Rod & Carl v. Brad (let charity leak)

Rod Dreher is just getting around to Carl Trueman’s review of Brad Gregory’s Unintended Reformation, a book featured here in a series of posts. The quotations are juicy in a no rocks, peaty, neat sort of way. Both authors observe the singular defect in Roman Catholic apologists — the denial of glaring realities out of commitment to theory or logic or sense of having found it.

First Carl:

The problem here is that the context for the Reformation – the failure of the papal system to reform itself, a failure in itself lethal to notions of papal power and authority – seems to have been forgotten in all of the recent aggressive attacks on scriptural perspicuity. These are all empirical facts and they are all routinely excused, dismissed or simply ignored by Roman Catholic writers. Perspicuity was not the original problem; it was intended as the answer. One can believe it to be an incorrect, incoherent, inadequate answer; but then one must come up with something better – not simply act as if shouting the original problem louder will make everything all right. Such an approach to history and theology is what I call the Emerald City protocol: when defending the great and powerful Oz, one must simply pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

Rod adds:

Trueman points out that it’s simply not true that Catholicism today offers a unified doctrinal front in the face of Protestant disarray. That really is true, and something that Protestants who despair of the messes in their own churches don’t see when they idealize Rome. As Trueman points out, the Roman Catholic Church is enormous, and contains within it believers — even priests and theologians — who believe and teach things completely opposed to each other, and even to authoritative Catholic teaching. I have spoken to Catholics in Catholic educational institutions who are afraid to voice public support for Roman Catholic teaching on homosexuality for fear of being punished by the Roman Catholic authorities who run those institutions. The institution of the papacy has done little or nothing to arrest this. Maybe there’s not much it can do. The point is, though, that having a Catechism and having a Magisterium presided over by a Pope is no guarantee that your church won’t fall into de facto disarray. Roman Catholicism on the ground in the United States is effectively a Mainline Protestant church.

That is not an argument against Catholic ecclesiology, strictly speaking. But it’s something that Catholics who defend it against Protestantism must account for. And it’s fair to ask why it is that having such a strong hierarchical and doctrinal system has produced at least two generations of American Catholics who don’t know their faith, and who are no different from non-Evangelical Protestants, or non-believers.

Back to Carl for one more shot:

Dr. Gregory sets out to prove that Protestantism is the source of all, or at least many, of the modern world’s ills; but what he actually does is demonstrate in painstaking and compelling detail that medieval Catholicism and the Papacy with which it was inextricably bound up were ultimately inadequate to the task which they set – which they claimed! – for themselves. Reformation Protestantism, if I can use the singular, was one response to this failure, as conciliarism had been a hundred years before. One can dispute the adequacy of such responses; but only by an act of historical denial can one dispute the fact that it was the Papacy which failed.

Thanks to the death of medieval Christendom and to the havoc caused by the Reformation and beyond, Dr Gregory is today free to believe (or not) that Protestantism is an utter failure. Thanks to the printing press, he is also free to express this in a public form. Thanks to the modern world which grew as a response to the failure of Roman Catholicism, he is also free to choose his own solution to the problems of modernity without fear of rack or rope. Yet, having said all that, I for one find it strange indeed that someone would choose as the solution that which was actually the problem in the first place.

When you think about it, denying the mess of history is odd for folks who say Protestants are docetic in their ecclesiology (as in we deny its visibility or physicality). As much as we may spiritualize communion, Protestants have no trouble admitting the errors of our churches. Where we draw the line is with our nations.

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532 thoughts on “Rod & Carl v. Brad (let charity leak)

  1. Mark Greengrass’ recent “Christendom Destroyed” amply documents the failure of the Medieval Church to maintain its privileged position in the face of the numerous centrifugal forces that gave rise to the crazy quilt of perpetually warring European nation states. Scotus (Gregory’s culprit), Occam, and nominalism don’t rate a reference.

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  2. Nothing written above contradicts anything Bryan has ever claimed and leaves his arguments untouched.

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  3. From a commenter at Dreher’s blog:

    The Reformation is when we began to get things right. It is as simple as that. The Reformation led directly to the work of Sir Isaac Newton and as Jacob Bronowski put it so accurately, by the time he was through it no longer mattered what any Pope thought about anything. And it still doesn’t.

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  4. So an Eastern Orthodox Christian, Protestant Christian, and Roman Catholic Christian walk into a bar..

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  5. D. Hart,

    In addition to Trueman’s firm rebuttal of Gregory’s narrative, I would highly recommend this rollicking review written by Columbia’s Mark Lilla. It is probably one most brilliantly acerbic reviews I’ve read. Even a bit Mencken-esque, I dare say.

    Here’s a taste of Lilla, in the midst of skewering Gregory’s incessant bemoaning of Western Civ’s destruction, as seen in our present age of Wal-Mart and transsexuals:

    This picture of our present will be familiar to anyone who reads the American theocons, left-leaning Radical Orthodoxy figures such as John Milbank, and occasionally Charles Taylor. Whether you find it plausible will probably depend on the kind of day you’re having: it expresses a mood, not an analysis. But unless you do accept it, very little in Gregory’s book will make sense to you, since it is essentially a five-hundred-page connect-the-dots puzzle that begins with the way we supposedly live now and works back to the Big Bang of the Protestant Reformation. Its method is an inverted Whiggism—a Whiggism for depressives.

    I highly recommend the rest. Lilla expertly calls out the Roman metanarrative, and does so with the gloves off.

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  6. Seth, I had forgotten that brilliant review. My favorite line, directed at MacIntyre, the most influential of the RC declinists, is “After Virtue is catnip for grumpy souls.” Though most people on the left won’t acknowledge him, Richard Weaver should not be forgotten (though I like to think he meant well.

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  7. I think Evangelical discontent is definitely understandable, and my observation of those friends and acquaintances who have broken with their Evangelical moorings whether to Rome, Constantinople, Canterbury, Wittenburg, or Geneva, it is those who have gone to Rome that feel the need to play historical gymnastics in their apologetics. I don’t see this among cradle Catholics, who don’t seem to be bothered by the tensions, or even blatant historical contradictions of their communion. I don’t experience this from even the most staunch EO apologists.

    I think it all goes back to what sean has emphasized again and again – Rome is about the Mass, and this is the only truly unifying feature of Roman Catholicism. Roman apologists who want to argue for an internally consistent Rome that corresponds to historical facts are selling a bill of goods. Whenever Catholic apologists, especially the CtC crowd starts going ad fontes by trying to prove the merits of Rome from historical (or theological) sources, their Protestant slip starts showing.

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  8. Trueman’s isn’t as much a review as a counterattack, the well-worn laundry list of Catholicism’s warts. He gives little clue of what Gregory’s book is actually about, that the Reformation spawned not just theological anarchy and schism, but the rise of modernity and its attendant abolition of the transcendent.

    Thus, the Reformation has not so much undermined the possibility of a Christian consensus organized around the proper authority of the Catholic Church as it has ushered in a pallid and existentially unsatisfying secularism. Modernity, in its naturalistic myopia and “hyperpluralistic” array of governmentally protected competing and incommensurable claims, has simply failed to provide socially cohesive and engaging ways to ask and answer the Life Questions.

    From a better, more principled rebuttal

    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2012/06/the-reformation-wrongly-blamed

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  9. I love that phrase “the abolition of the transcendent.”

    Good article, Tom.

    “One can, and indeed one should, argue about theological truths. But it is how we Christians argue with one another that may well determine the future of Christianity. “

    I think there is a lot of truth in what Radner says here.

    Thanks for the link, Tom.

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  10. Thanks for the link, Seth.
    Couple of highlights:

    But the deeper you delve into this book, the more you begin to feel that you are watching a shadow-puppet play on the wall of some Vatican cave. . .
    Hieronymus Bosch must have been high. . .
    And that’s how we got from Wittenberg to Wal-Mart. . .
    At this point a narcotic haze descends on the book. . .

    Yeah, it might be a hatchet job, but if Gregory’s tome is anything like the Called to Confusion dialectic, he deserves it. It’s not that contra the Troll, we’re obsessed with romanism, but why let some good laughs go to waste. Of course the academic bufoons and baboons are offended, but they don’t expect much from the hoi polloi anyway, other than ignorant implicit faith, so why disappoint them?

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  11. Jed, yes and no about the Mass. I was surprised to hear a couple of the participants in the Notre Dame conference raise questions about the Mass and liturgy as means of providing unity to a polarized church. For one fellow (a bishop or priest) the liturgy had become too refined and remote from real life concerns. For the woman on the panel, the pain of seeing only men at the altar was becoming too much to bear.

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  12. vd, t, this was not Trueman’s argument:

    The fact that it is, in its larger structures, a traditional Catholic historical evaluation hardly undermines it. Protestants have their own, more positive version: The Reformation gave us back our consciences, granted us freedom, unleashed reason, and so on. Furthermore, everyone will agree with Gregory that new religious and political identities took hold in Europe after the breakup of Western Christendom, identities that marked a profound reorientation of cultural consciousness.

    That view of the Reformation is actually yours whenever you try to go from Beza to Locke to Jefferson. When will you understand that some Protestants care about Jesus and what he did, and want to get rid of all the clutter that Rome puts in front of Jesus.

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  13. As much as we may spiritualize communion, Protestants have no trouble admitting the errors of our churches. Where we draw the line is with our nations.

    Are you saying that prots have a hard time admitting national faults? Is that really true post-colonialism? I realize that evangelicalism in the US tends to be tied up with patriotism in sometimes unhealthy ways, but do you think going overboard on nationalism is generally a protestant weakness? Or am I just misreading you entirely?

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  14. sdb, I was trying to be a tad humorous and admit that Protestants have their issues. And I am serious that outside the bounds of 2k, Protestants take their nations more seriously than their churches. Christian nationalism or civil religion is a serious error. But lots of nostalgia for Israel, holy land, and divine right monarchs.

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  15. I see… that’s what I get for posting before my morning coffee. I agree that nationalism/civil religion is a major problem, I’ve just never thought of it as a distinctly protestant one…are the Irish, Spaniards, and Russians less prone to nationalism than say the Dutch, English, and Germans?

    One of my gripes with the kind of historical analysis done by Gregory (and others involved in pushing various forms of western declinism) is that they make what seems to me to be the same mistake made by the folks who wanted to attribute all that is grand and wonderful to the reformation. You take whatever you like about today (or dislike) and you look at a chain of events preceding where we are. Then tell a story going forward about how (for example) the protestant reformation was a causal agent leading us linearly to our global hegemony (fractious state abolishing the transcendent…whatever).

    The problem I see is that these stories tend to ignore pretty compelling counter examples. The reformation “caused” secularism…in France and Russia? As we’ve gotten more Catholic in the US, have we grown less secular? Industrial success and wealth can be attributed to the protestant work ethic…in Japan and Singapore? Maybe the sexual revolution unfolding today has a lot less to do with nominalism than the invention of the antibiotics and birth control pills. Perhaps the fracturing of denominations into dozens of competing sects has less to do with ecclesiastical theories and a lot more to do with increased free time, access to information, religious freedom and tolerance, and that american entrepreneurial spirit. This could explain why Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism have developed so many novel forms in the US after remaining relatively stable in other countries.

    Maybe economics, politics, and technology don’t explain everything either, but it seems to me that emphasizing the history of ideas at the expense of these other factors is a mistake too. But I’m no historian, so perhaps this is an obvious point and folks like Gregory are more careful about this sort of thing than I am giving them credit for.

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  16. I wonder what brought Gregory back into the foci of the blogosophere. DGH and C.Trueman provided their thoughts years ago when his book came out. I guess it shows Trueman stands the test of time, you gotta hand it to the one who Mortifies Spin with his First Things presence and the diddy at the beginning of his podcast (to say nothing of his and Pruitt’s abuse of poor Mrs. Aimee Byrd, who has a new book (you go girl!)) the guy does make the rounds, and I dont say that just because we root for the same team (read fellow OPCers). Its not like I’m a fan of the Orthodox Presbyterian who runs THIS illustrious blog..(wink).

    There I go
    Who’s next.

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  17. SDB, great point.

    DGH received acclaim for his contribution precisely because of the balance and level of scholarship he brought (so said the WSJ, and I agree). Not easy to do, it shows a scholars breadth of knowledge when he/she can treat the other side with charity as DGH does in his published works.

    But when in the combox, man, do his gloves come off 😮

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  18. Notre Dame=College RC. At the end of the day, if you’re practicing, you have the Mass and if you’re really devout you have Mary and the Rosary. These are the ties that bind.

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  19. sdb, nationalism may not be a Protestant problem exclusively. But it is a Protestant problem.

    What you say about Gregory being the inverse of the glorifiers of the Reformation is exactly right. The old fashioned RC historiography is anti-Whig. And the papacy fits the bill. While the modern West celebrates the Reformation, Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment and French Revotion, the papacy stuck in its heels and resisted and condemned them all.

    Then came Vat 2.

    Doh!

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  20. AB, the continued interest in Gregory’s book may well be because so many of the chattering classes consider pluralism to be an awful development. Just today, thanks to a Real Clear Religion link, I read the following from a PCA writer:

    What has the possibility to unite us is the recognition that there is a greater enemy on the horizon. The issue that dwarfs our doctrinal squabbles and our persistent concern of how to treat issues of sexuality and gender is the issue of pluralism. Nothing comes close to that issue in being a challenge to our church’s future. The social stigma that is already attached to us for claiming that “Jesus is the only way” will be magnified many times for our children in a society increasingly willing to identify minority opinions as “bigotry” and “hate speech.” Pluralism will threaten not simply our orthodoxy, but the willingness of many to remain in this church.

    http://byfaithonline.com/the-state-of-the-pca/

    BTW, in addition to the other threads devoted to Gregory’s book, DGH noted the Lilla review in a thread of its own.

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  21. Sean, no Jesus? Huh? At the recent funeral Mass there was an ascending Jesus doll smack up front and center.

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  22. AdD,

    Thanks,

    I’ve had Dr. Gregory’s book on my mind since almost the day it came out and getting the callers’ feedback several years ago was interesting, contrasted with DGH’s reviews here at OLTS. I remember looking around amazon in 2012 and it said that book was coming out, so I listened to it using my kindle to read it to me while I drove to work. Never did I think we would still be discussing it here in 2015. Grace and peace.

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  23. The Caller response was of course a huge Amen, but even they couldn’t shy away from a few parting shots for good measure:

    I have only two complaints:

    The first is that while most of Gregory’s writing throughout the book is exceptional, I must warn the reader that at times he gets wordy and repetitive. At those times, I exhort the reader to trudge on: the book is more than worth it.

    The second is that, and perhaps this is only because the last book I read before reading this one was by Marshall McLuhan, the role of new technology isn’t given any consideration. Gregory does note in his conclusion that one could analyze how other areas of life, including new forms of communication, were affected by the Reformation and its ensuing hyperpluralism. But Gregory seems to be saying that one could analyze how communication was changed by the Reformation rather than how the new forms of communication – namely, the printing press – affected or helped precipitate the Reformation, which to me seems to be an oversight, and might add further explanatory power to his assessment that the Reformation was inspired by widespread immorality in the medieval Church.

    I also must note, and this is not a criticism but a heads-up to potential readers, that due to its attempt to pull together a great breadth of content, many theological, philosophical, and historical concepts and terms are assumed or given little explanation. While I encourage anyone to give the book a shot, those unstudied in those subjects will most likely find themselves lost or spending a good amount of time looking things up.

    Gregory’s masterpiece is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand why the world is the way it is and has the potential of becoming a landmark book of our times. In other words, if you decide to take a pass, and it later becomes big, remember that I told you so.

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  24. AB, you might like the work I cited earlier in the thread, Christendom Destroyed. I have the Kindle version, not sure about audio.

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  25. PS this trick is how i get any text on my phone (website, kindle, anything) to read to me while i drive. It’s great, and I get through a lot of stuff my busy life as dad, deacon, and daily data churcher doesn’t afford me. but (all about) i digress

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  26. D. G. Hart
    Posted May 15, 2015 at 6:45 am | Permalink
    vd, t, this was not Trueman’s argument:

    “The fact that it is, in its larger structures, a traditional Catholic historical evaluation hardly undermines it. Protestants have their own, more positive version: The Reformation gave us back our consciences, granted us freedom, unleashed reason, and so on. Furthermore, everyone will agree with Gregory that new religious and political identities took hold in Europe after the breakup of Western Christendom, identities that marked a profound reorientation of cultural consciousness.”

    That view of the Reformation is actually yours whenever you try to go from Beza to Locke to Jefferson. When will you understand that some Protestants care about Jesus and what he did, and want to get rid of all the clutter that Rome puts in front of Jesus.

    I said it was a rebuttal, and a principled one. But Trueman skipped over Gregory’s actual argument and instead used the occasion to attack the Catholic Church, specifically the papacy.

    Not a rebuttal. The Protestantism that can only justify itself by attacking Rome is worthless. Gregory did a better job of justifying Protestantism than Trueman did.

    Yes, I understand your Jesus-talk, although these incessant attacks on Catholicism show none. It’s not love of Jesus, it’s theological rabies. In fact, that was Ephraim Radner’s trumping argument

    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2012/06/the-reformation-wrongly-blamed

    that how Christianity as a whole deals with its theological differences is what’s most important, via the love of Christ, which is not in evidence here.

    It’s really worth a read.

    Further, I would back Gregory insofar as Protestantism lacks the intellectual resources to fight this creeping materialist anti-transcendent modernity–which is why Thomism and natural law are getting a closer look. “Because Christ said so” may have worked when Protestantism was in charge of America [and to a lesser degree, the Western World], but is now dumbfounded in the face of the onslaught of modern secular “progress.”

    As for the infidel Jefferson, I don’t care much; Locke is a more Christian thinker than he’s credited for; as for Beza and liberty, whatever you know you ain’t tellin’, for obvious reasons.

    .

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  27. Tom – that how Christianity as a whole deals with its theological differences is what’s most important, via the love of Christ, which is not in evidence here.

    Erik – I don’t see you loving Darryl.

    Love Darryl.

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  28. Tom – Further, I would back Gregory insofar as Protestantism lacks the intellectual resources to fight this creeping materialist anti-transcendent modernity–which is why Thomism and natural law are getting a closer look. “Because Christ said so” may have worked when Protestantism was in charge of America [and to a lesser degree, the Western World], but is now dumbfounded in the face of the onslaught of modern secular “progress.”

    Erik – Someone who doesn’t care what Jesus said is going to care what Thomas Aquinas said?

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  29. vd, t, keep swinging but watch out for those rakes: “Trueman skipped over Gregory’s actual argument and instead used the occasion to attack the Catholic Church, specifically the papacy.”

    Trueman’s point, and you should understand this the good historian that you are, is that Gregory (like many RC apologists) fudges the historical record. BG leaves out the very crisis of the papacy in the 14th and 15th centuries that produced any number of calls for reformation.

    What’s up with that?

    Thomism and natural law getting a closer look? Not among most Roman Catholics. Haven’t you heard? Vat 2 went resourcement and said the church needed a broader philosophical tradition than Thomism.

    Double what’s up with that?

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  30. Erik Charter
    Posted May 15, 2015 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Love Darryl.

    Like his cats most assuredly do. Yo.

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  31. I’ve never met anyone who changed their mind on something as a result of a natural law argument. I’ve seen people become persuaded that Christianity is true or return to church and then use natural law arguments to buttress their newfound convictions, but I’ve never seen NLAs change anyone’s mind.

    You know what will change people’s mind about the sexual revolution? The end of antibiotics. When STIs become death sentences and the age of “routine surgery” comes to an end, you will see society re-exert its will to restrain sexual expression. Technology has made consequence-free sex a reality for a lot of people and NLAs aren’t going to change their will (as evidenced by the fact that RCs, where NLAs have some traction, are to the left of prots on matters of sexual ethics).

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  32. Darryl,

    “At the end of the day, if you’re practicing, you have the Mass and if you’re really devout you have Mary and the Rosary.
    – sean, show me Jesus.”

    Mass – http://www.catholictv.com/mass-prayers-responses along with the gospel and other readings and of course the Eucharist

    Looks like Jesus is shown there.

    Rosary – prayers involved:
    Sign of the Cross, Apostles’ Creed, Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, Fatima prayer, Hail Holy Queen.

    Looks like Jesus is shown

    Mysteries to meditate upon:
    The Joyful Mysteries
    The Annunciation: The Archangel Gabriel “announces” to Mary that she shall conceive the Son of God.
    The Visitation: Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John the Baptist.
    The Nativity: Jesus is born.
    The Presentation: Mary and Joseph “present” Jesus in the Temple where they meet Simeon.
    The Finding in the Temple: After losing Him, Mary and Joseph find young Jesus teaching the Rabbis in the Temple.
    The Luminous Mysteries (The Mysteries of Light)
    The Baptism in the Jordan: The voice of the Father declares Jesus the beloved Son.
    The Wedding at Cana: Christ changes water into wine, his first public miracle.
    The Proclamation of the Kingdom: Jesus calls to conversion (cf. Mk 1:15) and forgives the sins of all who draw near to him.
    The Transfiguration: The glory of the Godhead shines forth from the face of Christ.
    The Institution of the Eucharist: Jesus offers the first Mass at the Last Supper with his apostles, establishing the sacramental foundation for all Christian living.
    The Sorrowful Mysteries
    The Agony in the Garden: Jesus sweats water and blood while praying the night before his passion.
    The Scourging at the Pillar: Pilate has Jesus whipped.
    The Crowning with Thorns: Roman soldiers crown Jesus’ head with thorns.
    The Carrying of the Cross: Jesus meets His mother and falls three times on the way up Calvary.
    The Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross and dies before His mother and His apostle John.
    The Glorious Mysteries
    The Resurrection: Jesus rises from the dead.
    The Ascension: Jesus leaves the Apostles and bodily “ascends” to heaven.
    The Descent of the Holy Spirit: The Apostles receive the Holy Spirit in tongues of fire in the upper room with Mary.
    The Assumption: Mary is taken bodily–assumed–into heaven by God at the end of her life here on earth.
    The Coronation: Mary is crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth.

    Looks like Jesus is shown

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  33. vd, c, that’s a violation of the second commandment (your first).

    You walked right into it.

    But how shall they hear without the Stations of the Cross a preacher?

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  34. D. G. Hart
    Posted May 15, 2015 at 3:19 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, keep swinging but watch out for those rakes: “Trueman skipped over Gregory’s actual argument and instead used the occasion to attack the Catholic Church, specifically the papacy.”

    Trueman’s point, and you should understand this the good historian that you are, is that Gregory (like many RC apologists) fudges the historical record. BG leaves out the very crisis of the papacy in the 14th and 15th centuries that produced any number of calls for reformation.

    What’s up with that?

    Thomism and natural law getting a closer look? Not among most Roman Catholics. Haven’t you heard? Vat 2 went resourcement and said the church needed a broader philosophical tradition than Thomism.

    Double what’s up with that?

    a) Proving my point that Trueman simply counterattacked and ignored Gregory’s actual thesis about the Reformation

    b) I was referring to Protestantism’s new look at natural law, even your own VanDrunen. But you knew that. You can’t fool all of the people all of the time, although I’m starting to think your henchmen are the exception.

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  35. Erik,

    No he preached Christ and the gospel. Just as it is preached in the prayers and readings (that include Paul’s epistles) of every Mass which was my point.
    The Rosary isn’t a required devotion – I was just pointing out that it’s silly to say someone who practices it isn’t being “shown Jesus”.

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  36. Cletus van Damme
    Posted May 15, 2015 at 4:34 pm | Permalink
    Erik,

    No he preached Christ and the gospel. Just as it is preached in the prayers and readings (that include Paul’s epistles) of every Mass which was my point.
    The Rosary isn’t a required devotion – I was just pointing out that it’s silly to say someone who practices it isn’t being “shown Jesus”.

    It’s hard to get the truth past “the anti-Catholic firewall.”

    Looks like Jesus is shown

    Mysteries to meditate upon:
    The Joyful Mysteries
    The Annunciation: The Archangel Gabriel “announces” to Mary that she shall conceive the Son of God.
    The Visitation: Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John the Baptist.
    The Nativity: Jesus is born.
    The Presentation: Mary and Joseph “present” Jesus in the Temple where they meet Simeon.
    The Finding in the Temple: After losing Him, Mary and Joseph find young Jesus teaching the Rabbis in the Temple.
    The Luminous Mysteries (The Mysteries of Light)
    The Baptism in the Jordan: The voice of the Father declares Jesus the beloved Son.
    The Wedding at Cana: Christ changes water into wine, his first public miracle.
    The Proclamation of the Kingdom: Jesus calls to conversion (cf. Mk 1:15) and forgives the sins of all who draw near to him.
    The Transfiguration: The glory of the Godhead shines forth from the face of Christ.
    The Institution of the Eucharist: Jesus offers the first Mass at the Last Supper with his apostles, establishing the sacramental foundation for all Christian living.
    The Sorrowful Mysteries
    The Agony in the Garden: Jesus sweats water and blood while praying the night before his passion.
    The Scourging at the Pillar: Pilate has Jesus whipped.
    The Crowning with Thorns: Roman soldiers crown Jesus’ head with thorns.
    The Carrying of the Cross: Jesus meets His mother and falls three times on the way up Calvary.
    The Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross and dies before His mother and His apostle John.
    The Glorious Mysteries
    The Resurrection: Jesus rises from the dead.
    The Ascension: Jesus leaves the Apostles and bodily “ascends” to heaven.
    The Descent of the Holy Spirit: The Apostles receive the Holy Spirit in tongues of fire in the upper room with Mary.
    The Assumption: Mary is taken bodily–assumed–into heaven by God at the end of her life here on earth.
    The Coronation: Mary is crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth.

    Looks like Jesus is shown

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  37. SDB,

    I’ve never met anyone who changed their mind on something as a result of a natural law argument. I’ve seen people become persuaded that Christianity is true or return to church and then use natural law arguments to buttress their newfound convictions, but I’ve never seen NLAs change anyone’s mind.

    The older I get, the more I’m convinced that while natural law arguments have some value, they are really insufficient unless you already accept the basic moral framework that natural law seeks to establish. This is what we should expect. People will take natural revelation and twist it into natural law arguments that support what Scripture condemns. People can and do twist natural revelation to make all sorts of deviancy natural and therefore God-approved.

    This is why we need Scripture.

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  38. “It’s hard to get the truth past “the anti-Catholic firewall”

    You mean the cradle and/or practicing anti-catholic firewall. I understand that you’re unfamiliar.

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  39. Tom/Clete,

    With all this “showing of Jesus”, why is the biblical literacy of most of the Catholics I’ve known up there with that illiterate guy who hangs out in the library coffee shop setting up drug deals?

    He’s not a reader.

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  40. Robert
    Posted May 15, 2015 at 4:49 pm | Permalink
    SDB,

    I’ve never met anyone who changed their mind on something as a result of a natural law argument. I’ve seen people become persuaded that Christianity is true or return to church and then use natural law arguments to buttress their newfound convictions, but I’ve never seen NLAs change anyone’s mind.

    The older I get, the more I’m convinced that while natural law arguments have some value, they are really insufficient unless you already accept the basic moral framework that natural law seeks to establish. This is what we should expect. People will take natural revelation and twist it into natural law arguments that support what Scripture condemns. People can and do twist natural revelation to make all sorts of deviancy natural and therefore God-approved.

    This is why we need Scripture.

    Not sure that’s fair to valid natural law arguments. If natural law is true, “twisted” arguments claiming to be natural law can be revealed as such.

    As for “needing” scripture, the prevailing argument around this blog is that the Bible doesn’t address all the contingencies of life on this mortal coil, so this is the sort of confusion you guys need to settle among yourselves.

    Like

  41. D. G. Hart
    Posted May 15, 2015 at 5:04 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, sure, if Mel Gibson can believe it (or even Edgardo Mortara — see what I did there?).

    I always see through what you’re doing. So do a lot of others.

    Erik Charter
    Posted May 15, 2015 at 4:55 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    Calling me a henchman isn’t loving me.

    Tough love. After a brief reformation, you’re returning to your wicked ways, butting into conversations with ad hom drivebys on Darryl’s interlocutors. Sorry to see this.

    And with that, I’ve had my say on Trueman’s “review”/attack. If there’s anything actually on topic said, perhaps I’ll have a little more. The Ephraim Radner [an Anglican, I believe] piece is very good, something there for everyone.

    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2012/06/the-reformation-wrongly-blamed

    Like

  42. One can, and indeed one should, argue about theological truths. But it is how we Christians argue with one another that may well determine the future of Christianity.

    Tom, an article from 3 years ago with one tweet and two facebook likes isn’t moving the hearts and minds of presbyterians. That said, thanks as always for your contributions. You’re a good sport, we like you, you and your dirty words. Downright adorable, yo.

    Like

  43. The Cookies – She’s Alright
    squelchers
    squelchers
    Subscribe100
    Add to Share More 107 views
    1 0
    Uploaded on Oct 16, 2009
    The Cookies – She’s Alright – 1981

    Seriously, before I was born. Love it. Here’s saturn from my garage last night. May you and I both get the 7 people who read our comment exchange here to click on our youtube link, and thus show up in the statistics.

    Andy. Out.

    Like

  44. Tom – Not sure that’s fair to valid natural law arguments. If natural law is true, “twisted” arguments claiming to be natural law can be revealed as such.

    Erik – Read the newspaper.

    If Bob & Steve want to marry and have kids, who are you to tell them who they can and can’t love?

    It’s not “natural”, but it works for them.

    Prove it’s wrong without using “Thus Saith the Lord”.

    Like

  45. Heeeeyyyy, man! Why you gotta be so down on protestantism, Tom?

    Here,inhale, I got plenty of cheetos in the pantry, yo.

    And exhale.

    Like

  46. AB
    Posted May 15, 2015 at 5:45 pm | Permalink
    The Cookies – She’s Alright
    squelchers

    Uploaded on Oct 16, 2009
    The Cookies – She’s Alright – 1981

    Seriously, before I was born

    Works out perfectly. We were ahead of our time. 😉

    For your listening and pleasure, one-stop Cookies shopping. The audio-only tracks are actually the best, done at my studio.

    http://squelchers.net/Cookies/Cookies.htm
    ________________________________

    Erik Charter
    Posted May 15, 2015 at 5:58 pm | Permalink
    Tom – Not sure that’s fair to valid natural law arguments. If natural law is true, “twisted” arguments claiming to be natural law can be revealed as such.

    Erik – Read the newspaper.

    If Bob & Steve want to marry and have kids, who are you to tell them who they can and can’t love?

    It’s not “natural”, but it works for them.

    Prove it’s wrong without using “Thus Saith the Lord”.

    No, dear boy. That’s not what natural law means–what you’re doing is called the “naturalistic” fallacy. You really have to look something up for a change instead of firing off comments at the speed of light. Hint: Try the Witherspoon Institute on this, named after the famous Presbyterian. Learn something, then you can participate at an adult level.

    Good to see you’re limiting yourself to only 3 comments in a row per hour. That’s the Old Life spirit!

    Like

  47. Good to see you’re limiting yourself to only 3 comments in a row per hour. That’s the Old Life spirit!

    Comments open, and only we the reformed protestants get to play moderator of this blog. You, an RC apologist trying to moderate here is like Tim Whatley telling jokes to Jerry, except you haven’t coverted to our ways. At least, not yet..:twisted:

    Like

  48. Tom,

    Unless you have a Cliffs Notes version neither I nor the culture is going to buy Natural Law for what ails them.

    And I far in the 3 comments rule’s general direction.

    Like

  49. Tom,

    Your mistake is that you presume people to be philosophical. They’re not.

    Some people can still understand, “live like this and you’re going to hell”.

    That’s the biblical message: Repent! And turn to Christ.

    It will never be politically palatible.

    Like

  50. Hi Erik,

    You should check out Ed Feser on natural law. He has a blog and he has written a couple of books too, in fact his book, The Last Superstition pretty much saved my faith. http://edwardfeser.com/books.html

    Bryan Cross, has written an article that may help. Here’s an excerpt:

    “Natural law is not based on or derived from divine revelation, and is therefore not based on religion. Our grasp of the natural law can be improved or diminished by the communities in which our moral understanding takes shape. And religion can illumine or distort our perception of the natural law in certain respects and to varying degrees. But even so, we know natural law through the rational capacity we have as human persons. So seeking to conform civil law to the natural law is not necessarily imposing religious beliefs on anyone, even if a truth belonging to the natural law is also believed and taught within one or more religions.”

    Here’s the entire article. http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2012/05/two-questions-about-marriage-and-the-civil-law/

    Hey Tom,

    I saw that your video, heard your southern accent and then read that you are originally from Florida. I’m from the Fort Walton/Destin area( gulf coast) and have been in California since 1985.
    If you are ever in Orange County I would really like to meet you and your wife. I live way out in San Bernardino County but was received into the Church through a parish( Anglican Ordinariate approved by B16) that is for now, located in Irvine.
    Oh and if Mrs. Webfoot in in S. Cal, I’d really love to meet her too!

    Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

    P.S. Greg, you have a very pleasant voice and a respectful and kind demeanor, I’m pleased to know you:)

    Like

  51. AB
    Posted May 15, 2015 at 9:55 pm | Permalink
    “Good to see you’re limiting yourself to only 3 comments in a row per hour. That’s the Old Life spirit!”

    Comments open, and only we the reformed protestants get to play moderator of this blog.

    Apparently your “blog discipline” isn’t working. All is as it was before. Double, since you’ve enlisted as one of Darryl’s droogs as well.

    It’s nice to see that Erik has undone his schism and come crawling back to Old Life, though. A rarity among Protestants.

    To return to the topic [someone has to], natural law, Erik, you claimed to be reading VanDrunen’s book on natural law, but if you were, you clearly didn’t understand a word of it if you repeated the “naturalistic fallacy.” That’s a shame. Perhaps your mind has got too 😈 here at Old Life.

    Your inserting yourself into this discussion has completely disrupted it. I was responding to Robert.

    Moderate away, Andrew. Rabies theologorum remains the rule among you folks, not the exception.

    Like

  52. “Unless you have a Cliffs Notes version neither I nor the culture is going to buy Natural Law for what ails them”

    Or as the cool kids say tl;dr. NLA arguments have no power. NL, our conscience, etc… may accuse but it has no power to reform. Power over sin comes from holy spirit and the battle is not over until we enter that everlasting rest. Sin is restrained by consequences though. Natural law arguments won’t usher in victorian sexual norms, but the collapse of antibiotics might. We aren’t fatter today because we are more gluttonous and don’t get NLAs, we are fat because food is cheaper than dirt. Food was a third of income in the 30’s and a quarter of that now. Go back to 1930’s prices and you’d see people buying into norms about gluttony. Same for other virtues. Create immediate incentives and folks fall mostly in line.

    Like

  53. Tom,

    Now you’re definitely not loving me.

    I read Van Drunen the longer (and shorter) but have never been overly impressed with Natural Law arguments.

    The West is too rich. People can buy their way out of the short term consequences of violating natural law. Long term consequences are another matter, but absent God awakening someone to their sin, people are not long-term thinkers.

    Like

  54. Tom,

    Even so, Lord Dumb-Ass (Eastern Orthodox), Professor Polet (Roman Catholic), and I (vinegary Orthodox Presbyterian) butchered and joked our way through one of Michigan’s better courses yesterday before enjoying our own version of the nineteenth hole at one of the state’s better breweries.

    http://www.frontporchrepublic.com/2013/08/water-cooler-republic/

    Just imagine you, me dgh, and Erik having beer after 18 holes, the nick names we would give each other. Try to have fun, things arent so so bad.

    g’night.

    Like

  55. sdb
    Posted May 15, 2015 at 11:57 pm | Permalink
    “Unless you have a Cliffs Notes version neither I nor the culture is going to buy Natural Law for what ails them”

    Or as the cool kids say tl;dr. NLA arguments have no power. NL, our conscience, etc… may accuse but it has no power to reform. Power over sin comes from holy spirit and the battle is not over until we enter that everlasting rest. Sin is restrained by consequences though. Natural law arguments won’t usher in victorian sexual norms, but the collapse of antibiotics might. We aren’t fatter today because we are more gluttonous and don’t get NLAs, we are fat because food is cheaper than dirt. Food was a third of income in the 30’s and a quarter of that now. Go back to 1930’s prices and you’d see people buying into norms about gluttony. Same for other virtues. Create immediate incentives and folks fall mostly in line.

    Actually, natural law claims to be good for man, and subject to proof in the real world, for the natural law does not claim to be a “special revelation” from God like scripture, but a “general revelation” of His will in the fabric of nature [esp human nature] itself.

    Re sex, the strongest argument isn’t necessarily that homosexuality will kill you [although it’s clinically contraindicated]

    http://catholiceducation.org/en/marriage-and-family/sexuality/the-health-risks-of-gay-sex.html

    but that a properly ordered sex life is the best life for human beings–and certainly their children!

    As for pooh-poohing natural law’s effect on the “culture,” forget the general “culture” for the moment— the Bible couldn’t even stop the Episcopalians and the PCUSA from going gay!

    Like

  56. TVD:
    It’s hard to get the truth past “the anti-Catholic firewall.”>>>>>

    It is hard, but not impossible. A person has to want to accept the possibility that what he or she has been taught about Catholicism may be wrong.

    Like

  57. Robert:
    I’ve never met anyone who changed their mind on something as a result of a natural law argument. >>>>>

    Robert, you might be interested in reading this article.
    ——————————————————–
    “Reason led me to acknowledge natural law, which led me to begin rejecting some of my former ways of thinking and acting. Reason alone was enough to lead me to change the direction of my life. Then quite amazingly, natural law and reason working together led me to recognize and acknowledge God’s existence. And once I acknowledged God’s existence, again there was only one reasonable thing to do: I asked Jesus Christ to take the throne of my life, and I began to reject the emptiness of my self-centered ways.”

    http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2015/03/14510/?utm_source=The+Witherspoon+Institute&utm_campaign=b6f6ee6726-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_15ce6af37b-b6f6ee6726-84156489

    Like

  58. Tom,

    Scratch that. I perused your link and don’t think I can pull off that roll play.

    Let me concede that Natural Law arguments have SOME weight. I think the problem is that a lot of people who hear them are either (1) young, and think they are the exception to the rule, or (2) old and hardened to sin.

    How many boomers do you know who have been living according to lies for going on 70 years now? Natural Law is going to wake them up?

    Like

  59. Tom/Mrs.,

    Why do both of you assume we reject Catholicism because we misunderstand it?

    Should we assume that you reject Reformed theology because you misunderstand it?

    What do we misunderstand?

    Like

  60. Susan,

    webfoot is a Washingtonian:

    About me

    Gender Female
    Industry Religion
    Occupation Missionary
    Location Kingston, Washington, United States
    Introduction I travel a lot and meet many people. My desire is to see people, especially children, come to faith in Christ. I love music and have played woodwinds since I was 10 years old. Oboe is my main instrument. I love the oboe.
    Interests travel, missions, music, the oboe, and more
    Favorite Movies Little Miss Sunshine, Raising Arizona, All the Disney princess movies, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Shrek 1 and 2, The Knight’s Tale, Mrs. Brown, Monster’s Inc., Esperando la carroza, All Cantinflas movies, Robin Hood – Disney cartoon version
    Favorite Music classical, Rescue – an a cappella group, Funky – a Christian Reggaeton group, The Cookies-a fine, yet virtually unknown rock group, Mahalia Jackson, Bach’s b minor Mass
    Favorite Books The Bible, Pilgrim’s Progress, Augustine’s Confessions, On marriage and Family Life – St. John Chrysostom, I Heard the Owl Call my Name, Eagle Feather, The Trumpet of the Swan, Waiting for Snow in Havana, Charity and Its Fruits, Faith in a Hard Ground-G.E.M. Anscombe, Summa Theologica- Saint Thomas Aquinas

    I didn’t see Greg on this thread, but I heard from him in the last 8 hours. He continues to do quite well for himself, good guy, not so terrible as his handle suggests.

    Who’s next?

    Like

  61. Better hope Greg doesn’t see that “Little Miss Sunshine” reference. That film had Steve Carrell playing a suicidal Proust scholar with a porn habit.

    Like

  62. Leave it to Peter Berger to express a more nuanced version of how modernity got us to where we are than the tiresome MacIntyre/Gregory declinist theory:

    Secularization theory was not completely mistaken. It does fit some parts of the world better than others (notably western Europe), and some groups (such as an international intelligentsia; I call it the “faculty club culture”). Most of the world today is as religious ever, with powerful religious explosions (such as Evangelical Protestantism and resurgent Islam—respectively through huge numbers of conversions and through very high fertility). Looking at the controversial theory from my present vantage point, I would say that its/our basic mistake was what logicians call the fallacy of pars pro toto—taking the part for the whole. Modernity inevitably generates a powerful secular discourse, without which essential parts of a contemporary society could not exist, first of all those based on science and technology. One cannot fly an airplane on principles of Islamic law nor use the Talmud as a handbook for heart surgery. I have argued that a theory of pluralism should replace the untenable secularization theory. But there are two pluralisms that must be managed politically: Religious pluralisms as commonly understood—several religions co-existing within the same society, and the pluralism of several religious discourses co-existing with the powerful secular discourse. I think that these insights lead to a very useful new paradigm for modernity and religion.

    http://www.the-american-interest.com/2015/05/13/desecularization/

    Of course, no paradigm can replace the CtC paradigm, but that aside…

    Like

  63. A person has to want to accept the possibility that what he or she has been taught about Catholicism may be wrong.

    Ummm, since we were born and raised in the Roman communion, does that mean what Rome taught us about Rome was wrong?
    Basically she didn’t teach much, at least in high school compared to grade school – thank you Vat. 2 – and so we learned more once we got out from rude prots and cats that went on in higher Roman education.
    Double hmm.

    Wait a minute. Does that mean Rome can be both right and wrong? At the same time even?
    The chameleon complexio oppositorum can sidestep/duck the scriptural admonition to let your yea, be nay yea and nominally forsake the forked tongue syndrome?

    Rude Interested minds well accustomed to the Jesuit deceitfulness dialectic want to know.

    (Likewise when the official Roman Catechism says the mass is a propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead, where do we get off saying the rude prots have been rudely beating a straw horse since the rude Reformation?)

    cheers

    Like

  64. AB
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 9:37 am | Permalink
    Susan,

    webfoot is a Washingtonian:

    About me

    Gender Female
    Industry Religion
    Occupation Missionary
    Location Kingston, Washington, United States
    Introduction I travel a lot and meet many people. My desire is to see people, especially children, come to faith in Christ. I love music and have played woodwinds since I was 10 years old. Oboe is my main instrument. I love the oboe.
    Interests travel, missions, music, the oboe, and more
    Favorite Movies Little Miss Sunshine, Raising Arizona, All the Disney princess movies, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Shrek 1 and 2, The Knight’s Tale, Mrs. Brown, Monster’s Inc., Esperando la carroza, All Cantinflas movies, Robin Hood – Disney cartoon version
    Favorite Music classical, Rescue – an a cappella group, Funky – a Christian Reggaeton group, The Cookies-a fine, yet virtually unknown rock group, Mahalia Jackson, Bach’s b minor Mass
    Favorite Books The Bible, Pilgrim’s Progress, Augustine’s Confessions, On marriage and Family Life – St. John Chrysostom, I Heard the Owl Call my Name, Eagle Feather, The Trumpet of the Swan, Waiting for Snow in Havana, Charity and Its Fruits, Faith in a Hard Ground-G.E.M. Anscombe, Summa Theologica- Saint Thomas Aquinas

    I didn’t see Greg on this thread, but I heard from him in the last 8 hours. He continues to do quite well for himself, good guy, not so terrible as his handle suggests.

    Who’s next?

    D. G. Hart
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 9:55 am | Permalink
    ab, favorite movies, “All the Disney princess movies.”

    That explains it.

    That’s not only disgraceful and cheap, both of you, it’s downright creepy stalking her like that. How antinomian.

    Like

  65. Nuh uh. Googling someone to find out who they are?

    She lays serious acusations against what I believe.

    Prudence dictates we do a little research.

    She chose to publish her likes online. There”s no shame on her part, and you dont get to moderate. Step off.

    Like

  66. Bob S
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 5:57 pm | Permalink
    “A person has to want to accept the possibility that what he or she has been taught about Catholicism may be wrong.”

    Ummm, since we were born and raised in the Roman communion, does that mean what Rome taught us about Rome was wrong?

    Basically she didn’t teach much, at least in high school compared to grade school – thank you Vat. 2 – and so we learned more once we got out from rude prots and cats that went on in higher Roman education.

    That’s actually a fair criticism: Peter Kreeft observes the crisis of catechesis in his

    http://chnetwork.org/2011/10/hauled-aboard-the-ark-conversion-story-of-peter-kreeft/

    But I find, incredibly, that 9 out of 10 Catholics do not know this, the absolutely central, core, essential dogma of Christianity. Protestants are right: most Catholics do in fact believe a whole other religion. Well over 90% of students I have polled who have had 12 years of catechism classes, even Catholic high schools, say they expect to go to Heaven because they tried, or did their best, or had compassionate feelings to everyone, or were sincere.

    They hardly ever mention Jesus. Asked why they hope to be saved, they mention almost anything except the Savior. Who taught them? Who wrote their textbooks? These teachers have stolen from our precious children the most valuable thing in the world, the “pearl of great price;’ their faith. Jesus had some rather terrifying warnings about such things something about millstones.

    But this does not excuse ex-Catholics for embracing the tenets of Protestantism without learning the tenets of their own faith!

    Neither does it excuse Protestant “theological societies”–especially run by accredited scholars–for misrepresenting Catholic doctrine.

    One crucial issue remained to be resolved: Justification by Faith, the central bone of contention of the Reformation. Luther was obviously right here: the doctrine is dearly taught in Romans and Galatians. If the Catholic Church teaches “another gospel” of salvation by works, then it teaches fundamental heresy. I found here however another case of misunderstanding. I read Aquinas’ Summa on grace, and the decrees of the Council of Trent, and found them just as strong on grace as Luther or Calvin. I was overjoyed to find that the Catholic Church had read the Bible too! At Heaven’s gate our entrance ticket, according to Scripture and Church dogma, is not our good works or our sincerity, but our faith, which glues us to Jesus. He saves us; we do not save ourselves.

    Catholicism taught that we are saved by faith, by grace, by Christ, however, few Catholics understood this. And Protestants taught that true faith necessarily produces good works. The fundamental issue of the Reformation is an argument between the roots and the blossoms on the same flower.

    Instead of condemning the ignorance of others, I hope some of you will be open to Dr. Kreeft [an accredited scholar, a philosophy prof at Boston College] making you question the possibility of your own ignorance.

    If you’re spreading lies about Catholic doctrine, you owe it to the truth [and to God] to stop.

    Like

  67. TVD, even BC agrees:

    Bryan Cross
    November 18, 2014
    Beth, (re: #18)

    He means what Stanley Hauerwas means when Hauerwas writes:

    I soon began to teach courses in Catholic moral theology because I assumed that was something even a Protestant should do given that most of our students were Catholic. That they were Catholic meant, of course, that they knew very little about Catholicism and even less about the Catholic moral tradition.

    It is a playful dig at the uncatechized condition of most Catholics, in contrast to that of devout Protestants.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan
    source

    Like

  68. Tom is the latest Old Life contributor who is shocked — SHOCKED! That posting a bunch of personal information about oneself online doesn’t entail complete privacy.

    Never mind that we have no clue who Mrs. Web foot is.

    I never have any clue exactly who Tom is grandstanding for.

    Like

  69. Tom,

    So you’re ticked that we misrepresent Catholic doctrine that so few lifelong Catholics understand?

    Maybe this is a “you” problem as opposed to an “us” problem?

    Maybe shift your focus to educating your brothers and sisters.

    Like

  70. Tom,

    In your own words, what exactly is the Roman Catholic doctrine of justification? How does a Roman Catholic know with certainty that they are going to heaven when they die?

    Like

  71. AB, not sure why you didn’t just ask me directly, but I do hope you are okay. Don’t mean to make serious accusations against what you believe. Not my intention at all. Like Machen said, if we do not agree, maybe we can at least be friends. I already think you’re my brother. That is a truth claim. You can get there by sola scriptura and the Nicene Creed, or by Scripture and the traditions of the Church, Vatican II, the Nicene Creed, our common humanity, or however. It’s not just sentimentalism with no truth to it.

    Bob S., I really don’t know how to respond to what you say. Tom gave you an excellent response. He has a better handle on what your specific concerns are. I was addressing what I said about not knowing what Catholics believe to the Protestants. There are fire walls that keep an understanding of Catholicism out. My opinion, and kind of how I explain my own barriers to understanding that needed to be moved out of the way. You have a whole different set of concerns than I ever did.

    Peter Kreeft is excellent.

    Thanks, Tom, for your comment. My husband is the best man I know, and what he does he doesn’t do because it was a good career move. We belong to a faith mission, and God does take care of us. It’s not a salaried position. That’s our tradition.

    Funny, but my husband just walked in the door and handed me a package from Amazon. Know what it was, guys? Peter J. Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli’s book Handbook of Catholic Apologetics. When I told my husband what it was, he smiled and said , “That should be interesting!”

    Susan, as you now know, I live in Kingston, WA. 🙂 Sometimes we get down your way. It would be nice to meet up.

    Like

  72. Mrs.,

    How is your husband going to continue as a Prot missionary if you’re a Catholic? Whoever still gives him money should be living in a van down by the river with me.

    Like

  73. Mrs. Webfoot,

    I return the sentiment. My self assessment is my spiritual condition is quite healthy, despite the effects of abiding sin.

    Be well.

    Like

  74. Erik Charter
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 8:33 pm | Permalink
    Mrs.,

    How is your husband going to continue as a Prot missionary if you’re a Catholic? Whoever still gives him money should be living in a van down by the river with me.

    Man, don’t you ever shut up? These are real people’s real lives you’re jerking with.

    As for your questions to me, responding to your 80 comments a minute only helps you bury comments people have worked half an hour on. After you’re done apologizing for your thoughtlessness to her, thank Mrs. Webfoot for her kind recommendation of

    http://www.amazon.com/Handbook-Christian-Apologetics-Peter-Kreeft/dp/0830817743

    Any further “questions” to her or me without reading that means you’re not sincerely seeking answers, you’re just jerking around.

    Like

  75. Any further “questions” to her or me without reading that means you’re not sincerely seeking answers, you’re just jerking around.

    Oh, ok. So we must pay the entrance fee when you are here, as RC apologists, seeking answers about the reformed. Makes sense, thanks for clearing it up.

    You want to learn about us, we’re free. Kind of like the grace of God.

    Love Erik Charter, yo.

    Like

  76. If the two of you and your disruptive and infantile comments disappeared tomorrow, nobody could even tell, except that the blog would be readable. You are the reason Darryl put in a comments limit, not me or Susan or anyone else.

    I’ve put up with you jerking on me with a certain amusement, but when you start jerking nice Catholic ladies who are just sincerely sharing their faith, you’re crossing a Christian line bigtime. You love your religion more than you love Jesus, and that’s not how it supposed to be.

    Like

  77. TVD,

    That’s sweet, but if I were Susan or Webfoot, I would feel patronized by that comment.

    Just sayin’

    Like

  78. Tom, I hope that people read Hauled Aboard the Ark – Conversion Story of Peter Kreeft. It is beautiful. I identified strongly with his story, especially in several parts. For me it wasn’t St. John of the Cross – whose writings are read by many Protestants, even. For me it was St. Thomas Aquinas. No, I do not understand much of it. No matter. Kreeft’s book Practical Theology: Spiritual Direction from St. Thomas Aquinas is helping Aquinas help me understand. He has a way of making very complex ideas accessible to the non-philosopher.

    http://chnetwork.org/2011/10/hauled-aboard-the-ark-conversion-story-of-peter-kreeft/

    ——————————————————————-
    Then one summer, on the beach at Ocean Grove, New Jersey, I read St. John of the Cross. I did not understand much of it, but I knew, with undeniable certainty, that here was reality, something as massive and positive as a mountain range. I felt as if I had just come out of a small, comfortable cave, in which I had lived all my life, and found that there was an unsuspected world outside of incredible dimensions. Above all, the dimensions were those of holiness, goodness, purity of heart, obedience to the first and greatest commandment, willing God’s will, the one absolute I had discovered, at the age of eight. I was very far from saintly, but that did not prevent me from fascinated admiration from afar; the valley dweller appreciates the height of the mountain more than the dweller on the foothills. I read other Catholic saints and mystics, and discovered the same reality there, however different the style (even St. Thérèse “The Little Flower”!) I felt sure it was the same reality I had learned to love from my parents and teachers, only a far deeper version of it. It did not seem alien and other. It was not another religion but the adult version of my own.

    Like

  79. Tom, and as for loving our religion more than Jesus, have some Machen:

    So the error of the Judaizers is a very modern error indeed, as well as a very ancient error. It is found in the modern Church wherever men seek salvation by “surrender” instead of by faith, or by their own character instead of by the imputed righteousness of Christ, or by “making Christ master in the life” instead of by trusting in His redeeming blood. In particular, it is found wherever men say that “the real essentials” of Christianity are love, justice, mercy and other virtues, as contrasted with the great doctrines of God’s Word. These are all just different ways of exalting the merit of man over against the Cross of Christ; they are all of them attacks upon the very heart and core of the Christian religion.

    -J Gresham Machen

    source:
    http://www.dordt.edu/publications/pro_rege/crcpi/Pro_Rege_Sept_2011.pdf

    Like

  80. FWIW, Mrs. Web, I appreciated reading your blog. It gave a human face to our conversation, and I think I understand better the importance of Marian doctrine over in our Mark conversation.

    Like

  81. I affirm Mary is the mother of God.

    I shared with Tom my notes on this which I read before finding theology blogs.

    Old stuff. Same Thing. Different day.

    Webfoot is a pleasure to have around, I hope she (read: you webfoot) feel welcome.

    Like

  82. Tom,

    If I’m infantile will you at least love me like a baby?

    A Prot missionary with a Papist spouse actually gives you a really good opening to give Prots crap.

    Like

  83. Thx for that, Mrs. Webfoot. Kreeft:

    I did not understand much of it, but I knew, with undeniable certainty, that here was reality, something as massive and positive as a mountain range. I felt as if I had just come out of a small, comfortable cave, in which I had lived all my life, and found that there was an unsuspected world outside of incredible dimensions. Above all, the dimensions were those of holiness, goodness, purity of heart, obedience to the first and greatest commandment, willing God’s will, the one absolute I had discovered, at the age of eight.

    There is the sacramental, the transcendent, the mysterious experience of God–the peace that surpasseth understanding–that goes far beyond debating theological errors. The difference between the temple and a mere synagogue, where the Pharisees would debate the fine points of The Law to the point of absurdity.

    Theologizing is good, it quiets the restless mind. But as Sproul writes

    http://verticallivingministries.com/2012/05/15/r-c-sproul-on-thomas-aquinas-was-he-the-most-brilliant-of-all-the-theologians/

    One anecdote about St. Thomas is virtually beyond dispute. Toward the end of his life he had a powerful mystical experience that dramatically affected his work. Again we turn to Maritain for his account of it:

    Having returned to Italy after Easter of 1272, Friar Thomas took part in the General Chapter of the Order, at Florence, and then he went to Naples again to continue his teaching there. One day, December 6, 1273, while he was celebrating Mass in the chapel of Saint Nicholas, a great change came over him. From that moment he ceased writing and dictating. Was the Summa then, with its thirty-eight treatises, its three thousand articles and ten thousand objections, to remain unfinished? As Reginald was complaining about it, his master said to him, “I can do no more.” But the other was insistent. “Reginald, I can do no more; such things have been revealed to me that all that I have written seems to me as so much straw. Now, I await the end of my life after that of my works.”

    After this experience Thomas Aquinas wrote no more.

    When one’s theologizing–straw–becomes more important than God, something is out of whack indeed. Theology is a way to God, but it’s just a means, not an end.

    Like

  84. Tom,

    If it takes you & Mrs. Web foot 30 minutes to make a comment, let me give you some advice — think faster.

    Me & Andy can have 5 complete conversations in that amount of time.

    Like

  85. Erik, that’s Mr. Andy Dufresne, the accountant we accountants all aspire to be like.

    When one’s theologizing–straw–becomes more important than God, something is out of whack indeed. Theology is a way to God, but it’s just a means, not an end.

    Of course, Tom. Jesus himselfs says, He is the way, the truth, and the life.

    No one comes to the Father except through Him.

    Yo.

    Like

  86. Tom,

    For all we know “Mrs. Webfoot” is a 47-year-old dude named Butch writing from the Hoboken public library. We owe nothing to someone hiding behind a fake name. Who knows who or what “she” is or if her story is true.

    Like

  87. Erik Charter
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 10:27 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    For all we know “Mrs. Webfoot” is a 47-year-old dude named Butch writing from the Hoboken public library. We owe nothing to someone hiding behind a fake name. Who knows who or what “she” is or if her story is true.

    Erik’s right, see, we can all come clean with our name and who we are and our web presence.

    Erik, TVD is the chivalrous protector of Susan and Webfoot. A very interesting turn in the life of OLTS, indeed.

    Good times, noodle salad.

    Like

  88. Tom,

    The same guy who celebrates mystics gives the OPC crap over Terry Gray?

    It’s been a week now, how are you coming on reconciling Pius XII with your critique of the OPC?

    Like

  89. “Reginald, I can do no more; such things have been revealed to me that all that I have written seems to me as so much straw. Now, I await the end of my life after that of my works.”

    Yep, so saith Barth

    In heaven,” Barth said, “we shall know all that is necessary, and we shall not have to write on paper or read more. . . . Indeed, I shall be able to dump even the Church Dogmatics, over the growth of which the angels have long been amazed, on some heavenly floor as a pile of waste paper.”

    Like

  90. Mrs. W. “Then one summer, on the beach at Ocean Grove, New Jersey, I read St. John of the Cross. I did not understand much of it, but I knew, with undeniable certainty, that here was reality, something as massive and positive as a mountain range.”

    Jesus?

    Please keep your bizarre mysticism to the Roman Catholic blogs you frequent. Pretty please.

    Like

  91. D. G. Hart
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 10:42 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, “disgraceful and cheap.”

    Hey now.

    I saw what you did there, Hank. 😉

    It was disgraceful and cheap, though, Darryl. You should really call off your dogs and at least do your dirty work yourself.

    D. G. Hart
    Posted May 16, 2015 at 10:48 pm | Permalink
    Mrs. W. “Then one summer, on the beach at Ocean Grove, New Jersey, I read St. John of the Cross. I did not understand much of it, but I knew, with undeniable certainty, that here was reality, something as massive and positive as a mountain range.”

    Jesus?

    Please keep your bizarre mysticism to the Roman Catholic blogs you frequent. Pretty please.

    See, it’s much better when you do your own dirty work. Has that genuine Old Life superciliousness that your epigones lack.

    Although Mrs. Webfoot was actually talking about Thomas Aquinas, but it looks like you didn’t read that far.

    Like

  92. TVD, your presence here more than makes up for the epigones’ lack of charm.

    Never leave us, brah. You and that horrendous avatar.

    Like

  93. Oh, D.G. Hart, you know the beach thing was part of Kreeft’s testimony. I haven’t read St. John of the Cross. I started reading the Summa and had a similar experience. It had to do with the first way, the first of the 5 proofs of the existence of God.

    It was a kind of mystical experience, but not unlike the kind of reaction I have when I look at a great work of art or listen to great music like Bach’s Mass in b Minor. Nothing bizarre about that, or Kreeft being amazed at St. John of the Cross.

    If you want to know the Jesus part of Kreeft’s testimony you will have to read it for yourself. It’s there.
    ————–

    AB, you know, I am not offended by a friend who calls me a nice Catholic lady. That is a high compliment indeed, and a high standard that I hope to live up to. Nice. Catholic. Lady. Nothing wrong with any of that. Nothing wrong with sharing my faith, either.

    ..and now I will wish you a good night, AB, and God bless. You too, D.G. Hart. Oh, and Erik, how did you know my real identity? 🙂

    Jeff, thank you for reading my blog! It makes for good reading if you are having trouble sleeping.
    🙂 Thank you for your kind comment, and as far as the rest of you guys go, you did put a smile on my face and I thank you for that.

    God bless us, every one.

    Like

  94. @Susan
    I’ve read Feser, but I have never found his work particularly convincing. I hear his books are better than this blogposts, natch, and I’m glad you’ve found them helpful.

    @Tom
    I understand the claims of Natural Theorists, I just don’t see much evidence of them convincing those not already convinced (anecdotal contradictions not withstanding). Dreher, Millman, and Jacobs had an interesting go around on this topic a while back based on David Bentley Hart’s essay. Here’s Dreher,

    Put plainly, as long as the will remains unconverted, and unwilling to consider conversion, reason is mostly powerless to change things, except insofar as the claims of reason are consonant with their metaphysical dream — that intuitive feeling about the immanent nature of reality. In our time and place, this metaphysical dream is no longer truly Christian, though it is obviously informed by Christian ideals and sentiments. This will fade, and is fading. This is the problem religious and social conservatives face, or, as it were, fail to face.

    Multiple links seem to trigger the spam filters, so here is a link to Millman’s final comment. You can trace the discuss backwards from there if you are so inclined.

    As far as mainliners go. I don’t understand what they have to do with anything. Neither embrace Sola Scriptura. I’ll state my anthropological question again… if natural law arguments have such force, why are those formed within the Thomistic tradition (RCs) more liberal on matters sex ethics in the US? Concomitantly, why do countries with larger fractions of RCs have broader support for liberal sexual ethics?

    Like

  95. sdb
    Posted May 17, 2015 at 5:44 am | Permalink
    @Susan
    but I have never found his work particularly convincing…

    @Tom
    I just don’t see much evidence of them convincing those…

    As far as mainliners go. I don’t understand what…

    Your personal opinions and observations are noted. They are not debatable, or even discussable. They are patently true, for you.

    I’ll state my anthropological question again…

    This is a “theological society” blog, not an anthropology blog, although it’s hard to tell when it comes to its attacks on the Catholic Church. Which is a category error. As opposed to Presbyterianism

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/may/16/church-of-scotland-votes-accept-ministers-same-sex-civil-partnerships

    Catholic doctrine is not decided by vote.

    Like

  96. vd, t, “Catholic doctrine is not decided by vote.”

    The Nicene Creed was an encyclical?

    Trent was a meeting of one?

    Papal infallibility at Vatican 1 was a memo?

    Wherever you go, RC doctrine comes from council. Councils vote.

    Why the hostility to voting? I thought you and David Barton were on the same page.

    Like

  97. Tom,

    Until you can show us an imprimatur your personal opinions and observations are noted. They are not debatable, or even discussable. They are patently true, for you.

    Like

  98. Webfoot, okay, noted.

    Erik, as DGH showed, TVD has posted on this blog as early as 2010, (all about) I am only since September 2012 on the thread with the most comments of all time, and no one beats Zrim or Brad for their tenure. This blog is much better with you around, don’t listen to Tom complaints about yours or my presence (I know you don’t). There’s only one moderator here, and we know what baseball team everyone roots for the moment they show up.

    Play ball, and go warriors.

    Who’s next?

    Like

  99. Tom,

    I sense you have no great affinity for Called to Communion, but as you become “more Catholic” your apologetic grows to resemble theirs more and more.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_authority

    “With all this theological confusion there just MUST be an infallible interpreter to sort it all out. Certainly Jesus would have given us that.”

    You start from your needs and reason to the Catholic Church vs. examining the Motives of Credibility and finding them to be unquestionably true. I have yet to see you wrestle with the MOC at all.

    Tell us about how the church has had “wondrous sanctity” throughout history for starters.

    Like

  100. Andy – don’t listen to Tom complaints about yours or my presence (I know you don’t)

    Erik – In fact, those complaints motivate me.

    One of the things that brought me back is the realization that people who lie, people who betray, and people who annoy weren’t leaving the world just because I left Old Life. They continue to follow you around. Might as well take them on here.

    Like

  101. motivates me too, erik.

    your hiatus should show everyone likes you, even TVD and his presence at your blog. as for liars on the internet, my new favorite meme:

    Like

  102. Erik, awkward alert. Maybe you are now to snark what the newly converted junkie is to personal holiness. But instead of wearing your new found piety on your sleeve and pointing out the snarky planks in other’s eyes (while still snarking, ahem), you could just carry on quietly in your new found ways?

    Like

  103. D. G. Hart
    Posted May 17, 2015 at 7:33 am | Permalink
    vd, t, “Catholic doctrine is not decided by vote.”

    The Nicene Creed was an encyclical?

    Trent was a meeting of one?

    Papal infallibility at Vatican 1 was a memo?

    Wherever you go, RC doctrine comes from council. Councils vote.

    Actually, you’re correct for a change, although unlike your religion, Catholicism isn’t a representative democracy, and as such, completely subject to the fads of the culture, where the unimaginable is a reality 10 years later.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-17/church-of-scotland-allows-gay-clergy-in-civil-partnerships/6475548

    There goes your “parent church.” Here today, gay tomorrow.

    Like

  104. One of the things that brought me back is the realization that people who lie, people who betray, and people who annoy weren’t leaving the world just because I left Old Life. They continue to follow you around. Might as well take them on here.

    No need to lie about it EC. You paid a thousand buckaroos, you need to get your money’s worth.

    If the two of you and your disruptive and infantile comments disappeared tomorrow, nobody could even tell, except that the blog would be readable. You are the reason Darryl put in a comments limit, not me or Susan or anyone else.

    Well, yeah that’s true, Tom. But your comments aren’t so penetrating many times either.
    (But hey, I’ll leave if you will. That would be one way to clean up all the combox froth and filth.)

    I’ve put up with you jerking on me with a certain amusement, but when you start jerking nice Catholic ladies who are just sincerely sharing their faith, you’re crossing a Christian line bigtime.

    Mrs. W is a kindly old soul who is over here patronizing and fronting for the deceiver and accuser of the saints. She may or may not know it, but that’s the beauty of Romanism. Ignorance is the mother of devotion. What else explains her turning a blind eye to what her own catechism says about the propitiatory sacrifice of the mass for the sins of the living and the dead?
    Or is it deceitfulness, instead of just being dense?

    You love your religion more than you love Jesus, and that’s not how it supposed to be.

    Stay finelytuned/ watch closely.

    Peter Kreeft observes the crisis of catechesis (hey if catechism worked for prots at the time of the Reformation, it ought to work for us too. Biblical truth? What’s that?) . . .

    One crucial issue remained to be resolved: Justification by Faith Alone, the central bone of contention of the Reformation along with Scripture Alone. Luther was obviously right here: the doctrine is clearly taught in Romans and Galatians. If the Roman Catholic Church teaches “another gospel” of salvation by works, then it teaches fundamental heresy. . . .
    Roman Catholicism taught that we are saved by faith, by grace, by Christ, however, few Catholics understood this. . .

    But Kreeft is too crafty for his own good.
    The Reformation for the nth time was all about the good news of salvation from sin by faith alone, in Christ alone, by grace alone, taught in Scripture alone to God’s glory alone.

    Alone. Not with the magisterium, tradition, the pope, Mary, the saints and the sinner’s good works all thrown into the dubious mix.

    Which means Roman Catholics “do in fact believe a whole other religion”; Romanism “teaches fundamental heresy”. So woo hoo, Kreeft is not a liar there.

    If you’re spreading lies about Roman Catholic doctrine, you owe it to the truth [and to God] to stop.

    Stop what? Connecting the dots? When the blind are leading the blind, somebody ends up in the ditch. Consider the replies to your diatribes and the other parrot judgement roman responses a towtruck.
    You’re welcome

    Like

  105. Bob,

    Join me in asking Tom to tell us what the Roman Catholic doctrine of justification is.

    It bores him, but it shouldn’t since he’s getting long in the tooth.

    Like

  106. Bob S
    Posted May 17, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    “If the two of you and your disruptive and infantile comments disappeared tomorrow, nobody could even tell, except that the blog would be readable. You are the reason Darryl put in a comments limit, not me or Susan or anyone else.”

    Well, yeah that’s true, Tom.

    Let’s leave it there. I have no problem with you.

    Whatever you have to discuss with Mrs. Webfoot, do it with her.

    Like

  107. TVD,

    If you are going to defend not only her character, but Roman doctrine, which essentially you do, then you are going to get tarred as a papist parrot/tool/fellow traveler, like it or not.

    While at first you may have wanted to come off as evenhanded, the record is pretty clear that you are a papist partisan like the rest of us.

    Be honest and don’t lie like the rest of the romanists, wilfully or otherwise please.

    cheers

    Like

  108. PS

    Whatever you have to discuss with Mrs. Webfoot, do it with her.

    But that’s just it. She doesn’t want to discuss the central idolatry of the Roman church, the propitiatory sacrifice of the mass, which justifies all those who faithfully attend and partake of the mystery.

    True, her church only officially admits the second, not its G&N consequences, i.e the first and third members of the thesis.
    But then this is prot site, not a rug for romanists to wipe their feet; a prot combox, not a soapbox for papists to spout error unopposed.

    Like

  109. Bob S., I’m just not in tune with your conscience, which is what you use to judge truth. Since I don’t share your conscience, I do not share your analysis of the Catholic Church. I don’t even share your analysis of the Reformed tradition.

    Even the OPC modified the WCF to take out the parts about the pope being the antichrist.

    I could ask you to provide Scriptural support for the phrase “justification by faith alone”, but then all our heads would explode. Hint: The phrase is in Scripture, but not where you want it to be.

    Like

  110. @Tom Help me out. Is this a theological insight?

    As for pooh-poohing natural law’s effect on the “culture,” forget the general “culture” for the moment— the Bible couldn’t even stop the Episcopalians and the PCUSA from going gay!

    Perhaps if I reframe my questions you’ll take a break from refereeing someone else’s blog and condescend to answer my questions?

    1) who would think that sects that reject sola scriptura would be swayed by biblical arguments against ssm? Your posting about apostate sects that have now gone gay is a red herring. What I am I missing? Is it that the ecclesiology of the RC church keeps this kind of thing from happening? I’m not so sure that is true across all dioceses and certainly isn’t true on the down low in the seminaries. Modernity, wealth, multiculturalism, consumerism, entrepreneurialism is a challenge for all traditional forms of religion.

    2) If natural law has such great persuasive power, why doesn’t it get much traction among RCs? This isn’t a rhetorical question. I’m genuinely curious why you think NLT is persuasive given the actual beliefs of RC adherents. Several threads back, I asked Ken the same question. He first accused me of making up the stats about US RCs being to the left of the general US population on matters of sexual ethics and RC adherence correlating positively with support for liberal sexual ethics world wide. Then he changed his tune and suggested that it was because “red necks” in the south are all homophobic and not very catholic. You have advocated NLT here quite a bit. I’m really interested in why you find it a promising way forward.

    I do not believe that the bible has much to say about political or cultural issues and it is mostly useless to appeal to the bible to convince an unbeliever to reform his behavior. In other words sola scriptura is not an alternative to natural law. Is it that you think there is no alternative to natural law, so for all its faults it is the best we can do?

    Like

  111. Erik Charter
    Posted May 17, 2015 at 5:48 pm | Permalink
    The over/under on that alliance was about 3 minutes…

    Lol.

    Like

  112. Chapter XI

    I could ask you to provide Scriptural support for the phrase “justification by faith alone”, but then all our heads would explode.

    Webfoot, easy. Chapter 11 comes with footnotes:

    Of Justification

    I. Those whom God effectually calls, He also freely justifies;[1] not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone; nor by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them,[2] they receiving and resting on Him and His righteousness by faith; which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God.[3]

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

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

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

    V. God does continue to forgive the sins of those that are justified;[14] and although they can never fall from the state of justification,[15] yet they may, by their sins, fall under God’s fatherly displeasure, and not have the light of His countenance restored unto them, until they humble themselves, confess their sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance.[16]

    VI. The justification of believers under the Old Testament was, in all these respects, one and the same with the justification of believers under the New Testament.[17]

    [1] ROM 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. ROM 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

    [2] ROM 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. 2CO 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. ROM 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference. 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. 27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. TIT 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. EPH 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace. JER 23:6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord Our Righteousness. 1CO 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. ROM 5:17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. 18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

    [3] ACT 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. GAL 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. PHI 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: ACT 13:38 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: 39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. EPH 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.

    [4] JOH 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: ROM 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. ROM 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    [5] JAM 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. GAL 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

    [6] ROM 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. 1TI 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. HEB 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. DAN 9:24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. 26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. ISA 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

    [7] ROM 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

    [8] 2CO 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. MAT 3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. EPH 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

    [9] ROM 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: EPH 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.

    [10] ROM 3:26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. EPH 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

    [11] GAL 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 1PE 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, ROM 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

    [12] GAL 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law. 1TI 2:6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. ROM 4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

    [13] COL 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight. GAL 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. TIT 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

    [14] MAT 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 1JO 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1JO 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

    [15] LUK 22:32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. JOH 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. HEB 10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

    [16] PSA 89:31 If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; 32 Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. 33 Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. PSA 51:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. 9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. 12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. PSA 32:5 I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. MAT 26:75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly. 1CO 11:30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. LUK 1:20 And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.

    [17] GAL 3:9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. 13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. ROM 4:22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead. HEB 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

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  113. sdb
    Posted May 17, 2015 at 8:11 pm | Permalink
    @Tom Help me out. Is this a theological insight?

    As for pooh-poohing natural law’s effect on the “culture,” forget the general “culture” for the moment— the Bible couldn’t even stop the Episcopalians and the PCUSA from going gay!

    Perhaps if I reframe my questions you’ll take a break from refereeing someone else’s blog and condescend to answer my questions?

    1) who would think that sects that reject sola scriptura would be swayed by biblical arguments against ssm? Your posting about apostate sects that have now gone gay is a red herring. What I am I missing? Is it that the ecclesiology of the RC church keeps this kind of thing from happening? I’m not so sure that is true across all dioceses and certainly isn’t true on the down low in the seminaries. Modernity, wealth, multiculturalism, consumerism, entrepreneurialism is a challenge for all traditional forms of religion.

    2) If natural law has such great persuasive power, why doesn’t it get much traction among RCs? This isn’t a rhetorical question. I’m genuinely curious why you think NLT is persuasive given the actual beliefs of RC adherents. Several threads back, I asked Ken the same question. He first accused me of making up the stats about US RCs being to the left of the general US population on matters of sexual ethics and RC adherence correlating positively with support for liberal sexual ethics world wide. Then he changed his tune and suggested that it was because “red necks” in the south are all homophobic and not very catholic. You have advocated NLT here quite a bit. I’m really interested in why you find it a promising way forward.

    I do not believe that the bible has much to say about political or cultural issues and it is mostly useless to appeal to the bible to convince an unbeliever to reform his behavior. In other words sola scriptura is not an alternative to natural law. Is it that you think there is no alternative to natural law, so for all its faults it is the best we can do?

    Actually you have the gay Protestant churches claiming same-sex marriage is compatible with “love” and “Jesus” and all, and that the Bible doesn’t really mean what it appears to say on the subject.

    This is the problem when scripture gets thrown open to “conscience.”

    As for the natural law, we might say that when an interpretation of scripture contravenes the natural law, perhaps the interpretation is wrong. Even Calvinists seem to admit there is a natural law.

    This seems interesting, Darryl.

    http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/30040560?uid=3739560&uid=2&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=21106440154981

    David VanDrunen, “The Use of Natural Law in early Calvinist Resistance Theory.” Heh heh.

    So before you saddle me with deflecting your humbuggery on natural law, why don’t y’all settle this among yourselves first, and then get back to me.

    As for you repeating Darryl’s favorite means of attack on the Catholic Church, polling the socio-sexual attitudes of American Catholics, I continue to reject the premise, for reasons given over and over: The people don’t promulgate doctrine, the magisterium does. This is why Catholicism remains intact, and “Protestantism”–even Presbyterianism–is splintered into almost uncountable factions.

    Look, I’m sorry Presbyterianism is going to hell in a handbasket, and may not even exist in another 100 or 200 years. In particular, I like Machen and the OPC’s “fundamentalist” attempt to hold the line against modernity and its moral nihilism. I don’t have to embrace your religion to want it to succeed. I’m a Manhattan Declaration type.

    Unfortunately, you sola scripturists can’t even use the Bible to hold you together, because the other side of that Reformation coin is “liberty of conscience,” so that means there isn’t just one Bible, there are millions.

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  114. vd, t, you keep claiming something that doesn’t make sense: “The people don’t promulgate doctrine, the magisterium does. This is why Catholicism remains intact, and “Protestantism”–even Presbyterianism–is splintered into almost uncountable factions.”

    On the one hand, if the bishops promulgate doctrine, have authority, have charism, why don’t the laity listen? Not sure if you go to church or not now. At one time you said you weren’t. So what is the sound of 5,000 bishops teaching? Could it be the results of the Pew Forum? I mean, if an Ivy League school turned out graduates who couldn’t get into graduate and professional schools, would you not say the university was pretty shabby about teaching? That something was out of whack?

    On the other hand, how many bishops actually teach? And if they believe what the magisterium has taught, why aren’t they doing more to address a real deficiency among their students?

    Or could it be that teaching just doesn’t matter? That would put many Roman Catholics in the position of indifferent to doctrine. Machen called them doctrinal indifferentists. Not good. That’s how the PCUSA and Church of Scotland got the way they did.

    So you can’t keep pointing to the deficiencies of Presbyterians when you won’t allow the same point for Rome. Presbyterian teaching hasn’t changed. Roman Catholic teaching hasn’t changed. Most church members in both communions are seriously deficient in Roman Catholic and Presbyterian teaching respectively.

    Asserting the superiority of Rome seems pointless if not downright perverse.

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  115. D. G. Hart
    Posted May 17, 2015 at 9:27 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, you keep claiming something that doesn’t make sense: “The people don’t promulgate doctrine, the magisterium does. This is why Catholicism remains intact, and “Protestantism”–even Presbyterianism–is splintered into almost uncountable factions.”

    On the one hand, if the bishops promulgate doctrine, have authority, have charism, why don’t the laity listen?

    Did they ever? That’s not the point.

    Not sure if you go to church or not now. At one time you said you weren’t. So what is the sound of 5,000 bishops teaching? Could it be the results of the Pew Forum? I mean, if an Ivy League school turned out graduates who couldn’t get into graduate and professional schools, would you not say the university was pretty shabby about teaching? That something was out of whack?

    Yes. I’m sorry you missed it, buried under dozens of your henchmen’s disruptions, but I stipulated the crisis of catechesis with SDB just the other day, re Peter Kreeft’s conversion story

    http://chnetwork.org/2011/10/hauled-aboard-the-ark-conversion-story-of-peter-kreeft/

    If the Catholic Church teaches “another gospel” of salvation by works, then it teaches fundamental heresy. I found here however another case of misunderstanding. I read Aquinas’ Summa on grace, and the decrees of the Council of Trent, and found them just as strong on grace as Luther or Calvin. I was overjoyed to find that the Catholic Church had read the Bible too!

    At Heaven’s gate our entrance ticket, according to Scripture and Church dogma, is not our good works or our sincerity, but our faith, which glues us to Jesus. He saves us; we do not save ourselves.

    But I find, incredibly, that 9 out of 10 Catholics do not know this, the absolutely central, core, essential dogma of Christianity. Protestants are right: most Catholics do in fact believe a whole other religion. Well over 90% of students I have polled who have had 12 years of catechism classes, even Catholic high schools, say they expect to go to Heaven because they tried, or did their best, or had compassionate feelings to everyone, or were sincere. They hardly ever mention Jesus. Asked why they hope to be saved, they mention almost anything except the Savior. Who taught them? Who wrote their textbooks? These teachers have stolen from our precious children the most valuable thing in the world, the “pearl of great price;’ their faith. Jesus had some rather terrifying warnings about such things something about millstones.

    So yes, you’re quite right. But that failure is irrelevant to the attempt to delegitimize Catholicism. That is the category error.

    On the other hand, how many bishops actually teach? And if they believe what the magisterium has taught, why aren’t they doing more to address a real deficiency among their students?

    Or could it be that teaching just doesn’t matter? That would put many Roman Catholics in the position of indifferent to doctrine. Machen called them doctrinal indifferentists. Not good. That’s how the PCUSA and Church of Scotland got the way they did.

    Agreed. The difference is that the “indifferentists” have taken over your parent Church of Scotland and the PCUSA, and now they are likely lost to error forever, beyond any hope of reformation.

    So you can’t keep pointing to the deficiencies of Presbyterians when you won’t allow the same point for Rome. Presbyterian teaching hasn’t changed. Roman Catholic teaching hasn’t changed. Most church members in both communions are seriously deficient in Roman Catholic and Presbyterian teaching respectively.

    Asserting the superiority of Rome seems pointless if not downright perverse.

    As for Rome’s “superiority,” it’s more that it meets its own truth claims per Nicene Creed, of being “one” church, and “catholic” [universal]. The Church–the Mass–is the same in Boston or Borneo. “Protestantism,” which represents the other half of Christianity, is “one” or “catholic” only by torturing those concepts beyond any reasonable definition. Even “Presbyterianism” would have trouble making its case to any disinterested observer.

    In any religion, church, sect or denomination, that the “faithful” are notoriously unfaithful is a fact of history and of human nature. That is a different category from truth claims. The Golden Calf didn’t make Yahweh a false God, or Moses a false prophet. If the Mormons or the JWs or Mars Hillers poll as more conforming to their sect’s theologies, does that make those theologies true?

    Of course not. Polls are useless here in your “theological society,” which is why I continue to object to that premise. According the polls, you’re not Presbyterianism–they are. [But I happen to agree that you are, which is why I waste my time on you and not them. ;-)]

    Thx for the substantive reply.

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  116. “Presbyterianism” would have trouble making its case to any disinterested observer.

    Wrong. DG Hart wrote the case to glowing reviews.

    Otherwise, good comment, TVD. You ar e sounding more like a henchman with every day. Keep up the good work

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  117. Found this Gem of an article just now for our RC interlocutors:

    A Primer on Vatican II

    Danny E. Olinger

    In the last major review article[1] written before his death in early 2009, former Missouri-Synod Lutheran minister turned Roman Catholic priest Richard John Neuhaus examined two books about the history and continuing meaning of the Second Vatican Council. The first was John O’Malley’s What Happened at Vatican II[2] and the second was Vatican II: Renewal Within Tradition, edited by Matthew Lamb and Matthew Levering.[3] The two books, according to Neuhaus, represent the main lines of the disagreement within Catholicism on the meaning and lasting impact of Vatican II. Both view Vatican II as a watershed event in confronting modern science, historical scholarship, and the world, but they differ on the significance. click to read more

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  118. Tom,

    You’ve asserted nothing more than that the RCC is a really big denomination (made possible by a 1000 year head start).

    Until you wrestle with the Motives of Credibility and prove them one by one you’ll never get beyond that.

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  119. Tom,

    You also continue to assert that Darryl judging Rome by its fruit is a category error.

    Was Jesus also making a category error when he instructed his followers to judge trees by their fruit?

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  120. How the article I linked to, ends:

    Peggy Noonan states it well when she comments regarding preaching in the 1980s, “The Catholic Church could not decide if its job was public policy or the redemption of souls so it failed at both, offering pilgrims hungry for sustenance tepid homilies on defense spending. The nation’s churches had nothing to say about sin.”[55]

    Whether Steinfels’s and Noonan’s observations remain true, Vatican II did not change Catholicism’s position that the church and the Bible are one. Church power remains magisterial and legislative, not ministerial and declarative. But, Vatican II has added to the problem by adopting historical critical methodology and discrediting the authority of the Word of God. And yet, Rome feels safe in following this path because it believes infallible teaching rests with the Church. The historical limitations and errors of the Bible should not be a concern because the final word belongs not to the Bible, but to the magisterium speaking through the church. Consequently, the imperative of Rome more than ever remains “you must obey us.” From the magisterium’s ruling there is no appeal, not even to the self-attesting Christ of Scripture.

    Some have argued that the triumph of liberalism in Roman Catholicism at Vatican II, particularly with worship in the vernacular, has released the Word of God in that Church. But, the questions remain, “What word was released?” and “Who remains authoritative in the church, God or man?”

    Those very issues should be of interest particularly to members of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) for both were at the forefront of the Presbyterian conflict. Part of the liberal theological agenda in Presbyterianism concerned a belief in the historical unreliability of the Bible. God did not work supernaturally in history. He did not reveal himself perfectly through human authors inspired by his Spirit. Rather, the Bible should be viewed as any other book, written by men and marked by human imperfections.

    J. Gresham Machen led those who believed otherwise, that the Bible was different from other books. The Bible was God-breathed and inerrant. Scripture was the direct verbal self-revelation of God, the ipsissima verba Dei, the very words of God. Prior to Vatican II, the Roman Catholic Church agreed with that assessment of the Bible. It did not afterwards.

    But where the PCUSA most directly resembled the teaching of Rome was in its declaration that Machen and others had to obey the declaration to cease in their support of the Independent Board of Presbyterian Foreign Missions. The question before Machen was whether to obey the voice of the church speaking through its general assembly or the voice of God speaking in the Bible. The PCUSA declared that its assembly was the official interpreter of the constitution and the Bible, and that members of the Presbyterian Church must obey its decisions fully. Machen appealed to the secondary standard of the PCUSA at that time, the Westminster Confession of Faith. Machen argued that the Bible itself is the final judge for doctrine and life (WCF 1.10), and that the declarations of assemblies and councils are only to be received when consistent with the Word of God (WCF 31.3).[56]

    This is why Edwin Rian in The Presbyterian Conflict argued that Protestantism was the issue at stake with Machen’s trial. He stated, “In this difference between the two parties lies the fundamental difference between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism.”[57] He explained, “Roman Catholicism believes in an infallible Bible, but it adds to this an infallible church as the final interpreter in doctrine and in life.”[58] Protestants, however, believe that the Bible is the supreme judge in faith and practice and all commands of councils must be tested by their adherence to Scripture. Consequently, Rian proclaimed, “The Protestant must obey the voice of God in the Bible rather than the voice of the church speaking through its councils.”[59]

    The demand upon Machen to submit to the General Assembly’s declaration to desist from participation in the Independent Board apart from the Word of God was a denial of the Protestant principle that all church power is ministerial (“Thus says the Lord”) and declarative. With his defrocking on charges that were based on a magisterial view of church power, Machen knew that the PCUSA had done more than tolerate theological liberalism in its bosom; it had also lost its Reformational heritage, its adherence to the principle of Sola Scriptura.

    Now, nearly seventy-five years later, those same issues are evident in modern day Catholicism. Rather, than bringing Rome closer to a biblically-based Christianity, Vatican II has moved it further away.

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  121. AB, thanks for the WCF chapters with their Scriptural proof texts. Just a few things for tonight.

    1. Here is the work I did based on the Williamson book. I didn’t make it through the whole book, but I did answer the questions through Chapter XI – 3-6. Then I joined the Catholic Church. Weird, huh? It was a good study. You may be interested. The last part I just copied the answers from the back of the book because I didn’t want to leave that part unfinished.

    http://westminsterconfessionoffaithstudy.blogspot.com/search/label/Westminster%20Confession%20of%20Faith%20Study

    2. I’m wondering why Matthew 12:36-37 was not included. Maybe it’s there and I didn’t see it. I did skim the passages and read a few, but I may have missed it. Here, Jesus says:
    Mt. 12:36-37
    I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.

    3. Then, I am wondering why Paul left out sanctification in this verse. It goes predestination, calling, justification, and glorification. What happened to sanctification?
    ROM 8:30
    Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

    4. How is the righteousness of the law fulfilled in us?
    Romans 8:4
    4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

    When I did the study, I used the WCF from 1646 with Scripture proofs. It worked, mostly. I liked the website that I got it from.

    Take care, AB, and thanks for the comment.

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  122. Mrs. Webfoot,

    I’ll take a look as I’m able. Williamson’s book is indeed the classic primer on WCF.

    Even better is this:

    www[dot]amazon.com/The-Theology-Westminster-Standards-Theological/dp/1433533111

    By Dr. JV Fesko, or this:

    www[dot]amazon.com/Justification-Understanding-Classic-Reformed-Doctrine/dp/1596380861/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1431929887&sr=1-1&keywords=justification+classic+reformed

    Just replace the [dot] with a “.” and off you go.

    For thoughts on vatican 2 (which i brought up) from this here darryl’s blog, there’s a lot to read. you could start here:

    https://oldlife.org/2013/12/genie-bottle/

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  123. vd, t, what you call a category error is actually the Reformation. Rome wasn’t working so Protestants tried to find a work around (specifically the papacy). The rub for you and so many RC apologists is that the papacy but supplies the unity and is responsible for the abuse — as in a teaching authority that gives real unity. The papacy is almost exactly the opposite of what you would imagine if you came up with the doctrine of subsidiarity.

    As to the oneness of Rome, can you really take Nicea and leave out holiness and apostolicity? The magisterium wasn’t all that holy in the 15th century (not to mention that unity wasn’t immediately evident). And as much as the teaching of the apostles may be disputed, folks like Luther and Calvin didn’t see the bishops doing a lot of heavy lifting with the apostles.

    Category mistake or no, continuing to point to Rome’s unity and Protestantism’s disunity seems like some kind of mistake since it just reassures Roman Catholics that everything is okay when it isn’t.

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  124. Tom,

    Even Calvinists seem to admit there is a natural law.

    The issue isn’t whether there is a natural law or not. The Reformed affirm general revelation, whether you call it natural law or not, and the ability of human beings to discern right and wrong from it. The issue is whether or not natural law arguments are in themselves sufficient to convince anyone. Paul seems to take a rather dim view of it, at least with regards to matters religious. People suppress the light of natural law that they do have, maybe not in every area, but across the spectrum.

    So while we could easily say that deep down all people know that homosexuality, for example, runs contrary to natural law, sinners tend to ignore that and come up with all sorts of arguments in favor of homosexuality based on the natural order. And it isn’t completely self-evident if we depend on natural revelation alone that those arguments are false. If they were, no one would try to make them.

    That’s the point about natural law arguments being convincing mainly for those who have already accepted the general theistic, and specifically Christian theistic underpinnings of natural law. If they don’t do that, the only elements of natural law they will find convincing are those that they aren’t consciously suppressing. Natural law arguments tend to convince those who are already convinced.

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  125. On the one hand, if the bishops promulgate doctrine, have authority, have charism, why don’t the laity listen?

    Did they ever? That’s not the point.

    No! That is exactly the point. The bishops (i.e., overseers, shepherds, etc…) are primarily about teaching and protecting (spiritually) God’s people. If their teaching isn’t getting across to the laity, that is a big problem. An even bigger problem is that the chaos you see in the RC pews is because people are following their teaching, but their teaching is not inline with sound doctrine. This is why what is going on in the diocese of San Jose is an example of such a big problem. This isn’t just some priest with no teaching authority going off the rails, it is the diocese office saying that chastity isn’t what they are working toward.

    But that failure is irrelevant to the attempt to delegitimize Catholicism. That is the category error.

    As many of us (Darryl, Jeff, and myself) have noted several times now, our goal is not (and never has been) to “delegitimize” the Roman Catholic church. Our goal has been to point out the problem with the Called to Communion project:

    1) They point to the M.O.C as providing a sound basis for accepting the truth claims of the RC church. We’ve pointed out that there are serious problems with the conclusions they draw from the mocs – the church isn’t holy and unified. This is the point of highlighting the warts – not to show that protestantism is true, but rather to show that it is not illegitimate to protest.

    2) They suggest that sola scriptura is problematic because it has ushered in ecclesiastical chaos, has no (and indeed cannot have a) biblical basis, and undermines certainty. Our response has been more or less that
    (a) ecclesiastical chaos reigns in the RCC, so sola scriptura is unlikely the culprit. Further, when other religions move to the US, we see them sprout new sects suggesting that sola scriptura is not the cause.
    (b) the biblical basis rests in the example of Christ’s use of the scriptures to judge the tradition that handed down the scriptures.
    (c) The question of certainty (and the unity that purportedly follows) is undermined by the understated (by the callers) theological breadth of the RCC and overstated (by the callers) theological breadth of protestants. One must apply just as much discernment (private judgement) to sift through sound and unsound teachers as prots.

    3) They claim that prots are in schism because of their ecclesiastical structure. They fail to note more parsimonious explanations for the variety of protestant sects that (mostly) arose in the US during the 19th century. The explosion of Christian sects (and other religious sects) has more to do with political freedom and multiculturalism – people have broken away from the RCC because the church lost its power to stop them. People are continuing to break away too (the RCC in Latin America has shed nearly a third of her members since 1970 and the church is imploding in Ireland and NE US). It is still not clear to me why leaving the RCC to be spiritual but not religious is worse than a group of baptist splitting because one group want to start using the NIV and the other wants to hold on to the KJV. Again, in the US the RCC is hemorrhaging members at a rate comparable to the mainline. I don’t note this to disprove the truth claims of the RCC. The point here is that the ecclesiastical structure of Rome is not superior to prots at holding things together and disseminating her beliefs to the faithful.

    4) RC tradition provides a sound foundation for adopting and promulgating Natural Law Theory which is the only hope for a flourishing society. The reality is that her own members don’t even buy it, so it is hard to see how it is going to transform “society”. Note that sola scriptura is not an alternative to NLT (that really is a category mistake).

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  126. To me, the fact is a one world government envisioned by the CTC’s constant refrain of Jesus’ call for unity in John 17 is in some ways commendable, but if their goal is achieved and the 16th century break over justification within Christendom was somehow today poof, gone, many if not all of the problems facing Christ’s church still exist.

    The ability for me and my roman catholic neighbor to sing kumbaya together simply doesn’t solve either the problems facing RCs and prots alike, nor the problems we individually face.

    So Tom resorts to calling in outside help to gain perspective here on what we write, degenrates to calling us pharasaical, when there is another option out there: maybe a organizational unity isn’t what God has in mind for the Christian religion – are we better divided as we are than unified under one tent? I think so. Is it lamentable I can’t eat the in the Lord’s supper at a catholic mass, nor they in my OPC auditorium? Sure, but that doesn’t mean we can’t work together on a whole host of issues to promote the Gospel. Don’t mistake me here, I’m with Machen, these Roman Catholics can be our friends, very good friends, just not brothers: because make no mistake, Sola Fide, justificaiton, the article, the hinge upon which the entire church turns, is anathema to the Roman Catholic, so again, no Kumbaya.

    Tom appears to be wrestling with Genevan truth claims more here in this thread than we’ve seen. Tom, pray for the Christian Religion

    Behold, how good and pleasant it is
    when brothers dwell in unity!
    It is like the precious oil on the head,
    running down on the beard,
    on the beard of Aaron,
    running down on the collar of his robes!
    It is like the dew of Hermon,
    which falls on the mountains of Zion!
    For there the LORD has commanded the blessing,
    life forevermore.
    (Psalm 133 ESV)

    Both Bryan Cross and Darryl Hart are smart, give them credit where credit is due. But Bryan is wrong in his vision and approach, and Darryl is not just some guy with an internet connection. Human with frailties he may be, but anyone who spends this much time and doesn’t pick up DGH’s calvinism book is just looking for a good time at someone else’s expense. I don’t get why TVD continues here, although why do any of us. He just appears to be flailing, as JC has noted on several occasions, but we like his presence all the same.

    Who’s next?

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  127. Robert, how does what you say about natural law and homosexuality apply to other facets of creation and natural law? If you’re saying natural law is insufficient to make arguments against homosexuality then does that also mean natural law is insufficient for questions pertaining to murder and theft? Sorry, but if nobody needs the Bible (or “specifically Christian theistic underpinnings of natural law”) to know theft is wrong then nobody needs it to know that homosexuality is contrary to nature either. If they do, then what’s the point of natural law?

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  128. Zrim,

    Good question, and I’m not sure I know the answer. Basically what I am saying is that treating natural law as some neutral thing that we can all use to convince others seems a bit wrong-headed if we suppress it. Even in the examples that you give, there’s no universal agreement as to what constitutes murder and what constitutes theft. Is abortion a violation of natural law? I would say yes, but who is going to be convinced by that argument if they don’t accept certain presuppositions.

    This is why, with all due respect, I think that the confidence that some have in the adequacy in natural law alone to govern society seems misplaced. I’m not saying I have the answer or that theonomy is the answer, but it seems a bit naive to believe a natural law argument against murder or abortion or homosexuality or theft is going to be all that convincing when the culture is effective atheist. Biden (not the best example of a deep thinker, I know), a RC, ridiculed Thomas during his SC confirmation hearing for believing in natural law. I myself have had natural law discussions with nonbelievers with no success. That may reflect on my own abilities than anything else, but in any case, I think confidence in running society by natural law is a bit misplaced, at least if you think that such a society has any staying power. Is there an example of a government that has been run entirely by natural law and that doesn’t have a majority population that is at least generally friendly to Christian theism. I can’t think of one off the top of my head.

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  129. Robert, if Muslims and Jews (and others) oppose homosexuality then how can you say one needs specifically Christian theistic underpinnings of natural law to arrive there?

    It’s not that natural law is inadequate but the abiding reality of sin within its readers that’s the problem. But if you think that natural law is inadequate then why aren’t the neos and theos right about the need for the Bible for civil life? But reading the Bible is just as subject to the abiding sin within its readers as natural law is. You can’t just say, “Don’t believe my appeals to nature? Well, the Bible settles it. See?” That doesn’t even work among those who have “specifically Christian theistic underpinnings,” i.e. when appealing to the Bible to make Protestant points to Catholics.

    Not neutral, common. And just because someone can twist what’s common doesn’t mean things are going neutral. All it means is that someone is twisting what’s clearly revealed in nature. And if they do that, what makes you think they won’t do it when you break out the Bible?

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  130. No, Mrs. W you are not in tune with your own argument.
    You have denied that, for all practical purposes, the mass is a propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of the living and the dead, which is the official position of your adopted church.

    And at the same time you are more than happy to chide prots for their egregious misrepresentation of your one true church.

    And try to deflect discussion to the real presence or something else, like how rude people are that disagree with you.

    IOW since when do you get to contradict the RCCatechism.
    You don’t like me disagreeing with it, but you seem to be able to do whatever you want.
    Hypocrisy thy name is papist.

    In short if you want to get any traction with anybody that has their wits about them, much more happened to grow up in that communion, a little more consistency and honesty when it comes to the propaganda would go a long ways.

    Further, the prot “propaganda” has been interacting with roman propaganda for a lot longer than just five minutes ago when you discovered the Emerald City for the first time.

    We know, you are excited, but calm down and get a grip on yourself. According to His Holiness, only prots can have private judgement. As a brand new romanist or otherwise, you need to stick to the papal parrot judgement of the RCCatechism’s forked tongue.

    While baptism erases all sin 1263, the sacrifice of the mass, the center of the church 1324,1343 needs to be offered for the sins we commit daily 1366,1367, 1414. So if you don’t get baptized and take communion/worship the eucharist 1378, 1478, you don’t get to go to heaven. Unless somebody offers enough masses for you after you are dead and in purgatory 1030, 1371.
    Or something like that.

    IOW Rome reduces Christianity to a carnal mess mass, ( if you can’t see, taste, feel, hear or smell it, it’s not real or religious enough to suit them). Salvation from sin is boiled down to partaking of the sacrament ex opere from Rome’s pseudo Levitical priests who continue to offer Christ in sacrifices upon their altars.
    But Christ on the cross said “it is finished”.
    I’ll take him for his word over yours or the pope’s, thank you very much.

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  131. Romans 3:28  Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

    Without = by itself, alone
    Deeds of the law = good works, sanctification.
    This is not that difficult is it, W?

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  132. D.G. Hart:
    Rome wasn’t working so Protestants tried to find a work around (specifically the papacy).<<<<

    Now, I am not hoping for Protestants to fail. I am certainly not hoping for Catholicism to fail. However, what is the condition of Protestantism at this point in time?

    Again, I am not hoping for failure, but Protestantism – by that I mean here those who are in the Reformed tradition -, at least in the US and Europe, is on the ropes. Will the faithful remnant, which is getting smaller and smaller all the time, be able to stay together and stay focused on evangelism and church planting?

    I hope that it can, but you must know what a desperate situation groups like yours are in. Just saying “back at ya’” to Catholics is not going to do anything to reform the Reformation.

    I appreciate the efforts of guys like Sproul and in the past, Machen.

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  133. Robert, just for the record, Biden has a forked tongue re: natural law:

    ” Four years ago, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Joseph Biden (D-DE), was concerned that another Supreme Court nominee, Robert Bork, didn’t believe in natural rights. Biden told Bork, “As a child of God, I believe my rights are not derived from the Constitution. . . . My rights are because I exist. They were given to me and each of my fellow citizens by our creator, and they represent the essence of human dignity.”

    Today, Biden is concerned that Thomas does believe in natural law.”

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  134. Mrs. W. your point might — MIGHT — make sense if you lived in 1880s Spain. But you don’t. And in case you missed it, the recent survey conducted by Pew did not bring good news for Roman Catholics (and showed that evangelicals are doing much better). Here’s how one of your pundits put it:

    Yesterday’s top CWN headline news story points to the most urgent problem facing the Catholic Church in the US: the decline in the American Catholic population.

    As our headline story reports there is some disagreement among experts about the extent of that decline. Pew Research finds that the Catholic population of the US has fallen by 3 million in the past seven years. Other surveys suggest that the decline has been less severe, or that the Catholic population may even have held steady over those same years. But no one is suggesting that the number of Catholics increased.

    That means we, as a Church, are doing something wrong. We are failing abjectly in our mission—failing to carry out the task assigned to us by Jesus Christ.

    The Lord did not order us to publish new hymnals or to build hospitals or to balance diocesan budgets or bring about world peace or to eliminate economic inequality or to stop global warming. Those may (or may not) be laudable efforts, but they are not the central mandate of the Church. Jesus did enjoin us to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Mt 28:18-19) We aren’t doing that. On the contrary, we are losing sheep from the flock.

    To be honest, the Church in the US has never been very good at attracting converts. In the past, the American Catholic population grew steadily because of three factors: the children born to Catholic parents, the arrival of immigrants from Catholic countries, and the non-Catholics who entered the Church as they married Catholic spouses. But today most American Catholic couples have only one or two children. Today Hispanic immigrants by the thousands come into the country as Catholics, but many soon switch to small Evangelical denominations. And today when a Catholic marries a non-Catholic, it is the Catholic partner who is statistically more likely to change religious affiliation.

    So the numbers keep falling; while the American population grows, the Catholic drops. The Pew survey found that for every one American who comes into the Catholic Church, there are more than six who leave. If current trends continue, the number of American ex-Catholics will surpass the number of active American Catholics sometime within the next few decades.

    Now you can keep asserting that Roman Catholicism is so much healthier than Protestantism. Those listening to you reserve the right to snicker.

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  135. Romans 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

    Without = by itself, alone
    Deeds of the law = good works, sanctification.
    This is not that difficult is it, W?>>>>>>

    What happened to Romans 8:30? My question had to do with sanctification in the Golden Chain. Is there a link missing between justification and glorification?

    …and what you say is not that difficult has been a difficulty for Reformed teachers since the time of Luther. You know why, right? If not, I will inform you, but I want to give you a chance to tell me what the contradiction between Scripture and the Reformers has been.

    Luther’s original attempt at solving it was an epic fail.

    BTW, the Church agrees with justification by faith. She does not even object to adding the word “alone” as long as it is not added to the text of Scripture itself as Luther did with his German translation. The objection has to do with Luther’s particular interpretation, which was something no Christian theologian had ever taught, not even Augustine.

    So, taking good works out of Pauline theology of justification does not help when you take into account the whole counsel of Scripture. Making an absolute distinction between justification and sanctification is obviously a problem, no better illustrated than by your Golden Chain.

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  136. No Mrs. W you need to pay attention to your own schtick.
    Again.
    You talked about heads exploding if anybody tried to prove justification by faith alone from Scripture.
    Well, yours just did, if not your argument.

    Rom. 8:30?

    1 Corinthians 6:11  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

    There ya go.

    More on justification being apart from and in complete absence of the good works of obedience to the moral law.

    Galatians 2:16  Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

    Galatians 3:11  But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

    I know, Rome doesn’t believe anything if even that unless the Bible says it explicitly. No good and necessary consequences for her. So no faith alone and no trinity.
    Thanks for sharing.

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  137. Enjoying watching the back and forth here, webfoot. Since you like to talk here, and have done some thinking and writing, any thoughts on Filioque? The western church is soooooo correct here, wouldn’t you say? Howz that for prot/cath unity, Boom!

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  138. Well, D.G. Hart, my point was about the condition of Reformed Protestantism. What measures are being taken within the movement to correct errors and bring about greater internal unity?

    If you succeed in destroying Catholicism, you will still have yourselves to worry about.

    BTW, snickering is not an answer. It is a dodge.

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  139. D. G. Hart, it is not nice to make me smile! 🙂

    No, not pontificating. Just proving that I have done my homework. I could refer you to the CCC, but that would take the fun out of your having to look it up yourself.

    Now I will take my leave for awhile. Thanks for the nice discussion about important topics. You know I’m just a nice Catholic lady, and a good old soul.

    BTW, it is a gorgeous day, here. I hope it is where you live as well. Take care.

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  140. Mrs. w., I serve on session, Christian Ed. Committee, Church Revitalization Committee (presbytery), Christian Education (presbytery). I’m trying.

    What are you doing about Roman Catholicism? Have you yet acknowledged its problems and weaknesses? Not that I’m so special, but I point out Reformed Protestantism’s weaknesses all the time. It’s ho Machen’s Warrior Children misbehave.

    But you scold us and then pay, pray, and obey?

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  141. Web: What measures are being taken within the movement to correct errors and bring about greater internal unity?

    What if those are invisible measures?

    Jesus did say to Peter, after all, that “I will build my church” rather than “you will build my church.”

    Perhaps the hoped for unity of Eph 4 is something that God does rather than something that we do. Or put another way: If the Spirit must convict men of sin and renew their minds to believe, then is it far-fetched to think that the Spirit must also bring about … wait for it … the unity of the Spirit?

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  142. Mrs. W., please explain why I should look at the catechism when it is not even part of RICA for church members (how could it be at 522 pp?)? Your idea that Rome’s doctrines are what makes Rome tick is exactly what I say about Protestantism. But when I say that you object and say we are divided.

    Turn about is fair play.

    You want to convert? Fine. Now talk to the people who really need your help. I’m not living in mortal sin. But if your church’s teachings are true, a lot of people are on your side of the Tiber. Don’t make this about sporting scalps. Souls are in jeopardy out there.

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  143. Zrim,

    Robert, if Muslims and Jews (and others) oppose homosexuality then how can you say one needs specifically Christian theistic underpinnings of natural law to arrive there?

    Well in the specific case of Muslims and Jews, I would say that they are closer to Christian theistic underpinnings than Eastern religions, for example.

    It’s not that natural law is inadequate but the abiding reality of sin within its readers that’s the problem.

    Okay, that’s a better way to put it.

    Not neutral, common. And just because someone can twist what’s common doesn’t mean things are going neutral. All it means is that someone is twisting what’s clearly revealed in nature. And if they do that, what makes you think they won’t do it when you break out the Bible?

    My issue isn’t so much that people are twisting, it is this assumption that natural law is sufficient to guarantee a well functioning broadly civil society apart from a shared “worldview.” (I know, a horrible term around these parts at times.) Let’s just look at the U.S., which if anything is becoming less civil and less governable. And we’re supposed to be a country based on natural law (see Constitution and the Declaration). I would argue that part of the problem is that the very worldview assumptions that make natural law a reasonable basis for governing society (ie, theism, specifically a broad Christian theism) are no longer as broadly shared as they once were.

    I guess all I’m saying is that natural-law-based 2K is not the cure-all any more than theonomy is. Sin’s going to muck things up very badly either way.

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  144. Webfoot, this morning’s bible devotion had me in Romans 5, consider these words of Holy Writ:

    Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
    (Romans 5:20-21 ESV)

    Now, the following quote is from a guy who is unorthodox. However, it was my first encounter of a christian theology outside the fundamentalism I was raised in. I want you (And tom, if you are reading, I believe you are) to consider the word acceptance. What I find is that everyone not of our persuasion ultimately wants the reformed they find here to say, “hey, you know what, we disagree, but you are awwwlllright.” Well, we can only say that so much, first of all, we don’t really know anything about anyone (ok, maybe a little about taste in movies) but we are all just internet strangers. This quote came back to me because the verse above is what Tillich uses to expound his You are Accepted sermon, just know that whatever it is you seek here, you really shouldn’t be looking on the internet for, if you have a faith community that works for you, go there. If you want to chat and feel you have something to prove, by all means, continue. However, I think I saw all this around 18 in my high school class when Tillich was explained to me. There really is nothing new under the sun (eccl 1:9). Take care.

    Do we know what it means to be struck by grace? It does not mean that we suddenly believe that God exists, or that Jesus is the Saviour, or that the Bible contains the truth. To believe that something is, is almost contrary to the meaning of grace. Furthermore, grace does not mean simply that we are making progress in our moral self-control, in our fight against special faults, and in our relationships to men and to society. Moral progress may be a fruit of grace; but it is not grace itself, and it can even prevent us from receiving grace. For there is too often a graceless acceptance of Christian doctrines and a graceless battle against the structures of evil in our personalities. Such a graceless relation to God may lead us by necessity either to arrogance or to despair. It would be better to refuse God and the Christ and the Bible than to accept them without grace. For if we accept without grace, we do so in the state of separation, and can only succeed in deepening the separation. We cannot transform our lives, unless we allow them to be transformed by that stroke of grace. It happens; or it does not happen. And certainly it does not happen if we try to force it upon ourselves, just as it shall not happen so long as we think, in our self-complacency, that we have no need of it. Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness. It strikes us when we walk through the dark valley of a meaningless and empty life. It strikes us when we feel that our separation is deeper than usual, because we have violated another life, a life which we loved, or from which we were estranged. It strikes us when our disgust for our own being, our indifference, our weakness, our hostility, and our lack of direction and composure have become intolerable to us. It strikes us when, year after year, the longed-for perfection of life does not appear, when the old compulsions reign within us as they have for decades, when despair destroys all joy and courage. Sometimes at that moment a wave of light breaks into our darkness, and it is as though a voice were saying: “You are accepted. You are accepted, accepted by that which is greater than you, and the name of which you do not know. Do not ask for the name now; perhaps you will find it later. Do not try to do anything now; perhaps later you will do much. Do not seek for anything; do not perform anything; do not intend anything. Simply accept the fact that you are accepted!” If that happens to us, we experience grace. After such an experience we may not be better than before, and we may not believe more than before. But everything is transformed. In that moment, grace conquers sin, and reconciliation bridges the gulf of estrangement. And nothing is demanded of this experience, no religious or moral or intellectual presupposition, nothing but acceptance.

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  145. D. G. Hart
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 6:28 am | Permalink
    vd, t, what you call a category error is actually the Reformation. Rome wasn’t working so Protestants tried to find a work around (specifically the papacy).

    Yes, but they replaced it with something that works even less well. Trueman asserts that the medieval papacy was a failure, but the papacy is still ticking along just fine, thank you. OTOH, the Reformation made every man a pope, every man’s conscience his own magisterium, so now instead of one Bible, there are millions.

    Forget “Protestantism,” which became so diverse and diffused that it means little more than “not-Catholic.” Presbyterianism can’t even stay coherent, either theologically or ecclesiastically. With its schism upon schisms, it is in no sense even a “church” anymore, let alone a “catholic” one.

    That’s a shame, but schism is built into its structure [or lack of one].

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  146. What is it with people joining a new church and become a public apologist 5 minutes later? Is that even the least bit wise? They even hid the Apostle Paul away for a time before letting him go public.

    I’ve attended a Lutheran Church for a few months now, but I have no plans to become a Lutheran apologist for years, if ever.

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  147. Tom – But the papacy is still ticking along just fine, thank you

    Erik – What about Pius XII’s retrograde statements on evolution.

    How’s that paper coming?

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  148. Tom – With its schism upon schisms, it is in no sense even a “church” anymore, let alone a “catholic” one.

    Erik – Interesting that your church disagrees with you in that they accept our Trinitarian water baptisms.

    Has been the case at least since Augustine and the Donatist controversy.

    Tom the Donatist?

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  149. D. G. Hart
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 6:28 am | Permalink
    vd, t, what you call a category error is actually the Reformation. Rome wasn’t working so Protestants tried to find a work around (specifically the papacy).

    TVD:
    Yes, but they replaced it with something that works even less well. Trueman asserts that the medieval papacy was a failure, but the papacy is still ticking along just fine, thank you. OTOH, the Reformation made every man a pope, every man’s conscience his own magisterium, so now instead of one Bible, there are millions.

    Forget “Protestantism,” which became so diverse and diffused that it means little more than “not-Catholic.” Presbyterianism can’t even stay coherent, either theologically or ecclesiastically. With its schism upon schisms, it is in no sense even a “church” anymore, let alone a “catholic” one.

    That’s a shame, but schism is built into its structure [or lack of one].<<<<<

    D.G. Hart, you are doing your best to help your church stand. I respect you for that, and I will pray for you. Like it or not, you are my brother and I am your sister, and I will gladly put you on my prayer list – that God will guide and help you in all you do.

    I agree with Tom, though. He puts into words what I was seeing in Protestantism. It breaks my heart to admit it. No, not everyone will return Home.

    Take for example the battles over justification by faith alone. It was all so unnecessary.

    …and in my RCIA class we were each given a copy of the CCC and a Catholic Bible and encouraged, even pressured, to read both. Most of the lessons were based on the CCC. We also used the Catholicism series by Fr. Robert Baron and the Symbolon put out by the Augustine Institute.

    What am I doing for my Church? All that you accuse me of for now – pray, pay, and obey as God enables me by His Holy Spirit and His gifts.

    …and Bob S., seriously? 😉

    GOS-NCL out…

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  150. Mrs. Webfoot,

    Can we time how long ago you were “seeing that in protestantism” with a stopwatch?

    Has your bishop advised you to seek out this new ministry?

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  151. PS
    …and I’m writing a Mass. Well, not the words, of course…For unaccompanied solo woodwind.

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  152. vd, t, “the papacy is still ticking along just fine.”

    By the same logic, the U.S. republic is ticking along just fine. Glory, glory, hallelujah.

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  153. Mrs. W., why not address Peter Lawler’s concerns? Why don’t you see what he sees? Why constantly change the subject to what you see in Protestantism?

    Your silence on the problems in the U.S., not to mention what the German bishops are doing, makes talking to you pointless.

    I suggest you pray for your church and all the people living in mortal sin by your church’s teaching. I am a separated brother. I’m good.

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  154. Mrs. Is in the honeymoon phase (or what the Reformed call the cage phase).

    See also the movie “Shallow Hal”.

    Poor judgment by Tom pointing her here.

    Susan is jealous.

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  155. Yes, but they replaced it with something that works even less well. Trueman asserts that the medieval papacy was a failure, but the papacy is still ticking along just fine, thank you.

    And romanists are free to disagree and disregard as they please on the ground.

    That’s a shame, but schism is built into its structure [or lack of one].

    You’re walkin by sight, laddie.

    What is it with people joining a new church and become a public apologist 5 minutes later?

    Come on, Charter. Where’s the love? Mrs. W. can’t answer the questions and she doesn’t want to.

    What’s the big deal?

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  156. Bob S
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 10:45 pm | Permalink
    Yes, but they replaced it with something that works even less well. Trueman asserts that the medieval papacy was a failure, but the papacy is still ticking along just fine, thank you.

    And romanists are free to disagree and disregard as they please on the ground.

    And presbyterianists don’t merely disagree with their church’s theology, they take over both the church and the theology.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/11611563/Church-of-Scotland-plan-for-gay-ministers-offers-possible-template-for-Anglicans.html

    Ecclesia semper reformanda.

    Damned right. Semper, semper, semper. Simony was corrupt, of course, but its reformation itself became deformation.

    The Reformation needs to own Benny Hinn and Peter Popoff and every one of those bastards on that endless list of frauds. “Protestantism” lacks any authority over them: The cure to the corruption of Christianity, of the Catholic Church, of the catholic church, was worse than the disease.

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  157. Tom,
    the Reformation owns neither the apostate Roman church – there is no true unity outside of the truth, otherwise known as apostolic doctrine determined by the apostolic NT – nor the anabaptist anarchists aka arminian evangelicals where every man is right in his own eyes.
    If that scandalizes you, oh well. There are a lot of things about Jesus that stumbles unbelievers.
    But one thing is necessary.
    How can a man be justified before God?
    W. says by faith with works because “sanctification” is missing from the golden chain of Rom. 8 and “alone” is missing from Rom. 3:28: 

    Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

    You want a visible infallible church that shelters sodomites pedophiles maybe I won’t report you to the Inquisition. The civil magistrate? That’s another story. There’s a reason why my hometown diocese as many others, went bankrupt. It isn’t because “Blessed are the poor”.

    cheers

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  158. Tom, the handwriting was on the wall for the PCUSA and the Chruch of Scotland a long time ago. Just like it was for Rome. None of them preach the gospel.
    I know, nominally they are supposed to, but for those of you who can’t get past what you can only see, there is no hope.

    Rom. 8:24  For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?

    The eschaton has not yet been immanentized.

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  159. Bob S
    Posted May 19, 2015 at 1:06 am | Permalink
    Tom,
    the Reformation owns neither the apostate Roman church – there is no true unity outside of the truth, otherwise known as apostolic doctrine determined by the apostolic NT – nor the anabaptist anarchists aka arminian evangelicals where every man is right in his own eyes.
    If that scandalizes you, oh well.

    The Reformation owns, and is itself, scandalized by all the above.

    The Catholic Church must answer for its corruptions, of course, from its simony to its inability to deal with its Lavender Mafia. [Do look that one up.]

    But “Protestantism” must answer for all the Elmer Gantrys, Mark Driscolls, not to mention openly gay Presbyterianism.

    http://www.christiantoday.com/article/gay.marriage.and.the.shaking.of.the.church.in.scotland/54169.htm

    True, the dam has broken.

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  160. D.G. Hart:
    Mrs. W., why not address Peter Lawler’s concerns? Why don’t you see what he sees? Why constantly change the subject to what you see in Protestantism?>>>>>>

    Oh, I see what you mean. Yes, there is a big push in our churches to evangelize. RCIA is part of that. Catholic radio and TV are part of that. Catholic blogs are part of that. Catholic Answers, Word on Fire with Fr. Baron, and so forth. All of this is part of the New Evangelization that Pope St. John Paul II initiated. The CCC is as well. The synod on the family is another part of the New Evangelization. There is a push for people to enter religious orders, too. There are calls to prayer for all of this.

    I think that Lawler is trying to get people off their rears and out preaching the Gospel. Good for him! There is a great need. St. John Paul II saw that the Church was in trouble and he took measures to help set her on a better track. She couldn’t keep losing people in such great numbers. There are serious problems, many of which are being addressed.

    I don’t know anything about him other than the article you linked to. Don’t know if he has much of a following.

    Why change the subject to Protestantism? Good question. I guess I find it sad that Protestants not only oppose the Catholic Church but also one another. The opposition to Catholicism part I get, though I think it’s not so good. It’s the Protestant infighting that is, to me, a tragedy. Don’t know what can be done. I think that Tom is right. It’s a foundational problem. It’s always been this way.

    Also, I guess I don’t know why you are so critical of Catholicism, since you are not Catholic. There must be a reason. Is it just because of the Called to Communion group? Are they drawing a lot of people away from your church, so you want people to know that the Catholic Church is not all sweetness and light? If so, I can understand that. If my love for the Church seems over the top, your criticism seems a bit excessive.

    Anyway, take care, D.G. Hart. I did the best a kindly old soul can do for now.

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  161. vd, t, “The Reformation needs to own Benny Hinn and Peter Popoff and every one of those bastards on that endless list of frauds.”

    But Warren Throckmorton is working on David Barton.

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  162. vd, t, there you go again. Does Rome have to answer for Michael Sean Winters, Richard McBrien, and Garry Wills?

    In point of fact, the OPC and PCA have done something about gay Presbyterianism. In case you missed it, we separated from the liberal church as a form of discipline. At least we did something. Your side?

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  163. Mrs. W., as Jeff Cagle explained, I’m a critic of Christians who are triumphalist and I have never seen more triumphalism than since I’ve been reading Roman Catholic sources, from apologists to historians. The Crusades? No problem the Muslims started it. Garry Wills? No problem, he’s not a real Roman Catholic. Immaculate conception of Mary? No problem, it’s what the magisterium says.

    All I hear is how superior Rome is. Bryan Cross started it. Well, if that’s your claim, you better match it. Funny thing is, lots of us who aren’t gullible don’t see the superiority, the conservatism, or the intelligence.

    If you want to go on with your Roman Catholic life and try to serve God and love your neighbor, fine. But so many converts like you are doing exactly what evangelical converts do — wear it on their sleeve. But at least evangelical converts talk about Jesus.

    Like

  164. Robert, nobody’s saying that “natural law is sufficient to guarantee a well functioning broadly civil society.” There are no such guarantees.

    Like

  165. Gotcha’ D.G. Hart. You prefer the defeatism of Protestantism. Not talk about Jesus? The Church is His body. How can I help but talk about how He has triumphed through her?

    Is she perfect? No. In fact, she has apologized for the Crusades, and has done horrific things in the past and probably will in the future. You have no idea what my background is or what I know or don’t know about the Church.

    I do know that Protestantism is a bit like playing American football, but without agreed upon rules and everyone is his or her own referee. You just get on the field with a ball and beat one another up and say you are playing the right game. However, no one ever wins, so there is never any reason to claim victory.

    Protestantism is not Christ’s body, so there is precious little to be triumphalist about. When Protestants talk about what Christianity has done right – and there is plenty – they usually have to rely heavily on what Catholics have done.

    In fact, I did talk about Jesus. I presented 3 Scripture texts and asked questions about them. Your friends spent their time mocking me, mocking the Church, and the texts got buried somewhere.

    The Golden Chain has a missing link for Protestants. Let me say it clearly. Protestants accuse Catholics of confusing sanctification with justification. Yet in your Chain, justification is sanctification. …and I can’t blame people for wanting to bury that truth in a mountain of irrelevant comments.

    That is a huge problem for you. …and your best known apologist is a Thomist, and should return to the Church, but he can’t. How would he explain it to his followers?

    Then there is the little matter of being justified by your words when you stand before Christ. Auburn Ave. people have read it. It’s in the Bible after all, and in Jesus’ own words.

    So, I did talk about Jesus. You guys want to talk about other stuff. I get it. You cannot have anyone too happy about their faith. That is a problem for you, both that Protestants would be happy and especially that Catholics would be joyous.

    Well, the Apostles in the book of Acts and throughout the whole New Testament seemed happy, even in the face of persecution. They even seemed triumphalist.

    Like

  166. Mrs. W., does it not worry you that many Roman Catholics are living in mortal sin (according to the polls) and your bishops/shepherds are talking more about religious freedom and poverty than they are about the treasury of merits?

    In other words, please explain why you take Roman Catholic teaching on salvation (and Protestant departures) so seriously but your bishops do not.

    Like

  167. So, you are asking me why the chaos that is Protestantism bothers me, but the sinfulness of Catholic believers doesn’t bother me? I should be bothered as much by both of them. So, you are more consistent and more righteous in your position than I am in mine. Did I understand you?

    You are assuming that I joined the Church mostly because of the chaos of Protestantism. It is this ongoing chaos, with no way to resolve disputes or even to apply any kind of church discipline that showed me it cannot be the true Church expect in the sense that the Catholic Church says – separated brethren.

    Since I came to believe that the Catholic Church is the true Church, and that Protestants are really part of her but not in full communion, it was easy to go from there.

    I am not saying that there is no goodness, no good works, nothing good in Protestantism. That goodness and those good works are righteous and are done in the love of Christ because of who He is. I could tell you about some amazing Protestants who have gone into very hard places and preached the Gospel and ministered to the orphans and widows, thus practicing true religion. I am not saying that God has abandoned Protestantism and all groups who preach the Gospel and do good works in Jesus’ Name. No, not at all.

    I am saying that Protestantism learned all that from our Mother, the Church, the Bride of Christ, the body of Christ. God uses many godly Protestants to extend His kingdom. No doubt about it, and no denying it.

    Is Christ’s body pure? Of course not. There are many Christians of all kinds – including many Catholics – who are not living as they should. Do I worry about that? Yes, and no. I will not lose my faith over the sin of another, even if that person bears the title of bishop or evangelist.

    Protestants are taught to look at the man and follow him. Oh, I know it is supposed to be all about Jesus, and for many it is. Catholics are taught to look to Christ and follow Him. The man will be flawed, just as all of us are. Christ has no spot or blemish. Catholics are told not to follow the man, but to follow Christ.

    What is the purpose of the saints both for Protestants and Catholics? They show us that God’s will for us it to be saints not in name only, but also in reality. The goal of the saints is to be saints, to live saintly lives.

    …and on focusing on bishops who are or have been sinful ignores the fact that there are many good, godly bishops in the Church.

    You seem to think that because bishops are also sinners like the rest of us, the Church cannot possibly claim infallibility. So, you are fixing your eyes on men an not on Christ, who is able to build His Church, purify her, and present her spotless before His Father.

    You are in effect saying that the Holy Spirit cannot keep the body of Christ from doctrinal error. You are also saying that just because the Holy Spirit led the Church in the book of Acts in a direct and infallible way through the decisions of Church leadership, we cannot expect Him to keep doing that in our day. You would say that sure, the Holy Spirit kind of leads, but it is always flawed and full of error.

    So you must do that job the Holy Spirit is unable to do without you. Trouble is that Protestants have no way to determine what is and what is not doctrinal error.

    So, yes it bothers me that we are not more saintly, even some bishops. It does not shake my faith in the day of Pentecost.

    Like

  168. Mrs. W., “I am saying that Protestantism learned all that from our Mother, the Church, the Bride of Christ, the body of Christ. God uses many godly Protestants to extend His kingdom. No doubt about it, and no denying it.”

    Actually, the papacy was at an all time moral low in the 15th century, culminating in Alexander VI. If you think that Protestants went heavy into that kind of ecclesiastical abuse, think again. In fact, if not for the Protestant Reformation, not Counter Reformation. The thanks we get, but you have blinders on and only see things in a self-reassuring way.

    I’m not concerned about the sins of the bishops. You really don’t get the point. If the polls are right, lots of bishops are overseeing people who are going to hell because they are living in mortal sin. Why wouldn’t that situation prompt a more concerted episcopal effort to bring back into the fold the sheep? At least, cut down their time in purgatory?

    You act like your switch puts you on the winning side. Actually, you just raised the stakes. To whom much has been given . . .

    When will Rome act like it’s been given much?

    Like

  169. Mrs. W: In fact, I did talk about Jesus. I presented 3 Scripture texts and asked questions about them. Your friends spent their time mocking me, mocking the Church, and the texts got buried somewhere.

    That does seem to happen. On the bright side, it is an equal-opportunity problem, as my own attempt to engage in a Scriptural way likewise got buried.

    Like

  170. Elmer Gantry? How is it that Presbyterians are now accountable for characters in works of fiction? I suppose Puritans are equally responsible for what happened to that poor Prynne woman. But the Catholics, they have to answer to Dan Brown.

    Like

  171. Mrs. W.,

    You said:
    You are assuming that I joined the Church mostly because of the chaos of Protestantism. It is this ongoing chaos, with no way to resolve disputes or even to apply any kind of church discipline that showed me it cannot be the true Church expect in the sense that the Catholic Church says – separated brethren.

    I am afraid that this is a splinter/log situation, especially since your Church doesn’t exactly have the
    best
    track record when it comes to “Church discipline”. Just sayin’.

    Also, what is this “Protestantism” you’re talking about? You seem believe that it is one conglomeration of like-minded churches that all oppose Rome – a wild band of slathering, unprincipled, anti-intellectual Anglo-Saxon individualists who detest smells, abhor bells, and sicken at the thought of “tradition.” This is similar to your instance upon referring to your denomination (est. 1563) as “the Church,” as if your denomination is in any way more consistent than other denominations. Even your use of the neologism “separated brethren” is telling, given that not too long ago, we “separated brethren” were known as “heretics,” and your denomination’s officials, well, kinda murdered them.

    All of this could (and probably will) be brushed off as me picking the low-hanging fruit, but it’s worth remembering, Mrs. W., before you start pigeon-holing anyone who doesn’t believe Padre Pio could fly like a Boeing 747.

    Also, always a question that comes up when talking to the Triumphalists: What gives with Eastern Orthodoxy?

    Like

  172. D. G. Hart
    Posted May 19, 2015 at 6:27 am | Permalink
    vd, t, there you go again. Does Rome have to answer for Michael Sean Winters, Richard McBrien, and Garry Wills?

    In point of fact, the OPC and PCA have done something about gay Presbyterianism. In case you missed it, we separated from the liberal church as a form of discipline. At least we did something. Your side?

    Nothing wrong with a Protestant church that another schism won’t cure.

    And no, Catholicism doesn’t have to answer for Michael Sean Winters, Richard McBrien, and Garry Wills. They are not part of the magisterium. They’re just some guys who type stuff. You keep eliding the key distinction between a church and its members. Your premise is false.

    Like

  173. Joining the Catholic Church because of “the chaos of Protestantism” isn’t a very good reason.

    Just join a Protestant church that isn’t in chaos and ignore the other ones.

    Like

  174. So Tom,

    Darryl shouldn’t bring up Winters, McBrien, and Wills because they’re not the church.

    But it’s fair for you to bring up the PCUSA because Darryl’s an Orthodox Presbyterian?

    I don’t get it.

    Like

  175. vd, t, no offense, but you’re just a guy who types. But no Roman Catholic publication/website is publishing you.

    Sorry for the reintroduction to planet earth.

    Like

  176. Mrs. W – I am not saying that God has abandoned Protestantism and all groups who preach the Gospel and do good works in Jesus’ Name. No, not at all.

    Erik – Since Tom can’t do it, maybe you can tell me what the Roman Catholic doctrine of justification is. How does a Roman Catholic know with confidence that they are going to heaven when they die?

    Like

  177. Mrs. W – I could tell you about some amazing Protestants who have gone into very hard places and preached the Gospel and ministered to the orphans and widows, thus practicing true religion. I am not saying that God has abandoned Protestantism and all groups who preach the Gospel and do good works in Jesus’ Name. No, not at all.

    I am saying that Protestantism learned all that from our Mother,

    Erik – Actually, no.

    At the time of the Reformation the Pope was more concerned with fleecing the sheep with phony sales of indulgences to pay for St. Peter’s Basilica.

    How are you caring for orphans and widows at the same time you’re fleecing them?

    Like

  178. Mrs. W – I will not lose my faith over the sin of another, even if that person bears the title of bishop or evangelist.

    Erik – Tom tells us above not to sweat Wills, Winters, & McBrien because they’re not the church.

    Now you say not to sweat bishops, either?

    What do you sweat?

    Like

  179. Mrs. W – Protestants are taught to look at the man and follow him. Oh, I know it is supposed to be all about Jesus, and for many it is. Catholics are taught to look to Christ and follow Him. The man will be flawed, just as all of us are. Christ has no spot or blemish. Catholics are told not to follow the man, but to follow Christ.

    Erik – (Picking self off the floor)

    Have you heard of the Pope?

    WE follow men?

    Like

  180. Darryl,

    People in the Church know what sins are mortal, but some/many( not all or most, though we are warned that the road is narrow), don’t want to give up their sinful ways, at least, not for now( “Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet”, kind of situations I assume). The whole reason for the Church is to make us saints. And God is merciful……He gave us Himself in the Eucharist,after all, making us partakers of His Divine life( 2 Peter1:3,4)
    Also to note is the New Evangelization that is calling all Catholics( reverts and converts) to communion.

    “Our own time, then, must be increasingly marked by new hearing of God’s word and a new evangelization. Recovering the centrality of the divine word in the Christian life leads us to appreciate anew the deepest meaning of the forceful appeal of Pope John Paul II: to pursue the mission ad gentes and vigorously to embark upon the new evangelization, especially in those nations where the Gospel has been forgotten or meets with indifference as a result of widespread secularism” (Pope Benedict XVI, Verbum Domini no. 122

    Also, Darryl, if there wasn’t a divided Christendom, you wouldn’t speak in terms of group against group, and so the parable would apply to individuals( which it does) and therefore make sense:
    “And unto *whomsoever* much is given, of *him* much shall be required: and to whom they have committed much, of him they will demand the more.”

    Like

  181. Guys, read this thread on the protestantism subreddit on reddit.com:

    I’m Roman Catholic. AMA (self.Protestantism)
    submitted 2 months ago by Iron_Thorn23
    I just want to see how this will be received. Feel free to start a discussion.
    87 commentsshare
    all 87 comments
    sorted by: best
    [–]Augustus24Lutheran 7 points 2 months ago
    How did you decide that the RCC was the one true church without relying at least in part on your own private interpretation?
    permalink
    [–]Iron_Thorn23[S] 1 point 2 months ago
    This question presents a good point, but it is a little loaded. There is a difference between interpreting scripture and using your God-given conscience and reason. Conscience and reason brought me to the Roman Catholic Church. When it comes to scripture, I prefer not to lean on my own understanding and instead lean on God’s and His 2000 year old Church
    permalinkparent
    [–]moarpi34me 2 points 2 months ago
    I’m Protestant and I can totally respect this answer.
    permalinkparent
    [–]Augustus24Lutheran 2 points 2 months ago
    I see. Then why have Catholic apologists criticized Protestants for relying on their own “private interpretation” when Catholics as much rely on their own “private interpretation”? Could I also not have used my own conscience and reason to become Lutheran?

    continue reading

    87 comments later, and the convo goes ok. i want to see webfoot or Mrs. Vader or Tom Van Dyke go into www[dot]reddit.com/r/Reformed/ or www[dot]reddit.com/r/reformedfightclub and see if their treatment there is better than here, i doubt it will be.

    these roman catholics, so confused in their understanding, keep coming to us for answers. and we just find more and more coming to us for answers.

    they multiply, like agent smiths in the matrix.

    don’t worry RC’s, we understand you want to learn from us. keep at it, you’ll get us someday, i hope.

    peace to all you rc’s on your faith journey. take care.

    Like

  182. Mrs. W – You seem to think that because bishops are also sinners like the rest of us, the Church cannot possibly claim infallibility.

    Erik – No. We say you can’t claim infallibility because in no way does Scripture promise you or any church or spiritual leader that.

    Mrs. W – You are also saying that just because the Holy Spirit led the Church in the book of Acts in a direct and infallible way through the decisions of Church leadership, we cannot expect Him to keep doing that in our day.

    Erik – Wasn’t Peter in church leadership? Didn’t Peter err and receive a rebuke from Paul?

    Mrs. W – So you must do that job the Holy Spirit is unable to do without you. Trouble is that Protestants have no way to determine what is and what is not doctrinal error.

    Erik – How do you know the Holy Spirit is not working through Darryl and the OPC? Judge him and the OPC in light of Scripture. Do you judge your church in light of Scripture?

    You are making Susan look like Karl Barth.

    Like

  183. D. G. Hart
    Posted May 19, 2015 at 4:35 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, no offense, but you’re just a guy who types. But no Roman Catholic publication/website is publishing you.

    Sorry for the reintroduction to planet earth.

    Ah, getting personal again.

    My purpose here is to give some of the best minds in Protestantism their chance to set the record straight. I don’t seek out error, I seek the truth as you see it. But even if we stipulate your hermeneutic, that a church should be judged by its fruits, your church fails far more miserably than the churches you attack. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

    Like

  184. Erik,

    There you guys go again, watching the religious procession go by complete with its bells, and croziers, and crucifixes, and scrolls, and statues, and priests and you grab those scrolls, leaving the rest. This is unreasonable. The true faith is of course going to be reflected in those scrolls, but why do you expect the scrolls to exhaustively account for the faith? ( Remember that was from Chesterton, not me! 🙂

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  185. vd, t, how could my church fail “far more miserably” than “yours” when we are .0001 the size of “yours”? If you’re going to make fun of small, you need to own up to large.

    Plus, you didn’t address the point — Michael Sean Winters is recognized by many Roman Catholics as a pundit of some kind. You? But you want me to think that you are more representative? That’s like you thinking the OPC is more representative of Presbyterianism than the PCUSA.

    Like

  186. @Susan
    You wrote, “People in the Church know what sins are mortal, but some/many( not all or most, though we are warned that the road is narrow), don’t want to give up their sinful ways”.

    Your parenthetical is false. According to the General Science Survey, 50% of Catholics in the US do not believe that gay sex is wrong at all, 67% think it is OK for unmarried couples to cohabitate. Both are part of upward trends indicating that the fraction is going up even as the people are leaving the Catholic church in droves (nearly a third of Catholics in Latin America have left the church). Also note that on all of these moral questions RCs do worse than protestants taken as a whole (including mainliners!).

    Like

  187. Tom – But even if we stipulate your hermeneutic, that a church should be judged by its fruits, your church fails far more miserably than the churches you attack.

    Erik – Based on what standard?

    What is your pay grade, anyway?

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  188. D. G. Hart
    Posted May 19, 2015 at 5:22 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, how could my church fail “far more miserably” than “yours” when we are .0001 the size of “yours”? If you’re going to make fun of small, you need to own up to large.

    I’m speaking of the Reformation, which laid claim to being the “true” church, then spit and schismed and schism and split. Or I’m talking about “Presbyterianism.” Your micro-denomination doesn’t even move the meter, and in fact, it had a schism in its first year!


    Plus, you didn’t address the point — Michael Sean Winters is recognized by many Roman Catholics as a pundit of some kind. You? But you want me to think that you are more representative?

    I do address the point: I reject your premise, and your tactic of trolling for Catholic dissenters who do not speak for the church, no matter what Many” Catholics think.

    That’s like you thinking the OPC is more representative of Presbyterianism than the PCUSA.

    Actually, I’ve been charitable in doing so, accepting your claim to being the “true” Presbyterianism/Calvinism/Reformed faith. But using your tactic that you use to undermine Catholicism, the 1.8 million-member PCUSA is far more representative than your OPC of only 30,000. By your standards, Presbyterianism is in far worse shape.

    Did you honestly not follow that? It’s a formal argument, not a theological truth claim.

    Like

  189. @Tom
    “And no, Catholicism doesn’t have to answer for Michael Sean Winters, Richard McBrien, and Garry Wills. They are not part of the magisterium. They’re just some guys who type stuff. You keep eliding the key distinction between a church and its members. Your premise is false.”

    Not so sure about Fr. McBrien, a church theologian who sits in the “doctor’s chair” even while not infallible. He retained his post with his Bishop’s blessing. Perhaps though Bishop McGrath is of San Jose is a better example, whose traveling gay mass for which chastity is not the goal seems to run counter to Church teaching (depending on how you understand the application of the magisterium…at topic of some debate).

    Like

  190. @Tom You wrote, “I’m speaking of the Reformation, which laid claim to being the “true” church…”

    This is not quite correct. They didn’t claim to be the true church, rather they noted that all churches are a mixture of truth and error. Re-read the WCF and Belgic confession on the definition of the church if you want to know what the reformers said. Also note that schism doesn’t mean the same thing for prots. One can move freely between denominations without “converting”. Not true for movement between RC and EO.

    Like

  191. “My purpose here is to give some of the best minds in Protestantism their chance to set the record straight.”
    Then what on earth are you doing around here?

    Like

  192. Susan,

    How did God miss the memo on the importance of images in worship in His instructions to the Jews?

    Surely He or your Church must be misinformed.

    What Apostolic writings do you see commending these things to believers?

    Like

  193. Tom, a minor nit, but the PCUSA is down to 1.667M members as of 2014, and it’s rate of decline is increasing year on year (4% decline in 2013, 5.54% in 2014), and number of congregations has dipped below 10k for the first time. Every 1.75 days another church leaves the PCUSA (mainly for Evangelical Covenant Order of presbyterians, or Evangelical Presbyterian Church). Further doing the math on members, approx 255 members leave every day, or 11 every hour, or basically betwen the time stamp of your last comment 6:16PM and mine now going live 6:29 pm, 2 more people are no longer on the PCUSA rolls. Things are a changin’

    The mainline denomination also continued to decrease in members, in 2014 PCUSA had approximately 1.667 million members, in contrast to 1.76 million in 2013.
    Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/number-of-pcusa-congregations-slips-below-10000-mark-139240/#UwcWL3QkvCdPgTQR.99

    Like

  194. Tom – Actually, I’ve been charitable in doing so, accepting your claim to being the “true” Presbyterianism/Calvinism/Reformed faith. But using your tactic that you use to undermine Catholicism, the 1.8 million-member PCUSA is far more representative than your OPC of only 30,000. By your standards, Presbyterianism is in far worse shape.

    Erik – You continue to make the fundamental mistake of linking the PCUSA and the OPC. They have no relations.

    McBrien, Winters, and Wills have formal relations with the Roman Catholic Church (or at least did, McBrien died in January). They are (were) members in good standing, able to receive communion.

    Maybe your beef is not with us, but with their bishops? Devote the time you spend here to writing their bishops.

    Find an OPC member akin to McBrien, Winters, and Wills and bring them to us and we’ll have apples and apples.

    Like

  195. sdb
    Posted May 19, 2015 at 6:16 pm | Permalink
    @Tom
    “And no, Catholicism doesn’t have to answer for Michael Sean Winters, Richard McBrien, and Garry Wills. They are not part of the magisterium. They’re just some guys who type stuff. You keep eliding the key distinction between a church and its members. Your premise is false.”

    Not so sure about Fr. McBrien, a church theologian who sits in the “doctor’s chair” even while not infallible. He retained his post with his Bishop’s blessing. Perhaps though Bishop McGrath is of San Jose is a better example, whose traveling gay mass for which chastity is not the goal seems to run counter to Church teaching (depending on how you understand the application of the magisterium…at topic of some debate).

    Thx for the clarification on O’Brien. Yes, dissent is allowed, although for the clergy, sometimes a line is crossed and they’re ordered to shut up. This was true of Teilhard de Chardin and John Courtney Murray, who accepted the church’s authority to do so.

    As for Winters and Wills, they do not move the meter. Darryl’s reliance on them to attack Catholicism invalidates his efforts.
    ______
    sdb
    Posted May 19, 2015 at 6:20 pm | Permalink
    @Tom You wrote, “I’m speaking of the Reformation, which laid claim to being the “true” church…”

    This is not quite correct. They didn’t claim to be the true church, rather they noted that all churches are a mixture of truth and error. Re-read the WCF and Belgic confession on the definition of the church if you want to know what the reformers said. Also note that schism doesn’t mean the same thing for prots. One can move freely between denominations without “converting”. Not true for movement between RC and EO.

    Then “catholic” has no meaning. Dump Nicea. Further, because of the sacrament of the Eucharist, Lutheranism and Anglicanism are far away from the merely symbolic “Lord’s Supper” of Calvinism. That one might “move freely” between Protestant denominations is a relative claim, what with “fencing the Lord’s Table” and the like.

    As for the Confessions, since they can be amended, they are provisional, unless you want to claim they’re the work of the Holy Spirit. If you do, that’s a truth claim, and I don’t litigate those. I might think Joseph Smith’s Golden Plates and Angel Moroni are a bunch of baloney, but I don’t go there.

    ___________________________

    sdb
    Posted May 19, 2015 at 6:21 pm | Permalink
    “My purpose here is to give some of the best minds in Protestantism their chance to set the record straight.”
    Then what on earth are you doing around here?

    Ah, good to know at least one warrior child didn’t have his funny bone removed. 😉

    Like

  196. sdb,

    Speaking of Martin & Douthat:

    http://literatecomments.com/2014/12/13/a-public-service-announcement-inconvenient-facts-about-21st-century-roman-catholicism-for-which-bryan-cross-his-friends-at-called-to-communion-have-not-fully-accounted-for-in-their-call/
    Things said by Ross Douthat and James Martin for which Traditionalists have not fully accounted in their Call:

    1. Martin quotes Douthat as saying that “the church is stained by scandal.”

    2. Martin quotes Douthat as saying that Catholics have suffered “moral betrayals by their leaders.”

    3. Martin quotes Douthat as saying that Catholics are in danger of suffering “a theological betrayal.”

    4. Douthat says that the Church has changed its teachings on Limbo.

    5. Martin locates authority in the whole church (including the laity) and stresses several times that we must look at how the Holy Spirit is working in the church today — no mention of any superior paradigm centered on an infallible Pope.

    6. Douthat says that the “conservative/progressive binary” can be “disastrous for the faith.”

    7. Douthat says “just saying ‘the magisterium has spoken, the case is closed’ is not generally an argument that suffices to persuade, within the church or outside it.”

    8. Douthat refers to “the unhealthy papolatry that sometimes built up under John Paul II” and suggests that such “papolatry” needs to be “cured”.

    9. Douthat expresses sympathy with the notion that “the Vatican is not the church entire.”

    10. Douthat expresses sympathy with the notion that “many worthwhile experiments in Catholic history have been undertaken without a stamp of approval (quite the reverse, indeed) from the hierarchy.”

    11. Douthat says of progressives that “they had already decided that what any specific pope says about sex or marriage can be taken as provisional, subject to the future revision by the Holy Spirit.”

    12. Douthat says that conservatives “believe there are things the church can’t change, can’t teach, without effacing its basic claims to authority, continuity and faithfulness to Christ.”

    13, Douthat says that many “bishops and theologians think that the proposal to allow divorced-and-remarried Catholics to receive the Eucharist absent an annulment isn’t just ‘pastoral’…but essentially changes the church’s view of marriage’s indissolubility in ways that don’t just conflict with natural law but with divine law, with the words of Jesus himself.”

    14. Douthat says that “the direction that Pope Francis may be pushing (are) fraught with a distinctive kind of peril for the church.”

    15. Douthat says that “on rare occasions, the cause of Catholic truth may need to be served by resisting Peter, perhaps even to his face.”

    16. Martin reminds us (referring to Vatican II) that the church is not simply the hierarchy, it is the entire “People of God.”

    17. Martin talks about how it is important for “council fathers” to be able to read the “signs of the times” as they did at Vatican II.

    18. Martin quotes “Nostra Aetate” in saying that “The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in (religions other than Catholicism),”

    19. Martin notes that “That (Nostra Aetate) stands in stark contrast to statements from popes and councils in other parts of the magisterium, over the centuries, too numerous to mention.”

    20. Martin notes that “‘Dignitatus Humanae’, the document that guaranteed the ‘right to religious freedom’, that is, to worship and believe as each person desires…is also in stark contrast to the former church dictum, ‘Error has no rights.’”

    21. Martin notes how, at Vatican II, “there were several documents written by preparatory commissions that essentially restated church teaching as it then stood. Once the council was convened, however, and the bishops began their discussions, and saw that they could speak freely, those original documents were heavily revised and often scrapped entirely.”

    22. Martin continues, “Had there been no discussion, there would have been no change. And, at the time, many of these issues were almost too shocking to consider. Now they are church teaching.”

    23. Martin cites John Noonan describing how “various teachings have changed (and) how these changes have helped the church.”

    24. Martin notes how Jesuits owned slaves in colonial Maryland.

    25. Douthat says that some matters can absolutely be too dangerous to discuss “when the person encouraging the discussion has supreme teaching authority in the church.”

    26. Douthat notes that Catholics have debated “(in the) not at all distant past”, “whether to integrate theories of racial and eugenic hierarchy into Catholic moral teaching.”

    27. Douthat notes that “every power and principality of our age – every establishment, political and judicial and cultural – is on the side of change in these internal church debates.”

    28. Martin suggests a hierarchy of authority (from lowest to highest):

    (A) a pastor proclaiming from the pulpit his opinion on a political matter in the community

    (B) a papal encyclical

    (C) a document from an ecumenical council

    (D) the words of Jesus in the Gospels

    Note no mention of a pope speaking ex-cathedra (i.e. infallibly)

    29. Martin says that for him “the essentials are contained, first, in the Gospels and, second, in the Nicene Creed.”

    30. Martin says that “tradition is holy” and “change can be holy too.”

    31. Martin reiterates that the church is “we, the entire People of God.”

    32. Douthat questions the validity of several aspect of pre-Vatican II Catholicism :

    (A) “The ritualistic spirit of Eat meat on Friday, go straight to hell, do not pass go.”

    (B) “The God-as-accountant image inherent in say these seventeen different prayers to thirteen different saints and receive in return exactly 4,544 days off Purgatory.”

    (C) “The culture of shame and silence around sexuality.”

    (D) “The punitive visions of hell immortalized by James Joyce.”

    (E) “The pomp and circumstance embraced by the princes of the church.”

    He says that all these things are “grounded in real aspects of the pre-1960s church, which were in need of correction and reform.”

    33. Douthat speaks of the “traditionalist” church as “the church of lace and legalisms…that the current pontiff is particularly quick to critique.”

    34. Douthat says that today’s Catholic Church “has more in common with, and I speak from experience, certain forms of Mainline Protestantism and megachurch evangelicalism.”

    35. Douthat says that “we’ve become a church of long communion and short confession lines.”

    36. Douthat says that “(we’ve become a church of) Jesus-affirms-you sermons.”

    37, Douthat says that “(we’ve become a church of) marriage preparation retreats (like mine) where most of the couples are cohabiting and nobody particularly cares.”

    38. Douthat says that “(we’ve become a church of) widespread popular attitudes toward the divine and toward church teaching that mostly resemble H. Richard Niebuhr’s vision of a God without wrath, men without sin, and a Kingdom without judgment.”

    39. Douthat suggests that admonition is no longer given in the church.

    40. Douthat suggests that “not only individual pastors but the church itself promises absolution irrespective of amendment.”

    41. Douthat quotes Cardinal Kasper’s remark that certain forms of moral heroism are “not for the average Christian.”

    42. Douthat says that “conservative Catholics inhabit a kind of sociological bubble, in which we don’t see the burdens the church imposes clearly.”

    43. Douthat believes that there is a “clear and pressing danger of a church that no longer even tries to teach the truth.”

    44. Martin says that “too many Catholics, at least in this country, feel…that the church no longer speaks to some important parts of their lives.”

    45. Martin says that American Catholics sense “a shift from a teaching church to a listening church.”

    46, Martin says that “we must listen to the workings of the Holy Spirit among the People of God, which includes the bishops and the pope. And by trusting in that Spirit, we will not be led astray.”

    On most of these statements, points, and assertions we get from Traditionalists…crickets.

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  197. Tom – As for the Confessions, since they can be amended, they are provisional, unless you want to claim they’re the work of the Holy Spirit.

    Erik – Given Vatican II, what exactly is not provisional in Catholicism?

    Can you separate dogma from discipline for us? No other Catholic apologist has seemed to be able to.

    Like

  198. “Then “catholic” has no meaning. Dump Nicea. Further, because of the sacrament of the Eucharist, Lutheranism and Anglicanism are far away from the merely symbolic “Lord’s Supper” of Calvinism. That one might “move freely” between Protestant denominations is a relative claim, what with “fencing the Lord’s Table” and the like.”

    The reformed confessions stipulate a real presence…one that is spiritual. Zwyngli lost in the confessions. Of course the hoi polloi is another matter, but that is unfortunately true for rcs too. Jeff Cagle’s exegetical analysis on the which call thread is worth looking at. The RC turn to Aristotle was a big mistake. Transubstantiation is hard to defend. The EO view is much more defensible (real presence but details a mystery) than importing categories no one would apply anywhere else.

    Like

  199. Erik,

    The point was that no one has the authority to divorce the scrolls from the religion. Priests are men and do have basic human dignity, but they also have the priesthood by apostolic succession, a fact mentioned in the scrolls that were nabbed.

    sdb,

    “Your parenthetical is false. According to the General Science Survey, 50% of Catholics in the US do not believe that gay sex is wrong at all, 67% think it is OK for unmarried couples to cohabitate. Both are part of upward trends indicating that the fraction is going up even as the people are leaving the Catholic church in droves (nearly a third of Catholics in Latin America have left the church). Also note that on all of these moral questions RCs do worse than protestants taken as a whole (including mainliners!).”

    This is depressing. I don’t like those statistics, and I hope they are wrong. The whole picture looks very bad. We have a world that isn’t very religious or moral anymore. But I don’t know if it’s true that Protestants are doing better than Catholics in practice, and I don’t they know if they know any better why acts are immoral. For instance, sodomy is a violation of natural law, so if homosexuals cannot commit this act without violating God’s law, then heterosexual couples cannot either being they are under the same law.
    Do Protestant pastors get explicit and involved Protestant when they do premarital counseling….do they instruct against this for the sake of the souls about to be married? The real point about what divides us though, is not who is living more morally, but who really knows what that means anymore. Contraception is a grave sin, but how many Protestants believe it is a matter of private choice? It would be great if all Christians were consistent with their faith, but without a constancy of beliefs to fall back on, the more confused and sinful the society becomes. Say what you will against the Church, her moral teachings are consistent, and the more Roman Catholic anyone’s beliefs and practices are, the more moral the society.

    Like

  200. Erik,

    This is the last one for tonight.

    “How did God miss the memo on the importance of images in worship in His instructions to the Jews?”

    Catholics don’t worship images, so if you want to critique at least know the view of those you oppose. God didn’t miss he memo, He sent one to the Jews:

    “You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold, two and a half cubits long and one and a half cubits wide. 18″You shall make two cherubim of gold, make them of hammered work at the two ends of the mercy seat. 19″Make one cherub at one end and one cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim of one piece with the mercy seat at its two ends.

    Like

  201. vd, t, why is quoting Michael Sean Winters a tactic if your defense of David Barton is above board? You do seem to have a sliding scale.

    Let’s say 70 % of the PCUSA doesn’t affirm Nicea. That’s roughly 1.2 million. Heck the Lefevrists are larger than that. And with Roman Catholics in the U.S. totaling about 75 million and the Pew figures showing what they do, how is Presbyterianism in worse shape. Again, if you want large numbers the stakes for wrong go up. Welcome to the big leagues.

    Like

  202. vd, t, “As for Winters and Wills, they do not move the meter. Darryl’s reliance on them to attack Catholicism invalidates his efforts.”

    That’s like your opinion. They receive communion and are respected in the Roman Catholic church. No one — no offense — has ever heard of you. Don’t tell me, you’re the Machen of Roman Catholicism?

    Like

  203. D. G. Hart
    Posted May 19, 2015 at 8:35 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, “As for Winters and Wills, they do not move the meter. Darryl’s reliance on them to attack Catholicism invalidates his efforts.”

    That’s like your opinion. They receive communion and are respected in the Roman Catholic church.

    “Respected in the Roman Catholic Church?” Butch, that’s so not true.

    National Catholic Reporter:

    Garry Wills Please Go Away
    by Michael Sean Winters | Feb. 14, 2013

    lifesitenews.com

    Bishop Finn: National Catholic Reporter should not call itself Catholic

    You’re starting to make David Barton look good.

    Like

  204. Susan,

    Catholics don’t worship images, so if you want to critique at least know the view of those you oppose. God didn’t miss he memo, He sent one to the Jews:

    God also told the Jews not to bow down to these images of cherubim and other such things.

    Like

  205. @Susan
    The GSS data is indeed sobering. On birth control, actual practice does not differ. Statistically every woman of childbearing age uses it. The exceptions are too rare to show up in surveys.

    To be sure adherence matters. On issues of domestic violence, the lowest rate is among conservative prots who attend more than once per month. Nominal conservative protestants have highest rates. Mainliners (nominal and active) and nons are in the middle. To be sure socioeconomic status is relevant here. RCs weren’t in this study AFAIK but I imagine the trend between adherence and benefit holds.

    ” without a constancy of beliefs to fall back on, the more confused and sinful the society becomes. Say what you will against the Church, her moral teachings are consistent, and the more Roman Catholic anyone’s beliefs and practices are, the more moral the society.”

    That’s a really interesting hypothesis. The link I gave also included international data. They found the opposite. As the fraction of the population that was RC increased, the fraction who approved of ssm and cohabitation increased.

    It might be interesting to watch how the needle moves as Latin America goes pentecostal at different rates. Already two countries are minority RC. Did corruption, domestic violence, drug abuse,etc improve relative to nations that saw lower conversion rates? A good empirical test of your hypothesis.

    Like

  206. Robert,

    “God also told the Jews not to bow down to these images of cherubim and other such things.”
    Right, but Catholics don’t bow in order to worship but to show respect to the substance that the signs point to( the people, or angels…). There is no latria going on, only dulia.

    sdb,

    wow, you know a lot about statistics!

    “It might be interesting to watch how the needle moves as Latin America goes pentecostal at different rates. Already two countries are minority RC. Did corruption, domestic violence, drug abuse,etc improve relative to nations that saw lower conversion rates? A good empirical test of your hypothesis.”

    It will be interesting to watch Latin America. Funny thing….when I told my former pastor that I was becoming Catholic because of her claims, he mentioned that Pentecostalism was growing in Latin America. Was I supposed to influenced to adopt Pentecostalism just because?
    It was like he had just said, “squirrel ! “, because I wasn’t converting based on consensus or popular movements. Every positive aspect that Pentecostalism has is part of the spiritual and theological tradition( and current teaching) of the RCC. You can’t reinvent the wheel, but you can build a new car out of all the parts.

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  207. Susan,

    O.K. Now follow up with the New Testament passage with the specific instructions for your images, statues, relics, etc.

    No one said you worship them. As the Heidelberg teaches, they’re a poor substitute for catchesis and preaching.

    Also watch the Werner Herzog doc on You Tube on how they lead to idolatry in Latin America.

    You were Reformed. You know better.

    Like

  208. Susan,

    Penecostals don’t obey the Pope and I thought that’s what made Catholicism the best religion.

    What good are the other things that Pentecostals took with them if they didn’t take him?

    Like

  209. Tom,

    How can you hold he OPC responsible for schism from the PCUSA AND hold the OPC responsible for what The PCUSA does?

    Lord help you if you ever have an ex-wife.

    Like

  210. vd, t, so if Wills and Winters are not legitimate, then doesn’t the 1.2 billion figure need to be revised? Wills and Winters are hardly alone. I mean, we’re still not sure of your church status. But we do know that what you say doesn’t count. No one except us agreeable Protestants is taking seriously what you say about Roman Catholicism.

    But you take Barton seriously as a historian?

    Like

  211. Seth:
    I am afraid that this is a splinter/log situation, especially since your Church doesn’t exactly have the
    best track record when it comes to “Church discipline”. Just sayin’.<<<<<

    The Catholic Church has a great track record of being one Church. That is important, since Jesus has only one body, one bride. He is only one Lord. There is only one faith. There is only one baptism. There is only one God and Father of all.

    Protestantism and all groups that are not Catholic have a great track record of being anything but one.

    It’s simple math.

    Like

  212. @Susan – what can I say, I’m a licensed professional…don’t try this at home!

    Funny thing….when I told my former pastor that I was becoming Catholic because of her claims, he mentioned that Pentecostalism was growing in Latin America. Was I supposed to influenced to adopt Pentecostalism just because?

    How bizarre. I guess if you want to join the winning team?

    Every positive aspect that Pentecostalism has is part of the spiritual and theological tradition( and current teaching) of the RCC. You can’t reinvent the wheel, but you can build a new car out of all the parts.

    JPII and Francis disagree with this, and even if they weren’t speaking ex cathedra, their
    “ordinary” teaching demands the submission of your intellect and will. Remember that Rome doesn’t claim to have spoken authoritatively much less infallibly on every question and allows that they can learn from non-RC sources (christian and not). Thus it is possible that even those lowly pentecostals have novel insights to the Christian faith that Rome can learn from. Triumphalism and pride are corrosive to faith.

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  213. “There is no latria going on, only dulia.” Well, that is simply false. Plus, you have hyperdulia going on with Mary. Besides the distinctions being unavailable in holy writ, the distinctions within RC itself are indistinguishable. This is evident in the categorizing of saints according to petition as each saint is regarded with his/her own particular gifting/power that he/she bestows upon the worthy petitioner. This is nothing less than polytheistic practice; of the moon, the sea, fertility, war, fertility etc.. The practice is so indivisible as regards Mary, that she continues to be elevated, including co-redemptrix, as the ‘orthodoxy’ tries to catch up with the practice(worship)

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  214. What I have noticed about the non-Catholic churches in Latin America is that they tend to keep the same moral values as when they were Catholics. IOW, they may be Protestants now, but scratch the surface and you will find a Catholic worldview.

    As I think about it, that may be the biggest factor in my conversion, actually. I hadn’t really thought of that. I adopted the Catholic worldview, so now I’m actually Catholic. Maybe that’s why Protestantism doesn’t make sense to me anymore. Huh.

    …and if you want to know where former Latin Catholics end up, I can tell you where some of them are.

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  215. @Mrs Webfoot
    You are still not adequately allowing for the fact that the RCC is currently hemorrhaging members at a rate as high as any protestant sect. Thus far your defense has been that most of these aren’t Christians any more as if this is a mitigating factor. But, (1) it isn’t true – most of the “spiritual but not religious” still identify as Christian, but have major problems with the institution (the cover up of abuse, lying about assets, and threatening victims with excommunication for bringing charges certainly hasn’t helped) and (2) it is still schism. Further, since the unity is not a unity of behavior but a unity of doctrine (as the CTCs tell us those who knowingly reject something that the church teaches excommunicate themselves and are thus separated), it seems that the ecclesiastical structure of the RCC has been as impotent at staunching division as prots.

    You can blame sola scriptura, priesthood of all believers, nominalism, or rejection of the episcopate, but these lack explanatory power for what is happening in your own sect (and other non-Christian ancient sects that have seen similar division once landing on our shores). A better explanation is religious freedom, wealth, consumerism, individualism, and pluralism (i.e., classical liberalism/Americanism) are corrosive to church unity.

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  216. sdb:
    Triumphalism and pride are corrosive to faith.<<<<<<

    Nonsense. There is nothing more corrosive to faith than unbelief and defeatism. You talk as if Easter Sunday had never happened. You talk as if Jesus was not able to build His Church. You talk as if the gates of hell overcame her.

    Remember, the Catholic Church views all believers in Christ as one Church, as part of her, right now.

    The very obvious triumphs of the Christian faith – the whole Church, not just one little part – are worth talking about and worth using as a defense of Christ’s sufficiency.

    But Francis is the first pope in my memory who really seems to believe it from the heart and not just as part of his theology that we are one in Christ and that he really wants people to come Home. If people decide not to, he still loves them. Maybe ‘cuz he’s Argentine and I get him. Es un viejo choro.

    Like

  217. TVD
    Posted May 19, 2015 at 8:54 pm | Permalink
    D. G. Hart
    Posted May 19, 2015 at 8:35 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, “As for Winters and Wills, they do not move the meter. Darryl’s reliance on them to attack Catholicism invalidates his efforts.”

    That’s like your opinion. They receive communion and are respected in the Roman Catholic church.

    “Respected in the Roman Catholic Church?” Butch, that’s so not true.

    National Catholic Reporter:

    Garry Wills Please Go Away
    by Michael Sean Winters | Feb. 14, 2013

    lifesitenews.com

    Bishop Finn: National Catholic Reporter should not call itself Catholic

    You’re starting to make David Barton look good.

    D. G. Hart
    Posted May 19, 2015 at 10:02 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, so if Wills and Winters are not legitimate, then doesn’t the 1.2 billion figure need to be revised? Wills and Winters are hardly alone. I mean, we’re still not sure of your church status. But we do know that what you say doesn’t count. No one except us agreeable Protestants is taking seriously what you say about Roman Catholicism.

    But you take Barton seriously as a historian?

    No, Professor, but I used to take you seriously as a historian. Now I’m not so sure.

    Are you still going to continue to argue Winters and Wills against the Catholic Church? Because it’s garbage, on every level.

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  218. @Mrs.Webfoot The challenges that Rome face are not an argument that therefore one should be protestant, and anecdotes are not contrary evidence. The data is not consistent with your assertion that pentecostal Christians in Latin America hold to the same moral values as Roman Catholics in.

    What is going on in the US? Simmons is worth looking at. From Dreher’s reflection on this issue:

    The challenge is that Catholic ecclesiology makes it difficult for the faithful to church-shop for parishes where the priest and the ethos is robustly Catholic. And a priest who is strongly evangelical and orthodox in his Catholicism may run into a buzzsaw of laity who reject the Church’s teaching, and want to keep the desultory status quo, and try to shut him down. A particular challenge that orthodox Catholic parents have is that they sometimes have to work against the institutional church to raise children who know and believe what their church teaches [sdb: Not sure how this is consistent with the demand that a faithful RC submit her intellect and will to her bishop].

    I don’t have the faintest idea how parish life can be revived under these conditions. Maybe you do. Those Catholics who want to remain Catholic, and want their children to remain Catholic, are going to have to give up waiting for the institution to come to their aid, and get about doing the work themselves, somehow [sdb: sounds protestant to me]. I suspect movements within the Catholic Church, like Communion & Liberation, will grow in prominence.

    The overall bottom line: churches that do not give people a reason to stay, and — more importantly — do not form them in the habits of the mind and heart that thicken their attachment to the practice of the faith — will continue to unwind. When I talk about the Benedict Option, I’m talking about embracing practices that anchor us more deeply to God and to our faith traditions. We are all — Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox — going to have to start thinking and behaving more monastically. Try to be all things to all people, and you will be nothing to a dwindling number. Evangelize, yes, but stop focusing so much on seekers, and instead build up the faith of finders.

    I think Dreher may be on the wrong track with his Benedict Option (though his views on this are continuously evolving), but I think he is right about the challenges Christians face more generally.

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  219. Triumphalism and pride are corrosive to faith.<<<<<<
    Nonsense. There is nothing more corrosive to faith than unbelief and defeatism.

    Yikes! “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble”.

    You talk as if Easter Sunday had never happened. You talk as if Jesus was not able to build His Church. You talk as if the gates of hell overcame her.

    Huh? Easter Sunday doesn’t mean we aren’t pilgrims awaiting our everlasting rest.

    Remember, the Catholic Church views all believers in Christ as one Church, as part of her, right now.

    Curious. Certainly this is the protestant view. I thought we were separated brethren and outside of the church.

    But Francis is the first pope in my memory who really seems to believe it from the heart and not just as part of his theology that we are one in Christ and that he really wants people to come Home. If people decide not to, he still loves them. Maybe ‘cuz he’s Argentine and I get him. Es un viejo choro.

    Double Curious. This is what they said about JPII (sans the Argentine part).

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  220. sdb, what I said was based on the merits of Christ and His ability to do what He says He is going to do.

    Matthew 16:13-20
    18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

    It is not triumphalist to present evidence in the Church of how Christ has been glorified in her. It is not inappropriate to remember her sins, either, or to call her to greater holiness now.

    Think of this, too. Do you sing A Mighty Fortress is Our God? Would you call it triumphalist? In part, you own your Protestant faith to that hymn. It’s even in the Presbyterian hymnal I am quite sure.

    sdb:
    Curious. Certainly this is the protestant view. I thought we were separated brethren and outside of the church.<<<<

    Maybe you didn’t know this.

    Protestants, Pentecostals, and all non-Catholics who practice Christian baptism – trinitarian – are separated brethren.

    Here is part of the Decree on Ecumenism – Unitatis Redintegratio. If you are a non-Catholic believer in Christ, this is talking about you.

    "It follows that the separated Churches(23) and Communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church.”

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decree_19641121_unitatis-redintegratio_en.html

    About Francis, I have read more from him and about him than some others because he is Jesuit and Argentine. Now the hard core Calvinists will not like this, but his friendship with Luis Palau made me like Francis right out of the box. At that time I had no interest in becoming Catholic. I just thought he was humble – as you pointed out – and genuine.

    Palau says that Francis told him to preach the Gospel and lead young people, especially, to Christ. This was before he became pope. Francis told him that most of them were basically pagans, even though they would claim to be Catholic.

    So, I think that Francis is good for the Church. The good thing that Pope St. John Paul II did was initiate the New Evangelization. It has been good for the Church, even the separated brethren part. The Church was complacent for too long, especially in Latin America. Now she has to get her act together and preach the Gospel. That’s a good thing.

    Don’t know what the future holds for any of us, but I do know that Christ wins and His Church in all that means will stand. It’s His promise after all.

    In fact, Pope St. John Paul II preached a great sermon in Santiago de Chile back in ‘87. In it he kept emphasizing the need to look to Christ, and only to Him. It was especially meaningful given the political situation of the country back then. Anyway…

    I wasn’t Catholic at the time.

    Yes, in many ways the Church is a mess, but for some reason, Jesus loves her, gave His life for her, and continues to give His life to her. It’s easy to see her as she is now and not how she will be in glory.

    Take care

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  221. Then there is the little matter of being justified by your words when you stand before Christ. Auburn Ave. people have read it. It’s in the Bible after all, and in Jesus’ own words.

    There we go again in arrogant and annoying ignorance as usual and par for ex prot papists. A swing and a miss.

     For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
    For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
    For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call [with their mouth?]upon him.
     For whosoever shall call [see above] upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Rom. 10:10-13

    . . . for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. Matt. 12:34

     For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. Matt. 12:37

    For by our words, we confess what we believe in our heart. That we have no hope or righteousness of our own, but that God in his mercy will justify and forgive us for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ who died in the place of sinners.

    (Not our righteousness, not Mary’s, not the pope’s or the saints. Not going to mass and worshipping a piece of bread or bowing down to a statue.)

    Which just goes to show the appalling and damnable ignorance, never mind hubris of your average patronizing “ex-prot” convert from Bry on down over here smarmily lecturing us about coming “home”.

    The stench of hypocrisy is so thick, you could cut it with a 2×4, never mind the doug fir contact lens that are all the rage for these apologists.
    It really is sad.

    My purpose here is to give some of the best minds in Protestantism their chance to set the record straight. I don’t seek out error, I seek the truth as you see it. But even if we stipulate your hermeneutic, that a church should be judged by its fruits, your church fails far more miserably than the churches you attack. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

    Snicker. The bestest mind of the rest outdoes himself. How do we shoot ourself in the foot when it’s stuck in our mouth? Brush our teeth at the same time we are cleaning our gun?

    Prots at least claim Scripture as fundamental.
    Rome redefines the Word of God to include the Tradition and the Magisterium.
    But the apostolic oral traditions are lost; likewise the list of infallible ex cathedra excrements statements of little papa. There is and will be no even uninspired table of contents for what romanists are required to believe. (Enter stage left, implicit/ignorant faith.)
    If that isn’t an opportunity for tyranny, abuse and soul murder, what is?

    Matthew 23:13  But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

    Catholics don’t worship images, so if you want to critique at least know the view of those you oppose. God didn’t miss he memo, He sent one to the Jews:

    It’s called the Book of Hebrews, Susan. The ceremonial worship has been abolished/fulfilled in Christ. That was the significance of the curtain in the temple being torn upon Christ’s death.
    As for the distinction between doulos and latreia, what give us any optimism about your powers of distinction in light of your past record here? IOW just calling a dog a cat to avoid the leash law won’t wash. Mary is the Co-Redemptress after all.

    Think of this, too. Do you sing A Mighty Fortress is Our God Infallible Church? Would you call it triumphalist?

    Is the mass a wicked and accursed idolatry?

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  222. Sean,

    I honestly don’t see what the problem is. The world functions in the way of etiquette and ceremoniousness. Servatus is a kind of honor that is required. If your were in the presence of the Queen of England, I’m pretty sure you’d bow, offer her your arm, serve her before serving other guests, etc.
    But you wouldn’t worship her as deity because you have knowledge that she is not that. Hyperdulia is fitting Mary, the mother of Jesus and everyone knows that she the mother of God and not God.

    I don’t accuse Reformers of worshiping the bible, St. Paul, the statue of John Knox at St Giles, or Calvin or Luther( or his famous toilet) through the medium of a portrait, so it’s really not fair to do this to Catholics. Once you have been informed how a revealed religion can be self-consistent, you should accept her knowledge of herself.
    Christian doctrine developed, and if it was able to make correct dogma along the way, keeping itself propelling strongly forward, but at the same time couldn’t recognize paganism in it’s midst, it would not have survived as an internally consistent entity.

    Here’s Newman: ” Corruptions indeed are to be found which sleep and are suspended; and these, as I have said, are usually called “decays:” such is not the ease with Catholicity; it does not sleep, it is not stationary even now; and that its long series of developments should be corruptions would be an instance of sustained error, so novel, so unaccountable, so preternatural, as to be little short of a miracle, and to rival those manifestations of Divine Power which constitute the evidence of Christianity. We sometimes view with surprise and awe the degree of pain and disarrangement which the human frame can undergo without succumbing; yet at length there comes an end. Fevers have their crisis, fatal or favourable; but this corruption of a thousand years, if corruption it be, has ever been growing nearer death, yet never reaching it, and has been strengthened, not debilitated, by its excesses”

    Speaking more to what you charged:

    “For instance: when the Empire was converted, multitudes, as is very plain, came into the Church on but partially religious motives, and with habits and opinions infected with the false worships which they had professedly abandoned. History shows us what anxiety and effort it cost her rulers to keep Paganism out of her pale. To this tendency must be added the hazard which attended on the development of the Catholic ritual, such as the honours publicly assigned to Saints and Martyrs, the formal veneration of their relics, and the usages and observances which followed. What was to hinder the rise of a sort of refined Pantheism, and the overthrow of dogmatism pari passu with {439} the multiplication of heavenly intercessors and patrons? If what is called in reproach “Saint-worship” resembled the polytheism which it supplanted, or was a corruption, how did Dogmatism survive? Dogmatism is a religion’s profession of its own reality as contrasted with other systems; but polytheists are liberals, and hold that one religion is as good as another. Yet the theological system was developing and strengthening, as well as the monastic rule, which is intensely anti-pantheistic, all the while the ritual was assimilating itself, as Protestants say, to the Paganism of former ages.”

    Link to that whole portion( ch 12) of the essay.
    http://www.newmanreader.org/works/development/chapter12.html

    Like

  223. Mrs. w. “I hadn’t really thought of that. I adopted the Catholic worldview, so now I’m actually Catholic.”

    You’re going to have to work on that conversion narrative if Bryan is going to include you on his scalp pole.

    Like

  224. Mrs. W., have you ever heard of the martyrdom of Perpetua? Have you ever thought “to die is gain”?

    You are interweb proof that Luther was right about the theology of glory.

    Like

  225. vd, t, “Are you still going to continue to argue Winters and Wills against the Catholic Church? Because it’s garbage, on every level.”

    Don’t bruise your foot stamping it.

    Like

  226. Mrs. w. But remember what another apostle says:

    So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. (Ephesians 2:19-21 ESV)

    Where’s your Peter now? If Peter was THUH GUY, why didn’t Paul get the memo?

    Like

  227. Susan, no Protestant does this with Paul, Knox or even TKNY:

    Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy! our life, our sweetness, and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley, of tears. Turn, then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us; and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus; O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

    Or this:

    Saint Anthony, great wonder-worker, intercede for us that God may grant us our request if it be for the good of our soul.

    Saint Anthony, be our patron, our protector, and our advocate in life and in death.

    Saint Anthony, attentive to those who invoke thee, grant us the aid of thy powerful intercession for the grace of holy purity, meekness, humility, obedience, the spirit of poverty, and perfect abandonment to the will of God.

    Saint Anthony, servant of Mary, obtain for us greater devotion to the blessed Mother of God.

    Like

  228. Statements to the effect that everything good in protestantism can be found in the RCC are not boasting in Christ or resting in his triumph over sin and death. It is ugly chest thumping and pride. You’re evidently a new convert in the honeymoon phase. Good for you. I’ve seen many others take the same path sprout up fast and lose their faith. A very public example is Dreher who is thankfully EO now. Reading about the ongoing unfolding of his faith journey and what his pride did to his faith when it ran into the buzzsaw of the abuse scandal is sobering. Defending your conceit with spiritual quips about Jesus is a recipe for spiritual disaster.

    Like

  229. Mrs.,

    What is the gospel? How does a person know they are going to heaven when they die?

    Tom? Susan?

    I know I can count on you, Susan.

    What is the Roman Catholic doctrine of justification?

    Like

  230. Webfoot & Susan: I don’t get into these RC discussions much but it’s evident you aren’t even being reasonable human beings. Look, we could “get it” if you admit obvious weaknesses and problems with RC while stating your allegiance and explaining why you have an allegiance to your church; lots of intelligent and respectable people have done so. But you come off like cult members.

    If you are going to do that kind of thing, do it for someone who’s won the Super Bowl four times. Scoreboards are always objective.

    Like

  231. It’s the height of charity that we call Roman Catholics Yankee fans. We are saying you are playing baseball just like us fans of the ‘stros or the fish:

    1 Los Angeles Dodgers $278,804,880 $-89,804,880
    2 New York Yankees $217,217,879 $-28,217,879
    3 Detroit Tigers $174,485,534 $14,514,466
    4 San Francisco Giants $172,352,677 $16,647,323
    5 Boston Red Sox $164,924,620 $24,075,380
    6 Washington Nationals $164,348,953 $24,651,047
    7 Texas Rangers $145,735,571 $43,264,429
    8 Los Angeles Angels $144,309,625 $44,690,375
    9 Philadelphia Phillies $140,506,111 $48,493,889
    10 Toronto Blue Jays $128,280,206 $60,719,794
    11 Seattle Mariners $124,638,776 $64,361,224
    12 St. Louis Cardinals $121,860,775 $67,139,225
    13 Cincinnati Reds $121,787,204 $67,212,796
    14 Baltimore Orioles $120,919,596 $68,080,404
    15 Chicago White Sox $117,965,126 $71,034,874
    16 Chicago Cubs $117,884,130 $71,115,870
    17 Kansas City Royals $117,173,951 $71,826,049
    18 New York Mets $109,331,202 $79,668,798
    19 San Diego Padres $109,139,107 $79,860,893
    20 Milwaukee Brewers $104,853,707 $84,146,293
    21 Minnesota Twins $101,887,182 $87,112,818
    22 Colorado Rockies $101,290,196 $87,709,804
    23 Atlanta Braves $99,101,052 $89,898,948
    24 Pittsburgh Pirates $89,267,499 $99,732,501
    25 Oakland Athletics $88,618,781 $100,381,219
    26 Cleveland Indians $87,319,929 $101,680,071
    27 Arizona Diamondbacks $86,483,946 $102,516,054
    28 Tampa Bay Rays $75,569,118 $113,430,882
    29 Miami Marlins $71,838,775 $117,161,225
    30 Houston Astros $70,822,912 $118,177,08

    source

    RC apologists, You do see when we say RCs and Presbys alike play ball, we are charitable. Right?

    Mud, this reminds me of Kenneth’s blind allegiance and over the top triumphalism. Web/Suz/Tom only help our cause as they continue, I hope they know that.

    Next

    Like

  232. MONEYBOX
    COMMENTARY ABOUT BUSINESS AND FINANCE.
    MARCH 14 2013 2:41 PM
    How Rich Is the Catholic Church?
    Nobody really knows, because religious groups don’t need to follow regular accounting and disclosure rules.

    By Matthew Yglesias
    Pope Francis placing flowers on an altar
    Pope Francis puts flowers on the altar inside St. Mary Major Basilica
    Photo by AP/L’Osservatore Romano

    Pope Francis is not just the spiritual leader of one of the world’s major religions: He’s also the head of what’s probably the wealthiest institution in the entire world. The Catholic Church’s global spending matches the annual revenues of the planet’s largest firms, and its assets—huge amounts of real estate, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Vatican City, some of the world’s greatest art—surely exceed those of any corporation by an order of magnitude.*

    But it turns out to be surprisingly difficult to understand exactly how rich the church is. That’s in part because church finances are complicated. But it’s also because, in the United States at least, churches in general are exempted from the financial reporting and disclosure requirements that otherwise apply to nonprofit groups. And it turns out, that exemption may have undesirable consequences.

    The main thing we know about Catholic Church finance is that in cash flow terms, the United States is by far the most important branch. America is a rich country with a large population of Catholics. What’s more, America’s Catholic population is a religious minority. That’s meant that, rather than using political clout to influence the shape of mainstream government institutions, as in an overwhelmingly Catholic country such as Brazil, the Catholic Church in the United States has created a parallel state: a vast web of schools, hospitals, universities, and charities that serve millions of clients.

    Advertisement

    Our best window into the overall financial picture of American Catholicism comes from a 2012 investigation by the Economist, which offered a rough-and-ready estimate of $170 billion in annual spending, of which almost $150 billion is associated with church-affiliated hospitals and institutions of higher education. The operating budget for ordinary parishes, at around $11 billion a year, is a relatively small share, and Catholic Charities is a smaller share still.

    Apple and General Motors, by way of comparison, each had revenue of about $150 billion worldwide in Fiscal Year 2012. Legally speaking, there is no such thing as “the Catholic Church,” which is why these finances get so complicated. As far as the law is concerned, each diocese is a separate legal entity, incorporated in the states where it operates. Generally speaking, they are organized as what’s known as a corporation sole—a legal corporation wholly controlled by the individual bishop rather than a board of directors—and not officially part of any larger transnational spiritual organization. This has led to conflicts during the sex abuse scandals. Lawsuits have caused disputes about how deep the church’s pockets go and who should pay.

    On several occasions, abuse-related litigation has inspired dioceses to declare bankruptcy, which offers a rare window into the internal financial organization of the institution. Individual parishes, though operating under the umbrella of the relevant bishop, have a fair degree of financial autonomy. They conduct separate fundraising and maintain separate expenses. That way, parish donors can feel they’re bolstering their particular community and not an impersonal bureaucracy. But it’s common for parish investment funds within a single diocese to be pooled. When a diocese declares bankruptcy, this raises the question of whether pooled parish investment funds are available to be seized by the bishop’s creditors or whether they exist separately.

    As a fascinating article in this month’s American Bankruptcy Institute Journal explains, the status of parish investment funds depends on some very subtle details. Both the Diocese of Milwaukee and the Diocese of Wilmington ran pooled investment funds in which a single account simply noted how much each parish had contributed. The difference is that in Wilmington, Del., operating funds were also mingled into the pooled account, whereas in Milwaukee they were kept separate. That small difference ended up costing Wilmington parishes $74 million in exposure to Episcopal creditors. At the same time, as a matter of Canon Law individual parishes can be wholly “suppressed,” merged into other parishes, or otherwise divided up, essentially at the discretion of the bishop—notwithstanding the existence of separate bank accounts. This authority suggests that the diocese does indeed wholly own and control its parishes, but church officials take advantage of the ambiguity, sometimes claiming to fully control its parishes, sometimes—for legal reasons—arguing that the parishes are wholly independent entities.

    Given America’s diverse religious landscape, the Catholic Church is hardly unique in taking advantage of the First Amendment to engage in some opaque accounting. It’s simply the largest player in this game. Lawrence Wright’s recent Scientology exposé, Going Clear, reveals egregious exploitation of religious privileges for the personal financial benefit of church leaders. Or consider the case of the Tennessee pastor arrested on money laundering and drug charges only because a local TV news investigation revealed that he was using donations to pay off what amounted to personal debts.

    The legal framework that allows for this funny business has been constructed in the name of religious freedom but hardly seems required by that important principle. America has a robust ecology of secular nonprofit groups that manage to abide by fairly stringent accounting and disclosure standards. These help donors know where their money is going and reassure residual claimants that there’s some consistent theory of whose assets are whose. Religion is big business—the Catholic Church the biggest of all—and it deserves to be treated as such in the relevant ways.
    http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2013/03/catholic_church_and_pope_francis_religious_institutions_are_exempted_from.html

    Like

  233. Susan, I nor any number of those with Charism, can’t understand why you can’t see what the problem is. You can create categories of extreme hyperdulia if you’d like, but there’s a real problem with rank paganism and polytheistic superstition in the pews, and RC dogma and practice have added to, not taken away from this reality.

    Like

  234. Susan,

    Sean gets at a real problem with RC doctrine in the area of the saints and Mary. Even if we grant the sophisticated distinctions Rome makes, how much of that filters down to the pew? Not much, if any. The saints and Mary cult, in my observation, is a bit more toned down here in the U.S.; how much of that is due to this being a majority Protestant country is anyone’s guess. But go look at what happens in the rest of the world. What is done in those countries is not discernibly different than pagan polytheism in many cases. This does not concern you?

    Like

  235. BubEssSpeaketh
    Posted February 9, 2015 at 11:36 am | Permalink
    Comments are open, spam flies, flatulence ensues and cacophony reigns.
    Welcome to the virtual comboxing ring resizeable at will at the bottom of the page where one can peer into the white pixelated fog of the infinite ether and wrestle with the lightness of being a moron.

    Comments are open, minds are closed and the opinions run from a to z.
    If you can’t spell, that’s not our problem.

    cheers

    By the way, it would take me about another 10 mintues to figure out how many are the CTCers paying attention? threads have been written since late 2012, but so far in 2015, I count 34, with a total of 2,913 comments. I think in the last few years, there were some real monster threads in the 800/900 comment range.

    How many more days before Rod & Carl v. Brad (let charity leak) thread falls off the front page of 10 latests olts posts, and this too enters the annals of history…

    Any guesses on total number of comments on CTCers paying attention threads? It’s like a big jar of jelly beans, guess the number, anyone? I’m gonna say 10,000.

    Like

  236. What Muddy, Sean, and Robert said. Your religion (at its global norm) is superstition and syncretistic paganism, prima facie. It is magic and mazes. It has no sure way of salvation. It is almost as far removed from biblical Xianity as can be imagined. You should be flattered that DGH gives you as much attention as he does.

    Like

  237. 235 blog posts are the ctcers paying attention, we average 81.33 comments per post. our max were 586, 607, and 623.

    keep up the good work, fellas. check my math at the link above

    next

    Like

  238. Mrs. W.,

    The Catholic Church has a great track record of being one Church. That is important, since Jesus has only one body, one bride. He is only one Lord. There is only one faith. There is only one baptism. There is only one God and Father of all.

    Really? What about the Great Schism? What about the Reformation, the Sedevacantists, or the Papal Schism of 1378? Please. All of these are failures of being “one Church”. Maybe in your white-washed narrative you guys were lovey-dovey and Hakuna Matata, but there are a lot of bodies buried in the back yard.

    Again, you’re part of a denomination that really began at the Council of Trent as a reactionary group to the Reformers. You will find no great Edenic church prior to the Reformation. Instead, you’ll find dead Cathars, Three Popes, and Papa Sergius III. No unity – definitely a pornocracy.

    Like

  239. We can’t stop until we have a comment for every one of the 33,000 prot denoms.

    No slowing down down Cwlu!!

    Like

  240. AB,

    Our best window into the overall financial picture of American Catholicism comes from a 2012 investigation by the Economist, which offered a rough-and-ready estimate of $170 billion in annual spending, of which almost $150 billion is associated with church-affiliated hospitals and institutions of higher education. The operating budget for ordinary parishes, at around $11 billion a year, is a relatively small share, and Catholic Charities is a smaller share still.

    So much for word and sacramentssssssss.

    Like

  241. cwl, flattered by my attention?

    what are you saying? This is fascinating. Not only is Roman Catholicism a religion deeply entangled in the making and history of the West, and had a really hard time adjusting to modernity (Judaism and Islam did also), but we have real live Roman Catholics who can screen all that clutter and become the Tom Cruises of their communion.

    Where else do you get a show like this?

    Like

  242. DG, I mean no one in their local churches or orbits is taking this seriously — they have to come here to get their papist mojo on.

    EC, maybe passive-aggressive is a synonym for unification. I love everybody. But I can count, too.

    Like

  243. I want to thank all you guys and Susan for this really good discussion. Yes, it gets a little ugly at times, but that is the nature of theological discussions, I suppose. Family feud? 😉

    Back a ways in the discussion there were comments about idolatry in the Catholic Church related to statures. I know that’s hard for Protestants.

    I would like to point out, though, that the removal of statues from your churches has not done anything to stop idolatry. So, I would suggest that statues are not a problem per se. In fact, Protestants do use images in their churches. Some of the most beautiful stained glass windows are in Protestant churches, and they often depict Biblical scenes with Biblical characters, even Jesus. Also, during advent, statues of the nativity, the Holy Family, the 3 Kings, and so forth are used. So, Protestants must not really believe that having statues and other images is a violation of your 2nd Commandment.

    It is the veneration of such statues and what they represent that you object to – and I think because you do not understand what veneration means. It does not mean worship, but I am straying from the point I wish to make.

    Idolatry is a heart issue. Having or not having statues or even having them and venerating them does not automatically lead to idolatry. Otherwise, why in the Reformed tradition is idolatry a constant theme? It must be a problem for you, even though you do not venerate the images you have in your churches.

    Why do you burn candles in your churches, or have a cross if such images are the equivalent of idolatry and therefore a violation of your 2nd Commandment?

    Besides, Catholics also warn against idolatry. We are taught not to worship the image, but to contemplate the mysteries of Christ.

    You might be interested in Elizabeth Scalia’s treatment of the subject of idolatry in modern life. You might be surprised, even, and find yourself agreeing with a Catholic! So, beware.

    http://www.amazon.com/Strange-Gods-Unmasking-Idols-Everyday-ebook/dp/B00CYWXFNG/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

    Like

  244. Mrs.,

    No stained glass windows in Reformed Churches.

    You need to argue against Reformed theology if you’re going to be effective here – not “Protestantism”.

    Since you referenced Luis Palau earlier I’m guessing Reformed is not your background.

    Like

  245. Sean,

    I disagree with you about paganism and superstition in the pews. If it exists in people, it doesn’t follow that the Church condones it. I’m scrupulous but the faith shouldn’t remove the doctrine of hell for my sake.
    If you think veneration of saints and prayer to the dead (who are alive with Jesus in Heaven) is polytheistic and pagan then of course what you witness and hear is going to set off alarms. Did you ever consider that the way the church exists today is perfectly consistent with how it began 2000 yrs ago? It didn’t begin as a bible study, so why do you believe a reduction of its elements will give you a faithful picture of Christianity? Everything that Christianity has was added to it through the centuries but those elements existed as truth in those other places, so Christianity wasn’t baptizing pagan elements, it was gathering up pieces as from a great shipwreck. Now it all exists in the fullness of Catholicism.

    St. John Damascene in defence of the further developments:

    “As to the passages you adduce,” he says to his opponents, “they abominate not the worship paid to our Images, but that of the Greeks, who made them gods. It needs not therefore, because of the absurd use of the Greeks, to abolish our use which is so pious. Enchanters and wizards use adjurations, so does the Church over its Catechumens; but they invoke devils, and she invokes God against devils. Greeks dedicate images to devils, and call them gods; but we to True God Incarnate, and to God’s servants and friends, who drive away the troops of devils.” [Note 18] Again, “As the holy Fathers overthrew the temples and shrines of the devils, and raised in their places shrines in the {377} names of Saints and we worship them, so also they overthrew the images of the devils, and in their stead raised images of Christ, and God’s Mother, and the Saints. And under the Old Covenant, Israel neither raised temples in the name of men, nor was memory of man made a festival; for, as yet, man’s nature was under a curse, and death was condemnation, and therefore was lamented, and a corpse was reckoned unclean and he who touched it; but now that the Godhead has been combined with our nature, as some life-giving and saving medicine, our nature has been glorified and is trans-elemented into incorruption. Wherefore the death of Saints is made a feast, and temples are raised to them, and Images are painted … For the Image is a triumph, and a manifestation, and a monument in memory of the victory of those who have done nobly and excelled, and of the shame of the devils defeated and overthrown.” Once more, “If because of the Law thou dost forbid Images, you will soon have to sabbatize and be circumcised, for these ordinances the Law commands as indispensable; nay, to observe the whole law, and not to keep the festival of the Lord’s Pascha out of Jerusalem: but know that if you keep the Law, Christ hath profited you nothing … But away with this, for whoever of you are justified in the Law have fallen from grace

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  246. Mrs. – . Otherwise, why in the Reformed tradition is idolatry a constant theme? It must be a problem for you, even though you do not venerate the images you have in your churches.

    Erik – No, it’s a problem for Yahweh worshippers. Read your Bible.

    Not many candles (if any) in Reformed churches either.

    You’re Tokyo Rose again.

    Like

  247. Erik Charter
    Posted May 20, 2015 at 10:35 am | Permalink
    Chortles,

    #passiveaggressive

    If you’re coming after me (and Andy) – bring it.

    Erik, I’m 33 with 3 young mouths to feed (under age 9), I’m not one for an internet fight see here, the sport I’m into is golf, which is a gentlemen’s sport, and while there’s plenty of Schadenfreude on the golf course, what i really dig is me vs. the course, especially hole 11 on my home course. I could tell you the stories of trying to get the ball up that steep grade, but I haven’t given up yet.

    In other words, CW is a lover, not a fighter, and I believe him. I have one more comment from you, my cpa brother, but only one link per post. here i go.

    Like

  248. EC: You need to argue against Reformed theology if you’re going to be effective here – not “Protestantism”.

    I haven’t read anything remotely close to even a 1% grasp of Reformed Theology by Webfoot and Susan on OLTS.

    Like

  249. Kent (hi), and the reason is easy.

    What they know is mostly (all of it) from Bryan Cross and Tom Van Dyke.

    They need to go listen to their papi and stop learning from the prot turned caths. Those guys are a different breed (just ask sean).

    But they do have cute avatars, I give them that..

    Like

  250. Erik, if we can just heed M.Lewinski (hash tag YOU), I think we’re ok.

    Or if you don’t listen to women preaching, hear holy writ. I only wish to bring balance to the force peace to the combox, no more, no less. take care, i should stop posting now for a while (i’ll try)

    “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

    (Matthew 5:9 ESV)

    Like

  251. AB, it’s like getting stuck in a chat with a “big Yankees fan” and they have never heard of Ruth, DiMaggio, Mantle, Munson, Reggie, or Jeter.

    Like

  252. kent, You know it. One doesn’t follow this blog and read almost every comment for going on 3 years (me) and not learn a thing or two. IOW same stuff, different day. God bless, brother.

    Like

  253. There hasn’t been a thing to learn from our RCC friends on here, the same old thing over and over, and they are the visiting team.

    Like

  254. The classic RC apologist’s response: “I would like to point out, though, that the removal of statues from your churches has not done anything to stop idolatry.”

    If you can’t fix the church, then let us have more idols.

    Like

  255. D. G. Hart
    Posted May 20, 2015 at 6:25 am | Permalink
    vd, t, “Are you still going to continue to argue Winters and Wills against the Catholic Church? Because it’s garbage, on every level.”

    Don’t bruise your foot stamping it.

    Darryl, when you get yourself into a hole, especially one this big, you should stop digging.

    “As for the life of the Christian faith, Luther wanted to alter the Church and he ended up dividing it. Calvin wanted to purify the Church and he bequeathed to the Western world a view of grace as a stingy thing, dispenses only to the predestined. Does Wills think those alterations were good?

    I think the editors at the Times captured Wills’ argument in the title they assigned to his article: “New Pope? I’ve Given Up Hope.” I commend Mr. Wills to the First Peter 3:15, “Always be prepared to give an account of the hope that is within you.” I cannot see into this man’s soul, but any soul who has given up hope must ask if he has not also lost his faith. And, if his faith is lost, he is not part of the sensus fidelium.

    I hope Mr. Wills rediscovers his faith and his hope but until he does, he should stop posing as a Christian commentator.—Michael Sean Winters

    Your authority–not mine–Winters against your other authority on Catholicism, Wills.

    Against Luther and Calvin too. You might want to rethink this.

    http://ncronline.org/blogs/distinctly-catholic/garry-wills-please-go-away

    Like

  256. D. G. Hart
    Posted May 20, 2015 at 10:33 am | Permalink
    AB,

    Our best window into the overall financial picture of American Catholicism comes from a 2012 investigation by the Economist, which offered a rough-and-ready estimate of $170 billion in annual spending, of which almost $150 billion is associated with church-affiliated hospitals and institutions of higher education. The operating budget for ordinary parishes, at around $11 billion a year, is a relatively small share, and Catholic Charities is a smaller share still.

    So much for word and sacramentssssssss.

    Wow, I learn the darndest things here, despite yourselves. Although if anything, gross revenues and expenditures on the colleges and hospitals probably put the Catholic Church in the black, not the red, meaning they make money off them, not the reverse.

    Another Old Life charge of questionable intelligence, and manifestly one of insufficient research. Not that I expect y’all care either way about the truth of the matter.

    sacramentssssssss.

    Hmm.

    Like

  257. TVD, whatever you say, man.

    Hey, keep mopping the place up. I don’t know why you continue, you say it’s for the lurkers. It seems arminian to me, but then again, the RCC you follow is semi-pelagian with its tridentine nonsense. Keep it up, you are making pope francis proud, and maybe working off time in purgatory? As for us, no problems here on that front:

    CHAPTER 32
    Of the State of Men after Death, and of the Resurrection of the Dead

    1. The bodies of men, after death, return to dust, and see corruption: but their souls, which neither die nor sleep, having an immortal subsistence, immediately return to God who gave them: the souls of the righteous, being then made perfect in holiness, are received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God, in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies. And the souls of the wicked are cast into hell, where they remain in torments and utter darkness, reserved to the judgment of the great day. Besides these two places, for souls separated from their bodies, the Scripture acknowledgeth none.

    2. At the last day, such as are found alive shall not die, but be changed: and all the dead shall be raised up, with the selfsame bodies, and none other (although with different qualities), which shall be united again to their souls forever.

    3. The bodies of the unjust shall, by the power of Christ, be raised to dishonor: the bodies of the just, by his Spirit, unto honor; and be made conformable to his own glorious body.

    Like

  258. Erik:
    No stained glass windows in Reformed Churches.<<<

    Well, actually, you are wrong. Check out the link below. I can find many more examples if you like. Now, if the OPC does not use stained glass windows, and it it wants to argue that they are the only group that is truly Reformed, then have at it.

    http://sachapel.com/about/who-we-are/our-place-

    Like

  259. D. G. Hart
    Posted May 20, 2015 at 10:03 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, in your estimation, what are the three greatest challenges facing Roman Catholicism?

    Butch, why try to initiate principled discussion at this late date? Every time I do, you make me regret it. Anything I say can and will be used against me.

    The frog and the scorpion. Charlie Brown and the football. The only learning now is in how to recognize the well-rehearsed traps http://biblehub.com/mark/12-13.htm and point them out to others.

    But since I am Charlie Brown, my dear Lucy–the shame is not his that she pulls the football away–perhaps it’s entirely proper you asked for 3 answers. The first is the question of God of course. Classical theism.

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  260. Mrs.,

    Good find. That church was founded in 1997. I can’t find any denominational affiliation so they could be a bunch of CREC-like oddballs doing mix & match. “Saint” in a Reformed church’s name? They say they’re “word centered” and then use stained glass? I haven’t looked at everything, but these cats probably need to be taken to the woodshed.

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  261. cw l’unificateur
    Posted May 20, 2015 at 9:56 am | Permalink
    Over/under on number of comments by EC and AB? 12%?
    _____
    cw l’unificateur
    Posted May 20, 2015 at 10:20 am | Permalink
    Erik, my timeline is an open book of peace, love, and understanding. And I was trying to be nice by positing a figure so low as 12%.

    Sometimes it’s a clean sweep, all 10 of the Recent Comments are Andrew or Erik.

    People notice things: You can’t fool all of the people all of the time. Cheers, CW. I see why you instituted the 3-comment rule, Darryl.

    Perhaps a 30-comment per day rule, though. That would clear a lot of the clutter.

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  262. D.G. Hart:
    The classic RC apologist’s response: “I would like to point out, though, that the removal of statues from your churches has not done anything to stop idolatry.”

    If you can’t fix the church, then let us have more idols.>>>>>

    Catholics do not worship false gods. Catholics worship the Triune God of the Bible.

    Both Catholics and Protestants warn against idolatry. Saints are venerated, as in honored, in the Church. Protestants honor their great leaders, and even name their branches of theology after men like Luther and Calvin.

    In fact, when a Calvinist uses an image of Calvin, and then talks about how great he was and what he did for Christianity, they are honoring a mere man. Even calling yourselves by his name is giving him great honor. Colleges, churches, and a whole branch of theology all proudly use Calvin’s name. How is that not idolatry? That is, if what Catholics do with images and saints is idolatry.

    Here is what the Catechism says about idolatry.:
    2113 Idolatry not only refers to false pagan worship. It remains a constant temptation to faith. Idolatry consists in divinizing what is not God. Man commits idolatry whenever he honors and reveres a creature in place of God, whether this be gods or demons (for example, satanism), power, pleasure, race, ancestors, the state, money, etc. Jesus says, “You cannot serve God and mammon.” Many martyrs died for not adoring “the Beast” refusing even to simulate such worship. Idolatry rejects the unique Lordship of God; it is therefore incompatible with communion with God.

    Here is what the CCC says about images:
    IV. “YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FOR YOURSELF A GRAVEN IMAGE . . .”

    2129 The divine injunction included the prohibition of every representation of God by the hand of man. Deuteronomy explains: “Since you saw no form on the day that the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, beware lest you act corruptly by making a graven image for yourselves, in the form of any figure. . . . “66 It is the absolutely transcendent God who revealed himself to Israel. “He is the all,” but at the same time “he is greater than all his works.”67 He is “the author of beauty.”68

    2130 Nevertheless, already in the Old Testament, God ordained or permitted the making of images that pointed symbolically toward salvation by the incarnate Word: so it was with the bronze serpent, the ark of the covenant, and the cherubim.69

    2131 Basing itself on the mystery of the incarnate Word, the seventh ecumenical council at Nicaea (787) justified against the iconoclasts the veneration of icons – of Christ, but also of the Mother of God, the angels, and all the saints. By becoming incarnate, the Son of God introduced a new “economy” of images.

    2132 The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first commandment which proscribes idols. Indeed, “the honor rendered to an image passes to its prototype,” and “whoever venerates an image venerates the person portrayed in it.”70 The honor paid to sacred images is a “respectful veneration,” not the adoration due to God alone:

    Religious worship is not directed to images in themselves, considered as mere things, but under their distinctive aspect as images leading us on to God incarnate. The movement toward the image does not terminate in it as image, but tends toward that whose image it is.71

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c1a1.htm

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  263. Seth( great name. it’s my son’s name too:) I don’t hear it often and that’s one reason I chose it. Out of curiosity, do you live in Ca. I hope you don’t mind me asking, but are you or were you a friend of J. Stellman?

    Okay, I’ll get to my point:Really? And again I hope you don’t mind me interjecting, but I enjoy thoughtful dialogue.
    What about the Great Schism? What about the Reformation, the Sedevacantists, or the Papal Schism of 1378? Please. All of these are failures of being “one Church”.

    The answer this is that the one church( mystical body by receiving Christ’s body) is still the one church.

    Maybe in your white-washed narrative you guys were lovey-dovey and Hakuna Matata, but there are a lot of bodies buried in the back yard.

    You are upset over the atrocities of the past done by Catholics against Protestants? I understand. Lots have been by both sides. Does Protestant violence cancel out Protestant doctrine?

    Again, you’re part of a denomination that really began at the Council of Trent as a reactionary group to the Reformers. You will find no great Edenic church prior to the Reformation. Instead, you’ll find dead Cathars, Three Popes, and Papa Sergius III. No unity – definitely a pornocracy

    Okay, so maybe you aren’t who I thought you were. The man I thought you might be is a father to two young children( a boy and a girl) and I doubt he would use the term “pornocracy”.
    I understand that you might consider the RCC to be just another denomination, but for there to be only denominations on the face of this planet implies that either there has never been the church of the living God, as in the pillar and foundation of truth that the gates of hades would not prevail against, or she did exist but has since died at some point to be resurrected into denominations. What gives?

    Since I never get a substantive reply from Darryl( not so with Jeff, Robert, SDB), only hand waving( these are not the droids you are looking for), I don’t think I should engage anymore. If you guys are interested to learn more about what really pulls Protestants towards The Church, you will do our own research when the time comes. My hope is that someday you will pick up Ronald Knox, and John Henry Newman, and Richard John Neuhaus, and GK Chesterton, and all the many others who really believed that the RCC was what it claimed to be. Maybe one day, something will necessitate that you find out why they and many, many others could believe this far fetched idea. Seems crazy, right?

    ~Susan

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  264. @Susan:

    Veneration itself is problematic. The command in Exodus is, Do not make graven images nor bow down or worship

    οὐ προσκυνήσεις αὐτοῖς οὐδὲ μὴ λατρεύσῃς αὐτοῖς

    Now comes Nicea 2 and says that λατρεύσῃς (worship) is forbidden, but προσκυνήσεις (veneration) is ok.

    No. God wrote with His own finger that we are to do neither of those things to graven images, not even if the high priest Aaron himself points to the calf and says “This is the Lord your God.” Nor council nor Pope has the authority to permit what God has forbidden.

    It’s the words of the Sign, Puddleglum, and we daren’t muff it. We must obey.

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  265. Ummm, lemme me see Susan. I can count on the fingers of one amputated webfoot just how many times I have seen a protestant bow down to and burn candles in front of a picture of Spurgeon, Calvin, Knox or Luther before we even talk about also kneeling down in front of the image idol picture.

    Throwing money or darts at a picture of Benny Hinn? Now that’s a real possibility.

    When D.G. needs a deputy I’m sure he’ll send you a plastic star you can wear on your shirt.

    Chort, dude paid a thou to worm his foot back into the ring so now he thinks he owns the place.

    Mrs. W has a great idea tho. Since it is always possible to sin in your heart by being angry at your fellow idolater papist, laws against actually murdering your fellow idolater papist are redundant and need to be revoked.
    Hmmm. This could get very interesting.

    As for St. John of Damascus, careful Suse. He’s EO. Likewise it is one thing for God to command images that were to accompany the ceremonial worship, another thing to invent our own after Christ has fulfilled and done away with the ceremonial worship.

    IOW substantive engagement for a romanist is to ignore what conflicts with their narrative. Which is why it is not called parrot judgement for nothing.

    As for W, she didn’t reply when we quoted the Roman Catechism on the sacrifice of the mass. Why are we supposed to pay attention when she quotes it on idolatry? (Saint Andrews? Sproul is an incipient papist on the RPW).

    Yo S (this is like shooting fish in a barrel.) Go here for a mention of pornocracy on Roman Catholic Answers. Or are you going to tell us papists can use the word, but prots can’t?

    As for what pulls prots to Rome? Simple. Unbelief aided and abetted by ignorance, more often than not wilful. (For proof, Snow White only has to look in the mirror.)

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  266. vd, t, I ask because you don’t acknowledge any of the problems that other Roman Catholics mention. You always say that citations from other reputable sources are “attacks.”

    So I wonder if you think Roman Catholicism has any problems.

    Your answer suggests that to admit imperfections is a trap. Denying buyer’s remorse is for converts, not cradles.

    And if you think I’m dishonest about conservative Presbyterianism, you don’t read Old Life. Blaming me for avoiding the PCUSA is a dodge. The OPC hasn’t considered the PCUSA to be a serious contender since 1967.

    So why not put some of your cards on the table?

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  267. mrs. w., I’ll ask what I ask Susan. Then why do you pray to saints:

    Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy! our life, our sweetness, and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley, of tears. Turn, then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us; and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus; O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

    Or this:

    Saint Anthony, great wonder-worker, intercede for us that God may grant us our request if it be for the good of our soul.

    Saint Anthony, be our patron, our protector, and our advocate in life and in death.

    Saint Anthony, attentive to those who invoke thee, grant us the aid of thy powerful intercession for the grace of holy purity, meekness, humility, obedience, the spirit of poverty, and perfect abandonment to the will of God.

    Saint Anthony, servant of Mary, obtain for us greater devotion to the blessed Mother of God.

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  268. Susan, “white-washed narrative”? Are you serious? Do you only read the comments? Did you not see this?

    First Carl:

    The problem here is that the context for the Reformation – the failure of the papal system to reform itself, a failure in itself lethal to notions of papal power and authority – seems to have been forgotten in all of the recent aggressive attacks on scriptural perspicuity. These are all empirical facts and they are all routinely excused, dismissed or simply ignored by Roman Catholic writers. Perspicuity was not the original problem; it was intended as the answer. One can believe it to be an incorrect, incoherent, inadequate answer; but then one must come up with something better – not simply act as if shouting the original problem louder will make everything all right. Such an approach to history and theology is what I call the Emerald City protocol: when defending the great and powerful Oz, one must simply pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

    Rod adds:

    Trueman points out that it’s simply not true that Catholicism today offers a unified doctrinal front in the face of Protestant disarray. That really is true, and something that Protestants who despair of the messes in their own churches don’t see when they idealize Rome. As Trueman points out, the Roman Catholic Church is enormous, and contains within it believers — even priests and theologians — who believe and teach things completely opposed to each other, and even to authoritative Catholic teaching. I have spoken to Catholics in Catholic educational institutions who are afraid to voice public support for Roman Catholic teaching on homosexuality for fear of being punished by the Roman Catholic authorities who run those institutions. The institution of the papacy has done little or nothing to arrest this. Maybe there’s not much it can do. The point is, though, that having a Catechism and having a Magisterium presided over by a Pope is no guarantee that your church won’t fall into de facto disarray. Roman Catholicism on the ground in the United States is effectively a Mainline Protestant church.

    That is not an argument against Catholic ecclesiology, strictly speaking. But it’s something that Catholics who defend it against Protestantism must account for. And it’s fair to ask why it is that having such a strong hierarchical and doctrinal system has produced at least two generations of American Catholics who don’t know their faith, and who are no different from non-Evangelical Protestants, or non-believers.

    Back to Carl for one more shot:

    Dr. Gregory sets out to prove that Protestantism is the source of all, or at least many, of the modern world’s ills; but what he actually does is demonstrate in painstaking and compelling detail that medieval Catholicism and the Papacy with which it was inextricably bound up were ultimately inadequate to the task which they set – which they claimed! – for themselves. Reformation Protestantism, if I can use the singular, was one response to this failure, as conciliarism had been a hundred years before. One can dispute the adequacy of such responses; but only by an act of historical denial can one dispute the fact that it was the Papacy which failed.

    Thanks to the death of medieval Christendom and to the havoc caused by the Reformation and beyond, Dr Gregory is today free to believe (or not) that Protestantism is an utter failure. Thanks to the printing press, he is also free to express this in a public form. Thanks to the modern world which grew as a response to the failure of Roman Catholicism, he is also free to choose his own solution to the problems of modernity without fear of rack or rope. Yet, having said all that, I for one find it strange indeed that someone would choose as the solution that which was actually the problem in the first place.

    Or this?

    In Catholicism, the ethos at the parish level is, in general, more like a sacrament factory. The worship experience is a lot like Mainline Protestantism, actually, and if you’re going to do Protestantism, the Evangelicals are much, much better at it. Some intellectual Catholics of an orthodox orientation, conceding the flaws in worship, liturgical and otherwise, stand firm on the intellectual arguments for Catholicism. Despite its problems, they will say, the Roman church remains the church that Christ founded, and unlike all other churches (except the Orthodox, who are negligible in an Americn context) it has the Real Presence of the Eucharist at its center. I spoke to a frustrated but faithful Catholic recently who said that despite all the problems at the local level, he keeps going to mass because he believes that is the only place to truly experience Jesus in the Eucharist.

    As an ex-Catholic turned Orthodox, I obviously don’t agree with that analysis, but it does make sense. The problem with it is that it does not make sense to most dissatisfied Catholics, as the dramatic Pew numbers show.

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  269. vd, t, is the German Roman Catholic Church a challenge?

    The German Catholic crisis is not primarily institutional; the Catholic Church is Germany’s second-largest employer and its institutions are robust. The crisis is one of faith. German Catholicism is in crisis because German Catholics have not embraced the Lord Jesus and his Gospel with passion, conviction and joy, and are seeking their happiness elsewhere. That’s sad; that‘s tragic; that’s dispiriting.

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  270. Cw, like JJS, TVD seeks to divide what we have here, getting you to go after me and Erik. As if everyone doesn’t already know which NBA team each and everyone of us roots for out here.

    I do enjoy watching roman apologists when they get desperate. Same stuff different day.

    Who’s next?

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  271. Erik, that email thing with JJS was interesting. He’s clearly still fixated on Calvinism like BCross is.

    Same stuff different day (SS,DD).

    My new sign off.

    SS,DD,

    Andrew

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  272. Mrs.,

    You think Zrim would darken the door of any Christian Reformed Church with “friendship” in its name?

    Here’s the difference: we can avoid Reformed churches doing stupid things. You’re stuck.

    That’s why we’re critics and you’re an apologist.

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  273. Susan,

    I’m your fellow Californian, as is Tom Van Dyke.

    Please focus on TVD. He hopes he goes to hell. You have bigger problems in your house in other words. Write back when he goes to church with you, mmkay?

    We know you love these little Facebook chats asking about where people live. But instead the issues are what matter. Unless you want to talk Hobbit with me? I know you still haven’t finished..I dont need to ask.

    Take care.

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  274. Since I’ve stirred Erik up with the mildest of jabs I’ll share something with everyone that I believe I shared with him long ago. Chortles Weakly was created a couple of years ago to give Erik heck for his serial comments. I quickly came to like and appreciate him so my focus turned to other things. Some even thought that CW was an Erik project at first. Things have gotten weird a couple of times but I trust we can get along. We never envisioned an AB at that time. Who could have?

    Tom, you’re still a clown but I still say you’d be cool to hang out with.

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  275. Hmmm. It looks like you guys idolize the OPC. You’re everyone’s critic and no one’s defender. No wonder you are dying. You have nothing to defend anymore. The only “truth” you represent is the truth of total depravity in everyone else.

    You are not Reformed.

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  276. Erik, she whose feet are webbed has a point. Our CRC not only did stained glass but stained infractions of the second. But at least it was named after Calvin and not friendship.

    http://www.calvincrc.org/

    But, she whose feet are webbed, there was still way more Reformation there than in evangelicalism or RCism.

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  277. I would like to point out, though, that the removal of statues from your churches has not done anything to stop idolatry. So, I would suggest that statues are not a problem per se.

    Not to go all Bryan Cross, but the reasoning here is false. I could say, water sprinklers don’t make side walks wet because I stopped using them, but when I went out today the sidewalks were wet. In other words, while the use of images in worship may be a sufficient cause, they are not a necessary cause.

    In fact, Protestants do use images in their churches. Some of the most beautiful stained glass windows are in Protestant churches, and they often depict Biblical scenes with Biblical characters, even Jesus. Also, during advent, statues of the nativity, the Holy Family, the 3 Kings, and so forth are used. So, Protestants must not really believe that having statues and other images is a violation of your 2nd Commandment.

    It is true that protestant churches are not (ahem…) unified on this topic. Even reformed churches disagree how far to go on the regulative principle. The confessions are pretty clear that veneration of images/statues and praying to the dead is a big no no.

    It is the veneration of such statues and what they represent that you object to – and I think because you do not understand what veneration means. It does not mean worship, but I am straying from the point I wish to make.

    Idolatry is a heart issue. Having or not having statues or even having them and venerating them does not automatically lead to idolatry. Otherwise, why in the Reformed tradition is idolatry a constant theme? It must be a problem for you, even though you do not venerate the images you have in your churches.

    I think a lot of us understand the difference between veneration and worship and agree that sin is ultimately a heart issue. Looking at certain images (say playboy) is likely to lead one to lust. So even if one may lust without reading playboy (just for the articles, natch), it is very unwise to do so. Perhaps one should be holy enough to look at naked people and simply praise God for the wonder of his creation, but because of indwelling sin the bible tells me to flee temptation.

    Now of course the virgin of Guadalupe isn’t porn, but the apostle John was quite concerned that we little children keep ourselves from idols and there is no question that what is intended to be veneration of the saints is in fact pagan syncretism in a lot of places. It strikes me as more than a little cruel to care so little about the harm this practice does to wide swaths of developing nations. There is a reason that protestantism is seen as liberating in these places…they are freed from their pagan blinders and finally see Christ. To be sure there is much to criticize about pentecostalism, but the fruit is hard to argue with. Even in the US, Assembly of God teens are far and away the most knowledgable of the Christian faith. For all their faults, they are doing something right that the RCC (and perhaps even some of reformed maybe sorta) could learn something. But clericalism is a major impediment for the RCC and baked into the structure of the church.

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  278. Hmmm. It looks like you guys idolize the OPC.

    If I recall correctly, cw, sean, and I are PCA. Erik and Seth are lutheran right? I think zrim and kent are URDSJD. Bobby, who I haven’t seen around in a while, is PCUSA. CDH, who I also haven’t seen in awhile, was a congregationalist gone atheist. I’m not sure about Robert, GW, Cagle or Muddy (I’m guessing Mormon, Jehovah’s witness, Southern Baptist, and Methodist respectively). DGH and AB are OPC so there is that. Whatever the case, I’m pretty sure the OPC is in the minority around here.

    You’re everyone’s critic and no one’s defender. No wonder you are dying.

    Who knew our mortality came from being critical. Maybe my doc is right and I need to take up Yoga.

    You have nothing to defend anymore. The only “truth” you represent is the truth of total depravity in everyone else.

    Don’t forget the limited atonement and double predestination!

    You are not Reformed.

    Ok, now you are hitting below the belt. Who do you think you are to tell us we are not reformed?!?!?! Hateful, spiteful, OPC idolizer, schismatic, poor personal hygiene…fine. But not reformed?

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  279. My Episcopal email buddy 2009-2012 had only one thing for me in the end, that I idolized the Bible.

    Webfoot, we’ve heard it all before. Nothing new under the sun eccl 1:9

    If you want to say I idolize the Word of God with my episcopal friend I accept the accusation, guilty as charged. I am indeed a slave, but not to sin. Go read your bible and learn and come back when you are ready

    Grace and peace.

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  280. SDB,

    PCA with a deep appreciation of the OPC and a belief that RCism is only slightly more historically credible than Mormonism. But only slightly.

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  281. If you are Reformed, then why have you joined the critics corner? You are not apologists, because you find your faith not worth defending. Otherwise you would be defending your faith. What you are doing is trying to tear down others, even other Reformed groups and preachers.

    Is that what your Gospel teaches you to do? It is is, then your Gospel is not worth anything, and you are the ones with less credibility than Mormons. You have no message to preach, so you criticize those who do.

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  282. sbd, I’m currently quite content at a URCNA.

    Not sure what your URDSJD means, is that like a

    (BB)XR2K w-w?

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  283. #3 You have forgotten what your 5 solas are and your Doctrines of Grace. You are now solos and graceless. Otherwise, you would exalt Christ and glorify His Name.

    You won’t even defend yourselves, let alone the honor of our Savior, Jesus Christ – crucified, buried, risen, ascended on high, and coming again. Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary – whom you despise and demonize – sent by His Father as the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world. All who come to Him in faith will be saved. Predestined,-> called, -> justified. ->glorified.

    Contemplate Him on the cross. He died for you. He gave Himself for you. Give yourselves to Him.

    Rid yourselves of your idols, especially the idol of a critical spirit, and preach the Christ you claim to know so well.

    …BTW, Reformed churches use lots of images, lots of stained glass, and you know it. What a joke to pretend they don’t.

    …and Jeff, you know that you are interpreting your 2nd commandment according to your tradition. You are using Scripture plus tradition, and not Scripture alone – which is a farce, anyway since Reformed teachers also interpret Scripture according to their traditions.

    Read what the CCC says about idolatry and the use of images. Then check out how Jesus says God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. If I ask you to pray for me, it is not idolatry. If I ask a saint who is alive in the presence of God to pray for me, that is not idolatry. I do not confuse them with God.

    …and to invoke your WCF escape hatch, my conscience is clear. If your conscience is clear, then I am happy.

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  284. Susan,

    Sorry I’m not your California Seth. I can’t be all things to all people like Pope Francis.

    As for the term “pornocracy,” I didn’t make it up, nor was it created by some lecherous wordsmith. It’s a technical term. I’m not even the first to have applied it to the Papacy. Indeed, it was the Papacy that kind of popularized the term after they had a rash of “Wolf of Wallstreet”-esque Party Popes. Haven’t you heard of Saeculum obscurum? No, probably not.

    I’ll bet it didn’t make it into Brad Gregory’s book, either.

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  285. Mrs. Webfoot,

    “Lutheran” was not a self-applied label. Instead, it was originally an insult used against Luther and his allies. Most Confessional Lutherans I know dislike the term. I don’t know for sure, but I’d guess a similar story applies to Calvin and the “Calvinists”.

    All of which is to say: you’re flailing on the idolatry issue. Is your conscience clear that you didn’t even do your homework first?

    But hey, I just want to be loved.

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  286. Mrs. W: …and Jeff, you know that you are interpreting your 2nd commandment according to your tradition. You are using Scripture plus tradition, and not Scripture alone – which is a farce, anyway since Reformed teachers also interpret Scripture according to their traditions.

    Put down the talking point for a moment, because we’ve hit the crucial point.

    There is a whole lot of work in lit theory that has been done on how texts function within the context of a tradition. A know only the tip of the iceberg, but I do know this: Saying “that’s just according to your tradition” may be the beginning of a discussion, but not the end.

    Has my tradition – traditions, actually – influenced my reading? Absolutely. But now let’s talk data. What does the text actually say? Now zoom out. How does Ex 20 function in the Pentateuch? In the OT ar large? In the entire canon?

    The answers to those questions are influenced by tradition, certainly. But the asking of them, and the seeking answers to them, is precisely what practitioners of sola scriptura do.

    Let’s contrast that with the Catholic method. The Catholic asks, What does the catechism tell me about veneration? And the answer is, We believe what John of Famascus taught and was ratified by Nicea 2.

    The contrast between the two methods could not be starker. You wish to say, Tu quoque: we have tradition, you have tradition, we neither use sola scriptura.

    But your tradition is to go to the church for answers. Our tradition is to let the text speak to the best of our ability. We uphold the primacy of the word of God.

    And in so doing, we show love for Hod.

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  287. Well, Jeff, I got your attention, and I hope that of others. Really, the idolatry of the personal conscience must be confronted in your tradition. The critical spirit exhibited by most here at Old Life is not part of Reformed teaching. It is not part of the Gospel of grace. Sure, critique, but with the intention of clarifying truth, not tearing down everyone else to make oneself feel good or look good, somehow. What is happening here is something else.

    In fact, Calvin’s commentaries are well reasoned refutations of many of the excesses in the Church of his time. Calvinism needs to be put in that context, if we want to talk contexts. Besides, he went off the rails himself in a number of instances, as history portrays. If people are going to call themselves by his name, then they must be willing to accept all that entails.

    Then, Luther got ex communicated because he divorced good works done in the love of Christ entirely from justification – something Scripture does not do. Reformed teachers have been having to make up for his lack ever since. How many of you have to add to justification by faith alone the fact that personal righteous is also part of our salvation. IOW, sanctification has to be put into salvation. Otherwise all you get is antinomianism. That is what Luther’s version of justification by faith alone leads to, so both Lutherans and Calvinists have to figure out how to put law back into a lawless formula.

    Lutherans talk about Law and Gospel. Calvinists talk about justification which has to lead to sanctification which eventually leads to glorification. 3 stages of salvation – past, present, and future. I have been saved. I am being saved. I will be saved.

    And, of course, the 1st stop in the ordo is regeneration, that mysterious and miraculous sovereign work of the Spirit of God which frees the will and enables a person to choose Christ. A person must choose Christ in order to actually be saved, and regeneration has to happen to the elect before he or she can savingly believe.

    Only thing is, the Golden Chain does not quite fit. As I said before, there is a missing link, that is if Calvinists are correct in saying that justification is only a forensic act by the righteous Judge whereby the sinner is declared righteous solely on the merits of Christ’s finished work on the cross.

    That formula breaks down at the golden chain – where it gets choked, actually. So, you have to substitute sanctification for justification so that your Reformation can be justified.

    I got tired of trying to twist Scripture and rationality to fit the formulas. There has to be a better way. …and Thomas Aquinas showed me the way.

    Now, as far as your interpretation of your 2nd commandment goes, you would have to take it to the extreme of not even having photographs or artwork of any kind, which is what the Muslims do.

    It is not what how the ancient Jews interpreted the prohibition about not making idols – which is what a graven image is. It is a statue meant to be worshiped because it represents a false God.

    No matter how many times a Catholic tells you that they do not worship the statue, they worship God, you will continue to make the accusation, all the while ignoring your own idolatry. What do you idolize, since your heart is an idol factory according to your tradition?

    …and I am over my limit for the day. Thank you, Jeff, for at least wanting to talk about serious subjects and get to the heart of the matter. Who owns our heart?

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  288. The critical spirit exhibited by most here at Old Life is not part of Reformed teaching.

    Webfoot, as Jeff says, you are flailing around. I would suggest at the very least taking the day off. From what I can tell, you are doing your religion no favors, but seeing you get all excitable like that, per DGH and my own view, is a good sign. The fact is the apostle Paul was a polemic, you can’t deny. You’ve only been here now 2 weeks or so? Try catching up on the archives, or maybe sit back and watch the discussions without your intrusion. I’m only trying to help, I think for your sake, you should cool your jets. Take care. I’ll try and do the same.

    Like

  289. Now what does Luther say against the Roman quantitative, objective, and relative point of view?:
    The relation to God is personal. It is an ego-thou relationship, not mediated by anybody or anything – only by accepting the message of acceptance, which is the content of the Bible. This is not an objective status in which you are, but this is a personal relationship, which he called “faith”; but not faith in something which one can believe, but acceptance that you are accepted: this is what he meant.
    It is qualitative, not quantitative. Either you are separated or you are not separated from God. There are no quantities of separation or non-separation. In a person-to-person relationship you can say: there are conflicts, there are tensions, but as long as the relationship is a relationship of confidence and love, it is a quality. And if it is separated, it is something else. But it is not a matter of quantity. And in the same way, it is unconditional and not conditioned, as it is in the Roman system. You are not a little bit nearer to God if you do a little bit more for the church, or against your body, but you are near to God completely, absolutely, if you are united with Him; and you are separated if you are not The one is unconditionally negative; the other is unconditionally positive. The Reformation restates the unconditional categories of the Bible.
    From this follows that the magic element as well as the legal element in the piety disappear. The forgiveness of sins, or acceptance, is not an act of the past done in baptism, but it is continuously necessary. Repentance is an element in every relationship to God, in every moment. It never can stop. The magic as well as the legal element disappear, for grace is personal communion with the sinner. There is no possibility of any merit; there is only the necessity of accepting. And there is no hidden magic power in our souls which make us acceptable, but we are acceptable in the moment in which we accept acceptance. Therefore the sacramental activities as such are rejected. There are sacraments, but they mean something quite different. And the ascetic activities are eternally rejected because none of them can give certainty. But here again a misunderstanding often prevails. One says: Now isn’t that egocentric:; l think Maritain told me that once – if the Protestants think about their own individual certainty? – Now it is not an abstract certainty, that Luther meant; it is reunion with God – this implies certainty. But everything centers around this being accepted. And this of course is certain; if you have God, you have Him. But if you look at yourself, at your experiences, your asceticism, and your morals, then you can be certain only if you are extremely self-complacent and blind toward yourselves; otherwise you cannot. And these, are absolute categories. The Divine demand is absolute. They are not relative demands, which bring more or less blessedness, but they are the absolute demand: joyfully accept the will of God. And there is only one punishment – not the different degrees between the ecclesiastical satisfactions, between the punishment in purgatory, and its many degrees, and finally Hell. There is nothing like this. There is only one punishment, namely the despair of being separated from God. And consequently there is only one grace, namely, reunion with God. That’s all. And to this, Luther – whom Adolf Harnack, the great historian of the dogma, has called a genius of reduction – to this simplicity, Luther has reduced the Christian religion. This is another religion.
    Now Luther believed that this was a restatement of the New Testament, especially of Paul. But although his message has the truth of Paul, it’s by no means the full Paul; it is not everything which Paul is. The situation determined what he took from Paul, namely Paul’s conception of defense against legalism – the doctrine of justification by faith. But he did not take in Paul’s doctrine of the Spirit. Of course he did not deny it; there is a lot of it; but that is not decisive. The decisive thing is that a doctrine of the Spirit, of being “in Christ,” of the New Being, is the weak spot in Luther’s doctrine of justification by faith.
    In Paul the situation is different. Paul has three main centers in his thinking, which make it not a circle but a triangle. The one is his eschatological consciousness, the certainty that in Christ eschatology is fulfilled and a New Reality has started. The second is the doctrine of the Spirit, which means for him that the Kingdom of God has appeared, that it is here, and there; that the New Being, in which we are, is given to us in Christ. The third point in Paul is the critical defense against legalism: justification by faith.
    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 393409 times.source

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  290. Mrs. W., should you think before you comment?

    On this matter of the idolatry of personal conscience, have you yourself confronted what the magisterium has declared:

    In all his activity a man is bound to follow his conscience in order that he may come to God, the end and purpose of life. It follows that he is not to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his conscience. Nor, on the other hand, is he to be restrained from acting in accordance with his conscience, especially in matters religious. The reason is that the exercise of religion, of its very nature, consists before all else in those internal, voluntary and free acts whereby man sets the course of his life directly toward God. No merely human power can either command or prohibit acts of this kind.

    You’re starting to do a really good impersonation of vdm, m.

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  291. Web: You are now solos and graceless. Otherwise, you would exalt Christ and glorify His Name.

    You won’t even defend yourselves, let alone the honor of our Savior, Jesus Christ – crucified, buried, risen, ascended on high, and coming again. Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary – whom you despise and demonize …

    Hold up. It’s one thing to argue ideas. It’s another to get personal. And it’s still another to make things up.

    I have specifically written things exalting Christ as head of the church rather than the Pope. And I have written nothing despising Mary. To fail to venerate her is not to despise her. To recognize her humanity is not to despise her.

    Something seems to have gotten under your skin?

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  292. I have specifically written things exalting Christ as head of the church rather than the Pope.

    Indeed, I remember your 100 comments on this 1400 + comment thread (where I met ol’ CD host – CD, if you are out there, drop a line to say hi again someday!) on this thread as well, Grace and peace, Jeff:

    Andrew Buckingham said,
    July 28, 2012 at 9:02 am

    PS Last thought development:

    Romanists:

    I want you to use Scripture to prove why I should swim the Tiber, or at the very least, subscribe to the Pope’s twitter feed. You know I would golf with him, so there’s no love/hate relationship.

    Like Israel, Romanists, you want a king, and you have Saul. I’m sorry, but it’s time you see that Saul was not the intended king. David was. And who was it that David looked to? Read the psalms – he was not asking the religious figure head of his day for answers.

    No:

    www[dot]esvbible.org/search/mark+12%3A35-37/

    Christ is the Head. Face the facts,
    Andrew

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  293. @kent
    Would you believe a typo? You shouldn’t… I thought it was something along those lines, but I couldn’t remember what came after the UR and was too lazy to look around.

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  294. Jeff, what got under my skin got under it quite awhile ago, and is why I could no longer be Protestant. It’s not your fault, and I am sure that you preach the Gospel and glorify God in your life as you know how.

    What specifically? The criticisms of Albert Mohler and the PCA. I do not agree anymore with the specifics of their theology, but these are good men who want Christ to be preached. That is the specific thing that got to me right now, I guess.

    Thanks for asking. Now, if you want to discuss theology and Scripture, I would enjoy that, but not here. It gets buried in hundreds of irrelevant comments about nothing. You know where to find me.

    Anyway, this is a tragedy.

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  295. D. G. Hart
    Posted May 21, 2015 at 11:36 am | Permalink
    Mrs. W., should you think before you comment?

    On this matter of the idolatry of personal conscience, have you yourself confronted what the magisterium has declared:

    “In all his activity a man is bound to follow his conscience in order that he may come to God, the end and purpose of life. It follows that he is not to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his conscience. Nor, on the other hand, is he to be restrained from acting in accordance with his conscience, especially in matters religious. The reason is that the exercise of religion, of its very nature, consists before all else in those internal, voluntary and free acts whereby man sets the course of his life directly toward God. No merely human power can either command or prohibit acts of this kind.”

    You’re starting to do a really good impersonation of vdm, m.

    Out of context. This is a statement against coercion. Faithful Catholics accept the authority of the magisterium voluntarily.

    That’s some real David Barton stuff, man. Very bad.

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  296. vd, t, please explain how Mrs. W.’s objections to freedom of conscience squares with Vatican 2.

    Please also show me some love. Strike that. If you’re going to show, make it celibacy.

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  297. Seth,

    What do you got against Gregory’s book? I haven’t read it, but it makes sense to me( although not to Rod or Carl) that there have been ( unforeseeable) consequences to the Reformation. Mrs. Webfoot and Mr. TVD or much better at the theological history than I, but I can spot why pointing out that because the on the ground lives of many, many Catholics is just as antinomian as many( not all or most) Protestants, still doesn’t mean that the Catholic Church as a teaching authority isn’t the true Church. Sure, I think we can agree that nominal Catholics and Protestants should get their moral lives straightened out and all the pastors assigned to help with that should be shepherding their sheep, but since we can agree that its a mess out there, we should instead discuss the topic that everyone here wants to avoid. You didn’t address my question about denominations vs. the biblical term of one church. So we can all bemoan the moral lackness out there, it’s a real problem, but we also need to deal with Christian disunity. You of course can see the problem of claiming that the bible is perspicuous and yet the differences of belief represented by the men who comment on this site alone, is enough to have led to at least five different denominations.

    Here’s Fr. Richard Neuhaus— “Then too, although in catechism class I heard about sola scriptura , we both knew we had a Magisterium, although I’m sure I never heard the term. When it came to settling a question in dispute, they had the pope”and we had the faculty of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. It was perfectly natural to ask the question, “What’s our position on this or that?” The “our” in the question self-evidently referred to the Missouri Synod, and the answer was commonly given by reference to an article in the synod’s official publication, The Lutheran Witness , usually written, or so it seemed, by Dr. Theodore Graebner. Why the Spooners went to one church and we to another seemed obvious enough; they were Catholics and we were Lutherans. They were taught that they belonged to the “one true Church” and I was taught that I belonged to the Missouri Synod and all those who are in doctrinal agreement with the Missouri Synod, which community made up “the true visible Church on earth.” So, between their ecclesiological claim and ours, it seemed pretty much a toss-up. They were taught that, despite my not belonging to the one true Church, I could be saved by virtue of “invincible ignorance.” I was taught that, despite their not belonging to the true visible Church on earth, they could be saved by”in the delicious phrase of Francis Pieper, Missouri’s chief dogmatician”“felicitous inconsistency.” ”

    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2010/03/how-i-became-the-catholic-i-was

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  298. Susan, you really should be careful about lines like this, “I haven’t read it, but it makes sense to me.”

    Here’s the rub for Gregory and you. In 1415 the Council of Constance made Martin V pope. But the church already had two popes, one in Rome and one in Avignon. How do you know the Council chose the right guy? Why don’t councils have more authority than popes if they can depose some and make others? Why weren’t Benedict XIII and Gregory XII real popes?

    If unity hangs on the papacy, this is a pretty big deal. But if a council had to sort out the papacy, then how can unity hang on the papacy?

    Church reformers want to know.

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  299. Susan,

    Pointing out that because the on the ground lives of many, many Catholics is just as antinomian as many( not all or most) Protestants, still doesn’t mean that the Catholic Church as a teaching authority isn’t the true Church.

    That’s not Darryl’s point. Darryl’s point is that it is disingenuous for Bryan et al to pretend the Magisterium wraps everything up in a nice little bow when the number of RCs who actually care about the Magisterium numbers far less than the 1.2 billion member statistic that is always presented to prove the church’s catholicity and grandeur. And secondly, that if the Magisterium is what you all think it is, it certainly doesn’t act like it.

    A Magisterium entrusted with the truth that cares very little, if not at all, that it’s people accept the truth it teaches isn’t a Magisterium in whose hands ANYONE should entrust their soul.

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  300. Butch, you took that quote out of context. This is what happens when you go out there seeking error instead of seeking truth.

    Your anti-Catholicism is understandable, because you know little about Catholicism and the little you do know is wrong.

    _____

    Susan
    Posted May 21, 2015 at 2:46 pm | Permalink
    Seth,

    What do you got against Gregory’s book? I haven’t read it, but it makes sense to me( although not to Rod or Carl) that there have been ( unforeseeable) consequences to the Reformation. Mrs. Webfoot and Mr. TVD or much better at the theological history than I, but I can spot why pointing out that because the on the ground lives of many, many Catholics is just as antinomian as many (not all or most) Protestants, still doesn’t mean that the Catholic Church as a teaching authority isn’t the true Church.

    Exactly, just as Mormons being more observant and more accepting of their church’s teaching wouldn’t make Mormonism the true Church.

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  301. Tom Van Dyke,

    What does this mean:

    you know little about Catholicism and the little you do know is wrong.

    My learning of Church History comes primarily from Dr. Gerald Bray of Beeson Divinity School, I found no problems in his lectures, and even appreciated his somewhat denigrating comments of the “westminster theological seminary” types (you can find the comment in his lectures on the reformation):

    http://adbuckingham.com/category/church-history/

    Thus far, I have no reason to follow anything you say because you just make baseless assertions. In other words, where are your arguments? For someone as yourself who says you are more in line with Bryan Cross than Darryl Hart, you sure don’t seem to be able to make an argument when rubber meets the road. I’m willing to be shown wrong here, man. What is your point other than to try to tear Darryl down?

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  302. Tom or any other RC apologist here, I found this today, seems to kind of rain on the parade of the called to communion types who draw a clear line from francis to peter, any takers? Thoughts RC folks who are fans of Darryl and so can’t stop posting here over and over and over and over and over?

    One of the most enduring misconceptions of the pre-Nicene and Nicene church (what sometimes goes by the nomenclature “the early church”) is that it was more or less united, both doctrinally and politically. One can see this assumption at work in the use of the definitive article as well as the title of “ecumenical councils.” In contemporary discourse, “ecumenical” carries the meaning of trans-denominational or all-inclusive. In Late Antiquity, however, the term had a very direct reference: the Roman Empire. Thus, the ecumenical councils and confessions were the ones which were backed by the Emperor, the ones which carried imperial recognition.

    The councils which we deem “ecumenical” are also typically named after the fact. For instance, there are several councils which, at the time, did receive imperial backing but were later overturned. Today many Christians are content to assume that these were obvious impostors, never held to be “true councils.” But that wasn’t nearly so obvious at the time, and what we think of as the very first ecumenical creed, the Nicene Creed, is a great case in point.

    You see, after the famous Council of Nicaea, there were nineteen regional synods, all of which continued the homoousion debate. Some of these assemblies upheld the definition of Nicaea, and others rejected it. Still others tried to chart viæ mediæ or offer up new alternatives. Finally there was an empire-wide council, backed fully by Emperor Constantius, which made the Homoian (neo-Arian; also Homœan) creed the official confession for the Roman Empire. For 21 years, this creed was, while always disputed in portions of the empire, the ecumenical statement of faith. It would not finally be rebutted until what is now known as the second ecumenical council at Constantinople, the council which produced the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed.

    The warring synods and confessions can be listed as follows:

    325, The Great Council of Nicaea
    Arius is condemned and homoousios is put into the creed.
    335, The Synod of Tyre
    Athanasius is first condemned.
    335, The Synod of Jerusalem
    The first of the “Arian” councils, this synod asks for Arius to be reinstated to Christian communion.
    339, Synod of Antioch
    Athanasius is again condemned.
    340, Synod of Rome
    Athanasius is restored and proclaimed to retain episcopal authority.
    341, Synod of Antioch
    Anti-Nicenes react and draft a new creed, the “Dedication Creed.”
    343, General Council of Serdica
    Failed attempt at reconciliation between Pro-Nicenes and Anti-Nicenes.
    347, Council of Milan
    Valens and Ursacius are restored to their sees.
    351, 1st Synod of Sirmium
    The “Dedication Creed” is adopted.
    353, Synod of Rome
    Athanasius is again restored to his see.
    353, Synod of Arles
    Athanasius is again condemned.
    355, Synod of Milan
    Athanasius and his supporters are again condemned and banished.
    356, Council of Beziers
    Hilary of Poiters is exiled for his excommunication of Saturninus, Valens, and Ursacius.
    357, Council of Sirmium
    The “Blasphemy” is first written which explicitly excludes the homoousios.
    358, Synod of Ancrya
    Homoiousians reject Anomeanism.
    359, Council of Sirmium
    The “Dated Creed” is written.
    359, Council of Seleucia
    Homoians adopt the “Dated Creed.”
    360, Council of Arminium
    Western Bishops reject the “Dated Creed,” but their later delegates are later persuaded to adopt the conclusion of Seleucia.
    360, Council of Constantinople
    With Constantius presiding, the conclusion of Seleucia is adopted as the official creed of the Roman Empire.
    360, Synod of Paris
    Led by Hilary of Poitiers, the Western Bishops condemn Homoianism and vindicate Athanasius.
    362, Synod of Alexandria
    Led by Athanasius, the Egyptian Church condemns Homoianism and confesses again the homoousios.
    381, Ecumenical Council of Constantinople
    Under the new imperial leadership of Theodosius, Nicæa is reaffirmed and the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed is composed. Homoousios is vindicated.
    We shouldn’t underestimate the significance of those 21 years when neo-Arianism seemed to carry the day. During that stretch of time, the official confession of the Roman Empire was that the Son was like the Father, but not necessarily of the same substance. This little-known position, seen as a sort of “middle way” in its day, was known as Homoianism. While Athanasius and other pro-Nicene theologians were happy to continue to simply call it “Arianism,” the Homoians thought of themselves as quite sophisticated and the true “big tent” theologians.

    You see, the triumph of Nicaea was short-lived. Alexander and Athanasius had managed to get approval for the term homoousios, that the Son was of the same substance as the Father, but shortly after Nicaea, Athanasius fell out of political favor. Those who wanted to affirm homoiousios, that the Son was of similar substance with the Father, were always in better political favor, especially since Eusebius had such a close relationship with Constantine. After Constantine’s death, the political landscape was thrown into turmoil, and the favored party would shift from the Homoiousians to the Eunomians and then back to the Homoousians and then back again.

    In a move not wholly unlike that of modern-day social Trinitarians, the Homoians claimed to simply avoid the quarrelsome philosophical problem altogether. Instead of debating whether the Son was of the same nature as, a like nature with, or a different nature from the Father, good Christians could simply omit any use of the term ousia. Simply affirm that the Son was “like” the Father, and all would be well. This was the theology that seemed most reasonable to Emperor Constantius, and it was what he enforced as the ecumenical confession. There was always significant dissent to this settlement, of course, but it cannot be overly stressed that such dissent was in the political minority for 21 years.

    It was not until Theodosius assumed the throne and backed the Nicene party that the homoousious could again become the symbol of orthodoxy. Between the Council of Constantinople in 360 and the Council of Constantinople in 381, the creed of Nicaea was an outsider. It may have been a prophetic outsider (and true!), but it was an outsider nonetheless. And it should be obvious to say that this truth is of more than academic value.

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  303. D. G. Hart
    Posted May 21, 2015 at 3:14 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, so what is the context?

    I’m really trying.

    You need to try harder. Sorry for the tough love, Butch, but you’re not putting forth a good will effort. You’re a clever fellow. Tell me which part of

    This is a statement against coercion. Faithful Catholics accept the authority of the magisterium voluntarily.

    you don’t understand.

    DECLARATION ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
    DIGNITATIS HUMANAE
    ON THE RIGHT OF THE PERSON AND OF COMMUNITIES
    TO SOCIAL AND CIVIL FREEDOM IN MATTERS RELIGIOUS
    PROMULGATED BY HIS HOLINESS
    POPE PAUL VI
    ON DECEMBER 7, 1965

    …First, the council professes its belief that God Himself has made known to mankind the way in which men are to serve Him, and thus be saved in Christ and come to blessedness. We believe that this one true religion subsists in the Catholic and Apostolic Church, to which the Lord Jesus committed the duty of spreading it abroad among all men. Thus He spoke to the Apostles: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have enjoined upon you” (Matt. 28: 19-20). On their part, all men are bound to seek the truth, especially in what concerns God and His Church, and to embrace the truth they come to know, and to hold fast to it.

    This Vatican Council likewise professes its belief that it is upon the human conscience that these obligations fall and exert their binding force.

    The truth cannot impose itself except by virtue of its own truth, as it makes its entrance into the mind at once quietly and with power.

    Religious freedom, in turn, which men demand as necessary to fulfill their duty to worship God, has to do with immunity from coercion in civil society. Therefore it leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ.

    It’s quite perspicuous, even for anti-Catholics.

    Now the usual tactic is to ignore that you took the passage out of context, and try to change the subject: Troll for a gotcha, something that’s in apparent contradiction to that, and therefore argue that the Catholic Church is therefore bogus.

    It’s the same baleful game that anti-Christians use, arguing the Bible against itself, delegitimizing the Bible and therefore Christianity. If that’s the next step, let’s head it off here. If you were actually sincere in asking for a clarification, thank me very much.

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  304. Darryl,

    “Here’s the rub for Gregory and you. In 1415 the Council of Constance made Martin V pope. But the church already had two popes, one in Rome and one in Avignon. How do you know the Council chose the right guy? Why don’t councils have more authority than popes if they can depose some and make others? Why weren’t Benedict XIII and Gregory XII real popes”

    Am I supposed to be discomforted by this? From the Protestant perspective this is a good thing( to each his own, own- authority), I suppose. Periods of instability demonstrate, what, that there is no chair? Or that all the settled doctrine thus far gets reversed? You think this means that we’re in the same boat, right? Until ta-da what everyone thought was going to sink suddenly turns upright….again. Ok, well if there is no unified Catholic doctrine on the books, then neither side(s), should seek to evangelize the other because we all at least have Jesus, at the end of the day. IOW, my denomination has the same amount of certainty about supernatural theology as does yours. Why should we beat each other up when we’re all trying to do the best we can with what we’ve been given? Forget dogma, eh? Just grab yourself a bible and make a new church for the bible gives everyone that authority so that each can set effectively set straight the other guy who also has a bible to set us straight and so on and so on, ad finitum, ad nauseam. ((sigh))
    Darryl, did any doctrine change during the 15th century? Wasn’t Mass still going on, weren’t people still gaining indulgences and praying for the dead, and venerating Mary and the Saints?

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  305. ughh, when i see the names susan/tvd/footlady, I can usually just skip reading the text. paragraphs are you friend susan.

    all these poor lost catholic souls have me hungering for a movie, these guys just need to go tweet with bryan cross and and his gang and stop this already. good greif.

    next.

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  306. Susan
    Posted May 21, 2015 at 5:13 pm | Permalink
    Darryl,

    “Here’s the rub for Gregory and you. In 1415 the Council of Constance made Martin V pope. But the church already had two popes, one in Rome and one in Avignon. How do you know the Council chose the right guy? Why don’t councils have more authority than popes if they can depose some and make others? Why weren’t Benedict XIII and Gregory XII real popes”

    …Periods of instability demonstrate, what, that there is no chair? Or that all the settled doctrine thus far gets reversed? You think this means that we’re in the same boat, right? Until ta-da what everyone thought was going to sink suddenly turns upright….again

    Yes, that’s the counterargument. For 2000 years now, despite man’s best [worst] efforts. There is not one sect of Protestantism [or the 1500 years of various heresies before that] that can make that claim. Every one of them has divided and divided some more, never to become one again.

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  307. And yet through it all TVD wants to go to hell.

    Darryl and the Sneerers are part of Christ’s church too. Not the best part, mind you, but I don’t expect to see them in hell. I hope I’m the only one there.

    Susan, Tom doesn’t talk to me anymore, like you, he thinks I don’t get to the point. Footlady says the OPC is dying, Same stuff, different avatar.

    Why does Tom want to go to hell? Susan, ask him, would you please? I don’t understand a word coming from his keyboard, and he’s convinced that he knows something (has he even read 1 cor 8:2 ? didn’t think so)(oh, and go for the context, lover boy, we can tell you have soo much love to give, especially with words like because you know little about Catholicism and the little you do know is wrong.

    gettin’ better by the minute, we’re bubba when we need him?
    next

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  308. Why should we beat each other up when we’re all trying to do the best we can with what we’ve been given?

    Exactly. As we’ve said numerous times (and dgh has ding, ding, dinged) in this very thread, our complaint is not with the RCC per se. It is the ctc approach that grates. To be sure I find rc theology off on a few important points and think their ecclesiology results in a system that does a remarkably poor job helping her flock grow. None of us think rome is wrong about everything. There might even be parishes that do great things. But the claims ctc make for the SUPERIORITY of Rome (and arrogant comments like yours that everything good in protestantism came from rome) grate and are false.

    @tom Unlike rome orthodox didn’t fracture, eo isn’t basically rc, and they are not in full communion with Rome.

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  309. Andrew Andrew Andrew,

    Tom doesn’t want to go to hell. I’m sure that he means he loves you( which means that he wills your good), and doesn’t want you to go where he fears he might.
    Mortal sin is a very real possibility, but we trust in the mercy of God whose property is always to have mercy.

    But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

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  310. Hi SDB,

    I think that the ctc approach isn’t to tell Protestants that the things we have in common are nothing at all, and not important. We do share a whole lot and it is very good. So from both directions we can look over at the other and like what we see. However, we are not completely united, and that should be a travesty to us all. Superiority is the wrong word, my friend. At the end of the day, we all need the same thing and that is to have a way to be united under one visible head. For all the flaws of the people, that Church is the only one who claims to be Christ’s visible body on earth. Whether or not her doctrine is right in your eye, or mine, or anyone else’s is not what we should be asking, for we should be able to believe that whomever the church is she must possess all that is true concerning morals and faith.

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  311. Susan: That’s not my experience at all. I don’t think you understamd how CTC comes across.

    But in any event, why do you insist that the church must be united unde a visible head? Isn’t Jesud the heaf? He is not visible at this time.

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  312. “Whether or not her doctrine is right in your eye, or mine, or anyone else’s is not what we should be asking, for we should be able to believe that whomever the church is she must possess all that is true concerning morals and faith.”-Implicit faith.

    Such a weird group. All this rigorous syllogistic setup and then fairy dust and holy water sprinkles

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  313. Mrs. – Hmmm. It looks like you guys idolize the OPC. You’re everyone’s critic and no one’s defender. No wonder you are dying. You have nothing to defend anymore. The only “truth” you represent is the truth of total depravity in everyone else.

    You are not Reformed.

    Erik – When did you become Tom?

    I’ll defend those who uphold the Reformed Confessions.

    Reformed churches that try to imitate Catholics or Lutherans are just being cute and deserve a swift kick in the cojones. I’ll administer it as needed.

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  314. Jeff,

    I wrote out a whole lot( you can imagine :)~ but lost it.

    Jesus is the head of the church, but didn’t he give authority to people before He left? An authority that should be in continuity with the authority to whom He gave it.
    If you disagree with your ecclesial authority over some doctrine and you say to yourself, “Forget this. This guy is wrongheaded.”, does he cease being your authority? And does the new authority you place yourself under ( who happens to agree with you) actually become your authority. Are our authorities only our authorities if we say they can be? How does Matt 18:17 work if authority travels with the individual?

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  315. How does Matt 18:17 work if authority travels with the individual?

    They keep asking, we keep copy pasting. Keep it up RC interlocutors! You guys are great sports, to keep taking these beatings. I’ll never figure out what keeps you going, like sean says, “weird group.”

    Question and Answer

    Apostolic Succession and Protestantism

    Question:

    I was wondering how we as Protestants reject the doctrine of Apostolic Succession? Obviously, through church history, this doctrine seems to be strongly affirmed, but when the Reformation took place, this doctrine was not continued along with other doctrines. Why not? I guess I am wondering what are the biblical mandates supporting Apostolic Succession and what are the biblical mandates and logic that reject Apostolic Succession? Thanks for taking the time to answer my question.

    Answer:

    When you say “through church history, this doctrine [apostolic succession] seems to be strongly affirmed” you are correct because it certainly has been accepted and defended for a long time by the Roman Catholic Church. You are also correct in saying that “when the Reformation took place, this doctrine was not continued along with other doctrines.” And your question is basically “Why is this so?”

    The answer is that the Reformation recovered the pure teaching of the original apostles themselves. And they never taught any such doctrine. If you read your New Testament carefully, you will see that the apostles were marked by several distinctive features. Let me list a few of them.

    (1) They were chosen by Christ himself in an immediate way, not through the instrumentality of others.

    (2) They were able to truthfully say that they had seen Jesus after he rose from the dead. Paul said: “Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time” (1 Cor. 15:8). The fact that Paul was the last one who could say such a thing in the history of the world shows clearly that there can be no genuine apostolic succession.

    (3) They were endowed with supernatural powers that other men did not (and do not) have. They even raised physically dead people to life. Paul said: “The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works” (2 Cor. 12:12).

    (4) They were qualified to speak with absolute and infallible authority. Paul could say in truth: “If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord.” No other individuals, other than the inspired prophets and apostles, could make statements like that. That is why the things they said were by the plan and will of God preserved for us in the New Testament.

    The theory behind apostolic succession is that God’s authority, to be meaningful and effective, must be embodied in men today who have the same kind of authority. But if you will read carefully the following passage, you will see that this is not true at all.

    In 1 Corinthians 5 Paul—who was not physically present in Corinth—wrote to them to tell them what to do with respect to a discipline case. He said (in 5:4-5): “In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” So you see, Paul did not pass on his authority to another man so that he could be there in Corinth. No, Paul said, in effect, if you will do what I as an apostle now instruct you to do then I will be with you in spirit, and you will also have the power of our Lord Jesus with you, to deliver that man to Satan, etc.

    So, to put it simply, the Reformers realized that there was no need for apostolic successors. No, the need was simply to have the apostles themselves with us through their inspired and inerrant teaching. And that is what we have in the New Testament.

    The apostles never wrote anything that ever has needed or ever will need correction because they were inspired by God. Surely a person of average intelligence should be able to see that this has never been true of other men in history, no matter how strongly they may have believed themselves to be apostolic successors!

    I hope this gets you to study this further. The more church history you get to know the more obvious the conclusion of the Reformers will appear.

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  316. Erik Charter
    Posted May 21, 2015 at 9:31 pm | Permalink
    I don’t have time to read everything now, but did Mrs. Webfoot cheer up as the day went on?

    Susan, please talk her off the ledge.

    Erik, Footlady is about where I was, frustrated, in Sept 2012. She will be back, she’s learning that we aren’t how Tom portrayed us, and it’s easier to sit on the outside and criticize than actually enter the ring and defend something.

    Unlike Tom, she’s taken a side and tries to defend. Tom is still the silly man on the outside doing monday morning quarterbacking, but I still have hopes that even he will learn some maturity maybe by the end of the year, it’s a slow process, these religious matters, this we all know. Lates homes.

    Andrew BuckinghamNo Gravatar September 4th, 2012 4:50 pm :
    Christopher Lake,

    I want to thank you for sharing your history.

    I want to tell you something.

    I am not saved by John Calvin. Or Martin Luther. Or by St. Paul. Rather, I am saved by Jesus, and Him alone.

    Some of us find help in seeing Jesus, through the teaching of John Calvin.

    Some of us find help in seeing Jesus, through the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.

    I will leave you with a quote from the famous Lutheran Theologian of the 20th century, Rudolf Bultmann’s essay, “The Crisis of Faith,” found in this book:

    www[dot]amazon.com/Rudolph-Bultmann-Making-Modern-Theology/dp/0800634020/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1346791630&sr=8-4&keywords=bultmann

    “For Christianity’s love is not something that can be presented by programs, and implemented in organizations. It is rather something which always belongs to the moment, to my particular moment. It is quite true that in regard to particular ills and sufferings of the present, just such a love may demand a program of aid and an organization. Yet love is not exhausted and assured in them. On the contrary, programs, organizations and institutions can actually become a cloak for lovelessness, and can blind me to the real demand ofthe moment, and to the concrete “You” who encounters me. ”

    I would refer you back to my comment 214, which are my sincere feelings about the relationship between myself and any particular church. My home right now is in a reformed church. I am glad you feel at home in yours. But I think that as both Protestants and Roman Catholics learn to hear one another, to listen to the “you” that encounters me, we can find reconciliation and peace between these great traditions. But with websites like this one that I am posting on, I feel only division is fostered.

    Peace and love,
    Andrew

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  317. sdb
    Posted May 21, 2015 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    @tom Unlike rome orthodox didn’t fracture, eo isn’t basically rc, and they are not in full communion with Rome.

    There’s something to be said about the EOs [official name: Orthodox Catholic Church] vis a vis Rome, although not in the context of the Reformation: The Rome/Constantinople divide is sui generis.

    They each have the same 7 sacraments; even when a Roman rite priest joins the EOs, he is not re-ordained. [This means EO recognizes his apostolic succession.] With very minor doctrinal differences, they remain the same religion.

    This cannot be said of Protestantism, particularly a divide as great as say, the Lutherans and the Calvinists–or even between Calvinists: Will the Orthodox Presbyterian Church recognize gay marriages performed by the PCUSA? Are these people ministers?

    http://www.christianpost.com/news/pcusa-church-ordains-first-married-lesbian-couple-as-ministers-days-after-denominations-marriage-amendment-136111/

    Ministry isn’t very important to y’all, I imagine, certainly less important than to Catholicism because of the apostolic succession thing and the Eucharist. 1517 cannot be lumped in with 1054. Indeed, the irony has been that most Old Life attacks on the Vatican may lend support to 1054, but do nothing to justify the new Protestant theologies post-1517.

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  318. Tom continues to blather. He still doesn’t know that given he has no position (except maybe he likes Thomas Aquinas, but that doesn’t make him a Xtian), no one here cares what his opinions are.

    We want to convert him to Xtianity, and tell us why he wants to go to hell. Anything else is just, again, blather.

    Next.

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  319. “At the end of the day, we all need the same thing”
    I agree

    ” and that is to have a way to be united under one visible head.”

    But that’s not it. We need to be made right with God. Everything is subsidiary to that. Insofar as an angel, apostle, or any organization obscures that, then they are anathema.

    ” For all the flaws of the people, that Church is the only one who claims to be Christ’s visible body on earth.”
    That’s not correct. Nestorians claim that, Orthodox claim that, and my PCA congregation claims to be a local manifestation of the visible body.

    ” Whether or not her doctrine is right in your eye, or mine, or anyone else’s is not what we should be asking, for we should be able to believe that whomever the church is she must possess all that is true concerning morals and faith.”

    Paul’s message to the Galatians and warning to Timothy, John’s excoriation of the churches in Revelation, and Christ’s rebuking of the leaders of the OT “church” indicate that your expectation is unwarranted.

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  320. vd, t, thanks. So you mean the holy fathers were right to silence John Courtney Murray in the 1950s in his understanding of the American creation. And those historians who say that Murray prevailed at Vatican 2 are just plain wrong? Or that David Barton is a goof?

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  321. Susan, “Am I supposed to be discomforted by this?”

    If you think, yes.

    “You think this means that we’re in the same boat, right?”

    No, Protestants have never invested the truth of their religion in a single bishop.

    “Darryl, did any doctrine change during the 15th century?”

    Yes. Papal supremacy involved not one popes but three. Three popes, one bishop?

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  322. Sorry, I don’t follow. My orthodox family say that Rome unleashed the chaos in the west. I certainly don’t believe we are closer theologically than RCs. But I don’t see why that is relevant. Curiously though the orthodox are somewhat more lenient on divorce and have a more mystical understanding of the Eucharist than Rome.

    ” Indeed, the irony has been that most Old Life attacks on the Vatican may lend support to 1054, but do nothing to justify the new Protestant theologies post-1517.”

    Well as we’ve noted over and over, our objection is not that RC has problems therefore the WCF is true. It is that the ctc engages in half truths to establish superiority of the RCC. Their apologetic rests on MOC such that if what they claim is correct, then it doesn’t matter how good our claims are, we are heretical schismatics. For the protestant project to be justified there must be a problem with the mocs. Establishing that the mocs don’t stand is a necessary but not sufficient condition for the prot project.

    Doing so is not intended to undermine the whole of the rcc. It is to suggest that the pride and triumphalism is misplaced, and perhaps targeting insecure pastors, boasting about their scalps, and putting them front and center to extol all that is wrong with the tradition they left.

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  323. vd, t, “There is not one sect of Protestantism [or the 1500 years of various heresies before that] that can make that claim.”

    Except that every Roman Catholic historian does claim that settled doctrine gets reversed. I know, they’re all listening to Michael Sean Winters.

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  324. Aw. Erik, you were worried about me. I am doing great. It was a fantastic day, here. How are you?

    Very interesting conversation today. I hope I clarified some of my positions and answered some questions put to me.

    Tomorrow is another day, and now with this one, I am 2 or even 3 over my daily limit for this thread. Have a good rest of the evening, and take care.

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