We're Not Supposed to Notice

Boniface explains the confusion that many Protestants experience when reading older papal claims and try to parse infallibility:

It seems to me that there are certain dogmas or declarations of the Catholic Church that some in the Magisterium wish they could forget about. I’m thinking of declarations like those found in Unam Sanctam (1302), the Syllabus of Errors, the Council of Florence, etc. These declarations on issues such as the reality and eternality of hell, the necessity of membership in the Church for salvation, the permanent invalidity of Jewish ceremonial law, the condemnation of secular political concepts and many other such un-ecumenical positions stand out to them as embarrassing monuments of a bygone era. I think many in the Church would like to get rid of these declarations, if they could – and I am speaking not only of liberals, but of mainstream, even certain “conservative” members of the hierarchy. These teachings are like antiquated family heirlooms that one can’t get rid of but effectively hides by stuffing them in the attic.

Obviously and thankfully, these declarations cannot be gotten rid of. They can be ignored and wished away, but they will not go away. Definitive, infallible ex cathedra statements remain for all time and are irreformable of their very nature. No matter how much any bishop or cardinal would like to contradict or get rid of these dogmatic heirlooms, they cannot.

Yet, though these declarations will not go away, there is a way that the hierarchy has found to get around this problem. I have noticed that, in areas where the modern hierarchy takes vastly different positions than the traditional Church, novel positions are not given to the faithful by means of encyclicals or dogmatic statements, but are found throughout lower-level pronouncements, such as speeches, letters, addresses, bishops’ statements etc. By repeating these novel positions again and again in very low-level pronouncements, the faithful get accustomed to hearing certain novelties “from the Church” and over time come to accept them as “Church teaching.”

A classic example is the death penalty. Granted, JPII called for a lesser application of the death penalty in Evangelium Vitae; but besides this, most of the very strong words offered against the death penalty have come from bishop’s committees, papal speeches, statements and letters and articles in publications like L’Osservatore Romano and on Zenit. Many of these statements condemn capital punishment absolutely, in contradiction to Church teaching and tradition. The Catechism, the official teaching of the Church, of course says that capital punishment is licit and that the state cannot be denied the right to wield it. That is the official teaching and it cannot be altered. But, at every level lower than official teaching, capital punishment is condemned absolutely, and with such frequency that many orthodox Catholics no longer know that capital punishment is allowable. They have heard the voices of the popes and the bishops (in low-level pronouncements) condemn it so much that this erroneous position has effectively become “the Church’s teaching,” leading to a situation where something other than Church teaching takes the practical place of Church teaching while allowing the contrary and official position to remain in place.

Thus the strategy for “changing” Church teaching seems to be this: If you want to teach something contrary to what the Church has always taught, just do it at low enough levels of authority and eventually people will start to accept your low-level declarations as “Church teaching” if they are trumpeted about long enough.

Did the faculty of Auburn Seminary take over the Vatican? It’s not the letter of infallible statements but the spirit?

If only Denzinger were alive. He could fix this.

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119 thoughts on “We're Not Supposed to Notice

  1. From Ratzinger and the CDF in 2004 – https://www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/cdfworthycom.HTM

    “Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

    Guess it’s another thing that doesn’t count.

    Like

  2. Cletus,

    How did the faithful RC prior to the 2004 statement know that they could take a different position on capital punishment or waging war?

    How did the faithful RC during the period of the Crusades know that the call to the Crusades was illegitimate? Or was it legitimate?

    Like

  3. Darryl,

    Tom and Cletus are illustrating the devastating critique that what matters for Roman Catholics today is the Magisterium of the Moment. It doesn’t matter what was said in the past. It only matters what is said now.

    But Rome doesn’t give new revelation and people are allowed to think for themselves and submission isn’t blind and so on.

    Maybe Cletus and Tom can figure out if they have to believe the Assumption to be a good son of the church? I bet they disagree.

    Like

  4. Robert
    Posted November 27, 2015 at 9:59 pm | Permalink
    Darryl,

    Tom and Cletus are illustrating the devastating critique that what matters for Roman Catholics today is the Magisterium of the Moment. It doesn’t matter what was said in the past. It only matters what is said now.

    But Rome doesn’t give new revelation and people are allowed to think for themselves and submission isn’t blind and so on.

    Maybe Cletus and Tom can figure out if they have to believe the Assumption to be a good son of the church? I bet they disagree.

    The Assumption? All this and you have to lean on Dr. Hart’s mindless reduction of 2000 years of the Catholic Church to the trivia over the Assumption of Mary?

    You realize what a cheap sophistry that is, right? Every time Dr. Hart’s anti-Catholicism is shown for what it is, you just slip into the basement and detonate the Assumption bomb and blow up the whole thing?

    Godwin’s Law @ Old Life, just substitute the Blessed Mother for Hitler.

    Like

  5. CvD, perhaps you could interpret the infallible interpreter. Why leeway over there but over there? Because from over here it sure comes across as selective selectivity.

    Like

  6. Zrim,

    Everyone interprets. Thats not germane to the prot-rc dispute.

    I was simply pointing out that Bonifaces assertion that “They have heard the voices of the popes and the bishops (in low-level pronouncements) condemn it so much that this erroneous position has effectively become “the Church’s teaching,”” could take some nuance. I imagine the reply would be that the CDF document (meant for the public) would not get any more attention amongst laity than the catechism which also teaches the licitness of cap punishment does. Regardless, its simply not the case that every bishop and pope has ignored the catechism.

    Robert,

    You must have missed Bonifaces multiple statements in Darryls citation affirming the past does matter – that was kind of central to his point.

    Darryl,

    I thought Boniface was no bueno on the whole dumb infallibility thing, thus you going gaga for him. This article implies otherwise. What gives.

    Like

  7. Robert,

    How did the faithful RC prior to the 2004 statement know that they could take a different position on capital punishment or waging war?

    If ever the faithful are confused on some Church teaching they may rely on Tradition and Sacred Scripture as their guides. Not sure what the Church is saying on capital punishment? Look to Tradition and Scripture. Not sure what position is traditional? Look to the Church and Scripture. Not sure what scripture teaches? The Church and Tradition clear things up. We have a triad of authority precisely for the confusing times. It’s what makes life as a Catholic so nice 🙂

    Like

  8. Kenneth Winsmann
    Posted November 28, 2015 at 4:08 am | Permalink
    Robert,

    How did the faithful RC prior to the 2004 statement know that they could take a different position on capital punishment or waging war?

    If ever the faithful are confused on some Church teaching they may rely on Tradition and Sacred Scripture as their guides. Not sure what the Church is saying on capital punishment? Look to Tradition and Scripture. Not sure what position is traditional? Look to the Church and Scripture. Not sure what scripture teaches? The Church and Tradition clear things up.

    Dr. Hart prefers to get his information on Catholicism from blogs.

    Like

  9. Kenneth,

    If ever the faithful are confused on some Church teaching they may rely on Tradition and Sacred Scripture as their guides. Not sure what the Church is saying on capital punishment? Look to Tradition and Scripture. Not sure what position is traditional? Look to the Church and Scripture. Not sure what scripture teaches? The Church and Tradition clear things up. We have a triad of authority precisely for the confusing times. It’s what makes life as a Catholic so nice 🙂

    So you may contradict the Magisterium? Of course you can’t. Tradition and sacred Scripture says the celibacy rule is bunk. Tradition and sacred Scripture say the papacy is bunk.

    You don’t have a triad if the Magisterium is infallible. You have M.

    Like

  10. Cletus,

    You must have missed Bonifaces multiple statements in Darryls citation affirming the past does matter – that was kind of central to his point.

    His point was that the Magisterium of the Moment feels itself free to ignore history. There goes M.

    Like

  11. Tom,

    The Assumption? All this and you have to lean on Dr. Hart’s mindless reduction of 2000 years of the Catholic Church to the trivia over the Assumption of Mary?

    You realize what a cheap sophistry that is, right? Every time Dr. Hart’s anti-Catholicism is shown for what it is, you just slip into the basement and detonate the Assumption bomb and blow up the whole thing?

    Just pointing out how the STM doesn’t work when people like you think the Assumption is, eh, no biggie.

    Like

  12. We notice:

    So begins the monthly meeting of LGBT Educating & Affirming Diversity (LEAD), with all the trappings of a typical parish organization gathering, businesslike yet informal, with its very presence at the heart of questions currently rocking a church dealing with competing questions about tradition and inclusion.

    As the church moves from describing homosexuality as “intrinsically disordered” to Pope Francis’ famous question “Who am I to judge?”, the big questions loom in the background as LEAD pushes on with its fellowship, sharing stories about what this group means to its members. They freely express estrangement from the church universal, yet share the peace and solace they’ve discovered at St. Matthew’s. It’s a parish which boasts 45 flags in its sanctuary in a tribute to its ethnic diversity and offers rainbow colored pins with the fish Christian symbol to visitors at the LEAD meeting.

    St. Matthew’s prides itself on inclusion. Besides its ethnic and racial diversity, the Sunday liturgy is signed for the deaf. The sign of peace ritual extends for more than five minutes. Through LEAD, gays and lesbians have been formally invited into the mix. The result has been gratifying to those who have been extended a welcome.

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  13. James Young, so the head of CDF is the one with whom the buck stops. Looks like you have more splaining to do.

    I know. It’s great being a Roman Catholic apologist triumphalist. You can find whatever Roman Catholic to quote positively and whichever Protestant to quote mockingly. And it all adds up to “we’re winning.”

    UnAmerican though. Real Americans like underdogs.

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  14. Robert, meanwhile James Young has an assurance of infallibility that Trent denied to Protestants on salvation:

    CANON XVI.-If any one saith, that he will for certain, of an absolute and infallible certainty, have that great gift of perseverance unto the end,-unless he have learned this by special revelation; let him be anathema.

    It’s just a game.

    Like

  15. Robert,

    So you may contradict the Magisterium? Of course you can’t. Tradition and sacred Scripture says the celibacy rule is bunk. Tradition and sacred Scripture say the papacy is bunk.
    You don’t have a triad if the Magisterium is infallible. You have M.

    It’s just ridiculous for you to keep this up. I know by now you must surely understand RC authority. The Magesterium has clarified the issue of the papacy in an infallible way. The M has cleared that up and now the controversy is over. Celibacy can be changed at any moment so it’s a non issue. The point is that when the M of today unofficially teaches confusing or contradictory things (the topic of this post) so long as the faithful have Tradition and Scripture to lean on there really isn’t that much of a problem.

    So at the current moment let’s say it’s the case that M is unofficially confusing 5 to 10 issues. Three dogmas and 7 social issues. (Just for the sake of argument). There is great argument and debate over these ten things.and the Church never clarifies for 150 years in an official capacity.

    During that 150 years all the Catholic faithful will have many dogmas to lean on that remain uncontroversial. Even one is better than their protestant counterparts. But on the ten issues currently being argued they can simply look to Tradition and Scripture. We are covered at every point.

    Now, let’s say for the sake of argument that I do my best to discern scripture and Tradition and come up with an answer that is objectively wrong. 150 years later, after I’m long dead, it turns out the M decided against me. That would be no sin on my part. I did my best and have a clean conscience. I’m not infallible, and there is Grace enough to cover my.shortcomings. Especially considering that throughout my life I DID know with certainty countless other points of dogma crucial to a Christians walk.

    Like

  16. Darryl,

    “You can find whatever Roman Catholic to quote positively and whichever Protestant to quote mockingly.”

    Oh the irony. Finding quotes to mock Protestants with is about 90% of your articles and comments. As I said, my narrative can absorb Bonifaces article as well as the CDF doc. Inconvenient facts to your narrative just get dismissed by you.

    Boniface actually believes in infallibility? So hes an ostrich right – after all the church has moved on. Have you let him know? And since he cares about the past, does that mean hes shrugging? But youre gaga over him. Very strange.

    Like

  17. Robert
    Posted November 28, 2015 at 8:15 am | Permalink
    Tom,

    The Assumption? All this and you have to lean on Dr. Hart’s mindless reduction of 2000 years of the Catholic Church to the trivia over the Assumption of Mary?

    You realize what a cheap sophistry that is, right? Every time Dr. Hart’s anti-Catholicism is shown for what it is, you just slip into the basement and detonate the Assumption bomb and blow up the whole thing?

    Just pointing out how the STM doesn’t work when people like you think the Assumption is, eh, no biggie.

    It’s only a biggie to people who drag it in from nowhere to attack the Catholic Church. Like a suicide bomb, Old Life uses it to blow up the entire discussion when they’re losing, which is often.

    Like

  18. D. G. Hart
    Posted November 28, 2015 at 9:07 am | Permalink
    Robert, meanwhile James Young has an assurance of infallibility that Trent denied to Protestants on salvation:

    CANON XVI.-If any one saith, that he will for certain, of an absolute and infallible certainty, have that great gift of perseverance unto the end,-unless he have learned this by special revelation; let him be anathema.

    It’s just a game.

    Dr. Hart plays games, grabbing pieces out of context to use as weapons, not lanterns. What does “unless he have learned this by special revelation” mean? Dr. Hart neither knows nor cares. He just seems to think he personally is incapable of an unrepented sin and thus not subject to hell.

    In context, we see that Trent is explicitly condemning John Calvin’s re-invention of Christianity 1500 years after the fact. The “assurance of infallibility that Trent denied to Protestants” is precisely what the Catholic Church claims, and of course what Protestantism pretends not to.

    Dr. Hart seems to miss the irony that Calvin and his spawn must either claim an infallibility for this theology or are “provisionally” risking their eternal souls on it. Calvin BETTER be right! [The Church is trying to warn Protestants off this insane theological gamble.]

    CANON XV.-If any one saith, that a man, who is born again and justified, is bound of faith to believe that he is assuredly in the number of the predestinate; let him be anathema.

    CANON XVI.-If any one saith, that he will for certain, of an absolute and infallible certainty, have that great gift of perseverance unto the end,-unless he have learned this by special revelation; let him be anathema.

    CANON XVII.-If any one saith, that the grace of Justification is only attained to by those who are predestined unto life; but that all others who are called, are called indeed, but receive not grace, as being, by the divine power, predestined unto evil; let him be anathema.

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  19. CvD, interpretation not germane to the RC-Prot dispute? But you guys regularly use the exercise of private judgment against us. We’re our own popes and all that. But you can exercise it (since you come to your conclusions). More selective selectivity.

    But whatever your point was, you revealed just how selective the papacy can really be. Can you really blame the laity to cherry pick in the cafeteria when the pope himself sets precedent?

    Like

  20. James Young, oh come on. You’re better than this. You don’t need to stoop to my inconsistencies to prove your certainty.

    But as I say, Boniface actually takes popes’ words seriously. You let them develop. You also ignore most of what contemporary Roman Catholics say.

    The thanks I get, making you aware of your communion.

    Like

  21. Zrim,

    The RC critique of private judgment does not entail RCs don’t interpret. That would be rather strange, considering RCs are human.

    I don’t see where the pope has set precedent that dogma can be ignored.

    Like

  22. D. G. Hart
    Posted November 28, 2015 at 10:56 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, so I’m wrong when I link to Roman Catholic websites and wrong when I cite the church.</i.

    Maybe you’re bigoted.

    Nice try, Uncle Screwtape. Your links aren’t to “Roman Catholic” websites. They’re to blogs.

    You seldom if ever link to actual Catholic Church primary documents unless they’re from 1302 and you think you can get some anti-Catholic mileage out of them by plucking a sentence here and there.

    You’re the bigot, Butch. an anti-Catholic bigot. The little you know about Catholicism is wrong. You didn’t even know they have married priests. And you’re some sort of college professor?

    You’re doing wrong, brother. Stop.

    Like

  23. Cletus,

    I don’t see where the pope has set precedent that dogma can be ignored.

    Why don’t you tell Tom that. He thinks the Assumption is optional.

    Like

  24. CvD, why does it entail that when we interpret we’re being autonomous mini-popes (bad) but when you do you’re just being human (good)?

    Not precedent that dogma can be ignored, precedent that it can be cut out of whole cloth. Well, if he can do that then why can’t the laity pick and choose? If my pastor told me I had to share his political views on abortion and euthanasia but not those on war and the death penalty (on pain of being fenced from the table), I’d say he was being pretty arbitrary. And if he can be arbitrary, why can’t I? Oops, there’s that autonomy thing again, I guess.

    Like

  25. vd, t, do you have a personal relationship with the mass?

    In the end, the phenomenological and personalistic construct of a “personal relationship with Jesus” leads to relativism. After all, implicit in the notion of a “personal relationship” with the Lord is the conclusion that one can define that relationship as one pleases. It’s personal,after all! This is a false notion of what a relationship with Jesus truly entails; it implies that one must “feel” something. But what of St. John of the Cross and his teaching on the Dark Night of the Soul? What would a person experiencing that aspect of spiritual development say in response to the question, “Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus?” I suspect the answer for such a person would be too sublime to be accurately expressed in words.

    Furthermore, the danger with encouraging a personalistic view of one’s relationship with the Lord also encourages a personalistic view of the doctrines of the faith; in other words, it may lead toward “cafeteria Catholicism,” wherein individuals maintain that they are entitled to believe or disbelieve certain tenets. In fact, this is the belief system of a good many Catholics these days, as indicated by the many surveys that show that an overwhelming majority of those who self-identify as Catholics:

    do not believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist;

    do not believe Mass attendance is required to be a good Catholic;

    have used or currently use artificial contraception;

    do not believe that the Church is necessary for salvation.

    Smaller but significant percentages of self-identified Catholics also believe that

    homosexual “marriage” should be legalized;

    abortion is allowed under some circumstances;

    marriage outside the Church is valid.

    These are constant teachings of the Church that are routinely snubbed by Catholics, even (and one is tempted to say, “especially”) by those who claim to have a “personal relationship” with Jesus.
    A program of evangelization and catechesis that focuses on this nebulous “personal relationship” may win some converts and “reverts,” but this begs the question: to what “Catholic Church” are they converting? Will they perceive the Church as a “loving,” accepting community, in which they can remain in their sin, or will they perceive the call to holiness? Will they be able to say “I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God”? Or will they believe that they can “form their own conscience” irrespective of the teachings of the Church?

    Like

  26. DG link: “nebulous personal relationship with Jesus”

    always eye opening; always truth + untruth…true, you can’t make up the version of Jesus you want; untrue: you must supercede and downplay the truth of the primacy of ‘a personal relationship with Jesus’

    Like

  27. dear TVD, the magnificent obsession is with the God-man Jesus, not mother church ..
    for you today (and also especially for non-charismatic- George):

    Like

  28. Ali, what’s so untrue about that? The biblical category is faith, not personal relationship, i.e we’re saved through faith in Christ and not through a “personal relationship,” in which case the latter being primary should be undermined. Faith is primary.

    Like

  29. Hey but Steve, faith is in a person and persons have relationships.
    But if you mean that we don’t get Jesus only to ourselves but rather in the context of the church then I agree with you.

    Like

  30. Even unbelievers have a personal relationship with Jesus.

    It’s a personal relationship of wrath and impending judgment if they won’t believe and obey (Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him).

    Moreover, every unbeliever old enough to sinfully suppress the truth knows this personal relationship by the power of God:

    “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him….”

    Steve is right. It’s faith. Because that’s what Christ’s apostles reveal in sacred writ. They don’t reveal “personal relationship.”

    Like

  31. Susan, that faith is in a person doesn’t mean the category shifts from faith in to relationship with. But while I have you on the line, the biblical category is fellowship, not the greasily familiar modern category “relationship.”

    Like

  32. Zrim,

    Faith implies trust/submission of will/intellect. Have you ever given trust or submitted your will/intellect to someone you don’t know?

    Like

  33. D. G. Hart
    Posted November 28, 2015 at 10:56 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, so I’m wrong when I link to Roman Catholic websites and wrong when I cite the church.

    Maybe you’re bigoted.

    They’re not “Roman Catholic” websites, Dr. Hart. And you troll them for ammunition, not understanding. Your understanding of Catholicism is brutal.

    Robert
    Posted November 29, 2015 at 7:40 am | Permalink
    Cletus,

    I don’t see where the pope has set precedent that dogma can be ignored.

    Why don’t you tell Tom that. He thinks the Assumption is optional.

    Never said that. Cut it out. That’s a Darryl Hart trick. You’re better than that.

    Ali
    Posted November 29, 2015 at 10:26 am | Permalink
    dear TVD, the magnificent obsession is with the God-man Jesus, not mother church ..
    for you today (and also especially for non-charismatic- George):

    What are you saying, Ali? The Eucharist is Jesus. The Eucharist doesn’t exist outside the Church. I’m afraid Old Life is darkening your mind, not enlightening it. Pity. You seem sincere.

    Like

  34. D. G. Hart
    Posted November 29, 2015 at 8:52 am | Permalink
    vd, t, do you have a personal relationship with the mass?

    In the end, the phenomenological and personalistic construct of a “personal relationship with Jesus” leads to relativism. After all, implicit in the notion of a “personal relationship” with the Lord is the conclusion that one can define that relationship as one pleases. It’s personal,after all! This is a false notion of what a relationship with Jesus truly entails; it implies that one must “feel” something. But what of St. John of the Cross and his teaching on the Dark Night of the Soul? What would a person experiencing that aspect of spiritual development say in response to the question, “Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus?” I suspect the answer for such a person would be too sublime to be accurately expressed in words.

    Furthermore, the danger with encouraging a personalistic view of one’s relationship with the Lord also encourages a personalistic view of the doctrines of the faith; in other words, it may lead toward “cafeteria Catholicism,” wherein individuals maintain that they are entitled to believe or disbelieve certain tenets. In fact, this is the belief system of a good many Catholics these days, as indicated by the many surveys that show that an overwhelming majority of those who self-identify as Catholics:

    do not believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist;

    do not believe Mass attendance is required to be a good Catholic;

    have used or currently use artificial contraception;

    do not believe that the Church is necessary for salvation.

    Smaller but significant percentages of self-identified Catholics also believe that

    homosexual “marriage” should be legalized;

    abortion is allowed under some circumstances;

    marriage outside the Church is valid.

    These are constant teachings of the Church that are routinely snubbed by Catholics, even (and one is tempted to say, “especially”) by those who claim to have a “personal relationship” with Jesus.
    A program of evangelization and catechesis that focuses on this nebulous “personal relationship” may win some converts and “reverts,” but this begs the question: to what “Catholic Church” are they converting? Will they perceive the Church as a “loving,” accepting community, in which they can remain in their sin, or will they perceive the call to holiness? Will they be able to say “I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God”? Or will they believe that they can “form their own conscience” irrespective of the teachings of the Church?

    Oh look, Dr. Hart’s trying to pass off sociology as theology and ecclesiology again.

    He misses the irony that theologically, all Protestants are “Cafeteria Protestants.” What is not left up to the individual conscience becomes the next reason for schism, and you just start your own new “church” up the street.

    This is a fundamental to Protestant ecclesiology. As an alleged scholar, Dr. Hart surely knows this but pretends not to.

    Like

  35. Zrim: Ali The biblical category is faith, not personal relationship,

    good point Zrim; and faith, a gift, but too of personal relationship –that we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. (1 John 5:20).
    This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (John 17:3)
    He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. (1 John 5: 12)

    Like

  36. Kenneth, no, but that doesn’t mean I relate to Jesus the way I do to my wife, which is what the theo-lingo of “personal relationship” does, breaks down the Creator-creature distinction. We’re not divine and God he’s not our boyriend. Do the personal relaters get that?

    Like Liz Lemon said, “I hate the word ‘relationship.” It’s almost as bad as ‘climax.'”

    Like

  37. Zrim,

    Haha I feel ya, but we gotta walk with the Lord. Mushy emotionalism aside… There is some truth there. Careful not to over correct that swing

    Like

  38. Kenneth, but if the Bible is to be believed it’s walking by faith and not sight–personal relationship aligns with sight. And there’s also some truth in Catholicism but, well, you know…

    Like

  39. zrim: personal relationship aligns with sight

    you’re kidding, right, Zrim? You must have quite the visual sight.
    .
    It is but by faith, that we (His people) know we have a restored personal relationship with the God of all creation. By faith, we know that God has been moving back closer (originally having walked in the garden) to us ever since the fall- closer thru the tabernacle and the temple, and now because of Jesus, we, though formerly God’s enemies and far off, have been brought near, reconciled. (Eph 2:13; Rom 5:10-11);
    We now are the temple, indwelt by the God of the universe – we know that Jesus is in the Father, and us in Jesus, and Jesus in us (John 14:20;17:23) and the Father and Jesus come to us and make their abode with us (John 14:23)
    And that one day, we know the tabernacle of God is among men, the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb themselves the temple, dwelling among us, and we His people, and God Himself will be among us. (Rev 21:3,22)

    I think it is possible that your ‘sight’ might need to become more faith.

    Those who are far from Him will perish but as for me, the nearness of God is my good; Ps 73:27-28

    Like

  40. Ali, to the extent that “personal relationship” is code for something more than faith affords, as in a theology of glory versus the cross, then it gets slotted as sight. And usually “personal relationship” as it’s used by the rank and file does mean that. If by “personal relationship” it is meant something more akin to “fellowship” then fine, but why not speak of “fellowship with God through Christ” instead of “personal relationship with Jesus” then? Because the latter aligns with a more anthropocentric and therapeutic spiritualism than it does with a biblical and Christological piety.

    Like

  41. Zrim,

    Yes, we do walk by faith and not by sight. Still, I do not see that walking is possible at all if there is no relationship with our Father. God is not merely “Our Potter who art in heaven”. We dare to call Him Abba! The Lord wants more than your mind friend. He wants your heart and your will too. Faith hope and love. We can’t possibly give all three if we don’t know our Creator. I’m fact, we can’t give anything without first acknowledging that a familial relationship must be formed.

    Like

  42. Kenneth,

    I don’t think Zrim is denying any of that. He’s trying not to bring God down to the level of earthly fatherhood or friendship.

    Like

  43. Kenneth, not much to quibble with there. But I’m not sure whatever I’ve said suggests anything different, especially a fixation on intellect (maybe I’m fighting that Calvinist caricature you’re clinging to). But all I’m saying is that it’s better captured in the biblical language of fellowship than in the modern lingo of relationship.

    Like

  44. Zrim,

    Cool! I’ll keep that “God is not your boyfriend” zinger in my back pocket next time I run into an Osteen member. Ha, get alot of those in Houston 🙂

    Like

  45. Zrim:Ali, to the extent that “personal relationship” is code for something more than faith affords, as in a theology of glory versus the cross, then it gets slotted as sight. And usually “personal relationship” as it’s used by the rank and file does mean that. If by “personal relationship” it is meant something more akin to “fellowship” then fine, but why not speak of “fellowship with God through Christ” instead of “personal relationship with Jesus” then? Because the latter aligns with a more anthropocentric and therapeutic spiritualism than it does with a biblical and Christological piety.

    alright, I don’t know what you’re even really saying and you’ve worn me down Zrim….
    you be happy with fellowship and I’ll delight in the full language of the Bible- deep fellowship/ deep relationship -He with His own

    His treasured possession; betrothed to one husband, Christ; He has brought us to his banquet hall and his banner over us is love; the bride, the wife of the Lamb.

    Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.

    Like

  46. Zrim:Ali, to the extent that “personal relationship” is code for something more than faith affords, as in a theology of glory versus the cross, then it gets slotted as sight. And usually “personal relationship” as it’s used by the rank and file does mean that. If by “personal relationship” it is meant something more akin to “fellowship” then fine, but why not speak of “fellowship with God through Christ” instead of “personal relationship with Jesus” then? Because the latter aligns with a more anthropocentric and therapeutic spiritualism than it does with a biblical and Christological piety.
    Zrim:Ali, in all that deep deep depth do you ever catch a glimpse of how holier-than-thou you come off?

    predictable, and back at you Zrim; we probably both stand and pray “God, I thank you that I am not like other people” (Luke 18:11) , right 🙂
    …you saying:that you are glad you are not like the ‘rank and file’; nor like those ‘anthropocentric and therapeutic spiritual’ types; or nor like those using non-Bible categories (‘theology of the cross’ , anyone) but being the one who uses only biblical and Christological-pietic ones.

    sheesh

    Like

  47. Zrim
    Posted November 30, 2015 at 8:14 pm | Permalink
    Ali, in all that deep deep depth do you ever catch a glimpse of how holier-than-thou you come off?

    Ali comes off as sincere, seeking to love God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit more deeply through the scriptures You come off like an asshole, not holier-than-anybody.

    So congratulations on that. How you people mock her quoting the Bible, I cannot understand. Perhaps she embarrasses you. But she’s the real thing. She’s a better Christian, and even a better Protestant than you.

    Anyone can see. With all due respect. Asshole. 😉

    Like

  48. Ali, you said it, not me.

    Non-biblical categories? The theology of the cross versus glory comes from 1 Corinthians 1:

    I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

    For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,

    “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
    and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

    Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

    For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

    And try some Don Matzat:

    http://pastormattrichard.webs.com/MatzatGloryandCross.pdf

    These are basic Protestant categories, Ali. Your ignorance is showing. How can you claim the Protestant Reformation and be so antagonistic toward them? Don’t look now, but because you descend from the Radical Reformation, which is as opposed to Protestantism as Rome.

    Like

  49. Ali, you have the foul-mouthed, third commandment flouting Tom in your deep depth corner. Still feeling thankful (and holy) over there?

    Tom, thanks, not-holier-than-anybody is what I’m aiming for.

    Like

  50. oh the hostility, Zrim; what’s with that with you guys anyway.

    btw, please note I didn’t say I was ‘deep’, I said I delighted in what the Lord said about ‘deep’. So, I take your hostility against Him.

    re: ‘theology of the cross’, I prefer the clarity of the Lord’s own whole counsel about ‘cross’ and ‘glory’ , not mutually exclusive, but comprising His glorious divine plan :
    Jesus humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross; for this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, Phil 2:8-9

    Like

  51. Zrim
    Posted November 30, 2015 at 11:49 pm | Permalink
    Ali, you have the foul-mouthed, third commandment flouting Tom in your deep depth corner. Still feeling thankful (and holy) over there?

    Tom, thanks, not-holier-than-anybody is what I’m aiming for.

    Assholier-than-thou, Dr. Zrim

    Ali
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 12:20 am | Permalink
    oh the hostility, Zrim; what’s with that with you guys anyway.

    It’s true I stand up for the nice Christian women around here against the bullying. I can think of no better reason to be here.

    Although they seldom need my help, just a little getting their back. The good Christian women here routinely kick Old Life’s arrogant male asses both theologically and Biblically.

    Like

  52. Robert
    Posted November 30, 2015 at 1:44 pm | Permalink
    Kenneth,

    I don’t think Zrim is denying any of that. He’s trying not to bring God down to the level of earthly fatherhood or friendship.

    Oh my. I respect you trying to get Mr. Z’s back on this as his friend and co-religionist, Robert, but I don’t think you want to go here.

    Too bad Dr. Hart doesn’t actually talk to his commenters. God is not his father or his friend either.

    Like

  53. Zrim
    Posted November 30, 2015 at 11:49 pm | Permalink
    Ali, you have the foul-mouthed, third commandment flouting Tom in your deep depth corner. Still feeling thankful (and holy) over there?

    Oh, I missed this part, Mr. Z. Fucking right I’m in her corner. The stones cry out.

    Like

  54. Ali, “hostility toward God”? What is it with pietists always going for the spiritual throat? Tom is not a good influence on you.

    Like

  55. Zrim: Ali, “hostility toward God”? What is it with pietists always going for the spiritual throat? Tom is not a good influence on you.

    1) I wouldn’t have thought you would call TVD a ‘pietist’

    2) Yep. ‘hostility toward GOD’; own up Zrim.

    The Lord: “Let me tell you about the deep, intimate plans I have for us” (all over the Bible, verses everywhere)

    Zrim: “Lord, that is just plain crazy code for anthropocentric and therapeutic spiritualism-do you ever catch a glimpse of how holier-than-thou you come off -and do you descend for ‘Radical Reformation’ or something, Lord.

    3) I do appreciate TVD’s chivalry ‘cause you guys are not very nice to us wimmin here, but my ears do hurt !

    🙂

    Like

  56. While I agree that Steve is not always the most chivalrous, he is really a kind family man.
    I know because he was my FB friend until I finally gave it up.
    Reformers are also very sincere in their love for Jesus they just have a more austere way about them and they can be suspicious of spirituality because when it’s divorced from the church it can get scary( not implying that Ali’s is).
    Becoming Catholic has helped me discover that Christianity is “both, and” not the” either, or”.
    Now I get Aquinas and St Teresa of Avila. Both mystics and doctors of the church!

    I need some lifeboy for my eyes and ears:l

    Like

  57. Sorry about that, ladies. But like the farmer said when they asked him why he hit his mule over the head with a two-by-four: “First you have to get his attention.”

    I think our precious little snowflakes will survive. 😉

    Like

  58. I’m everybody’s friend, Susan. And they love me, too, they just hate what they see in the mirror I hold up to them. I can’t blame them.

    Like

  59. TVD
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 6:49 pm | Permalink
    Sorry about that, ladies. But like the farmer said when they asked him why he hit his mule over the head with a two-by-four: “First you have to get his attention.”

    I think our precious little snowflakes will survive. >>>>

    I think we will all survive. Not to worry, Tom. Ali, you didn’t say anything that should have provoked a negative reaction. Sure, not everyone agrees, but the pejoratives tend to fly in here, often for no reason I can figure out. Maybe some of the guys need a safe place on campus?

    These guys don’t tend to like Pietists, Papists, or Pentecostals. They don’t like most people who uses the “Reformed” monicker, either. Oh, well.

    Susan must be right. Zrim must be a good family man in real life. I assume that about all my brothers, here.

    Like

  60. Susan: Reformers are also very sincere in their love for Jesus they just have a more austere way about them and they can be suspicious of spirituality because when it’s divorced from the church it can get scary( not implying that Ali’s is).

    good point about being cautious, Susan, but it is important to note that we are warned that it is primarily ‘in the church’ that we must be cautious to be discerning, test the spirits, alert to false ‘angels of light’,etc. because things secretly introduced are false teachings of doctrines, ideas of ‘religion’ . So what guards us is not the ‘church’ but the word of God, by the Spirit of God.
    And re: ‘austerity’, I’m guessing that likely is usually always grievious to the Spirit, not being Spirit fruit, so is of the flesh.

    Like

  61. Hey again Ali,

    Well I agree with you in some regards especially were things are blatantly clear as in sin and evil, but the other part can be harder IF one doesn’t have the church of the living God which is the pillar and bullwark of the truth( 1 Tim. 3:15).
    I know that people make a distinction between religion and a personal relationship, and I can understand that distinction, if it is thought that religion precludes knowing and loving God and seeking to please Him. Judaism was a religion but it wasn’t bad( think of all the OT people who loved God), the problem is when people think an outward adherence or just coming from a historical lineage or tradition makes one a friend of God de facto.
    I wouldn’t say that an austere personality is grievous to the Holy Spirit. Sometimes people just have dour personality, but surely God is working on them:) But I was hasty in describing Reformed people as austere. They are often coming out of evangelicalism and have seen some really nutty behavior( “movements” like, Brownsville and Toronto, Vineyard, etc0.. and so they are seeking a more intellectual expression in order to find a stable system and order; an expression that is older than Finney’s revivalism( “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ Jer. 6:16). So it makes perfect sense that that would move towards Reformed theology( if they were not already born into it; but they are every bit as Christian as you or I).
    I knew plenty of people that spurred me onto good works and who love the Lord, deeply.
    I got along great with those folks and miss them very much.

    Being in the flesh is an up and down situation.It’s what’s going on the whole length of our lives as God is sanctifying us. When we sin we are in “the flesh”, but being naturally a little dour isn’t a sin. It isn’t the best thing, but it isn’t sin either.Sometimes I misjudge people too. At first I might think them grumpy, but when I spend time with them I find that they are nervous or reserved, and when I get to know them more I find out that I mistook nervousness or self-consciousness for austerity or rudeness.
    We have to be patient with one another, agree? 🙂

    Take car, friend!
    Susan

    Like

  62. but being naturally a little dour isn’t a sin. It isn’t the best thing, but it isn’t sin either

    And a good thing for Old Life, or as we’ve all come to think of it, Called to Crabbiness. 🙂

    Like

  63. aw, Susan and TVD, your guy-es affection for the OLers is showing -i.e. giving them justification for crabbiness and curmudgeon-ness. Why, oh, why are you encouraging cw, mud, zrim,etc. that this is ‘their calling’  🙂

    but anyway Susan, they are not ‘separated brethren’, as mermaid always denotes, right?

    re: Susan: but the other part can be harder IF one doesn’t have the church of the living God which is the pillar and bulwark of the truth( 1 Tim. 3:15).
    Also love v16
    Good sermon here on those verses: http://www.fcfonline.org/content/1/sermons/032794.pdf

    “Conclusion: Why is the church important? Because God has left it here to reveal His Son to the world, even as Jesus revealed God when He was on this earth. As the household of God, the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth, we are the current expression of Jesus Christ in the world until He comes.” …“ In one sense, the truth is absolute and independent of us. God’s truth as revealed in Jesus Christ is–it is true whether or not we believe it or proclaim it. But in another sense, the church upholds and supports the truth. And so the church acts as the pillar and support of the truth by putting that truth into daily life. As people in the world observe the church, our conduct should undergird and uphold the doctrinal truth concerning our God who was revealed in the flesh.”

    And for Zrim and his relationship aversion/fear….
    “And “He does not say simply, “the church of God,” but rather, “the church of the living God.” That is, the church is the place where the living God actually dwells and is at work. Just as the phrase “the household of God” focuses on our relationships with one another, so the phrase “the church of the living God” focuses on our relationship with God (Rom. 9:25-26). The word “church” means“ called-out-ones.” We have been called out of this sinful world to be a holy people, set apart unto the living God who dwells within us and among us.”
    “There’s a serious danger which both individuals and churches must guard against—institutional religion. It’s so easy to fall into routine Christianity, where you run through your programs and activities, but you don’t live in close touch with the living God. You even can have a personal quiet time, but not meet with God. You can go to church and go through the worship service, but you haven’t made contact with the living God. The church is of vital importance in the world today because we are called out of this sinful world as a holy people, in close relationship with the living God who dwells in our midst. The world should sense that the living God is here.”

    and then, also, from Spurgeon: “Though our Lord Jesus Christ hath only one Church, a part of its members, I believe, may be found in every denomination; but they owe not their standing to true fellowship they hold with denominations. There is one great denomination, “the church of the living God,” to which every true believer must belong.”

    Like

  64. Hey, who hates women? Only women truly hate other women. Men just make observations and then take the appropriate precautions.

    Like

  65. Ali, try mysterious plans–captures the otherworldiness without all the sentimentality. But thanks again for putting blasphemous words in my mouth, a favor you’ll notice never returned. So coarse and combative for a nice eeeevangelical lady.

    Susan, “not chivalrous”? My mother always said I was like dad, good with women. But like my Catholic friend (see, Ariel, I like Catholics) always used to say, there’s a difference between a male chauvinist and a male chauvinist pig.

    Like

  66. Hey TVD, “Lighten Up Frances!” As far as the women go, (with the exception of Susan) they come across as patronizing mother hens, thinking they are “above the fray.” They are not schooling anybody.You are like the young lad who takes solace in his mommy yelling at the “bullies.” Every now and then you come out from behind their skirts to yell some obscenity. Nothing chivalrous about that.

    Like

  67. Sean:Hey, who hates women? Only women truly hate other women. Men just make observations and then take the appropriate precautions.
    D. G. Hart:Misogynist: A man who hates women as much as women hate one another.H. L. Mencken
    cw l’misogyne:Sean and the Menkenator are right.

    sheesh. and whatever.

    this brings to mind an occasion once when I came upon two of my bosses conversing about how gossipy women are; I pointed out they had been gossiping for ~ an hour there in the hallway about this and that person; they laughed ,did not disagree, and continued(gossiping)!

    reminds me about some good cats fights here, no. not including women!

    🙂

    have a good day

    Like

  68. Ali, that you felt the NEED to point out your male bosses foibles to them proves a point. Plus, they were just making observations and commiserating.

    They want it all equal ’till they don’t.

    Like

  69. @ Ali:

    I’ve related this experience here before, but it is helpful.

    Some time around 1999, a pair of Baptist evangelists visited my door. That was exciting inasmuch as I was pleased to see the gospel going forward.

    One of them asked me some variation of the “EE questions” — if you died tonight, where would you go? How do you know?

    I replied that I would be in heaven because Jesus lived, died, and rose again for me.

    “Yes, but have you personally accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord?”

    “Well, I trust in Jesus as my savior.”

    “Yes, but have you personally accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord?”

    Now, pause the scene. From my point of view, I gave an answer of faith. I affirmed the reason that God would accept me: the ground of Jesus’ righteousness.

    Their response was (or implied) that this was not good enough. In addition, I needed to indicate that I had done something additional: “accepted Jesus as my savior and Lord.” This additional thing is not in Scripture, incidentally.

    Now, we could quibble and say that Romans 10 indicates that we are to affirm that Jesus is savior and Lord (very true), so “accepted as” is just a synonym for that affirmation, etc. But if that’s the case, then why is the answer of faith insufficient?

    I would argue — with the scene still frozen in our minds — that they did not view the answer of faith to be sufficient because the category of relationship (as in, “savior and lord” relationship) had displaced the category of faith as the means by which we are saved.

    Unfreeze.

    I decided to not push the point and said “Yes”, encouraged them in their endeavors, and sent them on their way.

    What lessons are there here? I draw a couple.

    (1) It does matter to keep “faith” front and center as the sole instrument of justification.
    (2) For evangelicals, “faith” and “personal relationship” are often treated as fungible quantities. However, faith is the means by which we are justified and then enter into relationship (i.e., adoption) with God. One is instrumental cause, the other is effect.
    (3) Evangelicals sometimes mistake point (1) as saying that relationship is unimportant. Not so. Rather, relationship is secondary to faith.

    Does that make sense?

    Like

  70. D. G. Hart:Ali, “sheesh. and whatever” Where in the Bible?
    !! sheesh, oook, you can ask, but if you do and I answer, then it seems fair that every time of you, I can ask the same, and you ought answer, so I will answer.

    To show partiality (make up untrue gender-stereotypes) in judgment is not good.(Prov 24:23), for there is no partiality with God. Furthermore, whoever conceals hatred (misogyny) with lying lips (about false gender-stereotypes) and spreads slander (about false gender stereotypes) is a fool….

    So the apt, Biblical, good, timely reply to that is “sheesh and whatever” = expression of astonishment (used together = x2).

    A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word! (Prov 15:23)

    Jeff Cagle: Does that make sense?

    Thanks Jeff. Appreciate the discussion, including with Zrim also. If you notice, with Zrim, the conversation moved to whether the word ‘relationship’ or ‘fellowship is more appropriate. Care to weigh in about that.

    I agree with you about faith, also love the verse – He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.( 1 John 5:12) – because to me it encapsulates faith/relationship together and I believe we do have instruction about true faith, ie we are ‘receiving Jesus’ (John 1:12) and the implications thereof. We are warned even demons believe and that there is faith that is not true faith- how else could there be such a ‘ falling away from the faith’ in these later times, so the whole discussion is no small thing.

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  71. Jeff, exactly. May I stand next to you when the crowns are doled out and have some of your scraps (dog person metaphor)? I might add that what you describe at your door is also what’s going on in altar calls. When will they be condemned in the same way the “popish mass” is?

    Like

  72. Ali, speaking of Proverbs, is the 21:9 guilty of false gender stereotypes and slander: “It is better to live in a corner of a roof than in a house [or blog] shared with a contentious woman.”

    Like

  73. stereotype, Zrim

    likely to cause disagreement or argument; exhibiting an often perverse and wearisome tendency to quarrels and disputes

    women: contentious
    men: lively productive debate hello, OL

    Like

  74. Ali, but if one were to use your uncharitable tactics, one might say you have you have something against God himself who seems to be trafficking in gender stereotypes with all that “contentious women” stuff. Good thing charity is a virtue among believers though.

    Like

  75. John Sizer
    Posted December 2, 2015 at 11:15 am | Permalink
    Hey TVD, “Lighten Up Frances!” As far as the women go, (with the exception of Susan) they come across as patronizing mother hens, thinking they are “above the fray.” They are not schooling anybody.

    Oh yes they are, snowflake. Stop whining and take it like a man.

    Ali
    Posted December 2, 2015 at 4:34 pm | Permalink
    stereotype, Zrim

    likely to cause disagreement or argument; exhibiting an often perverse and wearisome tendency to quarrels and disputes

    women: contentious
    men: lively productive debate hello, OL

    Zrim
    Posted December 2, 2015 at 4:52 pm | Permalink
    Ali, but if one were to use your uncharitable tactics, one might say you have you have something against God himself who seems to be trafficking in gender stereotypes with all that “contentious women” stuff. Good thing charity is a virtue among believers though.

    And noticeably lacking among Old Lifers.

    See, Ali, they do it to everyone. They can’t help themselves.

    D. G. Hart
    Posted December 2, 2015 at 10:28 am | Permalink
    Misogynist: A man who hates women as much as women hate one another.

    H. L. Mencken

    The problem with some of Machen’s children is not that they are warriors. To accuse them of that would actually be to flatter them somewhat. Rather, it is that they have lost sight of Machen’s (and Paul’s, and, indeed, the Bible’s) deepest concern, which was always the gospel and which concern was crystal clear in his life, his writings and his preaching.

    Carl Trueman

    This is your doing. Your disciples just follow your lead, with a superciliousness that borders on cruelty. It’s you who puts that poison in the well: Mencken and Calvin just don’t mix. You’re not clever enough to be amusing, only nasty.

    Like

  76. uncharitable tactics Zrim. one might even say, such constitutes what the Lord means by contentious:

    Zrim: Ali, in all that deep deep depth do you ever catch a glimpse of how holier-than-thou you come off?
    Zrim: Ali. Your ignorance is showing.
    Zrim: you descend from the Radical Reformation

    Like

  77. D. G. Hart
    Posted December 2, 2015 at 5:10 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, “Your disciples just follow your lead”

    You’re jealous.

    If only the pious ladies would cuss like you.

    They do. Behind your back.

    Like

  78. Ali, are those remarks supposed to be obvious instances of uncharitableness? Those are criticisms. There’s a difference. I’d wonder aloud if you know the difference but I don’t want to make your tummy hurt.

    Like

  79. Ali: If you notice, with Zrim, the conversation moved to whether the word ‘relationship’ or ‘fellowship is more appropriate. Care to weigh in about that.

    I don’t have firm opinions on those two words, except that “relationship” is a typical 20th century abstraction encompassing everything from “marriage” to “third cousin twice removed” to “sets of ordered pairs (x,y).” So it might behoove (me | you | anyone) to consider what the term “relationship” adds that “fellowship” = “koinonea” lacks, since the term certainly lacks precision.

    But that’s not an indirect answer to your question so much as a reflection of the question I would ask myself.

    In regards to Zrim and the larger question of charity on blogs, I’ve sparred with Zrim before. We’ve fussed at each other and made up a couple of times.

    He’s a stickler for theological language and what it says about the underlying beliefs of the speaker. His Big Idea is to get categories straight, which I find to be valuable.

    Most importantly, while he might poke hard at what your language says about your beliefs, he will not go after you personally nor will he try to embarrass you to score cheap points. The interaction is genuine, tough, and fair.

    I’m slipping into college recommendation language. Must be early December.

    For what it’s worth, I appreciate the fact that you quote Scripture readily, in that it shows where you desire to be grounded. Keep it up.

    The push-back that you might get from Reformed folk is that Scripture fits into a single narrative arc (creation-fall-redemption) with a particular storyline (covenant of grace dispensed in various ways in redemptive history). So Scripture verses in isolation are sometimes suspect: Where is this coming from? Where is it going? Are you changing the storyline?

    So quoting Scripture and showing how your quote fits into the bigger picture is a bonus.

    And yes, I do think we need to guard against stereotyping women.

    Like

  80. Jeff Cagle
    Posted December 2, 2015 at 10:41 pm | Permalink
    Ali: If you notice, with Zrim, the conversation moved to whether the word ‘relationship’ or ‘fellowship is more appropriate. Care to weigh in about that.

    I don’t have firm opinions on those two words, except that “relationship” is a typical 20th century abstraction encompassing everything from “marriage” to “third cousin twice removed” to “sets of ordered pairs (x,y).” So it might behoove (me | you | anyone) to consider what the term “relationship” adds that “fellowship” = “koinonea” lacks, since the term certainly lacks precision.

    But that’s not an indirect answer to your question so much as a reflection of the question I would ask myself.

    Jeff, I hear you completely.

    SETH
    Why can’t we just discuss this? Maybe
    you’re not seeing my side.

    MARTY
    Your side? You’re doing wrong. I’m
    not your best friend, here to nod my
    head and sympathize. That’s my your
    mother’s racket. I’m your father. I
    let you know when you screw up. Did
    you think I was going to pat you on the
    back for this casino idea? Tell you
    what an entrepreneur you are?

    SETH
    No.

    MARTY
    So, what do you want from me? Meeting
    me in a coffee shop is not going to
    change the life you have. God, if I
    ever asked my father to meet me for a
    cup of coffee to talk about my screw-up
    he probably he probably would have
    laughed. We didn’t have nice little
    chats about why I was a bad boy.
    Whether I was just calling out for
    attention or not. I got smacked and
    then I didn’t do it again. Much
    simpler.

    SETH
    (mutters)
    Well that really worked great on me,
    Dad.

    MARTY
    What?

    SETH
    Look Dad, I’m sitting here and I’m
    trying to restore what’s left of our
    relationship.

    MARTY
    (angry)
    Relationship?

    What are you talking about? We’re not
    dating, Seth. I’m your father, not
    your girlfriend. So stop with the pop-
    psychology talk. Did your mother feed
    you this crap?

    SETH
    (embarrassed)
    No.

    MARTY
    Clean up your life. Make an honest
    living. Then we can talk like normal
    people.

    (looks at watch)

    I gotta get back to work. I’m hearing
    a grand jury indictment this afternoon.

    MARTY slaps a five dollar bill on the table and leaves.

    But what of the Psalmist? What of Mighty Jehovah, who will someday Himself become a son of David? This is where all that logic stuff is of so little assistance. Peace, brother. This is the important stuff.

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  81. Zrim, I guess you like word precision. Not sure I agree with yours here. I see criticism as evaluating and analyzing and it may including judging of another but not necessarily ; while ‘uncharitable’ is always judgment of another. The examples about of yours above, I consider the later.

    Thank you Jeff – you are always kind and charitable.Thank you for the caution about out of context Bible-quoting; and about Bible quoting in general -it would be great to see more of it – since, as you say, what other true grounding do we have

    John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I (Jesus) have spoken to you are spirit and are life…68 Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.

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  82. TVD, Snowflake? Whining? Hey, I am just an impartial observer like yourself, that calls it as I see it.It’s always amusing to hear a guy say “take it like a man” as he runs behind the skirts. Wait…..here he comes again.

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  83. John Sizer: Hey, I am just an impartial observer
    cw l’misogyne: John — henceforth known as “John Sizer Upper”.

    now these, I think, are mutually exclusive 🙂

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  84. Ali, word precision is a function of being logocentric. It’s always the great irony of biblicists who one would think would appreciate the careful use of words often being so dismissive of it. What’s revealed is less a concern for words and more an esteeming of sentiment. One sign is the incessant quoting of the Bible without much interpreting. Your reader often has no idea what you’re trying to say and how the Bible relates to any of it.

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  85. Zrim: Ali, word precision is a function of being logocentric. It’s always the great irony of biblicists who one would think would appreciate the careful use of words often being so dismissive of it. What’s revealed is less a concern for words and more an esteeming of sentiment. One sign is the incessant quoting of the Bible without much interpreting. Your reader often has no idea what you’re trying to say and how the Bible relates to any of it.

    uncharitable accusations Zrim? :
    1)great irony of biblicists who one would think would appreciate the careful use of words often being so dismissive of it
    2)What’s revealed is less a concern for words and more an esteeming of sentiment.

    Comments:
    1) we should all continually quote the Lord’s word -for they are words of life; you mention ‘logocentric’ –look around -there is great bankruptcy in this in our time
    2) the Spirit interprets the word and He gives teachers, so we should be asking the Spirit and teachers for understanding
    3) the heart and mind are the same really, not mutually exclusive and are the character of God

    Have a good day.

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  86. Ali, I don’t know CW or anyone here on this blog anymore than I know you. Just thought you might want to know how you come across, that’s all. Maybe you should start quoting within a context and then give your interpretation. The regulars here at the Old Life bar know how they come across, after all it is a bar. It might be “ladies night” but these guys make you pay for your own drinks.

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  87. John Sizer: The regulars here at the Old Life bar know how they come across, after all it is a bar. It might be “ladies night” but these guys make you pay for your own drinks.

    Come across, sizer-upper? You mean like’ l’meanier-grincheux-misogyne-pious-fiction

    and at the bar? which 2k philosophy is that here @ OL ‘reformed faith and practice’

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  88. John Sizer: It might be “ladies night” but these guys make you pay for your own drinks.

    and I do agree with you here –
    For each one will bear his own load.The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him.Gal 6. 5-6

    I share Bible verses :)

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  89. Ali, the 2k philosophy on display is an ability to discern good beer, tobacco, theology and company. As with all good things, it discriminates against what’s less than good. Being gracious, we’re willing to point out the less than good to give those with inferior judgement the opportunity to improve. We also don’t pray in public(wear our piety on our sleeve) as Jesus rebukes the pharisees for doing. WWJD.

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  90. Dear Mr Sean – superior judgment-discerning the better theology-and all manor of betterness,

    it has been a gracious thing from the Lord, though He already provides an adequate picture in scripture, to provide further understanding.. of pharisees

    🙂

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  91. Ali, that’s kinda weak sauce. Drop the emoticons. If you’re gonna insult, go aggressive-aggressive. It’s more Nathanael-Like, ‘can anything good come out of Nazareth’. Jesus recommends him. WWJD.

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  92. and sean – re public prayer … WDoes JD… call for continual public and private prayer..

    1 Chronicles 29 10 So David blessed the LORD in the sight of all the assembly; and David said, “Blessed are You, O LORD God of Israel our father, forever and ever. 11 Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. 12 Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone. 13 Now therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name.14 “But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from You, and from Your hand we have given You. 15 For we are sojourners before You, and tenants, as all our fathers were; our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no hope. 16 O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided to build You a house for Your holy name, it is from Your hand, and all is Yours. 17 Since I know, O my God, that You try the heart and delight in uprightness, I, in the integrity of my heart, have willingly offered all these things; so now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here, make their offerings willingly to You. 18 O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, our fathers, preserve this forever in the intentions of the heart of Your people, and direct their heart to You; 19 and give to my son Solomon a perfect heart to keep Your commandments, Your testimonies and Your statutes, and to do them all, and to build the temple, for which I have made provision.”20 Then David said to all the assembly, “Now bless the LORD your God.” And all the assembly blessed the LORD, the God of their fathers, and bowed low and did homage to the LORD and to the king.

    sean. It’s more Nathanael-Like, ‘can anything good come out of Nazareth’. Jesus recommends him. WWJD.

    seriously. please explain/inform what you are saying

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  93. Ali, a blog isn’t the assembly it’s a public forum. I’m all for you going away and praying in your closet. Holier than thou piety is unbecoming of a christian is what I’m saying. Coming into a public forum and dropping a wet, piety blanket on the proceedings isn’t biblical or christian or following Jesus’ example. But beyond all that, this is banter. I like banter. I’m a fan. If you’re happy to play it straight, I’m happy to utilize you.

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  94. sean: If you’re happy to play it straight, I’m happy to utilize you.

    ok, sean-sizer-upper; glad you are one who knows those who ‘play-it-straight’ and that are in charge of ‘utilizing’.

    sheesh. I do agree we all have our blind spots about passive-aggression and everything else.

    looked up your aforementioned John 1:47-48-
    good sermon here: https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-9-meeting-jesus-john-135-51

    “5. We mature with Jesus as He reveals truth to us about ourselves and about Him (Nathanael; 1:44-51).
    Jesus instantly let Nathanael know that He knew him inside and out. He knew that Nathanael was a man without guile or deceit (1:47). He told it like he saw it. Jesus’ words to Nathanael are a play on Jacob’s name and character. Jacob was a deceiver, whose name was changed to Israel. Here, it’s as if Jesus is saying of Nathanael, “Look, Israel without a trace of Jacob left in him!” (L. Trudinger, cited by Andreas Kostenberger, John [Baker], p. 82.) Jesus apparently knew that Nathanael had been sitting under a fig tree, meditating on Jacob’s dream of the ladder coming down out of heaven (1:51). So He said to him (1:50), “Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these.”Nathanael is the first man in John’s gospel who is said to believe in Jesus and he is the first to receive a promise from Christ. His testimony teaches us that there are degrees of growth in coming to know Christ. Nathanael was already a student of the Scriptures, searching them to know who the Messiah would be (1:45). But he needed to meet Jesus in person. That meeting brought him to believe in Jesus as the Son of God and the King of Israel (1:49). But Jesus would reveal still more to Nathanael in the future. As we’ve seen, Jesus is far greater than any of us realized when we first came to believe in Him. So the Christian life is a wonderful relationship in which we come to know Jesus in a deeper and deeper way (Phil. 3:8-14).”

    “Conclusion
    Each of these five men had different personalities and gifts. The Lord would use each of them in different ways. Peter and John were more well-known than the others and both men would write inspired Scripture. Peter was changed from an impulsive, speak first and think later, man into a solid, faithful leader in the early church. John, originally a “son of thunder,” became the apostle of love. Andrew is always listed fourth in the lists of apostles. He was content not to be first or to preach to large crowds. But in John’s Gospel, he is always bringing someone to Jesus.Philip seems to have been a man of somewhat limited ability, focusing on the negative (John 6:7; 14:8). But he was a faithful servant of Christ. Tradition says that he later had an effective ministry in Asia Minor and died there as a martyr. We know almost nothing else about Nathanael. He is in the group of apostles that goes fishing after the resurrection and encounters the risen Lord on the shore of the Sea of Galilee (John 21:2). Listed as Bartholomew, he was with the apostles waiting in the Upper Room for the Day of Pentecost (Acts 1:13). Early traditions say that he ministered in Persia, India, and Armenia and probably was martyred (John MacArthur, Twelve Ordinary Men [W Publishing Group], p. 147).But each of these men met Jesus and He changed their lives drastically for time and eternity. Whatever your personality or background, if you will come to know Jesus personally as your Savior and follow Him as Lord, He will use your life for His eternal purpose.”

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  95. sean, “Coming into a public forum and dropping a wet, piety blanket on the proceedings isn’t biblical or christian or following Jesus’ example.”

    Ali’s way of flirting?

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  96. and gotta go for now, sean, but since I think it is that utube you’re so agitated about (gotta ask yourself why?)
    I’ll say – WWJD- He would link that song, as opposed to your urging ( of John Y, and according to him to others) to link provocative, suggestive, inappropriate-for- a -Christian-anywhere-material

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  97. Ali, I have no idea what you’re talking about. But your sentence structure is worser than mine and that’s saying sumpin. Some of us can make it do what it do and others struggle. Don’t go away mad…………………..

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  98. truce sean? – can we just agree to be equally agitated about each others ‘links (John Y. saying for years being much worse… you know let’s just agree…be … clueless and for…years

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  99. Ali, I still have no idea what you’re talking about. But, it was an alcohol, rich food and assordid( I know what I’m doing) goings ons last night. More WWJD recommend stuff and prayers later.

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  100. Notice the incoherence (despite all that charism):

    I discern one major mistake in interpreting Vatican II that we associate with the Catholic left and one that we associate with the Catholic right.

    The left tended to pick up a few key phrases – “the people of God” and “sensum fideilium” – and run with it. It is unfortunate, in retrospect, that the council occurred at the same time as the rise of survey data. Many on the left forgot that Vatican II said nothing that could be understood as denying the hierarchic structure of the Church. Instead of reform, they embraced innovation. I am reminded on what Edmund Burke wrote in Letter to a Noble Lord: “It cannot at this time be too often repeated, line upon line, precept upon precept, until it comes into the currency of a proverb, – To innovate is not to reform.” If you doubt there was a kind of iconoclastic frenzy in some circles, let me bring you to some once beautiful old churches that had their interiors destroyed and made ugly in the post-conciliar era. Something similar happened in the life of the mind: Venerable, long standing practices and beliefs were thrown aside by the ecclesial equivalents of the Jacobins. Academic theology, for reasons unrelated to the Council, entered a period in which hyper-specialization within the guild prevented much needed thinking about the large, central issues addressed by the Council. Some even became allergic to the idea of dogma, accepting a kind of indifferentism that is obviously not supported by anything the Council decreed.

    The right came to replace the complex teaching of the Council with whatever St. Pope John Paul II said about it. Obviously, as the Supreme Pontiff of the Church, his long pontificate took great strides in applying and interpreting the Council, and much of what he wrote was exceedingly beautiful. Sometimes, regrettably, a tone of defensiveness, even a reactionary sensibility, creeped into his writings and talks. In making sense of St. John Paul II’s teachings and those of his successor Pope Benedict XVI, we see a narrowing of the Catholic imagination the Council hoped to nourish. Our Communio friends rightly note that St. Pope John Paul II cited Gaudium et Spes #22 more than any other conciliar text: “The truth is that only in the mystery of the incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light….” But, the rest of the Catholic right has utterly failed to wrestle with this key insight for understanding the Council, which was taken almost word for word from de Lubac, and has profound and unpleasant implications for the theological dualism that is the staple of much conservative thought.

    Both the Catholic Left and the Catholic Right should apply to the Council, and the subsequent papal magisterium, the approach the Council took to the interpretation of Scripture. Instead of cherry picking a line here and a thought there, to make a point arrived at for ideological reasons, the conciliar texts, and the conciliar spirit, must be taken as a whole, and the isolation of proof texts ended. This will take work, as the synod’s efforts to reconcile our understanding of indissolubility and mercy took work. And, the central call of the Council to return to the sources, the writings of the Early Church Fathers, to re-discover the wonder that characterized the early Christian community, that call must further permeate our theology, catechesis and evangelization. Fifty years on, we are still receiving the teaching of the Council.

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  101. What Pope Francis has in common with Donald Trump:

    Derived from the Greek root demos, meaning “the people,” demotic is a rich word that denotes or connotes all of the following: common, vulgar, popular, colloquial, the language of ordinary people, demagogic.

    Francis is the first designedly demotic Pope in Church history. Unlike any Pope before him, he basks in the world’s unending praise precisely because he styles himself “the people’s Pope.” The world loves “the people’s Pope” for saying what the people want to hear as opposed to what the Church teaches in calling all men to be elevated from their fallen condition through the operation of sanctifying grace and the conformity of nations, laws and institutions to the Law of the Gospel and the Social Kingship of Christ. The disciples who abandoned Our Lord when He revealed the meaning of the Holy Eucharist declared: “This saying is hard, and who can hear it?” But so often when Francis speaks the world delights in replying: “This saying is easy, who can reject it?”

    The disastrous back-of-the-airplane nod to contraception for eugenic purposes and other “emergencies” is but the latest episode of this ongoing debacle. By now we have seen more than enough to know that “the people’s Pope” habitually inclines his message to the popular sentiment that has made him the religious mascot of the New World Order. Thus he is liable to undermine the Faith every time he speaks or commits words to paper. This pontificate is essentially that of a liberal Jesuit from the Seventies who finds himself in the world’s most prominent bully pulpit and has refused to alter his views in response to the grace of the Petrine office: “Jorge, do not change, continue being yourself, because to change at your age would be ridiculous.”

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