Everything in Moderation, Including Gullibility

A common charge against Protestantism is that it is rationalistic. By raising doubts about relics, candles, prayers to saints, pools of healing waters, sightings of Mary, or reports of the stigmata, Protestantism supposedly set into motion the kind of skepticism about the supernatural that brought down belief in God altogether. Robert Langbaum echoes this trope of modern intellectual history in his book on Isak Dinesen:

[T]he fundamental failing of Protestantism is the failing already identified in Isak Dinesen’s criticism of Unitarians. In trying to rationalize Christianity, Protestantism cut fact off from myth and thus lost the double vision or the ability to understand symbols. (Isak Dinesen’s Art, 216)

Whoa!

That may be true of modernist Protestants who take their cues more from the natural sciences than the Bible. But when Protestants insisted on sola Scriptura they were not exactly embracing a faith free from challenges to the intellect. Burning bush? Crossing the Red Sea? Battle of Jericho? Virgin birth? Paul’s conversion? Critters covered with eyes? The Trinity?

The Bible presents plenty of material to keep the smartest guys in the room humble, and it also supplies plenty of symbols in need of interpretation (from Hebrew vowel points to apocalyptic metaphors).

What Protestantism did was cut back on the clutter of things requiring more faith and hope than reason. Why add to all the reason-defying aspects of the Bible with the bells and whistles of saints and relics? Whatever the sufficiency of Scripture means, it involves at least the affirmation that Christians only need to swallow the contents of the Bible (the way the whale did with Jonah) and no more.

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1,287 thoughts on “Everything in Moderation, Including Gullibility

  1. Why add to all the reason-defying aspects of the Bible with the bells and whistles of saints and relics?

    Just to add to this, how is the belief that we have been brought from death to life through the work of the Incarnate God rationalistic. If ever we needed a naked miracle to prove to us the mysterious (or mystical or mythic for those who like to push the limits of nomenclature) working of God’s power, surely it has already been provided. One need not leave no nook un-nooked and no cranny un-crannied in historic Protestantism to find the seeds of rationalism, just look to the Enlightenment and the mixed bag of good and ill that accompanied it.

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  2. I suppose everyone has their favorite; mine is the bilocation of Padre Pio. It’s a close second to the thunderbird but well ahead of the Loch Ness Monster.
    ____________
    In 1946, an American family went from Philadelphia to Saint Giovanni Rotondo in order to thank Padre Pio. In fact, their son, a bombardier plane pilot (during World War II), had been saved by Padre Pio in the sky over the Pacific Ocean. The son explained; “the airplane was flying near the airport on the island where it was going to land after it had loaded its bombs. However, the airplane was struck by a Japanese attack plane. The aircraft exploded before the rest of the crew had the chance to parachute. Only I succeeded in going out of the airplane. I don’t know how I did it. I tried to open the parachute, but I didn’t succeed. I would have smashed to the ground if I had not received a friar’s help who had appeared in midair. He had a white beard. He took me in his arms and put me sweetly at the entrance of the base. You can imagine the astonishment inspired by my story. Nobody could believe it, but given my presence there, they had no choice. I recognized the friar who saved my life some days later while on home leave, I saw the monk in one of my mother’s pictures. She told me she had asked Padre Pio to look after me.”
    http://www.padrepio.catholicwebservices.com/ENGLISH/Bilo.htm

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  3. Why add “sacramental incarnation” alongside the continued humanity of Christ from heaven and now in heaven?

    John 6: 35 “I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in Me will ever be thirsty again. 36 But as I told you, you’ve seen Me, and yet you do not believe. 37 Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of Him who sent Me: that I should lose none of those He has given Me but should raise them up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of My Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

    41 Therefore the Jews started complaining about Him because He said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They were saying, “Isn’t this Jesus the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can He now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”

    43 Jesus answered them, “Stop complaining among yourselves. 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: And they will all be taught by God. Everyone who has listened to and learned from the Father comes to Me— 46 not that anyone has seen the Father except the One who is from God. He has seen the Father.

    47 “I assure you: Anyone who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven so that anyone may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread he will live forever. The bread that I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”

    52 At that, the Jews argued among themselves, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?”

    53 So Jesus said to them, “I assure you: Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life in yourselves. 54 Anyone who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day, 55 because My flesh is real food and My blood is real drink. 56 The one who eats My flesh and drinks My blood lives in Me, and I in him. 57 Just as the living Father sent Me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven; it is not like the manna your fathers ate—and they died. The one who eats this bread will live forever.”

    59 He said these things while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. 60 Therefore, when many of His disciples heard this, they said, “This teaching is hard! Who can accept it?” 61 Jesus, knowing in Himself that His disciples were complaining about this, asked them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you were to observe the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? 63 The Spirit is the One who gives life. The flesh doesn’t help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. 64 But there are some among you who don’t believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning those who would not[o] believe and the one who would betray Him.) 65 He said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless it is granted to him by the Father.”

    Donald Mcleod, p 202, the Person of Christ, IVP, 1998– “The hypostatic union did not by itself secure the theiosis of every human being. In fact, the hypostatic union did not by itself secure the theiosis of even our Lord’s human nature. He was glorified not because He was God incarnate but because he finished the work given him to do (John 17:4). It is perfectly possible to be human and yet not be in Christ, because although the incarnation unites Christ to human nature it does not unite him to me.”

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  4. Brother Hart:
    Whatever the sufficiency of Scripture means, it involves at least the affirmation that Christians only need to swallow the contents of the Bible (the way the whale did with Jonah) and no more.>>>>>

    Interesting comment, Brother Hart. So, you’re not sure what the sufficiency of Scripture means. How about the doctrine of clarity – perspicuity of Scripture?

    Care to elaborate?

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  5. There are those who teach the five solas in order to avoid the five points. And then there are those who want us to keep the five solas in moderation.

    p223, “Sola Fide and the Roman Catholic Church”, Faith Alone, Zondervan, 2015, Thomas Schreiner—“Someone may be saved by faith alone, even if they deny faith alone. In humility,.we must acknowledge that this matter is complex…On the other hand, if someone understands what he or she is rejecting in turning away from justification by faith alone, then such a person will not be delivered from the wrath of God. …Roman Catholics who share Augustine’s understanding of justification as transformation by grace belong to the people of God. However, matters are more complex than they first appear, for we cannot ignore the fact that 1600 years have passed since Augustine wrote…and the Roman Catholic Church has become less and Augustinian and espouse a view of free will.”

    Better then not to share any knowledge with all those in the Southern Baptist Convention who believe in “freewill”. If they are never told anything about election or faith alone or justification, then they won’t be able to be condemned for rejecting the truth. Since so many of them teach that the only sin God now counts is “rejecting Jesus”, surely we should not disturb their ignorant bliss by teaching them other doctrines for them to possibly reject. Don’t ask, and certainly, don’t tell…

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  6. Mermaid, sufficiency of Scripture means that one verse on Peter as the Rock doesn’t make for the concoction of Rome’s supremacy among bishops 1,000 years later.

    It also means that Mary was a mother to more children than Jesus and that she was a sinner just like you and me.

    You think I am anti-Catholic but you don’t account for your hostility to Scripture. Is it gullibility?

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  7. Many Arminians say that Jesus died for all sins except the sin of rejecting Jesus. Why do they send out missionaries talking about Jesus? Many Calvinists say that only those who actually reject election are lost. Why do they talk about election to anybody? If you overhear RC Sproul talking about predestination in that other Sunday School class, can you still go on being an anonymous Christian?

    Questions for NT Wright

    If justification is not about how we “get saved”, how do we “get saved”?

    What do we get saved from? Do we get saved from not being the “exceptional” elect nation (Israel) we were supposed to be?

    Do we “get saved” from having to be Jews (israel) ? Since the Jews knew they were sinners and knew they needed grace, why would we need to “get saved” from that?

    Since Roman Catholics also know that they are sinners and need grace, why would a Buddhist need to become a Roman Catholic in order to “get saved”

    Since Jesus is already Lord, who would anybody need to confess that to “get saved”

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  8. D. G. Hart
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 8:34 am | Permalink
    Mermaid, sufficiency of Scripture means that one verse on Peter as the Rock doesn’t make for the concoction of Rome’s supremacy among bishops 1,000 years later.>>>>

    Ah, you do see that Scripture clearly teaches that Peter was the rock that Jesus spoke of. Good for you, Brother Hart.

    BTW, good morning. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Just because we bicker doesn’t mean I don’t accept you as my brother. You know what I like about you? You spoke well of your father, and you speak well of your wife. That speaks well of you. Besides, you let us bicker with you and you challenge us to put on our thinking caps. Anyway, I am sure you will find something in what I just said to annoy you, though. 😉

    You do know that the eastern Orthodox churches still regard the Bishop of Rome as having primacy among the bishops, right? It has always been so. What the Orthodox churches were and are afraid of is the pope using his position in a heavy-handed way. They don’t want the local churches to lose all control over their flocks. Otherwise, they really have no argument with Rome.

    It is Protestants who reject the primacy of the Bishop of Rome. In fact, most Protestants don’t even have bishops at all.

    Brother Hart:
    It also means that Mary was a mother to more children than Jesus and that she was a sinner just like you and me.>>>>

    Well as far as Mary goes, the Church teaches that Mary also needed grace to keep her from inheriting original sin. She was then given grace throughout her life on earth to resist sin. Yes, she was as much in need of a Savior as you or me.

    So, she was sinless. No, that is not directly stated in Scripture, but as you know, the ancient teaching of the Church is that she was sinless. The immaculate conception is the how. The Eastern churches accept that she was sinless, but they also reject the doctrine of original sin as explained by St. Augustine. They arrive at her sinlessness by a little different route, but they do arrive there.

    Even Calvin and Luther believed in the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It seems that Luther held to that his whole life. It is less clear in Calvin’s writings, but he held Mary in high regard throughout his ministry.

    So, the tradition even of the early Reformers was that Mary was the sinless mother of God. Your tradition comes much later. As you know, Scripture does not call Mary a sinner.

    As you also know, Scripture does not say that Mary had more children. So, both Catholic and Protestant rely on tradition as well as Scripture to inform them on these subjects.

    Brother Hart:
    You think I am anti-Catholic but you don’t account for your hostility to Scripture. Is it gullibility?>>>>>

    Well, you say you are not anti-Catholic. Brother Zrim was saying that this is an anti-Catholic blog, or something. It wasn’t really clear what he was saying from the outhouse. It had to do with being a more intelligent kind of anti-Catholicism.

    Maybe you could clarify.

    I am neither gullible nor anti-Scripture. You do know that the Reformed teaching on the sufficiency of Scripture is not entirely perspicuous. Not everyone even agrees on what the clear teaching of Scripture is on any given point.

    If Scripture is so clear, then why so much disagreement even among Biblical scholars? Heck, Presbyterians can’t even agree on which WCF to use as a guide, or which Belgic Confession. Then there is the famous opt out on certain subjects in the WCF. That is why the Auburn Ave. teaching has to be accepted within the PCA even though it is controversial.

    If Scripture is so clear, why so much disagreement? Get 10 Protestants in a room, and you will have 11 different interpretations on any given doctrine. Each one will defend his or her position to the death if need be. Well, not literally to the death, but I think my meaning is clear. 😉

    You do know that men like St. Thomas Aquinas had the Bible memorized. it shows in his work. In fact, theology students of his time had to pretty much memorize all of Scripture and even write a commentary on all of it. Wouldn’t that be a good thing to bring back to all seminaries?

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  9. The Little Mermaid
    Posted October 2, 2015 at 6:36 pm | Permalink
    Brother Hart:
    Whatever the sufficiency of Scripture means, it involves at least the affirmation that Christians only need to swallow the contents of the Bible (the way the whale did with Jonah) and no more.>>>>>

    I answered you on the points you raised. Now if you would care to indulge me, please explain this statement. Oh, heck, I’ll just ask you directly. What Scripture says that the miracles written in the Bible are the only ones we should accept as valid?

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  10. Mermaid,

    You do know that the eastern Orthodox churches still regard the Bishop of Rome as having primacy among the bishops, right?

    Primacy of honor, not authority. A not insignificant difference.

    It has always been so. What the Orthodox churches were and are afraid of is the pope using his position in a heavy-handed way. They don’t want the local churches to lose all control over their flocks. Otherwise, they really have no argument with Rome.

    ?????

    History shows that their fear is well-grounded. Crusades launched by the pope caused a lot of damage in the East. Then you got the papacy claiming “I am the tradition.”

    And it isn’t just fear that he’ll use his position in a heavy-handed way. It is the denial that the pope has primacy of authority and infallibility. One can be infallible and not be heavy-handed (See Jesus). The East doesn’t want one bishop to be infallible under any circumstances.They’re conciliarists.

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  11. “You do know that men like St. Thomas Aquinas had the Bible memorized.”

    “I am [not] gullible…”

    Hmmmm…..

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  12. Mermaid, because revelation always attests miracles. Since the canon is closed (though you guys have revelations — I mean tradition) no more miracles in the sense that those miracles signified in Scripture. See the Bible.

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  13. If Scripture is so clear, why so much disagreement?

    Ariel, because of abiding human sin. The word of God is perfect and clear, but sinners are far from it, thus factions and divisions as to what the Bible teaches. Easy peasy.

    Or is the answer really to conjure up notions of an infallible human interpreter, one born among men but somehow able to escape sin at certain moments and under certain circumstances and only on particular topics? And water is only wet in certain spots and on certain days. #ReligiousFanatsy

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  14. D. G. Hart
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 1:34 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, because revelation always attests miracles. Since the canon is closed (though you guys have revelations — I mean tradition) no more miracles in the sense that those miracles signified in Scripture. See the Bible.

    Where in the Bible?

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  15. Zrim
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 2:11 pm | Permalink
    If Scripture is so clear, why so much disagreement?

    Brother Zrim:
    Ariel, because of abiding human sin. The word of God is perfect and clear, but sinners are far from it, thus factions and divisions as to what the Bible teaches. Easy peasy.

    Or is the answer really to conjure up notions of an infallible human interpreter, one born among men but somehow able to escape sin at certain moments and under certain circumstances and only on particular topics? And water is only wet in certain spots and on certain days>>>>>>>

    So, the perspicuity of Scripture means that God knows what the Bible means. It is clear to Him.

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  16. CvD, it’s in the point about abiding human sin even in those where the Spirit also dwells, including those gifted to govern and interpret, which precludes Prots having popes.

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  17. Well thats strange. Its humble and non-triumphalistic to claim both abiding sin and you being lavished with grace to see unlike all the blinkered fools who disagree with your interpretation and obviously werent so lavished, but its prideful and triumphalistic to claim both sin and infallibility due to Gods protection and lavishing of grace. Hmmm.

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  18. Zrim,

    Have you been lavished with grace to see the clear meaning of the Bible? If so, what does that mean for sincere readers who disagree with you on the meaning or even on whether the Bible is clear in the first place? Are the papacy’s claims triumphalistic and prideful?

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  19. James Young, “Are the papacy’s claims triumphalistic and prideful?”

    Is the pope Roman Catholic?

    Do you really think we are that stupid that we don’t know Roman Catholic history? Or did you only grow up with Benedict XVI?

    Remember, if you’re going to claim all that history you have to own all that history. Urban II was not Joel Osteen (nor Gregory VII).

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  20. CvD, the question is coarse and unbecoming. It’s like asking one to comment on his election; it shouldn’t be done. But believers can disagree widely and significantly on what the Bible teaches. Grace isn’t magic and sin isn’t that simplistic. The claims the Roman magisterium makes of itself are indeed arrogant.

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  21. Zrim
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 8:32 pm | Permalink
    CvD, it’s in the point about abiding human sin even in those where the Spirit also dwells, including those gifted to govern and interpret, which precludes Prots having popes.>>>>>>

    What Scripture precludes Prots having popes? What Scripture tells Prots to be Prots?

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  22. Darryl,

    Of course I own all that history. Remember the thing Zrim and I agreed about – sin and grace. Apparently grace that opens one’s eyes to the clear meaning of Scripture (including the teaching that it is clear) in spite of sin is humble and anti-triumphalistic, but grace that protects the pope/church in its infallibility in spite of sin is arrogant and triumphalistic and prideful. I think asking whether the pope’s claims of infallibility are valid is coarse and unbecoming and shouldn’t be done. I’m sure you’re now intellectually satisfied.

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  23. Robert:
    And it isn’t just fear that he’ll use his position in a heavy-handed way. It is the denial that the pope has primacy of authority and infallibility. One can be infallible and not be heavy-handed (See Jesus). The East doesn’t want one bishop to be infallible under any circumstances.They’re conciliarists.>>>>

    The point is that Protestantism doesn’t give the Bishop of Rome anything but grief. There is no primacy of any kind, not even of honor.

    Besides, the role of the Bishop of Rome has not remained static even in his influence in the eastern church. There are times when he has had great influence on the whole church, east and west.

    A recent example: it is the Catholic Church that has done more at this point in time to try to heal the breach between east and west. Sometimes the healing seems to be near, and sometimes no so much.

    As for the Crusades, I really don’t think that Pope Francis is planning one anytime soon.

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  24. D.G. Hart:
    Do you really think we are that stupid that we don’t know Roman Catholic history? >>>>

    We also know Protestant history. Ever heard of King Henry VII?

    Besides, until sometime around 1517 it was all just Church history. In fact that is what it is usually called – Church History.

    Anyway, have a wonderful Lord’s Day, Brother Hart.

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  25. zrim, not to mention the claims made by Rome’s apologists. Oh that they would have the spirit of their Mother Mary:

    My soul magnifies the Lord,
    and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
    for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.

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  26. Mermaid,

    But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

    Let’s see you get monarchical papacy out of that (not to mention all the genuflecting that was going on a week ago).

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  27. James Young, like I say, own your history. You really think the claims of papal supremacy are simply affirming the grace that protects the pope/church in its infallibility.” And did you notice that the dogma of infallibility happened — wait for it — precisely at the time that the Papacy was losing its temporal rule over the papal states.

    How gullible are you?

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  28. Mermaid, actually, you don’t seem to know much history — Protestant or not.

    Henry VII was King of England, ruled the Principality of Wales and Lord of Ireland from his seizing the crown on 22 August 1485 until his death on 21 April 1509, as the first monarch of the House of Tudor

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  29. Webfoot,

    The point is that Protestantism doesn’t give the Bishop of Rome anything but grief. There is no primacy of any kind, not even of honor.

    Maybe it has something to do with the fact that traditionally, the pope thinks we’re all going to hell.

    Besides, the role of the Bishop of Rome has not remained static even in his influence in the eastern church. There are times when he has had great influence on the whole church, east and west.

    Sure. But the question is whether the papacy should have the role that Rome ascribes to it. And the problem isn’t necessarily outsized influence of a single person. Every tradition has that. Not every tradition says the pope is infallible whenever the pope says he is infallible.

    A recent example: it is the Catholic Church that has done more at this point in time to try to heal the breach between east and west. Sometimes the healing seems to be near, and sometimes no so much.

    What has been done except the normal PR stunt? When Rome is willing to say, “You know what, the pope doesn’t have jurisdictional primacy over the whole church,” I’ll believe that it is truly interested in healing the split.

    As for the Crusades, I really don’t think that Pope Francis is planning one anytime soon.

    Sure. But the papacy has. And how do I know that the pope was not infallible when that happened. Better yet, how did the people living at the time know that the pope was not infallible?

    One of the main problems with papal infallibility is that it seems finally to be an exercise in blame shifting. Those men who followed the pope’s fallible call to a Crusade? They’re not responsible to figure out when the pope was wrong or when he was right. If it turns out he’s wrong, they can always say “I was just following orders” on the last day.

    A church that cannot be corrected basically eliminates all personal responsibility. In reality, the lay RC has no real responsibility to understand his or her faith. I’ve had RCs tell me that it doesn’t matter if the individual knows the dogma; all that matters is that the church has defined dogma somewhere. All the individual has to do is give assent: “I believe whatever the RC teaches.” You don’t have to know what it teaches infallibly, and indeed, you can’t. At least not all of it. There’s no infallible list. Just go to mass and don’t put up any conscious obstacle to grace. That’s pure nominalism, and it violates biblical teaching to be ready to put up a defense for what you believe (1 Peter 3:15). But how can you believe what you don’t know, and how important is it that you know it?

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  30. D. G. Hart
    Posted October 4, 2015 at 7:48 am | Permalink
    Mermaid, actually, you don’t seem to know much history — Protestant or not.

    Henry VII was King of England, ruled the Principality of Wales and Lord of Ireland from his seizing the crown on 22 August 1485 until his death on 21 April 1509, as the first monarch of the House of Tudor>>>>

    Good catch, Brother Hart!

    Cute joke. Substitute Henry VII for Henry VIII. He is one of yours.

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  31. Mermaid,

    Cute joke. Substitute Henry VII for Henry VIII. He is one of yours.

    Darryl isn’t Anglican. I’m not even sure the Anglicans want Henry VIII in any case.

    Actually, the infallible pope declared Henry VIII a defender of the faith for his defense of the RCC. Was that an infallible declaration or not?

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  32. Darryl,

    I already said I own all of history. Popes have sinned, been arrogant and prideful, made poor decisions, been negligent and imprudent, etc. Not news. Sin + infallibility is no more triumphalistic than sin + lavished by grace to see clear meaning of Scripture over others. So, I guess since infallibility was only defined in response to loss of temporal power, I suppose you think Trent’s claims of authority in response to the Reformation are not triumphalistic nor arrogant right?

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  33. Cletus,

    So, I guess since infallibility was only defined in response to loss of temporal power, I suppose you think Trent’s claims of authority in response to the Reformation are not triumphalistic nor arrogant right?

    Except, of course, Trent’s claims were also in response to loss of temporal power. It was the massive freakout to losing much of Germany, England and other places. No such council occurred in 1054. Maybe that’s because the pope never had any real political or spiritual power there…

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  34. D. G. Hart
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 9:52 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, from cover to cover.

    Pretty lame dodge, even for you.

    The Little Mermaid
    Posted October 4, 2015 at 3:10 am | Permalink
    D.G. Hart:
    Do you really think we are that stupid that we don’t know Roman Catholic history? >>>>

    What you know you distort.

    The Little Mermaid
    Posted October 4, 2015 at 11:51 am | Permalink
    D. G. Hart
    Posted October 4, 2015 at 7:48 am | Permalink
    Mermaid, actually, you don’t seem to know much history — Protestant or not.

    Henry VII was King of England, ruled the Principality of Wales and Lord of Ireland from his seizing the crown on 22 August 1485 until his death on 21 April 1509, as the first monarch of the House of Tudor>>>>

    Good catch, Brother Hart!

    Cute joke. Substitute Henry VII for Henry VIII. He is one of yours.

    He really tried to take advantage of a typo [Henry VII for Henry VIII]? How pathetic.

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  35. CvD, cute. Passive-aggressive but cute. But questions put to the claims of papal infallibility aren’t the same as questions about what sort of grace a person thinks he’s been given (especially when the point was that about Scripture being perfectly clear). In the former, the claim is plainly made, in the latter it never was. And if an infallible source can be sinful, then the Bible can be errant, in which case you talk about the pope the way The Jesus Seminar talks about the Bible–right sometimes, wrong others. But in both cases, if that’s so then sworn allegiance is silly and everyone should just go home to eat, drink, and be merry.

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  36. The Little Mermaid
    Posted October 4, 2015 at 3:10 am | Permalink
    D.G. Hart:
    Do you really think we are that stupid that we don’t know Roman Catholic history? >>>>

    TVD:
    What you know you distort.>>>>

    Protestantism’s version of Church history is colored by Martin Luther. Protestant and enlightenment historians followed his lead.

    That is the history Protestants are indoctrinated with. It suits their narrative of having been the poor downtrodden victims of the papacy. Their own dark blots on the historical timeline are excused as “sinners will be sinners”. They continue to keep 500 year-old resentments alive among them as if Pope Francis were about to unleash a Crusade or Inquisition against them.

    It takes time to undo a lot of that indoctrination, but I’m working on it.

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  37. Zrim
    Posted October 4, 2015 at 6:33 pm | Permalink
    Ariel, wrong question. The right one is what Scripture teaches popery?>>>>

    What Scripture is used to justify Protestantism’s splintering into tens of thousands of warring sects?

    If you are among the special ones who has had grace lavished on him such that you can understand the plain meaning of Scripture without any reference to traditional understandings of the texts, then my question should be easy for you to answer. Take your time. Use the original languages if you wish – and don’t forget to thank a monk for saving, copying, and preserving the ancient texts.

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  38. TLM,

    It takes time to undo a lot of that indoctrination, but I’m working on it

    The unlikelihood of success certainly can’t be blamed on the sincerity or clarity of comments like this. I’m appreciating your thoughts.

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  39. James Young, wrong again. If not for the Western Schism, Alexander VI, and indulgences to pay for St. Peters, you might not have worked up Luther or Roman Catholic princes willing to defend him.

    You’re “it’s old news” is sort of like saying “mulligan.”

    Have you ever considered that such shrugs of the shoulder help an episcopate who simply transfer pedophile priests from parish to parish.

    Ho hum should be woe is me.

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  40. Mermaid, so you think Pope Francis’ words about climate change and economics are toothless? That’s good to know.

    Such a faithful follower of the Petrine ministry you are.

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  41. DG-
    “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you.

    But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave

    Isn’t the natural reading of this first part that he is talking about civil authority? The rulers of the Gentiles his audience would have been thinking of were first the Roman Empire, no?

    In context, he is reproaching the apostles for their error of judgment in misjudging when correction is appropriate. They were not being servants to good Mrs. Zebedee in the sense of serving her as the Church serves those who come to the faith- serving by true instruction. Instead, they were ‘lording it over her’ unjustly. The proper approach would have been to accept her intent to be faithful, and authoritatively offer true teaching.

    He isn’t reproaching them in principle for offering correction – wouldn’t one have to deny Church authority to teach religion to affirm that? – just their doing so in this case. This might demonstrate that the Church can err prudentially, when it departs from the role Christ assigned it (note they weren’t teaching falsehood as divine truth, just failing in a human way to understand what to do in a given context).

    Of course, this was before the Crucifixion and Pentecost, and on its own isn’t I think intended to give a description of ecclesiastical structure.

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  42. D. G. Hart
    Posted October 4, 2015 at 9:36 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, yes the defender of David Barton and poser of selfies with John Fea is true blue to true history.

    Sez the David Barton of anti-Catholicism. You didn’t even know what’s in the Rosary.

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  43. D. G. Hart
    Posted October 4, 2015 at 9:40 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, what Scripture or magisterial teaching justifies lies that Roman Catholicism is unified?

    Works both way, oh scaled one.>>>>

    Oh, my dear Brother Hart. You are in a religion that brags about being based on sola scriptura, yet you are either unwilling or unable to answer my questions using your own principles.

    What Scripture do you use to justify or even explain the splintering of Protestantism into tens of thousands of different denominations?

    You like to put me in the dock, and I answer many of your questions as best I can. Turn about is fair play. Your turn in the dock.

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  44. Zrim
    Posted October 4, 2015 at 10:19 pm | Permalink
    Ariel, that’s a big “if” and it doesn’t apply. Sola scriptura isn’t biblicism. You should try to grasp Protestantism before sounding off so freely and ignorantly:

    http://www.modernreformation.org/default.php?page=articledisplay&var2=19>>>>

    Oh, of course it’s not Biblicism. It is scripture plus tradition, but you call it sola scriptura. It’s not solo scriptura after all – which is not really good Latin grammar. Sola is an adjective and solo is an adverb or a mistake of concordancia. Not sure which. You rely on Protestant tradition as encapsulated in documents like the WCF. You call yourselves confessional because the Bible is not enough. You have to have the Bible plus confessions. So it is Scripture alone, but not really alone. I mean come on. It can’t be understood alone no matter how much grace one has, right?

    Now, if you could just agree on which versions of your confessions to use, that would help your case more.

    Actually, I am not ignorant of your religion at all, Brother Zrim.

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  45. Mermaid, you need to explain how Scripture teaches the church will be united institutionally. Paul didn’t know he was in submission to the pope. The Galatians were contradicting apostolic teaching. Peter betrayed Christ. Christ antagonized the chief priest. Israel and Judah were separate kingdoms. The Jewish people asked for a king when they had one. Moses couldn’t enter the promised land. God wouldn’t allow institutional unity at Babel. Cain killed Abel. Adam disobeyed God.

    And you expect a united church? You think a pope unifies the church? Do you live on planet Gullible?

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  46. “What Scripture is used to justify Protestantism’s splintering into tens of thousands of warring sects?”
    So who’s at war? I know the Orthodox in Russian have conspired with the authorities to suppress evangelical sects, so I guess they are at war. But here in the US I find that methodists, baptists, presbyterians, lutherans, pentecostals, etc… are at least as cordial with one another as various factions within the RC church. Further we are in communion with one another – someone from an Anglican church can take communion with us when visiting one Sunday – indeed, a part from fringe sects like the landmarks, it is mostly open communion from what I can tell. Warring indeed.

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  47. Mermaid,

    Oh, of course it’s not Biblicism. It is scripture plus tradition, but you call it sola scriptura. It’s not solo scriptura after all – which is not really good Latin grammar. Sola is an adjective and solo is an adverb or a mistake of concordancia. Not sure which. You rely on Protestant tradition as encapsulated in documents like the WCF. You call yourselves confessional because the Bible is not enough. You have to have the Bible plus confessions. So it is Scripture alone, but not really alone. I mean come on. It can’t be understood alone no matter how much grace one has, right?

    No true Protestant has denied the importance, even the need of other authorities besides the Bible. Sola Scriptura just tells us which one has final say in the case of of an argument.

    It’s like Roman Catholicism—for you all it is the Magisterium that has final say. Sola Ecclesia. Well, at least formally that’s the way it is. The reality of how your faith is practiced these days is that you can believe pretty much whatever you want, even if it’s not remotely Christian, and still be welcome to the Eucharist. You can even advocate for it if you’re not too noisy about it. Unless, of course, you’re Nancy Pelosi, in which case you can proclaim how devout you are, receive the Eucharist, and advocate for the most liberal laws on abortion and homosexuality possible. As an outsider looking at all this, it is nonsensical. That is if the viewer cares about interpreting documents in their original context. Rome could care less about this, so it actually makes sense that you have someone like Pelosi who is to be regarded as orthodox as, well, you.

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  48. From CWU’s link, I don’t see how Mermaid can approve of the Pope’s behavior:

    “the only one-on-one meeting that Pope Francis had during his time in Washington, D.C. was with Yayo Grassi, a gay man and former student of the Pope’s. But the Vatican appears to go one step further to make it clear that the Holy See in no way endorses Kim Davis’ bigotry.”

    In fact, it’s fair to cut and paste all the abuse Mermaid doled out over Kim Davis and apply it to the Pope. Of course, she could repent.

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  49. This papal visit, the media coverage of it, the doh!-tastic RC apologizing/gushing/splaining of it is bonanza of suck — a beautiful train wreck of world religion proportions. Well done, all.

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  50. The stress of being all popes to all imaginable papists, would-be papists, the world media, and the US Congress must be enormous. Good thing the wine if plentiful and free in the Vatican.

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  51. What Scripture do you use to justify the tens of thousands of warring Protestant sects?

    What Scripture do you use to justify your cessationism?

    Here is what you guys are saying on the subject of miracles. God did a lot of weird things in the past. He doesn’t do that kind of stuff anymore. Now we have the Bible, and those are the only miracles we have to accept – as though it were a chore to accept the miraculous.

    Oh, He doesn’t do those kinds of things anymore? Who says so? The Bible doesn’t say so. Your rationalism says so.

    Back to the topic at hand. These are real questions. What does Scripture say about divisions in the church and about miracles?

    Attacking Catholicism and Catholics is not the same as answering the charge that Brother Hart began his post with.

    “A common charge against Protestantism is that it is rationalistic.”

    Defend your religion, guys, if it is worth defending. Can you do it without reference to the pope, papists, pietists, or Pentecostals? Can you defend your faith on its own merits?

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  52. Ariel, but it’s not really “the Bible plus tradition” either, and it isn’t that the Bible is insufficient. SS means that the only *infallible* source is the Bible. Tradition is *necessary* (even binding) but not *infallible*, hence the ability to revise fallible texts and not have to scramble with the so-called development of doctrine which tries to make contradictory statements co-exist.

    ps like Mike Horton puts it, I’m a cessationist who believes weird things happen in the world.

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  53. Mermaid,

    Before I begin, it looks to me as if you are demanding simplistic proof-texting, which has never been a hallmark of Reformation exegesis.

    What Scripture do you use to justify the tens of thousands of warring Protestant sects?

    Paul apparently believed that it would be a reality that there would be factions among professing Christians. In fact, he seems to indicate that it must be so in order to recognize the truth: “For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you.” (1 Cor. 11:19)

    The question, I guess, is whether these factions should be warring. But as SDB noted, there isn’t any warring in any meaningful Christian sense among the churches represented here. Neither the OPC nor the PCA say that you have to affirm the WCF in order to be a member or be welcome at the Lord’s Table. You have to affirm the Apostles’ Creed and not be under the discipline of a local evangelical church.

    “What Scripture do you use to justify your cessationism?”

    Look at the NT, for one. The later books do not mention miracles. In fact, Paul in his last letter to Timothy tells him to take some medicine (wine) for his stomach issues. That’s an odd statement if the gift of miraculous healing was still taking place in the church.

    “Here is what you guys are saying on the subject of miracles. God did a lot of weird things in the past. He doesn’t do that kind of stuff anymore.”

    Actually, all Christians I know affirm that God performs extraordinary healings and other things at times. We just don’t often call them miracles. But an extraordinary healing is a lesser-degree miracle. We just reserve the term miracles for things that attest divine revelation and are immediately clear to be due to the agent. Who, like Jesus, is going around resurrecting the dead, restoring sight to the blind, etc. simply by speaking words or touching the person?

    “Now we have the Bible, and those are the only miracles we have to accept – as though it were a chore to accept the miraculous.”

    Not a chore. We just want to see things in the category of miracle that the Apostles call miracles. Partial liquifying of a saint’s blood when the pope touches the relic doesn’t count. Neither do crying statues and the other such nonsense we often hear proclaimed as RC miracles.

    “Oh, He doesn’t do those kinds of things anymore? Who says so?”

    Look, Benny Hinn claims to do lots of miracles but has yet to produce anything verified independently by a doctor or something like that. Where’s the independent verification of a RC priest raising the dead by proclaiming “Lazarus come forth” or something like that? Partial liquifying of blood isn’t impressive. It’s superstitious.

    “The Bible doesn’t say so. Your rationalism says so.”

    WCF standards of interpretation are good and necessary consequence. In Scripture, the only miracles that we see attend periods of revelation. Moses and the exodus. Isolated instances of the prophets. Jesus and the Apostles. You can’t read the biblical record and go away with the idea that people were regularly going to the temple in the post-exilic period and seeing the dead raised or the paralyzed walk. Miracles weren’t happening every day even in biblical times, and when they did happen, they were actual spectacular events.

    Back to the topic at hand. These are real questions. What does Scripture say about divisions in the church and about miracles?

    See above.

    Attacking Catholicism and Catholics is not the same as answering the charge that Brother Hart began his post with.

    “A common charge against Protestantism is that it is rationalistic.”

    RCs accuse Protestants of being bare fideists for believing in the interior witness of the Spirit, and the entire Called to Communion Project is an attempt to rationally square the circle. Bryan Cross is the modern Renee Descartes. It cuts both ways.

    Defend your religion, guys, if it is worth defending. Can you do it without reference to the pope, papists, pietists, or Pentecostals? Can you defend your faith on its own merits?

    One of the reason why the papists, at least, are referred to is because the papists “started it.” If the conservative RC apologists would stop with the outlandish claims of papal superiority based on superior intellectual paradigms, etc., Darryl would probably leave them alone. He doesn’t attack actual RC historians. But that’s because actual RC historians are honest with the evidence and aren’t trying to find the papacy before Chalcedon because there was no such thing.

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  54. Zrim
    Posted October 5, 2015 at 9:58 am | Permalink
    Ariel, but it’s not really “the Bible plus tradition” either, and it isn’t that the Bible is insufficient. SS means that the only *infallible* source is the Bible. Tradition is *necessary* (even binding) but not *infallible*, hence the ability to revise fallible texts and not have to scramble with the so-called development of doctrine which tries to make contradictory statements co-exist.>>>>

    Zrim, thank you for your response.

    Zrim, if the sources are fallible, then what good are they? Eventually all of the standards are abandoned, as we see happening in Protestantims. They are not binding at the end of the day, so they can be changed along the way. At the same time, everyone can be put on trial based on some ever shifting sands of fallible interpretation.

    In reality, your binding traditions are just one man’s or woman’s opinion against another – which is what happens in Protestantism. Now, if Protestants, especially of the Reformed kind, were more humble in accepting that maybe the Arminians and Pentecostals could be correct, then I would be more inclined to accept your explanation.

    Heck. You guys have a hard time accepting that a Baptist can be Reformed. I have mentioned Dr. Don Carson, who is Baptistic and Reformed, but I think it was sdb didn’t even recognize his name. He is an eminence in the confessing Evangelical world and a world class Biblical scholar. He is a member of The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. They put out materials by men like Donald Grey Barnhouse and James Boice. Have you heard of them? Listen to them. Expand your horizons a bit if you are able. Read some Dr. Carson.

    I am helping you, here. Christianity is full of seemingly contradictory statements. We are dealing with the mystery of the Godhead after all. We are seeing through a glass darkly.

    I have had to defend even Tim Keller on this blog, and Dr. John Piper – a fine man of God.

    Why don’t you defend your own when they are attacked? Why does The Little Mermaid have to defend some of Evangelicalism’s finest scholars and general good Christian men? I’m Catholic, for goodness sake!

    See, you cannot love your religion very much if all you do is attack it. I get the anti-Catholicism part. It is what some kinds of Protestants do. I don’t get the attack everyone mentality. You really believe that a very small number of Reformed guys are the sole guardians of the truth?

    Zrim:
    ps like Mike Horton puts it, I’m a cessationist who believes weird things happen in the world.>>>>

    Weird things happen? See, that is a rationalistic statement, IMO. Weird things don’t just happen all by themselves.

    If you wish, take a listen to Ed Feser on the subject of miracles. Dr. Ramelow is also excellent.

    I don’t think there would be anything objectionable to a Protestant in what he presents here.

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  55. Mermaid,

    Zrim, if the sources are fallible, then what good are they?

    If everything except the dogmatic definitions of the RC faith are fallible, what good are they?

    Eventually all of the standards are abandoned, as we see happening in Protestantims. They are not binding at the end of the day, so they can be changed along the way. At the same time, everyone can be put on trial based on some ever shifting sands of fallible interpretation.

    It isn’t news when nominal Protestants abandon something to which they only gave lip service. RCs do it all the time as well. And speaking of ever-shifting sands of fallible interpretation. People were tried for heresy, some even killed for being Protestant based on dogmatic teaching that was changed such that we’re not heretics. So apply thy same standard to thyself.

    In reality, your binding traditions are just one man’s or woman’s opinion against another – which is what happens in Protestantism.

    How is every heresy trial before V2 not based on the pre-V2’s opinion of whether Protestants and Protestant sympathizers were good Christian not opposed to the fact that the post-V2 church’s opinion that we’re good Christians?

    Now, if Protestants, especially of the Reformed kind, were more humble in accepting that maybe the Arminians and Pentecostals could be correct, then I would be more inclined to accept your explanation.

    I don’t know of any Reformed person that doesn’t accept that Arminians, Pentecostals, and even RCs are sometimes correct.

    I said it before to another RC, but what is it about Romanism that makes it impossible for you guys to apply standards to yourselves that you apply to us?

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  56. …if the sources are fallible, then what good are they?

    Oh, so invent the incredible notion of papal infallibility to get around the alleged problem? But they are good for distilling and summarizing the one infallible text without having to affix that incredible notion. Does a math student really need the teacher to say he’s personally infallible, as in unable to get anything wrong startiiiiiiiiiing now, before the student can trust that when he says 2+2=4 it really is?

    Re Carson, so what are you saying, that celebrity and smarts are quick passes (there’s that Roman tick)? But if someone no matter what his credentials doesn’t confess what the Reformed confess as essential then how can he be considered Reformed? Maybe you think it’s some sort of comment on one’s piety (there’s that eeeevangie tick), but it isn’t. All it is is stopping short of calling Reformed someone who opposes its essentials. How can that be controversial?

    I didn’t say weird things happen autonomously. I simply said they happen. Wouldn’t rationalism deny they even happen?

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  57. “…if the sources are fallible, then what good are they?”
    You know, that is just what I was telling my wife this weekend. She said I should read the directions, but I told her that if it isn’t infallible, what’s the point?!?! She said I need a new paradigm.

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  58. Heck. You guys have a hard time accepting that a Baptist can be Reformed. I have mentioned Dr. Don Carson, who is Baptistic and Reformed, but I think it was sdb didn’t even recognize his name.

    Well of course a Baptist isn’t “reformed” in the magisterial sense at least unless you want to define it so broadly to encompass all dissenters. I think it is better to restrict it to those who adhere to the WCF and/or the 3FU. That rules out particular baptists even if they do assent to the canons of Dordt (or if you want to allow every group to define itself, you can let the anglo-catholics be lumped in with what “Catholics” believe and the Apostolic Holiness groups be lumped in with those who are apostolic…surely no confusion will arise from that!). I may disagree with Baptists about fundamental issues like proper church polity and the role of the sacraments (real spiritual presences versus memorial), but I wouldn’t bar them from the table or have any qualms about taking communion there. You might scroll back and read Darryl’s reflections on his parents and his Baptist upbringing. Warring indeed…

    Regarding Carson, I am very familiar with him (CT subscriber for almost 20yrs…he’s hard not to come across). My point was that his incorrect understanding of Mary’s proper title as “theotokos” is not dispositive of reformed teaching on the proper understanding of Mary as the mother of God (the magisterial reformers were not closet Nestorians) even if they balk at the idolatry surrounding much of the folk adoration of “Our Lady”. You seemed quite insistent that this couldn’t be a protestant view and went about digging up various obscure websites to make your point rather than turning to more established sources of reformed theology.

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  59. “some of Evangelicalism’s finest scholars”
    Keller and Piper may be great men, but that doesn’t make them flawless or some of their flaws particularly troublesome for the future of reformed churches. Further, as great as they are, they are not scholars. If you are interested in some of Evangelicalism (broadly defined) finest scholars, I strongly commend George Marsden, Nicholas Wolterstorff, Peter van Inwagen, Thomas Kidd, Darren Dochuk, Alvin Plantinga, etc… Of course, the fact they are fine scholars does not entail that they are are flawless, so I guess you would ask, “if [they] are fallible, then what good are they?” Sigh….

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  60. “I am helping you, here…. I’m Catholic, for goodness sake!”

    So you say…Perhaps in lieu of wasting your time with us hopelessly crabby protestants you might want to go and defend the Pope from one of your own:

    Michael Brendan Dougherty seems to think that Pope Francis is about to destroy the Roman Catholic church,

    In the next three weeks, I fully expect the leadership of my own One Holy and Apostolic Catholic Church to fall into apostasy, at the conclusion of the Synod on the Family that begins today in Rome. This is the outcome Pope Francis has shaped over the entirety of his pontificate, and particularly with his recent appointments.

    I’m sure he would benefit as much as we have from your insightful defenses of the church.

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  61. Denial, clarity…whatever. Who’s attacking anyone? Or is pointing out an error an attack now? Perhaps you can go help mwf straighten out MBD?

    Curious though, where do you stand on the implications of the synod? If they OK divorce and communion where does that leave your understanding of Catholicism? Not asking on the likelihood – I think the Cardinals there are at least as attuned to the consequences as trads like MBD freaking out over this, and Francis is after all a master of jesuitical reasoning… surely they will find a way to DO SOMETHING without changing anything.

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  62. Carson is of the essence of moderation and balance. He’s evangelical enough to be Arminian and Amyraldian on the atonement both at the same time. Since I am not “Reformed”, I will not presume to say if his catholic wishywashyness is “Reformed”

    D A Carson, The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God, Crossway, 76—-”If one holds that the Atonement is sufficient for all and effective for the elect, both sets of texts and concerns are accommodated.”

    John Piper, Taste and See ,1999, p 325—“Christ died for all sinners, so that IF you will repent and believe in Christ, then the death of Jesus will become effective in your case and will take away your sins. ‘Died for you,’ means if you believe, the death of Jesus will cover your sins. Now, as far as it goes, this is biblical teaching.”

    Doug Moo, “Justification in Galatians”, p 172,. The problem of positing a union with Christ that precedes the erasure of our legal condemnation before God ( making justification the product of union with Christ) CAN BE ANSWERED IF WE POSIT, WITHIN THE SINGLE WORK OF CHRIST, TWO STAGES OF “JUSTIFICATION”, one involving Christ’s payment of our legal debt–the basis for our regeneration–and second our actual justification=stemming from our union with Christ.”

    2001: The 68th OPC GA votes to add Romans 2:6,7,13,16 as proof-texts for WLC90. It was not present in the original
    2004: The 2004 OPC General Assembly reversed the proof-text change as the result of an overture by the Presbytery of Connecticut and Southern New York.

    https://contrast2.wordpress.com/2015/10/04/timeline-snapshot-of-justification-debate

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  63. sdb
    Posted October 5, 2015 at 2:11 pm | Permalink
    Denial, clarity…whatever. Who’s attacking anyone? Or is pointing out an error an attack now? Perhaps you can go help mwf straighten out MBD?

    Curious though, where do you stand on the implications of the synod? If they OK divorce and communion where does that leave your understanding of Catholicism? Not asking on the likelihood – I think the Cardinals there are at least as attuned to the consequences as trads like MBD freaking out over this, and Francis is after all a master of jesuitical reasoning… surely they will find a way to DO SOMETHING without changing anything.

    I agree. Francis opened the synod by closing the door on gay marriage.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/04/us-pope-synod-idUSKCN0RY0BT20151004

    Contra the Old Life bleat that Catholic doctrine is as malleable as Reformed theology/ecclesiology and therefore the Catholic Church is blahblahblah.

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  64. “Since I am not “Reformed”…”
    Wait, wait, wait…. reading mwf and tvd, I thought “not Reformed” was pejorative. Does that mean you’re just in denial or that you actually know what you’re talking about? Seems to be a fine line for some around here.

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  65. Well.. I’m pretty sure MBD would never characterize himself as an OldLife partisan. Note also, his concern is not over gay marriage but the status of divorcees in the church. Still curious about your view on the implications of a change on divorce…

    “Contra the Old Life bleat that Catholic doctrine is as malleable as Reformed theology/ecclesiology and therefore the Called to Communion criticism is overdrawn.” I fixed it for you…

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  66. Actually that isn’t quite right either. The argument made here is that the continuity of Catholic doctrine is exaggerated by CtC while the discontinuity of reformation though is exaggerated thereby undermining their criticism.

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  67. TVD
    Posted October 5, 2015 at 1:53 pm | Permalink
    7 denials of people as Reformed and then a counterattack. Just another day at old Life.>>>>

    Weird, but true.

    Dogmatic assertions based on fallible criteria.

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  68. sdb
    Posted October 5, 2015 at 2:54 pm | Permalink
    Well.. I’m pretty sure MBD would never characterize himself as an OldLife partisan. Note also, his concern is not over gay marriage but the status of divorcees in the church. Still curious about your view on the implications of a change on divorce…

    “Contra the Old Life bleat that Catholic doctrine is as malleable as Reformed theology/ecclesiology and therefore the Called to Communion criticism is overdrawn.” I fixed it for you…

    sdb
    Posted October 5, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink
    Actually that isn’t quite right either. The argument made here is that the continuity of Catholic doctrine is exaggerated by CtC while the discontinuity of reformation though is exaggerated thereby undermining their criticism.

    Uh huh. Whenever pressed y’all play the No True Scotsman game where you disavow anything or anyone that’s inconvenient until there’s nobody left except you and Darryl, and he’s not so sure about you.

    But the fact is that with tens or hundreds or thousands of denominations, sub-denominations and sub-sub-denominations, the discontinuity of the Reformation cannot be exaggerated. The word “Reformation” is meaningless except to denote “splinter groups from Catholicism.” Even “Presbyterian” is such a mixed bag it’s barely useful.

    Hence Dr. Hart’s diversionary tactic of using minor issues to allege Catholic discontinuity where there is none [parroted by his misguided flock]. The Catholic Church–and one can include the Eastern Orthodox–is sacramentally and theologically the same as it was in 1054, much to their disappointment. They wish Catholicism were as big a mess as the Reformation is, but that’s just not so.

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  69. Robert:
    I said it before to another RC, but what is it about Romanism that makes it impossible for you guys to apply standards to yourselves that you apply to us?>>>>

    Actually, today I am asking that you guys apply your own standards to yourselves. Thank you for your serious answer. I may go point by point with you later, but what’s the point? We always arrive at the same, uh, spot.

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  70. sdb
    Posted October 5, 2015 at 12:47 pm | Permalink
    “…if the sources are fallible, then what good are they?”
    You know, that is just what I was telling my wife this weekend. She said I should read the directions, but I told her that if it isn’t infallible, what’s the point?!?! She said I need a new paradigm.>>>

    Now that is funny!

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  71. D. G. Hart
    Posted October 5, 2015 at 5:07 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, what about PROTESTant don’t you understand?

    Dr. History: A Calvinism with another withering evasion.

    Unfortunately, “Protestant” was a protest against the Emperor Charles’ condemnation of Luther, not the protest against the Catholic Church itself. Swing and a miss on every level. Except the evasion part. Why don’t you answer her questions, Dr? She knows your religion a helluva lot better than you know hers.

    The Little Mermaid
    Posted October 5, 2015 at 9:19 am | Permalink
    What Scripture do you use to justify the tens of thousands of warring Protestant sects?

    What Scripture do you use to justify your cessationism?

    Here is what you guys are saying on the subject of miracles. God did a lot of weird things in the past. He doesn’t do that kind of stuff anymore. Now we have the Bible, and those are the only miracles we have to accept – as though it were a chore to accept the miraculous.

    Oh, He doesn’t do those kinds of things anymore? Who says so? The Bible doesn’t say so. Your rationalism says so.

    Back to the topic at hand. These are real questions. What does Scripture say about divisions in the church and about miracles?

    Attacking Catholicism and Catholics is not the same as answering the charge that Brother Hart began his post with.

    “A common charge against Protestantism is that it is rationalistic.”

    Defend your religion, guys, if it is worth defending. Can you do it without reference to the pope, papists, pietists, or Pentecostals? Can you defend your faith on its own merits?

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  72. Of course Catholicism forgot to read 1 Crinthians 6:17 ” the one who joins himself to the Lord is one Spirit with Him. Rome’s brand of incarnationslism was soundly rejected by the early church ss idolatry. Tim Kauffman ” Novel Antiquity” enjoy the read.

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  73. Kevin
    Posted October 5, 2015 at 6:21 pm | Permalink
    Of course Catholicism forgot to read 1 Crinthians 6:17 ” the one who joins himself to the Lord is one Spirit with Him. Rome’s brand of incarnationslism was soundly rejected by the early church ss idolatry. Tim Kauffman ” Novel Antiquity” enjoy the read.

    I love Protestant quote-mining. In context that has absolutely zero to do with the topic. Do you people actually read the Bible or just regurgitate the same third-hand “proof quotes” over and over?

    The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. 15Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.”b 17But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

    18Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

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  74. TVD, you said that the RC and EO ate sacramrntally and theologically the same in 1064 as they are now. Well not quite. Yes and no. In 1064 they hadnt sold Christ’s merits yet. And in 1064 Nancy Pelosi wasnt receiving the Eucharist.

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  75. D. G. Hart
    Posted October 5, 2015 at 5:07 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, what about PROTESTant don’t you understand?>>>>

    Well, one of the usages of the word “Protestant” seems to be that you guys protest all Protestants, even ones that are confessional.

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  76. Kevin,

    TVD, you said that the RC and EO ate sacramrntally and theologically the same in 1064 as they are now. Well not quite. Yes and no. In 1064 they hadnt sold Christ’s merits yet. And in 1064 Nancy Pelosi wasnt receiving the Eucharist.

    A failure to discipline and apply theology to practice isn’t a change in theology (and certainly neither the sacraments nor our understanding of them).

    My understanding is that discipline is a mark that a visible body of Christians is a part of the Church. I would draw the lesson from bad discipline amongst Catholics that those concerned are failing in prudence for a number of reasons. This is a grave charge.

    And in 1054 (or 1064 or most any other year) I am sure you could find political leaders engaged in behavior forbidden by the RCC, whose local ordinaries tolerated their reception of the Eucharist. It’s a simple, common, and universal human problem – the Church is not composed of God’s angels.

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  77. Mmph, typo.

    “My understanding is that discipline is a mark that a visible body of Christians is a part of the Church”

    – meant to say “… is that, for the Reformed, …” I wouldn’t say it is an idea denied by the RCC, though, by any means – although I’d have to reflect on the differences in understanding.

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  78. @TVD
    “Uh huh. Whenever pressed y’all play the No True Scotsman game where you disavow anything or anyone that’s inconvenient until there’s nobody left except you and Darryl, and he’s not so sure about you.”

    You misunderstand what “No True Scotsman” is. Defining who is and isn’t reformed is simply about clarity. When Dan or Mark says, “I’m not reformed”, it doesn’t make sense to insist on referring to them that way. No one is being disavowed. There were two reformations – the radical reformation and the magisterial reformation. In US evangelicalism, you see the convergence of these threads and the explosion of religious groups (Christian and otherwise) resulting from the political freedom and entrepreneurial spirit of the times. It doesn’t make any more sense to impute the beliefs of Quakers to those who identify as reformed than it does for the Orthodox to impute the views of Lutherans to those who identify as Roman Catholic.

    What you identify as a diversionary tactic is simply a matter of clarity. Like I’ve said before, you have lots of facts in your head, but like a lot of autodidacts you lack analytical skill. One would think your failure to persuade anyone here might give you some pause.

    My goal isn’t to convince you that protestantism is the “ONE TRUE WAY” (and I think I can safely say the same for several others here, but of course they can speak for themselves). My only goal (which you continue to obfuscate) is to point out that the triumphalism (think Susan’s assertion that the only good things in protestantism are those elements that survived from catholicism) embedded in the CtC apologetic is unwarranted and the motives of credibility are not dispositive. You keep insisting that we are making some other point and go on and on about how we haven’t succeeded. Pointing out your error is not an example of the “No True Scotsman” tactic.

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  79. @KiN

    “A failure to discipline and apply theology to practice isn’t a change in theology (and certainly neither the sacraments nor our understanding of them).”

    I think this gets at something really quite fundamental. Unless one wants to use a very restrictive definition of theology to mean something like the study of the nature of God, we prots would say that discipline is absolutely a theological issue. Take for example the OT account of Eli – his failure was a lack of discipline (see also the ups and downs of the previous judges and monarchs of the N. and S. kingdoms). We see this throughout the OT and the disastrous consequences that resulted, but the more fundamental issue revealed by the disastrous consequences was what the lack of discipline said about the real state of people’s beliefs.

    To put it into modern economic terms, we might talk about the difference between stated preferences and revealed preference. Every one tells pollsters that they really care about excellent customer service, but when it comes time to get a hotel room, plane ticket, etc… we always go for the lowest fare. When given the option of purchasing perks that provide better customer service, most people don’t. So why we may say we want better service even if it cost a bit more, the reality is we will put up with almost anything to save a buck. That’s the reality of our belief. In other words, those who say they care about service and then go for the cheapest possible ticket on kayak are lying (perhaps to themselves). Similarly with discipline – a church that doesn’t exercise discipline doesn’t really believe the stuff on paper (their confessions are a lie). Thus the concern that Michael Brendan Dougherty (and other trads like him) have about the upcoming Synod. Keeping the words the same but changing the meaning by changing the discipline (the favorite game of modernist reformers everywhere) is changing the doctrine.

    In the RC and EO systems, the validity of a local church is determined by apostolic laying on of hands. For reformed protestants, this is important but not dispositive – the local church must be marked by orthodoxy and orthopraxy and while we are never perfect on these things (more or less pure) some churches can diverge so much as to not be legitimate expressions of the local body of believers. It may be like the infamous quip about the difference between fine art and pornography – there is no bright line, but I know it when I see it (or so I’ve heard). To be sure it is a divergence from the EO and RC understandings of the church, but I think it much more in keeping with the OT and especially NT expression.

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  80. sdb: “Like I’ve said before, you have lots of facts in your head, but like a lot of autodidacts you lack analytical skill. One would think your failure to persuade anyone here might give you some pause.”

    wow, sdb, or should I say…… ‘woe’.

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  81. or whoa… But not sure it is all that profound. Or am I missing something? Tom’s skills and deficits align quite well with my experience with autodidacts. He knows a lot of stuff, but he doesn’t put it together very well. Is your experience different?

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  82. woe and whoa

    Woe: Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight Isaiah 5:21

    and whoa: hold on – were you putting down, I mean, talking and Kevin or Tom. I think they both are analytical, perceptive, and I’ve learned from them both.

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  83. Well, I’m not so sure about my own wisdom – what Isaiah and Proverbs mean by morally righteous judgement and am quite glad that I don’t rest in that. Not sure why that applies here though. I’m very sure I’m not so clever, so perhaps I’m missing your point.

    I don’t see how anything I wrote to KiN could possibly be seen as a “put down”, but please point that out if I have. I stand by my criticism of Tom’s lack of analytic skill. I don’t see why that should be taken as a “put down” though. Noting a gap in his training does not indicate anything about his moral character or his worth as a person or that there is nothing to be learned from him. In short it is not a value judgment. Rather he makes fundamental mistakes because of gaps in his education which is quite common among autodidacts. He knows lots of stuff (I would say more than me, but that isn’t saying anything), but he has serious holes in his background that undermine his ability to put things together in a convincing way.

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  84. Witness again that the pietist evangelicals and papists are drawn inevitably together. Too bad we don’t have some Federal Visionists around to complete the ecumenical ménage à trois.

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  85. b, sd, don’t forget that Rome has almost 950 years of doing discipline. Think Index of Books. It’s only since Vat 2 that they got all touchy feely went all Susan.

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  86. Going back to the original question of gullibility, Calvin put it this way:

    “The Popish hierarchy I execrate as diabolical confusion, established for the very purpose of making God Himself to be despised, and of exposing Christian religion to mockery and scorn.”

    Brief Confession of Faith (Tracts II:134)

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  87. Sdb :Well, I’m not so sure about my own wisdom – what Isaiah and Proverbs mean by morally righteous judgement and am quite glad that I don’t rest in that. Not sure why that applies here though. I’m very sure I’m not so clever, so perhaps I’m missing your point.
    I don’t see how anything I wrote to KiN could possibly be seen as a “put down”, but please point that out if I have. I stand by my criticism of Tom’s lack of analytic skill. I don’t see why that should be taken as a “put down” though. Noting a gap in his training does not indicate anything about his moral character or his worth as a person or that there is nothing to be learned from him. In short it is not a value judgment. Rather he makes fundamental mistakes because of gaps in his education which is quite common among autodidacts. He knows lots of stuff (I would say more than me, but that isn’t saying anything), but he has serious holes in his background that undermine his ability to put things together in a convincing way.

    sdb: “One would think your failure to persuade anyone here might give you some pause”

    when is it the persuader, the persuadee, neither, or some combo, sdb? That would be a judgment call. And you seem to be implying there is contextualization about humility as if there might be appropriate times to be wise on our own eyes or clever in our own sight? Probably the only thing worse that pride is justifying or rationalizing it.

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  88. D. G. Hart
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 1:46 pm | Permalink
    b, sd, don’t forget that Rome has almost 950 years of doing discipline. Think Index of Books. It’s only since Vat 2 that they got all touchy feely went all Susan.

    So what? You hate them either way. Nice racket.

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  89. Publius
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 3:36 pm | Permalink
    Going back to the original question of gullibility, Calvin put it this way:

    “The Popish hierarchy I execrate as diabolical confusion, established for the very purpose of making God Himself to be despised, and of exposing Christian religion to mockery and scorn.”

    Brief Confession of Faith (Tracts II:134)>>>>>

    Calvin was an autodidact. Just think of all the confusion and heresy a guy like Calvin unleashed on the world.

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  90. cw l’unificateur
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 1:31 pm | Permalink
    Witness again that the pietist evangelicals and papists are drawn inevitably together. Too bad we don’t have some Federal Visionists around to complete the ecumenical ménage à trois.>>>>>

    You say that like it’s a bad thing. Where in the Bible is the Reformed way of semper dividente justified?

    Feel free to use sola scriptura, solo scriptura, the WCF, Belgic, The Institutes of the Christian Religion, or any other authoritative resource you may consider authoritative and or infallible.

    Justify your divisiveness on your own terms.

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  91. “The Popish hierarchy I execrate as diabolical confusion, established for the very purpose of making God Himself to be despised, and of exposing Christian religion to mockery and scorn.”

    Ah yes Protestantism has had nothing to do with exposing Christianity to mockery and scorn either in Calvin’s time or now. Read a newspaper, then please aim for a bit more substance in your drive-bys.

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  92. sdb:.
    I’m very sure I’m not so clever, so perhaps I’m missing your point.
    I don’t see how anything I wrote to KiN could possibly be seen as a “put down”, but please point that out if I have. I stand by my criticism of Tom’s lack of analytic skill. I don’t see why that should be taken as a “put down” though>>>>>

    You know, when someone uses the ad hominem device it generally means that they have lost the argument. Don’t be a sore loser, sdb. You gave it your best shot. That’s all you can do. Better luck next time.

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  93. James Young, don’t forget that Protestantism gets credit for modernizing the world, something it took until 1962 for your bishops to embrace. And you guys still haven’t changed dress.

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  94. cw l’unificateur
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 4:51 pm | Permalink
    Ethel M, the gospel matters more than phony, moralistic unity.

    Every schismatic says that.`

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  95. “when is it the persuader, the persuadee, neither, or some combo, sdb? That would be a judgment call.”
    I suppose, but so what?

    “And you seem to be implying there is contextualization about humility as if there might be appropriate times to be wise on our own eyes or clever in our own sight?”
    I do not intend to imply any such thing. Again, what does one’s assessment about another’s analytic chops have to do with “being wise in your own eyes”?

    “Probably the only thing worse that pride is justifying or rationalizing it.”
    I agree.

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  96. @mwf
    “You know, when someone uses the ad hominem device it generally means that they have lost the argument. Don’t be a sore loser, sdb. You gave it your best shot. That’s all you can do. Better luck next time.”

    What’s there to lose? I’m happy to stand corrected if I’ve made a mistake – indeed, I’ve done so when TVD has corrected me (the bit about original languages in the wcf). I have nothing bad to say about TVD’s character at all. He’s a bright guy who knows lots of stuff – as I told Ali, probably more than me. What he lacks is analytic skill – it is his very arguments that I am contesting. He has consistently misconstrued the case made by several of us here as really being about something else. That’s not atypical of autodidacts – they know a lot of stuff, but they don’t synthesize it so well. The distinctions he draws among sociology, history, and theology are way off base, he misunderstands why the impact of character problems among wide swaths of the RC hierarchy on the MOC is relevant, and he buys into a sort of reverse whiggish account of the proliferation of protestant denominations rooted sola scriptura. All are analytic shortcomings.

    What is ad hominem here? I’m obviously too dense to get your or Ali’s criticism.

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  97. sdb: I suppose, but so what?

    Don’t need to go around and around about it, sdb , probably we’d get nowhere, unable to persuade each other. Anyway, I do appreciate the introduction of the idea of persuasion to think on and also to consider what the Lord has to say about it.

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  98. Mermaid – Is autodidact what passes for a popish slur these days? And no, Calvin wasn’t one in any event unless by autodidact you mean that he wasn’t a priest.

    Either way, you can’t argue with the substance of what he wrote in the quote above. The question isn’t whether popery has caused mocking and scorn, it’s whether the mocking and scorn of Rome it undoubtedly has caused constitute a mockery of the Christian religion.

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  99. Ali,
    Sounds great. But I am not sure I disagree with so much that I don’t understand where you are coming from. I hope we’ll get to hash this out in another context.

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  100. sdb
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    What is ad hominem here? I’m obviously too dense to get your or Ali’s criticism.

    You get it just fine, brother.

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  101. Cletus –

    Thanks for the suggestion to read a newspaper. It’s amazing what one can learn. I picked up the New York Times and found it gushing over Bergoglio, from his know-nothing screeds against free markets to his big government climate alarmism they were positively effusive. I won’t quote everything or even most of it, but for starters:

    Six days ago, Pope Francis landed in Washington for his first visit to the United States — a country that he did not know and that did not know him. He flew out Sunday night, having wowed Washington and New York, while leaving behind a downtown Philadelphia transformed into a “Francisville” of pilgrims, families and hawkers selling Francis swag…

    He WOWed them in NY and Washington! There was even a Francisville full of pilgrims! And Francis swag! Wait ’til he gets to River City. Or Shelbyville. (I hear they’re building a monorail just for Frank)

    There was no mention of the Gospel of Christ – by Bergoglio or the Times.

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  102. Publius
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 6:33 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid – Is autodidact what passes for a popish slur these days? And no, Calvin wasn’t one in any event unless by autodidact you mean that he wasn’t a priest.

    Either way, you can’t argue with the substance of what he wrote in the quote above. The question isn’t whether popery has caused mocking and scorn, it’s whether the mocking and scorn of Rome it undoubtedly has caused constitute a mockery of the Christian religion.>>>>>

    Calvin was a well taught lawyer. His polemical skills are unsurpassed. There is no substance in the quote. It is a well crafted, cheap head shot. If you destroy the head, you destroy the religion. I didn’t say he was unintelligent. He didn’t mess around. Cut the head off and the religion belonged to him and the Reformers – the ones who survived, that is.

    If you read anything by him – and I am sure you have read it all – you will notice that he doesn’t add anything new to the Christian religion. What he does is try to take over the religion for his own purposes. He, in effect, set up a shadow Christianity and tried to call it the true church – the catholic church as opposed to papism.

    We see the results after 500 years. What is it? 35,000 Protestant sects and counting?

    So, now that the air is cleared, why don’t you defend the splintering of Protestantism.

    It is easy to attack the Catholic Church. If she is not the one, holy, apostolic catholic church, then where is she? Is she hiding out here at Old Life?

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  103. Mermaid – I’ll give you this, you are good sport.

    What you call the 35,000 Protestant sects – and let’s not forget all of the congregationalists out there – I would just call the Church. Some are true churches and some are not. Even within the Roman church there are splinterings and sects. The fact that there are different opinions and divisions over them is not in itself noteworthy or alarming. It is in the nature of fallen man. It points to our need of Christ as well as our need to base our faith in Christ on scripture alone. As such there is no reason to defend the splintering that worries you so. All imperfection within the Church is the result of sin, but some churches are more pure and some less. And some that call themselves a church are so far removed from the Gospel as to be no church at all. And the only standard on which to judge that is the inspired, inerrant Word of God, which Word is Christ Himself. The concern is that the popish hierarchy and the doctrines created to support and justify them lead away from Christ and His Gospel and not toward them.

    The Church has one head who is Christ and we will not be perfectly united until He returns to claim his bride. (amillenially, of course)

    If you want a concise doctrine of the Church I will offer WCF 25:

    1. The catholic or universal church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the Head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.

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

    3. Unto this catholic visible church Christ hath given the ministry, oracles, and ordinances of God, for the gathering and perfecting of the saints, in this life, to the end of the world: and doth, by his own presence and Spirit, according to his promise, make them effectual thereunto.

    4. This catholic church hath been sometimes more, sometimes less visible. And particular churches, which are members thereof, are more or less pure, according as the doctrine of the gospel is taught and embraced, ordinances administered, and public worship performed more or less purely in them.

    5. 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. Nevertheless, there shall be always a church on earth, to worship God according to his will.

    6. There is no other head of the church but the Lord Jesus Christ. Nor can the pope of Rome, in any sense, be head thereof.

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  104. Mermaid – One last thing – I couldn’t let this go by without responding:

    If you read anything by him – and I am sure you have read it all – you will notice that he doesn’t add anything new to the Christian religion.

    Right. I think your comment here gives away the game. The aim of the Reformers – and of all ministers of the Gospel – is not to add anything new to the Christian religion, but to faithfully proclaim Christ as He is revealed to us in His Word. And in this Calvin and others were particularly successful.

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  105. Publius
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 7:58 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid – One last thing – I couldn’t let this go by without responding:

    If you read anything by him – and I am sure you have read it all – you will notice that he doesn’t add anything new to the Christian religion.

    Right. I think your comment here gives away the game. The aim of the Reformers – and of all ministers of the Gospel – is not to add anything new to the Christian religion, but to faithfully proclaim Christ as He is revealed to us in His Word. And in this Calvin and others were particularly successful.>>>>>

    He was not justified in dividing the Church as he did. As has been pointed out before, all the great reformers stayed in the Church to reform her from the inside – and with great success.

    A splintering of the church into tens of thousands of warring factions is not a success story. If you love the Word and wish to faithfully proclaim it, then please explain Ephesians 4 and defend the divisions that exist even within those who claim Calvin as their spiritual father.

    It is a deplorable situation. If you want to point to anything that the devil has accomplished in ecclesiology, point to not just the schism between east and west, but also at the splintering of the western church in the name of reforming her.

    That is actually something that Calvin added to Christianity. I was wrong.

    Now, if Calvinists had stayed united, you may have a case to make in favor of Calvin’s contribution to Christianity. I don’t blame you if you do not respond. You guys have no idea what to do with Ephesians 4 – one Spirit, one body, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all.

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  106. Mermaid –

    Apply your understanding of Ephesians 4 to the Roman church. Apply it to divisions between Jesuits and Franciscans. Apply it to the divisions between Cardinals Raymond Burke and Walter Kasper, between JP II and Francis, between pope and anti-pope. I already explained above that division isn’t the deal-breaker for Protestants that it is for Romanists. The confessional Reformed folk already know that there are more and less pure churches and that the standard is the Word.

    Now let’s see how the Rube Goldberg machine based in Rome stands up to the scrutiny of your understanding of Ephesians 4.

    Seriously, try it.

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  107. A Calvinist Discovers John Calvin

    “I studied Calvin for years before the real significance of what I was learning began to sink in. But I finally realized that Calvin, with his passion for order and authority, was fundamentally at odds with the individualist spirit of my Evangelical tradition. Nothing brought this home to me with more clarity than his fight with the former Carmelite monk, Jerome Bolsec.

    In 1551, Bolsec, a physician and convert to Protestantism, entered Geneva and attended a lecture on theology. The topic was Calvin’s doctrine of predestination, the teaching that God predetermines the eternal fate of every soul. Bolsec, who believed firmly in “Scripture alone” and “faith alone,” did not like what he heard. He thought it made God into a tyrant. When he stood up to challenge Calvin’s views, he was arrested and imprisoned.

    What makes Bolsec’s case interesting is that it quickly evolved into a referendum on Church authority and the interpretation of Scripture. Bolsec, just like most Evangelicals today, argued that he was a Christian, that he had the Holy Spirit and that, therefore, he had as much right as Calvin to interpret the Bible. He promised to recant if Calvin would only prove his doctrine from the Scriptures. But Calvin would have none of it. He ridiculed Bolsec as a trouble maker (Bolsec generated a fair amount of public sympathy), rejected his appeal to Scripture, and called on the council to be harsh. He wrote privately to a friend that he wished Bolsec were “rotting in a ditch.”2

    What most Evangelicals today don’t realize is that Calvin never endorsed private or lay interpretation of the Bible. While he rejected Rome’s claim to authority, he made striking claims for his own authority. He taught that the “Reformed” pastors were successors to the prophets and apostles, entrusted with the task of authoritative interpretation of the Scriptures. He insisted that laypeople should suspend judgment on difficult matters and “hold unity with the Church.”3”

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  108. Publius
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 8:31 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid –

    Apply your understanding of Ephesians 4 to the Roman church. Apply it to divisions between Jesuits and Franciscans.

    between JP II and Francis,

    You’re kidding, right? Even Darryl doesn’t get this ridiculous.

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  109. TVD
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 8:57 pm | Permalink
    Publius
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 8:31 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid –

    Apply your understanding of Ephesians 4 to the Roman church. Apply it to divisions between Jesuits and Franciscans.

    between JP II and Francis,

    TVD:
    You’re kidding, right? Even Darryl doesn’t get this ridiculous.>>>>

    They just cannot defend their religion. It’s amazing.

    They don’t even spend any time defending or explaining Jesus or the Gospel.

    What kind of a religion is this? Amazing! Great quotes, Tom! Bolsec’s case is especially tragic. The spirit of Calvin lives on in his children I am afraid to say. Time to repent, guys. You cannot say you did not know.

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  110. Tom and Mermaid,

    For the umpteenth time, don’t complain about Protestant division when Rome is equally divided. There’s no unity of faith between Pelosi and her ilk and you (well, at least Mermaid). But if Rome is what she says she is, I can’t know who is right and who is wrong. Because both are faithful daughters of the church. Pelosi just scolded a reporter for asking her when life begins because she is a “devout Catholic.” That rolling sound is Mother Teresa in her grave.

    I’ve said it before. Rome has one thing Protestants don’t: Nominal visible unity. Sorry, not impressed by a church that claims to speak with God’s voice and can’t deal with its heretics anymore.

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  111. Robert
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 9:20 pm | Permalink
    Tom and Mermaid,

    For the umpteenth time, don’t complain about Protestant division when Rome is equally divided.

    It’s certainly not equally divided. That’s Darryl’s false premise to divert attention from Protestantism’s 100s if not 1000s of sects.

    If the pope tells Cardinal Burke or Kasper to shut up, that’s the end of it. In Protestantism, they go off and start their own church.

    The. End.

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  112. The Little Mermaid
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    “Apply your understanding of Ephesians 4 to the Roman church. Apply it to divisions between Jesuits and Franciscans.

    between JP II and Francis,”

    TVD:
    You’re kidding, right? Even Darryl doesn’t get this ridiculous.>>>>

    They just cannot defend their religion. It’s amazing.

    They don’t even spend any time defending or explaining Jesus or the Gospel.

    What kind of a religion is this? Amazing! Great quotes, Tom! Bolsec’s case is especially tragic. The spirit of Calvin lives on in his children I am afraid to say. Time to repent, guys. You cannot say you did not know.

    Everything they complain about Catholicism, the Reformation eventually duplicated–often in spades. That’s why I rub their noses in it. People are people.

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  113. Tom,

    If the pope tells Cardinal Burke or Kasper to shut up, that’s the end of it. In Protestantism, they go off and start their own church.

    The. End.

    Um, weren’t you just the one who said that papal infallibility was an embarrassment to most recent popes and that it all depends on the sense of the faithful? You don’t have that and it being the end if the pope tells anyone to shut up.

    Which RCism are you promoting again?

    It’s certainly not equally divided. That’s Darryl’s false premise to divert attention from Protestantism’s 100s if not 1000s of sects.

    Nominal visible unity isn’t impressive. As long as Burke and Kasper are both equally welcome; as long as Mother Teresa and Nancy Pelosi are both saints, the division is as bad in Protestantism. In fact, it’s worse because it’s dishonest.

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  114. Tom,

    If the pope tells Cardinal Burke or Kasper to shut up, that’s the end of it. In Protestantism, they go off and start their own church.

    I’d also add that were this really true, there never would have been a Reformation, and no one would leave Roman Catholicism today. In Romanism, they just start a new church within the visible Roman church and wait for it to get recognized. See the Jesuits, Dominicans, SSPXers, Catholics for Choice, New Ways Ministries, the Franciscans, etc. etc. etc.

    At the very least you get both Molinists and Thomists teaching radically opposed views of grace but because the pope says they’re not, they’re not. Please.

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  115. Robert
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 10:44 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    If the pope tells Cardinal Burke or Kasper to shut up, that’s the end of it. In Protestantism, they go off and start their own church.

    I’d also add that were this really true, there never would have been a Reformation, and no one would leave Roman Catholicism today. In Romanism, they just start a new church within the visible Roman church and wait for it to get recognized. See the Jesuits, Dominicans, SSPXers, Catholics for Choice, New Ways Ministries, the Franciscans, etc. etc. etc.

    SSPXers are a few hundred priests out of 400,000. The rest of your “divisions” aren’t divisions atall: They all submit to the pope’s and their bishops’ authority.

    J Gresham Machen gets put on trial, leaves and starts the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. THAT’S a division. The PCUSA ordains a lesbian couple while you sit appalled [hopefully, that is: Darryl is characteristically mute]. THAT’S a division. Your argument [Darryl’s argument] equating Protestantism’s countless schisms and divisions to Jesuits and Franciscans is a false premise, a category error.

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  116. Robert,

    In Romanism, they just start a new church within the visible Roman church and wait for it to get recognized. See the Jesuits, Dominicans, SSPXers, Catholics for Choice, New Ways Ministries, the Franciscans, etc. etc. etc.

    Please tell me how any of these qualify as a “new church within the visible Roman church” -?

    St. Dominic applied for permission to start his order, and it was granted according to the canonical norms of the time. The Dominicans have never divided with each other, and have arguably (I’m very much biased) made greater contributions to the RCC than any other religious order- canon law, missions, theology, universities, translation, everything really.

    The Franciscans hda a problem with “Spiritual Franciscans” and saw division, but this was following their approval and isn’t obviously related to your point. More relevant is that the Franciscans were used by the papacy to get around Bishops who were too closely tied to the local political establishments.

    The SSPX was established according to canonical norms with full approval, and never legally dissolved. As of this Fall, they will be officially exercising a legitimate ministry in the Church at the express declaration of Francis. In any case, the usual charge against them by the ill-informed or ill-intentioned is that they are in formal schism- i.e., not a part of the “visible Roman church” – so not sure why you’re mentioning them.

    Catholics for Choice and New Ways Ministry are not a part of the RCC.

    The Jesuits? My recollection is that they were founded by a group of young men before ordination, sought papal recognition fairly soon thereafter, became ordained, and spread the order.

    Their suppression certainly demonstrated a problem, but perhaps other than you suggest – it was due to international political pressure and a weak and erring pope. Again, I’m missing the force of your charge.

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  117. Robert:
    For the umpteenth time, don’t complain about Protestant division when Rome is equally divided.>>>>

    Robert, what I wish someone would do is explain from sola scriptura why it is okay to divide like Protestants do. I wish that someone would defend Protestantism as it is.

    If you could just pretend that she didn’t exist, and that the only churches were Protestant. How would you defend all the division in light of Ephesians 4? Wouldn’t you say that Christians should try harder to get along?

    I got to the point where I could no longer justify it, let alone explain it. Maybe you can, my kind Brother Robert.

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  118. Publius
    Posted October 6, 2015 at 7:55 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid – I’ll give you this, you are good sport.>>>>

    My dear Brother Publius, you gave me one reference to something that is Biblical – it is the nature of fallen man to what? To get into fights and divide? I guess that is what you meant.

    The rest is from your version of the WCF, which is not Scripture. The original was a document drawn up by order of English parliament in order to appease the Scots.

    In the NT, you did not see anything akin to the kind of division we see in our day. There is a town not far from here where on every corner there is a Reformed church. 1st Reformed. 2nd Reformed. 3rd Reformed. 4th Reformed. There’s even a United Reformed Church and an American Reformed.
    There are more.

    There is one Catholic Church.

    Where do you find anything like that in the Bible? When Jesus delivered His messages to the 7 churches, He addressed one church in each city. He didn’t have to write to the 1st, 2,nd, 3rd, 4th, United, American, etc. churches.

    How do Protestants go from one Spirit, one body, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all to the kind of chaos that is Protestantism?

    Even the false teachers were inside the NT local churches, not outside. If they left, forming their own groups, they were said to have left because they did not belong in the first place. See 1 John.

    Do you have a Bible?

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  119. Mermaid,

    Robert, what I wish someone would do is explain from sola scriptura why it is okay to divide like Protestants do. I wish that someone would defend Protestantism as it is.

    If you could just pretend that she didn’t exist, and that the only churches were Protestant. How would you defend all the division in light of Ephesians 4? Wouldn’t you say that Christians should try harder to get along?

    Paul apparently believed that it would be a reality that there would be factions among professing Christians. In fact, he seems to indicate that it must be so in order to recognize the truth: “For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you.” (1 Cor. 11:19)

    The question, I guess, is whether these factions should be warring. But as SDB noted, there isn’t any warring in any meaningful Christian sense among the churches represented here. Neither the OPC nor the PCA say that you have to affirm the WCF in order to be a member or be welcome at the Lord’s Table. You have to affirm the Apostles’ Creed and not be under the discipline of a local evangelical church.

    As for Ephesians 4, I assume you mean this portion of it:

    And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

    I don’t see anything in here about visible unity such that there is only one denomination. Maybe that’s the way it should be, but your assuming something you have to prove.

    What I do see here is unity of faith, which may or may not include absolutely everything a Christian believes. My inclination would be to say unity of faith does mean that, but it is also clear that Paul views this as a work in progress to be completed only in the world to come. Christians can work for unity of faith, but it’s no necessary scandal if it isn’t here yet because the Apostles never say it would happen on this side of glory.

    I don’t see why unity of faith, scripturally speaking, means everybody united under one home office. The fact is that churches like the PCA and the OPC are separate ecclesiastical bodies does not mean they are disunited in the faith. Both formed out of different historical situations and the emphases of each denomination tend to be different but not opposed to one another. There’s been attempts to unite under one structure, but the churches have determined that wouldn’t be best for a variety of reasons. Mainly because there are people who fear that the necessary emphases might get diluted. But that’s no scandal. In fact, it’s better in such a case to remain separate because uniting might lead to infighting between people who prefer one emphasis over another. But there’s no acrimony. Ministers can and do transfer easily between bodies, as do church members.

    When you get to other bodies, such relationships are more complicated. But to take Calvinistic Baptists for example, there are plenty of Calvinistic Baptists who affirm covenant theology, they just don’t baptize babies. Do I think they’re inconsistent? Sure. But to say we affirm completely different faiths is a bit much.

    And I would add again that if you apply the biblical standard, Rome hasn’t achieved unity of faith yet. Thomism and Monism have radically different views on election. What’s happened is that the Magisterium has said, “Well, that’s not important.” Given that Paul has extensive teaching on election, what right does the pope have to say that? And there’s any number of other schools of theology that are neither Thomist nor Molinist and teach different views of election.

    So if unity of faith means what it seems to mean on face reading, even Rome isn’t united. It’s a nominal visible unity, a tent whose boundaries are so big to accommodate any number of wildly divergent and contradictory schools of thought.

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  120. Mermaid, “all the great reformers stayed in the Church to reform her from the inside – and with great success”

    Are you serious? Have you heard of the priest sex scandal and the bishops’ role in covering it up?

    Or do you live in the Land of Chocolate?

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  121. @tvd

    “What is ad hominem here? I’m obviously too dense to get your or Ali’s criticism.”
    You get it just fine, brother.

    Umm…. no I don’t. Don’t know why you would conclude I’m lying.

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  122. It’s certainly not equally divided. That’s Darryl’s false premise to divert attention from Protestantism’s 100s if not 1000s of sects.

    If the pope tells Cardinal Burke or Kasper to shut up, that’s the end of it. In Protestantism, they go off and start their own church.

    The. End.

    1) Those sects are in communion. The relationship among most of them is much closer than among various factions of the RCC. We share communion, seminaries, colleges, and parachurch ministries. Whether that is a good thing or not is a different question, but it is the reality on the ground. I can go to the methodist, lutheran, presbyterian, baptist, assembly of god, anglican,… and share in communion and vice versa. I can teach at their schools and vice versa. The division is institutional not in fellowship or communion – we are many parts of one body.

    2) Insofar as we are splintered, we are splintered from Rome who is splintered from EO. In what sense is the continual fracturing a consequence of Rome itself? While this line of thinking is common among the EOs, it is just as flawed as the RC assertion that sola scriptura is a causal agent leading to the proliferation of protestant sects. As I’ve pointed out, many times, this fails to account for the proliferation of sects among other religions in America on one hand and the relative stability of “book based” faiths of non-Christian religions such as Judaism and Islam prior to moving westward on the other. A much stronger case is made by Nathan Hatch in his book on the democratization of religion. The inverted whiggish view of history you allude to is incorrect.

    3) It is not at all clear that deviant Cardinals just shut up and so it ends… It certainly hasn’t reigned in priests such as Kung nor other Cardinals who actively worked to undermine Benedict and put Francis in place (or so they claim).

    4) More fundamentally, you haven’t adequately addressed the difference between a single RC leaving and forming a denomination of “one” versus a group of RCs leaving and forming a denomination of many versus leaving for a different established denomination. You’ve asserted before that these are totally different from what has happened among protestants. It seems our fundamental (indeed incommensurable) difference is over the significance of founding a new institution. You think it makes all the difference while I find it to be an insignificant detail. Ephesians 4 doesn’t bear on this at all.

    5) Regarding MWFs challenges that you find so compelling:
    a) her charge that prots have no answer for Gal 5:6 is belied by the fact that it forms the centerpiece of one of the articles in the Belgic confession.
    b) The charge that Calvin brought nothing new to the table is belied by the charge that his rendering of justification by faith is a novel theological development.
    c) The interpretation of John 6 was adequately laid out by Jeff previously – his grammatical breakdown of the text and why it doesn’t make sense in context there take body and blood literally is compelling. There has been no adequate challenge to his exegesis of that text that I’ve seen in the comments here. d) The claim that Eph 4, Savior’s priestly prayer, and the Apostles Creed describe a church at odds with protestantism is wanting. To be sure, we are flawed. There is no question there. The church has been divided for quite some time and there are a lot of unhealthy strains among protestantism generally and in my own conservative-reformed part of the body – the crazy stuff going on Wilson is a good example of how these things go off the rails. We are sinners and our sin keeps us from “immanentizing the eschaton”. That being said, the protestant understanding of the church as a body of many parts means that we shouldn’t expect institutional conformity – indeed efforts to maintain that at all costs results in the papering over of serious sins as well (e.g., clericalism).

    Your assertion that the biggest church is the true one fails to take seriously the account of the 12 tribes. It was the largest group (10 in Israel) that went completely off the rails. Indeed it was a mere remnant that remained faithful (cf. Elijah). There always have been and always will be faithful believers on Earth in this age. The church is afflicted with weeds, but that weeding does not take place now. What we see is rather many manifestations of the local church that are more or less pure – none perfect and some so far gone as to no longer be legitimate churches.

    Our table is open to all who are baptized and confess Christ – it isn’t restricted to a single nation, it isn’t restricted to a particular denomination, it is the Lord’s Table and it is available universally (one might say catholic). You are welcome. Unfortunately I am not welcome to yours as I cannot accept Aristotelian metaphysics. The division is one sided.

    In short, the challenges from you and mwf are wanting. To be sure there are tough, incommensurable problems we won’t solve here. I find that the reformed faith makes the best sense of who man is (as opposed to who we want him to be), most clearly articulates the gospel, and is the most faithful to the Bible’s injunctions for how the church should be organized. It stands in the flow of Church history without idolizing the past. To be sure we aren’t perfect and I might even go so far as to say it isn’t for everyone. I would even go so far as to say that RCC and EO churches might be the best option for some. I can’t accept all that the RC or EO churches teach, but I don’t think there is something flawed with those who conclude differently….what can I say, I’m a relativist I suppose. But maybe I’m wrong about that too.

    What I do not accept is the force of the MOC – the historical and sociological reality of RCC undermine them fatally. The triumphalism and “trophy-ism” engaged in by CtC is frankly beyond the pale. In the case of relatively recent converts like Susan and MWF I do worry about those who sprout up too fast with a lot of zeal (think of the parable of the sower and the seeds). I’ve seen many, many cases when converts get puffed up with all of their new found superiority only to see their pride lead to a hard crash and loss of faith. The kinds of comments I’ve read from both Susan and MWF are eerily reminiscent of how my convert friend came across before eventually losing their faith. I’ve mentioned this before not as an attack, but as a warning. I’m not going to post the private details of this on a blog which is why I point to the story of Rod Dreher and how his intellectualized Catholic faith crumbled in the midst of his investigation into the RC sex abuse scandal.

    Well as usual, I’m way too long winded so I’ll stop here…I guess I’m that guy at the bar who goes on and on and everyone tries to find a (not-so?) polite excuse to avoid so as not to get trapped by a never ending monologue. I guess that’s beauty of this medium – when you get bored it is easy to move on.

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  123. Robert: Christians can work for unity of faith, but it’s no necessary scandal if it isn’t here yet because the Apostles never say it would happen on this side of glory.

    not a scandal (surprise), but it is an indictment when being divisive by not staying intent on one purpose, not maintaining love, and not being clear on the absolutes for ‘ being of the same mind’ (Phil 2:2) and thus detrimental to the world seeing God (John 17:23).

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  124. sdb, how do you explain Old Life in light of what you say here?

    “Our table is open to all who are baptized and confess Christ – it isn’t restricted to a single nation, it isn’t restricted to a particular denomination, it is the Lord’s Table and it is available universally (one might say catholic). You are welcome. Unfortunately I am not welcome to yours as I cannot accept Aristotelian metaphysics. The division is one sided.”

    If the owner of this blog and its regular contributors attacked the Catholic Church only as a way of keeping people from leaving Protestantism, then I would buy what you are selling.

    However, here you will find regular slams on Pietists, Baptists – or is that the same thing? – Pentecostals, Charismatics, and even Reformed pastors of your own confession. That is that part I don’t get, and the part that kind of brings down your arguments. You say that you value your Evangelical brethren of different denominations, but the actual discussion on this blog communicates a very different message.

    Can you really support the message of this blog – everyone is wrong and worthy of mockery?

    IOW, what are you doing here if you really believe that all Evangelicals are your brothers and sisters in Christ? There is no love lost here for anyone, really.

    You say that your religion understands and accepts Galatians 5:6. I know it does. That is why the Church can call you separated brethren, but you know that.

    If you believe it, then where is the practice of it here at Old Life?

    You do not belong here.

    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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  125. Mermaid,

    You misunderstand what Darryl is doing. He isn’t going to bar Tim Keller, a member of an Assemblies of God church, or any other person who confesses Christ and is repentant for sin from the Lord’s Table. But Rome will bar all of these, if she is following her principles, although in practice I don’t see anyone barred. So as far as barriers to sacramental fellowship, there really are none among most conservative Protestants.

    What Darryl doesn’t like is for professing Presbyterians not to follow historic Presbyterian principles. You may disagree with his tone. You may think his criticisms are beyond the pale. But he isn’t saying “those people are members of false churches and cut off from sacramental grace.” For the purposes of this blog, he just wants Presbyterians to be Presbyterians, Baptists to be Baptists, and RCs to be RCs.

    Personally, I don’t agree with everything Darryl says, but he makes good and important points if one follows traditional and historic Presbyterianism. He’s not calling Keller or the broader evangelicals heretics; he’s calling Presbyterians to follow Presbyterian polity and forms of piety. He’s a historian. He wants people to rightly acknowledge the history and not try to revise it by calling something Reformed/Presbyterian that isn’t Reformed/Presbyterian historically. His problems with folks like CTC is similar. He’s basically saying, “Don’t pretend that the papacy solves all your ecclesiological problems and state that things are so much greener on the other side of the Tiber when any honest look at history demonstrates that they’re not.” That’s all.

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  126. Bless you, Brother Robert, because you are a kind Christian gentleman. You are putting the best spin you can on what Brother Hart does here. That speaks well of you.

    There is some good discussion generated I will grant you that.

    Now, is it possible for Protestants to give a defense of Protestantism without any reference to the Catholic Church? How about Charles Spurgeon’s A Defense of Calvinism? He comes close.

    In a Providential way, this sermon helped me become Catholic. He traced the doctrines of grace from the Apostle Paul, to St. Augustine, and on to his present day. Here is what he says. Notice what is left out.

    ” I ask the man who dares to say that Calvinism is a licentious religion, what he thinks of the character of Augustine, or Calvin, or Whitefield, who in successive ages were the great exponents of the system of grace; or what will he say of the Puritans, whose works are full of them? ”

    He did make one reference to the heresy of Rome, but what he alleges Rome teaches is actually what she anathematizes. See if you can find what that false accusation is and what canon of the Council of Trent refutes it. No matter, the tone of the sermon is love – love of God, love of the Gospel, and love of all who name the name of Christ – except Catholics, but he says little about us at all except for his reference to Augustine and church fathers.

    http://www.spurgeon.org/calvinis.htm

    “IT IS A GREAT THING to begin the Christian life by believing good solid doctrine. Some people have received twenty different “gospels” in as many years; how many more they will accept before they get to their journey’s end, it would be difficult to predict. “

    Great summary of Protestantism.

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  127. D. G. Hart
    Posted October 7, 2015 at 7:30 am | Permalink
    see vd, t talk out of both sides of his mouth.

    Clever dodge, Dr. Hart. Much more clever than usual. Of course it’s the part of Calvinism you disavow as true Reformed theology, which leaves you once again arguing without principle, once again no more than boring ad hom.

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  128. sdb
    Posted October 7, 2015 at 9:48 am | Permalink
    It’s certainly not equally divided. That’s Darryl’s false premise to divert attention from Protestantism’s 100s if not 1000s of sects.

    If the pope tells Cardinal Burke or Kasper to shut up, that’s the end of it. In Protestantism, they go off and start their own church.

    The. End.

    1) Those sects are in communion. The relationship among most of them is much closer than among various factions of the RCC.

    No. Start again with a factual premise or forget it.

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  129. @tvd

    1) Those sects are in communion. The relationship among most of them is much closer than among various factions of the RCC.

    No. Start again with a factual premise or forget it.

    Is too? Those sects you refer to are largely in communion. They share seminaries, colleges, etc… and we are free to take communion in one another’s churches. If I move from one church to the other I don’t need to “convert”. Contrast the relationship between modernist reformers in the church and the rad trads. The lack of institutional unity != not in communion.

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  130. @mwf
    “sdb, how do you explain Old Life in light of what you say here?”
    I don’t and feel no need to. I’m just a commenter here who stumbled on this site after reading a couple of Hart’s books and having head about him from some of my historian friends.

    “If the owner of this blog and its regular contributors attacked the Catholic Church… However, here you will find regular slams on…”
    Well I don’t see the “attacks” or “slams” or at least I don’t interpret them as such. Seems to me that you are reading into a lot of what he writes here. Criticizing the shortcomings of the CtC apologetic and pointing out the ways that that the RCC doesn’t measure up to the claims they make for it is not an attack. Nor is it a slam to raise concerns about unhealthy trends in our own NAPARC denominations or deficiencies in other prot denominations. While you hear one message, anotherDan and Mark McCulley – both of whom note they are not reformed seem to enjoy the interaction here as well. Of course they can speak for themselves. What I find curious is that the overwhelming majority of the heat I see around here arises from one person (here’s looking at you tvd!). Sure things get heated for others on occasion, but I suspect that if tvd were to mosey on the temperature would drop here markedly…but that’s just a guess.

    As far as the message of this blog, I second all that Robert said. Like him, I don’t agree with everything that Darryl says, but I find it really strange to read you insisting that he cover the topics YOU are interested in. It’s like dropping into someone’s house for dinner and complaining about the food. If you don’t like what he has to say here, I’m not sure why you insist on remaining part of the conversation. I mostly stick around in the commboxes for the same reason Susan mentioned – I enjoy chatting about this stuff and mostly find it an enjoyable experience. I’ve learned a lot from Darryl’s posts and followed links and discovered books I likely would have missed otherwise. I’ve learned a lot of great stuff from Dan, Jeff, Robert, KiN and MTX as well. So I stick around.

    “You do not belong here.”
    Well I disagree. I’m sorry to disappoint.

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  131. sdb
    :Is too? Those sects you refer to are largely in communion. They share seminaries, colleges, etc… and we are free to take communion in one another’s churches. If I move from one church to the other I don’t need to “convert”. Contrast the relationship between modernist reformers in the church and the rad trads. The lack of institutional unity != not in communion.>>>>>>

    Don’t know what groups you mean, sdb. Most Protestant groups have membership classes for those who want to join, unless you are transferring your membership to another congregation of the same denomination or in the same network.

    Many groups will not accept your baptism. The Catholic Church will accept any Christian baptism as long as you can show it was done with the trinitarian formula.

    Many Protestant groups observe closed communion. Only members are allowed to partake. In the Catholic Church, non Catholics can come forward for a blessing.

    This is really what interests me, though. How do you – based on your principle of sola scriptura – defend the splintering of Protestantism? Where is this taught in Scripture?

    What Scripture do you use? Can defend the divisive nature of Protestantism itself without any reference to Catholicism?

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  132. sdb
    Posted October 7, 2015 at 6:00 pm | Permalink
    @tvd

    1) Those sects are in communion. The relationship among most of them is much closer than among various factions of the RCC.

    No. Start again with a factual premise or forget it.

    Is too? Those sects you refer to are largely in communion. They share seminaries, colleges, etc… and we are free to take communion in one another’s churches. If I move from one church to the other I don’t need to “convert”. Contrast the relationship between modernist reformers in the church and the rad trads. The lack of institutional unity != not in communion.

    You have emptied “communion” of all meaning. You share nothing except a vague symbol.

    FTR, one does not “convert” to Catholicism, strictly speaking, for Protestants are not re-baptized. They come into “full communion,” meaning the sharing of the same understanding of the Lord’s Supper, “communion,” the Eucharist. To apply the diluted Protestant lowest common denominators that have the form but not the content of the sacraments is to again begin with false premises.

    Since you do not share ordinations, your various [and nearly uncountable] sects may “share” seminaries, but they are no more than Bible and theology classes, as are many or most Protestant Sunday services. To compare them to the original sacramental forms that exist in Catholicism [incl the Eastern Orthodox] is a false equivalency.

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  133. @mwf

    “Don’t know what groups you mean, sdb. Most Protestant groups have membership classes for those who want to join, unless you are transferring your membership to another congregation of the same denomination or in the same network.”
    Even within denominations you are usually required to go through a new members class for at least two reasons:
    1) get to know the church
    2) make sure you have valid membership in a church (not under discipline elsewhere)

    Seems prudent ot me and does not suggest that one is not in communion.

    Many groups will not accept your baptism. The Catholic Church will accept any Christian baptism as long as you can show it was done with the trinitarian formula.

    I’ve never had mine questioned. I know some Baptist churches require immersion for the baptism to be valid (particularly SBC, though I attended one that did recognize infant baptisms curiously enough! The times, they are a changing’). Other wise, most Lutheran, Anglican, CRC, Presbyterian, Methodist/wesleyan, etc… will take anyone.

    Many Protestant groups observe closed communion. Only members are allowed to partake.

    Hmmm… I’ve never experienced this. I’ve heard of fringe groups like the landmark folks, but that’s about it. Who else?

    This is really what interests me, though. How do you – based on your principle of sola scriptura – defend the splintering of Protestantism? Where is this taught in Scripture?

    Well if you are asking if I think it is a good thing? No. I think everyone should be a member of the PCA (the Perfect Church in America). Ok, I jest… My doctrine of the church is rooted in the WCF – you can follow the scripture proofs there (Article 25). I don’t defend much of the fractiousness among Christians – it is sinful, but organizational unity is not the answer (cf. the UCC and WCC – you thought I was going to the RCC, but no-sir-ee). But while I don’t defend it, I can explain it – the democratization of religion in the US makes us all protestants now. You can’t escape it – we all have to choose and have the option of changing our mind. There is no ecclesiastical power for better or worse (See Nathan Hatch on exactly this topic – the democratization of religion). Since scripture is the only final authority and rule of faith and practice, and I am not convinced by scripture that institutional unity is necessary for the church, I don’t need to make a case for separate institutions. However, some of the what we see is divisiveness and it plagues all human communities. Protestant churches are strengthened by greater catholicity to be sure. Peter Wallace’s views regarding catholicity are helpful and I wish they received broader circulation, though I think he give some of the new light folks short shrift. Evangelicalism is pan-denominational unity of the sort he wants I think though perhaps doesn’t realize it. I suspect the BenOp stuff Dreher is talking about will take us in that direction as well.

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  134. Seriously Mermaid, you’re a broken record.

    This is really what interests me, though. How do you – based on your principle of sola scriptura – defend the splintering of Protestantism? Where is this taught in Scripture?

    What Scripture do you use? Can defend the divisive nature of Protestantism itself without any reference to Catholicism?

    1. You assume that on this side of the eschaton, there is some magical land where perfect Christian unity reigns. It doesn’t exist and won’t until Christ returns. Deal with it. Division as the natural state of fallen man is shown throughout the Bible.

    2. There is no need to “defend the divisive nature of Protestantism” because it’s not the nature of Protestantism – it’s the nature of man. You may as well be asking us to defend the wetness of water or show you where that wetness is taught in Scripture.

    3. The Reformers didn’t leave the Church, they rescued it. You conflate Rome with Christ’s church. They’re not the same thing.

    4. We get it – you like unity, real or imagined. I can’t figure out if it’s a will to power or if like Rodney King you wonder why we can’t all just get along. But unity doesn’t trump purity, it doesn’t trump the actual Gospel.

    5. The issue isn’t really unity – it’s what are we to do as Christ’s church? What has been revealed in the Scriptures? That’s where this debate really needs to take place, not over something as amorphous as unity. When you ask about unity, all you mean is bowing to the extrabiblical Roman hierarchy. Listening to the Romanists here makes me more 2K than I already was – I am thankful they don’t have political power or I’d be ordering a flame retardant humpsuit.

    6. The only reason there is so much reference to Romanism here is that the Romanists are constantly stirring the pot. It’s not that interesting a subject. Taking pot-shots at the idolatries of the Roman church (crucifixes, “saints,” relics, Mary-worship, etc) isn’t as fun as it used to be. It would be more interesting and edifying to be talking about Vos’ Biblical Theology or even The Wire (which I didn’t love – Sorry Darryl), but here we are.

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  135. So, IOW, you guys can’t do it. The “we’re all sinners, so get over it” defense is actually a dodge. It is not a defense.

    Imagine there’s no pope, no Catholic Church.

    Here is the challenge again for anyone else who wishes to take it. I said.:

    This is really what interests me, though. How do you – based on your principle of sola scriptura – defend the splintering of Protestantism? Where is this taught in Scripture?

    What Scripture do you use? Can you defend the divisive nature of Protestantism itself without any reference to Catholicism?

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  136. sdb:
    Since scripture is the only final authority and rule of faith and practice, and I am not convinced by scripture that institutional unity is necessary for the church, I don’t need to make a case for separate institutions. However, some of the what we see is divisiveness and it plagues all human communities.>>>>

    I am not asking you to show from Scripture that institutional unity is necessary, though I believe Scripture does show that. I am asking you to defend what could be called an ecclesiology of amputation as a way to allegedly purify the church from error.

    Maybe that is a clearer way of stating my challenge. Defend the ecclesiology of dismemberment of the body of Christ. Do so without reference to the Catholic Church.

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  137. ” Many groups will not accept your baptism. The Catholic Church will accept any Christian baptism as long as you can show it was done with the trinitarian formula.”

    Here in the upper South part of fly over country, that statement just doesn’t reflect reality. I feel reasonably certain that credo-Baptism is the norm around here, but we admit folks who were baptized as infants to the table, which is common in these parts. The majority of credo-baptist churches around here have at least some degree of membership open to those baptized as infants. The largest LCMS church here actively fences the table, but I have heard rumors that some aren’t as strict.

    This is an odd sort of blog. I have no great interest in some of the Reformed theological disputes that go on here (administration of republished halfway covenants , anyone?☺), but I do find the more historical aspects of the Reformed expression of faith interesting. DGH seems reliable as far as I can tell, and his take on American religious history is provocative, but not so much as to be out of touch with mainstream scholars like Noll and Marsden.

    As far as the Protestant/Catholic debates are concerned, I find them odd. As I have said before, I don’t know any real life Catholics that would make the arguments that pass here. And the denial that VII was not a fundamental change would cause them to fall down laughing- at least those my age (65) or older. The whole idea that there was a 1500 year reign of Christendom spoiled by Luther is about as ahistorical as anything I have encountered. I wish some more substantive aspects of Church history could be discussed in more depth and with less rancor, but you can’t have everything. But the scroll down feature on my tablet works fine.

    Every now and then, TvD makes a fair point. Some of the links he posts are interesting.

    Cubs- Pirates just started.

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  138. “You share nothing except a vague symbol.”
    Nope. We share belief in Christ the Son of God who died for our sins and hope in the resurrection for starters. That faith matters much more than a common organizational structure.

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  139. “I am not asking you to show from Scripture that institutional unity is necessary, though I believe Scripture does show that. I am asking you to defend what could be called an ecclesiology of amputation as a way to allegedly purify the church from error.”
    Could you ask a more loaded question? I don’t agree we have a theology of amputation. I do believe that if a church (or even apostle or angel) teaches a false gospel it is time to scoot if the false teacher won’t repent. Sin sucks and creates brokenness that won’t be fixed on this side of glory. Good thing this world is not my home! You may call it a dodge. I call it faithfulness to the gospel.

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  140. Mwf: “However, here you will find regular slams on Pietists, Baptists – or is that the same thing? – Pentecostals, Charismatics, and even Reformed pastors of your own confession.”

    If you would read DGH’s “Lost Soul of American Protestantism” you would understand that his beef is with pietism in all of its forms, particularly as it has, from Colonial days, taken over Reformed churches in America. (I don’t think he expects anything else from us Baptists.) It is a good read.

    Cubs- just put Arrietta up 3-0 in the 3rd. Should be enough.

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  141. sdb
    Posted October 7, 2015 at 8:47 pm | Permalink
    “You share nothing except a vague symbol.”
    Nope. We share belief in Christ the Son of God who died for our sins and hope in the resurrection for starters. That faith matters much more than a common organizational structure.

    That elides the point since I was speaking of your use of “communion” here, which is devoid of its actual sacramental meaning. That all Christians are welcome at your version of “The Lord’s Supper” is to say no more than they’re welcome to walk in your door.

    Whatever points of unity Protestantism enjoys is from defining them downward toward the lowest common denominator. But since you can find a dozen Protestant churches within a few blocks of each other, this doesn’t amount to all that much.

    Neither am I speaking of organizational structure since I include the Eastern Orthodox here under “Catholicism,” since it is sacramentally the same.

    Nope. We share belief in Christ the Son of God who died for our sins and hope in the resurrection for starters

    So do the Mormons. You’re not helping your case.

    https://www.mormon.org/faq/atonement-of-christ

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  142. sdb
    Posted October 7, 2015 at 8:53 pm | Permalink
    “I am not asking you to show from Scripture that institutional unity is necessary, though I believe Scripture does show that. I am asking you to defend what could be called an ecclesiology of amputation as a way to allegedly purify the church from error.”

    Could you ask a more loaded question? I don’t agree we have a theology of amputation. I do believe that if a church (or even apostle or angel) teaches a false gospel it is time to scoot if the false teacher won’t repent. Sin sucks and creates brokenness that won’t be fixed on this side of glory. Good thing this world is not my home! You may call it a dodge. I call it faithfulness to the gospel.

    Not loaded atall. If you had a Biblical proof text for Protestantism’s structural penchant for schism you’d be waving it.

    “I call it faithfulness to the gospel.”

    So do all schismatics.

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  143. You are still wrong about the unity of rome and Constantinople…orthodox do not insist on transubstantiation. Your assertion about communion is wrong as well. Check out London conf and Westminster conf. I’m done for tonight…I may check in over lunch to see where you’ve moved the goal posts….

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  144. sdb
    Posted October 7, 2015 at 9:16 pm | Permalink
    You are still wrong about the unity of rome and Constantinople…orthodox do not insist on transubstantiation. Your assertion about communion is wrong as well. Check out London conf and Westminster conf. I’m done for tonight…I may check in over lunch to see where you’ve moved the goal posts….

    They share the same Eucharist, same apostolic succession. The goalposts are still right where they’ve been for 1000 years. Bye.

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  145. D. G. Hart
    Posted October 7, 2015 at 9:40 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, “You have emptied “communion” of all meaning.”

    From a guy who doesn’t commune. That’s rich.

    Your surrogates are gonna need a lot more help than another lame ad hom from the sidelines, Butch.

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  146. b, sd, have you ever noticed that some of the folks who insist on ecclesiastical organizational unity are the same folks who favor the Tea Party complaint against big government? They see the danger of organizational unity in U.S. politics, but not in church politics. Odd.

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  147. Publius
    Posted October 7, 2015 at 9:14 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid –

    Imagine there’s no pope, no Catholic Church.

    I think you’re on to something.>>>

    Funny! What would you do without the Great Whore of Babylon to unite you in a common cause? Life would never be the same for you.

    I know, I know. Total depravity all the way down.

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  148. D. G. Hart
    Posted October 7, 2015 at 9:39 pm | Permalink
    b, sd, it’s especially odd that Mermaid keeps coming back to a site that scandalizes her. Is Old Life porn for Mermaid?

    Even more odd that a churchgoing elder of a putatively reputable religion aids and abets that scandalizing abuse, putatively in the name of Christ?

    And comparing yourself to porn, especially to a nice Catholic lady, is perhaps telling. [Like you’d let someone talk to your mother like that, Butch. That’s really really wrong, man.]

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  149. vd, t, the comparison comes from one of the OL regulars. No offense taken.

    The cross was a scandal after all. You’d know if you went to Mass. As it stands, The Cookies is your contribution.

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  150. D. G. Hart
    Posted October 7, 2015 at 9:39 pm | Permalink
    b, sd, it’s especially odd that Mermaid keeps coming back to a site that scandalizes her. Is Old Life porn for Mermaid?>>>>

    Actually, for me, this is Protestantism detox.

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  151. Robert
    Posted October 7, 2015 at 9:45 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    They share the same Eucharist

    Not as long as the East denies transubstantiation.

    Thx, Robert, but you need to do more work on this, as do your fellows. The theology is not the sacrament, which remains licit. Transubstantiation is the explanation, a footnote [and not understandable unless you know what “substance” means in Aristotelian/Thomistic metaphysics, which few Catholics do, let alone Protestants]. But the Eucharist is the same, regardless of the commentary about it.

    Your “Lord’s Supper” is not the Eucharist, sorry. SDB stepped in it with his attempt to use “communion” as a theological/rhetorical weapon. The arguments about Protestant “unity” only work on the lowest common denominator level, and as we see, that lowest common denominator is quickly exceeded, which is why you can find a dozen Protestant churches within a stone’s throw of each other.

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  152. D. G. Hart
    Posted October 7, 2015 at 9:52 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, surrogates or no, I got you square in the knap sack.

    You know nothing about my personal religious life, nor will I tell you because you use it only as a weapon. You treat everyone like crap regardless, anyway. Observance is irrelevant. Everything’s grist for your mill.

    ——-

    The Little Mermaid
    Posted October 7, 2015 at 9:54 pm | Permalink
    D. G. Hart
    Posted October 7, 2015 at 9:39 pm | Permalink
    b, sd, it’s especially odd that Mermaid keeps coming back to a site that scandalizes her. Is Old Life porn for Mermaid?>>>>

    Actually, for me, this is Protestantism detox.

    Heh. He never thought of that one. Susan and a number of others too, I bet. They get sentimental for the other side of the Tiber that they left and here’s Dr. Supercilious: A Calvinism to remind them why they fled.

    Looks like you’re doing the Lord’s Work, Darryl, but as usual not the way you think.

    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/06/how-john-calvin-made-me-a-catholic/

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  153. Tom,

    Thx, Robert, but you need to do more work on this, as do your fellows. The theology is not the sacrament, which remains licit. Transubstantiation is the explanation, a footnote [and not understandable unless you know what “substance” means in Aristotelian/Thomistic metaphysics, which few Catholics do, let alone Protestants]. But the Eucharist is the same, regardless of the commentary about it.

    If Rome and East cannot agree on what actually happens in the sacrament, then they are as disunited on it as any Protestant. Making its validity dependent on Apostolic succession and who cares what it means is the same kind of lowest common denominator stuff you’re opposing here, regardless of whether Rome says it is or not.

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  154. D. G. Hart
    Posted October 7, 2015 at 10:00 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, I’m not sure you have Roman Catholicism down sufficiently to spend time here. You really do need to read John Allen.>>>>

    Brother Hart, I am intrigued by your book about pietism stealing the soul of Reformed Christianity in America. I was wondering who had done it. Now I know. 😉

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  155. Robert
    Posted October 7, 2015 at 10:19 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    Thx, Robert, but you need to do more work on this, as do your fellows. The theology is not the sacrament, which remains licit. Transubstantiation is the explanation, a footnote [and not understandable unless you know what “substance” means in Aristotelian/Thomistic metaphysics, which few Catholics do, let alone Protestants]. But the Eucharist is the same, regardless of the commentary about it.

    If Rome and East cannot agree on what actually happens in the sacrament, then they are as disunited on it as any Protestant.

    No. Do not confuse the footnotes with the text. Sorry, Robert, but you guys are not doing your homework, unfortunately indicating there is zero interest in the truth of the matter. The Eucharist is the same.

    https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/orthodoxyandheterodoxy/2013/08/14/the-doctrine-of-transubstantiation-in-the-orthodox-church/

    Writing in the nineteenth century, Philaret says that transubstantiation is not a reference to the change itself—since none can possibly understand exactly how/when this takes place—but that it is merely a reference to our Lord being “truly, really, and substantially” present in the Eucharist. In other words, it is not a reference to metaphysical or nominalist philosophy (as with Aristotle, for example), but is speaking to the reality of the change, albeit as beyond our comprehension.

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  156. Robert, sdb –

    [Robert:] If Rome and East cannot agree on what actually happens in the sacrament, then they are as disunited on it as any Protestant

    tvd correct that the transubstantiation is a means of understanding what happens – I wouldn’t call it just “commentary” (even for rhetorical purposes), since precision of vocabulary allows the communication of precision of concepts.

    But he is right to point out that the definition doesn’t pertain to the shared Orthodox-Catholic belief in what happens in the Eucharist:

    The Orthodox Church believes the Eucharist to be a sacrifice. As is heard in the Liturgy, “Thine of Thine own we offer to Thee, in all and for all.”

    At the Eucharist, the sacrifice offered is Christ himself, and it is Christ himself who in the Church performs the act of offering: He is both priest and victim.
    […]

    So, what is the sacrifice of the Eucharist? By whom is it offered? and to whom is it offered? In each case the answer is Christ.

    We offer for all: according to Orthodox theology, the Eucharist is a propitiatory sacrifice, offered on behalf of both the living and the dead.

    The Church teaches that the sacrifice is not a mere figure or symbol but a true sacrifice. It is not the bread that is sacrificed, but the very Body of Christ. And, the Lamb of God was sacrificed only once, for all time.

    The sacrifice at the Eucharist consists, not in the real and bloody immolation of the Lamb, but in the transformation of the bread into the sacrificed Lamb.

    All the events of Christ’s sacrifice, the Incarnation, the Last Supper, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, and the Ascension are not repeated in the Eucharist, but they are made present.

    That should be fairly easy for any Reformed Christian to reject, either with or without much analysis. Yet it is essential (to use an Aristotelian concept) to both the Orthodox Churches and the RCC.

    Sdb, do you have the link to Jeff’s commentary on John 6 you mentioned? I was interested in it when he posted it, but lacked the time to study it, and now can’t find it.

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  157. DG-

    Mermaid, we only learned the theology of amputation from Rome. First 1054, then 1520.

    Back when Rome had a pair, infidels suffered.

    If you ever update your blogging software to permit proper searches of past comments, it will save your interlocutors a lot of time.

    The letter of excommunication was given by legates, not the Pope.

    The Pope had already died, meaning the legates had already lost authority and the letter had no force.

    Only the Archbishop of Constantinople was named in the excommunication anyway, not the rest of the Eastern Church (it isn’t possible to excommunicate millions). Had he been excommunicated, upon his death his successor would not have been.

    Technicalities aside, the division between the E and W was actively provoked by the E, starting in a very big way with Photius but building to a series of actions in 1053 which, I think, included closing all Roman Rite churches.

    A real schism developed, of course, but that wasn’t apparent at the time.

    So it really isn’t meaningful to pick 1054 and call it amputation.

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  158. To add to Kevin and TvD, here’s canon 17 of the Confession of Dositheus confirmed by the Synod of Jerusalem:

    “We believe the All-holy Mystery of the Sacred Eucharist … In the celebration whereof we believe the Lord Jesus Christ to be present, not typically, nor figuratively, nor by superabundant grace, as in the other Mysteries, nor by a bare presence, as some of the Fathers have said concerning Baptism, or by impanation, so that the Divinity of the Word is united to the set forth bread of the Eucharist hypostatically, as the followers of Luther most ignorantly and wretchedly suppose, but truly and really, so that after the consecration of the bread and of the wine, the bread is transmuted, transubstantiated, converted and transformed into the true Body Itself of the Lord, Which was born in Bethlehem of the ever-Virgin, was baptised in the Jordan, suffered, was buried, rose again, was received up, sitteth at the right hand of the God and Father, and is to come again in the clouds of Heaven; and the wine is converted and transubstantiated into the true Blood Itself of the Lord, Which as He hung upon the Cross, was poured out for the life of the world.

    Further [we believe] that after the consecration of the bread and of the wine, there no longer remaineth the substance of the bread and of the wine, but the Body Itself and the Blood of the Lord, under the species and form of bread and wine; that is to say, under the accidents of the bread.

    Further, that the all-pure Body Itself, and Blood of the Lord is imparted, and entereth into the mouths and stomachs of the communicants, whether pious or impious. Nevertheless, they convey to the pious and worthy remission of sins and life eternal; but to the impious and unworthy involve condemnation and eternal punishment.

    Further, that the Body and Blood of the Lord are severed and divided by the hands and teeth, though in accident only, that is, in the accidents of the bread and of the wine, under which they are visible and tangible, we do acknowledge; but in themselves to remain entirely unsevered and undivided….

    Further, we believe that by the word “transubstantiation” the manner is not explained, by which the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of the Lord, — for that is altogether incomprehensible and impossible, except by God Himself, and those who imagine to do so are involved in ignorance and impiety, — but that the bread and the wine are after the consecration, not typically, nor figuratively, nor by superabundant grace, nor by the communication or the presence of the Divinity alone of the Only-begotten, transmuted into the Body and Blood of the Lord; neither is any accident of the bread, or of the wine, by any conversion or alteration, changed into any accident of the Body and Blood of Christ, but truly, and really, and substantially, doth the bread become the true Body Itself of the Lord, and the wine the Blood Itself of the Lord, as is said above….”

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  159. dg-

    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.

    Through Adam’s fall, we sinned all. How that is true is beyond my present knowledge.

    We are saved through Faith and Baptism (which requires Faith). Baptism can be by extraordinary measures (the good thief), Faith can be rather little by our measures if God so chooses, even if we might not be able to explain it (those who were saved based on the testimony of the woman at the well, perhaps).

    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.

    This is the same kind of argument Robert is giving. ‘My misunderstanding of your position dictates that other positions of yours I don’t understand are false. This is moreover the case since I’m not interested in studying authoritative sources and asking the questions necessary to arrive at an understanding.’ I don’t think that’s an unfair description.

    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.

    I’m not interested in discussing the religious practice of others who aren’t interested in discussing it, and know nothing first hand of the subject. Not at some point in the past and not in October 2015.

    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.

    Not commenting on the individual, but if people form thoughts contrary to the Catechism, they are fooling themselves. Parish priests used to make house calls on those who didn’t go to Mass – yet another practice which ought to be recovered, although the contemporary complexities of moving and not registering at parishes makes it impossible in most cases.

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  160. Kevin,

    tvd correct that the transubstantiation is a means of understanding what happens – I wouldn’t call it just “commentary” (even for rhetorical purposes), since precision of vocabulary allows the communication of precision of concepts.

    If it’s not just commentary, it’s a real and heretofore irreconcilable difference. Otherwise, one could reject transubstantiation and still be in the RC faith. But where does Rome allow you to pick and choose what conciliar declarations to believe and which to deny?

    But he is right to point out that the definition doesn’t pertain to the shared Orthodox-Catholic belief in what happens in the Eucharist:

    Well if there is overlap between belief regarding the Eucharist, then most Protestants should be golden as well since there are beliefs about the Eucharist we hold in common with the RCs as well.

    The Orthodox Church believes the Eucharist to be a sacrifice. As is heard in the Liturgy, “Thine of Thine own we offer to Thee, in all and for all.”

    At the Eucharist, the sacrifice offered is Christ himself, and it is Christ himself who in the Church performs the act of offering: He is both priest and victim.
    […]

    Okay, but what does all this mean for the East?

    So, what is the sacrifice of the Eucharist? By whom is it offered? and to whom is it offered? In each case the answer is Christ.

    We offer for all: according to Orthodox theology, the Eucharist is a propitiatory sacrifice, offered on behalf of both the living and the dead.

    I’m really trying to find evidence of the East seeing the Eucharist as a propitiation in the same sense that the West does. The East rejects Anselm’s doctrine of satisfaction, which has been important in both Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. In fact, I’ve spoken to and read stuff from more than one EO that speaks of Anselm as being one of the worst blights on the church. And yet his view of the atonement is embraced by Rome, at least in theory.

    That should be fairly easy for any Reformed Christian to reject, either with or without much analysis. Yet it is essential (to use an Aristotelian concept) to both the Orthodox Churches and the RCC.

    So there are some shared essential concepts between the East and Rome regarding the Eucharist? Okay. I knew that. But that doesn’t make them the same thing or obscure the differences. There’s a bit of fastness and looseness here with what’s actually going on in both camps understanding.

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  161. James Young, since the Confession of Dositheus comes from 1672, it hardly reflects the views of the ante-Nicene or post-Nicene church. Like saying Roman Catholics have always believed in religious liberty on the basis of Vatican 2.

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  162. Kevin, “Through Adam’s fall, we sinned all. How that is true is beyond my present knowledge.”

    I’m disappointed. That shrug doesn’t show much interest in the Bible. Sorry if it’s a cheap shot, but that’s the way most serious Protestants see Roman Catholics. The Bible says? Whatever.

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  163. Kevin,

    This is the same kind of argument Robert is giving. ‘My misunderstanding of your position dictates that other positions of yours I don’t understand are false. This is moreover the case since I’m not interested in studying authoritative sources and asking the questions necessary to arrive at an understanding.’ I don’t think that’s an unfair description.

    Darryl is correct that sin does not go as deep with you guys. Roman Catholicism denies that we are born guilty; all that happens is that we are born bereft of the superadded gift that makes fellowship with God possible. Thus, Rome is quite willing to accept that people who never hear of Christ and never commit a mortal sin or who commit a mortal sin and somehow avail of God’s grace go to heaven. You can only say such things if people aren’t born guilty and deserving of hell to begin with and if sin is merely a conscious, knowing act of the will. For the Reformed, sins committed in ignorance are still real sins worthy of eternal condemnation.

    So Darryl’s point about purgatory is actually well-founded. If ignorance covers a multitude of sins, why is it necessary at all except perhaps for practicing RCs. Darryl, me, the good Muslim who never hears of Christ—we don’t possess enough knowledge of RC doctrine to ever commit a real sin requiring real satisfaction.

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  164. DGH: ” Dan, have you ever thought that I am in the mainstream of how the historical profession looks at Protestantism?”

    Not sure how you mean “ever.” I never have considered you a revisionist, so nothing has changed in that regard. But most of your peers seem content to fish in the same old holes that always end up in one explanation or other of the seeming marriage of evangelicals and contemporary right wing politics. As a reader, the story gets old after a while.

    I am not particularly a Cubs fan. I love baseball, certainly more partial to the NL, and that would include a residual dose of good will for the Astros. Kuchel pitched a gem Tuesday– tremendous fastball/sinker command, everything on a corner all night. Nothing over about 92. Greg Maddux reincarnated as a left handed with a beard. And where did Artrieta come from? Never saw a hint of his dominance this season when he was with Baltimore.

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  165. Darryl,

    The point of citing Dositheus was to buttress Kevin and Tom’s point that the East and RCC agree on the core doctrine of the Eucharist despite Robert’s comments painting East-Rome differences on the Eucharist as something akin to or on par with the conflicting ever-growing smorgasboard we see in Protestantism on the issue.

    Robert,

    “Thus, Rome is quite willing to accept that people who never hear of Christ and never commit a mortal sin or who commit a mortal sin and somehow avail of God’s grace go to heaven. You can only say such things if people aren’t born guilty”

    If all those in heaven “avail of God’s grace”, I fail to see how that precludes them being born in and with the stain of original sin.

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  166. Mermaid “scandalized” at the Old Life Bar? No, she is like that chick that comes on “Ladies Night” not because she is looking for love, she comes because the drinks are free!

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  167. John Sizer
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 11:11 am | Permalink
    Mermaid “scandalized” at the Old Life Bar? No, she is like that chick that comes on “Ladies Night” not because she is looking for love, she comes because the drinks are free!>>>>

    Definitely not looking for love here. Definitely not looking for free drinks.

    Old Life is my Protestantism detox, actually.

    The best answers I got to my – admittedly loaded – questions yesterday were.:

    1. Sinners are gonna’ sin, so get over it.
    2. Catholics are just as divided, so what’s your problem?

    There was an attempt to use the division of Israel as a way to justify all the divisiveness in Protestantism. Actually, that analogy would fit much better when used to show why the main Reformed groups are now dwindling down to small, apostate remnants of what they once were.

    Of course we are sinners, but nowhere in Scripture is our tendency to sin used as an excuse for sin.

    Of course there are divisions within Catholicism, but they are not the same at all as divisions in Protestantism.

    For one thing, I can say “divisions within Catholicism.” I can’t say “divisions within Protestantism.” There is no “within” Protestantism, only divisions.

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  168. “There was an attempt to use the division of Israel as a way to justify all the divisiveness in Protestantism.”

    Which is quite an odd argument for Christians to use. Guess the New Covenant and better promises and all that is just kinda “meh”.

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  169. Cletus,

    If all those in heaven “avail of God’s grace”, I fail to see how that precludes them being born in and with the stain of original sin.

    The point is that you don’t think the newborn baby is guilty and deserving of hell even before he or she makes any conscious act of will. Never hearing of Christ gets one off the hook because you don’t think people are really guilty even before they know they are.

    The point of citing Dositheus was to buttress Kevin and Tom’s point that the East and RCC agree on the core doctrine of the Eucharist despite Robert’s comments painting East-Rome differences on the Eucharist as something akin to or on par with the conflicting ever-growing smorgasboard we see in Protestantism on the issue.

    Translation: We don’t like Protestants because they won’t give the pope even first among equals status, so we’ll paper over all substantial differences with people who are so willing.

    If you reject Anselm’s view of satisfaction categorically, as the East basically does, you can call the Eucharist a sacrifice all you want, but its not the same thing. It’s like a Protestant calling the Eucharist a sacrifice of praise and then saying, “Look, sacrifice. Therefore we agree with Rome on the meaning of the Eucharist.”

    And smorgasboard? You’ve got bare memorialism, real presence, and whatever the heck Luther is saying. Three do not make a smorgasboard.

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  170. Cletus,

    Which is quite an odd argument for Christians to use. Guess the New Covenant and better promises and all that is just kinda “meh”.

    Trying to find that NT passage that says one of the better promises of the nc is that there will never be any division. Meanwhile, Paul says in 1 Cor. 11 that divisions must occur.

    And let’s face it, God must be an utter failure on the division front in Roman Catholicism since the promises of no division he supposedly made certainly aren’t coming true. It be different if you would just say only people in full communion with Rome are true Christians, but you won’t do that.

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  171. Mermaid, with the papacy you’d be just like the worldwide Anglican communion. With the papacy, you are in a communion in need of serious reformation or in serious denial. I like Anglicanism’s chances.

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  172. Mermaid,

    For one thing, I can say “divisions within Catholicism.” I can’t say “divisions within Protestantism.” There is no “within” Protestantism, only divisions.

    Then you can’t say Protestantism leads inherently to division. There is no such thing as Protestantism in this view. You guys need to figure out your argument.

    Of course we are sinners, but nowhere in Scripture is our tendency to sin used as an excuse for sin.

    And nobody here has used it as an excuse, only as a reason why people shouldn’t be surprised that divisions happen. But why do you all not notice that the NT speaks of unity of faith as something not yet attained (Eph. 4)? You all believe there was only one visible church in the first century, and yet Paul points unity of faith as a future reality. It’s something that won’t be achieved until the eschaton. That doesn’t mean we don’t work toward it; it does mean we have more realistic expectations about what that might look like.

    Of course there are divisions within Catholicism, but they are not the same at all as divisions in Protestantism.

    Good. Then you all should be more circumspect about posting Rome as the answer to Christian division. Fewer divisions means you all aren’t that unified to begin with. Roman (and for that matter EO) ecclesiology has not done a better job of producing unity of faith. If there’s a cure, prescribe the cure, not something that also causes division.

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  173. Robert:
    Good. Then you all should be more circumspect about posting Rome as the answer to Christian division. Fewer divisions means you all aren’t that unified to begin with. Roman (and for that matter EO) ecclesiology has not done a better job of producing unity of faith. If there’s a cure, prescribe the cure, not something that also causes division.>>>>

    My dear Brother Robert, I am not telling anyone what they have to do. No, not at all. I am telling you guys why you have given me no reason to return to Protestantism. I really like being Catholic.

    The cure? Well, I think part of it for Protestantism would be to try to emulate the way that Paul and Barnabas went their separate ways. They did so before they got into a huge fight. Why can’t Protestants learn that?

    That would help. Putting a greater emphasis on John 17 and Ephesians 4 would also help.

    It would also help if Protestants did not present themselves as the “we’re not Catholic” option. Can you defend Protestantism as it is Biblically?

    Of course, you might have to thank a Catholic or Orthodox monk that you even have a Bible to bicker about. Protestants didn’t preserve it, you know. Maybe realizing the great debt Protestantism owes to Catholicism would help as well.

    I mean, after all, all the good Protestant theology was lifted right out of the Catholic Church’s theologians and saints. Add Orthodox if you want to included guys like Chrysostom and Athanasius.

    Be a little grateful for the heritage you received from those you criticize so much. Just a suggestion.

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  174. “They share the same Eucharist, same apostolic succession. The goalposts are still right where they’ve been for 1000 years.”

    The orthodox repudiate scholasticism and consider the west polluted by pagan philosophers (i.e. Aristotle). While they have an understanding of the eucharist that is much more in line with Rome than protestants (I never suggested otherwise), they reject the scholasticism and see that as a major fault of Rome. They have other differences as well and are decidedly not in communion. It was called the East-West schism for a reason. My understanding, and I could be wrong on this, but that transubstantiation was dogmatically defined and it is this definition that the orthodox balk at (and why my inlaws’ priest tells them they cannot take communion in a western church). Maybe he misunderstands as well or perhaps your internet research is wrong? I don’t know, but it is really beside the point. The fact of the matter is that the divide between RCs and EOs is wider than say the divide between OPC and PCA. I can’t believe you even want to argue this.

    The divided between EOs and RCs stands in contrast to the relationship among the overwhelming majority of protestant churches. You may dismiss that as being due to some kind of lowest common denominator approach to the communion, but that doesn’t falsify the statement that I made that these churches are in communion (your polemics are just a distraction). I’m not claiming that protestant churches are perfect, only that:
    1) institutional distinctiveness does not imply schism. As the article I linked noted, this is quite similar to much of the early church. The relationship among most protestant denominations is not entirely different from the relationship among different orders in catholicism, or between say trads, social justice warriors, or modernists. The RCs unite around the pope and a shared understanding of the sacraments despite their many, many differences and non-negligible acrimony among various factions. Prots – unite around Billy Graham and their hymn books. Ok, I exaggerate slightly, but the similarity is much stronger than you have been willing to admit. No, it isn’t identical to Rome, but that was never my point. Only that the 1000’s of denominations purportedly at war is a gross mischaracterization of the reality on the ground.
    2) The positive doctrine of the church is made from scripture and summarized well in the WCF. No dodge there. It states why most of here believe – disagree if you want, but don’t pretend we have no biblical basis for our ecclesiology.
    3) There is separation among protestants that is sinful. There is no defense for this. It isn’t a dodge either. Some prot groups have endorsed heresy and cease to be Christian in any meaningful sense. Some make trinitarian baptism optional – this is a big problem too. Insisting that I defend separating from those who teach a false gospel from the Bible is silly – you know what Paul says in Galatians. Just because you separate from someone doesn’t mean that person doesn’t keep going and say publish a “gospel of Thomas” or some such. Of course, some separation isn’t over heresy and is just sinful (e.g. the division of denominations over slavery). There is no defense for this. I’m not dodging anything only recognizing that sin has bad effects and that may not be rectified on this side of glory. There are movements among protestants that damaging, but in the modern era when religious freedom is guaranteed, there is no stopping it.
    4) This is true for *all* religious movements in the US. There is no cost for changing religions or reinventing your religion, so people do. This is true for Jews, Muslims, Catholics, and Baptists. Again not a dodge or a justification, just the recognition of reality.

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  175. “Sdb, do you have the link to Jeff’s commentary on John 6 you mentioned? I was interested in it when he posted it, but lacked the time to study it, and now can’t find it.”

    I don’t. I just tried to track it down to no avail. It was pretty good too!

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  176. @cvd
    “Kevin and Tom’s point that the East and RCC agree on the core doctrine of the Eucharist despite Robert’s comments painting East-Rome differences on the Eucharist as something akin to or on par with the conflicting ever-growing smorgasboard we see in Protestantism on the issue.”

    Just to clarify before we get down this rabbit trail too much further. My point originally was not that Prots as a whole are closer together on what the Lord’s supper means than RCs and EOs. My point was that most prot groups are in communion with one another unlike the case between RCs and EOs who are schism.

    I have to renounce calvinism to join the EO church, I didn’t have to renounce by SBC beliefs to join a PCA church. But apart from membership, we allow all believers who are baptized members in good standing access to our table – it is (c)atholic (i.e. universal). I’m was not making any claims about the respective meanings of the Lord’s Supper.

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  177. “There was an attempt to use the division of Israel as a way to justify all the divisiveness in Protestantism. ”
    That was me too, but you misunderstand my point here. It was only that the bigger group wasn’t the one who was right. Israel was wrong to do what she did. Just like the prots who embrace heretical teachings, gay marriage, or puppet shows on sunday morning are wrong to do what they do. The fact that only a remnant survives shouldn’t be surprising.

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  178. Mermaid,

    My dear Brother Robert, I am not telling anyone what they have to do. No, not at all. I am telling you guys why you have given me no reason to return to Protestantism. I really like being Catholic.

    The good reason to return to Protestantism is because it is true. If we’re just talking about personal preference, then why complain about Protestant disunity? You like being RC, maybe we like being arguing Protestants. Whose to say which is better?

    Personally, I can understand why someone might be disenchanted with Protestant division and look somewhere else for a solution. But the way some of you present Rome, it is clear that you haven’t really thought about Rome’s problems. Rome doesn’t offer a way to unity that other denominations don’t. If it did, there would be no division.

    The cure? Well, I think part of it for Protestantism would be to try to emulate the way that Paul and Barnabas went their separate ways. They did so before they got into a huge fight. Why can’t Protestants learn that?

    1. Sin is always a problem.
    2. Have you ever thought that maybe one of the reasons for the huge fight is because Rome never actually gave Luther a fair shot? It’s pretty easy to get hardened in your position when you’re promised one thing and given another, as Luther was. That’s not an excuse, but I see precious little from the RCs here about the sins of Rome that made the Reformation tragically necessary.
    3. Paul and Barnabas also went their separate ways relatively peacefully (as far as we know, though it seems Paul and Mark had personal issues that took a long time to resolve) because there weren’t any theological issues that were a matter of life and death on the table. Is the answer, if the Magisterium were to go apostate, just to say “okay guys, we’ll all be fine here.”

    That would help. Putting a greater emphasis on John 17 and Ephesians 4 would also help.

    But your assumption is that the unity Paul speaks of, and Jesus, is one visible same-home-office church. I’ve seen no argument for that. What if the unity is something more along the lines of NAPARC, where there is no substantial doctrinal differences but rather different visible bodies that have different emphases?

    It would also help if Protestants did not present themselves as the “we’re not Catholic” option. Can you defend Protestantism as it is Biblically?

    I don’t see anyone here doing that. In fact, the ones I see doing it are Roman Catholics. You don’t get 30,000 Protestant denominations unless you count everyone who isn’t RC or EO, including those denominations that openly repudiate Reformational doctrine.

    Of course, you might have to thank a Catholic or Orthodox monk that you even have a Bible to bicker about. Protestants didn’t preserve it, you know. Maybe realizing the great debt Protestantism owes to Catholicism would help as well.

    We freely acknowledge our debt to the pre-Reformation church. We tend to heartily embrace guys like Athanasius, Augustine, and Anselm. What we deny is that you can classify them as either RC or EO, at least in any modern sense of the term.

    I mean, after all, all the good Protestant theology was lifted right out of the Catholic Church’s theologians and saints. Add Orthodox if you want to included guys like Chrysostom and Athanasius.

    Be a little grateful for the heritage you received from those you criticize so much. Just a suggestion.

    But these aren’t peculiarly RC or EO saints. We think Athanasius is a saint as much as you do, we just don’t dishonor him by praying to him. I’m grateful for Athanasius, Chrysostom, et al. I deny that they were RC or EO. Those designations make no sense for that era. The best you can get is small-c catholic, which is not the same as RC. If it were, we’d all be united under the papacy.

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  179. @mwf
    You wrote,

    I am telling you guys why you have given me no reason to return to Protestantism. I really like being Catholic.

    Well true. I also haven’t convinced you to buy a Prius, but then that wasn’t my design either. Earlier in I wrote

    To be sure we aren’t perfect and I might even go so far as to say it isn’t for everyone. I would even go so far as to say that RCC and EO churches might be the best option for some. I can’t accept all that the RC or EO churches teach, but I don’t think there is something flawed with those who conclude differently…

    It has never been my design to give you a reason to change your religious affiliation.

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  180. I found this from Peter Wallace interesting…now back to work.

    Catholicity in the Early Church

    The Nicene Creed is a good example. The Council of Nicea expressed the unity of the visible church catholic very well. During the fourth century, each regional church was essentially autonomous. Each one had its own baptismal creed, its own liturgy, and for that matter, its own form of government. For instance, in North Africa only bishops were allowed to preach (presbyters could only administer the Lord’s Supper), and so every little dusty village had its own bishop. In Italy and Alexandria presbyters were allowed to preach and administer the sacraments, and so they tended to have fewer bishops.

    Nonetheless, although each regional church had its own local flavor, there was essential unity in the faith. All of the local baptismal creeds followed the basic pattern of what we now call the Apostles’ Creed. While there was some variety of detail in the liturgies, they all followed the same basic pattern (enter worship on the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ; reading and preaching of the Word; prayer; eucharist).

    The bishop of the leading city in the region was generally responsible for convening synods whenever the need arose. Regional synods were usually able to resolve matters of controversy before they spread too widely, and the decisions of regional synods were supposed to be respected by bishops in other regions in order to maintain fellowship.

    But in the 320s, as the Arian controversy spread throughout the church, it became clear that regional synods were unable to resolve the dispute. So Emperor Constantine (note that there was no one bishop with the authority to call a universal synod) called an ecumenical council to deal with the matter and maintain unity in the church and the empire.

    Therefore, when the Nicene Creed states, “I believe one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church,” it is not referring to one international organization, but one international fellowship of regional churches.

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  181. sdb,

    Yes, RC unity is not borg-collective. There are plenty of other rites and liturgies besides the latin one – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Catholic_rites_and_churches
    There are plenty of religious orders with different emphases. There is plenty of diversity and subsidiarity within the umbrella. It’s a caricature and false dichotomy to assume either Protestant model or absolute uniformity stemming from Rome, or that the diversity under Rome is somehow equivalent to Protestantism’s fracturing.

    Robert,

    “The point is that you don’t think the newborn baby is guilty and deserving of hell even before he or she makes any conscious act of will.”

    Why do you think the RCC baptizes babies? And we’re not the ones who buy into the covenant of works business – even Adam without sin needed grace.

    “Never hearing of Christ gets one off the hook because you don’t think people are really guilty even before they know they are.”

    RC doctrine states everyone is given sufficient grace in a way known only to God. If they reject that grace, they’re guilty.

    “If you reject Anselm’s view of satisfaction categorically, as the East basically does, you can call the Eucharist a sacrifice all you want, but its not the same thing.”

    Here’s what you said:
    “They share the same Eucharist.
    – Not as long as the East denies transubstantiation.”

    But feel free to keep moving goalposts.

    “Meanwhile, Paul says in 1 Cor. 11 that divisions must occur.”

    Yes, and he hardly is saying divisions are peachy and should just be shrugged off. Dissent can not be prevented by any ecclesiology, just as Paul’s statement reflects. Because Rome and Protestantism and East cannot stop dissent, that hardly means all systems are therefore equivalent in facilitating and promoting unity.

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  182. CVD,

    Why do you think the RCC baptizes babies? And we’re not the ones who buy into the covenant of works business – even Adam without sin needed grace.

    To wash away the stain of original sin. But of course you don’t believe original sin makes you guilty before God. Unless you want to tell me that an unbaptized baby who never makes a conscious act of sin with the will deserves hell and that some of them might even go there. If so, you’d be the first RC to tell me that.

    And yes, I know you believe Adam needed grace. God made him defective, with the lower appetites ever striving to overcome his reason. It’s vestigial Greek philosophy that says body is bad, reason is good.

    RC doctrine states everyone is given sufficient grace in a way known only to God. If they reject that grace, they’re guilty.

    Are they guilty and worthy only of hell before they receive that sufficient grace in RCism? No. Thank you for proving my point. Sin doesn’t go very deep with you guys.

    Here’s what you said:
    “They share the same Eucharist.
    – Not as long as the East denies transubstantiation.”
    But feel free to keep moving goalposts.

    Not moving the goalposts. After I said that, Tom said transubstantiation is no big deal, and Kevin said it doesn’t mean that the EO is not in full agreement with Rome on the core of the Eucharist, citing several passages from the EO that use the language of sacrifice. My simple point was that you don’t have the same understanding of what sacrifice is because the East rejects Anselm’s satisfaction view.

    IOW, don’t tell me you aren’t divided on your Eucharistic understanding on a fundamental level when the East denies both transub. and Anselm.

    Yes, and he hardly is saying divisions are peachy and should just be shrugged off.

    He’s saying they are inevitable and necessary. And I’m not shrugging them off.

    Dissent cannot be prevented by any ecclesiology, just as Paul’s statement reflects.

    1. Then you RCs need to stop claiming that Rome is the answer to division.
    2. Then you RCs need to stop asserting that Protestantism necessarily and inevitably leads to division. That claim is cited so often by the RCs here that it makes one’s head spin. Thank you for putting it to rest.

    Because Rome and Protestantism and East cannot stop dissent, that hardly means all systems are therefore equivalent in facilitating and promoting unity.

    It’s true. Protestants are much better at a true unity of faith. RCs are much better at visible, organizational unity. The question is which one is better when one is forced to choose. Better several separate churches each of which holds to the Trinity and other things such as an orthodox view of human sexuality than a large same-home-office denomination wherein bishops can’t agree that homosexuality is innately disordered or on whether the economic Trinity is the ontological Trinity but can agree that the ritual of the Eucharist is pretty darn important.

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  183. sdb
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 1:25 pm | Permalink
    “There was an attempt to use the division of Israel as a way to justify all the divisiveness in Protestantism. ”
    That was me too, but you misunderstand my point here. It was only that the bigger group wasn’t the one who was right. Israel was wrong to do what she did. Just like the prots who embrace heretical teachings, gay marriage, or puppet shows on sunday morning are wrong to do what they do. The fact that only a remnant survives shouldn’t be surprising.>>>>>

    Well, maybe we missed one another’s points. Let me clarify. You cannot use the division in Israel to justify the divisions within Protestaintism.

    What is the Biblical justification for Protestantism’s divisiveness? The real answer is “there is none.”

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  184. Sdb: What I find curious is that the overwhelming majority of the heat I see around here arises from one person (here’s looking at you tvd!). Sure things get heated for others on occasion, but I suspect that if tvd were to mosey on the temperature would drop here markedly…but that’s just a guess.

    sheesh again, sdb….. gives an idea for a book though,something like: From Adam Still ‘Til Now –Crisis of Blame Shifting and the Escalating Demise of Personal Accountability

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  185. Sdb: What I find curious is that the overwhelming majority of the heat I see around here arises from one person (here’s looking at you tvd!). Sure things get heated for others on occasion, but I suspect that if tvd were to mosey on the temperature would drop here markedly…but that’s just a guess.>>>>

    I like to read the Catholic comments for obvious reasons.

    I especially like Tom’s comments since he has the broad perspective of religious liberty and American history. I started following his blog and have learned a lot from him and those who post there. I know that people keep baiting him to get him to declare his personal religion, but he doesn’t do it. As he states often, he is a defender of all kinds of religious liberty.

    Most of the Protestants are really predictable and just kind of repeat themselves and one another. Doesn’t make me angry, but it is noticeable.

    So, without Tom and the Catholics, this place would be pretty dull.

    Lotsa’ inside jokes that aren’t all that funny can’t really keep the thing going, can they?

    If Tom annoys you, just keep scrolling. No big deal.

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  186. But, Ariel, will defending religious liberty defend non-communicant Brother Tom on the last day? Maybe to those who think sinful works will count. Maybe it’s true that for all the audacious claims made by Rome, confessional Prots actually have a much higher view of the church than some of her adherents (at least around here)? Tom is provoked on the question because there is no salvation outside the true church. Adherence and fidelity matter, and as long as he remains unhitched he comes off like the wandering bachelor telling married men and women how to do marriage. And his hostility and hypocrisy don’t much help.

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  187. Zrim
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 4:55 pm | Permalink
    But, Ariel, will defending religious liberty defend non-communicant Brother Tom on the last day? Maybe to those who think sinful works will count. Maybe it’s true that for all the audacious claims made by Rome, confessional Prots actually have a much higher view of the church than some of her adherents (at least around here)? Tom is provoked on the question because there is no salvation outside the true church. Adherence and fidelity matter, and as long as he remains unhitched he comes off like the wandering bachelor telling married men and women how to do marriage. And his hostility and hypocrisy don’t much help.

    Typical Old Life personal attack. Not a single fact or principled argument, just slime.

    sdb
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 1:23 pm | Permalink
    @cvd
    “Kevin and Tom’s point that the East and RCC agree on the core doctrine of the Eucharist despite Robert’s comments painting East-Rome differences on the Eucharist as something akin to or on par with the conflicting ever-growing smorgasboard we see in Protestantism on the issue.”

    Just to clarify before we get down this rabbit trail too much further. My point originally was not that Prots as a whole are closer together on what the Lord’s supper means than RCs and EOs. My point was that most prot groups are in communion with one another unlike the case between RCs and EOs who are schism.

    I have to renounce calvinism to join the EO church, I didn’t have to renounce by SBC beliefs to join a PCA church. But apart from membership, we allow all believers who are baptized members in good standing access to our table – it is (c)atholic (i.e. universal). I’m was not making any claims about the respective meanings of the Lord’s Supper.

    The Eucharist and the sacraments are central to the Catholic faith and on them “Rome and Constantinople” agree. Protestantism is a Bible debating society, at best a “confessional” faith. You’re comparing apples and oranges.

    Your unity is only cosmetic; you make a big deal of the most minor of Vatican doctrinal differences with the EOs like purgatory, yet the reason there are a dozen Protestant churches within a block of each other is precisely because doctrinal differences are the basis of your version of Christianity. You have dispensed with the sacramental nature of Christianity. The Catholic goalposts, the sacraments, remain in place as they have for over 1000 years.

    “Protestantism” papers over its doctrinal differences when convenient, but the fact is you start entire new churches over them, which Catholicism visibly does not.

    “I was raised a Presbyterian, the Church that prides itself on Calvinist origins, but I didn’t care much about denominations. My Church practiced a pared-down, Bible-focused, born-again spirituality shared by most Evangelicals. I went to a Christian college and then a seminary where I found the same attitude. Baptists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians and Charismatics worshiped and studied side-by-side, all committed to the Bible but at odds on how to interpret it. But our differences didn’t bother us. Disagreements over sacraments, Church structures, and authority were less important to us than a personal relationship with Christ and fighting the Catholic Church. This is how we understood our common debt to the Reformation.”

    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/06/how-john-calvin-made-me-a-catholic/

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  188. Tom,

    The Eucharist and the sacraments are central to the Catholic faith and on them “Rome and Constantinople” agree. Protestantism is a Bible debating society, at best a “confessional” faith.

    So it doesn’t matter what one confesses about the gospel, only that Rome and EO both say “sacrifice” in the Eucharist without agreeing on what that means?

    Your unity is only cosmetic; you make a big deal of the most minor of Vatican doctrinal differences with the EOs like purgatory,

    If they’re minor and Rome is so interested in one visible church, why doesn’t the Vatican just say “we could be wrong about this,” or “we were wrong about this”? Oh, they can’t. Why, because of their DOCTRINE of infallibility.

    yet the reason there are a dozen Protestant churches within a block of each other is precisely because doctrinal differences are the basis of your version of Christianity. You have dispensed with the sacramental nature of Christianity. The Catholic goalposts, the sacraments, remain in place as they have for over 1000 years.

    Looking for the gospel. Not finding it.

    The papacy is an awfully significant doctrinal difference between Rome and the East. If it weren’t, Rome would drop its claim or the East would admit jurisdictional primacy.

    “Protestantism” papers over its doctrinal differences when convenient, but the fact is you start entire new churches over them, which Catholicism visibly does not.

    Perhaps, but that’s better than papering over differences by pretending they don’t exist because people tip their hat to the pope, why?

    You’re papering over doctrinal differences between East and West by saying, “Hey the sacraments.” Why is that okay but Protestants can’t “paper” over the differences by saying, “Hey, justification by faith alone”?

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  189. TVD: Not a single fact

    Hope you can agree there are some facts…

    fact: Zrim: defending religious liberty will not defend non-communicant Brother Tom on the last day
    fact: Zrim: Adherence and fidelity matter
    fact: Zrim: as long as he remains unhitched he comes off like the wandering bachelor telling married men and women how to do marriage.

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  190. Zrim
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 4:55 pm | Permalink
    But, Ariel, will defending religious liberty defend non-communicant Brother Tom on the last day? Maybe to those who think sinful works will count. Maybe it’s true that for all the audacious claims made by Rome, confessional Prots actually have a much higher view of the church than some of her adherents (at least around here)? Tom is provoked on the question because there is no salvation outside the true church. Adherence and fidelity matter, and as long as he remains unhitched he comes off like the wandering bachelor telling married men and women how to do marriage. And his hostility and hypocrisy don’t much help.>>>>

    Is there something in there you want me to respond to?

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  191. Mermaid, based on what I’ve heard here, TVD, who knows the true church but neglects her, is in a more perilous situation than those who think they are conforming to a true church. Isn’t it the responsibility of you and other RC’s to confront him?

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  192. Ali
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 6:02 pm | Permalink
    TVD: Not a single fact

    Hope you can agree there are some facts…

    fact: Zrim: defending religious liberty will not defend non-communicant Brother Tom on the last day
    fact: Zrim: Adherence and fidelity matter
    fact: Zrim: as long as he remains unhitched he comes off like the wandering bachelor telling married men and women how to do marriage.

    Refutation of 1: Faith alone saves. Of course there’s the story of the Sheep and the Goats on the Last Day where works are mentioned but not faith. I don’t know where you’re going with this.

    That religious liberty doesn’t matter? That the state will “educate” your children in moral filth? Oh well, nothing matters except sitting around waiting to die and go to heaven. You’re elect, right?

    As for the personal attacks, if they could win fair and square they would, instead of…this.

    Robert
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 5:49 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    “The Eucharist and the sacraments are central to the Catholic faith and on them “Rome and Constantinople” agree. Protestantism is a Bible debating society, at best a “confessional” faith.”

    So it doesn’t matter what one confesses about the gospel, only that Rome and EO both say “sacrifice” in the Eucharist without agreeing on what that means?

    Again, explanations are not essences. Theology is not God.

    “Your unity is only cosmetic; you make a big deal of the most minor of Vatican doctrinal differences with the EOs like purgatory”

    If they’re minor and Rome is so interested in one visible church, why doesn’t the Vatican just say “we could be wrong about this,” or “we were wrong about this”? Oh, they can’t. Why, because of their DOCTRINE of infallibility.”

    Bad argument. Much of normative magisterial teaching is not put forth as infallible. There are many things were dissent and disagreement are not considered heresy. Stop getting your information on Catholicism from Darryl Hart and do some homework on the truth about “infallibility.” This lie is getting really old.

    “yet the reason there are a dozen Protestant churches within a block of each other is precisely because doctrinal differences are the basis of your version of Christianity. You have dispensed with the sacramental nature of Christianity. The Catholic goalposts, the sacraments, remain in place as they have for over 1000 years.”

    Looking for the gospel. Not finding it.

    Sola scriptura is Luther’s invention. But if you ever actually read Aquinas or an actual papal encyclical, it’s up to the gills in the Gospel. Again, not enough primary sources, too much Darryl Hart. If you’re not finding the Gospel, you’re not looking for it. “Solo Ecclesia” is a lie.

    The papacy is an awfully significant doctrinal difference between Rome and the East. If it weren’t, Rome would drop its claim or the East would admit jurisdictional primacy.

    Or the papacy could recognize the Eastern Orthodox sacraments as licit despite the pope issue. Which is precisely what Rome does.

    ““Protestantism” papers over its doctrinal differences when convenient, but the fact is you start entire new churches over them, which Catholicism visibly does not.”

    Perhaps, but that’s better than papering over differences by pretending they don’t exist because people tip their hat to the pope, why?

    That doesn’t address Protestantism papering over its differences [when convenient], nor starting new churches over them [often]. I’m afraid you ducked there, and for good reason.

    Since doctrine and arguing Bible is all you have, there are essential differences between sects, so much so that you start new churches over them. By contrast, the essence of Catholicism is the sacraments–therefore if there is agreement on the sacraments, doctrinal differences can be only secondary ones, are not essential differences.

    You’re papering over doctrinal differences between East and West by saying, “Hey the sacraments.” Why is that okay but Protestants can’t “paper” over the differences by saying, “Hey, justification by faith alone”?

    Not papering over atall, for reasons explained above. One cannot paper over essential differences, and they don’t. The Vatican has come up with a brilliant strategy: If the EOs want to separate themselves over the papacy, that’s their problem. Sort of like the Prodigal Son, who took his patrimony and split. But the father never stopped regarding him as his son.

    Similar to “separated brethren.” Since you have true baptism, all is not lost. The rest of your sacramental lacunae and doctrinal differences are your problem, not Rome’s. The “separation” is your doing, not Rome’s.

    Like

  193. TVD:
    Your unity is only cosmetic; you make a big deal of the most minor of Vatican doctrinal differences with the EOs like purgatory, yet the reason there are a dozen Protestant churches within a block of each other is precisely because doctrinal differences are the basis of your version of Christianity. You have dispensed with the sacramental nature of Christianity. The Catholic goalposts, the sacraments, remain in place as they have for over 1000 years.>>>>>>>>>>>

    Exactly. It is not only okay to divide over doctrinal differences, it is expected. The differences do not have to be much of anything at all. The Arminians and Calvinists have been going at it for hundreds of years, now. There is no way to resolve their differences.

    Then there are the arguments among Calvinists over the extent of the Atonement.

    Then there are the divisions over which version of the WCF to follow.

    Division doesn’t just happen in Protestantism. It is an ideal to aim for and a source of pride.

    It is the Eucharist that is the source and summit of the Christian life.

    Protestants just don’t have that.

    Protestants assume that what is important to them is important to Catholics. Not exactly.

    Like

  194. Tom,

    Bad argument. Much of normative magisterial teaching is not put forth as infallible. There are many things were dissent and disagreement are not considered heresy. Stop getting your information on Catholicism from Darryl Hart and do some homework on the truth about “infallibility.” This lie is getting really old.

    You’re illustrating cafeteria Roman Catholicism. Papal infallibility is infallible (I think, one never knows for sure). No dissent is tolerated on that. The East rejects that. Purgatory is taught at Trent. You can’t dissent from Trent. The East dissents from that. You’re reducing things to the lowest common denominator. Christianity=whatever Rome and Constantinople might nominally agree on.

    Again, explanations are not essences. Theology is not God.

    No one is saying theology is God. Tell me, am I allowed to explain the doctrine of the Trinity is such a way that I end up with 3 gods. Of course not. Explanations matter.

    Sola scriptura is Luther’s invention. But if you ever actually read Aquinas or an actual papal encyclical, it’s up to the gills in the Gospel. Again, not enough primary sources, too much Darryl Hart. If you’re not finding the Gospel, you’re not looking for it. “Solo Ecclesia” is a lie.

    You mean like the encyclical regarding global warming?

    Sola Scriptura is not Luther’s invention, it’s all over the NT and the early church. And Rome practices sola Ecclesia. The Magisterium is the final infallible authority. You can’t correct the papacy with the Bible once it has spoken. Rome’s belief that this would never be necessary is sheer fideism.

    Or the papacy could recognize the Eastern Orthodox sacraments as licit despite the pope issue. Which is precisely what Rome does.

    I can’t help it that Rome is doctrinally inconsistent.

    That doesn’t address Protestantism papering over its differences [when convenient], nor starting new churches over them [often]. I’m afraid you ducked there, and for good reason.

    Sorry, just looking for consistency in your argument. Rome’s happy to claim 1 billion members, but press a conservative apologist on why Pelosi is still in the church and you get “she’s not really Catholic.” And as SDB continually points out, plenty of X-Roman Catholics start their own churches. They’re called spiritual but not religious.

    Since doctrine and arguing Bible is all you have, there are essential differences between sects, so much so that you start new churches over them. By contrast, the essence of Catholicism is the sacraments–therefore if there is agreement on the sacraments, doctrinal differences can be only secondary ones, are not essential differences.

    1. We know the essence of Romanism is the sacraments.
    2. Thank you for pointing that out, as it shows that the essence of Rome isn’t the gospel.
    3. Spiritual but not religious, see above. Progressive parishes=new churches until Rome kicks them out.
    4. Rome disagrees with the East on the sacraments. Everything from particulars of practice to the explanation of what is going on and how Christ is present.

    Not papering over atall, for reasons explained above. One cannot paper over essential differences, and they don’t. The Vatican has come up with a brilliant strategy: If the EOs want to separate themselves over the papacy, that’s their problem. Sort of like the Prodigal Son, who took his patrimony and split. But the father never stopped regarding him as his son.

    So we’ve gone from Rome being right and the one true church to Rome exercising a well-thought-out PR strategy. Brilliant.

    Similar to “separated brethren.” Since you have true baptism, all is not lost. The rest of your sacramental lacunae and doctrinal differences are your problem, not Rome’s. The “separation” is your doing, not Rome’s.

    Except Rome shouldn’t view any Protestant that denies baptismal regeneration as a separated brother. Or ex opere operato. Those are essential differences that make the sacraments very different. I guess we should just count ourselves lucky.

    But, and I don’t mean this insultingly, you are helpfully demonstrating the mentality that Roman Catholicism generates among most of its adherents, nominal or otherwise: Don’t care about the church’s teaching on anything other than it is the only place you’re sure to get a true sacrament. Everything else is irrelevant.

    Like

  195. Mermaid

    Division doesn’t just happen in Protestantism. It is an ideal to aim for and a source of pride.

    Where the honor of Christ and His Gospel are at stake then yes, there is significant dedication to seeking the truth. Debate and disagreement do not imply a lack of brotherly love – just the opposite. Speaking the truth in love requires it.

    Why does “I hate division” translate to: “You give up your beliefs and conform to mine?” I’ll make you the same offer. What you call division obviously bothers you, so drop the idol worship and join the OPC. Problem solved. In fact, we can turn all the RC parishes into OPC congregations and sell St. Peters on eBay. And with all the new congregations we’ll need loads of new ministers. Just think of all the new students at Westminster!

    It is the Eucharist that is the source and summit of the Christian life.

    “Another iniquity chargeable on the Mass is, that it sinks and buries the cross and passion of Christ. This much, indeed, is most certain – the cross of Christ is overthrown the moment an altar is erected. For if, on the cross, he offered himself in sacrifice that he might sanctify us forever, and purchase eternal redemption for us, undoubtedly the power and efficacy of his sacrifice continues without end.” (citing Heb 9:11, 12, 26; 10:10, 14, 16)

    Institutes IV:18:3

    Like

  196. Webfoot,

    Then there are the arguments among Calvinists over the extent of the Atonement.

    There are arguments among Roman Catholics over the meaning of the atonement.

    Then there are the divisions over which version of the WCF to follow.

    Then there are the divisions over what has been defined infallibly and what hasn’t.

    Division doesn’t just happen in Protestantism. It is an ideal to aim for and a source of pride.

    Doctrinal division is everywhere in Roman Catholicism, but it’s largely irrelevant. All that matters is receiving the Eucharist. Believe whatever you want about it, its not essential. Just ask Tom.

    It is the Eucharist that is the source and summit of the Christian life.

    Who’s born again by receiving the Eucharist (source)? I don’t think even Rome affirms that.

    Protestants just don’t have that.

    My church has the Eucharist. And we actually believe Christ is present in it. Now of course, we don’t affirm transubstantiation, but according to Tom that is completely irrelevant.

    Protestants assume that what is important to them is important to Catholics. Not exactly.

    Actually, most of us here are pretty convinced that doctrinal orthodoxy and the gospel aren’t important to the vast majority of RCs. Virtually the only people that tend to show any slight concern for it on your side of the Tiber are former Protestants.

    Like

  197. Publius,

    What you call division obviously bothers you, so drop the idol worship and join the OPC. Problem solved.

    But then she wouldn’t be “Catholic” because “Catholic”=really, really big (even if the vast majority are nominal). Just ask Tom. In the other thread he found it laughable that Lutherans claim to be the catholic church because there’s not more than 70 million of them.

    Like

  198. Robert –

    All that matters is receiving the Eucharist. Believe whatever you want about it, its not essential.

    Bingo. Mysticism and sacerdotalism are a powerful brew.

    …Pay $100 to have Father O’Riley say a mass to “St. Anne” who will intercede on your behalf with her daughter Mary who will in turn whisper in Our Lord’s ear who will in turn intercede with God the Father.

    Where did that come from? What happened to Jesus our great high priest? What about coming boldly to the throne of grace? Who knew we needed all these middlemen?

    Like

  199. TVD: “elect”

    TVD, you mention that a lot. I think it really bothers you. You can reject God on any grounds you want. Some ‘could never accept a God who allows suffering’, etc. I’m pretty sure you know salvation truths.

    As for church-going, (you should follow up about your question awhile back as to reasonable expectation of it’s influence on character); Anyway, one who receives Jesus will eventually agree with Him about one’s responsibility as a body member, since He is the Head and is very persuasive.

    As for sheep – let the one who is thirsty come and take the water of life without cost – if anyone enters through the door (Jesus), he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture ;so don’ t be of those who do not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. (Rev 22:17; John 10:9; 2 Thess 2:10)

    as re: TVD: “Oh well, nothing matters except sitting around waiting to die and go to heaven”. – see last sentence above

    Like

  200. Publius
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 8:05 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid

    Publius:
    In fact, we can turn all the RC parishes into OPC congregations and sell St. Peters on eBay. And with all the new congregations we’ll need loads of new ministers. Just think of all the new students at Westminster!>>>>

    Hey, let’s play the “There is no Catholic Church, no Pope, no St. Peter’s and there never was” game.

    Publius:
    “Another iniquity chargeable on the Mass is, that it sinks and buries the cross and passion of Christ. This much, indeed, is most certain – the cross of Christ is overthrown the moment an altar is erected. For if, on the cross, he offered himself in sacrifice that he might sanctify us forever, and purchase eternal redemption for us, undoubtedly the power and efficacy of his sacrifice continues without end.” (citing Heb 9:11, 12, 26; 10:10, 14, 16)

    Institutes IV:18:3>>>>>>

    Calvin’s Institutes do not exist.

    Now, what do we have? Do we have the Bible?

    Like

  201. @mwf
    “Well, maybe we missed one another’s points. Let me clarify. You cannot use the division in Israel to justify the divisions within Protestaintism.”
    I agree and would never suggest otherwise. I merely was pointing out that big doesn’t imply true.

    “What is the Biblical justification for Protestantism’s divisiveness? The real answer is “there is none.””
    Like I said, some is simply sinfulness and not defensible. I have no more desire to justify it than you would want to justify the celebration of Cardinal Law. But I would say following Galatians that if a church taught heresy, one has the duty to separate if the teacher won’t repent or leave. Sticking around for the tradition or ritual and mussing the thing to which the ritual points is tragic. If you are receiving the gospel in your church now that is great.

    Like

  202. sdb:
    But I would say following Galatians that if a church taught heresy, one has the duty to separate if the teacher won’t repent or leave. Sticking around for the tradition or ritual and mussing the thing to which the ritual points is tragic. If you are receiving the gospel in your church now that is great.>>>>

    Make your case from the Bible. Was there a church split in Galatia? If so, demonstrate it from Scripture.

    Like

  203. “As to the verity of the flesh and blood there is no room left for doubt. For now both from the declaration of the Lord Himself and our own faith, it is verily flesh and verily blood. And these when eaten and drunk, bring it to pass that both we are in Christ and Christ in us. Is not this true? Yet they who affirm that Christ Jesus is not truly God are welcome to find it false. He therefore Himself is in us through the flesh and we in Him, whilst together with Him our own selves are in God.”

    – St. Hilary of Poitiers – 4th Century – Hammar of the Arians

    Hilary trumps Calvin, the rationalist. Notice that Hilary’s comment here is based on Scripture alone and faith alone.

    Yet Calvinists will continue to accuse all the great doctors of the Church of idolatry.

    Like

  204. You’re awfully demanding…. Paul instructed a local church to boot one who teaches a different gospel – an apostle even. If the apostle teaching a false gospel won’t give up the keys (perhaps even most there like having their ears tickled…see tim) then you have to move on. As paul warns in romans- weve been grafted in and will be cut out if we stray. But a remnant will always persist of course. Thus division is justified by scripture.

    Unity around a ritual despite gospel unfaithfulness is the mistake of the jews and I believe is replicated by Rome. Of course rome agrees in principle even if they think I’m off my rocker in particular – they split several times over doctrine even though they might have agreed in some cases on the ritual (orthodox, copts, nestorians, arians and other heretical groups). Division was justified. I don’t like the divisions among prots but without an emporer there is no going back. Sin sucks (along with cancer, U. of Michigan, and Jesuits Fredo)…not a reason to run to Rome.

    Like

  205. “Make your case from the Bible.”
    By the way, as I pointed out before, the slogan sola scriptura did not and does not mean that one must nake one’s case only from the bible. Only that it is the sole final authority against which doctrine and practice must be judged. It is also only source of authority that can bind faith and morals. Since scripture doesn’t forbid division under any circumstances, it can be justified. Not all divisions are justifiable.

    Like

  206. St. Augustine also trumps Calvin and Calvinism.

    “In the sacrament he is immolated for the people not only on every Paschal Solemnity but on every day; and a man would not be lying if, when asked, he were to reply that Christ is being immolated. For if sacraments had not a likeness to those things of which they are sacraments, they would not be sacraments at all; and they generally take the names of those same things by reason of this likeness.”
    Letters 98:9 [A.D. 412])

    “For when he says in another book, which is called Ecclesiastes, ‘There is no good for a man except that he should eat and drink’ [Eccl. 2:24], what can he be more credibly understood to say [prophetically] than what belongs to the participation of this table which the Mediator of the New Testament himself, the priest after the order of Melchizedek, furnishes with his own body and blood? For that sacrifice has succeeded all the sacrifices of the Old Testament, which were slain as a shadow of what was to come. . . . Because, instead of all these sacrifices and oblations, his Body is offered and is served up to the partakers of it.”

    The City of God 17:20 [A.D. 419]

    Like

  207. sdb
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 10:13 pm | Permalink
    “Make your case from the Bible.”
    By the way, as I pointed out before, the slogan sola scriptura did not and does not mean that one must nake one’s case only from the bible. Only that it is the sole final authority against which doctrine and practice must be judged. It is also only source of authority that can bind faith and morals. Since scripture doesn’t forbid division under any circumstances, it can be justified. Not all divisions are justifiable.>>>>

    Well, one more, and then I’ll let you guys rest for the evening.

    I’ll ask the question this way. Which Galatian church did Paul write his letter to – the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, American, Faith Reformed, or 1st Christian Reformed church?

    He wrote to one church. The church in Galatia. They were supposed to get rid of the false teachers, not run from them. True reform.

    Like

  208. Mermaid,

    Yes the church is supposed to get rid of the false teachers. The question is what happens when they dont. Is the RC answer that the church will always cast out its false teachers? Seems to be. But that’s sheer fideism. There’s no external or internal evidence for it. Traditionally, Rome dogmatizes error. See Rome’s Mariology.

    Like

  209. Robert
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 8:01 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    Bad argument. Much of normative magisterial teaching is not put forth as infallible. There are many things were dissent and disagreement are not considered heresy. Stop getting your information on Catholicism from Darryl Hart and do some homework on the truth about “infallibility.” This lie is getting really old.

    You’re illustrating cafeteria Roman Catholicism.

    Um, no. You’ve been a good correspondent but I’m not going to respond to the rest until you do your homework. This is boring and only helps proliferate Darryl’s fog about infallibility. Y’all gotta start playing straight about Catholicism.

    Much of normative magisterial teaching is not put forth as infallible. There are many things where dissent and disagreement are not considered heresy.

    Like

  210. ,i>Ali
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 8:43 pm | Permalink
    TVD: “elect”

    TVD, you mention that a lot. I think it really bothers you. You can reject God on any grounds you want. Some ‘could never accept a God who allows suffering’, etc. I’m pretty sure you know salvation truths.

    I’m not sure you get me yet. Mebbe you better back off punking me until you do. 😉

    As for church-going, (you should follow up about your question awhile back as to reasonable expectation of it’s influence on character);

    I had a reasonable expectation on its character but Old Lifers keep acting really petty and unloving. They treat even the nice churchgoing Catholic ladies like shit. What up with that, Ali?

    Not feeling the Jesus here, or the “churchgoing.” Anyone reading this blog might suspect that churchgoing, at least their variety of it, has a negative effect, and just deepens their assholiness.

    [I’m not the first one to make that observation about Old Life.]

    Like

  211. Mermaid –

    1. Augustine and Hilary were not RCs. They were Christians. Attempts to appropriate the early Church fathers as papists is unseemly and inaccurate.

    2. Why do they trump Calvin? Bald assertion doesn’t make it so. That is certainly not the means by which they argued their positions. And yes, they argued for their positions which caused – wait for it – division. We’re not rooting for a baseball team here, a position is either right or it is wrong – or maybe some of each – and debate is the best way to separate the wheat from the chaff.

    3. Hey, let’s play the “There is no Catholic Church, no Pope, no St. Peter’s and there never was” game. That’s what we do all week long, especially on Sunday when we go to worship.

    Like

  212. Robert
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 8:13 pm | Permalink
    Publius,

    >>>>>>>>>What you call division obviously bothers you, so drop the idol worship and join the OPC. Problem solved.

    But then she wouldn’t be “Catholic” because “Catholic”=really, really big (even if the vast majority are nominal). Just ask Tom. In the other thread he found it laughable that Lutherans claim to be the catholic church because there’s not more than 70 million of them.

    True, I must laugh, that of 2 billion Christians, that makes 4% tops.

    And since half are divorced from the other half, “Lutheran” is meaningless as a definition, and likely soon meaningless as even a description. [The irony remains that the “true” Lutheranism is closer to Catholicism than to the Calvinists hereabouts with their “election” business and abandonment of the Eucharist.]

    Whose Lutheranism is it, anyway?

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

    I don’t mean to laugh, but yes, there is a way to do “Christian math.”

    Like

  213. Publius,

    Well thats odd considering Augustine held to a soteriology and doctrines you and your cohorts deem as anti-Christian and gospel-denying.

    Like

  214. Publius
    Posted October 9, 2015 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    “Hey, let’s play the “There is no Catholic Church, no Pope, no St. Peter’s and there never was” game.”

    That’s what we do all week long, especially on Sunday when we go to worship.

    Good for you! And wishing Catholicism and conservatism and The Little Mermaid into the cornfield takes up the rest of the Old Life week. It’s a Good Life, Darryl.

    Like

  215. vd, t, what’s so hard about martyrdom? Religious liberty doesn’t save. If judgment day is coming, why do you care more about religious liberty (and David Barton) than going to Mass?

    I don’t think you’ve actually captured the logic of sin, judgment, death, salvation. Too much Roman Catholic social teaching?

    Like

  216. Robert, “Don’t care about the church’s teaching on anything other than it is the only place you’re sure to get a true sacrament. Everything else is irrelevant.”

    Roman Catholic exceptionalism like American exceptionalism.

    EWTN like Fox News.

    Like

  217. Mermaid, “Was there a church split in Galatia? If so, demonstrate it from Scripture.”

    Imagine Peter your pope doesn’t change his view when Paul corrected him “to his face.”

    Paul simply does what you do? Whatever. I’ll stay with the pope.

    Hah!

    Like

  218. Mermaid, first you quote a lay person. Then a bishop.

    Have you forgotten where authority lies in your church?

    Oh, that’s right. It’s all about you. The papacy of all believers.

    Like

  219. Mermaid, don’t forget that Paul was writing to Galatians without affirming the perpetual virginity of Mary or the primacy of Peter.

    As Homer put it, “Doh!”

    Like

  220. Robert, they used to delegate princes to execute heretics. Think Luther’s excommunication. He had princely cover.

    Today, they just wait for the Richard McBrien’s of Roman Catholic university theology departments to die.

    Like

  221. James Young, that’s odd since Luther and Calvin appealed to Augustine for their understanding of salvation in relation to — wait for it — the church.

    You really think Augustine supports Trent? I thought you were smarter than that. Nope.

    Like

  222. Tom,

    Much of normative magisterial teaching is not put forth as infallible. There are many things where dissent and disagreement are not considered heresy.

    I’m not disagreeing with this in principle. What I’m disagreeing with is your cavalier attitude toward the few things that are supposed to have been defined as infallible—such as papal infallibility. Rejecting that is heresy. Guess what, the East rejects that. Sure, there’s all kind of hemming and hawing about what it means to reject it ad infinitum, but that just shows Rome’s horrible doctrinal inconsistency on the one hand and its arrogant demand that any true Christian is really and secretly united to her on the other.

    True, I must laugh, that of 2 billion Christians, that makes 4% tops.

    That’s irrelevant if, in fact, there aren’t actually 2 billion professing Christians with saving faith.

    And since half are divorced from the other half, “Lutheran” is meaningless as a definition, and likely soon meaningless as even a description. [The irony remains that the “true” Lutheranism is closer to Catholicism than to the Calvinists hereabouts with their “election” business and abandonment of the Eucharist.]

    You would define Lutheranism confessionally just as you would deny Romanism confessionally. This isn’t difficult. Even the bare “Roman Catholicism consists of all churches in submission to the pope” is a confessional definition.

    And unless the Lutherans have a valid Eucharist, which Rome denies as far as I know, then the Lutherans have abandoned it as well.

    Whose Lutheranism is it, anyway?

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

    Even Rome is squishy on whether or not this should be accepted. It certainly hasn’t led to “Alright Lutherans, you get the sacrament right.”

    I don’t mean to laugh, but yes, there is a way to do “Christian math.”

    And even Rome says its not by counting the largest denomination and saying—your the catholic church. For the Roman apologists its a source of pride to say 1 billion RCs, and even Rome likes it as well at times, but Rome doesn’t define the catholic church as the church with the most adherents.

    Like

  223. Darryl,

    Robert, they used to delegate princes to execute heretics. Think Luther’s excommunication. He had princely cover.

    Today, they just wait for the Richard McBrien’s of Roman Catholic university theology departments to die.

    At times like this, I wish you had a like button on this blog. You just made my morning.

    Like

  224. TVD: “I’m not sure you get me yet. ”

    does it have to be such a secret? 🙂
    thought you were “doin the Lord’s work”

    Like

  225. Publius
    Posted October 9, 2015 at 12:17 am | Permalink
    Mermaid –

    1. Augustine and Hilary were not RCs. They were Christians. Attempts to appropriate the early Church fathers as papists is unseemly and inaccurate.>>>>>

    They both believed and wrote about the Mass being a sacrifice and the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist – doctrines that I understand you call idolatrous.

    So, why don’t you become a Christian, then? What Church still bases all its worship – the source and summit of the Christian life?

    Hint. It’s not your congregation.

    Like

  226. Robert
    Posted October 9, 2015 at 7:18 am | Permalink
    Darryl,

    Robert, they used to delegate princes to execute heretics. Think Luther’s excommunication. He had princely cover.

    Today, they just wait for the Richard McBrien’s of Roman Catholic university theology departments to die.

    At times like this, I wish you had a like button on this blog. You just made my morning.>>>>>>

    Don’t be a Catholic, then. Be a Christian like Hilary and Augustine and all your church fathers . Find a Church that celebrates the sacrifice of the Mass and the Real Presence in the Eucharist.

    Like

  227. TVD
    Posted October 9, 2015 at 12:54 am | Permalink
    Publius
    Posted October 9, 2015 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    “Hey, let’s play the “There is no Catholic Church, no Pope, no St. Peter’s and there never was” game.”

    That’s what we do all week long, especially on Sunday when we go to worship.

    TVD:
    Good for you! And wishing Catholicism and conservatism and The Little Mermaid into the cornfield takes up the rest of the Old Life week. It’s a Good Life, Darryl.>>>>>

    Of course they pretend that there would be something called Reformed theology if there had not been a Catholic Church. Well, then they play the semantics game, calling Catholics ROMAN Catholics and papists. Occasionally they pull out the “church” defense. They are the church, not the Church.

    Then they try to “evangelize” you by doing what?

    There’s no better place to get over Protestantism, at least in its Reformed versions, than Old Life.

    Like

  228. Darryl,

    The Augustine who held to baptismal regeneration, justification as infused righteousness and by faith formed by charity, concupiscence/venial/mortal sin distinction, loss of salvation for the justified, merit, synergism, distinction between operative and cooperative grace, a notion of purgatory, and so on. Hmm not at all like Trent’s soteriology.

    And if Calvin and Luther’s appeals to Augustine meant he supports them, then I guess he supports Trent and the CCC since both appeal to Augustine. That was easy.

    Also I guess Warfield didn’t read enough Calvin and Luther since he’s the one who quipped “For the Reformation, inwardly considered, was just the ultimate triumph of Augustine’s doctrine of grace over Augustine’s doctrine of the Church.”
    But maybe he didn’t read enough Calvin on soteriology either – Institutes: “Even the sentiment of Augustine, or at least his mode of expressing it, cannot be entirely approved of. For although he is admirable in stripping man of all merit of righteousness, and transferring the whole praise of it to God, yet he classes the grace by which we are regenerated to newness of life under the head of sanctification. Scripture, when it treats of justification by faith, leads us in a very different direction.”
    Commentary on Rom 3: “It is not unknown to me, that Augustine gives a different explanation; for he thinks that the righteousness of God is the grace of regeneration; and this grace he allows to be free, because God renews us, when unworthy, by his Spirit; and from this he excludes the works of the law, that is, those works, by which men of themselves endeavor, without renovation, to render God indebted to them… But that the Apostle includes all works without exception, even those which the Lord produces in his own people, is evident from the context.”

    Like

  229. Mermaid,

    Don’t be a Catholic, then. Be a Christian like Hilary and Augustine and all your church fathers . Find a Church that celebrates the sacrifice of the Mass and the Real Presence in the Eucharist.

    1. Isn’t that, like, a heretical statement or at least bad advice. If Rome is the one church Jesus founded and schism is a serious sin, shouldn’t everyone join the Roman Catholic denomination?

    2. The Church Fathers didn’t celebrate the sacrifice of the Mass, at least in a propitiatory way. Just because a father says “sacrifice” doesn’t mean he means by that term what modern Rome does.

    3. My Reformed church does believe in the real presence. So much so that before the sacrament is distributed, there’s always a warning for unbelievers not to partake. I don’t recall ever hearing that warning at a RC mass that I’ve been to. There’s not even a “Don’t take this if you haven’t been to confession” that I can recall. At best this is pastoral irresponsibility; at worst it shows that the Eucharist isn’t as important to Rome as it claims.

    Like

  230. James Young, so you can play smart when you want to. But lots of scholars think Augustine goes both ways. You wouldn’t acknowledge that because you’re so on board with the Yankees.

    Like

  231. Glad you could get a word in edgewise Daryl…….whew! Mermaid is like the blind date that cannot stop talking about herself ! Did I just hear “Last Call!”?

    Like

  232. Mermaid: “For when he says in another book, which is called Ecclesiastes, ‘There is no good for a man except that he should eat and drink’ [Eccl. 2:24], what can he be more credibly understood to say [prophetically] than what belongs to the participation of this table which the Mediator of the New Testament himself, the priest after the order of Melchizedek, furnishes with his own body and blood?

    don’t think so and never heard that interpretation before Mermaid. I think what Solomon meant was just what he said -here and elsewhere,e.g.Eccl 3:13 –that everyone should enjoy God’s material gifts -eating food and drinking drinks and one’s work

    Not that we don’t appreciate that sacrament; but even more this: Jesus: “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God Matt 4:4

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  233. Robert –

    Here’s what Mermaid really thinks as quoted from above:

    So, why don’t you become a Christian, then? ..because, you know, only Romanists are Christians.

    It always comes back to the same thing with the papists – kiss the ring or burn.

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  234. Ali
    Posted October 9, 2015 at 9:23 am | Permalink
    TVD: “I’m not sure you get me yet. ”

    does it have to be such a secret? 🙂
    thought you were “doin the Lord’s work”

    Actually I was giving mad props to those who actually do the heavy lifting around here and do their homework on Catholicism, from which everybody learns. Well, the honest ones. Old Life knows so much about Catholicism–very little of it true.

    I was not referring to me humble self atall atall. 😉

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  235. Publius
    Posted October 9, 2015 at 5:20 pm | Permalink
    Robert –

    Here’s what Mermaid really thinks as quoted from above:

    So, why don’t you become a Christian, then? ..because, you know, only Romanists are Christians.

    It always comes back to the same thing with the papists – kiss the ring or burn.>>>>

    Oh, you’re smarter than that, I think. Robert said that both Augustine and Hilary were just Christians, not Roman Catholics.

    Their views on the sacrifice of the Mass and the Real Presence obviously differ from that of Protestants. So, if they were Christians, and that was Christian teaching, then why not accept it? If you don’t like what you call Roman Catholicism, then find a church or start a church that teaches what Christians have believed for a couple thousand years, now.

    Really reform Protestantism, then, and restore it to what the early church taught. At least quit saying that those two doctrines are idolatrous. They cannot be both Christian and idolatrous, can they?

    Go after the Catholic Church on other things if you like, since there would be no Protestantism without Catholicism to protest, evidently.

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  236. D. G. Hart
    Posted October 9, 2015 at 6:32 am | Permalink
    vd, t, what’s so hard about martyrdom? Religious liberty doesn’t save. If judgment day is coming, why do you care more about religious liberty (and David Barton) than going to Mass?

    I don’t think you’ve actually captured the logic of sin, judgment, death, salvation. Too much Roman Catholic social teaching?

    Do you have a point, Dr. Hart? Something that furthers the discussion?

    No, I didn’t think so.

    Publius
    Posted October 9, 2015 at 5:20 pm | Permalink
    Robert –

    Here’s what Mermaid really thinks as quoted from above:

    So, why don’t you become a Christian, then? ..because, you know, only Romanists are Christians.

    It always comes back to the same thing with the papists – kiss the ring or burn.

    Every word here is a lie. Well done. But you are “separated brethren” and your baptism is valid. So do some homework and stop repeating the crap you hear around here.

    Robert
    Posted October 9, 2015 at 7:16 am | Permalink
    Tom,

    “Much of normative magisterial teaching is not put forth as infallible. There are many things where dissent and disagreement are not considered heresy.”

    I’m not disagreeing with this in principle. What I’m disagreeing with is your cavalier attitude toward the few things that are supposed to have been defined as infallible—such as papal infallibility.

    Not cavalier. Since the Vatican sees the Eastern Orthodox priesthood and sacraments as licit, presumably they don’t think infallibility is a dealbreaker about heaven and hell.

    Thus I argue that Darryl trying to turn it into a dealbreaker is ignorant, dishonest, or both. End of story–again a false premise.

    But you’ve held up your end honorably, for which you have my thanks. As for the Lutherans, the Reformation has rather passed them by. Way too Catholic. Since the Catholic Church accepted many of Luther’s reforms on the egregious stuff like simony, Lutheranism has not much more reason to exist. They might as well hook up with the EOs.

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/asktheexpert/feb08.html
    _________________________________________
    What was the attitude of the reformers (Martin Luther in particular) toward the Eastern Orthodox Church? Was the idea of becoming part of the Eastern church entertained?

    —Jim

    Luther was generally positive toward the Eastern Orthodox church, especially because it rejected many of the things he most disliked about the Roman Catholic church: clerical celibacy, papal supremacy, purgatory, indulgences, and Communion by bread alone. He frequently referred to the beliefs and practices of the “Greek church,” as he called it, as evidence that Catholics had deviated from principles upon which Christians formerly agreed.

    Luther never attempted to build a bridge to the Eastern church, but some of his followers did. Philipp Melanchthon worked with Demetrios Mysos, a deacon sent by the patriarch of Constantinople to find out about the new religious movement in Germany, to complete a Greek translation/paraphrase of the Augsburg Confession, called the Augustana Graeca. Mysos was supposed to take the document back to Constantinople, but he died on the journey.

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  237. Robert
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 10:33 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid,

    Yes the church is supposed to get rid of the false teachers. The question is what happens when they dont. Is the RC answer that the church will always cast out its false teachers? Seems to be. But that’s sheer fideism. There’s no external or internal evidence for it. Traditionally, Rome dogmatizes error. See Rome’s Mariology.>>>>>

    You have to be specific, Robert. What aspects of mariology are you referring to?

    Do you mean the Immaculate Conception? You must know that the Immaculate Conception is a very ancient Church teaching.

    So is Mary’s sinless life and perpetual virginity as well as the Assumption of Mary. Now, you may reject all of these doctrines. Christians of all kinds have believed them all throughout Church history.

    I am going on the assumption that you accept what you call the early church fathers as having been real Christians and not false teachers needing to be thrown out of the Church. Now, they could have been wrong, but you could be wrong as well.

    Are you willing to call St. Augustine a false teacher that needed to be thrown out of the Church?

    ” He then enumerates those ‘who not only lived without sin, but are described as having led holy lives, — Abel, Enoch, Melchizedek, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joshua the son of Nun, Phinehas, Samuel, Nathan, Elijah, Joseph, Elisha, Micaiah, Daniel, Hananiah, Azariah, Mishael, Mordecai, Simeon, Joseph to whom the Virgin Mary was espoused, John.’ And he adds the names of some women, — ‘Deborah, Anna the mother of Samuel, Judith, Esther, the other Anna, daughter of Phanuel, Elisabeth, and also the mother of our Lord and Saviour, for of her,’ he says, ‘we must needs allow that her piety had no sin in it.’ We must except the holy Virgin Mary, concerning whom I wish to raise no question when it touches the subject of sins, out of honour to the Lord; for from Him we know what abundance of grace for overcoming sin in every particular was conferred upon her who had the merit to conceive and bear Him who undoubtedly had no sin (Augustine, On Nature and Grace, Against Pelagius).”

    Calvin accepted her perpetual virginity. Is he also a false teacher? Well, I think he was false on many things, and foolish to leave the Catholic Church, but I would not say that everything he taught was false. After all, the good in Calvin was derived from the teachings of the Church he left.

    John Calvin: “there have been certain folk who have wished to suggest from this passage (Mt 1:25) that the Virgin Mary had other children than the Son of God, and that Joseph had then dwelt with her later; but what folly this is! For the gospel writer did not wish to record what happened afterwards; he simply wished to make clear Joseph’s obedience and to show also that Joseph had been well and truly assured that it was God who had sent His angel to Mary. He had therefore never dwelt with her nor had he shared her company…And besides this our Lord Jesus Christ is called the firstborn. This is not because there was a second or third, but because the gospel writer is paying regard to the precedence. Scripture speaks thus of naming the first-born whether or no there was any question of the second.” (Sermon on Matthew 1:22-25, published 1562)

    Then it is well known that Luther was devoted to Mary his whole life. Are you going to call him a false teacher? He got into trouble with the Church on other issues, but that was not one of them.

    For the Reformers, mariology was not something they would have divided the Church over.

    In fact, evidently John Wesley accepted Mary’s perpetual virginity.

    I mean, who do you want thrown out of the Church based on mariology?

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  238. D. G. Hart
    Posted October 9, 2015 at 9:14 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, that’s bad. Even Paul said the Gentiles had the law of God written on their hearts and knew they were guilty.

    Are you from Mars?

    Clumsy dodge, Dr. History. The nice Catholic lady has you quite flummoxed.

    Are you willing to call St. Augustine a false teacher that needed to be thrown out of the Church?

    Calvin accepted her perpetual virginity. Is he also a false teacher?

    Then it is well known that Luther was devoted to Mary his whole life. Are you going to call him a false teacher?

    For the Reformers, mariology was not something they would have divided the Church over.

    In fact, evidently John Wesley accepted Mary’s perpetual virginity.

    I mean, who do you want thrown out of the Church based on mariology?

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  239. Mermaid,

    You are really overestimating the Reformers views on Mary. It is true that many if not all of them accepted her perpetual virginity. But they certainly didn’t pray to her once the Reformation got started.

    But as far as Mariology:

    1. I would say that perpetual virginity and even the bodily assumption are acceptable private opinions but should not be enshrined as dogma. I don’t believe in either, and there are others who experienced the latter (such as Elijah). But nothing should be enshrined as dogma that rejecting could put you out of salvation if the Apostles didn’t teach it.

    2. I wouldn’t ordain anyone who held those beliefs. We know far too much now to actually believe there is a credible case for them, and there’s a real danger that in teaching them we start making Mary more than what she was. Perpetual virginity is especially problematic because it implies that only those who are really holy are virgins and that sexual relations are somehow so inherently disordered that for Mary to have them would somehow sully Jesus. The Reformers who held to that idea were able to avoid such problems because of their doctrine of the priesthood of all believers. Rome has not been so lucky. All of the really holy people are those who abstain from sexual relations. Married life is good, but it certainly isn’t the best. Those who REALLY love God will become monks and nuns. This creates a two-class Christianity wherein men and women don’t stand before God equally. It’s tremendously damaging.

    3. The immaculate conception is the most problematic because of all of them it is the doctrine that most readily leads to making Mary another mediator. I wouldn’t say that those who hold it are necessarily going to hell, and Rome’s careful explanation of it is a good try, but people don’t really hold to it on the popular level. The whole God kept Mary from sin because she bore the Messiah very quickly becomes God chose Mary to bear the Messiah because she was sinless. It’s very, very dangerous and of the three doctrines I’ve thus far mentioned, it’s the one most clearly refuted by Scripture.

    4. The grievous Mariological doctrines are those that make her a mediator between God and man. Same is true of the views of the saints that make them mediators. Scripture categorically denies that there is any mediator besides Jesus Christ and it calls us in our time of need not to draw near to Mary or to St. Jude but to go directly into the heavenly throne room. Further, there is not one example in the NT of the Apostles telling us to pray to the saints. And honestly, Mary really isn’t all that prominent in the NT. Outside of the birth narratives and the crucifixion/resurrection, she’s never mentioned by name in the book of Acts, and Paul’s reference to her in Galatians is quite indirect and then He doesn’t mention her to say anything about her but to say something about Jesus. In Mark 3 she even thinks Jesus is crazy. If she was as important as Rome says she is, we’d see more of her. At the very least she’d be among the people the Apostles greet or send greetings from in their letters.

    What continues to fascinate me is that the two people Rome exalts as so foundational to their system, Mary and Peter, don’t have that role in the NT. Peter appears as a spokesman of sorts in the Gospels, and he plays an important role in the early chapters of Acts, but in the one place where you would expect him to act all papal—the Jerusalem council—it’s James who leads it and makes the decree. And then we have only two letters from Peter. Paul later has to correct him. And Paul is the main character in Acts, and gave us 13 letters, maybe even 14. The guys in the early church who are really spending the most of their time teaching dogma or doing what popes are supposed to do are Paul and James. The fact that Rome misses that is a pretty strong indictment of the entire system.

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  240. Robert, no Mary, no Incarnation, no Jesus, no NT. You do understand that part, don’t you?

    Let me help you focus on my question. Here is what you say.:

    “2. I wouldn’t ordain anyone who held those beliefs. “

    You would not ordain Augustine, Hilary, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Wesley, and so many more just on the basis of their acceptance of the perpetual virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary?

    Are you willing to go so far as to say that they are all false teachers based on your dogma?

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  241. Robert:
    3. The immaculate conception is the most problematic because of all of them it is the doctrine that most readily leads to making Mary another mediator. I wouldn’t say that those who hold it are necessarily going to hell, and Rome’s careful explanation of it is a good try, but people don’t really hold to it on the popular level. The whole God kept Mary from sin because she bore the Messiah very quickly becomes God chose Mary to bear the Messiah because she was sinless. It’s very, very dangerous and of the three doctrines I’ve thus far mentioned, it’s the one most clearly refuted by Scripture.>>>>

    The Immaculate Conception was standard teaching for all of Christianity until about 500 years ago. It is still standard teaching of both Catholic and Orthodox Churches. It was what Luther believed. It was what Calvin believed at first, but it seems he changed his position on that point.

    Well, amend that to say the Orthodox do not accept the Augustinian view of original sin, but they do accept the teaching that Mary was sinless.

    Shall I list all the doctors and saints of the Church who have believed this doctrine that you find to be the most problematic?

    If it so easy to refute from Scripture, then go ahead and refute it.

    I could understand the Protestant position better if it were a little less dogmatic, and frankly, dictatorial. If Protestants presented the truth about the history of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, and then say you disagree with the majority opinion, then I could understand.

    If you would say that this was not even a doctrine that was an issue at the time of the Reformation – or at least in the way it is now, kind of a litmus test for orthodoxy it seems – then I could understand.

    However, to present the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception as the most problematic is, IMO, more than just a little problematic.

    See, when I started to study the history of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, and found out that most of the great Christian thinkers and saints accepted it – even the early Reformers and still some Protestants now – then it dawned on me that I had been taught a fractured view.

    Now, you can have the opinion you wish to have, and I will accept you as my brother in Christ if that means anything to you, but seriously? This is just one of the bits of evidence I uncovered to show that Protestantism really did cut itself off from the Church in so many ways.

    The idea that Mary was a sinner is not what the Church has always taught, and you cannot, as you claim, prove it easily from Scripture.

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  242. Mermaid,

    Robert, no Mary, no Incarnation, no Jesus, no NT. You do understand that part, don’t you?

    I get the part—to a point. What I’m saying is that there was nothing inherent to Mary that made her more worthy of bearing the Christ child than any other relatively pious girl in first-century Palestine. All of the Mariology obscures that. The problem I see in Mariology is that it ends up obscuring Christ. It’s certainly true on the popular level that you should go to Mary, she’s nicer than Jesus; or ask Mary to talk to Jesus, he’d never say no to His mama. And the sentiment has become not that Mary was somehow made worthy by being chosen for the incarnation but taht God chose Mary for the incarnation because she was worthy. That kind of idea is all over popular RC piety. It’s an inevitable consequence of your Mariology.

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  243. Mermaid,

    The simple fact of the matter is that the actual verifiable Apostolic teaching that we do have doesn’t make all that big of a deal about Mary. It says she was a virgin at the time of Jesus’s conception, and the purpose for telling us that is TO SAY SOMETHING ABOUT JESUS. Mary as Mary is largely irrelevant. We can respect and honor her as the mother of our Lord, but that gives her no better status in God’s eyes than anyone else. Any woman who obeys Jesus He regards as His mother. See Mark 3. Any other Jewish girl could have been chosen. Mary wasn’t unique before Gabriel came to her, and there’s no indication from the Apostolic witness that she played any kind of unique role once Jesus reached adulthood or that she was any different than any other good mother while Jesus was growing up. The Apostles aren’t seeking her out for her dogmatic opinion, and they’re not asking her to pray for them. From Acts 3 onward, she’s not mentioned but once, “born of a woman,” and then she’s not even named.

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  244. Since Mariology is not essential for salvation, this is another [Protestant, Darryl Hart, what have you] red herring. You can go on forever about it or ignore it completely and it will make no soteriological difference in the end.

    And since you have no way of knowing whether prayers to Mary are passed on to Jesus or are in vain, and no Biblical proof to the contrary, what possible business is it of yours if others believe it’s not in vain?

    Believe it or don’t. Makes no difference either way.

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  245. John Sizer
    Posted October 9, 2015 at 4:09 pm | Permalink
    Glad you could get a word in edgewise Daryl…….whew! Mermaid is like the blind date that cannot stop talking about herself ! Did I just hear “Last Call!”?

    Publius
    Posted October 9, 2015 at 5:23 pm | Permalink
    John Sizer – Yep. Check please.

    You should leave, tough guy. With snide ridiculousnesses like

    It always comes back to the same thing with the papists – kiss the ring or burn.

    you’re a disruption to the conversation and an embarrassment to your religion. The nice Catholic lady cleans your clock on honesty and sincerity alone.

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  246. Robert
    Posted October 10, 2015 at 12:03 am | Permalink
    Mermaid,

    The simple fact of the matter is that the actual verifiable Apostolic teaching that we do have doesn’t make all that big of a deal about Mary. It says she was a virgin at the time of Jesus’s conception, and the purpose for telling us that is TO SAY SOMETHING ABOUT JESUS. Mary as Mary is largely irrelevant. We can respect and honor her as the mother of our Lord, but that gives her no better status in God’s eyes than anyone else. Any woman who obeys Jesus He regards as His mother. See Mark 3. Any other Jewish girl could have been chosen. Mary wasn’t unique before Gabriel came to her, and there’s no indication from the Apostolic witness that she played any kind of unique role once Jesus reached adulthood or that she was any different than any other good mother while Jesus was growing up. The Apostles aren’t seeking her out for her dogmatic opinion, and they’re not asking her to pray for them. From Acts 3 onward, she’s not mentioned but once, “born of a woman,” and then she’s not even named.>>>>>>

    Motherhood? Any old womb will do?

    The confusion that Protestant women tend to have, – even Reformed women,- about their role in the family, the church, and society is a direct result of your mariology. In downplaying Mary’s role in the Incarnation and even throughout Church history you leave your women without any real identity in your theology.

    In honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary, all women are honored. She is blessed among women and she has a special place. Hint: Her cousin Elizabeth told her what that place would be. In downplaying the importance of her motherhood role, the importance of motherhood is also downplayed.

    Well, you won’t get most of this, unfortunately, so I’ll stop there. Of course you left out any reference to the Magnificat, but I don’t blame you. I will leave you with St. Augustine. Maybe he can help you. Maybe you were trying to say something like this. I will give you that much benefit of the doubt on this.

    Protestants don’t see Mary in Revelation 12, either, even though there is an obvious reference to her.

    I guess I would call Protestantism truncated Christianity. It’s not that what Protestants teach and believe is not Christian or not Biblical. It is just cut off from so much of the rich heritage of the Church.

    —————————————————————————

    Mary, a disciple of Christ

    “But look here, my brothers and sisters, concentrate more, I beg you, on what follows, concentrate more on what Christ the Lord said as he stretched out his hand over his disciples: This is my mother and these are my brothers; and whoever does the will of my Father who sent me, that person is a brother to me and a sister and a mother (Mt 12:49-50). Didn’t the Virgin Mary do the will of the Father? I mean, she believed by faith, she conceived by faith, she was chosen to be the one from whom salvation in the very midst of the human race would be born for us, she was created by Christ before Christ was created in her. Yes, of course, holy Mary did the will of the Father. And therefore it means more for Mary to have been a disciple of Christ than to have been the mother of Christ. It means more for her, an altogether greater blessing, to have been Christ’s disciple than to have been Christ’s mother. That is why Mary was blessed, because even before she gave him birth, she bore her teacher in her womb.

    Just see if it isn’t as I say. While the Lord was passing by, performing divine miracles, with the crowds following him, a woman said: Fortunate is the womb that bore you. And how did the Lord answer, to show that good fortune is not really to be sought in mere family ties? Rather blessed are those who hear the word of God and keepit (Lk 11:27-28). So that is why Mary, too, is blessed, because she heard the word of God and kept it. She kept truth safe in her mind even better than she kept flesh safe in her womb. Christ is truth, Christ is flesh; Christ as truth was in Mary’s mind, Christ as flesh in Mary’s womb; that which is in the mind is greater than what is carried in the womb.

    Mary is holy, Mary is blessed, but the Church is something better than the Virgin Mary. Why? Because Mary is part of the Church, a holy member, a quite exceptional member, the supremely wonderful member, but still a member of the whole body. That being so, it follows that the body is something greater than the member. The Lord is the head, and the whole Christ is head and body. How shall I put it? We have a divine head, we have God as our head.”

    St. Augustine, Sermon 72/A, 7

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  247. Mermaid, “If it so easy to refute from Scripture, then go ahead and refute it.”

    How about that Scripture is silent on the immaculate conception?

    Ever noticed that Paul doesn’t mention Mary?

    The Bible doesn’t mention Allah either. Do you believe in him?

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  248. D. G. Hart
    Posted October 10, 2015 at 7:05 am | Permalink
    Mermaid, “If it so easy to refute from Scripture, then go ahead and refute it.”

    How about that Scripture is silent on the immaculate conception?

    Ever noticed that Paul doesn’t mention Mary?

    The Bible doesn’t mention Allah either. Do you believe in him?>>>>

    Oh, that is so clever, Dr. Hart. With one sentence you refute all the saints and doctors of the Church, including your beloved Augustine.

    Truncated Christianity. Ever notice that Jesus was born of a virgin. She was chosen as God’s instrument before time began, as was Paul, as was Peter. Specific individuals chosen for specific tasks in the work of redemption.

    To leave the person, Mary out of that is, well, quite irrational of you.

    If the Church had been silent on the subject, and then suddenly in the Middle Ages invented this doctrine, then you might have a case to make. Your tradition sets itself against Christianity.

    Check out the meaning of the phrase
    ΚΑΤΑ ΛΟΥΚΑΝ 1:281881 Westcott-Hort New Testament (WHNU)

    28 και εισελθων προς αυτην ειπεν χαιρε κεχαριτωμενη ο κυριος μετα σου

    with special emphasis on the word κεχαριτωμενη “ and how that has been understood throughout Church history.

    It should be easy for you.

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  249. Mermaid,

    Sure Peter, Paul, and Mary were chosen before the foundation of the world. But your Mariology has made it impossible for you to realize that if we are going to speak in any sense of their worth, it is God’s choice of them that made them worthy. It is not that God chose them because they were worthy beforehand. If you want to claim to follow Augustine, then surely you must know that the heart of Augustine’s doctrine of unconditional election is that.

    Mary certainly never ever claims that God chose her because of her worth. That being so, God could have chosen any other Jewish girl. She wasn’t special before God came to her. She was extraordinarily ordinary. So ordinary, in fact, that the Apostles don’t really say all that much about her. If she played the outsized mediatorial role in the Apostolic church that you think she did, Paul would have greeted her at Ephesus when he wrote his letter (assuming tradition is correct that she went there with John), she would appear when Paul came to Jerusalem at the end of Acts, and/or the Apostle John would have said something about her in His letters. All we get is silence. We know more about the role Priscilla played in the first-century church than we do about Mary.

    She received a great honor, but she wasn’t sinless. In Mark 3, Jesus says that He regards any faithful disciple as His mother. That’s not what someone says if she has the exalted role that Rome says she does. She’s also among the family members that though Jesus was crazy (Mark 3 also), and apparently she didn’t believe what Jesus said about his resurrection beforehand because its plain that she wasn’t expecting to see an empty tomb. There goes here sinlessness.

    If Mary played the role you think, you’d have more to go on then a participle from Luke 2, which your modern Vatican-approved scholars don’t think has the meaning for Luke that you think it does. You’d have more than a forced reading of John 2 that was plainly developed after the fact in order to justify practices that never should have occurred. But that’s what the non-Protestant view of tradition does. First you get a practice, then you attempt to justify it biblically.

    As a consequence, you get Rome having to continually stamp down calls to make Mary co-redemptrix. Calls that will never be successful because the Mariology inevitably makes her that in popular piety. You have a 4 tiered Christianity: 1. Mary, the really, really, really holy one whom God loves the very best. 2. Saints whom are the really really holy ones. 3. Priests and nuns, the really holy ones. and 4. the laypeople who could possibly someday maybe be holy but shouldn’t shoot too high cause they aren’t special like those other people.

    You end up with a Christianity that makes our redemption entirely dependent on Mary’s freewill choice to bear the Messiah. Read Mariological piety and you walk away thinking “well thank God Mary agreed. If she hadn’t, God’s hands would have been tied.” And I’m supposed to believe this stuff is glorifying to God. Please.

    It’s not about a truncated Christianity. It’s about a Christianity shorn of the additional cr*p that should never have been added in the first place.

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  250. Cletus, Mermaid, any other Roman Catholic…

    Anyone else want to agree with Tom that you can be in full communion with the pope and believe that the Mary stuff is indifferent or that papal infallibility was a mistake?

    I’m not trying to be rude, Tom, but you really are illustrating cafeteria RCism. And that kind of makes any kind of culture comments pointless. Abortion and gay marriage can be freely chosen or not and you’re still a golden RC. Do you not see the inconsistency of defending Rome as the true church or at least the truer church and discarding the stuff that have the best chance of being infallibly declared dogmas?

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  251. Robert
    Posted October 10, 2015 at 12:22 pm | Permalink
    Cletus, Mermaid, any other Roman Catholic…

    Anyone else want to agree with Tom that you can be in full communion with the pope and believe that the Mary stuff is indifferent or that papal infallibility was a mistake?

    I’m not trying to be rude, Tom, but you really are illustrating cafeteria RCism.

    Not really interested when Protestants presume to speak for the pope.

    Show me where the Catholic Church says if you don’t believe in Mary’s Assumption you’re going to hell. Until you can, this is all Old Life false premises and red herrings, all noise, no signal.

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  252. D. G. Hart
    Posted October 10, 2015 at 7:05 am | Permalink
    Mermaid, “If it so easy to refute from Scripture, then go ahead and refute it.”

    How about that Scripture is silent on the immaculate conception?

    Apparently Dr. Hart doesn’t know what “refute” means either.

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  253. Tom,

    From the declaration of the assumption:

    44. For which reason, after we have poured forth prayers of supplication again and again to God, and have invoked the light of the Spirit of Truth, for the glory of Almighty God who has lavished his special affection upon the Virgin Mary, for the honor of her Son, the immortal King of the Ages and the Victor over sin and death, for the increase of the glory of that same august Mother, and for the joy and exultation of the entire Church; by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.

    45. Hence if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined, let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith.

    46. In order that this, our definition of the bodily Assumption of the Virgin Mary into heaven may be brought to the attention of the universal Church, we desire that this, our Apostolic Letter, should stand for perpetual remembrance, commanding that written copies of it, or even printed copies, signed by the hand of any public notary and bearing the seal of a person constituted in ecclesiastical dignity, should be accorded by all men the same reception they would give to this present letter, were it tendered or shown.

    47. It is forbidden to any man to change this, our declaration, pronouncement, and definition or, by rash attempt, to oppose and counter it. If any man should presume to make such an attempt, let him know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.

    http://w2.vatican.va/content/pius-xii/en/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-xii_apc_19501101_munificentissimus-deus.html

    Deny the assumption and you’re under the wrath of God. At least that’s what they said in 1950. I suppose it’s possible that V2 changed that since V2 basically doesn’t think anyone is going to hell.

    But based on the reading of the actual declaration, this is something which you must not deny or oppose or you have opposed the (Roman) Catholic faith and are under the wrath of God.

    So Mariology really is important, and you’re a cafeteria Roman Catholic. That’s nothing to be ashamed of necessarily if you believe Rome doesn’t possess infallibility. But you can’t have “Rome is infallible and united and better than the Lesbyterians” and “I don’t have to believe in papal infallibility or the assumption of Mary in order to be RC.” Well, maybe under V2’s wild-eyed postmodernity you can.

    Like

  254. I have no reason to deny it. Neither do you. I wasn’t there, neither were you. Neither can the Church condemn anyone to hell; that’s up to God.

    Again, this is a phony issue.

    Like

  255. Robert
    Posted October 10, 2015 at 12:18 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid,

    Sure Peter, Paul, and Mary were chosen before the foundation of the world. But your Mariology has made it impossible for you to realize that if we are going to speak in any sense of their worth, it is God’s choice of them that made them worthy. It is not that God chose them because they were worthy beforehand. If you want to claim to follow Augustine, then surely you must know that the heart of Augustine’s doctrine of unconditional election is that.>>>>>

    Hold it right there, my dear Brother Robert. 🙂 You have not said anything that the Catholic Church has ever disagreed with. So, what is your problem with this particular aspect of Marian doctrine? You don’t accept the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. Fine. I would not expect you to, or even demand it from you, but I have come to accept it myself. I will gladly stand with St. Augustine on this, as well as all the saints and doctors of the Church.

    What you say in this paragraph shows that you do not know what Church teaching actually is. The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception states, in effect, that Mary was completely sanctified from the moment of conception, and that solely on the merits of Jesus Christ. It was not based on any inherent merit in her. It was given as a gift in order to preserve the purity of her Son, Jesus Christ.

    Think of it this way. All the elect will one day stand before God holy and blameless in His sight. This will not be on the basis of any inherent goodness in us, or any accumulation of good works as though we could buy our way to holiness.

    God did that in Mary at the moment of her conception because of her unique role as The Mother of God. She lived a sinless life purely by the grace of God.

    135 Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus (1854): DS 2803.

    “The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.135”

    Pope Pius IX was echoing what St. Augustine said so many centuries before. Remember this quote? The sinlessness of Mary involves two aspects. One, being freed from the effects of original sin, and being enabled by grace to live a sinless life. It is all of grace, and nothing more. Her faith and obedience did not earn her grace, but proved that she was fully graced. She was given that grace before she was born and so her sinlessness was not based on anything she did to earn it.

    “’ We must except the holy Virgin Mary, concerning whom I wish to raise no question when it touches the subject of sins, out of honour to the Lord; for from Him we know what abundance of grace for overcoming sin in every particular was conferred upon her who had the merit to conceive and bear Him who undoubtedly had no sin (Augustine, On Nature and Grace, Against Pelagius).”
    ——————————————————————-
    The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.135The Immaculate Conception

    490 To become the mother of the Savior, Mary “was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role.”132 The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as “full of grace”.133 In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God’s grace.

    491 Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God,134 was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:

    The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.135
    492 The “splendor of an entirely unique holiness” by which Mary is “enriched from the first instant of her conception” comes wholly from Christ: she is “redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son”.136 The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person “in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and chose her “in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love”.137

    493 The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God “the All-Holy” (Panagia), and celebrate her as “free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature”.138 By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long.

    “Let it be done to me according to your word. . .”

    494 At the announcement that she would give birth to “the Son of the Most High” without knowing man, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary responded with the obedience of faith, certain that “with God nothing will be impossible”: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be [done] to me according to your word.”139 Thus, giving her consent to God’s word, Mary becomes the mother of Jesus. Espousing the divine will for salvation wholeheartedly, without a single sin to restrain her, she gave herself entirely to the person and to the work of her Son; she did so in order to serve the mystery of redemption with him and dependent on him, by God’s grace:140

    As St. Irenaeus says, “Being obedient she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race.”141 Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert. . .: “The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by Mary’s obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith.”142 Comparing her with Eve, they call Mary “the Mother of the living” and frequently claim: “Death through Eve, life through Mary.”143

    Like

  256. TVD
    Posted October 11, 2015 at 4:58 pm | Permalink
    I have no reason to deny it. Neither do you. I wasn’t there, neither were you. Neither can the Church condemn anyone to hell; that’s up to God.

    Again, this is a phony issue.>>>>>

    I’ve not seen you deny the Assumption of Mary, nor have you tried to get anyone to deny it. In fact, when do you talk about it at all?

    They’re the ones who keep brining it up. They’re obsessed. ;.-)

    Like

  257. Webfoot,

    What you say in this paragraph shows that you do not know what Church teaching actually is. The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception states, in effect, that Mary was completely sanctified from the moment of conception, and that solely on the merits of Jesus Christ. It was not based on any inherent merit in her. It was given as a gift in order to preserve the purity of her Son, Jesus Christ.

    Think of it this way. All the elect will one day stand before God holy and blameless in His sight. This will not be on the basis of any inherent goodness in us, or any accumulation of good works as though we could buy our way to holiness.

    God did that in Mary at the moment of her conception because of her unique role as The Mother of God. She lived a sinless life purely by the grace of God.

    Then why so much trouble accepting the fact that there was nothing special about Mary and that any other relatively pious girl from the first century could have been chosen? I don’t see RCs rushing out to say “Well, God chose Mary, but he could have chosen her next door neighbor Hannah, or Mary Magdalene, or Priscilla, or Joanna…”

    Like

  258. Tom,

    I have no reason to deny it. Neither do you. I wasn’t there, neither were you.

    The language doesn’t allow for agnosticism. It’s an infallible dogma. And since you have to give implicit faith, you have to believe it to be in right standing with the church.

    Neither can the Church condemn anyone to hell; that’s up to God.

    Well then the pope was wrong to say this, then: “If any man should presume to make such an attempt, let him know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.”

    That sounds awfully final. Now, granted, it was spoken before the church changed its dogma and became squishy at V2.

    Like

  259. Robert:
    Then why so much trouble accepting the fact that there was nothing special about Mary and that any other relatively pious girl from the first century could have been chosen? I don’t see RCs rushing out to say “Well, God chose Mary, but he could have chosen her next door neighbor Hannah, or Mary Magdalene, or Priscilla, or Joanna…”>>>>

    Well, Mary Magdalene wasn’t exactly a virgin.

    The Blessed Virgin Mary was the one He chose. She was the one He enabled to bear His Son. She was the chosen vessel. Why? God’s sovereign choice.

    We don’t need to rush out and say what God could have or might have done. We know what He did do. He chose Mary. She said “yes.”

    Are you a Molinist? Mary could have said “no, not interested.” God did not force Himself on Mary. However, I doubt that God took a risk with such an important task.

    At the very least, we are all expected to call Mary blessed. That is why even Calvin called her The Blessed Virgin. It’s in the Bible. It’s okay to be amazed at the beauty of God’s plan and amazed at how prepared Mary was for the task.

    Don’t you admire any Christians who have been greatly used by God? Don’t they inspire you to follow Jesus more closely? Come on, now. Admit it. There are some Christians that you really look up to, now, aren’t there? 🙂 Why not add The Blessed Virgin Mary to your list?

    Don’t expect you to go out and buy a Pope Francis souvenir rosary or anything, but maybe you could muster just a little more appreciation for the faith of this young girl, your blessed sister in Christ.

    Luke 2
    “My soul magnifies the Lord,
    47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
    48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
    For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
    49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,

    Like

  260. Robert
    Posted October 11, 2015 at 9:21 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    “I have no reason to deny it. Neither do you. I wasn’t there, neither were you.”

    The language doesn’t allow for agnosticism. It’s an infallible dogma. And since you have to give implicit faith, you have to believe it to be in right standing with the church.

    “Neither can the Church condemn anyone to hell; that’s up to God.”

    Well then the pope was wrong to say this, then: “If any man should presume to make such an attempt, let him know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.”

    That sounds awfully final.

    Not in a church that believes in purgatory. He didn’t say ‘eternal,’ now did he?

    You’re trying to grab a few stray sentences and turn it into some cosmic big deal. It ain’t.

    And actually, the language is against denying the Assumption, not in enforcing belief in it. You guys gotta read this “anathema” business a little more carefully. Just like when Calvin’s Geneva burned up Michael Servetus, the concern is almost always more about false teachers than false belief.

    You’re just not getting where they’re coming from.

    Like

  261. D. G. Hart
    Posted October 9, 2015 at 9:14 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, that’s bad. Even Paul said the Gentiles had the law of God written on their hearts and knew they were guilty.

    Are you from Mars?

    Oh, I wish I’d have Hart-jitsued this.

    What law is written on your heart, Hart?

    Like

  262. @mwf
    Proof texting from historical figures is not a good approach. If someone argued that understanding the Lord’s Supper as a sacrifice came along with Trent, then a quote from Augustine to the contrary would be relevant. But quoting a pair of church fathers to demonstrate that Christians always believed this or that is a terrible idea. It is the kind of thing feminists do to “prove” Christianity is inherently misogynistic (you know the quotes from Augustine about women not being made in the image of God or Tertullian? referring to women as temples over sewers). Of course the response to such quote mining is 1) context – when in their development of thought did yhey say this, what was yheir point, and was the comment indicative of their own view. 2) recognition they were flawed men and not infallible – not everything they said bevame doctrine. 3 ) historical place – quotes seen relative to common views of the time.

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  263. @mwf Is division ever justified? Is there a biblical basis from seperation from self proclaimed Christians? Paul says yes. He warns about the rise of false teachers among the clergy and demands immoral brother be given the boot. But what happens when immoral brothers are the majority or own the meeting place and won’t give up the name? Well I think you have to separate.

    The Cardinal in Belgium has pushed euthanasia, liberalized abortion law, and ssm. These shifts didn’t come because of sola scriptura prots or too low a view of Mary. These were pushed by a Cardinal who remained undisciplined by the hierarchy. Law, in the US, was no better.

    Dreher, ex-RC convert to EO, writes the following,

    I don’t agree that the most important commitment of any religious movement must be to not further fracture the Church. It’s not that I think division is a good thing, but rather that I think unity that is not based on shared belief is superficial and unsustainable.

    I agree with this. 95% of RCs dissent from their church. I wonder what it is among the clergy? From what we see on the synod, it isn’t negligible. Centering on ritual builds numbers not holiness.

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  264. “45. Hence if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined, let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith.”

    “Not in a church that believes in purgatory. He didn’t say ‘eternal,’ now did he?”

    Like Wodehouse looking for a loophole? Purgatory is only for those who die in grace of the Church. The early church creeds had no qualms about calling out those “undoubtedly” perishing. True the RCC has changed her doctrine and now says otherwise, but it wasn’t always thus.

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  265. MWF: Ever notice that Jesus was born of a virgin. She was chosen as God’s instrument before time began, as was Paul, as was Peter. Specific individuals chosen for specific tasks in the work of redemption.

    I’m pretty sure we noticed that.

    Q. 37. How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?

    A. Christ the Son of God became man, by taking to himself a true body, and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the virgin Mary, of her substance, and born of her, yet without sin. — WLC

    We also notice that after Jesus is born, Mary doesn’t exactly act like someone who was completely sanctified. Not that she committed any egregious sins, certainly. But she lacked the faith that someone who had been made ontologically righteous would be expected to have.

    Luke 2.48-50 Mary misses the point.
    John 2.3-5: Mary misses the point again.
    Mark 3.20-33: Mary thought Jesus was insane.

    Good thing she was saved by grace through faith, and not by her own righteousness.

    The point is that you can honor someone without putting that person on a pedestal. Mary was courageous to trust God in Luke 1. She had to have known that she was at risk for being divorced or stoned, yet she trusted in the Lord.

    But she wasn’t superhuman. She didn’t have a miraculous conception that gave her the ability to trust in God in Luke 1, then left her unable to have faith in Mark 3.

    The Roman doctrine of Mary points to a much deeper problem with its soteriology: The belief that in order to be declared righteous, one must be made to be actually righteous in being.

    Hence, in order to honor Mary as the mother of God (which we all agree is an appropriate title), Rome believes that she must have been entirely holy in being herself.

    By that logic, Anne would have to have also been miraculously conceived and without sin, and her mother, and her mother’s mother, all the way back to Eve.

    And I’m pretty sure that Eve was not without sin.

    MWF: Check out the meaning of the phrase
    ΚΑΤΑ ΛΟΥΚΑΝ 1:281881 Westcott-Hort New Testament (WHNU)

    28 και εισελθων προς αυτην ειπεν χαιρε κεχαριτωμενη ο κυριος μετα σου

    We did check this out, remember? And we discovered that the Roman Catholic translators translate κεχαριτωμενη as “highly favored” and NOT as “full of grace.” The one exception is Douay-Rheims, which translates the Vulgate and not the Greek.

    I’m surprised you forgot.

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  266. Tom,

    Not in a church that believes in purgatory. He didn’t say ‘eternal,’ now did he?

    Typically modern RCs don’t talk about purgatory being a place of God’s wrath. So purgatory is irrelevant.

    And actually, the language is against denying the Assumption, not in enforcing belief in it. You guys gotta read this “anathema” business a little more carefully. Just like when Calvin’s Geneva burned up Michael Servetus, the concern is almost always more about false teachers than false belief.

    More post-V2 squishiness.

    You’re just not getting where they’re coming from.

    If you want to believe that the Assumption is no big deal, that’s fine. Vatican 2 changed lots of things. But there’s no hint in Piux XII’s declaration of the assumption that it’s optional or something you can believe or not, it doesn’t matter.

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  267. Mermaid,

    Well, Mary Magdalene wasn’t exactly a virgin.

    Because God didn’t choose her.

    The Blessed Virgin Mary was the one He chose. She was the one He enabled to bear His Son. She was the chosen vessel. Why? God’s sovereign choice.

    Good.

    We don’t need to rush out and say what God could have or might have done. We know what He did do. He chose Mary. She said “yes.”

    We wouldn’t need to do it if you all would actually put Mary in her proper place and stop praying to her. Again, all of this emphasis on Mary’s fiat, her purity, etc. has the effect of obscuring the fact that it was God’s sovereign choice based on nothing in Mary.

    Are you a Molinist?

    No. Molinism is lame.

    Mary could have said “no, not interested.”

    So we’re back to salvation being all about Mary. Thank goodness she said yes, as it all depended on her libertarian freewill choice.

    God did not force Himself on Mary.

    Agreed.

    However, I doubt that God took a risk with such an important task.

    But you just said Mary could have said no. If that were the case, he took a huge gamble.

    At the very least, we are all expected to call Mary blessed. That is why even Calvin called her The Blessed Virgin. It’s in the Bible. It’s okay to be amazed at the beauty of God’s plan and amazed at how prepared Mary was for the task.

    Okay, but if you can’t admit that God could have chosen someone else, then it’s not the beauty of God’s plan or Mary’s preparation you’re amazed at. It’s Mary herself.

    Don’t you admire any Christians who have been greatly used by God? Don’t they inspire you to follow Jesus more closely? Come on, now. Admit it. There are some Christians that you really look up to, now, aren’t there? 🙂 Why not add The Blessed Virgin Mary to your list?

    I do admire Mary as a faithful Christian greatly used by God. I also recognize that she was a sinner. But again, Jesus will regard anyone as His mother who does His will. That puts all of the emphasis on Mary being a font of grace and other such nonsense into perspective as grossly missing the point.

    Don’t expect you to go out and buy a Pope Francis souvenir rosary or anything, but maybe you could muster just a little more appreciation for the faith of this young girl, your blessed sister in Christ.

    I do appreciate her faith. I also appreciate God’s sovereignty in giving her faith. I am very thankful that God saved her from all the sins she committed and that God chose a poor Jewish handmaiden to bring the Savior into this world. Non-Protestant Mariology obscures all that. It takes the focus off of God and of Christ and onto Mary herself.

    Like

  268. Jeff Cagle: I wonder what Mary thinks about being put on such a high pedestal?

    He must increase, I must decrease.
    For His name alone is exalted; His glory is above earth and heaven.

    Like

  269. I said:
    Well, Mary Magdalene wasn’t exactly a virgin.

    Robert:
    Because God didn’t choose her.>>>>>

    No, actually, Mary Magdalene had a different role to play in the Gospels. Are you sure you’re not a Molinist? You are still speculating that Mary Magdalene could have been the Blessed Virgin Mary. If she had been the mother of our Lord, who would have been Mary Magdalene?

    I said:
    We don’t need to rush out and say what God could have or might have done. We know what He did do. He chose Mary. She said “yes.”

    Robert:
    We wouldn’t need to do it if you all would actually put Mary in her proper place and stop praying to her. Again, all of this emphasis on Mary’s fiat, her purity, etc. has the effect of obscuring the fact that it was God’s sovereign choice based on nothing in Mary.>>>>>

    I don’t need to do that at all. You are the one questioning God’s choice, not I. You are the one claiming that God could have chosen anyone, even Mary Magdalene. Then you deny that you are a Molinist when you are presenting a Molinistic kind of argument. Nothing more lame than a lame Molinist who doesn’t know he’s one. You are in denial.

    Robert:
    I do admire Mary as a faithful Christian greatly used by God. I also recognize that she was a sinner. >>>>>

    You disagree with St. Augustine, BTW, so maybe you really are not Augustinian. He said she was not a sinner.

    You know how he felt about Pelagianism. So, why did he say Mary was the only human being who was not a sinner? Pelagius had a whole list of people who he thought were sinless. St. Augustine’s list included one person – The Blessed Virgin Mary. Well, and Jesus Christ her Son, of course.

    Robert:
    But again, Jesus will regard anyone as His mother who does His will. That puts all of the emphasis on Mary being a font of grace and other such nonsense into perspective as grossly missing the point.>>>

    Are you saying, then, that The Blessed Virgin did not do the will of God? Generally, even by Protestants she is taken to be one of Jesus’ followers as well as His mother physically. There is no indication in the NT that Mary was an unbeliever. That is going pretty far if all you are attempting to do is knock Mary down a notch. That would knock her all the way down to hell. Are you sure you want to do that?

    Then, do you think that Jesus meant to dishonor His mother in public by saying that she really wasn’t doing the will of God? It seems to me that would make Jesus a lawbreaker, since we are commanded even in the NT to honor our father and our mother.

    I said:
    Don’t expect you to go out and buy a Pope Francis souvenir rosary or anything, but maybe you could muster just a little more appreciation for the faith of this young girl, your blessed sister in Christ.

    Robert:
    I do appreciate her faith. I also appreciate God’s sovereignty in giving her faith. I am very thankful that God saved her from all the sins she committed and that God chose a poor Jewish handmaiden to bring the Savior into this world. Non-Protestant Mariology obscures all that. It takes the focus off of God and of Christ and onto Mary herself.>>>>

    You do know that the Catholic Church also teaches that Mary’s faith was a gift from God, don’t you?

    What is Protestant faith focused on? If this blog is any indication, it is focused on the Catholic Church with very little said about Jesus Christ at all – except when Catholics bring Him up.

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  270. Jeff Cagle
    Posted October 12, 2015 at 6:49 am | Permalink
    I wonder what Mary thinks about being put on such a high pedestal?

    Do you people even read this thing?

    28And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

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  271. Tom, working more of that lapsed RC lay charism. But why so harsh? “member, you’re above it all. Including mass.

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  272. Tom Tom Tom, sycophant to the lecherous religious says something about your piggishness. Wha’ happen’d? Come on, this is a safe place. My name is Tom………………………………….

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  273. Mermaid,

    No, actually, Mary Magdalene had a different role to play in the Gospels. Are you sure you’re not a Molinist? You are still speculating that Mary Magdalene could have been the Blessed Virgin Mary. If she had been the mother of our Lord, who would have been Mary Magdalene?

    Maybe Mary the wife of Joseph. And simply saying that “It could have been another way” doesn’t make one a Molinist. God’s choice of Mary was free, which means he could have chosen another, just as he could have chosen not to create.

    I don’t need to do that at all. You are the one questioning God’s choice, not I. You are the one claiming that God could have chosen anyone, even Mary Magdalene.

    I’m not questioning God’s choice. I’m trying to point out that what you are assuming is that God chose Mary because she was Mary, that she had some kind of inherent worth before that choice was made. If any worth Mary had is solely due to God’s choice, then God could have easily chosen another woman and given that worth to her and not to the Mary we know. Why is it so hard to say that? It’s because you all think that Mary was somehow more worthy before God made the choice.

    Then you deny that you are a Molinist when you are presenting a Molinistic kind of argument. Nothing more lame than a lame Molinist who doesn’t know he’s one. You are in denial.

    Augustine said God could have chosen not to create. Did that make him a Molinist?

    You disagree with St. Augustine, BTW, so maybe you really are not Augustinian. He said she was not a sinner.

    To the extent that Augustine would have said that, it is the typical explanation of God intervened before hand to preserve her. While I don’t agree that such happened, I also know that Augustine’s doctrine of unconditional election means that God conceivably have chosen to do that for someone else and make that person the mother of Jesus, not Mary.

    You know how he felt about Pelagianism. So, why did he say Mary was the only human being who was not a sinner? Pelagius had a whole list of people who he thought were sinless. St. Augustine’s list included one person – The Blessed Virgin Mary. Well, and Jesus Christ her Son, of course.

    I’m not sure how this is relevant. Augustine wasn’t inerrant in any case. And if being Augustinian means believing everything Augustine ever said, then the only Augustinian who ever lived was Augustine.

    Are you saying, then, that The Blessed Virgin did not do the will of God?

    No, why would you think that I am saying that.

    Generally, even by Protestants she is taken to be one of Jesus’ followers as well as His mother physically. There is no indication in the NT that Mary was an unbeliever. That is going pretty far if all you are attempting to do is knock Mary down a notch. That would knock her all the way down to hell. Are you sure you want to do that?

    Um, I don’t know where you are getting any of this. Of course Mary was one of His followers, at least after the resurrection. Mark 3 indicates that at one point she thought He was insane. Whether she was a follower at that point is harder to say. But no I’ve never said Mary was an unbeliever.

    Then, do you think that Jesus meant to dishonor His mother in public by saying that she really wasn’t doing the will of God? It seems to me that would make Jesus a lawbreaker, since we are commanded even in the NT to honor our father and our mother.

    Jesus doesn’t say specifically that Mary wasn’t doing the will of God in Mark 3, although its hard to conceive of how she was doing God’s will at that very point if she though he was crazy. But in any case, Jesus’ point is not that Mary wasn’t doing God’s will, it is that being Jesus’ relative according to the flesh is completely irrelevant to one’s position in the kingdom. And that is born out in the rest of the New Testament. Not one of the Apostles is looking to Mary for help for anything. The only one of his relatives who has any prominence in the Apostolic church is James and maybe Jude (because he wrote a letter). If the Apostles cared anything about Mary besides the fact that she gave birth to Jesus, they kept it to themselves. Which is strange, because if you want to talk about effective prayer, that would be a great place to tell us to pray to Mary.

    You do know that the Catholic Church also teaches that Mary’s faith was a gift from God, don’t you?

    Then you can freely admit that God could have chosen someone else—Joanna, Hannah, Susan, whoever—and give such faith and such honor to bear the Christ to her. That’s really all I’m looking for. I don’t think your Mariology will allow you to do that. It’s really a simple question:

    1. Could God have chosen not to create? Yes.
    2. Could God have chosen not to make Robert? Yes
    3. Could God have chosen not to give Mary the honor of bearing the Savior? Yes.

    If you can’t say yes to #3, then you don’t believe God’s choice of Mary was all of grace.

    What is Protestant faith focused on?

    Christ

    If this blog is any indication, it is focused on the Catholic Church with very little said about Jesus Christ at all – except when Catholics bring Him up.

    Actually, a good many posts about the RC Church by Darryl point out the problem with Rome is that her accretions take the focus off of Christ.

    Like

  274. MWF: Check out the meaning of the phrase
    ΚΑΤΑ ΛΟΥΚΑΝ 1:281881 Westcott-Hort New Testament (WHNU)

    28 και εισελθων προς αυτην ειπεν χαιρε κεχαριτωμενη ο κυριος μετα σου

    We did check this out, remember? And we discovered that the Roman Catholic translators translate κεχαριτωμενη as “highly favored” and NOT as “full of grace.” The one exception is Douay-Rheims, which translates the Vulgate and not the Greek.

    I’m surprised you forgot.>>>>>

    I do remember how you totally interpreted the word according to your bias. It was a title. She is the kecharitomene” (κεχαριτωμενη). Maybe you forgot that part.

    “The having been graced one”. When was she graced? It was before the Holy Spirit came upon her.

    Now, does it prove the Immaculate Conception? It doesn’t disprove it, which is what you are alleging.

    Another sola scriptura irrefutable proof text bites the dust.

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  275. Jeff Cagle:
    We also notice that after Jesus is born, Mary doesn’t exactly act like someone who was completely sanctified. Not that she committed any egregious sins, certainly. But she lacked the faith that someone who had been made ontologically righteous would be expected to have.

    Luke 2.48-50 Mary misses the point.
    John 2.3-5: Mary misses the point again.
    Mark 3.20-33: Mary thought Jesus was insane.>>>>

    Engaging in a little eisegesis, are you, Brother Jeff?

    As for Luke 2, notice that Jesus had to grow in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. Why would His mother be any different? You are saying, in effect, that it is sinful to not understand something. Notice that Mary pondered these things in her heart. She was open to gaining understanding.

    The question that she asks her son when they finally find Him is legitimate. How is it sinful or ignorant for a mother to ask her son where he has been and what he has been doing? Is it sin to show parental concern for the welfare of your child? I dare say it would be sinful not to be concerned. Instead you are looking for reasons to criticize Mary, the Mother of God.

    No one is saying that Mary is omniscient. She had to learn stuff like any other human being, including her Son, Jesus.

    Notice, too, that Jesus submitted to her.

    John 2:3-5 – Is this one a joke? You think that Mary gave bad advice here?
    ““Do whatever he tells you.”

    The Son of God had to learn obedience according to Hebrews 5:8. According to you, He would be sinful because He had to learn something He didn’t understand before. .

    Mark 3 – Where did Mary say her son is insane? Adding words to Scripture are we, Brother Jeff?

    Luke 2
    48 And when his parents[f] saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” 49 And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”[g] 50 And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. 51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.

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  276. Jeff Cagle:
    The point is that you can honor someone without putting that person on a pedestal.>>>>

    The point is that God put Mary on a pedestal. What do you think it means when God exalts a person?

    52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
    and exalted those of humble estate;

    —————————————————————–
    Mary’s Song of Praise: The Magnificat
    46 And Mary said,

    “My soul magnifies the Lord,
    47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
    48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
    For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
    49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
    and holy is his name.
    50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
    from generation to generation.
    51 He has shown strength with his arm;
    he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
    52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
    and exalted those of humble estate;
    53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
    and the rich he has sent away empty.
    54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    in remembrance of his mercy,
    55 as he spoke to our fathers,
    to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

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  277. Mermaid,

    Another sola scriptura irrefutable proof text bites the dust.

    First, sola scripture isn’t simply a matter of prooftexting. It’s a matter of taking what the Scripture actually teaches both specifically and thematically. And one of the central themes is that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The only exception ever made is Jesus (see 1 Peter 2, for example). There is so much contortion that has to be done to make Mary sinless in light of that general theme that it finally becomes untenable.

    I do remember how you totally interpreted the word according to your bias.

    That’s a loaded statement of what Jeff has done. I could say that you have totally interpreted the word according to your bias.

    It was a title. She is the kecharitomene” (κεχαριτωμενη). Maybe you forgot that part.

    “The having been graced one”. When was she graced? It was before the Holy Spirit came upon her.

    The fact that it is a participle doesn’t make it a title. Participles are used all the time to talk about previous action. You can find ones in the NT that go something like “Having gone from there, Jesus…” But interestingly enough, nobody gives the Jesus the title the “Having Gone from There One.”

    You are assuming that grace is something you pour into somebody instead of a disposition of favor. That has to be proved exegetically.

    Now, does it prove the Immaculate Conception? It doesn’t disprove it, which is what you are alleging.

    Actually, since the only people in Scripture who receive grace are sinners, the burden is not on us to disprove the Immaculate Conception. It’s on you to prove it, and that is especially so in light of what else the NT says about Mary:

    As for Luke 2, notice that Jesus had to grow in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. Why would His mother be any different? You are saying, in effect, that it is sinful to not understand something. Notice that Mary pondered these things in her heart. She was open to gaining understanding.

    Jeff doesn’t mention Luke 2:52, so the point is not relevant to begin with.

    It is not necessarily sinful to misunderstand something, but misunderstanding also does not excuse one automatically for sin.

    Jesus expects her to know what He was doing, and rightly so because Mary was told that her son was the Son of God. Could Jesus have a false expectation of what she was supposed to know? Her ignorance here is culpable and while perhaps not an outright heinous sin, is still blameworthy.

    The question that she asks her son when they finally find Him is legitimate. How is it sinful or ignorant for a mother to ask her son where he has been and what he has been doing? Is it sin to show parental concern for the welfare of your child? I dare say it would be sinful not to be concerned. Instead you are looking for reasons to criticize Mary, the Mother of God.

    If Mary had never been told that her son was the Son of God, it would not be sinful. But again, Jesus expected her to know where He would be. So if Mary was not sinning, then Jesus was in expecting Mary to live up to expectations that she should have known. So we can exalt Mary and make Jesus a sinner if you want, but I tend to shy away from that.

    No one is saying that Mary is omniscient. She had to learn stuff like any other human being, including her Son, Jesus.

    Actually, by positing that Mary can hear billions of prayers simultaneously in heaven, Rome does attribute a kind of omniscience or omnipresence to her. Now in heaven, she has none of the limitations that are inherent to humanity.

    Notice, too, that Jesus submitted to her.

    Not sure what the referent is here, but there was an appropriate way that Jesus could submit to Mary as a man. He never submitted to her as God. He is her Lord.

    John 2:3-5 – Is this one a joke? You think that Mary gave bad advice here?
    ““Do whatever he tells you.”

    The use of John 2 to prove Marian intercession is especially heinous. It’s just absolutely horrible exegesis. Rome should be embarrassed. At the very least, there’s no evidence that the servants went to Mary in order to get to Jesus.

    The Son of God had to learn obedience according to Hebrews 5:8. According to you, He would be sinful because He had to learn something He didn’t understand before.

    As the old saying goes, ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking the law. And the question here is what did Jesus actually learn? It seems the learning has to do with the existential reality of what it means to obey God under suffering. In any case, Jeff and any other Protestant is not asserting that needing to learn something is necessarily sinful.

    Mark 3 – Where did Mary say her son is insane? Adding words to Scripture are we, Brother Jeff?

    Mark 3:21: “And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”

    In context, the family to which Mark refers includes Jesus mother and brothers (see v. 31).

    Further, Jesus predicted his resurrection many times, but is clear that Mary was not expecting it to happen. She showed up at the tomb with spices, which wouldn’t be necessary for a resurrected body. So that is evidence of disbelief, which is sin.

    The point is that God put Mary on a pedestal. What do you think it means when God exalts a person?

    Actually, the Magnificat is very clearly modeled on Hannah’s prayer of thanksgiving when she learned that she would bear a son. Two phrases from that prayer are particularly noteworthy in regard to this subject:

    “my [Hannah’s] horn is exalted in the Lord.” (1 Sam. 2:1)
    “The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
    he brings low and he exalts.
    8 He raises up the poor from the dust;
    he lifts the needy from the ash heap” (vv. 7–8)

    If exaltation means what you think it means, we should be treating anyone whom God has ever exalted like you treat Mary. But Rome doesn’t do that. It’s inconsistent theology grounded in horrible biblical interpretation. It’s so bad that if you read a modern RC NT commentator, they aren’t going to be treating the text as the Roman church traditionally has. They know it’s not tenable.

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  278. Mermaid:The point is that God put Mary on a pedestal. What do you think it means when God exalts a person? 52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate;

    …”And, you see, none of this supports the foolish notion that Mary herself ought to be an object of adoration. Mary does not identify herself as being the object of adoration, but rather she adores God. Tragically, ironic it is that somebody would make her the object of adoration, make her the object of praise. On one occasion a woman in a crowd tried to do that, recorded in Luke 11. In the middle of a crowd a woman cried out to Jesus, “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts which you nursed.” And that was true. She was blessed but Jesus’ response immediately was not to elevate Mary. His response in Luke 11:27 and 28 was this, “Yes…Yea rather blessed are they that hear the Word of God and keep it.” The path of blessing is the path of obedience to the Word of God. That was true for Mary, that’s true for anybody and everybody.”

    “Although she does say she was a woman of low estate, and that does refer to her sort of humiliation as a state of being, it isn’t limited to her social status. It has more to do with her spiritual character. She recognizes she is a sinner. She recognizes she is a sinner. She’s unworthy. How can God, the Mighty One, who is perfectly holy, link up with this woman? It’s just… It’s more than she can comprehend. She doesn’t have an exalted view of herself; she has an exalted view of the Lord in a humble view of herself. It just staggers her that God would come to her, this humble nobody, this bond slave. It staggers her that all generations in the future are going to look back at her and note the unique and singular blessing that God bestowed upon her when the Mighty One did this great thing of planting the Messiah in her womb. And staggering thought of all thoughts, He’s holy and He still is interacting with a sinner. Just beyond comprehension.”That’s the stuff; that’s the kind of humility that makes for true worship. When you’re overwhelmed with your sinfulness and you’re knowledgeable about God’s holiness, and you’re blessed to know that a holy God would work in your life. That’s humility. If Mary was to be exalted, if she was to be blessed, as verse 42 says, it was because God saw her unworthiness, her sinfulness, her lowliness and gave her singular mercy.”

    “You know, you can travel all over the world and you’ll see idols and shrines to Mary everywhere. I mean, I’ve seen them in churches, cathedrals, in houses, and I’ve seen them in hotel lobbies, I’ve seen them in hotel rooms. I’ve seen them in restaurants. I’ve seen them along the highways, byways and paths up in the mountains in the most remote places. This is a result of the Roman Catholic Church exalting Mary, saying that she was immaculately conceived, that she was living a sinless life, that she was a perpetual virgin, that therefore because of her sinlessness she didn’t die but was ascended into heaven, called the assumption of Mary. They teach that she is now the queen of heaven and that she is the co-redemptrix with Christ. All of this is foreign to Scripture, none of this is in the Bible at all and it all convolutes the true understanding of Mary. Mary is not one to be worshiped. Mary is one who was the true and pure worshiper of God. What you get from this in all the legacy that Mary leaves us is an example of what a model believer is like. She is a model of the true worshiper who worships the only One worthy to be worshiped. She is not the worshiped, she is the worshiper.” http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/42-14

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  279. You know, guys, this has been good. It is always good to dig into Scripture to see what message it is actually communicating.

    I have not said anything that a Protestant should have trouble with. In fact, your sola scriptura arguments are easily refuted from Scripture itself. Yes, yes, I know you don’t REALLY mean Scripture alone. I mean, come on, right? You’re not biblicists – as though that were a bad thing.

    So, you resort to your traditions in order to refute Scripture! Brothers, it should not be like that. Either you are sola scriptura or you are not. I know you are not, because your scriptura is never sola. It is always accompanied by your 21st Century, Reformed Protestant traditions.

    I know that you convince yourselves with these arguments. In doing so you stray farther and farther away from both Scripture and the teachings of the Church fathers you say you hold in high regard, including St. Augustine.

    I think the goofiest argument has to do with the idea that Mary Magdalene could have been chosen to be the Mother of God.

    I have never heard an argument like that used to say that Paul could have actually been Barnabas or John Mark or Onesimus or Philemon instead of the man that God actually chose to be Paul, the Apostle. I have never heard an argument like that at all! I really don’t think that God lives in the pluperfect subjunctive.

    In fact, in arguing that way, you are undermining the meaning of your own dogma of irresistible grace. In an effort to knock Mary of what you believe to be a pedestal where she does not belong, you actually present an argument that refutes one of the 5 points of Calvinism. Amazing.

    So, it’s been good, but seriously? You need to rethink your Mariology, which is actually an anti-theology.

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  280. JRC: 28 και εισελθων προς αυτην ειπεν χαιρε κεχαριτωμενη ο κυριος μετα σου

    We did check this out, remember? And we discovered that the Roman Catholic translators translate κεχαριτωμενη as “highly favored” and NOT as “full of grace.” The one exception is Douay-Rheims, which translates the Vulgate and not the Greek.

    I’m surprised you forgot.

    MWF: I do remember how you totally interpreted the word according to your bias. It was a title. She is the kecharitomene” (κεχαριτωμενη). Maybe you forgot that part.

    Then you mis-remember. Just to recap the results of our investigation at that time:

    * ALL translations from the Greek, including the Catholic ones, translate κεχαριτωμενη as “highly favored” and NOT as “full of grace.”
    * The Catholic translators from the Greek do NOT indicate κεχαριτωμενη to be a title.

    E.g.: “28 And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” ” (NABRE).
    “28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”” (NRSVCE)

    No Capital Letters. No title.

    The bias is not mine. I’m just reporting what the knowledgeable translators have said, including the Catholic ones. I hope you can agree that they do not have a Protestant bias.

    Now, given that you remembered the conversation so badly, I have to ask something: Do facts cause you to change your mind when you’re wrong?

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  281. TVD: Nice Catholic lady makes her case sola scriptura. Not a Catholic-ism in sight.

    That is definitely an improvement. Keep it up!

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  282. JRC: I wonder what Mary thinks about being put on such a high pedestal?

    TVD: Do you people even read this thing?

    28And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

    Do you check your sources? Some of that text is a later addition and not in the original.

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  283. Jeff Cagle
    Posted October 13, 2015 at 5:17 pm | Permalink
    JRC: I wonder what Mary thinks about being put on such a high pedestal?

    TVD: Do you people even read this thing?

    28And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

    Do you check your sources? Some of that text is a later addition and not in the original.

    KJV. This is like thumbwrestling in jello.

    Like

  284. You do realize that the KJV, based on the Textus Receptus, has several passages that have since been shown to be later additions?

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  285. Jeff Cagle
    Posted October 13, 2015 at 5:16 pm | Permalink
    TVD: Nice Catholic lady makes her case sola scriptura. Not a Catholic-ism in sight.

    That is definitely an improvement. Keep it up!>>>>

    My dear Brother Jeff, I always argue with you guys based on sola scriptura, and you guys always lose but declare yourselves the winners.

    Funny how that works. You said that Mary called Jesus insane. You said that it is sin to not know everything if one is sinless – making Jesus out to be a sinner in your sloppy eisegesis. You are the one who thinks that Mary’s advice “Do whatever He asks” is bad advice.

    So, please acknowledge your sloppy work.

    Jeff, you are now alleging that κεχαριτωμενη means just a teeny, weeny, bit graced, but let’s not make a big deal out of it already. Tell me that’s not a biased interpretation. Take a look at this if you will.

    I didn’t make up the title thing. “… “full of grace” is a just title for Mary”

    http://digilander.libero.it/domingo7/Mary.htm
    —————————————-

    [1] “Highly favoured” (kecharitomene): perfect passive participle of charitoo and means endowed with grace ( “charis”), enriched with grace as in Ephesians. 1:6, non ut mater gratiae, sed ut filia gratiae. The Vulgate gratiae plena is right, if it means’ full of grace which thou hast received ‘; wrong, if it means’ full of grace which thou hast to bestow’. A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Nashville, 1930, vol. II, p. 13.

    “Gratia plena” of the Vulgate seems also shared by versions as Vetus Latina, Syriaca Peshitta, Arabian, Egyptian and Ethiopian. In addition:

    Wyclif’s Version [1380] has “full of grace”;
    Tyndale’s Version [1534] has “full of grace”;
    Cranmer’s Version [1539] has “full of grace”;
    Geneva Bible [1599] said in the margin notes “might be rendered full of grace and favour”,
    Douay Rheims [1610] has “full of grace”;
    Authorized Version or KJV [1611] said in the margin notes “much graced or graciously accepted”;
    Revised Version [1881], American Standard Version [1901] and Scofield Edition [1909, 1914] have in a margin note “Or Endowed with Grace”;
    New American Standard Bible [1971, 1977] has in a footnote “Or, O woman richly blessed”;
    English Peshitta Translation of Etheridge [1849] has “Peace to thee, full of grace”;
    English Peshitta Translation of Murdock [1852] has “Peace to thee, thou full of grace”;
    English Peshitta Translation of Lamsa [1933] has “Peace to you, o full of grace”;
    English Peshitta Translation of Younan [2000] has “Peace to you, full of grace”.

    Grace and favour are always and only by God (1 Peter 5:10 and Ephesians 1:6), but the translation “full of grace” in the sense of “beautiful, loved and always full of divine grace ” seems without any doubt correct, accurate and applicable to Mary by all Christians, given that not only Jesus (John 1:14) but also the deacon Stephen (Acts 6:8) was clearly said πλήρης χάριτος namely” full of grace “. The fullness of grace of Mary is obviously different from the fullness of grace of Jesus and Stephen, but “full of grace” is a just title for Mary, as “Son of God” is a just title for Jesus, given that even the judges were called “gods” (Psalm 82.6 and John 10.34). The opposition shown by non catholic people towards the translation “full of grace” therefore seems rather due to theological prejudices (Marian Devotion, Immaculate Conception, Perpetual Verginity) than to logical, linguistic and grammatical reasons (Song of Songs 4:7).

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  286. Jeff Cagle
    Posted October 13, 2015 at 5:42 pm | Permalink
    You do realize that the KJV, based on the Textus Receptus, has several passages that have since been shown to be later additions?

    I have no idea what you believe. Sounds like the Bible is infallible and inerrant except when it isn’t.

    This goes back to philology and canonicity. See also the Pericope Adulterae. Take a razor to your Bible for all I care.

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  287. Mermaid,

    I have never heard an argument like that used to say that Paul could have actually been Barnabas or John Mark or Onesimus or Philemon instead of the man that God actually chose to be Paul, the Apostle. I have never heard an argument like that at all! I really don’t think that God lives in the pluperfect subjunctive.

    I don’t think God lives there either. The point is that nothing in Mary caused God to choose Mary and nothing in Paul caused God to choose Paul. His choice of them was all of grace. This really shouldn’t be difficult, unless you hold assumptions that make it fundamentally impossible for you to actually believe God chose Mary entirely apart from any merits in her. It should be no issue to say God could have chosen Barnabas for the role that Paul fulfilled, in which case we would have the first epistle of Barnabas to the Corinthians or something like that. If God had chosen Mary Magadalene, it would be Mary from Mandala, wife of Joseph and mother of Jesus.

    Christian theologians have always said that God just as well could have chosen not to create. This isn’t hard. There is nothing intrinsic about Mary that led Him to choose her; rather, it was His choice of her that resulted in her being a fit vessel. If that is so, he could have chosen to make any other first-century Jewish young woman fit for that role.

    In fact, in arguing that way, you are undermining the meaning of your own dogma of irresistible grace. In an effort to knock Mary of what you believe to be a pedestal where she does not belong, you actually present an argument that refutes one of the 5 points of Calvinism. Amazing.

    What are you talking about. If God had chosen Mary Magdalene, the irresistible grace would have been given to her and she would have been the mother of Jesus.

    Could God have chosen any other first-century Jewish young woman to bear the Messiah. If you can’t answer yes to that, then you can’t also believe that God chose Mary by grace. He chose her because of some inherent worth. And that is what your Mariology lends itself to.

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  288. I said:
    In fact, in arguing that way, you are undermining the meaning of your own dogma of irresistible grace. In an effort to knock Mary of what you believe to be a pedestal where she does not belong, you actually present an argument that refutes one of the 5 points of Calvinism. Amazing.

    Robert:
    What are you talking about. If God had chosen Mary Magdalene, the irresistible grace would have been given to her and she would have been the mother of Jesus.>>>>>

    Yes, and if God had given pigs wings, they could fly.

    Well, Mary Magdalene was given grace to believe in Jesus. She was not a pig, but maybe you get the point.

    So, you are saying that God looked at all the possibilities of young virgins who were going to live in Palestine at the time His Son was to be born, and He picked Mary.

    When did God learn that Mary would be available?

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  289. “You do realize that the KJV, based on the Textus Receptus, has several passages that have since been shown to be later additions?”

    Semper reformanda. And SS is supposed to be a tenable position why again?

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  290. Mermaid,

    So, you are saying that God looked at all the possibilities of young virgins who were going to live in Palestine at the time His Son was to be born, and He picked Mary.

    Quit trying to make me into a Molinist. I’m saying that God picked Mary but that there was nothing inherently special about Mary that prompted His choice. His choice of her made her fit to be the mother of Christ.

    But He could have chosen another, in which that case His choice would have made that person worthy. And in any case, that choice of another would not be based on some kind of Molinist Middle Knowledge.

    We know He didn’t choose another. The question is, could he have? It’s not a silly question. Theologians have asked if God could have chosen not to create and answered in the affirmative without being a Molinist.

    So I’ll say it again, your Mariology apparently makes it utterly conceivable to you that God could have, if he had so chosen, picked someone else to bear the Messiah. Whether He did do that or not is irrelevant to my point. The fact that you can’t accept that God’s choice of Mary was free (meaning He could have chosen someone else just as well) betrays a belief that you think Mary was worthy before the choice was made, that she had some kind of intrinsic value that made her and no other woman fit to bear the Messiah.

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  291. Cletus,

    Semper reformanda. And SS is supposed to be a tenable position why again?

    Oh please, as if Rome and her defenders have never gone back and said “That statement we expected everyone to obey as if it were infallible, turned out it wasn’t infallible.”

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  292. Robert:
    So I’ll say it again, your Mariology apparently makes it utterly conceivable to you that God could have, if he had so chosen, picked someone else to bear the Messiah. >>>>

    Your argument makes no sense.

    The last time I had one of these arguments about what might have been it was with egalitarian feminists. They like to speculate on the possibility that Jesus could have been female.

    To me, both your argument here and their argument back then are on the level of God having been able to make pigs fly if He had wanted to.

    He wanted to grace a young girl named Mary, and that’s what He did. Since that time we all call her blessed. She is blessed among women.

    It was not a snap decision that made God choose her, and it required some special preparation. Part of that preparation involved her lineage. God did not look down the corridor of time and see that maybe Mary would be willing to help Him out.

    He prepared her ahead of time, long before the angel appeared to her. Please read carefully the CCC on this. You will notice the references to the grace of God and nothing about how God picked out Mary because He saw something inherent in her He liked.
    ————————————————-
    The Immaculate Conception

    490 To become the mother of the Savior, Mary “was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role.”132 The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as “full of grace”.133 In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God’s grace.

    491 Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God,134 was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:

    The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.135
    492 The “splendor of an entirely unique holiness” by which Mary is “enriched from the first instant of her conception” comes wholly from Christ: she is “redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son”.136 The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person “in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and chose her “in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love”.137

    493 The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God “the All-Holy” (Panagia), and celebrate her as “free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature”.138 By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long.

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  293. Tvd
    It was you who pointed out to me that the wcf makes claim for original text. Not strange at all that virtually all biblical scholars from rc to cp agree that textus rcptus (and vulgate) had short comings and better manuscripts are now available.

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  294. Mermaid,

    It was not a snap decision that made God choose her, and it required some special preparation. Part of that preparation involved her lineage. God did not look down the corridor of time and see that maybe Mary would be willing to help Him out.

    Agreed. So, could God have prepared another lineage from David (assuming that Luke 3 gives a Davidic genealogy) that ended with some other woman whom God prepared to make the mother of God. The only answer consistent with your above quote is yes.

    He prepared her ahead of time, long before the angel appeared to her. Please read carefully the CCC on this. You will notice the references to the grace of God and nothing about how God picked out Mary because He saw something inherent in her He liked.

    I know what is said; my quibble is what the reality is in practice. This is not a hard question. Could God have prepared a different lineage or even the same lineage as Mary’s but ending with Mary’s sister and make the sister the mother of Christ?

    If it’s all of grace, God could have done with another woman what He did with Mary. There’s no biblical revelation that says it had to be Mary. The OT simply says that she had to be a virgin. Mary wasn’t the only virgin girl in Palestine. If God had so chosen, could he have still made everything the same, including granting Mary extraordinary piety, but only change the outcome so that Susan or Jodie became the mother of Jesus and not Mary?

    This isn’t a hard question. We know that he didn’t do that, just as we know that He didn’t choose not to create. But we also know that God could have chosen not to create.

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  295. Robert
    Posted October 13, 2015 at 9:53 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid,

    It was not a snap decision that made God choose her, and it required some special preparation. Part of that preparation involved her lineage. God did not look down the corridor of time and see that maybe Mary would be willing to help Him out.

    Agreed. So, could God have prepared another lineage from David (assuming that Luke 3 gives a Davidic genealogy) that ended with some other woman whom God prepared to make the mother of God.

    Then that other woman would be “Mary” with all the same attributes [incl the attending “Mariology”]. You’re not getting anywhere with this. The argument is that Mary was special from her conception, not from the Annunciation–including being “full of grace.” [Grace originates with God, not the human being.]

    Nobody’s disagreeing with you.

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  296. sdb
    Posted October 13, 2015 at 9:53 pm | Permalink
    Tvd
    It was you who pointed out to me that the wcf makes claim for original text. Not strange at all that virtually all biblical scholars from rc to cp agree that textus rcptus (and vulgate) had short comings and better manuscripts are now available.

    I have no idea what you people believe. Not that I ever get a straight answer around here but are you going to cut out the story of the adulteress? No trace of it before the 2nd century CE.

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/aprilweb-only/117-31.0.html

    Cletus van Damme
    Posted October 13, 2015 at 8:17 pm | Permalink
    “You do realize that the KJV, based on the Textus Receptus, has several passages that have since been shown to be later additions?”

    Semper reformanda. And SS is supposed to be a tenable position why again?

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  297. D. G. Hart
    Posted October 13, 2015 at 8:28 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, ” I always argue with you guys based on sola scriptura”

    I didn’t make up the title thing. “… “full of grace” is a just title for Mary”

    http://digilander.libero.it/domingo7/Mary.htm

    So much for the sufficiency of Scripture.>>>>

    So, you guys can quote authoritative sources and call it sola scriptura, but I can’t.

    Jeff can butcher passages of Scripture, and call it sola scriptura.

    This is eye opening for me. It’s not that I don’t like you guys, because I do. It is just kind of, well, like I said, eye opening for me.

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  298. I actually find myself agreeing with TVD here. It seems like a lot of folks are intentionally misconstruing Catholic doctrine simply for the purpose of condemning it. Something about that seems to be a bit unchristian to me.

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  299. cvd
    As I noted before ss (meaning final and only infallible authority on matters of faith and morals) is similar to science. Data and theory are intertwined, but data is the final judge. Sure theories are in principle falsifiable, but eventually that isn’t so in practice. No need for central authority or proof to arrive at certainty or consensus.

    You didn’t like that analogy because the subject matter is different. To be sure, one comes from observation of world and the other from observation of word. But otherwise I see no reason why analogy doesn’t work.

    One might be tempted to point to the purported ecclesiastical chaos of prots to which I respond:
    1) lots of religions without central authority do pretty well – islam comes to mind.
    2) in US where we have wealth, freedom, and consumerism every religion bifurcates.
    3) the diffs aming prots are greatly exaggerated. Overwhelming majority agree on the so-called essentials that comprise the faith statements of cccu institutions and nae members and refer to divergences as distinctives. Not crazy about this myself, but coupled with open communion among most congregations the relationship among prots is more similar to relationship among groups in communion with Rome and in some cases far less acrimonious!
    4) On almostevery measure prots score higher on what they believe and practice (even including the mainline).
    5) Even with magisterium that purportedly settles everything you have significant divergence amongthe Cardinals. Perhaps just tge results of sin and not clarity? Maybe true for prots as well. But it seems to me submission to a cardinal who works with government to expand abortion access, implement euthanasia, and advocate ssm is a high price to pay for institutional unity (and to think Daneels isn’t even the most radical). Dreher gets at this in the beginning of this post.

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  300. Tvd – wcf is a pretty good summary. No, ss=/=kjv-only. Yes story of woman caught in adultry probably not legit. Did I get doctrine/dogma distinction right in other thread?

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  301. Bobby
    Posted October 13, 2015 at 11:11 pm | Permalink
    I actually find myself agreeing with TVD here. It seems like a lot of folks are intentionally misconstruing Catholic doctrine simply for the purpose of condemning it. Something about that seems to be a bit unchristian to me.

    That’s fairly brilliant, man. What if we were to turn the tables and there were only 30,000 or so “Roman Catholics” in the whole world claiming to be the true Church, and not only that, could trace their “apostolic succession” at least back 1900 years?

    Not a bad truth claim on earth, better than most. And that’s not even getting into the theology of the Holy Spirit and “I will always be with you,” one of the Catholic proof texts.

    And thx, Bobby for the other part. Read through my history at this here blog and find more referee than litigant. Per Dennis Prager, to love God is to love truth; clarity over agreement.

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  302. Tom,

    Then that other woman would be “Mary” with all the same attributes [incl the attending “Mariology”]. You’re not getting anywhere with this. The argument is that Mary was special from her conception, not from the Annunciation–including being “full of grace.” [Grace originates with God, not the human being.]

    Nobody’s disagreeing with you.

    Finally a straight answer. The whole discussion began with Mermaid questioning how Mary’s person and character could be irrelevant to God’s choice of her. (Also Peter and Paul). The catechism could be read to be stating that, but the problem is with how things work out in popular piety. It’s very easy to go from God’s choice made Mary worthy to God chose Mary because she was worthy even without the extra Mariology. The Mariology makes it harder on the street level.

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  303. sdb
    Posted October 13, 2015 at 11:25 pm | Permalink
    Tvd – wcf is a pretty good summary. No, ss=/=kjv-only. Yes story of woman caught in adultry probably not legit. Did I get doctrine/dogma distinction right in other thread?

    Din’t see it yet. I trust you did.

    What to do about the Bible, I dunno. I liked the Jesus Seminar. Bigtime. 😉 Entirely reasonable.

    Did I agree with a word of it? Ah, there’s the rub. “Inspired,” inscripturated,” “canonized.” What if instead of digging up the Gospel According to Thomas of 300 CE they dig up a new scroll from 55 CE that contradicts half the synoptic Gospels?

    http://gnosis.org/naghamm/gosthom.html

    Dude, I’m not here to convert anyone to anything. Protestants know little about each other, and far far less about what they’re actually “protesting.”

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  304. Robert
    Posted October 13, 2015 at 11:35 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    “Then that other woman would be “Mary” with all the same attributes [incl the attending “Mariology”]. You’re not getting anywhere with this. The argument is that Mary was special from her conception, not from the Annunciation–including being “full of grace.” [Grace originates with God, not the human being.]

    Nobody’s disagreeing with you.”

    Finally a straight answer. The whole discussion began with Mermaid questioning how Mary’s person and character could be irrelevant to God’s choice of her.

    Tom, the Unificator. Who knew, or even suspected.

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  305. sdb,

    “data is the final judge.”

    Right. And the identified “data” (that is, what is recognized as comprising the “final and only infallible authority”) remains provisional and ever in-flux as we see here. Then multiply this out to not just the extent/scope of your canon, but its inerrancy, inspiration, authority, closure, and the doctrine of SS itself. But given the built-in disclaimers of your confessions and every proposed teaching by a Protestant body, this is not surprising – semper reformanda. There’s no way for your system to identify the unchanging standard for all things to be judged against because of the very nature of your disclaimers in the first place. So my question remains.

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  306. Bobby, how about bringing up the parts (lots of them) of Roman Catholic theology that its defenders prefer to ignore? It’s not a Call to Cafeteria after all.

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  307. James Young, “But given the built-in disclaimers of your confessions and every proposed teaching by a Protestant body, this is not surprising – semper reformanda.”

    So what explains the wide ignorance and disregard of Roman Catholic theology and practice in your circles since you have such an air-tight system? Might it be that you don’t have the state to threaten unbelief with — say — an Inquisition?

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  308. James Young, indeed. What did happen to anti-triumphalism and pro-humility?

    Having just returned from a week covering Pope Francis’s triumphant journey to the United States, I can confidently tell you that the news media are in love with the Vicar of Christ. Time and again, commentators, pundits, anchorpersons, and editorialists opined that Pope Francis is the bomb. They approved, of course, of his gentle way with those suffering from disabilities and his proclivity to kiss babies, but their approbation was most often awakened by this Pope’s “merciful” and “inclusive” approach, his willingness to reach out to those on the margins. More often than not, they characterized this tenderness as a welcome contrast to the more rigid and dogmatic style of Benedict XVI. Often, I heard words such as “revolutionary” and “game-changing” in regard to Pope Francis, and one commentator sighed that she couldn’t imagine going back to the Church as it was before the current pontiff.

    Well, I love Pope Francis too, and I certainly appreciate the novelty of his approach and his deft manner of breathing life into the Church. In fact, a number of times on the air I commented that the Pope’s arrival to our shores represented a new springtime after the long winter of the sex abuse scandals. But I balk at the suggestion that the new Pope represents a revolution or that he is dramatically turning away from the example of his immediate predecessors. And I strenuously deny that he is nothing but a soft-hearted powder-puff, indifferent to sin.

    Is this Jesus or Francis’ church?

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  309. James Young, “There’s no way for your system to identify the unchanging standard for all things to be judged against because of the very nature of your disclaimers in the first place.”

    And here’s “your” way of identifying the unchanging standard:

    Archbishop Mark Coleridge said that while there are many opinions among prelates at the Oct. 4-25 Synod of Bishops, one impression that has emerged is that some believe the choice facing the gathering is either to “abandon church teaching” or commit to a “bubble of immutability.”

    “Between those two extremes … there is in fact a vast territory … to be explored,” said Coleridge, who heads the eastern Australia archdiocese of Brisbane.

    “That’s what the synod should be about,” said the archbishop. “The words and exercise of pastoral activity — saying, ‘OK, we don’t go to one extreme and say we’re going to chuck church teaching out the window or the other extreme and say we’re going to do nothing.’”

    “I think we have to explore all kinds of possibilities in that vast middle ground, where I think the Spirit is moving and calling us to be,” he said.

    In other words, we’ll make it up as we go. Sort of like how the bishops handled the sex scandal.

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  310. James Young, and how do you reconcile this bishop with Cardinal Kasper?

    In the two-page memo, Myers also orders parishes and Catholic institutions not to host people or organizations that disagree with church teachings.

    He says Catholics, “especially ministers and others who represent the Church, should not participate in or be present at religious events or events intended to endorse or support those who reject or ignore Church teaching and Canon Law.”

    The new rules could raise eyebrows given that Francis is currently leading a high-level Vatican summit, called a synod, where he and some 270 bishops are debating whether to let divorced and remarried Catholics receive Communion, and how to be more welcoming to cohabiting and gay couples whose lives don’t conform to Catholic teaching.

    Some standard.

    When your church sets the standard, let us know. Until then, maybe you don’t preen about how bad Protestantism is.

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  311. Darryl,

    So what explains the wide ignorance and disregard of Roman Catholic theology and practice in your circles since you have such an air-tight system?

    After many conversations with James, I think the ultimate answer is that for all of the vaunted claims that the Magisterium provides all this irreformable certainty, it really does no good except for the Magisterium. People are just supposed to implicitly trust the Magisterium. They know the answers. They have the certainty. Ignorance and disrespect of RC theology and practice is finally irrelevant to the system because the system doesn’t care one whit about laypeople knowing and believing. All it cares about is nominal assent. Trust the heavy lifting of theology to the Magisterium. As long as you say you believe what it says, you don’t have to know it; indeed, you can’t really know it.

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  312. Bottom line, though, mermaid, sincere question – what would be your suggestion to end the error of Mary idolatry and return the focus to Jesus . Aren’t you jealous for that.

    “You know, you can travel all over the world and you’ll see idols and shrines to Mary everywhere. I mean, I’ve seen them in churches, cathedrals, in houses, and I’ve seen them in hotel lobbies, I’ve seen them in hotel rooms. I’ve seen them in restaurants. I’ve seen them along the highways, byways and paths up in the mountains in the most remote places”

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  313. Robert, except that James knows they didn’t have the answers when it came to the sex scandal. So James is really his own pope — he knows when to believe the magisterium and when not. And Protestants are individualistic.

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  314. Darryl,

    And that’s why all of the claims of Rome’s epistemological superiority ring hollow. James and others want to make a big deal that Rome proposes infallible dogma and therefore is more credible, but if you can’t finally know what that is with the kind of absolute certainty they want, what good is it? You’re still left to do all the interpreting on your own if you want to be a thoughtful religious person. At the end of the day, you are still submitting to your own understanding. And since your own understanding isn’t infallible, you are in the same boat.

    What one submits to in Romanism is at least as shaky as James thinks the Protestant canon is because it’s self-evident what it is that we should submit to, the point at which the true church ends and a false church begins, what is discipline and what is doctrine/dogma, discipline cannot be bifurcated from dogma, etc. One RC once admitted as much to me implicitly. After pressing him, it became “Well, at least Rome has the mechanism for solving these questions even if she never uses it and we can’t be absolutely certain of when it has been used.”

    IOW, if you’re the Magisterium you might be able to know something, but it’s no guarantee that you will. Now that’s a solid foundation. No wonder Francis is going all postmodern on us.

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  315. Robert, from what I’ve seen of late, people talk way more about Rome’s mechanism than the Vatican actually uses it. Do these people actually follow what happens at Synods when bishops gather?

    And how well did that mechanism work back when the Western Church had three popes?

    Nothing to see here. Move along.

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  316. sdb,

    My question was:
    “You do realize that the KJV, based on the Textus Receptus, has several passages that have since been shown to be later additions?”

    Semper reformanda. And SS is supposed to be a tenable position why again?

    Darryl,

    “So what explains the wide ignorance and disregard of Roman Catholic theology and practice in your circles since you have such an air-tight system?”

    Sloth, dissent, sin. Just like people disregarded the prophets and Christ and the apostles. Not news.

    “Might it be that you don’t have the state to threaten unbelief with — say — an Inquisition?”

    Ignorance and disregard still occurred when heresy was viewed as a crime against the state. So this thesis explains nothing.

    “Is this Jesus or Francis’ church?”

    Jesus’ church shepherded by Francis.

    “In other words, we’ll make it up as we go.”

    Or in other words, we’ll distinguish between principles and pastoral application of principles.

    “Some standard.”

    Bishops with differing stances is nothing new. Read the history of Trent, or any ecumenical council really. So similar dynamics in a synod is not news.

    “When your church sets the standard, let us know.”

    It’s already been set over and over. STM-triad. What’s the standard in Protestantism? Just provisional opinion – the “final standard” that everything is to be judged against remains ever tentative and subject to change. Not a great foundation, in fact not a foundation at all.

    Robert,

    “I think the ultimate answer is that for all of the vaunted claims that the Magisterium provides all this irreformable certainty, it really does no good except for the Magisterium.”

    That’s odd, considering the history of Rome exercising magisterial authority in responding and stamping out heresies. I guess the laity never hear about it – it’s all done in secret.

    “Trust the heavy lifting of theology to the Magisterium. As long as you say you believe what it says, you don’t have to know it; indeed, you can’t really know it.”

    Hmm non-theologians are doctors of the church. More oddness. And no, ignorance is not a virtue commended by Rome – faith seeks understanding.

    “James and others want to make a big deal that Rome proposes infallible dogma and therefore is more credible, but if you can’t finally know what that is with the kind of absolute certainty they want, what good is it? You’re still left to do all the interpreting on your own if you want to be a thoughtful religious person. At the end of the day, you are still submitting to your own understanding. And since your own understanding isn’t infallible, you are in the same boat.”

    And once again we see the undermining and dismissal of Christ and the Apostles’ claims to authority. We’re all human and interpret – that’s not news, nor is that fact justification for a system and rule of faith based on a changing “unchanging standard” that can’t yield divine truths by its own disclaimers.

    “Well, at least Rome has the mechanism for solving these questions even if she never uses it and we can’t be absolutely certain of when it has been used.”

    Of course she’s used it. Just one infallible dogma is enough to demonstrate that.

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  317. Why does provisional imply untenable? Is it untenable to believe things the church teaches but does not declare infallibly? The ordinary teaching of your bishops commands your full assent, yet they are fallible. I don’t see the problem.

    The reality is that while all of our doctrines are in principle provisional, that is not the case in practice (again the analogy with science works quite well here – there is a hierarchy of certainty and while it is possible in principle that certain theories could be falsified, we don’t work that way in practice).

    As an empirical matter, is the range of beliefs among protestants wider than the range of beliefs among RCs? I see little evidence that is the case on either theological or moral questions.

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  318. You guys have convinced yourselves that Catholicism is not the way to go. I don’t find your nit-picking convincing, but you you guys do. You have erected high walls against anything Catholic. That’s fine. That is your right. She still considers you brethren, as I do. There are some fine Protestant Bible scholars and preachers who present the Gospel without feeling a need to trash Catholicism as they do it.

    However, that is not the same as making a case for your views. Why not defend sola scriptura, for example? Why not explain how an ever changing view of what Scripture even is can be trusted? Why not explain why even the ESV had to use some gender inclusive language so it could be marketed to a post modern culture where gendered language is becoming more and more offensive?

    Why not explain why you do not insist that your members learn Greek and Hebrew so they can really know Scripture in the original languages? Since you guys like to Greek the alleged ignorant, impressing them with your superior linguistic skills, why do you keep the masses in the dark about Biblical languages? Bring them up to speed.

    Why not do what the Jewish community does and teach its people Hebrew? They don’t use Bible translations.

    If you really believe that the Bible is the only rule of faith and practice, why do you keep your people in the dark?

    Why do you quote Calvin in translation as well? Make your people learn French.

    I know you’re not going to do any of that. Your people are dependent on your pastors and elders for their understanding of Scripture. Just admit that you really do not believe the Bible to be the only rule of faith and practice. That fact is evident to those looking on from the outside, or even from the inside.

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  319. sdb,

    So divine revelation (infallible by definition) is reduced to “shrug, this is the best we can do at the moment”. So we see two sides of the coin Protestantism reduces to based on its disclaimers and principles – sheer fideism or stark rationalism. Neither should be compelling options to any rational person. A “final judge” that remains ever provisional and tentative by your own admission hardly merits the description.

    And diversity or unity of beliefs is a secondary issue. Even if Protestantism was reduced to just one individual who was by definition perfectly unified in his beliefs, the problem outlined above would still remain.

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  320. @mwf
    “You guys have convinced yourselves that Catholicism is not the way to go.”
    Well I can’t speak for any one else here, but as I told you a few threads back I explored the RCC pretty carefully when a student at ND. I have a great deal of respect for much of RCC, but ultimately I found too many items unconvincing.

    “…feeling a need to trash Catholicism as they do it…” Pointing out that all is not well in the RCC is not trashing it. I’m sorry you feel that way.

    “However, that is not the same as making a case for your views. Why not defend sola scriptura, for example?”
    First, much of the response on this blog is not a defense of protestantism as it is a critique of a dishonest and triumphalist apologetic coming from CtC. Not every comment, post, or blog has to do everything.

    Second, I have sketched out several (probably too long) outlines of why I find SS compelling. You may find them wanting – that’s fine, but that isn’t the same as not making a positive case. Perhaps they were too long and you just weren’t interested in reading them. I understand (I bore me too!), but then it seems rather unfair to make the kind of harsh charges you make here.

    “Why not explain how an ever changing view of what Scripture even is can be trusted? Why not explain why even the ESV had to use some gender inclusive language so it could be marketed to a post modern culture where gendered language is becoming more and more offensive?”
    Maybe because I’m not a huge of fan of the ESV? That being said, I don’t see any major doctrinal issues coming from the ESV. The textual criticisms I find to be mostly overblown. I’m pretty sure the bit about the woman caught in adultery was not originally part of the gospel, the ending of Mark was a later addition, the part in John’s epistle was an add-on, etc… Taken as a whole I don’t see that this undermines the message coming from scripture. I don’t see any doctrines that hinge on these questionable elements of the TR. Some critics seem to think this totally undermines the authority of scripture, but I find that criticism by folks like Bart Ehrman completely overblown.

    “Why not explain why you do not insist that your members learn Greek and Hebrew so they can really know Scripture in the original languages? Since you guys like to Greek the alleged ignorant, impressing them with your superior linguistic skills, why do you keep the masses in the dark about Biblical languages? Bring them up to speed.”
    Speaking as one who knows no greek or hebrew, it isn’t given to everyone to be a teacher (who I think should know the languages in play). I submit to the teaching authority of my session. I don’t think they are infallible and I do believe that the main thrust of the gospel is sufficiently clear even without a grasp of original languages. After all, the Holy Spirit is the final interpreter who opens our eyes to the gospel. Like the blind man who was healed, there is a lot I don’t know, but I know I was blind but now I see.

    “If you really believe that the Bible is the only rule of faith and practice, why do you keep your people in the dark?”
    Who believes that the Bible is the only rule of faith and practice? Here is what the WCF says:

    II. Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testament…All which are given by inspiration of God to be the rule of faith and life….

    VI. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word: and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.

    VII. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all: yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.

    I would note three things in response:
    1) The Bible is the rule of faith and life.
    2) It is not the only rule – common issues like worship of God, government of Church, etc… are ordered by the light of nature even though there are boundary conditions imposed by the Bible.
    3) Not everything in the Bible is clear – that’s why we need teachers.

    Your people are dependent on your pastors and elders for their understanding of Scripture. Just admit that you really do not believe the Bible to be the only rule of faith and practice. That fact is evident to those looking on from the outside, or even from the inside.

    You keep misinterpreting sola scriptura (which I don’t think you’ll find in the WCF). It is the only final authority, not the only source of guidance. That is in the confession. Your repeated insistence that we fess up to not believing something we don’t believe is like someone badgering you about the fact a pope could get something wrong.

    It seems to me that Jeff has given you something to ponder. You may disagree, but I think dismissing it as trashing the catholic church is dishonest. You may not be sure what to do with that even if you remain convinced of the RCC’s teaching on Mary. That’s fine of course. We can’t all know everything about everything.

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  321. Ariel, everything you say can easily be said in return to you.

    The difference is that you say we’re still in fellowship with you, while we maintain that cleaving to a true church is necessary for salvation. In which case, the irony is that for all the audacity over there a higher ecclesiology prevails over here. Per our formulation, you have more to lose staying over there than we have of staying over here per your formulation. Can you up the ante and give us an equal incentive? Not so far.

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  322. “So divine revelation (infallible by definition) is reduced to “shrug, this is the best we can do at the moment”. ”

    I don’t think that is implied at all! Rather, divine revelation is infallible, but it is always possible that I misunderstand or get it wrong. There are somethings that I find so well established that there is no way I’m going to doubt them (and there are vast areas where prots and RCs agree after all). I see no fideism or rationalism – again would you make that charge about the tentative nature of what you know from science? Of course not. You seem to have this binary understanding of knowledge – it is either absolutely secure and unassailable or utterly unreliable. I disagree.

    The reduction to a single person doesn’t work by the way. If lots of people end up at the same spot on something, it seems to me there isn’t as much epistemological chaos as you think the stance implies.

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  323. sdb,

    “Rather, divine revelation is infallible, but it is always possible that I misunderstand or get it wrong. ”

    Right, and given your disclaimers, you never get past that. Buying into Protestantism doesn’t get you anywhere – you’re no better off than before. It’s a bad deal, thus you get stuck with fideism or rationalism.

    “You seem to have this binary understanding of knowledge – it is either absolutely secure and unassailable or utterly unreliable.”

    Nope. But divine revelation by definition must be taken on the authority of another. Protestantism can’t ever cash that check, by its own disclaimers.

    “The reduction to a single person doesn’t work by the way.”

    Let’s say you’re the only Protestant in the world. Nothing has changed in the argument.

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  324. Cletus: Right, and given your disclaimers, you never get past that. Buying into Protestantism doesn’t get you anywhere – you’re no better off than before. It’s a bad deal, thus you get stuck with fideism or rationalism.

    Cletus, you seem to be stuck in one or more fallacies somewhere. Let’s unpack that by considering a parallel argument that is obviously bad.

    Me: The physical world is infallible in the sense that objects are what they are and do what they do. There hypothetically could be an actually correct description of the physical world.

    However, man’s understanding of the physical world, aka science, is always fallible in the sense that we cannot perfectly apprehend it. Hence, scientific understanding is a provisional understanding of an absolute truth.

    You: … the identified “data” (that is, what is recognized as comprising the “final and only infallible authority”) remains provisional and ever in-flux as we see here. Then multiply this out to not just the extent/scope of your [data but also to your measurements and models themselves.] But given the built-in disclaimers of your [scientific journals] and every proposed teaching by a [scientific] body, this is not surprising – [provisional acceptance of everything]. There’s no way for your system to identify the unchanging standard for all things to be judged against because of the very nature of your disclaimers in the first place. (from your earlier post)

    Why is the argument bad? Well, it is informal for one thing. You don’t state clearly what you’re arguing for, which is suitable for a blog. But we can infer that anti-science-you is arguing that the scientist cannot make truth claims. Instead, truth claims come from the pronouncements of infallible authorities.

    And this is wrong because it dismisses induction improperly, and because it trades on the fallacy of argument from authority, which is your “unchanging standard.”

    When put like this, the nature of your fallacies become clear.

    (1) You confuse absolute truth with absolute knowledge of truth.

    Protestants claim that the Word of God is absolutely true, but that it is highly likely beyond any reasonable doubt that the Protestant canon is the correct identification of the Word of God.

    The first claim is absolute truth; the second is provisional.

    You want to argue that provisional truth claims are not actually truth claims. We see the same error from the Clarkians. They are discontent with merely having the word of God; they also want absolute certainty for their interpretation of it.

    So how to describe the fallacy? It is a kind of induction/deduction confusion. When you (correctly) observe that Protestants do not claim infallibility for their theology, you believe that this destroys the value of any of their truth claims.

    But inductive systems are not that brittle. You need to spend some time working with scientific data to really understand this point, I think.

    (2) You wrongly believe the Roman Catholic escapes provisionality by accepting the authority of the church as absolute.

    However, the Roman Catholic system is every bit as provisional as the Protestant.

    First, because the individual RC must rely on his own understanding of church doctrine, which is taught to him by priests who are relying on their own understanding of church doctrine, which in turn is enforced by bishops who rely on their own understanding of church doctrine, who in turn are accountable to a pope who relies on his own understanding of church doctrine, and who only rarely exercises the gift of infallibility — and whose infallible pronouncements cannot be positively identified.

    That’s a lot of points of failure in the system. All it takes is one pope, one bishop, one priest going off the rails to make the believer’s whole train go off course.

    A special and important example of this is Vat I’s doctrine of infallibility. What if Pius just flat-out misunderstood church history and doctrine, and thought he was speaking ex cathedra when he was not in fact doing so?

    In that case, the doctrine that undergirds your confidence would be simply wrong. How do you know that this is not so? You have only two options: either to simply assert that God wouldn’t let the Church get it so wrong (which is fideist), or to assert that your research supports Vat I (which is crypto-Protestant).

    Second, because the individual RC’s possession of the truth in RC doctrine is always provisional, contingent upon the correctness of his belief (a) that truth comes from authority [a fallacy of itself], and (b) that he has correctly identified the RC church as that infallible authority.

    (BTW: The entire rest of the Christian church believes that the RC has gotten this wrong. Jus’ sayin’)

    So we could describe your fallacy as a sophisticated appeal to authority. It is one which fails to recognize that the authority is not self-validating, hence cannot be infallibly known; hence, all pronouncements from the authority are provisional.

    In other words: tu quoque. Welcome to provisionality, which is the state of things in the real world.

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  325. Cletus,

    That’s odd, considering the history of Rome exercising magisterial authority in responding and stamping out heresies. I guess the laity never hear about it – it’s all done in secret.

    It’s not an issue of never hearing about it. It’s an issue that if you aren’t the Magisterium and gifted with the charism of infallibility, and if such infallibility is necessary to be a non-fideist or non-rationalist, the whole thing doesn’t help the laity. They aren’t infallible.

    Hmm non-theologians are doctors of the church. More oddness. And no, ignorance is not a virtue commended by Rome – faith seeks understanding.

    Yes, because implicit faith, forbidding the Scriptures in the language of the common people, etc., etc. is all about encouraging people to seek understanding.

    And once again we see the undermining and dismissal of Christ and the Apostles’ claims to authority..

    Not a dismissal. Just pointing out that Rome doesn’t get to claim to have that kind of authority when she can’t claim the same kind of inspiration for it.

    We’re all human and interpret – that’s not news, nor is that fact justification for a system and rule of faith based on a changing “unchanging standard” that can’t yield divine truths by its own disclaimers.

    Who’s trying to change the Bible? If the best you can give me is “textual variants,” that’s lame. Even Roman Catholics accept that textual variants exist.

    And who says the system can’t yield divine truth. Whenever we’ve interpreted Scripture accurately, we’ve yielded divine truth. You just want someone to be able to say “Look, here we know for sure for sure we’ve done it rightly.”

    Of course she’s used it. Just one infallible dogma is enough to demonstrate that.

    Really. It is so plain what has been infallibly defined and what hasn’t? Tom hasn’t gotten the memo.

    And if one is enough, then here we go:

    23 Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.” (Jer. 9:23–24)

    Explicit claim to being from God, so an explicit claim to divine authority. You’re all about claims. On what grounds is the claim here insufficient to make me non-fideist.

    You said to Jeff, regarding his comment that it is always possible that he misunderstands it:

    Right, and given your disclaimers, you never get past that. Buying into Protestantism doesn’t get you anywhere – you’re no better off than before. It’s a bad deal, thus you get stuck with fideism or rationalism.

    Really. So you get past the fact that it is always possible that YOU might understand what Rome has said? You are infallible? By the same standard, buying into Roman Catholicism doesn’t get you anywhere unless you become infallible. Thus my point about it not really mattering what you know about what Rome believes. You think buying into Rome puts you into a better position even though you’ll admit that you might be mistaken about what Rome teaches. That’s only the case if misunderstanding is made completely irrelevant—implicit faith. Let the church believe for for you.

    Nope. But divine revelation by definition must be taken on the authority of another.

    By whose definition? If God says something to me, do I have to look for another to confirm it? What about Jesus. Why do I need Rome now but Jesus didn’t think it was necessary in his day?

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  326. Robert
    If God says something to me, do I have to look for another to confirm it? What about Jesus. Why do I need Rome now but Jesus didn’t think it was necessary in his day?

    There are three persons in the Trinity. You guys constantly talk as if there are only two.

    “The reduction to a single person doesn’t work by the way.”

    Neither does the Catholic Church. No pope ignores the bishops and the sensus fidei. To say otherwise is a lie. Neither does the Church operate on the authority of men, as the Protestants are forced to concede they do.

    So we could describe your fallacy as a sophisticated appeal to authority.

    No fallacy. It’s an appeal to authority, alright, per Jesus’s promise to send the Holy Spirit to the apostles in John 15, and the descent of the Spirit at Pentecost, which is considered the actual birth of the Church. To discuss the Church in any fashion without the centrality of the Holy Spirit is the only fallacy here.

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  327. James Young, “Sloth, dissent, sin. Just like people disregarded the prophets and Christ and the apostles. Not news.”

    And we wonder why reform never happens. Sin? Shrug. Big deal. Holiness? So what.

    If the bishops who confronted Luther had thought the way you did, they wouldn’t have gathered at Trent.

    And are you so placid about sin when it means surreptitiously moving around sexually active priests (and hiding assets)?

    Remember, you’re supposed to be calling us to a higher standard. Yours seems to be, whatever. Yup.

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  328. Mermaid, and why do you trust bishops who are untrustworthy? Do you really know which ones covered up for wayward priests?

    You haven’t made any case for the superiority of episcopacy. So there.

    One point in favor of sola scriptura — Christianity is a revealed religion. If God speaks, if God has revealed himself, studying and paying heed to what he says/reveals seems pretty important. On your side, you dissect matters by church officers on any number of matters not revealed in Scripture and come to how many interpretations? A lot (Woody Allen’s favorite number).

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  329. Zrim, “Can you up the ante and give us an equal incentive?”

    I’ve never heard of a Protestant converting to Rome to gain eternal life. I have heard of Roman Catholics converting to Christ and finding him preached and followed in a Protestant church.

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  330. James Young, buying into Roman Catholicism gets you the bodily assumption of Mary and not an infallible pope but the doctrine of papal infallibility. Those are the only two infallible dogma for all those millennia of Petrine ministry and papal supremacy.

    At least the Bible gives you a lot more to consider.

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  331. Tom,

    There are three persons in the Trinity. You guys constantly talk as if there are only two.

    What are you talking about? Cletus is the one who says appealing to the witness of the Spirit is fideistic. We’re not the ones who believes the Spirit speaks only when the Magisterium opens its mouth.

    Neither does the Catholic Church. No pope ignores the bishops and the sensus fidei. To say otherwise is a lie. Neither does the Church operate on the authority of men, as the Protestants are forced to concede they do.

    You’re responding to something I didn’t say, but it this is a plainly false statement. The continued rail