing.

    Like

  130. Andrew Buckingham
    Posted January 20, 2014 at 6:03 pm | Permalink
    Tom, what would you have me do, oh outside one?

    Stay gold, Ponyboy. Don’t fall in with a bad crowd, insulting people all the time and all. ;-O

    Like

  131. Chortles – Let me point out that every passive/aggressive manic/depressive serial critic this site has ever seen (RS, DS, and TVD) all refused the church question. Why is that?

    Erik – Thanks for dredging up those bad memories just when the night sweats had begun to subside…

    I think Doug claimed to be OPC, although that may have just been a Bahnsen bible study back in the 80s.

    Like

  132. Someone who would defend the claims of the Roman Catholic Church without themselves being a Roman Catholic Church member is not be be believed. Why?

    Because of Rome’s claims about itself. To believe that her claims are true while remaining outside of her is condemning oneself to hell.

    It’s irrational.

    Like

  133. It’s equally irrational to be a member of the Roman Catholic Church and not admit it. Christ said if we deny Him before men, He will deny us Before the Father.

    Tom may not like or trust us, but that’s irrelevant.

    Under either of the two scenarios I’ve just outlined he is hurting his own arguments.

    Like

  134. Matthew 7:6, Erik, Matthew 7:6.

    Best to do a better job of managing your own pearls, such as they are. At this point, I’m just urging y’all to keep it clean. When I see the habitual distortion of the other fellows’ arguments, I object. Otherwise, believe what you will. As you note, it’s a free country, in no small part because of Calvinists. 😉

    OTOH, when Obama’s going after the Little Sisters of the Poor, I’d like to see certain of you Calvinists step up a little better per your proud heritage.

    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/usa-today-to-obama-administration-leave-little-sisters-alone/.

    Like

  135. Darryl,

    “Clete van James, you are flat out wrong about how this started.”

    Ah, I should’ve put the you guys started it in quotes. I wasn’t saying you guys actually started it and you weren’t replying to CtC. What I meant was the “but they started it!” business sounded like playground fights. It’s kinda silly. But anyways apologies for the confusion.

    “Go ahead, uh find “false gospel.” I uh dare you.”

    Here ya go :
    “D. G. Hart
    Posted January 14, 2014 at 6:29 am
    James VC, “Does Rome peddle a false gospel?” According to the Bible, yes.
    You really thought that was a hard question?”

    Do I win something now?

    “So if Trent holds, what’s uh up with separated brothers and salvation outside the church?”

    Oy vey. It’s like Sisyphus up in here.

    Like

  136. Calvin could tell in his lifetime that he’d likely be remembered long after his death. So he took pains to fade as namelessly from this world as he could. He requested burial in an unmarked grave hoping to prevent pilgrims from coming to see his resting place and engaging in the kind of idolatry he’d spent his lifetime standing against.

    In death he completed his life’s labors, not seeking to make much of Calvin, but striving with all his might to point beyond himself to the one who saved him—the one infinitely worthy of being made much of.

    .Not Complicated

    Sent from my HTC One™ X, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone

    Like

  137. O.K. Tom.

    Glad you’re taking up for the underdog with 1.2 billion members against the bully with 550,000. They need your help.

    You must know how Goliath’s aide-de-camp felt.

    Like


  138. John Bugay
    Posted January 20, 2014 at 6:54 pm | Permalink
    I’ve used all the adjectives I care to use re. Tom. More would be a waste of cyberspace.

    Actually, John, they were nouns, as in calling me names. Tell the truth now, you’re not fooling anyone.

    As for your opinion of people, here’s you dissing Darryl Hart behind his back.

    http://turretinfan.wordpress.com/2010/09/17/a-series-of-unfortunate-arguments-for-r2k/#comment-12249

    “lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you…”

    Like

  139. John sez: “… I’ve used all the adjectives I care to use re. Tom. More would be a waste of cyberspace…”

    Agreed. But when a blog site invokes responses from those who speak like the proverbial man with a “papyrus rectum” what else can you expect? Interested, but mainly disinterested.

    Like

  140. Erik Charter
    Posted January 20, 2014 at 7:06 pm | Permalink
    O.K. Tom.

    Glad you’re taking up for the underdog with 1.2 billion members against the bully with 550,000. They need your help.

    You must know how Goliath’s aide-de-camp felt.

    The bullies are the ones who punked Machen. And Peter Leithart. In my book.

    OTOH, there’s no question they’re threats to the prevailing order, so I guess orgs do what they have to do to survive. I find it fascinating. The Reformation is a tough town.

    Somebody wrote above ROME IS POLITICS. As are all things with men in them. Nature of the beast.

    Like

  141. Tom – And Peter Leithart.

    Erik – Jason Stellman was the prosecutor, the same Jason Stellman of Called-to-Communion. He’s never recanted that prosecution. You take the Callers’ side here every day.

    I need a scorecard to keep track of your gadflyness.

    Like

  142. Tom – The bullies are the ones who punked Machen. And Peter Leithart. In my book.

    Erik – This doesn’t even make sense. The former were liberals in the Mainline Presbyterian church. The latter were conservatives in the Presbyterian Church in America who opposed the Federal Vision.

    These two groups of “bullies” wouldn’t have agreed on much.

    Part of the problem arguing with you is that your knowledge of the finer points (maybe even the basic points) of Presbyterian & Reformed theology and history is an inch deep. You don’t seem concerned about this and as far as I know have not read anything (as in a book) to rectify it.

    This makes me wonder why you persist here for any reason other than compulsion or nihilism.

    Like

  143. Erik Charter
    Posted January 20, 2014 at 7:38 pm | Permalink
    Tom – And Peter Leithart.

    Erik – Jason Stellman was the prosecutor, the same Jason Stellman of Called-to-Communion. He’s never recanted that prosecution. You take the Callers’ side here every day.

    I need a scorecard to keep track of your gadflyness.

    Well, the irony is off the hook that the prosecutor fled you for Catholicism.

    As for your anti-papism, you don’t seem to get yet that you’re making a strongest argument for the Eastern Orthodox Church once your own theological problems are laid bare.

    I’m the one with the scorecard. Rock on.

    Like

  144. Cletus,

    Teachers and principals have the same authority over school kids, but not the same abilities over them.

    No they don’t. The principal has authority over the teacher who has authority over the school kids. If I’m a kid and the teacher tells me one thing and the principal tells me another, I follow the principal who has the authority to expel me and fire the teacher.

    Again, if the Magisterium has the same authorty, it must have the same inspiration. Once you admit “inspiration” of a different sort, you are admitting a difference in authority. If you don’t want to claim the same inspiration for the Magisterium, I have no reason to listen to them over Christ and the Apostles who tell me there is one mediator, not several thousand.

    You just claim a fixed deposit/ending of revelation and ongoing infallibility must be irreconciable, but assertion is not argument.

    First, I never said those things are inherently infallible. The question is whether that fixed deposit claims that the church would be infallible.

    Second, you don’t have a fixed deposit or an ending of revelation if you cannot identify it. That you cannot do. You say Scripture, tradition, liturgy, etc. What parts of liturgy? It has changed. What parts of tradition? I keep asking for an identifiable tradition and you can’t give it. If you ask me where the foundation of my home is, I can give it to you. You want us to believe Rome affirms a fixed deposit. Where is it-all of it!

    Third, Roman inspiration doesn’t have to be creative. The Apostles weren’t “creative.” They took from the Spirit and gave to the people. If Rome wants to do the same and have us follow its authority, it needs the same inspiration. You won’t give it to Rome. That’s good. Now be consistent and follow through to a fallible church when it teaches unlike infallible Apostles when they taught.

    On what Protestant principle are they not justified in doubting their denomination’s teachings?

    On what Roman principle are we not justified in thinking that the consistent RC is a robot that just believes whatever Rome says and doesn’t care about whether or not the foundation for that belief is identifiable. Quite frankly, you’re not giving us any reason to think otherwise, and I’m trying to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you are a thinking person.

    Would you ask Christ interrogating questions if you were discussing things with Him right now? Would you be debating him? Or would you just be submissive and asking clarifying questions since you trust he is infallible and has divine authority?

    Actually, I’d be on my face in worship. Again, the church is not Christ, and if you want it to be, it needs the same inspiration so that EVERYTHING it teaches is infallible. You can’t have it both ways. Jesus made no error in doctrine, discipline, or anything else. Rome has made many mistakes in many areas and even you admit that (I think). Quit making comparisons that don’t fit. It only ruins the rather meager case you are presenting.

    Like

  145. It’s like a guy who claims he wants to coach Little League but all he actually does is sit in the bleachers drinking beer, yelling at both teams, and insulting the moms of the players. That guy would get old pretty quick. Don’t be that guy.

    Like

  146. Erik Charter
    Posted January 20, 2014 at 7:59 pm | Permalink
    Tom – The bullies are the ones who punked Machen. And Peter Leithart. In my book.

    Erik – This doesn’t even make sense. The former were liberals in the Mainline Presbyterian church. The latter were conservatives in the Presbyterian Church in America who opposed the Federal Vision.

    These two groups of “bullies” wouldn’t have agreed on much.

    You don’t seem to follow that either, way, your ecclesiology–indeed your theology itslef!—is merely a tyranny of the majority. That argument has been made by your interlocutors for a week now and you still don’t seem to get it.

    So when someone writes ROME IS POLITICS, I’m like WTF. “Protestantism” [whatever that is] is nothing but politics.

    Like

  147. Tom – once your own theological problems are laid bare

    Erik – Which you never get around to doing since it would involve maybe opening up the Bible or a book as opposed to screwing around online.

    Like

  148. Tom – Well, the irony is off the hook that the prosecutor fled you for Catholicism.

    Erik – Don’t tell the people on the convert conference circuit. It casts doubt on his sanity.

    Like

  149. Erik Charter
    Posted January 20, 2014 at 8:01 pm | Permalink
    It’s like a guy who claims he wants to coach Little League but all he actually does is sit in the bleachers drinking beer, yelling at both teams, and insulting the moms of the players. That guy would get old pretty quick. Don’t be that guy.

    You seem addicted to analogies, EC. Very well then, you’re the right fielder who bats last and fortunately never has to field a ball, yelling at the ump because you’re losing 16-0.

    If this were indeed Little League, the game would have been called under the mercy rule long ago. But since you’re professionals, you have to stay out on the field and take your beating.

    Like

  150. Tom – your ecclesiology–indeed your theology itslef!—is merely a tyranny of the majority.

    Erik – Hard to have a tyranny when membership is voluntary and we don’t condemn people with anathemas who don’t join our specific sects. You’re confusing us with Rome.

    Like

  151. Tom – yelling at the ump

    Erik – Yeah, you’re the impartial umpire. Ha, ha.

    As Darryl would say, nice not talking to you again. Hopefully we’re doing our Christian duty and keeping you from wasting someone else’s time even more than you waste ours.

    Like

  152. clete vd, was that my voice or the Bible’s. And that supports your point that folks here are throwing around “false gospel”? Not really. Posts count more than comments. If you blogged you’d know that.

    Well, your church is all over the place. So deal with it.

    Like

  153. Darryl,

    “clete vd, was that my voice or the Bible’s.”

    Oy vey. You should go into politics. It’s really not a big deal to admit a mistake or something.

    “And that supports your point that folks here are throwing around “false gospel”? Not really. Posts count more than comments. If you blogged you’d know that.”

    lol – just as I called a few posts ago. You didn’t dispute that you would distinguish between comments and posts at first and ask for proof. Then proof comes from the comments. Now it’s all comments don’t really matter, just the posts – duh! What my buds say over and over again doesn’t matter even though we all cheer each other on – duh! What my confession I reference over and over says doesn’t really matter – duh! Got it. Carry on, carry on.

    Like

  154. DG, I can handle dirty play. As a church member/officer I get to deal with pietists, legalists, liars, nuts, and babies that spit (and do other rhyming things) on you — you know real world intersection of grace, sin, and human trainwrecks. Not gameshow stuff. What’s TVD after you’ve tangled with a church lady?

    Like

  155. Robert,

    “Again, if the Magisterium has the same authorty, it must have the same inspiration.”

    Still just asserted, not proved. Waiting for the proof.

    “What parts of liturgy? It has changed.”

    If you seriously can’t grasp that the RCC practices novus ordo and tridentine mass at the same time, and yet still holds the liturgy to be part of tradition and isn’t contradicting itself, I don’t know what to tell you.

    “Where is it-all of it!”

    In Scripture and Tradition, as protected and expounded by the Magisterium. It’s not hiding in the vaults of the Vatican.
    Where’s the list of the perspicuous essential doctrines for salvation, faith, and life – all of it!

    “Third, Roman inspiration doesn’t have to be creative. The Apostles weren’t “creative.” They took from the Spirit and gave to the people.”

    What? Are you contending the Apostles and Christ weren’t giving new revelation? That’s what I mean by “creative” – it’s new revelation unfolding. Maybe you are though since you keep pushing this OT sola scriptura thing with them.

    “If Rome wants to do the same and have us follow its authority, it needs the same inspiration.”

    Still unproven. You have not shown why “HS leading into all truth” necessitates a creative gift of ongoing inspiration rather than a protective gift.

    “Now be consistent and follow through to a fallible church when it teaches unlike infallible Apostles when they taught.”

    So your congregation has women head coverings right? Paul taught it.

    “Again, the church is not Christ, and if you want it to be, it needs the same inspiration so that EVERYTHING it teaches is infallible.”

    The Apostles weren’t Christ, but had authority. They were inspired yes, but they didn’t become uncreated divine beings. Which seems to be the same argument you’re using against Rome – if the church is in any way sharing in the authority of Christ, it has to have all of His attributes!

    Like


  156. D. G. Hart
    Posted January 20, 2014 at 8:16 pm | Permalink
    tom vd, what? No comment from Mark David Hall?

    You really are a sad person, even sadder with the mullet.

    D. G. Hart
    Posted January 20, 2014 at 8:21 pm | Permalink
    tom vd, I have a scorecard too. So far you haven’t gotten on base for about 3 months.

    D. G. Hart
    Posted January 20, 2014 at 8:25 pm | Permalink
    tom vd, and like where does that leave you since you don’t have a church? Right, a scorecard about which no one else cares.

    D. G. Hart
    Posted January 20, 2014 at 8:28 pm | Permalink
    tom vd, and you’re watching this Little League game because you have a thing for little boys?

    Darryl, I accept your abandonment of your stall in the marketplace of ideas. But why you had to pee all over it is beyond me. I mean, it’s your stall.

    Like

  157. Cletus,

    In Scripture and Tradition, as protected and expounded by the Magisterium. It’s not hiding in the vaults of the Vatican.
    Where’s the list of the perspicuous essential doctrines for salvation, faith, and life – all of it!

    Sorry, no dice. I can point to the deposit—the canon of Scripture—and say there is the once-for-all deposit. You simply can’t do that with Rome. What is in the canon of tradition?

    Since you can’t answer, that means it is ever-shifting. This is not a hard question. A fixed deposit is a fixed deposit. Rome has no fixed deposit. It’s whatever the Magisterium of the moment says, and no matter what it says, by definition, nothing has changed.

    Sure, that’s not a system ripe for corruption.

    Like

  158. Robert,

    “I can point to the deposit—the canon of Scripture—and say there is the once-for-all deposit.”

    So the recognized canon and its contents are infallible right? I mean you say you can point it at it. Seems odd that you would point to a fallible once-for-all deposit.

    “A fixed deposit is a fixed deposit. Rome has no fixed deposit.”

    Sure it does. It just grows in its understanding of it. Just like Protestantism does – well provisionally anyways.

    “It’s whatever the Magisterium of the moment says”

    Yawn. Call me when the Magisterium declares Mary eternal or throws out books from the canon or says the book of mormon is inspired or says Christ never existed or that the first 7 ecumenical councils didn’t happen or Nicaea actually endorsed Arianism rather than condemning it, etc. Otherwise you tacitly agree she binds herself to what has been handed down in her past and to Scripture. Which – shockingly – is exactly what she declares she does in her own documents.

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  159. Cletus van Damme
    Posted January 20, 2014 at 11:51 pm | Permalink
    Robert,

    “I can point to the deposit—the canon of Scripture—and say there is the once-for-all deposit.”

    So the recognized canon and its contents are infallible right? I mean you say you can point it at it. Seems odd that you would point to a fallible once-for-all deposit.

    “A fixed deposit is a fixed deposit. Rome has no fixed deposit.”

    Sure it does. It just grows in its understanding of it. Just like Protestantism does – well provisionally anyways.

    That is the Catholic argument, put well. Understanding does not change, it deepens.

    That’s actually Judaism’s and Christianity’s understanding of the Bible, by the Bible’s own narrative. The Bible is the chronicle of how stupid, willful and foolish mankind is in coming to understand God, even when He reveals Himself to us. In fact, man is so stupid and willful that God Himself must become man, to explain Himself to us.

    And let us torture Him and even kill Him. To show us. We don’t listen very well.

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  160. Darryl,

    You asked me today: “So Susan, are you trusting in Mary as a co-mediatrix?”

    I’m trusting that church knows what it’s talking about, just like Protestant’s trust the bible. I don’t worry about getting something wrong anymore, and I don’t have to defend a doctrine as being according to my own interpretation. But you posed the question as if believing that Mary prays for us means that Catholics believe she is diety.
    You can read the catechism to see how The Church defends the doctrine.

    I’ve said before that if the Catholic Church isn’t what it claims then I must give up trying to know if Christianity is true. I would have to conclude that the scriptures are profound, glorious and sublime but without the community that can guarantee it to be divinely inspired, are a vestige of community that must have died out. I can’t see how a community experiences things that are prophesied about in earlier writings, records some of those events including the most momentous thing in history and then just fades away leaving a bunch of writings that necessitate someone( who is now gone) to know which ones are absolutely trustworthy. It hugely worrisome that anyone would presume to come along 1500 yrs after the age of the last person to witness Jesus and change the books that the church had historically considered worthy of learning, copying, and teaching from. I’m skeptical of its preservation without the church that would guard it and know what it means better than any group that happend to get a hold of it. The further it is removed from its source the more cryptic it becomes and the more division that results.

    Let me give you one challenge, or anyone if they would. Give me a Protestant intepretation of Rev. 11:23 and 12:1

    Do you believe the Mary is the new Eve? If you don’t how do you reject the Cathlolic interpretation without using Reformed presuppositions? You’re of course allowed your presupposition, just how do you put a stake in the heart of the Catholic view without being the rightful authority to claim your interpretation over a competing( and older) intepreatation?

    When you read the CCC, does it ring true for you at all?
    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p123a9p6.htm

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  161. Cletus,

    Sure it does. It just grows in its understanding of it. Just like Protestantism does – well provisionally anyways.

    Where in this fixed deposit is there anything that would lead you to believe that Mary was bodily assumed? What Scripture passage or element of tradition teaches it? The evidence for belief in this is quite late, and when it first appears, those who mention it aren’t even sure about it. If the deposit is fixed, you should be able to give me something.

    So the recognized canon and its contents are infallible right? I mean you say you can point it at it. Seems odd that you would point to a fallible once-for-all deposit.

    We have an abundance of reasons to believe that the church has accurately identified the canon. The church does not need to be infallible to have recognized it truly. Fallible entities make true statements and recognize the truth all the time. The fact that the church is fallible does not make the deposit itself fallible, and the whole point of the phrase “fallible collection of infallible books” is to point out that the Scripture derives its authority not from the church but from God. Scripture isn’t Scripture because the church says it is Scripture. That is Rome’s basic position.

    Yawn. Call me when the Magisterium declares Mary eternal or throws out books from the canon or says the book of mormon is inspired or says Christ never existed or that the first 7 ecumenical councils didn’t happen or Nicaea actually endorsed Arianism rather than condemning it, etc. Otherwise you tacitly agree she binds herself to what has been handed down in her past and to Scripture. Which – shockingly – is exactly what she declares she does in her own documents.

    If Rome bound herself to what has been handed down, I’d still be under Trent’s anathema.

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  162. Susan, you go first. Since you bring up Revelation, what is the Roman Catholic interpretation?

    Parts of the catechism ring true and parts don’t. So?

    But you really need to think this through:

    “I’m trusting that church knows what it’s talking about. . . ”

    “if the Catholic Church isn’t what it claims then I must give up trying to know if Christianity is true. . .”

    Which is it? Are you resting in the church or are you trying to know if Christianity is true? If you’re trying, your not resting.

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  163. I don’t worry about getting something wrong anymore,

    I don’t worry either, but Machen has choice words in What is Faith about how Christians strive for how much Christian Truth they must continue to be aspiring to achieve. I’m not as works righteousness kind of dog, but that man knew how to fight.

    I thank God for him and his ministry.

    Peace.

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  164. Susan, you said “I’ve said before that if the Catholic Church isn’t what it claims then I must give up trying to know if Christianity is true.” Would you re-consider that view, inasmuch as Paul would say that the ONLY thing that would convince him that his faith was in vain would be if Christ wasn’t, indeed, raised from the dead. (I Cor 15:13-17) Further, Paul was hardly influenced by the claims of any particular church, and further, he was hardly influenced by what even Peter himself said (Galatians ch 1 and 2). Why not follow Paul’s example?

    You also said ” It hugely worrisome that anyone would presume to come along 1500 yrs after….” Why is that worrisome? We have the record of God’s chosen people, the Jews, who would go centuries with ignoring the Torah (cf King Josiah 2 Kings 22, 23). That the church also ignored the Bible for centuries shouldn’t, in concept anyway, be such a surprise, should it? We’re all sinful! But, it’s the written Text that God used (and still uses) to bring revival!

    You also state “the church that would guard it (the Bible) and know what it (the Bible) means better than any group”. What would lead you to necessarily think that? Consider that as Christians, we owe a debt of gratitude to the Jews for preserving the Text for us. Agree? But, alas, the Jews (largely) rejected Jesus. A group that God allowed to be a caretaker of the Text does not necessarily also mean that said group is the best interpreter of the Text. By your criteria, hy aren’t you a Jew?

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  165. You know, the problem with the way a lot of the RCs around here speak is that it is abundantly clear that they have put their faith in the church and not so clear that their faith is in Christ. What happens when the less credulous discover that putting faith in the church—any church—is misplaced? What happens when the failures of Rome hit them personally? Do they stay and give up Roman infallibility? Do they renounce all forms of Christian profession? Do they repent and return to a more humble Protestantism?

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  166. Robert,

    “Where in this fixed deposit is there anything that would lead you to believe that Mary was bodily assumed? What Scripture passage or element of tradition teaches it? The evidence for belief in this is quite late”

    As I’ve said before – you don’t have a universal feast day celebrated in both the east and west with evidence in the 5th/6th centuries popping out of nowhere and with no documented objections/resistance, and from lack of her bones/relics before that. Seems odd the East holds to it still even without the evil all-powerful unaccountable Magisterium. But maybe you’ll reply like John – oh it’s just baptized pagan piety – wonderful. Date has nothing to do with it. I could give you witness in the first 3 centuries to RC doctrine you still disagree with. As to Scripture, yes it is not explicit obviously – it is drawn from typological and allegorical methods and inferences from life of Christ, and things like the patristic view of her as New Eve and the Ark. Same methods ecfs used in exegeting Scripture and battling heresy – you know when all those core doctrines were being developed.

    “We have an abundance of reasons to believe that the church has accurately identified the canon”

    Awesome. You shout down saying “Hey we can point to the clear tangible fixed deposit of faith! Not this life of church plus scripture thing. Losers!” Then when asked a bit more on it, oh actually it’s just provisional. I mean we’re pretty sure it is, but we’re not going to make any crazy claims okay? But you should still assent to our opinions with faith. Protestantism needs to grow some confidence. But it never will – semper reformanda.

    Also you have an abundance of reasons to believe the church accurately identified the canon, but not an abundance of reasons to believe the same church/people who identified the NT canon got the OT canon right, or an abundance of reasons to believe other doctrines they held were true. More special pleading on God’s guidance of the identification of the canon.

    “the Scripture derives its authority not from the church but from God…That is Rome’s basic position.”

    Ah yeah only Scripture, and not the church, can derive its authority from God. Nope cannot have that. Yes, Rome’s identification of the canon did not confer authority on Scripture.

    “If Rome bound herself to what has been handed down, I’d still be under Trent’s anathema.”

    Yep. Still Sisyphus around here.

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  167. Robert – Christ. What happens when the less credulous discover that putting faith in the church—any church—is misplaced? What happens when the failures of Rome hit them personally? Do they stay and give up Roman infallibility? Do they renounce all forms of Christian profession? Do they repent and return to a more humble Protestantism?

    Erik – Those are relevant questions. At least some of the Callers are reverts who experienced abuse at the hand of priests. They portray their coming back as evidence of just how compelling the evidence for the Church is. Why can it not also be understood as Stockholm Syndrome?

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  168. CVD: you don’t have a universal feast day celebrated in both the east and west with evidence in the 5th/6th centuries popping out of nowhere and with no documented objections/resistance, and from lack of her bones/relics before that.

    In the first place, they weren’t collecting bones in the first, second, or third centuries. Then the whole mood shifts, as essentially pagan Rome is forced to convert … all the while, bringing with them their “baptized” pagan Roman gods etc. There were no “documented objections/resistance” because it was really an “anything goes” environment.

    I could give you witness in the first 3 centuries to RC doctrine you still disagree with.

    Vaporware. We can give you hundreds of manuscripts from all over the extent of Christianity during the first, second, and third centuries, and you’d still say “they needed an infallible interpreter”.

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  169. How’s this for some cognitive dissonance/industrial-strength conflictedness: Many of the callers are former P&R ministers who, for obviously man-made scripturally-unsupported reasons, cannot serve as priests in the Roman thing. Their only near-term hope for a change in this (dogma, doctrine, discipline?) is the liberal Francis — who must secretly grate on them in any number of ways, though we’ll never hear about it. It almost evokes pity. Almost.

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  170. John,

    “because it was really an “anything goes” environment.”

    Except when they denounced heresy and heretics.

    “We can give you hundreds of manuscripts from all over the extent of Christianity during the first, second, and third centuries, and you’d still say “they needed an infallible interpreter”

    Or I could sift through them all and come to my own conclusions about which were canonical and inspired and which weren’t. Instead of special pleading to a God-guided church in recognizing what I should accept. But you’d still say it’s just a provisional collection.

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  171. Erik,

    “Why can it not also be understood as Stockholm Syndrome?”

    When you opening up your private practice? Any free consults?

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  172. You miss the point about the manuscripts. They were creating and distributing manuscripts of Scriptures, not collecting bones. However, you are agenda-driven, not truth-driven, so such mischaracterizations are welcome (from your side).

    As far as dnouncing heresy and heretics, I understand there were some important theological issues. But there were also massive numbers of pagans coming into the church, un-schooled, bringing their Roman gods with them, and on the other hand, the “Nestorian heresy” was something really that Cyril effectively made up (See JP II’s 1994 agreement with the Assyrians), largely for political motivatoins (i.e., the jostling for “who was greatest” among the several “Apostolic sees”) which resulted in the massive fracturing of global,”catholic” Christianity in the fifth century, opening the door for the conquest of Islam.

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  173. Mr. Johnson:

    Who’s that oaf there with that lass?
    On what do you fall when the ice is glass?
    Describe the Senator who lived in Mass.
    What do you call a guy who’s crass?

    Not a word that you should speak.
    So just turn the other “cheek.”

    Muddy’s takin’ names and being aggressive.

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  174. John,

    “They were creating and distributing manuscripts of Scriptures, not collecting bones.”

    First, as if it’s a zero-sum game – the Christians were spreading manuscripts, so they must not have cared about anything else. I guess they weren’t worshipping either.

    Secondly,
    “We took up the bones, which are more valuable than precious stones and finer than refined gold, and laid them in a suitable place, where the Lord will permit us to gather ourselves together as we are able, in gladness and joy, and celebrate the birthday of his martyrdom.”
    Martyrdom of Polycarp – 156.

    Already bones of the holy are being treated with reverence. And according to your historical methods, since we don’t have any objections to the language of this letter nor is it written as a novelty, and we might be missing more letters like it that were written, we should still just assume it is wrong and we’re missing historical documents that would clearly show them in error. Or if we couldn’t, it’s still just pagan piety in the 2nd century popping in.

    “I understand there were some important theological issues”

    Yep, which is enough to refute your clearly truth-driven, not at all agenda-driven, historical analysis and claim.

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  175. Cletus,

    As I’ve said before – you don’t have a universal feast day celebrated in both the east and west with evidence in the 5th/6th centuries popping out of nowhere and with no documented objections/resistance, and from lack of her bones/relics before that. Seems odd the East holds to it still even without the evil all-powerful unaccountable Magisterium. But maybe you’ll reply like John – oh it’s just baptized pagan piety – wonderful. Date has nothing to do with it. I could give you witness in the first 3 centuries to RC doctrine you still disagree with. As to Scripture, yes it is not explicit obviously – it is drawn from typological and allegorical methods and inferences from life of Christ, and things like the patristic view of her as New Eve and the Ark. Same methods ecfs used in exegeting Scripture and battling heresy – you know when all those core doctrines were being developed.

    An argument from silence for a doctrine that one must believe upon pain of damnation is not very compelling or principled.

    Awesome. You shout down saying “Hey we can point to the clear tangible fixed deposit of faith! Not this life of church plus scripture thing. Losers!” Then when asked a bit more on it, oh actually it’s just provisional. I mean we’re pretty sure it is, but we’re not going to make any crazy claims okay? But you should still assent to our opinions with faith. Protestantism needs to grow some confidence. But it never will – semper reformanda.

    Also you have an abundance of reasons to believe the church accurately identified the canon, but not an abundance of reasons to believe the same church/people who identified the NT canon got the OT canon right, or an abundance of reasons to believe other doctrines they held were true. More special pleading on God’s guidance of the identification of the canon.

    I’m not the one claiming infallibility, you are. You are the one telling me the deposit is fixed but then we get all sorts of practices entering in that nobody knows where they come from (like the Assumption) or that are established by allegory (a method your own scholars now reject).

    No special pleading. Lots of historical confirmation that the NT was written within the lifetime of the Apostles, no historical confirmation of the papacy, Immaculate Conception, Assumption, and ahost of dogmas that come anywhere close. You all talk about the “motives of credibility.” It ain’t credible to believe something for which there is no evidence in the apostolic period.

    We have a fixed deposit of faith—the Scriptures. On that all Protestants agree. I can’t get RCs to agree on the extent of their fixed deposit of faith because the Magisterium hasn’t told us what it is. As far as the OT and NT, the canon in the RC view wasn’t even really established unto Trent, so who are you to say the church got it wrong. Plenty of people in the church who got it right. Church does not equal magisterium. Where some affirmed the apocrypha, they erred by not listening to Christ or the old covenant people of God, just like Rome ignores the early church.

    Date has nothing to do with it. I could give you witness in the first 3 centuries to RC doctrine you still disagree with.

    Early doesn’t guarantee accuracy. Late introduction almost always means completely unknown in the church before then. If the church was getting things wrong even during the Apostolic period, it can get things wrong ten years after they’re all gone.

    Ah yeah only Scripture, and not the church, can derive its authority from God. Nope cannot have that. Yes, Rome’s identification of the canon did not confer authority on Scripture.

    If I need an infallible pronouncement to be certain of canon, Rome contains Scripture.

    If you want the church to have the same authority as Scripture, it must be just as inspired. Scripture again and again testifies to its authority by claiming it is the very voice of God, and it claims to be the very voice of God on everything it says. All Scripture is God-breathed, not just the third line of the fourth column of Ephesians. Rome does not make that claim formally. It cannot have the same authority.

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  176. DGHART,

    Good afternoon. You wrote

    Loser Ken, so let’s get this straight. There is a Roman Catholic orthodoxy that transcends the bishops, even the Bp of Rome. That does appear to be what you’re saying and it fits with the idea that popes do err; they just don’t err when the charism light is on (which no one can tell except for Denzinger).

    So how exactly does this idea of orthodoxy, that you can know and can judge a pope by, how does it result in something that Protestants don’t have? Something more certain, less fallible. You say you have documents to show you orthodoxy? Well, get this, so do we.

    Well the reformed certainly do enjoy their own traditions. As do Lutherans and Pentecostals and every other denomination. The difference is that the RCC claims its own Traditions to be sacred and infallible. You claim that your traditions (interpretive or otherwise) are to always be reformed. This seems to be a qualitative difference wouldn’t you agree? In a nutshell, I guess what we would say is that you follow “traditions of men” that are reformable and manifested by majority opinion. We follow the Sacred Traditions which were handed down by the apostles through the Church over the centuries. Therefore, although we may both have documents, one set enjoys the stamp of divine authority and the other does not. They stand as polar opposites. You are judging the RCC by the standards of semper reformata…. I am judging yours by Sacred Tradition. We are both giving the other failing grades due to the lenses with which we are viewing each other. Presuppositions presuppositions….

    Now if you want to say that you have an authority that we don’t, like a pope, then you may win. But that authority makes hay of the notion that you have a standard of orthodoxy by which you can even judge whether a pope is right or errs.

    We have two authorities that you do not have. The pope (magesterium in general) and also Sacred Tradition. The Pope submits to Scripture and Tradition. You submit to the WCF and its interpretation of scripture. Its not about “winning and losing” Daryl. Its about finding yourself among the shepherds (bishops) and not the wolves (schismatics). I am concerned that you have given the assent of your faith to the wolves in sheeps clothing.

    The system breaks down, the mind boggles.

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  177. Kenneth,

    Maybe you can help me, because Cletus can’t:

    We follow the Sacred Traditions which were handed down by the apostles through the Church over the centuries.

    Can you tell me what all of those sacred traditions are, and can you know them without the Magisterium?

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  178. Robert,

    Mark Shea can help you.

    Sacred Tradition is handed down “both by word of mouth and by letter.” In Scripture, as today, “Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the word of God” (Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, II, 10) so that the Bible is part, not the whole, of the apostolic paradosis. In Scripture, as today, the Bible is materially, not formally, sufficient to reveal the fullness of the gospel of Christ. In Scripture, as today, both written and unwritten Tradition are from Christ and made by him to stand inseparably united like hydrogen and oxygen that fuse to form living water or like the words and tune of a single song. In Scripture, as today, the unwritten aspect of Sacred Tradition is not some separate, secret and parallel revelation, but the common teaching, common life, and common worship of the whole Church. In Scripture, as today, this Tradition grows like the mustard seed and, as a result, gets more mustardy, not less. In Scripture, as today, the Church in council sits on the judge’s bench and listens to the testimony of Scripture in light of its Tradition in order to discern how best to define that Tradition more precisely.

    And all this is because, in Scripture, as today, the Tradition, both written and unwritten, comes to us through the Body of Him Who is Truth: the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church Paul calls “the fullness of him who fills everything in every way” and the “pillar and foundation of the truth” (Eph 1:22; 1 Tm 3:15). For in Scripture, as today, Sacred Tradition-the common apostolic teaching, life and worship handed down to us in written and unwritten form-and the magisterial authority of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church are as inseparably united as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

    http://www.mark-shea.com/tradition.html

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  179. Kenneth,

    Shea is not helpful. First, he isn’t the Magisterium. Second, he hasn’t given me a list of traditions. Common worship, teaching, and life of the church is incredibly vague. Does it include masses styled after seeker-sensitive worship nonsense? How many must live for it to be common? Not helpful.

    I want the once-for-all deposit. If it keeps growing, it isn’t a once-for-all deposit.

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  180. Robert,

    “Does it include masses styled after seeker-sensitive worship nonsense?”

    You are still peddling this. The church practices both novus ordo and tridentine simultaneously. That does not mean the liturgy is not part of tradition. According to you it must be some type of contradiction. Here are some other examples of tradition – Apostle’s Creed, infant baptism, public revelation has ended, the canon, Scripture and its inspiration, etc.

    “I want the once-for-all deposit. If it keeps growing, it isn’t a once-for-all deposit.”

    No you want the explicit list of every proposition in the once-for-all-deposit by asking for a list of traditions. You won’t give a list of all teachings from Scripture – why not? Maybe scripture’s too hard, can you give me a list of all the traditions of America?

    And you presuppose the growing understanding of an object means that object must therefore be ever-changing or mutating, rather than inexhaustible in and of itself by its nature. Which is not justified. And which you don’t believe yourself since Protestantism affirms development, unless you want to propose WCF was found in the second century. Development has occurred, and will continue. That’s why any exhaustive list of teachings/propositions would never work – it would preclude any notion of further development/understanding by the church.

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  181. CVD: the Christians were spreading manuscripts, so they must not have cared about anything else. I guess they weren’t worshipping either

    First of all, your sarcasm here is a real sign of the weakness of your response. Saying “they must not have cared about anything else” is a perfectly ridiculous thing to say. Of course they did. You just really can’t provide any specifics about what else they were doing. That’s the down side of “Tradition”. You really can’t say what anyone was doing with any degree of specificity.

    But you are a smart guy. I trust you are figuring this out already.

    The question here is proportion. What do we KNOW they were doing, compared with some of those “Roman Catholic” doctrines you had hinted at?

    Second, yes, they were worshipping, and since you bring it up, the worship of the first three centuries much more resembled the Baptist pot luck dinner than anything else. I’ve been writing about that elsewhere.

    Already bones of the holy are being treated with reverence.

    As were the bones of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, whose bones were carried through the desert back to Israel. Not a biggie.

    we might be missing more letters like it that were written,

    Actually, the relative value of a document may be measured by the number of copies that were made – since they took so long to do and all – so the letters and things that “might be missing” most likely weren’t viewed as being all that valuable to keep around, compared with, say, all the many thousands of Scripture manuscripts we have from prior to that time. We actually have eight manuscripts of the Martyrdom of Polycarp, none dating prior to the 10th century.

    By the way, I responded to some of your other comments at length, (about my ignoring scholarship that disagrees with me) here:

    https://oldlife.org/2014/01/less-powerful/comment-page-9/#comment-115894

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  182. CVD, since you bring up bones and no “objections” and things like that, you may be interested in Ludwig Ott’s account of images. Maybe you have this book on your shelf even.

    Owing to the influence of the Old Testament prohibition of images, Christian veneration of images developed only after the victory of the Church over paganism.

    One might re-state this “victory over paganism” as “wholesale adoption of pagan practices”. This really isn’t in question.

    Anyway, it’s Ott’s story, and his euphemism. Continuing:

    The Synod of Elvira (about 306) still prohibited figurative representations in the houses of God (Canon 36). The original purpose of the images was that of instruction. The veneration of images (by kissing, bowing down before them, burning of candles, incensing) chiefly developed in the Greek Church from the fifth through the seventh centuries.

    Now, does this relate practices that go back into the first three centuries, and we just don’t know about it? Or, do we have documentary evidence that a long-standing (first three centuries) practice was overturned at some point. I’m defending the latter.

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  183. On the possibility that “the Assumption of Mary” might be an historical event that we simply don’t know about, consider this citation from R.P.C. Hanson, “Tradition in the Early Church” (pgs 258–259):

    Tertullian can write a long treatise of sixty-three chapters On the Resurrection of the Dead, mentioning and discussing the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the raising of Lazarus, the translation without death of Enoch and of Elijah, the returning from the dead of Moses for the Transfiguration, and even the preservation from what was humanly speaking certain death of the three young men in the fiery furnace and of Jonah in the whale’s belly. He does not once even slightly mention, he does not once remotely and uncertainly hint at, the resurrection or corporeal assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Tertullian quite clearly, like all his contemporaries and predecessors, had never heard of this story.

    Hanson prefaces this statement by saying “If the dogma of the corporeal assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary involves the belief in an historical fact (as well, of course, as the interpretation of fact), in some manner analogous to the dependence of the doctrine of the resurrection of Christ upon historical fact, then it can have no support whatever in the tradition of the Church of this period. If it is a fact, it is a fact wholly unknown to the writers of the second and third centuries.”

    I’ve cited this elsewhere in the past. This is not some sort of surprise magic-rabbit that I’m pulling out of a hat.

    And I made the further statement, And yet, the “infallible Magisterium” of the 20th century knows enough about this event to include this non-event as part of the “formal proximate object of faith”. There is now no question [for Roman Catholics, this historical non-event was to be now] a true event. Even though, as the Roman Catholic writer Shoemaker says, “this idea first made its appearance in the fifth-century Coptic Christianity under marked Gnostic influence.”

    You may dismiss this as an argument of silence. You might say “well, there was no protest, but it must have been believed before then”. But arguments from silence are not always a logical fallacies – especially if there is not any hint of the thing that’s being suggested. My citation of Hanson meets the conditions by which this is a valid argument.

    According to Gilbert Garraghan (A Guide to Historical Method, 1946, p. 149), in order to be valid, the argument from silence must fulfill two conditions: the writer[s] whose silence is invoked would certainly have known about it; [and] knowing it, he would under the circumstances certainly have made mention of it. When these two conditions are fulfilled, the argument from silence proves its point with moral certainty.

    As to the first condition, Tertullian was certainly one of the most prolific writers of the second and third centuries. We know very little about the early church that he did not write about.

    Tertullian.org gives this summary of the ways that Tertullian mentioned Mary:

    Tertullian is orthodox on the virgin birth. He does not maintain the later ideas of Mary ever-virgin, but believes that Christ had a normal birth, and that his brothers were his brothers, and not his cousins as later Fathers were to maintain. Helvidius later invoked this statement by Tertullian as an authority, but was denied by Jerome curtly in the words “As to Tertullian, I have nothing else to say except that he was not a man of the church”.

    If Mary were held with any kind of esteem during the period when Tertullian lived and worked, he certainly would have known about it. And yet there is no mention of “an Assumption of Mary” in his works.

    Second, Tertullian’s clear intention was to describe every instance [“sixty three chapters”!] instance “On the Resurrection of the Dead”, certainly provided a comprehensive overview in every other person who came close to a near-death experience and was revived, mentioning a large number of individuals, both from the Old Testament (Enoch, Elijah, Daniel and Jonah) and from recent memory (Jesus and Lazarus). He goes into detail about every person in the Bible who is resurrected or ascended, except Mary. That fulfills the first condition.

    Under those conditions, we can certainly say that “the Assumption of Mary”, as it appeared in later Gnostic works, was certainly a non-event in history.

    Hanson’s work is still a standard monograph on the topic of tradition in the early church. His argument did not get laughed out of town, but I have seen this work quoted heartily by other respected authors.

    An environment that would accept the swap “no images” for “images” also accepted the swap “Mary had other children” to “Mary was ever-virgin”.

    It certainly that, in that environment, when the “baptized pagan population” was still worshipping its Roman “gods” under other names, that followers of the newly made “ever-virgin” would be hungry for information – even fictitious information – to support their new and novel beliefs.

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  184. “[U]nder the influence of these old habits of thought and action they created from themselves a new set of heroes, Christian heroes called saints, and developed with respect to their relics a set of superstitious practices which reproduced in all their essential traits those to which they had been accustomed with respect to the relics of the heathen heroes. There is certainly a true sense in which the saints are the successors of the gods, and the whole body of superstitious practices which cluster around the cult of relics is a development in Christian circles of usages which parallel very closely those of old heathenism.” B.B. Warfield, Counterfeit Miracles.

    Warfield goes on to talk about an alleged vial of Mary’s milk in the church of Saints Cosmas and Damian at Rome. But there were several other churches in Roman that allegedly had specimens as well as ten more in France and some in Spain as well. So we see why the RC demands implicit faith.

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  185. Cletus,

    No you want the explicit list of every proposition in the once-for-all-deposit by asking for a list of traditions. You won’t give a list of all teachings from Scripture – why not? Maybe scripture’s too hard, can you give me a list of all the traditions of America?

    And you presuppose the growing understanding of an object means that object must therefore be ever-changing or mutating, rather than inexhaustible in and of itself by its nature. Which is not justified. And which you don’t believe yourself since Protestantism affirms development, unless you want to propose WCF was found in the second century. Development has occurred, and will continue. That’s why any exhaustive list of teachings/propositions would never work – it would preclude any notion of further development/understanding by the church.

    Ridiculous and absurd. I don’t want a list of every doctrine. I want to know which letters of Augustine, which orders of service, which creeds, which sermons of Cyprian, etc. consist of the deposit of faith.

    I accept that our understanding develops. What I want is the foundational documents and traditions that started it all. That is the deposit. That is what the Apostles actually delivered. I’m still waiting. I can give you the Protestant deposit of faith, and I don’t have the gift of infallibility. Your church supposedly does but it won’t give me the plus what in the “Scripture plus.”

    Without an identifiable deposit, I have no assurance that the church is not adding to it and calling it a deposit. That might be fine if you think the church is the voice of God every time it says it is, but lots of people claim to be the voice of God.

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  186. MM – Warfield goes on to talk about an alleged vial of Mary’s milk in the church of Saints Cosmas and Damian at Rome. But there were several other churches in Roman that allegedly had specimens as well as ten more in France and some in Spain as well. So we see why the RC demands implicit faith.

    Erik – Has Mary’s breast pump been preserved?

    Good grief.

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  187. Loser Ken, Protestants have God’s law. We call it the Decalogue. We number it differently than you but it is basically the same as yours?

    Are you telling me that the Decalogue is not infallible? That it wasn’t until Peter came along that prohibitions against adultery were infallible? (Or that Israel had nothing but opinion because no infallible interpreter?)

    The mind truly does boggle.

    And so if adultery is wrong irrespective of the pope, and it is infallibly true that adultery is wrong, then Protestants have — get this cletus van james — infallible teaching. And voila. The claim that Rome stands superior to Protestantism — because you have infallibility and we don’t — vanishes. Because — get this — we have the same authority that the Israelites did. And ours is older than yours — nah, nana, nana, nah.

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  188. John,

    “They were creating and distributing manuscripts of Scriptures, not collecting bones.”
    Me: Polycarp’s bones (more valuable than precious stones and finer than refined gold) being collected in 2nd century.
    “Not a biggie.”

    Sensational.

    So did this massive pagan influence of the early church that corrupted everything affect its views on Christ and God? I mean, councils dealing with it were popping up at the same time. Why or why not? Seems a pretty good candidate for some corruption given the subject matter.

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  189. Darryl,

    “And so if adultery is wrong irrespective of the pope, and it is infallibly true that adultery is wrong, then Protestants have — get this cletus van james — infallible teaching.”

    Uh, infallibility isn’t exclusively tied to papal statements. We’ve been over that. Infallible teaching? Cuz you say so? Why should I trust your word – have you claimed any divine authority or infallibility yourself? If so, your brethren ain’t gonna take kindly to it.

    “Because — get this — we have the same authority that the Israelites did.”

    You mean the one they kept screwing up with and needing Prophets and Christ to set them straight? And divided into a bunch of warring sects over? We’re in the NC now – it’s better and superior don’t ya know (well maybe you don’t).

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  190. Come on, Darryl. Clete’s at the movies and can’t be bothered.

    No you want the explicit list of every proposition in the once-for-all-deposit by asking for a list of traditions. You won’t give a list of all teachings from Scripture – why not? Maybe scripture’s too hard, can you give me a list of all the traditions of America?

    Nice try to divert attention CVD. Or as Bryan would say, “question begging”. There’s the canon of Scripture, there’s the American constitution, but you want to pretend nobody can know or define anything so Rome can get a bye on all its additions to the canon/Scripture.
    Because Mark Shea says so.
    Yup, works for the argument challenged folks out there in implicit aka ignorant faith mode.

    And you’re still peddling that Christ the Word of God become flesh was not a sola scripturist.
    You and Kenny both got to stop beating your wives.
    As in your desperate irrelevancies are becoming even more apparent as you keep rattling on.
    In that the prophets and the apostles gave us the Scripture under inspiration from God, it umm. .. . what’s the term? Begs the question to assume that everything is the same before as after the close of the canon and cessation o the apostolic gifts.

    But wait, Is. 8:20 tells us “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them”.

    New revelation, spoken or written was to be tested by the previous written revelation, with the former in turn then becoming part of the expanding canon.
    But if you buy in to the fallacy of the missing middle term, that because the apostles were inspired and they ordained the first bishops, necessarily those bishops must also be inspired, then yeah. The bishops get to add to the canon, uhh deposit.
    OK, then show us the deposit.
    Nope can do. Just believe in ignorant faith and it’s all gravy.

    IOW there’s a reasonable faith in Scripture and there’s a Roman faith in fairytales about Mary, the saints and the apostolic bones.
    But, but, but if Rome can produce even one set of infallible bones, this proves that her paradigm is better than the uncertainty brought upon prots by their denial of papal infallibility.

    Like with Bryan though, we’re still waiting for you guys to get protestantism right, before hearing you out on Rome’s advantages over and against.

    What, did you say something?
    Never mind.
    That’s what I thought.

    cheers

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  191. Robert,

    “I don’t want a list of every doctrine. I want to know which letters of Augustine, which orders of service, which creeds, which sermons of Cyprian, etc. consist of the deposit of faith.”

    You said you want a list of all traditions. That’s the same as asking you for a list of all doctrines. It’s the same as asking you for a list of all American traditions. The fathers give witness to Tradition. Their writings aren’t Tradition itself.

    “Your church supposedly does but it won’t give me the plus what in the “Scripture plus.””

    That’s because Scripture is part of Tradition. Tradition is the common life, teaching, worship of the church handed down through the generations and the interpretive lens through which to understand Scripture.

    “Without an identifiable deposit, I have no assurance that the church is not adding to it and calling it a deposit.”

    What assurance do you have that sola fide is part of the deposit of faith and not added to it? Because that’s how you interpret the writings (well aside from the disputed passages that continue to develop) you provisionally call the canon? What assurance do you have that the provisional canon you call the deposit is actually the deposit and not some other canon? Do your self-recognized opinions about things of faith generally offer you a lot of existential assurance?

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  192. Hi Darryl,

    “Since you bring up Revelation, what is the Roman Catholic interpretation?”

    Ok, here’s the thing; I found an interpretation of Rev. 11:19- 12:1 that I had overlooked or that had lacked a gloss, and has been believed by The Church for aeons, involving Mary. My point was that since the Catholic interpretation is possible given a “scripture is perspicuous” hermeneutict theory”; therefore,by what authority does a sola scriptura individual or pastor or consistory or classis or synod or whatever “competing” church heirarchical government put a stake in the heart of the Catholic interpretation? “Sola scriptura” isn’t an functional authority, and even welcomes other interpretatations that might expand the horizons of the Protestant who is soley dependent on scripture alone and seeks futher “scriptural: truth to be ever “Semper Reformanda”.

    So here is the RC interpretation:
    Each of these Marian dogmas were teachings within the Church from the very beginning of the Church’s formation but became defined more fully as God the Holy Spirit expanded the Church’s understanding of the revelation of Christ in Christian doctrine and theology through the centuries. For example the oldest canonical feast of Mary in the Church is the Feast of the Assumption which was already celebrated on its own feast day by the 5th century. The doctrine of the Assumption of the Virgin is also part of the Tradition reflected in the writings of the early Church fathers even though Pius XII defined it as dogma in 1950. The same is true of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, which was formally defined by Pope Pius XI in 1854. Early Church hymns speak of “Mary conceived without sin” and the teaching is explicitly stated in the writings of Sts. Ambrose, Augustine, Andrew of Crete, Germain of Constantinople and other Fathers of the Church. This teaching was also celebrated in the early Church liturgy. A feast commemorating the Immaculate Conception of Mary was celebrated by the seventh century in the East and was formally approved and given a standardized liturgy in the West by Pope Sixtus IV in 1475. It was extended as a feast to the world Church by St. Pius V in the 1568. Each of these dogmas are also consistent with Sacred Scripture. For example the Immaculate Conception is supported by Genesis 3:15 and Luke 1:26-31 which have always been interpreted by the Church as implying the Virgin Mary’s exemption from Original Sin [Gabriel’s greeting to Mary using a perfect past participle concerning her condition of grace: “Hail has-been graced”]. If you wish to continue your study on Mary’s role in the Church for a pleasant read please see Dr. Scott Hahn’s, Hail Holy Queen, Doubleday publishers and Dr. Mark Miravalle’s excellent book Introduction to Mary: The Heart of Marian Doctrine and Devotion, Queenship Publishing Company. I also recommend for a more scholarly read Mary and the Fathers of the Church: The Blessed Virgin in Patristic Thought by Ignatius Press, 1991. Arranged in chronological order this book begins with the Apostolic Age of Ignatius Bishop of Antioch [disciple of St. John, martyred c. 107] and ends with John of Damascus [8th century] providing brief introductions and quotes for each Church Father.

    Mary’s continuing role in Salvation History is that of the Mother of the King of Kings, in Hebrew the gebira or Queen Mother, a title given to the mothers of the Kings of Judah. The mothers of the Kings of Judah were persons of great prestige and power who sat at the right hand of their sons and who were regarded with reverence by his subjects [see 1 Kings 2:19; Jeremiah 13:18]. It is in her role as the gebira that John sees Mary in Revelation 12:1, clothed with the sun and standing on the moon with a crown of 12 stars; it is the same vision Juan Diego will have of the Virgin Mary at Tepiac Hill in Mexico in 1531. But her Son has also made her the Mother of all New Covenant believers [John 19:25-27]. In that role she continues to intercede for her children just as she interceded with her Son at the Wedding at Cana, and she continues to show her love and concern by giving us the same advice she gave the servants of the Bridegroom at Cana: “Do whatever He tells you” [John 2:5].

    http://www.agapebiblestudy.com/documents/The%20Virgin%20Mary's%20Role%20in%20Salvation%20History.htm

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  193. james van clet, “So did this massive pagan influence of the early church that corrupted everything affect its views on Christ and God?”

    Well, if you turn Mary into a god . . .

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  194. james van clet, is the moral law infallible or not? If I have infallible law straight from Moses who did not claim to be infallible, then Protestants have infallibility and you claim about Rome’s superiority goes poof.

    Oh wait, you have an infallible interpreter. What exactly is the interpretation of adultery is wrong or Jesus is God — something about the relationship between Socrates and Christ?

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  195. Susan, this is a claim that cannot withstand historical scrutiny — that the church believed these dogmas from the beginning. This is the kind of boosterism that I find tedious.

    Plus, if this dogma was so well established, why did Peter and Paul not tell us about this in their epistles? Are they not representative?

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  196. Cletus,

    You said you want a list of all traditions. That’s the same as asking you for a list of all doctrines. It’s the same as asking you for a list of all American traditions. The fathers give witness to Tradition. Their writings aren’t Tradition itself.

    I want the deposit of faith that the apostles gave. Forget the word traditions. Forget expanded understanding. What did the apostles leave us before they died? New Testament, check. But you say their is more. You can keep evading by saying “common witness” but there’s lot in the “common witness” of the early church that Rome doesn’t follow. What is the content of the more.

    And BTW, the comparison with America doesn’t work. The “deposit” is identfiable. The Constitution. The Declaration of Independence. The Federalist Papers. I’m sure I’m missing something. Anything after the founders actually started the country as far as Supreme Court decisions, passed laws, etc., isn’t the deposit they left but the interpretation of that deposit.

    What, besides the NT, is the apostolic deposit of faith?

    What assurance do you have that sola fide is part of the deposit of faith and not added to it? Because that’s how you interpret the writings (well aside from the disputed passages that continue to develop) you provisionally call the canon? What assurance do you have that the provisional canon you call the deposit is actually the deposit and not some other canon? Do your self-recognized opinions about things of faith generally offer you a lot of existential assurance?

    Does your self-recognized opinion that Rome is the true church offer you a lot of existential assurance? I mean, because you can’t infallibly know that Rome is the one true church because there is no principled means. Oh, but you make the decision to join Rome which can give you a lot of existential assurance except when it comes to the identity of the true church itself. I mean, it’s all mere opinion from the get go as far as choosing one’s religion, right?

    At the end of the day, any assurance I have comes from the Holy Spirit working in and not against His Word. Sola fide—a clear teaching of the New Testament, which has apostolic pedigree. The canon—an actually identifiable deposit of faith that isn’t provisional. For all of Rome’s bluster via Internet apologists that aren’t formally recognized by the church itself, infallibility gives you an ever growing deposit of faith (ie, Assumption). Talk about provisional.

    So yes, I have plenty of existential assurance. My system actually allows for it, unlike yours where assurance of salvation is “Protestantism’s greatest heresy” (Bellarmine).

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  197. Cletus van Damme
    Posted January 21, 2014 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    John,

    “They were creating and distributing manuscripts of Scriptures, not collecting bones.”
    Me: Polycarp’s bones (more valuable than precious stones and finer than refined gold) being collected in 2nd century.
    “Not a biggie.”

    Sensational.

    Seriously. Polycarp’s bones were “collected” for burial. They weren’t distributed and passed around as good luck charms, as they were in later (pagan-influenced) centuries.

    So did this massive pagan influence of the early church that corrupted everything affect its views on Christ and God? I mean, councils dealing with it were popping up at the same time. Why or why not? Seems a pretty good candidate for some corruption given the subject matter.

    First of all, while the pagan influence in the culture was pervasive, it didn’t “corrupt everything”.

    Think in terms of time spans — and we are talking about some 300 years here, by which certain “developments” occurred.

    Or didn’t occur.

    You conveniently omit discussing huge amounts of the material that I produce. Not least of which is Ott’s accounting, first of all, the prohibition of images for 300 years, then the accepance (and later mandatory requirement) several hundred years later.

    You have a council dealing with images — prohibiting them — that you ignore. In reality, you are the one ignoring inconvenient data.

    There is a lot of history and a lot of different reasons why things came to the forefront from the years 50 AD through 350 AD. And something quite different from 350 to say 600 AD (your “fifth-and-sixth centuries).

    And to study the actual history of these things, through the study of documents, archaeology, inscriptions, etc., is quite different from saying, “Oh, it developed, the Church had the authority to oversee that, so we should just accept all these ‘baptized’ pagan practices.

    The pre-history and history of the council of Nicaea is long and complex, and these particular theological discussions came to a head — that is, they all accumulated in one place — because an emperor became a Christian and called a general council.

    Prior to that event, these types of general councils didn’t just “pop up”. There was background to them, and they were called for specific reasons.

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  198. John,

    The pre-history and history of the council of Nicaea is long and complex, and these particular theological discussions came to a head — that is, they all accumulated in one place — because an emperor became a Christian and called a general council.

    Of course then it took decades for anyone to grant the council anything approaching the authority Rome wants to give it. Within a few years after the council, Constantine was basically ignoring it and the orthodox party was having to fight for survival (I’m sure you know this.)

    IE, when the Council of Nicea met, no one there was saying “Here we are the infallible ecumenical council that will settle this matter because universal church councils are infallible.” Nicea’s view on the Trinity is true because of Scripture, not because there was a special blessing of infallibility. (of course, I know that you agree on this. This post is mainly for the sake of the RCs around here.)

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  199. Actually, Robert, Pope Sylvester gave assent to the council of Nicaea from afar, and it became infallible dogma, which unified the Christian world in peace and harmony and doctrinal unity. After that legal conclaves nominated two popes, Pope Ursinus and Pope Damasus. Those stories about Damasus hiring gravediggers (armed with pickaxes) to enforce his lawful election (while massacring 137 of Ursinus’s followers) get blown out of proportion and can safely be ignored as not having any relevance to the pure doctrine being handed on.

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  200. I continue to find it remarkable that with all the trad arguments and quite frankly endless side roads it’s possible to go down in RC piety and devotion. That there is almost no defense of Francis and more enlightening, almost no familiarity with where Francis is coming from or where he’s leading the church. One might get the impression from the converts that they either don’t agree or more likely simply aren’t familiar with the heritage of Vat II. I guess the trads will keep trading with Shea and CtC and Catholic Answers, and everyone else, pagans included, will keep following Francis. Audacity of the Pope and Petrine primacy indeed.

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  201. Robert,

    Good afternoon. You wrote…

    Shea is not helpful. First, he isn’t the Magisterium.

    If you will only accept statements and interpretations from the magesterium why are you even asking me? You should write to your local bishop or the Vatican.

    Second, he hasn’t given me a list of traditions.

    A complete and authoritative list of cataloged Traditions does not exist.

    Common worship, teaching, and life of the church is incredibly vague.

    No more vague than “A fallible collection of infallible books that may or may not be faithful to the original manuscript that no one possesses”. But I agree that the definition is to broad to glean very much specific information. The author is merely telling the reader where to look and is not supplying a detailed list (none exists).

    I want the once-for-all deposit. If it keeps growing, it isn’t a once-for-all deposit.

    You are attempting (once again) to show that we are all “in the same boat” by casting doubt on the contents of Sacred Tradition. I believe that your attempt fails for the same reason that your sola ecclesia argument fails. Namely, you are isolating one leg of authority without taking into account the other two. Sure, if we operated under “Tradition Alone” we would have the same problems that you have under “scripture alone”. Circular reasoning, special pleading, question begging, etc. However, since RCs do not operate under “Tradition Alone” its really a mute point. We can know what Tradition consists of by surveying history (this or that writing of Augustine or whatever) but we can also know by the testimony of scripture and the magisterium. Just as we can know who the Church and what it teaches is by the testimony of Scripture (Matt. 16) and Tradition (Apostolic Succession) and also by reading the catechism. Just as we can know what scripture is and what scripture means by the actual writing of scripture, the magesterium and Tradition. Each leg of authority identifies and gives clarity to the other. Any leg isolated and critiqued by itself fails.

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  202. John,

    “There is a lot of history and a lot of different reasons why things came to the forefront from the years 50 AD through 350 AD. And something quite different from 350 to say 600 AD (your “fifth-and-sixth centuries)….The pre-history and history of the council of Nicaea is long and complex”

    Got it. 50 AD – 350 AD – there’s a lot of history and different reasons and it’s long and complex.

    350 AD – 600 AD – pagan piety – duh.
    Btw, Nicea wasn’t the only council dealing with Christ and God – there were subsequent councils in this same period that somehow escaped the effects of this pervasive pagan piety – or maybe they didn’t. Again you argue like a Mormon – all this paganism infected the church’s practice and doctrine, but then switch off when it comes to Christ/God doctrines during same time period. No presuppositions coming in play at all of course.

    Sensational.

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  203. DGHART,

    Loser Ken, Protestants have God’s law. We call it the Decalogue. We number it differently than you but it is basically the same as yours?

    Are you telling me that the Decalogue is not infallible? That it wasn’t until Peter came along that prohibitions against adultery were infallible? (Or that Israel had nothing but opinion because no infallible interpreter?)

    The Decalogue is infallible by its nature (God breathed). Your interpretation of and your traditions pertaining to the Decalogue are not inspired nor do they enjoy the stamp of divine approval.

    And so if adultery is wrong irrespective of the pope, and it is infallibly true that adultery is wrong, then Protestants have — get this cletus van james — infallible teaching. And voila. The claim that Rome stands superior to Protestantism — because you have infallibility and we don’t — vanishes. Because — get this — we have the same authority that the Israelites did. And ours is older than yours — nah, nana, nana, nah.

    You have Prophets? You have infallible documents but not infallible teaching. I am willing to bet that I could find an interpretation of the Decalogue that you would disagree with….. Hence, even though The documents represent an objective truth you are in the unfortunate position of not being able to know with certainty what that infallible truth is.

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  204. Ken,

    If you will only accept statements and interpretations from the magesterium why are you even asking me? You should write to your local bishop or the Vatican.

    I figure that since you are Roman Catholic, you might point me to where Rome has identified tradition. The fact that you can’t is the problem, especially since the pope can’t either.

    A complete and authoritative list of cataloged Traditions does not exist.

    Then on what basis do you know that tradition is pointing to Scripture and the Magisterium? Let’s take your 3-legged stool analogy, for the sake of argument. Rome can identify Scripture. Rome can identify the Magisterium. It has done both for you. Rome cannot identify tradition. You all want me to believe it is part of the once-for-all deposit, but you don’t know what the deposit is. A deposit is FIXED even if we grow in our understanding of it.

    All we get are vague appeals to the life, worship, and ministry of the church, but I can find many things in this common witness that have not always been there, and I can find things in the common witness of the earliest church that Rome does not accept (i.e., pope has no primacy of jurisdiction). So the common witness is not enough. Tradition is only what the Roman church says it is, and it won’t even tell us what it is. Sola ecclesia. And a situation that is ripe for abuse.

    So, I ask again. What was delivered by the apostles to the church that is not found in Scripture? To my knowledge, Rome has not identified any of it specifically. It hasn’t given us the words Jesus spoke that aren’t found in Scripture. It hasn’t given us the sermon Peter preached to his neighbor on July 40, 58 AD.

    Without the tradition, you don’t know that the Magisterium is being faithful to it except by the mere assertion of the Magisterium. In other settings, that is referred to as a cult.

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  205. Robert,

    Then on what basis do you know that tradition is pointing to Scripture and the Magisterium? Let’s take your 3-legged stool analogy, for the sake of argument. Rome can identify Scripture. Rome can identify the Magisterium. It has done both for you. Rome cannot identify tradition. You all want me to believe it is part of the once-for-all deposit, but you don’t know what the deposit is. A deposit is FIXED even if we grow in our understanding of it.

    What do you mean Rome can not identify Tradition? What about the bodily assumption? Immaculate conception? Apostolic succession? Infant baptism? Baptismal regeneration? Sacrifice of the mass? These are dogma identified by the Church that come to us (primarily) through sacred Tradition.

    All we get are vague appeals to the life, worship, and ministry of the church, but I can find many things in this common witness that have not always been there, and I can find things in the common witness of the earliest church that Rome does not accept (i.e., pope has no primacy of jurisdiction). So the common witness is not enough

    Which is exactly why you need the other two legs of authority to correspond with Tradition. You have made my point for me by repeating your already refuted position.

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  206. Sean, by virtue of a special work of the HS new convert papists automatically have greater and more perfect understanding of all things Roman than formers and cradles like you and John. Pay no attention that they’ve been RC for 15 minutes.

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  207. Robert,

    “What did the apostles leave us before they died? New Testament, check.”

    What books? Why certain books you recognize as the NT and not other books? What passages in those books? Is the OT not part of the deposit?

    “What is the content of the more.”

    I’ve already given you some examples of teachings from Tradition. How many more do you want?

    “And BTW, the comparison with America doesn’t work. The “deposit” is identfiable. The Constitution. The Declaration of Independence. The Federalist Papers. I’m sure I’m missing something.”

    Bingo. I want ALL OF IT like you demand. Otherwise it’s not identifiable. Btw you’re forgetting things like bill of rights, military, the flag, land of the free, capitalism, entrepreneurship/rags-to-riches, Americana (think Normal Rockwell), apple pie, baseball. American tradition is not just a set of documents in a museum. The fact that you reduced to it to that shows you still don’t get it.

    “Anything after the founders actually started the country as far as Supreme Court decisions, passed laws, etc., isn’t the deposit they left but the interpretation of that deposit.”

    Supreme Court decisions are part of American tradition – they are handed down and followed and used to build future decisions. Councils are witnesses of Tradition.

    “What, besides the NT, is the apostolic deposit of faith?”

    The OT for one.

    “Does your self-recognized opinion that Rome is the true church offer you a lot of existential assurance?”

    More than it would if I put my faith into some system claiming it (and being proud of it) can’t give me anything more than opinion about things of faith. Why would I even bother putting faith into something like that, let alone feel assured about it?

    “I mean, because you can’t infallibly know that Rome is the one true church because there is no principled means.”

    I can’t infallibly know Christ is God. I guess my faith isn’t justified.

    “I mean, it’s all mere opinion from the get go as far as choosing one’s religion, right?”

    It’s private judgment who you’ll choose. That’s why part of that choosing is who makes what type of claims.

    “At the end of the day, any assurance I have comes from the Holy Spirit working in and not against His Word.”

    Cool – Mormons say the same

    “Sola fide—a clear teaching of the New Testament, which has apostolic pedigree.”

    Clearly. Although no one clearly saw it for 1500 years.

    “The canon—an actually identifiable deposit of faith that isn’t provisional.”

    Sure it is. Where does your system claim its been infallibly recognized? It will be news to the Protestant world.

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  208. Darryl,

    “is the moral law infallible or not?”

    Yes.

    “If I have infallible law straight from Moses who did not claim to be infallible, then Protestants have infallibility and you claim about Rome’s superiority goes poof.”

    Wait Moses only claimed the same type of authority as my dentist? Why do you even trust his law as infallible then? You didn’t get it straight from him, unless he’s beaming knowledge into your head. You got it from books that you believe to be inspired – as opposed to others – for some reason or another. No, I’m afraid Protestants still don’t have infallibility. If they did, they’d claim it. Are you claiming you’re infallible? WCF says fuhgedaboutit.

    “What exactly is the interpretation of adultery is wrong or Jesus is God”

    Seriously? No need to interpret Jesus is God? I thought you were a historian.

    Like

  209. Bingo. I want ALL OF IT like you demand. Otherwise it’s not identifiable. Btw you’re forgetting things like bill of rights, military, the flag, land of the free, capitalism, entrepreneurship/rags-to-riches, Americana (think Normal Rockwell), apple pie, baseball. American tradition is not just a set of documents in a museum. The fact that you reduced to it to that shows you still don’t get it.

    None of these things you mentioned, besides the Bill of Rights, established the country. None of them is teaching but rather actions. You talk about a deposit. What is it. All of it. You don’t know what it is because Rome doesnt’ know what it is.

    The Apostolic tradition—the Apostolic deposit—is teaching content: 2 Thess. 2:15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.

    What is that content that we don’t find in Scripture? I want all of it. I can give you all the teaching content in my system—Scripture—which is why my system can be held accountable. Rome is accountable to no one. When you are infallible and won’t identify all of the content the Apostles gave, that’s what happens.

    “At the end of the day, any assurance I have comes from the Holy Spirit working in and not against His Word.”

    Cool – Mormons say the same

    Actually, no. Mormons search for a sense that the Book of Mormon is true without a concern for its apostolic pedigree, and they teach that the Bible has been corrupted, so the Holy Spirit must work against the Word that we have. Nice try though.

    “Sola fide—a clear teaching of the New Testament, which has apostolic pedigree.”

    Clearly. Although no one clearly saw it for 1500 years.

    Except the Apostles, the Epistle to Diogentus, Clement…

    “The canon—an actually identifiable deposit of faith that isn’t provisional.”

    Sure it is. Where does your system claim its been infallibly recognized? It will be news to the Protestant world.

    Something does not need recognition by an infallible body to be non-provisional. Unless, of course, gravity or 2+2=4 are provisional. That’s divine revelation as well.

    “Does your self-recognized opinion that Rome is the true church offer you a lot of existential assurance?”

    More than it would if I put my faith into some system claiming it (and being proud of it) can’t give me anything more than opinion about things of faith. Why would I even bother putting faith into something like that, let alone feel assured about it?

    Why would a system that insists it has the same authority as the apostles but not its inspiration give me any assurance? How do I know it is teaching the truth. Lots of people teach that they are infallible and inspired in the same way as the Apostles. Seems that they would be a better choice.

    Supreme Court decisions are part of American tradition – they are handed down and followed and used to build future decisions. Councils are witnesses of Tradition.

    Yeah, and the SC reverses itself all the time. Just like the Roman Church. You don’t want to use the America analogy. It’s not helping you.

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  210. Kenneth,

    What do you mean Rome can not identify Tradition? What about the bodily assumption? Immaculate conception? Apostolic succession? Infant baptism? Baptismal regeneration? Sacrifice of the mass? These are dogma identified by the Church that come to us (primarily) through sacred Tradition.

    My point is that there is not identifiable deposit of tradition. You admitted it already. The Magisterium selectively identifies traditions, proving that it has set itself above tradition. It should be quite easy to infallibly outline the content of the Apostolic deposit of faith. According to the Apostles, tradition is teaching content (whatever Paul taught by spoken word or letter). Evidently you, or at least at lot of RCs believe Paul and the others spoke a lot of things by mouth that never got written down. What are all those things? I’m still waiting. The whole world is still waiting.

    Which is exactly why you need the other two legs of authority to correspond with Tradition. You have made my point for me by repeating your already refuted position.

    Well Scripture doesn’t correspond with a whole lot of what falls under tradition, but leaving that aside…

    In the Roman system, I can identify the full extent of Scripture (the canon). I can identify the full extent of the Magisterium (the pope and all bishops in communion with him). I can’t identify the full extent of tradition. Without that, I have no way of knowing if Rome is being accountable to the third leg of your stool except by Rome saying that it is. That’s not a recipe ripe for abuse.

    Those who have refuted the arguments of another have little need to brag about said refutation.

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  211. Robert,

    “None of these things you mentioned, besides the Bill of Rights, established the country”

    Paper documents were not the only thing that established the country, nor continue to give it shape. Not sure why you’re blind to this.

    “I can give you all the teaching content in my system—Scripture—which is why my system can be held accountable”

    You mean it can be held accountable to your interpretation of Scripture. And your evaluation of what books and passages count as “Scripture”.

    “Rome is accountable to no one ”

    Sure it is. It’s accountable to Scripture and Tradition. Here we go again – Rome isn’t and cannot going to define Mary eternal, or throw books out of the canon, or declare book of Mormon inspired, or say Christ isn’t divine or never existed, or that Nicaea never happened, etc. Scripture and Tradition.

    “At the end of the day, any assurance I have comes from the Holy Spirit working in and not against His Word.”
    Cool – Mormons say the same
    Actually, no. Mormons search for a sense that the Book of Mormon is true without a concern for its apostolic pedigree, and they teach that the Bible has been corrupted, so the Holy Spirit must work against the Word that we have. Nice try though.”

    Awesome. That’s the whole point. You’re assuming what you consider “the Word” is actually “the Word” because of your view of the HS and disagree with Mormons because of that, while they use the exact same logic against you. Nice try though. But substitute Mormons with any group you consider heretical. Just musical chairs.

    “Except the Apostles, the Epistle to Diogentus, Clement…”

    Yawn. Yeah Diogentus and Clement clearly teach extra nos imputation.

    “Something does not need recognition by an infallible body to be non-provisional.”

    WCF says all councils and meetings of men can and have erred. It lists its canon in its confession. Its (the canon, as well as the confession itself) provisional by its own admission. Secondly, are the contents within the canon provisional? If not, what about ongoing textual criticism? I thought you could identify the deposit though.

    “Unless, of course, gravity or 2+2=4 are provisional. That’s divine revelation as well.”

    Natural truth, not supernatural truth. Feel free to treat the Trinity like a geometric proof though. Maybe you’re not all fideists after all, just rationalists.

    “Why would a system that insists it has the same authority as the apostles but not its inspiration give me any assurance?”

    Why would a system that claims the same authority as the apostles have to be inspired rather than protected? The apostles had the same authority as Christ – they therefore didn’t become uncreated divine persons. Assertions are not argument. “The HS shall lead you into all truth” does not necessitate a creative/generative, rather than protective gift.

    “Lots of people teach that they are infallible and inspired in the same way as the Apostles. Seems that they would be a better choice.”

    Maybe they are. So we’d have to evaluate their credibility and principles. But they at least got out of the boat and onto the island and can be plausible candidates to consider.

    “Yeah, and the SC reverses itself all the time. Just like the Roman Church. You don’t want to use the America analogy. It’s not helping you.”

    It’s a secular analogy – the point is SC is final court of appeal. Fine take amendments like the Bill of Rights that get added to the Constitution or presidential elections or what have you. The point is they are part of the common life/tradition of America passed down through generations and are used to further build from and shape it.

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  212. Winner Ken, so we do have infallibility. That’s all I was asking. God’s word is infallible. God’s word doesn’t say that any interpreter is infallible. Clete van James argument collapses.

    We win! We have infallibility. WOOT!

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  213. Clete van loser, we do claim infallibility — for the Bible and you have to admit that the Bible is infallible as Ken has. What we don’t claim is an infallible interpreter. But if we have an infallible Bible, which RC’s also acknowledge the Bible to be, then Protestants do have infallibility. So there. Happy birrrtthdaaaaaay toooooooooo uuuuuuuuu.

    The question then is why you’re so gullible to believe that an ordinary pastor is infallible.

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  214. Darryl,

    “But if we have an infallible Bible, which RC’s also acknowledge the Bible to be”

    The difference is the justification for holding the Bible to be a record of divine revelation, rather than just a record about what some people thought about God, between the 2 parties. I’d party with you any day Darryl, especially if you sing.

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  215. Paper documents were not the only thing that established the country, nor continue to give it shape. Not sure why you’re blind to this.
    Not blind, just looking for the founding deposit. Again, the founding deposit according to Paul is teaching content (2 Thess. 2:15). That’s how he identifies tradition.
    You mean it can be held accountable to your interpretation of Scripture. And your evaluation of what books and passages count as “Scripture”.
    A thinking person examines the evidence and doesn’t just accept something from an institution that is demonstrably corrupt.
    “Rome is accountable to no one ”
    Sure it is. It’s accountable to Scripture and Tradition. Here we go again – Rome isn’t and cannot going to define Mary eternal, or throw books out of the canon, or declare book of Mormon inspired, or say Christ isn’t divine or never existed, or that Nicaea never happened, etc. Scripture and Tradition.

    Right. And Scripture and tradition tell us Mary was assumed bodily where? If the best you’ve got is “widespread belief” doesn’t pop up out of nowhere, you have nothing. The Mormons could make that argument.
    And you have assurance that Rome can’t do any of those things how? Because it claims infallibility? It has completely redefined the identity of the church and those who are in communion with it. Protestants are golden now, remember?
    Awesome. That’s the whole point. You’re assuming what you consider “the Word” is actually “the Word” because of your view of the HS and disagree with Mormons because of that, while they use the exact same logic against you. Nice try though. But substitute Mormons with any group you consider heretical. Just musical chairs.
    No, I’m assuming that “the Word” is what the Apostles can give us, which I can identify exhaustively and you can’t. They don’t use the exact same logic, as they believe the Spirit works apart from His inscripturated Word. Kinda like Rome.
    Yawn. Yeah Diogentus and Clement clearly teach extra nos imputation.
    Show us where they don’t. One can also believe in sola fide without extra nos imputation. Most Christians who say that their works in no way are the reason for their salvation have never even heard of extra nos imputation.
    WCF says all councils and meetings of men can and have erred. It lists its canon in its confession. Its (the canon, as well as the confession itself) provisional by its own admission.
    Wrong. Just because something can have erred doesn’t mean it has. Not one of the Westminster divines thought you could add to or subtract from the canon.
    Secondly, are the contents within the canon provisional? If not, what about ongoing textual criticism? I thought you could identify the deposit though.
    Ongoing textual criticism has only confirmed that we have the original text. In fact, it was ignoring textual criticism and church tradition that led to the assumption that things like the longer ending of Mark were included in the canon. Ironically, those things appear in the infallibly approved Vulgate, proving once again that Rome ignores tradition.
    Natural truth, not supernatural truth. Feel free to treat the Trinity like a geometric proof though. Maybe you’re not all fideists after all, just rationalists.
    A fideist believes Rome is infallible based on nothing more than its claim. Sounds like you guys to me.

    Anyone can read the Bible and see that it teaches the essential components of Trinitarian theology—one God, three divine persons, three individual persons. Believing that such is true, not so much.
    Why would a system that claims the same authority as the apostles have to be inspired rather than protected? The apostles had the same authority as Christ – they therefore didn’t become uncreated divine persons. Assertions are not argument. “The HS shall lead you into all truth” does not necessitate a creative/generative, rather than protective gift.
    The apostles had the same authority as Christ because they spoke His words via the inspiration of the Spirit who is in an eternal perichoretic relationship with the Son who is Christ. The church has the same authority of Christ because????????????????
    It’s a secular analogy – the point is SC is final court of appeal. Fine take amendments like the Bill of Rights that get added to the Constitution or presidential elections or what have you. The point is they are part of the common life/tradition of America passed down through generations and are used to further build from and shape it.

    Thank you for admitting that the RC Church shapes the deposit. Of course, if the deposit the Apostles gave can be shaped, it isn’t a once-for-all deposit. It’s an ever growing thing. Hence Rome’s syncretistic creativity.

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  216. Cletus,

    You said,

    Paper documents were not the only thing that established the country, nor continue to give it shape. Not sure why you’re blind to this.

    Uh….

    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America…”

    As much as Thomas Paine, Machiavelli, Democracy (and…Presbyterianism), apple pie, and baseball influenced and impact America, the very thing that *CONSTITUES* the American identity is the Constitution. The Constitution was not the only influence on the formation of the USA, but the Constitution is the only authoritative document that governs Americans. Moreover, the Constitution is the thing that we use to judge the legitimacy of development and progress in this country. It is that objective standard that arbitrates between individuals from competing political ideologies.

    As far as I can tell, Robert’s question still stands. What is the deposit and where is it?

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  217. Brandon,

    Is the Declaration of Independence not part of American tradition or its establishment? The American identity is not the constitution alone. You don’t identify countries and their people and its tradition/life by their constitutions alone – countries (even states/cities) and their people are not reduced to a set of propositions about government alone. You don’t encapsulate San Francisco or ancient Rome with some propositions about its government, nor the Soviet Union, and so on – far too reductionistic.

    “the Constitution is the only authoritative document that governs Americans”

    Ah, so the crazy tax-is-illegal guys who interpret the constitution that way are just fine and reflect American governance. American institutions authoritatively interpret and apply said Constitution, and in doing so contribute to the development of American tradition/life as well as themselves – mutually interdependent. American life is not reduced to American government. There are principles – that may be reflected in the Constitution to varying degrees – that operate outside it and permeate all aspects of American history/tradition.

    “What is the deposit and where is it?”

    Dei Verbum:

    “Sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the word of God, committed to the Church. Holding fast to this deposit the entire holy people united with their shepherds remain always steadfast in the teaching of the Apostles, in the common life, in the breaking of the bread and in prayers, so that holding to, practicing and professing the heritage of the faith, it becomes on the part of the bishops and faithful a single common effort.
    But the task of authentically interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on, has been entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ. This teaching office is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it draws from this one deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed.

    “Now what was handed on by the Apostles includes everything which contributes toward the holiness of life and increase in faith of the peoples of God; and so the Church, in her teaching, life and worship, perpetuates and hands on to all generations all that she herself is, all that she believes.
    This tradition which comes from the Apostles develop in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit. For there is a growth in the understanding of the realities and the words which have been handed down. This happens through the contemplation and study made by believers, who treasure these things in their hearts (see Luke, 2:19, 51) through a penetrating understanding of the spiritual realities which they experience, and through the preaching of those who have received through Episcopal succession the sure gift of truth. For as the centuries succeed one another, the Church constantly moves forward toward the fullness of divine truth until the words of God reach their complete fulfillment in her.
    The words of the holy fathers witness to the presence of this living tradition, whose wealth is poured into the practice and life of the believing and praying Church. Through the same tradition the Church’s full canon of the sacred books is known, and the sacred writings themselves are more profoundly understood and unceasingly made active in her…”

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  218. Brandon, John, and Cletus,

    This statement from Cletus is key:

    This tradition which comes from the Apostles develop in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit.

    The tradition is not a once-for-all deposit. It is an ever expanding thing. The “growth in understanding” is taken as part of the deposit itself. Rome is creating things that the apostles never knew of or said, adding it, and calling it the deposit.

    But we already knew that.

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  219. Cletus,

    You miss the point.

    The Declaration of Independence is a prelude of sorts. It’s sets the stage for the development of the Constitution, just as other documents like the Articles of Confederation do. They’re important in the history of the United States, but the very definition of the United States is intimately tied up to the Constitution. Without it there is no judicial, executive, or legislative branches of government.

    All three branches of the government possess derivative authority from the Constitution. The Constitution itself creates the governmental structures not the other way around. In this discussion, the Constitution is the governing document of America. It stipulate and defines who we are (3 branches) and what we/the government can and cannot do.

    The whole point however, is that a deposit is fixed. Aside from your misunderstanding of the analogy, I’ve yet to understand what “Sacred Tradition” is or means. Robert has asked if you can delineate or define what this Apostolic Deposit is.

    The fascinating thing is that Dei Verbum says this about Scripture and Tradition,

    Now what was handed on by the Apostles includes everything which contributes toward the holiness of life and increase in faith of the peoples of God; and so the Church, in her teaching, life and worship, perpetuates and hands on to all generations all that she herself is, all that she believes.

    Why does that sound so familiar? Scripture is a fixed deposit while also claiming that Scripture is profitable for correction, reproof, and training in righteousness that the man of God may be equipped for every good work.

    I don’t want to retread everything that you and John have discussed about the Marian dogmas, but I’m bound to believe that part of the Apostolic Deposit is that Mary was bodily assumed into heaven? Where can we find that in Sacred Tradition?

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  220. James van clamme, Oh, so you mean this is really about justification of Scripture as opposed to Scripture itself. But I thought the whole point was that once we say infallible, you’d swoon.

    BTW, I’d like to see any of your popes give a better doctrine of Scripture that Warfield. I’d even put his doctrine of Scripture up against Pio Nino’s assertion of infallibility. At least Warfield’s idea was not self-serving. I mean, Roman Catholics could have also used it. (And they might need it these days given the state of RC biblical scholarship.)

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  221. Brandon
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 8:21 pm | Permalink
    Cletus,

    You miss the point.

    The Declaration of Independence is a prelude of sorts. It’s sets the stage for the development of the Constitution, just as other documents like the Articles of Confederation do. They’re important in the history of the United States, but the very definition of the United States is intimately tied up to the Constitution. Without it there is no judicial, executive, or legislative branches of government.

    All three branches of the government possess derivative authority from the Constitution. The Constitution itself creates the governmental structures not the other way around. In this discussion, the Constitution is the governing document of America. It stipulate and defines who we are (3 branches) and what we/the government can and cannot do.

    There’s more to our nation than its government. The principle of rights [as advanced in the Declaration] is that natural rights are pre-political. According to the Declaration, “to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

    Rights precede government*, and the Constitution is alterable when it no longer has consent of the governed. The analogy to the Bible doesn’t work here very well, except to compare Protestantism to 50 states that interpret the Constitution 50 different ways.

    One might compare the Reformed confessions to the Constitution, though, since they are both amendable and have changed over time. But that doesn’t really help your case much.

    ________
    *”The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”—Ninth Amendment

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  222. Brandon,

    Once again Tom gets it.

    “It stipulate and defines who we are (3 branches) and what we/the government can and cannot do.”

    Part of that power is the very amending of the constitution itself. So already the “fixed deposit” isn’t so fixed – so why you are using it as the analogy for a fixed deposit escapes me, which Tom echoes in his last statement.

    “Aside from your misunderstanding of the analogy”

    The analogy was understood fine – I introduced it. You are the one who hijacked it to mean America = Constitution and thus skew it to try to serve your purposes – when your hijacking defeats your point anyway. The point was to illustrate tradition in a secular context in response to Robert’s demand for a list of identifiable traditions.

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  223. D. G. Hart
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 8:41 pm | Permalink
    James van clamme, Oh, so you mean this is really about justification of Scripture as opposed to Scripture itself. But I thought the whole point was that once we say infallible, you’d swoon.

    BTW, I’d like to see any of your popes give a better doctrine of Scripture that Warfield. I’d even put his doctrine of Scripture up against Pio Nino’s assertion of infallibility. At least Warfield’s idea was not self-serving. I mean, Roman Catholics could have also used it. (And they might need it these days given the state of RC biblical scholarship.)

    In the end, you’re putting your faith in somebody, be it your favorite Bible scholar or your Pope. The Catholic argument is that Jesus left behind a church, not a university.

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  224. Darryl,

    I’d swoon if you claimed authority to define/identify infallible articles of faith. You don’t and run away from that claim. As does WCF. As does Warfield. Semper reformanda remember. So no swooning. But you can take me to dinner.

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  225. But you can take me to dinner.

    I’ll admit my date with a catholic Valetines day 2001 near the Santa Barbara pier was nice. But the Orthodox Presbyterian I met 3 months later?

    Good thing I found this blog to root out my redeemerism…

    I don’t blame Van Winkle for asking Darryl out. But I hear he’s taken. Cordelia won’t let him out of her sight. Yo.

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  226. Tom, the Reformed also confess that Jesus left behind a church, outside of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation (WCF 25, Belgic 27-29), nor are those who remain separated from her referred to as brethren. So if your point is that the Reformed intellectualize the faith, well, have you met Bryan for whom faith is the sum of its logical parts? Admittedly there are Reformed logicians who do the same. But those are the evangelically as opposed to the confessionally inclined.

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  227. Erik Charter
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 9:28 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    If Jesus left behind a church what kind of attributes would it have?

    Come in, said the spider.

    Believe it or not, Erik, I actually read this blog. I’ve seen this movie 100 times and know the script almost by heart. Marks of the church, visible church, blahblah, enough synagoguery to make even Jesus’s eyes glaze over.

    You insult me one day then on the next you pretend to actually want to hear what I think? Dude.

    Dude. Frog and the Scorpion.

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  228. Clete van loser, we do claim infallibility — for the Bible and you have to admit that the Bible is infallible as Ken has.

    What’s fascinating to me, it’s harder to say the Bible is God’s Word than to say it’s infallible. You see? Infallible is a smaller barrier to climb over, but of course, once the Bible is God’s Word, then the discussion is over. Wow, could it be the Divines thought this through, as did the first general assembies of the OPC?

    These guys just need to read our constitution. Of course, won’t happen. Chasing their own tails..

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  229. Zrim
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 10:12 pm | Permalink
    Tom, the Reformed also confess that Jesus left behind a church, outside of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation (WCF 25, Belgic 27-29), nor are those who remain separated from her referred to as brethren. So if your point is that the Reformed intellectualize the faith, well, have you met Bryan for whom faith is the sum of its logical parts? Admittedly there are Reformed logicians who do the same. But those are the evangelically as opposed to the confessionally inclined.

    Mr. Z, I always value your considered and courteous replies. Thank you once again.

    Observing Darryl Hart’s attacks challenges to “Called to Communion,” a blog full of former Calvinists who joined the Catholic Church, I can only report that Bryan Cross’s replies are usually objections that Dr. Hart has misrepresented Catholic theology.

    No worthwhile discussion can proceed under contested premises.

    So if your point is that the Reformed intellectualize the faith

    If I follow Christian theological history correctly, that was Luther and Calvin’s biggest charge against Catholicism [Aquinas/Scholasticism], that it was too intellectual and dependent on reason, which made the most important thing of all–faith–rather unnecessary.

    Admittedly there are Reformed logicians who do the same.

    Well, Aquinas–who as they say “approaches theology like philosophy and vice-versa”–is a student of Aristotle, and thinks “logos” means God makes sense, and does not/cannot contradict Himself. Without getting too deep into those weeds, Reformed theologians, without accepting Thomas Aquinas’s “Catholic” theology, are thinking he’s kind of OK.

    http://calvinistinternational.com/2013/08/02/the-reformations-reboot-of-scholasticism/

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  230. Which Darryl said the comment before, of course.

    Queue price is right trombone sound (wha wha wha). Why did the darn 2 people have to get 95 cents before me on the wheel? I really needed the RV from the showcase showdown at age 19 (on my birthday no less).

    It was no singing Marylin, but bob can golf, and pack a punch I’ve seen. A firm hand shake, I fan atest to.

    Done here.

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  231. Erik Charter
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    >>>You insult me one day then on the next you pretend to actually want to hear what I think? Dude.

    Dude. Frog and the Scorpion.<<<<<<<<<

    Tom,

    But with each new day there’s fresh hope.

    Seventy times seven, my brother, although you’ve probably already passed 490. ;-

    You posed your question with “if”

    If Jesus left behind a church what kind of attributes would it have?

    which wasn’t straight up. He left behind a church in Mt 16

    (That thou art Peter, and upon this rock) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

    I don’t want to litigate the part in parentheses, everybody knows that part of the script, the Peter thing. But let’s at least agree Jesus says he’s building a church right there. Jerk me around as much as you need to, but not the Gospel, agreed? Sometimes we get carried away.

    Peace, 70×7.

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  232. Andrew Buckingham
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 11:16 pm | Permalink
    Not sure your point.

    Machen’s got your back, here, yo.

    I dig Machen bigtime, never get me wrong on that. His epigones, not as much, so lame. Machen took on Fosdick, whose Rockefeller-financed “church” has turned into left-liberal whites vs.blacks who want to sing and praise. Look it up, Andrew. Bizarre, also kinda cool.

    I learn a lot around here, despite most of those here gathered. Or because of them. I report, you decide, Andrew. Machen’s epigones fear Fosdick. When they tell us they “bring a sword,” it’s a laugh. They talk big against the Catholics; they cower before Fosdick’s spawn.

    And that’s the name of this tune.

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  233. The learning content is what it is because of who runs it, AND how it’s run. My eyes glaze over so fast at CtC, it’s not funny. Bryan can’t get enough either. This place is unique. The cats would love to claim D as their own. This whole thing they do is hilarious. We’re not papists, and we know why not. Very little actual to be said.

    See you around.

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  234. Darryl,

    “Susan, this is a claim that cannot withstand historical scrutiny — that the church believed these dogmas from the beginning. This is the kind of boosterism that I find tedious.”

    I agree with you that I cannot simply assert something from this late time in history, and that whatever doctrine there is today, in full splendor, it had to be there amoung the fellowship of Christians from the beginning in some kind of seed form. But I am not tied to a “it had to be a doctrine fully developed and written in stone before the last apostle died or else” kind of urgency, since the apostolic church was begun on the day of Pentecost.
    Anyways, say the Marian doctrines became known to more modern day Protestants or the uninformed more modern day Catholic(I would expect the RCC to owe it and curiously enough they do.) who are late in the stream of Christian civilization… this wouldn’t mean that the devotional practice wasn’t there even earlier than the visible information( as in the middle of the 2nd century catacomb paintings and Catholic liturgy that included devotion to Mary in the 2nd century as well: [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sub_tuum_praesidium)].

    If I see a picture on a cave wall dating 2nd century, I don’t know if the idea, story, or devotion of that painting was popular “only” at that exact date and had not already been part of the community(early church) much earlier, and that the clues (whether written or painted )were, by the 3rd century, already faded or lost.

    To me it’s safer to assume that Marian devotion was well in place before the 2nd century since the modern Roman Catholic Church doesn’t sweep 2nd century catacomb paintings under the carpet, calling them “pagan, and unbiblical accretions”, than it is to start cleaning religious house in the 1500’s presuming that it isn’t “biblical”. Again this sort of modern sensibility is question begging.

    Plus, if this dogma was so well established, why did Peter and Paul not tell us about this in their epistles? Are they not representative?

    I am not slave to a static view of tradition. The Gospel of John tells me that “there is also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” John 21:25

    But in another way, yes, the NT writers are also representative. We say that Mary is the New Eve because scripture affirms it a truth, a truth that at the same time doesn’t need scripture to “make it so”(but thank God for scripture!). If every bible on earth were burned the resurrection would still be taught by the church; same thing
    for the doctrine of Mary as the New Eve.

    “Christ became man by the Virgin that the disobedience which issued from the serpent might be destroyed in the same way it originated. Eve was still an undefiled virgin when she conceived the word of the serpent and brought forth disobedience and death. But the Virgin received faith and joy, at the announcement of the angel Gabriel…and she replied, “Be it done to me according you your word”. So through the mediation of the Virgin he came into the world, through whom God would crush the serpent” ( Justin Martyr “Apologia”, ch. 100; 150 AD).
    “http://maryimmaculate.tripod.com/marian1.html

    That’s teaching from pretty early on, all things considered, right?

    Like

  235. Robert,

    My point is that there is not identifiable deposit of tradition. You admitted it already. The Magisterium selectively identifies traditions, proving that it has set itself above tradition. It should be quite easy to infallibly outline the content of the Apostolic deposit of faith. According to the Apostles, tradition is teaching content (whatever Paul taught by spoken word or letter). Evidently you, or at least at lot of RCs believe Paul and the others spoke a lot of things by mouth that never got written down. What are all those things? I’m still waiting. The whole world is still waiting.

    I did not say that Tradition was not identifiable. I said there was no exhaustive catalogued list of Tradition. I’ve also provided quite a number of things passed down… AS, Immaculate conception, bodily assumption, baptismal regeneration, infant baptism, eucharist as sacrifice, etc. The only thing that is not identifiable is an authoritative list of Traditions. We don’t need one.

    In the Roman system, I can identify the full extent of Scripture (the canon). I can identify the full extent of the Magisterium (the pope and all bishops in communion with him). I can’t identify the full extent of tradition. Without that, I have no way of knowing if Rome is being accountable to the third leg of your stool except by Rome saying that it is.

    You can also identify Tradition. The common life, practice and teaching of the Church throughout the centuries. Here is a little more from Shea

    Beyond this, though, asking “exactly” what Tradition looks like and where it can be found is rather like asking “exactly” what Western Civilization is and where it can be found. Is it in Beethoven? Or the Beatles? Dante or Mark Twain? The architecture of St. Peter’s or the Empire State Building? The monarchy of Louis IX or the presidency of Thomas Jefferson? The Simpsons or the Mona Lisa? Well, all of these things are expressions of Western Civilization. And the thought of Fathers of the Church who sometimes quarreled or disagreed with each other on certain points still falls within the Catholic tradition, too.

    Or, to vary the metaphor, it’s like asking just where the exact location of Jazz is and what the precise boundaries and borders there are between it and, say, Rock and Pop. That sort of mathematical precision won’t get you anywhere. In short, I suspect you need to rethink your paradigm.

    Strictly speaking, the Tradition is Jesus. It is he who is being handed down by the Church in her life, worship, and teaching. The Church hands him down in the sacraments, for instance. She hands him down in her doctrines, which teach us to think with the mind of Christ. She hands him down in her moral and devotional life, wherein we learn to worship the Father as he does. She hands him down in her people, both lay and ordained as they gather to worship and express him through our various gifts and offices. She hands him down in Scripture, which is his living word in writing. She hands him down in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. She hands him down in the ordained office. In all this, the Tradition is much more like a living organism than a mathematically precise body of doctrines.

    That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to know the doctrines of the faith. That’s what the Catechism is for: to teach us that doctrinal content. Similarly, if you want, you can get down to the bare bones of Catholic dogma by looking at such works as Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Ludwig Ott. But I would urge a more “maximalist” approach. That is, instead of training yourself to think in terms of “What’s the skeleton of the body of Christ look like?” instead look for what the body of the body of Christ looks like in all its tremendous and rich diversity. What is remarkable about the faith is not merely the remarkable integrity of its dogmatic bones, but the fantastic diversity of life and the richness of its members in gifts, culture, devotions, prayers, practices and custom. The great thing about it is the sheer freedom of the Tradition that the dogma protects. The essentials of the faith (articulated in things like the dogmas and creeds of the faith and expressed in her liturgical life) exist in order to make human beings as free as we can be. This is why, not to put too fine a point on it, the Catholic tradition has always reveled in oddballs and eccentrics (just read the lives of the saints!).

    1. If you are looking for the authentic summary of the Church’s tradition, look for it in the ordinary places: namely, the Mass (since “the way we worship is the way we believe”), the Catechism (because it is the “new, authoritative exposition of the one and perennial apostolic faith, and it will serve as a “valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion” and as a “sure norm for teaching the faith,” according to Pope John Paul II). Finally, though it may feel weird for an Evangelical, I would also pay attention to ancient practices like the Rosary since it too is essentially a pious summary of the essentials of the Gospel, given in the form of a meditation on important moments in the life of Jesus Christ as seen through the eyes of his greatest disciple, Mary.

    2. No. The tradition is by no means all written down and indeed some of it cannot be written since it consists, not so much of words, as of a particular way of seeing the world: what has been called the sacramental/liturgical way. This way of seeing is not so much learned as caught. It is not a matter of secret knowledge (the Church, in fact, despises the notion that the Gospel is some Gnostic secret knowable only to the initiate and insists that the Gospel is, in fact, completely public information). But it is a way of seeing the world that is not communicated simply via the written word. It is also communicated via gesture (especially the gestures of the liturgy) and via the assumption that the world is a giant sacramental by which God communicates his grace not merely through word, but through creation and especially those creations we call “sacraments.”

    3. The Fathers of the Church are invaluable guides (particularly when they broadly agree) about what the core teachings of the faith are. They are to Scripture something like what the Federalist Papers are to the Constitution because they give us insights into how those who shared the language, culture, table and trials of the apostles thought about what the apostles taught them. Consensus among them about a particular idea is an *awfully* strong indication that this is what the apostles taught them to think, rather than the preposterous notion that they all went mad in exactly the same way and, say, all accidentally concluded that the Eucharist was the body and blood of Christ when the apostle actually taught it was just a symbolic reminder. The reasonable conclusion is that they all took it to be the body and blood of Christ because that what the apostles told them it was.

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  236. Robert,

    “I have no way of knowing if Rome is being accountable to the third leg of your stool except by Rome saying that it is.”

    You also have no way of knowing (well actually you do better than that and presume) Rome is not being accountable to Scripture if you disagree with her interpretations. In both cases, you are treating Rome like another Protestant denomination instead of having given the assent of faith to her claims. You would be acting like the Lewis quote again.

    Rome draws from history in her use of Tradition – but she interprets that just as she does Scripture. Arianism is part of history – it had many followers, it had writers, it had councils; it is not part of Tradition. That doesn’t mean Rome just makes up history, just like she doesn’t make up Scripture or mess with the canon. She can’t pretend 6th century universal feast days celebrating the Assumption weren’t really happening, or just fabricate them without any historical witness. She can’t make up what fathers wrote or councils decided. Those are facts of history. She is accountable to them, just as she is with Scripture. But she is also the authentic interpreter of both Tradition and Scripture (as DV says) – and that gets incorporated into the common life, worship, teaching of the church which then gets handed down and continually builds over the generations and binds her. As DV said, all 3 legs are mutually attesting and interdependent. And no, something building over history does not mean its original foundation is being mutated or added to rather than being more deeply mined and understood.

    Newman comments:
    “history and the patristical writings do not absolutely decide the truth or falsehood of all important theological propositions, any more than Scripture decides it. As to such propositions, all that one can safely say is, that history and the Fathers look in one determinate direction. They make a doctrine more or less probable, but rarely contain a statement, or suggest a conclusion, which cannot be plausibly evaded. The definition of the Church is commonly needed to supply the defects of logic.”

    “I would simply confess that no doctrine of the Church can be rigorously proved by historical evidence: but at the same time that no doctrine can be simply disproved by it. Historical evidence reaches a certain way, more or less, towards a proof of the Catholic doctrines; often nearly the whole way; sometimes it goes only as far as to point in their direction; sometimes there is only an absence of evidence for a conclusion contrary to them; nay, sometimes there is an apparent leaning of the evidence to a contrary conclusion, which has to be explained;—in all cases there is a margin left for the exercise of faith in the word of the Church. He who believes the dogmas of the Church only because he has reasoned them out of History, is scarcely a Catholic.”

    and Newman echoing Shea:
    “I think I am right in saying that the tradition of the Apostles, committed to the whole Church in its various constituents and functions per modum unius, manifests itself variously at various times: sometimes by the mouth of the episcopacy, sometimes by the doctors, sometimes by the people, sometimes by liturgies, rites, ceremonies, and customs, by events, disputes, movements, and all those other phenomena which are comprised under the name of history. It follows that none of these channels of tradition may be treated with disrespect; granting at the same time fully, that the gift of discerning, discriminating, defining, promulgating, and enforcing any portion of that tradition resides solely in the Ecclesia docens.”

    As I said, your question is like the Lewis quote. I cited Newman above “He who believes the dogmas of the Church only because he has reasoned them out of History, is scarcely a Catholic.” Same thing with Scripture. That is the Protestant mentality, not the mentality of someone giving the assent of faith to an authority.

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  237. Susan, so you put interpretations of the Bible, even fallible ones, above the Bible itself? The question about representation was rhetorical. Peter and Paul are hardly representative. They’re the friggin word of God!!

    See what happens when you submit to a human authority?

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  238. CVD: “He who believes the dogmas of the Church only because he has reasoned them out of History, is scarcely a Catholic.”

    You’ve got this precisely backward. It’s not as if we “reason dogmas out of history”. Rather, we look at Roman dogma, and say, “there’s no support at all from either Scripture or history in major points”. And the conclusion is: “Rome is fundamentally flawed concerning what it says about its ability to propound dogma”. And “Therefore, no ‘assent of faith’ is to be given to it”.

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  239. CVD: I would go further than I have done on my last comment and say that Rome’s historical gaffes “have not happened in a corner”, and the greater world is watching — this includes the Protestant churches, who (judging from the activity on this blog) are beginning to see that they have a vested interest in contesting Rome’s claims.

    Maybe this is the thing that “Pope Francis” has his eye on — his responses (because he is ‘a son of the Church’) do not include doing proper Scriptural things in most cases, but he sees and is trying to adjust things, in any event.

    Rome’s gaffes and doctrines harm and get in the way of the Gospel preached by the Apostles. Not that Christ is helpless to do anything about that. But I’m just describing the state of things.

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  240. Cletus,

    And no, something building over history does not mean its original foundation is being mutated or added to rather than being more deeply mined and understood.

    The understanding of the deposit is not the deposit itself. A deposit is identifiable. If I open a bank account with $25, the deposit that established the account remains $25 even if the total account grows to $100 by interest over time. In theory, the Supreme Court is supposed to be accountable to the Constitution. Yes, the Constitution makes provision for amendments, but those amendments are not the deposit that established the country. The fourteenth, fifteenth, eighteenth amendments, etc. are not the deposit. And in any case, where do the Apostles make provision for additions to the deposit by non-Apostles who don’t share their inspiration? If tradition is as authoritative as Scripture, it must be inspired as Scripture is. You can’t separate the authority the Apostles claim for themselves as the mouthpieces of Christ from the inspiration they claim for themselves. If they don’t speak Christ’s words, they aren’t to be followed as infallible authorities. If the church doesn’t speak Christ’s words the way the Apostles did, it shouldn’t be followed as an infallible authority.

    All of this applies whether you view the church has creative or protective authority. To borrow your terms, the Apostles had both, guarding the truth of what came before and “creating” out new instruction. But now you come along and claim that the church has the authority of the Apostles but its charism is limited to being “protective.” No dice. The teacher and the principal don’t have the same authority over the students, to borrow your analogy.

    You are claiming that additions to the deposit are the original deposit. And you still haven’t dealt with 2 Thessalonians 2:15, where Paul explicitly says that the Apostolic tradition was a tangible thing that came by word and by letter. We can debate whether what came by word and what came by letter were identical (the Protestant position), but what we can’t debate is that Paul viewed it as something that is fixed. Ironcially, the partim-partim view is in some sense more faithful to the apostolic notion of tradition, which is content delivered once for all.

    You want us to believe that

    1. There is a deposit given once for all and yet that additions to the deposit are part of the deposit.
    2. We should listen to the church as we listen to the Apostles and yet the church is not the mouthpiece of Christ in the same way the Apostles are.

    Quite frankly, your argument for the church would be more coherent if you claimed the same kind of inspiration for the church as you do the Apostles.

    That doesn’t mean Rome just makes up history, just like she doesn’t make up Scripture or mess with the canon.

    No, the problem is that Rome has made up history to support its claims, those claims become ensconced in tradition, and then when forgeries are exposed we are told that it doesn’t matter because such things have always been a part of tradition. (Donation of Constantine). It never matters if the first evidence we have for so much of these things is a forgery or teachings and documents of questionable provenance. As long as people believe the source, it doesn’t matter if the source is true of false. The belief itself becomes what is true, not the background for the belief. It is rather ingenious, I’ll give you that.

    She is accountable to them, just as she is with Scripture. But she is also the authentic interpreter of both Tradition and Scripture (as DV says) – and that gets incorporated into the common life, worship, teaching of the church which then gets handed down and continually builds over the generations and binds her. As DV said, all 3 legs are mutually attesting and interdependent.

    If Rome cannot be questioned on the basis of Scripture and tradition after it makes a pronouncement, it is not accountable to Scripture and tradition. Your view is akin to the Iraqi elections where Saddam Hussein was the only name on the ballot. Sure he was accountable to the constitution and people of Iraq. After all, he said he was and the people always voted him into office. Whatever.

    In both cases, you are treating Rome like another Protestant denomination instead of having given the assent of faith to her claims.

    My faith is in Christ, not in an institution that errs. Insofar as the church accurately represents Christ, I follow the church. Blah, blah, blah about my personal interpretation of Scripture. Like I have said again and again, you follow the church only insofar as it agrees with your personal interpretation of Scripture and tradition, and if you ever come to believe that it doesn’t, you’ll leave. Imputing infallibility to the church only moves things back a step. The claims of the church may be different on paper in Rome and Protestantism, but if you are a thinking person, your way of dealing with those claims are the same. It’s your fallible interpretation of the infallible church that guides you. It’s my fallible interpretation of the infallible Bible that guides me.

    All of Rome’s unique claims are falsifiable, and in practice there is no difference in authority between Rome and Protestantism. In fact, Protestantism is more authoritative in practice because we discipline our heretics, don’t claim that Muslims are in Christ but don’t know it, and hold church councils that deliver binding resolutions. You all just get a bur in your saddle because when people don’t agree with the church, they leave and start their own. We say, hey at least those people are being honest, unlike Nancy Pelosi, the Council of Women Religious, and the German moral theologians. But for Rome, as long as the visible unity remains, however nominal, it doesn’t matter if there is no unity on doctrine. It’s a doctrine of the church that effectively takes the work of the Spirit away from the laity and invests it all in the Magisterium. If the Magisterium gets it right, it doesn’t matter if the people don’t.

    As I said, your question is like the Lewis quote. I cited Newman above “He who believes the dogmas of the Church only because he has reasoned them out of History, is scarcely a Catholic.” Same thing with Scripture. That is the Protestant mentality, not the mentality of someone giving the assent of faith to an authority.

    Our assent of faith is to an authority—namely the voice of Christ speaking in Scripture. Blah, blah, its only as authoritative as my interpretation agrees with it. Rome is only authoritative for you as far as it agrees with your interpretation or at least as far as you can find a way to reconcile your interpretation with theirs. Your claims that Francis’ words are compatible with your method (as you have done in talking to Sean) just prove my point. You just can’t bring yourself to admit that the church is ever wrong doctrinally. Fine. We admit the Bible is never wrong doctrinally or historically. Aside from being a higher claim than yours, we stand on the same level with the same epistemology, just with different authorities.

    Blah, blah, authority of my interpretation. In practice, your interpretation of the Magisterium is how you determine your life. This is the human condition. You don’t get around it just by saying an institution is infallible. All of us must interpret that which claims to be revelation as well as those entities that profess authority of any kind in relation to revelation.

    And Rome is just another denomination. An extremely flawed one at that. I don’t grant that she is the one true church, and if she can only be criticized by assenting to that claim—which is what you keep coming back to—then you are in a viciously circular argument: The Magisterium is true but it can only be dealt with on the basis of submitting to the Magisterium, which says that the Magisterium is true, which can only be dealt with on the basis of the Magisterium, ad naueseum.

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  241. Tom – Jerk me around as much as you need to, but not the Gospel, agreed? Sometimes we get carried away.

    Erik – Is Jesus “building a church” the gospel?

    Is Peter the foundation of the church because he’s Peter or because he’s an apostle?

    Why did Jesus choose 12 apostles if all he needed was Peter?

    Why does Scripture include writings of men other than Peter?

    Why does Scripture include the writings of Paul if he wasn’t one of the original 12?

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  242. Observing Darryl Hart’s attacks challenges to “Called to Communion,” a blog full of former Calvinists who joined the Catholic Church, I can only report that Bryan Cross’s replies are usually objections that Dr. Hart has misrepresented Catholic theology. No worthwhile discussion can proceed under contested premises.

    Tom, and no conversation can get anywhere when one person is not only always playing referee but also rooting for a certain team. Think Alex Trebeck dinging you for not putting your correct answer in the form of a question. You may not have ever noticed, but Bryan never throws flags for those who share his Catholic conclusions but also commit the same breaches of logic. To be fair, neither do Reformed logicians. But more evidence of rigged games.

    Well, Aquinas–who as they say “approaches theology like philosophy and vice-versa”–is a student of Aristotle, and thinks “logos” means God makes sense, and does not/cannot contradict Himself. Without getting too deep into those weeds, Reformed theologians, without accepting Thomas Aquinas’s “Catholic” theology, are thinking he’s kind of OK.

    Who is the forerunner to Christ, Aristotle or John the Baptizer? The answer to that question separates the believer from the logician, and only one can make sense of 1 Cor. 1:

    For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,

    “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
    and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

    Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

    For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

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  243. @internet

    Citation for Tillich reference above:

    Luther took all three, of course. But the eschatological point was not really understood. He, in his weariness of the theological fights – you cannot become more tired of anything in the world than of theological controversies, if you always are living it; and even Melanchthon, when he came to death, one of his last words was: “God save me now from the rabies theologorum – from the wrath of the theologians! This is an expression you will understand if you will read the conflicts of the centuries. I just read with great pain, day and night, the doctor’s dissertation of a former pupil, Mr. Thompson, Dr. McNeill’s former assistant, an excellent work in which he describes in more than 300 narrow and large pages the struggle between Melanchthonism and Lutheranism. And if you read that and then see how simple the fundamental statement of Luther was, and how the rabies theologorum produced an almost unimaginable amount of theological disputations on points of which even half-learned theologians as myself would say that they are intolerable, they don’t mean anything any more – then you can see the difference between the prophetic mind and the fanatical theological mind.

    Viewed 346338 times.

    Don’t incur it, readers of blogdom. Yo. Peace.

    Sent from my HTC One™ X, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone

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  244. Good Morning Darryl,

    “Susan, so you put interpretations of the Bible, even fallible ones, above the Bible itself?”

    As a Catholic, I no longer have to pit historical or anthropological evidence against scripture; for the first time I’m truly not a solo scripturist because I don’t have to cherry pick tradition. For the first time I can let tradition as in “the church” fully inform me rather than having to belong to ‘this’ Protestant church that accepts some of tradition but won’t recognize the other traditions that are recognized by ‘that’ Protestant church. Notice both Protestant churches call their own tradtions “biblical” but the traditons of their brother Protestant, “non biblical”. I mean if there are no distinction why are there so many Protestant churches? ( that’s rhetorical)
    I gave you material evidence that the early church practiced a devotion to Mary and instead of letting that data help you, you say, “well I don’t see it in the bible”. I showed you the scripture that Catholics use to support Mary as the New Eve and as Queen of Heaven, and you believe that is a Catholic misreading, yet claim the scriptures are clear. If they are as clear as you claim then a Catholic interpretation is a fair horse in this race, and since the Catholic Church has been at this longer, has more books, has been copying them, and taught Luther to read them, I’d say it is ahead by a few miles. This isn’t to disparage any wisdom had by Protestants or an attack on the magisterial Reformers as people, it’s just recognition of the failures of that system (or paradigm) to solve the problem.
    You say that my saying that the church has believed Mariology since the early, early church is unsupportable and just boosterism. The claim would be tiresome if it didn’t bear both historical, scriptural and archeological evidence.
    To remain Protestant is to ignore the evidence, I’ve gotten so far. I can’t make the record fit my liking, that’s like finding an iron weapon in a long time believed stone-age village, and still mainting that it is a stone-age village.
    Have you ever thought that Christianity as understood by Catholics and the EO is just the way it is? Maybe Christianity is supposed to be as highly religious as it is, and doesn’t care about our modern sensibilities.

    You never did answer my intial question though: Which biblical authority can put a stake in the heart of the Catholic interpretation of scripture?

    Susan

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  245. Susan, I argued 2 cor 5:21 a while ago at another blog you frequent (Mr. Stellman’s).

    My favorite reaction out there was Catholic Nick over WCF chapter 1. I think he has some money logozamai challenge, or whatnot. You might like commenting on his blog.

    Ths is just me and my barking.

    Cheers.

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  246. Darryl,

    I almost forgot. You also said that Paul and Peter “are’ the word of God. That isn’t right. Jesus is the Word. They are however, representatives as people and their writing is inspired, and this is why holy scripture belongs within the same community that wrote the gospels and letters.
    In Acts, Paul quotes a pagan poet; was that pagan poet’s writing inspired before it was included in holy scripture? It’s inspiration is that men were moved by the Holy Spirit to write scripture that told us the truth about God’s orientation to man and man’s orientation to God. The scriptures are a sign of the thing signified, but can’t stand alone as representative of all that exists in the world for Christians, otherwise we wouldn’t need sacraments or church to administer those sacraments and rightly expound the scriptures that the same Holy Spirit moved men to write.
    If I’m wrong, I’m open for correction.

    Susan

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_poetry

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  247. Tom –
    I learn a lot around here, despite most of those here gathered. Or because of them. I report, you decide, Andrew. Machen’s epigones fear Fosdick. When they tell us they “bring a sword,” it’s a laugh. They talk big against the Catholics; they cower before Fosdick’s spawn.

    You must mean we 2k-ites are soft on political liberalism. You cannot mean we cower before Harry’s theological/ecclesiological spawn. If anything we would have more affinity for honest, traditional catholics than most of Fosdick’s “spawn.” — as Machen actually did. The confusion is not surprising, inasmuch as you are incapable of separating gospel and government, theology and culture warfare.

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  248. Susan, and I gave Darryl a virtual high five.

    Look, Jonathan Prejean and I got cozy at Stellmans Bar recently. What is the Word of God isssomething I argued in High School philosophy class, my teacher also taught me calculus and geometry, senior and frosh year, respectively. You should check out Darryls books, especially Calvinism. He goes into many of the things you ask about.

    Bye.

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  249. Q. 3. What is the Word of God?
    A. The holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the Word of God, the only rule of faith and obedience.

    Q. 4. How doth it appear that the Scriptures are the Word of God?
    A. The Scriptures manifest themselves to be the Word of God, by their majesty and purity; by the consent of all the parts, and the scope of the whole, which is to give all glory to God; by their light and power to convince and convert sinners, to comfort and build up believers unto salvation: but the Spirit of God bearing witness by and with the Scriptures in the heart of man, is alone able fully to persuade it that they are the very Word of God.

    Peace to you in your jiurnet, Susan.

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  250. Robert,

    “And in any case, where do the Apostles make provision for additions to the deposit by non-Apostles who don’t share their inspiration?”

    They don’t. The point with the constitution was to show how it wasn’t serving Brandon’s hijacking of it to suit his purposes. I wasn’t saying the amendment process was analogous to Rome’s view – I was saying how it was disanalogous to Brandon’s view.

    “All of this applies whether you view the church has creative or protective authority. To borrow your terms, the Apostles had both, guarding the truth of what came before and “creating” out new instruction.”

    The deposit was still being established at this point. They were unfolding new revelation, as was Christ’s presence – the ultimate revelation. What infallibility was to attach to was not yet complete.

    “But now you come along and claim that the church has the authority of the Apostles but its charism is limited to being “protective.” No dice.”

    Still not demonstrated. Table pounding is not an argument. The deposit is complete. If it’s complete, that necessarily means any gift of infallibility would be protective, not creative/additive.

    “The teacher and the principal don’t have the same authority over the students, to borrow your analogy.”

    Both have authority over the students, but not the same abilities. Both the Apostles and Christ had the same authority, but the Apostles did not have all of the same abilities as Christ – they didn’t become part of the Trinity.

    “You are claiming that additions to the deposit are the original deposit.”

    No I am claiming there are developments in how we grow in understanding the truths of the deposit.

    “1. There is a deposit given once for all and yet that additions to the deposit are part of the deposit.”

    They are developments in understanding, not additions. The deposit is inexhaustible by its nature. Hence it will always be mined and implicit truths made more explicit and what is made explicit driving further development.

    2. We should listen to the church as we listen to the Apostles and yet the church is not the mouthpiece of Christ in the same way the Apostles are.”

    You have still not demonstrated why the Church having infallibility and Apostolic authority necessitates inspiration, rather than protection. “HS will lead you into all truth” – not “HS will lead you to continually add new revelation”.

    “No, the problem is that Rome has made up history to support its claims, those claims become ensconced in tradition, and then when forgeries are exposed we are told that it doesn’t matter because such things have always been a part of tradition. (Donation of Constantine).”

    Cool, so the only thing Rome appeals to in support of those doctrines are forgeries right? There is no non-forgery witness she uses?

    “If Rome cannot be questioned on the basis of Scripture and tradition after it makes a pronouncement, it is not accountable to Scripture and tradition.”

    Again, you argue like Rome is just another Protestant denomination – if she doesn’t match up with my interpretation of Scripture or my interpretation of history, she’s not accountable! She would not be accountable to Scripture if she was inconsistent with it, or altered the canon or the like – which she never did – even at Trent which according to your logic she might as well have done to give more credence to her unbiblical doctrines. Same with history, if there was universal negative witness, or all she did was make up fabricated claims like Nicaea never happened, she would not be accountable. It would just be a wax nose. But she cannot do that, just like she cannot do that with Scripture. She is the servant of both. But she still interprets both. Arianism is well-attested in history – it is not part of Tradition.

    “Insofar as the church accurately represents Christ, I follow the church.”

    Insofar as it accurately represents my interpretation of Scripture, I follow the church. Yep, solo, not sola.

    ” Aside from being a higher claim than yours, we stand on the same level with the same epistemology, just with different authorities.”

    Still peddling this. Can you give me one infallible article of faith according to Protestantism? Any claims to divine authority? No? Semper reformanda. Then we’re not on the same level. You’re still rocking in the boat, not on the island.

    “Blah, blah, authority of my interpretation.”

    Blah, blah, Rome adds to the deposit.

    “And Rome is just another denomination.”

    Oh brother. If you can’t recognize it makes claims of a different type than Protestantism, there’s no point in discussing Tradition – you won’t even be able to process Newman’s quotes.

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  251. Robert,

    You are claiming that additions to the deposit are the original deposit. And you still haven’t dealt with 2 Thessalonians 2:15, where Paul explicitly says that the Apostolic tradition was a tangible thing that came by word and by letter. We can debate whether what came by word and what came by letter were identical (the Protestant position), but what we can’t debate is that Paul viewed it as something that is fixed. Ironcially, the partim-partim view is in some sense more faithful to the apostolic notion of tradition, which is content delivered once for all.

    The RC position is that the deposit was once for all deposited to the faithful. Tradition is a tangible thing that came by word of mouth and that was delivered only one time to the faithful. The problem is that you do not want to let tradition be tradition. You cant handle the fact that tradition is passed on through a different vehicle or mode than the scriptures. So you demand that all Tradition be written down, canonized and catalogued. You want all infallible magesterium pronouncements handled in the same way and then perhaps we can just have one tidy book of infallible truths in one volume. One mode. One vehicle. In other words…. you demand we practice sola scriptura. You are forcing demands on Tradition that do not correspond to our paradigm.

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  252. John,

    “You’ve got this precisely backward. It’s not as if we “reason dogmas out of history”.”

    Sure you do. You condemn Rome’s dogmas based on your selective analysis of plausible revisable historical scholarship/conclusions. Condemnation and affirmation of doctrine are 2 sides of the same coin. Condemnation of Pelagianism is just as much a dogma as the Trinity is. That was part of my points about your use of history in the other thread.

    “Rather, we look at Roman dogma, and say, “there’s no support at all from either Scripture or history in major points”.”

    You mean, there’s no support at all according to how you interpret Scripture and history. Which is Newman’s whole point.

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  253. Kenneth,

    The RC position is that the deposit was once for all deposited to the faithful. Tradition is a tangible thing that came by word of mouth and that was delivered only one time to the faithful. The problem is that you do not want to let tradition be tradition. You cant handle the fact that tradition is passed on through a different vehicle or mode than the scriptures. So you demand that all Tradition be written down, canonized and catalogued. You want all infallible magesterium pronouncements handled in the same way and then perhaps we can just have one tidy book of infallible truths in one volume. One mode. One vehicle. In other words…. you demand we practice sola scriptura. You are forcing demands on Tradition that do not correspond to our paradigm.

    My demands may not correspond to your paradigm but does your paradigm correspond to to the Apostolic paradigm? The simple answer is no.

    The RC position is that the deposit was once for all deposited to the faithful. Tradition is a tangible thing that came by word of mouth and that was delivered only one time to the faithful.

    Good, then we should be able to identify it exhaustively. Where exactly do the apostles teach the Immaculate Conception, the Bodily Assumption, or papal infallibility?

    Again, 2 Thess. 2:15, tradition was delivered by Word of mouth or by letter. As a Protestant I make the case that what was delivered by word of mouth is identical to what was delivered by letter, but I’m not even asking you to believe that for my point.

    There’s only so much the apostles said and did. Rome has supposedly had what they said and did for 2,000 years. Where has it infallibly identified anything that the apostles said or did that never got written down in Scripture?

    The problem is you don’t believe in a once for all deposit that is unchanging in its content. You equate the interpretation of that deposit with the deposit itself. Thus, your deposit is ever growing, it is not fixed.

    Equating the interpretation of the deposit with the deposit itself is the error of the Pharisees.

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  254. Cletus van Damme
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    “You’ve got this precisely backward. It’s not as if we “reason dogmas out of history”.”

    Sure you do. You condemn Rome’s dogmas based on your selective analysis of plausible revisable historical scholarship/conclusions. Condemnation and affirmation of doctrine are 2 sides of the same coin. Condemnation of Pelagianism is just as much a dogma as the Trinity is. That was part of my points about your use of history in the other thread.

    I reject your notion of “selective analysis” because the dogmas were either Biblical in God’s eyes or not, far earlier than there was a Protestant.

    Nor are we dealing with a “coin” here. We are dealing with Roman dogmas in history, and just as the Scriptures were Scripture when they came off the pen of the Apostles, the dogmas were either correct or incorrect. If incorrect, there’s no sense comparing them with Protestant methodologies because some of them were bad far before there ever was the first Protestant (I’m thinking “perpetual virginity” of Mary and images among them).

    “Rather, we look at Roman dogma, and say, “there’s no support at all from either Scripture or history in major points”.”

    You mean, there’s no support at all according to how you interpret Scripture and history. Which is Newman’s whole point.

    No, I mean that they are precisely incorrect because God knows what is going on and he is watching as these things unfold. My interpretation has nothing to do with it.

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  255. John,

    “I reject your notion of “selective analysis” because the dogmas were either Biblical in God’s eyes or not, far earlier than there was a Protestant. ”

    Uh, yeah God’s omniscient. We are humans. You had to apprehend truths with your mind – part of that process for you is your uber-reliance on your selective analysis of the shifting grounds of historical/philological/sociological/hermeneutic/archaeological/etc. scholarship. You are reasoning dogma (in this case condemnations) from history. Hence Newman’s quote.

    “My interpretation has nothing to do with it.”

    Really? What – you don’t interpret the bible and history? You just walk around having platonic forms beamed into your head? Come on.

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  256. CVD, I assure you my interpretation has nothing to do with it.

    I was not around in 787 when “the Church” made images mandatory, contra the thrust of the whole OT, and God face-palmed himself.

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  257. John,

    “I assure you my interpretation has nothing to do with it.”
    “I was not around in 787 when “the Church” made images mandatory, contra the thrust of the whole OT, and God face-palmed himself.”

    You interpreted history to determine that in 787 some entity you claim is not the true church (based also on your interpretation of history/scripture) made images mandatory, which is opposed to your interpretation of the whole OT, and interpret this to mean God condemns such doctrine. All of this knowledge wasn’t beamed into your head. Not sure why this is difficult. You interpret historical and biblical scholarship to dogmatize iconoclasm – hence again Newman’s quote.

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  258. Susan, I’m not sure your evidence was material or historical. You supplied a quote. How authoritative is another question. But you then challenge Protestants for ignoring evidence. Can you prove that you offered evidence?

    As far as the biblical authority that can refute (put a stake in the heart is certainly draconian) RC interpretation, how about the apostles Paul and Peter. When you show me that Mary was so important to them (as in textual evidence), I’ll listen.

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  259. CVD — you are engaging in big-time anachronism, and Newman himself is relying on a huge assumption, and he says so, clearly —

    “It is not a violent assumption, then, but rather mere abstinence from the wanton admission of a principle which would necessarily lead to the most vexatious and preposterous scepticism, to take it for granted, before proof to the contrary, that the Christianity of the second, fourth, seventh, twelfth, sixteenth, and intermediate centuries is in its substance the very religion which Christ and His Apostles taught

    So the Christianity of the eighth century essentially flip-flops from what the Christianity of the 4th century adheres to — it genuinely IS a violent assumption to take for granted that the prohibition of images that I noted (306 AD) then became reversed while still being “in its substance the very [same]…

    It was not just “my interpretation of the OT” but also the “interpretation of a regional council, and not just that, but “it is not a violent assumption” to assume that the council that prohibited images in 306 was acting in a normal and typical way for churches all over the empire, given the state of persecution and the prohibition by the 2nd commandment.

    This is just one example, of course.

    But understanding history is not making any dogma of anything. It means understanding the progression of things in the correct order. Newman seems to have no concept of that.

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  260. Darryl,

    “Susan, I’m not sure your evidence was material or historical. You supplied a quote. How authoritative is another question”

    The quote isn’t authoritative to you, I understand that. I’m gonna try to think the way that you and John B. think. Ok, so I supplied a quote from Justin Martyr and that alone may only tell us that some or all of Christianity at that point believed that way, so you reject it as a traditional norm. But I also gave you a picture of a painting of Virgin and child from catacombs dating from 2nd century; alone it could be simply a pictoral narrative and nothing more so you are able to reject it as a traditional norm on the basis that it breaks the 2nd commandment. Even the painting combined with quotes from ECF’s might still be the way only a few thought about the Virgin or it could be the way the whole group of Christians believed at that point, but since we y have no way to know for sure, you hold to the existence of a group of bible only Christians that had no voice or authority in the larger community, from no kind of traditional or archeological evidence. hmmmm. This doesn’t sound right.
    You also don’t believe in a hierarchial church during this period at all but that there were only scattered local churches, each with a full bible, so there wouldn’t have been anyone that a protesting person could have approached to whistle-blow on these ECF’s who had so soon abandoned scripture( 73 books complete); therefore the early church as early as the 2nd century no longer had doctrinal unity or effective church discipline. But later on in history some unified body was able to go outside of scripture to give an explanation of the nature of Jesus and the Holy Trinity, and demand that these teaching be dogma and are certain truth? Then you think it fine that in the 16th century, the books of the canon are whittled down to 66( some that you have almost didn’t make it, by an extra biblical authority), the Eucharistic sacrifice of the Mass is gone, the altar is gone, the priest is gone, confession is gone, and so on? But a new magisterium takes the place of authority and you trust it? What miracles were associated with this new leading of the Spirit?

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  261. John,

    “It was not just “my interpretation of the OT””

    I don’t know why you put that in quotes. You claim you don’t interpret the OT? Come on.

    “but also the “interpretation of a regional council, and not just that, but “it is not a violent assumption” to assume that the council that prohibited images in 306 was acting in a normal and typical way for churches all over the empire, given the state of persecution and the prohibition by the 2nd commandment.”

    Sure it’s a violent assumption. You’re putting all your weight on a single canon – are you saying there is no positive witness to icons before Elvira? Elvira is the first to mention it?

    But I see – you didn’t interpret the council at all right? What does canon 36 of Elvira say:
    “It has seemed good that images should not be in churches so that what is venerated and worshipped not be painted on the walls.”

    I will cite an alternative interpretation offered by an EO (see – it’s amazing how people interpret history differently John isn’t it?):

    “The canon does not prohibit the use of images per se. It does prohibit them on the walls of the church without mentioning other locations either in the church or outside it, say in private homes. The canon also implicitly recognizes that this was practised in the prior period. Probably, there would be no need to pass a canon for a practice that was non-existent. The canon also shows that Christians could distinguish between various forms of representations since it refers to images of figures in Christian theology. The canon does not equate images in the church on walls with images of pagan deities (idols). And the canon has the framework of a minor disciplinary procedure since it carries with it no sanctions or anathama. The language of “it seemed good to us” is prudential. Better safe than sorry. Consequently, the canon is not the carte blanch condemnation of images that many Protestant apologists like to spin it.

    The canon itself, not to mention the council as a whole, doesn’t give us any context as to why the bishops would prohibit such a practice. Among the Jews, the attitude towards images was more or less fluid, barring direct attempts to directly depict deity. The temple after all had plenty of images engraved on and in it. This attitude depended on how much direct contact with paganism and how agressive it was. In periods of relative peace without pagan interference or domination, Jewish attitudes towards images were more lax, whereas in times of pagan interference they became quite strict. It is possible given the proximity of Elvira to the Diocletian persecutions that the bishops at Elvira moved in a more strict direction. But this is speculative, just as it is to claim that Elvira prohibited images on walls of churches based on a reading of the 2nd Commandment.

    The canon therefore doesn’t address the issue of what were Christian attitudes towards images or icons per se since it doesn’t condemn them per se. It only seeks to regulate rather than condemn the practice and that for prudential reasons, yet undisclosed. This is perhaps the reason why the iconoclasts in the fourth century as well as those in the seventh through eighth centuries never appealed to it. Neither did the Franks in the council of Frankfurt in the eighth century. This is not because the text was suppressed since it shows up in a number of collections. The text is employed by iconoclasts only during the Reformation period.

    Canon 36 of the council of Elvira therefore gives no substantial evidence of iconoclasm in the early church, either as a principled position or as represetnative of Christianity on the whole.”

    The bolded part is quite damaging to your position. But obviously you just clearly know what Elvira meant because it was beamed to your head and not interpreted. Come on.

    “But understanding history is not making any dogma of anything. It means understanding the progression of things in the correct order. Newman seems to have no concept of that.”

    You are “understanding” history according to your own skewed analyses to condemn dogma. Your evaluation of the “progression of things” is similarly your interpretation of historical scholarship. Hence Newman’s quote again.

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  262. Susan – “What miracles were associated with this new leading of the Spirit?”

    Erik – Hi Susan. The question of miracles is an interesting one. I think we would both agree that the Apostles performed miracles. What miracles do you believe attest to the truth of Roman Catholicism after the Apostolic period?

    I watched an interesting documentary today on Lonnie Frisbee, a hippie Christian who was influential in Southern California in the early days of Calvary Chapel & The Vineyard. The documentary included eyewitness testimony of purported miracles that he performed. What am I to make of those?

    Like

  263. Erik Charter
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 9:54 am | Permalink
    Tom – Jerk me around as much as you need to, but not the Gospel, agreed? Sometimes we get carried away.

    Erik – Is Jesus “building a church” the gospel?

    Is Peter the foundation of the church because he’s Peter or because he’s an apostle?

    Why did Jesus choose 12 apostles if all he needed was Peter?

    Why does Scripture include writings of men other than Peter?

    Why does Scripture include the writings of Paul if he wasn’t one of the original 12?

    The last one’s a very good question. Is Paul to be taken the same as if he is Jesus? Jesus can’t, but can Paul err? If so why not? Who says? Jesus is Jesus but Paul’s just some guy.

    As for Peter, the Catholic explanation is that Peter is actually one of the 12 apostles*, and in Mt 16 He saith;

    And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”

    Boldface mine. Not Jesus’s. That’s a church, duly empowered. There are alternate interpretations of that passage, but the Catholic one, by all metrics of 1000s of years and billions of followers, has been the one that has prevailed. The alternate interpretations pale.

    ________
    *Why do they need to appoint a replacement for Judas, anyway? What’s with this “apostles” thing, and why does there have to be 12? Why not eleven, or eleventy?

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  264. Tom – The last one’s a very good question. Is Paul to be taken the same as if he is Jesus? Jesus can’t, but can Paul err? If so why not? Who says? Jesus is Jesus but Paul’s just some guy.

    Erik – Can you tell me if most Christians would agree with that statement?

    Would Roman Catholics?

    No opinion on the other questions?

    One more: Do you think Scripture provides evidence that Peter was directed to pass his apostleship on? If he was, any evidence that he was to pass his “unique” position on (I’ll grant his unique position for the sake of argument).

    Like

  265. Erik Charter
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 8:43 pm | Permalink
    Susan – “What miracles were associated with this new leading of the Spirit?”

    Erik – Hi Susan. The question of miracles is an interesting one. I think we would both agree that the Apostles performed miracles. What miracles do you believe attest to the truth of Roman Catholicism after the Apostolic period?

    To be canonized, every ‘saint’ needs to have 2 miracles attributed to him/her. Then they are in “the communion of saints.”

    Very big Catholic deal, part of the claim to a continuous and unbroken line back to the apostles, a church of both the living and the dead. Surprised you haven’t heard of it.

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  266. Andrew Buckingham
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 9:03 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    As an outsider who says we have it rough as reformed Xians, what do you make of Catholics, by reading their last two submissions here?

    To me, they seem in bondage.

    Sad.

    I think these particular Catholics have been kicking your ass. Bondage? Sad? They seem to think they’ve been liberated, the fools, so happy they want to share it, like Scrooge on Christmas.

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  267. I am convinced our resident Catholics are groping for freedom, they just don’t know how. The liberal protestant emailed me constantly and still does on occasion (last email from him was last week), and why? He wants me to say he’s OK following Tillich. He’s not, and I won’t do that to him.

    Same for Catholics. We care too much to not be blunt. Your church is light years away from us saying its OK. And yet Machen extends the hand of friendship.

    Don’t be a stumbling block to Xians, you catholic. Reform your church. You are being bad stewards doing whatever you think you are doing here. No joke.

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  268. Tom, I told you once before, you don’t get the winning in Christianity. Im sure the devil called out his high fives on Good Friday.

    Its a living and true God we serve, tom, see the Scripture reference. Susan’s private opinions taking her to RCism, and Clete’s dolls give any thinking person reason to hang their head in sadness.

    Open your eyes. We’re the underdog movement 1300 years younger than theirs, and growing faster, and will continue to, that no one could have predicted. The reformstion will endure and grow stronger, because Jesus’ words can’t be warped infinitely. Darryls book, the church plant I’m working in, the full buidings requiring our churches to move up, all of this is happenning. You are on the wrong side of history. I’m not wanting to be triumphalist, but we need to help Catholics out. They are languishing. Just read their words and think about what they fight for. We serve a powerful God as Christians. Nothing I say changes anything. Nor you, nor these Catholics. But do you know what this all reveals?

    One word: sad.

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  269. I mean, for how long should I keep going?

    The review of Paul’s life has prepared the way for the principal
    subject of investigation. What was the origin of the religion of
    Paul?

    The most obvious answer to that question is that the religion of
    Paul was based upon Jesus. That is the answer which has always been
    given in the Church. The Church has always accepted the apostle
    Paul, not at all as a religious philosopher, but simply and solely
    as a witness to Jesus. If he was not a true disciple of Jesus, then
    the authority which he has always possessed and the influence which
    he has wielded have been based upon a misconception.

    But exactly the same answer was given by Paul himself. Paul
    regarded himself as a servant of Christ, and based his whole life
    upon what Christ had done and what Christ was continuing to do.
    “It is no longer I that live,” he says, “but Christ liveth in me.”
    Unquestionably this Christ, upon whom Paul based his life, was
    identified by Paul with Jesus of Nazareth, a person who had lived
    in Palestine a few years before. A mighty change in the mode of
    existence of Jesus had indeed, Paul believed, been wrought by the
    resurrection; a life of humiliation had given place to a life of
    glory. But it was the same person who lived throughout. There is in
    the Pauline Epistles not a trace of any distinction between “Jesus”
    and “Christ,” as though the former were the name of the historic
    personage who lived in Galilee and the latter the name of the risen
    Lord. On the contrary, the name Jesus is applied freely to the risen
    Lord, and the name Lord–the loftiest of all titles–is applied
    to the Jesus who suffered and died. It was “the Lord of glory,”
    according to Paul, who was crucified (1 Cor. ii. 8). The same
    phenomenon appears everywhere in the Epistles: the Lord of glory
    lived the life of a servant on earth; and Jesus, the man who had
    recently lived in Palestine, was to be worshiped by all in heaven
    and on earth
    (Phil. ii. 10, 11).

    Someone else’s turn. I yield to the facts.

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  270. Or maybe I haven’t shared enough Tom? How many comments must I send to Bryan’s website. I’m all over that one AND Jason’s. I was Jase’s first responder on GB, the thread on the papacy. You don’t know the half of what’s out here. Ive been posting on Jason’s artsy website. And you get off telling me were the ones who can’t shut up? If only you knew what we hold back, Tom. You should see us in action.

    Go to church, yo.

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  271. Andrew,

    “why post all that”

    Because I was countering a historical assertion by John. And to show he’s fooling himself if he thinks he’s just getting historical and biblical knowledge beamed into his head without interpretation.

    Why do you think I’m in bondage? Because I think Christology and the Incarnation actually has a real impact on theology and practice, as did the 7th council, and isn’t just some bare fact of history? Because I don’t consider great figures of the past who also thought the same about the Incarnation as sad people stuck in bondage? By all means post another verse to end the conversation, that was quite compelling.

    And it’s wonderful your church is growing. So is Islam. So is Mormonism. So are word-of-faithers. It’s interesting – RCs mention the numbers of Protestantism compared to RC and the reply is “oh God preserved his 7000 remnant”, but then when it comes to your church growth it’s all – “see God’s working because look at our numbers!” Consistency is not the name of the game apparently.

    “I’m not wanting to be triumphalist, but we need to help Catholics out. ”

    Awesome. No of course that’s not triumphalist – careful, Darryl might write a post on you.

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  272. Hi Erik,

    Erik – Hi Susan. The question of miracles is an interesting one. I think we would both agree that the Apostles performed miracles. What miracles do you believe attest to the truth of Roman Catholicism after the Apostolic period?

    Honestly, Erik, I believe that a church was founded that was superceding the OT. So rather than thinking the Apostolic age meant the end, I see it as the time when Jesus revealed Himself to the Jews and a continuation of what was already founded on Peter. I don’t believe miracles ever ceased, iow’s.
    This new community would have been a sign to the Jews that should have been awaiting the Messiah. Jesus’ miracles were performed for this purpose;viz, that the Jews would see that their Messiah had come and that they should now listen to Him and follow.

    “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know” Acts 2:22;

    and Matt. 12;26-28

    “And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?

    27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.

    28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you”

    Also, when God brought His people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and great signs(miracles) were shown.
    Yes, I do believe in the miracles performed through the Apostles. Today, the miraculous claims of The RCC( like Juan Diego’s tilma for instance and the holy saints) are real motives of crediblity as is the longevity of The Church.

    “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy” 🙂

    Hey, I know you don’t believe this, but I’m just telling you what I think. Maybe its close to what the church teaches. I’ll have to write Pope Francis and see.
    Damned divisions. …….have you seen any good movies lately, my friend?
    Hope you guys are dealing ok with the cold weather!

    Susan

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  273. Erik,

    I just borrowed a Walker Percy novel form the library called, “Love in the Ruins: Adventures of a Bad Catholic at a Time Near the End of the World” and I’m off to a good start.
    I put down, “Brideshead Revisted” because I’ve already seen the miniseries(1981) staring Jeremy Irons. I’m just terrible about starting books and never finishing. I did finish some short stories by Flannery O’Conner. Grace and nature are drawing topics.

    I guess Catholicism has been a flicker of light in my periphery for a very long time.

    I know you are interested in movies and literature too. Have you read any of these titles?

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  274. James,

    I think they brought this on. But Machen’s word are clear in What is Faith? . Yours and everyone’s salvation is between that person and God. So I don’t know. But I think your church is dangerous. Anyway, this is me, from that link:

    I rest upon God’s goodness alone. If my salvation is in any way conditioned on something I DO, then, per my view, God is not sovereign. Yes, this is where Free will / predestination shows up. And where, anyone who is interested in Sproul, should read his, “Chosen by God.” It was after reading that book, 10 years ago, that God revealed who He was, in His fullness. My heart would melt, and it has been in subsequent devotional times, reading Scripture and praying daily, that my God has continued to reveal Himself, in all his long suffering and loving kindness. I wish the Roman Catholic church all the best. But those of us who are truly reformed will never assent and listen to this websites, “call to communion.” Communion is what I enter into with my Holy God. And no church, no, man, is necessary for for the communion. Only God – as he is the sole agent in procuring my salvation.

    Talk to your priest, or if you want to talk with me, private message me on twitter. We’re done here.

    Grace and peace.

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  275. You also have no way of knowing (well actually you do better than that and presume) Rome is not being accountable to Scripture if you disagree with her interpretations.

    IOW if we’re not drinking the koolaid, we’re not drinking the koolaid.
    So what DVC?
    As in stuff it.
    This is just your unScriptural, unreasonable and unhistorical interpretation aka implicit ignorant blind faith in Rome/little papa.

    If you weren’t a rank fideist that you are, it’d be one thing, but now it’s too obvious to beg off and claim it’s the interpretation in my eye rather than the idiotic circularity in yours.

    cheers

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  276. Bob,

    “If you weren’t a rank fideist that you are”

    Nah, fideism is putting faith into self-proclaimed opinions – definitely irrational. Also, if I just blindly put my faith into something arbitrarily just based on what it claims, I’d be just as likely to submit to Crazy Dave as to Rome, or would have no reason (see, reason is different from faith) to disagree with someone who chose Crazy Dave or Protestantism or any other body over Rome. But I’m not just as likely to do that.

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  277. This is where “the rubber meets the road” for Roman Catholicism and its faulty history. Please don’t miss this:

    http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2014/01/an-extended-review-of-peter-lampes-from.html

    Brandon Addison has posted an Extended Review of Peter Lampe’s “From Paul to Valentinus” at Reformation500.com. This is something that I myself have wanted to do for a long time, but have never had the time to do it.

    The papacy is critical to Roman Catholic sensibilities about itself. Now with the doctrine of “papal infallibility”, it is a cornerstone of Roman Catholic epistemology – you’ll hear some apologists saying things like “because of the papacy (and papal authority), we have the ability to know with certainty what’s really ‘divine revelation’ and what’s merely ‘human opinion’.”

    Growing up as a Roman Catholic, I was certain that the papacy had been a strong, firm, well-defined institution from the days of Peter – when he founded the church at Rome and was the first bishop there – his bishoprick extending for 25 years. Then there was a grand and glorious history of popes down through the next 2000 years.

    In holding to the doctrine of the papacy (and it is a doctrine of the Roman Catholic church – and remember, doctrines can never change), Roman Catholics have intertwined this doctrine tightly with the history behind it. In fact, with reference to the papacy, history is so intertwined with dogma that it is referred to by theologians as a “dogmatic fact”.

    This has been defined by an eminent Catholic theologian as “historical fact so intimately connected with some great Catholic truths that it would be believed even if time and accident had destroyed all of the original evidence therefor” (Shotwell and Loomis, in the 1927 introduction to their work “The See of Peter” (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, ©1927, 1955, 1991), pgs xxiii–xxiv).

    Shotwell and Loomis were among the first researchers of the 20th century to explore the history of the papacy in depth, but they weren’t the last. Others explored the history and theology of that period, and exploded the notion that Peter was at Rome for 25 years – if at all. Oscar Cullman’s 1953 work “Peter: Disciple, Apostle, Martyr” applied historical and exegetical methodologies to the New Testament (and post-NT writings) about Peter and concluded that yes, while Peter was important, there was no such thing as “apostolic succession”. Cullman was a Lutheran and a very ecumenically-minded one at that. He was one of the Protestant observers at Vatican II. Karl Barth joked with him that his tombstone would carry the inscription “advisor to three popes.”

    But Lampe has provided the crowning achievement on a century’s-worth of work on the earliest papacy. Relying on a methodology that seemingly scrutinizes every scrap of paper from that period (Rome in the first two centuries), every grave and cemetery, every inscription, every archaeological find, Lampe provides a clear and compelling picture of what it was like to be a Christian in Rome during those centuries.

    And while being totally non-polemical throughout the whole project, Lampe’s work gives us a keen insight into Rome in the first two centuries that almost totally excludes the notion that there was a pope, or a “successor to Peter”, or in fact, that there was even a single bishop in charge in the city during those first two centuries.

    The clarity of this picture simply turns on its head the “dogmatic fact” of the papacy – in fact, this work (first published in German in 1987) inspired the Vatican’s own investigation of “the Primacy of the Bishop of Rome in the First Millennium”, and was probably behind Pope John Paul’s search for “a new situation” for “The Successor of Peter” in the 1995 encyclical ut unum sint.

    * * *

    In 10,000 words, Brandon provides thorough overview of Lampe’s work, along with a rebuttal of a treatment that Bryan Cross gave to it at the Called to Communion site. Brandon’s method is to “summarize each of Lampe’s sections and then explain how the traditional Roman Catholic position fails to account for all of the data.” As for Bryan Cross, Brandon notes that his comment “demonstrates his ignorance of Lampe’s book throughout this entire comment”.

    This review is a brilliant introduction to a brilliant piece of work. By all means, click over and read the review. If you don’t have time to read all 10,000 words, at least skim through it. But as Brandon suggests, the best way to gain a sense of the magnitude of this study, by all means, “read Lampe himself for his fuller argument”.

    Like

  278. Susan – I don’t believe miracles ever ceased, iow’s.

    Erik – What do you make of purported miracles done by Christians who are not Roman Catholic? Valid? Invalid? If valid, what do they prove?

    Susan – have you seen any good movies lately, my friend?

    Erik – Season one of “Homeland”, which I really liked. “Frisbee – The Life and Death of a Hippie Preacher”, which I liked and recommend (on DVD from Netflix). “An Unmarried Woman”, which I really liked (streamed on Netflix). “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” in the theater. One of the best movies about the American high school experience ever made. “Don Jon”, which has a Roman Catholic angle and is quite insightful. I’ve started “Frances Ha”.

    “Frisbee” trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jv3O8SseOio

    Like

  279. Susan, you still don’t understand Protestantism but leave it thinking that you do. I believe in a hierarchical church. Elders oversee church members. I also understand that bishops oversee dioceses. And in the early church, the five patriarchates oversaw the regions of the church. The issue is whether Rome was head of the other bishops. And you simply repeat what the bishops of Rome claim. Boy, that’s reasonable.

    Like

  280. james van clete, “he’s fooling himself if he thinks he’s just getting historical and biblical knowledge beamed into his head without interpretation.”

    Uninterpreted infallibilist interpret thyself. As if your view of the pope’s interpretive powers come directly to you in cables from Rome. Are you kidding?

    Like

  281. Erik,

    I’ve started “Frances Ha”.

    I recommend watching with the Mrs. If I recall when we finished watching, the words my wife used were life changing.

    I was, like, wow, strong words, after she said that. But it is pretty good, and of course, I heard it here at OLTS first. Yo.

    🙂

    Like

  282. Susan,

    I’ve been about 2/3 of the way through Percy’s “The Moviegoer” but just can’t get it finished. I feel like he’s a guy that I should like, but I just could never get into the book. I love Shelby Foote and he and Percy were friends from boyhood.

    I’ve seen “Brideshead”, too (great miniseries) but have never read the book. I’ve started his “Sword of Honour” trilogy (set in WWII). You might like the film version of “A Handful of Dust” with Kristin Scott Thomas. I would like to read a lot more of Waugh.

    I’ve read a little bit of O’Connor (short stories) and would like to like her more than I do (she studied at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in Iowa City). Her characters are just too weird for me to get into. I’ve seen the film version of “Wise Blood” (directed by John Huston).

    You can’t avoid Catholicism if you take Western art, literature, and film at all seriously.

    I started reading Paul Johnson’s “History of Christianity” yesterday and am liking it a lot.

    Like

  283. I started reading Paul Johnson’s “History of Christianity” yesterday and am liking it a lot.

    My favorite on the topic of Christian history so far, and be sure to catch the sequel by Dr. Bray, Church History II, also at that website. It covers Roman Catholicism in great detail, and is really quite eye opening. From 2004 I think, Dr. Bray is at Beeson Divinity School.

    Like

  284. Erik,

    My wife laughed when Adam Driver put his hand on Frances’ shoulder

    And for good reason.

    I’ve read a little bit of O’Connor (short stories) and would like to like her more than I do

    I have this on my bookshelf (though I think on a lower rung than my Hart and Machen). It’s a bit much at times, but for my cartoon brain, it fits the bill quite nicely and earns a spot where there is little room for verbose writers and Tomes.

    I haven’t read flannery since high school, and I may have mentioned a quote earlier, that was a favorite of my episcopal calculus teacher. You shall know the Truth, and the Truth will make you odd.

    I actually like the quote the way I learned it in Sunday school better, but flannery’s fun too, none the less.

    Cheers bro.

    Like

  285. DGH: citing james van clete, “he’s fooling himself if he thinks he’s just getting historical and biblical knowledge beamed into his head without interpretation.”

    Actually, the blue men on Mars who rule the solar system from their underground bunker on Mars do feed this into my head with the proper interpretation. Of course, they are truly in charge of “The Church that Christ Founded”. This was the true church, from which Peter is merely an extraterrestrial spawn, placed here on earth, while the puppet-masters of The One True Church maintain a safe enough distance from earth to assure that the gates of hell truly cannot find them – hence the real meaning of Matthew 16:18.

    Like

  286. Henceforth, Cletus van Damme is Jason Stellman.

    Seriously, we have a troll in our midst, and as Christians, we must not get bogged down.

    At least Darryl can pull out the nuke, and apply the Doug Sowers treatment.

    Was Doug = Jason Stellman?

    Who really knows any of these characters away from the computer screens? Anons, all the more.

    I call B/S on “James Young” as well. Who is he?

    There’s a reason we ask to see badges

    Like

  287. PS Kenneth Winsmann I believe, because I can google him and confirm his identity.

    James Young, who are you really? Seriously, I have no reason to believe anything you’ve said about yourself. You post under a psedonym. I think you should stop, or share more. You say a cradle catholic, west texas, never to seminary, married, and you like turtles.

    What gives? What are you after?

    Like

  288. Robert,

    Good, then we should be able to identify it exhaustively.Whereexactlydo theapostlesteach theImmaculate Conception, the Bodily Assumption, or papal infallibility

    Defend the proposition that because divine teaching has been given that entails that we can identify it “exhuastively”. Can you exhaustively identify all the teachings of scripture? CvD has already exposed that you can not. You claim to be able to recognize the canon but that is not “exhaustively” identifying divine teaching but merely recognizing the mode (or vehicle) by which that teaching has been passed down. This is precisely what I have done for Tradition. You not liking the mode of Tradition doesn’t make it false.

    There’s only so much the apostles said and did. Rome has supposedly had what they said and did for 2,000 years. Where has it infallibly identified anything that the apostles said or did that never got written down in Scripture?

    I have already provided numerous examples. AS, regenerative baptism, sacrafice of the mass, etc.

    The problem is you don’t believe in a once for all deposit that is unchanging.

    Equating the interpretation of the deposit with the deposit itself is the error of the Pharisees.

    The problem is that you aren’t paying attention. We do believe in a once for all unchanging deposit. Merely asserting that we don’t does nothing to advance the conversation. Equating interpretation with the deposit itself is THE MAJOR error of protestantism. You equate your interpretation with the scriptures themselves

    Like

  289. Susan,

    I also saw “American Hustle”. It was o.k., but by no means great. The fact that I forgot I had seen it speaks volumes. It wants to be a combination of “Boogie Nights” and “Goodfellas” but is nowhere near as good as either of them. David O. Russell seems to think that if he makes a film featuring a bunch of erratic characters doing outrageous things it will somehow add up to something coherent & entertaining. It doesn’t really work, though (see also: “Silver Linings Playbook”).

    Like

  290. Kenneth,

    Defend the proposition that because divine teaching has been given that entails that we can identify it “exhuastively”. Can you exhaustively identify all the teachings of scripture? CvD has already exposed that you can not. You claim to be able to recognize the canon but that is not “exhaustively” identifying divine teaching but merely recognizing the mode (or vehicle) by which that teaching has been passed down. This is precisely what I have done for Tradition. You not liking the mode of Tradition doesn’t make it false.

    Sigh. When I point to a teaching, I can pick up the Scriptures. The Scriptures are the deposit. When Rome teaches something, it tries to pick up Scriptures and tradition, but it never tells me in what sermon Peter taught papal infallibility. It never tells me where Mary was when she was bodily assumed and in what context John taught this. All we get is an appeal to a nebulous body of tradition. Its very slippery.

    If the Apostles taught half of what Rome says comes to us via tradition that is not recorded in Scripture, why can’t it tell me anything about the context in which the apostles spoke these teachings.

    I can exhaustively define the Scriptures, which are the deposit of faith. You can’t exhaustively define tradition because tradition is whatever the Magisterium says it is. If the Magisterium declares infallibly that x is part of tradition, there is no question to be asked about why if x is so important it has no exegetical basis and is completely absent from the church for centuries (ie, the bodily Assumption). The best you guys have is an argument of silence. Talk about not having any grounds for the certainty of faith.

    I have already provided numerous examples. AS, regenerative baptism, sacrafice of the mass, etc.

    So the Tridentine definitions of the sacrifice of the mass were actually given by one of the apostles in a teaching context that never got written down. Interesting. I’m not even sure CTC would claim that.

    Give us one word that Jesus or Paul or Peter spoke that is not written down in Scripture. Where has Rome infallibly said it?

    We do believe in a once for all unchanging deposit.

    If you do, then you should be able to tell me what it is. Where has Rome defined infallbily anything that Peter or Paul said outside of what we have in Scripture.

    Merely asserting that we don’t does nothing to advance the conversation. Equating interpretation with the deposit itself is THE MAJOR error of protestantism. You equate your interpretation with the scriptures themselves.

    The conversation won’t advance because you guys can’t tell us what tradition is and what words the apostles spoke that never made into Scripture. Common life, witness, etc. is sufficiently vague to mean anything the church wants it to mean.

    We don’t equate interpretation with the deposit, we’re the ones that believe the church’s interpretation is fallible, remember? The deposit is the Scriptures. The church may very well accurately come to understand the Scriptures, but the understanding, strictly speaking, is not the deposit. The deposit is the revelation that the apostles actually spoke and wrote.

    Given that Cletus has said that no one since the Apostles is inspired like they were, the Tridentine doctrines for example, cannot be the deposit of faith. They are the interpretation of the deposit—the teachings and writings of the apostles. No apostle taught an elaborate system of penance. Even modern RCs for the most part would agree with that; history forces them to. That does not in itself mean that penance is not a legitimate and correct interpretation of what the apostles said and did (though I believe it is illegitimate), that is a different issue.

    Rome takes Scripture and it takes tradition (whatever that is), interprets it, and then infallibly defines that interpretation as part of the deposit of faith. But at best, when it does that, many, many doctrines are just conceptual parts of the deposit. None of it is what the apostles actually said or did. Again, it could be that what Rome says is a correct reading of these things (though I don’t believe that it is). I could even agree that the deposit of faith is conceptual on some level (i.e., Paul taught the concept of the Trinity without using the actual term Trinity because he taught deity of the persons and their equality and distinctiveness). But the apostles didn’t give us the concepts, they gave us actual teachings from which we deduce the concepts, even growing in our understanding of those concepts. I want the words the apostles gave us so I can know whether or not the church is accurately teaching the concepts contained in the deposit of faith. I’m still waiting for Rome to tell me what they are, besides the Scripture of course. Rome has lied so often throughout history that I have no credible reason to believe she is accurately interpreting the apostles words unless I can some way verify what those words and teachings are.

    Like

  291. Andrew Buckingham
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 9:51 am | Permalink
    Cletus van Walking Dead?

    All the world’s a stage, we are merely..

    James, that was the meme you were aluding to, right? Fellow internet warrior you?
    If you do like turtles, please accept my apology. We are your friends here. Just looking to eat some brains, is all. Emoticon.

    Have a nice weekend, guys.

    Like

  292. Erik,

    You really do know a lot of movies. I don’t watch very many films, because I just don’t know what’s good unless I get a recommendation, so thanks. I’m gonna write down those titles.

    Shelby Foote”s “Love in a Dry Season” is now added to my Amazon cart. I didn’t know about him, but now that I know he wrote about the Civil War, I’ll have to read Shiloh too. Shame on me, I lived in TN, and actually should have already read it, but the public highschool I went to was lousy.

    I will look for a “Handful of Dust” as a film tonight. Hope Netflix or Amazon has it.

    Have a good weekend.

    Susan

    Like

  293. John,

    Wonderful. Brandon Addison. Well that’s it – I’m sold.

    “But Lampe has provided the crowning achievement on a century’s-worth of work on the earliest papacy. Relying on a methodology that seemingly scrutinizes every scrap of paper from that period (Rome in the first two centuries), every grave and cemetery, every inscription, every archaeological find, Lampe provides a clear and compelling picture of what it was like to be a Christian in Rome during those centuries.”

    Cool so did he not apply that same methodology when he came to the conclusion that the NT has errors and the pastorals were forged? Do scholars like Dever not “seemingly scrutinize” everything when concluding the OT has errors and is not historical?

    “And while being totally non-polemical throughout the whole project, Lampe’s work gives us a keen insight into Rome in the first two centuries that almost totally excludes the notion that there was a pope, or a “successor to Peter”, or in fact, that there was even a single bishop in charge in the city during those first two centuries.”

    By dismissing counterevidence as fabrications for example. Note what Brandon said about Lampe and Irenaeus: “Lampe does not rule out this possibility, but based on other evidence Lampe does not believe this is a probable position” This is abductive/inductive reasoning John. These are tentative probable conclusions he’s come to based on his methodology and analysis – this is not deductive science. We’re dealing with humanities/social sciences fields here, not physics.

    “in fact, this work (first published in German in 1987) inspired the Vatican’s own investigation of “the Primacy of the Bishop of Rome in the First Millennium””

    Perhaps you’re correct. I’d be interested in citations to support this statement – that Lampe was the impetus behind the investigation. Saying “well it happened pretty close after it was published” isn’t enough.

    “and was probably behind Pope John Paul’s search for “a new situation” for “The Successor of Peter” in the 1995 encyclical ut unum sint.”

    Probably? Because you say so?

    “Brandon’s method is to “summarize each of Lampe’s sections and then explain how the traditional Roman Catholic position fails to account for all of the data.””

    You mean all of the data we have today. As I’ve said before, the current state of the historical/philological/archaeological/hermeneutic/sociological fields is based on the best available evidence and analyses we have right now. It is subject to change by heretofore unconsidered or undiscovered evidences and analyses – this is especially true the farther back we go. Scholars disagree on what the raw data even consists of, let alone how to properly analyze it or what weight to give various parts of it.

    “This review is a brilliant introduction to a brilliant piece of work. By all means, click over and read the review. If you don’t have time to read all 10,000 words, at least skim through it. But as Brandon suggests, the best way to gain a sense of the magnitude of this study, by all means, “read Lampe himself for his fuller argument”.”

    You are still missing the point of my previous posts to you on this subject. I am questioning the selective way you filter and use scholars as well as their conclusions, and the weight you put behind them in making dogmatic claims. To respond to that with, “Hey here’s some layman who analyzes a scholar and agrees with me!” is to miss the point entirely.

    Like

  294. Darryl,

    “Uninterpreted infallibilist interpret thyself. As if your view of the pope’s interpretive powers come directly to you in cables from Rome. Are you kidding?”

    RCs don’t claim they don’t interpret. We’re not hooked into the Romebot2000 network. That would be ridiculous. Which is also why I call out John’s statements like “my interpretation has nothing to do with it” as ridiculous.

    Like

  295. Robert,

    “The church may very well accurately come to understand the Scriptures, but the understanding, strictly speaking, is not the deposit. The deposit is the revelation that the apostles actually spoke and wrote.”

    Interesting. Is sola fide – which you admit developed – part of the deposit of faith or not? Does the deposit of faith only consist of the sources of divine truths, and not the truths themselves?

    “Rome has lied so often throughout history that I have no credible reason to believe she is accurately interpreting the apostles words unless I can some way verify what those words and teachings are.”

    Yep, the Lewis quote again and treating Rome as just another protestant denomination.

    Like

  296. You are still missing the point of my previous posts to you on this subject. I am questioning the selective way you filter and use scholars as well as their conclusions, and the weight you put behind them in making dogmatic claims. To respond to that with, “Hey here’s some layman who analyzes a scholar and agrees with me!” is to miss the point entirely.

    The joke of the day.
    Deviant von Catholicus questions the selective way scholars and their conclusions are filtered and the weight behind their dogmatic claims.

    But no mention of the way Rome does the same regarding Scripture, reason and history.
    When it comes to that, DVC infallibly instructs us in yesterday’s interpretation joke of the day:

    You also have no way of knowing (well actually you do better than that and presume) Rome is not being accountable to Scripture if you disagree with her interpretations.

    Which is Proof by arrogant and patronizing Assertion.
    As DVC says elsewhere: “Probably? Because you say so?”

    But that’s the SOP from the get go. Because that’s how Rome rolls, a self evident observation from even these conversations, if not implicit in that roman pillar and fundamental foundation of fides implicita.

    Then we get:

    Nah, fideism is putting faith into self-proclaimed opinions – definitely irrational. . . . But I’m not just as likely to do that.

    Or Proof by Denial, the flip side of Proof by Assertion.

    Or if you prefer the over arching category of Proof by Self Proclaimed Opinions/Interpretations that “purport” to be in line with Crazy Francis, but we have no way of knowing, because DVC is not the infallible pope.
    The last, who has basically told the likes of our interlocutor to shut his piehole because it more resembles his hind end.

    Which leads to the lesson of the day, every day:

    Romanists can have self proclaimed opinions/interpretations, protestants cannot.
    And the Romanist ones are better because they just are.
    IOW more of the usual jesuitical shuck and jive.

    cheers

    Like

  297. RCs don’t claim they don’t interpret. We’re not hooked into the Romebot2000 network. That would be ridiculous. Which is also why I call out John’s statements like “my interpretation has nothing to do with it” as ridiculous.

    But they do claim to interpret infallibly.
    As well as make ridiculous fideistic statements like:

    You also have no way of knowing (well actually you do better than that and presume) Rome is not being accountable to Scripture if you disagree with her interpretations.

    If we have no way of knowing which is the implicit bass line in all the propaganda, then what in Sam Hill is our gracious romanist over here doing? Talking to, if not instructing vegetables?

    Like hello.

    Speaking of lettuceheads, have are our zealous young clones and jesuitical drones been invited to Jason’s upcoming Stupor Bowl Party? He had one last year and coincidentally Bryan has shut down CtC this week in preparation for something. We smell something afoot and it’s not old socks.
    IOW all of our freakishly smart romanists are probably getting together to party hearty and ignore us.
    Our feelings is hurt. We feels Tom’s paine.
    Ouch.

    Like

  298. Cletus,

    Interesting. Is sola fide – which you admit developed – part of the deposit of faith or not? Does the deposit of faith only consist of the sources of divine truths, and not the truths themselves?

    The deposit is the teaching that the Apostles and prophets gave us. Some of this teaching is more directly given than others. For example “God is one” as Paul says, is relatively direct, the doctrine of the Trinity less so because it requires more reflection and takes more exegesis, etc.

    Is the doctrine of the Trinity part of the deposit of faith? In one limited sense, the answer is no. We have no words from the Apostles that say God is one homousios and three hypostases. Paul and Peter did not gather round the campfire with Timothy and pass on a oral tradition that God is to be defined precisely as one homousios and three hypostases. The closest we get to an explicit Trinitarian formulation is something like Matthew 28:18–20. The Trinitarianism of the apostles is more assumed than anything else. It is clear they saw Jesus as God and that He was distinct from the Father. I don’t know that they ever sat down and reflected on how that might be the case ontologically, they just knew it was true and they preached accordingly.

    Conceptually speaking, however, yes the doctrine of the Trinity is part of the deposit. To say God is one homousious and three hypostases is a good and necessary deduction from what the Apostles actually say about God. The concept of the Trinity is given in the deposit of faith, although the doctrine was not explicitly formulated in the first century.

    If we want to speak of the deposit of faith conceptually to include things deduced from the Apostolic witness, I’m fine with that. The Trinity, Hypostatic Union, sola fide, and more are all part of the conceptual deposit of faith. More or less, this seems to be what the Roman Catholics want to do, although they add doctrines such as the Assumption.

    However, Rome claims to find its deposit (in the conceptual sense) in revelation given both in Scripture and in tradition. But even for Rome, this conceptual deposit is based on some kind of formal deposit consisting of the actual words and deeds of the apostles. What I want is the actual deposit in this formal sense. Rome says it is Scripture plus unwritten traditions, interpretations, practices of the apostles. Where can I find that. Don’t tell me something vague like tradition. What are the words, practices, etc. that Rome works off of to find its teachings that cannot be found in Scripture. What is that extra sermon I’m missing. What is the precise hermeneutical rule that Paul laid out that never got written down.

    Even if you accept this idea of growing tradition, everything goes back ultimately to something the apostles actually gave us in the form of words and practices. For Rome, the apostles did this both orally and in written form. Where has Rome infallibly defined exactly what Paul or Peter or James said that never got written down in Scripture. Not what was deduced or discovered or discerned by reflecting on those things but those things themselves. What is the content of the formal unwritten deposit. If it is not Scripture alone, what exactly did Peter say or Paul do that never got written down.

    Rome wants to bind me to doctrines that are claimed to be Apostolic in their provenance. Fine. Give me the words the Apostles gave that Rome is working off of. When I ask for the deposit, that’s what I want. The Nicene Creed reflects the words of the Apostles, but its not the actual words of the Apostles. Yet, I can turn to words of the Apostles to prove it. Rome wants to tell me that the Assumption of Mary is a part of the conceptual deposit of faith taught by the Apostles. Fine. Give me the actual unwritten words or practices that Paul or another apostle spoke or did that provides the basis for this doctrine.

    Like

  299. Bob,

    “But no mention of the way Rome does the same regarding Scripture, reason and history.”

    Yes, Rome makes judgments on Scripture and history to make dogmatic claims. Both antiquity and scripture require a judgment. Because she claims divine authority to be able to define and identify irreformable divine revelation. Unlike fallible provisional secular academic magisteriums John puts his faith into (hence Tom’s earlier point about God leaving behind a church, not a synagogue/university) – well actually he only kinda puts his faith into it – whenever it hurts his precommitments he just ignores it.

    “But they do claim to interpret infallibly.”

    No, RCs submit to an authority which makes that claim.

    “You also have no way of knowing (well actually you do better than that and presume) Rome is not being accountable to Scripture if you disagree with her interpretations.”

    The point of that statement was to compare it with Tradition. Robert was saying “I have no way to know if Rome is accountable to Tradition if I don’t have some exhaustive list of Tradition I can compare her against”. That is assuming the Protestant mentality and treating Rome’s claims as no different than various Protestant denominations’ claims – it’s judging her by an external standard and then invalidating her based on that. That statement I made is not fideistic anymore than it is fideistic for someone in the NT to put their faith in Christ/Apostles and not then just continually question and be skeptical of their authoritative teachings. The Pharisees who rejected Christ/Apostles and their interpretations could say exactly the same to those who followed Christ – “you are rank fideists! the Apostles aren’t being accountable to the OT! Here we can prove it with our scholarly magisterium of Jewish scholars and historians!” It would be fideistic if I just blindly put my faith into Rome’s or Crazy Dave’s claims. It would also be fideistic if I just put my faith into professed plausible opinions and interpretations about divine revelation with no (and actively rejected) divine authority which is what you do.

    Like

  300. Because she claims divine authority to be able to define and identify irreformable divine revelation.

    Note bene, “claims” as in another of Bryan’s notorious “handwaving assertions”, that only prots are capable of/commit.

    Unlike fallible provisional secular academic magisteriums John puts his faith into (hence Tom’s earlier point about God leaving behind a church, not a synagogue/university) – well actually he only kinda puts his faith into it – whenever it hurts his precommitments he just ignores it.

    Project much?
    As in:

    You also have no way of knowing (well actually you do better than that and presume) Rome is not being accountable to Scripture if you disagree with her interpretations.

    You’re either in the club or you’re out. You either buy into implicita/ignota fide or you don’t.
    If you’re not drinking the koolaid, you can’t bitch that it tastes like sch*t.
    As a matter of fact you don’t know sch*t from shinola because you are a prot.

    But we already knew that the infallible, indefectible, unreformable and ineffable, not to mention arrogant and patronizing pre commitments to Romanism are cemented in place. The paradigm is staunch and like a rock.

    More to the point, God called his church into being with his Word unwritten that became infallibly written with Moses. God continued to call his church into being through the Word become flesh, the Lord Jesus Christ and his words, and now that his unwritten word is no longer revealed to us by the apostles, we have the final deposit/record/revelation of his Word in the Old and New Testaments.

    In other words, Thomas doubts the testimony of the Word whenever it hurts his precommittments.
    Pot, kettle, hypocrite.
    But he’s in good company as a fellow traveler, if not useful idiot/dupe for Rome’s pseudo authority.

    As in all you need to know is that the pope said and you believe it.
    And Crazy Francis says shut up.
    Word.

    Like

  301. Cletus van Damme
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    John,

    Wonderful. Brandon Addison. Well that’s it – I’m sold.

    This really says everything that anybody needs to know about you. I’m sorry that I wasted so much time interacting with you, except that it enabled me to see how really worthless Roman Catholic responses can become when a seemingly knowledgeable Roman Catholic is pressed with the information that I can press him. You are the one resorting to name-calling and other evasions, all seemingly designed to avoid talking at a genuine human level on these things. That shows the bankruptcy of your position, it really does.

    It’s not about “who” — it’s about the ideas, the thinking, the message.

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  302. Robert,

    “Is the doctrine of the Trinity part of the deposit of faith? No… I don’t know that they ever sat down and reflected on how that might be the case ontologically…. The concept of the Trinity is given in the deposit of faith”

    So the Trinity was implicit. The concept was there, but not the interpretation, whatever that means. It may not have been fully understood by the Apostles. But I thought valid doctrines were only the ones explicitly taught by the Apostles? Where do you get the notion that the Apostles gave freedom for people to deduce teachings from their statements they did not themselves hold or grasp?

    “Is the doctrine of the Trinity part of the deposit of faith? In one limited sense, the answer is no.”

    Both the sources of truths and the truths contained therein are Revelation.

    “If we want to speak of the deposit of faith conceptually to include things deduced from the Apostolic witness, I’m fine with that. The Trinity, Hypostatic Union, sola fide, and more are all part of the conceptual deposit of faith. More or less, this seems to be what the Roman Catholics want to do, although they add doctrines such as the Assumption. ”

    Aka so developed doctrines can be counted as part of the deposit, but any doctrines that conflict with my interpretation of my application of the GHM alone to exegete Scripture alone is an addition, not a valid development.

    “Rome says it is Scripture plus unwritten traditions, interpretations, practices of the apostles. Where can I find that. Don’t tell me something vague like tradition.”

    Uh it’s reflected in the common life of the church handed down through the generations. That’s not vague. Look for example at the channels of tradition Newman offers that are reflected in history. Then you’ll ask “Which parts of history? How can I know” – that’s the same mentality you bring to her view of Scripture. Rome is the authentic interpreter of both, not another Protestant denomination you perpetually hold hostage to your judgment of Scripture and history. You are still treating Rome as if it doesn’t make a different type of claim than Protestantism does, and then judging her according to that external standard/criteria to invalidate her.

    “What is the precise hermeneutical rule that Paul laid out that never got written down.”

    The same one that was operating amongst the churches when he wasn’t writing, and before John died.

    “If it is not Scripture alone, what exactly did Peter say or Paul do that never got written down.”

    Paul never wrote down “here’s the list of books that are to be considered Scripture after I die.” Peter never wrote down “Okay, when the last of us dies, revelation is ended”. Peter and Paul didn’t write “after we die, this church thing we got going on for the past few decades, well it’s going to change – now we want everything to be only by this collection of books we’ll enumerate here and you guys just interpret as you see fit.” The Scriptures came out of Tradition, and the church was operating according to both. That did not change when John died.

    “When I ask for the deposit, that’s what I want.”

    What you want is just more Scripture. You’re presupposing the life of the church cannot have any divine witness or the HS cannot work within it as well as it be a testament to doctrine/revelation. If the HS can work guiding the church over time to recognize doctrines in Scripture, as you agree, I don’t know why you just assume the life of that church itself cannot be guided as a witness to doctrine as well. Just as Scripture has both implicit/explict truths that develop over time, so does Tradition – although they overlap with each other since Scripture came from Tradition.

    “Yet, I can turn to words of the Apostles to prove it. Rome wants to tell me that the Assumption of Mary is a part of the conceptual deposit of faith taught by the Apostles.”

    You presuppose “proving it” means by your application of GHM exegesis alone, rather than in addition to other types of exegetical methods, to satisfy some arbitrary threshold of assent you set for yourself. The early church when hammering out core doctrines did not live by GHM exegesis alone. Since GHM by its nature is limited and does not make any claims to yield divine truths by its application, and further, can often change with developments in scholarship in the various academic fields that drive and inform it, what it “proves” is nothing but plausible opinion, not articles of faith.

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  303. John,

    “a seemingly knowledgeable Roman Catholic is pressed with the information that I can press him.
    You are the one resorting to name-calling and other evasions, all seemingly designed to avoid talking at a genuine human level on these things.”

    Evasions? I addressed Elvira. You have not responded. I addressed Lampe’s presuppositions. You have not responded. More importantly, and the crux of this discussion, at a higher level, I addressed your whole methodology when it comes to analyzing scholars and using them. You responded with….a layman analyzing a scholar’s analysis.

    Btw I never called anyone names. But thank you for characterizing my position as evasive and insulting.

    “It’s not about “who” — it’s about the ideas, the thinking, the message.”

    I didn’t leave my reply with only that first line. It’s about your analysis and interpretation of the ideas, the thinking, the message, and how much weight you put on them.

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  304. james van clete, but everything you say here is an interpretation, including your claim of the superiority of infallibility. Once you start accusing others of interpretation, you better only be quoting. But that means quote everything. To select some parts and leave others out is an interpretation.

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  305. Bob,

    “More to the point, God called his church into being with his Word unwritten that became infallibly written with Moses. God continued to call his church into being through the Word become flesh, the Lord Jesus Christ and his words, and now that his unwritten word is no longer revealed to us by the apostles, we have the final deposit/record/revelation of his Word in the Old and New Testaments.”

    Thus saith Bob S. Here endeth the lesson. There were no presuppositions in this lesson kiddos. Promise. Here’s some kool-aid.

    “In other words, Thomas doubts the testimony of the Word whenever it hurts his precommittments.”

    Because of my very precommitments, I don’t doubt the testimony of the Word.

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  306. CVD responds but refuses to address his presuppositions/precommittments/implicit faith in Romanism.
    Yawn.

    And his comments are evasive and insulting.

    But don’t take our word for it. He himself says:

    You also have no way of knowing (well actually you do better than that and presume) Rome is not being accountable to Scripture if you disagree with her interpretations.

    IOW listen up all you prot potato heads. Suckle up to Mama Rome and all will be well.
    I, Crazy Clete infallibly and indubitably promise that it will be so.

    But Crazy Francis says not to worry.
    Well, see above.

    As in you have no way of knowing if Romanists are crazy or not if you disagree with their interpretations. Even Especially if they contradict each other.

    You know, A = not A, the ever changing deposit, co-redemptrix, doulia/latria.

    Cause it’s just a prot interpretation that there are ten Commandments.
    They really really are lying and ignoring the 13th:

    To be right in everything, we ought always to hold that the white which I see, is black, if the Hierarchical Church so decides it . . . .

    Gotta love it. All is well with implicit Ignatian interpretive ignorant faith.
    Did you get yours today?
    Here, let me help you cut off your head.
    The brain dead zombies will thank you.

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  307. There were no presuppositions in this lesson

    Au contraire bozo. The status of the questionis is whether they are biblical presuppositions or not.
    IOW you can’t just question prot presuppositions, if you are not willing to put your own on the table.

    “But that would be presupposing protestantism/question begging” is the perpetual whine of the purple hatted kine.

    So IOW Rome’s pre-committments may not be questioned and this discussion is bogged down in your implicit fidiesm, as we are authoritatively instructed:

    You also have no way of knowing (well actually you do better than that and presume) Rome is not being accountable to Scripture if you disagree with her interpretations.

    Fine, only fess up to your infallible interpretation – just one of many – and Crazy Francis will go easy on you for your penance.
    Promise.

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  308. CVD: What you did on Elvira was to take a minimalist statement “no images on walls” and say “well, that ONLY applied to images on walls, not to the other stuff that’s going on.

    So you were being just as selective there as you accuse everyone else of being.

    Now, a council like that is not my point of reference for that issue. It’s the book of Exodus and the book of Deuteronomy. Are you going to tell us that we can’t know whether those books are infallible without infallible Roman input? That’s just a ridiculous thought.

    As far as my “methodology”, I’ve explained it in detail, and I think your addressing of it is simply lame. There’s no other way to put it.

    I’ve invested a lot of time in responding to you, and you ARE evasive. At some point I was getting meaningful responses from you, and then you just stopped. I didn’t bother to read the rest of your response after you were dismissive about Brandon. I’m not sure that we have anything else to say to each other.

    This papacy issue that Brandon wrote about isn’t going to go away, however. If you intend to put in more time in Reformed circles, I’m sure you’ll be seeing it again.

    I didn’t leave my reply with only that first line. It’s about your analysis and interpretation of the ideas, the thinking, the message, and how much weight you put on them.

    That’s right, but what you wrote was really not something I wanted to interact with, because, well, I’ve already answered that in a fairly detailed way, and you seem just want to be putting up more smoke and mirrors.

    This is abductive/inductive reasoning John.

    I’m ok with this, and Protestantism is ok with this — it works to enable all of us to know the sun is going to come up again tomorow. The alternative is the “infallible, deductive science” of Roman dogma that you espouse, and I’ve also been clear about that.

    Perhaps you’re correct. I’d be interested in citations to support this statement

    Rome is not going to advertise “we’ve just been handed our butts in a sling”. I think it’s very clear that Rome’s own historical investigation took place within two years of the release of Lampe’s work. Two plus two equals four. I don’t need a citation on those kinds of numbers.

    Probably? Because you say so?

    No, because probably is exactly what it implies.

    Keep in mind, I do not trust the Vatican for anything. Much less their explanations on why, after a thousand years of bombast, they wanted “a new situation” for the papacy. Now, what events in the world could have caused them to figure out they needed to be “ecumenical”?

    You mean all of the data we have today.

    Now you are the partisan skeptic. Why isnot 99.999% good enough for you? You’re willing to believe all manner of really outlandish stuff on the word of a self-professed “infallible” interpreter.

    You are still missing the point of my previous posts to you on this subject. I am questioning the selective way you filter and use scholars

    And I’ve told you, I don’t selectively filter and use scholars. I consider and weigh the substance of their arguments. I do this with Lampe, Cullmann, etc.

    And the substance of Roman Catholic arguments is just like getting a mouthful of dust. It’s that bad.

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  309. Darryl,

    “james van clete, but everything you say here is an interpretation, including your claim of the superiority of infallibility. Once you start accusing others of interpretation, you better only be quoting. But that means quote everything. To select some parts and leave others out is an interpretation.”

    RCs interpret. No Romebot2000 network (again). Superiority of infallibility? I fully admit that I presuppose that if there is such a thing as divine revelation and articles of faith, they are not just plausible opinion, but rather infallible, nor are they natural knowledge like mathematics, but rather something that cannot be grasped by the intellect alone and must be revealed and thus accepted on the basis of someone claiming divine authority. Feel free to disagree. Christ did not ask “how plausible do you find my interpretation of the OT and the history of Israel?” but rather, “Who do you say that I am?” Authority is essential. Hence claims to it are essential.

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  310. Clete,

    I don’t blame you for doubting my credentials. My wife can tell you I’m not as important or as smart as I think I am.

    I don’t take offense at that initial reaction, but I would simply point out that I’m just trying to mediate Lampe. And Lampe is a “somebody” in the field of early Christianity. Nothing in his methodology is acidic to Christianity and Lampe attempts to be as judicious and measured as possible in his analysis (if you think otherwise you need to demonstrate that. Having read his work, I can tell you this is only a statement that someone who is not familiar with Lampe’s work or methodology could claim). There is a reason that scholars of early Christianity describe this book as a “classic.” It’s not canonical but it moves studies of Roman Christianity forward substantially.

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  311. OLTS WEB BOT 9000:

    RCs interpretinvent. NoCtC is Romebot2000 network (again and again and again). Superiority of infallibilitypapalism? I fully admit that I presuppose that if there is such a thing as divine revelation and articles of faith, they are not just plausible opinion, but rather infalliblethe popes opinion, nor are they natural knowledge like mathematics, but rather something that cannot be grasped by the intellect alone and must be revealed and thus accepted on the basis of someone claiming divinepapal authority. Feel free to disagreeagree. Christ did not ask “how plausible do you find my interpretation of the OT and the history of Israel?” but rather, “Who do you say that I am?” Authority is essential. Hence claims to it are essential.

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