Shrugged and Always Shrugging

One shrug:

One of the most common takeaways from Synod 2015 is that it revealed deep “divisions” within the Catholic Church. While I will suggest that “divisions” is too strong a word, no one can deny that Synod 2015 demonstrated the existence of strong theological tensions within the body of Catholic bishops, and that this in turn points to disturbingly pronounced and conflicting conceptions within the Catholic faithful of what Catholic belief and practice is or ought to be. What did the evident tensions at Synod 2015 mean for the Church? What does the reality of ever more diverse and conflictive creedal alignments among the baptized mean, particularly for the Church in the US? Herewith, I offer some thoughts on both questions. . . .

[W]e can say here that we have come with some confidence to believe that a significant part of Christianity in the United States is actually only tenuously Christian in any sense that is seriously connected to the actual historical Christian tradition, but has rather substantially morphed into Christianity’s misbegotten step-cousin, Christian Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. This has happened in the minds and hearts of many individual believers, and, it also appears, within the structures of at least some Christian organizations and institutions. The language, and therefore experience, of Trinity, holiness, sin, grace, justification, sanctification, church, Eucharist, and heaven and hell appear… to be supplanted by the language of happiness, niceness, and an earned heavenly reward. It is not so much that U.S. Christianity is being secularized. Rather, more subtly, Christianity is either degenerating into a pathetic version of itself or, more significantly, Christianity is actively being colonized and displaced by a quite different religious faith.

Now, replace “Christianity” with “Catholicism” and “Christian” with “Catholic” in that paragraph, and I would suggest this describes the essential creed of thousands of American Catholics.

Such then is the complexity of our Church in the United States. As members of that Body, particularly as ministers, catechists, pastors and evangelists, we simply must understand—with serenity and faith—that this complexity generates tensions, and those tensions will likely continue to characterize the Church in the US for decades to come.

One might be tempted to ask whether we as a Church are not on the cusp of going the way of Judaism—as recently suggested by Daniel McGuire—a religion with “branches”—orthodox, conservative and reform. Do we today have “branches of Catholicism” in the Church? I think not. But tensions we do have, because Catholics embrace conflicting and even incompatible creedal commitments.

What to make of all this? Shall we despair? Shall orthodox Catholics allow themselves to be overcome by a bunker mentality—all the rest be damned? If we have taken it to heart that “a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,” then most assuredly, no. Rather, beyond the synods and beyond the tensions, let’s keep our focus on living a robust, orthodox and joyful Catholic faith—extending to our Catholic brothers and sisters who have yet to experience it, the means and opportunities for a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. Let’s do that with trust in the transforming power of his grace, the inscrutable depths of his Divine Mercy, and the sanctifying action of his Holy Spirit.

Two shrugs:

One of the most troubling things about American Catholics is their tendency to go off the deep end.

Conservative Catholics who are upset about the condition of the church and think Pope Francis is evil incarnate seem to be proliferating. . . .

I would therefore recommend to any Catholics who are in turmoil because the present pope isn’t to their liking or their church is not what they want or their bishop unsatisfactory to read some church history. Eamonn Duffy’s history of the papacy Saints and Sinners is a good one. When you read history of the church you’ll realize that turmoil and trouble have been with us since the time of the apostles. Might as well get used to it.

Does that mean you shouldn’t be upset or worried? No. Does that mean one should be complacent about heresy, corruption within and persecution from without? No. Be worried. That’s okay if it leads you to pray more.

What is troublesome is how much time people spend biting their nails and grumbling and posting angry blog articles or getting all worked up into a tizzy about stuff they can’t really do much about anyway.

This is one of the reasons I’ve started my new blog The Suburban Hermit –to get people to spend some time away from the church politics headlines, away from the head banging and nail biting and to try to build their life with Christ and deepen their life of prayer.

More time in work, prayer and reading (the Benedictine formula) will bring stability to your life. You’ll come to realize again, but at a heart level, that God is in charge. He loves his church. Everything will be all right in the end, and you can breathe easy.

Three shrugs:

You are worried about phantoms. The Church cannot alter the sacraments. The most that may happen is that the Church will face the fact that Caesar has decided to pretend that there is such a thing as gay marriage and that people involved in such arrangements require some form of pastoral care. Would you rather the Church simply reject them and their children? Christ comes to call not the righteous, but sinners. So that’s not an option. The desire of some Catholics to cut people off from the very opportunity of grace is as old as Donatism. The Church as a fortress and an engine of vengeance is not the gospel. She is bound to seek the lost.

Part of the problem is that people have no idea what this Synod is about. It is, like all conciliar actions, a time when the Church “holds herself in suspense” as Bp. Robert Barron puts it, and makes up her mind about things. It is supposed to hear from all sides so that it can sift wheat from chaff. The pope did something similar when drafting Humanae Vitae, consulting theologians who urged him to ditch the Church’s ancient tradition about artificial contraception. He declined to do so.

What this come down to is a test of your trust, not in Francis, but in Jesus Christ’s promise that the Holy Spirit will guide the Church into all truth. It is He, not Francis, who is the soul of the Church.

With that kind of resolve, faith, and hope, you’d have thought these folks could have overlooked all of Protestantism’s woes. But Protestantism is not the New York Yankees of Western Christianity.

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737 thoughts on “Shrugged and Always Shrugging

  1. “Such then is the complexity of our Church in the United States. ”

    And fortunately the church is not confined to some subset of bishops in America or Germany.

    “When you read history of the church you’ll realize that turmoil and trouble have been with us since the time of the apostles. Might as well get used to it.”

    That’s a bingo.

    “Does that mean you shouldn’t be upset or worried? No. Does that mean one should be complacent about heresy, corruption within and persecution from without? No. Be worried. That’s okay if it leads you to pray more.”

    Apparently this is equivalent to “shrugging”.

    “The Church cannot alter the sacraments … It is supposed to hear from all sides so that it can sift wheat from chaff. The pope did something similar when drafting Humanae Vitae, consulting theologians who urged him to ditch the Church’s ancient tradition about artificial contraception. He declined to do so.”

    That’s a bingo. There was conflict and opposition with HV. And with Vat2. And with Vat1. And on down the line. But this synod is special for some reason. Chicken littlers deserve shrugging.

    “What this come down to is a test of your trust, not in Francis, but in Jesus Christ’s promise that the Holy Spirit will guide the Church into all truth. It is He, not Francis, who is the soul of the Church.”

    Yup. Cool.

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  2. James Young, but you don’t know Jesus without the Pope. Sorry, that’s how your infallible guys taught it. So don’t go all Protestant on us.

    Yup.

    And while I have you, why was the church able to condemn Luther, Pelagians, Jansenists — the list goes on. But now it shrugs, who am I to judge?

    “who am I to judge” is catchy.

    But you missed the point. If you can shrug away all that, why not shrug away Protestantism’s lack of infallibility? On some things you don’t shrug, you your own pope you.

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  3. CVD:
    “What this come down to is a test of your trust, not in Francis, but in Jesus Christ’s promise that the Holy Spirit will guide the Church into all truth. It is He, not Francis, who is the soul of the Church.”

    Yup. Cool.>>>>

    Yes. Truth that Protestants really should not shrug off or play dodge ball with.

    That’s John 17 territory. Maybe now would be a good time for some sola scripturaist to address Jesus’ words and explain how the Holy Spirit leads your group into all truth? What mechanism do yo have for resolving conflicts? Can you defend that mechanism from Scripture?

    You are watching the mechanism that the Catholic Church has used for a long, long time, now. It is no mystery why some are pointing out the obvious.

    Why do you care so much, Brother Hart? I mean, you can be happy in the OPC without even thinking about Catholicism, can’t you? Very few Protestants, even Reformed Protestants, exhibit this level of anti Catholicism anymore.

    The OPC even quit calling the Pope “antichrist.” The OPC website says very little about the Catholic Church. Why are you obsessed? Is it a kind of mal de muchos thing? Mal de muchos, consuelo de tontos.

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  4. Darryl,

    “but you don’t know Jesus without the Pope.”

    You mean I don’t know Jesus without STM-triad. Is the Arian or Mormon or Monophysite or adoptionist or Gnostic Jesus worth knowing?

    “why was the church able to condemn Luther, Pelagians, Jansenists — the list goes on. But now it shrugs, who am I to judge?”

    The church is not the pope – that’s a reason the article you cited called out Duffy’s work. And the church condemned those positions, it didn’t necessarily condemn all adherents of those positions as culpability is not equivalent to merely external form.

    ““who am I to judge” is catchy.”

    As Shea wrote, “Christ comes to call not the righteous, but sinners. So that’s not an option. The desire of some Catholics to cut people off from the very opportunity of grace is as old as Donatism. The Church as a fortress and an engine of vengeance is not the gospel. She is bound to seek the lost.”

    “who am I to judge” does not equate to “the Church can change the sacraments and dogma doesn’t matter” (as if the liturgy doesn’t reflect dogma). As Francis also said in his comments to the woman’s question on communion, “I wouldn’t ever dare to allow this, because it’s not my competence.”

    “If you can shrug away all that, why not shrug away Protestantism’s lack of infallibility?”

    The same reason in NT times I wouldn’t shrug away a synagogue rabbi’s admitted lack of infallibility when Christ and the Apostles were standing next to him.

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  5. Mermaid,

    What mechanism do yo have for resolving conflicts?

    Depends on the denomination. In the OPC it falls to the general assembly.

    The mechanism exists; all we’re saying is that the mechanism isn’t automatically correct whenever it makes a decision, which is the Romanist position we keep hearing here. But the fact that so many conservative RCs are actually worried about Francis and that now we have to see people say “Don’t worry, trust God,” shows that for all the vaunted claims of infallibility, people who live on planet earth know that the church can’t be automatically correct just because it makes a decision.

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  6. Cletus,

    The same reason in NT times I wouldn’t shrug away a synagogue rabbi’s admitted lack of infallibility when Christ and the Apostles were standing next to him.

    But for the umpteenth time, the church is not Christ. If you want to make that claim, fine. But that then means no selective infallibility. It’s all or nothing.

    And BTW, whatever happened to your going three rounds with Jeff on the “Everything in Moderation” thread?

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  7. Unity, brother. The internet apologist-prot convert-trad-american RC’s need to ‘splain how this unity is ‘posed to work to the german and african bishops. If I keep pushing the tent pegs out far enough, I can unite darn near anything. And If I can marry St. Ignatian spirituality with rahnerianism layered over the top of a thomism nobody finally understands, I can say anything. Including, ‘I saw our lady in that burnt tortilla! Who are you to judge?!’ A aaa a a a a men.

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  8. Robert
    Posted November 17, 2015 at 4:35 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid,

    What mechanism do yo have for resolving conflicts?

    Depends on the denomination. In the OPC it falls to the general assembly.

    The mechanism exists; all we’re saying is that the mechanism isn’t automatically correct whenever it makes a decision, which is the Romanist position we keep hearing here. But the fact that so many conservative RCs are actually worried about Francis and that now we have to see people say “Don’t worry, trust God,” shows that for all the vaunted claims of infallibility, people who live on planet earth know that the church can’t be automatically correct just because it makes a decision.>>>>

    Aw, Brother Robert, I live on planet earth, and in the heavenlies where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. As you know, we have died and our life is hidden with Christ in God. I like where I am – on planet earth and in heaven all at once by the mystery of Christ.

    The Church has made no decisions on the subjects that Pope Francis has opened up for discussion. He believes that they are legitimate topics. He is asking the theologians to weigh in. The Church is not dodging serious issues.

    The vaunted claims of infallibility are based on Jesus’ promises in John 16 & 17. Add the Apostle Paul’s words in Ephesians 4 to the mix.

    What part do John 16 & 17 play in the process you use as a denomination?

    How can the Holy Spirit lead in a fallible way when He is guiding into all truth? He does not do that in a fallible way because He is not fallible.

    Now, you do not believe that the Catholic Church is being led by the Spirit.

    Do you believe that the Holy Spirit leads Christ’s Church fallibly or infallibly?

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  9. “But Protestantism is not the New York Yankees of Western Christianity.” Based on this year’s performance, are you sure about that?

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  10. Mermaid, I care because people like you are clueless. Sober up, recognize your church’s woes and why others don’t convert, and don’t be condescending. Then I’m good with you at least.

    As I said, Bryan and the Jasons started this.

    If everything is fine, why do you care about little old me?

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  11. James Young, so you only submit to infallible authority. Cool. Call yourself an orphan.

    Why so timid? People who hold Lutheran or Calvinist positions are heretics. Heresy is a mortal sin. Mortal sin receives eternal judgment. On your view of the church, Rome would never have approved of the Crusades or the Inquisition. Let people believe whatever they want. Except for infallibility.

    The pope is not the church? Well, the pope is not Jesus or the apostles. The STM triad is only window dressing for your doubts about the biblical testimony to Mary and infallibility. It’s a triad when it’s convenient. Its the papacy when Protestants are in the room.

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  12. Mermaid, ” As you know, we have died and our life is hidden with Christ in God.”

    You don’t know that. Have you confessed all your sins? Are you sure?

    #rememberpurgatory

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  13. D. G. Hart
    Posted November 17, 2015 at 7:23 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, I care because people like you are clueless.

    So saith the David Barton of anti-Catholicism, who gets all his info from trolling blogs on the internet looking for gotchas.

    Have you found out what’s actually in the Rosary yet, Dr. Hart? The difference between the Eucharist of 2000 years of Christian history and “the Lord’s supper” of your version of the Christian religion?

    Stick around, there are people trying to remediate your confusions so you’ll stop embarrassing yourself. If you do the book on Catholicism you’re threatening to write, you’ll be laughed out of your profession.

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  14. D. G. Hart
    Posted November 17, 2015 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    “who am I to judge” is catchy.

    But you missed the point.

    No, you did. Pope Francis was not approving of homosexuality; he was refusing to condemn the person.

    Do you people ever actually read this thing?

    3 The scribes and the Pharisees *brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, 4 they *said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” 6 They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. 7 But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court.

    10 Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”

    https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/IVP-NT/John/Jesus-Forgives-Woman-Taken

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  15. Mermaid,

    What part do John 16 & 17 play in the process you use as a denomination?

    The OPC trusts that the Spirit will use Scripture to guide the church into truth.

    How can the Holy Spirit lead in a fallible way when He is guiding into all truth? He does not do that in a fallible way because He is not fallible.

    Nothing the Holy Spirit does He does fallibly. The issue isn’t the Spirit’s fallibility; the issue is the church’s fallibility. It does not follow that if the church is fallible that the Holy Spirit is leading in a fallible manner.

    Do you believe that the Holy Spirit leads Christ’s Church fallibly or infallibly?

    I believe that the Holy Spirit guides the church and that His church hears His voice. The church has no need of a gift of infallibility to teach the truth, nor has one been promised. The church is also not limited to a single visible institution. And a church with nominal same-home-office-but-no-dogmatic-unity like Rome is not being guided by the Holy Spirit, though I have no doubt there are many fine Christians sitting in Roman Catholic Churches. They are Christians in spite of Rome’s errors at Trent and elsewhere.

    I don’t need to know that the church arrived at conclusion X by an infallible process. I simply need to know that conclusion X is true. And there is no Apostolic mandate that I determine that conclusion X is true because the pope said so no matter how ridiculous the exegesis or empty the tradition.

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  16. Darryl,

    “People who hold Lutheran or Calvinist positions are heretics. Heresy is a mortal sin. Mortal sin receives eternal judgment.”

    Conflates the distinction between material and formal heresy. Also conflates mortal sin with only 1 of the 3 conditions for mortal sin – grave matter. The 2 others are person-variable that only God is privy to, hence why the church has never declared someone to be in hell, and why it has affirmed various possible ways of salvation for those who are not formal members of the church.

    “The pope is not the church? Well, the pope is not Jesus or the apostles.”

    Nope, but the apostles and those they appointed had divine authority granted by Christ. Which the Magisterium also claims.

    “It’s a triad when it’s convenient. Its the papacy when Protestants are in the room.”

    Nope, STM-triad attest to each other and form a coherent and consistent rule of faith. Reducing it to Pope-alone doesn’t do that, hence why it’s not advanced by RCs, irrespective of Protestants in the room.

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  17. D. G. Hart
    Posted November 17, 2015 at 7:23 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, I care because people like you are clueless. Sober up, recognize your church’s woes and why others don’t convert, and don’t be condescending. Then I’m good with you at least.

    As I said, Bryan and the Jasons started this.

    If everything is fine, why do you care about little old me?>>>>

    Brother Rambro, I appreciate your concern for my clueless self. 😉 Thank you for your response. Hmmm. Am I here to try to make you convert to the Catholic Church? Not really, though I think you would make a good Catholic.

    I always learn more from people I disagree with. So, I remain a mystery to you. I like that. 😉

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  18. Cletus,

    hence why the church has never declared someone to be in hell

    Oh please. “Well, we never SAID Luther was in hell, just that anyone who believes what Luther taught would be cursed by God.”

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  19. Robert
    Posted November 17, 2015 at 8:47 pm | Permalink
    Cletus,

    hence why the church has never declared someone to be in hell

    Oh please. “Well, we never SAID Luther was in hell, just that anyone who believes what Luther taught would be cursed by God.”

    Robert, you’ve been a real straight shooter around here over and above the theological disagreements. You could be right on this, but to shoot straight, you’ve got to do the serious homework that Dr. Hart and the Old Life crew refuse to do, and come up with direct quotes. I’m unaware of any ex cathedra pronouncement that Martin Luther or any of his followers are in Hell.

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  20. Tom,

    I’m unaware of any ex cathedra pronouncement that Martin Luther or any of his followers are in Hell.

    The council of Trent anathematizes many Lutheran beliefs. Ergo, anyone who holds those beliefs at death is in hell now. Rome doesn’t seek to kill heretic Luther if his beliefs don’t send people to hell.

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  21. Robert
    Posted November 17, 2015 at 9:00 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    I’m unaware of any ex cathedra pronouncement that Martin Luther or any of his followers are in Hell.

    The council of Trent anathematizes many Lutheran beliefs. Ergo, anyone who holds those beliefs at death is in hell now. Rome doesn’t seek to kill heretic Luther if his beliefs don’t send people to hell.

    Do you know what “anathema” means in this context? Don’t buy Dr. Hart’s [questionable] understanding of Catholicism. Do the homework that he doesn’t do, and find out for yourself.

    That’s the Protestant way, right? Take nobody’s word for anything. 😉

    Well, good. I don’t think you’ll find “Martin Luther resides in Hell” as Catholic doctrine. The Catholic Church prays that all will be saved, for one thing.

    And as for Luther’s spawn, it is the Catholic Church doing the reaching out, the reconciliation, the healing. And, interestingly enough, some of the Lutherans reciprocating.

    If Luther was a “reformer,” don’t you think he would have approved of this?
    JOINT DECLARATION
    ON THE DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION

    by the Lutheran World Federation
    and the Catholic Church

    Perhaps not a miracle, but damned close.

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  22. Your “ergo” was a non sequitur. Anathema does not entail one is irrevocably condemned to hell; it entails one has cut themselves off from the church, that is, excommunicated from the church they were a formal member of. Grave matter alone is not sufficient for mortal sin, nor are all those in error formal heretics. Thus we see throughout history Rome defining solemn dogmas in contrast to heresies using the anathema qualifier, without ever once teaching any specific person is absolutely in hell.

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  23. Cletus van Damme
    Posted November 17, 2015 at 9:31 pm | Permalink
    Your “ergo” was a non sequitur. Anathema does not entail one is irrevocably condemned to hell; it entails one has cut themselves off from the church, that is, excommunicated from the church they were a formal member of. Grave matter alone is not sufficient for mortal sin, nor are all those in error formal heretics. Thus we see throughout history Rome defining solemn dogmas in contrast to heresies using the anathema qualifier, without ever once teaching any specific person is absolutely in hell.

    Researching/counter-checking the Old Life blog’s claims about “anathemas,” this is what I found as well. The Catholic Church wishes not a single soul to Hell, not even those who [think they] hate it.

    You may have to unspool this one slowly for those who have been accepting what Dr. Hart has been writing [wrongly] about the Catholic Church, but I trust they will and do have the ears to hear. Mt 21:31. They make a lot of noise but they betray themselves by making too much noise!

    The Catholic Church condemned me! The Catholic Church condemned me! Look at me! Look at MEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

    Easy there, fella. You flatter yourself. Heretics are as common as fleas. Yes, you are noticed. But only when you bite.

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  24. TVD, Cletus, Little Mermaid, you three, of the fake name club, you all provide wonderful reasons not to join your club, you anti-Protestants.

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  25. Shea is the former geek-turned-buffoon, Longenecker the Anglican who always wanted to be called “Father,” and Berg the cradle Catholic who believes “The Church is always right, sonny….” Gag.
    The absolutely most unattractive sides of Modern Catholicism, esp. Shea, who is a cross between Hillary Clinton and Bryan Cross. Lord, please stop linking to him. A truer take can be found here…

    https://ebougis.wordpress.com/2015/11/06/how-many-p-p-m-of-feces-do-you-like-in-your-rocky-road-ice-cream/

    Or int eh writings of Amerio or DeMattei.

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  26. @cvd
    ” without ever once teaching any specific person is absolutely in hell. ”

    Yet an official church creed says,
    “Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled; without doubt he shall perish everlastingly… his is the catholic faith; which except a man believe truly and firmly, he cannot be saved.”
    I know the teaching has changed to add all sorts of qualifiers about culpability, but that wasn’t always the case.

    Indeed, looking at the 6th ec council’s statement on pope h, “And with these we define that there shall be expelled from the holy Church of God and anathematized Honorius who was some time Pope of Old Rome,”

    Of course the word anathema here has the same root as accursed and indicated that the subject was no longer part of the “society of the faithful”. Clearly this wasn’t to spur Honorius onto repentance…he was dead, and if not of “the society of the faithful ” not on the way to purgatory. ..sounds a lot like teaching a specific person is in hell. But of course these i fallible teachings have changed…

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  27. Matt
    Posted November 18, 2015 at 12:23 am | Permalink
    TVD, Cletus, Little Mermaid, you three, of the fake name club, you all provide wonderful reasons not to join your club, you anti-Protestants.

    Tom Van Dyke, @dykevantom, pleased to meet you, Matt. Google my ass.

    They all know me here. Dr. Hart knows precisely who I am. Even pretends to know my private religious faith and practice. And tries to use it as weapon against me.

    So don’t go there, OK? You have no idea what you’re dealing with.

    Who the hell are you, “Matt?” Please disclose, brother. Cowboy up or shut up, with all due respect.

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  28. sdb
    Posted November 18, 2015 at 12:50 am | Permalink
    @cvd
    ” without ever once teaching any specific person is absolutely in hell. ”

    Yet an official church creed says,
    “Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled; without doubt he shall perish everlastingly… his is the catholic faith; which except a man believe truly and firmly, he cannot be saved.”
    I know the teaching has changed to add all sorts of qualifiers about culpability, but that wasn’t always the case.

    Indeed, looking at the 6th ec council’s statement on pope h, “And with these we define that there shall be expelled from the holy Church of God and anathematized Honorius who was some time Pope of Old Rome,”

    Even though you have your theological head up your ass, Brother SDB, the Catholic Church still prays that you will be saved.

    So deal with that and cut the crap. You want to be hated and damned but instead you are loved and prayed for, you beloved asshole, you. 😉

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  29. James Young, kings have divine authority. Parents have divine authority.

    They’re not infallible.

    Take some valium.

    And is the distinction between formal and material heresy infallible dogma?

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  30. Robert, it’s the Mr. Rogers church. We don’t condemn anyone — anathemas, Crusades, Inquisition, Index of Books? We only determine the saints (for the right amount of money).

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  31. James Young, puhleeze. “They cut themselves off.” You mean the way Gregory VII deposed Henry IV? Henry IV removed himself? Do you hear yourself?

    And excommunication is only a removal from formal membership. What, do you go to Willow Creek Community Church? Step up, man! Show some of that weightiness that attracts all the Protestants.

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  32. TVD: You want to be hated and damned but instead you are loved and prayed for, you beloved asshole, you.

    I have to say, Tom, you are the only person on Old Life that I can think of that regularly calls people “asshole”, “arrogant ass”, “moral imbecile”, “bastard”, “ignorant slut”, etc.

    When I am teaching the Caglets how to love one another, one of the basic lessons is that name-calling is off-limits.

    Why is a grown man like you doing that?

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  33. Cletus,

    .Anathema does not entail one is irrevocably condemned to hell; it entails one has cut themselves off from the church, that is, excommunicated from the church they were a formal member of. Grave matter alone is not sufficient for mortal sin, nor are all those in error formal heretics. Thus we see throughout history Rome defining solemn dogmas in contrast to heresies using the anathema qualifier, without ever once teaching any specific person is absolutely in hell.

    So if one is excommunicated they should not believe that they are probably going to hell if they don’t repent? What in the world is the process for anathematizing or excommunicating anyone then?

    Basically this newfangled reading of anathema means that nobody whom Rome excommunicates should worry about the state of their soul. I guess that makes Arius orthodox.

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  34. Robert,

    You don’t know? That the “you” of “He will guide you into all the truth” is the same “you” of the previous verse, “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.”

    The “Church” wasn’t in the Upper Room. The apostles were, and the Holy Spirit guided them, and them alone, into all the truth. You hold it in your hands every Sunday.

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  35. Robert, listen up:

    The Church’s moral theology has always distinguished between objective or material sin and formal sin. The person who holds something contrary to the Catholic faith is materially a heretic. They possess the matter of heresy, theological error. Thus, prior to the Second Vatican Council it was quite common to speak of non-Catholic Christians as heretics, since many of their doctrines are objectively contrary to Catholic teaching. This theological distinction remains true, though in keeping with the pastoral charity of the Council today we use the term heretic only to describe those who willingly embrace what they know to be contrary to revealed truth. Such persons are formally (in their conscience before God) guilty of heresy. Thus, the person who is objectively in heresy is not formally guilty of heresy if 1) their ignorance of the truth is due to their upbringing in a particular religious tradition (to which they may even be scrupulously faithful), and 2) they are not morally responsible for their ignorance of the truth. This is the principle of invincible ignorance, which Catholic theology has always recognized as excusing before God.

    The same is true of apostasy. The person who leaves not just the Catholic Church but who abandons Christ Himself is materially an apostate. He is formally an apostate through willful, and therefore culpable, repudiation of the Christian faith.

    Finally, the person who refuses submission to the Roman Pontiff, whom Vatican I defined as having a universal primacy of authority over the whole Church, is at least a material schismatic. It was thus common in the past to speak of the schismatic Orthodox Churches who broke with Rome in 1054. As with heresy, we no longer assume the moral culpability of those who belong to Churches in schism from Rome, and thus no long refer to them as schismatics.

    So Rome is really good at defining things. But none of the words correspond to spiritual realities. It’s just talk which sometimes means mean things and then it doesn’t.

    Explains vd, t.

    Like

  36. No one of note,

    That’s interesting – so the promise only applies to those that were there. I guess that means all the commands and promises Christ gave to believers in the NT only applied to his direct audience and future generations can ignore them and are out of luck. And I guess there was therefore no guarantee the church was guided in recognizing and identifying what you hold in your hands every Sunday is actually correct and true.

    sdb,

    “shall be expelled from the holy Church of God” – not “is burning in hell right now”. Anathemas and church trials are not infallible nor do they entail someone is definitely in hell or will definitely be in hell – e.g. Joan of Arc.

    Darryl,

    “kings have divine authority. Parents have divine authority. They’re not infallible.”

    They don’t have apostolic authority that the apostles and those they appointed did. Christ did not promise that those listening to and receiving parents and kings hear and receive Christ or that parents and kings will be guided into all truth or that parents and kings are sent as Christ was sent and so on.

    “Henry IV removed himself?”

    If he repented, the anathema and excommunication would be lifted, just as it would have been with Luther who was given 3 years after the theses to recant and multiple opportunities. So yes, he removed himself by persisting in obstinate sin.

    Robert,

    “So if one is excommunicated they should not believe that they are probably going to hell if they don’t repent?”

    Why do you conclude that? Nothing I said implies that. Excommunication is a big deal – just because it isn’t an irrevocable sentence to hell doesn’t entail it’s meaningless.

    “What in the world is the process for anathematizing or excommunicating anyone then?”

    To spur them to repentance. If excommunication entailed an irrevocable sentence to hell, the counter-reformation was a complete waste of time in trying to convert former members back to the church.

    “Basically this newfangled reading of anathema means that nobody whom Rome excommunicates should worry about the state of their soul.”

    Does not follow at all from what I said. Just because there’s a possibility someone excommunicated is not condemned to hell does not mean it’s guaranteed they won’t be condemned, or that it is even likely that they won’t be condemned.

    Like

  37. TVD,

    And as for Luther’s spawn, it is the Catholic Church doing the reaching out, the reconciliation, the healing. And, interestingly enough, some of the Lutherans reciprocating.

    If Luther was a “reformer,” don’t you think he would have approved of this?
    JOINT DECLARATION
    ON THE DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION

    by the Lutheran World Federation
    and the Catholic Church

    He probably didn’t approve for the same reason the confessional Lutheran churches don’t approve.

    http://www.ilc-online.org/2014/01/28/new-resource-available-a-review-of-lwf-hermeneutics/

    If no one can stop you from saying “the Reformed aren’t Catholic” who can stop the LCMS (part of the ILC) from saying “the LWF isn’t Luther-an”?

    Like

  38. James Young, butch up. The pope imposed deposition. He was not passive. That was the point.

    You have yet to show that the ones the apostles appointed were infallible. It’s not even clear that Christ’s appointment of the apostles involved infallibility all the time — it only applied to Scripture.

    Your claims for infallibility get weaker and more desperate. Why not shrug it off? It works for so much else in Roman Catholicism.

    Like

  39. Cletus,

    So, excommunication for Rome means that as far as the church is concerned, the excommunicated person is on his way to hell apart from repentance. Of course, the church may be wrong, in its estimation, but according to its infallibly declared dogma and its best reading of the human heart according to human actions, the excommunicated person should have no confidence that he is in a state of grace and will be eternally condemned unless he repents.

    So it’s not an “irrevocable sentence to hell,” it’s a “We are 99.9 percent sure you are going to hell based on the information we have.”

    It’s a distinction without a difference. By anathematizing and excommunicating, Rome is stating that said person is on their way to hell and that the only real way back is to repent and be restored to the church.

    So Trent’s anathemas basically mean that Protestants are on their way to hell, especially those Protestants who are not invincibly ignorant.

    IOW, my essential point stands. And if what I have said about excommunication is true, then according to Rome’s dogma and its best reading of the human heart by human actions, someone like Pelosi is almost certainly on her way to heaven. She hasn’t been excommunicated, after all.

    Like

  40. CVD,

    Why do you conclude that? Nothing I said implies that. Excommunication is a big deal – just because it isn’t an irrevocable sentence to hell doesn’t entail it’s meaningless.

    Right…this is also exactly what Protestants claim about the teaching of the church. Even though the teaching of the church isn’t infallible, that “doesn’t entail it’s meaningless.”

    Like

  41. Darryl,

    “It’s not even clear that Christ’s appointment of the apostles involved infallibility all the time — it only applied to Scripture.”

    So is it clear or is it not? Can you demonstrate that from Scripture?

    Robert,

    “Rome is stating that said person is on their way to hell and that the only real way back is to repent and be restored to the church.”

    Rome is stating that a person who holds such a position is in error. Material heresy is not formal heresy. Nor does being in error or holding heretical beliefs entail you are guilty of mortal sin.

    “So Trent’s anathemas basically mean that Protestants are on their way to hell, especially those Protestants who are not invincibly ignorant.”

    No, it means Protestants are in error. Those who are not invincibly ignorant are more culpable and in more danger. And Trent’s anathemas applied to formal members of the church holding and promoting those teachings, not those who never were members of it in the first place.

    “And if what I have said about excommunication is true, then according to Rome’s dogma and its best reading of the human heart by human actions, someone like Pelosi is almost certainly on her way to heaven. She hasn’t been excommunicated, after all.”

    Does not follow at all. Someone can be in mortal sin without being excommunicated. This is obvious – people going to confession every week are not just those who were excommunicated.

    Like

  42. Walton
    Posted November 18, 2015 at 11:13 am | Permalink
    TVD,

    And as for Luther’s spawn, it is the Catholic Church doing the reaching out, the reconciliation, the healing. And, interestingly enough, some of the Lutherans reciprocating.

    If Luther was a “reformer,” don’t you think he would have approved of this?
    JOINT DECLARATION
    ON THE DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION

    by the Lutheran World Federation
    and the Catholic Church

    Walton:
    He probably didn’t approve for the same reason the confessional Lutheran churches don’t approve.

    http://www.ilc-online.org/2014/01/28/new-resource-available-a-review-of-lwf-hermeneutics/

    If no one can stop you from saying “the Reformed aren’t Catholic” who can stop the LCMS (part of the ILC) from saying “the LWF isn’t Luther-an”?>>>>>>>

    Very interesting comment, Walton. Do you think that Luther really wanted independence or at least greater autonomy for a German church?

    Just wondering what the geopolitical motivations may have been for Luther’s actions. He was a complicated man. Not sure he would have wanted the kind of splintering that has happened, even among Lutheran churches.

    What particular points of the joint statement on justification would you be in disagreement with? I know you linked to a website, but what do you think?

    Even more than what Luther may or may not have thought of the joint statement, what would Jesus have thought about it? Or the Apostle Paul?

    I am just not sure why Protestants are so resistant to Pauline doctrine as clearly stated in Ephesians 4:1-6. I can understand why Protestants resist Catholicism. It is what you do – and what I did. I get that.

    What I no longer get is why there are so many Lutheran denominations, all of them disagreeing with one another and claiming to represent what Luther really taught.

    …or Baptist, or Presbyterian, or Wesleyan, or Pentecostal, or you fill in the blank.

    Like

  43. D. G. Hart
    Posted November 18, 2015 at 6:49 am | Permalink
    Mermaid, your reason is mysterious (if not evident). You yourself are predictable.>>>>

    Well, your reason for writing what you do is evident and predictable even though you claim that someone else started this. Still, I am learning from you and from your followers. For that I thank you, Brother Hart.

    This is a testing ground for me. BTW, I have never claimed to be a Catholic apologist. You are right. I am not good at that kind of thing. I am doing this for myself. I learn something new every day, and you are facilitating that.

    I really like being Catholic. No, I love being Catholic. If you guys are not able to quench that love, then that means something to me. In fact, you guys can’t make me even dislike you guys. If you are happy in your faith, then I am happy for you.

    Like

  44. Well, the everything in moderation thread seems broken. Can’t post. So will post here.

    sdb,

    The assent of faith is not given to fallible teachings. It is given to divine revelation – that is, infallible teachings. I have no good reason to give the assent of faith to teachings offered as provisional or tentative or probable – that would just be fideism. That does not mean one shouldn’t give deference, respect, submission to fallible teachings from the church any more than it means I shouldn’t submit to fallible parents, teachers, civil authorities.

    Scripture being chief judge is a doctrine in WCF offered as nothing more than provisional by its own disclaimer that it has no authority or ability to define irreformable doctrine. Everyone here agrees the canon of Scripture as defined in WCF is provisional. As they should, given WCF’s disclaimers already adduced concerning the nature of churches and synods. The teaching of Scripture as chief judge does not escape this disclaimer any more than the teaching of the canon does.

    “there is no advantage I see assuming either is true.”

    So there’s no advantage NT Joe had submitting to Christ/Apostles claims to authority and infallible teachings over Jack submitting to synagogue rabbi Levi’s claims to no such authority and his admitted fallible and provisional teachings. Since both Joe and Jack were fallible, there was no advantage. There’s also no advantage a reader of Finnegan’s Wake had with Joyce sitting next to him giving clarification and confirmation, compared to someone without Joyce next to him, since both readers are fallible.

    Bob,

    “can you distinguish between admitting the possibility of error and committing error?”

    Yes. Divine revelation is inerrant as everyone agrees. So a teaching of such should be offered as inerrant, not as possible or susceptible to error. WCF refuses to claim that ability or authority to do so, hence it rejects the type of authority and ability Rome claims.

    “Or if you insist, fallible though yrs truly is, 2+2=4 is without error.”

    We’ve been over the 2+2=4 stuff – reread the thread.

    “Me: So my fallible apprehension of a teaching and my lack of “direct access to infallible documents” and my lack of vulcan mindmelding does not entail”
    “You: Fallible = provisional.
    Shut up. You just denied your argument that romanism has an advantage over protestantism only you are too stupid to see it.”

    My argument has never entailed I or adherents must be personally infallible. Which is why I’ve never argued it. It’s amazing you truncate the citation exactly where I explain why. Given your ridiculous tone that has yet to change over the 2 years I’ve been here, as well as your apparent lack of reading comprehension, future replies will likely be minimal.

    “Paul’s teaching is not reformable”

    And Protestantism can never offer the identification, let alone the interpretation, of Paul’s teachings as irreformable, by its own disclaimers.

    So “our understanding and practice of his teaching” is not the only provisional thing, since as your side has said before “The reality is that while all of our doctrines are in principle provisional”, not just your understanding of those doctrines.

    “Yet Scripture alone – not the magisterium or tradition – is the infallible rule for faith and life.”

    Which is itself a teaching of certain branches and particular denominations of Protestantism that is never offered as irreformable or as more than provisional by its own disclaimers – which is exactly what I said in what you replied to.

    Darryl,

    “why would the return of Christ and the apostles make any difference in your scheme?”

    Apparently it can’t make any difference in anyone’s scheme. Because we’re all fallible. Oh such woe and despair.

    “You have the pope. Why pay attention to the apostles?”

    The Apostles that established succession and ordination? Which side pays attention that that again?

    “That’s why you defend the infallibility not of the Bible but of the pope.”

    But wasn’t RCC all good and admirable in its anti-modernism from Trent to Vat2 by your lights? Not even a smidgen of begrudging respect?

    Like

  45. Jeff,

    “are you intending to respond to Round 1 above?”

    Yes.

    “I asked where in the Bible that the apostles (not Christ) claim “divine authority and ability to distinguish and define divine revelation/irreformable dogma from provisional opinion or tentative human teaching.””

    So you apparently agree Christ claimed and had this authority and ability, but the Apostles did not. Now, can you tell me why your argument is not impacted by Christ’s authority and ability to do so, but would be affected by the Apostle’s authority and ability to do so (if it was demonstrated they claimed such authority and ability)?

    “I’m used to it meaning “you started too early”, but that meaning doesn’t fit the context.”

    I’m using it to mean you are assuming what needs to be established and then jumping ahead with that assumption – I’m calling you back to get the baseline in order.

    “It’s hard to answer your question”

    Why is it hard to answer my question when you claim Protestantism offers irreformable doctrine? Here’s the exchange again:
    Me: “Hence why your side keeps saying things along “The reality is that while all of our doctrines are in principle provisional”, not “The reality is that while all our understanding of infallible doctrines are in principle provisional””

    You: “Your mistake comes about because you are overcomplicating something very simple. The latter is what we have affirmed over and over. The former is true only if “our doctrines” is understood to mean “our understanding of Scripture.””

    So you are claiming with this (along with the earlier “[Protestants] do not reject such ability”) that you can offer irreformable doctrine. I’m asking, okay, you say you can do it, can you give me an irreformable doctrine then? One that isn’t offered as provisional by you or your confessions? And on what basis is it offered as such?

    And then you say “It’s hard to answer”? This does not seem convincing.

    “There is an irreformable stratum of divine revelation.”

    Is that teaching “a bottom layer of irreformable doctrine upon which other doctrine and moral teaching rests”?

    “Now comes the church, who fallibly identifies and interprets that stratum according to its best understanding of the original meaning.”

    Right – according to its current best understanding. So all doctrines remain provisional, not just your understanding and apprehension of them.

    “Some doctrines are so perspicuously taught in Scripture that they are “practically irreformable.” Others are less so, and it is these that are (rarely) reformed as a result of greater understanding of Scripture.”

    Divine revelation is not “practically irreformable” or “let’s leave space for revision” – it is infallible as you already agreed. So Protestantism cannot offer any teaching as such, based on its disclaimers.

    “This is entirely unlike the liberal theological project, which rejects Grammatical-Historical Method, rejects propositional understanding of Scripture, and rejects the notion of divine revelation. You can’t get from historic sola scriptura to liberalism without taking … erm … liberties.”

    The point is that all these teachings – Scripture is divine revelation, this is the canon, it is inerrant and inspired, SS is the rule of faith, revelation is closed, are not offered as irreformable doctrine, but rather provisional and tentative in your system. That’s why liberalism is not violating Protestant principles, and conservative Protestantism is just liberalism waiting to happen. You can claim liberal Protestants don’t get to count, but your basis for doing so is no less arbitrary and question begging than their countercharge that you don’t count is.

    Like

  46. Robert,

    “You submit unto Rome unless and until something makes you change your mind.”

    I’ll just say it again since you keep missing the point. Examine what is *consistent* with the claims being made that are assented to in both systems. I am not justified in holding every teaching proposed by Rome as provisional and subject to debate or rejection after assenting to her claims to authority. I am in Protestantism because every doctrine and teaching is provisional and revisable by its own admission and *consistent* with the disclaimers to authority and ability it makes in the first place.

    “Protestantism claims fallible authority. Not this weird “hey-we’re-not-inspired-like-the-apostles-but-there’s-no-worry-cause-we-say-so” authority of the Magisterium.”

    Right, Protestantism does not claim divine or apostolic authority – if it did, there wouldn’t be the disclaimers we see in all its confessions. Which is the point – no teaching can ever rise above provisional, tentative, “we might be right, might be wrong” status.

    “It’s absolutely consistent with Paul’s preaching if revelation has truly ceased and the Apostles were truly unique.”

    Semper reformanda is not consistent with Paul’s preaching in NT times is what I mean. Those submitting to him would not be justified in endlessly debating or arguing with his current or future teachings and he wasn’t revising his teaching constantly or offering it as “this might be wrong, but probably isn’t”.

    “Dishonest liberals don’t employ GHM correctly.”

    So liberal scholars are dishonest and should be stripped of their academic credentials since they are obviously doing a disservice to their field – only conservative scholars get to count as real GHM-practitioners, just as only confessional Protestants get to count as real Protestants. Have you ever considered that GHM alone doesn’t answer the question as to whether it is sufficient for yielding divine truths, nor does it answer how it is to be best applied, nor does it answer what counts as the relevant sources of data to be applied to, nor does it answer the questions concerning all the varied fields and disciplines it relies on (philology, archaeology, textual criticism, history, etc), and that might be why liberals disagree with you? GHM is a tool, but a limited one, and it yields nothing more than tentative provisional conclusions – claiming it as some black box for settling issues as central to Protestantism just highlights the issue.

    “Irrelevant to canon.”

    What? The contents of the books of the canon are irrelevant to it?

    “Actually the early Christians were far more in line with the Protestants on this than Trent.”

    So the ones who blew it weren’t illuminated enough right?

    “If you mean we can’t know it infallibly on this side of heaven, then no, we can’t. But you can’t infallibly know when Rome has been guided into the truth either.””

    I’m not infallible. You’re not infallible. Adherents to Christ/Apostles in NT were not infallible. Not relevant. Which is why Christ could still promise to guide the church made of all those pesky fallible people into truth, not guide them into “infallible assurance we could be wrong, but might get things right later”.
    As I said above, I’m human and fallible. That doesn’t mean an NT believer under Christ/Apostles claims and authority/ability were in no different or better position than someone under synagogue rabbi’s claims and admitted lack of authority/ability just because both adherents were fallible and without a vulcan mindmeld. The teachings of the former were infallible and proposed as such, being consistent with Christ/Apostles claims and warranted the certitude of faith for their adherents. The teachings of the latter were fallible and provisional and proposed as such, being consistent with the rabbi’s claims and would not warrant the certitude of faith for their adherents.

    “if we want to be radical skeptics”

    You’re the side claiming we can’t know anything for sure and must have room for perpetual doubt – both in natural or supernatural spheres – and thus anything like the certitude of faith is illegitimate and impossible, not RCs. Well, except that we know that for sure without a doubt.

    Like

  47. D. G. Hart
    Posted November 18, 2015 at 10:55 am | Permalink
    Robert, listen up:

    The Church’s moral theology has always distinguished between objective or material sin and formal sin. The person who holds something contrary to the Catholic faith is materially a heretic. They possess the matter of heresy, theological error. Thus, prior to the Second Vatican Council it was quite common to speak of non-Catholic Christians as heretics, since many of their doctrines are objectively contrary to Catholic teaching. This theological distinction remains true, though in keeping with the pastoral charity of the Council today we use the term heretic only to describe those who willingly embrace what they know to be contrary to revealed truth. Such persons are formally (in their conscience before God) guilty of heresy. Thus, the person who is objectively in heresy is not formally guilty of heresy if 1) their ignorance of the truth is due to their upbringing in a particular religious tradition (to which they may even be scrupulously faithful), and 2) they are not morally responsible for their ignorance of the truth. This is the principle of invincible ignorance, which Catholic theology has always recognized as excusing before God.

    The same is true of apostasy. The person who leaves not just the Catholic Church but who abandons Christ Himself is materially an apostate. He is formally an apostate through willful, and therefore culpable, repudiation of the Christian faith.

    Finally, the person who refuses submission to the Roman Pontiff, whom Vatican I defined as having a universal primacy of authority over the whole Church, is at least a material schismatic. It was thus common in the past to speak of the schismatic Orthodox Churches who broke with Rome in 1054. As with heresy, we no longer assume the moral culpability of those who belong to Churches in schism from Rome, and thus no long refer to them as schismatics.

    So Rome is really good at defining things. But none of the words correspond to spiritual realities. It’s just talk which sometimes means mean things and then it doesn’t.

    Explains vd, t.

    Wow, what a substantive rebuttal! Impressive, Squire Hart! You win again. Crap all over the chessboard, knock over all the pieces, then fly back to your pals and do a victory dance.

    Like

  48. Cletus wrote:

    >>No one of note,

    That’s interesting – so the promise only applies to those that were there. I guess that means all the commands and promises Christ gave to believers in the NT only applied to his direct audience and future generations can ignore them and are out of luck. And I guess there was therefore no guarantee the church was guided in recognizing and identifying what you hold in your hands every Sunday is actually correct and true.>>

    Are you always such a horse’s patootie, or does OL tempt you beyond RC grace?

    Like

  49. No one of note
    Posted November 18, 2015 at 4:40 pm | Permalink
    Cletus wrote:

    >>No one of note,

    That’s interesting – so the promise only applies to those that were there. I guess that means all the commands and promises Christ gave to believers in the NT only applied to his direct audience and future generations can ignore them and are out of luck. And I guess there was therefore no guarantee the church was guided in recognizing and identifying what you hold in your hands every Sunday is actually correct and true.>>

    Are you always such a horse’s patootie, or does OL tempt you beyond RC grace?

    Actually, that was quite a vacuous and nasty Old Life-style rebuttal itself. Must be catching.

    Like

  50. Cletus,

    I’ll just say it again since you keep missing the point. Examine what is *consistent* with the claims being made that are assented to in both systems. I am not justified in holding every teaching proposed by Rome as provisional and subject to debate or rejection after assenting to her claims to authority. I am in Protestantism because every doctrine and teaching is provisional and revisable by its own admission and *consistent* with the disclaimers to authority and ability it makes in the first place.

    Let’s step back for a minute:

    1. You have admitted that if they discover the body of Jesus, you will cease being Roman Catholic. Therefore, your submission is provisional. It is contingent upon there never being any discovery to invalidate Rome’s claims. Whether or not that is justified in the Roman system is besides the point at this point. The fact is, your submission is provisional unless and until you admit that there is absolutely nothing that could be done to make you question, doubt, or leave Rome.

    2. But that’s a confession of provisional submission that is trivial. Protestantism has the same kind of submission. My submission is provisional unless and until I discover something that invalidates the claims to which I submit. That doesn’t make it false submission. It makes me a thinking person. For all our disagreements, I believe you are a thinking person as well. So I fail to see where the character of our submission is in any way different.

    Right, Protestantism does not claim divine or apostolic authority – if it did, there wouldn’t be the disclaimers we see in all its confessions. Which is the point – no teaching can ever rise above provisional, tentative, “we might be right, might be wrong” status.

    Protestant churches claim divine authority whenever they accurately teach the Word of God. We just don’t have a red light that goes off when it happens. As for the provisionality, it is the same kind of trivial provisionality mentioned above.

    Semper reformanda is not consistent with Paul’s preaching in NT times is what I mean. Those submitting to him would not be justified in endlessly debating or arguing with his current or future teachings and he wasn’t revising his teaching constantly or offering it as “this might be wrong, but probably isn’t”.

    Which is why we agree that the individual can’t argue with the Word of God. You just want the red light to come on when the Word of God has been taught accurately. You want something beyond the persuasion of the Holy Spirit.

    So liberal scholars are dishonest and should be stripped of their academic credentials since they are obviously doing a disservice to their field – only conservative scholars get to count as real GHM-practitioners, just as only confessional Protestants get to count as real Protestants.

    No, there are many honest liberal scholars. That’s somebody like Luke Timothy Johnson, who performs GHM, discerns that the Bible condemns homosexuality and then says that the Bible is wrong. He has performed the method correctly, he just denies its results because he essentially denies biblical inerrancy. Lots of liberal scholars come to accurate and very fine conclusions about what the Bible means, they just don’t believe it.

    Have you ever considered that GHM alone doesn’t answer the question as to whether it is sufficient for yielding divine truths, nor does it answer how it is to be best applied, nor does it answer what counts as the relevant sources of data to be applied to, nor does it answer the questions concerning all the varied fields and disciplines it relies on (philology, archaeology, textual criticism, history, etc), and that might be why liberals disagree with you? GHM is a tool, but a limited one, and it yields nothing more than tentative provisional conclusions – claiming it as some black box for settling issues as central to Protestantism just highlights the issue.

    GHM is sufficient for discerning the original meaning of Scripture. The fact that dishonest liberals disagree (not the honest ones) with conservatives doesn’t make it insufficient or require that there be some additional way of reading the Bible in order to discern the original meaning any more than disagreements within Roman Catholicism makes the Magisterium insufficient.

    What? The contents of the books of the canon are irrelevant to it?

    It’s a secondary issue. Whether John 8:1–11 is originally in the text or not has no bearing on whether the gospel of John is canonical. It is canonical whether John 8:1–11 is in the text or not.

    So the ones who blew it weren’t illuminated enough right?

    Ultimately, yes.

    Which is why Christ could still promise to guide the church made of all those pesky fallible people into truth, not guide them into “infallible assurance we could be wrong, but might get things right later”.

    There is nothing that says provisionality of knowledge must be eliminated in order for us to be guided into all truth. That is what you are seeking, but you will never have it. Provisional knowledge is a function of our creaturehood. The only way we escape provisional knowledge is to become God.

    As I said above, I’m human and fallible. That doesn’t mean an NT believer under Christ/Apostles claims and authority/ability were in no different or better position than someone under synagogue rabbi’s claims and admitted lack of authority/ability just because both adherents were fallible and without a vulcan mindmeld.

    But apart from the Vulcan Mindmeld, how does one know one is in a better position? That’s the question. You want to load all of this into our need for infallibility while ignoring the huge problem that such a stress places on the individual’s appropriation of knowledge. Your argument devolves into radical skepticism about my own ability to know anything, including my ability to pick the true infallible source. It ultimately undermines your position.

    The teachings of the former were infallible and proposed as such, being consistent with Christ/Apostles claims and warranted the certitude of faith for their adherents. The teachings of the latter were fallible and provisional and proposed as such, being consistent with the rabbi’s claims and would not warrant the certitude of faith for their adherents.

    But the issue is that you are coming at this “certitude of faith” that falsifies your source of divine revelation. Hebrews 11:31 tells us that Rahab hid the spies by faith. But if you read the account in Joshua 2, there’s nothing about a claim of infallibility being made. Rahab bases her faith on news of some strange events that she concludes are miracles. She has fallible motives of credibility, no direct divine revelation, and no claim that the Israelites are bringing with them infallible revelation. And yet she is commended for her faith. But according to you, she shouldn’t be commended. She had no grounds for the certitude of faith and no real warrant to do what she did. You are contradicting the book of Hebrews to establish a questionable philosophical point.

    And there are other examples from that same chapter as well. Abraham left Canaan by faith. All he had was a voice of some kind. The voice does not identify itself as God initially. It makes no claim of infallibility. And yet in Gen. 12 Abraham goes and is commended for His faith. But if you’re right, he had no ground for any of that. He was not holding things of faith by faith. Unless, of course, that God could somehow convince Abraham that infallible God was talking to him without claiming specifically to be infallible God. But if you grant that, welcome to self-authentication of Scripture.

    I could multiply examples.

    You’re the side claiming we can’t know anything for sure and must have room for perpetual doubt – both in natural or supernatural spheres – and thus anything like the certitude of faith is illegitimate and impossible, not RCs.

    I’ve not once claimed that we must have room for perpetual doubt. All I’ve said is that to have provisional knowledge is inherent to creaturehood. The only way to escape it is to be the Creator. Your demand conflates the creature with the Creator.

    There are varying kinds of provisionality. Some trivial. Some not-so trivial. The only kind of provisionality that we or the Protestant confessions are claiming is trivial provisionality. The same kind you admit when you confess that there are some things Rome could do to make you stop being Roman Catholic or some discoveries that could be made to make you stop being RC.

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  51. NooN,

    Apologies if you took offense. None was intended. Given the tone of many of the arguments against RCism here, I can often reply in kind – when in Rome and all that jazz. I should have tailored the message differently for someone new until I got a better handle on your sensibilities and style.

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  52. Thanks Cletus.

    My comment wasn’t even addressed to you, but to Robert, to call him back to the formal principle of the Reformation, instead of accepting your STM take on John 16:13.

    (no offense, I just disagree with you, but respect you very much). But you need to read John 16:12 and ask why the “you” there, who is obviously the apostles, and none but the apostles, all of a sudden changes to “the Church” a few words later in 16:13. Its so simple any 7 year old can see that the “you” in both verse is the same group addressed by Christ.

    And no, nobody but the apostles gets “all the truth” from the Holy Spirit. Not me, not you.

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  53. No one of note
    Posted November 18, 2015 at 5:38 pm | Permalink
    Thanks Cletus.

    My comment wasn’t even addressed to you, but to Robert, to call him back to the formal principle of the Reformation, instead of accepting your STM take on John 16:13.

    (no offense, I just disagree with you, but respect you very much). But you need to read John 16:12 and ask why the “you” there, who is obviously the apostles, and none but the apostles, all of a sudden changes to “the Church” a few words later in 16:13. Its so simple any 7 year old can see that the “you” in both verse is the same group addressed by Christ.

    And no, nobody but the apostles gets “all the truth” from the Holy Spirit. Not me, not you.

    Accept or reject it, but Catholicism has a well-developed Biblical case for apostolic succession.

    http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2009/09/apostolic-succession-various-biblical.html

    And, FTR, it is also argued that the “cessationism” that you’re asserting here is itself unBiblical.

    For the record. 😉

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  54. No one of note
    Posted November 18, 2015 at 6:01 pm | Permalink
    Reject it.

    Buyer’s choice, can’t litigate beliefs and truth claims. But the point is they have a valid argument, perhaps more Biblically founded than your rejection of it. That’s as far as discussion can go at a “theological society.”

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  55. I’d never convince you anyway, TVD. But John 16:13-15, rightly understood, renders powerless the doctrine of AS. All the truth, given to the apostles by the omniscient Father, Son, and Spirit.

    Sure beats “development of doctrine.”

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  56. “shall be expelled from the holy Church of God” – not “is burning in hell right now”. Anathemas and church trials are not infallible nor do they entail someone is definitely in hell or will definitely be in hell – e.g. Joan of Arc.

    I thought ecumenical councils were infallible. So some parts are and some parts aren’t? Joan of Arc wasn’t condemned posthumously by an ecumenical council, so not very relevant.

    You said in the last thread that there is no good reason to believe a fallible statement about matter of faith. So what is the point of making an infallible declaration that one is no longer a member of the society of the faithful (posthumously) if there is no good reason to believe it (according to your construction)?

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  57. No one of note
    Posted November 18, 2015 at 6:42 pm | Permalink
    I’d never convince you anyway, TVD. But John 16:13-15, rightly understood, renders powerless the doctrine of AS. All the truth, given to the apostles by the omniscient Father, Son, and Spirit.

    Sure beats “development of doctrine.”

    Yes, Jesus is speaking to the apostles in John 16:13-15. It can just as easily be employed as an argument FOR the Catholic position.

    . In fact, Christ Himself declared this to the apostles that this would be the purpose of the Holy Ghost, to guide them in all Truth. Yet there were many things that our lord had wished to expounded to the apostles, but as He said “ (John 16:12) “but you cannot bear them now. But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. For he shall not speak of himself: but what things so ever he shall hear, he shall speak. And the things that are to come, he shall show you them”. Hence, these truths were to be later expounded by the apostles by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost and faithfully transmitted through their successors.

    http://www.catholicapologetics.info/apologetics/general/apostolic.htm

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  58. @cvd

    The assent of faith is not given to fallible teachings. It is given to divine revelation – that is, infallible teachings. I have no good reason to give the assent of faith to teachings offered as provisional or tentative or probable – that would just be fideism. That does not mean one shouldn’t give deference, respect, submission to fallible teachings from the church any more than it means I shouldn’t submit to fallible parents, teachers, civil authorities.

    There seems to be a quite wide divide between “no good reason to believe a fallible doctrine” and “religious submission of the intellect and will” to the ordinary (fallible) magisterium of the church.

    Scripture being chief judge is a doctrine in WCF offered as nothing more than provisional by its own disclaimer that it has no authority or ability to define irreformable doctrine. Everyone here agrees the canon of Scripture as defined in WCF is provisional. As they should, given WCF’s disclaimers already adduced concerning the nature of churches and synods. The teaching of Scripture as chief judge does not escape this disclaimer any more than the teaching of the canon does.

    Similarly, the teaching that the RCC is the true church is a teaching of the church. If you can be wrong about that, then everything else that follows could be wrong. If you *assume* (for sake of argument) that the claims the RCC makes for itself are true, then you have a coherent system. The same applies to Sola Scriptura – if the scriptures are not the Word of God through whom the Holy Spirit speaks (i.e., if we have misidentified them) everything else crumbles (or at least is called into question). The WCF disclaimer is that everything must be judged by scripture – that is our starting point. It is not a parallel comparison to allow the identification of the church to stand outside of the system on your side and require the identification of scripture to stand within our system on our side.

    So there’s no advantage NT Joe had submitting to Christ/Apostles claims to authority and infallible teachings over Jack submitting to synagogue rabbi Levi’s claims to no such authority and his admitted fallible and provisional teachings. Since both Joe and Jack were fallible, there was no advantage.

    This isn’t a good parallel at all. In the comparison you’ve setup to evaluate the epistemological status of the prot and cath, we are assuming that each is true for sake of argument. So a better comparison might be the epistemological status of the blind man who was healed or the thief on the cross who confessed Christ who didn’t know anything about fallibility versus say Peter who presumably knew Jesus was infallible, yet failed miserably at Calvary. Though I don’t think that quite gets at it either. Perhaps we might want to consider the epistemological status of the Christians who tested the apostle’s words – presumably they didn’t believe them to be infallible or there would be no reason to test them. Were these guys worse off than epistemologically than someone who didn’t think they needed to check?

    There’s also no advantage a reader of Finnegan’s Wake had with Joyce sitting next to him giving clarification and confirmation, compared to someone without Joyce next to him, since both readers are fallible.

    Not at all. There is every advantage of having the author of the words available to you. The question is whether it is better to have the author or the author’s student’s student’s student’s …. student helping you along. Having the Holy Spirit, the author of scripture – God’s living word- is much better even if we don’t always listen so well.

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  59. sdb
    Posted November 18, 2015 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Not at all. There is every advantage of having the author of the words available to you. The question is whether it is better to have the author or the author’s student’s student’s student’s …. student helping you along. Having the Holy Spirit, the author of scripture – God’s living word- is much better

    That’s the Catholic argument in a nutshell.

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  60. Clete,

    Clete,

    And there is no guarantee those partaking of the Lord’s Supper in Reformed churches are orthodox since as Zrim and others said (“Nobody wrestles the sacraments from anybody’s hands. Nobody is grilling anybody on hot button social and political issues, or even on particular church membership. What is publicly read above is sufficient for the Spirit to use to either encourage or discourage souls”), the verbal/written warning and personal discernment is supposed to suffice. Guess that means you can’t ever know what the OPC/PCA consider orthodox.

    Compare the stated positions with the practice of the church. If the church admits to the Eucharist a member whom the church knows is violating the confession, then the position taken by the member is de facto orthodox even if it seems to contradict the stated one.

    I see. So all the churches I delineated do not show anarchy. It’s just honest diversity.

    Anarchy is no standard of truth and no agreement between churches.

    An evasion. So these groups are all apparently non-Christians even though you said that professing Christians were not barred from the table. Are you asserting adherents to these churches/beliefs don’t profess themselves as Christian? On what basis do you limit professing Christians to only those Christians that profess WCF, LBCF, Augsburg, or 39 Articles?

    1. I don’t limit professing Christians to only those that profess those confessions. I limit Protestantism to those who profess those confessions.

    2. A denomination such as the ELCA is apostate, professing the faith without holding to it.

    3. An apostate denomination may have individual orthodox congregations and individuals. They should get out, but what can I do about that?

    Are you disputing Lutheran churches during the Reformation actively barred Calvinists from the table?

    In such cases where this happened, they were wrong to do so. And most such churches that I know of have admitted as much and practice a form of open communion with the fencing of the table.

    But many professing Christian churches do not consider homosexuality or abortion sinful. So why should they care what OPC/PCA elders do?

    Because they are in an OPC/PCA Church trying to take communion. If they aren’t trying to take communion in an OPC/PCA communion, they shouldn’t care that much.

    That’s nice that you would. But why should anyone from a church who disagrees with you care?

    In one sense, they shouldn’t. But if they darken the doors of my church and want to be admitted to the table, they should.

    They should care whenever my church gets the Word of God correctly just as I should care whenever Rome gets the Word of God correctly. But if you want me to give you a red light to prove when that happens, I can’t. None of the first-century people had a red light over the head of Jesus to persuade them either. The Spirit persuades, not the church.

    Right. And those churches that disagree with you claim the same.

    But that’s no guarantee they are doing exegesis correctly, just as I don’t have a red light that goes off when I do exegesis correctly. I can sit down and make a case for my position, but at the end of the day it is the Spirit that persuades. And He doesn’t need the church to say “Infallible dogma here” to persuade His people or give them certainty in faith.

    That’s the problem. You’re just begging the question by limiting “the church” to only those that subscribe to one of the four confessions.

    I’m limiting what can legitimately be called Protestantism to Protestant confessions. If I can’t do that, then you can’t limit Catholicism to churches in communion with the Roman See but must admit as RC any church that claims to be so. There are several hundred other churches claiming to be Catholic (Old Catholic, sedevacantist, etc.) that are not in communion with the pope.

    Right, so they’re not essential. So why should the OPC/PCA get to decide what is “essential” and that ecclesiology, baptism, and the lord’s supper are not essential?

    The decision has not really been made that they’re not essential in every way, just not essential to get right to be saved. They are essential for the well being of the church but not the being of the church, the bene esse, not the esse.

    But why? Well on a purely pragmatic level, it’s because those churches have decided how they will function. On a spiritual level, it’s because the OPC and the PCA are branches of the one church of Christ led by duly appointed men and orthodox in belief.

    Right, but why should those outside of that church care or be subject to your definition.

    As noted, in one sense they shouldn’t care. Why should they be subject? Because those churches have the most biblical polity and doctrine.

    The ELCA and Word of Faith and Unitarian churches get to define such things for their respective bodies because they are churches.

    The ELCA and Unitarian churches only have a pragmatic right to do so as corporations. They don’t have any divinely ordained right because they aren’t churches. They don’t confess the deity of Christ. The Unitarians certainly don’t, and the ELCA ordains people who don’t. In fact, Christ is really unnecessary for salvation in both cases. If they can’t get that basic belief correct, they can’t be called churches.

    The Word of Faith is more complicated. Some of them aren’t true churches either. Some are heterodox, but there’s enough orthodoxy there to make them a church.

    Right, but non-OPC members have no reason to care about that then. So they shouldn’t care whether OPC/PCA considers ecclesiology, baptism, lord’s supper a non-essential if they consider it an essential, or what the OPC/PCA thinks about homosexuality or abortion or the canon of Scripture or its inerrancy or the Trinity and so forth.

    Insofar as the OPC/PCA correctly interpret God’s Word, they should care.

    Btw, does that mean the Leithart decision was all good then? Or are such decisions only “binding upon the members” except when they’re not?

    The Leithart situation is complicated, particularly because of some of the peculiarities of PCA polity. Leithart remains ordained in the NW presbytery, but I don’t know if any other presbytery will take him. Alabama rejected his transfer. Being ordained in one presbytery doesn’t guarantee you can transfer into another.

    But if you want my opinion, I don’t think the Leithart case was rightly decided. Is it enough for me to leave. I don’t think so either. If such decisions keep happening, it might be a different matter. The church isn’t perfect. You don’t leave a church the first time it does something that goes against your conscience.

    That’s the disconnect. Rome claims the authority to make a judgment binding and normative on all; dogma isn’t defined just for its members

    If Rome’s judgment is truly seen by the Magisterium as binding on non-RCs, then everyone whose not a RC is going to hell. But JPII kissed Qur’ans and plenty of RC theologians are out and out universalists/pluralists. So I don’t see where Rome makes the claim to define dogma for all.

    or offered as “well, this is what we believe, but you can believe something else and it’s equally true”.

    Protestants don’t say that either. I don’t believe that the Baptist view of baptism is equally true as the Presbyterian view. That doesn’t mean I don’t think the Baptist churches aren’t true churches.

    Right, and if you compare documents of the various bodies I listed above, you see the massive conflict and contradiction in the wide spectrum of Protestant churches. But as you agree, such is not the case with Rome. So no equivalence.

    If you compare the documents of various bodies that are actually Protestant, there is very little difference. It’s about comparable to the differences between Thomists and Molinists. You think it is more significant than it truly is because we don’t define church unity as having one bureaucracy to which all give nominal assent and then believe whatever they want anyway.

    The same doctrinal diversity exists among Roman Catholics who are in good standing with their churches as in Protestantism. Its undeniable. Neither you or Pelosi have been excommunicated. But both of you believe in fundamentally different religions, as far as I can tell. If Rome is all that and a bag of chips, it needs to make a real decision about who is in and who is out. I’m not holding my breath, so the claims of unity, infallibility, purity, etc. simply can’t be taken seriously.

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  61. Mermaid,
    I don’t want to (and am not sufficiently informed to) discuss the historical inquiry of Luther’s desires and motives. However, we can definitely discuss the joint statement and protestant denominations. One particular reason that the Lutherans are split is in the review I linked to:

    “various essays attack the idea that the biblical text is truth, or even that its original message can be discerned by readers today.”

    “Authors clearly urge churches not to place the highest priority on preaching the biblical teachings about the person and work of Christ for our salvation,” he continues. “Instead, they urge churches to be open to novel interpretations of the Word which the Spirit allegedly is inspiring in the Church today.” “The result,” he says, “is an open-ended view of the Word of God as something flexible and always changing or in need of change.”

    I think that some protestants (hopefully us confessionalists) unite around what we actually believe. This is largely the root of the critique here on OL that RCC is unified only on paper. We don’t want to be unified on paper if we’re not actually unified. That’s dishonest, right? There is no way that liberal Lutherans who deny the authority of Scripture agree with that statement. I did find one paragraph that was amicable:

    In faith we together hold the conviction that justification is the work of the triune God. The Father sent his Son into the world to save sinners. The foundation and presupposition of justification is the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ. Justification thus means that Christ himself is our righteousness, in which we share through the Holy Spirit in accord with the will of the Father. Together we confess: By grace alone, in faith in Christ’s saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping and calling us to good works.

    However from conversation with a Roman Catholic friend of mine, it seems RCs would have trouble with Christ’s righteousness being our righteousness. I also disagree with the view of the sacraments (I am a Presby) and the opinions that the RC emphasizes one aspect while “Lutherans” emphasize another. Also, I do not know what they mean in saying Christ’s work is the presupposition of justification. I believe, as Packer (quite the unificator, look out cw) said, that Christ’s death secured the calling, justification, and glorification of the elect. God gave us faith as a gift because of Jesus’ work for us.

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  62. Thanks, Walton, for your kind response. I’ll try too read it over carefully tomorrow and respond. I appreciate your taking the time.

    I lost a comment from Robert, too, but I’ll try to find it and respond as well. If not tomorrow, later.

    Kind regards,

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  63. Cletus van Damme
    Posted November 17, 2015 at 9:31 pm | Permalink
    Your “ergo” was a non sequitur. Anathema does not entail one is irrevocably condemned to hell; it entails one has cut themselves off from the church, that is, excommunicated from the church they were a formal member of. Grave matter alone is not sufficient for mortal sin, nor are all those in error formal heretics. Thus we see throughout history Rome defining solemn dogmas in contrast to heresies using the anathema qualifier, without ever once teaching any specific person is absolutely in hell.>>>>>>

    TVD:
    Researching/counter-checking the Old Life blog’s claims about “anathemas,” this is what I found as well. The Catholic Church wishes not a single soul to Hell, not even those who [think they] hate it.>>>>

    This is a really important point. Protestants don’t get this. I think it is especially hard for Calvinists to get.

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  64. James Young, why would it make a difference on your scheme? You’re the one who claims an infallible post-apostolic source. You evaded the question.

    I do respect Rome from Trent to Vatican 2. I don’t know why you equivocate the way Protestant modernists do. Oh wait. Equivocation is now infallible. I see the problem. Yup.

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  65. James Young, “The point is that all these teachings – Scripture is divine revelation, this is the canon, it is inerrant and inspired, SS is the rule of faith, revelation is closed, are not offered as irreformable doctrine, but rather provisional and tentative in your system. That’s why liberalism is not violating Protestant principles, and conservative Protestantism is just liberalism waiting to happen. You can claim liberal Protestants don’t get to count, but your basis for doing so is no less arbitrary and question begging than their countercharge that you don’t count is.”

    Okay already. We got “the point.” What you haven’t answered is how liberalism creeps into the vaunted Roman Catholic system. All you can do is deny it, say nothing has changed, and cling to your blankie of infallibility. But those of us and plenty of serious Roman Catholics like Joe M are not real pleased with Francis’ universalism. Do you ever answer him or Boniface from Unam Sanctam? No. All you do is mock Protestant for not having infallible pastors. And yet your the guy with the infallible pope and we’re supposed to take that seriously?

    Oh, I get it. He’s not Alexander VI. Wow. Welcome to holiness.

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  66. James Young, “You’re the side claiming we can’t know anything for sure and must have room for perpetual doubt”

    So you’re claiming we have knowledge like God’s? Brad Gregory bangs on Protestants for claiming univocity. Nw you act like univocity is no problem because infallibility gives you the kind of knowledge God has.

    Check your math.

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  67. b, sd, yes only some parts are respectable. Look at Denzinger. He includes many of the canons of Fourth Lateran. But not the ones about Jews wearing Stars.

    And if you look at the list of popes, Denzinger is not there.

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  68. TVD, greetings, it’s the last few words that are error:

    You wrote,
    >>
    Yes, Jesus is speaking to the apostles in John 16:13-15. It can just as easily be employed as an argument FOR the Catholic position.

    In fact, Christ Himself declared this to the apostles that this would be the purpose of the Holy Ghost, to guide them in all Truth. Yet there were many things that our lord had wished to expounded to the apostles, but as He said “ (John 16:12) “but you cannot bear them now. But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. For he shall not speak of himself: but what things so ever he shall hear, he shall speak. And the things that are to come, he shall show you them”. Hence, these truths were to be later expounded by the apostles by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost and faithfully transmitted through their successors.
    >>

    It was going well until that.

    Neither the Son of God, nor the apostles, ever claimed they would have successors.

    That’s why RCs, like Mormons and SDAs, require further revelation beyond them.

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  69. No one of note:
    Neither the Son of God, nor the apostles, ever claimed they would have successors.>>>>>

    Good morning, No one of note,

    Have you ever considered these passages in relation to apostolic succession?

    1. 2 Timothy 2:2
    and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

    There is certainly an infallible apostolic teaching that needs to be passed on to faithful men who will teach other faithful men so the truth of the Gospel can be transmitted without error to future generations.

    Do you see my point? I don’t think that Protestants would disagree with it, but some might just because it is a Catholic making it. 🙂

    2. 1 Corinthians 11:2
    Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you.

    Notice that there were apostolic traditions that the Christians at Corinth were supposed to be maintaining. So, we have apostolic teachings that define doctrine. We have apostolic traditions that govern gathered worship and the Eucharist.

    3. You have Jesus handing the keys of the Kingdom to Peter. Check out the book of Acts to see the prominent role Peter played. Check out the end of the Gospel of John as well to see how Jesus commissioned Peter to feed His sheep and lambs. John was a witness of that, so it wasn’t just Peter making things up.

    Peter given the keys of the Kingdom and using them.
    Peter made the rock upon which Jesus would build His Church.
    Peter being commissioned to feed the sheep and lambs.

    Matthew 16:18
    And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock[b] I will build my church, and the gates of hell[c] shall not prevail against it.

    Now, your Protestant point of view will take you straight to what you think those passages cannot mean. Why not consider another point of view? What do those passages mean? You will at least see why all of Christiandom except Protestants see in that a primary role for the Bishop of Rome.

    It could be that everyone else is wrong and has been wrong for a long, long time, but it could be that Protestants are wrong.

    Relate it to the Trinity if you like. Where is the Trinity in the Bible? I believe it is there, but it is the Church that defined it as dogma.

    Now, you may not agree, but at least you might be able to see that there is a Biblical basis for Catholic traditions. The Church’s teachings are not just made up out of thin air.

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  70. Hi Mermaid, greetings,

    You wrote,
    >>
    Have you ever considered these passages in relation to apostolic succession?
    >>

    and then you wrote a whole lot more. Don’t take time on me, OK? Please, you have much better things to do.

    I have looked intently at those passages and many others. Of course, none of them claim the apostles would have successors.

    Here were dealing with a John 1:1 moment.

    John 1:1 nullifies at once the Jehovah Witness claim that Jesus is a created being. Completely and entirely. Argument over.

    So too John 16:13 nullifies the claim of apostolic succession. Completely and entirely. Argument over.

    So I’ll not get into the “what about this verse?” approach. Since there is no claim in sacred writ that the apostles would have successors, and since God has said the apostles would receive all the truth by the Holy Spirit, why go elsewhere?

    It takes attention away from what God has said, and Who, by saying it once, has nullified all other alternatives.

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  71. A papal shrug:

    We’ve posted some new stories to the website. Briefly: The editors weigh in on the terrorists attacks in Paris that “were not exactly a surprise”; Robert Mickens, in his latest letter from Rome, writes on how the pope went on with “business as usual” at the Vatican by—among other things—inviting Muslims to participate in the upcoming Jubilee year and giving a Eucharistic chalice to a Lutheran pastor; and John Wilkins contributes his analysis to our series of responses to the Synod on the Familly, focusing on what effects the “synod experience” might have on bishops who attended, and the hope this generates for the future of a Vatican II church.

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  72. Mermaid, that’s funny. You need to run to Paul, who hardly acknowledged the primacy of Peter, to support the primacy of Peter.

    Maybe you should take Stephen Coulbert’s approach:

    Maher: “I probably woulddn’t be invited to your dinner party, because we’re very opposite

    Colbert: “Really? How so?”

    Maher: “You’re married and religious.”

    Colbert: “I give religion a shot”

    Maher: “I thought you were a practicing Catholic?”

    Colbert: “I am but that doesn’t mean I’m good at it … honest to God. I suck at being a Catholic “You were raised Catholic, right?”

    Maher: “I was raised Catholic.”

    Colbert: “Well come on back, Bill. The door is always open. Golden ticket right before you. All you have to do is humble yourself before the presence of the Lord, admit that there are things greater in the universe than you that you do not understand. Salvation awaits you. Take Paschal’s Wager. If you’re wrong you’re an idiot. But If I’m right you’re going to hell.

    Maher: “I do admit there are things in the universe that I don’t understand. But my response to that is not to make up silly stories.”

    Colbert: “Some of them are pretty good stories, Bill.”

    Maher: “Or to believe intellectually embarrassing myths from the Bronze Age. But you believe whatever you want.”

    Colbert: “Well, yeah I have a connection to our ancestors …”

    Maher: “These are men who did not know what a germ or an atom was or when the sun went at night and that’s where you’re getting your wisdom. Anyway, let’s not argue …”

    Colbert: “I could eat a big bowl of this. This is good. It’s tasty. My religion teaches me humility in the face of this kind of attack.”

    Maher: “You brought it up.”

    Colbert: “I didn’t bring anything up.”

    Maher: “You gave me a big lecture on come back to the Church.”

    Colbert: “I did not. I gave you an invitation. A lecture? It’s an invitation. What are you talking about? This guy gave me a huge lecture about going to dinner. [Imitating a dinner refusal:] ‘I’ll eat what I want. Thanks I’ll eat what I want! Italian food. Hmmph. How dare you?’”

    Maher: “I’ve had more inviting invitations.”

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  73. Walton
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 12:20 am | Permalink
    Mermaid,
    I don’t want to (and am not sufficiently informed to) discuss the historical inquiry of Luther’s desires and motives. >>>>
    Howdy, Walton,
    My bad. I thought you were Lutheran. I am just wondering how much real disagreement there was between Martin Luther and Rome and how much of it was linguistic and cultural. No way to know, I guess. The die is cast. Luther had a big personality. He was a complicated man. I think that the general feeling in the Church at this point in time is that the Church was too hard on Luther. Hence, the overtures towards reconciliation.

    Walton:
    However, we can definitely discuss the joint statement and protestant denominations. One particular reason that the Lutherans are split is in the review I linked to:>>>>

    You mean because they are split on everything?

    Walton quoting his link:
    “various essays attack the idea that the biblical text is truth, or even that its original message can be discerned by readers today.”
    “Authors clearly urge churches not to place the highest priority on preaching the biblical teachings about the person and work of Christ for our salvation,” he continues. “Instead, they urge churches to be open to novel interpretations of the Word which the Spirit allegedly is inspiring in the Church today.” “The result,” he says, “is an open-ended view of the Word of God as something flexible and always changing or in need of change.”>>>>

    Yes. Most of what is called Lutheranism has gone completely off the rails and taken much of Protestantism along with it. If that is the reason for rejecting unity with other Lutherans, then I understand. If they were to enter into dialogue with Rome, they would also have to unite in some way with heretical Lutherans. Is that how you understand the unwillingness to talk with Rome?

    Walton:
    I think that some protestants (hopefully us confessionalists) unite around what we actually believe. >>>>

    That is the advantage that Confessing Evangelicals claim. I think it has helped keep many groups more orthodox. There are certainly some fine men involved in the promotion of confessional Protestantism. However, there are enemies within as well as conflicts. I know from experience, – mine and that of others. I also know it from what Brother Hart writes here. All is not well in Confessionalism. Have you read Fea’s article on Machen’s Warrior Children? Good read.

    The thing is that Confessional Protestantism is always in a state of flux. Who has the rights to the brand? Who are the real Reformed churches? Who are the true Calvinists? Can Baptists really be Reformed? …and on it goes. Confesionalism looks good on paper, but in reality it is in turmoil. It does help some, though. At least you realize that traditions have something to do with Christianity. You do not claim infallibility for your traditions, which creates other problems and seems to solve some.

    Even so, some kind of standard is better than no standard at all it seems to me.

    Most Protestants – or non Catholic Christians – just ignore all y’all because of the turmoil you cause in their congregations. Sorry to be the one to tell you the truth, but you probably already know all that. Don’t let it discourage you.

    Walton:
    This is largely the root of the critique here on OL that RCC is unified only on paper.>>>>

    Yes. After Vatican II, the Catholic Church was expected to split at least 3 ways – the Evangelicals, the Traditionalists, and the Modernists. Well, that has not happened. So, Brother Hart sits under his Kudzu Vine waiting for fire to fall on Rome.

    Brother Hart prefers pre Vat II Catholicism, but he really doesn’t like Catholicism in any form.

    Walton:
    We don’t want to be unified on paper if we’re not actually unified. That’s dishonest, right? >>>>

    Honesty would be for you guys to take a closer look at yourselves. Then maybe you will see more clearly and be able to help your brothers and sisters in Christ. Seems like Jesus wants it to be that way. We are really all in the same boat, you know. Read Ephesians 4.

    More later, maybe. 🙂 Gotta’ go.

    You have a good afternoon, Walton

    Like

  74. sdb,

    “I thought ecumenical councils were infallible. So some parts are and some parts aren’t?”

    Of course not all parts are infallible. Ecumenical councils deal with both dogma and discipline. “Let [clerics] not indulge in red or green cloths, long sleeves or shoes with embroidery or pointed toes, or in bridles, saddles, breast-plates and spurs that are gilded or have other superfluous ornamentation” is not a dogma, nor are Trent’s disciplinary canons focused on church reform which are explicitly labeled as such in each session – you don’t reform dogmas, you reform practice, e.g. “Ordinaries shall take care that all hospitals are faithfully and diligently managed by their administrators, by whatsoever name known and in whatsoever manner exempt, observing the form of the constitution of the Council of Vienne, which begins, “Quia contingit,” which this holy council has thought ought to be renewed and does renew together with the restrictions therein contained.” A council doesn’t have the power to “renew” or “not renew” a dogma, it does for disciplines and practices.

    “Joan of Arc wasn’t condemned posthumously by an ecumenical council, so not very relevant. ”

    Sure it’s relevant if you’re positing that a church’s judgment of someone as under anathema or excommunication irrevocably condemns them to hell. She was convicted of heresy by a church trial. That conviction was then reversed.

    “There seems to be a quite wide divide between “no good reason to believe a fallible doctrine””

    I have no good reason to give the assent of faith to a proposed fallible teaching. I have good reason to submit to fallible church teaching, just as I have good reason to submit to my fallible parents, teachers, governments. That’s why there have been plenty of saints who have suffered under obedience to their superiors who were later shown to be wrong and the saint vindicated.

    “Similarly, the teaching that the RCC is the true church is a teaching of the church.”

    Yep. And that teaching is not offered as provisional or subject to revision. Because doing so would be inconsistent with its claims to authority and ability. No such thing obtains in Protestantism, as you have freely agreed “The reality is that while all of our doctrines are in principle provisional” along with the Protestant affirmation of semper reformanda.

    “The WCF disclaimer is that everything must be judged by scripture ”

    The WCF disclaimer is this:
    “All synods or councils, since the apostles’ times, whether general or particular, may err; and many have erred. Therefore they are not to be made the rule of faith, or practice; but to be used as a help in both.”
    “The purest Churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error; and some have so degenerated, as to become no Churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan.”

    That of course includes everything WCF teaches, including its teaching on the identification of Scripture and the nature/role/function of Scripture. Any teaching is capable of being in error, no teaching is ever offered as guaranteed to be divinely protected from error.

    “It is not a parallel comparison to allow the identification of the church to stand outside of the system on your side and require the identification of scripture to stand within our system on our side.”

    It is a parallel comparison to hold each system consistent with its own claims. One side, being consistent with its claims, teaches semper reformanda and everything is provisional. One side, being consistent with its claims, teaches irreformable dogma and the certitude of faith.

    “This isn’t a good parallel at all. In the comparison you’ve setup to evaluate the epistemological status of the prot and cath, we are assuming that each is true for sake of argument.”

    Right. I’m assuming Christ/Apostles claims to infalliblity and divine authority are true. I’m then also assuming rabbi Levi’s disclaimers to such infallibility and authority are true. Which is the difference in the prot and catholic system (note that adherents in both scenarios are personally fallible). So the parallel encapsulates that difference. Consider which side’s arguments constantly makes Christ and the Apostles claims to authority and infallibility irrelevant or superfluous, and which side doesn’t.

    “Perhaps we might want to consider the epistemological status of the Christians who tested the apostle’s words – presumably they didn’t believe them to be infallible or there would be no reason to test them.”

    That doesn’t follow. They only tested Christ or the apostle’s words in the first place because of the type of claims and authority and ability Christ and the apostles were making. That’s the entire point – Christ and the Apostles gave them reason to actually consider and investigate their claims in the first place – if they were just acting like every other regular synagogue rabbi walking around offering admitted fallible teaching that might be wrong, might be right and that’s the best we can get (a la Protestantism), they’d have no reason to give the assent of faith to the rabbi or bother considering him as a viable contendor in the first place – he cut himself off from consideration by his own admitted disclaimers and lack of authority. So Christ and the Apostles made claims to divine authority and ability to offer irreformable dogma – they at least therefore offered themselves as worthy of consideration and a contendor. Their listeners then investigated the credibility of these claims. Some listeners found their claims to be reasonable, and gave the assent of faith – faith works with reason.

    “There is every advantage of having the author of the words available to you.”

    So we agree there’s an advantage, despite the fact both readers are fallible.

    “Having the Holy Spirit, the author of scripture – God’s living word- is much better even if we don’t always listen so well.”

    Bingo. And the Holy Spirit doesn’t teach provisional or tentative doctrines, it doesn’t give “infallible assurance we get things wrong, but might get things right later”. If you actually believe the HS is guiding and teaching you or the church as a whole, you would not argue that the certitude of faith as illegitimate or impossible or that we must always leave room for doubt for any and all doctrines – such is incompatible with a system promising divine revelation.

    Like

  75. Darryl,

    “why would it make a difference on your scheme? You’re the one who claims an infallible post-apostolic source. You evaded the question.”

    You’re the one who evaded the question when I asked it by ignoring the hypothetical nature of it to say “well that would be weird if the Apostles came back”. Neither of us seriously think Christ/Apostles are going to materialize in someone’s study for a personal week-long seminar on Scripture and revelation. I posited the hypothetical simply to highlight the silliness of the “but we’re all fallible so any infallible teacher is useless” argument.

    “I do respect Rome from Trent to Vatican 2.”

    Great. So a defense of the RC system or Magisterium does not entail a negligence or disregard for the infallibility of Scripture.

    “What you haven’t answered is how liberalism creeps into the vaunted Roman Catholic system.”

    Dissent. Not news. Modernism was creeping in over a century ago. It still does. The point is liberalism is not inherent to the RC system – it is to Protestantism because of the nature of the claims it makes.

    “So you’re claiming we have knowledge like God’s?”

    What? No, I’m not infallible.

    “Look at Denzinger. He includes many of the canons of Fourth Lateran. But not the ones about Jews wearing Stars. ”

    Because Denzinger was intelligent enough to understand, just like his contemporaries, that councils deal with both dogma and discipline/practice and didn’t conflate the two.

    Like

  76. Cletus,

    I have no good reason to give the assent of faith to a proposed fallible teaching. I have good reason to submit to fallible church teaching, just as I have good reason to submit to my fallible parents, teachers, governments.

    So even though you don’t believe it and are even convinced it is wrong, you do what they say anyway? You were just doing what you were told even though you knew it was wrong? You think God is going to honor that on the last day?

    Like

  77. Cletus,

    I just realized that your argument has the effect of rendering most professing Christians throughout history as rank irrationalists and fideists.

    All the Christians who lived before Nicea and believed in the deity of Christ? No reason for them to give the assent of faith because there was no infallible declaration before then. (Unless you accept the self-authenticating character of Scripture and perspicuity).

    All the Christians who before Trent held that the OT canon was the OT canon of Trent. No reason for them to do that because there was no infallible declaration before then.

    All those who affirmed papal infallibility before V1 had no good reason to give the assent of faith before then because there was no infallible dogma offered.

    And on and on and on. Do you want to make Augustine and Aquinas fideists? Because that’s what your argument finally does.

    Like

  78. Robert:
    And on and on and on. Do you want to make Augustine and Aquinas fideists? Because that’s what your argument finally does.>>>>

    Your appeal to men like Augustine and Aquinas puts you in a pickle, Robert.

    Augustine on the sacrifice of the Mass:
    “In the sacrament he is immolated for the people not only on every Paschal Solemnity but on every day; and a man would not be lying if, when asked, he were to reply that Christ is being immolated. For if sacraments had not a likeness to those things of which they are sacraments, they would not be sacraments at all; and they generally take the names of those same things by reason of this likeness.”
    Letters 98:9 [A.D. 412])

    “For when he says in another book, which is called Ecclesiastes, ‘There is no good for a man except that he should eat and drink’ [Eccl. 2:24], what can he be more credibly understood to say [prophetically] than what belongs to the participation of this table which the Mediator of the New Testament himself, the priest after the order of Melchizedek, furnishes with his own body and blood? For that sacrifice has succeeded all the sacrifices of the Old Testament, which were slain as a shadow of what was to come. . . . Because, instead of all these sacrifices and oblations, his Body is offered and is served up to the partakers of it.”

    The City of God 17:20 [A.D. 419]

    St. Thomas Aquinas was a Catholic priest who loved to celebrate the Mass and loved to spend time in Eucharistic adoration. You know. The kind of guy you would call an idolator.

    If Protestants want to claim these guys, then claim all of them. Claim what they believed to be the most important articles of faith. Love ‘em as they are or leave ‘em.

    Like

  79. No one of note
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 7:56 am | Permalink
    TVD, greetings, it’s the last few words that are error:

    You wrote,
    >>
    Yes, Jesus is speaking to the apostles in John 16:13-15. It can just as easily be employed as an argument FOR the Catholic position.

    In fact, Christ Himself declared this to the apostles that this would be the purpose of the Holy Ghost, to guide them in all Truth. Yet there were many things that our lord had wished to expounded to the apostles, but as He said “ (John 16:12) “but you cannot bear them now. But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. For he shall not speak of himself: but what things so ever he shall hear, he shall speak. And the things that are to come, he shall show you them”. Hence, these truths were to be later expounded by the apostles by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost and faithfully transmitted through their successors.
    >>

    It was going well until that.

    Neither the Son of God, nor the apostles, ever claimed they would have successors.

    That’s why RCs, like Mormons and SDAs, require further revelation beyond them.

    I’m sorry you didn’t read the link I gave you. The Catholic proof text is

    http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2009/09/apostolic-succession-various-biblical.html

    The Bible contains sufficient enough indication of apostolic succession (though probably not “explicit” enough by unbiblical sola Scriptura standards to convince most Protestants: what else is new?).

    St. Paul appears to be passing his office along to Timothy (1 Tim 6:20; 2 Tim 1:6, 13-14, 2:1-2, 4:1-6). See, for example:

    2 Timothy 2:1-2 (RSV) You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, [2] and what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

    There are many indirect indications. When Jesus gives His disciples charge to do certain things, it is seen, by and large, by Protestants, as commands to their successors as well (perhaps not always apostolic succession per se, but at least succession as believers in Christ). So, for example, when Jesus tells His disciples to preach the gospel or to baptize, virtually all Christians today think that this applies to all Christians in perpetuity. Yet when Jesus tells the same disciples to “bind and loose” (Matt 18:18; Jn 20:23; also to St. Peter individually in Matt 16:19), somehow that is not seen as a thing that is perpetually relevant through history, and is relegated to their time only.

    This makes no sense. For one to take such a position, they have to establish a solid reason why they regard one instance as perpetual and the other as temporary. I contend that it can’t be done; that any such criterion would be completely arbitrary. Often, sadly, it comes down to merely a contra-Catholic mentality and rationale: “Catholics believe thus-and-so, and so we must oppose it, no matter what the Bible may state on the subject.”

    But we’re just rehashing something that’s been going on for 500 years. You are an immovable object on this; my only point is that Catholicism has a valid Biblical foundation for its claims. [Whether they are true claims is a different question, and one not answerable in a comments box.]

    Further, your epistemological demand of “if it’s not explicitly in the Bible, I’m not going to believe it” ends any discussion before it starts, since Catholicism asserts a continuing influence of the Holy Spirit, whether it was in deciding what books to put in the Bible or the theology of the Trinity and Jesus’s divinity, which isn’t explicit in the Bible either.

    Neither is your “cessationism” in the Bible, that the work of the Holy Spirit ends with the apostolic age. In fact, the Catholic proof text against that is

    Matthew 28:19-20

    Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

    The apostles then must have successors, since they don’t live forever.

    The irony of course is that you can look at John 16 and say it disproves apostolic succession but others say it proves it. Someone needs to break the tie, and of course Catholicism found a way, whereas Protestantism did not, hence its dozens or hundreds of versions and interpretations of the Christian religion.

    Like

  80. James Young, the hypothetical makes no sense. That’s why I didn’t answer it. You still haven’t established why authority without infallibility is not authority still. It’s an assumption you make. You prove nothing.

    So now intelligence is an authority. Denzinger isn’t infallible. But he’s right. Don’t you see how self-selective that is?

    And also, if infallibility is so great, why has it only produced two dogmas? You’re only in a better position because you have papal infallibility and bodily assumption of Mary? Why?

    Like

  81. James Young, “So a defense of the RC system or Magisterium does not entail a negligence or disregard for the infallibility of Scripture.”

    Doesn’t follow. Your defense of the magisterium has to include Vatican 2 and the hedging on everything that went before. Was it intelligent for Pius IX to reject modernity and then for John XXIII to open the church’s windows to modernity? Which is the right posture?

    If you believed in biblical infallibility you’d know how to answer that.

    Like

  82. Mermaid,

    If Protestants want to claim these guys, then claim all of them. Claim what they believed to be the most important articles of faith. Love ‘em as they are or leave ‘em.

    Okay, if I do that will you promise to claim Aquinas’ denial of the Immaculate Conception and His doctrine of unconditional election?

    My point to Cletus is only that if the assent of faith is justified only for infallibly declared dogma, then Augustine and Aquinas were fideists and unjustified in holding many dogmas. Augustine, for example, seems to have held to the Tridentine RC canon. But that was not infallibly declared to be the canon until 1000 years after Augustine. So Augustine was a fideist on this matter if you follow Cletus’ argument to its logical end.

    Anyone who affirmed the deity of Christ between the death of the last Apostle and Nicea would have to be a fideist as well. The dogma wasn’t infallibly declared, and the books of Scripture in which it was taught were not infallibly declared to be Scripture. They might have been used as Scripture, but Cletus has said that unless you know something is infallible dogma, you cannot give the assent of faith. So all of those people who believed in the deity of Christ based on Scripture until Nicea really didn’t give the assent of faith or were unjustified in giving it because, after all, neither the books of Scripture or the dogma had been infallibly declared.

    That’s the logically valid conclusion. It doesn’t make it true. The premises are absurd.

    Like

  83. The question of Aquinas’s “denial” of the Immaculate Conception is complicated.

    http://newtheologicalmovement.blogspot.com/2011/12/did-st-thomas-deny-dogma-of-immaculate.html

    Three stages in the Angelic Doctor’s thought

    What most people do not know is that St. Thomas’ thought on this issue developed over three stages. The Summa (where he seems to deny the dogma) is the second stage, but in the first and third stages it seems that he believed in the Immaculate Conception.

    As a young theologian, St. Thomas commented on the Sentences of Peter Lombard. In that commentary he wrote: “Purity is increased by withdrawing from its opposite: hence there can be a creature than whom no more pure is possible in creation, if it be free from all contagion of sin: and such was the purity of the Blessed Virgin who was immune from original and actual sin.” (I Sent., d.44, q.1, a.3, ad 3) From this, it is quite clear that St. Thomas affirmed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception when he was first beginning his theological career.

    The third stage came in the final period of his life, when St. Thomas commented on the Angelic Salutation (around 1272 or 1273) he wrote: “For she (the Blessed Virgin) was most pure in the matter of fault and incurred neither original nor mental nor venial sin.” There is some textual variance among manuscripts, but sixteen out of the best nineteen manuscripts read as above and show that St. Thomas did indeed end his life holding to the belief in the Immaculate Conception. Further, there are several other places in the later works of the Common Doctor where it seems that he affirms the dogma.

    At least this much is certain, St. Thomas ended his life leaning much closer to a belief in the Immaculate Conception and was convinced that our Lady received a singular grace in being free from all sin, both actual and even original sin. Therefore, it is ridiculous and quite unfair (not to mention uncharitable) for people to claim that St. Thomas denied the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

    Regardless, it is not claimed that Aquinas was infallible. One trivial item is not probative, except to the sophist who tries to make every proposition an all-or-nothing game.

    Like

  84. TVD, you wrote:

    >>
    When Jesus gives His disciples charge to do certain things, it is seen, by and large, by Protestants, as commands to their successors as well (perhaps not always apostolic succession per se, but at least succession as believers in Christ). So, for example, when Jesus tells His disciples to preach the gospel or to baptize, virtually all Christians today think that this applies to all Christians in perpetuity. Yet when Jesus tells the same disciples to “bind and loose” (Matt 18:18; Jn 20:23; also to St. Peter individually in Matt 16:19), somehow that is not seen as a thing that is perpetually relevant through history, and is relegated to their time only.

    This makes no sense. For one to take such a position, they have to establish a solid reason why they regard one instance as perpetual and the other as temporary. I contend that it can’t be done; that any such criterion would be completely arbitrary. Often, sadly, it comes down to merely a contra-Catholic mentality and rationale: “Catholics believe thus-and-so, and so we must oppose it, no matter what the Bible may state on the subject.”
    >>

    Prots are hardly the measure of biblical loyalty. Anyway, when commands are repeated in the letters to the churches in apostolic writ, we know those commands and duties were meant to extend beyond just the apostles.

    Like

  85. No one of note
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 5:59 pm | Permalink
    TVD, you wrote:

    >>

    When Jesus gives His disciples charge to do certain things, it is seen, by and large, by Protestants, as commands to their successors as well (perhaps not always apostolic succession per se, but at least succession as believers in Christ). So, for example, when Jesus tells His disciples to preach the gospel or to baptize, virtually all Christians today think that this applies to all Christians in perpetuity. Yet when Jesus tells the same disciples to “bind and loose” (Matt 18:18; Jn 20:23; also to St. Peter individually in Matt 16:19), somehow that is not seen as a thing that is perpetually relevant through history, and is relegated to their time only.

    This makes no sense. For one to take such a position, they have to establish a solid reason why they regard one instance as perpetual and the other as temporary. I contend that it can’t be done; that any such criterion would be completely arbitrary. Often, sadly, it comes down to merely a contra-Catholic mentality and rationale: “Catholics believe thus-and-so, and so we must oppose it, no matter what the Bible may state on the subject.”

    >>

    Prots are hardly the measure of biblical loyalty. Anyway, when commands are repeated in the letters to the churches in apostolic writ, we know those commands and duties were meant to extend beyond just the apostles.

    FTR, that passage was from the link, not me, I messed up the HTML. My point here is really on the question of validity: One can have a Biblically valid argument–that is, a reasonable interpretation of the text–that isn’t what God intended. Indeed, I’m fond of pointing out that Luther and Calvin disagree on some matters, and although they each have reasonable arguments, they can’t both be right!

    The whole argument of an infallible magisterium isn’t just Bible proof-texting, but the quite reasonable proposition that surely Christ didn’t leave behind a Church that’s in constant theological confusion and fracture [as Protestantism is, let’s be honest]. That such chaos should be the norm is not in the Bible either. That razor cuts both ways.

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  86. Robert,

    “So even though you don’t believe it and are even convinced it is wrong, you do what they say anyway?”

    No. Deference, respect, submission is not blind obedience. If a priest or my parent tells me to go worship Satan, I’m not going to do it. The obedience I was referring to of saints and the like is what forges the virtue of humility and chips away at pride – it doesn’t entail they must go around offering child sacrifices if ordered to do so.

    “No reason for them to give the assent of faith because there was no infallible declaration before then”

    Tradition is part of the STM-triad (again). Do you think people had to wait until Trent for the Resurrection or the gospels or the Real Presence or baptism? Of course not.

    “Do you want to make Augustine and Aquinas fideists? Because that’s what your argument finally does.”

    Here’s Aquinas the fideist not making the argument I make:

    “Consequently to publish a new edition of the symbol belongs to that authority which is empowered to decide matters of faith finally, so that they may be held by all with unshaken faith. Now this belongs to the authority of the Sovereign Pontiff…. Hence our Lord said to Peter whom he made Sovereign Pontiff: “I have prayed for thee,” Peter, “that thy faith fail not, and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren.” The reason of this is that there should be but one faith of the whole Church, according to 1 Corinthians 1:10: “That you all speak the same thing, and that there be no schisms among you”: and this could not be secured unless any question of faith that may arise be decided by him who presides over the whole Church, so that the whole Church may hold firmly to his decision. Consequently it belongs to the sole authority of the Sovereign Pontiff to publish a new edition of the symbol, as do all other matters which concern the whole Church, such as to convoke a general council and so forth.”

    “This prohibition and sentence of the council was intended for private individuals, who have no business to decide matters of faith: for this decision of the general council did not take away from a subsequent council the power of drawing up a new edition of the symbol, containing not indeed a new faith, but the same faith with greater explicitness. For every council has taken into account that a subsequent council would expound matters more fully than the preceding council, if this became necessary through some heresy arising. Consequently this belongs to the Sovereign Pontiff, by whose authority the council is convoked, and its decision confirmed. ”

    “The universal Church cannot err, since she is governed by the Holy Ghost, Who is the Spirit of truth: for such was Our Lord’s promise to His disciples: “When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will teach you all truth.” Now the symbol is published by the authority of the universal Church. Therefore it contains nothing defective.”

    “Hence it is not human knowledge, but the Divine truth that is the rule of faith: and if any of the learned stray from this rule, he does not harm the faith of the simple ones, who think that the learned believe aright; unless the simple hold obstinately to their individual errors, against the faith of the universal Church, which cannot err, since Our Lord said: “I have prayed for thee,” Peter, “that thy faith fail not.””

    “The various conclusions of a science have their respective means of demonstration, one of which may be known without another, so that we may know some conclusions of a science without knowing the others. On the other hand faith adheres to all the articles of faith by reason of one mean, viz. on account of the First Truth proposed to us in Scriptures, according to the teaching of the Church who has the right understanding of them. Hence whoever abandons this mean is altogether lacking in faith.”

    “A heretic does not hold the other articles of faith, about which he does not err, in the same way as one of the faithful does, namely by adhering simply to the Divine Truth, because in order to do so, a man needs the help of the habit of faith; but he holds the things that are of faith, by his own will and judgment.”

    “Now the formal object of faith is the First Truth, as manifested in Holy Writ and the teaching of the Church, which proceeds from the First Truth. Consequently whoever does not adhere, as to an infallible and Divine rule, to the teaching of the Church, which proceeds from the First Truth manifested in Holy Writ, has not the habit of faith, but holds that which is of faith otherwise than by faith. Even so, it is evident that a man whose mind holds a conclusion without knowing how it is proved, has not scientific knowledge, but merely an opinion about it. Now it is manifest that he who adheres to the teaching of the Church, as to an infallible rule, assents to whatever the Church teaches; otherwise, if, of the things taught by the Church, he holds what he chooses to hold, and rejects what he chooses to reject, he no longer adheres to the teaching of the Church as to an infallible rule, but to his own will. Hence it is evident that a heretic who obstinately disbelieves one article of faith, is not prepared to follow the teaching of the Church in all things; but if he is not obstinate, he is no longer in heresy but only in error. Therefore it is clear that such a heretic with regard to one article has no faith in the other articles, but only a kind of opinion in accordance with his own will.”

    And here’s Augustine the fideist not making the argument I make:

    “The excellence of the canonical authority of the Old and New Testaments is distinct from the books of later writers. This authority was confirmed in the times of the Apostles through the succession of bishops and the propagation of churches, as if it was settled in a heavenly manner in a kind of seat to which every believing and pious mind lives in obedience.”

    “Let the reader consult the rule of faith which he has gathered from the plainer passages of Scripture, and from the authority of the Church, and of which I treated at sufficient length when I was speaking in the first book about things.”

    “But while we are absent from the Lord, and walk by faith, not by sight, we ought to see the “back parts” of Christ, that is His flesh, by that very faith, that is, standing on the solid foundation of faith, which the rock signifies, and beholding it from such a safe watchtower, namely in the Catholic Church, of which it is said, “And upon this rock I will build my Church.””

    “For my part, I should not believe the gospel except moved by the authority of the Catholic Church. So when those on whose authority I have consented to believe in the gospel tell me not to believe in Manicheus, how can I but consent?”

    “But I would not believe in the Gospel, except that the authority of the Catholic Church moved me to do so.”

    “To be sure, although on this matter, we cannot quote a clear example taken from the canonical Scriptures, at any rate, on this question, we are following the true thought of Scriptures when we observe what has appeared good to the universal Church which the authority of these same Scriptures recommends to you”

    “It is obvious; the faith allows it; the Catholic Church approves; it is true”

    “Now, in regards to the canonical Scriptures, he must follow the judgement of the greater number of catholic churches”

    “And if anyone seek for divine authority in this matter, though what is held by the whole Church, and not as instituted by Councils, but as a matter of invariable custom, is rightly held to have been handed down by apostolic authority….”

    “But those reasons which I have here given, I have either gathered from the authority of the church, according to the tradition of our forefathers, or from the testimony of the divine Scriptures, or from the nature itself of numbers and of similitudes. No sober person will decide against reason, no Christian against the Scriptures, no peaceable person against the church.”

    “In the books of Maccabees we read of sacrifice offered for the dead. Howbeit even if it were no where at all read in the Old Scriptures, not small is the authority, which in this usage is clear, of the whole Church …”

    “Or if he produces his own manuscripts of the apostolic writings, he must also obtain for them the authority of the churches founded by the apostles themselves, by showing that they have been preserved and transmitted with their sanction. It will be difficult for a man to make me believe him on the evidence of writings which derive all their authority from his own word, which I do not believe.”

    “What could be more clear than the judgement of the Apostolic See?”

    “What, moreover, shall I say of those commentators on the divine Scriptures who have flourished in the catholic Church? They have never tried to prevert these testimonies to an alien sense, because they were firmly established in our most ancient and solid faith, and were never moved aside from error.”

    “But perhaps you will quote some other book bearing the name of an apostle known to have been chosen by Christ; and you will find there that Christ was not born of Mary. Since, then, one of the books must be false, the question in this case is, whether we are to yield our belief to a book acknowledged and approved as handed down from the beginning in the Church founded by Christ Himself, and maintained through the apostles and their successors in an unbroken connection all over the world to the present day; or to a book which this Church condemns as unknown, and which, moreover, is brought forward by men who prove their veracity by praising Christ for falsehood.”

    “When therefore we see so great help of God, so great progress and fruit, shall we doubt to hide ourselves in the bosom of that Church, which even unto the confession of the human race from [the] apostolic chair through successions of Bishops, (heretics in vain lurking around her and being condemned, partly by the judgment of the very people, partly by the weight of councils, partly also by the majesty of miracles,) hath held the summit of authority. To be unwilling to grant to her the first place, is either surely the height of impiety, or is headlong arrogance. For, if there be no sure way unto wisdom and health of souls, unless where faith prepare them for reason, what else is it to be ungrateful for the Divine help and aid, than to wish to resist authority furnished with so great labor? And if every system of teaching, however mean and easy, requires, in order to its being received, a teacher or master, what more full of rash pride, than, in the case of books of divine mysteries, both to be unwilling to learn from such as interpret them, and to wish to condemn them unlearned?”

    Like

  87. Darryl,

    “the hypothetical makes no sense. That’s why I didn’t answer it.”

    It makes no sense to do a simple thought experiment that if the Apostles or Christ sat down with you for a week for unlimited discussion and clarification on interpretation and teachings of revelation, you wouldn’t have an advantage over everyone else, even though you and everyone else remains personally fallible? This is not a difficult exercise.

    “You still haven’t established why authority without infallibility is not authority still. It’s an assumption you make. You prove nothing.”

    Well “you prove nothing” is a very convincing refutation. Here’s the assumption I make – divine revelation is infallible and irreformable. Work it out from there.

    “So now intelligence is an authority. Denzinger isn’t infallible. But he’s right. Don’t you see how self-selective that is?”

    Denzinger isn’t a lone wolf is my point. Please find me any RC theologians in history who argued that everything an ecumenical council decrees is infallible dogma, or that such councils never dealt with disciplinary matters and practices. Trent itself lists out separate sections devoted to disciplinary reform. I guess Trent didn’t know what it was doing.

    “And also, if infallibility is so great, why has it only produced two dogmas?”

    Oy vey, you’re still peddling this? Infallibility is … here it is, put it on your fridge … not limited to ex cathedra statements (again).

    “So a defense of the RC system or Magisterium does not entail a negligence or disregard for the infallibility of Scripture.”
    – Doesn’t follow.”

    Of course it follows. Do you deny that the RCC defended its system and claims and magisterium from Trent to Vat2? Do you deny that during this anti-modernist golden age, it was also defending the infallibility of Scripture? If no, then we can move on from your spurious charges that I am denigrating the infallibility of Scripture.

    Like

  88. Mermaid,
    1. “Talking with Rome” is ambiguous. I’ll talk to just about anybody. But if by talking you mean saying we agree on stuff that we don’t, then I’ll pass.

    2. “Who are the real Reformed churches? Who are the true Calvinists?”
    I don’t think this is an important question. Pragmatically, yes, it is very helpful to know which churches are “Reformed”, but it is just a label, currently used to describe the churches that confess the interpretation of Scripture found in the WCF / 3FU. But language and terminology changes.

    The visible Church, which is also catholic or universal under the Gospel (not confined to one nation, as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion;[2] and of their children:[3] and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ,[4] the house and family of God,[5] out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.[6] WCF 25.2

    3. How can we cause turmoil in other churches? Part of being a confessionalist (in contrast with a raging MacArthur-ite or Keller-ite, which may very well be disturbing Protestantism) is usually attending a confessional church.

    4. Is there one by Fea? I have read Frame’s Machen’s Warrior Children. But I wrote him off after he explained 2K by saying it was based off one little passage in Genesis 9.

    5. Doesn’t the fact that there is disagreement and problems within the Confessional world imply that we are doing some self-examination? And finally, we are definitely trying to help our brothers and sisters in Christ, with the only help there is

    Question 1.
    What is thy only comfort in life and death?
    Answer.
    That I with body and soul, both in life and death, (a) am not my own, (b) but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ; (c) who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, (d) and delivered me from all the power of the devil; (e) and so preserves me (f) that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; (g) yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, (h) and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, (i) and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him. (j) HC 1

    through the means God instituted

    Unto this catholic visible Church Christ has given the ministry, oracles, and ordinances of God, for the gathering and perfecting of the saints, in this life, to the end of the world: and does, by His own presence and Spirit, according to His promise, make them effectual thereunto.[7] WCF 25.3

    Like

  89. Cletus,

    Augustine and Aquinas, of course, aren’t fideists. But based on your critique of Protestantism they must be. So let’s look at this:

    Tradition is part of the STM-triad (again). Do you think people had to wait until Trent for the Resurrection or the gospels or the Real Presence or baptism? Of course not.

    Well based on your critique of Protestantism, I don’t see how any one could have been justified in giving the assent of faith before there is an official dogmatic, infallible declaration of any of that.

    Your entire critique is built on how Protestantism doesn’t offer any dogma as infallible, so therefore you can’t give the assent of faith OR if you do give the assent of faith, it is fideism. Let’s grant that premise for the sake of argument.

    Where, before Nicea is the deity of Christ offered as an infallible dogma? If you want to say tradition, then okay, where did the church prior to Nicea say this aspect of tradition is infallible. If you want to say Scripture, where does the church prior to Nicea dogmatically declare as infallible that Romans or John or whatever book of Scripture is part of the infallible canon. There’s no ecumenical council until Nicea. So, where is the dogmatic definition.

    And if you can’t give me a dogmatic definition until Nicea, then explain how Joseph the Romanite and Susan the Alexandrian were justified in giving the assent of faith to the notion that Christ is God without being a fideist. Where does the church prior to Nicea infallibly declare that said belief is infallibly true?

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  90. Cletus,

    And a statement from Augustine or Aquinas that the church cannot err doesn’t count because they are individual writers. Where does THE CHURCH define the deity of Christ as an infallible dogma that must be believed before Nicea. None of this vague unbroken succession stuff either, because as you well know, there were plenty of bishops who were part of the “unbroken succession” that were Arians or who at the very least were unclear that Christ is God. Or if you want to use them, show me where the church, prior to NICEA, says their opinions don’t count.

    Like

  91. Tom,

    Regardless, it is not claimed that Aquinas was infallible. One trivial item is not probative, except to the sophist who tries to make every proposition an all-or-nothing game.

    I agree. But Mermaid was the one that said if we want to claim Augustine and Aquinas, we have to claim everything they said. If that’s true of me, that’s true of her and her church. But of course her church doesn’t claim everything they said is gospel.

    Like

  92. “It makes no sense to do a simple thought experiment that if the Apostles or Christ sat down with you for a week for unlimited discussion and clarification on interpretation and teachings of revelation, you wouldn’t have an advantage over everyone else, even though you and everyone else remains personally fallible? This is not a difficult exercise.”

    That’s really easy to answer. A believer with the Holy Spirit is better off than Peter pre-Pentecost. He had like three years of near unlimited access. Of course Judas had lot of access too…

    Like

  93. James Young, “It makes no sense to do a simple thought experiment that if the Apostles or Christ sat down with you for a week for unlimited discussion and clarification on interpretation and teachings of revelation, you wouldn’t have an advantage over everyone else, even though you and everyone else remains personally fallible?”

    Oh. I see. Having the popes is like having Christ and the apostles– even though the popes give no new revelation. Now I see.

    Nope.

    Like

  94. James Young, but fallible authorities are authoritative. Kings, fathers, senators. So there. Yup.

    Infallibility is not a zero sum game. Infallibility = authority. Fallibility = no authority.

    Cool.

    Like

  95. James Young, so when are things infallible? First it takes intelligence to wipe away the gold stars for Jews from Fourth Lateran. Then it takes Roman Catholic gullibility to say that most everything else is authoritative.

    And then it takes chutzpa to say that doctrines not defined as infallible are infallible. So I guess Laudato Si is infallible then.

    Cool. Live with that.

    Like

  96. James Young, what I deny is that except when councils of bishops met, most papal statements between Gregory VII and Leo XIII were all about papal supremacy.

    Great. Pope has power. That’s real clear from Scripture and not in the slightest self-serving — especially given the way the papacy was a trophy for wealthy Roman families.

    Cool.

    Like

  97. Robert
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 7:59 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    “Regardless, it is not claimed that Aquinas was infallible. One trivial item is not probative, except to the sophist who tries to make every proposition an all-or-nothing game.”

    I agree. But Mermaid was the one that said if we want to claim Augustine and Aquinas, we have to claim everything they said. If that’s true of me, that’s true of her and her church. But of course her church doesn’t claim everything they said is gospel.

    Well, it’s a matter of proportion, not just a ding here or there over a doctrinal wrinkle. Your church is not the Catholic Church as Augustine conceives it, so appealing to Augustine is problematic. You do not have “the succession of bishops.” You do not have “the authority of the church.” [Which, in fairness, I don’t believe you claim, though it’s hard to tell.]

    You do not have “the supreme authority of the Apostolic See through the Episcopal succession.” Now, you might claim the Catholic Church doesn’t either, but that doesn’t help your own legitimacy problems.

    I mean, this is a lot to ignore.

    “The excellence of the canonical authority of the Old and New Testaments is distinct from the books of later writers. This authority was confirmed in the times of the Apostles through the succession of bishops and the propagation of churches, as if it was settled in a heavenly manner in a kind of seat to which every believing and pious mind lives in obedience.”

    “Let the reader consult the rule of faith which he has gathered from the plainer passages of Scripture, and from the authority of the Church, and of which I treated at sufficient length when I was speaking in the first book about things.”

    “But while we are absent from the Lord, and walk by faith, not by sight, we ought to see the “back parts” of Christ, that is His flesh, by that very faith, that is, standing on the solid foundation of faith, which the rock signifies, and beholding it from such a safe watchtower, namely in the Catholic Church, of which it is said, “And upon this rock I will build my Church.””

    “For my part, I should not believe the gospel except moved by the authority of the Catholic Church. So when those on whose authority I have consented to believe in the gospel tell me not to believe in Manicheus, how can I but consent?”

    “But I would not believe in the Gospel, except that the authority of the Catholic Church moved me to do so.”

    “To be sure, although on this matter, we cannot quote a clear example taken from the canonical Scriptures, at any rate, on this question, we are following the true thought of Scriptures when we observe what has appeared good to the universal Church which the authority of these same Scriptures recommends to you”

    “It is obvious; the faith allows it; the Catholic Church approves; it is true”

    “Now, in regards to the canonical Scriptures, he must follow the judgement of the greater number of catholic churches”

    “And if anyone seek for divine authority in this matter, though what is held by the whole Church, and not as instituted by Councils, but as a matter of invariable custom, is rightly held to have been handed down by apostolic authority….”

    “But those reasons which I have here given, I have either gathered from the authority of the church, according to the tradition of our forefathers, or from the testimony of the divine Scriptures, or from the nature itself of numbers and of similitudes. No sober person will decide against reason, no Christian against the Scriptures, no peaceable person against the church.”

    “In the books of Maccabees we read of sacrifice offered for the dead. Howbeit even if it were no where at all read in the Old Scriptures, not small is the authority, which in this usage is clear, of the whole Church …”

    “Or if he produces his own manuscripts of the apostolic writings, he must also obtain for them the authority of the churches founded by the apostles themselves, by showing that they have been preserved and transmitted with their sanction. It will be difficult for a man to make me believe him on the evidence of writings which derive all their authority from his own word, which I do not believe.”

    “What could be more clear than the judgement of the Apostolic See?”

    “What, moreover, shall I say of those commentators on the divine Scriptures who have flourished in the catholic Church? They have never tried to prevert these testimonies to an alien sense, because they were firmly established in our most ancient and solid faith, and were never moved aside from error.”

    “But perhaps you will quote some other book bearing the name of an apostle known to have been chosen by Christ; and you will find there that Christ was not born of Mary. Since, then, one of the books must be false, the question in this case is, whether we are to yield our belief to a book acknowledged and approved as handed down from the beginning in the Church founded by Christ Himself, and maintained through the apostles and their successors in an unbroken connection all over the world to the present day; or to a book which this Church condemns as unknown, and which, moreover, is brought forward by men who prove their veracity by praising Christ for falsehood.”

    “When therefore we see so great help of God, so great progress and fruit, shall we doubt to hide ourselves in the bosom of that Church, which even unto the confession of the human race from [the] apostolic chair through successions of Bishops, (heretics in vain lurking around her and being condemned, partly by the judgment of the very people, partly by the weight of councils, partly also by the majesty of miracles,) hath held the summit of authority. To be unwilling to grant to her the first place, is either surely the height of impiety, or is headlong arrogance. For, if there be no sure way unto wisdom and health of souls, unless where faith prepare them for reason, what else is it to be ungrateful for the Divine help and aid, than to wish to resist authority furnished with so great labor? And if every system of teaching, however mean and easy, requires, in order to its being received, a teacher or master, what more full of rash pride, than, in the case of books of divine mysteries, both to be unwilling to learn from such as interpret them, and to wish to condemn them unlearned?”

    Like

  98. Tom,

    Well, it’s a matter of proportion, not just a ding here or there over a doctrinal wrinkle. Your church is not the Catholic Church as Augustine conceives it, so appealing to Augustine is problematic. You do not have “the succession of bishops.” You do not have “the authority of the church.” [Which, in fairness, I don’t believe you claim, though it’s hard to tell.]

    We don’t have a succession of monarchical bishops. We do have a succession of elders. And we also have the authority of the church.

    But of course, Rome doesn’t have the church Augustine envisioned either. No such thing as papal infallibility in His day. And the bishop of Rome was still in communion with the Eastern bishops.

    You do not have “the supreme authority of the Apostolic See through the Episcopal succession.” Now, you might claim the Catholic Church doesn’t either, but that doesn’t help your own legitimacy problems.

    Well, I don’t have to prove my legitimacy in this argument. All I have to prove is that “Protestantism is wrong, therefore Romanism” is false. But that’s the argument assumed by most RC interlocutors around here.

    But I also don’t base the legitimacy of my church on what Augustine says. Of course, neither does Rome. If it did, it would have to give up a whole lot of post-Augustinian development.

    I mean, this is a lot to ignore.

    1. Not if Augustine is fallible, which Rome admits.
    2. Not if Rome’s understanding of this statement is not Augustine’s understanding of them, and for many of them it is not.

    Like

  99. “Of course not all parts are infallible.” So we have an infallible definition of which parts are and which parts aren’t infallible? More to the point, the declaration that a previous pope, now deceased, is *now* excommunicated doesn’t sound like recommendation about what color robe to wear. I understand that the excommunicated can repent and be restored to the society of the faithful, that’s the point of excommunication. But if the person is now dead and declared to not be part of the society of the faithful, you are really splitting hairs to say the church has never definitively stated that a specific person is in hell – purgatory isn’t for those who died in mortal sin. I guess you are saying either that the council’s declaration that a person died excommunicated doesn’t entail they are lost? Very curious… Or perhaps they were mistaken? Why wouldn’t they be protected from error about such a pronouncement? If they weren’t, by your standard you have no good reason to believe them right?

    Like

  100. “I have no good reason to give the assent of faith to a proposed fallible teaching. I have good reason to submit to fallible church teaching, ”
    You are moving the goal posts. You said there is no good reason to believe a fallible teaching. You submit to such a teaching that may or may not be wrong (say the OT canon prior to Trent), but you don’t have a good reason to believe it? Very strange construction.

    Like

  101. Robert
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 9:12 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    “Well, it’s a matter of proportion, not just a ding here or there over a doctrinal wrinkle. Your church is not the Catholic Church as Augustine conceives it, so appealing to Augustine is problematic. You do not have “the succession of bishops.” You do not have “the authority of the church.” [Which, in fairness, I don’t believe you claim, though it’s hard to tell.]”

    We don’t have a succession of monarchical bishops. We do have a succession of elders.

    You cannot trace your succession back to the early church, as Augustine claimed it for the Church.

    And we also have the authority of the church.

    You claim the authority of the Church, until the next schism. Then there are two, and six and dozens and hundreds of authorities.

    “You do not have “the supreme authority of the Apostolic See through the Episcopal succession.” Now, you might claim the Catholic Church doesn’t either, but that doesn’t help your own legitimacy problems.”

    Well, I don’t have to prove my legitimacy in this argument. All I have to prove is that “Protestantism is wrong, therefore Romanism” is false. But that’s the argument assumed by most RC interlocutors around here.

    Actually, “Last Man Standing” is Dr. Hart’s trick, and why he’s spending the lion’s share of his time attacking the Catholic Church. But since the Catholic Church has stood for 2000 years, yes, the burden of proof is not equally shared–you bear it. You are the splinter group, you are the ones who don’t even bother calling yourselves the catholic church.

    The succession of priests keeps me, beginning from the very seat of the Apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after His resurrection, gave it in charge to feed His sheep, down to the present episcopate. And so, lastly, does the name itself of Catholic, which, not without reason, amid so many heresies, the Church has thus retained; so that, though all heretics wish to be called Catholics, yet when a stranger asks where the Catholic Church meets, no heretic will venture to point to his own chapel or house. Such then in number and importance are the precious ties belonging to the Christian name which keep a believer in the Catholic Church, as it is right they should

    But I also don’t base the legitimacy of my church on what Augustine says. Of course, neither does Rome. If it did, it would have to give up a whole lot of post-Augustinian development.

    Well, the subject here is only how good a claim you have to Augustine, Mermaid’s point. You are in schism from the Church he provably historically belonged to. Only with the most tortuous sophistry could you even begin to claim “the supreme authority of the Apostolic See through the Episcopal succession.”

    Like

  102. “The WCF disclaimer is that everything must be judged by scripture ”

    The WCF disclaimer is this:
    “All synods or councils, since the apostles’ times, whether general or particular, may err; and many have erred. Therefore they are not to be made the rule of faith, or practice; but to be used as a help in both.”
    “The purest Churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error; and some have so degenerated, as to become no Churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan.”

    That of course includes everything WCF teaches, including its teaching on the identification of Scripture and the nature/role/function of Scripture. Any teaching is capable of being in error, no teaching is ever offered as guaranteed to be divinely protected from error.

    You are misconstruing the purported “disclaimer”. Article I includes the following:

    IV. The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, and obeyed, depends not upon the testimony of any man, or Church; but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the author thereof: and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.

    X. The supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture

    The excerpts from Articles 25 and 31 have to be read in light of this. I don’t see that Article 25 is a problem – you’ve already allowed that you church can err. The difference is that there is a subset of things your church states that cannot be wrong (which subset we can presumably infallibly define). The excerpt from Article 31 is preceded by the following statement:

    It belongs to synods and councils, ministerially to determine controversies of faith, and cases of conscience; to set down rules and directions for the better ordering of the public worship of God, and government of his Church; to receive complaints in cases of maladministration, and authoritatively to determine the same; which decrees and determinations, if consonant to the Word of God, are to be received with reverence and submission; not only for their agreement with the Word, but also for the power whereby they are made, as being an ordinance of God appointed thereunto in His Word.

    The implication of this and the statements in Article I is clearly that if a council conflicts with scripture, then scripture trumps the decision of the council. Scripture is properly basic – if we’ve misidentified it, then we have big problems (same as if you’ve misidentified the church). We believe scripture cannot err even if we can in interpreting it – just as you believe that on matters of the faith the church cannot err even if your laity and clergy are hopelessly confused about what the church infallibly teaches. For us, God’s word is the foundation (speaking through the prophets and apostles with Christ as the chief cornerstone, while for you the church is the foundation which defines doctrine rather than interpreting it).

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  103. “This isn’t a good parallel at all. In the comparison you’ve setup to evaluate the epistemological status of the prot and cath, we are assuming that each is true for sake of argument.”

    Right. I’m assuming Christ/Apostles claims to infalliblity and divine authority are true. I’m then also assuming rabbi Levi’s disclaimers to such infallibility and authority are true. Which is the difference in the prot and catholic system (note that adherents in both scenarios are personally fallible). So the parallel encapsulates that difference. Consider which side’s arguments constantly makes Christ and the Apostles claims to authority and infallibility irrelevant or superfluous, and which side doesn’t.

    The apostles do not claim to be infallible – Paul explicitly warns about apostles who could teach a false gospel. You keep tossing in authority and infallibility, but we’ve already established that one can have authority to which you must submit even if the authority is fallible. Again, Christ is infallible because he is God. The apostles were fallible – when they relayed the Holy Spirit’s words those words were infallible because they were the Holy Spirit’s (and yes I understand that they were not dictating word for word what the Holy spirit was saying). The Holy spirit, working with broken vessels, preserved his word through his broken, fallible church. His word is infallible, but we (including popes and councils) are not.

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  104. “Perhaps we might want to consider the epistemological status of the Christians who tested the apostle’s words – presumably they didn’t believe them to be infallible or there would be no reason to test them.”

    That doesn’t follow. They only tested Christ or the apostle’s words in the first place because of the type of claims and authority and ability Christ and the apostles were making. That’s the entire point – Christ and the Apostles gave them reason to actually consider and investigate their claims in the first place – if they were just acting like every other regular synagogue rabbi walking around offering admitted fallible teaching that might be wrong, might be right and that’s the best we can get (a la Protestantism), they’d have no reason to give the assent of faith to the rabbi or bother considering him as a viable contendor in the first place – he cut himself off from consideration by his own admitted disclaimers and lack of authority. So Christ and the Apostles made claims to divine authority and ability to offer irreformable dogma – they at least therefore offered themselves as worthy of consideration and a contendor. Their listeners then investigated the credibility of these claims. Some listeners found their claims to be reasonable, and gave the assent of faith – faith works with reason.

    Well we’ve already established that one can be compelled to submit one’s intellect to a fallible teacher. Indeed, Christ commanded the people to submit to those fallible (and often wrong) rabbis who clearly were not protected from error. And indeed many people did and were commended for their faithfulness. So no, such disclaimers do not cut one off from consideration nor should they. The reason the people were admonished to test what was said was because the teachers in the church could be wrong – Paul warns the bishops in Ephesus, “I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.” John spends quite a bit of time warning against false teachers, about testing the spirits, etc… because they weren’t infallible.

    “There is every advantage of having the author of the words available to you.”
    So we agree there’s an advantage, despite the fact both readers are fallible.

    “Having the Holy Spirit, the author of scripture – God’s living word- is much better even if we don’t always listen so well.”

    Bingo. And the Holy Spirit doesn’t teach provisional or tentative doctrines, it doesn’t give “infallible assurance we get things wrong, but might get things right later”.

    True. God does not teach provisional or tentative doctrines. But people – including popes and councils do.

    If you actually believe the HS is guiding and teaching you or the church as a whole, you would not argue that the certitude of faith as illegitimate or impossible or that we must always leave room for doubt for any and all doctrines – such is incompatible with a system promising divine revelation.

    Unless one takes church doctrines to be our interpretation of God’s word. God’s word is infallible, but the church’s understanding of it is fallible (not necessarily wrong about everything). Our lodestone, our foundation is the living and active word of God. Adding a middleman who is purportedly sometimes infallible about certain things doesn’t confer an advantage – particularly when said middleman gets lots and lots of things wrong and doesn’t bother insisting on the things he gets right. What you call certitude of faith, I call confidence in God’s revelation – a confidence that recognizes that I could be wrong (though I probably am not).

    Like

  105. The Holy spirit, working with broken vessels, preserved his word through his broken, fallible church. His word is infallible, but we (including popes and councils) are not.

    It’s still basically the same argument about the Holy Spirit. The Church is, at the end of the day, infallibile–after all, it’s Christ’s church, “My” church, not man’s.

    Accordingly, the office of the pope is claimed to be infallible, but not the person himself.

    http://www.traditio.com/tradlib/popelim.txt

    TWENTIETH OECUMENICAL (DOGMATIC) COUNCIL, VATICAN I (1869-1870)

    “Neque enim Petri successoribus Spiritus sanctus promissus est, ut
    eo revelante novam doctrinam patefacerent, sed ut eo assistente traditam
    per apostolos revelationem seu fidei depositum sancte custodirent et
    fideliter exponerent. (Constitutio Dogmatica Prima de Ecclesia Christi
    [Pastor Aeternus], cap. 4, “De Romani Pontificis Infallibili
    Magisterio”)

    [For the Holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter not
    so that they might, by His revelation, make known some new doctrine, but
    that, by His assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully
    expound the revelation or Deposit of Faith transmitted by the Apostles.]

    “The question was also raised by a Cardinal, ‘What is to be done
    with the Pope if he becomes a heretic?’ It was answered that there has
    never been such a case; the Council of Bishops could depose him for
    heresy, for from the moment he becomes a heretic he is not the head or
    even a member of the Church.
    The Church would not be, for a moment,
    obliged to listen to him when he begins to teach a doctrine the Church
    knows to be a false doctrine, and he would cease to be Pope, being
    deposed by God Himself.

    “If the Pope, for instance, were to say that the belief in God is
    false, you would not be obliged to believe him, or if he were to deny
    the rest of the creed, ‘I believe in Christ,’ etc. The supposition is
    injurious to the Holy Father in the very idea, but serves to show you
    the fullness with which the subject has been considered and the ample
    thought given to every possibility. If he denies any dogma of the
    Church held by every true believer, he is no more Pope than either you
    or I; and so in this respect the dogma of infallibility amounts to
    nothing as an article of temporal government or cover for heresy.”

    Like

  106. Robert
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 5:19 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid,

    If Protestants want to claim these guys, then claim all of them. Claim what they believed to be the most important articles of faith. Love ‘em as they are or leave ‘em.

    Robert:
    Okay, if I do that will you promise to claim Aquinas’ denial of the Immaculate Conception and His doctrine of unconditional election?>>>>

    IC – Aquinas did hold to Mary’s entire personal sinlessness. She was fully sanctified before her conception in Aquinas’ view, but you must know that. Your real objection is that anyway – that Mary was fully sanctified and never sinned.

    UE – Catholics are free to accept the doctrine of unconditional election. You must know that also.

    Reformed Christians allege that the Mass is idolatrous and that the veneration of Mary and the saints is as well. So, how can you be using men like Aquinas and Augustine as support since according to your theology they are idolators? You even act as though they were not Catholic.

    It’s an interesting phenomenon, Brother Robert. It seems like you should at least acknowledge this fact – they were and are Catholics.

    That’s all I am saying. Love them as they are, not as what you wish they were.

    Like

  107. No one of note:
    John 1:1 nullifies at once the Jehovah Witness claim that Jesus is a created being. Completely and entirely. Argument over.>>>>>

    I understand that you have your mind made up. No problem. I would like to suggest that the argument is just beginning when you quote Scripture to support the deity of Christ.

    Who gave you the Scripture? Where did it come from? Think about it.

    Like

  108. Robert
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 7:59 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    TVD:
    Regardless, it is not claimed that Aquinas was infallible. One trivial item is not probative, except to the sophist who tries to make every proposition an all-or-nothing game.

    Robert:
    I agree. But Mermaid was the one that said if we want to claim Augustine and Aquinas, we have to claim everything they said. If that’s true of me, that’s true of her and her church. But of course her church doesn’t claim everything they said is gospel.>>>>

    Robert, I didn’t mention IC. I didn’t say you have to claim everything they said, but you should at least acknowledge the fact that they were Catholics. I mean, you invoked super Catholics to refute Catholicsm. It struck me as ironic. That’s all.

    Carry on. Don’t mind me. 🙂

    Here is part of what I said.:

    “St. Thomas Aquinas was a Catholic priest who loved to celebrate the Mass and loved to spend time in Eucharistic adoration. You know. The kind of guy you would call an idolator.

    If Protestants want to claim these guys, then claim all of them. Claim what they believed to be the most important articles of faith. Love ‘em as they are or leave ‘em.”
    —————————————————–
    The Little Mermaid
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 4:32 pm | Permalink
    Robert:
    And on and on and on. Do you want to make Augustine and Aquinas fideists? Because that’s what your argument finally does.>>>>

    Your appeal to men like Augustine and Aquinas puts you in a pickle, Robert.

    St. Thomas Aquinas was a Catholic priest who loved to celebrate the Mass and loved to spend time in Eucharistic adoration. You know. The kind of guy you would call an idolator…

    If Protestants want to claim these guys, then claim all of them. Claim what they believed to be the most important articles of faith. Love ‘em as they are or leave ‘em.

    Like

  109. vd, t, “For the Holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter not
    so that they might, by His revelation, make known some new doctrine, but
    that, by His assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully
    expound the revelation or Deposit of Faith transmitted by the Apostles.”

    Great. Papal infallibility and bodily assumption of Mary were not taught by the apostles. We’re good here.

    Like

  110. TVD, greetings,

    you wrote,

    >>
    The whole argument of an infallible magisterium isn’t just Bible proof-texting, but the quite reasonable proposition that surely Christ didn’t leave behind a Church that’s in constant theological confusion and fracture [as Protestantism is, let’s be honest]. That such chaos should be the norm is not in the Bible either. That razor cuts both ways.
    >>
    I’m struggling for a metaphor here. Hmmm, The Matrix, or the cults? Let’s stay with cults for 400, Alex.

    Is the Mormon Church a Church? Well, they call themselves a Church and they’ve been around 160 years or so. But even though the offer worship to Jesus Christ (wrongly, admittedly) they, as an organization, are a “Church” only in the sense they redefine “Church” to suit their organizational development.

    But their own self-designation as a Church needs to be measured against what the apostles taught a church is, and when we do that, we see they are highly disobedient.

    So too the RCC, just been around longer. The organization from top to bottom isn’t a “Church” as defined by the apostolic writings.

    A church is an assembly of people offering worship to Jesus Christ, not a geographically dispersed hierarchical organization. In Revelation our Lord examines 7 different ones, each in their own city. What do we see there? Much more disobedience than obedience, and never once does He organizationally linked them, one to another, nor does He spiritually linked them to each another.

    That is the reality even today. Hence my desire to analogize with the Matrix. There are a ton of RC churches, Prot churches, Mormon churches, Pentecostal churches, Fundy churches, Orthodox churches, etc., etc. All of them are somewhere on the spectrum of highly disobedient to highly obedient to Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of the Father.

    But describing some or all of them as “the Church” is simply not how the resurrected Christ knows them.

    The litmus of obedience is not an organization’s self-defined meaning of “Church” but the apostolic teaching of what churches are to believe and do.

    Like

  111. Tom,

    You cannot trace your succession back to the early church, as Augustine claimed it for the Church.

    I can surely trace the laying on of hands by qualified men back to the early church.

    You claim the authority of the Church, until the next schism. Then there are two, and six and dozens and hundreds of authorities.

    Well it is true that Protestants tend to care about dogma. Rome doesn’t. So it is perfectly content to let Nancy Pelosi be her own pope. It is perfectly content that the vast majority of its adherents practice birth control. And on and on and on. The infallible laity isn’t getting the message about church authority.

    Actually, “Last Man Standing” is Dr. Hart’s trick, and why he’s spending the lion’s share of his time attacking the Catholic Church. But since the Catholic Church has stood for 2000 years, yes, the burden of proof is not equally shared–you bear it. You are the splinter group, you are the ones who don’t even bother calling yourselves the catholic church.

    Incorrect. The Roman Catholic Church has not stood for 2000 years. It has stood since the Reformation. Everything before that is ours as well. And we call ourselves the catholic church all the time.

    Well, the subject here is only how good a claim you have to Augustine, Mermaid’s point. You are in schism from the Church he provably historically belonged to. Only with the most tortuous sophistry could you even begin to claim “the supreme authority of the Apostolic See through the Episcopal succession.”

    Which is why I don’t claim it. I claim Augustine where he is biblically correct and reject Him where He is not. Just like Roman Catholic theology accepts him where he agrees with them and conveniently rejects him where he does not.

    The church of the early fifth century is not the Roman Catholic Church. That’s provable. It’s so easy, I’ll just list two things:

    1. There was no pope with final jurisdictional authority.
    2. The Eastern bishops were still a part.

    Like

  112. Mermaid, “If Protestants want to claim these guys, then claim all of them. Claim what they believed to be the most important articles of faith.”

    Are you kidding? If you want Roman Catholicism, then step up to this:

    Top Vatican officials — including the future Pope Benedict XVI — did not defrock a priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys, even though several American bishops repeatedly warned them that failure to act on the matter could embarrass the church, according to church files newly unearthed as part of a lawsuit.

    The internal correspondence from bishops in Wisconsin directly to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope, shows that while church officials tussled over whether the priest should be dismissed, their highest priority was protecting the church from scandal.

    The documents emerge as Pope Benedict is facing other accusations that he and direct subordinates often did not alert civilian authorities or discipline priests involved in sexual abuse when he served as an archbishop in Germany and as the Vatican’s chief doctrinal enforcer.

    The problem with you is that you only see the good in Rome and when someone points out the bad, the messenger is mean.

    Like

  113. Mermaid,

    IC – Aquinas did hold to Mary’s entire personal sinlessness. She was fully sanctified before her conception in Aquinas’ view, but you must know that. Your real objection is that anyway – that Mary was fully sanctified and never sinned.

    He didn’t hold that it happened at her conception. That’s the point. To believe what Aquinas believed is today theological error.

    UE – Catholics are free to accept the doctrine of unconditional election. You must know that also.

    And they’re also free to reject it. So if accepting Augustine means believing everything that he believed, then Rome doesn’t accept him either.

    Reformed Christians allege that the Mass is idolatrous and that the veneration of Mary and the saints is as well. So, how can you be using men like Aquinas and Augustine as support since according to your theology they are idolators? You even act as though they were not Catholic.

    Augustine’s teaching on the mass is not the same as the modern Roman view. It’s no propitiatory sacrifice, there’s no transubstantiation, and he held that the body of Christ offered up to God is the laity/church. Its also questionable how much his view of saintly veneration matches Rome’s modern view.

    Aquinas is closer to modern Roman Catholicism, but even he isn’t Tridentine or even a V2 Roman Catholic.

    And all truth is God’s truth, so wherever somebody is correct, their views are usable. You all freely use the idolater Aristotle.

    It’s an interesting phenomenon, Brother Robert. It seems like you should at least acknowledge this fact – they were and are Catholics.

    The were and are catholics. Small c. Not Roman Catholics. There is a difference.

    That’s all I am saying. Love them as they are, not as what you wish they were.

    But that’s the entire Protestant point to you. Don’t try to read Roman Catholicism into the early church fathers. Let them be who they were. It’s okay. Don’t impute to them beliefs they did not hold based on prooftexting.

    Like

  114. James Young, infallibility is not limited to ex cathedra statements but when bishops meet at a synod convened by the pope, their work has no magisterial authority:

    Here’s the thing though: That document, like the Synod itself, has no magisterial authority whatsoever. Zip – zero. Surprised? Based on the news reporting, you’d think there was a doctrinal tsunami coming in the wake of the Synod’s conclusion last month – a wholesale transformation of Church teaching on marriage and the family. In truth, the whole thing was solely about consultation – serious, weighty, discerning consultation, but consultation alone. The Synod’s Relatio document is certainly of interest to us – because we’re part of this family that had the big family meeting – but it doesn’t affect us directly. In fact, the Relatio isn’t even available in an authorized English translation yet, and there’s no rush to put one out because…(wait for it)…it’s meant for the Pope alone, and he reads Italian just fine, thank you very much.
    Again, this is not the impression we got from the Media, but why would we expect otherwise? News outlets and the mainstream media only make money when they grab more ears and eyeballs than their competitors, and so they have a vested interest in the sensational. That’s especially true for religious news (which tends to be pretty dry, let’s face it), and consequently the Synod’s inner contentiousness got a lot more airplay than the substance of the Synod’s work.

    The bottom line for serious Catholics is that the Synod, while not an exercise of Magisterium, was still a very important collegial event. The bishops deliberated, discussed, and prayed over crucial matters concerning contemporary Catholic life. And while it’s true that the Synod’s Relatio is meant for the Holy Father and not us, it could very well be – in fact, it’s extremely likely – that Pope Francis will elect to take it and all the work of the Synod, mull it over, and compose an Apostolic Exhortation on marriage and the family – which would be a document with real magisterial authority, and something to get worked up over. In the meantime, however, we really don’t have to worry. We can just wait on the Pope to find out what the Holy Spirit was – and is – up to.

    We’re confused. Or maybe you are. Yup.

    Like

  115. Hi Mermaid, greetings,

    You wrote,
    >>
    Who gave you the Scripture? Where did it come from? Think about it.
    >>
    God tells me He gave it. It came from Him. It fulfills His promise to the apostles in the Upper Room in John 16:13.

    And the churches were commanded by the apostles to receive it as from Him immediately (1 Thess. 5:27, Col. 4:16, 2 Thess. 3:14, 1 Tim. 5:18, 2 Peter 2:20-21).

    Settling on the canon was a matter of obedience, not an act of revelation.

    Like

  116. Robert or was it sbd, was it this post or another: What do we see there? Much more disobedience than obedience, and never once does He organizationally linked them, one to another, nor does He spiritually linked them to each another.

    Aren’t they very much linked Robert/sdb?

    I see at least these links (Rev 2-3)
    1)Jesus is the head, Who speaks: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand; Who walks among the seven golden lampstands; the first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life;:Who has the sharp two-edged sword ;The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze; Who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, Who opens and no one will shut, and Who shuts and no one opens; The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God; Who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars

    2)there are human and angelic authorities “to the angel of the church”

    3)there is One Who convinces “the Spirit says to the churches”

    4)a group is addressed: ‘he who He who has an ear, let him hear

    Like

  117. Hi Ali, greetings,

    You wrote,
    >>
    Aren’t they very much linked Robert/sdb?
    >>

    It was my post.

    In Rev. 2-3 the churches are never linked organizationally, and they are never linked spiritually by Christ. Meaning this: the obedience/disobedience of one is never connected to the obedience/disobedience of another. Each receives a separate spiritual analysis and evaluation by the risen Lord.

    He does not group churches together and give them, collectively, a spiritual analysis, or an organizational recognition.

    Like

  118. Many of us are Reformed.

    We get really creeped out when people talk authoritatively of the true meaning of that Revalation book in the Bible.

    Not even Calvin dared go there.

    Like

  119. NOON: He does not group churches together and give them, collectively, a spiritual analysis

    thanks NOON, I know what you’re saying but I think you also know what I’m saying. The Bible speaks collectively, the Spirit applies individually

    organizational recognition: there is Mermaid’s favorite (rightly so): one body, one God: Father, Son ,Spirit one hope, faith,baptism; w/Jesus as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.(Eph 1:22-23)

    spiritual analysis: analysis: a careful study of something to learn about its parts, what they do, and how they are related to each other

    1 Corinthians 12:4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.12 For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.14 For the body is not one member, but many. 18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. 27 Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers,….etc. ’all gifts’ 31 But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way….

    Like

  120. No one of note:
    Settling on the canon was a matter of obedience, not an act of revelation.>>>>>

    Howdy, No one of note,
    Thanks for your kind response.

    Yes. Who did the Holy Spirit entrust that job to, the job of establishing the canon of Scripture?

    Like

  121. Mermaid,

    The job of establishing the canon falls to the Holy Spirit. A book is canonical as soon as it is inspired whether it is recognized or not. The church conveys no ontology on revelation. It merely receives it.

    IOW, Revelation was canonical as soon as John wrote the last word, even if it took a couple of centuries for the church as a whole to recognize it.

    Like

  122. D.G. Hart:
    Mermaid, that’s funny. You need to run to Paul, who hardly acknowledged the primacy of Peter, to support the primacy of Peter.>>>>>

    So, arguing the words of Jesus against Paul and then appealing to the authority of a comedian? Of course you know that Paul was not silent about Peter. Peter was still in Jerusalem when Paul went to stay a couple of weeks with him. Why Peter?

    Then, Paul once again found it important to mention Peter’s primacy. Was Peter always right in everything he said? No. He made mistakes of judgment and had to be corrected as well. You have trouble acknowledging it, but the Church does not say that the Pope is always right about every word he says. The Church does not say we have to follow the Pope if he tries to lead the Church away from foundational teachings. For example, if the Pope denies the Trinity or the Incarnation, we do not have to go along with him in his apostasy.

    Francis is not going to do that, as you know. We don’t have to follow any priest, bishop, or cardinal who apostatizes, either. The man is not the standard. But you know all that and choose to ignore it, sitting under your Kudzu Vine waiting for fire to fall.

    Again, why does Paul talk about Peter? Why was it important for Paul to be accepted by the apostles, who were led by Peter as Jesus commissioned him? It would be nice to discuss this with you, but you prefer quoting comedians to support our ideas. Get you sola scriptura on.

    Galatians 1
    18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days.

    Galatians 2
    Paul Accepted by the Apostles
    2 Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. 2 I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain. 3 But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. 4 Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery— 5 to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. 6 And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me. 7 On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised 8 (for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles), 9 and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10 Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.

    Paul Opposes Peter
    11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party.[a] 13 And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

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  123. D. G. Hart
    Posted November 20, 2015 at 6:39 am | Permalink
    vd, t, “For the Holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter not
    so that they might, by His revelation, make known some new doctrine, but
    that, by His assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully
    expound the revelation or Deposit of Faith transmitted by the Apostles.”

    Great. Papal infallibility and bodily assumption of Mary were not taught by the apostles. We’re good here.

    Well, now we’ve brought your Catholicism up to 1870 at least. One miracle at a time.

    Now research the role of the sensus fidei in the Immaculate Conception and Assumption, Squire Hart.

    Like

  124. No one of note
    Posted November 20, 2015 at 6:44 am | Permalink
    TVD, greetings,

    you wrote,

    >>
    The whole argument of an infallible magisterium isn’t just Bible proof-texting, but the quite reasonable proposition that surely Christ didn’t leave behind a Church that’s in constant theological confusion and fracture [as Protestantism is, let’s be honest]. That such chaos should be the norm is not in the Bible either. That razor cuts both ways.
    >>
    I’m struggling for a metaphor here. Hmmm, The Matrix, or the cults? Let’s stay with cults for 400, Alex.

    Is the Mormon Church a Church? Well, they call themselves a Church and they’ve been around 160 years or so.

    And Dr. Hart’s church has been around for 80 years and has far [far!] fewer members than the Mormons. You don’t seem to get the irony that they both claim to be the true Church. All heretics do.

    Like

  125. The Little Mermaid
    Posted November 20, 2015 at 1:05 pm | Permalink
    D.G. Hart:
    Mermaid, that’s funny. You need to run to Paul, who hardly acknowledged the primacy of Peter, to support the primacy of Peter.>>>>>

    So, arguing the words of Jesus against Paul and then appealing to the authority of a comedian?

    Ouch, that one hurt, Dr. Drive-by. And arguing the Bible against the Bible instead of harmonizing the Bible with the Bible is not a love a truth.

    Of course you know that Paul was not silent about Peter. Peter was still in Jerusalem when Paul went to stay a couple of weeks with him. Why Peter?

    Then, Paul once again found it important to mention Peter’s primacy. Was Peter always right in everything he said? No. He made mistakes of judgment and had to be corrected as well. You have trouble acknowledging it, but the Church does not say that the Pope is always right about every word he says. The Church does not say we have to follow the Pope if he tries to lead the Church away from foundational teachings. For example, if the Pope denies the Trinity or the Incarnation, we do not have to go along with him in his apostasy.

    Francis is not going to do that, as you know. We don’t have to follow any priest, bishop, or cardinal who apostatizes, either. The man is not the standard. But you know all that and choose to ignore it, sitting under your Kudzu Vine waiting for fire to fall.

    The David Barton of anti-Catholicism. Well, after Boettner, of course. The master.

    Like

  126. Robert
    Posted November 20, 2015 at 12:24 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid,

    The job of establishing the canon falls to the Holy Spirit. A book is canonical as soon as it is inspired whether it is recognized or not. The church conveys no ontology on revelation. It merely receives it.

    IOW, Revelation was canonical as soon as John wrote the last word, even if it took a couple of centuries for the church as a whole to recognize it.>>>>

    Howdy, Robert,
    At least you’re still talking to me. Didn’t mean to interrupt your important discussion with CVD. It is very interesting. Anyway, nice to see you.

    There is no disagreement about the fact that the Holy Spirit inspires and then reveals the canon of Scripture to the Church. You would say church.

    Yes, it took time for the Church to recognize what books were in the NT canon. It was the Church, though, that had the task of recognizing what the Holy Spirit had inspired. He entrusted that work to gifted men in the Church. He did not speak with a voice from Heaven except as He spoke in the Church. Men sought His leading. Men discussed it, debated it, and even disagreed until it was decided. Now it is set. End of discussion.

    That is why it is so important not to allow linguists to take over the job of the Church as led by the Holy Spirit.

    There is no disagreement on the NT canon of Scripture – except that the Church would not throw out the story of the woman caught in adultery just based on philology. Not all Protestants reject it either and all translations keep it in along with the last chapter of Mark. Footnotes are added to explain that they are not in all manuscripts. Of course, the footnotes also say the best manuscripts, since no one is unbiased, really. Anyway…

    So, there is no significant disagreement among Christian groups about the NT canon of Scripture.

    It is the OT that is in dispute. BTW, Maccabees are awesome, as is the book of Wisdom. Quotes from those books have been in the daily Mass readings lately.

    Also, the Church was functioning just fine even before the canon of Scripture was recognized by her. The traditions of the apostles passed down from generation to generation in an unbroken succession sustained her, and continues to do so. She had Scripture as well. Scripture and tradition keep her on track.

    Protestantism has trouble establishing a tradition that will sustain it throughout the centuries. So, it borrows heavily from what has been there from the beginning, but doesn’t always see how dependent it is on Catholicism.

    That is what I could no longer ignore or shrug off.

    It’s a beautiful day, here, Robert. I hope all is well with you.

    Like

  127. Robert
    Posted November 19, 2015 at 7:59 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    Regardless, it is not claimed that Aquinas was infallible. One trivial item is not probative, except to the sophist who tries to make every proposition an all-or-nothing game.>>>>

    Robert:
    I agree. But Mermaid was the one that said if we want to claim Augustine and Aquinas, we have to claim everything they said. If that’s true of me, that’s true of her and her church. But of course her church doesn’t claim everything they said is gospel.>>>>

    Robert, I like you. However, until you actually read and respond to what I wrote to you, I do not see this conversation going anywhere.

    I reposted to you what I actually said, yet you continue to misrepresent me. Why are you doing that?

    I don’t want you doing to me what Jeff did – saying I lied, yet not being able to prove any actual lie. You play fair, Robert, so don’t change now.

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  128. Robert,

    “Whether or not that is justified in the Roman system is besides the point at this point.”

    No, that is *precisely* the point. That’s the whole point in comparing the 2 systems on their own terms. We both agree everyone is fallible. We both agree that if Christ is not raised, Christianity implodes. That does not mean, “Welcome to Protestantism” or that submission in Protestantism is equivalent to submission in RCism. That’s why I keep belaboring to point out the contrast in what is consistent with that submission afterwards in the 2 systems, and to point out the contrast between Christ/Apostles/successors in NT times vs synagogue rabbis.

    “So I fail to see where the character of our submission is in any way different.”

    You make a choice. I make a choice. That is common. What is not common is the nature of the claims we are submitting to. Which of course you agree with, since the whole Protestant experiment is founded upon explicitly rejecting those types of claims to authority and ability Rome claims. Which we further see when we examine what is *consistent* with submission to those claims afterwards – the contrast between Protestantism and RCism on that score is what has been pointed out repeatedly here. Ignoring that ignores the argument.

    “Protestant churches claim divine authority whenever they accurately teach the Word of God.”

    Which they can never actually identify when that’s happening. Because if they did so, they would violate their disclaimers. So this doesn’t rebut the point. Further, this is more jumping the gun – the teaching that something called “the Word of God” exists, let alone the identification of its extent, scope, and nature of authority, remain perpetually provisional and subject to correction in your system.

    “Which is why we agree that the individual can’t argue with the Word of God.”

    And the identification of the “Word of God”, as well as its inerrancy, functional role, interpretation, etc. that we cannot argue with remains provisional and subject to correction since there is no mechanism in your system for defining or identifying irreformable doctrine, as your confessional disclaimers reflect. Again, semper reformanda is not consistent with Paul’s preaching. Those submitting to him would not be justified in endlessly debating or arguing with his current or future teachings and he wasn’t revising his teaching constantly or offering it as “this might be wrong, but probably isn’t”. In a Protestant world, they would be.

    “GHM is sufficient for discerning the original meaning of Scripture.”

    What can be gratuitously asserted may be gratuitously denied.

    “It’s a secondary issue. Whether John 8:1–11 is originally in the text or not has no bearing on whether the gospel of John is canonical. It is canonical whether John 8:1–11 is in the text or not.”

    Oy vey. The content of a book is “irrelevant” and “secondary” to the canon. Enough said.

    “Ultimately, yes.”

    So everyone who disagrees with you now and historically (even those who blew the canon that you count as ostensibly part of the “church” that was supposedly being “guided into truth”) is either blinded by sin or just dumb. You are part of the special illuminated ones. Your apologetic boils down to “I have the HS and you don’t”.

    “There is nothing that says provisionality of knowledge must be eliminated in order for us to be guided into all truth. That is what you are seeking, but you will never have it.”

    No, that would mean I’m infallible. Which I’ve never argued (again). What I am seeking is the appropriate type of authority to submit to. That is why Christ could still promise to guide the church made of all those pesky fallible people into truth, not guide them into “infallible assurance we could be wrong, but might get things right later”.

    “But apart from the Vulcan Mindmeld, how does one know one is in a better position?”

    Did NT believers have the Vulcan Mindmeld with Christ or the Apostles or their successors? No. Were they not in a better position than followers of synagogue rabbi Levi? Earlier you apparently would answer no and that both groups of adherents would be in no better epistemological position than the either because both groups are fallible and human. Maybe you still think that, if you do – fine, but then that’s a stunning admission.

    “Your argument devolves into radical skepticism about my own ability to know anything, including my ability to pick the true infallible source. It ultimately undermines your position.”

    You keep asserting this but never demonstrating it. The certitude of faith does not entail I can’t know anything – the Catholic Encyclopedia article argued the exact opposite. Newman and Aquinas never argued such. Thomist philosophers current and past throughout the RC tradition never did – Thomist philosophy may have its weaknesses, but an affinity for skepticism could hardly be called one – http://www.catholicapologetics.info/catholicteaching/philosophy/askeptic.htm

    “Abraham left Canaan by faith. All he had was a voice of some kind. The voice does not identify itself as God initially.”

    I see. So we’re to assume God never identified Himself as God to Abraham. He was just kind of playing games with Abraham to see what he would do and saying things like “what I’m telling you might be wrong, but is probably right, so follow it anyways, but I might have to correct it later”. If you were claiming God was directly speaking to you a la Abraham, we could then move on – you would’ve made yourself a viable contendor to consider and I’d have to evaluate the credibility of your claims to be a spokesman for God.

    “I could multiply examples.”

    And if we take your interpretation of those examples, will you then be arguing that Christ and the Apostles claims to divine authority and ability to offer and teach irreformable divine revelation that was normative and binding upon all were irrelevant and superfluous? Yes, you will, which should be a red flag.

    “I’ve not once claimed that we must have room for perpetual doubt. All I’ve said is that to have provisional knowledge is inherent to creaturehood. The only way to escape it is to be the Creator. Your demand conflates the creature with the Creator.”

    No, the certitude of faith does not entail conflation of creature with Creator. If it did, then it wouldn’t be the certitude of … *faith*. Our creatureliness does not entail we must remain in perpetual provisional and tentative doubt about everything, and especially not in matters of faith – because “it rests not upon human reason, which is liable to be mistaken, but upon the authority of God, who cannot err.” That’s why the Protestant system is not up to the task – semper reformanda and “infallible assurance we get things wrong, but might get things right later” and “The reality is that while all of our doctrines are in principle provisional” and WCF disclaimers are not compatible with a system proposing it can offer divine revelation.

    Like

  129. Ali
    Posted November 20, 2015 at 3:54 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid: BTW, Maccabees are awesome

    maybe but just not scripture

    2 Maccabbees 12:43, “And making a gathering, he sent twelve thousand drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection.”

    Do you claim the Holy Spirit told Martin Luther to cut 2 Maccabees out? This part always gets squirrelly. Not just the Catholic Church but the Eastern Orthodox keep it in, they claim by the work of the Holy Spirit.

    Does Martin Luther claim the same authority?
    _______________________

    As for the content of the passage, shall we trust Martin Luther…or Augustine?

    ST. AUGUSTINE ON PRAYING FOR THE DEAD, MASSES FOR THE DEAD, AND INVOCATION OF SAINTS ON THEIR BEHALF
    [how did this guy ever become the patron saint of Calvinists, and Protestants’ favorite Church father? Indeed, it is a head-scratching mystery . . . If I had written all this, someone like Baptist anti-Catholic apologist James White would quickly conclude that I was no Christian at all (as he has, in fact), yet if Augustine does it, he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, and White and others turn a blind eye to all his myriad “Catholic” beliefs. One can’t miss the highly ironic humor in these things . . . ]

    “. . . it cannot be void of effect that the whole Church is wont to supplicate for the departed . . . there is a certain kind of life by which is acquired, while one lives in this body, that it should be possible for these things to be of some help to the departed . . . Of the kind of life, therefore, which each has led by the body, does it come, that these things profit or profit not, whatever are piously done on his behalf when he has left the body. . . . For, that this which is bestowed should be capable of profiting him after the body, this was acquired in that life which he has led in the body. (On the Care of the Dead, 1-2)

    In the books of the Maccabees we read of sacrifice offered for the dead. Howbeit even if it were no where at all read in the Old Scriptures, not small is the authority, which in this usage is clear, of the whole Church, namely, that in the prayers of the priest which are offered to the Lord God at His altar, the Commendation of the dead has also its place. (On the Care of the Dead, 3)

    . . . upon recollection of the place in which are deposited the bodies of those whom they love, they should by prayer commend them to those same Saints, who have as patrons taken them into their charge to aid them before the Lord. (On the Care of the Dead, 6)

    When therefore the mind recollects where the body of a very dear friend lies buried, and thereupon there occurs to the thoughts a place rendered venerable by the name of a Martyr, to that same Martyr does it commend the soul in affection of heartfelt recollection and prayer. And when this affection is exhibited to the departed by faithful men who were most dear to them, there is no doubt that it profits them who while living in the body merited that such things should profit them after this life. . . . which supplications, that they should be made for all in Christian and catholic fellowship departed, even without mentioning of their names, under a general commemoration, the Church has charged herself withal . . . supplications, which are made with right faith and piety for the dead . . . (On the Care of the Dead, 6)

    Like

  130. TVD: Do you claim the Holy Spirit told Martin Luther to cut 2 Maccabees out? This part always gets squirrelly. Not just the Catholic Church but the Eastern Orthodox keep it in, they claim by the work of the Holy Spirit.

    TVD –you might read the link previously provided above for you as a service because your Catholic resources likely doesn’t include such things. Purgatory and indulgences seem significant doctrine to hang on one verse so you’ll especially want to be convinced it is the Lord’s word on it. https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/encyclopedia-of-the-bible/Books-Maccabees

    “V. Canonicity
    First and Second Maccabees were declared to be canonical by the Council of Trent in 1546, although leading Roman Catholic scholars contemporary with Luther denied their right to this status. Protestants have relegated these two books to the Apocrypha, while acknowledging the high quality of 1 Maccabees. Early Church Fathers made frequent use of both books, but Origen, and particularly Jerome, who had broad acquaintance with Heb. and the views of the Jews, excluded them from their lists of canonical writings. The latter scholar omitted them from his famous Vulgate. Only Augustine gave 2 Maccabees canonical ranking and he equivocated at that.

    Third Maccabees was regarded as canonical only by the Eastern churches (Greek, Syriac, and Armenian), which also received 1 and 2 Maccabees. Although it does appear in the Codex A of the LXX and the Syriac Peshitta, 3 Maccabees was not even included among the Apocrypha proper by Protestants.

    In spite of the influence of 4 Maccabees among martyrologies and its presence in key MSS of the LXX (including A and א), it was rarely considered canonical. A few Church Fathers may have ascribed authority to it owing to its wide circulation and gripping message.”

    Like

  131. Robert,

    “If the church admits to the Eucharist a member whom the church knows is violating the confession, then the position taken by the member is de facto orthodox even if it seems to contradict the stated one.”

    Zrim said the sacrament won’t be wrestled from the member and that personal discernment with the exhortation is enough. So apparently an abortionist or practicing fornicator can go to some Reformed churches and take communion without issue. If other members know about this and don’t tackle the communicant before she gets in line, apparently the entire church will be thrown into utter confusion about what is orthodox. This is your argument. Thankfully others on your side recognize how self-defeating it is.

    “Anarchy is no standard of truth and no agreement between churches.”

    So all the churches I listed out are in agreement with each other on what the “essentials” are, and what those “essentials” mean, correct?

    “I don’t limit professing Christians to only those that profess those confessions. ”

    Great. So your church will be admitting members and officers in good standing and in full doctrinal agreement with all those churches I listed out to the table correct? Since they are professing Christians. Will the next national Reformed conference have Word of Faithers and Unitarians leading a service and theological panel?

    “I limit Protestantism to those who profess those confessions.”

    And on what basis do you get to limit “true” Protestants to ones subscribing to those confessions?

    “A denomination such as the ELCA is apostate, professing the faith without holding to it.”

    And why should the ELCA care about your church’s judgment of them? Do you care if ELCA or some fundamentalist Westboro-ish church condemns your denomination as apostate?

    “Because they are in an OPC/PCA Church trying to take communion. If they aren’t trying to take communion in an OPC/PCA communion, they shouldn’t care that much.”

    But they’re professing Christians. Why are you being so sectarian and divisive? Why are you allowing LCMS members to partake and not ELCA members?

    “But why should anyone from a church who disagrees with you care?
    – In one sense, they shouldn’t.
    Right, but why should those outside of that church care or be subject to your definition.
    – As noted, in one sense they shouldn’t care.”

    Bingo. That’s Protestantism in a nutshell. What a stunning nonchalant admission. Now couple this with our other discussion. See the point yet?

    “The Spirit persuades, not the church.”

    So the church’s authority is useless. It all boils down to “I have the HS and you don’t”.

    “But that’s no guarantee they are doing exegesis correctly, just as I don’t have a red light that goes off when I do exegesis correctly.”

    Right, so everything remains provisional and tenative. Those “apostate” churches have no reason to care what you think of their doctrine, because your churches claim no authority that would make them care. Thus, liberalism.

    “I’m limiting what can legitimately be called Protestantism to Protestant confessions.”

    We’re still question begging. Protestantism is founded on the rejection the infallibility of the church and its authority – that’s what ignited the Reformation. Now what do we see happening immediately during that time. We don’t see just Augsburg, 39 Articles, and the Reformed confessions and that’s it. We see Anabaptists, antinomians, libertines, Arminians, Phillipists, Zwinglians, fundamentalists, anti-scripturalists, anti-trinitarians, etc. We see the fracturing almost immediately because all such groups, not just confessional, are following Protestant principles.

    “If I can’t do that, then you can’t limit Catholicism to churches in communion with the Roman See but must admit as RC any church that claims to be so.”

    No, an RC is one that is in communion with the church/bishop of Rome. That’s definitional. Protestantism’s definition is not “those who adhere to confession x, y, or z I personally like”.

    “The ELCA and Unitarian churches only have a pragmatic right to do so as corporations. They don’t have any divinely ordained right because they aren’t churches.”

    More question begging on “church”.

    “Insofar as the OPC/PCA correctly interpret God’s Word, they should care.”

    And they dispute you are correctly interpreting God’s Word and so hold you just as in error as you hold them in error. That’s the point. That’s the anarchy.

    “I don’t think the Leithart case was rightly decided. Is it enough for me to leave. I don’t think so either. If such decisions keep happening, it might be a different matter.”

    Right. Councils are binding upon members, except when they’re not. Thus WCF’s disclaimers.

    “So I don’t see where Rome makes the claim to define dogma for all.”

    If it claims the authority/ability to define dogma, and dogma is divine revelation, then that obviously applies to all. It’s not saying “well, divine revelation is kind of true and kind of false. It’s true for us, but you guys over there can believe whatever you want and it’s true too”. So, again, Rome claims the authority to make a judgment binding and normative on all; dogma isn’t defined just for its members. We don’t get any such thing in Protestant churches because doing so would be inconsistent with its disclaimers.

    “If you compare the documents of various bodies that are actually Protestant, there is very little difference. ”

    Question begging again on “actually Protestant”.

    Like

  132. Robert,

    “Augustine and Aquinas, of course, aren’t fideists. But based on your critique of Protestantism they must be.”

    The point of the citations was to show they aren’t fideists as you argued they would have to be, because they make the exact same type of argument I’ve been making which you argue makes them fideist.

    “Well based on your critique of Protestantism, I don’t see how any one could have been justified in giving the assent of faith before there is an official dogmatic, infallible declaration of any of that.”

    Then you’ve misunderstood the critique as badly as Darryl does. Infallibility is not limited to ex cathedra or conciliar statements. Do you think a council or pope makes things out of thin air? No, it is based on Scripture and Tradition and the common life, worship, faith of the church handed down through the generations. That’s why people weren’t shocked when the Assumption was defined, or when Trent affirmed the sacraments, and so on.

    “If you want to say Scripture, where does the church prior to Nicea dogmatically declare as infallible that Romans or John or whatever book of Scripture is part of the infallible canon.”

    See – that’s exactly what I mean. People weren’t grasping in the dark before Trent to know Romans or John was inspired. They were being read in the liturgies and part of the common faith since the beginning.

    “And a statement from Augustine or Aquinas that the church cannot err doesn’t count because they are individual writers.”

    No, but it counts in you charging my argument as making them fideists. They are presenting the same argument I am (e.g. what warrants faith, infallibility, binding judgments, STM-triad, etc.) And yes they are individual writers, but if they echo what others write or aren’t causing riots and fracturing based on those teachings, that is a testimony and witness to the Tradition of the church.

    “Where does THE CHURCH define the deity of Christ as an infallible dogma that must be believed before Nicea.”

    Nicaea was held due to controversy and opposition and to clarify. Dogma develops. Let’s grant Aquinas didn’t believe in the Immaculate Conception as finally defined. That doesn’t mean he didn’t have the type of faith he argued for in my citations that you reject.

    “None of this vague unbroken succession stuff either, because as you well know, there were plenty of bishops who were part of the “unbroken succession” that were Arians”

    Yup, and many eastern sees fell into various heresies at one point or another. Not Rome though. http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2007/03/response-to-orthodox-critiques-of.html Hmmm.

    Like

  133. TVD, greetings,

    You wrote,
    >>
    You don’t seem to get the irony that they both claim to be the true Church. All heretics do.
    >>

    Trust me, I do. Silly stuff, really.

    I also see the dishonesty (or wilful blindness) in the RC claiming it is “one” “apostolic” “holy” and “catholic.” Makes silly look profound.

    Add to your list heretics an even longer list of schismatics.

    Like

  134. Ali
    Posted November 20, 2015 at 4:49 pm | Permalink
    TVD: Do you claim the Holy Spirit told Martin Luther to cut 2 Maccabees out? This part always gets squirrelly. Not just the Catholic Church but the Eastern Orthodox keep it in, they claim by the work of the Holy Spirit.

    Ali; you might read the link previously provided above for you as a service because your Catholic resources likely doesn’t include such things. Purgatory and indulgences seem significant doctrine to hang on one verse so you’ll especially want to be convinced it is the Lord’s word on it. https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/encyclopedia-of-the-bible/Books-Maccabees

    I’m quite familiar with the arguments in your reply, thanks. I read original sources from all corners of the Christian religion. However, I asked

    TVD: Do you claim the Holy Spirit told Martin Luther to cut 2 Maccabees out? This part always gets squirrelly. Not just the Catholic Church but the Eastern Orthodox keep it in, they claim by the work of the Holy Spirit.

    and

    As for the content of the passage, shall we trust Martin Luther…or Augustine?

    ST. AUGUSTINE ON PRAYING FOR THE DEAD, MASSES FOR THE DEAD, AND INVOCATION OF SAINTS ON THEIR BEHALF

    which listed a long Church tradition for the theology of praying for the dead.

    The larger point is, on what grounds should I prefer Martin Luther’s unauthoritative theologizing over 1500 years of tradition and apostolic succession that includes not just Augustine but the Eastern Orthodox as well? This is the live question, not your or my personal opinions of the meaning of a given scripture passage, where you say X, I say Y and Luther or Calvin might say Z. [And multiply that by 31,102 verses!]

    Like

  135. No one of note
    Posted November 20, 2015 at 5:25 pm | Permalink
    TVD, greetings,

    You wrote,
    >>
    You don’t seem to get the irony that they both claim to be the true Church. All heretics do.
    >>

    Trust me, I do. Silly stuff, really.

    I also see the dishonesty (or wilful blindness) in the RC claiming it is “one” “apostolic” “holy” and “catholic.” Makes silly look profound.

    That is not a rebuttal, it’s an abandonment of the marketplace of ideas. Vaya con Dios, Tujunga.

    I’ll give you a half-credit on the “holy,” though. 😉

    Like

  136. Mermaid, hi,

    You wrote,

    >>
    Who did the Holy Spirit entrust that job to, the job of establishing the canon of Scripture?
    >>

    Himself. As far as men officially recognizing what was canonical and what was not, it was a group of qualified men from many differnet churches meeting and discussing the matter for many years. The actual talking points were surprising limited in number, 2 Peter vs. Apocalypse of Peter and such. Heretics made it necessary, you know, Marcion et al.

    The important point is to see the resultant decisions as wisdom instead of as you say, determination. Can you see how irreverently that can be taken, and how misleading that can be? As if man determines what is God’s communication and what is not. Severe impiety.

    But you don’t mean that, I know. But can you see how the RC posture on canonicity arrogates something to itself that is easily taken as arrogant?

    Like

  137. Darryl,

    “Oh. I see. Having the popes is like having Christ and the apostles– even though the popes give no new revelation. Now I see. ”

    Keep on moving goalposts. The point of the hypothetical was to highlight the silliness of the “everyone is fallible, so an infallible teacher is useless without a vulcan mindmeld”. Not difficult. I trust the continued evasions imply you finally concede the obvious point it took 1000 comments to reach.

    “but fallible authorities are authoritative.”

    Yes, they are. That’s why I, uh, said it.

    “So now we have fallible teaching that is authoritative. Hmmm.”

    Um, yeah, we do. We don’t have fallible divine revelation though. That’s an oxymoron.

    “So I guess Laudato Si is infallible then.”

    Nope. Just like disciplinary canons in an ecumenical council aren’t infallible.

    “That’s real clear from Scripture and not in the slightest self-serving”

    I suppose you would agree with unbelievers in NT times or now who charge Christ or the Apostles as self-serving because they claimed divine authority and they should be submitted to?

    “infallibility is not limited to ex cathedra statements but when bishops meet at a synod convened by the pope, their work has no magisterial authority”

    Have you ever bothered to actually read what RCism teaches on infallibility or councils and ecclesiology in general? Maybe start with, “hmm, it’s called a synod – I wonder what that means?” Then maybe follow up with, “well, hmm other assemblies of bishops have been convened by the pope throughout history, but not all of them are considered ecumenical by RCism – hmm wonder why that is?” The confusion is all on one side, I’m afraid.

    Like

  138. No one of note
    Posted November 20, 2015 at 5:34 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, hi,

    You wrote,

    >>
    Who did the Holy Spirit entrust that job to, the job of establishing the canon of Scripture?
    >>

    Himself. As far as men officially recognizing what was canonical and what was not, it was a group of qualified men from many differnet churches meeting and discussing the matter for many years. The actual talking points were surprising limited in number, 2 Peter vs. Apocalypse of Peter and such. Heretics made it necessary, you know, Marcion et al.

    The important point is to see the resultant decisions as wisdom instead of as you say, determination. Can you see how irreverently that can be taken, and how misleading that can be? As if man determines what is God’s communication and what is not. Severe impiety.

    But you don’t mean that, I know. But can you see how the RC posture on canonicity arrogates something to itself that is easily taken as arrogant?

    Unfair, because it’s based on ignoring the fundamental premise, that the Church claims it is the same Holy Spirit that used men to write the Bible working through the Church in determining what books go in the Bible.

    Men did not write the Bible on their own authority; neither did they determine the canon by their own authority. Contrasted to

    “If your Papist annoys you with the word (alone), tell him straightway: Dr. Martin Luther will have it so. Whoever will not have my translation, let him give it the go-by; the devil’s thanks to him who censures it without my will and knowledge. Dr. Martin Luther will have it so, and he is a doctor above all the doctors in Popedom.”

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/frankviola/shockingbeliefsofmartinluther/

    –which BTW, Luther claimed!

    Like

  139. TVD, hi,

    you wrote,

    >>
    That is not a rebuttal, it’s an abandonment of the marketplace of ideas. Vaya con Dios, Tujunga.

    I’ll give you a half-credit on the “holy,” though.
    >>

    I introduced a new idea here and it got ignored, that “church” is not a geographically dispersed hierarchical organization, according to apostolic writ.

    Snore.

    Now “true church.” Everybody likes to define their theology for themselves, while Jesus and His apostles never spoke of such a thing. It’s part of why we’re so schismed.

    Tujunga? Wasn’t that Hunter Thompson’s hangout? You know, just up the road from Apperson?

    Like

  140. >
    That is not a rebuttal, it’s an abandonment of the marketplace of ideas. Vaya con Dios, Tujunga.

    I’ll give you a half-credit on the “holy,” though.
    >>

    I introduced a new idea here and it got ignored, that “church” is not a geographically dispersed hierarchical organization, according to apostolic writ.

    Snore.

    Now “true church.” Everybody likes to define their theology for themselves, while Jesus and His apostles never spoke of such a thing. It’s part of why we’re so schismed.

    Tujunga? Wasn’t that Hunter Thompson’s hangout? You know, just up the road from Apperson?

    Yah, never heard the Hunter Thompson part, though. 😉

    As for the “true” church, I’m trying to use Augustine’s sense of “catholic church” without pressing the capital “C” part too literally, although I’ll still continue to contend it’s the same Catholic Church as today–but with the proviso it also includes the Orthodox Catholic Church [“eastern orthodox”] because they are the same Christian religion sacramentally, with theological differences [purgatory, papal infallibility] that pale next not only beside their difffeneces with Protestantism, but often the various sects of Protestantism with each other.

    Like

  141. Tom, yo!

    you wrote,

    >>
    Unfair, because it’s based on ignoring the fundamental premise, that the Church claims it is the same Holy Spirit that used men to write the Bible working through the Church in determining what books go in the Bible.
    >>

    “determining” ah, that’s the rub. Many before us have traveled this road, and many, like me, say “recognize.”

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/083081258X

    Like

  142. sdb,

    “More to the point, the declaration that a previous pope, now deceased, is *now* excommunicated doesn’t sound like recommendation about what color robe to wear.”

    This was a 2-phased approach. The first, to show that not everything an ecumenical council decrees is dogma or infallible. The second, to show that judgments on persons for heresy/excommunication/anathema are not infallible, as we saw in Joan of Arc’s case or any other church trial.

    “purgatory isn’t for those who died in mortal sin.”

    Saying someone is guilty of heresy, or excommunicating them does not entail they are guilty of mortal sin (though it doesn’t preclude it of course). Because there are 3 conditions, not just 1, that need to be met.

    “You are moving the goal posts. You said there is no good reason to believe a fallible teaching.”

    And you’re misconstruing what I said. Here it is again: “Anyone can claim personal illumination. I have no good reason to then believe what you propose is actually an article of faith”. Article of faith is the key term – “believe” in that context entails “assent of faith”. Why on earth would I say I have no good reason to believe a fallible teaching? That’s absurd and I would have failed school and been grounded for life by my parents.

    “You are misconstruing the purported “disclaimer””

    I don’t know why you scare-quoted disclaimer – WCF actively rejects the claim to infallible authority/ability Rome makes in those citations. That’s the disclaimer, and a central one, given it ignited and sustained the Reformation in the first place.

    “Article I includes the following:”

    And Article I is subject to the disclaimers in Articles 25 and 31 I cited. The WCF doesn’t get a special exemption. That’s the point.

    “The difference is that there is a subset of things your church states that cannot be wrong”

    Bingo. No such ability exists in Protestantism. Due to its disclaimers.

    “Scripture is properly basic – if we’ve misidentified it, then we have big problems (same as if you’ve misidentified the church).”

    Sure I could have misidentified the church. But based on its claims, after submission, to be consistent with those claims and that submission, I am not justified in holding its teachings as always provisional or subject to revision – I am not justified in affirming semper reformanda. In Protestantism, I am. Why? Because of its disclaimers. Thus the identification of the canon itself and foundational doctrines (SS, inerrancy, inspiration), not just its interpretation, remain provisional and tentative and can never rise above such – that is, they can never be offered as divine revelation or articles of faith. Thus, liberalism being a natural outworking of those principles.

    “We believe scripture cannot err even if we can in interpreting it”

    And the teaching that something called “Scripture” exists, and that this collection reflects it, and this collection is all of it, and that it cannot err, and that it is the sole ultimate authority, and that it is perspcicuous, and so on remain provisional and tentative in your system.

    “For us, God’s word is the foundation (speaking through the prophets and apostles with Christ as the chief cornerstone, while for you the church is the foundation which defines doctrine rather than interpreting it).”

    Talk about misconstruals. RCism teaches STM-triad is the foundation. M authoritatively interprets and judges ST and is the servant of it. And the contract between “defining” and “interpreting” is interesting – without the types of claims Rome makes, you can’t even get to the point of “interpretation” in the first place. Because the identification/definition of Protestant foundational doctrines remain just as provisional and subject to revision as its various interpretations that necessarily come after those teachings.

    “The apostles do not claim to be infallible”

    Really? Considering you argued similarly with Christ’s authority/ability, and I then provided citations demonstrating such, which you never acknowledged, I am hesistant to invest time going down this path.

    “Paul explicitly warns about apostles who could teach a false gospel.”

    Yes, and what does he tell adherents to compare it to? The gospel *he* gave as divine revelation and they *received* as such. He didn’t give his gospel as “it might be wrong, but is probably right”.

    “John spends quite a bit of time warning against false teachers, about testing the spirits, etc… because they weren’t infallible. ”

    Yes, and John wasn’t saying “I might be wrong, but probably am not in what I’m teaching” because adherents were to test the spirits against the infallible doctrine he and the apostles and those sent/authorized in Christ’s name were delivering. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have warned people about false teachers in the first place.

    “God does not teach provisional or tentative doctrines.”

    Great. So can Protestantism offer a non-provisional or non-tentative doctrine then? If not, then why should I bother considering it as a candidate for offering or promulgating divine revelation? If not, why should I bother considering giving the assent of faith to such teachings that are never offered as non-provisional or non-tentative then? Wouldn’t that be fideistic and irrational?

    “Unless one takes church doctrines to be our interpretation of God’s word.”

    Again, you don’t get to exempt foundational doctrines from your disclaimers and then assert the disclaimers only apply to “interpretation”. That’s handwaving.

    “Adding a middleman who is purportedly sometimes infallible about certain things doesn’t confer an advantage”

    You’re doing it again. You already agreed there would be an advantage.

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  143. No one of note,

    Just dropping in after a few months. Good to see folks still working it around here. Not 100% sure who you are but hope you are blessed. Just jumped in on page three and saw your post… felt like saying a “no doubt” to this.
    But can you see how the RC posture on canonicity arrogates something to itself that is easily taken as arrogant?
    We Catholics have the most arrogant position in Christendom… That is, if it isn’t true. Everybody took Christ as quite arrogant too, at least those who did not believe Him.

    If we Catholics are wrong, please beg our pardon. We are just ignorant, if that be the case.

    Peace,

    Fool for Christ (MichaelTX)

    Hi, everybody. I’m not dead. Just living life.

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  144. No one of note
    Posted November 20, 2015 at 6:09 pm | Permalink
    Tom, yo!

    you wrote,

    >>
    Unfair, because it’s based on ignoring the fundamental premise, that the Church claims it is the same Holy Spirit that used men to write the Bible working through the Church in determining what books go in the Bible.
    >>

    “determining” ah, that’s the rub. Many before us have traveled this road, and many, like me, say “recognize.”

    [link to “The Canon of Scripture Hardcover – November 28, 1988
    by F. F. Bruce (Author)]

    Well, yeah, Luther built his whole version of the Christian religion around his Bible, the “sola scriptura” religion. But if you want to speak of “arrogance,” Luther seems to have done all this on his own authority and belief in his own theological and philological brilliance.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/frankviola/shockingbeliefsofmartinluther/

    Now if he [or you says] it was by the power of the Holy Spirit–as the Catholic Church does–then fine, discussion’s over because we can’t debate supernatural truth claims.

    But Luther doesn’t seem to claim that, and neither do you, which–and CVD continues to point out–leaves you with a religion built around the Bible that you can’t even claim is infallible.

    And if you do claim that your [truncated] Bible is the infallible work of the Holy Spirit, you’re simply making a competing truth claim, and you can give no reason to prefer Luther’s truth claim over the Catholic Church’s, so you’re still no better off than say, the Mormons.

    Me, I’m still back at Augustine, and his concept of the Church needs considerable theological tweaking to get to Luther’s [and even more tweaking to accommodate Calvin’s.] By contrast, the Catholic claim is fairly straightforward, and historically unimpeachable.

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  145. Cetus,

    The point of the citations was to show they aren’t fideists as you argued they would have to be, because they make the exact same type of argument I’ve been making which you argue makes them fideist.

    But they believed a great many things before they were officially declared as infallible dogma. So, how did they know they were infallible dogma before the Magisterium spoke. Was the tradition self-authenticating. I don’t see any other way if the infallible definition is so critical. So how were they not fideists for believing a doctrine that might later be declared infallible but in their day was not.

    Then you’ve misunderstood the critique as badly as Darryl does. Infallibility is not limited to ex cathedra or conciliar statements. Do you think a council or pope makes things out of thin air?

    Depends on the council and pope. I’m still trying to figure out where Trent got the idea that the Reformers were antinomians.

    But that’s fine that infallibility isn’t limited to those things. But how does a person know what he is believing is infallible dogma before a definition is given? Osmosis?

    No, it is based on Scripture and Tradition and the common life, worship, faith of the church handed down through the generations. That’s why people weren’t shocked when the Assumption was defined, or when Trent affirmed the sacraments, and so on.

    But we know that not all of the traditions that were handed on were kept to this day. So, before a definition is given, how do we know what is infallible and what isn’t. I get that the deity of Christ was taught for 300 years before Nicea in the NT and in many, but not all churches. How did the people who believe it know it was infallible? According to you, Protestantism’s failure to claim an infallible canon declaration makes us fideists and provisional in our submission. There was no infallible canon declaration before Nicea. The books were being read in the liturgy as Scripture, but of course if I looked hard enough I could find 1 Clement or something like that being treated as Scripture in some places. So how do they know without an infallible declaration if the canon hasn’t been defined infallibly?

    See – that’s exactly what I mean. People weren’t grasping in the dark before Trent to know Romans or John was inspired. They were being read in the liturgies and part of the common faith since the beginning.

    So everything that was read in the liturgies and believed by the people was an infallible dogma before it was declared? How did the people know that? And further, not everything in the liturgies has survived as infallible, so how did people know that the deity of Christ was an infallible dogma worthy of assent before Nicea? The teaching of the church isn’t always infallible, you have said. There was no infallible canon declaration, so there was no way to have the certitude of faith that John was Scripture. There was no council to exercise a canonical definition.

    The only way I can see that you can justify something as infallible apart from a dogmatic declaration is by attributing some kind of self-authentication to it.

    No, but it counts in you charging my argument as making them fideists. They are presenting the same argument I am (e.g. what warrants faith, infallibility, binding judgments, STM-triad, etc.) And yes they are individual writers, but if they echo what others write or aren’t causing riots and fracturing based on those teachings, that is a testimony and witness to the Tradition of the church.

    Okay, but of course lots of things were believed by wide swaths of the church (Arianism) that were later rejected as infallible. So how did Augustine know that the S was S and the T was T and that believing it was worthy of assent before a dogmatic declaration. Are you just supposed to believe what the church believes because the church is teaching it? That sounds odd. The church taught Arianism, the majority of the church was at least friendly to it. Athanasius contra mundum and all that.

    Nicaea was held due to controversy and opposition and to clarify. Dogma develops.

    Got it, but we know that there were people, including the Apostles, who believed in the deity of Christ, perhaps not with the term homoousios but with the same essential point that Nicea made. We also know that other beliefs were at least being taught and accepted by a great many in the church. So what was the warrant for Susan in Rome in the second century to believe in the full deity of Christ. There’s no dogmatic declaration. There’s no dogmatic statement on Scripture and its teaching. And the church in other places isn’t embracing the doctrine.

    I don’t see how than there can be any other answer other than that orthodoxy is self-authenticating. Otherwise, all of the people who were orthodox before orthodoxy was infallibly defined were fideists.

    But if orthodoxy is self-authenticating, welcome to Protestantism.

    Let’s grant Aquinas didn’t believe in the Immaculate Conception as finally defined. That doesn’t mean he didn’t have the type of faith he argued for in my citations that you reject.

    What it would mean is that Aquinas had no warrant to believe in Mary’s sinlessness because there was no infallible declaration. There was no one in the church who believed Mary was a sinner? Hardly.

    Yup, and many eastern sees fell into various heresies at one point or another. Not Rome though. http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2007/03/response-to-orthodox-critiques-of.html Hmmm.

    Except the monothelite Honorious and Liberius who signed the Arian confession and broke ties with Athanasius. Sure he might have done it under duress and later changed, but if you were a Roman Christian at the time and the pope is so vital to orthodoxy and unity, apparently its okay to be Arian.

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  146. Robert
    Posted November 20, 2015 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    What it would mean is that Aquinas had no warrant to believe in Mary’s sinlessness because there was no infallible declaration. There was no one in the church who believed Mary was a sinner? Hardly.

    CVD: Yup, and many eastern sees fell into various heresies at one point or another. Not Rome though.
    [link]

    Robert: Except the monothelite Honorious and Liberius who signed the Arian confession and broke ties with Athanasius. Sure he might have done it under duress and later changed, but if you were a Roman Christian at the time and the pope is so vital to orthodoxy and unity, apparently its okay to be Arian.

    Actually, your arguments keep illustrating the need for the magisterium to occasionally speak infallibly and break these tie ballgames. Otherwise you get, well, Protestantism, with dozens if not 100s of versions of the Christian religion.

    Indeed, councils and eventually papal pronouncements rose out of the Faithful’s desperate need [and request] for clarity, not the magisterium’s capriciousness or theological tyranny. It’s not that kind of party, where the tyrant drags an unwilling church to apostasy.

    “Down the centuries, the conviction that Mary was preserved from every stain of sin from her conception, so that she is to be called all holy, gradually gained ground in the liturgy and theology. At the start of the 19th century, this development led to a petition drive for a dogmatic definition of the privilege of the Immaculate Conception.

    Around the middle of the century, with the intention of accepting this request, Pope Pius IX, after consulting the theologians, questioned the Bishops about the opportuneness and the possibility of such a definition, convoking as it were a “council in writing”. The result was significant: the vast majority of the 604 Bishops gave a positive response to the question.

    After such an extensive consultation, which emphasized my venerable Predecessor’s concern to express the Church’s faith in the definition of the dogma, he set about preparing the document with equal care…”—John Paul II

    https://www.ewtn.com/library/papaldoc/jp2bvm23.htm

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  147. Mermaid, do you read? If Paul was entrusted to evangelize the goyim and Rome was goy, then how did Peter, the minister to the kosher, become the bishop of the city of the goy? The whole Rome as eternal city is off. If you sing the Psalms you think of Jerusalem? Rome? That’s the city of the authorities who killed Jesus.

    Hey, wait a minute. . .

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  148. James Young, “dogma is divine revelation”

    So Popes do get new revelation. Sort of like Mormonism’s apostles.

    No wonder sola scriptura makes no sense. No fun limiting truth to the prophets and apostles when you can have prophets, apostles, and popes. Then no one even needs to read the Bible.

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  149. James Young, “Dogma develops.”

    So what comes latest is the most authoritative reading, not what came first or was oldest. Aquinas didn’t believe it. But later popes did. And they are closer to us than Aquinas so they must be right because dogma develops.

    How modernist.

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  150. James Young, so Nicea was not infallible because the pope didn’t call it?

    If you really think dogma is divine revelation, you are dangerous and deceived.

    And if fallible authorities are authoritative, then why are Protestants not authoritative. Talk about moving goal posts.

    At least you’re superior. Nope.

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  151. And James Young explains the relations between S T and M while none of the bishops care — climate, marriage, sex, and citizenship are on the bishops minds. But who is James Young to judge?

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  152. Michael TX, and the bishops were wrong about the priests abusing children. You want a mulligan for that? And you don’t see that the STM triad nurtures a culture where bishops will cover for abusive priests?

    But just look the other way, because, like, Christ was arrogant.

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  153. Darryl,

    Newman wasn’t a modernist. He was explicitly defended by Pius X whom you love and admire from the modernist attempts to use him and the Essay to support their cause. But we already went over that 2 years ago. Doctrine developing does not mean doctrine evolves or mutates or can be abrogated and overturned a la modernism – it means the church’s understanding of the fixed deposit of faith left by the Apostles has grown and will continue to deepen and organically build on what came before given the inexhaustible nature of it.
    This is also partly reflected and spurred when controversy and heresies sprout up and foist upon the deposit the “alien sense” Augustine notes, thus necessitating and motivating refutation and normative binding judgment by the church guided by the HS. You’d have to argue that development or a divinely authorized infallible church entails ongoing revelation, rather than merely assert it.

    “If you really think dogma is divine revelation, you are dangerous and deceived.”

    Dogma reflects divine revelation. The Trinity is part of divine revelation. Arianism is not. Romans is inspired. Book of Mormon and Gospel of Thomas are not. This means I’m dangerous and deceived. But once again we see the free admission Protestantism cannot cash what it ostensibly claims to be able to – all its doctrines must remain provisional, to do otherwise is dangerous and deceptive.

    “so Nicea was not infallible because the pope didn’t call it?”

    Okay, clearly you have no intention of trying to actually understand the RC position.

    “explains the relations between S T and M while none of the bishops care”
    “And you don’t see that the STM triad nurtures a culture where bishops will cover for abusive priests?”

    Enough said.

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  154. James Young, Nicea was called by the emperor. I know exactly what Popes have claimed about councils meeting since the — ahem — Western Schism. So the font of Trintarian orthodoxy was based on the emperor’s call, not Rome’s. Deal with that.

    The Trinity is revealed in revelation. That does not make dogma revelation as you claim. If church teaching is revelation, all of your blathering about denying the Gospel of Thomas is like your opinion. The ones who are infallible are not defending infallibility. They’ve moved on.

    When will you take STM seriously and move on too?

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  155. D. G. Hart
    Posted November 20, 2015 at 10:45 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, look a Terry Gray.

    I have no idea what this means. Dr. Terry Gray questioned a literal Adam & Eve and your own Orthodox Presbyterian Church put him on “ecclesiastical trial” and then he eventually ran away from you.

    Are you proud of this, Dr. Hart? I think it makes you and your church look ridiculous.

    http://www.asa3.org/gray/evolution_trial/

    I’d try to defend your fundamentalism in public if anyone actually gave a damn about your 30,000-member church, which nobody does, but this was some real garbage your church did to Terry, Darryl.

    Did you stand up for him? That’s all I want to know.

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  156. Darryl,

    “So the font of Trintarian orthodoxy was based on the emperor’s call, not Rome’s. Deal with that.”

    Awesome. You just did what 500 years of Protestant apologetics hasn’t – An Emperor convened Nicaea, therefore papal and ecclesial infallibility are proven false. Case closed, duh. As I said, you clearly have no interest in actually trying to understand the RC position.

    “The Trinity is revealed in revelation.”

    And the Trinity is dogma. Connect the dots. But unfortunately, consistency with your system won’t let you.

    “The ones who are infallible are not defending infallibility. They’ve moved on.”

    That would be kind of difficult to do considering the liturgy and sacraments reflect infallible dogma.

    As to modernism, you touched a nerve because you’re peddling your same mischaracterizations you were corrected on 2 years ago. But I’m glad you’re sourcing your rigorous and scholarly analysis of development from a catholic answers forum. Anyways, if you read the thread and not just ctrl-f’ed through it, you would see the reply echoing what I said with “The article equated growth (or development) of doctrine with new revelation and that just is not what Newman means. Positing development of doctrine does not mean claiming the existence of new doctrines or new revelations” – put that on your fridge along with “infallibility is not limited to ex cathedra statements” until it sinks in as well.
    More, “Loisy and Tyrell were condemned and their explanation branded as the heresy of modernism, while Newman was rewarded with the red hat.” More, and a trip down memory lane that got forgotten (or more likely, never assimilated in the first place) apparently – https://oldlife.org/2013/11/whatever-happened-deserves-mentioned/comment-page-4/#comment-106330

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  157. Michael in Texas,

    You quoted me,

    >>
    But can you see how the RC posture on canonicity arrogates something to itself that is easily taken as arrogant?
    >>

    My point was comparing RC claims vs. claims from apostolic writ, like “read this letter in church immediately” (cf. 1 Thess. 5:27). It’s why I provided verse references. We only recognize Scripture, not determine it.

    >>
    We Catholics have the most arrogant position in Christendom… That is, if it isn’t true. Everybody took Christ as quite arrogant too, at least those who did not believe Him.
    >>

    Actually, they mistook Him for the finger of Satan, deceiver of men, and breaker of Moses’ laws. But arrogant? Never.

    I’d much prefer you getting your knowledge of God and His holy, sinless, eternal Son from sacred writ than web sites like CTC. The same with “catholicism.”

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  158. @cvd
    There are three lines of discussion I think might be getting mixed up here:
    1) The comparison of the epistemic status of a prot assuming protestantism is true
    2) The questions of whether there is a good reason to believe fallible statements on matters of faith
    3) Has the church ever declared that a specific person is in hell.

    The first two are closely related and most interesting to me. The third was more of a curiosity on my part.

    Regarding 1:

    And Article I is subject to the disclaimers in Articles 25 and 31 I cited. The WCF doesn’t get a special exemption. That’s the point.

    Of course the wf doesn’t get a special exemption but the scriptures do. The question is the nature and scope of the disclaimer – In our system the scripture is not believed because the WCF says so. It stands outside of the confession – the WCF merely recognizes it does not establish it. The point of the disclaimer is that the council’s authority is limited to the extent to which it is consistent with scripture. If and only if it can be shown by scripture that something it declares is wrong may it be reformed. That’s why reading articles 25 and 31 in light of 1 is so important. The claim in article 31 is not that everything is up for grabs on any basis whatsoever. As I noted in the analogy to science, we don’t have infallible knowledge of say the proper theory of gravity. But I can be very certain of lots of things (and in fact every time I drive across a bridge I demonstrate my faith in that fallible teaching). You responded that if someone told me that the earth was flat, I would recognize they were a kook. Well of course. Just because I don’t have infallible knowledge does not mean that I know nothing. I can rule out some options even if I don’t have a complete final infallible theory. Similarly with matters of faith – I may not have a perfect interpretation of scripture, but it the plain reading of the text really does rule out some options – I’m not going to discover that the Bible really means that baal is our savior and Jesus was his prophet (the equivalent say of a flat earth reading of physics). At any rate the protestant disclaimer is that we may misinterpret what the scriptures teach, so we have to be open to revising our interpretation as we study them. The more we study and the longer a particular interpretation survives, the less likely it is that we got it wrong.

    “We believe scripture cannot err even if we can in interpreting it”

    And the teaching that something called “Scripture” exists, and that this collection reflects it, and this collection is all of it, and that it cannot err, and that it is the sole ultimate authority, and that it is perspcicuous, and so on remain provisional and tentative in your system.

    But the sole authority against which the confession may be judged is scripture. This is the context of Article 31 which is why your disclaimer is not as expansive as you would like and why those who believe in the infallibility of scripture show much less theological variation than your interpretation of the “disclaimer” would suggest.

    “God does not teach provisional or tentative doctrines.”

    Great. So can Protestantism offer a non-provisional or non-tentative doctrine then? If not, then why should I bother considering it as a candidate for offering or promulgating divine revelation? If not, why should I bother considering giving the assent of faith to such teachings that are never offered as non-provisional or non-tentative then? Wouldn’t that be fideistic and irrational?

    Protestantism is not God nor do we claim to be a source of his revelation. Rather we have received and share what he has revealed in his word. You should believe what we teach because it is consistent with scripture.

    “Paul explicitly warns about apostles who could teach a false gospel.”

    Yes, and what does he tell adherents to compare it to? The gospel *he* gave as divine revelation and they *received* as such. He didn’t give his gospel as “it might be wrong, but is probably right”.

    “John spends quite a bit of time warning against false teachers, about testing the spirits, etc… because they weren’t infallible. ”

    Yes, and John wasn’t saying “I might be wrong, but probably am not in what I’m teaching” because adherents were to test the spirits against the infallible doctrine he and the apostles and those sent/authorized in Christ’s name were delivering. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have warned people about false teachers in the first place.

    To borrow Cross’s tic – nothing you said conflicts with what I wrote. We are still left with the possibility that an apostle could teach something false. Thus they aren’t infallible. A broken watch isn’t infallible twice a day just because it happens to be right. The apostles were not infallible – God’s word is that they delivered to us. The Holy Spirit preserved His word that they spoke. Epistemic theories of infallibility weren’t part of the equation for justifying their belief (of what the apostles said or what Jesus said).

    “Unless one takes church doctrines to be our interpretation of God’s word.”

    Again, you don’t get to exempt foundational doctrines from your disclaimers and then assert the disclaimers only apply to “interpretation”. That’s handwaving.

    No. That’s what the disclaimer is. Read article 1 again. Scripture is not authoritative because the wf says so. It is not subject to the disclaimer which is that everything we teach must be judged against scripture.

    “Adding a middleman who is purportedly sometimes infallible about certain things doesn’t confer an advantage”
    You’re doing it again. You already agreed there would be an advantage.

    No I didn’t. You misunderstood.

    Regarding 2:
    In the last thread in your interaction with Jeff, you wrote:

    Jeff: “You continue to assert that any smidgen of fallibility is logically equal to “no good reason.””
    CVD: In matters of faith? Absolutely.”

    This led me to ask about the fallible teachings of the ordinary magisterium. Not everything the church has ever taught is infallible (or was always understood at the time to be infallible – which is a key criterion for infalliblity – it doesn’t just mean happen to be right, but cannot a priori be wrong).

    Now you clarify,

    sdb: “You are moving the goal posts. You said there is no good reason to believe a fallible teaching.”
    cvd: “And you’re misconstruing what I said. Here it is again: “Anyone can claim personal illumination. I have no good reason to then believe what you propose is actually an article of faith”. Article of faith is the key term – “believe” in that context entails “assent of faith”. Why on earth would I say I have no good reason to believe a fallible teaching? That’s absurd and I would have failed school and been grounded for life by my parents.””

    Well I don’t think I was misconstruing what you said (see above). I take it you do not believe that fallibility is not logically equal to “no good reason” on matters of faith?

    Regarding 3:

    “More to the point, the declaration that a previous pope, now deceased, is *now* excommunicated doesn’t sound like recommendation about what color robe to wear.”

    This was a 2-phased approach. The first, to show that not everything an ecumenical council decrees is dogma or infallible. The second, to show that judgments on persons for heresy/excommunication/anathema are not infallible, as we saw in Joan of Arc’s case or any other church trial.

    “purgatory isn’t for those who died in mortal sin.”

    Saying someone is guilty of heresy, or excommunicating them does not entail they are guilty of mortal sin (though it doesn’t preclude it of course). Because there are 3 conditions, not just 1, that need to be met.

    Well OK. So not everything a council determines about the faith is infallible. Some teachings are and some aren’t? Is there infallible guide to tell me which is which? Or am I left with Father Martin’s hierarchy of truths – the gospels are more certain than creeds which are more certain than encyclicals which are more certain than what a pastor says in the pulpit. He seems to have in mind degrees of certainty (he actually calls it hierarchy of truths). I’ll let you take that up with him… So I guess this point is somewhat related to the first two. But as to the substantive matter, are you really saying that the judgment of this ecumenical council about the status of Pope H. is fallible and even if they are right the fact that this guy was judged to historically no long be part of the society of the faithful (presumably had he repented he wouldn’t have been posthumously excommunicated) he is not necessarily in hell? Curious…

    At any rate, it’s been fun, but I’m done here. I don’t think we convinced one another of anything. I remain unconvinced that adding a human (sometime) infallible interpreter of God’s infallible word adds anything epistemologically. I am convinced that you overstate the provisional nature of protestant belief – it is provisional against God’s word – to reject God’s word is to reject the faith (which many prots have sadly done even if they keep the form). The variety of protestant expressions of faith is a function of political freedom more so than theological theories which also explains the variety of RC expressions. I see far less variety among prots who maintain the infallibility of scripture than I do among RCs who maintain belief in the church. Theological beliefs have very little explanatory power for this empirical fact.

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  159. Tom,

    >>
    never heard the Hunter Thompson part, though.

    As for the “true” church, I’m trying to use Augustine’s sense of “catholic church” without pressing the capital “C” part too literally
    >>

    Words is he hung out at a motorcycle bar in Tujunga where Hell’s Angels frequented late 60s.

    The term “catholic church” meant all the genuine Christians in a city in the Apostolic Fathers. The term is used only 6 times in all their writings, which in volume are larger than the NT. Hardly an important term.

    It got challenged for the first time when Novatian and those North African bishops who followed him couldn’t stand allowing those who shrunk back at persecution in church with only a slap on the wrist. Cyprian called Novatian and his ilk schismatics, condemned them all to hell if they didn’t come back under better bishops, but utterly refused Roman oversight of Carthage, or anywhere, as fundamentally “un-catholic.”

    The Catholicism you prefer (geographically dispersed with hierarchical leadership) didn’t show up until Cyril of Jerusalem first claimed it, 300 years after the apostles.

    Early Cyril, in his 18th Catechetical lecture, emphasizes the the former meaning of local catholicism but also first asserts what you hold – “universal catholicism: “For this is the peculiar name of this holy church, the mother of us all, which is the spouse of our Lord Jesus Christ…”

    Augustine introduces a new ecclesiology with his triumphant/militant dichotomy a few years later, and voila, you’re off and running.

    But Frank Voila Viola, really?, really??, who wrote this (before his simplechurch.com web site was taken down)…

    “The church is an institution that Satan has set up to prevent Christians from doing the work of the Lord.”

    One man’s hero is another’s useful idiot? 😉

    Sheesh, after his dominant career with the Twins he turns hater (apologies to the real Frank).

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  160. (was it this post, can’t remember?) cw l’unificateur:Ali, listen to how Darryl McMeaniepants is kind and laudatory to a certain type of piety which is wedded to a solid ecclesiology and the ordinary means of grace: http://reformedforum.org/ctc412

    Listened to some of this as promised cw, to halfway-just offer one comment – I don’t believe ‘conversion’=sanctification

    Galatians 3:2 This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?

    Ephesians 1: 13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

    2 Cor:21 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, 22 who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.

    Hebrews 6 4 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. 7 For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; 8 but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.9 But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way.

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  161. MILAN (AP) — A Vatican judge on Saturday indicted five people, including two journalists and a high-ranking Vatican monsignor, in a scandal involving leaked documents that informed two books alleging financial malfeasance in the Roman Catholic church bureaucracy.

    Two former members of the pope’s financial reforms commission and a newly identified assistant were indicted on charges of disclosing confidential Vatican information and documents, while two journalists were indicted on a charge of soliciting and exerting pressure to obtain the information, according to the indictments released by the Vatican on Saturday. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_REL_VATICAN_SCANDAL?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2015-11-21-08-11-48

    So Rome is finally exercising discipline. Discipline against transparency.

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  162. No one of note:
    The term “catholic church” meant all the genuine Christians in a city in the Apostolic Fathers. >>>>

    How many different groups, all claiming to be genuine Christians, are there in you town? Do you accept all of them as genuine Christians?

    If so, on what basis?

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  163. Tom,

    Indeed, councils and eventually papal pronouncements rose out of the Faithful’s desperate need [and request] for clarity, not the magisterium’s capriciousness or theological tyranny. It’s not that kind of party, where the tyrant drags an unwilling church to apostasy.

    Depends on the council and papal pronouncement. Who was Jonesing for the pope to clarify that he is infallible except when he’s not except the pope?

    But in any case, fine. CVD has been making the point ad nauseum that one has no warrant to put faith in anything that is not infallible. If I grant that, how did anyone before Nicea know that the deity of Christ was an infallible dogma?

    Protestants will say Scripture, but CVD says that’s not allowed because we don’t have an infallible canon declaration. Okay, but nobody before Nicea had that either, so he can’t go there either.

    Ordinary Church teaching and the liturgy? But not all ordinary church teaching is infallible and not everything in the liturgy is either. Not everything taught and practiced pre-Nicea has survived as infallible. So I don’t see how that works either.

    IF something must be called infallible in order to give the warrant of faith, how was anyone able pre Nicea to sort out the belief in the deity of Christ, where it was affirmed, as infallible dogma from other stuff? And if there’s no sure way to do that before Nicea, then nobody had warrant to believe the deity of Christ with the certainty of faith.

    Explain how CVD’s argument doesn’t invalidate itself at this point.

    Like

  164. D.G. Hart:
    The problem with you is that you only see the good in Rome and when someone points out the bad, the messenger is mean.>>>>>>

    The “problem” with me is that I have been in and around Evangelical Protestantism for a long, long time. I don’t think you are mean, but I think you are kidding yourself. I have had the privilege of working with some of the finest men and women God ever created. I have also had the privilege of seeing some of the worst of human behavior through the years.

    You have seen the same in Protestantism if you are willing to be honest.

    Trying to focus on the sins and divisions of others – real or imagined – makes you feel better about the disaster that is even your little Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

    You want division and scandal? Look closer to home. When you start doing that, then you will have greater credibility with me.

    Besides, I don’t think you are mean in your real life. If you were, your dear wife would not have put up with you for so long and followed you so faithfully.

    You are mean to me, but I don’t take it personally. I am a challenge for you. I stand in your way and remind you of what Protestantism really is, the good and the very evil.

    That doesn’t mean I don’t love you guys or even respect and admire many of your Bible teachers who helped me along the way. I have nothing but gratitude in my heart for them. After all, they helped me become Catholic. Reformed theology took me one step closer to Home, so how can I not be grateful?

    Interacting with you guys and gals here at OL only confirms the fact that I am in the right place. I love being Catholic. You don’t get that.

    Peace, Brother Hart

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  165. James Young, I actually try to understand the likes of you, how you can go on and on and on about papal infallibility when your church has moved way beyond that. The converts and apologists are out of synch. And you don’t seem to try to understand Protestants who cannot fathom why anyone would object to a church that at one time promoted Crusades, abducted Jewish boys, and covered for pedophile priests. And that’s just the objections to Rome’s pastoral feng shui. When it comes to doctrine, it’s a little hard to keep up because Denzinger died, the popes keep blabbing, and the doctrine keeps developing. Talk about moving goal posts. Just look at the catechism. No wait. Remember STM. Hold on. Get the right paradigm. It’s a flabby outlook you have.

    You do know that lots of Roman Catholics do look at Vat II as modernist. I’ve yet to see you respond to one of my posts where I repeat the objections of Boniface at Unam Sanctam. Like we’re supposed to take your word for all of the “soundness” of Rome? What don’t you understand about “pay grade”?

    The Nicene Creed is not divine revelation. It is not the canon. Tell me how it is divine revelation. You plays these games of linguistic analogy and your mind gets flabbier.

    Me — my mind on Bible.

    You — your mind on papal supremacy.

    I get it. You need a brain as big as Elephant Man’s to make sense of all those contradictions.

    But move on, I say. Your bishops have and they’re the ones with all that apostolic authority.

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  166. b, sd, James Young writes ad nauseum, “So can Protestantism offer a non-provisional or non-tentative doctrine then?”

    And then he tells us that non-provisional non-tentative doctrines develop. But they remains non-provision non-tentative.

    Did you ever get the feeling it’s rigged?

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  167. Mermaid, so your problem in not looking at the whole RC landscape is that I don’t look at evangelicalism.

    You are clueless. I have spent the better part of my career studying and teaching about evangelical Protestantism. Some people regard me as one of evangelical Protestantism’s fiercest critics one of Reformed Protestantism’s biggest jackasses.

    If you think I am as rosy about Protestantism as you are about your warm cuddly self-referential faith, you really don’t know much. And you should be embarrassed.

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  168. D.G. Hart:D. G. Hart
    Posted November 21, 2015 at 12:04 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, so your problem in not looking at the whole RC landscape is that I don’t look at evangelicalism.>>>>>

    You don’t look at yourself. You shrug. You should be embarrassed. If you start calling yourself a fundamentalist, then you could start to redeem yourself.

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  169. D. G. Hart
    Posted November 20, 2015 at 10:44 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, do you read? If Paul was entrusted to evangelize the goyim and Rome was goy, then how did Peter, the minister to the kosher, become the bishop of the city of the goy? The whole Rome as eternal city is off. If you sing the Psalms you think of Jerusalem? Rome? That’s the city of the authorities who killed Jesus.
    Hey, wait a minute. . .>>>>>

    Even the best of your commentators recognize that Babylon is probably a symbol for the city of Rome. That puts Peter in Rome writing his first epistle.

    I am glad they put the word “probably”, since that is being honest. All of Reformed theology is based on probabilities, as has been so clearly demonstrated here.

    Even your infallible rule of faith and practiced is defined by your fallible rule – the WCF. Brother Hart shrugs. Put down your Boettner and read some real scholarship.

    1 Peter 5:13 She . . . at Babylon. Probably a reference to the church in Rome (Introduction: Date and Occasion).. “Babylon” is probably a symbol for the city of Rome (17:9 note, 17:18) with its immorality.

    – Reformation study Bible

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  170. MichaelTX: We Catholics have the most arrogant position in Christendom… That is, if it isn’t true.

    Hi Michael,

    Glad to see you. Glad to see you’re off living life.

    I appreciate your candor, as always.

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  171. Hi Mermaid,
    >>
    How many different groups, all claiming to be genuine Christians, are there in you town? Do you accept all of them as genuine Christians?
    If so, on what basis?
    >>
    Nope.

    Like

  172. CVD: And the identification of the “Word of God”, as well as its inerrancy, functional role, interpretation, etc. that we cannot argue with remains provisional and subject to correction since there is no mechanism in your system for defining or identifying irreformable doctrine, as your confessional disclaimers reflect. Again, semper reformanda is not consistent with Paul’s preaching. Those submitting to him would not be justified in endlessly debating or arguing with his current or future teachings and he wasn’t revising his teaching constantly or offering it as “this might be wrong, but probably isn’t”.

    There absolutely is such a mechanism. The Bible is identified as irreformable doctrine. The mechanism is the universal consent of the church. What you don’t like about it is that the identification itself is not infallible, nor is the mechanism. Somehow, you work that out to mean that the Bible itself is fallible in the Protestant system, which is a false statement of the position.

    As to Paul, he was careful to distinguish his own words from the Lord’s.

    Like

  173. No one of note
    Posted November 21, 2015 at 6:48 am | Permalink
    Tom,

    As for the “true” church, I’m trying to use Augustine’s sense of “catholic church” without pressing the capital “C” part too literally
    >>

    The Catholicism you prefer (geographically dispersed with hierarchical leadership) didn’t show up until Cyril of Jerusalem first claimed it, 300 years after the apostles.

    Even if we stipulate that, it’s still a better claim to the apostolic deposit than Luther’s 1200 year later and Dr. Hart’s church almost 2000 years later.

    Admittedly, the first few centuries after the apostles are historically quite foggy–including existing copies of the New Testament itself! Without a belief that the Holy Spirit got the Christian religion to where it is today, everything’s a scholarly crapshoot!

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  174. D. G. Hart
    Posted November 21, 2015 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Me — my mind on Bible.

    You — your mind on papal supremacy.

    Actually, your mind is on papal supremacy, you talk about it ceaselessly, as do your followers. It infests almost every one of your comment boxes.

    I don’t hear Catholics talk about it much–the Catholic faith is more about the Eucharist than rabbinical debate. That’s your religion. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

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  175. Tom,

    We know that the vast majority of RCs don’t care about the pope or the Magisterium. Heck, most of the 1.2 billion RCs worldwide don’t care enough about the Eucharist to take it weekly. That’s why Darryl isn’t talking to them. He’s poking holes in the CTC apologetic that doesn’t line up with the reality I just mentioned. Rome simply isn’t a religion about dogma in practice. It’s all about ritual, but even then precious few care.

    Like

  176. Robert
    Posted November 21, 2015 at 5:24 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    We know that the vast majority of RCs don’t care about the pope or the Magisterium. Heck, most of the 1.2 billion RCs worldwide don’t care enough about the Eucharist to take it weekly. That’s why Darryl isn’t talking to them. He’s poking holes in the CTC apologetic that doesn’t line up with the reality I just mentioned. Rome simply isn’t a religion about dogma in practice. It’s all about ritual, but even then precious few care.

    It’s about the Eucharist and the sacraments. If you want to dismiss it as mere “ritual,” Augustine and 2000 years of Christianity disagree.

    As for Dr. Hart’s jihad against the papacy, it doesn’t address his real theological problem, which is the Eucharist and apostolic succession, both of which are licit and also found with the Eastern Orthodox. His war on Rome is meaningless.

    “[T]here are many other things which most properly can keep me in [the Catholic Church’s] bosom. The unanimity of peoples and nations keeps me here. Her authority, inaugurated in miracles, nourished by hope, augmented by love, and confirmed by her age, keeps me here. The succession of priests, from the very see of the Apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after his resurrection, gave the charge of feeding his sheep [John 21:15-17], up to the present episcopate, keeps me here. And last, the very name Catholic, which, not without reason, belongs to this Church alone, in the face of so many heretics, so much so that, although all heretics want to be called ‘Catholic,’ when a stranger inquires where the Catholic Church meets, none of the heretics would dare to point out his own basilica or house.” (Against the Letter of Mani Called ‘The Foundation’ 4:5 [A.D. 397]).

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  177. For those who came in late, this is Augustine, of course. Forget waging war on some unofficial Catholic website. [Badly, let’s add.] It’s all here.

    “[T]here are many other things which most properly can keep me in [the Catholic Church’s] bosom. The unanimity of peoples and nations keeps me here. Her authority, inaugurated in miracles, nourished by hope, augmented by love, and confirmed by her age, keeps me here. The succession of priests, from the very see of the Apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after his resurrection, gave the charge of feeding his sheep [John 21:15-17], up to the present episcopate, keeps me here. And last, the very name Catholic, which, not without reason, belongs to this Church alone, in the face of so many heretics, so much so that, although all heretics want to be called ‘Catholic,’ when a stranger inquires where the Catholic Church meets, none of the heretics would dare to point out his own basilica or house.” (Against the Letter of Mani Called ‘The Foundation’ 4:5 [A.D. 397]).

    Like

  178. I want to address Robert only, being that he seems (to me)to be the only one here really trying to follow t
    he logic.

    Hello Robert,

    You said, “…..CVD has been making the point ad nauseum that one has no warrant to put faith in anything that is not infallible. If I grant that, how did anyone before Nicea know that the deity of Christ was an infallible dogma?”

    The answer is, the same way that we know today, ” By the testimony of the church who passed on and continues to pass on the word of truth”.

    Think of it like this: If I had lived before the Council of Nicea, and heard other stories and ideas about this Jesus guy that were different and opposed to the story of Jesus as relayed by those within the ecclesial body called “The Church” and I believed the propagators of other ideas instead, then I would have been in error about an infallible truth.

    “Protestants will say Scripture, but CVD says that’s not allowed because we don’t have an infallible canon declaration. Okay, but nobody before Nicea had that either, so he can’t go there either.”

    But there was a church that was teaching infallible doctines the whole time. That church has the scriptures and it’s identity as the church founded on the apostles, and it’s being guided by the Holy Spirit so its teachings before Nicea, as well as during and after are infallible when pertaining to faith and morals.

    “Ordinary Church teaching and the liturgy? But not all ordinary church teaching is infallible and not everything in the liturgy is either. Not everything taught and practiced pre-Nicea has survived as infallible. So I don’t see how that works either.”

    Incense isn’t infallible and genuflecting isn’t infallible, no. But the Agnus Dei expresses and infallible knowledge that Jesus is the Lamb of God. I am being a tad sarcastic because I’m not sure why you think the church would call inanimate objects infallible”. It is infallible, and ineffable that Jesus is substantially present in the bread and wine. If it is not infallible known one way or the other, it is provisional by its own inability to declare “the truth” of the matter.

    “IF something must be called infallible in order to give the warrant of faith, how was anyone able pre Nicea to sort out the belief in the deity of Christ, where it was affirmed, as infallible dogma from other stuff? And if there’s no sure way to do that before Nicea, then nobody had warrant to believe the deity of Christ with the certainty of faith.”

    I believe everything the church teaches when it tells me that” such and such is true”. A child ( or adult) may not grasp the idea of substance and accidents to but that doesn’t negate that Jesus’s flesh is indeed, true food. It doesn’t mean that no person understood that Jesus was God before it was infallible declared. Just like the Triune Godhead has always been before It was ever grappled with. It just means that if one denies it( before or after it was ratified at Nicea), they walk away from the truth.

    I saw you addressing Dr. Anders with this question too, and will continue to watch how that comes out.
    I went round and round with these questions myself and realized that unless what I believed was infallible it could never rise above being only provisional.

    Anyways, I’m not putting you down, I just don’t understand why anyone would choose to side with ministerial authorities who have no power to delare its doctrines as absolute truths. That is essentially a nonauthority, if it power travels with whoever happens to hold the books.

    I hope that this makes sense to you. I really tried to explain why your objection doesn’t hold together. If I have missed it perhaps CVD will engage you further.
    I only came back to address what you said, and so I won’t hang out. I never get anywhere when people arent interested. You seem to be more genuinely interested, or I wouldn’t have said anything. Trying to learn to save my words and my time:)

    Take care, my friend!

    Susan

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  179. Tom,

    It’s about the Eucharist and the sacraments.

    Bingo. But CVD and the CTC guys want to make it all about the “principled way” of settling dogmatic questions.

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  180. Robert: …..CVD has been making the point ad nauseum that one has no warrant to put faith in anything that is not infallible. If I grant that, how did anyone before Nicea know that the deity of Christ was an infallible dogma?”

    Susan: The answer is, the same way that we know today, ” By the testimony of the church who passed on and continues to pass on the word of truth”.

    That doesn’t help, though. If our criterion for “article of faith” is “that which is known to be infallibly declared”, then Nicea’s definitions and canons did not qualify at the time they were made, for they made no claim of infallibility.

    You, Susan, can look back through the ages and see that the RC church now says that the Nicene definition was infallible then. But the people living at that time had no reason to think that.

    Yet mysteriously they did not consider the lack of guarantee of infallibility to be an obstacle to their affirmation of faith, at least by the time the Nicene creed came to be.

    Susan: I just don’t understand why anyone would choose to side with ministerial authorities who have no power to delare its doctrines as absolute truths. That is essentially a nonauthority, if it power travels with whoever happens to hold the books.

    There is a basic confusion of categories here. “Authority” (exousia) is the moral right to rule; in the case of the church, to make declarations. “Power” (dynamos) is the ability to perform.

    Authorities may or may not have power — I may or may not have the power to make my children obey, but I have the right to tell them to obey.

    Those with power may or may not have authority — a man with a gun may be a cop or may be a robber.

    So to say that authority requires the power to make infallible declarations is to confuse two very different concepts. And in fact, that confusion is at the heart of some fallacious appeals to authority in the form “Because the authority said X, then X must be true.”

    Jesus made this distinction, did He not?

    Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice.

    The scribes and Pharisees had authority to declare what was right, but they had no power to do what was right. They certainly did not have infallibility.

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  181. Susan,

    The answer is, the same way that we know today, ” By the testimony of the church who passed on and continues to pass on the word of truth”.

    Think of it like this: If I had lived before the Council of Nicea, and heard other stories and ideas about this Jesus guy that were different and opposed to the story of Jesus as relayed by those within the ecclesial body called “The Church” and I believed the propagators of other ideas instead, then I would have been in error about an infallible truth.

    I get that, more or less, but I don’t think you are feeling the weight of my question. Before Nicea, and even after Nicea, there were churches with Apostolic Succession that were effectively Arian. Let’s leave out the situation after Nicea and grant that Nicea settled the question dogmatically. How did people living before Nicea have warrant to give the assent of faith to the deity of Christ when it at least some churches with Apostolic succession, what would later be declared heresy was being taught.

    I could give other examples. How about Nestorianism? Nestorius, the patriarch of Constantinople, was later condemned as a heretic. But he was teaching dogmas that hadn’t been settled because many other churches with Apostolic succession were either teaching Nestorianism or one of the other condemned heresies. So, before Chalcedon, what warrant did someone have to affirm the hypostatic union if that had not been declared infallibly and the other positions had not been condemned as heresies?

    But there was a church that was teaching infallible doctines the whole time. That church has the scriptures and it’s identity as the church founded on the apostles, and it’s being guided by the Holy Spirit so its teachings before Nicea, as well as during and after are infallible when pertaining to faith and morals.

    But even if I grant that, how did the people before Nicea know what was being taught as infallible and what wasn’t? There were churches with Apostolic succession that were Arian or holding to some other false belief. Origen was later condemned, etc. etc. How does anyone know what is infallible apart from a dogmatic declaration. You can’t just say, “well it was always taught and hold on to Apostolic succession when there wasn’t agreement among the churches with Apostolic succession.”

    Incense isn’t infallible and genuflecting isn’t infallible, no. But the Agnus Dei expresses and infallible knowledge that Jesus is the Lamb of God. I am being a tad sarcastic because I’m not sure why you think the church would call inanimate objects infallible”. It is infallible, and ineffable that Jesus is substantially present in the bread and wine. If it is not infallible known one way or the other, it is provisional by its own inability to declare “the truth” of the matter.

    But before an infallible declaration, how does the average person know that Jesus’ substantial presence is an infallible dogma?

    I believe everything the church teaches when it tells me that” such and such is true”. A child ( or adult) may not grasp the idea of substance and accidents to but that doesn’t negate that Jesus’s flesh is indeed, true food. It doesn’t mean that no person understood that Jesus was God before it was infallible declared. Just like the Triune Godhead has always been before It was ever grappled with. It just means that if one denies it( before or after it was ratified at Nicea), they walk away from the truth.

    I agree that Nicea’s dogmatic declaration doesn’t mean that no person before then understood that Jesus was God. But if what CVD and everyone else is saying about how you can’t have a warrant of faith unless you have an infallible declaration or infallible recognition of dogma, how did those who (rightly to be sure) affirmed the deity of Christ before Nicea have warrant to believe in the deity of Christ as anything more than a provisional dogma. The question hadn’t been settled by the church. Some places with Apostolic succession weren’t teaching it. We have several realities, if I accept CVD’s argument:

    1. You have no warrant for the assent of certitude of faith in a dogma that has not been infallibly declared or recognized. Otherwise, all is provisional.
    2. There is no explicit recognition of the deity of Christ as infallible prior to Nicea by the church.
    3. There is recognition of the fact infallibly in Scripture.
    4. But CVD says that the biblical recognition is not enough unless you know the NT is infallible Scripture
    5. But there was no canon declaration, and some churches were treating some non canonical books as Scripture.

    So the best we have is the universal witness of the church that is far from universal before and even after Nicea and the teaching of Scripture, which we can’t rest on alone because we don’t know for sure that John is Scripture and 1 Clement is not because the church hasn’t pronounced anything.

    So honestly, I’m trying to fit this all together. How did Susan Vader in the 2nd century have the warrant to give the assent of faith to the deity of Christ when there’s no clear way for it to have been infallibly declared or recognized.

    Ultimately, I think the only answer that can be given is that orthodoxy is somehow self-authenticating. But if you concede that point, then the whole CTC argument falls apart. Maybe there is another answer, but I don’t see it yet.

    I went round and round with these questions myself and realized that unless what I believed was infallible it could never rise above being only provisional.

    But the issue, Susan, is that as long as you are a finite creature, your understanding of what anyone says can never rise above provisionality. Your beliefs will always be provisional in some sense. It might be a trivial sense, but it is provisional nonetheless. The only way to escape provisionality is to attain omniscience.

    Anyways, I’m not putting you down, I just don’t understand why anyone would choose to side with ministerial authorities who have no power to delare its doctrines as absolute truths. That is essentially a nonauthority, if it power travels with whoever happens to hold the books.

    Take care, my friend!

    I know, and thank you, Susan.

    Like

  182. There has been much talk that Protestants here have been misrepresenting the concept of anathema, “wanting” to see themselves as damned when in fact the Catholic church sees them as separated brothers who are desired to be in full fellowship.

    The latter part is certainly true — Catholics here have every desire to see Protestants convert. That desire is warm and sincere. However, there is a certain amount of wishful thinking at work.

    Here is CathEn on anathema:

    Anathema remains a major excommunication which is to be promulgated with great solemnity. A formula for this ceremony was drawn up by Pope Zachary (741-52) in the chapter Debent duodecim sacerdotes, Cause xi, quest. iii. The Roman Pontifical reproduces it in the chapter Ordo excommunicandi et absolvendi, distinguishing three sorts of excommunication: minor excommunication, formerly incurred by a person holding communication with anyone under the ban of excommunication; major excommunication, pronounced by the Pope in reading a sentence; and anathema, or the penalty incurred by crimes of the gravest order, and solemnly promulgated by the Pope. In passing this sentence, the pontiff is vested in amice, stole, and a violet cope, wearing his mitre, and assisted by twelve priests clad in their surplices and holding lighted candles. He takes his seat in front of the altar or in some other suitable place, amid pronounces the formula of anathema which ends with these words: “Wherefore in the name of God the All-powerful, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, of the Blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and of all the saints, in virtue of the power which has been given us of binding and loosing in Heaven and on earth, we deprive N– himself and all his accomplices and all his abettors of the Communion of the Body and Blood of Our Lord, we separate him from the society of all Christians, we exclude him from the bosom of our Holy Mother the Church in Heaven and on earth, we declare him excommunicated and anathematized and we judge him condemned to eternal fire with Satan and his angels and all the reprobate, so long as he will not burst the fetters of the demon, do penance and satisfy the Church; we deliver him to Satan to mortify his body, that his soul may be saved on the day of judgment.

    Catholic Encyclopedia

    Note the meaning of anathema:

    * Deprived of communion from body and blood of the Lord
    * Excluded from the bosom of the church in heaven and on earth
    * Condemned to eternal fire with Satan and his angels, so long as he does not do penance

    I would observe that the Protestants seem to have represented the meaning of anathema adequately, whereas certain Catholic interlocutors here have softened the term, such that anathema is represented as not involving definite damnation.

    Further, it has been suggested that Protestants here should be considered as separated brothers. But the code of canon law (1983) says,

    Can. 1364 §1. Without prejudice to the prescript of can. 194, §1, n. 2, an apostate from the faith, a heretic, or a schismatic incurs a latae sententiae excommunication… [JRC: automatic, without sentence being passed]

    So while the offered olive branch is sincerely appreciated, I must sadly conclude that it cannot be offered with knowledge of church teaching.

    The olive branch does seem typical of present-day Catholic thinking, however. Hence LonelyPilgrim:

    But the Catholic Church’s model of excommunication is just as St. Paul’s: it is not a pronouncement of eternal damnation, but a disciplinary measure designed to motivate the sinner to repentance and reconciliation.

    Mr. Pilgrim then goes on to say that anathemas could never apply to Protestants (which would have been news to the council of Trent).

    Both of these points fail to be fully true under scrutiny. Anathemas are indeed a pronouncement of eternal damnation (without penance). Naturally, they are also disciplinary measures designed to motivate the sinner to repentance. L. Pilgrim gets half-credit.

    Further, Protestants are held to be heretics and schismatics, hence automatically under the sentence of major excommunication per above.

    Hence Pius IX:

    Now, whoever will carefully examine and reflect upon the condition of the various religious societies, divided among themselves, and separated from the Catholic Church, which, from the days of our Lord Jesus Christ and his Apostles has never ceased to exercise, by its lawful pastors, and still continues to exercise, the divine power committed to it by this same Lord; cannot fail to satisfy himself that neither any one of these societies by itself, nor all of them together, can in any manner constitute and be that One Catholic Church which Christ our Lord built, and established, and willed should continue; and that they cannot in any way be said to be branches or parts of that Church, since they are visibly cut off from Catholic unity.

    — Iam Vos Omnes

    Can. 751 Heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.

    — Code of Canon Law 751.

    [the church] firmly believes, professes and preaches that all those who are outside the catholic church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless they are joined to the catholic church before the end of their lives; that the unity of the ecclesiastical body is of such importance that only for those who abide in it do the church’s sacraments contribute to salvation and do fasts, almsgiving and other works of piety and practices of the Christian militia produce eternal rewards; and that nobody can be saved, no matter how much he has given away in alms and even if he has shed his blood in the name of Christ, unless he has persevered in the bosom and the unity of the catholic church.

    — Council of Florence Session 11

    To repeat: The sincerity of your desire to see us as separated brothers is not questioned. But that desire is at odds with what your official documents teach. There is not room in pre-Vatican II Catholic teaching for Protestants to be members-at-large, or invisibly connected to the church, or anything other than anathematized schismatics who obstinately hold opinions contrary to church teaching.

    Did Vatican II change that? It obviously changed how the Catholic-on-the-street thought about their Protestant neighbors. All of you have expressed some view that we are separated brothers.

    But did Vatican II change church doctrine? If so, then our discussion of infallibility takes on a different light. If not, then church doctrine itself is revealed to be incoherent. For as we have previously seen in the Balt Cat 4 discussion, teachers of the church in the 19th century firmly believed that Protestants had no reasonable chance of being saved. And from all that I have been able to read, this was the majority position of the 16-18th centuries as well.

    In other words, if church teaching about the salvation of Protestants remained the same prior to and following Vatican II, then we have the remarkable problem that almost all Catholics up into the 19th century understood church teaching to mean that Protestants were not saved; whereas almost all Catholics now understand it to mean the opposite. This strikes a blow at the possibility of even reading a document with any understanding.

    Either way, whether a changed doctrine or a changed understanding, your epistemological situation looks not so good.

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  183. For those who came in late, this is Augustine, of course. Forget waging war on some unofficial Catholic website. [Badly, let’s add.] It’s all here.

    “[T]here are many other things which most properly can keep me in [the Catholic Church’s] bosom. The unanimity of peoples and nations keeps me here. Her authority, inaugurated in miracles, nourished by hope, augmented by love, and confirmed by her age, keeps me here. [vd, t does.] The succession of priests, from the very see of the Apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after his resurrection, gave the charge of feeding his sheep [John 21:15-17], up to the present episcopate, keeps me here. [Papal infallibility does.] And last, the very name Catholic, which, not without reason, belongs to this Church alone, in the face of so many heretics, so much so that, although all heretics want to be called ‘Catholic,’ when a stranger inquires where the Catholic Church meets, none of the heretics would dare to point out his own basilica or house. [That artwork in the Vatican museums is great.]” (Against the Letter of Mani Called ‘The Foundation’ 4:5 [A.D. 397]).

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  184. Susan, “I just don’t understand why anyone would choose to side with ministerial authorities who have no power to delare its doctrines as absolute truths.”

    Said like any good Stalinist. “Oh! I go knock kneed over someone with ABSOLUTE authority. I need my DA DA.”

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  185. Dear Robert,

    I know that your questions will be answered. I wish I could spend time talking with you about it, but I promised myself that I would stop commenting at Old Life.
    Let me say this and then I will step out of the way and let you and CVD converse.

    From your point of view their is no way to settle doctries that are in dispute. You might say that scripture is what people have always used to determine the truth from a wrong idea, but that doesn’t pan out in reality where there are many many denominations all claiming that the bible is.their sole rul.of faith with the Holy Spirit guiding. For one, a person wouldn’t need the bible if they were realiing in the scriptures to be their sole rule of.faith, and for another if the holy spirit is guding everyone who claims that the scripture is their only rule of faith, then they should all come to the same conclusion about what the scriptures principle teach, but they don’t.

    The Catholic Church has never claimed that the scriptures were its sole rul of.faith and this is logically consistent with the fact that the church had to come before the New Testament scriptures. Also if the scriptures had been the Church’s sole rule the church itself would.have declared that about itself from the beginning and no counsel to settle things would have had people with differing views all needing someone to act as arbiter. Did any counsel ever say, ” the scriptures declare.such and.such and that settles it”.

    Do Protestants believe that counsel’s were called so that people could share what they all gleaned from the bible and then a consensus was reached?
    If that is the case I don’t understand why a council that squelched a heretical view is seen as such a divine action if that council doesn’t enjoy the state of being the one true church. For it should inherently also have authority that is greater than the meeting of fallible minds.
    Authority is not dervived from scripture, because scripture first of all doesn’t choose itself in order that it can knight its rightful owners. Authority comes first and that is a fact consistant with the record within the scriptures.

    Again, I’m certain you will eventually grasp this.
    I was a little fearful when I was confronted with all of this, but when you see the church as a way to get the graces one needs to reach heaven, you will be relieved that God actually gave is much more than the scriptures. He has given is Himself.

    Pray you keep asking questions!

    God bless you!
    Susan

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  186. Susan,

    From your point of view their is no way to settle doctries that are in dispute.

    But this isn’t true. Councils settle doctrines that are in dispute. The fact that not everyone submits to them doesn’t make the dispute unsettled anymore than it does when RCs dissent.

    If the OPC or PCA gathers and decides that paedocommunion is contrary to Scripture, the dispute has been settled for that church. If people want to leave for a body that believes otherwise, that’s their business. It’s a free country, and in the West we’ve all basically agreed that freedom of religion is the way to go. Even Rome basically agrees now.

    The only question for the OPC and PCA is whether to regard other churches that practice paedocommunion as true churches. As far as I know, neither denomination will say the paedocommunion-practicing church is automatically not a church. They might have concerns about the long term health of the church, but that doesn’t mean they say “nope, other church can’t be a real church.”

    In the future, the OPC and a paedocommunion practicing church could decide to establish official relations with each other. That could be anything from fraternal relations all the way to reunifying into a new denomination after a council in which the matter is discussed. Something like that happened with the PCA and the RPCES, not over paedocommunion but over other issues. Nobody needed an infallible declaration for it to work.

    So one of the big issues I have is what in the world do you all expect in a world where the state does not possess the sword? Why is the above not enough? Why must we have infallible and pronounce everyone who disagrees with us as automatically not being a true Christian church? From this Protestant’s point of view, it looks an awful lot like pride and self-aggrandizement on Rome’s part. If Rome’s claims weren’t bound up with a whole lot of tragic history consisting of corrupt popes, doctrinal waffling, and a willingness to use the sword to punish dissent, maybe you all would have a better argument. But as it is, this demand for unity based around an infallible Magisterium just looks like sheer arrogance. Maybe I’m wrong, but the history is just so muddy and the church’s understanding of itself in the NT and the earliest centuries so different from what you all say it should be that I just can’t see the point. And in the spirit of good old American pragmatism, it just doesn’t work. A far greater percentage of your laity is in open defiance of the Magisterium than in any evangelical denomination that I know of. In fact, you are more likely to find an evangelical who thinks Rome is right on the key moral issues than you are to find a Roman Catholic.

    Why do such disconnects not seem to bother any of you?

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  187. Robert,
    “So honestly, I’m trying to fit this all together. How did Susan Vader in the 2nd century have the warrant to give the assent of faith to the deity of Christ when there’s no clear way for it to have been infallibly declared or recognized.”

    There’s a great probability that Susan Vader of the 12nd century didn’t even know how to read if she could get her hands on a copy of a few pages of the codexes!! 🙂
    So I would have asked If this Jesus guy really did claim to be God and if he did really die on a Roman cross and rose again from the dead. Knowing me, I would have asked how does this coincide with Judaism( if I were Kew or Gentile), because I would really want to know how the crucifixion had anything to do with the Passover. I would want to know many things more if someone told me about the stories in the gospels( like the multiplication of bread and fish, the healings, the story about people leaving Jesus when he scared them with his talk of canabalism and why he was born in a city that meant “bread” and was laid in a manger( a word that means “to eat” in French.)Man I would have thought the stories were to conveniently constructed appearing myth like if there didnt still exist the church that claims to come directly from the Messiah.
    I believe that somebody with authority from God would have explained everything that has been revealed.If nothing can be known with certainty than nothing has been revealed.

    Okay, I’m done!

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  188. That was autocorrect. I said of the 2nd century.

    Btw, from how you talk you want the Catholic Church to say that is is just another denomination and that there isn’t really any such thing as apostolic succession. But there it is in reality and in the written record of history.
    One minute you beat it up for what it has done bad in history and the next minute the thing you attack is a chimera.
    Do you want a historical revision AND for her to suddenly claim that she too was founded in the 1500’s?

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  189. D. G. Hart
    Posted November 21, 2015 at 10:20 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, embarrassing. As if RC’s didn’t talk about Pope Francis’ visit.

    You realize now that your response here is what’s embarrassing, yes, Dr. Hart? You talk more about the pope than Catholics do. Non-Catholics were actually moved to talk about Francis’s mission to America even more that the Catholics were.

    That was the whole point. It was a missionary act, not a rallying of the troops. Dude.

    If you ever want to play in the major leagues instead of inside your tiny Orthodox Presbyterian Church [nice to hear you would have acquitted Dr. Terry Gray on evolution, for all the good it did him], take on Dr. Edward Feser face to face or even within the friendly confines of your own little blog here, tough guy, on your favorite subject.

    http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2015/11/papal-fallibility.html

    Cowboy up. Protestant up, Calvin up, Presbyterian up. You’re all about confrontation, Darryl. Confront.

    Methinks you’re begging for a smackdown ala Billy Bob Thornton in “The Apostle,” Darryl. You can try your luck with Feser, but you’re not in his intellectual league. Which is OK—neither am I.

    The Little Mermaid is your Apostle E.F. She understands you completely. and after you assault her, she punches you to the ground not out of anger but out of mercy.

    Sister Susan and James Young minister to the rest of your wounded flock.

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  190. D. G. Hart
    Posted November 21, 2015 at 10:25 pm | Permalink
    “For those who came in late, this is Augustine, of course. Forget waging war on some unofficial Catholic website. [Badly, let’s add.] It’s all here.”

    “[T]here are many other things which most properly can keep me in [the Catholic Church’s] bosom. The unanimity of peoples and nations keeps me here. Her authority, inaugurated in miracles, nourished by hope, augmented by love, and confirmed by her age, keeps me here. [vd, t does.] The succession of priests, from the very see of the Apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after his resurrection, gave the charge of feeding his sheep [John 21:15-17], up to the present episcopate, keeps me here. [Papal infallibility does.] And last, the very name Catholic, which, not without reason, belongs to this Church alone, in the face of so many heretics, so much so that, although all heretics want to be called ‘Catholic,’ when a stranger inquires where the Catholic Church meets, none of the heretics would dare to point out his own basilica or house. [That artwork in the Vatican museums is great.]” (Against the Letter of Mani Called ‘The Foundation’ 4:5 [A.D. 397]).

    Awesome, big guy. Now we’re getting somewhere. Mock Augustine [with your parentheticals] all you want. He is beyond our poor power to add or detract.

    The truth outs; our time is not wasted here. You would not dare point at your basilica or house and dare to call it “catholic.” Not even you could bear the humiliation.

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  191. Hi, Susan,

    There’s a great probability that Susan Vader of the 2nd century didn’t even know how to read if she could get her hands on a copy of a few pages of the codexes!! 🙂

    Your ability to read doesn’t have any bearing on my question.

    I believe that somebody with authority from God would have explained everything that has been revealed.If nothing can be known with certainty than nothing has been revealed.

    Okay, but not everything that is explained by somebody with authority from God is infallible. That is what CVD has said, and that is what Rome holds. So if said somebody explains things but never says, “And by the way, this is infallible,” how do you know it’s infallible and you have warrant for faith?

    Furthermore, at various points in the early church, you could find various churches with Apostolic succession teaching what would later be declared heretical. If Constantinople is your parish, how do you know Nestorianism is heresy and not infallible dogma before Chalcedon.

    Read/taught in the liturgy, it seems, isn’t going to be enough because not everything taught in the liturgy was infallible. Scripture isn’t going to be enough because you all have said there is no warrant to believe X book is Scripture unless there is an infallible canon declaration. You don’t have that before NIcea. Given all that, I think there are really only three possible answers to the question:

    1. Nobody had warrant to believe in the deity of Christ before Nicea.
    2. Orthodoxy is somehow self-authenticating.
    3. One can have warrant/certitude of faith apart from infallibility.

    All of those options are damaging, if not fatal to the particular CTC argument we keep hearing. Numbers 2 and 3 concede the Protestant position. Number 1 has the church teaching stuff that no one has warrant to believe.

    Btw, from how you talk you want the Catholic Church to say that is is just another denomination

    It is just another denomination.

    and that there isn’t really any such thing as apostolic succession. But there it is in reality and in the written record of history.

    I agree that there is such a thing as dogma of Apostolic Succession. Where I disagree is that such a dogma is in the New Testament or prior to Irenaeus. And even with Irenaeus, you don’t get the full-blown idea of AS.

    You don’t have things like Peter, right before he dies, laying his hands on Linus and saying, “You’re pope now.” The idea of the monarchical episcopate isn’t there. Roman Catholic historians now concede this.

    One minute you beat it up for what it has done bad in history and the next minute the thing you attack is a chimera.

    The problems with AS vary depending on the system. Rome’s is the worst because of papal jurisdictional primacy. The East’s is only slightly better, but the appointment of bishops by secular governments is extremely problematic. While I disagree with the Anglican and Lutheran models as the best representation of Scripture, I don’t think they’re views of AS inevitably lead to problems.

    Do you want a historical revision AND for her to suddenly claim that she too was founded in the 1500’s?

    Until Rome formally disassociates herself from Protestantism at Trent, there is no real RCC. If you want to accept that Protestantism goes back to the first century AD, then I would have no problem saying the same for Rome. The problem is the selectivity. You have a Western Church that goes back to the first century that is full of various streams of thought. Roman Catholicism represents the consolidation of some streams and the rejection of others, just as Protestantism represents the same.

    IOW, John Calvin and Martin Luther have an equally credible claim to the great tradition as Rome does.

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  192. Susan, “The Catholic Church has never claimed that the scriptures were its sole rul of.faith”

    So Christianity is not a revealed religion? You think we can create what we think is true about God instead of relying on what God has revealed?

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  193. vd, t, has it ever dawned on you that the folks with the authority to teach what papal infallibility means don’t do it? And why should you elevate Feser’s explanation? He’s not even a bishop. I mean, if you have such a great mechanism for teaching THE TRUTH (plus the good and the beautiful), why are the faithful so confused? And why does it take convert apologists to straighten it out? Maybe because the bishops have moved on. You know, aggiornamento.

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  194. Mermaid, true, good, beauty. Can you handle true?

    The Vatican actually has had scandals.
    The Vatican has a history that lends plausibility to the conspiracy lens, and we don’t have to go back to the Middle Ages and the handful of pontiffs believed to have been murdered by rivals to make the point.

    One can start in the 1970s, when the Institute for the Works of Religion, better known as the Vatican bank, got involved with a couple of mobbed-up bankers and ended up with its president, the late US Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, dodging an arrest warrant and the Vatican paying $224 million to compensate creditors.

    Closer in time, there’s Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, a former Vatican accountant arrested in 2013 in a cash-smuggling scheme worthy of a John le Carré novel. There’s also the Vatican’s slow, and often less than candid, response to the Church’s sexual abuse crisis.

    Stop generating actual scandals, and people may be less inclined to see imagined ones everywhere.

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  195. Ali: (was it this post, can’t remember?) cw l’unificateur: Ali, listen to how Darryl McMeaniepants is kind and laudatory to a certain type of piety which is wedded to a solid ecclesiology and the ordinary means of grace: http://reformedforum.org/ctc412 Ali: Listened to some of this as promised cw, to halfway-just offer one comment – I don’t believe ‘conversion’=sanctification

    ‘course,cw, that’s not to say that from that dawn ‘til the dusk, we are not ever waking up

    2 Peter 1:19 So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.

    song for you today cw – don’t forget, for this day, surrender =freedom  :)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jb5zQv9kXW4

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  196. D.G.: Ali, I’m shocked. Since you quote the Bible so much why do advocate non-inspired songs? I’d have pegged you an exclusive psalmodist.

    You’re welcome DG – I had a feeling you would like that as much as cw always does!

    non-inspired? – it seems very inspired to me.

    Hope you enjoyed it and are encouraged that the day has dawned and the morning star is ever rising in our hearts until that day…
    Rev 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying,“Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.10 “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”

    Oh, and don’t forget… today’s surrender is tomorrow’s freedom, even though tomorrow will then be a…. Monday

    [it didn’t actually link in the above.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jb5zQv9kXW4 ]

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  197. 🙂 aw cw

    ,,,and ‘course there are others who need other encouragement…
    …take up your cross and carry it on.. not our will but yours be done…

    Revelation 3:1: “To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. 3 So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.

    love u guys. take care. have a great day.

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  198. Robert,

    Here’s your options with Aquinas and Augustine. Show the citations I presented are dissimilar and contradictory to the type of points I’ve been raising (this would seem difficult, considering you’ve repeatedly criticized Aquinas’ statements on faith and holding things of faith otherwise than by faith and say things like “Augustine is just one guy’s opinion”),
    or simply assert Aquinas and Augustine were wrong and had some intellectual cognitive dissonance going on where they weren’t actually adhering to the points they were making. You can’t simultaneously claim they weren’t fideists while also also asserting the type of arguments they and I advance entails they are fideists.

    “I’m still trying to figure out where Trent got the idea that the Reformers were antinomians.”

    Here we go again – only confessional Protestants are true Protestants, therefore Rome must only respond to confessional Protestants when responding to Protestantism. Antinomians were all over the place in the Reformation and still are – welcome to Protestantism.

    “So, before a definition is given, how do we know what is infallible and what isn’t”

    You’re still treating the STM-triad as “official infallible list of official infallible teachings”.

    “The only way I can see that you can justify something as infallible apart from a dogmatic declaration is by attributing some kind of self-authentication to it.”

    Tradition is not a “dogmatic declaration”. You want to affirm Scripture self-authenticates? Great – so you should follow the RCC canon then. Also, get rid of all the asterisks in your bible and tell all those textual critics “sorry guys, your jobs are done – didn’t you realize Scripture self-authenticates?” Or maybe this is another case where the books self-authenticate but the contents of those books don’t, since the contents are “irrelevant” and “secondary” to the canon.

    “The church taught Arianism”

    Rome never taught Arianism. That’s part of the point. If the universal church was teaching and practicing Arianism, it would be rather hard for there to have been a controversy and long battle about it then in the first place, wouldn’t it – the disputes and council would never have arisen and materialized in the first place.

    “But if orthodoxy is self-authenticating, welcome to Protestantism.”

    Orthodoxy is self-authenticating? What does this even mean? A Pelagian Arian universalist Word-of-Faither who holds the deuterocanonicals as inspired, rejects some books of the NT, and considers the historicity of the OT/NT as false but rather just metaphor while also affirming abortion and homosexuality comes to you and says “My beliefs are orthodox and self-authenticating”. Are you just going to say “No, you don’t have the HS. I do. My orthodoxy self-authenticates and you’re unorthodox, so it doesn’t self-authenticate”.

    And even if we grant everything you want to grant Protestantism – anything you want to claim for it at all – we still don’t get divine revelation. We never get irreformable doctrine or binding normative teachings and judgments on all. And you freely admit that, being consistent with your confessions. Aquinas, Augustine, and RCs would never admit that, being consistent with Rome’s claims.

    As to Arian bishops, yes they existed, but as I said Rome never taught such. From the earlier link: “Arius (c.256-336), the heresiarch, was based in Alexandria and died in Constantinople. In a Council at Antioch in 341, the majority of 97 Eastern bishops subscribed to a form of semi-Arianism, whereas in a Council at Rome in the same year, under Pope Julius I, the trinitarian St. Athanasius was vindicated by over 50 Italian bishops. The western-dominated Council of Sardica (Sofia) in 343 again upheld Athanasius’ orthodoxy, whereas the eastern Council of Sirmium in 351 espoused Arianism, which in turn was rejected by the western Councils of Arles (353) and Milan (355)”
    and “All three of the great Eastern sees were under the jurisdiction of heretical patriarchs simultaneously during five different periods: 357-60 (Arian)”

    If the best you can do is say an exiled pope signed a confession under torture and duress, therefore Rome taught Arianism, I’ll just let that speak for itself. As Cath Ency states on Liberius:
    “Liberius, it is alleged, subscribed an Arian or Semi-Arian creed drawn up by the Council of Sirmium and anathematized St. Athanasius, the great champion of Nicaea, as a heretic. But even if this were an accurate statement of historical fact, it is a very inadequate statement. The all-important circumstance should be added that the pope so acted under pressure of a very cruel coercion, which at once deprives his action of any claim to be considered ex cathedra, and that he himself, as soon as he had recovered his liberty, made amends for the moral weakness he had been guilty of. This is a quite satisfactory answer to the objection, but it ought to be added that there is no evidence whatever that Liberius ever anathematized St. Athanasius expressly as a heretic, and that it remains a moot point which of three or four Sirmian creeds he subscribed, two of which contained no positive assertion of heretical doctrine and were defective merely for the negative reason that they failed to insist on the full definition of Nicaea.”

    Liberius pre-exile:
    “There followed a kind of persecution at Rome. Bishops, says St. Athanasius, and pious ladies were obliged to hide, monks were not safe, foreigners were expelled, the gates and the port were watched … Liberius was dragged before the emperor at Milan. He spoke boldly, bidding Constantius cease fighting against God, and declaring his readiness to go at once into exile before his enemies had time to trump up charges against him. Theodoret has preserved the minutes of an interview between “the glorious Liberius” and Constantius, which were taken down by good people, he says, at the time. Liberius refuses to acknowledge the decision of the Council of Tyre and to renounce Athanasius … “Who are you”, adds Constantius, “to stand up for Athanasius against the world?” Liberius replies: “Of old there were found but three to resist the mandate of the king.” The eunuch Eusebius cried: “You compare the emperor to Nabuchodonosor.” Liberius: “No, but you condemn the innocent.” He demands that all shall subscribe the Nicene formula, then the exiles must be restored, and all the bishops must assemble at Alexandria to give Athanasius a fair trial on the spot.
    Epictus: “But the public conveyances will not be enough to carry so many.”
    Liberius: “They will not be needed; the ecclesiastics are rich enough to send their bishops as far as the sea.”
    Constantius: “General synods must not be too numerous; you alone hold out against the judgment of the whole world. He has injured all, and me above all; not content with the murder of my eldest brother, he set Constans also against me. I should prize a victory over him more than one over Silvanus or Magnentius.”
    Liberius: “Do not employ bishops, whose hands are meant to bless, to revenge your own enmity. Have the bishops restored and, if they agree with the Nicene Faith, let them consult as to the peace of the world, that an innocent man be not condemned.”
    Constantius: “I am willing to send you back to Rome, if you will join the communion of the Church. Make peace, and sign the condemnation.”
    Liberius: “I have already bidden farewell at Rome to the brethren. The laws of the Church are more important than residence in Rome.”

    “the uncompromising attitude of Liberius through at least the greater part of his banishment must have done more harm to the cause the emperor had at heart than his constancy had done when left at Rome in peace.”

    “Theodoret says that Constantius was moved by the Roman matrons to restore him, but when his letter to Rome, saying that Liberius and Felix [the Arian antipope] were to be bishops side by side, was read in the circus, the Romans jeered at it, and filled the air with cries of “One God, one Christ, one bishop”. The Arian historian Philostorgius also speaks of the Romans having eagerly demanded the return of their pope, and so does Rufinus. St. Sulpicius Severus, on the other hand, gives the cause as seditions at Rome, and Sozomen agrees. Socrates is more precise, and declares that the Romans rose against Felix and drove him out, and that the emperor was obliged to acquiesce.”

    All this opposition in Rome to an Arian antipope. Strange if Rome was Arian.

    Post-exile:
    “It was clearly not supposed that he had been conquered by Constantius. There is no sign of his ever having admitted that he had fallen. In 359 were held the simultaneous Councils of Seleucia and Rimini. At the latter, where most of the bishops were orthodox, the pressure and delay, and the underhand machinations of the court party entrapped the bishops into error. The pope was not there, nor did he send legates. After the council his disapproval was soon known, and after the death of Constantius at the end of 361 he was able publicly to annul it, and to decide, much as a council under Athanasius at Alexandria decided, that the bishops who had fallen could be restored on condition of their proving the sincerity of their repentance by their zeal against the Arians. About 366 he received a deputation of the Semi-Arians led by Eustathius; he treated them first as Arians (which he could not have done had he ever joined them), and insisted on their accepting the Nicene formula before he would receive them to communion.”

    “It should be carefully noted that the question of the fall of Liberius is one that has been and can be freely debated among Catholics. No one pretends that, if Liberius signed the most Arian formulæ in exile, he did it freely; so that no question of his infallibility is involved. It is admitted on all sides that his noble attitude of resistance before his exile and during his exile was not belied by any act of his after his return, that he was in no way sullied when so many failed at the Council of Rimini, and that he acted vigorously for the healing of orthodoxy throughout the West from the grievous wound.”

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  199. D. G. Hart
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 8:20 am | Permalink
    vd, t, has it ever dawned on you that the folks with the authority to teach what papal infallibility means don’t do it? And why should you elevate Feser’s explanation? He’s not even a bishop. I mean, if you have such a great mechanism for teaching THE TRUTH (plus the good and the beautiful), why are the faithful so confused? And why does it take convert apologists to straighten it out? Maybe because the bishops have moved on. You know, aggiornamento.

    Why don’t you learn THE TRUTH and stop being the David Barton of anti-Catholicism? Mt 18:6

    http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2015/11/papal-fallibility.html

    Like

  200. Robert
    Posted November 21, 2015 at 9:05 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    It’s about the Eucharist and the sacraments.

    Bingo. But CVD and the CTC guys want to make it all about the “principled way” of settling dogmatic questions.

    Well, the whole point of calling these councils is the necessity of dealing with the plethora of heresies and confusions over the centuries–with the authority of the Church. Otherwise you get, well, Protestantism, dozens or 100s of different and conflicting truths and churches, all provisional and “fallible.”

    “But in regard to those observances which we carefully attend and which the whole world keeps, and which derive not from Scripture but from Tradition, we are given to understand that they are recommended and ordained to be kept, either by the Apostles themselves or by plenary [ecumenical] councils, the authority of which is quite vital in the Church” (Letter to Januarius [A.D. 400]).

    Now, if you don’t buy that, let’s dispense with the fiction that yours is the same Church as Augustine’s and just be honest about it.

    Like

  201. Darryl,

    “your church has moved way beyond that.”

    Is this where you evaluate the “church” by reading NCR journalists?

    “And then he tells us that non-provisional non-tentative doctrines develop. But they remains non-provision non-tentative.”

    Yep, more not actually wanting to understand the RC position. Another thing for your fridge “Doctrine develops, when it does, it doesn’t contradict what it developed upon”. No such guarantee in Protestantism – semper reformanda.

    “It is not the canon.”

    The canon is divine revelation now? Anyways, the teaching of the canon is and remains provisional and tentative in your system.

    “Just look at the catechism. No wait. Remember STM.”

    The catechism that teaches STM?

    “You do know that lots of Roman Catholics do look at Vat II as modernist”

    Yup. I also know lots of RCs who view it with a hermeneutic of continuity. Some guy at Vat2 who later became pope said something about that.

    “I repeat the objections of Boniface at Unam Sanctam. Like we’re supposed to take your word for all of the “soundness” of Rome? What don’t you understand about “pay grade”?”

    So why do you take Boniface’s word? Is he at an appropriate pay grade? What about those Catholic Answers forum participants or the NCR journalists? Are they at the right pay grade?

    “Tell me how it is divine revelation.”

    It reflects divine revelation. It is dogma. It is irreformable. It is not new revelation.

    “Me — my mind on Bible.”

    My mind on errant Bible. My mind on gnostic gospels. My mind on Book of Mormon. I’m sure you find such rejoinders convincing in disputes.

    “The Catholic Church has never claimed that the scriptures were its sole rul of.faith”
    – So Christianity is not a revealed religion?”

    What in the world. Non sequiturs are strong with this one.

    “vd, t, has it ever dawned on you that the folks with the authority to teach what papal infallibility means don’t do it? And why should you elevate Feser’s explanation?”

    But we should accept some dude on catholic answers forums equating Newman with modernism, or Boniface, or some journalist. And Feser’s explanation cited … popes, councils, cardinals, and theologians. Nothing can meet your demand apparently.

    Like

  202. Jeff,

    “There absolutely is such a mechanism. The Bible is identified as irreformable doctrine.”

    In WCF? The same WCF that makes explicit disclaimers to the authority and ability to do so?

    And why are you now offering this as an irreformable doctrine when earlier I asked you to offer such given you asserted Protestantism claimed the ability, and you replied “It’s hard to answer your question”?

    “The mechanism is the universal consent of the church.”

    And what counts as the “church”? This is just question begging.

    “Somehow, you work that out to mean that the Bible itself is fallible in the Protestant system, which is a false statement of the position.”

    The teaching that divine revelation exists, it is confined to writing alone, this writing is inspired and inerrant, this writing is limited to the books in the Protestant canon, this writing is the sole ultimate authority, this writing is perspicuous and doctrine is to be drawn from ghm exegesis, and there is no further revelation are all fallible teachings in the Protestant system. They are, as has been repeatedly said by all on your side, provisional in principle and always shall be, being consistent with the claims of your system.

    “As to Paul, he was careful to distinguish his own words from the Lord’s.”

    Of course he was. And when he offered the Lord’s words, did he offer them tentatively and “this is probably right, but might be wrong”, or as irreformable divine revelation?

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  203. James Young, “even if we grant everything you want to grant Protestantism – anything you want to claim for it at all – we still don’t get divine revelation”

    And what do you get with post-Vat 2 Roman Catholicism. Irreformable becomes development. Anathemas become what dissenters choose. Rejection of modernity becomes aggiornamento.

    Sorry, but the claims you make for Rome make a lot more sense if you’re a rad-trad or an SSPXer. Otherwise, like I say, your church has moved on and left you holding — way above your pay grade — the infallible bag.

    We notice. Yup.

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  204. D. G. Hart
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 5:18 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, Feser is not ordained. Why don’t you learn the sacraments of Rome?

    CVD got your number. You must think your fans are stupid. Perhaps you’re right.

    “vd, t, has it ever dawned on you that the folks with the authority to teach what papal infallibility means don’t do it? And why should you elevate Feser’s explanation?”

    But we should accept some dude on catholic answers forums equating Newman with modernism, or Boniface, or some journalist. And Feser’s explanation cited … popes, councils, cardinals, and theologians. Nothing can meet your demand apparently.

    This was not posted for you, you know, Dr. Hart, but for those interested in the truth.

    http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2015/11/papal-fallibility.html

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  205. James Young, “No such guarantee in Protestantism – semper reformanda.”

    Protestantism’s problems don’t vindicate your church — especially when all we get from you on your church’s problems (like bishops covering for child molesters) is shrug.

    Which catechism teaches STM? It doesn’t look like Baltimore or the Roman Catechism do.

    I don’t take Boniface’s word. I point out that you need to explain how your presentation of Roman Catholic doctrine is right and Boniface is wrong. (Sort of feels like being Protestant? Yup.)

    Right, the creed is not canon. Yup.

    Boniface is not some dude on Catholic Answers. Nor is Ross Douthat. And you’ve yet to respond to their criticisms. We notice that you are not infallible, pope, bishop, priest, or ordained. We also notice that you spend a lot more time on infallibility than the pope does. Climate Change? Yup. Cool? Nope. Warmer.

    BTW, lots of folks at your paygrade are also trying to figure out Ratzinger and B16 on hermeneutics of continuity and reform. None of the bishops seem to care.

    Get up to speed.

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  206. James Young, “And what counts as the “church”? This is just question begging.”

    So is it question begging to say that you are right and Boniface is just another guy.

    Isn’t it fun having so many interpretations of irreformable dogma? Yup.

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  207. JRC: “There absolutely is such a mechanism. The Bible is identified as irreformable doctrine.”

    CVD: In WCF?

    Yes.

    CVD: The same WCF that makes explicit disclaimers to the authority and ability to do so?

    Yes again. Now at last you understand!

    CVD: And why are you now offering this as an irreformable doctrine…

    Vague. What “this” do you mean? The Bible? Irreformable doctrine. The WCF? Not irreformable doctrine.

    The WCF makes a fallible identification of the body of irreformable doctrine. Since we have already agreed that this is epistemologically acceptable, then there should be no problem.

    JRC: “The mechanism is the universal consent of the church.”

    CVD: And what counts as the “church”? This is just question begging.

    I’m sorry, what question did I beg? The boundaries of the church prior to 1054 are easy to discern. The books that were universally accepted by that church as Scripture are the ones in view.

    CVD: The teaching that divine revelation exists, it is confined to writing alone, this writing is inspired and inerrant, this writing is limited to the books in the Protestant canon, this writing is the sole ultimate authority, this writing is perspicuous and doctrine is to be drawn from ghm exegesis, and there is no further revelation are all fallible teachings in the Protestant system. They are, as has been repeatedly said by all on your side, provisional in principle and always shall be, being consistent with the claims of your system.

    Yes, pretty much. And this is not actually a problem if you are evaluating the Protestant system according to the Protestant system.

    But you are having difficulty sticking to that plan (evaluating each system according to its own lights) because your real project is to try to show that the Catholic system is superior to the Protestant. Accordingly, you keep evaluating the Catholic system according to the Catholic system, and the Protestant system according to the Catholic system.

    So you keep on being incredulous that Protestants affirm that the boundaries of the canon are not infallible, or that Protestants affirm that the WCF is not infallible. It seems contradictory to you because you have certain Catholic axioms as your standard of measure.

    And this is not surprising. If we really want to be faithful to the project to evaluate each system according to its own principles, then we must either (a) be consistent relativists (no thank you!) or (b) adopt some kind of measure by which we test each system to see which leaves in an “epistemologically better position.”

    Given that we mutually reject (a), now what candidate would we both accept for (b)? You’ve never really laid that out, and I think that’s probably because you’ve not really reflected on the fact that you have assumed Catholic axioms for your evaluation standard.

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  208. D. G. Hart:Ali, go squishy on inspiration and next you’ll find popes infallible.

    yes, thanks. I consider it a blessing and a gift to be convinced of the ‘solas’ because that results in
    soli Deo Gloria – our life’s goal.

    And btw, I am unaware of your Biblical warrant for exclusive psalmody, but if you point me to it, I would look at it.

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  209. Jeff Cagle
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    JRC: “The mechanism is the universal consent of the church.”

    CVD: And what counts as the “church”? This is just question begging.

    I’m sorry, what question did I beg? The boundaries of the church prior to 1054 are easy to discern.

    They do not include Martin Luther or John Calvin. To give their churches equal standing with the apostolic succession and sacraments of the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church certainly does beg the question, that all sects and theologies are equal.

    The books that were universally accepted by that church as Scripture are the ones in view.

    They do include [according to Augustine]

    “The whole canon of the Scriptures, however, in which we say that consideration is to be applied, is contained in these books: the five of Moses . . . and one book of Joshua [Son of] Nave, one of Judges; one little book which is called Ruth . . . then the four of Kingdoms, and the two of Paralipomenon . . . . [T]here are also others too, of a different order . . . such as Job and Tobit and Esther and Judith and the two books of Maccabees, and the two of Esdras . . . . Then there are the Prophets, in which there is one book of the Psalms of David, and three of Solomon. . . . But as to those two books, one of which is entitled Wisdom and the other of which is entitled Ecclesiasticus and which are called `of Solomon’ because of a certain similarity to his books, it is held most certainly that they were written by Jesus Sirach. They must, however, be accounted among the prophetic books, because of the authority which is deservedly accredited to them” (Christian Instruction 2:8:13 [A.D. 397]).

    Your version of Christianity disputes a number of these books. By what authority? You do not say. You cannot say. Even your Bible–the “sole” authority–is all just a matter of opinion.

    “We read in the books of the Maccabees [2 Macc. 12:43] that sacrifice was offered for the dead. But even if it were found nowhere in the Old Testament writings, the authority of the Catholic Church which is clear on this point is of no small weight, where in the prayers of the priest poured forth to the Lord God at his altar the commendation of the dead has its place…” (The Care to be Had for the Dead 1:3 [A.D. 421]).

    You reject that authority–the very concept of such authority. So let’s be clear, yours is not the same Church as Augustine’s. To claim that it is “begs the question,” that is, it assumes as given what it needs to prove.

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  210. Cletus,

    Here’s your options with Aquinas and Augustine. Show the citations I presented are dissimilar and contradictory to the type of points I’ve been raising (this would seem difficult, considering you’ve repeatedly criticized Aquinas’ statements on faith and holding things of faith otherwise than by faith and say things like “Augustine is just one guy’s opinion”),
    or simply assert Aquinas and Augustine were wrong and had some intellectual cognitive dissonance going on where they weren’t actually adhering to the points they were making. You can’t simultaneously claim they weren’t fideists while also also asserting the type of arguments they and I advance entails they are fideists.

    If Aquinas and Augustine make the same arguments as you, then how does anyone in a non-fideistic manner hold to the deity of Christ prior to Nicea. It’s a simple question. You’ve said an infallible arbiter is necessary, but there’s no arbitration before Nicea. Some churches with Apostolic Succession teach Arianism or another Christological heresy. Some do not. How do the faithful know what is correct?

    Here we go again – only confessional Protestants are true Protestants, therefore Rome must only respond to confessional Protestants when responding to Protestantism. Antinomians were all over the place in the Reformation and still are – welcome to Protestantism.

    In other words, you don’t know how your infallible church figured that Luther and Calvin were antinomians either.

    You’re still treating the STM-triad as “official infallible list of official infallible teachings”.

    You can’t come down on “but you guys have no infallible dogma” and then stress that STM is magically perspicuous when many churches with equally valid Apostolic Succession teach different things based on the same STM.

    So, how does John Doe Christian in the 2nd century AD attending a parish wherein the deity of Christ is denied know that he simply cannot put faith in that dogma? I don’t see how the common teaching of the church is the answer—the only common teaching he knows is the teaching of his parish, and there are people who are decidedly unorthodox or who will later be condemned as heretics (Origen). I don’t see how Scripture can be the answer because you won’t let Protestants go there without an infallible canon declaration and there was nothing like that before Nicea.

    So what is left to the 2nd century RC to either know that the deity of Christ is true by faith or that the teaching that Christ isn’t God is false by faith????

    You want to affirm Scripture self-authenticates? Great – so you should follow the RCC canon then. Also, get rid of all the asterisks in your bible and tell all those textual critics “sorry guys, your jobs are done – didn’t you realize Scripture self-authenticates?” Or maybe this is another case where the books self-authenticate but the contents of those books don’t, since the contents are “irrelevant” and “secondary” to the canon.

    Self-authentication doesn’t work apart from history and the text itself. I’m not a fideist or a bosom burning Mormon. Quit reading Bryan Cross.

    Rome never taught Arianism. That’s part of the point. If the universal church was teaching and practicing Arianism, it would be rather hard for there to have been a controversy and long battle about it then in the first place, wouldn’t it – the disputes and council would never have arisen and materialized in the first place.

    Fine. But the fact is that vast swaths of it did, and so now tell me how anyone before Nicea knew that Arianism was false in a non-fideistic way. There’s been no settling of the question in a conciliar manner. Many churches with valid apostolic succession are teaching it. In fact, it is so disputed that the controversy isn’t put down and a council becomes necessary. So, how did anyone prior to Nicea hold to the deity of Christ in a non-fideistic manner?

    Orthodoxy is self-authenticating? What does this even mean?

    Simply that the Holy Spirit confirms in the hearts of His people that they have understood the faith correctly. You’re acting like this is crazy, but then you want to stress that the Assumption declaration didn’t come out of nowhere. But that’s only possible if you adhere to the Assumption being self-authenticating in some way, otherwise, every single RC before the twentieth century was a sheer fideist on this matter.

    A Pelagian Arian universalist Word-of-Faither who holds the deuterocanonicals as inspired, rejects some books of the NT, and considers the historicity of the OT/NT as false but rather just metaphor while also affirming abortion and homosexuality comes to you and says “My beliefs are orthodox and self-authenticating”. Are you just going to say “No, you don’t have the HS. I do. My orthodoxy self-authenticates and you’re unorthodox, so it doesn’t self-authenticate”.

    Self-authentication does not go against the original meaning of Scripture. It’s one of the reasons why so many Roman Catholic doctrines are false. But if you can’t allow for the Bible to speak clearly, then you can’t allow for Rome to speak clearly, and abortion is an act that will make you a saint.

    And even if we grant everything you want to grant Protestantism – anything you want to claim for it at all – we still don’t get divine revelation.

    But the church is not an organ of ongoing revelation in Protestantism like it is in Roman Catholicism. So that’s no flaw.

    As to Arian bishops, yes they existed, but as I said Rome never taught such.

    But if the pope is so important, his signing of an Arian confession is irrelevant? So the pope is infallible except when he’s not?

    But fine. That still doesn’t explain how anyone can hold to the deity of Christ non-fideistically before Nicea. There’s no declaration. You can’t point to Scripture because there’s no canon declaration. The common faith in the deity of Christ isn’t quite so common if you have Arian bishops. So, how does John Doe 2nd Century Christian believe in the deity of Christ without being a fideist?

    If the best you can do is say an exiled pope signed a confession under torture and duress, therefore Rome taught Arianism,

    Blah, blah, no ex cathedra. Could you kindly give a statement of belief to the effect that the pope is only infallible ex cathedra prior to Nicea?

    All this opposition in Rome to an Arian antipope. Strange if Rome was Arian.

    At the point of signing the confession, Liberius was an Arian. Or at least he was too much of a coward to stand for orthodoxy.

    Oh, and you need to get the apologetic ready to vindicate Honorious.

    But in any case, those other examples are really beside the point. Here are the facts

    In the pre-Nicea situation:

    1. There is no infallible canon declaration, so you can’t say people know the deity of Christ by Scripture unless you grant Protestants are able to say that without being fideists.
    2. There are Apostolic sees that deny the deity of Christ, so you don’t really have the common witness of the church. So no unified S or M.

    How does John Doe 2nd century Christian believe in the deity of Christ without being a fideist?

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  211. Tom

    We agree that the testimony of the catholic church is of no small weight. We simply deny that it is correct just because it says so.

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  212. Your argument is hard to follow, Tom.

    I said “universal consent of the church”, and you reply with a list of books by one doctor of the church? What happens if others did not consent to his list? Are you claiming that Augustine’s list was universal?

    What do Calvin and Luther have to do with this? I clearly indicated that the boundaries of the church prior to 1054 are clear. You really don’t think that Calvin and Luther were alive prior to 1054 do you?

    And repeating the phrase “begs the question” is even stranger. What question is being begged?

    And repeating the

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  213. Athanasius:

    4. There are, then, of the Old Testament, twenty-two books in number; for, as I have heard, it is handed down that this is the number of the letters among the Hebrews; their respective order and names being as follows. The first is Genesis, then Exodus, next Leviticus, after that Numbers, and then Deuteronomy. Following these there is Joshua, the son of Nun, then Judges, then Ruth. And again, after these four books of Kings, the first and second being reckoned as one book, and so likewise the third and fourth as one book. And again, the first and second of the Chronicles are reckoned as one book. Again Ezra, the first and second4544 are similarly one book. After these there is the book of Psalms, then the Proverbs, next Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs. Job follows, then the Prophets, the twelve being reckoned as one book. Then Isaiah, one book, then Jeremiah with Baruch, Lamentations, and4545 the epistle, one book; afterwards, Ezekiel and Daniel, each one book. Thus far constitutes the Old Testament.
    5. Again it is not tedious to speak of the [books] of the New Testament. These are, the four Gospels, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Afterwards, the Acts of the Apostles and Epistles (called Catholic), seven, viz. of James, one; of Peter, two; of John, three; after these, one of Jude. In addition, there are fourteen Epistles of Paul, written in this order. The first, to the Romans; then two to the Corinthians; after these, to the Galatians; next, to the Ephesians; then to the Philippians; then to the Colossians; after these, two to the Thessalonians, and that to the Hebrews; and again, two to Timothy; one to Titus; and lastly, that to Philemon. And besides, the Revelation of John.

    — Athanasius, Letter 39

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  214. I have this from a secondary source, so I would welcome someone with the primary to confirm/reject it.

    Cardinal Cajetan, “Commentary on All the Authentic Historical Books of the Old Testament” (dedicated to Pope Clement VII ), 1532 AD:

    “Here we close our commentaries on the historical books of the Old Testament. For the rest (that is, Judith, Tobit, and the books of Maccabees) are counted by St Jerome out of the canonical books, and are placed amongst the Apocrypha, along with Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus, as is plain from the Prologus Galeatus. Nor be thou disturbed, like a raw scholar, if thou shouldest find anywhere, either in the sacred councils or the sacred doctors, these books reckoned as canonical. For the words as well of councils as of doctors are to be reduced to the correction of Jerome. Now, according to his judgment, in the epistle to the bishops Chromatius and Heliodorus, these books (and any other like books in the canon of the Bible) are not canonical, that is, not in the nature of a rule for confirming matters of faith. Yet, they may be called canonical, that is, in the nature of a rule for the edification of the faithful, as being received and authorised in the canon of the Bible for that purpose. By the help of this distinction thou mayest see thy way clearly through that which Augustine says, and what is written in the provincial council of Carthage.”

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  215. Cyril of Jerusalem:

    35. Of these read the two and twenty books, but have nothing to do with the apocryphal writings. Study earnestly these only which we read openly in the Church. Far wiser and more pious than thyself were the Apostles, and the bishops of old time, the presidents of the Church who handed down these books. Being therefore a child of the Church, trench 6 thou not upon its statutes. And of the Old Testament, as we have said, study the two and twenty books, which, if thou art desirous of learning, strive to remember by name, as I recite them. For of the Law the books of Moses are the first five, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. And next, Joshua the son of Nave, 7 and the book of Judges, including Ruth, counted as seventh. And of the other historical books, the first and second books of the Kings 8 are among the Hebrews one book; also the third and fourth 8b one book. And in like manner, the first and second of Chronicles are with them one book; and the first and second of Esdras 8c are counted one. Esther is the twelfth book; and these are the Historical writings. But those which are written in verses are five, Job, and the book of Psalms, and Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs, which is the seventeenth book. And after these come the five Prophetic books: of the Twelve Prophets one book, of Isaiah one, of Jeremiah one, including Baruch and Lamentations and the Epistle; 9 then Ezekiel, and the Book of Daniel, the twenty-second of the Old Testament.

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  216. Also from a secondary source.

    In addition, Jerome not only gives us the traditional three-fold division of the Hebrew Bible but also the books which compromised each:

    The Law of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
    The Prophets: Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I & II Samuel, I & II Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the twelve minor prophets.
    The Hagiographa: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Daniel, Chronicles, Ezra-Nehemiah and Esther.[22]
    Notice here that the Apocrypha is excluded. Jerome also explicitly rejected the apocryphal additions to the book of Daniel (Bel and the Dragon, Susanna):

    The stories of Susanna and of Bel and the Dragon are non contained in the Hebrew…For this same reason when I was translating Daniel many years ago, I noted these visions with a critical symbol, showing that they were not included in the Hebrew…After all, both Origen, Eusebius, and Appolinarius, and other outstanding churchmen and teachers of Greece acknowledge that, as I have said, these visions are not found amongst the Hebrews, and therefore they are not obliged to answer to Porphyry for these portions which exhibit no authority as Holy Scripture.[23]

    Jerome even states that the Church of his day did not grant canonical status to the Apocrypha and that these books should not be used in determining doctrine:

    As, then, the Church reads Judith, Tobit, and the books of Maccabes, but does not admit them among the canonical Scriptures, so let it also read these two Volumes (Wisdom of Solomon and Ecclesiasticus) for the edification of the people, not to give authority to doctrines of the Church (emphasis mine).[24]

    here

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  217. The comments about Catajan in what appears to be your source are far more probative, since the real issue is the authority of the
    Church, to which Cardinal Catajan deferred, and which he himself did not enjoy–making his scholarly views on scripture merely academic. (Including his rejection of Revelation to John.) He appears to have garnered more scholarly opposition than approval, rendering his authority on scripture rather nil.

    http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2010/01/cajetan-on-canon-hes-ok-bcause-hes-one.html

    He also appears to have been an incompetent interpreter of Aquinas. The prosecution continues to call the most questionable of witnesses.

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  218. Tom,

    Augustine says “authority,” not “testimony.” To change the word is not honest.

    My mistake, not an intentional change. The point still stands. For us confessional Protestants, as with Augustine, the authority of the church is of no small weight. It’s just not that we think every exercise of authority is illegitimate, nor did Augustine and nor do RCs.

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  219. Cletus,

    BTW, David Anders a RC convert just said that the rule of faith is the church’s teaching office, not the STM triad.

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  220. Robert, you know I don’t discuss my personal religious life in a forum like this that plays so dirty.

    You’re better than this. It’s a cheap trick Darryl uses to disguise the fact he’s getting thrashed in the discussion.

    As for your rejection of the authority of the Church and of Tradition, we’ve established that Augustine accepted them. Let’s be clear.

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  221. Tom,

    But do you not see it as odd that the only information we have on your religious practice is that you are a RC who at best attends mass irregularly but then launches into tirades against the OPC about how it’s not truly Christian or what not. Maybe if you said, “According to the RCC, you don’t have the Eucharist,” it would be less odd. As it is, the way you speak makes it sound as if you agree with the RCC, which would be fine, but then you should just acknowledge that you are a faithful mass-goer if you are because it would make more sense for you to be rooting for that team. I’m not trying to be rude or anything, it’s just a bit odd that we get arguments from you where you endorse Rome’s position but all we know is that it’s not enough to make you go to mass, unless things have changed.

    It’s a little bit like stating dogmatically that chocolate is the objectively best ice cream flavor but then ordering vanilla 99 percent of the time.

    But for the issue at hand, we don’t reject the authority of church or tradition. We simply reject its infallibility. Whether Augustine thought it would never ever be possible under any circumstance for the church to make a dogmatic error isn’t all that clear. I’ve seen some evidence where he acknowledges errors in councils that should have been ecumenical.

    If we rejected the authority of the church and the tradition, we wouldn’t read the Nicene Creed in worship. But we do. And we actually still believe the Athanasian Creed, whereas high and mighty Rome doesn’t.

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  222. D. G. Hart Ali, so you think human compositions are equal or superior to divinely inspired ones?

    DG, is that your answer for the request for providing Biblical warrant for exclusive psalmody?

    looked at this very very briefly – need scripture commanding the use of uninspired songs in divine worship? or see command in scripture for psalms-only worship?
    answer for me – nope – unconvinced. We worship in spirit and truth, we’re told about new songs; and informed opinion -God is our Father Who delights in His children’s song offerings

    Like

  223. Ok, according to the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox as well as some or many Lutherans and Anglicans, you don’t have the Eucharist.

    As for Augustine saying “never ever under any circumstances,” nobody has boxed themselves into that ridiculous formulation, so you’re cheating the discussion again.

    Augustine said he accepted books of the Bible because the Church said so. Do we have to post that quote for the tenth time or are we going to start acknowledging it at last?

    Like

  224. No one of note
    Posted November 21, 2015 at 3:32 pm | Permalink
    Hi Mermaid,
    >>
    How many different groups, all claiming to be genuine Christians, are there in you town? Do you accept all of them as genuine Christians?
    If so, on what basis?
    >>
    Nope.>>>>>

    Nope? Nope what?

    Like

  225. D. G. Hart
    Posted November 21, 2015 at 10:27 pm | Permalink
    Susan, “I just don’t understand why anyone would choose to side with ministerial authorities who have no power to delare its doctrines as absolute truths.”

    Said like any good Stalinist. “Oh! I go knock kneed over someone with ABSOLUTE authority. I need my DA DA.”>>>>>

    Calling Susan a Stalinist? You have pretty much destroyed any credibility you may have had left.

    Why not just go ahead and call Francis the Antichrist and the Catholic Church the Great Whore of Babylon?

    You are a fundamentalist after all.

    Like

  226. Mermaid, true, good, beauty. Can you handle true?

    The Vatican actually has had scandals.
    The Vatican has a history that lends plausibility to the conspiracy lens, and we don’t have to go back to the Middle Ages and the handful of pontiffs believed to have been murdered by rivals to make the point.

    One can start in the 1970s, when the Institute for the Works of Religion, better known as the Vatican bank, got involved with a couple of mobbed-up bankers and ended up with its president, the late US Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, dodging an arrest warrant and the Vatican paying $224 million to compensate creditors.

    Closer in time, there’s Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, a former Vatican accountant arrested in 2013 in a cash-smuggling scheme worthy of a John le Carré novel. There’s also the Vatican’s slow, and often less than candid, response to the Church’s sexual abuse crisis.

    Stop generating actual scandals, and people may be less inclined to see imagined ones everywhere.

    Like

  227. Tom,

    As for Augustine saying “never ever under any circumstances,” nobody has boxed themselves into that ridiculous formulation, so you’re cheating the discussion again.

    That’s exactly the “ridiculous formulation” that CVD has boxed himself into, as well as V1. Because of the Holy Spirit, the church can never dogmatically teach error under any circumstance.

    Augustine said he accepted books of the Bible because the Church said so. Do we have to post that quote for the tenth time or are we going to start acknowledging it at last?

    I’m not sure exactly what the relevance of this is supposed to be, but if you think that Protestantism says that the testimony of the church is in no way a factor in our receiving the books as Scripture, then you are wrong.

    Like

  228. @ Robert: Exactly. One major difference between the Catholic and Protestant systems is their understandings of what authority is and does.

    For the Catholic, the authority declares or even defines what is true, and is believed because he is the authority.

    For the Protestant, the authority has the right to make declarations, and his authority lends weight to those declarations, which are always to be evaluated against Scripture.

    Like

  229. TVD: The prosecution continues to call the most questionable of witnesses.

    Athanasius, Jerome, Cyril of Jerusalem, and Cajetan are questionable witnesses?

    Who are you again?

    But in any event, we’re not done.

    The Glossa Ordinaria

    Webster gives a brief description and explanation of the importance of the Glossa ordinaria:

    The Ordinary Gloss, known as the Glossa ordinaria, is an important witness to the view of the Western Church on the status of the Apocrypha because it was the standard authoritative biblical commentary for the whole Western Church. It carried immense authority and was used in all the schools for the training of theologians.[27]

    The importance of the Glossa ordinaria relative to the issue of the Apocrypha is seen from the statements in the Preface to the overall work. It repeats the judgment of Jerome that the Church permits the reading of the Apocryphal books only for devotion and instruction in manners, but that they have no authority for concluding controversies in matters of faith. It states that there are twenty-two books of the Old Testament, citing the testimonies of Origen, Jerome and Rufinus as support. When commenting on the Apocryphal books, it prefixes an introduction to them saying: ‘Here begins the book of Tobit which is not in the canon; here begins the book of Judith which is not in the canon’ and so forth for Ecclesiasticus, Wisdom, and Maccabees etc. These prologues to the Old Testament and Apocryphal books repeated the words of Jerome.[28]

    Here is an excerpt from the Prologue to the Glossa ordinaria written in 1498 AD, explaining the distinction between canonical and non-canonical (or Apocryphal) books:

    Many people, who do not give much attention to the holy scriptures, think that all the books contained in the Bible should be honored and adored with equal veneration, not knowing how to distinguish among the canonical and non-canonical books, the latter of which the Jews number among the apocrypha. Therefore they often appear ridiculous before the learned; and they are disturbed and scandalized when they hear that someone does not honor something read in the Bible with equal veneration as all the rest. Here, then, we distinguish and number distinctly first the canonical books and then the non-canonical, among which we further distinguish between the certain and the doubtful.

    The canonical books have been brought about through the dictation of the Holy Spirit. It is not known, however, at which time or by which authors the non-canonical or apocryphal books were produced. Since, nevertheless, they are very good and useful, and nothing is found in them which contradicts the canonical books, the church reads them and permits them to be read by the faithful for devotion and edification. Their authority, however, is not considered adequate for proving those things which come into doubt or contention, or for confirming the authority of ecclesiastical dogmas, as blessed Jerome states in his prologue to Judith and to the books of Solomon. But the canonical books are of such authority that whatever is contained therein is held to be true firmly and indisputably, and likewise that which is clearly demonstrated from them.[29]

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  230. DG: Ali, you didn’t answer the question. Are new songs better than God’s songs?

    Dear Dr-beat-around-the-bush, you didn’t answer the question first. Biblical warrant please since yours is the Ali-accusation of “DG:, I’m shocked. Since you quote the Bible so much why do you advocate non-inspired songs?”

    And Better? And God songs? And which new songs?
    New songs in the Bible (Rev 5:9)? or New songs He puts put in our mouth in gratitude for having been brought up out of the pit of destruction (Ps 40:2-3)?

    Please don’t make me send another song – cw will NOT have a good day then.

    Like

  231. In the early sixteenth century, just prior to the Reformation, Cardinal Ximenes, the Archbishop of Toledo, in collaboration with the leading theologians of his day, produced an edition of the Bible called the Biblia Complutensia. There is an admonition in the Preface regarding the Apocrypha, that the books of Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, the Maccabees, the additions to Esther and Daniel, are not canonical Scripture and were therefore not used by the Church for confirming the authority of any fundamental points of doctrine, though the Church allowed them to be read for purposes of edification…This Bible, as well as its Preface, was published by the authority and consent of Pope Leo X, to whom the whole work was dedicated. The New Catholic Encyclopedia gives us the following information on this Bible:

    The first Bible which may be considered a Polyglot is that edited at Alcala (in Latin Complutum, hence the name Complutensian Bible), Spain, in 1517, under the supervision and at the expense of Cardinal Ximenes, by scholars of the university founded in that city by the same great Cardinal. It was published in 1520, with the sanction of Leo X…

    — William Webster, The Old Testament Canon and the Apocrypha

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  232. Jeff,

    I think it is pretty evident that the Apocrypha are canonical in RCism mainly to distinguish them from the Protestants. The evidence that the Western church, at least, had any kind of uniform view on the matter before then is sketchy. The same thing seems to be true of the doctrine of justification.

    The more I look at the history, the more Trent looks to me like one giant freakout to prevent the papacy from losing more of Europe. Defining dogma correctly seems to be secondary. Making sure they aren’t those dirty Protestants is the main aim.

    How much unity could have prevented if the pope hadn’t lied to Luther about giving him an honest hearing? Sadly we will never know.

    Chalk it up to another reason why the doctrine of ecclesiastical infallibility isn’t credible.

    Like

  233. @jeff given the definition of excommunication you offered, one might wonder what the point of excommunicating a dead man might be. Perhaps to identify him as damned?

    So a council’s determination that a dead man is currently excommunicated is not a disciplary statement, so how do we know if what they taught was infallible?

    Like

  234. That’s enough. Here’s the point. What happened at Trent, which was by no means an ecumenical council, was that by a narrow vote in which Cajetan himself dissented, a canonical list was “infallibly” declared that ran contrary to the views of a substantial voice in the Church.

    In fact, with no apparent sense of irony, Trent anathematized the opinion of Jerome, while simultaneously declaring his translation to be infallible.

    But if any one receive not, as sacred and canonical, the said books entire with all their parts, as they have been used to be read in the Catholic Church, and as they are contained in the old Latin vulgate edition; and knowingly and deliberately contemn the traditions aforesaid; let him be anathema…

    Furthermore, in order to restrain petulant spirits, It decrees, that no one, relying on his own skill, shall,–in matters of faith, and of morals pertaining to the edification of Christian doctrine, –wresting the sacred Scripture to his own senses, presume to interpret the said sacred Scripture contrary to that sense which holy mother Church,–whose it is to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the holy Scriptures,–hath held and doth hold; or even contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers; even though such interpretations were never (intended) to be at any time published. Contraveners shall be made known by their Ordinaries, and be punished with the penalties by law established. — Trent Session 4

    So Jerome would have found himself in an awkward position: His text was considered canonical and sacred, but his view of the text was considered anathema.

    Here’s the point: Trent did not represent the unanimous consent of the fathers on the canon. In fact, it didn’t even represent a strong majority of the fathers on the canon.

    And here’s the point in the context of the larger argument: The Protestant view of the canon is to receive as Scripture only those books that the church has universally consented to. Not Luther, not Calvin, but the church from the first century on.

    That church is not limited to the provincial and poorly-attended council of Trent.

    Like

  235. But let’s suppose, Tom, that you would reject all of the evidence above and still insist that The Church has infallibly declared that the Apocrypha are sacred scripture.

    I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that you’ll do that.

    Well, it turns out that the book of Tobit contains a positive historical error. According to Tobit,

    1 The tale of Tobit son of Tobiel, son of Ananiel, son of Aduel, son of Gabael, of the lineage of Asiel and tribe of Naphtali.

    2 In the days of Shalmaneser king of Assyria, he was exiled from Thisbe, which is south of Kedesh-Naphtali in Upper Galilee, above Hazor, some distance to the west, north of Shephat.

    3 I, Tobit, have walked in paths of truth and in good works all the days of my life. I have given much in alms to my brothers and fellow country-folk, exiled like me to Nineveh in the country of Assyria.

    4 In my young days, when I was still at home in the land of Israel, the whole tribe of Naphtali my ancestor broke away from the House of David and from Jerusalem, though this was the city chosen out of all the tribes of Israel for their sacrifices; here, the Temple– God’s dwelling-place– had been built and hollowed for all generations to come.

    5 All my brothers and the House of Naphtali sacrificed on every hill-top in Galilee to the calf that Jeroboam king of Israel had made at Dan. — Tobit 1

    And then as the story unfolds, Tobit’s son Tobias lives on to see the Assyrians destroyed:

    1 The end of the hymns of Tobit. Tobit died when he was a hundred and twelve years old and received an honourable burial in Nineveh…Tobias inherited the patrimony of Raguel besides that of his father Tobit.

    14 Much honoured, he lived to the age of a hundred and seventeen years.

    15 Before he died he witnessed the ruin of Nineveh. He saw the Ninevites taken prisoner and deported to Media by Cyaxares king of Media. He blessed God for everything he inflicted on the Ninevites and Assyrians. Before his death he had the opportunity of rejoicing over the fate of Nineveh, and he blessed the Lord God for ever and ever. Amen. — Tobit 14

    Now, Shalmaneser V ruled from 727 to 722 and deported the Israelites, and Cyarxes defeated the Ninevites in 609. So far, so good.

    But Naphtali broke away from Judea in the years of Rehoboam (cf 1 Kings 11.31: “I will give ten tribes”) in c. 922 BC.

    So Tobit apparently lived from 922 (“in my young days”) to sometime between 722 and 609 (“exiled like me to Ninevah”), which is impossible since he died at 112.

    Now Cletus, you have previously stated that a contradiction in Catholic doctrine would show that it is not infallible. Here it is.

    (1) Catholic doctrine affirms the canonicity of Tobit, hence its infallibility.
    (2) Tobit describes a historically impossible situation — namely, that an event in 922 and an event in 722 would both occur in the lifetime of a man who lived 112 years.

    Contradiction.

    Like

  236. Jeff, stop wasting everyone’s time with silly rabbinical debate. You don’t have the eucharist so your religion is built on a bunch of lies.

    Like

  237. D. G. Hart: Ali, I said divinely inspired songs. Do human creations beat them? Sometimes you don’t need the Bible to win an argument, but you don’t get 2k anyway.

    clarification –though human men did write in their own personality those divinely inspired songs, as moved by the Holy Spirit speaking from God 2 Peter 1:21

    Dear Dr-circle-the-hidden 2k knowledge-wagons-ok, I’ll answer something informed by scripture -:maybe the ‘better song’ is the sacrifice-praise-heartsong; you know, not the one we feel generous to offer God because we got some obvious good thing; but the one offered as an act of will, humbly in love and trust, when lousy circumstances try to make it seem God is not coming through Heb 13:15; Heb 11:6; 2 Cor 5:7

    Sometimes you don’t need the Bible to win an argument? ah, speaking of humility, you’re kidding right? About not needing the bible for ‘reformed practice’ answers..and speaking of ‘circling’, ending where begun, there goes Jeff and Robert work this am

    Have a good day.

    Like

  238. @robert and @jeff: you guys are smart, capable, and prolific. Thanks. Love your writings.

    @ali, DGH’s affinity for psalms-only is more easily understood when you realize his church doesn’t have man-made sermons, and just reads Scripture in Hebrew and Greek. 🙂

    Like

  239. D. G. Hart
    Posted November 23, 2015 at 6:12 am | Permalink
    Mermaid, true, good, beauty. Can you handle true?

    The Vatican actually has had scandals.
    The Vatican has a history that lends plausibility to the conspiracy lens, and we don’t have to go back to the Middle Ages and the handful of pontiffs believed to have been murdered by rivals to make the point.

    One can start in the 1970s, when the Institute for the Works of Religion, better known as the Vatican bank, got involved with a couple of mobbed-up bankers and ended up with its president, the late US Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, dodging an arrest warrant and the Vatican paying $224 million to compensate creditors.

    Closer in time, there’s Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, a former Vatican accountant arrested in 2013 in a cash-smuggling scheme worthy of a John le Carré novel. There’s also the Vatican’s slow, and often less than candid, response to the Church’s sexual abuse crisis.

    Stop generating actual scandals, and people may be less inclined to see imagined ones everywhere.>>>>

    Good morning, Brother Hart,
    I hope all is well where you are. We`re gearing up for a big Thanksgiving celebration.

    I enjoyed the article. The history of Catholicism is fascinating. The fact that she is still standing and still doing quite well is an amazing miracle.

    Of course, the scandals and conspiracies – real or imagined – are not the whole story of the Church. There are scandals of love and service of the truest, most loving, most beautiful kind as well. There are scandals of bravery in the face of persecution that are happening right as we speak, but you never report on any of that.

    …and you called Susan a Stalinist. Seriously? She doesn’t read like a mindless robot. Try talking to her sometime. Try interacting with some real arguments. You just shrug them off.

    Like, are you ready to admit that Peter wrote his first epistle from Rome? That is an important detail of historical significance. Even your best Reformed scholars are willing to say that is probably true.

    Of course, Reformed theology is all based on probabilities. It is all about the best guess. I learned that here on your blog, so I thank you for that.

    Like

  240. Jeff Cagle
    Posted November 23, 2015 at 9:53 am | Permalink
    But let’s suppose, Tom, that you would reject all of the evidence above and still insist that The Church has infallibly declared that the Apocrypha are sacred scripture.

    I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that you’ll do that.>>>>>

    Okay, Brother Jeff, are you willing to admit that your rejection of the Deuterocanonical books is based on your acceptance of the Westminster Confession of Faith’s list of canonical books?

    The Parliament of England commissioned that confession in an attempt to appease the Scottish Presbyterians. There were no Biblical references at all in the original document. It has gone through several serious revisions since the 17th Century when it was drawn up.

    BTW, that was after the Council of Trent’s dogmatic statement about the canon of Scripture.

    So, your canon was not the product of any kind of Church council. It was the product of a political move on the part of England. You want us to forget that detail.

    In fact, the Jewish canon of Scripture as it is now was not established until the 2nd Century of the Christian era.

    Protestants always have a problem of authority. You, Jeff Cagle, try to establish yourself and your WCF as authoritative. It is all man centered.

    You want to ignore the Septuagint and the Vulgate, both of which contain the Deuterocanonical books. That is the strongest line of evidence, since the Septuagint was what Jesus and the disciples were used to. Paul made extensive references to statements from the book of Wisdom particularly.

    Then, the idea that Jerome objected to including those 7 books to his translation has been debunked, but Protestants keep trotting that argument out.

    So, you have problems, Brother Jeff. I do not accept the WCF as authoritative. Sure, there is a lot of good in it, but the good can be gotten elsewhere without all the errors mixed in. I do not accept you as authoritative because you yourself cannot say with certainty that what you argue is indeed fact.

    Now, you are free to accept whatever authority tells you that you have the correct canon of Scripture. You are not free to say that anyone else is wrong. You do not have that authority or that confidence.

    Now, you have a good Thanksgiving week, my dear brother. I just wish you would show a little less dogmatism in your arguments unless you can say you are 100% sure that you have the proper canon of Scripture.

    Remember, too, that if archeology or textual criticism shows that there are books or parts of books of the Bible that should not be there, you will toss them out. So, what is your canon really?

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  241. Mermaid,

    Your canon was not the product of any kind of Church council. It was the product of a political move on the part of England. You want us to forget that detail.

    I’m trying to be nice, but it’s statements like this that make Darryl question how closely you are paying attention. The first 7 councils were called by Emperors! I guess that means they are invalid as well.

    Like

  242. Darryl,

    “And what do you get with post-Vat 2 Roman Catholicism. Irreformable becomes development. ”

    Wait I thought Newman was a modernist. And he was pre-Vat2. Hmm. Your anti-catholicism wires are getting crossed again.

    “Otherwise, like I say, your church has moved on and left you holding — way above your pay grade — the infallible bag.”

    Right, because the post-Vat2 bishops, popes, and theologians Feser cites didn’t care about infallibility I guess. But NCR journalists and some dudes on catholic answers forums have their pulse on RCism.

    And Protestantism has moved on from 2k and old school calvinism – American evangelicals and the non-graying churches don’t care. I learned this from some christianity today journalists and TGC articles. Get up to speed.

    “Boniface is not some dude on Catholic Answers.”

    Nope, but you linked to a dude on a catholic answers forum as if that was sufficient to demonstrate Newman might be a modernist. And why do Boniface and Douthat get love from you and then Feser gets “he’s not ordained, so he doesn’t count, so let me keep on peddling mischaracterizations on infallibility or ecclesiology as if I was never corrected on them multiple times.”

    “Protestantism’s problems don’t vindicate your church”

    Who said it did? The question is whether Protestantism’s “problems” are compatible with divine revelation. Rome may be compatible with that as I’ve been arguing, but that doesn’t mean it’s automatically correct. Maybe the East is right – so all your complaints about Rome bad, pope bad, some journalists and guys on some forums agree with me, aren’t actually engaging the issue and just distractions.

    “especially when all we get from you on your church’s problems (like bishops covering for child molesters) is shrug.”

    You mean humanity’s problems, namely sin. And you’ve been corrected on the shrug thing again, but just as with other things you’ve been corrected on, you persist in peddling them. As already pointed out earlier in this thread and even in the article you cited:
    “I would therefore recommend to any Catholics who are in turmoil because the present pope isn’t to their liking or their church is not what they want or their bishop unsatisfactory to read some church history. Eamonn Duffy’s history of the papacy Saints and Sinners is a good one. When you read history of the church you’ll realize that turmoil and trouble have been with us since the time of the apostles. Might as well get used to it.
    Does that mean you shouldn’t be upset or worried? No. Does that mean one should be complacent about heresy, corruption within and persecution from without? No. Be worried. That’s okay if it leads you to pray more.”

    Apparently this is “shrug”. I guess all your constant 2k proselytizing about “hey we live in the suck and are pilgrims, get used to it you dumb neo-cal transformers” is “shrug”.

    “Which catechism teaches STM?”

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p1s1c2a2.htm along with CCC 112, 113, 119, 120

    “you spend a lot more time on infallibility than the pope does.”

    Every time the pope celebrates Mass, reads Scripture, performs sacraments, he’s spending time on infallibility.

    Like

  243. Hey Robert

    Today as I was having a late breakfast I decided to turn on EWTN and in the program line-up was The Journey Home( my husband doesn’t like Marcus Grodi very much, so I only watch it when he goes to work, 🙂 , and as I listened to this man’s journey story, I thought of you and just wanted to share it.
    Of course, take in what you want and reject what you have to at this point, but please, do try to watch it.

    Wish you the best! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family, and blessed beginning of Advent!
    May we all be watchfully expectant like the Shepherds!

    Peace,
    Susan

    http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=david+currie+on+the+journey+home&FORM=VIRE5#view=detail&mid=373CFB3A89530D0C1493373CFB3A89530D0C1493

    Like

  244. This week on EWTN “Every purchase made from EWTN Religious Catalogue directly supports the important work and mission of EWTN. We sincerely appreciate your choice to support us as we
    Bring Christ to the World!’

    Featured Items:

    El Divino Nino Statue

    This is a replica of the statue in the piazza of the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, AL. The Child Jesus offers us His Heart, symbolizing His Love and Mercy. “El Divino Niño” is etched on the base of this white resin statue. Measures 7 1/2″ tall.

    Price: $25.00

    Like

  245. CW,

    What? I don’t own any religious statues except the nativity idols that will adorn my firplace mantel the first day of advent.:)

    Like

  246. Okay,CW

    I dont want to offend. If you watch then use discernment( I think they only talk about praying while meditating on the life of Jesus…..that’s what the prayer beads assist with anyways ya know) for maybe 2 mins).

    Like

  247. Mermaid: Okay, Brother Jeff, are you willing to admit that your rejection of the Deuterocanonical books is based on your acceptance of the Westminster Confession of Faith’s list of canonical books?

    No. I had rejected the deuteros long before I ever heard of the WCF.

    Mermaid: You want us to forget that detail.
    Mermaid: You, Jeff Cagle, try to establish yourself and your WCF as authoritative. It is all man centered.
    Mermaid: You want to ignore the Septuagint and the Vulgate, both of which contain the Deuterocanonical books.

    You are mistaken on all counts. You actually don’t really understand very well what I want. Remember when you got into trouble earlier by making personal assertions without evidence? Love is honest, and honest people don’t try to play mind-reading games.

    What I want more than anything is that you would look to Jesus alone apart from saints for your hope; that you would look to Scripture alone as the Word of God; and that you would seek to be justified by Christ’s righteousness alone, through faith, apart from any works of your own righteousness.

    To the extent that you are doing this, I rejoice. To that end, I’ve been trying to shine a light on the ways in which Catholic teachings are contrary to Scripture. I know that it’s uncomfortable, and you have certainly given a lot of pushback, which is not unexpected.

    But at the end of the day, my message is, “Be nourished by the pure milk of the Word.”

    So it would actually be very contrary to my goals to try to establish my own authority, or the authority of the WCF. I do have a very little authority by virtue of my ordination, but that authority is limited to pointing to the Scripture and teaching it, and it is expected that all who hear would and should test my teaching against Scripture. The WCF also has authority as the collective voice of a portion of the church, but again — its teachings are subordinate to Scripture, and can no more “define” the canon than you or I can “define” the law of gravity.

    So if I were to (somehow?!) replace your trust in the Catholic magisterium with a trust in the WCF — or worse yet, in myself — then I would have failed utterly. I have no desire whatsoever to do that.

    You have a good Thanksgiving. Perhaps I could ask you to reflect a little on some Scripture this week, some Scripture on the nature and exercise of true and false authority: 2 Cor 10 – 12 and 1 Sam 15.1-6.

    Like

  248. cw, I grew up an hour north of that thing in Hanceville. Once I went there with a group of IHOPers from my UMC church for a prayer walk. Truly wild.

    Like

  249. @Walton,

    What can I say, my friend? I love Fr. Pacwa:)

    Listen guys, you dont have to watch it and you certainly don’t have to watch it if you don’twant to, but there’s no need to act as censure for everyone else.
    It surprises no one that Catholicism has sacramentals, so watch it for the reasons I brought it to Roberts attention and ignore the rest.

    Like

  250. Susan, “censor” is the word you’re looking for…and who’s censoring? I’m pointing out that EWTN is prima facie ludicrous. I want people to go see how bad it is. And you apologists/recruiters leave out the grosser idolatries of Rome — I just want truth in advertising. For every Susan with no statues and images there are 10,000 more with them in spades.

    Like

  251. Jeff,

    “The WCF makes a fallible identification of the body of irreformable doctrine. Since we have already agreed that this is epistemologically acceptable, then there should be no problem.”

    Right, so every teaching of WCF remains fallible and provisional and tentative, consistent with the disclaimers it defines for itself in article 25.5 and 31.3. Every teaching within RCism does not, consistent with the claims to divine authority and ability it defines for itself.

    “I’m sorry, what question did I beg? The boundaries of the church prior to 1054 are easy to discern.”

    You’re begging the definition of “church”. Would that include the Marcionite, Arian, Monophysite, Monothelite, Docetist, Donatist, Nestorian, Pneumatomachian, Pelagian, SemiPelagian, Sabellian, Gnostic, Manichaean, Iconoclast, Montanist churches? On what basis are they excluded from the “easy to discern” boundaries of the pre-1054 church?

    Did this pre-1054 “church” of yours accept the deuterocanonicals? Did some accept, some reject? If so, how is the “universal church” of pre-1054 you appeal to defined? Were there any doctrines the pre-1054 church accepted you reject? Are there common doctrines shared by both East and Rome now that you reject? On what basis?

    Do the following churches/groups all count as part of the “church” today:
    PCUSA, ELCA, Arminian, Anglican, Unitarian, Pentecostal, Oneness Pentecostal, Charismatic, Joel Osteen, TD Jakes, Creflo Dollar, Arian, Modalist, KJV-onlyist, Marcionite, gnostic, reconstructionist, kinist, biblicist-fundamentalist, seeker-sensitive, liberal, emergent, church of christ, antinomian, Pelagian, NPP, Quakers, Plymouth Brethren, Finneyite, Anabaptist, Adventist, Open Theist?

    If not, on what basis?

    “Yes, pretty much. And this is not actually a problem if you are evaluating the Protestant system according to the Protestant system.”

    Well, right. Everything is and remains provisional. That’s not a “problem” for you. That’s fine, but it’s a stunning admission. Just as the following from your side was:
    “But why should anyone from a church who disagrees with you care?
    – In one sense, they shouldn’t.
    Right, but why should those outside of that church care or be subject to your definition.
    – As noted, in one sense they shouldn’t care.”

    Or the assertion that those in NT times submitting to Christ or the Apostles/those sent with divine authority were in no better epistemological position than those submitting to synagogue rabbi Levi offering admitted fallible provisional teachings because both groups of adherents were fallible and lacked vulcan mindmelding.

    You want to be cool with that, great. Those implications have been all I’ve been arguing for – a very modest argument. I’ve been arguing nothing more than “They are, as has been repeatedly said by all on your side, provisional in principle and always shall be, being consistent with the claims of your system.” – notice that last part – being *consistent* with the claims of your system, and you apparently agree “yes, pretty much”. So we’re back were we were 1500 comments ago when Robert conceded as much, then backtracked.

    “Accordingly, you keep evaluating the Catholic system according to the Catholic system, and the Protestant system according to the Catholic system.”

    You’ve asserted this multiple times, yet have never demonstrated it.

    “It seems contradictory to you because you have certain Catholic axioms as your standard of measure.”

    No, my axiom is divine revelation is infallible (again). Which you agree with.

    “You’ve never really laid that out,”

    Come now – this is getting a bit silly tbh. I have laid it out a million times what is *consistent* with the claims of both systems, evaluating them on their own terms. I then get things from your side like “Whether or not that is justified in the Roman system is besides the point at this point” or “yeah, but you’re still fallible!” over and over. And I’m supposed to be the one guilty of not engaging the actual issue. You’ll forgive me for taking that charge with a truckload of salt.

    “So you keep on being incredulous that Protestants affirm that the boundaries of the canon are not infallible”

    Yeah, if you’re positing SS as the rule of faith and that the boundaries of the canon are or reflect divine revelation. Here’s an example of Protestant principles working out on that – https://books.google.com/books?id=dlZTBgAAQBAJ&pg=PA3#v=onepage&q&f=false

    “be consistent relativists (no thank you!)”

    Really? Robert seems to think churches who disagree with you shouldn’t care what you think (and he’s right, because of all Protestant bodies’ disclaimers to any authority that would compel them to care). Sounds relativist to me. You got your church and your doctrine, we got ours. It’s all good.

    “For the Protestant, the authority has the right to make declarations, and his authority lends weight to those declarations, which are always to be evaluated against Scripture.”

    More cart before the horse. You have to have Scripture first before you can always evaluate the authority of those declarations against Scripture. You have to assume your foundational doctrines already listed (that you agree remain ever-provisional) as bedrock before you can then use it to justify evaluating any “interpretations” against it – that is, you’re exempting the foundational “declarations” (did the pre-1054 “church” not “declare” and recognize the canon as you argued above?) from evaluation without any warrant in order to then limit the practice of evaluation to only the sphere of “interpretations” – but that can only happen after the foundational doctrines have been set in the first place.

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  252. CVD: You’re begging the definition of “church”. Would that include the Marcionite, Arian, Monophysite, Monothelite, Docetist, Donatist, Nestorian, Pneumatomachian, Pelagian, SemiPelagian, Sabellian, Gnostic, Manichaean, Iconoclast, Montanist churches? On what basis are they excluded from the “easy to discern” boundaries of the pre-1054 church?

    No, No, Maybe, Maybe, No, Probably, Maybe, No, No, No, No, No, No, No, and No.

    The Donatists are “probably” because they did not teach anything contrary to the gospel; the Maybes are “maybe” only to the extent that they did not teach anything contrary to the gospel.

    But in any event, few of these groups (Gnostics, Marcionites) put forward any serious canonical challenges.

    CVD: Did this pre-1054 “church” of yours accept the deuterocanonicals? Did some accept, some reject? If so, how is the “universal church” of pre-1054 you appeal to defined?

    Some did accept, some did reject. That’s the point of a standard of common consent: We will not accept books that were partially accepted, partially rejected.

    There might be some outliers — a couple of the church doctors excluded Revelation, for example — but in the main it is easy to see what the consensus was. Hint: Tobit was not it.

    JRC: “Accordingly, you keep evaluating the Catholic system according to the Catholic system, and the Protestant system according to the Catholic system.”

    CVD: You’ve asserted this multiple times, yet have never demonstrated it.

    Say rather that I’ve demonstrated it multiple times, yet you have not noticed.

    Once more with feeling and four-part harmony.

    * You insist that the Protestant system is inferior because we cannot point to an infallible authority who draws the lines of the canon. We insist that this is a feature, not a bug, for if there were such a human infallible authority, it would have authority over the Word of God.
    * You insist that the Protestant system is inferior because we cannot point to infallible, irreformable doctrines (other than Scripture). We insist that this is a matter of being honest, in that you yourself have no access to infallible doctrines yourself, since you have only fallible copies of fallible translations of church teaching
    * You insist that the Protestant system is inferior because it leads to theological chaos. We reply that Catholics have just as much theological chaos, but they don’t notice because the band-aid of institutional unity covers over the wound of doctrinal disunity.

    In all cases, your judgement of “inferior” uses Catholic categories to evaluate.

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  253. James Young, and you’re just a Roman Catholic apologist making comments at a Reformed Protestant blog? Do you have Catholic Answers envy?

    So the church’s problems are humanity’s problems. Does that work for Protestantism? Did that work for Luther? Oh, wait, anathema developed into communion.

    Rome and Baltimore don’t teach STM.

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  254. James Young, “You have to have Scripture first before you can always evaluate the authority of those declarations against Scripture.”

    So do you.

    For the Holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter not so that they might, by his revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by his assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith transmitted by the apostles.

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  255. CVD: Do the following churches/groups all count as part of the “church” today:
    PCUSA, ELCA, Arminian, Anglican, Unitarian, Pentecostal, Oneness Pentecostal, Charismatic, Joel Osteen, TD Jakes, Creflo Dollar, Arian, Modalist, KJV-onlyist, Marcionite, gnostic, reconstructionist, kinist, biblicist-fundamentalist, seeker-sensitive, liberal, emergent, church of christ, antinomian, Pelagian, NPP, Quakers, Plymouth Brethren, Finneyite, Anabaptist, Adventist, Open Theist?

    If not, on what basis?

    Do they teach consistently with the gospel? Do they uphold the Word of God?

    To the extent that the answer is Yes, then Yes. To the extent that the answer is No, then No. Oddly enough, that’s what Paul told the Galatians.

    JRC: “You’ve never really laid that [the standard by which to judge superiority] out,”

    CVD: I have laid it out a million times what is *consistent* with the claims of both systems, evaluating them on their own terms.

    Actually, not even once have you laid out what would make one system “epistemologically in a better position” than the other. I’ve been looking for that in the discussion, and it has been entirely missing.

    Instead, you just assert that Catholics *would* be a superior position, and then try to build a case that all Protestant doctrines are provisional, and then you say QED. Believe it or not, that argument only convinces Catholics. You’ve got unconnected dots in your argument because you are assuming that a system that promises non-provisional doctrines is inherently in a better position than one that does not.

    What if the first system can’t deliver on its promises? Not just in practice (evaluating outside the system), but in principle (evaluating within the system)? That’s the point of of the “you are fallible” family of rebuttals. In principle, the Catholic system cannot deliver. Hence, it is not superior.

    What if the non-provisional doctrines are always true, but are also incomprehensible? That’s the point of the “Vatican II changed everything” family of rebuttals: If you put yourself in the position of saying that nothing changed after V2, then you have to admit that the majority of Catholics (including the Balt Cat 4 writers) didn’t understand church teaching about Protestants.

    What if the non-provisional doctrines are always true, but no-one knows infallibly which ones those are? That’s the point of the “you don’t have an infallible list of infallible doctrines” family of rebuttals.

    Those are all problems within the system, and you haven’t provided answers for them, except to attack the questioners as “Pelagian” and other such nonsense.

    So just saying “Protestants only claim to have provisional doctrine; Catholics claim to have infallible doctrine” is the beginning of an argument, not its triumphal end.

    CVD: Everything is and remains provisional. That’s not a “problem” for you. That’s fine, but it’s a stunning admission.

    Stunning? Our “side” admitted that in 1647 at the latest. Where have you been, my man?

    CVD: You have to assume your foundational doctrines already listed (that you agree remain ever-provisional) as bedrock before you can then use it to justify evaluating any “interpretations” against it…

    Wrong, because we are not foundationalists. This is one of several ways in which your mind is locked into Catholic axioms and therefore has a hard time understanding Protestantism on its own terms.

    Yes, there are a couple of self-evident axioms: “God’s word must be true” is clearly axiomatic for the Protestant. But the entire project of determining what God’s word IS and what it MEANS proceeds along inductive, coherecist lines and not along mathematical, foundationalist lines.

    You may not like that, but your own church is practicing it underneath the hood. Hence Pius XII

    But it is right and pleasing to confess openly that it is not only by reason of these initiatives, precepts and exhortations of Our Predecessors that the knowledge and use of the Sacred Scriptures have made great progress among Catholics; for this is also due to the works and labors of all those who diligently cooperated with them,…Many of them also, by the written word, have promoted and do still promote, far and wide, the study of the Bible; as when they edit the sacred text corrected in accordance with the rules of textual criticism or expound, explain, and translate it into the vernacular; or when they propose it to the faithful for their pious reading and meditation; or finally when they cultivate and seek the aid of profane sciences which are useful for the interpretation of the Scriptures.

    — Pius XII, Divino Afflante Spiritu

    “as when they edit the sacred text in accordance with the rules of textual criticism.” So much for irreformable texts.

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  256. “Susan, “censor” is the word you’re looking for…and who’s censoring? I’m pointing out that EWTN is prima facie ludicrous. I want people to go see how bad it is. And you apologists/recruiters leave out the grosser idolatries of Rome — I just want truth in advertising. For every Susan with no statues and images there are 10,000 more with them in spades.”

    Oops, you’re right….sorry, wrong word.

    It isn’t ludicrous however. To a secular modernist yeah, it is, but not to religion. Look at history east.and west.

    I think it’s funny that you guys find Catholicism in the south weird. I lived in Mobile and thought the religion I met there weird all around. The Pentecostal ladies with their high right buns, Victorian collared blouses tucked into their long skirts. They were the only holy people that I was familiar with and boy did their snobbery get on my nerves.At least I thought that they considered themselves as holier than thou.
    But then again I was 18 and preferred Dalphin Island and kegs of beer with Jimmy Buffet on the stereo.
    The only nun I saw was Sally Field:)

    You’re probably too young to know what I’m talking about.

    Oh and of course I dont have a problem with religious statues. I’m Catholic!

    Take care,
    Susan

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  257. Robert
    Posted November 23, 2015 at 6:38 am | Permalink
    Tom,

    As for Augustine saying “never ever under any circumstances,” nobody has boxed themselves into that ridiculous formulation, so you’re cheating the discussion again.

    That’s exactly the “ridiculous formulation” that CVD has boxed himself into, as well as V1.

    Show us where Vatican I says this. Mercy, Robert.

    Repeating Dr. Hart’s confusions over and over but that doesn’t make them true.

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  258. Darryl,

    Yep, I’m just a dude. NCR journalists are just dudes with journalism degrees. So what makes them and Boniface and Douthat special from Feser or deacons/priests or seminary instructors who participate in CtC?

    “Rome and Baltimore don’t teach STM.”

    Ah, more moving goalposts. You were the one who said:
    “Just look at the catechism. No wait. Remember STM.”
    – The catechism that teaches STM?”

    I guess by “look at the catechism” you really meant “don’t look at the current catechism”. So since Baltimore and the Roman catechism came after Trent, are you positing Trent and Vat1 did not teach STM?

    Hey, you’re reading Feser. Fantastic. Yep, you don’t run into the cart-before-horse and chicken-egg problem of Protestantism when you have parallel and mutually attesting authorities. That’s part of the point on the whole coherency of the rule of faith thing.

    Like

  259. James Young, and you don’t have a chicken-egg problem when papal supremacy doesn’t develop until after the fifth century, well after the canon of Scripture is formed?

    Oh that’s right. Jesus lived in Rome and appointed Peter bishop there.

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  260. Jeff Cagle
    Posted November 23, 2015 at 2:59 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid: Okay, Brother Jeff, are you willing to admit that your rejection of the Deuterocanonical books is based on your acceptance of the Westminster Confession of Faith’s list of canonical books?

    No. I had rejected the deuteros long before I ever heard of the WCF.

    YOU reject them. By what authority? Martin Luther’s as a philology scholar? Your own as a scholar?

    What if someone in your church believes the deuterocanonicals are just fine? By what authority do you impeach him?

    The point is that your conception of the Church is not St. Augustine’s, which is why you “beg the question.” Or that it’s just like Augustine’s, and you just deny the Catholic Church is that Church and substitute your own reality.

    ‘I would not believe in the Gospels were it not for the authority of the Catholic Church’ (Against the Letter of Mani Called “The Foundation” 5:6).

    You end up in a different church than Augustine’s anyway, either by denying his concept of the Church or substituting yours for his.

    “When I read the books of St. Augustine and find that he, too, did this and that, it truly disconcerts me very much. When to this is added the cry: Church! Church! that hurts most of all. For it is truly a difficult task to conquer your own heart in this matter and to depart from the people who enjoy a great reputation and such a holy name, aye, from the church herself, and no longer to rely on and believe her teaching. But I mean that church of which they say: The church has decreed that the rule of St. Francis and St. Dominic, and the order of monks and nuns, is right, Christian, and good. This truly offends a person.”—Martin Luther

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  261. Susan,

    A kind word about Mobile Catholicism: I attended a “Conversation between Islam, Christianity, and Judaism” at Springhill College a few years back. The Catholic priest (from Our Savior Catholic Church) clearly thought the whole thing was as much hooplah as I did. He seemed way more personable and conservative than the Jesuit religion students or the Jews or the Nation of Islam scholar who said something about “that curse of Ham stuff” then tried to convince me Hagar was black.

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  262. Darryl,

    “when papal supremacy doesn’t develop until after the fifth century, well after the canon of Scripture is formed?”

    The canon was formed when the final word was written. The authority of the church (Magisterium) was formed before that, when Christ established the church and appointed apostles who appointed their authorized teachers and successors. The identification/recognition of the full canon took centuries to develop after that. And part of that development included judgments of the authoritative church – thus Augustine’s statement one must follow the judgment of the church and tradition in the canon. In other words, STM.

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  263. Tom: YOU reject them. By what authority? Martin Luther’s as a philology scholar? Your own as a scholar?

    By the universal consent of the church as strong (overwhelming) confirming evidence.

    Like

  264. LoserStar
    Posted November 23, 2015 at 10:21 am | Permalink
    Jeff, stop wasting everyone’s time with silly rabbinical debate. You don’t have the eucharist so your religion is built on a bunch of lies.

    Exactly. The obsession with the Catholic Church misses the whole point. You’re out of harmony with 2000 years of the Eastern Orthodox, who also can licitly trace their Church, priesthood, sacraments and Bible to the early Church.

    “Rabbinical” is well-put, arguing over jots and tittles just like the Pharisees while missing the larger point. JUdaism was once a sacramental religion too, but is now reduced to talk.

    Like

  265. Tom,

    Therefore, faithfully adhering to the tradition received from the beginning of the Christian faith, to the glory of God our savior, for the exaltation of the Catholic religion and for the salvation of the Christian people, with the approval of the Sacred Council, we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman Pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA, that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the Church, irreformable.

    Vatican 1

    It is impossible, if you read the teaching of the church in its historical context like a good Protestant does, for Rome to ever under any circumstance teach error dogmatically. That’s the whole point of infallibility.

    Now try and find a RC friend here to agree with you that Rome can under some conditions teach dogmatic error.

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  266. Dear Walton,

    Glad you had a good experience with a priest. I have now live in southern California since 1985 and I never met a priest until I converted.

    A few years back I want to a debate on Biola’s
    campus, between James White and a Muslim scholar and while it was interesting, no one won.That’s the nature of debates I guess….attack attack.( exterminate! exterminate!)
    Conversations between willing people is the only thing that will allow us to get anywhere.

    Have a lovely Thanksgiving, Walton!
    Susan

    Like

  267. Jeff Cagle
    Posted November 23, 2015 at 6:01 pm | Permalink
    Tom: YOU reject them. By what authority? Martin Luther’s as a philology scholar? Your own as a scholar?

    By the universal consent of the church as strong (overwhelming) confirming evidence.

    You don’t have anywhere near “universal” consent. You’re pretending to have a Church where none exists–and that is our point here. [Mathematically, at 800 million “Protestantism” is less than half the total of Christians, which number 1,2 billion Catholics and another 300 million Eastern Orthodox.]

    Further, your first answer was that you construct your Bible based on your own personal [fallible] authority. That would make for a pretty pickle in a “sola scriptura” church, where what qualifies as “scriptura” is only a matter of personal taste.

    And if that is not your final answer, then you’re accepting the authority of “Protestantism,” which leaves you no better off than with Catholicism, East or West. You’re still picking an authority to side with–which was Thomas More’s point, that since few of us will ever be experts in ancient Greek and Hebrew, we’re accepting some expert’s “authority” regardless.

    Like

  268. Robert
    Posted November 23, 2015 at 6:07 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    Therefore, faithfully adhering to the tradition received from the beginning of the Christian faith, to the glory of God our savior, for the exaltation of the Catholic religion and for the salvation of the Christian people, with the approval of the Sacred Council, we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman Pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA, that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the Church, irreformable.

    Vatican 1

    It is impossible, if you read the teaching of the church in its historical context like a good Protestant does, for Rome to ever under any circumstance teach error dogmatically. That’s the whole point of infallibility.

    Now try and find a RC friend here to agree with you that Rome can under some conditions teach dogmatic error.

    You keep changing the words, now you’re slipping in “dogmatically,” which is not the same as your formulation “never ever under any circumstances.” Wearin’ me out, dude.

    Like

  269. Tom,

    You keep changing the words, now you’re slipping in “dogmatically,” which is not the same as your formulation “never ever under any circumstances.” Wearin’ me out, dude.

    That’s what I thought I said from the get go. I certainly meant to say that.

    So the point still stands, Augustine believed the church had authority (as do the rest of us confessionalists), but whether he believed the church could never ever make a dogmatic error is another issue. Rome says number one and number two. CTC and CVD say there’s no number one without number two, but as Darryl has been pointing out repeatedly, it’s a rather odd position to take when nobody on the Roman Catholic side seems to take ecclesiastical infallibility seriously.

    So yeah, Rome is big. But if we’re going to measure catholicity and seriousness by size, the church of 1.2 billion members doesn’t get to play the numbers game and then say “well of course not everyone is faithful” and expect us to take the apologetic seriously.

    Especially when professing evangelicals on even the broadest definition of the term are far more likely to be orthodox small-o Christians than Roman Catholics.

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  270. “Augustine believed the church had authority (as do the rest of us confessionalists),”

    What an equivocation. Here’s how you honored Augustine earlier in the thread “And a statement from Augustine or Aquinas that the church cannot err doesn’t count because they are individual writers.” But now you’re totally on board with him. Here’s Augustine upholding the “confessional Protestant” arbitrary distinction view of the church and tradition again:

    “The excellence of the canonical authority of the Old and New Testaments is distinct from the books of later writers. This authority was confirmed in the times of the Apostles through the succession of bishops and the propagation of churches, as if it was settled in a heavenly manner in a kind of seat to which every believing and pious mind lives in obedience.”

    “Let the reader consult the rule of faith which he has gathered from the plainer passages of Scripture, and from the authority of the Church, and of which I treated at sufficient length when I was speaking in the first book about things.”

    “But while we are absent from the Lord, and walk by faith, not by sight, we ought to see the “back parts” of Christ, that is His flesh, by that very faith, that is, standing on the solid foundation of faith, which the rock signifies, and beholding it from such a safe watchtower, namely in the Catholic Church, of which it is said, “And upon this rock I will build my Church.””

    “For my part, I should not believe the gospel except moved by the authority of the Catholic Church. So when those on whose authority I have consented to believe in the gospel tell me not to believe in Manicheus, how can I but consent?”

    “To be sure, although on this matter, we cannot quote a clear example taken from the canonical Scriptures, at any rate, on this question, we are following the true thought of Scriptures when we observe what has appeared good to the universal Church which the authority of these same Scriptures recommends to you”

    “It is obvious; the faith allows it; the Catholic Church approves; it is true”

    “Now, in regards to the canonical Scriptures, he must follow the judgement of the greater number of catholic churches”

    “And if anyone seek for divine authority in this matter, though what is held by the whole Church, and not as instituted by Councils, but as a matter of invariable custom, is rightly held to have been handed down by apostolic authority….”

    “But those reasons which I have here given, I have either gathered from the authority of the church, according to the tradition of our forefathers, or from the testimony of the divine Scriptures, or from the nature itself of numbers and of similitudes. No sober person will decide against reason, no Christian against the Scriptures, no peaceable person against the church.”

    “In the books of Maccabees we read of sacrifice offered for the dead. Howbeit even if it were no where at all read in the Old Scriptures, not small is the authority, which in this usage is clear, of the whole Church …”

    “Or if he produces his own manuscripts of the apostolic writings, he must also obtain for them the authority of the churches founded by the apostles themselves, by showing that they have been preserved and transmitted with their sanction. It will be difficult for a man to make me believe him on the evidence of writings which derive all their authority from his own word, which I do not believe.”

    “What could be more clear than the judgement of the Apostolic See?”

    “What, moreover, shall I say of those commentators on the divine Scriptures who have flourished in the catholic Church? They have never tried to prevert these testimonies to an alien sense, because they were firmly established in our most ancient and solid faith, and were never moved aside from error.”

    “But perhaps you will quote some other book bearing the name of an apostle known to have been chosen by Christ; and you will find there that Christ was not born of Mary. Since, then, one of the books must be false, the question in this case is, whether we are to yield our belief to a book acknowledged and approved as handed down from the beginning in the Church founded by Christ Himself, and maintained through the apostles and their successors in an unbroken connection all over the world to the present day; or to a book which this Church condemns as unknown, and which, moreover, is brought forward by men who prove their veracity by praising Christ for falsehood.”

    “When therefore we see so great help of God, so great progress and fruit, shall we doubt to hide ourselves in the bosom of that Church, which even unto the confession of the human race from [the] apostolic chair through successions of Bishops, (heretics in vain lurking around her and being condemned, partly by the judgment of the very people, partly by the weight of councils, partly also by the majesty of miracles,) hath held the summit of authority. To be unwilling to grant to her the first place, is either surely the height of impiety, or is headlong arrogance. For, if there be no sure way unto wisdom and health of souls, unless where faith prepare them for reason, what else is it to be ungrateful for the Divine help and aid, than to wish to resist authority furnished with so great labor? And if every system of teaching, however mean and easy, requires, in order to its being received, a teacher or master, what more full of rash pride, than, in the case of books of divine mysteries, both to be unwilling to learn from such as interpret them, and to wish to condemn them unlearned?”

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  271. TVD: Further, your first answer was that you construct your Bible based on your own personal [fallible] authority.

    Nope. When have I ever said that I base things off my own authority?

    TVD: You don’t have anywhere near “universal” consent.

    Can you point to some book in the Protestant canon that is rejected by some segment of the church?

    Like

  272. Robert
    Posted November 23, 2015 at 6:46 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    “You keep changing the words, now you’re slipping in “dogmatically,” which is not the same as your formulation “never ever under any circumstances.” Wearin’ me out, dude.”

    That’s what I thought I said from the get go. I certainly meant to say that.

    Well, it’s more a theological theory than an exercised power. Yes, Christ put Peter in charge, as Aquinas said, simply because Christ himself wouldn’t be around. But you really need to look up–and I have posted links–how the Pope approached his only 2 exercises of papal infallibility–he polled the bishops, and asked them to poll the faithful, the “sensus fidei.” He was still seeking the “universal sense of the Church” even in exercising papal infallibility.

    He did not come down like Moses from the papal mountaintop, nor can he do something like deny the Trinity, which is why your formulation “never ever under any circumstances” is a false locution.

    So the point still stands, Augustine believed the church had authority (as do the rest of us confessionalists), but whether he believed the church could never ever make a dogmatic error is another issue.

    Actually, via Mr. Cagle, we’re seeing just how thin–if not meaningless–that “authority” of the Church turns out to be. Even the Bible itself is provisional, and under the authority not of the Holy Spirit, but of linguists, philologists and other “experts.”

    Rome says number one and number two. CTC and CVD say there’s no number one without number two, but as Darryl has been pointing out repeatedly, it’s a rather odd position to take when nobody on the Roman Catholic side seems to take ecclesiastical infallibility seriously.

    “Nobody?” Darryl gets his info on the Catholic Church from blogs and the morning newspaper. That’s the “authority” you should be questioning.

    So yeah, Rome is big. But if we’re going to measure catholicity and seriousness by size, the church of 1.2 billion members doesn’t get to play the numbers game and then say “well of course not everyone is faithful” and expect us to take the apologetic seriously.

    Actually, Mr. Cagle tried to claim some “universal consent” for Protestantism’s teachings, a claim of “sensus fidei” no different than Catholicism’s–but with considerably less numerical support.

    Especially when professing evangelicals on even the broadest definition of the term are far more likely to be orthodox small-o Christians than Roman Catholics.

    I don’t know what that means. The “Greek Catholics” are formally “The Orthodox Catholic Church,” and at 300 million, number more than any single Protestant denomination. You want to talk “orthodox,” leave the Vatican out of it and “orthodox” Christianity still dates back 2000 years, with apostolic succession, a priesthood, and the sacraments, especially the Eucharist in the Eastern Orthodox.

    Protestants are not “orthodox” except by their own arrogation of the term. To any historian, sans its theological truth claims [which a historian cannot evaluate], Protestantism is clearly a new church and a variant religion [with some exception possibly carved out for the Lutherans and Anglicans, who largely kept the religion although they changed management].

    Otherwise, “orthodox” has no meaning in Protestantism, except in reference to itself [such as the “Orthodox” Presbyterian Church, itself a splinter group from a larger whole].

    Like

  273. Jeff Cagle
    Posted November 23, 2015 at 6:59 pm | Permalink
    TVD: Further, your first answer was that you construct your Bible based on your own personal [fallible] authority.

    Nope. When have I ever said that I base things off my own authority?

    You mean here?

    Jeff Cagle
    Posted November 23, 2015 at 2:59 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid: Okay, Brother Jeff, are you willing to admit that your rejection of the Deuterocanonical books is based on your acceptance of the Westminster Confession of Faith’s list of canonical books?

    No. I had rejected the deuteros long before I ever heard of the WCF.

    Wearin’ me out.

    Like

  274. Jeff,

    “No, No, Maybe, Maybe, No, Probably, Maybe, No, No, No, No, No, No, No, and No.”

    Great. So your answer to “On what basis are they excluded from the “easy to discern” boundaries of the pre-1054 church” is “because they did not teach anything contrary to the gospel”. But all of these groups of course thought they were teaching according to the gospel and your interpretation of the gospel was the one that was in error, as does Rome and the East today, along with all the contemporary Protestant sects you reject as unorthodox. So on what basis do we exclude them from the church? On what basis do we allow or disallow the “maybes”?

    “But in any event, few of these groups (Gnostics, Marcionites) put forward any serious canonical challenges.”

    Um yeah, if you exclude canonical challenges, there were no canonical challenges. That’s not very responsive to the point.

    “Some did accept, some did reject. That’s the point of a standard of common consent: We will not accept books that were partially accepted, partially rejected.”

    But 2 Peter and Revelation and Hebrews and others you accept were partially accepted and disputed. What to do? Also, did the pre-1054 church accept passages in your canon as inspired you now reject or asterisk as authentic? So what do we do there?

    “There might be some outliers — a couple of the church doctors excluded Revelation, for example — but in the main it is easy to see what the consensus was.”

    Oh so that’s what we do, handwave. Why not exclude Revelation from your canon or force others to submit to it?

    “Tobit was not it.”

    Ah, so all the early fathers and councils who held Tobit as canonical just weren’t illuminated enough correct?

    “We insist that this is a feature, not a bug, for if there were such a human infallible authority, it would have authority over the Word of God.”

    You’d have to demonstrate that, rather than merely assert it, especially since said authority explicitly claims it is servant to the Word of God. This would also entail Christ and the Apostles who had infallible authority must have had authority over the Word of God.

    “You insist that the Protestant system is inferior because we cannot point to infallible, irreformable doctrines (other than Scripture).”

    And that teaching that Scripture is infallible and irreformable itself remains provisional and tentative, just as much as the identification of what it consists of does, consistent with your system’s claims. Thus, liberalism.

    “We insist that this is a matter of being honest, in that you yourself have no access to infallible doctrines yourself, since you have only fallible copies of fallible translations of church teaching”

    And this would entail again that that those in NT times submitting to Christ or the Apostles/those sent with divine authority were in no better epistemological position than those submitting to synagogue rabbi Levi offering admitted fallible provisional teachings and rejecting any such divine authority/ability because both groups of adherents were always personally fallible and lacked vulcan mindmelding.

    “You insist that the Protestant system is inferior because it leads to theological chaos. We reply that Catholics have just as much theological chaos, but they don’t notice because the band-aid of institutional unity covers over the wound of doctrinal disunity.”

    I’m afraid you’d have to demonstrate RCs have “just as much theological chaos”. As I said before, compare the catechisms/confessions/statements of faith from the following churches/groups: PCUSA, ELCA, Arminian, Anglican, Unitarian, Pentecostal, Oneness Pentecostal, Charismatic, Joel Osteen, TD Jakes, Creflo Dollar, Arian, Modalist, KJV-onlyist, Marcionite, gnostic, reconstructionist, kinist, biblicist-fundamentalist, seeker-sensitive, liberal, emergent, church of christ, antinomian, Pelagian, NPP, Quakers, Plymouth Brethren, Finneyite, Anabaptist, Adventist, Open Theist.

    Lots of conflict and contradiction.

    Now compare the RC catechism with the RC catechism. No conflict and contradiction, by definition.

    Further, draw out the implications of the Protestant disclaimers as others on your side have:
    “But why should anyone from a church who disagrees with you care?
    – In one sense, they shouldn’t.
    Right, but why should those outside of that church care or be subject to your definition.
    – As noted, in one sense they shouldn’t care.”

    That’s the anarchy.

    But based on Rome’s claims, other denominations should care. Rome is claiming to be the one true church Christ founded and concordantly to have the divine and infallible authority/ability to identify, define, and teach irreformable doctrine binding upon all. No Protestant body does this, but rather rejects such claims to authority that would compel any church that disagrees with you to care in the first place.

    “In all cases, your judgement of “inferior” uses Catholic categories to evaluate.”

    So I responded to the points. No importing of Catholic categories. My only axiom is that divine revelation is infallible, which we both share. So I’m still waiting for the demonstration of “Accordingly, you keep evaluating the Catholic system according to the Catholic system, and the Protestant system according to the Catholic system” that I should take notice of.

    “Do they teach consistently with the gospel? Do they uphold the Word of God?”

    They certainly think they do, don’t they? So what to do?

    “What if the first system can’t deliver on its promises?”

    Oh, so what if we don’t actually grant the system to be true for argument’s sake in evaluating, rather than begging the question? The thing I’ve been doing this entire thread in evaluating each system, granting the truth of those claims, and then seeing what is *consistent* with those claims.

    “In principle, the Catholic system cannot deliver. Hence, it is not superior.”

    It can’t deliver a vulcan mindmeld? No, it can’t. Neither did Christ or the Apostles and those sent with divine authority. So I guess their claims to divine authority and infallibility were superfluous. And the Protestant system cannot deliver anything like the certitude of faith because apparently that is illegitimate and impossible for human beings to have.

    “Stunning? Our “side” admitted that in 1647 at the latest. Where have you been, my man?”

    Excellent. And all I’ve been arguing is the implication of that position. Then you guys hem and haw with “well you’re not personally infallible so tu quoque” and “well actually we can offer irreformable doctrine”. Then I ask “okay what’s an example?” Then I get from you, “It’s hard to answer your question”. But I’m glad we agree now. So many comments to get there.

    “Wrong, because we are not foundationalists.”

    Okay so you can “interpret” things without first having established what you are to interpret. You can have a standard to evaluate against without first knowing that standard or establishing that as the rule of faith in the first place. Makes sense.

    And you earlier said, “There is an irreformable stratum of divine revelation.” So, is that teaching “a bottom layer of irreformable doctrine upon which other doctrine and moral teaching rests”?

    “Yes, there are a couple of self-evident axioms: “God’s word must be true” is clearly axiomatic for the Protestant.”

    And is “God’s word exists” axiomatic?

    Like

  275. No one of note,

    Sorry. You are not who I thought you might have been. Nice to meet you and sorry our meeting has been cross. BTW, I spend and have spent a whole lot more time in Scripture than I will ever spend at C2C. Thank you for the advice though. I recommend the same to others. I like the place. I have interacted with some of the guys at C2C and have read a few of the articles, but they are not Christ, Scripture, the Church or any form of Revelation.

    I will say though… If the “finger of Satan, deceiver of men, and breaker of Moses’ laws” isn’t arrogant, then I don’t know what arrogant is. I didn’t say rude. I said arrogant. Christ was never taken for rude. Arrogant though? I think that can fit the bill. People thought He believed Himself to be more than He truly was. The problem was I, and Christians, disagree and think He was all He believed Himself to be. Someone may take me for arrogant when I say “God is my Father and not yours”, but that doesn’t make it untrue when talking to an unbaptized non-Christian. I’m not being rude, just stating what I believe is a revealed from God fact. Often this is called arrogant and I believe it is valid to say people took Christ this way often.

    Again sorry our first meeting came across mixed.
    Peace,
    MichaelTX

    Like

  276. Hart,
    Love your place. But, not much to bit there in the post worth the time. We have been around these blocks before. You don’t stick around for the long run in the debates that matter and I just don’t have the time anymore anyway.
    Later,
    MichaelTX

    Like

  277. Tom,

    Well, it’s more a theological theory than an exercised power.

    And we’re watching the current pope exercise it into give-peace-a-chance meaninglessness.

    Yes, Christ put Peter in charge, as Aquinas said, simply because Christ himself wouldn’t be around.

    A statement like this simply means that for all the bluster to the contrary, Rome doesn’t think the Holy Spirit can guide the church without somebody on a throne in Rome.

    But you really need to look up–and I have posted links–how the Pope approached his only 2 exercises of papal infallibility–he polled the bishops, and asked them to poll the faithful, the “sensus fidei.” He was still seeking the “universal sense of the Church” even in exercising papal infallibility.

    On those occasions, yes. Of course, Francis recently whined about conservatives in his synod. We’ll see what happens if he ever gets around to an letter on the subject.

    He did not come down like Moses from the papal mountaintop, nor can he do something like deny the Trinity, which is why your formulation “never ever under any circumstances” is a false locution.

    He can’t do something like deny the Trinity according to what? RC theory. If that’s your basis for believing it, you’re a rank fideist.

    Actually, via Mr. Cagle, we’re seeing just how thin–if not meaningless–that “authority” of the Church turns out to be. Even the Bible itself is provisional, and under the authority not of the Holy Spirit, but of linguists, philologists and other “experts.”

    God’s Word isn’t provisional. The church’s recognition of it is, trivially so. Just as your recognition of what the church has said is infallible is provisional. Trivially so.

    “Nobody?” Darryl gets his info on the Catholic Church from blogs and the morning newspaper. That’s the “authority” you should be questioning.

    Darryl is quite able to distinguish theory from practice. It’s not as if he doesn’t know the theory. His issue is that the people touting Rome as the cure-all ignore the fact that at least in the current day, the Magisterium doesn’t seem to care much about the theory.

    Actually, Mr. Cagle tried to claim some “universal consent” for Protestantism’s teachings, a claim of “sensus fidei” no different than Catholicism’s–but with considerably less numerical support.

    If you want to go with determining who has the right sensus fidei according to numerical support, then homosexuality is a-ok. Just look at Roman surveys and the one in seven bishops at the recent synod who couldn’t figure out that homosexuality is a sin.

    I don’t know what that means.

    It means that routine polls of Roman Catholics and evangelicals show such things that evangelicals are far more likely to think homosexuality is a sin than Roman Catholics are. Take that for your sensus fidei. Oh wait, the numbers for the sensus fidei don’t matter anymore when they disagree with the nominal teachings of the Magisterium, but when they disagree with Protestants they do.

    The “Greek Catholics” are formally “The Orthodox Catholic Church,” and at 300 million, number more than any single Protestant denomination. You want to talk “orthodox,” leave the Vatican out of it and “orthodox” Christianity still dates back 2000 years, with apostolic succession, a priesthood, and the sacraments, especially the Eucharist in the Eastern Orthodox.

    If you define Christianity as the religion with apostolic succession, a priesthood, and seven sacraments (notice nothing about Christ alone or grace alone there, hmmm), then the EO can make a claim to go back to about the time of Irenaeus. Go earlier than that and the Presbyterian form of church government actually predominates.

    Protestants are not “orthodox” except by their own arrogation of the term.</i.

    Now you are being hilarious. Roman Catholics aren’t “orthodox” except by their own definition, which no one else shares fully, not even the East. The East isn’t orthodox except by its own arrogation of the term, which no one fully agrees with, even the Vatican.

    To any historian, sans its theological truth claims [which a historian cannot evaluate], Protestantism is clearly a new church and a variant religion [with some exception possibly carved out for the Lutherans and Anglicans, who largely kept the religion although they changed management].

    Hilarious again. If you want to poll historians, you are not going to find one that says Roman Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy is 2,000 years old. Even Roman Catholic historians don’t say that. The best they can give us is development, which is a theological claim.

    Otherwise, “orthodox” has no meaning in Protestantism, except in reference to itself [such as the “Orthodox” Presbyterian Church, itself a splinter group from a larger whole].

    If modern history is the judge, then orthodoxy has no meaning at all except as a convenient label that the winners applied to their own position.

    I’d be careful about judging the orthodoxy of Protestantism and its age by historians. Those same historians laugh at Rome’s claims.

    Like

  278. JRC: “Some did accept, some did reject. That’s the point of a standard of common consent: We will not accept books that were partially accepted, partially rejected.”

    CVD: But 2 Peter and Revelation and Hebrews and others you accept were partially accepted and disputed. What to do?

    This is a reasonable question. It goes to the question of evidence. Are all books equally contested, or are there are some that are clearly accepted as canonical by the large majority and others not?

    So, let’s do the homework, then. Who rejected 2 Peter and on what basis? Revelation? Hebrews?

    CVD: Also, did the pre-1054 church accept passages in your canon as inspired you now reject or asterisk as authentic? So what do we do there?

    You mean, such as the Johannine comma? To re-quote Pius XII, we follow the rules of textual criticism.

    That’s certainly what Jerome did when compiling the Vulgate.

    Like

  279. I’m afraid this must be my last post for a while (week plus?). I hope everyone has a good thanksgiving.

    @ Cletus: I think in the main we are just talking at each other. I hope something can break that impasse in the future.

    @ Zrim: I thought your comment about worldview and doctrine opened up a great line of discussion, but then I — hey! Squirrel! Anyways, I can’t find it now. So maybe in the future.

    Like

  280. Jeff Cagle
    Posted November 23, 2015 at 2:59 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid: Okay, Brother Jeff, are you willing to admit that your rejection of the Deuterocanonical books is based on your acceptance of the Westminster Confession of Faith’s list of canonical books?
    No. I had rejected the deuteros long before I ever heard of the WCF.>>>

    Okay, so you reject the Deuterocanonical books on your own authority.

    Jeff:
    Mermaid: You want us to forget that detail.
    Mermaid: You, Jeff Cagle, try to establish yourself and your WCF as authoritative. It is all man centered.
    Mermaid: You want to ignore the Septuagint and the Vulgate, both of which contain the Deuterocanonical books.
    You are mistaken on all counts. You actually don’t really understand very well what I want. Remember when you got into trouble earlier by making personal assertions without evidence? Love is honest, and honest people don’t try to play mind-reading games.>>>>

    It was you who got yourself into trouble. Remember? Now you are doing it again. I am basing what I said on the arguments you were making. Love would clarify if I read you wrong. If I don’t understand, then love would explain without insulting me.

    Jeff:
    What I want more than anything is that you would look to Jesus alone apart from saints for your hope; that you would look to Scripture alone as the Word of God; and that you would seek to be justified by Christ’s righteousness alone, through faith, apart from any works of your own righteousness.>>>>

    You are the one playing mind games and making assumptions about what people believe and what people are trusting in. Everything in the Church points to Jesus. She is all about Jesus. She is all about grace.

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

    Jeff:
    To the extent that you are doing this, I rejoice. To that end, I’ve been trying to shine a light on the ways in which Catholic teachings are contrary to Scripture. I know that it’s uncomfortable, and you have certainly given a lot of pushback, which is not unexpected.>>>>>>

    You cannot believe the nourishment I have gotten from the Deuterocanonical books. No, you cannot. Your mind and heart are not open to them, so you miss that blessing. Your loss. That’s fine. If you are happy, then I am happy for you.

    Jeff:
    So it would actually be very contrary to my goals to try to establish my own authority, or the authority of the WCF. I do have a very little authority by virtue of my ordination, but that authority is limited to pointing to the Scripture and teaching it, and it is expected that all who hear would and should test my teaching against Scripture. The WCF also has authority as the collective voice of a portion of the church, but again — its teachings are subordinate to Scripture, and can no more “define” the canon than you or I can “define” the law of gravity.>>>>

    Yet both you and the WCF pretend to define the canon without admitting that others have a valid point of view. At least you are willing to sorta’ kinda’ preach the Gospel at me even if it is in frustration.

    Jeff:
    So if I were to (somehow?!) replace your trust in the Catholic magisterium with a trust in the WCF — or worse yet, in myself — then I would have failed utterly. I have no desire whatsoever to do that.>>>>

    Well, that has not happened, so not to worry.

    Jeff:
    You have a good Thanksgiving. Perhaps I could ask you to reflect a little on some Scripture this week, some Scripture on the nature and exercise of true and false authority: 2 Cor 10 – 12 and 1 Sam 15.1-6.>>>>

    Jeff, I reflect on Scripture every day. Catholic Christians are Bible Christians. If it will make you happy I will read those passages. I would ask you to do the same and reflect on the nature and exercise of true and false authority.

    Now, you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Jeff.
    Mermaid out, for now 🙂

    Like

  281. James Young, that’s a nice theory. But it has no historical basis. No Roman Catholic historian tells the story that way.

    Get up to date Old Life-commenter-who-has-no-chops-for-his-own-Catholic-Answers-dude. #aggiornamento

    Like

  282. Robert
    Posted November 23, 2015 at 8:55 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    Well, it’s more a theological theory than an exercised power.

    And we’re watching the current pope exercise it into give-peace-a-chance meaninglessness.

    Again, you’re believing too much of Darryl Hart’s confusions. Pope Francis hasn’t submitted a single thing that the Faithful aren’t permitted to disagree with. You’re simply not hearing the other side of these discussions.

    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2015/07/catholics-can-respectfully-disagree-with-pope-francis-on-economics/

    “Yes, Christ put Peter in charge, as Aquinas said, simply because Christ himself wouldn’t be around.”

    A statement like this simply means that for all the bluster to the contrary, Rome doesn’t think the Holy Spirit can guide the church without somebody on a throne in Rome.

    Protestantism, with its dozens if not 100s of denominations and deal-breaking theological disagreements, is proof. This was Aquinas’s point, even before Martin Luther and the theological anarchy he wrought.

    “I don’t know what that means.”

    It means that routine polls of Roman Catholics and evangelicals show

    Polls do not count. That is sociology, not ecclesiology–although in Protestantism, “the authority of the Church” becomes synonymous with “the will of the people.” But this is not the same same thing as the Catholic “sensus fidei.”

    I know you’re trying, but you’re subscribing to Dr. Hart’s simplistic reduction of very theologically developed concepts. “Papal infallibility” does not mean “whatever the Pope says goes,” nor is “the sense of the faithful” equal to “majority rules.”

    And that’s the only problem here, clarity. Until Old Life can state the Catholic positions fairly and accurately, there is no discussion atall, only remediation of the confusions its spreads.

    Like

  283. James Young, that’s some pretty dubious cutting and pasting. But you’re just a commenter at a Protestant blog doing a really good imitation of Jimmy Akin.

    Some of the quotes I couldn’t find. One I could was not exactly in context:

    What, moreover, shall I say of those commentators on the divine Scriptures who have flourished in the catholic Church? They have never tried to pervert these testimonies to an alien sense, because they were firmly established in our most ancient and solid faith, and were never moved aside by the novelty of error. Were I to wish to collect these together, and to make use of their testimony, the task would both be too long, and I should probably seem to have bestowed less preference than I ought on canonical authorities, [2315] from which one must never deviate. I will merely mention the most blessed Ambrose, to whom (as I have already observed [2316] ) Pelagius accorded so signal a testimony of his integrity in the faith. This Ambrose, however, maintained that there was nothing else in infants, which required the healing grace of Christ, than original sin. [2317] But in respect of Cyprian, with his all-glorious crown, [2318] will any one say of him, that he either was, or ever could by any possibility have been, a Manichean, when he suffered before the pestilent heresy had made its appearance in the Roman world? And yet, in his book on the baptism of infants, he so vigorously maintains original sin as to declare, that even before the eighth day, if necessary, the infant ought to be baptized, lest his soul should be lost; and he wished it to be understood, that the infant could the more readily attain to the indulgence of baptism, inasmuch as it is not so much his own sins, but the sins of another, which are remitted to him. Well, then, let this writer dare to call these Manicheans; let him, moreover, under this scandalous imputation asperse that most ancient tradition of the Church, whereby infants are, as I have said, exorcised with exsufflation, for the purpose of being translated into the kingdom of Christ, after they are delivered from the power of darkness — that is to say, of the devil and his angels. As for ourselves, indeed, we are more ready to be associated with these men, and with the Church of Christ, so firmly rooted in this ancient faith, in suffering any amount of curse and contumely, than with the Pelagians, to be covered with the flattery of public praise.

    That’s hardly an affirmation of the papacy and its infalliblity. As vd, t keeps saying “Catholic” doesn’t mean “Roman Catholic.”

    #weaksauce

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  284. James Young, “Rome is claiming to be the one true church Christ founded and concordantly to have the divine and infallible authority/ability to identify, define, and teach irreformable doctrine binding upon all.”

    Read Brian Tierney and Francis Oakley, two Roman Catholic historians of substance, and then see if you buy those claims so gullibly.

    Like

  285. ROBERT:

    [tvd]:”To any historian, sans its theological truth claims [which a historian cannot evaluate], Protestantism is clearly a new church and a variant religion [with some exception possibly carved out for the Lutherans and Anglicans, who largely kept the religion although they changed management].”

    Hilarious again. If you want to poll historians, you are not going to find one that says Roman Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy is 2,000 years old. Even Roman Catholic historians don’t say that. The best they can give us is development, which is a theological claim.

    Um, you want it both ways, to be the Church that Christ founded but that it doesn’t exist.

    Either way, you ain’t it.

    Better you argue with Augustine than my poor self. I’m really trying to not get in the way. Really.

    “[T]here are many other things which most properly can keep me in [the Catholic Church’s] bosom. The unanimity of peoples and nations keeps me here. Her authority, inaugurated in miracles, nourished by hope, augmented by love, and confirmed by her age, keeps me here. The succession of priests, from the very see of the Apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after his resurrection, gave the charge of feeding his sheep [John 21:15-17], up to the present episcopate, keeps me here. And last, the very name Catholic, which, not without reason, belongs to this Church alone, in the face of so many heretics, so much so that, although all heretics want to be called ‘Catholic,’ when a stranger inquires where the Catholic Church meets, none of the heretics would dare to point out his own basilica or house” (Against the Letter of Mani Called ‘The Foundation’ 4:5 [A.D. 397]).

    Now it’s fine if you disown Augustine. Luther was on the borderline because Augustine answered the question I keep asking and Old Life refuses to answer: By what authority do you form a church, then kick people out of it if they fall afoul of your doctrines? By what authority do you interpret the Bible?

    By what authority can you even decree what’s the Bible and what’s not?

    Since man’s unassisted reason can reasonably disagree about these things when unwinding the scriptures–even the Trinity!–by what authority do you “break the tie?” At the end of the day, at the end of the discussion, when Augustine answers, “By the authority of the catholic church,” not a word of that means anything anymore. You’ve deconstructed the very concepts of “authority,” “catholic” and “church.”

    And that’s where this discussion stands. Mr. Cagle attempted an honest and sufficient answer

    Tom: “YOU reject [the deuterocanonical books of the Bible]. By what authority? Martin Luther’s as a philology scholar? Your own as a scholar?”

    By the universal consent of the church as strong (overwhelming) confirming evidence.

    But that answer actually redounds to the Catholic Church/the Eastern Orthodox pro-Deuteros’ side of the ledger, not Luther’s, by weight of both numbers and history.

    See, I agree with the [unintentional] premise of Jeff’s answer–and so does Augustine–that if Christ left behind a Church and the Holy Spirit to guide it, “the authority of the catholic church” and not the ever-shifting sands of expert philological opinion should prevail, that God did not leave man in 500 or 1000 or 2000 years of confusion and darkness about His Will and His Word.

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  286. Tom,

    Um, you want it both ways, to be the Church that Christ founded but that it doesn’t exist.

    No. I’m responding to you’re obviously wrong quip that if you poll historians, Protestantism isn’t Christianity. If you poll modern historians, there is no such thing as orthodoxy other than the results of whoever had the most power.

    Now it’s fine if you disown Augustine. Luther was on the borderline because Augustine answered the question I keep asking and Old Life refuses to answer: By what authority do you form a church, then kick people out of it if they fall afoul of your doctrines?

    I don’t form a church. I’m part of the catholic church that has splintered because Rome got greedy.

    By what authority do you interpret the Bible?

    In myself I have no authority other than the ability to read the text rightly. Whether I do so or not is not for me to baldly assert. If I were ordained, it would be the authority of the catholic church to declare, not determine. I’m not ordained.

    By what authority can you even decree what’s the Bible and what’s not?

    No one but God has authority to “decree” what’s in the Bible and what’s not.

    Since man’s unassisted reason can reasonably disagree about these things when unwinding the scriptures–even the Trinity!–by what authority do you “break the tie?”

    If you think disagreements over the Trinity are reasonable, then you prove yourself a fool who imputes to Rome clarity it just doesn’t have. Professing Romanists disagree on just about everything despite the claims of “authority.”

    At the end of the day, at the end of the discussion, when Augustine answers, “By the authority of the catholic church,” not a word of that means anything anymore. You’ve deconstructed the very concepts of “authority,” “catholic” and “church.”

    So I guess if the church had not concluded that the Trinity is the teaching of Scripture, then you would be an Arian, right?

    But that answer actually redounds to the Catholic Church/the Eastern Orthodox pro-Deuteros’ side of the ledger, not Luther’s, by weight of both numbers and history.

    Actually, it doesn’t, as evidenced by the fact that nobody knew what the OT was until Trent if CVD is correct.

    See, I agree with the [unintentional] premise of Jeff’s answer–and so does Augustine–that if Christ left behind a Church and the Holy Spirit to guide it, “the authority of the catholic church” and not the ever-shifting sands of expert philological opinion should prevail, that God did not leave man in 500 or 1000 or 2000 years of confusion and darkness about His Will and His Word.

    But again, if CVD was right, there was ever-shifting confusion about whether one needs to believe the Trinity to be saved (once Rome said yes—Ath. Creed, now it doesn’t), the doctrine of justification, the canon, etc., etc.

    So you’re back to the cheering for Rome again. Okay, I thought you weren’t going there. When was the last time you went to mass?

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  287. Tom,

    Again, you’re believing too much of Darryl Hart’s confusions. Pope Francis hasn’t submitted a single thing that the Faithful aren’t permitted to disagree with. You’re simply not hearing the other side of these discussions.

    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2015/07/catholics-can-respectfully-disagree-with-pope-francis-on-economics/

    Says the man who just quoted a non-Magisterial source to assure us of what we can disagree with.

    But in any case, my comments weren’t about economics but about Francis’ whining about conservatives at his synod on the Family who were reluctant to rubber stamp what it seems he’s going to let go through anyway—even easier annulments, letting bishops determine who gets communion regardless of their marital state, etc.

    Protestantism, with its dozens if not 100s of denominations and deal-breaking theological disagreements, is proof. This was Aquinas’s point, even before Martin Luther and the theological anarchy he wrought.

    I have no principled means to figure out if Nancy Pelosi or Mother Teresa are better RCs since the infallible church has excommunicated or disciplined neither. Meanwhile, the majority of RCs think homosexuality is a-ok. But the numbers don’t matter for the sensus fidei even though they do prove catholicity. Coherence?

    Polls do not count. That is sociology, not ecclesiology–although in Protestantism, “the authority of the Church” becomes synonymous with “the will of the people.” But this is not the same same thing as the Catholic “sensus fidei.”

    If the sensus fidei is only what the Magisterium says it is, which is what you are now conceding, there goes any claim to the infallibility of the laity.

    I know you’re trying, but you’re subscribing to Dr. Hart’s simplistic reduction of very theologically developed concepts. “Papal infallibility” does not mean “whatever the Pope says goes,” nor is “the sense of the faithful” equal to “majority rules.”

    Nobody really knows what papal infallibility means because you can’t get RCs to agree on when he has spoken infallibly. But if the sensus fidei is not equivalent to the majority, then you don’t get to tout the proof that 1.2 bilion members give you. The only numbers you get to promote are the numbers of those who agree with the Magisterium. Good luck figuring that out when nobody can figure out what the pope says. When both Rolling Stone and conservatives think the pope is really on their side, then Protestant division doesn’t look so bad.

    And that’s the only problem here, clarity. Until Old Life can state the Catholic positions fairly and accurately, there is no discussion atall, only remediation of the confusions its spreads.

    But the problem is not that we are ignorant of RC positions. The problem is that the apologists act as if Rome’s positions solves Protestant’s problems when the vast majority of RCs clearly believe that they do not or act as if Rome’s positions don’t matter. If the CTC would show some more wailing over Roman Catholic disunity or say, “Man our church really is as screwed up as Protestantism” (because it is; when more than half of the laity disagree with Rome’s teaching on homosexuality and 90 percent of it ignores the teaching on birth control, you’ve got the same theological dissent) Darryl would leave them alone.

    It’s the dishonesty of the conservative Roman apologists, which the Vatican doesn’t even know exists, that moves Darryl. Hence his repeated emphasis that he sympathizes with traditionalist RCs.

    Like

  288. TVD
    Posted November 23, 2015 at 7:25 pm | Permalink
    Jeff Cagle
    Posted November 23, 2015 at 6:59 pm | Permalink
    TVD: Further, your first answer was that you construct your Bible based on your own personal [fallible] authority.

    Nope. When have I ever said that I base things off my own authority?

    TVD: You mean here?

    Jeff Cagle
    I had rejected the deuteros long before I ever heard of the WCF.

    TVD: Wearin’ me out.

    Jeff Cagle
    Posted November 23, 2015 at 7:36 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    Reading comprehension problems on your part do not constitute an admission on my part.

    First you accuse others of not making any sense, then accuse them of not understanding you.

    But everybody understands each other here just fine, Jeff. That’s your problem with the discussion. As an unmuddied lake, friend. As clear as an azure sky of deepest summer.

    The Little Mermaid
    Posted November 23, 2015 at 9:45 pm | Permalink
    Jeff Cagle
    Posted November 23, 2015 at 2:59 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid: Okay, Brother Jeff, are you willing to admit that your rejection of the Deuterocanonical books is based on your acceptance of the Westminster Confession of Faith’s list of canonical books?
    No. I had rejected the deuteros long before I ever heard of the WCF.>>>

    Okay, so you reject the Deuterocanonical books on your own authority.

    Jeff:
    Mermaid: You want us to forget that detail.
    Mermaid: You, Jeff Cagle, try to establish yourself and your WCF as authoritative. It is all man centered.
    Mermaid: You want to ignore the Septuagint and the Vulgate, both of which contain the Deuterocanonical books.

    It was you who got yourself into trouble. Remember? Now you are doing it again. I am basing what I said on the arguments you were making. Love would clarify if I read you wrong. If I don’t understand, then love would explain without insulting me.

    The question is not the philology, it is by what authority you proclaim these things. The Catholic Church answers ‘by the Holy Spirit,” Augustine assents, yes, the Holy Spirit is the authority of the catholic church.

    You [quite conspicuously] decline to answer by what authority you speak and/or believe, which I reckon is wise. It’s best you do your philologizing without risking blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Me, I’d much rather take my chances with Augustine and Aquinas than Luther and Cagle. If that make me a fideist, so be it.

    There are limits to even papal infallibility, but as Protestantism has proven, there are no limits to human error.

    “Protestants manage to believe in sola Scriptura with no explicit biblical evidence, either, and (I would contend) no really compelling biblical proof at all, and much information to the contrary. You also accept the canon of Scripture based necessarily on some ecclesiastical tradition (in your case, the one that rejects the deuterocanon). That doesn’t seem to give Protestants pause.”

    Like

  289. Robert
    Posted November 23, 2015 at 10:59 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    Again, you’re believing too much of Darryl Hart’s confusions. Pope Francis hasn’t submitted a single thing that the Faithful aren’t permitted to disagree with. You’re simply not hearing the other side of these discussions.

    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2015/07/catholics-can-respectfully-disagree-with-pope-francis-on-economics/

    Says the man who just quoted a non-Magisterial source to assure us of what we can disagree with.</i.

    It was a priest fer crissakes, Robert. For informational purposes only. Your edification not mine, of something you should already know but obviously don't.

    And what's your response? Not thx for the info, but parroting Darryl's war on catholicism.

    Did you read the article? No. Because it was about the licitness of disagreeing with the pope, not economics. The larger point holds. You're simply not listening.

    It’s the dishonesty of the conservative Roman apologists, which the Vatican doesn’t even know exists, that moves Darryl. Hence his repeated emphasis that he sympathizes with traditionalist RCs.

    No, he throws Douthat at the wall to see what sticks–and only to attack, not defend the Catholic Church.

    He should throw Augustine. That Dr. Hart is clearly afraid to discuss what really matters should be painfully obvious even to his fans. He pretends to be part of the discussion but is not. You are the discussion, Robert, and to a lesser degree, Jeff Cagle. The others have headed for the hills–and not out of boredom, but out of inability to hang at the grownup table.

    Augustine is the grownup table. The morning paper isn’t, see?

    “And that’s the only problem here, clarity. Until Old Life can state the Catholic positions fairly and accurately, there is no discussion atall, only remediation of the confusions its spreads.”

    But the problem is not that we are ignorant of RC positions.

    But Old Life does not state them fairly, Robert. Again and again. I don’t know why this is. Darryl is either stupid or dishonest.

    Like

  290. “Now it’s fine if you disown Augustine. Luther was on the borderline because Augustine answered the question I keep asking and Old Life refuses to answer: By what authority do you form a church, then kick people out of it if they fall afoul of your doctrines?”

    I don’t form a church. I’m part of the catholic church that has splintered because Rome got greedy.

    Well, actually, your splinter church [“Protestantism”] just kept splintering and splintering into dozens if not 1000s of churches. The Catholic Church stayed together, and so did the Eastern Orthodox–and they’re on pretty good terms, with the same priesthood and Eucharist and sacraments and all. The “Great Schism of 1054” still left each intact, the “splintering” stopped there.

    “By what authority do you interpret the Bible?”

    In myself I have no authority other than the ability to read the text rightly.

    I don’t know what that means except it means you are your own magisterium. You are not an expert in Hebrew or Greek, don’t understand the underlying theology. You are incapable of “reading the text rightly” on your own, indeed, even reading the original text atall atall.

    You don’t even know what the original text is. there is this version from 250 AD and there is this fragment from 125 AD.

    You’re going to have to take somebody’s word for it all. The only question is whose.

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  291. IOW CVD according to your provisional and fallible judgement “Rome is claiming to be the one true church Christ founded and concordantly to have the divine and infallible authority/ability to identify, define, and teach irreformable doctrine binding upon all.”

    Whatever.
    Seeya.
    You’re just as epistemologically confused/compromised as you were when you first got here, if not hypocritically maintaining the same old double standard papists always do.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  292. Bob,

    Brilliant as always. Im fallible. Youre fallible. Everyone gets a fallibility!!! Wheres Oprah. Nothing changes in the arguments or points. So to bring that up (again) shows you havent grasped the argument in the first place and remain as confused as ever 2 years later. Thanks for sharing and confirming.

    Like

  293. Then you must not be everybody CVD because you still don’t get it.
    If you can be fallible and still know infallible truth then prots can know just like cats.
    If you can’t know infallible truth because you are fallible, then neither prots nor cats can know.
    Hint, it’s called a dilemma.
    You have yet to address it.
    I’m not holding my breath.

    Like

  294. Reread the thread Bob. Im not spoon feeding you everything again I went over with jeff sdb and robert. Heres a hint – my argument does not entail I must be personally infallible which is why Ive pointed that out a million times in this thread and the previous one. But considering you like to truncate sentences where I address points you end up then repeating as if theyre new, Im not optimistic on your effort to try to sincerely understand it anyways. So yes Ive addressed it, you just still dont get it.