Spotting the Difference

Those who don’t distinguish between the sacred and secular:

Daniel Kirk:

There’s a lot of that going on in the Lectionary readings for the second week of Christmas. My podcast guest, Eric Barreto, looks at the heavenly, cosmic imagery of Ephesians and warns us not to too sharply draw the line between heaven and earth. The heavenly reality is the one that God wants to bring to earth as well.

Rod Dreher (quoting Robert Louis Wilken):

Can Christian faith—no matter how enthusiastically proclaimed by evangelists, how ably expounded by theologians and philosophers, or how cleverly translated into the patois of the intellectual class by apologists—be sustained for long without the support of a nurturing Christian culture? By culture, I do not mean high culture (Bach’s B-Minor Mass, Caravaggio’s The Calling of St. Matthew); I mean the “total harvest of thinking and feeling,” to use T. S. Eliot’s phrase—the pattern of inherited meanings and sensibilities encoded in rituals, law, language, practices, and stories that can order, inspire, and guide the behavior, thoughts, and affections of a Christian people.

Those who do:

Steven Wedgeworth:

“[Piper’s] logic is badly confused, as he fails to distinguish between the spiritual and temporal realms, misunderstands the civic role of the family, and conflates the question of preservation of life with vengeance and bloodlust in general. Thus, he is unable to offer any sort of corrective and may actually give a cure that is worse than the disease.”

Mark Jones:

It seems to me that Christ principally kept this command by laying us up for himself in heaven (Jn. 10:10). We are his treasured possession (Deut. 7:6). He raised us up, where we are seated with him (Col. 3:1; Eph. 2:6). In this way, as in all things, he and the Father have the same purpose and will, namely, to lay up people (i.e., treasures) for themselves in heaven: “… [God’s] glorious inheritance in the saints” (Eph. 1:18).

Alan Jacobs (quoting):

As a believing Christian, I have come to a point where I find articles like Scruton’s increasingly frustrating. That large numbers of Europeans no longer embrace the Christian faith is obvious. But in this article, Scruton neither explains, nor defends, nor advocates the Christian faith other than as an instrumentality to buttress a select group of nation states, or as an instrumentality to inform elements of a culture he would like to see preserved. At least as described, Scruton’s is not a Christianity of radical practices of self-giving love that animated the early communities of the time of Acts of the Apostles. It is a Christianity from the top down. a bureaucratized belief system in which the value proposition lies not in the transformation of individual lives, but in providing some sort of ethical coherence to societies. Now, it may be a good thing for societies to possess ethical coherence – but that is a consequence far, far down the causal chain, and a long distance from the mission and purpose of Christian belief. Starting the discussion where Scruton does, he makes Christian belief the servant of state and culture (whatever he may think he is saying) rather than a set of beliefs that precedes and is therefore independent of state and culture.

If you look for a pattern, Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics, and liberal evangelicals blur. Protestants see the difference between heaven and earth (at least sometimes).

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628 thoughts on “Spotting the Difference

  1. DGH—“If this age is sinful and rebellious, then we should flee it.”

    How are you going to collect extra rewards up in heaven if you become a Donatist who escapists who retreats from managing history for the less elite?

    Mark Jones—“As our Father, God accepts less than absolute perfection because God accepted absolute perfection in our place. ….The obedience we offer to God does not have to be sinless obedience or perfect obedience, but it must be sincere obedience… God rewards imperfect works, according to the riches of his grace, because he is our Father. (Even if the devils would perform good works, God would delight in these works, according to Charnock and Witsius.)”

    http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2015/02/god-accepts-imperfection.php

    Doug Wilson— “The two kingdoms does not refer to a division between a secular church and a secular state. ….Before the nations submit to baptism and instruction in everything Jesus taught, they are still under natural law.”

    mcmark—But why does ” natural law” apply to the present state or empire, but “revealed positive law” apply to churches existing now in the present age? Has the age to come already arrived in some churches, so that a distinction between wheat and tares is already appropriate for a church in this age? But wouldn’t such “discipline” lead us to the Donatist path to voluntary associations, and even to a distinction between believers and their families which reduces the inclusive catholic nature of the church during the Abrahamic covenant?

    Matthew J Tuininga —-“One of the ways in which advocates could strengthen the two kingdoms doctrine is by further emphasizing and clarifying its fundamentally eschatological character…. Two spheres do not designate the two advents distinction between this age and the age to come. “

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  2. Jonathan Edwards “Every vessel that is cast into this ocean of happiness is full, though there are some vessels far larger than others; and there shall be no such thing as envy in heaven.”

    Mark Jones quotes Flavel —“An Antecedent Condition signifying no more than an Act of ours, which though it be neither perfect in every degree, nor in the least meritorious of the benefit conferred; nor performed in our own natural strength; yet according to the constitution of the Covenant, is required of us in order to the blessings consequent …”

    Mark Jones—“Flavel makes a further distinction between faith ‘essentially’ considered and faith considered ‘organically and instrumentally.’ Faith essentially considered refers to obedience, ‘and in that respect we exclude it from JUSTIFYING our persons, or entitling us to the saving-mercies of the New Covenant.’ HOWEVER, faith ‘organically’ considered refers to its instrumentality Rutherford speaks well for Reformed theologians when he says: ‘conditions wrought in us by grace, such as we assert, take not one jot or title of the freedom of grace away.’ Before critiquing Piper, I think Irons needs to read more carefully on the different senses of ‘condition’ in the Reformed tradition.”

    http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2015/07/rewarding-our-children-for-obe.php

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  3. more from the comment against Scruton quoted—“The compromised version of Christian belief was exposed for all to see in The Great War, when its chief utility was to provide an endless series of benedictions to soldiers who died in the mud of that war in service to various regimes claiming the banner of Christianity in order to wage destruction on their neighbors. European Christianity has never recovered. Scruton cherry picks fragments of Christian moral teaching to fashion a belief system with which he is comfortable, and because it provides a rationale for safeguarding works of prior centuries whose aesthetics he finds appealing. His Christianity amounts to little more than prayer books for bare, ruined choirs. It’s an elegy, not evangelism, and it can neither transform, nor redeem.” http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/lessons-from-europe-decline-roger-scruton/

    Jonathan Malesic, Secret Faith in the Public Square (2009)—“Can Christians be witnesses to the truths of the gospel in a land where being Christian is a form of social capital? American public life easily converts Christian identity into something which saves a culture. … When being a Christian is thought to be politically useful, the true purpose of being a member of the public known as the church has been lost..”

    Lloyd-Jones…”One of the greatest temptations to a man who becomes a Christian is to become respectable. When he becomes a Christian he also tends to make money” and if he makes money, he wants to keep that money, and resents the suggestion that he should share that money with others by means of taxation . Looking at history it seems to me that one of the greatest dangers confronting the Christian is to become a political conservative and an opponent of legitimate reform

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  4. Since the kingdom of God on earth is not confined to the mere ecclesiastical sphere, but aims at absolute universality, and extends its supreme reign over every department of human life, it follows that it is the duty of every loyal subject to endeavor to bring all human society, social and political, as well as ecclesiastical, into obedience to its law of righteousness. It is our duty, as far as lies in our power, immediately to organize human society and all its institutions and organs upon a distinctively Christian basis. Indifference or impartiality here between the law of the kingdom and the law of the world, or of its prince, the devil, is utter treason to the King of Righteousness. The Bible, the great statue-book of the kingdom explicitly lays down principles which, when candidly applied, will regulate the action of every human being in all relations. There can be no compromise. The King said, with regard to all descriptions of moral agents in all spheres of activity, “He that is not with me is against me.” If the national life in general is organized upon non-Christian principles, the churches which are embraced within the universal assimilating power of that nation will not long be able to preserve their integrity. (Lectures, AA Hodge p. 283-284)

    And your favorite quote:

    “The Christian cannot be satisfied so long as any human activity is either opposed to Christianity or out of all connection with Christianity. Christianity must pervade not merely all nations, but also all of human thought. The Christian, therefore, cannot be indifferent to any branch of earnest human endeavor. It must all be brought into some relation to the gospel. It must be studied either in order to be demonstrated as false, or else in order to be made useful in advancing the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom must be advanced not merely extensively, but also intensively. The Church must seek to conquer not merely every man for Christ, but also the whole of man. We are accustomed to encourage ourselves in our discouragements by the thought of the time when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. No less inspiring is the other aspect of that same great consummation. That will also be a time when doubts have disappeared, when every contradiction has been removed, when all of science converges to one great conviction, when all of art is devoted to one great end, when all of human thinking is permeated by the refining, ennobling influence of Jesus, when every thought has been brought into subjection to the obedience of Christ.” (The Princeton Theological Review, Vol. 11, 1913).

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  5. Lee, so once again, reconcile Machen from 1913 with Machen in 1933 when he says a true church can’t engage in political causes. Or do you only quote the parts of history you like?

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  6. “The Church is puzzled by the world’s indifference. She is trying to overcome it by adapting her message to the fashions of the day. But if, instead, before the conflict, she would descend into the secret place of meditation, if by the clear light of the gospel she would seek an answer not merely to the questions of the hour but, first of all, to the eternal problems of the spiritual world, then perhaps, by God’s grace, through His good Spirit, in His good time, she might issue forth once more with power, and an age of doubt might be followed by the dawn of an era of faith.”
    J. Gresham Machen, Princeton THE PRINCETON THEOLOGICAL REVIEW, Vol. 11, 1913, P.14-15

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  7. DG

    Thank you for the post. I need you to provide a source so that I can look it up in context. You said “once again” You have never asked me to reconcile Machen from 1913 to 1933. This is the first time you have requested me to do anything. I will need you to provide the source so I can verify the accuracy of your statement and to do what you have asked.

    Your sword cuts both ways. The last time we engaged in this discussion (When Some Means All), you willfully ignored Calvin’s statements in The Necessity of Reforming the Church. You intimated that Calvin did not believe the civil polity was duty bound to obey God and rule in righteousness. However, proving otherwise, I quoted Institutes as well as the Necessity of Reforming the Church you ended our conversation by stated, “I know that Calvin believed that. He’s not the Bible. That’s on him.” (Posted November 9, 2015 at 9:07 pm)

    Ali

    Yes, thank you for adding to the power of the first quote. Machen clearly taught, that as we present the gospel through the power of the Holy Spirit, we would observe a transformation of nations. In fact Christianity would pervade not ONLY all nations but ALSO all human thought. The Kingdom of God would then advance extensively and intensively.

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  8. Hi Lee,

    Machen clearly taught, that as we present the gospel through the power of the Holy Spirit, we would observe a transformation of nations. In fact Christianity would pervade not ONLY all nations but ALSO all human thought. The Kingdom of God would then advance extensively and intensively.

    Yes, but an apostle taught things go from bad to worse:

    2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy,
    3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good,
    4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
    5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.
    6 For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses,
    7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
    8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith.
    9 But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also.
    10 Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance,
    11 persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me!
    12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
    13 But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
    (2Ti 3:1-13)

    Who are you going to believe?

    By the end of the 1st century, Christ is rebuking three times as many churches than He is wholly blessing. And that was things were only “bad.”

    He is coming soon – Rev. 22:20.

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  9. Noon: Who are you going to believe?

    Thank you noon.

    Don’t you think the Lord speaks to both happening though– ie. the light gets brighter; dark gets darker. He spoke to the churches in Revelation saying “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent”. For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.” So, He expects turnaround of His own. And just like today, those churches had believers and unbelievers. He knows the wheat and tares, but also commands of us discipline and separation as best we know in the churches.

    Your verses above speak of unbelievers- going from bad to worse; but believers are on a different trajectory – ie, we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit;
    and the Lord says we are salt, light, leaven in the world – the kingdom as leaven, until it is all leavened, until the fullness from every nation, tribe, tongue, people brought in.
    Jesus asked the Father not to take us out of the world, but to keep us from the evil one, ‘cause he has His work in and through us in the world to be accomplished.

    All that to say, the whole counsel of God adequately informs us, so that we never have to be uninformed.

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  10. Ali –
    (shifting from the broken thread)

    Kevin in Newark: Papal Infallibility’s unique role in this engine is well-defined and historically-observable, a special role in guiding individual life and society to realize inherent potential – put more mundanely, to allow us to do and believe a little bit better than we would have otherwise.

    Believe a little better in what , Kevin?

    I’d refer to Pius IX’s profession of faith at the commencement of Vatican I, and his succinct statement of purpose in the lead-up to the definition of Papal Infallibility. An excerpt:

    9. At the sight of all this [materialist/rationalist/modernist distortion of Christian truth and its impact on the faithful], how can the inmost being of the Church not suffer anguish?

    For just as God wills all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth [5], just as Christ came to save what was lost [6] and to gather into one the children of God who were scattered abroad [7],

    so the Church, appointed by God to be mother and mistress of nations, recognizes her obligations to all and is always ready and anxious to raise the fallen, to steady those who stumble, to embrace those who return, and to strengthen the good and urge them on to what is better.

    Thus she can never cease from witnessing to the truth of God which heals all [8] and from declaring it, for she knows that these words were directed to her:

    My spirit which is upon you, and my words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth from this time forth and for evermore.[9]

    I’d encourage you not to assume duplicity. Offer rational disagreement if you must (at times well-put by commentators at Old Life); but developing a habit of stating falsehoods is dangerous to charity and reason both, to the integrity of one’s character, and at least in its most developed form, ultimately to one’s faith.

    An example of such a statement:
    [Cw’s edits to KiN:] “Today most (clergy) who (stay in the RC church) do so over a desire to satisfy sexual desires ad libitum or (avoid the strictures) of valid marriage.”

    [Cw:] Maybe the example of the priestly class is a big part of the problem, KiN.

    The second statement is rational and fair for discussion.

    But the first isn’t: ‘Most clergy who stay in the Catholic Church do so over a desire to satisfy sexual desires ad libitum or [and/or?] to avoid the strictures of valid marriage.’

    Do I need to point out that this is exceedingly unlikely, unjustified, and unverifiable, as well as being uncharitable?

    If one were in the habit of making such statements, what sort of habit would one be developing? A virtuous one or a vicious one? One compatible with the sort of life Scripture urges on us?

    I don’t take it as essential to the Reformed system of faith to develop a habit of stating calumnious falsehoods; yet they do credit to neither Geneva nor Knoxville.

    https://www.ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/V1.HTM

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  11. Noon, but for 2k amils the world doesn’t get better or worse as human history either advances or retreats, as in what has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Nothing has really changed ever since man was sent packing east of Eden. It’s good realistic antidote against the optimistic postmils and the cynical dispensationalists.

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  12. Regarding the “Assemblies” thread, many of us would still have the pages in our browsers.

    If you’ve been using Chrome, it’s fairly simple:

    1) in the URL bar, type about:cache
    2) locate the page(s) you wish to view (e.g., use find in page for “assemblies”)
    3) open the page, select all, and copy to clipboard
    4) go to http://www.sensefulsolutions.com/2012/01/viewing-chrome-cache-easy-way.html
    5) paste the clipboard contents into the dialogue box and submit
    6) you’ll now see the page – select all and copy to save

    I’d appreciate if someone could send me page 28 (email address included attached to my name)- I lost it in my cache when I tried to open it after the thread crashed (as, unfortunately, will have anyone else who has tried to open the page).

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  13. Kevin in Newark: Papal Infallibility’s unique role in this engine is well-defined and historically-observable, a special role in guiding individual life and society to realize inherent potential – put more mundanely, to allow us to do and believe a little bit better than we would have otherwise.
    Believe a little better in what , Kevin?

    Thank you Kevin. My whole point with the question was simply to restate -that unless it is always clear, always pre-eminent – that our whole task is to point to belief, faith, trust in Christ alone,exalting God alone (for there is no other God but God alone, there is no one like Him and He is completely sufficient), then we are off-track.

    Sure, He has human agents and each has their assignment, but He makes clear that He causes the growth, even saying neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is ‘anything’ (1 Cor 3:6-7). His point is stark.

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  14. Petros-

    On a less mundane level, I wonder what obligation a faithful RCC adherent would have in Hus’ day. Fine if he’s not personally obligated to light the match. But, should he cheer that the church rid itself of a heretic? Or, risk his own neck and try to intervene on Hus’ behalf? Just seems a bit thorny.

    Hus was thorny indeed, but more for his defenders than foes I think. Others here will know more facts about him than I, but I think of him as a:

    a great advocate of frequent Eucharistic Communion;
    who was treated quite leniently by his Archbishop;
    but managed through ceaseless flaunting of civil and ecclesiastical authority to destabilize the social order;
    annoying his erstwhile royal defenders, eventually forcing them to arrest him to maintain peace.

    King Sigismund (facetiously, I wonder?) suggested he present his justification for refusing to go to Rome to the Council at Constance – a Council notably free of Papal leadership, although validly convoked; the Council’s response was his execution.

    Note that his understanding of the Eucharist was not entirely Orthodox – not only did he believe in the Real Presence (body and blood, soul and divinity) and in the sacramental grace conveyed to those who received it, he believed if you received both body and blood, you’d get twice the grace.

    Further, Hussites taught that Eucharistic sacramental grace was a sine qua non of salvation. So the Baptized go to hell unless they receive the Eucharist.

    What’s a sincere Hussite to do? No idea. But following the Hussite wars, they were granted reception under both species as long as they rejected the above-mentioned (Nestorian) Eucharistic heresy.

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  15. Ali
    Posted December 30, 2015 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Sure, He has human agents and each has their assignment, but He makes clear that He causes the growth,

    Of dozens, hundreds or 1000s of Protestant denominations who disagree with each other? Something went wrong.

    Very wrong.

    Kevin in Newark
    Posted December 30, 2015 at 6:08 pm | Permalink
    Petros-

    On a less mundane level, I wonder what obligation a faithful RCC adherent would have in Hus’ day. Fine if he’s not personally obligated to light the match. But, should he cheer that the church rid itself of a heretic? Or, risk his own neck and try to intervene on Hus’ behalf? Just seems a bit thorny.

    Hus was thorny indeed, but more for his defenders than foes I think. Others here will know more facts about him than I, but I think of him as a:

    a great advocate of frequent Eucharistic Communion;
    who was treated quite leniently by his Archbishop;
    but managed through ceaseless flaunting of civil and ecclesiastical authority to destabilize the social order;
    annoying his erstwhile royal defenders, eventually forcing them to arrest him to maintain peace.

    King Sigismund (facetiously, I wonder?) suggested he present his justification for refusing to go to Rome to the Council at Constance – a Council notably free of Papal leadership, although validly convoked; the Council’s response was his execution.

    Note that his understanding of the Eucharist was not entirely Orthodox – not only did he believe in the Real Presence (body and blood, soul and divinity) and in the sacramental grace conveyed to those who received it, he believed if you received both body and blood, you’d get twice the grace.

    Further, Hussites taught that Eucharistic sacramental grace was a sine qua non of salvation. So the Baptized go to hell unless they receive the Eucharist.

    What’s a sincere Hussite to do? No idea. But following the Hussite wars, they were granted reception under both species as long as they rejected the above-mentioned (Nestorian) Eucharistic heresy.

    I learn so much about Protestantism here, despite the Protestants.

    I learn a lot about Catholicism too, despite the Protestants. Funny how that works out…

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  16. Kevin in Newark
    Posted December 30, 2015 at 3:12 pm | Permalink
    Ali –
    (shifting from the broken thread)

    Kevin in Newark: Papal Infallibility’s unique role in this engine is well-defined and historically-observable, a special role in guiding individual life and society to realize inherent potential – put more mundanely, to allow us to do and believe a little bit better than we would have otherwise.

    Believe a little better in what , Kevin?

    I’d refer to Pius IX’s profession of faith at the commencement of Vatican I, and his succinct statement of purpose in the lead-up to the definition of Papal Infallibility. An excerpt:

    9. At the sight of all this [materialist/rationalist/modernist distortion of Christian truth and its impact on the faithful], how can the inmost being of the Church not suffer anguish?

    For just as God wills all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth [5], just as Christ came to save what was lost [6] and to gather into one the children of God who were scattered abroad [7],

    so the Church, appointed by God to be mother and mistress of nations, recognizes her obligations to all and is always ready and anxious to raise the fallen, to steady those who stumble, to embrace those who return, and to strengthen the good and urge them on to what is better.

    Thus she can never cease from witnessing to the truth of God which heals all [8] and from declaring it, for she knows that these words were directed to her:

    My spirit which is upon you, and my words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth from this time forth and for evermore.[9]

    I’d encourage you not to assume duplicity. Offer rational disagreement if you must (at times well-put by commentators at Old Life); but developing a habit of stating falsehoods is dangerous to charity and reason both, to the integrity of one’s character, and at least in its most developed form, ultimately to one’s faith.

    An example of such a statement:
    [Cw’s edits to KiN:] “Today most (clergy) who (stay in the RC church) do so over a desire to satisfy sexual desires ad libitum or (avoid the strictures) of valid marriage.”

    [Cw:] Maybe the example of the priestly class is a big part of the problem, KiN.

    The second statement is rational and fair for discussion.

    But the first isn’t: ‘Most clergy who stay in the Catholic Church do so over a desire to satisfy sexual desires ad libitum or [and/or?] to avoid the strictures of valid marriage.’

    Do I need to point out that this is exceedingly unlikely, unjustified, and unverifiable, as well as being uncharitable?

    I prefer “swinish.” But this is what Dr. Hart hath wrought, where such behavior is not only tolerated but fostered.

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  17. “Of dozens, hundreds or 1000s of Protestant denominations who disagree with each other? Something went wrong.”

    But of course every Catholic is on the same page, every Catholic is in agreement with one another and believes the same.

    You are the biggest idiot, Truly Vaticanus Determinus.

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  18. You missed the point, Matt, the essential difference. Catholics do not start their own “churches” when they disagree. But that is the accepted norm in ‘Protestantism.’

    Surely you’ve noticed. Schism is not the exception, it is the rule.

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  19. Ali-
    unless it is always clear, always pre-eminent – that our whole task is to point to belief, faith, trust in Christ alone,exalting God alone […], then we are off-track.

    Sure, He has human agents and each has their assignment, but He makes clear that He causes the growth, even saying neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is ‘anything’ (1 Cor 3:6-7). His point is stark.

    Catholics offer strong agreement with this statement – do you see anything in Pius IX’s quote above that would lead you to think he intends anything other than a complete orientation toward God?

    On the other hand, the Reformed (or Protestants generally?) think Catholics can in fact offer only a qualified agreement- which allows for rational debate. But quotes like those above w/r/t the sexual practice of the Catholic clergy assume a divorce between intention and statement which is unwarranted.

    So my point is to encourage you to believe that Catholics at least are attempting to act in good faith and are worthy of respectful engagement, meaning if you believe you disagree, offer it in that spirit. Don’t do harm to yourself and others by stating foolishness.

    Consistent with this thread, I might offer that Pius isn’t conflating “2 Kingdoms,” but demonstrating that activity in one can point us toward activity in the second. This isn’t a confusion of Kingdoms, merely a description which allows the “realm of common grace” to operate in its own sphere and yet serve subserviently to Christianity.

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  20. “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.”

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  21. Kevin: So my point is to encourage you to believe that Catholics at least are attempting to act in good faith and are worthy of respectful engagement, meaning if you believe you disagree, offer it in that spirit. Don’t do harm to yourself and others by stating foolishness.

    Did I state foolishness Kevin? I’m confused about what you are saying and specifically pointing to;
    I agree we all could more respectfully engage

    Some basics, though, for me to state with you, that come to mind, hopefully in a sincere, loving spirit,(things you already know I would say because I am me) – that I believe 1) the pope is not infallible; 2) ‘popery’ is not the Lord’s ‘system; 3) likely the Lord has brothers in every denomination; 4) the Lord has it arranged for now that no denomination has a corner on being the ‘one true church’ 5); some systems, more than others, promote encouragement/confusion about idolatry and also suppress corruption; 6) we ought not be surprised at all that there are disguised fake servants of righteousness, especially in the church everywhere, but everywhere else (2 Cor 11:14-15)…etc, etc.

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  22. Ali –
    Did I state foolishness Kevin? I’m confused about what you are saying and specifically pointing to;
    I agree we all could more respectfully engage

    My point was CW’s comment was (harmful) foolishness, and that this influences the tone of a conversation, which influences those who participate it in, to their own benefit or harm. My point wasn’t that anything you said was foolishness (and not that everything he says is, by any means).

    1) the pope is not infallible; 2) ‘popery’ is not the Lord’s ‘system; 3) likely the Lord has brothers in every denomination; 4) the Lord has it arranged for now that no denomination has a corner on being the ‘one true church’ 5); some systems, more than others, promote encouragement/confusion about idolatry and also suppress corruption; 6) we ought not be surprised at all that there are disguised fake servants of righteousness, especially in the church everywhere, but everywhere else (2 Cor 11:14-15)

    if you feel so compelled, by all means argue that having a Pope is contrary to the Church as divinely constituted. Obviously this is regularly discussed here at Old Life.

    But I would encourage you to consider whether using the term “popery” implies respectful engagement with those who are acting in good faith, or whether it implies an unjustified, habitual hostility.

    If you think the Catholic Church promotes idolatry, then that is another point of discussion – and one which I think would have to be dealt with prior to engaging on any other point – rational discussion is quite difficult if the parties don’t at the very least trust (or at least presume for the sake of discussion) one another’s intentions.

    I submit to you that the CC is not intending to do evil, and never has so intended (individual Catholics’ actions are not “the CC”- these are personal failures). I’d go a lot further than that, of course! But all I’m trying to show at the moment is that the CC (e.g. Pius IX in his comments above) sincerely wants to bring people to Christ.

    Help me out Sir or Ma’am? – you told me once you were named “Ali” like Ali ibn Abi Talib, yet people keep referring to you as ma’am.

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  23. Kevin:But I would encourage you to consider whether using the term “popery” implies respectful engagement with those who are acting in good faith, or whether it implies an unjustified, habitual hostility.

    Thank you Kevin. I apologize for using that word. I truly did not know it was a derogatory word (should have looked it up more carefully), only thought it a convenient word of summary.

    Like

  24. I would be pretending if I appeared to have respect for the idolatrous, damning religion of Rome. The contemporary revelations of its vile perversions and abuse of children don’t help. How about something besides a shrug? I’m sure many of you would make great neighbors (like some Mormons or Muslims), but your church’s doctrine and practice (and the consequences of each) are execrable.

    Like

  25. CW –

    I would love to hear an evidence-based defense of your statement if you have one to offer, or any alternate view of moral psychology or Scripture which would invalidate my analysis.

    Looks like your Bishop Stika in Knoxville (your home, I believe) is a Maronite (Syrian Catholic) from St. Louis (was pastor at an aunt of mine’s family’s parish), a member of the Order of Malta (Knights of Malta), a Knight of Columbus, philosophy student, interested in American history.

    This paints a portrait of one quite likely orthodox and charitable (perhaps I’m biased as a former St. Louisan), although I have no prior familiarity with him (it’s very lame that he states he is a Cardinals baseball fan, granted).

    I really don’t see how baseless accusations like yours are anything but detestable and harmful to those who make them.

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  26. Kevin, I have personal experiences with corrupt RC clergy, should I name them all? Do you deny that there is a crisis among the religious in the RC? The evidence and disclosure from RC friendly/observant groups is overwhelming. The entire country of Ireland decided they had enough of it and closed their embassy(for a time). What qualifies as institutional corruption in your book? Baseless?

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  27. CW –

    (was working on my comment when you posted yours, just read yours)

    My reading of Scripture would suggest that putting a millstone the necks of Weakland and others and casting them into the Mississippi would not be out of line.

    The CC emasculated its liturgy in order to draw in nominal Protestants e.g., (those giving nominal assent to Reformed positions without understanding the justifications), minimizing sacrificial language and many obvious ties to medieval culture.

    This made being a priest much less attractive – nothing is more manly than sacrifice, and the old liturgy is richer in the concepts incorporated, ceremonial ritual action, musical language, poetic signification, Scriptural resonance, historical connection to the ancient Church and Apostolic days, etc. (This is the briefest of treatments on a big subject).

    Seminaries were forced to either down-size or relax standards of admission. It is a great disaster they chose the latter. In the context of the loss of mooring in cultural elements of tradition, an anything-goes attitude unimaginable to prior generations surfaced (not everywhere by any means, but in some places).

    The problem was the admission of non-chaste homosexuals to the priesthood. The solution is… the non-admission of such people. We’ve long-since turned the corner on this problem, but the fallout remains.

    I don’t intend to shrug, and I’m not asking for false respect, just fair criticism. In both cases, the goal is truthful engagement (rational criticism), not false accusations and encouraging habitual hostility, and not shrugging.

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  28. Cw, I’m all for acknowledging the responsible and faithful religious. They exist. I know some. But, there’s been a problem with the priestly, celibate model for hundreds of years. It’s an open secret. And actually, it’s the transparency of a modern society that is doing the MOST good in curtailing and bringing to light the issues, not any change in institutional screening. In fact, the biggest benefit to the priestly class in the US is the growing acceptance of alt. lifestyles in the culture at large(norming of homosexuality) which give homosexuals(in this example) more opportunities in mainstream culture and less need to find respite in cloistered communities. This doesn’t fix the pedophile opportunity as pedophiles are always looking for access, opportunity and cover(respectability of occupation) to engage their criminal behavior.

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  29. Kevin, in the interest of fair criticism, what gives you any confidence in the bishops who for so long turned a blind eye to the scandal, tried to cover it up — not to mention were on the watch of the seminaries that nurtured this crisis?

    Or, why would any Protestant not have legitimate reasons for questioning an apologetic that rests so much of Rome’s superiority in its hierarchy? I get it that priests sin, as do bishops. But the collective guilt here is astounding and goes all the way to the top (Benedict/Ratzinger).

    In which case, don’t you change your breast beating and thump less the magisterium’s infallibility (not to say you do this)? I mean, we’re supposed to see Rome’s advantages for identifying truth when the very institution that accomplishes such wonders is still reeling from purposefully identifying and covering up wickedness.

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  30. Sean, triple ding — the RC owes more to modernity and liberalism for exposing, reforming, and taking some of the pressure off of its unbiblical ecclesiology than to any synod, mechanism, or pope.

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  31. cw l’unificateur
    Posted December 31, 2015 at 9:58 am | Permalink
    I would be pretending if I appeared to have respect for the idolatrous, damning religion of Rome. The contemporary revelations of its vile perversions and abuse of children don’t help. How about something besides a shrug? I’m sure many of you would make great neighbors (like some Mormons or Muslims), but your church’s doctrine and practice (and the consequences of each) are execrable.>>>>

    Now, this is an honest man of Reformed tradition, not infected by the modernist epistemology of provisional knowledge! Not even a whiff of “I might be wrong” in your position.

    Good for you, cw!

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  32. DG –

    Great questions.

    1a) what gives you any confidence in the bishops who for so long turned a blind eye to the scandal, tried to cover it up—

    Confidence in what sense? To reform the seminaries problem? To reform other problems (e.g., catechesis and liturgy)?

    For many of them, the best I hope for at the moment is for them to:
    1) celebrate the sacraments, including ordaining priests;
    2) reform the seminaries;
    3) stay out of the way of those who are working at real reform;
    4) stamp the work of these real reformers with approval when it shows good results.

    Not sure if that answers your question.

    1b) not to mention were on the watch of the seminaries that nurtured this crisis?

    Well, the problem with their being on the watch is that they failed to keep standards which had worked well (CW and Sean would dispute this). We need merely return to the standards.

    Or, why would any Protestant not have legitimate reasons for questioning an apologetic that rests so much of Rome’s superiority in its hierarchy?

    Firstly, some Protestants might well have legitimate reasons for questioning ‘an apologetic that rests much of Rome’s superiority on its hierarchy.’ Illegitimate, obviously false accusations do legitimate questioners of this apologetic no credit.

    Secondly, questioning ‘an apologetic that rests much of Rome’s superiority on its hierarchy’ is – to me – less interesting a project than questioning Rome’s claims themselves. But I think questioning the apologetic is indeed your main interest.

    If legitimate questioners of Rome’s claims are serious, I’d expect them to be annoyed by false statements generally, whatever their origin – if they really are truth-seekers.

    I get it that priests sin, as do bishops. But the collective guilt here is astounding and goes all the way to the top (Benedict/Ratzinger).

    I’m not sure about the concept of “collective guilt,” but whatever the nature and degree of the problem, it is indeed astounding and terrible.

    In which case, don’t you change your breast beating and thump less the magisterium’s infallibility (not to say you do this)?

    You indicate a difference between ‘thumping the Magisterium’s Infallibility’ (Triumphalism? is this even a clear concept? Whether yes or no, I’d class it as a type of rhetorical strategy) and ‘defending the principle that Infallibility is a characteristic of the Magisterium’ (apologetics, perhaps), which I think is worthwhile.

    No personal failings of members of the hierarchy should detract from apologetics.

    As for Triumphalism, if it is a rhetorical strategy, then we should keep in mind it doesn’t typically operate as a primary motivator (i.e., rhetorical strategies operate in service of argumentative/propositional content; further, they should be offered in reason and charity).

    Certainly one should consider the likely outcomes of employing Triumphalism as a rhetorical strategy, which may entail employing it less in certain cultural contexts, if it interferes with apologetics or other goods. This is prudential and up for argumentation amongst those interested.

    I mean, we’re supposed to see Rome’s advantages for identifying truth when the very institution that accomplishes such wonders is still reeling from purposefully identifying and covering up wickedness.

    The behavior of those guilty was, in a profound and precise way, scandalous. I don’t know how to make more clear my acknowledgement of its problems.

    You who have long-standing and fundamental disagreements with the CC should be reveling in your ability to present simple, publicly-accepted facts which indicate that there are problems with the CC.

    Why you would over-reach with irresponsible statement’s like CW’s, I do not know. Individual responsibility to the truth is not abrogated by the sins of others – even if those sins of others are more grave than one’s betrayal of truth. Christ doesn’t want us to merely be not-as-bad-as-others.

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  33. Kevin, which one or how many of the diocesan settlement cases or maybe just the Irish bishops rift with the Vatican over secrecy and subverting reporting laws is public and factual enough to warrant a problem? Or maybe just the shortcircuiting of the legal process at the diocesan level so punitive damages never find their handle on Vatican assets(so much for the papal buck stopping at his desk or ratzinger’s at the CDF). That’s all before we get into broken religious vows, manipulation of others, adult and juvenile, by way of false religious guilt, abuse of the collar, scandal to the gospel, behavior that exhibits a greater concern and protection of the clergy AT THE EXPENSE OF laity. We can keep it simple; bad guys, bad model(priestly class), institutional failure from beg(selection) to end(cover up). What do you need?

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  34. Here you go, Kev: A business I used to work at had a customer who was an RC priest. We sold photography equipment and did printing. He was an active homosexual who exhibited (among other things) lewd pictures of nude men. He was still assisting in mass up until the time of his death from AIDS. Most people thought he was a swell guy. This was in the 90’s or early 2000’s in a conservative (I would assume) southern diocese. Good thing about the corner being turned. I’m sure I had protestant customers with similar issues, but I don’t remember any of them leading worship services.

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  35. cw l’unificateur
    Posted December 31, 2015 at 9:58 am | Permalink
    I would be pretending if I appeared to have respect for the idolatrous, damning religion of Rome. The contemporary revelations of its vile perversions and abuse of children don’t help. How about something besides a shrug? I’m sure many of you would make great neighbors (like some Mormons or Muslims), but your church’s doctrine and practice (and the consequences of each) are execrable.>>>>

    Yes! You are refuting the provisional knowledge epistemology. How will you help your brothers in Christ avoid their descent into modernism and apostasy?

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  36. cw l’unificateur
    Posted December 31, 2015 at 1:15 pm | Permalink
    Here you go, Kev: A business I used to work at had a customer who was an RC priest. We sold photography equipment and did printing. He was an active homosexual who exhibited (among other things) lewd pictures of nude men. He was still assisting in mass up until the time of his death from AIDS. Most people thought he was a swell guy. This was in the 90’s or early 2000’s in a conservative (I would assume) southern diocese. Good thing about the corner being turned. I’m sure I had protestant customers with similar issues, but I don’t remember any of them leading worship services.>>>>

    That is deplorable. There is no excuse for that. Most people probably did not know about what he was doing in private.

    I would encourage you, cw, to check out the ministry of G.R.A.C.E. The man who founded it did so around the time that the pedophile scandals hit the media.

    He was a prosecutor in FL, and his forte was putting away pedophiles. He knew that the problems were not just in the Catholic Church. In fact, he knew that the problems were just as prevalent in Protestant churches, even the most conservative. How would he know? He prosecuted pedophiles in FL. Let the meaning of that sink in. Shall I repeat it?

    Think about it. Then do not say “it can’t happen in my Reformed denomination. That happens elsewhere.”

    You guys are shrugging and in denial. Don’t your women and children deserve greater protection than that?

    Now, you might say that you have safeguards in place. Check the date on when those safeguards were put in place. Does it more or less coincide with the breaking of the Catholic priest scandal?

    I am willing to wager that it does.

    cw, I am not really a Mermaid. I don’t really live under water.

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  37. Homosexual behavior among adults is not the same as child molestation. Well, you guys are smart and know the statistics. Child molesters are their own category.

    It’s a complicated subject. In here it has all been kind of lumped into the category of “those horrible priests who molest children and are gay and the corrupt Catholic leadership which enabled it”.

    If you really want to have a serious discussion of the subject, that can be done. To use the sins of the priests as a way to refute Catholicism is simplistic.

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  38. Merm, the distinction between peds and homosexuals has been made clear. Or at least I’ve made it clear a number of times. Sometimes they’re the same guy but often not. Peds often have numerous different motivations and intents. RCC has an institutional problem on top of just being yet another revered occupation that attracts peds for reasons of access and cover. And what really hung the RCC beyond the abuse was the cover up. It’s always the cover up.

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  39. Merm, I know all about the GRACE org, one of their board members is a former pastor and friend. My church has a great child protection plan. It is my understanding that most abuse in churches these days is older children on younger children. Not lumping pedos and homosexuals, but we don’t want either in the ministerial class, do we?

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  40. The Little Mermaid
    Posted December 31, 2015 at 2:06 pm | Permalink
    Homosexual behavior among adults is not the same as child molestation. Well, you guys are smart and know the statistics. Child molesters are their own category.

    It’s a complicated subject. In here it has all been kind of lumped into the category of “those horrible priests who molest children and are gay and the corrupt Catholic leadership which enabled it”.

    If you really want to have a serious discussion of the subject, that can be done. To use the sins of the priests as a way to refute Catholicism is simplistic.

    It’s all they got.

    ++++++++++++

    D. G. Hart
    Posted December 31, 2015 at 11:23 am | Permalink
    Kevin, in the interest of fair criticism, what gives you any confidence in the bishops who for so long turned a blind eye to the scandal, tried to cover it up — not to mention were on the watch of the seminaries that nurtured this crisis?

    Or, why would any Protestant not have legitimate reasons for questioning an apologetic that rests so much of Rome’s superiority in its hierarchy?

    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    Kevin in Newark
    Posted December 31, 2015 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    You indicate a difference between ‘thumping the Magisterium’s Infallibility’ (Triumphalism? is this even a clear concept? Whether yes or no, I’d class it as a type of rhetorical strategy) and ‘defending the principle that Infallibility is a characteristic of the Magisterium’ (apologetics, perhaps), which I think is worthwhile.

    No personal failings of members of the hierarchy should detract from apologetics.

    Dr. Hart does not understand this concept, or if he does, evades it. He claims to separate the sacred and the secular, but it seems only when it suits his polemical purposes.

    And has the nerve to accuse others of not understanding logic.

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  41. cw l’unificateur
    Posted December 31, 2015 at 1:25 pm | Permalink
    Correction: I googled an old story on him and it was Byzantine Rite the guy served. However, everyone thought he was an RC priest and no one was surprised. Sorry, it’s hard to keep up with all of the “Catholic” churches.

    http://www.byzcath.org/

    Well, you certainly look look an idiot, first sliming the Catholic Church with an anecdote, then the guy wasn’t even the Catholic Church.

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  42. Sean-
    Kevin, which one or how many of the diocesan settlement cases or maybe just the Irish bishops rift with the Vatican over secrecy and subverting reporting laws is public and factual enough to warrant a problem?

    Which one? All of them!


    We can keep it simple; bad guys, bad model(priestly class), institutional failure from beg(selection) to end(cover up). What do you need?

    All subjects worthy of discussion here. I’d disagree on the bad model thesis, agree on the bad guys and on the problem being “institutional”- although not that it is essential to the institution.

    CW-

    Thanks for the personal story, that’s despicable. If he was Byz Cath, he was indeed a Catholic priest.

    I have no problem with ssa-individuals being priests if they are firmly chaste, with no record of deviancy, and of sterling character by other measures. On the other hand, that doesn’t mean it would necessarily good idea to admit formerly practicing and contrite individuals to seminary at the present time, even if they’ve been chaste for decades.

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  43. Kevin in Newark
    Posted December 31, 2015 at 3:05 pm | Permalink
    CW-

    Thanks for the personal story, that’s despicable. If he was Byz Cath, he was indeed a Catholic priest.

    Yes, but under a semi-autonomous chain of command, IOW, not linked to the institutional mishandling of the scandals that get dragged into virtually every discussion whether relevant to it or not.

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  44. cw l’unificateur
    Posted December 31, 2015 at 2:45 pm | Permalink
    Merm, I know all about the GRACE org, one of their board members is a former pastor and friend. My church has a great child protection plan. It is my understanding that most abuse in churches these days is older children on younger children. Not lumping pedos and homosexuals, but we don’t want either in the ministerial class, do we?>>>>

    When was your great child protection plan instituted?

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  45. TVD
    Posted December 31, 2015 at 3:28 pm | Permalink
    Kevin in Newark
    Posted December 31, 2015 at 3:05 pm | Permalink
    CW-

    Thanks for the personal story, that’s despicable. If he was Byz Cath, he was indeed a Catholic priest.

    Yes, but under a semi-autonomous chain of command, IOW, not linked to the institutional mishandling of the scandals that get dragged into virtually every discussion whether relevant to it or not.>>>>>

    Like you say, Tom, it’s all they got. That’s why they keep coming back to it.

    The epistemology “thing” was an epic fail for them. As if we have not already sat for hours and hours in secular university classrooms and had the same stuff pushed on us in the name of opening our minds…

    Same “stuff”. Different context.

    Anyway…

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  46. Not essential to the institution? If you mean a priestly class, then you’d be dead wrong. You don’t have Rome apart from sacerdotalism and you don’t have sacerdotalism without priests.

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  47. Tom, I admitted my error, or at least that I wasn’t sure you lot would consider him to be “catholic”. Kevin is honest enough to say he probably should be considered “catholic”. Next question: Is Tom a catholic? ‘Cause if not you’re non-meritorious crocodile tears are unimpressive.

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  48. My “that” referred to the sexual problems- I do not think those are essential to the institution.

    As an ecclesiological aside, the “priestly class” (a job, really, not a class) could be composed entirely of Bishops. Priests partake of the powers of their Bishops.

    If you think I am minimizing the problems in any way, don’t hesitate to let me know.

    The more important thing I think is encouraging upstanding young men to know the faith and consider the priesthood. It’s a great job, to use a somewhat light phrase. We have plenty of un- and under-employed educated young men.

    Put the possibility of a family and successful secular career behind you. Receive respect from precious few. Prepare yourself for strange looks and comments from friends and family. Work your way up over 7 or so years to $25k as a pastor (in NYC), and celebrate Masses at a stipend of $30 each (maybe a few per week). Save souls.

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  49. (I anticipate flack over my last two words, but surely this has been discussed here enough that you know what a Catholic means to say this).

    CW- Byzantine Catholics are 100% certainly Catholics, they simply practice a different rite (Greek or other liturgy, some priests marry, they aren’t under the Diocesan Bishops, etc.).

    Seems to me unlikely (rather less than 100%) based on your testimony that this particular priest will be spending eternity with the angels and saints, contemplating the beauty of God’s face in glory.

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  50. cw l’unificateur
    Posted December 31, 2015 at 3:58 pm | Permalink
    Tom, I admitted my error, or at least that I wasn’t sure you lot would consider him to be “catholic”. Kevin is honest enough to say he probably should be considered “catholic”. Next question: Is Tom a catholic? ‘Cause if not you’re non-meritorious crocodile tears are unimpressive.

    My personal religious life is irrelevant to the discussion. Your use of a single anecdote, of a Byzantine priest “not linked to the institutional mishandling of the scandals that get dragged into virtually every discussion” made you look like an idiot.

    Further, as Kevin better answered in trying not to get dragged into the same polemical weeds yet again,

    No personal failings of members of the hierarchy should detract from apologetics

    and that goes even more for the individual priest you tried to make cheap points with.

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  51. Ariel, your convert cohort Jason Stellman approvingly passes this quote in another medium (don’t ask the source, he doesn’t provide it):

    “You can believe something with so much conviction that you’d die for that belief.

    And yet in the same moment you can say, ‘I could be wrong.’

    This is because conviction and humility, like faith and doubt, are not opposites; they’re dance partners. It’s possible to hold your faith with open hands living with great conviction and yet at the same time humbly admitting that your knowledge and perspective will always be limited.”

    Maybe he hasn’t shaken off all the Protestantism? But so much for an infallible monopoly on the infallible mechanism for infallibly settling theological disputes.

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  52. Kevin, there was a lot of RC’s who used to think that too. Apparently, we were all wrong. If you tossed all the unchaste clergy over a cliff, how many parishes do you think could man?

    Kevin, you should do what generations past did, consecrate one of your sons to the clergy. Hand em over. It’s better to start early before puberty takes over. They still have Jr. seminaries.

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  53. Zrim
    Posted December 31, 2015 at 4:43 pm | Permalink
    Ariel, your convert cohort Jason Stellman approvingly passes this quote in another medium (don’t ask the source, he doesn’t provide it):

    “You can believe something with so much conviction that you’d die for that belief.

    And yet in the same moment you can say, ‘I could be wrong.’

    Without context, this is a vague if not bizarre comment. How anyone could be expected to respond to something someone somewhere quoted from somebody else, let alone take responsibility for it is beyond me.

    BTW, the quote comes from the oft-maligned Rob Bell

    http://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/trevinwax/2013/03/12/what-we-talk-about-when-we-talk-about-rob-bell/

    yet another “Protestant” with his own do-it-yourself version of Christianity.

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  54. Sean –

    I only have one at present (he’s sitting on my lap, and will celebrate his first birthday on Jan 11).

    My wife and I do a lot of liturgical music, and have coffee after Mass almost weekly with our pastor and others in the parish. He’ll certainly learn to serve both the Trad Latin and Novus Ordo Masses (English, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Polish – all celebrated within 3 blocks of my house).

    I would be greatly honored to have a son as a priest.

    It’s not like priests cease being members of their families, you know – they still visit family for niece’s birthdays, beach vacations, family reunions, etc. They cook dinner, have hobbies, entertain friends, play instruments, watch movies, go jogging, all the normal things – it’s really not a bad life assuming they have parish support for repairs, financial management, planning and organizing events, etc.

    Surely that’s not surprising?

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  55. Tom, Kevin seems like a serious, stand-up guy. Ask him if he thinks your personal religious views, affiliations, and participation are irrelevant. We actually care, Tom. I’d like to see your glorified mullet in heaven.

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  56. Cw the Unificator
    Posted December 31, 2015 at 5:26 pm | Permalink
    Tom, Kevin seems like a serious, stand-up guy. Ask him if he thinks your personal religious views, affiliations, and participation are irrelevant. We actually care, Tom. I’d like to see your glorified mullet in heaven.

    I’m either ‘elect’ or screwed for eternity anyway. I have no say in the matter.

    Besides, y’all play dirty and treat everyone like crap, regardless of their affiliations. Even Kevin is obliged to point it out, but I’m not sure you even notice how appalled he is at what goes on around here.

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  57. Kevin, about half of the ones I know come from money. The stipend from the church was knockaround money. Quite frankly the homosexual ones were having the better time. The heteros struggled, some fell, some gave into other vices, some did alright. Despite my disagreements with weird trads here, I have a decent amount of sympathy and empathy for a lot of the guys I knew. I think it’s a crappy model-poor discipline choice. One of the hetero priests I knew used to take off on 13 mile ‘frustration runs’ he/we used to call it. I lived with these guys growing up, the upside is just O.K., the downside can get really really seedy and quick. Because most of the guys I knew were transfers in, I can’t say they’re biological families were part of their daily life, in fact, they weren’t. And with the dearth of vocations these guys get shipped everywhere. My parents have a congolese priest currently. Used to be the Irish fresh off the boat, now I guess it’ll be the Africans trying to fill the gap in vocations.

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  58. Tom, take a breath (into a paper bag). You could learn to trust. The simple point is how one Catholic convert approves of provisional knowledge and another mocks it, both of whom also claim that they’ve found the mechanism that resolves all theological disputes. So why does one sound so Protestant still?

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  59. Zrim
    Posted December 31, 2015 at 5:49 pm | Permalink
    Tom, take a breath (into a paper bag). You could learn to trust. The simple point is how one Catholic convert approves of provisional knowledge

    Trust. On a vague comment with no source itself, totally without context. After all the lies told about Catholicism at this blog. As though what one convert may or may not have said makes any difference in the matter of magisterium.

    You jest, yes?

    And once again, “provisional knowledge” is not faith, and indeed isn’t even knowledge. It’s a Protestant innovation, as Sheen says

    …each individual [is] his own supreme authority, allowing him either to interpret the Scriptures privately or else interpret his own religious experiences without any dictation from without. Religion on this theory is a purely individual affair: each one casts his own vote as to what he will believe, rejects all creeds, beliefs, and dogmas which run counter to his moods and prejudices, determines for himself the kind of a God he will adore, the kind of an altar before which he will kneel – in a word, he worships at the shrines his own hands have made.

    It is certainly true [and necessary] that in the do-it-yourself version of Christianity called “Protestantism,” everything must be provisional, since it is the creation of fallible man, not the infallible Holy Spirit.

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  60. Susan
    Posted December 31, 2015 at 5:55 pm | Permalink
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/standingonmyhead/2013/04/doubts-difficulties-and-disobedience.html

    Ah, very nice.

    Blessed John Henry Newman wrote, “Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt.” What he means is that there is a difference between a doubt and a difficulty.

    IOW, it is not the faith [or knowledge] that’s provisional, it’s the “difficulties.”

    pro·vi·sion·al
    prəˈviZHənl
    adjective
    1.
    arranged or existing for the present, possibly to be changed later.

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  61. Sean-

    I might so far as to say, patriot that I am, that America was not made for Man, nor Man for America. Christianity is a fundamentally urban religion (I expect disagreement).

    I don’t mean to knock anyone’s urban and social relationships, but I don’t see how in dispersed communities (distant from political, economic, educational, and religious centers, themselves spread out from one another) we can keep a sense of what is important (I am thinking of the secular realm) and satisfy our deeper natural intellectual longings. We need stronger local communities to make it work as best it can (and we once had this).

    The internet helps, but I think the tendency is for much to become distant and televised, with superficial desires and personal opinion attaining an exaggerated importance. The spirit divorced from the body, as I believe Marshall McLuhan put it.

    Newark is the densest US diocese (Brooklyn excepted) with no parish more than 35 min from any other. It has never had a vocations problem. I know the situation is different elsewhere.

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  62. Kevin, thanks for your answers. Maybe the first time an RC interlocutor has ponied up. I’m not going to respond because I wasn’t interested in a defense as much as simply discovering how a devout RC wraps his or her head around this especially in the context of non-RC Christians.

    But I will make one more observation — it is very annoying for converts to Rome to shrug away difficulties like this when so much of their rationale for leaving Protestantism was all of Protestantism’s problems. If you can shrug in the face of Rome, are Protestants really so bad?

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  63. Mermaid, “To use the sins of the priests as a way to refute Catholicism is simplistic.”

    And to look at this as merely the sins of the priests is simplistic, especially when you claim so much for the bishops (who covered up intentionally the sins of the priests), you know, the ones who infallibly identify truth so that you can leave the couch and not worry the sky will fall.

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  64. vd, t, “the do-it-yourself version of Christianity”

    Why do you belittle Protestantism this way? Can you imagine a Jewish person or non-believer — someone without skin in the game — talking this way about someone’s faith?

    But if you are an anti-Protestant bigot, it makes sense. Why not be honest about your religious identity because otherwise your comments are nonsensical and — how you say — “dirty and treat everyone like crap”?

    I expect a dodge or accusation of dirty tricks.

    Like

  65. DG-

    Kevin, thanks for your answers. Maybe the first time an RC interlocutor has ponied up. I’m not going to respond because I wasn’t interested in a defense as much as simply discovering how a devout RC wraps his or her head around this especially in the context of non-RC Christians.

    Thanks for the explanation this time! Your questions and comments are often inscrutable (as I imagine you’re aware).

    I’m reasonably sure most Catholics wouldn’t think any differently. Many would be reluctant to discuss it out of a sense of shame and the betrayal of trust which occurred. The behavior saddens.

    CW, DG-

    As for Tom, why would it matter greatly whether he is Hare Krishna, non-practicing ex-Catholic, minimally-participating Catholic, Agnostic, or a fundamental part of the Los Angeles Latin Mass community?

    We can’t but form opinions and make connections as we observe people, but he’s made it clear he’s happy to defend Mormons (believers I think in a Heavenly Mother Deity who is wife of the Father, both of whom beget the Holy Ghost and JC- a set of 4 distinct deities)- so I think it’s clear his interest here is sociological and in a broad sense “cultural” rather than theological.

    Calvinism and Catholicism (regarded sociologically) are both great engines of Western Culture, so it wouldn’t be a surprising that the interest should be so strong as to explain his participation.

    (Feel free to object to anything here, Tom).

    My main point is that while the religious practice of all participants here is understandably of interest, different people come for different reasons.

    If you really want to know (I don’t feel a burning desire, myself), try a different strategy (perhaps you, DG, are trying an open and sincere rhetorical stance in the last post, although I doubt that will work). At the very least, you already know the current dynamic isn’t going to get you your answer.

    Like

  66. D. G. Hart
    Posted December 31, 2015 at 7:21 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, “To use the sins of the priests as a way to refute Catholicism is simplistic.”

    And to look at this as merely the sins of the priests is simplistic, especially when you claim so much for the bishops (who covered up intentionally the sins of the priests), you know, the ones who infallibly identify truth so that you can leave the couch and not worry the sky will fall.>>>>

    Brother Hart, the sins of your clergy and church leaders, then, refutes Protestant claims to having Reformed Christianity. You are supposed to have cleaned up corruption. You did not.

    You cannot spend your days slinging mud at others without it blowing back on you and getting you dirty.

    Like

  67. Zrim
    Posted December 31, 2015 at 4:43 pm | Permalink
    Ariel, your convert cohort Jason Stellman approvingly passes this quote in another medium (don’t ask the source, he doesn’t provide it):

    “You can believe something with so much conviction that you’d die for that belief.

    And yet in the same moment you can say, ‘I could be wrong.’

    This is because conviction and humility, like faith and doubt, are not opposites; they’re dance partners. It’s possible to hold your faith with open hands living with great conviction and yet at the same time humbly admitting that your knowledge and perspective will always be limited.”

    Maybe he hasn’t shaken off all the Protestantism? But so much for an infallible monopoly on the infallible mechanism for infallibly settling theological disputes.>>>>>>

    Look, Zrim, I don’t see Protestants operating with an epistemology of “I could be wrong”.

    It is more like, “I am right, and you are wrong.” Besides, it was not just argued that “I could be wrong.” Of course, any of us could be wrong and are wrong about any number of things.

    It was argued that the resurrection itself is provisional knowledge. After all, His body could be found.

    At the same time you claim Scripture to be infallible.

    It doesn’t add up. You claim infallibility as well. The resurrection of Jesus Christ and “the infallible Word of God could be wrong about the resurrection” are not dance partners.

    I don’t know Jason Spellman. I doubt he would say that I am one of his cohorts.

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  68. D. G. Hart
    Posted December 31, 2015 at 7:31 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, “the do-it-yourself version of Christianity”

    Why do you belittle Protestantism this way?

    After you call Catholics “delusional” and “kool-aid drinkers?” You’re a laugh.

    I’ve never seen anyone soil his own back yard the way you do, Dr. Hart. You created this; your fans just follow your nasty lead.

    And not all Protestantism is “do-it-yourself,” but as Sheen notes, it’s in the genes.

    …each individual [is] his own supreme authority, allowing him either to interpret the Scriptures privately or else interpret his own religious experiences without any dictation from without. Religion on this theory is a purely individual affair: each one casts his own vote as to what he will believe, rejects all creeds, beliefs, and dogmas which run counter to his moods and prejudices, determines for himself the kind of a God he will adore, the kind of an altar before which he will kneel – in a word, he worships at the shrines his own hands have made.

    Like

  69. See, it doesn’t make sense to say that the Bible is both infallible and fallible at the same time.

    The Bible infallibly teaches that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

    The Bible might be wrong because the body of Jesus could be found.

    That chord needs to resolve.

    Or, y’all are sining two different songs at once and in different keys.

    Or, y’all are playing out of tune. Tune it, or die!

    Well, not literally, of course. Guitar players will get that last one.

    Like

  70. Kevin, well, your fellow converts here have been more than squeamish about discussing it. My guess — they don’t want to contemplate buying a lemon.

    You do see, though, that overlooking the sex scandal makes overlooking Protestantism’s errors a walk in the park?

    Like

  71. Mermaid, part of the basis of Protestantism was the admission that churches err.

    Part of the problem you are now left with is a church that claims no error and has bishops moving around scandalous priests.

    As I say, if you can overlook the Boston diocese or the head of Opus Dei and his associations with popes, you can overlook Billy Graham and Joel Osteen. Sure you can.

    Like

  72. Mermaid, “It is more like, “I am right, and you are wrong.””

    Actually, it’s more like, “You’re a fool and you don’t know it because you’re so self-righteous and epistemologically self-deluded.”

    Like

  73. TLM-
    Singing two different songs at once, out of tune, and in different keys. How can anyone dance to that?

    Brilliant and memorable metaphor- I’ll never forget it. Sounds like Ives.

    I’ve enjoyed your epistemology seminar comments (very much!), although it’s not clear to me everyone is operating with the same definitions of “provisional,” “infallible,” and “epistemology.”

    I take it that infallibility is a property only of persons- so the authors of Scripture were (perhaps?) infallible, Scripture is inerrant. The Pope is infallible, Magisterial teachings are inerrant.

    I’d call myself a restricted fallibilist- it is certain that 2+2=4, two square lines never enclose a space, murder is evil, God exists. I’m still thinking through what this means for our understanding of Scripture and the Magisterium.

    Like

  74. Ariel, no, it’s more like: “We believe ours is the best reading of holy writ going. Take it or don’t, we’re here for you if you do.”

    Say what ye will about that but it sure as hell beats: “We’re right because it’s simply impossible for us to be wrong because we’re us and you’re you.” Huh?

    Nobody is saying “the Bible is both infallible and fallible at the same time.” But some of us do say it’s infallible at all times and in all places and about which all it speaks, full stop. There are some of us, however, who also contend there’s a magic place in Italy where a certain fellow possesses in himself a selective infallibility such that he speaks infallibly only at certain times and in certain places and only about certain things and only when he says so. I hear the water is only wet in that magic place sometimes and in only some places, but you should see all the marble.

    Like

  75. Zrim
    Posted January 1, 2016 at 11:18 am | Permalink
    Zrim:
    Ariel, no, it’s more like: “We believe ours is the best reading of holy writ going. Take it or don’t, we’re here for you if you do.”>>>>>

    Aw, that’s sweet, Zrim. Humble bragging so early in the New Year? Jeff is so mad at me he doesn’t even want to be my frenemy anymore. Brother Hart calls me self righteous, but I think he was drunk texting when he said it.

    So, I will leave it. Thank you very much for the offer.

    Like

  76. I’m not mad.

    See? Smiley 🙂

    I do think you need to brong arguments with evidence, and I do think you need to respect people’s boundaries by refraining from scurrilous accusations without evidence.

    It all depends on what your goal is. If you’re trying to interact person-to-person, take my advice. If you care about establishing your credibility, take my advice.

    If you’re trying to play some game, carry on.

    Like

  77. Kevin in Newark
    Posted January 1, 2016 at 11:15 am | Permalink
    TLM-
    Singing two different songs at once, out of tune, and in different keys. How can anyone dance to that?

    Brilliant and memorable metaphor- I’ll never forget it. Sounds like Ives.>>>>

    Well, notice I added “out of tune.” Even in Ives, the orchestra tunes to an agreed upon standard. Same with Stravinsky or any other work that involves polytonality. Polytonality does not mean “everyone just wing it.” The “tune it or die” standard holds across the board.

    In most American groups of all musical genres, the A = 440 standard is used. There are some orchestras even in the US who use a different standard. String players like just a bit higher pitch. They like to sound like the bright ones. 🙂 .

    Now, jazz gets a bad rap – sorry to mix genres, there. Well, not so much anymore since so many classically trained musicians are attempting to play jazz. It is every bit as complex as anything written. The criticism “close enough for jazz” has been thoroughly repudiated by jazz itself on its own terms.

    I have a funny experience with a polytonal piece of music. Well, I think it’s funny, but it may be really, really lame. When I was in HS, my oboe teacher suggested that 2 of my friends and I play a piece written by Gustav Holst called Terzetto. It is scored for flute, oboe, and viola – all 3 instruments playing in different keys.

    It was a fun piece to play. We did it as a contest piece and got a superior rating. I think it confused the judge and he thought it was just great. Anyway, the only time we ended up together was at contest. It didn’t matter, though, because who would notice anyway? I think we were in tune.

    Kevin:
    I’ve enjoyed your epistemology seminar comments (very much!), although it’s not clear to me everyone is operating with the same definitions of “provisional,” “infallible,” and “epistemology.”>>>>

    Yes. The orchestras – or bands? – did not tune. I asked more than once if each person participating would give a summary of their arguments along with some links to other sources. That would have been helpful. So, I made up my own summary based on what I was reading.

    It was more like, whatever your epistemology is or means, if you don’t want to sound like an out of tune heretic, don’t say that Jesus Christ’s body might be found.

    Kevin:
    I take it that infallibility is a property only of persons- so the authors of Scripture were (perhaps?) infallible, Scripture is inerrant. The Pope is infallible, Magisterial teachings are inerrant.>>>

    See, Catholics make sense to me. What does that mean? I must be a Catholic, then. Nothing against Protestants.

    Kevin:
    I’d call myself a restricted fallibilist- it is certain that 2+2=4, two square lines never enclose a space, murder is evil, God exists. I’m still thinking through what this means for our understanding of Scripture and the Magisterium.>>>>

    Well, I am a restricted oboist, with a distinct preference for the d’amore. 😉

    Christianity is beautiful music. Protestantism is playing with only half an orchestra, all with scores of their own idea of what the music is in the first place, and a choir that can’t decide what song they are singing.

    Yeah, I know that Bach was Lutheran, but it is his b minor mass that convinced me as much as anything that there really is only one Church.

    Why would Jesus have left His orchestra and choir without a conductor, a concert master, and section leaders?

    Now, how long will it take Brother Hart to weigh in with his opinion? He’s reloading as I write. 😉

    Like

  78. DG-

    Kevin, well, your fellow converts here have been more than squeamish about discussing it. My guess — they don’t want to contemplate buying a lemon.

    If it’s squeamishness, I can understand that at a human level. The 9th-10th centuries were pretty bad and we made it through them – we’ll make it through the 20th-21st.

    You do see, though, that overlooking the sex scandal makes overlooking Protestantism’s errors a walk in the park?

    Then perhaps we ought not overlook either.

    (re: “your fellow converts” – Not that I think there is any essential difference, but to be clear, I’m not a convert – two of my grandparents were from Catholic families traced back to the 18th century but which I assume continue back to the conversion of the Saxons and the Poles;

    the other two were Methodists and converts to Catholicism, although one’s family line goes back to mid-17th century Maryland Catholics who gave up the faith for Presbyterianism and participation in the Maryland colonial assembly).

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  79. Kevin, I assumed you were cradle since you act like you’ve been to Roman Catholicism before.

    Of course, we shouldn’t overlook either. But the converts’ apologetic involves looking at all of Protestantism’s problems with Rome as the happy oasis of relief. Even the non-RC vd, t engages in this.

    Tiring? Yes. True? Hardly.

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  80. Ariel, in cases like yours it’s less and more pointed:

    We believe that since this holy assembly and congregation is the gathering of those who are saved and there is no salvation apart from it, people ought not to withdraw from it, content to be by themselves, regardless of their status or condition.

    But all people are obliged to join and unite with it, keeping the unity of the church by submitting to its instruction and discipline, by bending their necks under the yoke of Jesus Christ, and by serving to build up one another, according to the gifts God has given them as members of each other in the same body.

    And to preserve this unity more effectively, it is the duty of all believers, according to God’s Word,
    to separate themselves from those who do not belong to the church, in order to join this assembly
    wherever God has established it, even if civil authorities and royal decrees forbid and death and physical punishment result.

    And so, all who withdraw from the church or do not join it act contrary to God’s ordinance.

    Like

  81. Mermaid: Why would Jesus have left His orchestra and choir without a conductor, a concert master, and section leaders?

    Are any of those infallible? Can they still function without infallibility?

    Like

  82. TLM –

    I knew you played the oboe, but I had no idea you really knew music (not much call to discuss it ’round these parts) – I’ve never found polytonality convincing since I take it that harmonies and melodies create what may as well be called “musical emotions” (definitely not the same as our regular emotions, although we can certainly feel in sympathy) – and I just don’t think we’re capable of experiencing two different chains of emotions simultaneously.

    Complex harmonies/musical emotions, sure – which is in fact how I think we inevitably experience polytonal music. But if the intended logic is 2 but the experience is 1 and it isn’t coordinated, it comes out as mud. To my ears, mind, heart, at least.

    Classical counterpoint, though – all the logic of individual voices (or instruments of course) moving with each melody raising its own “story” (narrative subplot, as it were), combining into a greater whole and moving inevitably toward a conclusion according to harmonic grammar- not sure whether I agree with those who say it is a sign of God or training for the after life (maybe I do), but it certainly is a great beauty and irreplaceable by anything else in the world.

    Agreed about Bach (for me the cantatas in particular, although I’m no expert) – even moreso I’m touched by the beauty of Vitoria; but there is a lot of beautiful music in the world – jazz too, for sure.

    On the oboe do you notice that when you play a major triad plus a minor 7th in a small ensemble that the major 3rd and minor 7th are just a bit flat from what you might expect on a piano (i.e., if you listen very closely to ensure both that the chord is in tune, and then comparing to the piano? I.e., that if you matched the piano instead of your ear, the chord would in fact be slightly out of tune?

    In my experience, string and other non-fixed-pitch-instrument soloists typically report yes, singers typically have no clue (except jazz and blues singers, who emphatically say yes, blues guitarists, too).

    I take it on faith that heaven contains all goods; ~ I’ll have trouble not looking back on my life with regret if either music doesn’t number amongst them or else I don’t find more time for it while I can. ~

    Like

  83. Mermaid,

    Why would Jesus have left His orchestra and choir without a conductor, a concert master, and section leaders?

    He didn’t. The instrumentalists just don’t listen to the conductor—Jesus—very well.

    Like

  84. D.G. Hart:
    You do see, though, that overlooking the sex scandal makes overlooking Protestantism’s errors a walk in the park?>>>>>

    Kevin in Newark:
    Then perhaps we ought not overlook either.>>>>>

    Exactly. Now, if Brother Hart really wants to turn his blog into a verbal blood bath, then he should keep pushing the abuse narrative. Most of his own followers don’t even want to do that. They know where the bodies are buried in their own denominations, especially if they are in leadership. They know what has been covered up, when, where, and by whom.

    One of their own, Boz Tchividjian, has done a yeoman’s work to try to get Evangelical churches to face up to their own demons.

    See, the whole abuse “thing” is also about the abusers, of course. However, if the focus is not on how the help the survivors – which it is not in anything that Dr. Hart has said – then it is just a cheap and simplistic way to make one’s opponents look bad.

    Maybe later I will address what I found to be so problematic in Protestantism. Briefly I will say this – and it’s really not all the brief. It was not the abuse scandals, since I think that both sides are very likely equally guilty.

    It was the rejection on the part of most of Protestantism even of the ideal of an Ephesians 4 kind of unity, not to mention John 17 that brought me up short. Protestants don’t even pray for unity very much if at all.

    Unity within the several major currents of Protestantism isn’t even an ideal anymore, it seems to me. There are some really good Baptist jokes told by Baptists about how divided they all are. Church splits are almost a badge of honor and a point of pride for many. That cannot be what Jesus meant in His High Priestly Prayer.

    So, here is a bit of what BT says. The stats he uses may or may not be high or low, but I think his idea is definitely on the right track.

    “In 2007, the three major insurance providers for Protestant churches came out and wrote a report indicating that they received over 260 reports a year on allegations involving child sexual abuse related to a Protestant clergy member or church staff member.”
    ——————————–
    “I think, perhaps, one of the major problems is the understanding and acknowledgement that this is an issue within the church. If you don’t acknowledge and understand it to be an issue in the church, then you won’t spend any time dealing with it.
    In 2007, the three major insurance providers for Protestant churches came out and wrote a report indicating that they received over 260 reports a year on allegations involving child sexual abuse related to a Protestant clergy member or church staff member. Remember, those numbers only include churches that have insurance policies, and only take into consideration people who actually report the abuse and churches that actually reported to their insurance carrier. Thus, it is fair to say that the actual numbers are much higher.

    Regardless of the exact numbers, they are significant and we have to come to the point of understanding that such abuse is happening in our churches. We also have to acknowledge that our churches are filled with sexual abuse survivors. The current statistics today are that one in four women and one in six men have been sexually abused by the time they turn 18 years of age. Just to keep the math simple, that means that if you have a church of 100 men and 100 women, 20.5 percent of your church will be child sexual abuse survivors.

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2013/december/my-interview-with-boz-tchividjian-part-1.html

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  85. D. G. Hart
    Posted December 31, 2015 at 7:17 pm | Permalink
    Kevin, thanks for your answers. Maybe the first time an RC interlocutor has ponied up. I’m not going to respond because I wasn’t interested in a defense as much as simply discovering how a devout RC wraps his or her head around this especially in the context of non-RC Christians.

    But I will make one more observation — it is very annoying for converts to Rome to shrug away difficulties like this when so much of their rationale for leaving Protestantism was all of Protestantism’s problems. If you can shrug in the face of Rome, are Protestants really so bad?

    What’s annoying is Dr. Hart’s conflation of the Church itself and the bad people in it. He argues from the gutter instead of from the heavens, sociology instead of ecclesiology, theology, and ontology.

    His arguments are based on logical fallacies and false premises.

    Plus he’s annoying when he’s not being outright rude. 😉

    Like

  86. According to Paul, the church *is* the people in it. One of the basic ecclesial mistakes of Rome is to think of the church as a container for people (“ark”) rather than a building made up of living stones.

    Like

  87. Robert
    Posted January 1, 2016 at 4:55 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid,

    Why would Jesus have left His orchestra and choir without a conductor, a concert master, and section leaders?

    He didn’t. The instrumentalists just don’t listen to the conductor—Jesus—very well.

    Jesus is not here. The Holy Spirit is here, but must speak through men to other men. When every orchestra member has a different opinion as to what note to tune to, how fast to play, how loud or soft, or even what the score says, it is cacophony. Eventually, rival leaders arise, each organizing their little section of the orchestra to their own tuning and timing, sometimes even editing out sections of the score they don’t think are authentic.

    Finally, they all go off and start their own orchestras. Welcome to the Reformation Orchestra. Orchestras. Dozens of ’em. Hundreds, 1000s.

    Like

  88. Jeff Cagle
    Posted January 1, 2016 at 6:04 pm | Permalink
    According to Paul, the church *is* the people in it. One of the basic ecclesial mistakes of Rome is to think of the church as a container for people (“ark”) rather than a building made up of living stones.

    Then the Church is false, because it is full of sinners and their crimes.

    Like

  89. You yourself have said it.

    But here’s a better way to think of it.

    11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens,[d] but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by[e] the Spirit.

    See, God makes us fit for His building by making peace with us, then giving us the Spirit of adoption, who then sanctifies.

    On your telling, the true church cannot contain sinners. Who then can be saved?

    Like

  90. TVD: Jesus is not here. The Holy Spirit is here, but must speak through men to other men.

    And since the Spirit clearly doesn’t know what He’s doing, He needs a man to keep order.

    #SaulLogic

    But are you sure you want to say Jesus is not here? I thought He was with us unto the end of the age.

    #WickedStewardLogic

    Like

  91. Mermaid, you still don’t get it. Remember, you church operates at a higher standard. It identifies the truth. Epistemology?

    So now your church also covers up truth.

    Why don’t you see the problem? Protestants don’t rely on infallible interpreters as we’ve heard over and over again.

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  92. vd, t, then what’s up with the sensus fidei which you invoke?

    2. The sensus fidei and the magisterium

    a) The magisterium listens to the sensus fidelium
    b) The magisterium nurtures, discerns and judges the sensus fidelium
    c) Reception

    3. The sensus fidei and theology

    a) Theologians depend on the sensus fidelium
    b) Theologians reflect on the sensus fidelium

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  93. On your telling, the true church cannot contain sinners.

    No, I was showing how the Old Life tactic of delegitimizing the Catholic Church with the sins of the men in it is BS.

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  94. “According to Paul, the church *is* the people in it. One of the basic ecclesial mistakes of Rome is to think of the church as a container for people (“ark”) rather than a building made up of living stones.”

    Of course it isn’t a material building. But it is visible, and is currently where the sheep and goat mix. There’s no contradition there.

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  95. D. G. Hart
    Posted January 1, 2016 at 10:12 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, that’s the problem. You think you’re here to “grade” me.

    God gave me a wife.

    Go away.

    Stop telling lazy and ignorant untruths about Catholicism and I will. I don’t have to grade you; you’ve failed yourself, and your fans. You should be grateful to Providence you didn’t write that book on Catholicism yet because you’d be laughed out of your profession. Thank me very much. 😉

    Like

  96. Kevin in Newark
    Posted January 1, 2016 at 4:53 pm | Permalink
    TLM –

    I knew you played the oboe, but I had no idea you really knew music (not much call to discuss it ’round these parts) – I’ve never found polytonality convincing since I take it that harmonies and melodies create what may as well be called “musical emotions” (definitely not the same as our regular emotions, although we can certainly feel in sympathy) – and I just don’t think we’re capable of experiencing two different chains of emotions simultaneously.>>>>

    I hear ya’. I love Stravinsky, though, and his philosophy of music. He made good use of polytonality in his works, IMO. His Christian testimony impressed me as well. He was one of those atheist skeptics who returned to the Church – Russian Orthodox.

    I liked Charles Ives in small doses. He was quirky and experimental, and quite dark much of the time. It’s been awhile since I’ve listened to anything 20th Century.

    It’s been awhile since I listened to it, but his Putnam’s Camp is a lotta’ fun. I just looked it up and it is on You Tube. It makes me smile. I used to have a recording of it.

    Kevin:
    Complex harmonies/musical emotions, sure – which is in fact how I think we inevitably experience polytonal music. But if the intended logic is 2 but the experience is 1 and it isn’t coordinated, it comes out as mud. To my ears, mind, heart, at least.>>>>

    Oh, yes, it has to be done right or it doesn’t work at all. Music that has lots of rich harmonies and splashes of color is much more forgiving.

    Kevin:
    Classical counterpoint, though – all the logic of individual voices (or instruments of course) moving with each melody raising its own “story” (narrative subplot, as it were), combining into a greater whole and moving inevitably toward a conclusion according to harmonic grammar- not sure whether I agree with those who say it is a sign of God or training for the after life (maybe I do), but it certainly is a great beauty and irreplaceable by anything else in the world.>>>

    Well, it’s not even wrong to think that way, so why not? I like the Jacob’s ladder view that Bach expressed.

    Kevin:
    Agreed about Bach (for me the cantatas in particular, although I’m no expert) – even moreso I’m touched by the beauty of Vitoria; but there is a lot of beautiful music in the world – jazz too, for sure.>>>>

    I like all kinds of music if it is well done. I hope you have checked out Tom’s group, The Cookies . They were outstanding.

    Kevin:
    On the oboe do you notice that when you play a major triad plus a minor 7th in a small ensemble that the major 3rd and minor 7th are just a bit flat from what you might expect on a piano (i.e., if you listen very closely to ensure both that the chord is in tune, and then comparing to the piano? I.e., that if you matched the piano instead of your ear, the chord would in fact be slightly out of tune?>>>>>

    Are you piano tuner?

    The natural tendency of the oboe and other woodwinds is to be slightly flat in the low register and slightly sharp in the upper register. Each instrument has its own peculiarities, though, and each note has it’s own tendencies as well.

    Kevin:
    In my experience, string and other non-fixed-pitch-instrument soloists typically report yes, singers typically have no clue (except jazz and blues singers, who emphatically say yes, blues guitarists, too).>>>>

    Well, I suppose it depends on what kind of music a singer is used to.

    Kevin:
    I take it on faith that heaven contains all goods; ~ I’ll have trouble not looking back on my life with regret if either music doesn’t number amongst them or else I don’t find more time for it while I can. ~>>>>

    Trumpeters trumpet and singers sing. Oboes probably oboe, pianists piano, guitarists guitar, drummers drum, stringers string, fluters flute, and more – all in tune and without reed problems.

    Why not? Well, all that Revelation mentions if I remember right are singers singing and trumpeters trumpeting. At least we have that.

    Hey, have a very Happy New Year.

    Like

  97. @dgh
    “Go away.”
    I always liked Eugene Volokh’s perspective on his comment section: “We think of comment threads like dinner parties at our homes.” That’s stuck with me over the years. Nothing like having a dinner guest over who costantly complains about the food and then rants about how you forgot to pronounce the “s’s” in fois gras. Rude, ignorant, and boorish. Your patience with the trolls is admirable.

    Like

  98. Darryl trolls his own dinner party, insulting the nice Catholic ladies, slandering the Catholic Church with inaccurate and ignorant representations of what it believes and teaches.

    You don’t leave good people to the mercies of bullies. You stand up to them. Well, maybe Darryl would abandon his friends in a dark alley in his version of the Christian religion, but we’ll never know because he dodged that question.

    Like

  99. D. G. Hart
    Posted January 1, 2016 at 9:17 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, you still don’t get it. Remember, you church operates at a higher standard. It identifies the truth. Epistemology?

    So now your church also covers up truth.

    Why don’t you see the problem? Protestants don’t rely on infallible interpreters as we’ve heard over and over again.>>>>>

    There is only one Church. The misconduct of some does not negate truth.

    The sins of people in the Church do not make the Church false, the sacraments invalid, the Eucharist and the Real Presence any less real.

    The Protestant claim of fallibility certainly does not establish truth.

    Like

  100. Mermaid: The sins of people in the Church do not make the Church false, the sacraments invalid, the Eucharist and the Real Presence any less real.

    Certainly not. Let God be true and every man a liar.

    The problem is that the severely flawed response of the magisterium to those sins calls into question their ability to distinguish truth from error.

    Any schmoe can see that covering up sin is wrong. Why can’t they? In which case, how effective is that charism?

    Their blindness makes sense in a Protestant world in which all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace. It does not make sense in a Catholic world in which grace through the sacraments makes the sinner ontologically righteous, and the magisterium has the charism of distingushing truth from error in matters of faith and morals.

    Like

  101. TVD: You don’t leave good people to the mercies of bullies. You stand up to them.

    Do you want that standard applied to yourself? Cause if I had to pick a person for Chief Bully around here, it wouldn’t be DGH.

    Think about just one fact: Dr. Hart lets you malign him day after day (literally, hour after hour) without ever pulling your plug.

    Like

  102. Mermaid, so you punt once again. You know the truth but deny it. The very mechanism that allows you to preen about our certainty is the same mechanism that covers up truth.

    But you won’t contemplate the problem. Exactly the way converts behave. And you think this is appealing?

    “There is only one Church. The misconduct of some does not negate truth.”

    That same claim works for Protestantism. Organizational disunity doesn’t deny spiritual unity. We can play the same game.

    If you don’t see the reasonableness of that, are you a rationalist, a skeptic, or simply lack the eyes of faith?

    But it works both ways — serious Protestants don’t buy your claims and goofily serious Roman Catholics don’t buy ours.

    But we don’t make a habit of trying to make apodictically visible what is finally unseen (for now). Say, that does sound like rationalism.

    Like

  103. Mermaid: See, the whole abuse “thing” is also about the abusers, of course. However, if the focus is not on how the help the survivors

    The Lord’s focus on ‘the whole abuse thing’: protect and tend the sheep: discipline sheep, oust wolves, bind up sheep wounds

    Mermaid:Unity
    unity: all who answer “what must I do to be saved” the same?

    TVD: Jesus is not here. The Holy Spirit is here, but must speak through men to other men.

    Dear TVD, first of all 1) never one single criticism of the Catholic church? not very credible
    2) God spoke by the prophets & eyewitness apostles (canon) and has given teachers to teach that (2 Pet 3:1-2)
    2) God is right here in the believer (Father ,Son, Spirit) (John 14:23)

    D. G. Hart: vd, t, that’s the problem. You think you’re here to “grade” me. D. G. Hart: God gave me a wife.

    ahha, finally, admission of another key element of a wife’s vital assignment

    Like

  104. TLM-

    [Stravinsky] was one of those atheist skeptics who returned to the Church – Russian Orthodox.

    Wrote a Latin Mass setting as well, although I’ve never heard anyone do it liturgically. I take the last consistently talented liturgical composer who gets secular respect to be Dvorak – a pious Catholic. Lived in a small town in Iowa for awhile, I think. Or Rheinberger – now that was genius of a high order (a Lichtensteiner in service of the Duke of Bavaria). Refice was quite talented, but little known.

    I liked Charles Ives in small doses. He was quirky and experimental, and quite dark much of the time. It’s been awhile since I’ve listened to anything 20th Century.

    I regularly sing “Another good cowpuncher… has gone to meet his fate. I hope he’ll find a resting place!” to my baby (who just, btw, crawled over to the piano and is playing of his own accord – well, plopping down keys at random, but he does like to sit with me or my wife and imitate us). I’ve nothing against Ives, I just don’t get deep emotional richness out of him.

    Not a piano tuner, just a chant/polyphony singer, student of acoustics/just intonation, holder of a BA in music history/theory, former percussionist, and out-of-practice composer. My wife’s an active organist and out-of-practice flutist. My admiration for instrumentalists who truly know their instruments and have maintained practice over decades is very deep.

    Do you have a favorite oboist (oboe d’amorist?), perhaps one who records solo, or who plays early music?

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  105. You know, Brother Hart, you don’t make sense. You claim fallibility, yet speak as though what you are saying were infallible.

    I know that it is not. How does the Holy Spirit communicate infallible truth to you?

    Scripture is your infallible rule of faith and practice. How do you know?

    Like

  106. Jeff Cagle:
    Their blindness makes sense in a Protestant world in which all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace. It does not make sense in a Catholic world in which grace through the sacraments makes the sinner ontologically righteous, and the magisterium has the charism of distingushing truth from error in matters of faith and morals.>>>>

    See, Jeff, for the sake of argument, I will say that you are right and all of Catholicism is wrong.

    However, I still would not send my children to whatever church both you and Brother Hart belong to.

    cw’s church might be a safe place for women and children.

    Can you see why?

    Like

  107. Mermaid,

    You know, Brother Hart, you don’t make sense. You claim fallibility, yet speak as though what you are saying were infallible.

    Kind of like your claim to be fallible and yet talking about Rome as if you were infallible?

    Like

  108. Darryl,

    If you don’t see the reasonableness of that, are you a rationalist, a skeptic, or simply lack the eyes of faith?

    You forgot Pelagian.

    Like

  109. mermaid: Can you see why?

    …’spotting the difference’….mermaid, rampant…. convenient cluelessness,… if you say, “see, we did not know this”… and we are all complicit in degrees …God’s patience looks SPECTACULAR, as always

    Like

  110. Jeff Cagle
    Posted January 2, 2016 at 7:50 am | Permalink
    TVD: You don’t leave good people to the mercies of bullies. You stand up to them.

    Jeff:
    Do you want that standard applied to yourself? Cause if I had to pick a person for Chief Bully around here, it wouldn’t be DGH.>>>>

    Actually, Tom gets bullied plenty.

    Jeff:
    Think about just one fact: Dr. Hart lets you malign him day after day (literally, hour after hour) without ever pulling your plug.>>>>>

    I think that the bullying Brother Hart does is calculated. I doubt that he is a bully in real life. Why does he bait and bully Catholics? I have thought about it.

    Now, Brother Hart is an officer of his church, so he must be loved among his peers, church members, and even students – and his wife, of course. I assume that without direct proof. Maybe it’s an inference? I mean, he would not have been able to keep doing what he is doing if he were a bully in real life. So, I judge him as a lovable curmudgeon in real life.

    He is a bully at Old Life. What drives him?

    From what he says I have some ideas – none of them intended to do Brother Hart harm. On the contrary. I see a nobility in what he does and I respect him. Also, he has written books that are well received among his peers. That is quite an accomplishment that he worked hard for. Another point in his favor.

    1. He really wants people to think about what they are getting into. That is a good thing. Teachers often use that technique with students who seem to be dull.

    2. He really is concerned about people’s souls and thinks that Catholicism is idolatrous and will lead her people to hell.

    3. More to the point, he loves the OPC. There is a lot to love in the OPC. He doesn’t want church members and even pastors abandoning his church for something that makes promises it cannot deliver.

    4. He is, in his own way, defending what he loves the most in this world – his church. Well, the Lord, of course, and his wife. There is something noble about that under all the grumpiness.

    So, he gets grumpy. He gets frustrated. Yet, at the same time he needs the Catholics in the discussion if he is going to talk about the problems with Catholicism. He needs us here even though he gets grumpy with us.

    I think that he does cross the line, especially with Susan and THINK. All caps is the universal Internet sign of anger. Susan gives respectful, intelligent answers. She does think, and it is evident in her answers. She does not deserve being shouted at. Now, maybe I do, but Susan doesn’t.

    Now, as for Tom, if you guys won’t police your own, then who will?

    I am not accusing you of abuse, Jeff. You have gotten frustrated with me, but I accept it that you are not really angry. Frustration is not sin. It is an honest reaction to someone who just doesn’t get it.

    …or gets it in a different way and thinks it’s funny. 😉 I don’t think you are funny. I think you are a sincere Christian man who also loves his Lord and his church and is doing all he can to defend its legitimacy. Can’t blame you at all for that.

    Now, I may not have understood at all what is going on here, but I think I am on the right track.

    You asked me what I am doing here. Well, besides teasing you and Robert about the bats and the jumping cows, I am here in detox mode. Well, better said, I am here in untangle mode.

    Now that I am Catholic, do I have to reject all that I believed as a Protestant? The answer is a resounding “no!” I won’t go into details, but I am kind of testing a theory of mine.

    I may be wrong. I am not omniscient after all. 😉 But then again, maybe I am and don’t know that I am. In some other context I just might be omniscient. Like I might know everything that there is to know about something. Probably not. In saying that I am not omniscient, am I claiming omniscience?

    Anyway, my theory is that most of what I was taught as a Protestant is actually lifted right out of the teaching magisterium of the Catholic Church. It is a truncated magisterium, though.

    I think that is especially true of the WCF and the other great standards that all y’all hold to. Those teachings did not originate with the reformers. They relied heavily on all that they had learned from the teaching magisterium of their time. So, they must not have thought it was all error all the time.

    I just doubt that the epistemology that you guys are using now is the one that Calvin and the early reformers used. They didn’t think they were wrong once their minds were made up. That seems to be more like you guys actually operate as well. So what is the use of the epistemology of provisional knowledge? Not sure. Maybe it helps keep one humble. BTW, I think you are a humble man. Otherwise you would be angry with me and talking in all caps.

    It is a beautiful day, here, Jeff. I hope it is where you are. See, because of what I have been doing for most of my adult life, my health is not great. So, that give me time to annoy the heck out of Brother Hart – at least for now.

    I do thank you guys for helping me in my untangle process – even though you don’t think that is what you are doing.

    Like

  111. You know, Brother Hart, you don’t make sense. You claim fallibility, yet speak as though what you are saying were infallible.

    The problem is that you continue to confuse “correct” with “infallible”. The answer key from which I teach is not infallible, that doesn’t mean that the answer don’t happen to be correct, nor that I am very sure of their truth.

    I know that it is not. How does the Holy Spirit communicate infallible truth to you?

    God’s Word.

    Scripture is your infallible rule of faith and practice. How do you know?

    First, don’t confuse “knowing” and “being”. The question of how I justify my belief is independent of whether or not I am correct. For example, I might believe English is the primary language of Australia because Texans settled Australia. My belief that English is primary in Australia would be correct even if the reason I believe that is wrong. But to the point of your question, my answer is that,

    “[my] full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority [of scripture], is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in [my] heart.”

    “I will say that you are right and all of Catholicism is wrong.”
    Note that for us to be right, most of Catholicism must be true. The fact that the RCC was tempted by temporal power and fell to that temptation and allowed that to corrupt their presentation of the gospel does not mean that all of Catholicism is wrong. As I and others have noted here many, many times there is much that is beautiful and right about the RC tradition.

    Like

  112. sdb:
    “I will say that you are right and all of Catholicism is wrong.”
    Note that for us to be right, most of Catholicism must be true. The fact that the RCC was tempted by temporal power and fell to that temptation and allowed that to corrupt their presentation of the gospel does not mean that all of Catholicism is wrong. As I and others have noted here many, many times there is much that is beautiful and right about the RC tradition.>>>>

    Well, you have said that. I have not heard it from others. I have not heard it from Jeff or Brother Hart. If they think that way, then I have not noticed them saying it. See, sdb, I know the Protestant narrative. I never questioned the Protestant narrative. I devoted my life to the Protestant narrative.

    I taught others the Protestant narrative. I helped Catholics leave the Catholic Church, sdb. I helped them see what was good in their tradition, and what was unbiblical… I never questioned what I was doing.

    BTW, even when I was a Protestant, I saw first hand that what was happening in Chiapas was not perpetrated by the Catholic Church. That was shown to me clearly by the Catholic man who helped a group of homeless Evangélicos relocate to a safe place after they had been homeless for 4 years…

    See, I am not really a Mermaid. I have spent most of my adult life somewhere else, but not under the sea.

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  113. Mermaid, STOP!! The epistemology ploy is pointless since you don’t have infallibility itself. And yet you pretend to identify an infallible church.

    Downgrade your paygrade.

    Like

  114. Mermaid, you’re getting warmer but still cold. Apply your epistemological arguments not to me but to your bishops. They are the ones that identify truth. They also identified sin and covered it up. That raises a serious question about the powers of discernment of those gifted with infallibility.

    But you never ask the question because you are so pietistically triumphalist. I’m sure you were that kind of Protestant, also.

    My beef with Rome is my beef with The Gospel Coalition. Stop the hype. Life is hard and then you die. No person aside from the Son of God is going to make up for the human condition, not even cheerleading for human flourishing, victoricious sanctified living, or certain bishops in old capital cities.

    If you want to see me less grumpy, have an honest conversation — one that concedes Rome if only because it is 10 million times bigger than the OPC is worse off than small, limping along, Protestant communions.

    Or at least be as congenial as your current holy father. Have you never considered that your breast beating would make a lot more sense with Pius IX, Leo XIII, or Pius X. Act like you’ve been a Christian before.

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  115. Well I’ll be a monkey’s aunt, LOOK-y there.

    Did Dr. Hart just admit that there is only one church?

    “I’ll make it easy for you. Here‘s a Roman Catholic I’ve quoted many times who is worried about what power does to the church.”

    (Exhibit 1) ‘the church’

    (Exhibit 2) “I’ll make it easy for you”

    (Exhibit 3) “a Roman Catholic I’ve quoted ‘many times’ “

    Like

  116. Indeed, there is but one church with both visible and invisible aspects. It is neither Jewish nor Roman, but all are members of one body in Christ.

    Like

  117. Only thing is, Jeff, that scenario presupposes a protestant view of what “church” means and rules out the visible Catholic one ,based on that exact presupposition.
    Added to this is a protestant ecclesiology that also explicitly has within it’s own visible form differing doctrines; a phenomenon that makes distinguishing true doctrine impossible if one doesn’t “go to Roman Catholicism” to check it. Have you ever heard people say in a positive way when discussing some Reformed in-house argument, “so and so was closer to Rome on this”?

    Like

  118. I’d be interested how you point to the elect in all of these different visible communities.
    Do you look at their fruit even though someone might deny the Holy Trinity?
    Do you look at their fruit even though they refuse to ascribe to your particular, rather than universal confession of faith, including what you say ” the gospel” is?
    Do you look at someone’s public sin but don’t worry for their soul because, “well at least they know what “the gospel” is”?

    In Catholicism, we know that past sins are taken away during baptism. That, as long as we are alive, the world, the flesh, and the devil remain “real” threats because we have a free will to ” choose this day whom we will serve”.
    We go to one church to receive the sacraments where we get added supernatural graces for our journey…the whole reason for “church” in the first place.

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  119. @Susan
    “that scenario presupposes a protestant view of what “church” means and rules out the visible Catholic one ,based on that exact presupposition.”
    You mispelled “biblical, but otherwise yes – presupposing a biblical view rules out RC ecclesiology.

    ” a phenomenon that makes distinguishing true doctrine impossible if one doesn’t “go to Roman Catholicism” to check it. ” You remain the master of the non-sequitur. I stand in awe!

    Like

  120. “I’d be interested how you point to the elect in all of these different visible communities.”
    Mom always taught me it was rude to point.

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  121. Darryl,

    Yes, I thought that maybe you mixed with some Catholics at work and respected some Catholic authors and theologians.
    Do you have friends who are Catholic?

    Like

  122. Sdb,

    Over on the thread “no, not one” Ali proposes ( by an article she linked) that the nondenominational communities also have a invisible only “mark”. This shared ecclesiology of yours is at the same time undermined by your confessional superiority. So much for invisible church.

    Like

  123. “We go to one church to receive the sacraments where we get added supernatural graces for our journey…the whole reason for “church” in the first place.”

    If true, then explain why your communion is so much less holy than those putatively denied such grace. This is why the sex crime cover ups by your bishops ( including Francis’s action in Chile) and putative saints such as JPII are such a grave problem for the MOCs. If the clergy as a whole has made such a hash of things and clearly can’t be trusted to execute justice for the “least of these” or even keep their finances in order why should we trust them to get unverifiable things right?

    I once went to buy a “certified” car (100pt inspection and 100,000 mile warranty). When I was at dealership, salesman told me it had just been turned in, so we could drive it, but we should know it hadn’t been cleaned. No worries right? We likedthe vehicle, put down deposit and agreed to buy it pending inspection / certification. Then we came to pick it up and I noticed a few “minor” issues: armrest was still damaged, there were papers in the console, and adhesive from decals still not removed. Now none of those things by themselves “prove” the car wasn’t properly inspected where it counts. Maybe the brakes, transmission, and engine were fine. But the thing is all I had to go on was their credibility. And by not taking care of minor things I could see, I concluded the dealership wasn’t trust worthy. The rcc has the credibility of a used car dealership. The MOCs fail.

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  124. I saw Ali’s link (thanks Muhammad), and while there may be nuanced I’ve missed, nothing there jumped out as objectionable. It looked more or less in line with the wcf statement on church. Maybe I’m thinking of the wrong post?

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  125. @Susan Or maybe I missed your point. I think confessionalism, while not without problems, is wiser than a sort of lowest common denominator approach taken by some independent evangelical churches, but I am confident there are elect among those bodies and they can be helpful for a lot of people. But I also think they are dangerous in the ling run and less than ideal. All organizations are a mix of truth and error. Not all are equally mixed. The bible is the standard and God is judge.

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  126. Susan: Only thing is, Jeff, that scenario presupposes a protestant view of what “church” means and rules out the visible Catholic one ,based on that exact presupposition.

    A conclusion is not a presupposition.

    Like

  127. Susan :

    Over on the thread “no, not one” Ali proposes ( by an article she linked) that the nondenominational communities also have a invisible only “mark”.

    That proposal is historically rejected by Protestant churches.

    Like

  128. Hi Kevin and MWF,

    I was doing a little reading about what Maritain thought made for eternal universal aesthetic and it seems that he believed nationalism or patriotism, provided the antimodern and the ultramodern environment to yield it.
    I was astonished to learn that he liked Erik Satie who even though most don’t like, I myself am very drawn to. I have battle with depression and his gymnopedies gives the “impression” of white curtains gently blowing from a ocean breeze. To me, it is beauty bare.

    “for cultural legitimation, Cocteau’s ambiguous version of the “avant-garde” provided an avenue by which Maritain’s rhetoric of eternal univer-
    sals might sound just as hip as jazz. As early as 1914, Cocteau’s hesitation between a self-conscious modernism and anti-modernist reaction had re-
    vealed itself. If Cocteau’s avant-garde could sound a “call to order” for “Latin forms,” this made it eminently malleable for Maritain’s purpose of reconstructing the “antimodern” as the “ultramodern.
    For Cocteau as for Maritain, art does not “imitate” forms in the sense of reproducing shapes;
    that would condemn art to repetition of the past. Rather, the avant-garde dresses up eternal forms in the latest fashions. (One might even say that
    eternal forms are the precondition for the very possibility of inexhaustible novelty.)
    However, only the avant-garde artist can perceive the eternal; the masses hold ignorantly onto past representations. As Cocteau put it in bold
    capital letters:
    TRADITION APPEARS AT EVERY EPOCH UNDER A DIFFERENT DISGUISE,
    BUT THE PUBLIC DOES NOT RECOGNIZE IT EASILY
    AND NEVER DISCOVERS IT UNDERNEATH ITS MASKs.
    This peculiar mix of avant-garde gnosticism with a neo-classical twist made Cocteau the ideal precursor for Maritain’s project. Cocteau’s avant-garde credentials offered ultra-modernist legitimation to what might other-wise have seemed yet another episode in reactionary Catholic literature stretching back to the 1880s. With Cocteau’s assistance, however, Maritain’s project surprised expectations and created something quite radically
    new.
    That project, to conclude, was the re-invention of pre-War marginal anti-modern Catholicism as the culturally central ultra-modernism-all this in
    service of a universal civilizing mission both embracing and expanding the
    traditional vocation of France. As Maritain wrote:
    Speaking of the Athenian people, Charles Maurras wrote: “The philosophical spirit, quickness to conceive the Universal, permeated all
    their arts …. Once it yielded to this tendency, it put itself in perpetual
    communion with the human race …. The classical, the Attic, is the more universal in proportion as it is more austerely Athenian-Athen-ian of an epoch and a taste better purged of all foreign influence. In the
    high moment when it was itself alone, Attica was the human race.
    ( See Kenneth Silver, E5prit de Corps: The Art of the Parisian Avant-garde and
    the First World War, 1914-1925, pp. 74-145.
    37 Coq Arl Fr, p. 32; Coq Arl En, p. 26.
    38 See Richard M. Griffiths, The Reactionary Revolution)

    “It would appear that at the present time the French genius has a similar mission, but one compelling it to sense a more exalted universality than that of pure reason-the full catholicity of natural and supernat-naural truth.Eternal Latin order dressed up as the Jazz Age: this, I suggest, is anti-modern ultra-modernis would appear that at the present time the French age.”

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  129. Dear Jeff,

    What you said about your teenager…funny:)

    I guess I’m spent arguing in circles.

    I apologize for being flippant with my “exhibits 1,2, and 3). I was honestly meaning to be silly, not meaning to offend.
    I care for you guys, like brothers:)

    Blessings, My friends:)

    Like

  130. Over on the thread “no, not one” Ali proposes ( by an article she linked) that the nondenominational communities also have a invisible only “mark”.

    “That proposal is historically rejected by Protestant churches.”

    What do you mean? Historically speaking, there have been(and following this mode,currently are) other visible Protestant communities with this same profession of the “mark of invisibility”.

    Like

  131. Jeff Cagle
    Posted January 2, 2016 at 4:30 pm | Permalink
    Susan: Only thing is, Jeff, that scenario presupposes a protestant view of what “church” means and rules out the visible Catholic one, based on that exact presupposition.

    A conclusion is not a presupposition.

    It is not a conclusion. Susan is quite right: Once “Protestantism” alters the terms of the debate–changing the meaning of “Church”

    upon this rock I will build My church

    with counterfeit terms like

    We believe that since this holy assembly and congregation is the gathering of those who are saved [Belgic 28; Article 29 is even more self-serving]

    it is a rigging of the debate and only one “conclusion” is possible. It’s called “begging the question.”

    [The full text carries an irony, containing much pseudo-Catholic language of the sort that Dr. Hart sneers at. Of course “unity” is the biggest non-functional concept in Protestantism, and “submitting to its instruction and discipline” is the sort of unreasonable and tyrannical obligation the Catholic Church is condemned for.

    But all people are obliged to join and unite with it, keeping the unity of the church by submitting to its instruction and discipline]

    All of a sudden it’s a “church” again, but certainly not the same one as Augustine’s, as we have shown.

    Like

  132. D. G. Hart
    Posted January 2, 2016 at 8:00 am | Permalink
    Mermaid, so you punt once again. You know the truth but deny it. The very mechanism that allows you to preen about our certainty is the same mechanism that covers up truth.

    No, sir, she shut down the improper and invalid argument you’ve been getting away with for God knows how many years.

    There is only one Church. The misconduct of some does not negate truth.

    The sins of people in the Church do not make the Church false, the sacraments invalid, the Eucharist and the Real Presence any less real.

    You’ve been found out. The game is up, Dr. Hart.

    Like

  133. Jeff Cagle
    Posted January 2, 2016 at 7:50 am | Permalink
    TVD: You don’t leave good people to the mercies of bullies. You stand up to them.

    Do you want that standard applied to yourself? Cause if I had to pick a person for Chief Bully around here, it wouldn’t be DGH.

    Think about just one fact: Dr. Hart lets you malign him day after day (literally, hour after hour) without ever pulling your plug.

    I don’t malign the poor fellow: I don’t attack him personally or drag in his private life, as he does to everyone else. It’s Darryl who sets the bar for swinishness at Old Life, Jeff–for correction’s sake he is given back only as much as justice demands and as little as mercy allows.

    Like

  134. I don’t think DG needs to justify his friendships (~which might depend in part on his financial advisor’s prescience and pragmatism~); I’d hate to justify mine.

    dg-

    Apply your epistemological arguments not to me but to your bishops. They are the ones that identify truth. They also identified sin and covered it up. That raises a serious question about the powers of discernment of those gifted with infallibility.

    Man is often not motivated primarily by knowledge. In any case, they have no special knowledge; and they remain men.

    They have the Holy Ghost’s assistance when they choose to do their jobs. Of course only Catholics believe in the nature and origin of duties of those of those jobs in the strong sense;

    perhaps Protestants could acknowledge they have a valid ministerial duty (and the Holy Ghost’s support) insofar as they lead, teach, and worship in a way not clearly contradictory to Reformed theology (rarely, or per impossibile)?

    The reasons why men fail to do their jobs are sometimes mysterious to us (human motivation can be difficult or impossible to determine), and sometimes depressingly obvious.

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  135. Did it sound as if I wanted Darryl to justify his friendships? Sorry if it did.
    I was only curious if he had any friends, family or close associate’s who are Catholic.
    He doesn’t have to tell me anything about his personal life. I was only curious because I didnt know any Catholics before I concerted. I thought they’d be strange.
    We have covered all the taboo subjects,so I didn’t consider my question to be too private or intrusive.

    Like

  136. “Oopsy. Sorry sdb. I thought I read Jeff’s name.”
    Oh, I’ve certainly been confused for worse! I’m not sure Jeff’s reputation will recover though!

    Like

  137. @Jeff
    “That proposal is historically rejected by Protestant churches.”

    What exactly is the proposal that has been rejected by Protestant churches? I didn’t see anything in Ali’s quote that was that was objectionable, but perhaps I am missing something?

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  138. sdb,

    Is “Let Us Reason Ministries” a church? No, it is not. So what visible congregation does it direct one to? None, but it ruled out all the ones that claim to be the true church, as if simply claiming that position disqualifies all the claimants. No every claimant isn’t the true church, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t still a visible body on earth that has divine authority to call itself “church”.
    Jeff is saying that all the denominations that also claim that the church is invisible aren’t the church. He is saying( I think, so forgive me Jeff for presuming to speak for you) that only Reformed and Presbyterians are the ones that have historically carved out the notion of “invisible church”. In this way the Reformed can disqualify Anabaptists who might try to say that the visible Reformed churches aren’t necessary since it is also an admixture of sheep and goats too( or not a visible church).

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  139. Hi Darryl,

    1213 Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua),4 and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: “Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word.”

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c1a1.htm

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  140. Susan, I dedicated an entire book to Roman Catholic friends.

    “Friends” you say? good! You made me smile…..assuming it was a friendly book.

    Like

  141. “Susan, that’s not, like, the Bible.”

    Well, by good and necessary consequences is can be deduced from Scripture.

    Like

  142. Susan:“Susan, that’s not, like, the Bible.”Well, by good and necessary consequences is can be deduced from Scripture.

    D. G. Hart: Susan, that’s not, like, the Bible.

    Or to summarize the Bible: John 1: 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

    and which must leaves out these I believe (unless I misunderstand) :
    1274 87 The faithful Christian who has “kept the seal” until the end, remaining faithful to the demands of his Baptism, will be able to depart this life “marked with the sign of faith,
    1281 Those who die acting under the inspiration of grace, seek God sincerely and strive to fulfill his will, can be saved even if they have not been baptized (cf. LG 16).

    Like

  143. Hello Ali, How are you? Did you have a nice Christmas?

    The Westminster Confession says that the whole council of God is expressly set down in scripture or can by good and necessary consequences, be deduced from scripture. Pretty wide hole, huh? Who’s to call the perimeters( for certain)?
    Love the John 1:13 quote, yes 🙂 beautiful. It is all of God. All grace, but of course we have to respond to the grace given.

    The thief on the cross would have wanted to be baptized if he was in a different situation ;( when he encountered the living God, so we say that he had baptism of desire.

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  144. D.G. Hart:
    Apply your epistemological arguments not to me but to your bishops. They are the ones that identify truth. They also identified sin and covered it up. That raises a serious question about the powers of discernment of those gifted with infallibility.>>>>>>>

    Kevin in Newark:
    Man is often not motivated primarily by knowledge. In any case, they have no special knowledge; and they remain men.>>>>>

    That is a good point. See, what surprises me here at Old Life is how little Scripture is appealed to, even though we all believe that Scripture is infallible. The Reformed brothers believe it is the only infallible rule of faith and practice.

    So, I will make a Scriptural argument to show that legitimately ordained men can fail miserably. Sure, it doesn’t prove that the Catholic Church has the same legitimacy as the Aaronic priesthood. It does show how in the Old Testament, infallibility is not affected by the bad behavior of those in leadership.

    The infallibility of the Catholic Church can be seen in a similar way.

    OT examples of priestly failure.:

    1. Leviticus 10 – Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu offered strange fire and were killed by God. It had no effect on the legitimacy of the priesthood itself, since that was ordained by God.

    2, 1 Samuel 3 – the call of Samuel – Eli’s sons were terribly wicked, yet Eli did not correct them. He himself paid dearly for his sin of covering up and condoning his wicked sons who were priests. The negligence of Eli and the horrific wickedness of his sons did not destroy the priesthood itself. God ordained the sacrificial system, including the priests offering sacrifices. The system remained infallible in spite of the failures of individuals operating within that system.

    3.John 11:49ff – The High Priest Caiaphas was involved in making sure that Jesus died for the people. He gave a prophetic word to that effect. In spite of himself, he spoke infallibly.

    John 11
    49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all! 50 You do not understand that it is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed.”

    Then there are numerous examples all throughout the Old Testament of God’s chosen people failing, but God’s purposes not failing.

    Catholic infallibility is not grounded in the human beings who are ordained to the priesthood. It is grounded in the infallibility of the Holy Spirit whose purposes in leading and guiding the Church into all truth do not nor can they fail in spite of the failure of leaders.

    It is hard for Protestants, I think, to grasp the idea that a Church can be infallible. How can that be when she is made up of sinful human beings? In the same why that the sacrificial system of the OT was infallible. In the same way that the children of Israel were the infallible people of God.

    Besides, I am sure, Kevin, that you realize what the OPC and the PCA are doing, right? When their larger denominations began to be hopelessly infected with modernism, they split off. So, even though the larger PCUSA has many problems, they can say that they are more pure.

    Catholicism does’t do that. We are all together. Wheat and tares growing together. Sheep and goats in the same field. The Church is in crisis right now, but not every part of her. We need to defend her. We need to pray for her. We need to stay faithful to Christ and His beloved Bride of Christ – the one for whom Christ died.

    That’s all that matters at the end of the day. If Christ gave His life for her, then we should love her as He does and love her as we love Him.

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  145. susan-

    True, as far as I’ve been able to tell, the only thing that is taboo around here – i.e., that can get you kicked off this blog – is trying to get the moderator fired in real life.

    I’ve not read Maritain, although I’d like to someday. My secondhand understanding is that he’s good when he sticks close to Thomism. I find what you post interesting, will try to respond tomorrow.

    TLM- very well done.

    DG-
    Kevin, but the failure of THESE men to do their jobs throws the whole epistemology seminar into question.
    But there is no claim that a divinely-enabled ability to pass down the faith entails either the practice of that ability in those who choose not to practice it, nor consistently moral action in those who choose not to act morally.

    The former is a lamentable betrayal, the latter is the essentially human condition- in this saeculum.

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  146. Mermaid, “Catholicism does’t do that. We are all together. Wheat and tares growing together. Sheep and goats in the same field.”

    Right. Hus, Tyndale, Luther, Zwingli. All together.

    Get a clue.

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  147. Kevin, that is way too easy. How do you know that the bishops acted poorly in one case and truly in another? Isn’t it because you stand there with a standard for judging them? But the whole RC apologetic of late here is that we dumb skeptical Protestants don’t know squattah without a bishop to identify truth infallibly. Kidding, right?

    If you need a bishop to identify the truth, if that’s the only thing keeping you from Descartes, then you cannot know when the bishops are true and when they are wicked. If you can know apart from them, then the apologetic crashes and — get this — you operate just like Protestants.

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  148. Mermaid, you are an accomplice to crime:

    Q | Dear OMG,

    If one were a secretary to a bishop, did all his typing and filing and office work, and knew about sexually abusive priests, moving them around, filed the complaints, etc., would one have the moral obligation to do something or to keep silent to protect the bishop and one’s job?

    — Wondering in Wichita

    A | Dear Wondering,

    The answer here is very clear. Any person who has knowledge of a priest (or a teacher or a coach or any other adult) sexually abusing children (or physically abusing them) is bound by morality – and, it turns out, by civil law – to report that person to the authorities. There is no moral argument for protecting the bishop, and only a selfish one for protecting one’s own job.

    During his visit to Philadelphia earlier this year, Pope Francis vociferously condemned the perpetrators of the rampant sex abuse crisis and those who abetted the cover-ups, declaring that “I commit myself to the zealous watchfulness of the Church to protect minors, and I promise that all those responsible will be held accountable.”

    There are those who claim that sex abuse allegations ought still to be secret, or private, in keeping with canon law – but in 2002, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops enacted the Charter for Protection of Children and Young People, which requires any diocese faced with allegations of sex abuse to report those allegations to the police.

    The sexual abuse of a child is a crime and a sin, and no secretary – or bystander or well-meaning neighbor – can justify putting the interests of the bishop over those of the child.

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  149. mermaid: human beings who are ordained to the priesthood

    not that you don’t already know this, mermaid, but it never hurts to reiterate for whoever might confused:

    “The priesthood served as a picture or “type” of the coming ministry of Jesus Christ–a picture that was then no longer needed once His sacrifice on the cross was completed. When the thick temple veil that covered the doorway to the Holy of Holies was torn in two by God at the time of Christ’s death (Matthew 27:51), God was indicating that the Old Testament priesthood was no longer necessary. Now people could come directly to God through the great High Priest, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:14-16). There are now no earthly mediators between God and man as existed in the Old Testament priesthood (1 Timothy 2:5).”

    “In summary, believers are called “kings and priests” and a “royal priesthood” as a reflection of their privileged status as heirs to the kingdom of the Almighty God and of the Lamb. Because of this privileged closeness with God, no other earthly mediator is necessary. Second, believers are called priests because salvation is not merely “fire insurance,” escape from hell. Rather, believers are called by God to serve Him by offering up spiritual sacrifices, i.e., being a people zealous for good works. As priests of the living God, we are all to give praise to the One who has given us the great gift of His Son’s sacrifice on our behalf, and in response, to share this wonderful grace with others.”
    http://www.gotquestions.org/priesthood-believers.html

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  150. Susan: Love the John 1:13 quote, yes beautiful. It is all of God. All grace, but of course we have to respond to the grace given.

    Yes what a great God, Susan, we can agree on that! Irresistible grace! The Lord – our only boast! Happy New Year to you! (a lot of !!!s right there) 🙂

    Isaiah 46:9 “Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me,10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure
    John 10 2 But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 9 I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.11 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me,.
    Jude 1: 24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

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  151. @tlm
    Great examples of priestly failure…of course prophets and kings failed too. That is why we needed a new covenant with a prophet, priest, and king who could not fail! Further, Jesus is that prophet, priest, and king and our only intermediator between us and the father. He tells us to submit to our earthly authorities including ecclesiastical ones…such as errant priests under the OT. But of course those ecclesiastical authorities were not inerrant. They were corrected by…scripture! In fact we see this example in.the OT too (e.g., Josiah). The priesthood came with real authority, but they could err. When they did, the standard by which they were corrected was “it is written” and “thus saith the Lord” (OT prophets were not generally Levites ).

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  152. btw, for you Susan, if you get a chance, (‘cause cw is out of town or something), speaking of our Good Shepherd Jesus-
    a Catholic artist, what a voice, and her assurance – “she will dwell in His house forever”. No doubts -.
    hope that is the case for you these days also.

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  153. You guys crack me up! See, this is what Brother Hart and you Reformed guys need to do. Defend from Scripture your separation from your own denominations. Then, your future separations when the new denominations you have formed go wonky – and they will.

    Show from Scripture where division and divisiveness is the Biblical pattern of ecclesiology. Show from Scripture that it is the end of the age and now time to separate the sheep from the goats and the wheat from the tares.

    Of course you reject Catholicism. Defend your own religion’s splintering. Can you do it from Scripture?

    I say you can’t. Otherwise you would.

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  154. Ali:
    btw, for you Susan, if you get a chance, (‘cause cw is out of town or something), speaking of our Good Shepherd Jesus-
    a Catholic artist, what a voice, and her assurance – “she will dwell in His house forever”. No doubts -.
    hope that is the case for you these days also.

    Ali, I think that Susan may have withdrawn, at least for now. See, she has been bullied here and may have had enough.

    I am deciding whether or not to continue responding to challenges. It is the same challenge over and over and over again, and now I am accused of being a criminal, even though I was not even Catholic when those things happened and I have never said anything that would indicate that I condoned what was done.

    Yet, in Brother Hart’s mind – which I fear is completely taken over by anti Catholic bigotry at this point in time, – I am a criminal.

    I even presented Biblical evidence to show that I do not condone priestly sin any more than God did in the OT. Yet, that is never enough. He has gone completely bonkers with this subject. So, out of love for him and concern for his mental health, I may withdraw completely as well.

    Yeah, don’t cry. Besides, Tom will not be able to remind some of the guys that they are Christians and should act like it.

    Okay, now think, Ali. You do not and cannot know that you are among the elect. The best you can do is say that you are 99.99999% sure that you are without a doubt going to heaven. If your Reformed friends tell you anything else, they are lying to you.

    If you do not persevere – read the TULIP carefully – then you are not nor were you ever saved. Since you are not omniscient, you do not know if you will persevere or not. If you fall away -and the Bible says that is a real possibility – then you were never saved in the first place.

    READ, Ali. Read some John Owen and some Jonathan Edwards, and then brag about how saved you are, and how unsaved Catholics are.

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  155. Kevin in Newark, you asked about my oboe d’amore. See, I don’t get to play very much. I have terrible performance anxiety, so to play solos is out of the question for me.

    What I do is play my d’amore in a church worship band occasionally. Yes, you heard that right. 🙂 My husband, a clarinetist, and I play in a local Christian orchestra for special events, like Christmas and Easter.

    We travel a lot so it is out of the question to play in a group on a regular basis. I even shut down my teaching studio over 10 years ago because I would be gone for many weeks and sometimes months out of the year.

    The d’amore was kind of a dream of mine, and I used some inheritance money to buy her. It got her a little over a year ago. I had wanted an English Horn, but my hands are small, so the stretch is a bit stressful on my hands.

    The d’amore is experiencing somewhat of a revival in popularity, but it will never be all that popular. The oboe and the oboe da caccia- replaced by the English Horn, but basically the same instrument – survived after the baroque period, but alas, the most beautiful of all did not.

    Heinz Holliger recorded Bach’s BWV1055a Oboe d’amore Concerto in A . Heavenly.

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  156. Mermaid: Okay, now think, Ali. READ, Ali.

    think and read mermaid? also I’ll say ‘exaggeration? ( rather than the accusation of the fruit of lies)
    Mermaid: brag about how saved you are
    Mermaid: I am accused of being a criminal
    Mermaid: how unsaved Catholics are

    I don’t blame you for retreating mermaid, as I also consider 1 Cor 15:33.
    I would say your hostility toward me is misplaced –though maybe not – I too consider what makes me anger- never pure for sure, and certainly doctrine does divides. I’m more and more convinced, as nothing is a surprise or without purpose, that the Lord is just looking to see how we engage with each other about it al,l while our knowledge is partial, as He is fully committed to developing His children’s character.

    Mermaid: Besides, Tom will not be able to remind some of the guys that they are Christians and should act like it.

    As I understand it, Tom can comment; we are just not allowed to respond to a comment. (see that his comment is still there, but Susan’s response is gone) Considering what is the proof text for that.

    Anyway, mermaid, don’t forget our state Washington, is still one of the least ‘churched’ states, as I understand it – so there are many still to hear -faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.

    Take care.

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  157. Hi Kevin,

    You said, “True, as far as I’ve been able to tell, the only thing that is taboo around here – i.e., that can get you kicked off this blog – is trying to get the moderator fired in real life.”

    Dr. Hart teaches at Hillsdale, and I don’t think it is associated with this blog.
    I hope no one here is trying to get Darryl into any trouble. He does a good job of that himself though.
    Are you suggesting that his possibly having Catholic aquaintances would get him fired from his teaching job?

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  158. But, Ariel, how would you feel about journalists lying to bishops in order to get an interview catching them in the act of cutting deals to make profit off the sex slave trading of young innocents? My guess is that it wouldn’t quite be the sort of rah-rah cheerleading you do when it’s the bad guys failing. If it helps, there are some around here who would just as skeptical of those weaseling their way into bishops’ offices as they are of them weaseling their way into the bad guys’. Equal opportunity skeptics of moralistic sensationalism and all that.

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  159. Okay, now think, Ali. You do not and cannot know that you are among the elect. The best you can do is say that you are 99.99999% sure that you are without a doubt going to heaven. If your Reformed friends tell you anything else, they are lying to you.

    Gooooonnnnngggggg.

    “Although hypocrites and other unregenerate men may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions of being in the favor of God, and estate of salvation (which hope of theirs shall perish): yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love Him in sincerity, endeavouring to walk in all good conscience before Him, may, in this life, be certainly assured that they are in the state of grace, and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, which hope shall never make them ashamed.

    II. This certainty is not a bare conjectural and probable persuasion grounded upon a fallible hope;[5] but an infallible assurance of faith founded upon the divine truth of the promises of salvation,[6] the inward evidence of those graces unto which these promises are made,[7] the testimony of the Spirit of adoption witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God,[8] which Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance, whereby we are sealed to the day of redemption.[9]

    III. This infallible assurance does not so belong to the essence of faith, but that a true believer may wait long, and conflict with many difficulties, before he be partaker of it: yet, being enabled by the Spirit to know the things which are freely given him of God, he may, without extraordinary revelation in the right use of ordinary means, attain thereunto. And therefore it is the duty of every one to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure, that thereby his heart may be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience, the proper fruits of this assurance; so far is it from inclining men to looseness.

    IV. True believers may have the assurance of their salvation divers ways shaken, diminished, and intermitted; as, by negligence in preserving of it, by falling into some special sin which wounds the conscience and grieves the Spirit; by some sudden or vehement temptation, by God’s withdrawing the light of His countenance, and suffering even such as fear Him to walk in darkness and to have no light: yet are they never so utterly destitute of that seed of God, and life of faith, that love of Christ and the brethren, that sincerity of heart, and conscience of duty, out of which, by the operation of the Spirit, this assurance may, in due time, be revived; and by the which, in the mean time, they are supported from utter despair.”

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  160. ZRIM,

    Carholics look to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith and to his mercy, and so as long as we love him and seek to ( not work) but act morally in accord with light ( not darkness) we have moral assurance.
    But no one gets special revelation about their own personal salvation. The words, “Susan Vader will persevere” is not written in the bible.
    But it doesn’t need to be. I know that God loves me because he so loved the world and have himself for us. Enough said 🙂

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  161. Susan, oh, then hold a seat for me at mass please, I’ll be right over. But you know as well as I that the Prot and Cat programs are different. You don’t affirm Westminster’s take, which is all about Jesus as the author and finisher of faith. Step away from the (sacrificial) mass and come to (assuring) communion and then your plea will have credibility.

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  162. Oh and this never have me any extra special assurance because I know all of my sins. So I was good some days and then in despair the next being that my hypocrisy was proof that I didn’t love God.

    ” ##Although hypocrites and other unregenerate men may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions of being in the favor of God, and estate of salvation (which hope of theirs shall perish)##: yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love Him in sincerity, endeavouring to walk in all good conscience before Him, may, in this life, be certainly assured that they are in the state of grace, and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, which hope shall never make them ashamed.”

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  163. ZRIM,

    I believe the Catholic Church over the Westminster Confession. Both have dirty rotten sinners in their midst, but I belive Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist and I believe the list of popes beginning with Peter, is historically true.

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  164. Blessings, Susan.

    ……am a fan of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, too…..the original campus at ND is a great example of Second Empire/Gothic/Victorian architecture, with much history and tradition. ND was originally supposed to be a parochial boys school until the county clerk misheard/misunderstood Father Soren in his application to open it, and this gaffe (legend has it) gave Father Soren the idea (hope I got it right in re-telling it here)……..am Reformed/Confessional but love my Catholic friends…..

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  165. Ali, I wanted to present you( and Jeff) with a great podcast to listen to but I couldn’t figure out how to copy the url, so I went looking for the behind the scenes recording of what is, a radio program.
    Hopefully this works.
    So if you wouldn’t mind, listen to just the first reply to a listener’s email question.

    I took a lot of things to convince me that the Catholic Church is true, so if you are at all interested in the possibility, take it a little at a time.
    Blessings to you:)

    http://brightcove.vo.llnwd.net/v1/unsecured/media/1675170007001/201512/128/1675170007001_4681453116001_vs-5685887fe4b0f5384d2f7a34-672293876001.jpg?pubId=1675170007001

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  166. Susan
    Posted January 3, 2016 at 12:14 pm | Permalink
    Oh and this never have me any extra special assurance because I know all of my sins. So I was good some days and then in despair the next being that my hypocrisy was proof that I didn’t love God.

    ” ##Although hypocrites and other unregenerate men may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions of being in the favor of God, and estate of salvation (which hope of theirs shall perish)##: yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love Him in sincerity, endeavouring to walk in all good conscience before Him, may, in this life, be certainly assured that they are in the state of grace, and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, which hope shall never make them ashamed.”>>>>

    Exactly! There is no real assurance in the doctrines of grace. You can never know if you are elect. You can never meet the sincerity standard. All hope can be seen as a false hope. All assurance can be seen as carnal presumption.

    Ali is seeing through the music of the Catholic singer, Audrey Assad, that Catholics actually do have assurance and it is all in Christ who works in and trough His body – the Church.

    It is not presumption, though. A person can choose to walk away and not come back. We are free. It doesn’t mean that the Shepherd will not go out looking for His sheep to carry them Home again.

    Pope Francis’ cross that I wear has deep meaning for me. See the sheep being carried into the fold on the shoulders of the Good Shepherd? Jesus puts His sheep in the fold. We don’t need to wander any more.

    He has a body – the Church. There is only one.

    Calvinism, though I appreciate what I learned from it, is not a Home. It is not even a church.

    Susan:
    I believe the Catholic Church over the Westminster Confession. Both have dirty rotten sinners in their midst, but I belive Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist and I believe the list of popes beginning with Peter, is historically true.>>>>>

    I remember the words of Rich Mullins’ song I Believe. “I did not make it, but it is making me.” He died just days before he entered the Catholic Church.

    That spoke to me maybe 10 years before I became Catholic myself.

    See, a group of people made the WCF at the order of the Parliament of England. There was no council that met. It is not a document that makes people. People made it.

    Protestants don’t understand the Real Presence. I sat many times in many cathedrals and parroquías just drinking in His Presence, not knowing why His Presence was so strong in those places. Now I know why.

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  167. Hey there Semper Reformanda:)

    Thank you for that story. I don’t watch football although my husband just loves it. The architecture info is fascinating. Literature, art, culture( incl. vino), and theology is more my thing:) Big fan of the Dumb Ox!
    You sound like a wonderful person.
    God bless you!

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  168. For Ali.

    Let me try this again good lady:)

    “http://www.ewtn.com/live/ewtnplayer/jwplayer.asp?feed=mp3&mp3audio=called2comm_20151231.mp3&mp3show=Called%20to%20Communion”

    If it doesn’t work, look up “called to communion radio program for Dec. 31, 2015” and listen to his response to the first question of that day’s programming.
    Highly interesting:)

    God bless!
    Susan

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  169. More more thing, Ali

    I love Audry Assad, although I don’t listen to a lot of contemporary Christian music. I usually listen to classical or classic or progressive 80’s sound( stuff of my youth).
    Thank you for the link:)

    Now I can actually say, ” better is one day in your house “

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  170. Dear MWF

    “Susan:
    I believe the Catholic Church over the Westminster Confession. Both have dirty rotten sinners in their midst, but I belive Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist and I believe the list of popes beginning with Peter, is historically true.>>>>>

    I remember the words of Rich Mullins’ song I Believe. “I did not make it, but it is making me.” He died just days before he entered the Catholic Church.

    That spoke to me maybe 10 years before I became Catholic myself.

    See, a group of people made the WCF at the order of the Parliament of England. There was no council that met. It is not a document that makes people. People made it.

    Protestants don’t understand the Real Presence. I sat many times in many cathedrals and parroquías just drinking in His Presence, not knowing why His Presence was so strong in those places. Now I know why.”

    We are kindred spirits:)
    I always felt a nagging difficulty about the Westminster Assembly being a divine council.
    I was a nondenominational Calvary chapelite when I was listening to Rich Mullins and those words ” it is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man” cut me to the core.
    Lets reminisce together;)

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  171. Mermaid, the joke’s on you. Your holy father — Francis — loves us. And he doesn’t talk trash.

    Your soul is in danger if your epistemology and ecclesiology mean anything. Love us, don’t mock.

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  172. Susan, then keep reading:

    True believers may have the assurance of their salvation divers ways shaken, diminished, and intermitted; as, by negligence in preserving of it, by falling into some special sin which wounds the conscience and grieves the Spirit; by some sudden or vehement temptation, by God’s withdrawing the light of His countenance, and suffering even such as fear Him to walk in darkness and to have no light: yet are they never so utterly destitute of that seed of God, and life of faith, that love of Christ and the brethren, that sincerity of heart, and conscience of duty, out of which, by the operation of the Spirit, this assurance may, in due time, be revived; and by the which, in the mean time, they are supported from utter despair.

    And it’s not hard to concede “the list of popes beginning with Peter is historically true.” The problem is that bare apostolic succession is the end all: Has the list of popes kept the faith since receiving it from Peter? Or, as in a game of Chinese Whispers, has what Jesus spoken to Peter become a very different message in Francis? The thing about childrens’ games is that they can teach something profound about the human condition.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_whispers

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  173. Susan,

    But you don’t love God as much as you should. Neither do I. Neither does anyone. But Jesus did and Jesus does. That’s our assurance. Rome can’t offer that. It’s all about you loving Jesus enough not commit a mortal sin. Which means you have to define sin down, define what it means to love God down, or live in perpetual despair.

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  174. Mermaid, ” You can never know if you are elect. You can never meet the sincerity standard. All hope can be seen as a false hope.”

    Great. So you are now in a version of Christianity where you don’t worry about sin. Because if you did, you’d not be spending so much time at OL.

    And you don’t even know if you are going to purgatory.

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  175. DG, if Mermaid and (some of) the bishops are right we’ll have plenty of time to discuss all this in purgatory. Of course Ali, Susan, and I will be leaving before the rest of you.

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  176. Robert,

    My confidence is in the love of Jesus.
    You want to tell me the reason for the sacraments if I don’t have to grow in moral rectitude?
    The Church is where I get the sacraments, plain and simple, historic truth.

    Perfect love cast out all fear.

    You shall love the the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul and mind.”

    As much as man can love is all the Lord requires. Why do you think the scriptures tell us to love God if it isn’t possible?

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  177. @tlm not to get all (Mohammed) Ali on you, but part of the case for separation is 1Cor5:9ff. When the ecclesiastical authorities refuse to repent and be corrected by scripture, it is time to move on. The unity spoken of in scripture is not about an organizational unity primarily. Like the Jews who mistakenly put all their eggs in their physical lineage forgetting thay it was the spiritual lineage that mattered, you have doubled down on the organizational unity forgetting that obedience and discipline are more important and that the unity of those who are called out (i.e., the church ) is a spiritual unity that arises from our union with Christ. Organizations matter as does ecclesial authority, but it is not the end-all, be-all you make it out to be. Like any human authority ordained by God, it is conditional.

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  178. @ Susan,

    Happy Sunday.

    You asked: Over on the thread “no, not one” Ali proposes ( by an article she linked) that the nondenominational communities also have a invisible only “mark”.

    from

    JRC: “That proposal is historically rejected by Protestant churches.”

    Susan: What do you mean? Historically speaking, there have been(and following this mode,currently are) other visible Protestant communities with this same profession of the “mark of invisibility”.

    Let me back up. I shot from the hip on that one and may have misunderstood her.

    Here is what I read: It is not exclusive but inclusive, as it is found in the heart of all those who have accepted the true Jesus, and have come to God the way He has provided (through His son on the cross), and hold to the essentials of the faith.

    That definition of church corresponds to the invisible church (or invisible aspect of the church). And actually, Augustine would have approved, if I remember correctly. However, the visible aspect of the church looks at congregations.

    Up to this point, the Confession agrees with the article:

    II. 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

    But then

    III. 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]

    IV. This catholic Church has been sometimes more, sometimes less visible.[8] And particular Churches, which are members thereof, are more or less pure, according as the doctrine of the Gospel is taught and embraced, ordinances administered, and public worship performed more or less purely in them.[9]

    so the difference between the article and Reformed teaching is one of refinement. Yes, the visible church consists of all those who profess the faith. No, we cannot conclude from that that “This means one does not have to belong to a certain denomination or group but to Christ. No one is told to join the Church by the apostles because it is an automatic placing of one in the body of which Christ is the head.” (linked article).

    To argue in this way is to apply the logic of the visible church to the invisible, which leaves us with a distorted perspective.

    So Susan, I am not claiming that the Reformed Church is the true church. That is, I am not attacking the primary thesis of the article. I am claiming that membership in the visible church is necessary and is not obviated by professing faith. And I am claiming that the ordinances of God (sacraments, ministry of the Word) are given authoritatively to the visible church and its ordained officers. The article implies, but does not state, that this is not so.

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  179. @ Mermaid:

    Love Rich, fantastic songwriter, decent practical theologian (with flaws). But none of us can claim him:

    The year that he died, Mullins declared,

    “ A lot of the stuff which I thought was so different between Protestants and Catholics [was] not, but at the end of going through an RCIA [Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults] course, I also realized that there are some real and significant differences. I’m not sure which side of the issues I come down on. My openness to Catholicism was very scary to me because, when you grow up in a church where they don’t even put up a cross, many things were foreign to me. I went to an older Protestant gentleman that I’ve respected for years and years, and I asked him, “When does faithfulness to Jesus call us to lay aside our biases and when does it call us to stand beside them?” His answer to me was that it is not about being Catholic or Protestant. It is about being faithful to Jesus. The issue is not about which church you go to, it is about following Jesus where He leads you. — RM, quoted in An Arrow Pointing to Heaven.

    It’s not about team Catholic and team Protestant, and certainly not about celebrity endorsements.

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  180. Thank you Jeff for the clarification. I am beading out to lunch with my family, so will have to respond later. If you wouldn’t mind, I addressed you a little bit earlier in this thread, to give you and Miss Ali a link. If you would be so mind as to take a listen? I would love to get your response 🙂

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  181. Susan: But no one gets special revelation about their own personal salvation. The words, “Susan Vader will persevere” is not written in the bible.
    But it doesn’t need to be. I know that God loves me because he so loved the world and have himself for us. Enough said

    Personal assurance Susan: Romans 8: 6 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God and along with 2 Tim 4: 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
    ie, not that we are perfect, but we see that, by His work, the direction of our lives are ever toward Him

    And re; the world – Jesus didn’t ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom the Father gave Him; for they (we) are the His (John 17:9) And what did Jesus ask of the Father: ”Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are.” (John

    It is the Father Who ‘keeps’ us, not we Him, or to revise your Baptism 1274-87 statement- The faithful Christian who has “kept the seal” until the end……to: 2 Cor 1:21 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.

    See the Father, Son , and Spirit at work together in those verses guaranteeing His own’s salvation– doesn’t it make you want to weep!

    Susan: For Ali.Let me try this again good lady:) “http://www.ewtn.com/live/ewtnplayer/jwplayer.asp?feed=mp3&mp3audio=called2comm_20151231.mp3&mp3show=Called%20to%20Communion”If it doesn’t work, look up “called to communion radio program for Dec. 31, 2015″ and listen to his response to the first question of that day’s programming.Highly interesting:) God bless!Susan

    God bless you too Susan, and thank you for thinking of me with the link. I haven’t had a chance to look it up yet but may. Could you tell me briefly what is it about. I was thinking in general about that – what is it we are trying to convince each other about differently than we already each stake our lives on from Scripture by the Spirit?

    Cw: Of course Ali, Susan, and I will be leaving before the rest of you.
    sdb@tlm not to get all (Mohammed) Ali on you

    Ahha cw, and I think you are also admitting in that order out too (if there were purgatory which there isn’t, cause Jesus paid it all);

    see sdb, if you would just ‘go all Mohammed Ali’, (in the good sense, not the crazy,irritated sense of course), that could be you too with us first out!

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  182. Darryl, because these are the experiential-turned-ritualist-pietists, all of which is more about locating Jesus in various places other than where he is most effective for sinners, i.e. literally at the right of God and not in the human heart or hand.

    Why do you think the scriptures tell us to love God if it isn’t possible?

    Susan, so ought implies can? I hear Pelagius and Kant, not Paul and Augustine.

    Jeff, it may not be “about team Catholic and team Protestant,” but it is about true church and false, right?

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  183. @ Zrim: Absolutely, whence “more or less visible”, which is the polar opposite from “I follow Peter (‘s successor)”

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  184. Zrim:Darryl, because these are the experiential-turned-ritualist-pietists, all of which is more about locating Jesus in various places other than where he is most effective for sinners, i.e. literally at the right of God and not in the human heart or hand.

    beleive ALL the crazy, but true talk (ie ALL scripture) not just what you ‘feel’ you want to grasp, zrim

    Ephesians 2:5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

    John 14: 23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.

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  185. Susan,

    You want to tell me the reason for the sacraments if I don’t have to grow in moral rectitude?
    The Church is where I get the sacraments, plain and simple, historic truth.

    Who said you don’t have to grow in moral rectitude? Not me. You brought up loving God as the means of your assurance, and while that’s not entirely wrong, it’s never going to be good enough to give you even moral assurance of your present state. There’s a reason why your theologians think assurance of salvation is heresy, and it is entirely wrapped up in your theology. Because if Rome is right, the only people that get assurance are Mary and the really good saints. The rest of us can only say “I hope that God might perhaps forgive me.”

    Perfect love cast out all fear.

    Sure. And if that is primarily about our love for God and not God’s love for us, then if you have no fear, you have perfect love. And if you have perfect love, there is no more need for sacraments. Thus, Rome engenders fear to keep you on the sacramental treadmill.

    See, I look at even the soon-to-be-sainted Teresa of Calcutta, who feared that she might not be a Christian. Apparently she didn’t have perfect love. Remember, perfect love casts out all fear. So maybe Rome is wrong to canonize her. Or maybe the verse isn’t primarily about our love for God.

    You shall love the the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul and mind.”

    As much as man can love is all the Lord requires. Why do you think the scriptures tell us to love God if it isn’t possible?

    Zrim got to this before me, but this is out and out Pelagianism. Now you probably just infer “with grace” and that’s fine if you are clear on this. But the problem is that “as much as man can love” is all that the Lord requires isn’t biblical either. It’s the perfection of God Himself: “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt. 5)

    Now can you tell me that the very best way to love God right now is to be reading and commenting at Old Life? If you can’t say yes with certainty, then you’ve failed to love God as He requires. And if so, you’re guilty of mortal sin.

    So you can either hightail it to confessional so that you don’t die with mortal sin on your record. Or, perhaps you should trust Jesus alone, knowing that He loved God perfectly for you. It’s incredibly freeing. It allows you to serve God the best you know how without perpetual fear that you are gong to fall into mortal sin. That sin is already covered.

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  186. “Susan, so ought implies can? I hear Pelagius and Kant, not Paul and Augustine.”

    Well certainly. But only by grace. You excerise faith, so does ought to have faith imply can?

    To Ali:

    That’s okay, I don’t want to get into anymore arguments.
    Take care!

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  187. Greetings Susan!

    Appreciate your kind post earlier ~ thank you so much and may the Lord bless you and yours!

    My wife and I have family and friends who are Catholic, and when I was in college I had Catholic friends who were simply the best, one of whom I was always be indebted to for tutoring me in a course that I was not doing well in – in the back of his pickup-camper (Chinook model, as I recall) between classes. If not for him, I would have failed.

    My wife and I also enjoy literature, art, films, and things cultural, too. It would be an understatement to say that if it were not for the Catholic church, we would not have a rich architectural legacy worldwide; we can also be thankful for the many contributions of Episcopals, Anglicans, Presbyterians, and even Unitarians, on the basis of designs which drew from the rich traditions of building from Early Christian, Byzantine, Romanesque, and Gothic periods in architecture.

    I would say, if one has not considered an interest in architecture, it’s never too late. Sir Banister Fletcher’s A History of Architecture is by far the best book, or you can probably find a good monograph of world architecture in a Barnes and Noble bookstore, etc. Most importantly, just enjoy looking at it. As Joseph Campbell said…..”follow your bliss” (though we would disagree on theology, he had much to offer in understanding mythology and world religions).

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  188. Ali, seems like the Bible wants us to know Jesus resides at the right hand of God.

    But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God. (Acts 7:55-56)

    Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. (Ro. 8:34)

    …that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places…(Ephesians 1:20)

    He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…(Hebrews 1:3)

    Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven…(Hebrews 8:1)

    But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God…(Hebrews 10:12)

    …looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God…(Hebrews 12:2)

    …who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him…(1 Peter 3:22)

    The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Revelation 3:21)

    “‘The Lord said to my Lord,
    “Sit at my right hand,
    until I put your enemies under your feet”’? (Matthew 22:44)

    Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. (Acts 2:33)

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  189. “Susan, so ought implies can? I hear Pelagius and Kant, not Paul and Augustine.”

    Well certainly. But only by grace. You excerise faith, so does ought to have faith imply can?.

    Susan, so we do some and God does some? Now I hear Arminius, i.e. a little Paul/Augustine and a little Pelagius/Kant.

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  190. We are kindred spirits:)
    I always felt a nagging difficulty about the Westminster Assembly being a divine council.
    I was a nondenominational Calvary chapelite when I was listening to Rich Mullins and those words ” it is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man” cut me to the core.
    Lets reminisce together;)

    Well, this is restful for the Lord’s Day. 🙂

    Our assurance is grounded in Christ. There is salvation in no other. He gives Himself to us.

    “…the Eucharist contains Jesus Christ in the fullness of his divinity and the completeness of his humanity.”
    -Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

    I am not sure, but I don’t ever remember as a Protestant being hungry for the body and blood of Christ. Sure, I liked taking communion as we did every Sunday. It was special, but not the same.

    Mullins never quite made it into the Church, but he does show how a Protestant can appreciate Catholicism without being hostile to her. He sure seemed to be drawn. It’s funny. If we discuss theology, we get all whatever. However, if we sing together and listen to the same songs and same hymns, somehow that is a kind of expression of our underlying unity.

    Protestants even sing Faith of Our Fathers with gusto. A Lutheran wrote the Mass in b minor – easily the greatest musical work ever written. What does that say to us?

    I look back over my life and see signs I hadn’t noticed before. I had always wondered why, when I was a child I held a rosary in my hand and prayed, “Since you gave Yourself for me, I give myself to you.”

    On a Christmas Day, it was. My family did not go to church at all. We certainly were not Catholic. My grandmother was Lutheran. Our family was made up more of skeptics and atheists – yes, real atheists. That’s another story for another day, but I wonder.
    —————————————————————
    “Fr. Matthew McGinness reports that by September 1997, Mullins had finally made up his mind: He was going to be received into the Catholic Church. With his busy tour schedule he had a hard time meeting up with his priest-friend. But on Thursday, September 18, Rich phoned Fr. McGinness. “This may sound strange, but I have to receive the body and blood of Christ.” The two planned to meet the following Sunday.

    On Friday, September 19, on his return to Wichita, Rich Mullins and fellow Kid Brother Mitch McVicker were involved in a car accident. Their jeep flipped and both men were thrown from the vehicle. A trailing rig swerved to miss the jeep and hit Rich. He died at age forty-one.

    The conversion would never be “official” but Rich was, at least, an asymptotic Catholic. He kept approaching the culmination of his journey but never quite made it to the end”at least not in this life.”

    http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2013/03/rich-mullins-asymptotic-catholic

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  191. DG-

    How do you know that the bishops acted poorly in one case and truly in another? Isn’t it because you stand there with a standard for judging them?

    Absolutely. Natural law is open to all regarding at least much of moralty. Everyone has logical and linguistic faculties and can evaluate coherency and entailments. A Shiite cleric can point where a Bishop departs from Catholic theology.

    However, they must be operating from truth. And they must look to the theological statements which the CC holds as true if they are going to offer substantive criticism.

    But the whole RC apologetic of late here is that we dumb skeptical Protestants don’t know squattah without a bishop to identify truth infallibly. Kidding, right?

    Not sure that has been argued, and I wouldn’t argue it. I couldn’t reread that thread even if I wished, but my main concern with it is that key terms were used in unclear senses (TLM noted clarification would have been useful).

    If you need a bishop to identify the truth, if that’s the only thing keeping you from Descartes, then you cannot know when the bishops are true and when they are wicked.

    (Moral) wickedness and (logical) truth are quite different things. If only one precluded the other, life would be much simpler.

    The assent of the faithful is useful in determining whether something is or isn’t true – it doesn’t speak infallibly, but has a real place. If a Pope denied divine revelation or a logical consequence of it, that would be some evidence that the Pope was teaching heresy- and was therefore deprived of the Papacy.

    If you can know apart from them, then the apologetic crashes and — get this — you operate just like Protestants.

    Papal infallibility calls for inner assent. Inner assent can’t be granted if the conscience objects. The conscience requires adequate (subjective) justification. Catholics believe and have justification for truths different from the reformed faith. They operate from a different basis of knowledge.

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  192. Zrim: Ali, seems like the Bible wants us to know Jesus resides at the right hand of God.

    Thanks for all the scripture, Zrim!

    Of course he wants us to know He is at the right hand of the Father; who denies that ;but it does not negate He says He is right here too –we are His temple. I do not know why some try to do the mutually-exclusive-thing all the time; and did you notice your tone is sorta contemptuous in that other comment, which is puzzling because it is the LORD’s word.

    Now I also have to produce 11 verses to compliment yours. You’re making me work so hard, and I’m trying to watch the Seahawks game. sheesh.

    Colossians 1:27to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
    John 14:18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
    John 14: 20 In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.
    John 14: 23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.
    2 John 1:9 Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.
    John 17:21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.
    John 17:23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.
    1 John 5:20 And 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 5:12He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.
    Romans 8:9However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.
    John 15 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing
    Ephesians 3:17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,

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  193. KiN: Catholics believe and have justification for truths different from the reformed faith. They operate from a different basis of knowledge.

    This doesn’t fully make sense. Protestants have a justification for truths that is a subset of the Catholic justification — namely, the OT less the deuteros and the NT.

    So whether Catholic or Prot looks at the second commandment and says, God has said not to make graven images and bow to them, then either one is operating from truth.

    They meet the condtion you laid out for conscientious refusal.

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  194. @Jeff, or anyone:

    Is there evidence of the use of the term “invisible church” prior to the WCF, or the Prot Reformation, to describe the scattered elect among the churches?

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  195. Ali, seems pretty clear from all that verse (and reason) that who literally resides within is the Spirit and that figuratively Christ does. Two persons, two ways of reading, etc. But where is Jesus? Not down, down, down, down in the depths of the heart (where?! Down in the depths of the heart!), at the right hand of the Father. How is this so controversial? That’s where you want him, so he can intercede for you.

    ps I wouldn’t bring up tone if I were you, o holy one.

    pps sorry to make you work so hard on a restful day.

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  196. Kevin, so a non-RC can judge RC’s on morality but not on truth?

    So you separate theology from morality?

    Do you really want to do that? Isn’t that what the Enlightenment did?

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  197. @ NooN:

    Augustine distinguishes between those who are God’s sheep within and those who are God’s sheep without. By this, he means those who are elect and predestined, but not yet brought within the visible church. In addition, he distinguishes between those who are in the visible church, yet are “tares”, hence who are goats within.

    But what are we to think? Those who did hear, were they sheep? Lo? Judas heard, and was a wolf: he followed, but, clad in sheep-skin, he was laying snares for the Shepherd. Some, again, of those who crucified Christ did not hear, and yet were sheep; for such He saw in the crowd when He said, “When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am He.” Now, how is this question to be solved? They that are not sheep do hear, and they that are sheep do not hear. Some, who are wolves, follow the Shepherd’s voice; and some, that are sheep, contradict it. Last of all, the sheep slay the Shepherd. The point is solved; for some one in reply says, But when they did not hear, as yet they were not sheep, they were then wolves: the voice, when it was heard, changed them, and out of wolves transformed them into sheep; and so, when they became sheep, they heard, and found the Shepherd, and followed Him. They built their hopes on the Shepherd’s promises, because they obeyed His precepts. That question has been solved in a way, and perhaps satisfies every one. But I bare still a subject of concern, and what concerns me I shall impart to you, that, in some sort inquiring together, I may through His revelation be found worthy with you to attain the solution. Hear, then, what it is that moves me. By the Prophet Ezekiel the Lord rebukes the shepherds, and among other things says of the sheep, “The wandering sheep have ye not recalled.”…

    You hear, brethren, the great importance of the question. I say then, “The Lord knoweth them that are His.” He knoweth those who were foreknown, He knoweth those who were predestinated; because it is said of Him, “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified. If God be for us, who can be against us?” Add to this: “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how hath He not with Him also freely given us all things?” But what “us”? Those who are foreknown, predestinated, justified, glorified; regarding
    whom there follows, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” Therefore “the Lord knoweth them that are His;” they are the sheep. Such sometimes do not know themselves, but the Shepherd knoweth them, according to this predestination, this foreknowledge of God, according to the election of the sheep before the foundation of the world: for so saith also the apostle, “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world.” According, then, to this divine foreknowledge and predestination, how many sheep are outside, how many wolves within! and how many sheep are inside, how many wolves without! How many are now living in wantonness who will yet be chaste! how many are blaspheming Christ who will yet believe in Him! how many are giving themselves to drunkenness who will yet be sober! how many are preying on other people property who will yet freely give of their own! Nevertheless at present they are hearing the voice of another, they are following strangers. In like manner, how many are praising within who will yet blaspheme; are chaste who will yet be fornicators; are sober who will wallow hereafter in drink; are standing who will by and by fall! These are not the sheep. (For we speak of those who were predestinated,—of those whom the Lord knoweth that they are His.) And yet these, so long as they keep right, listen to the voice of Christ. Yea, these hear, the others do not; and yet, according to predestination, these are not sheep, while the others are.

    — Aug Homilies John 10.1-10.

    So for Augustine, the boundaries of the church as God sees it and the church as man sees it are different. He was clear, however, that those who refuse to be in the church visibly are outside of salvation.

    Calvin and Luther both picked this up and distinguished between the church as man sees and the church as God sees.

    I have observed that the Scriptures speak of the Church in two ways. Sometimes when they speak of the Church they mean the Church as it really is before God—the Church into which none are admitted but those who by the gift of adoption are sons of God, and by the sanctification of the Spirit true members of Christ. In this case it not only comprehends the saints who dwell on the earth, but all the elect who have existed from the beginning of the world. Often, too, by the name of Church is designated the whole body of mankind scattered throughout the world, who profess to worship one God and Christ, who by baptism are initiated into the faith; by partaking of the Lord’s Supper profess unity in true doctrine and charity, agree in holding the word of the Lord, and observe the ministry which Christ has appointed for the preaching of it. In this Church there is a very large mixture of hypocrites, who have nothing of Christ but the name and outward appearance: of ambitious, avaricious, envious, evil-speaking men, some also of impurer lives, who are tolerated for a time, either because their guilt cannot be legally established, or because due strictness of discipline is not always observed. Hence, as it is necessary to believe the invisible Church,519 which is manifest to the eye of God only, so we are also enjoined to regard this Church which is so called with reference to man, and to cultivate its communion.

    — Calv Inst 4.1.7

    It is important to note that Calvin did not believe that there was ordinarily salvation outside the visible church.

    For such is the value which the Lord sets on the communion of his Church, that all who contumaciously alienate themselves from any Christian society, in which the true ministry of his word and sacraments is maintained, he regards as deserters of religion. So highly does he recommend her authority, that when it is violated he considers that his own authority is impaired. For there is no small weight in the designation given to her, “the house of God,” “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15). By these words Paul intimates, that to prevent the truth from perishing in the world. the Church is its faithful guardian, because God has been pleased to preserve the pure preaching of his word by her instrumentality, and to exhibit himself to us as a parent while he feeds us with spiritual nourishment, and provides whatever is conducive to our salvation. Moreover, no mean praise is conferred on the Church when she is said to have been chosen and set apart by Christ as his spouse, “not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing” (Eph. 5:27), as “his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Eph. 1:23). Whence it follows, that revolt from the Church is denial of God and Christ.

    — ibid 4.1.10

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  198. @Jeff,

    Thanks. Then is it fair to conclude that the theological term “invisible,” when defining “church” is new with WCF, or shortly before that, even while the concept is seen as early as Augustine? (Personally, i see the idea first used by Cyril of Jerusalem).

    I looked up Calvin, hoping to find what he meant by “often” in his “Often, too, by the name of Church is designated [in Scripture] the whole body of mankind scattered throughout the world…” ktl

    My McNeill edition didn’t have any Scripture refs. I myself do not know of one. If you do, I’d be obligated.

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  199. NOoN,

    In the Baptist world, there are still some who make a rather large deal out of the “invisible” church not being explicitly referenced in Scripture. As far as I know, they are right on this point.

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  200. Zrim: Ali, seems like the Bible wants us to know Jesus resides at the right hand of God.

    in conclusion, Zrim. Amen.
    btw, there is a Jesus ‘standing’ picture here: Rev 5: 6 And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. 7 And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. 8 When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 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.

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  201. NooN: Then is it fair to conclude that the theological term “invisible,” when defining “church” is new with WCF, or shortly before that, even while the concept is seen as early as Augustine?

    Yes. It is also fair to note that Calvin, speaking in the context of a divided church (East/West, then Reformed/nonReformed), chooses between one of two different possible loci of unity.

    For Augustine, the unity of the church is located in the doctrine derived from Scripture (“On the Unity of the Church”, elucidated here.

    For Ignatius, the unity of the church is located in the bishop (“To the Ephesians”).

    When the two patristics wrote, there was no obvious conflict between these two loci. By Calvin’s time, the question had been raised: What if the bishop is in error?

    Calvin goes with Augustine, whereas Rome goes with Ignatius.

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  202. Jeff-

    KiN: Catholics believe and have justification for truths different from the reformed faith. They operate from a different basis of knowledge.

    [JRC:] This doesn’t fully make sense. Protestants have a justification for truths that is a subset of the Catholic justification — namely, the OT less the deuteros and the NT.

    So whether Catholic or Prot looks at the second commandment and says, God has said not to make graven images and bow to them, then either one is operating from truth.

    My point was intentionally general, just that the bases aren’t identical. Your example provides the essential specific difference: the Catholic presumes not all relevant images are graven, and justifies this with reference to CC teachings.

    Perhaps the Prot basis is a subset, and perhaps not (at the moment I lean toward yes). Scripture both records and is an instance of Apostolic-Magisterial teaching (I won’t commit to saying they are identical yet, but they share many essential properties and are causally linked).

    Catholics do believe in “certainty” here, although my thoughts are in progress as to how this works.

    I take it you believe the Peano postulates don’t merely provide a description of the logical operations which take place when we do arithmetic (and a complete one at that), but that they therefore (by virtue of their completeness?) make less-than-certain our arithmetic knowledge. Am I correct?

    Do even basic logical operations (as fundamental as we can determine) not warrant certainty?

    Is the justification for any knowledge certain?

    Apologies if I am asking you to re-tread ground, just trying to be… ~certain~ as to some basics regarding what you believe.

    They meet the condtion you laid out for conscientious refusal.

    I can accept that that is true in some cases (and habitually assume it), although an evaluation would require reference to invincible ignorance (or not), charity toward the CC, openness to fraternal correction and guidance, sincerity in truth-seeking, and no doubt other factors; and humility in the context of human cognitive limitations, of course, particularly for the non-Popes amongst us.

    In a phrase I don’t expect to be satisfying to you: provided they be “directed by a spirit of generous loyalty to genuine Catholic principles.”

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07790a.htm

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  203. DG-
    Kevin, so a non-RC can judge RC’s on morality but not on truth?

    Well, I said a Shia cleric could judge Catholic theology:

    Everyone has logical and linguistic faculties and can evaluate coherency and entailments. A Shiite cleric can point where a Bishop departs from Catholic theology.

    So you separate theology from morality?

    One is an associated with teaching, the other with leading. Just a conceptual separation, I’m not sure what the perceived problem is.

    Do you really want to do that? Isn’t that what the Enlightenment did?

    Who, for example, and with regard to what in particular?

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  204. Kevin, the Enlightenment (Kant) separated theology from ethics so that the West could have Christian virtues without the muss of dogma. You seem to be peddling a version of that, which would seem to make Jesus the teacher of ethics independent of Jesus the savior. And that’s how liberal Protestants sought to save Christianity.

    So you seem to be seeking to save the authority of the clergy by a similar route.

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  205. DG-

    Kevin, the Enlightenment (Kant) separated theology from ethics so that the West could have Christian virtues without the muss of dogma.
    The phrase “noble simplicity” comes to my mind – and not with positive connotations. It was every bit a Catholic problem as well.

    You seem to be peddling a version of that, which would seem to make Jesus the teacher of ethics independent of Jesus the savior.
    Jesus taught us ethics so that we might play the role he has ordained for us in the salvation of those souls which are to be saved.

    I take natural law to entail knowledge of ethical truths, and those truths to be open to all, believer and non-believer (which is a key 2k position, no? Van Drunen is a strong defender of natural law being at the heart of the Reformed tradition).

    Theological propositions can be argued over by anyone interested, just as they can argue philosophy. They need simply learn the vocabulary and conceptual relations inherent in the system.

    But neither the faithful follower of natural law (e.g., a “noble pagan” or “noble savage”) nor someone who can sophistically argue within a theological system is a Christian because of it. We don’t know their hearts, God can save through extraordinary measures, etc.- but in the normal course of things, we have no reason to think they would be saved.

    And that’s how liberal Protestants sought to save Christianity.
    I see why such a position would be of concern to you, then, although I’m not seeing how it follows from what I wrote.

    So you seem to be seeking to save the authority of the clergy by a similar route.
    I’m trying to save the authority of the clergy by downplaying theology? I don’t follow.

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  206. Kevin, you distinguished the bishops’ ethics from their teaching. You said it was okay to judge them for the scandal. But you also said or seemed to that the morality didn’t undermine their dogmatic authority.

    So there is the distinction between morality and theology to which I’m responding.

    And that seems like a liberal Protestant/Enlightenment move because the authority to teach dogma also involves teaching morality. Plus, Christian morality flows from theology. (Natural law is a side issue.) The decalogue begins with “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt.”

    Like

  207. @Jeff

    Calvin goes with Augustine, whereas Rome goes with Ignatius.

    Tidy 😉

    You probably know but Ignatius’ comments on bishops are antilegomena (spoken against) due to “recent” discoveries. I think wikipedia details it, but it has to do with the discovery of his letters in the Syriac missing most of the strong bishop-centric comments (read Rome-centric).

    But even if, for ignatius the “catholic” was in no way geographically dispersed (as per Cyril of jerusalem, and Augustine following), but located city by city in which only one group of genuine Christians exists, as per Cyprian. Only after that are they identified by a bishop.

    Both Ignatius and Augustine were responding to the problems of defining and preventing schism in their respective times, defining schism according to “church” as they interpreted it.

    When David King wrote the comment at Greenbaggins you linked me to (thank you) Augustine’s “On the Unity of the Church” was yet untranslated. Here’s a link to a translation, recently done, if interested:

    http://www.christiantruth.com/deunitate.html

    in which Augustine proves, among other things, how the bitumen which sealed Noah’s ark both inside and outside signifies charity, and not, as those vile Donatists say, baptism. Thrilling stuff.

    Augustine’s chief argument in the document? Not Scripture, but this: there are more catholic churches in the world than Donatist churches. So there. And then there is his calling Donatus to the king of Tyre in Ezek. 28, i.e., Satan, b/c Tyre can also be called Carthage, the city of Donatus.

    So, Augustine cites Scripture and not an alleged succession of bishops from the apostles to defend Rome centered catholicism. He definitely shows a baseline commitment to Scripture as the authoritative word of God.

    At the same time, his interpretations do us no favors. Any 1st year seminary student would be flunked out Hermeneutics 101 doing with Scripture what he does.

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  208. NOON,

    Any 1st year seminary student would be flunked out Hermeneutics 101 doing with Scripture what he does.

    And, I might add, in RC seminaries as well. At least the ones that teach exegesis. RC scholarship has moved so far beyond allegory that it’s not even funny.

    Most of the RCs I’ve talked to here don’t see that.

    Like

  209. @Robert,

    Augustine’s prolixity makes the most long-winded puritans look like Twitter feeders, too.

    And his front end loading on his enemies would make a Luther blush.

    Like

  210. tlm-

    What I do is play my d’amore in a church worship band occasionally. Yes, you heard that right. 🙂 My husband, a clarinetist, and I play in a local Christian orchestra for special events, like Christmas and Easter.

    It is great indeed to be able to play with family for the benefit of the community. Christmas, Easter, and other occasions my wife (soprano+organ) and I (tenor) typically do a Portuguese-Spanish-English-Latin mix of hymns at a nearby parish. Most weeks we sing together at our parish (English/Latin mix of hymns), although she’s been covering an Italian Mass recently leaving me with the baby (who contributes his own vocalizations).

    We have instruments (strings, horns, sometimes timpani) for major feast days – in the Austrian or Neapolitan (e.g., Francesco Durante) tradition, I suppose, which continued to use instruments even after a strong Papal recommendation that only organ & voice be used.

    I wish in all cases there were a stronger grounding in the musical traditions designated for the liturgy – i.e., hymns are ok, but what I’d like to see is a resurgence of interest in the actual melodies of the propers (introit-gradual-offertory-communion, found in the Roman Gradual, the official music book of the CC). If people need to have them in the vernacular, Sam Weber has done a great job keeping fidelity to the melodies (as opposed to simplifying them, a la the Simple English Propers project).

    I also don’t see why some couldn’t be used by Western Rite-descended non-Catholics- e.g. Alice Parker’s book of chant in English. The texts are mostly from the psalms.

    I used to do a great deal of chant singing (mostly Liber Usualis-based and Solesmes-style, although I’m more interested in Dominique Vellard’s semiologically-based work)- Mass, Vespers, Tenebrae- will do so again at some point.

    Heinz Holliger recorded Bach’s BWV1055a Oboe d’amore Concerto in A

    Thanks for the link- it’s on my list as best-practice performance for oboe (d’amore).

    You might find of interest some of Jordi Savall’s work, E.g., Art of the Fugue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDkJK7mWitI

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  211. DG-

    Kevin, you distinguished the bishops’ ethics from their teaching. You said it was okay to judge them for the scandal. But you also said or seemed to that the morality didn’t undermine their dogmatic authority.

    It’s not clear to me that morality should undermine the ability to teach, except in a general sense that virtues tend to occur together (e.g., once one gets a taste for virtue and learns how to form habits, it becomes more obvious in a variety of areas how to be a better rather than worse person).

    So there is the distinction between morality and theology to which I’m responding.

    A conceptual distinction – economics is distinguishable from history, but obviously the two are necessarily intertwined. Or physics and biology. I don’t think what you’re looking for is in what I wrote.

    However, I appreciate your concern, as I certainly don’t want to either advocate or seem to advocate that Christian morality and theology are unrelated.

    And that seems like a liberal Protestant/Enlightenment move because the authority to teach dogma also involves teaching morality. Plus, Christian morality flows from theology. (Natural law is a side issue.) The decalogue begins with “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt.”

    One can teach morality effectively without practicing it – whether through weakness or in duplicity. Much of the richness (and tragedy) of human experience is built upon this tension, in ways small and large, no?

    Agreed, Christian morality flows from theology.

    I take Christian morality to encompass natural morality (at least as a general rule), but to be distinguished from it in various ways, most importantly that it involves acts performed in conscious (or intermittently conscious and ideally habitual) obedience to God’s Word (Logos), in recognition of his role as Creator and Christ’s role as Redeemer. Obviously it is broader, including as well a duty to worship, etc.

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  212. Kevin, “It’s not clear to me that morality should undermine the ability to teach”

    It’s pretty clear to Protestants because it sure looks like it was clear to Paul (instructions to Timothy). Then again, Rome never seemed to understand how the trappings of the episcopacy were alienating all sorts of people.

    I know of a Protestant minister where it became clear that he had lied about allegations of sexual misconduct. The deceit got him removed from ministry even before they discovered whether he was guilty of adultery. That’s what reformed according to the word ministry looks like. You seem to make excuses for immorality.

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  213. DG-

    Kevin, “It’s not clear to me that morality should undermine the ability to teach”

    It’s pretty clear to Protestants because it sure looks like it was clear to Paul (instructions to Timothy). Then again, Rome never seemed to understand how the trappings of the episcopacy were alienating all sorts of people.

    I know of a Protestant minister where it became clear that he had lied about allegations of sexual misconduct. The deceit got him removed from ministry even before they discovered whether he was guilty of adultery. That’s what reformed according to the word ministry looks like. You seem to make excuses for immorality.

    I’d distinguish “ability” and “suitability” – by all means suspend someone who is engaged in scandalous behavior. Or let them (in the sense of “may they,” optative mood) step down. That’s good discipline, falling under the CC’s duty to lead / maintain order.

    As you report this particular case, it looks like it may be a good example to follow.

    Making excuses? The last great leaders of the CC were Blessed Pius IX, Leo XIII, and Pope St. Pius X; these were extraordinary men. Every Pope should seek to be a saint through appropriate leadership (attaining sanctity by carrying out their duties well); insofar as Bishops do not lead well, it is a grave failing.

    And yes, the faithful can stand in judgment here- in a way appropriate to their role in the Church.

    As an aside, this whole modern issue of “right to judge” has always seemed bizarre to me. Judging (in the sense of evaluating something and formulating judgments) is just what human minds do. The question of rights (and much more importantly, duties) comes when one considers what one is to do as a result of these judgments.

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  214. “It’s not clear to me that morality should undermine the ability to teach, except in a general sense that virtues tend to occur together…”

    This is really surprising in light of the pastoral epistles.

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  215. KiN: the Catholic presumes not all relevant images are graven, and justifies this with reference to CC teachings.

    Right. Or CVDs somewhat different defense, that the prohibition against bowing to images is subordinate to the command to have no other gods.

    So here, you would say that Scripture’s meaning is determined (epistemologically, not ontologically) by church teaching, right? More specifically, you would say that my argument

    The church teaches Y (it is permissible to bow to statues and pray to the saints so represented)
    The Bible teaches X (do not make images and bow)
    Therefore church teaching is falsified by the Biblical teaching

    Is incorrect because in fact, the Bible does not teach X, as known by virtue of church teaching.

    Yes?

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  216. SDB, JRC-

    Thanks for the replies, but what I really think might be profitable for whole “certainty” discussion is if you could share your thoughts on is these questions I posted above (on Monday, originally addressed to Jeff):

    Catholics do believe in “certainty” here, although my thoughts are in progress as to how this works.

    [1)] I take it you believe the Peano postulates don’t merely provide a complete description of the logical operations which take place when we do arithmetic, but that they therefore make less-than-certain our arithmetic knowledge. Am I correct?

    [2)] Do even basic logical operations (as fundamental as we can determine) not warrant certainty?

    [3)] Is the justification for any knowledge certain?

    What I’m trying to figure out is whether you would:
    4) believe all knowledge is empirical, subject to testability and falsification;
    5) acknowledge the existence of a priori truths,
    6) class propositional statements of them as instances of knowledge or would instead along with many/most/all positivists deny they say anything substantive, but are merely definitional.

    Even after all the comments on the other thread (which I didn’t get a chance to study closely before it crashed), I don’t think it has been made clear what you mean by the most basic terms of the debate. I have thoughts of my own, but I’m not sure how to put them without additional clarity.

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  217. Kevin:

    Wow, so this could get huge, and we probably don’t have time for huge. This is a thumbnail sketch.

    The first thing to keep in mind is that during that entire discussion, I was using the word “certain” as Mermaid was, meaning “infallibly certain” or “not subject to any possibility of error.”

    My point in that discussion is that even if we grant the Magisterium the ability to make such statements (which I grant is logically possible, given that I think the authors of Scripture did so), then the Catholic believer still does not have access to such statements.

    At best, he or she has access to fallible copies and translations of such statements. In which case, Mermaids quest for infallibly certain doctrine (“Mermaid-certainty”) is doomed to failure.

    BUT

    If she is willing to accept varying degrees of certainty, then she could still hold to church teaching — even possibly with a high degree of certainty — albeit provisionally. Ironically, my proposal tries to rescue a meaningful concept of “certainty” for her.

    That was unacceptable to her, so *shrug*. If she wants infallible certainty for her own personal beliefs, she can’t have it.

    In real life, I use the word “certain” to mean “anything with a negligible chance of failure.” (Cagle-certainty) What counts as negligible depends on the application. If I have time, I’ll give an interesting example below.

    To your questions:

    (1) The Peano axioms (which I just threw out as an example of down-to-the-metal axioms that undergird math) are not complete, in the sense that not all true statements about arithmetic can be proven. In other words, there are necessarily undecidable propositions (or questions) in arithmetic. Google for “undecidable questions in arithmetic” if interested.

    This feature is not limited to Peano axioms, but to any logical system (see Goedel).

    Further, saying that arithmetic depends on the Peano axioms does not make arithmetic un-Cagle-certain but it does make arithmetic un-Mermaid-certain.

    (2) Two caveats.

    First, logic does not give certain truth. Rather, logic is certainly truth preserving. — if give true premises, logic will deliver true conclusions. But the maxim still obtains, “Garbage in, garbage out.” The argument

    If Bruce thinks he is a woman, then he is a woman
    Bruce thinks he is a woman
    Therefore Bruce is a woman

    is logically valid. But does it deliver a true conclusion? Your mileage may vary…

    The second caveat is that any given instance of logic use is not certain, because we cannot be certain that the logician has correctly done his work.

    Here is the interesting example. In crypto, we want large primes to form our public and private keys. One way to test a number for primality (other than factoring, which is a Hard Problem) is the Miller-Rabin test. If you test a number properly k times and get “probably prime” with Miller Rabin, then the probability that the number is prime is no worse than 1 – 4^(-k). For example, after 30 successful tests, your probability of being not-prime is around 10^-18.

    BUT

    If you keep on testing many many times and continue to get “probably prime”, Miller-Rabin ceases to be useful for a really weird reason. It turns out that the probability of computer glitches (flipped bits) is around 10^-13 or so. So if you keep testing an actual prime and KEEP GETTING “probably prime” without a glitch, then that’s evidence that your testing code is probably wrong.

    Very, very interesting. It shows clearly the distinction between certainty in the method (logic is truth-preserving) and uncertainty in the individual (no-one, even a computer, can be disciplined so as to be perfectly logical).

    (3) Knowledge of tautologies may be taken as Mermaid-certain. “not (A and not A)”, the Law of Non-Contradiction, is true.

    Beyond that, our knowledge depends either on inductively interpreted empirical observations OR on axioms we take as true and then reason to conclusions using logic.

    The Mermaid-certainty of the axioms cannot be proven logically, nor can the validity of our empirical observations and inferences therefrom.

    So … no Mermaid-certainty for any knowledge that is not tautological. Mermaid, if she were consistent, should grant that she has no way of knowing that bats will not fly out her nose.

    For better or worse, she is inconsistent.

    However, large classes of justification can be Cagle-certain. I am certain (probability of error is negligible) that bats will not fly out my nose.

    (4) No. “God exists” is not empirically verifiable in the sense of having a well-calibrated God-o-meter.

    (5,6) Yes. The law of non-contradiction is one. Further, as a realist (correspondence theory), I would say that there are a large number of a priori truths — namely, all facts that are true — but we don’t have infallible certainty of most of them.

    For instance, I have Cagle-certainty that “objects dropped near the surface of the earth will fall”, and I believe it to be a true statement about what obtains in the real world (and not just a result of language games). The probability of failure of that statement is well below 10^-100 (taking away “gotcha” scenarios involving extraneous forces).

    I don’t have Mermaid-certainty about that same statement, because it is based on inductive reasoning.

    I am definitely not a positivist about the state of affairs in the real world.

    I *am* a positivist about mathematics. That is, math tells us what our axioms entail. It does not tell us one way or another about the truth of our axioms, aside from pointing out contradictions. The question of the truth of the axioms is really a question about the accuracy of our models, which is an empirical question.

    A good example of what I’m talking about is Euclid’s 5th Postulate (given here in Playfair’s form): For every point P not on a line L, there is exactly one line through P parallel to L.

    For centuries — through the 19th century in fact — this was believed true in the real world and in fact considered by many to be potentially provable.

    Gauss, Lobachevsky, and others discovered that in fact, it is entirely possible to do geometry by assuming that Euclid 5 is false. Riemann showed that the postulate For every point P not on a line L, there are no lines through P parallel to L is the geometry of the surface of a sphere, while Lobachevsky showed that the postulate For every point P not on a line L, there are more than one lines through P parallel to L is the geometry of the surface of a hyperbolic paraboloid.

    Which of these versions of the Parallel Postulate correctly models the world? Current evidence suggests Riemann’s, but this could change — it’s a matter of empirical observation.

    So math tells us what our assumptions mean, only. It cannot tell us the truth of those assumptions. And even if a contradiction is reached, math cannot tell us which of two contradictory assumptions is the false one.

    Hence, math really is one large language game.

    Does that answer your questions?

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  218. Jeff, you are a masterful teacher. Thanks for all your posts. Well done! (I love the 80% that I can grasp, and love learning and thinking about the other 20% that is above my pay grade.)

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  219. Jeff,

    NEVER in my life did I EVER think that I would care at all about *any* of Euclid’s postulates. Thanks for making me care (slightly) about Euclid’s 5th in your incredibly insightful comment.

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  220. Robert and Brandon, you guys are solid scholars and writers, too. Many thanks for your posts as well.

    CW and Muddy win the coveted prize of wittiest and funniest.

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  221. And, Kevin, while I’m at it, let me applaud you for writing so thoughtfully and provocatively. Hope you stay engaged here. This place is better when you’re in the OL living room.

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  222. DGH, you win, going away, hands-down, the honorary Jonathan-Edwards-TKNY-provocateur-extraordinaire award. Congrats.

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  223. Kevin in Newark
    Posted January 6, 2016 at 8:01 am | Permalink
    tlm-

    What I do is play my d’amore in a church worship band occasionally. Yes, you heard that right. 🙂 My husband, a clarinetist, and I play in a local Christian orchestra for special events, like Christmas and Easter.

    Kevin:
    It is great indeed to be able to play with family for the benefit of the community. Christmas, Easter, and other occasions my wife (soprano+organ) and I (tenor) typically do a Portuguese-Spanish-English-Latin mix of hymns at a nearby parish. Most weeks we sing together at our parish (English/Latin mix of hymns), although she’s been covering an Italian Mass recently leaving me with the baby (who contributes his own vocalizations).>>>

    Cool. Sounds like fun. How old is your baby?

    Kevin:
    I used to do a great deal of chant singing (mostly Liber Usualis-based and Solesmes-style, although I’m more interested in Dominique Vellard’s semiologically-based work)- Mass, Vespers, Tenebrae- will do so again at some point.>>>>>

    That sounds wonderful, Kevin. I know nothing about liturgical music. It is so beautiful.

    Heinz Holliger recorded Bach’s BWV1055a Oboe d’amore Concerto in A

    Kevin:
    Thanks for the link- it’s on my list as best-practice performance for oboe (d’amore).>>>>

    Holliger is one of those musicians who is in a league of his own.

    Kevin:
    You might find of interest some of Jordi Savall’s work, E.g., Art of the Fugue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDkJK7mWitI>>>>

    Thanks for the suggestion.

    Like

  224. Jeff:
    At best, he or she has access to fallible copies and translations of such statements. In which case, Mermaids quest for infallibly certain doctrine (“Mermaid-certainty”) is doomed to failure.>>>>

    Are you substituting “reliable” for “infallible”? If you are , then you need to say so.

    Are you saying that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is based on reliable information or that it is based on infallible information?

    If so, is this standard WCF compliant teaching? The WCF states clearly that Scripture alone is the only infallible rule of faith and practice. Reliable is not the same as infallible.

    Please clarify.

    Infallible
    1.
    absolutely trustworthy or sure:
    an infallible rule.
    2.
    unfailing in effectiveness or operation; certain:
    an infallible remedy.
    3.
    not fallible; exempt from liability to error, as persons, their judgment, or pronouncements:
    an infallible principle.
    4.
    Roman Catholic Church. immune from fallacy or liability to error in expounding matters of faith or morals by virtue of the promise made by Christ to the Church.
    noun
    5.
    an infallible person or thing.

    Like

  225. Jeff:
    “…even if we grant the Magisterium the ability to make such statements (which I grant is logically possible, given that I think the authors of Scripture did so)”>>>>

    Then, that’s that.

    Like

  226. The Little Mermaid
    Posted January 8, 2016 at 10:20 pm | Permalink
    Jeff:
    “…even if we grant the Magisterium the ability to make such statements (which I grant is logically possible, given that I think the authors of Scripture did so)”>>>>

    Then, that’s that.

    Jeff Cagle
    Posted January 8, 2016 at 10:30 pm | Permalink
    How so?>>>>

    The Catholic argument is valid. The important thing is the ontological question of whether Christ left a Church behind that the Spirit guides. You admit that if true, that Church would necessarily be capable of infallibility.

    It doesn’t matter if you personally believe it to be true or not.

    Christ has left a Church behind that is Spirit-guided. See Mt. 16:13-20, Ephesians 4:1ff, John 17, Acts 1,2, etc.

    She is also visible all the time, not just sometimes more and sometimes less.

    Like

  227. Dear Mermaid,

    You’ve only just begun…

    Even when we grant for the sake of argument that it is possible for the church to make infallible statements (and I *have* granted this possibility in all discussions with CVD), that fact doesn’t help you

    You can’t have epistemic certainty of the type you insist on.

    Why not? Because you don’t have infallible copies of infallible translations of those infallible statements. And even if you did, you don’t have infallible understanding.

    So when you say, “the church teaches X”, there is a chance (albeit possibly small) that you are mistaken. It may be that you have misunderstood, or that X in Latin has a different meaning, or that the original has been corrupted.

    Accordingly, you cannot claim certainty for any of the beliefs you hold.

    Notice that this is true EVEN IF we grant the Catholic argument. In reality, the Catholic claim to ex cathedra infallibility is weak.

    Like

  228. Mermaid, “The important thing is the ontological question of whether Christ left a Church behind that the Spirit guides.”

    What you haven’t shown is that it is possible that Christ left behind a fallible church that the Spirit guides. Just because you want an infallible church, or because bishops of Rome had to concoct the theory to assert their status in 13th century European politics, doesn’t make it so.

    In fact, what we see in the pages of Scripture is a very fallible people of God — one that the Spirit still led.

    You want to live in the Land of Chocolate. Even Homer Simpson didn’t believe in that.

    Like

  229. Petros,

    Thanks. And I echo your comments about Jeff and Brandon, as well as CW and Muddy. I especially appreciate CW’s provision of Reformed Infotainment.

    Like

  230. Jeff:
    Notice that this is true EVEN IF we grant the Catholic argument. In reality, the Catholic claim to ex cathedra infallibility is weak.>>>>

    Who are the “we”? We Catholics do grant the Catholic argument. The Holy Spirit is not weak.

    So, it is clear from Scripture that Jesus did leave behind a Church that is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and led by the Holy Spirit into all truth. If it is not the Catholic Church, what church is it?

    Your argument against ex cathedra infallibility is weak. In the first place, you need to show an understanding of what that entails.

    It does not mean that everything a pope says is infallible or even true.

    There are only 2 ex cathedra pronouncements. That’s it. Both of them were already well established Church teachings that go back about as far in Church history as we can go.

    That is not all there is to the concept of infallibility. It is not all about ex cathedra pronouncements.

    Do you mean ex cathedra pronouncements or infallibility in general? They are related, but not exactly the same. Ex cathedra pronouncements are a small part of the Church’s teaching on infallibility.

    Are you talking about how I as an individual know that the Church is being led by the Spirit?

    Are you talking about how the Church knows she is being led by the Spirit?

    What are you addressing? The individual’s understanding and knowledge, or the fact that Christ left behind a Church that is Spirit led? Whether I understand or believe it or not, the Church is still led by the Spirit.

    If you accept sola scriptura, then you have to accept the fact that Christ left behind something called the Church that is indwelt and led by the Spirit. Whether or not any given individual believes it is not the primary factor.

    So, what do you mean? You need to separate one from the other – the truth of Scripture about the nature of the Body of Christ – His Bride, the one for whom He died – from an individual’s grasp of that truth. I don’t see that you have done that.

    Like

  231. Jeff,

    “And even if you did, you don’t have infallible understanding.”

    Nor did those followers under Christ or the Apostles in NT times. So did their authority/ability (that they also claimed) give their followers no epistemic advantage or “certainty for the beliefs they hold” or surer grounding than followers under those bodies/systems that lacked that type of authority/ability (and rejected claims to such authority/ability)?

    Like

  232. MWF,

    Yesterday I went looking for a video of Tom Howard( brother of Elizabeth Elliot) in order to hear a contended version of his conversion to the Catholic Church. I found one, and in it he says something about Protestantism by it’s nature tending towards liberalism. That made me “think” as so I chewed on that for awhile to seen if I could understand what he meant( and of he was correct) since he didn’t unpack his thought enough( for me) during that interview.
    It makes since though since there is, within protestantism, no universal spirit.except either holding onto an older more traditional form ( conservativism) or moving along with the mainline that has become more political than dogmatic.
    If you stay with, or join ( of you have been part of a more left leaning denomination) than you can find a home with.the OPC, but only thing is this means betraying the one time tradition of the Methodist or Episcopal ( or numerous others) who used to be more theologically conservative too. There’s no sign over the door of the OPC that say’s ” here is the church”. Denomination is in its DNA( a thing contrary to mystical body of Christ), so it will only hold steady course if those who guild don’t join the interdenomination mainline for one reason or another, and sell the whole farm this decade or the next.

    This is a long article but worth the read. It makes me understand Darryl’s respect and loyalty to Machen, but that won’t solve the problem if his form of Christianity isn’t the true form. It’s no safer to grant that the OPC is theological sound than it is to grant that what came before it wasn’t.

    Anyways more stuff to think on.

    Like

  233. Darryl,

    Just want to make clear that I am not pointing my finger at the lineage of one particular denomination; as MWF says…there’s too much to be respected and thankful for in the thought and uprightness of many protestant men, men who are pillars of society.
    The only way I can point fingers is by comparing “what protestantism believes” in light of the dogma of the Catholic Church, and even then I don’t point fingers at any “particular”denomination, but rather protestantism as a phenomenon.

    Just so you understand.

    Here’s the video that got me thinking:)

    Like

  234. I just realized that I just summarized Joseph Bottom’s ( and maybe Tocqueville’s?…..I never finished his whole book) point in my last comment.

    Again, Darryl, I’m not intending to argue.I’m just presenting the things that presented themselves to me.We can both read and come to different conclusions. Such is democracy.

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  235. A Different Dan,

    Did you read that whole article?! It took me two hours( many interruptions). It was good, don’t you think?
    I will read the one you linked too.

    To be clear though, my point is not to lament the descent into modernism( it’s awful though), but to try to discuss the cause of it.
    Maybe the article you linked addresses this.

    To be continued…

    Btw, hope you are still doing well!

    Like

  236. D. G. Hart
    Posted January 9, 2016 at 9:10 am | Permalink
    Mermaid, “The important thing is the ontological question of whether Christ left a Church behind that the Spirit guides.”

    What you haven’t shown is that it is possible that Christ left behind a fallible church that the Spirit guides. Just because you want an infallible church, or because bishops of Rome had to concoct the theory to assert their status in 13th century European politics, doesn’t make it so.

    In fact, what we see in the pages of Scripture is a very fallible people of God — one that the Spirit still led.

    You want to live in the Land of Chocolate. Even Homer Simpson didn’t believe in that.>>>>>

    If the Lord left behind a fallible church, then there can be no such thing as defining heresy. Each man, woman, young person, and child can make up whatever they want to and call it a church. No one can say that they are wrong, either. Or, worse yet, everyone can tell everyone else that they are wrong.

    Which is what Protestantsim is and does. In fact, you have no way of even knowing what NT Scripture and apostolic teaching are.

    Why would the Holy Spirit lead the Church one way for 1,500 years, and then through men like Calvin and Luther tell them that the Church has been wrong for most of that time?

    That is what a fallible church looks like. It looks like all the things you don’t even like in Protestantism. I really don’t think that Jesus meant to leave behind a fallible Church.

    Yes, a Church that needs correction at times. Yes, a Church that is full of fallen human beings. However, there has to be a core of infallibility to hold things together.

    Like

  237. Susan, “he says something about Protestantism by it’s nature tending towards liberalism”

    So how do you explain the Pope’s video included in today’s post?

    Protestants aren’t stupid, you know.

    Like

  238. Dan,

    Whenever I’m reading or listening to Catholic apologetics or something in think pertinent to the conversation here, I think to myself, ” oh, that might be good to bring to the OT!”, but when I do, it feels like I keep hitting a wall.
    I mean, I throw in something and you throw in something and so on and so on…….the project seems hopeless.

    I realize that Darryl, has probably been reading First Things longer than I and had probably already seen this article, but there’s always the chance I introduced something new, or something that deserves being revisted at the current time.

    I’ll read what you linked, my friend, but I will also try like the dickens to refrain from joining in.
    This is fun and informative, but also highly time consuming and frustrating.

    Wish you the best always,

    Susan

    Like

  239. Susan, I have previously read the Bottom piece. Note he wrote in 2008, with Evangelical Bush in the White House, Hollinger was interviewed in 2012 with Mainline Obama in the White House. Hard to handicap this years election, but Mainline Methodist Clinton (despite her flirtation with Doug Coe) has a good chance of continuing the run.

    There are two Mainline Churches within 5 minutes of where I live, driving in different directions. Both are active, vibrant congregations. Downtown, where I go to Church, the picture is more mixed. We are distinctively not Mainline, but all the others are. A couple are doing OK, I think the others are just hanging on until the real estate developers can buy them out. All I can figure is that liberals need a place to go to Church, too.

    That when they get there, the religion they hear wouldn’t meet Machen’s (or mine) definition of Christianity , I will freely grant. But the victory of liberal theology was complete, at the denominational level, many decades ago.it just took a long time to sort out the people in the pews

    I know you will not agree, but that theology took over your communion, too. I don’t see any point in arguing about what changed, and didn’t change, at VII. To me, and every cradle Catholic I know who is serious about their faith, the changes were and are obvious. (Some lean more traditional, some are more or less on board with the changes, but the older ones particularly are aware that the changes were obvious and dramatic.). Again, this has been discussed ad infinitum here and elsewhere.

    The more interesting question to me is how Churches deal with the loss of social prestige, cultural influence and political power that has already happened and is not yet complete. Some of my neo-Anabaptist friends think that is a good thing. Rod Dreher thinks the Benedict Option is the only refuge. I think the Church needs to focus on caring for souls and helping our neighbors right at our doorstep and not worry so much.

    I have been on a couple of new medications since just before Thanksgiving, and I feel they have really helped. If things were much better, I would almost be flourishing ☺ Thanks for your kind wishes.

    Like

  240. Mermaid, “If the Lord left behind a fallible church, then there can be no such thing as defining heresy.”

    Have you read Judges?

    “‘THERE HAS TO BE’ an Israel different than that!!!! Please God make it so (so that my conversion will still make sense to mmmmeeeeEEEEE)”

    Why not act like you’ve been a disciple of Christ before now?

    Like

  241. Dan, glad to hear you’re feeling better, but flourishing — with death on the horizon for all of us — is never an option, unless Jesus returns.

    Lord, come quickly.

    Like

  242. Susan, I had not seen your post of 9:16 when I replied re: the Bottom piece. I don’t want to in any way denigrate the worth of it, First Things (which I subscribed to for many years until Neuhaus died), or your interest in the point of view you find worthy of discussion.

    The point of my linking to the Christian Century piece was twofold:
    (1) Hollinger is one of the few reputable scholars who challenge the triumphalism of the typical Evangelical way of telling the Protestant post WW II story;

    (2) In my opinion, neither “side” has dealt very well with modernity, and the more important question is how to deal with the world, and particularly the country, we find ourselves in now.

    Besides, the Christian Century piece is short. ☺

    Like

  243. I’m not gonna say the bow tie was the give away. Nope not gonna say it. Not me. Not saying it. This is me not saying the bow tie told the whole story. Not doing it.

    Now the jacket, the jacket talks. And the jacket with the bow tie is a parade.

    Like

  244. Dan,

    Your views are straight forward and I appreciate your ecumenical ( or is it just gentlemanly). Either way you would be invited into my living room, good sir.

    However, I don’t see how protestantism can fix our our broken ecclesial relationship, in American the world.
    From your point of view Catholicism isn’t something we can unite under even though you grant that I have one particular communion that is different than all of protestantism. Iow’s how can protestantism even unite itself?
    You might not like or agree with the Catholic Church, but you recognize that it is unique. So if it has liberalism in its ranks, you see that the n ranks are in one body, correct?

    Darryl,

    (fingers in my ears) lalalalalala! He’s very learned and debonair. A real gentleman. Stop it.

    Like

  245. Susan, how unique is this?

    Wolff’s intention, Osborne tells her class, was to increase the education level of sisters teaching in Catholic schools. “But the school’s very existence was so radical that it ended up laying the groundwork for the first generation of academically trained Catholic women theologians,” she notes.

    Wolff’s story reveals the ingenuity, persistence and vision of a pioneering nun. It also is a testament to education and the way women have been and are continuing to change the face of Catholicism.

    We’re all moderns now. What made Rome unique was it’s opposition to modernity. If you want that kind of pre-vatican II RC’sm, you’re not going to get the unity you desire.

    Like

  246. “Susan, did you know that Tom Howard was not exactly straight?”

    Dr. Hart, I wish you the best, really I do, but this comment makes me wonder how I could have hung around here as long as I have.

    As for your last comment. No, simply untrue.

    Like

  247. Susan,

    I don’t mean to be flippant or short, but I am a Baptist, for over 50 years now. My ecclesiology is limited to the Church I attend. That does not preclude my being a good neighbor, and I do care about other folks’ Churches because I try to love my neighbor.

    I recognize that my views about the universal Church, invisible versus visible Church, etc. would be distinctly in the minority among the posters here, Catholic and Reformed, and I have never tried to argue for them here, and I won’t start now, but I do know why I believe what I believe on the subject. (As I may have mentioned before, I find DGH’s views on 2k congenial and of current use in my own Church as the baleful influence of folks like Keller keeps us on our toes, so that is why I keep coming.)

    I will take your kind personal remarks to mean that you think I am a gentleman. ☺

    Like

  248. @cvd who was better off epistemically: Judas who heard from God the Son directly or the gentile God fearer who came to believe the gospel after hearing it from an insincere preacher outside the church?

    Like

  249. Hello again Dan,

    A Baptist for fifty-years, that’s stability! 🙂

    I am almost 50 yrs old and I didn’t have that. Maybe it would have made a difference to my life if I would have had more of that myself. No, I’m sure it would have, but the ecclesial landscape would have still been there for me to contend with.
    But then the confusion was long before me. It was a mess before our great great great great grandfathers were born.
    My quest for truth would still have taken me on my journey, but at least I would have had some theological grounding.
    I was baptized in a Southern Baptised church in Alabama. Later, after I returned to the south from California, I saw signs around for the “Primitive”Baptist church. That conjured up pictures of old “quietists” sitting on long bone gray splintered benches being, primitive. My imagination included a big King James bible, but the real primitive apostolic church wouldn’t have had a complete bible.
    What was a primitive Baptist anyway, where did they.come from and how do I know that they are right?
    Then I started listening to Garrison Keiller and he’d talk about the Methodists and the Lutherans.
    I didn’t know who was right, but for the first time I started doubting that I was. It could he the other guy,since they also have a bible.
    Also was the realization that I could have been born a Methodist, a Lutheran, a Baptist, a Mormon, or a even a Catholic. Were we all Christian? How to know who was right, seriously plagued me.

    That was not your dilemma, but it was mine, and it was very scary.

    Anyways, that’s all past now and I am relieved and happy. Very pleased to hear that your medications are helping.
    I wish you a long long healthy life, and many more blessings. We all have about 80 yrs, give or take a few, and then the Lord returns for each of us. God is good to have given is life at all. May none of us waste another minute!

    Like

  250. Susan, that was an interesting article kind of summarizing the history of Protestantism in America.

    At this point in time, the religious left – which is made up mostly of aging baby boomers from mainline denominations who still have lots of political power – is quite strong. Don’t know how long that will last.

    Does Protestantism tend towards modernism? Hmmm. It does in the mainline churches. It’s still kind of a mixed bag, though. I’m not sure how long the Evangelical elements in the mainline churches will be able to hold out. I’m not sure how long Evangelicalism itself will be able to stay Evangelical.

    As Wheaton goes, so goes Evangelicalism it seems to me.

    It’s a weird age we’re living in.

    Like

  251. D. G. Hart
    Posted January 9, 2016 at 9:21 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, “If the Lord left behind a fallible church, then there can be no such thing as defining heresy.”

    Have you read Judges?

    “‘THERE HAS TO BE’ an Israel different than that!!!! Please God make it so (so that my conversion will still make sense to mmmmeeeeEEEEE)”

    Why not act like you’ve been a disciple of Christ before now?>>>>

    I would love to respond to this, but I’m just a stupid Catholic now so I have no idea what you even mean. You are a Dr. and have studied in big, fancy universities. You win.

    More evidence that I belong in the Catholic Church.

    Like

  252. Sdb,

    If Christ or the Apostles materialized in your room and gave you unlimited time for iterative and definitive, normatively binding discussion, clarification, feedback, judgment on your understanding of divine revelation and truths, would you be in a better, equivalent, or worse epistemic position than you would be under a system rejecting the authority/ability to do so?

    Is a reader with James Joyce sitting next to him offering live commentary and feedback on finnegans wake in a better, equivalent, or less advantageous position regarding their certainty and surety than someone without any commenter or someone with a commenter lacking and rejecting the type of authority/ability Joyce had and would claim regarding his work?

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  253. Mermaid, watch my lips.

    Where do we see an infallible church in the very book you consider infallible (Judges, for instance)? Why do you have a higher standard than God?

    The way you reason, A-Rod being traded from the Yankees to the Twins would be evidence that you belong to the Roman Catholic Church.

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  254. James Young, “Is a reader with James Joyce sitting next to him offering live commentary and feedback on finnegans wake in a better position”

    Is a reader with the pope sitting next to him offering live commentary and feedback on the Bible in a better position”

    Once again, Pope is like the Mormon apostle.

    Except that no one sits next to the pope. Except that popes don’t write commentaries on the Bible. Except that popes speak about climate change and working with Hindus for human flourishing.

    Except James Young is out of touch with the pope he’d like to sit next to.

    Like

  255. Cletus,

    Re: Is it better to have unlimited face to face contact with Jesus.

    Ironically, Jesus said it was better for him to go away. So being able to ask Jesus unlimited clarification questions apparently isn’t better in Jesus’ mind, at least for now anyway.

    Like

  256. DGHart: You want to live in the Land of Chocolate. Even Homer Simpson didn’t believe in that.

    well…, Homer did.. until he awoke….

    brings to mind the counsel for the sleeping; not saying/knowing who is asleep, just that there must be some of, since there is the counsel, and the counsel is mercifully,speaking of the year of mercy

    .. Wake up… Revelation 3:2

    to me, helpful, here: http://www.spiritandtruth.org/teaching/Book_of_Revelation/commentary/htm/chapters/03.html#3.3.2

    Like

  257. Or here helpful to me too: http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/66-11

    ….“Christ is saying the king, the mayor, whoever runs your city might take your name off the list for something you’ve done, but, believe Me, I will never take your name off My list. You see, He’s giving them encouragement, isn’t He?”

    “What do You mean by that? I will affirm that you belong to Me. In the post-Reformation period of 1517 to 1750, the church in terrible acts of excommunication separated souls from the church and consigned them to hell. They got heavy into excommunication. Here the Lord is simply saying…the world may excommunicate you, the dead churches may excommunicate you off their rolls, I will never do that. The Pope’s henchmen stood in the presence of the fearless preacher, Savanna Rolla(??), they said, “I separate you from the church militant and triumphant.” They said that to Savanna Rolla said, “From the church militant, yes. From the church triumphant, no.” You cannot be separated, you cannot be erased. “

    “On October 21, 1517 Martin Luther was excommunicated. Martin Luther’s name was blotted out of the church books. His soul was consigned to everlasting hell and damnation. Jesus is saying, they may take you out of their books, you pure people, you whose garments are not defiled, they may kick you out of their dead church, but I’ll never erase you out of My book.

    “That’s security. Rather, “I will confess your name before My Father and before His angels.” You remember the words of Jesus? “If you confess Me before men,” Matthew 10:32, “I’ll confess you before My Father who is in heaven.”

    “And then the final word in verse 6. “He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” You better listen, you better listen. Now listen very carefully. Are you listening? You dead people who aren’t saved, you’re dead in trespasses and sins? You’re going to be judged, you can’t hide in the church, the Lord knows you, He sees you, He knows your condition, He knows you’re dead, He’s coming in judgment. You indifferent sleepy saints, wake up, strengthen what remains. Remember, reestablish the doctrinal foundation, commit yourself to obey, repent from your sins. That’s the message to Sardis.”

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  258. Susan, I run into folks who tell similar stories on almost a daily basis, certainly weekly. Many are in my Church. I don’t have an all encompassing answer to their search. All I know to offer is Jesus, the friend of sinners, and the Bible.

    Does my boat have epistemological and ontological leaks? Possibly, but I think I know where they might be. I just hope my fears that your boat is carrying too much excess baggage are groundless.

    (I should have added to one of the above posts that I profit from the discussion of Reformed theology that I find here. Any Baptist who knows the history of our Churches knows that some expression or other of Calvinism has never been far off the radar screen, from the very beginning.)

    Like

  259. Well guys,

    I need to focus on job &c. So this will be my last post until after the long winter/spring hibernation season. I wish you all well, including Susan, Mermaid, Cletus, and Tom (“wherever I may find him” — see DGH, I do pop culture), but also my fellow Protestant laborers.

    CVD: Nor did those followers under Christ or the Apostles in NT times. So did their authority/ability (that they also claimed) give their followers no epistemic advantage or “certainty for the beliefs they hold” or surer grounding than followers under those bodies/systems that lacked that type of authority/ability (and rejected claims to such authority/ability)?

    The epistemic advantage you seek (per previous conversation, per memory since thread is dead) is for “followers to be able to place their faith in statements offered as infallible.”

    The followers of Christ had no such ability, for they had to place faith in Christ’s statements as they remembered and understood them.

    Almost weekly, I have the experience of having a student approach me with a question: “Mr Cagle, I didn’t understand __________ in class.” When I look at ___________, it turns out that the student’s notes were incorrect. I know that these notes are incorrect because I have computer record of the classroom experience and can check.

    The moral here is that my statements do not always make it correctly into the notes and memories of students. But when they study, their notes and memories are what they have access to. They don’t have direct access to me.

    Certainly, Christ spoke infallible statements. But his followers had fallible memories, so their “class notes” containing various statements of Christ are fallible. Jesus’ followers did not have the ability to trust Jesus’ statements, but the propositions that they reconstructed from their memories of Jesus’ statements, as interpreted by them.

    So, the propositions they believe are provisionally true (conditioned upon being accurate memories and interpretations of Jesus’ sayings) to use your terminology, or are only 99% likely to be correct to use Mermaid’s terminology.

    Lest you argue that this is a picayune distinction, take note of how many times in the gospels that Jesus’ own disciples misunderstood what He said.

    Then take note of the textual transmission problems with Scripture.

    All of this points out the fact that when the Gospel authors infallibly recorded the words and deeds of Christ, they required the special work of the Spirit to do so.

    What is the conclusion? The “epistemic advantage” as you have defined it is not available to anyone who does not himself have an infallible memory and understanding of Jesus’ infallible sayings.

    Now.

    You may wish to argue in the future for a weaker kind of epistemic advantage, one in which hearing infallible statements increases the likelihood of believing the truth. That would be a really different kind of discussion than the one we’ve been having. In that discussion, you would need to concede that the Protestant is justified in placing faith in statements with a high probability of being infallible.

    But as long as you ding Protestants for believing statements that are provisionally true, as long as Mermaid continues to fuss about 99.99999% not being good enough, then we will continue to point out that you do not the epistemic advantage you want to have. You also believe statements that offered to you as being provisionally true, that have a non-zero probability of error for the simple reason that they are fallible copies of fallible translations of church statements.

    Summary: Jesus’ followers did not have unconditional knowledge of his infallible statements; hence, they did not have the epistemic advantage you require. They could not point at any statement X and say, “X is beyond question infallible”, because they did not know beyond question that X was spoken by Jesus. They could not offer their class notes as unprovisional, infallible truth.

    CVD to SDB: If Christ or the Apostles materialized in your room and gave you unlimited time for iterative and definitive, normatively binding discussion, clarification, feedback, judgment on your understanding of divine revelation and truths, would you be in a better, equivalent, or worse epistemic position than you would be under a system rejecting the authority/ability to do so?

    This question really reveals the weakness of your position. Think of how unrealistic this scenario is.

    (1) No-one in the history of the world has had this opportunity. But we all will someday — that’s called “heaven” (or “the eschaton”). Your question reveals that you want epistemic heaven on earth.

    (2) Related to this, we have to ask why God didn’t work things out as you suggest. Why *did* Jesus leave, so that the Spirit would come? Why in leaving did He not point to the Church as the one who would lead into all truth?

    (3) You assume that iterative processes always converge. This is actually very far from the truth. Google for Convergence issues with Newton’s Method.

    In our case, it is entirely possible that, given infinite time with Jesus, we might still misunderstand because of the limitations of human nature — whether sin nature or lack of omniscience.

    In fact, it is possible that we might misunderstand worse than someone without that time. SDB’s example of Judas is on-point here.

    (4) The fact that you rely on iteration with continual improvement of understanding simply shows that you implicitly agree with the premise of my rebuttal: No individual (unless he has infallible understanding) can point to proposition X and infallibly say, “Thus saith the Lord.” Without that ability, no individual can say that X is offered as infallible. Rather, X is offered on the condition that it is the word of God. X is offered as provisionally true.

    In short, you and Mermaid are in an epistemic pickle because you want too much. You have a “greedy epistemology”, so to speak, in which you are unsatisfied unless you can place faith in statements offered as infallible.

    This greedy epistemology is unrealistic for the reason seen above — without infallible understanding and transmission of statements, you personally cannot point to an infallible proposition X.

    The greedy epistemology is also perilous. It makes you vulnerable to the Cult Peril of placing faith in the teacher with the more extravagant claims.

    This is seen in your stated procedure for finding the true church: First, locate the churches who make claims to infallible authority and dogmatic pronouncements; Next, decide which one has the best claims. This procedure is perilous because it overlooks the possibility that the answer might be none of the above. It overlooks the possibility that the true church might be the one that makes fallible pronouncements, and is seen to be fallible so that the glory of Christ might have no competitor.

    As I depart, I thank you for your patience and persistent attempts to make an argument to a hostile audience. Although we have sparred and will probably do so again in the future, I admire you for making your case without rancor or abuse.

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  260. Good morning Dan,

    I was just reading about the history of the Baptists in England,Europe, and the America’s. There has been many different versions, some with funny names(“Old two-seed ( Manachean)Baptists, “Dunkards” “Coloured”, “General” ( anti Trinitarian).
    If you belief that “yours” is the best one and you base that on its being pared-down or because it contains the residual of an earlier( almost first leader; i.e. Calvin) one might find a little more security in one’s epistemological foundations. If you are prone to question everything, you might wonder why you would trust a follower of a leader who was a follower of a leader…
    As for myself,I wanted to go back even further, to find out what the first church was like. What you call accretion is just maybe an iconclasts personal opinion? How do you know?
    I had not known about all the different Baptist splits and leaders. Smyth, Spillsbury, Taylor Hollings, Powell, Hall…etc, etc, etc…..

    Like MWF says, I learn things here:)

    But, we don’t have to argue all that. I know you prefer not too, and I need to get off this crazy treadmill:)
    Take care, Dan.

    Darryl,

    The man is married. He is learned and refined and articulate and humane; a beautiful masculine soul.
    In fact, super attractive.
    Your sources are skewed. And if any person has gay tendencies, I don’t let that keep me from hearning their arguments or caring about them. I certainly don’t mock them.

    Besides your” squirrel ” distraction kept you from addressing the argument. I get it, that you hate the Catholic Church no if, ands or buts. Arguments don’t disturb your peace.

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  261. Pedophile priests, cover-up, bad popes.

    Who’s naive. I own it, it’s part of the facts, but I refuse to let it block the view of…..

    ….. Jesus founded her, martyrs, saints, sacraments.

    Love Jesus and his mystical body.

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  262. Jeff:
    But as long as you ding Protestants for believing statements that are provisionally true, as long as Mermaid continues to fuss about 99.99999% not being good enough, then we will continue to point out that you do not the epistemic advantage you want to have. >>>>

    It’s not good enough for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and once again you are missing the point. Go back and check.

    We all have the same epistemic advantage on that one. It is infallible. It is absolute truth. There is no question about it. The Bible teaches without any doubt whatsoever that Christ rose from the dead.

    It does not matter if I understand it. it does not even matter if I believe it. It does not matter that you believe it to be only 99.9999999% sure.

    It is the Gospel. Take it or leave it. Believe it or don’t believe it, but it is infallible.

    If you say otherwise, that makes you a heretic.

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  263. Susan, but I am listening to Jesus:

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

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

    You seem to have your head in the sand. At least your shoulders are still free so you can shrug.

    Still no comment on the video. Don’t give up your day job.

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  264. “The modern mind will accept nothing on authority, but will accept anything on no authority. Say that the Bible or the Pope says so and it will be dismissed without further examination. But preface your remark with “I think I heard somewhere,” or, try but fail to remember the name of some professor who might have said “such-and-such,” and it will be immediately accepted as an unshakable fact. ”

    — GK Chesterton

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  265. Darryl,

    RCs dont sit next to the pope. They do sit within and under the church which claims a type of authority and ability Protestantism rejects. The contention from your side has been even if Rome has such an authority and ability, it confers no epistemic advantage or certainty for their beliefs or surer grounds than a system lacking and rejecting such authority and ability – in fact, no system in principle can confer such an advantage unless mindmelding occurs. My 2 examples were meant to see if those advancing such a position really believe it.

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  266. Susan: “But, we don’t have to argue all that. I know you prefer not too, and I need to get off this crazy treadmill:)”

    Susan, I see no need to re-plow ground that has been thoroughly worked over on this blog, much less so many other places. I had hoped that posting the link to the Hollinger interview might cause you to raise a critical eyebrow towards the Bottoms piece, which in large part repeats the triumphalist narrative neo-evangelicals tell about the decline of the Mainline.

    If you, and TLM, are interested in discussing Protestantism’s responsibility for Modernity, I just can’t get terribly excited about that, though at one time in my life I thought Richard Weaver’s Ideas Have Consequences was a truly great book. Then I learned that lots of things have consequences.

    But if the way people practiced their religion 500 or so still matters, and I think it does (I am a Southerner, so the truth of Faulkner’s saying “The past isn’t over, it isn’t even Past” is my natural default position), might I make a suggestion that you and the sources you seem to want to bring into the conversation are too focused on the beginning of the Reformation ?

    Why was it felt necessary to put Erasmus on the Index? What were the consequences of that sort of mindset? The professor that taught the survey course in Renaissance and Reformation said once that with that act the RCC repudiated the Renaissance, not just the Reformation. With the invention of the printing press, the recovery of Europe’s population and economy from the Black Death, the increasing material prosperity brought about in large part by the age of discovery and other non- Religious factors, Europe would have stumbled its way to modernity without any contribution from any North German friar.

    But the whole narrative about “blaming” modernity on the Protestant Reformation, or thinkers like Scotus and Ockham, a theme trumpeted (or oboed☺) by Gilson, Weaver MacIntyre and Brad Gregory, is a truncated view of even intellectual history.

    I try to resist story telling about me, but in College (at a state University) I had the year long survey course in political theory under a very demanding professor with nary a mention of Aquinas. My first exposure to him was entirely derivative, through a work by John Courtney Murray that we studied in an interdisciplinary seminar. Why wasn’t he considered part of the canon? Maybe his absence back in those days was still a hangover from the RCC’s closing the windows by putting the likes of Erasmus on the Index.

    Text criticism has gotten a lot of brickbats here, but how might that field of study developed if one of its early practitioners hadn’t been anathematized? That the field was left to German Protestants isn’t something that RC’s should take any comfort in. Kind of like the old saw about the boy who murders his parents pleading for mercy because he is an orphan.

    That modernity happened I take as a given. The WAY it happened could have been a lot different. That it wasn’t can be blamed on Trent as much as Wittenberg, in my view. (BTW, something I have known as just a factoid for many years has just recently kind of grabbed my attention. Did you know that Reginald Pole, an Englishman and later Archbishop of Canterbury under Bloody Mary, came within one or two votes of being elected Pope? At the conclave, his opponents accused him of belief in justification by faith. Talk about a counterfactual waiting to have a novel written around it… There is a relatively new biography of him that is not yet published in the US, and I am going to see if the interlibrary loan folks can get it for me, but what I recall from college supplemented by what I have recently been able to find on the internet has left me with one over riding question: WTF? )

    As for your comments about Baptist history, we are, to borrow the title of a decent book, Not A Silent People. To me, that is a feature not a bug. I passed lots of Churches on the way to mine today, and one Synagogue. To me that is a Good Thing. If it is to you, thank a Baptist.

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  267. Dan,

    Pole was part of the group supporting reconciliation efforts with Protestants at Regensburg, and was Contarini’s connection back in Rome. The compromise ended up being rejected by those from both sides, though Calvin was more agreeable than Luther to the proposal. Many Protestants today I don’t think would embrace Regensburg’s formulation and take issue with it even though it also didn’t fully reflect what was defined at Trent. Pole did apparently suffer some consternation over Trent’s final definition, but did submit to it and died in communion with Rome.

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  268. @Robert and Jim,

    Cletus,

    Re: Is it better to have unlimited face to face contact with Jesus.

    Ironically, Jesus said it was better for him to go away. So being able to ask Jesus unlimited clarification questions apparently isn’t better in Jesus’ mind, at least for now anyway.

    Exactly, and the reason why Jesus says it is better for Him to go away is because the Spirit of truth will guide the apostles, and the apostles alone, in all the truth from the Trinity for the churches (John 16:7-15).

    This truth, written down in the apostolic era in the 1st C for the churches, authoritatively teaches what all Christians in their churches will ever need to know concerning the doctrinal and practical effects of the death-resurrection-ascension of the Christ for the present age.

    But as every doctrinally savvy Roman Catholic knows, Christ didn’t give the Spirit to the apostles (and the apostles alone) to guide them into all the truth for the churches, but instead believe the Spirit did not guide the apostles into all the truth and “fix” it by apostolic succession, and that the Son did not take the truth he gave to the Spirit from the Father, and that your bishops supply to your churches what the Spirit, in disobedience to the Son of the Father, didn’t.

    In other words, Roman Catholic theology is a denial of Christ’s promise to the apostles.

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  269. James Young, “RCs dont sit next to the pope. They do sit within and under the church”

    Ouch. That’s gotta hurt, what with all those cathedrals and basilicas.

    “which claims a type of authority and ability Protestantism rejects”

    Wrong. Protestantism qualifies it. Roman Catholics also believe in fallible authority. Why else have they supported fascists?

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  270. Dan,

    ….”but what I recall from college supplemented by what I have recently been able to find on the internet has left me with one over riding question: WTF? )”

    To quote Dr. Mitch….” Well ain’t you something.” Yes that acronymn caught my attention.
    Here I had you looking like Mark Twain. Now I envision you in tiedye, and more like Jerry Garcia.

    Honestly, it’s the existence of all the denominations that had me scratching my head and uttering something akin to that. 🙂
    Here’s the answer: We are justified by faith. In other words, one starts his journey by faith and ends his journey hanging onto faith in Jesus.
    No one is saved by works alone. We have to have faith and love God and our neighbor while avoiding evil and sin. What does that look like but right action and right words?

    Think more along the lines of “acts” rather than “works”. Is man saved by “acts”? Well if he sinfully acts is faith truly saving faith or is it dead faith.
    Yes, this is plowed territory. I believe in one church though, and real needed sacraments( I know you see the Lord’s supper as a memorial and baptism as a sign, but Christian history hasn’t been on your side in number of people or length of time).

    I will have to get back to you on all the rest.

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  271. James Young, “Many Protestants today I don’t think would embrace Regensburg’s formulation and take issue with it even though it also didn’t fully reflect what was defined at Trent.”

    But some Protestants argue that Regensburg and the debates surrounding it suggest doctrine was still in process. Funny how development of doctrine could actually lead to Protestantism.

    How dare I. When of course for RC apologists development of doctrine only leads to Vatican 2. Trent was the justification by faith that Jesus founded.

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  272. Susan, more Willie Nelson than Jerry Garcia, though I don’t share his taste in herbs.

    Back to you, too, on the rest. Man doesn’t live by bread alone, but it is past time for my evening meal.

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  273. D. G. Hart
    Posted January 10, 2016 at 7:27 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, “the Bible or the Pope”

    Well, that’s more like it.>>>>>>

    I am not the one who has been arguing that there is a ridiculously slight possibility that the dead body of Jesus might be found. I assume His remains by now.

    Your team has argued that.

    So, what do you guys mean by the word “infallible”, as in “Scripture is the only infallible rule of faith and practice” ?

    Those are your beliefs. What do those words mean? If you don’t know, then just say so.

    If you don’t believe it quite the way the WCF meant it back in the day, then just say so?

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  274. Oh! OH! After reading all of these contentious blog threads about protestants vs. papists for months/years now it suddenly occurred to me by some, some (oh, help me), some special divine extra-biblical revelation that what the real solution to this problem really is (though it’s been surreptitiously lurking in the background all along)! The Vatican simply needs to apply for and adopt Six Sigma Certification for everything coming out of pope’s mouth! That way there can be no doubts what so ever about anything delivered to the public, “manufactured” or otherwise! Brilliant!

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  275. D. G. Hart
    Posted January 10, 2016 at 2:46 pm | Permalink
    Susan, I don’t hate the RC church. Naive love of the church drives me batty.>>>>>

    Taking out your anger on Susan doesn’t exactly make you look good, let alone sane.

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  276. Susan, re: yours of 7:30

    I take it as a given that your conversion to Roman Catholicism was motivated for the reasons that you stated, in the referenced post and elsewhere. I am not trying to argue you out of those motives or any decision you have made based on them. You are no threat to me. (Oprah, on the other hand…) I am, in all good faith, trying to find a way to discuss with you a topic that you expressed an interest in, Protestantism’s role in the development (but don’t you mean blame?) of Modernity, that at least stands a chance of not being threatening to any of your core beliefs. Take it as a given that I respect your beliefs.

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  277. Mermaid, you may be familiar with this (on what I believe about the Bible):

    1. Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men unexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of his will, which is necessary unto salvation. Therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his church; and afterwards, for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing: which maketh the Holy Scripture to be most necessary; those former ways of God’s revealing his will unto his people being now ceased.

    2. Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testaments, which are these:

    Of the Old Testament:

    Genesis II Chronicles Daniel
    Exodus Ezra Hosea
    Leviticus Nehemiah Joel
    Numbers Esther Amos
    Deuteronomy Job Obadiah
    Joshua Psalms Jonah
    Judges Proverbs Micah
    Ruth Ecclesiastes Nahum
    I Samuel The Song of Songs Habakkuk
    II Samuel Isaiah Zephaniah
    I Kings Jeremiah Haggai
    II Kings Lamentations Zechariah
    I Chronicles Ezekiel Malachi
    Of the New Testament:

    The Gospels Galatians The Epistle
    according to Ephesians of James
    Matthew Philippians The first and
    Mark Colossians second Epistles
    Luke Thessalonians I of Peter
    John Thessalonians II The first, second,
    The Acts of the to Timothy I and third Epistles
    Apostles to Timothy II of John
    Paul’s Epistles to Titus The Epistle
    to the Romans to Philemon of Jude
    Corinthians I The Epistle to The Revelation
    Corinthians II the Hebrews of John
    All which are given by inspiration of God to be the rule of faith and life.

    3. The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon of the Scripture, and therefore are of no authority in the church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings.

    4. The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, and obeyed, dependeth 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.

    5. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the church to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scripture. And the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is, to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man’s salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God: yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.

    6. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word: and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.

    7. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all: yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.

    8. The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which, at the time of the writing of it, was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and, by his singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical; so as, in all controversies of religion, the church is finally to appeal unto them. But, because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have right unto, and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded, in the fear of God, to read and search them, therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come, that, the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship him in an acceptable manner; and, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, may have hope.

    9. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself: and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.

    10. 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.

    When it comes to the resurrection, I believe it and am sure toast without it. But because I don’t believe that every Tom, Dick and Harry who the Vatican wants to elevate to sainthood to recognize some national group I have to admit that the resurrection is not exactly something I believe by sight. Only by faith.

    But get this, you’re the one who elevates infallibility to the status of the resurrection. If the pope is fallible, if the resurrection didn’t happen, Mermaid goes Nietzsche.

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  278. Dan, I respect the respect.

    Could it be though that Susan and other converts have trouble discussing the history of Protestantism and Roman Catholicism because a certain narrative is so bound up with their reasons for converting? What if, for instance, the problem of modernity is not Protestantism? What if it’s bigger than that? But what happens if you decided to align (mind you, you were already “saved” so you’re not converting with your eternal destiny in view) with Roman Catholicism to avoid a religion that brought you modernity? And then you find out it didn’t do that?

    How do you back up?

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  279. Dan,

    Have not read either work though theyve been on my radar along with Fenlons work (which Mayer and Edwards interact with). Most of my info on Regensburg (and Pole by extension) came from Gleason’s book on Contarini which is freely available online by UC Press.

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  280. I do have mercy on you, Brother Hart. I believe that you can do better, especially since Susan has given you good, honest answers.

    She shows herself to be quite able and willing to engage in conversations at a very high level of knowledge and understanding.

    She has given you no reason to go batty.

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  281. D.G. Hart:
    When it comes to the resurrection, I believe it and am sure toast without it.>>>>

    I agree. Thank you for the direct answer. My question and concern has been consistent. What about the resurrection of Jesus Christ? That cannot be provisional knowledge and infallible knowledge at the same time. If it is not infallible knowledge, as you say, you are toast. 😉 We all are. I am toast without it.

    It is the Gospel. Thank you.

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  282. Noon: @Robert and Jim,Cletus,Re: Is it better to have unlimited face to face contact with Jesus.Ironically, Jesus said it was better for him to go away. So being able to ask Jesus unlimited clarification questions apparently isn’t better in Jesus’ mind, at least for now anyway.
    Exactly, and the reason why Jesus says it is better for Him to go away is because the Spirit of truth will guide the apostles, and the apostles alone, in all the truth from the Trinity for the churches (John 16:7-15).

    Just to clarify noon, Jesus said it was ‘to our advantage for Him to go away’ so that, by His death and resurrection to the right hand of the Father, we would have forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and the indwelling Holy Spirit – God dwelling in us always, empowering us, witnessing to us about the truth of Jesus completed work (which He had to go away to do) according to His plan -via the means of His word; and to accomplish God’s purpose to conform us to Christ’s image.

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  283. Jeff,

    Since you apparently will be mia for a while, I wont engage your reply at this time except to point out your answer to both my questions in the christ/apostles and joyce illustrations appears to be no, such people would have no epistemic advantage. And similarly, your students apparently have no more advantage after your guidance and correction than they did beforehand, given you never mindmeld with them. If you truly believe the above, then there will be little hope for progress to be made.

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  284. Dan,

    I read your latest comment and wrote a long response but lost it.
    I will try again to respond at another time.

    Tonight while watching a marvelous movie, I felt bad about my “Garcia” comment. Heck, I hardly know who the Greatful Dead are. I grew up listening to Willie Nelson.

    Just letting you know I intend to get back to you:)

    Susan

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  285. Darryl,

    “Could it be though that Susan and other converts have trouble discussing the history of Protestantism and Roman Catholicism because a certain narrative is so bound up with their reasons for converting? What if, for instance, the problem of modernity is not Protestantism? What if it’s bigger than that? But what happens if you decided to align (mind you, you were already “saved” so you’re not converting with your eternal destiny in view) with Roman Catholicism to avoid a religion that brought you modernity? And then you find out it didn’t do that?”

    I can assure you that I converted because I literally had no place else to go. This is it, the end of the line. I converted because knowledge that the Church is what she claims to be and refusing this truth will cause me to lose my salvation( why I would willfully deny it, I don’t know).
    I know the Church of the Apostles was founded by Christ as surely as I know that Jesus is God.

    The causes of Modernism could be a very interesting discussion but unfortunately ,for me, I can’t devote much time to it.
    I was able to break away cold turkey from Facebook but OLTS has been a glass more difficult to put down.
    If I respond, it will be hit or miss and only one day a week.

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  286. Mermaid, you think vd, is great. You think Susan is great. You think a universalistic pope is great.

    You would be plausible if you ever criticized someone on the Roman Catholic Yankees. Otherwise, you sound like a cheer leader.

    No offense, but I bet you don’t have the body for it.

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  287. Mermaid, duh.

    You really need to go back to high school. You show that you haven’t grasped a single point Jeff made in the epistemology seminar.

    Here’s a basic category: my believing something doesn’t make it true.

    If you could grasp that point, you might argue better. You might also be tolerant.

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  288. Susan, but the church to which you trust your salvation says that you can be saved outside the church.

    Get this, it says there are other places to go. What about “brethren” don’t you understand?

    Even you have refused to tell me that I am not saved by finding somewhere “else to go.”

    The real discussion of modernism for you should start with Vatican 2. You’d see strong similarities to the Auburn Affirmation.

    Actually, you wouldn’t. Hopeless.

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  289. @Ali,

    Just to clarify noon, Jesus said it was ‘to our advantage for Him to go away’ so that, by His death and resurrection to the right hand of the Father, we would have forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and the indwelling Holy Spirit – God dwelling in us always, empowering us, witnessing to us about the truth of Jesus completed work (which He had to go away to do) according to His plan -via the means of His word; and to accomplish God’s purpose to conform us to Christ’s image.

    Ali, next you’ll be claiming you walked on the moon:

    You just topped Jesus, not a shabby feat for a gal and her keyboard.

    He said,

    “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away…”

    Why?

    …for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you (John 16:7).

    Why mention the Helper coming to the apostles, Jesus? He goes on to say,

    “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you” (John 16:13-15).

    “Why, I’ve driven the lunar rover.”

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  290. Noon: You just topped Jesus, not a shabby feat for a gal and her keyboard.. Why mention the Helper coming to the apostles, Jesus? He goes on to say, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you” (John 16:13-15).

    Morning noon. Very funny! I’ve seen that before and that comedian is so funny, pretty much always. That is definitely us – I mean me…. and I mean you – I say, if you only see me and not you in it, then well… I think you are trying to top Jesus. So there! I am just a bible quoted and cut-and -paster.

    I think I previously may have sent commentary on thoughts on how that applies to all of us –so just saying/clarifying the same again….why He also mentioned the Helper coming to the apostles, recorded for us – so that, they and then, by His word, through them, and then only by the power of the Spirit, we also, would begin to see ever more clearly the ‘ADVANTAGE to us’….that by His death and resurrection to the right hand of the Father, we would have forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and the indwelling Holy Spirit – God dwelling in us always, empowering us, witnessing to us about the truth of Jesus completed work (which He had to go away to do) according to His plan -via the means of His word; and to accomplish God’s purpose to conform us to Christ’s image.

    Now, He continues to display His glory that…”Through those whose proclaim His message and the preaching of His own recorded word, not in persuasive words of wisdom, He demonstrates it is of the Spirit and of His power showing our faith rests not on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.

    “Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; 8 the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; 9 but just as it is written,“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.”10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, 13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. 16 For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ.”1 Cor 2:4-16

    I’m not part of the mutually exclusive club –but, by His power, believe the SUM of the Lord’s word (and yes, nothing added to it) is truth (Psalm 119:160). This works toward our chief end – to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. So, you also, please do not try to top God –Father, Jesus, Spirit.

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  291. ps, in your disagreeing, you don’t seem to really talk to clete that way, so I’m wondering if it has to do with being ‘a gal and her keyboard’ ?

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  292. D.G. Hart:
    You really need to go back to high school. You show that you haven’t grasped a single point Jeff made in the epistemology seminar>>>>

    Oh, I think I get it quite well. What Jeff is saying is nonsense when applied to infallible truths such as the absolute, irrefutable fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

    It’s right there in your only infallible rule of faith and practice. The case is laid out clearly in Scripture. Anyone can read it and decide if they believe it or not. At the very least, anyone can read it and know that Christianity stands or falls on the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

    It’s not rocket science.

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  293. DGH: Perhaps your characterization of Susan and the way she interacts with history is right, but I hope not. For me, nothing I have read in a history book has ever caused anything like a crisis of faith.( Reading Nietzsche as a19 year old did). Hard for me to imagine how a broken down old lawyers musings on the subject in an internet com box would be a threat to anyone’s faith, but the world does change, even if we are left as far away from flourishing as we have ever been.

    But Catholics aren’t the only ones who peddle law office history about this period. (Or other periods. Lincoln was a master at it: See his Cooper Union speech. )

    That is not a personal remark, by the way. I caused TVD to go ballistic when I said that in your published works you played with your cards face up. I stand by that judgment. As far as I can tell, your reviews of recently published works outside of your sub-specialty, like Oakley, are fair. What more can a curious reader ask?

    And, btw, I do intend to read Oakley this year.I would have likely missed him had it not been for OL.

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  294. Mermaid, “anyone can read it and know that Christianity stands or falls on the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

    So why do you dig in your heels over infallibility?

    And why does the pope produce a video recommending the world’s faiths — you know, the ones that don’t believe in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead?

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  295. Dan, I have been thinking a lot about the “this is the church Christ founded” meme. I may post about it so I don’t want to up my chits here. But there does seem to be something consoling and even pride-producing about that claim. Why wouldn’t you want to join the congregation where Jesus was the original pastor?

    But to think about the tie between the past and the present that way is simply dumbfounding. Does anyone really think Brazil is the country the Portuguese founded?

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  296. D. G. Hart
    Posted January 11, 2016 at 11:38 am | Permalink
    Mermaid, “anyone can read it and know that Christianity stands or falls on the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

    So why do you dig in your heels over infallibility?

    And why does the pope produce a video recommending the world’s faiths — you know, the ones that don’t believe in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead?>>>>>

    Well, you have not yet shown how you know that 1.) Scripture is infallible 2.) it is the only infallible rule of faith and practice 3.) that the WCF got the canon of Scripture right.

    The WCF is fallible. What infallible source are you using to establish 1.) 2.) and 3.)?

    It is you guys who have barely begun – or not begun at all.

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  297. (A different) Dan:
    As for your comments about Baptist history, we are, to borrow the title of a decent book, Not A Silent People. To me, that is a feature not a bug. I passed lots of Churches on the way to mine today, and one Synagogue. To me that is a Good Thing. If it is to you, thank a Baptist.>>>>>

    Martha Steward good. 😉

    Let’s look at this a bit. I don’t really know if modernity is still a “thing.” So, I’m not sure how relevant it is to talk about it in the present tense.

    However, ideas do have consequences. Here is one idea that has had tremendous consequences.
    That is the idea that there are many different “Churches” instead of one “Church.” That is a game changer.

    That is indeed the result of Protestantism.

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  298. “Susan, but the church to which you trust your salvation says that you can be saved outside the church.

    Get this, it says there are other places to go. What about “brethren” don’t you understand?

    Even you have refused to tell me that I am not saved by finding somewhere “else to go.”

    The real discussion of modernism for you should start with Vatican 2. You’d see strong similarities to the Auburn Affirmation.

    Actually, you wouldn’t. Hopeless.”

    Darryl,

    “Who” is calling you a separated brother? ” Separate” from whom are you? Where could you go to and the status of being “separated”? Separted from the Church, that’s who.. My little gray cells are working just fine, thank you very much.

    The. Church isnt calling you ” the other denomination across the street: as if you were a competitor of rival. It doesnt see anyone as a threat to her existence. Christians within her leave this life, but the Church is the entrance to Heaven, so she will always be here. Not changing in doctrine, but.developing.
    Have you been baptised? If you have been then you are a Catholic( one faith, one baptism , one church), and now have a way to obtain heaven. Jesus gave this to us, through his church.
    Modernism didn’t touch this. What it did was make it harder for people to believe that Christianity wasn’t a democracy, or an internal subjective determination of one’s wishes or
    even a study of it’s artifacts for the purpose of patchworking a new thing.

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  299. Also, Darryl(and Dan too) I answer back with what MRS just said prior to me( see above). She is the lady with who to discuss the effects of Modernism.

    I want to.be outta here.

    MWF and CVD are the people best able to take up this conversation.

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  300. Autocorrect put in MRS when I typed MWF. You probably figured that out 🙂

    Btw, the movie I watched last night was Keys to the Kingdom” starring Gregory Peck. I recommend it. Good movie!

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  301. If Christ or the Apostles materialized in your room and gave you unlimited time for iterative and definitive, normatively binding discussion, clarification, feedback, judgment on your understanding of divine revelation and truths, would you be in a better, equivalent, or worse epistemic position than you would be under a system rejecting the authority/ability to do so?

    The problem with your question is that its premises are fundamentally flawed.

    First, what system rejects the authority/ability of God to do the things you listed?

    Second, if the apostle who happened to materialize in my room was Judas, I’m not sure I would be in such great shape. What do you think? If an angel or apostle materialized in my room and made claims that contradicted the scripture, we would have a problem…no? You keep mentioning “Christ or the Apostles” as if they are interchangeable. They aren’t. God (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) are divine and what they say is true by definition and is thus infallible. Divine revelation – from a prophet, apostle, or some random Physician is infallible because what they wrote did not have its origin in human will but God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. But prophets and apostles are not themselves infallible. They got lots of things wrong. How do you know when they are infallible and when they aren’t? Jesus kept pointing to “as it is written”. Further, many prophets likely did not understand the full impact of what they wrote. Would you be better off learning your Christology from Isaiah or Calvin?

    Third, I would only be in a better place if I was given ears that could hear, eyes that could see, etc… No matter how much time I have with God the Son, if I have ears that don’t hear, etc… it won’t do me any good. Satan has that advantage right? Yet he trembles… Since the Holy Spirit is the author of scripture (2Pet again), it seems having him working in our heart to believe and to will what is written in it is necessary and sufficient. Of course he has ordained teachers, etc…. no one disputes that. I don’t see how adding this extra layer of purported “infallibility” some of the time, under the right (ever evolving) conditions, about certain things (though never infallibly defined) fixes anything. I certainly do not see evidence of that in the impact of the lives of those who have access to this purportedly infallible extra middle man and those who do not.

    Is a reader with James Joyce sitting next to him offering live commentary and feedback on finnegans wake in a better, equivalent, or less advantageous position regarding their certainty and surety than someone without any commenter or someone with a commenter lacking and rejecting the type of authority/ability Joyce had and would claim regarding his work?

    Depends on how smashed Joyce was at the time I suppose…HA! Of course, Joyce was the author. So the analogue for our discussion would be the Holy Spirit. The question really is whether one is better off with Joyce (who for the sake of this conversation foresaw all the needs of his readers he wanted to enlighten) or with one of Joyce’s student’s, student’s, student’s…..student telling us what Joyce really meant. Not saying it is worthless, but pretty sure that the student of the student of the student …. of the student of Joyce could get things mixed up. In fact there may be better interpreters of Joyce who lack the lineage…no? But sometimes the fans of novels really do know more about the novel than the author…I seem to recall Rowling (or was it the writers of one of TV shows like Lost) talking about how some of the fans have studied the books more carefully than they and seem to know the intricacies (annoyingly) better than they. Of course, when your author is the omniscient creator of all things that won’t be an issue. But the infallible words passed on by a fallible vessel may not necessarily be best understood by that fallible vessels…

    By the way, I must have missed something about the whole mind meld bit. I think I asked about it before and someone might have said what you were talking about, but I still have no idea. I’m not really interested in pursuing it though…

    If you’ve got some new insight that you think can break this impasse, that’s great, but two crashed threads and several thousand comments later, I don’t have the energy (or interest really) to keep going.

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  302. @Topper,

    I think I previously may have sent commentary on thoughts on how that applies to all of us –so just saying/clarifying the same again….why He also mentioned the Helper coming to the apostles, recorded for us – so that, they and then, by His word, through them, and then only by the power of the Spirit, we also, would begin to see ever more clearly the ‘ADVANTAGE to us’

    So correcting Jesus wasn’t enough? You top the apostle John, too?

    http://dilbert.com/search_results?terms=Topper

    You know better who the advantaged ones were in the upper room?

    I would have put ‘advantaged’ in all caps but i don’t like to scream at gals behind keyboards.

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  303. Lawyer Dan,

    DGH, not all Landmarkists are Baptists.

    And I thought there was nothing new under the sun. Can you give more info?

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  304. Susan, so I do have some place to go. My point. Thanks. (invalidates your point that you had nowhere to go).

    “Modernism didn’t touch this. What it did was make it harder for people to believe that Christianity wasn’t a democracy, or an internal subjective determination of one’s wishes or even a study of it’s artifacts for the purpose of patchworking a new thing.”

    Obviously, you’re not reading your holy father. He wants the church to be more democratic — why did the bishops ask for the laity’s input on marriage and the family.

    And why did he counsel the Lutheran to let conscience decide about taking communion in an RC church? Sounds like “internal subjective determination” to me.

    Have you read any history of Vatican 2? It looks like sausage.

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  305. All I can say ( to you) is that it she is still apostolic and has a magesterium. What did the synod on the family yield that was disconcerting? You, I remember, as well as many Catholics were concerned about that meeting. Well, what changed?That is something to ponder, yes?

    You said before that you don’t hate the RC. I’m glad of this for the sake of us all getting along nicely, but if she is wrong, she is anti -Jesus and leading people astray by her official teaching( the Catholic Church never teaches the reformed notion of forensic righteousness).
    You didn’t say that you don’t hate Catholics, you specifically said that you don’t hate the RC. But you aren’t indifferent because saying that you don’t hate means that you like the RC.
    I don’t hate protestants, but I do not like the phenomenon of “many churches”.
    Maybe you aren’t inching closer, only God knows, but I can’t figure out what your objection(s) still are if you don’t consider her enough of a liar or a threat, to remain outside. Maybe you are more modernly interdenomination? The Church isn’t that, however.
    There will forever be one church through time. And you are welcome to come aboard( your bowtie would fit in nicely.This welcome is not really mine to offer. “I did not make it, though it is making me. It is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man.” I am just one of so many passenger she picked up on her way through history. I was drowning in a ocean, not of religious pluralism, but of ecclesial deism. See, the situation is a scandal to the world.

    Best to you Darryl my best frenemy,

    Susan

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  306. Let’s look at this a bit. I don’t really know if modernity is still a “thing.” So, I’m not sure how relevant it is to talk about it in the present tense.

    I can assure you modernity still exists…

    However, ideas do have consequences. Here is one idea that has had tremendous consequences.
    That is the idea that there are many different “Churches” instead of one “Church.” That is a game changer. That is indeed the result of Protestantism.

    I wonder… that idea had been around for quite awhile and never seemed to get anywhere until the printing press, mass literacy, and the rise of the nation-state. Can you have the goods of modernity (vaccines, books, freedom of religion, women’s rights, mass agriculture) without the bad (cults, ssm, MTV, women’s rights, and mass agriculture…I kid, I kid!)? It seems to me that the critics of modernity are utopian in their own pessimistic sort of way. Can Novak(ian?) conservative catholicism exist without an environment that encourages a thorough going cafeteria catholicism? I remain unconvinced.

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  307. Susan, All you can say?

    “I don’t hate protestants, but I do not like the phenomenon of “many churches”.”

    Got it.

    But you haven’t told how you like “many bishops.” I wonder especially about the German ones.

    Look, Susan, you seem like a nice person — maybe too nice — but you can’t keep throwing the “many” stone at us while you never address (aside from a shrug) the chaos that is your own communion. You’re grip on certainty and salvation seems way too dependent on YOU being right. The evidence sure does back up your claim.

    In fact, that’s the entire point of my posts about RC’sm. We see things that Bryan and the Jasons (and Susan) don’t talk about. It sure seems like they don’t talk about them because they don’t jive with their “conversion” experience.

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  308. No really. I can spot the wrong theology. Aquinas helps.as does the catechism.
    You know when people depart from your confessions, why not understand that I can do the same.
    I am not too nice as in naive, If that is what you mean.

    Now I just told you how I spot liberalism and progress that leaves behind what it should conserve. Why don’t you take that as a good answer? I could ratio “bad bishop” on my arm, but that wouldn’t help it sink in anymore. I told you that I know all about that and Old is before I concerted.
    Maybe your reason is private, because I have addressed your difficulties and given sufficient answers.

    I will back off.

    Take care,

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  309. Susan, so you make judgments on your own. That’s what Protestants do as you admit.

    Where’s infallibility? What if your judgments are wrong? What if you disagree with other Roman Catholics? Where’s the unity? And where is the advantage of having one pope when Roman Catholics can be (are) as divided as Protestants.

    You keep claiming that Rome fixes Protestantism’s deficiencies. You claim that without the church you’d have skepticism. But now you claim that you are strong enough to make determinations that should be reserved for a pope (unless all that free thought gums up the works).

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  310. NOon, not sure what you know about American Baptist history, so I don’t want to appear patronizing, but the Landmark movement held that there was an unbroken chain of Christians who were more or less Baptists from the time of Jesus forward. Or John the Baptist. It may be that the book that they are best known for, The Bloody Trail, is still in print (they are still out there, particularly in the Southwest, and have an association that may or may not answer to the name denomination- these folks are very sensitive to things like that.) The claim to be the Church that Jesus founded is not exclusive to Catholics.
    Lawyer Dan has retired and considers himself in recovery.

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  311. Hi Dan,

    Am familiar with Landmarkism and interact regularly with one Landmark pastor. What I didn’t know was that there were non-Baptistic Landmarkers, unless I misunderstood your prior. If so, please tell me more.

    That book, The Bloody Trail, is one that present day Landmarkers would only read in secret:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1937165574

    Congratulations on retirement. My Dad retired several years ago from practicing for 50 years. (practice never did make perfect)

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  312. CVD, thanks. A cousin teaches at a close by Community College, and they have Edwards, so I will start with that, to avoid the three week limit on interlibrary loans. (Renewals are a 50/50 proposition)

    I have seen reviews of the Gleason book, thanks for reminding me of it.

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  313. NOoN, the comment was in jest.

    Though now that I think about, maybe a joint worship service with the RC converts who claim to be members of the Church Jesus Founded and the Baptists who make the same claim would be appropriate. ☺

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  314. Noon: I would have put ‘advantaged’ in all caps but i don’t like to scream at gals behind keyboards.

    funny Dilbert cartoons Noon. Did you note topper was a guy.
    Anyway, ok, I’ll speak of ADVANTAGE as advantage. And speaking of toppers, for someone who thinks advantage was just for the apostles, you sure seem to think you have advantage in understanding, greater than some theologians. e.g.
    from my ESV MacArthur study Bible :16:7 The Helper will not come. Again, the promise of the Holy Spirit beings sent is given to comfort the disciples. The first emphasis was on his life-giving power (7:37-39). The next featured his indwelling presence (14:16-17). The next , marked his teaching ministry (14:26). His ministry of empowering for witness is marked in 15:26

    ok, I admit I am a topper- for desire for clarity; everyone is a topper; even toppers here; toppers for obscurity, ridicule, hostility, speaking of which, am I supposed to see hostility in your linked reply (below). Well… I don’t…which I know, I’m sure my “I don’t” is some kind of ‘topper-ism

    Noon@Topper,ps, in your disagreeing, you don’t seem to really talk to clete that way, so I’m wondering if it has to do with being ‘a gal and her keyboard’ ? Have you not read:https://oldlife.org/2015/12/spotting-the-difference/comment-page-7/#comment-372371

    btw, the pseudonym ‘no one of note’ is a dead giveaway for a topper

    🙂

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  315. NOoN:

    Finally got a chance to click your Amazon link. I needed a good laugh, particularly at my own expense.

    For the record, in case anyone reading this is confused, the work I meant was The Trail of Blood.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Trail_of_Blood

    Of course, you know us old Baptists don’t drink– in front of each other.

    Or, what do you call a Baptist who wants to drink but can’t afford to be an Episcopalian? A Presbyterian.

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  316. Dan,

    On a Catholic website I found a man asking about how to talk to people who claim ” to go all the way back” but actually don’t.

    In one of the comments someone posted the definition of this fallacy( Humpty-Dumptyism) and where it comes from:

    “When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

    ’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

    ’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.
    Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

    Thought that was cute:)

    Here’s a good article about that kind of claim. It even begins with a jocular look at the scenario you proposed( Catholics and Baptists together)!

    http://m.whatistruth.webnode.com/apologetics-topics/other-religions/protestanism/baptists-at-nicea-by-fr-hugh-barbour-o-praem/

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  317. Susan, when my Church was organized, almost 175 years ago, it adopted the 1833 New Hampshire Confession. You can Google it. Like every Baptist Confession I know of, article 1 is about Scripture. There is no reference to a Universal or Catholic church, and certainly none to an invisible Church.

    There are a few folks called Bapto-catholics who feel differently than I do about this sort of thing, but the Baptist stereotyped in the link is about the least likely person imaginable to attend such a cabal as Nicea.

    Back to football.

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  318. Dan,

    Though now that I think about, maybe a joint worship service with the RC converts who claim to be members of the Church Jesus Founded and the Baptists who make the same claim would be appropriate. ☺

    Now that you make the connection, RCs do seem to be the original Landmarkers with the better narrative. There’s some grist for humor…..

    Did you hear, today’s Landmarkers are in mourning. This church used to be one:

    http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/first-baptist-church-of-memphis-votes-to-ok-gay-marriage-ordination-2902f01d-896b-482c-e053-0100007f-364801351.html

    At least the Baptist Landmakers have a plausible narrative for when a church goes heretical. But the arrogance is still there.

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  319. Okay, I will address this to everyone if anyone cares to read it. Brother Hart wonders why I joined the Catholic Church.

    It’s pretty simple. I couldn’t defend Protestant ecclesiology anymore. John 17 and Ephesians 4 and 5 contradict the harem “thing” that Protestantism has going on. That is, Christ has one Bride, not many.

    I couldn’t ignore the “onsies” of Ephesians 4 anymore or Jesus ‘ High Priestly prayer, either. Then there were all those little leftover Bible passages that no Protestant interpreter I ever heard knew what to do with – like “upon this rock I will build my Church.”

    So, it was Scripture. Believe it or don’t. 🙂

    There is more to it, but that is what it boils down to. There are more Scriptures than that as well, but those are the ones that I could no longer ignore or explain away.

    I have said many times how much I appreciate all the Protestant Bible teachers and preachers I have sat under. I have nothing but gratitude in my heart for those who shared Christ with me.

    I just had to go home.

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  320. NOoN, I am not so sure who has the better narrative. As DGH is fond of saying, the RC narrative is rooting for the Yankees. The Landmark narrative requires you to root for the underdog, even if some of them are imaginary.

    Heck of a football game. I’m going to bed, not sure how long it will take me to go to sleep.

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  321. Dear Dan,

    I’m sorry that the article upset you. I wasn’t trying to take swipes at you.
    I believe, though, that the characterization in the article was done on purpose to illustrate that the worship of the early church didn’t look anything like a Baptist meeting and vice versa. It was meant to highlight the absurdity. But I don’t know why I’m explaining the obvious. I did hope that you’d look beyond the affect(stereotype) and understand that he is showing that no protestant group can claim to have come down from the beginnings of The Church if it didn’t, at the same time, posses Apostolic successional authority. Authority is bound-up in succession, otherwise., what’s the point? The point is the bible can’t give authority to group that comes later. There’s either “apostolic” authority or there is no ecclesial authority at all.

    Thirty-one years ago a young Baptist seminarian told me that Jesus died for me because He loved me. I needed to hear that. I received this truth and was Baptised in a Southern Baptist church in Mobile Alabama.
    I am grateful that they shared the gospel with me and helped me on my journey.

    Please, no hard feelings.

    Susan

    I

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  322. Mermaid, so you were saved but you wanted Christianity 3.0 — better ecclesiology.

    But why don’t you seem to notice how badly episcopacy works? Have you ever read about the workings of the Vatican or one of its councils?

    I mean, if you joined some exclusive club and had all this insider information, I might understand. But the books are piled high about how Roman Catholicism operates and yet you expect others to take your pious desires as if they stand for the church. And you don’t know your audience. It’s like telling liberals why you love America and thinking the liberals don’t know anything.

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  323. How do you know what is caffeteria offerings if there is forever no way to spot the prime rib? Caferteria-ism can’t exist without the rejection of the true.

    Sure it can. There is cafeteria Islam as well. The existence of variety does not entail a true standard. I can know that there is a lot of different dreck at Luby’s with or without knowledge of the existence of prime rib. Variations of this argument have been made by a lot of different people, and it is not compelling. Note that pointing out this line of argument is wrong does not entail relativism.

    Did you read the Tu quoque article?
    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2011/02/son-of-a-tu-quoque/

    Yes. It misses its target. If one is arguing for the superiority of a paradigm and you show that it has the same flaws as the paradigm it is purported superior to, then you have neutralized that argument. Retorting that you haven’t proved the “protestant paradigm” has no force. It is like saying that Darwin’s theory is no good because it can’t account for the origin of life. It is true that Darwin does not account for the origin of life, but that was not his aim.

    I see that they reference the Solo… post. The gist of the argument they make (and which I gather you agree with) is “Protestant confessions have no authority over the individual Protestant because Protestants select them on the basis of their conformity to their own interpretation of Scripture.” This strikes me as fundamentally flawed… we touched on this at the end of the last crashed thread, and I don’t recall whether you noticed it or not. Their claim is that if an authority is contingent, then it isn’t really an authority. We see why this is wrong for governments, parents, etc… It should be obvious why this isn’t true for SS-RPs.

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  324. DGH, I always pull for the SEC in this kind of game, even though Nicky Satan has had our number for years.

    I have been on Coumadin for 8 years, and probably haven’t had more than a dozen drinks in that period.

    The game was an absolute barn burner.

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  325. Susan, my views on Apostolic succession are closer to Roger Williams than to yours.

    I can’t imagine Peter or Paul attending any thing like a meeting called by an Emperor who wasn’t a Christian.

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  326. SDB,

    I see that they reference the Solo… post. The gist of the argument they make (and which I gather you agree with) is “Protestant confessions have no authority over the individual Protestant because Protestants select them on the basis of their conformity to their own interpretation of Scripture.” This strikes me as fundamentally flawed… we touched on this at the end of the last crashed thread, and I don’t recall whether you noticed it or not. Their claim is that if an authority is contingent, then it isn’t really an authority. We see why this is wrong for governments, parents, etc… It should be obvious why this isn’t true for SS-RPs.

    And the other fundamental flaw is that Roman Catholic converts at least chose the church on the basis of its conformity to their own interpretation of Scripture and history. There isn’t any difference, no matter how much Bryan wants to say he “discovered” the church.

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  327. A Diff Dan,

    I can’t imagine Peter or Paul attending any thing like a meeting called by an Emperor who wasn’t a Christian.

    Now that’s a good point. I never thought of that before. It would be interesting to know what would have happened had a Trinitarian dispute arises in the early church. I imagine it would be something like the Jerusalem Council, which wasn’t called by a pagan and was presided over not by Peter but by James.

    I believe that providentially, God has used such meetings to clarify doctrine. Any Trinitarian has to. But the fact that it was called by a questionably Christian emperor kind of mucks up the whole notion of it having some kind of guaranteed infallibility. And nobody went into that meeting thinking it was inevitable that the church would get it right. It wasn’t called by the pope or the Patriarch of Constantinople.

    We can accept those councils where they are correct, but infallibility is a bar that they just can’t live up to.

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  328. Dear sdb,

    Talking to you is like trying to collect leaves in a windstorm:) But I will give it one last hurray.Keep in mind that we both profess belief in God, Jesus as God and the bible as inspired and inerrant.

    Speaking of the writers at CTC, you said, “Their claim is that if an authority is contingent, then it isn’t really an authority. We see why this is wrong for governments, parents, etc… It should be obvious why this isn’t true for SS-RPs.”

    I think you are mixing everything together into one bowl. Doesn’t contingency mean that something hinges on the truth of something else for.itself to be true?

    God exists and society needs order, so the logical order asserts itself and is clearly seen in society as it works from the smallest unit to the largest. Family order comes first and so on. But since God is first in the order of being all of our acts should be in keeping with awareness that He Is, as well as our awareness that all kinds of authority are given by God but not all authorities are given by God.
    There are people who claim authority over another where none exists. If the state takes away the right of the parent the state is acting unlawfully according to the first order of things. How could the state have authority except it was given by the people?

    Unless SS-RP’s have God given authority then they have no ecclesial authority?
    “Church” necessitates God given authority.

    It’s early here and I’m tired, and probably shouldn’t have atttempter this. Somthing is off and I can’t pinpoint it right now. I’m sure we could get to.the bottom given more time and clarification.

    ……..so much for last hurrah. That fizzeled out fast 🙂

    Perhaps CVD will try again.

    Take Care, SDB!

    Susan

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  329. Dan,

    “Susan, my views on Apostolic succession are closer to Roger Williams than to yours.”

    Well okay then. I don’t know who Roger Williams is though. That’ okay because it wouldn’t help us toward agreement. I appreciate your goodwill nonetheless.

    “I can’t imagine Peter or Paul attending any thing like a meeting called by an Emperor who wasn’t a Christian.”

    Constantine is a interesting figure, caught in the beginnings of Christian history. I think people probably get a one sided view depending on who’s telling the story.
    Constantine was a Christian.

    Have you read Eusebius’s, Vita Constantini?

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  330. @Susan Maybe waiting until after that second cup of coffee would help?

    “Doesn’t contingency mean that something hinges on the truth of something else for.itself to be true?”
    It can, but contingency has broader meaning. It isn’t just means that there is a conditional. That conditional could be a question of truth, but it could also be applied to other kinds of questions. For example, “My kids can have dessert contingent on finishing their vegetables.”

    “There are people who claim authority over another where none exists. If the state takes away the right of the parent the state is acting unlawfully according to the first order of things. How could the state have authority except it was given by the people?”
    Of course, there are people who claim authority where none exists. However, it is clear from the Apostle Paul that the state has authority independent of whether it was given by the people. The Jews addressed by Paul certainly did not consent to Roman rule, nor was that rule “just”. But Rome still had authority to which Paul (and Peter) told believers to submit. However, that submission was contingent on not requiring them to violate God’s Word. The fact that their submission to government was contingent does not mean that they were really just submitting to themselves.

    Similarly, when a SS-RP submits to her ecclesial authorities contingent on those ecclesial authorities being consonant with God’s Word, the SS-RP is not “really” just submitting to herself as you claim. It is a very narrow point, but it undermines the premise of much of the CTC apologetic and criticism of SS-RPism.

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  331. Sdb,

    Still nursing my first cup. I am under the weather today 😦

    “But Rome still had authority to which Paul (and Peter) told believers to submit. However, that submission was contingent on not requiring them to violate God’s Word. The fact that their submission to government was contingent does not mean that they were really just submitting to themselves.”

    Exactly. Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s.

    “Similarly, when a SS-RP submits to her ecclesial authorities contingent on those ecclesial authorities being consonant with God’s Word, ”

    Again, exactamundo. The Church.cannot not be consonant with God’s holy word. The word isn’t only written though. “Words” can never be wrong( they have to be infallible or true if you prefer), but they don’t have to neccessarilt be in written form.

    “the SS-RP is not “really” just submitting to herself as you claim. It is a very narrow point, but it undermines the premise of much of the CTC apologetic and criticism of SS-RPism.”

    Can you explain how they are not? It looks to me that they are submitting to.their interrpretation of scripture by projecting onto it the notion of what ecclesial authority means. This requires believing that the historic visible church is wrong based on scripture. That undercuts a vigorous ecclesiology which undercuts.scripture because it is from scripture that we get the notion of.church.and from church that we get.scripture. Protestantism makes ecclesial authority radiates out from the scripture. This is circular, as well as perpetuates more splintering..”Hear ye, he who holds the bible is the church”

    But that’s okay, sdb.

    I don’t think we’ve moved an inch close to understanding one another. Let me say though that it is fun to discuss with you. You seem to be good natured and I don’t recall you ever “losing it” when taking to me
    Thanks for being nice:)

    Susan

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  332. Dan,

    We all know that you out golfing!

    That’s okay, I understood ya.

    I’m not in retirement so I must hang up the receiver after this call.

    Constantine was at the end of the 2nd century., so was Eusebius. Since Partisan can slice both ways, I’ll go with the.good things C. did and not argue over biases. For all I know the bad press could be partisan.

    You and I are stuck with what we got.

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  333. D. G. Hart
    Posted January 12, 2016 at 6:54 am | Permalink
    Mermaid, so you were saved but you wanted Christianity 3.0 — better ecclesiology.>>>>>>>>

    My thinking on this is pretty simple, actually. Did Jesus choose a Bride or a harem?

    What does this passage mean, and where is the Church that claims to be founded on Peter, the rock that Jesus was talking to and about?

    “…you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.”

    Denominations that are a few decades or centuries old can hardly make a claim to being that Church. In fact, most of them are honest enough to admit it.

    Though I kind of admire the Landmark Baptists for trying to trace their history back to Jesus Himself. At least they understand what is at stake and what needs to be proven.
    —————————————————–
    15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah,[a] the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter,[b] and on this rock[c] I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

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  334. Susan, “Constantine is a interesting figure, caught in the beginnings of Christian history. I think people probably get a one sided view depending on who’s telling the story.
    Constantine was a Christian.

    “Have you read Eusebius’s, Vita Constantini?”

    Have you ever registered a skeptical thought about anything besides Protestantism?

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  335. Mermaid, Rome cannot trace itself to Jesus. Jesus was never there unless you’re like Joseph Smith who thought Jesus was beamed down to North America. The real church that Jesus founded was Jerusalem.

    Try JCC — Jerusalem Catholic Church — and you might have me.

    Otherwise, you sound foolish.

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  336. Robert “I believe that providentially, God has used such meetings to clarify doctrine.”

    What I said earlier to Susan about only having time for a drive by applies to your point, which is worthy of more discussion. I hope later is OK.

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  337. CvD the Landmarker,

    Noon,

    What arrogance would that be? Is your lone rangering it an arrogant position to hold?

    There is no church Jesus founded except the universal church (Mat. 16:18) and most of it is in heaven and out of the reach of both angry Missionary Baptists and feely-touchy RC priests. It’s the ones yet to be born and called into that Church who need protection from both.

    Now if trusting in Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension alone for all my confidence before God, while simultaneously distrusting every motive of my heart, and every work of my hands to achieve a greater righteousness makes me arrogant, then 1000 times, yes.

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  338. Mermaid,

    I couldn’t ignore the “onsies” of Ephesians 4 anymore or Jesus ‘ High Priestly prayer, either.

    I believe you.

    At the same time, none of those passages contain the word ‘church,’ so you had to do some pretty creative filling in to connect it to RC ecclesiology.

    We ought all admit those texts don’t teach an ecclesiastical invisibility cloak either, but rather something quite visible – especially John 17:21, 23.

    So it’s visible unity, only not RC style. No one has ever seen the RCC, it’s a paper unity.

    John 17 and Eph. 4 require something else. Visible local unity of all the regenerate on the Lord’s Day.

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  339. Noon,

    “There is no church Jesus founded except the universal church”

    That would be the church that is never divinely guided right? Since that promise only applies to the apostles and went up in smoke after they died (“because the Spirit of truth will guide the apostles, and the apostles alone, in all the truth”), just as apparently all promises Christ made to audiences in the NT did, unless they were accompanied by “prophetic words “even to the end of the age””.

    “(Mat. 16:18)”

    By your own admission, the recognition of that passage as canonical by the “universal church” was not divinely guided and protected. So you already put the cart before the horse in appealing to it to then support your lone ranger ecclesiology.

    “makes me arrogant,”

    What makes you arrogant is your ecclesial deism and concordant rejection of the church’s authority over you, as well as the blowing off of the majority of Christians in history as “arrogant” whereas you aren’t.

    “while simultaneously distrusting every motive of my heart”

    Why aren’t you distrusting the motives of your heart leading you to your lone rangerism and rejection of the church (and its authority and ability) Christ founded?

    Like

  340. @James,

    Noon,

    “There is no church Jesus founded except the universal church,” That would be the church that is never divinely guided right?

    No, Jim, it is RCs who Believe in a Disobedient Holy Spirit. You BDHS types trumpet His disobedience broadly and aggressively. We hear it over and over: He didn’t obey Jesus’ promise to the disciples to guide them into all the truth, so now He’s doing it over centuries with the RC bishops. We get it. But we sure as h___ won’t receive your spirit.

    Now as for me, I believe in the same Holy Spirit the men of Nicaea did, who guides every elect member of the universal church right past the gates of death and into the Savior’s eternal presence, guaranteed. Then will gather the one, holy, apostolic, and catholic church.

    See, I believe in what Christ promised. You don’t. You also believe in a disobedient Christ, for He promised He would build His Church and it would all reach heaven. But you believe some members of His Church will not reach it through mortal sin. Bad Jesus.

    Will you make it to heaven, James, so long as you are a BDHS, and in a bad Jesus? I myself wouldn’t risk it, and I advise you to flee the RCC, like, yesterday.

    What makes you arrogant is your ecclesial deism and concordant rejection of the church’s authority over you, as well as the blowing off of the majority of Christians in history as “arrogant” whereas you aren’t.

    Why aren’t you distrusting the motives of your heart leading you to your lone rangerism and rejection of the church (and its authority and ability) Christ founded?

    Oh James, ecclesial deism is for those who believe they read ecclesial history better than Christ prophesies it.

    Haven’t you read Revelation? There are 7 churches He speaks to, not 1. The ascended Christ relates to each church individually, not some churches collectively.

    But more to the point, you think “the Church” keeps getting better and better. Who are you? 5 of the 7 churches at the end of the apostolic age are highly disobedient to Him, and He gives us no expectation to expect things to get better. Instead,

    “But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2Ti 3:13).

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  341. Cletus,

    What makes you arrogant is your ecclesial deism and concordant rejection of the church’s authority over you, as well as the blowing off of the majority of Christians in history as “arrogant” whereas you aren’t.

    The majority of Christians in history haven’t believed that the church has unquestionable authority over them. About the only one you can find that speaks of authority in an unqualified way is Ignatius of Loyola. Every other great thinker is somewhere on a continuum. Augustine believed it was possible for an ecumenical council to err. Athanasius didn’t stop teaching Trinitarian doctrine when subsequent councils readmitted the Arians.

    The notion that the church has unqualified authority whenever it says it has unqualified authority is a RC thing that lasted only a few hundred years until V2 opened the doors to freedom of conscience and the fact that even Jesus-hating Buddhists are a-ok if they have “love.” Just ask Pope Francis.

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  342. Noon,

    The HS guided the Apostles into all truth – the deposit of faith is fixed and public revelation has ended. The HS also guides the church into all truth – its understanding and reflection upon the deposit grows and deepens over time, just as a body develops over time. You seem to think those 2 statements are mutually exclusive.

    “Holy Spirit the men of Nicaea did”

    Those men believed the HS protects and guides the church. You don’t. We’re all lone rangers after John died.

    “I advise you to flee the RCC, like, yesterday.”

    Why should I flee the church Christ founded, given His promises and the apostolic witness to its authority/ability in Scripture, in favor of schismatic lone rangerism, which is condemned in Scripture?

    Local churches can sin or err. History is replete with examples. That is consistent and compatible with both Scripture’s promises and witness to the church, as well as RCC claims regarding the church and its authority/ability.

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  343. Cletus,

    the deposit of faith is fixed

    Then you should have no problem giving it to us. Understanding of the deposit and the deposit itself are not identical.

    What is the deposit that we are growing in our understanding of?

    Like

  344. No one of note
    Posted January 12, 2016 at 12:54 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid,

    I couldn’t ignore the “onsies” of Ephesians 4 anymore or Jesus ‘ High Priestly prayer, either.

    I believe you.>>>>>

    Thank you, dear. It doesn’t matter if you believe me. Do you believe Jesus? Do you believe the Apostle Paul? Do you believe the Bible?

    I am just a simple Mermaid. Jesus is Somebody.

    NOON:
    At the same time, none of those passages contain the word ‘church,’ so you had to do some pretty creative filling in to connect it to RC ecclesiology.>>>>>

    Nice try. John 17 is in the context of the promise of the Holy Spirit. Move on to Acts 2 to see where and when the Holy Spirit was poured out.

    The word doesn’t have to be there.

    Now look at Ephesians 4. BTW, I have not seen anyone on your side exegete that passage. I keep asking. keep answering.

    Eph. 4: 4 There is one BODY and one Spirit…

    Body is synonymous with 1.) Church is synonymous with 2.) sheepfold is synonymous with the 3.) fields where the sheep and goats graze together and the wheat and tares grow together is synonymous with the 4.) Bride of Christ.

    All one. All the time. Different metaphors of the same reality. There is only on Church.

    NOON:
    We ought all admit those texts don’t teach an ecclesiastical invisibility cloak either, but rather something quite visible – especially John 17:21, 23.>>>>

    You are the ones who need to admit that. The Church has never been invisible in the way that the WCF states – sometimes more visible, sometimes less visible. The Catholic Church has always been visible even when she was in the catacombs. People knew she was there.

    If you read the City of God, Augustine spent quite a bit of time explaining how the pagans knew where to go for refuge when Rome was being sacked. They went to the nearest parish and were spared. How did people know where to go if the Church were all that invisible?

    NOON:
    So it’s visible unity, only not RC style. No one has ever seen the RCC, it’s a paper unity.>>>>>

    Read The City of God. The Church in Rome was united and visible even at the time of Augustine. She never went invisible. It is more than a paper unity.

    See, you guys don’t get what the focus of our unity is. You are all over the place and nowhere at the same time. The focus of unity is the sum and summit of our faith. It is Jesus. It is the Eucharist – the Real, Real Presence that is a symbol and is reality at the same time. We eat His flesh and drink His blood.

    John 6
    53 So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; 55 for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.

    NOON:
    John 17 and Eph. 4 require something else. Visible local unity of all the regenerate on the Lord’s Day.>>>>>

    They require unity. Full st