The Temporality of the Church

Inés San Martín reminds that the papacy still has the vestiges of civil authority and can use such power when it needs to:

The Vatican City State, which is about 110 acres, is an independent state — in fact, the smallest internationally recognized independent state in the world by both area and population. The pope is its head, ruling almost like an absolute monarch. The Vatican mints its own euros, prints its own stamps, issues passports and license plates, operates media outlets, has its own flag and anthem, and yes, operates a criminal justice system.

Despite its somewhat medieval look, the Vatican City State technically doesn’t have a prison. It does, however, have four holding cells, each measuring about 12 feet by 12 feet, which authorities prefer to call “secure rooms” that randomly hold minor offenders, such as pickpockets caught at the Vatican Museums. . . .

The holding cells fall under the responsibility of the Corps of Gendarmes of Vatican City State, also known as the “gendarmeria,” a 130-person body that is responsible for border control, crime prevention and investigation, and the enforcement of financial and commercial regulations, according to its website.

In order to face the Vatican’s version of criminal justice, one either must be a citizen of the Vatican City State or be accused of committing a crime on its territory.

When it comes to the authority for making arrests, the gendarmeria depends on the Vatican’s Promoter of Justice office, currently headed by Italian layman Gian Piero Milano, a lawyer and professor of Church law at a Roman university. He was appointed by Pope Francis in 2013.

If a tourist manages to sneak into the Vatican’s grocery store, for example, and is caught stealing a bottle of wine, he could be questioned by the promoter of justice and taken into custody by the gendarmes. . . .

When a suspect is called in, he or she is interviewed behind closed doors in a process in which defense lawyers have no right to speak, although suspects can confer with them or refuse to answer a question.

A suspect considered a flight risk can be held in custody for up to 50 days, renewable for an additional 50 days in difficult cases, while awaiting trial.

When the modern Vatican City was founded in 1929, a result of the Lateran Treaty, Pope Pius XI decided it would be easier to adopt Italian criminal laws and procedures than to create his own version. Hence, the Vatican’s judicial system is highly similar to Italy’s, although it has since adopted its own laws and amendments.

The Vatican’s promoter of justice, for example, has the authority to bring accused criminals before a giudice unico, or lone trial court judge. Convicted parties can appeal to a three-judge tribunal, and ultimately to the Supreme Court of Appeals.

Accused criminals have the right to a public defender or a lawyer of their own choice.

If convicted, an inmate might serve time in one of the Vatican cells, as would have been the case for Gabrielle if Benedict hadn’t pardoned him. More commonly, long sentences are served at an Italian prison, with the Vatican footing the bill.

Of course, the pope has the power to overrule any court decision.

With the Vatican lacking a long-term prison, most convictions result in fines rather than confinement.

And because the Vatican’s justice system has so little experience with serious offenses, pontiffs have occasionally allowed Italian courts to rule in its cases. That was the case, for instance, in 1981, when Italian prosecutors handled the prosecution of Turkish citizen Mehmet Ali Ağca for his assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II.

It’s a long way from the glory days of papal supremacy:

The Dictates of the Pope

That the Roman church was founded by God alone.
That the Roman pontiff alone can with right be called universal.
That he alone can depose or reinstate bishops.
That, in a council his legate, even if a lower grade, is above all bishops, and can pass sentence of deposition against them.
That the pope may depose the absent.
That, among other things, we ought not to remain in the same house with those excommunicated by him.
That for him alone is it lawful, according to the needs of the time, to make new laws, to assemble together new congregations, to make an abbey of a canonry; and, on the other hand, to divide a rich bishopric and unite the poor ones.
That he alone may use the imperial insignia.
That of the pope alone all princes shall kiss the feet.
That his name alone shall be spoken in the churches.
That this is the only name in the world.
That it may be permitted to him to depose emperors.
That he may be permitted to transfer bishops if need be.
That he has power to ordain a clerk of any church he may wish.
That he who is ordained by him may preside over another church, but may not hold a subordinate position; and that such a one may not receive a higher grade from any bishop.
That no synod shall be called a general one without his order.
That no chapter and no book shall be considered canonical without his authority.
That a sentence passed by him may be retracted by no one; and that he himself, alone of all, may retract it.
That he himself may be judged by no one.
That no one shall dare to condemn one who appeals to the apostolic chair.
That to the latter should be referred the more important cases of every church.
That the Roman church has never erred; nor will it err to all eternity, the Scripture bearing witness.
That the Roman pontiff, if he have been canonically ordained, is undoubtedly made a saint by the merits of St. Peter; St. Ennodius, bishop of Pavia, bearing witness, and many holy fathers agreeing with him. As is contained in the decrees of St. Symmachus the pope.
That, by his command and consent, it may be lawful for subordinates to bring accusations.
That he may depose and reinstate bishops without assembling a synod.
That he who is not at peace with the Roman church shall not be considered catholic.
That he may absolve subjects from their fealty to wicked men.

Audacious indeed.

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150 thoughts on “The Temporality of the Church

  1. What an interesting coincidence-I quoted this same letter by Gregory VII in my sermon last Lord’s day on Mark 10:32-45. James and John Syndrome?

    Like

  2. “That of the pope alone all princes shall kiss the feet.”
    – Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son…
    “That his name alone shall be spoken in the churches.”
    – For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.
    “That this is the only name in the world.”
    – Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name

    Hmmm…

    Like

  3. Darryl,

    Haven’t you learned by now that the pope is infallible except when he’s not. Clearly this was not an infallible teaching. Tom said so.

    Like

  4. I’m a use Gregory’s rights as an outline for my employee’s responsiblilities toward me. That Gregory knew what time it was, “si, si por supuesto el patron”

    Like

  5. Robert
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 4:07 pm | Permalink
    Darryl,

    Haven’t you learned by now that the pope is infallible except when he’s not. Clearly this was not an infallible teaching. Tom said so.

    Are you saying that every papal utterance is claimed to be infallible? If so, you would be wrong.

    Like

  6. Tom,

    Are you saying that every papal utterance is claimed to be infallible? If so, you would be wrong.

    No, I’m saying that there is no way to know which papal utterance actually IS infallible. The pope who wrote this clearly didn’t think he was wrong, and neither did generations of popes that followed him. But presumably the church TODAY will say he wasn’t infallible when he said all this. What good does that do for those who lived at that time? Nada.

    Which is why Petros’ question on the other thread is so important. How does the individual RC determine when the pope or the Magisterium for that matter is speaking infallibly?

    Like

  7. “The pope who wrote this clearly didn’t think he was wrong”

    Well, yeah. Francis doesn’t think he’s wrong about economics and climate change nor would he recommend applications and policies he thinks will not work. Doesn’t mean his views on it are a matter of faith or that he considers them infallible statements.

    “How does the individual RC determine when the pope or the Magisterium for that matter is speaking infallibly?”

    The same way it knows that Francis’ views on economics or John XXII view on the beatific were not infallible (and John was corrected by theologians during his reign, not afterwards). But that their reiterations that Christ is Lord and divine is.

    Like

  8. Robert, we just ignored them. Vat II elevated the priority of religious conscience. Plus, popes almost never exercise the option. And if they did, there’d still be a review by hundreds of canon lawyers parsing the statement/document making rulings on which words/sentences were actually infallible and then creating a heirarchy of ‘infallibility’ among the various statements in the pronouncement. And then they’d be divided over the conclusions.

    Like

  9. Cletus van Damme
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 5:17 pm | Permalink
    “The pope who wrote this clearly didn’t think he was wrong”

    Well, yeah. Francis doesn’t think he’s wrong about economics and climate change nor would he recommend applications and policies he thinks will not work. Doesn’t mean his views on it are a matter of faith or that he considers them infallible statements.

    “How does the individual RC determine when the pope or the Magisterium for that matter is speaking infallibly?”

    The same way it knows that Francis’ views on economics or John XXII view on the beatific were not infallible (and John was corrected by theologians during his reign, not afterwards). But that their reiterations that Christ is Lord and divine is.

    Yes. Eventually–in the Spirit’s own time–the magisterium and sensus fidei affirm [or reject]. And as long as the question is posed solely in terms of papal utterances and blind obedience to them, the premise is false as is whatever discussion follows.

    Like

  10. re: The Dictates of the Pope

    well, one thing you can say is that God -Who is a Consuming Fire – looks SPECTACULAR in His patience

    Jesus 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil 2
    .

    Like

  11. Tom said,

    Yes. Eventually–in the Spirit’s own time–the magisterium and sensus fidei affirm [or reject]. And as long as the question is posed solely in terms of papal utterances and blind obedience to them, the premise is false as is whatever discussion follows.

    That’s a lot of words for you to say that you haven’t a clue as to how you know what’s infallible and what’s not.

    Like

  12. James Young, so what papal authority allows you to accept Trent but leave Francis on economics? I understand you might want the pope not to follow rabbit trails. But again, who’s to know what’s infallible and what isn’t? vd, t doesn’t even accept the bodily assumption of Mary.

    Like

  13. If you don’t have to accept the bodily assumption of Mary, I’d be curious to see the short list of what you actually have to accept to be a Roman Catholic in good standing. Is it all just a matter of conscience if you disagree?

    Like

  14. Darryl,

    Do you think everyone who disagrees with you on any subject are idiots? Do you think arguing for what you consider truth entails you are arrogant, superior, and demeaning towards your opposition?

    Like

  15. Jetstar,

    I would have to say that at the end of the day, whoever is allowed to the Eucharist is de facto a member in good standing with the Roman church. If Rome’s going to double down on being infallible and the sacrament of salvation, she doesn’t get to do the cop out of self-excommunication that she tries to pull in order to please the conservatives.

    Like

  16. The Temporality of the Church
    By D. G. HART | Published: NOVEMBER 4, 2015
    Inés San Martín reminds that the papacy still has the vestiges of civil authority and can use such power when it needs to:

    The Vatican City State, which is about 110 acres, is an independent state — in fact, the smallest internationally recognized independent state in the world by both area and population. The pope is its head, ruling almost like an absolute monarch. The Vatican mints its own euros, prints its own stamps, issues passports and license plates, operates media outlets, has its own flag and anthem, and yes, operates a criminal justice system.

    Despite its somewhat medieval look, the Vatican City State technically doesn’t have a prison. It does, however, have four holding cells, each measuring about 12 feet by 12 feet, which authorities prefer to call “secure rooms” that randomly hold minor offenders, such as pickpockets caught at the Vatican Museums. . . .

    The holding cells fall under the responsibility of the Corps of Gendarmes of Vatican City State, also known as the “gendarmeria,” a 130-person body that is responsible for border control, crime prevention and investigation, and the enforcement of financial and commercial regulations, according to its website.

    In order to face the Vatican’s version of criminal justice, one either must be a citizen of the Vatican City State or be accused of committing a crime on its territory.

    When it comes to the authority for making arrests, the gendarmeria depends on the Vatican’s Promoter of Justice office, currently headed by Italian layman Gian Piero Milano, a lawyer and professor of Church law at a Roman university. He was appointed by Pope Francis in 2013.

    If a tourist manages to sneak into the Vatican’s grocery store, for example, and is caught stealing a bottle of wine, he could be questioned by the promoter of justice and taken into custody by the gendarmes. . . .

    When a suspect is called in, he or she is interviewed behind closed doors in a process in which defense lawyers have no right to speak, although suspects can confer with them or refuse to answer a question.

    A suspect considered a flight risk can be held in custody for up to 50 days, renewable for an additional 50 days in difficult cases, while awaiting trial.

    When the modern Vatican City was founded in 1929, a result of the Lateran Treaty, Pope Pius XI decided it would be easier to adopt Italian criminal laws and procedures than to create his own version. Hence, the Vatican’s judicial system is highly similar to Italy’s, although it has since adopted its own laws and amendments.

    The Vatican’s promoter of justice, for example, has the authority to bring accused criminals before a giudice unico, or lone trial court judge. Convicted parties can appeal to a three-judge tribunal, and ultimately to the Supreme Court of Appeals.

    Accused criminals have the right to a public defender or a lawyer of their own choice.

    If convicted, an inmate might serve time in one of the Vatican cells, as would have been the case for Gabrielle if Benedict hadn’t pardoned him. More commonly, long sentences are served at an Italian prison, with the Vatican footing the bill.

    Of course, the pope has the power to overrule any court decision.

    With the Vatican lacking a long-term prison, most convictions result in fines rather than confinement.

    And because the Vatican’s justice system has so little experience with serious offenses, pontiffs have occasionally allowed Italian courts to rule in its cases. That was the case, for instance, in 1981, when Italian prosecutors handled the prosecution of Turkish citizen Mehmet Ali Ağca for his assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II.

    It’s a long way from the glory days of papal supremacy:

    The Dictates of the Pope

    That the Roman church was founded by God alone.
    That the Roman pontiff alone can with right be called universal.
    That he alone can depose or reinstate bishops.
    That, in a council his legate, even if a lower grade, is above all bishops, and can pass sentence of deposition against them.
    That the pope may depose the absent.
    That, among other things, we ought not to remain in the same house with those excommunicated by him.
    That for him alone is it lawful, according to the needs of the time, to make new laws, to assemble together new congregations, to make an abbey of a canonry; and, on the other hand, to divide a rich bishopric and unite the poor ones.
    That he alone may use the imperial insignia.
    That of the pope alone all princes shall kiss the feet.
    That his name alone shall be spoken in the churches.
    That this is the only name in the world.
    That it may be permitted to him to depose emperors.
    That he may be permitted to transfer bishops if need be.
    That he has power to ordain a clerk of any church he may wish.
    That he who is ordained by him may preside over another church, but may not hold a subordinate position; and that such a one may not receive a higher grade from any bishop.
    That no synod shall be called a general one without his order.
    That no chapter and no book shall be considered canonical without his authority.
    That a sentence passed by him may be retracted by no one; and that he himself, alone of all, may retract it.
    That he himself may be judged by no one.
    That no one shall dare to condemn one who appeals to the apostolic chair.
    That to the latter should be referred the more important cases of every church.
    That the Roman church has never erred; nor will it err to all eternity, the Scripture bearing witness.
    That the Roman pontiff, if he have been canonically ordained, is undoubtedly made a saint by the merits of St. Peter; St. Ennodius, bishop of Pavia, bearing witness, and many holy fathers agreeing with him. As is contained in the decrees of St. Symmachus the pope.
    That, by his command and consent, it may be lawful for subordinates to bring accusations.
    That he may depose and reinstate bishops without assembling a synod.
    That he who is not at peace with the Roman church shall not be considered catholic.
    That he may absolve subjects from their fealty to wicked men.

    Audacious indeed.

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    17 Comments
    CM
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 2:05 pm | Permalink
    What an interesting coincidence-I quoted this same letter by Gregory VII in my sermon last Lord’s day on Mark 10:32-45. James and John Syndrome?

    Walton
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 3:17 pm | Permalink
    “That of the pope alone all princes shall kiss the feet.”
    – Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son…
    “That his name alone shall be spoken in the churches.”
    – For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.
    “That this is the only name in the world.”
    – Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name

    Hmmm…

    D. G. Hart
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 3:31 pm | Permalink
    Walton, don’t expect to see Mermaid step on this one. No difficult truths in her world. It all adds up to “life is good.”

    Robert
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 4:07 pm | Permalink
    Darryl,

    Haven’t you learned by now that the pope is infallible except when he’s not. Clearly this was not an infallible teaching. Tom said so.

    sean
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 4:41 pm | Permalink
    I’m a use Gregory’s rights as an outline for my employee’s responsiblilities toward me. That Gregory knew what time it was, “si, si por supuesto el patron”

    TVD
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 4:41 pm | Permalink
    Robert
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 4:07 pm | Permalink
    Darryl,

    Haven’t you learned by now that the pope is infallible except when he’s not. Clearly this was not an infallible teaching. Tom said so.

    Are you saying that every papal utterance is claimed to be infallible? If so, you would be wrong.

    Robert
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 5:04 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    Are you saying that every papal utterance is claimed to be infallible? If so, you would be wrong.

    No, I’m saying that there is no way to know which papal utterance actually IS infallible. The pope who wrote this clearly didn’t think he was wrong, and neither did generations of popes that followed him. But presumably the church TODAY will say he wasn’t infallible when he said all this. What good does that do for those who lived at that time? Nada.

    Which is why Petros’ question on the other thread is so important. How does the individual RC determine when the pope or the Magisterium for that matter is speaking infallibly?

    Cletus van Damme
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 5:17 pm | Permalink
    “The pope who wrote this clearly didn’t think he was wrong”

    Well, yeah. Francis doesn’t think he’s wrong about economics and climate change nor would he recommend applications and policies he thinks will not work. Doesn’t mean his views on it are a matter of faith or that he considers them infallible statements.

    “How does the individual RC determine when the pope or the Magisterium for that matter is speaking infallibly?”

    The same way it knows that Francis’ views on economics or John XXII view on the beatific were not infallible (and John was corrected by theologians during his reign, not afterwards). But that their reiterations that Christ is Lord and divine is.

    sean
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 5:18 pm | Permalink
    Robert, we just ignored them. Vat II elevated the priority of religious conscience. Plus, popes almost never exercise the option. And if they did, there’d still be a review by hundreds of canon lawyers parsing the statement/document making rulings on which words/sentences were actually infallible and then creating a heirarchy of ‘infallibility’ among the various statements in the pronouncement. And then they’d be divided over the conclusions.

    TVD
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 5:29 pm | Permalink
    Cletus van Damme
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 5:17 pm | Permalink
    “The pope who wrote this clearly didn’t think he was wrong”

    Well, yeah. Francis doesn’t think he’s wrong about economics and climate change nor would he recommend applications and policies he thinks will not work. Doesn’t mean his views on it are a matter of faith or that he considers them infallible statements.

    “How does the individual RC determine when the pope or the Magisterium for that matter is speaking infallibly?”

    The same way it knows that Francis’ views on economics or John XXII view on the beatific were not infallible (and John was corrected by theologians during his reign, not afterwards). But that their reiterations that Christ is Lord and divine is.

    Yes. Eventually–in the Spirit’s own time–the magisterium and sensus fidei affirm [or reject]. And as long as the question is posed solely in terms of papal utterances and blind obedience to them, the premise is false as is whatever discussion follows.

    Ali
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 6:17 pm | Permalink
    re: The Dictates of the Pope

    well, one thing you can say is that God -Who is a Consuming Fire – looks SPECTACULAR in His patience

    Jesus 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil 2
    .

    Robert
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 6:46 pm | Permalink
    Tom said,

    Yes. Eventually–in the Spirit’s own time–the magisterium and sensus fidei affirm [or reject]. And as long as the question is posed solely in terms of papal utterances and blind obedience to them, the premise is false as is whatever discussion follows.

    That’s a lot of words for you to say that you haven’t a clue as to how you know what’s infallible and what’s not.

    D. G. Hart
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 8:18 pm | Permalink
    Robert, all we need to do is ask vd, t. Except about the bodily assumption of Mary.

    Doh!

    D. G. Hart
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 8:22 pm | Permalink
    James Young, so what papal authority allows you to accept Trent but leave Francis on economics? I understand you might want the pope not to follow rabbit trails. But again, who’s to know what’s infallible and what isn’t? vd, t doesn’t even accept the bodily assumption of Mary.

    As usual, Dr. Hart is fabricating. I haven’t said anything one way or the other. I don’t discuss my personal beliefs with people who use them as weapons. Mt 7:6

    Like

  17. James Young, “Do you think everyone who disagrees with you on any subject are idiots?”

    No, but Roman Catholic apologists are not smart in their arguments.

    “Do you think arguing for what you consider truth entails you are arrogant, superior, and demeaning towards your opposition?”

    It happens. You should know.

    Like

  18. vd, t, “I don’t discuss my personal beliefs with people who use them as weapons.”

    That would be admirable perhaps if you also refrained from using other people’s beliefs as weapons.

    Militarize up.

    Like

  19. Tom,

    You admitted some time ago that you don’t go to mass regularly. You can’t expect to say that AND other things such as the Assumption is a completely optional doctrine and not have people point out that your defense of Rome is, well, lacking. Couple that with your claim to be a neutral arbiter and it’s really hard to take what you are saying seriously. And THEN you praise some of the commenters here for responses that are hardly substantive and are little more than “Rome said it, I believe it, that settles it.”

    The thing is, when you aren’t busy being a “neutral arbiter’ you actually have thoughtful things to say. But no one can take your arguments that Rome has something Protestants don’t when you do and say things that indicate your “assent of faith” is, well, lacking.

    Like

  20. “responses that are hardly substantive and are little more than “Rome said it, I believe it, that settles it.””

    Right, as opposed to the substantive responses that are little more than “someone says it, so I guess I’ll believe it, well for now at least” coupled with “I have the Holy Spirit and you don’t”.

    Like

  21. Cletus,

    Right, as opposed to the substantive responses that are little more than “someone says it, so I guess I’ll believe it, well for now at least” coupled with “I have the Holy Spirit and you don’t”.

    Remember, you’ll leave Rome if they find the body of Jesus. So right now you’re all, “Someone claims to have divine authority and says the body of Jesus has been resurrected, so I guess I’ll believe it because the motives of credibility give me good odds, well for now at least” coupled with “without the Thomistic definition of faith you’re a rationalist Pelagian and your momma dresses you funny.”

    But for the record, I wasn’t talking about you. You’re about the only RC around here who says anything substantive. Kevin in Newark as well.

    Like

  22. James Young, you mean like “Rome said, it’s infallible, and we don’t know or care what Rome said.” You’re talking about the majority of your fellow believers, right?

    Why exactly do come to Old Life? So far you haven’t come close to changing anyone’s mind. Is this so you can feel superior?

    Like

  23. Robert, the stakes are higher. James Young will leave if the pope says that the Trinity doesn’t exist. Turns out James is his own pope. There’s orthodoxy to which the pope must conform even though James acts like the Pope is the one who told him what orthodoxy is.

    I know it gets a little confusing. We know what orthodoxy is because the pope said so. But subsequent popes who have the charism can’t change anything even though they have the power to do so. Why? Because we’re not Protestant and can’t admit that there is a doctrinal standard that is above the papacy.

    But Rome has really great art and they display it in such a poor way.

    Like

  24. Darryl,

    That’s one of the things I don’t finally get about the particular CTC apologetic. We have all this emphasis on the infallible Magisterium, but it turns out at the end of the day that orthodox doctrine (in theory if not in practice) supersedes the Magisterium. I don’t know, sounds awfully Protestant.

    So why not make the dogma and not the pope and bishops the rallying center for the faith like we do?

    Like

  25. CVD: Do you think everyone who disagrees with you on any subject are idiots? Do you think arguing for what you consider truth entails you are arrogant, superior, and demeaning towards your opposition?

    I think the Internet falls between two stools. On the one hand, it is a print medium with all the limitations thereof (lack of body language, tone, etc.). On the other hand, it is an instant print medium closer to conversation, so it lacks the year-long reflection and polish of phrase that comes from publishing a book.

    For that reason, people look pretty bad on the Internet. They are essentially limiting themselves to the printed word, while simultaneously firing off the print at a rate of … well, it depends, but for some it’s pages per day.

    As a result, it is easy (for all of us) to come across as arrogant, long-winded, aggressive, hostile, etc. even if the intent is not there.

    In addition, I think there’s something a little solipsistic about sitting at a keyboard instead of sitting across the table. I get much more annoyed at interruptions while typing than I do at interruptions while gabbing.

    Like

  26. D. G. Hart
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 12:32 pm | Permalink
    James Young, you mean like “Rome said, it’s infallible, and we don’t know or care what Rome said.” You’re talking about the majority of your fellow believers, right?

    Why exactly do come to Old Life? So far you haven’t come close to changing anyone’s mind. Is this so you can feel superior?>>>>>

    CvD has helped change my mind. Through the extended discussion between CvD and Jeff, plus Jeff’s reactions to being questioned on his sloppy use of Scripture, I have seen that sola scriptura really isn’t a “thing.” That’s a really big deal.

    Sure. There are outstanding Protestant Biblical scholars, but they do not rely on sola scriptura to determine what Scripture is let alone what authority it has in defining doctrine. The fallible sources become more important in many ways than the infallible. Things like textual criticism take on an authority that they really do not have. Shall I add the scientific method?

    I don’t see that CvD feels superior. He clearly exposed the weakness in having the infallible source of faith and practice determined, defined, and codified by fallible sources. If Scripture is an infallible source – which we all believe – then why would the Holy Spirit be unable to lead the Church infallibly into all truth? The same Spirit who inspired Scripture is the One who leads into all truth. Why would He be infallible one way and fallible in another?

    I haven’t seen that question addressed by the OL guys.

    What eventually happens in all of Protestantism? It does liberal. Remember Whitby Forum. It is your future.

    Remember Paul’s Gospel and what really counts for something.

    Galatians 5:6
    6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

    Like

  27. Darryl,

    “Why exactly do come to Old Life? So far you haven’t come close to changing anyone’s mind. Is this so you can feel superior?”

    I come here because I enjoy your style and reading your perspective on Protestant issues, and even your perspective on RCism; it hasn’t changed my mind – do you have a spreadsheet and stats of everyone you’ve changed minds on concerning RCism or 2k perspective or who no longer follow TGC, Keller, Piper, etc so that you can be sure you’re not feeling superior? If no one changes their mind this month, will you stop writing articles or advancing your perspective? Further I enjoy some of the challenges and perspectives commenters from all sides, including mine, provide – it’s always good to expand one’s horizons and look for blind spots or ideas that you never considered.

    I also come here to correct what I view as mischaracterizations or mistaken understandings of RC teaching or life. That’s why I only start chiming in when you write a provocative article on RCism or someone makes provocative comments – the 2k, evangelicalism, and other articles I rarely comment on and am more a consumer of ideas than a participant. If you’re going to openly challenge beliefs and perspectives, it should not be surprising when someone might challenge you back. This hardly entails either side is arrogant or demeaning towards the other, though it doesn’t prohibit it either.

    Like

  28. James Young, thanks for the answer. But your corrections don’t correct what’s true about Roman Catholicism on the ground. And endless defenses of infallibility isn’t doing anything with those Pew Forum stats of your bishops, you know the infallible ones, who don’t seem to care.

    Like

  29. Darryl,

    Are endless critiques of neo-Cals and TGC and Keller and Roman Catholics and liberalism doing anything for your side? Are they correcting what’s true about Protestantism on the ground and the stats of Protestants who don’t seem to care?

    Like

  30. D. G. Hart
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 5:45 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, “CvD has helped change my mind.”

    Now you’re Protestant again?

    Or Hindu?>>>>>

    Everything I have said is decidedly Christian and Biblical. I even called one of your interlocutors on his Pelagian view of the conversion of the Philippian jailer.

    My mind was made up awhile ago, and CvD has helped confirm a lot of what I was seeing in Protestantism. I am still not sure what part you and your followers believe the Holy Spirit to have in leading the Church – or church – into all truth. I am still not sure what mechanism Protestants believe themselves to have in determining the canon of Scripture. I am still not sure you guys have it clear what Gospel Paul preached and what error he was correcting in Galatia.

    Also, I see Bible references and phrases thrown out but rarely any real appeal to Scripture or any real Scriptural arguments made. Often the Scripture is being misquoted or misinterpreted.

    I have notice all that, and have called people on such sloppiness. Does that make me proud? Why don’t you guys correct one another if Scripture is your only infallible source of faith and practice?

    I have also noticed that you guys really don’t know much about Catholicism. That is a shame since through Google, you can find the Church’s teachings easily. The CCC is an excellent summary, yet you rarely even go to it to find out what the Magisterium is saying.

    You don’t even know much about what the average Catholic on the ground believes. Go to Mass. Observe. Pay attention. Nancy Pelosi is not the average anything. She is an extremely wealthy woman who is on a power trip.

    Going to her on Catholicism would be like going to Donal Trump on Presbyterianism – and yes, he is a Presbyterian. You would let him take communion in your church. In fact, if Nancy Pelosi came to your church, on what basis would you deny her communion?

    Remember Paul’s Gospel and what really counts for something.

    Galatians 5:6
    6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

    Like

  31. *sigh*

    Mermaid: Everything I have said is decidedly Christian and Biblical. I even called one of your interlocutors on his Pelagian view of the conversion of the Philippian jailer.

    here

    Your memory of the encounter is incorrect. Let’s review. The topic was infallible vs infallible statements. I observed that

    JRC: What, exactly, did the jailer believe? He did not believe the idea that was in Peter’s [sic — Paul] head. Rather, he believed the idea that was in his own head, which was the result of his understanding of his hearing of the words Peter [sic] had spoken.

    You replied,

    MWF: Why did you leave out the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the Phillipian jailer? He would not, nor could he have believed without being regenerated first. Your statements look Pelagian, not even semi-Pelagian. How would you defend yourself against such a charge, Jeff? It looks as thought you are saying that even Paul was not 100% certain that the message he was preaching was true.

    Your inference of Pelgianism was false. The topic was what the jailer believed, and not how he came to faith, so I made no comment on how he came to faith (which, I agree, must have been the work of the Spirit).

    You used my silence as an opportunity to make up a charge of Pelgianism. I told you that you were mistaken. You repeated the charge.

    I took that as a personal offense, and did what I am supposed to do, which is to bring it to your attention and ask you to repent. I would have done so privately, but there is no opportunity in this format.

    In response, you mocked me — and here you are repeating the false charge.

    So I will say it directly. You lied about me in public, and I am personally offended by that fact. Further, your lie touches on the vows that I take as an officer of the church, and I am obligated to defend the office.

    Therefore, every time that you repeat the false charge of Pelgianism on the pages of this website, I will direct readers to this exchange in order to let them know that you are lying.

    We don’t have to be like this. I have no desire to hold a grudge, and I want to be able to put this behind us and go back to interacting in a more friendly manner. Further, it is right to pursue dialog with you on the ground of truth and not slander.

    Faith works through love, and love is honest. Let’s do good to one another, not harm. I don’t think you fully understand how damaging it is when you read into people’s words what they are not saying.

    Like

  32. Who is Mac Pier you ask? A visionary, strategic thinker and social networker, Mac delights in bringing movers and shakers together to transform their cities.

    Want to spread the Gospel? Hold a conference!!! Three cheers for bringing movers and shakers together!!!

    What’s Mac up to?

    A resident of New York City since 1984, Mac lives in a diverse neighborhood with residents from more than 100 ethnicities, and he attends church with people who speak 60 different languages.

    Subtext: There’s an Indian restaurant in his neighborhood so he’s better than you!

    This daily interaction with neighbors and friends that literally come from around the world enhances Mac’s global view and attention to world issues.

    Unlike you parochial slobs, who probably can’t even tell the difference between falafel and pho. You probably think that all people everywhere require Christ if they are to escape the wrath of God.

    These relationships provide him with the determination that is needed to find solutions to the debilitating problems faced by so many, and to inspire leaders to work together to make the gospel relevant within each of their cities.

    Right. That’s the big question that no one has been able to answer for the past 2,000 years: How is the Gospel relevant? Please, tell me. I’ve been wondering. Is it different in New York than it is in Tulsa or Cairo? Let’s hold a conference and find out!

    But what do I know? My church holds a conference every Sunday at 10:30 and our Pastor tells us how the Gospel is relevant to everyone at all times and in all places. But we call it a “worship service” and we don’t even charge admission so how good can it really be.

    Like

  33. Jeff Cagle
    Posted November 7, 2015 at 2:22 pm | Permalink
    *sigh*

    JRC: What, exactly, did the jailer believe? He did not believe the idea that was in Peter’s [sic — Paul] head. Rather, he believed the idea that was in his own head, which was the result of his understanding of his hearing of the words Peter [sic] had spoken.

    You replied,

    MWF: Why did you leave out the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the Phillipian jailer? He would not, nor could he have believed without being regenerated first. Your statements look Pelagian, not even semi-Pelagian. How would you defend yourself against such a charge, Jeff? It looks as thought you are saying that even Paul was not 100% certain that the message he was preaching was true.>>>>

    Still waiting for answers. I asked questions and you got all defensive. You are still defensive.

    It should be easy for you to clear this up.

    I think that there is a huge weakness in your theory about provisional knowledge, and your application of it to the jailer shows that weakness. If it cannot be applied to Scripture, then it should either be modified or abandoned so that it submits to the authority of Scripture.

    The underlying assumption in all of Scripture is that it is true, infallible, and the very word of God inspired by the Holy Spirit. You can’t let those assumptions get lost in your human reasoning. The example you used is Gospel. It is not there so you can use it to support your theory. It is all infallible with no elements of fallibility.

    Please listen to some correction, even if it comes from the very unlikely source of a little mermaid.

    Like

  34. Dear Mr. Publius

    1.You don’t have to discredit someone because you don’t like their message
    2.You can discredit what someone says if it isn’t true, if you know them or if you don’t know them.
    3.Is what this guy said true? “He warned that division in the church is breeding atheism in the world and called for the body to unite”
    4. Let’s try to see -what the Bible say?
    5.Does the bible say division in the church breeds atheism? I think you can make the case that it could, essentially (breed – make conditions favorable to)
    6.Does the Bible call for unity? Yes, many places (though it must be in the truth). Christ is not divided.

    Like

  35. Look, Jeff, I am sure you are a good and faithful officer of your church. IMO, it seems that you overstated your case.

    If it’s any consolation, your line of argumentation showed me why an infallible rule of faith and practice – the Word of God inspired by the Holy Spirit of God – logically requires an infallible interpreter such as the magisterium of the Catholic Church. The same Spirit that inspired the Scripture, is the Spirit that fills, enlightens, and empowers the Church, is the same Spirit who regenerates, is the same Spirit who leads into all truth, and so forth. He doesn’t make mistakes.

    I just don’t see that He left us with the kind of uncertainty your theory of provisional knowledge demonstrates. You are happy with your theories and doctrines. I am happy for you. If it works for you, then make it work.

    Peace, Brother Jeff

    Like

  36. Ali –

    Mac asserts that division in the church breeds atheism. And his solution to a problem that he doesn’t prove exists is to hold a conference. That’s laughable. First, his thesis is bunk, but he doesn’t even take the time to try and prove it. The conclusion is assume and it demands action! But perhaps worse is that he appears to see himself as a solution in search of a problem – an indispensable man who alone can see the real problems that need solving. Is that really how the Church should be run?

    And why does the supposed division in the church breed atheism? Why doesn’t it breed buddhism or worship of Odin? His assertion strikes me way too formulaic. And what division is the problem? Are the differences between psalm singers and hymn singers breeding atheism? Or is it the differences between the 3FU and the WCF – maybe that’s a breeding ground for atheism.

    But maybe, just maybe the Church should fulfill its stated mission and minister word and sacrament. And, crazy as this sounds, maybe the religious entrepreneurs whose ministry/business is peddling conferences should fold their tents and get back to the church.

    Big Mac holds himself out as a minister and “leader of the Christian community” but I have the same question I have always asked of people like the very Rev Jesse Jackson and the most Rev Al Sharpton: Where is his church?

    Have you read his bio? It defies parody. That’s why I quoted it above. Take for example this:

    Mac delights in bringing movers and shakers together to transform their cities.

    Seriously? Wow! I’d love to know more about all of these movers and shakers and see the cities they have transformed. I’m sure the Big Apple has been transformed into 16th century Geneva by now.

    I have a different thesis: Christians who pursue social transformation through the Church and through independent parachurch organizations that attempt to fill the role of the Church are distracting from the true work the Church is commanded to do.

    It’s just a thesis…

    Here’s Pier’s bio:
    http://www.nycleadership.com/new-york-city-leadership-center/who-we-are/bios–announcements/dr.-mac-pier

    Like

  37. Mermand, “the Word of God inspired by the Holy Spirit of God – logically requires an infallible interpreter such as the magisterium of the Catholic Church.”

    So where can I find that papal commentary series?

    Like

  38. Mermaid,

    You lied repeatedly.

    My defensiveness didn’t cause that. My many character flaws didn’t reach through the keyboard and make you falsely boast that I even called one of your interlocutors on his Pelagian view of the conversion of the Philippian jailer. You lied initially, and here you boasted about your lie. My shortcomings had nothing to do with it.

    That was all you.

    I’ve said enough. This thread doesn’t need to get trashed by our wrangling. You know the right thing to do here. I’ve been very hard on you, but in the hope of reconciliation.

    Like

  39. Jeff Cagle
    Posted November 8, 2015 at 12:58 am | Permalink
    Mermaid,

    You lied repeatedly.

    She nailed you repeatedly, tough guy, and gave a tweak 1/100th what you and your tough guy pals do to her. Reconcile yourself.

    Like

  40. <i.The Little Mermaid
    Posted November 7, 2015 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Also, I see Bible references and phrases thrown out but rarely any real appeal to Scripture or any real Scriptural arguments made. Often the Scripture is being misquoted or misinterpreted.

    I have notice all that, and have called people on such sloppiness. Does that make me proud? Why don’t you guys correct one another if Scripture is your only infallible source of faith and practice?

    Ooops, that’s an embarrassing fact. Quality control at Old Life is non-existent. As long as someone’s doing Darryl’s dirty work on the Catholics, they have a free pass.

    I have also noticed that you guys really don’t know much about Catholicism. That is a shame since through Google, you can find the Church’s teachings easily. The CCC is an excellent summary, yet you rarely even go to it to find out what the Magisterium is saying.

    Don’t quote the Bible, don’t quote the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Quote the New York Times, quote unofficial “Catholic” websites from the fringe, quote the liberal “National Catholic Register,” whose bishop asked they stop calling themselves Catholic.

    Scholarly malpractice, tabloid Presbyterianism. From the mouths of mermaids.

    You don’t even know much about what the average Catholic on the ground believes. Go to Mass. Observe. Pay attention. Nancy Pelosi is not the average anything. She is an extremely wealthy woman who is on a power trip.

    Going to her on Catholicism would be like going to Donald Trump on Presbyterianism – and yes, he is a Presbyterian. You would let him take communion in your church. In fact, if Nancy Pelosi came to your church, on what basis would you deny her communion?

    Go for it, Old Life. Man up against a sweet little mermaid who can see underwater.

    Like

  41. @netralref so lying is acceptable. Got it…explains so much of your posting here. What a waste.

    @Jeff they are obviously in troll mode. Of course do what you want, but I don’t see the upside to engaging these two. I had written tvd off before as a clown based on his ridiculous history posts. I regret reengaging. His posts pollute otherwise interesting conversations.

    @cvd I’d still be interested in your take on my last question on the other thread. You said there is no good reason to believe a fallible doctrine. Yet your church commands religious submission to fallible doctrines. How do you square these.

    Like

  42. sdb
    Posted November 8, 2015 at 7:28 am | Permalink
    @netralref so lying is acceptable. Got it…explains so much of your posting here. What a waste.

    @Jeff they are obviously in troll mode. Of course do what you want, but I don’t see the upside to engaging these two. I had written tvd off before as a clown based on his ridiculous history posts. I regret reengaging. His posts pollute otherwise interesting conversations.

    @cvd I’d still be interested in your take on my last question on the other thread. You said there is no good reason to believe a fallible doctrine. Yet your church commands religious submission to fallible doctrines. How do you square these.

    Typical Old Life. Invalidation, scorch the earth, not a single affirmative statement in defense of the “Reformed faith.”

    You’ve taught your droogies well, Brother Darryl. Attackattackattack. As if that makes your version of the Christian religion the least bit true. What’s the opposite of “evangelical?” Attack, attack. Don’t spread the Good News. Attack everybody else’s.

    Shame on you.

    Like

  43. Jeff Cagle:
    I’ve said enough. This thread doesn’t need to get trashed by our wrangling. You know the right thing to do here. I’ve been very hard on you, but in the hope of reconciliation.>>>>>

    I forgive you, Jeff. No problem. I have nothing against you personally or impersonally. If you don’t want to respond to the questions I put to you, then that’s your choice.

    I really thought you could take some direct challenges since you like to challenge others. I was wrong.

    I really am not sure why you are so upset. If calling me a liar makes you feel better, then I hope you feel better. Not sure how that promotes reconciliation, but it must in your mind. I will interpret your words in that way. You called me a liar so that we can be friends. So, consider it done. From my side, we are reconciled, and I wish you all the best.

    No hard feelings. You have a wonderful Lord’s Day, my dear friend and brother, Jeff

    Like

  44. Little Mermaid, you accused an officer of my denomination of Pelagianism on a public blog. This is a serious accusation and not supported by any evidence on your part. I’m sure this is why Jeff Cagle maintains you are lying. It’s either that or you really haven’t a clue how serious an accusation this is and why it’s taken with great offense. An apology from you is certainly in order. Mr. Cagle needs no defense from me, I’ve never met him and know only his views as stated on this blog. None of those views indicate he is Pelagian.

    Like

  45. mrbfree
    Posted November 8, 2015 at 8:48 am | Permalink
    Little Mermaid, you accused an officer of my denomination of Pelagianism on a public blog. This is a serious accusation and not supported by any evidence on your part. I’m sure this is why Jeff Cagle maintains you are lying. It’s either that or you really haven’t a clue how serious an accusation this is and why it’s taken with great offense. An apology from you is certainly in order. Mr. Cagle needs no defense from me, I’ve never met him and know only his views as stated on this blog. None of those views indicate he is Pelagian.>>>>

    I do find it odd that those who object to having to submit to a Pope would want me to submit to demands that I apologize.

    Like I said. I forgive Jeff. He wants reconciliation. From my side, that is no problem. If I read something from him that I find to be shocking or sloppy in the handling of Scripture, from now on I will ignore it. That’s the best I can do.

    Now the choice is Jeff’s to forgive me for what he took to be offensive or not. I really was shocked at what he said and really wondered what he meant. I still don’t know what he meant, but I guess it’s too painful for him to explain. I guess for him it’s so obvious. Remember, I am just a simple mermaid who does not have the advantages Jeff does.

    Peace.

    Like

  46. mermaid: Now the choice is Jeff’s to forgive me for what he took to be offensive or not; Remember, I am just a simple mermaid who does not have the advantages Jeff does.

    Dear mermaid, you might consider giving Jeff the apology he requests and you could also ask him, or any other, for any apology you see due, rather than justify. (Prov 18:19, Prov 19:11, Philemon 1:18,2 Cor 7:12)

    love, the hyprocritical Bible quoter

    Behold, now is “THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,” behold, now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION”— giving no cause for offense in anything, so that the ministry will not be discredited, 2 Cor 6:2-3

    Like

  47. Little Mermaid: Now the choice is Jeff’s to forgive me for what he took to be offensive or not.

    He seems like a gracious man (again, based on his history of comments here) and with an apology I bet he would.

    Like

  48. Ali
    Posted November 8, 2015 at 10:36 am | Permalink
    mermaid: Now the choice is Jeff’s to forgive me for what he took to be offensive or not; Remember, I am just a simple mermaid who does not have the advantages Jeff does.

    Dear mermaid, you might consider giving Jeff the apology he requests and you could also ask him, or any other, for any apology you see due, rather than justify. (Prov 18:19, Prov 19:11, Philemon 1:18,2 Cor 7:12)

    love, the hyprocritical Bible quoter

    Behold, now is “THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,” behold, now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION”— giving no cause for offense in anything, so that the ministry will not be discredited, 2 Cor 6:2-3>>>

    Not going to demand that Jeff apologize to me. I will let his accusations against me go. It is the Christian thing to do. If he feels a need to defend his office as he has, then that is his business not mine. He believes himself to be justified, and I will respect that.

    You are not a hypocrite, and I would never say that about you, Ali. I have seen what others say to and about you, and you do not deserve it. I do not understand what is hypocritical about quoting the Bible. It makes no sense to me.

    I have tried twice to respond to you about the purgatory stuff, but the Internet keeps eating my responses. Thank you for looking into this. You do realize that Purgatory is not hell, right? Those in Purgatory are being purified from the temporal effects of sin.

    See, Protestants decided that the Deuterocanonical books did not belong in the canon of Scripture. However, when Paul talks about the purification of the believer where his or her works are judges as to their value – wood, hay, stubble or gold, silver, and precious stones – he is referencing a Deuterocanonical passage.

    Indulgences are related to Purgatory.

    See 1 Corinthians 3. Saved as though through fire.

    Like

  49. mrbfree
    Posted November 8, 2015 at 11:11 am | Permalink
    Little Mermaid: Now the choice is Jeff’s to forgive me for what he took to be offensive or not.

    He seems like a gracious man (again, based on his history of comments here) and with an apology I bet he would.>>>>>

    You think he might not forgive? Hmmm. If he is indeed a gracious man – which I provisionally tend to think he probably is – he has already forgiven as I have forgiven him. If he wants reconciliation, then he has it. No problem. See, I can gently tease as he does me. Remember the Occam’s Razor thing when he was just joking and I took him seriously? He was also just teasing me when he said my head was under water so that’s why I didn’t get what he was saying.

    He also teased me about really being a man, but the guys here make a lot of gender bending kinds of statements. It’s all in good fun.

    In this medium it is hard to know when someone is joking and teasing, but I will try not to take what Jeff says so seriously. That’s the best I can do. I am sure that Jeff is a terribly nice guy. It is frustrating when someone like me doesn’t really get what he means all the time.

    Well, I do apologize for taking time for this on the Lord’s Day, but it is kind of important. I fully and freely forgive my dear Brother Jeff. I promise to ignore anything that seems outrageous in what he says and assume that he is not Pelagian. In person, I am sure I could have asked and he would have been glad to clarify. I will also assume that anything he says about me is really meant in jest and not take offense.

    After all, Calvinists are all about the Gospel, the doctrines of grace. That is one thing I appreciate about Calvinism.

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  50. D. G. Hart
    Posted November 8, 2015 at 10:28 am | Permalink
    vd, t, “She nailed you repeatedly”

    That goes in Margaret Gray’s filth file.

    Two words for that one, Dr. Hart. “Ugh” and “lee.” ;-P

    Like

  51. Mermaid: If calling me a liar makes you feel better, then I hope you feel better.

    Let’s make an important distinction here. I did say that you lied. I did not say that you’re a liar. That difference may seem pedantic to you, but it really matters. It’s an important part of fighting fair. And given that we seem destined to fight for now, let’s agree to fight fair with one another.

    I’m focusing on a single act of speaking falsehood without cause: accusing me of a Pelagian view when I never expressed any such view. You clearly did that, and there’s no denying it.

    Why did you do that? I don’t have a definitive answer. Maybe you thought it might be true, so you took a chance. Or maybe the lure of trying to “win” (what’s the prize again?) tempted you into seeking a tactical advantage, of giving you something to boast about or a way to seem to “score points.” I don’t know your heart.

    But here’s the point: Even though you lied, that action doesn’t make you a liar by character. It just makes you a normal human being like me. You can confess that act, and I can forgive you for it.

    Now, if I were accusing you of being a liar in general — well, then there would be no hope! How would you ever produce evidence to my satisfaction that you had reformed? You would forever be under cloud of suspicion, and that’s not the goal. I’m not trying to condemn you as a person. Rather, reconciliation is the goal.

    As Jesus said: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.”

    Our format didn’t allow for talking to you alone, and I’m sorry that that’s the case. Because it was a public forum, I did try to drop hints rather than speaking as directly as I am right now, really in an effort to avoid getting to this point.

    But even though the format is flawed, the goal is still to win you as an honest interlocutor and sister by asking you to apologize and to attend more carefully to the truth in the future.

    As to the particulars, since you profess to be confused, here it is clearly:

    I think we can certainly agree that you charged me with having a Pelagian view. And if you review the discussion, I think you can also admit that your charge was based upon my not having discussed the role of the Spirit in creating faith. In which case, your evidence was my silence, which is no evidence at all.

    So, you uttered a serious accusation without thought for its truthfulness. Or to put it in terms of 1 Cor 13, you assumed the worst from my silence rather assuming than the best — or even nothing at all, which would be appropriate.

    So this is where things stand. I am not calling you a liar. I am saying you lied. Welcome to the human race!

    Like

  52. Jeff Cagle
    Posted November 8, 2015 at 10:39 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid: If calling me a liar makes you feel better, then I hope you feel better.

    Let’s make an important distinction here. I did say that you lied. I did not say that you’re a liar. That difference may seem pedantic to you, but it really matters. It’s an important part of fighting fair. And given that we seem destined to fight for now, let’s agree to fight fair with one another.

    I’m focusing on a single act of speaking falsehood without cause: accusing me of a Pelagian view when I never expressed any such view. You clearly did that, and there’s no denying it.

    Why did you do that? I don’t have a definitive answer. Maybe you thought it might be true, so you took a chance. Or maybe the lure of trying to “win” (what’s the prize again?) tempted you into seeking a tactical advantage, of giving you something to boast about or a way to seem to “score points.” I don’t know your heart.

    But here’s the point: Even though you lied, that action doesn’t make you a liar by character. It just makes you a normal human being like me. You can confess that act, and I can forgive you for it.

    Now, if I were accusing you of being a liar in general — well, then there would be no hope! How would you ever produce evidence to my satisfaction that you had reformed? You would forever be under cloud of suspicion, and that’s not the goal. I’m not trying to condemn you as a person. Rather, reconciliation is the goal.

    As Jesus said: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.”

    Our format didn’t allow for talking to you alone, and I’m sorry that that’s the case. Because it was a public forum, I did try to drop hints rather than speaking as directly as I am right now, really in an effort to avoid getting to this point.

    But even though the format is flawed, the goal is still to win you as an honest interlocutor and sister by asking you to apologize and to attend more carefully to the truth in the future.

    As to the particulars, since you profess to be confused, here it is clearly:

    I think we can certainly agree that you charged me with having a Pelagian view. And if you review the discussion, I think you can also admit that your charge was based upon my not having discussed the role of the Spirit in creating faith. In which case, your evidence was my silence, which is no evidence at all.

    So, you uttered a serious accusation without thought for its truthfulness. Or to put it in terms of 1 Cor 13, you assumed the worst from my silence rather assuming than the best — or even nothing at all, which would be appropriate.

    So this is where things stand. I am not calling you a liar. I am saying you lied. Welcome to the human race!

    I love the smell of Old Life whining in the morning. She tweaked you, that your dependence on reason and philology in determining scripture places too much trust in man and is thus sort of Pelagian.

    “Serious charge?” In a comment box? Put on your big boy panties, tough guy. The little mermaid has been giving your arrogant ass a well-earned spanking.

    Like

  53. The Little Mermaid
    Posted November 1, 2015 at 10:08 am | Permalink
    Jeff Cagle:
    What, exactly, did the jailer believe? He did not believe the idea that was in Peter’s head. Rather, he believed the idea that was in his own head, which was the result of his understanding of his hearing of the words Peter had spoken.

    At all times, and in all ways, the jailer had fallible knowledge of the gospel that Peter had preached to him.

    So when he believed, he was not believing in infallible teaching — which he had no access to — but in a fallible mental image, or model, of that teaching.>>>>>

    Jeff, please explain in what theological system the above statement is not Pelagian. You accused me of lying. I was trying to get your attention. You needed to clarify this, IMO. It really bothered me, since this is a Gospel passage. I think your appeal to the Phillipian jailer was done in a careless way, and I know you are capable of doing better.

    I think that this shows a weakness in your theory about provisional knowledge. Like I said, though, if it works for you, I am happy for you. It just doesn’t seem to have a broad application when it comes to how a person comes to faith in Christ. I was not lying. That is what I really think.

    You disagree, and that’s fine. There is no law that says you have to agree with me.

    You did give some clarification with this statement.:

    Jeff Cagle:
    Your inference of Pelgianism was false. The topic was what the jailer believed, and not how he came to faith, so I made no comment on how he came to faith (which, I agree, must have been the work of the Spirit).>>>>

    You agree with me that his coming to faith had to have been the work of the Spirit. I assume you mean regeneration, thus enabling him to believe. Remember, St. Augustine is Catholic. If you want to see how Augustinian teaching is part of the New Evangelization, check out the Symbolon series from the Augustine Institute. Yes, that is a little advertisement.

    You took that as some kind of formal accusation. Jeff, this is the comments section of a blog. Your people know you and know what you believe and teach. I don’t know you.

    I really don’t think you have anything to worry about, since this is not some kind of church trial. If it makes you feel better, I will publicly say that it does not look like you are Pelagian in spite of how the statements seemed to me.

    Also, clarification accepted. You did not call me a liar.

    I don’t mind that you brought this up in public. It is better to clear the air this way. I am leery of behind the scenes exchanges when there is some kind of misunderstanding or disagreement.

    Maybe next time we will not believe the worst about one another. 🙂

    You won’t accuse me of lying, and I will assume you are not Pelagian.

    I still don’t get how much doubt you have about what you believe. Maybe you are just talking theoretically. Maybe it’s a guy thing, which is not bad, just different. I tried to follow some of the discussion, but it got pretty thick. Maybe you could give a brief summary of your theory of provisional knowledge. That would help.

    Anyway, somehow I feel that we may not be quite there yet. Sigh indeed! 🙂

    Now, you enjoy the rest of your evening and have a wonderful week.

    ——————————————————————————–

    The Little Mermaid
    Posted November 1, 2015 at 10:08 am | Permalink
    Jeff Cagle:
    What, exactly, did the jailer believe? He did not believe the idea that was in Peter’s head. Rather, he believed the idea that was in his own head, which was the result of his understanding of his hearing of the words Peter had spoken.

    At all times, and in all ways, the jailer had fallible knowledge of the gospel that Peter had preached to him.

    So when he believed, he was not believing in infallible teaching — which he had no access to — but in a fallible mental image, or model, of that teaching.>>>>>

    I know you meant Paul. No big deal. It is a familiar story.

    Why did you leave out the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the Phillipian jailer? He would not, nor could he have believed without being regenerated first.

    Your statements look Pelagian, not even semi-Pelagian. How would you defend yourself against such a charge, Jeff?

    It looks as thought you are saying that even Paul was not 100% certain that the message he was preaching was true. He was preaching based on provisional knowledge as much as you are using provisional knowledge to defend your provisional position about truth.

    If the Gospel is an infallible message,then what good is it if God is unable to communicate it to us infallibly? You have to factor John 3 and John 16 in at some point in your model, that is if you really believe that the Bible is the only infallible rule of faith and practice.

    The Catholic Church does claim that the Holy Spirit is leading her into all truth. You disagree with that claim, of course, but wouldn’t you have to make a similar claim about the work of the Holy Spirit in the universal church?

    Sure. No one gets it all right, but that does not negate the fact that Jesus did promise the Holy Spirit would lead His Church into all truth. I don’t see that as a provisional promise.

    Your WCF claims that there is no salvation outside the church. God puts believers in Christ into His Body. We are God’s building blocks according to the Apostle Paul. Do you believe that, or do you allow yourself an element of doubt?

    John 16
    12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

    Ephesians 2:19-22

    19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens,[a] but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by[b] the Spirit.

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  54. Ali: love, the hyprocritical Bible quoter
    Mermaid: You are not a hypocrite, and I would never say that about you, Ali.
    Kent:Jcagle how do you even find 20 seconds to waste talking to these people who behave like this?

    forgot to respond to your above mermaid, but kent’s comment here just inexplicably reminded me to
    .
    “hyprocritical Bible quoter” was just a commentary on the fact that this side of heaven, while we remain sinners, when we quote the Bible to degrees it’s appearance can seem hypocritical (after all, we ought be quoting for conviction for our own self foremost) i.e hypocrisy = “the behavior of people who do things that they tell other people not to do : behavior that does not agree with what someone claims to believe”

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  55. I motion new OL by-laws:
    1. every time you mention a person believing, you must clarify that faith is a gift.
    2. every time you mention sanctification, you must mention that it is God brings about fruit.

    Because of course “Reformed faith and practice” isn’t clear enough.

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  56. Subsequently, Luke was banned from OL:

    29 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

    31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household

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  57. What is beyond ludicrous is that anyone would accuse a Reformed Christian of Pelagianism. Reformed theology, which has a deeper doctrine of grace and stresses man’s inability to please God apart from grace more than any other tradition. Yeah, we have our issues, but Pelagianism isn’t one of them.

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  58. Robert, not to give Ariel any cover (plus, anyone who can’t play nice with Jeff Cagle needs her fin calibrated), but Finney was a Presbyterian, so semi/Pelagianism can actually be one of our issues. Confessing the Reformed faith is no guarantee of keeping and practicing it, not anymore than claiming an infallible interpreter guarantees an undivided communion.

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  59. Zrim,

    Robert, not to give Ariel any cover (plus, anyone who can’t play nice with Jeff Cagle needs her fin calibrated), but Finney was a Presbyterian, so semi/Pelagianism can actually be one of our issues. Confessing the Reformed faith is no guarantee of keeping and practicing it, not anymore than claiming an infallible interpreter guarantees an undivided communion.

    But Finney later disavowed the Westminster confession, at least on its teachings regarding grace and predestination, so to say he confessed the Reformed faith is a bit of a stretch.

    My comment assumes the individual is confessing and believing the faith.

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  60. Robert, then it’s sort of obvious. It’s like saying one confesses the Reformed faith if he does, or one is a Presbyterian until he isn’t.

    The idea that someone like Jeff is Pelagian is certainly asinine, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t say something that leans Pelagian. My only point is that even though ours is the most biblical confession, we’re just as vulnerable to error as the pope. Put another way, that the WCF is Pelagian is impossible but that Jeff is isn’t (though nothing he has ever said is remotely Pelagian).

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  61. Another Old Life rule: No ladies allowed at the bar without their husbands. No one wants to be accused of beating up on nice Rc ladies or let them go on and on because we have to be polite. It’s a no win and that has nothing to do with her defending herself, because she can’t. She tries to take advantage of the situation and comes across as a patronizing schoolmarm. Time to cut bait!

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  62. Hello there Steve,

    I have been reading the disagreement between sweet MWF and the good natured Mr.Cagle and honestly haven’t read enough to be able to find evidence of Pelagianism. I’m not saying MWF is correct or not, but it should be remebered that Pelagias wasn’t an evil man, in fact St.Augustine called him saintly. So one can hold to something determined wrong( heresy) and still be a Christian. That’s a case of material heresy, and it only becomes formal when one ignores the Catholic Church’s declaration of the truth.
    I dont have time to continue talking, but I wanted to point that out. If Jeff believes in sin and the need of grace because man doesn’t have the powers in him by nature to have faith and to reach the beatific vision that he is safe from semiPelagianism. One hallmark of Pelagianism though is the doctrine of faith alone if it leaves out love of God. Palagias had a lot of the old pagan stoicism in him that he kept arguing for and that’s what got him excommunicated. He was personally a nice guy.
    New Advent is a very helpful resource!

    ” Pelagius denied the primitive state in paradise and original sin (cf. P.L., XXX, 678, “Insaniunt, qui de Adam per traducem asserunt ad nos venire peccatum”), insisted on the naturalness of concupiscence and the death of the body, and ascribed the actual existence and universality of sin to the bad example which Adam set by his first sin. As all his ideas were chiefly rooted in the old, pagan philosophy, especially in the popular system of the Stoics, rather than in Christianity, he regarded the moral strength of man’s will (liberum arbitrium), when steeled by asceticism, as sufficient in itself to desire and to attain the loftiest ideal of virtue. The value of Christ’s redemption was, in his opinion, limited mainly to instruction (doctrina) and example (exemplum), which the Saviour threw into the balance as a counterweight against Adam’s wicked example, so that nature retains the ability to conquer sin and to gain eternal life even without the aid of grace. By justification we are indeed cleansed of our personal sins through faith alone (loc. cit., 663, “per solam fidem justificat Deus impium convertendum”), but this pardon (gratia remissionis) implies no interior renovation of sanctification of the soul. How far the sola-fides doctrine “had no stouter champion before Luther than Pelagius” and whether, in particular, the Protestant conception of fiducial faith dawned upon him many centuries before Luther, as Loofs (“Realencyklopädies fur protest. Theologie”, XV, 753, Leipzig, 1904) assumes, probably needs more careful investigation. For the rest, Pelagius would have announced nothing new by this doctrine, since the Antinomists of the early Apostolic Church were already familiar with “justification by faith alone” (cf. JUSTIFICATION); on the other hand, Luther’s boast of having been the first to proclaim the doctrine of abiding faith, might well arouse opposition. However, Pelagius insists expressly (loc. cit. 812), “Ceterum sine operibus fidei, non legis, mortua est fides”. But the commentary on St. Paul is silent on one chief point of doctrine, i.e. the significance of infant baptism, which supposed that the faithful were even then clearly conscious of the existence of original sin in children.

    To explain psychologically Pelagius’s whole line of thought, it does not suffice to go back to the ideal of the wise man, which he fashioned after the ethical principles of the Stoics and upon which his vision was centred. We must also take into account that his intimacy with the Greeks developed in him, though unknown to himself, a one-sidedness, which at first sight appears pardonable. The gravest error into which he and the rest of the Pelagians fell, was that they did not submit to the doctrinal decisions of the Church. “

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  63. You know, I think that Jeff is good natured and that I am sweet. That is why we are still talking to one another.

    Notice, I did not lie.

    Notice, I accept Jeff’s statement that he is not Pelagian.

    Notice, I think that the whole provisional knowledge discussion was very confusing. I don’t blame Jeff or CvD for that.

    Notice, I wish that Jeff would give a summary statement.

    I will add that it would be good for CvD to also give a summary statement. I understood more of what he said than of what Jeff said, I think, anyway. It is a complex subject and has a whole lotta’ implications, maybe. Maybe I am making it more complicated than it is.

    It is obviously something that both of them feel passionately about. It is not sin to not get what the whole discussion was about. It is not sin to try to figure it out. It is not sin to express my concerns.

    Yes, it would be good for Calvinists to make it clear when talking about someone coming to faith that it is not a mere intellectual exercise.

    I think that the accusation against me of lying needs to be retracted, but I don’t expect miracles.

    Zrim has something against me. I don’t know what. It would be nice if he would talk to me about it instead of taking a cheap shot.

    Repentance is not a bad thing, you know. While we are on the subject of repentance and making things right with one another and clearing up misunderstandings, maybe y’all could apply it to yourselves on occasion?

    Not lying. I am willing to work on relationships if you wish. Maybe you like the way you interact with others, and if you do, then that’s your business.

    I hope and pray that all y’all have a wonderful day.

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  64. Darryl,

    Popes are fallible. No ones asking you to trust CtC any more than you are asking people to trust you.

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  65. Dear Mrs. Webfoot,

    The accusation that you are a lure should be retracted. I’m sorry I didn’t say anything about it in my remark to ZRIM. I should have. That was unkindnof Jeff.
    The Westminster standards are provisional and can be corrected, and if the Reformed are using them soley without adding in the tradition of the church prior the reformation it’s little wonder they can and do err. Jansinism was condemned as was Luther’s idea of faith alone, but that didn’t stop those who protest from protesting.
    So if Jeff hold to error by accident he isn’t at fault. Re fault comes by not admitting the error when it is pointed out to us, as the author of that article that Cletus van Dam brought to everyone’s attention.

    Again, I apologize for not asking Jeff for an apology.You are only interpreting what another says based on the dogma of the church.

    Have a wonderful rest of your day!

    Susan

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  66. The Westminster Standards are Pelagian-ish?

    Other than me teaching last Friday that man is dead in their sin, that faith is a supernatural gift, and only the elect have that gift. I thought I understood the Standards. I guess not. BB Warfield was wrong.

    The reason we believe that Adam’s covenant with God was not of grace, but of works, is because we hold to the Law/Gospel distinction on a narrative level. If God had to give grace to Adam to obey, that means the Covenant of Works was one of grace. But if the Covenant of Works is one of grace, that means the Covenant of Grace ends up requiring works. We’d also say that man is only reconciled in the Covenant of Grace.

    In other words, the Covenants become mushy. The Law is of Grace and Grace requires Law. It’s more suited to the Federal Vision than Reformed orthodoxy.

    There’s also this quote by Augustine that made me turn my head. “When, indeed, Adam sinned by not obeying God, then his body — although it was a natural and mortal body — lost the grace whereby it used in every part of it to be obedient to the soul. ”

    I can only ask, what did Augustine mean by grace? Was he trying to say that Adam lost the desire to obey God? We affirm that. Was he saying that God’s grace in a technical sense? Maybe. Though part of me doubts it, if only because it seems like an anachronistic reading better suited for fundamentalists.

    Not that we’re good Augustinians, what with us believing in the imputed righteousness of God.

    Also, in Reformed theology, we hold to grace restoring nature. At least Kuyper preserved that. Though if you believe in the resurrection, you believe that grace restores nature. How is it a unique Roman ideal? I mean, I guess if you’re a fundamentalist, you don’t believe in grace restoring nature.

    Good thing we’re not revivalists though.

    Seriously. And outside of all this. Are there scholars that have argued that the Westminster Standards are Pelagian-ish? That’s reaching.

    But I’m just a butt, so.

    P.S.

    Seriously. I’ve had Catholics tell me that my anthropology is TOO LOW. That my view of man puts him in too much ruin. Do I believe you or the guy that the diocese down here used to teach Bible studies. Do I believe Karl Rahner or Brian Cross? At least the guy down here was honest in saying that he thought Augustine’s anthropology was too low and that his views on election were scary. Sounds like the Rome I grew up with.

    Holy sh-.

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  67. Zrim & Robert,

    The charge of Pelagianism is really a criticism of the Reformed concept of nature/grace. As the argument goes, if you say Adam could have merited paradise apart from grace, that’s Pelagian. Of course, no one is arguing that Adam could have merited it aside from God’s condescension by way of covenant…so that accusation isn’t a credible one.

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  68. CvD, come on. Most P&R will freely concede that Rome affirms salvation by grace and is only semi-Pelagian. And that’s how you thank us?

    Ariel, why is passion and sincerity so justifying for you? Who cares how passionate and sincere someone is? Those traits are way over rated.

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  69. Brandon,
    Maybe I’m wrong( this is a difficult and confusing topic), but isn’t the error in thinking nature before the fall is so great that we didn’t need the infusion of the divine life to allow is to have friendship with God?
    What is a covenant of works in the garden and where is that taught in the early church? Isn’t the life being breathed into man’s nostrils the story of how our nature was elevated and then when we sinned in Adam ,the story of our fall from grace that left the biological nature and human nature intact( living, thinking, and still having a soul), but know wounded and condmend to physically die?

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  70. Brandon, add to that the fact that Rome comes at it from an metaphysical/ontological instead of a moral/legal set of categories. Man was created inherently lacking and salvation has more to do with becoming more human instead of righteous (see Susan).

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  71. Zrim,

    Of course semi-pelagianism is also not affirmed by Rome, unless youd like to redefine semi-pelagianism. Even Schaff and Warfield recognized as much. The CtC article was presenting an old argument (nature/grace disputes are as old as the Reformation) that the CoW is Pelagian, according to the very arguments and ideas of grace Augustine and Pelagius offered in the controversy itself – i.e. it’s not a redefinition.

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  72. Susan,

    Maybe I’m wrong( this is a difficult and confusing topic), but isn’t the error in thinking nature before the fall is so great that we didn’t need the infusion of the divine life to allow is to have friendship with God?

    It depends on who you ask and when you do the asking. By the time of the Reformation, you have anti-Pelagianism wedded to an Aristotelian view of the soul such that we’re basically created bound to go bad because of our lower animal appetites trying to overcome our rational soul. That’s certainly not an early church view. Augustine wasn’t Aristotelian.

    What is a covenant of works in the garden and where is that taught in the early church?

    For my money, any doctrine of recapitulation comes close to what the later Westminsterians meant by the covenant of works. Irenaeus had that.

    Isn’t the life being breathed into man’s nostrils the story of how our nature was elevated

    No, it’s the story of how we received the breath of life. There’s nothing there about elevating our nature. That’s a later concept refracted through Thomistic Aristotelianism.

    Basically, the doctrine of which you speak depends on a false dichotomy between the image and likeness of God, which no Hebrew scholar, RC or otherwise, accepts. It’s a legacy of the early and medieval church leaning more on philosophy in this case then on exegesis of the Hebrew text.

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  73. Brandon,

    The charge of Pelagianism is really a criticism of the Reformed concept of nature/grace. As the argument goes, if you say Adam could have merited paradise apart from grace, that’s Pelagian. Of course, no one is arguing that Adam could have merited it aside from God’s condescension by way of covenant…so that accusation isn’t a credible one.

    Yeah. It’s a confusion of what appears on the surface vs. what is meant by the what is said.

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  74. Brandon,
    While I can’t stay on here I would read and pay attention as you parse out the view of each AND highlight why the Catholic theology would render Calvinism Pelagian. If Catholicism is wrong, would you please demonstrate how it is and how it mischaracterizes Calvinism in detail.

    Thanks!

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  75. “God’s condescension by way of covenant”

    A reply which is explicitly noted and addressed in the article.

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  76. Susan,

    Ya, I think we’re saying the same thing, you’re just using slightly different terminology. The Catechism describes grace as “participation in the life of God,” so you’re fleshing out the definition of grace while I’m just using the term.

    For the Reformed, however, no one is arguing that human nature is “so great” that it is not dependent on the grace of God. The way the Reformed have framed the discussion is that man apart from covenant would not have any right to paradise, but God did in fact covenant with Adam. Obedience= eternal life; disobedience= death. We don’t typically use the verbiage of “grace” Pre-Fall (personally, I don’t mind it even if I don’t use it regularly myself), but we speak of God’s condescension by way of covenant. Anyone that claims that our position is “Pelagian,” however, does not appreciate the function of covenantal condescension.

    What is a covenant of works in the garden and where is that taught in the early church?

    If we are talking biblically, I think that I could take you through a tour of passages that make the CoW a good and necessary consequence from Scripture. In the life of the Church after Pentecost, I’m not sure. I haven’t studied it. In my memory of Irenaeus’s “On Apostolic Preaching,” however, I think that support may be available therein.

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  77. Dear Robert,
    I appreciate your feedback. You are obviously well vwdsed. I would only ask now, why and how you disagree with the tradition of the church. Philosphy by itself will not get is to divine truth, but employing Aristotle doent make the conclusion faulty. Therrnis no justification for employing Occam either of theologians must throw out Aristotle and Aquinas.
    I wouldn’t know what to believe if the councils that resulted in defintions and dogmas didn’t tell me which way was up. From your epistemology I have to think evryone errs and I mean everyone all the time especially the tradition of the church for 2000 years.

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  78. Yes, it would be good for Calvinists to make it clear when talking about someone coming to faith that it is not a mere intellectual exercise.

    Yeah, come on Calvinists!

    I. All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, He is pleased, in His appointed time, effectually to call,[1] by His Word and Spirit,[2] out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature to grace and salvation, by Jesus Christ;[3] enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God,[4] taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them an heart of flesh;[5] renewing their wills, and, by His almighty power, determining them to that which is good,[6] and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ:[7] yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace.[8]

    WCF X.1

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  79. Susan: The accusation that you are a lure should be retracted… That was unkindnof Jeff.

    As I explained above, I did not say that she is a liar, but that she lied (on this occasion) and that she needs to repent and apologize.

    While that may seem unkind to you, it is what we are supposed to do when sinned against. It’s what real people do with one another if discussion is to continue.

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  80. CVD,

    Here is the portion from the linked article:

    For Pelagius, ‘grace’ was either the gift of initial creation of man (especially man’s faculties of intellect and will) or the ‘grace’ of ‘the law and the teaching’ which would help mankind to salvation by making it easier for him to do what he nevertheless could do by his own power of free will. No one denies that man’s creation is totally gratuitous, so this cannot be the controversial doctrine. More germane is the notion that something merely extrinsic to man can be the ‘grace’ needed for salvation, such as a covenant or a law. In limiting grace to merely extrinsic things, Pelagius could still hold that man by his own power is able to obey perfectly and thereby merit eternal blessedness. The same obtains for the idea of the Covenant of Works as articulated by the Westminster Assembly: such a covenant would only add an extrinsic ‘gracious’ arrangement to man’s natural state. It would not actually elevate man such that his actions could have a salutary quality in the supernatural realm.

    I don’t have the time to provide more comment, but I want to note two things. First, I’m grateful Barrett notes the possible objection by the Reformed. Second, I don’t think Barrett’s comments appreciate how different the Reformed and Pelagian schemes are very different in what they affirm. The Reformed don’t merely grant to creation a gratuitous nature, they say that God specifically entered into an agreement with Adam. If you fulfill my commands, I will bless you with eternal life. The work that Adam would perform would not be commensurate with the reward.

    You may say, “That still doesn’t address the problem Barrett highlights, though!” Part of this disagreement, however, has to do with the definition of grace and if one assumes that the two options are between the Augustinian option (intrinsic) or the Pelagian option (extrinsic), then the Reformed option will not fit neatly into either.

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  81. Susan,

    I would only ask now, why and how you disagree with the tradition of the church.

    I mean, it would depend on what tradition we are talking about. I disagree with certain traditions, not with all of them.

    Philosphy by itself will not get is to divine truth, but employing Aristotle doent make the conclusion faulty. Therrnis no justification for employing Occam either of theologians must throw out Aristotle and Aquinas.

    That is true. I don’t reject Aristotle where he is correct. In fact a lot of what Aquinas did with Aristotle can be helpful. Unfortunately, much of it isn’t. On this issue in particular, the concept that man needs an infusion of grace before the fall ends up God creating something that was less than good and then having to elevate it. It also runs the risk of blurring the distinction between Creator and creature. Man has to be elevated beyond creaturehood to be in fellowship with God. That’s very dangerous. If all that is meant is that God must condescend to us if we are to be in relationship with him, I have not problem. It becomes a problem, or at least a potential problem, when man’s ontology is inherently defective before the fall. To my reading, that is where RC anthropology seems to lead in its unfallen state.

    I wouldn’t know what to believe if the councils that resulted in defintions and dogmas didn’t tell me which way was up.

    The councils are very helpful and should be followed when they are correct and not when they are wrong. Even Rome has a place for this. Rome doesn’t follow everything Nicea said, just the parts with which it agrees. It’s one of the reasons why the East is not in full fellowship with you. Their contention, at least one of them, is that Rome does not pay heed to the ecumenical councils like it should.

    From your epistemology I have to think evryone errs and I mean everyone all the time especially the tradition of the church for 2000 years.

    Why? Why is there no middle ground? Jesus didn’t condemn everything in pre-Christian Judaism. Why should I believe that a fallible church gets everything wrong?

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  82. Robert,
    I knew I would have to spend a lot of time if I got in here and commented:) I truly love the thoughtful discussion and wish I had all the time in the world to devote to it.

    Let me ask this, so are you arguing against the councils of Carthage and Orange when you give to man the ability to have friendship with God apart from infused grace?

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  83. Brandon,

    So the charge has credibility after all – we just now appeal to some undefined sui generis concept of prefall grace that is neither extrinsic or intrinsic but something else. But at least you acknowledge the Reformed depart from Augustine here (so much for Warfields quip that Rome favored his ecclesiology over his concept of grace).

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  84. Maybe I’m wrong, but I would suspect that your coments are freaking out Brandon.
    Okay I will just watch the interaction between you, CVD and Brandon. This is where I learn the most about our differences as Catholics and protestants as well as protestants differences among themselves.

    Wish you all well!
    Susan

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  85. Jeff Cagle
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 1:34 pm | Permalink
    Susan: The accusation that you are a lure should be retracted… That was unkindnof Jeff.

    As I explained above, I did not say that she is a liar, but that she lied (on this occasion) and that she needs to repent and apologize.

    While that may seem unkind to you, it is what we are supposed to do when sinned against. It’s what real people do with one another if discussion is to continue.>>>>

    I did not lie, and I presented the evidence. You felt sinned against, and I am sorry for that.

    We can continue the discussion. It’s up to you. If I find something questionable or that I do not understand about anything you say, I will ask directly. Well, actually I did, but I will be sure to put soft words around it. Like, “you are my brother, we are both Christians and part of the Body of Christ, but I would ask you to explain this phrase or paragraph. To me it comes across as rationalistic, or Pelagian – which is not really possible because I know you are an officer of your Reformed Church and I respect that – but I don’t understand. If you get time, and if you would like to explain, I would love to hear what you have to say.” Things like that. If I have to ask again, I will ask in the same way.

    I would be more than happy to commit to the Ephesians 4 standard, especially v. 32. I will be kind to you. I will be tender hearted. I will forgive you as God in Christ forgave me.

    How about it, Jeff? If you say something to me that comes across as harsh, I will take it as good natured teasing. I accept your explanation in that regard and will not take offense.

    Love to you and yours, Jeff, and again, have a wonderful day.

    32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

    Ephesians 4
    The New Life
    17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self,[f] which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

    25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

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  86. CvD, I’m not saying Rome explicitly affirms SP. I’m saying it’s determined to be SP by the Reformed (i.e. faith plus works). And I understand you’d disagree, but that’s not the point. The point is that you all seem ready to go for the soteriological throat. We may have a strong and condemning (maybe even hyperventilating at times) conclusion on your communion, but at least we don’t attempt something as silly as construing WCF as Pelagian. Good grief.

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  87. Zrim,

    “I’m saying it’s determined to be SP by the Reformed (i.e. faith plus works). And I understand you’d disagree, but that’s not the point.”

    And I’m saying one can only determine it be SP if one redefines what SP means – which is why Schaff and Warfield agree Rome is not SP when writing on it (SP is not “faith plus works” considering “works” only apply after infusion and both operative and cooperative grace are in play in yielding any work) – so I return your good grief disbelief and “silly” charge. The RC critique of WCF/CoW as Pelagian is not a redefinition – it’s drawing on exactly the same arguments laid out by Pelagius and Augustine/Orange during the controversy which dealt with both pre-fall and post-fall conditions, not just post-fall.

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  88. CVD,

    No, you’re not reading carefully. My point is that if we’re choosing between Pelagian or Augustinian as it regards the necessity of *infusion* of grace, you’re making a false dichotomy. The reason is that the Reformed can agree with the Augustinians at Orange at every point even though they don’t agree regarding the necessity of an infusion of Divine grace.

    To be clear, the Reformed *do* depart from Augustine’s doctrine of infusion. This wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone here or to Warfield, Hodge, Turretin, Calvin, etc. Of course this impacts Augustine’s doctrine of grace. We reject the donum superadditum even though we acknowledge it’s genesis in medieval Augustinian theology.

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  89. Brandon, the catholic contingent hasn’t shown even a .01% interest in bothering to learn what we believe or respond as if they’ve bothered to spend 3 seconds reading the finer points of your attempts to communicate.

    Like

  90. Zrim
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 3:13 pm | Permalink
    but at least we don’t attempt something as silly as construing WCF as Pelagian. Good grief.

    Of course you don’t, that’s the problem here.

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

    Thirdly, More challenges the rationality of Tyndale’s trust in sola scriptura, “the scripture alone.” More’s position is that the only way he or Tyndale can know that the scripture is the scripture is from the authority of the church, and that the church therefore has logical precedence. It has the authority to interpret the Bible just has it has the authority to say what the Bible is. He repeatedly quotes Matthew 28:20, “Lo, I am with you all the days to the world’s end,” to show that Jesus is still guiding the church.

    In the passage of the women and Barnes in the Confutation, More exploits an important weakness of the Protestant position: if the church is invisible, how can anyone know what church to follow? More has an answer for this question, and a huge body of texts to refer to, while the sincere questioner tending toward the Lutheran position is left making a complex judgement that might escape doctors of the Sorbonne: which preacher is most rational and most faithful to Scripture?

    Your system claims to be the work of the Spirit, but by making it “provisional” you concede it’s not. Indeed, because your “catholic” Church is invisible, it’s anybody’s guess where or even what it is.

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  91. Mermaid,

    You can’t talk credibly of love until you can be honest.

    Harsh or not, the way forward is for you to say the one thing you’ve been squirming around to avoid saying. Until then, I wish you well, but additional words are beside the point.

    Like

  92. Darryl,

    What? Adam didn’t lack grace, he was created with it, hence the preternatural gifts he had that were lost by him as his free choice caused the fall and severed the relationship – you have it precisely backwards.

    And someone can “call” someone to change their stance without saying “hey just trust me”.

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  93. I didn’t understand that Adam was created 18th preternatural gifts. I thought he was given them after his creation.
    I stand corrected on this point. Sorry Robert.

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  94. CVD quoting DeCoursey: More’s position is that the only way he or Tyndale can know that the scripture is the scripture is from the authority of the church, and that the church therefore has logical precedence. It has the authority to interpret the Bible just has it has the authority to say what the Bible is. He repeatedly quotes Matthew 28:20, “Lo, I am with you all the days to the world’s end,” to show that Jesus is still guiding the church.

    Interestingly, More cites the Scripture to show that the church has logical precedence over the Scripture. What’s the real foundation here?

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  95. DeCoursey from CVDs link:

    Subordinate to this point, but argued at great length, is a discussion of the nature of
    evidence. Through a series of thought-experiments, More asks what justifies the fixation of
    belief. For example, he suggests that a “black” man in India might hear of the existence of white
    people. Would he believe it? By such illustrations, More builds up a skepticism about the possibility of knowing anything, especially by the reading of texts, and concludes from this skepticism that the only thing to do is accept the authority of the Holy Church, which alone can
    know certainly

    Thank you.

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  96. Jeff Cagle
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 7:01 pm | Permalink
    DeCoursey from CVDs link:

    Subordinate to this point, but argued at great length, is a discussion of the nature of
    evidence. Through a series of thought-experiments, More asks what justifies the fixation of
    belief. For example, he suggests that a “black” man in India might hear of the existence of white
    people. Would he believe it? By such illustrations, More builds up a skepticism about the possibility of knowing anything, especially by the reading of texts, and concludes from this skepticism that the only thing to do is accept the authority of the Holy Church, which alone can
    know certainly

    Thank you.

    You’re welcome. More is refuting the “Pelagianism” of philology, on which sola scriptura rests. You’re clearly not following the argument.

    “Pelagianism is the belief that original sin did not taint human nature and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without special Divine aid.”

    So until you go on record about how the Holy Spirit created the Protestant Bible [and not philologists]—and thus essentially make the same claim as the Catholic Church about ITS Bible [!]–the Pelagianism stands. Your argument gets tripped up on it own claim to “neutrality,” that somehow Luther and Calvin and the 2nd century Sanhedrin are all free of human bias and error and rendered the scriptures faithfully–with no help from or authority of the Holy Spirit.

    Thomas More cuts with Protestantism’s [or Jeff Cagle’s] sword of “provisionality” and “fallibilism.” If it extends to dogma, it extends to the Bible itself as well. Without divine authority, it’s all the theological and philological guesswork of man.

    and concludes from this skepticism that the only thing to do is accept the authority of the Holy Church, which alone can know certainty

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  97. Jeff,

    If you remember STM-triad is the rule of faith, and not S-alone or M-alone, your apparent confusion would vanish. Scripture attests to the church, and the church was divinely guided in recognizing and attesting to Scripture through Tradition. That’s why there’s a triad of parallel authorities, otherwise you get the incoherent chicken and egg problem suffered within proposing SS as the rule of faith.

    I haven’t read the essay – but if More was advancing a radical skepticism of all knowledge, that has not been advanced by myself (or others I cited) in the argument in the other thread which I will return to sometime this week. The article on certitude I linked to earlier speaks to many spheres of certitude outside that of faith – hardly a radical skeptic position – More perhaps was focusing on that type of supernatural certitude in making his point. I will simply say again that one side is the one explicitly and insistently advancing endless doubt and skepticism and precluding the possibility of anything like the certitude of faith, and the other is not, so to charge the RC position as radically skeptic – well, as Zrim said, good grief.

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  98. TVD: More is refuting the “Pelagianism” of philology, on which sola scriptura rests.

    Think about what you just said.

    More’s approach is to burn down the possibility of knowing anything at all. That is a practice observed more locally as well.

    You would have us choose between Pelagius or Derrida. No thank you.

    Your system claims to be the work of the Spirit, but by making it “provisional” you concede it’s not.

    Not so. Your critique uses a false alternative: Either infallible truth or no truth at all. Yet somehow you can tie your shoes without a bishop.

    But at least now I know where you borrowed the term “philology” from. It was a curious choice. I would have said “linguistics” or “information theory.”

    No doubt those are Pelagian disciplines as well.

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  99. Susan,

    Let me ask this, so are you arguing against the councils of Carthage and Orange when you give to man the ability to have friendship with God apart from infused grace?

    I’m saying that nothing had to be added to Adam ontologically before the fall in order to have friendship with God. That’s not to say that there’s no such thing as grace in any sense before the fall. God’s making of a covenant of any kind is gracious condescension. God’s revealing Himself is a gracious act.

    I’m denying that before the fall man was in constant threat of his lower animal appetites overcoming His reason. From what I understand of Roman soteriology, which is by no means easy to follow and has its variations**, pre-fall man is inherently unstable. I’ve had RCs tell me that the combination of the soul with the body is fundamentally impossible without an infusion of grace, and that when you add the soul to the body you’re basically asking for trouble because of the opposition between soul and body, and the only way to solve that is by the donum superadditum. How much of that reflects official RC it’s hard to say, but from my reading of the sources, it certainly seems reasonable. Basically you have God creating man as a divided being, with one part warring against the other. It has vestiges of the old Platonic “matter bad, spirit good,” and the lower appetites business is taken straight from Aristotle.

    Any notion of the above destroys God’s original good creation, and the idea that man’s nature must be elevated blurs the Creator-creature distinction. Really, the more I’ve studied Roman Catholicism, it’s the nature of man that is the starting point for what I would call Rome’s soteriological errors.

    **(I’ve had Roman Catholics tell me that natural reason tells you the church is the church, then you ask for baptism so that you can get grace, which sounds awfully Pelagian to me, the discovering the church part by natural reason that is.)

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  100. CVD (for real): I haven’t read the essay – but if More was advancing a radical skepticism of all knowledge

    The thesis traces More v. Tyndale over several pieces. More’s position shifts over time. He begins (per the author) as quoted above, attempting to make an opening by creating a radical skepticism about knowing anything at all.

    He ends by engaging in Tyndale’s philological arguments, taking issue here but conceding there. Apparently he hadn’t been properly informed by Tom that philology is Pelagian.

    CVD: …that has not been advanced by myself (or others I cited) in the argument in the other thread which I will return to sometime this week.

    I agree. You haven’t advanced a radical skepticism towards all knowledge.

    CVD: If you remember STM-triad is the rule of faith, and not S-alone or M-alone, your apparent confusion would vanish. Scripture attests to the church, and the church was divinely guided in recognizing and attesting to Scripture through Tradition. That’s why there’s a triad of parallel authorities…

    More’s argument (per author) is not STM parallel authorities, but a logical dependency of Scripture on the Church. To then use Scripture as an authority to establish the authority of the Church is circular.

    CVD: I will simply say again that one side is the one explicitly and insistently advancing endless doubt and skepticism and precluding the possibility of anything like the certitude of faith, and the other is not, so to charge the RC position as radically skeptic – well, as Zrim said, good grief.

    Don’t mistake a reductio for the real position. In life and in faith, I don’t practice endless doubt but assume that Scripture can be read and understood, certainly in the main points of doctrine necessary for salvation, though not believed without the work of the Spirit.

    Hence the rejection of Perpetual Virginity as an article of faith.

    Now comes CtC and the “By whose authority?” apologetic, and it proceeds along the lines of More: How can you ever have confidence in any article of faith if all of your knowledge is provisional? How do you even know what the Bible IS?

    It’s all very overwrought, IMO, and takes an absurd view of knowledge.

    So I push back with the ad absurdum: If only infallible sentences should be assented to in faith, then why do you assent to fallible copies of fallible translations of church doctrine?

    That’s an obvious problem, whether your line of work deals with chain-of-evidence or data integrity.

    But see, even pointing out the problem is Pelagian ’cause, ya know…

    Well, it’s not obvious why.

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  101. @Jeff & cvd

    So I push back with the ad absurdum: If only infallible sentences should be assented to in faith, then why do you assent to fallible copies of fallible translations of church doctrine?

    Jeff, I don’t think you have to even construct the ad absurdum to make this point. If I understood cvd correctly, he said that there is no good reason to believe a fallible religious teaching (over in the 1000-comment thread). However, we all recognize that not everything the RCC teaches is infallible. The ordinary magisterium is fallible, but the faithful catholic is still required to provide submission of intellect and will. I don’t understand how you square your sentiment that there is no good reason to submit to a fallible doctrine with the RCCs authority on fallible teachings.

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  102. TVD: So until you go on record about how the Holy Spirit created the Protestant Bible … – the Pelagianism stands.

    The Holy Spirit through human authors (2 Pet) created every original autograph of every book in the Protestant Bible.

    But see, that won’t make this Pelagian silliness go away, will it?

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  103. Jeff Cagle
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 5:15 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid,

    You can’t talk credibly of love until you can be honest.

    Harsh or not, the way forward is for you to say the one thing you’ve been squirming around to avoid saying. Until then, I wish you well, but additional words are beside the point.>>>>>

    I am not squirming around at all. The way forward is for you to quit accusing me of something I did not do – lie. If additional words are beside the point, then don’t say additional words.

    Did I hit a nerve? It looks like Pelagianism is actually on the table for discussion. Is everyone lying except you?

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  104. James Young, I believe in a sovereign God. You seem to have faith in a sovereign pope.

    When the Bible, you know God’s word, says Adam was created good, what does that mean except he wasn’t created inferior the way the Greeks regarded the body, you know, the Greeks whom Thomas Aquinas appropriated.

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  105. James Young, “your apparent confusion would vanish. Scripture attests to the church, and the church was divinely guided in recognizing and attesting to Scripture through Tradition. That’s why there’s a triad of parallel authorities, otherwise you get the incoherent chicken and egg problem suffered within proposing SS as the rule of faith.”

    blah blah blah. You keep insisting on this. But the apostles and prophets and Jesus didn’t say this and gave no indication that even Peter was primary. So at some point you have to admit that M is more authoritative than Scripture and your nice little stool collapses. Yup.

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  106. James Young, says you. Warfield says the medieval church was effectively semi-pelagian:

    It was no longer legally possible, in deed, within the limits of the Church to ascribe to man, with the Pelagian, the whole of salvation; nor even, with the Semi-pelagian, the initiation of salvation. But neither was it any longer legally possible to ascribe salvation so entirely to the grace of God that it could complete itself without the aid of the discredited human will its aid only as empowered and moved by prevenient grace indeed, but not effectually moved, so that it could not hold back and defeat the operations of saving grace. The gravitation of this Synergistic system is obviously downward, and therefore we cannot be surprised to learn that it easily fell away into that express Semi-pelagianism which, despite its official condemnation by the Church, seems to have formed the practical faith of most men throughout the Middle Ages, and in which the determining act in salvation is assigned, not to the grace of God conveying salvation, but to the consent of the will, giving to the almighty grace of God its efficacy. Here is work-salvation as truly though not as grossly as in pure Pelagianism itself; and accordingly, throughout the Middle Ages, Legalism reigned supreme, legalism which wrought precisely the same effects as are so vividly described by Heinrich Weinel, as manifesting themselves in the Jewish circles from which the Apostle Paul sprung. (Plan of Salvation, 42-44)

    Like today, the church says it confesses Nicea. But does it make any difference? I don’t think so.

    Try again.

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  107. Jeff Cagle
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 8:45 pm | Permalink
    TVD: So until you go on record about how the Holy Spirit created the Protestant Bible … – the Pelagianism stands.

    The Holy Spirit through human authors (2 Pet) created every original autograph of every book in the Protestant Bible.

    But see, that won’t make this Pelagian silliness go away, will it?>>>>>>

    You have to trust the Church for preservation of the New Testament. It took more than human authors, though it took that as well. It took other human beings to infallibly recognize which books of the many manuscripts circulating at the time actually belonged in canon. That also had to be the work of the Holy Spirit infallibly guiding the Church into all truth as Jesus promised He would.

    What method did they use to decide what books were inspired by the Holy Spirit? It could not have been merely rationalistic based on the best discoveries in philology, though the Holy Spirit uses human instruments to accomplish His will.

    Now, there is a fair amount of variation for different Christian groups about what the canon of the OT is. It is clear, though, that the Septuagint was what Jesus and the apostles used. There are numerous quotes and references to the Deuterocanonical books in the NT writings. The logical conclusion would be that they considered these books to be Scripture and useful for doctrine, for reproof, and for instruction in righteousness. IOW, God-breathed. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17)

    Oh what authority do Protestants say that their Bible is the only true canon of Scripture? See, Protestants always have a problem of authority. Whose authority and who gets to decide?

    It would be better if Protestants at least allowed for the fact that they may have gotten it wrong about the OT canon. I mean, can the Catholic and EO Churches that existed long before Luther – some 1,500 years – have gotten it wrong and one German have gotten it right?

    Not likely.

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  108. Robert,

    You said, “I’m denying that before the fall man was in constant threat of his lower animal appetites overcoming His reason. ”

    I would think that the church would agree with you on this. We have out reason and of course that means that we can recognize that man is greater than the other animals; that we should treat other people with respect and care….basically that we recognize natural law. Wasn’t that the theme of Lewis’s Mere Christianity, the Tao? But elevation to the divine life is a work of the spirit and that is why natural man will not see the beatific vision. One has to be born from above by water and the spirit.

    You also said:
    “From what I understand of Roman soteriology, which is by no means easy to follow and has its variations**, pre-fall man is inherently unstable.”

    I don’t know what all you’ve heard but an RCIA class might be a good place to go to help clear up things.
    Adam and Eve were the only prefall human beings and they could make a decision that resulted in their forfeiting communion with our gracious Lord. The werent so stable with grace to keep them from sinning. Same thing with us post baptismal Christians; we can sin and lose the gift of grace in our heart’s.

    “Basically you have God creating man as a divided being, with one part warring against the other. It has vestiges of the old Platonic “matter bad, spirit good,” and the lower appetites business is taken straight from Aristotle.”

    No this isn’t right and it isnt Catholic. Paul said something about doing the things he doesn’t want to do and that his body was a body of death. We have concupisence( how ever it’s spelled 🙂 and that is our pull towards sin. We can resist the devil and the flesh, but we don’t always do this and so we FALL from grace again. Yes we are warring within our members but God didnt create us this way.

    I hope you will continue to inform yourself and let yourself be corrected when you don’t understand Catholicism as well as you thought. I can understand why you thought as you do and I hope I was able to help make things clearer.
    I dont fully understand things super well but one thing I was certain of and that is that I cannot have a spiritual life without infused grace.

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  109. Mermaid,

    It’s very unfortunate that you’ve gotten yourself into this mess. It’s painfully, excruciatingly obvious that you made up a charge based on reading into silence. I’ve cited your words, and you haven’t been able to deny them.

    Cletus’ point about Adam in the garden has no relation to our discussion.

    At that time, when we were discussing the decidedly post-fall Philippian jailer, you went from “you didn’t discuss the Holy Spirit” to “Pelagian.” When I told you that my view was the opposite of Pelagian, you ignored my response and you went on to boast in this thread about doing so.

    Everyone sees what you did, and everyone sees what you’re doing right now. You’re hoping that you can wrap Southern hospitality around a refusal to apologize for sin, and you’ll somehow be able to pull it off.

    But you are no more successful at hiding behind your tree than Tom was when he claimed to be a neutral referee.

    Did you strike a nerve? Not on the charge itself, which is stupid. Every Calvinist believes that the Spirit must enable and even cause belief. The end.

    But yes, you struck a nerve, a personal one. I made a strong effort to try to treat you with respect, even when others did not, and you repeatedly repaid me with lying about me.

    I bore that for a time, but then in this instance, when the lie was so crystal-clear, I had hoped I could bring the lack of truthfulness to your attention, and that you and I might reset the mode of interaction. I tried to do so gently, then more directly, and finally you forced me into saying the direct truth: You lied.

    Don’t even protest your innocence.

    What hits the nerve, Mermaid, is that every time I try to treat you like a person, you respond like a politician. Here in this instance, saving face and trying to “win” is more important to you than doing what decent human beings everywhere know to do: “I was wrong, and I’m sorry.”

    The tragic part is that you aren’t even saving face. You would have looked a whole lot better a week ago if you had just made nice. It’s not like I didn’t give you umpteen opportunities to do so.

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  110. D. G. Hart
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 9:10 pm | Permalink
    James Young, “your apparent confusion would vanish. Scripture attests to the church, and the church was divinely guided in recognizing and attesting to Scripture through Tradition. That’s why there’s a triad of parallel authorities, otherwise you get the incoherent chicken and egg problem suffered within proposing SS as the rule of faith.”

    blah blah blah. You keep insisting on this. But the apostles and prophets and Jesus didn’t say this and gave no indication that even Peter was primary. So at some point you have to admit that M is more authoritative than Scripture and your nice little stool collapses. Yup.

    Blahblahblah yourself. Your version of the Christian religion is still at odds with the Eastern Orthodox, who also have had the same religion for 2000 years. Your attacks on Rome are meaningless; they do not justify Protestantism’s re-invention of Christian theology.

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  111. Jeff Cagle
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 9:58 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid,

    It’s very unfortunate that you’ve gotten yourself into this mess.

    You’re the only one in a mess, squealing like a baby because someone in a comment box tweaked your nose with your trust in man over the Holy Spirit.

    Calvinism’s quite a tough town–until somebody pushes back. The funny thing is, nobody’s disagreeing with you–they’re just showing where your premises lead. You have no reason to prefer Luther’s Bible over the Eastern Orthodox’s because you’ve subtracted the Holy Spirit from the equation.

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  112. D. G. Hart
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 9:06 pm | Permalink
    Jeff, did you know that historians believe More denied papal supremacy and infallibility?

    or not.

    http://tinyurl.com/p8w9zch

    Oh, look, Dr. Hart found some guy on the internet and all of a sudden it’s “historians believe.”

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  113. Darryl,

    I have faith in a sovereign God who established authorized teachers of His Word that was bestowed upon and intended for a particular community. You seem to have faith in your own sovereign autonomy.

    Adam was created good. He was created in the image and likeness of God. Many fathers interpreted that as 2 distinct, yet simultaneous, qualities. John Hardon: “Some of the Greek Fathers, like Basil and Cyril of Alexandria, believed that the supernatural sanctification of Adam is indicated in Genesis 2:7. They took spiraculum vitae to mean the grace of the Holy Spirit as a supernatural vital principle. Others, notably Ireneus, Gregory of Nyssa and Augustine, held that imago Dei referred to Adam’s nature, while similitudo Dei described him as being in the state of sanctifying grace. Apart from their interpretation of the texts, the Fathers’ common belief that Adam received both natural and supernatural life is a witness to Christian tradition.” Why lay the blame on Aquinas? Others here freely admit Augustine blew it as well.

    Not even a little itty bit of primacy for Peter? Even your own side is fine admitting such – they just dispute any such privilege for successors. Dont be so paranoid, even the East are cool with at least some kind of primacy. Why do I have to admit M is more authoritative than ST when all 3 teach the opposite? And at some point you have to admit the chicken egg incoherence of SS as a rule of faith makes it implausible.

    Warfields quote you offered affirms RCism condemned SP so no need for me to try again. Thats why he also says right before: “Pelagianism died hard; or rather it did not die at all, but only retired more or less out of sight and bided its time; meanwhile vexing the Church with modified forms of itself, modified just enough to escape the letter of the Church’s condemnation. Into the place of Pelagianism there stepped at once Semi-pelagianism; and when the controversy with Semi-pelagianism had been fought and won, into the place of Semi-pelagianism there stepped that semi-semi-pelagianism which the Council of Orange betrayed the Church into, the genius of an Aquinas systematized for her, and the Council of Trent finally fastened with rivets of iron upon that portion of the church which obeyed it. The necessity of grace had been acknowledged as the result of the Pelagian controversy: its preveniency, as the result of the Semi-pelagian controversy: but its certain efficacy, its “irresistibility” men call it, was by the fatal compromise of Orange denied…”

    Notice he coins semi-semi-Pelagianism (which should be a red flag the plot is starting to get lost) and affirms Rome and Orange condemned SP and Trent reiterated said teaching. So try again if you and zrim and the Reformed want to keep accusing RCism of SPism. Neither P or SP were concerned with the issue of the efficacy or irresistabilty of grace. So RCs arent left in the bizarre position of arguing a council (Orange) focused on condemning P/SP is actually affirming SP as the more polemical on your side are. So no redefinition of terms on the RC side.

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  114. Susan,

    This is from the Catholic Encyclopedia’s article on concupiscence, and the whole article seems to validate what I’ve said:

    “From the explanation given, it is plain that the opposition between appetite and reason is natural in man, and that, though it be an imperfection, it is not a corruption of human nature.”

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04208a.htm

    The article calls it an imperfection, not a corruption. I call it leaning too much on Aristotle, who held the same essential view. But the key point is that it would seem Rome believes God created man as an inherently unstable being, divided against himself. In my view, that locates the reason for sin in man’s creaturehood and makes it a problem of ontology and not ethics.

    I’ve been reading a lot about Aristotle lately (from “non-partisan” sources 🙂 ) and I was astonished to see how close the sources’ description of Aristotle’s view of the rational soul’s opposition to the animal and vegetative soul is to what I understand of RC anthropology. That doesn’t make it necessarily wrong, but it does call one to question what is driving the view on Rome’s side when such an understanding is foreign to Scripture.

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  115. vd, t, “More does implicitly recognize, for all practical purposes. . .”

    Read: More doesn’t explicitly affirm papal primacy or infallibility. Who would with Julius II making wars across Europe?

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  116. James Young, Rome’s primacy was moral and in the West. It didn’t emerge until the fifth century. Before that, Rome was on a par with Alexandria, Jerusalem et al.

    And oh by the way, Constantine did more to protect the church than the pope. Did you ever wonder why the pontiff didn’t call the Council of Nicea?

    Warfield’s quotes show that Rome was hardly firm in its opposition to Pelagianism. How could it be when Rome uses a pagan Greek anthropology and thinks Adam was not created good but needed grace?

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  117. Hey Jeff, she did say she was sorry that you took offense to her accusation. That has to count for something. Daryl, can we get another bowl of peanuts on the bar? Oh, and get the lady another fruity drink I guess, she’s not leaving anytime soon.

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  118. Jeff, looks like you really need to be careful about English translations of papal documents:

    When Pope Francis speaks, people listen. And blessed are those who can understand him without the need for a third party translation. That was clear again last week during his moving, six-day papal visit to Kenya, Uganda, and the Central African Republic.

    But before citing any examples, it is important to admit that providing good simultaneous translations can be quite a challenge, especially for this pope. The Vatican-employed priests who do so, get it right nearly every time. But not always. And in certain, very clear cases one wonders if this is because they misunderstand Francis’s original words or are actually trying (consciously or not) to make those words more “Vaticanly correct.”

    A perfect case in point is the pope’s references to himself when sharing an anecdote or posing a rhetorical question.

    “Padre, pero…” he began in his native Spanish at one point in his off-the-cuff address to young people in Nairobi. For some reason the monsignor who was translating into English that day felt the need to render it, “But Holy Father…” Holy Father? Francis never refers to himself as Holy Father—unless he’s reading a speech someone else wrote for him. It is simply just “Father.”

    What next, infallible interpreters?

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