Why Kuyperians Don't Like 2k

Michael Sean Winters is reading James Bratt’s biography of Abraham Kuyper and quotes the following assessment of the Dutch statesman:

Nowhere did he so minimize the effects of sin as in his assumptions about the macro level of social development. Sometimes – for instance, in his speech against “Uniformity” – he could spy a fearful momentum that was greater than any particular part, and on many occasions he noted individual persons, policies, agencies, or communities perverting their social potential. But in formal theory Kuyper more often celebrated than worried about the direction of the whole. Here he shared in his era’s cult of “progress.”

Notice the connections. Minimize the effects of sin to think that the whole of society is improving.

How do people invariably view 2k? Too pessimistic, nothing we can do.

How do 2kers respond? Yes, things are bad but God has done great things. Salvation comes from him. Improving social conditions may be positive — don’t let the unintended consequences hit you between the eyes, DOH! — but social improvement is not salvation.

How do 2kers perceive neo-Calvinists? As blurring the gospel into social or holistic aspects, or as being excessively optimistic about human potential for overcoming sin and its consequences.

2k puts the total in Total Depravity. Neo-Calvinists have plans for restoring creation to its original order.

Can anyone possibly explain why Calvinists would be optimistic about anything other than the plan of salvation?

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386 thoughts on “Why Kuyperians Don't Like 2k

  1. This from TKNY’s former right hand man — Kuyper in skinny jeans rather than tails:

    Scott Sauls ‏@scottsauls
    God’s plan to heal and restore the world includes contributions from people who believe AND from people who don’t. His image is in everyone.

    Working with all kinds of people – yes, to make the suck more tolerable. Healing and restoring the world – not my job. Buy some church doctrine, Scotty.

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  2. “2k puts the total in Total Depravity. Neo-Calvinists have plans for restoring creation to its original order.”

    Exactly. By minimizing the pervasiveness of human depravity in the individual, Neo-Calvinism stumbles right out of the gate. If it wasn’t so, then Grand Rapids should be the happiest place on Earth. And, frankly, this is where the holiness crowd / obedience boys stumble as well. When we talk about our best acts of righteousness being but filthy rags, we get accused of undermining the “struggle” for holiness in our lives.

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  3. Does 2k really put the total in Total Depravity? I thought Millman’s work was unencumbered?

    I recently listened through the Christ and Culture series on Christ the Center and I totally get what you’re saying about “if the secularists can’t be trusted in the public square, don’t we need to use exclusively Christian doctors and plumbers and engineers?” Wouldn’t it be better to say that the Christian doctor only has a “small beginning” on the unbelieving doctor? And that may mean he’s less likely to cheat or lie to you, but it may not.

    Aren’t we all still encumbered by sin? We still need to be rescued from this body of death, and surely that does have implications in our profession.

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  4. They: We can take over the world and dominate every square inch and control it for the Kingdom of God.

    Us: Good luck with that.

    They: Sinner, you are worst than the worst enemies of the way, why aren’t you getting your bodily fluids all hot and bothered talking about this angrily (…while and doing NOTHING useful about it)

    Us: See you around, I’m kind of busy today and to be honest I’m really bored talking to you..

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  5. Walton, too bad for him, but Millman’s insights won’t save.

    The question is how far the fall takes the intellect and other human capacities. The flipside is whether regeneration overcomes those consequences of the fall.

    I’m not going to settle that one here in a comm box, but I can say from experience that regeneration has not made me smarter. (I’m sure some OL participants will agree.) I can also say that some of the smartest people I read about this world’s affairs are not regenerate. One more observation: Christians can be some of the most gullible people I’ve seen.

    So the question is to what degree does sin or regeneration affect mental abilities. Thoughts?

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  6. I’d gladly estimate that 95% of the most intelligent people on the planet at a given time are atheists or live with no thought for religious guidance in their existence.

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  7. DGH,

    By mental abilities are you excluding the will and only referring to intelligence and cognitive abilities?

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  8. So the question is to what degree does sin or regeneration affect mental abilities. Thoughts?

    Yah. That is the question. And why limit it to mental abilities? A plumber may have a bad back as a result of total depravity, and that’s not helped by regeneration. But it is by glorification. Maybe a parallel?

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  9. John 17 May they all be one,
    as You, Father, are IN ME and I am IN YOU
    May they also be one IN US,

    in order that the world may believe You sent Me.

    22 I have given them the glory You have given Me.
    May they be one as We are one.
    23 I am IN THEM and You are IN ME
    May they be made completely one,
    so the world may know You have sent Me
    and have loved them as You have loved Me.

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  10. If not all two kingdom theorists are the same, by what standard do we say that Reformed two kingdom folk are more or less pessimistic than Lutheran two kingdom persons? Are the 2K Mennonites who vote Republican more or less optimistic than the Mennonites who still won’t vote? When you say 2k, does it mean the kind you are, and not the kind that told Booker T Washington that the hope of freedom was not for earth but for later?

    Is “third use of the law” (the whipping of Christian asses) an expression of optimism in the power of law to restrain? Or is it a more pessmistic question about the “more and more” of the “life of faith”?

    http://pietistschoolman.com/2013/04/03/francke-and-friedrich-wilhelm-can-pietists-serve-two-kingdoms/

    “Francke could be accused of allowing himself to be used by the powers of this world, perhaps making it hard to tell the difference between the Kingdom he proclaimed and the earthly kingdom he served and justified.”

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  11. I notice that you mostly try to ignore postmill theonomists. That’s fine, but isn’t it true that most of the Kuyperians are amills? So how do you explain their greater optimism, if indeed they are more optimistic? Is it that the neo-Calvinists don’t really believe the t in tulip as much as you do, or is it that their optimism does not have its object the churches but the US Constitution as an expression of “natural law”

    I would recommend this essay by Snoeberger on the “spirituality of the church” in the most recent issue of the Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal. Assuming the identity of dispensationalism with “fundamentalism”, it argues that Darby was first of all about ecclesiology, about Darby’s refusal of political loyalty oaths demanded by the Church of the England, It concludes that Machen and the OPC were agreed with these dispensationalists not only on the inerrancy of the Bible but on the spirituality of churches….

    A Tale of Two Kingdoms: The Struggle for the Spirituality of the Church and the Genius of
    the Dispensational System

    http://dbts.edu/blog/new-issue-of-detroit-baptist-seminary-journal-2/

    coming from fundy me, this is NOT “guilt by association”

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  12. Mark: “That’s fine, but isn’t it true that most of the Kuyperians are amills? So how do you explain their greater optimism, if indeed they are more optimistic? ”

    Growing up in the 60’s in a Southern Baptist Church under two pastors in particular who were strongly amills, I find the optimism foreign, but it seems to have become almost universal and not confined to the Reformed camp. I don’t know the answer. I will read the article you linked, but I believe you have said you are not a dispensationalist, so I would appreciate learning your perspective.

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  13. Does being more shrewd in dealing with your own generation count as a mental ability? Because then, yes, regeneration makes difference, but… well…

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  14. McMark, voting Republican against President Obama was pretty darned pessimistic.

    I need more data. Generally speaking, though, 2kers “put no hope in princes.”

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  15. Ali, hasn’t worked for you. Does that mean you’re not regenerate?

    You really think having the mind of Christ means I’m as smart at Einstein?

    Be serious.

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  16. At the same time, Christians have been overwhelmingly the driver over the centuries in the arts (perspective, polyphony), sciences, and rigorous work in the humanities from history to philosophy.

    The arts and science have declined insofar as they departed from Christian metaphysics.

    The Chinese have done much in math and technology, ancient Greeks in the humanities- but does it compare? The Muslim golden age relied on syriac/aramaic Christians for an extraordinary amount of the intellectual labor.

    Not saying the correlation is simple, but I think it is present. How about it lifts our slavery to our own passions- permits us to be free from, e.g., the blindness of lust?

    I would say more, but I am tempted to talk about human flourishing again.

    Great q, Ali.

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  17. How do people invariably view 2k? Too pessimistic, nothing we can do.

    Not pessimistic as much as snarky and apathetic.

    How do 2kers respond? Yes, things are bad but God has done great things. Salvation comes from him. Improving social conditions may be positive — don’t let the unintended consequences hit you between the eyes, DOH! — but social improvement is not salvation.

    You are the Goats. Matthew 25:31-46

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  18. DG, I thought of that same example. It seems a little more problematic than physical ailments. It’s interesting though how we are much more willing to say “Jesus is smarter than Einstein” than “Jesus is better at basketball than LeBron/Kobe/KD/Jordan” and maybe there’s biblical warrant for that. Just more thoughts.

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  19. TVD, and not everyone who wants to point to his great righteousness for Jesus will be reckanized:

    Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

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  20. D. G. Hart: Ali, hasn’t worked for you. Does that mean you’re not regenerate?
    Are you calling God a liar, DG. That would called be sin.

    DG Hart You really think having the mind of Christ means I’m as smart at Einstein?
    wasn’t your question – to what degree does regeneration affect mental abilities.
    I thought you were interested in that answer, I didn’t realize you preferred the mind of Einstein to the mind of Christ.

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  21. Zrim
    Posted August 11, 2015 at 10:01 pm | Permalink
    TVD, and not everyone who wants to point to his great righteousness for Jesus will be reckanized:

    Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

    Thx, Mr. Z. Just when you get comfortable, Jesus says some thing like this.

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  22. Can anyone possibly explain why Calvinists would be optimistic about anything other than the plan of salvation?

    Good article Darryl.

    Regeneration effects the moral compass. Not intelligence. The two are entirely different. Yes, some of the most Titanic intellects ever to be spawned from father Adam lived and died as slaves to sin.

    Having the mind of Christ means to think in a surrendered, theo-centric, God exalting manner. Nothing directly to do with intelligence.

    I understand the context fully, but when Jesus says to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to unto you, I really believe there is wider application. The Lord is saying that needs are not met by primarily seeking what will fill those needs. But that God will fill them when as He sees fit as we seek Him above all.

    Same thing with culture. IF culture is to be meaningfully influenced by the Gospel, it will come not primarily from toiling directly in the pagan culture, but from faithfully portraying Christ among them and seeing folks brought to salvation. Even then there is no biblical promise. but IF we ever see it, that will be how.

    Same principle and same error in each case.

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  23. Ali, maybe you should get out of the business of quoting and actually explain what a Bible verse means or how you take it.

    So you have the mind of Christ. Now you’re always right?

    You disagree with me. So I don’t have the mind of Christ?

    A conversation/dialogue involves more than bumper stickers.

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  24. vd, t, so if you’re not going to Mass and confessing your sins, that makes you the goat, right?

    Or is this the time you play Bishop-elect Barron’s universalism.

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  25. “How do 2kers perceive neo-Calvinists? As blurring the gospel into social or holistic aspects, or as being excessively optimistic about human potential for overcoming sin and its consequences.”

    And with blind spots that somehow can’t see all the information that’s inconsistent with The Cause. They have a name for the blind spots: worldview.

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  26. mboss, where is the mind, soul, or will? How do you prove those faculties without a lot of speculation?

    Introspection- some are much better at it than others, but all have the ability. Beats playing solitaire. It’s easy to do but takes an act of will – and most people are mentally quite lazy.

    Close your eyes and imagine your mother’s face – you’ve just demonstrated faculties of imagination, memory, and will. You can imagine her older or younger, at your child home or on city streets, even in places she never was, or simply in and of herself in on an abstract plane. (Perhaps you have an emotional response of tenderness as well, I know I do.)

    Or imagine a piece of fabric. You can turn it upside down, rotate it, stretch it, crumple it, imagine it in the wind, in sun and shadow. The work of a seamstress, and touching on that of an architect or engineer.

    You don’t have to close your eyes of course – you can imagine an apple on the table in front of you (red, green, yellow, blue)- demonstrating conceptualization (abstracting a discrete object from experience) and the ability to employ counterfactuals.

    Or imagine the apple overlaying a block of marble, and start carving.

    You can’t imagine a round square – we’re bound by logic even in counterfactuals (which suggests distinctions between the necessary and contingent areas of the created world).

    You can’t imagine the precise object you are perceiving – I see two starlings on a power line just outside the window of my house – I can duplicate their images and place the images next to the actual birds in my visual field, but I can’t superimpose the image of the starling over the perceived starling. Explaining why takes speculation.

    Imagining a color with your eyes closed will (most report) give you a solid block of color which fades off at the edges – why should this be? I don’t know, but perhaps it suggests our incapacity to conceive of infinities.

    All of this takes place in the mind. It does take some basic concept formation and attention to detail, but not more than we use in other areas of life.

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  27. Ali, maybe you should get out of the business of quoting and actually explain what a Bible verse means or how you take it.
    So you have the mind of Christ. Now you’re always right?
    You disagree with me. So I don’t have the mind of Christ?
    A conversation/dialogue involves more than bumper stickers.

    Everything starts with a bible verse right? (the mind of Christ) Usually after submitting one here (depending on the person who does), there is just, as TVD puts it, a lot of ‘snark ‘. I would add hostility. So the ‘conversation’ ends. I just usually take that as hostility toward the word of God.

    Anyway, you did partly ask about mental abilities related to regeneration. Mental ability after regeneration also means going from a hostile,hardened, veiled, fleshly, depraved mind which indulges in the desires and futility of that mind, by nature a child of wrath… to, by the mercy, of God, being given a new mind.

    -I have the mind of Christ
    -You have the mind of Christ if you are reborn (which I don’t know.)
    -God’s program : the already, but not yet,- so we are being made complete.
    -On this side of eternity we will still disagree, apparently. Because God says “Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind”
    -Even though we disagree, brethren are exhorted “by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.”

    tall order: know we’re gonna disagree but agree. That Lord… he’s always giving these ridiculous challenges; He also always warns us -“I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.”

    So lots of choices with a new mind (not available to the old ),
    -be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind or not
    – a mind led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ or not
    -be like-minded with brethren and standing firm with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel or not;
    -double minded or not; a guarded mind or not,worldly minded or not
    -etc. (All from Bible verses not referenced here.)

    Concerning the intelligence you seem to want to speak of here, doesn’t the the Lord do whatever He wants and give to all just as He sees fit, including great human intelligence to some who will never acknowledge He is the source. Each man has his own gift from God. But one could probably study ways to increase the capacity given. We know the way to increase the mind of Christ – study and meditation of His word and prayer, by the Spirit

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  28. Those with the mind of Christ, who do little but point fingers at us…

    are they exhibiting

    peace
    joy
    love
    .
    .
    .
    self-control?

    Ali, you are a goofball… the last person who has the right to throw Scripture verses at even the worst person on here…

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  29. @Kevin
    “The arts and science have declined insofar as they departed from Christian metaphysics.”
    I can’t speak to the arts, but I am curious about your statement about science.

    By science do you mean what most people normally take to be science (physics, chemistry, biology, etc…) or do you have in mind a broader understanding (e.g., systematic knowledge)? And what do you mean by declined? Are there scientific insights about the world that you think we have lost? Or do you think the pace of discovery has declined?

    And by Christian metaphysics what do you have in mind? Do you mean an Aristotelian metaphysics (or Thomistic if you prefer?), do you have in mind something more confessionally grounded or specifically Christian (e.g., Trinitarian), or are you using it as a short hand for a sort of classical theist perspective? I’m trying to understand if it is metaphysical naturalism that you are objecting to or something more specific (perhaps empiricism or nominalism?).

    I’m just trying to get a handle on what you have in mind as it seems to me that science has entered a golden age over the past 50yrs. Our understanding of the Universe, the fundamental forces of nature, how life develops, where the elements came from, etc… have (and are) exploding. The philosophical implications of discoveries may be blighted and our application of this knowledge in the form of new technologies may be unwise, but I have a hard time seeing how one can justify the decline of science. Of course, I may have overlooked something or simply misunderstood what you meant. I’m curious though.

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  30. Kent, re: “worst person here” — that field is more crowded than the Republican presidential primary contenders. I like to think I’m at least a second-tier contender with real potential to take the top spot. #VoteChortles

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  31. Ali: Calvin, Arminius, Barth, The Pope and President Obama all quote the Bible. They could quote the same verse and all mean something different. If you want to communicate, explain what you mean. If it floats your boat to simply quote a verse then you already have your reward – don’t also expect meaningful communication.

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  32. cw l’unificateur: a second-tier contender with real potential to take the top spot. #VoteChortles

    aw cw. I’m thinking maybe you’d really like that top spot and for that reason I want to vote for you because you want it, but that would be lying so I can’t , at least yet!

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  33. CW, I’m the worst sinner I know on this board by far. I have nothing but a weak faith in order to “plead the blood and obedience” of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

    And to walk in light of my awareness of my guilt, His grace, and my gratitude. To those whom much is given, more is required.

    Which involves putting a pin in those who have a little bit inflated point of view about their holiness…

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  34. Ali, if this is true, “regeneration also means going from a hostile,hardened, veiled, fleshly, depraved mind which indulges in the desires and futility of that mind, by nature a child of wrath,” then what difference does the new birth or having the mind of Christ make for evaluating the arms deal with Iran?

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  35. DGH, I take denial to be a psychological event and a worldview blindspot to be an ideological phenomenon. Of course one can will an ideology, etc. so I’m not proposing an airtight distinction.

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  36. D. G. Hart:Ali, if this is true, “regeneration also means going from a hostile,hardened, veiled, fleshly, depraved mind which indulges in the desires and futility of that mind, by nature a child of wrath,” then what difference does the new birth or having the mind of Christ make for evaluating the arms deal with Iran?

    First, if DG? Can you at least acknowledge that it is true?

    Does that question have to do with ‘mental ability’ – you mean reasoning and strategy mental ability ?

    Tough though, glad that’s way above my ‘pay grade’ but can we at least say a new mind always has ‘in mind’ the Lord, seeking Him, and acknowledging wisdom and strategy from Him?

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  37. Ali, if the unregenerate mind were as bad as you describe it, I’m not sure I’ve ever go outside. I’m a great believer in total depravity, not in total incapacity.

    So that’s it? You have the mind of Christ and can’t say anything about Iran? Wouldn’t you even speculate on whether it’s better to have a Christian as Sect. of State? Or is the mind of Christ just an abstraction the talk of which allows you to feel spiritual?

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  38. Ali’s mind of Christ talk only works if he controls a group of sad and obedient people to slap around when they question even 1% of his rants.

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  39. Of course, the total in Total Depravity, refers to depravity affecting every part of the person; not that the person is as depraved as could be. You might want to clarify that point in your post.

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  40. Also, I don’t see what the difference between your position and Kuyper’s, as represented in that quote. You both seem to view the world as basically alright.

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  41. DG Hart:Ali, if the unregenerate mind were as bad as you describe it, I’m not sure I’ve ever go outside. I’m a great believer in total depravity, not in total incapacity.
    So that’s it? You have the mind of Christ and can’t say anything about Iran? Wouldn’t you even speculate on whether it’s better to have a Christian as Sect. of State? Or is the mind of Christ just an abstraction the talk of which allows you to feel spiritual?

    DG: those descriptions are not mine but the Lord’s, so I guess you disagree with the Lord. And yes I agree with the reformed definition of total depravity.

    My trust is in the LORD, DG. He is sovereign and providential – The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.That does not keep me from praying for godly, righteous leaders since He tells us too and says He hears and acts upon our prays.

    Our Congressman asked about our thoughts on the proposed Iran agreement and we gave them tot to him, as best we believe the Lord would have us

    Have a great day.
    (ps maybe you could mentor your follower Kent a little bit today)

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  42. Kent,

    I’m going to violate my policy of ignoring everything you say to make the point that boasting about how sinful you are and how dependent you are upon Christ’s grace, comes over as a tad obnoxious and self-satisfied. Maybe check yourself a bit?

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  43. Ali, please give us something that comes from your own heart and mind and soul….

    Anybody can copy and paste rants from Baby’s First Book of Fundamentalist Bromides That Nobody Asked to Hear.

    Costs $0.99 in the Barnes and Noble discard section for the past 84 years.

    Like

  44. Alexander, you can’t ignore me, you know I speak to your reality side, the one that seeks application, not just windy and lofty chatter…

    Ooooo… now my confession as a sinner is boasting and obnoxious.

    What type of rancid snake-handling fundamentalism do you wrap yourself in??? I think I know…

    Kisses…

    Like

  45. Sorry, I thought Ali was Alexander.

    But they are posting as a swarm at the same time, live several hours apart on the clock as well.

    Quite the coincidence.

    Mercy…

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  46. Ali,

    I went to a Christian high school with a kid who could not pass History class. Real fruit of the Spirit guy–he was a believer and has the mind of Christ. Would he or John Kerry make a better Secretary of State?

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  47. Worldview Machen must have been blurring the gospel into social and holistic aspects:

    “Furthermore, the field of Christianity is the world. The Christian cannot be satisfied so long as any human activity is either opposed to Christianity or out of all connection with Christianity. Christianity must pervade not merely all nations, but also all of human thought. The Christian, therefore, cannot be indifferent to any branch of earnest human endeavor. It must all be brought into some relation to the gospel. It must be studied either in order to be demonstrated as false, or else in order to be made useful in advancing the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom must be advanced not merely extensively, but also intensively. The Church must seek to conquer not merely every man for Christ, but also the whole of man.” J. Gresham Machen, “Christianity & Culture”

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  48. vdm, m, so when Zrim quotes Kuyper on Art. 36 of Belgic, you goose step in agreement?

    Here’s something else from Machen to chew on:

    there is an enormous difference between the modern liberal and the Christian man with reference to human institutions like the community and the state, and with reference to human efforts at applying tile Golden Rule in industrial relationships. The modern liberal is optimistic with reference to these institutions; the Christian man is pessimistic unless the institutions be manned by Christian men. The modern liberal believes that human nature as at present constituted can be molded by the principles of Jesus; the Christian man believes that evil can only be held in check and not destroyed by human institutions, and that there must be a transformation of the human materials before any new building can be produced. This difference is not a mere difference in theory, but makes itself felt everywhere in the practical realm. It is particularly evident on the mission field. The missionary of liberalism seeks to spread the blessings of Christian civilization (whatever that may be), and is not particularly interested in leading individuals to relinquish their pagan beliefs. The Christian missionary, on the other hand, regards satisfaction with a mere influence of Christian civilization as a hindrance rather than a help; his chief business, he believes, is the saving of souls, and souls are saved not by the mere ethical principles of Jesus but by His redemptive work. The Christian missionary, in other words, and the Christian worker at home as well as abroad, unlike the apostle of liberalism, says to all men everywhere: “Human goodness will avail nothing for lost souls; ye must be born again.”

    I can reconcile that with your quote. Can you reconcile mine with yours? I doubt it. Your from that school of “speak quotations to the man.”

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  49. Why reconcile a Bratt quote with a Machen quote? Better to ask about reconciling Machen and Kuyper.

    But let’s hear your reconciliation of the “Machen Darryl Likes” vs. “the Machen Darryl Hides”.

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  50. Why Kuyperians Don’t Like 2k
    By D. G. HART | Published: AUGUST 11, 2015
    Michael Sean Winters is reading James Bratt’s biography of Abraham Kuyper and quotes the following assessment of the Dutch statesman:

    Nowhere did he so minimize the effects of sin as in his assumptions about the macro level of social development. Sometimes – for instance, in his speech against “Uniformity” – he could spy a fearful momentum that was greater than any particular part, and on many occasions he noted individual persons, policies, agencies, or communities perverting their social potential. But in formal theory Kuyper more often celebrated than worried about the direction of the whole. Here he shared in his era’s cult of “progress.”

    Notice the connections. Minimize the effects of sin to think that the whole of society is improving.

    How do people invariably view 2k? Too pessimistic, nothing we can do.

    How do 2kers respond? Yes, things are bad but God has done great things. Salvation comes from him. Improving social conditions may be positive — don’t let the unintended consequences hit you between the eyes, DOH! — but social improvement is not salvation.

    How do 2kers perceive neo-Calvinists? As blurring the gospel into social or holistic aspects, or as being excessively optimistic about human potential for overcoming sin and its consequences.

    2k puts the total in Total Depravity. Neo-Calvinists have plans for restoring creation to its original order.

    Can anyone possibly explain why Calvinists would be optimistic about anything other than the plan of salvation?

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    61 Comments
    Alexander
    Posted August 12, 2015 at 11:45 am | Permalink
    Kent,

    I’m going to violate my policy of ignoring everything you say to make the point that boasting about how sinful you are and how dependent you are upon Christ’s grace, comes over as a tad obnoxious and self-satisfied. Maybe check yourself a bit?

    kent
    Posted August 12, 2015 at 11:48 am | Permalink
    Ali, please give us something that comes from your own heart and mind and soul….

    Anybody can copy and paste rants from Baby’s First Book of Fundamentalist Bromides That Nobody Asked to Hear.

    Costs $0.99 in the Barnes and Noble discard section for the past 84 years.

    kent
    Posted August 12, 2015 at 11:50 am | Permalink
    Alexander, you can’t ignore me, you know I speak to your reality side, the one that seeks application, not just windy and lofty chatter…

    Ooooo… now my confession as a sinner is boasting and obnoxious.

    What type of rancid snake-handling fundamentalism do you wrap yourself in??? I think I know…

    Kisses…

    kent
    Posted August 12, 2015 at 11:51 am | Permalink
    Sorry, I thought Ali was Alexander.

    But they are posting as a swarm at the same time, live several hours apart on the clock as well.

    Quite the coincidence.

    Mercy…

    d4v34x
    Posted August 12, 2015 at 12:47 pm | Permalink
    Ali,

    I went to a Christian high school with a kid who could not pass History class. Real fruit of the Spirit guy–he was a believer and has the mind of Christ. Would he or John Kerry make a better Secretary of State?

    D. G. Hart
    Posted August 12, 2015 at 1:52 pm | Permalink
    Alexander, if the world is alright, why do Kuyperians want to change it?

    Mark Van Der Molen
    Posted August 12, 2015 at 2:30 pm | Permalink
    Worldview Machen must have been blurring the gospel into social and holistic aspects:

    “Furthermore, the field of Christianity is the world. The Christian cannot be satisfied so long as any human activity is either opposed to Christianity or out of all connection with Christianity. Christianity must pervade not merely all nations, but also all of human thought. The Christian, therefore, cannot be indifferent to any branch of earnest human endeavor. It must all be brought into some relation to the gospel. It must be studied either in order to be demonstrated as false, or else in order to be made useful in advancing the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom must be advanced not merely extensively, but also intensively. The Church must seek to conquer not merely every man for Christ, but also the whole of man.” J. Gresham Machen, “Christianity & Culture”

    D. G. Hart
    Posted August 12, 2015 at 2:48 pm | Permalink
    vdm, m, so when Zrim quotes Kuyper on Art. 36 of Belgic, you goose step in agreement?

    Here’s something else from Machen to chew on:

    there is an enormous difference between the modern liberal and the Christian man with reference to human institutions like the community and the state, and with reference to human efforts at applying tile Golden Rule in industrial relationships. The modern liberal is optimistic with reference to these institutions; the Christian man is pessimistic unless the institutions be manned by Christian men. The modern liberal believes that human nature as at present constituted can be molded by the principles of Jesus; the Christian man believes that evil can only be held in check and not destroyed by human institutions, and that there must be a transformation of the human materials before any new building can be produced. This difference is not a mere difference in theory, but makes itself felt everywhere in the practical realm. It is particularly evident on the mission field. The missionary of liberalism seeks to spread the blessings of Christian civilization (whatever that may be), and is not particularly interested in leading individuals to relinquish their pagan beliefs. The Christian missionary, on the other hand, regards satisfaction with a mere influence of Christian civilization as a hindrance rather than a help; his chief business, he believes, is the saving of souls, and souls are saved not by the mere ethical principles of Jesus but by His redemptive work. The Christian missionary, in other words, and the Christian worker at home as well as abroad, unlike the apostle of liberalism, says to all men everywhere: “Human goodness will avail nothing for lost souls; ye must be born again.”

    I can reconcile that with your quote. Can you reconcile mine with yours? I doubt it. Your from that school of “speak quotations to the man.”

    Mark Van Der Molen
    Posted August 12, 2015 at 3:48 pm | Permalink
    Why reconcile a Bratt quote with a Machen quote? Better to ask about reconciling Machen and Kuyper.

    But let’s hear your reconciliation of the “Machen Darryl Likes” vs. “the Machen Darryl Hides”.

    Arguing Machen against Machen? How wonderfully absurd. Reconcile Machen with Machen first.

    Like

  51. SDB –

    [kc:] “The arts and science have declined insofar as they departed from Christian metaphysics.”
    [Sdb:] I can’t speak to the arts, but I am curious about your statement about science. By science do you mean what most people normally take to be science (physics, chemistry, biology, etc…) or do you have in mind a broader understanding (e.g., systematic knowledge)? And what do you mean by declined?

    What is your field of science, Sdb? Disclaimer: Mine is nil aside from some very basic acoustics (simple fractions, really, it’s in fact rather interesting). I was indeed referring to the empirical sciences as commonly understood, although the problems I see are of various sorts, and I don’t have a systematic theory of it.

    Examples (caveat that I’ll need you to be generous to the extent you disagree, as my ability to defend is limited and my regenerate-I-pray mind will only get me so far; I’d welcome real assistance understanding the below):

    -String theory states that all matter is made up of 11 dimensional vibrating strings – even if rather complicated the math seems to work out, this seems extravagant, and what would it even mean? Perhaps this is more theorizing than empirical science.

    -Common interpretations of quantum mechanics suggest reality depends on observation, which seems to me like a confusion of the process of verification.

    -Dark matter is unperceived (unperceivable?) but makes up most of the matter of the universe?

    -This is more just an expression of puzzlement, but do we really have adequate evidence to conclude radioactive decay is a constant? Particularly if our basic understanding of forces and the nature of matter is still being redefined? The long ages of time we assume depends significantly on this assumption, I believe- and although its acceptance is commonplace, 13.8b years is rather a long time to accept. phys dot org / news / 2014-10-textbook-knowledge-reconfirmed-radioactive-substances . html

    -Evolution advocates, despite a few attractive stories (evolution of the horse) haven’t presented clear definitions of species and haven’t satisfactorily accounted for the mathematical improbability of random mutation.

    They have no explanation for the origin of either life or consciousness (not that I think humans are capable of having one, but often consciousness is poorly understood, a separate problem of materialist philosophy). They nevertheless make claims which assume some understanding of them. They also have created a cultural climate in which it is quite difficult for reasoned discussion to take place (e.g., the numerous public personalities hostile to religious belief).

    -What’s with the dinosaur bones containing tissue? Blood and tissue can survive 68 million years? Not that I have a better explanation than the iron argument, but it I’m not convinced. http://www.livescience.com/41537-t-rex-soft-tissue.html

    -Original Sin requires, I maintain, a real Adam and Eve who by generation produce the human race. Perhaps one of the suggestions produced by atheist scientists in jest has merit (Tom has the link).

    Yet despite the identification of a “Mitochondrial Eve” and “Y-Chromosomal Adam,” the claim has been repeatedly advanced they almost certainly never knew each other; although I am gratified to see this may be slowly changing:

    current (as of 2014) estimates suggest the possibility that the two individuals may well have been roughly contemporaneous (albeit with uncertainties ranging in the tens of thousands of years) – Wiki

    Are there scientific insights about the world that you think we have lost? Or do you think the pace of discovery has declined?

    I think we have more science than ever before, and doubt any facts or substantive knowledge has been lost. As for decline, are we making the same progress toward a unified field theory we once were?

    I’m just trying to get a handle on what you have in mind as it seems to me that science has entered a golden age over the past 50yrs. Our understanding of the Universe, the fundamental forces of nature, how life develops, where the elements came from, etc… have (and are) exploding.

    I am sure it is in ways I have no comprehension of. I’d be interested to know the key areas you see progress.

    The philosophical implications of discoveries may be blighted

    This may well be the core of my complaint.

    Your remaining questions as to what I meant regarding “Christian metaphysics” (I won’t stand by the phrase, but it is what came to mind) are most interesting – I’ll address this evening.

    Like

  52. Darryl, citing your book that didn’t deal with Worldview Machen won’t work any better than the last time you tried that with me.

    How about a brief combox effort at reconciling them?

    Like

  53. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 12, 2015 at 9:46 pm | Permalink
    vdm, m, still your move. You know Machen so well. Enlighten.

    Why don’t you teach instead of trying to trap him? You’re the world’s greatest authority on JG Machen.

    Like

  54. @Kevin

    What is your field of science, Sdb?

    My Ph.D. is in Physics and I am a prof in a physics & astronomy department at an R1 university. My work is focused on the chemical and physical evolution of the interstellar medium and protoplanetary disks with an eye towards understanding the origin of solar systems.

    Mine is nil aside from some very basic acoustics (simple fractions, really, it’s in fact rather interesting)

    Acoustics is fascinating and relevant to cosmology.

    Examples (caveat that I’ll need you to be generous to the extent you disagree, as my ability to defend is limited and my regenerate-I-pray mind will only get me so far; I’d welcome real assistance understanding the below):

    Let’s see…

    -String theory states that all matter is made up of 11 dimensional vibrating strings – even if rather complicated the math seems to work out, this seems extravagant, and what would it even mean? Perhaps this is more theorizing than empirical science.

    Yeah, string theory sounds really exotic (and I think some folks like to rev up the exoticness to sell books), but it isn’t really predictive yet as I understand it. I’m not expert here and other the occasional PhysicsToday article, I haven’t thought about it much since a course in grad school almost 20 years ago.

    One problem as I recall is that the mathematics gives you whatever you want. The question physicists ask is “Why are the fundamental constants of nature and the strength of the forces what they are?”. A theory that allows you to derive that would be very satisfying, and this is the path that physicists have taken (quite successfully) since Newton. The right answer might be that it was a stochastic process that led to these units – it would be like trying to derive the orbital separation of the planets. Sure you can find a Bode’s law that gives it to you, but there is no good reason to accept that law. Similarly with string theory. Keep in mind that you are working with analogies that break down. If you aren’t immersed in the math, you really aren’t in a place to evaluate the theory. This is a problem as the theories get ever more complicated and require increasing degrees of specialization. But one way to think of additional dimensions that may be a bit less exotic (though again still just an analogy) is to think about a globe of the earth. You have two dimensions – latitude and longitude. Then you can add a relief to your globe and have three dimensions (latitude, longitude, and altitude). But why stop there. You can allow your globe to evolve now you have four dimensions (time, z, w, and r). But we are just getting warmed up! Let’s add temperature, atmospheric pressure, and wind velocity. Now we have two scalar dimensions and and a six component vector field we want to add to our map. The dimensions are growing! Now when you move along the globe you are tracking several things that are changing (dimensions). This isn’t exactly what theorists have in mind with their exotic topologies, but maybe it gives you a framework for thinking about more than 3+1 dimensions.

    But I see string theory as a remarkable scientific advance towards a solution to an incredibly hard problem. Note that we didn’t even recognize the problem a century ago. It took 20 centuries to understand why an arrow keeps moving after it leaves contact with a bow string.

    -Common interpretations of quantum mechanics suggest reality depends on observation, which seems to me like a confusion of the process of verification.

    Schrodinger’s cat! Is it alive or dead. I think this is another example where the popularizers have led us astray. The scientific theory and the experimental evidence are quite good. Lots of significant digits good! The theory certainly isn’t complete of course, and the “interpretations” can certain get pretty far out there, but I don’t think the experimental implications of qm and the theory are problematic. The challenge you face is understanding the double slit experiment. Here is what happens. First just water waves. If you have water waves pass through a slit you’ll see the shape of the wave change – from a plane wave to a radial wave if you will. If you have two slits for the water to pass through, the waves that form through the openings will interfere and create a particular pattern. We can do the same thing with light proving that light acts as a wave. Now here’s the crazy thing. If you do the same thing with electrons, you also get an interference patter. Even if you send the electrons through one at a time! If you close one opening and send them through one at a time again. You eventually get the same interference pattern! The crazy thing is that this is exactly what the mathematics predicts! It is perfect. But what is *really* going on? This is where the various interpretations come into play. Bas van Fraassen does a very good job discussing the implicaions of QM. James Cushing has a good account of why the Bohmian interpretation should be preferred and why it isn’t. Both require some knowledge of quantum mechanics.

    -Dark matter is unperceived (unperceivable?) but makes up most of the matter of the universe?

    Dark matter is certainly perceivable, but it doesn’t interact electromagnetically as far as we can tell nor do we know yet what it is comprised. We have really good constraints on what its properties must be. However, we can see evidence of it through gravitational lensing. There is of course MOND which gets around this, but MOND really has a hard time getting all the predictions down.

    -This is more just an expression of puzzlement, but do we really have adequate evidence to conclude radioactive decay is a constant? Particularly if our basic understanding of forces and the nature of matter is still being redefined? The long ages of time we assume depends significantly on this assumption, I believe- and although its acceptance is commonplace, 13.8b years is rather a long time to accept.

    the radioactive decay constant is almost certainly valid – compositional assumptions for dating some elements may be problematic. The 13.8b years doesn’t rest on radioactive dating though. You get that from the inverse of the Hubble constant – some catholic priest came up with that so it is probably wrong though (kidding!). There are a few independent ways to arrive at the age of the universe and they are all consistent. radioactive dating is how we calibrate the age of our sun (4.6Gyrs or so). We do detect radioactivities from other SNe remnants (Al-26 is a big one toward the galactic center). The light curves of SNe are powered by radioactivities at late times at a wide variety of distances (meaning ages). There is no evidence of a change the decay rate (and it is hard to come up with a good reason to expect such a variation).

    -Evolution advocates, despite a few attractive stories (evolution of the horse) haven’t presented clear definitions of species and haven’t satisfactorily accounted for the mathematical improbability of random mutation.

    This is way outside of my field, but I would say that it isn’t valid to say they haven’t accounted for the mathematical improbability. You might find this article interesting:
    http://nautil.us/issue/20/creativity/the-strange-inevitability-of-evolution

    They have no explanation for the origin of either life or consciousness (not that I think humans are capable of having one, but often consciousness is poorly understood, a separate problem of materialist philosophy). They nevertheless make claims which assume some understanding of them. They also have created a cultural climate in which it is quite difficult for reasoned discussion to take place (e.g., the numerous public personalities hostile to religious belief).

    The origin of life is a tough one. Of course our sample size is 1, so we don’t have much to work with. This is part of the reason we are so interested in detecting biomarkers elsewhere. 20yrs ago we knew about 9 planets around 1 star. Now we know that nearly every star in the galaxy has a planet of some sort. But what about life? It seems it got started once on one planet. Could it survive else where in the solar system (Europa seems like a good bet). The detection of a bio-marker (something like chlorophyll) on another planet would be a huge deal! We might find out we are it, but I suspect we will find life is quite plentiful. But then I think the Cubs are going to win the World Series this year and Notre Dame is going to with the National Championship in College Football. Place you bets accordingly.

    -What’s with the dinosaur bones containing tissue? Blood and tissue can survive 68 million years? Not that I have a better explanation than the iron argument, but it I’m not convinced.

    No idea about this one. I need to read the article – it sounds fascinating.

    -Original Sin requires, I maintain, a real Adam and Eve who by generation produce the human race. Perhaps one of the suggestions produced by atheist scientists in jest has merit (Tom has the link).

    Yet despite the identification of a “Mitochondrial Eve” and “Y-Chromosomal Adam,” the claim has been repeatedly advanced they almost certainly never knew each other; although I am gratified to see this may be slowly changing:

    current (as of 2014) estimates suggest the possibility that the two individuals may well have been roughly contemporaneous (albeit with uncertainties ranging in the tens of thousands of years) – Wiki

    Yeah, I really struggle with this one. I’m not sure how to reconcile what I am confident in theologically with what seems to make sense from a scientific perspective – namely that modern humans (much later than mitochondrial Eve) were never fewer than 10,000. The Biologos folks have a lot about this and Francis Collins makes a decent case for it as well in his book.

    I think we have more science than ever before, and doubt any facts or substantive knowledge has been lost. As for decline, are we making the same progress toward a unified field theory we once were?

    I don’t know about that issue. There is a lot of work being done, but I don’t follow that field at all. My sense is that we might have hit a dead end here over the past 30yrs, and there is no guarantee that there is a solution along these lines.

    I’m just trying to get a handle on what you have in mind as it seems to me that science has entered a golden age over the past 50yrs. Our understanding of the Universe, the fundamental forces of nature, how life develops, where the elements came from, etc… have (and are) exploding.

    I am sure it is in ways I have no comprehension of. I’d be interested to know the key areas you see progress.

    I’m biased, but since say 1990 and the launch of hubble, our knowledge of cosmology, stellar populations and evolution, our solar system, and the formation of stars and planets has exploded. Material science has also zoomed forward. Understanding materials at the atomic level (nanomachines, nano lithography, etc…) have really advanced. The genome project and our understanding of genetics is really something else as well.

    The philosophical implications of discoveries may be blighted

    This may well be the core of my complaint.

    Your remaining questions as to what I meant regarding “Christian metaphysics” (I won’t stand by the phrase, but it is what came to mind) are most interesting – I’ll address this evening.

    Sounds fun.

    Like

  55. TVD
    Posted August 12, 2015 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    D. G. Hart
    Posted August 12, 2015 at 9:46 pm | Permalink
    vdm, m, still your move. You know Machen so well. Enlighten.

    Why don’t you teach instead of trying to trap him? You’re the world’s greatest authority on JG Machen.
    ————-

    Dr. Dodge wants to conceal some of Machen’s identity. Kind of like what the PP undercover video journalist did.

    Like

  56. DGH, thanks to you I’m reading a little bit about the w-w.

    Doesn’t it stand for were-wolf when anyone who basically is 99.9% in their theological camp disagrees with them?

    Like

  57. w-w covers a multitude of blind spots.

    So now you got Machen fuzzy on the gospel and with blind spots.

    Like

  58. Oh, this could be a fun game, I’ll just take 2 small parts out of what is attributed to being said by Jesus Christ, possibly out of context and then… wait….

    …..exactly why are you getting your jollies doing this MVDM?

    You do have a brain…

    Like

  59. And what does Jesus say kent? :whatever ‘w-w’ you decide on….no one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.

    Like

  60. Ali, so which master would you have us serve on the Iran arms deal? Iran is Muslim so we reject it. But Israel is Jewish and they oppose it.

    What’s a Bible quoter to do?

    Like

  61. Kind of sad when the w-w party cannot even begin to enter a discussion with fellow believers on “who is going to put the bell on the cat???” without needing a brain diaper.

    They wouldn’t last 2 seconds out in the real world trying to get their views across.

    We are mostly on your side, but beg off when it becomes a pipe dream, and you can’t even answer very good questions…..

    Like

  62. Kent, imagine doing investigation like a worldviewist does thinking. Advantage: you’d always know the result in advance.

    Like

  63. control every square inch…. pffffffffffffffff… can’t even hold a decent discussion with fellow Reformed believers who are asking honest questions….

    Like

  64. I sit there with my clients and they give me their little fantasy about getting the other side’s lawyer under their questioning and thinking opposing counsel is going to whimper and cry for mercy.

    And then try to set them straight, sometimes it works. I laugh sometimes when it’s over but the effect is usually chilling and feels like I need some Rolaids.

    And that isn’t standing there with balloons filled with blood and urine hitting you while you try to gain “every square inch” in a press conference.

    Like

  65. The completely avoided issue by the media is how this will play out based on the beliefs of our friends in the Muslim faith, and the ethnicities that are prevalent in the Great American Melting Pot who have very strong feelings on SSM, so strong you can’t believe it…

    One wag said watching liberals try to tiptoe through SSM proponents and ethnic opposition is like them watching two favourite pets try to fight to the death in front of them. Best to go their happy place and pretend their isn’t any friction heading down the pipeline. wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee….

    Like

  66. “{worldview}Creates them.
    So says your worldview.”

    Solipsism, the sixth sola. Where else could you possibly go but into your own circle that touches no others? Starting to understand why you limit yourself to drive-bys.

    Like

  67. Solipsism, the sixth sola.

    Perhaps time you invest in a dictionary.

    you limit yourself to drive-bys.

    Actually, still parked here, waiting for dear leader to engage. Yet, amused by drones circling the wagons.

    Like

  68. “amused by drones circling the wagons”

    Would that be bees or unmanned aircraft that are circling the wagons?

    Like

  69. SDB-

    Thanks for sharing of thoughts and links, which I’ll certainly look into. You win an Organic Society Award – experts sharing something of the fruits of their labor with the rest of us. I just made the award up, actually, so you’re the first recipient.

    What I was trying to get at in my phrase “Christian metaphysics” is the importance I see for those engaged in theoretical abstraction from empirical findings not to build assumptions contrary to Christian theology into their assumptions. While I think this occurs, on reflection my initial claim had more to do with:

    #1, a rejection of real or perceived claims associated in a broad sense with Christian theology, leading to an interference with the research program devised, and therefore the solutions discovered – (e.g., issues pertaining to contemporary Anglo-American/analytic Philosophy of Mind which I suggest hold significance for physics) ; #2, the scientist’s responsibility to relay findings faithfully to the culture.

    I’ll start with #2 since it is simpler and of much greater social significance, although #1 is more interesting.

    To pick one issue – dark matter – my understanding (imprecise) is that observation of light from diverse sources dictates that large amounts of gravity are being produced at specific spots, observable in the bending of the light, and yet whatever is producing the gravity oddly does not itself produce or occlude light. Hence the name dark matter. Straightforward, and quite interesting.

    Yet here is how Discovery magazine presented it just 2 years ago: “The Possible Parallel Universe of Dark Matter: As researchers learn more about dark matter’s complexities, it seems possible that our galaxy lives on top of a shadow galaxy without us even knowing it.”
    http://discovermagazine.com/2013/julyaug/21-the-possible-parallel-universe-of-dark-matter

    I don’t think the science entails a “parallel universe” in any meaningful sense- merely an expanded view of what is contained within ours. A parallel universe would also be quite difficult to reconcile with Christianity (was it created by God? Redeemed by Him? If it contains life and moral beings, did God become Incarnate for them as well? Yet then they must have been human, no? Did they have Original Sin? How? If not, can there be beings capable of morality, rationality, language, etc. which have no duty to God? – questions bearing on the proposed evolution of man as well).

    To train people to think such a thing is possible is to train them in habits of thought contrary to what is entailed by Christianity. The comments at the bottom of the link above illustrate that indeed there are evangelizers of the multiverse- those promoting a system contrary to that of Christian theology. It’s one thing for possible worlds to be assumed as existent in a philosophy seminar on David Lewis (a silly thing, but unsurprising); but for our media, particularly the major organs of conveying scientific discovery to society to encourage theologically-problematic views is dangerous.

    My criticism, then, has more to do with the responsibility to relay findings in a way consistent with a coherent description of the the universe – interdisciplinary popularization – than observation, experiment, and the derivation of predictive theories. Not strictly science, then, so I retract my initial claim that science itself has seen decline, and alter it to refer to a decline in the quality of popularly-digestible presentations of scientific theories, which ought to be aimed at benefiting society’s common understanding of the nature of the universe.

    Regarding #1, I suggest this is more an instance of potentially fruitful areas of research being ignored. My key case pertains to consciousness, faculty psychology, and cognitive closure. I’ll hold from burdening this comment with anything else, though.

    Like

  70. DG-
    Ali, so which master would you have us serve on the Iran arms deal? Iran is Muslim so we reject it. But Israel is Jewish and they oppose it.

    What’s a Bible quoter to do?

    I’d welcome Bible verses, but I think it’s enough to point out that the last war started by Iran was in 1795.

    They are laughably far from having nuclear weapons, and frankly don’t seem interested in having them. Their military is overwhelmingly composed of leftovers from decades ago. I think they have 1 battleship, probably stitched together with rugs.

    The CIA hasn’t gotten over the fact Iran rejected the US-imposed government of the Shah following the UK-US coup of 1953, bringing oil benefits to the US and modernization/cultural liberalism to Iran, against the popular will (not that popular will in and of itself is all it’s cracked up to be, but a popular will with a significant grounding natural law / moral law must be attended to).

    I think Obama deserves significant praise for steps in working with Iran. It’s a pity we didn’t do so under our prior president, things might not have gotten out of hand with ISIS. Meanwhile Santorum, Ryan, and Jeb Bush are singing “bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran,” and Rand Paul is at least humming the tune.

    Regarding another of the NY Times “Axis of Evil” (Iran, Russia, the Vatican): Americans Sign Petition For “Pre-Emptive Nuclear Strike” Against Russia
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-06-11/americans-sign-petition-pre-emptive-nuclear-strike-against-russia

    As far as I know, a pre-emptive nuclear strike isn’t being proposed against the Vatican.

    Like

  71. Darryl, Kuyper and Belgic 36 (which were answered) won’t explain why you dodge on “Social & Holistic Gospel Machen”.

    Like

  72. vdm, m, no dodge. I’ve tried before with you in many settings. But you prove hard headed.

    You’ve never attempted reconciling Kuyper and Belgic 36. And you haven’t even written a book.

    Like

  73. Mark Van Der Molen
    Posted August 13, 2015 at 8:03 am | Permalink
    TVD
    Posted August 12, 2015 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    D. G. Hart
    Posted August 12, 2015 at 9:46 pm | Permalink
    vdm, m, still your move. You know Machen so well. Enlighten.

    Why don’t you teach instead of trying to trap him? You’re the world’s greatest authority on JG Machen.
    ————-

    Dr. Dodge wants to conceal some of Machen’s identity. Kind of like what the PP undercover video journalist did.

    Bizarre. At Called to Communion, they answer honestly [and nearly endlessly] explaining their beliefs. Evangelical-like, not the esoterica we see here.

    “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”

    Like

  74. vdm, m, no dodge. I’ve tried before with you in many settings.

    Prior dodging (recall the “Worldview Machen” you misled as being in your book) is not answering. Talk about hardheaded.

    You’ve never attempted reconciling Kuyper and Belgic 36.

    You’d think licensed historians would check the internet archives before making such an assertion.

    Darryl, your worldview can’t countenance Holistic Gospel Machen which is why you keep him hidden. That you say you can reconcile them looks like so much bluffing.

    Like

  75. @Kevin
    “Not strictly science, then, so I retract my initial claim that science itself has seen decline, and alter it to refer to a decline in the quality of popularly-digestible presentations of scientific theories, which ought to be aimed at benefiting society’s common understanding of the nature of the universe.”
    Fair enough. I don’t know enough about popularization to comment on whether it has declined. I will say that the science popularizations and efforts at outreach over the past 40yrs or so have been an unmitigated disaster. I think the best thing we could do for science literacy in the us is yank all the funding for it.

    Discover mag is terrible. I have a soft spot for National Geographic.

    I think Marsden’s “The Soul of the American University: From Protestant Establishment to Established Nonbelief” is essential reading for understanding how we got where we are. While his story is focused on the secularization of universities, the context helps us see where science is today.

    Like

  76. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 13, 2015 at 9:34 pm | Permalink
    Thanks, Mark. Always a pleasure.

    An abandonment of your own stall in the marketplace of ideas. How odd. This is your blog. This is your chance to teach, Dr. Hart. You are JG Machen’s greatest biographer, the inheritor of his legacy.

    D. G. Hart
    Posted August 12, 2015 at 4:19 pm | Permalink
    vdm,m, is this how you do law? You introduced Machen. I countered with Machen.

    Still your move.

    Arguing Machen against Machen? It’s always your move, you poor fool. Don’t argue, teach!

    Like

  77. @kevin
    By the way, I think something like 2k is especially useful in science. I guess here the ideal here is that we interrogate nature by employing methodological naturalism and eschew metaphysics in science. This means statements like “the cosmos is all there is or ever was” or however it was that Sagan put it, are barred from science. It also means that scientists don’t have any special authority to address ethical questions related to science (and here our track record really is terrible!). Just like an auto mechanic doesn’t tell us what the speed limits should be, why kind of emissions are acceptable, or how cars should be used the scientist doesn’t have any special authority to decide how scientific knowledge is applied, what the metaphysical implications might be, or what the limits of scientific should be. Here I think Feyerabend’s “Separation of Science and State” is really helpful for keeping scientists in our place.

    This isn’t to say there isn’t a place for discussions about metaphysics, ethics, spending, etc… only that scientists don’t have anything special to add that others don’t. On the other hand, if you want to understand how nature works, here scientists really do have absolute authority. The universe is 13.8Gyr, the Earth is 4.6Gyr, the earth orbits the center of mass of the solar system which falls near the center of the sun, the plates on Earth are shifting, the globe has warmed about 0.5deg over past century, etc… These aren’t up for debate…particularly by those who haven’t committed decades of prep to be able to say something sensible about them. On the other hand, we don’t have all the answers yet – there are all kinds of interesting questions about evolution, dark matter, emergent properties, working of turbulence, origin of life, and on and on that are really fun to investigate. Maybe we will find explanations that are compelling, but of course there is no guarantee. But I think it is also important to realize that Christianity (or other religions) really don’t have anything useful to say about how the world works other than recognizing that God is the author and sustainer of it all. By setting aside religious and metaphysical commitments, we can provide coherent explanations of lots of things. But not everything. One of the advantages of eschewing metaphysics in science is that it recognizes the limits of science. Science is a tool – an extremely powerful tool, but this tool isn’t useful for everything. It doesn’t help with literary criticism or how to understand the human condition or how to find satisfaction in life, and on and on. By restricting the scope of science, it sort of guarantees its success, but it also makes room for other ways of knowing – including personal encounters (especially with God). By doing so, science allows the atheist, Buddhist, wiccan, Jew, Catholic, and evangelical scientist to collaborate on the same problem without sacrificing the integrity of their respective faiths – but it does mean being “un-Christian”. But by narrowing the scope of science it also restrains its imperialistic nature exemplified by Dawkins, Sagan, Coyne, and the other advocates of scientism. In other words, their smuggling in of metaphysics into science is illegitimate.

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  78. DG,

    I don’t see why you can’t believe in 2K theology and still see the infiltrators into PP as a good thing. Luther’s prayer for God to convert the world and restrain the rest would include some engagement with government with no real hope in it. Can you point to some resource on 2K theology?

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  79. I think the difference between the Neo-Calvinists is that they don’t take Calvinism into fatalism about the means that God may use in addition to the church to keep people from being hardened in sin – the adoption of many Christian ethical ideals in a society and the preservation of them. I don’t take Election to negate the usefulness of such means. If we are totally depraved, then living a holy life is about repression of sin and the promotion of good – why would living in a society free from certain evils or temptations not be helpful – because all sin is equal – because we never really change after regeneration except by status? All sin is not equal in the effect it has on a person’s ability to worship God or to glorify God or being able to enjoy God. Christians who fight for the governments respect of Christian morality are fighting for Common Grace I would think.

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  80. Matt, I didn’t say it was all bad. The PP videos are not all good either. And I am bothered by pro-lifers who look the other way and even celebrate the violation of God’s moral law. And here I thought I was antinomian.

    Not sure what the PP videos have to do with converting the world or even restraining abortions. PP is still performing them.

    David VanDrunen’s book Natural Law and Two Kingdoms is a good place to start.

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  81. Matt, Christians don’t have a monopoly on restraining evil. The Greeks and Romans also did.

    So the annoying thing about Social Gospelers, the Religious Right, and neo-Calvinism is doing a public good in Christ’s name as if it is a Christian duty to restrain evil. Non-Christians also want evil restrained.

    The big debate now is whether sex which is good and wicked depending on the context should be restrained. Even the Greeks and Romans tried to restrain it.

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  82. as if it is a Christian duty to restrain evil.

    Jesus : “You are the salt of the earth”

    the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 2 Thess:7 (the Lord and including His instruments-His people?)

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  83. Matt, we 2K folk get kind of tired of having to explain why we are not as hopping-mad OUTRAGED as others on the internet.

    It’s kind of sad having to keep repeating this to believers with putative 3-digit IQs.

    Y’all have your bag, baby, and we have ours.

    What is your obsession with demanding we have to goosestep to your fears and worries; believe me when I say I couldn’t give the square root of Sweet Bliss All about demanding you get outraged over what bothers me….

    Blessings.

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  84. True Christians are to be in the world like SALT. Now salt has a peculiar taste of its own, utterly unlike anything else. When mingled with other substances, it preserves them from corruption. It imparts a portion of its taste to everything it is mixed with. It is useful so long as it preserves its savor, but no longer. Are we true Christians? Then behold here our place and its duties! JC Ryle

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  85. Probably shouldn’t comment kent- but ‘I care’. Where is all the rage coming from? Do you have someone in your church who can mentor you or maybe DG can mentor you a bit today about this. Have a good day.

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  86. Of course you care Ali, we are on the same team, but 2K people have a deep sense of irony and self-deprecating humour. And you have a broomstick right up your backside.

    Ali, I’m assuming you are at most 18 years old. You will just have to learn that in the adult world, if you ever get there, people have different opinions and you have to learn to get along.

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  87. DG –

    doing a public good in Christ’s name as if it is a Christian duty to restrain evil

    Do you mean “as if it is peculiarly a Christian duty” -?

    The ultimate determination of what is good, what is evil, and what man’s duty flows out of the nature of God – and therefore God decrees the good (e.g. from the lips of Christ) because it is good; it isn’t good as a result of God’s decreeing it (contra the nominalists).

    You could argue God determines his own nature, though, which then dictates what is Could God have dictated the laws of math, physics, morality be other than they are? (I incline to “no”). This gets into some pretty deep philosophy/theology.

    Nevertheless, would you say it isn’t appropriate to call Christ’s injunctions “Christian” except insofar as they pertain specifically to NT Revelation? Second person of the Trinity, yes; caring for the poor, no?

    I think most would say anything he asks of us is Christian, whether or not it is uniquely so. Beer & bratwurst is American and German both. (that’s a St. Louisan example for you).

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  88. Ali, have you considered how the salt and light concept is about how the presence of believers staves off God’s judgment, as opposed to how it means believers are supposed to make the world a better place because they have some unique, infused ability to do so? Have you further considered that when believers get unduly caught up in the affairs of this world is when the gospel light is obscured and hidden under a bowl? 2k is about letting the gospel shine more, not less. The irony of the anti-2k party is in how it obscures in the name of shining.

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  89. Ali, maybe this will help.

    I can come up with about 6 explanations of what it means to be the salt of the earth, part and parcel of the immense amount of private reading and learning we do in this sector of the Reformed faith.

    If you wanted to expand on what you see as the critical definition of the numerous suggestions put forth by 2 centuries of Christian thinkers, and I”m 100% convinced you would have a very good one, then that would be helpful.

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  90. Ali, I hold that there is a very large umbrella of those in the faith in the name of Christ. And probably maybe .01% of them are going to agree with my theological views and life outlook and temperament.

    But this view is essential for the Kingdom. The Kingdom would suffer without us, it would probably suffer even more if we became the dominant view (heh).

    As such all kinds of viewpoints come through and I easily find true believers in any area where they gather in His name. Even in the worst environment there are people who pay no attention to the bad theology or ritual and place all their poker chips of faith in Jesus Christ. I assume one is where God’s Providence places them at a given moment and only He knows why they are still there, possibly the only trace of light and salt?

    So expand a bit Ali, and be prepared for some tweaking when you act like you are the only one with knowledge.

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  91. Zrim: 2k is about letting the gospel shine more, not less

    really Zrim? I just don’t see it here. What I see here alot of is anger, hostility, judgment, ridicule and I’m wondering why that is?

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  92. Ali, you are visiting OUR TURF and bringing the anger, hostility, judgment in spades….

    and getting ridicule as justly deserved….

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  93. Kevin, I think the Confession of Faith summarizes well what is good:

    1. Good works are only such as God hath commanded in his holy Word, and not such as, without the warrant thereof, are devised by men, out of blind zeal, or upon any pretense of good intention.

    2. These good works, done in obedience to God’s commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith: and by them believers manifest their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance, edify their brethren, adorn the profession of the gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and glorify God, whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto, that, having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end, eternal life.

    So for something to be good, it has to conform to God’s law, spring from true faith, and be done for God’s glory.

    What we are talking about when it comes to society or politics is not good. It’s something on the order of a relative peace and quiet. For Christians who are supposed to know what true goodness is to think that such goodness is possible in a mixed society is well nigh dumb founding.

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  94. DG Hart: Ali, so that’s a vote against the deal with Iran.

    yes

    Newhouse Statement on Proposed Iran Nuclear Deal: I Will Reject a Bad Deal
    July 14, 2015 Press Release
    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) released the following statement after the Obama Administration announced a final nuclear agreement with Iran that would end economic sanctions: “In light of Iran’s lack of transparency in past international inspections, sponsorship of terrorism against the U.S. and our allies, and continued imprisonment of American citizens, any nuclear deal that does not prevent Iran from pursuing nuclear arms would lead to more instability and insecurity in the Middle East and the world,” said Rep. Newhouse. “Any proposed deal must block Iran from becoming a nuclear-threshold state before lifting billions of dollars in economic sanctions. I will closely examine the proposed deal’s impact on the safety of the American people and our allies, and I will reject a bad deal.”

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  95. Ali –
    DG Hart: Ali, so that’s a vote against the deal with Iran. [Ali:] yes

    What’s so wrong with Iran?

    You know they haven’t started a war since 1795, right? And that they’ve extremely cooperative with inspectors recently? That they are absolutely nowhere near having nukes?

    Their legal system is much more closely in congruence with Christian moral law than any ostensibly Christian nation (except perhaps Malta, the Philippines, the D.R., Dominica, Lichtenstein, a few others).

    Sure, they’re Muslim. Israel is Jewish. China is atheist (Catholic bishops are in jail, and China appoints its own Catholic bishops). The rejection of Christianity is not unique to Iran. And Persian Shia are not Sunni Wahabbis or ISIS (who not even many Saudis are happy about).

    Satan is the enemy, and I fear he is busier here than in Iran.

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  96. DG: Ali, have you considered that Jesus was angry with the Pharisees and even his mother?

    His mother? When? I’d like to hear your thought on that.

    Pharisees: yes, understandably, and we can all be pharisees
    Jesus: You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. Matthew 23:26

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  97. Ali: His mother? When? I’d like to hear your thought on that.

    Dude…. you need to know your Bible a lot better……………………………

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  98. Ali, you don’t see what, the gospel of niceness? You’re right, not much of that here (and much of the vice you list seems more often from OL’s antgonists actually). But OL is pretty strong on defending the gospel of God’s reconciling himself to sinners sola fide, i.e. forensic justification. And more to the point, one is hard pressed to get any sense of OL being captive to any particular brand of ideology and is free from even conservative political correctness. A brand of theology, sure, but that’s kind of the point.

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  99. 2K is the only path that would allow for the freewheelin’ theological circus that goes on here every day, with a few justified censorings and censurings and outright bannings after all hope was lost.

    .

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  100. @kevin
    I think that whole death to america bit, the death warrants for westerners they don’t like, and the fact that you and I (and everyone else here) is seen as the “great satan” is a tad problematic. That being said, I think foreign policy is a mess. Not sure “if only we had”‘s are all that helpful though – these things are reversible processes.

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  101. 2K is the only path that would allow for the freewheelin’ theological circus that goes on here every day,

    Well said, Kent.

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  102. kent
    Posted August 14, 2015 at 10:47 am | Permalink
    Matt, we 2K folk get kind of tired of having to explain why we are not as hopping-mad OUTRAGED as others on the internet.

    It’s kind of sad having to keep repeating this to believers with putative 3-digit IQs.

    Actually, it’s your condemnation of those who aren’t as lame as you, the moral inversion of attacking those who don’t hide the light under bushel baskets and expose the evil that men do.

    At least the Amish have the decency keep their 2k to themselves, the freeloaders.

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  103. Tom, you are mostly good for a laugh, and sometimes you give good comments, but you are so out of your league trying to getting between US….

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  104. Sdb-

    By the way, I think something like 2k is especially useful in science. I guess here the ideal here is that we interrogate nature by employing methodological naturalism and eschew metaphysics in science.

    I basically agree (seems to be the usual refrain when replying to you), although I’m not comfortable enough (yet?) with the concept of 2k to find that formulation or the word “un-Christian” necessary.

    I would say each discipline has its own associated category of knowledge as a result of the nature of the subject matter, which generates the relevant parameters. We need to take care not to make category mistakes, but I wouldn’t call it ‘setting aside’ Christianity. I think this may be just word usage.

    Here I think Feyerabend’s “Separation of Science and State” is really helpful for keeping scientists in our place. – I don’t see this work – is it a part of Science in a Free Society?

    On the other hand, if you want to understand how nature works, here scientists really do have absolute authority.

    Absolute authority seems a bit strong to me – that scientists have a warrant for trust, respect, and humility when being questioning I can agree with. But because the disciplines have a level of absolute distinction, demanding focus within the parameters of the discipline in order to permit work to equal real progress, that doesn’t imply practitioners can’t go astray.

    In cases where disciplines have become attached to errors, outsiders have a right to point out the error if it is clear to them (it isn’t hard to see that there are literary critics who don’t know how to read a poem, in cases where they are well within the bounds of literary criticism). Although I suppose you could argue that then makes the critic a practitioner within the discipline in a limited way, whether or not credentialed and well-read.

    The universe is 13.8Gyr, the Earth is 4.6Gyr, the earth orbits the center of mass of the solar system which falls near the center of the sun, the plates on Earth are shifting, the globe has warmed about 0.5deg over past century, etc… These aren’t up for debate…particularly by those who haven’t committed decades of prep to be able to say something sensible about them.

    I would just add that practitioners of any discipline have – at least en masse – a responsibility to society to explain findings clearly and as simply as possible. This then permits interdisciplinary work and genuine cultural contributions (as well as technology, informed policy discussions, etc.).

    Irresponsibility in or neglect of this will lead to a fracturing of society, which will result in an even greater prevalence of uninformed rejection of scientific facts. It is vexing to see Christians fall into this; but I would place some of the blame on the practitioners of the various disciplines for not ensuring accurate explanations of, e.g., biology, and letting people like Dawkins rule the court.

    This wouldn’t be empirical science (or “science proper”), of course, but an associated discipline (what I meant by “popularization” – better would be “explanation”). However, it is an ancillary discipline I would argue comes along essentially with the primary; and if each practitioner isn’t capable of explanation, they are at least (generally) capable of evaluating such explanations to ensure accuracy.

    I see a serious moral obligation on this point.

    On the other hand, we don’t have all the answers yet – there are all kinds of interesting questions about evolution, dark matter, emergent properties, working of turbulence, origin of life, and on and on that are really fun to investigate. Maybe we will find explanations that are compelling, but of course there is no guarantee.

    Perhaps quantum theory, the origin of the universe, and many cases of “emergent properties” are areas in which cognitive closure becomes apparent. Canine minds can’t comprehend physics. Or to turn to theology, can even angels or the saints in glory comprehend the mind of God? Doubtful. Minds have limitations dependent on their associated capacities or faculties.

    An infant mind develops as its brain does in terms of the capacities available to it – there is a schedule of acquisition of faculties. I don’t mean just knowledge acquired or learning how to use faculties in conjunction, and would say this occurs as a result of internal generative principles (“psycho-physical” maturation, or “genetics” in some sense) partly (certainly not entirely) in response to external stimuli.

    But I think it is also important to realize that Christianity (or other religions) really don’t have anything useful to say about how the world works other than recognizing that God is the author and sustainer of it all.

    Agreed, and I’m not saying physics proper needs to come up with theories addressing the Incarnation and Resurrection. But to be frank, if done with strict accuracy and a good-natured sense of play, this would be a great way to build social capital amongst the various sectors of society. Scientists are in a peculiarly powerful position here.

    I get the idea this would be dangerous for a scientist’s professional reputation in a way composing fiction wouldn’t – do you think so as well? If so, doesn’t that imply an inappropriate smuggling-in of naturalistic ontology to interdisciplinary work from its proper place in empirical science? (Or it could be simple hostility to belief arising from other factors.) Is anyone doing this?

    It doesn’t help with literary criticism or how to understand the human condition or how to find satisfaction in life, and on and on.

    Agreed, although its findings certainly can- science (theories and data) and the related explanations can spark the imagination of the poet, requiring the literary critic to depend on the scientist-explainer if he is to understand the poet’s conceit. Of course, this can involve false theories in the history of science as well – e.g., that our eyes emit beams of light.

    One of the advantages of eschewing metaphysics in science is that it recognizes the limits of science. Science is a tool – an extremely powerful tool, but this tool isn’t useful for everything.

    This touches on my other (still unexplained) point. But a question – within science proper, wouldn’t you say the methodology has improved over the centuries – i.e., as mathematics has advanced? Do you think the parameters of science – or the individual primary disciplines of, say, physics and biology – are now clearly demarcated and won’t change in the future?

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  105. kent
    Posted August 14, 2015 at 2:40 pm | Permalink
    Tom, you are mostly good for a laugh, and sometimes you give good comments, but you are so out of your league trying to getting between US….

    That rebuttal was strictly minor league. 😉

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  106. DG: Ali, have you considered that Jesus was angry with the Pharisees and even his mother? Ali: His mother? When? I’d like to hear your thought on that
    Didn’t think you would probably answer that DG, but that’s ok, because 1) your protégé did and 2) your non-response must relate to ‘2k’ or something ,whereby, though this is a ‘theological blog’ whose aim is ’to point the way back to the health and vigor of historic Reformed Protestantism’; it isn’t Sunday after all nor are we ‘in church’, so we must be in the realm of ‘un-Christian’ aka, I think, anything goes. I feel foolish with kent’s ‘duh’ , my not understanding the settled issue of Jesus anger with his mother.
    Anyway, I was reflecting on how did I ever come to this crazy place, and I remembered it was a link posted over at reformation21.org, then my clicking on it and coming over to affirm a post by a poster there, which resulted in my getting piled on here about that; and I think now, why did they ever include that link for us naives and why am I here when that poster himself won’t even come here for the treatment!….musing on a Friday afternoon.

    DG Hart: Ali, I don’t see biblical support for Rep. Newhouse.

    in what way DG? The Lord established government for our good

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  107. Ali, I didn’t know this was a test:

    John 2:3 — Jesus sounds exasperated with his mother.
    Luke 2:49 — Jesus doesn’t sound the way we would want a teenager to sound after his parents couldn’t find him.
    Matt 12:48 — Jesus didn’t celebrate Mother’s Day

    Does it all add up to angry? Maybe not. But does it add up to the sweetness and light that you set as the standard, not so much.

    Newhouse didn’t provide a proof text? You’re reading between the lines doesn’t count.

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  108. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 14, 2015 at 10:27 am | Permalink
    Matt, I didn’t say it was all bad. The PP videos are not all good either. And I am bothered by pro-lifers who look the other way and even celebrate the violation of God’s moral law. And here I thought I was antinomian.

    Not sure what the PP videos have to do with converting the world or even restraining abortions. PP is still performing them.

    David VanDrunen’s book Natural Law and Two Kingdoms is a good place to start.

    What is the Church’s duty to the natural law?

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  109. @kevin
    In George Marsden’s “The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship”, he describes a proposal that sounds quite similar to Darryl’s 2k in chapter 3. He writes,

    Does [setting aside one’s religious commitments in the academy] make a religious person schizophrenic, advocating…for a life changing worldview in one part of his life, but playing by the rules that are not consistently Christian the rest of the time? Are we not saying in effect that on one day a week we say, “Choose you this day whom you will serve,” and on the other six we serve the rules of the pragmatic academy?

    Here I think the answer is that tit is in the very nature of human life that every day we routinely move from one field of activity to another, each with its own set of rules. Such adaptability to the subordinate communities in which a Christian may operate is fully consistent with Christian commitment. It is the principle, I think, behind the saying of Jesus that we should “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.” … We should think of ourselves as “resident aliens,”…,but as resident aliens we should obey the laws of the land of our sojourn to the extent that they do not conflict with our higher allegiances.

    I think it is helpful to view these adaptations to the rules of various institutions of the larger society as analogous to games that religious people may play. Christians often spend hours playing by the rules of basketball, of example. Literally applying the ethics of Jesus, passing the ball equally to your opponents as much as to your teammates, would not do much for the game. Or try playing chess with someone who does not want to gain at the expense of his neighbor. In fact in the game situation the best way to show the love to your opponent is to play fairly by the competitive rules of the game. So when religious people play by the rules of the various games of society — the rules of law, the pragmatic rules of U.S. Constitution, the rules of the market, or the rules of mainstream academia — they are not necessarily violating Christian principles by temporarily accommodating themselves to those rules.

    At the same time, there are limits to one’s allegiance to such rules. Christians cannot play some of the games of society and they cannot accept some of the prevailing rules of other games….when engaged in such activities, the situation of the religious believer, may be analogous to a doctor who is playing softball. So long as she is in the game, she tries not to break the rules. If, however, she sees car accident on a nearby street, she will stop running the bases an ego to help. The rules of doctoring take precedence over the rules of softball.

    I think the idea is that when playing softball, the doctor isn’t playing as a *doctor*. She is just playing as a softball player. However, her commitment to the game is conditional. Similarly, when the Christian is engaged in secular activity, she is not necessarily engaged as a Christian. But her commitment is condition – there may be cause to flip back into Christian mode from un-Christian mode. I don’t like the label unChristian – I think secular works fine and doesn’t have the baggage.

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  110. Does [setting aside one’s religious commitments in the academy] make a religious person schizophrenic, advocating…for a life changing worldview in one part of his life, but playing by the rules that are not consistently Christian the rest of the time?

    Yes.

    Marsden asks the right question, but read the rest of the passage. He finally allows that the rules in the academy are sometimes [I’d say almost always] prejudiced against religious expression, and Christians should try to change them.

    p. 26, bottom.

    http://tinyurl.com/oek5dqb

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  111. sdb –

    Literally applying the ethics of Jesus, passing the ball equally to your opponents as much as to your teammates, would not do much for the game. Or try playing chess with someone who does not want to gain at the expense of his neighbor.

    In fact in the game situation the best way to show the love to your opponent is to play fairly by the competitive rules of the game. So when religious people play by the rules of the various games of society — the rules of law, the pragmatic rules of U.S. Constitution, the rules of the market, or the rules of mainstream academia — they are not necessarily violating Christian principles by temporarily accommodating themselves to those rules.

    At the same time, there are limits to one’s allegiance to such rules. — George Marsden’s “The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship” chapter 3

    He answers the obvious objections, but in the end I’m not sure what is being asserted (granted this is an excerpt).

    If it is that we shouldn’t misinterpret religion to dictate that baseball is immoral or that we should add salt to the earth in our gardens, I agree.

    If it is that there is even a moment of our lives as we engage in other activities in which we cease to be Christian, I disagree- to my mind, we should, for example, pray to the Holy Ghost for the strength to do our secular professions as well, keeping our relationship with God present before us during these activities (such as the attention of our will allows).

    A quote from p41 (thanks for linking, tom):

    Christians hold that a realm of reality beyond the immediate sensory perception of this generation is the fundamental reality which makes possible the perception of all other realities.

    I won’t hold him to strict philosophical vocabulary, but this I can agree with – unfortunately he seems to then back off a bit in discussing the potentially superior value of “the relativity of historical knowledge” (p45):

    all knowledge, whether historical or scientific, is a function of some point of view, and in that sense ideological or relativistic

    Ok, so are we to adopt God’s perspective some of the time, then mode-switch to Janet Yellen or Hillary Clinton’s perspective (or whatever we choose to take as the underlying parameters for their respective professions and fields) as long as it doesn’t obviously conflict with God?

    I think the idea is that when playing softball, the doctor isn’t playing as a *doctor*. She is just playing as a softball player. However, her commitment to the game is conditional. Similarly, when the Christian is engaged in secular activity, she is not necessarily engaged as a Christian. But her commitment is condition – there may be cause to flip back into Christian mode from un-Christian mode. I don’t like the label unChristian – I think secular works fine and doesn’t have the baggage.

    I don’t think the Apostles, Ignatius, Polycarp, Irenaeus, Clement, etc. would have embraced “un-Christian” or accepted the idea of ‘mode-flipping.’ These are new concepts to me, so I haven’t done any research and have no arguments at hand. I only have Google-approved snippets of Marsden’s book to work from, of course, and don’t pretend to understand his full argument.

    What is the perceived good Marsden here and 2kers in general are pursuing? I can agree with what Jed laid out a few posts back, but it’s not entirely clear to me what position is being argued against.

    I should read the Van Drunen mentioned, I know (I should read lots of things, but off to Delaware Bay today).

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  112. If it is a rejection of progressivism and the co-option of salvation for political purposes, fine, but why the need to invent new vocabulary?

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  113. Sean, I remember the softball game example but I had forgotten the material preceding it.

    Here’s where I differ with George in that example, anyway. The rules of the game are not conditional. If you are a historian you play by those rules. When you leave the game, other rules take over. But it’s not as if a person who is a doctor plays softball as a doctor. While in the game, he is a softball player.

    And don’t you think the whole game stops if an accident happens on the street nearby?

    What I object to is the right Marsden seems to grant to Christians to have reservations about the rules of a game. My own view is that if a profession has rules that are going to compromise your religious convictions even only some of the time, then you need to think about whether entering that profession. On the 2k side of things, since Christianity has limited claims, it is not very restrictive when it comes to a host of human professions.

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  114. @ Kevin:

    2k is a rejection of the whole “Theology-of-glory industrial complex” (h/t Luther, Eisnhower) that is cross-denominational and seeks for signs of glory in the here and now.

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  115. Jeff, yet 2K is called the devil because of Lutheran influence (but there is some solid and good influence)

    Makes me think the 2K haters don’t have a clue what they are talkin-bout

    big surprise there

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  116. Kent,

    “What is your obsession with demanding we have to goosestep to your fears and worries; believe me when I say I couldn’t give the square root of Sweet Bliss All about demanding you get outraged over what bothers me….”

    I think what really pisses people like you off is that you have to keep dealing with people who are growing towards Reformed theology but aren’t as Reformed as you yet. I say that because I’m just a lay person with a real interest in thinking Biblically, and I go to a conservative PCA church if that really means anything, and there’s always this group that expects you to be really Reformed and another group who is mainly evangelical in a broad sense, and another group who thinks they’re Reformed and they’re not up to the standards of the other group – what I mean is, I have to go it alone on most of these topics and then I stick my nose in a thread and people are frustrated – you guys are bad salesmen for your theology that’s for sure. But your quote above is full of assumptions that are false. I don’t find hyper-Calvinism attractive.

    Like

  117. Welcome aboard, Matt.

    When you are visiting other people’s homes and projects, a little respect is due, you come on strong and you get what you get, and this mode of communication is horrible for getting across unstated context and meaning, happens to us all.

    If you didn’t intend to be as much of a troll as you came across, I will adjust my views of you and make all the room you need. Sounds like you have an interesting project going on.

    No hyper-Calvinism has been shown on this board for years, that’s a really sad troll stunt to try and pull….. adjust your frequencies a bit and a lot can be accomplished….

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  118. when you get a chance…..

    DG Hart: Does it all add up to angry? Maybe not. But does it add up to the sweetness and light that you set as the standard, not so much.

    Just doesn’t make sense as anger for Jesus. Zrim and Kevin discussed this well, I forget where recently. Hopefully you do agree it must add up to:Heb 4:15?
    ps. bagging to be ‘not nice’ + but claiming Gal 5:22-23 could become a slippery deceiving slope?

    DG Hart: Newhouse didn’t provide a proof text? You’re reading between the lines doesn’t count.
    We could call him and ask him. Maybe Prov 3:6; 2 Peter 1:3?

    Like

  119. Matt
    Posted August 15, 2015 at 1:39 pm | Permalink
    Kent,

    “What is your obsession with demanding we have to goosestep to your fears and worries; believe me when I say I couldn’t give the square root of Sweet Bliss All about demanding you get outraged over what bothers me….”

    I think what really pisses people like you off is that you have to keep dealing with people who are growing towards Reformed theology but aren’t as Reformed as you yet. I say that because I’m just a lay person with a real interest in thinking Biblically, and I go to a conservative PCA church if that really means anything, and there’s always this group that expects you to be really Reformed and another group who is mainly evangelical in a broad sense, and another group who thinks they’re Reformed and they’re not up to the standards of the other group – what I mean is, I have to go it alone on most of these topics and then I stick my nose in a thread and people are frustrated – you guys are bad salesmen for your theology that’s for sure. But your quote above is full of assumptions that are false. I don’t find hyper-Calvinism attractive.>>>>>>

    No one finds hyper-Calvinism attractive.

    Go with those who exalt Christ, which you don’t see much of here for whatever reason. I don’t get it, but I don’t doubt that they are brothers in Christ. I suppose that theirs is one reaction to the evils we all see around us, but I don’t think it is the best.

    In fact, as you can see, it is not even the reaction that J. Gresham Machen had. Why him? He is the father of the Orthodox Presbyterian denomination. So, Dear Brother Hart, elder in the OPC, is out of step even with his founder.

    I say that to make it clear that D.G. Hart is not presenting even the standard teaching of his own denomination. That needs to be stated. Read Machen, not Hart. I have a lot of respect for Machen.

    Of course, my preferences at this point in time are Peter Kreeft, Bishop Elect Barron, and Dr. Scott Hahn – and of course, Francis. Then there are Elizabeth Scalia, Elizabeth Anscombe, G.K. Chesterton, and the most brilliant of all theologians, St. Thomas Aquinas. Do I understand them? No, I am just a Daffy Mermaid, but I am loving them all the same. After all, Catholic Christians are Bible Christians, and these men and women are full of the Word in every sense of that.

    …and I still like all the Reformed guys that these dear brothers at Old Life dislike, especially Jonathan Edwards. So, this may not be the best example of Reformed theology if that is what you are looking for. The PCA has some good men as well. I still love James Boice. I like the Sprouls, John Piper – gasp! a Baptist! – Anglican Bishop J.C. Ryle, and of course, the Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon.

    Who are some of your favorites?

    Like

  120. I Corinthians 1— What I am saying is this: Each of you says, “I’m with Paul,” or “I’m with Apollos,” or “I’m with Cephas,” or “I’m with Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was it Paul who was crucified for you? Or were you watered in Paul’s name? I thank God that I watered none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one can say you were watered in my name.

    Those who think they are “growing into the truth” are people who have not yet repented of the false gospel. The false gospel is simple. It conditions salvation on the sinner. It says that Jesus died for all sinners, but not all sinners will be saved.

    To “grow in the truth”, one must begin in the truth. And to begin in the truth, one must takes sides with God against the falsehoods one used to believe.

    Romans 6: 17 But thank God that you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were transferred to… what fruit was produced THEN from the things you are NOW ASHAMED OF? For the end of those things is death

    I Corinthians 1—For THE MESSAGE of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but THE MESSAGE IS GOD’S POWER to us who are being saved.

    Those who think of “the Reformed faith” as the cherry on top of the gospel, and therefore an option for those who want to attend the Sunday School class that watches Sproul dvds, remain loyal to the simple lie that the death of Jesus is not the only the difference between perishing and being saved.

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  121. Mermaid, “I don’t doubt that they are brothers in Christ.”

    If that is the way you view Protestants, why would you ever convert? No salvation outside the church and all that. Sounds to me like you’re a liberal Roman Catholic.

    And be careful claiming agreement with Machen. He’d never switch to a church because of an ethical and political issue. It was precisely that sort of approach to Christianity that created liberalism — system of morality and virtue, not a plan of salvation.

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  122. Muddy, you found the bigger comic insult that made me laugh even more than being called a hyper-calvinist.

    Tip of the hat….

    I’ll try to show my happy-clappy evangelical side more often

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  123. @darryl
    But the rules of the game shift don’t they? One may decide that being a soldier is OK, then government policy shifts to endorse assassinations or torture – now you have to decide whether you can keep playing the game or whether your faith commitments mean you have to leave the game (or at least advocate for a rules change). I don’t see 2k helping this except (and this is a huge exception!) that, like you said, it narrows the scope of how your conscience can be bound by the church.

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  124. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 15, 2015 at 5:05 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, “I don’t doubt that they are brothers in Christ.”

    If that is the way you view Protestants, why would you ever convert? No salvation outside the church and all that. Sounds to me like you’re a liberal Roman Catholic.>>>>>

    There is no salvation outside the Church, since there is no salvation outside the Body of Christ, of which Christ is the Head. If you say you are in union with Christ, yet deny you are in union with His one body, then, well, you are wrong. There is only one Church, not many. The fact that the Catholic Church accepts all Christians who have been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit as Christians shows that she does not want any to perish.

    You are separated brethren. After all, it is you guys who separated yourselves from full communion. Calvin left the Church and began to wage war on her. Yes, Luther was put under discipline since he was a priest, but he decided not to submit to that discipline. Happens all the time with Protestants, in fact. He was a trend setter.

    There is still only one Lord, one Church, one baptism, one God and Father of all whether you like it or not. 🙂 I have not had any of you guys explain the following passage. Once a person reads it carefully, it is hard to stay separated. You see, Catholic Christians are Bible Christians and refuse to accept the notion that it is okay for Christ’s body to be fragmented into 10s of thousands of little groups.

    So, she spreads out her love to include all who name the name of Christ. You can say that you are of Calvin, or you are of Luther, or you are of whoever else you wish to name, but she knows better. Catholics read the Bible, don’t you know.

    Ephesians 4:5
    Unity in the Body
    …4There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.…

    She wants all her children to come home.

    Besides, have you read your own confessions? There is no salvation outside the visible church according to them. So, what’s your problem? Are you saying that Catholics are not Christians and that the Catholic Church is a false Church? That is what fundamentalists say. Your confession changed the wording and no longer calls the pope antichrist.

    Maybe you are going liberal.

    D.G. Hart:And be careful claiming agreement with Machen. He’d never switch to a church because of an ethical and political issue. It was precisely that sort of approach to Christianity that created liberalism — system of morality and virtue, not a plan of salvation.>>>>>

    Oh, I do not claim agreement with Machen. I said I respect him, and I do. You are the one claiming agreement when you are not in agreement with him on his 2 Kingdom view.

    Being opposed to abortion, especially as practiced by Planned Parenthood in their often unsanitary conditions, their denial of Post Abortion Stress Syndrome, their denial of the humanity of the unborn child, and especially their selling the dismembered body parts of the babies they have killed is especially horrific. Then, they demand that the people of the United States pay for all that.

    Call me a liberal, but I think it is perfectly appropriate to join the #DefundPP campaign.

    Besides, which of the Catholic – or Reformed – theologians and writers that I suggested are theologically liberal? I would love for you to explain which ones and in what way.

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  125. b, sd, I was thinking mainly in terms of Marsden’s “outrageous” scholarship. I don’t think the rules of history are hostile to Christianity. If you read Marsden’s “Unscientific Postscript” to Fundamentalism and American Culture, you get the sense that Christian historians can behave the way David Daleiden did. The rules don’t always apply.

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  126. @Kevin & tvd
    tvd’s link takes me to a different book with similar material from George. Fine as far as it goes, but if you are looking at the same source, the stuff from page 41-45 you are citing is from Mark Noll.

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  127. Sdb-

    Thanks for the correction. Still curious about the points raised, though.

    Whatever did you do to get on Dg’s reverse list?

    Maybe to be rectified by posting instead as “DB, S” -?

    Like

  128. Dg-

    So for something to be good, it has to conform to God’s law, spring from true faith, and be done for God’s glory. What we are talking about when it comes to society or politics is not good. It’s something on the order of a relative peace and quiet.

    Does this hold for ‘the magistrate’ as well, or can he (they) do good (in the strong sense) through just rule (including protecting the Church?

    Jeff – If I read you right, agreed, looking for specific acts of divine intervention and the glorification of man in the political process or social improvement (education, poverty, peace) is dicey business which is almost always confused or even self-serving.

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  129. sdb
    Posted August 15, 2015 at 10:16 pm | Permalink
    @Kevin & tvd
    tvd’s link takes me to a different book with similar material from George. Fine as far as it goes, but if you are looking at the same source, the stuff from page 41-45 you are citing is from Mark Noll.

    I’m citing p. 26, by Marsden, on “Christian schizophrenia.” He goes on to say that the marginalization of Christian thought in the academic world should be resisted, so the quote from here hadn’t told the whole story.

    As for Dr. Mark Noll, I have my problems with a certain cabal of “Christian historians” who conveniently pose no threat to the West’s anti-religious left and spend their time and energy dogging the Religious Right.

    http://americancreation.blogspot.com/2011/05/mark-noll-when-historians-attack.html

    Noll writes:
    “…neither of these writers carries out the moral evaluation, that, especially, in tandem, their volumes make possible…”

    But is it the historian’s job to make such moral evaluations? And by what standard?

    “Yet neither Williams nor Dochuk addresses directly what should be one of the most compelling questions about the political history they describe so well: what exactly is Christian about the Christian right…”

    Who decides “what is Christian?” The historian? The theologian? Which theologian? Ratzinger, Barth? Pat Robertson? Jim Wallis?

    I realize Mark Noll is becoming the go-to gold standard for religion and history, but where is his theological authority in such matters?

    “It would have done much more good, and also drawn nearer to the Christianity by which it is named, if it had manifested comparable wisdom, honesty, self-criticism, and discernment.”

    Oh? Well, this is theology or contemporary partisan politics or both, but are such judgments the province of the historian? May a historian likewise criticize “social gospel” politics as un-Christian?

    By what authority?

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  130. D.G. Hart:
    If that is the way you view Protestants, why would you ever convert?>>>>

    I think that this is a really important question. Why did I convert? Then one could also ask why anyone would convert from Protestantism to Catholicism.

    In the first place, I think of myself as having returned home to my mother, the Church. It is where I belong.

    Then, as I said earlier, there is only one Church. There are not 10s of thousands of bodies of Christ, but only one. Protestantism is so splintered that it does not even resemble a universal church, the one the Nicene Creed spoke of. There is no unity in Protestantism.

    New denominations are being created as I write this, even. How can that be the answer to Jesus’ high priestly prayer in John 17? Answer. It can’t be.

    Yet many – I hope most – Protestants are real Christians. Catholicism gives the best explanation for how that works. Believing Protestants – those who believe in the Trinity and have been baptized – are given the status of separated brethren and invited to come home. I look at it this way. Our Mother, the bride of Christ, took pity on us when she saw what a mess Protestantism is.

    Someday you have to face the implications of John 17 and Ephesians 4:4-6 and the fact that there is no salvation outside the visible church – which your confessions also teach. Who is the visible church? The OPC?

    So why return home to my Mother if I was already a separated sister? Obedience. I was convinced that there is only one Church. The Catholic Church makes the only clear historically sound, theologically defensible claim to be that Church. The only reasonable thing to do, then, was to go home.

    Ephesians 4:4-6English Standard Version (ESV)

    4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

    Then there was the Mass in b Minor that helped seal the deal. So much beauty. So much glory. Bach couldn’t write his greatest masterpiece for Protestants. It may very well be the greatest musical masterpiece ever composed. Why a Mass? It had to be.

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  131. “There is no salvation outside the visible church”

    (If X is outside the visible church, X cannot be saved)

    “You are separated brothers”

    (You are saved, but outside the visible church)

    Both cannot be true. Either Daryl is unsaved, hence not a brother, OR there is salvation outside the visible church. Pre Vat 2 Catholics understood this clearly.

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  132. @ DGH:

    But “the rules” themselves were not written in tablets of stone. In fact, the very practice of history is not now what it was when you graduated, what with a greater emphasis on social history and the emergence of Herstory and Queer History and the relative eclipse of Marxist history.

    In such a flexible millieu, why should a Christian simply take “the rules” as given? Whose rules? To what end?

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  133. Dg, Jeff, Mwf-

    Gregory of Narek is interesting in this regard. Great 10th c Armenian theological poet, part of the Armenian Orthodox Church in his life, honored by Armenian Catholics as a saint since the mid 18th century (and therefore demonstrating RCC approval), cited in the new Catechism, declared a Doctor just last year.

    So, a pre-VII indication that someone not belonging to the visible RCC is a saint.

    Still, I think it is an area which requires much care, and always consciousness that it isn’t like the RCC teaches alll Catholics are saved.

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  134. Kevin, why would the requirements for good works be any different for a ruler? Won’t they have to answer on that great day?

    But if you’re saying there’s a difference between civic virtue and sanctification, sure.

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  135. Mermaid,

    “I think of myself as having returned home to my mother”

    lots of mmmmeeeeeEEEE there.

    “there is only one Church”

    Is the church of Jerusalem, the one Christ founded, chopped liver? Eastern orthodoxy is your real mother. Mary belonged to that church.

    “Protestants are real Christians. Catholicism gives the best explanation for how that works.”

    Trent’s explanation was just great pretty good.

    “Mass in b Minor that helped seal the deal.”

    You need a Lutheran to give your church, the church of the true, good and beautiful, beauty?

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  136. Jeff, yes, some kooky stuff in history publications. Some even when I graduated would have considered Protestant fundamentalism kooky stuff.

    But when it comes to the standards, what goes in textbooks and the like, it’s generally the same stuff.

    But none of this pertains to the rules of method. And here historians can’t claim supernatural or divine revelatory stuff as part of the rules of the game. And Marsden does that at the end of his book on fundamentalism.

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  137. Mrs W: Call me a liberal, but I think it is perfectly appropriate to join the #DefundPP campaign.

    could you also please write personal notes to your (our state’s) Catholic sister senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray to express disappointment with their ‘no I will not defund PP’ recent vote

    Like

  138. Jeff Cagle
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 7:04 am | Permalink
    “There is no salvation outside the visible church”

    (If X is outside the visible church, X cannot be saved)

    “You are separated brothers”

    (You are saved, but outside the visible church)

    Both cannot be true. Either Daryl is unsaved, hence not a brother, OR there is salvation outside the visible church. Pre Vat 2 Catholics understood this clearly.>>>>

    Well, you see, the category of separated brethren is not outside the visible Church. You put yourself outside, but the Church puts you inside, but not in full communion.

    Now why not talk about Scripture?

    1. Do you reject the clear implications of Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer? If you accept the fact that Jesus means what He says, then why avoid the implications of John 17? Why the lack of unity even within Presbyterianism?

    John 17:11
    And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.

    2. Why do you ignore Ephesians 4:4-6? Protestants are the ones with 10s of thousands of different denominations. How many Presbyterian denominations are there?

    Ephesians 4:4-6English Standard Version (ESV)

    4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

    Now, maybe you can live with the fact that Protestantism is more like tribal warfare than it is a unified church, but I couldn’t anymore. You don’t even recognize one another as family.

    For example, the dear brothers like you here are best known for what you are against and not what you are for. You are against pietists, Pentecostals, and Papists. Heck, that’s about what? 3/4 of Christianity that you do not want to have fellowship with?

    Now, I like you, Jeff, but seriously? How can you live with that level of animosity towards other Christians? Especially in light of Scripture.

    So, I prefer to see you guys as my brothers as my Mother teaches me. You have to explain the divisions, because I couldn’t anymore. It quit making sense. I can love all my brothers and sisters in Christ and accept them as all part of God’s great family, the Church that Jesus is building, that continues to grow in spite of much opposition in the world.

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  139. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 1:11 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, “I prefer to see you guys as my brothers as my Mother teaches me.”

    See, it really is a matter of preference for you.>>>>>

    I hope, Brother Hart, that this is as much fun for you as it is for me. 😉 If my preferences match my Mother’s preferences, then why should that be a problem?

    I believe that her preferences match those of the Holy Spirit. Read John 17 and Ephesians 4 to see what the Spirit has clearly revealed – there is only one Spirit, one body, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all.

    Why should I be afraid to say that my preference is in line with those of the Holy Spirit? The will of God is that we be one in Christ. Do you disagree?

    Tell me what John 17 and Ephesians 4 mean to you. What message did the Holy Spirit intend for us to get from those words? Why did the Church get it wrong, and “Protestants” – all the myriad of thousands of them – get it right? Jesus must have really meant that we hunker down in our own, little groups and fire at all other groups from our reinforced position. Hard to find that kind of ecclesiology in the Bible.

    Maybe in your denomination you are not allowed to call anyone a brother or a sister in Christ.

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  140. Okay, just hurl down the gauntlet of John 17 and Ephesians 4 and THAT SETTLES EVERYTHING!!

    If it wasn’t so pathetic what Webfoot thinks is an argument, I’d laugh and roll on the ground….

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  141. @Kevin

    Thanks for the correction. Still curious about the points raised, though.

    Whatever did you do to get on Dg’s reverse list?

    Maybe to be rectified by posting instead as “DB, S” -?

    Probably something to do with habitually posts long enough to crash whole threads… or he found out I like to eat cats.

    Like

  142. b, sd, I was thinking mainly in terms of Marsden’s “outrageous” scholarship. I don’t think the rules of history are hostile to Christianity. If you read Marsden’s “Unscientific Postscript” to Fundamentalism and American Culture, you get the sense that Christian historians can behave the way David Daleiden did. The rules don’t always apply.

    This is curious as his actual scholarship doesn’t read this way. I wonder what it means in practice – is it the choice of subject material? He seems to explicitly reject that. Is it that you form a network for hiring (is it any accident that Hatch, Marsden, Noll, and now Darren are all at ND)? Or maybe he has something else in mind, but I’m not sure what that is. I mean I see how Christian scholarship in Philosophy of Religion would look different from scholarship from a non-believer (hard to see Plantinga writing the warrant series as a non-Christian!), but I still don’t know what a Christian approach to Chemistry looks like. The examples Marsden gives are all sort of Christian reflections on topics related to the subject area, but not the kind of stuff that would be of interest to practitioners (I mean its not like scientists read philosophy of science or professors pay attention to the education scholarship). It seems to me that outside of very narrow range of disciplines that Christian __________ is really about meta work about what ________ means for Christianity. But when actually doing _________ you really are 2k.

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  143. Ali
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 10:52 am | Permalink
    Mrs W: Call me a liberal, but I think it is perfectly appropriate to join the #DefundPP campaign.

    could you also please write personal notes to your (our state’s) Catholic sister senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray to express disappointment with their ‘no I will not defund PP’ recent vote>>>>

    Yes, I will, Ali. Thank you for the suggestion.

    Like

  144. DG-
    Kevin, why would the requirements for good works be any different for a ruler? Won’t they have to answer on that great day? But if you’re saying there’s a difference between civic virtue and sanctification, sure.

    Agreed on the latter, I don’t think Christian theology could account for the salvation of Cicero or Plato; if God through an extraordinary act decides to, fine, but I can’t see how we could ever say much about that – it is beyond their practice of civic virtue, certainly – and I think most lead themselves astray through trying to make statements on it. Praying that God lead all souls to heaven doesn’t give warranted for unreasonable hope (which, strictly, requires reasonableness, or is instead foolishness).

    But on the first, couldn’t a justified but indifferent governor be less sanctified than one who effects peace and protects right religion? Does Reformed theology reserve ‘good’ for justification alone? So it applies only to the act of affirming faith?

    But surely ‘good works’ include praying, worshiping, keeping the commandments? And if rulers have God-given duties different from history professors or tax attorneys, there are acts for them which are good works involving civic virtue?

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  145. @SDB

    In the last few decades, Marsden has spilled so much ink in special pleading for some recognition of Christianity (but not anything that might scare the children, like fundamentalism) that I am no longer sure what his actual scholarship looks like. I read Fundamentalism and American Culture back in the 90’s, was enjoying it and then turned the page to his “Unscientific Postscript”. Had it not been a library copy that was almost due, I would have wanted to re-read it to make sure he hadn’t put one over on me. I did thoroughly enjoy his Edwards biography, and I have no concrete reason to distrust it, so I am absolutely not saying he is a hack. I thought the narrative parts of his Twilight of the American Enlightenment were competent but his prescription (last chapter) was weak– more special pleading, this time that the ills of the Secular university could be cured by a good dose of Kuyper.

    His constant complaints about the University being a Secular place that is hostile to Christians might well be true, but please tell me how that condition is manifest in the History Department. Skip the generalized screed about that old devil, secularism. It strikes me that American Religious History is a very vibrant sub-discipline right now and does not suffer from a shortage of Christian practitioners who are able to get their works into print.

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  146. Sdb-

    [Kc:] Whatever did you do to get on Dg’s reverse list?

    Maybe to be rectified by posting instead as “DB, S” -?

    [Sdb-]Probably something to do with habitually posts long enough to crash whole threads… or he found out I like to eat cats.

    I doubt he was displeased to see that particular thread go down, so it must be the feasting on felines. Do you follow the Council of Jerusalem and drain them of blood, first? When did that particular prohibition of the Church get authoritatively lifted, anyway?

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  147. Kevin O’ Noork:

    (Couldn’t resist. 20 years later and I can still hear “Lizbeth. Next stop, Noork.”)

    Gregory of Narek is interesting in this regard. Great 10th c Armenian theological poet, part of the Armenian Orthodox Church in his life, honored by Armenian Catholics as a saint since the mid 18th century (and therefore demonstrating RCC approval), cited in the new Catechism, declared a Doctor just last year.

    That is interesting. I presume that as an Armenian Orthodox, he would be called a monophysite by Catholics in that the former reject the Chalcedonian Creed.

    So now this raises an interesting question. Let’s take the Baltimore Catechism as the basis for the question, since the CCC is hopelessly vague here.

    166. Are all obliged to belong to the Catholic Church in order to be saved?

    All are obliged to belong to the Catholic Church in order to be saved.

    Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me.” (John 14:6)

    167. What do we mean when we say, “Outside the Church there is no salvation?”

    When we say, “Outside the Church there is no salvation,” we mean that Christ made the Catholic Church a necessary means of salvation and commanded all to enter it, so that a person must be connected with the Church in some way to be saved.

    168. How can persons who are not members of the Catholic Church be saved?

    Persons who are not members of the Catholic Church can be saved if, through no fault of their own, they do not know that the Catholic Church is the true Church, but they love God and try to do His will, for in this way they are connected with the Church by desire.

    (Aside: Notice that the BC does not say “outside the visible church”, but merely “outside the church” — and that difference makes 168 possible.)

    So here’s the question. Clearly, as a monophysite, anathematized by the church, our man Gregory did not belong to the Catholic church. Indeed, he in all likelihood openly taught heresy. Hence:

    169b. How does a baptized person separate himself from full incorporation in the Mystical Body?

    A baptized person separates himself from full incorporation in the Mystical Body by open and deliberate heresy, apostasy or schism. — B. Cat.

    So here’s the question: How is our man Gregory saved?

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  148. Mermaid, if you are going to bring up the Bible, then you’ve got a lot of explaining to do about Mary, the church that Jesus founded, you know Mary’s, Jerusalem, and why you think the infused righteousness you think you have will ever make you pure enough to stand in that great day.

    Time’s yours.

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  149. b, sd, right. And my frustration with the intregration of faith and learning meme that neo-Calvinism injected into evangelical higher education 30 years ago is just another version of the God-and-insert-subject-here approach that dominated mainline Protestantism in the 1950s which underwrote the formation of religion departments and the creation of religion as an academic discipline. I’ve written a lot about this — the parallels between Marsden’s argument and the one that Henry Pit Van Dusen made in 1950 with God and Education — he was the president of Union Seminary and Niebuhr’s boss. But the only response I get is silence or we are not liberal Protestants so that won’t happen here.

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  150. Kevin, a truly good work has to conform to the law of God, proceed from faith (a regenerate heart), and aim for God’s glory.

    Lot’s could qualify there. A Christian ruler could also qualify. But not David Daleiden.

    Like

  151. @ADD

    Could be. I can’t speak to history specifically, but there is no question that being associated with being conservative (political and/or religious) hurts your chances of being hired. Haidt, Fosse, Gross, and others have discussed the reason for the underrepresentation of political and religious conservatives in academia. To be sure, self selection is important (perhaps the dominant factor), but the data seems to indicate that the willingness of academics to overtly discriminate against potential colleagues they perceive to be conservative drives this self selection.

    Like

  152. Dan, impressive. Marsden’s post-script has driven some of my secular history friends over the ledge. Meanwhile, George’s career hardly suffered for his Christian scholarship. I’m almost as jealous of that as I am that Rod Dreher co-wrote a book with Wendell Pierce who played Bunk in — wait for it — The Wire.

    Like

  153. @Darryl Where do you lay out the parallels between Marsden and van Dusen? I’ll be interested in reading more there.

    Like

  154. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 9:45 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, if you are going to bring up the Bible, then you’ve got a lot of explaining to do about Mary, the church that Jesus founded, you know Mary’s, Jerusalem, and why you think the infused righteousness you think you have will ever make you pure enough to stand in that great day.

    Time’s yours.>>>>>

    Well, Brother Hart, sola scripturaists have had 500 years to explain based on Scripture alone why there are all the divisions in “Protestantism” when there is only one body. I don’t blame you for giving up. So, you just go with your tradition of rolling your eyes you say “whatever”! Can’t blame you at all for dodging the fact that there is one Spirit, one body, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all. See Ephesians 4.

    I would love to get to

    1. Mary, Queen of Heaven as per Revelation 12.

    2. Infused righteousness – infused with love by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit as per Galatians 5:6 and James 2

    3. why Rome, not Jerusalem – remember the little issue of the fall of Jerusalem and all the Jews having to flee? Where did the leader of the disciples go, the one with the keys to the kingdom, the one who Jesus called the rock, the one He built His Church on.

    We have covered this ground before, but I would be more than happy to do it agains. You see, Catholic Christians are Bible Christians. There is much, much more, but I don’t think you sola scriptura guys can handle it. 😉 I mean, if you can’t handle John 17 and Ephesians 4, then what will you do with the rest of Scripture?

    Like

  155. Mrs. Webfoot
    Posted August 15, 2015 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    There is no salvation outside the Church, since there is no salvation outside the Body of Christ, of which Christ is the Head. If you say you are in union with Christ, yet deny you are in union with His one body, then, well, you are wrong. There is only one Church, not many. The fact that the Catholic Church accepts all Christians who have been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit as Christians shows that she does not want any to perish.

    You are separated brethren. After all, it is you guys who separated yourselves from full communion. Calvin left the Church and began to wage war on her. Yes, Luther was put under discipline since he was a priest, but he decided not to submit to that discipline. Happens all the time with Protestants, in fact. He was a trend setter.

    There is still only one Lord, one Church, one baptism, one God and Father of all whether you like it or not. 🙂 I have not had any of you guys explain the following passage. Once a person reads it carefully, it is hard to stay separated. You see, Catholic Christians are Bible Christians and refuse to accept the notion that it is okay for Christ’s body to be fragmented into 10s of thousands of little groups.

    So, she spreads out her love to include all who name the name of Christ. You can say that you are of Calvin, or you are of Luther, or you are of whoever else you wish to name, but she knows better. Catholics read the Bible, don’t you know.

    Ephesians 4:5
    Unity in the Body
    …4There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.…

    She wants all her children to come home.

    ________

    D. G. Hart
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 9:45 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, if you are going to bring up the Bible, then you’ve got a lot of explaining to do about Mary, the church that Jesus founded, you know Mary’s, Jerusalem, and why you think the infused righteousness you think you have will ever make you pure enough to stand in that great day.

    Time’s yours.

    B-b-b-but…Mary!

    Ignoring the Bible, Uncle Screwtape changes the subject to his distortions of Mariology again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    Like

  156. SDB:”I can’t speak to history specifically”

    Dan: Marsden could. He doesn’t, at least from what I have read.

    I will grant you that the Liberal Arts departments are generally hostile to conservatives and Christians, but not universally so. I am beginning to not care as much about that as I used to. If China takes over the world, it won’t be because of the strength of their Gender Studies programs.

    Like

  157. Just FYI, here is an article written by an OPC pastor. It is a good article on the OPC position on the question “Is there salvation outside the visible church?”

    “Our Reformed and Presbyterian forefathers in the faith taught that outside the visible church there is no ordinary possibility of salvation. “

    http://lakeopc.net/2013/no-salvation-outside-the-church/

    Just to throw that out there. See the quote in context. He talks about how this teaching seems to contradict justification by faith alone, but he tries to explain how it doesn’t. Interesting.

    Jeff:
    So here’s the question. Clearly, as a monophysite, anathematized by the church, our man Gregory did not belong to the Catholic church. Indeed, he in all likelihood openly taught heresy.>>>>>

    Are you sure you know what the word “anathema” means? Maybe you need to do a study on what the Church has meant by the word and how it has been applied through the centuries.

    Like

  158. DGH, didn’t Marsden take the Postscript out of the second edition? I think I’ve read that, but I have no way to verify it at this time.

    Like

  159. Jeff –

    Sounds to me like either the Northeast Corridor or a shore line train- what was your point of origin? Are you from Jersey originally?

    The Caribbean people I deal with professionally always look at me funny when I say the name of the city (“Noork” is pretty close, sometimes you hear “Nerk”) – when they see it written, they say (as do the English) “/Njew Ahk/” with equal emphasis and duration on each syllable. I wouldn’t have the nerve to try that locally.

    On to business. I’m sure you’ve read this history before, but on the chance someone else is reading who hasn’t (and it was a good refresher- worth a couple of hours).

    Gregory of Narek is interesting in this regard. Great 10th c Armenian theological poet, part of the Armenian Orthodox Church in his life, honored by Armenian Catholics as a saint since the mid 18th century (and therefore demonstrating RCC approval), cited in the new Catechism, declared a Doctor just last year.

    [Jeff:] So here’s the question. Clearly, as a monophysite, anathematized by the church, our man Gregory did not belong to the Catholic church. Indeed, he in all likelihood openly taught heresy.

    Firstly, I was quite surprised when I heard it announced. But the Eastern Rite Catholics have, for centuries (quite a few in the case of the Maronites) honored as saints those who in their lives were not visibly a part of the RCC.

    I can’t give you watertight ecclesiology just at the moment, but roughly: Roman Rite Catholics are in communion with the Eastern Rite Catholics (obviously), so we’re in communion with their past members who held the faith, even if those members weren’t in visible communion with the RCC. The underlying principle is something like- did they hold and live the true faith as best as it could be known to them?

    Happy to pursue if you are interested.

    Regarding the Chalcedonian schisms, I regret to say I audited a class dealing with this a decade ago, and so feel obligated to make some accounting.

    In short, not to sound trite, but the alleged theological disagreement between the Oriental Orthodox (aka “Monophysites” or “Miaphysites,” principally most Armenians and Copts as well as many Syriac/Aramaic people) and Eastern Orthodox/Catholics is a problem more of vocabulary influenced by church politics than theology.

    The story starts with the group the Oriental Orthodox were reacting against:

    Duo-physitism / “Nestorianism” – Nestorius was Patriarch of Constantinople and with his theologian-buddy Theodore of Mopsuestia taught that Christ’s human and divine natures were separate, and never to be joined. Nestorius could be the best example in history of a sincere individual professing orthodoxy who is in fact a heretic bringing harm beyond anyone’s wildest imaginings into the world:

    “Jesus Christ, who is not identical with the Son but personally united with the Son, who lives in him, is one hypostasis and one nature: human.” [Wikipedia]

    So Christ was not truly God and man – it was more like God had put on flesh like a suit of clothes (I believe that form of words was used at the time). They were not united in substance, but only in will (whatever exactly that might mean – two different wills, one human and one divine, combining to direct the action of “Jesus Christ” -?). This is heresy.

    Further, this led Nestorius and Theodore to object to the term Theotokos (bearer-of-God) for the Blessed Virgin Mary since he couldn’t imagine a woman giving birth to God, which in turn led to counter-objections from the Eastern Orthodox/Oriental Orthodox/Roman Catholics (at the time often called simply “the Catholic Church” since the Donatist troubles).

    The only significant group today which sees continuity with Nestorius is the Assyrian Church of the East; but even as early as the 6th c. their understanding was demonstrably quite different from that of Nestorius and Theodore, although it unfortunately retained some of the distinctions of vocabulary:

    “[Early ACE historian] Babai held that within Christ there exist two qnome (essences, or hypostases), unmingled, but everlastingly united in the one prosopon(personality).”

    Many in the contemporary ACE hierarchy insist their understanding is identical to the Chalcedonian understanding, just with a different word-to-concept correlation (keep in mind they use Syriac much more than Greek anyway- more difficult than comparing meanings in Spanish and Italian). All concerned are serious enough on this agreement that there has been for fifteen years or so widespread shared communion between the Chaldean Catholic Church (RCC Eastern Rite, which has its historical origin in the ACE) and the ACE.

    Oriental Orthodox: Mia-physitism / “mono-physitism” – To the Armenians / Oriental Orthodox, it looked like Patriarch Nestorius was preaching heresy (he was, and was exiled by the Emperor), which tainted their view of the Patriarch of Constantinople, the Pope in Rome, and anyone under the Empire.

    So they came up with a form different from Nestorius’s (keep in mind this is before Chalcedon, so there was no defined form), which they called “miaphysitism” – 1 melded Divine-Human nature, rather than the Orthodox/Catholic Chalcedonian 2 natures in the 1 person of Christ. From the perspective of the vocabulary of Chalcedon, this is heresy.

    But again, word-concept correlation is a factor – the Miaphysite formula can be interpreted in an orthodox manner, and indeed, Armenian, Coptic, and Syriac Oriental Orthodox scholars today not only tell us that they agree with the Orthodox/Roman formulation, but that they flatly reject what the Orthodox/Roman Catholics call “monophysitism” when it is related to them. Most significantly, they are firm that their understandings in no way differ from that of the great saints in their own traditions.

    Unfortunately, Chalcedon didn’t go as well as it might have due to political pressures, and while the theology was correct, the implementation involved imperial enforcement which hardened Oriental Orthodox positions. Constantinople and Rome struggled to resolve the schism over the few centuries before Islam arrived, but failed. Islam hardened the differences until modern times.

    So why will the “same-meaning, different-words” explanation sound like a cop-out or letdown to many? I think because “Nestorianism” (“Duophysitism”) and “Monophysitism” understood from the perspective of Chalcedonian vocabulary provide useful positions to argue against in gaining an understanding of the orthodox position. The Christological question is a basic enough one to Christianity that I don’t think it incredible that all three groups (only one with infallible teaching authority, of course) arrived at a more-or-less accurate understanding, despite anathemas flying left and right from all sides.

    All of which is to say that Gregory of Narek, while a part of a group which shared anathemas with Rome/Constantinople, had an orthodox understanding of the faith. How do we know? He left us a large body of writing which is clearly orthodox in its theological position. Contemporary Armenian [Oriental] Orthodox Church scholars tell us his Christology was that of Rome’s.

    So, what indication is there Gregory of Narek (I wish I could claim him for NJ) made any act of schism or held another faith than that of the RCC? Further, what is quite significant from the perspective of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Assyrian Church of the East, and Catholics – he had an apostolic episcopacy and the sacraments.

    Credible explanation?

    Like

  160. You’re getting to the core argument: Why does “Protestantism” differ so radically from not just the Catholic Church [Roman rite] but the Catholic Church–Christianity–as it existed for 1000 years up to the Eastern Orthodox schism of 1054?

    As Mrs. Webfoot asks, Why is “Protestantism” so divided against itself, let alone from the Catholics? The Catholic [universal] Church, East and West, gets along quite well these days, theologically and ecclesiastically, recognizing each other’s sacraments and priesthoods as licit.

    As Mrs. Webfoot writes

    There is still only one Lord, one Church, one baptism, one God and Father of all whether you like it or not. 🙂 I have not had any of you guys explain the following passage. Once a person reads it carefully, it is hard to stay separated. You see, Catholic Christians are Bible Christians and refuse to accept the notion that it is okay for Christ’s body to be fragmented into 10s of thousands of little groups.

    So, she spreads out her love to include all who name the name of Christ. You can say that you are of Calvin, or you are of Luther, or you are of whoever else you wish to name, but she knows better. Catholics read the Bible, don’t you know.

    Ephesians 4:5

    There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.…

    “Kevin in Newark” has been exploring the permutations of the “Catholic Church,” which is not just “Roman” but but remains catholic, even with a small “c.”

    “Protestant” doesn’t really work with a small “p.” “Reformed” claims a capital “R,” but ironically excludes not just the Catholic Church but most of the Reformation!

    You really have some serious work to do, Dr. Hart. Christianity: A History.

    Kevin in Newark
    Posted August 17, 2015 at 2:03 am | Permalink
    Jeff –

    Sounds to me like either the Northeast Corridor or a shore line train- what was your point of origin? Are you from Jersey originally?

    The Caribbean people I deal with professionally always look at me funny when I say the name of the city (“Noork” is pretty close, sometimes you hear “Nerk”) – when they see it written, they say (as do the English) “/Njew Ahk/” with equal emphasis and duration on each syllable. I wouldn’t have the nerve to try that locally.

    On to business. I’m sure you’ve read this history before, but on the chance someone else is reading who hasn’t (and it was a good refresher- worth a couple of hours).

    Gregory of Narek is interesting in this regard. Great 10th c Armenian theological poet, part of the Armenian Orthodox Church in his life, honored by Armenian Catholics as a saint since the mid 18th century (and therefore demonstrating RCC approval), cited in the new Catechism, declared a Doctor just last year.

    [Jeff:] So here’s the question. Clearly, as a monophysite, anathematized by the church, our man Gregory did not belong to the Catholic church. Indeed, he in all likelihood openly taught heresy.

    Firstly, I was quite surprised when I heard it announced. But the Eastern Rite Catholics have, for centuries (quite a few in the case of the Maronites) honored as saints those who in their lives were not visibly a part of the RCC.

    I can’t give you watertight ecclesiology just at the moment, but roughly: Roman Rite Catholics are in communion with the Eastern Rite Catholics (obviously), so we’re in communion with their past members who held the faith, even if those members weren’t in visible communion with the RCC. The underlying principle is something like- did they hold and live the true faith as best as it could be known to them?

    Happy to pursue if you are interested.

    Regarding the Chalcedonian schisms, I regret to say I audited a class dealing with this a decade ago, and so feel obligated to make some accounting.

    In short, not to sound trite, but the alleged theological disagreement between the Oriental Orthodox (aka “Monophysites” or “Miaphysites,” principally most Armenians and Copts as well as many Syriac/Aramaic people) and Eastern Orthodox/Catholics is a problem more of vocabulary influenced by church politics than theology.

    The story starts with the group the Oriental Orthodox were reacting against:

    Duo-physitism / “Nestorianism” – Nestorius was Patriarch of Constantinople and with his theologian-buddy Theodore of Mopsuestia taught that Christ’s human and divine natures were separate, and never to be joined. Nestorius could be the best example in history of a sincere individual professing orthodoxy who is in fact a heretic bringing harm beyond anyone’s wildest imaginings into the world:

    “Jesus Christ, who is not identical with the Son but personally united with the Son, who lives in him, is one hypostasis and one nature: human.” [Wikipedia]

    So Christ was not truly God and man – it was more like God had put on flesh like a suit of clothes (I believe that form of words was used at the time). They were not united in substance, but only in will (whatever exactly that might mean – two different wills, one human and one divine, combining to direct the action of “Jesus Christ” -?). This is heresy.

    Further, this led Nestorius and Theodore to object to the term Theotokos (bearer-of-God) for the Blessed Virgin Mary since he couldn’t imagine a woman giving birth to God, which in turn led to counter-objections from the Eastern Orthodox/Oriental Orthodox/Roman Catholics (at the time often called simply “the Catholic Church” since the Donatist troubles).

    The only significant group today which sees continuity with Nestorius is the Assyrian Church of the East; but even as early as the 6th c. their understanding was demonstrably quite different from that of Nestorius and Theodore, although it unfortunately retained some of the distinctions of vocabulary:

    “[Early ACE historian] Babai held that within Christ there exist two qnome (essences, or hypostases), unmingled, but everlastingly united in the one prosopon(personality).”

    Many in the contemporary ACE hierarchy insist their understanding is identical to the Chalcedonian understanding, just with a different word-to-concept correlation (keep in mind they use Syriac much more than Greek anyway- more difficult than comparing meanings in Spanish and Italian). All concerned are serious enough on this agreement that there has been for fifteen years or so widespread shared communion between the Chaldean Catholic Church (RCC Eastern Rite, which has its historical origin in the ACE) and the ACE.

    Oriental Orthodox: Mia-physitism / “mono-physitism” – To the Armenians / Oriental Orthodox, it looked like Patriarch Nestorius was preaching heresy (he was, and was exiled by the Emperor), which tainted their view of the Patriarch of Constantinople, the Pope in Rome, and anyone under the Empire.

    So they came up with a form different from Nestorius’s (keep in mind this is before Chalcedon, so there was no defined form), which they called “miaphysitism” – 1 melded Divine-Human nature, rather than the Orthodox/Catholic Chalcedonian 2 natures in the 1 person of Christ. From the perspective of the vocabulary of Chalcedon, this is heresy.

    But again, word-concept correlation is a factor – the Miaphysite formula can be interpreted in an orthodox manner, and indeed, Armenian, Coptic, and Syriac Oriental Orthodox scholars today not only tell us that they agree with the Orthodox/Roman formulation, but that they flatly reject what the Orthodox/Roman Catholics call “monophysitism” when it is related to them. Most significantly, they are firm that their understandings in no way differ from that of the great saints in their own traditions.

    Unfortunately, Chalcedon didn’t go as well as it might have due to political pressures, and while the theology was correct, the implementation involved imperial enforcement which hardened Oriental Orthodox positions. Constantinople and Rome struggled to resolve the schism over the few centuries before Islam arrived, but failed. Islam hardened the differences until modern times.

    So why will the “same-meaning, different-words” explanation sound like a cop-out or letdown to many? I think because “Nestorianism” (“Duophysitism”) and “Monophysitism” understood from the perspective of Chalcedonian vocabulary provide useful positions to argue against in gaining an understanding of the orthodox position. The Christological question is a basic enough one to Christianity that I don’t think it incredible that all three groups (only one with infallible teaching authority, of course) arrived at a more-or-less accurate understanding, despite anathemas flying left and right from all sides.

    All of which is to say that Gregory of Narek, while a part of a group which shared anathemas with Rome/Constantinople, had an orthodox understanding of the faith. How do we know? He left us a large body of writing which is clearly orthodox in its theological position. Contemporary Armenian [Oriental] Orthodox Church scholars tell us his Christology was that of Rome’s.

    So, what indication is there Gregory of Narek (I wish I could claim him for NJ) made any act of schism or held another faith than that of the RCC? Further, what is quite significant from the perspective of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Assyrian Church of the East, and Catholics – he had an apostolic episcopacy and the sacraments.

    Credible explanation?

    Like

  161. Kevin in Newark
    Posted August 17, 2015 at 2:03 am | Permalink

    All of which is to say that Gregory of Narek, while a part of a group which shared anathemas with Rome/Constantinople, had an orthodox understanding of the faith. How do we know? He left us a large body of writing which is clearly orthodox in its theological position. Contemporary Armenian [Oriental] Orthodox Church scholars tell us his Christology was that of Rome’s.

    So, what indication is there Gregory of Narek (I wish I could claim him for NJ) made any act of schism or held another faith than that of the RCC? Further, what is quite significant from the perspective of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Assyrian Church of the East, and Catholics – he had an apostolic episcopacy and the sacraments.

    Credible explanation?

    You’re getting to the core argument, NJ: Why does “Protestantism” differ so radically from not just the Catholic Church [Roman rite] but the Catholic Church–Christianity–as it existed for 1000 years up to and including the Eastern Orthodox schism of 1054?

    As Mrs. Webfoot asks, Why is “Protestantism” so divided against itself, let alone from the Catholics? The Catholic [universal] Church, East and West, gets along quite well these days, theologically and ecclesiastically, recognizing each other’s sacraments and priesthoods as licit.

    She writes

    There is still only one Lord, one Church, one baptism, one God and Father of all whether you like it or not. 🙂 I have not had any of you guys explain the following passage. Once a person reads it carefully, it is hard to stay separated. You see, Catholic Christians are Bible Christians and refuse to accept the notion that it is okay for Christ’s body to be fragmented into 10s of thousands of little groups.

    So, she spreads out her love to include all who name the name of Christ. You can say that you are of Calvin, or you are of Luther, or you are of whoever else you wish to name, but she knows better. Catholics read the Bible, don’t you know.

    Ephesians 4:5

    There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.…

    Kevin has been investigating the permutations of the “Catholic Church,” which is not just “Roman” because it remains catholic, even with a small “c.”

    “Protestant” doesn’t really work with a small “p.” “Reformed” claims a capital “R,” but ironically excludes not just the Catholic Church but most of the Reformation!

    You have some serious work to do, Dr. Hart. Christianity: A History. Why Christ would go to all the trouble of dying for your miserable little Orthodox Presbyterian Church of 30,000 souls and let billions upon billions go to hell is unimaginably stupid.

    Like

  162. @ Kevin:

    Central Jersey post-Texas, pre-Maryland. Took NJ Transit to “Noork” for flights.

    Now, “njew ark” is in Delaware. That confused the heck out of me on my first trip south on 95.

    Your explanation is fully credible — to a Protestant. Notice how a Catholic solution ties up in a contradiction:

    136. What is the Church?
    The Church is the congregation of all baptized persons united in the same true faith, the same sacrifice, and the same sacraments, under the authority of the Sovereign Pontiff and the bishops in communion with him.

    So Gregory was clearly not a member of this set, since he was not under the authority of the Roman pontiff. (Neither were Paul or Mary … Go figure).

    Further, it is obligatory to belong to this church to be saved (166) and the church is a necessary means of salvation (167). BUT those who are not members can be saved if they are connected to the church by

    * ignorance of the nature of the church,
    * love for God,
    * trying to do His will.

    Contradiction. By 168, it is not obligatory to belong to the Church to be saved, and the church is not a necessary means of salvation in any meaningful sense. The obligation to belong is replaced with an obligation to be connected.

    Now take the Protestant view.

    I. The catholic or universal Church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the Head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fulness of Him that fills all in all.[1]

    II. The visible Church, which is also catholic or universal under the Gospel (not confined to one nation, as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion;[2] and of their children:[3] and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ,[4] the house and family of God,[5] out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.[6]

    In this model, was Gregory a member of the invisible church? Can’t tell, but he gave every evidence of it. Was he a member of the visible church? Yes, because professed the true faith.

    Done.

    See, in Catholicism, salvation is overdetermined. It must come by faith because we all agree that the Bible says so. But it must come also by baptism because of the sacramentology. So then we have to figure out what happens to people who have faith but don’t get baptized, or who are baptized but don’t have faith. But then again, salvation cannot be had outside the church. So we have to deal with faithful, baptized individuals outside the church, which lands us with the incoherent “connected” of BC 168 (in which, oddly, faith plays no explicit role).

    The model falls apart because it tries to tie salvation to three separate conditions WITHOUT making them jointly necessary or separately sufficient.

    Like

  163. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 17, 2015 at 6:21 am | Permalink
    Mermaid, 1054. So much for unity.

    Trent.

    Dodge away.>>>>>

    I have posted this numerous times.

    Canon 1.If anyone says that man can be justified before God by his own works, whether done by his own natural powers or through the teaching of the law,[110] without divine grace through Jesus Christ, let him be anathema.

    You dodge it.

    What else are you dodging? The worst of it is that you are dodging the words of Jesus in John 17 and Ephesians 4. One of Reformed’s favorite questions is “for whom did Christ did?” The simple answer is that He died for His bride, the Church.

    Another question has to do with the sufficiency of Christ. Our total inability is met with His total ability. Was He able to do what He set out to do? The answer has to be yes.

    John 17 clearly shows that He set out to establish one entity, not tens of thousands. Ephesians 4 drives that fact home.

    The Nicene Creed – which we recite at Mass and liturgy of the Word – confirms the fact that the Church has always understood Jesus to mean that there are four marks of the Church – one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. There are not tens of thousands of churches, many of which don’t even know about the Nicene Creed and are proud of it.

    You are, in effect, saying that Jesus’ death on the cross was ineffective. He was unable to be heard by His Father. If you are right, then Jesus’ prayer goes unanswered. The gates of hell prevailed.

    I am not just talking about the disunity within “Protestantism.” I am talking about the disunity within the most conservative of the Reformed brethren. Why so many different groups? Why so much tension between the neo-Calvinists and your brand of Calvinism? I mean, almost every day you write a disparaging comment about neo-Calvinists or take a shot at Keller. You don’t even like your own religion, the one that Calvin created.

    Maybe you are comfortable with the disunity. You can have it. It’s all yours. You dodge Church history. You dodge the words of Jesus. You have no unity within your religious traditions.

    I find that sad. The Church took pity on you by giving you a place in her loving embrace. You are part of the separated brethren. She does not want you to perish.

    John 17.
    23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

    ——————————————————————–
    TVD
    Posted August 17, 2015 at 3:26 am | Permalink
    Kevin in Newark
    Posted August 17, 2015 at 2:03 am | Permalink

    All of which is to say that Gregory of Narek, while a part of a group which shared anathemas with Rome/Constantinople, had an orthodox understanding of the faith. How do we know? He left us a large body of writing which is clearly orthodox in its theological position. Contemporary Armenian [Oriental] Orthodox Church scholars tell us his Christology was that of Rome’s.

    So, what indication is there Gregory of Narek (I wish I could claim him for NJ) made any act of schism or held another faith than that of the RCC? Further, what is quite significant from the perspective of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Assyrian Church of the East, and Catholics – he had an apostolic episcopacy and the sacraments.

    Credible explanation?

    You’re getting to the core argument, NJ: Why does “Protestantism” differ so radically from not just the Catholic Church [Roman rite] but the Catholic Church–Christianity–as it existed for 1000 years up to and including the Eastern Orthodox schism of 1054?

    As Mrs. Webfoot asks, Why is “Protestantism” so divided against itself, let alone from the Catholics? The Catholic [universal] Church, East and West, gets along quite well these days, theologically and ecclesiastically, recognizing each other’s sacraments and priesthoods as licit.

    She writes

    There is still only one Lord, one Church, one baptism, one God and Father of all whether you like it or not. 🙂 I have not had any of you guys explain the following passage. Once a person reads it carefully, it is hard to stay separated. You see, Catholic Christians are Bible Christians and refuse to accept the notion that it is okay for Christ’s body to be fragmented into 10s of thousands of little groups.

    So, she spreads out her love to include all who name the name of Christ. You can say that you are of Calvin, or you are of Luther, or you are of whoever else you wish to name, but she knows better. Catholics read the Bible, don’t you know.

    Ephesians 4:5

    There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.…

    Kevin has been investigating the permutations of the “Catholic Church,” which is not just “Roman” because it remains catholic, even with a small “c.”

    “Protestant” doesn’t really work with a small “p.” “Reformed” claims a capital “R,” but ironically excludes not just the Catholic Church but most of the Reformation!

    You have some serious work to do, Dr. Hart. Christianity: A History. Why Christ would go to all the trouble of dying for your miserable little Orthodox Presbyterian Church of 30,000 souls and let billions upon billions go to hell is unimaginably stupid.

    Like

  164. Webfoot,

    What else are you dodging? The worst of it is that you are dodging the words of Jesus in John 17 and Ephesians 4. One of Reformed’s favorite questions is “for whom did Christ did?” The simple answer is that He died for His bride, the Church.

    Absolutely. Now, did Christ die for the invisible church or the visible church. It’s an important question. See below.

    Another question has to do with the sufficiency of Christ. Our total inability is met with His total ability. Was He able to do what He set out to do? The answer has to be yes.

    John 17 clearly shows that He set out to establish one entity, not tens of thousands. Ephesians 4 drives that fact home.

    Here’s the problem. If Christ died for the visible church, then under Roman Catholicism, he must be an utter failure. Many, many people who are part of the visible church end up gong to hell. Currently, the visible church is very divided. If you want to point to Christ dying for the eschatological visible church when all is reunited. Fine. Welcome to Protestantism in which the eschatological visible church will consist only of the (currently) invisible church.

    Both Rome and Protestantism have to confess that it is the eschatological church that is most important, otherwise Christ is right now a failure.

    The Nicene Creed – which we recite at Mass and liturgy of the Word – confirms the fact that the Church has always understood Jesus to mean that there are four marks of the Church – one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. There are not tens of thousands of churches, many of which don’t even know about the Nicene Creed and are proud of it.

    Sure. Now prove that visible unity at the expense of truth (Rome) is more important than unity in truth but visible unity is more lacking (Protestantism). Now prove that apostolic succession consisting merely of the laying on of hands and who cares if the bishops really are Christian (Rome) is more important than laying on of hands and faithful teaching (Protestantism).

    You are, in effect, saying that Jesus’ death on the cross was ineffective. He was unable to be heard by His Father. If you are right, then Jesus’ prayer goes unanswered. The gates of hell prevailed.

    See above on the eschatological church. Jesus’ prayer will certainly be answered in the eschaton. It has to be so for Rome as well, otherwise the gates of hell are now prevailing. Your church ain’t unified within itself, and it has separated itself from the rest of us.

    I am not just talking about the disunity within “Protestantism.” I am talking about the disunity within the most conservative of the Reformed brethren. Why so many different groups?

    When you can explain why Rome has so many different groups, then you’ll have more of a point.

    Why so much tension between the neo-Calvinists and your brand of Calvinism?

    We’re all sinners. Its the same reason why there is tension between the Jesuits and the Thomists.

    Maybe you are comfortable with the disunity. You can have it. It’s all yours. You dodge Church history. You dodge the words of Jesus. You have no unity within your religious traditions.

    That’s just false. You are equating unity with everyone having the same home office and who cares if everyone knows or believes the creed. That’s why you can have people saying V2 was a huge mistake, RCs advocating for free access to abortion, new age nuns, German bishops wanting to change RCC teaching on marriage, Mother Teresa, the Archbishop of San Francisco, Scott Hahn, Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi all in good standing with the RCC.

    I find that sad. The Church took pity on you by giving you a place in her loving embrace. You are part of the separated brethren. She does not want you to perish.

    You mean the church changed its mind and says that we are no longer cursed to hell for believing in justification by faith alone, as long as we remain invincibly ignorant or something.

    As Mrs. Webfoot asks, Why is “Protestantism” so divided against itself, let alone from the Catholics? The Catholic [universal] Church, East and West, gets along quite well these days, theologically and ecclesiastically, recognizing each other’s sacraments and priesthoods as licit.

    Its easy to get along when it doesn’t really matter what you believe, as long as you can agree that the sacraments do their magic simply by happening.

    There is still only one Lord, one Church, one baptism, one God and Father of all whether you like itor not. 🙂 I have not had any of you guys explain the following passage. Once a person reads it carefully, it is hard to stay separated. You see, Catholic Christians are Bible Christians and refuse to accept the notion that it is okay for Christ’s body to be fragmented into 10s of thousands of little groups.

    Actually, you assume without argument that visible unity is the sine qua non of orthodox Christianity, paper over the diversity of religious belief in Rome on fundamental issues that Lutherans and Reformed and others would agree on, and then proceed to scold us simply because we tend to do stuff with our false teachers, even leaving the denomination when they take control.

    Tell me, Webfoot, what happens when the false teachers take control of Rome? Or is that not possible in your view. I seem to recall Pope Francis talking about false teachers getting into very important positions in RCism.

    So, she spreads out her love to include all who name the name of Christ. You can say that you are of Calvin, or you are of Luther, or you are of whoever else you wish to name, but she knows better. Catholics read the Bible, don’t you know.

    Good. Then you can perhaps explain how you have a cease-fire with God that can blow up at any time through mortal sin and not peace (Rom. 5:1). And then you can explain why it is wrong to say “of Calvin, of Luther” (as if any Protestant would actually do that) but its okay for you to say “of Peter” when Paul specifically condemns THAT.

    Kevin has been investigating the permutations of the “Catholic Church,” which is not just “Roman” because it remains catholic, even with a small “c.”

    Rome is by far the least catholic body on the planet. That’s what happens when you have primacy of authority located in one man in one place.

    “Protestant” doesn’t really work with a small “p.” “Reformed” claims a capital “R,” but ironically excludes not just the Catholic Church but most of the Reformation!

    The Reformed recognize orthodox Lutherans and Anglicans as fellow Christians. What Reformation group is being left out again?

    You have some serious work to do, Dr. Hart. Christianity: A History. Why Christ would go to all the trouble of dying for your miserable little Orthodox Presbyterian Church of 30,000 souls and let billions upon billions go to hell is unimaginably stupid.

    What are you talking about? None of us here believes that the OPC is the only true church or that one has to be OPC to go to heaven. None of us believes one has to be Reformed to go to heaven. That’s most unlike Rome, who keeps thinking that it has ecumenical councils and told us at Trent that we’re all going to hell, before showing us love again. So you might understand why we’re a bit confused.

    Like

  165. Mermaid, when have I ever dodged Trent? The bishops there anathematized me. All you do is call me a brother and then say I’m a liar.

    You keep bleeting the mantra of unity even while Rome has the least amount of unity it has ever had. So you need to qualify what unity means as do Protestants. Both sides affirm unity. One side is honest about it and not at a Yankees game.

    Like

  166. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 17, 2015 at 6:22 am | Permalink
    vd, t, you mean the Mariology that you say in non-essential?

    Attack attack attack. But your religion remains comprehensible only by what it’s not. Your attacks on the Catholic position don’t justify your own.

    “Credible explanation?”

    You’re getting to the core argument, NJ: Why does “Protestantism” differ so radically from not just the Catholic Church [Roman rite] but the Catholic Church–Christianity–as it existed for 1000 years up to and including the Eastern Orthodox schism of 1054?

    As Mrs. Webfoot asks, Why is “Protestantism” so divided against itself, let alone from the Catholics? The Catholic [universal] Church, East and West, gets along quite well these days, theologically and ecclesiastically, recognizing each other’s sacraments and priesthoods as licit.

    She writes

    “There is still only one Lord, one Church, one baptism, one God and Father of all whether you like it or not. 🙂 I have not had any of you guys explain the following passage. Once a person reads it carefully, it is hard to stay separated. You see, Catholic Christians are Bible Christians and refuse to accept the notion that it is okay for Christ’s body to be fragmented into 10s of thousands of little groups.

    So, she spreads out her love to include all who name the name of Christ. You can say that you are of Calvin, or you are of Luther, or you are of whoever else you wish to name, but she knows better. Catholics read the Bible, don’t you know.”

    Ephesians 4:5

    There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.…

    Like

  167. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 17, 2015 at 2:11 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, when have I ever dodged Trent? The bishops there anathematized me. All you do is call me a brother and then say I’m a liar.

    You don’t seem to understand what “anathema” means.

    (Greek anathema — literally, placed on high, suspended, set aside)

    You are a separated brother. Now stop lying.

    You keep bleeting the mantra of unity even while Rome has the least amount of unity it has ever had. So you need to qualify what unity means as do Protestants. Both sides affirm unity. One side is honest about it and not at a Yankees game.

    Comparing the relatively minor theological dissents within the Catholic Church to the total fracture to the point of dozens or hundreds of denominations of “Protstantism” is intellectually dishonest to the point of being a lie.

    You claim no “unity.” “Protstantism” doesn’t claim “unity.” Hell, even Presbyterianism can’t claim “unity!” You’re at each other’s theological throats.

    Like

  168. Robert:
    Absolutely. Now, did Christ die for the invisible church or the visible church. It’s an important question. See below.>>>>

    At least you tried, Robert, and I will respond with more detail later. However, if you say that Christ died for the invisible church, but not the visible church, you have a few problems.

    1. You are not in line with your own confessions that clearly say a person cannot normally find salvation outside the visible church. She can’t be all that invisible, then.

    2. You have trouble explaining how the world is supposed to know that we are His disciples if, as a church, we are invisible. Even worse, how can the world know that we belong to Jesus if we do not love one another? I mean if we do not love all Christians.

    John13:34
    A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

    3. Reformers chose to separate themselves from the Church rather than to stay inside and fight for reform from the inside. You are still separating yourselves into smaller and smaller groups. Some of you get along okay, but you have little to do with the rest of Christianity except to tell everyone what heretics they are. Some Reformed teachers are able to reach out to the lost, but those guys are not in sync with Old Life for some reason.

    What unifies the Reformed groups that consider themselves to be fundamentalists like Machen? The word “fundamentalist” might put some off, but that is Machen’s word.

    If you can live with the level of divisiveness even in your own groups, then more power to you. I wish you well. I just can’t defend the divisions anymore, but I can love all who bear the Name of Christ. I have that freedom, but you really do not.

    Like

  169. vd, t, “placed on high, suspended, set aside.”

    Oh, so that’s what the rack in the Spanish and Roman Inquisitions did.

    You’re doing a Harry Emerson Fosdick. Except he had better hair.

    Like

  170. Webfoot,

    1. You are not in line with your own confessions that clearly say a person cannot normally find salvation outside the visible church. She can’t be all that invisible, then.

    She can’t be all that invisible, it’s true. There is a visible church. The point is that not everyone in the visible church is a true disciple. In saying that Jesus died for the invisible church, I’m not denying that the church is visible. I’m affirming that Jesus is not an utter cosmic failure for not saving everyone he wants to save (which is basically what the Roman position, indeed any position that does not affirm particular atonement, ends us saying).

    2. You have trouble explaining how the world is supposed to know that we are His disciples if, as a church, we are invisible. Even worse, how can the world know that we belong to Jesus if we do not love one another? I mean if we do not love all Christians.

    Invisible Christians aren’t “invisible.” It’s just that the identity of those who are truly saved is known only to God because our hearts are invisible to each other. And no doubt, we are to love all Christians. The question is what makes a person a Christian. Traditionally, we don’t qualify in Rome’s eyes. And it works the other way as well.

    3. Reformers chose to separate themselves from the Church rather than to stay inside and fight for reform from the inside.

    No. Basically what happened was that Luther was given the bum’s rush, promised a hearing, and then told to recant and die. So you might forgive us for thinking, “hmm, maybe we should not believe what Rome is saying.” Calvin and some other RCs tried to achieve a rapprochement, but that was never officially endorsed or sanctioned by Rome because Rome didn’t want a rapprochement. The Vatican wanted to destroy any threat to its authority. That’s why there is division. Rome is nicer today, but it still insists as a precondition of dialogue that we finally accept Rome as infallible. There can be no reform from the inside because Rome denies that she needs reform. It’s a stacked deck.

    You are still separating yourselves into smaller and smaller groups.

    In recent years, that’s because the church has gone all liberal in many places. You guys are having the exact same problem with the German bishops and others right now. The only difference is that there is no discipline for Roman Catholicism any more. The only unforgivable sin is breaking visible church unity. It doesn’t matter if the visible church actually includes faithful people or not, practically speaking.

    Some of you get along okay, but you have little to do with the rest of Christianity except to tell everyone what heretics they are. Some Reformed teachers are able to reach out to the lost, but those guys are not in sync with Old Life for some reason.

    I don’t know what you are talking about here. Some here have issues with Keller and others, but I’ve never heard them called heretics. There are reservations about how they do ministry, but no one is denying Keller is a believer.

    What unifies the Reformed groups that consider themselves to be fundamentalists like Machen? The word “fundamentalist” might put some off, but that is Machen’s word.

    Read and compare the Reformed confessions. Read and compare them with the other Protestant confessions such as Augsburg. That’s what would unify us.

    If you can live with the level of divisiveness even in your own groups, then more power to you. I wish you well. I just can’t defend the divisions anymore, but I can love all who bear the Name of Christ. I have that freedom, but you really do not.

    Again, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t like the division either, but the solution that Rome proposes of singing kum bay yah with pro-abortionists, new age nuns, and heretical German bishops isn’t feasible either. Unity has to be unity in the truth. Rome won’t even enforce its view of the church, so she’s disqualified as a solution to the problem.

    I can understand why visible division is so distressing to some that they are looking for an answer other than Protestantism. What baffles me is why you think Rome can provide that answer.

    I’ve asked about what kind of unity Rome has, and I’m always pointed to the magisterium and its infallible declarations. But nobody can tell me all that Rome has infallibly defined. In sum, I’m told to go to a written source to figure out what Rome believes and what is true and what isn’t, but when I do that, I find extensive disagreement among RCs as to what that is.

    For all the “unity” Rome provides, all that any RC has ever been able to give me is a source of doctrine that I must evaluate plus a church with many competing groups that interpret this source differently. That’s not at all different from the variety you see among professing Protestants. Which is why Rome isn’t the answer to the problem of visible disunity.

    Like

  171. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 17, 2015 at 2:54 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, not so much. Imputed righteousness of Christ received by faith alone. Don’t face judgment day without it.

    There are billions who have no idea of this rabbinical battle of the Bible. They love God, they love their neighbor as themselves. Your cleverness will not save you–you just cut out the second Great Commandment!

    The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love–Gal 5:6

    D. G. Hart
    Posted August 17, 2015 at 2:56 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, “placed on high, suspended, set aside.”

    Oh, so that’s what the rack in the Spanish and Roman Inquisitions did.

    Your usual overturning of the chessboard when you’ve lost the debate. B-b-b-but the Inquisition! But the Eastern Orthodox have the true sacraments and have nothing to do with the stuff you attack the Vatican about. Your attacks are irrelevant and boring: You still have no Biblical justification for the fracturing of the Church that is Protestantism.

    And of course you skipped over

    You don’t seem to understand what “anathema” means.

    (Greek anathema — literally, placed on high, suspended, set aside)

    You are a separated brother. Now stop lying.

    The Little Mermaid done kicked your prideful ass, Dr. Tough Guy. Your rabbinical approach to the Christian religion creates nothing but strife and schism.

    Ephesians 4:5

    There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.…

    Like

  172. Robert, I promise to talk with you later. Thank you for daring to interact with key Scriptures. Talk to you later.

    Bless you, Brother Robert I mean that from the heart of Jesus. 🙂 I have a little one that I promised to take to Trader Joe’s. Don’t tell me they support Planned Parenthood! 😉

    Like

  173. Robert
    Posted August 17, 2015 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    The Vatican wanted to destroy any threat to its authority. That’s why there is division. Rome is nicer today, but it still insists as a precondition of dialogue that we finally accept Rome as infallible.

    Simply not true. Rome recognizes the Eastern Orthodox sacraments as licit and has open dialogue; it also signed a joint declaration with some of the Lutherans on justification.

    JOINT DECLARATION
    ON THE DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION

    by the Lutheran World Federation
    and the Catholic Church

    Putting the small “c” in Catholic. 😉 How you doin’?

    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/documents/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_31101999_cath-luth-joint-declaration_en.html

    Like

  174. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 17, 2015 at 3:42 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, your understanding of anathema doesn’t make sense of Hus or Wycliffe. Put that in your mullet.

    Emitting your smoke again, Dr. Calvinism, plus an ad hom. You are separated, just as Mrs. Webfoot said, and you deny because you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    And of course you skipped over

    You don’t seem to understand what “anathema” means.

    (Greek anathema — literally, placed on high, suspended, set aside)

    You are a separated brother. Now stop lying.

    Like

  175. Tom,

    Simply not true. Rome recognizes the Eastern Orthodox sacraments as licit and has open dialogue; it also signed a joint declaration with some of the Lutherans on justification.

    Yeah, and the criticism of the JD on Justification by actual confessional Lutherans is that they surrendered Luther’s belief. So, Rome was happy to sign an accord that didn’t force them to deny anything they said at Trent. Rome is willing to dialogue as long as it isn’t forced to change any of its beliefs or admit that maybe, just maybe, they’ve made some doctrinal errors.

    IOW, an agreement signed by modernist Rome with modernist mainline Lutheran liberals isn’t impressive.

    And Rome is quite willing to have “open dialogue” with anyone, but it is unwilling to view as fully Christian anyone who doesn’t accept Roman primacy as Rome defines it. Which is why the dialogue with the East hasn’t gone anywhere since 1054. Yeah, Rome says they have good sacraments (course it says the same thing about my baptism, go figure), but according to Rome, the East is still guilty of schism. And Rome won’t confess that it is guilty of schism. In fact, Rome, by its own definition, could never ever be guilty of schism. So again, Rome insists that union must be based on first accepting Roman claims. At least they aren’t killing anyone over it anymore.

    Rome isn’t in a place to lecture the rest of us about humble dialogue that promotes unity when it demands that unity means bowing to her demands. That’s not necessarily a criticism; Rome acts just as one would expect it to if it believes itself to be the one true church.

    Like

  176. Robert
    Posted August 17, 2015 at 5:21 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    “Simply not true. Rome recognizes the Eastern Orthodox sacraments as licit and has open dialogue; it also signed a joint declaration with some of the Lutherans on justification.”

    Yeah, and the criticism of the JD on Justification by actual confessional Lutherans is that they surrendered Luther’s belief. So, Rome was happy to sign an accord that didn’t force them to deny anything they said at Trent. Rome is willing to dialogue as long as it isn’t forced to change any of its beliefs

    Well, duh. Neither are you. You wrote

    Robert
    Posted August 17, 2015 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    The Vatican wanted to destroy any threat to its authority. That’s why there is division. Rome is nicer today, but it still insists as a precondition of dialogue that we finally accept Rome as infallible.

    That is not true, and I showed why.

    http://ncronline.org/blogs/francis-chronicles/pope-orthodox-patriarch-express-commitment-unity

    Protestantism–even Presbyterianism–not so much.

    VATICAN CITY Pope Francis and the patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch expressed their desire to work toward full communion of the two churches.

    The pope met with Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II at the Vatican Friday. This was Aphrem’s first official visit with Francis. The two church leaders spoke privately, after which each gave a public discourse.

    “We express our desire and readiness to look for new ways that will bring our churches even closer to each other, paving the way for Antioch and Rome, the only two apostolic sees where St. Peter preached, to establish full communion,” Aphrem said.

    Like

  177. @add

    I will grant you that the Liberal Arts departments are generally hostile to conservatives and Christians, but not universally so. I am beginning to not care as much about that as I used to. If China takes over the world, it won’t be because of the strength of their Gender Studies programs.

    My experience is that all departments are pretty hostile to conservatives, and the scholarship on this point suggests this is relatively widespread (something like a third of academics say that a knowing about a candidates political conservatism would make them less likely to interview that candidate…I can’t imagine them saying the same thing about other protected classes, so I suspect unrecognized bias is significant as well). This reputation leads to a significant amount of self-selection and thus further underrepresentation of conservatives.

    I find Marsden’s prescription for what would constitute a Christian approach to various disciplines hopelessly vague…as far as I can tell it amounts to scholars writing books about Christian scholarship (I’m going by his “The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship” which is his expansion of what he meant by his unscientific postscript).

    But, I don’t see how his Edwards biography would be different if he weren’t a believer. I certainly don’t see how my professional activities are affected. So while I like the push that guys like Noll and Marsden make for Christians entering the academy, I think their suggestion that Christianity will bring a different perspective to the academy naive at best. I look forward to reading what Darryl has to say on this in his “The University…

    Like

  178. SDB, I go to church with several tenured faculty members at our local state university, and they pretty much agree that the math department is different from the English department, and the College of Arts and Science is different from the College of Engineering, in so far as the welcome a conservative or Christian scholar would be afforded. I don’t doubt that there are surveys that support your point.

    I pretty much agree with the balance of your reply. I too look forward to reading DGH’s The University Gets Religion, though it is going to have to wait a while. His point about the similarities between Van Dusen and others project to get Religious Studies into Secular Universities, and what Marsden and Noll seem to be advocating, was one of those ” oh, s**t, why hadn’t I thought of that” moments when I read it last night.

    Like

  179. Robert
    Posted August 17, 2015 at 3:08 pm | Permalink
    Webfoot,

    I said:
    1. You are not in line with your own confessions that clearly say a person cannot normally find salvation outside the visible church. She can’t be all that invisible, then.

    Robert:
    She can’t be all that invisible, it’s true. There is a visible church. The point is that not everyone in the visible church is a true disciple. In saying that Jesus died for the invisible church, I’m not denying that the church is visible. I’m affirming that Jesus is not an utter cosmic failure for not saving everyone he wants to save (which is basically what the Roman position, indeed any position that does not affirm particular atonement, ends us saying).>>>>

    Well, you have gone into limited atonement- particular redemption. That is a peculiar Reformed dogma and tradition.

    What do you do with the fact that Jesus wanted His visible Church to be known by our love for one another?

    God means for us to all stay together in the same visible Church or church. The body always has had both wolves and reformers, believers and unbelievers all mixed in together. The NT churches were like that, and there was only one Christianity.

    See wheat and tares, sheep and goats.

    I said:
    2. You have trouble explaining how the world is supposed to know that we are His disciples if, as a church, we are invisible. Even worse, how can the world know that we belong to Jesus if we do not love one another? I mean if we do not love all Christians.

    Robert:
    Invisible Christians aren’t “invisible.” It’s just that the identity of those who are truly saved is known only to God because our hearts are invisible to each other. And no doubt, we are to love all Christians. The question is what makes a person a Christian. Traditionally, we don’t qualify in Rome’s eyes. And it works the other way as well.>>>>>>>

    Well, what if you are wrong about Rome? Even if you are right, what keeps you from loving all of God’s people?

    I said:
    3. Reformers chose to separate themselves from the Church rather than to stay inside and fight for reform from the inside.

    Robert:
    No. Basically what happened was that Luther was given the bum’s rush, promised a hearing, and then told to recant and die. So you might forgive us for thinking, “hmm, maybe we should not believe what Rome is saying.” Calvin and some other RCs tried to achieve a rapprochement, but that was never officially endorsed or sanctioned by Rome because Rome didn’t want a rapprochement. The Vatican wanted to destroy any threat to its authority. That’s why there is division. Rome is nicer today, but it still insists as a precondition of dialogue that we finally accept Rome as infallible. There can be no reform from the inside because Rome denies that she needs reform. It’s a stacked deck.>>>>

    What if your version of Reformed history is wrong, or at least incomplete? Just look at one thing if you get a chance. How did Norway turn Lutheran? Was it through the preaching of the Gospel or was it by some other means? No doubt about it. There has been a lot of misunderstandings along the way.

    Now the way is open for Christians to come home to the Church.

    Robert:
    In recent years, that’s because the church has gone all liberal in many places. You guys are having the exact same problem with the German bishops and others right now. The only difference is that there is no discipline for Roman Catholicism any more. The only unforgivable sin is breaking visible church unity. It doesn’t matter if the visible church actually includes faithful people or not, practically speaking.>>>>>

    What if you are wrong?

    Robert:
    Some of you get along okay, but you have little to do with the rest of Christianity except to tell everyone what heretics they are. Some Reformed teachers are able to reach out to the lost, but those guys are not in sync with Old Life for some reason.>>>>

    Robert:
    I don’t know what you are talking about here. Some here have issues with Keller and others, but I’ve never heard them called heretics. There are reservations about how they do ministry, but no one is denying Keller is a believer.>>>>

    No, not heretics. Just criticisms and snide remarks. Keller is PCA. Just Google his name and see how many from within his own Reformed tradition are smearing him.

    When the best you can say about a man of God is that no one is denying he is a believer, then there may be a problem, IMO.

    I said:
    What unifies the Reformed groups that consider themselves to be fundamentalists like Machen? The word “fundamentalist” might put some off, but that is Machen’s word.

    Robert:
    Read and compare the Reformed confessions. Read and compare them with the other Protestant confessions such as Augsburg. That’s what would unify us.>>>>

    So much for sola scriptura. Besides, I am pretty sure that Keller holds to all of that, yet it is not enough to satisfy his critics.

    I said:
    If you can live with the level of divisiveness even in your own groups, then more power to you. I wish you well. I just can’t defend the divisions anymore, but I can love all who bear the Name of Christ. I have that freedom, but you really do not.>>>>

    Robert:
    Again, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t like the division either, but the solution that Rome proposes of singing kum bay yah with pro-abortionists, new age nuns, and heretical German bishops isn’t feasible either. Unity has to be unity in the truth. Rome won’t even enforce its view of the church, so she’s disqualified as a solution to the problem.>>>>

    What if you are wrong? Besides, you believe that the truth is in your confessions. Are you able to love only those who love you, only those who believe exactly like you do?

    Robert:
    I can understand why visible division is so distressing to some that they are looking for an answer other than Protestantism. What baffles me is why you think Rome can provide that answer.>>>>

    At least you see that there is a problem within Protestantism.

    Robert:
    I’ve asked about what kind of unity Rome has, and I’m always pointed to the magisterium and its infallible declarations. But nobody can tell me all that Rome has infallibly defined. In sum, I’m told to go to a written source to figure out what Rome believes and what is true and what isn’t, but when I do that, I find extensive disagreement among RCs as to what that is.

    For all the “unity” Rome provides, all that any RC has ever been able to give me is a source of doctrine that I must evaluate plus a church with many competing groups that interpret this source differently. That’s not at all different from the variety you see among professing Protestants. Which is why Rome isn’t the answer to the problem of visible disunity.>>>>>

    Well, I don’t know what your experiences are. I have been to Mass in a number of places, and it all seems pretty consistent to me. Of course, I focus on what the priest is saying, what the Catechism says, what the great theologians of the Church have said. If you read the Catechism, you will notice how often men like Augustine and Aquinas are quoted. The Catechism is strongly tied in with what the Church has always taught. Why not read it for yourself?

    Bishop Elect Robert Barron is quite in tune with what the Church teaches. Why not listen to him a bit in order to get a feel for what Catholicism is all about. Read guys like Chrysostom. His homilies are pretty incredible even after all these centuries. Study the ecumenical creeds.

    Maybe get away from all the chatter and confusing voices. No, you won’t necessarily become Catholic, but you will understand Christianity much better.

    Hey, you have a good rest of the week, dear Brother Robert. Thank you for the dialogue. Thank you for being willing to look at Scripture.

    Remember, though, that there is only one body, one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all. Father of all what? He is over, in, and through all. All of what? You may not like all, but that is irrelevant, really. You and I are supposed to love what our Father loves, and He loves the whole Church. We should, too. We should love what our Father loves and what our Lord gave His life to establish.

    Like

  180. Mrs. Webfoot

    What do you do with the fact that Jesus wanted His visible Church to be known by our love for one another?

    I believe it. But Rome tells me that Jesus wanted His visible Church to be known by communion with Peter’s successor.

    God means for us to all stay together in the same visible Church or church. The body always has had both wolves and reformers, believers and unbelievers all mixed in together. The NT churches were like that, and there was only one Christianity.

    But does God mean for us all to stay together when the clergy is corrupt and refuses Reform? Because you either have to say yes to that question or believe that the church will never get so bad that it doesn’t need reform. Neither position is tenable in my mind in light of what the Bible says about false teachers.

    Well, what if you are wrong about Rome?

    Then invincible ignorance covers a multitude of sins. Try as I might, I cannot in any way see that Rome is the church Jesus founded or has maintained the gospel. This is a conclusion I’ve come to after years of believing otherwise. Rome’s teaching on my state is very, very muddled. No one can agree on what knowledgeable rejection of Rome’s claims means. I’m safe even if I’m wrong and Rome is right. Problem is, it doesn’t work the other way if the Reformers were right and Rome is wrong.

    Even if you are right, what keeps you from loving all of God’s people?

    Well, I like to think that by God’s grace I am growing in my love for all of God’s people every day. Here’s the thing, I don’t believe that you can actually believe what the Council of Trent or anything after it taught and be God’s people.

    What if your version of Reformed history is wrong, or at least incomplete?

    I’m sure I am wrong and incomplete at places. But the facts of what happened with Luther are undeniable. He was promised safe travels by the RCs, and he had to be whisked away to safety. He was promised a chance to debate at Worms, and he was never given a chance. Hus was murdered after being promised the same.

    Just look at one thing if you get a chance. How did Norway turn Lutheran? Was it through the preaching of the Gospel or was it by some other means? No doubt about it. There has been a lot of misunderstandings along the way.

    I’m not sure how Norway’s conversion is relevant. Yeah, there’s been problems on both sides. But we don’t claim to be infallible. Rome does. That’s the rub. If you’re infallible in doctrine, then you should be able to figure out that the doctrine of what it means to love one another doesn’t mean making false promises to Luther and Hus. The actions aren’t separable from dogma.

    Now the way is open for Christians to come home to the Church.

    Protestants have always been able to become Roman Catholic by conversion; nothing has changed in that regard.

    I said: In recent years, that’s because the church has gone all liberal in many places. You guys are having the exact same problem with the German bishops and others right now. The only difference is that there is no discipline for Roman Catholicism any more. The only unforgivable sin is breaking visible church unity. It doesn’t matter if the visible church actually includes faithful people or not, practically speaking.
    Webfoot: What if you are wrong?

    Where am I wrong? Why are the German bishops still bishops if they want to change what is supposed to be unchangeable? Why is there such a stress on downplaying differences for the sake of visible unity if Rome doesn’t consider visible unity the sine qua non of Christian identity?

    No, not heretics. Just criticisms and snide remarks. Keller is PCA. Just Google his name and see how many from within his own Reformed tradition are smearing him.

    When the best you can say about a man of God is that no one is denying he is a believer, then there may be a problem, IMO.

    From what I see, the problem that most here have with Keller is that he claims to be Reformed but doesn’t do things according to the Reformed tradition. I don’t know much about Keller, but if he or any other Reformed Christian want to burnish Reformed credentials, they should actually embrace Reformed ecclesiology.

    So much for sola scriptura.

    Sola Scriptura doesn’t mean creeds are out.

    Besides, I am pretty sure that Keller holds to all of that, yet it is not enough to satisfy his critics.

    The criticism isn’t that Keller isn’t a Christian or that he isn’t Protestant; the criticism from Old Lifers is that he’s not really a Presbyterian but claims to be one.

    If you can live with the level of divisiveness even in your own groups, then more power to you. I wish you well. I just can’t defend the divisions anymore,

    Then why did you join a communion where there is division between Thomists and Molinists, Catholics for Choice and Mother Teresa, German bishops and the conservative parts of the Magisterium, rad-trad RCs and modernist RCs, and on and on and on. Is the fact that all go to mass really enough to pretend that these divisions aren’t there, because that’s what I see happening with RC apologists without exceptions.

    but I can love all who bear the Name of Christ. I have that freedom, but you really do not.

    I’m not sure why you think I can’t love all who bear the name of Christ. You can criticize and love at the same time.

    What if you are wrong?

    What if you are wrong?

    Besides, you believe that the truth is in your confessions. Are you able to love only those who love you, only those who believe exactly like you do?

    If I could love only those who believe exactly like I do, then I wouldn’t have Baptist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, and even RC friends. You don’t have to subscribe to the Westminster Confession to be a Christian even if I believe it is the best summary of Christian doctrine yet produced.

    Well, I don’t know what your experiences are. I have been to Mass in a number of places, and it all seems pretty consistent to me. Of course, I focus on what the priest is saying, what the Catechism says, what the great theologians of the Church have said. If you read the Catechism, you will notice how often men like Augustine and Aquinas are quoted. The Catechism is strongly tied in with what the Church has always taught. Why not read it for yourself?

    I have read it, or at least significant portions of it. The issue is that there are vast swaths of the Roman Church that don’t teach it or want to change the supposedly unchangeable parts of it (the German bishops, for example). For a church where the bishops are supposed to be the guardian of the truth, that’s a big problem.

    But essentially you are telling me to judge things by what the Catechism says. That’s Protestant methodology: evaluate the church’s teaching in light of a standard written source. Why can’t you do that with the Bible?

    Bishop Elect Robert Barron is quite in tune with what the Church teaches. Why not listen to him a bit in order to get a feel for what Catholicism is all about.

    But more liberal RCs will point me to liberal bishops to get a feel for what Romanism is all about. Why should I follow your advice and not theirs?

    Look, I’m apt to take the most conservative reading of Rome as the true reading. But that’s more a function of my belief that you look to the original intent of the framers of any document to discover its meaning than anything else. Problem is, the magisterium does not necessarily back me up on this. Pope Benedict has written that many of V2’s statements are intentionally vague so that liberals and conservatives who believe opposite things in regard to the statement can both embrace it. That doesn’t give me any confidence that Rome is going to do a better job than Protestantism.

    Read guys like Chrysostom. His homilies are pretty incredible even after all these centuries. Study the ecumenical creeds.

    I’ve actually read Chrysostom. He has many good insights and at times sounds quite Protestant. I’ve studied the creeds as well. Remember, everything in Western Church History prior to Trent belongs to Protestants as well. We didn’t just come in and make it up, contrary to what Rome might want you to think.

    Hey, you have a good rest of the week, dear Brother Robert. Thank you for the dialogue. Thank you for being willing to look at Scripture.

    And you as well.

    Like

  181. Robert
    Posted August 18, 2015 at 8:16 pm | Permalink
    Mrs. Webfoot

    I asked:
    What do you do with the fact that Jesus wanted His visible Church to be known by our love for one another?

    Robert:
    I believe it. But Rome tells me that Jesus wanted His visible Church to be known by communion with Peter’s successor.>>>>>

    Yes. Remember, though, that the Protestant idea of the Pope having no authority over Christians is not the norm even now. Orthodox churches accept papal authority, just not papal primacy as Rome presently exercises it. They do not reject the primacy of the Bishop of Rome outright, but they have concerns about the possible abuse of that power. They do accept the legitimacy of the Bishop of Rome’s claim to being the seat of Peter.

    I said:
    God means for us to all stay together in the same visible Church or church. The body always has had both wolves and reformers, believers and unbelievers all mixed in together. The NT churches were like that, and there was only one Christianity.

    But does God mean for us all to stay together when the clergy is corrupt and refuses Reform? Because you either have to say yes to that question or believe that the church will never get so bad that it doesn’t need reform. Neither position is tenable in my mind in light of what the Bible says about false teachers.>>>>

    Are you aware of the many reformers that have stood against corrupt churchmen who refused reform? You probably know more about this than I do. Men like Athanasius, St. Benedict, St. Francis Assisi, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. John of the Cross and many others were reformers, but none of them split the Church.

    More than once Thomas was called upon to defend his teachings to the Church. In fact, there are reformers right now working within the Church. St. Pope John Paul II was one of them.

    Not all reformers leave the Church. Now you can make the case that Luther was forced out. One could also make the case that he gave the Church no other choice. It was a mess, and I don’t think anyone denies that the Church needed reforming then as much as any time in her history. One priest told me that the Church had been too hard on Luther. I told him that Luther had been too hard on the Church. 🙂 Maybe it’s time to try to heal old wounds.

    I said:
    Well, what if you are wrong about Rome?>>>>

    Robert:
    Then invincible ignorance covers a multitude of sins. Try as I might, I cannot in any way see that Rome is the church Jesus founded or has maintained the gospel. This is a conclusion I’ve come to after years of believing otherwise. Rome’s teaching on my state is very, very muddled. No one can agree on what knowledgeable rejection of Rome’s claims means. I’m safe even if I’m wrong and Rome is right. Problem is, it doesn’t work the other way if the Reformers were right and Rome is wrong.>>>>>

    Hah! Well, a person has to take a chance on one or the other. 😉

    I asked:
    Even if you are right, what keeps you from loving all of God’s people?

    Robert:
    Well, I like to think that by God’s grace I am growing in my love for all of God’s people every day. Here’s the thing, I don’t believe that you can actually believe what the Council of Trent or anything after it taught and be God’s people.>>>>

    Well, that is both sweet and sour. 🙂 Maybe you have taken too harsh a position. You still have to love your enemies, though I doubt that you know any Catholics who want to be your enemy. The Church doesn’t want to be your enemy. I certainly don’t want to be your enemy

    I asked:
    What if your version of Reformed history is wrong, or at least incomplete?

    Robert:
    I’m sure I am wrong and incomplete at places. But the facts of what happened with Luther are undeniable. He was promised safe travels by the RCs, and he had to be whisked away to safety. He was promised a chance to debate at Worms, and he was never given a chance. Hus was murdered after being promised the same.>>>>

    Well, it was a mess. No, the churchmen were not acting right. My example of the conversion of Norway to Lutheranism is an example in the other direction. People do some horrible things to one another. No, it’s not right.

    Robert:
    I’m not sure how Norway’s conversion is relevant. Yeah, there’s been problems on both sides. But we don’t claim to be infallible. Rome does. That’s the rub. If you’re infallible in doctrine, then you should be able to figure out that the doctrine of what it means to love one another doesn’t mean making false promises to Luther and Hus. The actions aren’t separable from dogma.>>>>

    No, actions speak louder than words. I don’t have the impression that the Church believes herself to be sinless. No, not at all. She is being purified as Scripture says. She has had to confess many sins. The infallible part is the apostolic teaching that has been passed down through her.

    In fact, Reformed teachers believe something similar. None of them say that they are without error, but they do say that the teachings of the NT have been passed down to us without error. That is what is infallible.

    You say that sola scriptura is the rule, but you know that it is Scripture plus the Reformed confessions that are the rule. After all, like you guys say, it is sola scriptura, not solo scriptura. Otherwise on what basis do you judge Keller as not being truly Presbyterian? Scripture plus your traditions is how you decide that. If he wanders too far away from the standards, then he could be put on trial and even defrocked, right?

    I said:
    Now the way is open for Christians to come home to the Church.

    Robert:
    Protestants have always been able to become Roman Catholic by conversion; nothing has changed in that regard.>>>>

    You know, I think you are right, and many have.

    Well, thanks for the conversation, Robert.

    You have a good rest of the evening. There is a lot more substance in what you said, and maybe tomorrow I’ll respond to more. You took the time to answer carefully, and I hope to be able to take the time to respond in kind.

    Thank you, dear Brother Robert. Yes, I understand that you may not want to use that kind of language with me, but my Mother gives me the freedom to consider you my separated brother. So, I do.

    God bless

    Like

  182. Jeff – I had a quite detailed response all typed up two days ago, which fell to fat-finger error – then I had other duties to attend to. Apologies for the delay.

    Your explanation is fully credible — to a Protestant.
    Doctrinal accord 2016 here we come.

    Notice how a Catholic solution ties up in a contradiction: […] in Catholicism, salvation is overdetermined. […] The model falls apart because it tries to tie salvation to three separate conditions WITHOUT making them jointly necessary or separately sufficient.

    I don’t think the model you propose (faith, Baptism, “connection”) qualifies as a precise formulation of the Catholic model- I don’t have a quick answer, but here are my thoughts:

    A – The purpose of catechisms v. Denziger & Ott;
    B – ‘Belonging to the Church’ does not equal Formal Adherence;
    C – The distinction between the visible & invisible aspects of the Church;
    D – The “Protestant View” of the Church
    E – The Case of Gregory of Narek;
    F – Invincible Ignorance & Difficulties in Evaluating It;
    G – Baptism & Conclusion.

    A – Catechisms are condensations of doctrine for educating non-theologians, whether beginners (Baltimore, Pius X Catechism), parish priests and the more educated (Catechism of Trent, perhaps the current catechism). We should not expect a full treatment of the subject in the Baltimore Catechism.

    They refer to other documents, and while true, are not complete in and of themselves. This is where encyclicals and, perhaps above all, theological collections like Ott or Denziger are essential if one wants a fuller understanding or to engage with Catholic positions in detail (fyi, I love Ott but haven’t yet used Denziger). I hope you don’t take this as a cop-out.

    B – ‘Belonging to the Church’ does not equal Formal Adherence – I don’t know the precise nec & suf conditions (much less those for the visible or invisible aspects, which I suspect depend to some extent on one another), but take the basic principle to be:

    an individual ‘belongs to the Church’ if he is baptized sacramentally (or through divine exception), seeks to live a life in accordance with God’s will and commandments, hasn’t rejected the faith taught by the hierarchy of the Church (heresy), and hasn’t rejected communion with the laity and clergy of the Church (schism). [kc’s amateur, non-authoritative def, I’ll find something from Ott, Pius XII, etc. when I get the chance]

    Contradiction. By 168, it is not obligatory to belong to the Church to be saved, and the church is not a necessary means of salvation in any meaningful sense. The obligation to belong is replaced with an obligation to be connected.

    The Church is a reliable instrument of salvation and sanctification, and its activities benefit all who ‘belong to the Church’ – through both its visible and invisible aspects. It doesn’t mean a requirement to be a formal adherent (I believe Feeney argued this strongly, maintained it as a permissible opinion, and was condemned for it in 1949).

    C- Visible & Invisible aspects of the Church – Would you revise your analysis of the Catholic model in light of this distinction?:

    Pius XII’s 1943 encyclical Mystical Body of Christ (via Wikipedia):

    According to the encyclical, the Church has two aspects: one visible and one invisible. Those who live under the visible representative of Christ have full membership.

    Further, the relationship of the faithful and Christ is mystical, not physical. The faithful, through their faith, hope, and love, are united with Christ in the Church.

    “The Protestant View” of the ChurchNow take the Protestant view.

    I. The catholic or universal Church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the Head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fulness of Him that fills all in all.[1]

    II. The visible Church, which is also catholic or universal under the Gospel (not confined to one nation, as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion;[2] and of their children:[3] and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ,[4] the house and family of God,[5] out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.[6]

    The only potential point of disagreement I see is the distinction of “visible Church” and “invisible Church” – there is only one Church with various aspects and qualities. Will you accept identifying “visible Church” with “visible aspect,” and “invisible Church” with “invisible aspect” -?

    E – The Case of Gregory of Narek

    136. What is the Church? The Church is the a) congregation of b) all baptized persons c) united in the same true faith, d) the same sacrifice, e) and the same sacraments, f) under the authority of the Sovereign Pontiff and the bishops in communion with him. [Baltimore Catechism]

    But then again, salvation cannot be had outside the church. So we have to deal with faithful, baptized individuals outside the church, which lands us with the incoherent “connected” of BC 168 (in which, oddly, faith plays no explicit role).

    Gregory’s ‘connections’ include the faith, apostolic succession, his participation in the sacraments, and the benefits of prayers and sacraments of those united to Rome.

    Gregory of Narek was (b) baptized into the same faith (in the name of the Trinity) and (d, e) participated in the (same) other sacraments, and so was united to (a) the congregation of the Church in its invisible aspect. He never rejected (c) the faith, although he likely subscribed to a form of words (Miaphysite) which was different from that of the Roman/Orthodox theologians to express the same concepts.

    Gregory was indeed (f) under the authority of the pope, although he was not within the pope’s sphere of power (there were no Catholic bishops in Armenia at the time) and may not have known it (I don’t know his writings). All members of the Church are under the authority of the pope – it comes with the office. Perhaps analogously, you might be an eight year old in a cabin in the mountains or the Northern Mariana Islands (US Commonwealth)- you’re still under the authority of the US gov.

    In this [“Protestant”] model, was Gregory a member of the invisible church? Can’t tell, but he gave every evidence of it. Was he a member of the visible church? Yes, because professed the true faith.

    My question would be: was he united (in a less-than-parish-registration sense) with the Church’s visible aspect? Perhaps yes:

    The benefits of the prayers and sacraments (particularly the Mass) reach not just to those with formal adherence, but even those apart from it. Gregory of Narek benefited from the activities of the RCC (Popes and bishops) of his day. A hypothetical neighbor of his who was a Monophysite fundamentalist (rather than a typical miaphysite of the day), fiercely defending heresy, would have been rejecting the faith – and would not have benefited from the activities of the Church.

    Further, it is of great importance that the Armenian [Oriental] Orthodox have Apostolic Succession and the (Apostolic) Sacraments.

    F – Invincible Ignorance & Difficulties in Evaluating It
    Further, it is obligatory to belong to this church to be saved (166) and the church is a necessary means of salvation (167). BUT those who are not members can be saved if they are connected to the church by * ignorance of the nature of the church, * love for God, * trying to do His will.

    Pius IX addresses both ‘invincible ignorance’ and our cognitive limitations in evaluating it:

    far from Us, to wish to scrutinize the hidden counsel and “judgements of God” which are “a great abyss” (Ps. 35.7) and cannot be penetrated by human thought. […] For, it must be held by faith that outside the Apostolic Roman Church, no one can be saved; […] but, on the other hand, it is necessary to hold for certain that they who labor in ignorance of the true religion, if this ignorance is invincible, will not be held guilty of this in the eyes of God.

    Now, in truth, who would arrogate so much to himself as to mark the limits of such an ignorance, because of the nature and variety of peoples, regions, innate dispositions, and of so many other things?

    God won’t hold us to more than he makes available to us. There’s much more to say on this matter (debating its origin in Paul, debating specific cases), and it is important not to plunge into foolishness, or what some call a Frankenchurch view.

    G – Baptism & Conclusion
    It [salvation] must come by faith because we all agree that the Bible says so. But it must come also by baptism because of the sacramentology.

    Except that Catholics believe in its necessity because we believe, similarly, that the Bible says so – ‘Unless one be born of water and the Spirit, he shall not enter the Kingdom of God’- which doesn’t resolve all difficulties, but we begin with a literal interpretation.

    Tradition confirms this is how it was understood from quite early:

    ‘I have heard, sir,’ said I [to the Shepherd], ‘from some teacher, that there is no other repentance except that which took place when we went down into the water and obtained the remission of our former sins.’ He said to me, ‘You have heard rightly, for so it is’ (The Shepherd of Hermas 4:3:1–2 [A.D. 80])

    “As many as are persuaded and believe that what we [Christians] teach and say is true, and undertake to be able to live accordingly . . . are brought by us where there is water, and are regenerated in the same manner in which we were ourselves regenerated.

    For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water. For Christ also said, ‘Except you be born again, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven’ [John 3:3]” (First Apology 61 [A.D. 151]).

    So then we have to figure out what happens to people who have faith but don’t get baptized,
    I’m not sure we are capable of figuring it out, although we can try. This is a question for someone with a theological background, or at least needs to be investigated through systematic study.

    or who are baptized but don’t have faith.
    Perhaps a dispensation of some kind, but I think Augustine would judge the likelihood of this being at all common as being approximately that you have assigned to the I.C. In the normal course of things, they perish.

    Like

  183. Robert, here is my response to the rest of your response to me from yesterday. You raise some serious concerns, and I will do my best to answer. I am not trying to speak for the Church, but only give answers as to the hope that lies within me. My main challenge to Protestants – which was really the main challenge I had as a Protestant – is why are there so many competing Protestant denominations? Not just competing, but often engaging in something akin to tribal warfare. That doesn’t seem to be the correct ecclesiology, the one Christ spoke of in John 17.

    The Apostle Paul tells us that there is one body, one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is in, over, and through all. (see Ephesians 4)

    I said:
    If you can live with the level of divisiveness even in your own groups, then more power to you. I wish you well. I just can’t defend the divisions anymore,

    Robert:
    Then why did you join a communion where there is division between Thomists and Molinists, Catholics for Choice and Mother Teresa, German bishops and the conservative parts of the Magisterium, rad-trad RCs and modernist RCs, and on and on and on. Is the fact that all go to mass really enough to pretend that these divisions aren’t there, because that’s what I see happening with RC apologists without exceptions.>>>>>

    I think that’s a legitimate question, and I had thought that way as well. Catholics are just as divided, they just don’t split into different denominations.

    And that is what finally dawned on me. They don’t split. They stay together and hash things out, seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Eventually the Truth wins. I wonder what would have happened if Luther and Calvin had stayed in the Church. Yes, I know that Luther was threatened and betrayed and all that, but what if he had stood his ground, but within the Church?

    And the voice of Thomas is still one of the strongest within the Church. His influence is all over the Catechism, along with that of Augustine and all the great theologians of Church history. That is part of the legacy of St. Pope John Paul II.

    Some of the strongest apologists for the Catholic faith are Thomists – like Barron, Kreeft, and Feser. BTW, some of the strongest voices for Reformed apologetics are also Thomists – like Jonathan Edwards and R.C. Sproul. No, they are not Catholics, but the Reformed Scholastics were heavily influenced by Thomas. Now, maybe JE and R.C. are not fully Thomist, but his influence shows.

    Robert:
    I’m not sure why you think I can’t love all who bear the name of Christ. You can criticize and love at the same time.>>>>

    Yes, you can. You can do it from the outside or from the inside. I believe it to be more effective from the inside. The greatest Church reformers have stayed inside. I don’t feel that I am a reformer, but one in need of reform myself! I am not an apologist, either. I learn best, it seems, by discussing these topics with others. I am forced to give an answer, or to look for an answer. Not all of them are good or strong, but some are.

    I said:
    Besides, you believe that the truth is in your confessions. Are you able to love only those who love you, only those who believe exactly like you do?>>>>>

    Robert:
    If I could love only those who believe exactly like I do, then I wouldn’t have Baptist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, and even RC friends. You don’t have to subscribe to the Westminster Confession to be a Christian even if I believe it is the best summary of Christian doctrine yet produced.>>>>

    Beautifully said, Robert. Well, I disagree about the WCF. There is a summary that is THE summary. When I started reading it, my world changed. Someone said that converts to Catholicism acted as though a spell had come over them. That’s funny, actually!

    For meeeee! (I’ll say it that way in case Brother Hart is looking) it was kind of the opposite. It is as though a spell had been broken.

    I said:
    Well, I don’t know what your experiences are. I have been to Mass in a number of places, and it all seems pretty consistent to me. Of course, I focus on what the priest is saying, what the Catechism says, what the great theologians of the Church have said. If you read the Catechism, you will notice how often men like Augustine and Aquinas are quoted. The Catechism is strongly tied in with what the Church has always taught. Why not read it for yourself?>>>>>

    Robert:
    I have read it, or at least significant portions of it. The issue is that there are vast swaths of the Roman Church that don’t teach it or want to change the supposedly unchangeable parts of it (the German bishops, for example). For a church where the bishops are supposed to be the guardian of the truth, that’s a big problem.>>>>

    Yes, it is a problem. I don’t know how it will be handled. Stay tuned.

    Robert:
    But essentially you are telling me to judge things by what the Catechism says. That’s Protestant methodology: evaluate the church’s teaching in light of a standard written source. Why can’t you do that with the Bible?>>>>

    I am not sure what you mean, here.

    I said:
    Bishop Elect Robert Barron is quite in tune with what the Church teaches. Why not listen to him a bit in order to get a feel for what Catholicism is all about.

    Robert:
    But more liberal RCs will point me to liberal bishops to get a feel for what Romanism is all about. Why should I follow your advice and not theirs?>>>

    Oh, you don’t have to follow my advice at all. It is the depth of Biblical wisdom, interpretation, and insight that has impressed me with the great theologians of the Church as well as the Catechism itself. It dawned on me that the best of Reformed teaching has been lifted mostly from Catholicism.

    I thought that Catholics were copying us – well, I mean, them, now – but it is the other way around! A lot of Biblical concepts were deleted from Protestantism, though, such as the unity of the visible Church.

    Robert:
    Look, I’m apt to take the most conservative reading of Rome as the true reading. But that’s more a function of my belief that you look to the original intent of the framers of any document to discover its meaning than anything else. Problem is, the magisterium does not necessarily back me up on this. Pope Benedict has written that many of V2’s statements are intentionally vague so that liberals and conservatives who believe opposite things in regard to the statement can both embrace it. That doesn’t give me any confidence that Rome is going to do a better job than Protestantism.

    I said:
    Read guys like Chrysostom. His homilies are pretty incredible even after all these centuries. Study the ecumenical creeds.

    Robert:
    I’ve actually read Chrysostom. He has many good insights and at times sounds quite Protestant. I’ve studied the creeds as well. Remember, everything in Western Church History prior to Trent belongs to Protestants as well. We didn’t just come in and make it up, contrary to what Rome might want you to think.>>>>

    Oh, I realize that. Protestants did make a lot of stuff up, though, but a lot of it was lifted right out of the teaching magisterium of the Church.

    Well, I guess that’s it, at least for now. Thank you for the good conversation. Enjoy your day.

    Like

  184. MWF, Rob’t-

    [MWF:] Catholics […] don’t split. They stay together and hash things out, seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Eventually the Truth wins

    There is no better example than St. Athanasius:

    It was a time where bishops and priests “in full Communion” with the Catholic Church, not suspended or censured in any way, ran Catholic dioceses and parishes. They taught and preached Arianism from their sees and their pulpits. Catholics faithful to Tradition, led by St. Athanasius, were repeatedly banished and exiled from the “official” churches by these men and rebuked as disobedient schismatics.

    The pope at the time, Liberius, failed to take any effective action to rid the Church of this doctrinal novelty or its adherents. The secular world at the time favored Arianism, including the temporal authority, and so condemning it would have been unpopular. Under pressure from the Emperor, Pope Liberius not only excommunicated St. Athanasius but also signed an ambiguous “creed” allowing the novel teaching to gain an air of credibility by not specifically excluding or condemning it.

    […]

    It was not until many years later that these brave Catholics were proven to be right and vindicated by the Church.

    […]

    [Athanasius:] “For they hold the places, but you the Apostolic Faith. They are, it is true, in the places, but outside of the true Faith; while you are outside the places indeed, but the Faith, within you. Let us consider whether is the greater, the place or the Faith. Clearly the true Faith. Who then has lost more, or who possesses more? He who holds the place, or he who holds the Faith? Good indeed is the place, when the Apostolic Faith is preached there, holy is it if the Holy One dwell there.

    (After a little:) But ye are blessed, who by faith are in the Church, dwell upon the foundations of the faith, and have full satisfaction, even the highest degree of faith which remains among you unshaken. For it has come down to you from Apostolic tradition, and frequently has accursed envy wished to unsettle it, but has not been able. On the contrary, they have rather been cut off by their attempts to do so.”

    His argument may seem attractive to non-Catholics, a vindication of Luther, or perhaps Machen. But consider the context- Athanasius was an Archbishop of Alexandria, one of the greatest of Dioceses. He was exiled 5 times (!) by 4 emperors and excommunicated by a compromising pope.

    He established no schismatic church, merely held to the faith and suffered. When at last the Arian crisis was resolved, these faithful Catholics had no separate church- they healed the division and the Church continued.

    And he did not change the faith, but maintained ‘what had come down from Apostolic tradition.’

    [Rob’t:]
    Remember, everything in Western Church History prior to Trent belongs to Protestants as well.

    It’s yours if you want it- from Trent onward, as well. I’d pass on some things- Arianism, Donatism, nominalism, Conciliarism, Jansenism, Americanism, Modernism. It helps to have an infallible guide (I know where you can find one)- although that doesn’t make it always an easy road.

    http://remnantnewspaper.com/web/index.php/fetzen-fliegen/item/599-st-athanasius-stumbling-block-for-neo-catholics

    Like

  185. Kevin in Newark
    Posted August 19, 2015 at 5:08 pm | Permalink
    MWF, Rob’t-

    [MWF:] Catholics […] don’t split. They stay together and hash things out, seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Eventually the Truth wins

    There is no better example than St. Athanasius:

    [Athanasius:] “For they hold the places, but you the Apostolic Faith. They are, it is true, in the places, but outside of the true Faith; while you are outside the places indeed, but the Faith, within you. Let us consider whether is the greater, the place or the Faith. Clearly the true Faith. Who then has lost more, or who possesses more? He who holds the place, or he who holds the Faith? Good indeed is the place, when the Apostolic Faith is preached there, holy is it if the Holy One dwell there.

    (After a little:) But ye are blessed, who by faith are in the Church, dwell upon the foundations of the faith, and have full satisfaction, even the highest degree of faith which remains among you unshaken. For it has come down to you from Apostolic tradition, and frequently has accursed envy wished to unsettle it, but has not been able. On the contrary, they have rather been cut off by their attempts to do so.”

    His argument may seem attractive to non-Catholics, a vindication of Luther, or perhaps Machen. But consider the context- Athanasius was an Archbishop of Alexandria, one of the greatest of Dioceses. He was exiled 5 times (!) by 4 emperors and excommunicated by a compromising pope.

    He established no schismatic church, merely held to the faith and suffered. When at last the Arian crisis was resolved, these faithful Catholics had no separate church- they healed the division and the Church continued.

    And he did not change the faith, but maintained ‘what had come down from Apostolic tradition.’

    [Rob’t:]
    Remember, everything in Western Church History prior to Trent belongs to Protestants as well.

    It’s yours if you want it- from Trent onward, as well. I’d pass on some things- Arianism, Donatism, nominalism, Conciliarism, Jansenism, Americanism, Modernism. It helps to have an infallible guide (I know where you can find one)- although that doesn’t make it always an easy road.

    Pretty good argument.

    Like

  186. DG-

    So what actually happened in 1054? The short answer is almost nothing but a little church drama.

    The real story is 1053. As background:

    This was the glory days for the Normans (recall 1066 was the Battle of Hastings), and they were conquering southern Italy as well, which had been overwhelmingly Greek since well before Plato was writing about tyrants in Syracuse. Even today there are remnants of this in Calabria (the toe of Italy’s boot, where the families of most of my fellow parishioners are from) in the hellenophone Grikos.

    In Sicily they built very fine Norman-Byzantine churches, and in order to secure rule the Normans started Latinizing the Greek liturgy in Italy. The Greco-Italians appealed to the Patriarch of Constantinople, who appealed to the Patriarch of Bulgaria to send a letter condemning the Romans as heretics for not being in accord with various Greek practices – a trope which came into use in Constantinople just a few generations earlier under Patriarch Photius (who has his own complicated story, but came out of it forming an anti-Roman faction with an organized campaign to tarnish all Latins as heretics).

    More significantly, In 1053 Patriarch Cerularius:
    a) unprecedentedly addressed the Pope as “brother” rather than “father” in the letter and adopted the term “ecumenical patriarch”, implying a change in authority;
    b) removed the Pope’s name from prayers during the Divine Liturgy – the single most obvious sign that Cerularius was pushing for a schism (all Catholics pray for the pope and their bishop at every Mass/Divine Liturgy);
    c) closed all Latin churches in Constantinople – pop 500k, one of the 3 biggest cities in the world, with a very large Latin minority – so we are talking a significant event).

    Pope St. Leo IX sent an incompetent diplomat, Cardinal Humbert (with two assistants, Frederick and Peter), to Constantinople to provide a measure of discipline. Unwisely, he invested in him legatine privileges, a great measure of authority.

    Patriarch Cerularius refused to receive the papal legates, for months. So Humbert, entirely on his own initiative wrote up a Bull of Excommunication and placed it on the high altar of Hagia Sophia just before Cerularius was about to celebrate the Divine Liturgy/Mass. Cerularius retaliated with an excommunication of Humbert and the other two legates.

    There are several key problems here, well identified in this source:

    First, the powers of a legate expire when the pope who grants the legatine powers dies. Pope Leo IX died in April, and the legatine powers were not reconferred upon Humbert, Frederick and Peter, at least not prior to their return to Rome. Therefore, when the excommunication was declared, in July, their legatine powers had expired four months earlier. The excommunications would have to be either affirmed by the new pope or Michael Cerularius would have to be excommunicated again by a legate with legitimate powers.

    Second, their bull only excommunicated Michael I, not any other person. Even if it was valid, it would have expired after Michael’s death and not carried on to his successor, much less any of the other eastern bishops, much less to the orthodox as such.

    Third, the anathemas against the legates named only Humbert, Peter and Frederick. Not even the pope was anathematized. Thus, the idea of two churches mutually excommunicating each other is way overblown. Cerularius was excommunicated by the legates, and the legates were anathematized by Cerularius.

    Thus accounts that state the two churches excommunicated one another gravely misconstrue the facts – as if a whole body of people can be excommunicated. The proper object of excommunication is an individual, not a collective.

    Cerularius then, with the caché that comes from being the most important diocese in the imperial capitol, started pressuring (it took time) the other dioceses in the East to similarly remove the Pope’s name from the prayers at Mass/Divine Liturgy. It was from the failure to undo this that the long-term schism grew.

    Note that there had been schisms in the time of Photius and before; there were moments of reunion afterwards. No one (or very few) at the time or for a century afterwards thought 1054 was an epochal year.

    In summary, the bull was null and the schism a fulfilled wish of Patriarch Michael’s. Can you enlighten me as to what Rome has to apologize for here?

    http://www.unamsanctamcatholicam.com/history/79-history/172-what-happened-in-1054.html

    Like

  187. D.G. Hart:
    Mermaid, “Are you sure you know what the word “anathema” means?”

    Since you always dodge Trent, I’m not sure you should ask this question.>>>>

    I don’t dodge anything, Dr. Hart.

    And if YOU don’t know what the word “anathema” means, then just say so. 😉

    For one thing, the term “separated brethren dates from the 16th Century and was used by St. Peter Canisius to describe Protestants.

    Then, in 1851, the Catholic Church quit using the term “heretic” to describe Protestants.

    Many Catholics and Protestants continue to throw that word, “heretic”, around on blogs and in discussions, but officially that word has not been used against Protestants for a long time – if this quote is correct.

    “Daniel-Rops shows us that it is no new thing for Catholics to describe Protestants in this way [separated brethren – unitatis redintegratio] St. Peter Canisius did it in the sixteenth century, and the Church stopped referring to them as heretics in the nineteenth.”

    http://aquinasetc.com/2010/06/27/it-is-not-novel-to-call-protestants-separated-brethren/

    Then, when a teaching or a person teaching false doctrines is called “anathema” it doesn’t mean that they are automatically given a one way “go to hell and never come back” ticket. It is meant to bring a person to repentance. There is a possibility of return. They are set aside and even ex communicated, but with the hope that they will come back and submit to the teachings of the Church – or at least defend their teachings to see if they really are heretical.

    Also, in the case of Calvinists like yourself, you were never a member of the Catholic Church, so you weren’t exactly ex communicated.

    Like

  188. Mermaid, since you don’t want to dodge, then explain why the magisterium would use heretics to describe Protestants in one century and then separated brothers four centuries later. You don’t think that shows that the theological concerns at one time are no longer operative with the same force in another?

    Presbyterians used to call Arminianism a false gospel. Twentieth-century Presbyterians didn’t even blink about joining arms with Methodists.

    And you think separated brother usage is a good thing? The church’s skirt is showing. When you open the window to modernity, you become modern.

    How do you like your church now?

    Like

  189. vd, t, did you know this?

    As corporations and governments face increasing pressure to cut ties with scandal-plagued Planned Parenthood, let’s not forget the obvious: Catholic colleges ought to do the same.

    What, you ask? Catholic colleges have ties to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider and alleged purveyor of aborted human parts? How is that even possible?

    It’s a good question. There’s no excuse for colleges that value their Catholic identity to be linked with the corrupt—and corrupting—organization.

    But in her recent Crisis Magazine article titled “Catholic Colleges Collude with Planned Parenthood,” Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Anne Hendershott reminded readers of several instances of Catholic college ties to Planned Parenthood through student referrals, internship recommendations and even the current and past activities of faculty members.

    Now we have even more evidence of such problems at Catholic colleges. Dr. Hendershott cited The Cardinal Newman Society’s 2011 report exposing more than 150 Catholic college connections to Planned Parenthood, unaware that new research was underway in response to the gruesome videos from the Center for Medical Progress. Our latest review of Catholic college websites identifies an additional 63 instances of collusion with Planned Parenthood since 2011.

    Like

  190. Kevin,

    His argument may seem attractive to non-Catholics, a vindication of Luther, or perhaps Machen. But consider the context- Athanasius was an Archbishop of Alexandria, one of the greatest of Dioceses. He was exiled 5 times (!) by 4 emperors and excommunicated by a compromising pope.

    He established no schismatic church, merely held to the faith and suffered. When at last the Arian crisis was resolved, these faithful Catholics had no separate church- they healed the division and the Church continued.

    According to your ecclesiology, however, those who lived during Athanasius’ excommunication had no recourse but to believe that Arianism was orthodox. After all, the church spoke in letting the Arians back in. So the infallible interpreter utterly failed anyone who lived in the period of the Arian ascendancy and died before it was over.

    Athanasius also had the privilege of being let back into the church because politics blew his way again. Luther enjoyed no such circumstances. The question those who would look to Athanasius as an example contra Protestants need to ask is this:

    If the “magisterium” never returned to Athanasius’ view, then what? Would Athanasius have been wrong to continue the true Apostolic faith even if most of the rest of the bishops said, “who cares”?

    I don’t see any way that Roman ecclesiology could let you say anything other than that Arianism actually is orthodox in such a scenario and that Athanasius is the schismatic.

    It helps to have an infallible guide (I know where you can find one)- although that doesn’t make it always an easy road.

    If the infallible guide doesn’t make it an easy road, you are essentially left with Protestantism.

    Like

  191. Robert, thanks for the reply-

    So the infallible interpreter utterly failed anyone who lived in the period of the Arian ascendancy and died before it was over.

    He failed to do his job. He (a) taught ambiguously (not with outright falsity, which is significant to note but in no way to his credit) and (b) failed in his duty to lead (maintain discipline) by permitting bishops to teach falsely. Not sure how he did on the third element of his job description, (c) to sanctify via the sacraments (particularly to maintain apostolic succession through consecrating valid bishops who cordain valid priests).

    Athanasius also had the privilege of being let back into the church because politics blew his way again. Luther enjoyed no such circumstances.

    Athanasius was never outside the Church, and it isn’t clear to me the pope was either (would need to look a few things up). The heretical bishops were, I expect.

    Athanasius and the other great figures of the day (giants, Greek mostly) maintained the faith until the institutions came back to the faith. Secular politics played first a negative and then a mostly positive role- such is the nature of human affairs, particularly when Church and State are more closely allied (often a bad situation).

    Could the Arian crisis have endured for centuries? We can speculate. Athanasius’s advice addresses the basic principles the faithful are to follow- hold to the Apostolic tradition handed down.

    I don’t see any way that Roman ecclesiology could let you say anything other than that Arianism actually is orthodox in such a scenario and that Athanasius is the schismatic.

    Roman ecclesiology has a monarch as pope, not a totalitarian dictator. Americans particularly (and much of the liberal Enlightenment generally) conflate the two in an entirely unjustifiable manner.

    The faith and submission to just authority is required for membership. The duties of pope, bishops, and lay are clear. Professing Arianism or any other heresy deprives one of membership in the Church- formal adherence is secondary, although essential when the pope and bishops are doing their jobs.

    If the infallible guide doesn’t make it an easy road, you are essentially left with Protestantism.

    It isn’t true that fulfilling the duties of a bishop or layman to the faith is Protestant and not Catholic- why do you think that?

    Like

  192. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 20, 2015 at 6:32 am | Permalink
    Mermaid, since you don’t want to dodge, then explain why the magisterium would use heretics to describe Protestants in one century and then separated brothers four centuries later. You don’t think that shows that the theological concerns at one time are no longer operative with the same force in another?

    Presbyterians used to call Arminianism a false gospel. Twentieth-century Presbyterians didn’t even blink about joining arms with Methodists.

    And you think separated brother usage is a good thing? The church’s skirt is showing. When you open the window to modernity, you become modern.

    How do you like your church now?>>>>

    I am trying to figure out where you are coming from, Brother Hart. I think that you are saying that whenever Christians call themselves brothers and sisters in Christ, even reaching across denominational lines, they will inevitably become liberal.

    Is that your premise? So, my calling you my brother doesn’t show that I recognize you as a fellow Christian. It proves to you that I am now a liberal.

    Something like that?

    How do I like my Church now? I love her, since Christ loves her and gives His life to her. He died to save her from her sins and to purify her and present her spotless. There is only one of her. Our Savior is not an adulterer. He is faithful and will accomplish what He set out to do in spite of all our excuses and sins to the contrary.

    Why is your fear of liberalism greater than the revealed will of God? We are one body.

    Your teaching magisterium no longer calls the pope the antichrist. What’s up with that? Have you gone liberal?

    Ephesians 5
    Wives and Husbands
    22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.
    24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

    25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
    26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
    27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.[a]
    28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
    29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,
    30 because we are members of his body.
    31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
    32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
    33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

    Like

  193. Mermaid,

    I am trying to figure out where you are coming from, Brother Hart. I think that you are saying that whenever Christians call themselves brothers and sisters in Christ, even reaching across denominational lines, they will inevitably become liberal.

    Is that your premise? So, my calling you my brother doesn’t show that I recognize you as a fellow Christian. It proves to you that I am now a liberal.

    Something like that?

    Ding Ding Ding!

    Ever read Machen? Ever take Trent seriously? Since when can a church authorize the persecution of heretics and then shrug and say — hello brothers, we really agree. That’s sappy anti-intellectualism. And I have far more respect for those who hurled anathemas than those who say “can’t we all get along”. If disobeying the church is a mortal sin, you should be a whole lot less theology sloppy.

    Like

  194. Kevin,

    He failed to do his job. He (a) taught ambiguously (not with outright falsity, which is significant to note but in no way to his credit) and (b) failed in his duty to lead (maintain discipline) by permitting bishops to teach falsely. Not sure how he did on the third element of his job description, (c) to sanctify via the sacraments (particularly to maintain apostolic succession through consecrating valid bishops who cordain valid priests).

    Yes, and that’s the point. If the Magisterium is infallible and isn’t doing its job, how do you know that? What if the Magisterium tells you it is infallible but it is teaching Arianism? If Athanasius is more or less the lone voice of orthodoxy in his day and the council of bishops is what is supposed to be infallible, why follow Athanasius if the council of bishops is teaching or at least ignoring Arianism?

    The parallel is to the Reformation—If the hierarchy is not teaching the Apostolic faith and yet claims to be the infallible voice of God, then why do we keep listening to the hierarchy?

    When you invest everything in the hierarchy as Rome (and to a slightly lesser extent the East) has done, who are you to question what the hierarchy is saying when it thinks it is making an infallible statement?

    Athanasius was never outside the Church, and it isn’t clear to me the pope was either (would need to look a few things up). The heretical bishops were, I expect.

    But the source you quoted above says that Pope Liberius excommunicated Athanasius. If that doesn’t make him outside the church, what does? Unless, of course, the true church transcends the magisterium. If this is so, then you have Protestant ecclesiology.

    Athanasius and the other great figures of the day (giants, Greek mostly) maintained the faith until the institutions came back to the faith. Secular politics played first a negative and then a mostly positive role- such is the nature of human affairs, particularly when Church and State are more closely allied (often a bad situation).

    That is true. So, the faith transcends the visible institution. Welcome to Protestant ecclesiology. This is why Rome’s insistence on visibility as THE mark of the church cannot work in the end. At the end of the day, you are appealing to something that stands above the hierarchy. Welcome to Protestantism.

    Could the Arian crisis have endured for centuries? We can speculate. Athanasius’s advice addresses the basic principles the faithful are to follow- hold to the Apostolic tradition handed down.

    Again, Protestantism. When the magisterium rejects the Apostolic tradition handed down and the magisterium refuses to repent, then what is one to do? Keep going to mass and being taught heresy? How in the world, if the magisterium is infallible, is the individual able to make the judgment that the church is teaching heresy? It’s finally coming down to private evaluation of the evidence. But that’s inconsistent if you are supposed to put implicit faith in the church to always preserve the truth.

    Roman ecclesiology has a monarch as pope, not a totalitarian dictator. Americans particularly (and much of the liberal Enlightenment generally) conflate the two in an entirely unjustifiable manner.

    If the pope says to you that he is making an infallible statement that you must believe in order to be saved, that’s a totalitarian act. It might be a benevolent totalitarian act, but its totalitarian.

    The faith and submission to just authority is required for membership. The duties of pope, bishops, and lay are clear. Professing Arianism or any other heresy deprives one of membership in the Church- formal adherence is secondary, although essential when the pope and bishops are doing their jobs.

    So in other words, you are saying that the faith transcends the Magisterium and that if the Magisterium does not obey the faith, you don’t submit. Welcome to Protestantism.

    It isn’t true that fulfilling the duties of a bishop or layman to the faith is Protestant and not Catholic- why do you think that?

    Once you have a scenario in which the faith transcends the bishops, which is essentially what you are outlining. You have a Protestant scenario. You have the right—indeed the duty—to hold the bishops’ feet to the fire when they go astray. So the only question becomes, what do you do when the bishops don’t listen and continue to teach error? It seems that the RC answer is muddle along, believe the truth but don’t miss the mass where you are hearing heresy taught, and whatever you do, don’t leave the visible institution. You might be the only faithful person in it. The pope might be a rank heretic, but he’s still God’s man even when he preaches a false gospel. That’s fundamentally incoherent at the end of the day.

    Like

  195. Darryl said:

    And I have far more respect for those who hurled anathemas than those who say “can’t we all get along”.

    Ding, ding, ding. Only in post-V2 Roman Catholicism can you have the idea that you can anathematize a separated brother. That makes absolutely no sense.

    As Protestants, we don’t anathematize our separated brothers. Most of us here are Presbyterians of one strip or another. We would regard orthodox Lutherans, for example, as separated brothers, people who profess the same essential faith though we differ on ecclesiology. We don’t then draw up a confession that says “If anyone denies that God predestines some to heaven and some to hell, let him be anathema.”

    But that is what Trent did. Rome changed the faith. It either needs to admit that it changed, or boot V2 from the collection of infallible councils. Otherwise, Rome is just a bigger version of the PCUSA.

    Like

  196. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 20, 2015 at 11:00 am | Permalink
    Mermaid,

    I am trying to figure out where you are coming from, Brother Hart. I think that you are saying that whenever Christians call themselves brothers and sisters in Christ, even reaching across denominational lines, they will inevitably become liberal.

    Is that your premise? So, my calling you my brother doesn’t show that I recognize you as a fellow Christian. It proves to you that I am now a liberal.

    Something like that?

    Ding Ding Ding!

    Ever read Machen? Ever take Trent seriously? Since when can a church authorize the persecution of heretics and then shrug and say — hello brothers, we really agree. That’s sappy anti-intellectualism. And I have far more respect for those who hurled anathemas than those who say “can’t we all get along”. If disobeying the church is a mortal sin, you should be a whole lot less theology sloppy.>>>>

    Since when did Jesus authorize the level of division and animosity that Protestants show towards one another even those who adhere to the same confessions?

    Explain your annimosity towards Tim Keller, who is an ordained minister of the PCA. Isn’t the OPC in communion with the PCA? That makes you in communion with your brother, Tim. Are you willing and able to call him a brother in Christ?

    Now, don’t dodge the issue, Brother Hart. Is Tim Keller your brother?

    I gave you a good explanation, but you cling to your idol, Machen. You pretend that your disagreement is with the Catholic Church because she dares to call you separated brethren.

    Your disagreement is with those of your own confession. If I am wrong about that, then publicly call Keller your brother.

    Like

  197. PUBLICLY CALL HIM YOUR BROTHER OR WE SHALL PUT YOU ON THE RACK– yikes Ariel, spoken like a real catholic… maybe for the first time. You almost said by implication, that if Hart doesn’t say Keller is his brother he is anathema..good for you!! Just not sure what your point is or how that is relevant or when Hart ever claimed Keller wasn’t his brother. They disagree. They disagree on some major confessional points. Hart is right. Keller is wrong. Keller is still my brother, until such time as he reveals himself otherwise, and Im not expecting that. He’s wrong on some things, but not apostate. Big diff.

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  198. Mermaid, you dodged because you can’t explain the difference between Trent and Vatican II (but that’s above your paygrade, so you’re okay not explaining it).

    Tim Keller is in fraternal relations with me. I would like him to be a better Presbyterian and my objections arise from trying to take seriously the convictions that inform Presbyterian theology, worship, and polity. When a denomination invests in someone who does not share the same convictions, I’m concerned.

    You gotta problem?

    Like

  199. Robert-

    Could you take a read of what I wrote to Jeff yesterday in this same thread? I think acknowledgement of and perhaps engagement with the distinction between the visible and invisible aspects of the Church are necessary background to what we’re discussing.

    Otherwise, you are pitting a mischaracterization of the Catholic position against what you’re defining as the Protestant position, which results in all kinds of strange things like affirming Athanasius was a Protestant.

    If the Magisterium is infallible and isn’t doing its job, how do you know that? […] What if the Magisterium tells you it is infallible but it is teaching Arianism?

    Can you explain what you mean by “The Magisterium”? I don’t understand the question. Do you mean papal teaching? That didn’t happen – Liberius allowed ambiguity (a very great failing), didn’t teach Arianism.

    If Athanasius is more or less the lone voice of orthodoxy in his day and the council of bishops is what is supposed to be infallible, why follow Athanasius if the council of bishops is teaching or at least ignoring Arianism?

    What do you mean by “the council of bishops”? There wasn’t a Church Council called which proclaimed Arianism the Catholic position. If you mean like the USCCB, the whole business of national bishops’ councils is 20th-century and has practically no basis in canon law- they are absolutely not infallible.

    The parallel is to the Reformation—If the hierarchy is not teaching the Apostolic faith and yet claims to be the infallible voice of God, then why do we keep listening to the hierarchy?

    In Athanasius’s statement, the key phrase is “For it has come down to you from Apostolic tradition” – the truths of the faith, originating in the apostles, ‘came down’ to the faithful Catholics of the day. This is Catholic tradition, which is given great value in official teachings.

    The position of Athanasius and the faithful is not analogous in this way to the Reformation, which rejected what ‘came down’ to them as not being biblical. And indeed, tradition as such is regarded suspiciously by many (although I very much appreciate Sdb’s explanation of its importance).

    Part of the teachings handed down is the structure of the Church. So Athanasius and the faithful couldn’t reject this – that is why they kept listening to the hierarchy, even if they could not follow bishops teaching Arianism.

    Identifying parallels requires an adequate understanding of both cases – I will see parallels you may not (e.g., Anglicanism and Arianism, except the faithful were almost entirely stamped out).

    When you invest everything in the hierarchy as Rome (and to a slightly lesser extent the East) has done, who are you to question what the hierarchy is saying when it thinks it is making an infallible statement?

    “Everything” is not invested in the hierarchy. Athanasius is one of the 8 original doctors of the Church (and several others were operative against Arianism as well)- would this be the case if Athanasius were considered to jeopardize Catholic teachings on the pope and bishops?

    But the source you quoted above says that Pope Liberius excommunicated Athanasius. If that doesn’t make him outside the church, what does? Unless, of course, the true church transcends the magisterium. If this is so, then you have Protestant ecclesiology.

    Effects of invalid or unjust excommunication
    An excommunication is said to be null when it is invalid because of some intrinsic or essential defect, e.g. when the person inflicting it has no jurisdiction, when the motive of the excommunication is manifestly incorrect and inconsistent, or when the excommunication is essentially defective in form. […] It is admitted by all that a null excommunication produces no effect whatever, and may be ignored without sin (cap. ii, de const., in VI). — Catholic Encyclopedia

    So, the faith transcends the visible institution. Welcome to Protestant ecclesiology. This is why Rome’s insistence on visibility as THE mark of the church cannot work in the end. At the end of the day, you are appealing to something that stands above the hierarchy. Welcome to Protestantism.

    Rome teaches that there are four marks of the Church. It teaches that the Church has a structure to it, and participants have roles. When people do more or less what they are supposed to, it works well. When they don’t, problems arise. I don’t expect you to adopt the vision, but the basics aren’t hard to understand.

    [kc:]Could the Arian crisis have endured for centuries? We can speculate. Athanasius’s advice addresses the basic principles the faithful are to follow- hold to the Apostolic tradition handed down.

    [Robert:] Again, Protestantism. When the magisterium rejects the Apostolic tradition handed down and the magisterium refuses to repent, then what is one to do? […] How in the world, if the magisterium is infallible, is the individual able to make the judgment that the church is teaching heresy?

    Do you mean the hierarchy of the Church at any given time? Popes + Bishops do not equate to the Magisterium. They have Magisterial teaching authority, which is predicated on continuity with the traditional teachings of the Church. Otherwise it is novelty. Athanasius rejected novelty.

    I take it that God provides for the preservation of the faith in all who seek to fulfill their roles with regard to the Church. Athanasius continued to act as a bishop, as best he could, and the lay faithful continued to require orthodoxy of the bishops.

    Keep going to mass and being taught heresy?

    Our duty to worship doesn’t change. I wrote a little post on this to sdb a couple of weeks ago… wish I could find it.

    It’s finally coming down to private evaluation of the evidence. But that’s inconsistent if you are supposed to put implicit faith in the church to always preserve the truth.

    We are required to be teachable – to show docility – and to preserve the faith. Only in a handful of great crises is there a widespread problem here. When men don’t do their jobs, real problems can arise. Not a breakdown of the system, but real tragedy.

    [kc:]Roman ecclesiology has a monarch as pope, not a totalitarian dictator. Americans particularly (and much of the liberal Enlightenment generally) conflate the two in an entirely unjustifiable manner.

    [Robert:] If the pope says to you that he is making an infallible statement that you must believe in order to be saved, that’s a totalitarian act. It might be a benevolent totalitarian act, but its totalitarian.

    No, since it is his job to teach the faith.

    So in other words, you are saying that the faith transcends the Magisterium and that if the Magisterium does not obey the faith, you don’t submit. Welcome to Protestantism.

    Again, I think you mean the hierarchy. Magisterial teachings – teachings on faith and morals arising from the duty to teach, produced by the pope and bishops – don’t change when a new pope is elected.

    The faith ‘transcends’ magisterial teachings in the sense that the teachings are based on truths of the faith which are eternal (as well as their contingent applications in human lives), but in another sense the teachings constitute the body of propositions which the faithful understand and assent to.

    If a deputized authority acts contrary to their commission, they lose that authority. That in no way compromises previously-defined magisterial teachings.

    Once you have a scenario in which the faith transcends the bishops, which is essentially what you are outlining. You have a Protestant scenario. You have the right—indeed the duty—to hold the bishops’ feet to the fire when they go astray. So the only question becomes, what do you do when the bishops don’t listen and continue to teach error? It seems that the RC answer is muddle along, believe the truth but don’t miss the mass where you are hearing heresy taught, and whatever you do, don’t leave the visible institution. You might be the only faithful person in it.

    You might enjoy Benson’s novel Lord of the World (or might not, but it speaks to your points and is brilliant).

    I don’t see how anything I am saying is Protestant, or at least uniquely Protestant.

    The pope might be a rank heretic, but he’s still God’s man even when he preaches a false gospel. That’s fundamentally incoherent at the end of the day.

    And on this final point we can agree – with Innocent III on our side as well (don’t blame me for the translation, but I think the point is clear):

    Pope Innocent III:

    “The Pope should not flatter himself about his power nor should he rashly glory in his honor and high estate, because the less he is judged by man, the more he is judged by God.

    Still the less can the Roman Pontiff glory because he can be judged by men, or rather, can be shown to be already judged, if for example he should wither away into heresy; because he who does not believe is already judged;

    In such a case it should be said of him: ‘If salt should lose its savor, it is good for nothing but to be cast out and trampled under foot by men.’

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  200. Kevin,

    Again, thanks for the detailed reply.

    KN: We should not expect a full treatment of the subject in the Baltimore Catechism.

    That’s fair, but there is a reason I quote the Catechisms. Upon a time when Bryan Cross visited these serene shores, he took the position that Catholic sources did not count as the official teaching of the church unless those sources were the Catechism or official ecumenical conciliar canons.

    In other words, if I quoted an encyclical, it was treated as “not the official teaching of the church”, but just the (fallible) opinion of a pope.

    So this raises an important question: How does a Catholic know what the teaching of the Church actually is?

    If you ask me what the PCA teaches, I can point to the Bible as the infallible rule and the Westminster Standards as the standard, fallible understanding of that rule. What does the Catholic point to?

    I had assumed based on Bryan’s stipulation that the answer was the Catechism and conciliar canons. What say you?

    Breaking: So I did not know that there are several versions or levels of the BC. Quoth the Wiki,

    Volume 1 The 33 lessons contained in Baltimore Catechism No. 1 present the basics of the Catholic faith in a manner suitable for first communicants through fifth graders.

    Volume 2 The 37 lessons contained in Baltimore Catechism No. 2 present the fundamentals of the Catholic Faith in a manner suitable for sixth through ninth graders and those preparing for Confirmation.

    Volume 3 The lessons contained in Baltimore Catechism No. 3 are intended for students who have received their Confirmation and/or high schoolers. It includes additional questions, definitions, examples, and applications that build upon the content of the original Baltimore Catechism (No. 2).

    Volume 4 An Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism can be used as a reference work, or as a teacher’s manual for the original Baltimore Catechisms. It is often used as an advanced textbook. Its explanations of many little known questions pertaining to the Catholic Faith are designed to reward the questioning reader.

    So I think we may take BC #4 as suitable here, yes?

    KN: ‘Belonging to the Church’ does not equal Formal Adherence

    This probably hangs on what counts as official teaching of the church.

    But here is Baltimore Catechism #4:

    *121 Q. Are all bound to belong to the Church? A. All are bound to belong to the Church, and he who knows the Church to be the true Church and remains out of it, cannot be saved.

    Anyone who knows the Catholic religion to be the true religion and will not embrace it cannot enter into Heaven. If one not a Catholic doubts whether the church to which he belongs is the true Church, he must settle his doubt, seek the true Church, and enter it; for if he continues to live in doubt, he becomes like the one who knows the true Church and is deterred by worldly considerations from entering it.

    In like manner one who, doubting, fears to examine the religion he professes lest he should discover its falsity and be convinced of the truth of the Catholic faith, cannot be saved.

    Suppose, however, that there is a non-Catholic who firmly believes that the church to which he belongs is the true Church, and who has never—even in the past—had the slightest doubt of that fact—what will become of him?

    If he was validly baptized and never committed a mortal sin, he will be saved; because, believing himself a member of the true Church, he was doing all he could to serve God according to his knowledge and the dictates of his conscience. But if ever he committed a mortal sin, his salvation would be very much more difficult. A mortal sin once committed remains on the soul till it is forgiven. Now, how could his mortal sin be forgiven? Not in the Sacrament of Penance, for the Protestant does not go to confession; and if he does, his minister—not being a true priest—has no power to forgive sins. Does he know that without confession it requires an act of perfect contrition to blot out mortal sin, and can he easily make such an act? What we call contrition is often only imperfect contrition—that is, sorrow for our sins because we fear their punishment in Hell or dread the loss of Heaven. If a Catholic—with all the instruction he has received about how to make an act of perfect contrition and all the practice he has had in making such acts—might find it difficult to make an act of perfect contrition after having committed a mortal sin, how much difficulty will not a Protestant have in making an act of perfect contrition, who does not know about this requirement and who has not been taught to make continued acts of perfect contrition all his life. It is to be feared either he would not know of this necessary means of regaining God’s friendship, or he would be unable to elicit the necessary act of perfect contrition, and thus the mortal sin would remain upon his soul and he would die an enemy of God.

    If, then, we found a Protestant who never committed a mortal sin after Baptism, and who never had the slightest doubt about the truth of his religion, that person would be saved; because, being baptized, he is a member of the Church, and being free from mortal sin he is a friend of God and could not in justice be condemned to Hell. Such a person would attend Mass and receive the Sacraments if he knew the Catholic Church to be the only true Church.

    I am giving you an example, however, that is rarely found, except in the case of infants or very small children baptized in Protestant sects. All infants rightly baptized by anyone are really children of the Church, no matter what religion their parents may profess. Indeed, all persons who are baptized are children of the Church; but those among them who deny its teaching, reject its Sacraments, and refuse to submit to its lawful pastors, are rebellious children known as heretics.

    I said I gave you an example that can scarcely be found, namely, of a person not a Catholic, who really never doubted the truth of his religion, and who, moreover, never committed during his whole life a mortal sin. There are so few such persons that we can practically say for all those who are not visibly members of the Catholic Church, believing its doctrines, receiving its Sacraments, and being governed by its visible head, our Holy Father, the Pope, salvation is an extremely difficult matter.

    According to this, it is very unlikely that DGH and Robert and I count as “separated brothers.”

    While I had not previously read this, it fits with my understanding of grace coming through sacraments, which would only be possible IF one belongs to the Catholic church.

    KN: C- Visible & Invisible aspects of the Church – Would you revise your analysis of the Catholic model in light of this distinction?:

    Pius XII’s 1943 encyclical Mystical Body of Christ (via Wikipedia):
    According to the encyclical, the Church has two aspects: one visible and one invisible. Those who live under the visible representative of Christ have full membership.
    Further, the relationship of the faithful and Christ is mystical, not physical. The faithful, through their faith, hope, and love, are united with Christ in the Church.

    I fully support this model, which is also the (a?) Protestant model. Running out of time, but see John Murray’s Christian Baptism Ch 3 for this.

    But is it truly the Catholic model? Granted that it’s in a papal encyclical, but the BC doesn’t talk in this way.

    Time’s up, so more later.

    Like

  201. DG – Fourth Crusade

    Are we moving systematically through all of the Black Legends?

    I’d strongly recommend John Rao’s Black Legends and the Light of the World: (publisher’s title) The War of Words against the Word (author’s title/subtitle). It isn’t history, more of an analysis of the philosophical underpinnings of the rhetorical techniques employed by enemies of the Logos throughout history.

    But why the 4th Crusade? There are clearly situations where the Church didn’t perform as well as it might, but this like 1053/4 is another case where the RCC has nothing to apologize for except perhaps poor participation forecasting and failing to get all the proper deal contingencies in place.

    (I do not think this is what you are doing, but: If there were actual worldly stakes to this blog, one might think you were selecting episodes which are easy to vindicate the RCC on in order to have me look like a triumphalist or white-washer when I’m anything but.)

    In short, the pope (Innocent III) made an agreement with Venice that Venice would transport soldiers to the Holy Land in exchange for $x. $x (more or less) is how much Venice needed to pay off its debt and avoid a financial crisis (too bad they couldn’t issue treasuries for sale to China).

    The raising of $x was dependent on participation in the Crusade – 30k volunteers would be necessary. French barons were coordinating the deal, and for whatever reason thought (or fondly hoped, or operated off unknown motives) this was realistic. Unfortunately, only 13k registered. Inadequate budget.

    Venice agreed to accept less in exchange for getting the Crusader army’s support in re-taking the Croatian city of Zara from (Christian) Hungary. The pope said no. The leaders eventually agreed and took the city. The pope excommunicated the leaders.

    Byzantine politics then entered in (in both senses of the word)- a power-seeker told a tale of an unjustly imprisoned monarch beloved of the people who needed the Crusaders assistance, and promised enough cash to pay the Venetian debt and expenses of the Crusade. The pope said no to this as well, but the leaders of the Crusade agreed.

    The Crusaders traveled to Constantinople, and were surprised to find the people had no interest in the supposedly legitimate monarch. After various discussions, they took the city. The pope excommunicated all who participated.

    So as with 1053/1054, can you point to where the supposed blame lies on Innocent III or the Church?

    I see blame on the schismatic hierarchy in Constantinople for not dealing with the political intrigues properly (threatening excommunication of political figures for immoral acts like hiring foreign armies to invade the city, and publicizing this fact to the people so that the political figures lose popular support).

    http://www.catholic.com/blog/steve-weidenkopf/the-real-story-of-the-fourth-crusade

    Like

  202. Jeff, good catch. Comment of the day.

    If he was validly baptized and never committed a mortal sin, he will be saved; because, believing himself a member of the true Church, he was doing all he could to serve God according to his knowledge and the dictates of his conscience. But if ever he committed a mortal sin, his salvation would be very much more difficult. A mortal sin once committed remains on the soul till it is forgiven. Now, how could his mortal sin be forgiven? Not in the Sacrament of Penance, for the Protestant does not go to confession; and if he does, his minister—not being a true priest—has no power to forgive sins. Does he know that without confession it requires an act of perfect contrition to blot out mortal sin, and can he easily make such an act? What we call contrition is often only imperfect contrition—that is, sorrow for our sins because we fear their punishment in Hell or dread the loss of Heaven. If a Catholic—with all the instruction he has received about how to make an act of perfect contrition and all the practice he has had in making such acts—might find it difficult to make an act of perfect contrition after having committed a mortal sin, how much difficulty will not a Protestant have in making an act of perfect contrition, who does not know about this requirement and who has not been taught to make continued acts of perfect contrition all his life. It is to be feared either he would not know of this necessary means of regaining God’s friendship, or he would be unable to elicit the necessary act of perfect contrition, and thus the mortal sin would remain upon his soul and he would die an enemy of God.

    Like

  203. Kevin, why doesn’t it trouble you that a member of the clergy calls for war?

    This isn’t black legend business. It’s like Americans having to reckon with race. You don’t just say it all worked out in the end.

    Just as America has much for which to answer, why not the papacy and magisterium which thought it could run the world? And if not for 1054, do the Crusaders treat Constantinople that way?

    I’m not expecting medieval people to act like moderns. I am expecting modern people to feel a tad uncomfortable with the deeds and arguments of medieavals.

    But Rome (like in Philly), it’s always sunny.

    Lame.

    Like

  204. @ Kevin: So as with 1053/1054, can you point to where the supposed blame lies on Innocent III or the Church?

    Having a Crusade to begin with?

    KN: one might think you were selecting episodes which are easy to vindicate the RCC on in order to have me look like a triumphalist or white-washer when I’m anything but.

    Understood. One can only hit one ball at a time.

    Like

  205. Hart
    Posted August 20, 2015 at 1:35 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, you dodged because you can’t explain the difference between Trent and Vatican II (but that’s above your paygrade, so you’re okay not explaining it).

    Tim Keller is in fraternal relations with me. I would like him to be a better Presbyterian and my objections arise from trying to take seriously the convictions that inform Presbyterian theology, worship, and polity. When a denomination invests in someone who does not share the same convictions, I’m concerned.

    You gotta problem?>>>>>

    I don’t have a problem, but why do you air your grievance with your brother on a blog? He is not even present.  Besides, it is only your opinion that he has problems. He is an ordained pastor and a real theologian. Your criticisms do not make Tim Keller look bad. So, no, I don’t have a problem. 

    You seem to think that Jesus was a liberal because He prayed for unity. The same goes for the Apostle Paul as per Ephesians 4 and 5. You have not even addressed the Scriptures yet you criticize me for not addressing the Council of Trent and Vatican II.

    Do you believe that the unity of the Church is an ideal we should aim for? Do you believe that Jesus wants His Church to be one as He is one with the Father? You know. Indivisible.

    The difference between Trent and Vatican II?  Trent used harsh language, but the intention was to define Catholic doctrine, and to explain why certain Protestant doctrines were heretical. 

    The language of Reformers like Calvin and Luther was much more harsh in condemning the Pope than that of Trent. Besides, if you read Luther, at times he made statements that were heretical. He would get drunk and do the 16th century version of drunk texting when he was sitting around with his buddies talking theology. I am being kind, here. That was then. This is now. Maybe it is true that Luther got the shaft – was betrayed. Even so, the Church was not wrong to take him to task for what he was teaching to make sure it was not heretical. He was a priest.

    The way Protestants talk about Catholics and Catholicism has changed, at least in many circles. So has the way that Catholics talk about Protestants. There is much more dialogue even on an informal basis. 

    So, Protestantism has changed somewhat from being on the attack all the time to being more open to the idea that Catholics are really Christians. In fact, even here on your blog it is possible to engage in polite conversation with a few of your followers. Protestants still misrepresent the Catholic Church. For example, how often do you hear that Catholics do not believe in justification by faith. That is not true, but the lie is still being promulgated. 

    Vatican II used less harsh language, but the conditions are still the same. The doctrines are still the same. In order to come into full communion with the Church, you renounce the doctrines that are problematic. The way the Church settles disputes is through dialogue, but the issues are still basically the same as 500 years ago. 

    Big deal. Now she calls you separated brethren. You take offense for some reason, and act like she had denied the divinity of the Trinity or the Incarnation. If Catholics call you brother, then it makes it awfully hard for you to call us heretics. It is a way to defuse anger and open the way to dialogue. In your case, it causes anger. I don’t get it. 

    Think of God in the Old Testament. Sometimes He says He divorces Israel. Other times He expresses His love for her and promises that she will be restored. Well, which is it, and why is God changing His mind – or is He?

    He does not change. Truth does not change. The way he approaches His people does change. Since I believe that the Holy Spirit leads and guides the Church into all truth as Jesus promised He would, then it makes sense that the Church would change her language when it comes to Protestants who are orthodox on many of the fundamentals of the faith. 500 years ago the Holy Spirit needed to send a clear message about the difference between doctrinal truth -orthodoxy – and doctrinal error – heresy.

    Some of the disputes with some Lutherans have already been settled and a joint statement on justification by faith has been issued. You know that, though. The Orthodox churches and the Catholic Church are very close to agreement. A special category has been created for Anglicans who wish to take advantage of it and return to the Church. Even some Reformed people are in dialogue with the Church. 

    Even your denomination changed the WCF from the pope being the antichrist. That language is no longer used. Have you gone liberal?

    You are used to the Protestant way, which is unbiblical. You run from your problems and disputes, and then from what you deem a safe distance, shoot at those you disagree with. There is never dialogue. Always verbal warfare.  Always division. Always separation. 

    You like it that way, but a lot of us kinda’ get tired of it. You say that it is the same within the Catholic Church. I say that even though there are disagreements, we all stand in the communion line together, all participate in the same liturgy, all recite the Lord’s Prayer together and the Nicene Creed or the Apostles’ Creed, all eat the body of Christ, and all drink His blood. 

    Does the Church need reformation and even revival? Of course. How does the Church seek reformation and revival? By staying together and seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit as she sails on rough seas.

    She especially needs to return to her evangelistic mission, which she is doing.

    How do Protestants handle difficulties. Like I said above. You split and splinter and divide and shoot one another, but from a relatively safe distance. I don’t see that kind of thing in the Bible at all.

    The Church is compared to the Ark of Noah. There was only one Ark, but imagine what it was like at times as she sailed on rough seas. Just think about it. None of those onboard even though about getting off.

    You see, I used to believe the Protestant version of Catholicism – that she has gone liberal, that she has changed important doctrines, that she teaches works righteousness, and so forth. Once inside, I am seeing that I was wrong about her. So very wrong.
    You are free to make whatever choices you wish to make in that regard. As for me, I will continue to call you my brother. I will continue to pray for you and for all who participate here that the Holy Spirit will guide us all into all Truth and give us grace to accept the words and intentions of our Lord.

    Like

  206. DG-

    [dg:] Kevin, why doesn’t it trouble you that a member of the clergy calls for war?

    Due to original sin, war is at times deplorably necessary. Some wars are just, some are unjust. Even in just wars there are usually combatants who engage in unjustified actions.

    During the early Crusades, Christians were being abused in the Middle East and the political leaders of the day had very little interest in doing anything about it. So it fell to the popes, if to anyone. The popes had a few options:
    a) Encourage political leaders privately to do something about it (not effective on its own);
    b) Let them suffer, century after century;
    c) Make a public call for a war to engage the popular mind (although it’s not like he could text a link to a :30 promo or even print a broadside, not sure the means used).

    A scholar might say (speculating) that it was in his capacity as secular ruler that Innocent III called for war, in which case you can decry the appropriateness of one individual holding sacred and secular offices; but it wouldn’t be as a clergyman that he did so.

    The natural question is – what about today with ISIS? Shouldn’t Francis urge Obama and the EU to do something? I think he has precious little faith (to put it mildly) in the justice of US motives in middle eastern action, or even our ability to do good there.

    I would be interest to know what is being said in the background by the Vatican to Russia and Iran (who I think ought to be handling peace in the region), and why public recognition of Palestine as a state occurred in May. http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/5/13/vatican-recognizes-palestine-in-new-treaty.html

    The RCC forbids priests from carrying swords and guns, for what it’s worth.

    Just as America has much for which to answer, why not the papacy and magisterium which thought it could run the world? And if not for 1054, do the Crusaders treat Constantinople that way?

    As I’ve said a number of times, history should indeed be looked at honestly and unjust actions called out, including those of the RCC.

    You’re still assuming there is blame for 1054 on Rome – which is fine to believe, but what’s the point of asking me to address it – my taking the time to do so – and then asking you your thoughts if you neither give your thoughts nor (apparently) alter your thinking based upon what I take to be straightforward facts?

    Of course it’s fine to draw different conclusions or challenge the information I present- I would just like to see them drawn instead of held silently. Otherwise, what’s the point of participating?

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  207. Mermaid, don’t leave your day job and go into the RC apologists business.

    I’d also be careful about calling me a brother if doctrine doesn’t change. As Jeff pointed out earlier today, your bishops in the Baltimore Catechism explained the predicament in which Protestants find themselves (heck if you haven’t been to confession lately it might even apply to YOU BOO!):

    If he was validly baptized and never committed a mortal sin, he will be saved; because, believing himself a member of the true Church, he was doing all he could to serve God according to his knowledge and the dictates of his conscience. But if ever he committed a mortal sin, his salvation would be very much more difficult. A mortal sin once committed remains on the soul till it is forgiven. Now, how could his mortal sin be forgiven? Not in the Sacrament of Penance, for the Protestant does not go to confession; and if he does, his minister—not being a true priest—has no power to forgive sins. Does he know that without confession it requires an act of perfect contrition to blot out mortal sin, and can he easily make such an act? What we call contrition is often only imperfect contrition—that is, sorrow for our sins because we fear their punishment in Hell or dread the loss of Heaven. If a Catholic—with all the instruction he has received about how to make an act of perfect contrition and all the practice he has had in making such acts—might find it difficult to make an act of perfect contrition after having committed a mortal sin, how much difficulty will not a Protestant have in making an act of perfect contrition, who does not know about this requirement and who has not been taught to make continued acts of perfect contrition all his life. It is to be feared either he would not know of this necessary means of regaining God’s friendship, or he would be unable to elicit the necessary act of perfect contrition, and thus the mortal sin would remain upon his soul and he would die an enemy of God.

    Like

  208. DG-

    Kevin, the first crusade was in 1099. Muslims occupied Jerusalem in the late seventh century. That’s not exactly a rapid response.

    Hate to be picky, but 637- if they had held off (if Mohammed had been born later) and the area remained at peace, the Persian and Byzantine armies might have replenished themselves and repulsed the Arabs.

    It was only in the next century that the papacy turned to the Franks for support, formalizing the already de facto political break with Constantinople on Christmas in 800 (crowning of Charlemagne in Rome by the pope). The Holy Land was politically the responsibility of Constantinople.

    Meanwhile Western Europe and the papacy were dealing with Muslim invaders in Spain and the border of France- first things first.

    Only once Constantinople showed itself unable to deal with the problem and the West was stabilized did a Crusade become thinkable.

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  209. Jeff, DG-

    ‘Separated brethren’ v. ‘Heretic’ are quite distinct concepts (as are ‘infidelity’ and ‘schismatic’).

    Clarity comes from understanding whether a person is baptised, how much they know about the faith, what they reject v. are in ignorance of, and whether they seek to serve God and his Church (as they understand it) or not.

    The RCC’s view is that all baptised are Catholic. Of those who are teachable, some continue as ‘separated brethren’ (not sinful) and some as faithful Catholics (ideal). Of those not teachable, some are faithless “Catholics” (CINO, sinful), embracing heresy or schism. ‘Separated brethren’ embracing heresy or schism likewise become faithless “separated brethren” (SBINO?), I guess.

    This is a contentious issue to be posting about here (moreso than Mass-as-blasphemy?), but I take that to be the value of O.L. and I think that gives clarity. I’d prefer to replace the two double-quoted terms above with “heretic” or “schismatic” (or both, for the cheerful, patient, and well-intentioned Chilean and Brazilian Mormons I met the other day).

    Without clarity in these concepts, I think it is hard to be clear what ‘Protestant v. Catholic’ means.

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  210. @ KN: Go over this slowly with me, if you will.

    KN: ‘Separated brethren’ v. ‘Heretic’ are quite distinct concepts (as are ‘infidelity’ and ‘schismatic’).

    Yes, that make sense. A separated brother would be one who is a brother in Christ, yet separated from you for some reason. A heretic would be one who espouses a doctrine that is contrary to the gospel — i.e., you cannot sincerely believe this and be saved.

    KN: The RCC’s view is that all baptised are Catholic. Of those who are teachable, some continue as ‘separated brethren’ (not sinful) and some as faithful Catholics (ideal). Of those not teachable, some are faithless “Catholics” (CINO, sinful), embracing heresy or schism. ‘Separated brethren’ embracing heresy or schism likewise become faithless “separated brethren” (SBINO?), I guess.

    OK, now give size estimates for each of these subgroups. The BC #4 appears to make the ‘separated brother’ category to be quite small amongst adults. To reiterate:

    I am giving you an example, however, that is rarely found, except in the case of infants or very small children baptized in Protestant sects. All infants rightly baptized by anyone are really children of the Church, no matter what religion their parents may profess. Indeed, all persons who are baptized are children of the Church; but those among them who deny its teaching, reject its Sacraments, and refuse to submit to its lawful pastors, are rebellious children known as heretics.

    I said I gave you an example that can scarcely be found, namely, of a person not a Catholic, who really never doubted the truth of his religion, and who, moreover, never committed during his whole life a mortal sin. There are so few such persons that we can practically say for all those who are not visibly members of the Catholic Church, believing its doctrines, receiving its Sacraments, and being governed by its visible head, our Holy Father, the Pope, salvation is an extremely difficult matter.Balt Cat #4, 121Q

    By contrast, you seem to indicate that the RCC’s teaching is that ‘separated brethren’ is a fairly large category amongst adults.

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  211. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 21, 2015 at 2:54 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, don’t leave your day job and go into the RC apologists business.

    I’d also be careful about calling me a brother if doctrine doesn’t change.

    Butch, your inability to accurately state what the Catholic faith actually teaches makes your ignorance vincible. Fortunately, theology isn’t your day job either.

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  212. Jeff-

    Absolutely, hard to imagine a more interesting topic. Not to be dopey, but I’m still solidifying comfort with the concepts and so will deeply appreciate your thoughts.

    I should be able to address this evening.

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  213. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 21, 2015 at 2:54 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, don’t leave your day job and go into the RC apologists business.

    I’d also be careful about calling me a brother if doctrine doesn’t change. As Jeff pointed out earlier today, your bishops in the Baltimore Catechism explained the predicament in which Protestants find themselves (heck if you haven’t been to confession lately it might even apply to YOU BOO!):>>>>

    Brother Hart, have you committed some mortal sin that is weighing on your conscience? I am assuming that you have not murdered anyone, committed adultery, borne false testimony in a court of law with the intention of doing harm to someone, and so forth. If you have, then are you sure you are regenerate?

    Its subject must be a grave (or serious) matter.
    It must be committed with full knowledge, both of the sin and of the gravity of the offense.
    It must be committed with deliberate and complete consent, enough for it to have been a personal decision to commit the sin.[4]

    1858. Grave matter is specified by the Ten Commandments, corresponding to the answer of Jesus to the rich young man: “Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother.” The gravity of sins is more or less great: murder is graver than theft. One must also take into account who is wronged: violence against parents is in itself graver than violence against a stranger.[5]

    I would also love to hear your explanation of the divisiveness among Presbyterians as well as among all “Protestants” in the light of apostolic teaching. I don’t blame you for dodging that issue.

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  214. Mermaid, don’t you read the Bible? Jesus says that if I lust in my heart I have committed adultery. What gives your church the right to contradict Jesus?

    And if it contradicts Jesus, what else is possible?

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  215. Web, Jesus immediately takes the concept of judgement for murder and states that the same judgment is for those with causeless anger, who hold bitterness in their heart and speak words that destroy.

    As I take about 90 minutes a day to commute by car or subway, it would be a great day if I didn’t have 8 times where I kind of lost it against someone. I am so ruined before the words of Jesus, what hope do I have for salvation under His standards?

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  216. kent
    Posted August 24, 2015 at 9:10 am | Permalink
    Web, Jesus immediately takes the concept of judgement for murder and states that the same judgment is for those with causeless anger, who hold bitterness in their heart and speak words that destroy.

    As I take about 90 minutes a day to commute by car or subway, it would be a great day if I didn’t have 8 times where I kind of lost it against someone. I am so ruined before the words of Jesus, what hope do I have for salvation under His standards?>>>>>

    Are you sure you are regenerate if you are so defeated by sin on a constant basis? You are ruined by your own sin. You have to have more than an imputed righteousness. You have to practice righteousness as well. What means do you use to help you overcome sin in your life?

    1 John 3:7
    Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.

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  217. web: Are you sure you are regenerate if you are so defeated by sin on a constant basis? You are ruined by your own sin. You have to have more than an imputed righteousness. You have to practice righteousness as well. What means do you use to help you overcome sin in your life?

    So you don’t sin at all? You could stand and get a prize?

    Can I laugh at this or go bug-eyed that you are claiming total victory from sin. Even in a pig’s eye.

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  218. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 24, 2015 at 6:32 am | Permalink
    Mermaid, don’t you read the Bible? Jesus says that if I lust in my heart I have committed adultery. What gives your church the right to contradict Jesus?

    And if it contradicts Jesus, what else is possible?>>>>

    So, you argue Jesus against Jesus? Your whole religion contradicts Jesus. Who gave you that right?

    BTW, I assume that what you are talking about is the temptation to commit adultery, not the act. Temptation is not sin. Now, if you give in to the temptation by allowing your mind to dwell on the image of a woman other than your wife, and then act on the temptation, you need to resign as an elder in the OPC. That would disqualify you.

    The temptation would not, and you know that. Here is a clarification of what would entail a mortal sin.

    I know the Calvinistic penchant for exaggerating their own sinfulness even after claiming to be regenerate. It is neo-Calvinism that is best at that sort of thing, and it can be a dodge. Sure, you and I are sinners, but has the Holy Spirit not been able to work any practical righteousness in your life, Brother Hart? Do you willfully, easily, daily, and without any resistance allow sin to run your life? If so, then you need to examine yourself more closely to see if you are in the faith at all.

    Meanwhile, I continue to stubbornly call you my brother, since I assume that you do resist temptation and that you are not an adulterer except potentially.
    ———————————————————
    Its subject must be a grave (or serious) matter.
    It must be committed with full knowledge, both of the sin and of the gravity of the offense.
    It must be committed with deliberate and complete consent, enough for it to have been a personal decision to commit the sin.[4]

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  219. Web, we need more than saying “hoo-hah” about Scripture and thinking because our conscience isn’t bothered that we are righteous.

    Everything is fine as long as I approve of myself….. give me a break….

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  220. Good to see the RC perfectionists coming out again. I don’t know enough people who measure their standing before God by how good they are in comparison to others.

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  221. Web, we can’t even begin to get involved with Jesus’s extended meaning on not committing adultery.

    And your incredibly self-serving definition of bearing false witness as ONLY lying under oath in court in order to hurt someone is the worst form of self-justification I have ever seen.

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  222. Yes, Web, Christians mostly see their marching orders to a life of repentance and piety, and the more one serves their life in this manner the more one becomes aware of their sin.

    When you think you have 100% eradicated one sin from your life, another will enter your awareness, all to the glory of God. Even those itty bitty little ones…..

    The law slays us when we read Scripture (on every page), then our faith redeems us, and the law provides a normative to aim to live by.

    I guess it’s much easier to go fiddle-dee-deeee like you and think that your incredibly pitiful and weak standards are going to save you in that fearful day of judgment.

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  223. Yes, I’m the tax collector calling out for Lord Jesus, Son of David, to have mercy on me as a sinner.

    When I did this a few weeks ago, our local Scottish Pharisee attacked me for admitting this.

    You aren’t even getting within a million miles of the table….

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  224. Mermaid, ever heard of Jimmy Carter? He lusted in his heart. He gave into temptation and acted inside.

    Haven’t you ever heard of desiring something but not acting?

    What kind of Protestant were you?

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  225. kent
    Posted August 24, 2015 at 1:45 pm | Permalink
    Web, we need more than saying “hoo-hah” about Scripture and thinking because our conscience isn’t bothered that we are righteous.

    Everything is fine as long as I approve of myself….. give me a break….>>>>

    Kent, are you sure that you are not exaggerating the seriousness of your sin so that you can earn God’s forgiveness? You seem to think that losing your temper with someone on your way to work is the same sin as someone who deliberately kills another human being.

    They are not the same sin at all. Besides, what do you do with your impatience? Don’t you stop yourself and think? Don’t you realize that you were wrong? Surely you do not wish you could kill the person you were impatient with.

    If you say you wish no harm to come to someone who annoys you, then I say you are exaggerating the seriousness of your sin. At best, the sin of losing patience on your way to work is venial. It does not rise to the level even of wanting to murder someone in your heart or hatred.

    So, on that basis, even though I have not met you, I call you Brother. Don’t be so hard on yourself, and don’t let others be hard on you. Calvinism is a hard, harsh religion.

    Sure, confess your sins, but do not confess sins you have not committed. For goodness sake! You have not murdered anyone on the subway, and I would be willing to wager that you have not wished anyone to die just because they annoyed you.

    See, the righteousness that God requires comes as the Holy Spirit does His sanctifying work in our hearts. Calvinists often tend to confuse the issue, thinking that the only kind of righteousness we can have is forensic. How do you explain the Apostle’s words, then? There has to be a practical righteousness, a personal righteousness that God is working in you by His grace, otherwise you do not belong to Him at all.

    In that way you can practice righteousness, and you must practice righteousness – and I am sure you do. Don’t be deceived either way. Rejoice in the righteousness that God has already worked in you, and rejoice in the fact that if you persevere, His work will be completed in you.

    Don’t wallow in your sins, or invent sins for yourself as a way to refute Catholicism.

    1 John 3:7
    Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.

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  226. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 17, 2015 at 2:11 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, when have I ever dodged Trent? The bishops there anathematized me. All you do is call me a brother and then say I’m a liar.

    You still mask what “anathemitize” actually means, Dr. Hart. It means your theological head is up your theological ass, and until you pull it out you’re kindly invited to separate yourself from the sacraments–which you have.

    All is in order. The nice Catholic lady whom Dr. Calvinism mocks as “Mermaid” understands the theology better than he does.

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  227. vd, t, I’m betting anathematize is closer to “your theological head is up your theological ass” than what you say it is.

    But really — a comment to another interlocutor from over a week ago?

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  228. Webfoot,

    Calvinists often tend to confuse the issue, thinking that the only kind of righteousness we can have is forensic.

    Which Calvinist confession teaches this?

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  229. Web doesn’t have a clue what we believe despite being told 100 times on here.

    Less ability to learn than the lowest IQ trash fundamentalist

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  230. Kent: So you don’t sin at all?

    don’t think she said she didn’t sin at all; isn’t that non sequitur, or reductio ad hitlerum, or whatever be your latest labels

    Kent: The law slays us when we read Scripture (on every page), then our faith redeems us, and the law provides a normative to aim to live by.

    Aim? Isn’t this the comeback – Hey, you self-righteous one, are you trying to earn your salvation?

    Kent: Web doesn’t have a clue what we believe despite being told 100 times on here.Less ability to learn than the lowest IQ trash fundamentalist

    predictable ‘ad hom’ ; Did you learn from the truths she did state re: 1 John 3:7 “Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.” There are many NT verse about the practice of righteousness and the practice of lawlessness. As Mrs W. said: So, you argue Jesus against Jesus?

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  231. btw, maybe Trump is your hero, kent ? : Ceasefire Over: Donald Trump Resumes War Of Words With Megyn Kelly
    “Megyn Kelly, host of “The Kelly File” on Fox News, is back from vacation — and Donald Trump wasted no time resuming his attacks on her.”

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  232. “reductio ad hitlerum”

    Finally, Ali contributes something. I mean, other than being our token Muslim.

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  233. predictable Muddy. anyway, that was Zrim ‘s contribution

    Ali:” There are many NT verses about the practice of righteousness and the practice of lawlessness.

    and I mention that not just to mention it, but in hope we all will read, study, and meditate upon these things…. for solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. Hebrews 5:14

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  234. Muddy: Finally, Ali contributes something.
    finally contribute Muddy?…Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

    Muddy: I mean, other than being our token Muslim.
    ok, that could be funny….. if you weren’t just smoke-screening right at this moment

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  235. Ali, you’re always the better person wagging your finger at lesser sinners. But Paul had a low opinion of his works and righteousness. Would you wag your finger at Paul?

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  236. Grateful I have the possibly too honest Paul as a human guide and Jesus on top of that, with His special portfolio, to guide me.

    Oh wait, much more fun saying…

    Me: The Gospel leaves me with no doubt that I am a sinner.

    Goofball: That’s right you are a sinner.

    Me: Yes, I’m a sinner.

    Goofball: SINNER!!!! SINNER!!

    Me: Yes, I’m a sinner (at this point I start to laugh a little bit….)

    Goofball: SINNER!!! SINNER!!!!!!

    Me: Okay, see you later…

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  237. Muddy: Ali, you’re always the better person
    Oh boy -never anyone here ever/always acting as the better person? Shall we ALL look in the mirror?

    Muddy:But Paul had a low opinion of his works and righteousness.
    Not really, because they were the Lord’s. How incredible the faith and grace gifts to Paul -he was able to boast and did boast..in Christ Jesus I have found reason for boasting in things pertaining to God. Rom 15:17

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  238. “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst.”
    ___________
    14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

    21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
    ____________
    For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
    ___________
    If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law,[c] blameless. 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish.
    ___________

    Who did Jesus chastise the most severely? The self righteous.

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  239. Muddy Gravel:
    Who did Jesus chastise the most severely? The self righteous.>>>>>

    Yet he demands personal righteousness. You are in error thinking that:

    1. all personal righteousness is self righteousness.

    2. The Catholic Church teaches that self righteousness is the kind of personal righteousness that Christ demands.

    Besides, if Brother Hart is really guilty of mental adultery – which requires conscience, deliberate, willful consent to the thoughts that will inevitably lead to adulterous acts – then he has not only brought condemnation on himself, but he has disqualified himself to be an elder in the OPC.

    Either way, he’s in trouble.

    But Protestants are kept in ignorance of what the Church actually teaches. She is in agreement with what the whole counsel of God teaches us about righteousness. You are camping on forensic righteousness and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. There is more to it, dear Muddy Brother. Cherry picking Scripture will only keep you in greater muddiness, Brother Muddy.

    Let’s take a close look at 1 John 3:7, shall we? Who is the “whoever” and who is the “he”? They cannot be the same person. This is not talking about imputed righteousness.

    Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.

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  240. Webster, on this blog you are clearly of the Queen of Self-Righteousness. Smile and give us that Miss American wave.

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  241. Muddy Gravel
    Posted August 25, 2015 at 1:10 pm | Permalink
    Webster, on this blog you are clearly of the Queen of Self-Righteousness. Smile and give us that Miss American wave.>>>>

    Is that your best answer? What would the Apostle John be talking about if I had never been born?

    If you do not practice righteousness, you are not righteous. If you do not practice righteousness, then you cannot claim His righteousness as a cover. Yet you do practice righteousness, so what gives? Is it a self righteousness that you seek for your life? If you do not want greater righteousness, then there is something wrong. If you do not resist temptation by the power of the Holy Spirit, then something is wrong with your orthopraxis, as you Reformed guys like to say.

    Remember, this is a blog about Reformed faith and practice. What are you seeking to practice if it is not personal righteousness?

    I know you don’t get this Muddy, but I can only wonder why. Is it your anti-Catholicism that blinds you? Can you read the Scripture and understand what it is saying?

    1 John 3:7
    Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.

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  242. Look, Muddy. If you don’t like me, and don’t like Catholicism, and don’t like Catholics, read some John Owen to get a better idea of the relationship between orthodoxy and orthopraxy.

    If you have been justified by faith, then life a justified life as He lived. I don’t believe you don’t get this, you just want to call me self righteous. That’s fine. Call me what you want, but do not let yourself be deceived by a false sense of security – and I don’t think you are, but man, I thought you guys didn’t like neo-Calvinism.

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  243. Mrs W: “he has not only brought condemnation on himself”

    Mrs W. Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Rom 8:1

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  244. Webster, I have no anti-Catholicism. In this case it is all about you.

    Owen – which volume of his collected works should I take off my shelf for review?

    Compare Jesus talking to the Pharisees and Jesus talking to admitted & notorious sinners. On one of them he pronounced woe. Your self-righteousness soars like the Pharisees. But it has to be that way for you, yes? You have to be looking at your works and making sure they are enough. On such an important matter the situation is ripe for self-delusion and self-congratulation.

    Christ is our only hope. It seems that some of yours is elsewhere.

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  245. Ali
    Posted August 25, 2015 at 2:22 pm | Permalink
    Mrs W: “he has not only brought condemnation on himself”

    Mrs W. Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Rom 8:1>>>>

    A text without a context is a pretext, as some wise Protestants say. Read your proof text in context.

    If a person’s mind is set on adultery and murder, then they are opposed to God. See what I mean?

    Now, I do not believe that either Brother Hart or Brother Kent or Brother Muddy set their minds on adultery and murder. If they do, then they are in heap big trouble. What they are doing is trying to show that since they are such wretched sinners, they cannot possibly to be separated brethren.

    Then, they call me names in order to prove some point, yet ignore Scripture. I am an easy target.

    However, in doing so, they are saying that they are not saved at all, but that they have minds that are hostile not to Catholicism, but rather to God Himself.

    Read the whole passage, Ali. In your zeal to prove the Church wrong, be careful not to fall into grave error yourself.

    “7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

    Romans 8English Standard Version (ESV)

    Life in the Spirit
    8 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.[a] 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you[b] free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,[c] he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

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  246. “What they are doing is trying to show that since they are such wretched sinners, they cannot possibly to be separated brethren.”

    Uh, no. I suggest you read our words more and look for secret motivation less.

    I can’t speak for them, but for me the interest is the basis of your righteous standing before God. And for you it’s you – at least in part. I personally have nothing to offer. Someone who understands that our best is just an inadequate response of thankfulness for our imputed righteousness have less temptation to self-righteousness. But on your system, how can you not be? Count those works like so many beads; you can’t take your focus away.

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  247. Mrs W: Read the whole passage, Ali. In your zeal to prove the Church wrong, be careful not to fall into grave error yourself.

    prove The Church wrong Mrs W? you mean prove the Lord wrong, Mrs W, because He alone is Lord; our job is to proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present each other complete in Christ. Col 1:28

    Mrs W: Read your proof text in context.
    Context = ‘those who are in Christ Jesus’ and that is the benefit I was giving DG – that he is one ,born again and “not in the flesh but in the Spirit because the Spirit of God dwells in him” v.9

    Mrs W: However, in doing so, they are saying that they are not saved at all
    re that judgment, I do appreciate what my former pastor used to say “ I don’t know if you are saved, but it’s not looking good. Maybe that is what you are saying, so you legitimately say “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?” 2 Cor 13:5

    And I love the continuing verses after you stopped at v 8 ….
    9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.12 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— 13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

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  248. Even if we disagree on issues here, MVDM and Muddy and even DGH and I shares a very large set of common assumptions on our faith and views on sin and redemption and the path thereafter to walk.

    It’s almost impossible to exhaustively share these views to people who have not studied and/or adopted them for years of their life.

    We can try but if all we get is nah-nah-nah-nah-and-so-is-your-mother hundreds of times a week, why bother?

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  249. Muddy Gravel
    Posted August 25, 2015 at 2:58 pm | Permalink
    “What they are doing is trying to show that since they are such wretched sinners, they cannot possibly to be separated brethren.”

    Uh, no. I suggest you read our words more and look for secret motivation less.

    I can’t speak for them, but for me the interest is the basis of your righteous standing before God. And for you it’s you – at least in part. I personally have nothing to offer. Someone who understands that our best is just an inadequate response of thankfulness for our imputed righteousness have less temptation to self-righteousness. But on your system, how can you not be? Count those works like so many beads; you can’t take your focus away.>>>>

    Okay, I will give you the benefit of the doubt for now.

    You really don’t understand “my system”, but I understand yours very well. If you are truly a Reformed Christian, then what you say about the Catholic Church, you also say about Arminians, Pentecostals, Pietists, and all Christians who do not follow the system that Calvin set up. You even say that about your own who are not quiet Presbyterian enough to suit your tastes.

    So, let’s be honest here. You accuse Pietists, Pentecostals, Papitsts and everyone else of trusting in works righteousness for salvation. You accuse all of us of leaving a little island of self that we add to the work of Christ, expecting Him to take notice and save us because of something in us.

    Maybe you are the self righteous ones, thinking that you are the only ones preaching the true Gospel. You judge everyone else as self righteous and therefore not quite elect enough somehow. We are not trusting fully in Christ alone. Maybe a Catholic, an Arminian, a pietist or a Pentecostal is a real Christian, but in spite of their theology. Your riffs about how unrighteous you are really aren’t very convincing. In fact, if it is true that you are still dominated by sin, you cannot be regenerate.

    Be careful, Brother Muddy, of a kind of judgmental pride in an ignorance of your need for personal righteousness.

    I have asked several times now for you guys to explain 1 John 3:7, but you seem unable to do so. What does personal righteousness have to do with our salvation? If you are willing to come back with an answer to that, then maybe I will be willing to continue to bear your insults for the sake of the truth. Focus on the whole counsel of God, not just the proof texts that you think prove you to be right.

    Trent – Canon 1.If anyone says that man can be justified before God by his own works, whether done by his own natural powers or through the teaching of the law,[110] without divine grace through Jesus Christ, let him be anathema.

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  250. Webfoot, does the law as Paul lays out in Romans 3, for example, require perfection of conformity in thought, word and deed? And if it does, does the infusion of grace you receive through your participation in the sacraments and adherence to your religious conscience render that perfection in your conformity? If not, what are you carrying on about? And if you already understand the competing systems and hermenuetical grids what do you need an interpretation of 1 Jn 3:7 for?

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  251. Sean, the Reformed rely on a ton of reading of Scripture and theology and get good sermons twice a Sunday if fortunate.

    People who just say whatever comes to their mind about their weak religion honestly have no right to begin talking to us about our faults, but we are nice people and put up with it for awhile…

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  252. Webster, you frequently resort to mind-reading. You know intent and you know what others think about subjects never broached. So either you’re quite brilliant or you are presumptuous. But I’m reading your words and you don’t have a clue about me. You’re emoting again.

    Personally I think you’d come off better here if you were less boastful of you knowledge base. I’m not seeing much evidence that you understand my theological distinctives.

    “Your riffs about how unrighteous you are really aren’t very convincing”

    So you think I’m righteous, then? Interesting. But I have no confidence in mine. None. But you soar on your righteousness.
    ___________

    Trent – that doesn’t allow you to consider me a brother, does it? How can you quote one part and not abide by others?

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  253. Web, you haven’t demonstrated that you’d know Scripture if it paraded up 45th Street and bit you on the behind.

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  254. Webhurt, if we’re gonna be forthright-righteous about it, and you understand all the underlying theological tension points, all I was trying to do is get that out on the table before we went to exegeting particular texts. What’s the point of dealing with 1Jon 3:7 if we aren’t going to place it within the context of our systems. Just to hep yuuu out, RCs don’t believe in perfection of conformity to the law, that’s how infusion works in this life and renders you righteous, prots aren’t gonna grant that ground, in part, based on passages such as; Rom 3.

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  255. He who practices righteousness is righteous. Pretty clear.

    What is it talking about? If Calvin had never been born, what would it mean?

    Sin and the Child of God
    4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. 5 And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. 6 Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.

    7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

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  256. MVDM and Muddy and even DGH and I shares a very large set of common assumptions on our faith and views on sin and redemption

    Kent, you sure the others would agree? Being sympathetic to Neo-Calvinism, doesn’t that make me a blur-er of the gospel? 🙂

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  257. Webright, I wasn’t referencing Calvin, I was referencing Paul. But, your prooftexting is interesting, so, do you never sin? I mean, if you’re gonna insist, since you’ve been born of God, do you sin? I know what your church says about it(your sinning).

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  258. Sean,

    Hence the threefold distinction between concupiscence, venial, and mortal sin. Reformed theology conflates all 3 and in doing so makes John’s statements incoherent.

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  259. Well, hello,Clete. Thanks for that, but Webknowitall is pretty sure it’s clear as Vatican glass and wants it reconciled with the 1 jon english translations. She didn’t seem too interested in making distinctions beyond that. I’m just going along. And who conflates what? Since were doing the scripture thang here, can you show me conc., mortal and venial from the sacred writ? What’s the verse/s?

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  260. sean
    Posted August 25, 2015 at 5:01 pm | Permalink
    Webhurt, if we’re gonna be forthright-righteous about it, and you understand all the underlying theological tension points, all I was trying to do is get that out on the table before we went to exegeting particular texts. What’s the point of dealing with 1Jon 3:7 if we aren’t going to place it within the context of our systems. Just to hep yuuu out, RCs don’t believe in perfection of conformity to the law, that’s how infusion works in this life and renders you righteous, prots aren’t gonna grant that ground, in part, based on passages such as; Rom 3.

    Arguing the Bible against the Bible again? Romans 3 vs. 1 John. Amazing.

    And why do you have to punk her screenname, tough guy? Very unrighteous. By your fruits.

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  261. Hey, look, it’s Tommy! Tommy, did you make it to confession on Sat. so you could take the wafer on Sunday? You gotta work the program, Tomster. That’s how it works. Ex opere operato and all. Very unrighteous if you didn’t. EWTN doesn’t cut it. And you’re to young to have the EM make it to your house every week, plus it takes twelve year old scotch(at least) to keep ’em coming.

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  262. But hey, Tom, maybe you can help, so, do you never sin or are you not laying claim to being born of God in the 1 Jon sense? And don’t blame me, I tried to suggest a different path for Webber, she insisted.

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  263. sean
    Posted August 25, 2015 at 6:11 pm | Permalink
    Well, hello,Clete. Thanks for that, but Webknowitall is pretty sure it’s clear as Vatican glass and wants it reconciled with the 1 jon english translations. She didn’t seem too interested in making distinctions beyond that. I’m just going along. And who conflates what? Since were doing the scripture thang here, can you show me conc., mortal and venial from the sacred writ? What’s the verse/s?>>>>

    sean, don’t freak out. It’s just one phrase. “He who practices righteousness is righteous.”

    Of course I sin. Even the Pope sins. We all go to confession.

    Here’s an example. I practice my oboe. I’m not ready to audition for the NY Phil. but I’m getting better as I practice. I am actually playing the instrument. Someone else is not doing the playing. However, I would not be playing at all if I had no talent from God to begin with. So, it is my playing, but the talent is from Him. However, I actually have to take the thing out of the case and blow into it if I am going to develop that talent by the grace of God.

    In a similar way a Christian by practicing righteousness becomes more righteous. How does he or she practice? By the grace God gives to do so. We are given a gift that we need to develop and make it our own. The growth comes from Him. It is the righteousness He is forming in me. Partaking of the sacraments is the biggest means to that end. Then there are the ordinary means like prayer and reading the Bible daily and all those things that all Christians do or should do. Good works are part of it as well. Loving those who do not love us back. Giving to the poor, and so forth.

    It is all to His glory, and I have a long way to go before I reach the beatific vision. That is where He is leading me – and where He is leading every believer in Christ if we persevere. You believe in the perseverance of the saints as well, after all. Does that make you self righteous just because the goal is to become like Christ, the Righteous One; to enter God’s presence; and to enjoy Him forever?

    I don’t understand you guys, but that’s okay. …and I’m not gonna’ quit calling you my brothers. So deal with it. 😉

    You have a good rest of the afternoon. I gotta’ practice.

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  264. Sean,

    Webby can speak for herself but fairly sure she brought up the mortal/venial distinction earlier with darryl and kent. Anywho, just limiting ourselves to John’s statements we can draw out what is implied with his statements:
    “The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did … No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him … This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister … The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us … We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin”
    on one hand, then we also have on the other
    “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” and the countless other NT verses affirming regenerate faithful believers still sin and need ongoing forgiveness. (and of course the old standby of 1 John 5:16-17 where at least *something* called mortal sin is discussed and distinguished but we don’t even need that much – the above suffices)

    So regenerate sin in one sense, but not in another – nor John or RCism is affirming some form of absolute perfectionism which seems to be informing some of the objections to Webby’s points. So what to do to reconcile the statements? We can make the c/v/m distinction. Or since many here freely agree they are habitually and damnably and grievously sinning and disobeying his commands every second of their life (I’d also note that for all the jabs about self-righteousness, one can be self-righteous about their supposed lack of self-righteousness), that position would need to be reconciled with the first set of statements from John asserting that such behavior is incompatible with regeneration.

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  265. Wait, Webtales, don’t go. How do you sin if you’re born of God? The righteous don’t sin if they’re born of God. It’s clear. You said so, yourself. Now, you want to talk about practice! And gradations of righteousness! Wha happened? I’m so confused. We went from clear to I go to confession. Except for Tom, allegedly.

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  266. sean, I am sorry that you are confused, but that is certainly not my fault. Why don’t you get a good commentary of the book of 1 John and try to figure it out. This is really important, more important than repeating mechanically that you possess the imputed righteousness of Christ. What if He demands that you prove it?

    Read some John Owen for help if you don’t want to rely on the self righteous old me. You have heard of him, haven’t you? His The Mortification of Sin was actually one really important stop for me on my journey Home.

    No, reading him will not lead you to the Catholic Church, but it may lead you to a deeper understanding of your brand of Christianity.

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  267. Mrs W,

    I appreciate the attempt. I honestly do. You want to paint us in the best possible light, so you strive to call us separated brothers.

    Here’s the thing. Take these three propositions:

    (1) Believing Protestants are separated brothers (Webfoot)

    (2) It is rare and difficult for Protestant adults to be saved (Baltimore Catechism)

    (3) Church teaching is infallibly correct.

    You can pick any two, but not all three.

    Peace,

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  268. sean
    Posted August 25, 2015 at 6:36 pm | Permalink
    Hey, look, it’s Tommy! Tommy, did you make it to confession on Sat. so you could take the wafer on Sunday? You gotta work the program, Tomster. That’s how it works. Ex opere operato and all. Very unrighteous if you didn’t. EWTN doesn’t cut it. And you’re to young to have the EM make it to your house every week, plus it takes twelve year old scotch(at least) to keep ’em coming.

    sean
    Posted August 25, 2015 at 6:41 pm | Permalink
    But hey, Tom, maybe you can help, so, do you never sin or are you not laying claim to being born of God in the 1 Jon sense? And don’t blame me, I tried to suggest a different path for Webber, she insisted.

    Punking nice Catholic ladies and otherwise acting like a steaming butthole is a poor endorsement for whatever religion you’re selling.

    @DykeVanTom Bad behavior + right doctrine sheds doubt on whether the doctrine can truly be right. If so, why is it not having an impact?

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  269. Jeff Cagle
    Posted August 25, 2015 at 7:58 pm | Permalink
    Mrs W,

    I appreciate the attempt. I honestly do. You want to paint us in the best possible light, so you strive to call us separated brothers.

    Here’s the thing. Take these three propositions:

    (1) Believing Protestants are separated brothers (Webfoot)

    (2) It is rare and difficult for Protestant adults to be saved (Baltimore Catechism)

    (3) Church teaching is infallibly correct.

    You can pick any two, but not all three.

    Peace,>>>>>

    Nice try, Jeff, but the Baltimore Catechism was talking specifically about dying with mortal sin on your soul. I showed that if Brother Hart really is an adulterer, then he needs to resign as an elder in the OPC. I showed that Kent really had not killed anyone on the NY subway.

    So, at best, these guys are mediocre sinners and I am afraid that even according to the Baltimore Catechism, they are separated brothers.

    …and several trotted out the common neo-Calvinist understanding of being righteous in Christ, so something. So, they don’t have to actually be righteous as well or do righteousness? I don’t quite get that given the fact that you guys seem to want to distance yourselves from neo-Calvinism.

    …and I got called a lot of names, so what’s up with that? Not a whole lotta’ Christlikeness going on here, but I guess you don’t have to be Christlike if you have His covering of righteousness.

    Lotsa’ confusion, here, Jeff. Maybe you could help some of your Reformed brethren with their theology.

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  270. Hey, West Hollywood boy, do tell about the steaming buttholes, or rather don’t. But whichever route you take, then make sure to confess it on Saturday so you can take the waf….well, hopefully you got it by now. Wash, rinse, repeat. I have nothing against nice catholic ladies, now, the ones in the habits……..there’s a different conversation.

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  271. So regenerate sin in one sense, but not in another

    Bingo, but not in the sense you think. The regenerate do not commit the sin of final apostasy. But if mortal sin a la Romanism is the sin John is talking about, why does Rome pray for mortal sinners when John at the very least doesn’t recommend it?

    nor John or RCism is affirming some form of absolute perfectionism which seems to be informing some of the objections to Webby’s points.

    So are you denying that it is possible, according to Roman Catholicism, to die without mortal or venial sin? I thought Rome said that was possible and that such persons go straight past purgatory to heaven. How would that be different from absolute perfectionism?

    So what to do to reconcile the statements? We can make the c/v/m distinction.

    If John did, we could. But he doesn’t, and even if he did something close to it, it seems Rome ignores his advice about praying for those who sin mortally.

    Or since many here freely agree they are habitually and damnably and grievously sinning and disobeying his commands every second of their life, that position would need to be reconciled with the first set of statements from John asserting that such behavior is incompatible with regeneration.

    Easy. Despite the ongoing sin in the life of the believer, their life is in the main oriented toward Christ, not away from him. They are being sanctified, and improving. But as one person here has said, even if one conquers one sin, the one being sanctified learns of another he never knew he had before. IOW, for the Christian, its two steps toward Jesus, one step back. For the non-Christian, its two steps back and two steps back and two steps back. The problem for Rome is that it doesn’t view one step back as all that bad, unless you’re one of those really really bad people.

    (I’d also note that for all the jabs about self-righteousness, one can be self-righteous about their supposed lack of self-righteousness)

    Sure, and we should be careful about it, but we’re still covered by Christ. Is self-righteousness about a lack of self-righteousness mortal or veinal?

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  272. Jeff Cagle
    Posted August 25, 2015 at 7:58 pm | Permalink
    Mrs W,

    I appreciate the attempt. I honestly do. You want to paint us in the best possible light, so you strive to call us separated brothers.

    Here’s the thing. Take these three propositions:

    (1) Believing Protestants are separated brothers (Webfoot)

    (2) It is rare and difficult for Protestant adults to be saved (Baltimore Catechism)

    (3) Church teaching is infallibly correct.

    You can pick any two, but not all three.

    Peace,

    (3) commits the DG Hart fallacy/error/lie, which continually insists the Catholic Church claims infallibility for anything ever said under its auspices. For instance, although it’s authoritative, the Catechism is not claimed to be infallible [nor are papal bulls].

    In this case–since perhaps one out of 10 of Dr. Hart’s readers is actually interested in the truth, from what I gather, the Church has taught that a baptized Protestant would indeed be saved if he had committed no mortal sin. The logic is consistent; since Protestants do not/cannot partake of the sacrament of Penance–and thus receive absolution by a proper successor of the apostles

    God had sent Jesus to forgive sins, but after his resurrection Jesus told the apostles, “‘As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.’ And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained’” (John 20:21–23).

    Since Catholicism teaches a literal apostolic succession–and Protestantism does not have literally/licitly ordained apostolic successors–the theology is quite consistent.

    I’m not going to dig for what the Catechism might mean by an “adult Protestant,” but the possibility of one actually getting to know what the Catholic Church teaches [let alone accept it] would indeed be quite rare and exceedingly difficult, if Darryl Hart’s “Old Life Theological Society” is any gauge.

    But this does not preclude some miraculous mechanism at the time of death, making “adult Protestant” a stage but not the terminus of this mortal coil.

    2822 Our Father “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. He “is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish.” His commandment is “that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” This commandment summarizes all the others and expresses his entire will.

    BTW, Jeff–and anyone else who’s still reading–The Baltimore Catechism was a product of American bishopry for use by children in Catholic schools and was last revised in the 1960s. Adult Protestants should not use it as a weapon against the Catholic Church.

    Until double-checking some of the “that can’t be true!” crap Old Life trots out as authentic Catholic teaching, Jeff, I had no idea the actual real Catechism of the Catholic Church

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM

    was so Biblical. And it’s frankly beautiful. It reads not like some cementhead instruction book for Catholic-bots, it reads with love, like the Psalms. Who knew?

    In hope, the Church prays for “all men to be saved.” She longs to be united with Christ, her Bridegroom, in the glory of heaven:

    Hope, O my soul, hope. You know neither the day nor the hour. Watch carefully, for everything passes quickly, even though your impatience makes doubtful what is certain, and turns a very short time into a long one. Dream that the more you struggle, the more you prove the love that you bear your God, and the more you will rejoice one day with your Beloved, in a happiness and rapture that can never end.*

    This must be the power and the glory, me brother, the kingdom. All this other stuff is just so goddamned boring.
    _____________

    *St. Teresa of Avila, Excl. 15:3.

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  273. Clete, you’re trying to harmonize scripture, Tom is against it. But, I’m still looking for your C/V/M verse. I understand the theology, I’m just looking for it in scripture.

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  274. Webster,
    In “The Sins of Believers Considered” John Owen takes up I John 3:9, “whoever is born of God doth not commit sin.” He puts the verse in the context of other scriptures such as I John 1:8 “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.” He concludes that the verse means “he doth not so commit sin as the children of the devil, that wicked one, do; he sins not unto death, with impenitency” and “doth not commit sin in such a way as to be separated from communion of God thereby…” This is in the middle of an exceedingly tedious argument against Goodwin.

    I don’t see how Owen helps you.

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  275. Muddy Gravel
    Posted August 25, 2015 at 10:36 pm | Permalink
    Webster,
    In “The Sins of Believers Considered” John Owen takes up I John 3:9, “whoever is born of God doth not commit sin.” He puts the verse in the context of other scriptures such as I John 1:8 “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.” He concludes that the verse means “he doth not so commit sin as the children of the devil, that wicked one, do; he sins not unto death, with impenitency” and “doth not commit sin in such a way as to be separated from communion of God thereby…” This is in the middle of an exceedingly tedious argument against Goodwin.

    I don’t see how Owen helps you.

    You seem to be arguing Owen against Owen, Brother Mud. This helps you even less, since he’s your man, not hers.

    Even if you win you lose.

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  276. Trouble is, Tom, that the Baltimore Catechism is (a) authoritative, and (b) actual teaching if the church.

    Your words are neither.

    So I repeat: the RC church teaches that it is unlikely for an adult Protestant to be saved. And you and Webfoot ought to believe it, if you accept the authority of the church.

    Yet you don’t…

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  277. Not that I’m on the edge of my seat wondering what Owen says. Like Pink, he seems to be especially beloved by cage phasers. And his writing style wards off readers like deet drives away mosquitoes. On the plus side, his insults are up there with Luther’s.

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  278. Muddy:
    I don’t see how Owen helps you.>>>

    Oh, I am hoping that Owen will help you. It doesn’t matter if he helps me or not as in helping me to win an argument.

    Besides, you skipped a key phrase in 1 John 3:7 – “He who practices righteousness is righteous.”

    This is not talking about the imputed righteousness of Christ. How can I say that? The next phrase is the following.:

    “…as He is righteous.”

    Who is the beloved Apostle John talking about that practices righteousness and is righteous?

    There’s more to righteousness than what you have been told. It is much more glorious, and much closer to you than you think. As you become one with Him, you become like Him. You become who you really are. You become what a human being was meant to be.

    You are no longer a helpless, hopeless sinner. You are God’s dear child, and my dear brother.

    1 John 3:2-3English Standard Version (ESV)

    2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears[a] we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

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  279. “There’s more to righteousness than what you have been told. It is much more glorious, and much closer to you than you think. As you become one with Him, you become like Him. You become who you really are. You become what a human being was meant to be.”

    Classic Webster. 1) You have no idea what I have been told. 2) You know little of what I think. And yet…

    I’ve said this before, but probably not to you: rather than Prot v. RC, I see similar people on the Prot and RC side. On the Prot side, you’re a kindred spirits with the Pentecostals. You are one with him. Hence your omniscience, I suppose.

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  280. Web, I thought you understood our system? We have a doctrine of sanctification that follows an indicative-imperative structure. It works roughly like this,’these things(identity in Christ) be true of you, therefore behave/live/conduct yourself in such and such a way.’ So, 1 jon makes perfect sense in light of say, Rom 6, where Paul asks the rhetorical question, ‘Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? By NO means. How can we who died to sin still live in it?’

    There’s more, you wanted whole counsel, we can do Colossians 2 on how NOT to do sanctfication(IOW, sincerity is inadequate. You can be monastic, philosophical, committed to your man made traditions of religiosity and be false) or Gal 3 and the role of law and grace and their proper functions. There are apostolic means by which we may pursue God and false means.

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  281. Mrs. Webfoot
    Posted August 25, 2015 at 2:43 pm | Permalink
    Ali
    Posted August 25, 2015 at 2:22 pm | Permalink
    Mrs W: “he has not only brought condemnation on himself”

    Mrs W. Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Rom 8:1>>>>

    A text without a context is a pretext, as some wise Protestants say. Read your proof text in context.

    If a person’s mind is set on adultery and murder, then they are opposed to God. See what I mean?

    Now, I do not believe that either Brother Hart or Brother Kent or Brother Muddy set their minds on adultery and murder. If they do, then they are in heap big trouble. What they are doing is trying to show that since they are such wretched sinners, they cannot possibly to be separated brethren.

    Then, they call me names in order to prove some point, yet ignore Scripture. I am an easy target.

    However, in doing so, they are saying that they are not saved at all, but that they have minds that are hostile not to Catholicism, but rather to God Himself.

    Read the whole passage, Ali. In your zeal to prove the Church wrong, be careful not to fall into grave error yourself.

    Ex-Catholics are common as dirt, I make it. The ex-Protestants who din’t become atheists or “none of the above” but instead swam the Tiber got some serious Bible chops.

    Dr. Hart, it’s to your disgrace that you diminish this person as “mermaid.” You’re not her equal either in heart or mind. This is what the real thing looks like, people.

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  282. Jeff –

    [Jeff] Upon a time when Bryan Cross visited these serene shores, he took the position that Catholic sources did not count as the official teaching of the church unless those sources were the Catechism or official ecumenical conciliar canons.

    Catechisms are fine sources, but you are looking for a more systematic, in-depth understanding than the Catechisms are designed for. Ludwig Ott’s Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma is very standard, and provides a we a very well organized and annotated condensation of Catholic teachings produced in the 1950s, just 496p plus bibliography, indices of subjects and persons and Scriptural citations). It’s really an extraordinary book.

    Again, I’ve not used Denzinger, but it is a collection of authoritative teachings from councils, declarations, creeds – indispensable for theological work I’m told, although I haven’t bought a copy yet.

    Ott, Denzinger, the current CCC, BC3/4 (ideally Fr. Connell’s edition from the 1940s; and never forget the BC is based on the Tridentine Catechism) – these should make quite clear what qualifies as official teachings or not. At a minimum, I would say the CCC and Ott. The Catholic Encyclopedia at newadvent is great, too.

    In other words, if I quoted an encyclical, it was treated as “not the official teaching of the church”, but just the (fallible) opinion of a pope. So this raises an important question: How does a Catholic know what the teaching of the Church actually is?

    Faith is a virtue – a moral habit. It motivates our intuition as we devote attention to it and relate it to our other activities and interests. It transforms us similarly to how lust, cruelty, or greed do, but instead of seeing everything with reference to base motives, we see it with reference to the faith. sensus catholicus.

    If you ask me what the PCA teaches, I can point to the Bible as the infallible rule and the Westminster Standards as the standard, fallible understanding of that rule. What does the Catholic point to?

    To elaborate on my discussion of sources above – Christ’s teaching as passed to the Apostles lies at the heart of any teachings about the faith, obviously, and the teaching of the Apostles as they shared the words of Christ and worked out the ramifications of the extraordinary experience they had been through and task they were given provided the basis for all future participation in it.

    The faith spread from generation to generation, each having men and women of great holiness, most having skilled theologians, and as ideas were compared against what I called a Catholic Sense above (substitute a different term if you like, but I think the concept is valid) defined understandings came into being (from the earliest years). The best of these were passed on and at times systematized.

    Rome has always made the judgment of what that best is (takes some as a basis for teaching, names great theologians Doctors). It helps to understand how “Rome” works – lunch following soon after breakfast, then a nap, then time for dinner and a quiet evening stroll with friends or lively family get-together – I exaggerate, but the values aren’t those most would associate with Berlin or London or NYC.

    You might ask – why trust Ott or Denziger since they aren’t popes? Delegation and approval – Rome doesn’t mind letting others do the work, and if well done, giving approval. To put it another way, popes simply can’t and don’t work alone – the Church is a community, a society open to all men and including all of the faithful

    Since the object of faith lies outside of humanity, all who partake in it develop the same sense to a greater or lesser extent as the faith becomes habitual in them. Rome approves or rejects. When a pope says something is infallible because it partakes of this faith, the RCC accepts it as such.

    Encyclicals work similarly via having subordinates draft summaries, make recommendations, and assemble the final documents for encyclicals. The pope is responsible for the statements of faith in the final document, of course.

    So I’m trying to answer your source-of-knowledge questions, but I think it requires offering a more general perspective as well (busy week, am a bit tired). I have a spreadsheet together to address the RCC’s perspective on heresy, separated brethren, etc., and will address tomorrow or this weekend from Northern Virginia.

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  283. Mermaid, sin for you is too easily ignored. It’s like you made a mistake while practicing your oboe. You haven’t taken seriously the Sermon on the Mount.

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  284. vd, t, “although it’s authoritative, the Catechism is not claimed to be infallible [nor are papal bulls].”

    “Since Catholicism teaches a literal apostolic succession–and Protestantism does not have literally/licitly ordained apostolic successors–the theology is quite consistent.”

    Whoever asserts apostolic succession has consistent authoritative teaching.

    As if.

    Think the Anglican Communion. And apostolic succession is the reason Rome has engaged with ecumenical talks with the Church of England.

    As if.

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  285. muddy, but if you have two verses that prove papal supremacy, you can make John say whatever you want.

    Remember, Mary the second Eve.

    Jesus the second Cain.

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  286. Tom — serious question: Are you living (in a religious sense) vicariously through these “good catholics” like Madam Webfoot? It’s nice that you think well of them, but is that enough?

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  287. You [Webfoot] want to paint us in the best possible light, so you strive to call us separated brothers.

    Jeff, I’m not so sure. In context, it tends to come across as pretty condescending. There seems to be a difference between this “separated brethren” jazz in conjunction with Trent’s anathema and maintaining the doctrine of the true church, that there are goats within and sheep without, and without naming names compelling those wandering sheep to cleave to her. But to call brethren those you also condemn reminds me of a past human communications prof who summed up the way women can communicate with men with a simultaneous “come hither” and “go away” gesture.

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  288. sean: We have a doctrine of sanctification that follows an indicative-imperative structure.

    THERE YOU GO WEB!!! Another piece of the puzzle, the indicative-imperative structure.

    Maybe try to spend 10 seconds learning about it? It’s kind of important to us.

    Forgotten it exists already?

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  289. @DykeVanTom: Bad behavior + right doctrine sheds doubt on whether the doctrine can truly be right. If so, why is it not having an impact?

    Don’t know about that tvd. I think we’re told Satan has right doctrine. James 2:19.
    Why not having the impact? I think for the most part we know why, from our own personal experience, right?

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  290. @ Zrim: I hear you, but I think it is genuinely important to Webfoot that believing non-Catholics can be saved Christians. Family is thicker than doctrine.

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  291. Robert,

    “The regenerate do not commit the sin of final apostasy.”

    John says the regenerate do not continue to sin and continue to disobey Christ’s commands and must walk as Christ did. There is no indication he is confining it to only final apostasy. Which correlates with Paul’s listing of sins that are also incompatible with regeneration (two of which is adultery and murder which some here seem to freely admit they are engaging in every second of their lives by their gloss of Christ’s words).

    “But if mortal sin a la Romanism is the sin John is talking about, why does Rome pray for mortal sinners when John at the very least doesn’t recommend it?”

    Prayer covers venial sin, it does not cover mortal sin which is normally absolved through confession.

    “So are you denying that it is possible, according to Roman Catholicism, to die without mortal or venial sin?”

    It’s possible. My point was that the retorts to Webby of “so you haven’t sinned and are perfect right?” based on her citation of John are off the mark. John affirms believers sin and deceive themselves if they deny it while at the same time affirming they don’t sin. The Lord’s prayer affirms believers sin and must be continually forgiven. And so on.

    “If John did, we could.”

    He does by the implication of the statements already adduced, along with his explicit statement of something called mortal sin that has to be explained rather than just shrugged off as “mysterious”.

    “Easy. Despite the ongoing sin in the life of the believer, their life is in the main oriented toward Christ, not away from him.”

    So their life is oriented toward Christ even as they grievously damnably sin every second of their life? That sounds like habitual and continual sin that John says is incompatible with regeneration given you conflate c/v/m distinction as simply always being the equivalent of mortal sin.

    “They are being sanctified, and improving.”

    How are they improving if they continue to damnably sin every second of their life? Shouldn’t they be sinning less if they’re improving?

    Sean,

    Part of theology derives from harmonizing Scripture don’t you think – “good and necessary consequence” and all that jazz right – so why you demur at that approach confuses me.

    Darryl,

    That’s an odd question – why I appeal to John? Why do councils, popes, and catechisms appeal to Scripture? Are they being inconsistent in doing so? Of course not. It’s STM remember. But of course we see the c/v/m distinction attested to in Tradition as well, but since the conversation was centered on Webby’s appeal to Scripture it seemed best to limit it to that.

    “But if you do cite John, what about the rest of the Bible?”

    Hmm? John doesn’t contradict the rest of the Bible and so unsurprisingly passages could be adduced elsewhere supporting the c/v/m distinction – I was just limiting to John for now since that’s where the conversation centered.

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  292. Kevin: Ott, Denzinger, the current CCC, BC3/4 (ideally Fr. Connell’s edition from the 1940s; and never forget the BC is based on the Tridentine Catechism) – these should make quite clear what qualifies as official teachings or not. At a minimum, I would say the CCC and Ott. The Catholic Encyclopedia at newadvent is great, too.

    Good, thanks.

    JRC: In other words, if I quoted an encyclical, it was treated as “not the official teaching of the church”, but just the (fallible) opinion of a pope. So this raises an important question: How does a Catholic know what the teaching of the Church actually is?

    KN: Faith is a virtue – a moral habit. It motivates our intuition as we devote attention to it and relate it to our other activities and interests. It transforms us similarly to how lust, cruelty, or greed do, but instead of seeing everything with reference to base motives, we see it with reference to the faith. sensus catholicus.

    That’s a very interesting reply that sends us in several directions at once. But with reference to our current direction, I would observe that this answer is much much less clear than your other one (Ott, Denzinger, etc).

    You say, in essence, that the Church does not definitively identify its own teaching so much as it unites around it, first tentatively and then by unspoken consensus. One is reminded of a flock of birds.

    I find that fascinating yet strange. On the one hand, Catholic teaching is authoritative; on the other, it is never authoritatively identified. That system solves a conceptual problem in a manner parallel to the Protestant canon (a fallible list of infallible books). Yet it creates another problem. A given Catholic is left struggling as to which sentences to treat as authoritative. Is the Baltimore catechism of 1899 authoritative for the Catholic of today? Tom can’t tell.

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  293. @ Cletus:

    I can’t see a Catholic reading of I John.

    Let’s start with the gospel of John, which is strongly predestinarian (“not born of a husband’s will”; “you did not call me”; “no one comes to me unless the Father draws him”; “All that he gives me will come and I will lose none of them”; etc). It is the primary driver of the Canons of Dordt, the document that put the TULIP in Calvinism.

    So unless you want to argue that John and I John are by different authors (anyone? CD-Host?), we need to take the Gospel of John as theological background for I John. And in particular, we need to understand that John the author does not subscribe to any notion of Catholic free-will. The idea that there is “concupiscence” that is not sin, yet becomes sin when we will ourselves to act according to it, is foreign to John. Instead he writes this:

    15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[f] is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

    For John, what counts as sin is what your heart loves. Concupiscence, the secret loves of the heart for the things of this world, is sin.

    Likewise, John believes that acting in a righteous manner follows on the heels of being born again:

    19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.

    If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.

    And again,

    Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears,[h] we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

    Being children of God precedes holy living. That’s the point of distinguishing forensic righteousness from infused righteousness.

    So what about perseverance? John makes several comments that require perseverance from his readers.

    As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father.

    and

    And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.

    and

    No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.

    You seem to be arguing that John means “those who are born of God must not continue to sin, lest they become not-children-of-God.”

    But he doesn’t say that. He affirms that all who are children of God will not continue to sin. He is affirming perseverance of the saints. In what sense? In the sense of sinless perfection, or in the sense of living a life of repentance of sin? Clearly the former:

    If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[b] sin.

    8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

    This is describing a life lived in repentance from ongoing sins.

    So what do we have? Does John posit a soteriology in which one can pass from death to life, then back to death if sin is great enough, then back to life if the sacrament of penance is performed, then back to death for another mortal sin, then back to life again …?

    Me genoito! Perfect love casts out fear, and the Catholic who understands that his heart is sinful but believes that his salvation hangs on maintaining grace-empowered righteousness by exertion of cooperating will must necessarily live in fear. If he doesn’t fear, he either doesn’t know his own heart, or he really believes much more in the efficacy of grace than of the will (in which case, he is Lutheran in spirit).

    No, John’s soteriology is one in which the believer is already brought from death to live and will necessarily not go on sinning BECAUSE the believer is born of him and because eternal life resides in him. For John, righteous living is evidentiary of the life already possessed, per 2.15, 2.19, 2.29, 3.10, 3.18-19, 4.17, 4.20, 5.2.

    OK, so what about this?

    16 If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.

    Does this indicate that someone born of God and possessing eternal life can then sin in such a way as to then pass from life to death?

    No. Next verse:

    18 We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.

    It would be a poor kind of keeping safe if one possessing eternal life were able to kill him or herself through sin. Recall Jesus’ words in John 10.

    Rather, we must remember that one of the burdens of I John is there are many who do not belong, who are identified in various ways (2.4, 2.9, 2.15, 2.19, etc). A “brother” or “sister” may be one in name only.

    It is these who are sinning a sin that leads to death. It is those who need prayer. The alternative is to posit some kind of “c/v/m” distinction, which is entirely absent from John’s terminology and structure.

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  294. Cletus,

    John says the regenerate do not continue to sin and continue to disobey Christ’s commands and must walk as Christ did. There is no indication he is confining it to only final apostasy. Which correlates with Paul’s listing of sins that are also incompatible with regeneration (two of which is adultery and murder which some here seem to freely admit they are engaging in every second of their lives by their gloss of Christ’s words).

    “The sin that leads to death”—what is spiritual death but final apostasy? Because even in the Roman Catholic system, it isn’t ultimately a mortal sin that leads to spiritual death but the failure to repent for mortal sin. People commit mortal sin all the time in RCism, but it doesn’t lead to death because they confess and repent.

    Prayer covers venial sin, it does not cover mortal sin which is normally absolved through confession.

    So RCs don’t pray for those who are in mortal sin that they might repent, a practice which at best John doesn’t really recommend?

    It’s possible. My point was that the retorts to Webby of “so you haven’t sinned and are perfect right?” based on her citation of John are off the mark. John affirms believers sin and deceive themselves if they deny it while at the same time affirming they don’t sin. The Lord’s prayer affirms believers sin and must be continually forgiven. And so on.

    They’re not off the mark. Web is implicitly endorsing a form of perfectionism, which is totally in line with RC theology. It’s not that much different from Wesleyanism.

    He does by the implication of the statements already adduced, along with his explicit statement of something called mortal sin that has to be explained rather than just shrugged off as “mysterious”.

    But if John is talking about mortal sin a la Roman Catholicism, why in the world are you not following his advice to not pray for those in mortal sin? There’s no “mystery” here. The mortal sin is the sin that ends in spiritual death, and the only sin that does that is final apostasy, that is, the failure to repent. This has to be true even in Roman Catholicism, otherwise there could be no recovery from adultery, murder, etc.

    So their life is oriented toward Christ even as they grievously damnably sin every second of their life?

    Grievous and damnable aren’t the same category. All grievous sins are damnable, but not all damnable sins are grievous.

    That sounds like habitual and continual sin that John says is incompatible with regeneration given you conflate c/v/m distinction as simply always being the equivalent of mortal sin.

    There’s a difference between walking toward Christ 2 steps and walking back 1.75 steps than there is to keep walking back away from him 2 steps every moment of one’s life.

    How are they improving if they continue to damnably sin every second of their life? Shouldn’t they be sinning less if they’re improving?

    The believer will have more love for God over time. He will be more concerned to do His will. In some ways that may translate into less sin—believers even gain significant victory over certain sins in their lives. The problem is that they keep determining new ones they didn’t know about before. Those were still condemnable sins even when committed in ignorance.

    So the thief might come to a point where he stops swiping his neighbor’s goods. That’s an improvement. It is sinning less. But stopping theft isn’t enough if he’s still coveting, still lusting in his heart, still deceiving others, still hating, etc.

    Believers keep getting ever so closer to Christ—an improvement. They just don’t ever become perfect and entirely free of sin. And only perfect people get into heaven.

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  295. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 26, 2015 at 6:30 am | Permalink
    vd, t, “although it’s authoritative, the Catechism is not claimed to be infallible [nor are papal bulls].”

    “Since Catholicism teaches a literal apostolic succession–and Protestantism does not have literally/licitly ordained apostolic successors–the theology is quite consistent.”

    Whoever asserts apostolic succession has consistent authoritative teaching.

    As if.

    Think the Anglican Communion. And apostolic succession is the reason Rome has engaged with ecumenical talks with the Church of England.

    As if.

    Do you have a point, Butch? I didn’t think so. Have you done any research into the topic? No, I didn’t think so. You make your readers more ignorant, not less. Quite a gift for an “educator.”

    As a matter of fact, Anglican clergy entering the Catholic Church are given the sacrament of Holy Orders anew, meaning that their Anglican orders are not licit.

    http://canonlawmadeeasy.com/2011/01/20/the-validity-of-anglican-holy-orders/

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  296. Jeff,

    “And in particular, we need to understand that John the author does not subscribe to any notion of Catholic free-will.”

    Of course the Thomist notion of Catholic free-will is strongly predestinarian and yet rejects TULIP. We needn’t brush with broad general strokes as if there isn’t diversity of thought on the concepts of predestination, election, grace, and the will within orthodox RCism.

    “The idea that there is “concupiscence” that is not sin, yet becomes sin when we will ourselves to act according to it, is foreign to John”

    Is it foreign to James? “but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

    “Being children of God precedes holy living.”

    Of course – who argues otherwise?

    “You seem to be arguing that John means “those who are born of God must not continue to sin, lest they become not-children-of-God.””

    I’m arguing those who are born of God will “sin” in the sense of venial sin and concupiscence, they will not sin in the sense of mortal sin as that is incompatible with regeneration per John’s statement that those born of God do not sin and obey Christ’s commands.

    “He affirms that all who are children of God will not continue to sin.”

    Which is denied by your cohorts here who freely admit they are continuing to sin every second of their lives.

    “This is describing a life lived in repentance from ongoing sins.”

    Okay. So what is repentance from ongoing sins if you continue to engage in ongoing sin every second of your life? Is the biblical definition of repentance just feeling bad about sin even as you continue to do it every second?

    “John’s soteriology is one in which the believer is already brought from death to live and will necessarily not go on sinning”

    But everyone here keeps saying the believer will go on sinning, not that they won’t.

    “For John, righteous living is evidentiary of the life already possessed”

    Agreed. That does not entail one cannot kill that life by acting in a way incompatible with regeneration as he describes:
    “The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did … No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him … This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister … The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us … We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin”

    “Rather, we must remember that one of the burdens of I John is there are many who do not belong,”

    True. There are those who will not persevere and so do not belong to the elect.

    “It is these who are sinning a sin that leads to death. It is those who need prayer.”

    John says those are not to be prayed for.

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  297. Jeff-

    Just time for a quick reply.

    [JRC: How does a Catholic know what the teaching of the Church actually is?

    KN: Faith is a virtue – a moral habit. It motivates our intuition as we devote attention to it and relate it to our other activities and interests. It transforms us similarly to how lust, cruelty, or greed do, but instead of seeing everything with reference to base motives, we see it with reference to the faith. sensus catholicus.

    That’s a very interesting reply that sends us in several directions at once. But with reference to our current direction, I would observe that this answer is much much less clear than your other one (Ott, Denzinger, etc).

    You say, in essence, that the Church does not definitively identify its own teaching so much as it unites around it, first tentatively and then by unspoken consensus. One is reminded of a flock of birds.

    Ecclesiastical poetry. Thanks for the image, which I’ll be sharing.

    Birds can’t write, of course. And we can’t record at a given time everything that that the faith entails. Works written and approved (nihil obstat- nothing [objectional to faith] stands in the way, I think, and imprimatur- ecclesiastical direction that a work be printed, dispersed) are reliable, such as the 1899 BC (which I am quite happy to use). How reliable? If the pope makes an ex cathedra prouncement, then absolutely. But this doesn’t happen.

    Catholicism doesn’t have something like the 3 forms of unity, although the Tridentine Catechism played a similar role from Trent to the introduction of the CCC. It is still completely reliable, although a few distinctions of concepts, papal pronouncements, and conciliar decisions aren’t in the original version.

    The BC? Its reliability depends upon its contemporary approval to a great extent, but more upon the sources it draws from (councils, papal statements, and principally because it is derived from the Tridentine Catechism).

    I find that fascinating yet strange. On the one hand, Catholic teaching is authoritative; on the other, it is never authoritatively identified.

    It is, when the official catechisms are introduced- but, surely more can be said about the Reformed faith than is explicitly in the WCF? Is there really a significant difference here? In principal, you could continue to update the WCF to incorporate new (absolutely not novel) insights, as with the section on the role of the magistrate, no?

    Ott has a whole gradation of certainty from de fide to credible-opinion-of-a-pope attached to the statements in his book.

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  298. JC: You say, in essence, that the Church does not definitively identify its own teaching so much as it unites around it, first tentatively and then by unspoken consensus. One is reminded of a flock of birds.

    KN: Ecclesiastical poetry. Thanks for the image, which I’ll be sharing.

    Great stuff, both of you. Elegant, as I like to reserve for my highest praise.

    Birds can’t write, of course. And we can’t record at a given time everything that that the faith entails. Works written and approved (nihil obstat- nothing [objectional to faith] stands in the way, I think, and imprimatur- ecclesiastical direction that a work be printed, dispersed) are reliable, such as the 1899 BC (which I am quite happy to use). How reliable? If the pope makes an ex cathedra pronouncement, then absolutely. But this doesn’t happen.

    Good philosophy has worked this way. As our understanding grows, so does our certainty. God is always the same, from Genesis to Revelation, but there’s an arc.

    Catholicism doesn’t have something like the 3 forms of unity, although the Tridentine Catechism played a similar role from Trent to the introduction of the CCC. It is still completely reliable, although a few distinctions of concepts, papal pronouncements, and conciliar decisions aren’t in the original version.

    The BC? Its reliability depends upon its contemporary approval to a great extent, but more upon the sources it draws from (councils, papal statements, and principally because it is derived from the Tridentine Catechism).

    I find that fascinating yet strange. On the one hand, Catholic teaching is authoritative; on the other, it is never authoritatively identified.

    I’m glad you think the comparison of the catechism[s] and the confessions as authoritative but not necessarily infallible is a valid one. For instance, we might say “there is no salvation outside the Church,” but what does that mean. For instance, I noticed the 1891 Catholic catechism taught that since Protestants are licitly baptized, one not in the state of mortal sin would still be saved.

    Therefore, “the Church” is not necessarily the Catholic Church, but licit Christian baptism–although absolution from mortal sin could only be granted by a successor of the apostles, IOW, a Catholic priest.

    But is that the ONLY way? The Bible doesn’t say so. Perhaps God himself forgives us at the hour of our death, amen. So you can see, the 1891 Catholic catechism could still be accurate theologically. That would not make it wrong, only incomplete.

    It is, when the official catechisms are introduced- but, surely more can be said about the Reformed faith than is explicitly in the WCF? Is there really a significant difference here? In principal, you could continue to update the WCF to incorporate new (absolutely not novel) insights, as with the section on the role of the magistrate, no?

    The same could be true of the WCF on the role of the magistrate, which is not the same in occupied Judea, under a monarchy, or in a democracy. All of the formulations over the centuries of the WCF could be theologically sound, but any one of them would be incomplete, not universally applicable, as the Bible is.

    Catechisms and confessions are theological distillations of the primary authority, the Word of God [which for Catholics includes Tradition, which orthodox Protestants misunderestimate their debt to, since the Trinity is a Tradition, not explicitly in the scriptures].

    Ott has a whole gradation of certainty from de fide to credible-opinion-of-a-pope attached to the statements in his book.

    This sounds about right, contra Darryl Hart’s confusions about Catholic teaching, as though if you think Francis has his head up his ass about global warming, the Council of Trent condemns you to hell.

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  299. @ Cletus:

    Meaty responses, as always. Thanks.

    We have to be careful with James, because his aim is not to answer the question, “At what exact psychological motion do we become guilty of sin?”, but “Does temptation come from God or from our own hearts?”

    So you’re pressing the passage into a sercice for which it was not directly intended. That doesn’t invalidate your point by itself, but it does make us slow down a bit.

    James as quoted is consistent with a CVM model of sin, but does not necessitate it. Other passages are inconsistent with CVM. How was Jesus tempted as we are, as Hebrews says that He was? No concupiscence in Him.

    This is the tip of the iceberg. We have also to look at Jesus’ temptations in the Gospels, His words about sin proceeding from the heart, and Paul’s words in Rom 7.

    My conclusion from those passages is manifold: Temptation is not sin, BUT we may not be able to identify the exact moment when we transition from being tempted into sinning; the motions of the sin nature are in fact sin; the sin nature is not under the control of a “free will.”

    CVD: I’m arguing those who are born of God will “sin” in the sense of venial sin and concupiscence, they will not sin in the sense of mortal sin as that is incompatible with regeneration per John’s statement that those born of God do not sin and obey Christ’s commands.

    Just to be clear, are you saying that the regenerate are incapable of mortal sin?

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  300. Jeff and Cletus,

    The issue with the James passage on desire giving birth to sin would seem to refer to a difference between an inward longing and its outward manifestation in a tangible act of sin that would be evident to others. He can’t be saying that there is a difference between sinful desire that is venial/concupiscence and an act that is mortal. After all, Jesus says we’ve already broken the commandment against adultery if we have lusted after another. The inward lust is not as bad as an actual act of adultery, not the least of which in its consequences for other people, but we can’t think God has somehow couldn’t that desire as not really breaking his law a la venial sin that is bad but not damnable. I’m pretty sure RCism would count lustful desire as a mortal sin anyway.

    In any case, I think it is too generous to say that James’ teaching on sin is compatible with the C/V/M distinction. There’s a desire for sin and there’s the actual commission of an outward sinful act. Both are bad, and both are sin.

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  301. @ Robert, Cletus:

    Yes, I was being a bit generous in that I was focusing only on the literal words of the verse in isolation.

    If you read James as a whole, CVM becomes harder to maintain.

    2.10: Breaking one command makes us guilty of breaking the whole law. Hard to find room for venial sin there.

    And 4.1 – 10 makes clear that the desires themselves are sinful. So concupiscence is no longer clearly distinguished from sin proper.

    James’ mental model in 1.14-15 appears to hold a distinction between internal desires (“lust”) and sinful actions (“when sin is accomplished”). That’s very different from non-sinful desires leading to sinful desires when combined with the will.

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  302. Jeff,

    “James as quoted is consistent with a CVM model of sin, but does not necessitate it. Other passages are inconsistent with CVM.”

    Maybe, but I haven’t seen them yet.

    “How was Jesus tempted as we are, as Hebrews says that He was? No concupiscence in Him.”

    Right. Temptation is not sin. Concupiscence is fallen man’s inclination and tendency to actual sin due to the disorder of our appetites and is the “tinder of sin” – temptation “exploits” that disposition when it results in sin, but concupiscence is not necessary for temptation to take place as Christ and pre-fall Adam shows – there’s a difference between temptation itself and susceptibility to that temptation.

    That’s part of the point of spiritual battle and all the NT exhortations to enduring trials – if temptation entails sin just by its presence, there’s no point – you’ve already lost before the battle began. And such a view makes 1 Cor 10:12-13 nonsensical – God’s assistance comes too late.

    “sin proceeding from the heart, and Paul’s words in Rom 7.”

    Yes, sin proceeds from the heart. That doesn’t entail concupiscence is sin proper. Sin is on the level of the will. And the Rom 7 man was never viewed – to my knowledge – as describing the faithful believer constantly “mortally” sinning every second of their life as the Reformed take it (due to the conflation of c/v/m) traditionally or in the patristic age – it was always either viewed as the believer struggling with concupiscence and venial sin, or as Paul taking on a persona of the natural man. Aquinas notes both interpretations are plausible, though he favors the former, and notes that early Augustine held the latter while shifting to the former after the Pelagian controversy.

    “Temptation is not sin, BUT we may not be able to identify the exact moment when we transition from being tempted into sinning; the motions of the sin nature are in fact sin; the sin nature is not under the control of a “free will.”

    Right – I cannot choose to just deactivate concupiscence and become unfallen – the struggle of Rom 7 is real for every believer as is Christ’s description that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. That doesn’t mean my inclination and tendency to sin is itself sin – believers can “resist manfully by the grace of Jesus Christ” that inclination and be rewarded as Trent states, or indulge in it and give birth to actual sin – virtue and vice are forged at the level of the will.

    “Just to be clear, are you saying that the regenerate are incapable of mortal sin?”

    I thought that might be unclear after I posted. Regenerate obviously can commit mortal sin. I’ll rephrase:
    I’m arguing those who are born of God will “sin” in the sense of venial sin and concupiscence, they will not (be currently) sinning in the sense of mortal sin as that is incompatible with regeneration per John’s statement that those born of God do not sin and obey Christ’s commands.

    If one sins mortally, they are no longer believers. Given the conflation of c/v/m in Reformed theology, I still don’t see how it is not inconsistent with John’s statement that true believers do not continue sinning and disobeying: “The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did … No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him … This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister … The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us … We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin”

    “If you read James as a whole, CVM becomes harder to maintain.
    2.10: Breaking one command makes us guilty of breaking the whole law. Hard to find room for venial sin there.”

    That is referring to mortal sin as any mortal sin kills charity and sanctifying grace in the soul.
    And I’m not sure where you and Robert are getting that I’m positing only external acts can be mortally sinful.

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  303. James,

    That is referring to mortal sin as any mortal sin kills charity and sanctifying grace in the soul.

    You’re imposing a grid on that verse. James 2: “9But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.”

    Is showing partiality a venial sin? I think not. There’s no reference to that in the context. Immediately after v. 10, adultery and murder are given as examples, but the lead in is to condemn those who are supporting partiality as breaking the whole law. There’s simply nothing here about venial or mortal sin. You are taking adultery and murder, which Rome has defined as mortal sins, and reading back the whole grid on James Words.

    And I’m not saying that mortal sins are only outward sins, as I noted in my comment about lust. I was simply pointing out that James is distinguishing between the desire for sin and the full blow act of sin. He’s not saying one is sin and one isn’t.

    But back to my earlier point, there’s a difference between the man who walks two steps forward and 1.75 steps back and the one who only walks two steps back. There’s a difference between the man on the path to heaven who might sometimes walk backward on that path toward the starting point before he gets turned around and the one who never gets on the path in the first place. So as far as the question of improvement, the Reformed have always confessed that the believer grows in his sanctification, they just have never said that we can rely on that because no matter how far we come, we always fall short while sin abides.

    IOW, damnably mortally sinning every second of one’s life doesn’t mean what you think it means. You’re imposing categories that are foreign to Reformed theology on Reformed theology. We don’t count on our moral improvement to get us into heaven. We’re not Roman Catholics.

    But more importantly, you’re imposing categories on Scripture that aren’t there.

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  304. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 26, 2015 at 3:53 pm | Permalink
    James Young, I ask because I see people defend Rome much more by appealing to the Bible than to tradition. That’s a tell. Yup.>>>>>

    It shows that Catholic Christians are Bible Christians. See, Protestants love the Bible to a certain extent, but there are passages that are left out altogether and others that are twisted to fit a certain Protestant tradition – and there are many conflicting traditions. Then there are the passages that freak the Protestants out, like Galatians 5:6 and 1 John 3:7.

    I didn’t put them in the Bible. You have to figure out how to deal with them.

    Sola scriptura is non existent, since every Protestant denomination, sub denomination, split and splinter has its own set of traditions that are constantly rubbing somebody the wrong way. Why even your guy, Tim Keller, isn’t Presbyterian enough for you.

    What’s up with that? Why didn’t you say he isn´t sola scriptura enough for you? A tell?

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  305. Robert,

    No imposition of grid. James 2:8 lays out further context for vv 9-10 – “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right.”

    The royal law, the new and greatest commandment, the fulfillment of the law, the sum of all the prophets, etc – that is charity and agape. That is what is informing James’ statement on failing in one point breaks all – an adulterer did not also literally commit murder and theft, he violated the single principle underlying all of the law and all of those commandments – that is the principle of charity and in that sense such a sinner has “become a lawbreaker”. Which is further buttressed by his statement in the next chapter that “We all stumble in many ways.” – this would imply venial sin. Or, if you conflate cvm again, then you get James being just as incoherent as John.

    “You are taking adultery and murder, which Rome has defined as mortal sins”

    Not just Rome. Paul as well.

    “James is distinguishing between the desire for sin and the full blow act of sin. He’s not saying one is sin and one isn’t.”

    Yes and there’s a difference between a passing thought that is resisted and one that is indulged, nurtured, and fostered or actively sought out. Otherwise, believers are sinning constantly contra John’s (and the other NT writers’) statements. Sin requires choice – temptation is not sin.

    “So as far as the question of improvement, the Reformed have always confessed that the believer grows in his sanctification”

    So grievously sinning (given your gloss of James 2) every second of your life is compatible with growth in sanctification.

    “IOW, damnably mortally sinning every second of one’s life doesn’t mean what you think it means. You’re imposing categories that are foreign to Reformed theology on Reformed theology.”

    Every sin of the believer is damnable in Reformed theology correct? Concupiscence and the believer’s sinful nature is sin correct, and sin is not only on the level of the will correct? Every act – even the best – of the believer is also impure and defiled with sin correct? So the believer is damnably sinning every second of his existence. So the believer is – in RC categories – mortally sinning every second of his life. I fail to see how this is an unfair or foreign characterization.

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  306. JRC: “James as quoted is consistent with a CVM model of sin, but does not necessitate it. Other passages are inconsistent with CVM.”

    CVD: Maybe, but I haven’t seen them yet.

    Or haven’t understood them. Logically speaking, there is that possibility.

    For example:

    CVD: I’m arguing those who are born of God will “sin” in the sense of venial sin and concupiscence, they will not (be currently) sinning in the sense of mortal sin as that is incompatible with regeneration per John’s statement that those born of God do not sin and obey Christ’s commands.

    If one sins mortally, they are no longer believers.

    That’s a significant interpolation there, for several reasons.

    (1) John speaks nothing of venial or mortal sins. He simply says, “He who is born of God does not sin | continue to sin” (the | is used as in computer science to indicate two possible options, in this case two possible interpretive options, since Greek present tense may speak of a one-time current action or an ongoing pattern of acting).

    So to say that “John means that they will not be currently sinning in the sense of mortal sin” implies that you understand that John was limiting the words “does not sin” to mean only mortal sins. What exegetical ground would you assert for that understanding? It seems quite the mind-reading trick.

    (2) Your interpolation inverts the order of John’s words. He says that those who are children of God will not sin (3.6, 3.9). You say, “Those who sin (mortally) are not children of God.”

    (3) You previously agreed that John speaks evidentially about sin and obedience: That sin is evidence of not being a child of God, and obedience and love are evidences of being a child of God. Yet here you reverse course and hold that John is viewing sin as a causative agent: Sin makes us not be children of God any longer.

    It is very unclear exegetically how you get from here to there. I think Robert is justified in suspecting you are imposing a grid on the text.

    CVD: Given the conflation of c/v/m in Reformed theology, I still don’t see how it is not inconsistent with John’s statement that true believers do not continue sinning and disobeying: [citations follow]

    Right, so this is an interesting point, and you even missed a citation that makes it more interesting still.

    For John appears at face value to contradict himself: 1.8, 3.20, 5.16 all seem to indicate that believers will sin, and when they do, they should confess and be cleansed. On the other hand, 2.15, 3.6,8, and 5.18 passim all seem to indicate that believers will not sin.

    Taking off our Catholic and Reformed filters for a moment, let us agree to admit that John is speaking in ways that are apparently contradictory. He is deliberately setting forth a puzzle.

    Filters back on. How can we solve the puzzle? How is it that we *will* sin (1.8), yet those who are born of God do not sin (5.18)?

    The solution you offer is to suggest that there might be two senses of the word “sin” in play. Perhaps 1.8 refers to venial sin, while 5.18 refers to mortal sin, which you identify with “the sin that leads to death” (which, apparently, we don’t really need to pray about?! 5.16).

    The problem with that solution is the citation that you missed.

    All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death.

    Whatever sense the word “sin” has in verse 18, it will certainly have the same sense in verse 17. Except when authors deliberately engage in word play, they carry the meaning of words from one sentence to the following.

    All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death. We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him and the evil one does not touch him.

    If you want to assert that v. 16 has in view venial sins “that do not lead to death” and mortal sins that do, then it must be the case that “no one who is born of God sins” in 18 is referring to both mortal and venial sins.

    In other words, if we take the Catholic filter to this passage and do so consistently, then we have to conclude that Christians neither sin mortally or venially. And that would contradict 1.8, even using your filter.

    The conclusion is that the Catholic hamartiology cannot be consistently maintained for 1 John, unless one makes exegetically untenable assertions about words changing meaning from verse to verse.

    Can the Reformed reading do better? Yes. In the Reformed reading, John’s statements are to be understood in the ongoing sense. No one who is born of God continues to walk in his sin (because of the ongoing war between Spirit and flesh), but instead repents of it and is cleansed.

    You object,

    So grievously sinning (given your gloss of James 2) every second of your life is compatible with growth in sanctification … Every sin of the believer is damnable in Reformed theology correct? Concupiscence and the believer’s sinful nature is sin correct, and sin is not only on the level of the will correct? Every act – even the best – of the believer is also impure and defiled with sin correct? So the believer is damnably sinning every second of his existence. So the believer is – in RC categories – mortally sinning every second of his life. I fail to see how this is an unfair or foreign characterization.

    I don’t know about every second, but I could live with “daily in thought, word, and deed.”

    This is an unfair characterization in that it splices the RC and Reformed categories together, creating something nonsensical in the process. What is a (Roman Catholic) mortal sin? It is of a serious nature, deliberate, with full knowledge of sinfulness. It is also worthy of condemnation and destroys saving grace.

    Sinning in this sense is not possible to do every second of one’s life. So when you say that “the believer is mortally sinning every second of his life”, you are importing a number of characteristics of our sin that simply don’t apply.

    Let’s retrench, keeping our categories cleaner. In the Reformed doctrine,

    * We sin daily in thought, word, and deed.
    * There is no distinction between venial and mortal sins IN THAT all sins are worthy of condemnation.
    * Both actual sin and sins of the heart are sin.
    * Temptation is not sin.
    * There IS a distinction between more serious and less serious sins.
    * Sin can be conscious or unconscious.

    So you really cannot say that the Reformed teach second-by-second mortal sinning, because the kind of sinning that we teach fails to have many of the characteristics of RC’s “mortal sin” category.

    This is an excellent way to express the matter:

    Q. 78. Whence ariseth the imperfection of sanctification in believers?

    A. The imperfection of sanctification in believers ariseth from the remnants of sin abiding in every part of them, and the perpetual lustings of the flesh against the spirit; whereby they are often foiled with temptations, and fall into many sins, are hindered in all their spiritual services, and their best works are imperfect and defiled in the sight of God. — WLC

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  307. Jeff
    Thanks for your thoughtful post. I don’t want to interupt what is a great conversation between cvd and you. I think many of us lurkers are benefiting. I have just a question of clarification. Are there linguistic/grammatical/contextual reasons not to translate the passage, “he who is born of God does not continue in sin”? If not why doesn’t this show up more in translations (or perhaps it does in some?). This bears on a question I always have whenn someone insists on turning to the original language…Insofar as most of us can’t and there are significant translational ambiguities, what does this mean for the preservation of scripture? Like I said, I don’t want to distract you from a great exchange with cvd, so feel free to ignore my second question.

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  308. Mrs. Webfoot
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 4:47 pm | Permalink
    D. G. Hart
    Posted August 26, 2015 at 3:53 pm | Permalink
    James Young, I ask because I see people defend Rome much more by appealing to the Bible than to tradition. That’s a tell. Yup.>>>>>

    It shows that Catholic Christians are Bible Christians. See, Protestants love the Bible to a certain extent, but there are passages that are left out altogether and others that are twisted to fit a certain Protestant tradition – and there are many conflicting traditions. Then there are the passages that freak the Protestants out, like Galatians 5:6 and 1 John 3:7.

    I didn’t put them in the Bible. You have to figure out how to deal with them.

    The Little Mermaid gives Dr. Fundamentalis the Lesser a lesson in his own language.

    Ever since I started double-checking Old Life’s often preposterous-sounding claims about Catholic theology–do they really believe that?–in looking up the original papal and council documents, I’ve found them dense with Bible proofs.

    So much for the charge that Catholicism is unBiblical. And what [Protestant] critics don’t seem to realize is that knowledge of the Bible is taken as a universal baseline in Catholic theology. Aquinas had memorized the Bible: Every word he wrote was in full knowledge and reconciliation with every word, jog and tittle, as he did battle on behalf of the Christian religion with the pagan Greek and Roman philosophers as well as the Muslim genius Ibn Rushd [Averroës] as well as the greatest Jewish philosopher Maimonides.

    The Little Mermaid is a Thomist, Butch, and thus not vulnerable to BS Biblical quote-grabbing. Thomas Aquinas never has to argue this part of the Bible against that part of the Bible like your Old Life crew does.

    That’s why she continues to kick your smirking, bullying asses, all of you. I can’t look away.

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  309. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

    —Gal 5:6

    Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.—1 Jn 3:7

    Is your faith expressed through love? Do you do what is right?

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  310. TVD: That’s why she continues to kick your smirking, bullying asses, all of you. I can’t look away.

    TVD: Is your faith expressed through love? Do you do what is right?

    Truly, your left hand does not know what your right is typing.

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  311. CVD,

    Basically, what Jeff said. But I’ll just add a few comments.

    No imposition of grid. James 2:8 lays out further context for vv 9-10 – “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right.”

    The royal law, the new and greatest commandment, the fulfillment of the law, the sum of all the prophets, etc – that is charity and agape. That is what is informing James’ statement on failing in one point breaks all – an adulterer did not also literally commit murder and theft, he violated the single principle underlying all of the law and all of those commandments – that is the principle of charity and in that sense such a sinner has “become a lawbreaker”. Which is further buttressed by his statement in the next chapter that “We all stumble in many ways.” – this would imply venial sin. Or, if you conflate cvm again, then you get James being just as incoherent as John.

    You are imposing a grid. To break the single principle is to break the whole thing. Every sin is a violation of the law of love. Now where does Scripture teach that some sins kill agape and some don’t?

    Yes and there’s a difference between a passing thought that is resisted and one that is indulged, nurtured, and fostered or actively sought out. Otherwise, believers are sinning constantly contra John’s (and the other NT writers’) statements.

    Sure.

    Sin requires choice – temptation is not sin.

    Where does Scripture say that sin requires choice? I didn’t choose to be born in sin. Sometimes I lash out in anger and haven’t even thought about it before it happens. If someone cuts me off, I might get really mad. But in one sense, I didn’t make the choice. I wasn’t sitting in my car once that happened and thinking, “Hmm, should I get mad or not.” Sometimes I just get incensed without thinking. That’s not sin? Says who?

    So grievously sinning (given your gloss of James 2) every second of your life is compatible with growth in sanctification.

    See what Jeff says above. I’m not sure constantly sinning every second of your life is the right way to put it. Believers do good things. The point that Reformed theology is trying to convey is that even our best works fall short of the perfection God demands. Rome lowers the bar.

    Every sin of the believer is damnable in Reformed theology correct?

    Yes.

    Concupiscence and the believer’s sinful nature is sin correct, and sin is not only on the level of the will correct?

    More or less, yes.

    Every act – even the best – of the believer is also impure and defiled with sin correct?

    In the sense that no work of ours meets the perfection that God requires.

    So the believer is damnably sinning every second of his existence. So the believer is – in RC categories – mortally sinning every second of his life. I fail to see how this is an unfair or foreign characterization.

    Its unfair because you are imposing a grid on Reformed theology taken from Roman Catholicism. It seems more accurate to say that in RC categories, we’re sinning venially constantly. The real difference is whether venial sin is damnable or not. Rome says no, thereby compromising God’s perfection and His demands. In RCism, I get the real sense that God is like that person who says, “Boys will be boys,” who not only says “I know their weakness,” but “Hey, they’re doing the best they can, and that’s all I really care about.”

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  312. So if Catholic hamartiology cannot be consistent with 1 John 5.16-18, does the Reformed solution do any better?

    There are two issues to consider.

    (1) (per sdb) Should 5.18 be understood in the one-time sense or the ongoing sense? Many translations take it as ongoing.

    MOUNCE: We know that everyone who has been born of God does not continue to sin
    NIV: We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin
    ESV: We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning

    (NASB and NRSV use the simple past, but this more reflects their one-for-one translation philosophy than an interpretive decision).

    The import of the progressive present is that the believer does not persist in sin, but perseveres by the work of Christ: “but He who was born of God protects him, and the evil one will not touch him.”

    (2) Does this then imply perfectionism or a kind of second blessing of entire sanctification?

    Me genoito! We must keep in mind 1.8-10. Rather, it implies the same thing as Rom 8.10-11:

    If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

    Because we are children of God, we receive the Spirit of God. Because we have the Spirit, who wars against the flesh (Gal 5.17), we are made alive. Because we are made alive, we will be glorified.

    Hence, in this life and on this side of glorification, we cannot say that we are free of sin, yet we can say that we will not persist in sin — that is, we will be repenting as the Spirit continues to war against the flesh.

    Cletus, I don’t see any inconsistencies here. Do you?

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  313. Now, Calvin gets to perseverance in a different way. He identifies the “sin unto death” as apostasy, the blasphemy against the Spirit.

    There is a sin unto death I have already said that the sin to which there is no hope of pardon left, is thus called. But it may be asked, what this is; for it must be very atrocious, when God thus so severely punishes it. It may be gathered from the context, that it is not, as they say, a partial fall, or a transgression of a single commandment, but apostasy, by which men wholly alienate themselves from God. For the Apostle afterwards adds, that the children of God do not sin, that is, that they do not forsake God, and wholly surrender themselves to Satan, to be his slaves. Such a defection, it is no wonder that it is mortal; for God never thus deprives his own people of the grace of the Spirit; but they ever retain some spark of true religion. They must then be reprobate and given up to destruction, who thus fall away so as to have no fear of God.

    Were any one to ask, whether the door of salvation is closed against their repentance; the answer is obvious, that as they are given up to a reprobate mind, and are destitute of the Holy Spirit, they cannot do anything else, than with obstinate minds, become worse and worse, and add sins to sins. Moreover, as the sin and blasphemy against the Spirit ever brings with it a defection of this kind, there is no doubt but that it is here pointed out.

    But it may be asked again, by what evidences can we know that a man’s fall is fatal; for except the knowledge of this was certain, in vain would the Apostle have made this exception, that they were not to pray for a sin of this kind. It is then right to determine sometimes, whether the fallen is without hope, or whether there is still a place for a remedy. This, indeed, is what I allow, and what is evident beyond dispute from this passage; but as this very seldom happens, and as God sets before us the infinite riches of his grace, and bids us to be merciful according to his own example, we ought not rashly to conclude that any one has brought on himself the judgment of eternal death; on the contrary, love should dispose us to hope well. But if the impiety of some appear to us not otherwise than hopeless, as though the Lord pointed it out by the finger, we ought not to contend with the just judgment of God, or seek to be more merciful than he is.

    — Calv Comm Catholic Epistles, 1 John 5.16-18.

    He then takes v 18 to refer only to this sin unto death:

    If you suppose that God’s children are wholly pure and free from all sin, as the fanatics contend, then the Apostle is inconsistent with himself; for he would thus take away the duty of mutual prayer among brethren. Then he says that those sin not who do not wholly fall away from the grace of God; and hence he inferred that prayer ought to be made for all the children of God, because they sin not unto death.

    — ibid

    Does this then carve out room for mortal and venial sins? Nope.

    The Apostle, however, does not here distinguish between venial and mortal sin, as it was afterwards commonly done. … [A]mong the faithful this ought to be an indubitable truth, that whatever is contrary to God’s law is sin, and in its nature mortal; for where there is a transgression of the law, there is sin and death.

    — ibid

    Here, I omit Calvin’s polemic against the school of Sorbonne.

    What to make of this? I have no theological objection to Calvin’s structure: There is a sin against the Spirit, which is apostasy, and those who are born of God do not commit this sin.

    However, I think the grammar and the definition in 5.17 (“all unrighteousness is sin”) probably weigh against it. It seems better to me to understand John as saying that Christians do not continue in sin.

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  314. Mermaid, but what about all those unbiblical things that Roman Catholics do? Veneration of Mary? For you, the Bible in insufficient.

    And that’s why you don’t know how to read passages like Gal. 5:6. As if a book that destroys Rome’s semi-Pelagianism is a problem for Protestants.

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