In 1960 JFK Had to Explain Himself to Texas Baptists

In 2015 Hillary Clinton, a Methodist, needs to explain herself to Roman Catholics. And she does so by jumping on the Pope Francis bus (which is about to leave nation):

For the first time in history, we are within reach of eradicating hunger and extreme poverty. But climate change threatens that progress.

Thanks to President Obama’s leadership, the United States is rallying the world to act. Now Pope Francis is bringing his extraordinary moral leadership to the fight.

I’m grateful — as so many Americans are — for the pope’s teachings. And as president, I hope to follow his example. I will make combating climate change a top priority of my administration.

We’ve made progress in promoting clean energy. Now we must do more to help developing countries embrace lower-carbon fuel sources, and continue to pick up our pace at home.

We’ve made progress in managing our lands and waters. Now we must do more to protect our global forest, which is still being slashed and burned, and our global ocean, which is growing more acidic, threatening the lives and livelihoods of billions of people.

We’ve made progress in cleaning our air over the last 40 years. Now we must do more to protect our poorest and most vulnerable citizens — including the elderly, children and communities of color — from the worst health effects of climate change.

But in spite of the strongest possible scientific consensus about what climate change means for our environment, economy, health, and future, there are still some who deny the facts. They’re intent on obstructing progress.

We can’t let them win this fight. We have no choice. There is no Planet B.

We need to develop an ethic of stewardship, of responsibility and sustainability — in our businesses, in our governments, and as citizens of the earth. The scale of the challenge we face demands nothing less.

The great American conservationist John Muir wrote, “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” Climate change threatens every place on our planet, from majestic landscapes to ordinary city streets. It threatens every facet of our economy—our agriculture, energy, transportation and tourism. And most importantly, it threatens the health, happiness, and future of every one of our children.

I want my granddaughter Charlotte to know that her grandmother did everything possible to protect and preserve God’s gift to us, this beautiful planet, our common home. That’s why I’m in this fight. And I want all children everywhere, in countries large and small, to know the same thing about their leaders.

This week, as Pope Francis visits the White House, Congress and the United Nations, I urge Americans of every faith and political persuasion to listen to what he has to say. Heed his message of God’s love for all creatures. Follow his urging to become good stewards of the earth. And do your part to fulfill our shared responsibility to our planet, our children, and our future.

Did Jesus really teach progress?

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:3-14 ESV)

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263 thoughts on “In 1960 JFK Had to Explain Himself to Texas Baptists

  1. Did Jesus really teach progress?

    yes, at least this progress: “Take pains with these things;(previously described) be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all.” 1 Tim 4:15 ;

    and related to “do your part to fulfill you responsibility to our children” He taught: Fathers, bring your children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Eph 6:4 also Deut 6:6-7)

    ‘course then will have implications for our desires about our own stewardship about everything more and more, even though we all know we are still all involved in ‘earth destruction’ in our natural condition; and that He will destroy those who destroy the earth Rev 11:18

    so I think your point is, the main point should never to be presumed, left out, minimized, denied by any believer: that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; and the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord; and there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved Rom 3:23; 6:23; Acts 4:12

    will have to read recap later of the pope’s visit here to see if that was the message.

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  2. Hillary is a Methodist:

    To my knowledge, Hillary has not been a regular church goer since leaving the White House 14 years ago, although daughter Chelsea was married by a Methodist clergy in New York, whose congregation maybe a sort of home church for the Clintons.

    But active church participation is not central for the Social Gospel, which focuses on transforming society, not saving individual souls. All the denominations that embraced the Social Gospel have suffered dramatic declines. It’s been argued that even as these churches die, their message has won, with Obamacare, same sex marriage, abortion rights, and an expanding welfare and regulatory state.

    Under the Social Gospel, Christ’s message is so immanantized through political achievement that Christ Himself and His message of redemption, not to mention His Church, become sideline if not almost unnecessary. Instead, government becomes the primary mediator of justice and grace, and even of transcendant authority, with few firm restraints on its ultimate power.

    The Social Gospel has lofty aspirations inspired by Christ’s desire to feed, clothe, house, heal and uplift. But the Social Gospel and its adherants in their zeal for building God’s Kingdom on earth forget the eternal Kingdom and its standards of righteousness possible only through the King.

    Hillary’s message at Foundry yesterday and her personal spiritual biography encapsulate where liberal Protestantism has triumphed and failed, with consequences for us all.

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  3. “In the comparative moral context in which we inevitably view history, their sins of adultery were far less grievous than the racial apartheid that led figures like Martin Luther King to spend most of the year away from home, making them more vulnerable to their weaknesses. White supremacy didn’t cause their sins, but it surely gave King and others ample opportunity to succumb to temptations that they may have otherwise been spared.”

    Four Views on The Role of Works at the Final Judgment, Zondervan, 2013, Tom Schreiner, p 89–“often scholars like John Calvin have argued that the word justify in James means “prove to be righteous” in contrast to Paul where the word justify means “declare to be righteous”. There is scant evidence supporting the meaning “prove to be righteous. The verb regularly has a forensic sense (declare to be righteous) and it should be understand to have this meaning in James 2:14 to 21 as well. …Most scholars also agree that James draws significantly on the words of Jesus. In Matthew 12:37, Jesus declares that human beings will be ‘justified’ or ‘condemned’ by the words they speak. As Jesus refers to a future judgment in accordance with words spoken, James refers to a future justification in accord with deeds performed.”

    Schreiner, p 87–“Paul emphasizes the believers must accomplish their own salvation.”

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  4. more and better

    John 14: 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I speak to you I do not speak on My own. The Father who lives in Me does His works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. Otherwise, BELIEVE BECAUSE OF THE WORKS themselves.
    12 “I assure you: The one who believes in Me WILL ALSO DO THE WORKS THAT I DO. and the one who believes WILL DO EVEN GREATER WORK than these…

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  5. Thats a strange application of Christs words – they dont give justification to not giving a crap about being responsible stewards and planners. Christ talks about war so I guess we shouldnt care about foreign policy or geopolitics because that detracts from our focus on heaven? Natural disasters will happen so who cares about the environment or development economics? If Iran gets the bomb I guess everyone should just shrug. If your point is merely to criticize social gospelers who place too much emphasis on transformation, thats cool, but that shouldnt be a wholesale indictment of progress rather than just placing it in its appropriate context in relation to eternal matters.

    And Hilarys charge that skeptics deny the facts is silly – they are just skeptical of alarmism that may lead to interventions that do far more harm than good.

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  6. Seth, let’s let Bellweather have his say:

    It’s as if Longnecker has never heard of the Papal States or the famed Julius II, who was known as the “Warrior Pope” because of all the wars he waged in central Italy right before the Reformation. This is the same Julius II that also commissioned the destruction and rebuilding of St. Peter’s and employed Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (where new Popes are elected). Vatican City is dominated by the accomplishments of a warmonger. To accuse America of being a warrior country that violates church teachings while at the same time pretending that the popes have always been peaceful is laughable. Beware the log in your eye.

    Further, popes have been either neutral or given moral support to regimes for centuries that don’t live up to the standard of just war or the fair treatment of citizens. Sometimes church officials have been directly complicit in running the affairs of state (ahem, Cardinal Richelieu anyone?). Pope Francis was just in Cuba the other day and instead of having the courage of JPII to denounce the abuses of communism, he bandied out some generic platitudes about suffering that could have been applied to any impoverished nation anywhere in the world. On top of that, whereas JPII denunciations were directed at a regime at the height of its powers, Francis doesn’t have the guts to condemn a regime that is dying before our eyes.

    But if vd, t says it, it’s okay.

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  7. Lack of prudence says (thanks Seth):

    Ultimately, the problem with Pope Francis isn’t that he’s too liberal, or too conservative. The problem with Pope Francis is that he seems incapable of using the fame that he’s garnered as “The People’s Pope” to promote his own church, or Christian theology. His persona is not a theological persona, but one of a man more interested in curating a broad following. While the theology of traditional Christianity should actively be in the world, but not of it, Pope Francis gives the impression that he avoids conflict at all costs. He’s viewed as a beautiful, kind old man who loves everyone and has no axe to grind.

    Unfortunately, Pope Francis has done little to dispel this image of himself as a lovable, rheumy-eyed pushover, and has done even less to show support for those who fight for the principles that the Roman Catholic church has traditionally backed. His preoccupation with buzzy issues like climate change and income inequality has made those who fight for traditional social-conservative concerns seem even more backward and tone-deaf than they did before. If even the Pope of the Roman Catholic church, which is seemingly the bastion of social-conservatism, seems apathetic or even dismissive of issues like abortion and same-sex marriage, then where does that leave those who still find those issues worth fighting for? Answer: it leaves them in a lurch.

    And have we yet to hear about salvation or where any of us will stand — not when the climate changes but on that great day.

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  8. Hi Darryl,

    What you have from that “lack of prudence”, article are just more critiques from authors who confess to being “cranks “,and who, supposedly, are the ones that we should trust to weed through other’s “unexamined presuppositions” ( “Thank you authors for removing my lenses and replacing them with your more trustworthy ones.”{{insert eye-roll}} ). In other words, it’s more juicy conjecture, ’cause that’s what people like to read.
    If the article said that Pope Francis is a Marxist, should we believe them? And if the article said, that he is not a Marxist( as it does), does that then also make them correct about other ideas floating around about the Pope?

    “Ultimately, the problem with Pope Francis isn’t that he’s too liberal, or too conservative. The problem with Pope Francis is that he seems incapable of using the fame that he’s garnered as “The People’s Pope” to promote his own church, or Christian theology. His persona is not a theological persona, but one of a man more interested in curating a broad following.” They are entitled to their opinion, but I am am not inclined to agree, because I don’t see any sign that that he is not promoting Christian theology, or the Catholic Church as the true church of Jesus. How do the authors separate Pope Francis curating a broad following from him being the Vicar of Christ in the Catholic Church?

    “While the theology of traditional Christianity should actively be in the world, but not of it, Pope Francis gives the impression that he avoids conflict at all costs. He’s viewed as a beautiful, kind old man who loves everyone and has no axe to grind.”

    He is not “viewed” as being beautiful and kind, he is actively beautiful and kind in the world. If anyone wants to know the doctrines that Pope Francis stands behind, they can consult the CCC or papal encyclicals. This writing completely ignores the content of speeches given by the Pope.

    “Unfortunately, Pope Francis has done little to dispel this image of himself as a lovable, rheumy-eyed pushover, and has done even less to show support for those who fight for the principles that the Roman Catholic church has traditionally backed.”

    His being a loving person doesn’t make him a pushover, and he hasn’t stopped supporting others who continue to stand for what Christianity has historically stood for. That was an unsupported assertion.

    “His preoccupation with buzzy issues like climate change and income inequality has made those who fight for traditional social-conservative concerns seem even more backward and tone-deaf than they did before.”

    Just because the issues are buzzy doesn’t mean they don’t need addressing. The Church has always been concerned for the poor. And if concern for people in the margins isn’t a traditional social-conservativism, then it needs to be. Besides, I wouldn’t say that the so-called by this author, buzzy issues, are the Pope’s preoccupation. Just because they are issues that preoccupy liberals, doesn’t mean that the Pope is wrong to be concerned too.

    ” If even the Pope of the Roman Catholic church, which is seemingly the bastion of social-conservatism, seems apathetic or even dismissive of issues like abortion and same-sex marriage, then where does that leave those who still find those issues worth fighting for? Answer: it leaves them in a lurch.”

    Sloppy. Apathetic and Dismissive? Where is this kind of nonsense coming from? Please show me where and when the Church has stopped fighting against abortion and defending traditional marriage. Seriously? What untrue rubbish. The least the writer could do is write like his reader’s have a brain. The writer(s) must have it in their heads that the Catholic Church is the same as the Republican Party. If She is the bastion of morality then that would be fitting, since She’s Christ own mystical body.
    Climate and economics are not outside of the Church’s jurisdiction.

    “And have we yet to hear about salvation or where any of us will stand — not when the climate changes but on that great day.”

    God is merciful, and the Pope stresses this truth. Love the HolyTrintity and your neighbor. The message is still the same.
    http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/francis-announces-new-global-jubilee-holy-year-mercy

    Have a wonderful day!

    Susan

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  9. @Susan
    I’d be interested in your take on this reflection on the authorized biography of the recently retired Cardinal Danneels. According to his biography he wrote letters to the Belgium government favoring same-sex marriage and the Belgium king encouraging him to expand abortion. He claims he and several of his more liberal colleagues were instrumental in getting Benedict to resign in favor of Francis (who knows how much of this is him overestimating his influence and how much reflects reality).

    Of course, that was Belgium and we are in the US (though Law was pretty scummy himself and is celebrated by this group). My take from this is that for all the handwringing about how we have gone over the cliff because the 2krs in NAPARC denominations aren’t doing their part to support Kim or protest planned parenthood (I’m looking at Tom and Webfoot here), the push for liberalization of sexual ethics in our culture is being helped along by the princes of the Roman church.

    The laments about the dearth of discipline of the 95% of RCs who don’t follow church teaching ring hollow when the rot appears to be coming from the head. Reports like this that indicate that it isn’t negligence of discipline, but active cooperation in evil by the hierarchy.

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  10. “He is not “viewed” as being beautiful and kind, he is actively beautiful and kind in the world.”

    Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a unicorn.

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  11. …I don’t see any sign that that he is not promoting Christian theology, or the Catholic Church as the true church of Jesus. How do the authors separate Pope Francis curating a broad following from him being the Vicar of Christ in the Catholic Church?

    Susan, how about never mentioning Jesus when having a captive and influential audience? Not that any of it was at all fitting, but some Catholics wonder if he’s really the Vicar of Christ then what gives with that?

    https://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/the-city-gates.cfm?id=1153

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  12. Hello sdb,

    “The laments about the dearth of discipline of the 95% of RCs who don’t follow church teaching ring hollow when the rot appears to be coming from the head. Reports like this that indicate that it isn’t negligence of discipline, but active cooperation in evil by the hierarchy.”

    No doubt that there is rot high up the ladder, all the more reason to be grateful that our current Pope is not espousing rot. Notice that you can recognize rot when you hear it or see it. That means you( and I and everyone else) can also recognize vitality and goodness when we see it. No one, myself included, believes that there is no such thing as clergymen who want a liberal progressive agenda to be realized. Question is do we see a liberal progressive stance in the official church teaching?
    If the Pope is speaking of man’s responsibility for the climate and the earth, that doesn’t make him a liberal progressive unless that is the only criteria to be a liberal progressive; it only makes him a Christian concerned about conserving our natural resources for the sake of all mankind. If climate and economics affect humanity would it be Christ like as the leader of the Christian Church on earth to be quiet on the issue? Wouldn’t it be a negligent Christianity or no Christianity at all, not be concerned about mankind and his posterity?

    Anyways, back to your question. There will always be people who think that their idea of good is what is what it means to be socially right and just, but it will always run smack up against an objective truth in the official teaching of the church.

    Muddy,

    Clever, but give me a just reason not to like the Pope.
    The world is weird, hey, existence( something simply taken for granted),includes weird things to modern naturalistic sensibilities. We encounter the supernatural through our own spirits. Whoa, huh? It’s a good thing too, since our bodies will soon be six feet under. “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
    Jesus spoke of a Kingdom that is not of this world. Get this, God came down to this planet as a man. Is that mind blowing or what? Why be in doubt then that he would actually begin and preserve one Church through apostolic succession. Doesn’t its goodness and longevity count for anything in your estimation when choosing, “which church on earth is true”?

    Does, this mean that the Church won’t get a bad successor? No, because there has been. Has there been a successor of St. Peter who has infallibly dogmatized a bad( ungodly, sinful) idea?

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  13. Susan, I’d have Joe Biden over for a back yard cook out. The pope can join us if he wears pants and can deal with a $3 cigar. No politics or religion allowed.

    But overall your apologetic always stretches as far as the Pope does. So there’s your approach – very mystic and submissive – opposed to the analytic approach of others here who feel free to form opinions critical of the pope. But if he’s not talking ex cathedra isn’t he a man who may be wrong?

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  14. Hi ZRIM,

    I’ve done a good job staying off of here until today. I enjoying discussing, but I’m not being a good steward of my time so I will only respond one last time, and it will be to you.

    You aren’t the first that I’ve heard ask the question you’re asking. I’ve heard other Catholics ask it too. The way I see it is that if the world knows that Catholic Church is the Christian Church, and if they know that Christian means followers of Jesus, then I don’t see any necessity to throw in the word “Jesus”, several times in an address. If the Pope says “God bless” or mentions God at all, he isn’t leaving out Jesus since Jesus is God. Think of it this way; what usage would suffice for those who will still find fault? If everyone believed that the Catholic Church was the true church, they would naturally also believe that the Pope is acting as Vice Regent of the Christ. If you were an ambassador of the U.S. I wouldn’t ask you if your were therefore speaking on behalf of some other country.
    When you give money to the homeless do you say, “Here you go, sir. Take care!” or do you say, “This is from Jesus.” I mean, he has worldwide visibility and he goes to the homeless, the disabled, and prisoners. Is there any doubt who he serves?

    Anyways, I’m done for now. Hope you and your family are doing well! When I think of you, I pray for you:)

    Susan

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  15. Thanks Muddy,

    But if he’s not talking ex cathedra isn’t he a man who may be wrong?

    Yes, he is. But all that I see him doing is the things that Jesus cares about. Read Rerum Novarum, and you will see that the Church cares about social justice but not at the expense of personal rights.So, so far nothing shocking, and no cause for alarm. When the church officially ordains women, stops defending life, says that the poor should fend for themselves, and that homosexual acts are fine( to name a few moral issues) then I will despair that there is a church that has all the truth, plus the sacraments to help us on our journey to holiness, or even that holiness is a concept that I should care about in the first place.

    http://w2.vatican.va/content/leo-xiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_15051891_rerum-novarum.html

    Okay, this is my last post:)

    Take Care!
    Susan

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  16. No doubt that there is rot high up the ladder, all the more reason to be grateful that our current Pope is not espousing rot.

    Note that the claim Cardinal Danneels has made is that he was part of a cabal that disposed Benedict in favor of Francis. Perhaps he and those with whom he is conspiring overestimate their influence, but I wonder when the “ambiguity” and “lack of clarity” from Francis turns into evidence of the “rot” that led to their support?

    Notice that you can recognize rot when you hear it or see it. That means you( and I and everyone else) can also recognize vitality and goodness when we see it.

    That is a non-sequitor. It assumes that good is simply the absence of bad. But if good is something wholly other than bad, then it is entirely possible that the ability to recognize bad is disconnected from recognizing good.

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  17. Susan, you have a problem.

    Interpreters are interpreting your infallible interpreter. You can disregard them. But last I checked it looks like a lot of little popes are ignoring the real one.

    You have an additional problem.

    BTW, the real one is not all that clear. Shouldn’t he speak in a way that avoids being confusing?

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  18. Susan, “the Church cares about social justice but not at the expense of personal rights.”

    Will social justice or personal rights save you or anyone from damnation for sin?

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  19. Susan, that’s a lot of (ahem) assuming and you know what they say about making (ahem) assumptions. As one observer noted, the pope-a-palooza did a lot to bring folks to the streets but very little to the pews. Isn’t that where caller-converts want us to be? But as you all have taught us, it’s ok to be critical of your pope so long as he’s not speaking ex cathedra (which I would think addressing the collected political powers of the US would be–no red light on).

    But think of it. The Vicar of Christ on earth has the ear of the greatest nation on earth and the chance to point to the heavenlies and lend his weight toward bidding all men to Christ. And all he can muster is something about climate change and the death penalty.

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  20. Susan,

    I can’t reconcile these statemenst:

    No doubt that there is rot high up the ladder, all the more reason to be grateful that our current Pope is not espousing rot.

    Why be in doubt then that he would actually begin and preserve one Church through apostolic succession.

    It’s easy to be in doubt that Rome’s version of apostolic succession is the way God has chosen to preserve one church when rot is present at the highest levels. That’s a good reason to reject apostolic succession as Rome defines it. What good is it doing if heretics get in? It’s at least doing no better than competing church models.

    Doesn’t its goodness and longevity count for anything in your estimation when choosing, “which church on earth is true”?

    Would that goodness include putting Luther out to pasture without a fair trial, launching crusades, outlawing then embracing religious freedom, the Inquisition, the debauched popes before the Reformation, kidnapping of Jewish children, anti-Semitism…??

    We’re not looking for a perfect church. We’re looking for an honest one.

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  21. Susan Vader
    Posted September 28, 2015 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    When you give money to the homeless do you say, “Here you go, sir. Take care!” or do you say, “This is from Jesus.”

    That’s quite elegant, Susan. When I give money to the poor, it’s certainly not out of my own intrinsic goodness, for I have none.

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  22. Tom: That’s quite elegant, Susan. When I give money to the poor, it’s certainly not out of my own intrinsic goodness, for I have none.

    I agree with and appreciate this.

    At the same time, I wonder how a Catholic would say this. Does not your church teach that justification is an ontological “making righteous” of the sinner? That God cannot view you as righteous unless you are in fact righteous?

    How then could you say that you have no intrinsic goodness? Are you trying to say that you have intrinsic goodness, but its origin is from Christ?

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  23. Robert,

    The way I look at it is this: If the church is all those invisible souls whom only the Lord knows are His, then I have no way to identify a viible people I am supposed to seek union with( supposing I am of the invisible elect) in a local community; on the other hand ,if a visible church exists that consists of the elect( the people that only the Lord knows) and those who will not persevere then it doesn’t matter that some of the people are not so good because all of us have the same help from the grace of the Spirit in the sacraments.
    If there was one visible institutional church on earth, what would it look like considering that all men are sinners and some on on their way to Heaven by cooperating with God?

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  24. Susan, “If there was one visible institutional church on earth, what would it look like”

    You answer. Would it look like Roman Catholicism under Pius IX or under Francis? Some of us notice the difference.

    #nokoolaidguzzling

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  25. D. G. Hart
    Posted September 28, 2015 at 9:19 pm | Permalink
    Susan, “If there was one visible institutional church on earth, what would it look like”

    You answer. Would it look like Roman Catholicism under Pius IX or under Francis? Some of us notice the difference.

    #nokoolaidguzzling

    It wouldn’t look like a crabby little church of only 30,000 members, that’s fer sure, O Supercilious One.

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  26. Susan,

    The way I look at it is this: If the church is all those invisible souls whom only the Lord knows are His, then I have no way to identify a viible people I am supposed to seek union with( supposing I am of the invisible elect) in a local community; on the other hand, if a visible church exists that consists of the elect( the people that only the Lord knows) and those who will not persevere then it doesn’t matter that some of the people are not so good because all of us have the same help from the grace of the Spirit in the sacraments.

    Well I wouldn’t quite put it this way, but where do you think this differs from the Reformed definition of the church?

    If there was one visible institutional church on earth, what would it look like considering that all men are sinners and some on on their way to Heaven by cooperating with God?

    Essentially it would look like a church that endeavors to follow the Word of God and that knows its proper place. Organizationally, I would expect it to function in a conciliar manner with elders, not jurisdictional bishops.

    Your question originally had to do with whether goodness counts for something. No doubt, it does. The problem is in turning a blind eye and acting as if apostolic succession is what is going to produce this goodness, which is the implicit assumption that seems to be behind your posts on this thread. At least it seems as if apostolic succession a la Rome is the foolproof way to identify the church.

    But if there’s rot at the top of a church that claims apostolic succession, as you noted is true of the Roman church, then how do you know the claim is correct? This is even worse when you have rank heretics and moral imbeciles as popes. The current pope may not be those, but plenty of popes in history have been.

    It’s this acting as if apostolic succession is going to give you certainty Protestants don’t have when there clearly have been very evil men in the Vatican at various points in church history that I don’t get.

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  27. JFK won the presidency at the price of his conscience. Some say he was so faithful to his promise not to let his faith dictate his public behavior that he applied it to his private life as well.

    He seems to have cared sincerely about the well-being of the American people, though. Not sure we’ve had a president since of which that can be said.

    Archbishop Chaput of Philly addressed the talk on its 50th anniversary:

    […] the archbishop noted that there are currently “more Catholics in national public office” than there ever have been in American history.

    But,” he continued, “I wonder if we’ve ever had fewer of them who can coherently explain how their faith informs their work, or who even feel obligated to try. The life of our country is no more ‘Catholic’ or ‘Christian’ than it was 100 years ago. In fact it’s arguably less so.”

    One of the reasons why this problem exists, he explained, is that too many Christian individuals, Protestant and Catholic alike, live their faith as if it were “private idiosyncrasy” which they try to prevent from becoming a “public nuisance.”

    “And too many just don’t really believe,” he added.
    […]

    his speech left a lasting mark on American politics,” the prelate added.

    “It was sincere, compelling, articulate – and wrong. Not wrong about the patriotism of Catholics, but wrong about American history and very wrong about the role of religious faith in our nation’s life.”

    “And he wasn’t merely ‘wrong,’” the archbishop continued. “His Houston remarks profoundly undermined the place not just of Catholics, but of all religious believers, in America’s public life and political conversation. Today, half a century later, we’re paying for the damage.”
    […]

    “[Kennedy] warned that he would not ‘disavow my views or my church in order to win this election.’”

    “But in its effect, the Houston speech did exactly that. It began the project of walling religion away from the process of governance in a new and aggressive way. It also divided a person’s private beliefs from his or her public duties. And it set ‘the national interest’ over and against ‘outside religious pressures or dictates.’”

    Chaput’s is not a 2k position, I suppose- was Kennedy’s?

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  28. It wouldn’t look like a crabby little church of only 30,000 members, that’s fer sure, O Supercilious One.

    Really? Go re-read Exodus and 2Kings. They got pretty small and were notorious for their crabbiness. One might also note that all those NT injunctions against gossiping, backbiting, etc… and commands to love one another and be kind were made because the church was small and crabby!

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  29. Sorry Kevin, JFK was arguably one of the 3 best Presidents of the 20th Century. Fortunately his terms came at a time when the public didn’t make their leaders private lives the spectacle it does now. If you want to run out womanizing adulterers out of the oval office you’d end up with a handful of men, including greats like Woodrow Wilson who involved us in WWI when we had no compelling interests in by far the dumbest war in the 20th century.

    At least JFK had the presence of mind to not initiate thermonuclear war with Russia, something that seems totally lost on those dovish Dems in office today. Had he completed his 2nd term no thanks to the 2nd shooter on the grassy knoll, we might’ve avoided a quagmire in Vietnam. Thanks to ‘ol Guns & Butter LBJ we poured precious lives and treasure into a war we a) had no business fighting, and b) seemed intent on not winning once we became immeshed in it.

    He was by in large faithful to his oaths as Commander in Chief, which is about as much as we can ask of a President.

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  30. Robert
    Posted September 28, 2015 at 9:44 pm | Permalink
    Susan,

    The way I look at it is this: If the church is all those invisible souls whom only the Lord knows are His

    Oooops, you just begged the question, Sir Robert. ;-0

    Susan doesn’t stipulate your “if” atall, because it’s your Calvinism “election” thing.

    If you don’t mind me acting as counsel for your position, objecting to the prosecution’s false premise from the very start, from which false conclusions must flow.]

    That is not what the catholic church [small “c” in both case] means atall, no how, now way.

    Like

  31. Jed Paschall
    Posted September 28, 2015 at 11:31 pm | Permalink
    Sorry Kevin, JFK was arguably one of the 3 best Presidents of the 20th Century.

    I don’t think that’s Kevin’s point, Jed. John Kennedy never betrayed the Catholic faith, as his brother Teddy did by becoming a pro-abortion “Catholic.”

    Better to focus on Chaput’s point here in 2015, Kevin’s intention, methinks:

    One of the reasons why this problem exists, he explained, is that too many Christian individuals, Protestant and Catholic alike, live their faith as if it were “private idiosyncrasy” which they try to prevent from becoming a “public nuisance.”

    Old Life would never become a “public nuisance.” It’s against their religion. They’re ‘elect’ and the rest of you poor bastards are screwed.

    If it weren’t for them attacking Republicans and Catholics, nobody on earth would know they were ever here atall.

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  32. Jed – I don’t disagree that Kennedy was an admirable figure in many ways, and didn’t mean to imply an overall negative assessment of his role as president.

    But he wasn’t true to the principles of his faith. As a Catholic layman, he didn’t have the right to contradict Catholic teaching. As honorable as he was in other ways, this is a serious charge. He ought to have become an Anglican like NYC mayor Fiorello Laguardia. Kennedy is hardly unique amongst presidents in being praiseworthy in many ways but open to significant criticism in others.

    Womanizing adulterers I have a fundamental problem seeing elected. I’m not aware Hoover or Coolidge are open to criticism here. Funny how in the American mind they don’t count while ethnically-distorted (i.e., failure to appreciate the proper grounding of ethnicity in cult and culture) warmongers like TR, WW, and (many argue) FDR do.

    There is this amusing anecdote, though:

    […] The President and Mrs. Coolidge were being shown (separately) around an experimental government farm.

    When [Mrs. Coolidge] came to the chicken yard she noticed that a rooster was mating very frequently. She asked the attendant how often that happened and was told, “Dozens of times each day.” Mrs. Coolidge said, “Tell that to the President when he comes by.”

    Upon being told, the President asked, “Same hen every time?” The reply was, “Oh, no, Mr. President, a different hen every time.” President: “Tell that to Mrs. Coolidge.”

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  33. Tom –

    John Kennedy never betrayed the Catholic faith, as his brother Teddy did by becoming a pro-abortion “Catholic.”

    We may well disagree, but I think Chaput’s point is that JFK’s promise not to let his faith impact his governance was not consonant with Catholic teachings. How does one reconcile:

    I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute; where no Catholic prelate would tell the President — should he be Catholic — how to act

    with Pius IX’s anathema against the belief that “The Church ought to be separated from the State, and the State from the Church.” (Syllabus of Errors #55) -?

    Not me, nor Pius IX, nor any other sensible person is saying the RCC teaches the Cardinals should run the USA, but governing is a moral act (often of justice) and subject to correction when it has erred.

    JFK was certainly tailoring a position to an audience possessed of misconceptions, but that doesn’t to my mind (or Chaput’s I think) warrant bold statements contradicting Catholic principles, statements which only encourage indifference to those principles and others.

    I’m all for honoring Kennedy’s good, although I think one must really recognize how much of it was the product of the culture he was coming out of.

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  34. Kevin in Newark
    Posted September 29, 2015 at 1:31 am | Permalink
    Tom –

    “John Kennedy never betrayed the Catholic faith, as his brother Teddy did by becoming a pro-abortion “Catholic.

    We may well disagree, but I think Chaput’s point is that JFK’s promise not to let his faith impact his governance was not consonant with Catholic teachings. How does one reconcile:

    I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute; where no Catholic prelate would tell the President — should he be Catholic — how to act

    with Pius IX’s anathema against the belief that “The Church ought to be separated from the State, and the State from the Church.” (Syllabus of Errors #55) -?

    Pius was speaking in an ancient language. The “separation of Church and state” is not the same thing as “divorcement of religion from politics” so that all remains is the material, the carnal. That’s where we are now. That’s the problem, although Old Life seems to have no problem with it at all.

    And that’s the problem.

    “Separation of Church and State” is a bullshit phrase from an obscure letter from the great infidel Jefferson to some Baptists in Conecticut who were afraid of getting squeezed out by the Presbyterians/Congregationalists.

    Buyer beware here at Mold Life and Dr. History: A Calvinism. Bigtime.

    http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2006/06/the-mythical-wall-of-separation-how-a-misused-metaphor-changed-church-state-law-policy-and-discourse

    You gotta get some Catholic on, bro. You’re arguing like some idiot fundamentalist Protestant, which I make it you were, and in many ways still are. I say this with all kindness. To argue Aquinas and authentic Catholic teaching to many of these folks is like giving a million dollars to your dog. They chew it up, neither thinking or tasting.

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  35. Kevin, not sure it’s 2k. Everyone makes distinctions about how they conduct professional, family, and associational responsibilities. The novelty may be thinking that Christianity changes everything you do.

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  36. Kevin,

    How does one reconcile:

    I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute; where no Catholic prelate would tell the President — should he be Catholic — how to act

    with Pius IX’s anathema against the belief that “The Church ought to be separated from the State, and the State from the Church.” (Syllabus of Errors #55) -?

    Not me, nor Pius IX, nor any other sensible person is saying the RCC teaches the Cardinals should run the USA, but governing is a moral act (often of justice) and subject to correction when it has erred.

    Well, that’s the question a lot of Protestants have. How do you square the teaching of the church between Vatican 1 and Vatican 2.

    But what’s curious is your notion that you don’t want the Cardinals governing. If Church and state are not to be separated, if Church and state are to be together in governing, how do you keep Cardinals out of government? The Church? That’s just a way for lay people to hold office?

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  37. Tom,

    I was responding to this part of Susan’s statement, which she does actually affirm the Reformed doctrine of the invisible/visible church and acts as if it isn’t the Reformed doctrine but is rather somehow unique to Romanism.

    on the other hand, if a visible church exists that consists of the elect( the people that only the Lord knows) and those who will not persevere then it doesn’t matter that some of the people are not so good because all of us have the same help from the grace of the Spirit in the sacraments.

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  38. Susan: The way I look at it is this: If the church is all those invisible souls whom only the Lord knows are His, then I have no way to identify a viible people I am supposed to seek union with…

    That’s a fair point, and if we were Anabaptists, it would be a telling criticism.

    But we’re not. Check out WCF 25, “Of the Church.”

    Like

  39. KiN:Chaput’s is not a 2k position, I suppose- was Kennedy’s?

    I posted a link to the speech previously. Whether it is 2K or not, let the reader judge. It was effective, though. As far as I know, the American Catholic hierarchy at the time was unanimous in its approval of the speech. Hard for me to see how Kennedy could have been elected if he had given a speech that would have met with Chaput’s approval.

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  40. DGH-

    How do you square the teaching of the church between Vatican 1 and Vatican 2.

    But what’s curious is your notion that you don’t want the Cardinals governing. If Church and state are not to be separated, if Church and state are to be together in governing, how do you keep Cardinals out of government? The Church? That’s just a way for lay people to hold office?

    Kennedy’s statement was pre-VII, of course. One would need to look at the common trends which gave rise to his statement and VII. Pius IX, Leo XIII, Pius X and others address those trends.

    I believe in “Separation of Personnel” – I’m not suggesting Archbishop-Governors or that the president and pope sharing an electoral college. But I think this is mostly an issue of pragmatism- not life-or-death get-the-structure-right-or-be-damned. Other societies have done things differently (for better or worse). I acknowledge the important role of the state, but fundamentally its concerns are less important than the those of the Church.

    The basic principle I see advocates of “Separation” ignoring is that those who govern remain men engaged in moral activity, which makes them subject to the teachings of the body Catholics believe has a role to teach morality.

    If SCOTUS judges actually ruled consistently with the law as seen in light of human history and theologically-informed reflection (i.e., not just Liberal Enlightenment / individualist values) then we’d still have pornography censored (rather than proclaimed to be a protected speech act), etc.

    The RCC would not be out of place in telling these CiNO judges that they have made errors of judgment with regard to the nature of man, errors which are not consistent with justice or the common good. These are serious charges. The judges would be subject to the typical penalties an ecclesiastical polity can bring to bear. That’s an example of what I take advocates of “Separation of C & S” to reject that I think is right and proper.

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  41. I acknowledge the important role of the state, but fundamentally its concerns are less important than the those of the Church.

    Amen!

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  42. The basic principle I see advocates of “Separation” ignoring is that those who govern remain men engaged in moral activity, which makes them subject to the teachings of the body Catholics believe has a role to teach morality.

    If SCOTUS judges actually ruled consistently with the law as seen in light of human history and theologically-informed reflection (i.e., not just Liberal Enlightenment / individualist values) then we’d still have pornography censored (rather than proclaimed to be a protected speech act), etc.

    I disagree, or at least I would qualify what you wrote heavily. It is true that when legislatures pass laws that the laws they pass sometimes bear on moral questions. But as Aquinas noted in regards to prostitution – just because something is evil doesn’t make it prudent to circumscribe by law. I can imagine two leaders that wholeheartedly agree that pornography is evil and degrading. One might conclude that he ought to work to censor it because it is so corrosive. Another might make the case that censoring it will only drive it underground and make the women involved more susceptible to additional harm while doing nothing to reduce consumption. Yet another might agree that pornography is bad, but that our constitution forbids the federal government (and by way of later amendments state governments) from restricting it (the view of Scalia, Thomas, & Roberts as expressed in Stevens).

    The church certainly has something to say about the evil of pornography and should support, encourage, and discipline members who struggle with it. It is also clear that the church has neither the expertise nor the authority to address the prudential question of what the state should do about it. Aquinas for all his holiness and theological acumen was wrong about outlawing prostitution. Lots of very nice and moral churchman were wrong about prohibition. Evidently conservative RC supreme court justices were wrong about the protected nature of “crush videos”.

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  43. KiN: JFK won the presidency at the price of his conscience.

    I have spent an hour or so since my earlier reply to your post trying to find contemporary criticism of JFK’s Houston speech. I have failed. How could Kennedy have violated his conscience when the chattering classes in general– and the American Catholic hierarchy in particular- were ecstatic about the speech? Seems like the speech reflected a conscience fully informed by contemporary Church teaching.

    What speech should he have made?

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  44. Robert and Jeff,

    I addressing you together because you are both asking me the same question.

    Here’s Jeff’s to me::

    “Susan:”The way I look at it is this: If the church is all those invisible souls whom only the Lord knows are His, then I have no way to identify a visible people I am supposed to seek union with…

    That’s a fair point, and if we were Anabaptists, it would be a telling criticism. But we’re not. Check out WCF 25, “Of the Church.””

    The Reformed see themselves as the true visible church then? How did they not conveniently redefine all the earlier held perimeters that distinguished and identified The Church? Because according to Reformed ecclesiology people aren’t directed to consult the ancient creed, but instead the WCF to find out what the true marks of the church are.

    Other traditions do not explicitly teach justification by faith by imputation, and so according to the Reformed, since that doctrine isn’t safe guarded among them, parishioners run the risk of trusting in their works (especially since one has to remind oneself of the gospel),and are therefore possibly on their way to perdition. Not only that, but a Reformed person would tell an Anabaptist shouldn’t recognize the teaching authority of any Anabaptist tradition, since that minister doesn’t have allegiance to the Reformed confessions;so the Reformed have tightly narrowed what a *visible* institution looks like, while simultaneously saying that the elect are both inside and outside their visible churches.

    So, yes I agree that the Reformed have the same view as the Catholic Church concerning souls inside and outside its visible teaching authority and community(church), but I also see that believing in only a Reformed visible teaching authority and community impedes upon the biblical right to use Scripture to establish their own visible teaching authorities and communities. And since the Reformed Churches don’t self-identify as the only true church their confessional standards also should not try to establish a peculiarly Reformed ecclesiology as normative by imposing its novel notion of what it means to be a visible church.

    Does that make sense? Sorry, I’m still sleepy.

    btw, Good Morning!

    I have homework and so won’t be able to respond anymore ’til tonight.

    P.S. Robert, I am enjoying and learning a lot from your interchange with Dr. Anders.

    ~Susan

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  45. Susan,

    Thanks for your response.

    The Reformed see themselves as the true visible church then?

    The Reformed see themselves as one of many true visible churches. It would be more accurate to say that the Reformed would see themselves as the purest of the true visible churches, at least in terms of doctrine. So, for example, the OPC or PCA might see themselves as purer than the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod or the Anglican Church (the conservative wing anyway), but it would not deny that either body is a true visible church.

    How did they not conveniently redefine all the earlier held perimeters that distinguished and identified The Church? Because according to Reformed ecclesiology people aren’t directed to consult the ancient creed, but instead the WCF to find out what the true marks of the church are.

    They didn’t redefine those marks—one, holy, catholic, and apostolic of the Nicene Creed are affirmed directly by the Reformed, and they are also reflected and preserved via the Protestant marks. Discipline preserves holiness, unity, and catholicity. Gospel preaching preserves apostolicity. Right sacraments preserves unity, holiness, and catholicity. Actually, one could make the argument that the 3 Protestant marks each preserve in some way all 4 Nicene marks.

    Other traditions do not explicitly teach justification by faith by imputation, and so according to the Reformed, since that doctrine isn’t safe guarded among them, parishioners run the risk of trusting in their works (especially since one has to remind oneself of the gospel),and are therefore possibly on their way to perdition.

    It’s a continuum. A church that teaches imputation explicitly is purer than one that doesn’t, but both are true churches if they deny that the instrumental cause of justification includes our works.

    Not only that, but a Reformed person would tell an Anabaptist shouldn’t recognize the teaching authority of any Anabaptist tradition, since that minister doesn’t have allegiance to the Reformed confessions;

    Not exactly. It depends of the Anabaptist tradition. Some are purer than others. And I don’t recall where the Reformed confessions demand that I not recognize the teaching authority of an orthodox Lutheran pastor or the equivalent. Can you show me?

    so the Reformed have tightly narrowed what a *visible* institution looks like, while simultaneously saying that the elect are both inside and outside their visible churches.

    Actually, no. At best we have narrowed what a pure institution looks like. Rome actually narrows the visibility of the church by limiting the true church to herself and, depending on the day and then only begrudgingly, maybe the East.

    So, to say it again: the Reformed would say that an orthodox confessional Lutheran body is a true visible church but that it is not as pure in its doctrine or practice as the Reformed. You could even have an Anabaptist church that is part of the visible church but is less pure than the Reformed and the Lutherans, for example.

    So, yes I agree that the Reformed have the same view as the Catholic Church concerning souls inside and outside its visible teaching authority and community(church), but I also see that believing in only a Reformed visible teaching authority and community impedes upon the biblical right to use Scripture to establish their own visible teaching authorities and communities.

    Freedom of conscience, at least today, means that anyone can form their own visible teaching authorities and communities; it does not mean that every professed teaching authority and community is legitimately Christian in our view. It’s no skin off of our collective noses if Joe wants to read the Bible and start His own church, for example. It’s a free country and I don’t know anyone who wants to take away that right. But that doesn’t mean Joe is right to do so biblically.

    I think you are confusing a lot of things. The Reformed don’t deny that other visible church bodies have authority; they just say that the Reformed have the purest churches in terms of doctrine and practice. The Reformed don’t deny anyone the right to read and privately interpret Scripture; what they deny is that all interpretations are equally legitimate and thereby binding. Ecclesiastically, the only thing the Reformed church can do for somebody who goes off the deep end is excommunicate them. They can’t take away their “right to establish their own visible teaching authorities and communities.” And biblically speaking, the Reformed don’t even affirm, at least absolutely, that just anyone can form a church. The right that is affirmed is the right to freedom of conscience, which means the freedom to misuse conscience when the church doesn’t have the sword. But that is in large measure a political matter. By the standards of objective truth, no one ever under any circumstance has the “right” to be incorrect. But politically, they may have the right to be incorrect and not pay with their lives.

    IOW, you are conflating a bunch of categories, I think, which the 2K view helpfully keeps separate in many ways, though personally I am milder in my view of the 2K than a lot of the other commenters here.

    And since the Reformed Churches don’t self-identify as the only true church their confessional standards also should not try to establish a peculiarly Reformed ecclesiology as normative by imposing its novel notion of what it means to be a visible church.

    We aren’t imposing a novel notion. We’re taking the mistakes of Rome that prevent her from being one, holy, catholic, and apostolic and trying to correct them.

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  46. Kevin,

    I understand your contention that JFK may have betrayed his RC convictions, but what, if anything does that have to do with his presidency? More importantly – how could he have been a straight-laced Catholic and been even close to the President he was?

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  47. SDB –

    just because something is evil doesn’t make it prudent to circumscribe by law.
    Agreed, toleration is sometimes necessary- i.e., “the magistrate” shows prudence in tolerating evils for the sake of avoiding greater evils (warfare, genocide, revolution, persecution of the Church).

    That doesn’t make toleration of evil intrinsically good, though- it isn’t. So I agree strongly in principle with your analysis that two leaders may disagree on policy. Specifically in the case of pornography, it isn’t clear to me that overturning its treatment as a protected speech act would unleash worse evils.

    Yet another might agree that pornography is bad, but that our constitution forbids the federal government (and by way of later amendments state governments) from restricting it (the view of Scalia, Thomas, & Roberts as expressed in Stevens).

    I think our common law tradition and natural law are more fundamental than the US Constitution – provisions of the Constitution can be overturned.

    The church certainly has something to say about the evil of pornography and should support, encourage, and discipline members who struggle with it. It is also clear that the church has neither the expertise nor the authority to address the prudential question of what the state should do about it.

    It can indicate clearly that pornography is intrinsically evil and ought therefore to be prohibited. If strong prudential arguments for tolerating it are lacking, the RCC (I may as well be specific) can judge that politicians who enable its toleration are in the wrong. A clearer case (for those who would quibble on what constitutes ‘pornography’) might be abortion (acknowledging that few present agree it is in all cases the unjust taking of human life).

    Lots of very nice and moral churchman were wrong about prohibition.
    Agreed – but alcohol isn’t by any means intrinsically evil – it is a positive good. It can be used evilly (drunkenness/intemperance), and I suppose it is in theory possible that a degraded society might be better off without it, but that would be a question of prudence for those who govern.

    So, did the potential or supposed benefits of prohibition truly outweigh the deprivation from the people of a good? In this case, I think not. In most cases, I think not. In times of crisis (war) cases where the answer is “yes” aren’t hard to come up with.

    In sum, I completely agree with the statement “lots of nice and moral churchman were wrong about prohibition.” Their real or supposed authority is not relevant to this issue.

    Evidently conservative RC supreme court justices were wrong about the protected nature of “crush videos”.

    I’m apprehensive to look that up, but ok …

    animal crush videos? Crushing animals to death on youtube? Cruelty toward animals is damaging to the human soul – as would be dynamiting coral reefs unnecessarily (in a different way). Further, seems to me publishing these videos invites others to train their emotions in a disordered way.

    And I would not call our justices “conservative” if they neglect the tradition of common law, natural law, and moral theology.

    –Ex cathedra Nevarcae in Novocaesarensis (Newark in New Jersey)

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  48. Susan: The Reformed see themselves as the true visible church then?

    Read WCF 25 first and then let’s revisit this question.

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  49. Robert,

    I truly appreciate that you seem understand my awkward approaches to explain my analysis of the situation that exists out there in the world in an ecclesial sense. However, I feel frustrated that we can’t move beyond describing our respective views. You speak in terms of “purer than” when it comes to churches, which is not a category that has historically been used to identify “Church”, except maybe to describe less sinful deeds among a group in a parish.
    Maybe I am mistaken but it seems that the Reformed by employing this kind of fluid language makes true doctrine become subjective across different denominations, and that would make the one church most pure harder to locate because it pushes the level of orthodoxy to be determined by the person looking for the one most pure. IOW’s it makes one able to decide according to their own already existing level of orthodoxy a church that agrees with them. That just pushes the question back. This is just me throwing out my thoughts under pressure.
    I think I will leave the conversation here though to,hopefully,be picked-up by someone smarter than I am:)!

    I am grateful for the level of discourse I have had with you, Robert.

    God Bless!
    Susan

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  50. Susan,

    You speak in terms of “purer than” when it comes to churches, which is not a category that has historically been used to identify “Church”, except maybe to describe less sinful deeds among a group in a parish.

    Well the exact term has been used historically since at least the Reformation. Be that as it may, I would suggest that the concept has a long history. Let’s look at Rome vs. the East. Rome traditionally regards the East as schismatic. It is an authentic church, but it is not all that the church should be because it is not in communion with Rome. If it were in communion with Rome, it would be a purer church. So Rome sees the East ultimately as a true, but less pure church than itself because of its ecclesiology. The difference in doctrine sets the churches apart, though both regard each other as true churches. But one is purer than the other, whichever one has the correct ecclesiology.

    Maybe I am mistaken but it seems that the Reformed by employing this kind of fluid language makes true doctrine become subjective across different denominations,

    No more so than in the differences that Rome has across various understandings of free will. Rome has decided that both the Monists and Thomists have acceptable views of free will even though the views are quite different. Does that make true doctrine subjective? No. Rome has just decided that one’s position on the issue doesn’t determine one’s salvation as long as it falls within certain boundaries. (Personally, I think Rome is inconsistent here and should come down on one side or the other, but that would result in some kind of division.)

    It’s a bit akin to the Calvinism-Arminian debate. One can easily draw parallels (in a broad brush): Calvinists/Thomists vs. Arminians/Molinists. Calvinists would see Arminians as mistaken but not necessarily as heretics (depending on the flavor of Arminianism) just as Thomists would see Monists as mistaken but not heretics. That difference and mutual regard doesn’t make the doctrine subjective anymore than any disagreement between two scientists makes science subjective. The only difference between Protestants and RCs on this issue is that Protestants have visibly separated over it while Rome hasn’t.

    and that would make the one church most pure harder to locate because it pushes the level of orthodoxy to be determined by the person looking for the one most pure. IOW’s it makes one able to decide according to their own already existing level of orthodoxy a church that agrees with them.

    But the issue here, and it is the main issue I see with CTC apologetics, is that you are acting as if this is not what you do. You determined Protestantism wasn’t orthodox enough, thought RCism was better at least in key areas, and became RC. It happens the other way as well. Any person who puts any thought into the matter considers the evidence, weighs it, and decides which church best lines up with his or her interpretation of the evidence. If you decide that the mark of the true church is apostolic succession, then you look for the church that teaches the mark of the true church is apostolic succession. Protestants do it in other ways.

    What I am saying is that the specific criticism you are offering applies to anyone except mindless robots who put no thought into religion. This is how human beings work. We look at evidence, form opinions and beliefs, and then look for things that line up to it. Once we’re in whatever we think best, we continue to do the same thing and stay wherever we find—in our view—the church that offers the most reasonable interpretation of facts. Roman Catholics are not immune from this. It’s what you have done. It’s what Bryan Cross has done. It is what any RC who continues to be RC does.

    There are some who turn off their thinking caps when they join a particular church body. Other than those few, everyone is doing the mental work necessary to stay in a particular church. If something seems completely unreasonable, the person will leave if he or she is putting thought into it. I think that Bryan Cross, for example, should be criticized for much of his apologetic, but at the end of the day I would say that even he is putting the thought into it and is not a programmed Roman-bot. He is clearly doing whatever he can to make what Rome says now square with what His view of Rome already is. We all do it to some degree or another in every area of life.

    Does that make truth subjective. No, not as long as one is being honest with the evidence, trying to see all sides of a matter, and so on. That’s where I think the CTC project fails. But I also think it is something that a particular view of Rome encourages.

    To put it briefly, if you are a thinking woman, you are staying RC only as long as Rome conforms to your idea of orthodoxy. And if I am a thinking man, I am staying Reformed only as long as it conforms to my idea of orthodoxy. The only vantage point from which I can make a decision is my own. Rome doesn’t take the subjectivity away. I’m not advocating a hardcore subjectivism; I just want people to see that Rome doesn’t solve the epistemological problems that it manufactures for Protestants. It faces the same ones and its answer—the Magisterium—is at least no better than the Protestant answer—the Holy Spirit speaking through Scripture.

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  51. Robert, right on,

    And make no mistake about it: Anyone who does convert out of a desire to surrender responsibility for interpreting Scripture in exchange for the infallible certainty of an earthly teacher is making a very “Protestant” move. At least that first leap is a personal judgment and interpretation of Scripture, every bit as individual as Luther’s “Here I stand.” The decision to embrace any confession or ecclesiastical body is a personal commitment that involves (at best) one’s own discernment of the plain teaching of Scripture.

    Mike Horton, unsuccessfully refuted by this guy: http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2012/06/the-catholic-and-protestant-authority-paradigms-compared/

    One nuance though, Robert, didn’t God actually convince you of the Reformed faith? Not arguments or logic or evidence, but a new heart with which you can actually understand the Words of God? I’m not we were saved and became Reformed, but we were saved and started understanding the Bible. “For you have one Teacher…”

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  52. Walton,

    One nuance though, Robert, didn’t God actually convince you of the Reformed faith? Not arguments or logic or evidence, but a new heart with which you can actually understand the Words of God? I’m not we were saved and became Reformed, but we were saved and started understanding the Bible. “For you have one Teacher…”

    Sure thing. Hard to say everything in a post, you know. My main complaint is that this CTC apologetic gives certain RCs a false picture of Rome having some kind of superior epistemology. It creates problems for Protestants (if you can call them problems) that are no less present for Roman Catholics and then purports to solve them by ignoring basic psychological realities about why people do what they do.

    But make no mistake about it, the Holy Spirit convinced me. Like I keep saying, that’s not mere subjectivism contra Rome’s attempt to turn WCF 1 into Mormonism’s burning bosom.

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  53. @Kevin
    You wrote, “And I would not call our justices “conservative” if they neglect the tradition of common law, natural law, and moral theology.”

    Just to be clear, I was referring to Scalia, Thomas, and Roberts — not generally anyone’s idea of CINOs on one hand or prone to set aside moral or natural law arguments on the other (not so sure that common law carries all that much weight – and by “not so sure” I mean utter ignorance on my part).

    Like

  54. sdb
    Posted September 29, 2015 at 4:33 pm | Permalink
    @Kevin
    You wrote, “And I would not call our justices “conservative” if they neglect the tradition of common law, natural law, and moral theology.”

    Just to be clear, I was referring to Scalia, Thomas, and Roberts — not generally anyone’s idea of CINOs on one hand or prone to set aside moral or natural law arguments on the other (not so sure that common law carries all that much weight – and by “not so sure” I mean utter ignorance on my part).

    FTR, only Clarence Thomas believes in natural law. Scalia believes in “positive law,” that we have enough written laws and precedents that we should not be chasing what Oliver Wendell Holmes called “the brooding omnipresence in the sky” and stop making stuff up out of thin air, say, a “right” to gay marriage.

    Like

  55. (Ad)D-

    KiN: JFK won the presidency at the price of his conscience.

    [(Ad)D:] What speech should he have made?

    Here is what Al Smith said in 1928. Not rhetorically brilliant, not successful in winning an election, not what I would have said, but not compromising:

    I am entirely unwilling to accept the old order of things as the best, unless, and until I become convinced, that it cannot be made better. While this is a government of laws, and not of men, laws do not execute themselves.

    We must have people of character and outstanding ability to save the nation. To me, the greatest elements of satisfaction, in my nomination, is the fact that I owe it to no man, or to no set of men. I can with complete honesty make the statement that my nomination was brought out by no promise, given or implied, by me or anybody in my behalf.

    I will not be influenced in appointments by the question of a person’s wet or dry attitude. I will not be influenced in appointments by the fact that a man is either rich or poor, whether he comes from the North, the East, the South or the West, or by what church he attends in the worship of God.

    The sole standard of my appointment will be the same as they’ve been in my governorship: integrity of the man or woman, and his ability, or her ability, to give me the greatest possible aid in devoted service to the people.

    Unfortunately, he didn’t leave it at that:

    I summarize my creed as an American Catholic. I believe in the worship of God according to the faith and practice of the Roman Catholic Church.

    I recognize no power in the institutions of my church to interfere with the operation of the Constitution of the United States or the enforcement of the law of the land. I believe in absolute freedom of conscience for all men and in equality of all churches, all sects, and all beliefs before the law as a matter of right and not as a matter of favor.

    I believe in the absolute separation of church and state and in the strict enforcement of the provisions of the Constitution of the United States.

    We have an audio recording of his delivery – http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5075

    In summary, this isn’t some VII position – it is a Classical Liberal position, and I don’t think it can cohere with Catholicism (as expressed by Pius IX, Leo XIII, and the entire tradition of the RCC).

    I have spent an hour or so since my earlier reply to your post trying to find contemporary criticism of JFK’s Houston speech. I have failed. How could Kennedy have violated his conscience when the chattering classes in general– and the American Catholic hierarchy in particular- were ecstatic about the speech? Seems like the speech reflected a conscience fully informed by contemporary Church teaching.

    It’s a great question and I haven’t immediately found anything either, just historians making reference to quiet disapproval amongst the Bishops and in Rome.

    I think one must look at the historical context – remarkable growth in the US, collapse of the Catholic empires in WWI, Europe ravaged by war. I think there was a sort of party line to put up with Kennedy’s imperfect remarks and hope for the best.

    That doesn’t make “contemporary Church teaching” a replacement of Church teaching, or a virtue of Kennedy’s statements. All it makes is negligence and fond hope on the part of the US (and to a lesser extent worldwide) hierarchy.

    Like

  56. Jed –

    Kevin,

    I understand your contention that JFK may have betrayed his RC convictions, but what, if anything does that have to do with his presidency?

    I prefer leaders who don’t lie – if Romney says his Mormonism won’t have any impact on his governance, I think he’s lying about his Mormonism (which makes claims over the public realm, doesn’t it? I don’t know much of Mormonism). I wouldn’t vote for him. It is two-faced. All other things being equal, I’d sooner vote for a libertarian atheist who pledged to respect religious liberties within communities who wanted them.

    More importantly – how could he have been a straight-laced Catholic and been even close to the President he was?

    Not sure I understand, can you explain?

    Like

  57. KiN, not to beat the expiring horse any further, but I am still befuddled as to how you can even use a word like “negligence” re: Kennedy’s position versus Church teaching. It seems to me that the Houston speech has, like one’s thoughts on John Courtney Murray and the changes made at VII, become a Rorschach test. It was never meant to carry the sort of theological freight that Chaput and others load it with now.

    I am not a JFK fan, but I have to have some posthumous sympathy for the poor guy. Sounds like Chaput and many others would be pleased with nothing less than digging up his bones and burning them the way the church used to do with heretics it couldn’t get to in time to burn them alive. What was the poor guy supposed to do? The wikipedia article on his Archbishop at the time, Cardinal Cushing, contains the following “He helped presidential candidate John F. Kennedy deflect fears of papal interference in American government if a Catholic became president.” I can’t find any reference to any direct involvement of his in the drafting of the Houston speech, but it would be mind boggling if he disapproved of it. What is a Catholic layman to do if he can’t trust his Archbishop?

    Like

  58. sdb
    Posted September 29, 2015 at 9:21 pm | Permalink
    I knew there was a reason I liked Scalia so much. Down with all that nonsense about natural law!!!!

    Heh heh, sdb. 😉

    However, FTR, that’s his judicial philosophy, that the Court shouldn’t substitute irs judgments for those of the voters. I think he’d say that it’s just fine to vote and according to natural law, and that it’s fine for legislation to reflect it.

    I think Bork was trying to get at that but I didn’t understand the argument at the time. If the people think gay marriage is a [God-given] “right,” so be it. But don’t tell us the 14th Amendment demands it, because that’s bullshit.

    Like

  59. Robert,

    I would add, considering what you wrote to Walton, that I didn’t consult a certain kind of apologetic. I simply went through a period of doubt, that again, I did not want( it shook me up pretty good), and that made me wonder first of all, how faith can be lost since it is given to us from God, and secondly( but connected) how faith as a human phenomenon interacts with religion either revealed or invented and how to know the difference. This led to a real epistemological need for a way to know that the scriptures were guaranteed; I include as well to this need, a way to understand how some of the literary genres were meant for our benefit as Christians. I could not bring myself to read scripture for a long time since there was so much disagreement about what it meant.
    So while there was unity about many important things, there was also so much disagreement that led to confusion, Who was square on about the book of Revelation, etc…? For a very long period everything turned into static.
    I wanted Jesus, if he was real( after a loss of faith, a faith that I through Christian witness conjoined with confidence in Jesus, I began to think that maybe my faith had been merely the internal phenomenon that the rest of religious mankind experiences, combined with my own personal and subjective grasp of a religion offered to me as a girl growing up in “Christian” America; that is, if I had been born in a predominately Muslim country, I would be a Muslim.
    However, by the Grace of God( thank you Lord!) I held out hope that Jesus was real because of the words and action attributed to him in the gospel( Pope Benedict XVI helped me here, where Paul couldn’t because I kept reading Paul through a Reformed exegesis). But what, if any, tradition could back up the existence of Jesus the Christ of God, as well as guarantee that all disputed doctrines among the competing churches and sects upon sects could be known and relied upon without a doubt?
    After this I was done with my subjective bosom burning experience, as well as every wind of doctrine, and put my trust in the Third Person of the Holy Trinity to lead me, as He has led many others before me, to and then through the the one, church since the beginning of the apostolic age.

    “I would not believe in the Gospel myself if the authority of the Catholic Church did not influence me to do so.”
    Against the letter of Mani, 5,6, 397 A.D.

    Susan

    Like

  60. Kevin in Newark
    Posted September 29, 2015 at 7:58 pm | Permalink
    (Ad)D-

    KiN: JFK won the presidency at the price of his conscience.

    [(Ad)D:] What speech should he have made?

    Here is what Al Smith said in 1928. Not rhetorically brilliant, not successful in winning an election, not what I would have said, but not compromising:

    I am entirely unwilling to accept the old order of things as the best, unless, and until I become convinced, that it cannot be made better. While this is a government of laws, and not of men, laws do not execute themselves.

    We must have people of character and outstanding ability to save the nation. To me, the greatest elements of satisfaction, in my nomination, is the fact that I owe it to no man, or to no set of men. I can with complete honesty make the statement that my nomination was brought out by no promise, given or implied, by me or anybody in my behalf.

    I will not be influenced in appointments by the question of a person’s wet or dry attitude. I will not be influenced in appointments by the fact that a man is either rich or poor, whether he comes from the North, the East, the South or the West, or by what church he attends in the worship of God.

    The sole standard of my appointment will be the same as they’ve been in my governorship: integrity of the man or woman, and his ability, or her ability, to give me the greatest possible aid in devoted service to the people.

    Unfortunately, he didn’t leave it at that:

    I summarize my creed as an American Catholic. I believe in the worship of God according to the faith and practice of the Roman Catholic Church.

    I recognize no power in the institutions of my church to interfere with the operation of the Constitution of the United States or the enforcement of the law of the land. I believe in absolute freedom of conscience for all men and in equality of all churches, all sects, and all beliefs before the law as a matter of right and not as a matter of favor.

    I believe in the absolute separation of church and state and in the strict enforcement of the provisions of the Constitution of the United States.

    In summary, this isn’t some VII position – it is a Classical Liberal position, and I don’t think it can cohere with Catholicism (as expressed by Pius IX, Leo XIII, and the entire tradition of the RCC).

    I have spent an hour or so since my earlier reply to your post trying to find contemporary criticism of JFK’s Houston speech. I have failed. How could Kennedy have violated his conscience when the chattering classes in general– and the American Catholic hierarchy in particular- were ecstatic about the speech? Seems like the speech reflected a conscience fully informed by contemporary Church teaching.

    It’s a great question and I haven’t immediately found anything either, just historians making reference to quiet disapproval amongst the Bishops and in Rome.

    I think one must look at the historical context – remarkable growth in the US, collapse of the Catholic empires in WWI, Europe ravaged by war. I think there was a sort of party line to put up with Kennedy’s imperfect remarks and hope for the best.

    That doesn’t make “contemporary Church teaching” a replacement of Church teaching, or a virtue of Kennedy’s statements. All it makes is negligence and fond hope on the part of the US (and to a lesser extent worldwide) hierarchy.

    A good and necessary discussion, but a couple of points of order, of clarity:

    English/American anti-Catholicism always put it in terms of the pope, “allegiance to a foreign prince.” There was little in Catholicism in 1960 socio-politically that differed from mainstream Protestantism. JFK’s task was to state that the CHURCH, the pope and bishops, had no power to command him.

    This is separation of church and state, the Edgardo Mortara stuff, not the current crisis some 50 years later now, the separation of religion and politics, the separation between God and How Man Shall Then Live.

    The separation of morality from law, of good from evil. This is the current crisis. “Libertarianism” is not neutral.

    http://www.edwardfeser.com/unpublishedpapers/libertarianimpartiality.html

    Like

  61. Susan,

    I’ll make a couple of specific observations and then conclude with a more general one.

    would add, considering what you wrote to Walton, that I didn’t consult a certain kind of apologetic. I simply went through a period of doubt, that again, I did not want( it shook me up pretty good), and that made me wonder first of all, how faith can be lost since it is given to us from God,

    Rome also says that God gives us faith (through baptism). So how does the apparent loss of faith in Reformed theology invalidate Reformed belief whereas it won’t invalidate it in Rome. If you apply the same standards and if faith can truly be lost, it appears God is an utter failure in Rome as well.

    Or, maybe people can falsely believe they have faith. I know Rome doesn’t really like this concept, but it just occurred to me that Rome teaches one can falsely believe one has a true marriage but then through an annulment prove that it never really existed in the first place. If it is possible to have every outward sign of marriage and yet not be married, why is it not possible for faith?

    and secondly( but connected) how faith as a human phenomenon interacts with religion either revealed or invented and how to know the difference.

    It is important to know whether a religion is revealed or invented. But what is the independent, non-circular verifying agency that tells you Rome is revealed and not invented? Motives of credibility don’t count because they don’t prove anything unless you accept Rome’s interpretation of them.

    This led to a real epistemological need for a way to know that the scriptures were guaranteed;

    To me this reads as if you needed something independent of the Scriptures to tell you that the Scriptures are guaranteed. Fine. Just be consistent. Why don’t you need anything independent of Rome to do the same thing for Rome, or if you do, what is it?

    Like

  62. Robert
    Posted September 29, 2015 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    It is important to know whether a religion is revealed or invented. But what is the independent, non-circular verifying agency that tells you Rome is revealed and not invented?

    The Catholic Church bally makes the claim that it is the product of the Holy Spirit, from pentecost until now.

    Unless you have a counterclaim that the Holy spirit told Luther, calvin and Hart that it ain’t, you’re in Truth Claim No Man’s Land.

    Which you are.

    And BTW, the various Reformed confessions are clearly the product of man, although they claim to be nothing but restatements of scripture.

    But that doesn’t hold–the confessions have been revised numerous times, but aside from the Deutero-canonical controversy, the Bible has not. Therefore the claim that the confessions = the Bible does not hold.

    The “truth claim” problem is yours–and I say this as a formal ordering of truth claims without If Luther or Calvin or Hart wants to claim that the Holy Spirit cleared the decks c.1500 CE, then fine. The Mormons make the same claim about 1827. I don’t fight with Mormons about that. I wasn’t there.

    This argument is 500 years old, Thomas More against William Tyndale–More’s participation was encouraged by the pope.

    http://extra.shu.ac.uk/emls/moretyndale.pdf

    Dr. History: A Calvinism sits silent. He prefers to bigtime the nice Catholic ladies. The punchline is that Thomas More’s argument is carried precisely on two nice Catholic ladies–let’s call them Susan and Ariel. Tyndale has no reply.

    Since practically none of God’s millions and now billions of children will ever learn Hebrew or Greek, let alone understand their nuances, in the end you have to take somebody’s word for what scripture says, and then what it means.

    The nice Catholic ladies have to trust somebody. They’re busy having and raising our children, and doing all the necessities of life while the men sit around and debate.

    Dr. History: A Calvinism sits mute, as he must.

    ‘The Reformer is always right about what’s wrong. However, he’s often wrong about what is right.’–GKC

    Like

  63. Hi Again, Robert:)

    Okay, I’m following our observations:
    “Rome also says that God gives us faith (through baptism). So how does the apparent loss of faith in Reformed theology invalidate Reformed belief whereas it won’t invalidate it in Rome. If you apply the same standards and if faith can truly be lost, it appears God is an utter failure in Rome as well.”

    But loss of faith means what in the Reformed system? Doesn’t it mean that one was never really elect? I came up from despair that wouldn’t have stopped, if there had not been the intellectually coherent and therefore satisfying answer to “what church predates and saw to the inscripturization of the NT, as well authorizing the cannon”.
    In Catholic soteriolgy one can cause their faith to be weakened by reading things contrary to the Catholic faith; and that’s what I did. One can also completely turn their back on God through their own free will. When I understood that I could respond to grace by my own will, I kept asking God for more light and my faith has gotten much stronger; however, it is still possible that I reject God in the end. It is the faith of the Church that strengthens my faith.
    Do you see the difference? Id have I hadn’t of been led to the Catholic Church….no, if there had not been a Catholic Church I would not have had a route and remedy for epistemological circumstances. It would have been as if Jesus left us as orphans.

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11711a.htm

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  64. (aD)D-

    I am still befuddled as to how you can even use a word like “negligence” re: Kennedy’s position versus Church teaching.

    I was applying “negligence” to the failure of the US RCC to teach the whole story on Catholic Social Teachings, specifically in the 20th century (although you could extend the charge quite fairly to the first Bishop of Baltimore)- i.e., a great many have often neglected (neglect) the faith out of what one could call fond hope (or poor strategy, or confusion). This is what gave Kennedy (and Al Smith) the room to say what they did.

    I see it as an importation of Classical Liberal ideas to the RCC- imported because Catholics were powerless in the Anglosphere, and they adopted the ways of those who had power. With the great 20th century success of the US (and the US RCC), the ideas went global – and now we can count on the hierarchy internationally intermittently espousing these beliefs.

    It was never meant to carry the sort of theological freight that Chaput and others load it with now.

    I don’t see how intention is relevant – a man claims to believe x, he promises y, and the two are inconsistent. If we have a duty to let our yeas be yeas, then there is a problem here, one worth pointing out when he is a major public figure.

    Sounds like Chaput and many others would be pleased with nothing less than digging up his bones and burning them the way the church used to do with heretics it couldn’t get to in time to burn them alive.

    JFK’s actions have had a significant impact on the behavior of contemporary CINO politicians. Addressing the behavior of this lamentable group is well within Chaput’s job description. If your comment is sincere, you reveal you are either in ignorance of the man’s character, or gravely misread it.

    What was the poor guy supposed to do?

    Not set an example of faithlessness to other Catholics – he carried with him the hopes of a great many millions, and if his speech demonstrated any lesson, it is that faithful Catholics will not be taken seriously in American society.

    it would be mind boggling if he [Cushing] disapproved of it [JFK’s speech]. What is a Catholic layman to do if he can’t trust his Archbishop?

    The Archbishop isn’t the only source of teachings – a Catholic layman can turn to the liturgy, the catechisms, history, great literature, the sensus Catholicus of those around him (if it is still present), faithful priests, and formal, promulgated documents from Rome (i.e. magisterial teachings) which address the issue. The Syllabus of Errors would be a great start.

    Like

  65. Kevin in Newark
    Posted September 30, 2015 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    JFK’s actions have had a significant impact on the behavior of contemporary CINO politicians. Addressing the behavior of this lamentable group is well within Chaput’s job description. If your comment is sincere, you reveal you are either in ignorance of the man’s character, or gravely misread it.

    Easy, fella. JFK’s acceptably vague speech repudiating the 200-yr old Protestant suspicion that he would obey the pope rather than obey his oath to the Constitution should be takn that far and no further.

    Just because his epigone brother Tedward Kennedy betrayed every standard of Biblical morality and human decency in fealty to the Democratic Party does not mean that Jack would have.

    I hear you about CINOs, in fact this just came in over the wire–pope just tore CINO mayor of rome a new asshole. =:-O

    http://news.yahoo.com/pope-shows-no-mercy-blasts-rome-mayor-pretend-201914363.html

    [BTW, Kev–Dr. Robert Kraynak. I’m not marginalizing you. Kraynak is at the top of your totem pole, that a proper Catholicism cannot accommodate American pluralism in any form. You could look him up and be gratified to find a mighty intellect and a kindred soul.]

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  66. Tom –

    This is separation of church and state, the Edgardo Mortara stuff, not the current crisis some 50 years later now, the separation of religion and politics, the separation between God and How Man Shall Then Live.

    The separation of morality from law, of good from evil. This is the current crisis. “Libertarianism” is not neutral.

    Agreed these are two identifiably different issues, but Chaput would not have offered his analysis if he had believed JFK’s speech to be consistent with Catholic teachings. One would have to demonstrate Chaput and Pius IX are in the wrong as to what comprises Catholic teachings to defend JFK, no?

    This brings a likeness to the two issues which Chaput claims is because one caused the other – JFK’s rejection (quite possibly reluctant) of the Church’s teachings on Church-State relations and his subsequent electoral success provided a model for Cuomo to follow in his own rejection of Church teachings.

    Different issues, yes, but related – and if we’re to escape the problems of the latter, we ought to consider whether our leaders took the right approach on the former. I don’t see any other way except to confine ourselves to ever smaller boxes.

    Agreed on libertarianism, I think – I find the criticisms they offer often useful, but the proposed solutions not much more attractive than what we have now (speculative ideals set aside).

    Like

  67. Tom, was working on my last comment before seeing yours, FWIW. Am looking up Kraynak.

    Easy, fella. JFK’s acceptably vague speech repudiating the 200-yr old Protestant suspicion that he would obey the pope rather than obey his oath to the Constitution should be takn that far and no further.

    I’ll consider that.

    Like

  68. Cheers, Kevin. I’ve done a bit of study on this one, The separation of church and state is not synonymous with the separation of religion and politics.

    The left-wing scum [and some of their useful idiot allies] try to blur it all together.

    As it turns out, what’s left of orthodox Christianity in America–much of it Protestant, has been looking hard to whatever’s left of it–the Catholic Church.

    Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio
    A nation turns its lonely eyes to you (Woo, woo, woo)

    What’s that you say, Mrs. Robinson
    Joltin’ Joe has left and gone away
    (Hey, hey, hey…hey, hey, hey)

    Protestant America hopes not. Darryl and his “Old Lifers” hope not. Francis is their last hope. Why do they spend so much time on him, on the Catholic Church?

    Hey, hey, hey, Dr. Hart. “Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.

    I’m still pegging you for the second, asshole. Loveya, man.

    Like

  69. Tom,

    The Catholic Church bally makes the claim that it is the product of the Holy Spirit, from pentecost until now.

    Unless you have a counterclaim that the Holy spirit told Luther, calvin and Hart that it ain’t, you’re in Truth Claim No Man’s Land.

    ???? Luther, Calvin, et al claim that the church is the product of the Holy Spirit that includes both true converts and false converts. When the false converts take the power, things go bad. Where’s the proof that the Holy Spirit’s leading of the church means that it can never fall into gross error and need Reformation?

    And BTW, the various Reformed confessions are clearly the product of man, although they claim to be nothing but restatements of scripture.

    But that doesn’t hold–the confessions have been revised numerous times, but aside from the Deutero-canonical controversy, the Bible has not. Therefore the claim that the confessions = the Bible does not hold.

    No one is claiming that the confessions equal the Bible. If they did make such a claim, they wouldn’t also make the claim that they summarize the system of doctrine found in Scripture. So I don’t get your problem other than you like being contrary.

    The “truth claim” problem is yours–and I say this as a formal ordering of truth claims without If Luther or Calvin or Hart wants to claim that the Holy Spirit cleared the decks c.1500 CE, then fine. The Mormons make the same claim about 1827. I don’t fight with Mormons about that. I wasn’t there.

    Protestants have never claimed that the Holy Spirit cleared the decks. If we did, we would have rejected everything before 1517.

    This argument is 500 years old, Thomas More against William Tyndale–More’s participation was encouraged by the pope.

    http://extra.shu.ac.uk/emls/moretyndale.pdf

    Yeah, and More’s response was at the same time as intellectually pretentious and vacuous then as it is now.

    Dr. History: A Calvinism sits silent. He prefers to bigtime the nice Catholic ladies. The punchline is that Thomas More’s argument is carried precisely on two nice Catholic ladies–let’s call them Susan and Ariel. Tyndale has no reply.

    Since practically none of God’s millions and now billions of children will ever learn Hebrew or Greek, let alone understand their nuances, in the end you have to take somebody’s word for what scripture says, and then what it means.

    The nice Catholic ladies have to trust somebody. They’re busy having and raising our children, and doing all the necessities of life while the men sit around and debate.

    The nice Roman Catholic ladies are naive. They throw up their hands about needing an independent verifier of Scripture without demanding the same thing for the church. The Scriptures make the bully claim that they are given directly by God and are sufficient for every good work. They make the same claim for themselves that the RCC makes for itself. So if you need some independent verifying body for certainty regarding the Scriptures, why not one for the church? Crickets.

    The particular flavor of conservative RC apologetics we see here from time to time absolutely refuses to apply the same standards to itself that it applies to others. That’s the problem.

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  70. Susan, if the faith of the church strengthens your faith, you’re not doing a very good job of honesty. If you look at church history very long, you’re going to lose faith. Look at William Henry O’Connell, Archbishop of Boston, sometime. It might scare you back to the Bible.

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  71. Darryl,

    A Reformed pastor wanted to deter me from heading to Rome and so he played up the URCNA form of government by contrasting it against the Moses model leaderships of Calvary Chapel and Rome, telling me that Calvary Chapel goers were going to be lost when Church Smith dies, just like Catholics will be when the Pope dies.
    I respected that Pastor very, very much. but what does he think I am, dumb or something? 🙂
    The Catholic Church is 2,000 years old.

    “171 The Church, “the pillar and bulwark of the truth”, faithfully guards “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints”. She guards the memory of Christ’s words; it is she who from generation to generation hands on the apostles’ confession of faith.[57] As a mother who teaches her children to speak and so to understand and communicate, the Church our Mother teaches us the language of faith in order to introduce us to the understanding and the life of faith.”

    http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/profess5.html

    Anyways, hope you have a great day!

    Susan

    Like

  72. Susan, like I say, if you want all that history, you have to own it and the record of fidelity to the apostolic teaching is not all that encouraging. Have you listened to your holy father lately? I think Chuck Smith says Jesus more than Francis.

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  73. Ali, so please explain to me the gift of encouragement. Is it acting like a gnat? Or is it being ignorant that you are a gnat when you are, and then complaining that others are holy or nice?

    Like

  74. wow DG. .

    won’t explain what I think the Lord says encouragement is again (did before) but here’s an example: Titus 1:5-9; 1 Tim 3:1-7

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  75. Robert,

    Concerning our discussion about faith, please watch or listen to this starting at 8 min. and ending around 10.

    Kind Regards,
    Susan

    Like

  76. Just read about McGovern getting grief over JFK, even in his small state, and his work in 1960 led to an appointment in Washington and his historic footnote

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  77. Susan,

    I don’t mean to be rude, but that clip is not a good one to post if Dr. Anders is to be recognized as knowing what he is talking about in Reformed theology. Where do the Reformed confessions deny that faith is an act of the will or teach that is exclusively a matter of the intellect?

    From that brief clip, it looks like Dr. Anders has no clue on what the Reformed say about the role of evidences, the fact that WE exercise faith, or any of that. What he is describing is Mormonism or some kind of radical subjectivism.

    Like

  78. D. G. Hart
    Posted September 30, 2015 at 10:24 am | Permalink
    Susan, like I say, if you want all that history, you have to own it and the record of fidelity to the apostolic teaching is not all that encouraging. Have you listened to your holy father lately? I think Chuck Smith says Jesus more than Francis.>>>>>

    Nice try, Brother Hart, but every time Pope Francis celebrates Mass, he not only mentions Jesus but represents Christ’s death on the cross for our sins. Do you know what the Mass is and what it means? It’s all about Jesus.

    How many times did Francis celebrate the Mass, and that in front of TV cameras and tens of thousands of people present.

    Like

  79. Tom van Dyke:
    Dr. History: A Calvinism sits mute, as he must.

    ‘The Reformer is always right about what’s wrong. However, he’s often wrong about what is right.’–GKC>>>>

    That’s it! That is exactly what started to really bother me about Protestantism. Great at finding what is wrong with everything and everybody. Not so good at getting the truth right.

    Like Ephesians 4, John 17, and “This is my body…”

    Like

  80. Kevin in Newark, it seems to me that, re:the Houston speech, Chaput and you are trying to put 50 pounds of potatoes in a 10 pound sack, as we say in the Southern part of flyover country. I suspect that Chaput is being more than a little bit disingenuous– his real problem is with VII and Dignitatis humanae, but he chooses to trash Kennedy rather than the product of a Holy Spirit inspired Church Council.

    My own reading of what that implies about the state of church authority at any given time, how a layman should react to it when and if he can discern it, etc., is not one I would expect you to share. But I think TVD has a point: “The separation of church and state is not synonymous with the separation of religion and politics.”

    Like

  81. Mermaid, nice try yourself. How many folks boast about the papacy because it celebrates the mass? Ever heard of (Roman) Catholic social teaching?

    But there’s hope. You can come back to Jesus.

    Like

  82. Mermaid, “Not so good at getting the truth right.”

    So was Urban II right about the Crusades?

    Was Trent right about Protestants?

    Was Pius IX right about democracy?

    Francis about climate change?

    I’ll stop.

    Like

  83. Robert,

    “They throw up their hands about needing an independent verifier of Scripture without demanding the same thing for the church. The Scriptures make the bully claim that they are given directly by God and are sufficient for every good work. They make the same claim for themselves that the RCC makes for itself.”

    The Scriptures do not identify themselves. Each book and each verse does not claim it is given directly by God. Rome makes the claim of divine authority and in doing so obviously identifies and proposes itself as that authority. No Protestant church or confession makes that type of claim but rather rejects it, hence its identification of the extent, scope, nature, authority, inerrancy, and inspiration of Scripture and its identification of the rule of faith are themselves tentative and provisional as is everything else it proposes for belief – semper reformanda. So, no there is not an equivalence or double-standard – that both Protestants and non-Protestants make decisions and judgments to submit is not relevant and is a red herring.

    Like

  84. James Young, “Rome makes the claim of divine authority and in doing so obviously identifies and proposes itself as that authority.”

    So because Rome has no humility we’re supposed to take it as divine? You forget your first pope:

    So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. (1 Peter 5:1-3 ESV)

    How’s that villa and museum of the Young’s going? Cool.

    Like

  85. D. G. Hart
    Posted September 30, 2015 at 6:23 am | Permalink
    vd, t, have you heard of the Bible? Didn’t think so.

    You wouldn’t even if you went to Mass.

    Oh, Butch, that Calvinist wit!

    Robert
    Posted September 30, 2015 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    Yeah, and More’s response was at the same time as intellectually pretentious and vacuous then as it is now.

    And the deadly logic and argument!

    Like

  86. Zrim
    Posted September 30, 2015 at 12:42 pm | Permalink
    Right, Ariel, because that’s where Jesus is supposed to be, in front of lights, cameras, and action. So much for humility.

    Actually, Jesus WAS right front and center, as were the apostles. You people will say anything from the safety of your bunkers. Check yourself.

    Like

  87. Darryl,

    Did Peter have divine authority? If so, how could he write what you cited? Humility and claims of divine authority are not mutually exclusive – Dei Verbum teaches the church is servant, not master.

    Like

  88. TVD
    Posted September 30, 2015 at 4:53 pm | Permalink
    Zrim
    Posted September 30, 2015 at 12:42 pm | Permalink
    Right, Ariel, because that’s where Jesus is supposed to be, in front of lights, cameras, and action. So much for humility.

    TVD:
    Actually, Jesus WAS right front and center, as were the apostles. You people will say anything from the safety of your bunkers. Check yourself.>>>>>

    Yes, Tom! He was front and center, wasn’t He.

    Zrim, are you saying that it is a sign of pride to speak to thousands of people and break bread with them?

    Like

  89. D. G. Hart
    Posted September 30, 2015 at 3:19 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, nice try yourself. How many folks boast about the papacy because it celebrates the mass? Ever heard of (Roman) Catholic social teaching?

    But there’s hope. You can come back to Jesus.>>>>>>

    Brother Hart, I understand it that you are anti Catholic. It is part of your tradition. In your tradition, it makes sense to mock all things Catholic. It makes sense in your system to mock even those who sincerely follow their faith and try to live it out each day, by the grace of God. I get it.

    It is the last sentence that I find a bit sad, actually. I mean, if you really did love Jesus, and if you really were concerned for my soul, you would explain to me who Jesus. You would plead with me to come to Him, and be saved.

    Yet you throw that last sentence in as a kind of after thought. I don’t know if you are serious or just being your sweet ironic self.

    Now, I don’t think you like Jonathan Edwards very much, but he did preach a beautiful message called The Excellency of Christ. Since you are so anti Catholic, maybe a Calvinistic Protestant will be able to reach you. Like it or not, all faithful Catholics are part of this “society of the blessed Trinity.”

    I do know Jesus, and hope to see Him face to face. There is only one thing that counts for anything at the end of the day. See Galatians 5:6

    “This was the design of Christ, that he, and his Father, and his people, might all be united in one. John 17:21 23. “That they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee — that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou hast given me, I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one.” Christ has brought it to pass, that those whom the Father has given him should be brought into the household of God, that he and his Father, and his people, should be as one society, one family; that the church should be as it were admitted into the society of the blessed Trinity.”
    http://www.ccel.org/ccel/edwards/sermons.excellency.html

    Galatians 5:6English Standard Version (ESV)

    6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

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  90. Tom, Jesus may have been front and center but ultimately crucified for his words and actions. Will Francis see such a fate? But who tries and executes a man only adored by the masses and spreads peace, love, and harmony (peace, love, and harmony–oh, very nice, very nice, very nice, very nice, but maybe in the next world, maybe in the next world, maybe in the next world).

    Like

  91. Cletus,

    Rome hasn’t told us specifically which teachings of hers are dogma and which aren’t in the same way that you demand Scripture do so. Thus, it seems to me that you have the same “problem” that we do. Quit with the double standard. Heck, it isn’t even clear what the extent of the church is in Roman Catholicism. Do you have to be in communion with the pope or not? Apparently you’re golden with not being in communion with the pope if you have Apostolic succession, except for those dirty Anglicans cause, well just cause Rome is still bitter that somebody in the west would dare broach her authority. Then, of course, there’s that large number of more ecumenically minded bishops who do believe the true church can subsist in Protestantism.

    What is it about Roman Catholics that make them incapable of applying the same standard to Rome that they apply to Protestants?

    Like

  92. Zrim
    Posted September 30, 2015 at 10:05 pm | Permalink
    Tom, Jesus may have been front and center but ultimately crucified for his words and actions.

    Start there and stop there, Dr. Zrim. Old Life is neither. Christians throwing stones at other Christians from the comfort of their own comfortable homes is the most disgusting thing imaginable, Dr. Hart.

    Not only are the nice Catholic Ladies better men than you, so is Kim Davis. And before you try to d-bag me, they’re better men than me too. But I don’t mind saying so.

    Like

  93. James Young, but I thought Vat 2 didn’t change doctrine, didn’t even teach doctrine. Only discipline.

    Anyhow, claims of authority are different from those of superiority. I haven’t seen a servant-serving-server attitude in the papacy — oh let’s see — for most of history (minus Peter).

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  94. Mermaid, not anti-Catholic. Just pro-honesty. Lots of apologists and boosters like yourself don’t tell the whole truth.

    And what you say about salvation applies to you. Were you unsaved before you became a Roman Catholic? Or did you just switch to a different denomination, one a lot bigger and with a lot more art? Go Yankees.

    Like

  95. vd, t, “Christians throwing stones at other Christians from the comfort of their own comfortable homes is the most disgusting thing imaginable, Dr. Hart.”

    Wait, I thought it was the PP videos.

    Like

  96. Tom, but OLers also don’t jet set, address joint sessions of Congress, have their own zip code, etc. Isn’t there a difference between preserving your life because you live quietly and peaceably among men and preserving it because you wield worldly power and influence?

    Are you really chiding for throwing stones? Watch out for falling glass–it’s sharper than shards of falling sky. And chivalry from the guy whose name is politically incorrect? You really should consider changing it; I believe the correct term is “lesbian.”

    Like

  97. I haven’t seen a servant-serving-server attitude in the papacy — oh let’s see — for most of history (minus Peter).

    But Darryl, isn’t Francis like, the most humble pope in history? I mean who cares that every act of “humility” is broadcast around the world. Kiss that disfigured man, get on the nightly news. Certainly that was what Jesus meant by not letting one hand know what the other was doing.

    Let’s set aside doctrine for a moment. Are there any RCs that can actually make a credible argument that palaces, gold tiaras, press entourages, a bank, and so on were something that Jesus had in mind when he called Peter the Rock?

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  98. Zrim: “preserving your life because you live quietly and peaceably among men”

    Zrim don’t think ‘quietly and peaceably’, is the full distinctive, according to the Lord

    ,,,so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life……..in all godliness and dignity. 1 Tim 2: 2

    Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. 1 Tim 4: 16

    whoever loses his life will preserve it. Luke 17:33

    The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; He who watches his way preserves his life.Prov 16:17

    The one who guards his mouth preserves his life; Prov 13:3

    bottom line: how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved by His life. Rom 5:10

    love, the ignorant gnat

    Like

  99. Ali, do you understand how unbecoming it is for you to instruct men (if you’re going to thump Scripture, and all):

    Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. (Titus 2:3-5 ESV)

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  100. Which is it DG, because a ignorant (illiterate, unintelligent) gnat or because of the verses you quote?
    and which is it – R2k or all of life?
    and let’s say if I were a woman– could it be Acts 18:26?
    Anyway,( if a woman), I’ will reflect on Titus 2:3-5 if you will reflect on Titus 1:5-9; 1 Tim 3:1-7.

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  101. Robert,

    “Rome hasn’t told us specifically which teachings of hers are dogma and which aren’t in the same way that you demand Scripture do so. Thus, it seems to me that you have the same “problem” that we do. Quit with the double standard.”

    That’s not a double standard. You asserted Scripture makes the same claims Rome does and so Rome and her claims are unnecessary. Okay, so at the very least we have to identify Scripture then in order to know what to submit to. We can’t do that based on what you identify as Scripture’s claims – each book, let alone each verse (hence differing canons, asterisked bibles, and ongoing disputes on passages) does not identify itself or make the same claims Rome does. We can do that based on Rome’s claims (Rome identifies itself as the church in communion with the bishop of Rome). It would be a double-standard if I was asking you to list out all the teachings of what you identify as Scripture that you take as dogma.

    Darryl,

    “but I thought Vat 2 didn’t change doctrine, didn’t even teach doctrine. Only discipline.”

    A pastoral council can still emphasize and re-assert known longstanding doctrines. Vat 1 opening: “Pius, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the sacred council, for an everlasting record.” Defining papal infallibility while also claiming to be a servant? Inconceivable!

    Like

  102. oh goody goody, the Martyrs Memorial podcast on the Pope in USA is available for download

    wonder what angle they will take on it…

    Like

  103. James Young, you’re cherry picking:

    [Innocent III] advanced the view that by virtue of being the Vicar of Christ, the latter’s representative on earth, the pope himself had received from Christ “the extraordinary right” to exercise in certain cases nothing less than “divine authority on earth.” Francis Oakley, Mortgage of the Past, 174-75

    If you look at the history of high papalism, you don’t get much humility. Sure if Rome wants to refashion itself and if you buy it, cool. But you can’t claim that Rome is such an ancient institution with loads and loads of tradition and then act like the medieval popes were just ordinary pastors.

    Pope up.

    Like

  104. Ali, I don’t pretend to be an elder all the time. You, however, do pretend to minister the word. As a woman who supposedly follows the Bible, that’s a violation.

    Like

  105. D. G. Hart
    Posted October 1, 2015 at 6:28 am | Permalink
    Mermaid, not anti-Catholic. Just pro-honesty. Lots of apologists and boosters like yourself don’t tell the whole truth.

    And what you say about salvation applies to you. Were you unsaved before you became a Roman Catholic? Or did you just switch to a different denomination, one a lot bigger and with a lot more art? Go Yankees.>>>>>>

    Well, Brother Hart, I think that you may be anti Catholic and not realize it. You are not telling the whole truth about Catholicism, so does that make you a liar? You tell the “truth” that advances your position. I am not really sure what your position on the Catholic Church is, actually, except that you believe her to be something akin to the Great Whore of Babylon as far as I can tell.

    That comes from your tradition.

    As far as my faith goes, I have been a Jesus follower since I was a little girl. My mother was a backslidden Christian – who received Christian baptism just days before her death, praise Jesus. Backslidden Christian may not be a category your tradition recognizes.

    My father was an atheist.

    On Christmas Day when I was maybe 6 or 7 years old, I held a Rosary in my hand and prayed a Catholic prayer. I didn’t know it was Catholic until recently. I looked at Jesus dying on the cross and prayed, “ Since you gave your life for me, I give my life to You.”

    The ones who taught me about Jesus were not the fine Presbyterians living on the hill in relative luxury. It was a black woman – a Pentecostal – kindergarten teacher from Canada and a group of Baptists who took pity on us brats. They taught us about Jesus and they showed us Jesus by their lives.

    Anyway, I believe that God led me – maybe rescued me – and plopped me down in the Catholic Church. Now, you guys get uncomfortable with that sort of mystical talk, so I will not bore you or open myself up to greater ridicule. I will just say that now the Rosary and the prayer I made as a little girl make sense.

    No, the Catholic Church is not just another denomination among many. Her claims are unique, as you know. For one thing, she claims to be a she.

    I love my Protestant brothers and sisters, but this is more than just the Mass in b minor for me.

    I’ll leave it there for now. Thank you for asking, Brother Hart.

    Like

  106. James,

    We can do that based on Rome’s claims (Rome identifies itself as the church in communion with the bishop of Rome). It would be a double-standard if I was asking you to list out all the teachings of what you identify as Scripture that you take as dogma.

    No you can’t. Rome isn’t all that clear on the identity of the ONE church that Jesus founded. Is it Rome? Yes. Is it the East? Yes, but . Is it the Anglicans? No. But they have Apostolic succession that is recognized at least up to Henry 8 when the schism happened but somehow their break makes them invalid but not the East. What? If the definition really is the church in communion with Rome, then the East isn’t really a church. And yet Rome views some bodies not in communion with Rome as churches. So Rome is at least as clear on its extent as the Bible is on its extent.

    Does the bishop of Rome have divine authority when he commands sin? What about when he teaches false doctrine in his non-official capacity as a private theologian? What about the bishops collectively? I honestly hope that you would say no, but I’m not sure. Rome claims to be the authority for Christian teaching. Protestants say the Bible makes the same claim. So you better be able to identify, without fail, every single aspect of Christian teaching from Roman sources in the way that you demand I show you the canon from Scripture since the canon is Christian teaching.

    I know that you insist that you are not on the S.S. Epistemology with me, and admittedly you’re trying to sit way on the other side of the boat. But you’re right there with the rest of us.

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  107. Webfoot,

    If you can be a Christian in a Baptist Church or in a RC Church, then Rome is just one denomination among many. She might be a purer church, but she’s still just another one of us visible institutions.

    If Rome really weren’t a denomination among many and really is the sacrament of salvation, then there can be Christians nowhere else. Your church used to believe this.

    Like

  108. Robert
    Posted October 1, 2015 at 1:47 pm | Permalink
    Webfoot,

    If you can be a Christian in a Baptist Church or in a RC Church, then Rome is just one denomination among many. She might be a purer church, but she’s still just another one of us visible institutions.

    If Rome really weren’t a denomination among many and really is the sacrament of salvation, then there can be Christians nowhere else. Your church used to believe this.>>>>>

    Well, I disagree, but I understand your point. At least you recognize the Catholic Church as being a Christian denomination, which is a great advance in Protestantism. 🙂

    She is the only one who claims all true Christians as part of her. I like Peter Kreeft’s explanation of the Church as a kind of Noah’s Ark. I am sure that analogy is not original with him. When I have taught the story of Noah’s Ark to children, I have always made the connection between there being only one door on the ark to Jesus being the door of the sheep. If any man, woman, boy, or girl enters by that door he or she will be saved. John 10:9,10. Somehow, though, I missed the connection between the Ark and the Church.

    Anyway, there is only one Church. Even in the Protestant confessions, that is acknowledged. It is also stated that there is no salvation outside the church. I am sure you know this.

    Denominations are all, well, divided. Catholicism is united. It may be a bit smelly at times, like the ark of Noah had to have been, but she is still afloat and the promises and claims are still vigente, still viable, still on the books so to speak.

    Now, back to Kreeft’s testimony. He came to realize that he was in a life raft alongside the ark, so why not just climb on board with the apostles and saints – as well as all the animals.

    That makes perfect sense to me. Besides, it dawned on me that all of my favorite theologians were either Catholic or heavily influenced by St. Thomas Aquinas. My path finally led me to the Church. It was a surprise to me, and a very happy one. I say that a great ok carried me home.

    Now, I know the guys here aren’t impressed with things like happiness in religion, but it means a lot to me. I am home.

    Like

  109. D. G. Hart
    Posted October 1, 2015 at 10:11 am | Permalink
    Ali, do you understand how unbecoming it is for you to instruct men (if you’re going to thump Scripture, and all):

    Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. (Titus 2:3-5 ESV)>>>>>>

    Brother Hart, I don’t think that Ali is trying to instruct men. This is a conversation, not a classroom or a church service.

    Why do you seem to have a special animosity towards women? It seems to be especially prevalent among some Reformed groups. Why is that?

    Like

  110. Webfoot,

    But there were no life raft next to the ark. You’re not in, you’re drowned. So if Rome is the ark, the rest of us are done for.

    If you don’t need to be on the ark to be saved, the ark is completely relative. Just another denomination. One of many. Maybe bigger. Maybe older. But still one of many equally valid options.

    Rome has completely relativized herself while still trying to claim to be the only true church. It’s why every RC I’ve ever known personally thinks that any Protestant Church is as valid as Rome. That’s the ether modern Rome gives off. Heck, it goes beyond Protestantism. As long as a religion isn’t out murdering people, it’s as equally valid as Rome. Find me a Romanist who thinks a Muslim won’t be saved if he remains a Muslim. They don’t exist. The common RC thinks you’ll be just fine if you do good and don’t get into too much trouble. In terms of the wider religious world Rome has completely relativized itself though it tries to claim otherwise. It’s what happens when you kiss Qur’ans and hold interfaith worship services. People get the message that this Jesus guy and his death is on the same level as Muhammad and Buddha.

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  111. My mother was a backslidden Christian – who received Christian baptism just days before her death, praise Jesus. Backslidden Christian may not be a category your tradition recognizes.

    Ariel, “backslidden” is a low church Baptist-ish category, with more moralistic and pietistic meaning. Since the nomenclature among more high church creedal and confessional forms of Christianity would be non/observant, non/practicing, or non/professing, I wonder if your Baptist is showing? Maybe this is what happens when you are in cahoots with the Solid Rock Apostolic Oneness Pentecostal types.

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  112. Zrim :out there in left field.

    In what way do you mean, Zrim?

    DGHart Ali, I don’t pretend to be an elder all the time.

    You mean a man above reproach but according to each context?

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  113. Ali, in the way that the point to Tom was that some lives are preserved in biblical ways, others (like Francis’s) in worldly ways, and it’s unclear what your list of texts has to do with that.

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  114. Ali, I mean this is a blog and not a Sunday school class. So your constant invocations of Scripture, like the classroom tattle-tale, are not appealing (neither Titus-2 like).

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  115. DG Hart: So your constant invocations of Scripture, like the classroom tattle-tale, are not appealing

    Oh ok, I think I understand. You prefer pursuing Old Life’s aim’ to point the way back to the health and vigor of historic Reformed Protestantism’ by the word and work of man rather than God’s work and word. Good luck.

    Zrim : in the way that the point to Tom was that some lives are preserved in biblical ways, others (like Francis’s) in worldly ways, and it’s unclear what your list of texts has to do with that.

    Zrim, oh, I was just pointing out the missing part of the 1 Tim 2:2 verse you quoted – you quoted ‘a quiet and peaceful life’, but left out ’in all godliness and dignity’ and the other verses supported that whole verse. Anyway, for us simple – we either live by faith or not by faith – His righteous ones being those who do not shrink back to destruction, but are of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul Heb 10:39.

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  116. <i.Zrim
    Posted October 1, 2015 at 9:04 am | Permalink
    Tom, but OLers also don’t jet set, address joint sessions of Congress, have their own zip code, etc. Isn’t there a difference between preserving your life because you live quietly and peaceably among men and preserving it because you wield worldly power and influence?

    Are you really chiding for throwing stones? Watch out for falling glass–it’s sharper than shards of falling sky. And chivalry from the guy whose name is politically incorrect? You really should consider changing it; I believe the correct term is “lesbian.”

    Is that a joke about my last name? Oh, the clever Calvinist wit!!

    ,i>Robert
    Posted October 1, 2015 at 1:47 pm | Permalink
    Webfoot,

    If you can be a Christian in a Baptist Church or in a RC Church, then Rome is just one denomination among many. She might be a purer church, but she’s still just another one of us visible institutions.

    If Rome really weren’t a denomination among many and really is the sacrament of salvation, then there can be Christians nowhere else. Your church used to believe this.

    Actually, the claim is that there is one visible catholic Catholic Church, and a bunch of willfully separated denominations that have true baptism, but have lost much or most of the rest–including any apostolic authority.

    St. Augustine writes:

    For in the Catholic Church, not to speak of the purest wisdom, to the knowledge of which a few spiritual, men attain in this life…not to speak of this wisdom, which you do not believe to be in the Catholic Church, there are many other things which most justly keep me in her bosom. The consent of peoples and nations…so does her authority…the succession of priests…and so, lastly, does the name itself of Catholic, which, not without reason, amid so many heresies, the Church has thus retained; so that, though all heretics wish to be called Catholics, yet when a stranger asks where the Catholic Church meets, no heretic will venture to point to his own chapel or house. Such then in number and importance are the precious ties belonging to the Christian name which keep a believer in the Catholic Church…Now if the truth is so clearly proved as to leave no possibility of doubt, it must be set before all the things that keep me in the Catholic Church…For my part, I should not believe the gospel except as moved by the authority of the Catholic Church…for it was through the Catholics that I got my faith in it; and so, whatever you bring from the gospel will no longer have any weight with me. Wherefore, if no clear proof of the apostleship of Manichaeus is found in the gospel, I will believe the Catholics rather than you.

    – Against the Epistle of Manichaeus, 4:5,5:6 (A.D 397)

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  117. Tom, please don’t take for granted “our side’s” willingness to count Augustine among the “good guys” (mostly…)

    I’m sure you’ve run into other views about the man elsewhere…

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  118. Zrim
    Posted October 1, 2015 at 3:33 pm | Permalink
    My mother was a backslidden Christian – who received Christian baptism just days before her death, praise Jesus. Backslidden Christian may not be a category your tradition recognizes.

    Ariel, “backslidden” is a low church Baptist-ish category, with more moralistic and pietistic meaning. Since the nomenclature among more high church creedal and confessional forms of Christianity would be non/observant, non/practicing, or non/professing, I wonder if your Baptist is showing? Maybe this is what happens when you are in cahoots with the Solid Rock Apostolic Oneness Pentecostal types.>>>>>

    Yes, I realize that, but thank you for your input. Of course my Baptist is showing. I feel no need to hide it. Baptist was the church in my neighborhood, the one that cared about us children from non Christian homes. They heard God’s call to come evangelize us.

    Evidently there was Catholic influence as well, since there was a rosary in our house. I assume my uncle’s wife – a devout Catholic -gave it to my grandmother.

    The elect lived on the other side of town. They were afraid of people like us. How could there be elect among the unionized working class? Besides, some of us talked funny.

    Your response – though I do not doubt your sincere commitment to your religious tradition – shows just a little of the problem that a divided church presents. The body of Christ is made up of many members, all needing one another.

    Protestantism is made up of many dismembered parts, most saying, “I have no need of all those other dismembered parts.”

    I will side with my Pope Francis who also met with Ms. Kim Davis and encouraged her to continue strong. I will side with religious liberty as well as the unity of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

    Your dismemberment is showing. That’s what happens when you hang out with only those of your kind. What I find odd is that you accuse others of arrogance.

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  119. Zrim:
    Are you really chiding for throwing stones? Watch out for falling glass–it’s sharper than shards of falling sky. And chivalry from the guy whose name is politically incorrect? You really should consider changing it; I believe the correct term is “lesbian.”>>>>

    TVD:
    Is that a joke about my last name? Oh, the clever Calvinist wit!!>>>>

    Sometimes I read things here and can’t believe it. I was taking Zrim seriously, but not anymore.

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  120. Ariel, we have different Baptists. Mine spit and curse at the mention of Cath-o-licks. Little do they know you both share much more than either may be willing to admit. Do they not know you all invented the still, small voice and a quest for a relationship with the risen Christ down, down, down in the depths of the heart (where?!), down on the depths of the heart?

    But it’s old lifery that’s after a better kind of anti-Catholicism:

    https://confessionalouthouse.wordpress.com/2008/12/18/a-better-anti-catholicism/

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  121. kent
    Posted October 1, 2015 at 5:00 pm | Permalink
    Tom, please don’t take for granted “our side’s” willingness to count Augustine among the “good guys” (mostly…)

    I’m sure you’ve run into other views about the man elsewhere…

    Actually, it’s always a game of hide the salami with you guys. There’s holes in your Bible [the Sheep and the Goats], your Confessions are only good until you decide to revise them, and you have tens and hundreds if not thousands of incompatible theologies within “Protestantism,” indeed within “Calvinism” or “Presbyterianism.”

    Theology for you guys is like thumb-wrestling in Jello. Add in Dr. Hart’s penchant for supercilious obscurantism, and you guys can barely manage conversation with each other, let alone with normal people.

    For Augustine’s observation holds–If anyone asks where the catholic church is–even with a small “c”–nobody points at yours, not even you.

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  122. Tom, can you ever respond without a hostile and bitter attack on us?

    You have a lot of problems, obviously, and I hope you make an honest effort to start admitting them and healing them.

    Like

  123. Tom,

    Actually, the claim is that there is one visible catholic Catholic Church, and a bunch of willfully separated denominations that have true baptism, but have lost much or most of the rest–including any apostolic authority.

    1. Quoting Augustine ain’t all that helpful since he wasn’t Roman Catholic any more than he was Protestant.

    2. Sorry, last I checked Rome was pretty much okay with the East and a few other select churches with Apostolic succession. Except for those Anglicans. Apparently you can’t have apostolic succession in the West if you’re not Roman because, well, because Rome is still embarrassed by the Reformation.

    There’s holes in your Bible [the Sheep and the Goats], your Confessions are only good until you decide to revise them, and you have tens and hundreds if not thousands of incompatible theologies within “Protestantism,” indeed within “Calvinism” or “Presbyterianism.”

    1. Not sure what you mean by sheep and goats being holes. Is it some attack on the Calvinistic doctrine of election, which we hold in common essentially with those good “Roman Catholics” Augustine and Aquinas.

    2. Vatican 2 is a wholesale revision of Rome’s confessional stance on non-RC bodies. You don’t try to kill Protestants if you think they aren’t teaching damnable heresy and have golden baptisms. But that’s what Rome did. Now, Rome thinks we’re pretty okey dokey, at least if you want to be saved. I guess we should feel honored that they think we’re a little closer to heaven than the Muslims, but since we’re all going there anyway I’m not sure that it matters.

    3. Tens of thousands of incompatible theologies. Yeah it’s sad. Unlike the full agreement of the Boston College Jesuits, Mother Teresa, Catholics for Choice, … And yeah, they’re all legitimate RC options until they’re excommunicated.

    If anyone asks where the catholic church is–even with a small “c”–nobody points at yours, not even you.

    Actually, it would be more correct that if you ask a knowledgeable evangelical where the small “c” catholic church is, he’ll list dozens of denominations, including the OPC if he knows it exists. He’s not going to be so arrogant to think that you need to capitalize the letter and refer it to one church whose kingdom is very much of this world.

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  124. (aD)D, Tom –

    re:the Houston speech, Chaput and you are trying to put 50 pounds of potatoes in a 10 pound sack

    A major speech by a political figure of landmark significance ain’t small potatoes.

    I suspect that Chaput is being more than a little bit disingenuous– his real problem is with VII and Dignitatis humanae, but he chooses to trash Kennedy rather than the product of a Holy Spirit inspired Church Council.

    I don’t see a reading of his speech that would exclude sincerity. I’ll grant the overwhelming majority of US Catholics have problems identifying the philosophical source of contemporary problems. These problems have deep roots and affect (infect) all Americans.

    One can easily reject the ‘council of the media’ (Benedict), the ‘time bombs’ placed in VII docs (Michael Davies and others- calculated ambiguities and misleading syntax), and the ‘Spirit of VII’ (or the ‘Council as Event’ which can’t be fully appreciated by its documents alone – per the odd teachings of the Bologna School).

    My own reading of what that implies about the state of church authority at any given time, how a layman should react to it when and if he can discern it, etc., is not one I would expect you to share.

    I’d rather not come across as fatuous, but implications (and ‘personal readings of implications’) are only true when based on truths – this isn’t just a matter of rejecting opinions or attitudes or rhetorical stances, although it is certainly important to analyze them and consider why they exist. I take the point of all this thinking and talking to be to locate problems and solutions.

    But I think TVD has a point: “The separation of church and state is not synonymous with the separation of religion and politics.”

    Agreed, and Chaput makes very clear they are not identical but that one was a cause of the other. Not necessarily a fully-explanatory cause – Catholics are required (by the faith itself as taught in even the current Catechism and docs of VII) that the Classical Liberal position, perhaps the greatest driver in determining American history and culture, is false. This is a controversial topic.

    I’ve genuinely enjoyed your descriptions of your Baptist church over the past few months, by the way.

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  125. Robert
    Posted October 1, 2015 at 10:03 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    Actually, the claim is that there is one visible catholic Catholic Church, and a bunch of willfully separated denominations that have true baptism, but have lost much or most of the rest–including any apostolic authority.

    1. Quoting Augustine ain’t all that helpful since he wasn’t Roman Catholic any more than he was Protestant.

    “Roman” Catholic is Reformation England bullshit rhetoric, you know. True story.

    http://americancreation.blogspot.com/2013/11/those-bloody-papists-even-term-roman.html

    Its name is the Catholic Church. Dr. History: A Calvinism continues to use the rhetorical trick “Roman.” Augustine’s point holds.

    Ask anyone anywhere “Where is the Catholic Church?” They won’t point at Darryl’s. Even Elder Hart wouldn’t have the guts to point at his own church if he were standing in front of it unless he were in the mood to be mocked like he mocks the Catholic Church.

    For Augustine’s observation holds–If anyone asks where the catholic church is–even with a small “c”–nobody points at yours, not even you.

    If it’s OK Robert, I’m going to leave off here, first things first, although I’m always honored by your well-considered and courteous objections. Neither do I offer meself as an apologist for Catholicism here except when I think Old Life is doing it dirt. I’ve been known to stand up for your religion, too, and Mormons and Muslims too. I like people who love God. Sometimes I think Darryl loves God even as much as he loves himself. 😉

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  126. Robert,

    While I don’t entirely agree, I very much like the cognitive approach you were taking to human grasp of the faith. I can’t take that on while on a business trip in Trinidad, though.

    But some other points:

    Rome hasn’t told us specifically which teachings of hers are dogma and which aren’t in the same way that you demand Scripture do so.

    You really should order a copy of Ludwig Ott’s compilation and analysis Fundamentals of Catholic dogma. It carefully grades dogma by the level of acceptance by by the RCC. It is authoritative. I believe it is what you are saying doesn’t exist (although I’m not sure about the force of “in the same way”).

    Heck, it isn’t even clear what the extent of the church is in Roman Catholicism. Do you have to be in communion with the pope or not?

    I took time to carefully address this issue in https://oldlife.org/2015/08/why-kuyperians-dont-like-2k/#comment-347121 and in the two posts which follow it. I even made a spreadsheet. I would love to hear your thoughts.

    Are there any RCs that can actually make a credible argument that palaces, gold tiaras, press entourages, a bank, and so on were something that Jesus had in mind when he called Peter the Rock?

    ~ He was omniscient. ~ None of those things are evil. Was he thinking of indoor plumbing? Blogs?

    Is there not obviously a difference between being ‘in’ and ‘of’ the world? And also that all men, clerics included, can be ‘of’ the world?

    Is it the Anglicans? No. But they have Apostolic succession that is recognized at least up to Henry 8 when the schism happened but somehow their break makes them invalid but not the East. What?

    The Anglicans lost their orders when they changed the rite of ordination to exclude the concept of a sacrificial priesthood under young King Edward. The Declaration on the Nullity of Anglican Orders (Apostolicae curae) makes this clear. You don’t even have to read it or the Catholic Encyclopedia – just read paragraph 2 of the Wiki article.

    If the definition really is the church in communion with Rome, then the East isn’t really a church. And yet Rome views some bodies not in communion with Rome as churches.

    Again, the link I posted above addresses this as clearly and accurately as I could at the time.

    The common RC thinks you’ll be just fine if you do good and don’t get into too much trouble.

    That’s an American creed, not a Catholic one. Not sure where you live, but there are probably “uncommon” Catholics you could meet as well.

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  127. kent
    Posted October 1, 2015 at 9:58 pm | Permalink
    Tom, can you ever respond without a hostile and bitter attack on us?

    I don’t know who “us” is, “Kent.” I write to Darryl G. Hart, who attacksattacksattacks Catholicism and the religious right. He make little attempt to spread your religion in any positive fashion.

    You have a lot of problems, obviously, and I hope you make an honest effort to start admitting them and healing them.

    Now, now, you have zero knowledge about me and my problems, just as Dr. Hart does not. Yet you both attackattackattack me personally.

    Bad, very bad. I’m not the least bit hostile to you, let alone bitter, Brother Kent. It’s y’all treat those nice Catholic ladies like shit.

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  128. vd, t, if it’s not Roman Catholic, why is the Bishop of ROME — see what I did there — the one who gives coherence to the communion where you don’t commune? It’s not the Bishop of Lansing.

    And actually, your sometime bishops pointed to me and mine at Vatican 2 as part of the Catholic Church. We are now separated brothers.

    Why are you so bigoted against Protestants?

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  129. vd, t, were you that kid in parochial school who told the nuns which students were putting chewed chewing gum under their desk tops? You seem to have a thing for nice Roman Catholic ladies.

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  130. I like people who love God.

    Yeah, aren’t they just the best, Tom? So sweet–like little doe-eyed Precious Moments figurines, watching them walk to church, refusing to marry the gays and stuff. And the fact that you like them only shows how delightfully pious you are, even if an allergy to joining them in that religious hocus pocus. So great you aren’t like other men (extortionist, adulterers, OLers). heaven must be beaming down on you all.

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  131. Kevin, true confession time. Part of my bewilderment about why the Houston speech has become such a bete noire amongst some springs from just how obscure it had become a mere decade later. In 1972, I was in a senior seminar in the political science department and I had a friend who chose to do a paper on the impact of religion on the 1960 election. He wanted a transcript of the Houston speech, and could not find one in the standard collections of JFK’s speeches. He thought he was going to have to go to the microfilm room and hope that the NYT had published it. He was most greatful when I told him that I remembered that Theodore White’s Making of the President 1960 had a copy of it in an appendix. (As I recall, he found that the major impact of religion on that election was an increase in the Catholic vote for Kennedy in key electoral states that more than offset any measurable loss with WASP’s. I don’t recall whether or not he found any evidence that the Houston speech moved the needle in any significant way.).

    But on a more substantive point,
    “But I think TVD has a point: “The separation of church and state is not synonymous with the separation of religion and politics.”

    Agreed, and Chaput makes very clear they are not identical but that one was a cause of the other. Not necessarily a fully-explanatory cause – Catholics are required (by the faith itself as taught in even the current Catechism and docs of VII) that the Classical Liberal position, perhaps the greatest driver in determining American history and culture, is false. This is a controversial topic.”

    The classic Baptist teaching that I grew up on was that we cared so much about separation of Church and state because it allowed room for the church to do its job. Nothing about that doctrine requires your church or mine to enthrone individual feelings, emotions, entitlement to self fulfillment, or anything other than God as sovereign. About the time of VII, I began hearing sermons from Baptist pulpits about how the Church needed to be more relevant. It has been downhill ever since, IMHO. But that is not the fault of the doctrine of separation of Church and state. Even countries with established churches can- and do- have cultures that are as much an open sewer as ours. But I worry less than most about that, as I am very confident that this, too, shall pass.

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  132. D. G. Hart
    Posted October 2, 2015 at 6:32 am | Permalink
    vd, t, were you that kid in parochial school who told the nuns which students were putting chewed chewing gum under their desk tops? You seem to have a thing for nice Roman Catholic ladies.

    I have a thing about passive-aggressive bullies, Butch. Find Jesus.

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  133. Robert,

    “No you can’t. Rome isn’t all that clear on the identity of the ONE church that Jesus founded. Is it Rome? Yes.”

    Right. And other churches may be in imperfect communion with her to varying degrees as she has declared. So that’s not relevant to identifying Rome as the church in communion with the bishop of Rome.

    “Rome claims to be the authority for Christian teaching.”

    A parallel authority along with Scripture and Tradition – STM-triad.

    “Protestants say the Bible makes the same claim.”

    The Bible that doesn’t identify itself and doesn’t make the same claim for every book, let alone every verse.

    “So you better be able to identify, without fail, every single aspect of Christian teaching from Roman sources in the way that you demand I show you the canon from Scripture since the canon is Christian teaching.”

    Non-sequitur. I would only need to show that if I was asking you to show me every single aspect of Christian teaching from what you identify as Scripture. But I’ve never asked that. So the demonstration of a supposed double-standard has yet to materialize.

    “But you’re right there with the rest of us.”

    I’m with you in the sense that we are all human and all interpret and make decisions and judgments. But that doesn’t mean we’re in the same boat. The same boat would entail we both hold to semper reformanda, but we don’t. The same boat would also entail submitting to Christ/Apostles claims to divine authority in NT times was no different than submitting to a random Jew rejecting such claims and offering his self-admitted provisional teachings on revelation or interpretations of the OT, but that would be a false equivalence.

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  134. CVD,

    I like you and think you’re pretty sharp, but, you said,

    The same boat would entail we both hold to semper reformanda, but we don’t

    Just for clarity, no Magisterial Protestant has ever affirmed semper reformanda. We *have* affirmed semper reformanda secundum verbum dei. The distinction is quite important and I’m not sure that your comment has recognized the nuance.

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  135. Brandon,

    Ditto. True I am using it as shorthand for the same thing: “reformed and always being reformed according to the Word of God” but obviously that intent might not be clear. The point is that any teaching remains ever provisional and reformable, including foundational teachings such as the the extent, scope, nature, inspiration, inerrancy, closure, authority of the recognized canon, as well as the teaching of Sola Scriptura being the rule of faith itself. There is no way to definitively settle when a teaching is no longer in need of being reformed, nor how to definitively and authoritatively settle what the “Word of God” which is the baseline standard that doctrines are always to be reformed against even consists of, let alone its meaning. So the slogan falls apart even before it gets off the ground. I am saying nothing differently when referencing “semper reformanda” than what the following state:

    Horton: “Doubtless there are many beliefs and practices that Reformed believers share in common with non-Reformed believers committed to God’s Word. We must always remain open to correction from our brothers and sisters in other churches who have interpreted the Bible differently….[T]hose of us in confessional Reformed churches must also beware of forgetting that our doctrinal standards are subordinate to the Word of God. Christ’s church was reformed by God’s Word in the Reformation and post-Reformation era. It was brought back to God’s Word and the fruit of that great work of the Spirit continues to guide us through our confessions and catechisms. And yet the church is not only Reformed; it is always in need of being reformed. Like our personal sanctification, our corporate faithfulness is always flawed….When God’s Word is the source of our life, our ultimate loyalty is not to the past as such or to the present and the future, but to “that Word above all earthly pow’rs,” to borrow from Luther’s famous hymn.”

    Anna Case Winters: “we recognize that there is no aspect of our lives that is unaffected by our estrangement from God. Even our best endeavors and highest aspirations are prone to sin and error. Forms of faith and life in the church are no exception. This is why Reformed confessions tend to have their own built-in disclaimers. The preface to the Scots Confession invites all readers to offer correction from Scripture if they find the confession to be in error. The Westminster Confession of Faith asserts, “Councils may err and many have erred.”….Recognizing how far short we fall from God’s intentions, we continually submit all doctrines and structures to be reformed according to the Word of God and the call of the Spirit. The church is a frail and fallible pilgrim people, a people on the way, not yet what we shall be. The church, because of who we are, remains open to always being reformed…Therefore, while we honor the forms of faith and life that have been bequeathed to us, we honor them best in a spirit of openness to the Word and the Spirit that formed and continue to re-form the church. The church, because of who God is, a living God, remains open to always being reformed.”

    And WCF:
    “The supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.”
    “All synods or councils, since the apostles’ times, whether general or particular, may err; and many have erred. Therefore they are not to be made the rule of faith, or practice; but to be used as a help in both.”
    “The purest Churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error; and some have so degenerated, as to become no Churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan.”

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  136. Zrim
    Posted October 1, 2015 at 8:50 pm | Permalink
    Ariel, we have different Baptists. Mine spit and curse at the mention of Cath-o-licks. Little do they know you both share much more than either may be willing to admit. Do they not know you all invented the still, small voice and a quest for a relationship with the risen Christ down, down, down in the depths of the heart (where?!), down on the depths of the heart?

    But it’s old lifery that’s after a better kind of anti-Catholicism:

    https://confessionalouthouse.wordpress.com/2008/12/18/a-better-anti-catholicism/>>>&gt;

    Now, I don’t mind if you don’t take me seriously, but this statement of yours is a bit hard to figure out.

    Brother Hart denies that he is anti Catholic. You are saying that Old Life is anti Catholic.

    I mean, it is, of course, but you want to have a smarter kind of anti-Catholicism? If that is your goal, then why do you call your blog The Confessional Outhouse?

    See why I can no longer take you seriously? I don’t mind if it’s mutual. No hard feelings at all, but seriously?

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  137. kent
    Posted October 1, 2015 at 9:58 pm | Permalink
    Tom, can you ever respond without a hostile and bitter attack on us?

    You have a lot of problems, obviously, and I hope you make an honest effort to start admitting them and healing them.>>>>>

    No offense meant, Brother kent. I know you love Jesus, but this is the kind of blog comment that makes me scratch my head.

    Brother Hart attacks everyone. Surely you noticed. No one else calls him on it except for Tom. Maybe Brother Hart needs to control his level of vitriol.

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  138. Cletus van Damme
    Posted October 2, 2015 at 6:25 pm | Permalink
    Brandon,

    Ditto. True I am using it as shorthand for the same thing: “reformed and always being reformed according to the Word of God” but obviously that intent might not be clear. The point is that any teaching remains ever provisional and reformable, including foundational teachings such as the the extent, scope, nature, inspiration, inerrancy, closure, authority of the recognized canon, as well as the teaching of Sola Scriptura being the rule of faith itself. There is no way to definitively settle when a teaching is no longer in need of being reformed, nor how to definitively and authoritatively settle what the “Word of God” which is the baseline standard that doctrines are always to be reformed against even consists of, let alone its meaning. So the slogan falls apart even before it gets off the ground. I am saying nothing differently when referencing “semper reformanda” than what the following state:

    Which is why entropy, “semper schismata,” is an intractable problem. “Catholicity” is structurally impossible.

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  139. Glad to see you OL guys and gals are keeping on your toes. Wish I could join in more. I did come somewhat out of a Baptist background. God bless. Michael

    P.S. As a Catholic on this feast day of the Guardian Angels, I ask that your Angels, by the power of God, guard over you all.

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  140. Cletus,

    Right. And other churches may be in imperfect communion with her to varying degrees as she has declared. So that’s not relevant to identifying Rome as the church in communion with the bishop of Rome.

    The question is the extent of the canon vs. the extent of the church and whether each body identifies itself. Rome simply does not identify her full extent in they way that you demand Scripture do so. There’s no foolproof way to identify the church Jesus founded. If there’s only one church that Jesus founded, then nobody but Rome qualifies if Rome is making the claim for herself. And yet there are some churches that have Apostolic succession that do qualify as the church Jesus founded and some that don’t, and a whole lot of RCs that would be perfectly content to define even us Presbyterians as being a form in which the catholic church subsists.

    A parallel authority along with Scripture and Tradition – STM-triad.

    If M can’t be corrected by S or T in every circumstance, it isn’t parallel. It is king.

    The Bible that doesn’t identify itself and doesn’t make the same claim for every book, let alone every verse.

    1. Rome doesn’t identify the one true church that Jesus founded. If it defined itself as such, than there is no other true church. The East would be invalid as well as Geneva. I would be able to know for sure if charismatic Anglican bishops are true bishops or not—Francis says yes, Benedict said no.

    2. Let’s assume there was a list that gave us every single book and said “This is the canon of Scripture.” How would one know that list should be followed? You would still demand an independent verifying body to confirm it. And yet you don’t demand one for Rome. Inconsistent.

    Non-sequitur. I would only need to show that if I was asking you to show me every single aspect of Christian teaching from what you identify as Scripture. But I’ve never asked that. So the demonstration of a supposed double-standard has yet to materialize.

    Sure you have. Or to be more precise, you’ve asked me to give you at least one example of irreformable teaching. But even a “Thus saith the Lord” from the prophets is never enough. Why? I guess it has something to do with textual variants or something. Because there are no textual variants or differences of opinions on what Rome has said, the ancient creeds, and so on. Give me a break. Oh, I guess the living teaching office of the church is superior finally because you can ask it yes or no questions (Bryan Cross). Kind of makes you wonder why Scripture is even necessary to begin with in your system.

    I’m with you in the sense that we are all human and all interpret and make decisions and judgments.

    So then apply the radical skepticism to your own position. How are you more certain of Rome than I am of Scripture? What’s the independent verifying body for Rome that you demand for Scripture?

    But that doesn’t mean we’re in the same boat. The same boat would entail we both hold to semper reformanda, but we don’t.

    You say you don’t, but actually you do. Rome’s embrace of me as a separated brethren not under her anathema is a reform of her understanding of the church.

    The same boat would also entail submitting to Christ/Apostles claims to divine authority in NT times was no different than submitting to a random Jew rejecting such claims and offering his self-admitted provisional teachings on revelation or interpretations of the OT, but that would be a false equivalence.

    If you want to go there, then everything Rome teaches must have divine infallible authority. Otherwise, the parallel doesn’t work. We are submitting to divine authority. It just doesn’t wear tiaras, visit with anti-obergefell clerks without knowing it and then meets with a homosexual couple and then tells us who to judge, claim to be the tradition of the church in one century and then bring those claims down some in the next, and on and on and on.

    You don’t get to make the claim that what Protestants are doing is somehow insufficient or uncertain or at the end of the day less provisional unless everything the Vicar of Christ and his church says is infallible. Everything Jesus said was infallible. We submit to Him. If submission to the church is equivalent, the church doesn’t get to make any mistakes in its teaching ever on anything.

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  141. Ariel, the point is that there are two kinds of anti-Catholicism. One is doctrinal and the other sociological. You’re conflating the two and accusing old lifery of what flows from the latter, religious bigotry. But old lifery is also anti-eeeevangelical and wants both to enjoy sociological freedom even as it opposes both theologically. It doesn’t believe there is any religious test for political office, for example–neither JFK nor Palin have anything to explain to the voters. Church membership is a completely different question though. Can you begin to see how you might have old lifery misdiagnosed?

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  142. Ariel, sorry the blog name doesn’t meet your standards. Maybe you take yourself more seriously than your ideas? Lotta that going around.

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  143. Zrim
    Posted October 2, 2015 at 10:50 pm | Permalink
    Ariel, sorry the blog name doesn’t meet your standards. Maybe you take yourself more seriously than your ideas? Lotta that going around.

    Punk, Mr. Z, punk. She takes Jesus so seriously that she turned the other cheek and took Dr. Hart’s mockery of her internet profile and turned it into her screenname. She’s showing us all how it’s done, brother. Mockery goes with the territory.

    …18There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between. 19Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, “JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 20Therefore many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin and in Greek.

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  144. Dan-

    Re: more recent interest in the Houston speech, I think it is likely because the hope and excitement on the part of most Catholics following VII have shown themselves to be ill-considered failures – combine that with significant change in the relation of religion and politics (often mis-described, as you and Tom usefully point out, as the relation of Church and State).

    Yes, it is easier for American Catholics to criticize a President than the ecclesiastical hierarchy and documents of an ecclesiastical council. The hesitancy in criticizing the documents themselves (which I do not believe are heretical, but are at points intentionally oddly-phrased) is only beginning to be overcome at higher levels. It will take time to get consensus amongst the hierarchy on this. Most young Catholics won’t care enough to ask for an explanation (how many people really care enough to learn?).

    About the time of VII, I began hearing sermons from Baptist pulpits about how the Church needed to be more relevant. It has been downhill ever since, IMHO. But that is not the fault of the doctrine of separation of Church and state.

    I don’t have an argument that Separation of Religion and Politics follows necessarily from Separation of Church and State. In the context of American Catholic life, though, embracing the latter was a component to rejecting a much larger set of RCC teachings. Unmoored from these teachings, Catholics become prey to the ostensible logical consistency of those who argue the former follows from the latter.

    Even countries with established churches can- and do- have cultures that are as much an open sewer as ours.

    Agreed, I submit not just any group calling itself a “Church” will do (e.g., Sweden, perhaps). Austria-Hungary worked pretty well. I think there is much good in Iran, the only country to almost completely push back the sexual revolution.

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  145. sdb –

    [kc:] “…while on a business trip in Trinidad…”
    [sdb:] Sounds like a hard knock life! Safe travels…

    Thanks! More work than it might sound, my company is conducting a music video production workshop with local teams of musicians (“artistes” is the spelling here, pronounced “artists” though), producers, and editors. Long days, challenging, but fun.

    Getting better at my English Creole (or dialec’ as they call it here – no word-final consonant clusters). Any noun precede by a definite article can be pluralized by adding “an dem” (“and them”) – e.g. de book an dem on de table = “the books are on the table” (no is/are necessary).

    Word emphasis is by lengthening rather than stress (I think it is all syllable-timed, so it sounds rapid like Spanish), the phonology is more like Scottish than standard English (“day”, “say”, etc. are not dipthongs), many vowels are palatized (“care” is kya), it’s non-rhotic, the vowel of “law” and “coffee” is as in NY English, and as in formal UK English they don’t muddle “-tion” and “-sion” endings into “-shun” – so the sentence:
    “I don’t care what the politicians say, the law isn’t consistent with the constitution”
    is
    Ah don kyah wha de po-li-ti-ci-an an dem say, de law ain con-sis-ten’ wid de con-sti-tu-ti-on.

    They also don’t pause strangely in the middle of sentences as so many Americans do – dey tink wha dey wan say an’ say it plenty quick, boy.

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  146. Kevin, isn’t the very nature of modern life founded in some way on the separation of religion and politics. The Vatican’s reform of its bank relies upon the reality that priests don’t know accounting as part of their professional responsibilities. You don’t need to be a Christian to be a good plumber or baker. You do to honor and glorify God in those callings. But no one, not even the makers of the Christian Yellow Pages, finally base their activities as home owners, diners, car owners on linking religion and politics. We separate all the time.

    That’s partly what makes the modern world so darned productive and so darned secular.

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  147. Kevin in Trinidad, I guess we will continue to disagree about the significance of the Houston speech. I would also mildly disagree with you about the speech being somehow a departure from Catholic teaching. (Only mildly because I am far from being as knowledgeable as you and many other Catholics that I come across who have issues with VII; I listen, but don’t fully understand.) The relevant Council document, Dignitatis humanae, did not arise from nowhere. That it might appear a revolutionary departure from the Americanism as heresy stance of Leo XIII is to ignore a lot of subsequent Catholic writing and thinking on the issues that was certainly extant in 1960. But my background is law and politics, and thus my sympathies are with JFK (though I continue to be very critical of him, including in his conduct of the 1960 campaign) on this issue.

    Enjoy the rest of your stay.

    Like

  148. Tom, you mean the way the world mocks the Vicar of Christ on earth? After the pope-a-palooza last week, you have a strange idea of what mocking looks like.

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  149. Zrim
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 2:10 pm | Permalink
    Tom, you mean the way the world mocks the Vicar of Christ on earth? After the pope-a-palooza last week, you have a strange idea of what mocking looks like.

    Not at all. You mock around here when you can’t make your point sincerely and fairly, which is often.

    As for the Pope, the biggest enemies of the Catholic Church [present company excepted]–and orthodox Christianity–are on the left, and he has outflanked them. It’s fascinating.

    Like

  150. D. G. Hart
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 8:36 am | Permalink
    vd, t, so you blame Protestantism for your not going to church?

    You have no personal knowledge of my private religious life, and it’s none of your business, Dr. Hart.

    D. G. Hart
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 8:38 am | Permalink
    vd, t, oh come now. Why quote the Bible when you have the magisterium as an authority? Surely Denzinger is published with chapter/verse demarcations.

    Why do you keep repeating the lie that the magisterium is considered superior to the Bible, Dr. History: A Calvinism? Nobody claims that. Why can’t you advance your version of Christianity honestly?

    Like

  151. Tom, but nobody outflanks the church like he who talks her up while yet separated from her. Like the guy who says he loves a woman but refuses to marry her. You clever fornicating devil.

    Like

  152. Zrim
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 5:54 pm | Permalink
    Tom, but nobody outflanks the church like he who talks her up while yet separated from her. Like the guy who says he loves a woman but refuses to marry her. You clever fornicating devil.

    Typical Old Life abandonment of principled argument. But everybody’s on to your tricks now.

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  153. DG-

    Kevin, isn’t the very nature of modern life founded in some way on the separation of religion and politics. The Vatican’s reform of its bank relies upon the reality that priests don’t know accounting as part of their professional responsibilities. You don’t need to be a Christian to be a good plumber or baker. You do to honor and glorify God in those callings. But no one, not even the makers of the Christian Yellow Pages, finally base their activities as home owners, diners, car owners on linking religion and politics. We separate all the time.

    That’s partly what makes the modern world so darned productive and so darned secular.

    Agreed a plumber may do his job as well whether Christian or no; but I would say the Christian would (if more than nominal) have a sense that his work is a part of God’s plan, whereas a non-Christian may act well out of love of community or personal morality alone. I think that God wants us to understand him to the extent we can, which includes his actions, which includes the role he has given each of us to play.

    The examples you provide aren’t of politics or the State, so I’m not sure how they relate to the two Separations we’re discussing.

    Regarding the State, I’m not sure I’m arguing anything different from the WCF statement which was removed in the US. The gov has a responsibility to protect the Church, the Church to advise the gov when consulted, the Church the role to discipline laymen when they act immorally (including elected officials launching an unjust war). Correct me if I’ve misinterpreted.

    And I’m not sure I have a clear understanding of “the very nature of modern life” or how facts about a society’s beliefs at a given time or even the material productivity of following certain beliefs to their conclusions would necessitate a rejection of what I see as more fundamental truths- all human action with others has potential moral considerations, the Church has a place to teach moral principles, the State is oriented to the common good, a society of faithful, practicing Christians is a real good.

    Don’t think I’m arguing that it is the State’s job to instruct on religion or carry out worship- I recognize a real division of duties; but I think cooperation is the right model

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  154. Dan-

    I guess we will continue to disagree about the significance of the Houston speech. I would also mildly disagree with you about the speech being somehow a departure from Catholic teaching. (Only mildly because I am far from being as knowledgeable as you and many other Catholics that I come across who have issues with VII; I listen, but don’t fully understand.) The relevant Council document, Dignitatis humanae, did not arise from nowhere. That it might appear a revolutionary departure from the Americanism as heresy stance of Leo XIII is to ignore a lot of subsequent Catholic writing and thinking on the issues that was certainly extant in 1960.

    Agreed, and that’s why I posted Al Smith’s virtually identical comment of three decades earlier- neither Chaput nor I are arguing JFK’s speech came from nowhere or is the primary cause of the permeation of ideas contrary to the teachings of Pius IX, Leo XIII, and the Catholic tradition.

    The Syllabus of Errors was combating pervasive 19th-century ideas which (re-)surfaced in a big way in the mid-20th century (post-WWII). The speech is a useful marker, or a secondary cause.

    But my background is law and politics, and thus my sympathies are with JFK (though I continue to be very critical of him, including in his conduct of the 1960 campaign) on this issue.

    Lawyers and politicians in the US would have a hard time getting by in our culture while holding firm agreement with the Syllabus of Errors – but there is a reason Americans (and most ruling classes worldwide) think as they do.

    The way things are now is not by definition in accord with how they must be in the future – I grant it is nigh impossible to imagine a change of the sort I am arguing Catholic Social Teachings requires taking place in the US.

    Enjoy the rest of your stay.
    Thanks!

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  155. vd, t, then why don’t you admit that the Bible is superior to the magisterium.

    This private religious claim is tired. You talk publicly about religion all the time in quite definite ways. That’s not private?

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  156. Kevin, the very nature of modern life is that we don’t have religious tests for public office or for serving on the police. That’s politics. That’s modern. That’s also biblical. Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world — not even the Eternal City’s.

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  157. D. G. Hart
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 9:52 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, then why don’t you admit that the Bible is superior to the magisterium.

    Who says otherwise? This is another of your straw men.

    This private religious claim is tired. You talk publicly about religion all the time in quite definite ways. That’s not private?

    What’s tired is you and your droogs getting personal when you run out of honest answers, which is early and often.

    Kevin in Newark
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    Regarding the State, I’m not sure I’m arguing anything different from the WCF statement which was removed in the US. The gov has a responsibility to protect the Church, the Church to advise the gov when consulted, the Church the role to discipline laymen when they act immorally (including elected officials launching an unjust war).

    Excellent. Unfortunately, r2k is parasitical; whatever religious freedom they enjoy is from the hard work of others. They sit in safety and pelt the very people defending them. Perverse.

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  158. DG-

    isn’t the very nature of modern life [– that we don’t have religious tests for public office –] founded in some way on the separation of religion and politics.

    So you’re flipping Chaput’s point, and saying the Separation of Religion and Politics caused the Separation of Church and State?

    Sounds right to me (I would stretch “modern” in this sense back to the dastardly Phillip the Fair). I don’t see how it touches on my point that the RCC teaches that Church and State cooperate in distinct but complementary ways for the common good, natural and supernatural.

    Religious tests for offices would be nothing more than tools to aid this project – not necessary and not always prudent. Christian governors don’t automatically create a Christian society – and I can imagine a well-intentioned atheist seeing the social benefits of moral guidance and discipline by the Church, and acting to protect the Church’s role. He would be a good magistrate.

    We separate all the time. That’s partly what makes the modern world so darned productive and so darned secular.

    I still don’t see the connection between the day-to-day examples of men doing their jobs and religious tests for office.

    Regarding productivity, the 11th-13th centuries constituted an extraordinarily productive period as well, one in which European society grew in a stable, peaceful, sustainable way. This was under the moral guidance of the Church in cooperation with the State – although “State” was rather more distributed then, to a mix of city-states, duchies, federations, kingdoms, and the Empire.

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  159. Kevin in Newark
    Posted October 4, 2015 at 1:07 am | Permalink
    DG-

    isn’t the very nature of modern life [– that we don’t have religious tests for public office –] founded in some way on the separation of religion and politics.

    So you’re flipping Chaput’s point, and saying the Separation of Religion and Politics caused the Separation of Church and State?

    Sounds right to me (I would stretch “modern” in this sense back to the dastardly Phillip the Fair). I don’t see how it touches on my point that the RCC teaches that Church and State cooperate in distinct but complementary ways for the common good, natural and supernatural.

    Getting there. Because man will do whatever the hell he will, the Church has had very limited success taking over the State, so much so that cries of “theocracy” are a joke,

    The State poses a much greater threat to the Church. Henry the I tries to appoint bishops, Henry the 2 kills Thomas a Becket, and Henry 8 was like the ultimate total bastard of all Christianity.

    Then the Calvinists snuck in after he died. Don’t give in so easily to to Dr. Calvinism: A History, man. Frog and the Scorpion. He’ll sink you both before he’d ever let you live.

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  160. vd, t, “Who says otherwise?” James Young, Michael TX.

    “This is another of your straw men.” Why so disrespectful of your brethren (with whom you don’t commune).

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  161. Kevin, the separation happened at the time of Christ. “My kingdom is not of this world.” The separation of religion and politics for the last 250 years is a function of getting over Constantine. Constantinianism causes the separation of religion and politics. Efforts to put it back together post French Revolution never consider the dangers of Constantinianism.

    Yes, Europe ramped up between 1200 and 1400. But it still lagged behind the Ottomans.

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  162. vd, t, “Because man will do whatever the hell he will, the Church has had very limited success taking over the State”

    ding.

    the church can’t even get you to go to Mass.

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  163. Brandon, CVD has been apprised a number of times re. semper reformandum and he still evades the point.

    IOW there are attainments and progress is made in declaring what is sound doctrine, particularly at the Reformation and the church is called to keep bringing its practice back in line to those doctrinal achievements and standards, as well as continuing to fine tune her further understanding of Scripture. (Sort of like Vat2 subverted Trent. Not).
    But as to what the true reformed Christian religion actually is, there is no question.

    Further the canon of Scripture is declared implicitly by the Holy Spirit and the consequent inherent authority and power of Scripture. Of course if you think the Holy Spirit is under sacramental lock and key and only exercised by faux Aaronic priests that offer faux sacrifices, that is no doubt a stumbling block and a scandal that prevents one from entering the kingdom of God. Which is just the problem. The carnal mind is at emnity with God Rom. 8:7.

    As far as CVD’s repeated canard that accepting the authority of Christ and the apostles is no different than buying into the schtick of any random Jewish used carsalesman of that day and therefore the testimony of the (Roman) church is most necessary for salvation, again he and the rest of the Roman apologists have been repeatedly challenged to acknowledge the appeal of Christ and the apostles to the OT Scripture and not their own authority per se, much less the signs, wonders and miracles which seal their testimony and ministry, in accord with that OT, particularly Deut. 18. At best, Rome can only claim (see below) a Scriptural basis for itself by redefining Scripture to include tradition and the church.

    Which is to say, at best Romanists acknowledge the authority of Scripture, by ignoring it and exalting the Church/Tradition in its place because. Because Scripture does acknowledge a subordinate place and authority to the church and tradition.
    (Can we say non sequitur?)

    cheers

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  164. D. G. Hart
    Posted October 4, 2015 at 7:36 am | Permalink
    vd, t, “Who says otherwise?” James Young, Michael TX.

    Oh? Where?

    D. G. Hart
    Posted October 4, 2015 at 7:45 am | Permalink
    vd, t, “Because man will do whatever the hell he will, the Church has had very limited success taking over the State”

    ding.

    Nobody’s urging theocracy either.

    Like

  165. tom –


    [kc:] So you’re [DG] flipping Chaput’s point, and saying the Separation of Religion and Politics caused the Separation of Church and State?

    Sounds right to me (I would stretch “modern” in this sense back to the dastardly Phillip the Fair). I don’t see how it touches on my point that the RCC teaches that Church and State cooperate in distinct but complementary ways for the common good, natural and supernatural.

    [tom:] Getting there.

    So help me out then, I’m teachable. I’m expressing myself more clearly as I think it through. Perhaps I agree with you 100%, perhaps not.

    Separation of personnel between Church and State is usually good, but there are notable exceptions where I find it fully legitimate like medieval Ireland (if you call a collection of villages oriented around monasteries a State) and the Papal States (Emilia-Romagna alone to me demonstrates this). Governments are legitimized by their service to the common good (which is a useful concept).

    I also think declarations that a government will act in conformity with moral law as taught by the Church is often useful (although perhaps not strictly necessary).

    I think this disqualifies me from advocating Separation of Church and State in the strong sense which is most common.

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  166. Apologies for the verb conjugation errors, too much time talking with Trinbagonians.

    (residents of Trinidad & Tobago – rhymes with Winnebago, not imago).

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  167. DG-

    Kevin, the separation happened at the time of Christ. “My kingdom is not of this world.”

    Well, I’m not arguing Heaven is 21st century America or Lichtenstein or Malta or St. Lucia, or any human kingdom/state in history.

    The separation of religion and politics for the last 250 years is a function of getting over Constantine. Constantinianism causes the separation of religion and politics. Efforts to put it back together post French Revolution never consider the dangers of Constantinianism.

    I realize Constantinianism is a bete noire for 2k folk. Not sure whether what I’m saying the Church teaches is Constantinianism. Could be. I’d need to know more.

    Yes, Europe ramped up between 1200 and 1400. But it still lagged behind the Ottomans.

    The Ottomans had a rather different growth model. Manifest Destiny indifferent to justice in war isn’t comparable, and Islam supplanting Christianity isn’t a good.

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  168. vd, t, I know. If you were advocating papal supremacy over things temporal, back come the Index of Books and away go tv game shows and The Cookies.

    Defend religion, but not to the point that it hurts.

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  169. D. G. Hart
    Posted October 4, 2015 at 9:35 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, I know. If you were advocating papal supremacy over things temporal, back come the Index of Books and away go tv game shows and The Cookies.

    Defend religion, but not to the point that it hurts.

    I find your distortions of it quite painful.

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  170. Tom,

    Henry 8 was like the ultimate total bastard of all Christianity.

    Hey, we’re not claiming him. The infallible pope did declare him a defender of the faith. Talk about a swing and miss.

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  171. Henry WAS a defender of the faith against Protestantism, Luther in particular. Then he betrayed it.

    But I was using Henry in the political context, not the religious one, not that context means a lot around here.

    The State poses a much greater threat to the Church. Henry the I tries to appoint bishops, Henry the 2 kills Thomas a Becket, and Henry 8 was like the ultimate total bastard of all Christianity.

    And the final irony is that after the Pope stripped Henry of the title, Parliament restored it!

    We may also point out the irony here that your own Westminster Confession of Faith originated with a commission from Parliament, an irony no doubt lost on Dr. History, A Calvinism.

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  172. CVD,

    Thanks for the response. I figured as much, however, I’m not sure why you view this as such a serious problem.

    As I understand Rome, she is infallibly protected in clarifying the *Deposit* but she is not free to make up things and declare them infallible (though whether she has in fact done this is a point of contention between us). Instead, she is the infallible guardian of the Apostolic Faith. Thus, the Magisterium’s definitions are infallibly elucidating the Deposit, not moving beyond it. Therefore, on Rome’s own principles, she is trying to reform itself according to the Word of God.

    The only difference between us is that Rome claims to infallibly protect the Deposit whereas Protestants claim to fallibly protect it. Both of us are ostensibly constrained by the Deposit, however.

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  173. Tom,

    Henry WAS a defender of the faith against Protestantism, Luther in particular. Then he betrayed it.

    Actually, evidence is that Henry’s beliefs remained substantially RC. He just didn’t like papal superiority. Now if the sine qua non of Romanism is that you can’t buck the pope, maybe you have a point. The question is how an infallible pope could declare someone a defender of faith who was going to buck it. It’d be like Jesus calling Peter the rock and Peter never returning to Christ after his betrayal.

    But I was using Henry in the political context, not the religious one, not that context means a lot around here.

    The State poses a much greater threat to the Church. Henry the I tries to appoint bishops, Henry the 2 kills Thomas a Becket, and Henry 8 was like the ultimate total bastard of all Christianity.

    Actually, the greatest threat to the church is the church herself. Protestants recognize this. Rome, not so much.

    And the final irony is that after the Pope stripped Henry of the title, Parliament restored it!

    It would be ironic if Darryl and the other Protestants who commented here though Parliament had the authority to do that.

    We may also point out the irony here that your own Westminster Confession of Faith originated with a commission from Parliament, an irony no doubt lost on Dr. History, A Calvinism.

    Actually, Protestants are just fine with God’s providential arrangement of such things. We just recognize that when things are instituted for political sakes, we should be circumspect about claiming guaranteed infallibility for them. Would that Rome would do the same. Nearly every council ever called in church history, at least in the ancient period, was called by an emperor or other leader seeking political unity. Can God work in that nonetheless? Absolutely. Should we wonder if such circumstances might make us question any notion of guaranteed infallibility? Apparently not if you’re a Romanist.

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  174. “We may also point out the irony here that your own Westminster Confession of Faith originated with a commission from Parliament, an irony no doubt lost on Dr. History, A Calvinism.”

    Actually, Protestants are just fine with God’s providential arrangement of such things. We just recognize that when things are instituted for political sakes, we should be circumspect about claiming guaranteed infallibility for them. Would that Rome would do the same. Nearly every council ever called in church history, at least in the ancient period, was called by an emperor or other leader seeking political unity. Can God work in that nonetheless? Absolutely. Should we wonder if such circumstances might make us question any notion of guaranteed infallibility? Apparently not if you’re a Romanist.

    So you even hedge on the WCF. [Except when you don’t.] Nice racket.

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  175. Tom,

    Yeah, we think WCF is fallible. Nicea is fallible. Actually, it is more precise to say that the men who wrote both confessions/creeds were fallible.

    But fallible doesn’t mean “necessarily wrong.”

    It really is striking the investment that the RCs around here have in an infallible church (most lay RCs, by the way, at least in the U.S., don’t affirm this infallibility. They see change happening before their eyes.) Even if their church is infallible, their not, so if we want to play the perpetual skeptic, like these RCs want to do, then how do I know what they’re saying is authentic Romanism.

    IOW, for people that are so keen on individual fallibility, one rarely gets the sense that they just might have failed in finding the infallible source they are looking for.

    Like

  176. Robert
    Posted October 5, 2015 at 3:53 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    Yeah, we think WCF is fallible. Nicea is fallible. Actually, it is more precise to say that the men who wrote both confessions/creeds were fallible.

    But fallible doesn’t mean “necessarily wrong.”

    I understand, but it means that your entire religion is provisional–including your translations and interpretations of the Bible. How can you put anyone on ecclesiastical trial? Your religion is the work of men, not God.


    It really is striking the investment that the RCs around here have in an infallible church (most lay RCs, by the way, at least in the U.S., don’t affirm this infallibility. They see change happening before their eyes.) Even if their church is infallible, their not, so if we want to play the perpetual skeptic, like these RCs want to do, then how do I know what they’re saying is authentic Romanism.

    Well, stop listening to Darryl, for one thing. Immediately. And stop believing these “Catholic” websites he trolls the internet incessantly for, to weaponize against the Church.

    IOW, for people that are so keen on individual fallibility, one rarely gets the sense that they just might have failed in finding the infallible source they are looking for.

    It’s actually Darryl and other anti-Catholics who make a big deal out of it. Anyone who’s studied the issue knows that Peter was wrong and Paul corrected him, and Aquinas affirms this.

    I’ve posted quotes from recent popes that indicate they have no intention of going near infallibility and I’d bet that on the whole they wish that Vatican I had never gone for it or that Leo ever invoked it. Since popes can err [and have], it’s moot as a practical matter: Popes can be overturned. Theoretically, yes, if the Holy Spirit guides the papacy, He could guide the pope into an infallible statement. But that has to be borne out not just by the cardinals but by the faithful, the Sensus Fidei, as well.

    http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2014/06/23/dont-confuse-sensus-fidelium-with-majority-opinion-of-the-faithful-say-vatican-theologians/

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  177. Tom,

    I understand, but it means that your entire religion is provisional–including your translations and interpretations of the Bible. How can you put anyone on ecclesiastical trial? Your religion is the work of men, not God.

    But in one sense, all human apprehension is provisional until the eschaton. Paul had something to say about this:

    “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (1 Cor. 13:12)

    And contrary to the popular line among RCs around here, their religion is just as provisional. The repeated example, which is one of many, is that Protestants are no longer anathema. Rome’s interpretation of itself is provisional. Francis kinda sorta admits that at times “Whom am I to judge.” “My brother [Anglican] bishop.”

    Well, stop listening to Darryl, for one thing. Immediately. And stop believing these “Catholic” websites he trolls the internet incessantly for, to weaponize against the Church.

    How do you deal with V2 calling us separated brethren and not anathematized heretics? Darryl is a historian, and he’s rightly pointing to the very confusing and complex historical evidence for RCism, such as it is. It’s not a religion of unchanging dogma. If it were, I couldn’t be a separated brother.

    And these “other” websites are often run by people of some notoriety, proclaiming a particular view of RCism and they’re never held to account. Until they are disciplined, there is no good reason to believe they are faithless. Evaluating people by a set body of teaching and determining that they are wrong apart from Magisterial blessing is a Protestant move. So Darryl has every right to wonder about what’s up with Rome when high-profile laymen, not to mention cardinals like Kasper, don’t seem to be towing what we’re told is the party line.

    Darryl is no fan of RC theology, to be sure. But even more, he’s no fan of this kind of rigid, Cartesian presentation of RC certainty that ignores history. Susan and Webfoot, for example, want to tell us that the HS has infallibly guided the church via the papacy and that the papacy is the solution to all. That’s just not credible historically, especially the second part.

    I’ve posted quotes from recent popes that indicate they have no intention of going near infallibility and I’d bet that on the whole they wish that Vatican I had never gone for it or that Leo ever invoked it. Since popes can err [and have], it’s moot as a practical matter: Popes can be overturned. Theoretically, yes, if the Holy Spirit guides the papacy, He could guide the pope into an infallible statement. But that has to be borne out not just by the cardinals but by the faithful, the Sensus Fidei, as well.

    If a pope makes a statement that he says is infallible and it can be overturned, then there is no ecclesiastical infallibility for Roman Catholicism. Which Rome are you defending?

    The fideistic belief is that the pope will never say something that would contradict the cardinals, bishops, or the Sensus Fidei. But you just said the pope can be overturned. The whole point of papal infallibility is that the pope CAN’T be overturned once he says something infallible. The whole point of ecclesiastical infallibility is that the church can’t be overturned.

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  178. Robert
    Posted October 5, 2015 at 8:12 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    I understand, but it means that your entire religion is provisional–including your translations and interpretations of the Bible. How can you put anyone on ecclesiastical trial? Your religion is the work of men, not God.

    But in one sense, all human apprehension is provisional until the eschaton.

    That pleads guilty to the charge that Protestantism has reduced Christianity to rationality, much as Dr. Hart tried to BS his way around it.

    https://oldlife.org/2015/10/everything-in-moderation/

    The Catholic solution is to claim that the Holy Spirit has continued to guide the Church since its birth at Pentecost; the Holy Spirit that dictated what is can and what is not, what “thou art Peter” means, and so forth. You may reject that claim, but you have nothing to take its place. Yours is a religion of men, by its own admission.

    As for the rest, it seems worth discussing but first things first. Darryl’s noise about Trent is an illustration of how when you ignore the First Things, the rest is a rationalistic mess. You just don’t thumb open the KJV or grab a verse out of context and start theologizing; you don’t just google “anathema” out of its context, which is anathema sit. [Yes there is a difference.]

    As for your representations of what Catholics actually teach and believe about infallibility, I think it’s again poisoned by Dr. Hart’s misrepresentations of it. He may be some sort of expert on Calvinism but his understanding of Catholicism is only google-deep, and since he only seeks contradiction instead of truth, misses a lot. A. Lot. Anathema sit.

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  179. I seldom correct typos but here it’s necessary:

    can = “canonical,” what goes in the Bible as the Word of God, per the Holy Spirit, what does not.

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  180. Robert,

    How do you deal with V2 calling us separated brethren and not anathematized heretics?

    Separated Brethren are those who have not reached some threshold of knowledge with regard to the RCC’s teachings on the faith, and therefore cannot be said to formally reject that faith, even if they do not participate in the visible aspect of the Church.

    There is not moral culpability in subscribing to an error if one isn’t aware of one’s duties to the RCC. In theological terminology, they are material heretics (have all the materials it takes to be a heretic) without being formal heretics (without taking the form of a heretic through an act of will).

    Insofar as they knowingly (pertinaciously, e.g., in defiance of fraternal correction) dissent from the RCC’s teachings, they move from being Separated Brethren to being formal heretics and/or formal schismatics.

    While individuals are often materially in schism or heresy, they are only formally in schism and/or heresy (and therefore guilty of mortal sin) insofar as they are pertinacious in resisting of fraternal correction.

    https://oldlife.org/2015/08/why-kuyperians-dont-like-2k/#comment-347121

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  181. So, Newark, once you’ve engaged us, we go from the “separated brethren” column to the “formal schismatics” column? That doesn’t seem like a blessing.

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  182. Kevin in Newark
    Posted October 5, 2015 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    “How do you deal with V2 calling us separated brethren and not anathematized heretics?”

    Separated Brethren are those who have not reached some threshold of knowledge with regard to the RCC’s teachings on the faith, and therefore cannot be said to formally reject that faith

    That even lets Brother Hart off the hook since he exhibits little actual knowledge of the teachings of the Catholic Church. Anathema sit.

    [Mr. Gravel misses your point that you cannot lose, let alone squander, what you never had.]

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  183. That pleads guilty to the charge that Protestantism has reduced Christianity to rationality, much as Dr. Hart tried to BS his way around it.

    The Catholic solution is to claim that the Holy Spirit has continued to guide the Church since its birth at Pentecost; the Holy Spirit that dictated what is can and what is not, what “thou art Peter” means, and so forth. You may reject that claim, but you have nothing to take its place. Yours is a religion of men, by its own admission.

    Yes, I know the church’s claim. But unless the church is omniscient, all of its apprehension remains provisional in some way.

    As for the rest, it seems worth discussing but first things first. Darryl’s noise about Trent is an illustration of how when you ignore the First Things, the rest is a rationalistic mess. You just don’t thumb open the KJV or grab a verse out of context and start theologizing; you don’t just google “anathema” out of its context, which is anathema sit. [Yes there is a difference.]

    “Let him be anathema”=”Let him be accursed” IOW, if you believe in justification by faith alone, may God condemn you to hell. Rome can try and sweet talk its way around that, but you don’t excommunicate people unless they are teaching things that Rome believes will send people to hell.

    As for your representations of what Catholics actually teach and believe about infallibility, I think it’s again poisoned by Dr. Hart’s misrepresentations of it. He may be some sort of expert on Calvinism but his understanding of Catholicism is only google-deep, and since he only seeks contradiction instead of truth, misses a lot. A. Lot. Anathema sit.

    So the doctrine of papal infallibility teaches that if a pope says that something he has said is infallible, that same thing can be overturned? Have you read V1 and its defenders?

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  184. Tom,

    I don’t mean this as an offense, but what you have just said about Rome certainly doesn’t match what the most conservative defenders of Rome say.

    If the pope can be overturned, then councils can be overturned because the same guarantor of infallibility is supposed to guide both. And if all that can be overturned, welcome to the provisional world of human apprehension.

    RC apologists routinely say that papal infallibility is a logical and inevitable development of conciliar infallibility. You have to have someone to cast the final vote, as it were, when everyone is divided.

    And if whether or not something is truly infallible depends on the sensus fidei of the people, then you’re essentially conceding Protestantism, where it is the Holy Spirit speaking through Scripture to the collective body that determines what is true and what isn’t, not the declaration that something is infallible.

    You seem to be holding to a liberal view of ecclesiastical infallibility that has been current since V2, but is certainly NOT what V1 meant.

    Like

  185. Kevin, do you know how lame that sounds? The Bible practically everywhere speaks of unregenerate people as hostile to God and condemned for it. But now your church comes around and calculates that unless someone really really really means they don’t believe church teaching, only then are they schismatics.

    How does that possibly square with the first three chapters of Romans (for starters)? I really don’t think you guys take sin and depravity seriously, or can in anyway account for the curses of Gen. 3 that follow from merely eating a piece of forbidden fruit.

    I have no idea why ex-Roman Catholics complain about guilty consciences. It’s so easy on your system to explain away sin.

    Like

  186. Kevin,

    Insofar as they knowingly (pertinaciously, e.g., in defiance of fraternal correction) dissent from the RCC’s teachings, they move from being Separated Brethren to being formal heretics and/or formal schismatics.

    While individuals are often materially in schism or heresy, they are only formally in schism and/or heresy (and therefore guilty of mortal sin) insofar as they are pertinacious in resisting of fraternal correction.

    I have to echo Darryl here. Based on this definition, every schismatic can be defined as not a formal heretic. Even Luther. Perhaps Luther just didn’t have enough material to be a heretic or acted unknowingly in opposing the church. Given the difficulty of nailing down what Roman Catholicism teaches infallibly, I don’t know how anyone is a ever a formal heretic.

    It is true that knowledge may limit culpability in some regard: those who don’t know the master’s will and don’t do it get fewer beatings than those who know the master’s will and don’t do it. But at the end of the day, both servants are beaten. But to say that the material but not formal heretic is somehow absolved of heresy ends up giving us a system that can define heresy but can never know when the person committing it is guilty, because the system can’t read the heart. Thus, church discipline ultimately becomes impossible, if not meaningless.

    Like

  187. Robert,

    I have been reading your conversation with Tom a little this morning and it prompted a question: If the NT people of God had not written a single word, would their religion been lost?

    Like

  188. Susan,

    If the NT people of God had not written a single word, would their religion been lost?

    There would be no NT people of God without the written Word. God’s inscripturated revelation always accompanies his acts of salvation. God didn’t just redeem Israel from slavery; he also gave them a covenant constitution in the form of the Torah.

    IOW, when you get new revelation, you always get new Scripture. Always. I think there is even an implicit recognition of this in Roman Catholicism. The Church of Rome produces an awful lot of written documents.

    In the abstract, it wouldn’t be logically impossible for God to produce no NT written revelation. But given how He has worked on this side of the fall, no NT written revelation would be such a mark of discontinuity in the way God operates that one could hardly make a credible claim that what is produced would be in continuity with the past. It would be something entirely and completely new with no real precedent. It would be an ahistorical religion.

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  189. Susan,

    To piggyback off my last comment, it is the claim of ecclesiastical infallibility, particularly as a mark to give one the certainty of faith, that marks off Rome and even the East as in essentially irreconcilable discontinuity with the old covenant revelation. God never ruled His people through an infallible Jewish Magisterium, and Jesus was confident that the people of His day would be able to recognize the canon without there ever having been such a declaration. Jesus Himself never says, “Hear ye, Hear ye, Here is an infallible list of books,” yet we know what canon He received based on the words from Him that we do have (hint: it is the Protestant/Jewish OT canon). If recognizing God’s Word was possible without an infallible Magisterium in the era with a lesser work of the Holy Spirit, how much more possible is it in an era with a mightier work of the Spirit.

    I suppose one could say that the OT believers could not have “certainty of faith,” whatever one means by that, because they had no infallible Magisterium. Yet the written New Covenant revelation that we do have exhorts us to imitate these OT believers with respect to the act of faith (Heb. 11). So either the OT believers did have such certainty apart from a Magisterial declaration (which means we don’t need a Magisterial declaration of infallibility now), or the Apostles themselves weren’t all that interested in providing something of the kind that Rome says we just absolutely must have in order for religion not to be provisional and uncertain. Either way, Rome’s claims are shown to be unnecessary.

    This is just one of many reasons to find Rome’s claims of authority, infallibility, and the need of an infallible Magisterium unnecessary and even contrary to what God has actually given us.

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  190. Kevin: Separated Brethren are those who have not reached some threshold of knowledge with regard to the RCC’s teachings on the faith…
    .
    But are not those with the knowledge who override it when reflecting on “what I would personally want”

    Catholic Governor Jerry Brown: “I have carefully read the thoughtful opposition materials presented by a number of doctors, religious leaders and those who champion disability rights. I have considered the theological and religious perspectives that any deliberate shortening of one’s life is sinful,” he noted. “I have also read the letters of those who support the bill, including heartfelt pleas from Brittany Maynard’s family and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. In addition, I have discussed this matter with a Catholic Bishop, two of my own doctors and former classmates and friends who take varied, contradictory and nuanced positions. In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death,” he said.
    http://www.christianpost.com/news/catholic-california-gov-jerry-brown-legalizes-suicide-for-terminally-ill-despite-objections-from-religious-leaders-146991/

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  191. “There is not moral culpability in subscribing to an error if one isn’t aware of one’s duties to the RCC. ”
    That is a change from what the church taught in earlier confessions. As I’ve pointed out before, the Athanasian Creed quite clearly states that such belief is a necessary condition of escape from eternal torment. Now the church teaches that such belief is necessary iff you have sufficient awareness (culpability). The condition on culpability also stands in stark contrast to the NT witness – everyone is dead in their sins and without hope save God’s sovereign mercy extended to the elect (sorry Tom – take it up with Aquinas) by way of the preaching and response to the gospel.

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  192. Robert, “God never ruled His people through an infallible Jewish Magisterium”

    That’s odd, since RC Mass tries to replicate OT sacrifices and priests (minus the carcasses).

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  193. So much for the perspicuity of the church:

    Forty-nine percent of American Catholics who support same-sex marriage think the pope does too, according to a recent survey by the Public Religion Research Institute. Well, the 49 percent should know better, says the conservative Catholic committed to papal maximalism. But they don’t know better. Anyone interested in clearing up their confusion? The one who created it, perhaps? The faithful turn their lonely eyes to you, Holy Father.

    Steve Skojec at the Catholic website One Peter Five describes the current pontificate as a Rorschach inkblot onto which different people naturally project conflicting currents of thought and wishful thinking. “It is one of the cleverest devices of the Modernists (as they are commonly and rightly called) to present their doctrines without order and systematic arrangement, in a scattered and disjointed manner, so as to make it appear as if their minds were in doubt or hesitation, whereas in reality they are quite fixed and steadfast,” Pope Pius X observed in 1907 in his encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis (Feeding the Lord’s flock).

    Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/425085/francis-fatigue-nicholas-frankovich

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  194. Hi Robert,
    I need to read what you said and think about how to approach the topic in a way that you can’t wiggle away from:) no….I’m just teasing. I will honestly try to address your rebuttal to try to hopefully to see why a convert could believe the MOC for the Catholic Church. I need to wait until this evening though.

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  195. D. G. Hart
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 8:06 am | Permalink
    vd, t, “when you ignore the First Things, the rest is a rationalistic mess”

    When you don’t go to Mass, you get The Cookies.

    Oh, that deadly Calvinist wit. Cookies music is much better than that painful drudgery at your church, crabby. Great band.

    squelchers.net/C00kies/Cookies.htm

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  196. Robert,

    “Let’s assume there was a list that gave us every single book and said “This is the canon of Scripture.” How would one know that list should be followed? You would still demand an independent verifying body to confirm it. And yet you don’t demand one for Rome. Inconsistent.”

    Nope, I wouldn’t demand an independent verifying body to confirm it. Otherwise I’d need something to independently confirm the verifier, ad infinitum. So it’s not inconsistent. The problem is the canon you submit to does not make that claim for itself, you’re just assuming it (by relying on a parallel authority, and then undermining that same authority after the fact – it’s a neat trick, though inconsistent).

    “Sure you have. Or to be more precise, you’ve asked me to give you at least one example of irreformable teaching.”

    I’ve asked that in the past true. But I’ve not asked it in this specific discussion. Since it’s not relevant at the moment.

    “Rome’s embrace of me as a separated brethren not under her anathema is a reform of her understanding of the church.”

    Anathema is tied to excommunication which is tied to formal members of the RCC. And development is not contradiction or revocation. Protestantism offers no grounds for bedrock or unchanging doctrine per its affirmation of semper reformanda – all teaching remains rootless, and even if it is considered to have roots, those roots can be dug up at any time by any individual or church.

    “If you want to go there, then everything Rome teaches must have divine infallible authority. ”

    My point is to simply show that because people make choices and judgments does not entail all people are in the same boat. If you want to argue we’re in the same boat because of a different reason, you can.

    “You don’t get to make the claim that what Protestants are doing is somehow insufficient or uncertain ”

    I don’t make the claim. Protestantism does itself when it claims things like semper reformanda as outlined previously by your own confessions and authors.

    “Everything Jesus said was infallible.”

    Which you have no consistent way of identifying. The books and verses containing the sayings you submit to, and the books and verses you exclude, remain ever tentative and provisional, by your own starting principles and admission.

    Like

  197. <i.D. G. Hart
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 8:06 am | Permalink
    vd, t, “when you ignore the First Things, the rest is a rationalistic mess”

    When you don’t go to Mass, you get The Cookies.

    Oh, that deadly Calvinist wit. Cookies music is much better than that painful drudgery at your church, crabby. Great band.

    squelchers.net/C00kies/Cookies.htm

    What wankery, Darryl, altering the URL with 00 instead of “oo.” It’s not my fault God puts The Cookies on whenever y’all start your dreadful singing.

    Thx for the plug, though. 😉

    is.gd/thec00kies

    Like

  198. Cletus van Damme
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    “Rome’s embrace of me as a separated brethren not under her anathema is a reform of her understanding of the church.”

    Anathema is tied to excommunication which is tied to formal members of the RCC. And development is not contradiction or revocation. Protestantism offers no grounds for bedrock or unchanging doctrine per its affirmation of semper reformanda – all teaching remains rootless, and even if it is considered to have roots, those roots can be dug up at any time by any individual or church.
    ———————————————-

    “You don’t get to make the claim that what Protestants are doing is somehow insufficient or uncertain ”

    I don’t make the claim. Protestantism does itself when it claims things like semper reformanda as outlined previously by your own confessions and authors.
    —————–
    “Everything Jesus said was infallible.”

    Which you have no consistent way of identifying. The books and verses containing the sayings you submit to, and the books and verses you exclude, remain ever tentative and provisional, by your own starting principles and admission.

    Like the man said, ding.
    Ding.
    Ding.

    Not very good when have to defend their religion on its own rights, by its own standards.

    Which is why they’re always on the attack, although that does not make their religion true.

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  199. James Young, “The problem is the canon you submit to does not make that claim for itself”

    And the problem is that the authority you submit to does make the claim for itself. Self-serving? Yup.

    And you wonder where pride comes from. At least Protestants are not making their clergy the point of the story.

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  200. Darryl,

    Christ and the Apostles made claims for themselves. Was that self-serving?

    I guess I should submit to Clifford the Big Red Dog books. They don’t make the claim so I can therefore rest assured of avoiding that evil lurking shadow of pride.

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  201. Hi Robert,
    On second thought, I shouldn’t respond. I shouldn’t have asked a question in the first place and apologize for asking and then backing away. You are asking questions of Dr.Anders and you listened to Lawrence Feingold’s lecture on the MOC, so I couldn’t add anything to what they have already said.
    I like to discuss this but have no one to talk to about it and that’s why I hang around here. Anyways, thank you for the conversation in the past. I wish you peace on your journey.

    Like

  202. James,

    Robert,
    Nope, I wouldn’t demand an independent verifying body to confirm it. Otherwise I’d need something to independently confirm the verifier, ad infinitum. So it’s not inconsistent. The problem is the canon you submit to does not make that claim for itself, you’re just assuming it (by relying on a parallel authority, and then undermining that same authority after the fact – it’s a neat trick, though inconsistent).

    Well if you’re not demanding an exterior authority, then you should have no problem with the self-authenticating nature of Scripture. Easy. The Spirit didn’t need to go around saying “thus saith the Lord infallibly” before everything He said, just like Jesus and the Apostles and the Prophets didn’t. Tell me, were people justified in rejecting Jesus who never heard Him make the specific claim “I am God and infallible” but heard Him teach other things?

    And no, we’re not relying on a parallel authority. There is no parallel authority because the Holy Spirit is the voice of God. He may confirm the Word through some external means, such as the witness of tradition, but the final reason why Protestants believe the Bible is God’s Word is because of the Spirit’s testimony. Kind of like the reason why RCs at the end of the day have to say that the reason they believe the Roman see is the true church is due to the witness of the Spirit, otherwise the motives of credibility are the final authority.

    Anathema is tied to excommunication which is tied to formal members of the RCC. And development is not contradiction or revocation.

    Anathema is a curse, and in the Bible people who are cursed go to hell. So sorry, you better believe that Rome has a far different attitude toward us today than Trent did. And with rumblings from popes who grudgingly admit that Luther may have actually been on to something, even more of a case that there’s been a change does.

    Protestantism offers no grounds for bedrock or unchanging doctrine per its affirmation of semper reformanda – all teaching remains rootless, and even if it is considered to have roots, those roots can be dug up at any time by any individual or church.

    The grounds is the Word of God. We’ve been through this before. Let’s ask this again: Would a Jew in the first century who only heard one parable of Christ been justified in rejecting Him if in that parable Christ never said: “this is infallible.” Because there’s a whole lot of parables where that specific claim is not attached and where it is all but likely that was the only thing that someone heard from Jesus.

    My point is to simply show that because people make choices and judgments does not entail all people are in the same boat. If you want to argue we’re in the same boat because of a different reason, you can.

    Scripture claims divine authority for itself. The RC claims divine authority for itself. Not every single teaching of the RC church says “here is an infallible statement.” Are you therefore justified in rejecting and ignoring it? No. You don’t have to have someone saying, “hear ye, hear ye, this is infallible.” The ordinary teaching Magisterium is (theoretically enough). Guess what—the Holy Spirit’s ordinary confirmation of the Word is also enough.

    I don’t make the claim. Protestantism does itself when it claims things like semper reformanda as outlined previously by your own confessions and authors.

    Yes, it’s temper reformanda according to an unchanging standard. God’s Word.

    Which you have no consistent way of identifying. The books and verses containing the sayings you submit to, and the books and verses you exclude, remain ever tentative and provisional, by your own starting principles and admission.

    All human apprehension on this side of heaven is provisional in some sense. If it weren’t, there could be no growth in understanding of the deposit of faith. But in any case, you have no consistent way of identifying the words of Jesus by the same standard, because Rome has never identified tradition. Unless of course you want to say that everything Jesus said got written down. But that would be awfully Protestant of you.

    You are trying to affirm a three legged stool, but when it comes down to it, nothing defines the extent of the tradition. So for all your claims that the source of divine authority must identify its extent explicitly, Rome fails your own requirement. Unless of course you want to admit the fact that really you only have one leg to your stool—the church. Sola Ecclesia.

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  203. DG,

    Kevin, do you know how lame that sounds? The Bible practically everywhere speaks of unregenerate people as hostile to God and condemned for it.

    My whole point is that those who hate God or hate His will for us are in mortal sin. The regenerate are not hostile to God. The unregenerate are hostile to God (in mortal sin). Not sure I understand your objection.

    The Aztecs who sacrificed human beings were hostile to God. Those who reject a Trinitarian God are hostile to Him.

    If the Trinity hasn’t been taught to them, it isn’t clear to me they are automatically hostile. But given the human nature, I expect they would fall into mortal sin.

    But now your church comes around and calculates that unless someone really really really means they don’t believe church teaching, only then are they schismatics.

    Well right, that’s the definition of being formally schismatic (assuming we’re talking about ecclesiastical structure). And the definition of a formal heretic is one who really really really rejects some aspect of the faith. I like the repetition- it suggests pertinacity.

    How does that possibly square with the first three chapters of Romans (for starters)?

    2 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things [acts of mortal sin, which the RCC teaches includes a schismatic rejection of the visible Church as the RCC understands it].
    […]
    5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;

    6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:

    You didn’t really indicate how you see Romans stands against what I posted, so I’m fishing.

    We are justified through a faith which leads us to works – it takes acts of will even to have faith (to study the faith, engage in worship, read Scripture). When we have faith, we commit our works to God- we consciously serve as a part of his plan, do his will. God is omnipotent and omniscient, so this is predetermined.

    I really don’t think you guys take sin and depravity seriously, or can in anyway account for the curses of Gen. 3 that follow from merely eating a piece of forbidden fruit.

    Adam and Eve had full knowledge of God’s will and disobeyed it. Damnation was warranted. God showed mercy.

    I have no idea why ex-Roman Catholics complain about guilty consciences. It’s so easy on your system to explain away sin.

    Your interpretation of the system isn’t the system. In any case, sin is entered into through an act- an act of rejecting God’s will.

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  204. Clete,

    I responded to you above, but you may have missed it, particularly because you continue to say things like this,

    Protestantism offers no grounds for bedrock or unchanging doctrine per its affirmation of semper reformanda – all teaching remains rootless, and even if it is considered to have roots, those roots can be dug up at any time by any individual or church.

    I’ve pasted my comment to you above once more because if being conformed to the Word of God means that rootless, then both of us are “rootless”

    As I understand Rome, she is infallibly protected in clarifying the *Deposit* but she is not free to make up things and declare them infallible (though whether she has in fact done this is a point of contention between us). Instead, she is the infallible guardian of the Apostolic Faith. Thus, the Magisterium’s definitions are infallibly elucidating the Deposit, not moving beyond it. Therefore, on Rome’s own principles, she is trying to reform itself according to the Word of God.

    The only difference between us is that Rome claims to infallibly protect the Deposit whereas Protestants claim to fallibly protect it. Both of us are ostensibly constrained by the Deposit, however. Thus, *both* operate under the “semper reformanda” motto.

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  205. Robert,

    Based on this definition, every schismatic can be defined as not a formal heretic. Even Luther. Perhaps Luther just didn’t have enough material to be a heretic or acted unknowingly in opposing the church.

    Your interpretation of this definition is likely to make you unfit to be elected Pope.

    In the case of Luther, I think the possibility he was not a formal heretic is as close to 0 as human cognition is capable of determining.

    Knowledge about the acts of another is based in experience, unlike innate knowledge (math or logic or morality or universal grammar) or knowledge of divine revelation, where the data we begin with is certain and reasoning from it equally certain (as long as we confine ourselves strictly, which we have a tendency rarely to do).

    Do I really need to argue that Luther rejected RCC teachings, or that we can know that with all possible certainty?

    Given the difficulty of nailing down what Roman Catholicism teaches infallibly, I don’t know how anyone is a ever a formal heretic.

    Either you’ll buy and read a copy of Ott and come up with a reasoned response, or you’ll keep making the same claim to no purpose.

    It is true that knowledge may limit culpability in some regard: those who don’t know the master’s will and don’t do it get fewer beatings than those who know the master’s will and don’t do it. But at the end of the day, both servants are beaten.

    The constant is that they did not do the master’s will- agreed. All who die in mortal sin are unregenerate, damned, lost, etc. Not sure why you think I’m disagreeing.

    But to say that the material but not formal heretic is somehow absolved of heresy ends up giving us a system that can define heresy but can never know when the person committing it is guilty, because the system can’t read the heart. Thus, church discipline ultimately becomes impossible, if not meaningless.

    The material heretic isn’t, in the sense you mean it, a heretic. They haven’t made an act of will toward heresy. If they haven’t made an act of will, they aren’t culpable, aren’t in need of absoluteion, and can’t receive absolution.

    Although stating a belief undoubtedly implies possession of that belief as a general rule, exceptions aren’t hard to come by. The Church doesn’t require unattainable certainty about the beliefs of someone to declare them a heretic, just what is reasonably attainable.

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  206. That’s actually quite even-handed, Mr. Addison. The problem being that Protestantism’s fallibilism makes ‘catholicity’ virtually impossible and constant schism unavoidable.

    As Ms. Mermaid points out, that is not Biblical, per Eph 4*, and contrary to the Apostle’s Creed, which much of Protestantism [incl the OPC] claims to accept. You’re quite fine with ecclesiastical chaos, in fact you must admit it’s a necessary feature of your version of the Christian religion.

    3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

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  207. James Young, they didn’t claim what popes claim for themselves. Bible says so. Magisterium says something different. But you believe those have an interest in saying something other than the Bible. Gullible much?

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  208. Kevin, Paul’s point is that sin goes all the way down, even among those who have heard.

    What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, (Romans 3:9 ESV)

    Maybe you can get invincible ignorance out of Aristotle plus Aquinas, but you don’t get it out of Jesus plus Paul.

    We significantly disagree about sin. Your very assertion that we enter into sin through an act does not fathom original sin.

    Which is why I don’t understand why Roman Catholics come up with purgatory. Sin just doesn’t go as deep with you guys. Why not go straight to heaven? Chalk it up to some kind of ignorance.

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  209. Kevin, “Do I really need to argue that Luther rejected RCC teachings, or that we can know that with all possible certainty?”

    That applies to vd, t too. Thanks for pointing that out.

    And yet your version of Christianity allows vd, t to disagree with Rome (even on infallible teachings like BOAM), not go to church, and think he’s a good Roman Catholic.

    Meshuggah.

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  210. James,

    James Young, they didn’t claim what popes claim for themselves.

    To piggyback off of Darryl, there is not one place where the Apostles claim for themselves temporal authority over the state. And yet the pope did from the later medieval period up through its loss of the papal states. Was that an infallible claim, and if not, how in the world was the average RC supposed to know that?

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  211. “Your interpretation of this definition is likely to make you unfit to be elected Pope.”
    Now that’s funny!

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  212. “If the Trinity hasn’t been taught to them, it isn’t clear to me they are automatically hostile. But given the human nature, I expect they would fall into mortal sin.”

    I think this gets to something pretty fundamental. The problem isn’t that we sin and are thus brought under a curse, it is that we are born under a curse. Everyone is culpable under Adam. I think this raises very difficult issues for those that hold to a sort of “hopeful universalism”, “anonymous Christians”, or conditions based on some notion of culpability.

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  213. Kevin,

    Do I really need to argue that Luther rejected RCC teachings, or that we can know that with all possible certainty?

    Actually, if things such as the Joint Declaration of Justification are to believed, there are plenty of modern RCs that believe Luther and the Lutherans didn’t reject RCC teachings but only a misunderstanding of them or teachings that were later rejected.

    If so, the only thing he really rejected was the papacy, which would make him a schismatic akin to the EO.

    Now I don’t happen to believe these modern and friendly estimations of Rome regarding Luther and Lutheranism, but it does show how this distinction between formal and material heresy is untenable as any rule, particularly one that would somehow allow us to reconcile Trent and V2. If one can be a material heretic and be okay because of ignorant, Rome overstepped her bounds at Trent to condemn Luther and the other Protestants to hell. And make no mistake, that’s what she did. You don’t go all out to destroy material heretics, but that is what Rome did for a long, long time.

    Rome isn’t omniscient, so it can’t know when anyone is a formal heretic, so she has no business ever excommunicating anyone. Every excommunication ever uttered against anyone should be immediately rescinded if there actually is a difference between formal and material heresy that can be defended.

    What is most interesting is that this formal/material distinction has had the effect on Roman Catholicism one should expect it to have based on what I have just said: fewer excommunications, a decreasing commitment to church discipline, and a big tent church that embraces material heretics as good Christians.

    It’s also interesting that other churches that have adopted a similar perspective on ignorance excusing heresy have gone the same direction. Churches that believe the “innocent native in Africa” will be excused on the final day if he never hears the gospel aren’t typically motivated to do true missions. All they do is humanitarian work, which is good as far as it goes, but it won’t save anyone’s soul.

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  214. Robert-

    If so, the only thing he really rejected was the papacy, which would make him a schismatic akin to the EO.

    It would make him a formal schismatic, which is damnable. The EO are a mix of formal schismatics (check out the monks on Mt. Athos) and a much, much greater number of material schismatics.

    Now I don’t happen to believe these modern and friendly estimations of Rome regarding Luther and Lutheranism, but it does show how this distinction between formal and material heresy is untenable as any rule

    The formal/material distinction doesn’t depend on what you seem to think it does. Neither a theological committee’s signing of a document which doesn’t say very much, nor admitting that there are praiseworthy things about Luther (e.g., his love for the Blessed Virgin) touches on anything essential to the formal/material distinction.

    particularly one that would somehow allow us to reconcile Trent and V2.

    They don’t need reconciling. V2 docs need close reading- They have messy points (call them misleading, call them ambiguities, call them time bombs), most of which become clear through grammatical analysis as meaning other than what many have taken them to mean. If you haven’t actually analyzed the grammar of the passages, you won’t have any idea what I’m talking about. It’s modernist use of language. I wish I had the link to a detailed comment I posted a couple of months ago.

    If one can be a material heretic and be okay because of ignorant, Rome overstepped her bounds at Trent to condemn Luther and the other Protestants to hell. And make no mistake, that’s what she did.

    C.f. my point on the level of certainty available to form judgments about the beliefs of another. The Church has the responsibility to make judgments nonetheless, as does anyone in a position of authority. Formal heresy and formal schism indeed are mortal sins.

    You don’t go all out to destroy material heretics, but that is what Rome did for a long, long time.

    If you would care to raise examples for discussion, please do so. Keep in mind excommunications are not infallible.

    Rome isn’t omniscient, so it can’t know when anyone is a formal heretic, so she has no business ever excommunicating anyone.

    Rome has a duty to judge heresy, and Popes who shy away from doing so sin by omission, negligence, etc.

    Every excommunication ever uttered against anyone should be immediately rescinded if there actually is a difference between formal and material heresy that can be defended.

    Excommunications are temporal – they expire when the excommunicate does. After-the-fact declarations are a different matter.

    What is most interesting is that this formal/material distinction has had the effect on Roman Catholicism one should expect it to have based on what I have just said: fewer excommunications, a decreasing commitment to church discipline, and a big tent church that embraces material heretics as good Christians.

    You’re offering a cause-effect argument over time without defining time frames. The distinction greatly predates the specific problems I take you to be referring to.

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  215. Robert,

    “Well if you’re not demanding an exterior authority, then you should have no problem with the self-authenticating nature of Scripture.”

    And now we’re back to fideism.

    “The Spirit didn’t need to go around saying “thus saith the Lord infallibly” before everything He said, just like Jesus and the Apostles and the Prophets didn’t.”

    So Jesus and the Apostles claims to divine authority were completely superfluous.

    “Tell me, were people justified in rejecting Jesus who never heard Him make the specific claim “I am God and infallible” but heard Him teach other things?”

    The “other things” he taught like his divinity? His authority? I mean if you want to reduce Christ to a nice teacher of moralism like liberals do, have at it.

    “So sorry, you better believe that Rome has a far different attitude toward us today than Trent did.”

    The concept of invincible ignorance, those saved outside the visible church, etc were attested to long before Trent or V2.

    “The grounds is the Word of God.”

    The identification of which is, by your own principles and standards, itself provisional and tentative. That’s why you get semper reformanda.

    “Scripture claims divine authority for itself.”

    And we’re back full circle. You have no consistent way in your system to identify Scripture, let alone that said identification claims divine authority for itself.

    “Yes, it’s semper reformanda according to an unchanging standard. God’s Word.”

    The “unchanging” standard that is subject to change. Hence the teachings of the extent, scope, nature, inspiration, inerrancy, closure, authority of your identified canon remaining ever provisional.

    “All human apprehension on this side of heaven is provisional in some sense.”

    Yup, just as it was during NT times when believers submitted to Christ/Apostles claims and not random Jew on the street corner.

    “Unless of course you want to admit the fact that really you only have one leg to your stool—the church. Sola Ecclesia.”

    Nope. Rome can’t tomorrow declare Romans is uninspired, the Book of Mormon is, Scripture teaches Christ wasn’t divine, nor can it declare Nicaea actually endorsed Arianism or Pelagius was a doctor of the church or the Eucharist is no longer to be celebrated. So we unsurprisingly see the 3 legs hold up just as expected (as they have to in order to make Christianity a coherent religion in the first place).

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  216. Brandon,

    “The only difference between us is that Rome claims to infallibly protect the Deposit whereas Protestants claim to fallibly protect it.”

    And there’s the rub. And why “semper reformanda” does not apply in the same way it does in RCism as it does in Protestantism.

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  217. Cletus,

    And now we’re back to fideism.

    Uh, no. Just the admission that you don’t need an external authority to say “this is infallible” to have grounds for accepting it as such.

    So Jesus and the Apostles claims to divine authority were completely superfluous.

    No, they just didn’t have to make the specific claim for everything they said to justify assent to it. So, the Bible doesn’t have to say in every book or every passage “this is the very Word of God, listen up” to justify assent.

    The “other things” he taught like his divinity? His authority? I mean if you want to reduce Christ to a nice teacher of moralism like liberals do, have at it.

    RC homilies do a nice job of that, thank you. But in any case, you claim the canon is provisional without someone saying “This is the divine list of books, infallibly declared, or whatever.” If I am not justified in rejecting the parables of Jesus even if I never hear an explicit claim to deity, then you don’t need an infallibly declared list of statements or books in order to be justified in assenting to the canon.

    The concept of invincible ignorance, those saved outside the visible church, etc were attested to long before Trent or V2.

    But they weren’t applied to dirty Protestants like Luther. Now tell me why Rome tried to kill so many Protestants if they believed we’re only invincibly ignorant and invincible ignorance is not that bad.

    The identification of which is, by your own principles and standards, itself provisional and tentative. That’s why you get semper reformanda.

    The witness of the Spirit isn’t provisional or tentative. We have assurance in Protestantism, not Cartesian omniscient certainty.

    And we’re back full circle. You have no consistent way in your system to identify Scripture, let alone that said identification claims divine authority for itself.

    No. I don’t need every book to make the precise claim you want it to make. Jesus claims that the Protestant canon is Scripture. The NT makes the claim to be from Jesus and His appointed representatives. Additionally, there’s the witness of the Spirit.

    “The “unchanging” standard that is subject to change. Hence the teachings of the extent, scope, nature, inspiration, inerrancy, closure, authority of your identified canon remaining ever provisional.”

    Provisional in the sense that all human knowledge is provisional since we’re not omniscient.

    Yup, just as it was during NT times when believers submitted to Christ/Apostles claims and not random Jew on the street corner.

    Yep, and I’m submitting to Christ and His Apostles. They didn’t need Rome to infallibly declare who they were. Neither do I.

    “Nope. Rome can’t tomorrow declare Romans is uninspired, the Book of Mormon is, Scripture teaches Christ wasn’t divine, nor can it declare Nicaea actually endorsed Arianism or Pelagius was a doctor of the church or the Eucharist is no longer to be celebrated. So we unsurprisingly see the 3 legs hold up just as expected (as they have to in order to make Christianity a coherent religion in the first place).”

    Logically, sure it can do all of that. You just believe it won’t, which is bare fideism. And you’re missing the point. The full extent of tradition has never been defined. You believe some kind of explicit identification of each book of the Bible is needed to make Scripture an unchanging standard. Thus, if tradition is truly on the same level of the Magisterium and not a subservient authority, tradition or heck, I’d even take the Magisterium at this point, must identify itself fully and completely. So at best you have a two-legged stool, and that’s being generous because as Darryl has noted, there isn’t a whole lot of evidence that Rome cares much about what the prophets and apostles actually meant.

    Sola Ecclesia is the reality. Rome and Rome alone tells me what authoritative tradition is, and heck, it hasn’t even done that.

    But the point, which you overlook is this, which is really the most important point I am making:

    Scripture claims divine authority for itself (2 Tim. 3:16–17 and many other passages). The RC claims divine authority for itself. Not every single teaching of the RC church says “here is an infallible statement.” Are you therefore justified in rejecting and ignoring it? Are you justified in not submitting to it, or must you have it prefaced with “this is infallible” in order to have warrant to assent to it. No. You don’t have to have someone saying, “hear ye, hear ye, this is infallible.” The ordinary teaching Magisterium is (theoretically) enough. Guess what—the Holy Spirit’s ordinary confirmation of the Word is also enough.

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  218. James Young, you don’t have a consistent way of identifying Scripture either because you don’t have a consistent way of identifying the church. You have a theory. But it is incoherent because it is not true to historical facts.

    Yup.

    Cool.

    Like

  219. Robert,

    “Just the admission that you don’t need an external authority to say “this is infallible” to have grounds for accepting it as such.”

    Right – but if the thing your claiming is infallible doesn’t identify itself or make the claim for itself, then its sheer fideism to put faith into it. Wrapping it up with “well it self-authenticates” is just hand-waving. I could say that about any book. Rome identifies itself as infallible and makes the claim for itself. That’s why it would be infinite regress if I asked for another external authority as I already said. Your canon does not.

    “No, they just didn’t have to make the specific claim for everything they said to justify assent to it. ”

    But they had to make the claim in the first place.

    “The witness of the Spirit isn’t provisional or tentative.”

    Yeah and faith works with reason, not independently of it. Bosom burning doesn’t convince you Mormonism’s claims are true, nor should it.

    “No. I don’t need every book to make the precise claim you want it to make. Jesus claims that the Protestant canon is Scripture. The NT makes the claim to be from Jesus and His appointed representatives.”

    More question begging and cart before the horse. You have to accept the books and verses where Jesus supposedly makes those claims as canonical in the first place (since you reject other books that claim Jesus words, and you asterisk passages in your own canon you dispute as authentic containing words attributed to Him). But that identification remains ever-provisional by your own standards – semper reformanda.

    “Provisional in the sense that all human knowledge is provisional since we’re not omniscient. ”

    Yes, we’re all human. No that doesn’t mean in granting all system’s principles and standards as true, everything therefore remains provisional and revisable. Your system provides no way for declaring any of the teachings I listed related to the canon as irreformable. Hence semper reformanda.

    “Sola Ecclesia is the reality. Rome and Rome alone tells me what authoritative tradition is”

    And Christ/Apostles told what authoritative tradition was and authoritatively interpreted Scripture. That hardly entails they were overlords or masters of tradition or Scripture.

    “Scripture claims divine authority for itself (2 Tim. 3:16–17 and many other passages).”

    Does 2 Tim 3:16-17 claim it is itself Scripture and has divine authority?

    Like

  220. Logically, sure it can do all of that. You just believe it won’t, which is bare fideism. And you’re missing the point. The full extent of tradition has never been defined.

    The RCC can’t abolish Scripture – that is a nominalist position. You’re not arguing against Catholicism.

    It could perhaps add the Didache if it wanted to, although I expect there are legitimate objections to doing so. To me the bigger question is what grounds do you have for excluding the Didache? What is non-Scriptural about it?

    What kind of listing of infallibile teachings would satisfy you? Read Ott.

    Like

  221. @KiN
    What is the Ott reference again – I’m ordering a few books now and want to add it, but can’t find full author and title.

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  222. Muddy – So, Newark, once you’ve engaged us, we go from the “separated brethren” column to the “formal schismatics” column? That doesn’t seem like a blessing.

    Difficult to respond to in an interesting and useful way.

    I’m no oracle or prophet. Truth is God’s, whoever speaks it, and we’re all called to consider and adopt it. Our ability to understand is a blessing, and we are blessed in attaining an understanding and living by it.

    I think one of the most common problems at this blog (fundamental to human nature, usually based in passion) is a refusal to reconsider false premises, to read, think, and reformulate when confronted with an alternative view. But there are a number of intelligent and well-intentioned commenters, so it stays interesting.

    I’d hope we’re all here to learn and to clarify what appears to us to be misunderstandings. Insofar as any of us have and take efforts to relay truth , I would hope the rest of us engage.

    Very few convert on primarily rational grounds. So what’s the point? I think it is just human nature that when we understand, we seek to share. God will sort it out soon enough.

    Like

  223. Cletus,

    Right – but if the thing your claiming is infallible doesn’t identify itself or make the claim for itself, then its sheer fideism to put faith into it.

    But Scripture does make that claim for Scripture (itself). It just doesn’t say “hear ye, hear ye, henceforth is the list of infallible books.” If you want to demand that of Scripture, then you can’t assert a three-legged stool for yourself because neither tradition nor the Magisterium have identified tradition in anything more than a nebulous way. At least they haven’t identified it in any manner that is more concrete than the way in which Scripture identifies itself.

    And to be honest, Rome doesn’t exactly define herself in any clear way. “All churches in communion with Rome” isn’t clear when you have one level of communion for church A, a lesser level with church B, etc., etc. Furthermore, theoretically if a pope were to promulgate something as infallible but which denies tradition, you’d have to have something against which to judge the pope so you know whether what he said was actually infallible. But since Rome hasn’t identified tradition in any clear way, that’s impossible.

    Furthermore, to be in full communion with the bishop of Rome, you have to affirm all that the bishop of Rome has taught infallibly. I can’t say that I’m in communion with the bishop of Rome because I’ve been baptized but then deny papal infallibility (unless Tom is right, of course). But without an infallible definition of all that the bishop of Rome (and the church) has taught infallibly, you can’t ever affirm all that the bishop of Rome has said except in some nominal way.

    And lets go back to the fact that there was no infallible declaration of canon for Rome until the Reformation. So at least for 1500 years, there was no third leg because there’s no identification of the extent of the canon. Today, at best you have two legs. For 1500 years, you only had one. Sola Ecclesia.

    Wrapping it up with “well it self-authenticates” is just hand-waving. I could say that about any book. Rome identifies itself as infallible and makes the claim for itself.

    That would be possibly be true if self-authentication was the sole reason I trusted in the Bible was self-authentication. But it’s not. And it’s not that self-authentication doesn’t operate in and through objective means such as the text itself, community testimony, etc.

    And the fact is, self-authentication has to be true if Scripture is the final authority for the Christian, just as it must be true if your claim that Rome tells you infallibly what is true and what’s not. Rome must self-authenticate, otherwise you aren’t in submission to Rome. You’re in submission to your own interpretation of the evidence or some other external authority.

    That’s why it would be infinite regress if I asked for another external authority as I already said. Your canon does not.

    But clearly you believe that an external authority is required, otherwise you would believe sola Scriptura is reasonable. You aren’t Mormon, so you don’t believe even the direct claim “Everything in here is the world of God” for every book of the Bible would be enough.

    But they had to make the claim in the first place.

    The Apostles and prophets make that claim for themselves and we have their writings. That should be enough if Rome doesn’t have to identify everything its says as having divine authority in order for it to have divine authority.

    Yeah and faith works with reason, not independently of it. Bosom burning doesn’t convince you Mormonism’s claims are true, nor should it.

    Agreed, which is why self-authentication is not bosom burning. It includes objective evidences, including the text, the witness of the church, etc. Its simply the thing that pushes you over the edge as it were.

    More question begging and cart before the horse. You have to accept the books and verses where Jesus supposedly makes those claims as canonical in the first place (since you reject other books that claim Jesus words, and you asterisk passages in your own canon you dispute as authentic containing words attributed to Him). But that identification remains ever-provisional by your own standards – semper reformanda.

    Translation: You must have an external authority to know what is canon and what isn’t. So again, the claim isn’t enough for you anyway. If I hold out a book to you that said at the beginning of the work, “I, Jesus, am the Son of God with full divine authority and everything you are about to read is infallible,” you’d still have to ask the question as to why I receive that book and no others. The same question has to be put to you about Rome. Either way, only self-authentication stops the infinite regress.

    Your Bible also includes asterixed passages by the way. That must mean Rome’s identification of Scripture is every

    Yes, we’re all human. No that doesn’t mean in granting all system’s principles and standards as true, everything therefore remains provisional and revisable. Your system provides no way for declaring any of the teachings I listed related to the canon as irreformable. Hence semper reformanda.

    When Rome gives me a canon of infallible statements or tradition, this will have more weight. But it’s really quite silly to be upset at this. Your understanding of Rome remains ever provisional and revisable. Mine remains the same of God’s Word. The only person for which revisability and deeper understanding is absolutely impossible is Jesus. But you aren’t Jesus. You aren’t giving me any advantage with Rome because at best, only Rome doesn’t have provisional and revisable understanding, and you ain’t Rome. Your radical skepticism produces a theoretical church that gives you what you think you need, but it doesn’t do anything for you personally. Semper reformanda is always going on as you interact with Rome unless you are omniscient.

    And Christ/Apostles told what authoritative tradition was and authoritatively interpreted Scripture. That hardly entails they were overlords or masters of tradition or Scripture.

    When Rome claims for itself the same inspiration for herself as Christ and the Apostles do, then get back to me. Otherwise, all I have is a claim for divine authority with absolutely nothing to back it up. The parallel with Christ/Apostles fails miserably. It also fails because they submitted to Scripture. Rome doesn’t. In fact, Rome has canonized many things that directly contradict Scripture.

    Does 2 Tim 3:16-17 claim it is itself Scripture and has divine authority?

    It was written by an Apostle. That is enough, just as it is enough for you to abide by an encyclical because the pope wrote it.

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  224. The RCC can’t abolish Scripture – that is a nominalist position. You’re not arguing against Catholicism.

    Why is it logically impossible for Rome to remove a book from the canon? Because it’s logically impossible for Rome to be wrong?

    It could perhaps add the Didache if it wanted to, although I expect there are legitimate objections to doing so. To me the bigger question is what grounds do you have for excluding the Didache? What is non-Scriptural about it?

    1. Nobody knows who wrote it.
    2. The church has not received it as Scripture.
    3. It does not have the same divine qualities as the canonical books.
    4. It’s specific prescriptions for how often to fast and other things are at odds with the New Testament, which makes no such prescription for how often and condemns such legalism.
    5. There’s no internal evidence to associate it with any apostles.
    6. As far as I know the early church does not associate it with any apostles.

    There’s probably more, but that’s a good start.

    What kind of listing of infallibile teachings would satisfy you? Read Ott.

    Something from the Vatican with the imprimatur of infallibility. Ott isn’t infallible. He might be a more reliable guide than some, but he’s not infallible.

    An infallible list of dogmatically produced statements should be easy enough to produce. An infallible list of traditions would be harder, but should be doable. In the NT, tradition refers to a fixed body of content, so if there is something that the Apostles taught outside of the NT that we should have, it has boundaries. All of them died. They stopped teaching at some point.

    I realize that Rome’s view of tradition (this century) is more of an amorphous thing, referring to some kind of ever growing something and not a fixed body of content. But that’s not what the Apostles view tradition as.

    But even so, it should not be too hard to provide something: this novena, not that one; this shrine, not that one; this line from this letter or Augustine, not that one; etc. etc.

    Like

  225. Kevin in Newark
    Posted October 9, 2015 at 3:44 pm | Permalink
    I think one of the most common problems at this blog (fundamental to human nature, usually based in passion) is a refusal to reconsider false premises, to read, think, and reformulate when confronted with an alternative view. But there are a number of intelligent and well-intentioned commenters, so it stays interesting.

    I’d hope we’re all here to learn and to clarify what appears to us to be misunderstandings. Insofar as any of us have and take efforts to relay truth, I would hope the rest of us engage.

    Very few convert on primarily rational grounds. So what’s the point? I think it is just human nature that when we understand, we seek to share. God will sort it out soon enough.

    I think rationality plays a part, esp those who join the Catholic Church I’ve seen many who eventually found it absurd that the church Jesus left behind would have a different denomination on every street corner. Darryl remembers “Holy Hill,” with the Church of Christ and the Church of Jesus Christ right next to each other, and the Church of God just down the road apiece.

    Like

  226. Kevin,

    Very few convert on primarily rational grounds.

    That is undoubtedly true. But if you stick around long enough, you’ll see that one of the main criticisms is that Called to Communion presents the decision to become Roman Catholic as almost a purely rationalistic one based on the “airtight” foundation of the motives of credibility and the papacy. Darryl has theological differences with official Roman dogma, but he actually spends little time on Roman dogma. He’s far more concerned that the picture that Called to Communion paints of what Rome actually is just cannot hold up to scrutiny.

    Darryl actually has a lot of respect for the conservative RCs who actually keep their eyes open and are concerned about what they see even if he disagrees with them theologically and on their telling of history. His biggest problem is with the misleading picture of how Roman Catholicism actually is presented by Bryan Cross and the guys at CTC, as well as their gross epistemological and historical errors.

    Like

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